Mouse Discovers Sad at a Charity Event

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Mouse Discovers Sad at a Charity Event


Only once before have I been to a charity event, one of my mother’s favorites, which she dragged me to it because she wanted to keep an eye on me. It was immediately after the hacking incident and I was on her version of house-arrest. That event was much like this one. Beautiful people in beautiful clothes air kissing, drinking free-flowing expensive champagne and tittering, showing each other that they not only knew how to dress, but they cared so deeply about things.

I’m wearing a long purple sheath that makes even me feel graceful. On my head I have a headband studded with Swarovski crystals that looks a little like a tiara. I feel like a little girl playing make-believe, which may be what I am.

The mission’s simple. I think it shouldn’t be called a mission at all, but rather: Mouse’s Playtime. I’m to sneak off, disarm the building alarms so that Joe can get into the protected basement. My “need to know” doesn’t include knowing what Joe is going to do once he gets there; evidently they still have “trust” issues.

Everything is going to plan. I hide out in the ladies and disarm the alarm system on an app tied to a program I created. As I’m leaving the ladies’, I check my appearance.

Tom makes me feel breathless tonight. Who knew I had a thing for men in suits? I know, it’s Tom who I would probably take any way I could get him.

He’s standing with a glass of red wine in his hand talking to a svelte brunette whose resemblance to Crazy Eyes is uncanny. His smile is one I’ve never seen before, charmed, enraptured. The look in his eyes makes my stomach drop.

He’s in love with this woman. He leans into her. Their faces are so close.

Tentatively I cross the room, my insatiable curiosity getting the better of me.

The woman’s wearing a gorgeous red gown that dips in the front showing the swell of her breasts. She laughs broadly at something Tom says. She comments with an equally broad English accent.

When they glance at me, I feel like the little buzzing swat-worthy fly. Tom blinks at me as if suddenly remembering my existence.

“I’m sorry, do you need help?” the brunette asks, impatiently.

I glance up at Tom who seems momentarily at a loss.

“I’m Georgia. I came with Tom,” I say, extending my hand to her.

She frowns and looks askance at my hand and then at Tom for confirmation. Her breeding conquers and she takes my hand lightly with her fingertips. He’s in love with a wimpy hand shaker.

“I’m Caro. Tom and I have known each other forever,” she says and takes his arm. Her bright red nails sweep over his suit jacket, an obvious demonstration of possession.

“How nice,” I say. “Old friends.” I really didn’t mean to hang on the word “old.”

Tom frowns at me. “Could you give us a minute, Mouse?”

“Mouse? Mouse! Is that her name? How precious. How old are you? Sixteen?” Caro says, putting me in my place after the “old” comment.

I retreat to the bar, ask for water, and then lean there watching, knowing she is the reason he’s never reciprocated my feelings. She’s the reason he’s attracted to Crazy Eyes, who is almost a mirror image of Caro. They make no attempt to hide the lust in their eyes. His large hand is tan against her alabaster skin. She looks like she wants to kiss his hand, suck on his fingers, suck his lips, make love to him there regardless of all of the other guests. I know the feeling. I’ve just never felt it reciprocated, but she has. His face says it all.

I feel like Eponine in Les Miz, minus the newsboys cap, the dirt smudges (I hope), and the desperate need to sing “On My Own.” My song would be more Sinatra though: Unrequited love is such a bore. No, probably not; I’m not quite there yet. Maybe just: I can’t make you love me, if you don’t . . .


end 2/21/2017

S. Darlington

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