I apologize for those of you who’ve been looking for more Mouse in the past two weeks. I need more time in a day! I could sleep less…but nah. If you’re new to Mouse, you can read her previous adventures here.
Mouse Is Back! On the Mat!
Just one mealtime is all it takes for me to get the lay of the land after being away for half-a-year. Joe sits next to me, at least that hasn’t change. It’s kind of comforting to hear all of his jokey, snarky comments that I had taken for granted when all I could look at was Tom. Not that I’m still not looking at Tom, but now he’s looking at Annaliese Mortimer as if she were the mouse with the cheese who’d emptied the trap. It does not escape me that she looks like his ex- as well as the bartender from Wattstone who I called unkindly but not to her face, “Crazy Eyes.” He definitely has a type and it’s not me.
My teeth bite a stalk of celery with a resounding snap.
Joe chuckles at my side. “Still not over Tom?” he asks quietly.
“Sure I am.” Snapping the celery again. Then I glance at Joe, his warm green hazel eyes watching me. “Sure. No kidding.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. So what if during the past six months my sex life consisted of nighttime dreams of Tom’s prowess with his tongue?
After lunch, we have a meeting with pecan sandies. The meeting’s supposed to get me up-to-speed but after a few nibbles of my favorite cookie, (someone must have remembered), I feel myself nodding off.
Poke, poke, poke.
My eyes open to Annaliese Mortimer jabbing her index finger into my bicep. My eyes narrow letting her know that celery is not the only thing that can be loudly snapped. Has this mouse gone rabid? I shake off the thought and try to focus on the Captain and Tom, the latter of whom is frowning at me in disappointment. I wink and shrug and then return to my nap.
I feel hot breath on my ear and sigh.
The accent is right but the words aren’t: “You are fat and lazy, Mouse.”
My eyelids jerk upward. Tom is in my face scowling. Not exactly the picture I wanted to wake to.
“You are going to train with Annaliese.”
I glance at Annaliese Mortimer who is smirking at me, her thin arms crossed. He’s got to be kidding.
“If you think I’m fat and lazy, you have a go at me,” I say, challenge in my voice. Now it’s time to see if they’ve had me under surveillance, which I don’t think is the case, or if they just knew where I was.
He laughs without humor. “Okay. One bout and then you train with Annaliese.”
We meet in the gym. The last thing I expected was that there would be a crowd watching us, but here they are, no doubt because Tom wants to rub my face in it. I hide my smile, but Joe notices and raises an eyebrow to which I shrug.
Tom is cocky. He expects me to be on my back instantly, but his expression changes to shock when in the next moment he’s flat on his back with me positioned in such a way that he can’t flip me.
I cluck my tongue at him. “What have you been doing since I’ve been gone?” I lower my head. “Training with Annaliese Mortimer?” I ask in a whisper.
Maybe sometime I’ll tell him that for the past six months I’ve lived next to a former Navy SEAL who trained me in exchange for home-cooked dinners. That I haven’t gotten fat, despite the donuts, that this little Mouse has muscle…and brains. A good combination, a strong combination. But not today. I won’t tell him today. Let him keep guessing.