Mouse Bk. 01 Ch. 02



The morning light brutally assaulted Michael’s eyes when he awoke, unable to remember having fallen asleep. His head hurt when he moved, and when he lay still. The evening’s memories flooded back.

He bolted up. His eyes searched the room in a panic, looking for Mouse. He fell backward onto the mattress, staring blankly at the ceiling when he realized, with both relief and disappointment, that he was alone.

Michael lay there for some time, wrestling with his conscience, trying to will himself to get up and face Mouse. The bed was a refuge he wouldn’t abandon easily, until he thought about what he’d done there last night. Then he was quickly up, thinking he might never lie there again.

He had to apologize. He had to promise it would never happen again, maybe blame the alcohol. He probably had to help her get her things together and drive her to Melanie’s house for the rest of her stay. They could just tell Mel that it wasn’t working out. That would be easy to believe.

It wasn’t working out.

Michael peered around the door into the hall, then quietly quick stepped to the bathroom. His head throbbed. His mouth was dry, tasting of stale beer, and something more. He brushed his teeth, then took two ibuprofen and a long shower. As the too hot water cascaded over him he felt safe there, knowing Mouse couldn’t walk in on him. At least he hoped she wouldn’t.

Michael began to imagine that she did, that she came to him willingly then, how she would look and feel there, sharing the water with him, before touching him, and letting him explore her.

He pictured his little sister in the shower with him, wet and soapy and inviting. He immediately cut off the image, scolding himself for the twisted indulgence.

He definitely needed to get her out of his house.

* * *

Some time later he had dressed. After finding every reason he could to delay the inevitable, Michael went down the stairs, trying to seem at ease. He scanned the large, empty family room as he descended, then wandered into the kitchen, only to find it empty, too. He was surprised at how disappointed he felt at her absence.

There was a handwritten note on the kitchen table. Michael began to read it.

Hey, sleepy head. I didn’t have the heart to wake you. You looked too cute sound asleep, and I knew your head would hurt when you did wake up.

I called Melanie to come over and take me shopping. I didn’t think you’d want to come with us girls.

She’d drawn a small heart shaped smiley face right after the word “come”. He hoped she didn’t mean it the way he read it, as a double entendre. He sat down at the table to finish reading the last lines.

Melanie wants to go out for drinks tonight. Pick you up at 8.

Last night was nice.

She didn’t sign it. Instead she included a little cartoon of a mouse’s head, with puckered lips.

Michael read it again and again, at first to be sure he’d read it right, then again in disbelief, then again for pleasure.

When he realized he enjoyed the note, he mentally slapped himself. Mouse had to go.

* * *

Michael waited anxiously for Mouse and Melanie to drop by. He’d wasted the entire day lumbering about the house, doing nothing but letting his mind float. He’d alternated all day between meandering fantasies and mental self-flagellation.

Now he alternated between feeling nervous, like a teenager before a first date, and foolish. He sat in his recliner, got up and sat on the couch, got up and sat in the kitchen, then moved back to the recliner. He’d changed shirts twice before coming downstairs, then once again.

He was being an idiot.

She was doing it to him again, he thought. Mouse had tormented him in a variety of ways for decades, and now she’d found another, one that worked when she wasn’t within ten miles of him.

As soon as he heard the car pull into his driveway, Michael was up and at the door.

* * *

Mouse watched Michael fidget in his seat for the umpteenth time. He was like an adolescent. He was a complete dork, but it was sweet. She couldn’t believe she had him in such fits.

She also still couldn’t believe it had happened, after all these years. She glowed at the memory, thinking that she’d have to try to feel guilty about it later. She knew she should, and almost certainly would, but somehow guilt wouldn’t come to her now. Instead, she felt like she was floating.

Mouse watched the thick fingers of her brother’s hand spinning his drink ceaselessly, by quarter turns, on the table. It would have been annoying, if his hands didn’t look so damn sexy doing it.

“Michael, did you have too much coffee today?” Melanie asked with an irritated smile.

He was driving her crazy, too. Mouse decided she needed to do something to change his mood.

“Do you remember Michael before his very first date, Mel?” Mouse asked with a grin.

Melanie sat up and leaned forward, suddenly charged with energy.

“Shit, innovia escort yes! He paced around the house like a caged animal, then he almost fell over the chairs racing to the door when she got there. I felt so sorry for him, I wanted to go along and coach him to keep him from frightening her away.” Melanie smiled kindly at Michael when she said it, but he avoided her gaze, wearing an embarrassed scowl.

“Which he did, as I remember,” Mouse added, grinning nastily at Michael. “There was no second date. I’d give anything to have seen his face when he tried to kiss her. If he tried.”

He glared back at her, then conveniently disappeared into the bottom of his glass as he drained it.

“I remember your first date, too,” Michael countered, after swallowing. “You were only fourteen, you were only going to a PG-13 movie, yet you’d already learned to dress like a hooker.”

He said it like he fully intended to use a harsher word than “hooker”. Whore. Mouse remembered using the word herself last night, with him on top of and inside her. She found it hard to be insulted by it now. She wished that Melanie weren’t around, so she could brazenly remind him of it.

“I’ve been called worse,” Mouse said obliquely, her eyes sparkling with a wicked smile, hoping he made the connection.

Melanie sat up, stiffening, sensing that another sibling skirmish had begun. Her eyes darted between the two of them, probably struggling between choosing the role of peacemaker, or simply getting out of the line of fire.

This wasn’t going well, Mouse decided. She’d taken the wrong tack, by insulting him. She didn’t know why she always did that, why she loved him so much, was so infatuated with him, yet cut him down at every turn.

“Actually, I think Mouse was funniest when she was six,” Michael put in.

He paused, seemingly for effect. Mouse could almost hear the whole bar yelling in chorus, “how funny was she?”

“Remember when she dressed up in Mom’s bra and slip, and high heels, and nothing else? Then sauntered into the family room for everyone to see?”

“Oh my God, I’d completely forgotten!” Melanie said quickly, grinning widely. “She used gobs of Mom’s best red lipstick, too. I was sure, then and there, that she was going to grow up to be a stripper, or a prostitute!”

Michael and Melanie both laughed out loud. Mouse laughed, too, with her eyes focused away across the room, as if she were embarrassed, feigning disinterest. Let Michael think he’d scored a hit, she thought. It actually hardly bothered her. She’d gladly take a ribbing from both of them if it set Michael at ease. Mouse picked up her drink, emptied it smoothly, and called to the waitress for another round.

Michael’s glass, and now hers, were both empty. Melanie had barely started on her own. Was she drinking slowly, or were Mouse and Michael nervously downing them like water?

“I remember when I was ten,” Mouse said, preparing the next volley in the battle.

Michael and Melanie both braced themselves visibly, wondering what was coming.

“I was struggling with impossible math homework, and Michael was helping me. He was patient with me back then, before he felt threatened by me.” Mouse widened her eyes meaningfully at him. “But he made doing the problems seem so easy, I thought he was a genius.”

Mouse smiled warmly straight into Michael’s eyes, wasting only a passing glance on Melanie as her sister took a small sip of her drink. The waitress arrived with three more. Michael couldn’t grab his fast enough.

“I decided right then and there that I was going to marry him some day,” Mouse finished. She held Michael’s eyes with hers, and held her smile, too. Her mind filled with the warm memory of covertly touching his deliciously large hands with hers as he’d helped her.

Melanie pretended to choke on her martini, but Mouse didn’t even look her way. Michael was staring back at her with an uncertain expression. It could have been interest, or disbelief, or shock. Or discomfort. He eventually gave in, lowering his eyes to the table and lifting his beer to his mouth as an excuse to look away.

Melanie looked between them, then broke into an easy smile, deciding that this was Mouse’s way of declaring a truce. Mouse thought to herself that Melanie would die if she understood the background behind this whole conversation.

“Thank goodness you two can’t ever marry. That would be the messiest marriage ever. And I’d pity your children!” Melanie grinned at both of them.

There was a short, uncomfortable pause. Mouse was waiting for some response from Michael, something to make her feel better, too. She wanted him to admit, in some small way, that he’d felt that way, too, before last night.

Michael was silent. He remained silent.

“That was before I knew what a dork he really was, though,” Mouse said somewhat bitterly into the growing space, keeping her eyes on his.

Mouse had been quickly hurt that Michael hadn’t istanbul escort given her what she wanted, and needed, from that bit of conversation. It angered her. He didn’t need to say much, but any small comment would have helped. Just acknowledge that he liked her, had feelings for her, the way she always had for him, and still did.

But he hadn’t. He’d let the opportunity pass. Mouse decided to go for the throat.

Melanie beat her to it.

“I remember the screams of rage when you were eleven and you walked in on him in the shower!” Melanie chimed in, getting into the spirit of what she thought the game was. This episode was safely embarrassing for both of them, so she wasn’t taking sides.

They all laughed a little more easily, even Michael.

“I’d forgotten about that, myself,” Mouse lied. “But I also remember when I was twelve, and I walked in on Michael in bed with a girl,” Mouse said devilishly.

“Oh my God, you didn’t. You never told me that. When? How? What did you see?” Melanie said in a rush. She was blushing slightly herself, as if she were directly involved, and it had happened only yesterday.

Michael was seriously scowling at Mouse now. It wasn’t feigned, and it wasn’t mild. He was fuming. Mouse realized she’d really gotten to him with this one. It had been their secret for almost two decades now. She’d always respected that, always kept her promise of silence.

“I’m sorry, Michael,” she said timidly, for once regretting that she’d let her anger take her this far. “But it’s been so long. Can’t I finally tell someone? Just Mel?”

Michael looked at her for a while, until his expression softened. Then he looked sheepishly at Melanie.

“You’ve already gone too far, I guess,” he said to Mouse, without taking his eyes from Melanie. “It’s not like Mom and Dad can ground me, or kick me out of the house.” He laughed, but it was forced. “You might as well go on. But Mel has to keep it secret for at least another twenty years. From everyone. Don’t even think of telling your husband.”

Melanie made a show of crossing her heart, while holding up a scouts honor sign with her other hand, although to her credit she never actually said a word of agreement, Mouse noticed.

“Michael didn’t know anyone was home,” Mouse continued, now very eager to share her tale. “I’d never been left home alone before, so he just assumed he was safe when Mom and Dad were out and he brought her home. I’d heard him come in, but I was playing in my room and stayed there… until I heard funny noises coming down the hall,” Mouse said, pausing. “Hers, and his.”

“Ewwwww,” Melanie said theatrically, looking again between them both, to Mouse for more details, and to Michael, possibly trying to picture it, or to see how he was handling this particular story.

“I won’t say too much more, except that I was curious. I went to check things out. I watched a while trying to figure out what was going on. When they finally saw me they were both mortified. He shooed me away, then paid me handsomely to keep quiet… three trips to the movies with him, I think it was,” Mouse said with another grin, and another glint in her eye.

“You milked it for another two after that, as I remember. Extortionist. And you made me hold your hand through all of them.”

“Exactly how much did you see?” Melanie asked.

Mouse inhaled sharply, readying herself for her next blow.

“I don’t want to go into details.”

Melanie was silent, giving her a disappointed “oh, come on” sort of look. Mouse thoroughly intended to continue.

“I was so young, I didn’t know what I was looking at anyway,” Mouse said, eyeing Michael. “I will say that Michael had a lot to offer the girl. A lot.”

Mouse smirked into her drink, taking her turn to hide behind the glass as she lifted it to her mouth, but letting her eyes twinkle past the rim at Michael and Melanie both.

Melanie’s mouth was agape, as she looked back and forth between the two of them.

“Ewwwww,” she said again, but this time with far more emotion. “Ewwwww,” she repeated for emphasis. “That was something I don’t think I wanted or needed to know.”

You asked, Mouse thought to herself. And Mouse couldn’t wait to say it, she admitted to herself, both for her and for him. She couldn’t tell, through Michael’s look of astonished embarrassment, but she thought she could see him secretly swelling with pride.

“Really?” Melanie asked in a moment of weakness, betraying a hint of interest, while glancing shyly back and forth between her brother and sister. She immediately blushed, regretting the question. Melanie and Michael both looked bashfully down at the table, while Mouse brashly beamed a satisfied smile at them both.

She’d won again.

* * *

Michael faced the tiled wall, eyes closed, concentrating on the relief he felt as he emptied his bladder. He’d found a momentary refuge from Mouse in the men’s room. He couldn’t believe now that he’d let kadıköy escort himself be excited about having drinks with her tonight. It was exactly the same as it had always been, only worse. There was nothing fun about this.

He zipped his pants reluctantly once he’d finished, wishing he’d had more to drink, and so more to pee, and so could kill more time away from Mouse. He used yet more time by carefully washing his hands, twice. After taking one deep breath in resignation, he headed out the door.

Mouse was waiting for him there, right outside. She’d worn a fantastically sexy dress this evening, white, low cut, bare shouldered, skin tight and short. She stepped right up to him, chest to chest, just as they had stood together the night before. She was looking up into his eyes again, like a sexy angel wearing the expression of a vixen.

His memories of holding and kissing her flooded back. He felt momentarily overwhelmed and confused, even dizzy, with the onrush of images and thoughts.

Michael opened his mouth to ask her what was going on tonight. Before he could get a word out she was up on her toes, with her arms around him and her mouth on his. He put his hands on her shoulders to immediately push her back down.

That one moment when her mouth lost contact with his was almost physically painful. He leaned into her, extending the kiss, even as he pushed her away.

“Mouse!” he whispered harshly. “Are you crazy? Where’s Melanie?”

“Back at the table. She’s not drinking nearly as fast as you and I, so she didn’t really need to go. She asked if I wanted company, and I said no, although I meant yes, but not hers…”

Mouse beamed a revealing smile at him. Michael tried to give her a stern, brotherly, reprimanding look. Mouse adopted her favorite phony, little pout in response.

“You’re not too mad at me, are you?” she asked, looking coquettishly into his eyes. “I was only playing…”

“You’re always playing, Mouse,” he interrupted angrily. “With me. Always.”

Michael took her firmly by the arm, dragging her back towards their table in the bar, but she pulled free.

“I still need to go. I just wanted to catch you alone, to say ‘hi’,” she said, backing her way into the ladies room.

“Hi,” Michael said, in a straight-faced monotone. She smiled weakly at him, making him feel suddenly cruel. He smiled weakly back at her as she retreated behind the door.

* * *

“I don’t know why you’re staying in that gigantic, empty place,” Mouse said to Michael critically, as they started a fourth round of drinks. “It’s like a mausoleum.”

Michael bristled, taking it as an insult.

“I like my home, thank you,” Michael replied evenly. He could feel the liquor hitting him, realizing he should stop after this one, maybe should have stopped at three. Michael didn’t drink often enough to handle it well. He obviously hadn’t last night. “If you don’t like it, stay with Melanie.”

Mouse glared at him. She seemed to be silently asking if he really wanted her to leave. It struck Michael that he’d actually hurt her, for a change. But he didn’t back off.

“Anyway, it’s better than living in a cramped, little, mouse hole,” Michael added.

“I like my tight, little, mouse hole,” Mouse replied. “You’d like it, too, if you’d ever been in it.” Mouse raised her eyebrows at Michael meaningfully, her eyes smiling, then smirked into her glass as she tasted her next drink.

Michael knew this was yet another transparent double entendre. He glanced over at Melanie in fear that she’d recognized the switch from “cramped” to “tight”, and understood the implications. She hadn’t, or didn’t visibly react if she had. She watched stoically, maybe apprehensively, waiting to see how violent this line of conversation was going to get.

“You’re small, I’m big,” Michael said smiling, enjoying a rare chance to one up Mouse with subtle wit. “To each his own.”

“To each his own,” Mouse said, raising her glass in a slightly tipsy toast. “Sisters and brother, different, but joined.”

Melanie raised her glass, too, again completely missing the incestuous undertone to the comment. Michael raised his glass last, reluctantly, not having missed a thing.

Mouse had clearly gotten a buzz. She needed to stop after this one, too, Michael thought. They didn’t need to go home drunk together again. That would be a disaster.

He didn’t know how he was going to tell her that she had to get out, tonight, but it had to be done. They had to be physically separated, or this was going to get out of control. Or, rather, further out of control.

* * *

Melanie had dropped them off and fled. Michael seemed to be trying to get her to stay, Mouse noted, to get something off of his chest, or to avoid being alone with Mouse, but Melanie hadn’t given him the chance. She was pulling out of the driveway as Michael flopped into his recliner, exhausted by the evening.

Mouse didn’t hesitate. She dropped straight onto his lap, looping her arms around his neck while gently placing her forehead against his. She studied his nose and mouth first, up close, with her face just inches from his, before looking into his eyes. She felt the intensity in her own expression. She didn’t want to scare him, but she couldn’t hide it, either.

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