"I am soooo bored." Chris complained.
I groaned, "Will you shut up already?"
"You're mean...." Chris said, standing up, "Where's Alice?"
"In the nurse's office." I said.
Chris sighed, "Oh dear, what was it this time?"
"Mouse licked Alice's hand." I said, feeling like a jerk for grinning.
Chris stifled a laugh, "Really? Why?"
"Because Alice told her that she should bathe more often."
"Hm," Chris pondered, "You would think Alice would have known better."
Just then, Mouse and Leo came outside and walked over to us.
"Hey, guys." I said, sounding bored and tired, which I was.
Mouse walked over to Chris and stood in front of him, looking him right in the eyes.
Chris eyed her and said, "What?"
Suddenly, Mouse kneed Chris hard in the crotch. Leo and I gaped in surprise as Chris gasped and fell to his knees, cursing. He squeaked, "What the hell was that for?"
Mouse shrugged casually and said, "Oh, just checking."
With that, she walked off toward the school.
Chris called to her weakly, "Checking what?"
When she didn't answer, Chris called again, "Mouse! Checking what?.... Wait.... Hey! That's not funny!"
"Yes, it is." Leo was giggling furiously and I put my hand over my mouth to cover up my smile. Chris put his head on the ground and moaned, "Just because I like boys doesn't mean that didn't hurt!"
Leo and I were laughing our heads off now. Chris whimpered and said helplessly, "Nice sympathy, guys."
"I'm sorry, Chris..." I said, trying hard to slow down my laughter and failing.
"No, you're not." Chris said flatly, sitting up and grimacing.
I forced a straight face, but when Chris actually looked at me, I lost it. Leo and I were laughing so hard that people were staring at us.
Chris stood up awkwardly and brushed himself off. He crossed his arms and gave the kids who were watching us a what-are-you-looking-at look. Head held high, he walked off with Leo and I calling insensitively after him, "Hey, come on, man!" "Don't be that way!" "You don't think that was funny? 'Cuz it was!" "Shut up, Leo." "Ow! Don't hit, Angela. Ow."
At lunch, Mouse came over and sat down between Chris and Alice. She patted Chris's back and said, "Hey, what's up, Girlfriend?"
Chris brushed Mouse's hand away from his shoulder and looked away snottily.
Mouse pretended to be offended and said, "Well. Someone's in a bad mood! I wonder why...."
"Oh, can't you just leave me alone? You know very well why I'm mad, Mouse. I'm not talking to you, by the way."
Mouse whispered to him, pretending to look embarrassed, "Actually, you are talking to me, Chris. I don't see any other 'Mouses' around here."
Chris pursed his lips and refused to look at her. After being quiet for a minute, he said quietly, "You knew it would hurt."
Mouse threw her arms up in the air, "How was I supposed to know whether you had balls or not?"
Chris blushed and scowled at Mouse, "I hate you."
"Hate is a strong word, Chrissy." Mouse shook her finger at Chris. She was really pushing it.
Chris scowled more, stood up with his lunch tray, and walked away.
"Now you've done it." I said, standing up to go after him, "Be careful with what you say to him, Mouse."
Mouse put her feet up on the table and said, "What's he gonna do about it? He's gonna cry and then he's gonna get over it. That's always what happens. He's not a threat to me, why should I stop?"
"You jerk!" Leo said suddenly, "You- You can't just do that! Chris has feelings too! Try being sensitive for once!"
Mouse, Alice, and I were all surprised by this and we didn't say anything. Leo sputtered, "Mouse- You.... You're just a jerk!"
"You're just realizing this now?" Mouse said casually.
"Am I missing something?" Alice asked, confused, "What's going on?"
Leo ignored her and said to Mouse, "Mouse, you call him names, you put maple syrup in his shampoo bottle-"
"Conditioner." Mouse corrected, "Leave-in conditioner."
Leo shook his head, "I don't care! You embarrass him, you set him up, you're always making fun of him, you hurt him emotionally and... Er.... Physically. You are an asshole!"
Mouse nodded, "Go on...."
Leo laughed hollowly and threw his hands out dramatically, "You can't just take away a guy's pride like that! A knee to the crotch is like... Like..... Smashing someone's ice cream cone!"
Mouse scoffed, "That was once, Leo."
"Yeah, but that ice cream was my favorite!" Leo sputtered, "It was chocolate ice cream, Mouse! You hurt me so bad that day!"
"What does that have to do with my kneeing Chris in the balls?" Mouse asked him.
Leo didn't listen and said, "I remember that day so clearly, it hurts! We got ice cream cones from the ice cream truck and right when it left, you smashed mine all over! You smashed it all over, Mouse!"
"Will you shut up about the damn ice cream, Leo?" Mouse yelled, causing people to stare at us.
Alice threw her hands up in confusion, "What are you talking about?"
I whispered in her ear, "I'll tell you later."
Mouse said to Leo cooly, "Look, Leo, I have always been a jerk. What made you decide to stick up for Chris? Why now? What was your motivation?"
I half expected Leo to look at me and laugh stupidly, but this time he didn't. This time, he shook his head at said, "You're full of it, Mouse."
"Yeah," Mouse said, wrinkling her nose, "Bad habit."
Leo stared at Mouse in disbelief, "What is wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with you?" She said back, raising a questioning eyebrow at him, "Why are you sticking up for Chris?"
"Why not?" Leo cried, "He's helpless! Someone has to give Angela a break sometime! Give someone else a chance to make it up to Chris."
Leo crossed his arms and said, "I don't see why you can't make it up to him. You were the one who kneed him in the crotch. Heck, you always are the one! Give the poor kid a break."
Wow, I thought, If only Chris could've heard that whole speech!
Mouse picked her teeth like she wasn't listening, "I'm sorry, did you say something?"
Leo glared at her for a minute and said, "I don't know about you girls, but I'm with Chris."
Alice and I stared at Leo with our mouths hanging open and he walked to the other side of the lunchroom to go sit with Chris and Geoffry.
We looked at each other and I stood up, "I'm in."
Alice nodded and followed me. Mouse laughed and said, "Hey, where you guys going?"
When we didn't answer, she called after us, "Guys! Hey, don't be that way. What are you doing?"
I shook my head and said under my breath,
"Don't take your friends for granted, Mousey."