Tristan smiles wide as he cocks his head, trying to get a good look at the small animal sitting on him.

I catch my reflection in the microwave door and see that I’m smiling just as hard

“Her name is Mouse,” I say and try to push down the joy I’m feeling right now to see Tristan happy, even for a second.

He laughs, and Mouse skitters along his neck and goes to the other shoulder. “Seriously, Mouse? Why would you name your rat that?”

I cross my arms over my chest and raise an eyebrow at him. “She not a rat, thank you very much.”

He puts his hands up in surrender, and I hear the sound of my coffee machine clicking off, letting me know that my coffee is ready as well. It’s only my third cup of the day, but at least it’ll be fresh.

I stand there in a war with myself about what I’m about to do. It’s only been a few days since Tristan brought me so low. I know I shouldn’t be even thinking about letting him back into my life, but I can’t help but feel like this might be his way of trying to reach out. He’s been alone, from what I know, since he’s gotten out of the hospital, and according to Corentina, he’s very short with everyone who comes over to visit with him. His coming over to ask for sugar could be a ploy just to have someone to talk to.

I clench all my muscles as I get prepared for another emotional blow, “I just finished making a pot of coffee if you want to stay for a cup? I’ll still give you some sugar to go home with either way.”

I look up at him, and even though his smile stays the same, I see his muscles relax a bit. He’s nervous too. This is what he came over here for.

“Yeah, I’d like that a lot, Poppy.” He grabs hold of Mouse and puts her back in her cage before he comes to sit down in the kitchen while I get to work pouring both of us a cup of coffee. Even though this seems like a first step, I don’t want to get my hopes up. I’ve seen Tristan at his worse, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to handle seeing him like that again.

Tags: E.C. Land Crime