The editor nodded. ‘I’m sorry. The boss wants to go a new direction with the magazine and she feels that you can’t produce the things she wants to see.’
Piedro could not believe his ears. ‘But, all the stories I wrote..’
‘Sorry. I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not listen.’
‘What do I do now?’ Piedro said and slumped down on his chair.
‘I’ve got a friend who’s an editor at a family magazine.’ the editor said and pulled out a business card from his desk drawer. ‘I know they’re looking at adding another page for the kids so have a look there. Tell him I sent you.’
Piedro took the card nad nodded. ‘Thanks.’
‘I hate to see you go. But the new boss..’
Piedro walked home slowly when he passed the elementary school where Mouse would visit to read his stories. He leaned on the fence watching her in the classroom surrounded by the kids. Seeing her entertaining the children made him smile.
‘You’re Piedro, right?’
He looked at the female teacher on the playground. ‘Sorry?’
‘You’re Mouse’s owner, as she calls you?’
He straightened and cleared his throat. ‘Yes, I’m Piedro. Although I don’t think of myself as her owner.’
The teacher smiled. ‘Would you like to come in? I’m sure she’d love to see you.’
‘I don’t want to disturb..’
‘No worries. Come in.’
He followed the teacher inside and watched the class from the hallway with her as Mouse finished her tale. The children pounced her and she played with them.
‘The children love your stories.’
‘Thanks, but I’m afraid I won’t have much stories to write left.’
‘I just got fired from the magazine I worked for, and I have no idea how to tell her.’
The teacher laid her hand on his shoulder. ‘I’m sorry to hear that, but I think the truth would be best. She’s not going to blame you for anything.’
Piedro nodded and watched Mouse play with the children.
On the way home he told her what had happened. She took his hand in hers silently and he smiled gently at her.
‘I’m sure you can find a way to keep writing what you want to.’ she said.
‘It might not be that easy.’
‘They asked if I could come work at the school. One of the teacher’s pregnant and she’ll be leaving soon.’
He looked at her. ‘Really?’
She nodded. ‘They asked to discuss it with you if I wanted to.’
He smiled. ‘I think it’s great.’
‘You don’t mind?’
‘You like to work there?’
‘Then I’m happy to see you do something you like to do.’
She leaned against him. ‘Then I will accept their offer.’
Piedro cooked that evening and they crawled together to watch a movie on tv.
‘The teacher referred to me as your owner.’
‘Is that how you feel about me?’
She stroked his hand in hers. ‘You saved me and took me home.’
‘That’s not what I asked.’
She kept silent for a while.
He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it softly. ‘I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while but just felt too scared.’ he said and stroked her hand. ‘I love you.’
She swallowed and tears welled up in her eyes.
He looked at her and felt freightened. ‘Sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cry!’
She looked at him and smiled, then buried her face in his neck and held him tight. He carefuly hugged her as she cried.
When she stopped crying he wiped away her tears.
‘Sorry.’ she whispered.
‘I shouldn’t have said that.’
She shook her head. ‘I’m so happy now.’
He felt confused. ‘You are?’
She smiled at him. ‘I wanted to hear that for such a long time.’
She nodded. ‘Yes.’
He kissed her at once and she took him all in.
The next morning she woke up in his arms as he smiled at her.
‘Good morning, my love.’ he whispered.
She smiled and kissed him.
When they finished he stroked her head. ‘So, from now on you’re not allowed to call me your owner.’
‘How would I call you then? You are my owner after all.’
‘No, I never rally felt like I owned you. I want to call you my girlfriend.’
Her eyes grew bigger.
‘Tell them I’m your real boyfriend, if you want to.’
She kissed him until they ran out of breath.
‘I guess I got your approval.’ he said.
‘Of course you have!’ she said and poked him making him snicker and poke her back.
‘Good luck.’ she said as she kissed him at the school.
‘Thanks.’ he said and squeezed her hands gently. ‘Have a fun day here.’
‘I will.’ she said and waved him goodbye as he left for his appointment with his former editor’s friend.
‘Well, well. Looks like things got real.’ said the head teacher behind her.
Mouse could only nod and smile.
‘Let’s get you settled in, shall we?’
‘Yes!’ Mouse said and went inside to start her first day as a teacher.