Chapter 21 - It's a Mouse

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"It smells like a custodian's closet in here."

Kit slipped off his shoes as a comedic gesture, placing them near the door for Richard to see. He cringed at the smell of his mate's flat; overpowering, thick like smog. It's as if the room had been smoldered by a hurricane of chemicals. A tornado of sanitation.

"You weren't sniffing disinfectants, were you?" he added.

Richard shook his head as he removed the wet, yellow gloves from his hands. He placed them over the sink to dry, and then he opened the refrigerator, grabbing a beer bottle. He gave it to Kit, who casually accepted. They sat on the sofa, both of them eyeing the fruits of Richard's labor.

"No, but it has gone to my head a little," Richard joked, sinking into the backrest.

He had returned to London almost two weeks ago for work, and although it bothered him to leave Mia all alone in the midst of a breakup, he knew that she'd have a distraction anyway: all of the many errands needed to be done before her big move.

"What is with the cleaning?" Kit asked. He adjusted his glasses as they slid down the bridge of his nose. "Your mum visiting?

"Mia's staying with me for a bit."

Kit's eyes widened, and he smirked as he nodded knowingly, bringing the bottle up to his lips. He swallowed a big gulp before saying, "Very interesting. What brings her here?"

"Well," Richard began, propping up his legs onto the edge of the coffee table. "She's moving back here, actually. She got a new job."

"And she just happened to ask you for housing?"

"I offered."

"Right. Of course you did." Kit placed his beer down on the end table. His attention returned to the neatness in front of him, and a picture frame next to the television set practically screamed his name. He leaned forward, his suspicions raised and confirmed. "That wasn't there before."

"Which?" Richard asked. His head was down, his eyes glued to his cellphone screen as he scrolled through his email.

"That photo over there. You don't usually put up things like that."

Richard quickly glanced at the image of him and Mia. It was the day she had graduated from university, her robe shimmering under the sunlight. "I came across it, thought it looked nice."

Kit raised an eyebrow as he stared at him, noticing how plain and simple it was for the Scotsman to formulate a coverup. He knew that Richard had probably done it to impress Mia, or to at least make her take a second look when she arrived. Either way, he chuckled in disbelief, letting his thoughts speak for themselves. "You're completely mental over this girl, aren't you?"


He rolled his eyes. "Completely mental. Oh, tell her that she doesn't need a hat on Saturday. Apparently a lot of people have been asking. There isn't a dress code, really."

Richard looked up from his phone and furrowed his eyebrows. He stared at the ceiling for answers to his confusion, but then it hit him like a truck. "What's on Sat—oh. Oh, shit," he practically whispered.

"That 'shit' doesn't sound like good shit. What'd you do this time?"

He balled his hand into a fist and brought it up to his mouth, biting down on the middle knuckle to suppress his guilt. "I forgot to ask her," Richard mumbled.

Kit glared at him intently. Shaking his head, he responded, "It would bring me great pleasure to punch you in the face right now. You were literally with her for more than a week."

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