AN: Before you begin, READ THIS! READ IT OR BE RESIGNED TO CONFUSION FOR THE REST OF THIS CHAPTER. I've made major-ish changes to the first chapter, so if you've read this story before 7/17/07, I strongly suggest you go back and reread it (it being the first chapter). Changes that will most likely screw you up in this chapter understanding wise unless you read them. So… yeah.

On with the story.

Mum's the Word
Chapter Two: Peanuts

Chapter Two gets two quotes. Enjoy.

"If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now." ---Marcus Aurelius

"Dogs have so many tales because they wag their tails, not their tongues." -?



I hate Mondays.

I was starting to seriously regret voluntarily following Big Mouth Librarian lady. What was I thinking? I should have put up a struggle; kicked, screamed, thrashed about, something. I was this close to banging my head on the table. Severe head trauma would be preferable to the torture I was currently experiencing. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I wouldn't even wish it on my parents.

Yes, it was that bad.

Seriously, I could hear Jameson giddily dancing around in the recesses of my mind informing me in a maddening sing-songy voice that "Karma's a bitch, karma's a bitch!"

After I was led into the Librarian's office, otherwise known as the Pit of Despair, she sat me down in an attempt at comfort. She bustled around the room at first, fluttering to and fro like a deranged butterfly. She extracted two chocolate candy bars- comfort food- from a desk, generously placing one in front of me and practically devouring the other all in one bite. The entire time she didn't stop nattering. Not once. I half expected her to talk with her mouth full and have chocolate dribble down her chin.

I looked down at my bar. It had peanuts. Great. I'm allergic to peanuts.

Sure, it started out innocent enough. She asked if I was okay and by that time I stopped producing tears. I figured I could sit, nurse the tea for a bit and then leave.

Boy was I wrong.

Carrot-top latched onto the subject of men like a pit bull on those really idiotic looking protective suits they make the contestants on stupid reality shows like Fear Factor wear. "Nasty, horrible creatures the lot of them. So insensitive... can't do anything right." The topic then advanced to the middle-aged woman's own love life, or rather the lack thereof.

Thirty excruciatingly long minutes later tears were ready to come out of my eyes again. It. Was. That. Painful. The woman was slumped over at her desk littered with countless raunchy romance novels with a Fabio lookalike on the cover (huh, so she was literate after all) and many, many more chocolate candy bar wrappers, bemoaning her love life. In between all the sniffling I heard her cry, and I kid you not, "Why doesn't anybody love me anymore?!" and, worse yet, "I haven't gotten any in months!"

I believe that last one deserves a collective: "Eewwww!"

I don't think she'd be too happy to hear it, but I could think of more than a few reasons why. Foremost of which would be her incessant blathering. Second of which, the fact that she just said "I haven't gotten any in months!" God, did the pathetic woman ever stop?

The comforting smile that had been plastered on my face since she'd begun her bawling was starting to hurt. My cheeks couldn't withstand it much longer. If she got much worse I was thinking about making a break for it. Just running all the way home and hiding under my bed because this woman was seriously starting to scare me. So I patted her on the back hesitantly. As long as I was the one initiating the contact I was fine, but I swear to all that is Holy, if she touched me…. Well, there would be a smack down the likes of which this Podunk town has never seen.

Big Mouth was confiding all of her secrets in me, and when I say all, I mean all. Nobody wants to know about how a forty-five year old librarian got stood-up at her junior high "Spring Fever" dance. According to her, that's where her downward spiral with men got started.

Apparently because I didn't talk she viewed me as a dog. She unloaded her problems and worries on me like I cared. She got comfort, I got a headache.

Man's best friend is his best friend for a reason, and that's because he, or in my case she, won't talk back.

It was positively insulting.

Five minutes later, just when I was about to snap, she pulled herself together. She didn't even have the grace to be embarrassed about her loss of control around a practical stranger. After she wiped her eyes and straightened her clothes she drew me into a bone-crushing bear hug, gave me another chocolate bar (with peanuts), and ruffled my hair whispering, "It'll be alright Audrey dear. I'm always here for you, drop by any time you need to," before literally pushing me out the door(I later found out that that's what time her Soaps came on). Apparently that was her way of saying thanks. She might as well have handed me a chew-toy or a doggy biscuit or some other canine accessory.

I bolted for the exit. The library had turned into one of the places I now had to avoid at all costs, which was sad because I really do like to read. I'd just have to wait until this weekend when Big Mouth was off and two college students took over her post. Though they gave off this nauseating smug, superior air like they knew all of the world's secrets when they looked at me, a lowly high school student, it was eons better than a blubbering gossip who kept trying to kill me through an allergic reaction. Eons.

I checked my watch and noticed I had about two hours of time to kill. I debated about heading over to the park. There were a group of guys that practically took up permanent residence at Henry Burns Park playing Ultimate Frisbee like it was their job who always let me join in the game, but I decided against it.

I started walking without any real direction, absently pulling my hair up into a ponytail. It was incredibly hot out. Humid and nasty. I wiped the sweat off the back of my neck with a grimace and it was at that time that luckily, my wandering feet had placed me in front of Noah's Ark, the local pet store. Perfect.

I entered the store, hearing the familiar ding of the bell above the door that let Mrs. Wilkes know a new customer had entered her domain. I absolutely adored Mrs. Wilkes. She was about sixty years young with graying hair, wild tortoise shell glasses, and a perpetual smile on her face. She wasn't one of those creepy happy people who got on people's nerves though, or at least not mine. Mrs. Wilkes could best be described as eccentric, and I loved her for it. She was the one who sold me Shenanigans when I was fourteen and was also one of the only ones in town who didn't think anything of my vow o' silence. Yeah, she was good in my book.

For a moment I basked in the sinful pleasure of air conditioning before I headed for the doggy pen and jumped right in to tousle and play with the new pups. When I was younger I entertained the idea of becoming a vet, but decided against it. I wanted to play with animals, not deal with dangerously ill ones. It would be too depressing and I didn't think my poor little heart would be able to stand the pain. If you haven't discovered before now, I'm a terribly sensitive person.

I flipped a baby Border Collie on her back and watched her squirm like crazy before wiggling away from my grasp and nipping me playfully on my hand. Was there anything better?

"What are you doing? You're not supposed to be in there! Get out!"

It took me a moment to register the voice. Or rather, the accent. I picked up the baby Border Collie I'd dubbed Muppet and cradled her against my chest before turning to peer at the body the offending voice belonged to.

Dear God, was this an invasion? I might just have to write an e-mail to Homeland Security for Christ sake. Before my eyes was a considerably taller, but definitely Italian male who was demanding I step away from the animals. Jesus save me. What did I do to deserve this?

I paused to consider. Well yes, there was that. And that. And the other thing two weeks ago with the- never mind.

Oh. Right. Today was Monday, that damnable day. Mrs. Wilkes had Mondays off. Apparently Freddie, her considerably good-looking grandson wasn't working here anymore, or at least right now, and she'd hired some ignorant Italian fiend to take care of the shop in her stead. I mentally shook my head. I thought she was smarter than that.

Screw air conditioning, I was not about to have a repeat of the library incident.

I got off my knees and approached the crazed Italian who was spouting off nonsense, which I was decidedly ignoring, with a 'Hello My Name Is' sticker on. It said Hello My Name Is: Emiliano Rossi.


Paolo had a taller brother named Emily. Oh, the issues that family must have...

Without further ado, I deposited Muppet in Emily's outstretched hands, took in his dumbstruck expression with not nearly enough satisfaction as I should have, and walked out the door with a frown marring my features. If Mrs. Wilkes was here she'd let me take Muppet and crew to the park to play. But no. She wasn't here. Because it was Monday.

Could today get any worse?

I had a case of The Mondays. And it sucked.

AN once again: Well, there it is. Mum's the Word. Revamped, revised, and hopefully a heck of a lot better. Sorry if it's a little short, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I changed a few things around so it'd conform with my new plot. Yes, I do have a plot thank you very much. And I'm pretty darn proud of it. Actually, not it so much. I'm more proud of the fact that I've taken the time to map out a storyline and produce a plot no matter how (hopefully un-) crappy it is. Sorry for the extremely long wait (since last November::gulp::), maybe next time it won't take months and months for an update. Maybe. ::grins::

Oh, and to give credit where credit's due, 'a case of The Mondays' is from Office Space, an extremely hilarious movie. If you've ever had a job that you've absolutely hated, it's pretty much mandatory that you watch it. So go buy, rent, whatever and sit back and enjoy because it rocks. It rocks hard. And I'm a loser. I'm just going to go. Please review or whatever it is that you readers do. .

Oh. And before I forget and someone gets pissed off, I mean no offense to anyone who's an immigrant to the US of A. Audrey's just being a bitch. You'll have to excuse her. She doesn't mean half the things she says. Take this as a warning for now and future chapters. Cause stuff like this'll happen a lot and I don't think I'm going to repeat over and over and over again.

Til next time, you stay classy San Diego.