His voice is something like the opposite of scotch--warm and inviting, with a startling undertone that catches me sideways in suprise. Slow southern accent, just a trace, he stretches his vowels out, pausing in indecision. Laughing in secretive thought. Behold my intake of breath.

He calls me mouse. This amuses me for many reasons, but it's an affectionate diminiutive that fits. I proceed with caution and bite when I'm frightened. And when he squeezes me, I squeak.

The woman who holds my heart now stands a foot taller than me. Black ink on her arms, her words are incredible. Nothing she does moves so gracefully as that low-spoken hum, the self-assured sweep of long dark hair. She belongs to someone else, of course. He comforts me.

It's all temporary.