A Little Life
(c) 2007 by Teric. All rights reserved. Sabrina, Amy, Timothy Woolfe-Swuirrel, Warren and Endora Mustilidae (c) Eric Schwartz. Chris and Alan Foxx, Dexter and Angel Collie, Cindy and Clarence Skunk, Debbye (Squirrel) Evans, and Susan Felin
(c) Chris Yost. Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Lee Evans created by Evan (Cateagle) Mayerle. Zig Zag created by Max Blackrabbit. James Sheppard created by James Bruner. Based on Sabrina Online: The Story by Chris Yost and Tabitha: The Story written by Chris Yost and James
Bruner, and conceived by Mark White.
Author's Note: This is a work of fiction based on “Sabrina Online: The Story” by Chris Yost and “Tabitha” by Chris Yost and James Bruner, and should not in any way be considered cannon for those stories. This story takes place in the original, unaltered timeline that led up to the events portrayed in “Tabitha” by Chris Yost and James Bruner, up through chapter 7.
A sudden burst of loud rock and roll music filled the room. Under the bed covers, a sleeping form twitched in irritation. A brown-furred paw emerged from the blankets and made several clumsy attempts to locate the clock radio on the headboard. Finally, a clawed finger made contact, and the music was silenced. His paw collapsed beside the clock, and he let out a sleepy moan.
Chris Foxx raised his head from under the covers. His bleary eyes opened and looked at the time, which read 6:30 AM in bright red digits. Closing his eyes tightly, he let his head fall back to the pillow, scolding himself for forgetting to turn off the alarm the previous night.
He had finally come to bed at 11:30 the night before, after spending several long hours at work trying to troubleshoot a faulty switch. Sabrina had left work much earlier, taking the car herself after Dexter had promised to bring her husband home when the problem was fixed. Chris had arrived at the house to find a plate of leftover meatloaf and green beans, wrapped in aluminum foil, with a note attached.
Welcome home, sweetie. Sorry I couldn’t
stay up—I got tired around 10:30. Go ahead
and heat this up if you’re hungry.
She had drawn her usual little flower above the ‘i’ in her name. With a wistful smile, Chris had come into the bedroom to find his wife sleeping peacefully. He had made no sound as he dressed for bed and slipped under the covers next to her.
Stretching his sore arms, he blinked his eyes as the Saturday-morning sun began to peek over the horizon. He drew a deep breath through his nose, and brought up his right paw to rub the sleep from his eyelids. With his left paw, he reached behind to see if Sabrina had been awakened by the alarm. When his paw found only empty blankets, he turned to look at the spot where she had been sleeping. Odd, he thought. It’s not like her to be up this early on a Saturday.
“Kitten?” He called her softly.
Chris fumbled for his glasses on the nightstand. He placed them across the bridge of his muzzle, and the room came into sudden focus. Sitting up in bed, he looked around the room, noting that the door to the bathroom was closed. His jaws opened in a loud yawn, and he allowed himself another long stretch before he got to his feet.
With light footsteps, he padded over to the bathroom door. A mischievous grin began to play at the corners of his lips as he quietly closed his paw around the doorknob. In a
swift motion, he turned the knob, hoping to take Sabrina by surprise. However, to his dismay, the knob didn’t budge; she had locked the door. Chris heard a small gasp from within.
“Morning, honey,” she called to him after a moment. “I’ll be out in a bit. You wanna get breakfast started?”
“Sure, Kitten,” he answered, disappointed. Why lock the door? he thought with a sigh. The fox turned away from the bathroom and headed into the kitchen.
Opening the pantry door, Chris drew out a canister of instant coffee. After a moment of thought, he replaced the instant canister and grabbed a bag of ground coffee. Soon, the coffee maker was bubbling, and the smell of fresh brew began to permeate the house.
Satisfied, he turned to the refrigerator to retrieve some eggs. He had no sooner placed the carton on the counter when a sudden realization hit him. Of course! he thought. It must be time for her monthly cycle.
Chris knew that Sabrina’s condition caused her no small discomfort during this time of the month. At times in the past, her endometriosis had kept her home from work as she struggled with abdominal pain. She had been embarrassed to tell him about it at first, but he had finally learned the truth nearly a year ago, three months before their wedding. Hunched over in the easy chair in the living room, in tears, she had told him how much pain she had to bear on a monthly basis.
His heart went out to her. In his mind’s eye, Chris saw his wife sitting on the bathroom floor, her knees drawn up to her chest, rocking back and forth, bravely suffering through her torment.
But why lock the door?
At that moment, he heard a loud squeal through the bedroom doorway. Breakfast was immediately forgotten, and he rushed to the bathroom. He wanted to hold her, to rub her shoulders, dry her tears; anything to help soothe her pain. Chris leaped through the doorway to the bedroom, and skidded to a halt in front of the now-open bathroom door.
Sabrina stood in the doorway in her long nightshirt, her eyes wide, looking intently at her husband. Her muzzle wore a playful smirk, and she held her arms out toward him. Chris was confused; he saw no trace of pain in her face. Her eyes motioned down toward her paws. Following her gaze, he looked down at the small plastic object she held out to him.
Resting in her white-furred paw, Sabrina carried what looked like a digital thermometer, except where the digital readout should have been, there where two white circles. Upon closer inspection, he saw that one circle bore a minus sign, while the other held a plus sign. His eyebrows shot up in realization, and he once again brought up his gaze to his wife’s face.
“Is that what I think it is?” He stammered. She nodded as her smirk widened into a grin.
“I’m pregnant!” She gasped. Immediately, her paw clapped over her mouth, and her eyes widened in disbelief. “Oh my… I said it!”
“Sabrina!” Chris cried out, his worry immediately washed away. He threw his arms around his wife, and lifted her off the ground in a great bear-hug. He spun her around joyfully as she giggled into his shoulder, her tail becoming a black-and-white streak through the air as it trailed behind her. On the way around, her feet caught in the unmade bed covers, and they both tumbled onto the bed in a laughing heap. After a few moments, the fox untangled himself from his wife, and helped her to sit up on the edge of the bed.
“Here I thought you were in pain from your time-of-the-month,” Chris admitted with a grin. Sabrina giggled once again, and regarded her husband with mischievous eyes.
“That was supposed to happen more than a week ago, oh clueless one.” She teased her husband, poking a finger on his nose to punctuate her words. He felt himself blush in embarrassment as he pulled his tail out from under him.
“But…” Chris began, his voice taking on a more serious tone, “I don’t understand. I thought your Endometriosis made it… um… impossible?”
“Not impossible,” she replied, catching her breath, “just highly unlikely. Plus, there’s a good chance I could…”
Her smile melted away, and she left her thought unspoken. Her muzzle slowly lowered to her chest, and she closed her eyes with a soft sigh. Chris’s eyebrows came together in concern, and he understood immediately what she meant.
“Oh, Kitten…” Chris cooed, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. He pulled her closer, and she laid her head upon his shoulder. He rested his muzzle on her soft, white hair, as his emotions played within him.
Was he really ready to have a baby? While his mind raced, his heart began to warm at the prospect. Here, his own wife, with the stirrings of new life within her! However, he knew that his wife’s condition made for very risky pregnancies; the chance of miscarriage was very high. On the other paw, they had already beaten the odds and achieved a successful pregnancy. Was it too much to hope that they could beat the odds once again?
“Chris, we shouldn’t get our hopes up,” came her sullen voice from his shoulder. “I don’t want to get ready for a baby, and then have our plans dashed if I…” She couldn’t bring herself to say the word. Her paw slowly moved to rest upon her belly. “But I’m… we’re… it’s really happening.”
Chris placed his paw over his wife’s, interlocking his fingers with hers. He thought for a moment, fumbling with how to ask her. At length, he decided to ask her straight out.
“Kitten, are you ready for a baby? Do you want to have a baby?”
Sabrina lifted her head from his shoulder and looked into his face. He could see her eyes glistening behind her glasses. He knew her answer before she spoke.
“Yes…” she said softly, nodding her head. “Yes, I think I’m ready. And yes, I do want to have a child.” She cocked her head at him, her face suddenly becoming worried. “Do you?”
The fox closed his eyes, and lowered his head until his forehead met hers.
“You know…” he said, nuzzling her cheek. He hesitated for a moment before he continued. “I didn’t think I was ready. But now that it’s happening, it doesn’t scare me like I thought it would.” He chuckled softly. “When I think about it, my heart wants to love, to protect… you know, all that father-stuff nonsense.” Sabrina sniffled as she laughed, and her muzzle parted in a wide smile.
“There’s a new little life in there,” he said, pressing his paw on her belly. “And I want to do whatever it takes to make sure it gets a chance.”
“Oh, Chris…” she stammered, and brought her arms up around his neck. She pulled him into a tight embrace. “I’m so worried!”
“Whatever happens,” he whispered, stroking the back of her head, “I love you, Kitten. And I’m going to help however I can.” He felt his wife’s shoulders come up and down as she heaved a great sigh into his chest. For several minutes, the couple held each other, both lost in a battle of hope and worry. Finally, Sabrina pulled away, and regarded her husband once more.
“Do you think we should tell someone?” She asked, pulling the sleeve of her nightshirt to wipe her eyes.
“Endora would skin me alive if I didn’t let you call her,” he joked. Sabrina chuckled.
“Yeah, she would. Okay, so we’ll call my parents. But I don’t want to tell everyone else just yet; I don’t want to get everybody excited if this doesn’t, um, work out.”
“Right,” Chris sighed, nodding. This was going to be the start of something big in their lives, he knew. For better or for worse, it was going to be big.
He stood, turned, and offered his paw to help his wife off of the bed. He watched as Sabrina moved to the closet to retrieve her clothes for the day. With a sigh and a smile, Chris returned to making breakfast.
Sabrina had to hold the telephone receiver away from her ear as her mother’s voice raised in pitch and volume. She rolled her eyes and let her forehead fall to her open paw.
“Mom, I didn’t want the whole neighborhood to find out,” she replied, as she began to re-think the wisdom of their decision to inform her parents about the pregnancy.
“But Sabrina dear, this is exciting!” She heard her mother’s response. “Don’t you want your father to know?”
“Of course I do, Mom, but you don’t… ah, never mind.” Sabrina shook her head ruefully, and looked over to Chris for support. From across the kitchen table, her husband shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
“You’re no help!” She whispered to him, holding her paw over the receiver. With a grin, the fox reached across the table and took her paw in his, holding it tenderly. Stealing a glance at the phone in her other paw, he whispered his response.
“I don’t think I could handle your mother any better than you could, Kitten.”
Rolling her eyes again, Sabrina nodded, admitting that her husband was probably right. She removed her paw from the receiver.
“Yes, I do want Dad to know about it, but Chris and I wanted to be really careful—oh, hi Dad.” Sabrina heard a click as her father picked up the phone. “Did Mom tell you?”
“No,” came Sarge’s gruff voice, “but I’ve got a pretty good guess if it’s got your mother all riled up like this. Are we going to be grandparents?”
Sabrina sighed and did not answer immediately. She weighed the possible responses in her mind. Chris squeezed her paw reassuringly.
“I hope so, Dad.” She waited for what her parents had to say.
“What’s the matter, dear?” She heard her mother. “Aren’t you happy to be pregnant? I remember how excited I was when -- ”
“Endora,” Sarge cut her off. “She’s worried she may not be able to carry the baby full-term.”
“Oh,” was all Sabrina heard her mother say. She was grateful that her father had understood. Her eyes closed, and her heart once again began to weigh down with worry. There was a long pause.
“Mom,” she began again. “Chris and I are very happy to be pregnant. We both want this baby to come, but we know that my… condition is going to make things really tough. We’re going to do everything we can to be safe about it, but there’s just no telling what will happen. We felt that you two should know about it, though.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you, dear.” Her mother’s voice had subdued significantly.
“Please, we don’t want to make this public yet. We want to wait a while before we let our friends know, in case anything goes wrong.”
“Of course,” Sarge replied. “We’ll keep a lid on it. I’m glad you told us, though. Oh, and Sabrina,” his voice softened a little, “it’s okay to let yourself be happy about this. If things work out, you two will have a new kit pretty soon.”
She felt her eyes widen at his words. Was this her father, giving her permission to be excited about something? After the gruff, sometimes harsh admonitions Sarge had given her over the years, was he actually showing a bit of tenderness? Sabrina felt a smile begin to tug at the corners of her lips.
“Thanks Dad, Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too, dear.”
Sabrina lowered the receiver to its cradle. Her paw lingered on the telephone as she sat back in her chair. Though the worry still remained in her heart, a distinct bubble of hope was beginning to grow within her.
“What did they say?” Her husband asked, his eyes searching her face. She let her smile widen and she looked at him fondly.
“Would you believe my Dad said it was okay to be excited about being pregnant?” Chris’s eyes went wide in disbelief.
“This is Sarge we’re talking about?”
“Yeah, go figure!”
The fox shook his head and chuckled to himself.
She stared at nothing for a moment, collecting her thoughts, as her smile turned into a goofy smirk. She caught herself imagining the tiny life inside her. Would it be a fox? A Skunk? Boy or Girl? Would it even be … ? She forced the last thought down as she felt a pang of doubt.
Chris, sensing her feelings, came around the table to stand behind her chair. He put his paws on her shoulders, and began to work the stress from her muscles. With a happy sigh, she rolled her head forward, and allowed her husband’s paws to soothe her.
“Mmmmmm, that’s nice,” she purred. For long moments, she enjoyed his paws as they slowly drained the tension from her. Subconsciously, her left paw once again moved to rest upon her belly.
Her thoughts flew to her friends; she was certain they would want to know about her being pregnant. She imagined how Debbye would giggle uncontrollably, while Amy would most likely pelt her with advice on how to deal with the trials that come with pregnancy. Cindy would probably ask question after question, while Susan would want to pick out baby clothes. And of course, Dexter and Angel! They would surely want to know. What about Zig Zag and James? Her mind began to swim with anticipation.
“Chris?” Her voice hinted at her excitement, as her husband worked his way down to the small of her back. “How long do you think we should wait to tell everybody?” She raised her head and pressed her hair into his chest, looking up into his eyes.
Chris tried to hold back a laugh, and he brought up his paws to her shoulders once more. He pulled his wife toward him, and she turned to lean her cheek into his chest fur.
“Let’s get you to the doctor, Kitten, and set up some regular appointments.” He tousled her hair playfully. “If things go well enough for the first month or so, then I think we can start sending out announcements.”
She closed her eyes and nodded, though she didn’t know if she would be able to keep a secret from her best friends for that long. Her husband held her close to his chest, and she heard his strong heartbeat. Letting out a contented sigh, she softly patted her abdomen.
Please stay, little one, she thought.