a story by
(c) 1998 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, and Tammy Vixen (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Amy Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Dexter Collie, and Wendy Vixxen (c) Chris Yost. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners. Story based on characters and situations created by Eric W. Schwartz.
Windows95 (TM) Microsoft Corp. Amiga (TM) Gateway Computers.
"You're here to flirt, aren't you?"
Sabrina looked across the table at Susan from over the top of two massive hot fudge sundaes that sat in front of them. Susan swallowed the bite of whipped cream. "Why would you think that?" she asked with a smile.
"Because you seldom want to go to the ice cream parlour unless you're flirting or breaking up." Sabrina ducked her head over the table just in time to let the drip of syrup go from her spoon back into the dish.
"Me? Break up? I never let a relationship go long enough for breaking up to be an option." Susan laughed and scooped her cherry and two nuts from the top. "Good advice.
" ... which reminds me," she continued, eating and licking the back of her spoon, "you're not flirting with Chris right. You're not supposed to be involved this long. It's way beyond flirting."
Sabrina dug into the side of an ice cream ball. "Jealous, Susan?" she said with a smug grin.
"You know you're having the best luck in The Clique so far. When do we hear wedding bells?"
"Ha!" Sabrina laughed. "I'm sure Chris hasn't even thought of marriage." She ate at her sundae thoughtfully, one hand supporting her head. "Still, Foxx would be a lot easier for other people to spell, huh?"
Susan almost swallowed her bite whole. "See!" she said in mid-swallow. "I knew you were thinking about it!"
"I was n -- !" Sabrina sat up. She raised her eyes, then looked at Susan. "Well, not seriously anyway."
"Mmf!" With a mouthful of ice cream, Susan nudged Sabrina's paw and nodded to the left. "gat gu g're!" She pushed the spoon into her mouth and pulled the intact portion back out. "That guy at the soda fountain," she whispered. "He's checking you out!"
Sabrina leaned in. "Where?" she whispered back.
Susan nodded as nonchalantly in his direction as she could. "Over there!" She raised her head and looked at the male skunk. She shook back her light brown hair, winked and smiled at him. Sabrina saw him in the corner of her eye and whispered to Susan "Flirt!"
Susan spoke through her closed smile. "Try it, you'll like it" and resumed flirting.
The skunk at the marble counter nodded and smiled back to Susan, then turned his head back a few degrees toward Sabrina.
"He likes you!"
Sabrina took a glance. Don't make eye contact! He'll come over, don't make eye contact! She gave him a quick smile and turned back to her sundae and Susan. "He's cute, but I'm faithful to Chris!" she whispered back.
"You can be faithful and be friendly." Susan turned back just as he was paying for his ice cream cone and turning to the door.
Sabrina felt the breeze as Susan leapt from her chair and beat him to the door.
"Hi," Susan said, seriously looking the guy over, twitching her tail suggestively. "You're leaving so soon?"
"Hi!" The skunk stopped, startled. He began stammering. "Yeah, I, uhm, I'm just on my lunch break ... "
Sabrina couldn't hear them, but she watched and shook her head with a grin. "Geez, Susan, have mercy on the guy," she said aloud to herself, still grinning. She ate at her sundae and watched.
" ... but it was hard not to notice how you were checking out my friend," Susan was saying, leaning against the doorframe, her hands behind her, using them to bounce herself against it as she talked.
He's so shy, Susan thought. Awfully cute, though.
The skunk -- Aaron -- was staring at Susan, risking serious fur damage from melting ice cream. "Yeah, she's awfully pretty. You both are."
"Thanks." Susan bounced herself a little faster. "You know, you're kinda cute yourself."
Aaron smiled sheepishly. "I think it'd be fun if the three of us could get together," he said. "Do you two get together often?"
"Sometimes. We're both students, and we've been friends forever."
Bounce -- Bounce -- Bounce --
"Do you ever bring in a third?"
Susan tilted her head. "A third? What do you mean?"
"Well," Aaron explained, "I know I've seen her coming out of that Double Z Studio near where I work a couple times. I thought since maybe you two co-starred, and obviously you two need to rehearse, that I was thinking if I brought the wine, you two could get dressed up in someth --
The SLAP! turned every head in the parlour! Sabrina had been distracted long enough to miss it and see Susan storming back over to their table. Looking over Susan's left shoulder she watched Aaron hold the cone against his cheek as he left the building.
"Jeez, Susan!" Sabrina watched Susan stab her sundae and take a mouthful. "What in the world happened!"
"Nothing happened." She chewed and swallowed, then looked over to make sure he'd gone. "Creep."
Chris and Sabrina had a wonderful view as they ate. Sabrina had heard the term "late supper" only once, and never really had one until now, short of pizza at 11:30 at night watching TV with Amy.
Chris couldn't keep his eyes off of her. They were both barely dressed, sitting by the open sliding glass balcony door, themselves and their supper lit by flickering candles.
Sabrina looked outside. The lights just came on, bathing Niagara Falls in a sea of color. "Ooo, look!" She jumped from the tiny table, her tail brushing over the neck of the complimentary champagne bottle in the floor-standing ice bucket, and held the curtain over herself as she stood next to Chris and looked outside. "Can you imagine what they must look like up close? Can we go after we eat?"
Chris looked over Sabrina. From this angle, he had an exquisite view, and better than any waterfall from any overlooking honeymoon suite. "Anything you want, Kitten." He tugged her tail. She let go of the curtain with a "Yeow!" and fell onto Chris' lap. Sitting up she put her arms around his neck.
"Before or after dessert?" he asked her, grinning.
Sabrina put a paw on Chris' head and mussed his hair. "You don't get enough!" she laughed.
Chris pulled her tight against him. "Now if I did, would we be here now?"
Their smiles spoke volumes, and slowly faded as they parted their jowls and slid their tongues over each others'. As Sabrina began to slide from his lap Chris hugged her much tighter and listened to her tiny whimper as they kissed and sucked at each other just a tad harder ....
"Hey girl, your ice cream's melting!"
Sabrina blinked and realized she was still in downtown Columbus. "Sometimes I just hate you," she said, scraping at the outside of her sundae dish.
Casual Friday. Chris knelt next to the bottom shelf of the rack in the room that housed the networking equipment, connecting the cables to the new hard drive that replaced the one that had crashed. He was wedged between two racks, with very little room to maneuver. He worked the cover back onto the PC, then worked himself around to lay on his side and groped blindly for his screwdriver.
He stretched his legs out past the rack and sighed. Holding a screw against the tip of the driver he worked each screw in turn into the cover. He handed his left paw the driver and set it behind him on the floor. Then, one by one, he found each cable and working entirely by feel, connected the first cable to its port, tightened it in, then with the fingers not holding the second cable he felt for its mate .....
"Well, hey there, sexy!"
"Ow!" Chris said as he banged his head against the next shelf. He worked himself around and pressed his buttock onto the screwdriver handle.
"Hey there yourself, Wendy," he said, working himself out from his cubbyhole and pulling the screwdriver out from under him. "What brings you down this way?" he asked.
Watching Chris was making Wendy giggle. She set her printouts down and rubbed her hand over the bump on Chris' head. "I'm sorry," she said, worried but still giggly from seeing her former love slither out. "Are you alright?"
"Oh, heck yes," he answered her, rubbing his head and shifting his eyes quickly from her legs to her eyes.
"I was on my way back from the printer room and recognized your legs, so I thought I'd take a chance. The butt told me it was you."
Wendy squatted down. Chris smiled awkwardly. Why are you doing this to me?
"I see you survived dinner," she said.
"I sure did," Chris said, tapping the screwdriver on his knee. "Man Windy, you turned into one heck of a cook."
"Mom taught me everything I know. Like, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
Wendy's smile was wide, but shrank when she saw Chris' smile shorten and turn askew. "Don't take that the wrong way," she said, thinking quickly. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
Chris tapped Wendy on the knee with the handle. "I know." Not! "I still don't know if I'll be eating anything else this weekend," he kidded, "I'm still feeling it from all you fed me."
"You're feeling it from the last glass of wine you had." Wendy knelt down in front of him. "I should've shut you off before dessert. You never were much of a drinker."
"S'okay, I drove home with the windows open."
Wendy knelt back on her heels. "Was your girlfriend mad at you being with me?" she asked.
Chris shook his head. "Nooooooooooo. I trust Sabrina, she trusts me. It's good."
Wendy's mouth dropped open a mite. "That's pretty good," she exclaimed. "I remember when you didn't trust anybody!"
"I've grown a lot since then." Chris smiled.
Wendy looked at the door, then at Chris. She didn't want to leave just yet. "You two have big plans for the weekend?" she asked.
Chris shook his head. "Nah. Tonight we're invited to Dexter and Angel's for dinner, Saturday I'm going to show her her first hockey game ever."
"You have changed! You used to hate sports."
"Well," Chris explained, "I really just watch it for the symbolic violence. Kind of like subscribing to The Playfur Channel for the articles."
Wendy giggled, and leaned herself uncomfortably closer to Chris. "Well," she said, her voice very quiet, and very soft, "you know I still want to meet her. And if you two find yourselves getting bored, you have my number."
And she kissed Chris full on the mouth before he could say a word. Just a quick kiss.
"Uhm ..... "
Then a much longer one.
Chris returned it instinctively, and still uncomfortably, lucid enough to keep his mouth closed and still cramped enough to not be able to evade her.
Then Wendy broke the kiss, gathered up her papers, smiled warmly at Chris, stood up, and left.
Chris finally caught his breath. He watched her leave and looked straight up. "I'm being tested, aren't I?"
It was when he began to scoot himself back on his side that he saw what he saw. Looking at it he spoke sharply. "Down boy. Down!"
It didn't listen. They never do.
Chris lay down and fumbled behind the PC for the rest of the cables, not hearing Dexter walk in and stand at his feet.
"You kinda pitched your tent in the valley, didn't you?" he laughed.
"Ow!" Chris pulled himself out and away from the shelf and rubbed his head again. "Don't you have something to do?" he asked.
"This close to lunchtime? Of course not." He watched Chris lay back down. "I'm taking the afternoon off, taking Angel to the doctor's."
Chris looked up. "The doctor's?! Is she okay?"
Dexter put a paw up. "Oh yeah, she's fine. Just a checkup. I'll take her home and she'll be ready for you and Sabrina just as planned." He tapped Chris' foot with his. "Don't worry."
"If she's not up to this Dex, we're not comin'!
"You'd never do that to Angel and you know it. And she'd never forgive you for not letting her meet Sabrina."
"Chris Foxx, please come to the lobby. Chris Foxx, to the lobby, please."
Chris extended his arm and Dexter helped him to his feet. "What in the world can that be about?" he asked.
Dexter shrugged. "Expecting anybody?" he asked, walking Chris out the door.
"Not this early," he said. "Later, yes."
"I know," Dexter said, "you're still bouncing off the walls."
That's when Chris noticed he was bouncing, with each step he took. He swung his tail and batted Dexter in the side with it. "I'm excited."
"Yeah," Dexter snickered, "I noticed."
Chris' mouth bounced open three or four times while it decided how to answer. Finally he smiled and said "You know, every time Wendy comes by, I realize I love Sabrina that much more. You were right last Monday, I was an idiot."
"Nah, you weren't an idiot." Dexter put his hands in his jacket pockets and they rounded a bend. "You were just behaving like one." Chris looked at him. "Same thing I tell my kids: 'you're not bad, you just did a bad thing'."
"Yeah, well just wait 'till your kids fall in love." They came up to the glass door to the lobby and Dexter waved and walked past.
Chris tore open the glass lobby door and sprinted to the broad-smiling skunkette in the open blue jacket with the sleeves pushed halfway up her arms standing in front of the couch.
Dexter stuck his head through the open door just in time to see fox and skunk in a passionate embrace he hadn't seen since he opened one eye and watched himself and Angel in the mirror before he'd proposed to her. He couldn't help wagging his tail and smiling.
Chris took his mouth away. "Sabrina! I had no idea you were going to be here so early!"
"I couldn't wait," she told him. "I got up early so I could take you out to lunch for a change."
"Never let it be said that I turned down food." He guided her over to the door from the lobby into the company. "Sabrina, I want you to meet Dexter; probably my best friend in the world. Dexter, Sabrina."
"Like you needed to introduce her." Dexter took Sabrina's hand warmly. "I feel like I've known you as long as Chris has," he said. "It's good to finally meet you."
"It's good to meet you too," Sabrina said. "Chris has told me a lot about you."
"In that case," Dexter said, "tonight I'll get to tell you my side." He made a fist and tapped Chris on the arm. "I'll see you two tonight around seven."
Sabrina waved as Dexter left. "He's a nice guy," she said.
Chris took the fob off of his belt and held it in front of the electronic lock. It beeped and a click said the door was now unlocked. "C'mon," he told her, "I'll show you where Daddy works."
He held the door and gave Sabrina a mini-tour past the lunchrooms to MIS and unlocked that door. "Now remember," he said to her, "Everything you see here is confidential, so don't tell anybody or the men in the black helicopters will come for you."
Sabrina raised her right hand. "Girl Scout's honor."
Chris put his hand of the doorknob and paused long enough for the lock to relock and turned to her. "You were a Girl Scout?" he asked.
Sabrina shrugged and smiled. "Well, no," she explained, "but it sounded good, and I know you were a Boy Scout." And she winked slyly -- they both knew what she meant. He unlocked the door again, pushed it open, and let her lead the way in.
The door clicked closed behind them. Sabrina looked around. She was standing next to a long, squat mainframe, behind her the door and a tinted window that made up the wall that looked out onto the corridor. In front of her, two rows that made up about a half dozen cubicles.
"So, this is where it all happens, huh?" Sabrina asked
Chris nodded. "Yep."
She wrinkled her nose. "It's not much."
Chris turned to her, catching her in a grin. He guided her into the department, down the narrow walk between the fake cloth-covered walls to his cubicle. "My little corner of the world," he said proudly.
Sabrina looked at the bottom on the corner of one of the walls. "You know you have a big clean spot right in the middle?" she asked, pointing.
"Uh, yeah." Chris coughed. "Coffee stain. It's a long story."
Sabrina peeked in, then peered in. She took a step inside. The first thing she saw was her picture, the one taken by The Clique last winter, behind all the tiny icons on Chris' monitor. On the wall were tacked several pictures of her she'd either had taken, or Chris had taken of her. Next to them were two pink sheets of stationery which was the last letter Sabrina had sent to him. On the opposite wall ...
"The self-portrait I drew for you??"
Chris nodded. "When I'm not with you," he explained, "I spend most of my time here. This way I get to see you more often ... and I get to show you off to anyone who walks by." Including certain bookkeeping vixens who come by from time to time.
Sabrina lowered her voice. "I am so touched," she said, slipping one arm around him, then quickly making sure no one was looking.
"Is that Sabrina?"
Chris and Sabrina looked up. A poodlette was coming down toward them. "I recognize you!" she said, pointing at Sabrina. "Chris, shame on you for not introducing her to everybody."
"I was going to!" he defended himself. "I wanted to show her my home away from home first. Sabrina, meet Stacy. Stacy, Sabrina."
Stacy walked up and hugged Sabrina quickly. Yep, one of those kind of folks. "Hearing Chris talk about you, I always expected to see you walk around the corner one of these days."
Sabrina gave a glance at her boyfriend. "Does he ever get any actual work done?" she said, winking at Chris.
Chris shook his head. "Very little."
"Here, come with me." Stacy took Sabrina's hand and led her away from Chris. She stopped at cube after cube, making sure she met everyone in the Management Information Systems and Information Technology groups. Chris folded his arms and watched, smiling. He leaned in to the edge of his cube, missed completely, and landed on his backside on the floor.