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, Angel 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.
Amy heard the key fiddle in the lock. She set the popcorn bowl on the couch and shifted herself as well as she could.
"I'm ho-ooooome!" Sabrina yelled. She dropped her small soft suitcase and closed the door.
"In here, Sabrina." Amy was able to turn her head at least when Sabrina came into the living room with her bag. She stretched her arms out in front of her to show off her ring. "Did you miss me?"
"Oh, yes," Amy said. "Saturday morning I really missed you!" She looked her over. "You're absolutely glowing! I guess your weekend was good?"
Sabrina grinned uncontrollably. "Terrific!" She bounced on the balls of her feet. "It was the best! The absolute best!" Then, she saw the cane next to Amy and the couch. "What in the world happened??!" She ran over to her friend, who was trying to sit up without the shooting pain up her -- "
"I took a fall," Amy explained. "I'm okay though."
"Kinda my fault." Thomas came out of the kitchen with three soda pops and handed one to each of the ladies. "I never picked up the remote, Amy went for it and landed on her, well, her … "
"Let's just say," Amy explained, "it was something that sounds like Thomas would've injured, not me."
"Ah, okay!" Sabrina said. "You mean your -- "
"Tailbone," Thomas said.
Everyone opened their pop at once.
"So they gave me a walking stick," Amy said, holding it up. "I shouldn't need it very long, they say; a week at the least."
"Why didn't you call me?" Sabrina asked.
Thomas nodded. "I wanted to," he told her, "but Amy wouldn't let me."
"You're darned right I wouldn't!" Amy said. "You couldn't have done anything, and there was no way I was going to spoil your weekend. You looked forward to it all week!"
"But," Sabrina said and pointed at Amy's belly, "how's the baby?"
"Oh, fine." Amy put the stick back and ran her hand lightly over her tummy. "Seems I'm indestructible down there. We even have the sonogram picture."
"He's fine," said Thomas.
Amy shot him a look. "She."
"It," said Sabrina, and took a drink of her soda.
Amy took a drink of hers, too. "So you had a nice weekend? How's Chris and omigod is that what I think it is??????"
Sabrina widened her eyes, smiled, and held out her left hand with her fingers spread.
"Yep!" She started bouncing again.
So did Amy, ignoring the numbing pain going through her bottom and up her spine. "He asked you!"
Sabrina bent at her knees. "Ye-esss!"
Forgetting about her injury, Amy pulled herself to her feet and hugged Sabrina tight! "Fan-tastic! Oh God, Sabrina, this is great! Congratulations!!!"
"Thanks!" They let each other go. "I keep looking at it, and I still don't believe it!"
Amy was consciously fighting to keep her tail still. "And after ... how long have you two been seeing each other?"
Sabrina raised her eyes in thought. "Four months .... two weeks, and two days. But who's counting?"
Amy stopped bouncing. Slowly she started turning her head toward Thomas. "And you and I have been seeing each other since you and Sabrina were at the same college how long ago??"
Thomas let a psychotic giggle escape. "No one knows how far the two Backstories went," he said, and seeing Amy not blinking, cleared his throat quietly and took another drink.
"So," Sabrina said quickly, "what do you think of a double-ring ceremony?"
That caught Amy's attention! "You mean all four of us?" she asked.
"Chris had this really neat daydream he told me about, and in it we both got married. Might be neat to think about."
"Maybe." Thomas took hold of Amy's arm and helped her sit back on the couch. She grimaced as she made contact with the cushions. "So tell me!" she told Sabrina. "How did he propose? Was it romantic and wonderful?"
Sabrina raised one corner of her mouth and sat on the coffee table across from Amy. "Well," she began, "he kinda proposed out of excitement, after the hockey game."
Amy leaned forward. "When?"
"We both kind of got into the spirit of the moment," she explained. "But he sincerely meant it. This morning we went shopping for my ring. I had my arm locked in his when we left the jewelry store."
Chris had tugged his tail tighter as the cleared the heavy glass door again. They'd walked to the door of the mall, Chris holding the silver bag with the ring tucked safely away in the grey velvet ring box -- he'd insisted.
Sabrina had placed her other hand on Chris' arm also, leaning on him as she walked, her mind wandering.
"Happy?" Chris asked.
Sabrina blinked and remembered where she was. They stopped. She turned her big blue eyes into his green.
"Happy." She kissed Chris on the mouth. He held the door for her and they made their way to the car.
As they drove they chatted until Sabrina noticed they'd left the business district and were in a more rural setting still on the main highway.
"I don't recognize this part," she said. "Where are we headed?"
Chris looked at her, slid his right hand down and squeezed her thigh gently. "You'll like it," he said, and gave her leg another squeeze. "Great place to hide a body."
Sabrina looked quickly over at Chris! His wink and grin reminded her just who she was with. "Wiseguy," she said. They both laughed as Chris turned off the main road, down a side road, and into the entrance of a nature reserve.
"I haven't been here since I was a kid," Chris said, finding a spot to park in the gravel car park. It was still early for visitors; they were one of four cars, at least one or two had to belong to whoever worked at the visitor's center. Chris pulled on the brake and ran around the car to open Sabrina's door.
She looked around. Trees everywhere and almost every type of flora and fauna you could think of! They couldn't have asked for a nicer day with its clear blue cloudless sky and mild June temperature. Chris closed and locked the car and took Sabrina's hand. She interlocked her fingers with his and they walked toward the walking trails.
"This place is gorgeous!" Sabrina exclaimed as they passed the center and its scenic overlook.
"Beautiful place to bring a beautiful lady." Chris tugged her arm and they started down a path.
Sabrina squeezed Chris' hand. "I hope you never stop talking like that," she said.
"I wouldn't dream of it," Chris said, squeezing back. It helped get me this far! "Dad was determined I was raised to be a gentleman, respect women, love them, and before I met you I was really out of practice."
Sabrina brushed her cheek against Chris' shoulder. "Tell me something," Sabrina said, "if I never appeared, would you have gone back to Wendy?"
Chris rolled his eyes. "You're not going to trap me, Kitten!" he laughed.
Sabrina laughed too. "I'm curious!" she defended.
"Well, stop it." Chris steered them down a fork. There was a clearing down the way. "She left me, y'know. And since I haven't even thought of another woman since I met you, including her, I can't give you an honest answer." They stopped in the clearing. Chris led her to a bench erected there. "And you never did tell me how your lunch with her went!" he reminded her.
"Oh, uh, didn't I?" Sabrina batted her eyes at him. She watched Chris smile, but he kept his gaze. "It ... was nice. She's a nice woman."
"'Nice'?" Chris knew there was more there.
"Well," Sabrina fished for words as she squeezed Chris' hand, "if it weren't for my circumstances where I work -- " like my lady boss French-kissing me! " -- I probably would've jumped more when she slid her foot over mine, and with that smile of hers ... "
"I toldya she liked your picture," Chris said.
Sabrina got that same creepy feeling she got when Wendy'd brushed the top of her foot over the side of hers the second time. "Uh, she's nice."
"She's changed since I knew her in college." Chris turned himself with one cheek on the bench, the ring box he'd sneaked out of the bag pressing his leg and reminding him it was there. "I don't even know if she's my type anymore, but she seems to have the same taste in women I have."
Sabrina looked at Chris, smiling, then, "Uh, I don't know if that makes me feel any better!"
Chris took her right paw in both of his, locking his eyes onto hers. "I can fix that too," he said. "I know it's only been a little over four months since I met you, but I learned some wonderful things about you. I know you're the only woman I ever think of now, I know I love and care for you deeply … and I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Not so slowly Sabrina watched Chris slide from the bench and lower himself onto his left knee in front of her. Still holding her hand, he laid it over her left on her lap, and took the box out of his pocket, opening it in front of her to again reveal the ring she'd just picked out not thirty minutes ago. "This is closer to what I had in mind," Chris went on. He removed the ring, took Sabrina's left hand, and slid it on her ring finger properly. "Sabrina," he asked, "will you marry me?"
"And you said 'yes'," Amy finished.
"Well, sort of," Sabrina told her, "After I hugged him around the neck, then pounced on him and kissed him all over his face." She grinned with a slight blush. "We were both glad we were the only ones in that part of the reserve," she said. "We could've gotten arrested!"
Amy leaned forward. "I'm so happy for you! Have you told your parents yet?"
"Sure did! They're going to meet Chris at Tabitha's birthday party."
"What about Eric?"
"I called and left a message on his machine," she said. "I told him I had the greatest news of my life for him!" She sighed. "I owe him everything. He made this all possible."
"You better make him best man then," Thomas said.
"In the daydream," Sabrina said, "that was you."
"But then -- how -- how did -- " Amy tried asking.
Sabrina moved from the coffee table to the sofa between Thomas and Amy. "You see, you were best man at our wedding ... "
Today when the alarm went off, Chris knew not to panic the way he did last Saturday morning when he woke up. He also knew Sabrina's alarm was going off just now too. His little idea, so they could wake up together a third day in a row. He got his shower, dressed, and poured coffee in his travel mug. And just before he left the house, he picked up the phone and dialed Sabrina's number. One ring, and he hung up.
Sabrina sat at the table in the dining area and smiled when she heard it. Amy limped out in her bathrobe and jumped when it rang. She hovered, waiting for the second ring. "Who in the world would that've been?" Amy asked, not expecting an answer.
"Chris," Sabrina told her. "He's on his way to work. He rang the phone once to say he loves me and misses me."
Amy smiled. "That's sweet."
"I tried to sleep with my ring on," Sabrina said, barely able to eat her cereal and keep her eyes off of it. "I was so nervous about it falling off my finger I finally had to put it in its box."
Amy laughed politely and headed for the kitchen. Sabrina jumped up and got her a bowl and spoon before she got far and made sure she sat squarely on the extra cushion. "Thanks," Amy said quietly, embarrassed for needing this much help.
Sabrina rested her head on her hand and ate another spoonful of breakfast. "I'm going to have to be going soon," she said. "Thomas has his finals too today in Blight Management. Are you going to be okay by yourself?"
Amy nodded and poured her cereal. "Oh, sure," she answered. "The remote's in the middle of the coffee table this time with a long string tying it to there." She set the box down. "When I think of how close I came to losing our baby," she said, "I shiver."
And she did, too, it ran right up her back. Sabrina sat up straight. "But you didn't," she said. "You were awfully lucky."
"I never want to be close to being that lucky ever again."
Sabrina finished her last bite and checked her watch. "I've gotta run," she said and scooped her books from the table. "Leave the dishes, I'll take care of them when I come back; I'm working at home today." She grabbed her purse and Amy watched her run out the door.
People in MIS looked toward the door to watch Chris yanking his tail out of the way of the closing door, his arms outstretched.
John looked up from the helpdesk. "You're too perky for a Monday morning," he said.
"With good reason, m'friend." Chris spied two boxes of donuts and helped himself to a chocolate coconut one.
Stacy poked her head over the top of her cubicle. "No perky on Monday!" Then she saw Chris' expression. "Look at him!" she said. "Did something wonderful happen this weekend?"
"You might say that," Chris grinned and walked past her to his own space.
Stacy followed him. "Can I guess?"
Chris set his donut and case down, and turned on his PC. "If you're asking if you can guess," he said, "you already know." And he winked.
Stacy came out and walked toward him. "You asked her!" she announced.
The grin fought every attempt to keep it down. "Yep."
"You're getting married!"
"Congratulations! Everyone, Chris is engaged!"
Chris and Stacy looked around the corner into Dexter's cube. "What are you doing under your desk?" Chris asked.
"Banging my head," Dexter answered him. He crawled out rubbing his head and threw the bad network cable he'd replaced in the trashcan. "You finally did it!" He got himself to his feet and shook Chris' hand vigorously. "Congratulations! I knew you'd do it."
"I can barely believe it myself," Chris told Dexter. "It just sort of came out after the hockey game." On the way to the break room coffee maker Chris told him about his entire weekend ... well, at least the parts he could tell him about.
Dexter sipped his coffee. "It's not every man who not only gets to propose to the same woman twice, but have her say 'yes' both times. We've got to have a drink after work and celebrate."
"But you don't drink," Chris pointed out.
"I know, but I've been meaning to take it up. Just one though."
They clinked coffee mugs.
Wendy came in with a flourish, her hair swirled as she tossed her head. Her body was emphasized by the lavender mini-dress she wore that accentuated every positive.
"Watch it," warned Dexter under his breath. He smiled at Wendy and refilled his mug.
"Morning, Wendy!" Chris greeted her with the same smile and enthusiasm he greeted everyone with today. "You sure look good this morning," he told her.
Wendy smiled. "Thank you for noticing." She set her coffee cup on the counter. "Did you two have a nice weekend?" she asked.
Dexter watched out of the corner of one eye, from what he considered minimum safe distance.
"We had a wonderful weekend," Chris said. Nonchalantly he took a breath. "Sabrina and I got engaged!"
Wendy's eyes lit up. "That's wonderful!" She threw her arms around Chris' neck and hugged him tight! "Oh, all the best to you two!"
Chris hugged her back. "Thank you, Wendy." They broke. "It's awfully exciting."
"I bet it is! Planning it all's going to be the big part." She took a step back to see Chris completely. "She's the luckiest woman in the world right now."
Chris couldn't think of a word to say. He only smiled.
Dexter took two steps closer. He filled her mug for her.
"Thanks, Dexter." She grabbed Chris' arm in an excited grip. "I'm so happy for you," she said. "If I can help with anything, just let me know, okay?"
Chris watched her leave the break room. Turning back to Dexter he sighed. "She took it well," he said. "I dreaded the thought of telling her."
Dexter walked back around the counter. "Direct and to the point is the best way," he told Chris. "She took it fine."
As they picked up their coffee and returned to MIS, Wendy walked at a fast pace to the Ladies Room. The door closed behind her, she was alone. She braced herself with both hands on the middle sink, and cried for ten minutes straight.