a story by
(c) 1998 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, 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. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. 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.
Chris kept trying Sabrina's number throughout the day and into the evening. Each time, it rang off the hook.
Sitting up in bed with his cordless phone he tried one last time ... no answer. Chris felt his stomach knotting, his mind starting to come up with disturbing thoughts; the most disturbing being Sabrina having fallen out of love with him.
He shook his head. "No, stupid, you know better than that." He stared at the phone, sighed, and pressed the redial one last time.
Chris set the phone down. "Still no answer."
"What?" Dexter asked from over the wall.
"I tried all night to get a hold of Sabrina," he called back. "Phone, IRC, e-mail that keeps coming back I can't get her."
Dexter got up and walked around. "Call her parents," he suggested.
Chris shook his head. "I thought of that," he said, "number's unlisted." He drummed his fingers on his desk, then brought the same hand up and smacked himself on the forehead. "Of course! God, I'm dumb! Ow!" He rubbed his forehead. "Sabrina's going to be working here in a few weeks, right? She cancelled her account there because she won't need it anymore! Gol, why didn't I think of it before?"
"Because you were too busy panicking," Dexter replied. "You knew there was a logical reason."
"Yes!" Chris stabbed the air quickly with his forefinger. "But that doesn't explain why she's not answering her phone. Neither are her roommates."
Dexter tightened his lips in thought. "Alien abductions?" he asked.
"Mayb -- oh, please!" ::sigh:: Chris shook his head. "I know, I'm worrying over nothing, right?"
"I'll bet you are. You'll be together and hot-chatting before you know it."
"Yeah .. " Chris leaned back in his chair with his paws behind his head, then sat upright with a "Hey!"
Dexter smirked and turned to go.
"Hey Dex," Chris asked and held out his empty coffee cup, "be a lamb and fill this for me, won't you?"
Dexter grinned. "From here?"
Chris widened his eyes at Dexter and pulled himself out of his chair. As Dexter retreated to his cubicle he yelped as Chris casually pulled his tail as he walked past.
When Chris rounded the doorway into the break room, he spied a familiar backside, tail high in the air, reaching into the popcorn machine. "Hey, lady!" Chris said.
Wendy turned around. "Hiya, stranger!"
Chris bypassed the coffee maker and walked toward her. "What're you doing, scrounging old popcorn?" he asked.
"I'm a popcorn junkie," Wendy explained as she dropped a small pawful into a paper popcorn cone. "This leftover stuff is just as good."
Chris stood beside her and put a hand on her wrist, withdrawing it from the enclosure. "You can't do that," he told her.
Wendy put a hand on her hip. "And why not?" she asked him.
"Because," Chris reached a hand into the machine and gathered a handful himself, "I scrounge the leftover popcorn!" He quickly ate half of what he snagged before Wendy smacked him on the arm. "They never make enough," Chris said as he chewed. "I've told them, make more and I have more to munch during the week."
Wendy pushed her way in and took the last bit. "Mine!" And she as quickly ate it and smiled at Chris as she chewed. Chris gave her a mean look, Wendy grinned again and offered her cone to him. "Hey, my computer keeps locking up," she said after she swallowed. "Can you come up and look at it for me?"
Chris nodded. "I can after lunch, sure."
"Save us our table?"
Wendy shifted her hips and bumped against Chris', picked up her diet cola, and left to go back upstairs. Chris got his refill, returned to his cube, and dialed his phone.
"Columbus, Ohio," he told the operator. "I need the hospital listings."
Wednesday morning, 10:44 AM
"That does it," Chris said as he looked at No such user (sabrina1) for the twentieth time. "I'm taking a half day off and going over there." He called Jim's extension and left him a voicemail message. After he logged his workstation out he walked into Dexter's cube. "Dex, I'm out of here. Everything's caught up, the software and cards should be in Monday for the new network switch, anything else is just piddley work. I'm going to find out what happened to Sabrina."
Dexter looked up. "Kick tail, good luck. And hey! Lemme know what happened, okay?"
"You got it." Chris headed out to his car.
Enroute to his house, Chris stopped by the Post Office to collect his mail. He opened his box and removed his bills and junk mail, and a yellow cardboard slip that he read:
delivery to big to place in your mailbox
Chris paused. "Who's sending me what?" he quietly asked himself aloud. Sabrina mailed herself to me! That explains everything! Chris went to the window and handed the clerk the slip, she returned with a large box and slid it across the counter. With a "Thanks" Chris picked it up and as he walked out the front door, he saw the name on the return address: Sabrina Mustelidae.
For the first time in three days, Chris smiled. "What are you up to, Kitten?" He walked out to his waiting car, set the package on the passenger seat, and tore open the packing tape.
Inside he found an envelope. Under the envelope was more puzzling.
Chris poked through the box. Inside, in the middle, was a velvety royal blue jewelry box. Chris removed it and opened it it was the engagement ring he'd given Sabrina a few short weeks ago. Further into the box he discovered a robot toy, a golden lady's watch, four hardcover art books, other jewelry Chris tore the envelope open and removed a handwritten letter on flowery stationery.
Dearest Chris, it began.
Tentatively, Chris read on.
This is the hardest letter I ever had to write.
Chris felt his mouth open, his back shiver.
Chris, I love you. I love you more than anyone I've known. But we had that meeting and things were put in perspective to what's expected of me and of the storyline and I can't marry you.
And as Chris felt his heart sink to his feet, he fell back against the back of the driver's seat. "Wha "
I want to, more than anything in the world. I know maybe we kind of rushed in to this proposal and everything, I never thought of the
"Something." Chris tried to make out the word through where the ink had run from a teardrop that had hit the paper. consequences of moving outside of the world that was created for me. I don't know. I only know Another tear stain. the truth we both have to face.
Please, if you can someday, forgive me for writing you this letter. I know how crushed you are and Another tear stain ran the ink, only this one just now hit the paper. The next one fell between two lines of writing. how angry you must be with me right now.
Angry?? "Kitten, I could never be angry with you!" Chris wanted to take a break from reading, but made himself continue, and couldn't care less about any passer-by who might look in and see him.
"I'd never be able to take that, and see you that way. Oh Chris, if only we could have been together forever! I'm sending you back the gifts you gave me as much as I love them and you for giving them to me, I don't know that I can accept or keep them now.
"Of course you can!" Chris told the letter. "They were meant for you to accept and keep!" At this point Chris took his glasses off long enough to wipe his eyes. When he put them back on he glanced back at the box with the gifts that given her such joy at the times he'd given them to her. That's when he spied a small brown velour pouch. He prayed it wasn't. He slipped it out from its place, opened it, and dumped what was inside into his paw.
"Oh Kitten, not your butterfly necklace too!" Chris gripped it and spent the next couple of minutes just letting go, clutching both the letter and the first thing he'd ever given her, occasionally hearing a quiet tap sound that was a tear of his adding to the ones of Sabrina's that had since hit the paper and dried. He cried until he couldn't breathe through his nose anymore and had to set things down long to enough to retrieve his handkerchief from his back pocket and blow, and clear his vision again. Then, taking a deep breath, he continued.
It never occurred to me that I might already be promised to another, that's part of what we had discussed today. I'm going to be expected to meet him soon too. We've chatted on the computer some. He seems like a nice guy, but the one thing he'll never be is YOU!
I need to get away for a while, Chris. I have an uncle and aunt in North Carolina I'm going to stay with. I'll be there when you get this. I know how resourceful you are, so I'm asking you please don't try to find me. And maybe when I get back, when you're over your anger, we can maybe at least still be friends. I would like that. Oh, how you must hate me.
"I don't hate you, Sabrina," was barely audible. Chris felt his throat go sore, his eyes burn and leak through the fur at his cheeks. "I could never hate you, Sabrina."
I better go now. My heart, my thoughts, and my prayers are with you. I'll always love you was completely smeared, but readable.
All my love forever,
Chris lowered the letter and dropped his head. "She didn't even put the little flower over the 'i'." He sighed deeply, again and again, hoping to regain his breath. When he was finally able, he took one last deep breath and dropped the necklace back into its pouch and set it with the other gifts. He replaced his tear-stained glasses back on his head, refolded the letter neatly, and slipped it back into its envelope.
He looked at the open box. "Well, you're getting your gifts back, Sabrina, that's at least a given." He started his car and drove down the street and around the bend to his driveway. He carried everything in, dumped himself on the couch, and got as much as he could out of his system. And when he felt he'd succeeded, he got up to retrieve his cordless phone and returned, sat, and pressed his redial button.
At last! "Amy? It's Chris."
"Oh, Chris!" Amy's voice sounded surprised; happy to hear from him, but surprised. "Uh, how are you?" she asked.
Chris stammered a "Well "
Amy nodded on her end. "You got it, huh?"
"Yep," came out as a short heavy sigh. Then, "Is there any chance Sabrina might be there?" he asked.
Amy turned and looked toward the window. "Thomas and I took her to the bus station Monday," she told him. "Chris, I'm so very sorry."
She could hear a weep over the phone, followed by a quiet "Thanks." Then, "Can you tell me how to get in touch with her, perchance?"
Shaking her head, "I'm sorry Chris, Sabrina swore us both to secrecy. I don't even know who these relations of hers are."
Chris had to take his glasses off. He ran his hand up over his face and through his hair. "I understand."
"Chris " Amy fought to talk now too, her own voice was beginning to crack. "You know she'll be back."
"Yep." He leaned back. "Only not to me."
"Well, if you happen to talk to her, please tell her she wasn't supposed to send her presents back. I'm going to send them back to her." And as best he could, "And please tell her I could never hate her, and could never be angry with her " He was losing control fast. "And tell her I love her."
Amy felt a trickle down one cheek. "I will, Chris. Bye." She hung the phone up. Looking over at the dinette table she addressed the shaking back of the person sitting there. "That was a really crummy thing to do, Sabrina."
She knew, too. But Sabrina kept her face buried in her hands, her body shaking as she cried hard.
After the third ring, a lady's voice said "Hello?"
"Mrs. Lapine?" Chris asked.
"Yes, who's this?"
Chris didn't want to do any of this, not one bit. It was purely the act of a man obsessed. "My name is Chris Foxx, I'm a friend of Cindy's. I'm sorry to bother you but I need to speak with her. Would she be home, please?"
"I'm sorry, she's not." Chris felt his heart sink again. "Would you like to leave a message?"
"Yes. Would you please tell her I called, and ask her to call me back as soon as she can."
"Certainly." Ellen found a working pen and wrote down the number Chris gave her. "Goodbye." She hung the phone up and turned back to return to the living room when Cindy bounced past. "Hi Mom, who was that?"
"That Chris Foxx you asked me to lie to and say you weren't home," Ellen told her and handed her his message. "He seems like a very nice man, why don't you want to talk to him?"
Cindy sighed. "Sit down Mom, this may take a while."
Debbye's number was unlisted. Susan's was listed as S. Felin. Chris had stopped long enough to make a pot of coffee before he dialed her number. It rang twice.
Hi, this is Susan!
Chris waved the phone in the air -- just what he didn't need!
I can't come to the phone right now, but leave your name and number and I'll call you back as soon as I can!
There were several short beeps as the tape wound itself past other messages until finally it gave the familiar beep that let Chris talk. "Hi Susan, it's Chris Foxx. I'm trying to find Sabrina, can you please help me? You're my last hope."
On the other end Susan was there, listening. She shook her head quietly, feeling her eyes burn as Chris' familiar and desperate voice left her his phone number. She folded her arms, listening, until the signature click said that he'd hung up. And controlling the urge to pick up that phone and call back was really tough!
"It's over," Chris told himself. "It is finished." He dialed one more number. Finally, someone who answered on the first ring.
"This is Dexter, how can I help you?"
Four words escaped. "She left me, Dex."
"Who left -- Sabrina?! Left you??"
"Uh-huh. I got a letter from her today, thankfully before I drove all the way to Columbus, Ohio in a dead heat."
Chris started to well up again, his throat was determined to give him a hard time speaking. "Remember when I told you I was asking for everyone's blessing for the marriage? Well we didn't get it." And Chris explained what he knew, what he understood, amidst sobs. "Dex, I don't think I can make it back in today, and I'm not sure about tomorrow either."
"Hey look, don't worry about it," Dexter told him. "You're already off on your 'emergency'. Listen, I'll come out after work."
"Thanks anyway Dex," Chris sighed. "I really think I need to be alone for a while."
"No," Dexter said, "I think I better come out."
"I give you my word," Chris said, "I'll be lousy company. Besides, I really do want to be alone."
Chris nodded his head. "Yeah, I think I need it."
Dexter gave in. "Okay, but give me your word, don't do anything stupid, you got that?"
Chris understood. "I promise." And he hung up the phone. He got up and found a clean coffee mug in the kitchen and fixed himself a cup. After a sip he pondered it. "It needs something." Wandering back into his dining room he opened the left-hand hutch door and retrieved one of his Christmas presents from last year and set it and his cup on the table. He twisted the lid and broke the tax seal.
Lunchtime had come and gone Thursday. Wendy let herself in to MIS and walked down Chris' cubicle. She saw he apparently hadn't come to work today; his PC and monitor were powered down, memos laid on his chair, and what really caught her attention was the lack of a noticeable piece of artwork no longer hanging on the wall, no pictures or letters tacked over the desk she moved up one cube and stuck her nose in.
Dexter looked up and smiled. "Good afternoon, pretty lady. What brings you here?"
"My PC is still locking up," she explained. "I was hoping Chris could look at it again for me, but I see he's not here."
Dexter shook his head. "Nope. He's taking a couple of days off."
Wendy smiled. "Making wedding plans, eh?"
"I'm afraid not." He beckoned her closer. "I know it's not my place to say anything, but the wedding's off. Chris and Sabrina broke up."
"Broke up? But wha -- why -- who -- how -- "
Dexter shrugged. "It's just one of those things," he said. "And I don't want to go telling tales out of school; if you ask Chris, maybe he'll tell you."
Wendy leaned against the cube wall. "He must be crushed!"
"He is. That's why he's taking some time off. He'd been trying all week to get in touch with her, and everything just kind of hit the fan today."
"Oh, dear." Wendy let herself get lost in thought. "I hope he's okay."
Dexter tapped her on the hip with a folder. "That's why I took down everything in his cubicle. If he comes in and doesn't see her, it might be easier for him. But you know Chris, he'll get over it in time." He stood up. "C'mon, if you'll settle for second-best, I'll take a peek at your computer for you.
By Thursday evening Chris had accumulated a small collection of empty Christmas presents from Decembers gone by, and a couple he had to go out and get himself. During his periods of semi- and un-consciousness he'd missed his machine answering several calls, none of them Sabrina, a few of them worried. When Friday morning rolled around the sun burned through his eyelids and woke him. He'd lost part of his bladder control from his intense drinking, and as he hadn't changed his clothing since Wednesday it didn't help his condition.
"I'm hungry, but I don't want to eat," he told himself, then giggled as he had all yesterday when he listened to his speech slur. He set his mug next to the half-empty bottle and tried to peel himself from where his bottom had taken root a day and a half ago. Holding on to things he managed to get himself to the kitchen and with more effort pulled the refrigerator door open. There was that box of Chinese food "Maybe later." He found a package of cheese and carried it, a couple slices of bread, and the ice bin back to the living room.
"American cheese and bourbon," Chris said, giggling again. He managed to swallow a slice of cheese. It didn't go down well, but it did make him want another slice.
"I don't care who you are, I don't want to talk to you." Chris put a couple of ice cubes into his cup and refilled it as he ate at a second slice of cheese.
"Hi Chris," said the answering machine, "it's Susan. I know you're there, pick up!"
Chris slouched on the sofa, cup in one hand, half-eaten cheese in the other.
"C'monnnnnn, pick up! I know you're there, I'm not hanging up until you talk to me!"
Chris rolled his head, opening one eye on the phone.
Susan's voice sounded nervous. "C'mon Chris, you're scaring me. Please pick up the phone. Please."
Chris sat the cheese on his lap and found the right button to push on the phone. "Hello," he said.
"Chris!" Susan exclaimed. "Oh, thank God! How are you?"
"Fine," Chris answered simply. "I'm just fine. Thank you for asking. How are you?"
Susan listened to the tone of his voice. This isn't good. "I'm fine, thanks," she tried to stay perky as she talked. "Say, uhm so, whatcha doin'?"
"Oh, nothing much. Just nothing much."
Susan ran her open fingers through her hair and tried her best to smile. "Ah, Chris?" she asked, "You're drinking, aren't you?"
Chris took another sip. "Only to excess."
Oh, my. "Could I ask a big favor of you?"
"Could you put it down, please?" She heard the cup tap the side of the phone. "Please? Please-please?"
Chris lowered the cup and stretched to put it on the coffee table. "Done."
Susan sighed. "Oh, thank you. The whole Clique's been worried about you," she told Chris. "I've been trying to call you since yesterday to see how you were."
"The whole Clique?" Chris sat up. "Is Sabrina there?"
Susan bit her lower lip. "Well no, but " She couldn't take it anymore. "Oh Chris, I know where Sabrina is!"
Chris sat bolt upright, his head clear for the instant. "You do? Where?!"
Susan ran her fingers back the other way. "I I can't tell you that. But I do know where she is and I can get a message to her, if you want."
The pieces of Chris' world started to find their way together again. Not all of them, but some. "You can? That'd be great!"
She waited and listened.
"Tell her " Chris began to cry again. "Tell her I love her. Tell her I miss her terribly, that I don't hate her sniffle that I understand and I'll always want to be her friend, even if it can never be any more than just that."
Susan did her best to keep herself under control. "I'll tell her, Chris. As soon as I talk to her."
Chris smiled. It'd been a while, but he remembered how. "You're the best, Susan," he managed.
"I try." Susan heard her voice falter. "I've got to go, but please, from Clique to Clique, please don't drink anymore, and please don't do anything bad to yourself, okay?"
"Promise. See? My right hand's in the air."
Susan laughed politely and wiped her eyes with the palm of her right paw. "I'll check in with you later, okay? We miss you! Bye."
And Susan hung up her phone. The more she thought about things, the more she started to burn. "Sabby, you and I are gonna have a talk." She snagged her purse and her car keys and walked out of the apartment.
Amy was taking her Chex Mix out of the oven when the knocking on the door caught her attention. She set the baking sheet on top of the stove and went out to answer it.
"Hi Amy. Long time, no see."
"Susan! Boy am I glad to see you." Amy stepped to one side to let Susan in. "Your timing couldn't have been better; Sabrina really needs a friend to talk to."
"That's good," Susan said as she took a step past Amy, "Because I want to talk to her."
Amy grabbed her arm and stopped her. "No, wait!" Susan turned to face her. "Sabrina's taking this really hard. She's been holed up in her room since Wednesday night. She won't eat, I can't even tell if she's slept in her bed or not."
Susan tried to listen to Amy, but she was still focused on what she'd rehearsed on the way over. Amy squeezed her arm. "I have to go, but I'll be back shortly. Good luck!"
Amy pointed the way to the bedrooms and Susan went down. She didn't bother knocking, she put her hand on the knob of Sabrina's door, twisted, opened, and stepped inside.
The next coarse word stuck in her throat. Her face softened. Sabrina sat at the window, one hand propping her head, staring blankly at nothing. Her glasses sat on the window sill. Her beautiful white hair was a mess, so was the fur around her face and down her tail. Her blue tee-shirt was wrinkled beyond belief and appeared to be sticking to her back. Susan took a step further in. Sabrina slowly turned her head and acknowledged her. Her lower lip quivered. So did Susan's. Sabrina leapt to her feet and ran to her; they hugged tight and cried together for several minutes.
"I miss him," Sabrina said into Susan's shoulder.
Susan sniffled. "I know, girl."
They hugged quietly for a bit. They held each other by the arm, attempting to smile and cheer each other up. "Oh 'brina "
Sabrina nodded and tried to push her non-existent glasses back up. "I know." She turned to retrieve them.
Susan looked at the plate of uneaten dinner on her dresser, then back to her best friend. "I, uhm, talked to Chris," she said.
Sabrina spun around. "How is he?" she asked.
"Terrible. I'm really worried." Susan took a few steps closer. "If you had to break the engagement with him, why'd you write him a letter?"
"Oh, Susan, I couldn't do it in person!" Sabrina brushed her cheek fur up with her fingers. "I'd never be able to face him."
"He really deserves to be told, y'know."
Sabrina agreed. "I know, but I know he'd absolutely hate me. I've been sick to my stomach every morning since Monday. I still love him, I do; I'd never be able to handle it."
Susan walked across to her. "Sabrina, he doesn't hate you. He misses you. He understands why and he understands it's nobody's fault. I know if he could just see you, if you could talk to him in person you know you'd both feel better about it all. And you know it's the right thing to do."
"Oh, if only " Sabrina's voice trailed off. "I'm supposed to be available next week for some new art."
"As I understand," Susan told her, "he's only four and a half hours away."
"TURN IT OFFFBBLLBBBBBGH!"
Dexter held Chris' head under the cold shower spray by his hair, pulling it out long enough to listen to the stream of obscenities before pushing him under again.
Chris' head came out. "Did you ever wonder why they call it 'drying out' when you end up sopping wet?" Dexter asked him before pushing him under again. Chris finally regained enough of his strength to bring a paw up to the shower stall and push himself back and out of Dexter's grasp.
"How's that?" Dexter asked.
Chris answered him by shaking his head vigorously and soaking him the best he could. A second later he realized what a stupid thing what was to do when his head started spinning. He sat on the edge of the tub, slid to his knees on the floor, and Dexter stepped out just as he lifted the lid.
There was a pounding at the front door. Dexter went out to investigate and met the red fox from the delivery company. "Mr. Foxx?"
Dexter shook his head. "No, but I can sign for whatever you've got." Which he did. He was handed a carbonless receipt, and two large white boxes with big black cow spots over each side. After closing the door he walked back slowly enough to give Chris enough time to finish what he'd started.
He cringed and opened the door. The toilet was refilling and Chris was rinsing his mouth out.
"You okay?" he asked.
Chris set his cup on the sink. "Compared to what?" Chris closed the lid and sat down; Dexter dried a spot on the tub edge and sat also.
"I have to ask you," Dexter said, "where you like this when Wendy'd left you?"
Chris shook his head. "No."
Dexter folded his paws in his lap. "I'm not going to say that 'you know, women are like busses' clichι."
"Which I appreciate."
"And I'm not going to tell you I know how you feel, even though in my own way, I do. You know as well as I do, everything happens for a reason. She may still come back to you, y'know. If she doesn't you experienced in -- five months? -- something other men would give their reproductive organs to have."
Chris thought about what Dexter told him, then nodded. "I still love her, Dex," he said.
"I know. And you're gonna for a loooooong time. In the meantime, don't hide yourself from the world. You know, you had a heluva lot of people worried sick about you! And you might just find someone who can take your mind off of her. Someday." He smacked Chris on the knee. "You've been one lucky guy lately."
Dexter stood up. "Come on," he said, "let's go get a sandwich."
Chris shook his head. "Thanks anyway. I'm not very hungry right now."
"Well I am. Come on and watch." He took Chris' wrist and yanked him to his feet. As they walked through the house Dexter said "Oh, you had a delivery while you were indisposed."
Chris took a peek and recognized the boxes. He laughed a tiny laugh. "A new Amiga system," he told him. "An early wedding present for Sabrina."
"Dinner time." Dexter led Chris out to his car.
Susan's tiny cell phone twittered a third time before it was answered. "Hello?"
"Sabrina, where are you?" Amy answered.
Sabrina looked out the windshield at the passing green sign. "About 40 minutes this side of Akron."
"It's going to be dusk soon," Amy said. "What in the world do you think you're doing?"
"Susan was right," Sabrina said as she changed lanes after passing the tractor trailer. "Chris should be told in person. He's too good a guy not to be. I'm going to tell him to his face that we can't be together anymore."
Amy felt Sabrina's determination. "But Sabrina what if you change your mind? You-know-who's going to flip!"
"Then you take over the strip. Amy and Thomas isn't a bad name."
"Sabrina, come back here."
The line was silent.
Sabrina swallowed hard. "I'll be back by Monday. I promise."
Amy knew there was no reasoning at this point. She also knew Sabrina was right. "Stay in touch. Good luck."
"Thanks. Bye." Sabrina hung up the phone and set it beside her. "Only a couple of hours to go."
And she ran her open hand gently over her belly.
After a hot meal and several non-adult beverages Chris was nearly back to himself. Dexter dropped him off at home and was on his way to his own house. Chris thought over everything he and Dexter had discussed since Dexter had let himself in and dragged him to the shower.
He looked into the sky of the approaching evening, and took a deep cleansing breath. The only thing still unclear at this point was his mind and his feelings. Well, as Dexter said, everything happens for a reason, and anything worth anything takes time. Fishing into his trouser pocket he found his key ring. He unlocked his car, started it up, and backed it out to take a drive.
Night had come. Sabrina drove into Eau Claire and pulled into Chris' driveway down to his garage.
"He's not home," she sighed, depressed. Then yawned. Then stepped out and walked toward his back porch and surveyed his yard. "I know I've only been here once," she said, "but it seems so right to be here."
Sabrina walked up to the end of the driveway and looked up and down the road. She saw the tiny borough's business district, the grocery store and the truck tractor dealership. No cars in either direction. She walked back to the house and unhooked the spare key, and let herself in.
"Phew!" Sabrina was hit with the smell of depressed drunken fox. She opened the windows and found the source of the odor in the living room. She went to turn on the lamp and her foot kicked an empty bottle, which tapped two others. She squatted down. "Oh, Chris " She gathered them up and threw them in the garbage and opened the living room windows.
Sabrina took a seat on Chris' loveseat. Running her hand over her belly again, she dozed off
Chris pulled his car in front and parked on the street. He looked up and saw the lights were still on. He walked up the walk, up the steps, and knocked on the door.
Wendy opened the door. Her eyes widened in surprise at the sight of the still damp, still slightly bad smelling fox on her doorstep.
"Hi," Chris said, giving a sheepish wave. "I'm sorry to come by unannounced but uhm do you have a few minutes?"
Wendy's ears straightened up, and she smiled warmly. "Of course," she said. "If you need it, I've got all night."
She stood to one side. Chris stepped in, and the door closed behind him.