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, Wendy Vixxen, and Wanda (c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. Character Terl Skunk (c) Rodney Stringwell. 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. "Cooking for Dummies" (c) 1999 IDG Books Worldwide
Sabrina plunked a plate each in front of Amy and Thomas.
They each looked at their dinner. Then back at Sabrina. She stood by the table smiling and smiling wide, proud of herself and her new accomplishment.
Thomas was the one to finally break the silence. "Looks good, Sabrina," he said to her.
"Yes, it certainly does." Amy took a sniff, then another. "Smells good, too."
"Thanks. It was easier than I expected. I don't know why I thought it wouldn't be." She went into the kitchen to retrieve her own plate.
Thomas and Amy watched her disappear. They looked at each other.
And in unison, "Well?"
"Well," said Thomas, "try it."
Amy nudged her plate. "I'm not going to try it, you try it!"
Thomas slid his own plate sideways toward Amy. "I'm not going to try it."
They pulled their plates back quickly when Sabrina emerged with hers. They poked at the rice bed under the chicken and sauce.
Sabrina picked up her knife and fork, and looked up at her roommates hopefully. "Well?" she asked.
Thomas nodded. "Well!"
Amy poised her fork toward the chicken breast. She smiled at Sabrina. "Well … " She smelled it again. It really does smell good!
"We could always call for pizza," Thomas said helpfully, reacting to a "Yeow!" when Amy kicked him under the table.
"Stop it!" she hissed. Amy watched the look on Sabrina's face start to turn toward dejection … she quickly cut a bite of chicken and popped it in her mouth. She chewed once, twice … her eyes grew.
"Sabrina, this is good!"
Thomas looked almost surprised at Amy, fortunately out of Sabrina's line of sight; she was fixed on Amy and smiling again. Amy swallowed her first bite and went on with "It's really good!"
Sabrina was nearly bouncing. "Do you really like it?" she asked.
As Amy answered and went for a second bite, Thomas was taking his first. "Wow, it really is good!" he exclaimed.
"Isn't it though?" Amy said with her mouth full of chicken and mushroom.
Sabrina stopped bouncing and now sat with her elbow on the table. "You two don't have to sound so surprised," she said.
Amy touched her arm. "I'm sorry, Sabrina. It's just so good." She studied the aftertaste in her mouth. "Is there wine in this?" she asked.
"Yes, but don't worry," Sabrina assured her. "All of the alcohol cooked out of it, so it's okay -- " She and Amy turned toward the ::scarf-munch-slurp:: and watched Thomas leaning over his plate with a fork in one hand and a slice of bread in the other, almost shoveling the rice and sauce into his mouth.
He looked up. "What!?"
Amy pursed her lips and Sabrina rolled her eyes, although she was glad to see her dinner was a hit! Thomas got the hint and slowed down, and apart from a few sentences exchanged and the stray yummy sound, everyone enjoyed a nice leisurely meal for a change.
Thomas and Sabrina looked up at Amy. "You okay, hon?" Thomas asked as he chewed.
Amy had her paw over the lower part of her belly. She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again. "Yeah," she said, "I'm okay. Whew!" She took a drink of her ginger ale. "I don't know what that was all about."
And dinner continued for another fourteen minutes.
Amy leaned forward with her hand pressing into her belly this time. Sabrina dropped her fork which bounced off of her plate onto the table, and Thomas stared, mouth open, and yes, empty this time. Amy brought her other hand to her forehead and everyone leaned forward.
Amy sat straighter in her chair. "Uh, Thomas? I have a feeling … "
Thomas pointed to his plate. "What? You mean now?"
The cause of his "Yeow!" this time was from Sabrina kicking him under the table.
"Well, she doesn't know it's your feeding time, Thomas!" Amy yelled until another mooooaan took over.
Sabrina stood up. "I'll call the doctor," she said.
"No!" Thomas called back to her in a near panic. "I'll call, you get the car started." Together they both leapt from their spots, ran right around the table and smack into each other. Amy could only roll her eyes.
Clarence came out of the kitchenette break room and was walking up the hallway. He passed two of the studio's regular actors and received barely a glance in his direction. He drained his diet soda and barely missed being hit when the door to Studio A opened and a familiar actress walked out wearing little more than a silky light blue bathrobe.
"Oh!" Wanda yelped. "I'm sorry!"
Clarence smiled sheepishly, trying to force eye contact. It was never his strongest ability, but Wanda's robe wasn't exactly closed to the neck. "S'okay," he said, failing at the eye contact thing after about a second and a half.
The hallway was empty except for the two of them. Wanda stepped closer to him. "It's Clare, right?" she asked.
"Clarence." Clarence grinned uncontrollably, nervously. "Or Clare. Whichever you like." He laughed it off, badly.
Wanda took another step toward him, instinctively making Clarence take one back. "You're not frightened of me, are you?" she asked him.
"Noop!" Quickly he cleared his throat. "No, I-I-I-I-I'm not … I'm not frightened of you."
Wanda slid a finger behind his left ear and made a tiny twirl in his fur, watching him … he was cringing. "That really was your first time in my last shoot, wasn't it?"
Clarence was nodding and making noises fully intended to be "Uh-huh."
"I think I could tell. Mark upped the insurance on all his gear." She slid her finger down his cheek and along his neck to his shirt collar.
Levels of discomfort were becoming alarmingly high within Clarence. A faint echo of Rodney Lapine warning him about the models was playing in his head. His mouth started to move, spasmodically at best, trying to talk … Wanda continued …
"I don't think you know it, but you gave me a really nice compliment then. Maybe you should talk to Ziggy about starring in a video with me. The money's really good."
Clarence was about to do something he hadn't done since he was potty trained. He heard a weird laugh come out of himself. "Oh, heh th-th-that's s-s-something I c-could never do."
Clarence backed up another step and Wanda followed him, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth.
"What's wrong, Clare? Don't you like me?" she pouted, casting her eyes downwards and getting an unintended eyeful of what could only be described as another really nice compliment.
Clarence didn't know how to respond to her. She was beautiful, without a doubt, but the feelings she was arousing in him conflicted with the love he felt for Cindy. He desperately sought a polite way to extricate himself from this conversation.
"I-I-I -- " he stammered. He stepped backwards again and found his back against the wall where it jogged to the right. He was trapped between the wall and Wanda. "Yes, I like you, but I-I have a girlfriend. I-I-I couldn't do anything to hurt her."
Wanda closed the space separating them with a final step and pressed herself against him, accenting her cleavage against Clarence's chest. He became acutely aware of her perfume and body heat. His own body was betraying him also, his palms became even wetter and his empty can hit the carpet with a quiet plunk.
"Clare, the last thing I want you to do is break some poor girl's heart," Wanda said with sincerity. "That wouldn't be polite, would it?" she asked, placing her muzzle close to his as she used the fingers of her right paw to trace down his arm.
Clarence couldn't think with Wanda touching him in so many places, tantalizingly close. He felt her breath on his nose and pulled his head away from hers until it bumped against the wall.
"Do you want to break my heart, Clarence?" she asked softly, her eyes locked onto his.
He was spared from having to answer her as they both heard people coming down the hall. Wanda quickly kissed Clarence and stepped away from him, pulling her robe closed around herself and giving him a quick wink before heading to the ladies' dressing room.
Clarence stood frozen in place until he realized that the people coming down the hall would turn the corner and catch him in his aroused state. He snatched his can from the floor and made a beeline towards the restroom. Finding an empty stall, he sat and closed the door, and started solving quadratic equations in his head to take his mind off females.
As he sat in the stall, he suddenly remembered with alarming clarity Rodney Lapine's warning against becoming too familiar with the performers and had a panic attack. What if Mr. Lapine had caught Wanda and me in the hallway? The thought made him sick to his stomach. He and Cindy Lapine had been dating for only a very short while and Clarence had strong feelings for her. He hoped she would be the first, but now with the situation with Wanda, he wasn't so sure he would make it.
Of this, he was certain: if Mr. Lapine ever got wind of Wanda's interest in Clarence, he would not permit Clarence to date his daughter any more. What was Clarence supposed to do now? Tell Mr. Lapine and hope that he understood the bind Clarence was in? Could Clarence hide this successfully from Mr. Lapine as he continued to fend off Wanda's advances?
It just isn't fair. All my life I've had zero success with females. Now, I can't do anything without attracting them! "What is going on?" he asked himself plaintively.
Wanda sat in the chair in front of the lighted vanity mirror and placed her elbows on the counter. She placed her chin in the vee formed by her paws and looked at her reflection.
Clarence was so cute, she thought. Shy too. Wanda had always liked shy males, and with Clarence, she saw some real potential, considering his apparent physical attributes.
Wanda knew that she had caused Clarence no small discomfort in the hall and in the photo shoot before. It was as someone threw a switch inside her when Clarence was around; she honestly couldn't help herself. With a tiny sigh she stood and removed her robe and began putting her clothes back on.
When she stepped from the dressing room, Clarence was nowhere in sight, so she headed towards the lobby, keeping an eye and ear out for him. Once in the lobby, she debated whether or not to circulate through the building looking for him, and decided against it. She didn't want to scare him out of his job just yet. She put on her sunglasses and stepped out into the sunlight, daydreaming of possibilities as she went to her car.
Chris poked his head in the hospital room. "Anybody home?" he asked.
Dexter looked up from his chair where he was idly tossing and catching a football. Angel smiled from her bed and put her arms wide out. "Chris!" Chris came over and she gave him a big hug. "You're sweet! Thanks for coming to see me."
"Hey, anything for my best friend's wife." He kissed her on the cheek, then whispered in a loud voice "You need to dump the old man and run away with me."
"I could never do that," Angel laughed. "He'd never make it without me."
"Probably right." Chris opened the small bag he carried. "I know how bad the hospital food is, so I brought you what I know all women love." From the bag he handed her a very cold pint of ice cream and a plastic spoon.
"Rocky Road! You know it's my favorite!"
"Jen and Barry's, too; only the best." He found a chair and sat down. Dexter tossed him the football, and Chris tossed it in the air before sending it back. "Where'd you get the football?" he asked.
Dexter caught it with one paw. "The writer left it here. How's everything with Sabrina's roomie?"
Angel popped the lid off of her ice cream. "Sabrina?" she asked. "What's wrong?"
Chris' tail slipped beneath the arm of the chair, he picked it up and began idly playing with it. "Her roommate got rushed to the hospital with false labor pains. She's not quite ready to deliver apparently."
"I feel like I delivered. That thing wasn't all that big, but it sure felt big!" She took a bite of the ice cream and fell backwards against her pillow and mattress, rolling her eyes and savoring it. "Okay, we run away together as soon as I'm out of here."
Dexter stopped tossing the ball. "And leave me all alone with Sabrina?" he said as he sat up.
"You sit back down," Angel told him.
Chris nodded. "Yeah." He dropped his tail and caught the ball when Dexter tossed it. "'course, when I told her the news about her new job … " He tossed it back toward Dexter, it hit the window frame before hitting the floor.
Dexter scooped it up and spun it between two fingers. "She didn't like the idea, huh?"
This time Chris missed the catch and managed to grab it before it wobbled out the door. "I can't say either one of us did. Anything to hold things up."
"What's being held up?" Angel asked and ducked! her head beneath her arms as the football came sailing back across the room and Dexter caught it on the other side of her bed.
"They pushed her start date back," he told her, taking a step back from the bed. "We're looking at another six to eight weeks now."
"Go long!" Angel screamed when Dexter bullet passed the football across the room! Chris ran for it and made a passing nurse cry out when he narrowly missed her and caught it beautifully.
When the front glass sliding doors of the hospital opened, the bear orderly released the headlock on Dexter and Chris and pushed them outside. They landed together in a heap on the sidewalk under the overhang.
Dexter and Chris pushed themselves up from the concrete and watched the doors close and the orderly return to his duties. Chris ran his hand through his hair. "I dunno what the fuss was about," he said. "I caught the thing."
Dexter brushed the dirt from his sleeves. "Some people's kids." He looked at his watch. "Hungry?"
"Yeah." Chris helped Dexter up, and they headed for his car.