a story by
(c) 1998, 1999, 2000 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, Tammy Vixen, Sheila Vixen, Clarisse, Timothy Squirrel-Woolfe, and Carrie Squirrel (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Debbye Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Dexter Collie, Angel Collie, Wendy Vixxen, Sarge and Endora Mustelidae, 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. Character James Sheppard and Marvin Badger (c) James Bruner. Characters Kittiara and Katja (c) "Kittiara". Character Mark the "cheetaur" (c) Mark White. Character Tyler Leone (c) Michael Mullig. Characters Kevin and Kell Dewclaw (c) Bill Holbrook. Character Stacy (c) Jeffrey Darlington. Characters Chatin and Cilke (c) "Syke". Characters Jack Black and Cecil Stewart (c) Scott Kellogg. 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
The rain came down for twenty minutes, at most. Sabrina lay on her bed and listened, hoping the sound would eventually lull her to sleep; if she had slept, it was very little. She spent the four and a quarter hours since hanging up the phone turning, rolling, tossing, pulling her sheet up, rolling over, kicking it back off, pacing her bedroom, once listening to Amy tend Timothy somewhere around three AM. She rehearsed things to say to Chris, things he might say back and how she would respond to them.
“You’re worrying yourself sick!” Sabrina told herself, her muzzle buried into her pillow. She rolled over and arched her back to pull her tail out for the hundredth time. Placing her paws on her abdomen, “You’re going to give yourself morning sickness before you’re ready for it.”
She tightened one paw. “Unless you’re not pr … pre … ” Sabrina couldn’t say the word. Her subconscious was repressing it. “I am.” A heavy sigh escaped her lips. “I most definitely am.” Sabrina used both hands to describe it all to herself. “Your … cycle doesn’t start, and the only reason it doesn’t start is because things you do to prevent this kind of thing don’t work, and you become preg … pr … ” She sighed again.
Turning her head, she looked at the phone on her nightstand. “Susan is going to kill me for not telling her first. God, I’ve known here longer than I’ve known anybody, and I didn’t … couldn’t … let her in on it … first … at all.” Laying the back of her open right paw over her forehead, she admonished herself with “Oh, Sabrina, what have you done to yourself?”
Sabrina heard a car engine outside. Jumping out of bed she ran to her window and saw the shape of her fiancé’s Mercury, able to make out the shape thanks to the glint of sunrise over the buildings across the street. Pulling herself back she watched quietly as Chris got out and ran to the outside steps of the building, his keys firmly in hand. There was a severe temptation to run down to the foyer and meet him there that she had to fight off with a passion.
“He came, anyway. Just like he said he would.
“Of course he came! He loves me, why wouldn’t he come?” Sabrina looked at her feet. “Does he still love me? Now?” Sabrina used her index finger to wipe under each eye, and with a final sigh she walked out of her bedroom and slowly down the hall toward the living room.
She heard the door open then the jingling of keys. Her body shivered, and Sabrina walked to the corner where the hallway met the living room, her mind completely blank.
And when she saw Chris, everything she’d thought and rehearsed and gone over and over vanished. She stood, her eyes drifting away, down toward the carpet.
Chris let his arm drop, his keys falling to the floor. He saw the vacant look on Sabrina’s face, her eyes turned down, her clean white hair disheveled. His heart instantly took on several pounds and the smile he wanted to use to greet her left him, his mouth parting slightly.
Sabrina looked up again, unsure of what to say, how to act, anything. But when she saw Chris take a step toward her, she ran up to him as fast as her feet could carry her that short distance, her nightshirt fluttering behind her, and she fell into Chris’ open arms, wrapping hers around him as tightly as she could manage. Which wasn’t as tightly as she’d hoped, But Chris’ strong arms took that burden from her, and she felt him hold her just as tightly as ever; every negative thought she’d harbored all evening and all morning vanishing as she pushed herself up on one foot and sunk her head into his shoulder. Crying sounded more like attempts to gasp for air that disappeared into the fabric of his wrinkled polo shirt, the one he’d worn earlier when he’d gone out for dinner and had rescued from his bedroom floor.
“I’m so glad you came,” Sabrina said, turning her head to look up at Chris.
Chris forced a grin. “Uhm, that’s kinda what started this all, isn’t it?” he asked.
It was hard; Sabrina didn’t know whether to laugh or yell. She opted for a wrinkled smile.
Chris pursed his lips. “Sorry, Kitten.”
Sabrina leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “s’okay.” She took his paw and they walked toward the couch. “I’m still just a little …. you know.”
“I know,” Chris nodded. They sat on the couch; Chris shifted himself away from the narrow beam of early morning sun coming in through the window and sparkling through the terrarium glass. He slid a paw behind Sabrina’s head and ran his fingers through her hair, she responded by snuggling closer to him. “You doin’ okay?” he asked.
Sabrina shrugged one shoulder. “I guess,” she said.
Chris looked at her face. “Did you manage to get any sleep?”
“Not really.” Sabrina sighed.
They sat quietly for a bit, Chris rocking her back and forth gently. He slipped his arm lower and pulled her closer, feeling her melt into his arms in a combination of love and fatigue.
And so they sat, quietly. Chris was determined not to give in to his body; a four hour plus car drive on a mere handful of hours of sleep was something he wasn’t used to, and his body was reminding him of that. He could feel Sabrina feeling about the same way.
Then he felt Sabrina slip an arm up his back and hug him, surprisingly tight for as tired as she must’ve been. She raised her voice not much above a whisper and said “You made me feel so special right now.”
Chris nuzzled just below Sabrina’s right ear. “You are special, Kitten,” he reminded her.
“I mean really special, coming all the way out here … no one’s ever done anything like that for me before.” She turned to him and stretched her arms around his neck, nuzzling, closing her eyes. “I don’t know how to show you just how much I love you right now.”
Chris held her, smiling quietly, stroking his paw up and down her back.
“You already have,” he said softly.
“I don’t think so, I couldn’t.” Sabrina said, lifting her head.
“Y’know,” she continued, “you could’ve just stayed home, denied everything, lived your life. Not bothered with me or any of this at all.”
Chris listened, incredulous as Sabrina said that. “I can’t believe I’m hearing my future wife talk like this,” he told her.
“I’m sorry,” Sabrina said quickly, hugging him tighter, as if he were going to disappear from her. “But you know, considering our circumstances, me here and you all the way in Pennsylv -- ”
“Kitten, that changes nothing!”
“Besides,” Chris said, “you know where I live. And all your stuff’s there.”
Sabrina finally smiled. “That’s true.” She lifted her head and kissed Chris’ cheek. She released her hug and cuddled now. “Still love me?” she asked.
“Of course, I do.” Chris’ fingers migrated into Sabrina’s hair and slid through it. Pulling away some he manuevered her head and looked into her eyes. “You think I could stop because of this? Especially because of this?” Sabrina closed her eyes and shook her head, and Chris picked a swathe of hair from her eyes.
“What did the doctor say when you saw him?” he asked.
“I … haven’t seen him yet,” Sabrina admitted.
“Say what?” Then, “You haven’t?” Then, again, “So, you mean, you might not be … ”
“Trust me, I am.” Sabrina stated. “And there’s something else I haven’t told you.”
Chris listened quietly.
“I … I’ve wanted to tell you this, honest I have.” Sabrina trembled slightly. “But anytime I think about it we’re not together, or when we are and I think of it, you do or say something that makes me melt and I forget again … and I really need to tell you, Chris; it’s important.”
“I’m here now, Kitten. And you have my full attention.”
Sabrina began idly playing with her nightshirt. “There’s … something wrong with me … ::sigh:: … I have this condition, y’see, and … and it’s hard to tell you.”
Chris hugged his fianceé tightly.
Sabrina whispered in his ear. “I have Endometriosis.”
Chris’ grip loosened a bit. “Enda-huh?”
“Endometriosis.” Sabrina sighed again. She adjusted herself on the couch to slipped out of Chris’ hug, and took his paws in hers. “It’s hereditary; one of those weird things that hits every generation or so?” Chris nodded that he understood. “It skipped Mom and, well, I’ve got it.”
“It doesn’t sound good,” Chris said.
Sabrina shook her head. “It isn’t. The way they described it to me, there’s some kind of scarring in my Fallopian tubes and … this is the tough bit … Chris, we may not be able to have children.”
She’d blurted the last bit out as quickly as she could, to make sure it got said. Chris sat holding Sabrina, and saying nothing. In a moment, she continued.
“I may even miscarry this one.”
“Kitten,” Chris reminded her, “we’re not even sure you’re pregnant yet.”
Sabrina flinched. The word finally hit -- pregnant. She felt it sink in. I’m going to have a baby … I’m pregnant. She interlaced her fingers with his. “We were so careful, too. I guess there really isn’t a 100% guaranteed method, other than not doing it in the first place.”
The chances you take, Chris thought. Then, “Kitten, you need to see the doctor.”
Sabrina sat quickly up. “I can’t!” A yawn had almost made its way out when she had reacted. “I can’t … Chris, if I go to my doctor and tell him I’m pregnant -- ”
“ -- or not, I could never … and what if my parents found out? Oh, God, I could never face them, having a baby out of wedlock … I can just hear Dad now.”
“Well,” Chris said to her, “the wedlock part we can fix easily. But the doctor’s not going to tell your family.” He watched Sabrina fidget uneasily. She was honestly nervous about the idea of facing her doctor.
“What’s the number?” Chris asked. “I’ll call.”
Sabrina shook her head. “I … don’t want to go.”
“Sabrina, you have to go. Look, if you don’t give me the number, I’m sure Amy or Endora would know.”
“You’re too important to me to let you not call.” He gathered her in his arms again, his eyelids weighted, and rocked her gently. “We need to know for sure, and when we do we can go get a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne and celebrate, and see about bumping our wedding date up.”
Sabrina smirked. “I haven’t even started shopping for a wedding gown yet.”
Chris looked over her shoulder at the brightening window. “We could elope. I can run home to Dad’s house and borrow his ladder, be back around seven-ish.”
Finally, Sabrina laughed. “Nah. I want a church wedding.” She lifted her head. “A big one, and I want to invite everyone. Kevin and Kell Dewclaw, Florence Ambrose, Jack Black, Cecil Stewart … ”
“Chatin and Cilke?”
“Don’t push it.”
“Hey,” Chris kidded, “I’m entitled to a bachelor party.”
Sabrina pursed her lips, narrowing her gaze.
“Oh, quit it. Just hold me.” She lowered her head again and Chris held onto her, finally giving in and yawning big, his tongue curling backwards. Sabrina was next, then Chris again.
“I love you,” Sabrina muttered as sleep overcame her.
Chris was already asleep.
A sound from the kitchen and the smell of coffee woke Chris slowly. While they napped, he and Sabrina had unentwined and leaned back on the sofa. With another great yawn he slipped his arm carefully out from beneath Sabrina as Amy walked into their dining area.
“Good morning,” Amy said. “I didn’t expect to see you when I got up.”
“’morning,” Chris whispered and stood. He walked over to Amy. “I didn’t expect to be here, frankly. But, … ” He nodded toward the couch.
“I know,” Amy nodded. “Poor girl was worried sick. I told her to call you, but she was afraid of what you’d say if she did. Guess she changed her mind. Coffee?”
“Sure. But only if I can see your baby first. And congratulations, by the way!”
Amy smiled. “Thanks. C’mon, this way.” Chris followed Amy back to the nursery where her little one lay sleeping.
“This is little Timothy?” Chris asked.
“Yep,” Amy answered him proudly. “Timothy Jacob Woolfe-Squirrel.”
Chris raised his eyes from the bassonette. “Not Squirrel-Woolfe?”
Amy shook her head. “Huh-uh. I know, it’s traditional for the mother’s maiden name to be first, but I liked the sound of Woolfe-Squirrel.”
“You’ll probably end up shortening it to just ‘Woolfe’ eventually, anyway.” Chris reached in and brushed a finger gently over tiny Timothy’s fur. “He is a cutie.”
“Thanks.” Amy soaked every compliment for Timothy she got like a sponge. She reached in and tugged the blanet over him. “How’s Sabrina?” she asked.
“Scared and worried. She needs to see her doctor, but she doesn’t want to call.”
“Denial,” Amy said. “Been there.”
Chris looked up. “You wouldn’t know the number, would you?”
“I can’t do that!” Amy balked. “I feel for Sabrina, really I do, but if she said she doesn’t want to call, then I have to respect that.”
Chris felt a brick wall building around him. As he straightened he glanced in the corner of Timothy’s bassonette. “Say,” he said, reaching in and picking up what the rubber duck, “does this squeek?”
“Yes it does,” Amy said nervously, reaching for it, “and loudly, too!”
“Really?” Chris asked, pulling his arm out of reach. “Really loudly?”
“Yes!” Amy almost seethed. Then she sighed. “Okay, I’ll get you the number. But I have to get it out of her purse.”
“Thanks, Amy,” Chris grinned and replaced the squeek toy. “You’re a good friend.”
Amy gritted her teeth and shook her tail. “I didn’t think you had that level of evil in you,” she remarked.
Chris followed her out. “Trudy at GPF Software’s got nothin’ on me.” When they returned to the living room Chris detoured past the couch where Sabrina was partially reclined, sound asleep. He leaned in and scooped her up in his arms, trying to keep his feet clear of her long tail drooping toward the floor.
Sabrina jerked and partially woke up. “Chris?” she said sleepily.
“Relax, Kitten,” Chris said as he carried her down to her room. “I’m just taking you to bed.” He maneuvered them both through the doorway and laid her down. Almost instantly she rolled onto her side and curled up into a sleeping ball of skunkette.
Chris slipped quickly out and back down the hall where Amy had a cup of coffee next to a slip of paper and the sugarbowl.
“There it is,” Amy said as she sipped at her own cup. “Good luck trying to get him on a Sunday.”
Chris fixed his coffee and read the name and number. “Where there’s a will, and all that.” He looked at his watch. “If I fall asleep, would you wake me around nine so I can call?
“I really wish you hadn’t done this.”
Chris wandered around the small examining room in the hospital’s Outpatient center, poking in drawers. “You’ll thank me later,” he told her.
“Not for them making me wear this stupid little gown.” Sabrina tried to pull the hem down closer to the halfway point of her thighs. “Honey, I could’ve called tomorrow and gotten an appointment at his office.”
Yeah, but would you have done it? Chris almost said. “Sure, but this way we both know at once. We’re in, we’re out, we’re AAAACCCKKKGGRRRRHHH!!!”
Sabrina spun quickly around, then said in a low voice “Will you stop that!”
Chris took the blood pressure cuff away from his neck and put it back in its holder. “The things you have to do to break the monotony of waiting,” he remarked.
“That’s as bad as your drumming with the tongue depressors.”
“Would’ve been worse if I’d put ‘em back.”
“You’re worse than a little kid.” Sabrina looked at the battery-powered clock on the wall, and sighed, swishing her tail across the table impatiently. Then she felt Chris’ black paws glide over her shoulders.
“A little kid who loves you, Mommy,” Chris said in her ear.
Sabrina leaned against him and took one of his paws in hers. Her eyes teared just a bit. She leaned her head back, and their lips met.
Just as the exam room door was thrown open. “Good afternoon!” the large black wolf with the most incredibly shiny fur greeted them.
Chris opened his eyes and looked over Sabrina’s muzzle. “You’re timing’s rotten,” he said, still partially connected to Sabrina.
Sabrina turned her head back. “Hello, Doctor Ellis,” she said.
“Sabrina! I haven’t seen you in a while,” he said as he stepped the rest of the way inside. Then, to Chris, “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to wait out in the waiting area.”
As Chris opened his mouth to protest, Sabrina said to him, “It won’t be very long.”
Chris nodded, and gave Sabrina a kiss before he slipped past the doctor, who closed the door behind him. He picked up her record folder and, adjusting his wire-rimmed spectacles, glanced over the basics the nurse had done before he came in. Sabrina looked over her shoulder, watching him, then shivered at the breeze from the hospital’s air conditioning and tried to tug her gown down again.
Doctor Ellis saw her and grinned. “They don’t make them very big, do they?” he asked.
“It’s one size fits all, isn’t it?” Sabrina said. “It’d be too small for my baby sister.”
“It kind of takes away some of your modesty, doesn’t it?” He placed a paw behind Sabrina’s back and helped her lay back.
“More like strips it away,” Sabrina corrected.
“We’re all too modest,” Ellis said. “That’s the whole reason I became a naturist.” He began gesturing with his arms. “There’s something about going out and enjoying fresh air and the sunshine in nothing more than the fur God gave you that has to be experienced to be appreciated!”
Sabrina looked at him over her glasses. Uhhhhhh-huh.
“I vacation regularly at a colony about an hour’s drive from here.” The snap of a rubber glove going over one paw made Sabrina jump. “I could tell you all about it, and it wouldn’t mean a thing unless you experienced it yourself.” Snap!
“I, erm, never knew that about you.” And now I’m going to let him examine me??
“Not something that comes up in conversation too often.” He pulled up a short wheeled stool and scooted over to the bed. “On to why you’re here. Your fiancé tells me you think you might be pregnant.”
Sabrina gave a resigned nod.
“And as you have Endometriosis, you already know the possibilities of problems.” He pulled a pencil from his lab coat pocket. “When was your last menstrual cycle?”
Sabrina thought. “It’s been almost two months.”
Doctor Ellis made a note in the folder. “Are you still having pain from those?” he asked.
“Not as much as usual,” she told him. “It’s been easing up.”
The doctor’s eyes widened. “Really? Hmmmmm … ” Another scribble.
“Last time,” Sabrina confessed, “it wasn’t anything beyond cramps, actually.” She gave a little laugh. “For a change I really didn’t mind having it.”
The wolf lowered the folder, his muzzle parted in disbelief.
“And now I’m not having one at all,” she continued, “so I must be pregnant, right?”
Doctor Ellis stood, a much more serious expression showing itself. “Sabrina,” he said, “I think you’d better make yourself comfortable.”
Chris was the only one sitting in the small waiting area. He had gone through all of the television channels twice. Checking his watch, he saw he’d been sitting there for nearly twenty-five minutes. “Doc’s gotta do what the doc’s gotta do,” he told himself. He poked through the magazines and found a 1976 National Geographic and began to flip through it, yawning,while a nurse pushed a very confused Sabrina in a wheelchair past the doorway.
Sabrina laid on her back on the cot of the examining room in which she’d spent the past two and one-quarter hours. She was exhausted; her bent left leg slowly slid downward and straightened out as her body tried to relax. Her pelvis was sore, her mouth dry from the medications they had given her. All Sabrina felt she wanted to do was sleep, so rather than fight the nap she closed her eyes and gave in to her body.
Chris’ eyes popped open. He looked up at the civet nurse, who said, “would you come with me, please?”
Doctor Ellis walked into the Number Four Examination Room and gently shook the sleeping skunkette’s shoulder. “Sabrina?” he said softly. She stirred slightly and slowly shaded her sapphire eyes. Sabrina started to sit as she saw the semi-squeaky door swing open so the civet could silently show Chris inside.
“You must be Mr. Foxx.” The doctor introduced himself, shaking paws with Chris. “We met once beore when I threw you out of the other exam room.”
“Nice to meet you.” As they shook, Chris was fascinated by the green-yellow eyes of the doctor; combined with his height and shimmery black fur, he could be an imposing wolf if he wanted to be.
“Sabrina asked for you to be here,” the doctor went on, “as her fiancé, this concerns you as well.”
Chris walked over beside Sabrina. She scooted herself closer to him, taking his paw in hers and she squeezed it gently.
Doctor Ellis opened the folder and made a note in the margin. “Sabrina,” he asked, “did you take one of those home pregnancy kits from the drug store?”
Sabrina blushed slightly. How easy it is for him to say ‘pregnant’. She shook her head. “Uh, no. No, I didn’t.” How embarrassing would that have been!?
Chris raised an eyebrow. “Would that have been a problem?” he asked.
“No,” the doctor said to him. “Just something I wanted to know.” He made another mark and closed the folder, keeping one finger inside. He took a breath, then straightened his posture and addressed the young couple.
“I want to apologize for the amount of time we took,” he began. “Ordinarily it doesn’t take this anywhere near this long, but considering your condition, Sabrina, it was necessary.”
Doctor Ellis folded his arms. “I have good news or bad news for you both. How you decide to take it is, well, entirely up to you.
“Sabrina, you’ve waited this long to come see me, and I understand why. But you have to promise me never to do it again when it’s something this important.”
Sabrina nodded, her head lowered.
“But this is the reason you are here, so I think the best way is to just come out and tell you both.”
Chris felt Sabrina interlace her fingers with his. He felt the lump return to his throat.
“No beating around the bush.”
Sabrina lifted her head.
“No evading the issue. Cut and dried.”
Sabrina and Chris slowly exchanged a glance.
“No waffling. Straight and to the point.”
“AM I PREGNANT?!!” Sabrina screamed.
Doctor Ellis and Chris both jumped!
“Well,” Ellis glanced in her folder again, closed it, and answered her.
Sabrina and Chris could feel each other relax. Sabrina leaned forward. “I’m not?” she asked happily.
“Nope. You’re as far from being pregnant as I am. Something held up your monthly cycle, I don’t know what. But you should be straightening out within another day or two.”
Sabrina turned to Chris, grinning with the biggest dimples Chris had ever seen on her. He took her paw in both of his and held it lovingly. “Judging from the clock on the wall,” he said to her, “it must be true.”
“Oh, that’s not what took up all of the time,” Doctor Ellis corrected. As they turned back to face him, he continued, “Sabrina, does Chris know about your Endometriosis?”
“Yes,” Sabrina said with a nod. “I told him this morning.”
“That’s what took so long,” Ellis said. Again he opened Sabrina’s record folder and the most confused look crossed his shiny black-furred muzzle. “Ordinarily I can examine you for that in fifteen minutes, but Sabrina, your Endometriosis … I can’t find any sign of it.”
Chris turned to Sabrina. “Well, that’s a good thing, right?”
“Waitaminit,” Sabrina said, leaning forward, “you told me before I’d have that for the rest of my life.”
“Yes, I did say that,” her doctor told her. “And I couldn’t have made a mistake like that. At least, I don’t think I could’ve made a mistake like that … ” He pondered the thought for a moment. “No, definitely couldn’t have. I’ve been practicing medicine for far too long now.”
“How long do you have to practice medicine before you’re good enough to do it?” Chris asked.
“Doctor, my baby sister,” Sabrina asked. “When she gets older … will she have it? Or is this a sign that … ”
“Sabrina, this is a case of scar tissue in your Fallopian tubes,” Ellis reminded her. “Scarring doesn’t heal. And there’s no cure for scarring; it’s just one of those things you live with. It’s hereditary; if you have it then yes, your sister mostly like will have it as well. But in you, it’s gone. It’s as though it were never there.”
The relieved look on Chris’ face spoke volumes. Sabrina’s expression was a mixture of joy combined with guilt. He is my doctor, she kept telling herself. I really should tell him …
“I see no reason why you two can’t have a big, healthy family … when you’re ready.”
“But … ” Sabrina said with bewilderment, “what do you think happened?”
“Well,” started Doctor Ellis, “either I misdiagnosed your condition, which as arrogant as that may sound I have to discount because I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been around.
“Or … ”
Chris exchanged another look with Sabrina. “Or?” he prompted.
Ellis raised his arms in a show of resignation.
Sabrina leaned back, pondering that thought.
“Well, they do still happen occasionally,” Chris reminded them.
And sometimes, they’re made for you, Sabrina thought, looking away.
Doctor Ellis tapped Sabrina’s knee with the closed folder. “You can get dressed now. The nurse will be in in a few minutes with the paperwork. And congratulations.” Turning, he let himself out, closing the door behind him.
Sabrina slid off of the examining cot and steadied herself. She still hurt, but the euphoria of what her gynocologist told her was better than any painkiller they could have given her. He stepped up to Chris and threw her arms around his neck, kissing him as hard as she could!
“Wow,” Chris said when he could finally speak “I should take you to the hospital more often.”
“To get news like this, I’ll go!” Sabrina relaxed her hold and looked into Chris’ eyes. “Tell me the truth,” she said to him. “Are you happy or relieved that I’m not going to have our baby?”
Now, even being a bachelor for 27 years, Chris knew full well not to step into a trap like that. Opting for a really good non-answer, he smiled and ran his paws up and down her sides. “Well, I’ll admit it would’ve been nice to have had a little Chris Junior running around. But the important thing is we know when we’re ready to actually try, we’re can have a house full of ‘em.”
“A houseful?” Sabrina asked, amused.
“Yep. Lotsa little skunk babies.”
Sabrina pulled Chris tighter and hugged him!
“I love you.”
“I love you, Kitten.”
Sabrina kissed him once more and Chris undid the ribbons behind her neck and back that held the gown in place. She shrugged out of it as she walked over to the bag with her clothes. She set her glasses on the stainless steel cabinet and as she separated her bra from her shirt, that gnawing returned. She knew she should have told her doctor the truth.
I gave my word, Sabrina reminded herself, and I’m going to keep it.
And she began getting dressed.
Night had fallen. Sabrina had been famished, and as this was an occasion to celebrate, Chris had taken her to her new favorite restaurant, Salvatore’s. As they returned to the car, Chris was amazed he could walk after all he had eaten. And with a beautiful skunk’s arm hooked though his, he couldn’t imagine a more perfect evening.
Sabrina watched the lights go by as they drove through town. “I don’t want to go home,” she said. “This day has been too good to me.”
“No law says we have to,” Chris said, although the strain on his body since the wee hours of the morning were beginning to creep up on him. “Care for a beverage?” he asked. “A glass of wine perhaps, or something?”
“Sounds ni -- hey!” Sabrina sat up quickly. “Turn left here.”
Chris turned at the corner and a few blocks down he remembered Sabrina bringing him this way a couple of months before.
“Yes!” She pointed to the cars and the couple in the ZZ Studios parking lot. “Pull in, okay?”
ZigZag looked away from her date at the unfamilar car pulling in on the other side of hers. The second it had come to a stop, she watched the door open and Sabrina jump out, running over to her.
“Sabrina,” Chris said to no one as he shut his engine off, “you know better than to open the door by yourself. Gotta talk to that girl.” He undid his seat belt and stepped out, walking over and watching … I recognize her!
By the way the tiger-striped skunk reacted by giving her the hug, it seemed she knew about Sabrina’s concerns before he had. Well, everyone had their confidants, he thought as he approached. Sabrina reached out as soon as he came within range and pulled him over.
“Chris, as I promised, this is ZigZag. ZigZag, Chris.”
“I’ve heard of you,” Chris said, shaking her paw.
“So says my old shipping records,” ZigZag said with a grin. “Nice to meet the guy who’s taking my graphics girl away from me.”
“You guys got that all worked out, I thought,” Chris said, confused now.
“We did,” ZigZag assured him. “I’m just going to miss seeing her every few days or so.” She walked him over to the coyote Sabrina had pulled her away from. “This is Sabrina’s fiancé Chris. Chris, James Sheppard.”
“I’ve heard of you, too,” Chris said, noticing the odd-colored fur pattern
“Nice t’meet you,” James replied with an impressive pawshake.
Chris listened to his accent. “I get the impression you’re not from around here,” Chris said.
“Nope, I’m Tennesee born and bred.” The coyote spoke with a pride one would expect from a Southerner.
“Gee,” Chris joked, “you guys really do talk like that!”
“We’re out celebrating,” Sabrina told them quickly. “Chris suggested going out for a a glass of wine. Wanna join us?”
ZigZag looked at James with a “I dunno, What do you think?” look. While she was used to the invites from the girls who acted for her, she never thought Sabrina would be one to invite her, especially considering the way she had treated Sabrina when she first hired her.
“Up to you, Zig,” James said to her. “I know you don’t drink … ”
ZigZag shrugged. “I don’t think one glass of wine would upset anything.” It was then she realized she’d had her keys in her hand since James had brought her back from their own date. “But if you’re offering, we’ll take my car. Least I can do.” And before anyone said anything, she’d already pointed her keyfob at her Lexus and pressed the button, unlocking the car and lighting the interior.
As the men went to lock their respective cars, ZigZag took Sabrina aside. “I told you so,” she said. “And you were worried.”
“I was,” Sabrina nodded.
“Denial’s not a good thing,” her boss told her. “From one who knows all too well.” She rested a paw on her shoulder as they walked to her car. “I wish I’d known you when I was a kid; I think things would’ve been a lot different.”
Chris and James held the doors for their respective ladies. Once everyone was inside and buckled up, ZigZag backed up and they drove down the street.
Callahan’s lounge was more steady than busy; finding a booth for four was no problem at all. When they walked in, their attention was immediately caught by four males in a booth across the way who apparently were engrossed in a celebration of their own, and from the looks of them they had celebrated far further than they should have. It was evident that they recognized ZigZag however, as the wolf-whistles indicated.
Now I remember why I gave up drinking, ZigZag thought. She scooted into the booth from one side, and Sabrina from the other, Chris and James on the ends. After about five minutes of friendly chatting, it began to dawn on them that they hadn’t been waited on yet.
“Wouldn’t think this place would be serve yourself,” Chris remarked.
“Eh, no biggie,” James said. “Just means we get to keep the tip.” He looked at ZigZag. “Red or white?” he asked.
ZigZag heard Sabrina ask for white, so she smiled and said “White sounds good.”
“Be right back,” Chris warned them. He and James walked up to the bar.
Meanwhile, across the lounge, buoyed by alcohol and spurred on by their drunken compatriots, the ferret and raccoon approached the girls from either side of the table, hemming them in.
James had just placed their order when Chris tapped him on the shoulder. “James, we have trouble,” he said tersely.
James turned and looked towards where Chris was pointing. He saw ZigZag and Sabrina fending off attentions from a pair of drunken morons.
“Let’s go,” he muttered, forgetting the drinks and heading towards their table with Chris right behind him.
As Chris and James approached the table, they heard ZigZag and Sabrina telling the two males to leave them alone.
The ferret leaned towards ZigZag and put his arm around her. “Come on, baby,” he said, “I've seen you in those movies. How about making me feel like a big star?”
Had ZigZag not been with her back literally against a wall and Sabrina on the other side, she would have twisted from his grasp.
“Leave me alone!” ZigZag yelled.
Sabrina was faring no better, with her admirer angling for a kiss she was desperately trying to avoid. One hand was pinned against her and she was trying her best to use her free one to press against him. She could feel his paw riding up her thigh and his alcohol-laden breath on her neck.
Chris and James split up and approached the party crashers from the rear.
James grabbed the ferret's arm and jerked it away from ZigZag. “Get your grubby paws off my girlfriend,” he snarled.
Chris had both paws on the other one and hauled him forcibly backwards, away from Sabrina.
Both the raccoon and ferret turned to face James and Chris. Feeling the bravado of the inebriated, each decided to take a swing. Chris blocked his assailant's swing with his left arm and connected with the raccoon's chin using a swift uppercut using his right fist.
James still had the ferret's arm in his paw and took a right hook over his left eye. He stepped back and threw a punch directly into the ferret's nose, bloodying it. He stumbled, James stepped in and gave an immediate roundhouse, watching droplets of blood fly from his eye and narrowly miss a screaming feline waitress scurrying to get out of the way.
Chris landed a solid hit to the raccoon’s gut that doubled him over. Gritting his teeth he pulled him straight and delivered two hard and fast punches into his right side. As the raccoon groaned he felt the grating of three broken ribs grinding against each other. A swing toward Chris’ crotch narrowly missed and caught him in the stomach; Chris threw one more hit to his nose and shoved him to the floor, kicking him in the neck. Turning, he saw James bash the ferret in the eye and thrust his knee into his groin, watching him drop just before ZigZag managed to slide out of the booth. She grabbed his arm and started pulling him towards the door. Sabrina was behind Chris, urging him to follow ZigZag and James. Chris heard someone yelling to call the police, so he took Sabrina by the hand and lit out after them.
Once outside, ZigZag took her car keys out of her purse and pressed the button to unlock the doors as the foursome ran up. ZigZag and Sabrina shoved James and Chris into the back seat. After Sabrina got in, ZigZag pulled away quickly, but not fast enough to draw attention to themselves.
As she drove, ZigZag kept looking in the rear view mirror at James. She could see that he was cut over his left eye. Chris was holding his right paw and wincing. Sabrina turned and looked worriedly at the two in the back seat.
“What were you two thinking?” she asked.
James and Chris looked at each other and then back to Sabrina. Females, they thought together.
“Sabrina, do you think that we were going to stand by while you and ZigZag were accosted by those … idiots?” Chris asked her.
ZigZag placed her paw on Sabrina's arm and shook her head when the girl looked at her questioningly.
“Well,” ZigZag said when they arrived back to the ZZ Studios parking lot, “that was certainly the briefest celebration I’ve ever been to.”
“It really wasn’t supposed to happen like that,” Chris explained sheepishly.
James turned to Chris. “How's the paw?” he asked.
Chris winced painfully when Sabrina turned her back. “Smarts pretty good,” he said, shaking it again.
“Let me see,” said James, reaching for Chris' paw. “Spread your fingers.” James used his fingertips to probe the bones in Chris' paw. “Nothing's broken. Probably bruised it real good, though. Keep it iced for the next few hours. Tomorrow, use heat and aspirin for the swelling.”
“You, come with me,” ZigZag told James. “I want to look at your eye.”
James twisted his head as she reached for his paw. “I'm okay,” he told her. “I just need something to put on this cut.”
“I have peroxide and cotton inside. Come on.”
Chris and Sabrina exchanged their goodnights. James offered Chris his paw. Chris took it and they shook as James said, “Thanks. I'll cover your back anytime.”
Chris nodded. “Let’s do it again real soon.” He walked with Sabrina to the car and helped her inside. When Chris got in, he found Sabrina unusually quiet. It wasn’t until they were halfway home that she finally spoke.
“Chris, you could have been hurt,” Sabrina stated quietly.
“Sabrina, try and see it from out perspective,” Chris said calmly. “We saw you and ZigZag cornered by two unknown guys trying to put their meat-hooks on you two. How can you expect us to stand there and not do anything?” He shifted gears and turned a corner. “Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just dormant. To us, it’s worth the risk to defend you. We felt that you and ZigZag were in danger. We reacted accordingly.”
“I don't know what I would do if you got hurt because of me,” she replied.
“Better you than anyone else,” Chris said, smiling. He squeezed Sabrina’s thigh gently, and she interlaced her fingers with his.
After they had gone to bed, Sabrina turned to Chris and looked at him lovingly. “Was it really worth what happened to your paw?” she asked.
Chris laughed gently. “Yes, Kitten, it was. I would do anything to protect you.”
“How bad is your paw hurt?” she asked suggestively.
“Not that bad,” Chris replied as Sabrina kissed him forcefully.
A paw groped around in the darkness, eventually making contact with the slimline telephone and dragging it from its cradle.
“Great news, Dexter! Sabrina’s okay!”
Dexter winced at the loudness of the voice on the other end. He finally recognized the voice and said “Chris?”
“Yeah! I took Sabrina to see the doctor, she’s okay … oh jeez, I didn’t know it was so late. Lookit, tell Jim I’ll be in after lunch tomorrow, okay? Bye!”
Dexter hung up the phone and rolled over again. Angel turned sleepily toward her husband and asked “Who in the world was that?”
“A fox who doesn’t know he’s dead yet,” Dexter answered, as he stared wide-eyed at the headboard.