a story by
(c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 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) Tiffany Ross. Characters Jack Black and Cecil Stewart (c) Scott Kellogg. Character Packard Melan (c) S. Adam (I forget how to spell his last name). Character Ricky Boone (c) Ricky Boone. Character Portia (c) Matt Trepal. Eric Schwartz (c) Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz. 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, Amino Systems, or whoever the heck owns them now. "Cooking for Dummies" (c) 1999 IDG Books Worldwide
Chris methodically chewed his bite of chicken wing and watched as Sabrina scribbled on the side of her paper placemat. He turned his head to get a sideways look.
“Wazzat you’re writing?” he asked as he swallowed.
“A shopping list,” Sabrina said without looking up. “We’re going to need to know what to buy when we get there.”
“A shopping list?” Chris repeated, then laughed a little. “I remember my mom making those out when she’d go shopping. She was good at ‘em, too.” He leaned over more. “What’ve you got?”
Sabrina took a sip of her diet cola and read: “Bagels, orange juice, coffee, milk, bread, luncheon meat, soda … ”
“Pop,” Chris corrected.
“Soda,” Sabrina recorrected.
Chris compromised. “Sodapop.”
Sabrina printed P-O-P beside her handwritten word “Soda” and continued: “… lettuce, tomatoes, radishes … y’know, salad fixings … coffee, bread, catsup … ”
“You said ‘coffee’ twice,” Chris said as he swallowed two French fries coated in hot sauce.
“I like coffee. Fennel … ”
“What’s ‘fennel’?” Chris asked.
Sabrina shrugged. “I dunno,” she admitted. “But I’ve got a bottle for it in my new spice rack.
“I’ve also got chicken on the list, hamburger patties for some quick dinners, mushrooms, snacks, lots of chocolate, and if we get paper plates then no one has to do dishes.”
Chris looked off in the distance. “I remember my mom doing those, too.”
Sabrina looked up and shook her head. “How do you bachelors survive on your own?” she asked. “And as long as I’m thinking about it … ” She wrote at the bottom of the list dishwashing liquid. She looked at Chris again. “You have any toilet paper?”
Chris shrugged. “I have towels.”
Sabrina wrote down toilet paper.
“You’re food’s gonna get cold,” Chris admonished.
“I wonder if we can still get a Sunday paper,” Sabrina thought aloud, setting her pen down. “There’s almost always a coupon or two I can use.”
Chris started to laugh politely, gaining an unapproving glance from Sabrina. “‘Coupons’? You girls really have this down to a science, don’t you?”
“Us ‘girls’?” Sabrina defended. “Listen, you can really save money when you use coupons and have a plan before you go to the supermarket.” She picked up her half-eaten chicken sandwich. “And going shopping on an empty stomach is a definite no-no. You always end up buying more than you want. Make a list, and stick to it.”
“Far be it for me to question a professional,” Chris grinned, which didn’t make Sabrina’s attitude any better. He broke apart another wing and dipped it into his bleu cheese dressing.
Chris carried four bags of groceries and held the storm door with his foot so Sabrina could squeeze past him with her two bags. “Honestly, hon” she said, “I could’ve gotten the door.”
“That’d be out of character for me,” Chris reminded her. “Besides, this way I get to watch your cute butt.”
Sabrina grinned at him over her shoulder, and pulled her tail straight up!
“Get a good view?” she teased.
Chris stepped inside. “As if life weren’t short enough already.” That was when Sabrina dropped her tail and quickly wiggled the curled end of it under his muzzle.
“Pppppbbttt!” Chris started spitting black and white hairs out of his muzzle, then “YIP!”ped when the screen door closed on his tail!
Sabrina dropped her bags and reached past to hold the door open. “That’s gotta hurt,” she said to him.
Chris pulled his tail through and shook the kink out of it. He looked down at the vacuum plunger. “I’m gonna hafta adjust that thing one of these days.”
Sabrina began unpacking her two bags on the counter as Chris set his down. He took out a carton of eggs and went to the refrigerator, opened the door, and began cleaning out the ketchup packages, restaurant butter pats, and syrup packs from the egg cups.
Sabrina squeezed past him and opened the cupboard beneath the counter. Looking inside, she could only shake her head. “We’re going to have to straighten these out before I can put anything away.” She stood and opened the cupboard above the counter, stood on tiptoe, and rolled her eyes.
“We’ve got a lot of work here.”
Chris closed the refrigerator. “I’ve managed for nearly 6 years,” he told Sabrina.
“I wish I knew how! You have your canned goods mixed with your boxed foods, open bags with twist-ties … ”
“I know where everything is!”
“How?!” She took a step back and placed her paws on her hips, shaking her head. “I’ve got my work cut out for me here.”
Chris looked at his watch. “Not now you don’t. It’s pushing nine o’clock and we haven’t had any of that Cuddling Time you mentioned.”
“I can’t go to bed if I know the groceries are still out,” Sabrina explained.
As she took a step toward the larder Chris stopped her. “Kitten,” he said, “we can do that tomorrow.” As she opened her muzzle to protest he continued, “We’ll put the refrigerables away now, and do this ‘straightening out’ thing tomorrow.”
“I can’t go to bed if … ”
Chris tried a different approach. “You don’t want to fall asleep on your first day of your new job, do you?”
Sabrina’s muzzle hung quietly open. She looked over the pantry cupboards again. This is going to take a while!
“No,” she admitted, “I s’pose not.”
“Okay then.” Chris pointed to a bag on the counter. “Hand me the chicken.”
Sabrina pulled her eyes away from the horror that was Chris’ cupboard and dug out the chicken pieces, turned to hand them to him, and saw the interior of the freezer.”
“Oh my God !”
Chris looked at the open freezer, then looked back and gave a sheepish grin. “I heard once it’s a sin to waste food,” he tried to explain.
Sabrina leaned forward, eyes agog, arms hanging limply at her sides. “Then either your place in Heaven is assured or you better have some really good asbestos clothing!” She stepped up to the freezer compartment and removed a former bread bag containing a former meat product, opened it and looked inside.
“This is inedible,” she told Chris. “It’s freezer-burned.”
“C’mon, Kitten,” Chris said. “It can’t be frozen and burned.”
Sabrina reached into the bag and retrieved a frost-covered fist-sized rock of tan-colored meat-cake. “I read about this in my new cookbook. That’s freezer-burn.”
Chris leaned in and sniffed it. “Not nice.”
“Huh-uh.” Sabrina dropped it back into its bag where it landed with a smack and turned her attention to the packed collection of former food.
“You’ve perfected cryogenics,” Sabrina said as she tugged at a dilapidated Jen and Berry’s Double-Chocolate Fudge ice cream container. When it came free, her timing barely stopped three bags of something else from tumbling onto her foot.
Chris picked up the bags and Sabrina pried the lid off. “It’s empty!” she nearly cried. “Why are you saving an empty container!?”
“Huh?” Chris looked over his shoulder at the inside as he was trying to wedge the three bags back where they came from. “No it’s not, lookit.”
“Okay,” Sabrina admitted, “there’s maybe three spoonfuls of refrozen ice cream. Why on earth are you saving it??”
“You ever price Jen and Berry’s? That stuff ain’t cheap!”
“I love you, but this is unbelievable. And stop putting those back in! We have some serious cleaning out to do here.” Sabrina missed Chris’ muzzle opening in disbelief and turned to the counter to empty a grocery bag of nonperishables, in which the bag of meat-cake and nearly-empty ice cream container were dropped.
Next she removed a white Chinese food box. “Phong Mai?” she read on the side. “I thought you said they went out of business last June.”
Chris nodded. “They did.”
If Sabrina had shirt sleeves, she certainly would’ve rolled them up. “Okay,” she announced, “let’s edit.”
Sabrina scrubbed the last of the sticky residue and soapy water from the white fur on the back of her paws. She dried them and neatly folded her towel and hung it on the shower stall towel bar next to the red one Chris had wadded the end of and jammed in. Reaching for the water glass, she realized there still wasn’t one there. With a tiny sigh she walked to the kitchen and found a plastic cup and helped herself to a drink of water from the kitchen tap.
“Well water,” she told herself, making a face. “That’s gonna take some getting used to.” She rinsed out the cup and set it in the right-paw sink basin. She looked at the dry food and canned goods that still needed to be put away in the cupboards, forcibly fighting the urge to begin straightening them out now and putting the rest of the groceries away.
Sabrina could only shake her head. “I wonder if Portia has to deal with this stuff,” she asked herself quietly. She walked to the doorway and switched off the light, and walked through the dining room to the living room.
Chris looked up from the couch, remote control in paw. “Hey, sexy lady,” he said.
“Hi,” Sabrina said and fell into the cushion beside him, sank in, then scooted herself closer and snuggled up to him. Chris snaked his arm around her shoulders and held her close, feeling her body meld into his. It was a wonderful feeling.
“I can’t believe you had so much bad food in there,” she said to him, running her open paw over his right thigh.
Chris shrugged. “Not exactly the way I planned your first official night here,” he confessed. “I just didn’t expect to put you to work like that.” Or you to put us to work like that.
“But we had to get the frozen foods away.” She looked up at him. “You mad at me?”
“Mad?” Chris heard the pitch of his voice rise in surprise. “No, of course not. As you said, it needed done, an’nat.”
Sabrina nodded and turned toward the television. “What’s on?”
“Nothing.” Chris shook his head. “We missed the end of a Three Stooges short, that’s about it. I was just surfing while I was waiting for you.”
“Oh.” She reached for the remote. “May I?”
Chris pulled the remote out of her reach. “Absolutely not! This is a remote control, and you’re a girl, and you don’t-know-how-to-use-one.”
Sabrina reached across Chris’ lap and snatched at the remote with a “Gimme that!” And she sat up and began to cycle through the channels. And Chris watched as each channel appeared.
Chris shook his head. “Too slow.”
“You’ve got to see what’s on before you go to the next one,” Sabrina said, and went to the next channel. “How else can you tell if it’s something you want to watch or not?”
“It’s a ‘guy thing’,” Chris explained. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“Ri-i-i-i-i-ight.” Sabrina pointed the remote toward the television and clicked it off. “Who needs television anyway?” She sat it on the arm of the couch and turned to Chris, then scrabbled her fingers over his belly.
“Hey!” Chris jumped when Sabrina tickled him; he chased her paw and finally caught it, holding it out in mid-air. He silenced her giggling with a hard kiss on her muzzle, making her soften and part her lips to admit him. She mewed as she rolled her paw out of Chris’ grasp; she slipped it around his neck and they maneuvered to hold each other tightly together.
“Are you using my brush, honey?”
Chris set his watch on the headboard and called to the bathroom. “Nope, haven’t touched it.”
Sabrina studied the bristles of her coarse brush while she ran the towel through her hair. “These are definitely fox hairs,” she said, pulling two brown hairs out and holding them up for all to see.
“Huh?” Chris looked up toward the doorway. “I knocked your brush and one of your combs on the floor earlier,” he said to her. “That’s probably where they came from.” He turned back to the clock-radio to turn the alarm on.
“Oh,” Sabrina nodded. She picked up each of her combs and looked for brown or coarser black hairs in the teeth. Okay, they’re clean. She placed each piece of her brush kit neatly in their place and closed it up, flicking the tiny brass-plated latch closed. Folding the bath towel neatly she hung it on the side of the bathtub and picked up the shirt Chris had worn that day from it’s place in front of the small laundry basket and dropped it on top of the heap.
She shook her head. Bachelors, she thought. Better put a hamper on my list as well.
Shaking her tail to rid herself of the last few droplets of water from her shower, she turned off the light and walked into the bedroom.
Her new permanent bedroom. That was just beginning to hit home. I have to get up to go to a new job tomorrow! She began to feel that anxiety, the one that comes when you’re about to face something new and life-changing … there’s Chris’ towel. She took it into the bathroom and folded it neatly beside hers, and returned to the bedroom. Moving aside a smaller box, she began digging through the contents of another.
Chris was buttoning his pajama top. “Whatcha rootin’ fer?” he asked.
“Nightshirt. Here it is.” She tugged and pulled out an oversized tee-shirt with a red and white beachball logotype on the front.
“Heeee-e-eey, sexy!” Chris kidded.
“Oh, shut up,” Sabrina zinged back and pulled her shirt on. She turned to the mirror on the dresser and straightened it out. “Anything sexier and we’ll never get to bed.”
Chris turned to her and grinned.
“Never get to sleep.”
Sabrina climbed onto the bed; she was getting used to the wave motion of the mattress. “Is that all you ever think about?” she asked with a flutter of her eyelids.
“Hold still a second.” Chris stared at Sabrina, tilting his head one way, then the other. He lifted his head to look at the ceiling in thought, then back. “Yep, pretty much.”
Sabrina waved him off and climbed under the blankets. Chris turned off the lamp and climbed in beside her. He rolled onto his side so he could see Sabrina in the moonlight from outside, pulling his tail out from underneath him. Sabrina set her glasses on top of the headboard and was settling into bed, the moonlight sneaking past the edge of the closed mini-blinds casting a thin light upon her. Seeing Chris smile at her, she glided a white paw across his muzzle.
“I love you, Kitten,” Chris said to her.
“I love you.” She kissed him on the muzzle.
He pulled her close. Sabrina snuggled into Chris’ arm. As she cuddled she watched his eyes close, his muzzle open slightly.
It all felt so … right.
Sabrina closed her eyes, sleep coming on to her.
Sabrina’s eyes snapped open!
“Z-Z-ZZZZZZZ … ”
“Oh, this is new,” Sabrina said. She propped herself up and looked down at her sleeping fox. She waved a paw up and down in front of his face to see if he was pretending.
“ZZZZ-ZZZ-Z-Z-ZZZZ … ”
“Honey … ” Sabrina shook Chris’ shoulder gently. “Hey, honey … Chris … wake up, Chris … ”
Chris’ head rolled to one side.
“ZZZZZZ……ZZZ-Z-Z-Z-Z … ”
Chris was sleeping deeper. Sabrina had seen him fade off to sleep before, but had never heard this level of sound from him.
“I’m not going to get any sleep at this rate,” Sabrina said, watching her fiancé. She shrugged. “Like the fox says, sometimes you’ve got to take desperate actions.” She took two fingers and covered Chris’ nostrils.
“ZZZ-ZZ -- SNRFffgle!” Chris pitched his head from side to side and pulled away from Sabrina’s fingers.
“Sabrina!” he yelled, sitting up and staring at her in the moonlight!
“I’m sorry!” she said quickly, pulling back a bit. “But you were snoring!”
“Huh?” Chris thought about that for a moment. “I don’t snore, kitten.”
“You snore,” Sabrina said. “Sometimes it’s cute, but you’ve never been this loud before.”
“Kitten, I don’t snore!” Chris was adamant. “I stayed awake all night one time just to make sure, and I never snored once.”
It took Sabrina a moment to get that. Then, “Okay, but tonight you’re snoring loud enough for Amy to hear you.”
Chris was sitting up now. His countenance soft, he smiled warmly and moved up to Sabrina. “C’mere, Kitten.” He put his arm out; Sabrina instinctively snuggled into him. “You’re nervous about tomorrow.”
Sabrina nodded, “Mm-hm,” then raised her head suddenly. “No! Honestly honey, you were snoring.”
She felt Chris gently squeeze her shoulder. He began rocking her. “You’re nervous about tomorrow, you’re excited, you can’t sleep … ” He looked into her eyes, his other paw lightly brushing over the fur of her cheeks. “It’s perfectly understandable, and I’m here for you.”
“But Chrmmff … ” Chris pressed his muzzle against Sabrina’s and kissed her.
And kissed her. And she began to respond.
And snoring didn’t seem quite so important anymore.
And 20 minutes later …
“ZZZ-Z-ZZZ ZZZ-ZZZZ … ”
“Great,” Sabrina said, staring at the ceiling, her nightshirt bunched up beneath one shoulder. “He’s still snoring, and I’m in the wet spot.”
Sabrina sat bolt upright at the rock and roll music jarring her out of her sound sleep! Panting and catching her breath she looked down at Chris … he moaned and stretched, his eyes still closed, yawned wide and rolled over toward her, curling his tongue as he draped his arm across her side of the bed, obviously expecting her to be there. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at her.
“Goooood morning, Kitten,” he said with a broad smile. It was an act; he hated getting up in the morning. But for Sabrina and her new situation, he’d decided to play it up and let his positive mental attitude help her along.
“G’morning.” She was still jarred from the rude awakening the clock-radio gave her.
“You’re up bright and early,” Chris said to her, sitting up. He leaned over and turned her head with his finger, and gave her a very warm kiss. He turned himself around and reached up to turn down the radio. “That’s a great station,” he said. “The better ones are out of Pittsburgh, but out here I can only get those on the car radio, not in the bedroom.”
I’m up bright and early because your “great radio station” attacked me! “Uh, no,” she said, “I got up with the radio … is it always that loud?”
Chris chuckled. “It’s rock-n-roll, Kitten. If it’s too loud, you’re too old,” he teased. He threw the covers off, partially uncovering Sabrina. “I’ll fix coffee, you can have the bathroom first.”
“Thanks … WOAH!” Sabrina forgot and held onto the sideboard as the water mattress settled down. She watched Chris’ tail disappear through the bathroom door as he short-cutted his way to the kitchen.
Sabrina shook the cobwebs out of her head and turned to look at the clock. “Back home, I wouldn’t be up for another hour and a half.” She scratched the top of her head as she yawned. “The first day of the rest of my life needs quieter music.
End of Chapter 43This way to Chapter 44