a story by
(c) 1998 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, and Tammy Vixen (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Amy Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Dexter Collie, and Wendy Vixxen (c) Chris Yost. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners. Story based on characters and situations created by Eric W. Schwartz.
Dexter pulled into the company parking lot two cars down from Chris'. Walking past it he peeked into the back seat on his way in. Stopping by his cubicle long enough to get his coffee mug he walked into the break room.
"Good morning!" Chris yelled from across the room, holding the carafe high in the air, "Coffee?"
Dexter walked up and held out his mug. "Thanks." As he watched Chris pour, he asked, "I know it's a stupid question, but how was your weekend?"
"Dex, it was the best! The absolute best! Sabrina's even better looking in person! She's fun to be with! She's incredible! And, she's mine!"
"That explains your grin. You could land a jet on it."
Chris topped off both Dexter's mug and his own. "I asked her to be my girlfriend, and she said 'yes'! After we had dinner I bought her this necklace I saw; a silver butterfly with abalone wings. We saw a movie after that, I really don't know how it ended ... "
"Congratulations. I peeked in your back seat; I didn't see any lady's underwear."
Chris leaned in close. "She doesn't wear 'em!"
"You did have a good weekend!"
"Dexter, she doesn't wear anything from the waist down. I thought she just did that for the picture she e-mailed me. She wore this really soft, tight sweater and these glasses you have to see to believe ... "
" ... and we didn't see too much of the movie!"
"Our girl's growing up!" Susan kidded.
This time, though, Sabrina wasn't blushing as she talked about Chris. Unconsciously she kept fingering her necklace. "He's a great kisser. And next morning - "
"Hey!" Debbye stopped her. "No, nononono! What happened after the movie? Remember, we said we wanted details!"
"Details? Okay. He walked me home, we held hands, I invited him in for coffee, and he kissed me goodnight."
Three mouths dropped open at once. "No way!"
"Honest, that's all that happened Saturday."
"You mean nothing happened?" Cindy asked, not believing her lop ears. "Trevor did every trick he knew to cop a feel on our date, and you're honestly trying to tell your best friends Chris didn't??"
"Not once." Sabrina sighed. "He's a perfect gentleman!"
Now The Clique reacted as a whole. "Sabrina, there's no such thing anymore!" Susan insisted. "The concept died back with vinyl records."
"Then he's the last one. During dinner I got up to go to the ladies room, when I came back to the table, he stood up!"
"Guys don't do that, 'brina," said Cindy. "Not the ones I go out with, anyway."
"You don't find the right ones!" Sabrina said this over the class bell, as Mr. Canis walked in. The four girls turned themselves forward and folded their hands on the desk, smiling politely at the teacher, and doing their best to hold the pose. Canis opened his roll book, looked in their direction, opened his mouth, and it stuck there. The four girls never cracked a giggle, not for as hard as they were working not to!
The rest of the class giggled though.
Canis raised his eyes Heavenward. "... and the Lord spake, saying 'Canis, you're looking at one of those days'."
Three taped-together pieces of blue Catagory-5 cable snaked over the ceiling tiles. Chris supervised the badger as he took the ends and pulled, fishing them down through the hollow wall that separated the IT section from the Networking section. Not that his mind was on his work at all, as you might have guessed. Oh no, this past weekend went much farther than a mere short story like this can tell. Chris' mind was still in the movie theatre in Ohio, arm around his new girlfriend, concerned with anything but the movie at this point, mouths joined, lips slightly parted, tongues lightly touching, one hand stroking Sabrina's hair, the fur on the back of her neck, the back of her sweater, quickly slowing his drooling pant to steady breathing before walking around the boxes of new components back to his cubicle.
"When did you become a caffeine addict?" asked Dexter as he passed by.
Dexter reached out and removed the coffee carafe from Chris' paw. "You've become more absent-minded than usual since you met Sabrina."
"Can't help myself. Dex, she's all I think about! I can't concentrate on work or anything!"
"Neither can you," said the poodle who took the carafe from Dexter. "We've been looking all over the break room for this, Dexter! Very funny!"
Dexter pointed at Chris and opened his mouth, but got no further as he watched her take the pot and head for the door. "Anyway Chris, Angel wants to know if you want to come over for dinner tonight. I think she wants to know more about your new girlfriend."
"Women gossipies," Chris laughed. "I'd love to, thanks. I'll tell Sabrina I won't be on until late."
"Good, I'll tell her." Dexter started for his cube. "Don't forget to call her before you go tonight!"
"With luck," Chris called back with a grin, "I won't need to call."
"Thanks for the ride," Debbye said as they zipped out of the fast-food drive-through.
"Hey, that's what friends are for." Sabrina told her. She snitched a French fry from the bag. "We're both going to the same place anyway."
They ate their lunch on the way to Sabrina's building. "So," asked Debbye, "are you talking to Chris tonight?"
Sabrina swallowed and smiled. "You know I am! Tonight can't come fast enough. He's so special; he's a gentleman, he holds the door for me, he holds my chair for me, ... "
Debbye giggled. "That'll change later."
"I hope not." Sabrina paused long enough to steer her head toward the window-mounted cup holder and take a sip. "When we went to dinner I let myself out of his car, and he stood staring at me with his hands on his hips. I'm just not used to being treated like that."
"That's the kind of boyfriend I need." Debbye finished her burger. "You're in love with the right guy."
Sabrina laughed out loud. "Debbye, I'm not in love with Chris!
" ... am I?"
Debbye wiped her mouth. "'brina, listen to yourself talk! You can't wait for tonight to talk with him, you and he e-mail each other every day ... heck, you said you two even chatted on the computer last night even after you spent the weekend together! I gotta tell you Sabrina, you're in love!"
Sabrina pulled into the parking lot and shut the engine off. "I can't tell if I am or not. It's only been a week since we met online. You can't fall in love with someone in a week.
" ... can you?"
"In high school I fell in love with my biology teacher in one day. I guess you could do it in a week."
They both laughed as they took their drinks and walked into the building and up the stairs. Sabrina unlocked the door as Debbye said goodbye and opened the door to E.S. Productions.
Debbye ran across the hall and into the offices behind Sabrina. Sabrina was staring at her desk - on it was a vase filled with red and white carnations, with a single red rose standing in the middle.
"Oh my!" Debbye watched Sabrina walk over to them and pick them up. "Debbye, look at them!" Sabrina said. She buried her nose in them and took a deep smell. She closed her eyes and held her breath before turning around. Seeing a small envelope she jockeyed the vase under her arm and fished out the card. She read it to Debbye:
See you soon!
"Well, Sabrina," Debbye said smiling, "if you don't know if you're in love yet or not, I think Chris might!"
Sabrina quickly looked at the clock. "No one's due back from lunch yet. I've got to call him and thank him!" She set the vase and the card down and dug his phone numbers out from her purse. When she'd dialed the phone she turned and saw Debbye sitting, leaning on Sabrina's desk, her head on her hands, ready to hang on to every word.
"Nope!" she said before Sabrina got a sound out. "This I gotta hear."
"Debbye, please -- Hi, Chris Foxx please." Sabrina sat down and looked at her friend smiling at her. "Okay, but be quiet, and no laughing!"
Debbye nodded. "Giggling okay?"
Chris Foxx, line one-oh-one.
Chris put down his template and pencil, and rolled over to his telephone. The display didn't say anything about the caller. "Hello, can I help you?"
Sabrina leaned on her elbow. "Sure can, handsome."
"Well, hey!" Chris leaned back in his chair. "How're you doin', Kitten?"
"Oh, I like that!" Sabrina's smile turned into a blush when her field of vision expanded and she saw Debbye grinning. She put her elbow on the desk and sank her head into her hand. "Thank you for my flowers."
"D'you like 'em?"
"I love 'em. I love carnations, and especially the one rose in the middle."
Chris twirled his chair so his back faced the open wall of his cubicle. "It seemed appropriate, our one week anniversary since we met on IRC."
Girls all keep track of that stuff.
Sabrina beamed. "You remembered!"
Never fails! "Of course. Hard to forget anything with a girl like you."
Sabrina covered the mouthpiece. "He's charming me!"
Debbye leaned in to her. "What's he saying??"
Sabrina pulled back. "You too sweet. giggle "
Chris glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one was walking past. He loosened his tie. "Then it'd be okay if I called on you again?"
Now she covered the mouthpiece and held it close. "You can call me any hour of the day or night, sexy!"
"I heard that!" Debbye whispered.
Chris' ego took a serious boost. "How about tonight? It'd have to be after 9:00 or so though; Dex's wife invited me to dinner. I think she wants all the juicy details about us."
"Make 'em good!" Sabrina laughed.
"What's he making good??" Debbye asked.
"Shhh!" Then, "Okay, nine o'clock I'll be looking for you. Bye." She hung up the phone and took a deep smell of her flowers again. "Deb, remember what I asked you about falling for someone?"
Debbye smiled. "Yes?"
Sabrina felt her face flush, then giggled and yelled "I think I've fallen, and I can't get up!"
>> SABRINA'S ROOM -- PRIVATE CHAT
Chris> So, you weren't too put off by me? ::grin::
Sabrina1> LOL!! No way! Last weekend ended WAY too soon!
Chris was crouched over his keyboard, typing at a really good clip, and two-handed so far. So, what else is there to do 'round your parts?
Chris> So, what else is there to do 'round your parts?
Sabrina started to type back, then read
Chris> ... and you have some *nice* parts, kitten! :)
"Awww!" She thought for a moment.
Sabrina1> Well, do you dance?
Chris> I used to, back in the dim and distant past
Sabrina1> There's a dance at the college in a couple weeks. Wanna go?
"Hey, a contact sport!" Chris told himself.
Chris> I can't wait that long! What if I zip over this weekend to see you in the meantime?
Sabrina thought, for almost a full second.
Sabrina1> But it's so long a drive for you
"Not that I would let you off the hook if you changed you mind!"
Chris> With you at the other end Sabrina, it's mere seconds
Sabrina smiled. "I wonder if he reads the same novels I read."
Sabrina1> You are so charming and I love it!
Chris> Sabrina, I love *you*
Sabrina stared at that last line forever.
Chris> Hello d'ere?
She leaned on the keyboard.
Sabrina1> ohjf ergero jnk
Chris> Sabrina! What language! :)
Sabrina1> Sorry! You melted me. ;)
Finally, for the first time, she typed it
Sabrina1> I love you too!
She looked at Chris' picture beside the Amiga, then over her shoulder to the closed door to the living room. "Amy, eat your heart out!" She turned back to see
*Chris holds you close*
Just as she read that line, Sabrina felt Chris' arms around her, quickly hugging her. She shivered.
*Chris presses his mouth over yours and kisses you deeply*
Sabrina felt her body flush. She replied
*Sabrina1 closes her eyes, feeling you, kissing you back*
And soon they both were mastering one-handed typing.
"You're sure you gave him the right directions, right Sabrina?"
Susan yelled her question again over the deejay playing at the Student Union. Sabrina nodded back to her and The Clique as they stood near the windows watching the monthly Friday night dance going on around them. "I showed him the college when we first met last month. He'll get here all right."
"Hey Sabrina," yelled Cindy, "if Chris doesn't make it, Claaaaarence is here!"
"Puh-LEEZE!" They laughed out loud. "I don't think so!"
Just then Sabrina felt someone behind her cover her eyes. "Guess who!"
"Hmmmm......." Sabrina ran her fingertips over the hands, up the arms, pinched at the cheeks and nose, and turned and found herself nicely in Chris' arms. "Hi sexy," she smiled, then stretched herself up a bit to kiss him.
... after several seconds the giggling started. "'brina, your mom did teach you about sharing with your friends, didn't she?" Debbye asked.
Sabrina leaned over her shoulder and laughed. "Yeah, and she told me when to be selfish too!" She took Chris' hand and pulled. "C'mon, dance with me!"
Chris yelled an "Ah -- " to The Clique which was supposed to be "Excuse me, girls", but Sabrina pulled him fast into the mix of dancers and started them in on two fast songs. When the slow one started Chris and Sabrina came close together, Chris slid his hands down to her hips and Sabrina put her arms around his neck.
Susan, Debbye, and Cindy were dancing loosely with a couple of the college boys and each other. Susan nudged Debbye and nodded toward Sabrina. "I don't think she's ever been happier. I'll bet she doesn't even know where she is right now."
They giggled. Sabrina was wide-eyed dancing with Chris, talking, a kiss, she rested her head on his shoulder, then he said something that made her laugh and she pulled him tighter ...
Deejay sneaked the tempo up with the next song. Chris still held Sabrina as they danced away from the middle of the group, until Chris felt a light tap on his shoulder.
"Hi," said the skunk wearing the white shirt with the pocket protector and polyester trousers. "Would it be alright if I cut in?"
Chris didn't see Sabrina's embarrassed look. "Sure, I guess so." And before Sabrina could say anything Chris gave her a peck on the cheek and stepped back. The other skunk quickly jumped in and took Sabrina's hand and began dancing while Chris moved across the dance floor.
"How've you been, Sabrina?" he asked.
"Hello, Clarence," she said, very neutral.
Chris then felt himself snatched away by a lioness. "Hey, if you're free, I'm dancing!" said Susan.
"Okay!" Chris began dancing with her. "You four really know how to have a good time."
"We've always been that way," Susan told him. "Sabrina's our best friend, we're hers and each others'. I've known Sabrina since high school when we hung out at school dances all the time."
"Really?" Chris glanced over at Sabrina and Clarence. "She seems so quiet."
"By herself she is." Susan yanked Chris' hand and they spun around to the music. "With us we keep her out of her shell. She's become a real computer nerd - no offense!"
"No problem," Chris smiled. "Computer nerd or computer geek?"
"What's the difference?"
"Computer nerds live, breath, eat, and sleep computers and know it; computer geeks live, breath, eat, and sleep computers, know it, and like it."
Susan laughed. "Geek! And I'm gonna tell her you said it!"
One spot of the music came by and Chris took Susan and dipped her. Clarence tried dipping Sabrina and only timing kept her on both feet. "I'm glad you came to the dance tonight, Sabrina," Clarence told her. "I've been wanting to take you out for a long time."
Right now Sabrina would have loved to be anywhere else. "This isn't a date, Clarence."
"I know," he said quickly and bumped into another couple. "But, you know, since out last date ... I know you're always busy and everything ... oh, by the way I really like your website."
"Thanks." Sabrina looked across at Chris and visually measured the distance between him and Susan.
"I downloaded your picture. It zooms in kind of fuzzy, I may be able to help you with that."
"Look, Clarence ... "
Clarence finally found his courage as the music ended. "Sabrina, can't you put something off and let me take you out again?"
They stepped out of the crowd. "I'm sorry Clarence, I have a steady boyfriend now."
Sabrina watched. She could see his whole world fall in on him. "Clarence, you're really a very nice boy. But it just didn't work last time. I'm sorry, I don't want to hurt your feelings, honestly."
Clarence nodded, heartbroken. "What did I do wrong last time?"
"Nothing. But either there's something there for both of us or there isn't."
"Would it mean anything if I told you I love you? I do, really!"
"It does," Sabrina said, inwardly cringing. "But it wouldn't work out."
"Do you love him?"
Sabrina began to stammer an answer when Chris and Susan came over and took the awkwardness out of everything. "Cutting back in, sport!" And Susan had seen that dejected look before; she took Clarence's hand and took him out for a quick dance. Chris took Sabrina's hand and with a small jump she followed him back into the action, hugging him quickly. "Oh, why did you make me dance with him??"
Chris cocked his head. "I thought he was a friend of yours."
"He is ... well, kinda. His name's Clarence; he's nice, but that's about it. We went out once, there wasn't anything there between us, but he thinks he loves me and keeps asking me to go out."
Chris pulled his shoulders back exaggeratedly. "Well, if he's giving you a problem, ma'am, then maybe he and I can step outside."
"Nah. I don't think he'll ask me out anymore. He danced with me, he's happy. Trouble is, those pens in his pocket protector scratch!"
Chris guided her closer. "Want me to kiss it and make it better?"
Sabrina's mouth tightened in a tremendous smirk and she stared into Chris' eyes. "Maaaybe." They talked as they danced the entire night, oblivious to anything going on around them.
As the dance came closer to 10:00 the deejay began playing I Can't Help Falling in Love with You. "By the way," Chris said, "your website is looking better all the time."
Sabrina smiled at him. "You're checking it out, eh?"
"You kidding? Where do you think you last 80 or 90 hits have come from?"
"I check your stuff out, Kitten. I want to know everything about you."
Sabrina laid her head on Chris' shoulder. "Just know I'm the happiest I've ever been right now." She sighed. "I wonder what's going to happen over the next several months though."
"Oh," Chris said as they slowly danced, holding each other gently, "Amy and Thomas'll have their baby, you'll all get less sleep, trip over squeaky toys, reach for a bottle of pop and grab a baby bottle ... you'll probably end up a live-in babysitter ... "
"I thought of that." Sabrina snuggled closer, quiet for a moment. "I wonder when I will have to think of moving out."
Chris felt the butterflies in his stomach. His mouth formed the words "You can always come stay with me." He cleared his throat and made them audible - "You can always come stay with me." - barely.
Sabrina turned her head slightly and kissed Chris on the neck, then laid her head back as their dancing slowed. Did she hear me? Chris couldn't think she did, and dared hope! They continued on and Chris sang the last line of the song in her ear.
Depressed, Clarence went home.