A Fox's Tale

by Joshua Fox

Susan Felin, Debbye Squirrel, Cindy Lapine, Clarence Skunk, Chris Foxx, Rodney Lapine and Wanda the Vixen are copyright Chris Yost. Zig Zag and Max Black Rabbit are copyright Max the Black Rabbit. Sabrina Mustelidae, Tabitha Mustelidae, Tammy Vixen, Sheila Vixen, Tor the Dog and Amy Squirrel are copyright Eric Schwartz. Lilian Bartholomew, James Sheppard, Rhonda Badger and Tamara Rabbit are copyright James Bruner. Marvin Badger is copyright James Bruner after a description by Chris Yost. Robert Fale, Joshua Fox, Jim Leard, Ralph Dix, Kris Coon, Shawna Coon, John Anderson, Aaron Cole, Wilde Cat and Tara Nadine are copyright Joshua Fox. Blue Wolfe, Kittiara Seng and Kyrin Cat are copyright themselves. Thomas Woolfe is copyright Mike Higgs.

Legal notice: This story is copyright 2000 by Joshua Fox. This story may not be sold or used for commercial profit in any form or fashion. This story may not be modified in any way. This story may not be posted on a mirror site or any Internet site without the written permission of the author. This story may not be distributed on print, magnetic, electrical or optical mediums.

Permission to use characters that are copyright other individuals was obtained prior to the appearance of said characters.

This is an independent work of fiction with no connection whatsoever to any other stories or works by anyone else and does not imply any connection to the before-said sources. As far as these sources are concerned, this story does not exist. They disavow any knowledge and do not officially sanction the events in the story.

 

Chapter 1-As our story begins...

Josh leaned forward on the very edge of his couch, watching the quarterback bolt down the field towards the endzone. The bulky wolf bobbed and weaved, trying to avoid the other players swarming around him like angry bees. He successfully dodged his way to the ten-yard line and fumbled the ball just as the clock ran out on the fourth quarter.

"Figures," Josh shook his head. "six million a year and he runs like he's got two broken legs."

Josh turned off the TV and tossed the remote onto the coffee table. He looked at his watch. It was still an hour until he was supposed to meet Rob and Blue at Furry's. Josh went over in his mind what he could do to kill some time. The game was over, he had already done his exercise routine earlier that day and finished his term paper the night before.

Forget it. I'll just get there early. Josh thought as he grabbed his jacket and padded out the door.

Josh walked down the steps of his apartment building and to his car. He got in, struggled with his seat belt for a few moments and started the drive to Furry's. Josh knew their table wouldn't be ready, but he figured that he didn't have anything better to do.

 

###

 

"I swear, Debbye, if this keeps up, I might just give up on guys altogether," Susan said as she and Debbye were studying. Debbye took her attention away from her notes and looked at Susan with an arched eyebrow.

"Suse, would you mind not looking at me when you say that?" Debbye asked with a grin.

Susan laughed, "I think you have me confused with Zig Zag."

Susan had been telling Debbye about her last date. Both of them agreed that it would definitely not make her top ten.

Then Susan had a thought. "Hey, Sabrina!"

"What is it?" Sabrina asked as she made her way out of the kitchen, a bowl of micro waved popcorn in one paw and three sodas cradled in her arm.

"Didn't you say Zig Zag was seeing someone?"

Sabrina nodded. "Yeah," she paused for a moment, not sure whether she should tell Debbye and Susan the details, then decided against it. She wouldn't want to jeopardize Zig Zag's trust in her. "I don't know much about it, though. Zig Zag is a very private person and she rarely talks about her personal life. She does seem to be happy though."

"I'm sure you're glad about that," Debbye said as she grabbed a soda and a pawful of popcorn, "Maybe now she'll be able to keep her paws off of you."

"Or more specifically, her lips." Susan added with a giggle.

Sabrina shuddered as she recalled the times that Zig Zag had kissed her. Recently, there had been no incidents, and Zig was definitely happy with her new boyfriend.

"The only lips I want on me are Chris's," Sabrina smiled as she thought about her betrothed.

Susan and Debbye looked at one another with huge grins.

"Girl, I swear every time you mention that fox's name you positively glow," Susan observed.

Sabrina giggled as she sat down on the sofa. She suddenly realized that they were short one member.

"Where's Cindy?" Sabrina asked.

"Don't you remember?" Debbye replied. "She had to work at Callahan's tonight."

"Oh," Sabrina grinned, "I assume Clarence is taking her there, right?"

"Who else?" Debbye grinned back.

"I still can hardly believe those two are together," Susan added, thinking back to the time Sabrina and Clarence had gone out.

Sabrina nodded. "You have to admit, she's done wonders with him."

"You got that right," Susan grinned. "Maybe I should make a run at him."

Debbye grinned smugly. "Sure, why not? That way you can complete your 'Men of Colombus' collection."

Susan gave a big laugh at that. "It's possible, Deb. Considering how may guys I've gone through this year alone I'm about ready to call it quits."

Sabrina couldn't help but add her own thoughts to this. "You know you wouldn't, Suse. You enjoy it too much."

Susan shrugged and giggled. "I'm not about to deny it, but it would be nice to find at least ONE real gentlefur after all the losers I've dated."

Sabrina's grin turned smug immediately. "Sorry, but Chris is all mine."

Debbye and Susan both giggled at Sabrina's smugness.

Sabrina finally laughed. "Ready to get back to studying?" Sabrina asked as she opened up her notebook.

"Ok!" Susan replied readily as she and Debbye returned to their notes. "Thanks for helping us out, Sabby. I wouldn't think you'd ever want to see these books again, seeing as you've graduated and all."

"Oh, I don't mind at all, Suse. I kinda actually miss Mr. Canis' class now," Sabrina admitted, taking a sip from her soda.

"Really?" Debbye looked surprised. "I guess I can see what you mean, though I don't think I'll miss it that much."

The three became distracted (big surprise) from their studies for a few minutes, but eventually returned to hitting the books.

 

###

 

Josh pulled into the parking lot at Furry's. He quickly scanned the lot and his eye immediately identified an empty space.

I love having good vision. Josh thought as he looked at his watch. It was still another twenty minutes until he was supposed to meet his friends. Josh sat in the car for a moment, thinking, but inevitably just shrugged and got out, padding his way across the lot, he approached the door and held it for a couple who were going out past him. He gave a quick look around the foyer, just to make sure Rob and Blue hadn't arrived yet. As expected, they weren't there, so Josh padded up to the young badger at the host station.

"Name?" The young badger asked, looking up from the list.

"Fox, table for three."

Josh noticed the badger looked confused as he glanced over the reservation list.

"I know I'm early," he quickly added.

The badger nodded and made a check on his list. "I'm sorry, sir, but your table isn't ready yet. It will be another fifteen minutes or so."

"No problem. I'll just wait over at the bar."

"WAZZAP?"

Josh raised his eyes skyward and shook his head. "I knew it! I knew you would start up with that after you saw that dang commercial." He turned around to see his ferret pal, drawing his tongue back into his mouth.

"Hey come on, Josh. Loosen up a little," the ferret replied with a grin. "Even you have to have fun every once in a while."

Josh shook his head and chuckled. If you wanted to lighten your mood, Rob was the guy to be around. In the four years they had known each other, Rob had never failed to make him laugh, regardless of what mood he was in.

"What are you doing here?" Josh asked. "You're early."

"I suppose I could be asking you the same question," Rob replied. "Although I'm sure we would both give the same answer."

"The game," they both said simultaneously.

"I still can't believe that last play," Josh recalled, shaking his head.

"Tell me about it," Rob replied as they padded out of the foyer and over to the bar. "Considering that guy makes more in a year than we will in our lifetime, you think he could run just a little bit faster than a turtle with a cement shell."

"I know what you mean," Josh agreed. "It was like he was dragging a boulder behind him."

"Not that you would have had any problems," Rob commented. "If that had been you, you would have plowed down that field and smashed through those losers, no sweat."

Josh looked at Rob for a moment. "You're trying to get me to pay for the drinks, aren't you?"

"Can't blame a ferret for trying," Rob replied with a grin.

"Wanna bet?" Josh grinned back as they reached the bar. "What the heck. I don't get out much anyway."

The bartender, a pleasantly smiling cheetah, greeted them. "What would you like?"

"A beer for me and my fox-friend," Rob answered as he pointed to Josh. "He's buying."

"Rob, you know dang well that I don't drink," Josh turned to the bartender. "I'll just have a bottle of water, please."

"Coming right up," the bartender replied as she got them their drinks. "Here you are; a beer and a water."

"Thank you very much," Josh paid for the drinks and took his water.

Rob took a drink from his beer and thought.

"Why don't you?"

"Why don't I what?" Josh asked.

"Drink, I mean. You got any special reason?"

Josh thought before he answered. "I don't know. I guess I just never saw a reason to start."

Rob contemplated Josh's response and nodded slowly. It was pretty much what he had expected him to say. Josh had never done anything unless he felt he had a valid reason for doing so.

They had just finished their drinks when they heard the badger yell out, "Fox, party of three, your table is ready."

Rob and Josh walked back into the foyer and gave a quick look around. Blue still wasn't there. "Tell you what, Rob. You go to the table, I'll wait here for Blue."

"You got it," Rob replied as he turned around and followed the waitress to their table.

Josh leaned against the wall and waited patiently for his wolf pal's arrival.

 

###

 

Sabrina, Susan and Debbye were still studying in Sabrina's apartment when a thought popped into Debbye's head.

"Hey, Sabrina, where are Amy and Thomas?" Debbye asked. "They're always here during one of our study sessions."

"I convinced Thomas to take Amy out for a night on the town," Sabrina answered. "I figured they could both use a good time. Amy is still getting used to the idea of being a mother and Thomas is totally on edge waiting for the ten week 'safe period' to be over."

"So what did they do about my new little cousin?" Debbye asked, surprised to hear this.

"I convinced my parents to watch him for one night before they left for they're trip. Thomas was afraid he'd be imposing, but mom wouldn't hear of anything else," Sabrina took a sip from her soda. "I just hope they're less stressed after a night out. It isn't good for them to be that stressed," Sabrina stated, looking back over her old notes.

"And I'm sure the fact that they've been driving you completely nuts had absolutely nothing to do with it," Susan mentioned with a wry smile.

"I neither confirm nor deny that," Sabrina replied with a wry smile of her own.

"Okay, we really have to get back to studying here," Sabrina reminded them. "If your grades even show the slightest hint of falling Mr. Canis is going to be all over you two."

This started a small giggle-fest between Susan and Debbye that lasted a good minute.

"You know very well what I mean!" Sabrina exclaimed, barely keeping back her own laughter. The three couldn't help but have a good laugh over that one.

 

###

 

Josh looked at his watch. "Where are you, Blue?"

"Right here, Josh."

Josh looked up and his eyes were greeted by the familiar form of his True-Blue friend.

"Where were you? I was starting to get worried here," Josh told him, standing upright.

"Oh, Josh, you really do care!" Blue replied, resting his cheek on his paw and batting his eyes.

"Oh, for the love of," Josh slapped his paw to his forehead and chuckled. "I can't take you anywhere, can I?"

"Nope," Blue replied with his ever-present smile.

"Our table's ready," Josh told him, guiding Blue from the foyer into the restaurant.

"WAZZAP?" Rob yelled when they came into view.

"Will you knock that off already?" Josh asked as he and Blue sat down. "That's really starting to get old."

"Oh, yeah. You telling me to is REALLY gonna get me to stop," Rob kidded and turned to Blue. "So what kept you?"

"Car trouble," Blue answered, opening up his menu. "Couldn't get the dang thing started."

"Again? Every week it seems like you're getting that clunker fixed. It'd probably be cheaper just to get a new one," Rob told him.

"Probably, but that car and I have been through a lot," Blue replied. "I just can't bring myself to get rid of it."

Josh chuckled. "Come on, Blue. It's just a car. You shouldn't get so attached to inanimate objects."

Rob raised an eyebrow and pointed to the jacket Josh was wearing. Josh had had it since his junior year in high school and it was about three sizes too small. It was ripped and torn in many places and the sleeves looked like someone had put a chainsaw to them.

"Oh, shut up," Josh said with a smile.

"Why what ever do you mean?" Blue replied innocently.

"We didn't say a word," Rob added, grinning.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Josh rolled out, not being able to keep back his own grin any longer.

Just then a very attractive young squirrel wearing a waitress' uniform arrived. "May I take your order?"

Josh turned to her, closing his menu and handing it to her. "Alrighty then. I'll have the sub sandwhich and a diet soda, please."

The waitress took his menu and gave a few quick slashes on her pad, then turned to Blue. "And you?"

Blue rapped his paw on the table a few times, trying to make up his mind. "Hmmmm, I think a foot long chili dog will do me just fine," he finally decided, handing her his menu as well.

She gave a few more slashes of her pen and then looked over to the grinning ferret. "What about you?"

Rob kept grinning as he gave a look to his menu. "Well, let me see what-, WHOOPS!" Rob's menu fumbled in his paws and flew past the waitress over next to Blue's seat.

"Let me get that for you," The waitress kindly offered as she turned and bent down to pick it up, giving Rob a very nice view.

"Ah, no need, Miss. I'll have the fried oysters and a beer, if you'd be so kind," Rob's eyes took one last look before the waitress stood upright.

"Okay, then," she jotted down the the last part and then gave a look to all three of the furry pals. "Would you like an appetizer to start with?"

The three all looked at one another and grinned, giving a nod. "Chicken wings!" The three answered in unison.

"Okaaaay, great!" The waitress gave a quick swipe with her pen and turned, walking away and back to the kitchen, Rob's eyes following her in a most inappropriate way.

Rob didn't take his eyes off of her until she had fully disappeared behind the kitchen doors. He gave a chuckle and then looked back to Josh and Blue, both of whom were looking right at him. "Whaaaat?"

Josh shook his head and grinned. "Whoops?"

Rob sat upright and tried to look innocent. "What do you mean? The menu slipped out of my paw."

"Rob, you threw the dang thing four feet! Don't even pretend to act innocent, cause' it was SO obvious!" Blue chimed in, grinning widely himself.

Rob dropped the innocent act and gave an evil chuckle. "Hey, it was WAY worth it, okay?"

Josh rolled his eyes. "Do you ever stop thinking about that?"

Rob furrowed his brow for a moment. "Yeah, I also think of..... well actually no, I never stop thinking about that."

The three got a good chuckle out of that and decided just to let it drop for the time being.

Blue turned to Josh. "So, how's the security job working out?"

"Oh, doing great. I had three concerts this week. The pay's good and it's great listening to the music. Not only that, but I've got this week off, too." Josh reported. "One heck of a lot better than that salesman position I had before."

Rob looked confused for a moment. "When were you a salesman?"

"Remember? Over at that used car dealership?" Josh indicated with a gesture of his paw.

"Oh, yeah," Rob nodded as he remembered. "Geez, you like jumping around with jobs, don't you?"

Josh shrugged. "I suppose you could say that. I've got a lot of experience in a lot of different areas and it's kinda fun doing different things from time to time."

Just then, the waitress came back, carrying their drinks along with the wings. "Here you are." Josh took his drink and the wings, thanking her before she moved over to Rob. "And here you are."

Rob took his beer, grinning again. "Why, thank you. WHOOPS!" Rob's paw suddenly flicked forward, causing his spoon to fly off the table, landing in the same spot as the menu did before. "Oh, I'm sorry."

The waitress just smiled. "That's okay, I'll get it," she bent over again and retrieved the utensil for Rob, his muzzle once again sporting a very wide grin. "You're orders will be out in a minute." She turned quickly and padded over to another of the tables she was serving, Rob's eyes following behind her until she disappeared behind a wall.

Blue furrowed his eyebrows and grinned at the obviously very pleased ferret. "Rob, you're a pervert."

"Close, Blue," Rob raised his finger slightly into the air. "It's perfect. I know the words are similar but there's a big difference."

Josh and Blue rolled their eyes, knowing it would be pointless to try and argue. "Where were we?"

Rob chuckled. "We were talking about our fox-friend's job changes."

"Oh, yeah," Blue nodded as a question formed in his mind. "Well, whatever floats your boat. Any job in particular that you enjoyed more than the others? Besides this one, I mean."

Josh contemplated that for a moment. "I think it was when I was working as a receptionist at the hospital." he answered. "It was the most interesting. You'd be surprised how many women are getting testosterone injected these days." Josh stated as he took a sip from his soda and tore the flesh off one of the wings.

"What for?" Blue asked, curious as he took a chomp out of his own wing.

"Health purposes, I suppose. I don't know the exact reasons, though," Josh admitted after swallowing.

Ever since Josh had answered Blue's question, Rob had been doing his best to keep from cracking up. But he just couldn't keep it back anymore. One thing you have to understand about Rob; if he has a joke, you better believe you're going to hear it.

"Testosterone injections? *snicker* I thought that's what we were for!" Rob managed to say before he burst into laughter.

As crass and stupid as the joke was, Josh just couldn't keep himself from laughing. Blue was in the same state. What a sight that was. The wolf, the fox and the ferret all laughing hysterically, nearly falling out of their chairs while grabbing the confused gaze of most of the patrons.

 

###

 

The waitress leaned against the wall near the kitchen, looking over at the three furs that had just burst into a hysterical fit. She shook her head as a tall rabbit in a manager's jacket and slacks came over and stood next to her.

Why do I always get stuck with the wierdos? She thought, not noticing the rabbit standing next to her.

"What's with them, Tara?" The rabbit asked her, pretty sure those at the table had had a few too many.

Tara looked over at him and shrugged. "Beats me. The ferret's only had one beer and the other two haven't even had any drinks at all," she gazed back over at them. They were still in hysterics.

"So you think they're just nuts or what?" The rabbit jokingly questioned as they continued watching.

"I don't know. It just figures that I would end up serving them," Tara was interrupted by the chef's gruff voice coming from behind her.

"Hey, Tara! Table six is ready," the bear said as he handed Tara the order.

Tara chuckled. "Sam, I know you love wearing that, but maybe you should get one that fits you a little better," she suggested when she saw the tight-fitting chef's hat stretched across the bear's head.

"Never! This hat belonged to my father and he always wore it when creating his culinary masterpieces," Sam told her before he turned back into the kitchen. "Besides, it makes me look very sexy."

Tara laughed as she loaded the order onto a tray and began to carry it to the table where the three customers were still carrying on.

 

###

.

"Ok you guys, calm down now. You're making a scene," Josh tried to control himself.

"You're right, you're right," Blue replied, pulling himself together.

The three of them regained their composure just as their food arrived.

"And you wonder why you're still single," Josh shot to Rob after the waitress left.

"This from a guy who's never been on a date in his entire life," Rob replied with a chuckle.

"You want to say that just a little bit louder, Rob? I think there's a guy in Guatemala who didn't quite hear you," Josh looked slightly perturbed.

"Yeah, Rob," Blue jumped in. "No need to go there."

"Okay, okay. My bad," Rob apologized as all three of them started digging in.

 

###

 

"Well, I don't know about you two, but I'm done," Debbye declared as she closed her notebook.

"Same here," Susan followed suit.

"I'm all studied out," Sabrina added as she put her old notes away. She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. She had forgotten how tired she used to get during the Clique's study sessions.

Susan looked at the clock on the wall. "It's still early. I don't want to leave yet," she frowned.

Debbye thought for a moment. "Want to go and grab a bite to eat?"

"I know! Let's go get some ice cream," Susan jumped in with a sly smile, her tail visibly twitching.

Debbye shot a smug look to Sabrina and Sabrina returned it. "You never stop thinking about guys, do you Suse?" they both grinned.

"Why what ever could you possibly mean?" Susan replied innocently, tilting her head to one side and putting her paws behind her back.

"Susan, the only reason you ever go to the ice cream parlor is either to flirt or break up," Sabrina reminded her, sitting up from the couch and standing up.

Susan laughed at that. "Brina, I've told you before. My relationships don't last long enough for breaking up to be an option."

"Regardless," Debbye interrupted, rising to her feet. "Ice cream sounds like as good of an idea as any."

"Can't argue with that," Sabrina picked up her purse and put on her jacket. "Want to ride with me? I can bring us back afterwards."

"Okay." Susan and Debbye both agreed and followed Sabrina out of the apartment and down the steps to the street.

The three Clique members all piled into Sabrina's car gingerly, Sabrina then putting the key in the ignition and starting out on their way.

 

###

 

"Now THAT was a meal," Rob managed as he leaned back in his chair.

"You got that right," Josh said as he pushed his plate away.

"That was great," Blue added before he stifled a small burp with his napkin.

Just then the waitress came with the check and took their plates. Rob had spotted her across the room and followed her with his eyes, grinning that wide grin of his when she bent down again to pick up another utensil that some unthinking patron had dropped just before coming over and asking them. "Did you enjoy it?"

Before Rob could respond, Josh gave him a swift kick under the table, preventing a undoubtedly crude comment from escaping his muzzle and instead being replaced with an, "OW!"

"Yes," Josh responded. "The food was excellent. Please give our compliments to the chef."

The waitress smiled cheerfully and placed the check on the table before leaving. "Great! Please come again!"

Rob's muzzle began to open once more, only to again be silenced by another swift quick from beneath the table. "OW! Quit it! What was that for?"

"Keep the comments and little tricks to a minimum, okay?" Josh looked straight into Rob's eyes. "And no going after the waitresses either! I don't want you getting us kicked out of here, too, got it?"

Rob scoffed. "Oh, come on! That other place wasn't my fault!"

Blue raised an eyebrow. "And exactly how do you figure that?"

"How was I supposed to know that vixen was the owner's daughter?" Rob attempted to defend himself.

Josh just chuckled and decided to move on. "So, Blue. How's the house-painting coming along?"

"Good as can be expected," Blue answered.

"I can imagine. You've got talent," Josh told him.

The three of them chatted for a few minutes, but finally put in their share for the dinner and the tip and headed for the foyer.

"Well, didn't I tell you? Didn't I tell you you'd like this place?" Rob asked Josh as they walked past the host station and towards the doors.

"Yeah, you were right, Rob," Josh replied. "Good food at a fair price and plenty of it. A rare find."

"Best meal I've had in while," Blue added. "Now I see why this place is so crowded."

Josh held the door for Blue and Rob and said goodbye to them as they made their way to their cars. Josh waved as he pulled out of the lot and started his way home. Josh listened to the radio for a little while, but suddenly rumblings from his tummy began to drown out the music. Despite the large quantity of food he was served, Josh's stomach still wasn't satisfied. As he was driving along, an ice cream parlor caught his eye.

Hmmmm, ice cream. Sounds good to me. he thought as he turned towards it.

 

###

 

"Mmmm mmm mmm. This is good," Susan licked the chocolate syrup delicately off her spoon.

"I just love ice cream," Debbye declared as she finished the whipped cream on her sundae.

Sabrina looked over the tops of her glasses at Susan. "See anyone here worth the effort?"

Susan looked about disappointedly. "Nah, Just the same guys. I might have to find a new place to scope for potential dates."

Debbye's ears picked up the door opening and turned her attention towards it.

"Hunky fur. Ten o'clock,"

Sabrina and Susan turned to see a large, muscular fox come through the doors. Their eyes followed him as he entered.

"Whoa," was all that Susan could say as her eyes followed his movements.

"He's a new face," Debbye watched as he padded to the counter.

"He looks familiar," Sabrina tried thinking of where she might remember him from.

"You know him?" Susan had not yet taken her eyes off him.

"I think so," Sabrina replied, "but I just can't place him."

 

###

 

"A double-scoop of strawberry, please," Josh politely requested.

The otter behind the counter smiled and got Josh his order.

"Thank you very much," Josh returned the smile as he paid and took the cone in his hand, giving a couple licks before turning.

He turned around to see a lovely young skunkette, squirrel and lioness watching him from their booth by the door. His eyes met those of the skunkette and he recognized her instantly.

"Sabrina?" he smiled questioningly.

The sound of his voice triggered Sabrina's memory.

"Josh? Is that you?" Her own smile began to spread across her muzzle.

"Last time I checked," Josh gave a chuckle as he walked over to the table. "I haven't seen you in years!"

"Yeah. Not since you and Eric had that falling out," Sabrina recalled, piecing together the memories his voice had triggered.

Josh nodded as he remembered when he had worked with Sabrina. "How is Eric, by the way?"

"He's doing well. How's Blue?" Sabrina inquired.

"Same as ever," he replied with a chuckle. "He paints houses now. He also picks up free-lance work whenever he can."

"You don't say," Sabrina said.

Josh nodded. "He hasn't changed a bit. In fact he-," Josh paused, glancing over at the other two furs watching him. Neither had moved.

"I'm sorry. It just occurred to me that you have company," he told Sabrina and turned to them with a small bow. "Please excuse my rudeness, but I don't believe we've met. My name's Josh."

"I'm Debbye Squirrel," Debbye finally replied after she and Susan caught themselves.

"And I'm Susan Felin," Susan told him with a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Miss Felin, the pleasure is all mine," Josh replied. His eyes, being so drawn to detail, couldn't help but notice Susan's attire. It was a very flattering skirt and top combination that complimented her figure beautifully. She's obviously got great fashion sense.

Susan hadn't taken her eyes off him for an instant. Oh, he's a big one; especially for a fox, Her tail swished from side to side as she smiled.

"Do you have a last name, too?" she jokingly inquired, still smiling at him.

"Of course," he chuckled. "It's Fox."

Susan blinked for the first time since she had seen him and looked confused. "What?"

"It's Fox," he repeated.

Susan still looked confused. "How do you spell it?"

Josh was used to these kinds of questions when he told someone his last name. "F-O-X. Same as everyone does, I guess."

Susan did everything she could to keep from laughing. "A fox named Fox?" she turned to Sabrina. "How does Chris spell his last name?"

"Chris?" Josh asked inquisitively.

"Sabrina's husband-to-be," Debbye explained with a sweep of her paw in Sabrina's direction.

"Her what?" Josh turned to Sabrina, his eyebrows arched and his eyes opened as wide as they would go. "You're getting married?"

"It's true!" Sabrina grinned as she showed Josh her engagement ring.

Josh's face lit up instantly. "That's great! I'm so happy for you!" he exclaimed. "When did this happen?"

"A couple of months ago. He's a great guy." Sabrina smiled, thinking of him.

"He'd have to be," Josh grinned slyly as a thought came into his head. "He's a fox, isn't he?"

That smug smile shot across Sabrina's muzzle again. "How did you know?"

"Remember back when you where still dating Mike?" Josh began. "You broke up with him, and then I told you that you'd end up with another fox."

"Why did you say that?" Debbye asked, interested.

"Because once you've gone with a fox, you won't be satisfied with anything else," Josh replied with a huge grin. "Afterall, you can't go back to baloney after you've had fillet mignon, now can you?"

They all had a good laugh at that, Sabrina more than anyone else.

"Um, Josh," Sabrina pointed to Josh's paw.

"Huh?" Josh looked down, noticing that the cone he was holding was now empty. It didn't take a genius to figure out where the ice cream was now.

"Dang," Josh took his napkin and tried to wipe his now incredibly sticky paw free of the melted goop covering both it and his arm. "I'll be scrubbing my fur tonight," he added with a chuckle.

"Sorry about that," Sabrina said with a hint of apology in her voice as she tried to keep from giggling.

"Don't be. My own fault. It's not everyday I lose track of myself with three lovely ladies," Josh rubbed his arm with another napkin. "I better get going, though, before I get some serious fur damage."

"It was great to see you again. Think we can get together and catch up sometime?" Sabrina asked.

"Sure, I'd like that. Here let me give you my number," Josh wrote his phone number and e-mail address on another napkin and handed it to Sabrina.

"It was nice to meet you, Josh," Debbye and Susan told him almost simultaneously, both blushing slightly at their enthusiasm.

"It was a great pleasure to meet both of you as well. A good evening to you ladies," Josh told them with another small bow before walking out the door. Josh walked across the parking lot and to his car, started it up and gave a friendly wave to where the three ladies were waving back to him before starting the drive home.

 

###

 

"Can't believe we met up with him here," Sabrina watched Josh drive away. She turned to Debbye and Susan to find them staring right at her. "What?"

"Where have you been hiding him?" Debbye asked. "He's so charming!"

"Polite, too," Susan added as she gazed back out the window.

"I haven't been hiding him anywhere. I haven't even seen him in two years," Sabrina replied. "We lost touch after he and Eric got into an argument and he left E.S."

"What was it about?" Debbye asked.

Sabrina opened her mouth to respond, but realized she didn't have an answer. "I don't know. Eric never talks about it, and I never got to ask before Josh walked out."

Susan was still gazing off into the distance when a question formed in her mind. "Did you two ever go out?" Susan inquired.

Sabrina shook her head. "No, after I broke up with Mike, I didn't date for a while."

Susan cocked her head to the side. "If you don't mind me asking, why didn't you? He seems like such a nice guy."

"Hard to say. He was always such a good friend, I never really thought of him as anything else," Sabrina replied. "That, and he never asked me," she added, grinning slightly. "Come to think of it, I don't remember him having a girlfriend the entire time I knew him."

"That's weird," Susan said. "You'd think a guy like that would always have someone."

"You can say that again," Debbye added.

"All set?" Sabrina asked, noticing that the parlor was beginning to close up around them.

"Sure," Susan and Debbye nodded.

The three walked out to Sabrina's car and she drove them back to her apartment, Debbye and Susan pelting her with questions all the way. Most of which she had no answer for. The two got their books out of Sabrina's apartment and waved to goodbye to Sabrina as they drove away in Susan's car. Sabrina waved back to them from the window of her apartment until they were out of sight.

Sabrina yawned and decided to call it a night. She gave a look at her watch and decided that Chris would probably be asleep by now. I wouldn't want to wake him, I'll call tomorrow.

 

###

 

Josh pulled up to his apartment building and went through the doors to his building, then making his way up the stairs. When he reached his door, he fumbled for his keys.

I've really gotta replace that light bulb, His vulpine eyes finally identified the one he was looking for. Josh unlocked the door and padded into his apartment. After tossing his jacket onto the chair, he checked his messages. None, as usual. Josh slid his shirt off over his head and walked over to his exercise equipment, hoping to burn off dinner.

-one hour later-

When Josh was done, he threw his now sweat-stained clothes into the hamper and stretched out his back. He was always tense after his workout, no matter how much or how little he did. Josh padded over to the bathroom and took a quick look in the mirror, chuckling at how frazzled his fur looked before getting into the shower and turning on the water. The warm water felt good as it ran through his fur. His mind began to wander, and he replayed the events of the evening through his mind. It was nice to see Sabrina again.

Still can't believe it. Innocent, shy little Sabrina getting married.

As the events of the evening continued to replay through his head, he thought of Sabrina's friends.

Glad I met them. Especially that lioness.

Thinking of her triggered his memory and he began to vigorously scrub the fur on his paw and arm, making sure that there was no hint of melted ice cream left on his person. His thoughts once again returned to the ice cream parlor and Sabrina's friend.

Susan Felin. Lovely name. Josh's thoughts echoed in his mind as he pictured her. He remembered her very clearly. Especially her eyes. They were a beautiful shade of green.

After Josh finished scrubbing, he gave his fur the usual treatment with the conditioner that kept his fur from looking rugged. Then, a good thorough rinse before he shut the water off, grabbing a towel and vigorously drying himself, making sure there wasn't a wet patch left on his body. He then walked into the bedroom and and over to his dresser, taking a pair of boxers and his pajama bottoms out of his drawer. Josh pulled them on and stretched a bit more, the hot water having taken away some of his tension. He gave a long, drawn-out yawn and padded over to his bed, taking a look at the pile of mail on the dresser. Josh decided he'd look through it tomorrow. Pulling the covers back, he climbed into bed and drew them back up around him, turning out the light. As Josh drifted off to sleep, he pictured Susan again and smiled.

 

###

 

Susan sat in front of her mirror, giving her fur long, soft strokes with her brush; her normal routine before bed. Susan sighed as she finished and looked into the mirror. She couldn't get Josh out of her mind. He's polite, good-looking, has a sense of humor. Three for three. She smiled as she thought about him, then shook her head. He has to be seeing someone. No one like that is ever unattached.

Susan yawned as she turned out the light and rolled over into bed. Joshua Fox. What a funny name. she thought as her eyes slowly closed. As Susan slept, a soft smile crept across her face.

 

END OF CHAPTER 1