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 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, Wilde Cat, Aaron Cole and Tara Nadine are copyright Joshua Fox. Blue Wolfe, Kyrin Cat and Kittiara Seng 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 in 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 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 doesn't exist. They disavow any knowledge and do not officially sanction the events in this story.
Josh awoke slowly to the alarm clock's annoying loud buzz. He smacked his paw against the top of it, causing the alarm to shut off as he gave a long yawn into his pillow. Josh slowly lifted his body up with his arms and swerved his legs over the side of the bed, sitting there for a few moments half asleep. He blinked several times to make sure he was awake, using his first few moments of consciousness to collect his thoughts. His tired expression gradually gave way to a warm smile as he remembered last nights events and his chance meeting with Sabrina and her friends. Josh's smile grew as Susan's image formed in his mind.
She was very nice. Wish I had gotten to talk to her more. He thought as he stood up and stretched out his back. Josh gave another tired yawn as he picked up the clock and squinted his eyes, trying to read the time. Seven A.M., his normal wake-up time on a Saturday. Josh tossed it back onto the bed as he turned and walked briskly into the living room. After nearly tripping over his desk chair for the hundredth time in as many mornings, he stumbled over to his couch and snatched the remote up in his paw. He flipped on the news and made his way into the kitchen as he listened to the annoyingly cheerful weatherfur.
Josh looked around his kitchen and took a mental inventory of what he had. Breakfast wasn't really something he was able to do most mornings, seeing as his security job almost always required him to report in at early morn, but he tried to make a point to do it whenever he could, not wanting to throw off his metabolism even slightly. Josh just shrugged, deciding just to go with his normal items and took out an apple, a canister of yogurt and a bowl of cereal.
After he was finished, Josh wiped the milk moustache from the fur just above his muzzle and placed his dirty dishes in the washer. Fox gave a brief look out the window, smiling at the warm, bright sun and blue sky. Well, look at that. The stupid weatherfur was right for a change. Josh thought with a chuckle as he padded out of the kitchen and back into the bedroom, picking up the huge stack of mail that had accumulated while he had been out of town. Josh looked at it for a moment, amazed that he could have gotten so much in just over two weeks. Josh tucked it under his arm and carried it back out to the livingroom, spreading the bundle out on his coffee table and looking all through, pushing the junk mail into a pile as he did so. Josh's eye caught a pawwritten address. He picked it up and flipped it over, seeing to his pleasant surprise the name and return address of Tammy Vixen.
Can't remember the last time she's written me. He unsheathed one claw to open the top of the envelope.
Aw, she called me 'Dear'. Josh chuckled to himself.
How are you? Sorry I haven't written in a while, but I've been really busy. Sheila and I were both in town a couple weeks ago for Sabrina's bridal shower and we were going to surprise you. I'm so sorry we missed you!
Josh silently cursed himself for being out of town.
While we were in town I got to talk to Eric. Are you two still not speaking to each other? I don't want to tell you what to do, but I've never known you to be the kind who holds a grudge. Why don't you and Eric just make up? I'm sure he'd be willing to forget that disagreement you two had if you'd just say that you would do the same.
Josh thought about that for a moment. Tammy was right, of course. He definitely wasn't usually the kind of person to hold a grudge and Eric probably would be willing to forgive and forget.
Maybe the next time I see him, I'll ask him about it. He thought and then continued reading.
Sheila was especially sorry that we missed you. She kept talking about you all the way there and she was so disappointed when you weren't home. I have another trip to Colombus scheduled in two weeks. I hope you're back by then! I'll give you a call beforehand to make sure. I'd hate to miss you again. Unfortunately, Sheila won't be able to make it this time, since she has a photo shoot scheduled for that week. She did say that she'd write you, though. I can't wait to see you again!
Josh looked up and sifted through the rest of his mail. He didn't see anything form Sheila.
She probably hasn't sent it yet, he thought.
Josh picked up the envelope and checked the postage date. It was postdated eight days ago.
That means she's coming this week, he concluded.
He looked through the rest of the mail and saw nothing else of particular interest. Giving a small sigh, he folded Tammy's letter carefully and slipped it back into the open envelope, opening the top drawer of his desk and carefully placing it inside. Josh figured he had better deal with the rest of the mail and gave a long sweep of his arm, pushing all of the other non-essential mail into the wastebasket. Just as he had finished, the phone rang. Josh gave a quick hop over his sofa and checked his caller I.D. The name, Sabrina Mustelidae, was displayed on the small screen.
Josh grinned, clasping the phone receiver next to his ear. "Howdy, Sabby."
"How did you know it was me?" Sabrina asked, surprised.
"Caller I.D., it can be really helpful sometimes," Josh chuckled as he sat down on the couch.
Sabrina leaned back in her chair. "It was quite a surprise to run into you last night," she said. "I've never seen you in there before."
"Only reason I stopped there was because I was still hungry after dinner. You and your friends were just a pleasant surprise," Josh explained. "Go there often?"
"Only on special occasions," Sabrina told him. "or when Susan wants to flirt."
"Really?" Josh asked, intrigued. "Which was it?"
"The second one," Sabrina answered matter-of-factly.
"You mean she doesn't have a boyfriend? That's surprising," Josh said. "Lovely lady like that, you'd think she'd always have someone," Josh smiled as Susan's image formed in his mind.
Sabrina froze and sat quiet for a moment as she processed what Josh had just said. Her mind instantly went back to what Susan had said about Josh last night at the ice cream parlor. That's funny. It wasn't just the words that had been similar either, they even sounded the same way.
Josh couldn't help but notice the silence. "Hello? Brina, you there?"
Sabrina snapped herself out of thought. "Sorry about that. I got distracted," she quickly collected her thoughts and remembered her reason for calling.
"Josh, are you free to have lunch this afternoon? I was hoping we could catch up on old times," Sabrina sounded a little bit hopeful. "Unless you have other plans."
"Why, Sabrina, I'd love to!" Josh simply stated. "I'm going to the gym, but after I'm done there I can come home and change. When would you like to meet?"
Sabrina quickly scanned her schedule. "Is two-thirty good for you?"
Josh mentally calculated the time it took for his normal gym routine and figured that he'd have time. "Sounds great to me."
"Let me give you directions to the place. You got anything to write with?"
"Sure thing," Josh whipped his trusty pad out of the desk drawer and quickly jotted down Sabrina's every word. "Okay, got it. Thanks, Sabby! I'll see you there."
"See you there, Josh," Sabrina hung up the phone.
Josh immediately got up and padded back into the bedroom. He got dressed quickly and grabbed his gym bag as he made beeline for the door to his apartment. Josh hopped gingerly down the staircase and into his car as he reached the street, heading on his way. He'd have to cut his regular routine short, but it would be more than worth it to have lunch with Sabrina.
Amy gave a long yawn as she came out of the kitchen, coffee mug in paw. "Who were you calling at this time in the morning?"
Sabrina turned and faced her. "Do you remember Josh? Josh Fox?"
Amy furrowed her brow in thought, placing her mug down on the table. "Wasn't he that big fox that we used to work with?"
"That's him," Sabrina confirmed. "I'm having lunch with him this afternoon."
A sly smile found it's way onto Amy's muzzle. "So HE'S the guy you've been cheating on Chris with!"
"Oh will you stop it already?" Sabrina couldn't help but smile. "You know very well I would never cheat on Chris and I know he would never cheat on me either."
"Does his right paw count?" Amy asked, her smile breaking into laughter.
Sabrina and Amy were laughing so hard that Amy had to sit down to avoid falling over.
As Amy got control of herself, her curiosity took over. "When did you see him?"
"Last night when Debbye, Susan and I went out for ice cream. Apparently he lost track of time talking to us. The next thing he knew I was pointing out that his ice cream had melted all over his arm," Sabrina stifled a giggle as she recalled.
"He probably wasn't too happy about that."
"Josh? He just chuckled and wiped his arm off," Sabrina told her. "If you beat Josh over the head with a bat, he'd probably laugh it off and make a joke about baseball."
"Really? Makes me wish I had gotten to know him better," Amy joked.
Sabrina giggled. "You should have seen Debbye when we first caught sight of him. I thought she was going to start drooling."
Amy got a mental image and started laughing. "Oh, I wish I could have seen that."
Sabrina giggled again before she remembered about Amy's night out. "That reminds me, how was your big night on the town?"
"Sabrina, it was fantastic," Amy placed her paw on Sabrina's shoulder. "Thank you."
Sabrina feigned a confused look. "What are you thanking me for?"
"Don't play coy with me, Sabrina," Amy told her. "I know you talked Thomas into taking me out for a romantic evening AND I also know that you were the one who picked out where we were going to go."
Sabrina sighed, conceding defeat. "How did you find me out?"
"Brina, it was one of the most romantic nights I've ever had. Thomas is a great guy and I love him, but one thing he isn't is romantic." Amy confided, picking up her coffee mug again and taking a sip.
Sabrina just shook her head and smiled. "Well, as long as you enjoyed yourself,"
"Oh, I did," Amy's thoughts began to wander back to Sabrina's little news bit from earlier. "When did Josh leave? E.S., I mean."
Sabrina looked up. "It was about two years ago. Remember? He and Eric got into that big argument?"
"What was the argument over?"
Sabrina shook her head. "I don't know. I'll have to ask him later."
Amy pointed her finger right at Sabrina before taking another sip from her coffee. "Tell me all about it when you get back, okay?"
Sabrina smiled. "You got it."
Blue gave a few slow, very timed strokes of his brush across the beautifully decorated canvas, trying to make sure that he left no detail out of this painting. Blue stood back for a moment, closing one eye and sticking his thumb out in his line of vision. Blue looked at it from a few different angles, making sure he hadn't missed anything and began nodding in approval. It wasn't his best work, truth be told, but he nonetheless saw it as being up to his standards. Blue put down his brush, paints and brought his paws up, rubbing his eyes. He had been working on his painting all morning and he needed to take a rest.
At least I've been getting some sleep. Blue thought, looking over to the dream-catcher hanging by his bed.
Blue knew it sounded silly and he hadn't believed that something so ridiculous could possibly work, but when he finally tried it, it seemed to work for him. He knew it was probably a placebo kind of thing, just the power of his mind at work, but it really appeared to help him stay asleep. He had also gotten some really fantastic dreams, which helped him acquire inspiration for his respective art projects.
As long as I'm taking a break, might as well check my e-mail. Blue removed his smock and walked over to his computer.
He moved the cursor over to his inbox and clicked on the new mail icon. There was only one new message; from Eric Schwartz. Blue sighed as he clicked the 'Read message' icon. Ever since he had left E.S. Productions with Josh, Eric had been offering Blue his old position back. Blue sighed again as he reminisced over his old days working there. He had really enjoyed working at E.S., and his old job paid a heck of a lot more than painting houses did. Blue shook his head slowly. He knew he couldn't take his old job back as long as Eric and Josh weren't speaking to each other. His friendship with Josh was worth more to him than any job and he wasn't about to jeopardize it. Still, the offer was very tempting and it had been the only job he really had fun doing.
Sorry, Eric. Blue moved his paw and reluctantly deleted Eric's e-mail.
Blue sat back in his computer chair for a moment and thought. He would have to talk to Josh about this whole situation. He just hoped that Josh would understand. Blue got up from the computer and walked back over to his painting, putting his smock back on and returning to his masterpiece.
Josh sprinted fast up the stairs of his building right up to the door of his apartment. He bounced up and down quickly, not wanting to lose his momentum as he fumbled the keys in his paws, finally unlocking the door and nearly flying inside. He threw his gym bag down next to the couch and stopped briefly to check his wall clock. It was one-forty.
I'd better hurry up. Wouldn't want to keep her waiting. Josh threw off his sweat soaked gym attire and hopped into the shower, not wanting to smell like a jock-strap when he had lunch with Sabrina. He moved at his fastest pace and nearly fell on his head when he jumped out of the shower. Josh quickly snatched up two towels and rigorously, but thoroughly rubbed himself dry, then moving on into the bedroom. Josh threw on a fresh set of clothes and popped back out into the living room, checking the clock once more. Two o'clock.
I'll get there just in time. Josh moved into the hall, locking the door behind him and taking off back down to his car.
Cindy stepped gingerly out of the fitting room, clad in a very fetching dark red dress with spaghetti straps, slightly low cut on top and high cut on the skirt. Cindy looked at herself in the three mirrors, blushing slightly as she saw her reflection. She wasn't quite used to dressing quite in this style. She was trying to find a dress for an upcoming dance at the college that Clarence wanted to go to. Cindy had already gone through quite a few dresses, and thus far, had not seen any that she thought her boyfriend would really like. Cindy turned around, trying to see how it looked from the back.
Cindy thought it was a bit tight, but it did look good. "How about this one, Suse?"
Susan blinked and looked up. "Huh? I'm sorry, Cindy, what?"
Cindy turned away from the mirror and over to Susan. "I asked you how this dress looks on me," This was the fifth time she had caught Susan deep in thought. "You okay, Suse? You seem distracted today."
"It's nothing," Susan shook her head slightly. "Oh, I forgot to tell you. We went out for ice cream last night."
Cindy couldn't help but grin. "Flirting again?"
Susan nodded slightly and giggled. "You know me too well, Cindy."
Cindy turned back and checked her dress in the triple mirror. "See anyone worth his salt?"
"Not until we were about to go. Then Debbye spotted a big fox. I'm telling you, he was the high point of the night. He had the nicest smile," Susan smiled for a moment, thinking about it. "I'm afraid he caught the two of us staring at him."
This roused Cindy's interest. "Really? Did you get to meet him?"
Susan nodded. "Yeah, turns out Sabrina knows him. I think they used to work together."
"Well, that's a lucky break," Cindy turned to see herself in the mirror and tried to pull the hem of her skirt down a bit further. "When are you two going out?"
Susan seemed taken aback by Cindy's question and hesitated slightly. "Um... we aren't."
"Oh, married huh?" Cindy gave a small brush of her paw over the dress' material.
"No, I don't think so. I didn't see a wedding ring," Susan leaned against the walls and thought.
Cindy turned back to Susan. "Seeing someone?"
Susan took herself out of thought for a moment and looked slightly sheepish. "I'm not sure. It didn't really come up."
Cindy raised an eyebrow, her curiosity starting to become aroused. "What do you mean it didn't come up? I thought you were there to flirt."
"I was," Susan still looked as though she were deep in thought. "When we were talking, I guess I just forgot."
Now Cindy's interest was peaked. Cindy had never seen Susan pass up a chance to show her interest in a male. She stood there and turned away from the mirrors, watching Susan shake her head.
"I'm sure he's seeing someone. He was so charming and polite. Guys like that are never unattached," Susan seemed to wander out of thought with a small sigh.
Cindy wasn't really used to seeing Susan like this. "Well, why don't you just ask Sabrina? You said she knew him right?"
Susan looked up at Cindy. "Yeah, she did."
"Then why don't you? It couldn't hurt, right?" Cindy watched as Susan slipped back into that look of deep thought again.
Susan slowly shook her head once more. "Sabrina said she didn't know. They haven't seen each other in years."
"Oh," Cindy acknowledged, giving a moment of thought before shrugging. "You should ask her again anyway. In case it comes up the next time they talk or something."
Susan's look of contemplation slowly gave way to a hopeful smile. "That's not such a bad idea. I think I'll do that."
Cindy smiled and perked up a little bit, seeing Susan back to her old self. "Great! But now," Cindy padded back on front of the triple mirror and turned. "How about this one?"
Josh kept a careful watch on the buildings he passed until finally a restaurant matching Sabrina's description came into view. Josh nodded to himself and pulled into the parking lot, quickly finding a good space and stopping. He was just about to get out of the car when he caught a glimpse of himself in the rear-view mirror. GAAAH! His headfur was incredibly frazzled and sticking almost straight up. Good Lord! I look like Buckwheat! He quickly flipped out his trusty fur brush and proceeded to try and do something, anything with his horribly unkempt looking fur, which looked more like fuzz. After a few good minutes he gave a look back into the mirror, looking like his old self again and giving a small sigh of relief. He opened his door and, checking the small piece of paper on which he had written Sabrina's directions, looked up at the place.
Trattoria Salvatore. Yup, this is the place. Josh stuffed the paper in his shirt pocket and quickly bounded his way up to the doors.
He looked around when he got inside. A very nicely decorated restaurant. Some tasteful furnishings and a pleasant atmosphere to boot. Not too fancy, but still a look of elegance to the place. The smells of the nearby kitchen instantly hit his sensitive vulpine nose, telling him of the delicious Italian cuisine just feet away. Josh scanned through the foyer, and instantly spotted Sabrina, giving a wave before walking over.
"Same old Sabby," he smiled as Sabrina quickly came over to meet him. "Figures you'd get here ahead of me."
"Good to see you again, Josh," Sabrina smiled back. "I made a reservation," she gestured with her paw and Josh followed her over to the hostess. "Sabrina Mustelidae, party of two."
The hostess checked the reservation list and signaled for a waiter. A slightly older looking squirrel quickly appeared and greeted them before showing them to their table. All along the way, Josh kept checking the decorations around. Something about this place struck him as being quite pleasant. Josh held out Sabrina's chair for her, making her smile once more and sighed as she sat down. "Foxes."
"Hmmm? Wazzat?" Josh looked across from the table at her as he sat down.
"Oh, nothing. It's just good to see that you're still keeping yourself a gentlefur" Sabrina couldn't help but think about Chris' own gentlefur-like ways.
Josh shrugged and grinned. "Hey, I gotta be me." Josh took another look around him at the walls and the other features he saw. "Wow, this is nice. How'd you know about this place?"
"My boss's boyfriend, James, took us here a little while ago. He knew the owner, so we got to sit in the private dining room."
"Fancy!" Josh gave another brief turn about and then to Sabrina. "So, where you working now?"
Sabrina looked down and began to blush. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Josh simply smiled. "Come on, Brina. You know I would never doubt you. It can't be all that bad. I mean, it's not like you're a politician or anything, right?"
"Well, no," Sabrina was still blushing when she looked back up at him. "I work at an adult film studio."
Josh froze, blinking a few times as he turned over in his mind what Sabrina had told him. "What?"
"I work at an adult film studio," she repeated, now looking him straight in the eyes.
Josh's smile returned as he processed what Sabrina had said. Then he repeated it, his smile breaking into chuckling, and as he repeated it a second time, the chuckling turned into full-blown laughter.
"You-," Josh just couldn't contain himself. "You work for a company that makes adult films?" he managed before cracking up in laughter.
"Stop it!" Sabrina exclaimed, her entire body blushing up. "I don't act there or anything like that. I'm the website designer!"
Josh was trying to control himself while she was talking. "I'm sorry, Sabby," he tried to catch his breath from laughing so hard. "It's just that you're the shyest, most innocent fur I've ever known and the thought of you working in a place like that is just so funny."
Josh saw that Sabrina was still blushing and he decided to stop. "Forgive me?" he asked with an apologetic smile.
Sabrina's original color slowly returned along with her smile. "Of course. I really should have expected it. Two years ago I would have reacted the same way if someone told me I would end up working at a porn studio."
Just then, the waiter appeared, nearly giving Josh a heart attack when he heard someone's voice coming from so close behind him. He gave Josh a bit of a strange look before taking their orders. The waiter bowed cordially and took away their menus before making his way back to the kitchen.
Josh decided he had better change the subject before he lost control of himself again.
Josh's little vulpine mind raced for a moment before finding a subject. "So, tell me about this great fox who's swept you off your feet."
Sabrina expression softened again, getting an image of her fiance' before starting. "Well, as Debbye mentioned last night, his name is Chris. He's a network engineer and PC hardware technician for a telecommunications company in Pennsylvania, he also-,"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up there," Josh stopped her. "Did you say Pennsylvania?"
Sabrina nodded. "Yes, I did."
"Geez, how did you two find each other?" Josh asked, slightly intrigued.
"We met in a chat room, actually. We really hit it off. After a couple of days of chatting we decided to meet for a date. He asked me to be his girlfriend and here I am today, engaged," Sabrina told him very casually, taking a sip from her water.
"You have got to be kidding," Josh had a look of complete disbelief. "Do you have any idea what the chances of that happening are? You are probably the only two people ever to meet on the internet who ever ended up finding out they were both completely compatible and attracted to one another," he paused for a moment to catch his breath. "Not only that, but you two are going to get married! I mean, I didn't think anything like that was possible. That's the kind of thing you read about in romance novels and online stories."
Sabrina grinned smugly and looked him straight in the eye. "Well, now you know better."
The look was still evident on Josh's face. "That's amazing. Do you two still chat online?"
"Oh yes," Sabrina's grin became much more sly. "Well, among other things."
Josh's mouth opened slightly as he squinted his eyes and shook his head. "Okay, really didn't need to know about that."
Sabrina giggled when she saw Josh's expression. "Sorry, didn't mean to spring that on you like that."
Josh sat back and smiled. "Wow. You have changed a lot since we worked together."
"You'd be surprised what working in an adult film studio does for you."
"I can only imagine," Josh chuckled. .
Sabrina realized that she had gotten side-tracked talking about Chris. "Enough about me, let's talk about you. Where are you working now?"
"Well," Josh gathered his thoughts. "Right now I'm working as a security guard. I'm also writing a small online story. It isn't much, but it gives me an excuse to keep on typing."
"You always enjoyed doing that," Sabrina recalled. "What did you do after you left the studio?"
"Well, let's see," Josh placed his paw to his chin, trying to remember. "I've worked as a car salesman, receptionist, masseuse's assistant, bouncer, waiter," Josh continued on the lengthy list, citing each position that he had held over the past two years.
Sabrina stared for a moment. "Wow. I guess that makes you a jack of all trades."
"I guess you could say that."
"Why all the job changes?" Josh had perked Sabrina's curiosity. "Did you get fired?"
Josh shook his head. "Nope, not from a single one. All the changes were my choice."
"Well, then why?"
Josh breathed out and clasped his paws together on his lap. "I guess I'm just trying to find a job that pays well, I'm good at and that I enjoy, too."
Sabrina laughed. "Yah, a whole lot of those around."
Josh chuckled. "Mind telling me where they are?" Just then a thought popped into Josh's head. "I got a letter from Tammy."
"Really?" Sabrina was interested. "How's she doing?"
"Reportedly fine," Josh chuckled softly and rubbed the side of his head. "Tammy told me she and Sheila were in town for your bridal shower. They were going to drop by and surprise me, but I was out of town."
"Aw, that's too bad," Sabrina said sympathetically.
"Well, nothing I can do about that now," Josh was getting uncomfortable dominating the conversation and decided to change it back to Sabrina. "So, how was your bridal shower?"
"It was great," Sabrina sipped from her drink. "But if you want to get technical about it, it was a bridal/baby shower."
Josh's eyes grew to the size of saucers. "You're pregnant?!? I have got to meet this guy!"
Sabrina quickly shook her head as she giggled. "No, no, no. I'm not the one who was pregnant. Amy was."
"Are you serious? Amy Squirrel? Amy 'get the hell out of my way before I put my fist down your throat' Squirrel? She's a mother now? Boy, a lot can happen in two years." Josh thought about his memories of Sabrina and Amy from when he had worked with them.
Sabrina nodded. "Well, she's changed a bit, too. She's a lot more low-key these days."
"That's good," Then Josh had another thought. "Are you two still roomates?"
"Yes, we still are," Sabrina put her drink down. "Though not for much longer. I'm going to be moving in with Chris soon."
Josh's ears wilted as a look of severe disappointment crossed Josh's face. "You're leaving? I just found you after two years and now you're leaving? That is mean!" Josh said half-jokingly as he bowed his head.
Sabrina smiled. "Don't worry. I'm not going to abandon you. I'll give you my new phone number and address before I leave."
Josh looked up. "Promise?" he asked before cracking a smile.
"Promise," Sabrina answered before taking another sip of her drink. "I just don't know what they're going to do without me as a baby-sitter."
Josh sat upright again. "Well, if they're looking for a new baby-sitter, I'd be happy to oblige," Josh offered. "Remember I used to do it for Tabby all the time."
Sabrina nodded. "I'll mention it to them if it ever comes up," she told him.
"How is Squirt, anyway?" Josh chuckled, thinking of the times he had baby-sat Tabitha.
"Oh, she's still the legendary terror to any and all babysitters that my parents have tried. You're actually the only one she ever liked," Sabrina told him. "Though I can't imagine why." Sabrina chided him.
"Well, despite the fact that my face scares most children and the elderly, I do have a cute smile." Josh grinned and displayed his 'cute' smile causing Sabrina to giggle.
Josh got back to thinking of when Amy and Sabrina had first become roomates. "Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but when you first started living together I didn't think it was going to last too long. Amy's a very nice person, but I recall her being more than just a tad temperamental at times."
"She loosened up pretty quickly after moving in. I guess I grow on people," Sabrina kidded.
"That you do, Sabby," Josh stated as their food arrived. "Wow. This is a lot."
"Wait until you taste it. A gourmet such as yourself should appreciate fine Italian food like this," Sabrina took her first bite and nearly shivered. "Mmmm, this is delicious."
Josh took a bite of his own and was very pleased. "This is excellent. Best lasagna I've ever had."
The conversation stalled for a few minutes as Josh and Sabrina savored their meals. As Josh was enjoying his food, his thoughts went back to the letter Tammy had sent him. What she had said about he and Eric stuck in his mind. "How's Eric these days?"
Sabrina swallowed her bite before she answered. "He's doing fine. Business is good and he still enjoys doing what he does as much as ever," she hesitated before she spoke again. "I know you left because you and Eric had a disagreement, but there's just one thing I want to know."
"And that would be?" Josh put his fork down for a moment.
Sabrina decided just to ask and get it over with. "What was the argument about?"
"Why didn't you just ask Eric?" Josh inquired, surprised that Sabrina didn't know.
"He never talks about it and I wouldn't want to start it up again," Sabrina explained.
"Well," Josh tried to find the right words. "Let's just say we had our creative differences and leave it at that."
"Okay, that's fine with me," Sabrina accepted. "But can I ask you one more thing?"
"Shoot," Josh told her.
Sabrina carefully chose her words. "Why don't you just talk to him? I'm sure he'd be willing to let bygones be bygones if you would only make the first move.".
Josh chuckled when he heard that. "That's just what Tammy said."
"Maybe she's right," Sabrina suggested, carefully making sure it didn't come across as her telling him what to do.
Josh thought for a moment and sighed. "I'll think about it."
The conversation paused again as they finished their food. After the waiter took away their plates Sabrina decided to turn the conversation to something non-personal.
"The weirdest thing happened to me the other day. I was waiting in line at the movies, and out of nowhere, the woman behind me starts talking to me," Sabrina told him, trying to get his mind off their previous subject matter.
"Are you serious?" Josh looked across the table to her. "You didn't know her and she just started chatting?"
"No, I'd never seen her before in my life. It was the strangest thing," Sabrina said as she remembered the incident.
A grin began to creep across Josh's face. "Was she a feline?"
"Yes," Sabrina answered with a raised eyebrow.
Josh's grin grew. "Did she have long, dark honey colored fur with white on her muzzle and legs?"
Sabrina looked confused. "Why, yes she did."
Josh's grin continued to grow. "Was she flirting with the males in the line?"
Sabrina was starting to get creeped out. "Yes, she was."
Josh's grin now consumed his whole muzzle. "Did you catch her name?"
Sabrina assumed this was leading up to something. "Yes, she said her name was-,"
"Kyrin Cat," Josh finished the sentence for her.
"How did you know?" Sabrina asked him, more puzzled then ever.
"She's an old artist friend of mine," Josh explained, still grinning.
"That's a strange coincidence," Sabrina said. "Does she always strike up conversations with people she doesn't know?"
"As long as I've known her," Josh answered, leaning back. "But only if she gets bored."
"That is too funny," Sabrina giggled. "That reminds me, how's Blue doing lately?"
"Same as he always was," Josh told her. "Oh, and he finally got rid of that sleeping problem."
"That's good to hear," Sabrina replied. "How'd he do that?"
"He got one of those dream-catcher things," Josh rubbed the back of his neck with his paw. "I don't know how they're supposed to work, but it's been effective for him."
"I never took Blue for the superstitious type," Sabrina said, thinking of when she last saw him.
"He isn't. He tried everything else he could think of before he finally broke down and got it. And even then he said the reason he got it was that it went with his decor," Josh told her with a chuckle.
"Sounds like something Blue would say," Sabrina agreed, grinning.
"Whatever works," Josh stated simply as the check arrived, grabbing it quickly before Sabrina could. "No way am I letting you pay for this."
"Josh, it was my idea to go to lunch. I'll pay for it."
"Oh, okay," Josh slid the check toward Sabrina and then quickly snatched it back. "No."
Sabrina knew she wasn't going to win this and finally conceded to let him pay. "Well, you certainly haven't changed over the course of years."
"I am nothing if not consistent," Josh stated as he gave the waiter his credit card with the check.
He and Sabrina chatted idly until the waiter returned with Josh's credit card. Josh held Sabrina's chair out as she stood up and the two padded back out to the foyer. Josh held the door for Sabrina before they walked out to the parking lot. The two exchanged addresses and said their good-byes, Josh then watching Sabrina wave to him as she drove away. Josh stopped waving when she was out of sight, then getting into his car and starting on his own way home. He suddenly had a lot on his mind. Josh had felt embarrassed when Sabrina had asked what the argument had been about. He was just too proud to admit that he didn't remember what he and Eric had been fighting about.
Josh walked into his apartment and checked his messages. None, big surprise there. Josh sat down on the couch and thought about the conversation he and Sabrina had at the restaurant. After a few minutes of thoughtful contemplation, he finally made his decision. Josh padded over to the phone and picked up the receiver.
I can't remember the last time I did this. Josh thought as he dialed. It rang twice before it was picked up.
"Hello?" said the voice on the other end of the line.
Josh sat back when he heard the familiar voice.
END OF CHAPTER 2