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 W. 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, Shawna Coon, Kris Coon, John Anderson, Aaron Cole, Wilde Cat 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 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 doesn't exist. They disavow any knowledge and do not officially sanction the events in the story.
Chapter 3-Silver and Gold
Eric sat there for a moment, furrowing his brow, looking confused for a moment before his expression gave way to one of near shock. "That you, Josh?"
Josh chuckled. "Yep, Eric. It's me. How are ya?"
"Fine, fine," Eric sat up a bit more straight in his chair. "And you?"
"Good as ever," Josh noticed Eric's surprise in the tone of his voice. "Surprised to hear from me?"
Eric hesitated a moment before he answered. "Yeah, I am actually."
Josh nodded. "Eric, I'm sure you're busy so I'll get straight to the point."
"Ok," Eric said, settling back slightly.
"I've been thinking, and it's stupid not to speak to each other just because of some stupid argument. I called to ask if you would be willing to just forget it ever happened and clear the slate." Josh remained silent, awaiting Eric's response.
"Who are you and what have you done with Josh?" Eric could hardly believe what he just heard.
Josh chuckled. "Funny Eric, but it really is me. I know I can be a stubborn horse's behind sometimes, but I'd just like to resolve this and get it out of the way, if you're willing."
"Sure, be glad to," Eric still sounded a bit surprised. "Can I ask you a question, though?"
"Certainly," Josh replied.
"Why you asking me now?"
Josh smiled, thinking of the two ladies that had convinced him. "Sabrina and Tammy made me see how pig-headed I was."
Eric grinned. "Really? I'll have to thank them."
"You and me both, Eric," Josh chuckled.
"Well, uh." Eric tried to think of what to say. "You'll have to drop by sometime."
"I'd like that. Be nice to see the old place again."
"Now maybe Blue will finally respond to one of my emails."
Josh's ears perked at the mention of Blue's name. "Say what?"
Eric decided that he'd better explain. "Ever since you guys walked out, I've been trying to coax him back. I've sent him four e-mails, but he hasn't returned a single one."
Now it was Josh's turn to be surprised. "You kidding me?"
"What do you mean?"
"First off," Josh started. "I haven't heard of anyone, anywhere, anyhow ever getting four e-mails from you."
"Yes, well," Eric chuckled as he began to explain. "He's the most talented fur I've ever had working for me and he was the only guy at the studio who didn't get distracted by the models. You know what I mean."
Josh chuckled. "Believe me, I know what you mean," He thought for a moment. "When'd you first give him the offer?"
Eric tried to remember. "I think it was the week after you left, actually."
"That long ago?" Josh contemplated this little revelation. "That's odd. He hasn't said a word to me about it."
"Well, if he does, make sure to tell me, okay?"
"No problem, Eric. See you around."
"Bye," Eric said cheerfully just before hanging up.
Eric held the receiver down for a moment, thinking. I wonder what that argument was about, anyway. Eric scratched the tip of his tail as he thought. He shrugged when he couldn't remember and returned to his swamped desk.
Josh sat in thought as he drummed his fingers on the desk. Why didn't he say anything to me? Josh couldn't think of any reason why Blue would stay quiet about Eric's job offer.
Josh snapped out of his thoughts by the phone ringing. He quickly slid his chair back and snatched the caller I.D. up in his paw. Blue Wolfe.
Now there's a nice coincidence. Josh picked the phone back up. "Hi, Blue," He heard Blue chuckling on the other end of the line.
Blue chuckled as he held the receiver to his ear. "You're getting your money's worth out of that caller I.D., aren't you?"
Josh placed the caller I.D. back down and switched the phone into his other paw. "You better believe it. What's up?"
Blue looked down for a moment and grinned before answering. "Just wanted to make sure we were still going to Callahan's tomorrow night."
Josh rolled his eyes. "Blue, we've been going there every Sunday night for the past three years. And every Saturday night for the past three years you've called me up to make sure we were going. The answer has always been 'yes.' Just what makes you think tomorrow would be any different?" Josh couldn't help but smile.
Blue chuckled and sighed. "You know me. I always have to make sure. See you there at the normal time, okay?"
"See you there, buddy," Josh hit the off button and sat still for a moment, going back to thinking.
This would be a good chance to ask Blue about what Eric said. Josh nodded, getting up from his seat to check the mail. He grabbed the small bundle from his mailbox and padded back over to his desk, sifting through. Occupant, bill, occupant, you may already have won, bill, bill....hmmm?. A familiar aroma wafted past his nose. Josh sniffed the air a few times, then realizing that it was coming from the small bunch of letters in his paw. He pulled out a pink envelope and pressed it against his nose.
It's coming from this one. Josh flipped it over, glancing at the return address. His muzzle turned up into a smile as the name, Sheila Vixen greeted his eyes.
That explains the pink envelope. Josh unsheathed his trusty claw once more and opened the envelope on top, the pleasant smell becoming much stronger when he did so. Hey, that's Sheila's perfume. Josh realized as he removed the letter. She must have accidentally spilled some on the stationary.
Josh chuckled when he read that. Sheila was the only one who ever called him 'Foxy.'
How are things? I'm sure Tammy told you about our little trip to town. I wanted so desperately to surprise you, but you weren't home. Luckily Blue told us that you were out of town. I was really worried, not knowing where you were. I can't believe how bad my luck is sometimes. Tammy said I was frowning so much she thought I was going to swallow my face.
Josh laughed at the mental image that conjured up. I can imagine.
You wouldn't believe how disappointed I was. It's really is a shame you weren't home; you could have been the entertainment at the shower.
Huh? Doing what? Josh thought. He was pretty good at impressions, but that hardly seemed appropriate for a shower. I wonder what the entertainment was.
I'm so sorry I can't go with Tammy to see you, but there's no way to reschedule the photo shoot. Sometimes I just want to quit modeling and go to work at that studio with Sabrina.
Josh stared at that last line for a moment. Nah, I'm sure she's joking.
I just want to say that I'm sorry again for not being able to come and visit. I'll send Tammy with my best wishes. I promise I'll pay a visit the next chance I get, Foxy. Hope to see a lot more of you soon!
What? No hugs? Josh chuckled as he put the letter next to Tammy's in his desk. Josh was glad to hear from her. They all had been friends ever since the first day they met at E.S. and stayed in touch even after Josh left.
Josh took a look over at his wall clock. Better get my exercises done before I get too tired. Josh slipped his shirt off over his head and padded over to his equipment.
Sabrina smiled as she padded gingerly, almost skipping down the hall. She had really enjoyed talking with Josh again. I can't believe how little he's changed. It was if no time had passed at all. Sabrina reached her apartment and had just taken out her keys when the door flew open, Amy's anxious form meeting her.
"Hi, Sabrina," Amy greeted her with an expression arush with curiosity. "Soooooo, how was lunch?"
Sabrina was a bit startled, but figured that Amy just had been bored, since she had had to stay home with Timothy all that day. "I had a good time. He's the same nice guy he was before."
Amy walked alongside Sabrina before they sat down on the couch. "So what did you two talk about?"
"Well, when we first got to the restaurant..." Sabrina explained everything she and Josh had talked about. She went into great detail about the restaurant, Josh's answers about the past few years and just about everything else about their lunch. Amy listened intently, since Thomas was playing basketball and Timothy was down for his nap. Though she was also glad to hear about her old acquaintance.
"...And then he wouldn't let me pay the check. When I finally gave in we went out to the parking lot and exchanged addresses."
"Sounds like you had a good time." Amy smiled before remembering what had happened while Sabrina was out. "That reminds me, Susan called. She wanted you to call her back when you got in."
Sabrina smiled. "Okay, I'll give her a ring now," Sabrina padded over to the phone and dialed Susan's number. Sabrina hummed for a moment as she waited for Susan to pick up.
Susan stood in front of her mirror holding a dress she had bought at the mall. She held it against her body and looked at it in the mirror, frowning. She didn't like it. For some reason it looked different from when she had seen it in the store. Susan knew that her mind hadn't been on shopping when she and Cindy were out before. She had been thinking about the other night at the ice cream parlor. Susan thought back to what Cindy had said earlier. Why didn't I flirt with him?
Susan had done it so many times, it had become somewhat of a reflex, but she hadn't when she met Josh. Susan had been listening so intently and had been so focused on him that it just didn't even occur to her. Ever since Cindy had mentioned it, Susan's mind had been locked on it. She was still lost in thought when the phone rang. Susan carefully laid the dress down on her bed and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
She was greeted by Sabrina's cheerful voice. "Hi, Suse."
Susan suddenly perked up. "Hi Sabby. I called earlier, but Amy told me you went out. What were you doing?"
"Josh and I went to lunch. I just got home," Sabrina sat down, smiling.
Susan's ears suddenly perked, this little bit of news catching her interest. "Really? How'd it go?"
"It went very well. It felt good to catch up on old times," Sabrina told her. "I swear he's exactly the same as when we worked together."
"Oh, I see," Susan decided to try and get some information. "How long have you known him?"
"Ever since his first day at E.S. four years ago. We worked together for two years before he left. Why do you ask?"
"Just curious," Susan decided to go a little further. "Did you find out anything interesting?"
Sabrina thought for a moment. Other then his jobs, there really wasn't all that much new information. "No, not really. He doesn't like talking about himself."
Susan just decided to come out and ask the question that had been on her mind since the mall. "Say, he didn't-," Susan could hardly believe she was asking this. "He didn't happen to mention if he was seeing anyone, did he?"
Sabrina's eyebrows went up instantly at hearing the question. "No, it didn't really come up in the conversation," Sabrina realized what Susan was going for and decided to play off her success with Zig Zag and her boyfriend, James. "Why don't you call him and ask yourself?"
"Sabrina, I could never do that! It would make me look desperate!" Susan exclaimed, then calming down. "Besides, I don't have his number."
Sabrina thought back to the advice she had given Zig Zag when she had first met James. It worked for Zig, why wouldn't it work for Susan?
"Suse, can I offer you some advice?"
"Okay, Sabby," Susan listened closely.
Sabrina took the napkin which held his phone number and email address out of her pant's pocket. "I've got his number right here. Why don't you call him up and ask him to dinner?"
Susan stood still for a moment, those words bouncing around in her head. "Me? Ask HIM out? Are you serious?"
Sabrina heard the uncertainty in Susan's voice. "Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but I've seen it work out very well. That way, if everything goes well, you can see if you want to arrange for a date. It gives you a chance to see what he's like before you decide whether or not to start going out with him."
Susan thought about that for a moment. It sounded like a good idea, but it definitely wasn't what she was used to. "Do you really think that will work?"
Sabrina paused for a moment, thinking about Zig Zag and James. "Yes, I really do."
Susan batted the idea around in her mind. "Okay, I'll give it a try. I'll have to wait a little while, though. I don't want to seem too eager or anything like that."
"That's sensible. Let me give you his number," Sabrina read off the number, making sure Susan had it correct.
Susan took down the number. "Thanks a lot, Sabby. I owe you one."
"It's nothing, Suse. Just make sure to tell me how everything goes."
Susan gave a perky goodbye and hung up the phone. She decided that Sabrina's advice was more than credible. Sabrina was, afterall, the only member of the Clique to be engaged. Susan was smiling now and even bouncing slightly as she went back over to her bed. She hummed a little tune as she looked through the rest of her purchases.
Josh got up from exercising and tried to stretch his body out, his muscles again feeling very tense. Josh leaned backwards, trying to release some of the tension in his back before he picked up his shirt and padded into the bathroom. He stuffed his clothes into the hamper, then gave just one more twist of his back before getting into the shower. Josh turned the knob and allowed the water to pound against his neck and back, breathing in and out slowly and closing his eyes, the tension unusually apparent for even his more rigorous workouts. As the warm water began to soak into his fur, his mind began to drift. His thoughts wafted around in his head until they returned to the ice cream parlor the night before. Josh's mind slowly floated a bit more, piecing together Susan's image.
Maybe I'll get to talk to her a little more the next time I see them .
He just couldn't seem to take his mind off Susan's eyes. There was something about them that simply fascinated him. Josh had only gotten to see her for a few minutes, but he remembered every detail about her. As Josh washed the suds out of his fur, he had her pictured perfectly in his mind. Josh was snapped back to reality by a sudden rush of cold water. Josh looked behind him and realized that his tail had accidentally turned the handle to cold while he was lost in thought. Josh shivered and quickly turned it off, cold water being one of his least favorite things. Josh shivered for a moment before he stepped out and grabbed a fresh towel off the rack. He gave himself his normal vigorous rubdown, making sure his fur was completely dry. Josh didn't have many pet peeves, but wet fur was one of them, especially in the winter. Josh padded over to the bedroom in his birthday suit, pulling a pair of his boxers out of the drawer and putting them on. He stretched his back out, but suddenly realized that he was completely at ease. Josh felt totally calm and his tension had disappeared. Normally, even after his shower, he would still be tense, but for some reason he felt fine. Josh realized that he had felt the same way the night before when he had gone to bed.
Freaky. Wonder why that is? He rubbed his neck and thought, but couldn't seem to figure it out. Josh shrugged before he got into bed, turning out the light. His thoughts returned one more time to Susan before his eyes closed, her image occupying his thoughts as he began to drift into sleep.
Josh's head moved slightly from side to side as he tried to keep time with the music. Josh had taken to singing the lyrics to songs under his breath a while back. He found it helped him stay alert to hear another voice, even if it was his own. Josh was going through the the words to Sweet Emotion when he saw the exit he was looking for and pulled off the interstate into Callahan's parking lot. There was a medium size crowd, normal for a Sunday night. Josh locked his car and walked across the parking lot. As he made his way towards the doors, he scanned the parking lot for Blue's car. He finally spotted it; the old Buick Blue always drove.
Josh chuckled. Wadaya know. He got here ahead of me for once.
Josh passed through the doors and was about to go into the bar when he saw a very fetching raccoon at the hostesses' station.
Josh smiled and walked up to her podium. "Hey there, Shawna."
She smiled knowingly. "Josh, you're here. Must be Sunday."
Josh shrugged. "Well, I'm a creature of habit. How's your brother? I haven't seen him in a while."
"Kris? Oh, he's fine," she thought for a moment. "Well, if you call screaming your throat sore at a frozen-up computer fine."
Josh got an image of that and laughed. "Still hasn't learned how to master that thing?"
"You better believe it," Shawna answered. "As patient and calm as he is, if one little thing goes wrong with his computer he totally flips out."
Josh nodded and took a look into the restaurant. "Everything back to normal? I heard you guys had a fight here."
Shawna sighed and nodded. "Yeah, the police gave Kitty a bit of trouble but everything turned out fine. At least no one was hurt by those stupid drunks."
Josh shook his head. "I'm sorry I wasn't here. At least I could have stopped those idiots before any damage was done."
Shawna just waved her paw. "Don't worry about it. There was a little damage to one of the tables but not much else. Only a small brawl. The drunken morons went after two other guys girlfriends, and you know what always happens after that."
Josh still looked a little unsure. "They get what they deserved?"
Shawna laughed. "Oh, yeah. A coyote and a fox beat the drunkards into the floorboards. They really whomped them. Their girlfriends got them out of their before the cops arrived, though."
Josh nodded approvingly. "Good, just so long as things are ok now. Tell Kris I said hi," Josh started walking toward the bar, but then stopped and turned around. "And tell his wife to stop talking to strangers in movie lines!"
"Will do," Shawna smiled back at him.
Josh entered the bar and scanned for Blue. Normal crowd for the bar. Josh spotted him sitting on a stool next to the big screen TV and walked over.
Blue raised up his paw and gave a wave as he caught sight of Josh. "Hey, saved your barstool for you."
"Thanks, Blue," Josh sat down next to him. "Who's winning?"
"Not a clue," Blue sipped his drink. "I haven't really been paying attention."
Josh looked around the room and determined that about two-thirds of the cars outside must have belonged to the bar crowd. He looked back at Blue and saw that his eyes were not at all on the game. Rather Blue's gaze was focused on a rather handsome leopard on the other side of the room.
Josh gave a chuckle at his little observation. "I think I can guess why you haven't been paying attention."
"Can you blame me?" Blue turned to Josh with a grin. "I'll have to see if I can get his number."
"If you don't mind me asking," Josh started glancing over at the leopard. "What if he's not looking for, shall we say, 'your' type?"
Blue gave a all-knowing look over to Josh. "Don't be silly. Of course he is. Trust me on this one."
"How do you know?" Josh looked back over to the leopard. He didn't see anything distinguishing.
"Have I ever been wrong before? And that one time doesn't count!" Blue quickly added before Josh could say it.
"Whatever you say, Blue," Josh chuckled. "Still, that was pretty funny when you saw the guy you had been hitting on go into the ladies' room."
Blue furrowed his eyebrows. "You're just jealous because you know you can't have me."
"Yeah, Blue. I'm sure that's it," Josh continued chuckling. "You're just lucky I never told Rob about it."
Blue raised his eyes skyward and groaned. "You got that right. If Rob ever got wind of that, I'd never hear the end of it."
A soft purr from behind them. "Hello, boys," Blue and Josh both turned to find a very attractive tigress leaning in behind them.
Blue raised his glass. "Hey, Kittiara."
Josh chuckled for a moment when he saw what she was wearing. Kittiara was wearing her favorite dress, a violet and black stripe pattern that she had had custom made. The dress fit her like a second skin and the stripe pattern on the dress matched up perfectly with her own. If not for the skirt it would appear almost as if her fur had been painted. Needless to say, this got her more than her fair share of looks from just about every male patron and a few female as well. Kittiara didn't mind, though. She liked the attention.
She gave a tiny wave to Blue and turned to Josh. "So how's my favorite ex-employee?"
Josh shrugged and grinned. "Can't complain. How's my favorite ex-slavedriver?"
"Can't complain either," she told him, sitting down on the barstool next to him. "Other than those two drunks, everything's been going as smooth as can be expected."
Josh nodded, really wishing he had been there to help, but realizing that now there was nothing he could do. "How's the place been running without me?"
"It's doing fine, but you really made a difference while you were working here," Kittiara told him. "You were the hardest worker we've had in a long time and we didn't have to worry about the customers getting out of hand. It was a shame to lose you."
Josh sighed. "Yeah, well. It's not that I didn't enjoy working here or anything like that," Josh leaned his elbow against the bar. "It was just too weird."
"I mean," he continued, pointing to Blue and then himself. "Blue and I have been going here for three years now, and it just felt too strange working here during the week and then coming back every weekend."
"I suppose I can understand that," Kittiara admitted. "Still, I wish I could have convinced you to stay."
"Did you find anyone to replace me, yet?" Josh asked her.
Kittiara nodded. "I just hired a new girl a few weeks ago. Her name's Cindy. I'm sure you'll meet her soon enough. She doesn't have much experience, but she does her best."
"And that's what is really important," Josh declared, then noticing the absence of his True-Blue friend's voice. "Right, Blue?"
Blue was gazing across the room at the leopard again. He snapped out of his trance and turned when he heard Josh's voice. "What?"
"Someone caught your eye tonight, Blue?" Kittiara glanced over to where he had been staring.
"Maybe," Blue simply responded, not sounding overly enthusiastic.
"Just a bit of friendly advice," Kittiara leaned forward and placed her muzzle next to Blue's ear. "Before you make a move, make sure he's really a guy, ok?"
Blue buried his face in his paws. "You're never going to let me forget about that, are you?"
"Not on your life," she whispered before she looked at her watch. "I've got to check on the restaurant." Kittiara waved to the bartender. "Hey, Ralph. A couple of free drinks and some wings for our two favorite customers."
"You got it, boss," The ocelot behind the bar gave her a thumbs up.
"Thanks, Kitty," Josh and Blue both thanked her.
"See you around, boys," Kittiara walked out of the bar and back into the restaurant, the gaze of a good amount of the patrons following her.
"The usual?" The bartender asked as he put the wings on the counter in front of them.
"Of course," Josh took a wing and stripped the meat off it with his teeth. "I love these things."
"Just make sure you leave some for me this time, ok?" Blue chuckled, watching Josh tearing into the platter.
"I promise nothing," Josh said jokingly as he picked up another one.
"I think you've got wings on the brain," Blue observed and grabbed one of his own.
The bartender returned with their usual and slid two glasses down the counter. "One wine spritzer and an iced tea."
"Thanks, Ralph," Josh threw him a high sign before he took a sip.
Blue took his spritzer and held it in his paw for a moment. He was toying around with the subject he had been thinking about all day. Blue still felt a bit uneasy about it, but he decided it'd be best to just put it out in the open.
"Josh," Blue started, leaning against the bar. "Mind if I talk to you about something?"
Josh swallowed a bite from another wing and nodded. "Sure, what is it?"
"Yesterday morning I got an e-mail from Eric," Blue paused, looking for a reaction.
"Oh, really?" Josh knew that, but he decided to keep his mouth shut.
Blue nodded. "He offered me my old job back."
"That's nice," Josh kept playing along.
Blue rubbed his paws together, a little surprised that Josh seemed so passive. "To be honest, he's been offering me my old position ever since we left."
This was what Josh had been waiting for. "That's good. Any reason you waited till' now to tell me?"
Blue still felt a bit uneasy. "I didn't want to say anything, with you and Eric not speaking and all."
Josh smiled and gave Blue a pat of the back. "Blue, c'mon! You don't need my permission for anything. If you want to take the job, then go ahead."
Blue was still uncertain. "Are you sure it wouldn't be too weird?"
"Blue, you're one of a kind," Josh chuckled. "If it makes you feel any better, I called Eric yesterday and we made up."
Blue blinked twice and stared at him. "You called him?"
Josh just laughed. "Surprised?"
"Well, yeah. No offense or anything, but sometimes you can be-," Blue paused, trying to find the right words.
"A stubborn jackass?" Josh finished Blue's sentence with a chuckle.
"I was going for something a just a little less harsh," Blue told him, his own smile returning.
"It's okay, Blue. I know how I can be sometimes. You just do whatever you want, okay?" Josh snatched up another wing and just about sucked the meat off of it.
Blue was still recovering from the shock of what Josh had told him about himself and Eric. Blue hesitated for a moment, but decided to go further as long as he had the chance. "Mind if I ask you another question?"
"Not at all," Josh told him, tossing the stripped wing onto the far end of the platter.
"That argument between you and Eric," Blue paused one more time. "What was it about?"
Josh stared blankly at Blue for a moment. Then he started laughing so hard he almost fell off the stool.
"Blue, you and I left together. Are you telling me that you didn't even know why we were leaving?" Josh asked in a mix of laughter and disbelief.
Blue smiled sheepishly. "Well, yeah."
Josh stopped and looked at Blue for what must have been a full minute, smiling.
"How'd I ever get lucky enough to have a friend like you?" Josh laid his paw on Blue's shoulder.
"Wait a minute, that question was rhetorical, right?" Blue's expression mirrored Josh's.
"Yeah, Blue, it was," Josh chuckled and patted Blue on the shoulder.
From there on out Josh and Blue just chatted about tiny things until they had both finished their drinks and the wings had been fully depleted.
Josh wiped his muzzle with a napkin. "Ready to move on out?"
"Sure, just let me go over and say hi to that cute leop-," Blue looked at where the leopard had been all night and saw an empty seat.
"Aw, no!" Blue hopped out of his seat and quickly looked about. "You gotta be kidding me!"
"Huh? Where'd he go?" Josh looking around the bar, not seeing any sign of him.
"I didn't see," Blue hadn't even noticed that the leopard had left.
Josh sighed and stood up next to him. "It's okay, Blue. I'm sure we'll see him again," Josh told him. "Afterall, we come here every week."
"You think so?" Blue was still visually searching the bar.
"Sure," Josh reassured him with a pat on the back as he guided a reluctant Blue towards the exit. The two furs threw a wave to the bartender and then to Shawna as they made their way out. Josh held the door for Blue and they walked out into the cool night.
"Want me to help push your car out of the lot?" he asked jokingly as they walked along.
Blue laughed. "No, Josh, I think I'll be able to get myself out of here ok."
Josh and Blue gave one another a goodnight and walked to their cars, Blue giving Josh a wave as he pulled out of the parking lot and onto the interstate. As Josh followed suit, he again began to follow along with the music, not audibly, but still enough just to hear himself in his head. He couldn't help but chuckle at what Blue had told him in the bar. Blue had always been a great friend, but even Josh had never imagined that Blue's loyalty ran that deep. It made him feel good.
Oh shoot! I forgot to tell him I saw Sabrina! Josh scolded himself, but just decided to give Blue the news when he saw him next.
Josh closed the door to his apartment, tossing his tattered old jacket aside and hanging his keys on the keyrack. Josh's eyes checked over his answering machine as he walked by, then holding on the small blinking number as he stopped dead in his tracks. There was one message.
Well lookee there. Wonder who called? Josh hit the play button and stepped back to listen.
"Hi, Josh. This is Susan. Remember? We met at the ice cream parlor the other night."
Josh's expression brightened considerably as her voice reached his vulpine ears. Susan? Wonder why she's calling me? It was very nice to hear the sound of her voice. It conjured up her image in his mind again, inevitably causing him to smile.
"It was very nice to meet you. I thought perhaps we might get to know each other a bit better. Would you like to have dinner together sometime?"
Josh's eyes grew and his mouth dropped open right then and there. "Wha...... wha...... what did she just say?"
"If it works for you, give me a call sometime this week. Here's my number."
Josh just stared at the machine as Susan read off her number.
"Hope to talk to you soon! Byee!" *click*
Josh's eyes were fixated on the machine, even after the message stopped. He could not believe what he had just heard. Josh blinked a few times and leaned forward again, hitting the button and listening as the message replayed for him. He hadn't heard wrong.
"Did-, did she just ask me out?" Josh asked absently, forgetting that he was alone for a moment. He replayed the message again. It was the same as the first time he had listened to it. Josh fell back on to the couch, staring off into space as he let everything sink in.
END OF CHAPTER 3