A Test of Friendship Part 6: Moving On
Pepper couldn’t remember crying so much or for so long in her life. She had been trying to keep herself from crying over the last few weeks. But after what had happened on Thursday… it was impossible.
It had started off so wonderfully. She had finally been able to tell Xander she loved him. He had returned her affection. They even had SEX! On stream and off! It had felt like all was well with the world. But then it all came crashing back down.
She had seen the cracks forming early on. Even that night they had had sex she could tell that he was STILL having some doubts. But she had ignored it because she figured that since they had had sex, things would work out in the end.
But it didn’t. Instead, their conversations grew shorter and shorter. For years she had thought for sure that they had so much in common. But as time went on, she realized that he had just been being kind to her for all those years. Then finally it had hit rock bottom… or so she thought.
Kody, her best friend had been a godsend through those few weeks. She loyally kept encouraging her, kept trying to give her tips or ideas to spice it up. Always there with something positive to say and to suggest that it would work out. Without her saying what she WANTED to hear she may never had come to realize what she needed to do.
With all those kind words and silly remarks, she could have never guessed though. Guessed that the reason Xander had stopped talking to her. Had lost interest. Was because Kody had been wooing him all along.
That fateful night she had decided to finally break up with Xander was when the truth finally came out. Even if they had been strained, he usually replied quickly enough whenever she called or texted him. But that night he had been strangely quiet. Feeling at a loss and rather lonely since she had sent Kody home, she logs into her personal account in LiveFur’s to take her mind off her stress.
Watching girls her age and younger had always excited her. It reminded her of her feelings for Xander. It may have been an unhealthy outlet but it was all she had that night. It was while perusing the active streams that she stumbled across Kody’s own private stream channel.
She had known she had one. It would have felt weird watching her friend show off on a camera. Best to not come across something so embarrassing right? If she had only searched more.
The name made her snort. “CougarCooter”. Such a crude and suggestive name. Right up Kody’s alley. She had thought. Looking at the keywords her interest was piqued by “cougars” and “age diff”. Seeing as that was basically what she was looking for, she made the fateful mistake of selecting it.
Immediately she recognized who she saw. Her best friend, Kody, bent over by the very man she had planned on breaking up with that night, Xander. Her mind went blank as she tried to process what she was seeing. Fear, outrage, hurt all hit her at the same time. Her hands seemingly typing out her thoughts of their own accord, “What are you two doing!?” was all she could muster though.
The viewers instantly caught on and began relishing the situation. Snickers, catcalls and even offers to “help her feel better” rolled in as she watched in horror as Xander clearly cums inside of Kody like he had to her several months ago.
Unable to look away she stared in numb shock as Kody begins talking and acting like nothing had happened. Xander dismounts next and then Kody asks, “Do you guys wanna see?”
Without waiting or apparently reading the flood of comments she moves up and displays proudly what Xander had just did to her. The sight of his seed, Xander’s cum, oozing from her best friend was too much. Unable to watch any longer she had logs out, turns off her phone and throws herself into her bed sobbing.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday all passed much the same. Unwilling to see anyone or talk she holed up in her room and hid from the world. Whenever asked by her mom or dad she could only sob out that she had been cheated on.
In the dark recesses of her mind, she had considered exposing what had happened. Told her parents EVERTHING. How Kody had been putting on shows for internet furs. How she had talked her into inviting Xander over for one and ended up having sex. Then how she had found them a couple of days ago on-stream having sex too.
She knew what would happen. Kody would be likely be sent to a home. Xander arrested. She would probably be put into counseling. It would be easy to play the victim, she WAS after all a victim. All she had to say was ONE thing and she would have her revenge. If only she COULD say it though…
Despite these evil musings she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Now that she had cried the majority of the most negative feelings away, she was left with only two questions. “Why”? And “How long”?
The more she thought about it the more confused and hurt she felt. How could she have done this? How long have they been having sex? Have they been secretly been laughing at me this whole time? How could she say all those encouraging things when she was going behind my back with him?
She had so many questions for both of them. But every time she turned on her phone and saw the missed calls from both of them, she felt only the sting of betrayal again and just shut it off again. But she knew that eventually she would have to face them again.
Sunday night found her still skulking in her bedroom as her mother barges in without knocking.
“You ready for school in the morning?” she asks briskly, tutting under breath as she glares around her dirty room.
“I don’t want to go.” Pepper replies mutinously.
“That’s nice dear, clean your bedroom before you go to sleep tonight too.” She replies as if she hadn’t heard her.
“I DON’T want to go.” She says again.
“Pepper. I understand you are still feeling upset but you’re going to have to face this guy and girl eventually. Staying cooped up in your bedroom isn’t the answer. Besides your studies will suffer too” her mother says.
“Mooom” Pepper groans hiding under her bedsheets.
“Don’t “moooom” me young lady. You’re going to school tomorrow, and that’s final.
Going to bed that night Pepper had many mutinous dreams where she didn’t go to school anyways. In the morning though she found herself standing at the bus stop feeling ruffled that she had complied so easily.
How come I can’t be more assertive like other girls. She pouts.
Glancing longingly back towards her house she stays put anyways. But as the bus comes into view and gets closer those thoughts come back. Looking at the bus doors swing open she sighs unhappily and plays the good girl by getting on despite really not wanting to.
Scanning for empty seats she stops short when she spots a familiar face taking furtive glances at her from the back of the bus. Kody, her FORMER best friend kept pretending to read something while stealing glances at Pepper. The seat like normal is empty next to her and she can’t help but feel that Kody kept looking hopefully her way.
Without another glance though she sits down instead next to an older feline with cream colored fur in some of those most expensive looking clothing. Trying to ignore the silent but hostile glare from the pretty feline she keeps herself busy by playing whatever games she has on her phone.
Pepper had never been so happy to be at school by the time they had arrive. She had never realized how long the drive was because usually she spent the time talking to Kody. Not having her to talk to and instead a grumpy popular girl next to you on the bus had made it the most uncomfortable bus ride of her life.
The rest of the day sadly played out much like the morning had. Pepper had never realized just how much spending her day with Kody had made school so much more enjoyable. Each class they sat next to each other, they ate lunch together, everything. Spending her whole day instead trying to avoid Kody had left her feeling depressed and exhausted.
To make matters worse she had gradually started feeling more and more guilty on top of it all! Every time class let out, in the halls, at lunch Kody had clearly tried to say something. Instead of staying to listen she instead ran away, trying her best to ignore how hurt Kody looked each time she did.
She should feel bad! After what she did to me! Serves her right! She told herself bracingly. I-I shouldn’t feel guilty at all! She brought this on herself… Ohhhh! WHY DO I FEEL SO DAMN GUILTY!?
As Pepper waged her mental war, she was totally unaware that she had left the class, walked to the school busses and had sat down in her usual seat. It wasn’t until she looked up and saw Kody looking surprised but hopefully at her that she realized her mistake.
As much as she wants to get up and get another seat, she realizes that that would just be petty. Resigning herself to another awkward bus ride she places her bookbag in her lap and pointedly looks out the window. Kody for her part lets out an audible sigh and sits next to her and doesn’t speak.
After an eternity of Pepper trying to pretend Kody doesn’t exist, she finally hears her say,” U-um Pepper?”
“Yes, Dakota?” she responds icily.
“Can we… can we talk?” Kody asks softly.
“Aren’t we talking now?” she replies simply
“N- I mean yes, but… Look c-can I come over?”
“I don’t see why you would need to for us to have a conversation.”
“Pepper… we CAN’T have this conversation here on the bus… I-If not at your place, then at the park?”
In her neighborhood there was a play ground and park area. The two girls had spent many a day when they were in grade school there.
“If you insist!” she responds in as an indifferent voice as she can muster.
When they finally got to her neighborhood, she had decided sitting next to the popular girl had been a more pleasant experience. Being forced to sit so close to your former best friend who had stolen you man was WAY worse. Especially when you still, despite the hurt and betrayal, wanted to be friends.
She and Kody walked silently to the park area. Pepper making sure to walk slightly faster to keep some distance while Kody quietly brough up the rear. The two girls set their things down next to a swing set and chose a swing so that at least one is still between them.
Pepper kept silent as she waited for Kody to start. This was what SHE wanted after all. But the silence only continued, neither girl seemingly willing to start what was sure to be an uncomfortable discussion.
Finally unable to bare the silence, Pepper finally whispers the ONE question she wanted answered more than anything, “Why?”
“H-huh?” Kody jumps and asks stupidly.
“Why?” she repeats turning to stare at Kody. “WHY did you do it? Why did you keep encouraging me? WHY did you keep giving me suggestions? Was it all just one big joke? Was it FUNNY watching me think that I had a shot with him? Did you and Xander have a good laugh at “poor gullible Pepper!?”
All of her ill feelings started to bubble up again. Her hurt and anger swelled and took aim at the source of it all. All those dark thoughts came crashing back as she imagined Kody and Xander laughing at her. Laughing at how STUPID she had been.
The more she spoke the louder she got. She was no longer sitting anymore either. She was standing, rigid and her fur fluffed out twice its normal size. Kody looked as if her worst dreams had come true, staring at Pepper. Face distraught, full of grief and regret.
But rather than calming her down it only enraged her more. How DARE she look so upset!? How dare she look like HER world is coming to an end?!
“COME NOW “COUGARCOOTER”! TELL ME IM WRONG! TELL ME THAT SWEET LIL NEIVE PEPPER IS JUST IMAGENING THINGS. I BET YOU TWO HAD BEEN BANGING EVEN BEFORE YOU INVITED HIM OVER FOR THAT JOINT STREAM WE DID! COME ON, TELL ME! JUST HOW LONG HAVE YOU TWO BEEN PLAYING AROUND BEHIND MY BACK!”
She had been yelling at the top of her lungs for a while now. Her voice was now raw and horse. She stood there breathing hard and all of her muscles ached from how taunt her body had been. She vaguely realized that she had probably let the whole neighborhood know their drama, but she hardly cared.
Kody looked to be on the verge of tears. She had just sat there, gaping at Pepper while she shouted at her the whole time. Each word she could tell had been a dagger in her heart. Even now all Kody could to was stare up at Pepper miserably. Was she going to offer up an excuse, ANY excuse!?
“Well!?” Pepper finally snaps, feeling angrier and angrier at her silence. “Do you have ANYTHING to say!?
“Wh-what CAN I say?” Kody asks miserably. “S-simply apologizing w-will never cut it for what I did to you!”
“So, are you saying its ALL true!?” bristles Pepper again.
“N-No! I-its not!” Kody gasps frantically.
Pepper simply glares at Kody, not sure of what to say next. She could tell that Kody was well and truly sorry for what had happened. But it didn’t abate her anger. She wanted to know exactly what happened. But she could tell that Kody was struggling with what to say herself.
“Just TELL ME!” Pepper snaps again, getting fed-up of the silence. “Or I’ll go home right now and NEVER talk to you again!”
“P-please! No! Don’t!”
“WELL?!” she asks expectantly.
*sniff* “H-he and I NEVER l-laughed at you.” She starts lamely.
“Well THATS GOOD to know!” Pepper says sarcastically.
Kody flinches at her tone but pushes on anyways.
“I-it all started a-after I invited him over for you. H-he messaged him to thank me for inviting him over a-and I just c-couldn’t help myself but to p-play coy. H-He responded so w-well th-that I didn’t want to stop.”
“AFTER? But didn’t you have his messenger BEFORE that stream?” Pepper asks suspiciously.
“I-I swear that is all true! I-I didn’t even r-realize it was him!” Kody replies pleadingly.
Well, she DID seem genuinely surprised when she brought it up at first. Pepper concedes.
“Alright, I’ll believe you.” She eventually says grudgingly. “But you did know afterwards.”
“Y-yes, I did.” Kody agrees, hanging her head.
“How many times did you guys meet up?” she asks gruffly.
“O-only the once! I swear!”
“Was that because of your schedules or it just never happened?”
“W-we did… tease each other some about meeting up.” Kody replies grudgingly. “H-here. I didn’t delete any of our conversations. Y-you can read through them!”
Pepper considered it for a moment. But after thinking on it she shakes her head.
“Nothing that I read is going to make me FEEL any better.”
“NO. Listen.” Pepper says cutting Kody off.
“I believe that you and him got “carried away”. I’ve seen you on your streams before and I’ve been around you long enough to know that casual banter coupled with sexual innuendos excite you. I also realize that compared to me, you are more Xander’s speed than I am. So, it’s no wonder that when he had both of us to talk to, he’d end up choosing you. But, that’s not what hurts most. What hurts more is that you KNEW I what I was going thru. You KNEW I was hurting. Xander may not have, but YOU could have relayed that to him. Could have ended it sooner. And, you couldn’t even wait a week before you two hooked up!”
Pepper was starting to cry again. She was happy to know that Kody and Xander had been mainly just been talking. But the fact that she had didn’t even wait for her to break it off hurt.
“Oh Pepper.” Kody says sadly. “I-I won’t deny that… that I told myself that since you were breaking it off with him that It’d be ok but….” Here she stopped, looking frightened again.
You already basically admitted what I said is true. Could the whole truth really be worse?
“L-look, Xander and I a-are NOT a couple now. Ok? We never were nor ever wanted to be.” She finally says.
“Huh? But you just said…”
“H-he and I have been talking a lot, yes. And I’ve been feeling attracted to him. And once the opportunity p-presented itself, after you told me that you were breaking up with him I-I admit it made me feel I wouldn’t have to feel so guilty about our interactions. But… that’s ALL it was! Attraction! It’s like he said Pepper… “I’m not sure what I am feeling is affection.”
Pepper sat there staring at Kody. Her mind mulling over what she had just been told. Kody herself kept looking miserably up at her, clearly afraid that this new information would cause her to become angry again. But strangely, she only felt sad, not angry.
“So… you did not want to… take him from me?” she asks slowly and dumbly.
“NEVER! “she replies emphatically. “It was just so we could have some fun together!”
Pepper still wasn’t quite sure how she felt about this. On the one paw she was outraged that he would seemingly prefer to play around without dealing with a relationship. On the other she felt deeply depressed about it.
Am I not good enough? She thinks sadly.
“A-anyways. I’m so sorry Pepper… I’ve been a terrible friend. I should have just been upfront with you about what I was feeling. All I did was keep up a façade, hoping I could avoid facing my guilty conscious but only made a total mess about it.” Kody says after a few moments of silence. “Could you… forgive me?”
“…I-I don’t know Kody… I don’t think that… I can answer that question yet. You… you AND Xander hurt me. Badly. You betrayed my trust. I’m sorry. But I think I need to be given some space and time. To think it all over.”
Kody looked as though she had been slapped. But rather than being upset, she looked as though she had expected this. Instead of trying to argue she only gives her a final apology, gathers her things and leaves.
Pepper sighs as she lays in bed staring at her phone. She had finally confronted Kody about the ordeal. Now, she knew she would have to discuss it with Xander. Luckily the worst of her negative feelings had been vented, but she was slightly worried that she would end up yelling at Xander as well.
Taking a breath, she opens her phone and taps out a text to Xander. It’s a simple, stereotypical text sent from one to another before the inevitable break up. “We need to talk.”
“When and where.” Was his equally simple reply.
“Tonight, my parents are on a date tonight.”
“OK, I can be there in 5.”
“See you soon.”
Letting her phone fall from her grip she lets out a shaky sigh, trying to control the sudden urge to cry. What would be worse. Yelling or crying? She thinks to herself.
True to his word she soon hears the sound of Xander’s old truck pull into the driveway. Waiting for him to get out she opens the door for him and follows him to the living room. The two sits on either side as Pepper tries to think of what to say.
“I need to go first.” Xander says after a moment. “I want to apologize to you Pepper. What I did was selfish and my inaction only caused more trouble than I had hoped to avoid. I figured that if we just drifted apart, that things would just be easier. That’s what I said to myself at least. Instead, I was just avoiding taking responsibility for my actions. And unfairly pinned that responsibility on you the night we had sex.”
“K-Kody told me what… what happened.” Pepper begins.
“Its not her fault. None of this would have happened if I had done what was right from the start. I’m sorry Pepper. I should have turned you down from the start.”
Pepper’s heart felt like it had been stabbed. She looked at Xander in horror. She had thought this might be about the cheating, but he had cut to the crux of the issue.
“B-but why?” she asks shakily. Those same arguments that she had used before suddenly rushing back.
“Pepper, please.” He says kindly. “I meant what I said that I can see now that you’re a young woman. But these feelings are a physical attraction. Not an emotional one. What you are hoping for, and what I am hoping for are not the same thing. It was unfair to you for me to not admit this sooner.”
“A-am I not good enough?” Pepper asks, tears again flowing.
“Oh Pepper,” sighs Xander, getting up and sitting down next to her hugging her tightly.
Pepper hugged him back as if her life depended on it. Their conversation going nothing like she had expected.
“You are TOO good for me. You deserve someone who will love and cherish you and you alone. Not some old pervert like me who is more interested in the “hunt”.”
Pepper sniffles as she sits back after a moment, her tears abated for now.
“W-why Kody?” she asks, knowing it was a selfish question.
“WHY Kody. Hmmm. Well, I’d have to say its because I can see a lot of me in her. She’s just his sexually awoken kid who needs an outlet. And I’m happy to give her that outlet. For personal reasons of course.” He adds with a wink.
Pepper giggles a bit at this, wiping her tears away, trying to dry her face yet again.
“Sh-she IS too sexual for her own good, isn’t she?” she asks with a wet smile. “No idea w-where she gets it from though!”
“Who knows?” Xander shrugs. “But now that I got that out of the way. You had something to say?” He says quickly.
“What’s there to say?” she asks sadly. “Last Thursday I had intended to break up with you. Same as today. But, you kinda beat me to it.”
“Ah. Yeah I kind of figured.”
Pepper lets out a sigh staring at her paws.
“So, did you make up with Dakota?” Xander asks after a moment of silence.
“N-no… not yet at least.” She replies carefully.
“You really should. You should have seen how upset she was that night. She was petrified that you would never forgiver her. She really regrets the whole thing and blames herself a lot. Even though as the adult I feel its mainly my fault.”
“I-I know… I told her I just needed some time alone.”
“Well please forgive her. You don’t realize how much she needs you.” He says seriously.
Pepper doesn’t comment on that. She felt that was a stretch but didn’t feel like arguing the point.
“Anyhow I should get going.”
“Oh… ok… I was hoping you’d spend more time.”
“No, its for the best if I go home. You might seduce me with your words again.” He teases earning a blush from Pepper.
“Sh-shush! … I guess this is what you meant before huh? That we can’t go back to what we were before?”
“You’ll always be my little Pepper. That cute cub I babysat for all those years. But yes, we can’t go back to those days. You CAN however go back to the way things were with Dakota…”
She sighs and nods sadly. Xander gives her one last hug before excusing himself. Watching him from the window Pepper lets out another sad sigh. As much as she hated it, she knew he was right. They had crossed the point of no return. They would never have the same relationship again.
She reflects on what he said about Kody. How she had been distraught and that THEY could go back to being friends like they used to be. Stubbornly she felt that Kody deserved to be left in the proverbial doghouse a while longer. For now, she’d have to wait for her to cool off.