Seven Peaks 14
Loves Greatest Gift 10
(Crossover / combined story lines)
*+--__--+* Calm before the Storm *+--__--+*
July 20, 2013
As Ralph and Zoe finished up in the kitchen, their morning for breakfast duty now finished and the dishes washed, dried and put away, they heard Monica come in from the back yard. The collie taping away at the keyboard of her phone texting to her girlfriend Alexandrea as she walked in and waved at the young couple, not missing a beat as her paw flew over the tiny keys.
[09:48 Collie cakes; Alexandrea, my love, just wanted to say I'm okay and to let you know I love you and am thinking of you.]
[09:50 Collie cakes; Ariel and Mark are taking us to the beach for the day, so I'll be leaving my phone at the house. I would kill someone if they stole it and I couldn't talk to my mate!!!]
[09:52 Collie cakes; Will try to call when we get back if it's not too late, wouldn't want to ruin my lovers beauty sleep, not that it can possibly make you any more gorgeous than you already are sexy pup.]
As the young collie hit the icon to send the last portion of her text she smiled happily, stuffing the phone into a pocket of her jeans she said, “I miss her. But at least being able to text her and hear her voice helps, it makes it tolerable to be apart from her.”
“You know, I think you're the first lesbian I've ever really even kind of known Monica. So what's it like being a girl having a girlfriend?” Zoe asked.
“Jesus honey,” Ralph said as he dried his paws, “just get really personal and nosy why don't you?”
“Like you weren't thinking the same thing?” she replied cocking her head slightly.
“Well yea, but I wasn't just gonna blurt out a question like that,” the moose boy said in his defense.
“It's okay Ralph,” Monica said as she sat on one of the stools at the breakfast bar. “Zoe is curious and I can understand that. I guess it's kind of the same as it is with you and Ralph. Except my 'Ralph' is another girl. I don't really know how it compares since I've never had a boyfriend. I mean, it's not like I'm not attracted to boys really, it's just... I don't know, I just feel so close and connected to Alexandrea. My first and only experience with a boy didn't go too well, and when I was a bawling mess Alex was there for me.”
“Okay, I guess I can understand that part of it,” the red panda girl said tugging on her ear in thought. “But isn't having sex with someone that has the same, umm parts, as you do weird?” she asked blushing a bit at her own curiosity and bluntness.
“No not really. We're both girls so we have a better idea of what makes us feel good and will probably make the other feel good too. Goddess the things she can do with those fingers and that tongue,” the collie said, visibly shivering at the memories of her time with the pretty malamute. “Does it make me seem freaky that I love a girl instead of a boy Zoe?” Monica asked point blank.
“No not freaky, a little weird I guess though. But then again I guess you can't really just pick who you fall in love with. Hell I fell in love with, and got knocked up by a moose for crying out loud. I don't exactly have much room to be judgmental now do I?” Zoe said pulling Ralph into a tight embrace, laying her head against his chest. “I guess as long as you're happy and it's who you want to be with what does it really matter huh moose face?”
“Yea, I'd have to agree with that one hundred percent sweet cheeks,” he answered as he pulled her against himself a bit tighter, his paws slowly rubbing her back.
“You two just look so sweet together,” the young collie said, a wistful look on her face. “This baby is going to be so lucky to have you for parents.”
“Most definitely,” Mark said as he and Ariel walked down the stairs together into the living room. “Ralph has already proven the little tyke has one heck of a great father, and I think Zoe will make a wonderful mother.”
“And since Mark has gotten involved in things with you two,” Ariel said as she sat down on the long cushy couch, “you can bet your asses I'm going to take every opportunity I get to spoil this baby. Besides I can use the practice for when Mark and I decide to start our own family.”
“Our own family, God that just sounds so weird when it applies to us at our age Zoe,” the moose boy said as he gazed lovingly into the panda's eyes.
“I'm really glad you're staying with me and want to be together Ralph,” Zoe said as she hugged him tighter. “But it's kind of hard to believe that you want this and aren't just doing it to stand up to your responsibilities.”
“Oh he is doing that for sure Zoe,” Mark replied as he sat beside his wife, “and doing a far better job of it than many I'm afraid. But it's far from the only reason, he is without a doubt as much in love with you as you are with him.”
“Not to be rude or anything Mark, but what exactly makes you say that? Can you read his mind? Do you know his thoughts?” the panda girl asked as she nudged her boyfriend into the chair behind him with her hip.
“Read his mind? That I'm afraid I can not do, but I can see clearly how you feel towards each other, that doesn't take clairvoyance. Though if you could see what I do, you would both be assured of the others feelings,” the Bernese boy said, a knowing smile spreading across his muzzle.
“See what you do?” Ariel asked, a strange tone to her voice.
“Wait, you have the gift of sight?” Monica asked incredulously.
“Limited, but yes Monica, it doesn't work with everyone and it seems the Goddess only lets me see when she feels I need to”, Mark explained briefly.
“Gift of sight? Goddess?? Let's you see? ”, Zoe asked raising an eye brow at the odd conversation around her. “Now you're starting to weird me out a little, mind telling me what the hell you're talking about?”
“I'll try,” Mark said as he leaned back into the comfy couch. “Have you ever heard anything about a furs aura?” he asked as if it were a common topic of discussion.
“Kind of, my mom has a guy in her unit they say is kind of weird because he's always talking about peoples auras and weird stuff like that,” the panda girl replied.
“I see, then we would say he has the gift of sight, the ability to see others aura and read them. Your aura is like, well it's like an energy field that surrounds you, kind of like a three dimensional shadow but all around you, not just on a wall or the ground,” he tried to explain.
“Okay, I can see kind of what your talking about. But what does being able to see that have to do with knowing what someone is feeling or anything?” Zoe asked, cocking her head to the side slightly.
“This field of energy, your aura, it changes colors according to how you feel, your emotions, your thoughts, how the people around you make you feel, all these things have an effect on you and that shows up as different colors in your aura. Now those who have the gift of sight can see that aura and by studying it can tell what you're feeling or in some cases what your thoughts are. Different colors and combinations of colors have different meanings. Those who can see it can tell a lot about you, like if you're being truthful or deceitful with them. In my case, as I said before, it's a limited thing. I can see auras sometimes but not all the time. The Goddess is the deity that I believe in in my wiccan faith and it is her that lets me see these auras when she feels I have a need to. Mostly when I'm dealing with people in business or relationships. Take Ralph for example,” the Bernese boy said nodding towards her boyfriend. “Most of the time I can't see his aura, but the night Samantha introduced us I could. I had been looking for someone to fill the very job I offered to you that very day, and the deep, clear red and orange-yellow of your aura that night showed me that you would be the fur to fill that need Ralph, that's why I had no reservations about offering the job to you then, and why I have none now.”
“And a few days ago, when I came to you for help with the situation with Zoe, and my father's intentions?” the moose boy asked, eying Mark wearily.
“ The muddied red of anger at your father, the dark, muddy gray of the fear of what he might try to do to separate you two, your worry and concern for the safety and well being of your mate and unborn child. The soft blue I saw which showed your honesty when you spoke of wanting to make a life for the three of you together. Ralph, my young friend, you're a thirteen year old boy, no where close to being a man in the eyes of the law and society. But in the last few days, ever since you found out you got Zoe pregnant, you've proven yourself more of a man than many adults I know of, your own father included. His words and actions since the parents got the news are not those of a reasonable man. He's not even acting like a father trying to protect his son from making a mistake.” Mark sat quietly for a few moments, letting the moose boy think over what he had said.
When Ralph finally spoke his voice was a little shaky. “I just... I can't let him have what he wants Don't get me wrong, I'm mad as hell at my dad, but he is still my dad and I do love him still. But wanting us to murder our unborn baby? A baby made from an accident because a condom broke? No, I can't let that happen, not to Zoe and not to our baby,” the moose boy said with utter conviction in his voice. “It's not that I really want to leave the home and family I've known all my life, but he's not leaving me any choices in this. Protecting Zoe and our baby comes first, if he can't see or understand that... then I don't have any respect for him as a father or as a man. For Gods sake I love her with all my heart and I'm doing exactly what he always taught my siblings and I. Take responsibility for your actions, value life above everything else, honor the commitments you make, always do the right thing. Letting him have his way, doing what he wants us to do is not the right thing. I won't lie about it, this all scares the holy living shit out of me,” the moose boy admitted openly, his eyes widening with each sentence. “Honestly, I have no idea how in the hell we're gonna raise a baby, for fucks sake we're just kids ourselves,” Ralph continued as Zoe leaned away form him a bit looking into his eyes. She saw the worry and concern he had been hiding etched into his features seeing at last the turmoil her boyfriend had been hiding from her since finding out he was going to be a father.
“Ralph... I...”she began before Ariel spoke up softly.
“Let him finish Zoe,” the collie said softly as she watched the young moose boy unburden his mind and heart of the things that had him in a state of near panic that he had been keeping bottled up so that the girl that he loved, the young woman carrying his unborn child would only see the strength she needed most those first few days after her pregnancy had been confirmed.
Turning his attention to the pretty red panda sitting in his lap he continued. “Zoe, I love you more than anything else in the world. But I worry that I'll mess up, and it's not just me that will pay for it if I do. I don't know the first damn thing about taking care of a baby, what if I do something wrong? I could hurt our child because I didn't do something the right way.” Ralph was breathing heavily, nearly over come with panic as he spoke.
As the moose boy spoke Ariel moved quietly to kneel beside the chair the young couple sat in. As he finished speaking she brought a paw to rest on and gently rub his right arm as she spoke. “Ralph, breath, just breath and try to calm down a little for me, for Zoe. No one is ever really ready for a baby. And even your parents will tell you that the first time around they didn't have a clue what to do either.” As she spoke to him they heard a knock at the front door, Mark quickly rose from the couch and went to answer it.
Standing outside on the porch as the door swung open were Heather De Marco, Amanda Bell, and Raquel Daniels. As the three mothers entered the rented house Raquel spoke first.
“So, from your call this morning I take it he's either close to or may have already melted down. How's he and Zoe holding up Mark?” the moose matron asked as she looked past the Bernese boy into the living room.
As he closed the door behind the three women and escorted them to the young couple he replied, “your timing is nearly perfect Mrs. Daniels, he just did in fact. Aside from that, they're both holding up pretty well all things considered.”
“Ummhmm, I guess with all his plotting and planning to get things in order and settled for himself and Zoe it was easy to keep it bottled up and hidden. But with everything mostly settled and time to relax and think it finally all hit him like a MAC truck,” the moose woman said matter-of-factually.
“I'd say that about sums it up,” the Bernese boy said as they entered the living room
“Well, so you finally had your 'I don't have a clue how to be a parent' moment son?” Raquel asked, a slight smirk on her muzzle.
“MOM!,” he said with a start as he saw the three women enter the room. “Yes ma'am, I guess that's what you would call it.”
“Good,” Amanda said as they sat on the couch with Ariel. “Maybe now you're both ready to listen to some advice about what you've gotten yourselves into.”
“Before either of you ask,” Heather said as she watched the two young furs cuddled in the chair across from them before smiling sweetly at her youngest daughter, “not a mother on this couch, nor any of the fathers were 'ready' for a baby. Planned pregnancy or not, no one ever really is. But before we start talking about too many things, I have to say that I'm proud of every one of the young people in this room.” As she looked at each of the cubs in turn, her gaze was met, and returned with a puzzled look. “I see from your expressions that none of you have a the slightest idea why,” she added giggling softly. “Let me start with the one singularly involved cub, my dear daughter Monica. Honey, I'm proud of you for handling your separation from your girlfriend better the second time around. Just remember that it won't be forever, the way you two girls feel about each other I don't think there is a force on this earth that could keep you apart for very long.” Turning her gaze to her eldest daughter she said, “Ariel, my dear sweet, kindhearted little girl. In helping this young couple, who find themselves in a situation that will change their lives forever, you uphold the very things that our family have held dear to our hearts and beliefs for generations. To help those that have a need that you can without question or reason.” Shifting her head slightly to look the Bernese boy in the eyes she continued. “My new son-in-law Mark, what you have done, and are still doing to help Ralph and Zoe is wonderful, incredible, and unbelievable. So many others your age would be of the mind of 'it's not my problem why should I worry about it.' Using the talents you have, the contacts and resources at your disposal to help Ralph and Zoe as you are heartens me. It restores my faith in your generation to see a young man giving so freely of himself to help someone they barely know.' Turning to face the moose and red panda couple Heather smiled broadly. “Zoe Bell, a very special young lady, far too young to be weighted down with the decisions you've had to make in such a short time. The decision to not terminate your pregnancy is in itself admirable to say the least. That you intend to keep your child and raise it with the help of others and the father... many would say it's a foolish thing to do. I would say that you've shown what it truly means to be a mother. I applaud your spirit and wish only the best for you and your child.”
Pausing for a few moments, the room silent as a tomb as she had been speaking, she locked gazes with Ralph, the boy blushing deeply under the older collies scrutiny. “Ralph Daniels...” she began smiling broadly and shaking her head slowly. “If ever there was a young man I have met that has proven that you should not judge some one by their age, but by their actions, without a doubt, it has to be you. Thirteen years of age, deeply in love, and a father to be to top it off. But instead of running for the hills you stood firm, not only standing by your girlfriends side, but defying your father when he all but demanded that her pregnancy be ended. Coming to the defense of your unborn child without hesitation or concern for the possible consequences has marked you in my eyes young man, as a hero, as a true man, and as the very essence of what a father should be. From what I understand from Mark and Ariel, now your doing what virtually no boy your age would even contemplate. Leaving your parents home, taking on a full time job while still going to school to complete your education and starting a life and family. Whether or not you think so Ralph, in my eyes and perhaps the eyes of a few others in this room right at this very moment, you are without a doubt a man, and I'm fairly certain you will make a wonderful father.”
Ralph sat there, stunned beyond belief, his vision becoming blurry as tears welled up in the young moose boys eyes before they spilled out rolling slowly down his furry cheeks. He opened his mouth in an attempt to speak, the only sound issuing from his muzzle a soft, muted whimper as he pulled the panda girl in his lap a bit tighter to his chest.
“Well, now that we've scared you half to death, and Heather here has set the bar pretty high on you, you need to understand that no one is ever ready for a baby Ralph, not a single mother or father in the world is ready. With your first one it's all fear and guess work. But we didn't just come to scare you two. You're both signed up for Lamaze classes, since I'm sure Zoe will want to give birth normally if there are no problems later. You're both also enrolled in parenting classes at DU, twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from three thirty pm until seven pm, already cleared with Mark as far as your at home job goes. The classes are taught by Brandy Milliner, and not from some text book but from real life experience, she's a north American Sable bunny, and a mother of six of her own. She has a different approach to teaching about being a parent but you'll learn a lot from her.” As Amanda Bell spoke she could see the moose boy slowly begin to relax a little. A grin came to her muzzle as she thought about the boy and how she had seen him the first time, cuddling with her daughter in her bed. “Just, well just be open to what she has to say. She really is outside of the box in her methods, but the results speak for themselves. Not a single person that has taken her classes has ever had an issue with CPS, even though a few of the workers that have attended her classes think she's about half crazy. She's ex-military, Marine, we served together back when she only had two at home. Came back from leave to find out a bit later she was pregnant... again. Got a reassignment back to the states as a desk jockey and finished her enlistment. Didn't reenlist and went back to college to get her teaching degree and child care certifications. She was a great source of information for Daniel on how to deal with a nudist daughter that would strip off her clothes and go tearing through the mall on him every time he took her shopping,” the red panda woman confided with a chuckle.
Ralph giggled at the thought of his pretty girlfriend running naked through a crowded shopping mall and the looks she and her father must have gotten constantly. His eyes suddenly shot open as he asked, “Oh Lord, does that mean our baby might be a nudist too?”
“Very possibly,” all three older women answered in unison, garnering a round of giggles from the other teens in the room.
“And if it is, what are you going to do about it moose face?” Zoe asked with a wry smirk on her lips.
“Learn to deal with it, try to keep it from doing it at the mall, and hope like heck I never have to explain why my family runs around the house naked,” the moose said in response nuzzling against her neck.
“Goddess, it's almost like watching a younger version of mom and dad,” Monica said softly, the first words she had spoken in a while as she watched the group trying to comfort the young moose boy.
“And Atlantis is heard from again,” Amanda said as she grinned at the younger collie girl. “Now that the daddy to be is calmed down, how are you holding up miss Monica? You doing okay or do we need to talk you down off a ledge too?” the panda woman asked as the attention of the room shifted to Monica.
“A lot better than I was before, thank you for asking,” the collie replied softly. “Mom was right about saying a proper good bye to Alexandrea. It still seems weird to be apart from her, but I'm not as sad or weepy as I was after I let it get the better of me.”
“I'm very glad to hear that,” Heather said turning to look her youngest in the eyes. “Have you two burned up the phone yet today?”
“Yes ma'am, we've been talking when she can, and texting too, everyday. I miss her, a lot, but hearing her sweet voice, and texting with her just makes me feel so much better...” the young collie trailed off for a moment, fiddling with her paws as she seemed to think something over. “Thank you mom, for good advice, and for being so understanding and not judgmental about us.”
Smiling softly at her youngest daughter the collie matron replied, “Monica honey, I told you it doesn't matter to me, or to your father that your attracted to Alexandrea. We are not going to berate you, or turn against you because of something like that. Your happiness is far more important than the gender of your partner or mate dear.”
Zoe's eyes went a little wider as she asked the collie's mother, “so you really are okay with her marrying a girl? That's so great, most of the kids I know... their parents would freak out if they were gay.”
“Yes Zoe, her father and I are fine with... wait marrying a girl?” the older collie asked with an odd look on her face as she turned to look at her youngest girl again.
“Well, kind of... in a way... sort of,” the youngest of the collie girls stammered.
“Before Alex left Monica wanted to make their union more official,” Mark said coming to the girls rescue. “I'm sure that Monica understands that it's not truly official since we're not in Colorado. But they asked to be handfasted to each other and I granted their request as best as I possibly could. Officially they are more engaged than married, but once they are both in Colorado it can be made fully official simply enough, if it is still what they both wish.”
“I see,” Heather said, pausing a moment to consider the new information carefully. “And you're certain that you feel so strongly for Alexandrea that this is what you want Monica?”
“Yes mother, I'm that certain that she is the one I want to spend my life with. Alexandrea is the other half of my heart, of my soul, of me. When I think about her, and about us together... I know it's soon, but it feels so right when we're together. I can't even imagine myself with anyone else.” Monica had a very serious expression on her face the entire time she spoke.
“Then if she's that certain, yes her father and I are alright with it, and sadly you're right. Far too many people care more that their children be 'normal' than they do that they are happy. They would rather their child be miserable in a relationship that is doomed to failure as long as they appear normal to the world. I don't care what anyone thinks of her because she's a lesbian, all I care about is that she is happy with herself, and with her partner,” Heather explained, that same gentle smile on her muzzle as she spoke..
Zoe looked at the younger collie and said, “damn girl, you're so lucky. You've got really great parents, a sister that I'd give my left arm for, a brother-in-law that has to be the nicest person on earth...” the red panda girl said with a reverence in her voice that shocked the moose boy holding her lovingly to his chest. Blushing slightly she added, “ and that girlfriend of yours is really pretty and kind of hot.”
“Umm, Zoe?”, Ralph said questioningly as he leaned to his side, looking at her oddly.
“Don't worry moose face,” she said as she turned to look him in the eyes, “I like boys, well one boy way more than any other, but I love you and I'm very happy and satisfied with the boyfriend I have. But if I was more into girls... “ she paused for a moment, a slight grin coming to her muzzle. “Yea, I could so be attracted to that Malamute if girls were my thing. I mean , Monica 's girlfriend is as pretty as my boyfriend is handsome, and they make such a cute couple.”
“That they do Zoe, that they do,” Heather said as her smile widened a little. “I'm glad that my girl found someone that makes her happy. And that they are comfortable enough with themselves and their relationship to be open and honest about how they feel towards each other no matter where they are. Although I hope the next time they are together and in heat they will exercise a bit more restraint. It's fine to show affection in public, but there is a limit to decency.”
Giggling softly Ariel chimed in, “I'm fairly sure they will be better the next time it happens mother. It was after all Monica's first heat and she was struggling to deal with it in the first place. If you remember correctly, dad threatened to lock me in a closet when my first heat hit me.”
“I do remember it quite well dear, and it was no idle threat. Your father was on the verge of tying you to a tree in the back yard like a pet feral.” Glancing around the group of blushing teens Heather giggled softly.
“Well ladies, “ Amanda began, “since all of our cubs are safe, happy and not freaking out now we should go. I still have some packing to finish before Daniel and I head out to the airport later today.”
“As do I,” Raquel seconded. “We're not leaving until tomorrow evening, but no sense in waiting until the last minute. I need to finalize the arrangements for Paul once I have him back home as well,” the moose matron added, looking her eldest son in the eyes.
“So you took over the thing with Paul? Dad's not getting his way with him either?”, the moose boy asked as he felt the girl in his lap shiver slightly.
“Yes I have, and no he is not,” the woman replied with a bit of force in her voice. “He's had his chance to get his head on straight and still refuses to be anything but an ass. He's made a shambles of my family, all but ran two of our children away from their home...” Raquel said shaking her head slowly. “He's not going to shuffle your brother off to some hole in the wall to protect his own career. My other son needs help, and he'll get that help even if it kills me.
“What... what time will you be at the airport mom? I... want to say good bye to Paul before he leaves the island,” Ralph said slowly. “I'm still mad as hell at him for what he did, but he needs to know that I still care about him and what happens to him,” the moose boy confessed.
“Our flight leaves at eight pm, but we'll be at the airport by six to get through security,” the moose matron replied. “He does need to know that your still his brother Ralph, and that you care about him still. It may be the one thing that helps him get through the early stages of his treatment. Just knowing that after all the mean, rotten things he's done to you over the years, and what he did to Zoe you still care what happens to him might make all the difference for him in his recovery. I don't expect you to ever fully forgive him for it, but he needs to know that you care still,” the moose boys mother said, a softness in her voice he hadn't heard in a while.
“I know mom, I don't know if I can ever forgive him for it. But I do still care what happens to him. I'll see you at the airport then,” he said as he leaned to whisper in Zoe's ear, “I have to do this sweet cheeks, even if I want to beat the crap out of him again, I have to say good bye to my brother.”
Laying her head on the moose boys shoulder, tilting her muzzle up close to his ear the panda girl softly whispered a simple, “I know.”
Turning to her youngest daughter Heather said, “Monica dear, your father will be by late this evening to collect you, we need to be at the airport early in the morning to catch our flight home.”
Before the young collie could answer Mark spoke up. “Actually, I just had a thought, and I apologize for the short notice in asking. But since the cruise, which was supposed to be her vacation got a little messed up, and after we get back to Colorado she and Ariel won't be able to spend as much time together. Would it be possible for Monica to stay with us here on the island and we'll bring her home when we return?”
“Mark dear, it's so very kind of you to ask, but I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble, or for her to interfere with your time with your new bride,” the collie matron said softly.
“Mother De Marco, she is no trouble at all, and Ariel and I have the rest of our lives together. I think spending some time with her sister would be good for her. But I'll leave it up to her,” he said turning to his sister-in-law as he asked, “would you rather go home with your parents or stay with us for the rest of the week and spend time with Ariel Monica?”
“Oh my, if... if you're sure it's no bother, I'd like to stay and be with Ariel while I can. It's been really nice being with you all, and you've been so understanding and helpful...” she trailed off as she glanced to her mother for a moment. “If mom hadn't brought me here to try to cheer me up, I wouldn't have gotten to spend the last day she was here with Alexandrea and make things right between us before she went home. Yes, I would like to stay, if mother will allow it,” the collie finally answered.
“Alright then, I'll have to clear it with your father and call you with his answer later this afternoon. As long as he agrees you can stay and come home when they return
.,,/\^"-_=* Tempting Fate, and Lady Luck *=_-"^/\,,.
After their mothers left the teens had gathered towels and beach blankets and changed into their swimsuits. They spent the early part of the afternoon at the public beach just down the street. Ralph and Zoe swam some, but spent most of their time cuddled together on a beach blanket lost in conversation of what lay in store for them after returning to Colorado.
As Ariel lay on her belly, her head raised watching her sister sun herself happily a few feet away a broad smile came to her lips as Mark's strong paws tenderly massaged her back. “You know, a girl could get very used to being spoiled like this stud puppy,” she said lazily.
“Goddess I certainly hope so,” he replied as his paws slipped lower groping her firm, rounded backside.
Motioning towards her sister with her head the collie said, “is it just me, or does she seem more relaxed since you asked if she could stay and go home with us?”
“Yes she does, but that wasn't the main reason I asked if she could stay. She was fine after spending the last few hours she could with Alex, but since then as time draws closer to go home she has been growing more tense and a little agitated. I'm unsure of what, but something else is bothering her. Instead of going home, alone, to sulk and brood, I'm hoping that she will open up to you and talk about it. I'm a little worried about her, I see in her the same kind of reservations I have been through myself. I know the ugly, dark place that can lead to. Unlike your sister, I did not have a sibling to pull me away from the edge before I fell into the pit. Let her come to you, and listen when she does Ariel. You'll know what to do to help her with whatever it is that troubles her,” the Bernese boy said as he lay down beside his beautiful wife.
Turning to look him straight in the eyes Ariel asked, “should I expect you to always sound like the way they portray the wise sage on the mountain in movies or just when it's something important?”
“Sorry, I'm a wiccan priest, guided by the Goddess, I only go where it is she leads me Ariel. You know as well as I do that she doesn't tell us everything, only what we need to know in order to act when we are needed. What Monica needs is her sister, not her parents. I don't know why, that is for you to discover. But do it soon, she needs today to make peace with her separation from the one she loves most,” the Bernese boy said as he pulled her close, kissing her softly.
Monica lay sunning herself enjoying being left alone with her thoughts for a little while, those thoughts invariably turning to her time together with the malamute girl she had fallen so very deeply in love with. 'Why do I love Alex so much?' the collie thought to herself, the very thought of her mate bringing her beautiful face unbidden into her mind again. 'How could we fall for each other so hard, and so fast? When will I see her again? Will we both still feel the same when we do?'. A hundred questions raced through her mind, each one going unanswered and only leading to yet more questions. As the young collie questioned nearly every aspect of the strange and wonderful relationship she and the malamute shared she heard someone talking not far away from her.
“Oh come on Tom, get serious. You don't stand a snowballs chance in hell and you know it,” the first voice said as she cut her eyes to the side without moving her head, seeing a young Dalmatian boy around her age.
“What? You don't think she'd be into kitties? Look man, I'm serious I'm gonna go over there and chat her up, see if she wants to hang out together or somethin'. Maybe I'll get lucky, maybe I won't, but either way just being seen with a gorgeous babe like that is some serious positive vibes with the other hot chicks on the beach. Honestly Sparks, if you ever want to get laid, and I mean laid, not just feeling up your... what was she third or forth cousin, you gotta learn how to play the game man,” replied a jet black panther who looked to be slightly older than the dog boy. “Put yourself out there and try dude. Yea you're gonna get shot down, a lot at first till you learn what stupid things not to say. But sitting on your paws won't get you anywhere.”
“I'm all for tryin' Tom, but be realistic. She's so far out of our league it's not even funny. Look at her man, she's beautiful, she's hot, she's got a body I'd slap my own dad to get my paws on. We got less of a chance of her even speaking to us than we do of winning the lottery,” the Dalmatian responded to his friends prodding.
As the two boys continued to banter back and forth about the panthers chances with her Monica rolled over onto her belly, turning her head to watch the show they were putting on. Letting the dark sunglasses she wore hide the smirk in her eyes as she watched the pair she considered how best to shoot them down without destroying the obviously nervous and new to approaching girls dog boy's fragile ego. Before she could decide how to handle the situation the boys came to an agreement and both walked over towards her with big smiles on their muzzles, trying very hard to make it appear as if they had just spotted her.
As they drew near she grinned mischievously waiting for the right moment to spring her surprise on them.
“Well hello pretty lady,” the panther began, his voice dripping honey and sweetness, an obvious attempt to disarm her and throw her off her game by flattering her.
“My friend here and I were just walking along and couldn't help but notice such a beautiful girl all alone. My names...”he was cut off when Monica began to speak.
“Tom I believe your friend called you, and the cute Dalmatian behind you is Sparks right?” the collie asked without moving a muscle. Lifting her paw and extending it up towards the panther she added, “nice to meet you. But I can save you the trouble of going into the sweet talk, I'm not at all interested in kitties. But your puppy friend there is kind of cute, him I wouldn't mind grabbing that sunblock lotion there and rubbing it into my fur if he was so inclined,” she said in a sultry voice as she shook paws with the panther boy.
“Umm, you wouldn't?” Sparks asked incredulously.
“Mmm, not... at... all,” Monica practically murred in reply.
Leaning close to his friends ear and speaking quietly, though not enough that her sensitive ears couldn't hear at this close range, the panther told his friend “dude, you're in like a bandit. Just take your time and try not to freak her out with stupid shit. I'll get out of your way man, now get in there and get some of that hot stuff.” The panther slapped the dog boy on the back before he walked away grinning broadly.
Unsure what to do without his wing-man Sparks clumsily knelt down beside the pretty collie girl reaching for the bottle of sunblock. As he leaned over her Monica grinned softly and said, “I meant it when I said you're cute Sparks.”
“Th thanks ma'am,” the boy replied, his voice cracking from his nervousness.
“Monica, my name is Monica Sparks, and if you're going to call a young girl ma'am out of respect, don't sound like you're answering your grandmother after she's scolded you,” the collie said with a slight giggle.
“Oh, okay Monica. That's such a pretty name, it matches the pretty girl that it belongs to,”the Dalmatian said a slight crimson shade tinting his white fur a pale pink.
“Thank you Sparks that was very sweet of you to say. You even did it with out turning dark red, the fact that you mean it helps your case a lot too puppy dog,” Monica said as he slathered the sunblock lotion on his fairly large paws.
“Okay, here goes nothin'”, she heard him mutter quietly a moment before his paws made contact with the soft fur of her back. She felt his paws tremble with excitement at what she was sure was the first time he had touched a girls body in such a way.
“Oh my, nice paws there Sparks, strong and firm, but tender and gentle, really soft paw-pads too,” she said, her tail wagging slowly back and forth rubbing across the boys belly with each sway.
“Th thank you,” the boy stuttered nervously as he continued to work the lotion into her soft fur.
Monica waited patiently as his paws slowly worked down her back, nearly giggling when they began to tremble more as he neared her firm rump. The Dalmatian remained a gentleman though and stopped just above the waistband of her swimsuit bottom. Sighing contentedly for his benefit she said, “thank you Sparks, it felt nice having your paws on my body, now you won't need to go and slap your father.”
“You... you heard that?” the boy asked with a slight tremble in his voice.
“Ummhmm, I wouldn't want you getting into trouble because of a pretty girl,” she said almost teasingly.
“Monica are you messing with me? Trying to make me look stupid or something?” he asked as he sat back on his haunches..
“Kind of, but not for the reasons you may think Sparks,” she said as she pointed to a beach umbrella laying a couple of feet from her blanket. “Why don't you put that up so I can take these sunglasses off and look at you better.
As the dalmatian boy set up the umbrella Monica turned over and sat up removing the dark glasses as he sat down in front of her, his eyes darting to her breasts for several moments before he looked into her eyes.
“An appreciative look is welcomed Sparks but staring at a girls boobs instead of looking into her eyes is annoying. Have a good look but keep it brief and you won't get slapped stupid,” the collie said with a soft giggle.
“Monica.. why are you doing this to me? Are you teasing me or playing hard to get or what?” he said nervously, almost whining as he spoke.
“Because I really do think you're kind of cute, for a boy, because you've obviously never tried to pick up a girl before and because your friend Tom isn't giving you very good advice. Besides, I thought it was way nicer than just telling you that you had no chance in hell with me because I'm a lesbian Sparks,” Monica said without a trace of malice in her voice, sounding friendly and apologetic instead.
“You're a les... aw crap. Then why did you let me touch you and put lotion on you like that?” the boy asked, unable to keep from whining almost pitifully.
“Because instead of being a mean bitch I thought I'd help you instead,” she replied simply.
“How is this helping me?” he asked a little derisively.
“When I point over your shoulder turn to look at where I'm pointing. But as you turn your head look and see how many other hot girls are staring a hole in your head trying to figure out what you're doing with a hot girl on the beach,” the collie replied as she raised her arm and pointed over his right shoulder.
As the Dalmatian slowly turned his head to look in the direction the collie was pointing he saw what had to be at least a dozen other pretty girls doing exactly what Monica had said, staring at the pair as if trying to divine the boys secrets from looking at him.
As he looked back into Monica's eyes, his own wide as plates he said, “holy crap, just because I'm sitting here with you?”
“Because you're sitting here talking to me, because I let you touch me and put lotion on me. Sparks it's about the only thing I heard Tom tell you that was right. Being seen in public with a hot girl scores you points with other hot girls. They get curious, what makes this guy so great that she wants to be seen with him? That's what those girls are thinking Sparks,” Monica said smiling broadly at him.
“Why... why are you doing this?” the Dalmatian asked with a dumbfounded look on his face.
“Let's just say I'm making up for a mistake on my part. My own lack of knowledge about teen boys may have caused me to make one miserable before I knew I prefer girls. You really are cute, and you seem to be a nice guy, you deserve a chance to figure it out without your friend getting you slapped stupid for acting like him,” she explained as she lay a paw on his knee.
Staring down at her paw, the Dalmatian stammered out, “th thanks, I g guess.”
Reaching over with her other paw, pressing it to his cheek she got him to look in her eyes again. “Now the question is, how lucky do you want to get? Right now at least some of those girls will probably try to talk to you when you walk away from here. Is that good enough for you or do you want to all but guarantee that you're not a virgin by the time this day is over?”
Looking at the collie wide eyed, his jaw dropped and hung open a few moments before he asked, “how... what would possibly make them want to do that?”
Wrapping both her paws behind his head as she said simply “this” Monica drew him to her before he could react, pressing her lips to his in a soft warm kiss. She released him after a few moments, the poor Dalmatian boy panting heavily as he sat back on his haunches again.
“M... Monica, what did you do that for?” the boy asked pleadingly.
“Because between having your paws on my body and that kiss you've got a rather prominent tent in your trunks. Now when you walk away in a few moments, every girl on this beach that has been eying you will be convinced that you turned me down. So the players will sit tight and only the ones really interested will come at you. Now here's what you do, when one of these hot girls tries to pick you up, let her. No one here has to know I'm a lesbian and you had no chance with me except you and me. To them it looks like I came on to strong too fast so the ones really interested in you now will go slower and act a bit more bashful. That should give you time to work up your courage around one and go for it. When she asks if you want to hang out or maybe fool around a little be honest with her and say yes. Don't go all macho on her and screw it up. Tell her to be patient with you because you've never done this before. Believe me if you play your cards right now stud, you won't be a virgin by sundown.” After a few moments pause she said, “now there's just one thing left, my desperate attempt to get you to sleep with me anyway.”
“What?” he asked with a raised voice. “But I thought you said you were a...” he said before she interrupted him.
“I am, and I have no interest at all in having sex with you Sparks. But I'm trying to help you out and get you laid so you can brag to your buddy how great of a time you had. Remember he doesn't know I'm into girls either. You can tell him you struck out with me because I was too needy or what ever and then tell him how you scored 'on your own'. You ready?” the collie asked not missing a beat.
“Okay but how does this work?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Like this,” Monica replied as she grabbed his wrists and pressed his paws to her modest breasts as she looked him in the eyes and said, “grope me pup, and make it look good for your audience.”
Unable to resist such an offer the Dalmatian boy gently squeezed her firm flesh in his paws a couple of times before she added, “okay now tear your paws away and push me away, then get up and walk off. After this you're on your own Sparks, just remember what I said and for Goddess sake enjoy yourself, it'll be a night you'll remember for a very long time.”
As the Dalmatian boy tore his wrists from her grasp and pushed against her shoulders lightly he nearly jumped to his foot-paws, walking away dazed and confused by what the pretty collie had been doing and telling him.
Ariel only saw the last bit of the display between her sister and the spotted boy, rising quickly and going to her sister as he walked away, the younger collie sitting there with her head down and her shoulders slumped in rejection. When she reached the beach blanket Monica sat on she faintly heard what sounded like her sister giggling.
“Monica? Honey are you okay? Was that boy making a pass at you?” Ariel asked, her voice sounding quite confused by what she had witnessed.
Quietly Monica replied, “Did it look like he was making a pass at me?”
“Well, to be honest no, it looked more like you were making a pass at him and he turned you down. But I thought you and Alexandrea..” she started before being interrupted by her sisters reply.
“Are mates and lovers and quite happy with each other Ariel. That was nothing more than a little play acting on my part to help the poor guy out,” she said as she raised her head, her sister now able to see the broad grin on her muzzle before it disappeared.
“Umm, I think you better explain yourself young lady,” Ariel said as she gave the younger collie a stern look.
“It's simple really, he and his friend were talking behind me a little while ago about how hot they thought I look and what their chances were. You and I know those chances are zilch and zero. But the rest of the girls on this beach don't know I'm a lesbian now do they?” the younger girls asked, her grin reappearing for a brief moment.
“No, I guess they wouldn't know that, but what does that have to do with this?” the older collie asked with raised eyebrows.
“Okay, just follow me a minute,” Monica said as her eyes followed the Dalmatian as, just as she had said, the other hot girls were beginning to gather around him. “Public place, cute guy, and a hot girl. They're sitting and talking, he puts sunblock on her, touchy-feely as that is, then she chats him up kisses him, he balks and she puts his paws on her boobs before he tells her off and walks away. What does every other hot girl around that sees it do Ariel?” the younger sibling asked with a sparkle in her eyes.
“Corners him to find out what happened.. and someone invariably wants to 'comfort him', which ends up with with two furry butts bouncing on a mattress. Goddess you're a scheming little wench,” Ariel said as she gawked at her sister.
“Maybe... but Sparks there will never forget the crazy lesbian that helped him get his boy cherry popped,” Monica retorted with a giggle. “Oh Goddess, quick get over here beside me like your consoling me and watch the rest of the show,” the younger collie said urgently.
Shaking her head, surprised by her sisters explanation for what she had seen. She pulled the younger collie against her, draping one arm around the girls shoulders as she looked to where the Dalmatian boy had walked to. Sure enough there were eight or ten other girls huddled around him like he was a prime steak in a market window. “Holy cow, you were right Monica,” the older collie exclaimed.
“Ariel, I am a teenage girl, I think I know how they think better than a teenage boy does. Besides, I had front row seats to the best teenage seduction flick in the world, you,” the younger collie said, her sister huffing at the remark. “Now to see who the winner is,” she said as she watched the group milling around Sparks. With in a few minutes the field had thinned out leaving a scantily clad raccoon girl in a nearly non existent monokini that would put anything she had ever heard about Debbie wearing to shame. There were also still a red squirrel girl that seemed to be far more reserved and shy than the other three girls, the raccoon, an opossum and a lynx, still hanging on the Dalmatian pups every word.
“And the winner is,” Monica said as the last girls began to peel off the young Dalmatian, “the red haired squirrel. Good luck Sparks, and you're welcome puppy dog, treat her right and she'll do the same,” the younger collie said as she leaned against her sister.
“Alright ladies,” the handsome Bernese boy said as he wrapped his arms around his wife and sister-in-law, “we need to round up Ralph and Zoe and get back and changed so I can get him to the airport to say goodbye to his brother. You three ladies go ahead and have dinner and entertain yourselves, I think after we're done at the airport the moose may want to talk for a little while. We'll grab a bite on the way back to the house.”
Nodding towards an outcropping of rocks at the far end of the beach Monica said, “I saw them duck back into that hiding spot about an hour ago, haven't seen them come out yet so you may want to make some noise when you get close.”
“I'll go get them if you two will gather up our stuff and get ready to leave,” the older collie girl said as she rose to her foot-paws.
“You've got a deal sweet lips,” Mark said as he offered his paw to Monica. “Come on minion, let's get this stuff together and get out of here.”
As the pair gathered up their belongings in preparation for their departure from the beach Mark glanced to the younger collie girl and asked, “so what compelled you to 'help out' that Dalmatian boy in the first place Monica?”
“I don't know, because his friend was giving him bad advice that would just get him into trouble with girls in general I guess,” she answered, trying to avoid the question.
“Listening to you it sounded more like someone making amends for doing something that may have done someone harm to me,” Mark replied.
Stopping her packing for a moment, her shoulders slumping forward she sighed heavily as she said, “sometimes it sucks that my brother-in-law is a wiccan priest. Okay, let's just say that during the cruise I got wild and out of paw a little... okay a lot. I let my first heat push me to do some things that were kind of over the line.”
“Kind of over the line?” he queried with a smirk on his muzzle.
“Alright, sheesh, way over the line,” she retorted. “Anyway I guess I was making amends for being wild and a little reckless about... stuff. His buddy really was telling him things that would just get him slapped in the face and I guess I felt like he deserved a better chance then that.”
“Well from the looks of it,” Mark continued as he looked over the girls shoulder, a huge grin on his muzzle, “you may have done just that for him.”
Looking up Monica saw the Bernese boy looking past her. Turning her head she saw the Dalmatian boy standing about twenty feet away, the pretty red haired squirrel girl holding one of his paws in both of hers as she stretched up slightly and kissed him on the lips, both teens blushing furiously as their muzzles parted.
“Guy deserves a decent chance at finding a nice girl, all I did was open the door for him. The rest is on him now Mark. And don't worry, I'm going to tell Alexandrea about what I did, and why. I'm not even about to start hiding things from her or lying to her. She means way too much to me to let stuff like that come between us,” Monica admitted with a gleam in her emerald green eyes, “I love her too much to hurt her by doing things like that to her.”
“I'm glad to hear you say that Monica...” he began to reply, “and it looks like we're ready to head out now. Here comes the rest of our little group.”
Ariel, Zoe and Ralph walked up to the pair, the three teens all blushing and acting a bit nervously.
“Let's … head home so you and Ralph can make it to the airport on time,” the older collie girl said, glancing from her husband to the moose boy oddly.
“Come on you two, give me a paw with this stuff,” Monica chimed in as the moose and panda girl gathered up the rest of the groups stuff and followed the collie towards the car.
After the younger cubs were out of ear shot Mark turned to his lovely wife and asked, “what's got you so worked up sweet cheeks?”
“That obvious is it? They were... finishing up, when I found them,” Ariel explained, the blush in her cheeks renewed at the thought of it again.
Grinning at her Mark replied, “Really now? Well it's not like it was the first time you've seen other cubs nude, or mating for that matter.”
“No it's not, but I wasn't ready for what I saw. It's not often that I've seen a boy his age that was, umm, 'blessed' as much as you are,” his wife responded.
“Oh?”, the Bernese boy said cheerily, obviously enjoying her embarrassment.
“Goddess yes, at his age he's as thick as you are and only a little less in length, I'm not sure I could have taken all of that at Zoe's age,” the collie said, her blush deepening as she turned towards the parking lot.
After returning to the rented house Mark and Ralph showered and dressed, the Bernese boy opting for a light weight pair of slacks, button down white shirt and sport jacket. As they said good bye to their women before leaving for the airport Ariel hugged him tightly as she said, “you look rather professional and business like.”
“I may need to before this is over,” he whispered into her ear quietly. “I expect the boys father to try one last ditch effort to force the boy to return to Colorado with him.” Seeing the slightly worried look in his wife's eyes he said, “don't worry, I don't think anything the man can say or do will make Ralph leave his girlfriend and their baby. If worse comes to worse I do have a way to put a stop to his attempts, provided the boys mother will go along with it. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.”
As Ralph came down the stairs, Zoe right behind him, he looked to the Bernese boy and said,”I'm as ready as I'll ever be, let's do this Mark.”
Zoe lay a paw on her boyfriends shoulder as he turned to look into her golden eyes. “Just... just promise me you won't let him bully you into going back with him after all Ralph,”the girl said, a pleading tone in her voice.
“Zoe Antoinette Daniels, I mean Bell, there is no way in hell I will go back to Colorado with out you right beside me. I'm going to say good bye to my Mother, and to my brother and to let him know that even after all he's done to us I still give a damn about him and want him to watch out for himself and get the help he needs to get his life on track. If my father tries to interfere with my life again I swear I will spill my guts about the entire mess and let him deal with the fall out. He can either accept that I'm making a life with the girl that I love and raising our child together or he can kiss my furry ass. Now you just relax and stay calm till I get back little mama, and I will be back, you can count on it,” the moose boy replied, placing a paw under her chin and tilting her head up to kiss her softly. “Trust me Zoe, just trust me,” he added as he and Mark headed out the door.
After watching the teen boys leave Zoe walked into the living room and slumped down onto the couch, sighing heavily. “I do trust him, but I don't trust his dad,” she said as Ariel came into the room.
“Neither does Mark, that's why he's going with him Zoe. He's not dropping him off and waiting outside, he's going to stick to your boyfriend like flypaper until they're back here. He did say for us girls to go ahead and eat dinner and relax and be patient. Depending on how it goes Mark seems to think Ralph may want to talk for a little while before they come back. But I'm sure one of them will keep us posted on what's going on.”
“Yea, you're probably right about that, I'm just worried that his dad will do something stupid to...” the panda girl stopped speaking suddenly, screwing up her face as she seemed to suddenly be turning something over in her head. “Wait a damn minute, am I nuts and hearing things or have I gone dense today? Did that fur face call me Zoe Daniels or was I hearing things?” she asked wide eyed.
Unable to contain herself Monica burst out laughing, nearly falling out of the chair she sat in, grabbing and steadying the lap top across her thighs before she turned to look at the panda and said, “I was wondering how long it would take for that to sink in. Yes he did Zoe.”
“Is he out of his ever loving mind? We're just kids as far as the law is concerned, there's now way we can do that at our age, and even if we could there's no way our parents would give consent for that. Okay mine maybe would, but no way would his dad allow that to happen. He doesn't even want me near Ralph, he sure as hell wouldn't consent to us getting married,” the panda girl said, shaking her head at the very thought of her boyfriend thinking such a think could possibly happen.
“Maybe not, but I can tell you this much,” the younger collie said as she pointed to the laptop's screen, “according to Colorado law, if you two can prove to a judge that he should allow you two to get married, and get a signed court order in the county you intend to get married in it can happen, even without parental consent. But I think his mom would over ride his dad's objections and give her consent, which is all you would need. 'At least one parent of each of the minor petitioners must give their legal consent for the marriage of the petitioners to be allowed', that's exactly how it's worded in the marriage laws of the state,”
Looking at her sister oddly Ariel asked, “and exactly why are you looking up the marriage laws of Colorado?”
“Because of something Alexandrea and I talked about after we confessed our love to each other. Now I 'm not saying we plan on getting married, not for a while if at all anyway, so don't go all mom on me and get your panties in a bunch. But I wanted to know if we even could.
After clearing security Mark and Ralph walked to the concourse where the moose boys family would be catching their flight back to Colorado.
As they drew near the departure gate Ralph spotted his brother sitting dejectedly in a seat, their mother not far away speaking to someone on her phone. As they got closer Ralph overheard the end of her conversation.
“Yes that's right, I need to get him admitted as soon as possible. Yes, we will be back in the state later this evening and I can bring him in the morning. Yes nine am will be fine, I'll have him there for the evaluation. Thank you I hope you can help my son as much as it seems you can. Thank you doctor Reynolds, I will.” Looking up Raquel noticed her oldest son walking towards her, the Bernese boy beside him as she waited for them.
“How's he holding up mom?” Ralph asked as he nodded towards his slightly younger twin.
“Not so well, your father has been on his case all day. I finally told Arnold to go for a walk and leave the boy alone so I could make arrangements for him when we get back. I am not about to leave this in your fathers paws for even a single day,” the moose matron said.
“I'm going to go talk to him, alone,” Ralph said as he glanced to Mark.
“Go ahead, I need to speak to your mother for a few minutes myself Ralph,” the Bernese boy responded. After the boy had walked away and was safely out of ear shot Mark looked Raquel in the eyes and asked, “Mrs. Daniels, do you think his father will make an attempt to force the boy to go home if he sees him here?”
“Quite honestly Mark, I half fear that very thing. More because I'm unsure of my sons reaction than anything else. After what I've seen from Ralph lately, and having seen how much he truly loves Zoe, I don't think the boy would cave and relent to his fathers wishes. But I am concerned that my fool of a husband would be spiteful enough to have the boy detained and forced back home if it comes to blows between them again,” Raquel explained, a hint of worry and sadness in her voice.
“I see,” Mark said sagely. “Mrs. Daniels, if you'll agree to it, with the help of David Hannah, my lawyer back home in Colorado I have a way to stop him in his tracks and end his attempts to force the boy into compliance with his wishes. At least long enough for Ralph to make it to his fourteenth birthday, at which time he can petition the courts to emancipate him and put a stop to his fathers interference once and for all.”
“If I can help Ralph to have some peace from his father while he get's his life settled with Zoe and their situation Mark, I will. What is it you have in mind, and what do you need from me?” Raquel asked as she turned to look into the Bernese Mountain Dog boys eyes.
'The Truth Will Set You Free'
“Paul? Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” Ralph asked as he drew closer to his twin.
Looking up, seeing his brother looking down at him the slightly younger moose boy only nodded weakly.
Sitting in the seat next to him Ralph turned to look at his sibling as he began to speak. “Paul I...,” he began, trailing off for a moment to collect his thoughts. Being this close to his brother still filled him with a rage at the other boys actions in the past couple of weeks at his expense. But he wasn't here for that reason, so after taking a few deep breaths to steady himself and regain his focus he continued. “I want you to know that I'm still mad as hell at you for what you did to Zoe and to me. But more than that, I want you to know that you are still my brother and I care about what happens to you. I won't lie about it, I want you to pay for what you did to my girlfriend Paul, but I realize you need help too. I just don't understand what I've ever done to you to make you hate me so much.”
His head suddenly drooping lower Paul responded, “Ralph, I don't. I don't hate you, that's not why I do the stupid things I do to get you into trouble. Since I... since I messed up so bad I've had a lot of time to think about the idiot things I've been doing to you, and why I do them. The truth is until now I didn't have a clue why, just that I could do it and make people think I was you so I wouldn't get in trouble. Bottom line is, I was and still am jealous of you big brother. Everything is so easy for you, school, making friends, getting a girlfriend, everything.”
“Paul, it's not all that easy for me either. I have to ...” Ralph began before his brother interrupted.
“Ralph, I'll never have even half of what you have, never be half as good as you at anything. I let jealousy and stupidity take over and lead me to do stupid things, things that hurt the person I wanted so much to be like. The brother that gets the girl, not the brother that never will,” the younger moose boy said as he finally looked Ralph in the eyes. “I know my chances with girls have always been none and none, I can't even talk to a girl without losing my nerve and sounding like a doofus.”
Before he could stop himself Ralph slapped his brother in the back of the head, hard. A move that caught the attention of their mother and the Bernese boy she was talking with. As the moose matron and Mark walked towards the twins they overheard what the older brother had to say to his twin in reply.
“For Gods sake Paul Daniels, you are a bigger idiot than I ever thought. We're twins, you look just like me you dumb-ass, so don't even give me that looks bullshit. Your grades are the same as mine so I'm not buying the school shit either. The friends thing, okay maybe, but you asshole you could have a girlfriend in two minutes if you would grow a pair and try. Really are you that fucking clueless? You don't have a clue that a girl has had a crush on you since the second grade and would practically strip on the spot and jump you if you would just ask her out do you? Dear God how much shit have you put me through because your so fucking blind that you don't see how much Jada Kinnison wants you?” the older moose boy practically screamed in his brothers face.
With a wide eyed look of shock on his face Paul replied, “What? You're crazy, she can barely stand being in the same room with me. She doesn't...”
“You have got to be the dumbest smart guy I've ever know Paul. Everyone in Scott Carpenter Middle school knows she's warm for your form, except you. Jesus Christ on a stick does the girl have to beat you over the head with a club for you to get it?” Ralph said as he jumped from his seat.
As Raquel stepped between her sons she asked, “what the hell is going on between you two now?”
Looking to his mother, an incredulous look on his face Ralph answered his mothers question.
“He needs help mom, a lot of help, this asshole has put me through the wringer all this time because he's jealous of me. All because he's convinced he'll never be as good as me or have a girlfriend like me, when a hot cheetah girl wants him so bad she can taste it and just wants him to ask her out.” Turning back to look his brother in the eyes Ralph said, “you have to stop being afraid of stuff. You think it was easy, or not scary as hell to go and meet Zoe's dad? It was Paul, and her coming into the room nearly naked to begin with didn't help a damn bit. I first thought he put her up to it to test me, try to push me into being stupid. There's no way I would have ever believed it would end up like it did that day. Let alone how things have ended up now. This whole situation scares the crap out of me Paul, and I can't even count on my family to back me up and support me in this mess...” he began before being interrupted.
“So... you made it in time. I take it you came to your senses and decided to go home with us where you belong?” Arnold asked with a smirk on his muzzle.
“No, I came to say good bye to my mother and brother, and to let him know that even after everything he's done to me over the years, and what he did to Zoe, I still give a crap what happens to him. But I'm not going home with you, not now, not ever,” the young moose boy said forcefully.
Reaching out and grabbing Ralph by the shoulder Arnold lowered his voice as he said, “be realistic Ralph, your thirteen, how the hell are you going to raise a baby?”
His eyes narrowing, his teeth clenched tightly the moose replied, “with my girlfriends help, and advice, and help, from people who know what to do and really do give a shit about me.”
As the larger moose's face turned red, his anger building by the second Mark stepped closer as he said calmly, “I would suggest you remove your paw from that young man sir.”
The moose patriarch's head whipped around to face the Bernese dog boy, his features contorted in rage as he all but screamed at the young man. “He is MY son and the best thing you can do is to mind your own damn business. This is between my son and myself and does not concern you in the least.”
“That, I'm afraid is where you're wrong Mr. Daniels,” Mark replied with the same clam tone. “He is your son, but you laying your paws on him concerns me greatly.” As the younger dog slapped a bundle of papers into the mans chest he added, “now I will ask just once more for you to take your paws off him. Otherwise it will be you that leaves here in chains sir.”
“What's this? Some kind of meaningless threat?” the moose man asked as he took the papers the boy had in his paw, glancing at them as he received an answer.
“It's no threat sir, those are your copies of the necessary paperwork. As of twenty minutes ago you were relieved of your parental responsibilities to Ralph Horatio Daniels and he was placed in my care and custody when your wife signed the custody papers.”
“When she did WHAT?” the angry moose bellowed, his voice echoing through the concourse.
“She voluntarily, and willingly, signed custody of your son over to me to protect him from potential abuse at your paws because he defied you.
“You... you arrogant little prick, I'll beat you down like the dog you are...” the angry man said as his paws curled into fists.
“Please hit me, I really want you to. It will be seen as a vicious attack by a man that didn't get his way in ruining his sons life. How do you think your practice will fair when it goes to court and it comes out that you tried to force your son and his girlfriend to terminate the life of their unborn child? You deal with a lot of troubled teens, many of them girls that got pregnant and were shunned by their own families. No Mr. Daniels, what you will do is accept that your eldest son has people in his life that care about him, his girlfriend and their child. While you have plotted ways to get Ralph to bow down to your own will, he has been doing exactly what a real man should do in a situation like this. It has been my great pleasure to play some small part in the boy getting to a position where he can care for the girl he loves and their baby without you, or anyone else interfering.”
“Raquel, how could you be so foolish to put our son in the paws of another child...” he began to say, the Bernese boy stopping him in his tracks.
“By the letter of the law I'm an adult sir, eighteen and on my own. This was not my first choice of how to handle this sir, it was a last resort. Your son has done things right, he's stood beside the girl he got pregnant and been there for her. He deserves to continue to do just that, and more since that is what he wants. You down grade him, tell him he's only a child and doesn't know what he's doing. Yet in spite of it he's secured a good paying job, a home for himself, his girlfriend and their baby, and is already making arrangements for child care so that they both can return to school and finish their education. Instead of trying to control him, you should be proud of him for being a man and standing up to the responsibilities he created for himself because of an accidental condom failure.”
“Why the hell are you even involved? Is it some kind of a cheap thrill for you to stick your muzzle where it's not needed or wanted? What reason on earth could you possibly have for giving a damn about my son or that girl he got pregnant?” the seething moose asked Mark as they stood face to face barely a foot between their muzzles.
The moose man had, without knowing it, asked the one question that would set the Bernese boys anger aflame, the one question that even Ralph hadn't thought to press for an answer to.
“Because I know where he's at in his life, and in his relationship with the panda girl. I know what it's like to have someone try to force you to end the life of your unborn child. To have an adult treat you like a mindless stump because of your age. I know what it's like to feel the fear of not knowing what to do, and not having your own father back you up or try to help you. But most of all I know how it feels to lose everything you love, to have it ripped from your paws and destroyed because of an arrogant asshole like you,” Mark screamed at the older man.
Staring the dog boy in the eyes Arnold was silent for several long moments. “This isn't the end of this, I will have both of your asses when you step foot back in Colorado,” he said angrily between clenched teeth.
“No, this is the end of it and you will stay away from him and leave he, and Zoe Bell alone or face the consequences of your own actions. You have been served sir. In your paws are copies of the court order terminating your parental responsibilities, voluntary reassignment of care and custody, the court order finalizing that change in custody, his petition for emancipation, and a court mandated restraining order.” Turning to the moose matriarch, a sadness in his eyes Mark said, “I'm sorry it had to come to his Mrs. Daniels, but rest assured he and the girl will be fine, and well taken care of. After we have them settled into their new home you can visit them any time as long as it's okay with them,” he paused a moment as he turned his head to glare at the boys father, “and you leave the asshole at home. Where they're going is an area that several friends of mine live, they will be keeping a watchful eye on the pair and not let anything happen to them.”
“While it does set my mind to rest a little to know they will be watched over, I have faith in my son Mark,” Raquel said as she gazed into her oldest sons eyes. “He's more than proven that he's a good man, and I think he will make an excellent father to his baby. I'm just glad he has someone watching his back the way you are.”
Ralph grabbed his younger brother in a tight embrace, nearly squeezing the air from his twins lungs as he said softly in his ear, “I still love ya little brother, and I really do care what happens to you. With Mark's help I'll keep up with what's going on with you. Please, get your head on straight and get your life fixed. I want this baby to know it's uncle, and even it's grandfather if dad can get his shit together too. Take care of you Paul, you're the only one that can.”
“I... I know Ralph, and thanks, for still giving a crap about me. God knows I may not deserve it, but I've got the greatest brother anyone could ever have. Mom's got my back, and knowing you still give a damn... I'll make it. You go take care of that pretty girlfriend of yours and that baby. I don't know what's going to happen to me, but I got this big brother, I got this.”
As the twins shared the last embrace they would for neither of them knew how long Arnold stomped off fuming over the Bernese boys actions, quietly vowing to get his way in the end.
Raquel grabbed her oldest son the moment his twin released him, hugging the boy tightly to her chest, tears forming in her eyes as she said to him, “I... I thought I had a few more years before my oldest son left the nest. It's... it's going to be an empty house now, and I don't know if I can stand your father for very long alone if he doesn't get a clue soon. But that's my worry not yours, you have enough on your plate as it is. You go take care of our girl, and my grand-baby. As soon as you two are settled you better call me and let me know. I'll come and visit as often as I can, but for a little while I think my paws are going to be full with getting Paul on the right track. If you or Zoe need me call me, I mean that Ralph. I'm proud of you son, you really have proven what kind of a man you are, Zoe is one lucky girl to have you beside her.” Dabbing at her eyes as she released her son she added, “now get out of here before I start bawling like an idiot.”
Looking his mother in the eyes the young moose said, “I love you mom, and thanks for everything you've done for me, and for Zoe. I want you to... if dad figures it out and gets things straightened out... if he get's over this, let me know. I don't want to keep him from his only gran-baby if I don't have to.”
“I will Ralph, and when he's ready to hear it I'll tell him what you said. Just give him some time, that's all any of us can do with him right now, give it time.”
Ralph turned towards Mark and nodded silently as he walked past, the Bernese boy falling in behind him as they headed to the exit to head back to the rented house on the island. He had barely gone ten feet when tears began to roll down his cheeks, silently dripping from his muzzle to the floor as the pair left the concourse and walked towards the exit.
A few minutes later they walked across the parking lot as Mark spoke ,” tougher than you thought huh?”
“Yea, I kind of thought as mad as I was still it would be easier... it wasn't.” As the moose dried his eyes on his shirt tail, the distraction of talking with Mark finally settling him a bit, a strange look came across his face. Lost in the thoughts that were consuming his mind they reached the car before Ralph realized it. As they were leaving the parking lot he turned to his new friend and benefactor and said, “if it's none of my business, just say so and I won't ask again Mark, but what was all that about knowing where I'm coming from about?”
“When I was your age, I fell for a girl like you did Ralph, a Spitz girl, beautiful, snow white fur, long blonde hair... anyway, we fell for each other and did the deed not long after we started dating. I got her pregnant too, we later found out it was twins. About three weeks before her due date my world came apart. We were out for an evening walk near her house when we were run down by a drunk driver. The guy had a few, got into a fight with his wife and got in the car to go to a bar and get more drunk. They think he passed out at the wheel, but he ran us down on the sidewalk. Her injuries were really bad, they had to do an emergency c-section to try to save the boys. She died in the operating room without me. The cubs injuries were as bad as hers, they died a little over an hour after they were born, in my arms while I was talking to them,” tears began to stream down the Bernese boys face as he pulled into the parking lot of an IHOP. “In one night the girl I loved more than life itself, and both of my sons were taken from me by an arrogant, self absorbed asshole that was doing something he knew was wrong. Everything I loved, everything I cared for was ripped from my life forever in the blink of an eye. That's what your father is trying to do to you, whether or not he realizes it I don't know. What I do know is after wards I went to a very dark place. A self imposed living hell of pain and regret, torture and torment. My world had exploded around me and I had no idea how to even begin to put the pieces together again. For two years I lived a waking nightmare of anger, hatred, fear, mistrust, loneliness... , I had no one to turn to, even my own father had abandoned me for the most part. He and I fought constantly, we couldn't stand to be in the same room together for more than thirty seconds at a time. So I left, moved out of my parents home at fourteen and emancipated myself from him. Then I met someone that needed me, and she turned my life around, gave me a reason to live again. That led me back to the world of the living, and to the girl that I had feelings for most of my life, but never had the guts to tell her.” As the older boy sat staring out the windshield, trying to reign in his emotions the moose spoke.
“Ariel, she's the one that you wanted, but were afraid to love isn't she?” Ralph asked quietly.
“Yes, she's the one that I loved for years, but never felt like I was good enough for her. I think you may know the girl that brought me out of the pit of self loathing and torment I put myself into as well, that was Samantha,” Mark said, a slight grin coming to his face as he spoke of the two young women that meant the most to him. “My point is that I know exactly where your at Ralph, I know what it's like to be you, and far worse could happen to you. But there is no way in hell I can just stand by and watch a man that is doing things he knows is wrong because of his own arrogance and hardheadedness. You and Zoe deserve better than that, and if I can do anything about it you're going to get it.” Looking to his watch Mark asked, “so how about something to eat, I'm sure the girls have eaten by now, and from the looks of the inbound parking lot at the airport traffic is going to suck in about fifteen minutes. We may as well sit it out and grab a bite, maybe talk some more while we pass the time. Order what ever you want, but for some reason I'm in the mood for breakfast,” the older dog boy said as he got out of the car, the moose doing the same and following him into the restaurant.