First Day of School
By Assilsasta, Cormenthor & VerbMyNoun
A Crossover featuring:
The Dark Riders of Marblecliff, Ethan, and the Bat & the Cat
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ August 19, 2013 ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Dressing to Impress ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
The morning had started early like all the others with the group’s pre-dawn Physical Fitness routine. The previous week had gotten Daisy more used to the activities and early starts than she had initially thought. That morning she had even gotten up before the reveille was sounded. It being the first day of school, she was certain the group had some plan to torment her. After her little experience with her sudden change in fur color, she wasn’t going to be blindsided this time. She knew it was coming, just not what it was. She inspected the pants uniform she had laid out for school and doubled-checked her selection of sealed travel-sized shampoos and conditioners. With everything she could think of in place and verified, she looked over at the small Kangaroo Mouse that had come into her life and brought so much clarity and insanity. Cecily sat on the bed, freshly made after its nightly transformation into a jumbled mess. She smiled back at the moose in her almost skimpy, form-fitting workout uniform, one nearly matching Daisy’s combination of feminine sports top and loose fitting boy shorts. The only oddity on the small mouse was the pink and black cast that encased her left arm. Daisy was uncertain if the injury was the only thing that saved her lover from the group’s apparent hazing, or if the mouse was just considered immune from such activities.
The things Daisy had learned about her lover’s past in the previous two weeks frightened and concerned her. She had passed some of the darker details with Lilliana, but some things she kept between her and Cecily. Even then, she grew more concerned and protective of the younger girl, wanting to stand between her and anything that could cause a repeat of the Toybox incident. She knew this first day of school was going to be a test for Cecily, who had been living on the streets for over a year before the liger had adopted her. This new environment filled with furs the sketchy mouse didn’t know scared Daisy more than anything simply because she knew she wouldn’t be at her lover’s side every moment. In fact, when they had compared schedules they noted that they wouldn’t even have lunch together for the first time in a month. Even while Daisy worked, Cecily managed to find her way to the bakery so they could be together for that meal.
Cecily looked over at the moose and tilted her head as she asked, “Are you okay, Daisy?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, Trail Mix, just nervous about starting school today,” Daisy said as she steered her pet names for the rodent to things tied directly to their time together to avoid things that might be tied to her darker past. “Just wondering what they have planned for me today. Lilly helped out with the fur fiasco, thank god, but you know they have to have something in the works.”
“Maybe they’re going to leave you alone,” Cecily replied. “It is a kind of a big day for all of us: Lilly’s first real day of work and our first day of school. They might just wait and see how things go with that.”
Daisy cocked an eyebrow as she looked her girlfriend in the eyes. “You really think they are going to pass up an opportunity to torment me on a day like today?” The small mouse shrugged as they both heard the bugle call for them to rise and join the group downstairs for their fitness session.
To Daisy’s surprise, the morning session went without issue. All they did was some simple upper body training with small dumbbells to add some resistance while Cecily worked on what she could without stressing her broken arm. She was relieved that the entire family was gathered this morning for a session led by the older badger, Detlev. That simply meant that they could not be plotting or working on anything for the hour that everyone was in her sight. After their workout, everyone retired to their private bathrooms, which Hank had managed to get fully working, if not cosmetically perfect. Cecily and Daisy opted to shower together as they often did, refraining from some of their usual playfulness in the falling water as they tried to keep on task for the activities of the day.
As the couple returned to the adjoining room to finish getting ready for school, Daisy caught sight of the change almost instantly. She rushed over to the uniform she had set out, the blue blazer, white shirt, and red female tie were set just as she had left them. The dark blue trousers from the male uniform that she had with them were replaced by the red plaid skirt of the female uniform. She looked and smiled slightly as she had expected just such an attack. “Ha-ha, very funny,” she yelled, her voice echoing through the still nearly vacant house as she turned to retrieve one of her other sets of trousers from the closet. “I have a closet full of…” As she opened the door and looked in she froze and whispered, “Skirts. I have a fucking closet full of nothing but skirts. How the fuck… Where the fuck… This is bullshit.”
Daisy turned and stomped out of the room in nothing more than a towel wrapped around her waist as she headed down the back stairs and into the great room where the remainder of the group sat around the small breakfast bar sipping on coffee and reading newspapers as if nothing was awry. “Okay, where the hell are my uniforms?”
“In your closet, I thought,” Susan, the chinchilla, answered without looking away from her paper. “What, did you lose them or something?”
“You know damned well…” she trailed off as she thought about the situation, “Fine, I’ll just wear a regular pair of black pants. That should be fine for the first day,” as she turned and left them to gloat at their little game. She wasn’t going to let them win that easy. As she returned to their room and strutted over to the chest of drawers, she pulled hers open she screamed, “MOTHER-FUCKIN’ CHEATING CRAZY ASSHOLES!” Within the space that should have been her selection of street clothes for wear to work and after school she found more red plaid skirts from the female school uniform. “Jesus Christ on a stick don’t you people have better things to do with your time and money?” the moose herm screeched out before gathering her clothes and personal care items from the bed. “Gotta nail every damn thing to the fucking floor around this bunch,” she muttered as she stormed off into the bathroom to change for the school day.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Arrival ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Daisy breathed a sigh of relief as she pulled into the space in the vacant student parking lot. She had at least a short reprieve before any other students arrived as she carpooled with Lilliana due to the disassembled condition of the liger’s Camaro. As she got out of the car and pulled her skirt down as much as she could without pulling it off her waist she looked over at the small mouse who only smiled back and said, “Is she even awake back there? I swear I heard her snoring and it’s only a few miles from the house.”
“I’m fine,” The liger said as she pushed the seat forward to climb out of the rear. “If you didn’t drive like my grandpa I might not have dozed off.”
“It’s like solid school zones from the house to here,” Daisy said as she went to the trunk to get their backpacks. “You can kiss my furry ass on getting those tickets, Lilly. The damn signs every damn block make it clear enough that the fines are doubled in school zones and fuck if I can afford that shit. Besides, I hear they will crucify you and display your remains on the courthouse lawn here.”
“Whatever,” the liger replied as she stepped around to the trunk as well. “Help me with these books. I forgot to bring them in earlier, and you can hide out in my classroom until the first bell rings. It might give you time to adjust yourself a little, if you know what I mean.”
Cecily walked over, taking a hold of Daisy’s free paw with her right paw. “I think you look hot. Want me to show you what I like about you in a skirt after school?” the small mouse winked as she finished her little tease.
Looking down at her girlfriend, Daisy shook her head slightly as she said, “You’re not helping matters any, Trail Mix. It’s bad enough I have to wear this damn thing in the first place. I’ll just be happy if I can get through the day without embarrassing the shit out of myself.”
“You’ll do fine, Cupcake,” the liger said as she started to lead the way into the school. The old gothic-style structures seemed almost ominous and foreboding in the solitary early morning. “You know what this place reminds me of? Castle Wolfenstein. I keep expecting zombies to pop up at any moment. If you see any just remember, the more turns you get between you and them the more likely you are to survive, and always aim for the head.”
Cecily looked up at Daisy and she said, “She says that every time we come here.” As they reached the entrance of the main building, Daisy saw a small memorial as Cecily pointed in its general direction, “Some girl disappeared last year. Josie, I think. Rumor has it a guy she met kidnapped and killed her, but there was no body, and not enough evidence to do anything about it. Some of her friends got the money together and had the memorial made for her. It’s actually kind of neat.”
Daisy eyed the small memorial as she mumbled, “Zombies, disappearing girls, what have I gotten myself into? Next thing you know they’ll be talking about dragons stealing virgins. It’s a video game gone wild.” The moose continued to follow the other two through the halls as they lead her to the liger’s classroom. On the way through the building Cecily pointed out some of the key locations, including the main offices, library and cafeteria. Daisy realized that the roundabout method the liger was using to travel through the buildings was like she was giving a mock tour of the campus.
“They have a really nice gym and a Driver’s Range out behind the school. I’ll be taking the Prep class required for licensing this session. I should be able to get my license shortly after my birthday.” The small mouse seemed more excited about the prospect of driving than anything else going on. Almost as if the idea was fending off the worry and panic that sat on the edge of her world all the time. “The Driver’s Ed teacher’s name is Mr. Burke, I hear he’s some sort of goat.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ The New Jungle ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Svetlana Black swallowed nervously as she roamed the halls of her new school, looking for Mr. Andrews’ first period American History class. She had been so calm and collected just a little bit ago: her hair was done perfectly, and she looked beautiful in her new uniform. When she graduated from Manticore, she was the most popular girl in school. Now, she was back at the bottom of the hierarchy. Almost no one knew who she was, and even fewer people cared.
She had made more than one wrong turn and wound up in the entirely incorrect wing of the building, and was hurrying as quickly as she could to avoid being late to her first class on the first day. As she rounded the corner of what was hopefully the hallway she needed to be in, she collided face-first with an Aardwolf. The young raccoon/hare crossbreed fell backward, landing on her rump and dropping her binder and textbooks. Papers and pens scattered all over the place, and she heard a condescending voice speak down to her.
“Watch it, Freshman,” the Aardwolf said, not even bothering to help pick up her things or watch where she was stepping. Several sheets of unused paper were ruined with shoe tracks, and many of her pens were kicked away. “Shit,” she muttered to herself as the bell to start first period echoed through the almost-empty halls.
Svetlana scrambled to gather up as much of her stuff as she could, clumsily clutching all of it to her body as she dashed the rest of the way down the corridor to Room 318. With her paws full, she fumbled with the doorknob awkwardly for a moment, until one of her classmates opened it for her from the inside. As she stepped in, she was greeted by a middle-aged Okapi standing at the front of the classroom.
“Welcome, young lady!” he said in a friendly tone. At least she didn’t seem to be in any sort of trouble. Svetlana was thankful to have a nice, understanding teacher for her first class at her new school “What’s your name?”
“Svetlana Black, sir. But my friends call me Sveta,” she responded.
He walked over to his desk and glanced down. “Ah! Yes, here you are. Your desk is right here, next to Mr. Calibhin.” He gestured to an empty seat in the front of the class, next to a male Stoat. She nodded and quickly took her seat, spending the next few minutes reorganizing her mess of supplies while her teacher went over the rules and expectations for the classroom.
“At least he didn’t eat your head off for showing up late,” the stoat said as he leaned over toward her. “It would have just fuckered up my day to see a fine thing like you cry in the first class. Name’s Ayden, what can I call you, Sweet Thing?” He brushed his paw through his hair, styled almost exactly like the cover of the latest Teen Magazine.
She glanced his way and cast him an irritated look. She was hardly in the mood to be flirted with after such an awful start to her day. Still, he wasn’t ugly, and he spoke with the sexiest brogue, though he did look a bit too old to be in a Freshman class. “Svetlana. You can call me Svetlana.”
With a slight frown he said, “But I thought you said your friends call you Sveta?”
“I did,” she retorted in a low whisper, trying to pay attention to Mr. Andrews as he continued to address the class. “And I meant it. Ease up on the come-ons.”
He sat back in his chair as he said, “I’m sorry.” He tapped himself in the side of the head with his palm as he muttered to himself, “You feckin gobshite, shut your trap and quit treating her like a sheila.”
The young raccoon/hare mix fought to stifle a smile as he scolded himself. She had to admit, he was attractive, and his accent nearly made her melt in her seat. She wouldn’t mind sitting next to him for the duration of the school year, so long as she could listen to him speak. She just prayed he would remember to keep his advances to himself.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Making A Bad Impression ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
The class roared loudly with the conversations of the past summer’s activities and greeting of old friends reunited. Rumor had it that the computer and digital art classes had a new teacher and they were eager to see just how easy it was going to be. The previous teacher had glossed over most of the material with the assumption that they knew more than the older stoat did. The word was that the new teacher was a sexy liger and this was her first year teaching. Everyone knew that the new teacher was always the easiest.
The class fell silent as the liger walked into the room, a stream of profanities flowing from her mouth. She was six feet tall and well-toned. She was wearing a professional-looking black skirt suit with a white shirt, and matching jacket and women’s tie. She turned and looked over the room, an odd look of realization in her eyes as she saw the students. She muttered under her breath, “Shit,” as she took off her jacket and draped it over the chair behind her desk.
“Good morning, class. My name is Miss Fargo,” she said as she wrote her name on the blackboard. “I will be your instructor for Introductory Graphic Design, or Comp 201.” She turned to face the class. “I am going to butcher everyone’s name for the first month or two of this class. If I get your name correct before then, you are doing something wrong.” She began to walk up and down the rows of desks, “Before we get started I would like to get to know everyone. To start off the introductions, I will go first. I spent four years after high school in the army as an Information Systems specialist, and some other things I cannot talk about yet or I would have to kill you.” She stopped in the back of the classroom as she continued, “After I exited the military due to the results of a classified incident, I spent six years as one of the top Information Systems Consultants for local and federal government agencies and several large corporations. Due to non-disclosure agreements I am unable to tell you exactly which ones.” As she started back to the front of the room she said, “I left all that behind so that I can make a difference in the world, and somehow I end up teaching this shit… um… class to you wonderful students. I currently hold a Master’s Degree in Information Systems Technology, as well as a small stack of industry standard certifications, and other random college courses with anything to do with digital art and programming. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I believe there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. And I will end my introduction with this tidbit, if you want to file a complaint before or after I offend you, please spell my name correctly. Within a week I should have a stack of fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice complaint sheets for the most common issues.” She sat on her desk and crossed her legs as she looked at the class, “Now, we will start with you guys from the front right and work our way around. Stand up, tell everyone your name and how you plan on wasting your life after you graduate.”
A rather drab-looking Glaucus Atlanticus stood up first. Everything about the young woman was unremarkable, from the dull hue of her skin, to the way she wore the tendrils on her head, to the non-descript plastic frames of her eyeglasses, and the way she failed to fill out her uniform. She looked like a bit of a geek, and would probably do well in the class simply because it involved computers. “My name is Odette Voss, and after I graduate, I want to start my own webcomic.” She stood there awkwardly, looking extremely nervous and uncomfortable being the center of attention for this brief moment.
With a nod from the teacher the slug girl took a seat and stared at her desk as the introductions continued. Many were the common banker, business man, investment broker, and other high paying jobs often selected at random just to have an answer for the liger. Most of the students didn’t get much more than a thank you or head nod from the teacher as they went one by one around the room. About halfway through the class, Lilliana noticed a young raccoon who had been doodling on his arm with a Sharpie. He didn’t seem to be paying attention to what was going on, which irritated the liger. Hoping to get his attention she reached into the drawer on her desk behind her and swiftly flung the first object her paw came in contact with at the boy. As the box of paperclips glanced off his shoulder, he looked up in her direction. Sighing, he capped his pen and stood up. “I’m Ethan Black,” he said. As he spoke Lilliana’s golden eyes locked on his. Holding up his left arm, he showed off an intricate, half-complete tribal sleeve. “I like to draw, obviously. I want to get a career in graphic design. That’s why I’m taking the class.” He became visibly uncomfortable as the liger stared him down, her gaze nearly burning a hole in him.
“Sit your ass down and pay attention to what the fu…” She paused and closed her eyes as she rubbed her temple trying to get back to the calm mood she was in before the raccoon’s interruption and almost unwanted introduction. She tried to put the stories that Larry had told her about the boy and her prejudgment of his character to the back of her mind and continue with her mission of educating the class. The fact that she had to teach him had nothing to do with the partial story she had heard from the mouse man weeks ago.
“Odette wants to start a webcomic. James is going into web design. Jason says he wants to get into advertising, but he really just wants an easy A. Adam plans on...” he started rambling off, successfully listing the names of each of his classmates up until his turn, and why they were enrolled in her class.
Lilliana gritted her teeth as she said, “Sit, Mr. Black.” The boy’s nearly arrogant-seeming retort had done nothing to help calm her nerves. Silently, she started rolling cadence songs through her head as she let the class continue with their introductions, only half-paying attention and acknowledging each student.
Once the class finished their introductions Lilliana stood and turned back toward the board as she said, “Okay, now let’s get started with this Introduction to Graphic Design shit. Please come to the front of the class and take a book off the cart. In each one is the common book sign-out card you all have been using for years now. If you know your neighbor is new help them out with it. In the meantime, go ahead and open to the first chapter and begin reading. Tomorrow we might even get on the computers and scribble some on the fancy tablets your rich parents paid for with your tuition.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ The New Queen on Campus ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Hayley Richards strolled down the hall on her way to Miss Waters’ first period class. The Sand Cat was excited for her senior year of high school. She had been the front-runner for student council president last year, until Josie Kaiser sabotaged her campaign with rumors that she was transgendered. The remainder of her junior year was spent repairing the damage done to her reputation. Even the small memorial created in Josie’s memory had been her idea; no matter how hurtful the tigress’s actions had been she deserved so much better than whatever fate had befallen her. This year, she all but had the election in the bag, after last year’s winner, Preston Niedermayer, got caught skimming money from the fundraisers. Homecoming, the Winter Formal, Prom, and the Sadie Hawkins dance... This was going to be a great year, she was sure of it.
“Hi, Hayley,” a familiar all-white canine boy said as he passed her in the hall.
“Hi, Derek. Did you have a nice summer?” she asked, stopping for a brief moment.
“I did, thanks for asking,” he said, also stopping. “My family and I went on a cruise to Hawaii, and I met the most amazing girl.”
She tried not to show her doubts or surprise at his claims. Derek Blackfoot had rejected the advances of every single young lady that had asked, and despite him being a rather muscular motorhead, there was speculation that he might be gay.
“Oh yeah? That’s good to hear. A cute guy like you deserves a good girl to treat him right. Where does she live?” she asked, playing along.
“Colorado. Her name is Samantha,” he said, gushing with pride as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket to show some pictures.
“Long distance relationship? That’s convenient,” she thought to herself as he brought up a photo of himself with a very pretty Saluki girl. “She’s cute! So are you two serious?”
“Yeah,” he gushed as he locked his phone and tucked it away. “She and I have seen each other pretty much every other weekend. I’m using my money from working in the shop to fly out there to visit her, or fly her here to see me and my family.”
“All while no one from school is around to support your claims,” she thought to herself. “Just you wait. After I win this election, I’m going to need a date for the dances, and I’m going to put this little ‘gay’ rumor to the test.” Instead of saying what was on her mind, the pretty Sand Cat just gave him a big smile and said, “That’s adorable! Well, it was good talking to you, but I need to get to English. I’ll catch up with you later?”
“Yeah, that sounds good. I hear that Mr. Muldowney will kill me if I’m late to class,” he said with a look of dread on his muzzle.
“You have Reggie? Ugh, good luck! Go ahead, we’ll talk in a bit,” Hayley said, giving the canine boy a wave as he turned and rushed off to Metal Shop. The pretty young Sand Cat grinned to herself. It was going to be a very good year indeed.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Driver’s Ed ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Cecily walked into the small classroom located at the back of the gym. She looked around nervously from the idea of being the new kid at the school, as well as the heart pounding excitement of entering the Driver’s Ed class room. After years of thinking she would never be able to drive, then spending nearly a month behind the wheel of every car within her reach, she felt as if her heart was about to explode at the idea of getting her license soon after her sixteenth birthday, and this class was all that stood in the way of realizing that simple dream.
Much of the class was already full and everyone’s attention went to the small kangaroo mouse as the door slammed shut behind her, making her squeak, jump and turn to face the sound. As she turned back and saw all the attention was on her, her excitement started to shift to panic as she backed up to the door. A Mouflon man stood up from behind a desk at the far end of the room. He looked at her with a smile as he spoke, “You must be Miss Fargo. Please take a seat beside Miss Rikkers and Miss Powell.” He pointed to a desk between a cheetah girl and a green striped cat. The mountain goat’s voice and smile had an almost calming effect on her as Cecily blinked and moved toward the desk.
The cheetah girl looked at the mouse as she took her seat, almost dwarfed by the high school desk. “Yeah, you must be that girl that moved in across from Vivy. Ross said you were short, but I thought she was exaggerating.”
Cecily looked up at the girl with a weak smile, as she asked, “You know Ross?”
“Yeah, she’s my cousin. She moved up here last year and lives with us. I’m Elena,” The cheetah said with a smile. “And that’s Midori,” she added pointing to the green cat girl. “I guess you’re in our group. Mr. Burke splits us up into teams for the driving range, but we have an odd number this session so he has to make a group of three.”
“Ohayoo-gozaimasu, Cecily-chan,” Midori said, giving her a big smile and a slight wave.
As Elena spoke the Mouflon walked to the small podium at the head of the class and began to speak. “Welcome to Driver’s Ed. This is a mandatory course to get licensed in the state of New Hampshire. On your desks is a Driver’s manual, safety card and a permission slip-slash-waiver for your parents to sign for you to be able to participate in the hands-on portion of the course. Just so that you know, to pass this course you must have thirty hours of in-class training, ten hours of practical driving with a Certified educator, and six hours with a certified educator observing you directly. We will need those permission slips back before we can begin the practical portion of the course. The first thing we are going to do is watch some safety videos that are mandated by the school and city for young drivers. These are important so please pay attention.” As he finished the Mouflon reached over to a TV on a cart and pressed a button to start playing a movie titled ‘Defensive Driving.’
As the movie started and he cut off the lights, Mr. Burke looked over at Cecily and signaled her to join him at the door. Her heart raced as she slipped out of the chair and followed him. He opened the door and ushered her out into a small lot behind the classroom. “Miss Fargo, I need to check something real quick before we get too far into the class.” He started to walk over to a small group of three basic sedans and opened the driver’s door to one. “Please take a seat.” Quietly, Cecily nodded and complied. He manually adjusted the seat as far forward as it could go with her in it. “That’s what I thought. You can’t reach the controls properly. I’m sorry but we’re not equipped to handle students with your disability. I can keep you in the class so that you can at least get the classroom portion done, and watch the others. But, I can’t let you try and drive the cars without the proper equipment.”
“But…” Cecily started, tears forming in her eyes, “I... I’ve driven… I can…”
“I’m really sorry, but we don’t have anything on the range that will accommodate someone of your size,” he said gently as he placed a paw on her shoulder. “You’ll have to work something out with your parents about getting into a course that is equipped for your disability.”
Cecily jerked back at the Mouflon’s touch, her heart racing and tears filling her eyes. Everything she had been hoping for, the one class that she wanted, no, needed over everything else was worthless. She knew it was too good to be true, even with the setbacks and panic attacks things were going too good, and now she saw the thing that had been hiding in the shadows to bring her new world crashing to the ground. “I... I…” She stammered, not sure what she wanted to say. She knew she possibly had more time behind the wheel than most of the furs in the classroom, yet she was going to be denied like she always had been for things that were beyond her control. She could have understood the cast stopping her, she would need both arms to shift and steer any standard transmission vehicle, but the ones on the range were all automatics and she had no trouble driving Daisy’s charger with the cast over the past week. She winced as she pushed him out of the way with her cast, not thinking clearly as the need to escape became overwhelming. She jumped out of the car as she stammered, “I… I… I need to go.”
Before he could react the small kangaroo mouse began to run and jump into the distance, much faster than he could hope to catch. “Damn it,” he said to himself as he shut the car door and ran back to the classroom. Stepping behind the desk he picked up the small phone and tapped the ‘0’ key several times before it was picked up on the other end. “I have a student that just ran on me. Cecily Fargo. There’s no way I could have caught her. She was headed in the direction of the student parking. I have a full class, but someone is going to need to look for her, I think it was some kind of anxiety attack or something.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Immovable Object vs. ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Lilliana suddenly felt the size of the school had its advantages. She had fifteen minutes between classes and needed the opportunity to deal with an issue. Cecily had managed to pull herself out of a blind run and make her way to the liger’s classroom, one of the safe havens they had spent several hours during the staff and faculty days memorizing and rehearsing. She was more than happy that the training had worked, but the reason for its need made her furious. The liger had spent too much time and effort building Cecily up from the small broken mouse that she had stumbled upon two and a half months ago for one man to bring her to tears over something as simple as properly equipped cars. Several students swiftly moved out of her way as they looked at her and reacted to the nearly feral growl that emanated from her as she snarled.
She caught sight of her target as she rounded the corner into the hall beside the gym. The Mouflon stood at least as tall as she did at six foot. His curved horns made him a few inches taller. He was a good looking man, even by her standards, but anyone who sent her daughter into a panic for something foolish was the enemy. She moved swiftly forward as she watched him point students in the right direction for their classes. Before she had reached him, he turned and entered his classroom. She blinked for a moment as her mind rolled through the data. Colin Burke, Driver’s Education instructor, assistant coach, alternating periods free for safety inspection and driver’s range maintenance. He should be alone in the classroom.
She slammed the door to the room open as she marched thought nearly yelling, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Shocked by the sound and the sudden voice Colin turned to be greeted by the angry look on Lilliana’s face. He maintained a cool demeanor as he said, “Excuse me?”
“What the fuck is wrong with you? I thought this was one of the best Driver’s Education courses available in the city, yet you can’t even get one girl through it?”
“Miss Fargo,” he said her name with a mild question as he tried to place the face of the new teacher that he had only seen a time or two during meetings in the past week. “This is one of the highest rated courses in the state. I personally have several certificates and commendations by the city and state in regards to that. Now what seems to be the issue?”
“Cecily Silvana Fargo,” She said as her golden eyes locked on his. “You told my daughter that she wouldn’t be able to complete this course, because she’s disabled.”
“Wait, you’re…” Colin trained off as the look of realization filled his eyes. He adjusted himself now that he had a better idea of what he was dealing with. “Your daughter has a disability that we are not set up for. Our vehicles are not equipped with the proper safety equipment...”
“Disability?” Lilliana asked as she looked at him hard, “What disability are you talking about?”
“Her height issue,” He responded, “We are not equipped for…”
“Height is not a disability,” the liger nearly yelled as she grabbed the Mouflon by a horn. She felt him tense his muscles as she tried to jerk his head toward her unsuccessfully. She held her extended claw to her right eye as she continued, “This is a disability, She has all her limbs and two good eyes. She can speak fine and has all her cognitive faculties. I don’t know if I can say the same for you if you think she is disabled.”
Colin swallowed as he thought about the mentions of her military history during the introductions of the new staff. His own father was a disabled vet, and her sudden confession of her own disability only fueled his respect for her even if she seemed to be on the warpath for something out of his control. “Look, Miss Fargo, whether you or I consider her stature a disability is irrelevant. The state sees it as a disability, and most vehicles are not designed for people of her height. Special equipment is needed for her to operate the vehicle safely, and we do not have that equipment, or enough students with her condition to justify the purchase and installation of it.”
“Equipment?” she asked as she stepped back, seeming to calm down. “If it’s an equipment issue, I have the equipment. I have several cars with the equipment for her to drive. Cars she has driven. You can just use one of those cars.”
“That’s all nice and good, Miss Fargo.” He stepped around the desk and sat down. “But I can’t just use any vehicle off the street for the Driver’s Education program. They have to be safety inspected and…” He paused as he saw the look of anger mounting in the liger’s eyes once again. “I’ll make you a deal. You bring a car over to the auto shop and I’ll have one of my guys look it over. If it is fit for the road, and she can drive it safely with both her height and her broken arm, I’ll let her and her group use that car for the practical portion of the course.”
“Fine,” she said as a smile curled across her muzzle. “I’ll have my guy bring one in for your guy to have a look at.” She pulled the phone from the clip on the belt as she said, “How about between the next two classes at the auto shop?”
“Better get moving, Mr. Burke,” Lilliana said as she dialed a number on the phone. “No time like the present to get things done. Now, I need to get back to my room for the next class.” As she started to walk away and held the phone up to her ear she said to someone on the other end, “Get the charger ready for an inspection with the pedal extenders. I need it in the auto shop between the next two classes.” She paused for a moment before she added, “I’ll give you two weeks immunity and a happy mouse if your car pulls through this, Cupcake.” She glanced over her shoulder and saw the Mouflon dial a number on the desk phone as she walked into the hall.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Team Sports ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Daisy adjusted her skirt for what must have been the nine hundredth time since she left Cecily down the hall from the Driver’s Ed class. She opened the door to her final math class of her high school career. But, the joy of seeing a familiar face soon faded as the events of that first night started to play through her mind. She let the backpack slip off her shoulder and swing down in front of her as she walked to the last open desk in the room. The moose dropped into the chair, letting the bag rest in her lap as she sighed.
The red squirrel that sat by her in the next row smiled as she said, “Hi, I’m Claire. I haven’t seen you around before.”
“Hi, name’s Daisy, and I’m new to the area. Just moved here a few weeks ago with my girlfriend and her crazy ‘family’,” the moose said throwing air quotes to emphasize the word.
“Wow,” Claire exclaimed. “That has to be exciting.” The squirrel paused for a moment as she looked over the moose before she asked, “You ever think of joining the Volleyball team? We could use someone like you.”
“Exciting… yea you could call it that, or insanity, or not having a clue what I was getting myself into. They’re a strange bunch, but they all care a lot for Cecily and so do I. So it’s more of a case of putting up with the pranks and mischief of a bunch of so called ‘adults’ to be there for the girl I care about,” the moose herm replied. “Not really ever been into sports, and the house rules are that I have to carry my own weight. So between school, homework, work, and the fact that we’re still working on the house, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for much other than sleeping. And to be honest I don’t think I’m really… equipped right for volleyball,” Daisy added, trying not to sound like she was being rude.
“Wait a sec… Do you live in that run-down old mansion on Valley View?” Claire asked as a spark of recognition flashed through her eyes, and Daisy gave a slight nod. “We’re practically neighbors!”
The bell rang, and in walked a tall, lean equine man that Daisy recognized from his earlier visit to the Dark Rider House. “Hello, class, I’m Mister Ferris, and this is Trigonometry and Pre-calculus. Since this is my first day teaching at Chimera Prep, and I don’t recognize any faces besides Miss Daniels, forgive me if it takes me a little time to get to know you. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I’ll have most of your names down.”
Scott went about his first day of school routine, telling the class a little bit about himself and where he was prior to coming to Marblecliff to teach Mathematics to high-schoolers, and then started with his role call, asking each student to stand up and announce “Here,” so that he could see them better and match the names up with the faces.
Daisy was the third name called, and she stood up as instructed, and announced, “Here.” As Scott went down the list of names, several interesting species and varieties of students stood up, many of which Daisy had never seen before. There was a bearded dragon girl named Tessa, a pretty shark girl named Afon, and several others, including a Sand Cat named Hayley. Right after Hayley, Claire stood up when called. A few names later, and Scott had reached the end of his list.
“Okay, so we have a lot of young ladies in the class. Fellas, pay attention to the lessons; once you fall behind, catching up can be difficult, and you won’t have any time free for asking them out,” he said, which got a few snickers from the girls in the room. He didn’t waste any time, though, launching into his first lesson: sines, cosines, and tangents.
As the class wore on, Daisy found it a little difficult to stay focused, she had always found math to be a boring subject because it came very easily to her. While the rest of the students sat and listened in different stages of boredom and concentration as Mr. Ferris went over the refresher material from the previous school year, she tried to look as if she were busy, casually flipping through the textbook without paying any real attention to the page before her. She pulled her notebook from the pack in her lap and let it fall open in her paw, freezing the moment it did as her eyes were met by several of the pictures of her small mouse lover they had taken on the hike in Hawaii. “Damn it, Squeaker,” she muttered under her breath as she nearly slammed the notebook closed. The bulge in her skirt, more evident when she sat down than when standing, suddenly becoming more pronounced and rather uncomfortable as her stiffening member pressed against the pack. Glancing around to insure no one heard her muttered comment Daisy spent the remainder of the class doing random math problems from the book in an attempt to suppress the images that were running through her mind of Cecily, only being partially successful in her attempt to relieve the building pressure in her boyshort panties. When the dismissal bell rang at last she stayed seated until most of the other students either left or were headed for the doorway before rising from her seat. As she walked towards the door her phone began to vibrate wildly, causing the moose herm to nearly let out an ‘eep’ as she quickly retrieved it from her bra. Tapping the answer icon as she brought it to her ear she instantly heard the liger’s voice telling her to take her car to the Auto Shop.
“What? With the…” she paused as the liger continued to speak for a few moments longer before ending the call. “Get the car, Daisy. Put the extenders in, Daisy. For fucks sake,” she muttered as she walked into the hallway. “What idiot gave Sisy crap about Driver’s Ed for crying out loud?” she added as she turned down the main hall towards her next period class.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Surprise Encounter ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Derek went through the inventory on his assigned tool chest as he heard the door at the far end of the shop open. He looked up to see a tall Mouflon walk into the shop followed by a liger he thought he recognized, but he couldn’t place where he might have seen her. “What’s up, Mr. Burke? When Mrs. Featherstone said you wanted to see me, I was confused. Not that I mind getting a break from Advanced Chem, but is there something wrong with one of the cars you need me to look at?”
“Mr. Blackfoot,” the Mouflon said with a slight wave, “Actually, what I need is a safety inspection on a car that a young lady is going to bring in. I need to know if it is road-worthy and a safe instruction vehicle for a young dis… um... lady with special needs.” He waved his paw toward the liger and introduced her, “This is our new Computer Sciences teacher, Miss Fargo. It’s her daughter that we are doing this for.”
“Sounds simple enough,” The teen Samoyed/wolf mix said. “Where’s the car?”
“Mouse Bait and Squeaker should be bringing it around,” The liger offered as she stared toward the bay door.
The horn of the bright orange Charger sounded twice as it rounded the corner and pulled slowly into the open door of the bay and in the auto shop. As the engine was shut off, Daisy opened the passenger side door and climbed out as she began to speak. “Sorry, Lilly, we would have been here already but I wanted to make sure the extensions were set right for Sisy and the adjustments locked down. She filled me in on what’s going on so I made sure to do the usual checks on it and grabbed the paperwork while she drove us around here.” She walked over to the small group, looked at the Mouflon, and added, “Here are the registration, proof of insurance, and a copy of the title.”
“Mouse Bait, meet dumbass and wrench jockey,” Lilliana said, pointing to the Mouflon then the Samoyed boy.
“Excuse me, Miss Fargo?” the Mouflon interrupted, “Hello, Miss, I’m Mr. Burke, the Driving instructor. This young man is Derek Blackfoot. Don’t worry about your car; he’ll take good care of it. He’s the best mechanic I know.”
Derek stood dumbfounded for a moment as he looked at the moose. “You know, you look a lot like my girlfriend’s friend, Daisy, that I met on a cruise,” he said, slightly wide-eyed at the realization.
“That’s because I am, and that would make you her boyfriend, Derek. I thought you looked familiar, what the hell are the odds of this sh… crap?” the moose said catching herself in front of the adults. “What all do you need to know from me?” she asked as she turned her head to look at the Driver’s Ed teacher standing beside the liger.
“Derek will give the car a once over,” Colin said as he held out his paw for the papers. “I’ll just need to get a copy of all that and check with our insurance and see if I can really do this.”
“That’s fine Mr. Burke,” Daisy said as Derek walked towards her car, “Cecily already has her Learner’s permit for the state, and since she has been driving with the members of her family and myself, Lilly insisted that I take extra coverage on the Charger with two teen girls driving it,” the moose said, rolling her eyes quickly.
As Derek approached the driver’s side of the car he froze for a moment as the hood suddenly popped as the release was pulled from inside, followed by the door opening and a small kangaroo mouse slipping out. He stood for a moment shocked by her juvenile size until he was snapped back to the moment by the sound of the liger behind him. “What? Never seen a working Dodge before? I know it’s not common to see one in decent running condition, but I’m sure this one should be mostly okay.” As she spoke the mouse edged away from the car and then moved to Daisy’s side.
Derek shook his head as he slipped his Bluetooth earpiece on and pulled out his phone, hitting the Saluki’s picture on the home screen. Before his girlfriend could say a word he blurted out, “Samantha, you’re never going to believe whose car I am looking at right now.”
“Hi, ummm I honestly have no idea, Frosty,” Samantha replied, surprised by the unexpected call from her boyfriend.
“Here’s a clue. It’s an orange Charger with some unique stenciling on the trunk lid,” he said as he pulled the parking brake and stepped back out of the car. He walked around to the front, before lifting the hood and propping it open.
“That sounds like it could be Daisy’s car… wait, is it hers?” the Saluki asked excitedly. “Oh my God, I know she went out east but I don’t think anyone really knows where she is.”
“Someone does,” he told her. “She’s standing a couple of yards away while I check out her car. It looks like it’ll be used as a Driver’s Ed car for her girlfriend.” He started doing a basic safety check of the engine bay, making sure everything under the hood was in proper condition: all belts and hoses were in good condition and properly secured, all caps were secure, and the battery was in good condition and not leaking acid and free of corrosion. “I guess now you’ve got more reason to come out here and visit.”
“More like another reason, Hot Lips; you’re more than enough reason to come visit. But I need you to tell me… is she really pink?” Samantha asked grinning broadly even though her lover couldn’t see it.
“Pink?” he asked, confused. “Not that I can see. Considering the company she’s keeping, though, I wouldn’t rule out that it happened. This liger lady is a bit eccentric. I’ll let you ask her for yourself; maybe she’s got some pics.” He switched from Bluetooth over to speaker and called out, “Hey, Daisy, come here a sec.”
“Is there a problem with the…” the moose herm began before being cut off by a familiar voice on the other end of the call.
“Oh my God… it is you, moose face. How are you doing girl, and is it true that you got yourself dyed pink?” the Saluki asked between giggles.
“Samantha? Holy shit girl I’ve been trying to call you for days… wait a minute, what the hell makes you think that shit was on purpose?” Daisy asked with a hint of aggravation in her voice.
“I think I’ll take that as an admission that you were pink,” the Saluki answered as best she could between fits of laughter. “You have to tell me how that happened sometime soon, Daisy. And you, Frosty, unless you have time now you better call me later, Sweet Lips.”
“I’ve got time now, Babe. They called me out of Chem to give your friend’s car a once-over, and as long as I can talk hands-free, it’s no big deal. One sec while I put you back on Bluetooth,” the Samoyed mix said as he pressed a few buttons on his phone and popped the earpiece back in. “There we go. It’s just you and me now. Daisy, step back a few feet, I’m lifting it up to look under the chassis.” He walked over to the control panel and pressed the ‘Up’ button, raising the sedan high enough up so that he could walk underneath.
“Okay now that it’s just us again, my sexy puppy, I got to thinking about our scheduled visits, and it hit me that I never thought to ask… when exactly is your birthday, Sweet Stuff?” Samantha asked with a hint of mischief in her voice.
“Oh. November 7. When’s yours, Hun?” he asked as he looked up at the fuel and brake lines before moving on to checking the brake pads and rotors, and tire tread. The shocks and sway bar seemed to be fine. As far as he was able to tell, there was no reason why this car wouldn’t be suitable for a Driver’s Ed class.
“The 7th? I can’t believe this, mine’s the 20th. It’s almost like you knew that when you suggested the every two week visit thing, Derek. I’ll have to see if maybe I can do something special for my boyfriend on your birthday, Hot Stuff. Glad I have a couple of months to think of something very… memorable for my sexy man,” Samantha said in as sultry of a voice as the Samoyed had ever heard.
“Don’t give me any ideas, Sexy,” he chuckled. “I’m standing under your best friend’s car, in front of her, a few of my teachers, and a girl that looks like she can’t be more than eight. The last thing I need is pitching a tent thinking about you and wearing nothing but your beautiful smile.”
“Oh my, that sounds like a challenge. But I’ll try to behave this time. I wouldn’t want you turning pink or showing off even a hint of what’s mine, Sweet Lips. So… I’ll talk to you later and let you finish up under Daisy’s car. Besides, if you’re going to be lubing anyone’s chassis, it had better be mine, Sweet Lips,” the Saluki girl nearly whispered into the phone. “I miss you, Derek, and I’ll call you tomorrow. I love you, Hot Stuff.”
“I love you, too, Babe,” he said as he smiled to himself. “I’ll see you next weekend?”
“I’m already looking forward to it, and I think I have just the place to take you in mind already,” Samantha replied excitedly. “Mom has a big date that weekend and wants the house all to herself. I’m more than happy to oblige since it means I can take you up to Aspen; it’s gorgeous this time of year.”
“You can take me anytime and anyplace the mood suits you, Beautiful,” he quipped, only half-jokingly. “But no, seriously, I can’t wait. I’ll call you later tonight?”
“You better fur ball, you know how much I love the sound of your voice whispering in my ear. I’ll be waiting, and I may not be wearing much… if anything. Talk to you tonight, Sweet Lips,” Samantha said only slightly sternly before the call ended.
After he ended the call, Derek lowered the car, closed the hood, and looked over at Colin. “Everything looks okay underneath,” he stated, then looked at Daisy. “At least, as far as Mopars go.”
“Does… Does that mean I can use it for the driving portion?” the small mouse asked as she pressed her back against the moose’s leg.
Colin glanced down at Cecily then back to the moose as he said, “The only issue is that your entire group will have to use that car for the exercises and road practice later. As long as that’s okay with Miss… I don’t think I caught your full name.”
“Daniels, Daisy Daniels,” the moose replied, “It’s fine with me, and the extensions are two piece and can be removed for the other two kids without any trouble then put back for Cecily. She already knows how they work and how to make sure they’re locked in place properly.”
Lilliana stood with a triumphant grin on her muzzle as she said, “Now that that’s settled, maybe Mr. Bernard can find time to get his brain case checked out before he insults a student again.” As Colin raised his paw to correct her mistake in his name she turned to the young Samoyed boy and asked, “Are you really one of the best mechanics in town?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Derek replied, “My parents own one of the most noted auto shops in the city. I’ve been working on cars since I could turn a wrench.”
The liger walked over to, and tossed an arm over Derek’s shoulder. “You happen to have a business card on you, socket jockey? I might have something for you to work on.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, a little put-off by the strange woman’s unusual gesture, though he made no outward expression of disapproval. He dug the wallet out of his pocket and pulled out a card to hand to her. “It’s Blackfoot Custom Autos. We do a lot of restorations and custom work, and looking at the Charger I guess you guys are into that kind of thing.”
She shook him with her arm over his shoulder as she slipped the card into her breast pocket and she said, “Don’t worry puppy, it’ll be nothing like the combination of erector sets and tinker toys you just looked over.” Lilliana let him go and looked at the other two teens and added, “Now get your heap out of here and back to class, I think I’m pushing what I can get away with for one day, and it’s not even lunch yet.”
“Now there’s an odd trio,” Colin said as the three ladies left the garage. “Something tells me this is going to be an interesting year.”
Derek laughed at the Mouflon’s remarks. “It makes me thankful I’m not in Driver’s Ed this year,” he joked.
Colin looked over at the canine boy and reminded him, “Yeah, but I think you just drummed up some business with them. At least your dad will be happy, though. Maybe you should ask for a raise?”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Lunch Time ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Daisy looked around, the large cafeteria tray in paw, scanning the room for a quiet place to sit and just be left alone for a little while. Finding there to be no empty tables she opted for the one that seemed to be the least crowded, most likely those around it the ‘outcasts’ of the school. The small group of three students gathered on one side talking barely paid any attention to the moose as she sat her tray down and took a seat. As she began to try to eat her lunch she heard a voice a few feet behind her say, “Seriously, why doesn’t Megan and the rest of the freaks take a hint. The rest of us can’t stand the sight of herms; they should get something sewn up or cut off, just make a damn choice already.”
The sudden memories of hearing nearly those exact words spoken to her in her youth by schoolyard bullies nearly pushed the moose herm over the edge. Her head snapped around to see a large bull and somewhat scrawny iguana, and the source of the voice staring at a giant fruit bat a table away from him. The bat girl obviously upset, probably by his comments. Daisy rose quickly nearly knocking her chair over behind her as she turned to look the bull in the eyes as she said, “What a total fucktard”, before walking over and sitting at the table the bat girl occupied. “Don’t let shitheads like that get to you, turds like him just spout the same shit they hear so no one will out his gay ass. Name’s Daisy and I’m sorry if I’m interrupting your lunch.”
The bat didn’t even look her direction as she quickly devoured the rest of her fruit cocktail, shoveling in the final three, four, five bites faster than she could chew. Without saying anything, she grabbed her tray and stood up. The girl they had referred to as ‘Megan’ had to walk past Daisy to get to the trash can, but desperately avoided eye contact as she rushed by.
“And a fine fuck off to you too,” Daisy muttered under her breath as the bat walked past her. “Is everyone in this school a loud-mouthed ignoramus or a stuck-up bitch? Hell, I don’t remember it being this bad back in New York in third grade, Jesus Christ.” As she glanced around at the other students Daisy caught sight of the bat again, “Okay, so this Megan is a wash, what a waste of time thinking anyone in this place, herm or not, would have a damn clue. Well this promises to be a fun year,” she said sarcastically as she leaned her head back. “What the hell have you gotten yourself into over a mouse girl, moose face?” she mumbled as she looked across the room noticing a tall, lean ferret walking towards the table before turning back to her lunch..
“Don’t mind her, she’s dealing with karma. It’s probably better that you don’t get yourself wrapped up in her drama,” came a friendly voice from over Daisy’s shoulder. As the teen moose turned to see who was talking to her, she spotted the ferret girl walking her direction and wearing a warm smile. “I’m Kristin. Is this your first day here?”
“Yea, new in town and to the school too, name’s Daisy,” the moose girl said extending a paw to the ferret. “I was beginning to think everyone here suffered from assholitis.”
Chuckling, Kristin replied, “Not everyone, but you’re in a rich kid prep school in New England, so this shouldn’t be too big of a surprise.” As she spoke, Daisy noticed some of the liberties her new acquaintance had taken with her uniform. She wore the sleeves to her blazer rolled up, and studded leather wristbands. Her claws were painted a deep, vibrant red to match her long, wavy hair, and instead of wearing the typical Maryjanes, she had on a heavy pair of motorcycle boots. “As for Megan over there, she’s just brooding over her most recent breakup. But that’s what happens when you don’t tell your girlfriend that you have a kid with a former lover.”
A bit wide eyed at the revelation Daisy said, “Wow… yea. I can see how that could throw a monkey wrench in a relationship. Have they been together very long? Or does she just keep it to herself as a habit? I mean, not trying to pry but you seem to know an awful lot about her.”
“She and I used to be best friends, and for a time, lovers,” the ferret said with a bit of melancholy. “But we kind of drifted apart, not long before she and Ross - her latest breakup - got together. That was back in... February? March, maybe? Anyway, it took someone else telling Ross about the kid for her to find out.”
“Fucking hell, hearing shit like that would be bad enough. Having to hear it from a third party is just bullshit. I know how it is to be in a relationship where you don’t know everything about your partner, and how it can come back to bite you in the ass. But that isn’t something you keep to yourself like that.” As she spoke, Daisy looked the ferret girl over and raised an eyebrow slightly as she asked, “I thought they frowned kind of heavy on ‘deviating from the prescribed uniform’ here?” throwing air quotes up to emphasize the statement. “Though I gotta say that looks better than getting stuck in this damn skirt because of a bunch of horses’ asses.”
“They do,” was all Kristin had to say on the matter. The simple statement carried the obvious implication that she honestly didn’t care, and had the means to get away with it. “And don’t hate on the skirt. You fill it out quite nicely.”
“Thanks… I guess, but I haven’t liked skirts since grade school,” Daisy replied, ignoring what sounded quite like an attempted come on from the ferret. “Seems like you know a lot about what’s going on here, maybe we could get together sometime, maybe over coffee or something? Never hurts to get the four-one-one on a new school, makes it easier to avoid the losers and idiots.”
“This is high school, either you know what’s going on around you, or you get chewed up and spit out,” Kristin explained. “It sucks to have to think that way, but look at what happened last year. The most popular girl in school disappeared after homecoming, and the last guy to see her was her date, in their hotel room. It shocked everyone, because the guy seemed pretty nice, but the facts were hard to ignore. It’s too bad he got off the hook over the mishandling of the evidence.”
“I’ve heard a few rumors about that shit,” the moose replied. “Good thing for him it was here and not where I moved from. Out there things have a way of, well let’s just say things like that get handled one way or the other. Missing kids, of any age, aren’t something they take so lightly in Colorado.” Glancing to the large wall clock, Daisy said, “Why the hell does lunch fly by and class drag out forever? Listen, I’d like it if we could talk again sometime, like I said it would be nice to avoid the pitfalls of this place if I can, got enough going on in my life without that drama. It was nice meeting you either way, Kristin.”
“That sounds good,” the ferret replied. “Well, you know when I have lunch, so... Tomorrow?”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” the moose responded. “See ya then.”
After their quick exchange of farewells the ferret walked away leaving Daisy to her own devices. The moment the other girl was safely out of earshot the iguana she had heard earlier spoke up, “Miss… whatever your name is, you really don’t want to associate with that girl. She’s nothing but bad news.”
“He’s right; she’s a controlling, manipulative skank that’s only concerned with her own twisted wants and needs. You would be a lot better off avoiding her like the clap,” the large bull beside him added.
“Oh, really?” Daisy said in mock surprise. “Thanks for the heads up.”
As she rose from the table to head to her next class she muttered under her breath, “Like the opinions of a pair of hermophobic asshats means shit to me.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ The Missing Mouse ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Cecily held the large lunch tray as she walked through the cafeteria looking for a place to sit. For the second time that day her heart began to race as she found herself alone once again. She had been able to deal with the classes as they were controlled environments, with many of the students on their best behavior for at least the first day. But this was different. The din of the room was almost overpowering. Her ears twitched madly as she caught fragmented pieces of half a dozen disjointed conversations. She winced as the weight of the tray rested uncomfortably on her cast, making her look more diligently for a place to hide from the dissonance.
Her heart jumped with the sudden thought of the mouse she had met on the cruise. With everything that had happened over the past few weeks she had not even thought about Wendy O’Donnell with all the other things she had happening. She thought maybe, just maybe Wendy would be somewhere in the cafeteria and she would at least have someone she knew to sit with since Daisy was on a separate lunch schedule. She tried to remember the friends that the other mouse girl had talked about while they wandered the ship with Juno taking pictures. There was at least one that she knew would stand out, even in that crowd. She caught sight of a small group of furs that was too coincidental to not be the friends Wendy had talked about. Her heart sped up as she started to walk to the round table with a raccoon, red squirrel, and sugar glider. Sitting with them was the tundra lioness she had met a few weeks before at the band practice across the street from the house, Ross... She proceeded cautiously, glancing around for the mouse that she had met as a possible excuse to approach the table of strangers. As she got closer she was certain the sugar glider was one she had seen on the cruise and most likely the Shy that Wendy had talked about.
“It’s so weird sitting here without Wendy. I still can’t get over the thought of her leaving like that,” the raccoon said, “but I guess I really can’t blame her or her dad for taking the job. But it was so quick.”
“Tell me about it,” the red squirrel said, “at the very least, it would have been nice to have more time to say good-bye.”
Cecily’s eyes went wide as she just suddenly blurted out, “Wendy left? What do you mean?” She froze as the group all turned to look at her. Her eyes darted between the four larger teens as her heart pounded at what felt like a million beats per second. “I… I’m sorry,” she stammered as she started to turn and walk away, trying as hard as she could to not run as she remembered the pain from her earlier sprint from Mr. Burke.
“Cecily?” Ross asked.
Cecily turned and looked at the white lion, tray still half balanced on her cast as she held the other side in her paw. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to bother you; I just… thought I might see Wendy again.”
“You know Wendy?” Ross asked. “I thought she moved away before you moved in.” She turned to look at the sugar glider as she questioned, “When did you say she moved? Right after you guys got back from the cruise?” As she looked back at Cecily she gasped as she said, “Oh my god, what happened to your arm?”
The small mouse looked down at her tray, avoiding eye contact with anyone at the table as she said, “I… ran into a car.”
The tundra lion tilted her head with a mock smile as she asked, “Is that what really happened, or is that just what you’re telling everyone?” The look on Ross’s face was one Cecily knew well, but she wasn’t going to push the issue of what was bothering the lioness. “Sit down, please. You guys don’t mind do you?”
“Not at all,” Ethan said as he and Claire scooted over some, making room for the newcomer. “Any friend of Wendy’s is always welcome with us.”
Cecily glanced around the table as she awkwardly lifted the tray and slid it off her cast. “I… um… I only met her once for a few hours on a cruise.” She paused as the climbed up on the bench and looked at the sugar glider. “You were there but she said you were moping in the cabin most of the time. I think I only got shots of you by the pool one day.”
“Even still,” Claire said in a sweet, welcoming voice, “People don’t show that kind of sense of loss when there are no bonds. It’s obvious you two formed some sort of friendship. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself, and we can tell you about us? I bet having some new friends in a new town would be helpful.”
“Ah can getcha Wendy’s contact info, too, if ya’d like,” Shyara said. “Ah bet she’d love ta hear from ya.”
“That’d be nice,” she said in reply to Shyara. “And I already know a bit about all of you.” She went around the table, “Shyara, Claire, and Ethan. You guys are her friends.” Her voice softened to an almost whisper as she added, “and a little more before…” She stopped and clumsily rummaged through her backpack and pulled out a hard-bound sketchbook stuffed with photos. “I… I just moved here with my family. My mother got a job as the IT teacher… while we were on the cruise, I guess, from Janine… Miss Hutchinson.” She stopped talking for a moment as she flipped through the book with her good paw.
“Wait a second,” Ethan said, stopping the conversation, “Your mom is Miss Fargo? The liger woman?”
The small mouse simply nodded in response as she pulled out a small group of photos. “These are some shots I got of Wendy and her new friend, and I think one or two of Shy. Most of them didn’t come out all that good, I was playing with my telescopic lens for most of them and the ship moved a lot. I think the wedding photos turned out better, but I only had a disposable camera for those.”
“Yep, that’s Blondie all right,” Shy muttered as she looked over at the pictures. “Ah never woulda guessed that she woulda taken Wendy away from us like she did. Ah’m kinda mad at mahself for encouragin’ them ta talk.”
“I really can’t say much,” Cecily said with a weak smile. “I kinda brought my girlfriend I met on the cruise with me here. But for entirely different reasons. You can keep those if you want, I can get more prints. I don’t think I can do much with them anyway.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Shy,” Claire said as she took her friend’s paw into hers. “Just because she lives further away, it doesn’t mean we lost Wendy. She’s happy now in her new relationship, and Larry was able to land a much better-paying job that actually lets him spend time with his kids. You actually helped her out a lot.”
“She’s right, Shy,” Ethan said. “You looked out for her like a true friend should, and it paid off for her. You should be proud.”
“She seemed happy when I met her, was even excited about going to that observatory place. But, I don’t think she knew anything about moving then, at least she didn’t say anything. Then again, I didn’t know I was moving here either so I guess we both thought it was just a random meeting and we’d probably never see each other again.” She closed the sketchbook and looked down at her tray of food as she continued, “If she’s in a better place and happy you should be happy for her and not blame yourself. That’s kinda like feeling bad for causing good things to happen to your friends, sounds kinda silly to me.” She started to reach up as she bumped her cast against the table and winced in pain, stopping her from continuing with what she was saying. Cecily clutched the cast to her chest with her free arm as she whimpered, “I hate broken bones.”
“Here,” Ross said as she stood up from the table, “you sit and keep talking to these guys, and I’ll get you something from the nurse’s office for the pain. Do you prefer acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin?
“They said I should only take ibuprofen for now,” she said softly to Ross. “I have bad reactions to other things. I was… completely out when they put the cast on. Daisy said it scared the doctor how fast I passed out when he gave me the first shot. I don’t do well with most medications. They’re not sure whether it’s my size or something else that might be wrong.”
“That sounds awful,” Claire whispered softly.
“I’m used to it,” she muttered as she rubbed over the outside of the cast. “It’s… actually odd that… no one but the Driver’s Ed teacher said anything about my height yet. It’s usually the first thing people point out. Especially when I am so much smaller than everyone here.”
“I understand where you’re coming from,” Ethan said sympathetically. “The first thing that strangers notice on me is my leg. I normally have to tell the whole story behind that before anyone even asks my name.”
Cecily started to poke at her salad with the spork as she said, “Even with that, you’re not a target…” She trailed off as she felt herself shiver. She thought about what Wendy had told her about how Ethan stood up for her even before she came out as a herm. “It must be nice to have friends that stick up for you when you can’t. It’s not like I can carry my striker everywhere, and Daisy has to go to her own classes.”
“Between the four of us, you’re likely to have somebody close by, not to mention your mom and this Daisy girl,” Claire said with a smile. “Wait… Daisy? She’s in my Trig class with Mr. Ferris. Anyway, we look out for our own, and we stick together. Do you have your phone? I can give you our numbers, if you need anything.”
Cecily smiled to herself as the small group welcomed her in even without her acquaintance there to fill in the gaps. She pulled out her phone, almost giddy at the thought of having more than six numbers in her address book. She sat it on the table as she said, “I’m still new at using these things. Boomer got me this one about a month ago and I still only know how to use the internet and panic app on it, and send text messages. I’ve only put one number in myself.” She had almost forgotten about her arm as they exchanged numbers. For the first time since she left Daisy’s side for class, she felt a little more secure, even safe among the small group.
“Hey,” a rather tough-sounding female voice said, catching the attention of the four friends. “When did you go and get a replacement mouse, Ethan?”
Cecily looked over her shoulder at the Aardwolf for a moment then shifted her gaze back to the tray of food. It was only the second time that day she had been the source of discussion without initiating it herself. It made her want to just fade into the shadows and disappear.
“Shut up, Riley,” Ethan growled. “It’s her first day here, and we all miss Wendy. I’m not in the mood for your shit today.”
“Ooh,” the hyena girl said in mock offense, “Somebody’s touchy. Fine. But just so you know, Ethan, if you need one, they have tampon dispensers in the girls’ rooms.”
Cecily shuddered slightly as she listened to the mildly heated exchange of words. Even this high-society private school had the same conflict between students as those schools she had gone to before. The only saving grace was the few friends she had somehow managed to make in only a few hours, who were already standing up for her. That was something she never had before.
“That’s Riley Burris. Don’t mind her, she’s all talk,” Claire said dismissively. “I think it’s just the hyena genetics in her. Other than her smart mouth, she’s harmless.”
“Not completely harmless,” Shy muttered. “Hearin’ her voice makes me wanna melon ball mah brains out.”
Giggling a little at the sugar glider’s comment, Cecily said, “It’s okay. Some people just need to say things to cover their own insecurities. The rest of us just run and hide.” She gave a weak chuckle and a smile as the conversation shifted back to what had happened over their summer breaks.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Half Time Show ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
“I can completely understand where you’re coming from, Rachael,” Janine said as she leaned over the desk to console the tabby cat sitting across from her. “Believe it or not, I’m a herm, too.”
“But you’re so pretty!” the hermaphroditic teen feline said. “Me? I’m hideous. Everyone stares at me, wondering if I’m a girl that dresses like a guy, or a guy that dresses like a girl, and then they quit debating and joke that I’m a herm.” A tear formed at the corner of the distressed student’s eye and rolled down her cheek. “My entire identity is a joke for society to mock me with.”
“Then embrace it. Flaunt it. Be proud of being a herm, and get up in people’s faces about it,” the equine guidance counselor suggested.
“I don’t know how,” she sighed. “My parents have no clue how to raise a third gender child. The family talks are empty and uncomfortable. It’s like… they won’t say it, but they wish I hadn’t been born.”
“That’s got to be tough,” Janine said, shaking her head in empathy. “I can arrange some family counseling, if you think that would help, but you can still figure out who you are without their help. I raised my brother and my little sister while trying to figure out what being a herm meant to me, and I think I did a pretty decent job of it. I’ll be here if you need me. Okay?”
“Okay,” Rachael said, sniffling a little as she dried her eyes. “Thank you.”
“Was there anything else I could help you with today?” the attractive mare woman asked as she scribbled down a reminder to herself to look into sessions for the Quesenberry family.
“No, that’s all for now, I guess,” the tabby sighed. “Thank you for talking with me. I’m glad the school finally got a guidance counselor.”
“You’re welcome, Ms. Quesenberry,” the tall herm said, standing up, before walking around her desk and giving her guest a reassuring hug. “Now hurry along to class. You still have a minute before the bell rings for next period.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rachael said, turning to leave the office.
“And Rachael?” Janine said.
“Don’t do anything crazy or stupid without talking to me first, okay?” the guidance counselor suggested, a concerned expression on her face despite her reassuring smile.
“Yeah,” a tall liger said as she walked into the office, “She can give a few pointers on crazy and stupid things to do. Hell, she got me hired here.”
“Don’t pay attention to Miss Fargo, Sweetie,” Janine chuckled. “She’s a friend of mine.” The cat girl gave a weak smile, and then scurried out the door to her next class. Looking at her friend and co-worker, she asked, “Is this your free period?”
“Yes it is,” Lilliana replied, “and not a moment too soon. Now I know why all my teachers seemed pissed off by the end of the first day of class. And I don’t even think the students are to blame today. I think I fell asleep twice, nodding myself awake just in time for the next introduction.”
“Any problems?” Janine asked as she stepped out into the hallway, locking her door behind her.
The liger looked around for a moment, “Why, has someone said something yet? I don’t think that box of paperclips hit him that hard.”
“I don’t think I want to ask,” the mare said, massaging her temples. “Come on, let’s eat lunch. It’ll be good for you to get to know some of the other faculty members.”
Lilliana smiled slightly as she said, “Always fun to mingle with new faces. What’s on the menu?”
Janine stopped dead in her tracks and gave her friend a shocked look. “You didn’t bring your own lunch?”
“Usually skip it,” the liger replied, “First time I am not debugging someone else’s code for countless hours, or ramping up for a penetration test.”
“It’s the same thing every day, Lilly,” the equine herm said as they walked into the faculty lounge. “Brown bag special.” She opened up one of the four refrigerators and took out an insulated lunch bag.
“I suddenly miss the DFAC,” Lilliana muttered. “The food may have tasted like five pounds of ass, but it was edible. But, like I said, usually skip it, I think the cruise and vacation were the first time I ate more than one meal a day in years. A good side breakfast can cover me for at least sixteen before I need to start snacking again.”
Janine opened the door to the office, and the pair were greeted by the sight of a young male jackalope staring out the windows. “You know, you probably don’t want Headmistress Gaithers to catch you daydreaming like that,” the horse herm said. “How’s the first day coming?”
“Janine, hi,” he said, straightening up abruptly. “Hello, Miss Fargo.” He blushed at being called out by his co-worker, but regained his composure quickly. “Not too bad. It’s kinda quiet now, but it was pretty busy earlier. I thought the phones wouldn’t ever stop ringing.”
“How many times am I going to have to tell you people to call me Lilly?” the liger asked, “I get enough of the Miss Fargo sh… stuff in class.”
“Sorry… Lilly,” he said. “So, how can I help you, ladies?”
“You can help us by joining us for lunch,” Janine told him. “You get forty-five minutes.”
“Nice,” he smiled, standing up from his desk and walking out from behind the counter.
“Liz, we’ll have him back soon, okay?” the mare told the other administrator, a chubby, middle-aged fox sitting at the other desk. She just looked up from her phone conversation and gave a smile and nod in acknowledgement.
The trio walked down the hall to the teacher’s lounge, where a few other faculty members were already eating their lunches. Scott waved and rose up, pulling out a chair for his girlfriend. He was sitting next to a male red panda who got up and walked over, giving the jackalope a hug and a brief kiss. “How’s everything going, Hun?”
“Not bad. Liz has been patient and understanding, showing me where everything is and teaching me the phone and intercom systems, and telling me how to keep off of Cecilia’s bad side,” Seda replied, taking his seat next to his boyfriend. “Thanks again for recommending me for the job. How’s Home Ec?”
Chuckling, Kaelyn replied, “Well, no one’s set fire to the classroom yet, which is a big improvement over last year.”
Lilliana almost spit out her coffee at the comment. “Some jackass set the class on fire the first day last year? That must have been interesting.”
“Yeah,” the Home Economics teacher grinned. “It’s a good thing Mr. Burke was close by, he was able to help me contain things before we had to call the whole damn fire department in and evacuate the building.”
“So that asshat is good for something?” Lilliana asked with a bit of a smirk on her muzzle. “All I found him useful for was taking up space and making my girl cry.”
“He’s a volunteer firefighter,” Janine explained, “and back things up a second. He made Cecily cry?”
“Who’s Cecily?” Kaelyn asked, munching on a bite of his salad.
“Her adopted daughter,” Scott quickly answered, giving Lilly the chance to explain.
“The fuckstick told her that she wouldn’t be able to do the driving portion of the class because his shit’s not equipped for her ‘disability’.” the liger tossed up air quotes to emphasize the word. “Fuck that shit, she’s been driving fine for two months now, and we have three running cars that are easily equipped to handle her or anyone else.”
“Go easy on the guy, he’s actually really nice. It sounds like he just picked a bad choice of words,” Kaelyn said. “Student safety is his number one responsibility, and he takes it very seriously. Besides, it sounds like you guys worked out a solution.”
Lilliana smiled and leaned back in the chair. “Yeah, I got his number. Had Cupcake bring the junker round for his greasemonkey to have a look at. I know Squeaker would have rather had the Camaro, but Hank’s welding it back together.”
“Cupcake? Greasemonkey? Squeaker?” Seda asked, puzzled by all the nicknames.
“You got me,” Janine shrugged. “But Lilly likes her nicknames. I’m shocked you haven’t gotten one yet.”
“Cupcake is Daisy, my other ward. Got that one when they managed to dye her pink this past weekend. Squeaker is my girl, that one stuck enough to be her call sign. And Greasemonkey, that would be…” she reached in her breast pocket and pulled out a business card before adding, “Mister Blackfoot I guess.”
“Ah,” Kaelyn nodded. “Makes sense. Good mechanic. He’d know better than anyone else here whether or not your ‘junker’ is safe to drive. The Blackfoot family does the service on my Optima.”
“We’ll see,” Lilliana said. “I have a little project for him, a Sixty-something Nomad that’s been in Hank’s shed for a few years. If he can put that thing together decently I’ll give him his due.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Folly of Fools ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Cecily walked the emptying halls as she headed to the library. She was glad she had taken Susan’s advice and asked for a study period. After what now felt like an eternity away from school, she was not really ready for all the work. Even though she was fifteen, Lilliana had to register her as a freshman due to the year of missing records. With some luck and extra study time she was told she might be able to get back on track within two years with summer school classes. As she walked through the mostly vacant halls her mind filled with the things she had talked with Miss Hutchinson about before school started, but more than that, the quiet solitude of the library was the most welcoming aspect in her mind.
She pushed one side of the doubled doors to the library and stepped through into the largest collection of shelves and computers she had ever seen in one place. She marveled at the sight, only brought back to reality by the door being pushed against her as a tall ferret walked in behind her. She squeaked as she saw an odd but slightly familiar look in the taller girl’s eyes. In an effort to avoid the eminent panic she felt welling up in her she quickly moved to a table and hefted the loaded denim backpack onto in and started to pull out her books to drown herself in the topics that she needed to worry about rather than a girl in a controlled environment.
“What do we have here?” the ferret said, leaning over the edge of the table. There was a primal, hungry glare in her eyes, craning her neck upward to stare down the smaller mouse. “My, but aren’t you pretty? When did they start letting the elementary schoolers in? Are you lost, little girl?”
She glanced up at the girl for only a moment as she quickly took in the very familiar and frightening expression on the ferret’s face before looking back down at the Math book before her. Cecily’s heart pounded in her chest as she thought about what she should do. In a soft almost whisper, “I’m not lost. Please leave me alone.”
She pulled out the chair opposite Cecily and sat down. “Well, now I’m just intrigued. What are you? Eight? Nine? Are you some kind of child prodigy or something?”
“I... I’m fifteen,” she stammered, “and I need to study. Could you please go away?” The tone in the other girls voice very obviously telegraphing the ferret’s interests. She shivered as she glanced toward the librarian to help insure herself of the safety and control of the environment.
“That just makes it even more interesting. But, suit yourself. I’ll be seeing you around, Pipsqueak,” the ferret said, placing her palms on the table and pushing herself away. “Just a word of warning, though: watch yourself around here. You’re far too delicious-looking of a morsel for some of the more… unsavory… types to overlook.” With that, she turned her back to the mouse and walked off, ducking into a nearby door.
“You are the unsavory type that should be avoided,” slipped out before she squeaked and covered her mouth. Her eyes went wide as she realized just how much Lilliana and Daisy’s bluntness had affected her. She looked up hoping that the ferret didn’t hear her comment. She watched as the ferret stepped out of sight. She breathed a sigh of relief, but was still unable the calm herself down. Her heart still raced as she tried to concentrate on the math before her. She looked over the problems, confused by the stuff that apparently was review problems for the rest of her class. She rubbed her temples for a moment before she slipped the books back into her backpack as she decided to step out to get a drink.
As she passed by the librarian on the way out she nodded before the door closed behind her. She looked down the hall for a moment as she wished she was able to bring the striker with her. The ferret girl made her feel really uneasy. The look in her eye was the same as so many others in the past, and something she wanted to avoid at all cost when she didn’t have someone or something there to defend her. She walked down the hall to the nearby restrooms and stood on the tips of her toes, using her tail as a tripod for balance as she tried to drink from the taller fountain. Unable to use her left arm to stabilize herself further she struggled to keep her muzzle in the water stream.
“Some things in life are simply unavoidable,” a voice hissed in her ear.
Cecily gulped and nearly choked on a mouth full of water as she dropped away from the fountain and coughed. As she caught her breath she looked over her shoulder at the ferret. She glanced up and down the hall and found herself in the worst situation she had been in for nearly two months. There was not a soul in sight and the ferret was close enough to have her trapped if she made the wrong move. She swallowed hard as he looked back up at the taller girl and stepped back toward the wall. “Le... leave me alone. I don’t… don’t want to have anything to do with you.”
The ferret leaned down, close enough for her breath to tickle the fur on Cecily’s neck. “I don’t bite, I promise.” She reached out with her well-manicured claws and teased the edges of the mouse’s ear. “I’m sure I can do something to… persuade… you.”
Cecily jerked away from the girl’s touch as she yelled, “NO! Leave me alone.” Even though her heart raced at the situation she drew a little bit of pride in being able to voice the protest as loud as she did, and hope someone was close enough to hear, and willing to react.
“Leave her alone, Kristin,” a familiar voice said above her as the door to the men’s room opened up. “She’s with me.”
“Isn’t she a little young for your harem?” the girl named Kristin sneered. “Then again, that height? Talk about easy access…”
As soon as the other girl was distracted Cecily took the opportunity to do just what she had been trying to avoid since Driver’s Ed. Her feet moved as fast as her heart as she sprang down the hall, lost in the moment as she bounced off walls to take the corners at full speed. Soon she found herself at the end of a hall that led only into an empty locker room. She pulled out her phone as she backed into the corner, mashing the panic button frantically, eyes darting across the room in almost full panic.
Ethan caught up with her a moment later, his artificial leg making keeping up with the panicked mouse a challenge. He knelt down beside the lockers, pulling her close and petting her head reassuringly. “Shh,” he said softly, “it’s okay. She’s gone. I’m here. You’re safe. Don’t worry. Shh…”
The entire class looked over at the moose as the siren went off in Daisy’s chest. She jumped up at the still unfamiliar sound of Cecil’s panic alarm, unintentionally flipping the one piece chair/desk over, nearly hitting the shark girl from her earlier class that sat behind her. “Fuck,” she muttered as she pulled out the device and saw the flashing screen.
“Signorina Daniels, is there a problem?” Isabel D’Amato asked as she tried to regain control of the shocked class.
“Yes, there is,” the moose herm said as she started for the door.
“Signorina Daniels,” the greyhound woman shouted only to be cut off by the moose as she ran out the door.
“Write me up, I’ll sign it when I get back,” were the last words the class heard as the door closed behind Daisy.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Strike Warning ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Lilliana sat at the front of the Introduction to Programming class as she took note of the extreme differences in the students that filled the room from those in the digital art classes from the morning. The more computer-oriented class was filled with what she would call nerds and geeks at any other point in time. She listened as they rattled off their dreams of becoming everything she had been at one point or another: Network architects, programmers, system admins, and the occasional web designer. She didn’t have the enthusiasm to crush their dreams or even do much more than nod for the next student. The day had drug on as she expected it to, with no real interesting events happening. She suddenly questioned whether she had made a good choice, or if she was going to get so bored with the job that she droned through it like her own teachers had.
A broad shouldered snapping turtle sat near the center line of the room, near the front row but not directly. He wore clean uniform pants with no shoes covering his large scaled feet. On top he wore a greyed Tar Heels hoodie that was black at one point, which was clean but covered in permanent mud, blood, and grass-stains. His thick tail hung behind him through the gap in the back of the seat, the large saw-toothed ridges showing the residue of adhesive from recently being safety-taped. He stood and looked at the liger as he said, “Well, ahm a dingbatter up ear, org’nally from North Curralina. Ahm prahble’ gon’ bea fish’rmin. Ah gess ma ownla keshun Mam is, ahr ya gawnna mummock’us?”
Lilliana cocked her head to the side as the student gave his introduction. She shook her head as the student in her class finished his introduction. “Failure to follow instruction,” she stated as she looked at the turtle, “But, I can excuse that with your obvious lack of grasp on the English language. Maybe I need to explain things a little better, or slower, for you ‘Nort’ Cahlinah boys’ as my friend Boomer would say. So I’ll give it to you the way I’d give it to her. Start with your name, that is most likely what your parents yell out the door when you get busted for something. Follow that with an English word or phrase that explains what you want to do, I don’t care if it’s ‘I want to be the next Mayor of Marblecliff.’, that I can understand without access to a jargon file.”
A majority of the class stifled snickers as the new kid was targeted as an apparent example. He stared at the floor for a moment before nodding and took a deep breath, staring at a spot on the blackboard he struggled to repeat his introduction. “Ah-... I am Eth’n... E-than Arrowood from North Cay-roll-eye-na...” He spoke slowly, sounding out his words with a visible effort. “I wee-u-... I will praw-bah-blee be a fisher-man.” He fidgeted nervously, hoping he had spoken well enough as he sank back into his chair.
The class went around, a bit more quietly, till it reached the back rows, a snow white lioness stood up slowly, huffing in minor annoyance. “My name is Ross Goldmane. Let’s see, I plan to waste my life exactly how my grandfather wants me to: getting a fancy degree in medicine, then getting a fancy job as a doctor so I can live off his fancy money,” she said with a bit of venom. She sighed and softened her tone, “Don’t get me wrong, I want to become a Physician because I want to help people, and not because... well... forget it. Let’s just say I’m another poor rich girl with ‘daddy issues’,” she said using air quotes, making some students snickered, “and leave it at that. Does that answer your question, Miss Fargo, or do you want me to continue?”
“That is possibly the best thing I have heard all day.” She stood and started to walk toward the back of the class. “She has some of that ‘I’m just here to fill in an elective credit’ in her tone. Then she has to add in the whining about her life and parents. Poor little rich girl. Then she tacks on the ‘I don’t really give a shit’ mentality.” The liger stopped and put her arm over the white lioness’s shoulders and pulled her close to her side. “This right here is one of those girls that just barely gets by in life and causes more problems for herself than is really necessary with her attitude.” Looking over at the girl in her arm she asked, “Now that I’ve had my fun, did you have a question for me?”
Just as Ross started to open her mouth to say something the quiet room was filled with a loud siren sound from the teacher’s desk. The class watched as the lioness was pushed back into her seat when the liger’s expression changed to almost horror and she ran to the front of the room. The class winced as they heard her slam into the desk hard, leaning over it to retrieve a flashing cell phone from the center drawer. Several of the students stood and watched as she kicked off the high heeled shoes and sprinted from the class. They followed to the door in amazement and confusion as the liger ran down the hall, cell phone still sounding the alarm.
Lilliana ignored the sound of the doors slamming open behind her as she glanced at the screen in her paw. The locator showed the icon for the small mouse in a very undesirable location. She grabbed the wall as she rounded the corner to the dead end hallway and crashed through the locker room door. She snarled as the raccoon boy turned from the corner to face her, revealing Cecily huddled there, clutching her phone. With a fluid motion she grabbed the shocked boy by the throat, spun him around her and slammed him hard into the wall. She locked her eyes on his, ignoring the odd plastic and metallic clatter of something falling to the floor below him.
She could see the fear in his eyes as she growled at him. “Ethan Black, the one boy I really hoped would not be a problem for my girl. You better think twice before trying to add this one to your collection.” She squeezed his throat harder as she watched his eyes start to roll back in his head.
“Lilly, No!” Cecily said as she pulled at the ligers arm. “He’s only trying to help. He was one of Wendy’s friends; you remember the mouse from the cruise?”
“I know damn well about him and his little escapades,” Lilliana responded without looking away from Ethan, “And I won’t let him make you his next conquest.”
“STOP! Drop him!” the small mouse said in an almost stern voice, garnering a gasp from the gathering crowd. “He’s my friend. He came out here to find me after I panicked.”
With the mouse’s near orders Lilliana let the boy go as he fell to the floor, his prosthetic leg disconnected next to him. She looked down at him as he gasped for air and said, “You had better stay on the good side of that mouse.” She turned to walk away, the gathered students stepping out of her way as she moved until she came to the large moose that stood almost in shock herself at the situation. She looked Daisy in the eyes, the cold, calculated gaze making the girl take a step back as she asked, “And where were you?” Without waiting for an answer she pushed the moose aside and continued down the hall.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ New Target ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
“Fuck me sideways,” Daisy muttered under her breath as the liger walked away. She walked past the stunned students and knelt beside her girlfriend. “Sisy, are you sure you’re okay? What the fuck happened?”
“I… I made a mistake,” Cecily said as she crawled over to Ethan, “I… I’m sorry about Lilly, she can overreact sometimes.”
The raccoon boy sat on the floor as he pulled up his pant leg to re-attach the prosthetic. “Well I guess it could have looked pretty bad when she came up. How did she know where you were and something was wrong?”
“The same damn way I did,” the moose herm said between clenched teeth. “Now what the fuck happened that panicked you?”
“I... I was in the library trying to figure out the math for my free period when a girl tried to um… talk to me,” Cecily said her voice trembling slightly. “I didn’t like the way she was looking at me so I asked her to leave me alone. And… um… she did at first, but I kinda said something I shouldn’t have and she must have heard me.”
“It was a ferret, Kristin,” Ethan added, “She’s not the best example of the model student. I’d stay away from her if I could.”
“A ferret named Kristin? She seemed decent enough at lunch, you sure we’re talking about the same girl?” Daisy asked as she stared at the raccoon.
“This is Ethan, a friend of Wendy’s. He... um… he kinda gave me a chance to get away when she cornered me by the bathrooms,” Cecily said softly as she rubbed the cast over her arm. “I… um… it was stupid of me to leave the library like that. At least there the librarian was watching.”
“I guess that puts you in the clear, Ring Tail,” Daisy said as she nodded slightly to the raccoon boy. “But you shouldn’t have to put up with shit from anyone here. And if what the two of you are telling me is right… that bitch tried to play me like a fiddle, and it sounds like she lied to my face. And now she goes and tries to mess with my girlfriend on top of that… is she fucking crazy or just that much of an arrogant bitch?”
“That’s one way to put it,” Ethan said as he worked on standing up. “You must be Daisy, I take it. It’s nice to meet you.” He held out his paw toward her with a smile.
“Yea, you too,” Daisy said as she shook the offered paw, “we’ll get back to whether or not I need to slap your muzzle off in a minute.” Turning back to the small mouse Daisy looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Lilly is gonna give me shit about this no matter what the hell I do. But fuck that, I don’t even give a shit about that. You’re the only thing I care about, Trail Mix, and if this bitch is messing with you, she’s gonna answer to me for it.”
“Daisy,” the small mouse said as she walked up to the over the top moose and looked her in the eye. “Don’t do anything stupid that can get you in trouble. It’s my fault for leaving the library anyway. I saw what she wanted the first time she looked at me, and I was in a safe spot when she did that. She would have left me alone, at least for the day, if I didn’t get myself in a place where I was by myself. If Ethan wasn’t there I don’t know what I would have done.” She paused for a moment as she reached up with both her broken arm and free paw, grabbing Daisy by the chin and forced her to look down and meet her eyes as she said in one of the most serious tones the moose had heard from the girl, “If you get into any trouble over this I’ll let you deal with Lilly by yourself. Now go back to class, I think I can handle this, I need to do this myself. I need to go to the nurse’s office and get something for my arm.”
“Fine, I’ll go back to class. But don’t kid yourself that Lilly is that much of a threat, I’m more worried about what the fuck Alex will do if I don’t do something about this after she hears Lilly got here before I did.” As she rose to her hooves keeping her gaze locked on Cecily she added, “It’s been quiet for the last few days, and I’m probably in for some kind of shit from them either way. But you say you’ve got this and I do have to get my ass back to class and deal with bolting out the door as it is. You do what you have to,” she said turning to walk away. “And I’ll do what I have to as soon as I see that ferret bitch again,” she muttered under her breath as she walked away in a huff.
As she continued down the hall Daisy heard the raccoon ask, “Do you need any help getting to the nurse’s office?” followed by her girlfriend answering, “No, I really do need to be able to do things alone. Daisy and Lilly… and you won’t always be able to help me out. But thank you for what you did.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Meeting with the Mistress ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Lilliana sat in one of the many chairs in the office waiting area outside the Headmistress’s office, her high heels kicked off and paws propped up on a table covered with neat stacks of magazines. Her arms were crossed over her chest as her head rolled back, mouth agape as if sleeping while she waited to be recognized for her sudden meeting with Miss Gaithers. She had done so many off color things that day she was uncertain which one had prompted the meeting, but she was almost certain her actions with Ethan Black and leaving her class unattended certainly cinched the deal.
In her mock sleep she went over everything she had done that day. Pulling Daisy and Cecily out of class to get the Charger inspected for Driver’s Ed, her first, then second meeting with Mister Burke, her projectile launched at the raccoon boy before she even knew who he was. She smiled slightly as she looked back on the day’s events and realized it wasn’t as boring as she thought it would be.
“Miss Fargo,” Seda said, “Headmistress Gaithers will see you now. Miss Fargo?”
“I hear you, Seda,” Lilliana said as she stood up, leaving the heals where they were. “So, how is her mood? Should I bring the seasoning for when she takes a bit out of my ass?”
“It’s really hard to tell, Miss Fargo,” the jackalope said.
“Come on, call me Lilly. Save the Miss shit for in front of the students.”
“Sorry… Lilly. Habit, I guess,” the new administrative assistant said, scratching the back of his head. “And from what Liz tells me, she’s pretty hot under the collar. Apparently, this Ethan Black kid is one of her favorite students.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought this might be about. Score one for the teacher’s pet, still not going to cut the kid any slack. He was in the girl’s locker room. Wish me luck, I might need it.” With her shoes in one paw, Lilliana walked to the door marked by a Headmaster placard and knocked hard three times before she announced, “Sergeant Fargo reporting as requested.”
“Please come in, Miss Fargo,” the woman’s voice said from the other side of the closed door. As she opened it and walked into the somewhat large office space, Lilliana took note of the shrew behind the large wooden desk and the cliché educator’s office styling of the room. One wall was covered with framed degrees and certificates and another lined with shelves filled with books on random educational and childhood topics. She sized up the situation and counted it as any other leader or person in a position of authority. This meeting may be more about her putting on a show than actually trying to accomplish anything, but the final determination could only be made when the ‘meeting’ got underway.
Lilliana watched as the shrew looked up from her paperwork and gave a slight smile as she said, “Miss Fargo, thank you for coming on such short notice. Please have a seat.”
The liger cringed at the obvious diplomatic tone the headmistress was using with her. Lilliana never liked diplomacy over honesty. These were the kind of matters Susan was always better at handling. For Lilliana, they often turned out one of two ways. Either she had a new friend for life, or more often than not, would end up on the receiving end of more targeted accusations to justify her elimination. She took a seat in the somewhat comfortable chair in front of the desk and readied herself for what was to come.
“What can I do for you, Miss Gaithers?” Lilliana asked in as even tone as she couled.
Cecilia pulled the reading glasses off her face and placed them on the desk as she leaned forward onto her elbows. “I hear you had quite the eventful first day as a teacher and a mother.”
Lilliana shrugged as she replied, “Seemed like a quiet day to me. Nothing I would put in a diary or anything.”
The shrew put her glasses back on as she picked up a sheet of paper and started to read, “Assaulting students by throwing objects at them. Verbally assaulting fellow staff members in front of students and other staff. Leaving your classroom unattended with students present. Finally, physically assaulting students.” She removed her glasses again and looked at Lilliana as she added, “You are not in the army any more, Miss Fargo. This is a highly prestigious private academy and activities like these will not go answered. We strive to maintain a certain image through our faculty. Do you have anything to say in your defense?”
“I was actually expecting the list to be a little longer,” Lilliana said with a little smirk. “My question to you is whether you want me to take them all at once or just address the one real issue that I see?”
“Start with the one, and we’ll see what that has to do with the rest,” the old shrew said, training her strict gaze on the younger liger woman.
“The one issue I saw today is that at some point a student was subjected to some sort of… bullying. The fact that it happened to be my child is beside the point. Before I even applied for a position here, I was looking at this school, and you, for its recorded efforts to minimize bullying, and your personal effort to push for the equality of all students. I understand that you can’t be everywhere and know everything that is going on, but I am sure you have a good feel for who most of the questionable students here are, and which ones might have the… gumption to approach a young, smaller, obviously weaker, even injured student and say or do something that might make them… feel uncomfortable, or trapped in a bad situation. I’ll admit, my first assumption of who it was when I walked into the locker room might have been wrong, but I know that someone did something to Cecily that sent her into that panic. And something needs to be done about it.”
“First thing’s first, even if young Mr. Black was the bully in question, the proper method of discipline in that situation is not to choke slam him into the lockers. I have spoken with the boy, and since he now considers your daughter to be his friend, he has stated that he will not pursue any legal recourse against either the school or you,” Cecilia explained, taking her glasses into her paw and cleaning them with a microfiber cloth. “Secondly, witness reports indicate that as Miss McDaniel was walking away from the situation, Cecily said something to provoke a response. I am not defending either student’s actions, merely suggesting that you ask Cecily to not make such remarks. I am aware of Miss McDaniel’s reputation as a nuisance, and after today’s incident, I am placing her on disciplinary probation. Normally, I would never escalate a matter to this level on the first day, but there have been previous instances in years past. It is the last warning I can give before suspension and then expulsion.”
“Okay, I admit I might have overreacted a bit,” the liger said as she rested her elbow on her thighs and folded her paws in front of her. “I’ll do my best to refrain from such actions in the future. And I will talk to Cecily about the situation. But I’ll also point out that honestly, I am possibly the least of the worries of anyone who might target that particular student. I’m not saying that she will do anything personally beyond self-defense, which she is limited in at the moment with the cast, or we might have been having this talk from the nurse’s office. What I am saying is that there could be things that happen that are well beyond my or Cecily’s control. She has… a bit of a presence of her own that… spawns a comradery among her friends that is hard to ignore.” She leaned back in the chair and sighed, “Shit, if I try to keep this diplomatic thing going I’m gonna blow a fucking gasket.”
“Which brings me to my next point,” the little old shrew stated. “Stop throwing things at the students, and stop using such coarse language on school grounds. The parents do not pay us to abuse their children, verbally nor physically. It’s intolerable, Miss Fargo. If I did not value and respect Janine’s opinion, I would have you packing up your classroom now.”
“I think I can do something about those issues,” Lilliana said as she rubbed her temples. “And, to be honest, I think I might enjoy this gig once things get rolling. Most of the students seem quite interested in the classes, and interesting to say the least.”
“See to it, please,” Cecilia ordered. “Now, I have nothing further to discuss. Do you need me for anything?”
“I think I have everything I need,” the liger said as she stood up. “Oh, one other thing. What is the policy of instructors bringing in personal equipment for classes? I have a few things I think might be helpful in some of my blocks of instructions.”
“There should be no problem with that, Miss Fargo.” Cecilia said. Lilliana turned to walk out of the office, pausing a moment in the main office as she heard the Headmistress’s voice come over the intercom by Seda asking him to have Kristin McDaniel come to her office first thing in the morning.
“Just a moment, Miss Gaithers,” Seda said as he waved at the liger on her way out the door. Lilliana smiled as she started toward her classroom to shut things down for the evening, happy to see the wheels of the system in motion as her first day rolled to a close.
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ A New Challenger Approaches ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
“Alright, ladies, fall in line!” Coach Pryde called out to the young girls scattered around the gymnasium. At her command, thirty-one teenaged girls scurried into a single line, side by side, quietly and attentively waiting for her to continue. Once everyone was settled, she resumed her introduction. “I want to thank you all for coming this afternoon to try out -”
Her speech was cut short as the doors to the gym swung open and sixty-four eyes turned to see a tall white lioness entering. Claire broke into a broad grin and turned to look at Shyara, giving her a wink. “Thanks for joining us. Join the others, please, we’re about to begin.”
Once Ross took her place at the end of the assembly, Felicity began again. “As I was saying, thank you all for coming today to try out for the volleyball teams. I am Felicity Pryde, the coach as well as the physical education instructor here at Chimera Prep. Today, we’ll be trying you all out to fill the remaining four spots for the varsity squad, and twelve spots for JV.”
As the girls did the math, realizing that only sixteen of them would be selected, a small murmur broke out among the girls. Raising her voice, Felicity continued her introduction, “Before coming to Chimera Prep, I attended the Pennsylvania State University, and was a member of the 2008 NCAA National Championship team. Somewhere along the way, I decided to get into teaching, and I transferred to Montessouri in Ontario, Canada. There, I earned my teacher’s degree, and I was recruited by Headmistress Gaithers for this position. This is my second year overseeing this program, and after the tremendous progress we made last year, I have very high hopes for our squad this year.”
Claire and Shyara sat on the bleachers, nodding enthusiastically. “Now, before we begin,” Felicity added, “I want to introduce this year’s captain and co-captain: Claire Summers and Shyara Logan. Ladies?” A small round of applause went up as the two girls stood up and waved at the prospects.
“Hi, I’m Claire Summers, Team Captain and Libero. I’m a senior this year, and I look forward to playing alongside those of you that make the team. After graduating, I want to become a physical therapist,” the red squirrel said.
“Right,” said the sugar glider girl, “Name’s Shyara Logan, but friends call me Shy or Shyshy. Ah’ll be the co-captain this year, and Ah’m a killah Middle Blockah. This is mah Senyah year, an’ aftah graduatin’, Ah wanna be an architect. Besides volleyball, mah passion is mah daughtah, Sienna.”
“So, Claire and Shyara are going to run you through some drills, just a few basic activities so that I can watch and assess your abilities,” Felicity explained. “After we’re done with that, I’ll compare notes with my girls, and we’ll be letting some of you go. If we still have too many of you, we’ll move on to a second, more intensive round of drills, until we have our sixteen. Any questions?”
After a few hours and two rounds of drills, the trio had managed to narrow down the list of varsity hopefuls to nine, with four slots to fill. “I’m telling you, she’ll dominate at the net. She just broke up with her girlfriend because of Kristin McDaniel. She’s hurt and pissed off. She wants to hit things,” Claire argued.
“All right, since you’re the captain, and her friend, I’m putting it all on you if it doesn’t work out with her,” Felicity said, shaking her head. “I can’t believe we’re taking on a girl that’s never even played volleyball before today. What about the others?”
“Please, not her,” Shyara said, indicating with a quick jerk of her head to one of the girls that was standing off to the side drinking a bottle of Gatorade. “Ah don’t know how much Ah can tolerate her mouth.”
“Give her a chance, Shy,” Claire said. “Maybe by having her on the team, we can become friends, and she’ll become less mean. But she’s one of the best recruits we have.”
“Ah doubt it, but fine,” the sugar glider sighed.
“Look at it this way,” Felicity said, “If nothing else, she can talk a bunch of trash and get under our opponents’ fur.”
Smirking, Shy replied, “Now that Ah can agree wit’.”
They broke from their small huddle and Coach Pryde called out to the girls. “When I call your name, please step forward: Tessa Fairchild. Afon Glaslyn. Riley Burris. And… Ross Goldmane. Congratulations, ladies. The rest of you, I’m sorry. Maybe next year, if you aren’t seniors. But thank you for trying out.”
After the girls that did not make the team exited the gym, Coach Pryde looked at her new recruits and asked, “So, how would you like to see the new uniforms?” Claire and Shyara grinned as the four new girls excitedly bounced on their heels, waiting to see what they would be wearing this upcoming season. Felicity put her index and middle fingers to her mouth and whistled loudly. A moment later, Layla Xiao and Anna Erickson entered the gym, modeling the redesigned jerseys for the volleyball squad.
Claire bustled with pride at her boyfriend’s design. It was edgy, modern, and sexy. The home jersey was a gradient of Chimera Prep’s signature Navy at the top and Merlot at the bottom, with a white and Merlot flame pattern rising up the sides and around the shoulders, while the road jersey looked similar but with the white and Navy reversed. On the right breast was the reimagined Titans emblem: the letter ‘T’ styled to look like a sword and the player names and numbers were emblazoned on the back in a font that was bold and wider at the top than at the bottom. The new look earned several ‘oohs’ from the new girls as Layla strutted in front of her teammates, modeling the away jersey in long sleeve, while Anna showed off the home version in short sleeves.
“Ok, so each of you gets four jerseys, two home, two away, a short-sleeve and a long-sleeve in each. To make sure you get the right size, make sure you check the sizing chart. Then, I want you to CLEARLY print your last names, your preferred jersey number, and top size on the order form,” Felicity instructed, and the girls scurried to do as she asked. “Welcome to the Lady Titans!”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Burning Bridges ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Daisy waited by the parking lot for Cecily as she thought about what had happened earlier. It was a little hard to believe that Kristin did anything to frighten Cecily, at least not intentionally. She just needed answers and what she had heard so far about the ferret girl was not very favorable. She knew from personal experience how rumors can change the way people treat you, even if they’re not true.
She soon caught sight of Kristin, motorcycle helmet in paw as the ferret girl walked into the student parking area. It was a perfect opportunity to get to the bottom of things. Maybe Sisy was just over reacting like she had done in the past, but if she wasn’t, heads were going to roll. She tossed her bag over her shoulder and walked briskly toward the girl. Waving an arm she shouted, “Hey, Kristin,” in an attempt to get her attention, “you got a minute?”
“Sure thing, but not too long,” the ferret said, stopping at her motorcycle and getting settled. “I have to go and get my sister from school, but yeah, I can spare a minute or two. What’s up?”
“I heard that you had a run in with a kangaroo mouse, little short one that’s new here. I know her pretty well, and honestly I wanted to hear your side of it,” the moose said in as even of a voice as she could.
“Not much to say, really. I tried to introduce myself, she asked me to leave, so I did,” the ferret shrugged. “But as I was leaving, she said something under her breath. I didn’t know what she said, but I don’t take kindly to shit like that, so when she left the library, I called her out on it. She spooked, someone stepped in, and she bolted before we could have our little chat.”
As she listened to the ferret girl’s explanation Daisy considered how much better Sisy had been doing lately as long as she didn’t feel threatened or cornered. While she got the sense that the other girl was telling the truth, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being less than forthcoming with all the details. “Something seems a bit off about that. Like I said I know her, she’s my girlfriend and she doesn’t react like this without a good reason. Question is why did someone else have to step in in the first place?”
“Like I said, I spooked her,” Kristin explained, though the tone of her voice betrayed a hint of irritation. “She was drinking at the water fountain, and I approached her from behind. She got startled, and fell onto the hallway floor in front of the boys’ restroom. That was when one of the guys came out and saw what probably looked pretty threatening.” She glanced at her watch, and said, “No offense, I gotta go.” She lifted her helmet and pulled it down over her head. “My sister gets out of school in twenty.”
As she listened to Kristin’s answer Daisy got the feeling that her tone sounded almost dismissive, a feeling she knew all too well from the earlier years of her life, and one that always set her blood to boiling. Before she realized what she was doing her paw flew to the chin piece of the helmet as she leaned in close. “Telling me half the story is the same as lying to my face, and I have no use for a fucking liar, Kristin. If you won’t tell me the whole truth I can only go on what I can trust of what I’ve been told…”
She was cut off by the squeal of the motorcycle’s back tire, the ferret tightly gripping the brakes as she revved the engine, throwing up a cloud of thick smoke. She gave Daisy a cruel sneer, and mouthed, ‘Do I look like I give a fuck?’ so that the moose herm could read her lips. Kristin flipped down the visor of her helmet, and sped off through the parking lot, earning a shout from a male turtle as she almost sideswiped him.
As she watched the ferret speed off Daisy’s paws balled into fists as she muttered, “You had your chance, bitch. All you did was prove me wrong and the mouse right, and that won’t go well for you. This isn’t over…”
“What a bitch,” Shyara said as she closed the rear hatch of her Mini Countryman, shaking her head as the turtle boy stood up, dusting the dirt off his clothes and shouting something with an unintelligible accent. “Ah hope she gets hers sometime soon.”
“She will, don’t worry,” Claire said as she walked around and climbed into the front passenger seat of her friend’s car. “Thanks for the ride. Ethan texted me saying he had an awful first day, and he just wanted to go home and rest. So, are you going to join us at Tatiana’s for dinner?”
“Sure,” the sugar glider replied, “Ah mean, they are mah daughtah’s family.”
“Stop talking like that,” the teen squirrel said, putting her paw over top of her friend’s. “You’re family, too, and you always will be.”
“Ah guess,” the Aussie shrugged. “Ah just still feel guilty about fuckin’ shit up.”
“No one’s blaming you but you,” her friend said. “You’ll see. They’d love to see you.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ An Unbelievable Offer ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Emily Erickson sat in the girls’ locker room, changing out of her workout clothes and getting ready to go home for the night. She was proud of herself; she had played hard, and was rewarded with a spot on the Field Hockey team. The freshman cow had briefly entertained the idea of trying out for the junior varsity Volleyball Squad, but she didn’t like the idea of playing in her older sister’s shadow. The fierceness of Anna’s powerful serves had become well known throughout the NHIAA.
Emily was smaller, leaner, and faster than her older sister, and considered a few sports to try her paws at: Soccer, Lacrosse, and Field Hockey. She chose Field Hockey because it conflicted the least against Anna’s Volleyball schedule, so their father would be able to attend more of her games. Their mother was usually kept busy with her work, but she still didn’t want to make either parent have to pick between them. She was thankful she chose this sport: the coach, Vicky Chambers, seemed very impressed with her raw skills.
Throughout the entire tryout, the arctic fox woman had eagerly and attentively tracked her every move, and she was the first candidate selected for the team. She had been showered with praise the entire time for her natural agility and reflexes. She felt wanted, needed, like she belonged on this team. Coach Chambers had even given her first choice for her jersey number, and she chose two.
“Emily?” A voice called out from behind her. Looking over her shoulder, she saw Phoebe Monroe, the team captain standing in the entrance. The sheep girl smiled at her in the way that made Emily excited, like she knew something wonderful was about to happen, but she was sworn to secrecy. “Coach Chambers wants to see you.”
“Okay, I was just finishing up,” the younger girl said, throwing the rest of her dirty clothes into her gym bag and zipping it up. The young bovine girl practically bounded up to her hooves with excitement, wondering what other surprises the day would bring. Eagerly, she followed the team captain down the hallway from the locker room to the office where their coach was waiting. Phoebe paused at the closed door and knocked twice.
“Come in,” came a soothing female voice from behind the door, and the sheep girl turned the knob and stepped inside, Emily right behind her. Coach Chambers was a beautiful woman: an arctic vixen in her mid-thirties, with short, brown hair and hazel eyes behind a pair of reading glasses. She was looking over a stack of paperwork, most likely making sure that the necessary release forms had been signed by the students, and possibly even ordering the new uniforms. She looked up at the girls as they entered, and leaned back in her chair, crossing her right leg over top of her left. She had a confident, controlling air about her that sent a shiver down the young cow’s spine.
Emily was shocked when Phoebe strode across the office and sat down obediently on the floor beside the coach’s desk, tucking her hooves under her rear end, resting her cheek on the older woman’s thigh. The team captain said nothing, just quietly and attentively watching her teammate’s reaction to what their coach was going to say.
“I said, ‘come in,’” Vicky said, taking off her glasses and tucking them into the collar of her shirt. Emily quickly turned around and closed the office door, and walked up to the edge of the desk, across from their coach. “Miss Erickson, I was very pleased by the amount of… raw potential… that you showed out there on the field today. However, you showed moments of sloppiness. They were nothing major, of course; otherwise you would not have made the cut. No, I believe the problem is simple. You just need more… discipline.”
The way the words rolled off the vulpine woman’s tongue practically dripped sexuality, and the freshman girl let out an involuntary shudder as she imagined herself there on the floor where Phoebe currently sat, adoringly pressed up against their coach. She squeezed her thighs together, slightly ashamed of the surge of arousal that ran through her body, and a pink tinge stained her cheeks through her fur.
“If you are serious about becoming my star player, I am willing to train you, much the same way I trained lovely young Phoebe here,” Miss Chambers said, dropping her paw to affectionately pet the top of the senior girl’s head. Phoebe just gave a huge smile, and pressed herself against the offered paw, thankful for the attention. “I’m offering you private lessons, both one-on-one and in small… groups. I honestly believe that by working together, I can transform you into the youngest team captain Chimera Prep has ever seen in any sport. Imagine yourself, Emily, as a sophomore captain. How does this sound?”
The impressionable teen girl allowed her mind to be filled with visions of glory, and how proud her parents would be of her accomplishments. Anna, the star volleyball player, was starting her senior year and had never been appointed captain, and here she was, without even playing a single game, receiving an offer to be groomed to become captain by the tenth grade. Her parents would be thrilled for her, and her older sister jealous. It didn’t take her any time to decide, but she was still a little wary of the offer.
“It sounds wonderful, Coach Chambers,” she said softly, almost melting under the intensity of the older woman’s gaze, “but before I can accept, I need to ask, what are the terms and conditions of your training?”
The arctic fox chuckled, and Phoebe let out a small giggle. “Smart girl. You know, Miss Monroe here didn’t even think to ask, until after she had accepted. She broke up with quite the well-hung stud, too. The rules are simple: while you are under my tutelage, you are not to be in any relationship. I will see to it that your needs are taken care of, and in return, you will take care of mine. You will give me 150% at all times, and when you can’t give me any more, I will ask for another 50%, and you will give it to me willingly. You will tell no one of the things I teach you. In return, I will instill within you the necessary discipline for you to harness your talents and utilize them to your fullest potential. I have an open door policy, so you may leave at any time, no questions asked, though once you go, you may not return. I do not tolerate quitters.”
“How do you know I won’t refuse your offer and report you to Headmistress Gaithers?” she asked. Her voice lacked all confidence and conviction, and was obviously an empty threat.
Vicky Chambers rose up from her desk and Phoebe quickly slid back on the floor, creating room for her Mistress to pass. The teen cow girl stood, mesmerized, as the vixen walked around to stand behind her. She shivered slightly as she felt the woman’s breath tickle her ear as she spoke. “I saw the way you played out there on the field. I also saw the way you stared at me, seeking my approval. You’re already mine.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ The End of a Long Day ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
Cecily clutched the oversized math book to her chest with her cast and free arm as she walked to the meeting place Daisy had set for them before heading to the car. She stopped and looked around for a moment seeing the place vacant. She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw her girlfriend walking toward her from the student parking lot. She could tell that Daisy was upset by the way the moose nearly stomped her way across the open quad. As Daisy got closer Cecily asked, “Is everything Okay? Did something happen?”
“You could say that, I gave someone the benefit of the doubt and they proved how much of a bitch they are. Her and you have both half ass lied to my face and I’m kind of sick of it. If I wanted bull shit I’d ask for bull shit,” the moose said flatly, not entirely successful at keeping the anger from her voice.
“You went after that Kristin girl, didn’t you?” Cecily asked and continued without waiting for a response. “I told you not to, I need to try and do some of these things myself. I was fine until I made the mistake of letting myself get cornered. It won’t happen again. And how did I lie to you? I told you I asked her to leave me alone, and said something I shouldn’t have and she heard it or something. If I just kept my mouth shut… and not left the library nothing would have happened. And thanks to Ethan, nothing did. What more do you want?” Cecily spoke with a slight bit of irritation in her own voice as she looked up at Daisy.
“First off, Short Shit, I did not go after her, I went to hear her side of what the fuck happened. And I got the same half story I got from you… normally I would go and stomp her ass for pulling that shit. But you know what? Fuck all of it, you want to handle it you handle it. You made the fucking mess without me so clean it the fuck up without me, I don’t give a fuck,” Daisy said staring down at her girlfriend. “But the rest of it is between me and that bitch.”
“You want the whole story? You want the part I didn’t tell you because I know what you would have done?” Cecily’s voice slowly raised with every word. “It was the way she looked at me, the same way YOU looked at me the first time we met. Like I was something to be had, an easy target to get what she wanted. I saw it, I knew it, and as she was walking away, I said it. She gave a halfhearted warning about me needing to avoid bad people and I said SHE was who I needed to avoid. I don’t know why I said it, and I really wish I hadn’t. And I guess I’ve taken having you there, by my side all the time, for granted. I let my guard down, just enough that I didn’t hear her follow me. I made a mistake. I should know better than to think I am safe anywhere. Not now, with a broken arm, not ever. I’m a target, a three foot tall, walking, ‘take advantage of me I can’t defend myself’ sign for every predator to see. And there’s nothing I can do about that but never trust anyone. I said I had it handled; I will never put myself in that situation again. I will never be alone; I will not leave any place I know is safe without someone I CAN trust. I trust you, but I know you and I don’t want you to do anything you don’t have to in my defense, not when I am safe. Right now Lilly is getting in trouble for what she did; I don’t want that to happen to you.”
As Daisy listened to the small mouse’s rant her blood began to boil again. Kristin had seemingly managed to undo in a matter of moments all of the progress Cecily had made in the last couple of months. All of the work that she, the mouse’s family and doctor Fletcher had gone through in trying to help her girlfriend be stronger and more confident in herself thrown out the window by one person. She clenched her teeth to keep silent as she wished she had pulled the ferret from the motorcycle and beat the shit out of her. But that was something she would have to deal with later, right now it was more important to try to keep her girlfriend from crawling back into the shell it had taken weeks to drag her out of in the first place, but how?
“I… I just want to go home,” Cecily said as she looked away from her now fuming girlfriend. “I have a lot of reading I need to do. I… kinda missed my study hall.” She leaned against the moose’s legs as she nearly whispered, ‘I’m sorry Daisy, You shouldn’t be caught in the middle like this.”
“The only thing you should be sorry for is not punching the bitch in the crotch. But as far as going home, tough shit. We’re Lilly’s ride remember? We can’t get out of here until she gets done getting her ass chewed. Which is gonna put her in a bad mood to start with; fuck if I’m leaving her here to have to call home for a ride so she can kick my ass.” Daisy lay a paw on top of the small mouse’s head, mussing her hair slightly as she added, “I love ya, Trail Mix, but not that much.”
Cecily looked up at Daisy, tears in her eyes. She brushed them away with her free arm, nearly dropping her book as she asked, “Did you … um... get my surprise?”
“What surprise?” the moose said as an odd grin played across her muzzle. “Oh, you mean the pictures in my notebook that nearly made me rip the top of the desk off with a hard on?” Looking down into her lover’s eyes she added, “Yes, that surprise I got, and damn near the rest of the class got a surprise I don’t think they would have been ready for.”
The mouse smiled weakly as she said, “I didn’t know they were going to make you wear a skirt when I slipped them in your bag last night. But, I would have liked to see the result of the combination.”
Almost as soon as Cecily finished her verbal teasing of the moose the loud voice of the liger came from behind the pair, “Okay, Cupcake and Squeaker, let’s make like a tree and get the fuck out of here.” She briskly walked past the two as if on a mission. “I need a drink.”
“Great,” Daisy said quietly, “of all the nights I have to be off work it has to be this one. Fuck I think I’ll just go hide in the basement, or maybe the pool house. Come on, Short Stack, we may as well get ourselves home and get this shit over with.”
▂▃▅▇█▓▒░۩۞۩ Happy Ending ۩۞۩░▒▓█▇▅▃▂
“Hey, Hun, are you ready to go?” the jackalope asked as he walked into the Home Ec classroom, his pale yellow eyes scanning the rows of workstations for his boyfriend.
“Have a seat,” he heard the familiar voice call out, and saw a red-furred paw stick up over one of the stove tops, waving at him. “I’ll be done in just a minute.”
Seda walked over to the nearest station and sat down on the stool, watching intently as his boyfriend stood up carrying a roll of paper towels, a scrub brush, and a bottle of cleaner. “With some of these kids, it honestly surprises me they get anything into the oven at all,” Kaelyn said with a frustrated sigh. “I had to clean up this mess before we got an infestation.”
“Want me to help?” the school secretary asked.
“No. You just sit your cute butt right there. I’m almost done,” the teacher said, giving his mate a playful wink.
A moment later, the red panda threw away the dirty paper towels and put his cleaning supplies away. Walking over to his desk, he grabbed his messenger bag and his Ray-Ban sunglasses and put them on, and walked to where Seda was patiently waiting. “All set?”
“Yeah, but I need to do one thing first,” the jackalope said as he stood up. He reached out and cupped his boyfriend’s face in his paws, pulling him in close for a kiss. Kaelyn’s body slumped into his, and his left arm moved around behind Seda’s back as he began kissing him back. The red panda slipped his tongue into his mouth, exploring every inch of Seda’s warm mouth. When the jackalope finally broke the kiss, he have Kaelyn one more playful peck on the lips, and one more on the tip of his nose.
“Oh my god, you’re so fucking hot,” the red panda practically moaned.
“Don’t you forget it,” Seda whispered, and then giggled. “Thank you.” He stood up and Kaelyn took him by the paw.
“For what?” his boyfriend asked.
“For referring me for this job. For being you. For everything,” the jackalope said, intertwining his fingers with the red panda’s. “I love you.”
“What do you say we go out and celebrate?” Kaelyn asked, leading his partner by the paw out of the classroom. “We can go to that Sushi place you like so much.”
“You’re just trying to get out of cooking dinner,” Seda teased, squeezing his mate’s paw in his own.
“Only so I can save my energy and ravish you tonight,” Kaelyn remarked as he pushed open the heavy door and stepped out into the parking lot.
“In that case,” the jackalope said, resting his head on Kaelyn’s shoulder, “let me pay for dinner.” He giggled and let out a contented sigh. “It’s going to be a good year.”