And here we have the second part of this story. I think that's all there is going to be for this one. I hope you've enjoyed it. If you have, stop by my Ko-fi page and leave me a treat, leave a comment, or just keep reading!
Judy walked up to her partner, grinning more with every step. "Look who finally showed up to work."
"Give me a break, Hopps," the fox shot back. "Precinct 231 kicked my tail."
"Excuses right off the bat, huh?" She snarked back.
In the back of her mind Judy knew she was feeling less tense and the grump was evaporating, but in the forefront was a very different thought. He looked good. Distractingly so and strongly enough that she was aware of it. For a moment she worried that she might have a hard time getting through work if things kept up like this.
Then, he winked at her and the "might" part of it vanished. Not that anything would happen on the clock, of course. They were professionals. She could keep her paws off him until they were clocked out.
Five minutes after they punched their time cards for shift end Judy had her partner in a disused coat closet near the accounting offices. Their shift had been largely quiet, leaving the poor rabbit to the tender mercies of her imagination as she bantered with her partner. Now that the requirement for good behavior was gone, she wasn't waiting any more.
Judy was pleased to see he was already peeking out of his sheath when she got his trousers open. "Eager, are we?"
"You were hot boxing the cruiser. Of course, I'm eager," he quipped back breathlessly.
Judy wanted to snark back, but the urge for a taste of him took precedence. Once she had him on her tongue there was nothing else she wanted. Feeling his heat sliding into her mouth satisfied her. The itch she'd been fighting all day was finally getting scratched.
She laved him with her tongue, caressing his length with her lips and paws as he panted and groaned. The hallway outside their closet wasn't frequently used, but it was still in the precinct. Discovery by a passerby was a greater risk with every moment that passed. Time was not on their side.
That didn't stop Judy from savoring every second. If anything, the risk only excited her more and drove her to greater efforts in pushing him over the edge. She didn't stop until he was pulsing down her throat with one paw on the back of her head and the other stuffed in his mouth to blunt the sound.
Licking her lips, Judy grinned up at the poleaxed fox. "Are you alive, partner?"
"If I'm not," he panted, "this is heaven."
"Not yet." Judy pressed an ear to the door while Nick pulled himself together. "That was just the start."
"Good grief, rabbit," Nick groaned.
Judy turned with a raised eyebrow. "Was that a complaint?"
"I told you to jump me if the mood struck you," Nick commented as he regained his footing. "I am not complaining."
"You like getting a little cottontail?" Judy forced her paws behind her back and held them there.
"Playing the cutesy card isn't discouraging me," he replied with a wink.
That was the last straw. "My place. Now."
Judy opened the door and pulled her fox along in her wake. She guided them unerringly to the cruiser, neatly avoiding any of their fellow officers.
Fifteen minutes later, her partner's breath tickled her ears as she fumbled with her keys. "Nervous?"
Judy jumped, dropping her keys. "Not the word I'd use."
He plucked the keyring from the floor and unlocked the door, never moving from behind her. His heat and presence were driving her to distraction, so she was confused when he didn't let go of the door knob.
"Before we go in, I have to ask one question."
"Yes, it's really happening again."
Nick's laughter washed over her. "Not quite the question I had in mind."
Judy turned. "Then what is it?"
She saw his grin deepen as her impatience grew.
"How often is this going to happen?"
She chuckled. "What do you mean?"
He leaned in until their muzzles were inches apart. "Is this going to be what happens every time we see each other?"
"You really think you're that irresistible?"
He didn't flinch at her dig. "I think we hadn't seen each other in a week and you were turned on from ten minutes in to our shift."
"I…" Judy felt her bluster evaporate. "Let's say I missed you while you were in training and go with that."
"So, this'll be a one-time-only thing like the night at the bar?"
Judy didn't miss the intentional flaw in his logic and swatted his arm. "I'm not making promises, Slick, but how about this? I'll keep it to once a week. Is that good?"
"I'd call it great, but we've only done it once." Judy thrilled as his paw slid across her waist and onto the small of her back. "We need more evidence before we can reach a viable conclusion."
The pressure above her tail was all Judy needed. She fumbled the door open and dragged her partner inside. Her patience was at an end.
After that night Judy kept her word and didn't drag him off for a week. The last few days of said week were a touch rough for the rabbit. When she finally gave in, there were a few stains in their cruiser that needed addressing before their next shift. The week after was much the same, only she didn't quite make it the full week. One extra dull afternoon left the poor rabbit with nothing else to think about. By quitting time, she was fit to be tied and took her frustrations out on her foxy partner as soon as they got to her apartment.
After her little lapse, Judy swore to herself there would be no shenanigans until she was back on schedule. Four days later she was lying in bed next to her partner feeling ridiculous for even thinking she'd make it the full week and a half.
She apologized to Nick and he laughed at her before commenting, "You think I'm upset that we've done this more than once in a week? Really?"
Just pulled the sheets around herself and sat up. "I said I'd keep it under control."
"Rabbit, you are not seriously apologizing for having a sex drive, are you?"
"Good, because I'm not complaining about any of this. You added that 'once a week' thing and I thought you were joking. If you're in the mood for it, I'm game whenever."
"You're serious? You aren't angry with me?"
"Why on earth would I be upset that the hottest rabbit in the city wants to jump my bones?"
Judy felt the smile tugging at her mouth as she crawled into his lap for a hug. "Thank you and I'm sorry. I'm a little nervous about all this."
"All what? It's just sex—no strings, no obligations and no expectations."
Judy settled into his lap and leaned back. "It's a little odd having my own male-on-call."
"It's called a booty call, sweetheart," Nick commented blandly.
"Ugh. I hate that word."
He cocked his head. "Booty?"
"Yep! It just sounds so silly to me."
Her fox stretched languidly as he chortled, "I can't share your sentiment. Not when the nicest booty in the city is in my lap."
Judy snorted. "Flatterer."
"Keep wiggling in my lap and I'll show you flattery."
Judy sat and took stock for a moment. She felt a little silly for assuming she'd been too demanding. He'd said whenever she was interested and she had been joking about the once a week idea. That left her wondering why she was feeling so off kilter about her situation. Nick was right. They'd agreed this was all no strings attached, but Judy still felt something niggling in the back of her mind. It bothered her right up until his "flattery" started poking against her rump and she had better things to do with her attention.
After that, Judy worried less about the frequency of her interest and just indulged when she wanted to. Once a week became twice, then three times, then twice on the weekends. With in a month her occasional indulgence had become a near-daily habit. Through all of it the niggling didn't stop. At the monthly cross-training assignment meeting she saw Officer Tufts and it clicked into place.
As soon as the meeting dispersed for a break, Judy trotted up to her fellow officer and chirped, "Emily!"
"Hey, Hopps." Emily looked her over. "You're looking well."
"I'm feeling well."
The muscular lynx leaned in and whispered, "So I smell."
"Is it that obvious?"
"To a wolf or an elephant, maybe. I know fox musk, so I can put two and two together."
Judy blushed and gestured Emily to follow her to a secluded spot in the foyer. "That's actually what I wanted to talk about."
"Oh, no." Emily groaned. "Whatever he's done, I'm not a part of it."
"Well, that's not strictly true, is it…?"
The feline had the grace to blush and mutter into her paw, "You've spent too much time around him." Judy giggled and Emily rolled her eyes. "So, what did you want to know?"
"Um…" Judy instantly felt out of her depth. "Are you and Nick, uh…"
"Still fucking?" Emily laughed. "No. I won't make that mistake again."
"Not like how it sounds, Hopps." Emily sighed, looking uncomfortable. "When Nicky and I were a thing we were very different mammals. He's a good guy and I love him to death, but playing with him at that party was all the reminder I needed of why he and I aren't together."
Judy struggled to grasp what she was getting at. "I don't understand."
"Look, I said Wilde was addictive and I meant it." She scratched the back of her left ear. "I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about him, but he's hard to quit once you get a taste. It messed me up a little when we broke up back in the day. At the party I had fun, but it was the punch and a dry spell that got me to do it. No regrets, but never again for me."
"Okay. I guess that answers my question," Judy replied uncertainly.
Emily held up her paws forestalling the rabbit. "Whoa! Don't let that stop you from going after him. You're a tougher cookie than I am and you two are great together."
"We aren't together, actually."
"Wait." Emily shook her head and blinked. "What?"
Judy planted a fist on her hip. "We aren't dating."
"You're kidding." Emily deadpanned. "You smell like you're fucking every day."
"Um… Not quite every day."
"I guess it's true what they say about rabbits," Emily countered with a wink.
"No offence, Hopps. You may be the first female I've heard of who can keep up with him."
Emily shook her head. "Doesn't make much of a difference for him. He's always up for a little fun," Emily held up a finger, "but only for the right female."
"That fox is as randy as you can get and not be a goat, but he's really picky. It takes a certain type of female to get him interested."
"And you know this how?" Judy cocked an eyebrow.
Emily looked around to make sure they were alone before she leaned into Judy's ears. "Back in the day we ran together."
"Wha-," Judy stammered. "When was this?"
"Fifteen years ago. I grew up first." The lynx leaned back and shrugged. "It took a certain rabbit to get him to change. Maybe that's why he's attracted to you. You were worth being better for."
Judy blinked owlishly and blushed. "It's not like that."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Either way it's not my business." Emily glanced at her watch. "We have to get back into the briefing, but don't worry Hopps. I'm no threat."
"It's not like that!"
Judy was left poleaxed and gaping like a fish as her feline friend trotted off to grab some coffee before the next session. She felt completely thrown by the conversation she'd just had. All she'd been looking for was confirmation that she wasn't stepping on toes by taking so much of Nick's time. Now, she had that and a lot to think about to boot.
That night there wasn't a lot of sleep for her. The reasons for her insomnia were extremely annoying and left her irate all morning. Talking to Emily removed the concern of whether she was still sleeping with Nick. It was also doubtful that he had any other partners, if he was that discriminating when it came to sex. Judy felt absurd for not asking him directly, but she'd only put it together for herself when she'd seen Officer Tufts in the first place.
Either way, it was a relief and easily confirmed with Nick, himself. However, the relief was also a concern—not the fact of it, but the degree. As the day wound down Judy found herself not only eager to see her foxy friend, but glad she didn't have to worry about sharing his time. The thought and its significance dawned on her as she trotted towards the reception desk and it slowed her to a plod.
Clawhauser was quick to pick up on her sudden change in mood. "Judy! Hey! Are… Are you ok?"
"I'm fine, Ben." Judy shook herself. "I think the day just caught up with me."
"Ouch." The cheetah winced. "These crosstraining days are always rough."
"I think an early night will do me some good." Judy picked up the pace towards the door. "I'll see you tomorrow, big guy!"
"I'll let Nick know you headed home."
Judy felt her shoulders loosen and her chest pinch. "Thank you!"
She ran all the way home. Running came naturally to her and she enjoyed it. Usually, it was like meditation for her. The rhythm of her feet slapping the pavement would help clear her mind and the endorphin rush was wonderful for destressing. This time, though, it didn't help. The clearer mind only served to highlight the things that worried her. Missing Nick that evening had relieved her and hurt. That wasn't a good sign. All the worries about addiction and Nick kept bubbling up to the surface as the pavement flew under her feet—every warning rattled through her mind.
She got home, emptied her pockets, and stripped as quickly as she could. The shower was no respite. Hot water removed the sweat and grime of the day from her fur, but only illustrated a new failure. She'd run all the way home just to avoid seeing her partner. That was the behavior of a kit and completely unlike her. Judy never ran from her problems. As long as she could identify the issue, she wouldn't stop until she had a solution in paw.
Her eyes popped open. She didn't know the issue. That right there was the problem. Something was bothering her and she didn't have the perspective to comprehend it.
The water snapped off and a towel found its way around her body as Judy scampered to her phone. Clicking it on filled her with a sense of guilt as she saw Nick's text.
Big Ben told me you hopped off when I got out. Everything ok?
She wanted to respond, but that wasn't wise. It would have to wait until she could think clearly. Instead, Judy scrolled through to her contacts and tapped the number for her mother's private line. Each of her parents had one and they were reserved for girl-talk and guy-talk respectively. They were also the only way anyone could guarantee a private conversation in the Hopps household. If Mom or Dad for a private call, everyone had to give them space. It was a household rule that Judy appreciated immensely.
As usual, her mother was quick to answer her private line. "Judy?"
"Hey, Bun-bun. Are you alright? You don't often call me directly."
"I'm fine, mostly. I'm just having a little girl trouble."
"As one, or with one?"
"As one. With a…" Judy sagged, knowing what was about to happen. "With a guy."
"A guy?" Her mother tittered. "As in a male?"
Judy rolled her eyes at the amusement in her mother's voice. "Yes, Mom, a male. I'm sure you're familiar with them. Maybe there are a few in the house?"
"Your sarcasm isn't appreciated," came her mother's prim retort.
Judy huffed in irritation. "Yes, I'm having guy trouble. I, Judy Hopps—the weird doe in the family who doesn't bother with dating—is having problems with a male. Go on, get it over with."
"I shouldn't have laughed. I'm sorry."
"So am I."
"No, Judy. I should be sorry." Her mother, to Judy's astonishment, sounded abashed. "You shouldn't. I know how hard things like these can be and laughing wasn't kind."
Judy cleared her throat. "How about we stop this before this gets really awkward. I'll talk to you later, mom."
"No! Judy, no. I'm listening."
"Yes. Now, tell me about this buck."
"He's… not a buck."
"Not a- it's Nick isn't it?"
Judy's heart was suddenly in her throat. "What do you mean?"
"It's Nick," Bonnie stated.
The surety in her mother's voice took the wind right out of Judy's sails.
"You don't sound disapproving," Judy ventured.
"I'm not. I figured if you were going to find a male it'd be one you connected with. You and he work so well together, so I thought if you found a guy and he's not a rabbit, then it would most likely be him. The tension in your voice when you asked what I meant was confirmation."
"You can't prove that."
"I'm mother to two-hundred-seventy-six kits and grandmother to twice that many. I know how to read you, Judy. Accept it."
"Good. Now, how long have you been dating?"
"We haven't been."
"Then you need help asking him out? I know foxes tend to let the female take the lead in these kinds of things."
"No… My question is a little less formal."
"That's an odd way to put it."
"Maybe you should just tell me what's bugging you and I'll see what I can do to help."
"Well, it starts off weird."
"Did you have a whole story about asking for a friend ready for this call?"
Judy pinched the bridge of her nose. "Yes."
"Oh. Would that be better and we can just pretend the rest of this conversation didn't happen?"
"No," Judy grated out. "There's no good way to do this, now."
"Then, just dive straight in."
Judy took a moment to consider her mother's words. There wasn't a good way for her to say anything, so treating it like a band-aid was probably best—the quicker the better.
"Nick and I have been sleeping together," Judy blurted. "It's been on and off with increasing frequency for a few months."
"And how is this a bad thing?"
"It's not exactly." Judy huddled into herself. "I ran into an ex of his."
"Oh… So, you need help confronting him?"
"No! Nothing like that. Their thing was years ago and I already talked to her. She isn't a threat."
"I'm still lost, then, Bun-bun."
"She said Nick was addictive. When they broke up she was hurting for a long time, like withdrawal, and I've been… looking for another fix more and more often. I'm scared, mom."
The coughed laugh that rattled through her phone jarred Judy badly.
"I'm sorry, Judy." Bonnie's words were a little amused and a little sad. "I'm not laughing because this is funny."
"Then why are you?"
"You were never interested in relationships, so you never had a real connection to anyone."
"Why is that funny? And what do you mean?"
"Judy, have you ever fallen in love? I mean something other than an initial attraction, or getting flustered after some flirting?"
"Then, it's a 'no'. You'd know if you had."
"Without question. You'd know."
"What does that mean?"
"It means you haven't had a real break up." Bonnie sighed heavily. "When you were a kit you saw your siblings dating, falling in love and ending up in tears sometimes, right?"
"Yeah. I always thought it was stupid."
"It was. Young love always is. That's usually when you first experience what you're going through, now."
"I have a crush?"
"No, Bun-bun. If you're sleeping with him, you aren't crushing. You're in a relationship."
"But it's only physical! I haven't even kissed him!"
The silence from the other end of the call was deafening.
"I think that's a first for me." Bonnie sounded genuinely confused. "You've been sleeping together but never once locked lips? Is that right?"
"Ye-yes…" Judy's face burned.
"I think that's the first time I've ever heard that."
"Thanks, mom," Judy grumbled miserably.
"Let me get this straight," Bonnie plowed on. "You've never kissed him and you're worried that you're addicted to him after a couple months of rutting?"
"Yes." Judy could hear her mother rubbing her face with a paw.
"You always were one to do things different." Before Judy could retort, Bonnie pressed on. "Judy, I understand you're worried, but you don't need to be. What you're going through is normal."
"What? How?" Judy scoffed. "I'm glad he's not here, but I miss him so much my stomach hurts. This is horrible."
"You're in love for the first time. It's always worse the first time."
"Bun-bun, love is a lot like a drug. I hate the comparison, but in some ways it's true," Bonnie groused. "Falling in love is a high like no other and falling out of it is as crushing as withdrawal."
"This isn't selling me on the whole 'being in love is a good thing' idea."
"It isn't something we can control, sweetheart. When I met your father, I hated him."
Judy couldn't help but laugh. "You what?"
"Utterly." Bonnie snorted. "He was an obnoxious moron. I mean, we were fifteen. Everyone's a moron at fifteen years old, but he was just… Something about him grated on my every nerve. I couldn't ignore him. Then, he did something unforgivable."
"What did he do?"
"He made me laugh." Bonnie snorted. "Suddenly he was charming instead of obnoxious and I had a problem. He was always around. I couldn't stop thinking about him. And then he was gone."
"Huh?" Judy sat up at the sudden twist. "What do you mean? He left?"
"Summer in our third year of high school he was sent off to distant relatives for a crash course in hydroponics. He was gone for two months. I'd never been so miserable."
"Aside from the obvious?" Bonne chuckled. "When he came back it was like the sun coming back. By then I'd talked to my mother and realized how I'd felt. As soon as I knew he was in town I found him, dragged him into the bushes and made sure he knew how I felt, too."
"Six months after we got our diplomas we went to the courthouse. It was the best decision I ever made and we haven't been apart for more than a day since."
"That's… really sweet, Mom."
"It is. Your father is the love of my life and I can't do without him. He's my addiction and one I will never give up." Bonnie's voice turned smug. "Now, you have to see about your own addiction."
"What do you mean?"
"Judy, you're in love with Nick. You're uncertain and you're in a frankly odd position."
"But!" Bonnie reasserted. "You have an easy fix."
"What would that prove?"
"Call it a challenge. If you can't stop kissing him, I win and you help me clean up after the harvest Festival."
"And if I can?"
"I'll eat my favorite dress."
Judy ended the call. There wasn't much give in her predicament and she had a course of action. Usually, that resulted in a very energetic rabbit charging off to do what was necessary. This time, however, there was hesitation. It was such a simple thing. All she had to do was kiss her partner and everything would resolve itself.
She lifted her phone and reread Nick's message. Painstakingly, she tapped out a reply.
Are you home?
His response arrived less than a minute later, but it felt like years.
Got home twenty minutes ago. Dinner's in the oven and I was about to grab a shower. What's up?
Judy knew her partner. His after-work showers weren't exactly quick. With a tail like his, he needed time to get it clean, conditioned, and then dry. The drying was the long part. Five minutes of water flow translated to a lot longer afterwards. Even with a fur blower it took half an hour, at least. Also, it was still cold. His winter coat was thick and slowed him down even more. It'd take him a long time to get done. Too long.
Hold off on the shower. I need to talk to you.
Uh-oh… Am I in trouble? Or did you have something else in mind?
Her chest fluttered and pinched.
I'll be there in twenty minutes.
She was out the door and halfway down the hall when she got a response.
Perfect! One order of anticipation with a side of anxiety for delivery, please. Is it free after 30 minutes?
Judy couldn't help but giggle. Now that she was moving, she felt better. His joking helped, too. It wasn't lost on her that her that she was happier because she was going to see him, either. She left the fox to enjoy the suspense as she rocketed to street level.
Of course, there was never a cab around when she needed one, so she pulled up the Zuber app and pinged it for a ride. The driver—a surly rhino who said nothing past confirming she was his fare—appeared a few minutes later. He drove with all the enthusiasm of an overworked schoolteacher, but was exceptionally skilled at catching yellow lights. Judy was climbing down from the enormous vehicle six minutes earlier than she'd told Nick she'd be arriving. The driver was gone as soon as the door shut, but Judy barely noticed. She was on a mission.
She rapped on Nick's door, trying to ignore the nervousness that was slowly building, again. Thankfully, she didn't have long to wait. The door opened after a handful of breaths.
Nick leaned against the doorjamb. "Quick delivery, I'll give you that."
"Har har, Slick." Judy retorted. "Very funny."
"Do you want to come in, or is it that bad?"
Judy pushed past him into the apartment, swatting him as she passed. She didn't miss the loosening of his shoulders as she did. He was nervous. Justifiably so. She'd left him in limbo, which was a bit mean of her, but it put them on roughly equal footing.
"To what do I owe this visit, Hopps?"
"Cutting right to the chase, huh?" She tossed over her shoulder as she climbed onto the couch.
"Would you prefer a little hospitality, first?" He simpered theatrically. "Coffee? Tea? Monster?"
Judy blinked. "Monster?"
Nick lurched forward and boomed a growl inches from her face, holding his claws up and raising his hackles. Judy jumped and shrieked, pulling back into the cushion.
"That's your monster, madam. Would you care for a biscuit to go with it?"
Judy scrambled to stand on the couch and launched herself at the fox. "You scruffy little…"
"Hey!" Nick laughed as his back hit the floor. "Who's scruffy looking?"
"I said 'little', you…" Judy flopped face first into his chest. "You are such a pain in the ass."
"One of the many services offered at Chez Wilde."
Judy giggled. The giggle became a laugh and didn't stop. Tension bled out of her as she sat astride her partner and laughed until she cried. His mirth joined hers and for a long minute there was nothing else.
It was so utterly clear.
She felt better, happier, and relieved in his presence. She craved his presence and touch as much as she hated their absence. He made her laugh. Everything about her fox mattered, from the attention he put into everyday tasks to the tenderness and passion he put into their lovemaking. He was the first male she'd felt truly comfortable with. He had become so important to her that she couldn't imagine life without him, now.
In love or addicted, she felt like an idiot for not realizing it sooner.
Judy reached down, cupping his face and leaned in. When their lips met for the first time, there was no chorus of angels, no orchestra played. The effect was tiny. The feeling of coming home—of being exactly where she wanted to be—drifted through her and then it all changed. The world shrank and the kiss deepened. Her grip strengthened and the need she felt for more grew with every instant that passed. This was what she wanted. Him.
She wasn't sure how long it was before she broke the kiss. She would have gladly never stopped, but there were a couple things that needed doing, first. Pulling away was difficult for her, not just because she wanted more, but because his paws were holding her waist and the back of her head just as firmly as she grasped him. The thrill that rolled through her was electric and she almost lost herself in another kiss, but stopped herself.
Holding herself away, she smiled down at her fox. "About that 'formality', thing…"