AN – I apologize profoundly for lack of update. You know when you know how you want every part in the story to go, but there's one part in it that you need but you can't do and it's slowly killing you? Enter my world.

"A boutique."

The animals stood in front of a small store with a frilly pink awning that announced in cursive "BOUTIQUE."

"You realize we're in California. We could go to pretty much any cool tourist attraction and you choose a clothing store."

Marlene rolled her eyes at Skipper's statement. "I wouldn't have come here if I didn't have a reason." She ran into the store and reappeared five seconds later wearing a pair of kid-sized sunglasses. Turning her nose into the air, she struck a variety of modelesque poses, leaving both of them in hysterics.

A few hours and many, many corn dogs later, they sat on the beach together, watching a party slowly die down as the sun followed the same pattern. The fact that neither said anything might seem awkward, but it made perfect sense to them.

Finally it got to an odd point and Skipper finally, in an attempt to make conversation, asked simply, "Can you tell me anything about what it was like here, you know, fifteen or so years ago?"

"Northern Cali, remember?" was her simplistic answer, although she had a faraway look in her eyes. The memories came flooding back.

"What is it?"

Taking a deep sigh, she searched for a good way to begin, finally pointing at a wave gently rolling onto the sand. "It was like that."


"Mommy? Daddy?"

"Where are you?"

The darkness overwhelmed the young otter's spirit, cutting into her soul like a knife. The crate's size would have felt small to some, but she was so young the empty space felt like the size of an entire universe.

Before she knew it, the treacherous ride was over and she was at a new place.





"C'mon guys, get some originality…Hi!"

Five young otters faced her. Named Maize, Megan, Mackenzie, Martha, and Madeleine, they greeted her with a Valley Girl too-preppy attitude. They quickly became friends, and were inseparable until she was woken up by the jostling of a crate again.

Three days she spent at a Denver zoo before going to a DC zoo. A week was there before she was shipped to New York.

"Whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait." Skipper said hurriedly, snapping her out of her daze. "You were sent to two zoos to go to a third?"

"You guys have been at New York all your life, right?" Deciding not to wait for his answer, she continued, "Because Burt told me they'd been delaying the opening of my habitat for the zoo's 90th anniversary."

"Affirmative… and affirmative." was the reply for both questions before the situation sunk in. "Sweet Mother MacArthur, did you go through a lot!"

"Eh, you get used it to it." Marlene modestly replied. By this time only a glimmer of sun remained in the sky. She quickly recognized the tension in the air, apologizing as she got up and made her way over to a lawn chair. Besides, only a young child flitting around like a butterfly still remained on the beach, she might mistake them for a pair of stuffed animals.

She suddenly turned around to see Skipper's mouth hanging open ever so slightly. She rolled her eyes, figuring he was just zoning off.

In reality, he'd been thinking that she'd never looked better than she had under the California sun.

It may have disappeared under the horizon, but in his eyes it was still there, clear as day.

Apologies for short update, long wait. Hope you liked it... Like I said, it was a filler. Next chapter is gonna be the defining one of the story. Hope you liked it!

Also - sorry for advertising, but my sister and I have opened a web show on YouTube. Check out our channel (AskUsWebShow) and please comment. Thanks... and again, sorry...