It had been two months since he last remembered that fateful day. It had actually been almost a year to this day, but it didn't matter since he didn't want to know when it exactly happened. If only it had never happened, then maybe he would still be alright. It was painful every time he thought about it, that's why he stopped thinking about it; that is, until today. Why had it happened to him? He didn't know why, only that it did. And that's what hurt the most.
The day seemed to go on forever and the dark clouds over head didn't help lift his mood. It had been raining everyday now for about four days. Normally this wouldn't have bothered him, but today he just didn't need to feel like the world was crying with him. He was all alone in his bedroom lying on his bed and his parents were out of town on a bike trip to California and living in Washington meant it would be a long trip. They after all only left the day earlier when the rain was light enough to drive on a motorcycle. He didn't want to be alone, being alone only meant heartache.
Halfheartedly he got off of his twin mattress and proceeded to his window; his long white stripped tail heavily following him. There he stood and watched as the world was drowned in rain and misery, never ending and always pounding everywhere. Almost like a statue he stayed motionless, leaning on the window sill and resting his forehead against the icy glass. The clear material fogged as he breathed and watched as the rainproof cars passed by outside. Eventually he became tired of this and decided to go downstairs and perhaps get his mind off of troubled pasts by eating. He knew it wasn't the best reason to eat and not the healthiest, but he needed something to clear his head.
Almost like a switch was triggered he pivoted around on his heel pad quickly and went out of his room. Being on the second floor he went down the cool metal spiral staircase which led directly to the kitchen. This was handy for when he wanted a late night snack. Many times before now he had used this quick route to escape from his parents when they proceeded to make love in the room right next to his. Oh how he hated that his parents were so close to him at night. Normally he actually liked to spend time with them, but nighttime was his domain to his privacy. Having them so close made it feel like he was constantly supervised, and it made his friends uneasy when they spent the night. Often times his parents would yell at them to tone it down or to go to sleep way before they ever planned too, that is if they planned to go to sleep at all.
Upon reaching the silver steel fridge, he remembered that he had already eaten everything the previous day and had to shop for more food using the money his parents left for him. Never the less he opened the cold door anyway. Maybe he was hoping there was some snack he had missed, or that food would magically appear. But no, it was as empty as it was yesterday. Unfazed by what he didn't see he closed the door and went to the pantry, but then stopped as he also remembered that he conveniently didn't like anything that was there to offer. The thought of prunes and peanut butter jars made his stomach churn and the need or want to eat evaded him.
Now no longer hungry and lack of edible food, he sunk into a deeper depression. He went into the living room and decided to watch television. Hopefully there was something funny on and that was what he needed. He sat on the overstuffed couch, nearly swallowing him whole, grabbed the remote and turned on the moderately sized flat screen TV. It beeped a simple melody as the box came to life; the first thing that was on was a show about a fighting couple, and how they never listened to each other or something. He didn't watch it for more than five seconds before turning the channel. The next show was about newlyweds. That was all it took for him to turn the TV off, throw the remote across the room, and go into a frenzy around the house.
Furious and unable to keep still he went to were his discarded shoes were and put them on in a fit of rage. He thought since he was so upset he would go to the store and get dinner. Grabbing a twenty and his red waterproof jacket he stormed out of the house and proceeded toward the store that was only half a mile away. Silently cursing to himself he went; his heavy, angry footstep in the water could be heard almost a block away. Fuming at his problems and how they emerged at the worst possible time he kept walking and walking, taking no heed to his surroundings and were he exactly was going.
Thinking he should have been at the store by now he found that he was no longer angry but wet and quite lost. In the midsts of his anger he must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and not knowing how long he had been walking he had no clue as to where he could be. None of the houses seemed to look familiar and he didn't know any of the street names he had come across since being lost.
This was quite odd since he knew the area around his house and most of the city very well. Although he didn't know street names apart from the one he lived on, he could transverse the small city, easily finding buildings and landmarks from living there so long.
"Damn, where am I?" The red panda asked to himself.
"I can't be lost, not now." He sighed "just how am I supposed to go to the store if don't know where it is?"
The simple conundrum of being lost was a little odd and new to him and if he thought about it...scary. But he knew better than to completely freak out, his rational side of his brain wouldn't allow it. The young male didn't know what to do. He had been upset earlier but now it seemed stupid that he was, after all that's what got him lost. The only thing he could do now was to look for a place to sit where the rain wouldn't get to him. So he looked around where he was to see if there was such a place. He didn't want to stand under a random person's patio and have people think he was a burglar or something. After a couple of minutes he found nothing that seemed reasonable. No he would simply have to go under a tree.
Sitting under the tree didn't seem all too bad to at first, sure the ground was bumpy and tad moist but it was the only makeshift shelter he could use. This would have to do until the rain let up. But this was Washington and when it rains, it rains.
"Who am I kidding? This rain will never stop; not for me at least."
He sighed to himself and wished he hadn't left. He would have gotten hungry by now but he would dry at his home; here he was soaking wet and starving. Some time had passed and it was getting late. The sky was getting darker and he could start to see his breath more visibly even in the dull light. Not to mention that the rain had not stopped either.
"I should have brought my winter coat. It might not be waterproof but I would be much warmer in it than this paper thin jacket."
He cursed at his misfortune again and huddled against himself at the trunk of the tree, hoping to keep warm. More time had passed and he had reluctantly but slowly fallen asleep. It was completely pitch black when he woke up, save for the street lamps on each block. For a moment he had forgotten where he was and how he got there. But slowly it came to him and he began to panic. He was freezing cold and has started shaking violently; if he stayed outside much longer he could get seriously ill. This was a problem for him since he has always been a sickly youth. He didn't feel sick but that didn't mean much since he always felt fine right before coming down with something harsh.
Now was the time to get moving and find his way home. The rained hadn't stopped but instead turned into heavy snowflakes. Coincidently it reminded him of descending puffs of cotton. Desperate to get home and worried what could happen to him at night he walked as fast as he could, since he was too cold to run. He had no idea what time it was or he was even going in the right direction. He had passable vision during the day, and at night he was practically blind. He had needed glasses for years but his parents had never bothered to get him any. Pretty soon he found himself so cold that it had numbed his legs and arms, his nose had long been past that point. He couldn't continue; his body rejected his commands to move. His breath was heavy and dry; despite him being soaked to the bone. He looked around him and tried to call for help, from anyone, but his voice was too weak and was barely audible to himself. Stumbling to the ground he faced the sky, fear consuming his dampened senses and with it darkness surrounded him.
The next thing he remembered was waking up and feeling rather dizzy and warm. He was laying down on something soft and firm, a bed no doubt, his body was wrapped in multiple blankets. He tried to move but couldn't; the sheets around him were preventing him from moving more than a few inches at a time. He tried to sit up but of course found it rather hard. When he sat up his head pounded; it felt like he was being struck by a sledge hammer. It wasn't long before he couldn't take it any longer and the world around him spun out of control. He collapsed backward onto the bed and saw a figure appear above his vision before he blacked out a second time.
When he awoke a second time he remembered where he was but didn't know what exactly his surroundings looked like. He didn't try to sit up knowing what would happen so instead he continued to lie down and craned his head around to see what the room was like. It was warm, which he was thankful for, and it smelled like cinnamon and cologne. The room was lit with a tall lantern which gave the room a warm comfortable feel to it. The walls were covered in dark red paint and lined with shelves with numerous novels of all sorts on them with a few cook books mixed in too. Besides the books there was a black dresser next to the bed. On top of it were a few trophies; trying to focus more on them from where he was at, he saw they were for tennis and football. Thinking over from everything he saw he guessed that who ever lived here was athletic and more educated than him.
"I see that you are finally awake." The voice came from the door to the room. It startled the young fur and caused him to jump a little despite the tight grasp of the sheets around him. He turned his head toward the door and saw that the voice belonged to a male tiger. Probably in his early teens, maybe twenty or twenty-one he quickly guessed.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." His voice was guarded and low. "I'll go away for now. You should probably get some more rest. You were almost frozen when I found you in the street." He seemed very uncomfortable and just stood there. His eyes darted from the fur on his bed to the few objects in his room; eyes never staying on one spot for too long.
After a few silent and uncomfortable moments the tiger started to very slowly turn and leave. It almost seemed like he wanted the other to say something but didn't want to push and scare the red panda.
In fact the other fur did want to say something; he just didn't know how to respond to the stranger who saved him. So after thinking quickly he said what came to his head first.
"My name is Max, thank you."
He suddenly felt very stupid and thought that was probably that dumbest thing he could have said. The tips of his ears went light red and they burned very slightly. For some reason he didn't want the tiger to know he was embarrassed and was thankful his fur was naturally a brown reddish color and that it hid his embarrassment easily.
The tiger let out a barely audible sigh; he himself almost didn't hear it. Cautiously he turned back to Max and forced himself into a weak smile. He hoped that it was convincing and that wasn't obvious that he didn't like the situation. When he saw that Max was blushing ever so softly his smile became less forced and he found the young fur's embarrassment to be kind of cute. Not that he would say that to him.
"No thanks are necessary, Max."
He paused and looked at Max and for a moment he smiled just a little bit wider and then it disappeared instantly all together.
"My name is Chester."
And as soon as he said that he turned quickly and left the room, leaving Max to stare at the sudden empty space where he was standing only mere moments ago.
Who knows how long Max lay there, staring motionless at the doorway. This was the most out of the ordinary he had ever experienced in his life. He didn't know what else to do or if he should do anything at all.
Finally after a little while he realized it must of looked stupid to just stare and decided to just rest some more; then he would be able to get up and thank Chester then maybe find his way back home. He could maybe even ask him if he could help. But the more he thought about asking Chester the more he felt like it was a dumb idea and decided to just fall back asleep.
It had been nearly a day since he last found the red panda, just lying unconscious and nearly frozen on the street. He had been shaking very softly and was dripping wet. The red jacket he had been wearing had done nothing to protect him from the cold and the rain that had been pelting the sidewalks and streets hours earlier. Normally Chester would have just kept on driving and left Max on the street, he had too many incidents where his generosity or kind nature had gotten him into a plethora of trouble. Too many times he had been hurt or ended up hurting someone else he cared about. He eventually just stopped caring about everything and everyone. But something in him told him that he just couldn't leave him there. So he decided reluctantly, but of his own will, to help him.
And it had been almost three hours since he had learned that his name was Max. It wasn't an unusual name; it sort of fit him, he thought to himself. To pass the time he decided to watch the TV; maybe there would be something on that could hold his attention long enough until Max would wake up. Normally he never watched television unless it was the new, but he had recently stopped watching even that due to the increase of violence and death on it. He was always miserable; he didn't need anything else to make it more apparent to himself.
It wasn't long before he couldn't stand what was showing and turned the TV off. Most of the time he would read here at his home or would go to the library and check out a new book and read it there. Whenever he went he went to the same spot every time. He would walk all the way to the back where no one would go near. It's not that he didn't like people, no, he just didn't want to converse with anyone. He actually liked the presence of having people around him, just not close and personal.
But right now all his books were in his bedroom with Max, and he could run the risk of him leaving and having him wake up alone. After all he didn't know him and Max might steal something if he left. Not that he thought he would, strangely. Mainly he was just concerned for Max's well being and didn't want him to be distressed. It was weird he thought, he had a stranger in his bed and wasn't all that worried about it.
After thinking about it for a few moments he had decided to make something to eat. Getting up from the sofa he made his way to the kitchen only a few feet from the living room. His kitchen was the one thing he spent his money on besides books and periodically going to the gym. It was large, compared to the one story house with only two bedrooms and one bath. It was easily the same size as the living room, which was big enough to fit around five people comfortably. The counters were dark granite and had a brilliant shine to them. All the appliances were stainless steel and colored with a faint cobalt blue to contrast with the pale red of the walls. There was recess lighting in the ceiling and under the dark mahogany cabinets. Unfortunately this had cost him all of his savings. He only worked part time at the bank as a teller and it provided him with just enough to live without being in debt.
He opened the twin door fridge and looked inside. It had been a while since he had last shopped for food and was running low. Fortunately he found two steaks he had been saving for a special occasion. For what special occasion he didn't know but he figured that he should cook them since they were on their last day. He set the meat on the counter and opened up a few cabinets and drawers, pulling out a frying pan that looked way too expensive, a cutting board, and a large serrated ceramic knife.
Placing the steaks on the cutting board he cut of the fat of the first one, he always hated the fat. He knew that it was healthy to have a little but he could stand the feel or taste of it in his mouth. It was when he was doing the same to the second steak when he thought of Max.
"Maybe I should give one of them to Max, maybe he'll be hungry when he wakes up."
Chester thought to himself.
"Would he even want steak?....Does he even eat steak? Well if he wakes up and wants it, I'll give it to him."
He then wondered if he should wake him up when the food was done to see if he even wanted any. But that thought was quickly thrown away; he didn't want to disturb him. After finally deciding on what he initially thought, he went back to preparing the steaks. When the steaks were nearly done he went back to the refrigerator and pulled out his favorite steak sauce. He then began to set the table near the kitchen.
His table wasn't nearly as polished as his kitchen; it was an ordinary oak table. Very dull in color, he hardly had any use for it. He never ate with anyone, so he never set it up or tried to make it appear nice. In fact he had recently used it only to fill the space between the living room and the kitchen. Maybe he had kept it hoping that one day he would have someone to eat with. But that possibility had faded from his heart long ago and now he figured that the only reason he was setting it up was for the off chance Max might want to eat.
Putting his best plate and silverware down on the table, the tiger went back to check on his steaks. They appeared to be perfect but he used the knife to cut into his steak and saw that it was perfect, at least to his tastes; it was slightly pink in the middle and the juice was running in tiny rivulets were he cut. A rich and succulent aroma had filled the kitchen when the steak was cooking, and now that they were done it had almost completely filled the whole house, as small as it was. It was weird he thought, most felines or even canines preferred their meat rare, but he rather enjoyed it medium rare. He knew it wasn't a big difference but he felt like it separated him from the crowd. In a way it pleased him and made him sad, sort of. It made it that much more difficult to socialize with others. He quickly dismissed both feelings and plated the steaks. He would sit and eat on the couch, if Max happened to wake up his steak would be on the table.
He was about to eat when he thought that maybe he should wake him up. The food wasn't going to stay hot for long and he didn't want to end up eating his and Max's only to find him waking up and starving later.
"I already said I didn't want to disturb him. But..."
He was having a debate on whether he should or shouldn't; and he was losing the battle to should.
"Okay, I'll go see if he wants any. He probably shouldn't be sleeping for so long anyway."
So the conflicted tiger got up and proceeded to wake up the stranger that was in his bed.
Max had easily fallen asleep when Chester had left the room; that was the easy part. The hard part was trying to sleep when all he dreamed about was the strange tiger who saved him. He woke up several times and had quickly gone out each time. He constantly tossed and turned in the bed, loosening the sheets that bound him to the mattress. He was having dreams he never thought he would about another man.
It had been almost a year since Victoria had cheated on him and he had caught her with his best friend. He had been so positive that he would spend the rest of his life with her. She was such a beautiful vixen, ruby red fur soft as velvet covered most of her delicate form, while her bosom was covered in a downy-like white fluff that trailed to her navel. Her body had all the right curves, to her ample chest and all the way to her round taught rear. Her voice was like an angel's, as corny as that sounds it was true. It was the one thing that had lead him to the rest of her. He had never gotten a kiss from her but he knew, at least he thought he knew, that time was all it took for them to build a truly happy relationship. Plus, he didn't want to rush her and scare her out of having sex with him. He might be a romantic but was after all he was still a guy, and guys want sex.
He would spend almost every night dreaming about her. Feeling her soft melon-like breasts under his left paw, trailing down her white fur with his other till it reached its target. Then he would slowly take her and make her his. But now, in Chester's bed, the only thing he dreamed about was Chester taking him under his tail.
The first time it happened he woke up rather startled and tried not to think about it. The second time he began to panic and told himself that he shouldn't have those thoughts or dreams. It wasn't natural or even right to think those thoughts and it made him sick in the stomach, but he still tried not to think about it and went back to sleep. But when the same dream kept coming right up to the fifth time, he knew something was wrong.
He was awake and didn't want to go back asleep; he didn't want to dream anymore, ever. Thankfully his head wasn't throbbing anymore and since he was no longer confined to the sheets he tried sitting up. He didn't want to risk standing up and passing out again. Like that was what he needed, to feel more pain and dream. After he sat up he noticed that all his clothes were gone and that he was hard too.
"Ohmygod! Where are my clothes? Why am I naked...? Holyshit! What the fuck? What's wrong with me?"
Max's mind was racing at a million miles an hour going nowhere. He was freaking out and didn't know what to do. Silently panicking to himself, he tried his best to calm down; which was easier said than done. At first he took deep breaths and willed himself to settle down. At first it didn't appear to work, but after several more breathes and moments his erection went away. Not moving and sitting down he made sure it stayed down. Now that all the mental commotion was over with, he began to worry that Chester might have noticed something had happened. So he stayed on the bed, motionless, sitting there with a pillow over his lap. Minutes passed and no one entered the room. He assumed that everything was clear and decided to look for his clothes.
Getting up slowly, his muscles burned. His whole body was weak and could barely hold the weight of his body. Being careful to prevent any more pain he began searching the room. He looked on the dresser to the shelves but everywhere he looked his clothing was nowhere to be found.
"Crap," He said under his breath, "he must have put them in the wash."
He thought for a moment, thinking about what he could do.
"Wait, it's been at least a couple of hours since he brought me here. He must have dried them by now."
Although he realized this, it did nothing to help him with his dilemma. After a last ditch effort to see if his clothes were in the restroom, a failed attempt, he returned to the bed and slumped down; it immediately brought a flare in his back. Nothing had seemed to go right for him recently; his parents leaving on their trip just when he became depressed, getting lost, losing consciousness and then finding himself in a stranger's house with no clothes on. It was all too much for him at the moment. In fact, he rationalized; it would probably be too much for any normal fur. The only thing that was in his favor was that he somehow managed not to get sick.
Without anything to wear he couldn't just simply leave, calling out to Chester for his clothes were out of the option because after the dreams he really didn't want to see him again. Or did he? No! He didn't and that was final. He would not succumb to those dreams; they weren't natural and probably only happened because he black out earlier.
While in the middle of his thoughts he noticed the aroma from the steaks. He had been so lost in his own mind he had been oblivious to the one food he favored most of all, not to say he didn't have a lot of favorites. His nose twitched in response to the tantalizing smell, his maw started to fill with saliva and his stomach ached for food. The succulent aroma enticed him to get up once more, despite his bodies' protest. Slowly moving toward the door, his foot pads making barely any noise against the dark wood of the floor, he went closer and closer to the door where the scent was coming from. He closed his eyes, walking on his toes and embracing the feeling of being pulled forward. When he was jerked from reality when the door, only a mere three feet from him now, suddenly went ajar and the surprise sent him stumbling forward toward the tiger that opened the door.
Chester had earlier taken off his shirt, thinking how hot it was, and now had been standing at the bedroom door for five minutes, debating on whether to open the door or not; apparently his earlier conviction had been lost with the removal of his shirt and the brief walk to his own bedroom. Almost trembling, he didn't know why, he feverishly reached out his large paw and put it on the door knob. He went still, almost like he had forgotten how to turn a handle when, without warning, he opened the door with enough force to send anyone on the other side flying.
What he saw made his eyes widen with shock, Max had apparently been standing on the other side, without anything on. His sudden intrusion had startled the red panda and Max had stumbled right into him. Without thinking he reactively caught him.
It all happened in slow motion and without thought. Max had lost his balance and he had caught him. Then, he had brought his body closer to his and wrapped his strong arms around him. Bringing his head down against Max's, his breathing had slowed as he inhaled the less dominate scent of the red panda in his embrace. It was definitely male like his own, but more fragile and delicate. He could feel Max's warm breath against the fur of his torso and the slow but rhythmic rising and falling of Max's chest against his own.
It wasn't until Max had said something while trying to pull away that he realized that Max was uncomfortable and wanted anything but this at the moment. He had earlier undressed Max, being all too careful to not peek at anything, and put his clothes into the washer and then in the dryer. So he had, in fact, seen him without clothes earlier; but he didn't do anything with that situation. It was the fact that he was holding him close to his body and not realizing it had stressed Max that embarrassed him the most. Profusely blushing in the face he jerked away and almost sent Max tumbling again.
"There's food on the dining table if you're hungry. If you don't want it then you don't have to eat it. And your clothes are in the dryer."
All while he was talking, he swiftly went into the living room, never looking back. He thought he heard Max say something but didn't respond.
"Just wait in the bedroom and I'll bring them to you. That way you aren't prancing around my house in the nude."
He hadn't meant to sound anything other than apologetic and humorous but he had instead sounded harsh and cold. He hurried to the dryer just outside in his garage, trying to make his blush go away. He opened the door connecting his living room and garage. Inside was sparse, he had enough money to live on but not to afford a car and eat. Reaching into the dryer he pulled out Max's clothes; they smelled of fresh citrus and faintly of detergent. Crudely folding them, he went back into the main section of his house, into the living room where he would then proceed back to his bedroom and hand Max his clothes.
He was hoping that as soon as Max got dressed he would refuse to eat and leave. That way he could forget about the whole situation and move on with his life. He had earlier wanted for Max to stay, if only for a little while, but now he couldn't wait for them to go their separate ways.