Ocean Depths part 7
By Roofles The Badger
"Our first date and you invite your friends to come tag along? How romantic," Lucas rolled his eyes looking at the menu in front of him.
"We've spent several nights together-," Carlson tried to explain before being cut off.
"Twice." Lucas flipped the menu over in his hands. Only a two sided menu, first date, with his friends tagging along. Such a wonderful afternoon this was all going to be.
"Second!" He continued ruffling up his fur. "This isn't a date. It's just- I had plans today, its Saturday! You were going to be left alone in the apartment so I just invited you along." Carlson scratched his chest with those blunt clawed, webbed paws. "And you would've met them anyways, eventually."
"Not on our first date," Lucas said a bit amused watching the fumbling otter. He had somehow found himself outside a small diner waiting for two people he had never even met before, on their first outing together.
Lunch had seemed like a good idea at the time. Only half way down the road had the otter have the gall to finally tell him that his friends were going to be tagging along. It was rather obvious how much the Otter had wanted him to come, probably afraid to tell the truth until it was too late. To be apart from him seemed too much for him to handle, as if the second his paws let him go he'd slip away like sand in the wind. So in the end he was stuck with coming along. The idea of jumping out the moving vehicle had come to mind, several times through the fifteen minute drive.
The restaurant was but a small mom and pop's diner run by their twin daughters, Miko and Mika. Mice, in the fur side of town. Only the slight tinged coloring of their fur could possible tell the difference between the two gray and white mice.
This wouldn't be much to the otter across from him, being in the fur side of town. But the fact of the matter was Lucas had entered a sort of homestead for Furs. A town that took up half the city, as if split down the middle. Several separate clusters dotted the various cities. Ranging from a simple night club, to a block. Others a neighborhood wide. Humans weren't prohibited per say here but more than likely would never be seen past those rural like boarders, marking the entrance and exit. A pair had started the movement. Two that would forever change the history of the world. Two that had overcome diversity and hate bringing about a change for everyone. Whether they wanted it or not.
These two had been assassinated on March 1st, during a peace rally. Gun down in broad daylight by a fanatic zealot. Whether human or fur, it wasn't confirmed. Either to prevent a civil war or to cover it all up, it wasn't clear. Both sides had theory and cover ups to match.
Maybe it was due to this fact that you wouldn't see a single human past those pearly gates if they had said one or another. Lucas wasn't sure why he was reliving his history class as he sat across from the otter.
He didn't mind coming to this place, though he had never been. It was just one of the core hubs for them to gather, interact and feel safe in. Maybe one day things would change, that invisible wall that separated the two society's would fall and crumble letting the two finally integrate into each other, but the differences were hard to look past for most and the history was branded deeply into both sides. Rather it was from the 'savages of the land' or 'the slavers of the sea' both sides held animosity throughout the years. Both had suffered, both had died. With neither side truly winning. And both sides losing greatly.
Lucas tried not to focus about the whole ordeal. It was easier not to. Ignorance was bliss. Even in these settings it was easier to focus on the two new threats that had joined them, the Calico cat and Stoat sitting down at the table joining them.
Burke was a stoat, though he looked more like a weasel. Lucas wasn't very familiar in telling the difference between close related species let alone when one of them turned out to be half of one and half of another. Hybrids were surprisingly a rare occasion that most easily over looked due to them usually taking the dominant species appearance. He was a very charming fellow, this stoat, much to his surprise. Burke greeted him with a firm handshake and a toothy grin, those eyes lingering a bit longer than Lucas felt comfortable with.
"Burke Roberts, pleasure's all mine." The boney fingers and curved claws were a bit rougher than the soft ones he had been growing used to. The fur was rougher than Carlson's; it was a deep jet brown that looked scruffy as if a comb had never gone through it. Inch long nails brushing his flesh, giving him chills as those long fang like teeth seemed to sparkle in the sunlight, hazelnut eyes looking him up and down.
Finally he let go taking his seat again, Lucas was already out of his comfort zone, as he turned towards the other. A calico cat, a bit taller than himself, most furs seemed to be due to their 'abnormal' ankles, digitigrade paws. Their physical prowess, equipped with natural claws and fangs already made them intimidating, let alone always having to look up at them. And in turn those sharp tooth muzzles looking down at you.
"Anders, Griswold." The Calico said sizing him up behind a thin rimmed half cut glasses. He had the most brilliant green eyes, with the trade mark cat slit pupils. The white fur was stunningly well groomed; splotches of black and orange made him look like he had taken a shower before someone bombarded him with a paintball gun.
Lucas offered a hand, again. Nervous to whether he would be getting it back or not this time around.
"This isn't a setup is it?" The cat coolie asked the otter who was still looking over the menu with a fervor intrigue trying to find out what to order. He kept flipping the menu back and forth scanning the list from top to bottom and back up again.
"This is Lucas, he's my date." Carlson said ripping his eyes away only long enough to give a sharp nod towards him, before gluing his gaze back to the menu.
"This isn't a date." Lucas rolled his eyes still offering a hand.
"Ok then." It seemed to be all Anders needed as clarification before grasping his hand rather firmly before pulling him into a tight hug. The air in his lungs crushed out of him as that furry face brushed his and those arms squeezed ever tighter. He was left standing, gasping for breath as Anders took his seat.
"So you two, huh? With a little bit of this? Little bit of that? Wink wink, nudge nudge type of stuff?" Burke continued to grin as he ordered coffee.The stoat never took his off him as if Lucas was a rather prized, delicious, mouth watering chicken he was planning to devour.
Lucas took his seat though he could feel the lingering eyes of the two that had joined them mixing with the stares from those walking by.
"We didn't do anything, yet." Carlson said laying down the menu finally deciding what he wanted, seemingly rather pleased with himself over the accomplishment. Already licking his lips. The otters voice was even and cool pulling off the lie perfectly with little effort seemingly put into it.
Lucas wasn't sure if he was upset that he'd lied or grateful that he hadn't shared the gritty details. Though he wasn't sure if giving head was the details the stoat was looking for. "I'm going to use the john real fast," the three looked at him a bit confused. "Restroom. It's just a saying," Lucas said waving them off, "be back in a sec." Lucas was more than happy to get the hell out of there for a second. Those eyes lingering on him until he finally made his way around the corner.
The second he was around the corner Burke began to lay into his friend for details.
"You guys, huh? I mean I know you got a thing for humans but," he whistled through pierced lips before grinning that toothy grin again, "at least you got a looker this time! The last was just so fugly. Plus he was a closeted douche wanker."
Carlson groaned burying his face in his paws. "It's not like that."
"Was this the guy you told us about a few weeks ago? That- what was it? Co-worker? Neighbor?" Anders said, getting a menu from Miko as she passed by.
"Neighbor! That was the one! Ha, I knew you'd get some of that if you just kept it up," Burke laughed slapping his knee. "That's our man!"
"It's not like that, we didn't do anything. I just helped him out when he needed it yet. One thing led to another and we-," Carlson pleaded.
"Ended up in the sack?" Anders finished, only having the otter glare at him.
"It's not like that!" He protested again rather loudly but childishly. As if they were in the school yard once more and they were teasing the poor otter that he had cooties.
"Sure, I could smell it from down the block. You're reeking of it, did you guys even take a shower this morning? Honestly." Burke took a victory sip at the look that came across the otters face.
Carlson sniffed under his arm, blushing a bit. "We fell asleep on the couch together. That's it."
"The two of you are l~overs," Burke swooned. "The two of you are butt b~uddies," Anders chimed in. "The two of you like to get down and d~iiiiirt-," Burke said slurring the last word.
The otter groaned loudly hiding his face under his paws.
"Nothing happened!" Carlson nearly shouted, the look he gave the stoat alone was enough to curdle milk. Burke practically jumped out of his seat; he quickly picked up his menu hiding behind it. Carlson looked over at the calico. Ander's didn't even flinch against that deathly stare. Finally giving in with a roll of his eyes and going back to his menu.
"I already know what I want for lunch. Besides it's not every day you bring yet another one in." Anders said idly.
"Another what?" Lucas said coming back taking his seat.
"Degree, at the university." Anders answered as the otter had completely tensed up.
"Oh," Lucas was a bit surprised, taking his seat. "What in?"
"Microbiology." Burke sipped his coffee, answering this time.
"Fish N' Chips," Carlson ordered thanking those above that he hadn't overheard and that his friends weren't about the spill the beans.
"Make that a double." Lucas said, "Coffee as well. Thank you."
Miko smiled, a bright blush filled her large ears as she took their menus. Taking a bit longer to take Lucas's as she looked at him.
"One of the special's," Anders said handing the menu over, snapping her back to attention.
"And a turkey melt for me," Burke finished, tossing the menu over to Anders who neatly caught and handed it to her.
It was a clear sunny day, warm and welcoming to the outdoors. Lucas was beginning to loosen up, relaxing in the warm sun and enjoying the day out.
Carlson cleared his throat, catching his attention. "It's on me."
"Really? You don't have to," Anders said.
"Thanks, owe you." Burke jumped in.
"I can cover myself. Don't worry about it," Lucas added, thanking Miko for mug of coffee. He surprised himself that he could tell the difference between the twins.
"I'm going to cover my date's lunch, these sobs," Carlson thumped over at them, leaning back in his seat. "Can pay for their own sorry asses."
"Thought this wasn't a date." Lucas said back, again the hints of amusement slipping into his voice.
"It is. Even with these sobs." Carlson smiled.
"Cute," Burke continued to sip his coffee.
"These sobs are still here." Anders flicked his whiskers.
"Well I'm rather pleased with the way things turned out," Burke went on. "Was worried things would turn out like last time. You two make a lovely couple."
"Last time?" Lucas asked.
"Shit," Carlson whined.
"Carlson's got a thing for Humans," Burke said, putting down the cup of coffee he had been nursing. "Well it wouldn't be the first time it's happened."
"What?" Lucas wasn't sure what had transpired. "I think I've missed something," he shifted in his seat.
"Nothing much other than this otter here," Anders continued where Burke left off point a thumb at the now very stiff looking Mustiladae, "got a human fetish. Can't get enough of them."
"Smooth and good," Burke added.
"Flesh and fur on the side." Anders tone was flat and even as always though the hints of a smile played across his face as he pushed the issue, using a common slang furs used when one was dating a hume.
"For fuck sake, both of you!" Carlson snapped tossing his hands into the air.
If Lucas felt awkward before. This was a whole new level.
"Don't worry, I'm sure you're a good guy," Burke said with a sly wink.
"Look I can explain," Carlson tried to interject.
"Well it was good meeting you while we had the chance." Anders said playing with his silverware.
"It probably wasn't as good as last night though, am I right?" Burke nudged him a couple of times before laughing.
"Burke, shut up!" Carlson barked, "Luke, I can explain."
"Explain how the last four guys you've been with have been of the fleshy persuasion?" Anders tactlessly said with a bit of a twisted smile.
"Anders, you're NOT helping!" Carlson glared maliciously at the cat.
"You got a thing for humans?" Lucas jumped back in. "How many have you been with?"
"Dozens!" Burke answered scooting a bit closer. "I mean don't get me wrong, you're the best looking one yet. But ever sense he was a cub this guy's been after your kind."
"Sense he was a kid?" Lucas laughed, maybe it was the fact he was so uncomfortable with the whole situation that he was able to deal with it, or possibly a morbid curiosity.
"Cause of his parents." Anders turned a bit more towards him, the three seemingly forgetting the frozen otter.
"What's the deal with his parents?" Lucas inquired.
"His step mum is a hume. Nice lady, really." Burke took his turn around.
"Really?" Lucas finally turned his attention back to the otter. "Why didn't this come up?"
"How's your family with this kind of stuff anyways?" Anders jumped in before the otter had a chance to answer.
"I don't talk with them anymore." He replied.
"None of your family?" Burke asked ears falling back.
"Nope. Moved here to get away from it all." Lucas shrugged.
"Oh, that's horrible. You poor thing." Miko said joining in their conversation as she refilled his coffee. "That must've been a hard for you."
"It wasn't some cake walk, but its life you just keep going through it. No biggie." Lucas waved it off. He thanked her as she went back inside, she still looking sad about the whole affair.
"What do you do for a living?" Anders asked changing the subject.
"I'm a co-manager of one of the shops down town. I manage the sales, clients, advertisement. It's all a real bore. I handle numbers, inputs and make sure everyone gets their bread and butter by the days end. The finer details of the business, keep the place running."
"Where at?" Burke nudged a bit further.
"Flora's delights." Lucas blushed a bit.
"The one with that snow leopard right?" Carlson finally managed to say over the other two.
"Yeah. Tim. Cool guy, keeps to himself mostly."
"You work at a flower shop? That's so...gay." Burke laughed.
"I'm fucking Carlson, so I think that's rather gay in itself." Lucas joked, forcing past the unease building in his chest.
"Luke!" Carlson barked covering his face again as a deep flush took it, filling his beady ears as they folded back.
The two looked at him for a second before Burke broke into laughter. "Hah! I so knew it!"
"Cute," Anders said looking at him. "Tim and I dated once."
"Small world." Lucas nodded.
"Small indeed," Anders joked drinking his coffee, a very cat grin curling at the end of his muzzle knowing more on the matter than he let on.
The three joked, enjoying their meals that arrived shortly afterwards. Carlson stayed silent throughout most the meal only adding a yes or no at various questions that were brought up throughout. He kept his focus on the man across from him, trying to figure out how Lucas was taking all of this. The setting wasn't exactly hospitable. The company not exactly ordinary. And yet he was handling this whole thing better than he could have ever hoped. Even with the subject coming up of 'A' single previous encounter.
It all was going swimmingly well. He was getting along with his friends. It was as if they were old friends from their school years, much like the three of them were. As if he had been part of their group since the beginning. It was only by the end of the meal when Anders and Lucas were talking about business that things began to turn downhill.
"So I can have a weekly order of the Queen's dozen for the café, paying every second Thursday for it?" Anders asked leaning on the table.
"As long as you pay first and last shipment upfront, we can arrange a separate account for you." Lucas said jotting a few notes down on his napkin. "Just call down during work hours and we'll arrange something."
Lucas wasn't sure what it was but it was rank, a smell that made him want to toss his lunch but as the water balloon hit him squire in the chest, he was too stunned to even breathe. An old beat up Chevy raced by, a group of furs hollering and hooting from the windows.
"Get the fuck out!" A male skunk shouted from the window before the car screeched around the corner and sped off.
Lucas was still a bit stunned, trying to wipe the foul liquid off his shirt. That stench clung to everything it touched making him gag. Anders practically falling over in his chair to get away from him in the process.
"That fucking, cunt sucker I'll gut him like a fish-," Burke growled jumping to his feet with half a mind to chase them down. That jet black fur standing on end, his fangs bared and the look on his face could make even the most veteran solider cringe.
"It's ok," Lucas said trying to keep things as calm and peaceful as they had been. Though Burke had scared even him with his outcry. "Sorry about the mess." He added still trying to get the most of it off now with a napkin hopelessly failing in the process.
Anders had very skittishly back away from him holding his nose. "Skunks." He hissed though, his ears folded sharply back his own fangs bared. "Douche rag didn't even have the balls to stick around."
"Cock sucking, clint licking prick!" Burke shouted, his shackles raising up as he shouted down the street the knife for his meal in he had used in paw twisting it in the air as if shanking the skunk.
"Shit, Lucas, you alright?" Carlson nearly jumped over the table to help him out, his ears down and tail tucked between his short legs.
"It's fine. Sorry 'bout this whole thing." Lucas apologized again trying to keep up a friendly demeanor. "It happens. No need to get all tail tied," he looked up at the otter. "That's the right phrase, right?"
"Yeah," Carlson practically whined wanting to hug him but his nose wrinkled up just being an arm's length away from him. "That stupid son of a bitch."
"Its alright, really. I mean I wish he said it not sprayed it, but each are entitled to their own opinion...I guess." Lucas said trying to calm himself down. Carlon's fur beginning to stand on end. He looked as if he was about to rip someone's throat out. "Well, it was a very nice outing. Really. But looks like I got to go take a shower, or two or a dozen." Lucas lifted his arms shaking his hands. "Real sorry about this, I can walk back if needed. No need to get your car all skunktified." He joked, his eyes getting watery. From the smell or how embarrassed he felt he wasn't sure.
"No, no. I'll drive you back. No worries. Really." Carlson insisted taking off his coat and putting it on him, as if it would dampen the smell.
"Thanks, Carl. I'll head to the car, then. Nice meeting you two." Lucas nodded before quickly heading to the parking lot his head down.
Anders nodded, his fur still on end covering his nose. "Next times on me!" Anders called after him before getting his stuff. "We'll do a moving outing! In a week or two!... And that's the last we'll ever see of the one decent hume," the cat frowned.
Burke gave him a wave over his shoulder still glaring down the road as if waiting for them to come back. "Damn pieces of shit..." he mumbled cleaning up his meal yet never straying his eyes from where they had vanished.
"I'll pay for this, then meet you there." Carlson called over to him running inside.
The smell alone was making him nauseated. He had to stay out of the car to get some air circulating just to be able to breath. This could've gone a lot better he admitted. He felt bad for ruining the meal; if he wasn't there things wouldn't have turned out like this. And now here he was reeking like last month's garbage. He figured something would happen if he came along. Not this, but it was bound to happen with his luck.
If people hadn't been staring before they sure were now. Even people across the street could smell it. Carrie covered in pigs blood must've felt more comfortable than he did right now. The stares, the whispers, people just pointing at him. He was sure it'd be on the news that evening. And he couldn't possible go into work like this. He wanted to just crawl into a ditch, fill the ditch up and die.
He turned his back on the gathering crowd, closing his eyes trying to be anywhere else. A warm paw touched his shoulder. Carlson smiling at him, even with a wrinkled nose. "We needed to take a shower anyways," he joked opening the door for him.
"Some date, huh?" Lucas climbed in putting the coat between him and the seat, hoping to not get it on the interior.
"It's not a date," Carlson said closing the door and hopping around to the other side. As he took his seat buckling himself in and rolling down all four windows he continued. "I'll be taking you on a date when you're de-skuntified." He forced himself to grin. "It'll be nice. Just the two of us. No skunks or anything," he gave him a quick air hug."Promise, next time will be better."
"Next time..." Lucas mumbled to himself looking out the window.