Clarence Skunk, Cindy Lapine, Wanda the Vixen, Susan Felin, Debbye Squirrel, Chris Foxx, Rodney and Ellen Lapine, and Mark the Lemur are copyright Chris Yost. Martin Lupina, Nathan Fenicus, Clint Aardwulf, Nancy David, Pacidy Angelou, Vernon Procyon, Miranda Civet, and most others not listed here are copyright Joe McCauley. Zig Zag is copyright Max Black Rabbit. Sabrina Mustelidae is copyright Eric W. Schwartz. James Sheppard, Rhonda Badger, Lilian Bartholomew, and Gypsy Coyote are copyright James Bruner. Marvin Badger is copyright James Bruner after a description by Chris Yost. Lee Evans is copyright Evan Mayerle. Joshua Fox is copyright Joshua Fox. Jake Mackelroy is copyright David S. Adrian. Kittiara Seng and "Callahans" are copyright Kittiara.
This story is copyright © 2003-2005 by Joe McCauley. This story may not be sold or used for commercial profit in any form or fashion. This story may not be modified in any way. This story may not be posted on any Internet site, archive, or newsgroup without the written permission of the author. Permission is granted for readers to produce an individual copy in print, magnetic or optical media for personal use only.
Characters listed as copyright this author may not be used in other works without the written permission of the author. Permission to use characters that are copyright other individuals was obtained prior to the appearance of said characters.
This is an independent work of fiction that is not canonical with any other work occurring in the same setting or featuring the same characters.
He hadn't gotten used to the hotel bed yet and figured he wouldn't get any more sleep, so Clarence got up and dressed himself. A few minutes before 6:00 he went downstairs to see if the breakfast lounge was open yet. The door was still locked, but as he turned to go back upstairs, a door on the opposite side and just down the hall opened, and out stepped a tired looking teenage squirrel femme carrying several grocery bags. "Good morning to ya, sir," she said with a smile as she stepped over beside him, then set down the bags in one paw and produced a set of keys, using one of them to unlock the door.
"Good morning to... to you," Clarence replied. "Can I help you with some of those?"
"Sure," she said as she pushed the door open, then reached inside to turn on the lights. "Nice to meet you. I'm Lisa Eichhornchen." Her southern accent, such as the word 'nice' coming out like 'naahse', was noticeable, and Clarence found it very appealing.
He followed her over to the service counter where she placed her bags, and he set the ones he was carrying beside them. "Clarence Skunk." He extended his paw, and she shook it.
"Where're ya from?"
"Ah, you must be part of that movie crew that's stayin' here."
Clarence wondered how much he should say. This girl didn't look old enough to be watching the sort of movies Double Z Studios produced. "Umm, yes, I'm with them."
She had put a filter into the coffee maker and was pouring a pouch of coffee into it. "We don't get too many groups like y'all."
"I wouldn't know. It's my first time doing this with them."
Lisa started the pot brewing, then repeated the process to start a pot of decaf. She then pulled some trays from cabinets under the counter and started arranging bagels on one tray and fruit on another. "Is there something I can do to help?" Clarence asked her.
"I can take care of everything."
"Well... I'm just a go-fer for the film crew. I just do whatever, uh, little stuff the crew needs done."
Lisa paused. "If you really want to help, there's a long tray down here." She pointed to one of the cabinets below the counter. "Could ya fill it about half full of ice."
He took the tray to the ice machine in the hall. He saw Lisa entering the door in the hallway she had emerged from earlier. After he put the tray of ice on the counter, the squirrel returned with a cardboard flat full of orange, cranberry, and other assorted fruit juices, which she arranged in the tray of ice.
"Do you live here?" Clarence asked.
"Sure do. The innkeeper's my pa."
"I bet you meet some interesting people here."
"Yeah, sometimes." Lisa paused to think a moment. "A few months back we had a snow leopard from Winnipeg stayin' here. Said he was drivin' around seeing different places, and kept talkin' about all the unusual souvenirs he found. His favorite was a swiveling Elvis hips clock."
"Huh? Sure, whatever," he chuckled. "So, what is there to do around here?"
"Depends on whatcha like. There's a rack of brochures out front."
"Is there anyplace to buy a book?"
"The convenience store over yonder has a few. So do the drugstore and the grocer downtown. For a real bookstore, you'd have to go to Macon."
Clarence grimaced. "Hmm, oh well..."
Lisa's voice went up a notch. "Have ya read the Furry Potter books?"
"No, not yet," he replied. "I hear they're very good."
"Kurt my brother is nuts over them," the squirrel replied. "I liked 'em too." She was now pulling single-serving boxes of cereal out and arranging them on the counter. "Say, since y'all are gonna be here a couple o' weeks, I could lend ya one of ours."
The skunk's face lit up. "Sure, I'd love to." Even notwithstanding that he would enjoy reading the books anyway, it was hard for Clarence to pass up a friendly gesture like that.
* * *
Seeing that the sky was overcast, Clarence checked the forecast on the weather channel when he returned to his room after breakfast and found out there was a chance of rain mid-day. Peering out through the sliding door off his room, he observed that the gray skies had not deterred Nancy from her morning swim.
Sure enough, he and the rest of the crew arrived at the estate to find out Clint and Marty had decided to shoot an indoor scene, at least for the morning. The front foyer of the mansion had a curved stairway where Rose would make her grand entrance. Aaron and Mark were setting up two cameras, Margo was mounting lights on stands, and Jason was hunched over the soundboard with headphones on. Clarence was plenty busy helping all of them as Margo tried various lighting angles and color filters to get just the right color tone and shadows for the shot, but he couldn't help noticing how much smaller the spacious foyer seemed by the time all the filming equipment was set up. As they were putting the finishing touches on the setup, Nancy walked through Wanda's part several times as they experimented with ways to mike her to best pick up her lines. Martin was watching over all of this and giving direction, but he also needed to get into costume, so as things shaped up, he delegated to Nancy and went back to the dressing rooms where Pacidy was already helping Wanda with her dress and hair style.
At long last, they were nearly ready for the shoot. The only problem that remained was where to put Wanda's microphone. There was no good way to attach it to her costume without it being visible, and since they weren't working on a studio set there was no overhead structure from which to suspend one.
"We can always dub the lines later back at the studio," Jason suggested.
"That's a possibility," Nancy replied, "but I'd rather get it live on the set if we can. What other options do we have?"
"The boom mike, if we can get someone to hold it."
Nancy looked around, and saw that Clarence had just finished helping Margo with something. "Clarence, come here. We've got a job for you."
The skunk looked over at the two of them. "Coming, ma'am."
As Jason unpacked and assembled the boom mike, he explained to Clarence how to hold it. "About four or five feet from the speaker works best. Any closer and it'll be hard for the editor to crop it out of the frame. And try to keep the end pointed at Wanda. It doesn't have to be too exact, but you don't want it turned sideways either..."
Clarence gulped. "Wanda?"
"That's right. She's the one you'll be shadowing."
"This scene is near the beginning of the movie," said Nancy. "It's Rose's grand entrance, her first appearance in the movie, and we want it to make a big impression on the viewer."
She had Clarence hold the boom mike as she ran through the scene a couple of times, getting input from Jason on how the sound was coming through, and from the cameramen on whether the mike was safely out of the frame. Marty appeared and began offering his own direction, complimenting all of them on how they were handling the situation while he was getting into costume.
At last, Wanda appeared in an elegant dress that was mostly true to the period, hanging below her knees, but with a couple of alterations to make it sexier. Her eyes lit up when she saw who was holding the microphone. They did a walkthrough of the scene, and Clarence was surprised with how well he was able to remain focused on the task despite working so close to Wanda. Then during the brief respite before setting up for the first take, at one point Clarence had the boom propped against his belt and extending at an upward angle. Upon seeing this, Wanda gave him a flutter of the eyelashes and said in her best southern drawl, "Why, Clarence..." It took him a few seconds to figure out what she meant, and when he did, his ears went pink. He quickly shifted the boom to a different position and turned toward the wall, afraid to see anyone else's reaction. When he turned back around, he only saw Nancy looking at him with a neutral expression.
Clarence was able to regain his composure for the first take. He reminded himself both he and Wanda had jobs to do. They spent over an hour going through several takes and making minor adjustments. For the most part she kept it professional, but when the cameras weren't rolling, Wanda loved trying to get a reaction out of the males on the crew, such as one time when she surreptitiously looked away and struck a pose that gave him and anyone else below her an eyeful of her stockinged legs. Most of them had done enough work on adult movie sets to be largely immune to such antics, but they unnerved Clarence, who had to muster control over himself. When Nancy finally called for a ten-minute break, Clarence was more than ready to duck out somewhere for a breather.
Creeping off into the upstairs hallway, he found his way into a small study he had noted before where he hoped no one would mind if he sat alone for a few minutes to clear his mind. After spending a couple of minutes doing some deep breathing, he opened his eyes and looked around. The room had several bookshelves filled with books, many of them hardbound, along with four easy chairs and some dark-stained wood end tables with lamps on them. On the table beside his chair were several books, and one of them was a book of poems of Robert Frost. Maybe reading some poetry will help me get relaxed and give me something else to think about, he thought as he opened the book and thumbed through it to see if any favorites caught his eye.
It only took a couple of minutes of reading in peace, and he was feeling much better. His reverie was interrupted when he heard someone else enter the room. Since he was facing away from the door, he continued reading, trying to ignore the presence of the other fur. All hope of that evaporated when the fur spoke. "Clarence, what are you reading?" The voice was unmistakably Wanda.
"Uh... uh... just some poetry."
Stopping behind him, she placed her paw on the back of the chair and leaned over. "What poem?"
He turned his head toward her, his nostrils picking up the scent of her fur mere inches away. "It's c... called Mending Wall."
"Hmmm." She smiled.
The pause was uncomfortable, and he had to do something to break it. "Do you want me to... to read it?" That sounded stupid. Maybe I shouldn't have offered.
Her eye ridges went up. "That would be nice."
He began reading where he had been when he was interrupted.
"He is all pine and I am apple orchard.He didn't stutter as he read, and found that reading brought back some of the relaxation he had been feeling before she entered.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense."
But when he finished the poem, she leaned over further, her breast touching his shoulder. "That was nice. You do poetry reading well." She gestured toward the book. "May I look?" Hesitating for a moment, he handed it to her, and she stood up straight once again. "Robert Frost. I know a few of his poems. There's one I remember..." She stepped around in front of his chair. "Oh, here it is...
Stopping By Woods On a Snowy EveningDo you like that one?"
Whose wood these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his wood fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Clarence swallowed, his thoughts a jumble. "Yes... I like that one too." Wanda had actually given the poem a pretty good reading, he had to admit.
"Do you have a favorite?"
"Uh, I uh... I like a lot of his poems. I don't have a favorite."
She handed him the book. "Can you read another one?"
Clarence checked the table of contents, then flipped to the page and began reading.
"The Road Not TakenHe read the rest of the poem, again feeling relaxed in a way he seldom did when he was this close to Wanda. As he finished, he noticed the admiring gaze she was giving him.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;"
"I'm impressed," the vixen remarked. "I didn't know you liked poetry."
"Um, yes," he replied, the angst returning as he shuddered under her gaze. "Sometimes I even, uh, write poetry."
"Oh, really?" There was a long pause as Wanda stepped around beside him. "What kind do you write?"
Why did I tell her that? I'm not too sure about where this conversation is heading. "I've written several love poems to Cindy." He paused to catch his breath. "I've written a... about other, uh, feelings I've had, and others I've thought about. I, uh..., I even wrote a couple of them to Sabrina." Oh, God, I shouldn't have said that. "I mean, back before, uh, before Cindy. When..."
"Who else have you written poems about?" Wanda interrupted. She leaned over in front of him and looked him in the eye. "Have you written any about me?"
By this time, Clarence's back was pressed against the chair as his butt cheeks were making a permanent impression in the cushion and his tail was trying to figure out where to hide. "Well, uh, I, uh..."
"Have you tried?" When the only reply he could get out was more incoherent stammering, she continued. "What would you say about me?"
"I don't know," he blurted out. Would she even want to know what I really thought about her?
She stood up and gazed off thoughtfully. "Okay, let me guess. You're afraid of me. You're afraid because you love Cindy and you don't want to hurt her, but you don't want to hurt me either." She paused to look him in the eye. "Maybe you even wish you weren't so shy because you know I like shy guys."
The skunk's eyes went wide as she said these things. No words came out of his mouth. Has she really figured me out that well?
"None of those things would be news to me." She struck a coquettish pose that fit her character and the dress she was wearing. "Nor would they offend me. I'm a big vixen." She stepped back, and she assumed a more businesslike tone. "Break's almost over. We need to get back to the set."
Clarence nodded. His body felt like lead, but somehow he forced himself to stand up.
As they started toward the door, Nancy peered into the room, giving them a double take as she recognized them. "Are you guys ready to go on?"
"Yes," said Wanda as they approached the door.
Nancy was still standing in the doorway when they reached her. She fixed them both with a gaze that stopped them in their tracks. "Is there something going on between you two?"
Clarence's knees went weak at this question, and he was glad when Wanda spoke up. "No, nothing really."
The otter gave her a skeptical look. "Don't give me that," said the assistant director. "I can tell something is going on between you two." She waited for her words to sink in as both of them averted their glances. "Look, I don't care what it is. All I know is we've got a movie to make. We've got schedules to keep. And I don't need any personality conflicts getting in the way of that. Whatever it is, you'd better get it worked out. Have I made myself clear?"
"Yes, ma'am," Clarence replied sullenly.
Wanda sighed, then said with a glimmer in her eye, "Yes, Teacher".
Nancy blinked, then smiled back at her. "Why you... Let's get back to the shoot."
What the heck was that about? Clarence wondered as the otter stepped out of the way and the three of them returned to the foyer. At least Nancy isn't as upset now as she seemed to be for a minute there. Now, if I can just keep my head on straight...
* * *
"Have you heard if the latest CD by the Barenaked Ladies is any good?" asked Susan as they stared at the display in the record store.
Cindy picked it up and looked at it. "Haven't heard about this one, but I like their music."
She put it back and they moved further along the display of top sellers. "Hello, Cindy. Haven't seen you in a while."
Cindy looked up to see where the voice was coming from and saw a hare wearing a polo shirt with the store logo on it. "Hi, Trevor. Do you work here?"
"Yes, I'm one of the store managers. What brings you here?"
"Nothing much. I'm just looking."
"Well, I'm about due for a break. Would you like to go next door and have something to drink?"
Cindy shifted uncomfortably as she tried to figure out how to respond. Her discomfiture was not lost on Susan. "Actually, we need to get going," said the lioness.
"Aw, too bad. It would have been fun to chat for a bit," Trevor replied. "Well, it was nice seeing you again."
Cindy smiled at him. "See you later."
Once they were a safe distance outside the store, Susan asked, "Somebody you didn't want to talk to, I take it?"
"Don't you remember?" Cindy replied. "He's the guy that asked me out the day Sabrina met Chris. He seemed pretty nice at the time, but by the time the date was halfway through, he was all paws and I couldn't wait for it to be over with."
"Oh yes, him. Now I remember. You could have just told him you have a boyfriend now."
"Yeah, I could've, but I don't need to use Clarence as an excuse to fend off a guy I would've turned down anyway." Cindy smiled thoughtfully. How ironic that when I go to the movies now, Clarence gets most of what Trevor wanted. Oh, he was plenty shy about it at first. It took quite a bit of encouragement before I finally got him to loosen up. They paused to look at the skirt on a mannequin in a store window. That one shows lots of leg. I wonder how irresistible it would make me. Damn, I miss Clarence.
* * *
Clarence was relieved to be done with the day's work and back in his hotel room. Wanda had behaved herself while they finished filming the scene, and they didn't have to work together any more after that. Still, the events from earlier in the day left him a bit frazzled. Cindy would be at work at Callahan's, and he wasn't sure he was in much of a state of mind to be talking to her anyway. I should be able to talk to her about anything, yet I still get uneasy at the thought of talking to her about Wanda. Finally he lay down, trying to relax a few minutes and sort out his thoughts.
He lay there, letting his mind drift, running the day's events through his mind to see if he could make some sense of it. She asked me if I'd write a poem. I'm not sure if I could. I never thought about writing a poem about someone like her. The idea troubled him, clouding his thoughts as his mind drifted.
From the end of the bed, he thought he heard a rustling noise. The skunk turned his head, and was shocked at what he saw. "Hello, Clarence," said Wanda in a low, seductive voice. The negligee she was wearing as she stood at the foot of his bed didn't leave much to the imagination. "I thought I'd come join you."
"W...W...W...Wanda, wha...what are you d...doing h...here?" he stammered out, frozen to his spot on the bed.
"I just wanted to spend some time with you, so I thought I'd come join you," she cooed, climbing onto the bed and sliding up beside him.
Clarence fought to scoot away from her, but his muscles wouldn't respond. "Er... ungh... I..."
"Oooh, being shy again. You know I find that so irresistible." Her upper body was up against him as her enticing scent reached his nostrils.
"Wanda, I... I c...can't. I have a g...girlfr...friend." By now he was tense and shaking all over. Only one part of his body would respond to his predicament, and it was the part he wished wouldn't respond.
"I know, Clarence, but I know you like me too." She was halfway on top of him now, pressing more of her body against him. "I can tell."
"W...Wanda, p...pl...please..." He couldn't move, being almost completely trapped beneath her, and the skunk was so nervous he was afraid he might spray. Trying his hardest to will his body to squirm out from beneath her, he shouted out, "Noooooooo..."
Suddenly he awakened with a jolt, his heart racing, and in a near panic, he looked around. He was alone in his hotel room, having fallen asleep. He lay his head back down as relief flooded over him. Thank goodness. I didn't think Wanda would really be that forward. As he stood up, he discovered one part of the dream had been real. This is confusing enough for me without YOU adding to it, he thought as he looked down at himself.
After a few more minutes to calm down and splash his face with some cool water, he had stopped shaking, but his mind was still a jumble. I need to talk to somebody about this, but who? He ran through several possibilities in his mind as he went fishing around in his suitcase for his address book.
* * *
Some 2700 miles to the northwest, a cat was preparing dinner for himself and his sister. Jake Mackelroy was searching his spices for a couple of ingredients when he was interrupted by the telephone. As was his habit, he checked the caller ID. Hmmm, Budgetail Inn, 478 area code. Who on earth would be calling me from... wherever that is? On the third ring, he picked up. "Hello."
"Uh... Hello, this is Clarence."
"Clarence! It's good to hear from you. How's life treating you?"
"Hmmm, well, okay, I guess."
"I have a feeling you wouldn't be calling me if everything was going perfect. First, if you don't mind my asking, where are you?"
"I'm in Georgia. The studio is filming on location here and I, um, ended up on the crew."
"You say that like you don't think you should be there."
"I wasn't su... supposed to be. Someone had an emergency so they... they asked me to come instead."
Jake thought a moment. "It sounds to me like you're in the right place. Is there a problem?"
He heard Clarence stutter incoherently for several seconds before he could get a sentence out. "Well, see... There's this one member of the cast." More stammering. "Wanda is her name..."
"Wanda the Vixen?"
"Umm... Yeah. How did you know?"
"She's one of the star actresses at Double Z. And I believe you've mentioned her a time or two before. So what's up with Wanda?"
"When she's around, she, uh... Well, she seems attracted to me. I get all nervous, and I worry about something happening that, well, you know... Cindy."
"Ah, I think I'm getting the picture."
"She's my girlfriend, and..." His voice trailed off.
"And you don't want to hurt her."
"Rr... right. I don't want to hurt Cindy. But not Wanda either. I mean, she's nice, but she's... I don't know!"
"A little too nice for comfort?"
"Umm... Yeah, I guess you could say that."
Jake let out a chuckle. "If you don't mind my asking, why did you agree to go on this trip if you knew you'd be working around her?"
"I thought... There's another fur on the crew who knows about Wanda and I, and I thought I'd be able to talk to him if I needed to."
"And what happened with that?"
"It turned out he was the one with the emergency. His wife got sick and was in the hospital. By the time I found out it was him, it was too late."
"Okay." Jake thought a moment. "Is there anyone with you who knows about the situation between you and Wanda?"
"No, not really... The assistant director knows there's something going on between us, but I don't think I can talk to her."
"Well, I don't know... She just doesn't feel like someone I can talk to."
"So basically, then, you're trying on your own to handle yourself around Wanda."
"And I take it it's not working very well?"
"She likes shy guys."
"Mm hmm." Jake paused again. "Do you have any idea how many guys would love to be in your position?"
Clarence groaned out a laugh. "Eh, yeah, quite a few, I guess."
"Sorry about that," the cat chuckled. "You were saying she likes shy guys?"
"I think Wanda is making me... I was taking a nap when we got back to the hotel today, and I had this dream about her. She was being real aggressive with me, real... personal."
"As in intimate?"
An unexpectedly long pause. "Yes."
"And how did that make you feel?"
"It really scared me. Scared the heck out of me."
"Do you have any idea what brought on that dream?"
"No, not really."
"Something that happened today, maybe?"
"We were shooting a scene this morning and I had to hold the mike to pick up her lines. She was flirting with all the guys on the set. Part of it was just the character she was playing..."
"She sounds like someone Zig Zag would want working for her. Go on."
"Anyway, she was flirting, and I think the other guys are more used to it than I am. When we took a break, I went off to be alone a few minutes. I found a book of poetry and started reading. Then Wanda found me. I don't think she was looking for me. I think it was just by accident. But she found me, and we... we started talking about poetry, and I told her I write poetry. Did I ever mention I write poems for Cindy sometimes?"
"Cindy certainly did."
"So anyway, Wanda asked if I'd written any about her."
"Okay, Clarence," Jake injected, "I think I have a hunch here. Is your poetry something you feel is very personal?"
There was a pause before Clarence replied. "Yes. When I share it with others, it's scary sometimes, because it's, you know, my feelings. When I'm writing it, it helps me think about my feelings so I can write about them."
"So when Wanda asked you about your poetry, she was asking about something that's very personal to you."
"Then I think that explains the dream you had."
"Well, I... Hey yeah, I think you're right." Jake could almost hear the thoughts clicking into place in the skunk's head from the other end of the line.
"That one wasn't too hard to figure out," Jake added.
"No, it makes sense now." The skunk sounded relieved.
"Okay, so now that we understand the dream, I suppose you want some advice on how to work with Wanda."
"I guess so."
"Tell me something, Clarence. How do you really feel about Wanda?"
"Wha... She's... It's Cindy I'm in love with!" He almost sounded defensive all of a sudden.
"Okay, I know that. Let me explain a bit. We have feelings of some kind about everybody we know, whether it's love, friendship, hate, fear, or a thousand other things. And you obviously have some feelings about Wanda. So I'm asking, what are those feelings?"
"Eh... I don't know! I'm afraid of her, because she's attracted to me. But I don't want to hurt her either. And in a way I kind of like her, I guess. I mean, she's very attractive, and... but..."
"Are you afraid she'll come between you and Cindy?"
"No, I don't... Well, maybe, kinda..."
"It sounds to me like you're not sure what all your feelings are for Wanda."
"Uh, I guess not."
"Maybe that's what you need to work on then. Figure out how you feel about Wanda, and that will help you to know how to act when you're around her."
"Okay, I guess."
"You don't sound too sure."
"I suppose not."
"Earlier you said that writing poetry helps you to sort out your feelings. Maybe you should try writing that poem about Wanda after all."
"I don't know..."
"Well it was just a suggestion. It's up to you of course. And you don't have to tell Wanda about it if you don't want to."
"Okay, I'll think about it."
"See about finding someone else there you can talk to about Wanda. I know it may be difficult for you, but at least try.
"Okay, I'll try."
They talked for a few more minutes about other things. After they hung up, Clarence lay back on his bed, smiling. It felt good to talk it over with Jake. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about Wanda, but now I feel more confident that I can handle her. At least a little more. He let out a sigh and frowned a bit. How the heck am I going to come up with a poem about Wanda? He took a deep breath, reminding himself that he didn't have to do it if he didn't really want to.
But something inside him told him he should give it a try.
On to Chapter 6
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