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.
As they drifted gracefully across the dance floor, Clarence Skunk smiled and gazed adoringly into Sabrina's eyes. "I've never seen you happier than you are today."
She looked away with a bashful smile, then met his gaze again. "It's easy to be happy when you've found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with." She stumbled slightly and caught herself. "Oops, sorry," she said, stifling a giggle. "This wedding dress isn't the easiest to dance in."
"It's okay." They made another turn. "Isn't it great to be in love?" he asked, enjoying the feel of Sabrina in his arms.
"Yes, it is."
As the dance continued, he led her backwards a few steps, and bumped into another couple. "Well, you two almost look like the perfect couple," said a familiar voice.
"Almost," said his partner, another familiar voice.
Clarence and Sabrina stopped and looked behind him at Chris Foxx and Cindy Lapine, who were still dancing with each other. "Well, it's... it's... We were just...", stammered Clarence.
"It's okay," said Cindy, smiling. "We were having fun watching you two."
"Speaking of perfect couples, what about those two?" Sabrina observed.
They all looked over to see Lee Evans and Susan Felin sliding smoothly in their direction, with a sinuous grace only felines can achieve.
"Hey, you don't grow up in Texas without learning to two-step," Lee observed.
Seconds later as the song ended, they were joined by Josh Fox and Debbye Squirrel. "Round robin's over," announced Debbye. She, Sabrina, Cindy and Susan all joined paws in their familiar Clique sign. A few seconds of chatter ensued between them, leaving the guys wondering how they could hear anything the others were saying when they were all talking at once.
The DJ began playing The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody. "Ooh, perfect timing," cooed Debbye, as she stepped over to put her arms around Lee. Susan and Josh likewise paired up.
Clarence gave Sabrina a kiss on the back of her paw, then gave it to Chris. "Your bride."
"And yours," Chris replied, doing the same with Cindy's paw.
"Soon," said Cindy, blushing. Clarence paused to admire how she looked in her bridesmaid's dress before pulling her close. She put her arms around him, and they started to move together slowly on the dance floor, enjoying how good it felt, how right it felt, to be with each other.
"Hey Cindy, did I look okay dancing with the others?" he finally asked her.
"You looked fine, Clare," she replied.
"I think your dance lessons helped. Thank you."
Cindy let out a sigh. "You looked lost in Sabrina's eyes."
"Well, I... She was b... b... beautiful in her dress."
She looked over at Sabrina wistfully. "Yes, she really is."
Clarence held her closer. "You're beautiful too."
"Does it bother you any seeing her get married to someone else?"
"Maybe a tiny bit." They continued their slow rhythm. "For one song, I thought about what it would be like if she were really mine."
Clarence let out a contented sigh. "If I had her, I wouldn't have you." He held her out and looked into her eyes. "Cindy, if Chris makes her as happy as you make me, I have no regrets."
She smiled warmly, her paws still locked behind his neck. "Neither do I, Clare. Neither do I."
He pulled her close to him once again. The song ended, and the DJ segued into Restless Heart's I'll Still Be Loving You. There had been a time when Clarence thought he couldn't live without Sabrina, if only he could make her see that. Now as he held Cindy close and danced with her, all he could think was, How did I get so lucky?
* * *
Another song later, the slow dance set ended. As the DJ started a more upbeat tune, two couples at the other end of the dance floor meandered back toward their seats. "Every time I go to a wedding," observed Marvin Badger to wife Rhonda, "it makes me think of ours."
"I think that's true for most married couples," she replied, picking up a punch cup from their table.
"Your wedding was fun," observed Zig Zag. "At least I knew more of the guests than I do here."
"I've run into three or four clients here," said James Sheppard.
Rhonda took a sip from the cup she was holding, then gave it a funny look. "I don't think this was mine. These cups all look alike."
"Probably no big deal," said Zig Zag, looking at the empty seats next to theirs. "I think they left a little bit ago."
Rhonda figured out which cup was hers as they sat down. "I should be mad at you for sending my husband away for two weeks!"
Zig Zag glanced at Marvin, then looked back at Rhonda. "Who else besides him could keep Clint and Marty on schedule?"
"You could do it," Rhonda replied.
"I've got to get Studio A ready to start shooting Silk Ribbons when they get back." Seeing Rhonda's unwavering gaze, Zig Zag turned to Marvin. "Okay, Marvin, you've got one week to spend some quality time with your wife. If you don't, I'm sending Clarence instead."
All four of them burst out laughing. "Yeah, right," said Rhonda. "Could you imagine Clarence trying to keep that crew under control."
"Yeah, imagine that," exclaimed Marvin, looking over to the dance floor where Clarence was still dancing with Cindy. Especially with Wanda in the lead role. "I'll do my best," he said to both of them, "but I'm going to have my hands full getting all the in-house shooting done this week before we take this crew on the road."
On to Chapter 1
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