First Morning

by mwalimu

This story copyright © 2003 by Joe McCauley. Characters Cindy Lapine and Clarence Skunk are copyright Chris "Foxx" Yost and used with permission.

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.

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.

Cindy Lapine tried to rub some of the sleep out of her eyes as she opened them slightly. Sunlight was filtering around the edge of the curtains, and she rotated her head just enough to read the clock beside the bed. A couple of minutes after eight, about five and a half hours since she had last looked at it. More sleep was what most of her body clamored for, but one part of it was making a demand she couldn't ignore.

Reluctantly, she slid one foot out of the bed, and pushed the covers aside as it reached the floor, followed by the other. Steadying herself on the nightstand as she stood up, she pulled the covers back over where she had lain, knowing that for her brief absence they would retain most of the residual warmth, and dragged her feet across the honeymoon suite to the bathroom.

A minute later, having answered the demand and not wanting to return to bed with a foul taste in her mouth, she rinsed it and drank a few swallows of water. Stepping back into the suite, she gazed over at Clarence, the reason she was still tired. If anything, the skunk was more tired out than she. From across the room, her lapine ears picked up the sound of his steady, even breathing, indicating he was still deep in slumber. She was slightly more awake now as she returned to the bed, and it gave her a deep sense of satisfaction and contentment to see him lying there in the bed they had shared, hearing him breathe, savoring his scent, knowing this was the first of many mornings they would share.

Cindy sat gently on the bed and began to count on her fingers. Her heart skipped a beat when she got to number four, and she let out a satisfied sigh before forcing herself to go on. She had to use her other hand to finish. No wonder he was still asleep. Five and a half hours of sleep worked out to less than an hour for each time. Her meandering gaze stopped on the wedding bands on the nightstand, then wandered over to the pair of wine glasses that sat unused on the table across the room. She had forgotten to pack the bottle of wine, yet if she'd remembered, they probably wouldn't have made it past number three due to the effects of the alcohol. Funny how things have a way of working out.

Her musings gave rise to other desires that competed with her desire for more sleep. She had to get back into bed regardless, so she did, and moved closer to the object of those other desires. Even knowing Clarence would be doing his best to please her, it had been better than she expected, and as she replayed the night before in her mind, she was sure the feeling was mutual. It certainly explained why she had needed both hands to count. As Cindy settled beside him, she placed her hand on his chest, which was gently rising and falling, and basked in the warmth his body gave off. She told herself she really should let him sleep and get some more herself, but she wasn't sure if she would.

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