Author Topic: [F] Tentative Connections*  (Read 5326 times)

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Offline Java

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[F] Tentative Connections*
« on: December 23, 2011, 09:12:13 AM »
I'm just a busy little beaver lately, with stories. I don't know. Have some long, rambly scenesetting. More sneezing to come in future parts, sit tight! And... there's humans in this, but anthro will be the one sneezing so. Yes.

Here's some slapdash concepts of Sonechka from a few days ago.

Enjoy!

---------------------------------------------------


"Hey, Cor, I'm gonna run down the street for a second, smoke break. Okay?"

Glancing up, the dark-haired bartender frowned at her one, one allotted bouncer for the night in mild confusion. "What? Jake, hey, no man, I'd be the only one on the floor, you know we're already understaffed tonight..."

Granted, it was also pretty dead-quiet in here tonight, no surprise for a weekday. A dozen humans, like she and Jake, and two or three token morphs comprised the entirety of the bar scene, and most of them slurring amiably amongst themselves or nursing their drinks broodingly in dark corners. Whatever, none of her business as long as they were keeping it down.

Shrugging, the bouncer seemed to have similar thoughts as he surveyed the population. "Yeah, but you'll be fine. Just ten minutes, honest, running to that store on the corner and right back. Nobody's said a peep all night."

"Yeah," Corinne grunted in annoyance. "That means the second you leave, they're gonna."

This was just bullshit. When she'd taken this gig almost a year ago, The Railroad had been far better staffed than this. Although its usual crowd fortunately did not include bikers, gangs, or the idiot college kids that typically caused trouble, there had been a decent handful of altercations and firm removals that she could recall. Recently, however, the manager and bar-owner, Paul, had been slowly whittling down the employees in the interest of a tighter budget. Whatever his game or motives were, Corinne had no idea. Hers would be the last position to go, she knew that much, but at this rate she was almost willing to duck and run before the going got much bleaker than this.

"Seriously, man, just... here, you make the drinks, I'll run and get whatever you need."

But there was apparently going to be no arguing with the meathead, cocky bastard was already backing towards the door with his palms open and a grin he probably thought was rakish and charming. "Ten minutes, Cor, honest." And then he was gone, and none too discreetly either if a few customers' glances were any indication.

Fucking jock. She hated that guy, would have been content with anyone else on their limited bouncer rotation but that full-of-himself, did-whatever-he-wanted sack of...

Ugh.

She bent down over her inventory with renewed annoyance, quietly fuming. It wasn't just Jake or Paul or the job or anyone in particular she'd been foul with, lately, but this kind of crap sure wasn't helping. Still, ten minutes had better be ten minutes. In the meantime, she knew her manager was upstairs, at least, and he was... well-armed. In a pinch. Hopefully.

Thus consumed with her ire, it was only the light double-tap of a glass on the counter that managed to eventually arrest her attention. Looking up in simmering annoyance, she met the expectant gaze of one of the few morphic customers in the bar. Oh, right. She fetched the customary bottle of single-malt and replenished the empty tumbler, met with only a silent nod of appreciation when it was topped off.

Morphs... Corinne certainly didn't mind them, quite the opposite in-fact, but they could be unpredictable. There was a slender jackrabbit and his honey back in one of the far corners tonight, they came in pretty often and were always polite enough to her, but the woman whose whiskey she'd just topped off was... something else. A wolverine, built tall, buxom and with visible, muscular strength in the set of her shoulders and arms, she suggested a fairly intimidating image. She was not impolite, by any means, she always paid her tab and kept her head down on her very frequent visits to this one specific little drinking establishment, but that quite frankly was about all she knew of the broody carnivore. She would come in, two or three nights a week sometimes and other times not for a month or more, yet always sit on the same stool at the end of the bar, hunched in the same posture, saying nothing to anyone and projecting the most severe aura of 'fuck off, don't mess with me' that Corinne had ever seen.

She could respect that. It didn't make her any less wary of the woman whose name she didn't even know, however, especially of a species not known for its even temper. When she'd asked Paul about the woman, her manager had only shrugged. "The wolvie? She's fine, just keep the glass full, she minds her own," he'd dismissed in annoyance. That had more or less been the end of that, Corinne had never quite dared to try and pester the morph with idle conversation, and the mustelid was so quiet otherwise that she often forgot she was there at all. Still, sometimes she had to wonder.

As always, the wolverine promptly went back to ignoring the world around her as soon as her glass was full, and so with a shrug Corinne resumed her inventory, ducking briefly below the counter to count out a few bottles of reserve.

And that, of course, was when the lazy calm of the evening was abruptly shattered. From her squatting position, she could hear the sudden escalation of voices that had until now only been a couple of guys talking loudly, but harmlessly near the door. 'Harmless' had apparently left equation, as their current levels of sobriety had plummeted enough to start some slurring shouting match about something Corinne couldn't even discern.

Hauling herself back to her feet, she rapped an empty glass sharply against the countertop and called over. "Hey! Jesus, take it outside, guys." If they wanted to grunt and chest-thump like apes, they could have at it, as far as she was concerned. Jake could deal with them on his way back.

"Fuck off, ya stupid slut," one of them snarled, a big man who could probably crack her head open as easily as he cracked his knuckles. "S'none'your bus-- business."

Corinne was already backing towards the phone on the wall behind her, an in-house line that went to Paul's office upstairs. "That's fine, just please. Outside."

"You as deaf as y'are dumb, dyke?" He grunted. "I said--"

"Fuck you, man, leave her outta it," the slightly-smaller but still well-muscled man he'd been arguing with interjected, giving the man a drunken shove. They were from different tables now, Corinne could see, the smaller of the men likely had asked Big and Ugly and his buddies to tone it down a bit. Pity his judgement was apparently just as impaired by alcohol, since Ugly's two cronies were suddenly both sliding out their chairs and rolling up their sleeves. Fucking wonderful.

She had Paul's number punched in and the receiver to her ear by the time the little guy had hit the floor, but there was only the frustrating beep of a busy signal in response. Ass, he'd probably taken it off the hook. There was shouting, chairs crashing, the sudden tell-tale sound of a beer bottle being broken open on a table's edge, and suddenly Corinne was in a panic. Fuck, did she race upstairs to grab Paul, dial the police? Was there enough time for either? She was going to personally strangle Jake herself when he got back, if there was anything left for the bouncer to come back to.

"KNOCK IT OFF," she shouted in a last ditch attempt, using the full capacity of her voice in the hopes of distracting the combatants or reaching her manager's attention upstairs. Instead, an empty bottle sailed towards her head. Quick reflexes and, sadly, a bit of experience in this sort of behavior had Corinne ducking to let it shatter on the wall behind her, raining down broken glass. But now she was furious, scared, and prone to doing something incredibly stupid. Like vaulting over the counter, blood pumping, with the intentions of either going for one of the toppled chairs or the fire extinguisher on the wall. Whichever she got to first, really.

Other customers were standing up now, some hooting and howling and others trying to desperately back away or quickly vacate the facilities. And then, suddenly, the wolverine was standing beside her, shoulders squared and jaw set, and for a brief, terrifying moment she thought the morph was going to jump into the fray. Drunken men could be ejected, bruises and cuts would heal, glass could be swept up and chairs righted, but she did not trust that lady not to open one or all of them from throat to groin like a can of sardines.

But she didn't. In three quick strides, the mustelid was on the combatants, hooking her paws under Ugly's meaty arms, and hauling him off with an impressive feat of strength.

"Time for you to leave, friend," she growled in a thick Slavic accent, as much a surprise to Corinne as hearing the greatest tally of words from the wolverine yet.

"Get yer paws off me you fuckin' animal," the big man spat, struggling to free himself from the morph's grasp. It was a considerable insult to a morph, but she seemed to be ignoring it as she dragged him to the door, unfazed by his attempts to jerk away.

Corinne was briefly worried about his two buddies jumping her as well, unsure whether she could take all of them at once regardless of her physical prowess or species reptation. But either the mustelid was lucky or she knew what she was doing -- the moment their leader was incarcerated in her iron grip, they stood back in obvious, frustrated confusion and discomfort. Anger cooled, the bartender skirted around the entire mess, glancing quickly to ensure that the beaten man on the floor was still moving, then went to open the door for the morph. She hefted Ugly into the street like a sack of potatoes, just as the wayward bouncer was returning with his pack of smokes. Simultaneously, Paul was suddenly pounding down the stairs from the second floor, and Ugly's friends were hastily scrambling past the wolverine, jostling her aside in their haste to flee the scene of their disruption.

"What," her manager snarled, taking stock of the broken glass, the bloody-mouthed man slowly picking himself up off the floor, bewildered bouncer and fuming bartender. To say nothing of the wolverine. "... the fuck is going on?"



---------------------------------------------------



She told herself that is pure, desperate insanity that had kept her from quitting on the spot then and there. But she needed the money and so the next night, once the mess had been cleared, bans issued, names taken, there she was again. Filling drink orders and wandering through her night in a confused haze. At least Paul had stuck here with a doorman and two discreetly-placed bouncers tonight, neither of them Jake. Good.

The wolverine was there again too, though this time the bartender kept snatching glances at her in an entirely different light.

"So," Corinne got finally, as she went to refill the wolverine's glass for the second time that night. She tried to ignore the persisting tremble of her hands as she poured. "I think it goes without saying that these are on the house tonight," she tried to joke, topping off the whiskey and then, after a beat, snatching up a fresh tumbler to pour a splash for herself as well. She wasn't supposed to drink on the clock, but this was a special circumstance, and Paul could just go to hell if ever found out and tried to give her shit about it.

The wolverine didn't respond beyond a slight, acknowledging nod of appreciation, taking a quick swallow from her refreshed glass. Corinne attempted to match her, but she was not accustomed to putting away the hard stuff with the frequency and quantity of her unexpected savior, and it burned all the way down. Resisting a cough, she wiped her eyes and played it off as an idle gesture.

The morphic woman kept ostensibly as usual, falling back into her brooding, but Corinne was not willing to let that display from the night previous go so easily. Not, at least, without one more basic courtesy.

"And does my champion have a name? I can't believe I've never actually asked before now..." And you always pay in cash, never say a word to anyone unless forced, never meet my eyes...

"Why would you?" The wolverine grunted, seeming annoyed. She flashed her tongue out to lick a stray droplet of whiskey from her muzzle, though, and responded anyway. "It's Sonechka."

Corinne cleared her throat uneasily, not willing to risk repeating the name and mangling it horribly. "Uh... don't suppose you have any nick-names? Ones I won't butcher?"

Now her fur-coated bar patron looked briefly confused, then frowned in thought. "... Sonja."

The human woman grinned, unable to resist the immediate comment that sprang to mind, no matter how silly and obscure it was. "That's pretty, I like it. Like Red Sonja, yeah?" She feigned a thrust with an imaginary sword, not actually expecting the other to catch on to her 80's B-Movie reference.

The wolverine blinked. "I...I love that film..."

And now Corinne blinked, disbelief flickering momentarily across her features as she simultaneously forgot all of her immediate woes, job-related and otherwise. Her stubbornness had paid off, apparently, and in an unexpectedly good way. "No shit? Man, even the folks I know who've seen it, they all think it's awful," she laughed.

The morph didn't quite crack a smile, but there was a slight shift in the otherwise solemnly moody cast of her brows, expression opening up minutely. "It is awful. That is why I love it."

"Exactly," Corinne chuckled, trying another swallow of whiskey and pleased when it went down better. She clicked the tumbler down and panned her gaze sideways for a moment, satisfied that the excitement seemed to have died down and the patrons were resuming their conversations and self-focus. She looked back to the wolverine, smiling softly. "Well, uh... Not-Red Sonja," she began, glancing at the mustelid's dark coat. "I'm Corinne. And I'll shut up about it after this, but I sure do appreciate your help." She held out a hand to the other, offering to seal the introduction.

Sonja eyed the hand guardedly for a moment or two, and Corinne almost quailed under the ferocious scrutiny of her gaze. She set her jaw and kept the arm outstretched, however, and was rewarded when the wolverine finally, cautiously took it into her paw. Her palms and fingertips were rough with calloused pads, and her claws strong and sharp, but Corinne kept her grip sure for the duration of a brief handshake.

"... you're welcome."

« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 07:37:35 AM by Furry-Sneezes »

Offline Java

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Re: Tentative Connections - F - human/anthro - multipart
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2011, 09:12:39 AM »

---------------------------------------------------



First impressions could indeed mean everything, and while her most recent encounter with the riotous patrons hadn't been the first time she'd seen the surly wolverine, Corinne would count it as the first actual meeting. And it seemed to have paid off.

Sonja was certainly not what anyone would call friendly. Gruff, maybe, or stoic. Sarcastic at best, but her vicious exterior did not extend entirely through to her personality. Just mostly. That small percentage of leeway was one that Corinne could work with, however. At the very least, the wolverine seemed interesting in a mysterious kind of way, and the brevity of their usual conversations was enough to keep the bartender's mind occupied during long, busy, frustrating, or just plain boring shifts.

If Sonja found her occasional comments or questions annoying, she didn't say so out loud. In fact, Corinne was pretty sure that the other woman might actually enjoy the exchanges as well, and for that precise reasoning -- she hardly seemed the type to be shy and elusive with her feelings. Still, the bartender did try to pay her back a little here and there. The morph was faithful as ever about paying her tab at the end of every night, but when Corinne started knocking off a drink or two under the guise of 'discounts in bulk', she'd only squinted suspiciously. No protest, though.

It went on like this for perhaps a month or two. As before, the wolverine did not come every night, or even every week, but she seemed to have something sufficiently worth escaping in her life, something that plagued her on a regular basis. That was what most patrons came for, at least. Escape, distraction. Corinne couldn't blame them, she often sought the same. Being paid for her efforts was just a nice plus.

Often they talked about horrible B movies, of which Sonja also seemed to be a fan. Sometimes the other patrons, sometimes things as silly and everyday as the weather. Even the mundane topics Corinne didn't mind, as she began to find herself genuinely looking forward to and savoring the wolverine's visits. God, was she actually entertaining a slow crush on a morph, or was that just the low-grade buzz of excitement at finding another person, human or not, to connect with? As an acquaintance, as a friend, she didn't care. It was something.

Some taste, too, she often added to herself with a wry smile.

It wasn't until a couple weeks before Christmas that Corinne actually worked up the nerve to test the waters of that same uncertain connection. "So," she prompted the wolverine one night during a lull, when she had nothing better to do but wipe down counters and glasses. "Do you work or...?"

Sonja blinked at her warily. "Yes..." At Corinne's prompting, arch-browed glance, she cleared her throat softly, set down the whiskey, and clarified a bit. "Ah... contract work, mostly. Sort of a... family de-- er. Business."

The human woman inclined her head slightly and smiled at the vague response. Contract work. What the hell did that mean? Maybe construction work or something, Sonja certainly didn't look like the type to sit behind a desk or work phones all day. Still, the wolverine seemed a bit uncomfortable, and Corinne's ulterior motives weren't contingent on the details.

"You get days off? Because, see, I got some time coming up, I was wondering if you wanted to... I dunno. Hang out or something."

"... hang out?"

"Yeah," Corinne shrugged, fighting not to lose her gumption. "Y'know, a movie or lunch or... that sort of thing."

Sonja still seemed baffled, narrowing the frosty blue of her eyes to a suspicious squint. "You want to hang out... with me?" Now she sounded slightly incredulous, a departure from her usual moods of annoyance, confusion, or both.

Corinne sighed in verging exasperation. "That's what I said."

"...Why?"

The human frowned and set down the glass she'd been polishing for an excess of five minutes or so. "Look, you don't have to, if you don't want to. It's fine. I'm not so good at this friend-making stuff, it just seems like we get along okay. Figured I'd toss it out there," she explained, and hoped she wasn't flush with chagrin. It had been a long shot...

"Yes," the wolverine said suddenly. It was Corinne's turn to look bewildered. "I'd... like to hang out."

The bartender bit her lip to contain the sudden urge to grin. "Y-yeah? Well shit, cool then. I um... I guess going out for a drink would be redundant," she chuckled. "But there's a place a few blocks down that serves pretty damned good hot wings. Sound okay?"

Sonja looked a little relieved, as if she'd been half-expecting Corinne to drag her off to some art gallery or fancy bistro. "That sounds very good. I'm free..." She thought for a moment. "Thursday?"

"Perfect." Snatching up a nearby cocktail napkin and a pen, she scribbled down the address of the wing joint and a time that seemed agreeable to both, then passed it across. Sonja tucked it inside a coat pocket, and quietly, Corinne pleaded that she wasn't just humoring her...



---------------------------------------------------



To her relief, Sonja did come lurking around the dive bar at their appointed time. It seemed a little strange, perhaps, exchanging one dingy underbelly joint for another in terms of their meetings, but this one happened to serve some pretty decent pub-style food during their daylight hours. Wings had also been a good choice. As Corinne had suspected, Sonja seemed to be an avid carnivore, and the sloppy effort of getting through the heavily sauced chicken was enough to fill any lulls in their conversation.

"I think this is like... the first time I've talked to you for more than ten minutes at a time," Corinne had to comment at least once during their neanderthalic lunch.

Sonja licked the sauce from her claws, and actually managed a small, sheepish close-mouthed smile. Corinne tried to avoid keeling over in surprise. "I am not much of a talker..."

"No worries, I yap enough for both of us," Corinne dismissed, wiping the back of a hand boorishly across her own mouth.

"Are you going to eat those?" The morphic inquired suddenly, nodding towards the little pile of picked-over bones Corinne had been discarding into an empty basket between them.

"The... bones?"

"Da."

Smiling in slight confusion, the human shook her head and nudged them closer to the wolverine. "Knock yourself out." Maybe she liked to gnaw on them? Who knew.

Sonja uncovered a drumstick with a few scraps of meat still clinging to it, as Corinne watched from the corner of her eye, amused. She'd been expecting her unlikely new friend to nibble at the shreds of flesh or fat or sauce, but she halted in her own chewing altogether as the morph popped the whole thing between her jaws. There was a muffled crack of the small femur suddenly shattering between her teeth, and then the easy crunch of her chewing through the splintered bone as easily as potato chips. Corinne stared openly as she swallowed, then reached for another and snapped it neatly in two with another quick chomp. Granted, Corinne could probably crush a chicken bone between even her flat human teeth with enough quickly-applied pressure, but Sonja wasn't just licking at the marrow, she was eating the whole damned thing.

"Shit, can you really digest that?" She gaped, just now noticing that her companion hadn't been adding any of her own discarded skeletons to the pile but apparently snapping them up all along. Jeez.

Sonja looked surprised by the question, then nodded slowly. "Not so much nutrition in the bone, but there is some... no sense wasting."

"Damn." Corinne wasn't sure if that was disturbing, arousing, or both. "That would wreck my stomach. You must have some hella jaw pressure, too."

The morph gave a slight shrug in response. "Not like a hyena, perhaps, but... strong enough." She swallowed another slurry of bone and marrow, washed it away with a sip of beer, then opened her mouth and pulled back her lip with one finger. It was just enough to display an impressively monstrous dentition, including a set of molars towards the back that seemed to be rotated inwards slightly. She tapped one of these with a claw. "Specialized, see? For crushing femurs."

Corinne swallowed against a well of... something. Nervousness, maybe excitement. "Jesus. The femurs of what?"

Sonja gave her a narrow-eyed look as she munched down another bone. "Whatever needs its femurs crushed."

The bartender actually snorted in amusement at that, catching the other's deadpan, dark sense of humor. She had no doubt that humans were certainly included in that list, at least in the realm of possibility. But she let it be, and nodded towards the untouched bundle of celery sticks gathered on one side of Sonja's own wing basket.

"Well, Miss Eats-Iron-And-Shits-The-Chain," she began, grinning when Sonja gave a short, stifled bark of genuine laughter. "Can I have your celery, then?" She'd briefly contemplated stealing a stick earlier, but the logical side of her brain had wisely intercepted that playful thought. Pilfering from a wolverine's plate, even in jest and even of something unwanted, was probably a good way to lose her hand.

Sonja wrinkled her nose and waved dismissively towards the loathsome green stalks. "Yes. Enjoy your tasteless plant matter."

"Oh, I will," Corinne smirked as she reached for a piece and crunched lazily through it. It was a welcome break from the assault of hot sauce, admittedly. She had a long-acquired taste for eye-watering spice that would make normal people run for the nearest body of water, but even she needed to pace herself.

Sonja didn't seem to be immune either, she noted with amusement, especially as the mustelid finally reached for a stack of napkins and turned away to clear her running nose.

"Kinda sneaks up on you, huh?" Corinne simpered lightly.

The wolverine bobbed her head in a nod, still turned from the table with the bundle of napkins gathered around her muzzle. Suddenly, she wrenched her eyes shut, tightened her shoulders, and expelled a violent, nose-clearing snort. "H--PFFSHH!"

Picking her head back up with a sniffle and sigh, Sonja managed to look mildly embarrassed. "Da, the sauce is... potent. Excuse."

"No worri-- wait, was that a sneeze?" Corinne interrupted herself when recognition belatedly caught up. As the wolverine ducked her head in another nod, her heart suddenly weakened and a small coil of want twisted through her stomach. "Aw, bless."

"Thank you..." She seemed alright again save for the occasional, tempting twitch of her nose with a follow-up sniffle. Corinne tried her best to ignore this, instead resuming their idle chatting as they picked over the remains of their meal and dregs of their beer.

By the time they were divvying up the check, however, an expression of irritated discomfort flickered across the wolverine's features. Overcome too quickly to turn herself away again, Sonja hastily snatched the remaining napkins from the table and covered up with a trembling release.

"Ht--IHPFFSSH!"

Again, quick and fervid, immediate in its relief as Sonja let her shoulders sag in the aftermath. "Excuse, again..."

It took this long for Corinne to sort her thoughts and reaction enough to respond. "Bless you, jeez." There was a brief pause, still with a handful of bills in hand, and then she prompted. "How do you say that in Russian?"

"What, 'bless you'?" A nod from the human encouraged her to continue even as she too counted out a share of the tip. "Eh, for a female friend... it is pronounced 'boot' zda-rova'," she enunciated carefully, around a series of renewed sniffles.

Corinne repeated it, and Sonja winced. "Stick to English, I think." She ducked the wadded napkin Corinne tossed at her, showing the first actual hint of a grin.

Friend. She'd said a female friend. Corinne felt giddy inside, like a girl holding hands with a crush for the first time.

With their meal paid, they stepped back out into the later afternoon sun, the wolverine still snuffling back what Corinne assumed to be the remains of the heat-induced excess. When Sonja hesitantly, guiltily admitted a prior engagement that prevented them for going anywhere else, the bartender tried not to take it too hard, nodding in understanding.

"It's cool, I'll um... see you at work, I guess, yeah? Thanks for coming, though, really. It was fun. Do it again?"

To her relief, the wolverine nodded without hesitation. "Of course, I..." She seemed to consider something heavily for a few beats, and then uncovered a cell phone from somewhere in her many-pocketed pants. "Here, give me your number, you can have mine."

Thus exchanged, Corinne was feeling in remarkably good spirits for the remainder of the afternoon, even greatly anticipating her next few shifts now more than ever.

Offline SnEeZy

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Re: Tentative Connections - F - human/anthro - multipart
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 11:04:57 AM »
oh wow, not bad :D

it being human and anthro co-existing made it pretty awesome, without falling back on familiar territory. sweet deal.

Offline oneofthree

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Re: Tentative Connections - F - human/anthro - multipart
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 07:00:26 AM »
I like this concept.  Although I have to admit, I kept imagining one of the badger-lords from the Redwall series... Man... I must've read those a dozen times each when I was younger.
Feel free to give me a message sometime.  I'm almost always up for a little RPing, or story ideas.
My elephant braiding her hair avatar by Moko

Offline Java

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Re: [F + Story] Tentative Connections multipart
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 04:12:45 AM »
Whoops, forgot to update this one on this forum. Here's the next part, finally!
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
The following day, Sonja was not at The Railroad. Her usual spot was empty, and her usual bottle of single-malt was full. Corinne didn't think much of it at first, there were days when even their most loyal patrons hung up their vices for the night, or at least opted to drink from home. By the beginning of the second week, however, her spirits at making a new friend (and how stupidly girlish did that sound of her, really) had begun to falter. At first, she'd worried that the wolverine was trying to avoid her for some reason, coming in on the nights that Corinne wasn't working. After a bit of discreet sleuthing from the bar's only other tender, however, it appeared that her unlikely contact was just missing in action altogether.
 
That was something of a relief, if it wasn't personal, but all the same it took until Friday night for her to work up the courage for a text message. That wasn't overstepping her boundaries, right? Sonja had initiated the number exchange and all, and probably she was just busy with family or something for the holidays.
 
Sitting on the back stoop of the bar on her smoke break, Corinne punched in a terse message with one hand while a rapidly-depleting filter dangled from the other.
 
'hey, everything ok? haven't seen u for a bit, missin our chats. save me from this boredom! ;('
 
That seemed neutral enough. She pressed send and went back to her smoke, fully not expecting a return text until later that night, if one came at all. No sooner had she taken another drag or two, however, than her phone was chirping a familiar little tone of announcement. Trying not to let her heart flutter in either dread or anticipation, Corinne skimmed the reply.
 
'Everything's okay, so sorry for disappearing. Got caught up at work.'
 
Corinne considered that. It read suspiciously like an excuse, but Sonja didn't exactly seem the type to bother making excuses either, so she'd give her the benefit of the doubt.
 
'ugh I know how that goes ;p do you get a night off soon?'
 
Send. Pause. Drag. Chirp.
 
'Tonight, actually. I was going to come down, but I'm getting a cold. Behaving and not drinking.'
 
She bit her lip and then chewed it thoughtfully at this admission. It still maybe sounded ... a bit like an excuse, but she was distracted and interested enough by the prospect of her friend with another form of sniffles that her mind didn't wander too far down the skeptic's path.
 
'aw jeez, can't catch a break huh? hmm whiskey maybe not as good as chicken soup and tea, lol. i'm off in a couple of hours, lemme know if u need anything from the outside world, i can drop it off'
 
Much bolder, but what the hell. If there was a genuine opportunity there, she'd jump on it.
 
'Running out of tissues and... everything, but I live across town. I don't think it's on your way.'
 
'really? why u come across town to our shitty little joint then? lol'
 
'It's cheap. And sometimes it's nice to away from your own neighborhood and shitty contacts :p'
 
Well, an emoticon was something, at least.
 
'point there. seriously don't mind swinging by tho. no worries if not, just want u better so I have my entertainment back!'
 
'Well, if you're crazy enough to drive over here, I'll pay you back for any supplies. 14 Water Street, just past the old East Station. Know where it is?'
 
She had no idea. East Station was in an even sketchier side of town than this one, but GPS had been invented for a reason. Perving on female morphic cohorts was surely hers, anyway.
 
'yepyep, see u after work then. kleenex, juice, etc.?'
 
'Please. Thanks, tovarich. I owe you one.'
 
She had to google that one, but grinned hard enough to hurt even before she'd identified the little pet name. She wanted her to come over. Or... well, maybe Corinne had discreetly bullied her into it, but at least she'd caved in and agreed. That had to count for something.
 
The rest of the shift, even all two hours of it, seemed to pass at an agonizing crawl. Breaking down the bar and counting out the till took eternities, and though she liked their new bouncer, she could have sworn he spent twice the usual time in shepherding out the last lingering drunks.
 
Paul was attempting to chat her up as he rattled his key in the lock, closing up for the night. But she was already halfway gone, leaving him yapping to himself.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Picking up a few supplies from the grocery was no effort on Corinne's part. Finding Sonja's building, however, was a far more troubling experience. Past East Station were the gangs and shoot-outs, and while the human was fit and street-smart, she couldn't help her knuckles from tightening on the steering wheel as she slowly coasted past windows with bars on them and cars on cinderblocks.
 
It would be a goddamned miracle if her own ride didn't end up in the same state, by the time she left.
 
Finally, she spied the sign for Water Street and followed the row of houses down until she came to number 14. She eyed the dingy brick building dubiously, but killed the engine and hauled her little bag of sickbed sundries into an arm. She double-checked the lock on all four doors and trunk of the car before trotting up the cement stoop. In lieu of knocking, she fired off a quick text to her friend.
 
'found you, lemme in!'
 
'Buzzing you in. I'm upstairs, second door on left in 5B.'
 
Once the front door was sprung, Corinne climbed to the second floor and knocked tentatively on the door in question. There was a rustle of movement from inside, before the door swung open to reveal Sonja's familiar tall, lanky shape looming in the entry. She looked rumpled and tired, dressed down from her usual kit into a simple pair of flannel pants and a tank top. Corinne resisted the urge to wet her lips or smile as she noted the wolverine's bare feet and slightly raw-looking nose. Sonja sniffled effortfully, passing the back of a wrist against her muzzle before glancing to Corinne's bounty.
 
"You're too good. Thank you," she sighed, accent thick with weariness and congestion but seeming genuinely appreciative. "How much?"
 
"Don't worry about it," Corinne waved, passing the bag off to the taller female. When Sonja gave her a hard look, however, she rolled her eyes and dug the receipt out of her coat pocket. "Sixteen-somethin', forget the change."
Producing a wallet from a table beside the door, Sonja passed her a twenty, which Corinne didn't bother to argue with. Instead, she cocked a brow towards the doorway and nodded. "You going to invite me in?" She'd rather assumed that by paying the wolverine a visit she'd at least get to step inside her flat for a couple minutes, but the morph seemed to hesitate on the suggestion.
 
"It's... not much to see."
 
"Oh. Well, I don't care."
 
An awkward moment passed between them, but Sonja yielded first. Laying the small half-circles of her ears back, she dropped her chin towards her chest and took a step back to widen the gape of the door. Corinne needed no further invitation and scooted quickly inside.
 
"I won't stay or anything, just lemme heat that soup up for yo--ooh," her cheerful voice died in surprise at the cramped room she'd been let into.
 
She expected a studio apartment, but frankly she'd seen walk-in closets bigger than the bare, minimalist room that Sonja occupied. Untreated floorboards and stained walls were hardly cured by the available furniture, a few stacked milk-crates, an iron bedframe and mattress that looked too short for the wolverine's long frame, and a tiny watercloset. There was no kitchen or anything vaguely resembling one, just a hotplate on one of the crates. The only thing to cure the frankly depressing cast of the space was a tiny television set and a potted plant near the single dingy window.
 
It was freezing in here, to boot.
 
"Do you have heat?"
 
"They shut it off last month," Sonja shrugged. "I do not mind, it was that or the electri-- IHSSH!"
 
She punctuated herself with a quick, nose-scrunching sneeze, recovering groggily with a sniffle and mumbled 'excuse.'
 
"Bless you."
 
The wolverine's fur likely gave her some good insulation, judging by the sparse covers on the bed, and no doubt she was used to the cold. Still. Rubbing her own arms even through the jacket, Corinne set her mouth in a frown.
 
"Well, uh... get back in bed, I'll get the soup going on...?" She glanced to the hot plate and a telling can opener next to it.
 
Nodding nonchalantly, Sonja set the bag down on a crate and dug one of the tissue boxes out before tearing it open with her claws. She loped lazily back over to the bed with it, flopping herself down a creak and groan from the support springs.
 
"Why do I feel like you pay more for your bar tab than you do in rent?" Corinne wondered carefully, trying not to offend her friend. The wolverine had never looked like she dressed, ate, or drank on a shoestring budget, but clearly she lived very frugally in her own home.
 
"Because I do," the wolverine sniffled, watching her quietly as she wrenched the soup can open and set it on the warming hot plate. "This bothers you?"
 
"N-no, it's not that," Corinne shrugged, standing back with her hands on hips. For lack of anything else to do in the meantime, however, she slowly wandered towards the bed where Sonja was sprawled, wiping a fresh square of tissues at her nose. "You can live however you want, yeah? I'm just too used to creature comforts, I guess," she laughed, and then abruptly stopped when she got close enough to see the handgun sitting on the end-crate next to the bed.
 
Okay.
 
Sonja had arched a brow expectantly, but Corinne said nothing, instead pointing to the edge of the bed with an inquiring look. The wolverine nodded, so she sat carefully beside the morph's prone form, as bodily close as she'd ever been. Despite the bold reminders that this woman was a tough customer, probably one she shouldn't even be messing with on a friendly level, the human felt her skin warm with the thought of their nearness.
 
"I lived on a park bench for almost a year," Sonja admitted, tilting her head back into the pillow and glancing around her, as if seeing the room for the first time. "This is a palace."
 
Oh.
 
"All in perspective, I guess. Though, uh...where did... do you shower?" Corinne wondered absent-mindedly, glancing around again.
 
"I work at a gym a few days a week, so. I shower there."
 
The barkeep tilted her head curiously, trying and failing to hide a smile. This morph was more and more interesting.
 
"The gym... like, as a trainer? What do you teach?"
 
"Mostly boxing, but I picked up a yoga and a self-defense class to help pay some bills."
 
Corinne looked over the dressed-down wolverine's long, muscular build. Yoga, right. She recalled the night she'd broken up that bar brawl, though, and flashed a smile. "Well shit, I think you need to teach me some of that. Then maybe I can bounce and bartend at the same time, huh?"
 
Sonja eyed her critically for a moment, licking her teeth, and finally smirked. "Probably not, tovarich. Though I would not put it past you to try."
 
Echoing the morph's sardonic grin with one of her own, Corinne tested the waters by knocking a loose fist playfully against her friend's hip. "Hey, now. I'm stronger than I look!"
 
The other woman flinched, and for a half-second Corinne fretted that she'd actually hurt or offended her. The sudden snarl of Sonja's lips away from elongated fangs was far more worrisome, making the human quickly recoil and start to rise from the bed, out of striking distance. Great, she'd pissed off a wolverine and now was going to be lucky if she didn't lose that hand.
 
"Shit, sorry, I didn't mean--"
 
The wolverine started to raise her claws, backing the smaller woman up another step.
 
"No, I have-- ha'AHSSH'u!" Flexing her muzzle up into what Corinne could now recognize as a pre-sneeze expression, Sonja snatched for another bundle of tissues to cover a shuddering second. "IHFSHHH--u!"
 
"Oh... bless you," she got out with a nervous laugh, letting the tension uncoil from her shoulders.
 
"Ugh, thanks." Sonja sniffled sharply, giving the edges of her nostrils another wincing swipe with the tissues before glancing up with an inscrutable expression. She seemed either amused or slightly hurt as she offered a flickering smile. "I scared you?"
 
"Hah, no. Maybe. A little," Corinne admitted as she sank back down to the edge of the bed.
 
"Is good, you can hit me." There was that smirk again, smoothing the momentary ripple of discomfort in their repartee. "Sometimes I deserve it." A chuckle, and then a nod to the hot plate. "I think the soup is done..."
 
Corinne startled and glanced back to where the little tin can was starting to bubble over and hiss as it melted onto the hot plate. "Oh, shi-- right, got it."
 
Plucking up a clean rag beside the plate, as good an oven mitt as any, she carefully lifted the can away from the heat source and clicked the plate off. A cursory search for a spoon or any kind of eating utensil yielded nothing, but Sonja was making a 'grabby hands' gesture from the bed, so with a mental shrug she brought the warmed soup-can over as it was.
 
"Classy eatin', there."
 
"Five star," Sonja agreed, sitting up to accept the can, though she shunned the impromptu heat buffer of the towel, the thick pads of her paws seeming to protect her well enough. "Ehr... four? Three? What is the rating?"
 
Corinne shrugged and grinned. "Hell if I know, I bartend at The Railroad, remember?"
 
They shared a laugh, Corinne tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she watched the morph eat from the corner of her eye. Sonja eschewed silverware altogether and was lapping contentedly at the tin of soup, alternating dog-like flicks of her tongue with little sips. Cute. The human bit her lip to contain a smile.
 
"Well, when you're feeling better, we can go out for wings again, yeah?" She tried, nudging the wolverine's crossed ankles.
 
"Da, it will clear out my sinuses," Sonja agreed, which earned a pleased smile from the smaller woman.
 
"Maybe a movie, too?"
 
This time the wolverine glanced at her thoughtfully for a second, almost earning a blush from Corinne, before clearing the air with a nod. "Yes, sure."
 
"Right, well. Good. Cool." The human glanced down at her hands shyly for a moment, debating on when exactly she would be overstaying her welcome, when Sonja sighed and set her soup aside half-eaten. She was rubbing at her eyes and nose again when Corinne looked back up, appearing the picture of sniffling misery. A little shiver as she settled back down against the pillows seemed to cinch the deal.
 
"Cold?"
 
"That's what it seems to be..."
 
Corinne rolled her eyes. "I meant are you cold. You look like shit. No offense."
 
Sonja smiled blearily. "None taken. I'm just... not feeling so well, sorry. Not much compa--" She turned, grimacing, and sneezed against the back of one forearm. "H'IHSHH!! Ah. Not much company."
 
"Bless. And s'okay, I can leave you alone. But, uh..." The bartender swept her gaze sideways across the tiny room for a moment, bolstering her courage. This would be forward, but what the hell. "Y'know, even if this is a palace and all, I've got a super comfortable couch at my place, a billion movies, food, heat..."
 
Sonja was looking at her blankly, one brow arched.
 
Corinne laced her fingertips together and fought a welling of discomfort. "If you get desperate."
 
"Are you gay?"
 
The question was so bluntly issued that it blindsided her for a moment, blinking awkwardly as she tried to reroute her train of thought. "I... uh, what?"
 
The wolverine blinked, pulling another tissue from the box and folding it under her nose. "Dinner, a movie, and now you are inviting me over? I am just wondering."
 
Damn. Either her flirting had been too obvious, or exactly as obvious as she'd intended and now she had to own up to it. Except the morph's penetrating stare was making that hope quickly wilt away. Recalling that she had to be a bit firm and not quail under Sonja's gaze to get anywhere with her, Corinne took a deep breath. When in doubt, deny like hell.
 
"Uh, yeah. I am. But this is just.. as friends, yeah? I'm not hittin' on you or anything, relax," she laughed, hoping her anxiousness didn't come through.
 
"Oh." Now the wolverine was looking off to the side, her tone sounding so upset that Corinne was now twice as perplexed.
 
Great, was this the moment when her silly crush was completely shattered? It would be disappointing as hell to find out that her new friend was homophobic, but better to learn that now than later. Corinne closed her eyes and swallowed.
 
"Is my sexuality a problem?"
 
"Ah, no," Sonja dismissed quickly. It relieved some of Corinne's worry, though not her confusion. If the morph had looked dismayed before, she seemed downright sheepish and sad now, ears low as she looked down at her paws. Very unusual, for a creature whose expressions were dominated by ominous glaring and the rare, odd little smirk. "I'm just... is it the species barrier?"
 
Corinne blinked, feeling like a broken record. "...what?"
 
Sonja blinked too and tapped her claws uncertainly against each other. "You said you weren't flirting, I am just wondering if you don't date morphs or if it is my... charming personality," she sighed, still not directly meeting Corinne's gaze. "I know I am not exactly attractive at the moment, regardless."
 
Oh. Oh.
 
"N-no! It's not that at all. I mean I didn't think that you, that I..." Clearing her throat, she closed her eyes and took another breath to sort out the sudden excited confusion of emotions in her head. She touched a hand carefully to the wolverine's side and tried again. "Trust me, I'm very interested. I just thought that you weren't. You're kinda hard to read. And I didn't want you to think I was a creeper or that we couldn't be just friends, no strings attached. Yeah?"
 
Sonja thought that over for a moment, nodding slowly. "I understand, I think. But, ah.... I am interested. Sorry, I'm not so good with showing emotions."
 
Corinne was trying to fight off an entirely different swell of emotion this time, that of giddy girlish joy at having her affections returned. Instead, she bit back another smile and, squirming, tried for a joke to lighten the mood. "Too Russian?"
 
Sonja took the stereotype jibe with a laugh, better than she'd expected. "Too Russian. And I am a poor boxer who drinks too much, da?" She rolled her eyes, then pulled her expression back into a stern glare with a greatly exaggerated, Americanized version of her accent. "But I am hopink that you are not insultink glorious Motherland, comrade."
 
"Hey come on," Corinne laughed. "You drink whiskey, not vodka. And you're not an international spy." She narrowed her eyes. "Right?"
 
"So far as you know," Sonja sniffled, eyeing her.
 
The pair shared a tense look, then dissolved into laughter.
 
"Yeah, an international spy who teaches yoga," Corinne teased and squirmed her fingertips over the wolverine's sides until she writhed and begged for a reprieve.
 
"Agh, stop, I'll sneeze on you!"
 
"Ah, what's a sneeze between friends?"
 
Privately, she mused that it would be the least of what she was willing to share with the other woman. Sitting back with a grin, the human looked down at the flushed and snuffling morph with amusement. She was beginning to see that Sonja's initial front of harsh, blunt antisociality was more a cover for her shyness, a social awkwardness more than anything. Corinne could roll with that. Sort of endearing, really.
 
"This probably could have gone a little smoother, huh?" She teased with a smile.
 
"This is very smooth, for me," Sonja confessed, then seemed to debate something for a few moments. Eventually, flicking her gaze aside, she got out what seemed to be an agonized inquiry. "Your, ah, offer, then. It still stands?"
 
Corinne felt her own bashfulness return, but nodded in quick agreement. "Of course, if you're up for it?"
 
The wolverine pushed herself upright again. "Yes, just..." She hesitated, bringing the back of one hand to her muzzle with a brief catch of breath. Corinne's stomach clenched with anticipation, but Sonja managed to sort herself out with a quick, muffled snort into a tissue. "Give me a few minutes?"
 
"S-sure."
 
Standing up and back again, Corinne saw to cleaning up the little bit of spilled soup from the cooled hot plate, while Sonja gathered her things. The wolverine didn't bother to change her clothes, but did tug on her usual boots and coat. By the time Corinne had polished the plate to a shine, her friend was once more towering and intimidating in her long jacket and broad shoulders. All but for the reddened tinge of her nose and the quiet expectancy in her eyes as she looked back to her.
 
"Sure about this?" Corinne asked cautiously, careful to give the morph an out if she needed one.
 
Sonja looked stricken for a moment, wetting her lips with a quick flash of pink tongue. "Of course, I ah..." Trailing to the window, she pried the blinds open with one claw and peeped outside. At what, the human couldn't imagine and decided she'd better not wonder about. "Da, let's go."
 
Frankly, the sooner they could get out of this neighborhood with few questions asked, the better for her. Corinne nodded.
 
"Okay. Leave the bag, I've got all that stuff at my place," she beckoned, before hustling her unexpected companion down the stairs to her waiting car (thankfully still in once piece). She'd tried very hard not to notice, when Sonja had gone to the window, that the handgun on the side table was now missing.
 
Not an international super spy. Just a morph who lived on a dime and taught boxing slash yoga at one of the local gyms. Right.

Offline oneofthree

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Re: [F + Story] Tentative Connections multipart
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 05:40:10 AM »
I feel like most relationships start like this.  Just... kind of awkwardly probing at each other for interest.
Feel free to give me a message sometime.  I'm almost always up for a little RPing, or story ideas.
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Offline T.U.F.F. Agent Tuckerson

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Re: [F] Tentative Connections*
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 04:14:01 AM »
Nice story and impressive animal knowledge. I happen to know a lot about animals myself, and I've been into hyenas lately. I can't get over the fact that they can eat big bones, such as bovine bones, in a way like a human eating chips. The wolverine is adorable, and awesome accent!
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