Just Another Night in the Band

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Fandom Fanatics

Chapter 37 (v.1) - Chapter 37

Submitted: March 18, 2017

Reads: 75

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Submitted: March 18, 2017

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I spent the next two days holed up in my room, only coming out when I was sure a certain rabbit had left. She'd moved back to her apartment after what'd happened to Zariah, saying it'd be better for her to be close to the precinct until this case was finally solved. Not that it really mattered, since she still spent pretty much every free minute she had around here.

I've been a work-out nut since that last fight with the head doctor at Meadowbrook, it was the only thing that'd helped since I'd given up music at the time, but lately I'd thrown myself into it more than I ever have: push-ups until my arms went numb, running until my legs gave out. I told myself I was just making up for the two months I'd slacked off, but there was another voice in my head that just wouldn't stop spitting the real reason.

I was falling in love with Judy Hopps, something I hadn't even been sure I could do anymore, and like most mammals in my life, she'd let me crash and burn. All those times she'd said she felt safe with me, that she'd snuggled against me like we'd already been dating for months, it had all been complete bullshit. She'd just gotten me to trust her so I'd be more willing to help with the case, or whatever the hell she'd really been after. It killed me not knowing her real endgame, but I didn't trust myself not to lose it if I tried prying it out of her. I'd help her finish this, then I honestly didn't care if I never saw her face again.

At least, that was what I kept telling myself.

I was hanging by my knees from a ceiling pipe when her scent hit me, making me lose the half-brained count of the sit-ups I'd done. She didn't waste any time throwing the door open; I cursed myself for forgetting to lock it. She stopped just behind me, and I glared at her in the mirror hanging across from us.

"Oh, it's you," I grunted as I pushed through another. "What do you want?"

She crossed her arms, her foot thumping against the floor.

"You've been avoiding me since the shopping trip, Nick," she said tersely. "I want to know why."

I barked a laugh, forcing myself through three more before finally giving up. I let go of the bar, landing in a crouch in front of her.

"Don't give me that," I rose slowly, my glare never leaving hers. I crossed my arms. "You know exactly what this is about."

She growled, putting her paws on her hips. Her eyes were starting to waver, she was trying so hard to keep staring at my face. I smirked, deciding to use it to my advantage.

"You know, I've been called drool-worthy before," I reached out and swiped my thumb along her chin. "But I never thought that was literal."

Her jaw dropped; she jumped back with a squeak, covering her face with her paws.

"Oh my god…" it was a minute or two before she looked back up. She was getting flustered, perfect. "So…uh, i-is this is what you've been doing all this time?"

I rolled my eyes, shoving a paw through my hair.

"Well, yeah, I've gotta stay ripped," I crossed my arms again. "What, you really thought it was the music that kept fans coming back?"

She glowered at me, then looked away, her ears flushing pink.

"Well, it is pretty awesome," she mumbled, then shook her head, focusing on me. Or trying to, at least. "A-And I just didn't think foxes could get so…bulky."

I glanced down at myself, then shrugged.

"Normally, we can't, but I've got a myostatin deficiency," I scratched the back of my head, not sure why I was bothering to explain. "It's actually pretty common in Stonewood."

She blinked, looking confused.

"Stonewood?"

"Where my birth parents are from, they were refugees," I swallowed, my paw dropping. Why the hell was I telling her this? "Back then, there was only one hospital in the city that let foxes anywhere near it, and it just happened to be the worst one."

I rubbed my eyes; it was the first time I'd ever told this story, and it just had to be when I was pissed at her, at everything.

"My mom died a few hours after she had me, she lost too much blood," I gulped. "And my dad couldn't take care of me on his own. That's how he got involved with my godfather, it was pretty much the only job he could get that wouldn't leave us on the street."

I pushed my other paw through my hair, staring out the window. Clouds were starting to build, thunder rumbling in the distance. I shook my head.

"But a few weeks after I was baptized," I gulped, starting to choke a bit. "H-He ended up on the wrong side of a gun."

I heard her gasp, felt her tiny paws cling to the one hanging at my side.

"Oh, Nick…"

I pulled away before she could say anything else, going to my bed and grabbing the water bottle I'd tossed on it. I knocked back whatever was left, wiping my mouth with the back of my fist.

"I was only six months old when he died," I couldn't believe it. I'd spent the last two and a half days fuming over this damn bunny, and now here I was, holding back tears as I told her a story I'd never told anyone else. One I barely even knew myself. "I never knew him, or my mom; hell, I don't even know what they looked like!"

I threw the bottle at the floor, where it bounced and rolled away. Carrots stopped it with her foot, then bent down and picked it up. She stared down at it, toying with it as she talked.

"I-I may not know exactly what I did to you, Nick," she looked up, her eyes misty. "But I'm sorry, and before you say anything, I'm not just saying this out of pity. I really am sorry, Nick, for everything."

I expected her to start crying, and for a second, it seemed like she would. But then her shoulders stopped shaking, and when she looked back up at me, her eyes were clear. She gave me a small, unsure smile.

"And if you can still stand the sight of me, I'd love to go to the wedding with you," her ears flushed a bit. "I want to meet one of the mammals who helped make you the amazing fox you are."

My tail frizzed, wagging the slightest bit. Even though she was apparently clueless to how much she'd hurt me, she still seemed genuinely sorry about it. Part of me was dying to forgive her, to just throw everything out there and see where it went. But the other half still kept its guard up, my hackles raising as it told me over and over that she'd never really trust me, or could ever care about me like I did her. I wanted to shake the thoughts off, to throw them out of my head and stomp them into the dirt, but at the same time, I couldn't stop thinking they were right. That the first half of me was just reaching for an impossible dream, one I didn't deserve, anyway.

I came back to earth when a small paw took my wrist, and for a flash of a second, I thought it was Finnick, that everything that had happened the last twenty years was just a nightmare eleven-year-old me was having. But when I looked down, I didn't see a brown-eyed fennec kit in his favorite elephant costume. Instead, I saw a violet-eyed bunny in a Savage Wilde t-shirt, but she stared up at me with the same warmth, the same affection he always had. And it made my heart twist in the same exact way.

Maybe I do still have a chance, my heart raced at the thought of it. I glanced at the ceiling, doing something I hadn't since I was twelve. I prayed. Please, if anything goes right for me, let it be this…


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