Chapter 10 of Recovery Efforts

The Sun Also Rises

   Cat yawned and stretched over the bedcovers. The pink-orange sunlight that cascaded through the balcony windows warmed her fur and roused her from sleep. Wakefulness was helped along by a full bladder and the realization that she was alone in the bed. Alder, she figured, must have nipped out to fetch breakfast.

   The rabbit sat up stiffly, her joints and muscles complaining about the awkward sexual position of the previous night. She yawned and passed her paws several times from her forehead to her nose. Amusement tugged at her lips; she could still smell him in the fur of her fingers. The smile broadened into a grin; she could still feel him in her, too, between the lingering wetness and her nerve endings still chuntering about the cat’s bristles.

   Scratching her belly, she eased out of bed and tottered to the washroom to attend to her morning business. When she walked back out, she caught sight of Alder on the balcony, to which he had relocated one of the chairs from the table inside the room. The puma was reclining nude in the chair with his feet crossed over one another and propped on the railing, toes wriggling in the morning sun. His left arm curled over the top of his head and its paw played absentmindedly with his right ear, just above where the mobile phone in his right paw was pressed. 

   The big cat was keeping his voice down to avoid waking the bunny. Now that she was awake, though, she couldn’t help but overhear him. She stood at the foot of the bed, one ear pinned back self-consciously and the other twisted forward toward the balcony door that stood slightly ajar.

“…no,” he was saying, “it’s in the kitchen cabinet, far left door on the bottom…. Well, that’s where I keep it, so…. No, I’m not suggesting that you misplaced it; I’m outright telling you that you must have set it down somewhere after you used it last and forgot where that is…. It’s not an accusation, dammit; I just know you well enough that… Oh, for the love of… Yes, that would be helpful.” The call ended and he lowered his phone.

   Alder uncrossed his feet and rested the pads of his toes against the rail, claws poking out against the polished wood. The phone rang again, this time with a video call. Answering it he sat up, planting his feet on the ground and holding the phone up, so his face could be seen by the camera.

   The rabbit didn’t know what he was talking about, or with whom, but the obvious domestic familiarity made something in her chest tighten. She frowned and sat on the bed, wanting to stop listening, but unable to. On the screen she could just make out the face of a voxie cat, but couldn’t tell much more at a distance. It might have been another puma; it might have been a lion, or a caracal, or…

   “Well! Hello again!” Alder chirped in mock surprise.

   Cat could hear the feminine voice of the person on the other end say, “Yeah, ‘hi’ to you too, asshole. You wanna help me out here?” Her accent was similar to Alder’s.

   He chuckled. “Yeah, flip to the rear camera so I can look around the place…”—the view on the screen changed—“…Okay, now pan around. Slower, damn it. Everything’s blurry.”

   “You’re a real pain in the ass, you know?”

   “The feeling’s mutu— What the hell? The place was not that fucked up when I left. You’re cleaning all of that shit up before I get ba—” He barked out a laugh before covering his muzzle to keep down the noise. “You dork! It’s on the counter next to the sink. The green and yellow box. Says, ‘plant food’?”

   There was silence on the other end.

   Cat could hear the smile in his voice. “Told y—”

   “Oh, stuff it, peapod.”

   Alder cringed. “Goddamn it, Mim!”

   A giggle came from the phone as the view switched back around. “All right, all right! Fuck you’re sensitive. Now that I’ve found the stuff, I’ll feed your precious plants. But you still owe me.”

   He threw his head back. “What the hell do you want?”

   “Been on my feet a lot,” the lady on the other end said. “Give me one of your foot massages when you get home and we’ll call it even.”

   “Mim,”—the sigh that escaped him seemed to have come from his toes—“fine. Whatever. Just take care of—”

   He was cut off by a gasp from the woman. “Whoa!”

   “What now, Mimsy?”

   “Dude, your bunny is fuckin’ hot!”

   Cat’s ears both perked.

   Alder chuffed. “Damn right she’s…wait. I haven’t sent you a picture. How would you know?”

   “The window, genius. I can see her. Ask her if she’s got a sister. Or a brother. Ooh! Or a sister and a brother!”

   “She’s a rabbit, Mim. Of course she has…” The puma turned and the half-confused, half-irritated twist of his muzzle gave way to a huge, toothy grin when he saw her. He jumped up and came through the door. “Cat! G’mornin’, bun. I hope I didn’t wake you.”

   She shook her head, still lost. “No, I just needed the toilet.”

   “Uh, bud,” came the other woman’s voice, “could you move the phone? The camera’s pointing at your junk.”

   Alder’s ears burned bright red as he lifted the phone and said, muzzle wrinkling in an embarrassed snarl, “Sorry.”

   “Thanks. That’s going to be a tough image to get out of my head. Mind pointing back at the bunny?”

   “Oh, bite me. It’s nothing you haven’t seen.”

   “Sure, but she’s cuter.”

   Cat’s face was beginning to surpass confusion and drift into anger. She pointed at the phone and whispered, “I’m a bit confused here, tree. Who is that?”

   The other woman cackled on the line. “Yeah, numbnuts, introduce me to your beautiful, naked, bunny friend.”

   An abashed Alder scratched his chest and replied, “Ah, sorry, girls. Cataría Caird,”—he gestured to the puma on the phone screen—“this annoying ass is Mimosa Matsubayashi. Mim,”—his paw swung back to indicate the rabbit—“Cat.”

   Mimosa flashed a lopsided smile and waved at her phone. This puma carried slightly more weight than Alder did. The softer lines of her face and neck were just enough to differentiate between the cats; otherwise, they might have been…

   “Hey, Cat!” she chirruped. “What that dickhead failed to mention in his introduction is that I’m his older sister.”

   In a soft tone that suggested a regular response to a old inside joke, Alder grumbled, “Older by less than a minute doesn’t count.”

   “Does, too.”

   Cat, breathing easier, gave a half-hearted wave . “Ah, sister! Aye, of course, he’s talked about you a little.”

   The puma on the screen squealed, “That accent! Oh my god, it’s adorable!”

   “Thanks?”

   “So, yeah…about that sister and-or brother…” as she trailed off, Mim’s pink tongue snaked out to wrap across one side of her muzzle, followed the thick, dark line the bordered her nose, and slid to the other side where it vanished again. The spark in the puma’s eye revealed that the motion had been far from unconscious and stressed a hunger which had little to do with her stomach.

   Cat blinked at the screen, stammering, “I— Well…aye, I do. But—”

   Alder turned the phone to face him and asked, “Mim, never mind that they’d be on the other side of the ocean; is now really the best time to be prowling tail?”

   She giggled and said, “It is always the best time to be prowling for tail. Oh! Speaking of: did y’all get it on?”

   “Mimsy!” Alder croaked, “For fuck’s sake! I’m hanging up, ‘kay?”

   She tittered over the phone, “You did! Rawr! Keep hydrated, bud. Don’t forget to stretch: you ain’t as young as you used to be. Talk to ya some other time, bunny!”

   Alder tapped the end icon and tossed the phone onto the bed with a muttered curse and asked, concerned by the strange expression on the rabbit’s face, “You okay, bun?”

   She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. “Yeah.”

   He sat next to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her to him and resting his chin on her head. 

   “You sure? You’re looking stressed out…and you’re shaking,” he added with concern.

   Cat was keenly aware that her ears were quivering, folded against her back. She nodded. “Old wounds, tree.”

   “Something gave you flashbacks to the bad old times?”

   “Aye.”

   Alder licked the top of her head with his broad tongue and kissed the base of one of her ears, then whispered, “Will it help to talk about it?”

   “I don’t know. It’s just,”—her paw, pressed to his chest, tightened it’s grip a bit—“the way you were talking with her. I could hear a lot of it. Not…not trying tae, y’know? Not eavesdropping; I just heard. But…”

   He tightened his embrace and stroked her arm with his paw. “But…?”

   “It sounded like you could have been talking tae a girlfriend, or a wife, or…something, which was painful enough tae think about. I mean, you said that you’re not…but people lie and I know I can’t always trust myself tae recognize it when they do. But your tone was so…casually mean, like. I couldn’t help but think of Paul, and an old feeling sort of bubbled up tae the surface. I got scared that you might be…” She sniffed and rubbed a paw across her face.

   “Shh. It’s all right,” he cooed. “I’m not perfect, Cat. I have plenty of flaws. I can be every bit the shit-headed asshole that Mim loves to say I am. But I won’t tomcat around on you and I won’t ever hurt you on purpose. Mimsy and I are like that because we grew up together. We know that we’ve got each other’s backs and that the name-calling doesn’t amount to anything.”

   “Aye, my family’s the same. Stupid of me not tae consider that,” Cat sniffled gave a small, self-deprecating laugh.

   “Nonsense, bun. After what you were through, it’s natural to be cautiously pessimistic. I’m here whenever you need me, though.” He paused, shook his head and concluded, “Well, not here, but you know what I mean.”

   “Eh?” Cat asked, sitting up and lifting her ears.

The puma patted her on the thigh and smiled. “Two days until my flight back to the States. After that, I guess I’ll have to be here”—he pointed to his phone on the bed—“for you, instead.” His smile faltered, his whiskers drooped, and his ears flicked back. What had started as word play now loomed as some bleak precipice toward which they were drifting.

   The rabbit’s ears flopped hard against her back and her eyes took on a dark, distant expression. “Aye.”

   They sat on the bed, each momentarily lost in their own thoughts. The calls of seabirds drifted in from the balcony with the scents of salt water and warming concrete. The rabbit stood after a few minutes and walked to the window. She gazed through the glass at the glittering water that stretched out into the haze of the horizon. Her claws tapped on the glass without rhythm.

   “Tree?” she lilted, still facing the window.

   “Yeah, bun?”

   “Would ye have it another way?” She didn’t turn to the puma, but her right ear lifted from the fur of her back, pointing toward him.

   “Pardon?” Alder asked, confused by her wording.

   “Five days, Alder,” she said. “That’s all the time we’ve had together. All we really know aboot each other is that we have similar tastes in trivial shite and that we’re both toting baggage from botched relationships. So, would you really want this tae continue between us?”

   The big cat’s muzzle twisted to the left, his left eye squinted, and his left ear swiveled down and to the side. The tip of his tail flicked and quivered over the bed covers. 

   He huffed, “Seriously?”

   She turned with a sigh and flopped down in the one chair that was still inside the room. She leaned forward, perched on the edge of the seat, twining her fingers and pressing her fur-fringed thumbs together. Her ears both faced up and forward, leaning slightly over her face. Their thin, translucent forms took on a muted orange glow with the sunlight that passed through them from the window behind. Blood vessels showed as a dark red, chaotic lace.

   “I don’t know,” she said. “What I said before is still true. I want this. I want us tae be close, like last night on the beach, in the bar…and, aye, in the shower. I want tae know more about you and for you tae know more about me, until we run out of things tae know and have tae grow and become more ourselves…together. Or, at least, until we find something within one of us that the other can’t abide.”

   He shook his head and muttered, “I don’t see that happening.”

   Cat’s ears folded back and her jaw hung slack. Fucking what? she snarled internally. After all he’s fucking said, he doesn’t fucking ‘see that happening’? Amid the tumult that raged in her head, it took her a moment to realize that he was still talking.

   “—ould have to be something pretty heinous in your past to make me want to back out. You kill someone, bun?” he was saying.

   “I think I’m bloody aboot tae,” she choked, caught between laughing and crying.

“What’s wrong?” the puma asked. He furrowed his brow and lowered his ears, confused with the rabbit’s strange behavior.

   “I say I want tae keep going somehow and you come back with—” She broke off with a giggle and wiped the fur of her cheek with the back of a paw. “—with ‘I don’t see that happening’ and pause for what feels like fucking ages.”

   Alder squinted at her, replaying the conversation, until it hit him how that would have sounded and his eyes went wide as saucers. His jaw dropped, his ears drooped even further, and he shook his head. 

   “No, nonono, no. That’s not what I meant!”

   “How about you tell me what you did mean, tree,” she said with relieved, uneven grin.

   He got to his feet and walked toward her. Pausing beside her, he placed a paw on her shoulder and leaned down to kiss her head. He patted her shoulder and motioned for her to come out to the balcony with him. When she rose, he took her chair and carried it out to the balcony, setting it next to the one that he had left out there. He resumed his seat and waited for her to do the same.

   When she was settled, he looked up at the wispy cirrus clouds overhead and said, “Cat, I know you don’t want me to use the word, because you’ve heard it in the wrong context, with no truth behind it, but it is the only word that fits. After all of the conversations that we’ve had and the time that we’ve spent together—which amounts to a damn sight more than how you just summarized it—I do love you.  It’s a sprout, yeah, but a sprout with some potential. I want this to keep going, too. I want us to know each other inside and out. Now, I’ve done the emotional math for myself, and I’m prepared to keep it going with an ocean or two between us, but that is a hell of a burden to put on you. That part needs to be your call.

   “I imagine it would be hard. There’d be times you wouldn’t be able to reach me or vice versa. You might worry that something might have happened to me or if need has driven me to someone else—it wouldn’t—and it’ll dredge up all that bad shit again. However, I will always—always,” he stressed, looking her in the eye, “be there for you; even if I can’t answer right away, I will answer. But, you need to make that decision based on what you think you’re able to handle. If you decide that you want it, we can make it work. Maybe sometime down the line,” he sighed, looking away again and shrugging, “we can figure out a way to take the distance out of the ‘long distance relationship’.”

   She sat, quietly watching him with her ears high and alert. Weighing his words and the ones that wanted to rush out of her. She pursed her lips and looked down at her paws. 

   “Well, tree,” she proffered, “what if we just didn’t let the distance get in there to begin with?”

   The puma turned to her and cocked an eyebrow. She smiled and pulled out her phone. Her thumb tapped a few times and she held the phone out in her paw. It rang twice before a gruff voice answered.

   “Kitty? Two calls in as many days? Ye’re turning intae a right scunner,” her father said with an audible smile. The blurry screen showed black fur flecked with white and the pale skin of an ear. Blue light flickered over everything in view. There were sounds of a television and muffled conversation in the background.

   “Morning, Dad! No, I just had a question is all. Also, this is a video call. I thought we set your phone up to ring differently for those.”

   The ambient sounds faded as the older rabbit made his way out of the lounge and into a quieter part of the house. The screen also changed, showing the ear receding. As the image tilted and swung, Mr. Caird’s face came into view. He smiled, reading glasses perched near the end of his nose, and gave a wee embarrassed wave.

   “Noo, Kitty, ye mind I dinnae use the video thing much. Also, it’s quarter past ten.”

   She nodded and swung the camera around to face the sun-speckled sea, saying, “Aye, sorry, Dad. This time it was me not thinking aboot the difference in time.”

   When she turned the camera back to herself her father bellowed with laughter and said, “Aye and time difference isnae the only thing that slipped yer mind. I keeked yer wee cat’s bum.”

   Cat’s face and ears fell. She looked to her left, the direction she had turned the phone, and saw Alder sitting in his chair—naked, as they both had been since they awoke—laughing his ass off and trying desperately to keep it quiet.

   She turned back to the phone, the insides of her ears burning, saying, “Ah, bugger!”

   “Well, at least ye’ve got the sense tae be dressed, sitting oot on the veranda. Ye are, aren’t ye?”

   The pause before her nod was long enough that he didn’t buy it when she said, “Of course!”

   A snicker from the old rabbit closed the subject. “Nae bother, Kitty. Nae bother. Come noo, ye didnae phone just tae patter and show off.”

   She smiled and confirmed, “No. Last time we talked ye said ye could have Bill get together with me aboot the necessary papers for working in America.”

   “Oh, aye…”

   “If he’s got some free time, could ye ask him tae give me a call tomorrow?”

   The old rabbit was silent and contemplative for a moment. “Pass me over tae the cat, love.”

   With some trepidation she handed the phone to the puma, who accepted it no less nervously.

   “Sir,” Alder said with a nod. “Name’s Alder, it’s a pleasure to sort of meet you.”

   “Alder, eh?” Mr. Caird grumbled, “What d’ye drink?” Cat smirked. That was always his first question.

   “Whiskey, sir. Bourbon, usually; scotch when I get my paws on a decent one. Got a bottle of sixteen-year-old Ardbeg single malt reserve sitting on a shelf at home that I received from…a close friend, years back. Hasn’t felt right to open it yet.”

   “Ardie…Hmph!” grunted the rabbit. “And what d’ye dae for wark?”

   “I’m a ranger for the National Parks,” he replied, trying to avoid the confusion that had occurred with Cat.

   “Any family?”

   “Not a lot left, no. A sister. A father we never knew, but law of averages says he’s probably not living any more. Mom’s still around, but…” He cleared his throat, sniffed, and gave his head a shake. 

   The rabbit nodded and let that go. “And how auld are ye?”

   “Thirty-nine, sir.”

   “And how auld’s oor wee girl?”

   “Dad!” Cat balked.

   Alder just laughed and relaxed in his chair. “Well, I haven’t tried countin’ her rings, but she tells me she’s twenty-five and sounds mighty convincing. That puts me a bit over halfway through a big cat’s average life span and her around—what is it?—one-third through y’all’s, if I recollect right.”

   Caird smiled and nodded. “Aye, what d’ye reckon?”

   “Well, it means if we’re planning on making this a long-haul deal,”—he turned to look at Cat—“and I hope we both are,”—he faced Caird again—“I’ll leave her hurt and lonely eventually, whether I want to or not; though, I reckon I can make up for that ahead of time by giving her some good memories to hold on to.”

   Cat looked down at the tiles of the balcony. She hadn’t been thinking about that. Clearly, though, the puma had been. 

   “Now,” the puma continued, still relaxed and comfortable in the chair, with one arm cast over the back, “here, I imagine, is where you’ll want to tell me that you’d temporarily relieve me of my testicles for the purpose of relocating them to some place more creative, like my nose or throat, if I hurt her.”

   “He may have mentioned that on the phone yesterday,” the bunny mumbled, looking away.

   Mr. Caird and Alder shared a grin.

   The puma went on, “As you can guess, sir, this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve had my share of genital mutilation threats. You probably didn’t get a look a minute ago and I’m not one for flashing, but they’re still there. I don’t make it a habit of breaking people’s hearts.”

   “Perhaps not, but ye still had more than a few that didnae work oot, aye?”

   “You ever feed and water a plant, just like you thought you should, but something in the soil or in the plant or in the air just kills it; root, stem, and leaf?”

   Caird’s eyes narrowed, focusing intently on the cat. “Aye…”

   Alder shrugged. His whiskers and ears sagged when he concluded, “Sometimes, you waste yourself away tending something that just isn’t meant to grow. Then you both realize it and you just have to, sort of, resign yourselves. Y’know?”

   Caird was silent for a few minutes, staring past the phone. Alder couldn’t tell what he was looking at, if anything. A hint of something that could have been a smile or a frown tugged at the old rabbit’s lips. His ears twitched and he focused on the phone again, as if realizing suddenly that it was still there. He cleared his throat and nodded.

   “A’right, lad. Gie the phone back tae Kitty, please.” His voice had softened, surprising the bunny who accepted her phone back.

   “Kitty, Bill will be in contact with you t’marra. I’ll see that he makes the time for ye. You’ll take care of yourself and come home soon, as you’ll need tae pack up yer shite and settle things with your flat. That bit’s on you. If the cat can tear himself from his wark when you come, bring him along.”

   “Thank you!” Cat beamed. “I’ll be in touch with you when I work oot the details. Tell Mum and the rest I said ‘hello’ and that I love ‘em.”

   “Aye. Good night, Kitty.”

   “G’night,” she ended, disconnecting the call and locking her phone. 

   She turned to the puma and grinned. “Now, then. How much holiday time have you got left, tree?”

   “Let’s see…” He trailed off, waggling his fingers in the air as if he were fiddling with an abacus. “Should have about a week; I had a shitload banked up, ‘cause I never take vacations. Why?”

   “Think they’d let you stretch your holiday a few days longer?”

   “I can check. What’d you have in mind?”

   Cat stood up and walked over, easing onto the puma’s lap. She cupped his muzzle in her paws and planted a kiss on his nose. 

   “Well,” she said, sitting up, “if a girl offered to cover the difference in air fare, would you change your destination to Edinburgh instead of wherever it is scheduled to be?”

   Alder leaned his head back and made a show of mulling the offer over. Hovering just above the balcony tiles, the dark tip of his tail flitted and twitched.

   “Ah, I dunno, bun,” he temporized. “There’s all this important stuff going on at the park. My plants need me at home…”

   She couldn’t be nervous that he would refuse, because she had already caught the tug of a smirk at the corner of his mouth. Slipping her hand between her legs and underneath her rump, she found the puma’s fuzzy sheath and scrotum and ran her claws gently through the warm, soft fur. His eyes narrowed and his back arched, and an unmistakable rumble rose in his throat.

   “Are ye sure?” she cooed, cradling his sack with her fingers and circling the rim of his sheath with her thumb. The fine fur of her digit tickled the sensitive flesh that slowly protruded.

   “Mmmm,” Alder purred, as his nose flared and he shuddered from the light touch. “Maybe I can work something out.”

   “Now, tree,” she said in a mockingly stern tone, “you’ll not get in trouble with your employer if we do this, will you?”

   This time he flashed a mischievous grin. “Well, they’ve never asked me about my sex life, so I assume they don’t care.”

   She laughed. “Not that, ye silly cunt. Will they get mad if you delay going back?”

   The big cat’s paw slid up her spine. “Nope. I may have fibbed—eep!” 

   Cat’s claws scraped along his skin as she shifted her paw to grasp his cock. Alder let out a shuddering breath through his nose and tried to continue.

   “…a little! It’s off-season at the park, so there’s nothing happening there. Jeff probably planned to have me inventory the pamphlets and maps in the visitor center when I got back. It’ll keep. I can have Mimosa check the plants again one more time. She fusses, but she won’t really mind.”

   She leaned back down, meeting his mouth with a long, slow kiss. Cupping her face with his free paw to hold her to him, Alder’s purr doubled in frequency and volume. The pair broke apart, panting for air. As he held her gaze, the paw slid from her cheek, down her neck and chest. He found just enough space between her body and her arm to reach down and caress the hot, furless skin of her mound. At the touch, her grip tightened around his prickly shaft.

   One of them had to break first. In the end, it was Alder. The puma released her crotch and wrapped his arm under her legs; the other remained around her back. Cradling her, he rose from the chair and carried her into the room. They nuzzled and kissed as he walked to the bed.

   Cat landed with a giggle on the comforter and pulled Alder down on top of her. They embraced and resumed their kissing, licking and nibbling. Before he could notice what she was doing, the rabbit had rolled him onto his back with her astride him. She worked her mouth down his neck and chest, sliding her hips backward as she went. Not wanting to be left with nothing to do, the puma stroked her head and ran gentle fingers up the length of her long ears, tracing claws along the edges where the fur thinned and her skin flushed pink.

   The rabbit shivered when the smooth, warm pads of Alder’s paws grazed the bare skin of her ears. The shuddering peaked in a sharp gasp and the clutching of her paws in the fur of his chest. Her hips had met his; the hot, dripping end of his tapered shaft bumped against her bare mound and slid upward until it grazed her twitching ring and bumped against the base of her tail. Lifting her arse and wriggling a bit realigned his cock with the wet folds of her pussy. Claws pressing hard to the skin of his chest, she dropped hard down to his base. His growling moan was drowned out by her sharp cry.

   Once again, they paused to let the first wave of heightened sensation ebb. Their paws roamed one another’s bodies. Alder dragged the claws of both paws through the fur of Cat’s chest and abdomen—he had taken advantage of waking before her, using the extra time to file the broken claw tips smooth and dull the other claws to match. When he reached her navel, she took his paws and placed them on her waist. The rabbit spread her paws on his belly to support herself and began slowly rocking her hips.

   The strokes were short and slow to start, measured to reduce the overstimulation from his spines. Her mound remained pressed to his sheath, but the gentle rolling motion of her pelvis drove his tip to the ultimate depth of her clutching walls. Once again, the cat felt two strange bits of firmer flesh colliding with his sensitive head and the realization struck him that it was her cervices. With each bump, his claws parted the fur fo her waist and left indentations in the skin beneath.

   Cat was beginning to get the hang of navigating the strange texture of his shaft. She experimented with longer strokes, withdrawing until his tip just barely parted her cleft and rushing back to find his sheath again. They paced themselves together, her controlling the angle and speed of her bucking hips and him guiding her movements with subtle pressure from his paws. In this way they pushed on, relishing the sensations of their connection for ten minutes, then fifteen. 

   Hunger began to dominate patience. The rabbit’s motions changed, becoming faster and harder on the down stroke. On each stroke, when she landed against his sheath, her hips kicked forward and twisted, driving his tip hard into the deepest reaches of her pussy and rasping her walls with the rough ring around the middle of his shaft. The puma’s hips took up a matching rhythm, striving for the release that was quickly building. His paws tightened on her waist, holding her hard at the deepest penetration. 

   Through gritted teeth he growled her name, unloading himself in straining bursts. His bristles stiffened with each pulse and, along with the hot jets that coated her walls, grazed just the right places to push Cat over her own brink. Her ears flagged, pinning to her back. Long claws raked his abdomen, leaving angry red lines beneath the creamy fur. Quivering, the rabbit collapsed onto his chest; her hips still twitched weakly in time with the diminishing waves of her climax. The puma inside her, already drained, still jerked with his last futile spasms.

   Calm fell over them as she draped, panting, on top of Alder. Their breathing slowed together, eventually falling into a matching rhythm of deep breaths and slow shuddering exhalations, then returning to normal.

   “Bun,” the puma whispered into one of the ears that rested against his cheek.

   She wrapped her arms around his chest and squeezed, responding, “Mmm?”

   The embrace was echoed by the muscles in her pussy as well and he chuckled at the sensation.

   “What say we clean ourselves up and go see some of the sights? Maybe some fresh air and exercise will be good for us.”

   Her head turned until her chin rested on his chest and her ears folded back. She closed her eyes and pouted, “Awww. But we just got exercise!”

   Alder bent forward and kissed her forehead. “Also, Cat, I’m hungry. Don’t tempt fate!” he quipped, nipping at her twitching nose.

   She laughed and sat up, moaning a bit with the shifting of his ebbing erection inside her. Slowly she lifted her hips, dribbling across his thigh as she rolled over to find something to catch the outflow. The puma guessed her purpose and reached beneath one of the pillows. His paw returned with a hand towel from the washroom.

   He answered her questioning glance as she took the towel, “‘Be always prepared.’ A little gem of advice that I picked up from a scout leader that came to the park once.”

   She cocked her eyebrow with a smirk and cleaned herself up, then wiped him down. “Sounds like there might be an interesting tale there.”

   “Nah,” he grinned, standing up from the bed, “he was docked.”

   “Even more interesting!” 

   She tossed the towel at him and trotted off to the washroom.

Feedback encouraged, critique appreciated!