Frankie was having a rather good time at his table. A broad bulldog in skin-tight spandex took his order while a hunky gryphon in green gave him a nicely-made gin and tonic. He looked around at the establishment, enjoying the scantily-clad eye candy.
“If you are trying to catch a moose in a jock,” Joe said, pulling up a seat, “you are sadly mistaken.”
“What?” the otter said, making a gesture of bafflement. “Surely you are mistaken. I just wanted a bit of their salmon tartar before retiring for the night.” He leaned closer. “You look well rested. Who persuaded you to let them get into your pants?”
Joe blushed hugely, the red turning his fur furiously ochre. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Uh-huh,” Frankie said as a small salad was placed in front of him. Two decanters of olive oil and balsamic vinegar followed. “That’s what they all say.”
“Mister Moose,” the waiter said as a pencil hovered over a small notebook. “What will you have tonight, sir?”
Joe looked at the bulldog. “I don’t know. Maybe a menu?”
“Of course, sir,” he said, taking a small folded sheet of paper from a nearby empty table and passing it over.
As Joe looked through it, he remembered. “You’re Chris, right? From last night?”
“Yes, sir,” he said. He leaned over a bit. “How’s you?”
“I’m okay, but I’m off for the night. Which is a shame for certain otters.” Joe glanced at Frankie, but he was eating the salad, lost in thought.
“I’ll give you a moment to decide, sir,” Chris said before walking to another table.
Frankie swallowed his mouthful of leaves. “That comment was uncalled for.”
“It’s true, though, right?” Joe frowned at a small cocktail that was placed in front of him. “I didn’t order this,” he said.
“No,” a heavy-gut boar said, “but he did.” He pointed to a table at the other side of the room.
Joe and Frankie looked at the occupant at the table. He was a huge bear, furred deep blue. He was in a loose-fitting shirt and a pair of shorts. He grinned as Joe’s jaw dropped.
“Bear!” he cried out. He went over to him and gave the ursine a giant hug. “When did you come in?”
“Heya moosie,” Bear said, rubbing a giant paw on Joe’s back. “Only a few hours ago. Wasn’t expecting you to be here.”
Bear grinned and kissed Joe. “Yeah, really. Though, you seem to be oddly out of place here.” He pulled the belt a bit. “Who should I ask to have you get tonight’s shift?”
“I, er, uhm…” Joe stumbled, turning beet red.
Bear laughed, the noise causing nearby tables to turn and look. “Ah, Jonathan, I missed this.” He pulled Joe and gave him another hug.
“You know?!” the moose said as he was squeezed.
“Of course I know,” Bear said, chuckling. He released Joe and motioned him to the other seat. “The otter forwarded me a few pics last night.” He grinned again. “I’ll have to come here one day and ask for a lap dance. In a jock,” he added.
“I, er, uhm…” Joe stuttered, blushing again.
“I kid, I kid,” Bear said, raising his hands in surrender. He paused a moment. “Maybe.”
“Your order, sir,” the boar intruded, placing a thick steak in front of Bear, then a medium baked potato, and a dish of steamed broccoli. He turned to Joe. “Your order, sir?”
Chris rushed to the table and gingerly placed Joe’s drink at his table, and then rushed off before Joe could thank him. “Uhm,” the moose said, eyeing the retreating figure, then looking at the steak. “I’ll have what he’s having.”
“Very good, sir,” the waiter said. He walked to the kitchens.
Joe sniffed his glass. “This better not have brandy in it.”
Frankie looked at the couple and grinned as he chewed his salmon. He swallowed and nodded to Chris. “Very good. Thank you.”
“Thank you, sir,” the bulldog said. He motioned to an empty glass. “A refill?”
“Yeah, thanks.” Chris nodded and whisked the glass away.
“So, mind me asking who is that guy talking with Joe?”
Frankie turned and looked up at Mike who was dressed in a bright polo and jean shorts. “Him? Oh, that’s Markus, Joe’s Mister Bear.”
“That’s him?” Mike asked in a surprised voice.
“Yeah,” the otter said, nodding. “It’s complicated.”
“So he said earlier,” Mike said. He sighed a bit, his shoulders slumping.
Frankie looked at Mike shrewdly. “You’re in love with Joe?”
“What?” Mike fiercely shook his head. “No, not me.”
“Or not even majorly crushing over him?”
Another head shake.
“Yeah right,” the otter sniffed. “You’ve been looking at him with puppy-dog eyes since I met you.” He leaned to the ‘roo and patted his leg. “You got it really bad, but you hide it well.”
Chris returned the glass with another glass filled with ice water. He placed the water at Mike’s elbow and walked off.
Mike took the glass and took several long swallows. When he placed it on the table, he asked, “Can you keep a secret?”
“Kid,” Frankie said, “I work for the library. Secrets are our stock in trade.”
Mister Bear eyed the thick ‘roo talking to the otter. “Who’s that?”
Joe turned at the table. “Ah, that’s Mike. He’s the one who interviewed me yesterday and got me hired. Nice guy, really.”
Bear took a long look at the guy before going on his meal.
“Now don’t be like that,” Joe said, recognizing the look. “It’s not like he’s trying to get into my pants.” He noticed two other people coming to the table and added mischievously. “That’s the work of other people.”
Bear glanced in the direction of Joe’s gaze and saw Arc and Sirius walking up to the two. “Oh, hello.”
“Heya Joe,” Arc said brightly, his tail wagging a storm. “How’s you?”
“And who’s this hunk in blue?” Siri asked.
“Hey guys,” Joe said. He patted Bear on his shoulder and rubbed it a bit. “This is Mister Bear, one of the best snugglers one can ask for.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” Arc said, giving the two a toothy grin. “My snugs are really amazing. Just ask Siri.” The other nodded on cue, but he was still staring at the huge ursine.
“Damn, you’re big,” Siri blurted out, much to Bear’s amusement. He put down his fork and stood, easily towering over the two.
“And you’re cute,” Bear growled out. Without warning, he embraced the thick fluffmonster, snuggling and nuzzling, his hands rubbing all over the heavy frame.
“Oh hell,” Arc said, taking in the scene with much interest, as did the nearby tables. A moment later, Bear released Siri, then brought Arc into his embrace.
Siri looked unaffected by the hug; although, his fur was badly ruffled in some places. He looked at Joe and grinned hugely. “That was one awesome snug,” he said.
“Amen,” Arc said as he was released from the hug. He appeared dazed, but otherwise very happy. He looked at Bear. “That was very good. Now I’m jealous of Joe.”
Joe smiled as Bear sat back down. “I get to do this every time he’s with me.”
“Lucky you,” Arc said as Bear slipped something in their singlet straps and gave them a light pec grope.
“We need to get together one day,” Bear said, grinning. “Maybe later tonight?”
Joe’s jaw dropped, and the other two looked at each other and grinned. “Sure thing,” Arc said, looking back. “But let us finish our shift first.”
“Of course,” Bear said, raising his glass in farewell. The two walked off to other tables.
“Your scent was all over them,” Bear muttered to Joe a bit later. “What was that about?”
Joe blushed fiercely.
“Well, that’s that,” Frankie said as he looked at the two. He glanced back at Mike and patted a leg. “How’s you?”
Mike shrugged and took another long drink. “What else can I say?”
“Well, you don’t need to worry,” the otter said. He pushed his empty plate away, which was whisked away by Chris. “Markus is very open-minded about this sort of thing. Must be his upbringing,” he added absentmindedly.
“You don’t worry,” he repeated. “All you need to do is to tell him about what happened with you and chances are they will welcome you with open arms. I mean, take a look what just happened.”
Mike played the scene in his head and shrugged. “I don’t know…”
“Tell you what,” Frankie said. “Why don’t I invite you over to see our show? It’s usually at the Bear Bites café on Trenton. Near the old salami deli.”
Mike reviewed the street in his head. “With the huge flag in the doorway?”
“Yep, that’s the one. You just get over there and we’re usually there playing. And Bear as well.”And a few others, Frankie thought to himself, but didn’t say aloud.
“The thing with Joe,” Frankie said, helping himself to a slice of chocolate torte that replaced the salmon, “is that he can be so danged dense sometimes. He should have caught on that you were head-over-heels with him from the get-go.” He munched on the forkful and swallowed. “Mm, I have to get the recipe sometime later.”
Mike glanced at Joe’s table again and caught Bear’s eye, who winked. The ‘roo blushed a bit and glanced down to his hands.
“Anyway,” the oblivious otter said, “you need to be forward with this, but in a good way. Once you explain what happened to you, I say again, Joe and Markus will be very accommodating.”
“You make it sound easy.”
“Because it is. I’m a librarian.” Frankie grinned toothily. “Trust me.”
Bear held a napkin in front of his mouth and rumbled out a burp. “Pardon my Klatchian,” he said. He dabbled the sides of the muzzle with the napkin and reached for the glass, drinking the last of the soda. “So, what now?” he said to Joe.
“Mmmph?” the moose said, his own mouth filled with crispy potatoes and a medium-rare steak. He swallowed. “What?”
“It’s not I mind you having a time with the two,” Bear said, “but in the shower?” He shook his head. “If you wanted a happy-fun time in my shower, you should have said something.”
Joe blushed and grinned crookedly. He forgot how much Bear could be so candid to this sort of thing. “Well, it just happened. As I said, I was showering after the workout and they came in.”
“Well, you owe me some time later this week.”
“Yeah yeah,” Joe said, looking down at his plate and stuffing the last of his meal into his mouth.
Bear rose from the table and gave the moose a tender peck on an antler. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You know how gentle I can be.”
Joe glared. “If I wanted you to touch me gently, I’d ask you when we’re alone.”
Bear chuckled and patted Joe on the shoulder. “Now, now, don’t get like this. Unless you want me to ask the two to have some fun time with you also? No, I didn’t think so,” he answered when he saw the glare turn to an embarrassed frown. “Now, you finish your meal, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Joe took a deep breath to calm him down a bit. “Actually, we’ll be practicing tomorrow. The guys invited me over here to celebrate the job, and Carl gave me coffee laced with brandy, and then—”
“Ugh, I can see where that led to,” Bear interrupted. He picked Joe up from the chair and gave him an expert hug. “You be a good moosie, okay, babe?”
Joe melted in the embrace and hugged back. “Okay, Mister Bear.”
They released, and Bear walked off to speak to the waiter. As Joe sat down, he noticed Bear giving the boar a few bills, then a belly rub, before walking off. The moose sighed happily, admiring the view of heavy bear rump in tight denim, before someone clapped him on the back. He turned to find Frankie and Mike standing there. “What are you guys doing here?”
“Mike and I got to talking about a few things,” Frankie said. “And we thought to say hello before going out for the night.”
Joe raised an eyebrow. “You mean, you two…I mean…”
“Nothing like that, you crazy goof,” the otter said, shaking his head. “I tell you, sometimes you’re so dense sometimes.”
“I’ll let the bossman know I’m leaving for the night,” Mike said and walked to the back area.
Frankie sat down. “So, are you ready for tomorrow?”
Joe nodded and shrugged a bit. “I’d rather be with Bear in the morning.”
“Yes, we heard a bit about that. Something about touching you gently?” Frankie held up a hand against Joe’s embarrassed sputtering. “I don’t want to hear about that, kiddo. Well, not right now,” he added as Mike came back. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Be here at three p.m., alright?” Mike said.
As Joe chained his bike to the fence, he thought about the wild day he had. He couldn’t think it could get any wilder. Especially with those two fluffmonsters, he thought. Bear was right, he needed to some more time with them.
He noticed a piebald cat scamper up to him, who started to rub its head against his ankles, purring up a storm.
“What are you doing outside, lil’ one?” Joe asked as he scooped the kitty up. As he walked down the lane back to his house, he noticed another feline, curled up on the doormat. He was massively built and furred silver-white.
“Milhouse?” Joe wondered aloud.