The 'Taur Next Door
by J.L. Atwood


My second meeting with Windy was no less eerie than the first, or as unexpected. The first week of classes came and went, and I found a need to adjust my schedule. Intro to Piano turned out to be death by boredom, so I opted to shift it to another Gen. Ed class. A bit of running around campus to collect signatures, and I had a new class.

I showed up in Lit 310 with a bit of a dubious air; the classroom was far smaller than I thought it'd be, and there appeared to be less than a dozen students partaking in it. While I wasn't the first to arrive, I made certain I wasn't the last, either. Doing that the first day can put you on the teacher's bad side, and it was best not to do so if one can help it. I took a seat towards the side, beside one of the aisles. I wanted to be able to get out quickly, as my next duty was work and I couldn't be late again.

A familiar light contralto voice caught my sharp ears, coming up the stairs across the hall from the open classroom door. Just as I turned my head, Windy came into view, framed by the door. With hir arm slung around the hips of a morphic jackrabbit femme I recognized from track, I might add. When they paused to embrace and kiss in a way that left no doubt to their relationship, my mind blanked. Quite frankly, the sight of two rather beautiful femmes kissing like that in open public made my shorts a bit tight... and made me glad for the desk that covered my legs. Eventually they broke with a caress and look that promised more later, and Windy stopped blocking the doorway and came inside followed by the teacher.

Letting the teacher past, shi settled into the aisle beside me. With a quirked smile and a snort, shi reached out and tapped my jaw shut with a finger. I swallowed convulsively, and wondered why shi was sitting there... and then my sex-starved brain kicked in, and I realized that shi couldn't sit at a desk and this was the clearest spot in the aisle.

"You know," Shi said sidelong to me, and without looking, "I really wish you'd stop staring at me." I tore my gaze away, and cleared my throat.

"Sorry, it's just I... sorry."

"It's just that you don't like sitting too close to a chakat. I know. I'll find another place to sprawl tomorrow." Hir small round ears tuck back into her short blond bob, discomforted. I found myself floored. Did shi really think I felt the same as my parents?

"No, it's not that. Honest." Shi glanced at me, hir dark-gold eyes slitted with thought. Shi shrugged, and opened a notebook, resting it on the corner of my desk as shi lacked one of hir own. I made certain to leave hir plenty of room, but this just seemed to discomfort hir more.

The next day and the week after that were much the same, minus the passionate kiss at the door for the most part. I sat in the same seat, and I noticed a subtle dance among the students. Some nudged their bags and feet into the aisle, making little room for hir to sit or sprawl, while others smiled and made blatant invitations. Sometimes, when enough amenable students cleared a large enough patch for hir, shi'd sit with them... but often me and my lack of any bag would make me the best candidate to share with. On my way out from class, an idea struck.

"Hey!" I called, to a girl I vaguely knew from work, "Mel!" The raccoon morph turned, her ears swiveling towards me.

"Oh, Just. Hey." She greeted, somewhat puzzled.

"I was, um, wondering..." I started, and saw Windy staring at us, hir ears pricked. I snagged Mel's arm and tugged her away. "I was wondering if you could help me with something?"

"What?" She asked, shoving her wirerims up her nose.

"You noticed that a bunch of kids in there don't seem to like Windchaser much? Y'know, they go out of their way to make it uncomfortable for hir near 'em."

"I hadn't, but now that you say it... yeah, they do." She bobbed her head, eyeing me. "I like hir, and I noticed you do too." I gulped, and wandered on, ignoring that bit.

"Yeah, well... shi and I grew up together," I ad lib'd. It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't completely true. "Well, come sit by me. That way shi’d always have a place to sit." Mel's masked face broke into a grin.

"Good idea! And I can get Jim and Kelly to sit with us... they like hir too." I had no idea who they were, but what the hey. The more the merrier. We agreed, and I had to run to make it to work.

The next day, the four of us were in position long before Windy got to class. Jim turned out to be another wolf, and Kelly was the pumagirl. Kelly sat behind and Mel to the side of me, with Jim behind Mel. The four of us had cleared a patch of floor of a generous size, and with a wink Mel produced a ...well. It looked like a quilt, doubled over twice and then sewn shut to make a pad for the hard floor. We were all in place, looking innocent as can be, when Wind entered. Shi approached us, slipping sidelong glances at all before settling on the pad and unslinging hir backpack. A grin flashed over hir face, and really that was all there was time for before class started.

As usual, after class, I had to run like the track wolf I was to make work and hopefully get a job doing something other than the hot-food line. I saw Windy and Mel talking as I looked back, and sighed ruefully. Ah, well.

Go on to Part 3

Characters & Story © 1999 J.L.Atwood.

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