! Sozont #22: In the Hot Tub

22.  In the Hot Tub

It was Wednesday.  Sozont arrived at East Cupcake Hot Tubs, precisely on time.  Marth was already there.  They went in together.  Since this date was Marth's idea, she spoke to the attendant.
     —M: "A tub, please."
     —A: "We're closing early tonight.  I can give you only a half-hour slot now."
     Marth seemed taken aback by this news.  Apparently she had not been aware of the early closing.  She looked at Sozont.  He thought shorter would be better, anyway.
     —S: "Well, we're here.  We might as well take what we can get."
     Marth gave money to the attendant.
     —A: "Right this way."  He walked them into a room with a giant circular Jacuzzi.  "The buzzer will tell you when there's five minutes left."  He left the room, closing the door behind him.
     Marth took off her clothes, so Sozont did too.  Marth got into the tub.  Sozont took off his underpants and walked towards the tub.  He felt odd.  He was obviously naked, yet he felt like he had a second skin, perhaps a fur-covered one, that continued to cloak him.  He was sure that Marth was looking at his groin, but he kept his eyes and his mind focused on the ladder and on entering the tub without slipping or anything.  After sitting down in the tub, Sozont decided to make an utterance.
     —"Hi there!  So, what should we do first?"
     Sozont thought.  "I guess we should do some demonstrative swimming, to show that our bodies are well-formed and thus we are suitable mating material."
     —"Okay."  Marth swam around in the tub.  It didn't seem to bother her that her breasts flopped every time she changed direction.  Then it was Sozont's turn.  Thankfully the tub was small and shallow, so it was quite unclear (he thought) that he couldn't swim very well.  Sozont stopped swimming and flexed his biceps.  Marth made an approving noise.  Sozont crouched down in the water, then jumped into the air, so his penis flopped as he came back down.  Marth openly stared at Sozont's mid-section during the entire maneuver, which actually didn't bother Sozont too much.  Perhaps this hot-tub thing wasn't going to be as bad as he had feared.  Marth spoke:
     —"It's too bad there's only half an hour."
     —"Maybe we can do something else afterward."
     —"Red Bunny is staying home in my apartment tonight."
     —"So, um, what's the situation with you gals?"  Were they best friends who moved in, or roommates who got to be friends?
     Marth stared at Sozont.  "We are lovers, if that's what you mean."
     —"Oh.  Well, I'm... having sex with Spike."
     —"Whatever do you see in him?  He's such an idiot!"
     —"That's just his 'echidna' act.  He's much brighter when he plays a wolf."
     And that was it.  A topic they had been avoiding in email for quite some time.  And now it was out in the open, with just a simple "oh."  Sozont felt like there was a barrier between him and Marth that had softened.  He could get closer to her if he wanted. Sozont moved his body closer to Marth's.  She touched his arm.  The wet skin contact felt new and interesting.  He touched her shoulder.  Her entire body was soft and fleshy.  Sozont didn't think anyone would want to touch his bony excuse for a physique.
     Marth spoke again: "So, what do you think of Furry Spirituality?"
     —"Well, I've heard the fox-totem wants to know a little about every topic."
     —"Uh huh.  So what's your totem?"
     —"Oh, I don't know.  I'm not really much of a tiger, I guess."
     —"You don't know what your totem is?"  Marth seemed to find this idea hard to grasp.
     —"Maybe you can help me find out.  There's a nice VR program I've been meaning to try.  It uses biofeedback to select a suitable totem and then it turns you into your animal."
     —"That could be fun.  Which set of totems does it use?"
     —"Um, Cherokee, I think, but maybe it's a mixture of tribal beliefs."
     —"We should try it sometime."
     —"How about Sunday?"
     —"My lair?  8 PM?"
     —"Sure, I guess.  So, um, how much do you make?"
     Sozont told her his income level.  She shook her head in wonder.
     —"There's no way I'll ever make that kind of money!"  She worked as a clerk in a department store.
     —"Why do you have such a crappy job?  Surely you can do better."
     —"Nobody wants to hire a fat woman.  I can only get crap jobs."
     —"Really, that job would barely cover the cost of child-care."
     —"Yeah.  It would be cheaper for me to stay home and take care of our kids myself."
     The "stay-at-home mom" lifestyle was not a popular choice among Furry Fairytale Land players, or at least was not much discussed in the local media.  But Sozont was in favor of anything that saved money.
     —"My job exists in VR.  I have to spend a lot of time there.  So you'd be alone with the offspring for much of the time."
     —"That sounds like a reasonable division of labor."
     Excellent!  Sozont wouldn't have to spend gobs of time in RL, after all!  Sozont had thought, when they kept dancing around this issue in email, that there was going to be a problem in this area, but there was just no disagreement at all.  Sozont wanted to kiss Marth, but the habits of a lifetime were hard to break.  He rubbed his leg-feathers — no, just legs — against hers under the water.  She massaged his scrawny pectoral muscles.  Was that a hint?  Sozont ran a paw — no, a hand — down the side of Marth's breast.
     Already?  Marth kissed Sozont, but when he tried to massage her breasts some more she got out of the water.  Sozont followed.  She towelled off, so he did too.  She started to get dressed, so Sozont got dressed.  He was done dressing while she was still struggling with her bra.
     —"Could you help me with this?"  Sozont had never before tried to install a bra.  It took effort and some hints from Marth.  She finished getting dressed, then hugged him.  Sozont wasn't sure what to do now.  He returned her hug and — since his hands were in the area anyway — massaged where her neck met her shoulders.  She rubbed the same spot on his body.  It felt nice.
     The door opened.  The attendant's voice came in through the opening.
     —A: "You guys decent in there?"
     —S,M: "Yes!"
    Sozont and Marth walked out of the tub room, through the lobby, and out to the street.  Marth spoke first:
     —"I had a good time."
     —"Yeah.  So you don't want to do anything else tonight?"
     —"No.  I'm so sorry about the short tubbing.  I didn't know they were going to close early."
     —"These things happen.  So, um, totem-exploration at my place?"
     —"I'll be there!"
     Sozont decided to try kissing her good-night.  It really wasn't hard, and somehow it seemed to be meaningful in some way.  Then Sozont and Marth went their separate ways back to their apartments.
     Sozont had a lot to think about.  The child-rearing plan they had discussed had good points and bad points.  There was not much RL-time obligation for him, but he would be the breadwinner for a family and might not be able to take a month or two off from work when he felt like it, which he sometimes did.  Yet the idea of being a normal member of society seemed strangely attractive.
     Normal.  Sozont did not often think that this word could apply to him.  But when he thought about the things he wanted to do as a father to kits, it all seemed so very normal.
     Previously, Sozont had believed that the sperm-transfer aspect of rutting season would be something he would just have to put up with, but now he was enthused about RL touching with Marth and wanted more.  He would have to wait until Sunday.  Why hadn't he suggested something sooner???  And Marth seemed really interested in making love to him, though he couldn't understand why.  Did he deserve her?

Next episode:    Spike's View    [More gay stuff]
Prev. episode: Visiting the Sick [Artless crafts; corny dialogue]
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-- Pyesetz the Dog