Chapter 2


If You Love Them, Let Them Go...


            It was a meeting room, complete with a long table and a projector, but otherwise it was empty. The furniture was fitting, but the room, as well as the rest of the building, lacked color or design. Doral said shi would determine "the best color scheme" for the walls and ceilings, but there was no way Marcus would allow hir to even think about doing that by hirself.

            The room now had splotches of color anyway; the very first set of employees of Doral's Insurance Agency sat silently as Marcus went over the basic rules of the company, general guidelines, and the company's direction for the future.

            "This is it. We chose you because we felt you were the best," he had said. "We want to build this company from the ground up. You've all worked with insurance in some form or another, so the experience is there. We just now need you to make us better. Faster. Stronger. Bring us in the red."

            His eyes had darted from the panther, to the bat, to the bunny, to the wolf. "It's a small group now, but as we grow, so will the employees. I'm willing to hear recommendations from all of you at our weekly meetings, and I'm hoping within a few years we'll be able to expand across the country."

            He had continued this atypical speech for about fifteen minutes until the end.

            "Any questions before I get into the specifics and details?" Marcus asked.

            The panther spoke out loud. "Yeah, I got one. Where's Miss Doral?"

            Marcus grimaced. "It appears that shi's a little late."

            The bat sneered. "Your co-partner, whose name is on the title of your building, is late for the first employee meeting you schedule?"

            The human shifted a bit uneasily in his seat. "Well, shi's been busy with other things."

            "Like what?" The bunny asked innocently, her nose wiggling her whiskers.

            "Well..." Marcus began, but was interrupted when the door swung open suddenly; standing there in the doorway was Doral, adorned in a business like attire that hugged along hir curves without exposing too much: white blouse with a black jacket over it, and a formal dress skirt, matching her jacket, but somewhat short in length.

            "I'm here!!" Shi exclaimed, one hand carrying a box of doughnuts, the other one carrying a large container of what must be coffee. "And I brought goodies!!"

            Marcus closed his eyes. A part of him was thankful that shi came, finally, and he wouldn't have to cover for hir tardiness. A part of him, however, feared the things to come.

            Doral strode into the room, placing the box and the container down on the table. "Help yourselves, folks. We can have a small office opener party as we get to know each other." Shi walked over behind Marcus and began to massage his shoulders. "I'm sure Marky here went through his whole boring tirade about 'what insurance means to me'. But as dramatic as that was, I think that we can make this a bit more enjoyable." Marcus shifted even more under the lizard's rubs. "So, eat up! Get fat and be merry!"

            No one moved for a while.

            "What the hell!" The panther grinned and stood up, heading over to the food. "I'm always in the mood to eat."

            Marcus slipped away from Doral's fingers and stood up off to the side. "Glad you can join us Doral. You must have worked in the theater. Making up for your lack of time-keeping abilities."

            "Oh, no. I was up for four hours. I came late on purpose." Shi giggled and turn to the rest of the table, who was slowly, one by one, getting up to head over to eat, except for the wolf, who just stayed seated and pushed his glasses up along his muzzle. "I wanted to show people that I can be late, and so can everyone else. I mean, as long as they get their jobs done. I want this to be laid back, as well as challenging. And I want to show them that their boss is human. No offense Marky."

            "None taken." He folded his arms across his chest. "But is that really the kind of example you want to set on the first day?"

            "Let me think about that. Yes." Shi answered swiftly than laughed.

            "Well, miss Doral, you seem to forgotten the cups." The panther spoke up. "How am I supposed to get my caffeine fix?"

            Doral smirked. "Drink from the spout, Derek." Shi grinned, and then elbowed the bunny in her side, who had made a sick-face. "I'm kidding, Floppy. Oh! I love that name!" Shi called as shi walked over to the door, pulling out a bag of Styrofoam cups from the other side of the frame.

            Floppy giggled. "Well, I think people might be more comfortable with my real name. Marissa." Shi pulled out a cream full doughnut and took a bite.

            "Nonsense! Everyone, from now on, is to call her Floppy! Marcus, write that in the rule book!" Doral exclaimed as shi placed the cups on the table.

            "This is a rather lovely gesture," Marcus responded, clearly ignoring Doral's inane request, reaching for a doughnut. Floppy just erupted in a series of giggle-fits.

            The bat went straight for the coffee. "Should we expect this everyday from you?" She asked, but in a slightly caustic tone.

            Doral sat hir large behind on the table, leaning back on it, turning hir body to the side as shi smiled. "On occasion I do nice things. On occasion I do naughty." Shi winked, and licked hir lips.

            Marcus sighed and immediately spoke up. "Doral, please. We're eating." He eyed the bat, who obviously was growing more and more annoyed at Doral's answer. "I'm sorry Samantha. Doral is a... very unique person. But shi means well."

            Derek laughed. "Shi looks well too."

            Doral completely sprawled out on the table, belly up, careful not to knock over the doughnuts or the coffee, just to glare up at Derek. "Are you hitting on me at our first meeting? I'm flattered!"

            Derek grinned, sipping his coffee and brushing his sleek white hair back. "Wow, if you're that quick in Super Smash Bros., then this'll be a massacre."

            The lizard rolled hir eyes. "Massacre like that coffee you spilled along your shirt."

            "I didn't spill any coffee." The panther looked down at his shirt anyway.

            "AH-HAH!!" The gecko sat up and conspicuously pointed at Derek. "I put a dink in your confidence! You sir, have lost the vote."

            Derek laughed a second time. "Touché."

            "And why are you just sitting there saying nothing?" Doral crawled across the top of the table like a baby over to the wolf, who still sat silently. "Is my food not to your liking?"

            " I just... um..." The wolf looked down at the table. "...not good in social sit...situations. I just work."

            "Well, Larry, after about a week here, you'll be talking so much you'd put Floppy to shame!" Doral pinched the wolf on his cheek, and he blushed so hard that the red shown through his fur.

            "Doral, leave him alone. It's his choice." Marcus tried to keep his composure. "Don't make him nervous. And do you have to crawl all over the new table?"

            "I think it's cute!" Floppy exclaimed out of nowhere. "I once got drunk at this frat party, and began dancing the Macarena on their table, but I didn't know the dance exactly, so everyone was just laughing at me. It was so fun! Then I had a test the next day, but I aced it anyway. People always asked me how I did things like that; I have no idea, it's just..."

            "I wonder if anyone asked you how you talk so fast without breathing." Doral interrupted.

            Floppy chittered in a series of cute noises. "I don't know either! My mom asks me that a lot."

            Derek slipped his paws into his pockets. "I'm surprised she even got a word in edgewise."

            Doral laughed and gave the panther a high five. "Oooo! Ten points to Derek!"

            Floppy laughed even harder, and by this time Marcus sank back into his chair. He realized he already drank two full cups of coffee—his only solace. "Is there any chance that we'll actually talk about insurance?"

            Doral sat up... to only turn onto hir belly, propping hir head up with hir paws, legs bent and crossed in the air, glaring at Marcus with a huge smile across hir muzzle. "We're not even officially open, no color scheme, no certified infrastructure, no preset game plan, etc., and you want to talk about insurance? Geez, Marky, what kind of parties do you host?"

            Marcus sighed. Guess that's a no.

            Doral suddenly pointed over to Derek. "When was the last time you got laid? With who? Where? And with what?"

            Derek answered of the fly. "Miss Scarlet, in the study, with the lead pipe!"

            "Jolly good! Miss Scarlet is the kinkiest of the group." Doral winked. "Kind of like me."

            "Oh, I'm sorry." Samantha spoke loudly and suddenly, and everyone turned to look at her. "But I can't do this." She gathered her purse and her briefcase. "I hope you do well with your.... company." She purposely spoke that last work with a heavy, sarcastic tone before she quickly walked out of the room.

            Marcus jumped out of the chair and gave chase. "Samantha! Wait!" He ran after her, amazed that she could move so fast—which only meant she was the more eager to escape. He caught up with her in the parking lot. "Samantha, please..." he was huffing and puffing. "... Doral is insane, yes, but has a very strong business sense, and can be serious when shi—"

            "Don't bother." The bat turned with an interrupting glare, which softened after a moment. "Look, Mr. Tanner, I understand that you're serious about this, and I'm sure that beneath Doral's... um, psyche is a person serious about insurance. But I can't risk that. I can't work for a company whose co-founder is known for being a nutcase; I'd be the laughing stock of the entire judicial branch. Thank you for the offer, but I have to decline. Good luck handling hir."

            She took a few more steps, and spread her wings, the sun glinting off her out-stretched visage like a blackened angel. Her feet left the ground, and her wings carried her into the misty blue sky, the winged creature flying away right before Marcus's eyes. In a moment, she was nothing but a pale black dot in the distance.

            "Where's Samantha going? Out for more doughnuts?" Doral asked, stepping outside, hir hand outstretched over hir eyes, looking off into the distance under the sun at the shrinking black dot.

            Marcus had reached his breaking point.

            "FUCK!! Dammit Doral!" He turned to hir, his fists clenched in anger. Doral did it this time and he was going to make damn well sure shi knew shi screwed up big. "She was the best fucking thing we could have hired! You saw her resume! And now she's gone because you just had to act like a retard!"

            Doral blinked. "Hon, I—"

            "Don't fucking call me hon! You did this shit on purpose! You knew I was really pushing for her during the hiring process, so since you didn't get one of your 'easy fucks' you purposely acted like that so she could run!"

A part of him knew he was taking it a bit far, but Marcus was too mad to care. It seemed like that the lizard was really out to get him. He would have been kidding himself if he didn't think, at times, that Doral just used him for his money, to open up some kind of pseudo-sex shop for hir own personal pleasure. The words of his ex-wife echoed in the back of his mind: hir name was on the building...

            He stormed back towards the building, his mind reeling. He suddenly felt the sinking feeling he felt so many times before: failure, gullibility, embarrassment. Why did he always fall victim to these schemes where he got screwed over in the end? Why couldn't he just start a business? Why couldn't he make the money he so wanted to make? Why was his ex-wife right?

            Why couldn't he provide for his daughter?


            He reached the door, and turned around, seeing the lizard running towards him. "Don't worry hon! I'll get her back! Promise!"

            "Yeah whatever. Fuck..." He leaned his head against the door, sighing. His stomach was crawling and squirming; he felt sick. A hand was on his shoulder, and he knew it was Doral's, but he couldn't bear to look at hir. Things were so wrong.

            "Marky... she'll be back here. Let me just... do my thing."

            The lizard grinned, but Marcus grimaced. He usually had more faith in hir, but this hurt too much. He shrugged Doral's shoulder off and swiftly slipped inside, leaving hir outside in the gentle blowing breeze.



            Samantha lay on the couch, spread across the cushions, only in her underwear and bra, reading a novel while tea was boiling in her kitchen. She had just turned a page when the doorbell rung. Not expecting company, she regretfully slipped on a pair of pants and a large white T-shirt and walked over to her door. She peeked through her eyehole and jerked her head back with a surprised expression. She opened it to the point the chain lock would allow it to go, and peered through the crack at the large lizard standing across her threshold.

            "Well, although this is a surprise, I can say it wasn't expected." Samantha spoke bluntly. "Mr. Tanner sent you though?"

            "I actually came of my own accord." Doral replied, eyeing the door crack. "You know, I don't think I can fit inside your room with just that space."

            Samantha had to chuckle at that. "And what makes you think I'm going to let you inside? My refusal to work for you still stands. No need to try and convince me otherwise."

            "Because it's so cold out here!" Doral wrapped hirself up and faked shivering.

            Samantha arched a brow. "You're inside an apartment building. How are you cold?"

            Doral peered at the bat. "Us cold-blooded creatures react differently. Besides, I hear your water going off. And you can't expect me to come all the way over here without at least having one cup of tea. That would just be... inhospitable."

            Samantha sighed. Perhaps the sooner Doral drank hir tea, the sooner shi would leave. She was at a particular good point in her book anyway. "Alright, fine." She closed the door, pulled off the chain lock, and opened it fully.

            Doral slipped inside as Samantha closed the door behind hir. Shi looked around at the large expanse of space silently for a moment while Samantha rushed over to turn off the screaming kettle. The gecko glanced into the kitchen, watching the bat rustle in the cabinets for mugs, sugar, and plates, and then continued to scan around the flat before the lizard finally spoke her first words since entering.

            "Very lovely place you have here."

            "Thank you. I try to keep it tidy." She exited the kitchen, holding a tray of two mugs, two teabags, sliced lemons, a saucer of sugar, and two spoons. She placed it down on the coffee table in the center of her living room, in front of the very same couch she was lying on while reading.

            Doral sat across from Samantha, reaching for her particular cup, pouring in the sugar and squeezing the lemon against the edge of the mug, while stirring the teabag around. "Do you suck blood?"

            Samantha almost chocked on her tea. "I'm sorry?"

            Doral smiled. "Do you suck blood? You know, like a vampire bat?"

            Samantha put her cup down. "Cute. I see where this is going." She glanced kitchen-wards for a moment and then smiled at the gecko across from her. "No. I'm a fruit bat."

            Doral laughed. "I doubt the fruits would be interested, your chest is too buoyant."

            The bat blinked confusedly. "I don't know what you mean."

            The lizard flick hir tail along the pillows on the couch. "Er, never mind. Allow me to be blunter. Do you enjoy oral?"

            Samantha did choke on her tea this time. "Doral." She spoke sternly, her eyes squinting in irritation. "That's none of your business."

            "Come on!" The lizard sat back and crossed hir legs, letting hir arms rest across the back of the couch. "It's just us girls!"

            "You're a half girl, and it doesn't even matter. I don't want to talk about it ever. Not with you, not with anyone. Drop it or I'll ask you to leave." Samantha spoke that last sentence through her teeth.

            There was a silence. Samantha eyed the lizard warily a moment, then looked towards the kitchen again, quiet in thought. She wanted hir to leave—she knew hir true intentions were just to get her to come back. This was all just a waste of time.

            Out of the corner of her eye, the bat caught Doral's look. Even as shi relaxed against the couch, hir eyes seemed not to be staring at her... but through her. It made her shiver a bit, but before things got too awkward shi spoke.

            "Nice place you have here." Doral repeated.

            "You already said that. So... thanks again." Samantha retorted, unenthusiastically.

 Doral's voice didn't hint that shi caught her tone. "All this on a lawyer's salary. I'm impressed."

            Samantha returned to sipping her tea. "Well, when you're good, you get paid for it."

            Doral took a small sip as well. For a moment shi was lost in thought then responded. "Certainly modesty doesn't pay the bills."

            Samantha took a larger sip. "Nor does pole-dancing on a table during an office meeting."

            Doral smirked. "I wasn't pole-dancing hon, there was no pole."

            Samantha leaned back on the couch. "So, you mean to tell me if there was a pole, you would have been pole-dancing on it."

            Doral nodded. "Yes." She held her cup up towards her. "Cheers to the exotic!"

            Samantha grinned, but failed to meet the lizard's toast. "This is why I can't possibly work for you. It's hard to win cases when your boss is having dollar bills shoved into hir cleavage."

            Doral returned her cup to hir saucer. "I thought you were so good that you could win cases like that anyway."

            "Maybe I could, but I don't want to risk it. I have my reputation to worry about anyway." Samantha chose her words carefully now. She was preparing the conversation in her mind—the perfect words to make Doral leave in shame.

            "As a lawyer or a bat?" Doral asked.

            "Both, but a lawyer first. You'll be surprised how much stuff outside the courtroom affect stuff inside a courtroom. Maybe I could win, but I'd rather not make it hard for me."

            There was a moment of silence. Doral sipped and Samantha sipped, but their eyes were locked on each other. Samantha's stomach was fluttering a bit, that same feeling she would get before making a witness look like an idiot on the witness stand. She knew she could easily make this lizard look just as stupid. It was time to take the offensive.

            "You could have been a lawyer."

            "Why do you say that?"

            "Well, despite you mannerisms, you seem to have a way with words."

            "What makes you think I wasn't a lawyer before I went into insurance?"

            "Please, no lawyer would act the way you do in their right mind."

            "Nor would an insurance salesman. Plus you're assuming I'm in my right mind."

            "Hence I said 'could been'. In some alternate universe, you could have been. In reality, there's no way it would have worked."

            "So how do you think I got into insurance? Apparently to you I'm better off working at a strip club."

            Samantha took a deep breath, and gave another unnoticeable sideways glance into the kitchen. For a moment, she felt like she was staring into the eyes of twelve people, reading each one, talking to each member, telling them exactly what they needed to hear.

"I'll reserve judgment on that for later. Let's just say for the moment you were a former exotic dancer that wanted to make a name for yourself outside such a dirty business. But, as they say, you can take the girl out the club, but you can't take the club out the girl. But, Doral, when a person's house is destroyed; when their parents die or they get into an accident, they can't run to a former stripper for financial security. They need you to be there for them—to help them. Not roll around on a table and act like a whore. I don't expect you to understand this now; you still have your pipe dreams, as if this was some Showtime movie with a happy ending. But when you look into a four year-old's eyes and tell him 'Sorry, you can't have your life back because I was, literally, fucking around', then maybe you'll get it. But for now, you keep on rolling around on tables, and leave me out of it."

            Silence. Doral placed hir tea down on the tray, sitting back on hir chair silently. Samantha received a full sense of self-satisfaction inside her. She didn't even have to prepare for this battle. In a few moments, she expected Doral to simply leave, and she could get back to her novel.

            But Doral spoke again.

            "Tell me, Samantha dear, what do you do in your free time?"

            Samantha was somewhat surprised. Doral didn't even seem affected, but she decided to continue. "I enjoy reading. I run and fly for about 5 miles every day. I spend most of my time in the law books, but I do get a moment to hang out with friends on some evenings."

            Doral squinted hir eyes slightly. "And do you spend those evenings talking as if you're in a courtroom?"

            Samantha blinked. "I'm sorry?"

            "Well, you're talking to me as if you're trying to win a court case. For someone so keen about reality, you seem to think all of this is some episode of Law and Order."

            Samantha laughed. "Well, I know what I'm good at. Besides, you're subtly trying to convince me to join your company, and I'm overtly trying to tell you it's not happening. So, aren't you playing a lawyer yourself?"

            Doral smiled. "Alright, no more playing lawyers. Time for a new subject." Shi rubbed a paw against hir chest, playing with one of hir tits. "Do you think I'm sexy?"

            Samantha was taken aback by this. Doral acted as if their earlier conversation didn't even take place. "What?"

            "Do you think I'm sexy?" Doral pressed hir tits together. "Would you sleep with me?"

            Samantha became very annoyed. "I'm not going to dignify that with a response. We talked about this. If you're going to play sexual games with me, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

            "I thought we were done with lawyer-talk. Besides, what's wrong with talking about sex? Surely you spoke about it in many of your cases, especially when you worked for D.A.?"

            "I did plenty of sexually related cases while I was with the District Attorney. But my personal life is none of your business."

            Doral smirked. "You're not a virgin, I can tell. But you act like one." Shi smiled. "Give me a book of lawyers you worked with and I bet I can tell you which ones you slept with. Maybe to swing a case your way?"

            Samantha gasped. She was deeply offended by this; to even insinuate something like that was low. Doral annoyed her now then shi ever did today. It was time shi let hir have it.

            The bat slammed the tea cup down. "You know what I really think? I think you're nothing but a slutty con artist, out to steal all of Mr. Tanner's money for your sexual escapades, hiring all the people you 'feel' most likely will have sex with you, ruining perhaps another person's life while you 'get your groove on'. I'll be sure to have you investigated properly, but for now, I'm telling you to leave." She got up and headed for the front door.

            "Wait Sammy! I— "

            Samantha turned back angrily. "Don't fucking bother. I don't know what kind of parent raised such a slut for child, but I can tell you that she's probably more ashamed of you than I am. And I don't even like you."

            Doral stared at her with an odd look. Not hurt, embarrassed, or stunned; just odd. But she didn't care. She was both hurt by the accusation and embarrassed at being asked such sexual based questions. She knew her parental comment was over the line, but the lizard had crossed it at the very beginning. There was no way she was going to play 'tit-for-tat' with this crazy reptile. She turned around and put her hand was on the doorknob.

            "Tell me, Samantha, how old were you when you saw your father commit suicide?"


            The bat stopped. A dead silence filled the room. A minute passed, and she turned around, only to see the lizard looking at her from over the top of the couch, a stern, quiet expression in hir eyes.

            A lump jumped into her throat. The gory image that she tried so hard to suppress appeared in her mind as bright as day. Silent images passed through her mind of her screaming horridly as her father, so distraught over the death of her mother from a disease a few years earlier, placed a gun against the side of his head. She had just walked in, complete unaware. It was like a slideshow; one image at a time, frozen, and she could point out every minute detail: the picture of her mom in his hand; the rolled up, fifteen used tissues on his desk, the exact temperature of the room before the trigger was pulled and his head, like a piece of old cheese, flew off in red chunks, some of which got onto her school sweater.

            She turned around, facing away from Doral. "How did you know?" She tried to ask sternly, but the welling of grief was strong within her voice.

            Doral stood up and fully faced the bat. Shi was speaking differently; how exactly, Samantha couldn't say. But it was so... clear, distinct... direct.

            "No lawyer tricks. My own. The pictures of your father all over this room, the novel you're reading, your facial expressions, your side-way glances into the kitchen, the seriousness to which you approach your job—all signs of a tortured soul.

"Your mother probably died from a disease, didn't she? I bet all that mail is from organizations you donate to, including the research into the disease which killed her. You still have the small funeral card on the window sill in the kitchen. Both hers and your father's. Your house is too neat for a normal lawyer. You keep yourself too organized. You don't want to stress yourself out... like he did. After all, he always blamed himself for her death."

            Samantha wanted Doral to stop. But shi didn't, and nor did she force hir.

"Everyday you wake up and think about it. You read those cards as your mantra as you cook and clean. You kept looking at them this entire time you talked to me. You don't want to make the same error your dad did. Sometimes, though, you feel that inclination welling up inside you, especially when cases get more than you can handle. You're good, but no one's that good. But you have to keep telling yourself you are. You have to keep acting like you are. Why else would you talk to me, or anyone else for that matter, like a lawyer? Social situations are just practice for you.

            "Your father wanted you to be a lawyer, didn't he? It was his dream for you to follow in his footsteps. He wrote a book, which happens to be the first book on your bookshelf and the cleanest. You take great care of it. Perhaps it was a gift? It doesn't matter; it's still important to you, like that small shoebox next to the funeral card of your father that most likely contains the items nearest him when he killed himself. Does it have the weapon as well? I smell the faint odor of old gunpowder."

            Samantha eyes went wide. Her heart was pumping a mile a minute. Tears were welling up.

            Please stop, please stop, please stop.

            "I also see the sweater you must have been wearing that day hanging in your closet. So neat and organized too, it's a wonder you left it open. A few sizes too small, but yet you still wash it, almost every day, because you can't get the blood off it. Can you? I can smell the detergent too—you must have washed it just recently.

"And your sex life immediately is off limits. You can't commit yourself to a relationship of any kind. You had one... but you wouldn't let him in. You couldn't allow yourself to get too close. Not like your father did in regards to your mother. You got over it. He didn't. The question is why? And you ask yourself this... every single day."

            The tears began to form in Samantha's eyes. This was more horrible than the accusation the lizard made earlier. She couldn't believe that Doral, who just this morning acted like a fool on a tabletop, suddenly broke her down like a math problem, and completely exposed her deepest secret as if it was simply written on her forehead.

            As she stood speechless, Doral slowly walked over to her and placed hir hand on her shoulder. Shi looked into her eyes gently, and it was as if this morning never happened. A warm feeling spread through her body as if Doral understood. Shi had to; shi completely explained everything. She was astounded over how Doral could have noticed such complicated detail this within some ten minutes. It was... beyond human.

            Doral closed hir eyes briefly. Shi took a deep breath. "...Please... don't ask me how I did that," shi spoke as if shi was reading her mind. "You don't want to know, and I don't have the strength to tell you. All I know is life is precious and you have to enjoy it completely, no matter what happens."

Shi took another deep breath, and Samantha noticed hir hand was trembling against her shoulder. "I have a history that everyday I have to live with. I've dealt with it. The way I act is just my way of moving on. I know it's uncomfortable at first, but if you only knew what I've been through, you'd understand."

Doral slipped hir hand off the bat's shoulder, who was still shocked and saddened at the same time. The lizard headed for the door, hir hand on the doorknob. "I know that I can't convince you to work for me and Marcus. All I can say is that we are running a true, legitimate insurance company, looking forward to helping four year-olds getting their lives back. And all I can ask of you is to look beyond what you deem as acting slutty and maybe see something more. In a way, we're the same; we're just trying to continue with our lives." Shi turns towards Samantha. "I didn't judge you dear. For one moment I ask that you stop being a lawyer and try not to judge me either. I care about people. Not jobs."

Shi opened the door. "I'm sorry for your loss." Shi disappeared into the hallway, leaving Samantha standing there alone in her room, two cups of cooling tea sitting next to her novel, Escaping the Pain.



            "So, you didn't get Samantha back?" Marcus asked sullenly, sitting back in his chair. He had calmed down since his outburst, but he was still a great deal disappointed.

            Doral nodded. Shi was sitting on his desk. "I'm sorry dear. I tried, but she's a tough cookie. Here, let me buy you dinner tonight."

            "No thanks. I'm not hungry. Besides, I need to look at other applications of lawyers and see if we..."

            Doral glanced up as Marcus trailed off, and both human and lizard stared at the white furred bat, who smiled at them through the doorway.

            "There's no need for that Mr. Tanner. I'll begin work for you on Monday." She gave Doral a small salute. "And your partner has a way with words. Shi could have been a great lawyer."

            Marcus looked up to Doral after Samantha left. "How did... what did... I thought..."

            Doral grinned. "Now how about that dinner?" Shi sprawled across Marcus's desk, chest up, looking very relaxed. "I'll get whatever you want!"

            Marcus couldn't even get angry when Doral began playing with hir chest on top of his table. For a moment he tried to wrap his brain around it. "Wait... you knew she was coming back, didn't you?"

            The lizard laughed and winked at Marcus. "I never kiss and tell."

            Marcus knew Doral made it sound like they had hot, passionate, "make-up" sex; but somehow, he knew too that there was something else. He looked down at that crazy gecko, watching her continuously massage hir own chest, and chuckled. Once again, shi defied the impossible.