Art slowly opened his eyes, a wave of panic washed over him. “I’m late!” Art shot up in bed and was about to run to the bathroom when he remembered the date. Art flopped back down and let out a sigh of relief. “Oh thats right, it’s my day off.” Art sunk into the bed and let his muscles relax as he spread out. He rolled his head to the side and looked at the bedside table. There was a picture of the cubs in little dresses (taken just after the twins were born) as well as a note. Art picked up the note and read it.
“Had a lot of errands to run today, Eva wanted to come with and the twins were adamant about staying home with you. I’ll be gone all day so it’s just you and them. It’s supposed to be nice out so maybe think about taking them somewhere. Have fun!
P.S. I’ll probably need a foot rub tonight.”
There was a little tiger face drawn on the page. Art looked out the window at the beautiful day just beyond it. “Hmmm, today seems like a park kind of day. Those two need to burn off some energy and I need to get out of the house.” The bedroom door creaked open and Art raised his head from the pillow. Gabby and Layla were standing in the doorway. Art smiled a little and pat the bed. Taking that as their cue the twins dashed from the door and leaped onto the bed. They scrambled up the bed and latched onto their fathers neck. Art laughed as he fell back down onto the bed, all while being showered with kisses from his two little girls. “Good morning dear hearts, did you two sleep well?” He asked as he rubbed their backs.
“Yes” they responded in unison.
“Eva left with mommy this morning.” Gabby said
“We wanted to spend the day with you daddy!” Said Layla.
“I heard!” Art said as he snuck his hands up to their ears. “Say, do you two wanna go to the park? It’s supposed to be an amazing day!” Art asked as he massaged his daughter’s ears. The cubs hugged their father tighter and chuffed.
“That’d be amazing!” Layla proclaimed
“We’d love to!” Said Gabby.
“Well how about you two let me get ready and then we can go!” The twins hopped off Art and scampered off to go get dressed. Art swung his legs over the side of the bed and stretched out his arms. While he may have been wiped out from a long work week Art found renewed energy at the prospect of spending a day with his daughters. With another small smile Art stood up, ready to start the day
“Hey dad! Look at this!” Art raised his head from his place on the swing set and looked at his daughters. Layla was on top of a pile of sand and was in a crouched position on her hands and knees.
“Motionless I sit as the world passes me by.
My duty is to question everything under the desert sky.
What am I?”
The little cub nodded her head
Gabby was busy adding more sand to the pile. Art tilted his head back and noticed an actual sphinx giving him a dirty look.
“I find such behavior offensive to my people. Also- I find your rhyming rather feeble.”
Art straightened his face.
The werecat simply shook her head and placed her paws on her daughter’s shoulders before she lead her away from the play area. Art looked back at his daughters. “Uh, Girls! Maybe you two shouldn’t do that, you know how mommy gets when your fur gets all sandy.”
“Okaaaay…” The two said disappointedly.
“Oh don’t be like that!” Art said enthusiastically, “there are plenty of things you two can still do!” Art looked around the playground. “Like How about that slide over there?!” Art pointed to the silver slide on the playground, “you two can have plenty of fun on that!”
“I guess.” Said Layla, not so enthusiastically. Art gave his daughters an exaggerated frown.
“Cooome on!” Art said, “tell you what, I’m gonna go over to the snack shack and get a little something to eat. If I come back and see that you two are having fun on the slide I just might get you guys a little something…” The cubs immediately perked up at their fathers words and next thing he knew they were racing up and down the slide, the promises of treats spurring them on. Art smiled and got up from the swing. “I’ll be back in a little bit! Stay on the playground ok?!” He called to his daughters.
“Ok daddy!” Came a response. Art strolled over to the snack shack, savoring the beautiful day and looking at the other family’s around the park. There was a family of lamias sunning themselves as well as a harpy and her daughter sitting in a tree, with her husband resting in the shade underneath them. It always warmed Art’s heart to see other families out and about with their kids. Knowing that other people were as happy as him was just an amazing feeling. Art walked up to the snack shack and bought a bag of chips.
“Vanessa doesn’t need to know about this…” Art thought to himself, being a personal trainer and all, Vanessa was very particular about what Art ate. He had more than a few memories of doing extra sets of push ups after he had indulged on fast food the night before. Art made his way back to his daughters as he enjoyed his salty snack. He was about halfway back when he heard someone run up behind him. A chin rested itself on his shoulder and a nose found its way into his ear, Art stood still as the nose took a few breaths. Art sighed a little, “hello Amanda…” He turned around and was pulled into a hug by a werewolf who only came up to his chest. She was wearing a blue tank top and her snow white tail was wagging like crazy as she held her coworker in a tight hug. The werewolf looked up at him with her bright yellow eyes.
“Hi Art!” She said enthusiastically. “How have you been?!” Art delicately pulled her paws off of himself and took a step back.
“I’ve been well.” Art pointed to her stomach. “How have you two been?” Amanda rubbed her noticeably rounded belly and smiled.
“We’ve been extremely well.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” Art smiled then popped a chip into his mouth. “So is it just you two or is Jerry with you?” The werewolf’s ears twitched at the mention of her husband’s name.
“Oh! He’s around here somewhere!” Amanda started to scan the park for her husband before she saw him over by the snack shack buying a cup of coffee. “Honey!” She called out as she pointed to Art. “Look who I found!” Jerry gave a little wave and sluggishly made his way to the two. Art saw the bags under his eyes as he got closer.
“Hey Art.” He said with a yawn
“Honey that’s your third cup of coffee today.” Amanda said with a hit of concern in her voice. Jerry placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Dear… You woke me up five times last night to tell me name ideas…”
“I know! I’m just so excited!! We’re having a baby!” Amanda pulled her husband into a sudden hug, spilling some hot coffee on his hand. Jerry clenched his teeth and forced a smile.
“And it’s all thanks to this guy right here!” Jerry said through clenched teeth as he pointed at Art. Amanda leapt off of Jerry and pulled Art into another hug.
“It’s true! Thank you soooo much Art!” Art laughed a little.
“Ahh, you guys give me too much credit. I just introduced you two at that get together.” Amanda squeezed Art tighter and her tail wagged faster
“Which led to us falling in love!” Amanda pulled back and placed her paws on his shoulders. “So what are you doing here on this fine day?” the werewolf asked as she tilted her head slightly.
“Oh! I’m here with Gabby and Layla!” Art smiled a little. “Eva’s out with momma running some errands so it’s just me and the twins today.”
“S-so Vanessa isn’t with you then?” Amanda’s ears drooped a little at the mention of the jinko.
“Nope.” Art pat his friend on the shoulder. “You don’t need to be so scared of Vanessa! She’s a real sweet heart once you get to know her.” Art said as he started to walk back to the playground.
“I know… I’m just worried that she doesn’t like me.” Art laughed a little.
“It’s not that she doesn’t like you, she just hates it when I come home smelling like other manomo. And you tend to get a little grabby.”
“Oh…” Amanda said as she looked at the ground, her tail slowing a little. Art gave her a little slap on the back
“Hey now! Don’t be like that. Vanessa just gets a little too territorial that’s all!” Art smiled at his friend. “Tell ya what, I’ll invite you and Jerry over some night for dinner and clear up any bad feelings between you and my wife. If she gets a little ‘aggressive’ I’ll tell her to cool it.” Amanda brightened up at Art’s words and went in for yet another hug. She stayed attached to his arm all the way to one of the benches by the playground. The three sat down and Amanda released Art’s arm before latching onto her husbands. The cubs were now playing tag with a few other girls, namely a hellhound and a salamander. Art smiled as he watched his daughters romp and play, their two new play mates were taking surprisingly well to being tackled and dragged through the sand. Amanda sighed wistfully and rested her head against Jerry’s arm.
“That’s gonna be us soon.” Jerry placed his hand on Amanda’s tummy and gave it a gentle pat.
“I know, I can’t wait.” The two looked into each others eyes before kissing. Art looked at his friends and sighed happily.
“Kids man… I tell ya, they’ll change your life.” Art said as Gabby leapt at the hellhound who deftly dodged her. Amanda and Jerry looked over at their friend.
“What’s it like being a parent?” Jerry asked.
“Oh man!” Art chuckled a little. “How do I describe it? It’s kinda like having a job you didn’t know you wanted. It has its downsides don’t get me wrong! I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few years of my life due to lack of sleep!” Art ate another chip. “But I just can’t describe how rewarding it is. Coming home to a big happy family every night is one of the best feelings ever. Hearing about everyone’s day and how your daughters are making new friends or doing well in school and then going to bed with the love of your life knowing that you get to wake up the next morning and do it all again is just…” Art wiped a little tear from his eye. “Amazing.”
“What was Vanessa like when she was pregnant?” Amanda asked as she watched the children play
“Happiest I’d ever seen her. She’d walk around holding her stomach and sometimes she’d just smile for no reason. She went from a kind of brash and wild jinko to a loving and devoted mother. I mean she still can be pretty wild sometimes… But I won’t talk about that when kids are present.” Art finished off his bag of chips and crumpled it up in his hand. He looked back over at his friends and smiled “I can already tell you two are going to be amazing parents.” Jerry and Amanda smiled back. “And you’re lucky too, because anytime you go out you’ll have at least one jinko watching over your little bundle of joy. Well when they’re old enough to babysit that is.”
“You really mean that?” Amanda asked
“Of course I do!” Art said with a laugh “It’ll be a good way for me to mess with their social lives! ‘Oh what’s that honey? You were gonna go to the movies with your boyfriend? Sorry, you’re watching Amanda’s kid tonight.’” Amanda gave Art a little shove.
“Hey now, I don’t want any part in ruining your daughter’s social lives!” Art laughed
“Speaking of my girls, have you ever met them?”
“Uhh, I don’t think so” replied Amanda. Art grinned.
“Let’s fix that.” Art called out to his daughters, the two cubs ran up to their father.
“What is it dad?” Gabby said between pants.
“Yeah, what is it?” Asked Layla. Art pointed to Amanda.
“Girls, this is Amanda. She’s a friend from work.” The cubs each gave Amanda a little wave.
“Hello” they said in unison. Amanda smiled and waved back.
“Yes Gabby?” Art responded, fully aware of what she was going to ask.
“Can we have our treat now?” Art sighed a little
“Sure” Art stood up and took his daughters by the paws. “I promised these two treats, now I gotta go make good on that. I promise you’ll get to meet Eva when we have you over.” Amanda lept from the bench and gave Art a hug.
“Sounds like a plan! It was great seeing you!”
“It was great seeing you too! Let me know what you decide to name the baby!” Art said as he walked towards the snack snack with his daughters in tow.
“Can do!” Amanda called after him.
“Sooo, what do you girls want?”
“A hotdog!” Said Layla
“A hamburger!” Yelled Gabby
“Really? Are you two sure you don’t want something sweeter?” Art asked
“We haven’t eaten lunch yet daddy…” Said Gabby.
“Oh, right… Sorry about that… How about I buy you two lunch then get a little dessert for you both?” The cubs cheered at the promise of more food as they continued on their way to the shack. Amanda rested her head against Jerry’s shoulder again and closed her eyes. Feeling the warm breeze on her skin and enjoying the company of the love of her life.