Hot Cocoa

You rush through the wind-chilled airport, your tie flapping in the wind as snowflakes pelt your face. Winter never was your favorite season, but the fact that it delayed your flight only makes the situation worse. The results of your business trip pale compared to your thoughts of getting home so late. You can’t trouble your lovely wife with picking you up so late at night, so you try to call a taxi within the snow-covered airport pickup zone. Some pass you by while others pick up different people in the crowd congregating at the curb. Every time you push your way to the front, some asshole with a few inches of height over you elbows you out of the way. Your feet are getting cold (dress shoes aren’t made for such cold weather) and the snowfall is picking up as the late night sluggishly moves on without you.

It’s already passed midnight and the bus stop schedule says the next one won’t come for fifteen minutes. The bus should take about an hour, then it’s another twenty-minute walk home from the bus stop. You let out a long, slow sigh, the smog from your breath fogging up your glasses. Snow has piled up on the cold metal bench. Even with a good brushing, flakes of ice and water left behind leave it less than desirable for sitting. You instead stand with your back against the pole of the bus stop sign.

A gust kicks up a cutting cloud of powder that scrapes against your cheek. With a hunch to hide your head and ears behind your collar, you let out a growl of annoyance. If this is what it’s going to be like til the bus gets here, you–

Two sets of lights come lurching to a stop in front of you. It’s the bus. The correct one, at that. With a spring in your step, you hope into the warm bus and scan your card in front of the fare machine. You ask the tired, crusty-looking bus driver what’s up with the schedule, to which he says, “The buses are all backed up, man. Storm’s makin’ some back roads hard to get through, y’know?”

Your stomach quickly sinks like an anchor. Your home is among some of those back roads the driver was talking about. Dispirited, you slump into the first seat that comes into view. At least the bus was warm, though the smell wasn’t exactly spectacular. With so many people from the airport having just got off their planes, that stale airplane smell hasn’t gotten off their clothes just yet. Every breath felt like something new stuck to the inside of your throat. It didn’t take long for the bus to halt at the next stop and let on a few more people. The vehicle was already packed, and you can’t help but roll your eyes when one of them decides to sit down right next to you. You had nothing against the guy, but did he really have to sit right next to YOU of all the available spots left?

The ride continued, and you couldn’t keep your eyes off the electric clock at the front, as if counting the minutes would make time go by quicker. It doesn’t. Some people get off, a few leftover party people get on, and a few bundled up monster girls board as well. You never thought you’d see a werecat girl shivering beside her husband; it’s definitely the most calm you’ve seen one, at any rate. The couple sat a few rows down into the bus while you sat in one of the seats facing sideways near the front. You steal some glances back towards them. She sat in his lap, wrapped up in a blanket and snuggling up against him with a purr audible enough to hear throughout the bus. Cute. Adorable, really, but it made you want to get home all the faster.

When you try to look out the window, you see a few lights off in the distance among the hills. The entire valley, from what you were able to see, was covered in a layer of snow. Each one slowly edged its way across the dark of the night as you felt your eyelids begin to droop. Soon, you are off to dream land.

In the middle of wading through an increasingly deep field of snow to your lone house, you feel someone shake your shoulder. “Hey, buddy, it’s the end of the line. Unless you wanna go back to the bus station, you gotta get off.” So the field was a dream, but you had more pressing matters.

You groggily lift your head from the ice-cold window. “What time is it?” You answer your own question when you look up at the clock on the bus. 1:46 in the AM. The bus just took THAT long to get to your stop, but at least you’re there. You thank the driver and step out of the bus. The cold wind greets you once more and you look around for the street sign you need. It points toward a long dirt road leading up into the hills. You usually drive your car to and from work and avoid the bus bullshit, but you didn’t want to pay the airport parking rates while you were gone on your business trip.

Taking a deep breath, you pull your collar up to project your neck from the cold and soldier onward. You’ve taken the route on foot plenty of times before with your wife. The first landmark is the first big hill, then the rundown shack in the middle of the field to the right, then the beginning of a winding dirt road leading up to your house. Unfortunately, the wind decided, as it usually did when most inconvenient, to blow directly against the direction you wanted to go. Some snow powder even got all whipped up inside your collar and started to melt along your neck. Fuck winter, seriously.

It took longer than you thought it would, but your home comes into view around the corner from a hillside. It’s a small, solid cottage with a mushroom cap of snow sitting on top of it and a smoking chimney. During Spring, the short picket fence around the house held a variety of flowers, but it’s now filled with slippery slush and ice. The rest of your two acres of land are fields of delicious grass for your wife. During any other time of year, the building is downright picturesque; the very definition of “home” to you. The mere sight of it, even at night, fills you with warmth. What’s more, you can see the lights on through the windows. With a renewed spring in your step, you make for the stepping stones leading up to the door.

A wall of warm air folds against your icy face as you open the door to your home. You shake the slush off your soaked shoes, kick off your footwear, and take off your coat as you shut the door. The rooms of the cottage are arranged in a circle, with the living room and kitchen at the front and the bedroom in the back sectioned off by walls and a couple of doors. All around the house are little knickknacks and decorations your wife has collected over the years. Aside from the shuffle of your clothes and the errant snap of wood in the fireplace, your home is silent. No wife that you can see, and the only light is from the fire.

“Hello~” you call into the building, trying to shake the numbness out of your feet. As you approach the couch in the living room, you crane your neck to see a figure lying on her side: your holstaurus wife, Annabelle. With one arm around her stomach and the other lazily resting by her head near the pillow, she lies asleep. Crouching in front of her, you notice she is still wearing her glasses. Gently as you can, you slide them off her ears and move some of her black and white locks of hair out of her face. She’s wearing that long sweater dress you like, the one low enough to show off her collarbones and goes all the way down to the fur on her thighs. Almost automatically, you lean forward and plant a light kiss on your wife’s lips.

Anna grumbles in her sleep a little before blinking her bleary eyes open. A smile spreads across her lips as she says, “You’re home…” You can’t help but smile, either. She heaves herself up and wraps her arms around your neck, making sure to press her more-than-ample sweater puppies against your chest. As usual, she isn’t wearing a bra. Once, before you were married to her, those things nearly broke your ribs during one crazy night of drinking. Left hell of an impression on you, at any rate.

You kiss her lips and fondle her breasts to return her affection, one of her hoofed feet rising from the floor behind her in glee. “Sorry I took so long.” Anna smiled and grasped your hand, entwining her fingers with yours. Once she felt them, however, her ears perked up.

“Honey, you’re freezing!” Letting go, she reaches for the blanket she was using on the couch and shoves it in your face. “I’ll make you something to warm you up.” With a chuckle, you take off the rest of your wet clothes. Once you’re down to your undershirt and pants, you bundle up in the blanket your wife gave you. Sitting on the soft cushions of the couch, you rest your frozen red toes in front of the fire while Anna fills your home with the smell of cream and cocoa. Tired as you are, you wait anxiously for her patented drink to finish.

It isn’t long before she returns to the living room with two mugs. “I put in two big marshmallows just for you.” You nearly tear up at the gesture as you take the cup and let the smooth hot ceramic warm your hands. She really does know you and your love of marshmallows too well. After blowing on it for a minute, you take the first sip. The cocoa tastes almost like a pure liquid chocolate bar, while the cream and milk she added bring forth a richness of flavor you never knew existed. To top it off, the frothy marshmallows act as a slight change in texture and gives it a certain thickness that keeps the flavor with you long after you swallow. The heat and taste pervade your senses as you feel your limbs release themselves from the cold. You can’t help but let out a sigh. “This might be my best milk in a long time.”

You look at your wife, who as since sat next to you on the couch. She’s pleased as punch to see you enjoy her homemade hot cocoa, her tail flitting back and forth on the cushions in joy. “Anna, you don’t have to milk by yourself. I know how hard it is for you.”

Her ears droop slightly. “I’m fine, don’t worry. As long as you’re happy, I don’t mind doing it myself every once in awhile.”

Helping her produce milk was something the two of you did once a week like clockwork, before you landed the promotion. You realize your absence has gotten to the point that you can’t even participate in you and Anna’s favorite pastime. Suddenly you feel strangely isolated from her. Having been gone for five days on business, you feel your wife might have changed the slightest bit since the last time you saw her. This has grown to be a familiar feeling; you have to leave for days at a time for work, sometimes two to three times a month. You worry your lovely lovely wife might start changing and growing old without you, leaving you behind. Time flies by when you’re together, but seems to stand still when you’re apart, and you are just now realizing how long you have been away from her lately.

In your thoughts, you remember the couple on the bus earlier that night, and motion for Anna to scoot closer. Though she cocks her head questioningly, she scoots in and cuddles up to you. With Anna leaning on your chest, you set down your mug and drape the blanket around the both of you. You lean in and kiss her head, taking in a breath of her scent as she nuzzles under your neck, being careful of her horns. Her breasts press against the left side of your ribs once more and, after getting the blanket situated, you reach out to grab your mug to take a few good gulps. Heat comes off the fireplace in waves, relieving your numb limbs of their ailments. At the same time, the warmth from your wife’s cocoa seeps ever deeper throughout your being, an experience nothing short of spiritual. Once you set it down on the side table by the couch, Anna buries her face in your shoulder.

You stroke her hair and whisper, “You okay?”

Anna laughs and says, “I just missed you.”

You slump in your seat, feeling like an idiot. “I’ve missed you, too.” Kissing her head, you gently take her by the shoulders and lower her back onto the couch. Her innocent eyes gaze up at you as you grasp one of her breasts through the sweater. Massive as her chest is, she still lets out a sharp moan at the contact. Already more than warm enough, you wrap an arm around her lower back and lean in to kiss her. She quickly meets you halfway and pulls you close, her heavy legs wriggling giddily beneath you while her thighs clench together in arousal. You lower your head down to her chest and kiss her breasts through the fabric, each kiss meeting a soft pillow of resistance as your wife lets out a squeak of excitement with every peck.

She strokes your cheek. “Honey…” You look up to see her red face, each of her breaths a puff of hot air. “We should finish the cocoa and… maybe go to the bedroom…” Looking back at your mug, still a quarter full, you grab it, gulp it down, and set it back on the side table.

You kiss your wife. “Here is fine.” She can do nothing but smile as blush fills her cheeks.

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