Thomas’ eyes shot open with the blaring sound of his alarm clock. 0500, on a Monday to boot. The first week on a new base was always rough. That and his wife and daughter had already spent the weekend complaining about the heat. Finding a way to keep them cool in their little on-base apartment was objective number one as soon as he got off duty.
It had been a case of being taken out of a deep freeze and thrown right into a hot oven. Thomas had spent two years servicing the Army’s medium range missile arrays in Alaska, and then a 13 month deployment in Korea. He had barely been home a couple months when he was informed he was being sent south, very far south.
His new home would be Fort Bliss, Texas, and more specifically the White Sands Missile Range. Apparently his interest in working on new developments in missile and rocket artillery had been noted by those above. Only the smart ones got sent to White Sands to work on the new boomsticks.
Of course this hadn’t sat well with Karelia and little Malinovka. The two well-furred hellhounds would suffer in the desert heat. Upon moving in, Kari’s first order of business had been an immediate trip to the wonderful world of Sam Walton to stock up on bottled water, ten crates worth. Thomas could have made a couch out of all the bottles.
Thomas sat up and groggily shook his head to clear the cobwebs. Sure enough, the air in the apartment was already stiflingly hot. The night before Kari hadn’t even bothered putting sheets on the bed, it was just too hot. For the first time ever, Thomas had gone to bed naked, not out of his wife’s interests, but for his own sake. Now he ran hands up and down arms already slick with slimy sweat.
“Okay, definitely going by Wally-world later. This is ridiculous.” He muttered as he grabbed his water bottle off the nightstand and shotgunned the remnants. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and was just about to get up when a familiar fluffiness grabbed the little bit of flab around his waist.
“Mrrrr do you think yer going?” He looked down at Kari’s outstretched arm and paw holding onto him. Her eyelids were open just a crack, but enough that he could see the blazing red eyes underneath. Even so it made him chuckle. She was always so reluctant to let him out of bed. If it hadn’t been for the heat, he most certainly would have woken up buried underneath a snoring pile of thick fur and warm skin.
“It’s five o’clock, babe. I gotta go.”
Kari growled in response, as usual. She slowly let her paw slip away from his stomach, letting him believe he was free and clear… she never let him get away that easy. Just as he was about to stand up, she suddenly leaped up and grabbed him from behind, flipping him around behind her and mushing his face into the pillows.
Thomas started pounding the mattress with his fists, so she folded them into her grip as well. His legs went next, firmly twisted and tangled up with hers. She nuzzled into the back of his neck and waited for his surrender.
“Babe, come on…” he groaned into the pillow. She giggled and began to nibble his ear playfully.
“We don’t have enough time for that, babe. Come on, maybe later?” That was almost good enough, she leaned up and flipped him over, not letting him out of her grip.
“You’d better promise this time. No sneaking out for a convenient Daddy-daughter date this time, hon.” She licked her lips and flashed that slightly crazed smile she knew both terrified and turned him on at the same time. That was enough it seemed. Thomas finally relaxed and nodded his head.
“Fine, I promise. Just let me stop by the store, we need an air conditioner in this place, otherwise Mali’s going to suffer.”
Oh that wasn’t fair. It never was, using their daughter as a weapon to get to her sensitive side. Still, if there was one thing Kari adored about her husband, it was his devotion. And he was right, she had already been planning to take Mali down to the pool for the day, just to keep her from overheating.
“Alright. I’ll authorize a store trip, nothing more. After that you get that ass of yours back where it belongs, understood?” Thomas grinned as his wife feigned giving him orders. She had to have some Anubis blood in her, with the way she got off on ordering him about.
“Yes, commander.” he gave in.
One long, stuffy, and slobbery kiss later, Thomas found himself catapulted out of bed with a thud. Behind him Kari quickly sprawled all over the mattress with a gleeful smirk on her face.
“Good! Now get going, The commander has her beauty rest to get.” Thomas shook his head with another smirk as he disappeared into the closet for his clothes.
Once dressed, he tiptoed into his daughter’s room. They had barely had time to set up anything more than their own bed and Mali’s little bed the night before, and she too had refused blankets. Now she was sleeping peacefully at least, although her tail was twitching as always.
Thomas could tell she was uncomfortable with the heat. He had grabbed a rag damped with cold water from the bathroom and gently caressed his daughter’s forehead with it before gently lifting her head and setting it around her neck. It wasn’t much, but it would keep the carotid arteries from overheating, an absolute necessity. He placed a gentle kiss against her cheek and sneaked back out the way he came.
The sun was only just starting to appear on the horizon as he tossed his bag into the back of their truck. The good old ’93 Ram had made the full trek from Fort Greely to Fort Bliss, but she was on her last legs. Still there was no way Thomas was going to part with his original gal. He’d stick with her to the bitter end, that was a fact.
Thomas didn’t know he was being watched as he roughly coerced the old truck into starting up. Kari peered out at her husband from their bedroom window, her supposed beauty sleep forgotten. Oh, she would have loved an opportunity for some extra sleep, but Mali would be waking up in a couple of hours, and the rest of their stuff from the move had to be unpacked. Even with her abnormal strength, she did not look forward to heavy lifting in the deep-southern Texas heat.
After pulling on a sports bra and a pair of Thomas’ PT shorts, she shambled into the kitchen and wrenched the freezer door open. Thomas had turned the ice-maker on before coming to bed, thank goodness. She fished a glass out of the moving boxes in the kitchen and let ice-cold water quench her morning thirst. Well, considering she was already here, the kitchen seemed a decent place to start.
In an hour long cascade of plates and glasses, pots and pans, Kari moved every piece into a sense of organization. It wasn’t perfect, and she was sure Thomas would go about reorganizing it all in his neurotic way, but for now it would do. On that thought, she opened the pantry to see what little food they had managed to grab in a whirlwind tour of Walmart the previous night. There was enough to make French toast for Mali’s breakfast at least, and a small bottle of pancake syrup would make sure she didn’t complain. Without much else, Kari grumbled and picked up her phone to text her husband. Thomas would just have to scrounge lunch for himself.
A little yowling yawn alerted Kari that her pup was awake. She turned to see Mali standing next to the counter, scrubbing her eyes and trying to shift the weight of sleepiness off her little shoulders. She smiled at her little sun and with a quick snatch, swept her daughter up off the floor and gave her a hug.
“Mrr….Morning…” Mali mumbled and tried to snuggle her mom’s shoulder.
“Aww, still sleepy?” Kari giggled as she used a claw to brush little bits of dirt from Mali’s eyes. She nodded groggily and tried to shake her head.
“Well, I think I have something to wake you up. Want breakfast?”
That got the desired reaction. Sleepiness quickly rolled off the little hellhound’s shoulders at the mention of food and she began to bob her head up and down happily. Kari’s giggle turned into a laugh and she sat the little scamp down on the edge of the counter. Armed with frying pan and flipper, she set about forging a miniature feast for her famished little girl.
“Are you gonna make some for Daddy too?” Mali asked as Kari set a small plate with pre-cut pieces of toast in her lap. Kari smiled again; her daughter was definitely going to grow up her father’s girl. She really needed to curb Thomas’ attempts to spoil the little pup before she even reached school age.
“Daddy’s at work, sweetie, he’ll be home later.”
“Mommy, whats work?”
Oh goodness. Kari stared off into space. Kids asked the damnedest questions don’t they? She gave herself some time to think as she drizzled syrup on Mali’s toast bites. She also gave her a fork, but little paws were bound to get sticky anyways.
“Well, honey. Work is, something your Daddy does at another place so we can have breakfast.” Kari speared a toast bite on her claw and stuck it on her daughter’s tongue. The little pup munched away happily, satisfied for the moment with Kari’s answer. It did not last long.
“Are we going to play today?” Her daughter’s voice piped up again through a mouthful of toast.
“I’m sure Daddy will play with you when he gets home, sweetie.” Kari waited until the little girl had finished her breakfast before putting her back down on the floor.
“Why don’t you go play with some of you toys while Mommy cleans up? When I’m done I’ll set your tv shows up so you can watch them.”
“Eh, eh! Show me those paws.” Kari put her hands on her hips as a sheepish Mali raised paws outward. Just as she thought, little paws smeared with pancake syrup and crumbs. Kari picked a rag up out of the sink and reached down to scrub her daughter’s paws. Was it just the fate of parents to be constantly cleaning their children? To Kari, it seemed like her daughter’s grasp of toilet training had only been replaced by a case of messy eating.
Add to that her daughter’s rambunctious hellhound nature, and Kari wasn’t sure she was going to able to take her husband up on his promise later. The only bane of an adult hellhound it seemed, was a smaller one with infinitely more energy. Still, once she got Mali set up with her shows on her husband’s tablet, she should be able to savor a few precious moments of peace to get the dining room table re-assembled and arrange the living room furniture.
Mali bounded off into her room, and minutes later came the crash of a little hellhound pup hurling herself onto her bed to attack a pillow. Lately Mali’s playing had taken a rather instinctual route, Kari noted. She was learning to hunt. That would mean very soon they would have to get her outside to play, if any of the furniture in the house was to be preserved. The sofa cushions had required replacing twice since the girl started teething.
Kari could feel a migraine setting in, not fun. She attempted to stymie it with a few Motrin and another glass of water, but human medicine was hit or miss for her body. She forged ahead anyways, breakfast needed cleaning up. Thank goodness this house had a dishwasher. The apartment that had served them back in Alaska had not come with one, and she had ruined her paw-pads with harsh dish soap and steel wool more than once. And, as any lady with paws knew, soft paw-pads were absolutely necessary for properly taming your man.
With breakfast tidied up, she hurried to the bedroom and hunted the tablet out of its hiding place in Thomas’ suitcase. Switching it on, she selected one of the few kids movies they had stored on the tablet to keep Mali occupied on the long drive from Alaska.
She had barely pressed play when Mali shot through the doorway to her room and nearly cannonballed into the hallway wall.
“Mali, what did I say about running indoors?” Kari shook her head as she turned to her little girl. The pup was still not aware of how to maintain traction on hardwood floors. Paw-pads and claws did not lend themselves to friction on smooth surfaces. Kari smirked as she remembered Thomas relentlessly teasing her in their first apartment. Whenever she got the urge to grab him, he would always scamper off to the dining room where the floor was smooth. Oh how it irritated her, chasing him round the table, constantly slipping and plowing into the walls.
Their new house was largely hardwood floored as well. Kari made a mental note to give her husband a sound mauling for that little decision. She sighed and handed down the tablet to her daughter.
“Hey, hey.” she didn’t let her take it just yet. “Walk, don’t run. That’s Daddy’s tablet, if you break it he wont want to play.
That was usually enough to make sure Mali obeyed. The idea of her Dad not wanting to play with her was more frightening than a thunderstorm. Her eyes drooped a little and Kari knew there was no way she could stay annoyed at the little pup.
“Hey, when Mommy gets done moving all this stuff around we’ll go to the pool, alright?”
That was enough to quickly dispel the droopy face and Mali gasped happily. She wanted to jump up and down but Kari quickly pointed a finger at the tablet still clasped in her little paws. Mali quickly snapped her jaw shut and nodded seriously, or as serious as her little face could manage. She carefully navigated the hallway back to her room, clutching the precious tablet close.
Kari looked over to her bed and for a minute contemplated a small nap. But there was too much to do. She shook her head and considered her husband. While he enjoyed playing and spoiling his daughter, he hardly ever had to deal with her troubles, thanks to working most days. Lucky jerk.
Thomas finally found some time to catch his breath as he went for lunch in the mess hall. The morning had been filled with meetings with his new commanding officer, taking care of legal transfer documents, and learning his new assignment of course.
He was not very pleased. He had prided himself on remaining a field-grade officer up until this point in his career. He had fought in the Reunification conflict that brought the country back together, he had served on the defensive line in Korea, and he had maintained activeness during his service in Alaska. But it finally turned out that promotion had its faults as well as its benefits.
Thomas had become a captain upon returning from Korea, and being a captain apparently came with a metric ton of paperwork. You would think that in a modern age, the reams of forms and memos would have made the switch to digital format. But the military’s love of physical files could not be subverted. So he had spent the last three hours wearing out his signing hand with multiple acquisition approvals, reports to sign off on, and the rest of the usual bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.
He sat down to a rather unappetizing lunch and was just about to dig in when he spied a fellow making for his table. Silver bars, two of them a piece, that meant another Captain.
“Pierzynski?” The Captain asked. Thomas rose to his feet and held out his hand.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Lenny Compton, nice to meet you. I hear you’re the new blood in the R&D department. I’m here for the same thing, we’ll be working together.”
Thomas nodded again as they shook hands. Compton was a massive bear of a man. His big, ebony hands practically crushed Thomas’ hand in the shake.
“How are you liking majestic Fort Bliss?” Compton asked with a flash of his pearly white smile as he sat down to his own meal.
“Oh, absolutely stunning.” Thomas said with a roll of his eyes. Compton let out a deep chuckle.
“I hear you came from Alaska, must be quite the change.”
“Oh yeah, definitely. Feel bad for the missus and my little girl. This heat is something else, they don’t deal with it very well.”
Lenny looked up at him curiously. “You wouldn’t happen to be talking about the Hellhound pair that came in this weekend?”
Now it was Thomas’ turn to grin. “Aye, that’s my wife and daughter.”
Lenny looked a bit confused. “I’d have thought they’d be used to the heat?”
“You’d think so, but it turns out its all inner fire. They’re alright on the outside, but inside they’re burning up. That’s all well and good in a place like Alaska, where they can constantly be cooled off. But down here it’s going to be rough.”
Lenny munched on a chili dog. “Interesting. Sounds like you’ve got a handful.”
“You don’t know the half of it, buddy.” Thomas chuckled as he sipped from a glass of water. “What about you, you got family?”
Lenny sighed. “Used to. Still do I guess. I have my little girl, Tina. Sweet as honey, shes the treasure of my life.”
“Aren’t they always? What do you mean by used to? You live alone I take it?”
Lenny nodded ruefully. “Wife left me a year ago. Its been rough, but I’d do anything for my girl.”
“Sorry to hear that, man.” Thomas tipped his head to the other man. “If there’s any way I can help let me know.”
“How old’s your girl?” Thomas had an idea drop in on him.
“She’s going to be four this weekend.”
Thomas grinned. “You know, my little Mali could probably use a friend down here. She’s about to turn four herself. Ya’l should come by sometime. I know it would put my wife’s mind at ease if the girls get along.”
Lenny flashed that big smile. “You’re sure? Tina gets a little bit rowdy when shes around other kids.”
Thomas practically spat his water at him. “Trust me, brother. You don’t know anything about rowdy till you’ve had Hellpups. My wife has probably torched the living room couch by now.”
Rather than torching the couch, Karelia had finally managed to get an increasingly rambunctious Mali into her swimming suit and on the way to the pool. Heads swiveled and eyes grew wider as the tall hellhound and her daughter walked along the poolside and found a spot to settle in. Kari smirked with satisfaction at the glances. She hadn’t actually intended to flaunt her looks and chose a rather modest one-piece, red bathing suit. Even so, her unnaturally perfect features had been sculpted to turn any head, and they still did.
“Looking good.” She murmured to herself, “Definitely still got it.”
Unfortunately, she didn’t get much time to savor the looks of jealous appraisal from the other ladies around the pool. A tiny tugging paw was quickly dragging her away towards the kiddies pool. Although Kari had fancied a bit of a soak in the deep end herself, she knew Mali was far too young to go unsupervised.
But, in that way of young kids, it didn’t take long for little Mali to find a troupe of other young ones who inducted her into their splashing club without so much as thought. A mixed group of kids, Kari noticed. A general smattering of young human boys and girls of course, but alongside little Mali there was a small assortment of mamono kids as well.
A rather tall harpy fledgling with bright blond hair and yellow feathers was gleefully stomping about the outside of the pool and splashing the others with great sweeps of her wings. A snow white lamia child seemed utterly bemused by one of the filter openings on the wall, as if it might lead down into another pool somewhere. A triplet of manticore kids were playing Supersoaker Apocalypse with a group of young boys. And lastly, teleporting about and pelting unwary kiddos with water balloons was a cackling, and more disturbingly, unsupervised cheshire kitten with a bright pink swimming cap.
And of course, little Mali’s hunting instincts kicked in as she immediately set to chasing the cheshire about, laughing raucously. At first Kari wanted to scold, but reminded herself she needed to let the kids be kids. A quick scan of the other parents around the kiddie pool identified the mothers of the other mamono kids. Kari realized she’d already been spotted as she noticed a many tailed lady beckoning to her from the group.
“Hello!” The kitsune beamed as Kari made her way over. “Haven’t seen you around here before? Have you just arrived?”
Kari smiled, and hoped she didn’t look too maniacal. “We came in this weekend and couldn’t believe the heat! I was so happy to see you have a community pool on the base.”
The kitsune laughed and stuck out a lovely hand. “Stella.”
“Karelia. Pleasure to meet you.”
Stella’s gestured to the others with her. “You’ll want to meet the rest of us, I see your little one is fitting in already.”
Kari looked back to the pool to see Mali wriggle and shake herself off, sending water droplets flying and garnering shrieks of giggling from the other kids around her. Not to be perturbed, the little pup quickly got her bearings and tore off after the cackling cheshire kitten again.
“She seems to have taken a liking to that cheshire.” Kari noted to Stella.
“Ah yes. Little Tina. She’s a proper handful, that one. We all take turns watching her for her poor father. Demon bless the man.”
“You babysit for him?”
“Mmhmm. We’re happy to do it. He’d have to look after her by himself after all.”
Kari looked back at the kids. “A single father with a mamono daughter? Wow, that’s not something you see often.”
Stella nodded with what looked like a touch of sadness. “Unfortunately our cheshire sisters don’t subscribe to the family life it seems.”
A husky voice piped up “More like they’re all a bunch of immature little…”
“Bekah!” Stella quickly interjected “Children!”
It was a burgundy furred manticore that had spoken up and quickly raised a paw in defense. “Sorry, sorry Stel. You know how I get about them.”
“Mmhmm and are you counting little Tina in those views?”
“What? No!” The manticore quickly shook her head. “Come on, Stel, you know I didn’t mean it like that!”
“I know, but other folk might not.”
Kari realized she was smirking. Ah, manticores… it wasn’t well known among the humans, but as well as being some of the most ferocious of her mamono sisters, manticores did tend to be rather judgmental of the other monsters, and had a hard time suppressing such opinions.
At this point the manticore’s eyes locked on to her and gained a curious look.
“Ladies,” Stella introduced with a pleasant gesture. “This is Karelia, she’s just arrived in state.”
Karelia now got a fair look at the group of mothers gathered around and got the feeling a hen-gathering had been going.
Besides the kitsune, Stella, and the manticore who was presumably, Bekah, there was the harpy and lamia mothers. Harpy mom looked unremarkable considering her species. That is to say, toned and utterly fit, A svelte, athletic form that had probably been lovingly sculpted in the gym and sky, dressed in a two-piece, lime green bikini designed to show off her features. To the humans, Harpy mom had a smoking hot body, and judging by the arrogant smile, she knew it.
Lamia mom on the other hand looked rather more modest. Bespectacled and decked out in a sundress, it was clear she wasn’t particularly comfortable with all the socializing, and Kari got the feeling that, while the greeting she offered was genuine, she most likely didn’t want to be here.
“This is Jill.” Stella gestured to the harpy with a giggle. “In case you can’t tell, she’s our health specialist…”
“Nazi.” Bekah interjected.
The harpy rounded on the manticore with a grimace. “I am not!” She all but shrieked. “You just have no sense of moderation!”
Bekah shrugged, the movement jiggling her sizable breasts. Karelia again had to stop herself from smirking as she caught the look of jealousy in the harpy’s face. She could muster barely a set of B’s compared to Bekah’s generous proportions…or her own for that matter. It did give Karelia a small sense of pride to notice she had many of the other ladies beaten in the sex appeal category.
Stella shook her head and motioned towards the lamia. “And this is Serise. If you ever need suggestions for childcare, she is a wonder.”
Serise blushed around her smile and offered a hand. “I teach the 2nd graders at the school, so naturally I have to take care of a lot of the little scamps.”
Kari had to twitch her ears forward to even hear the lamia’s incredibly soft voice. Definitely a shy, bookish type.
Two other human ladies were also among the group and introduced themselves as Julie and Rachel. Kari assumed they were the parents of the boys who had engaged the manticore cubs in the Supersoaker fight. It was all rather wholesome, she thought. The kids had no real understanding of what they’d grow up to be, and it reminded the parents of happy times, when there were little to no cares in the world.
As the hen-gathering started to devolve into the usual gossip, Kari did notice a peculiar absence. Despite the presence of the kitsune, Stella, Kari had not seen any fox pups among the group of kids. Judging by the kitsune’s appearance as well, that didn’t seem quite right. The kitsune could boast five of her species potential nine tails, a sign that she was no stranger to the carnal things. Her red hair and fur lasciviously styled backed this up, as well her body. Though not as voluptuous as Kari or Bekah, her form would certainly have blessed her with a crowd of men to choose for marriage. And yet, no kids, at least none that Kari had spotted. She got a chance to ask when Stella invited her to come along and get lunch for the kiddos.
“Stella, I hope you wont think it rude of me, but…well, do you have any little ones running around?”
She smiled. “Oh, of course! The young lad with the ginger hair?” She pointed to one of the boys who was frantically refilling his water gun. “That’s my son, Brandon.”
Kari braked hard and it took a visible effort to stop her jaw from dropping. A son?
“Step-son, silly!” The kitsune laughed. “My husband was a single dad before we met.”
Kari shook her head, feeling stupid. It seemed obvious now that Stella mentioned it. She hadn’t considered that some humans separated after marriage, the concept being rather alien to mamono minds, with the possible exception of the cheshires. Glancing back over, she noticed Stella had turned somewhat serious.
“I do see your point though.” She said with less amusement. “And it’s not as if I don’t want pups of my own. But Derrick works the night guard, which means I have to be awake during the day to take care of Brandon while daddy sleeps.”
She sighed and returned a rueful smile to her face. “Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Derrick so much. His ex-wife was a proper witch, as far as I can tell. We met when Derrick had been divorced for three years already. He was making do, picking up all the overtime he could get with the sheriff’s department, putting Brandon through daycare. He was strong and brave for those three years, all because he loves his boy.”
She drew silent for a few yards and Kari said nothing. Though she had no idea what it must have been like, she understood Stella’s approach. Kitsune placed an incredible amount of value in their husband’s love for their children. Kitsune had exceptionally long lives, even among mamono, and could breed many litters of pups over those lives. A properly caring and sensitive husband was their dream, and Stella had found her dream. Life just simply hadn’t given her the opportunity to make good on her love.
“Either way, I don’t mind waiting. Brandon is a wonderful child, and having a son gives me an experience not many of the others have.” She had cheered back up. “And there is always taking care of Tina to teach me about how I want to handle my own kids some day.”
When they arrived at the shop, Stella quickly busied herself with choosing lunches for the kids. Kari joined in, though she had to admit, Stella proved rather efficient with the task. Impressive, considering the wide range of kids she had to provide for. Kari was also pleased to note that Jill’s influence had been minimal. What may have worked for a harpy’s appetite would barely count as an appetizer for someone like Mali, or Bekah’s little ones. And being hunters, they of course required more protein.
Stella handled all needs easily, and in no time they were headed for the exit.
“What about your little one?” Stella asked. “She have a good father?”
Kari’s smile grew wide. “So much better than I’d ever thought I find. He cried when we had little Mali. Thomas spoils her, and of course she’s a daddy’s girl.” Kari’s smile fell a little. “So much so, I find I don’t get as much time with him as my little girl does sometimes.”
Stella placed a hand on her shoulder as they exited the store. “That can’t be good for your own state of mind.”
Kari snorted. “Its not that bad. I mean, we used to have the weekends all to ourselves. Back then Tom understood what was expected of him when Friday night came around. Nowadays though, I have to get my kicks in when I can. But I’m not starving per se.”
Stella smiled. “Even so, I want you to know that we all want to be as welcoming as possible. Military spouses always have to make some sacrifices, and when you’re one of us, you feel it even more. But we don’t think it has to be that way. Do you remember Rachel and Julie?”
Kari nodded. “I thought it was a little odd for two human women to be as comfortable with people like us as they were.”
“That’s because they were both married long before we came along. They have no concerns about anyone trying to swipe their men. Whats more they both work with me at the daycare for the little ones. They know everything I know about caring for our kids and they’ve often offered to take care of the kids whenever one of us needs some alone time for…well, you can imagine. So if you ever feel like you need a day or two, feel free to ask them. And they are absolutely wonderful with the little ones, I can attest to that.”
“That does sound quite lovely.” Kari responded with a smile. Though she wouldn’t have admitted to it in front of the friendly kitsune she had just met, she was already thinking about a weekend alone with Tom. It had been a hot minute since she’d had the freedom to properly remind him who actually wore the boots in their marriage. Or, more importantly, soothe the fires that had been burning rather fiercely ever since they’d added a daughter to the equation.
“Do you think they might be free this weekend?” Kari asked.
Stella laughed and placed a hand to her lips with amusement, and Kari realized the question was quite abrupt.
“Geez, is it that obvious?” She asked sheepishly.
“It’s alright, dear. I don’t know if either of those two are free, but I have to watch little Tina over the weekend while her dad gets her birthday party prepared. Adding one more to the lot shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, it would seem your Mali gets along quite well with her.”
By now they were arriving back at the poolside to find that the moms had gotten involved in the fun. Specifically, a game of Marco Polo had begun with Bekah, Julie, and Rachel playing the part of Marco. Unfortunately, there was also a bit of a squabble it seemed, as Jill was in the process of scolding her daughter for some perceived harm. Serise had retired to a lounger with a book and appeared not to notice any of what was going on.
“You’re absolutely sure you can take Mali?” Kari asked. “She can get very hyper. Just about as hyper as little Tina is.”
“And I’m sure Brandon could put them to shame.” Stella shook her head. “That boy tries my patience sometimes, but if I can handle him and Tina, one more little maniac shouldn’t be a problem.”
Kari smiled at her and stuck out her paw. “Thanks. I know we’ve just met, but I really appreciate it. Its been quite a while since I’ve been free to, well, you know.”
Stella raised her hand with a chuckle. “Say no more, sweetie.”
Thomas swung the Ram out of Walmart’s parking lot and made for home. The back bed was full of the items they had missed the previous night: Extra groceries, toiletries, laundry detergent, that sort of thing. And two large, window-unit air conditioners; one for the main bedroom, one for Mali’s room. Oh, also a small gift for his little girl, and a case of Red Bull.
Thomas winced as he thought about the Red Bull. He’d need it for work tomorrow if Kari intended to drain him completely tonight, which was quite likely considering their current dry spell. Of course, it was also dangerous. Anytime Kari had caught him with energy drink she had taken it as a challenge, and what followed always left him too sore to even leave the bed next day. So at the next red light, he popped the cans out of the case and hid them under the passenger seat.
Ultimately, he knew tonight would be enjoyable, even if it would come with massive regret in the morning. It had been quite a while since they’d last gone at it with purpose and not just for relief. He found his mind wandering to the stored images of his wife in the wide range of sexy things she had worn over the years. His favorites had always been the shiny, satin-y ensembles, in a plethora of colors from bright pink to deep violet. He really liked it when she wore the panties with the waist that came apart with the pull of a string, or the same type of top that barely kept her breasts contained. Or one of her full sets, complete with the nylon stockings and garter belt. Perhaps she’d just go for the more casual flair, knee high socks and funny printed briefs. She was a hellhound sure, but the lingerie options only made her already perfect body more appealing.
He swallowed and grabbed the water bottle in the console. Something about fantasizing like that always sucked up all the moisture in his mouth. And of course, a quick look down confirmed the flag was at full mast. He groaned and shifted his legs around the discomfort. Ever since Kari had taken his virginity his erection took way too long to subside, probably something to do with the odd energies that seemed to surround mamono. Something to ensure that when sexy time came around, he’d last long enough for the horniest women on the planet.
Thomas had grown to live with it, and ultimately, a full-on, all-night mauling was better than the old fashioned alternative. God, going back to that on deployment after experiencing the real thing, and with a hellhound no less, had been rough. Like drinking cheap whisky after getting used to a top shelf. And having to deal with a longer lasting erection when trying to self-stimulate had been hell. When he’d gotten home from that hell it had barely been a hour before he begged Kari to ride him into unconsciousness. She hadn’t denied him.
But nowadays he did look forward to it. Over the course of their marriage, Kari’s love had stayed rough and vigorous, but it had lost its vicious edge and had gained a more tender, passionate aspect. Unfortunately, the times they could afford to go all out on each other had been few and far between, especially after Mali had been born. It had been necessary to dump all that pent up passion into one session of fierce, mind blowing sex. And boy, Thomas absolutely loved it. Just thinking about the combination of Passionate Kari with Ravenous Kari was more than enough to get Thomas ready.
Thomas came out of his daydream to realize he had the gas pedal to the floor and braked just before running a red light. The sound of groceries tumbling about the truck bed made him grimace.
“Good grief, Tommy.” He muttered to himself, his heart going a mile a minute. “Calm the hell down. You still have to get the AC installed, eat dinner, and get Mali to bed. Fun time can wait.”
He could swear he felt the little lad slump in disappointment.
Kari’s ears perked up as she heard the familiar rhythmic sound of the big, old, diesel pickup Thomas still insisted on driving around pull into the drive. She had tried to get him interested in a new vehicle time and again, but there was something special to Tom about the old Dodge, and even her violently possessive mind knew not to mess with that. Still, in a couple years Mali would be in school and they’d definitely need something more family oriented. Especially if they ended up with more than Mali, which Kari was already set on. She hadn’t mentioned the desire to Tom, but it wasn’t like he had a choice anyways.
She opened the door and Mali, the Furry Cannonball, shot out the door to tackle her dad with hugs and kisses. Kari shook her head with a smile at the sight as Thomas pretended to be knocked over onto the lawn and wrestled about with his daughter. Eventually he caught her in his arms and began to mercilessly tickle her paws, eliciting shrieks of laughter from the hellpup.
“Go on.” Kari jerked her thumb to the door. “Get it out of your system, I’ll get the bags.”
“Wait.” Thomas said and walked back over to the cab of the truck. He came out with a big, brown basketball. Mali’s eyes went wide and she began jumping up and down, her tail a blur of excitement. Thomas pitched it into the yard and Mali immediately tore off after it. Throwing herself onto the ball, she attempted to wrestle with it, and the slippery hide of the basketball proved a worthy opponent.
“Really?” Kari put her paws on her hips and fixed her husband with a look that was not amused. “A fetching ball?”
He shook his head. “Nope, a training aid. You said her hunting instinct is going to kick in soon. I figured I’d get something child friendly to serve as prey. Besides, its a basketball, the hide on that thing will handle claws and teeth.”
A loud pop followed by a low hiss sounded from the yard. They both looked over to see Mali grinning viciously, the flattened remains of the burst basketball gripped firmly between her teeth. Kari began to laugh.
“Or not.” Thomas groaned.
“Oh Tom.” Kari managed to get out between giggles. “It was nice of you, at least. Come on, you get the groceries and Ill grab the boxes.”
Tom nodded and began to load up his lanky arms with bags as Kari dropped the tailgate and grabbed the first of the big air conditioners out of the bed. Tom paused to marvel at his wife’s otherworldly strength. She hefted the box as if it were empty; the same box had been a bastard to get up on the tailgate in the first place. She caught him staring and winked. Tom shook his head and turned for the door.
They let Mali play in the yard as they transferred the groceries and boxes to the house. As she passed the cab, Kari noticed something in the driver’s foot well and paused. A little cardboard box that had clearly been emptied and discarded sat there. She opened the door and grabbed it. She instantly noted the familiar colors on the side. A Red Bull box.
“Oh, you sneaky devil.” She muttered. A quick search of the cab found the cans stowed under the passenger’s seat. She frowned with irritation. Contrary to Thomas’ belief, she didn’t actually view the energy supplement as a challenge…well not that much…okay, maybe just a bit. It was more of a case of health. She knew the stuff wasn’t good for him, and having sex while on it was a pretty bad idea. It would only dehydrate him quicker, and she often didn’t have the time or self-awareness to make sure he was hydrating properly during a tussle.
She replaced the cans and grabbed the Red Bull box, toting it back into the house with her. Thomas was busy stuffing the refrigerator as she entered and tossed it down on the counter. He saw it when he turned around and knew the jig was up. What was more, Kari was blocking the only way out of the counter-top area, arms on her hips, clearly waiting for an explanation.
“Look.” He said. “Its Monday, I still have the whole week to go, babe. If we go at it hot and heavy tonight, I’m going to be properly sussed tomorrow, you know that.”
“Mhm.” Kari looked as if she was considering it. “Nope, that’s an excuse, not an explanation.”
“Aww, c’mon, babe.”
“Tom, you know what I’ve said before about this stuff.”
“I know, I know. Caffeine isn’t stamina. But I don’t need stamina in the morning, I need a pick me up.”
“Drink coffee.” She said flatly. “Or tea, that won’t rot your guts as much.”
Thomas sighed; he hated both. “Look, I don’t want to argue about it. I’ll quit after this week alright?”
“Thats what you said last time, and the time before.” Kari wouldn’t budge, but she did soften a little. “I’ll let it go this time, Tom.”
“But Tom.” Kari held up a paw-finger. “This is the last time. You try it again, and I’ll make ‘hot and heavy’ seem positively frigid.”
Thomas vigorously nodded his accent. The thought both terrified and excited him honestly. Of course, if she could make their usually intense love-making seem like vanilla, he worried about whether he would actually survive it or not.
“Daddy…” Both of them jumped and turned to see Mali standing just next to her mom. They hadn’t even heard her come back in from outside. “What’s…hot an’ heavy?”
Both of them stared at each other, eyes wide. Kari’s charcoal grey cheeks went bright, cherry red with embarrassment, as did Thomas’. Good grief! Kids really do ask the damndest things! Silence reigned for at least a minute as both of them pondered how to escape the dilemma. Then they both blurted out the same line.
“When you’re older, sweetie!”
“Ahhh.” Thomas exhaled with pleasure as he hurled himself face first into bed. Both air conditioners had been installed with only a few grunts and stifled curses along the way, and the one in the bedroom had been running since before dinner. Now a wonderfully refrigerated chill had set down over the room, cooling the blankets and pillows that Kari had put on the bed earlier. Thomas stuffed his face into his cold pillow with joy, rubbing his face all over it like a cat.
Further down the hall Karelia was putting Mali to bed, or rather, she was attempting to. Suddenly a little black fuzzball leaped up onto the bed and wrapped Thomas in a desperate hug.
“Night, Daddy!” Mali squeaked. She didn’t ease up on the tightness of her hug, not until she got her reward. Thomas smirked, squeezed her back, and set a warm kiss on her forehead.
“Night sweetie.” He said. “Sleep tight…”
“An’ don’ let the bed bugs bite.” Mali finished his sentence with a big grin.
He laughed and ruffled her hair and ears. He looked up to see Kari standing by the bedroom door in her bathrobe. Her fur was also flaring out in all directions, a sign she had just finished a shower and giving her girl a bath.
“C’mon Mali, bedtime.” She said with a small grin. She couldn’t help it, the sight of her little girl paired with her husband was always a ludicrously adorable scene. The kind that just made her want to squeak. Not that she ever would, there were just certain things a hellhound does not do.
Malinovka eventually relinquished her dad and bounded off past Kari towards her bedroom. As Kari turned to follow she fixed Tom with her gaze. Her brow ignited, and she let her old, vicious smile light her face. His eyes went wide, though she knew he was probably acting for her benefit.
“Five minutes, boy.” She said. She pointed to his pants and shirt. “Get rid of them before I get back, or you lose another uniform.”
She giggled as she turned away. She could hear him already leaping out of bed to do her bidding.
Thomas had mastered the art of quickly undressing over the course of their marriage. Early on, Kari had nearly cost him a full set of fatigues every weekend. He crawled back into bed clad in only his boxers and slipped under the blankets. Kari would most certainly tear the blankets off when she got back, but he had to get his kicks in somehow, teasing his wife as much as he could seemed good enough.
There was the sound of the door down the hall closing, and his heart began to race. He felt the familiar tightness down under, and his breathing began to quicken. Kari appeared in the doorway again. Her brow had fizzled out, but she still bore that smug, wolfish grin. She closed the door behind her and he heard the lock engage. Everything she was doing was designed to excite him even more, and it worked a charm. If he started begging, she would hardly have been surprised.
Kari clicked off the over head light, leaving the room lit only by the lamp on the nightstand. As she went to loom over her husband she sighed. He really was ready to go, and she could feel the beast inside demanding that she give in and stop dallying. But she had to be careful about the next bit. What she was about to do was not normal, not to her, and she was worried he might take it the wrong way. Still, no going back now.
Thomas watched with wide eyes as her paws went to the belt of her robe and untied it with ease. She smirked at him, flashing little bits of bare skin, but not actually removing the robe. This was torture; he was practically drooling as he watched, his bottom lip clenched between his teeth in anticipation. Finally, she tossed the folds back with a flair and slipped her shoulders out of the robe, letting it fall to the floor. All to reveal…
Another sports bra, and a pair of running shorts. Thomas’ jaw dropped anyways, though his eyes gave away his disappointment. He was about to complain when Kari held up a paw.
“I know, I know.” She said and set a knee down on the bed. “Hear me out alright? Come on, scoot up.”
Thomas shut his mouth and did as he was told. Though he was rather disappointed to not see sexy satin, his curiosity could not be kept in check. He inched forward and Kari settled down behind him. Two big, fluffy paws slipped under his arms and yanked him back, tucking his neck into the special place for him between her breasts. Her thighs squeezed closer, cradling his rump between them, and her feet began to play with his. Spooned like that, whatever complaints he could lodge wouldn’t matter much, even this was pleasurable enough to make him relax. He nestled his head against the fur around her neck as she began to rub his chest.
“Look,” She began to explain. “I know its the beginning of the week. I know the first week on the job is the roughest. I know when we go at it, we hardly stop before dawn. And I know you are still tired from the trip.”
He felt her rest her chin on the top of his head. Her paws slipped up to his shoulders and she began to squeeze. Tom gasped as she began to work away at the knots in his muscles.
“So I’ll make a deal with you.” Kari continued. “I’ll let you get to sleep tonight and get yourself stable this week.” She tugged at a particularly tight bit around his neck and he grunted in appreciation. “And in return, this weekend, I get to do whatever I want to you, all weekend long. Sound fair?”
He tried to lift a hand, but could barely get it up onto his stomach.
“What about Mali?”
She smiled. “We went by the pool today. Mali made some friends and so did I. One of them offered to look after her this weekend, and she’ll get to be at one of her new friends’ birthday party. I think she’ll be fine.”
“Birthday?” Thomas thought for a minute. “Is it a party for a little girl named Tina?”
Kari paused her massage. “How’d you know?”
It was Tom’s turn to smile. “I met her dad today. Lenny and I are working on the same project.”
“Oh that’s perfect.” Kari giggled. “Tina and Mali definitely took a liking to each other, so it all works out. Mali gets to spend the weekend with a friend, and I get my man back.” She shifted down a bit and ran her tongue against his ear. “I am going to melt your mind.”
Thomas shuddered with pleasure and nestled deeper into her. He heaved a sigh and nodded his head. “Alright, sounds fair. You’re on.”
Kari squeezed her husband warmly and settled back further so he could sleep better. She enjoyed holding him like this; Thomas always seemed to get the best sleep when gathered up in her arms, safe and sound. Her eyes ran down the length of the bed. The blankets had slipped a bit when he scooted forward, and she could see the Scooby-Doo boxers he was wearing. At first she giggled, then her eyes fixed sharply onto the waistband. Something was stretching it away from his skin, and she knew full well what it was. He was still aroused despite their decision to put off the mauling until later.
A wicked grin lit up Kari’s face. She slipped her arms out from under his and quickly caught them tight in a hug so he couldn’t move them. She caught his legs next, pinning them down. Tom’s eyes shot open as he became aware of the entrapment.
Kari;s grin got bigger and she didn’t answer. Instead, her large, fluffy tail popped out from under them and settled its floofy mass down on his chest. She swished it about on his chest, listening to his breathing quicken as he shuddered under the soft, furry pleasure. Then, with no warning, the tip of it slipped into his boxers.
Thomas recoiled into her as he felt her tail slide in and coil warmly around his shaft. He couldn’t move, couldn’t escape. Kari’s trap had worked brilliantly. Her tail squeezed, and he fell back against her, surrendering to the inevitable. As he rested against her chest, he felt her cheek press against the side of his head, her lips right next to his ear. The lamp clicked off; her voice was a low, sultry whisper.
“When I promised I’d let you get to sleep tonight, I never said when.”