The frame of the car bounced and shook as Lindsay slowly guided the vehicle up the narrow mountain road. Lindsay had always been a city girl at heart, but she did like the idea of getting away from civilization for a while. There would be no cell service up here, no work, and no worries.
Lindsay's cell phone rang, causing Lindsay to jump and the fur on her tail to stand on end. Apparently, she wasn't quite far enough up the mountain yet. She picked the phone up from where it was sitting on the passenger seat.
"Hello?" The voice on the other end of the line came through a bit static-y -- the signal was already getting weak -- but of course Lindsay recognized the voice. "Are you there, Kitten?"
"Hey, Mom. What's up?"
"Just wanted to check on your progress," Mom answered. "Are you getting close?"
"Almost there. I'm on the mountain now. Another hour, tops."
"Great! I can't wait to see you." She paused for a moment. "And, before you got here, I just wanted to remind you..."
Lindsay sighed. Okay, so maybe she had one thing to worry about, but at least it was something she was used to. "This is about Aunt Mattie, right?"
"Yes, that's right. I just want to make sure you don't let anything slip."
"Don't worry, Mom," Lindsay said. "I'm used to not talking about being a predator in public, anyway. But I mean, Mattie has got to know that most of the family are preds, right?"
"Please, it will just be easier if we don't bring up the subject when she's around," Mom said. "Okay?"
Lindsay sighed again, then smiled. "Yes, Mom, don't worry. I won't bring it up."
"Thanks! I knew I could count on you."
"Alright, I'm starting to lose the signal, so I'll see you when I get there!"
"Okay! Love you!"
"Love you too, Mom."
Lindsay tapped the button to hang up the call and tossed her phone back into the passenger seat. It did kind of annoy her that she would have to follow this particular taboo even here, but hey, she had The Den now for when she needed to cut loose. She could handle this.
Especially since she had made preparations, just in case.
Smiling to herself, Lindsay continued to make her way up the winding mountain road.
As the car crested the final slope, a large building came into view. It was surrounded by trees on one side and a large, open, grassy clearing on the other. A garage or storage shed, now mostly unused, sat on the other side of the clearing. A big picnic table had been set up in the clearing, too, and a number of cars were parked along one side of it. Lindsay angled her own car in that direction, taking care to park where she wouldn't be blocking anyone in.
This used to be the family home, as Lindsay understood it. Her uncle lived here now, and since he had a lot of space, he had agreed to host this family reunion. There probably wouldn't be that many people coming, anyway.
Her arrival hadn't gone unnoticed. She could already see several figures walking towards her, probably to help her unload her things. There were three of them, all female. She immediately recognized Emily and Cassie, and for a moment, thought the last was her mother, before realizing it was actually her Aunt Mattie. She supposed that wasn't too odd a mistake to make: Lindsay's mother and her sister looked an awful lot alike, both slender females with calico patterns.
The moment Lindsay stepped out of the car, Emily and Cassie pulled her into a group hug.
"Hey, Sis!" Cassie said.
"It's been so long, Shortstuff," Emily added.
Lindsay smiled and wrapped her arms around both her sisters, hugging them back. "It really is good to see you two," she said. Then, with a smirk, she added, "Even you, Emily."
"Oh, you wound me to the quick!" Emily responded, her tone playful. She took a step back and put a dramatic hand over her heart. "To think that my own dearly beloved sister would say such a thing! Even after all the advice that I have given her, as befitting my station as the eldest."
"Oh, please," Lindsay said. "We all came from the same litter. You're only a couple minutes older than us."
"But in those few minutes, I gained a vast understanding of the world that I simply must pass on to the younger generation," Emily said, grinning.
Lindsay smiled back, then turned to the other feline. "Hi, Aunt Mattie. Good to see you, too."
Mattie nodded. "Good to see you girls are still so close. You were always inseparable as kids. Anyway, we're here to help you bring in your bags." Mattie walked to the rear of Lindsay's car, reaching for the button to pop the trunk open.
Lindsay froze, her heart skipping a beat. Had she locked the trunk? The car was borrowed, and she couldn't remember if the trunk unlocked with the rest of the automatic locks when she put the car in park. "Wait, Aunt Mattie, my bag is in the backseat..."
Apparently the trunk did unlock, because the spring-loaded door popped open. There was a muffled squeak.
Now it was Mattie's turn to freeze. Her eyes widened as she stared into the trunk.
Lying on her side in the spacious storage space was a small female rabbit. She was curled into a fetal position, her ankles and wrists bound. She blinked her eyes at the sudden light, trying to make out the figures now looking in on her.
"L-Lindsay?" Mattie gasped. "Who is this?"
Lindsay's mind raced. She had to think of something, and quick. Her mind grasped at the first thought that came to it.
"She's my girlfriend." The words popped out of Lindsay's mouth.
All three felines turned to look at her. "Your what?" Cassie asked.
Lindsay took a deep breath. Well, she was committed now. "My girlfriend," she said. "Sorry, I hadn't meant for you all to meet her like this. We always... play games like this," she said, gesturing towards the tied-up female.
The rabbit, for her part, was looking around with a mix of confusion and fear. Thankfully, the gag in her mouth prevented her from saying anything.
Mattie looked at the rabbit, then at Lindsay. After a moment to process the new information, though, she just shrugged. "Well, I've always believed in a healthy sex life," Mattie said.
Lindsay felt her face flush, and she heard her sisters snicker.
"So, your bags are in the backseat, right?" Mattie said, moving to the car door. She turned to look at Lindsay's sisters. "You girls help me carry these. Lindsay can help her girlfriend."
"Um... y-yeah," Lindsay said.
This was going to be an interesting week.
Lindsay sat cross-legged on the bed in the spare room. Her bags, still unpacked, lay on the floor next to the bed. And kneeling on the bedspread in front of Lindsay was the rabbit.
Lindsay regarded the small female. The fur of her chest, torso, and arms was white, with black around her eyes, ears, and from the waist down. She was quite a bit smaller than Lindsay, naturally. Though Lindsay had removed the bonds around her ankles, she still had the gag in her mouth, and her wrists were still tied behind her back.
"Okay," Lindsay said. "So here's the situation. As I'm sure you're aware, I was planning on eating you."
The rabbit responded with a series of muffled squeaks. She tried to pull her arms apart, but the rope holding them together held tight.
"But now I'm in a bit of a situation. See, I didn't mean for anyone to see you. You were more of an emergency snack in case I got hungry. But now I told my aunt that you're my girlfriend -- yes, I know, not my smoothest move -- and I'm kind of stuck with it. Which means you have a choice..."
Before Lindsay could finish her thought, the door opened, causing both Lindsay and the rabbit to jump. That was the problem of staying in a house full of cats: you never knew when someone was sneaking up on you. Emily entered the room, with Cassie following behind her.
The two girls made a starkly contrasting pair. Despite being sisters, they couldn't have looked more different. Emily was tall, voluptuous, and had orange-tabby colored fur, while Cassie was closer to Lindsay in build, petite and slender with smoky gray fur, other than a large white spot on her chest.
"Not now, girls," Lindsay said.
Emily ignored her, walking up and sitting down on the bed next to the rabbit, who shied away from her. "Aww, but we were so excited to meet your new girlfriend! I didn't know you were into girls, Lindsay."
"Emily..." Lindsay growled.
Emily put one arm around the rabbit's shoulders, causing her to let out a frightened squeak. "And a prey, too! That's certainly a surprise. No offense, she looks more like something to eat than something to date." Emily leaned in and licked the rabbit's cheek, slowly drawing her rough tongue across the white fur and leaving a matted spot.
The rabbit squealed, struggling against Emily's arm. Cassie stood nearby, her eyes wide.
So her sisters weren't fooled. Lindsay couldn't say she was surprised. She pointed to the door. "Both of you. Out. We'll talk about this later."
"Fine, fine." Emily slid off the bed and walked to the door, stopping for a moment to look back. "By the way, we're going to have a cookout soon. Make sure you bring your girlfriend to introduce to the whole family." And she left.
Cassie was still standing near the bed. "Lindsay... are you really...?"
"Just... Cassie, can you play along with this, please? I really don't want to offend Aunt Mattie. You know how close she and Mom are."
Cassie smiled. "Of course. Besides, I really couldn't blame you either way." She glanced at the rabbit. "She is pretty cute."
Lindsay felt her face flush. "Out."
"Okay, okay. Though, this whole thing aside, I did want to say that it's good to see you. We really need to get together more often." Cassie leaned over the bed to give Lindsay a hug before heading to the door to leave the room.
Now that they were alone again, Lindsay let out a long breath. She met the rabbit's wide eyes. "Okay, so I think that pretty much gave you the gist of the situation. You're currently in a house full of visiting predators, most of whom probably wouldn't think twice about scarfing you down. In fact, the only thing that would keep them from doing exactly that is thinking that you and I are dating. So the way I see it, here are your options. One: you keep struggling and trying to escape, and I eat you now. Even if you get away from me and somehow manage to avoid all the preds in this house, we're up in the mountains, and either I or my sister will hunt you down. Either way, I'll just have to deal with whatever family drama it creates. Is that what you want?"
The rabbit shook her head.
"Then that brings us to option two: you play along with this and pretend to be my girlfriend. I get to avoid offending my aunt, and you get to spend another week on the outside of my fur. Sound like a deal?"
The rabbit hesitated for a moment, then nodded.
"Okay, good. Now, I'm going to take the gag out now. If you respond by screaming, I'm gonna muffle it by putting your head in my mouth, and I'm not going to stop there."
Lindsay reached around the rabbit's head and pulled up on the strap holding the gag in place. Once she had it off, she fished the plastic ball from out of the rabbit's mouth.
The rabbit coughed and gasped, her shoulders shaking. Her eyes flicked to the door, but she didn't make an attempt to run.
"Good girl," Lindsay said. "Now, I'm Lindsay. What's your name?"
"H-Heather," the rabbit responded, her voice cracking.
"Nice to meet you, Heather. So, I can trust you to play along?"
Heather nodded. "Y-yes. I'll play along."
"Good. Now, turn around so I can get that rope off your wrists. We've got a cookout to go to."
The entire reunion had gathered around the outdoor picnic table for the cookout, such that it was. There weren't actually that many people here; felines weren't known for having the strongest family bonds, after all. Still, there were enough cats around to make a rabbit very, very nervous.
So it was surprising that Heather was doing so well. Lindsay had half-expected the rabbit to collapse into a bundle of uselessness almost immediately, but Heather wasn't showing any nerves that wouldn't already be expected from a girlfriend meeting the family for the first time.
"So." Lindsay's mother, who was sitting at the table across from Lindsay and Heather, leaned forward. "Tell me, how did you meet my daughter?"
"Oh! Er..." Heather glanced at Lindsay. "Well... we actually kind of bumped into each other on the street. I was late getting home from a photography class, and Lindsay... walked me home. Next thing I knew, I was getting dragged along to come here."
Lindsay smiled. That was an interesting take on what had happened -- but it worked as a cover story. That had been some quick thinking on Heather's part.
"Well, that's nice," Lindsay's mom said. "Though I kind of wish Lindsay had told us about it beforehand; it was quite the surprise to meet you! I hope that being around a bunch of cats doesn't bother you?"
"N-no, not at all," Heather said, though Lindsay did see her eyes flick to Emily, who was sitting next to Heather on the other side from Lindsay.
A male voice came from the head of the table. "Hah! She's brave! I like her." Lindsay's uncle had finished grilling, and was now walking around the table, distributing large, grilled fish onto each plate. The fish had been cooked, but only lightly, and were being served whole, with head and tail still attached. They were big, too, each probably about the length of Lindsay's forearm.
Lindsay felt her mouth start to water as the aroma from the fish reached her nose. She ran her tongue across her muzzle in anticipation as her uncle placed her fish onto her plate. She couldn't wait; as soon as the fish was on her plate, she picked it up by the tail. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, inhaling the rich scent, before opening her mouth and lowering the fish head-first into her maw. She only savored the taste for a moment before she swallowed, sending the entire thing sliding down her gullet. Her throat bulged out for a moment, and the fish was gone.
It didn't help, though. It wasn't enough. Lindsay's stomach still rumbled. It didn't want a little snack -- it wanted to be filled.
Most others around the table were doing similarly: lifting the cooked fish up and dropping them whole into their mouths, swallowing them in one swift gulp.
Lindsay glanced over to see that Heather was staring at her, or more specifically, staring at her throat. Ah... the rabbit probably wasn't used to this kind of thing, was she?
In fact, that wouldn't be the only problem, would it?
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Lindsay's mother said, a note of concern in her voice. "You probably can't eat that, can you?"
"Ah, that's right," Cassie said. "Rabbits are vegetarians, aren't they? So you're, like, the opposite of us."
Lindsay nodded. She hadn't considered this: if Heather was going to hang around and pretend to be her girlfriend for a week, she was going to need to eat. But a feline household wouldn't have any vegetables available.
The rest of the table seemed to have realized the problem, too. Everyone had turned their attention to Heather, asking questions and giving suggestions.
"... could we forage in the woods...?"
"... maybe someone could run down the mountain and pick up some veggies..."
"... I could do it, but I'll have to borrow someone's car..."
"... Actually, I think I do have some..."
Heather, for her part, looked like... well, like a cornered rabbit. Her ears had drooped, and she seemed to be trying to sink back into her seat to escape the sudden attention.
Then, before Lindsay's eyes, she watched Heather sit up, straighten her back, and pick up the fish from her plate by the tail.
The table suddenly became very quiet. Every eye fixed on Heather.
Still holding the fish, Heather looked around the table with a smile. "It's okay. You all didn't know I was coming, after all. Besides, I don't want to refuse your hospitality."
Heather lifted the fish to her lips, lowered it into her mouth, and swallowed.
It didn't go down as easily as it had for the cats. Heather's throat bulged out, and for a moment, Lindsay thought she was going to choke. But the then she swallowed again, and the fish's tail disappeared between Heather's lips. The large lump slid down her throat and settled in her stomach, giving it an ever-so-slight bulge. She released a long breath, one hand resting on her stomach. "Wow. That was interesting."
The table erupted into smiles and cheers. Emily reached over and slapped Heather on the back. "Wow! Gotta admit, I don't think I've ever seen a rabbit do that before. I'm impressed, girl."
"Th-thanks," Heather said.
"I think you're going to do just fine by us," Lindsay's mother said. She looked at Lindsay. "Seems like you found a good one."
Lindsay coughed, still staring at Heather. It had been impressive, Lindsay had to admit, but all she could think about was that now she had a fish-stuffed rabbit dinner sitting right next to her. Watching that bulge travel down Heather's throat had, for some reason, made her absolutely ravenous; she needed to get out of here before she did something she might regret.
"Excuse me," Lindsay said, pushing her chair away from the table and standing up.
"Is something wrong?" Mom asked.
"I'm feeling a bit off. I need some fresh air. I'll be back soon." Lindsay forced a smile, and before anyone could object, she walked off towards the nearby trees.
Lindsay leaned against a tree, gritting her teeth. The reunion had barely started, and she was already losing it. How was she supposed to last a whole week? She couldn't just avoid Heather, because they were supposed to be dating. Why hadn't she come up with a better lie? Though even now, she couldn't think of anything else that her aunt would have bought.
Lindsay's eyes widened, and she turned to see Heather approaching her through the trees.
"Are you alright?" She asked. She looked genuinely concerned.
"I... I'm fine," Lindsay responded. "I just... I'm a little..."
Lindsay looked at Heather for a moment, then nodded.
"I think I understand," Heather said. "It's hard for you to be so close to a meal and have to pretend you don't want to eat it. It's like if I had to pretend I was dating a carrot cake."
Wow, she really did understand. "I'm surprised to hear that sentiment coming from you. You know I'm probably still going to eat you once the reunion is over, right?"
Heather nodded. "I really wasn't expecting anything less. I'll still try to get away, of course."
"It's just... it really surprised me how welcoming your family has been," Heather said. "I mean, I'm... kind of out of place here. I'm a prey, and we're both females, but they've all welcomed me with open arms."
Lindsay thought for a moment, released a short laugh. "Yeah, I guess they did, huh? What do you know." She shook her head. "Why don't we head back to the house? It's starting to get late."
"Sure. I think that fish is starting to give me cramps, anyway."
Lindsay and Heather walked back towards the house in the dimming light. When they reached the clearing, Lindsay say Emily on her way to meet them.
"Hey there, girls," Emily said. "Mom wanted me to make sure you were okay."
"Yeah, I'm fine," Lindsay said. "Did we find an extra room for Heather?"
"Nope!" Emily said, her lips broadening into a grin. "We don't have any extra spaces, and I said that you two lovebirds wouldn't mind sharing a room."
"Gee, thanks," Lindsay responded. "Probably easier that way, anyway." She punched her sister on the shoulder before leading Heather back into the house.
Once they were back in the bedroom, Lindsay walked over to where she had placed her bag and started rummaging through it. "I only brought one pair of pajamas, but you could probably just wear one of my shirts, if you'd like."
"Oh, um... sure."
Lindsay tossed a shirt to Heather, then began to undress.
"Um..." Heather clutched the large shirt in her hands.
"What? It's not anything you haven't seen before," Lindsay said, pulling off her own shirt and tossing it onto a chair, thus designating it her "dirty clothes hamper" for the remainder of the visit.
"No, it's not, um, not that, exactly."
Lindsay was halfway through pulling off her jeans when she glanced over and saw that Heather seemed to be avoiding looking at her. In fact, Heather was staring at the single bed. "Is something wrong?" Lindsay asked.
Heather swallowed. "Uh, um, this whole, 'girlfriend' thing," she stammered. "How, how far is it...?"
"Ah." Lindsay felt her cheeks flush, but she forced her voice to remain level as she pulled on her nightshirt. "No, don't worry, I'm not going to force anything like that on you. I'm not into girls. Actually, I'm kind of surprised how quickly my mom believed I was. Do I give off that vibe?"
Heather let out a relieved breath, then began to undress. "No, not particularly, I don't think. Um, even so, do you mind...?"
Lindsay nodded. "I won't look." She turned her attention to a nearby dresser and began opening the drawers.
Heather tilted her head to one side. "What are you doing?"
"Well, this used to be Emily's room," Lindsay said. "And I know for a fact she had some... a-ha!" She reached into the drawer and pulled out a pair of fuzzy handcuffs.
Heather had just pulled her head through the opening in Lindsay's shirt. It reached down to the rabbit's knees, and the opening for the head was so wide it almost immediately fell off one of her shoulders. When she saw the handcuffs, she tilted her head to one side. "What are you...?"
Before Heather could finish her thought, Lindsay walked over, took Heather by the wrist, and pulled her to the bed. She slapped on end of the handcuffs around Heather's arm, and attached the other to the bedpost. "There," she said, placing the key back on the dresser, where it would be out of Heather's reach. "Can't have you trying to run away."
"O-oh." Heather stared at her wrist. "So then, where do I sleep?"
"Up to you. I'm sleeping on the bed, and you can either sleep there next to me if you want or you can sleep on the floor. Your choice."
Lindsay yawned, laid down on the bed, and closed her eyes.
After a moment, she felt the mattress creak and another warm body join her on the bed. Heather took a moment to get comfortable, then grew still.
Lindsay took a deep breath, inhaling the rabbit's scent. Her mouth started to water.
It was going to be a long week, but Lindsay could do this.
Lindsay could not do this.
She had thought it would be easy enough, but the hunger had only gotten worse as the days wore on. It didn't help that Lindsay had to spend pretty much every waking moment with a potential meal. Why did the rabbit have to smell so damn delicious? If only Lindsay had just eaten her before arriving -- or at least eating something that could fill her belly better than the paltry servings given out at family meals. How were the other preds in the family handling this?
Well, it didn't matter. Lindsay would have to deal with it. They were only halfway through the week, and she wouldn't be able to go hunting until after the reunion was over. The only other option she had would be to ditch the reunion entirely, and she really did want to spend time with the family.
The family was currently gathered in the large living room. Even with two couches, there weren't enough chairs for everyone, so people were sitting on the floor or on large pillows. Lindsay sat next to the empty fireplace, with Heather sitting next to her. The family members were sharing stories about their year; Emily was currently in the middle of talking about how her job was going.
Lindsay was interested, but she was having trouble focusing on anything other than the sharp pangs coming from her midsection.
She felt a hand touch hers, and looked over to see that Heather had reached over to touch her wrist. "Are you okay?" She whispered.
Lindsay yanked her hand back. She felt her lips pull back from her teeth. How dare this... meal ask her that!? Was Heather teasing her, knowing that Lindsay could do nothing about it!?
Heather looked surprised, pulling her hand back. "Sorry?" She mouthed.
Lindsay shook her head and stood up, interrupting Emily's story and drawing all eyes to herself. "I need some fresh air," Lindsay said, marching out of the room.
Twilight was just beginning to fall, and the air outside the house was cool and fresh. For the second time in just a few days, Lindsay found herself walking out into the woods. It felt... good. Though Lindsay's ancestors had long since taken to a very different kind of hunting ground, some ancient part of her still yearned for soft crunch of leaves beneath paws, stalking prey through the trees with primal focus.
Lindsay clenched her fists. Damn it. The food had followed her.
"Lindsay, I'm sorry if I offended you," Heather said. "I was just worried that..."
Before Heather could finish her sentence, Lindsay was on her. She grabbed the rabbit and slammed her into a nearby tree.
Heather let out a gasp of pain as she was pinned against the rough bark, Lindsay's nose just finger's breadth away from her own.
It would be so easy. Just open her mouth and push forward. The rabbit would be inside her gut before she even knew what happened. "Every moment that you're on the outside of my stomach offends me," Lindsay growled.
Lindsay paused. Had that been her voice? She took a step back, releasing Heather
No longer pinned against the tree, Heather dropped to her knees. "I'm s-sorry," she gasped.
"No, I'm sorry," Lindsay said, pressing on her temples with her fingers. "I'm not used to this kind of thing. You just... you can't understand. I want to eat you so bad, and now I'm so close to you all the time. Every fiber of my being wants it. I should have eaten before I came up here. I shouldn't have brought you along."
"Lindsay..." Heather said.
Both Heather and Lindsay turned to look in the direction of the new voice. Another figure was approaching them through the trees.
"M-Mom!" Lindsay exclaimed.
"Lindsay, I didn't realize you were having so much trouble!" Mom said, her voice worried. "I didn't think about how difficult it might be out here with your girlfriend where there aren't any other prey around. If I'd known how hungry you were, I would have told you sooner."
"Mom, it's fine," Lindsay said, her heart pounding with embarrassment. "It's not that...
"Wait. Tell me what?"
Mom scratched the back of her head. "I... may have set up some insurance for this kind of situation before the reunion started."
Lindsay's heart continued to pound, but now from excitement.
"Come with me," Mom said.
Lindsay followed her mother back to the clearing, and Heather followed behind them both. Rather than going to the main house, they turned towards the old storage shed. Lindsay's mother fished a key out of her pocket and opened the door.
The inside of the shed was spacious -- it was all one large room, now mostly empty except for a few boxes and wooden planks stacked against one wall.
And in the center of the room, sitting on a small cot, was a female mouse.
She was petite -- even smaller than Heather. She was clad in only her fur, which was a mottled grey. On the floor near her lay some bottles of water and some bags of vegetables. She looked frightened, jumping Lindsay, her mother, and Heather came in.
There were several other cots, too, though they were currently empty.
Lindsay let out a long breath. "You brought prey."
Mom nodded. "Since your aunt was going to be here, I decided to have some prey ready for some of our family members who... have a little less impulse control."
Lindsay put the palm of her hand against her forehead. "Emily. I thought she looked a little chubby yesterday. No wonder she was wearing that big sweater."
Mom nodded. "I didn't even think to tell you. You've always been so responsible, I didn't think you would need them. I mean, I should have, every predator has the occasional bad week of hunting, but I've been so busy helping your uncle get ready for the reunion..."
"Mom, it's okay," Lindsay said. She hadn't taken her eyes off of the mouse, who was staring back at Lindsay. "I understand."
"Anyway, there's this one left, so I think you should go ahead and have her. I don't want you having to deal with the temptation to eat your girlfriend, after all."
The mouse squeaked, getting up from the cot and starting to back away.
That was all Lindsay's predatory side needed to kick into high gear. Before she even realized what she was doing, she was sprinting for the mouse.
The mouse turned, tried to run, but she didn't really have anywhere to run to. Within seconds, Lindsay was on her, pinning her to the hard concrete floor.
Lindsay sat down on the small female's hips, holding her in place while she removed her own shirt so it wouldn't tear. Though Lindsay's focus was on the mouse, that didn't mean her sharp ears didn't pick up the conversation happening behind her.
"Do you want to leave?" Lindsay's mom asked. "Have you watched my daughter eat yet? I mean, really eat."
"N-no," Heather answered. "I've never seen an actual pred... feed before."
"Well, if you want to go wait back at the house..."
"No." Heather's voice sounded surprisingly resolute. "I... I want to watch."
Lindsay tossed her shirt aside, then moved her hips back so she could lean down and grip the mouse by the shoulders.
The mouse squirmed, tears forming in her eyes. "P-please," she whispered.
"Ma'am?" Heather asked. "May I ask you a question?"
"Of course, go ahead," Lindsay's mom answered.
Lindsay picked up the small mouse by the shoulders, pulling her head close to her muzzle. She opened her mouth wide, extending her tongue to lick the tip of the mouse's nose.
"Are you... really okay with your daughter dating me?"
Lindsay pushed the mouse's head into her mouth. The fur of her chin pressed against Lindsay's rough tongue.
"Should I not be?"
Lindsay swallowed, using her tongue to push the mouse's head forward. She felt her throat swell.
"Well, I mean... I'm a rabbit. I'm... prey. Like that mouse."
Lindsay's lips stretched around the mouse's shoulders. It had been far too long since she had eaten a meal that actually squirmed.
"And," Heather continued, "We're both females. It doesn't bother you at all that your daughter is dating a girl, or that she's dating... food?"
Lindsay swallowed the mouse's chest, her shoulders sliding into Lindsay's gullet. The mouse fought like crazy, but her arms were trapped against her sides now, and Lindsay held onto her ankles to prevent her from kicking too much.
"Maybe," Lindsay's mom said. "But who my daughter dates is her decision, not mine. I don't necessarily have to understand it. Obviously, the fact that she brought you here to meet us means that she thinks of you as a little more than just 'prey.' And besides, you obviously accept her for who she is, and that's all I need to know as far as I'm concerned."
Lindsay tilted her head back, her tongue sliding over the mouse's stomach. Her hips came next, popping into Lindsay's cheeks.
"I... I see." Heather hesitated. "I just... wanted to thank you for being so welcoming to me."
"Of course, sweetheart. It was my pleasure."
Lindsay gulped down the mouse's kicking legs, then slurped up the rest of the long, thrashing tail.
The mouse had been small. Once she stopped thrashing around, Lindsay would probably be able to cover her stomach with a sweater and none would be the wiser -- maybe she'd ask to borrow the one that Emily had been wearing.
Lindsay turned to see that Heather was standing right next to her; she must have approached after she finished talking with Mom. She was staring at the bulge in Lindsay's midsection.
"I'm going to head back to the house," Mom said. "You two come back whenever you're ready."
As her mother turned to leave, Lindsay called out. "Mom."
Lindsay hesitated, trying to find the right words. Finally, she just settled on the most important part of what she wanted to say.
"You're welcome, Kitten."
Once her mother had left, Lindsay turned her attention back to Heather, who was still staring at her belly.
"You... you really ate her," she said.
Heather reached out tentatively with one hand. "C-can I...?"
"If you want to, go ahead."
Heather hesitated, then placed her hand on Lindsay's stomach, where the mouse was still struggling inside. Her ears drooped, and Lindsay could see her lip quaver, but she kept her hand pressed against Lindsay's fur.
"How long will it take to...?" Heather asked, trailing off.
"It depends on the prey." Lindsay stifled a burp. "Probably an hour or two before most of the struggles die down. She might stay alive for a few days after that, but she was small -- she'll probably be mostly gone by the time the reunion is over. After that, it'll take my stomach a while to process everything. In a week or two, I'll cough up a hairball and that'll be the last of her."
Heather swallowed. "Just... a hairball."
Heather brought her other hand up, placing it on Lindsay's stomach as well. "And the rest... will be part of you."
Lindsay felt her face flush. Why did this suddenly feel so... intimate?
Heather didn't respond for several seconds. She just stood there, her hands still on Lindsay's belly, until she finally spoke.
"It's going to be me."
"In a few days, the reunion will be over. There won't be anything to stop you from eating me. I'll be the one who..." She took a step back, removing her hands from Lindsay's stomach. "I... I'm sorry."
Lindsay shook her head before leaning down to pick up her shirt. "It's okay. Besides, you could still find a way to escape. I did just eat, I'm not going to be starving."
"But even if you're not starving, you'll still eat me if you have the chance, right?"
Lindsay hesitated. Should she lie? The nature of being a predator meant she never knew when or where her next meal would be coming from. Even if she wasn't actually hungry yet, she knew she couldn't turn down a meal if she had the chance to take it. She would glut herself to tide herself over to the next meal, whenever it might come. She wouldn't survive if she did anything different.
"Yes," Lindsay said. "I will."
Heather nodded. "I wouldn't expect anything else."
Lindsay sighed as she hefted the large bag into the trunk of the car. While the reunion had had a few stressful moments, she had enjoyed spending this time with her mom and sisters.
But all things had to end eventually. Most of the guests had left this morning. Lindsay didn't have to be back to work until tomorrow night, so she had hung around to spend one more day with her mom, sisters, and Aunt Mattie. Now it was Lindsay's turn to leave, and as the sun started to dip below the mountains, they were gathered around her car to say their goodbyes. It might be months before Lindsay saw any of them again.
"Lindsay," Aunt Mattie said. "Would it be okay if I talk to you alone for a minute?"
"Um, sure." Lindsay followed her aunt a few paces away from the rest of the group. "What's up?"
Aunt Mattie smiled at Lindsay. "I just want to thank you," she said, keeping her voice low.
"For that show you put on with the rabbit."
Lindsay swallowed hard. "W-what show?"
"No need to be coy. I know you aren't really dating her. I've known from the start."
Lindsay's mind reeled. She had known? The whole time?
"I don't really fit in with this family sometimes, Lindsay," Mattie continued. "But you went way out of your way to make me feel comfortable. I just want you to know that... that means a lot to me."
Lindsay released a long breath. She had to admit, she had not been expecting that. She smiled. "You're welcome, Aunt Mattie."
The older feline pulled Lindsay into a hug. "Have a good drive home. Be safe, okay? Love you."
"I will. I love you, too."
Lindsay walked back to the car, where her mom and sisters were chatting with Heather.
"So, you're not riding in the trunk this time?" Emily asked, a grin on her face.
"Nope. Front seat privileges and everything," Heather said, forcing a smile.
"Oh, hey Lindsay," Cassie said when she saw Lindsay approaching. "You ready to go?"
"Just about. I want to get off the mountain before it gets too dark."
Lindsay said her goodbyes to her sisters and mother. Then she and Heather got in the car, Lindsay started the engine, and they started off down the mountain road.
They drove in silence, the trees casting lengthening shadows over the small car. Lindsay focused on making her way down the winding road, careful not to pick up too much speed on the steep slope.
By the time they approached the bottom of the mountain road, it was getting pretty dark. Lindsay pulled off the road into a small turnoff and put the car in park.
For the first time since they had left, Heather spoke, still staring forward out the front windshield. "This is it, right?"
Lindsay nodded. "Yeah."
A moment of silence passed between them. "We actually got along pretty well. I'm surprised how accepting your family was of us."
"Me too." Her sisters -- and apparently Aunt Mattie -- had been in on it the whole time, but Lindsay was still fairly certain that her mother had never caught on. And yet she had seemed to be all for Lindsay's relationship with Heather. "It kind of surprised me, too."
"We could always give it a try for real."
Lindsay turned to look at Heather.
"I mean... I never thought I'd be interested in dating a girl. But... I think for you... I'd be willing to give it a try? M-maybe I'm just trying to buy myself more time, but I really think there could be something here. I know you said you're not into girls, but..."
With a force that almost bruised her finger, Lindsay clicked the button to release her seatbelt. She pushed up the small divider between the driver and passenger seats, then pivoted on her knee, throwing her other knee up over Heather's legs. She was now straddling the smaller female, facing her.
"W-wha...?" Heather managed to say.
Lindsay put her hands on Heather's shoulders, leaned down, and kissed her.
Heather's eyes widened, and she let out a small squeak. Then, after a moment, she made an "mmm" sound, and her eyes half-closed.
The kiss grew more heated. Lindsay turned her head and opened her mouth slightly, and Heather followed her lead, their teeth clicking together as their muzzles interlocked. Lindsay felt Heather's hands on her sides, just above her hips.
Lindsay clicked the button on Heather's seatbelt, forcing them to break off the kiss for a moment as the restraining belt was pulled back into its resting place. Shirts came off next, with Lindsay tugging off Heather's, then her own, tossing them aside before pressing their lips together again.
For at least a minute or two, they were locked together, fur to fur, tongue dancing with tongue. Another car drove by, its lights illuminating them for just a moment, but they ignored it. For just a moment, the two gave themselves fully to each other.
Finally, the kiss broke off. Lindsay still sat straddling Heather's lap, panting softly, her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Heather was in a similar state of disarray.
After an interminable moment, Heather spoke. "Did... did you feel anything from that?"
There was a momentary temptation to lie, but Lindsay couldn't do that. Not now. She shook her head. "No. I tried to, I really did."
And she had tried. With everything she had, Lindsay had tried to force up a mote of desire, of arousal, to make herself want her. Maybe the very fact that she had had to try so hard meant that it just wasn't to be. Because Lindsay did want her... just not as a lover.
Her stomach rumbled.
Heather nodded. "I understand. So... this really is it, now, huh?"
Heather swallowed, but said, "Okay. I'm ready."
"You seem oddly calm about this," Lindsay said.
Heather nodded. "Trust me, it's kind of weirding me out, too. If this had happened last week, when you first caught me, I would be screaming and fighting. But..." She hesitated for a moment. "I think I was always supposed to be your prey. Like, your prey, specifically. If anyone else had caught me, or if you had just grabbed me and gulped me down, I would have been horrified. I would have screamed and fought and cursed my fate. You would have been nothing more to me but a monster, come to gobble me up.
"But now, because this happened... I got to know you. I got to meet your family and see how much you care about each other. You and your sisters fought and joked and teased each other. Even when they were teasing me, your sisters felt closer to me than any of my real siblings ever did. And then there's you."
Lindsay felt Heather's hands touch her sides. "If you had just eaten me at the start," Heather said, "I never would have gotten to see how fierce and strong and beautiful you are." She stroked the fur of Lindsay's abdomen, including the small potbelly she still had from the mouse a few days ago. She reached one hand up and brushed Lindsay's arm, caressing the firm muscles beneath her fur. Her other hand touched Lindsay's thigh, feeling the bunched sinews there.
Lindsay didn't try to stop her. The touch was intimate, but not sexual. There was adoration in that touch.
"And I think," Heather said. "I think okay with... becoming a part of that."
Lindsay wasn't sure how to respond to that. So she brought herself in for one more kiss, softer than the last, the tips of their muzzles pressing together.
Then she opened her mouth wide and pulled Heather in.
Lindsay sat in the passenger seat of the car, caressing her bulging stomach. She felt the occasional movement, but it wasn't the squirms of someone struggling to escape, just someone trying to get more comfortable. She opened her mouth and let out a belch, the taste of rabbit lingering on her tongue.
Heather had been delicious, perhaps the best meal she had ever had. The mouse hadn't compared. After this whole week of waiting... Heather had been worth waiting for. Maybe she should try dating all her meals.
Some small part of Lindsay did wish that she had been able to give Heather what she wanted. But somehow, it felt like she would be doing a dishonor to Heather if she sat here moping over how things had turned out. It would be more respectful to enjoy the sensations of her meal -- to appreciate what Heather had given her. And she certainly would never forget the rabbit -- Lindsay would always feel like Heather was there, a part of her, hunting with her.
And Heather had been right: Lindsay's family had been surprisingly open to the idea. Maybe Lindsay should be more open to it, too. If the right animal did come along, someone that Lindsay did feel that spark for, she would have to pursue it, species be damned.
But she could worry about that later. Right now, she had a meal to enjoy.
Originally posted on FA on Jul 16th, 2017 02:26 PM
A commission I did for a friend, and one of the longer stories I've written. It delves a bit into Lindsay's backstory.