THE FIRST GLOMP
Upon opening his front door, Randall stepped back and stared in disbelief. His view to the street fell away to focus on the fit, plump backside of the young woman standing there — as she was facing away to look back at the sidewalk outside his apartment. Her cotton-tail canted downwards over her rounded cheeks, revealing a dark, henna tattoo of a four-leaf clover that had a spaded devil tail for a stem.
Unable to tear his blue eyes away, Randall’s reverie was cut short when Amanda turned around and — seeing him standing in the open doorway — let out a happy squeak before she cried out, “Randall!”. Before he could recover, Randall suddenly found himself with her plastered against his front; the red-haired rabbit literally clinging like a twisting vine around his right leg and torso as she beamed up at him.
“Clover!? Wha-?” Sputtering, the tall sun-leopard held up both arms, unsure just what to do as he staggered back a couple of steps into his apartment’s entryway.
“Oh, mon beau, you do not know how hard it was to find vous appartement! Madame Sandy was very adamant about giving out your personal information.” Her coffee-hued eyes twinkled with unbridled mischief. “However, I was able to convince Monsieur Antonio to tell me at least in which district you called home.” She giggled. “For someone who is openly … how would you say? Gay? He was very moved by moi’s méthodes pour l’interrogatoire, oui?”
As she spoke, Randall watched as she clung to his front, growing somewhat unnerved as she absently tugged up the front of his t-shirt and began to run her fingers — though not ungently — across his belly fur. “Um, well … ah, I d-don’t see how anyone c-could resist,” Randall said, feeling like some school boy, stuttering in front of a teacher. Yet, this isn’t any teacher I ever had, back in school! Randall thought.
Still smiling, Amanda said, “No one could, and never has, mon beau.” Leaning in to nuzzle her face just below his pectorals, she breathed in deeply and let it out with a sound of contentment. “Now, I have found vous and … ?” Looking up, her words trailed off as she beheld his nervous expression. “Randall? Something is wrong, Cher?”
Blinking, Randall shook his head. “Well, yes. I mean, ah … no, nothing-!”
“It is or it is not,” Amanda said gently. taking a moment to glance behind her at the still-open door of his apartment. “Oh. Perhaps you prefer our rendezvous to be more, private?” With the suppleness of a cat, Amanda gripped his leg between both of hers and leaned backwards. Reaching out, she snagged the edge of the door and gently but firmly shoved it back.
With a thunk! it closed shut, and a loud CLAK! signaled the auto-lock had engaged.
Coiling back up, Amanda smiled before propping herself against Randall’s chest. “There! Now we are alone … together, mon beau.” One of her hands resumed its petting of his belly, as she asked, “Is that not wonderful?”
Randall shivered from the touch of her fingers for a brief moment, before he got a grip on his runaway emotions. “Clover! I mean … Amanda, please.” He reached down and firmly disengaged her from his person; placing her on the carpeted floor in front of him. “Look, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but, ah-..” He cut himself off, seeing the shift in her expression from openly happy to one of confusion. “Look, I just … I-I mean … I, well, I’m not sure how to handle you right now,” he said, turning away to stare at the empty wall behind him.
Amanda asked, “How to … ‘handle’ moi?”
Nodding, Randall said, “I mean, you’re just a bit … I guess, a bit too much for me to deal with. You’re clearly a flirt, and you like attention and such, and … well, I guess I just don’t see what you want with a guy like me.” His words came out in a rush, while he felt the heat rise in his ears. Cripes! I hope I haven’t upset her! he told himself. For a moment or two, he couldn’t hear anything but the pounding of his own heartbeat in his ears, and little else.
Then, a small hand touched the broad space between his shoulder blades. “Cher, vous thinks I am … oh! You would say, trying to get a rise out of you, oui?” Amanda asked. “Que je joue à un jeu avec vos émotions? That I am playing games with you?”
Unable to make himself talk, Randall just nodded his head. The next thing he knew, the hand at his back vanished, only to be joined by its twin on his fuzzy cheeks. Looking down, he stared into two deep pools of brown as Amanda looked back at him; smiling gently as she cupped his face.
“Randall … I am a flirt. It is part of what I do as a dancer at the SOKOL,” she said softly. “Il fait partie de que je fais comme un artiste de cabaret.”
Randall started to reach for her hands. “But, Clover-.” His protest was stopped by a single finger, that Amanda pressed against his lips.
“Hush, Cher, depuis un moment, s’il vous plaît.” Her finger left his lips in a soft caress. “I act as I do, because the occupation demands it. I must stand out from the other dancers, or else I do not earn my wages, comprenez?” When he nodded, she said, “Outside of what I do on the stage — that which is who I really am — I have my own view on whom I show my affections to. Whom I find as … désirable, magnifique et élégant, oui?” Letting her hands drift down from his face to rest on his chest, Amanda stepped close and stared intently into his eyes. “I have watched you at work, mon beau. You are strong, yet humble. You treat all of Monsieur Pavel’s employees fairly, and … .” She giggled softly before adding, “You never take advantage of the other dancers, though you might have had many opportunities to do so.”
Randall felt his ears grow hot and he turned his head away from her. “Oh, cripes! I … I don’t do anything special.” He felt Amanda take hold of his chin, and turn him back around.
“No, Cher. You treat everyone as you would be treated yourself,” she said, and Randall could see that the quality of her smile had turned warm as sunshine. “Vous êtes un homme gentil, honnête … you are special, Randall, and I would like to come to know you better.” At this, her expression turned surprisingly shy as her eyes dipped down briefly. “That is if vous will permit me to?”
Randall stood there, petrified with wonder. This woman? She could have anyone in the whole, damn world … and she wants to get to know ME better?
Did some more color work on these lines — a commission drawn by CallMePo a while back — and got so inspired, I wrote this snippet to go along with it. It sort of encapsulates the personalities and the relationship that begins between Randall St. John and Amanda “Clover” d’Orleans.
I hope you enjoy both!
Original Linework — Ferd Poblette/CallMePo
Colors by Stephen Sobotka - 2014