Story:Hearts and Biscuits 1
Hearts and Biscuits 1
Written by Wolfnumber9 and Illarouge
January 10th, 2019: In Tall Company
After a hard-fought game against the Keystones, the Tides had already retired to their locker room with some already heading straight for the Tides Practice facility...all except for Tia. The friendly opossum was feeling strong guilt after the game’s brutal end. She told herself over and over again that it was an accident, but seeing the jackrabbit’s fall to the floor after the collision made her feel even worse. She only had one idea in mind. She had to find her and apologize.
With a few of her teammates, Margo had come back to the floor after the fans had left to blow off some steam. Before long, she was alone, shooting some baskets, her nose taped up. There was still some dried blood on her fur and bandages. She felt stupid, having slammed headlong into someone's elbow. It happened so quickly, she couldn't even remember who it was that had been on the giving end of the elbow.
More time had passed before Tia finally walked out of the locker room, but as fate would have it, she was able to hear the faint sound of a basketball hitting the wooden floors of the court. She quickly followed the sound and was able to find her elbow’s victim still on the court. She looked at her with fear. She already knew she hurt the jackrabbit, but she was worried how much she hurt her internally. This slowly led to Tia trying to hide in the entrance and watch her practice. Margo shot a few layups. She knew she was dragging her feet getting back to the team hotel. She told Coach Wooten that she'd be picking up a taxi, figuring that would give her enough time to decompress after their loss. She sighed. The game felt like a bust, in spite of everything. She started. How often did she do that? How had she missed an entire person being there? She barely felt the sting of her injury. She tossed the ball down and let it roll away. Tia could sense the anger and defeat in the jackrabbit’s movements. It was now or never. She was going to march right up to her and apologize. She took her first step and accidentally knocked down a stack of chairs. The loud bang echoed through the whole stadium and Tia was terrified as she blew her cover.
“Oh! Oh no! Aww man,” she said with defeat. "The f--" and the rabbit took a step backward into a rack of balls, going ass over tea kettle, balls bouncing about the court. "All right, day, can we cool it the hell off?" She groaned, as she was already sore from earlier. She tried to roll over and push herself to her feet.
Tia ran to her with urgency. “Oh man! Are you okay?! Are you hurt? I’m so so so sorry!” The possum reached out to help her up.
Margo accepted the help. She got back to her feet, and she started to giggle. "If it ain't one thing," a smile on her face.
“Oh, you’re okay. Okay, good. We’re smiling, we’re happy. Good.” Tia said as she laughed along with her.
The jackrabbit cocked an eyebrow. "You counseling yourself there, sister?"
“Counseling? Oh no I, well, I don’t think so. I guess I’m just glad you’re not mad at me, hehe.”
"Mad at you?" She scoffed. "Unless you did it on purpose, I'm mad at me."
“Oh no. No no no no no, I swear it wasn’t on purpose. I was just reaching for the ball, and I didn’t know you were there, and...and...I’m sorry I hit my elbow in your face. I never would want to hurt you or your face. You have a very nice face! Very cute face too! See?!” Tia waved her hands around Margo’s face. “I’d never want to hurt this....I swear....wait, I think I said too much...”
Margo grabbed both of Tia's wrists. She spread the woman's hands apart so they could look at each other. "Maybe take a nice deep breath?"
Tia was startled but did as she was told. She then breathed in for long time and slowly breathed out. There was a short pause as the two stared at each other. Soon, Tia said, “How many should I take?”
"Let's start with one, work from there."
Tia takes another deep breath, then another, and another. The whole time she looked Margo right in her eyes. At this point, Tia was unsure of what to say next. The only thing she could think to do was keep taking breaths and focus on the jackrabbit’s gaze. Margo smiled behind her bloody nose.
"Better?" She chuckled and let Tia's wrists go. "You're pretty excitable." She knelt down and picked up a few of the balls, placing them back on the rack. "Guessing you're the one I ran into."
“Um, yes.” Tia said with a very pouty expression. “And I’m very sorry.”
The jackrabbit playfully slugged Tia's arm. "Don't beat yourself up. You did a number on me already."
Tia showed a slight smile. She then very lightly tapped Margo’s arm with her fist to try to copy her. She didn’t know why, but Tia quickly became very intrigued by Margo. Just being next to her made her feel almost relaxed. “Well, whatever number I did, it was wrong of me to hurt you. Does it still hurt?” She asked.
"Like hell." She smirked. "But I've played streetball. A maybe broken nose won't do much." She held out her hand to Tia. "Don't lose any sleep over it, all right?"
Tia stared at her hand for a while. In a way, she still felt that she was on thin ice, like Margo was getting ready to lash out at her. But at the same time, Margo just slowly took those worries away. Finally, she grabbed the jackrabbit’s hand, and the two shook hands for a while.
“M...my name...my name is Tia,” she said nervously.
She could have pointed out the obvious, that their names had been up on the scoreboard, but the rabbit instead spoke in kind. "Margo." She let the possum's hand go. She shrugged off collecting the rest of the balls. "Getting late, innit? Wanna share a cab?"
Tia nodded without any second thought. She said, “Nice to meet you Margo. And yes, I would like to share a cab.” The opossum smiled cheek to cheek and even hopped a little with glee.
The rabbit nodded to the exit. "Lemme grab my stuff. I'll meet you outside." She headed off and disappeared into the tunnel.
“Okay, bye, Margo!” she said happily. “She’s real nice....oh...but her poor nose...I gotta make it up to her somehow. OH, I KNOW!”
With that, Tia ran back to the locker room to get all her stuff. She packed up so fast she almost forgot her shoes. She ran outside to look for Margo. Once she finally saw her ears in the distance, Tia ran full speed at the jackrabbit. “Hey! Hey, Margo! Hey! I have an idea!”
Margo turned at the sound of the loud marsupial. "Uh, hey." Her bag hung from her shoulder, her hand on her hip. "For the cab?" She snickered, out of the loop to a certain degree.
“Oh, no...I...” Tia took a moment to catch her breath. “As an apology for hitting your cute rabbit nose, I want to get you dinner at a restaurant I know. They told me that they would give me a free meal one day, so I want to give that to you...so um....do you um...want to?”
The rabbit felt a familiarity with the situation. "You know, the last time a girl spent a coupon on me, she was after something." She played up a stern expression, but not for long, as she devolved into her usual smirk. "But I'm a sucker for thrifty folks. I'm in."
“Really?! Oh, that’s great! Come on, let’s go!” Tia grabbed Margo’s hand and began to excitedly tug her down the sidewalk giggling along the way.
Margo went along, silently wondering whether she'd made a good decision. "In walking distance, I assume."
“Yea, I walk there all the time. And the owner there said that if we beat the Spirits, he would give me a free meal, and then we did win, and then he called me and said I can have my free meal whenever, and they have great food and you’ll love it and it’ll be fun! It’s great apology food! Come on!”
She walked slightly behind the possum, but she felt the need to widen her eyes. She had a couple jokes locked and loaded, but she kept quiet, like being on a roller coaster one isn't quite sure of. After barreling through the sidewalks of Bangor and Tia saying hi to the owner once they arrived, the two FBA centers found themselves sitting down at a table for two in a restaurant/sports bar that went by the name of “Louie’s”. The table itself couldn’t provide enough leg room for the both of them so Tia moved her seat so she was sitting right next to Margo. Light rock music played in the background as the two were given a table in the corner to lessen fan interference. Margo surveyed the scenery. This was the sort of restaurant she tended to like, reminding her a bit of the restaurants back home.
"Not bad." She settled in, picking up a menu to look at. "So, what does the lady recommend from this place?"
“Not bad is good,” Tia said happily. “I really like the spicy chicken sandwich with breadsticks, but it can be pretty spicy, so I would be careful.”
She quickly found the mentioned sandwich. "They got an eggplant version?" She lit up as she found the extra options. "Yep. Okay, I'm happy." She looked over the appetizers as she continued, "I'm not strict, but I like my veggies."
“Yea, they got some good selections. I should probably eat some veggies myself, but thankfully our trainer said I could treat myself a little. Had to really change my diet since I’m not in Tennessee anymore.”
Margo looked at the possum. "Why's that matter?"
“Well, he said I can’t eat so many biscuits. I really like biscuits. My mama makes the best biscuits I’ve ever had honestly. But hey, I’m talking too much. This dinner is for you as a gift so...so you say things now like...like...um...” Out of nowhere, Tia felt very nervous. She couldn’t figure out why, but she felt a strong urge to make sure Margo had a good time. “Uh...like, I’m a Tennessee girl. Where are you from?”
The jackrabbit found it more and more difficult to hold back her laughs. She chuckled at the supreme awkwardness the possum exuded, though she found it comforting in a way. "Oklahoma, sister. From somewhere you probably never heard of." She set the menu down. "What's Tennessee like? I don't know much about it."
“Hmm, Oklahoma. Oh, Tennessee is real nice. The weather is perfect, music that can make anyone tap their feet. Great food to eat. Cool bugs to catch. I used to help my mama with her car shop too. Hehe, my um...my height helped a lot too, but I’m sure we took apart every single car known to fur kind and put it right back together again, haha!”
Margo whistled. "Family of mechanics? Impressive. I can't say I know much about cars." She took stock of what Tia said. "So what's your favorite car?"
“Oh, that’s easy. My mama’s ford pickup truck. We used that car for everything, and I used to ride in the back when I got too tall to fit in the seat. We kept that car running for so long. We still got it running now!”
She laughed, a quick burst before stifling herself into a chuckle. "No, I mean kind of car. Like if you could get any car for yourself, any kind, what would it be?"
“Oh um...um....huh...I really don’t know. Still don’t have a car now. Can’t find one that’s comfortable. Walking around Bangor is fun though. I get to meet nice people. Like how I met you....so....Uh.” Tia then realized what she had just said. She suddenly froze up without a clue of what to say next. Thankfully, the silence was broken by the waiter arriving at their table.
“Alright my FBA stars, what are we having tonight?” he said.
The hare picked her menu back up, unfazed by any of what had been said. "What'd you suggest? Buffalo sandwich? I'll have mine with eggplant instead. Fries, too." She looked down at the drinks. "And whatever the Bangor lemonade is. Is that alcoholic?" "Yes indeed, ma'am." "Then just a regular lemonade."
“And Tia? What about you? The usual?” “Yes, please. With water.” The waiter finished writing down his notes and bowed as he walked off. Tia still felt a bit nervous but pushed through. “So what...um...are somethings that you like to do...you know, besides basketball because...yea?”
Margo locked eyes with Tia. "Really, I'm not mad. You don't have to stress out." She patted the possum's arm. "Well, I like collecting and watching old VHS tapes, whatever weird stuff I can find. I've got more keytars than a sane person should have. And I like drumming at powwows, even if my brothers keep yelling at me that I can't, because I'm a girl."
“What?” Tia’s nerves were melted away by her touch. “Aw, that’s not nice. I bet you’re a great drummer. I can’t even play an instrument. Wait, old VHS tapes? So you have like old movies? Which ones do you have?”
"Some popular stuff, but mostly whatever I can find at the thrift store. Lots of how-to and etiquette videos. Weird stuff." She smiled. "It's not that I can drum. It's that women aren't 'supposed to' in my tribe. Like I care."
Those two words repeated in Tia’s mind. Supposed to. Just the act of not doing something just because she was told not to was something that Tia was all too familiar with, but Margo didn’t care?
“Well,” Tia began as her revelation sparked. “If...if you really want it...and you love it....then...then you should do it....right?” She then looked at Margo and smiled big but still looked to her to see if what she was saying was good or bad.
The hare nodded. "That's how I live my life." The waiter brought their drinks and set them down. Margo unwrapped a straw and dropped it in. She handed one to Tia. "Ain't gonna hurt anybody on purpose, so it isn't anyone's business if I do something different."
Tia took the straw and did the same. “Yea. You live a great life Margo, hehe.” The opossum then drank a good bit of water and laughed. “This is fun. Like...this is really fun.” She then paused and looked at Margo. “Um, are you having fun?”
"I don't know if I live a great life." She smiled at the follow up. "Yeah, this is pretty fun. I'd just be back in my hotel."
“Yea, I would just be home alone watching game film and monster trucks. Yea it’s uh...real quiet...um, but no I mean....I like the way you think about life. I’ve never really thought like that.” She smiled and looked into Margo’s eyes again. Soon, their food appeared in front of them right on time.
Margo shrugged. "I don't think I'm anything special. I just intend to be happy. Simple as that." She took a sip of her lemonade. She started cutting her sandwich in half. "Maybe tell me about you. You talk about your mom a lot."
“Yea.” Tia looked down at her sandwich. “Well, I never knew my father so mama was all I had growing up. We did everything together, and she taught me a lot. Well, actually, I found out that I still have a lot to learn about stuff. But I’m good now.”
Tia took a bite of her sandwich. She knew the feeling that was crawling in the back of her head. She remembered what her mother had strictly told her. No dating. No relationships. But as much as her mother’s words stuck with her, looking at Margo helped her block them out. She didn’t know how she got this far, but Tia was going off her pure desires at this point. She was actually having a lot of fun.
"You didn't know your dad either?" Margo chuckled. She took a bite. "My mom won't talk about him. My older sister and I have the same dad. The rest of my mom's kids are from another guy." She took a few more bites. She felt like her lemonade was disappearing faster than she was drinking it. She waved to the waiter for another. "Not gonna lie. I don't like my mom that much, but she's been through some shit. So I kind of get it."
Tia eyes widened as she looked back at Margo. “Yea, my mama won’t talk about him either, just said that he was no good and that I was better off not knowing. There were some tough days, but we were able to keep going and stand tall, so I guess I’m saying that I know exactly what you mean.” Tia tried to think of a way to comfort her, but all she could think to do was place her hand on the rabbit’s shoulder and smile. She then used the other hand to take a bite of her sandwich.
Margo smiled. "I'm not bothered by it. He's not here, so it's not like he had any time to make an impression on me." The waiter brought her another lemonade. "Being mad about it doesn't help, so I don't have time for it, you know?"
“That’s right. Who we have now is all that matters.” The possum took another bite of her sandwich. “Oh, you know what else my family likes to do?”
With a mouthful of food, "Tell me."
Tia took another bite and giggled. “Mud wrestling, hehe.” She laughed some more.
Margo paused her chewing. She set down her sandwich and leaned on her arm, resting on the table. "Like in cheesy porn movies? Or those dumb man show things back in the nineties?"
Tia then paused as well and said, “Wait, what? They do that in porn? Huh. No, it was my cousin Freddy’s idea. It rained a lot one day before our family reunion, and he was challenging people to wrestle in the mud. Soon, all my cousins got in it, and so did I, so we made it a game. You’re looking at the Terra wrestling champ five years straight.”
The jackrabbit clapped. "I didn't think I was in the presence of a champion." She snickered, somewhat forgetting her food. "I'd bet the tabloids would have a field day with that kind of info."
Tia still sat there thinking about Margo’s comment. “Um, if porn is about sex, then why would someone have sex in the mud. That sounds real messy.” Tia looked back at Margo and quickly said, “Oh wait! Folks shouldn’t talk about naughty things at the table. Sorry, Margo.”
Margo laughed loudly, enough to attract a little attention from some of the other patrons. "Kinda like elbows on the table. Just don't belong." She quieted herself with another sip of lemonade. "Tia, fabled mud wrestler. Has a nice ring to it."
Tia smiled and flexed her right arm a bit to fit the role. “Hehe, yep. That’s me.” She took another bite of her sandwich finishing it all.
The hare finished her sandwich a little slower, polishing off her fries as well. "All right, dinner was a good idea."
“Yea, I hope you liked it.”
She nodded. She reached into her bag and pulled out her wallet. She pulled out a one hundred dollar bill and laid it on the table. "Just means the waiter gets a super good tip."
“Aw that’s sweet. This was a fun time. I guess it’s kinda late now.” Tia slouched back in her seat but quickly jolted up. “Oh! I can walk you to your hotel! I mean, if you want me to?”
"Sure. It's a bit of a walk, but I'm used to the distance." She slid from her seat and stood, shouldering her bag once more.
Tia shot up from her seat and grabbed her things. She got up so fast though that her hair covered her whole face. She brushed her hair to the side and said, “Okay! Let’s go!” The two continued their random conversations as they walked through the city, which was met with more laughs and playful punches to the arm. The time flew so fast for the both of them that before they knew it, they were at the hotel.
“I guess we’re here,” she said.
Margo nodded. "Mmhmm." She started looking for her room key, though she paused. "You alright? You seem down."
“Um...Uh.” Tia just stood there looking down at her shoes. This was the first Time in so long that she spent time with someone through the whole night. She didn’t want it to end, but she didn’t want to make Margo feel bad. After a moment of silence, Tia finally uttered: “I had a lot fun spending time with you. Thanks.” She forced a smile to try to make it look like everything was still okay.
The hare huffed a little as she realized what was up. She slid her key into the card slot and opened the door. "Come on in. Let's chat, sister." She walked through the door and let it swing open for Tia.
“Oh, okay.” Tia walked in hesitantly but followed Margo. The room was a decent size with one bed and a full bath. Tia studied the room for a while before looking back at Margo.
Margo glanced back. "Relax. Sit down." She grabbed a few glasses, taking them to the sink and filling them with water. She set one down on a table for Tia. She sat down in the chair tucked in the corner of every hotel room. She gestured for Tia to join her. "Gimme a read on you. You seem like you wanna say something."
Tia slowly joined Margo and grabbed the glass. She didn’t drink it though, just held it and tapped the glass with her other hand. “Um, I mean, I’m okay. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.” She continued to tap the glass.
The jackrabbit inherited her mother's and grandmother's I-don't-believe-your-bullshit expression, though hers was slightly softer. She stood up and walked past Tia. She headed into the bathroom, in part to give the possum a moment to not have the hare stare her down.
"The dinner was a nice apology, but I think a little bit of the truth would really help square away things." She started taking off the bandages. She turned on the water. Running a washcloth underneath the stream, she worked to make herself look more presentable.
Tia kept tapping the glass. The night went so well, she couldn’t mess it up now. Tia seemed to be afraid to tell the truth. ”Most nights now are very quiet and lonely. But this night was different, and I really loved...um.” She was on a roll but was flustered again. She tapped the glass even faster. Was she messing this up?
Margo shouted from the bathroom, "Keep going. You're doing great!"
Her words were enough motivation to keep Tia going. “I really loved being with you. I went to you to apologize, but at the dinner I...kinda....um.” Tia began to sway side to side. She couldn’t just admit what she had in her head, could she? She can’t just say that to someone right?
Margo returned, a towel still pressed to her nose. Didn't feel broken, but she'd have to check with the physician tomorrow. "You can just say what you want. Worst case scenario, you'll just be where you started, right?"
The tapping stopped. Tia looked at Margo visibly worried but took a deep breath and said, “Margo...I think...no...I really, really like you, and I really want to spend a lot more time with you.” And it was said. Tia then looked at Margo with such anxiety just waiting for any sort of response.
The jackrabbit stared for a while, but a smile spread across her face. She set the towel down, and she looked relatively okay despite everything that had happened on the court. "That's a possibility." She returned to her chair. "Maybe. That's what I can do right now. We've got a dinner under our belts, but we don't know much about each other."
Tia was still frozen and staring back at Margo. The smile did comfort her, so she continued with. “Do...do you like me?”
Margo still seemed relatively relaxed. She hadn't anticipated an evening like this. "Again, maybe. You're nice, and you're trying, which are good starts." She cocked her head. "Why so unconfident now? This doesn't seem like the woman on the court."
“Well, basketball comes easy to me. I can just trust what feels right. It’s hard to do that with relationships.” Tia smiled and blushed a bit. “But I like maybe.”
Margo nodded. "You've had a girlfriend before?"
“I thought I did.” Tia’s smile dwindled a bit. “But I found out that she was lying to me, and I fell for it. Now she’s in jail because she clawed a bunch of people at a hotel, so I guess it’s no. I never had a real girlfriend.”
Margo chuckled. "That's pretty real, if you ask me." She held her hand up. "Hi, I'm Tia. My ex is in jail, but I'm not." She grinned her buck-toothed grin. "You made it out of something bad."
“Yea, I guess I did. It’s just that I was forced into a relationship, and I don’t want to do that to anyone. That’s why it’s been so hard, but I still want to try with you.” Tia stood up and said. “So I really hope I can spend more time with you...or again...and um...yea.” She stood there in front of the rabbit for a while. Tia was already getting ready for a goodbye. It’s not what she wanted, but she felt that it was the nice thing to do.
Margo knew the feeling pretty well. It was a bit new for her to make any strong commitments, but she wasn't above loosening up. She stood up, unwittingly showcasing her size.
"Why don't we play it by ear for now? I like a good romp, but for something more, I'd rather a chance to get to know you. That's fair, right?"
Tia nodded her head and smiled. “Yes. Very fair. I’m good with that.”
The hare grinned. "That said, you staying the night?"
“Wait, I can stay? I can stay?!” Tia smiled big and hopped in happiness again. “Yes! Yes, I would love to stay the night please!”
Margo laughed, probably the hardest she had all night. "You get full points for enthusiasm, sister."
“I’m sorry, I’m just so happy!” Tia put down her water glass and had her hands behind her back. “So um...is it okay if I give you a hug? I guess as a way of me saying thank you?”
She chuckled. "Yeah, sure."
What an odd woman. But maybe it would be fun. She held her arms open. Tia went in for the hug and held tight. This hug felt very new and different. It was rare that the opossum would be this close to someone who was taller, but the two inches Margo had on Tia felt very comfortable. What Tia didn’t notice was that her tail slowly found its way to Margo’s leg and wrapped around the hare’s left ankle. It was rare for the hare to be so close to someone of a similar height. She hugged back. At the touch of Tia's tail, she snickered.
“You’re not going to throw games for me now, are you?”
Tia laughed at the comment. “Not a chance.” The two enjoyed a very calm and silly night together cuddling in bed.