Story:You Can't Hurry Love

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You Can't Hurry Love
Written by Rourkie

“Come on, guys. It’ll be fun, we can have a Singlebration,” argued Lee Jin-Sung (Black Bear, F) as he hung up his jersey and stepped into the showers, trying to convince some of the Alphas singles go out to a bar for Valentine’s day.

“Sure, I guess I’m in,” Apiatan Redmane (Water Buffalo, G) commented. “But I can’t promise I’ll stay the whole night; no one can resist the mane, if you catch my drift. Anyone else wanna join us?”

“I guess I can come, sure. We’re saving our romantic plans for later the weekend. Besides, I want to see if you can actually pick up chicks with this thing,” Viran Kivar (Jaguar, F) added, ruffling Apia’s headscruff.

“Hey, respect the mane!” was the only response, as he started teasing it back into place with a comb.

Managing to convince Baltasár Torrealba (Tortoise, C, HNT) to join them, the four basketball players headed to La Boca; a sleepy Mexican restaurant by day, but a lively bar and hopping nightclub by night. The Alphas had been known to frequent the venue on occasion, especially when they wanted a little more variety than what their usual bar, Charlie’s, had to offer in the way of romantic endeavors for the night. A burly-looking badger was checking IDs at the door, but he recognized them on sight and let them in.

The bar itself was slightly separated from the dancefloor by a half wall to allow the more social patrons to converse while more the energetic ones could battle it out to impress potential mates by busting a move. Lee and Baltasár made their way out toward the boogie battlegrounds as Viran and Apia looked for a table. “I’ll go get us some drinks,” the jaguar suggested, leaving Apia to his own devices at the moment.


Across town, Sasha Ivanovich (Lynx, F), Seria Delgado (White Wolf, F), and Doral (Gecko, G/F) were having a girl’s night in. Using one of the Alphas’ flophouses in town, they decided it’d be more fun to have a “sleepover party.” On the agenda was building a blanket fort, makeovers, cheesy romantic comedies, and “girl talk.”

The evening started off successfully enough. Once they got over the ridiculousness of three grown women tearing about the furniture of their employer-owned apartment, they managed to create a roomy, but cozy fort. Sure, they knew they’d have to replace the light fixture they had covered in duct tape, and they’d knocked over one of the bottles of wine they’d picked up in the process, but it was for a worthy cause.

After congratulating each other on a job well done, the girls fell quickly into discussing other things… to find out that they all actually had very little in common, each having come from radically different cultures. Usually April (Wigglesworth, Rabbit, Trainer) was the nosy one of the bunch, but she had other plans for the evening, and none of the other girls had any particularly juicy gossip or burning questions for each other. And with none of them dating anyone with any regularity, “girl talk” was out of the question; which meant moving on to makeovers.

“Hey, blondies – I don’t know if I wanna do this… I’ve kind of got a different style than you two, and I don’t think… hey! No, not the nails…”

“Ow, hey! Don’t bite!”

“Iv you vould only sit ztill…”

“Hey, watch your claws!”

“Vell vhat about your hair…?”

“Nope, no way, Snowshoe, get that stuff away from me…”

“You baby, it’s only temporary…”

“I don’t trust any hair dye, temp or perm, now would you quit it?”

The Gecko swatted the bottle away, causing it to splatter all over one of the sides of the fort. The three girls looked at eachother.

“At least it zmells like ztrawberries now?” Sasha offered, and the three of them started giggling.

“You know what would make this party even better?” Seria asked after they had finally settled down.

Of course, there was only one answer: “Boys.”


Susan Kruegar (Raccoon, F/C) was never one for romance. She was always referred to as “that big girl, you know, the one that looks like a fella” when she was growing up, so she’d never really ever dated anyone. She didn’t mind, though. She didn’t really care much for lovey dovey mushy crap anyway. How she ever found herself dressing up for a romantic evening with Riley Forgets Nothing (Raccoon, G/F) absolutely baffled her. And yet, here she was, squeezing herself into a night dress to have dinner with her boyfriend at Ristorante Medio, one of the ritziest places in the city.

Even with the restaurant being owned by Donahue Frump (Mole, Owner of the Albany Alphas), she was surprised Riley managed to get reservations. The restaurant had a reputation for being booked for years ahead of time, so either he’d dropped a large sum of money (for a professional baller), or he’d made the reservations a couple months after they’d started dating. Either way, she would have preferred to spend the evening at one or the other of their apartments. She didn’t know why he was so insistent on going out tonight.

If she hadn’t liked him as much as she did, she would have called the night off, but there was something odd about the way he asked her, just a tad bit of desperation or something in his voice that gave her pause. Clearly this was important to him, so she went along with it, even if it meant dressing like a disco ball out in public to meet the restaurant’s garment code.

Fastening her earrings, she glanced at the clock just as the doorbell rang. Big Sue looked at herself in the mirror one more time and asked herself how she ever let that rascally raccon convince her this was a good idea.


Lance Wildfyre (Rabbit, G) was grateful for April’s text. Meet me at Charlie’s? I could use some company tonight. Having someone to talk to was just what he needed, and if he caught her drift, “keeping her company” would be a great way to unwind. He tried not to get too excited, though. The black rabbit had been known to be fickle with her heart’s desires, and just because she was willing to enjoy his company tonight, didn’t mean she’d want to for some time in the future.

The truth was, she just couldn’t ever commit to any sort of relationship. A couple years ago, the two of them tried dating regularly, even went as far as to live with each other during the off season for a summer early on in his career. But even though it was an open relationship, (which worked out for both of them, as rabbits – they even shared partners sometimes,) he could tell she wasn’t happy being tied down. So they broke it off… but ever since, there was a weird tension between the two of them. The worst part was, he still had strong feelings for her, and given that she was doing pretty much everything she could to make him jealous when he was around, he was certain that she felt just as strongly.

She was probably just looking for someone familiar to they spend the Hallmark holiday with. Even with this perfect opportunity to get some action, he wasn’t sure he would go for it. He’d have to see. The last time they’d hooked up he didn’t even remember what had happened, which was a shame, because from all the reports he’d had from that night, it sounded like they’d had an extremely fun evening. They just both woke the next morning with a hangover and little recollection of what went on. Of course, the discarded rubber in the trash can told most of the story; although both of them had seen it, neither had mentioned it over breakfast.

Still, even putting aside their checkered relationship history, the day had been so strange that he wasn’t even sure he was in the mood for gratuitous sex. After the game that evening, he had left after everyone else. Although the arena staff were still closing down the venue, he was relatively alone when a fan came out of one of the side halls.

“Oh my god, it’s you. It’s really you, it couldn’t be anyone else…” A cream-colored, petite, female rabbit, slightly heavyset, who had to be in her early to mid-forties, approached him, tears welling up in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, but… do I know you?” he asked, backing up a bit. He’d gotten used to dealing with hysterical people, especially at the bars they frequently attended.

“Well yes… but… no, of course you don’t-- I’m sorry. It’s been so long and I know you probably don’t know who I am but I’m sorry that I ever left you… God, you look just like him now…”

“Uh… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” A small crowd had started to form in the hallway. One of the security staff gave him a look to ask if he was okay. He nodded back. “I’m sorry, I know you’re upset but, whoever you think I am, I’m not. We’re going to have to ask you to leave—”

“NO! I left you once, I’ll never abandon you again!” She grabbed his shirt in desperation. “Please, I’m sorry, I’ll do anything…”

“Miss, please let go of Mr. Wildfyre so we can escort you off the property.” Upon hearing the security office speak, she let go of his shirt in horror, as if she hadn’t realized she’d taken grasp of it in the first place.

“No, wait, I just need to give him one thing… I’m sorry… please… PLEASE just take it, please!?” She glanced back and forth between the security officer who held her and the rabbit who stood in front of her.

Lance nodded. “It’s fine,” he said, and she handed the officer a piece of paper.

“Just call me, I know you don’t understand why but I need to talk to you just… PLEASE, oh GOD…. I’m so sorry baby… please just…. Forgive me….”

“Okay miss… let’s go…”

Lance watched as she was escorted down the hall. The woman kept glancing backwards at him, perhaps hoping he’d say something on her behalf, to let her linger a little longer.

“Who was she?” One of the onlookers asked.

“I… I think that was my mom…” Lance answered quietly, but only after the woman was out of earshot.


“Well, hell-LO there, tall, pink, and handsome…”

Apia looked up from the table, interrupted from his crowd watching, to find a German shepherd standing at his table. “I’m surprised a tall glass of water like you isn’t on the dance floor.”

The water buffalo blinked. He wasn’t really sure what was happening; was he being pranked? The dog sidled in next to him and grinned. “I’m Max. And yes. I know who you are, but I won’t tell anyone you’re not old enough to be here. Even though I’m pretty sure you’re a regular, arentcha?” Apia stammered, unsure of what to say. He’d flirted with guys before, but only ones he actually knew – and it wasn’t ever actually serious about it. This was definitely out of his comfort zone.

“I’m just pulling your leg, it’s okay. I won’t say a word. But you’ve hardly said a word, yourself. Wouldn’t have pegged you as the silent type, but that’s okay: I like surprises. And, it’s kinda cute, too. Also… it makes it easier to do this.” Before he could be stopped, the dog cradled Apia’s head in his paws and kissed him on the lips for not an insubstantial amount of time. “If you’re ever free some night, call me, okay?” He slipped a business card into the bison’s shirt pocket and walked away just as Viran came back with a couple of mixed drinks.

“Who was that?” asked the jaguar, having missed the whole interaction, sliding a drink the same color as the bison’s mane in front of the shell-shocked rookie as he took a seat.

“I have no idea.”


“You guys really LIKE this stuff?” asked Zipnut (Jackson Nuez, Squirrel, G/F), turning to Doral, his arm around her more out of necessity rather than affection – with six people in the blanket fort, it was a lot more crowded than just three girls.

“Shh. Watching,” was her only reply, clearly entranced by the movie, gazing at the screen with rapt attention. The squirrel sighed, glancing over to his left, where Rodger (Umaechi, Husky, F) and René (Lacoste, Jackal, G) were more interested in Seria’s and Sasha’s lips respectively than they were with what was going on in the film. He looked back at the gecko, but she only had eyes for Chad Chaddingsworth, the hunky actor on the screen.

“It’s not that bad,” said James (Frestrikial, Brown Bear, C) who was the only one outside of the fort, (they’d all agreed it was for the better,) but was still camped out on the floor in front of the television munching popcorn. “It’s actually pretty interesting, if you’re paying attention. Guy loves girl, girl loves his brother, but the ‘brother’ is secretly the prince in disguise, hiding out from the royal vizier because he suspected that guy killed his twin and wants to usurp the throne, so instead of facing him immediately, he’s taken refuge in the peasant’s quar—What?”

The others stared at him dumbfounded; even the couples had stopped making out to look on at him, mouths agape. “Oh, come on. It’s like, generic LARP plot number 27. It’s not that hard to follow.”


Riley was extremely nervous about the whole affair. He’d planned this for months, and spent nearly half his year’s salary putting this night together. He’d paid half a million dollars for the reservation alone, convincing a couple that their 50 year anniversary was better spent in the Caribbean than in Albany. He paid another fifty grand to convince the restaurant to change the name on the reservation, as each menu was personalized to their guest, handwritten in pure gold ink.

The truth was, he never really thought he’d find a kindred spirit until he met Sue. They were both misfits in a way, they both came from similar backgrounds, even though he spent most of his childhood on the reservation. And both had made their way despite the fact that life hadn’t been easy. (It also didn’t hurt that they were both raccoons.)

He sent a limo to pick Sue up, and bring her to Ristorante Medio. He knew that a white limo at the classiest restaurant around would turn heads, and though he knew Sue usually wasn’t big on drawing attention, he couldn’t help but to want the world to know and see what he had planned for the evening.

The limo pulled up, and the raccoon stood nervously by. When the driver opened the door, and Sue came out, his jaw dropped. He’d never seen her looking so elegant or so radiant. It wasn’t her usual style, but he could appreciate the view nonetheless. He took her paw and smiled, leading her to the steps, as the passing crowd stopped and stared at the young lovers as they made their way up the red-carpeted steps.

At the top, he stopped and took her other paw as well. He looked into her eyes and started the speech he’d rehearsed at least a hundred times.

“Sue, you are the most wonderful thing to happen to me ever. You are my sunlight, my shining star, and my world.” Riley got down on one knee, pulling a small ring box out of his pocket. “Will you do me the great honor of taking my paw in marriage?”

Sue looked all around her, then down at Riley, her face starting to grow a bit red from all the attention. He looked up at her, hopefully—which is just about when she punched him.


“Oh my god, are you Lee Jin-Sung?”

The bear looked around, suddenly startled out of the dancing trance he’d fallen into. Glancing down, there was a red panda woman in front of him, roughly half his size, wearing an Albany Alphas jersey with his number on it.

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“That’s sooo cool! I’m Amber, your biggest fan. Oh my god, my friends aren’t going to believe this. Do you mind if I take a picture with you?” Before he could agree, she pulled out a digital camera and climbed up him a bit to wrap her arm around him. He only had a moment before the picture was snapped, but he managed to pull a smile off anyway, mostly because the panda was infectiously bubbly. He really didn’t mind, either – she was kind of cute.

“Thanks! So… ah… you probably get this a lot, but do you wanna come back to our table? We have a private booth in the back, and I know all my sorority sisters are going to want to meet you. You just have to come! Please?”

Sorority sisters? This was turning out to be a much better night than Lee had planned. He looked around for any of the friends he’d come with to let them know what was going on, but was already being dragged away before he could let any of them know what was going on.


Rodger looked over at René to see if he was still awake. Everyone else had fallen asleep, but he wasn’t quite tired enough for that yet. The jackal hadn’t gone silent too long ago, so the husky ventured, “Hey René?”

“Yeah husky?” the response came, somewhat sleepily.

The dog looked at the scene around them as best he could in the low light. “How did we ever get so lucky?”

“I dunno man, hard work and dedication? You reap what you sow, sha. And we been working REAL hard this year.”

The husky considered it for a while, but the jackal’s snoring was enough to let him know his response would be unheard. He looked down at Seria, laying in his arms and smiled. He still thought there was some luck involved too. Either way, life was good.


“Riley Forgets Nothing… you KNOW I don’t like to make a big deal of things, and now, you go and create a spectacle just to ask me to marry you? Really, sugar, you know me better than that.”

She stared at him for a moment as he shied away a little. This was DEFINITELY not in the plan. And worse off, she was so upset that she probably wasn’t going to say yes. This whole night would be a waste, and he’d have to face the awkwardness of seeing her at practice the next day.

“Of course I’ll marry you. I’d say yes even if you were in your sweatpants in the living room. You don’t have to go through the trouble of all this, I’ll love you no matter what. This is nice and all- but I don’t need all this to enjoy your company.”

It took a full minute for things to sink in, before Riley looked up at Sue. “You, you really mean it?”

“Absolutely, silly. As if there was any doubt. Now come on, I’ve always wanted to eat here. No time like the present.”


April sat at Charlie’s bar, waiting. She’d had 2 doubles already, which probably wasn’t the best plan, given how many times this week she’d been sick, but tonight she really needed the liquid courage and comfort. She saw Lance enter the bar and waved him over, her paw barely breaking over the heads of the crowd in the room.

“It’s okay, just be honest with him…” she said to herself as he came over.

“Hey April!”

“H-hi, Lance,” she started. “Look, I—“

“Oh man, you would not believe the day I had. There was a woman outside the locker room who kind of looked like me but not, but she wanted to talk to me about who she thought I was, and I was really confused—“


“—and then she handed me her phone number and—”


“What?” he stared at April. She stared back, trying to muster up the guts to respond.

“I’m pregnant.”

Featured Characters

Lee Jin-Sung Apiatan Redmane Viran Kivar Sasha Ivanovich Seria Delgado Doral April Wigglesworth Susan Kruegar Riley Forgets Nothing Lance Wildfyre Jackson Nuez Rodger Umaechi René Lacoste James Frestrikial

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