"Well, that's the last of it!" Judy Hopps huffed as she dusted her paws, allowing herself an exhausted grin while she admired her work.
Towers of boxes occupied her new apartment, each filled with the clothes, books, and other belongings that she had ever owned.
After taking another minute inspecting her living space she took a glance at her wristwatch.
"3:10." She muttered, tapping her foot impatiently.
"That masseur should've been here by now."
She had called the local spa to send over a masseur two hours ago. She needed a bit of self pampering after the strenuous activity she had just done. A massage was the most relaxing thing she could think of. The receptionist who answered the spa's telephone had assured her that someone would be sent over within the hour.
What load of bull that was.
She had just recently moved in. After graduating from the police academy (being the very first rabbit officer) she decided to move to the city, packing everything that she had into her car, having to deal with long hours of traffic and hauling every single box of her belongings up three flights of stairs by herself.
The apartment itself wasn't much to look at, though to her it was enough; it had light and heat, that much to her was a necessity. After all, you don't need much if you're a three foot tall rabbit.
She yawned, lifting both her arms up to her head as she stretched, feeling the tiny aches in her strained muscles.
"Where the hell is that masseur?"
As soon as she had said those words a knock came from her door. She glanced back at her wristwatch.
"3:25," she muttered irately. "About damn time."
She stomped her way towards the door, almost ripping it off its hinges as she opened it.
"Where the hell have you been?" She demanded. Though immediately stopping dead in her tracks when she was met by a pair of such breathtaking, soulful green eyes.
Her visitor, a rather handsome fox, stood out the hallway. Doubly surprised by her sudden attack.
He had a curious look in him; head slightly tilted to the side, like what a bewildered canine would do. His pointed ears folded to the back his head: confusion, surprise clearly written on his expression.
Slowly, Judy's eyes roamed over him. Though maybe handsome, his fashion sense was quite a different story.
He wore what was probably the ugliest yellow shirt she'd ever seen, it clashed horribly with his fur. Though his red tie looked cute.
He was a lot taller than her, that much was expected, and though he didn't look bulky she was sure that under the hideous shirt that he was lean. Quite normal for his species. She avoided imagining what was actually under that clothing, and lifted her head back to his face only to be met by those same pair of eyes again.
She felt like stammering, but somehow managed not to when she demanded, "Didn't anyone tell you how to get here?"
He shook his head, "No."
"Well, it's no wonder you're over an hour late. None of the streets in this neighborhood have signs." She said crossly.
Stepping aside she said, "Come on in. I need you now more than ever."
He stepped through the door and closed it behind him. Judy noticed that he hadn't brought any equipment with him.
"Didn't you bring a portable table with you? Or anything?"
He stopped suddenly and turned around to face her. "I'm sorry. No."
She sighed. "Well, that's fine. I don't think it could fit in here anyway." She gestured to the clutter of boxes that littered her home.
"I've already padded the kitchen table with a quilt. Will that be alright?" He turned his head to eye the table dubiously.
"I mean, this place does have a bed but that thing is as solid as a rock, and I don't think I could really relax on it. I don't want to dig through every box for linens: I need you right now. So you wouldn't mind doing it on a kitchen table?"
His eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled. With a leveled voice he said, "Not at all."
His short answers annoyed her. She felt like an idiot, while he remained aloof, watching her with indulgent amusement. He hadn't even apologized for being late, but this fox didn't even look slightly apologetic. He was looking at her steadily with a curiosity that Judy couldn't understand.
And in the same time she had this bubbling feeling that this fox was hiding something. That he was scheming. Why? She didn't have the foggiest idea.
Suddenly, her eyes tracked the path where his eyes had settled. He was observing her. She was wearing nothing but a loose T-shirt and her normal everyday denim jeans. Now she was never at the least conservative, and there was certainly nothing alluring about her attire, yet his slow silent appraisal made her want to cover herself.
"Well, shall we get started?" His mouth lifted into a suggestive smile.
His voice sent shivers up her spine. It seemed to caress her long ears.
She coughed, "Don't you want me to undress first?" She was surprised that she hadn't fumbled in her words.
One brow leaped into a quizzical arch over his head. "I guess so. Yes."
"Right. I'll be ready in a minute." She hurried into the bathroom where she was certain that she had a towel in there. Her paws shakily fumbled over the button that secured her jeans.
What was wrong with her? She had had massages before. And why was she so anxious? She was jumpy, and this masseur was the reason.
Maybe if this fox bothered her so much then she shouldn't go through with it.
A small ache in her back threw that idea out of the window. Her strained muscles needed soothing. And that was that. Sighing, she wrapped the towel around her naked body and boldly stepped out of the bathroom.
"I take it that you didn't bring any lotion either?" She asked, as she brushed past him.
"No, I didn't bring any lotion."
"That's just fine. Sometimes spa lotions smell medical. Here, you can use this." She handed him a bottle of lotion that she had brought from the bathroom. It was scented with her favorite fragrance.
She looked away from him and moved towards the rectangular table that was more than big enough to accommodate her whole body. She had draped it with an old quilt she'd found inside the closet.
"That looks comfortable." The fox said.
"Oh," she looked down on the faded spread.
"I guess so. It isn't mine. It came with the apartment."
"I take it you're just moving in."
She turned her back to him and lay face down on the table, stretching out and adjusting herself as comfortably as she could. The towel covered most of her lower leaving her bare back exposed for him.
"Do you like the apartment?" He asked.
She shrugged indignantly, "Yeah I guess. It's not much but it's the only thing I could afford for now."
She could hear him shift slightly and for a while he remind quiet. His sudden silence slightly unnerved her.
She said the first thing that came to mind in hopes of breaking the silence.
"So what's your name?"
"Nicholas Wilde." He answered.
"But you could call me Nick."
"Judy Hopps." She replied.
Then it became quiet again. And again it unnerved her. He hadn't started the massage yet.
"Nick, what are you doing?" She asked, barely able to hide her uneasiness.
"Just flexing my fingers."
A few moments later, his paws touched her fur. His fingers laced with the lotion that Judy had given him. Nick pressed his paws against her shoulders in tiny circles, slowly kneading away the knots in her muscles.
Judy inhaled through her nose as she slowly succumbed to the massage. The familiar lavender scent of the lotion helped her relax.
"Your paws don't feel like they're from a masseur's." She observed. "They have calluses."
"I used to do weights."
"Oh. So er... have you worked for Sahara spas for long?"
It took a while for him to answer, "No. I actually don't work there. I sorta freelance."
"Oh really? Do you get enough calls from clients?"
He chuckled, it sounded deep and merry, "You'd be surprised."
She giggled along with him. Her toes slightly curling when he pressed down on her lower back, where most of the pain resided. She bit the inside of her mouth to keep herself from moaning.
'Maybe I'm enjoying this a bit too much,' she thought.
"So what about you? What do you do for a living?"
"Oh, I haven't started yet, I just graduated from ZPA."
Nick hummed, "I knew you looked familiar."
Judy raised an inquisitive brow, "What do you mean?"
"Your face was all over the Zootopian Chronicle." He answered, digging his knuckles against her spine. "You were with Mayor Lionheart."
She sighed, "Oh, that? They made a whole fuss about it. Like it was a joke."
"'ZPD's First Rabbit Officer'." Nick quoted.
The fox shrugged, "Not a bad title."
Judy laughed at his complement.
"The training must've been tough on you." He was now tending to her thighs, applying just the right amount of pressure on them.
She repressed a squeal that almost escaped her mouth. Being a bunny, everything from the waist down is quite sensitive. Nick had somehow noticed it and moved back up to tend to her spine.
Judy composed herself before answering, "Oh not at all, it was fairly easy. Especially the sparring matches."
"They never saw it coming?"
"You should've seen me take down a tiger." She boasted.
"A tiger? Yeesh!" He laughed, "Remind me not to piss you off."
Judy echoed his laugh. And before she could stop herself she blurted, "Just do your best at the massage and I'll look the other way."
His response was more than unexpected, "That's funny, with the way that your toes were curling I thought I was doing a pretty good job."
Judy felt a slight blush stain her cheeks. "I never said you weren't doing a good job."
"Well, am I?"
He was taking his time massaging her spine. Nick made sure he got to work on each and every vertebrae on her delicate back.
Judy let out a soothed sigh, she braved a glance towards him, meeting his gaze.
"You're doing a damn good job, Wilde." She said, the delicate blush never leaving her cheeks.
Nick gave her a smile, one that made her heart thud heavily against the wooden table. All too soon, he turned away to tend to her arm. He grabbed a chair from somewhere and sat down to level with her body.
"So you were telling me about the academy." Grabbing the lotion bottle, he squirted some in his paws and began kneading her paw.
His own paws felt firm on hers. She felt good talking to him. She felt good knowing he was listening. And it felt good knowing he can do something with his paws.
With her eyes still glued to the handsome fox, Judy sighed in content. "Well, I don't have much to tell. The training was easy."
"Yes. You told me that already."
She giggled. "Yes. That I did." She paused, her expression turning sour.
"But my batch mates weren't so easy."
"Wait, let me guess. They think that you were not made for the cut and that you'd get yourself killed as soon as you take on your first day."
She looked sheepish, "That obvious, huh?"
He dismissed her by rolling his eyes. "It's just a stereotype, you shouldn't even focus on those kind of things." He told her, though she begged to differ.
"Funny thing is my parents said the same thing to me before I left."
Again he dismissed her. "Nah, I'm sure they're proud of you now."
To that, Judy let herself a smile. "Yeah, they barely believed it when I told them I made the cut."
"Did they believed you when you told them about how you took down a tiger?"
She laughed, "No. My dad believed in the 'Pics or it never happened' rule."
"Well then the next time you go into one of those sparring matches make sure someone is taking a video of the whole thing."
She smiled warmly. "Duly noted."
Nick returned her smile before getting up from his seat and moving to the other side of the table where her other arm was. He took the chair with him and sat back down. Judy was already holding her paw out for him, to which he gladly took and began massaging it.
"You're going to do just fine out there." He said out of the blue.
She turned her head to the other side to face him. A skeptical brow already raised in response.
"How can you tell?" She asked.
With a shrug he answered, "I just can."
He then looked up at her with that same charming smile that disarms her every time she sees it.
"And if I ever get in trouble you'd be the first one I'd call." He said.
Her blush immediately came back. "Are you seriously asking for my number?" She asked suspiciously, yet he didn't even feel ashamed.
"Am I that obvious?"
"You weren't the first male to do so."
For a moment Nick focused on massaging her arm.
"So." He looked up at her again, "Am I getting your number?"
She actually considered it for a moment. She gave the fox a once over before giving him an answer. "I don't know. As soon as I start my first day I might be busy most of the time."
Judy hadn't expected it. She didn't even realize what was going on when Nick had suddenly leaned forward and caught her in a swift kiss. It was short, and a little dry but it was still powerful enough to cause her ears to go fully erect. And for the fur on the back of her neck to stand on end.
Seconds after he pulled away, it took a full moment for Judy to completely come to her senses. Her ears seemed to glow in her flushed state. And the handsome fox staring at her did not make it easier for her to breath.
"I- I guess I could squeeze you in." She stammered.
Their moment however was promptly interrupted by a knock on the door. Nick was already halfway to the door before Judy could even ask who it was.
The fox opened the door to reveal a sloth standing outside the hallway.
"Can I help you?" Nick asked.
Judy sat up from her position. She wrapped the towel around her body before jumping off the table and walking into the living room.
"Hello...I'm...from...Sahara Spas..." said the sloth.
Judy's ears perked up as soon as she heard it.
"You're from where?!" She exclaimed.
"I'm sorry." Nick said, his paw already poised on the doorknob. "But we won't be needing you now." And to that, he promptly closed the door on the sloth.
Judy tried not to panic. She saw him turn around, a content look plastered on his face.
I-if that sloth was from Sahara spas... then who was-!
"Who are you!?" She exclaimed.
Her outburst only made his smile go wider.
"L-last chance!" Judy grabbed the nearest thing she could find, which was the bottle of lotion on the table. She pointed the bottle at him like it was a gun.
"Tell me who you are or... I'll use this! Don't you think I won't!"
He brought his arms up in hopes of calming her down. "I already told you my name is Nicholas Wilde."
He took a step forward, she took a step back, holding the bottle still.
"And I'm also your landlord." He added.
"Stay back you slimy pervert! Don't come any closer."
"Hey now..." he clutched his chest as he feigned offense. "That's no way to talk to the guy that gave you a massage for free."
When he noticed the heavy blush on her cheeks he allowed himself to smirk. "I might charge you for the trouble."
Judy held the bottle higher. "Oh blow it out your ear! You lied about being a masseur."
"No I didn't. I never said I was a masseur. I even told that I never worked for Sahara Spas, I just freelance."
"Then why didn't you say anything? You could've told me who you were from the start!"
"Never got the chance." He reasoned. He took another step forward, still smiling with every inch he took.
"What was a guy to think when a woman such as yourself was just begging to be touched?"
"Stay back, Wilde!" She threw the bottle at him in an attempt to keep him at bay, only for him to nimbly catch the bottle is his paws.
She could've ran to the bathroom but she hadn't, for Nick had already closed the gap between them.
"I like you Judy Hopps." He said gruffly.
When he reached up to cup her cheek she felt weak in the knees. Her poor little heart trembled at his proximity, only then she remembered that the only thing that preserved her modesty was the towel.
"I hope we could meet in better circumstances." He then leaned down to her ear, and ever so softly he whispered, "And I hope I get to see more of you."
Her heart nearly stopped when he felt his lips once more. It lasted long enough for Nick to grab hold of her waist without her knowing.
The kiss had only registered to Judy when Nick pulled away, leaving her rigid and somewhat dissatisfied.
"I'll be expecting your pay by the end of the month." He said as he made his way to the door.
"If not? Well, we could always work something out." And just like that he was out of her apartment.
Judy stood there for a couple more minutes before heading towards the bathroom, desperately in need of a cold shower.