1.11: Not Too Old To…

Hours later, Hudson sat comfortably in a chair on one side of the den, pretending to be half-asleep but keeping his half-closed eye on the courting youngsters.

Lexington had been gone most of the night, but he'd returned a short while ago, and had managed to draw Isabel away from the others. The two of them were now talking in a corner of the room; Hudson wasoutside the range of hearing clearly what they were saying, but thought it had something to do with metalworking, Isabel's hobby. Over by the piano, Brooklyn was still surrounded by a bevy of females; Rebecca, Marie and Yvette were all showering him with attention (when they weren't bickering with each other.) And it seemed to be almost more than the poor lad could handle, too.

About an hour ago, Hudson had been joined by Ursula, one of the New Orleans clan's rookery keepers; she made pleasant company as he watched to make sure the youngsters more-or-less behaved themselves. They chatted idly of this and that; mostly of antics they'd seen other courting folks pull in the past. After another stretch of comfortable silence, he whispered, "So, who do ye think will be best suited with whom?"

"Too early to tell, really; at this point, it's best to let them try to sort this out amongst themselves," Ursula whispered back. Then after a brief pause, she said, "Actually, I'm already quite sure about one pairing."

Hudson looked her way in mild surprise. "Oh? Which two?"

And then he felt something caressing the tip of his tail. He looked down between their chairs, to see Ursula's tail entwining about his own...

He took a deep breath, filling his nose with scent, then exclaimed with his good eye wide, "Ye're unmated!"

"Widowed, these past twenty years," Ursula gently corrected him. "And while I've laid my two eggs, I believe that I might be one of the lucky ones who gets to lay three in a lifetime. So how about you; think you're up for another breeding season?"

Hudson felt the heat in his face, and realized he was blushing like a hatchling. "Well…"


Author's note: "cher" and "cherie" are French for "dear"; "cher" is used when addressing males and "cherie" for females.