Behind Closed Doors #3:

Learning Curves

By Kimberly T. (email: kimbertow AT yahoo etc.)

Author's note: This story of Brooklyn and Isabel's honeymoon takes place in the middle of "Mating Games 12: Game Over". Done as part of an art/fic trade with 'The Sadistic Cow', long, looong overdue!

They had seen the crowd of gargoyles and humans happily waiting for them on the great lawn behind the New Orleans Clan's mansion, and knew they were expected to land and join the others in the celebration of their union, now that their mating flight was done. But Brooklyn and Isabel made a pass over the roof, grabbing their clothes off the racks that had been mounted up there, then waved to everyone as they flew over the crowd but did not land among them. Instead, still naked, they landed right in front of the door to the honeymoon cottage, opened the door and hustled inside.

As Brooklyn closed the door behind them, he cocked an ear and listened to the noises from outside, holding his breath; then he relaxed. "You were right; they don't seem to really mind that we're skipping out on the party. Mostly they're just laughing."

"I told you; it's not exactly expected, but probably one out of every eight couples decides to skip out on the party after their mating flight," Isabel said. "That's probably why they have the cake-cutting and toasting beforehand, so the party can go on with or without the bride and groom present." While draping her fancy dress over a nearby chair, she smiled as she reminisced, "I remember when Erasmus and Lucy had their mating ceremony; they flew right into the library through a window he'd left open, then locked all the doors and windows and didn't come out for two nights straight! We were warned to stay clear, but Rebecca eavesdropped a little and said that Erasmus read a lot of love poetry to Lucy… when they were talking at all, that is!"

Brooklyn nodded and half-smiled at her words, as he dumped his 'formal wear' black vest and loincloth on the chair as well; then he crouched down and looked anxiously at Isabel's left leg, low on the calf. Three spots of reddish-brown were showing through the dark brown and black calico mottling, traces of blood staining her fur. "Does it still hurt?"

Isabel rolled her eyes. "It only stings a little, and I'd almost forgotten it until you brought it up again! I told you, I've had a lot worse than those itty-bitty flesh wounds, while out on patrol."

"Yeah, but on patrol is different; you're prepared to get hurt then!" Brooklyn said with a frown, as he gently rubbed her leg. "I did this to you in what should have been our finest hour, because I got too excited and grabbed too hard when I finally caught you. I really am sorry…"

"I know you are, sweetie. And I said it was fine, twice already! So here, just to make you feel better…" Isabel put one hand on Brooklyn's head as he crouched there, then balanced as she lifted her injured leg. She set her big furred hind paw against Brooklyn's shin, then flexed her foot slightly—and her retractable claws sprang out, digging into his brick-red skin.


"There; now we're even. Happy?" Isabel said dryly, as she stood on two feet again and helped Brooklyn back up.

Rubbing his shin and the three pinpricks now bleeding on it, Brooklyn grinned. "Okay, I get the point. Got all three of them, in fact."

"Good. Now c'mon, let's see what they stocked the pantry with; I don't know about you, but I'm hungry!" Isabel said as she headed for the kitchen.

"Yeah, me too," as he followed her in. "One slice of wedding cake, does not a full meal make."

"Cute," she responded, turning her head to send him a quick smile.

"Huh?" as he looked at her blankly.

"The rhyme you made just then. It wasn't deliberate?"

Brooklyn reran through his head the words he'd just said: cake… make. "Uh, no, not deliberate. It is kinda catchy, though. Do you…" Then he paused, staring at her for a moment, before shaking his head and saying with a wry smile, "I don't even know if you're into poetry! We've got so much to learn about each other…"

"Can't argue with that," Isabel said just as wryly.

He shrugged in bemusement as he went on, "Most gargoyles choose from their own clan and rookery generation, and they know each other for at least thirty years before they become mates. Heck, even Goliath and Elisa… they sure didn't grow up together, but they knew each other almost thirty months before their mating ceremony. Whereas not only have we known each other less than thirty days… with only four dates, and one of those dates cut short due to gator, we had less than thirty hours together before I gave you that courting gift and we chose each other! And now, just one night later, we're mates!"

"Was it really less than thirty hours?" Isabel began silently counting on her talons. "Mmm… can't really count the first two nights, can we, because I could hardly get a word in edgewise with all my other sisters trying to talk to you too. …But I think you're forgetting the time we spent in my workshop, before the memorial service for Brentwood."

"Oh, I remember, but I'm not counting those hours," Brooklyn said with a grin. "I might have, but since Marie made such an issue over it later on, I'm not counting them just to spite her." Then he turned and blew a big wet raspberry in the direction of the mansion, while Isabel giggled.

They went into the kitchen together, to find that the pantry and icebox had been stocked with a wide variety of foods by the clan elders. Including, to Brooklyn's mild surprise, a full dozen tins of sardines. "Are these some sort of traditional honeymoon fare for New Orleans?" he asked as he tapped one of the flat tins with a talon.

"Er, not really."

Something in Isabel's tone made Brooklyn look at her inquiringly. "Your ears are turned back… are you embarrassed?"

"…Just a little," she admitted, as her ears flattened even further against her skull. "I, um… well, Amelie must have put all those in there, because she knows they're one of my favorite snacks. I know a lot of people don't like 'em, but I can eat 'em like popcorn!"

"Like popcorn, huh?" Brooklyn grinned at her. "Turkey jerky."


"Turkey jerky; that's my favorite snack. Beef jerky's good too, but turkey jerky's even better!"

Isabel rummaged in the pantry some more. "Hmmm… no turkey jerky, sorry, but we do have beef jerky, and—oh, hey! You should try this!" as she pulled out something and handed it to him."

He looked curiously at the meat sealed in thick plastic; apparently a homemade packaging effort, since there were no commercial labels on it. "What is it?"

"Gator jerky."

"Gator, huh? Do you think it's from Old Moses?" as Brooklyn unconsciously reached behind him, to rub at the scars on his tail. The scars had been left there by an old, massive and cunning alligator that he'd severely underestimated; one that had dragged him underwater and nearly drowned him before Isabel had come to his rescue.

"Could be… but more likely it's from an earlier kill. I think Martha said once that jerky takes a long while to dry and prepare right." Then she grinned, showing her fangs. "But you could pretend that it's from Old Moses, and now you're chewing on his tail instead of the other way around…"

They took the sardines, jerky and a few other goodies out of the pantry, and grabbed a bottle of champagne from the icebox. "Do you know how to cook?" Brooklyn asked Isabel, eyeing the stack of plastic-wrapped steaks that had also been put in the icebox for them. "Because I've never even turned on a stove in my entire life."

"Not ever?" she looked at him in surprise, then nodded to herself in realization. "Because they didn't use stoves and such in the medieval clan, right?"

"Right. We had stew sometimes, in a big cooking pot that we got from the humans," as Brooklyn held his arms out to indicate how big the cook pot was, "but the cooking fire was always tended by one of the rookery keepers. And after we woke up in this age, well, Broadway was the one most interested in learning how to use the hotplate and stuff, so we just left all the cooking to him. But I do know how to put sandwiches together."

"Well, I've never cooked from scratch, but I've warmed up cold leftovers a few times," Isabel mused. "Mostly because I tend to miss the call to dinner when I'm in the middle of a big art project, and if Martha's not in the kitchen that night, no one brings a tray out to the workshop." Then she snorted and shook her head in amusement.

He looked at her curiously. "What is it?"

"Just remembering some past idiocy. Back when Martha first started bringing trays out to me, one time I just kept on welding instead of stopping to eat, and the casserole had gone cold by the time I was finished welding. So I tried to heat it up again right there in the workshop, with the welding torch…!"

"And you burnt it?" he asked with a grin.

"The food, and the plate it was on. After that I learned to either stop and eat right away, or take it back to the kitchen later to warm up. So I at least know how to use the stove and oven in the main kitchen! This stove looks a lot older, but I can still try cooking from raw… and if it ends up burnt, well, we can always go up to the main house for dinner with the rest of the clan," Isabel shrugged, as the took their food and drink over to the table. "There's no rule that says we have to remain isolated on our honeymoon; we're still months away from the breeding season."


Isabel had been so busy preparing, and trying to keep both Martha and herself calm despite rushing so fast into the double mating ceremony, that she hadn't eaten a bite before the ceremony at midnight. From what he'd said earlier, Brooklyn probably hadn't eaten anything before the ceremony either, and afterwards they'd had only one slice of cake before going on their mating flight, a vigorous chase over the bayou. So once they started eating, satisfying their growling stomachs took priority over talking or anything else. But after they'd wolfed down three tins of sardines, two packs of jerky, an entire box of Ritz crackers, two apples and a bottle of champagne between them, Brooklyn began acting playful.

"More sardines?" he asked with a grin as he got up and leaned over the table to dangle a sardine invitingly, just over Isabel's head.

Going along with the teasing, Isabel reached up and nipped at the sardine, but Brooklyn didn't let go; instead he teasingly tugged on the tail he was still holding, with the head still caught between her teeth. Isabel eyed him for a moment, considering, then nibbled her way up the sardine, bit by bit, while he held on. When she was just an inch from the tail, he let go—but then she grabbed his hand and kept it in place, while she finished nibbling the fish. Then she began working her way up his index finger.

Brooklyn gasped aloud when she began sucking on his finger. Since they'd never bothered to get dressed again, Isabel had immediate evidence that he understood very well the act's double meaning; the cock that had been hanging limp between his legs rapidly sprang to attention, almost waving at her from the other side of the table. Isabel thought amusedly that if dicks could talk, it would have been hollering, Over here! My turn next!

"A-are you sure you're ready for more, right now?" Brooklyn said in a strangled voice, his free hand gripping the table hard enough to splinter it. "Dragon, please say you're ready!"

Isabel let go of his finger and pretended to consider the notion. "Well, I suppose I could be persuaded to try it again," as she gave a teasing smile.

"You want some persuasion?" Brooklyn growled, his eyes beginning to glow ever-so-faintly. "I've got persuasion." Which made no sense grammatically, but Isabel decided not to argue the point when Brooklyn suddenly shoved the table to one side, sending it skidding across the kitchen floor as he reached for her.

They had discovered the night before that gargoyle beaks and muzzles aren't made for kissing, but there were other options. Holding her close, he rubbed the side of his beak against her whiskers, the firm stroking feeling to her like a gentle massage. Then he pulled back to look her right in the eye, as his tongue flicked out to touch the sensitive junction of her upper lip; the intimate contact felt to her like a tiny electric shock, shooting from her face clear down her spine to her core, and she gave a soft gasp of appreciation.

He grinned, then abruptly spun her around to hug her from behind. And more than hug her; his hands came up to cup and fondle her breasts, while his tail wrapped around her left leg and began caressing her from calf to thigh. With her pressed back against him, he shifted from side to side just enough that his muscular chest rubbed against the sensitive space between her wing joints, her crewenn, as his erection rubbed right above the base of her tail. Then she felt his beak gently nibbling the tip of her ear, as his breathy growls seemed to echo through her and resonate with her own growls of passion. Her senses were under a tender yet impassioned assault from in front, behind, above and below… Yes, he definitely had persuasion!

Then the tip of his tail slid up from caressing her thigh to lightly touching and teasing her bud of pleasure, and almost but never quite dipping inside her… After some time of this sweet torture, Isabel was vaguely aware that her growls had become hoarse pleading mewls, but she didn't care; all that mattered was that she was aching with raw need for sexual release, and she finally yowled, "Nnneed you nowwwrrr!"

"Your want it right now?" he growled in her ear. "Right here and right now?"

"Yesssss!" as she shoved backwards, rubbing hard against his rigid heat, her legs spreading and her tail shifting to one side. "Pleasssse, nowwwrrrr!"

"You got it!" he snarled, as he abruptly bent her forward. She grabbed onto the edge of the table and held on as he grabbed her hips, and then suddenly oof! as he surged inside her with one stroke.

Their first time, in midair as the traditional practice for the breeding flight, had been rough and quick and painful. When a female wasn't already aroused by her biological cycle declaring it was time to breed an egg, flying at top speed wasn't really good foreplay. Ursula and other females had said years ago that a smart girl would discreetly use her tail under her wedding gown to get herself ready for the mating flight, but Isabel had been wed in a knee-length party dress! Tail-play hadn't been an option, so her first time… she hadn't been slick-n-ready for it, and it had hurt. Afterwards, resting in the top branches of a tree together, Brooklyn had asked her why she was wincing, but before she could speak had noticed the blood dotting her leg from his grab when he'd caught up to her; he'd felt so guilty about that she decided not to add to it by telling him she ached more elsewhere.

But this time, there'd been more than enough foreplay. This time she was more than ready for it, and when she yowled again a few moments later it was from the orgasm that shot through her from head to toe as he pumped in and out, in and out, and he rode her through the orgasm until he abruptly roared with his own, driving in deep and shuddering into her.

Afterwards, they both stumbled to sit down in the chairs that had been shoved aside earlier. "Wow," was all Brooklyn could say for some time, and Isabel fervently agreed.


For their third time, they actually made it to the bed. Brooklyn said firmly that this time he was determined to take it slow; to be gentle and sweet and considerate.

Isabel silently wondered at the insistence on going slow and gentle. No doubt Goliath had to do it that way all the time because his mate was a fragile human, but she was a gargoyle, not to mention a tough-as-nails blacksmith and one of the best warriors of her generation; she could take anything Brooklyn could dish out! But she mentally shrugged and decided to give nice tame human sex a try…

And it wasn't just nice, it was really, really nice. It was like… the difference between metal sculpting and clay sculpting, she decided. She preferred metal because of the little thrill it gave her to work with the dangers inherent in welding and forging, and the fierce satisfaction it gave her to bend the stubborn materials to her will. But when she decided to put on the elbow-length satin gloves and work with clay, which molded so easily by comparison… it was almost relaxing, while resulting in a different kind of beauty.

Talons sweetly combing her mane, slow gentle strokes all over her skin, whispers to ask her what she liked… it was so sweet, it was beautiful. And when he finally nudged inside her with a gentle rocking, slow and sweet, it was like he was putting the final strokes on a masterpiece.

She felt… treasured.


Did he really and truly love her already? He'd made such a point of telling her the meanings of the flowers he'd given her, in the bouquet without red roses; the pink roses and purple lilacs weren't symbols of true love, but for the first beginnings of love, though what he'd felt was already enough to make him choose her over her sisters.

Isabel decided that if this wasn't true love, it was definitely heading that way at a steady pace, as she gently stroked his mane and whispered his name, watching his eyes grow heavy-lidded with pleasure; as emotion swelled through her and peaked with the sensations he'd stirred, to leave her lying languid and content in his arms.


Having a real mate was fantastic! Sex without worries about getting annihilated by Goliath, without pretending a costume was the real thing; with just the warm assurance that this was the first night of the rest of their lives together. Brooklyn was glad that Broadway had talked him and Isabel into having their ceremony so fast.

When sunrise came, they almost decided to just lie entwined on the bed and let it happen, but at the last minute considered what a pain it would be to get gravel out of the sheets. But they didn't feel like getting dressed to properly pose on the cottage roof, either; they went out to the dining room to stand together on the linoleum floor, holding hands and smiling at each other as the daily change swept over them—

And then Demona showed up.

"Well, well; what have we here?" the blue female purred as she faced Brooklyn with a wicked smile, cradling a laser rifle in her arms.

"Y-you're not supposed to be here!" he stammered at her.

"Ah, but I always show up when I'm not expected. And now I'm here to claim what's mine! You, Brooklyn!"

"Like hell! I'm not yours and I'll never be yours, you lying bitch!" he screamed at her.

And she just laughed. "But you are mine; don't you remember? Don't you remember how you came to me in the Cloisters; how even as you backed away at first, you filled your nostrils with my sweet scent? How easily you gave in to temptation, and how I gave myself to your eager cock… how you filled my heat with your young lust; how I chose you for my mate! You're mine, Brooklyn, and I never let go of what's mine!"

"You tricked me! You only wanted to use me, as a tool to trap Goliath! And I never got your bonding marker; we are not mates!"

"Silly hatchling; as if I needed a scent marker to make you mine!" she laughed. And then she pulled an ancient scroll out of the barrel of that laser rifle, and he tried to run, but it was too late. She read the scroll aloud, the same spell she'd used on Goliath, and the words echoed inside his mind: Sine dubio, instantatum. And then he was hers, body and soul.

And then Isabel was there, asking him what was wrong, her eyes filled with concern. And Demona sneered at Isabel and said, "Foolish female, thinking you could take what's mine! That's the last mistake you'll ever make. Kill her, Brooklyn! Strangle her!"

And he wanted to scream, to attack Demona, to tell Isabel to run away, but she just stood there, her eyes wide with disbelief and then with fear as his hands rose up and wrapped themselves around her neck and squeezed—




While still shedding her stone skin, Isabel nearly jumped out of her fur when she heard Brooklyn screaming in horror. She turned to him to see him scrambling away from her while babbling "No, please no," backing himself into a corner…

Soul-deep hurt quickly converted to rage. If he was suddenly having second thoughts now, after he swore to her he'd never change his mind—second thoughts after the ceremony and mating flight!—then not a clan leader in the world would blame her for beating the gravel out of him!

But he wasn't just staring at her with those horrified eyes, he was looking wildly all around—and then he suddenly relaxed, going limp while muttering, "Just a daymare. Just a daymare…"

Oh. Whew. Isabel uncurled her hands from claws, then went over to lay a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Must have been a pretty bad one."

He looked down at the floor. "It was."

"Want to talk about it?"

He shuddered, and violently shook his head. "No."

"Too bad; you're going to talk about it anyway. Anything that freaks you out that badly, I'm pretty sure you should be telling your mate about."


Brooklyn decided that Isabel was right, she needed to know… to know about the danger she might be in for, if his daymare came even partly true. Whether or not Demona actually considered him to be hers, it was a solid fact that the bitch could hold a grudge for all eternity.

So he told her all the details of his daymare, and his caution that even if she didn't actually have that spell page for using anymore, it was possible that Demona could get her hands on another grimorum with the same spell in it. "Or even something worse," he added grimly. "Magic is so damn dangerous…"

"I suppose it is. But Brooklyn, I solemnly promise you," as Isabel looked earnestly into his eyes, "that if you ever try to kill me, mate or not, I'll knock you into the middle of next week. Okay?"

He half-chuckled. "Okay."

"And then I'll do the same for Demona. No, I'll do a lot worse for her," Isabel said, thoughtfully rubbing under her muzzle. "She may be immortal, but if she's dismembered and each piece is buried in separate blocks of concrete, that ought to put a stop to her for a long, long while. Or maybe… hmmm. I wonder how much a wood chipper costs?"

Brooklyn blinked a few times. "I haven't the faintest idea, but I'll bet Xanatos can afford one."

"From what I've heard about all the things she's done, she deserves a death sentence at least three times over… but I'd still like to personally deliver a heaping amount of pain to that bitch, just for what she did to you." She shook her head. "Keith Bayard is in the NOPD, and he's said more than once that sex crimes usually leave the worst scars in people's minds. I'm just glad you were even willing to consider courting for a mate, when all your sexual experience before last night came with the worst sort of betrayal!"

Brooklyn suddenly and vividly remembered 'Sugar and Spice'. Betrayal hadn't been an issue that night! But all he said out loud was, "Well, it sure helps that you're nothing like her."

But something must have given him away, because Isabel suddenly looked at him with narrowed eyes. "Brooklyn… what were you really going to say just then?"

"Huh? I, uh… what do you mean?"

She faced him with her arms folded. "Come on, that was definitely a 'whoops, can't say that' sort of pause… and now you're acting guilty! You're not keeping secrets all of a sudden, are you? After you already made a point of telling me the three worst things you've ever done…"

Brooklyn uneasily scratched his mane. "Well, there was… Well, Demona wasn't quite my only sexual experience… See, at Goliath's bachelor party, Xanatos hired these strippers wearing gargoyles costumes, ladies calling themselves 'Sugar' and 'Spice'. And after the show, I found out that one of them had met me before, when I'd saved her from a gang-rape. And, uh, she and her partner decided to give me a real personal sort of thanks, and, uh… we kind-of had a three-way. But they made it pretty clear it was just a one-time-only, and I haven't seen them since," he added hastily.

Isabel scowled at him, shaking her head. "And you Manhattan Clan people complain we're acting too human, with jobs and money concerns! If you ask me, it's you northerners who are acting more human than us! Having sex with people you have no intention of being mates with…"

"I was drunk!" Brooklyn protested. "I wasn't thinking straight! Broadway had just told all of us that Angela had decided she'd choose him after he'd lost enough weight, so I was feeling alone and rejected and thinking I'd never find a gargoyle female who would love me, and…" He sighed, and finished, "And I swear on my wings that it will never happen again, ever; I'll always be faithful to you. If any other human females want to thank me like that, I swear I'll tell 'em that a handshake will do just fine."


It hadn't exactly been a fight, but they both decided some make-up sex was in order. This time Brooklyn lay back on the bed with a grin and let Isabel take charge, which she agreed to with a wicked feline smile. She enjoyed touching him and learning what turned him on, which seemed to be just about everything she did; his cock was standing stiff and ready by the time she crouched down to take it in her mouth—but just before she did, he gasped, "Hold it!" She paused to look at his face inquiringly, and his eyes were wide with apprehension he said hastily while coiling his tail up to bring the tip near her head, "Do me a favor? Practice on this first?"

She blinked, and frowned at him. "You think I'm going to bite by accident?"

"I'm sorry, but it happened to one of my rookery brothers; we could hear his scream clear up on the parapets! That's really delicate tissue, you know?" He babbled, "I mean, when you were sucking on my finger yesterday it felt great, but it was only for a minute and just to the first knuckle and… um, I really have to ask this: is your tongue rough like a cat's too?" When her frown deepened, he added hastily, "Tell you what, let's just forget about that for now, okay? Lemme show you what I can do with my tongue…"

As it turned out, he could some utterly marvelous things with his tongue. Somehow they switched around to where Isabel was the one lying on her back while Brooklyn had his head between her legs, his tongue alternating between lavishing attention on her bud of pleasure and delving deep inside her. Surges of pleasure from her loins swept through her, and just when she thought it couldn't get any better, she discovered his wing-talons had uses too; the tiny grasping prongs came down to caress her breasts, then lightly pinch her nipples just as he sucked hard on her clitoris while pushing a folded knuckle inside her, and Isabel screamed as her wings slammed back and she arched off the mattress in an almost blinding orgasm.

She came back to her senses to find Brooklyn looming over her with his knees between her legs and the world's smuggest grin on his beak. "You liked that, huh?"

"Gee, what was your first clue?" she gasped.

He grinned even wider, then said as she felt his hard cock nudging at her, "So, I've heard that female humans can have multiple orgasms in the same round of sex, if the male knows what he's doing. Wanna find out if gargoyle females can do that too?"

"Hell, yes!" Isabel growled as she wrapped her legs around his waist and her tail around his tail at the base, nearly yanking him down and inside her. "Show me what you got, studmuffin!"

"You betcha, sex kitten," he growled back as he began plunging in and out, sweet friction in a steady rhythm. After a few minutes of this he paused, withdrew as she growled in protest, and dragged her to the edge of the bed until her butt was right at the edge, and he was upright and on his knees beside the bed. With another lusty growl, he plunged inside her, one arm wrapping around her right leg to hold her in place as he thrust in and out, and then his free hand came up to rub just above where he was pounding inside her, stroking her clitoris…

Yes, gargoyle females could have multiple orgasms in the same round of sex; at least three of them. Possibly more than that, but Brooklyn finally lost his iron control and came hard in the middle of Isabel's third, roaring loud enough to blow the roof off the cottage before collapsing half on top of her.


In between rounds of sex, they did a lot of question-and-answer sessions. Despite the soul-baring talk that they'd had on their last date before Brooklyn brought the courting gift, they still had a lot to learn about each other. Favorite color, favorite music, favorite foods; most of them were trivial details, but it was all part of learning about each other.

Then they learned that Isabel could indeed give Brooklyn a blow job, but very carefully; her tongue was not raspy like a cat's, so there were no concerns about abrading sensitive skin with it, but her feline fangs were close enough together that they just barely scraped along his shaft once he was hard, if she got careless for even a moment.

So when Isabel got tired of being so extremely careful, she pushed Brooklyn down to lie face-up on the bed, and straddled him while hissing, "Just relax and let me do everything."

He was hard and ready, and she was still slick from their last time as she straddled his hips and eased back and down onto his member; once she had taken him all the way in, she braced her hands on his shoulders as she began to rock back and forth, riding up and down his shaft.

Ride 'em, cowgirl! Being on top and in control was fun, as Isabel progressed from slow easy rocking to hard and fast, until Brooklyn was growling and his eyes were glowing bright, a sign that he was about to come. Since she'd said she would do everything, Isabel had shifted to brace herself upright with just one hand while using the other to caress herself, teasing her nipples and her clit; when she was ready too, she shouted "Buck for me, bronco!" as she pushed down onto him. Brooklyn bayed like a hound dog as he arched off the bed, and his hands came up to grab her hips and slam her down even harder onto his shaft; the extra thrust and friction set off her own orgasm, and she yowled with joy and triumph.


Following a delicious smell out of the bedroom and through the cottage, they discovered that someone had dropped off more food outside the front door; a small pot of gumbo stew, hot off the stove. "Just in time; I've really worked up an appetite!" Isabel said cheerfully as she ladled the gumbo into bowls for them both.

"No kidding; I could clean out a hot dog vendor's entire cart right now!" Brooklyn said with a grin; one that turned nostalgic. "Oooh, yeah, a dozen New York hot dogs would really hit the spot right now. No offense, this gumbo smells great," he said hastily as he accepted the bowl, "it's just that right now I'm craving a foot-long. Wait till you try them and you'll see what I mean; they're great! There's this one vendor that works in Central Park, that really does hot dogs up right; Matt Bluestone used to buy them for us back when we were still living in the clocktower. Now that we're not a secret up there anymore, Broadway and I have been talking about just showing up in front of the guy with money, and seeing if we can buy the dogs straight from him, like the way we got that cab ride once. When we get back, if that guy is still working after sunset now that it's the middle of winter, you'll have to come with us when we try it; the hot dogs are best when they're piping hot! I know the rumors about the hot dogs being made from dead cats and stuff, but-"

But while Brooklyn was still waxing eloquent about hot dogs, Isabel suddenly pushed her bowl of gumbo away and burst into tears.

"Izzy? What happened, why are you—aw, man… It's just a vicious rumor, I swear! A total lie; there isn't any cat meat in those hot dogs, honest!" Brooklyn pleaded as he shoved his chair back to come around the table and hug her comfortingly.

"It-it's not that," Isabel finally choked out, rubbing at her face. "I just… it just sunk in now; I'll be moving to New York! Leaving New Orleans for good! That's… hard, you know?"

"Yeah," Brooklyn said solemnly, rubbing her shoulders. "I know." After a couple more minutes of massaging, he asked hesitantly, "You hadn't really thought about it before?"

She shook her head. "I honestly figured you were going to pick Yvette. She's prettier than me, and nicer, and the only reason she's not mated to either Martin or Adelbert right now is that Marie sabotaged their relationships as soon as they started paying too much attention to each other instead of Marie herself. If Marie hadn't suddenly got fixated on having Robert as her mate, and set her talons on him for nearly two years before he finally told her off in front of the clan, I don't think anybody would have been courted with success before she finally went too far and got banished for four nights… Anyway, I hadn't really believed you'd pick me to court, so I hadn't really thought about what it would mean after we became mates, until now."

He sat down again as she spoke, and reached over to take her hand, his eyes sympathetic. "Isabel, I really do understand how hard it will be to leave your home territory and protectorate… but we can't stay here. New York is the battleground for fighting for our species' right to live alongside humans, and we can't abandon that fight, even for the really great lives everyone here has built. I'm sorry."

"No, don't be sorry; it's all right, I could do with a little more action," Isabel said, forcing a grin onto her felinoid features. "Hey, my whole clan moved twice in the last eight hundred years, first from the wilderness straight into the spires of Notre Dame, and then clear across the ocean to here; I can handle moving a few hundred miles north, no problem."

"Glad to hear it," Brooklyn said with a smile. "Because there's so much up there I want to show you, Isabel; New York is crowded beyond belief but there's still a lot of beauty there if you know where to look. For instance, there's this one secluded glen in Central Park that's just gorgeous, and perfect for gargoyles courting. It's beautiful by moonlight in midsummer, and the only thing that could make it more beautiful is you standing in it…"

Isabel discovered that Brooklyn could indeed wax poetic, when he felt like it. And the fact that his whispered words were accompanied by gentle caresses, just made it even better.

But somehow, in the midst of her sudden burst of tears and his comforting her afterwards, they got gumbo spattered on themselves. Brooklyn started to just get a washcloth and use that to clean themselves off, the paused and got another of his sly grins. "This is the perfect opportunity to find out whether the rumors are true about sex in the showers…"

Isabel declared that she didn't mind getting all her fur wet for a good reason, and personal education certainly counted for a good reason, so they took a shower together.

Yes, sex in the middle of a hot shower was fun, once they got past the initial awkwardness and figured out where to lean and brace themselves without concerns of either slipping and falling, or getting poked by the faucets.

But as far as Isabel was concerned, what came after the shower was even more fun. Brooklyn insisted on toweling her dry from head to toe, and once he figured out just how hard to rub to get the water out of her fur without being too rough… she found it so arousing, that when he bent down to dry her feet he suddenly found himself being picked up and slung under one arm while she ran back to the bedroom! But he recovered from his surprise quickly enough, and gave his new favorite cowgirl one helluva bucking bronco ride that left them both sprawled in exhaustion.

The gumbo had gone completely cold by the time they returned to the kitchen, but Isabel was right, the stove controls weren't that hard to figure out.


Sex, talking, more sex and more talking… The four nights passed quickly, and soon it was time to rejoin the clan. "Just in time for the Winter Solstice, if I've figured the days right," Brooklyn said with a grin as they got dressed together, soon after waking up at sunset. "I'm going to talk to Hudson and Goliath about showing your whole clan some of our solstice traditions. Like the Great Circle dance; that's lots of fun!"

"I think they might have talked to Adam about it already," Isabel said, cocking her ears towards the noises outside, on the great lawn between the mansion and the cottage. "There's a lot of activity going on out there; sounds like they're setting up for some kind of party…"

"Let's find out together," Brooklyn said, grinning as he held out a hand to her. She grinned back as she took his hand, and they headed for the front door.

As he opened the door, he turned to her. "Izzy?"


"I'm going to buy you some more flowers, soon… red roses," he added, as they went out together.