Chapter 21: If I Leave (A Day To Remember): Something went wrong along the way, you'd come around and there's nothing left to say. It's like we're strangers anyway. What more could you ask of me? It's been a long time coming, but everyone's gonna hear me now. If I leave, bet you'll wish I'd stayed. Make you regret all the things you said to me.

000

Simply could not progress the story to it's (first) climax without this chapter.

000

Three days had passed since the transition between them had went from that of 'friends' to 'lovers.' Three of the best, stressed out, amazing days of her life. It was still a double-edged sword, with each side cutting her seemingly nonstop, and she wanted nothing more than to just pull it out and forget about it forever. But of course it wouldn't be that simple. That she had been able to keep the whole thing from Panther this long was a miracle in itself and she figured the only reason he had yet to catch on to her secret relationship with Fox was simply due to his ignorance and lack of caring.

If he really loved me...if we were still a couple, then he would have at least called or even texted me by now. Not that I want him to though.

It just proved her point. What they had once shared was gone, now replaced with something unbelievably superior with Fox. The vulpine wouldn't ignore her for 72 hours, not calling her, talking to her, or checking in on her for that long...yet still have the nerve to say she was his. But then again...that was Fox. The fact that Panther hadn't done any of those things was nothing out of the norm as of the past few months. It was just another factor of their 'relationship' that was so unlike everyone elses. The black cat didn't seem to want her attention, to talk and spend time with her, preferring to rather hang out with his friends, both male and female.

Not that she cared anymore. A month ago she might have broken down and cried about it to herself, and Katt would have tried to comfort her and offer advice...advice that she wouldn't follow. But that was only because she had thought she still loved him. He was all she had, and she had looked past his numerous flaws just so she could have someone in her life to hold onto.

Perhaps that was why it had been so easy to let go, that when Fox had arrived it had taken practically no effort from the vulpine to win over her heart. It wasn't because her standards had been so low thanks to Panther, but it probably didn't hurt either. No. It was just because up until that fateful day, meeting the vulpine in her bedroom and almost breaking his nose, she had never really felt anything for anyone else other than Panther. It had just been a spark, but even before their first night together had ended that spark had ignited a flame that even then she knew she'd be unable to put out.

But for a month they had to hide it. For 30 days it was kept bottled inside and suppressed, passed off as other emotions and thoughts that would never convince either of them of anything but the honest truth. Perhaps that was why when they finally did break the barrier between them it had been so...explosive. As if for the last 4 weeks their hearts and minds had been stockpiling something inside of them, waiting until that fateful afternoon right after they had their argument...right when they kissed...before it finally went off.

Then there was the morning after. Their first day as an official couple, if only known between them. She didn't know what had came over her. Mornings were never something she enjoyed, but after realizing who it was she had spent the night by, all of that changed. She had wasted no time in taking off right where they had left the night before, until finally giving into her urges and inviting the vulpine to do something with her that neither of them had been expecting.

But it was so amazing. If nothing else, Brooke was right about that.

The fact that it had taken her 2 months before she felt comfortable taking her clothes off in front of Panther just proved again how much stronger what she had with Fox was. He hadn't asked, or even suggested it. It had been all her. Yes she had just woken up, but in little to no time she was wide awake and letting her instincts run her thoughts. There had just been something about waking up beside him, realizing what they were and what they had gotten to do the night before that just turned her on and made her want him more than ever.

She had to have him. She had to prove to Fox how much she loved him...and what better way was there to go about doing that other than giving him the strip tease of a life before inviting him to take a shower with her? With a condom in her mouth nonetheless! It had been not only the best shower she'd taken, but the longest as well. She had lost track of time, but that only made it better. It had probably been close to an hour, not that either of them cared. The only thing she had been concerned about then was pleasing the vulpine the best she could.

He had given her so much, had done so many things for her up until then...and she owed him so much more than he would ever know. And considering how badly she had wanted it as well, sex couldn't really be considered a fair means of payment for him. But it was all they both seemed to desire...especially now that they had taken part in it once.

"So?" Katt had asked that same morning after the vulpine left for the beach. "How was it?"

Needless to say she had tried to decline what they had done at first, but the longer she held Katt's gaze the more she realized that it was no secret to the pink feline. She figured the signs had been there. It hadn't helped that Katt's room was right beside the bathroom, and considering it had been the best fuck of her life she figured that she had probably let her voice get above a 'more than normal' level, easily alerting the feline as to what was going on through the wall. So she ditched the innocent attitude and finally ended up indulging her roommate.

"Okay fine." she had finally said, allowing a blush to overtake her. "So we took a shower together."

"That's all you did?"

"What do you think?" she answered, her face still red.

"And?"

"And what?"

"How was it?" Katt asked, her elbows on her knees as she looked up at her from the couch, "How long did he hold out?"

"Katt!"

"Oh c'mon Krystal." the feline insisted, a playful look in her eyes, "It's girl talk! We can have it you know? Just tell me now or I'll keep bugging you until you do."

She had known Katt would hold true to her promise, as she always did. If anything, she was persistent. Besides, she decided that if she had to tell anyone about what was going on between her and Fox, it had might as well be the only other friend she had that actually knew they were together now.

"About an hour I guess." she finally murmured, still not really wanting to talk about it with anyone, even her best friend.

"Really?" Katt had asked, surprise evident in her tone and causing the vixen to smile to herself and look away. "Damn. So I'm guessing...

"Amazing." she interrupted, finally answering the feline's first question. "It was amazing."

No lie there either. Compared to Panther...well...you can't really compare it to that. It would be like comparing the merry-go-round to the galaxies most extreme roller-coaster.

Looking back at the analogy now it made her laugh, but even that wasn't enough to keep her thoughts distracted from the problem at hand for more than a few seconds.

Within the walls of their apartment what they had was unknown to anyone other than herself, Fox, Katt, and possibly Falco. She hadn't dared tell anyone else about her relationship with the vulpine at the risk of Panther finding out about it, and she could only hope that Fox had kept quiet about it as well. Still, there was a part of her that was hopeful about how it would play out even if Panther did learn she was cheating on him. Why would he care? He had done it to her countless times, thinking he had been discreet enough to keep it a secret, so perhaps he'd just see it as karma.

Then again, she knew him better than that.

Which is why we have to find another way.

Katt had told her not to worry about it, that the plan she had thought up was flawless and would require no effort on the vixen's part up until the final confrontation with the cat. But she still doubted it would work. Sure Panther messed around behind her back, and it would have made her both angry and depressed had she not found a reason to care less, but the way Katt had talked it was as if what he did was performed on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

He doesn't really have the nerve to try something every week does he? Did he really think I'd never find out?

As of right now though she was actually hoping for that. If Panther really did have his fun with other females on a routine weekly schedule, then that would make it much easier for them to stage their own plan. And the sooner they did that the better. It was becoming incredibly hard for her to keep what she had with Fox inside the apartment, and of course she couldn't tell the vulpine to keep it a secret, that would only spark his curiosity, and she knew he was far too smart to look over this for much longer.

She tried to hide her uneasiness around him, but sometimes she thought he saw the look of worry in her eyes, causing him to ask if she was okay. Of course she'd answer him with an immediate smile and say everything was great before leaning against him and issuing another kiss. If nothing else it all gave her another reason to love on him more often, even it had only been for three days.

But something has to change. This can't stay a secret forever. I don't care if Panther hasn't talked to me since his first day back. It won't always be that way. He'll come around, and when he does he'll meet Fox, and when that happens...

The sad part was that she knew Panther had learned about the vulpine now, yet he still hadn't said or done anything about it. It was as if he honestly did not care in the least about her anymore.

But he would after he realized he had lost her.

She counted on that.

Yet at the same time she hoped she was wrong. She hoped that Panther cared so little about her at this point that when things finally fell through on his end that it didn't bother him in the least. That he'd keep seeing his other girls and hanging out with his friends, and that there would be no change or retaliation. And she'd be more than happy with that, just as long as her and Fox would be left alone and to each other.

"I don't know what Katt had planned, but we can't wait any longer." she muttered aloud to herself, now standing before the massive window that ran along the side of "Logan's."

The month before, when her and the vulpine had been 'just friends,' work had been difficult. Her mind had always been on him. Focusing on what they could do when she got home, what she should wear and be ready to say or suggest...just to make their night all the better. She had gotten several orders mixed up, dropped a tray or two, and even taken another waitresses tip on accident, all because she was stuck in a daze almost constantly.

But now, even after they had admitted their feelings and became something so much more, it seemed that nothing had changed, and she knew it wouldn't. Not until this problem with Panther was over would things settle down for her. Until then her mind would always be racing between the two males, trying to figure out what she could do to hide the one from the other, while at the same time keeping them both happy long enough to work it all out.

Luckily her shift was over for the day, and not a moment to soon either as another family of 10 or so rabbits came in from the hot Cornerian heat. Giving them a smile she took another minute to seat them before returning to the front and passing them off to a younger tigress who had just arrived.

Minutes later she had changed and was stepping out of the door, just barely getting her gaze up in time to see the black Mustang that Katt proudly owned come to a screeching halt in front of her.

"Get in!" she yelled, urgency and slight excitement in her voice.

"But Fox was-

"No time for that!" she exclaimed, reaching over and opening the passenger door. "Just call him and tell him I got you."

Realizing that she'd find herself in the car one way or the other she let out a sigh and eased into the seat, just barely getting her door shut before Katt took off across the parking lot towards the entrance. She had been looking forward to seeing the vulpine all day long, but now it appeared that moment would have to be put on hold until whatever this is was taken care of.

"What's-

"I've done my homework." Katt interrupted, looking straight ahead as they ran a yellow light. "And I think we...no...you...can finally end this thing with Panther once and for all."

At hearing this the vixen felt a knot of nervousness form in her stomach, the realization that what she had been so concerned about for the past few days could possibly be addressed before the hours end. She both wanted and despised it. All along she had known it would happen, but there was still a farfetched part of her mind that wanted to believe she could just keep it a secret from the world for the rest of her life.

"You mean he's...right now?" she managed to ask, figuring Katt was still referring to her plan from a few days ago.

The feline nodded, taking a sharp left as they hastily made their way towards Panther's massive beachfront house. She still had no idea what the story behind this was, but apparently Katt did. Some way, somehow she had managed to figure out just when it was that Panther indulged himself with the company of 'others', and that time was now.

"Are you sure?" she had to ask, still trying to take in what was about to go down. "How do you know? Who is she?"

"It was luck." Katt answered, a small smirk coming across her, "A couple of stupid she-wolves came into the shop with some lupine who's ship we had been working on. Falco took him to the back and I stayed up front to keep an eye on them. Before long they started blabbing on about nonsense, but fortunately I caught Panther's name when it came up."

"And?"

It turns out," she continued, looking over at the vixen with a more serious look, "They were hired by Panther to clean his house."

"Oh..."

"And you can guess that's not all they talked about doing while they were there."

After hearing this she looked away, not being able to stop her mind from momentarily imagining just what it was her ex had been doing with the two 'maids' that he had hired. She had known for a while he had someone clean his house for him, having once been offered the job by the black cat, but thankfully declining. But it had never really crossed her mind up until now as to exactly who it was that did the cleaning. It certainly hadn't been young, gorgeous, hand-picked, she-wolves. But it made sense.

But no sooner had she thought about it did the image of Fox flash into her mind, the memory of what they had done seemingly countless times within only the past 72 hours now back on her mind and causing her to grin. Who cared what Panther did with some cheap vixens or wolves? He could have sex with every girl in all of Cornerian City and not once would it be as great as what her and Fox had went through. And the reason was more than obvious. They loved each other, more than anything else in the galaxy. That's what made it so great.

What Panther had was just lust...not love.

"You're smiling?" Katt asked, somewhat shocked, "Not exactly the reaction I expected...but okay."

"It's just...I don't care what he does anymore." she answered, looking over at the feline who eventually nodded in understanding.

"That's great. But I wouldn't say that until after you fake a broken heart and tell him you hate his guts. Until then, we've still got a problem."

The vixen returned the nod, looking up again as they neared the coast that played home to the black cat's residence. She knew Katt was right. They weren't out of the woods yet. As of right now nothing had changed. Sure they knew more than they did, but she still had to act on it. She still had to catch him doing it, then go through the ensuing conversation, if she got that far. It would be hard to, as Katt called it, fake a broken heart. How could she cry over something she had known about for so long? Especially if she no longer loved him anyway?

"So...they are there? Right now?" she asked, her voice somewhat shaky.

"Yep." Katt replied confidently. "Dumb bitches told me everything but their social security number. Guess they had no idea I was best friends with their boss' girl eh?" she finished by shooting another cocky grin at the vixen, who couldn't help but shake her head in amusement.

If nothing else, Katt had done her part. It was all left up to her now.

"Come in at 4, clean the place, leave at 6. What else goes down in that time...well...

"Right." she murmured, still feeling more than angry at Panther.

It wasn't because she was jealous. That would never be the case again. But simply because the black cat still thought they were still together. He had no idea she had given up on him and turned her attention towards Fox. So for him to be able to do this, and for her to finally have solid proof...it just angered her. All this time he had been doing this, and all this time she had been putting up with it.

But no more.

They took the final turn off the main road, now driving along the coast as they recognized the house another mile or so up. There were other houses, just as large, but Panther's seemed to outshine them all. It was bigger, had more land, more cars out front. Which upon noticing just happened to remind her...

"Don't pull in the driveway." she said, recalling the camera that overlooked it. "If he's not completely stupid then he'll be keeping an eye out."

"Then I don't think we have anything to worry about." Katt replied with a grin.

Seconds later she eased off the road and put the car in park, the two of them easily out of sight from any windows but still able to see the two cars parked in the driveway.

"The black Prius." Katt spoke up, following her gaze, "That's what they were in the other day at the shop."

So it really is happening then. This is it. No more waiting. No more lies.

"I'm going to call Fox first, then-

"I'll call him." the feline all but ordered, giving her a stern look. "You need to do this. Now."

She held her friend's gaze a little longer before finally figuring out what the true meaning behind her words were. She didn't want her to talk to Fox. She feared that doing so would cause her to reconsider going through with this at all, or that perhaps she'd say the wrong thing and tell him what they were doing. She wasn't exactly sure, but she knew Katt was right. More than anything she wanted to hear the vulpine right now, to wrap her arms around him and hold on tight and never let go. And maybe she could...but not until this was over. Not until she finally found the one reason that even Panther Caroso could overlook for ending their relationship.

Giving Katt a nod she opened her door and stepped out, just taking a step or two before her friend rolled down her window and added, "I'm going to circle around so I'll be on the other side of the road...just in case something...well...

"I know." she murmured, well aware that things could go to hell in an instant.

Even if I somehow do manage to make this work, does that mean it will all be over? Or will Panther still refuse to let Fox have me?

After thinking this she realized she couldn't keep it a secret any longer, regardless of how it played out. She'd tell Fox if she had to, he'd understand. She knew he would. All it would take was an explanation from herself or Katt and the vulpine would be okay with it. In fact knowing him he'd tell her that she should have asked for his help in the matter. He would have wanted to step in and help her, rather than let her do it all along, and as much as she wanted that right now, she knew it couldn't be that way.

Panther was her problem. She had to take care of this mistake once and for all if she ever planned on living the life with Fox that she wanted. And as she stepped across the road and neared the massive house she realized that she'd get all the motivation she would ever need from that one thought.

I'm doing this for us Fox.

000