Our second story chronicalling the romance of Jake and Cadpig is a semi-sequel to "My Fair Moochie." It's basically a sequel in everything except that it doesn't feature the Cadpig/Mooch pairing. "My Fair Moochie" is one of my favorite episodes and was the inspiration for my Jake/Cadpig pairing, so I always felt their relationship should have some sort of sequel to that episode as a starting point.

As always, I make no claim to ownership over Cadpig or any other 101 Dalmatians characters.

"What do I get her? What do I get her?" Jake said, frantically running around the house, hoping to find something to give his new sweetheart. "Roses? Chocolate? A card? Anything?"

Jake's mother had just walked into the room. "What's the problem? You sound like you're looking for a Valentine's present."

"I am, mom. I need one for a girl."

"Well, chocolate probably isn't a good idea, unless you want to poison her."

"Poison her! Oh, right… What am I supposed to get her?"

"I don't know. Your father always gives me his serving of kibble for dinner. I give him mine, so it works out."

"Ah, but this girl's different. She won't be happy with kibble."

"Expense tastes? Be careful what you're getting into, son!"

"No. She just thinks with her heart, not with her stomach."

"In my opinion, you should be looking for a girl that thinks with her head."

"She does think with her head, she's smart, but it's just that… um…"

"She's a romantic?"

"That's right. A real pure heart. She wouldn't hurt a fly."

"Rolly, if you don't change it back, you'll be spending the rest of Valentine's Day in the hospital," Cadpig said after Rolly grabbed the remote and turned on the Gravy Channel™.

"But the History of Mashed Potatoes is on," Rolly protested.

"I don't care. You know that they broadcast Heart of Love, my absolutely favorite movie, on Valentine's Day at noon!" Cadpig was nearly yelling now. Rolly recognized that nothing good was likely to come from the altercation and backed down, handing Cadpig back the remote and running quickly out of the barn.

Cadpig turned the channel back to her movie and sat with teary eyes affixed on the screen.

One of Jake's pets, the father and husband of the bunch, returned home, carrying a bouquet of roses for his wife. He laid them down on the kitchen table before going upstairs. Jake saw them and immediately got an idea. Jumping up on a nearby chair, he was easily able to take the flowers in his mouth and bring them back down. Jake ran outside just as the father came back down the stairs. The father went to retrieve the roses but found them missing.

"Could have sworn I put them right here," he said. With a shrug, the human went to search through the rest of the house.

Jake rushed to Dearly Farm, trying to both get there quickly and not mess up the flowers on the way. His success in the former objective was somewhat greater than in the latter. It was quite clear that love was in the air at Dearly Farm, as boys and girls attempting to impress each other were noticeable in every direction. Jake, however, paid no attention to any of them for he cared only for one; Cadpig. He quickly picked up her scent and followed it to the barn. As he was about to enter, Lucky called out to him.

"I wouldn't go in there if I were you. She's watching her favorite movie and she hates anybody to disturb her. Anybody."

Jake looked for Lucky but at first could not find him. He looked around yet Lucky was not in sight. Finally, after considerable effort, Jake saw him hiding within the nearby tree, his head barely visible in its central hole.

"But it's Valentine's Day," Jake said, "Won't she want to see her valentine?"

Lucky gave Jake a look that made clear his opinion of the Westie had just dropped several points.

"Whatever," Lucky said. "If you want to end up eating those flowers, go right ahead."

"You sound like you're speaking from experience," Jake said. "Is that why you are hiding in that tree?"

"No," Lucky said. "I learned my lesson with Cadpig last year. It's Dumpling I'm hiding from. Every year, she expects a valentine from me, and she won't stop chasing me until she gets one."

"Why don't you just give her a valentine?"

"Then everybody'll think that she's my girl! Worse, she'll think that she's my girl! Do you know what she'd be like then?"

Jake, not knowing Dumpling that well, just shrugged his shoulders and walked into the barn.

"Yoo-hoo, Lucky," Dumpling said as she came bounding toward the tree. "Where are you so that you can give me my valentine?" Lucky hurriedly scuttled up the tree into the roof of the barn.

Jake entered the barn to find it completely deserted with the exception of himself and Cadpig. He was taken aback by how the barn without puppies seemed to transform into a ravenous cavern. The light even seemed to become dimmer, as if the day itself would not venture into this unholy place, but Jake could not be sure if this was real or the product of his own imagination. At first, Jake could not even find Cadpig or the television but, once he had done so, he was surprised at how small both looked. A feeling of trepidation arose in him. He gulped and walked slowly toward her.

He came over and sat right beside her. Jake looked over. The glare of the television hid her color and made her look a pale, ghastly, glowing white. Her eyes were now bloodshot from crying and looked very red. Jake was filled with terror and was barely able to stifle a gasp. He then, by chance, looked up toward the second floor and saw Lucky staring back at him. Lucky signaled for him to quickly get out of there, but this only served to renew Jake's resolve.

"Cadpig," he said, "I've brought you something."

No response. Cadpig just continued staring at the screen. The only move she made was to grab another tissue from the box sitting beside her. Jake was disheartened and looked back up toward Lucky. Lucky was still motioning for him to leave as quickly as he could. Jake once again felt defiant. Grabbing the flowers, he stuck them right in Cadpig's face.

"So… what do you think?" he said.

"Jake," Cadpig responded, at first sweetly but increasingly with more anger, "I think if you don't get those flowers out of my face, I'll stuff them down your throat!"

Jake hurriedly pulled the flowers back. Lucky smacked his head with his paw. His opinion of Jake had just dropped several more points.

Jake, for a moment, was sitting on edge, unsure whether he should make a bolt for the door or brace himself for the expected punch. Then, he saw the words "The End" appear on the screen and breathed a sigh of relief. Cadpig began sobbing heartily. Jake stretched out his paw to pat her on the back but then saw Lucky shaking his head "no." Jake quickly pulled back his foreleg. Suddenly, Cadpig grabbed onto him and began crying on his shoulder, gripping him so tightly that she began to suffocate him. Jake was barely able to look up at Lucky, who just mouthed, "Same thing happened to me last year."

After sobbing for a minute and nearly crushing Jake's ribs, Cadpig suddenly stopped. She looked up, her eyes now miraculously free of any tears or redness and her expression one of puzzlement. "Hi, Jake," she said. "When did you get here?"

"Hi, Cadpig," Jake responded, "my lungs are collapsing."

Realizing what she was doing, Cadpig quickly let Jake go and smiled in embarrassment. As he recovered his breath, Jake picked up the flowers and gave them to Cadpig. "Happy Valentine's Day, Caddy," he said.

Cadpig looked at the flowers, now slightly dirty and worse for ware, and said, "They're lovely! Where did you get them?"

"Hey, I've got connections," Jake said with a smile.

Just then, Dumpling burst into the barn. "Where's Lucky," she growled. "I know he's in here!"

Jake looked up toward the second floor and Cadpig's eyes followed his. Lucky was shaking his head "no" once again. They both turned back to Dumpling and said at once, motioning with their heads, "He's up there."

Lucky bolted as Dumpling tried to figure out how to climb to the second floor. Meanwhile, Jake and Cadpig walked out together.

"So, what you're saying is that the universe is some sort of… living thing?" Jake asked.

"Mh-hm," Cadpig responded. "The trees, the birds, the stars, you and me, everything is part of this great big bundle of love we call the universe."

"Huh. I never thought of it that way."

"Well, now you do! So take in the sunshine and laugh because the whole universe is laughing with you!"

Jake and Cadpig were sitting in a small glade, Cadpig busy meditating, Jake awkwardly trying to mimic her. He, however, ended up falling over. Getting up, he said, "So, Cadpig, what do you want to do for Valentine's?"

Cadpig opened her mouth to answer, but never got the words out, for Vendella now appeared in the glade.

"Well, well, well," she said, "Out for a hike? You're going to need it!"
"What do you want, Vendella?" Cadpig said with clear derision.

"Oh, I think you know what I want, after that stunt you pulled last year. Don't think I don't know that it was all part of your plan to steal the title for yourself! Our champion beat yours fair and square, and that should have been the end of it! But no, you had to jump in when our champ was off guard and cheat your way to the title…"
Cadpig growled. "Look, you think I care about your barbaric wrestling championship? Eh-no. Somebody just had to do something about all that violence your champion was causing. Luckily, I cured him of that."

Vendella chuckled. "Right, whatever. Well, all I can say is that you better be saying your prayers and taking your vitamins, because we're demanding a rematch… today!"

Cadpig's jaw dropped. She seethed with anger. "You can't do that!"

"Yes we can, or don't you remember that it has been nearly a year? Since we lost, that means we can call a rematch anytime within the month. So, today at three. Got it?"

"But, it's Valentine's Day, dedicated to love and compassion! You can't hold a wrestling match today! That's… that's… unholy!"

"Well, get used to it, because come three o'clock, you're going to be in that wrestling match! See you then." Her mission accomplished, Vendella walked away laughing.

Cadpig collapsed; she was very clearly despondent.

"What was that all about?" Jake said.

"The annual wrestling match," Cadpig said distantly. "Every year, someone from Dearly Farm goes up against an opponent chosen by Villa DeVil to see who is the animal wrestling champion of the county."

"Hm. Wrestling. I used to do a bit of that myself back in the old city. I could really knock 'em down!" Jake made a few boxing jabs into the air and then stood beaming with pride. He was certain that this would impress Cadpig.

Cadpig simply eyed him with a look of disgust for a moment; had she not been so shocked by what she had just been told it would have been a look of horrified indignity. As it was, she just muttered, "Yes, well, we'll have to work on that…" and returned to staring blankly. Jake got the hint, however, and decided to backpedal quickly. "Well, it wasn't anything serious. Not like a career or anything. Just a bit of fun to pass boring weekends. But then we moved and I met… you."

Jake looked longingly into Cadpig's eyes, the typical puppy-dog stare in all its glory. Cadpig paid no attention, still staring out distantly. Jake could sense that it was time for a change of tactics.

"Yeah, well, what does this wrestling match have to do with you? If you don't like it, they can't force you to watch it or anything."

"But, you don't understand. I'm… I'm the champion."

Jake staggered back. "You hate wrestling! You hate violence! How can you possibly be the wrestling champion?"

"I never wanted to be the champion. I tried to shut the whole thing down from the inside. My first boyfriend, I tried to turn him away from wrestling."

"Did it work?"

"Yes, but one thing led to another and I got mixed up in the fighting. I don't remember much of it, actually. Lucky says I threw the Villa DeVil champ into the ring bell. I don't know; Lucky can make up such stories."

"I wouldn't have any trouble believing it at all." Jake felt his jaw. Still a bit sore from all the punches he had received when courting Cadpig.

"Yes, well, he became my new boyfriend…"

Jake now began to twitch nervously. "If I may ask, how many boyfriends have you had?"

"You're the third in the past year."

"Oh, the third in a year… that's… something…. That's definitely some sort of thing."

Cadpig momentarily came out of her daze. "Does that bother you?" she said with genuine concern and not a little bafflement. "You must have had several girlfriends before me."

"No! No! Of course not… well, there was a Pekinese… oh, wait, that doesn't really count…"

"What am I going to do? What am I going to do?" Cadpig was back in her disconnected state. "Think, Cadpig, think!"

"They can't just make you go through with it, can they?" Jake asked. "I mean, that's, what, extortion? No, not extortion. Reckless endangerment? No, that doesn't seem right either. Involuntary manslaughter? Huh, dad was right; I do need to watch more Perry Mason."

Cadpig now perked up. Something in this disorganized rambling at caught her attention. "That's right, Jake," she said, "they can't actually make me do anything! As long as I don't show up, there is nothing they can do! C'mon, let's go down to Grutely. I know a great little place where the dumpsters are always overfl–"

"Wait, Caddy, so you're saying you can just not go to the match with no worries?"

"Yes! I just have to not show up and the title will forfeit to Villa De Vil and everybody will see how pointless this whole barbaric spectacle really is!"

Jake was struck with concern. "Forfeit? Forfeit? You mean, the whole farm will be disgraced if you don't show?"

Cadpig nodded serenely. "Serves them right, too."

"Can't they do something else like get a substitute?"

"Well, Dearly Farm can re-challenge after the title passes to Villa De Vil. I doubt that Vendella will let that happen this time, though."

"But, we can't let Dearly Farm be shamed!" Jake could not hide his anxiety.

Cadpig smiled at him, as though she thought his little panic attack was cute. "It's just a wrestling match. They'll get over it. Besides, they could use a taste of humble-pie."

"But the De Vil crew are the whole farm's sworn enemies! I don't think I could look anybody else in the face if we didn't stop them from pulling one over!"

"Just remember, it's all for the greater good…" Cadpig now got up and started walking in the other direction. Jake did not follow. Instead, he looked back toward the farm. Noticing that he was not with her, Cadpig turned back and looked at him half with disapproval for what she knew he was thinking and half with anticipation of what she knew he would do. Seeing her, Jake immediately stepped in line, both literally and metaphorically, and ran up to her. The two walked away, Jake occasionally stealing glances at the farm in the distance.

Will Cadpig succeed in avoiding the wrestling match? Will she and Jake actually be able to have a decent Valentine's Day? Will Dearly Farm be able to defend its honor without a defending champion? Read on to find out in our next installment, "Love vs. Wrestling"!