Open for business.
Clarence, his right hind paw stinging from the furball’s attack on it, looked round him. He wondered whom he might ask for a paw massage. Clarence looked at Arki, and she looked at him.
“Would you Massage my paws Arki?” he asked. Arki looked into Clarence’s eyes, trying to gauge whether he was in a mood for trouble. He was powerfully built, much stronger than her, and if he wanted to use those paws of his on her, Arki knew she had no chance of defending herself.
“As long as you promise me you won’t do me harm with those paws of yours,” Arki said. Clarence waved one of the paws in question.
“No,” he said, “I promise I won’t do you harm.” Arki patted the quilt beside her. There was enough room for Clarence to lie beside her. Clarence reared onto his hind legs and rested his forepaws on the quilt. Arki then got eye to eye with the huge lion. She was surprised to find a gentle expression in Clarence’s eyes. Arki patted the quilt once more, inviting the huge lion to lie beside her. Clarence said:
“I can’t very easily get up there, I’m quite weak in my forelegs, and can’t really support my bodyweight.” Brunetta, hearing this, leapt down from her place on the quilt and crawled to Clarence’s side.
“Lift your right hind paw and place it in my forepaws,” Brunetta said. She cupped her forepaws and Clarence tried placing his hind paw in Brunetta’s forepaws. Brunetta gasped as she felt the lions weight.
“Now, now swing your body hard to the left and onto the quilt!” Brunetta panted, wondering if she would collapse under Clarence’s weight. Clarence pushed off with the paw brunetta was supporting, making the female brown bear lose her grip on his paw. Arki grabbed Clarence’s left hind paw as it came within range, and then hauled on it, dragging the lion onto the quilt. Arki’s cub, seeing Clarence’s exhausted state, and that his right hind paw was dangling over the side, picked up his paw in both her forepaws and placed it on the quilt.
“Thank you all,” Clarence panted. Brunetta struggled onto the quilt.
“No problem,” she replied.
Clarence, having never lain on a quilt in his life before, sighed with contentment as the warmth and security of the quilt made itself felt.
“You lot are so lucky here,” he said, working his forepaws into a fold of the quilt, and instantly feeling the warmth spreading from his forepaws right down to his hind.
“We’re safe and comfortable downstairs,” Clarence continued, “but nothing like this! I think we need a quilt downstairs too.” While Clarence had been eulogising about the properties of a quilt, Arki had begun to massage his hind paws, starting with those as Clarence’s forepaws were hidden from her by a fold of the quilt. Clarence began to purr with contentment.
“One happy lion,” Amber remarked. Arki, intent on her task, carried on with Clarence’s paw massage, transferring her attention to his left hind paw. Massaging and stroking the pads of his paw, just as she’d seen Tolstuka do when Arki herself had her paws massaged. By the time Arki had made it to Clarence’s forepaws, the lion was deeply comatose, and struggling not to fall asleep completely. Clarence forced himself to respond to Arki’s massage of each one of his paws, by wiggling the toes of each paw so she knew he was still awake. When she found his most sensitive paw though, which happened to be the same as her own, Clarence forgot about staying awake. All consuming waves of warmth and pleasure overwhelmed the huge lion as Arki stroked his left forepaw. Clarence relaxed, letting himself go totally. Arki felt the paw she held relax completely, and knew what had happened.
“You’ve found Clarence’s soft spot.” Brunetta said, watching all.
Tigger, massaging Amber’s paws, had long ago found her soft spot, the right hind paw in Amber’s case, and the female snow leopard had given up the fight to stay awake. Tigger hadn’t tried massaging Amber’s paws before, feeling he’d mess it up if he tried, and she wouldn’t enjoy it. After reassurances from Amber that she wouldn’t hold it against him if he messed things up, Tigger took the plunge. Now his friend was as relaxed as Clarence was. Whitie, noticing her mother’s enjoyment of the massage, whispered to Tigger that she would like her paws massaged. Tigger promised her he’d massage her paws when he’d finished his work on Amber. Blanche touched her sister’s paw, and when Whitie touched noses with her, Blanche asked if when Whitie had learned how to massage the paws of another animal, could she possibly have her paws massaged. Whitie took Blanche’s forepaw in both of hers and began to massage it. Blanche was soon purring loudly and rapidly approaching the deep sleep stage both Clarence and Amber were in. Whitie had learned how to massage the paws of other animals, but never herself had the pleasure of a massage. Whitie continued massaging Blanche’s paws until her sister was deeply asleep.
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