I was positive Ray was punking me when he picked me up for senior prom in a fox fursuit. The head was tucked in the crook of his arm, its gigantic cyan eyes staring blankly. His paws were white but his copper-colored body clashed with my red tulle dress.
Sweat trickled from his matted brown hair. His eyes darted across my disappointed face and he wedged a back paw in the doorway.
“Don’t worry. Got a bow tie in the glove box.”
“What the fuck, Ray?”
“Debuted it at Anthrocon last summer. Like it?”
A year ago we nicked our palms with a pocketknife and swore we’d keep no secrets.
“I love you, Jenny Campbell.” He hoisted his enormous head onto his shoulders. “Wouldn’t break the magic for anyone else.”
“I want to see your face.”
He shrugged and tapped a plastic eye. “Can you drive? Peripheral vision’s shot.”
This was our last prom. I snatched the car key from his paw.
Stuffed into the passenger seat, his long pointed ears grazed the roof. I turned the ignition and gagged. “What’s that hideous smell?” Ray cocked his head. His frozen expression revealed nothing.
He turned to me and the tip of his snout tickled my cheek. “That’s my violet gland. Squeezed a finger pump and secreted my mojo onto your dress.” His voice sounded shrill. “It’ll glow in ultraviolet light.”
“Does that mean you want me?” I was strangely turned on.
“Mmm, more like no one else can have you.”
“You’re creeping me out.”
“Sorry. Getting into character.” He swatted my arm.
“Still up for this?” he said as we crawled into the school parking lot.
I circled the car and leaned in his window. “We dweebs represent.” He wiggled his snout in my cleavage. I giggled. A pungent violet aroma wafted into my nostrils.
“I so want to hump you,” he said.
“Later. C’mon.” I yanked him to the gymnasium by his paw.
I worried kids would laugh and humiliate him but within minutes admirers swarmed us. Two sophomore sluts stroked his tail. He tugged it from their hands. A boy from Physics asked if he’d made his costume and whistled when Ray nodded. The crowd multiplied and jostled, shoving me back. The music swelled. The sluts maneuvered Ray away from the pack, dancing around him in slow, seductive circles.
I asked a boy from Calculus to dance. He shook his head. I tried pulling my lab partner, Charlie, toward the sluts but he yanked his arm away. Failing to lure other boys, I tapped Ray’s arm and signaled toward the door. As we left someone shouted, “Who’s that with Jenny?”
Ray said nothing. Not a single word since we entered the building.
I parked in the woods, killed the lights and let Ray yiff me. After he finished, he shimmied out the window and scurried off, weaving through the trees.
In the fall, when the apple trees ripened, I left for MIT.
published 2 March 2016