Judy was still pressed tightly to his side, one of her knees digging painfully into kidney, which really was not helping the bladder situation. When he made an experimental move to pull his arm free she let out a soft mewl and just snuggled in closer. Spitting out her ear and softly calling out “Carrots?” only resulted in getting a wet ear tip in his face as she turned her face away from the noise. He turned his head the other way, rubbing his cheek dry with free paw, and finally spotted the six year-old bunny kit in a polka dot dress staring up at the scene in the hammock.
“Which one are you?” Nick asked softly. With a couple of exceptions like Tommy, he’d given up trying to keep track of Bonnie and Stu’s four hundred strong brood. His suggestion one evening of issuing everyone name tags had been greeted as a really hilarious joke, alas.
“I’m Lilly,” the little kit answered. “Mom sent me to wake you up for breakfast and ask you if you knew where Judy was.”
“She’s right here,” Nick answered. Lilly responded by grabbing the edge of the hammock and trying to pull herself up to see, nearly dumping Nick and the still sleeping Judy out before she let go. Judy slid all the way atop Nick and thank God she was still asleep, because there was another problem that was… rising… to attention and he really didn’t want her waking up feeling that underneath her.
“Why’s Judy in the hammock with you?” Lilly demanded.
“Because she had a bad dream and needed help getting back to sleep,” Nick answered truthfully. By six year-old standards this should be perfectly logical, he hoped. “Tell your mom we’ll be along in a few minutes.”
“Okay!” Lilly hopped back into the house, thank goodness, only to shout in a piercing voice, “Mooooom! Judy is sleeping with Uncle Nick!”
Judy snorted a laugh into Nick’s chest, her ears rising up to attention and whapping the back of his paw as he covered his eyes and groaned.
“How long have you been awake?” he demanded.
“Since Lilly tried to dump us out of the hammock,” she replied, raising her head to look at him.
Nick tried to stretch his still sleeping right arm. Pins and needles, pins and needles! Ow, ow, ow! “Great. Could you please get off me? I really gotta pee.”
“In a minute,” she replied, still smiling, her weight centered on… Try not to think about that. Try really hard. Ok, not hard…
“Judy,” Nick said, his voice rising to a pained squeak, “I kinda need to go right now.”
“I’m aware of that.” And she gave him a sly half-lidded smile, which reminded him of the face he used to look at in the mirror, rather than Judy’s usual wide-eyed grin. Then she must have decided to opt for mercy and rolled off him and out of the hammock, landing in a neat tuck and roll that spoke volumes about her returning health. “I gotta go to my room and get changed. See ya at breakfast!” she called over her shoulder, and hopped inside.
He had to get changed too, and maybe get a shower too, before even thinking about appearing in front of Stu and Bonnie. Not with Judy’s scent rubbed har—deeply, into his pelt. Nick started to pull himself out of the hammock, made the mistake of trying to hold onto the edge with his still half-asleep right paw, and fell out of it to face plant onto the porch deck. He got up again, shaking himself to full wakefulness, and headed inside to find a free bathroom.
She had been smiling at him. Even with the obvious going on right underneath her she’d been smiling at him. That was… promising. Maybe.
Maybe, he thought, and began to smile.