November 18, 2014
Skipper and Marlene smiled as they finished decorating the small Christmas tree in her habitat. Once they’d finished wrapping thin garlands and LED lights around it and hanging tiny hand-made ornaments, they stood back and admired their work.
“Well,” Skipper said, taking her by the waist from the side, “I think it turned out pretty well.”
Marlene smiled and rested her paw on his chest. “I think so too. I had a good time decorating it with you.”
Skipper looked back to the tree. “You too, Marlene,” he replied. “Let’s turn off the lights and see how well the LEDs do,” he said, releasing her and crossing the room. Marlene prepared to plug up the Christmas tree lights. “Ready?”
Marlene nodded and Skipper turned off the lights as Marlene pushed the plug into the wall. The tree glimmered with soft golden, red, green, blue, white, and lavender light. Marlene and Skipper returned to the front of the tree, smiling at its beauty.
“If only I had an angel to put on top,” Marlene sighed.
Skipper thought for a moment and turned to her. “I don’t know. I don’t think you’d find it comfortable up there,” he said with a smile. She met his eye for a moment and then looked away, her cheeks burning. Skipper took her by the waist again. “Come on, you have to admit you totally walked into that one.”
Marlene awkwardly fiddled with his chest feathers, not meeting his eye. “I hate how you know just how to make me bashful,” she said quietly.
Skipper smiled humorously and pulled her closer so her ear was just next to his beak. “But you also kind of like it, right?” he said softly.
Marlene bit her lip and nuzzled into his neck. “Maybe a little,” she replied in a whisper.
Skipper looked at the back of her head out of the corner of his eye with a smile. “I guess this would make our first Christmas together. Really together.”
Marlene rested herself against him. “Yep. To think, just last year, we wouldn’t have believed our relationship would come this far.”
Skipper pulled away so he could look into her eyes. “And if we would’ve never had that argument, we wouldn’t have fully realized how much we care about each other.”
Marlene smiled and Skipper pressed his forehead to hers.
“Can I at least have a star to put on the tree?” Marlene asked.
Skipper smiled suavely. “I wouldn’t dare take the stars out of your beautiful eyes.”
Marlene pressed her lips together as more heat rushed into her cheeks and she shoved him, but Skipper tightened his grip on her waist.
“Come on, you walked into that one too,” he said with a laugh.
Marlene looked down smiling, without giving an answer. Skipper looked at the tree.
“I almost forgot,” he said, releasing her waist. “Kowalski innovated the lights. Observe.”
Skipper double-clapped his flippers together and the tree began to gently flicker the soft lights at the tempo of a calm snowfall. He turned to Marlene, who was smiling at the tree with the lights dancing in her eyes and off her fur. She turned to him and he slipped his flippers around her waist again with a warm smile.
He glanced at her lips and slowly leaned closer until his beak just grazed them. Marlene wrapped her arms around his neck invitingly and Skipper held her tighter as they slowly kissed in the dancing Christmas tree lights.