Chapter 18 - Steamy Pets
"So, what do you want to do, Clara?"
"I don't know, Asha. Lucy didn't say anything about that."
"Hehe, you are funny. Lucy is not going to choose which bed you are going to sleep in."
Today was a huge day. I was officially moving to the pethouse, this luxurious penthouse perched atop a tall insurance building in the middle of the downtown business area. Asha and Vix were supposed to welcome me, but the small fox girl wasn't around. Apparently, Lucy had decided to keep her an extra day at the café, possibly because she didn't want to overwhelm me on my first day in my new home.
It was okay since Asha was my friend, and I didn't mind spending the day alone with her while she showed me around the place. I've been here before, so I was somewhat familiar with the apartment's layout, but there was one room I had not seen yet, the second bedroom, and it raised an unexpected issue.
From what Asha told me, whoever came back to the pethouse on any given day slept together in the same bed. As an example, if Trixie and Misti were to be off, they would share the same bed just because it was more fun that way. The other bedroom was only used when one of them was ill or desired to be alone for whatever reason, but that was relatively rare.
This arrangement was convenient for them due to their erratic work schedule and because they got to sleep with whoever was off at the same time. As far as I knew, all the petgirls were good friends and loved to cuddle with each other... and more. Asha said that spending intimate time with one of two different friends each week was something they all appreciated a lot.
That said, my presence would introduce a slightly different dynamic. Whenever a pet would be off work, it would come back to the pethouse, and I would always be there. This could become problematic for petgirls who liked the variety. Asha said it wouldn't be an issue, but my confidence level was not that high, I didn't want to feel like I was in the way, disrupting a lifestyle they loved.
So I had two options. I could sleep in the same bed with whatever pets would be at the pethouse on any given night, or I could use the second bedroom to make sure I didn't impose myself on them. It was not an easy choice.
Asha wrapped her arms around me. To her, there was only one right choice.
"I prefer that you sleep with us all the time."
"Are... are you sure?"
"Of course, I am."
"What if... you want to sleep with someone else... without me?"
"Oh, I don't think I want that, Clara! The way you licked my crotch a while ago, I want more of that."
Instantaneously, my face turned beet red, and some steam came out of my ears. Of course, Asha wasn't going to forget the time when I gave her a big orgasm thinking she was Trixie. I opened up a bit more about sex since seeing a therapist, but I was still not as comfortable as the other girls when it came the time to talk about it.
"Haha. Poor Clara. Sorry, I shouldn't tease you like this on your first day. Tonight it's just the two of us here. Vix will only come back tomorrow, so you have plenty of time to think about what you want to do. Come with me. I need to tell you about another rule of the pethouse."
So far, the rules Asha explained to me were just plain common sense; not to break anything because none of the furniture in the pethouse belonged to us, not communicate with the building staff unless necessary, going out for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon because people would come to clean the place and restock the fridge, and not ask Lucy questions about the pethouse, or at the very least not insist if she doesn't want to talk about it. There was nothing complicated about any of this.
As I followed Asha downstairs, I realized something funny that made me giggle.
"Hey, what!? What's funny?"
"You walk like... Asha the rubber snow leopard! Haha."
"I... I do?"
"Yes. It's like you still have a tail and cushy paws."
"Mmm... I guess I built a bad habit..."
"Haha... No. It's very cute."
"Awww! Stop it, Clara! Now I feel self-conscious!"
After she poked me in the stomach, we went to the living room with the big window wall. It was still as impressive as when I came here the first time. Our view of the city was as beautiful as it was dizzying. I still had a tough time believing I would live here with all my friends.
Asha wanted to show me the dresser in the corner, the one from which I saw the pets getting their money. She pulled out one of the unlabeled drawers and placed it on top of the desk.
"So, each of us has a drawer like this. That's where we keep our personal items like our keys, phone, and money. We don't need any of this when we go work at the café, so we just leave it here."
"Why... are you doing it like that? Aren't you scared that someone would... steal?"
'Steal!? No! We all trust each other very much. The worst that ever happened was when Oreo forgot a half-eaten yogurt inside her drawer and went to work for five days."
"Haha. Yes... It's a long story. Anyway, let's make you a personal drawer."
She pulled a stack of blank labels from another drawer and detached one of them. She then grabbed a bunch of markers of different colors and showed them to me.
"What color do you want for your name? I think blue suits you. It was the color of your face when you first showed up at the café."
"Ashaaa! That's mean!"
"Haha. Okay, let's just use black. It's easy to read."
After writing my name on the label, she slid it in the plastic sheath in front of the drawer and placed it back in the dresser.
"There. It's yours. You can put your stuff in it."
I didn't have much on me; some keys, a few dollars, and a couple of ID cards. My unemployment was deposited in my bank account directly, so I had no cash on me.
"You don't use a bank, Asha?"
"Oh yeah, we all have a bank account. Lucy is trying to educate us because some of the pets are pretty bad with money."
"... Like Trixie?"
"Oh my God, yes. Trixie is the worst with money. Lucy said that we could only spend part of our income from the café, and the rest is going to our savings accounts for when we are ready to move on. When it's payday, a sum is deposited automatically in our bank, but she gives us a portion of it in cash to enjoy life outside the café. She also said that if we spent more than our cash amount, she would fire us."
"Hehe. She would not do that."
"I know, but it's better not to take the risk. You'll have to talk to her about this. You are not one of her pets, so I can't see her controlling your finances."
I scratched my head. Asha just said something that made me think. Now that I moved into the pethouse, I didn't need to pay rent anymore, and I didn't need to pay for food either, so money kind of lost its relevance.
"I... I don't need money."
"What? What do you mean?"
"I have no rent, and you said there is always food here."
"Yes, but don't you want to spend money on fun stuff?"
"... Fun stuff?"
"Clara! Don't you have hobbies or something?"
"I... don't. I like going to the café, but Lucy doesn't want me to give her money for my cakes."
"No, I meant things you like outside the café. Things that you spend money on for fun."
"Oh! I know. Remember when you saw me at the mall, Asha?"
"Yes. I can't forget that. You were too shy to look at me out of costume."
"So, when I was there, I bought a pair of shoes."
"... Clara, buying a pair of shoes is not a hobby. And that was months ago too."
It was not easy to come up with an answer to her question. Outside spending a few dollars on used books, I never had any money to spend on anything. I lowered my head in shame, realizing how uninteresting my life was.
Asha pulled me in her arms again.
"Awww, sorry. It's okay, Clara. I'm too hard on you on your first day here. I'm just a bit excited that you moved in with us. We will do fun activities together, and we will find things that you like to do."
"Come, I know what will cheer you up."
Asha held my hand and pulled me to the oversized leather couch, so big that we could both lay down side by side on it. It was the same couch where I saw Trixie and Misti make love during my first visit.
For the next little while, we cuddled quietly. Asha was right; it made me very happy. I remembered feeling guilty about wanting to pet her beautiful hair back when I was in crisis, but I no longer felt that way. She let me pet her as much as I wanted, causing me to almost abuse that privilege.
Thinking that, not that long ago, I had considered walking away from all the petgirls that I loved so much made me feel like a fool. I squeezed her in my arms and held her until we fell asleep for a little nap. She was not wearing her snow leopard costume, but it was almost as good.
A bit later, after we woke up, Asha made me a sandwich and explained the fridge system.
"See that touchscreen on the door?"
"I never had a fridge... with a screen."
"Hehe... The pethouse is kind of luxurious, isn't it? Don't worry. I never had a screen on my fridge either before moving here. So, if you want some specific food or item, you just add it to this list here, and if you enter it before Tuesday, you'll have it when they restock the fridge on Wednesday."
"Yes, but Lucy said not to abuse. She said that mostly because of Trixie, who would undoubtedly order the whole grocery store, but she also doesn't want us to act like spoiled brats when we return to the café."
"Hehe. Trixie is funny."
"Yes, she can be. So, we also receive those meal kits. Each one comes in a separate bag. So if you are hungry, you just grab one and cook it following the recipe card."
"Oh... That's nice."
I loved the pethouse so far. Lucy seemed to keep reasonable control of what was happening here. She didn't want her pets to develop bad habits outside the café, so she kept them on a tight leash even when they were not at work. It was definitely more a way to help them grow in life and teach them good values rather than just controlling them. Knowing that I would get to enjoy the same motherly love that Lucy provided to her pets made me very happy and safe and made me feel part of the café family a bit more.
Asha used her two hands to pull the large fridge door open and leaned into it to see what kind of meal kit they had received this time around.
"Oh, sorry. I scared you. But... LOOK!"
Asha pulled one of the food bags out and brought it up to my face, almost too close for me to read the label.
"Ch... Chicken... tikka... masala?"
"YES! YUM! Can we eat that tonight? Please, Clara!"
"... What... what is it?"
"WHAT!? Don't you know what chicken tikka masala is? CLARA! I must cook it for you then!"
I obviously didn't have extensive culinary knowledge.
"Okay, but what is it?"
"My favorite Indian food!"
"Asha... Are you Indian?"
"Yes, I am. But I moved here when I was two years old, so I don't know anything about India. I only know the food because I grew up on that delicious stuff. I know Vix is not a fan, so we must eat it tonight. Tomorrow she won't want to eat that."
"I can try it."
"YAAAY! Clara! I'm so happy you moved in!"
After agreeing to try Asha's Indian food and the neck-breaking hug that ensued, we went back upstairs to look at more things.
She assigned me a shelf in the giant walk-in closet along with a section to hang my clothes. I didn't have many clothes, and none of them looked better than the ones the petgirls possessed. She said that all the pets frequently borrowed clothes from each other since they were all roughly the same size, but I was pretty sure nobody would borrow mine; I didn't own any good looking ones.
Following that, we headed to the big bathroom. I had taken a quick shower in there once, but I was in a hurry because I had to run to work. Asha took the time to show me all the nice features this time.
"So, there is a big rain shower that can fit three people... and yes, we tried. Hehe. And here you have the closet with all our towels. Just grab any of them when you need it, but do NOT take the towel with the fox on it. It's Vix's, and she won't share it with anybody. When Accalia moved in, she didn't know and used it. There was a big drama."
"Okay. I don't want to make Vix sad. This big door over there... It's strange. Is it another closet?"
"Ha! WAY better than that... It's a steam room!"
"A steam room!?"
"Yes... A sauna full of steam!"
"I don't think I know what it is."
"Oh, hehe. Want to try it, Clara?"
"Yes. It's as simple as turning it on and taking off our clothes."
I had never tried a steam room before, so I didn't know what it felt like to be in one. But was this really the source of my hesitation? Asha stared at me, waiting for my answer. I've seen her naked before, so it wouldn't be a big deal to undress in front of her. So what was it?
Asha was very pretty. Her coffee-colored skin was just fascinating to me, and her jet black hair was so silky. I didn't feel anywhere near this level of cuteness. Everything about me seemed dull. Was that it? Was this why I was a bit scared? I would get to see a naked girl I was very attracted to, and in return, I had nothing to offer.
My eyes welled up a little as my stomach cramped due to my anxiety.
"Clara? What is it? Are you okay?"
"You... You are very pretty."
"What!? AWWW! Don't say things like that! You make me blush."
That was it. Asha didn't say it in return. She didn't say what I would have liked to hear. Lowering my head seemed to be the only thing to do.
"Do you really mean it, Clara?"
"Well... What would you say if we get in the steam room, I'll let you explore my body as much as you want. You know... Since you like it that much."
"But there's one condition! You must let me explore your body too... because I... I always thought you were pretty too... but I didn't have the guts to say it out loud as you did. I'm not that brave."
"Yeah... I really like your... your..."
"... my what?"
"Aaaah! Enough! I'll show you in the steam room! There is too much light here! Aaah! Why is it so much easier when I'm wearing my pet costume!?"
I didn't expect to see this shy side from Asha, but what she said cheered me up a little. Her comment about my prettiness came out of nowhere, and even if I was not sure I truly believed it, it made me feel warm and fuzzy anyway.
After pressing a few buttons on the control panel to turn on the steam room, Asha and I slowly stripped down, not looking at each other too much. It was easier to be naked in a bed or a capsule room, but standing in a bright bathroom like this made me feel very exposed.
Asha turned on some glowing red light in the dark steam room and entered it first.
"Come, Clara. It will get warmer quickly. Close the door behind you."
It was my turn to step into the small room, which was already very humid and hot. As requested, I closed the door behind me, sealing us inside this strange new world.
Right off the bat, it felt comfortable. The soft red light barely illuminated the place, and a veil of vapor made everything look blurry. All the walls were made of big glossy black tiles, promoting a very dark and intimate ambiance. A dark-skinned woman sitting on a small wooden bench extended her arms in my direction through the rising steam.
"Come sit with me, Clara! Hugging when it's hot... well... it's hot."
I joined her on the bench, and it didn't take long for us to start touching each other. Something about this atmosphere made us stop questioning each other and turned us into two romantic explorers. Asha grabbed my waist, and I rested my arms on top of her shoulders and pressed my forehead on hers. Being this close to her meant that she wouldn't be able to look at my naked body; it was a cheap strategy to keep my embarrassment in check.
"Asha? Did... Did you mean it?"
"Mean what? That you are cute?"
"Of course, I meant it, silly. Guess why all the pets were after you at the café when you showed up. Hehe. You have pretty eyes, a little nose, and lovely lips. The only thing I would change would be your hair. Why do you keep it like that? Look, if I put it sideways like this, it looks ten times better.
"I... I have never learned. Nobody ever helped me with my hair."
"Awww... Well, that's going to change. See, we just found the first thing we can do with your money. We can go for a haircut if you want."
"Misti said I should dye my hair blonde. And get the same haircut as her and Trixie."
"Don't be ridiculous... well... Wait a minute... Actually, even if I'm certain she said that because she wants a threesome with two hot blonde girls, that might not be a bad idea. Outside the hair color, you kind of look like them. Your face has the same shape. Yeah, let's do that. When Misti is off next, let her take you to the hairdresser. She knows what she is doing better than I do."
There was no reason not to be happy right now. I was with Asha in a hot steamy room, and she was amicably playing with my hair. It may have been a tiny detail, but it was what Lucy and the therapist had tried to explain to me. Life would be easier if I had friends surrounding me. At this very moment, even if I had not asked for anything, Asha was ready to take over my hairstyle, something I had always struggled with.
The heat was still rising, and the steam got denser. It was almost hard to breathe, but it also felt amazing. I couldn't tell my sweat apart from the moisture pearling on my skin.
"So, Clara... Do you remember when you wore Trixie's costume at the café?"
"You know that time when we turned you into a delicious bunny cake?"
"Hehe... of course, you remember. It was a lot of fun. Lucy almost caught me playing with you. Good thing the clients said nothing. Haha."
"It... it was fun. Yes."
"But you know... I was jealous."
"Because... Because I really wanted to do what the girl did to you back then. So I'm going to do it now!"
Asha gently lifted my arm, looking at me in the eyes to make sure I was okay with what she was doing. Then, she gave me a very long sensual lick from my lower ribs all the way up to my armpit, one of my most sensitive spots that she had discovered while I was helpless at the café.
"Aaashaaa! It... It tickles."
"Hehe. I waited for this moment for so long. I'll do it again!"
It was ridiculous. Defenseless, I couldn't do anything else other than letting Asha do whatever she wished to me. The irrelevance of my thoughts was incomprehensible; instead of fully appreciating what was happening to me, I wondered if this dizziness I felt was due to the hot steam or the very soft tongue that slowly dragged along my skin.
"I didn't tell anybody when I discovered that it was one of your favorite spots because I wanted to be the only one who knew about it. It's going to be our little secret, right?"
"I'll take that as a yes. Hehe."
Thankfully, she didn't abuse her findings since I could have easily passed out in a room hot like this. She calmed me down with some sweet kisses instead. Her tongue definitely had a soothing effect when it delicately caressed mine.
I felt privileged to have a good friend like Asha, who took the time to get to know me.
Meanwhile, at the café...
"Vix, for the tenth time, get away from the door!"
Vix, the adorable rubber fox, gesticulated randomly at Lucy in a distressed manner.
"Because I have a tray full of food bottles in my hands, and you almost made me drop them. You wouldn't like your food to end up on the floor, would you?"
Vix gesticulated some more while blocking Lucy's path semi-voluntarily.
"I know you are upset because I didn't want you to go to the pethouse with Clara, but I told you why. I don't want to overwhelm her on her first day. You'll sleep here tonight, and tomorrow morning I will let you join Asha and her."
Vix shook her head, no. She wanted to go now, not tomorrow. She went to the door and tried to open it again, but her cushy paws prevented her from doing so.
"Vix, don't test my patience, okay? If you don't calm down, I won't let you see her all week. Is that what you want?"
Vix ignored Lucy and kept pulling uselessly on the door handle.
Trixie, the white bunny who was nearby, walked to Vix and wrapped her arm around her waist to pull her away from the door before Lucy truly lost her cool. Perhaps cuddling for a while with the agitated fox would calm her down. It was unlike Vix to be this restless.
"Careful, Trixie, don't rip her suit. It would just make things worse."
Trixie shook her head and kept pulling the angry fox girl backward as carefully as possible, but things quickly took an ugly turn. As soon as the fox girl got in range, the red fox high-kicked Lucy's tray off her hands, sending all the food bottles flying.
Oreo managed to catch one in her arms, but all the other soft plastic bottles crashed to the floor, exploded, and made a huge mess.
Lucy's face turned as red as Vix's latex suit.
"VIX! THAT'S IT! You've done it. I'm taking your costume away for a full week!"
Vix crossed her arms and looked sideways as if to say, "I don't care!" Receiving this expected punishment had been premeditated and would allow her to go see Clara early. But things didn't turn out the way she had anticipated.
"Oh, I'm not stupid, you know. I know what you think, Vix. But I have news for you, little devil. You are not allowed to go to the pethouse anymore until next week. You are going to stay in my apartment until your punishment is over."
Vix gesticulated frantically, disagreeing with the unexpected catastrophic sentence. Lucy had never done this before.
"I don't care. Look around you, foxy. Your friends were starving, but now they can't eat because of you. Do you think it was nice to do that to them? That's right! It was mean."
Vix looked around for the first time, just to see all the squeeze bottles with their cap popped and leaking food everywhere on the floor. Only then she realized that she had messed up big time. A rumbling noise sliced the lounge's awkward silence. She looked to her side and saw the white bunny holding her belly with her two paws; it was Trixie's stomach that had made that loud noise. Feeling sorry, Vix lowered her head in shame.
"Aaah! You get it now? Good. Go sit in the corner until I finish cleaning this mess, and then we will take you out of that suit. You'll help me cook their meals all over again. Did you hear me?"
"Are you sure?"
Vix nodded once more, turned around, and dragged her feet to the nearest booth, adopting a collapsed posture. Her punishment had not even begun that she had already learned her lesson. It would be a long miserable week, and she wouldn't get to see Clara.
"What a mess! Trixie, make sure nobody walks in this slosh."
As Lucy was on her way out to fetch a mop, Oreo looked at the bottle she had caught in her arms during the incident. On the label, there was a name... hers. She couldn't believe that her meal was the only one that had survived this great food extinction.
Starving as much as the others, she ran to Lucy and pulled on her arm.
"Oreo! Now is not the time to play. I have to clean this and prepare your meals all over again."
Oreo shook her head. She just wanted to be fed quickly since her bottle was intact, so she pulled on Lucy's arm again and pointed in the direction of the table where her bottle was sitting.
"Okay, that's enough, Oreo! Bug me one more time tonight, and you'll join Vix. Is that what you want?"
Oreo shook her head, no, and returned to her seat. She was starving, and in front of her was her food bottle that Lucy hadn't noticed. There was nothing she could do about it. This was pure pet torture.