The Catburglar Who Came in From the Cold
By Paul Calhoun
Kelly spends Christmas with Reg's family and Reg tells Kelly what he's known for awhile now. Also, Kelly continues to adjust to life as a female with a loving family. A few scenes that don't advance the plot added because I thought they added character.
Reg opened the garden gate, leaned forward and looked around. As usual, no sign of his girlfriend in sight. It wasn’t snowing, so she couldn’t pull the same trick she had the first time and she’d been absolutely livid the time she’d hidden in the shed and he’d been half an hour late, leaving Kelly to wait in a musty space. He smiled as he looked over to the right. Pine trees were not well known for their fluffy white tails. Pretending he hadn’t seen anything, Reg strode casually down the path. This time there was no roar to warn him, but he didn’t need it. The cream — and for some reason pale pink — blur that rushed at him from behind the tree was bent on tackling him to the ground. He took a half second to appreciate how the fox costume was itself so Kelly-like. With her tail flowing out behind her, her fur streaming in the wind and her slim muzzle pointed towards him in the joyful hunt, she was the best parts of the animal he admired and the girl he lived. Instead of taking her prey down, however, the slim female arctic fox who leapt at him found herself flying. Reg had caught her in midair and was spinning around with her in his arms. “Good morning, Kelly!”
“Aw!” The fox hung her head. “You got me.”
Reg held her at arms’ length. “Nice coat.”
Kelly had put a short, fur trimmed winter jacket on over the fox costume and had pulled the hood up over the mask. “Isn’t this little parka adorable?”
Reg shifted his grip so that she was lying with her back in one of his hands and her thighs draped over the other arm. He held her close and she clasped her arms around his shoulders. “It’s like having a big, playful dog. Every time I come to visit, you run at me and try to knock me down. Now you’re wearing a little coat.”
Kelly rubbed her muzzle up and down over his cheek like a dog licking it, her tail moving back and forth in the classical windshield wiper. “I’m always glad to see you.”
“I hope that’s not the only kind of kiss I’m going to get.”
Kelly wriggled out of his arms and raised her mask to fulfill his wish. “Happy?”
“I’ll be happier when we’re inside and can take our time at it.”
Kelly was glad to get inside as well. It was bitterly cold and even that short kiss had been long enough for a freezing wind to start loosening the skin around her cheeks. Reg probably didn’t notice the tiny wrinkles, but Ned was painfully aware of the fact that winter was a very bad time to be wearing a heat activated girl suit. She’d only put the arctic fox costume on to try — again — to get the drop on Reg, so she was wearing a wool dress and tights underneath. She laid the costume over a chair and joined Reg in the kitchen to help make a hot drink. “I’m running out of places to hide,” she said conversationally.
“The great Kelly? I’m sure you’ll think of something. If nothing else, you’ll wait until it’s spring and the grass is growing and then get your dad to stop mowing the lawn for a couple of days so you can put on a lizard suit and hide in it.”
“I’m not sure I’m a reptile gal.” Kelly said. “I’ll consider it, though.”
“Or you’ll paint scales on a wetsuit, stick a small oxygen canister into a sea monster mask and then burst out from underwater when I pass the pool!”
Kelly was starting to have trouble holding her cup because she was giggling so hard at that.
“Or!” Reg continued, gesticulating so wildly that he was in danger of spilling the carafe. “You’ll find some sort of glider-feathered bird outfit and lie on the roof. When I get near the house, CA-CAW CA-CAW!” He made stooping and flapping movements.
“Stop! Stop!” Kelly gasped, losing herself to laughter. “How crazy do you think I am?”
“Crazy enough to dress up as my favorite furry critter and attack me every weekend.”
“Speaking of doing crazy things, Christmas is coming up.” It had been difficult to broach the subject. Ned couldn’t really make an appearance for this since Kelly wanted to spend the whole holiday with Reg.
“My family would love to have you over!”
“How’d you know?”
Reg smiled. “I know you, Kelly. Your dad’s been away at work a lot lately. You don’t even have a tree! No, you’re definitely spending the holiday with us. Just one thing…” He looked plaintively at her. “Please don’t put anything under the tree that might upset my grandparents. My folks love you and think all the strange things you do for me are sweet, but grams isn’t as young as she used to be.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, I just don’t want you hiding somewhere in a big animal costume and jumping out at her.” He paused and his eyes grew wide. “Kelly! Do not get my mom to put you in a big box with a bow on it so you can hide inside wearing the fox costume and then jump out at me when I open it!”
Kelly’s stifled reaction to that came out as a mixed giggle and snort. “Don’t worry. Animal suits are for our together time.” She kissed his nose and then on an impulse licked it. “What I’m giving you for family Christmas will be family friendly. I promise.” She smiled sweetly did a Boy Scout salute.
Kelly took a running start, then did several leaps, flips and dives before grabbing onto a parallel bar with a rope dangling from it, flipping and dropping so that she was hanging by her heels with her knees clamped onto the rope for extra traction. The Starling had never needed this trick and never expected to, but it made her feel good that if she ever were to need to climb a rope upside down with her hands free, she could do it. She hung there for a moment and was about to swing up and flip back onto her feet when a voice made her entire body go stiff. “Hey, Kelly. Practicing for another double-oh-seven job? I’d leave you to it, but I need to know where you want me to put the snacks.” Reg was leaning on the doorframe of Ned’s private gym and grinning from ear to ear.
“Reg!” She cried, not letting go. “It’s not what it looks like.”
“I hope it is!” Reg said. “Because if you aren’t the Starling, then I’m going to be very guilty about my fitness regimen.” He walked over and pulled her hood up, spilling her hair down to the floor. Bending over, he turned his head to the side and kissed her. “I’ve wanted to do the Spider-Man routine with you ever since I found out.”
Reg looked at her with concern. “Fun’s fun, but the blood must be going to your head. You might want to get off of that now.”
Kelly looked at him with annoyance. “I can’t. This trick only works when my hair’s up and you’ve undone it.” She put out her arms. “Help me down.” Trying not to laugh at the predicament he’d put his girlfriend in, Reg took her by the waist and lifted her off the bars. He rotated her in midair and set her down. She put her hands on her hips and held his gaze, looking serious. “Now tell me. How did you find out?”
Reg brushed the strands of hair that had gotten free when he pulled her mask off out of her face. “It was more circumstance than anything. I’m not thick, you know.”
Kelly shook her head brusquely. “I didn’t mean to say you are. The fact that you know is a problem.”
Reg laughed. “You’re not going to kill me, are you?”
Kelly poked him in the chest. “This isn’t a laughing matter.” She hesitated as a cold wave swept through her body. “I — Reg…” She began to cry. “You weren’t supposed to find out! I wish I could tell you to leave, to never see me again for your own good. If the police ever track me down and they find out you know… But I can’t. I’m too selfish for that.”
“Kelly, I’m not leaving.” Reg said. “I’m too selfish to stop you from worrying by getting out and I love you too much to leave you alone like that.” He forced a low chuckle. “It’s not like anyone else has figured it out and I don’t think they will. I have a unique perspective on it. I doubt even most girls could actually sprint on the high heels we both have in our fox costumes, but who would know that other than the poor boy who gets knocked down every Saturday? Who else would hold your arm and notice a metal handcuff under your jacket sleeve? Or that you’re not around on nights when the Starling has a heist? I hope I’m the only one who has to have dates with you cancelled because you’re going out on a job!”
“You’re the only one!” Kelly said, suddenly worried that Reg didn’t trust her anymore and the tears welled up again.
“I thought so.” Reg kissed her, trying to comfort her. “The timing was too good, the coincidences mounted. I also realized that — well — I won’t bring that up. It’s too early and I think I’ve put enough on you already.” He grinned. “Hey, I got to surprise you this time.”
Kelly tried to look stern, but could only smile and shake her head. “Promise me this much. If things go south, you’ll turn State’s Evidence. I don’t want to see you in prison just because you couldn’t let go of me.”
Reg held her and kissed the top of her head. “If it makes you happy.” He left his face buried in her hair. “I don’t think you’re going to get caught anytime soon.” He held her at arms’ length and studied her face. “It seems that the Starling’s jobs are getting a bit more … personal in nature?”
Kelly giggled. “It was your idea, sweetie! You said that rich guys would want a thrill and naturally they’d never help the police since it might get them into a scandal. Their spouses might, but it’s a little hard to catch the crook when the victim’s in on it. I thought it might … wean me off of real crime. It’s still exciting because I might get caught, but it’s not nearly as dangerous.” She put her hand on his arm in an unconsciously concerned gesture. “I hope you aren’t too jealous. It doesn’t mean a thing to me, really! It’s just a job — I mean, I have fun, but that’s more because of the feeling I’m getting away with something.”
Reg shrugged. “If other guys can have good relationships with strippers — I guess you’re sort of like a really sneaky strippergram - I think I can handle a naughty catburglar. You don’t even take off your clothes from what I’ve heard.”
“Of course not, honey.” Kelly said. “I’m saving myself for you. They get a kiss or two and maybe tied up. A few have odder requests, but no, I never take off more than my mask.”
Reg nodded. “I can live with that.” He winked. “Especially when it lets my darling have interesting things like a certain white fox costume I might mention.”
Relieved, Kelly allowed herself to slip into the casual bawdiness that their conversations often contained. She turned and walked off, making sure to flex her gluteus muscles as she did so, quite aware that the tight catsuit was giving Reg a clear and detailed view of her behind as it shifted and moved under the fabric. She gave him a smouldering look over her shoulder as she pulled her hood and mask back on. “So, do you want to watch me finish my exercises? I was almost done with my gymnastics.” She glanced at the mirror. “It’d be a nice change to have a live audience for when I do my various seduction routines. I’ve never gotten to see how a single man reacts to each and every one of them in turn.”
“Just tell me where to stand.”
Since Christmas was both a special and a family occasion, Kelly had decided to wear something dressy but comfortable. If Reg’s family went out to eat, she could always dash home and change. When his mother answered the door and saw Kelly standing there in soft boots, leggings and a velvet dress with her hair loosely bound with a plastic hair tie, she said, “Kelly, you look adorable.”
Kelly smiled and entered. “I was a little worried that this outfit was a bit young for me.”
“It’s got a little girl charm,” Miriam said. “But no one’s going to mistake you for a little girl.”
“Thank you.” Reg — hearing her voice — joined them and she kissed him before they joined the rest of his family in his living room.
“Mom, this is Kelly,” Reg’s mother said to a short elderly woman with a mop of white hair. “She and Reg have been going out since August.”
“That long?” The old woman said. “So, when do I get some grandkids?”
“Mom!” Miriam said.
“Gram!” Reg chimed in. “It’s not like that.” He saw the pained look on Kelly’s face. “I didn’t want to say anything, but — well — Kelly can’t have children.” He grasped her arm gently and let her rest her head on his shoulder.
“I didn’t know that.” Miriam said. “I’m so sorry.”
Kelly shrugged. “It’s not a big deal, Miriam. I don’t like to talk about it, but it’s a fact.”
“If we decide to go any further in our relationship and end up getting married, we’ll decide whether we have our genes combined and get a surrogate or just adopt.”
“Either sounds like a nice idea,” Arthur said. “Now why I help you with that.” He’d seen the large bag full of wrapped boxes that Kelly had left on the stoop.
Kelly tried to get Reg alone for a moment, but in the brief periods when it was just them in a room, he’d only say, “Wait and see what my present to you is,” and then wink. Ned wasn’t sure if Reg knew who he was, but Kelly looked decidedly nervous as Reg insisted that the first present opened had to be his to her. The box was huge and when Kelly opened it and saw the tubes and machinery inside, she looked questioningly at Reg.
“It’s all the stuff we’ll need to make your outdoor pool heated.” Reg said. “I know how you … dislike cold water.”
Kelly was out of her seat and had her arms around Reg in an instant. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” She babbled. “I love you so much!” She kissed him hard. “This is the greatest present you could have given me.” She settled down on Reg’s lap, refusing to return to her own chair.
“Wow. That girl must really like to swim.” Grams said.
Reg’s parents just smiled and shook their heads. Young love. They were amused when on their insistence, Reg and Kelly opened one of the small packages that Reg’s parents had set out for the pair as a couple. “Mom!” Reg said, when he opened the box. “Really?”
Kelly put her hand over her mouth. “Oh my.”
“We just want you to be ready when the time comes. We’d hate for the moment to be ruined by a dash to the store and we definitely don’t want you doing anything you’ll regret. Even if pregnancy isn’t an issue, other things are.”
“Plus,” Arthur added. “We know how variety is a good thing, so you see that we got you a packet of every type. Even ones with amusing prints.”
“I think we’d better move on to my main present to you,” Kelly said to Reg, letting him bounce her a few times before getting up. “And you said this would be a polite set of gifts,” she teased as he found the box and pulled it out of the pile.
“We got you both a few more things, but given how you reacted to a pool warmer, we’re glad we got you that too.” Arthur said.
The box was almost filled with an enormous plush fox and at first Reg looked at Kelly sternly. When he pulled it out and took a piece of paper out of the bottom of the box, he looked closely at the note and then picked Kelly up and kissed her almost as excitedly as she had him when she saw the pool warmer. “I can’t believe you did this!”
“Did what?” Miriam asked.
“I have connections,” Kelly said smugly. “I hope you enjoy yourself.”
“Doing what?” Arthur asked pointedly.
Reg looked around, beaming. “Kelly got us a spot volunteering with some of the animals at the zoo on weekends.”
“Reggie always did like exotic animals.” Gram said. “I remember when he was a kid and I always had to watch him when we went out because he’d try to climb the fence and get into the exhibits.”
“I love them even more now.” Reg said, now sitting in Kelly’s lap.
The rest of the presents were more traditional, though Kelly had to pretend to be excited several times when she was given something colorful and ‘useful’ for her ‘dorm.’ The feeling of belonging suffused her and even when the others got up and bustled about getting other holiday traditions ready, she sat and watched them, basking in the glow of having a real family. Ned hadn’t had a proper Christmas since he was a boy. Another thing he’d missed without realizing it. Kelly stretched out on the sofa and lay down during a period when most of Reg’s family was busy. She didn’t realize she was dozing until Reg brushed her forehead. “Still awake?”
“Mmhmm,” she mumbled. She opened her eyes languidly and looked around. “Where’s everyone?” She yawned.
“In the dining room waiting for us, sleepy.”
“Oh.” Kelly sat up. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s OK. It gives us a moment alone if you want to ask any questions.”
Kelly looked into Reg’s eyes. “I think I know everything I need to. There are things we’ll need to discuss. Our future when we both know you’ll outlive me by a good margin. Not on Christmas.”
“No. There will be plenty of time for that later.” Reg agreed. “Let’s go.”
Reg woke up early on the next Saturday and looked out the window as soon as he finished getting dressed. It was snowing. Good! He left his house and went to Ned’s, making as little noise as he could opening and closing the door and going to Kelly’s room. She was still asleep and looked lovelier than ever lying on her side cuddling a pillow. Reg wanted to go over there right then and kiss her, but he knew what kind of reflexes his girlfriend had and he didn’t want to wake her up. Instead he went to her closet and took out what he needed. He was closing the door to the connecting bathroom when he looked again at Kelly and wondered. Was she Kelly full time now or did she still occasionally let out her … less feminine side? He closed the door and was out of the house well before she woke up.
Kelly had no idea her boyfriend had come and gone while she was asleep, though as she brushed her teeth, her thoughts ran along similar lines. Ned couldn’t remember the last time he’d spent more than a few minutes as himself, rinsing the skin out, drying it and then going back to being Kelly. She turned her morning dressing into a strip tease and beamed at herself in the mirror. Why should she want to be anything other than who she was? She felt so calm and so domestic as she closed and locked the door. She was about to go grocery shopping for the food that she would share with Reg that day. Ned had shopped for food as a matter of need and habit. Kelly walked down the aisles humming to herself and making sure to pick out something new that she was sure Reg would enjoy.
The spell was broken halfway along the garden path when a pile of the newly fallen snow exploded and a white and cream colored blur came at her. Instinctively, she ducked, but she was still borne to the ground and subjected to a freezing midriff as an arctic fox muzzle burrowed under her shirt.
“Treats? Treats?” The voice coming from the fox was almost her own.
Kelly pet the enormous female fox, who sat up on her haunches and held her arms out with her wrists limp like a begging dog. “I haven’t even been to the store yet!”
The fox bore down on her again, pushing her giggling to the ground. The fox sniffed and panted at her. “Car ride!”
“Not looking like that, I’m not!” Kelly said, stroking the muzzle and then kissing it. “If you want to join me as Andrea, you can, but not wearing that. Do I go out in public in that thing?” She tugged at the fur. “Besides, you don’t quite fit it. I can see skin peeking out.”
Reg pulled the fox mask off, revealing that he was indeed wearing Kelly’s twin suit who she called ‘Andrea’ when they weren’t alone. “Just trying to get into the spirit of our relationship.” He got up and helped Kelly to her feet.
“You look darling. If you were the same height as me — well, of course you’d look as good as I do in it. As it stands…” She looked the slightly stretched fox up and down. “You’re a little too big for it.” She hugged him. “I guess now I know how it feels. Am I going to get greeted like this for the next couple of weekends?”
Andrea looked at her wickedly. “Maybe.” She brushed some snow off her fur. “Probably not. You’re right, it’s a little too tight on me.” She started back to the house, swishing her tail provocatively. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll take you up on your offer, though. I haven’t gotten to hang out with my darling sis in too long.”
“Love you back.”
Andrea closed the door. Kelly huffed on her hands and rubbed her face. She hoped her sister wouldn’t be too long. Her face was starting to loosen up. Kelly really did need to talk to the costumer one of these days about getting something less temperature sensitive. Then again, that would make the heated pool unnecessary and she didn’t want to disappoint Reg by turning his present into something less special. She was looking forward so much to summer and when she could show off her curves again in a bikini and this time actually swim in it too!
Reg grew warier with each step as he walked up to Kelly’s house. When she didn’t jump out at him even when he opened the door, he crept in and looked around again. When he closed the door, he found a note taped to the back. “Come to my room. Kelly.”
Expecting an ambush when he opened the door, he opened it ever so slowly and froze at the sight of Kelly lying on the bed. She was wearing the arctic fox costume, but had made some modifications. Her aureoles and nipples were standing out and when he took a step inside, she spread her legs and fingered herself, showing that the suit had been made partially crotchless. “Hey, there lover.” The vixen said and then rolled over, kneeling and lowering her front in a submissive position. She wiggled her butt and wagged her tail. “Want to mount me? I fixed up your fox costume so you could play too.”
Reg walked over and gently pushed her tail down, tucking it between her legs. He was used to seeing every part of her by now, but seeing her pushing her privates in his face was still a little uncomfortable for him. “What’s going on? You’re playful, but I’ve never seen you so amorous.”
The vixen rolled back over, but kept her tail tucked between her legs, seeing that Reg was uncomfortable. She wrapped her arms around herself, hiding her exposed nipples. “After all the nice things you’ve done for me … the Christmas present and accepting me for who I am … I felt like maybe I needed to make the first move. Like you were waiting for me.”
Reg took the mask off. “You must be boiling in that thing. The heat’s still on.”
“I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable. If you put the fox suit on, we can go outside. You know my back yard is screened.”
“Sure I do. We’ve played around in it enough.” Reg pulled the zipper down so that Kelly would be cooler still, pulled the costume off down to her waist and massaged her shoulders. “I hope this is reversible.”
“Of course it is! I wouldn’t ruin our fun time just for a bit of sex.” She reached back to brush his hands.
“That’s good. Kelly, you don’t owe me anything. I love you for who you are; all of it. For everything you’ve done for me. Also,” he cupped her face in his hands and turned her to meet his eye, “I want our first time to be between us and to be really special. Me walking in and you displaying yourself … that’s animal, that’s too casual. We’ll know when the time is right.”
Kelly pulled him in and kissed him. “I’ve been silly.”
Kelly laughed. “So much for flattery. OK, I’m getting a little impatient and I was worried it was something about me. Or maybe you were shy. I’ll wait.”
“Actually, while we’re on the subject of who you are, there is something that’s been bothering me.”
Kelly’s heart started to race. “Yes?”
“When did you decide you loved me and I wasn’t just an alibi?”
Kelly smiled. “That’s easy. The first time I said ‘I love you.’ I was really surprised, but when I said it, I knew it was right. Before then … I liked you, Reg. The way the old me liked you. I wanted to help you and — well, it was convenient as well. It meant there were a few people who’d say, ‘That nice girl who dates our Reg? The Starling? Never!’ That all changed when you ordered dinner in advance and swept me off my feet. I should be the one thanking you. You showed me how much I’d passed up in life. I love you, Reg and I love us.”
“You were the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Kelly, and you definitely happen to me. I love you too.” He pet her fur again and stood up. “Why don’t you get dressed and I’ll make us lunch? Oh, and Kelly?”
“I wouldn’t mind this being the second time. Just in case you ever want to plan something interesting and we’ve already been intimate between ourselves. I couldn’t think of a sexier or more appropriate second sex date.”
Kelly smiled, “I’ll think about it, but where would be the surprise?”
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