Yes! It is the new, improved, revamped version of A Fox's Love! For those of you who've bought A Fox's Love on kindle, you can upgrade your current version for free! If you bought this on paperback, then you can download the kindle version for Free! I'm not gonna have you pay for something that you already bought. Now, please read on, and I hope you enjoy the improved version of A Fox's Love!Chapter 1
Have you ever experienced one of those life-changing instances? An event so momentous that, years later, you’re still marveling at how it changed your life?
Kevin sat there, on the floor, his hands behind his back, acting as support so he didn’t fall over. He stared up at the person before him, dazed, shocked, and on the verge of freaking out.
She stared down at him from beneath a curtain of shimmering hair. It was reminiscent of fire. A vibrant red that glistened in the afternoon sun. Beautiful. That was the only word he could think of, yet even that word seemed incapable of truly describing the gloriousness of her hair—or, indeed, of describing her at all.
I had one of those. It happened a while ago. Even to this day, through all the changes that have happened, through all the experiences that I’ve been through, I still can’t believe how this one moment changed my life forever.
Her appearance would have made angels rage in jealousy. It wasn’t just her hair, which was long enough to descend past her thighs. Vibrant emerald eyes gazed upon him with a joy that took his breath away. Lush red lips, the kind that any hot-blooded male would have loved to claim with a kiss, curved in delight, making his arms wobble. Her body, which seemed to have been crafted by the devil himself to represent lust, threatened to steal Kevin of his consciousness.
No matter what came after, our first meeting is something that I’ll always remember.
Her Cupid’s bow lips parted, and from that deliciously shaped mouth came a single word, one laced with so much sweetness that Kevin could’ve sworn he was in an anime; one of those romantic comedies where the female falls in love with the main character at first sight.
Especially since, at the beginning of this tale, I thought she was nothing but an ordinary fox with, unordinarily enough, two bushy red tails.
Life; it hits you when you least expect it to.
The Swift residence was situated inside of the Le Monte apartment complex located in Phoenix, Arizona.
It was a nice place to live, all things considered. It wasn’t very ritzy, but the grass was green, there were two well-maintained swimming pools—among other amenities—and all of the apartment buildings were clean, modern structures with red roofing and white stucco walls. There were definitely worse places to live.
The apartment belonging to the Swifts was modest in size, possessed two-bedrooms and two-bathrooms, contained a moderately sized kitchen connected to a living room, and an office near the master bedroom. Despite not being very large, it had all the comforts one would expect to find in a well-loved home.
Lining the walls were pictures within frames of various sizes and styles. The images were of a pretty young woman who didn’t look a day over twenty, and a boy who grew throughout each picture. In one, he was a small baby that looked like a tiny ball of fat and pudge, as all babies do. In another, he was a young boy no older than one with a head full of peach-fuzz hair. In another, he was a preteen with short, spiky hair and a large grin, holding a soccer ball in his hands while standing next to an equally grinning girl with boyishly short blond hair. All of the pictures showed the boy as he grew up, and the young-looking woman, who was obviously the boy’s mother.
The apartment was mostly empty of inhabitants, save for one bedroom where the boy in the pictures peacefully slept―
―Or at least, where he was sleeping, until the alarm clock went off, ruining a wonderful dream. Couldn’t it have beeped just ten seconds later? He had been just about to share a romantic kiss with Lindsay!
Blearily sitting up in bed, and pulling his hand off the now abused alarm clock, Kevin Swift blinked weary blue eyes, striving to come to terms with the fact that he was now awake. He ran a hand through his tousled, medium-length, light blond hair, brushing several stray bangs out of his eyes. As his mind became more alert, he absentmindedly stared around his room.
It was a pretty average room for a 15-year-old boy. Lining the walls were posters of all his favorite bands and sports teams, along with a number of posters showcasing his favorite anime and manga characters like Lala Satalin Deviluke, Erza Scarlet, Spike Spiegel, and Train Heartnet. Sitting against the wall was a large book shelf, which was filled from top to bottom with his favorite anime and manga.
Surprisingly enough, there were no pictures of bikini models, hot actresses, or half naked women in his room. That they weren’t sharing Kevin’s bedroom was because of his innate shyness when it came to women. To put it simply, he couldn’t talk to girls to save his life. Any time a girl came up to him, he would freeze, his mouth unable to move, and his mind unable to think. It was an affliction that affected him in more ways than one, and it was the main reason that he still couldn’t ask Lindsay Diane on a date, despite the years they’d known each other.
Thinking on it, Kevin believed that the reason he couldn’t talk to women was because he’d watched one too many shōnen love comedies?
After taking a shower and getting dressed, Kevin made a breakfast of eggs, toast and a glass of milk. Upon finishing, he placed the dishes in the sink and brushed his teeth. Once he finished his ritual, he was awake and raring to go.
Stepping out of the apartment he shared with his mother, who was currently in France for her job, Kevin locked the door and walked over to his bike.
It was one of the nicer cruisers, which had cost him a good deal of money to buy, but he considered it an investment. When out on the road, comfort was of paramount importance. The last thing he wanted was for his butt to fall asleep while on the job.
He undid the padlock, grabbed the bike, rolled it down the stairs, then took off, pedaling his way out of Le Monte apartment complex and onto the main street.
As he rode in the bike lane on the left side of the road, Kevin mused that even in the wee hours of the morning, it was still hot as hell in this state. Seriously, Arizona had to be the hottest place in the United States, especially during the summer.
Well, technically summer was nearing its end. Just a little less than two weeks and it would be September, but Kevin had never been one to bother with such semantics. It certainly wouldn’t stop him from complaining.
Mentally complaining about the heat, he continued to pedal down the bike lane, all the way to his job.
Kevin’s job was delivering the morning newspapers to the houses along his route. He didn’t like relying on his mom for money, especially since she was rarely ever home. He had started doing this two summers ago, when he was in eighth grade, and had decided to continue doing so after he entered high school.
Since summer was almost over, he would only be delivering the Sunday morning newspaper. He just didn’t have time on weekdays now that he had school, homework, and after school activities. It meant he would make less money, but at least he would still make something, so he couldn’t complain too much.
The newspaper building wasn’t much to look at. It was just a moderately-sized, one-story, rectangular building composed of drab gray bricks and a flat roof. It looked boring, and the manager who owned it wasn’t much better. Actually, Kevin preferred looking at the building as opposed to the manager. Thankfully, the big boss wouldn’t be there this early in the morning. Kevin supposed there was some kind of silver lining to that, but he couldn’t see it.
Jerk gets to sleep in while I’m stuck riding in this heat.
Kevin didn’t bother locking up his bike. He set it against next to the front door, which he then unlocked with the key he’d been given.
When Kevin first started this job, the manager had actually woken up every morning to unlock the door. He would then proceed to watch Kevin like a hawk, while a young Kevin loaded newspapers onto his bike. It had actually been pretty creepy, being watched like that. After nearly six months of this treatment, the manager finally decided that he didn’t need to show up every morning and gave him a key to get in.
Kevin found his papers sitting by the front door, as usual. The box was heavy, but he managed to lift and carry it to his bike. He had grown pretty strong since he had started. Back then, he’d been forced to make six trips, which had totally sucked.
Once all of the newspapers were on his bike, Kevin was off to do his newspaper run.
The paper route he took had him traveling through two different neighborhoods. All the houses were large and nice and imposing in their ostentatious magnificence. Many of them were two-story homes with white plaster walls and red-tiled roofs. The front lawns were all manicured to perfection, with neatly trimmed hedges, perfectly cut trees, and a large variety of cacti. From time to time, Kevin would see expensive cars parked in front of garages.
He shook his head at the wasteful use of money. Maybe it was his mom’s influence, but he just didn’t see the point in buying such extravagant vehicles. They looked nice, sure, but they cost more than they were worth, especially since most of them were custom models that required constant maintenance to keep them at peak performance.
The trip through both neighborhoods took him a little over two hours. By the time he got back to the newspaper distribution building, it was around 4:30 a.m..
He probably could have finished sooner, but Kevin had decided to make a game of trying to hit cars with a newspaper. More often than not, he failed. Kevin wasn’t a basketball or baseball player. He had no talent in throwing anything unless it was a Frisbee, and even then, he couldn’t do so very well.
Kevin re-parked his bike by the front door, went inside, and headed down the first hall on the left. He didn’t have to walk far. The hall was short, and the room he needed to enter was the first door on the right.
The room was a standard office. It contained all the items that were expected of an office: A desk, a chair, and a file maintenance cabinet. This particular office was very spartan, possessing only the bare necessities and nothing else, not even a single picture hung from the walls. There was nothing in this room to indicate that it was being used—other than the large stack of papers sitting on the desk.
Well, that, and the very large man sitting behind the desk. And by large, Kevin didn’t just mean big. He meant gargantuan, like sumo wrestler large. Kevin wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that this man had been a sumo wrestler at one point in his life. He was that big.
The man in question was his boss, Davin Monstrang. He was a beefy man, with a head of short brown hair, two small brown eyes, and a girth that made it look like he could eat six cows and still be hungry. He had no neck, somewhere around ten chins, and fat that practically rolled out of his ugly, khaki colored, button-up shirt.
“I finished my newspaper route,” Kevin informed the man.
Davin grunted, still not looking up from whatever paper he was working on. “And I suppose you want your paycheck?”
Another grunt was the answer he received. Davin wasn’t one for words.
The chair creaked ominously as Davin rolled it away from his desk. Kevin actually wondered how long the chair had before it broke under the strain of keeping that man seated. Rummaging through his drawers, his boss eventually pulled out an envelope and slapped it onto the desk, which shook from the force.
“Here. Try not to spend it in all one place, brat.”
Kevin resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the man. Even after all this time, his boss still seemed to think the worst of him. He wasn’t like those spoiled rich kids, who spent their money frivolously on extravagant garbage he didn’t need…
… Okay, so maybe he didn’t need all those anime, and perhaps the 600 volumes of manga he’d collected was excessive. But, at least he didn’t spend it on drugs like a lot of kids at his school did. Surely, that had to count for something.
Grabbing his paycheck off the desk, Kevin thanked Davin and hurriedly left. He didn’t enjoy being in his boss’s presence any longer than necessary.
It was all that fat. Whenever the man moved, his fat seemed to come alive. It made Kevin feel like he was staring at some kind of eldritch horror that might eat him if he stayed too long.
HP Lovecraft has nothing on those fat rolls.
Grabbing his bike, Kevin was just about to leave when a noise caught his attention. It was muffled and difficult to make out, but he would recognize that sound anywhere.
That’s the whimper of a pained animal!
His eyes widened.
Kevin had two weaknesses, one well-known, the other not so much. The first was a weakness towards women, which everyone and their mother knew about, and all of his friends endlessly teased him about.
His second weakness, one known only to his best friend and crush, was his love for—no, his obsession with—animals. Kevin had loved animals ever since his mom had first taken him to the zoo when he was five. He’d gone into the petting pen and played with all the animals there. They seemed to like him, unlike some of the other kids who’d been bitten, and he’d had a great time. That had been the start of his animal obsession, which rivaled his anime obsession.
Back when he was younger, he would occasionally bring strays or even wild animals home with him. It had caused a lot of problems with the people in charge because of the apartment complex’s no pet policy. After he’d brought home an injured bobcat cub, his mom had put her foot down and made him promise to stop bringing animals home.
Since then, he hadn’t brought a single animal into the apartment—except for this one time when he’d found a stray cat. He hadn’t been able to help himself then. It had just been too cute!
I should go. I should just grab my bike and leave.
His mom would be upset if he brought an animal home.
That’s right. Just ignore the sound, Kevin. You don’t want to cause anymore trouble.
Another whimper resounded out. Maybe it was merely his imagination, but it sounded almost like whatever made it knew he was there.
Oooh! I can’t do this! It sounds like it’s hurt!
His decision made, Kevin rushed around the corner of the building, which was where the whimpers were coming from.
His eyes widened.
Kevin squealed in a manner that was eerily reminiscent of a fangirl who had just bumped into her favorite pop idol. Of course, there was no pop idol here. However, lying near the dumpster was something far cooler.
It was a fox with bright red fur.
Less than a second after letting loose with his “inner fangirl,” Kevin slapped a hand over his mouth.
Idiot! What the heck is wrong with you? Squealing like some kind of prepubescent little girl?
Worse still, he had squealed in front of a fox! It was a well-established fact that foxes didn’t like humans! They shied away from human contact and would bite whatever frightened them!
If he wanted to have any hope of even getting near it, much less petting it, then he would need to be quiet. Quieter than Elmer Fudd when he was “hunting wabbits” quiet.
Luckily, the fox didn’t seem to have heard him. It hadn’t even moved from where it lay.
Calming himself down, Kevin prepared to sneak up on the fox. He would become one with his surroundings. He would blend in with the shadows. He would be like a shinobi.
Making a weird sign that looked like a cross with his fingers, Kevin slowly creeped toward the fox. As he did, he wondered how it got into the city. There were foxes in Arizona, of course, but they all lived in the desert, far away from any human habitat.
Although, with the recent expansion of city limits, the fox’s natural habitat was getting smaller. Maybe it had been forced to come here because it had nowhere else to go? Kevin scowled at the thought. No one seemed to care about how people were destroying the natural habitat of animals like this fox anymore.
As he neared the creature, he observed its appearance. The fox was very small, nothing more than a tiny kit that could easily fit in the crook of his arms. It had a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned muzzle, and red fur that looked like an ardent flame.
He recognized the species, a red fox, which was the most common type of fox. Strange, he didn’t think red foxes lived near Phoenix. Their habitat was supposed to be the northeastern portion of the state, up in Flagstaff.
As he neared the fox, Kevin saw something else that was unusual. It had more than one tail. Lying limply behind the tiny critter were two bushy red fox tails with white tips.
How unusual. Kevin had never seen a fox with two tails before. He was pretty sure that foxes weren’t supposed to have more than one tail.
Could it be a government experiment?
He couldn’t see why the government would experiment on a fox to give it two tails, but there were always conspiracy theories about the government committing inhumane experiments on humans. Why couldn’t they do one on a fox as well?
Another whimper escaped from the fox’s mouth, and Kevin remembered that it was injured. Also, while he hadn’t noticed before because its fur was so red, a more in depth observation caused him to notice that a portion of its thick fur was slick and shiny, like someone had splashed liquid on it. It was most definitely blood.
Now that he noticed it was injured, he also saw the expanding pool of blood underneath it, along with the carnelian trail that showed it had dragged itself to this spot before collapsing.
Kevin dropped all sense of subtlety and sneakiness and rushed toward the fox. It must have been horribly injured not to notice his approach. Foxes were supposed to possess keen senses. Even injured, he would have expected it to try to run away the moment he made too much noise.
Kneeling beside the injured animal, Kevin realized why it hadn’t run away from him. It was unconscious. Growing even more concerned, Kevin gently scooped the small fox into his arms and stood up. A small whimper escaped from the tiny animal as the movement jostled its wounds.
“Sorry,” Kevin whispered, even though he knew the fox couldn’t hear him.
He rushed back to his bike and, after a moment’s thought, divested himself of his shirt and used it as a makeshift pillow for the fox.
Placing the fox into the basket along with his shirt, Kevin took off toward his apartment, his thoughts focused solely on helping the small creature suffering in front of him.