Author's Note: This just came from out of nowhere. It's a light, somewhat fluffy romance fic. Nice and simple, which is a nice change of pace. Hope you all enjoy it, and if you do, please review. :)


Paw Prints

Written By
Shadow Kitsune

Chapter One

"I know that we are young and that you may love me. But I just can't be with you like this, anymore... Alejandro," the blond haired Latina heroin said, her lucious red lips and powdered white face giving her the appearance of a ghost. She turned her back and started walking away from the camera, the French word Fin slowly fading onto the screen as she disappeared into the snowy black and white scenery.

Sappy violin music started playing as the lights in the theater came on and the sparse few patrons got up to leave while the credits rolled. Brett York sat up in the projection booth, looking out over the theatre as it emptied out. He breathed a sigh and rolled over to the archaic old film projector, shutting it off as he removed the film roll from the spindle and returned them to their respective canisters. He rolled his chair to the back of the room and used a key on the lanyard around his neck to open a large metal cabinet where he returned the canister to it's rightful spot on the shelf and closed the cabinet up, locking it.

It took about an hour for Brett to disassemble the projector and service it, cleaning and maintaining it as was his duty at the end of the night before reassembling it and having it ready to go for the next day. After packing up his things and turning off the lights, he left the booth and locked the door, heading downstairs on his way out for the night. Walking down a short spiral staircase, he passed through a heavy metal door he had to push a bar to get through. He found his way out into the small main lobby where a concession stand sat in the middle of the floor. Along the back wall were five individual theaters in a semi circular pattern. As Brett started for the front exit, two young women at the concession counter smiled and bid him good night; he acknowledged them with a smile and a nod, giving them a wave goodbye.

Outside Brett stood by the box office, which was dark and empty inside. He dug into the front pocket of his tight, holey jeans and took out a box of cigarettes, shaking one out as he took it between his lips and lit up. It was a muggy summer night, the air hot and heavy like a swamp. After mere seconds of being outside Brett had sweat beading up on his brow. He breathed a puff of smoke and heard the door open behind him.

"Gotta love the Florida weather. It's either so muggy your balls stick together or raining so bad you'd think Mother Nature's water broke," someone said as they walked up beside Brett. He offered them a cigarette and they took it, lighting it up.

"Rather sweat my balls off than freeze em," Brett remarked.

John Cabbot smiled and laughed quietly.

"I don't know about that," he said, taking a draw off his cigarette. "But I guess living in Florida all your life, you would say that."

Brett smirked crookedly and sighed.

"You off yet?" he asked.

John looked at him fleetingly and then away, shaking his head as he breathed a plume of smoke.

"Nah, the ushers still have to clean the bathrooms and vacuum the foyer," he said. "Probably gonna be about another hour."

"That sucks," Brett said, taking a puff.

"You doing anything?" John asked.

"I was thinking about it, but I guess I'll just head home," Brett said.

"Yeah, sorry dude," John said. "You off tomorrow?"

Brett nodded, throwing his cigarette on the ground.

"Yup."

"Maybe we can hang out sometime?"

"Sounds good," Brett said as he and John bumped fists.

"Later man."

"Later," Brett replied, turning to leave. He started down the sidewalk on his way to his car, fishing out his keys from his pocket. Sticking the key into the door he unlocked it and climbed in. Starting it there was a loud squeal as the whole car shook and sputtered violently. He revved the engine and let it run for a few minutes before turning on the radio, which came in staticky, before changing shifts and slowly pulled out. It was getting late so there wasn't much traffic, allowing him to just pull out and be on his way.

---

Pulling up outside of his parents' tacky bright yellow house, Brett got out and started up the walk way. The outside light was on, and the little white bearded yard gnome with its pointy hat and cigar hanging out of its mouth greeted him with its static stare from the front garden as he walked up to the door. He unlocked the door and went inside. It was dark except for a single light in another room. He heard laughing coming from the TV. Passing through the den into the TV room he found his dad passed out on a leather La-Z-Boy recliner, a bag of potato chips resting on his rotund beer gut with The Tonight Show and Jay Leno's massive chin playing on the television. Brett rolled his eyes and shook his head as he headed towards his room; he never understood how his father could fall asleep watching TV, though watching Jay Leno did tend to make him a little bit drowzy himself.

When Brett arrived to his room, the door was left open. Upon turning on the lights, two little heads popped up from a pallet on the floor and two little Beagle puppies came scurrying over to greet him, wiggling and wagging out of their skin. Brett knelt down and scratched them on their heads as they jumped up and licked him in the face.

"Hey guys. You miss me?" he asked, sitting down on the floor as the dogs fought each other to climb into his lap. He kissed each dog on the head and scratched behind their ears for a few minutes until they settled down and went back to lie down. Breathing heavily, Brett yawned and stretched as he stood back up and kicked his shoes off. Shutting his bedroom door he plopped down on his bed and wrapped his arms around his pillow. After just a few moments, he was out.

---

The next morning Brett was awakened by the smell of pancakes and bacon. He opened his eyes, a pool of drool saturating his pillow. He sat up and wiped his mouth, sniffing the air as he indentified the smell. It was unusual for anyone to be cooking this early in the morning, or period for that matter. He looked down at his two dogs, Porthos and Starbuck, who stared up at him hungrily, their tongues hanging out of their mouths as they panted. Rubbing his eyes, Brett got up and headed into the kitchen to feed them. There he found both of his parents sitting at the table. His mom had just sat down and pulled her chair up to the table when he arrived.

"Oh, good morning, honey. I made us some breakfast this morning. You hungry?" she asked.

Brett stood frozen for a second, still groggy from waking up. His dad was already digging in, eating a stack of six or seven pancakes caked with syrup and bacon inbetween each cake. There was a plate with the pancakes and bacon set in the center of the table with orange juice and coffee as well. Brett's mom rarely ever cooked breakfast, and when she did it was usually just some scrambled eggs. And even then, it was usually just for her or his dad, and they never ate at the table as a family. Something was up, and Brett knew that for sure.

"What's going on?" Brett asked.

His mom stared at him blankly and turned to his dad.

"What do you mean? We're having breakfast," she replied.

"I see that," Brett said skeptically, narrowing his eyes. "But we never have pancakes and bacon... or eat as a family," he stated.

His mom cleared her throat and shared a look with her husband, who was busy chowing down on some pancakes. After he swallowed, he wiped his mouth and tossed his napkin aside.

"Son, why don't you have a seat," he said.

Brett's heart sank. This couldn't be good. He began wondering what he had done, what he was about to get in trouble for, or be told that one or both of his parents were having an affair. Or maybe he was adopted. He wasn't quite sure what would be worse. Reluctantly he pulled a chair out and sat down at the table. His stomach was tighter than a tick, the last thing on his mind being food.

"Brett, there's something your mother and I need to tell you," his dad said, reaching across the table and holding is mom's hand. Brett's eyes grew wide. They never showed this kind of affection for each other, at least not while he was present. Whatever they had to tell him had to be something earthshattering.

"What is it?" Brett asked, surprised that he could even speak with the tension brewing in his gut. He wasn't sure he even wanted to find out. His parents stared at each other for a long while without saying anything, and finally, his mother turned to look at him and smiled.

"We're having a baby," she said.

Brett's eyes grew two times larger and his jaw dropped. He felt like he had just been punched in the stomach. He wasn't sure he was hearing her right.

"Y-You're... what?" he asked.

"Pregnant," his mom repeated. "We're having another baby!"

It was true. He had heard her right the first time. The 'P' word. Brett had never thought that word could be any more frightening. The only way that could have been possible were if he had gotten some girl pregnant, which didn't seem at all likely. But there it was, drilling itself into his brain and terrifying him, taunting him like some obnoxious fat kid bullying other kids on the playground. For a few moments Brett had left his body, everything else falling away behind him until he was called back by his parents.

"Brett, isn't that wonderful? Brett, are you listening?" his mom asked.

Brett shook his head, snapping back into reality. He licked his lips and swallowed, his throat feeling parched from his mouth hanging open for so long.

"Um... uh..." he said, staring at the orange juice on the table. He suddenly reached out and grabbed the carton and a glass, filling it full and chugging it down in one large gulp. He wiped his mouth with his arm and breathed hard. He stared down at the table, afraid to look back up at his parents, but he could feel their eyes on him, seering into him like hot coals. He took a deep breath and looked back up at them, forcing a smile.

"That's... great," he said, trying not to sound too sarcastic. "Just what I always wanted... a baby brother... or... sister..." he said. 'Great,' he thought. 'I'm almost 21 years old and they just now decide to have another baby. I'll be 40 freakin' years old when the damn thing turns 20!'

His parents were beaming, holding each other's hands tightly. They then turned to him, their face's turning solemn and serious all of a sudden.

"Now, Brett, there's something else we need to talk about," his dad said, a serious tone entering into his voice.

Brett whipped his head toward his dad, another pang of terror striking him.

'Oh God...' he thought. "What is it...?" he asked hesitantly.

His parents once again looked at each other, his mom pursing her lips tightly as a pained look came across her face as if she were passing a kidney stone or something.

"Son, I know we said that as long as you kept a steady job and stayed out of trouble that you could stay here as long as you'd like, but now that we've found out your mother's pregnant, we think that maybe it's time you find your own place," his dad said.

Brett's heart about jumped up his throat when he heard that. He swallowed hard, a sickening feeling coming over him like a tsunami.

"You're kicking me out?" he asked.

"No, honey, it's not like that," he mom said, reaching out to touch his hand.

"You're kicking me out!" Brett exclaimed.

"Son, we're not kicking you out. We just think that since you're almost 21 you're more than old enough to be out on your own. Besides, the house is almost paid for so we don't see the point in going out and buying a bigger one that can house four of us. And adding on just doesn't seem to be much of an option here, so..." his dad said, shrugging. "We need the room, son. We'd be more than happy to help you find an apartment and get you set up."

Brett leaned forward, propping his elbows up on the table as he buried his face into his hands.

"I can't believe you're kicking me out..." he muttered. "A woman mom's age... having a baby..." he said, shaking his head.

"We're sorry," his mom said. "To be honest, we weren't really expecting this to happen. I mean, I have been wanting another baby, but I figured that it was too late for that, so..."

"But it did happen. And now you're kicking me out," Brett said.

"Stop saying that!" his dad said. "We're not kicking you out. You have more than enough time to find a place and prepare to move out. It's not like we're kicking you to the curb."

"Yeah... you kinda are," Brett said.

His parents sighed and shook their heads, returning to their breakfast as he started getting cold.

"We're having this baby, Brett," his dad said, cutting up his pancakes. "And you have two months to find a place to stay. Like we said, we're more than willing to help you out, so stop complaining and eat your breakfast."

And that was that. The conversation had been dropped. His parents started talking about something else entirely as Brett sat, staring off into space as he dwelled on his parents' latest revelation. He heard some snorting and sneezing down at his feet and looked down to see Porthos and Starbuck staring up at him expectantly, wagging their tails.

'They're kicking me out,' he thought to himself, sulking in his chair. 'At least these two still like having me around,' he thought as he got up to feed his dogs.

'Looks like I just found what I'll spend my day off doing.'