A Tiger is Mesmerised
15 Waseem (July) 2021
Near Mahakatepa, the Kohatu Isles
The waters off the coast of the Kohatu Isles were pristine. They were as clear as crystal and warm. The beaches were white with soft sand and lined with tall coconut palms. Everything was surprisingly peaceful and laid back for a country that was the site of war just 3 years prior.
An hour’s drive from the Kohatuan capital Mahakatepa was a small resort town with villas along the beach. The wealthy came to this secluded paradise to enjoy privacy and rest. They came from every part of the world. Towering Ursines, adorable Lutrynes and the like were enjoying the drinks being served by a merchant under a large thatched umbrella-like structure, basking in the sun and surfing or swimming in the warm gentle waters.
A man with extremely pale and pink skin, punctuated by elaborate tattoos, was walking down the beach. He was a Feline; he had not a hair on his body but a few whiskers reminiscent of the adaptations of his ancestors. He wore shorts that went halfway up his thighs. He was lean, visibly muscular, and nimbly built. He strode both confident and carefree on the beach, sunglasses on his eyes. Not far away, were big Feline men standing stoic in the distance with suits in the warm sun, sweating, unyielding in their gaze.
“He must be quite important”, Jasper said as they ordered another drink from the vendor, keeping their eyes fixed on the mysterious and attractive Feline.
“Everyone’s important Mx Jasper”, the vendor replied.
Shirtless except for a bikini top over an otherwise flat chest and wearing a low-rise flowing wrap around their waist, Jasper Ray had come from the halls of the Kohatuan Legislative Assembly to have a rare and much-deserved rest. Three years ago, Jasper Ray was not far from this place, holding a heavy rifle and shooting soldiers of the Diamond Authority.
Now they freely used the pronouns they/them, wore makeup, spent most of their time politicking, and were referred to as “Mx” by a public that not long ago resented gender non-conforming people. It was remarkable how much could change in such a short time. Handsome Feline men from exotic nations were among the many changes that Jasper Ray came to enjoy about liberation from the Diamond Authority and the rule of the Oan Isles.
“I’m going to talk to him”, Jasper Ray said out loud, almost like they were talking to themselves.
The vendor replied, “Be careful Mx Jasper”.
Before the vendor could complete his statement, Jasper was already walking toward the stranger. Jasper stood in front of him, their own body with traditional Oan tattoos.
Jasper said, “You have nice tattoos, very exotic”.
The stranger replied in a very thick foreign accent, “You too, very tribal”.
Jasper laughed, “Very witty, are we? I’m Jasper, nice to meet you”.
Jasper extended a hand to greet the stranger. The stranger shook it and said, “I am Abu…”
“Nice name”, Jasper replied, “Can I interest you in a drink?”
Abu was surprised by the offer, but he did not let on. His sunglasses obscured the intention and expression of his face. He simply nodded and they walked together. Ever the conversationalist, Jasper was able to ramble about all sorts of topics and ask questions to which he gave short answers. Abu spent most of that time trying to make sense of what he saw and felt.
What an interesting person, he thought to himself as his eye rode up their caramel-coloured arms and body, taken captive by the strong, slim and youthful physique, and pretty androgynous face.
“What would you like, Abu?” Jasper asked.
Abu looked surprised almost like he had been transported to this unknown place. He had spent much of the walk being both confused and enamoured by this human who was so forward and confident and friendly and kind.
“A mimosa, please”, Abu replied.
“Ooh”, Jasper said, “A wise choice. I, myself am partial to a strawberry daiquiri”.
The vendor made the drinks looking at Jasper mischievously.
Jasper came closer to Abu, asking to see his tattoos. They barely touched Abu, hands hovering barely a centimetre. Abu felt, drawn like a magnet, listening to the swirl of words and questions, taking this person in like a drink of fresh water. It was like he was witnessing something both strange and familiar which he was certain was somehow important and necessary.
After over an hour of conversation talking about that bit of politics and current affairs, pop culture and trips to foreign lands and hobbies, pets and favourite colours, Abu said, “Can I take you out on a date tonight? Since you’ve made me feel so welcomed and bought me a drink, I think I ought to return the favour, to a lady as lovely as you are”.
Jasper’s face seemed to crease with confusion, but they quickly hid their expression, realising what had happened. Jasper was tempted to explain that they were not a woman by any estimation, but they thought, Why not? Let’s see where this goes.
Later that evening, Jasper arrived at the address whereat Abu asked them to come for their date. The gardens were beautiful and a burly feline man led Jasper to the back of the property. There, a picnic overlooking the beach had been prepared. There were lights that gave the scene a gentle glow as the sun began to dip its toes, its body and then its crown into the sea.
Jasper sat beside Abu who greeted them with a kiss on the cheek and a glass of Pinot Noir, grown in the Tumarid Highlands of the Shakar Province of Packilvania.
Jasper twirled the glass, inhaled the rich scent of spices and wood, watching the legs form on the sides of the glass and letting the red fluid sit on the palette. Abu’s jaw seemed to have slipped open as his eyes were fixed and unmoving on Jasper’s lips, with very few thoughts in his head other than how they might taste.
“Abu?” Jasper said, smiling softly, enjoying the fact that Abu was visibly taking a fancy to them. Abu kept moving closer until they were barely a foot apart.
“Can I see the tattoo on your hand?” Abu asked.
Jasper obliged. Abu stroked their hand and eventually held it. Jasper was surprised but calm and reciprocated with a gentle but sturdy hold. Abu touched Jasper’s arm, moving his face closer to theirs. Before their lips could meet, Jasper said, “Abu, I think there’s something you should know…”
“I don’t want to know anything other than whether you will let me kiss you”, Abu said at once, his breathing mixing with Jasper’s.
Jasper replied, “You may kiss me…”