Nick stood in front of Judy's apartment, and held his paw up to knock. He could hear Gazelle music playing inside as Judy moved around in her room. This was it. He was going to tell her how he felt. He'd put it off long enough, after all. They'd known each other for three years, and he hadn't dated anyone in that time, because he didn't want to date anyone else.
Nick's paw still hovered an inch away from the door. But...what if she said no? Work would be insanely awkward. She'd never be as comfortable with him again.
Nick's paw lowered to his side. This was crazy! He was crazy! A fox and a bunny together was unheard of! A tiger and a lion maybe, but not a bunny and a fox. What if they lost their jobs because of all the negative publicity? This job was everything to Judy. And what would her parents think? They had been wary of him when they first met him, and had eventually grown to like him, but they certainly wouldn't if he started dating their daughter.
Nick took a few steps back and sat down against the hallway wall. It's not like he wasn't sure of his feelings; those had been set in stone years ago. He just wasn't sure voicing them was the best course of action.
He'd move on, he thought. There are a million other foxes in the world. He'd already dated half of them, of course, but he'd find someone. And Judy could get a bunny in a heartbeat. She was the kindest person he knew.
He recalled a speech that Chief Bogo had told Judy on one of her first days as a cop, something about letting it go. So that’s what he had to do. Let it go.
Nick didn't feel like leaving yet. He wanted to be a fox who was about to tell a bunny he loved her for a few more minutes.
Judy thanked Emmett after he handed her the flowers. He and his wife had refused payment, given that she had saved Emmett's life.
"Are you sure you don't want me to-" Judy reached for her wallet.
"For the last time, of course not!" Emmett chuckled, "You get free flowers for life."
"Thanks again!" She called as she bounded out the door.
It was dark outside already, and Emmett turned the open sign to closed as soon as she walked out the door.
She got into her car and set the flowers on the passenger side seat, where Nick usually sat.
As Judy drove, she took deep, calming breaths. She was going to tell him. She thought she might explode if she waited any longer. She had been bargaining with herself for years about when to tell him. Wait until he finishes academy training, she'd told herself. Wait until he gets settled at the station, she'd told herself.
It's not like he didn't know she loved him, but she had never told him her feelings went deeper than "just friends". So this wouldn't be too hard, she thought cheerfully.
Judy went on her phone to find out where Nick was. They had both gotten apps to track each other as soon as they had started working together, just in case they got separated. He was at downtown City Center.
She parked outside and grabbed the flowers off the seat. She smiled, knowing it would calm her down.
Judy took a deep breath, clutched the flowers tightly in her fist, and pushed open the doors to the club. Pounding music filled her ears and she winced. Having advanced hearing made nightclubs not the best place for a rabbit. She ignored the pain and strode confidently through the room, looking for orange fur. When she saw him sitting in a booth across the room, she started to call his name, but trailed off when a hippo moved to reveal another fox beside him. She whispered something in his ear and he laughed, leaning in closer to her. Judy took a step back, bumping into a rhino who barely noticed her contact. Before she could see anything else, Judy bolted out of the club. When she got outside, the street was deserted. She threw the flowers on the ground. Stupid foxgloves. She'd thought it would be funny. She stomped on the flowers until they were completely ruined. But then the anger melted away and she burst into tears. Judy slid down the wall of the club until she was sitting on the concrete and buried her face in her knees. Of course he didn't like her! He was a fox! And she was just a dumb bunny.
"Judy?" A friendly voice asked and she looked up to see Benji smiling down at her, "Are you okay?"
"Oh, uh, yeah, I'm fine." She wiped the tears from her eyes as he offered her a hand up. She took it and brushed herself off.
"What are you doing here?" Benji asked, looking concerned.
"Nothing, I was just...nothing. It was good seeing you but...I have to go." Judy got into her car and drove away before Benji could say anything else.
Nick strolled out of the club with a grin on his face. 13 numbers. In one night! He shoved down the unexplainable guilt that had filled his chest the second he had first asked to buy a fox a drink.
He stepped on something and looked down to see a destroyed bouquet of flowers. Foxgloves, he thought. Then he noticed a little note that had been attached to the flowers with string. He reached down to pick it up and immediately recognized the handwriting on the front. There was a heart over the i.
Confused, he opened the note. It read,
"In case your hands get cold.
Wait, what? He read the note three more times. Judy got him flowers? Why did she just leave them here, all messed up?
His phone rang, and the caller ID said Benjamin Clawhauser. Why was Benji calling him in the middle of the night?
"Hey Benji, what's up?"
"Hi Nick, do you know if anything's going on with Judy?"
Nick glanced down at the note, "No, why?"
"I found her crying in front of this nightclub downtown. She wouldn't tell me what was going on. Could you make sure she's okay?" Benji asked.
Nick's stomach dropped. No. No, no, no, no, no. She would never...but apparently she had. It suddenly dawned on him. She had seen him with a fox. She actually did have feelings for him, and he'd managed to screw it up before it even started.
"Nick? You there?"
"Uh, yeah, I'll check on her. Thanks." He hung up, and ran to the subway station as fast as he could. Dumb fox, he repeated in his head over and over again.
"Carrots!" Nick banged on her door until the neighbors yelled at him.
The door slowly opened to reveal a puffy-eyed Judy.
"I need to talk to you." He huffed.
"I'm really not feeling well. Can this wait?" She asked, and her eyes started to well up again.
"No, Judy, I-"
"I'll talk to you later, Nick." She closed the door in his face.
"Woah, he must've screwed up bad." Her neighbor whistled.
"I wonder what he did." Laughed the other one.
Nick's heart broke in half when he heard her quietly crying in her apartment. He started towards the elevator in defeat.