The bright rays of Kaybok graced the ash-white sands of Zurewwa beach and its furry sunbathers like a warm blanket. Purple waves crashed on the shores. Hearing mooing sounds, I looked up and saw humanoid figures flying on the back of an immense bird. They passed before a moon twice the size of earth's. Although I'd been on Pathilon for over a month, I still couldn't get used to sights like that. I found myself accidentally stepping on a pair of tails. Guinea pig faced Abreyas, in the middle of a romantic moment, hissed like cats and growled at me in Wava.

"Kigua, hib chuzka." I made a hand gesture behind my butt to indicate the lowered tail of a cowering dog.

"You don't have to insult yourself, jufae. Simply say, `Nifu brimuomei, chiceo, hua yibya cequteb, zoor hib eilidapo kai jivo ticoh ceju.'"

My date had arrived, looking twice as amazing as I'd seen her during my stay at the hospital. Her hair, purple with white splotches, had been cut in a Bob. She wore a red and black Rohego, the Abreya equivalent of the Chinese qipao, with a loincloth-like `skirt.' Puff sleeves, bodice scandalously snug around her two sets of breasts. Her body may have been covered in light gray fur, but I hadn't expected to see this much of it. I could barely get sounds out of my throat. "Mine is shorter." Then, to make it clear I wasn't talking about her outfit, "I mean, what you said is hard to remember."

Pillow's goat-like eyes narrowed the moment she caught me staring, then widened in...surprise? Disbelief? A faint greenish tinge crept up her cheeks. "I-I don't think you're stupid at all!"

She turned her attention to the angry couple, defusing their upset with a rapid fire Wava conversation, basically the same stuff she'd just suggested.

We retreated to a different spot, and I found myself again admiring the the delicate stitchwork on her bodice. "Umuacik. I, uh, must have gotten distracted by all the scenery." I forced my eyes upwards, and saw her minus sign pupils narrowing once more. Flustered, I blurted, "That's a very pretty dress you're wearing. Do you generally wear things like that to the beach?"

I'd seen other Abreyas wearing very little, especially the ones taking dips in the Rocbish Sea. They had fur coats...Still, not polite to imply that your girlfriend should strip down. "Honestly, I don't yet know that much about your culture. Even on my planet, we have old picture books..." Great job, Dave, I thought to myself. Call her old fashioned. "I mean, picture books that show French ladies dressing up and having grand" (Don't say old, stupid!) "Picnics by beaches...anyways, I like your outfit."

The green tint colored her plump cheeks a little more strongly now. Was I making her ill? I thought, perhaps, she hadn't intended this outing to be the romantic type - we weren't the same species. "I thought we might go somewhere special after this. I know of...a restaurant."

Knowing she meant a gejzol, which isn't exactly the same thing, I frowned at my outfit. Khaki shorts, flip flops, Hawaiian shirt. I had been dressed for the beach. "Does the place have a dress code?...Do I have to dress up, I mean?"

A smile appeared on her rodent mouth. "I thought we might do some shopping first."

I decided her green coloration had nothing to do with me. "Are you feeling ill?"

Pillow looked at me like I'd gone crazy. "Yok! What makes you think I'm sick?"

I furrowed my brow. "Um, your skin was turning green. Have you seen any of our cartoons about seasick sailors—?"

Her face got greener. "I'm blushing, okay? Poniki! I can't believe you..." She covered her face with her frog-like hands, tail in submissive dog mode.

"If it's any help, my face is turning pink right now."

Pillow peered between her fingers. "I can hardly tell."

I grinned. "I guess I should have known that's what it was. All it is is blood coming close to your skin. I did see some of that stuff at the hospital..."

Her minus sign pupils rolled upwards. She didn't appear to have any sclera, just gold colored irises. "I still can't believe we're doing this."

Inside, I was doing a little victory dance. "And I still can't believe you said guep."

"You pestered me until I gave in."

"You could have just said yok."

Pillow crossed her arms, snapping her tail like an angry cat. She appeared to be trying to make up her mind. "What is it about me that you find so interesting? Why not a human, or algotbrea? Was it my...bad side mannerisms?"

Her mangling of English colloquialisms entertained me. "It's bedside manner, and no, it wasn't just that. You're beautiful, you know about Jesus, and Star Wars...I just really like you!"

She still looked conflicted. "And you think something might come out of this."

I answered with a shrug. "C'mon, it's just a date. You call them aldoyi, but it's the same thing. You go places with someone you like, see if you want to keep hanging out."

"Fine." Despite her annoyed tone, Pillow's mouth had curled into a smile, flashing a set of buckteeth. "Have you ever ridden on virkoga?"

Shaking my head, I pointing to the huge mooing birds above us. "Those are the only animals I've been on, and you already know how well that turned out."

Pillow giggled. "Virkoga are a little safer. They prefer to stay in the water." She tugged on her collar. "Speaking of witches, it really is hot today. Let's hurry up and go in."

The comment made me stare. It couldn't have been more than seventy five degrees. "Seriously? It's comfortable to me! I guess it must be that fur coat—"

I couldn't finish. While I talked, Pillow had been busy unzipping the back of her outfit. The moment she casually shrugged it from her body, I felt as if I'd lost the ability to speak.

Beneath she only wore a sort of harness/thong combination, like the others at the beach. The design of this particular harness reminded me of black-purple cabbage, striking against the cream colored fur of her bosom and stomach. It covered the important things, like the double mammaries and...whatever she had down below. I suppose the fur I just mentioned did an adequate job with the rest.

"I brought swim trunks and a towel," I stammered. "Just a sec."

Everybody there used lockers, shaped like enormous seashells, rented in sizes proportionate to what you were storing. You unlocked them with your tailprint, or, in my case, a hand print. The bathrooms also had been designed to resemble giant seashells, making the entrance a little funhouse-like.

Pillow giggled when she saw me coming out in my red and blue trunks. My cheeks flushed hot with embarrassment. "What."

This made her giggle more. "You're right! You do turn pink!...And your wogban...`shorts' are very cute."

"Um, thanks."

We strolled along the shore, watching small Abreya children splashing around a set of gray monoliths.

"What's that thing in the water?"

"I don't know. It's one of our great mysteries. Like those Eastern Island statues you told me about."

"It's Easter Island," I corrected. "I'm guessing part of the mystery of yours is why they haven't weathered away from all the ocean water?"

"Guep. There are many theories but nobody knows. Maybe a human put it there?"

I chuckled at the irony. "I...don't think so."

Virkoga reminded me of dolphins, had they interbred with cockroaches and produce. I think Pillow's swimwear had been modeled after their skin, because they also resembled cabbage. Their fins were long and had a wing-like shape to them, though bearing a striking similarity to kale.

After baiting a couple with food, we had a very interesting ride on their rubbery backs. Pillow had an easy time with hers, on account of her tail, but I kept getting thrown from mine, especially when it decided to take to the air and flip me into the ocean.

It did this a number of times - guess it must have liked me somewhat or it wouldn't have kept coming back.

Pillow and I took a break on an island beneath a towering rock formation shaped like a Y. How that landmark didn't collapse, I have no idea. The flying fish things honked at us, wanting to play more, but when they saw us only rest and sunbathe, they lost interest and swam away.

Pillow had chosen to sun herself a fair distance away from me, so I closed the gap a little.

"Have you really thought this through?" she asked. "I know it's generally not proper to start talking about sex during the first aldoyi, but you asked me on a aldoyi, not a jufadoyi. I assume you know the difference."

"Yeah. Jufadoyi means `a-friends-go-out.' We don't have a term like that, except maybe `friendzone,' but I know the difference."

"So have you given any thought to the possibility that our reproductive equipment may not be compatible?"

"I'm...not sure I care. I really like you."

"Guep, I as well, but I have certain physical needs."

"So do I. I mean, if...you know...things get to a certain point...I'm sure we'll figure it out."

Snorting, Pillow pulled a little electronic device out of her harness, clicking buttons. She showed me the screen. "Take a look at this and tell me if you're still serious."

Definitely an eye opener. The female yuxhauba had two openings, to allow for the bifurcated male wumloq. Tentacles were involved. Once she'd explained it to me, I couldn't think of anything to say for a long time.

"Change your mind?"

"This...kind of thing never slowed down the people on Star Trek."

"What do you mean?" The green color of her cheeks told me Pillow had a pretty good idea, she just didn't want to admit it for some reason.

"I mean...didn't you say something about going shopping and dinner?"