"Well?" said Angelica, tapping her little rabbit foot impatiently.
"'Well' what?" asked Yvonne, who was currently reading selections from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and T.S. Eliot.
"You promised you'd finish your story today," said Savio. He wagged his tail and smiled expectantly.
"Very well. A promise is a promise," Yvonne said. She set her book of poetry aside on the table while the two youngsters settled around her. "Now where was I?" she asked them.
"Ooh! Uh..." said Savio, but then he forgot what he was going to say because he had begun to think about cucumbers.
"We just met Sunflower," said Angelica before she became distracted by any sort of food item.
"Right!" said Yvonne. "So..."
"After Sunflower had gone on a bit about herself, she was interrupted by the next of the cousins, a weaselly little fellow with the fur sticking out on his face like a mustache. His eyes were always darting around, on the look out for things. He introduced himself as Squirrel before going on to explain that he simply liked things, and all sorts of things at that. 'I just want things. Things are so nice, aren't they?' he said, hardly pausing in between his sentences.
Another cousin interrupted. 'How come you get to go and interrupt Sunflower? I should be allowed to talk. But no. No one lets poor old Thorn talk!' she said. 'So instead I'll make sure you can't talk either!' She swung a punch at Squirrel, but he moved out of the way quickly and instead her blow landed on another rabbit, who got angry right away and started a tussle with all the others. One of them managed to slip away and greet the two young rabbits who were looking on silently, Daisy in fascination and Thistle in something like a combination of disgust and irritation.
'Howdy, y'all,' said the rabbit. A smile that was perhaps too welcoming spread across his face. 'My name's Buddy. I'm glad to meet ya, cousins,' he said. He hugged both of them as if he were some old well-known friend. Daisy was amused and Thistle was displeased. He shoved Buddy away.
'Don't you know anything about personal space?' Thistle said gruffly.
'Ain't nothing like personal space with me. I like to be close to folks,' said Buddy. For a moment he frowned as widely as he had been smiling. 'Much unlike Briar there. He should learn to be a little closer to other rabbits.' He paused, smiled again, and then went on. 'I like y'all. Y'all is good rabbits. Lookin' good. I'm glad you're stayin' with us--'
He was abruptly stopped by a huge mass of rabbit who enveloped everyone in a big, warm hug. 'No more fighting!' he said. He dropped everyone suddenly. 'I've got an idea!' he shouted in his bellowing voice. 'Hey there, little cousins! Ah, you've gotta be hungry! Come on in! We'll feed you good. And when you've had plenty of food you don't fight so much, now do ya, Briar?'
Briar grumbled at him. His siblings all complained and said, 'You don't think about anything but food, Larry.'
One of them started vibrating excitedly. 'I can't go in and eat,' she said. 'I've got too much work to do! Yesterday I did nothing but sit around all day, and the day before that, and the day before that... nothing but sit on the sofa and watch TV--'
'That's what you always do, Citrus,' said Thorn. 'And why can't I do that? But no. I've got to go work!'
'I don't always do nothing,' protested Citrus. "There was last Tuesday when I did the laundry and cooked dinner and swept the floor and sculpted a statue of Abraham Lincoln and won three Purple Hearts and worked at the soup kitchen... oh! I fear that I'm simply not doing enough!'
'How selfish of you all!' said Sunflower. 'All talking about yourselves and not thinking about our two little guests! Why, what are your names, dears?'
'I'm--' began Daisy.
'Yes, well, how lovely. Let's go inside now and eat, like I said earlier,' said Sunflower. 'After that we'll all knit for an hour and then watch Gone with the Wind.'
'But I don't want to knit!' growled Briar.
'And I can't sit down and watch that movie! I don't have time,' said Citrus.
'After everything I've done to keep this family together,' said Sunflower, with tears beginning to well up in her eyes, 'and now you've all gone and betrayed me! How dare you question me!'
'I'm sorry, Sunflower,' said Citrus and Briar.
'Of course. You know how forgiving I am,' said Sunflower. Then she turned to her other siblings. 'Oh, but you. You are all still questioning me. I see it in your eyes!'
'No, no, of course not,' they said.
Sunflower dabbed her eyes with a napkin for an awkwardly long period of time. Finally the others apologized to Sunflower as well. Then everyone went inside to do what Sunflower had told them to do.
'These are awful rabbits!' complained Thistle that night as he and Daisy were getting ready for bed.
'I think they're such a wonderful and unique group of individuals,' said Daisy. 'You shouldn't be so quick to judge, anyway, Thistle. We'll stay with them for a few more days and then we'll see what you think.'
'I'll think the same thing I do now,' replied Thistle. 'They're awful rabbits and you shouldn't like them so much. Whatever you do don't be like them.'"
Yvonne yawned. "It's time for my nap," she said.
"You can't nap now! You have to finish the story!" said Angelica.
"It's a very long story, you know," said Yvonne. "I might have to start a new story about patience if you aren't careful."
"But why do you have to sleep in the middle of the day? Can't you do that at night?" said Savio, cocking his head.
"No. This is very important," answered Yvonne. "I have to go into a dream to save the world with a rabbit who wears sunglasses named Morpheus. Don't ask why. I have many chores."
"You'll finish tomorrow?" pleaded Angelica.
"Maybe not finish, but yes, continue," said Yvonne. "But for now, dream worlds await! Good night."
She plugged herself into an odd machine, and then began to snore.
To be continued...