Winter hopped over to Clara and Daisy. They were sitting next to each other in the shade. "Why Daisy! How nice of you to cuddle Clara all day!"
The two does closed their eyes. Clara softly said, "we don't like comments when we are sleepy."
"DO it Smudge," Sophia begged, pushing her head under his front legs. "Groom my head."
Smudge ignored her. He turned his head far to the side instead.
"If you groom my head now, I'll groom you later. Just ONE lick, Smudge. Do it. Do it now."
Smudge remained loafed under the hammock with Sophia's head as his cushion. They stayed that way for half an hour.
(clockwise: Tucker, Daisy, Margo, George (in pen), Smudge and Silver)
Smudge flinched hard, flattening his years and squeezing his eyes closed.
"You don't have to stand so close to it, you know," Daisy reminded him as she pushed soft, green hay into a sleeping nest. It was to be a warm day and she intended to rest in the sun.
He flinched again. "I know! But I want to make sure she's doing it right. Sophia is watching George and I hardly ever get a break from him."
Silver hopped up. "Margo! That's enough digging. You're getting Smudge filthy!"
Margo called up from the burrow. "I can't see where the dirt is going! I won't stop, by the way. Digging is too much fun!"
Silver looked from Smudge to Daisy. "Well, it's better than picking on Clara," he whispered. "That's all she did yesterday until I put a stop to it. Who is watching George?"
"Sophia," Tucker said as a clod of dirt hit his nose. "Until further notice. Smudge, let's quit this mess and go under the hammock. We can watch from there."
"I wish I could read," Tucker said, as he turned the postcard over on the ground.
"Sophia can read," Daisy murmured without looking up. She was nibbling new grass from last week's rain.
"Well, I wish I could read," Silver stated. "Maybe Sophia will teach me."
"HA!" snorted Daisy. "Where did it come from, anyway?"
Tucker looked at the mailbox. "Maybe I'll just eat it." He nibbled a corner.
"I'll read it." Sophia hopped over from George and Charlotte's pen to Tucker and took the card. "I'm sick of guard duty, anyway."
Every bun was silent as Sophia stared at the card. She turned away and hopped under the hammock to rest in the fresh hay.
Silver broke Sophia's spell. "Well? What does it say???
"A LOT of nothing."
Daisy stamped her back foot. "SOPHIA! You can't just stretch out and not tell us."
Smudge picked up a grape leaf in his teeth and pushed it toward Sophia. "There. That was my morning snack but it's yours.
Sophia sniffed the leaf. "He wants his outfits packed. He's staying in the city. He says he gets more attention there and better food, too. He says he'll be Chief Rabbit there in less than a week."
Margo stood up on her back legs. "He can have it. I just came from there and I wouldn't go back. And good luck being Chief Rabbit when you have Tess at one end and Hazel at the other."
Silver looked at all the rabbits evenly. "There are good and bad aspects to living anywhere. It's not the place, it's whether or not you can adapt. Isn't that right, Clara?"
Clara, a large white rabbit, hesitated. "I like it here. But I need a lot of space. More space than Oliver. I wonder how Charlotte and George are doing. It's still their first week." Smudge took Sophia's place next to their pen.
"We REALLY don't need all this guarding, everybun." George, a medium gray rabbit, came to the front of his pen. "Charlotte doesn't like it."
"I really don't." Charlotte spoke softly from under the A-Frame cottage.
"Well, when we decide you two can be trusted, we'll let you know."