It had been a week since Oliver moved in and when Harper woke up on a Monday morning, it felt like two days had passed. Oliver was still in the same sleeping position: on the floor, cuddling a giant stuffed honey badger that was wearing a red tie. Her alarm blared, repeating the insane bird noise and was soon silenced when she slammed a paw down on the clock. It clattered to the floor, the sound not bothering the sleeping wallaby. Harper groaned, pulling the covers over her shoulders and turning on her side. I don’t have to work today, Harper thought to herself. Her bedroom window was opened and this allowed the sunlight to filter through and onto the floor, the sounds of car driving past also entered the room, creating a homey atmosphere in the room.
Harper then decided to get busy for the morning. She hopped out of bed, quietly and carefully tip toeing her way across the floorboards to exit her room, hoping to not wake up Oliver. She made her way to the kitchen, yawning while shuffling her feet on the wood floor. When Harper entered the kitchen, she paused to look at herself in the reflection of the stove. Her green eyes were sulked and tired. Her fur was stuck out in different directions. But she didn’t want to have her thoughts override her so she shook it off. In the awkward lighting from the sun hitting the dusty windows, Harper shuffled her feet towards the fridge, yanking on the handle. The smell of leftovers welcomed her as she tried to search for the coffee she had left.
Harper then placed the coffee in the microwave for a minute. She hobbled over to the island in the middle of the kitchen, with spinny silver chairs and granite tops. The sound of silence had brought a sleeping spell onto the honey badger as she slowly laid her head down onto the table, closing her eyes. In the bedroom, the smell of coffee and sound of the microwave had woken up Oliver from his sleep. He took a deep breath in and blinked a few times, adjusting to the brightness of the room.
He sat up quickly, stretching his arms above his head. Oliver slowly got up and looked from behind the door frame, down the hallway to where the kitchen was located. He had suspected Harper was in there, perhaps making breakfast and he didn’t want to miss out on a chance on eating. So, Oliver quietly walked down the hallway to surprise the honey badger with a hug but when he peered into the kitchen, he saw Harper sleeping on the island. Tilting his head, Oliver looked towards where the coffee was coming from and saw the faint green lettering of the microwave that said please take food out. food is ready.
He carefully walked over to the microwave, opening it quietly before the microwave beeped again. As he was going to reach for the coffee, Harper coughed behind him. “What do you think you’re doing?” Oliver let out a squeak and slowly turned out.
“Ah, good morning, Harper! And what am I doing?” Oliver asked, his hand still reaching for the coffee cup. “Nothing really. Um, this is a new trend. Hand warming, really works wonder on the skin. You should really try it-” before he could finish, Harper reached into the microwave and grabbed the lukewarm coffee.
“You weren’t trying to grab this, were you?”
“What, me? No, no. I was merely warming my hand up, obviously.” Oliver’s eye started to twitch softly, unnoticeable by the honey badger. Harper chuckled lightly.
“Well, more for me, if you don’t want any.” She then took a small sip of her coffee, turning around from the soon crazy wallaby.
“Actually, I would love some.”
Harper turned around, raising an eyebrow, “Oh, really. What a shame.” She laughed lightly. “I’m afraid there isn’t anymore left, besides this cu-” Oliver was on the floor before Harper could finish what she was saying.
“Please, Harper! I’ll do anything!”
Harper smiled. “Anything?”
Oliver nodded rapidly. Harper bent down, face to face with the anxious wallaby. “You have to do the dishes for an entire month. No complaints. The dishes and that is all. For a whole month.”
“Anything but the dishes!” Oliver cried out. Harper stood up, taking a sip of her coffee.
“You said anything but you never said ‘not the dishes’. It’s that or nothing, wallaby. Take it or leave it.” Oliver pouted, getting off the floor. He then sighed, seeing the ‘you decide’ face on Harper.
“I guess, I’ll do the dishes for a month,” Oliver muttered. Harper chuckled before winking.
“It’ll be worth it.” She then got another cup from one of the cabinets in the kitchen then poured half of the contains into it. Harper gave the cup to Oliver, who was making grabby hands at the cup. Excitement boiled inside of his stomach when he took a giant gulp of black coffee. He choked on it and gagged it down, his throat burning against the strong flavor of it.
“Is there any creamer by chance?” Oliver huskily said while Harper looked at him from over her coffee cup. She then nodded and pointed to the fridge.
“Two shelves, to the right.” Oliver nodded weakly, pulling open the fridge doors. He reached up and got the creamer, then pouring in some of it before the black coffee turned into a beautiful brown color. The wallaby sighed happily, kicking the fridge shut with his tail and placed the creamer on the counter. He then a small sip, the tastefulness creating a warmness in his heart and stomach. Harper was again watching the wallaby drink up his coffee, downing the entire thing in one chug.
“Can I have some more?”
A little later, when the morning sun had turned into the high afternoon sun in the middle of the blue sky and traffic was getting worst, Harper decided to go grocery shopping because their supply for coffee beans and other things seemed to be dwindling. Oliver was on the couch, playing the video games he had brought. His tongue was out, concentration written all over his face.
“Hey, buddy, do you want to go shopping with me? I have to grab some things and I don’t trust you here alone.”
Oliver paused his game, turned around with a smile. “Why don’t you trust me here alone, again?” Harper snorted and rolled her eyes, walking back into the kitchen. “And, I guess since this level is really hard, I’ll go with you,” he called out from the living room. Harper nodded, looking at the list she was making. Her pen was tapping slightly against the marble island and then popped her head out of the kitchen.
“Do you need anything?”
“I’ll decide when I get there.”
Harper frowned slightly, turning around in the kitchen again. She the wrote down more water. “Alrighty, let’s go. We don’t want to go too late or else all of the elderly will be there.” Oliver shut the gaming system off and followed after Harper, shutting the door with a satisfied click. They walked down the hallway, talking about what new games Oliver was playing or what Harper was going to make and whether or not Oliver was going to help this time (read: he never does help because he passes out before Harper could ask). They made it to Harper’s crappy blue Volkswagen with she was humming along to the music while Oliver was looking around the town with amusement in his eyes. They pulled into the parking lot shortly, where a lot of cars were already parked and it seemed almost impossible to find a parking spot. Luckily enough, there was some spots in the back parking lot. Harper drove back there and parked next to a white sedan.
“I don’t want you to get away from me. I know, it seems kind of childish but believe me. You don’t want to get lost in this store, m’kay?” Harper said before opening the car door. Oliver nodded, doing the same and was welcomed by the summer heat. As they were going to the store, Harper caught sight of the stickers on the white sedan. She noticed some sticks on it, a family but something stuck a sense of question. The father’s head cut clean out while the rest of the stickers seemed to be smiling, pleading for mercy.
“You like the stickers, honey?” Someone asked. Harper turned around and saw a penguin carrying a plastic basket with a knife, lemon juice, and chicken. Upon closer viewing, there was another knife set which then caused Harper to raise an eyebrow.
“Yes, they’re very nice. Um, have a good day!”
The penguin scoffed and get into the car, placing the plastic basket on the ground in front of the car. Harper grabbed onto Oliver’s hand and pulled him along, watching the sedan drive away. She then said to the wallaby, “My detective senses of tingling.”
Oliver tilted his head. “You should get that checked out. You’re probably getting sick.” Harper sighed, letting go of Oliver’s hand and stepped inside of the store. A wave of cool air welcomed them both which had caused Oliver to stumble backwards a little. Harper got a cart and motioned for the wallaby to follow her. He skipped to her, trying to regain his balance but stopped in the middle of the walkway so that Harper could see what they needed to get.
“What’s that?” Oliver asked, peeking over Harper’s hand.
“This is a shopping list. It tells me what I need to get and such. You can help me with some of the stuff that is on the bottom shelf or something.” Oliver frowned.
“Is that the only reason you brought me along?” The honey badger shook her head quickly.
“Most certainly not! I brought you along for company. Now, come on because we didn’t come here idle chit-chat.” They walked around the store, sometimes stopping at the free food carts (mainly Oliver and his hungry stomach), grabbing and finding the things Harper had needed.
“How does spaghetti sound to you for tonight’s dinner?” Harper asked while they were in the pasta section. Oliver groaned, leaning against the cart.
“Didn’t we just have that?”
“No, we have that last week, remember?”
“Feels like we had it yesterday.”
Harper rolled her eyes. “Maybe because you had it yesterday for lunch.”
“Probably but I don’t want spaghetti. I want like meat lover’s pizza or cheese pizza or-”
“Pizza it is.” Oliver smiled brightly as they left the pasta section to then go to the frozen food section. When they got the pizza, Harper suggested they go next to the dairy section because someone drank all the milk and someone used all the cheese to make fondue. Oliver said that it wasn’t his fault because the milk was going to be in the fridge and he decided to just drink it anyway, to fulfill his thirstiness. Right next to the daily aisle was the toy section which had a collection and sale on giant stuffed animals. Oliver gasped lightly and ran away from Harper, thinking that she wouldn’t mind.
He caught sight of a polar bear with a purple polka dotted bow tie and holding a heart that said I love you bear-y much. Oliver ran over to the polar bear, picking him up and laughed heartily. He wanted to get it for himself because he loved all stuffed animals and firmly believes that every stuffed animal needs a home.
“You’re awfully quiet, Oliver,” Harper said, picking up a cheese brick. “What do you- Oliver? Oliver! Where are you?” She looked around her, hoping to find the small wallaby but it seemed almost he had vanished into thin air. She then pushed the car down the aisle, zooming past and between different animals. What Harper didn’t know was that her little friend was a few aisle from hers. While she was looking for the wallaby, Oliver was playing with his stuffed bear before the realization settled in that he had left Harper and didn’t know where she could be. Tears formed in his eyes as he looked down at his polar bear with some form of hope.
“Hey, little guy, where are your parents?” Oliver quickly looked towards the voice and saw a punk fellow who wore a dark red tank top with a leather vest and ripped dark red jeans. He was a hyena with freckles on his muzzle and stripped arms and legs, four piercings in his ears (two blue and two red), wore eyeliner, and on top of all of that his mohawk like mane was dyed a blueberry blue color. The first thought that went through Oliver’s brain was “stranger danger” but it soon melted away when he stared into the tranquil blue eyes of the stranger. He felt some form of safety and most of his tears were slowly drying up and the stranger smiled, lifting a hand out.
“Hello, I’m Leo. Why are you crying?”
“Um, I lost my fr-riend, Har-rper because I was loo-king at these st-t-t-uffed animals,” Oliver stuttered while Leo nodded.
“Understandable but you do realize that the call desk is the next aisle over? You could easily just go there and see if your friend will come.” He stood up, walking out of the aisle and motioned for Oliver to follow him. But before the wallaby could get out of the toy section, a cart pushed the hyena out of the way.
“Oh, excuse me! I’m- Oliver! There you are! What did I tell you about disappearing?” Harper asked. Oliver smiled brightly and ran towards to the honey badger with open arms, “Harper! I’m sorry!”
Leo groaned, gripping onto the cart and rubbed his head. “Excuse me? But aren’t you forgetting something?” Harper turned towards Leo, anger swirling in her green eyes.
“Well, you should watch where you’re going, punk.” Leo growled while Harper narrowed her eyes while Oliver was tugging on Harper’s hand and said, “Harper, he helped me find you, kind of. So, could you please say sorry?” Harper looked towards the small wallaby before sighing. She then looked towards Leo and muttered a simple sorry before pulling Oliver along. He turned around and waved to the hyena, his smile showing thanks for helping.
As they left the store, there was a silence between Oliver and Harper. The sound of the cart wheels against the pavement brought sound into their space. The sun was heading down to the horizon, orange painted through the blackness. The first few stars could be seen through the soon rain clouds. When they had put away the groceries, they sat in the car for a while.
“Thanks again, Harps,” Oliver said kindly while Harper looked towards him in disbelief.
“Oh, nothing. Let’s go home before it starts raining. We don’t want to be washed away.” Harper sighed, turning the car on.
“I guess you have a point.”