Some Assembly Required

Tom and Harley were just two random tourists in Tokyo. Back home, they led very different lives, but none of that really matters when a Japanese game show host forces you into matrimony for the sake of entertainment. Is this cooincidental marriage really all that ties them together? Or,mis there another way they're connected back home that could makes things really messy?


7. looking nice is important

Harley (again):

"Charlie, help me look presentable," I stumbled back into the living room.

"I'm going back to bed," she frowned and turned towards her room.

"Please, please, I'm a mess!"


She went into her room, then came back out with a really cute blue summer dress and some black scrappy sandals.

"Put this on," she said.

I changed there in the living room as she started combing through my rat's nest of brown, frizzy hair.

"Look up," she instructed as she put a light coat of mascara on me. "Okay, you're ready."

I ran down to our garage and got onto my moped. I put my helmet on, the headed towards the all night cafe that was only a few miles away from my apartment.

He was waiting for me by the front door. I took my helmet off and tried not to trip on y way to meet him. He was all smiles as he took me into a warm hug. I wanted him to kiss me again.

"I missed you," he said. "I had today marked on my calendar, and I put an X over each day like they do in the movies. I couldn't wait to see you again. Is that crazy? Am I scaring you?"

I kissed him. I just couldn't help it. I'd been wanting to see him for three weeks, and here he was. Right in front of me.

"I guess I'm not," he smiled and I shook my head.

In the restaurant, we just kind of watched each other as we are our waffles and drank our coffee.

"I can't believe you live so close," I said between bites.

"Upstairs, actually," he said and pointed to the ceiling. "How far of a ride was this for you?"

"About five miles," I said. "Man, I really can't believe it."

"I feel like I should do my due diligence and ask questions about you," he said, his cheeks turning just a bit red. "Would that be rude?"

"Not at all," I said. "Fire away."

"What do you do for work?" He asked.

"I work at a little boutique on Row Avenue part time," I said. "And I study literature at Larken U."

His eyes widened.

"You're kidding me," he laughed. "I just finished my undergrad studies there, and I'll be a grad student there this semester."

I honestly could not believe the circumstances. I really couldn't.

"That's incredible," I said. "I'm in shock, honestly."

"It's a good surprise, though," he said.

"Do you want to talk about all of the complicated things we need to discuss? I asked, not knowing how else to bring up the subject.

"I guess we should," he sighed. "My father would say that there's no possibility of this working and that we should get an annulment."

I lowered my eyes and nodded.

"I don't want that, though," he said. "I can't ignore how much I like you, how much I crave your company. It's not cut and dry. It matters."

He still had his ring on, too.

"Would you consider us to be a couple?" I asked.

"Would you?" He countered.

"I would like to say yes," I answered nervously.

"Then let's say yes," he said.

"So, this is kind of our first date," I said.

"Oh, no, this is like our seventh date," he laughed. "We spent way too much time together in Tokyo for this to be the first. The karaoke bar was the first."

"So, this is the seventh," I smiled.

I was nervous, but it was an excited kind of nervous. We felt the same. I wasn't alone. And, even when we were quiet, it was amiable and comfortable, but not dull. I could spend my entire day nestled in his quiet.

"Do you want to walk around?" He asked after we finished eating and paid the bill.

I nodded.

"There is a fantastic bookstore about a block away," he offered.

"I love bookstores," I said.

"It's settled, then," he said and took my hand as we began in that direction.

I stretched my fingers out to lace them through his. He squeezed my hand lightly. His palm was a bit sweaty. Maybe he was nervous, too.

We looked through section after section, then found ourselves in the science fiction aisle. We poked fun at the cover art on the paperbacks. Then we pulled two especially bad ones off the shelf, then found a corner to curl into. We took turns reading overly dramatic descriptions of dystopian planets and heroic spacemen. Then, we decided to buy the books because I actually got caught up in the plots. I admitted to him that science fiction was my favorite genre.

After that, we kept walking down the little strip of businesses. Jet lag was catching up to me and I yawned. The sky started to turn gray. And suddenly, as we walked back towards the cafe, rain started pouring down on us.

"I need to go home and sleep," I yawned.

He chuckled, then said, "Are you sure you're okay to drive your moped in this weather and state of consciousness?"

I shook my head.

"You can come up if you want."

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