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?


20. time together is important


Our summer together was coming to an end. We had one week left before the start of the semester. I would be starting my junior year. Thomas would begin his grad work.

I was at my part time job when he came running in through the front door of the boutique.

"Harley," he was out of breath as he leaned over the counter that separated us. "Can you get this weekend off?"

"Probably," I said and raised my eyebrow at him. "I was only working Saturday."

"Please," he coughed a bit.

He told me he had asthma that kicked up a bit when it got dry outside. He didn't have a car, so he would've had to take the bus, then run six blocks from the closest bus stop to get here.

"Are you okay?"

He nodded, then looked up at me, smiling a broad, excited smile.

"Hey, Ashlee?" I called out to my coworker. "You wanna pick up some extra hours this Saturday? I'll cover that concert you've been bugging me about."

Ashlee ran out from the stockroom.

"Deal," she shook my hand excitedly, took her phone from her pocket, and ran outside to call someone.

"What did you have in mind?" I asked.

"It will be our two month anniversary," he said. "So, I thought we could take a trip."

"Oh, how romantic!" I exclaimed in a slightly mocking manner.

He kissed me over the counter.

"Alright, I have to get going," he said. "I'll see you tonight."

"See you," I watched as he left.

Ashlee came back into the shop.

"That's your husband, huh?" She asked.

I nodded, blushing a bit.

"Not bad," she shrugged and headed back into the stock room.

The next few days were a bit awkward. I kept trying to get Thomas to spill the beans for where he was taking me. He was working hard not to let it slip.

Finally, Friday morning rolled around.

"Good morning," he whispered in my ear.

I opened my eyes, then shut them immediately.

"It's still dark!" I groaned and twisted away from him.

He pulled the covers off of me and lifted me out of bed. He was already dressed and ready to go. He stood me up on my feet and handed me a stack of clothes.

"These aren't mine," I said, looking down at them.

"I bought them for you yesterday," he said. "You didn't really have anything sturdy enough for where we're going."

"Sturdy? This doesn't sound fun," I whined.

"You're just saying that because you're sleepy," he laughed. "Do you need help changing?"

I shook my head and changed out of my pajamas. I pulled the blue athletic tank top on over my head, then slipped into the gray cargo pants. The tapered in around my calves and were rolled up a bit. I brushed my hair and pulled it into a ponytail, then brushed my teeth.

I went back into the room. He had gotten me a pair of hiking boots. I sat on the edge of the bed and he helped me put them on.

"Where are we going hiking?" I asked.

There was nothing nearby.

"You'll find out," he said and pulled me out of the apartment.

We hit the alley behind the cafe. An old Jeep Wrangler waited for us.

"My dad let me borrow it for the weekend," he said. "Hop in."

He'd already packed the car full of things. A small tent, sleeping bags, food, water, etc.

"Thomas," I said when we were both buckled in. "Are you taking me camping?"

He shot me a look, "Yes."

"Where?" I asked, my curiosity peaked.

"I'm learning that trying to surprise you is not very fun," he griped. "You don't play along very well."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I'll let you surprise me."

He put the car in gear and we drove away. I manned the music selection from my phone as we drove. We stopped to get snacks and stretch our legs a few hours in. After two more hours, we arrived at a state park. We parked at a spot close to a river.

I got out of the car and took in my surroundings. It was gorgeous. Green trees, a clear river, bright blue sky overhead. Thomas came up behind me and put his arms around my waist, his chin resting on my shoulder.

"Nice surprise?" He asked.

I nodded and he kissed my cheek.

"Happy anniversary," he said.

"Happy anniversary."

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