“Are you sure you really want to help me move a door?” her brow contorts with animated surprise as she pulls a coil of rope from the depths of the garden shed and examines Harry’s face.
“Well, I thought you were joking…” he admits sheepishly “but I’m here now!”
“That you are” she agrees “but it’s never too late to withdraw your offer to drag a door around all morning!”
“And leave you to drag it around on your own!” he exclaims chivalrously “I simply won’t hear of it Miss Fisher! That, frankly, would be absurd!”
“More absurd than a man in designer shoes dragging a door around?” she teases casting an eye over his flimsy but stylish shoes. “Where did you get those anyway?” she asks, the unusual fabric and nautical contours of his footwear don’t scream high street shopping.
“Bordeaux!” he announces lavishly “they’re wine drinkers shoes or so I like to think!”
Laughing lightly at his gentile whimsy, she begins twisting dusty rope around her less than trendy T-shirt sleeve. She had better keep the rope and any floor bound portions of the door away from Harry and his upmarket attire she decides, it would be quite unjust to reward his gallant contributions with soiled shoes and sleeves.
“Right! I think we are ready!” she announces.
“Excellent” he sounds less than sure of his agreement.
Throwing the rope onto a dense heap of bubble wrap folded into the boot of the car, she pauses to rub her hands industriously before dashing to the passenger side door and sweeping it open for him. Faintly amused the idiosyncrasy of the gesture, he turns to meet her gaze;
“Why thank you Mr Fisher” he exclaims flicking his wrist camply by his face. “So often, men of our generation forget their manners!” His eyes roll emphatically into their lids before he flashes her a cheeky grin and sticks out his tongue. “Shall we depart?”
She circles the bonnet of the car toward the passenger door and makes an unexpected leap backwards as it flys open from the inside. Grinning mischievously, Harry pats the drivers’ seat and waits for her to climb in.
“Hurry up slow poke!” he quips sliding back in his chair and placing his feet on the dashboard. Turning the key nimbly in the ignition she examines his peculiar posture and suppresses a devilish smirk.
“Are you ready?” she asks trying to keep her tones even.
“Certainly am!” he exclaims turning and looking expectantly over his own feet and out of the windshield. “Onwards and upwards!”
Sliding the gearbox into reverse she smoothly stirs the engine to life and rolls the car along the driveway towards road. After a quick and final glance at his unusual seating position, she pushes her foot heavily on the accelerator before snapping it over to the brake and jolting the car to a sudden halt. His eyes bulge and his ill placed hands scramble for the seat edge before he emits a splutter and is forced to loosen the seat belt that had slid up around his neck.
“You cruel fiend!” he cries “what ever did you do that for?” Their eyes meet over the gear stick in the centre of the car and silence hangs for a moment before they simultaneously collapse into a mass of irreverent, childish giggles. Returning his feet to the rubber mat in the seat well and composing himself in his chair, Harry suddenly smacks his hands purposefully upon his knees and declares;
“Right, I’m ready! Let’s go and get a dirty old door!” Neroli’s stomach performs a small somersault as she relishes his flushing features. Ah, let it go! She tells herself, can’t fight it forever…
A single sea gull swoops carelessly in the clear blue sky above the car as they pull up to Park Street and a lonely set of wind chimes flutter aimlessly in an empty doorway. Harry’s eyes, she notices, are lingering on a large stack of discarded wooden window frames piled in the properties’ driveway.
“Here we are!” she announces drawing his attention back into the car. The pop of their seatbelts unlocking rang out in harmony and they climb out of the stationary car.
“So…” he starts “do share the logic behind the bubble wrap! The door, one can’t help but notice, is already full of dents! What purpose will all this bubble wrap serve?”
“The door may already be dented, my dear” she grants knowingly “but my car, you will note…” her arm performs a lengthy sweep of the small hatchback “is quite clearly not!” His brow begins to furrow. Don’t think too hard! She silently teases him, flutters erupting in her chest again.
“Why are you showing me the outside of your car?” growing concern twangs his tone. “Where exactly are you planning to put this door?” he asks suspiciously as she begins flapping open the folds of bubble wrap.
“On the roof!” she exclaims proudly. His eyebrows shot towards the sky and his eyes tried to leap from their sockets.
“You’re planning” he repeats carefully “to put a door… that door… on the roof of your car?”
“Where else should I put it?” she enquires innocently as she inserts her head into the back of the car and begins rolling down a window. She could have measured to see if the door would fit inside the car… But anticipating Harry’s reaction to her plan had only made her more certain that the roof would be the more entertaining of the two options. He wasn’t failing to deliver;
“But… but… surely that’s illegal! And what ever are you doing now?” Placing a foot on the back seat and a hand on the roof, she starts throwing the large sheet of bubble wrap over the car and securing its corner with a closing window.
“I won’t tell if you won’t!” she winks mischievously and finishes securing the bubble wrap to the roof. “There! All done!” she exclaims triumphantly. “Now all we need is a door!”
The returning drive was comical and fraught with Harry’s frowns and paranoid ‘possible Police car’ sightings. His slender figure repeatedly twitched beneath his seat belt as he dodged the gaze of every perplexed pedestrian the bubble wrapped car passed. This drive, Neroli decided, would take at least four years off the length of his life. She delighted in telling him so.
With the door safely stored in her hallway, Harry excitedly proposes another outing for coffee and a sandwich; he insists that he does, after all, need to keep contributing to his 2p piece collection!