Junior was now done for the day. The lights of Stork Mountain were turned off and all the employees had gone home. Junior rubbed his tired eyes as he checked off the last parts of his list. His desk lamp the only source of light he had in the entire building. With a yawn, he imagined himself already in his perch wrapped in a warm blanket and a soft pillow to rest his head on. Once he double checked his list and made sure that every delivery made it on time he shut off his desk lamp, ready to call it a night. He stretched his wings as he stood up, glancing at the clock he saw that it was passed midnight.
“Woof.” He muttered. “Good thing it’s the weekend.” He smiled to himself as he strolled out of his office into the dark building. As he made his way passed the baby-making machine, he saw a lone light in the distance. He blinked when he realized that it was Tulip’s new workshop, and also the place where she calls home since she technically lives on Stork Mountain. He thought of it as strange since she should have been asleep hours ago. He quickly made his way down a set of metal grated staircases. The stairs creaked underneath his feet as he slowly made his way closer to the source of the light. He wondered if Tulip might have accidentally left her light on. When he made it to the bottom he was greeted by the shining bulb hanging just above him in the large room.
The workshop was filled with would be inventions, still unfinished and blueprints scatter across the floor and desks she had. There was a lone twin bed at the end of the room, empty and with the blankets untouched. There was a thick white tape on the floor that outlined what exactly was her bedroom, the lines representing walls. Junior immediately saw her sitting on her chair, inthralled in a book and intensely writing in it.
“Tulip?” He called out, making her suddenly whirl back at him shutting her book in a loud slam.
“Junior!…what are you doing in my room? I told you to knock!” She said pointing to the left. Junior looked down and saw that he had crossed the border. He rolled his eyes and took a step back out of it. Tulip crossed her arms and turned away making him knock on the invisible door but he had to make the sound to get her attention.
“Yes?” She called out with her eyes shut. “Who is it?”
Junior rolled his eyes again as he is always subjected into knocking on her imaginary walls. “It’s me.” He said dully. “Junior. Can I come in?”
Tulip’s eyes snapped open. “Hold on I’m not decent!” She yelled out, even though he saw she was still in her uniform. Tulip waited a couple of seconds before turning back around with a large smile. “Okay! Come in!”
He stepped inside making Tulip gasp in surprise as if she had hardly see him even though she said goodbye a few hours prior. “Junior! Wow! What a surprise, what brings you down here?”
He pointed to the light. “I thought you were already asleep.” Her eyes shifted to the book in less than a second. He titled his his head at her and cleared his throat. “Everything okay?”
Tulip shifted in her seat, clutching her knees as she swayed side to side. “Yup! Couldn’t be better I just woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep you know? So I was just writing some ideas down…”
“Oh.” He crossed his arms and tapped against them with his wings. “I just think it’s a little weird since you’re usually a deep sleeper and I have never seen you so…awake.”
“Junior.” She began letting out a snort. “I’m fine! I just couldn’t sleep is all, just too many things going on in my head or something…” She said turning back around on her desk. He saw her look at a picture frame that held her whole family. The one she had meet just almost a year ago. Junior had never seen so much red hair in one family. He actually thought that was rare since having red hair is usually a genetic trait-
“Uh Junior?” He blinked suddenly snapping out of it to see Tulip looking at him as if he had just grown a third wing. “You been staring at me for like a full minute, it’s super creepy.”
He cringe slightly. “Sorry, it’s just um…how’s your family?” He perked suddenly coming up right to the photo. “Everything you wanted?”
Tulip seemed stricken by the question and held a tight lip. “…yeah, yeah they’re great!” She said with a smile only for it to fall. “I’m having dinner with them this weekend.”
He gave her a smile. “That’s…swell.” He slapped himself mentally for using the word. It made him sound awkward and weird. “And you like them?”
“Yeah of course I do, they’re my family! I love them!” She exclaimed.
“Than…” He swallowed and moved the photo closer to him. “What’s the matter?”
“Hmm? I don’t know what you mean.”
“Ah, it could be me and maybe my eyes are tired for staring at a computer screen for three hours straight while going over the baby deliveries but you look kinda….sad? Maybe?” He said, almost fishing for her to admit it herself. He wasn’t really good at reading her emotions since they were all over the place.
Her eyes lowered at him and let out a frown, she turned away and stroked the cover of her book.
“Actually, the reason why I couldn’t sleep is because I was thinking about the babies…” She admitted quietly.
“I don’t know I was just thinking that what if…what if a baby’s beaker breaks!?” She suddenly yelled out making him take a step back. “Than we will have no idea where they lived or who they’re parents are and they’ll end up just like me!” She took a breath holding back her tears. Junior immediately placed a wing on her shoulder and went down eye level with her.
“Hey, hey, that will never happen…”
“But it did with me! And if happened once it will happen again, and recently I began being really scared for them because I don’t want them to be orphans and miss their families!”
“Tulip-” she immediately wiped her eyes, sniffling to herself, her face turn a tint of red from holding back tears. He slowly smiles. “You know, some sloppy human told me that it’s not healthy to hold in your emotions…”
She looked up at him in a slight annoyance but as soon as her lip quivered, she cried right onto his shoulder. He patted her back gently when she wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug.
“Sorry.” She whimpered. “I just get so worried about them and it might be because I’m a girl or something…even though that’s totally sexist.”
“No, no I totally get it.” Junior replied. He pushed her away gently and watched her dry her tears again. “I think that is something to seriously talk about on Monday.”
She sniffed. “Really?”
Junior rubbed the bottom of his beak in thought. “I think the beakers shouldn’t be the only source that tells us where the babies live, we might need to create a backup, but I have no idea how.”
Tulips eyes lite up and grabbed her book, immediately flipping to her last entry. “That is exactly what I was working on! A working backup!”
He blinked rapidly when she began telling him her whole idea as she pointed to a drawing of what appeared to be a usb drive shaped like a stork. “I was think of creating a single working drive that automatically connects to our system, I think I can put it into the baby making machine and once the babies are made, we take it out and put it immediately in the computer and bam!” She slammed the book shut. “A worse case scenario kicked out the door!”
Junior grabbed the boom slowly out of her hands. “That’s actually a really good idea…I think this might work!”
Tulip clapped her hands. “Oh you think so! I am
so excited, I’ll work on it right now!” She zipped passed him nearly knocking him off his feet. He put up a finger as he saw her know everything off her table to begin a brand new blue print.
“Uh right now? Right now? It’s like…almost one in the morning?”
“Uh huh!” She began drawing on top of the blueprint while also scribbling down notes and calculations. He stared at her in disbelief and shrugged.
“Okay than, night!” He began heading to the stairs befor Tulip called out to him.
“Wait! I might need some help!” He stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned back, he really did not want to spend all night on a pro-his face fell when he saw Tulip clutching her hands together, her eyes wide and glossy as her lower lip quivered. His face fell and he let out a long sigh.
“Okay I’ll help you, but only for five minutes.”
Tulip smiled widely and nodded. “Yeah that’s perfect!”
“Tulip. Just five minutes and then I’m going to my perch, right?”
“Yup. Uh huh, perfect.”
“Okay.” He strolled back to her and after five minutes became five hours, he found himself occupying her bed, unable to keep up with her energy.