Eugene Hardie

Sept. 28, 2020, 5:32 a.m.

Sidekick required

Eugene stood in the Finer Diner clad in a rumpled pair of blue pyjamas adorned with drowsy bunny rabbits. The pyjama legs stopped high above his ankle as Eugene struggled through another growth spurt but Eugene hadn’t had the heart to toss them yet. In his hands he held two plates of bacon and eggs that he had hastily rearranged to resemble two smiling faces in the hope that if his food was happy, then he’d be happy too. It wasn’t working so far but maybe he needed to consume it for the joy to be his own? Eugene sure hoped so anyway - he was not feeling ready to take on the day. Most mornings Eugene wiggled out of bed like a turkey at a thanksgiving parade - singing and dancing and ready for eating. But today hadn’t been like that . Instead he’d woken with the bells in his head chiming so urgently you’d think another royal baby had forced its way into the world.

The message they were clanging on about had been crystal clear: Eugene was a bad boyfriend.

After the opening feast Eugene had just continued walking around as normal, not even clocking that he was someone’s boyfriend, which had to be downright neglectful, and totally not cool. This wasn’t the sort of reputation Eugene wanted to have and he was surprised Norah hadn’t got right up in his face and tossed an ice cold drink at him already. He’d have dumped himself long ago. Eugene had no respect for a bad boyfriend.

Life had taught him that bad boyfriends were the worst kind of villains. They were the guys who fed people’s birthday cakes to their dogs and ran off just when you needed to settle the gas bill. That wasn’t the kind of life Eugene wanted for himself and he didn’t want it for Norah either.

The problem was that until this morning he hadn’t realised that he was her boyfriend. It was, after all, totally normal to kiss your friends but it might not be so normal to propose to them and talk about wanting to be their boyfriend. So Eugene was like ninety percent sure that his single life was over and that was a pretty scary realization for first thing in the morning.

It was especially scary when you didn’t actually know much about being a good boyfriend other than the part where you should probably buy her things and Eugene didn’t have any money. He was going to have to pull off the ultimate romantic gesture if he was going to save himself from a lifetime of bad boyfriend villainy. And everyone knew that the best romantic gestures had a whole crew behind them so he needed to get back up ASAP which was where the eggs came in.

Eugene set one of the plates down in front of the occupant of the nearest booth and slid in beside them. He snuggled up to the other person, and greeted them with a sleepy yawn. “I don’t think I’ve been a very good boyfriend,” Eugene confessed.

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