As most days go, today should’ve been a fairly quiet one.
Key word being ‘should’ve’.
A cloud of dust practically poured out of the storage room as a slew of coughing followed right after the crash. Emerging through the doorway, waving the dust away, was a lioness Animalia. Her brown hair was tied up in a pony tail, sleeves pushed up to her elbows, and specks of year old dirt clung to her fur.
“Ugh!” she exclaimed mid-cough. “Well then… that could’ve gone better.”
“You think, Kenya?”
The lioness turned just in time to see her cleaning helper carrying up to three boxes, one of them was pretty large. It was just the start of the warm weather season, which meant spring cleaning time for the residents of DJ House. Kenya, the owner of said building, made absolutely sure that everyone pitched in to help out.
Where she stood, Kenya could make out past the juice bar the sight of Eikken, one of the residents and a pain in the neck at times. The wolf was making himself useful over on the staging area sorting out the speakers and wires. She swore he would just sit in his room doing nothing but watching ViewToo videos if she didn’t put her foot down every now and then.
Force of habit, she supposed.
As for the other residents, Kenya had quite the list for each of them:
Miharu (or whatever her name this week was) was just focusing on cleaning her room. She would cause chaos anywhere else…
Air was supposed to clean the kitchen, provided he wasn’t getting high somewhere.
Stella and Jaea had the hallways on the top floor.
And Bleach and Silva were supposed to be up and ready to help out with downstairs by now! So far, there was no sight of them, which meant that they probably slept in.
Other than that, the cleaning was going rather smoothly for the most part. Except for right now when she had accidentally knocked over one of the containers. Nothing broke, thankfully.
Kenya shrugged, “Honestly, I was expecting it to go a lot worse.” Her companion sighed at that, setting the boxes down just outside the door.
“I shouldn’t be surprised.” Smirking at the lioness stood an adult male human. Well… mostly human anyway. His right arm and eye were robotic in appearance, the latest technology too. The arm was armor plated yet its joints and wiring suggested it had mechanical properties, neon blue lines lit up on either side.
The eye, on the other hand, was a sleek plated socket with an orb designed to resemble and move like an actual eye. The ‘iris’ glowed the same neon blue glow as the arm.
Top notch, state of art technology right there.
Kenya smirked back at him. “Come on, Cedric,” she said. “We’ve known each other for how long now? When was the last time I ever surprised you?”
“Point taken,” Cedric nodded, wiping away the sweat on his brow, now dirtied by the collecting dust. He pushed his short blonde hair back, looking around at their find. “Whew! Why do you have so many boxes??”
“Hey, you agreed to help out.” Kenya pointed out as she walked past him to get more boxes.
It was true, Cedric had agreed to help with the clean up. What started as him offering to help clean the bar area turned into him helping move some boxes out of storage into a new storage room on the other side of the building. The space used to be where DJ House kept their rave equipment, but once the bar got installed they began moving things around. Now it was just the bar equipment being stored there. They had been slowly moving stuff out of the storage room for a few years now, it was about time they finally got around to officially cleaning it out.
This was where his help was needed. Since the boys had overslept, Kenya needed the extra hand that badly. Of course Cedric was happy to help! Anything for a friend, right?
Back into the darkness he went, shuffling past a few strewn aside boxes to get some of the items further in, flashlight in hand. As he looked around the room, he saw the usual assortment of boxes, unused glow sticks, and spare speakers in case one broke. The storage room also held an assortment of old furniture and various other homely curios. Aside from the few boxes sitting outside the room, barely anything looked like it had been touched in years as thick layers of dust and cobwebs coated the majority of the room…
Cedric had just gotten halfway through the room, about to grab a large stereo, when he heard Kenya’s voice from the very back. She sounded… oddly excited.
“Come here quick!”
He hoped it wasn’t a spider or something. Then again, Kenya could handle that on her own so it couldn’t be that. Plus, judging by the lioness’s tone, he highly doubted it was because something spooked her. Did she find something interesting?
… Yeah, that sounded right.
Making his way to the back of storage, Cedric carefully maneuvered his way through until he reached his destination. The lighting in the back was a bit better but still required a flashlight to see most things. Rifling through one of the boxes was Kenya. The moment she saw the glow of the flashlight, she immediately beckoned him over.
“Cedric!” The lioness pulled out something large from within the box, scattering a few of the contents onto the concrete floor in the process. “You’re not going to believe what I just found!”
Shoved against his chest was some kind of thick leather book, filled to the brim with plastic pages. It looked rather worn with age; any dust that would’ve been on it was already blown off. When Cedric pointed the flashlight over it, the words ‘Family Album’ was printed on the cover.
He almost couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Could it be?
Taking the book from Kenya, he carefully opened it to the very first page.
Photos of Bleach and Silva as young children looked up at him. Years of innocence reflected in their eyes; waves of nostalgia hitting the human like bricks on a sidewalk. These were taken way before DJ House was ever built, let alone thought of. As he and Kenya poured through the album some more, images of them having fun, birthday celebrations, and even the one year anniversary of the daycare they used to run…
Those were good times.
It was nice to reminisce on those days, when everything was nice and they didn’t have a care in the world. Sure, there were a lot of chaotic times as well but they always pulled through them all…
… as a family.
“I can’t believe I left all of this in here,” Kenya smiled, glancing through some other old photos that were in the box. “I gotta show these to the boys when they get up!”
Cedric smirked at Kenya, “Do you want to embarrass them?”
“Cedric, I’m their mom,” The lioness grinned back. “It’s my job to embarrass them.” With that said, Kenya gathered up the album and a couple of the extra photos that lay scattered. “Speaking of which, I better go make sure they don’t sleep the day away. Will you be alright?”
Cedric just smiled, “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”
Without another word, Kenya took off leaving the human alone to sort through his thoughts.
It had only been a few years since he had reunited with Kenya and the others. Hard to believe that in a few months, it would have been thirteen years since they first met. And the next few months after that, thirteen years since they became a family in the first place. Things have certainly been crazy, both back then and even now.
Cedric glossed over the photos on the ground, sorting through the memorabilia in the box as he placed them back in. Most of them had been gathered up and neatly stacked back in, but one photo in particular caught his eye.
It was a photo of him when he first started working for Kenya at the daycare. His hair had been longer then, covering up half his face. And the mechanical arm was nonexistent…
He had no regrets at all. Not one. Everything he had been through up until now had been worth it. If he really had to think about it, Cedric supposed the one thing he did regret was the job he had before Kenya.
He could remember it like it was yesterday. Every day of work would start with only two simple words…