The Department Store Lion Chapter 4: What Jean Had to Say about Goldie

is she going to do to me?” Hailey worried as she rode the elevator in her
apartment building with the cub held in her arms. She pushed the button for her
floor again. The cub, who Hailey had named Goldie, didn’t seem to sense
Hailey’s uneasy frame of mind and instead, focused on the oddities which filled
this unfamiliar environment, including the strange, glowing buttons and a
particularly interesting red box which showed a wide brimmed hat and a fire
symbol. Goldie wondered what these strange objects could possibly mean, but his
curiosity was cut short as Hailey reached the floor which housed the suite that
she shared with her roommate. Upon stepping off the elevator, Hailey decided to
send a quick silent prayer. Her fears had multiplied as the time drew nearer
and nearer for her to explain the appearance of a certain furry animal to her
roommate. “Heavenly Father,” Hailey prayed, “Please, encourage my roommate to not
feel angry about Goldie and to be willing to listen to what I have to say. I’m
willing to come up with solutions that will meet my roommate’s needs. But…
please, allow me to keep Goldie because… I love him. Amen.”

exhaled a sigh and held Goldie closer in her arms. “No matter what happens,”
Hailey said to the cub, “I’ll do everything that I can to keep you.” Goldie
understood and purred more loudly as he was happy to feel so important. No one
had ever given Goldie so much attention before. Not since all his older
brothers had been sold. The suite which Hailey shared with her roommate had a
silver placard with the room number, 662, and a key slot so that only Hailey
and her roommate could enter the apartment, or any friends who were allowed to
visit. From outside, Hailey could hear the sound of cardboard boxes being

since her roommate had moved into the apartment yesterday, Hailey felt that the
room was half living space and half construction zone. This wasn’t to say that
Jean was messy, she was…creative. The floor in their bedroom this morning had
been littered with heaps of well- loved toys, craft paper, and supplies for
making lava lamps, Jean had been unpacking. Hailey knew that there were
supplies for lava lamps only because she had to avoid placing her foot in a jar
with an orange, pasty liquid when she swung her feet out of bed after turning
off her alarm clock, which usually buzzed around 7 am. The living space for
their apartment had included a small kitchenette with a microwave and
refrigerator near the living room, which boasted of a bean bag chair and coffee
table, and a single bedroom with twin beds. This had changed. Not that Hailey
minded. She liked Jean.

Jean had moved into the apartment, it had been late at night, the college dean
had forgotten to say when she was coming, and Hailey had been jolted out of a
nightmare when she heard a knock on the door. Hailey worried that a burglar had
slipped inside undetected. It was at moments like this that Hailey wished that
she had a basic training in karate or Jiu Jitsu. Thankfully, it was only Jean.
This new roommate had joined a program that paired students together in a
living space to save money for books and tuition. Hailey had eagerly signed the
application for this program, as she thought it would give her an opportunity
to socialize. As Jean stood in their apartment’s doorway, Hailey could see her
own eagerness mirrored in Jean’s bright hazel eyes. Jean had long, straight
black hair and was unusually tall. However, there had been something about Jean
which had intimidated Hailey. It wasn’t because Jean was above average height.
It was something that Hailey couldn’t describe which made her feel very shy.

had walked into the apartment with a large travel suitcase covered with global
stamps and stickers and a straw hat that looked like something which Pollyanna
Whittier would have bought, against her aunt’s advice, with its impractical
waterfall of flowers. As Hailey’s mind shifted back to the present, she opened
the apartment door, still holding Goldie, and stepped inside where she found
Jean in the middle of sorting through boxes which were filled will all manner
of decorations. Goldie was fascinated. He had never seen so many bright and
colorful things in his entire life! Rainbow streamers, plastic dishware, and
Japanese lanterns spilled from moving boxes with super strength duct tape. Jean,
although not very organized, was a whiz in arranging festive decorations and had
often been involved in social gatherings and parties in her high school years,
which she explained to Hailey on the night of her arrival.

continued to look enchanted. Hailey let her lips form an amused smile as she
looked at the Goldie, a smile which quickly faded at the thought of what she
would have to do. “Hi Jean,” Hailey tried to say casually. Jean’s head was
buried in a box lined with pink tissue paper so there was a muffled reply. “What
was that?” Hailey asked, glad for an opportunity to stall. Jean lifted her head
out of the box and laughed as she started picking out pieces of confetti which
were caught in her hair. Goldie leaned forward to sniff as he wanted to know
whether confetti smelled more like meat or hot cocoa. He had caught a whiff of
cocoa from a cafe on the way to the apartment. “I said that you’re an early
bird. It certainly didn’t take you very long to buy groceries at the farmers’
market. Are you always this fast? I wish that I could be…” Jean continued
picking confetti out of her hair. Goldie almost popped out of Hailey’s arms,
impatient to explore.

held Goldie tighter. “I didn’t go the farmer’s market.”  Jean shook her straight, black hair like a
sheepdog and started to turn her head when Hailey said, “Jean look outside!”
Jean gazed out the window which overlooked a metal fire escape and asked, “What
am I looking at?” At this moment, Hailey hastily put Goldie on their sofa couch
and covered him with a plump cushion. Jean looked at Hailey quizzically. “Why
did you want me to…” Hailey took a deep breath and said, “Jean, please don’t be
angry with me.”

would I be angry with you?” Jean asked, even more confused.

should probably sit down.” Hailey said as she gestured towards the couch.

had heard that the best course of action to take if you’re going to give
someone a shock is to ask them to sit down first. Jean sat down at full
attention, though she looked like she wanted to laugh. Goldie didn’t feel like
laughing, then, as he did not like being hidden behind a sofa cushion. However,
he decided to wait patiently until his new owner should act. In the passing
moments, Hailey had a perfect speech prepared and was about to launch forth
when one of the sofa cushions started moving. The one with tassels. “That’s
strange,” Jean said as she reached forward to investigate. “Jean, I….” Hailey
started to say helplessly but it was too late. Jean had already grabbed the
cushion away from whatever it was hiding and saw a tawny creature with
beautiful eyes and a set of white teeth which were still clinging to the sofa
cushion. “Oh, how darling,” Jean said as she let Goldie reclaim the cushion,
“I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have been so rough if I knew that you were hiding here.”

felt a wave of relief wash over her tense muscles as she carefully picked up Goldie
and spoke comforting words, by way of apology. “Do you think he escaped from
the zoo?” Jean asked.

didn’t escape from the zoo, Jean, I bought him from Harrod’s.” Jean’s eyes
widened in shock as the meaning of Hailey’s words sunk in. “Bought him? How
could you afford it?” Hailey nodded her head and with a twinge of guilt said,
“I took it out of my savings account.” This time, Jean was surprised.
Jean had always thought of Hailey as a very careful, neat person, at least
based on their first six hours of knowing one another. “Are you angry with me?”
Hailey asked, “If you don’t like Goldie, I could try to work something out so
that…” Jean’s mouth gaped in horror. “You’re not going to get rid of him, are
you?” Hailey shook her head, “No but…Would you be willing to help me?” Jean
seemed to ponder this as she stared at the Goldie, who had forgiven Hailey by
now as he was purring again. “Of course. I’d love to.” Hailey exhaled with relief.
God had answered her prayer beyond what she had expected.


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The Department Store Lion Chapter 4: What Jean Had to Say about Goldie

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