The pitter pattering sound of tiny feet was heard after the ringing of the bell chime on the door. Quickly behind her were the different odd footsteps of her friends, all following along into the store. Tinley shuffled into the store and surveyed her surroundings, looking over the many kinds of clocks hanging on every part of the walls. Being a sentient clock woman, she felt somewhat sorrowful for them, as this was almost like a clock orphanage. But she knew they were taken care of well here, and repaired when needed to so to be bought by someone one day. Repairs being one of the reasons she was here.
"So which aisle's got the replacement gears you need, Tin?", asked Pizza Steve, walking up to the clock girl and tapping her shoulder. She let out a squeak in surprise, turning around timidly.
"O-Oh, right! Well, I only need a couple and a new cleaning rag for them. That's the last time I go more than two months without cleaning...", she sighed, lifting up her sweaterdress and opening up the small compartment door next to her belly. Her kind had specially placed gears here use for movement to cycle in their limbs and let them be mobile, that could be accessed through the door on their body and cleaned to be kept from rusting. Tinley's gears, however, were rusted up pretty badly in the front and were definitely in need of replacing. She squeaked as she tried to move quicker, turning to show Pizza Steve her condition. He stiffened after seeing her navel and small shorts underneath exposed, but not much of his expression could've been determined under those shades he was wearing.
"Yeesh, Tin Tin, that looks awful…", he grimaced, adjusting his shades as he studied her rusted gears. She sighed and closed her little compartment door, pulling her sweaterdress down.
"I know, I won't forget next time. But once I get what I need from here, I'll be better in no time." She smiled at him, putting a hand on his arm carefully. "Thanks for wanting to bring me here. You've been a really nice f-friend lately."
Pizza Steve twitched a bit in surprise and stiffened even more, but kept the same unreadable expression as before. It was true, he had seem to have been trying harder to get her included in the gang's adventures and willing to be her buddy. She wasn't sure why such a cool person wanted to be so friendly to her, but Tinley was grateful and flattered nonetheless. Pizza Steve smiled back a second later and nodded.
"No problemo, Tin Tin! Pizza Steve's always happy to help!", he grinned, nudging her. Tinley giggled with her gold cheeks turning a tint of pink. She jumped when she heard a roar behind her though, turning and seeing Giant Realistic Flying Tiger sitting behind her. Tiger leaned down and carefully picked her up by the end of her sweaterdress, gently setting her down on her back and walking to the aisles of clock parts.
"I g-guess we'll be right back, Pizza Steve! We'll be done in a second!", she squeaked out, waving at him. He nodded and waved back, watching her be carried off by Tiger. He sighed to himself and pushed his shades further up on his face, a happy grin plastered on his face. The grin disappeared quickly when Uncle Grandpa picked him up from behind, holding him upside down and turning him to face him. Uncle Grandpa was whining with the end of a small wrench sticking out of his nose.
"PIZZA STEVE, HELP ME! These clock tools are evil!", he squealed, his nose whistling a little around the mini wrench stuck in it. Mr. Gus walked up behind him holding a slushy and sighed irritably.
"They aren't evil, you just need to learn that they aren't for when you have an itchy nose.", he scolded in his monotonous voice, sipping his slushy. Uncle Grandpa was about to reply but stopped when he heard the clinging sound of Pizza Steve's shades falling on the ground. He turned and gasped when he looked at the small flailing food man he was holding.
"HEY, Uncle G! Could you let me down already!? You're stretching the cheese here, bro!", he growled a little but went quiet when he saw Uncle Grandpa staring in horror. Mr. Gus turned to him too and nearly choked on his slushy when he looked at him.
"Uh…guys? Whatsa matter, do I got something on my face?", he asked, rubbing his cheddar cheek and raising an eyebrow. He heard Belly Bag gasp and break the awkward silence.
"Pizza Steve, since when did you get heart eyes?", he yelped. Pizza Steve gave them all a nervous look and turned his head around until he saw his reflection in one of the shiny faces of the wall clocks. The fanny pack was right; Pizza Steve's pupils were literally the shape of hearts, their original black coloring now a soft shade of pink. Pizza Steve gasped and felt around his eyes. "U-Uhh…"
"You have heart eyes, Pizza Steve!", Uncle Grandpa finally yelled out in a concerned tone. He held Pizza Steve upright and looked closely at his pink pupils. "You've got a serious case of lovesickness!"
Pizza Steve's cheeks reddened a little and he widened his eyes. He quickly jumped down from Uncle Grandpa's hands and shoved his shades back over his eyes, turning back around and laughing nervously.
"L-Lovesickness? Pbbht, please Uncle Grandpa, you sure you guys haven't been watching too many romantic comedies or whatever?", he snickered, holding his shades up to cover his eyes as much as he can. Mr. Gus shook his head and gave him a serious look.
"This isn't a joke, Pizza Steve. Lovesickness is deadly, and your weirdly shaped eyes are the number one symptom. Whoever it is you're in love with right now you better confess to soon or it could kill you!", he exclaimed dramatically, or as dramatic as he could in his deadpan tone. Pizza Steve blushed harder and jumped in surprise, small beads of sweat forming on his crust.
"'In love with'? I h-have no idea what y-you're talking about. Pizza Steve doesn't get crushes, people get crushes on Pizza Steve!", he stuttered out. He flinched when Tinley suddenly whistled at them from across the store. Tiger poked her head over the top of one of the shelves, Tinley sitting on her head.
"Which pattern should I buy for my gears, the bells or the plaid?", she asked, holding up two packages of two differently designed gears. Pizza Steve couldn't help but let a blush across his cheeks form, quickly putting a hand over his face and pointing to the one with bells.
"Thank you! Tiger suggested that one too.", she giggled. Tiger let out a giggly growl with her before both girls went back into the aisle. Pizza Steve let out a shaky sigh and turned back to the others, giving them a nervous smile. However, Belly Bag giggled and leaned over to nudge him.
"I thought you seemed happier than usual after Tinley joined our group!", he laughed, smiling wide at him. Pizza Steve's cheeks turned red entirely as he shoved a hand onto the fanny pack's mouth and shushed him. He gestured everybody outside of the store and walked out. After they followed him outside, he turned around trembling.
"ALRIGHT, fine! I've..!", he choked out, wiping the sweat from his brow. "I've been crushing on Tinley pretty hard lately, okay? But what does it matter, a crush can't actually kill me! What's the worst this 'lovesickness' can do to me?"
Suddenly, he bent over in a jerking motion and coughed loudly. Small bits of what appeared to be pink confetti fell out of his mouth. He nearly screamed in confusion when he saw it, stumbling backwards onto the sidewalk. Uncle Grandpa helped him up and pointed to the pile of confetti.
"That's the worst! If you don't figure out how to express your feelings to Tinley, that confetti is all that's gonna be left of you after you EXPLODE!", he exclaimed, making Pizza Steve shriek a little. He trembled harder and sweated buckets now, hanging his head and sighing.
"Well…how do you think I should do it?", he asked quietly, all the usual confidence from his voice replaced with fear and uncertainty. Uncle Grandpa patted him on the back and smiled down at him.
"Don't worry, Pizza Steve!", he assured. "We'll think up a plan for how you'll confess to her once we get finished shopping. It'll be a piece of cake!"
Pizza Steve sighed again but nodded, puffing up his chest to look more confident. This confident stature lasted only two seconds though as Tiger and Tinley burst through the doors with a small shopping bag being carried in Tiger's mouth, Pizza Steve squealing and falling in his own pile of confetti. Uncle Grandpa sighed as everyone else loaded back up in the RV.
"This'll take a while…"