Chapter Fifty: Chuckles and Giggles, Victims of Love!

the time has flown." Belle sat back in the tree, looking up at
the sky.
certainly has." Charlie replied, half-asleep.
the time Masked Revolver took over the school?"
could I forget. Remember the first time we pantsied Master Revolver
as Chuckles and Giggles?"
never forget that. Let's not forget when we met the Knights of the
Last Order, or Sunny for that matter. Didn't she turn out to be a
great friend after all?"
sure did, in more ways than one."
really don't need to know the fine details!"
it wasn't long after that…I still wish he'd just stayed put instead
of getting himself killed."
wasn't your fault your grand-father got killed Charlie. Just like it
wasn't my fault that Johannas got my Aunt Jessie."
flood was something, wasn't it? You'd think after something like that
the people of this city would learn."
almost did, until Tate got involved over her stupid infatuation with
Webster. That University was the best thing that happened to
Pleasantville in a long time and now it's gone with no plans to build
another one."

well, I wasn't too fond of that University at the time. It took my
best friend away."
were too busy with Sunny at the time!"
didn't end well either way. We had a huge fight after you left for
Brisvegas and I went to Awesomica not long afterward."
was fun, living in Brisvegas. I ended up in Awesomica for a bit
though when I went with Dad on a world trip."
never told me that!"
never came up. I was glad to get back to Pleasantville though, even
if it wasn't so pleasant at the time."
put Daryl back in his place. It's just a shame that Mr. Jones got
into power."
tried to stop him and his ilk, but the people of this city wouldn't
back me up."
still have nightmares about that mattress."
least Izzy and Lizzy weren't Knights then. I don't think you could
have coped knowing your baby sisters were being hunted as well."
you know that Lizzy is going out with Sam now?"
know! Isn't it great? Better than that Hugo creep that Izzy hangs out
with. How OLD is he?"
twenties I think."
still gross."
BEAUTY! CHARLIE!" They heard Peter calling for them.
Dad?" Belle poked her head out of the tree.
ready! Then afterward we're going to Ozzys school play!" Peter
love having a little brother and a little sister. I wasn't sure about
Mum at first, but I'm glad my Dad married her." Belle slipped
effortlessly out of the tree.
considering your past." Charlie landed with a thud next to her.
You know, now that Dad's married, I don't mind being an unwanted
bastard anywhere near as much as I used to." Belle headed
definitely not unwanted Beauty." Peter caught his oldest
daughter up in a strong hug. The bond between father and daughter had
never wavered, and was stronger than ever. For the start that Belle
had, Peter was bloody proud of her.
year old Peter Masters ran as fast as he could home. Not because he
had to be there any earlier, but because running helped him forget.
mother was dead. She'd died two weeks prior from cancer. It had been
a huge blow to hear her diagnosis a year ago, especially when his
girlfriend of three years had dumped him the day before.
wanted to forget that he'd lost his mother. He wanted to forget the
woman who'd left him. He wanted to forget that his best friend wasn't
talking to him, and hadn't spoken to him in years. He wanted to
forget that his father was disappointed in him for breezing through
his Law degree instead of putting in an effort. He wanted to forget
that his sister hadn't been heard from since Mother died.
long hair was coming loose from its ponytail. He pulled it loose and
shook it out as he made his way up the stairs to his apartment. It
was a cold, wet day and the stairs were slippery. But that isn't why
he slid over.
baby crying on his doorstep was the reason he slid over and landed on
his backside. A crying baby with a hacking cough.
didn't stop to think. He grabbed the bundle and hurried inside to try
and help the poor creature. Not that he had any idea about babies.
you okay little fella?" He asked as he lifted the baby from it's
basket. It looked up at him, and started screaming again.
I'd scream if I saw me too." Peter sympathized. He found a small
collection of bottles in the bag attached to the basket – several had
milk in them. He threw one into the microwave while trying to soothe
the disquieted child.
okay, I'll look after you until we find your Mummy and Daddy."
He cooed. The baby settled, and looked up at him with such trusting
eyes that he almost teared up. Those eyes were his eyes. His deep,
brown eyes. There was no doubt that this child was his.
I guess I'm your Daddy. Hi!" Peter said softly as the baby
reached up to touch his face. The microwave signaled that it was
finished, and Peter tested the bottle before giving it to the tiny
child. Another sign that it was his child – Peter Masters had always
been short – even shorter than his best friend Thomas Begly.
he fed the baby, his eyes fell upon a piece of paper that had fallen
from the basket. Guessing that it would lead to the identity of the
childs mother, he picked it up and read it. What he read angered him,
and destroyed what little love he had left for his ex-girlfriend. The
baby was a little girl, with no name, and apparently was too much of
a burden to be kept by her mother, who had dumped her onto Peter.
we'll get along all right little one." Peter told the baby, who
coughed in response. "We'll need to get you to the doctor first
though, that cough doesn't sound good at all.
finished feeding his daughter, before grabbing the phone and calling
his father.
Dad, my lovely ex has dumped my daughter on my doorstep and I think
she needs a doctor, do you know any child-friendly doctors in the
area?" Peter said the moment his father picked up.
Joe Masters yelped. "Say that again?"
then explained the situation a bit clearer. His father exhaled
coming over in the car to pick you up. The kid sounds very ill and
needs to get to the doctor quickly." Joe decided.
Dad." Peter replied, hanging up. The baby looked up at him
quizzically. "That was your Pa. He's going to come and take us
to the doctors. Then we'll get your cough sorted out."
looked into those brown eyes again. He traced her features with his
eyes, marveling in how much she looked just like him.
beautiful. So very, very beautiful. My darling little Belle." He
whispered, kissing her on the forehead.
back in Pleasantville, 20 year old Thomas Begly was having trouble of
his own.
FIRING me?" Thomas cried.
simply have too many staff, and seeing as you're one of our newbies,
you're first cab off the rank. We're really very sorry." 25 year
old Arnold Jones didn't sound sorry in the slightest. "Unfortunately
these cost-cutting measures are necessary."
Thomas narrowed his eyes at his now former employer. "You do
realize I have a child to try and support?"
have two." Mr. Jones replied.
glowered at Mr. Jones, who smirked back. He got up and walked away
from his former boss, seething. Thomas had been a metalworker for as
long as he'd been able to, and this was how he was repaid?
worst of it was, Arnold Jones owned a fair few of the businesses
around the city. Getting another job was going to be impossible. At
least he had the house that his father had let him have after he'd
moved to the retirement village. Tim Begly was good for that kind of
didn't want to move out of Pleasantville, but it looked like he'd
have no choice. He got into his car (a brand new Elantra, that'd have
to go) and headed back home to break the news to Betty, who
thankfully still had a job.
got fired too?!" Betty cried when Thomas told her the news.
is insane. I can't believe he's fired both of us. What's he playing
at?" Thomas sank down into the couch, defeated.
he wants the house. His simpering little wife was over here earlier
asking about it." Betty sat down, holding onto the sleeping
he can't have it. The Beglys have lived here since the dawn of
Pleasantville, and they'll be here when she burns, which will be
sooner rather than later at this rate." Thomas said bitterly.
then, the phone rang. Thomas got up gingerly and answered it.
residence." He said wearily into the phone, not looking forward
to any further bad news.
Tom? It's Billy. How have you been?" The voice of Bill Masters
greeted him.
Billy Masters? Mate, it's been too long!" Thomas cheered up,
smiling at Betty. "We're having a few issues up here at the
moment, how are things down there in Brisvegas?"
really don't know if they're good or bad. You know Mum died a few
weeks ago." Bill started.
was sorry to hear that mate, she was like a second mother to me."
Thomas felt a pang of loss.
that's not all, Pete has a daughter." Bill continued.
one hand, Thomas was thrilled for his former best friend. On the
other, he was still very bitter about the falling out that had
daughter you say?" Thomas ventured cautiously.
dropped her on his doorstep and skipped town. He's fallen in love
with the poor thing already, calls her Beauty and named her Belle."
Bill said.
he's sure she's his?" Thomas worried slightly.
did a DNA test. Even if we didn't, she looks like his little clone
anyway. Definitely his progeny." Bill chuckled. "But she's
Thomas cried. "How old is she?!"
months old. She already had pneumonia when she was dumped. It's
gotten worse." Bill said sadly. "Tom, I know you and Pete
had a huge fight, but he really, really needs you."
course he does! I'll be there as soon as I can!" Thomas slammed
down the phone and turned to Betty. "Pete's got a daughter, she
was dropped on his front doorstep with pneumonia and it looks like
she might not live to see her first birthday!"
Betty shot up, waking Charlie who began to bellow. "You have to
go to him Thomas, I don't care what happened in school."
was no question of it." Thomas kissed his wife, before heading
upstairs to pack his bags. Pretty soon, he was on the road south to
Brisvegas, praying with all his might that little Belle Masters would
be okay.
Masters sat next to the 
humid-crib that currently housed his infant
daughter. He'd only known her for a few weeks yet he loved her with
all of his heart. He hadn't needed the DNA test to know that they
were family. He didn't want to lose her, not so soon after meeting
her, and not so soon after losing his beloved mother.
okay Pete?" Bill came over and sat next to him. In any other
situation, the pair would have looked comical, both of them nearly
identical with their long blonde hair, one large like their father
and the other small like their mother. It was hard to believe that
Peter was four years older.
has to live. She has to. I know she has to because if she does she's
going to have a brilliant future ahead of her. Look at her Billy,
she's going to change the world one day." Peter replied, looking
sadly at Belle, who was still shuddering with every difficult breath.
hope you're right." Bill sighed. "Look at how tiny she is.
She looks so much like you."
she'll be a bit taller though." Peter chuckled bitterly, still a
bit sensitive about his height.
looks just like you did when you were that age son, right down to the
coughing and spluttering." Joe said from near a window. "You
were as sick as a dog for your first few years too."
your growth perhaps?" Bill teased lightly. He felt bad when his
older brother didn't retaliate in typical Masters fashion.
Masters? There's someone here to see you." A nurse popped her
head into the room, startling all present.
you two keep an eye on her for me." Peter warned his father and
brother. He headed out of the room and down the hall, where an old
friend was waiting for him.
Peter did a double-take when he saw his former best friend standing
before him.
Pete. Bill told me what happened." Thomas looked sheepish. "I
had to come and see you."
couldn't believe it. He grabbed Thomas into a fierce hug, and then
and there the friendship was restored permanently.
don't look so well old friend, are things okay at home?" Peter
noticed the worry lines around Thomas's eyes.
really, but I think your worry is a bit more pressing." Thomas
tried to shrug it off.
need a break from my worry anyway mate, sit down, we'll talk."
Peter motioned towards some nearby seats.
Thomas proceeded to tell Peter what had happened with Mr. Jones.
know he has one son, Daryl, who's a bit older than my Charlie, but I
didn't know he had another child too." Thomas finished his
story. "I don't know why he'd be after my place though."
was saying how he'd been inquiring about our place too, the greedy
mongrel." Peter grimaced. "We might not be living there
anymore, but that's Masters land and it always will be."
think he's sick of the renters to be honest." Thomas replied.
we'll figure out a way to get him back, you'll see." Peter
stretched his tired muscles.
could always ruin his business." Thomas chuckled.
but he's the only metalworker in town and has a monopoly on the
place. Even if he was slandered pillar to post, people will still go
to him." Peter quickly tried to put a damper on that plan.
began to smirk.
NO. You don't get to do that when we've just become friends again and
my daughter is dying!" Peter yelped.
Petey, the doctor just came past. It looks like Belle will be okay!"
Bill came rushing out to tell the pair the news. He saw the look on
Peters face and blinked. "Did you just get Claused again?"
eye twitched.
you're going to go into business AGAINST Jones?" Peter cried a
few days later. Belle was back at home, and Thomas was ready to head
back to Pleasantville.
I've found a creditor here in Brisvegas, so there's no way he can
sabotage me." Thomas grinned.
chuckled. "So you're heading back home tonight to get started
I've just got to fix up a few more things this morning and then I'll
head back after dinner." Thomas finished packing his bag. "Betty
and Charlie will be missing me."
one day we'll come back to Pleasantville, and Belle can meet
Charlie." Peter mused.
continue on the family traditions." Thomas smiled. He looked out
of the window. "I wonder what would have happened if Jack was
still around. He and Bill reminded me a lot of you and I."
probably would have had a huge fight too. We're Masters and Beglys,
we need to have one good fight in our lifetimes otherwise it'd get
too soft and sappy." Peter joked.
I'm going to the bank, I'll be back for dinner!" Thomas
high-fived Peter and headed out of the apartment. Peter watched the
door close behind him and thought.
Beauty, do you wanna go and help your Uncle Thomas?" He said
Belle gurgled.
what I thought. Good girl!"
when Thomas returned to the apartment to get his bags and be off, he
found a large dual-cab ute waiting for him. Not wanting to leave his
friend without a mode of transport, he decided to leave the Elantra
was the same Elantra that Charlie, Lizzy, Sam and Belle piled into to
go and see Ozzys school play.
though this place is a horrid crime-haven, I'm glad my father brought
me back here." Belle drove the car towards the school.
glad too." Charlie grinned at his best friend.
three." Lizzy piped up. She'd been getting along famously with
Belle since she'd tossed in the Lady Starlight mantle.
think we're all glad that things turned out the way they did."
Sam took Lizzys hand, and the pair smiled at each other. Charlie gave
Belle a knowing glance and she giggled as they reached the school,
Peters car not far behind.
remember when the old private school was around, where you guys used
to go to." Peter ruffled Belles hair as they sat down towards
the front of the stage.
one where we got taken hostage?" Charlie sat down next to Belle.
was one of the scariest days of my life." Thomas shuddered. "I
thought you and Belle were goners."
was so scared that the DVG were going to come after Daryl and I,
because of who our Dad is." Sunny sat on the other side of
Charlie next to Patrick, who was holding Melody.
looked up at Charlie, who smiled down at her. That had been the day
that changed everything for them. It had been the day that Belle had
first gotten a hold of the Lucky Seven Gun, and that Charlie had
decided to become the unnamed hero who would eventually become
play started. It was the story of the founding of Pleasantville, how
Simon Masters and Louis Begly dammed up Pleasant Lake, creating a big
enough hole in the ground to fit a safe, little city. Unfortunately
it had all gone wrong when the Mobster Kings and the Red Valley Gang
(the precursors of the more modern Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters
of Misneach, who had now fused) moved in and turned what was supposed
to be a haven into a hell-hole.
intermission, Belle stepped outside into the cool air. So much had
changed, yet so much was still the same.

again?" Charlie came out and joined her. She leaned on him and
he put an arm around her.
been alive 22 years. So much as happened." Belle looked up at
the stars. "I just wonder about the next 22 years."
much can happen. You might even be a mother by that stage."
Charlie pointed out. "I could even be a father."
just have to see what happens, won't we?" Belle hugged her best
friend tightly, and he squeezed her just as hard. For a few minutes,
they were both silent, simply enjoying each others company. Finally,
they both pulled away and looked at each other.
THE DVM! RUN FOR IT!" They heard someone screaming inside.
stuff is in the car." Belle rolled her eyes.
get to it then." Charlie sighed.

They both grinned. No matter what happened in the next 22 years, 50 years,
100 years, there was no doubt that it would find Belle Louise Masters
and Charlie Thurlow Begly as best friends, and Chuckles and Giggles
as the heroes of the city of Pleasantville.

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