Chapter One Hundred and Seven: Harold and Lady
“And MARION is simply furious at Revolver, because he didn't go out and address the riots personally. SHE thought it would have been a great way to establish that they were THE power couple in Pleasantville.” Judith Jofrey gossiped away. “Only I think Revolver is getting extremely cold feet because he's started referencing the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach again instead of the Death…Valley…Mob…Dan are you listening to me?”
Judith and Daniel were hanging out on Pleasant Dam, looking out over the city as the sun set. Daniel was still feeling touchy about the fact that not only had he committed murder, but the fact that he'd kind of enjoyed it. It had felt empowering to finally strike back, no matter WHAT Chuckles and Giggles said.
But what Sammy and Tammy said…
“Dan?” Judith poked his big bear arm.
“Sorry Judes, I'm just…tired.” Daniel rubbed his face, nearly knocking his spectacles down into the creek below.
“Tired huh?” Judith took his glasses from him to keep them safe. “You look a thousand years old at the moment.”
“I feel it.” Daniel admitted. “It's like I have this big heaviness on my shoulders that I can never put down.”
“Marion used to talk like that sometimes, when we were younger. Like there was this big, heavy shroud around her that she could never escape.” Judith said quietly.
“Yeah, it's a shroud alright.” Daniel sighed. “A shroud named Sir Lionheart.”
Alas for Harold and Lady Billard, Belle had been kidnapped very recently and thus was being more careful than usual about people trying to grab her. So they went for the next best thing and accosted her while she was having lunch at her uncles restaurant.
“I still feel so bad that you got beat up.” Belle said as she ate her steak sandwich.
“Relax. It's not the worst beating I've ever had. Besides, no new scars!” Bill pointed to the scar on his eye, the one that looked very similar to the one his brother and father had.
“You know, I know Dad got his in a fight with Harold and his other one in a fight with Johannes, but I've never known how you got yours.” Belle mentioned, dipping one of her beer battered chips into the delicious garlic aioli her uncle made.
“Rush hour is going to start soon, gotta go!” Bill made himself scarce, not really wanting to go into the finer details of being chased out a window and falling two storeys into a rosebush. Pro tip: Make sure they're not married.
Belle blinked, before shrugging and returning to her steak sandwich (thick, freshly baked slices of wholemeal bread, slightly melted cheese, thick slabs of tomato, lashings of lettuce and aioli, a good chunk of beetroot and a good, thick, medium-rare slab of steak, served with beer-battered chips) and opening a book of law history (it's Belle, you knew a book was going to appear at some point). She started reading happily about the final arrest of Crewmate Liam of the Hidden Fear Crew and how that broke the Crew up permanently when her maternal grandparents chose that moment to walk in. At first, she didn't notice them (again, it's BELLE), even when they sat at the table with her. After a minute of awkward silence, Belle went to take another bite of her steak sandwich, which is when she noticed the pair.
“HEY!” She shot up, equal parts miffed and scared. “Go away, I'm trying to enjoy my lunch!”
“And we're trying to get to know our grand-daughter.” Lady replied.
“I don't WANT to get to know you! Now go away!” Belle snapped, sitting back down.
“Belle, you have no choice. You have a bloodline in you that you need to listen to.” Harold said.
“Yes actually, I DO have a choice. Now GO AWAY!” Belle snapped again.
“Belle, you DON'T. The fact is, if you don't listen to us, our lives are at risk!” Harold pleaded.
“You can't have my kidneys.” Belle said flatly.
“It's not your organs Belle, it's your life we need. We need you to join the Haunted Maze Troupe for the Billard Clan.” Lady told her.
Belle froze for two seconds. Her grand-parents were Troupers?!
“Absolutely NOT.” She snapped. “NOW GO AWAY. Also, I'm calling Chuckles and Giggles.”
“Belle, if you don't join the Troupe they'll kill us for not sending tribute. All the Clans have to give one family member per year, and since your mother was our only child, and you're HER only child, it has to be you.” Lady protested. “They relaxed the rules while we were in hiding, but now it's time for you to claim your birthright!”
“MY birthright is tearing down the Troupe, the Mob, the Crusaders, the Gang, and anyone else who wants to ruin Pleasantville.” Belle snapped. “I'm not joining the Troupe because I'm going to destroy the Troupe!”
“Belle NO!” Harold pleaded. “We put so much WORK into the Troupe! We've made riches you could never imagine, and you wouldn't have to give up your work as a lawyer, not since Demon took over the Council!”
“I will destroy the Troupe, and I'll see you two arrested. NOW. GO. AWAY.” Belle stomped her feet this time, her temper well and truly roused at this point.
“If you won't come willingly, then we'll take you by force!” Harold screamed.
“What's going on out here?!” Bill rushed out as Lady and Harold grabbed Belle, who wasn't having a bar of it. She ripped at her grand-mothers hair and kicked out at her grand-father, who were forced to back off.
“Who taught YOU to fight dirty!?” Lady scolded.
“Belle was taught to defend herself, and I certainly have no problem dishing out pain to those who put their hands on her.” Bill stepped between Belle and the two Troupers.
Harold and Lady backed off. Bill had his fathers size, and looked very imposing to the elderly pair.
“You will pay for this. Both of you! This petty cafe will be destroyed!” Lady screeched as she and Harold walked out.
“I'm not particularly worried.” Bill shrugged.
Just as Harold and Lady left, Charlie walked in.
“Saw your maternal grannies outside swearing up a storm. I'm guessing you told them where to stick it?” He asked as he made a beeline for Belles steak sandwich.
“They're Haunted Maze Troupers, so yeah.” Belle tripped him up before he could reach the sandwich, and immediately began to shovel it and her chips down as fast as possible.
“Steak sandwich?” Bill asked as Charlie eyed the sandwich off hungrily.
“This is so trippy. Dan is a descendant of the Silent Lake Gang, and now Belle has Haunted Maze Troupe blood in her.” Sunny said as the Noble Knights of the Last Order had a meeting at the tip – minus their leader.
“I know. Speaking of Dan, is anyone else worried about him?” Sammy asked.
“A little. He's been off since the riots.” TJ mused. “I think the whole Dingbat thing is getting to him.”
“I don't know why, unless he feels guilty that we pretty much left Dingbat to die.” Tammy sighed. “It's all so confusing.”
“I have to go to the stupid funeral. It's going to be disgusting, all about how wonderful he was when in fact he SHOULD be in gaol rotting away. It's not FAIR!” TJ snapped. “Now Chuckles and Giggles look even worse because they're the ones who released the audio of Dingbat being a dick, and people are talking about how someone could have heard it and decided to deal with Dingbat themselves.”
“Dingbat dying has had a LOT of bad consequences. I mean, I can kinda understand why someone did it, but still I'd love to get my hands on them and show them just how much damage they've done.” Tammy kicked a small rock that went skipping along the ground.
“Well, what's done is done.” Petunia stood up. “We need to think about what's going to happen next.”
“We can't really do that without Dan here.” Sunny pointed out. “Also, shouldn't Belle and Charlie be here?”
“Chuckles and Giggles are busy at the moment, and I have no idea where Dan is.” Petunia said.
“Chuckles and Giggles are busy?” Sunny asked.
At that particular moment, Chuckles and Giggles were busy chasing Harold and Lady out of town.
“You stay away from the Masters family you, you…YOUS!” Giggles flew after her grand-parents, shouting loudly.
“Leave us alone!” Lady sobbed as she ran towards her car.
“Wait for me!!!!!!” Chuckles could be heard in the distance, having been left behind.
“JUMP IN LADY!” Harold tried to reach over and open the passenger side door without crashing the car. Giggles swooped again as Lady made it into the car and the pair drove off.
“YOU HAVEN'T HEARD THE LAST OF THIS!” Harold roared.
“Hopefully Chuckles and Giggles will attend our next meeting.” Tammy said after Petunia had finished explaining what the heroes were up to.
“And hopefully we'll be able to get Dan back.” Sammy said.