Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen: Planning Stages

 Charlie had his head
firmly in a book while Belle ate her seafood pasta.

HECK?!” TJ screamed as he walked into Bills restaurant and saw the
scene in front of him.

“I know, I freaked
out too.” Bill said as he heard the screaming.

“I am not okay with
this!” TJ carefully sat down with his friends.

“Charlie is looking
up what we need to do to get the Chamber of Commerce up and running.”
Belle explained. “And brushing up his Business Principles degree.”


“Charlie's had his BP
forever!” Belle pointed out. “He was in my BP class at school for
pete's sake.”

“I can't deal right
now.” TJ sulked as Tammy and Sammy walked in and the screaming
started again.

“You know it's really
hard to study with all this noise going on.” Charlie frowned after
the freak-out had subsided, which led to another quieter freak-out.

“Anyway, we've
figured out that we need at least 100 signatures from business owners
in the Pleasantville Council Region, which includes Fallsville,
Greensville, Oakville and Treesville.” Charlie continued as Belle
started slurping up strands of spaghetti.

“Given that there's a
fair few business owners who are also pro-PRO I think we have that
covered.” Belle shoved a prawn into her mouth.

“The big thing after
that is the committee election, which is where things could fall
apart.” Charlie sighed. “We can't let Demon become the head of
the committee, otherwise it's just going to increase his control of
the city.”

He grimaced a little as
Belle kept talking with the others. Charlie had an especial hate for
Demon, who not only had killed Charles Howzat. Charlies beloved
grand-father, but had also fired Thomas Begly a few months after
Charlie had been born. It had left the Begly family struggling until
Thomas and Peter Masters made up and Thomas had been able to
Improbability Clause up the family business.

There was also the
matter of Daryl Jones. Charlie and Daryl had hated each other since
they were toddlers, and before meeting Belle and the Knights of the
Last Order Charlies life had been a living hell. Having your bully
live nearly right next door made life harder than it needed to be,
especially since Demon had never sought to pull Daryl into line.
Every time Betty Begly had stormed over to report on another of
Daryls actions in an attempt to defend her son, she had always been
brushed off. Once she'd tried legal action, but that got thrown out
the moment the judge (who had been paid off) looked at it.

Also on the list of
things Charlie hated about Demon was Demons own daughter, Sunny, who
had been abused by her brother for years. Again, Demon had turned a
blind eye to the actions of Daryl. This particularly rankled Charlie
who had once held strong feelings for Sunny.

Charlie knew he had to
win this and get the first real blow against the corrupt City
Council. The only problem was…well, that he wasn't Belle. Charlie
loved his best friend dearly, but he was also in total awe of her
drive and intelligence. Belle would have told anyone that Charlie was
just as intelligent, if not more intelligent than herself, but
Charlie would never believe it as long as he lived.

If I was Belle, all
this study would be easy.
sighed to himself.

you're looking a bit down.” Belle clued in immediately to how her
best friend was feeling. “Why don't you put that all down and come
play some cricket with us?”

dunno…” Charlie looked over his paperwork as the others tried not
to freak out too loudly.

guys go on ahead, we'll catch up.” Belle rolled her eyes her
friends, who were at least able to look sheepish as they headed out.

got this mate. I know you do.” Belle touched Charlies cheek once
the others were outside.

gonna need so much help though…” Charlie admitted.

I'm going to be right here the whole way through.” Belle kissed his
cheek. “Come on, it's not like your batting average can get any

Charlie slammed his book shut and chased Belle.

kissed his cheek! They HAVE to be together!” Sunny watched the pair
through the restaurant window.

I hate to inform you but that means nothing. We're the most
over-affectionate group of friends in the world, remember?” Petunia
grinned. “I mean, these guys kiss each other all the time!”

between friends should be more encouraged!” Sammy gave TJ a kiss on
the cheek. TJ hugged him back.

on you lot, let's find Dan and have a cricket match!” Belle and
Charlie had already rushed well ahead of the pack.

Jones wasn't very good at planning. He had grand aspirations, and no
idea how to get there. So his first plan to get revenge on Crusader
Roger didn't go well at all.

made you some tea, sir.” Daryl carried a teapot and a cup to Rogers
office and knocked on the door.

it in.” Roger waved Daryl in. “Have you seen this? Begly Metal
Services boss has decided to try and get a chamber of commerce going
in Pleasantville.”


you used to live next door to him?” Roger poured some tea.

lived next to the Masters. They live next door to the Beglys.”
Daryl bit back his anger.

Roger said, stirring the tea. “He's doing really well for himself
isn't he? And here's you, making tea for a criminal mastermind.”

seethed internally, doing his best to hold his poker face. “We took
different paths in life.”

You can go now.” Roger leaned back in his chair.

turned around and made to go.

and Daryl? Next time you try to poison me, make sure it's with
something I can't smell a mile away.” Roger threw the cup at
Daryl's head, cutting the back of his head open.


not a good actor at all, and you're not clever enough to think up a
way to get rid of me. Don't try again.” Roger continued.

stalked out, furious. Not only had he failed to get rid of Roger, but
now Charlie Begly was doing better than him.

swore that they would ALL pay. Dearly.

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