Chapter One Hundred and Three: People Don't Like Change
Hot, stinging tears fell down the face of Belle Masters.
Everything was going wrong. Fights were breaking out all over the city between people who supported the PRO and people who supported the PCC. Demon was loving it. Now TJ had been arrested too, although Belle was pretty certain those charges of him attacking his superiors was an out and out lie.
“All we need now is for the DVM, the Crusaders and the Troupe to come in and take advantage.” Belle sulked. She was sitting in the tree, and the hot, humid weather was just making her feel even MORE miserable. “This is all our fault.”
“Hey Belle. You okay?” Charlie carefully crawled into the tree from his bedroom window. “You look like you're about ready to give up.”
“I'm just frustrated. We're working so hard to make this city a better place and the citizens we're trying to protect are the ones who have turned on us!” Belle groaned.
“Charlie?” Belle asked.
“I know you're frustrated with the situation Belle, and believe me, I don't blame you one bit for that. But you have to understand where the PCC are coming from.” Charlie told her.
“What are you talking about?” Belle raised an eyebrow.
“Change Belle. Change.” Charlie said. “I think I know where the PCC has spawned from.”
Belle looked confused. Charlie sighed again.
“Belle, even I can admit that I am terrible when it comes to change. Like when you started uni and I started dating Sunny. I couldn't handle how it changed everything, and how everything was going to continue to change.” He said.
“But you went to Awesomica. That was a huge change.” Belle pointed out.
“Running away from change you mean.” Charlie chuckled. “It was me trying to escape the consequences of us potentially moving on from each other.”
He sighed again and looked up at a flock of birds that was flying into the sunset.
“People are afraid of change. They're much easier with the devil they know, and that's Demon. Demon is the epitome of everything that Pleasantville has been since it's inception, ruled by crime, and if that changes who knows what comes next.” He explained. “Plus, while the PRO from the outside looks like it legitimately wants to change Pleasantville, you can't deny that what it's striving for, and what we are striving for, will leave a bit of a power vacuum in Pleasantville, at least until it sorts itself out. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if some more nefarious types are backing the PRO in order to remove Demon, the Mob and the Crusaders from power in Pleasantville just so they can take it themselves. I mean, I think there are people in the PCC who want crime gone too, but all they can see is that power vacuum being created and someone even worse coming along.”
“I knew it. We should never have started meddling in things.” Belle began to cry again.
“But if we hadn't, things wouldn't be happening!” Charlie protested. “You have been SO weepy recently!”
“Shut up!” Belle snapped.
The pair looked at each other, before backing down.
“Demon is doing just fine. He's getting between us no problem.” Belle slumped.
“We can't let him. Pleasantville is on a knife-point. Things could explode at any second.” Charlie sat down next to her and put his arm around her.
Belle sighed a heaving sigh as she tried to calm herself.
“I think the first thing is to get us back on the same page. I tried to keep you from Demon because I thought he would get to you and you would do something we'd regret, but that was wrong of me and now he's using that to try and get to me.” She hung her head. “I'm sorry.”
“Hey, I had the same idea as you. Only I was scared of Demon, and of my own guilt when it comes to what happened to Grandpa.” Charlie admitted. “I was a coward.”
“You're not though. You're wiser than anyone I've met.” Belle told him.
“WE'RE wiser.” Charlie reminded her. “You're the one who finds all the pieces of the puzzle that I can't see. I just put them together.”
The pair smiled at each other. Then they both groaned as another hot blast of wind scalded them.
“This heat isn't helping the situation at all. Everyone is irritable because they're too hot and sticky, and they're more likely to take things the wrong way and start a fight instead of a conversation.” Belle groaned.
Charlie pricked up his ears.
“Improbability time?” Belle asked.
“Improbability time!” Charlie grinned back.
“Will you LEARN TO KNOCK before entering?! Oh, and there's two of you. Brilliant.” Demon looked up from his paperwork to see both Chuckles and Giggles staring down at him. “Don't you have some capitalism to fell?”
“It's actually quite scary how close thievery and capitalism are, but no, your little friends have been very good recently. Except the Haunted Maze Troupe and we still don't know what their issue is or what they're even doing.” Giggles said.
“They're drug dealers and trouble-starters. Of course they love to mess with everyone.” Demon pointed out.
“Know that from your former drug dealing?” Chuckles bit.
“ANYWAY!” Giggles quickly interjected. “We want to use the Pleasantville Sports and Community Centre for a city meeting between the PRO and the PCC.”
“With air-conditioning.” Chuckles quickly added.
“With absolute pleasure.” He smirked.
“The Noble Knights of the Last Order will be guarding it, so don't think you can cause trouble with the Mob or the Crusaders.” Giggles warned.
“The Mob are laying low until they get their opening, and you know I have no control over the Crusaders, no matter who is in their ranks.” Demon said with a note of bitterness, which was satisfying to hear.
“Make sure that air-conditioning is working and it's a nice, pleasant temperature in that centre or else.” Giggles warned. “Come on Chuckles, we're leaving.”
“I do hope you've paid your respects to your grandfather recently. It's coming up to that time of year, isn't it?” Demon said smugly.
Chuckles flinched, before following Giggles out of the building. Giggles sighed sadly – the chandelier still hadn't been repaired – before walking out into the street.
“It's no where NEAR that time of year.” Chuckles snapped as Giggles lifted him up into the air.
“Don't worry about him. He's a butt.” Giggles replied.
“A powerful butt who happens to run the joint.” Chuckles groaned. “I hope we know what we're doing with getting the PRO and the PCC in the same building.”
“We have to do something. The whole city is a powder-keg right now, and it's getting hotter and hotter.” Giggles replied. “I must admit, it's nice up here.”
“I love flying.” Chuckles grinned.
“I hope you like falling too.” Giggles joked.
They lasted two more minutes before falling into the creek.
“I spy with my little eye-,”
“Sam, if you keep this up I swear I'm going to arrest you again.”
TJ and Sam were bored out of their skulls. Since the mass release of everyone who didn't deserve to be in prison, things had gotten very quiet. In fact, TJ and Sam were the only ones left in their whole cell block, which meant they were the only two people they'd seen apart from the odd guard.
“I know Belle and Charlie are working on getting us out.” Sammy tried. “They have to be.”
“There's a LOT on their plates right now. The whole city is just waiting to turn into a war-zone.” TJ told him. “Honestly, I think they'll have to calm that down first, otherwise there's going to be trouble if we get out.”
“It sucks. I hate this.” Sammy pouted. TJ put his arm around his friend and put a small kiss on his forehead.
“It'll be okay. Petunia and Lizzy are out there waiting for us.” TJ tried to brighten the mood up.
Sammy smiled as he thought of Lizzy. Then his face crumbled.
“Lizzy finished school and I didn't get to go to the graduation!” He began to cry. TJ blinked, and began to cry too.