Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Nine: Mental Health

“This past few weeks has almost been
perfect.” Belle sighed as the leaves of the old gum tree left
shadows across her face. “Ever since you established the Chamber of
Commerce life in Pleasantville has gotten better for everyone.”

“Except Dan.” Charlie grimaced. “I
give it another month before he storms out of the Knights of the Last
Order again.”

“It'll be fine, once the baby is born
he'll get over it.” Belle reassured her friend.

It had been several weeks now since the
first victory over Demon with the Chamber of Commerce. Everything was
going smoothly – except Sir Lionheart and his abrasive attitude.

“I hope you're right – for the
baby's sake.” Charlie chuckled. Belle swatted him.

“How long until they admit it?”
Peter put the curtain back and returned to his book, sitting in his
comfy chair in the Masters lounge room.

“As long as it takes.” Lara
shrugged, lying on the lounge.

“Anyway, the baby is only a month or
two away. What's the worst that can happen?” Belle sighed as a cold
breeze began to pick up.

Naturally, the next time Belle and
Charlie went to the hospital, they walked into the iciest silence
anyone had ever encountered.

“I think I might wait outside, it's
warmer out there and it's negative six out there!” Charlie yelped.
“Are you guys STILL fighting?!”

“Dan is now refusing to speak to any
of us.” TJ told him. “Which doesn't bode well since he's our

“Honestly, I wish he'd stayed away.”
Sammy said. “At least until he'd gotten his head together.”

“It's his first child and a
complicated pregnancy.” Belle pointed out.

“I know, but even Judith is getting
tired of him.” TJ said.

Sure enough, Judith chose that moment
to kick the father of her child out of the room.

“I can't BELIEVE this!” Daniel
cried angrily. “Oh, hi you two.”

“G'day Dan. Having a rough time?”
Charlie tried to be sympathetic.

“Well THIS lot aren't helping!”
Daniel snapped, turning to TJ and Sammy who were glaring at him.

“Well if SOMEONE would just pull his
head out of his arse and realise he's not the only person in the
Universe with problems then we'd be fine!” TJ shot back.

“Well MY problems are the most
pressing right now!” Daniel snapped.

“Sunny still can't get a job, and
Melody has gastro at the moment. Petunia is suffering from extreme
overwork and is showing signs of falling apart. I think those are
pretty pressing problems.” Sammy said evenly.

“Oooh, gastro, that's SO dangerous.”
Daniel snapped.

“For a three year old, it can be.”
Sammy told him. “Besides, if she came here and brought the gastro
with her, she could put your baby in danger. So she's staying away.”

“Whatever.” Daniel said, although
he was starting to look guilty. He stormed off to get himself some

“I don't understand. He used to be
such a great leader, always putting us first.” TJ sat down.

“Something's changed, and I don't
think it's just the baby either.” Sammy thought out loud.

Charlie blanched.

Daniel sat quietly in the café
downstairs. Inside, he was churning up with guilt, anger, fear and

His first baby, and both they and his
beloved girlfriend were in danger. Was this his fault, the Universe
paying him out for murdering Wallace Dingbat? Was it punishment for
being a bad leader of the Noble Knights of the Last Order?

He stared at his coffee, the smell
making him nauseous. Everything was happening all at once, churning
him up and wearing him out. He was irritable, moody and didn't want
to be. Especially not to the friends who were backing him up.

But would they continue to back him up
if they knew the truth?

“NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!” Giggles
cried, chasing after Mobster Marion who was driving away with a sack
full of jewellery.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!”
Marion laughed. She was a lot more daring again now that Judith was
in hospital.

“I don't object to you having pretty
things, but you need to pay for them!” Giggles landed on the roof
of the speeding car.

“NEVER!” Marion cried.

“Look, I really don't want to shoot
out the tyres of this really, really nice car you have…especially
as I don't think it's yours.” Giggles tried. “Can't you please
turn around?”

Marion thought about it for a second.
Suddenly the Lions Claw Blade was stuck out from behind a bin,
hitting the front tyre of the car and spinning it out!

IMPATIENT PERSON!” Giggles roared at Chuckles, who shrugged.

Marion screamed in fury as she got out of the car.

“You got ripped off.” Chuckles
pointed out.

“REALLY ripped off.” Giggles added.

“I mean you got EXTREMELY ripped

“Mega-ripped off.”

“Ripped off and Ripped off 2.”

“All the ripped off and then some.”

“I GET IT!” Marion screamed.

“Oh lookie, the policeman is here!”
Chuckles saw TJ approaching. “We'll see you next time!”

“Great. Just great.” Marion sulked
as Chuckles and Giggles left. “Hey TJ. Have you seen Judy today?”

“Yeah, I was at the hospital this
morning picking Petunia up.” TJ handcuffed Marion and took her to
the police car. “Judy looks fine, the baby is fine too. A few more
weeks and it'll be safe to give birth.”

“I do thank your wife for looking
after my sister.” Marion ducked her head as she got into the car.

“She does her best.” TJ replied.

“On one hand, it's great that Marions
mental health is starting to improve. On the downside, I really don't
want to have to keep chasing her away from every shiny thing in
Pleasantville.” Charlie took off his coat back at the tip.

“She's in better shape than Dan. I
can't wait for the baby to be born.” Belle stretched her arms out
over her head. “How's the COC going?”

“Great, we've established a solid
dispute resolution process for both customers and businesses. Means
we can look at every case on its merits and make sure everyone is
protected.” Charlie said proudly. “How's Demon behaving?”

“The usual. Leering, hints, snide
remarks…he needs to remember he's a married man.” Belle replied
as Peter Masters drove up.

“You two going back to the hospital?”
Peter asked.

“Nah, I need to get home and have a
shower and finish off some paperwork.” Belle said. “Plus I need a
lot of sleep.”

“Makes two of us.” Charlie agreed.

“Ah to be young and busy.” Peter

Then Belle's phone went off.

“Hello? Oh no! DAD! We gotta get to
the hospital, the baby is coming and it's not good!” Belle cried.
“That was Sammy, we gotta step on it!”

“I'm on it!” Peter sped up and
headed towards the hospital.

“I just hope everything is okay. I
don't think it'd take much to push Dan to do something he'd regret.”
Belle worried as the streets flew past.

Charlie didn't say a word.

© 2021 Kezzstar24