Chapter Sixty-Four: It's All Fun and Games
Daniel walked into Bills restaurant, Judith by his side. He figured he'd go somewhere he knew well, and especially where he knew the owner and could show off a bit. He picked a seat near one of the windows that overlooked Lake Pleasant, the view beautiful and tranquil.
He pulled out a seat for Judith, who smiled politely and sat down, placing her bag on the ground next to her. It was only as Daniel sat down himself that he heard poorly disguised snorts coming from near the kitchen.
His beloved friends were having lunch here too it seemed. Juveniles.
"Do you come here often?" Judith asked to be polite, and kicking herself because it was plainly obvious that he was a friend of the Masters clan, one of whom ran the establishment.
"As often as I can. The food here is great." Daniel replied, trying to sound nonchalant. The laughter was intensifying. There could only be one thing that could possibly be worse, and that would be-,
"Can I take your order Sir?" Lizzy Begly approached the table, notebook in hand and poorly disguised smirk on her face.
Daniel groaned inwardly. Of course it would be Sams girlfriend, she worked here when she wasn't at school. "Hi Lizzy. I'll just have wedges and aioli please." He tried to sound authoritative, but if the chuckles and giggles he could hear were any indication, he failed.
"I'll have the same, thank you." Judith smiled. "And water please."
"Make that double." Daniel piped up. Lizzy looked ready to explode, which irritated him no end.
"Of course Sir." She quickly escaped back to the kitchen where Daniel swore he could hear multiple people giggling.
"It's a really nice place here." Judith sat, looking out of the window.
"Bill got it as a bargain. No one wanted it after what happened." Daniel told her, fiddling with his napkin. He could distinctly hear the whispered voice of one TJ muttering with one Sam, and the pair both snickering behind their hands.
"What happened?" Judith perked up, interested. Grateful for Belles everlasting lectures from books for the first time in his life, Daniel replied.
"It was one of the last acts of the Haunted Maze Troupe, who to be honest never really got a foothold in Pleasantville the same way that the Death Valley Gang, the Silent Hill Gang, the March Hill Crusaders or the Mobsters of Misneach did." Daniel almost repeated word for word what Belle had said, which caused an explosion of laughter from what sounded like Sunny. "They came in here when it was a laundromat and brutally murdered everyone in the building, stealing everything they had."
"People who use laundromats probably wouldn't have much to steal anyway." Judith mused, which made Daniel laugh.
"Like I said, they never really got a foothold. They were slaughtered by the DVG just before Masked Revolver died." Daniel continued. "This place was abandoned for a long time after that."
"You seem to know a lot about the history of the crime syndicates." Judith raised an eyebrow.
"A friend of mine is a bookworm and lectures us at any given opportunity about fixing the culture of the city and how it's up to the people to decide how the city is run." Daniel grinned, starting to feel at ease.
"Ah, young Miss Masters I presume." Judith smiled.
"Yeah, Belle. Sounds funny to hear her referred to as "Miss Masters" though, she's definitely not a Miss!" Daniel decided a little payback was in order. "She and the other girls are such princesses."
"The other girls?" Judith perked up. That wasn't jealousy she was starting to feel, was it?
"Sunny is the "mother" of the group, she's the only one of us who has a child. She's getting married soon, and constantly reminds us while she's henpecking us. Petunia married one of my two best friends, TJ (an idiot), and she's a nurse who will never do anything fun. Tammy is the twin of my other best friend Sam, and they're both pains." Daniel smirked as the laughter stopped and was replaced with death-stares.
"Sounds like you have a cute little group of friends, when you're not trying to kill each other." Judith laughed, making Daniel feel good and the others frown.
Lizzy came out with their meals, and quickly rushed back to the kitchen before she could burst out into laughter. As he ate, Daniel could hear Bill Masters come out of the kitchen and talk to the group, who all immediately got out of their chairs and left.
"Your watch is flashing." Judith pointed to Sir Lionhearts watch. Daniel panicked slightly.
"It does that sometimes. A bit faulty; it's only supposed to do that when I get a phone call." Daniel brushed it off. "How's your meal?"
"This is great!" Judith beamed, making Daniel melt.
Out of the corner of his eye, Daniel noticed Giggles flying backwards across the Lake, firing madly at a speedboat containing Master Revolver.
"So how did you become a Councilor?" Daniel asked, feeling much more at ease.
"I inherited it from my Uncle." Judith sipped her water.
"So you were the favourite niece?"
"Not quite…it's complicated how things in my family work. I guess he owed my father. What about your family?"
"I don't have much, just my grandparents. My Mum and Dad were killed in the crossfire between the Death Valley Gang and the Mob when I was about five years old."
"Was that the battle of Silent Lake?"
"Yeah, that one."
"I was there that day. I was eight. It wasn't a pretty sight."
Outside, Master Revolver had Chuckles in a headlock, Giggles was now running away from the speedboat dodging Emerald Shards, Sir Hyper was hanging onto the back of the speedboat for dear life with Lady Courage trying to help him aboard and Sir Dark was trying to separate Lady Luck and Mobster Marion.
"I'm sorry to hear about your parents. I was seventeen when my Dad died." Judith pushed the ice around in her drink.
"How did he die?" Daniel asked.
"There was a bank robbery and he was killed."
"I'm sorry to hear that. What about your mother?"
"She hasn't spoken to us in years."
"Myself and my older sister." Judith flinched, realizing she'd just messed up.
"I thought you were an only child." Daniel raised an eyebrow.
"My sister…well, she's less than savoury." Judith tried to explain. "So I just pretend I don't have one."
"Wow, that's a bit messed up." Daniel said, surprised. He looked at her, and noticed something. "That's a pretty necklace you have on."
"My sister gave it to me when we were kids, when we were still best friends." Judith fingered the star pendant, made with beautiful diamonds. Inside the star was a rainbow made from coloured gems and a mother-of-pearl cloud.
Meanwhile, Giggles had managed to blast a hole in the speedboat. Chuckles and the rest of the Noble Knights of the Last Order were monkey-chained to her feet, causing Giggles to sway dangerously. Master Revolver was roaring in fury as he sank with his ship, and Mobster Marion was crying.
"I would have loved to have had siblings, but when I was born there were complications and Mum needed an operation which meant she couldn't have any more kids." Daniel sighed.
"That's why I take care of my friends so much."
"They're all younger than you?"
"Yup, although Charlie Begly is only six months younger than me."
"How did you become friends with the Masters clan anyway?"
"Accident I guess." He shrugged.
Speaking of which, guess whose Backpack cut out, plunging the entire group into the freezing depths of Pleasant Lake?
"Are you serious?" Daryl Jones laughed loudly as his father recounted what the Death Valley Mobsters had done.
"I honestly have NO idea how they ended up the dominant power in this city, they're a pair of foolish buffoons!" Demon Jones slammed his fist down on his desk. "This is getting out of control."
"Unfortunately there's not much you can do. Judy owns far too many assets in the city, and if we lose her, we run the risk of losing control." Daryl pointed out, making his father grimace.
"What I wouldn't give to get those assets away from their control." He looked out of the window. "They'd be out of here in a heartbeat."
"If only there was a way to separate them!" Daryl groaned. Demon Jones smirked.
"Neither Marion nor Judith have heirs yet. Maybe it's time to get rid of them permanently and align ourselves with a smarter force." He turned to his son, who grinned back.
"Now THAT sounds smart Dad." Daryl took his feet off his fathers desk. "Who, what, when, how?"
"We'll give it a little more time. Marion might be an idiot, but Judith is a lot smarter. She might be worth keeping around yet." Demon put a hand on his sons shoulder.