Chapter Thirty-Five: Together Again

The first thing she noticed was the
tree. Another year or so and it'd be back to its former glory, ready
for the next generation to play in. The second thing she noticed was
Sunny out the front of her house with a two-year-old, a broken arm
and a man Belle had never met before. So it looked like she wasn't
back with Charlie after all.

“Things have changed a little bit
Beauty.” Peter helped Belle get her trunk out of the car as a young
man of six ran out to hug her.
“Hey Ozzie!” Belle lifted up her
younger step-brother. “You're getting big now mate, you're almost
as tall as me!”
“I missed you Belle!” Oscar hugged
her tightly. Hand-in-hand, the siblings headed inside where Lara was
feeding baby Madeleine Masters. Peter set down the bags and kissed
his wife.
“Who's the guy with Sunny? Is that
her baby?” Belle asked, setting down her bag and sitting down.
Oscar scrambled into her lap.
“That's her boyfriend Patrick and
their daughter Melody.” Peter replied.
“What happened to her arm?” Belle
asked. Peter looked uncomfortable.
“Ruby Daryl.” He replied.
“Ruby Daryl? What the -?” Belle
looked confused.
“Maybe it's best if you ask Sunny.
She's currently trying to break down the door.” Lara pointed to
the front door. Out of the window, Belle could see Sunny waving and
knocking furiously.
“SUNNY!” Belle ripped open the
door. The two friends hugged each other tightly. “You're a Mum
“Yup. Myself and Patrick have a
little girl now.” Sunny grinned.
“So, you finally found yourself
someone of your own?” Belle smiled.
“Sure did! Patrick, get in here and
say hi to Belle!” Sunny called to her beloved Patrick. “Bring
Melody too!”
“How on earth did your parents react
to you having a baby?!” Belle asked as the group sat down at the
Masters table.
Sunny looked downcast. “Things got
pretty bad once Chuckles and Giggles left. Demon is now the Mayor –
it turns out he was my own father!”
“Demon is your father?!” Belle
“Yeah. Dad got really pissed off
after you and Charlie came into my place that time to stop Daryl from
picking on me. So he decided to become Demon and do whatever he
could to get rid of you. Now he's Mayor…and he's become far too
power-mad. Especially once he found out that it was Daryl who found
your Ruby Suit. Daryl is now Dad's private enforcer, which is how I
got my arm broken.” Sunny sighed. “He was also pretty ticked
off when I got pregnant, but Mum talked him into signing the old
house over to me when they moved into their new mansion.”
“Wow. What about the DVM?” Belle
“They're unstoppable. Last time we
managed to get Revolver arrested he only got community service.”
Peter said bitterly. “Three whole weeks of it, and he hasn't done
one second.”
“Wow. This place really has gone to
the dogs.” Belle looked down.
“Plus Jones has had a huge crackdown
on vigilantism. Thankfully he has no idea Sunny's with the Knights
or we'd be in huge trouble.” Patrick added.
“How did you two meet anyway?”
Belle asked.
Sunny smiled.
“I was doing some online courses and
ended up at the Library a fair bit. Patrick was also studying and
well, here we are.” Sunny rested her head on Patrick, who kissed
her nose. “Have you been to see Charlie yet? He misses you.”
“So I've heard.” Belle sighed.
“Just go over there and say hi
Belle-Belle, it's not that hard.” Sunny poked her friend in the
arm, hard.
“Easy for you to say.” Belle
rubbed her arm with a quick dirty look at Sunny, who poked her tongue
“Hi Betty, hi Thomas!” Belle
hugged Charlies parents as she walked into the familiar lounge room.
“Well I don't believe it! Is this
the same little girl who once helped me make biscuits?” Betty
squeezed Belle tightly.
“Little is correct.” Thomas laughed
as Belle scowled at him. She was STILL impossibly tiny for her age.
“Don't be mean!” Betty chided.
Belle smiled at the pair of them.
“How have you guys been?” She made
herself comfortable on the couch.
“Getting by. It helps that Charlie
came home and took over the family business.” Thomas sat on one of
the chairs opposite her.
Belle felt a twinge of guilt. She
remembered how she'd planned with Charlie to do a business degree
“He learnt a lot about metal working
while he was in Awesomica. They do things differently over there,
and Charlie brought back a lot of new ideas.” Thomas continued.
“It's so good to have the two of you
home again.” Betty smiled.
“Speaking of, where is Charlie?”
Belle asked, figuring it was better to get this over and done with.
“He's at work at the-,” Betty
started, when the front door opened and a loud, clear, familiar voice
called out.
“MUM! DAD! I'm home!”
Belle jumped a little. Charlie
barrelled into the lounge room and stopped dead in his tracks.
He wasn't too much taller, but enough
so that he towered over Belle. His shoulders had filled out even
more and he had the beginnings of a beard. He was now a complete
tank, and Belle, who was still shorter than most thirteen year olds,
felt pathetically tiny.
“Hi.” Charlie mumbled, completely
unsure of where to look. Belle looked almost exactly as she had four
years ago, perhaps looking a little bit more like her father. He
noted that she was still incredibly short, he'd have to pick on her
later…if they were still friends.
“Hi.” Belle tried to smile back.
“I'm going to get dinner ready, Pete
and Lara will be over soon.” Betty suddenly got up.
“I need to prune the roses.” Thomas
also exited.
More silence. The atmosphere was heavy
enough to sink a ship, and it couldn't get any more awkward if they
“So…how was Brisvegas?” Charlie
“Good. How was Awesomica?” Belle
“How's the business?”
“Good. How was University?”
Another long, awkward pause.
Belle lay on her bed, looking out of
her window at the leaves gently swaying outside. Dinner hadn't been
that bad, but she still hadn't been able to really talk to Charlie.
Every time either one of them tried (and everyone was giving them
every opportunity to have a private heart-to-heart!) it just ended in
awkward silence.
Her old bed felt great. The
familiarity of her old room felt safe and inviting. She didn't know
how she'd managed to stay away for so long, Charlie or no Charlie.
The only thing that made her uncomfortable was the helmet.
Belle had shoved the thing into her
wardrobe and closed the door, but she could still sense it. It was
like Giggles was staring at her, trying to get to her.
“I'm not Giggles any more. I need to
be a lawyer now, the fight on the streets isn't my problem, I'm
fighting higher up.” She tried to tell herself.
Meanwhile, Charlie had slipped out and
was training himself with the Arm Scythes at the tip. He wasn't
ready to go back out and rejoin the Knights of the Last Order with
their fight against the corrupt system, but the urge to put his
blades back on and swing away was overwhelming.
“Looks like you're having fun.”
Charlie spun around. Sunny stood
behind him, nursing her sore arm.
“What are you doing here?” Charlie
“Watching you. How long have you
been coming down here?” She sat down, looking up at him.
“Ever since I got back.” He
Sunny sighed.
“I've been trying to think of what to
say to you, after everything that happened. I missed you awfully
after you left.” She said.
“There's no need to say anything. We
were both young and stupid.” Charlie sat down next to her. “I
missed you too, and to be honest I'm a little jealous of Patrick.”
Sunny smiled. “I figured you would
be. You will always be my first love though, so you have that.”
Charlie smiled too.
“It's a shame you can't say that I'm
your first love.” Sunny hinted cheekily.
“You are!” Charlie was confused.
“Oh please. Belle has always been
and always will be your one and only.” Sunny laughed.
“Belle and I were best friends.
Nothing more.” Charlie defended himself.
“Of course. My apologies, I must
have misread the situation.” Sunny apologised, not sounding the
least bit sincere.

“You did. Now, I'm training if you
don't mind.” Charlie got up. Sunny got up too. She touched his
face and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. There was a hint of
sadness and regret in the action, and both of them felt it. However,
the smile on Sunnys face when she left was genuine, and Charlie knew
she was happy with Patrick and Melody.

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