Chapter Twenty-Nine: Leave It To Me!

“Are you serious? I didn't realise Pete knew what women were!” Bill looked mock-shocked at the news. “And LARA? They hated each others guts in school!”

“Quiet you.” Joe frowned at his youngest son. “We should be happy for Peter, he's been alone for so long now.”
“Why didn't he tell us?” Belle asked, sitting at the table. The moment she'd figured out what was going on with her father, she'd flown back to the tip, gotten changed and then bolted home.
“Could be that things aren't quite serious yet.” Bill shrugged. He turned to the pot of spaghetti sauce he was making. “Don't sweat it kiddo, he'll tell us when he's good and ready.”
“Yes Uncle Bill.” Belle sighed. She was about to reach for her textbook when a warning look from her grand-father stopped her.
“I'm going to go and play with Meow. At least SHE doesn't judge me!” Belle huffed off. Joe chuckled and leaned back in his armchair.
He absentmindedly rubbed his face. A scar across his eye, from that stupid go-cart race. A scar on his cheek, from the war. A scar on his lips, hidden by his beard, from a fight with Tim after the war. He thought over his life, all the twists and turns. He thought of when Peter first came home with Belle, begging to be allowed to move back in. He thought of the awful court case against her maternal grand-parents after the news of her mothers death reached them. He thought of her now.
She had her heart in the right place at least, he thought. At least she was trying. Unlike him. Even in the war he'd been a coward, hiding behind the Code, trying not to get involved in anything. It wasn't his business, he'd tried to rationalise with himself, he was only there to look out for the two men he called brothers. He'd been just as bad when he'd gotten home, pretending that the crime problem in Pleasantville didn't effect him or his family.
It was a lie, it HAD affected them. Peter, Bill and Jessie had all grown up scared. None of them had been allowed to spend time with friends after school, none of them had been allowed on sleepovers or to have friends over. It had killed Jessie, scarred Bill and steeled Peter.
'You're a coward.' Joe thought to himself. He closed his eyes and leaned back into the chair. 'But I'm cool with that.'
Belle stomped upstairs and into her room. She opened the window and was about to jump out when she remembered the tree no longer existed. There was just a rotten stump where it used to be.
She rested her head on the window sill and sighed. Charlie was out on a date with Sunny, so playing with him was out. Meow was fast asleep on her bed, so that plan was a bust too.
She thought back to a time when the tree was still standing. She and Charlie had used it as a refuge against the Jones siblings. She wondered what Daryl was up to, she hadn't seen him since he left school.
Suddenly her watch began to flash blue. Charlie and Sunny were in trouble!
“Put the money down and get out of it.” Chuckles glowered at Mobster Marion. “And while you're at it I'll have my sword back.”
“Naw, is the little loser feeling a bit lost without having someone elses weapon to hide behind?” Mobster Marion sneered back.
The Death Valley Mobsters had struck again, this time at the biggest bank in the city. Master Revolver was directing Mobsters who had looted huge amounts of money and valuables towards the big trucks that were parked outside.
“We're almost done here.” Master Revolver grinned. He swung the Lucky Seven Gun around his finger, looking very pleased with himself.
Sir Lionheart, Sir Hyper and Sir Dark were trying to impede the loading of the trucks, but it wasn't working very well. Sir Hyper had nearly had his head removed twice already and Sir Dark was sporting a new cut on his arm.
“You'll need to see Lady Luck about that, get out of here, we'll handle this.” Sir Lionheart threw another rock at the head of a Mobster, missing.
“You guys can't do this alone.” Sir Dark protested.
“Give this up you two!” Lady Courage cried from behind Chuckles.
“Aww, does Chuck-Up have a new girlfriend? Where's that floaty little friend of yours?” Master Revolver laughed. A flash of red hit him in the arm. He screamed in pain as his arm was rendered immobile.
“I'm up here doofus.”
Chuckles and Lady Courage spun around. Ruby Giggles was floating behind them, looking pleased with herself. Master Revolver ripped the Ruby Shard out of his arm and flung it to the ground where it shattered and disappeared. His arm still stung with numbness and he glared at Ruby Giggles.
“You. What the hell have you done to me?!” He roared angrily.
“Only what you deserve.” Ruby Giggles replied. In her hand five more Ruby Shards appeared, and she flung them with deadly accuracy at the other Mobsters, making all of them drop in pain as arms and legs were struck.
She prepared to have another go at Master Revolver, but the Ruby Shard was blocked by Mobster Marion and the Lions Claw Blade.
“Let's get out of here.” Mobster Marion called off the attack.
“I don't think so. You're staying here until the police come to arrest you.” Ruby Giggles glared. She flew at Mobster Marion with the tips of her fingers alight with the Ruby Power and swiped at her foe. Marion jumped back but was too slow to avoid a nasty cut on her cheek. Immediately the side of her face started to sag.
“You little weasel!” Master Revolver ran to Mobster Marions aid. Ruby Giggles grinned beneath the mask.
Chuckles looked up at his best friend. Now would have been the perfect time for her to swoop in and steal back the Lions Claw Blade and the Lucky Seven Gun, but she wasn't moving.
“Uh, Giggles? Wanna go and get our weapons back?” Chuckles asked.
“You can go get the Lions Claw back if you want, I don't need the Lucky Seven anymore.” Ruby Giggles smirked. Chuckles shrugged and ran back to get his beloved sword back.
“HEY!” He jumped back as Mobster Marion swung at him. “A little help here Giggles?”
“The police are here now, we'd better check out. See you losers later!” Ruby Giggles flew off, leaving Chuckles fuming.
“Why didn't you help me get my sword back?!” Charlie yelled.
“Will you chill out? It's not like you need it. I've just proved that I can beat the lot of them without your help.” Belle brushed him off.
They were sitting at the tip waiting for Thomas to come and pick them up. Charlie was still furious over the lack of support coming from Belle.
“That's not the point! You know how much that sword means to me!” Charlie cried. “I thought we had each others backs!”
“We DO. Didn't I just save your bacon?” Belle rolled her eyes.
“Charlie, it's okay, we can always get it back later.” Sunny tried to comfort her boyfriend. He shoved her off.
“You're supposed to be my best friend.” Charlie said coldly.
“What's that supposed to mean?” Belle frowned.
The honking of a horn broke up the argument. The eight friends filed dejectedly into the two cars driven by Thomas and Petunias father.
Things were changing.

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