The Gangrene Gang continued to drive on into the icy November fog that covered the Midwestern plains.
“That was a close one!” Arturo said in relief. “That place was so stupid!”
“It wassss a good idea to lie and sssssay we wassss ssssick,” Snake snickered.
“Yeah, I thought it worked pretty well too,” Ace agreed. “Until somebody had to go and ruin it!” He said as he turned around and glared at Angela.
“I'm off cappuccinos forever,” Angela swore as Grubber continued driving. Her face flushed with shame.
“Keep your eyes on the road, Grubber!” Ace urged.
“Come on, what’s out there for him to hit?” Arturo argued. “There’s nothing out here to hit! The road’s just straight!”
“It’ssss sssssstarting to get really cold heressss,” Snake complained as he shivered. He huddled himself onto the back seat keeping warm with whatever body heat he had.
The sky began to grow hauntingly dark and foggy, like something out of an eerie horror film. Grubber had already raised the roof on the convertible, but the chill in the air still threatened to grab them all and take them to a frozen grave. Grubber turned on the heat as snow began to tumble from the sky, hundreds of snowflakes falling at once, blinding their view. He maneuvered the car and began to slide on the ice, threatening to careen into the opposite side of the road.
“I'm scared,” Angela admitted. “Grubber, slow down! We’re gonna slip off the road!”
Grubber blew a raspberry and pulled over as the snow began to fall at an alarming rate, blankets of white piling up on the fields.
“Now whadda we do?” Ace asked in frustration.
“I don’t know,” Angela muttered fearfully. “I really don’t.”
They sat there in silence as the car engine hummed.
“I guess we wait here?” Angela suggested. “We wait here until the snow lifts up and we keep the car on for heat. Maybe we can get more gas somewhere that’s close by.”
“But what if we run outta gas before the snow stops and we all freeze to death?” Arturo asked in a panic.
“Worst comes to worst, maybe a snowplow will spot us,” Angela said hopefully.
“Hopefully ssssomething happenssssss,” Snake said. “We’re running low on food againssssss.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have eaten all those Slim Jims this morning,” Angela said ruefully.
“Angie, it ain't your fault,” Ace assured her. “Billy ate twice as much of our food as you did.”
They waited quietly in what little warmth they had in the car as snow continued to pile up. The snow became so heavy that the flimsy cover of the convertible threatened to cave in and trap the gang in icy piles of snow.
They waited all afternoon and into the night. The snow didn’t cease. No snowplows were out on the road. It was a miracle that the top of the convertible hadn’t collapsed. The faint heat from the car heater barely sufficed in keeping the six stranded teens warm.
Angela’s eyes were wide open in the middle of the night as she clung to a sleeping Lil’ Arturo in an attempt to keep both him and herself warm. Tears dripped down her face as the snowflakes continued to sail out of the dark, stormy sky. Fourteen was too young to die. But if it was her time, maybe having someone find the icy corpse of herself alongside the only people she ever considered her friends wasn’t such a bad thing.
She thought she was the only one still awake.
“Hey Angie,” Ace whispered. “You still awake?”
“Yeah,” Angela said softly.
“Whaddya cryin’ for?” Ace asked. Angela thought he was judging her.
“I'm not crying,” Angela lied.
“Don’t lie to me. I'm serious. You okay?” He asked concerned.
“I'm scared,” was all Angela would say.
“Me too,” he admitted. There was a silence between them counted in heartbeats. “You wanna come up here?” He invited. “We could keep each other warm.”
“Ace no, not if you’re gonna act like you did last night,” Angela begged.
“Angie, trust me,” Ace said. “It’s so cold we’re probably not gonna live til tomorrow. I'm tired as fuck, but I can’t sleep because I'm freezin’. Gettin’ into your pants is the last thing on my mind.” Angela hesitated. Ace continued, “Look, Angie, baby, I’ve lied to a lot of people. I have never lied to you before. I'm not gonna start now.”
Quietly, trying as hard as she could not to wake anyone else in the back seat, Angela crawled up to the front seat and sat on top of Ace’s lap. He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her tight. He kissed the top of her head softly as she rested against his chest.
“Good night Ace,” Angela whispered as her eyes became heavy.
“Good night Angie,” Ace whispered back. “I love you,” he added. He didn’t know whether or not Angela heard him, but that was the first time in his life he uttered those words to another human being. She was already asleep.
The snow finally subsided. Clouds still covered the sky as a new day dawned. Streaks of pink, blue, and green shone through the clouds.
“It’s so cold up here!” Princess complained as she Bubbles and Buttercup took her by the hands and followed Blossom through the sky. “How do you ever get used to this!?” Of course, before she could get an answer, Bubbles spotted a heap of red and silver metal buried in the snow.
“What’s down there?” Bubbles cried.
“Let’s get a closer look!” Blossom decided.
“What?!” Princess screamed as they swooped down. “What does a red piece of junk have to do with anything?”
“What the…” Blossom said in disbelief as they landed on the snowy plains to get a better look at the unidentified piece of metal.
“It’s a car,” Bubbles pointed out.
“It’s not just any car,” Buttercup pointed out. “It’s the Gangrene Gang’s car! Or at least the one they stole! Let’s get ‘em!”
Buttercup was ready to drag the gang out of the convertible when Blossom stopped her.
“No Buttercup!” Bubbles protested. “They’ve probably been here all night! We need to help them!”
“WHAT?!” Princess demanded.
“Bubbles is right,” Blossom agreed. “They could’ve died from exposure out here!”
“EXCUSE ME?!” Princess screamed.
“Princess,” Blossom said gently, “When you’re a normal person, it’s okay if you can’t save everyone. If you want to be a superhero, it’s your job to save everyone, even if they’re bad guys. You bet we’d do it for you if you were in trouble.”
Blossom was too busy focusing on the task at hand to notice whether her touching words would fall on deaf ears. Using her laser vision, she melted the snow off of the car. One by one, six traumatized delinquents spilled out of the car.
“Thank God!” Angela cried as soon as she saw Princess and the Powerpuff Girls. “Princess, you have no idea how happy I am to see you!” She picked up Princess and hugged her tightly as Princess ordered to be put down.
“How long were you guys trapped here for?” Bubbles asked.
“We’ve been stuck here since yesterday afternoon and our car ran outta gas just before yous girls showed up. How can we ever thank you?” Ace asked with sincere gratitude.
“By letting us kick your butts!” Buttercup said furiously.
“Please don’t!” Angela begged. “I give up! We don’t have to run away anymore! I know what I did was really, really wrong, but please, give me another chance to explain!”
“You stole from my daddy!” Princess reiterated. “You’re absolutely disgusting, Angela! You’re a disgrace to the Morbucks family tree.”
“I already told you why I did it, Princess” Angela said. “And one day, when you’re old enough to realize it, you’ll feel the same way. But I stole from Uncle because I love Ace. If Ace wants me to steal for him, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
“I still don’t know what’s worse,” Princess said in disgust. “The fact that he’s with you or the fact that you’re with him. Either way, you’re both disgusting and you deserve each other.”
“Wait a second,” Buttercup asked, not believing what Angela just said. “You love him?” She added bitterly, “I hope you realize he’s just gonna use you the same way he used me.”
“Buttercup, when you told me how he hurt you, I was worried,” Angela quickly explained as Ace wrapped his arms around her. “But he’s given me no reason not to trust him.”
“Yet,” Buttercup scoffed.
“Do I detect a hint of jealousy?” Bubbles jabbed as Buttercup stuck her tongue out at her. Her tongue curled as it did in “Nothin’ Special”.
“Fine, be jealous,” Angela said as she shrugged her shoulders. “See if I care.”
“What’s it gonna take to convince you girls I changed?” Ace asked. “Can’t ya see we’re in love with each other?”
“It’ssss true,” Snake testified.
“Angela, I know you’re older than we are, but fourteen is still a little too young to say you’re in love with anyone. Even if you do love Ace, it’s still wrong to go out and steal for someone,” Blossom reasoned. “You can’t sacrifice honor for love.”
“Why not?” Angela argued. “Women have been doing it for their men for years and years.” By now, those that didn’t understand were all staring at her. There was a long pause before Angela said in a defeated tone, “I give up. You already caught us and we’re just glad to be alive.”
“You’re not gonna give up already are you?” Arturo asked.
“Big Billy wanna go to New York!” Big Billy whined.
“Look, we’re lucky we made it through the night without the roof of the convertible collapsing,” Angela said. “I give up. We’re done. We’ve faced our Waterloo.”
“You meansss we’re facing a giant, wet toilet?” Snake asked Angela clocked him in the jaw as Snake rubbed it with the hope it wouldn’t turn into a bruise.
“Forget New York,” Angela said. “We’ll go quietly as long as we can all stay together. You won’t even have to beat us up. We’ll face jail time if we have to. Just let us all stay together.”
“Angie, you sure that’s what you want?” Ace asked. “You really wanna go back?”
“Ace, as long as I'm with you, I don’t care where we are,” Angela said. “I’ll be with you. You’re my home.”
“That’s so sweet,” Bubbles said in awe. “I hope one day I find love like that.”
“They’re not in love! Ace is totally lying to her!” Buttercup groaned impatiently.
Just then, a jet swooped down from the sky as the deafening roar of the engine filled the vacant prairie. The group was nearly blown down by the gusts. The jet was big and white and had a huge green dollar sign on the tail.
“Oh God,” Angela muttered, not sure anyone could hear her over the engine. “Now I'm in trouble.”
From out of the jet stepped a guy who wore a red, white, and blue tuxedo. His full beard was white revealing he was a little more than middle-aged. With him was a woman with dark, curly hair and emerald eyes that emitted a look of malice. She was tall and slender and she wore a white fur coat. If the words “rich witch” could be personified, this woman would be it.
“Angela Abigail Morbucks!” The woman cried as she raced over to hug Angela tightly. “I'm so glad you’re safe!”
“Oh Aunt Penelope! Uncle Sam! I'm so glad you arrived!” Princess said in mock relief that the Powerpuff Girls didn’t buy for a minute. “I knew you said you’d be back next week in time for Angela’s birthday…”
“Wait a second, I have a birthday?” Angela remembered.
“Oh honey, did they brainwash you?” Sam asked concerned. “Your fifteenth birthday is on November thirtieth, remember?”
“Wait, brainwash?” Angela asked incredulously.
“Yes honey, Princess told us that those green guys kidnapped you and held you hostage for three months and forced you to steal from your uncle!” Penelope reiterated as she refused to let her daughter go.
“I told you sending her to my brother’s house was a bad idea!” Sam said smugly. “But you didn’t listen!”
“Wait a second, Mom, Dad, those guys never kidnapped me!” Angela corrected. “They’re my friends. In fact, I’ve fallen in love with one of them.” Penelope let go of Angela in shocked as Angela stood by Ace. “I love him, Mother. And he loves me.”
Penelope’s face turned from a look of relief and concern to one of anger and disgust.
“It’s all wrong Aunt Penelope! They brainwashed her! Honest!” Princess cried. “But don’t worry,” she said with fake sweetness. “I saved Angela, and we can send those bad guys away for a long time!”
“Mr. and Mrs. Morbucks, Princess is stretching the truth,” Blossom suggested. “Princess only came to us when Angela stole from her father and we enlisted her help because she knows Angela better than any of us do.”
Ten different voices began chattering all at once until Sam took out a red, white, and blue air-horn and honked it to get everyone’s attention.
“It looks like there’s going to be a lot of explaining that needs to be done,” Sam realized. “Everyone, hop on board.”
“Even usssss?” Snake asked.
“Big Billy might need a seatbelt extender,” Arturo jabbed.
“Big Billy fly in the big plane!” Big Billy cried excitedly.
“Yes, all of you,” Sam repeated. “You all had a part in this too and I need to get everyone’s side of the story before we get to Townsville.”
The Powerpuff Girls, Princess, Angela, and the Gangrene Gang followed Angela’s parents back onto the jet as it set its course for Townsville.