La Vie En Rose
The morning after the Gangrene Gang and Angela were released from prison, Angela woke up as the sunlight hit her face. It was nice to wake up under her cozy little comforter on the cheap mattress and not in a cold, hard jail cell. She glanced around and noticed that the others were still asleep.
She sat up and realized her chest felt very heavy and sore. At first she thought she was having a heart attack until she realized the pain was concentrated in her breasts. Or rather, what little she had.
“Oh no,” Angela groaned to herself in horror. This could only mean one thing: her breasts would start getting bigger, which would mean that the other guys would definitely take notice.
Angela thought for a moment. It wouldn’t be so bad if Ace would stare below her neck. The mere thought made her turn fluorescent red. But the others? Angela shuddered; the other guys were cool, but they were so not her type.
That’s when Angela stopped to ask herself what her type was, anyway. After all, she would be fifteen in a few months, and she hadn’t had much exposure to the opposite gender on account of the fact that she had only attended all-girls schools for most of her life.
Angela rolled her eyes and tried to go back to sleep. The others weren’t awake yet and wouldn’t be for a few more hours. Then an idea came to her. She crept out of her space on the floor and quietly tiptoed out of the room and out the door.
Maybe male attention wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.
A few hours later, the Gangrene Gang sat around watching TV. Instead of watching TV on the puny little six inch television set they were used to using, they were able to steal a nice plasma screen with Angela’s help. Of course, they were then starting to wonder where she was
“Anyone seen Angie?” Arturo asked while Snake and Grubber argued over the remote. They stopped fighting and looked at Arturo. “I haven’t seen her all day.”
“Who knows?” Ace responded as he shrugged his shoulders casually. He knew it wasn’t like Angie to just disappear without saying anything unless something happened to her.
Of course, their questions were answered when Angela walked through the door. Their jaws fell to the floor.
Angela was wearing a white halter dress with a pink flower on the neck and a pink sash around the waist. The dress was very tight around her chest, making what little chest Angela had more pronounced. None of the Gangrene Gang could take their eyes off of her.
Ace was tempted to get mad at Angie for spending their money on something like that. Then again, he was pretty sure she spent nothing. And even if she did, he couldn’t complain because he liked what he was looking at.
Angela couldn’t stop grinning; all teenage boys had to do was look at some curves and turn into bigger idiots than they already were. Even though Angela wasn’t used to the attention she was getting from them, she couldn’t deny that it was entertaining.
“Oh, so you like what you see?” Angela asked shyly. She was carrying a very expensive black and white designer handbag.
“So how much was all this stuff?” Ace wanted to know. Now he was almost certain she stole all of it.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Angela asked as she winked at him. She tried to ignore the others, her focus only on him.
Down boy, down boy, Ace thought to himself and his lower appendage as beads of sweat formed on his brow.
“Wanna see what else I got?” Angela asked. The others didn’t say a word; they merely nodded as Angela reached down her dress and pulled out all sorts of very, very expensive jewelry. She slapped it all down on the table as Grubber horded it all to himself, lapped it up with his freakishly long tongue, and swallowed it all.
“God dammit, Grubber!” Ace said furiously as Grubber belched.
“Oh, don’t you worry, Ace,” Angela said as she set her handbag down on the table and pulled out even more jewels as well as an mp3 player and a few cell phones.
“How’d youssss get all thissss?” Snake asked as his eyes widened.
“Let’s just say I’ve gotten really, really good at robbing people blind,” Angela told him.
“I’ll say you have!” Arturo cried.
Ace couldn’t take his eyes off of Angie. This was one of those days in which she was being absolutely brilliant rather than being absolutely annoying.
And even then, there were days he didn’t mind humoring her childish antics.
The gang didn’t just enjoy having Angela steal for them. Angela realized she was absolutely right about how being the only girl in the gang would have its own affect on the guys sooner or later. The entire day and into that evening, they wouldn’t leave her alone. While Ace went to pick up dinner, Snake, Arturo, Grubber, and Big Billy all vied for Angela’s affection.
“Hey Angie!” Snake said as he handed Angela a wilting bouquet of weeds he picked out of a crack in the sidewalk. “I picked thessssse for youssss!”
Angela looked up at him. She was sitting against the wall listening to music on the mp3 player she stole and didn’t notice Snake was in front of her right away. She stood up and took the pathetic crumple of weeds.
“Uh, thanks,” Angela said, trying to be polite.
“Angie! I beat up some kid and took his lunch money, just for you!” Arturo cried eagerly as he handed Angela a few quarters.
“Aww, how sweet Arturo! Thank you,” Angela said in awe. She couldn’t resist Arturo’s kindness towards her.
“Big Billy doesn’t want Angie to move,” Big Billy said as he swept Angela off her feet causing her to drop the flowers and the coins. “Big Billy will carry Angie to wherever she wants to go!”
“Gee, thanks Billy, but I don’t need any help getting anywhere,” Angela said. This attention was making her a little uneasy now. It was too much all at once. “Please put me down.”
“Okay!” Big Billy cried as he dropped Angela on the ground. She landed flat on her bottom. “Wanna know a secret?”
“Sure?” Angela said uneasily.
Big Billy lifted up his orange bangs that covered the top half of his face revealing one bright blue eye. Angela bit her lower lip to keep from screaming in shock. How was she supposed to know that one of the guys she had been living with for the last three weeks was a Cyclops?
“Come on Big Billy, that’s just nasty!” Arturo cried.
Grubber managed to silence the entire room by contorting his body so that he stood up straight. His face was no longer droopy, but instead he looked like a handsome young man. He began to speak with perfect elocution. Angela needed a moment to pick her jaw off the floor.
“Why William!” Grubber gasped in horror. “That is no way to treat a lady!”
“Sorry,” Big Billy said slowly with guilt.
“Now, fair lady, allow me to serenade you!” Grubber offered as he walked over to the table and picked up a violin. He began to play just as he did in “Buttercrush”.
“Has he always been able to do that?” Angela asked Arturo and Snake in a hushed voice.
“Sometimesssss,” Snake said. “Only when he wantsssss to, thoughsss.”
When Grubber was finished playing a beautiful waltz, Snake wiped away a tear of appreciation and Angela applauded.
“That was wonderful, Grubber!” Angela approved.
“And now, dear lady, I believe I shall give you a kiss,” Grubber said. He inched towards Angela. In a panic, Angela dashed from the room.
“Was it something I said?” Grubber asked. His body then snapped back into its normal, hunched state as he blew a big raspberry.
Ace walked through the door with a large pizza box in hand. He set it down on the table.
“Where’s Angie?” Ace asked. “She’s always the first one to know when I bring home pizza.”
“I think we scared her, Ace,” Arturo said ruefully.
“What?!” Ace asked.
“We wassss only trying to be nissssse to her,” Snake said. Ace clocked his right-hand man before smacking his forehead in frustration.
“Big Billy thinks Angie’s pretty,” Big Billy said slowly.
“Yeah, she’s really hot,” Arturo agreed. Grubber blew a raspberry as though seconding the emotion.
“Too bad she’ssss gotsssss no titsss yet,” Snake said. Of course, his comment was met with a blow to the nose. “I mean, I think she likes you, Ace,” Snake quickly said as he rubbed his aching face.
Ace didn’t say anything. He knew Angie was infatuated with him. He knew from the first time she saw him that she liked him.
“Look, why don’t yous guys eat. I’ll be right with you,” he said. The other guys looked really confused as their leader disappeared from the room.
Angela sat on the roof of the wooden shack staring up at the waning crescent moon. As much as she enjoyed the attention she was getting from the other guys, she had never had it happen before. The newness of it all was too much at once. Did all teenage guys get this way every time they saw a cute girl? Or was it just because of the fact that she was the only girl that would even actually get near them? Either way, she needed a moment to breathe. Little did she realize that Ace was right behind her.
Ace was watching her quietly. He remembered the first time he met her, how he thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of her little crush on him. Ace knew nothing about Angie, but he knew for a fact that wherever she was from, she was especially naïve. The fact that she was so good at robbing people blind had to be sheer, dumb luck; there was no other way to explain it. Either way, he liked that about her. He would just end up using her abilities and her trust in him to his advantage so he and his friends could take over the city that spurned them.
Of course, there were a lot of other things about Angie that Ace had learned to like. What would be the point of taking advantage of her feelings when the feeling was mutual?
If he were to take over Townsville tomorrow and become the king, Ace knew exactly who he would pick as his queen.
“So eh, do you come here often?” Ace asked as he sat next to Angela on the roof of the shack.
“I just needed a break was all,” Angela said. “I'm okay.”
“It’s awfully cold out here, ya know,” Ace told her.
“I know,” she nodded.
“You know Angie, you’re not like other girls I know,” Ace pointed out. “No one would know it, but you’re pretty tough. And it don’t hurt that yous know how to have fun,” he added with a slightly devilish grin.
Angela glanced over at him as her heart began to beat a little bit harder. She noticed his smile, those fangs. She liked the fact that everything about him was dangerous, even down to his smile.
“Angie, what does a girl like you see in a guy like me?” Ace asked in his usual, charming manner. “I mean, I'm not the kinda guy that yous would bring home to yer mother.”
Angela was about to ask how he knew that she saw anything at all in him. Of course, there was no point in trying to play dumb. Instead, she laughed.
“I think it’s for that same reason I do like you,” Angela laughed. “If I were to bring you home to my mother, she’d take one look at you and…” she was going to say that if her mother got one look at Ace, she’d tell Angela that she was out of the will. Instead, she let the thought trail off before adding, “Well, you get the idea. You’re not like anyone else I’ve ever met in my life. Look, I don’t need to tell you what I was doing or where I lived before I met you guys. But either way, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.”
Ace looked at Angela and he looked at her. Angela longed to know what sort of eyes were behind those shades. Ace lowered his shades to look Angela dead on. His eyes, she observed, were dark and even a little innocent. But at the same time, they seemed to stare right through her soul. Everything in the scene was moving so quickly yet perfectly frozen at the same time. She had never felt this way before and she never wanted this feeling to end.
Angela yanked Ace’s shades out of his possession and put them on.
“Oh my,” Angela said seductively as Ace was dumbfounded that she could move so quickly. “I got your shades. Whatcha gonna do about it, hmmm?”
Ace leaned in to her and she leaned in to him. They kissed each other long and passionately. Ace began inching his hands towards Angela’s chest until they heard chanting.
“Ace and Angie sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Snake, Lil Arturo, and Big Billy all sang out in unison while Grubber blew raspberries along with the group. Ace and Angela pulled away from each other in horror.
“Beat it!” Ace shouted.
“Wait a second, aren’t they sitting on a roof?” Big Billy pointed out slowly.
“Oh my God,” Angela muttered as her face turned beat red. Her first kiss and someone walked in on it. At least it wasn’t her parents that walked in on her.
The rest of the gang disappeared down the hatch that led up to the roof, leaving Angela and Ace alone.
“For the most part, that was amazing,” Angela said, giggling.
“Wanna do it again?” Ace asked, adding that grin that Angela knew and loved.
“Do I ever!” Angela squealed.
They kissed each other again. This wasn’t the first time Ace had kissed a girl. But it was the first time he’d kissed a girl and felt something other than throbbing below the belt.
Ace wasn’t ready to accept the fact that he had a heart, just like any other human being. But maybe one of these days, he would.
They parted as soft, romantic music began to fill the night air. Angela recognized the melody from somewhere before. She remembered an old, solid gold music box that was in her room back at her house. When she was Princess’s age, she received it from Grandmother Morbucks for her birthday. That was the last year that Grandmother Morbucks was alive. If Angela thought hard enough, she would remember the words.
Two seconds later, Snake and Grubber popped through the hatch.
“I thought I told yous guys to beat it!” Ace yelled.
“Ssssorry Ace!” Snake quickly apologized. “But Grubber swallowed a record player by accident and he needs help!”
Grubber tried to blow a raspberry, but instead, Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose” continued to play. Angela couldn’t stop laughing because only Grubber could ruin a romantic moment by swallowing a record player. The record player skipped every time Grubber blew a raspberry.
Random vignettes set to Celine Dion’s cover of “La Vie En Rose” reveal Ace and Angela spending time together in a musical montage. The first scene shows Angela flirting with a sales representative in an upscale jewelry shop, thus distracting him so Ace could loot the shop. Afterwards, he places a huge diamond necklace around Angela’s neck. The next vignette shows Ace and Angela jumping out of the bushes on Halloween night and scaring little kids out of their Halloween candy before cutting to a scene of Angela and Ace giving Grubber a can of peanuts only for Grubber to open it with foam snakes flying out at him and exploding out in a string of terrified raspberries. Another scene includes the gang spray-painting buildings with Angela painting two giant hearts joined together on a billboard. She turns around to give Ace a wink when she slips and loses her balance. She falls right into Ace’s arms as he catches her and they both laugh. The next scene shows the gang at the park playing four-square utilizing Arturo as the ball before it begins to rain and they leave the park. As they are walking, Ace notices a guy placing his trench coat over a puddle so his girlfriend wouldn’t have to walk over it. Ace then commands Big Billy to lie across the puddle and so Ace takes Angela by the hand as they walk across Big Billy who is lying on the ground and laughing hysterically. Ace and Angela then sneak off behind a building and begin to kiss each other passionately as the rain drenches them. The last scene shows Angela and Ace walking in the Townsville mall. Angela walks along the rim of a water fountain when she slips and falls in. She comes back up after floating around in the water for a bit and Ace laughs at her when he notices that her white dress is very, very see-through in the chest. Angela drags him into the water fountain with her and the song ends with the two of them sitting in the fountain laughing.