The Worst Of You
Gru opened his eyes in the darkness of his room and stared at the ceiling for a while before sighing heavily and throwing the covers off. There was a bit of light coming from the window. In one corner of the room the wall was different. They'd mended the hole in the last couple of days. Gru reminded himself to go over it again. Right now 'mended' meant that Dr. Nefario had slapped a large metal slab overtop with some screws in it.
He stood, feeling his knees crack and his back and shoulders as well before he headed out into the hall and down the stairs.
He was already in a lousy mood and this did not improve a bit when he found his mother sitting in the kitchen reading the paper and drinking coffee. The girls were sitting at the table eating scrambled eggs, apart from Edith who was just squishing hers repeatedly under her fork.
"Mom, what are you doeeng here?" He asked in a half groan, half sigh.
"Uncle Nefario helped us call her so we could ask her to take us to ballet since…you kind of aren't allowed after the whole pizza place thing." Margo said quietly. "We asked him if he could but…he didn't seem all that interested."
"You look terrible…more terrible then usual anyways." His mother said.
Gru ignored her and instead poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table with the girls.
"You want some scambled eggs daddy?" Agnes said while extending her fork and then making a little sound of distress when the eggs accumulated on it fell down onto the chair.
"No thank you, Agnes."
"So where's that babysitter of yours? She get tired of you yet?" Gru winced a little as he took a drink of his coffee.
"She quit grandma." Margo said after a moment, after casting a brief look at her father. Technically she hadn't. She hadn't really said anything, but she had changed her cell phone number and her home phone was off line and Gru when had driven by her apartment at one point there had been tape across the door and it had looked abandoned. They hadn't heard from her in two weeks.
Margo exchanged a look with Edith before the younger girl went back to squishing her eggs miserably.
"Pity, I liked her, she had spunk. So how did you screw it up?" She asked the last bit with some amusement. Instead of answering her, Gru stood up dourly and headed towards the living room.
He sat on the crocodile couch and set his coffee aside with a sigh before resting his chin in his hand. After a moment he turned the tv on and flipped vaguely through the channels. He hadn't watched the news in a week. He was getting sick of seeing stories on the returned leaders and the Whirl Machine. Instead he left it on a channel showing a black and white silent horror film.
After they finished breakfast, the girls headed upstairs to get dressed.
"I can't find my bow." Agnes said with a puff.
"No one cares, Agnes." Edith said gloomily as she pulled out a pair of hose with a series of holes cut in them.
"You can wear mine today." Margo said, handing the girl her barrette before pulling her slippers on.
"Margo, do you think Ady's coming back?"
"I dunno, Agnes."
"It hasn't been that long…she could still, right?"
"She changed all of her phone numbers, she doesn't like us anymore." Edith said before standing and pulling her hat down over her eyes.
"Nuh uh." Agnes said before turning her wide eyes at Margo.
"I'm sure that isn't the reason she changed her phone number," she said. "Come on, grandma's waiting. Don't mention Ady to dad, okay you guys," she added as she took Agnes' hand and they headed towards the stairs.
Gru scowled as his mother walked into the living room.
"You know, there aren't a lot of people who would put up with you…even for money. You should try to get her back." she said after a moment. Gru scowled.
"I don't theenk she ees coming back," he said after a moment. Marlena sat down next to him on the couch. Gru scooted over slightly, willing her not to talk.
"Remember when you were sixteen and you tried to impress that girl with that moon plant thing?" A look of weariness set in Gru's face.
"Eet was a Lunar Plant Growth Chamber. Eet was for growing plants on de moon."
"Yeah well, girls certainly care about that."
"Mom…I am really not in de mood for dis right now."
"Thirty something years later and you're still terrible with women. It's a good thing you adopted. I gave up on getting grandchildren the normal way years ago." Gru sighed heavily and slumped down on the couch, glaring at the window vaguely. To his relief the girls resurfaced from their room dressed in their tutus. Agnes approached him and scrambled up onto the couch.
"Can you help me put on my barrette?" She asked as she crawled up onto his lap. He took it from her and turned it over in his hand for a moment as if trying to work out how it operated.
"When we get back, do you want to color with me, daddy?" He smiled a little while clipping the tiny barrette on inexpertly.
"All right, Agnes." He said. She smiled and jumped off of the couch. His mother stood and followed the girls to the front door. She paused in the doorway, letting Margo, Edith and Agnes precede her outside.
"Do you want my opinion, Felonius?"
"Please, please just go away…" She ignored him.
"Any woman who is willing to look at an entire album of you isn't going to go far. I'm your mother and I can barely get through the thing." She said the last as she shut the door behind her.
Gru sat for a few moments longer before he stood and went back to the kitchen. He poured out the contents of his mug and briefly went through the cabinets before pulling out a box of instant coffee. The plastic was still on it from the store. He began to undo it.
There was a brief whirring sound from the living room. Gru frowned and looked up guiltily as Dr. Nefario entered the kitchen.
"Morning, Gru." Nefario said as Gru attempted to not look as if he'd been caught in the act of doing something wrong. "Well, I managed to get all of the undamaged cookie bots back. They're turned off for now but who knows, we may have another use for them in the future." Gru nodded vaguely.
"Also, apparently time square's got a new jumbotron. Bigger, screens within screens…surround sound so…if you'd like to say…cut your teeth on something…you know…get back to doing stuff that doesn't end with us saving the world…well…that's there."
"Fine…" Gru said.
"Um…also…I was wondering if we might be able to get a pair of overalls in a slightly bigger size?" The doctor continued with some trepidation.
"What do we need dis for?" He said while opening the box of instant coffee and untangling the tea bags.
"Well…the size we have doesn't fit Dougie…" Gru paused and eyed the doctor wearily.
"Oh…sorry…uh the minions…keep calling him that…just sort of…picked it up I guess,"
"Great…fine whatever, beeger over alls." Gru said as he set the bag of coffee in hot water and watched as it began to seep. "And den when you 'ave feenished dat you can see eef anyone else who 'as tried to kill me recently wants a job."
"Still on that girl are you?" Nefario said while nodding at the coffee.
"I 'ave…developed a taste for eet…ees all."
"Yes well…I think it's probably for the best. I think after this whole incident it's clear that women cause nothing but trouble…and young women especially are…are all wet."
Gru came out of his thoughts and gave the doctor a weary look.
"Would you please stop useeng…buh, never mind," he said as he took a drink of the awful coffee.
"If it makes you feel any better, I doubt she left only because of you…I imagine the nearly dying thing factored in a bit."
"Ees dere…sometheeng you can be doeeng…somewhere else?"
"Not really. I mean we aren't really working on anything at the moment as I have said and…" he caught Gru's expression and cleared his throat. "I'll just find something shall I?"
After Nefario returned to the lab, Gru headed back into the hall. He paused at the entrance to the living room for a moment, his eyes on one of the many trophies adorning his hall while his mind was elsewhere. He saw something out of the corner of his eye and looked down at the floor near the door. The thing that had caught his eye was a mess of badly ravished canvass that had at one point been a shoe. He set his coffee down on the shelf containing the swords and stooped to pick the remnant up.
It had recently been retrieved from one corner of his lawn. After Kyle had destroyed it, it had sat there on Gru's ill kept grass getting rained on and muddied. Gru turned it over in his hands for a moment before smiling a little in a far off kind of way. This became a set expression. He set the shoe back down, grabbed his jacket and coffee and headed out the door.
Gru frowned as he stepped outside of his tank and surveyed Ady's apartment building. There was a broken piece of yellow tape lying on the lawn, but otherwise it appeared as if it was still being used. Apparently no one was very concerned about break ins in this area, maybe because they were so common.
Gru headed toward the door to apartment 3. Or, rather he moved to where the door had been. There was a thin sheet of plastic over it now. He frowned and after testing the doorbell only to find that it only made a faint thud when he pressed it, he knocked wearily on the doorframe instead.
There were voices inside and one, a males voice grew louder as he approached the plastic, slightly distorted as one might be behind a shower curtain before he peeled it back.
"You the door guy?" Dillon said as he pushed some greasy hair back from his eyes. Gru scowled.
"No," he said coldly. Behind Dillon two other men were eying the doorway curiously, similar to the young man at least in their apparent aversion to soap. They didn't seem particularly concerned with the fact that the apartment appeared to be missing large chunks of wall. "Ees Ady here?"
"Wha? Oh…right…you're the old guy…she baby-sits for…I remember. Nah, she isn't here. I uh…kicked her out weeks ago," he said the last while casting an amused look at his friends. This was short-lived when Gru grabbed him by the collar and lifted him slightly off the ground. "Hey! What the, put me down you…" He cut off as Gru shoved the barrel of a strange gun against the bottom of his chin. The two guys who had sitting on the couch tripped over themselves trying to get behind something.
"Leesting you greasy leetle punk, I am een no mood for pleasantries. Do you know where she ees, or not?"
"Oh god, please don't shoot me! Look, I don't know! She came home, I mentioned something about the house and her rent and she threatened me with a bat. She made me take off the pants I took from her closet and she took all of her stuff and left. I don't know where she is!"
One of the guys was peaking out from behind the couch.
"I think I saw her around the Hideaway earlier this week." He said, "She was wearing an apron…she might be working there now." When Gru looked over toward him, the guy ducked behind the couch again.
"There! Hideaway! Please let me go!" Gru scowled and after a moment while he decided whether or not to shoot the young man anyways, he let go of him before turning back towards the road. Behind him Dillon desperately pulled the plastic over the doorway again, for whatever good that did.
Gru started to tuck the gun away as he walked down the sidewalk and eyed the beat up car parked at the curb. He recognized it vaguely as the car that Ady had sometimes driven to his house and, more often had been waiting outside at the end of his driveway when she left. Gru cast a brief look at the apartment before removing theh gun again.
Dillon stopped in the process of pulling the wobbly kitchen table in front of the doorway when he heard a loud and fairly alarming sound. He went to the window in time to see his car disintegrate into nothing.
Ady was leaning on the counter at the Hideaway and occasionally adjusting the straps on an apron that was two sizes too big. She was waiting for a customer to make up his mind. There was a decent sized line forming behind him.
It had been two weeks, two weeks since the ordeal, two weeks of normalcy; blessed, peaceful, non-psychotic, boring normalcy.
She hadn't realized that she'd drifted off until the customer spoke and brought her out of her thoughts. Behind her Vanessa was scrubbing dishes.
"I'm not sure what it is I want," the man said finally while eyeing the menu. "What do you recommend?" Ady sighed.
"It's all pretty much terrible, just pick something," The man frowned.
"Uh…okay…well…just coffee then I guess."
Vanessa left the dishes in order to pour the man a cup of coffee.
"You all right?" She asked Ady after the man walked away, slightly puzzled.
"Huh? Oh yeah just…a little edgy today, I guess."
"Well, try to pull it back a little, you don't want to get fired in the first week." Vanessa said before returning to the sink. Ady nodded as another man approached the counter after spending a moment looking at the menu.
"Which is better, the cheesecake or the apple pie?"
"Well they've both been in boxes in the freezer for the last three weeks so you could probably go either way."
Vanessa wrung her hands off and hurried back to the counter.
"She's kidding, it hasn't been three weeks. Don't tell them that!" She added in a whisper to Ady, who shrugged a little as the man pursed his lips.
"If you consider frozen cheesecake fresh then yeah, sure." Ady said vaguely.
"Look, Ady…why don't you…go get some muffins from the back or something." Vanessa said while smiling nervously at the customer.
"What? It was kind of a stupid question. I just told him they'd been in the freezer for three weeks." Ady said as Vanessa pushed her towards the door that went into the back room.
"Sorry about that. Uh, I would say the apple pie is probably…" she paused and her expression changed. "Ohhh crap…"
"Excuse me?" The man said, but Vanessa was no longer looking at him. She was looking just past his head and past the line towards the door as Gru entered removing his sunglasses as he did. He looked around briefly before his eyes fell on her.
"No…no no…oh no way…this is not happening to me again," she said as she picked up the phone.
"Look miss, that sign, right above your head says you provide excellent service…you think this is excellent service?"
"What? Shut up for a second," she said as she dialed hurriedly.
"All right, that's it, I want to talk to your manager. Hey wait your turn!" he added the last as Gru pushed past the crowd and nudged him out of the way. Vanessa was staring at him in horror with her mouth opened. On the other line the police station picked up.
"Police, what seems to be the problem."
"Uhhh…" Vanessa started as Gru very carefully took the phone from her unresisting hand and casually dropped it.
"Who the hell do you think you are!" The man said. Gru removed a gun from his coat and pointed it at the phone, which was a pile of dust and instant later. The man's anger faded in an instant. "Oh…sorry." He said while backing off nervously.
Gru tucked the gun away again as he turned his attention back on Vanessa who had backed up.
"What…what can I do for you?" She asked in a small voice.
"Does Ady work here?" He asked while leaning on the counter. It took a moment for her to register the question.
"No…" she said eventually. "I don't…I don't know…an Ady." Gru raised his eyebrow.
"Look, I remember you from de other coffee shop. Ees she working here or not?"
"Oh…you…no…I don't know where she is…but…if I did…I would tell her to stay back there and call the police!" The last was said as Ady elbowed her way through the door with a tray of muffins. She looked up at Gru and most of them fell on the floor. He straightened and moved around the counter.
"Ady…" he started.
"What are you doing here!" She asked with some frustration as she began picking the fallen muffins off of the floor.
"I need to talk to you."
"Eet will not take long," he said.
"How did you even…never mind, I don't want to know. Look, you can't be here…"
"Just geeve me five meenuts," he said while holding his hand up. Ady met his gaze before looking towards the customers and Vanessa who was staring at both of them in horror.
"You already pulled a gun out didn't you?" She asked wearily.
"Dammit, Gru! All right, but wait outside, you're freaking everyone out," she said. He nodded after a moment before pushing past the line of people again towards the door. Ady sighed. Vanessa unfroze and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket.
"What are you doing?" Ady asked warily.
"What do you think I'm doing, I'm calling the Police," she gave Ady a surprised look when she took the phone from her and shut it. "What…?"
"Trust me on this, it wont do any good," she said as she started towards the door, shoving the tray of muffins at a confused customer who had started to address a question at her.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going out there to talk to him."
"What? Wait! Don't do that…are you insane? Ady! I like my idea better!"
Gru was sitting at a table on the patio, eyeing the manmade beach quietly. He looked up when Ady approached.
"All right you have five minutes," she said awkwardly.
"Would you…walk weeth me?" He asked while nodding towards the beach against his better judgment. He was wearing his dress pants today and there had been on and off rain for the last week, making the sand somewhat scummy looking.
"Gru I don't…all right," she sighed after meeting his expression. She kicked her shoes off and waited while Gru took off his dress shoes and socks before they stepped onto the beach. They were both quiet for a moment. Gru broke the silence first.
"Eef you were really wanting to geet away from me…you should 'ave gone farther," he said, while casting a brief look at her. "At least across de country."
"Four more minutes…"
"Why deed you change your number?"
"You tried to take over the world Gru."
"Dat ees eet?" She raised her eyebrow.
"That's it? Most people…would kind of consider that…unhealthy behavior."
"Eet ees not as eef I make a habit out ove eet."
"All right then…in the last month, you wrecked my car, lost me my job, there are large holes in my old apartment, I almost blew up on various occasions, I was shot with a poisoned dart, attacked by a dog thing who ate my shoes… and was kidnapped and held captive by cookie robots and that only covers some of the stuff that has happened since I met you."
"Dat…sounds worse when you say eet all together out loud like dat…I do not remember wrecking your car."
"Well, it was either before or after you threatened to disintegrate me for coffee. I know it was you, unless there are two psychos driving around in a tank with a big G on it."
"Dr. Nefario can probably feex eet for you provided you do not mind eef eet…shoots rockets."
"They towed it out of the apartment complex weeks ago…probably thought it was garbage." Ady said with a sigh before stuffing her hands in her pockets.
"Eef…eef I am dat terrible…why deedn't you quit before?"
"I did, remember. Your daughters convinced me to stay. They're really persuasive in a…devious conniving way." He smiled sadly.
"Yes…dey are," he said before looking at her. "Dey…seem to like you…a lot," he added. She met his gaze again and then looked away. "You know, before I met dem…theengs were…really deeferent." They were quiet again. Ady cast a brief look at Gru and curiosity got the better of her.
"All right, I have to ask because I've kind of been wondering since you first trapped me in your house with a high powered electric fence. Why did you…adopt them…out of pure…morbid curiosity?" Gru folded his hands behind his back with some discomfiture.
"I do not theenk dat telling you dat would improve your impression ove me."
"It's not that high Gru," he sighed and looked down at the sand.
"Right, well…eef I tell you…will you please… try not to hort me or keel me or something."
"This should be interesting," she said as she crossed her arms.
"Uh…I needed dis…shrink ray so dat I could…fly up to de moon and shrink eet and hold eet ransom…but eet was een dis lair and I could not get een…"
"The moon?" Ady interrupted with some weariness. "That was you? You…seriously stole the moon…"
"For a leetle bit…dere was some minor…issues I deed not forsee," he cleared his throat. "Uh so…aftor I found out dat dis…guy who had de ray…bought cookies from de gurls…I adopted dem so dat when dey delivered dem…I would 'ave access to…his house."
"That explains the exploding cookie things," she said under her breath. "You adopted them…to use them to steal the moon…?"
"To steal de shrink ray…to shrink de moon…and den to steal eet…dat ees…yes,"
"And then…what? Send them back to the orphanage?" She said, stopping on the beach and looking troubled as well as perhaps a little disheartened.
"Uh…actually…" Gru said, looking wretched. "De forst plan was to…leave dem at…an amusement park." He tried not to look at her and instead kept his gaze on the ground.
"Okay, I was wrong…my opinion of you can go lower…did they know about this?"
"No," he said sternly. "Dey do not know about dis," something in his voice made her pause.
"You don't think…they're going to ask? I mean…Margo's pretty bright Gru…"
"I know," he said. Ady looked at him for a moment and then looked away. "My life was…a lot easier before I met dem," he said finally. Ady stared at the shore for a moment with a frown.
"But eet ees better now," he added before folding his hands behind his back and absently playing with his shoes and socks. I do not want dem to be unhappy because ove me." He said now speaking with some strain. "Would you…agree to come back and baby-sit sometimes…eef I promise to leave you alone?"
"I don't…I don't think. Its not just…that Gru…look I can't…" she paused and turned when she heard the start of sirens, watching warily as a few police cars pulled up in front of The Hideaway. "Vanessa…I told her not to call the cops…I can stall them long enough for you to get away I guess but…" Gru grabbed her arm as she started towards the café. He was giving her a slightly bewildered look.
"Gru, let go."
"Dees ees not about me tryeeng to take over de world…" he said after a moment.
"Now's really not the best time for…" she started as she grabbed his hand.
"De police do not concern me." He said as he put his other hand on top of hers. "What are you so afraid ove?" Ady met his gaze for a moment before increasing the grip on his hand and gently prying it from her arm.
"I'm not afraid," she said firmly.
"This is the police. Drop whatever weapons you may be carrying and step away from the girl. This is your only warning." A voice carried over the beach as a Police officer talked through a megaphone. Gru sighed.
"Great…well they noticed you…"
"Look, believe me I know what eet ees like to be completely out ove your element…"
"Seriously, they're going to shoot at you…"
"Here move out ove de way." He said as he pulled her back.
"Why?" She asked suspiciously. She opened her mouth slightly as he pulled one of the guns out of his jacket and pointed it at the parking lot.
"I repeat, drop your weapons and step away…" After setting the target Gru pulled the trigger and a moment later the speaking police officer was staring, horror stricken as pieces of concrete fell around him. He looked down at the large hole that had appeared in the parking lot a few feet away.
"What…is wrong with you?" Ady asked. He ignored the question.
"Half ove de stuff you mentioned, I deed before Polina kidnapped you. You deed not run away den."
"I didn't run away…this isn't running away. Normal people don't like the prospect of being blown up, Gru."
"But you nearly blew up at my house plenty ove times."
"Do you really think that is a good argument for you to be making?"
"My point ees, you were not afraid ove me before, why ees eet different now?"
"I'm…not afraid of you, Gru…Look, that…that was at least five minutes," she said before turning back to the hideaway. Gru started to say something and then closed his mouth and watched her as she headed back up the beach before sighing and putting the gun away. He stood alone on the wretched sand for a moment before eyeing the police cars bitterly and heading in the opposite direction.
When the girls returned later that afternoon Gru was sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. He had his sleeves rolled up and the bottom of his pants and feet were still covered in wet sand.
"Hey dad." Margo said.
"Hello Margo, how was dance class?"
"It was all right…Um, why are your pants all dirty?" Margo asked as she put her and her sisters bags down. She noticed her father was looking both tired and sad.
"Eet ees not important."
"Daddy, look, I learned a new dance position, you wanna see?" Agnes asked. She got into a dance pose with some apparent effort.
"Dat ees very good Agnes." He said after she stumbled a little and nearly fell over. She gave him a sunny smile and tried to do it again. "All right, all right…do not hort yourself."
"I'm going to go get my crayons so we can color," she said happily before running off.
"I am on de pins and needles, where ees my mother?" He added to Margo cautiously as Edith jumped up onto the couch on the other side of him.
"She said she had a late tai chi class, so she just dropped us off." Gru tried not to look overly relieved. Agnes returned a few minutes later towing her coloring books, crayons and giant unicorn…this ensured that the tiny girl was thoroughly weighted down.
She set a battered coloring book covered in Unicorns down by Gru's feet. It was about 2/3 colored and it was clear which pages had been done by Agnes and which she'd had help with.
"This books my favorite. Here we can color this picture."
"Why don't you color eet and I will watch."
"No…you have to help." She said while pulling on his pant leg and giving him a wide-eyed look.
"Okay," he said tiredly as he lowered himself onto the floor, setting his wine glass aside. Agnes handed him a pink crayon.
"You can be in charge of this color." He raised his eyebrow and looked sideways at Margo as she sat down on the floor next to him.
For the most part coloring consisted of Agnes pointing out spots that Gru could shade pink before filling the rest up with blue marker. At some point she crawled into his lap and lightly batted at his hand whenever she felt he wasn't coloring the picture right.
When they were finished and after Agnes had ripped the picture out of the book and had given it to him, Gru made macaroni and cheese using some giant shells he'd purchased after the last macaroni incident. The macaroni seemed to go over well except that Agnes kept getting cheese everywhere because the shells were too large for her and Edith kept gathering cheese in her noodle shells and squirting it at Margo.
"Can we color more after dinner?" Agnes asked as Gru wiped the cheese out of her hair for the second time in the last fifteen minutes.
"No more coloring." Edith said from across the table.
"Let your seestors peeck sometheeng for aftor dinner Agnes." He said.
"Finally," Edith said as she slid down off her seat and crawled out from under the table.
"Hey, where are you goeeng? Feenish your dinner forst." Edith said something that was lost as she went through the kitchen door. "You deed not even eat most ove eet, most ove eet ees on your seestor." He called after her. Gru sighed and cast a look at Margo who was scraping cheese off of her glasses and occasionally looking annoyed when they started beeping.
"Here." He said as he motioned for her to hand them over. After ensuring that Margo's glasses were cheeseless he gathered up the plates to do the dishes. Edith wondered back into the kitchen with the water bottle filled with fake blood and got Gru's attention by squirting him in the chest with it.
"Agh! Edith!" He said while setting a dish in the sink and examining his turtleneck. "Dees stuff ees probably staining de fibers ove my shirt. Where deed you even find dat? I heed eet up high so dat you could not reach." He said. She shrugged. "Geeve eet here."
"Aw, come on. Agnes got to pick something." Gru sighed.
"Fine, all right, but we will play outside, so dat dat stuff does not geet all over de house."
"Cool, you can be the victim." Edith said as she headed out of the kitchen.
Ady slumped down in one of the booths and started going over the table with a wet rag. Vanessa meanwhile was running a mop over the floor. She looked up.
"Looks like the cops are heading out. Half of the parking lot is gone," she added with a sigh.
"I told you not to call," Ady said.
"I just hope they don't close the place down…what did you say to that guy? I mean…why was he looking for you?"
"Nothing…it doesn't matter." She was quiet for a while before sitting back and setting the rag aside. "Vanessa, what are you afraid of?"
"Like…really really afraid of…not counting, you know…crazy men with guns." Vanessa paused for a moment.
"Snakes…and earwigs, those things really creep me out."
"That's not really…what I meant. I mean…is there something that…you sort of worry about all the time?"
"And we're not counting guys with guns? Because it seems like that's been happening a lot lately. I don't know…sometimes I worry that I'm going to be 30 and still working in a place like this. Oh…I mean, not that that would be a bad thing…"
"It's all right…"
"Why are you asking?"
"Sometimes I think that…well look, hypothetical question. Let's say you make a decision and…most people would consider it perfectly sane and probably for the best. Do you think a good decision can be a bad decision if you're making it for the wrong reasons?"
"What kind of decision?"
"All right, well let's say that you want to …drink lots and lots of alcohol…something I am definitely considering doing after I get off of work…then you decide not to but it's not because it's unhealthy, it's because…I dunno, the buildings full of snakes."
"Uhh…I don't think it's unreasonable to not want to drink in a bar with snakes."
"Good point." Ady said as she leaned on the table and eyed the surface sadly.
"Sounds like a major safety issue to me…" Vanessa said as she returned to her mopping.
"Yeah, I didn't really think that analogy through very well." Ady said as she ran her hand over her head.
"I've always been kind of afraid that I'd wind up like my mom or dad," she said after a moment.
"Well…I think that's probably normal. My mom drives me crazy."
"I don't mean like that. My mom always relied on other people…mostly her boyfriends…and I always felt like…an unfortunate detail in her life…and my dad, he couldn't even wait around long enough for me to become an unfortunate detail in his." For a moment she stared at her hands before frowning.
"I'm not really following, Ady…" Vanessa said as Ady stood up.
"Are we done for the night?"
"Uhh, yeah, pretty much…why?"
"Just head back to the apartment without me…I'll catch a cab back later," she said as she headed towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to a bar filled with snakes." Ady said.
"I'm going to go ruin my life, I think." Ady called back.
"All right, eet ees geeting dark." Gru said. "Time to go een."
"Aw, but there's still some left." Edith said while shaking the water bottle a little.
"Yes, but I am covered een de blood. I'm dead, well done. Eet ees time to geet ready for bed. Come on gurls," he added to Margo and Agnes who had gotten tired of the game long before Edith did and were catching fireflies. Margo took Agnes' hand and they headed towards the house.
"Do we have to go to bed?" Edith said.
"Well, I need to take a shower. You can stay up until I am feenished. But go put on your pjs." He took the water bottle from Edith as she went inside and set it aside as he sat down on the steps leading up to the door, vaguely trying to wipe the fake blood off of his feet before he went in. Gru made a sound of disgust as he sat up and eyed the moon, which was currently showing a crescent. He sighed heavily.
Gru turned his head as Margo headed back down the steps so that she was standing next to him.
"You know that stuff is in your ears." She said with a hint of amusement.
"Yes, your seestor was very enthusiastic. Eet ees a good theeng eet ees almost gone."
"She knows how to make more." Gru groaned a little.
"Well, tomorrow you can peeck sometheeng to do." He said while trying to roll up his sleeves and wincing as they stuck to his arms.
"Hmm?" She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"It's not your fault she left." Gru paused for a moment before returning her hug.
"You are a bad liar," he said softly. "I love you, Margo."
"I love you too." She said, her voice slightly muffled by his shoulder. "Um…you're really sticky, dad." She added after a moment. He chuckled.
"Yes, I know. Here, go change your clothes." He said as he let go. Margo smiled at him and headed back up the stairs. Gru sat for a moment longer before sighing and heading in as well.
"Hey Margo." Edith said, getting the older girls attention. She was brushing Agnes' hair on the living room floor.
"Yeah?" Edith had been climbing on top of the couch, despite Margo's insistence that she stop. She settled onto one of the cushions now.
"Why do you think it's so easy to leave us?"
"What?" Margo said, pausing in the act of brushing.
"My mom left and dad gave us up for a little bit…and Ady. How come?"
"I don't know." Margo said uncomfortably. Her sister had picked up on thoughts that she had had on numerous occasions, at night, staring at the ceiling of the orphanage, or even occasionally at their new home. "I don't think we did anything," she said as she finished brushing Agnes' hair and tied it up. "Besides, dad's not going to leave us again."
"Yeah." Edith said before pulling her hat down over her eyes.
She had just started to brush her own hair when there was a quiet knock on the door. She stood up and moving cautiously over to the door.
"Maybe it's grandma." Agnes said carefully.
"Or a tongueless guy," Edith said as she raised a side of her hat.
"Either way…I'm not sure dad would want us to answer it." Margo said. There was another knock, this time a tad bit louder…although if it had been their grandma or one of Polina's henchmen the second knock probably would have rattled the hinges. She looked around until she found a chair and pushed it up to the door so she could climb up and look out of the peephole.
"It's Ady." Margo said as she exchanged a look with her sisters before jumping down off the chair and pulling the door open. Ady had her hands in her pockets and her shoulders bunched up in a way that made her look slightly tense.
"Hey guys," she said nervously.
"Hey," Margo responded.
"Uhh, can I come in?" Margo nodded and stepped away from the door, shutting it behind her after Ady was inside.
"So how are you guys doing?" Ady said after a moment.
"Um…were okay…" Margo started. Edith interrupted her.
"Why did you leave?" She said while crossing her arms.
"Yeah, don't you like us anymore?" Agnes asked.
Margo cast her younger sisters a brief look before turning back towards Ady and raising her eyebrows in query.
"It's only been two weeks…" Ady said weakly.
"Yeah but…you changed your number…we thought you weren't coming back." Margo said.
"I…its not that I don't like you." Ady said uncomfortably. "I do…it's just…well, you know how kids are afraid of things that like…make sense?"
"Like monsters?" Agnes said.
"And squishy things?"
"Well that one…yeah okay…those are good examples Agnes…those things. Well adults tend to be afraid of really stupid stuff."
"Like blowing up?" Edith said.
"Well no…that's…a legitimate fear…particularly considering your father but…" She sighed and crouched down. "Look if I apologize and promise not to do it again will you guys forgive me?" She asked, while appearing anxious and hopeful. Margo, Edith and Agnes exchanged a look. Agnes extended her pinky.
"Pinky promise?" Ady eyed it for a moment before she smiled a little and wrapped her pinky around Agnes's.
"Yeah, I promise," Ady said. Before she could stand, Edith surprised her by hugging her shoulders. "I missed you guys," Ady said after a moment as she returned the girls hug.
When she straightened Agnes pulled on her pant leg.
"Wanna come play with us until we gotta go to bed?"
"Yeah okay." Ady said as Agnes grabbed her hand and started pulling her towards the living room. "Um…where uh…where's your dad?" She asked after a moment, sounding nervous again.
"He had to wash all of the blood off." Edith said.
"Edith was playing with that fake blood you helped us make…dad got covered in it. He's in the shower." Margo said.
After Gru got out of the shower he changed into his silk pjs, buttoning up the silk top overtop a plain white cotton shirt as he headed down the spiral stairs.
"All right gurls, eet ees time for…" He stopped when he got to the doorway and saw Ady.
"Hey Gru." Ady said, a hint timidly. She had been in the process of brushing and braiding Margo's hair while Agnes used her head and shoulders as hills in a magical forest for her unicorn. Edith had found an ancient set of manacles with her father's trophies and was attempting to clamp Ady's ankles despite the woman's protests.
"Hello," he said weakly.
"Er, do you have a key for these?" She said after a moment, mainly to break the silence, while raising her shackled feet slightly. Gru was brought out of his slight bemusement as he eyed the manacles.
"No, actually…dose were…just for show." Ady cast Edith a weary look.
"Oops." Edith said innocently.
Gru went over to the coat wrack where his jacket was hanging and searched through the pockets briefly before pulling out a set of lock picks, which he unraveled as he crossed the living room and kneeled by Ady.
"What are you doeeng here?" He asked as he tested the handcuffs to see if they might slip off before selecting one of the tools and working at the lock.
"Well, we closed early considering you blew most of the parking lot up, so I decided to stop by…to see the girls…also kind of wanted to talk to you. You have a whole lab full of dangerous things and you're going at these with a lock pick?"
"Dese are genuine bean handcuffs from de 1800s. I do not want to damage dem. Dey do not tighten all de way, so dey can normally be slipped off, but apparently not over your feet."
"I can still kick Gru." He caught her gaze before returning to the lock.
"Dere." He said after a few moments, when the handcuffs came loose. "I should probably put dese up somewhere," he added while casting a look at Edith.
"You're going to read to us, right daddy?" Agnes asked as she hopped off of the couch, next to Ady who was massaging her ankles. He nodded.
"You wanna come upstairs and liste to the story with us?" She asked while tugging on Ady's sleeve."
"Uh, I don't think so, Agnes," she said while casting a brief look at Gru, who was watching her.
"Aw come on." Edith said as she stood and nudged Ady's leg with her foot.
"Please." Agnes said, her eyes wide in that about to burst way that she had mastered so entirely.
"Okay, fine, stop looking at me like that." Ady said as Agnes grabbed her hand, trying to pull her off the floor and only managing to fall over in the process.
Ady was pulled down onto a seat of pillows in the girls' bedroom. Agnes immediately scrambled onto her lap with a unicorn toy.
"All right, which book?" Gru said. He already knew the answer but he was still holding out hope that they would want a different book tonight. Edith pulled his book off of the shelf and handed it to him. He sighed. Margo caught his eye and smiled before sitting down on the floor next to Ady. Gru pulled a chair over and hiked his pajama pants up slightly as he sat.
"Do the horn dad." Margo said amusedly. He cast her a brief look before opening the book and bringing it to his face, casting a brief weary look at Ady who turned the start of laughter into an unconvincing cough. He lowered the book and started into it. Edith leaning over her bed so that she was half leaning on Ady's shoulder.
"The pink kitten is me." She said in a whisper.
"Oh?" Ady said, pokerfaced. "That would explain why it's wearing your hat." She met Gru's nervous gaze a couple of times when he looked up from the book.
When he finished Agnes crawled off of her lap, dragging her unicorn with her and attempted to climb up into her bed. Ady gave her a nudge after a moment of the girl's struggles accompanied with her little panting noises.
"Night Ady." Margo said.
"Goodnight Margo." Ady said as she stood, eyeing Gru as he set the book back on the shelf.
"When are you going to come over again?" The older girl added, with perhaps a bit of trepidation. Pinky promises might have worked for her sisters but Margo was slightly less trusting.
"I dunno, but I'll leave my new phone number with your dad, okay?" Margo smiled and hugged the older woman around her midsection.
"Thanks for coming back," Ady returned her hug.
"No problem…it was really boring without you guys." She said. Margo broke away shyly before crawling up into her own bed.
"I'll just…be out here." She said to Gru before running her hand through her hair nervously and heading towards the door.
Gru ensured that his daughters were situated properly in their beds, and had brushed their teeth and in Edith's case made her take her boots off before he turned off all of the lights and kissed them goodnight.
"Good luck dad." Margo said with a shrewd smile as he rose from her bed.
Ady was leaning against the wall as he surfaced from the room, closing the door carefully.
"I enjoyed seeing you depicted as a unicorn." She said as she straightened. "The scarf was a nice touch." He gave her a dry look before nodding towards the stairs. She stuffed her hands in her pockets and followed him. Gru, slightly nervous, attempted to do the same. He forgot that he was wearing pj pants, so it turned into a slightly awkward spastic action before he settled for folding his hands behind his back.
"Where did you learn to do that anyways?" She asked.
"You don't seem like the arts and crafts type."
"Eet ees something…I picked up I guess." She was quiet for a moment.
"So, I was thinking and…I guess you were right. Not about the whole exploding thing…and I'm still kind of pissed about the parking lot and…you know…all of that other stuff but…if the offer still stands I'd…like to come back and baby-sit…sometimes."
"I cannot pay you as much." Gru said carefully.
"I didn't actually…mean for money, Gru." Ady said. "Anyways, I'm kind of hoping to keep my job at The Hideaway…although I guess we'll see how well business does after today…it might be all right as long as the psycho doesn't come back," she said while giving Gru a cynical smile. He returned it apprehensively.
"Well, dey do need someone to take dem to ballet now dat I am not allowed…and I would prefer eet not be my mother."
"Okay, deal," she said as she extended her hand. He took it and for a moment met her gaze.
"Deal," he said as she withdrew her hand, coloring slightly.
"Are you hungry?" Gru asked after a moment of tense silence.
"Uhh…a little, I haven't really eaten yet."
"De gurls had deener but I am not particularly fond ove de macaroni and cheese. I was…goeeng to make sometheeng else for myself…eef you would…like sometheeng to eat?"
"All right." Ady said. He nodded and headed down the stairs. Ady followed him into the kitchen as he pulled his apron out of the pantry and put it on over his pjs. "I opened up a bottle ove wine earlier…eef you would like a glass," he said while opening the fridge and taking it out of the shelf inside the door. "Eet should not be allowed to seet for to much longer or eet will lose de flavor."
He poured a glass and offered it to her. Ady took it after a moment. Gru turned back to the fridge.
While he looked Ady took a sip of the wine and lingered nearby. She picked up the box of instant coffee he'd set aside earlier that morning and examined it before setting it down again and smiling a little.
"Is dere anytheeng een particularly you are hungry for?" Gru said, without looking at her. He started slightly when she touched his arm.
"How about grilled cheese?" She said as he turned towards her. Before he could answer Ady had lightly placed her hands on the sides of his face and pulled him towards her. There was an awkward moment while she tried judge the amount of neck craning she'd have to do to avoid his nose, but this did not spoil the kiss. It lasted longer then the first. When she broke away she looked slightly embarrassed.
"Uhh…all right…grilled cheese." Gru said weakly. Ady smiled a little. "And fine wine…dat sounds a little…" she raised her eyebrow and pulled at the straps of his apron pulling him close to her again and cutting him off.
Police and Special Forces had tried to get into Polina's estate, but had not been able to get past the front door. Those who had not been burned, disintegrated or electrocuted by the security system had gotten eaten by the plants. Eventually they gave up and blocked it off with tape and warning signs. Despite this someone was able to get into the house and after careful navigation through its interior came to the large glass chasm. Here the systems were down so the doors were easy enough to get through.
There were small fires everywhere. Nefario had found it easier to destroy the mass atomizer rather then take it apart piece by piece. It was a hulking mess of melted metal. The henchmen had also destroyed their fair share of stuff. Glass didn't burn, so for the most part the stuff that could burn had burned down to the glass floor and then just kind of went out by themselves.
Perkins eyed the facility wearily, before kicking aside a piece of shrapnel and heading inside.
Eventually he found himself in a small storage room on one of the connecting halls into Polina's fortress. It was untouched. It was also occupied. There was a man tied to one of the chairs. When he saw Perkins he started making indeterminate noises through the gag over his mouth. After a moment of regarding the man pitilessly, he reached forward and pulled the tie down.
"Thank god. The henchmen have gone nuts. They did something to Polina. They've had me tied up in here for a week," Henrick said. "Untie me."
"Who did this?" Perkins asked, rather then untying the man he searched briefly over the paper work littering the desk.
"That damn…villain Polina was working with. Gru. I was going to get a lot of money out of this! He ruined everything!"
Perkins had found what he was looking for in one of the drawers after eyeing, with interest a great many leases for various property and organizations.
"This woman certainly had a lot of ambition." Perkins said, with perhaps a bit of admiration.
"Right well, she had a knack for…you know finding people with power. She said the trepanning process makes them forget but I think she may have been slightly mistaken. Will you please untie me? My arms fell asleep hours ago."
"You talk too much." Perkins said before pulling Henrick's gag back over his mouth. He held up the papers that had allowed Polina to take over the majority of the bank of evil and ripped them cleanly in half and headed back out the door, ignoring the man's avid protests.
A couple of henchman spotted him on his way out, and he waved the ripped pieces of paper vaguely.
"Just taking care of some business gentlemen. Carry on." They didn't particularly have the intelligence to contest this so they let him go.
When he left the estate there was a car waiting for him. He slipped into the drivers seat and looked sideways at the youth sitting in the passenger seat.
"Did you get your papers back?" The young man said without interest as he focused on a strange weapon that he was making tweaks on with his tongue slightly stuck out.
"What is that, Viktor?" Perkins asked with some weariness.
"It's a jellyfish ray. It shoots box jellyfish up to 80 miles per hour, and it's Vector, dad, hey!" Perkins plucked the weapon out of his hands with annoyance and threw it in the back seat. Vector undid his seat belt and attempted to get the gun back.
"Well it looks like that woman's been taken care of anyways." Perkins said as he started the car and stepped on the gas, causing his son to stumble into the back seat. "But I think it's time we did something about Gru."
Well, that's the end, for now anyways. This chapter turned out longer then I expected it to be. It didn't help that I finally got a hold of Portal 2 recently. At time of writing I've finished it twice. That game is fecking awesome. Anyways, it'll take me a few weeks to get everything sorted out for the sequel, but it shouldn't be too long before I post the first chapter. I don't have a set title yet, still deciding between a few so just keep an eye out.
Past the Point of no Return: Omigod, breath! The chapters up! I'm glad you liked the story and I hope that this chapter did not disappoint. Thank you for the review. ^^
Phan4Life: Aw, thank you. I am very glad that you are enjoying it. Thank you for the review.
Roolsilver: Ehehe, yay for flailings. Thank for the review. Hope the chapter was worth the wait.
Liloapril: Thank you ^^ Yeah, if I had written it the way I originally intended it would have been broken up and the chapter before the climax was going to end at a horrible horrible cliffhanger…basically the moment when everything went wrong. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I hope this chapter did not disappoint. Thanks for the review. :)
If I missed anyone I'm very sorry. Thank you guys so much for reading. It has been extremely fun. Until next time. ^^