Velma looked round into the back of the Mystery Machine at the quivering lumps under some blankets.
"Come on you two chickens it was only snowballs that hit the Mystery Machine" to the right of her Shaggy laughed
"Yeah, I made faces at some kids playing in the snow when we stopped at the lights and they threw some snowballs at us. I knew what was coming so I wasn't scared" he said proud of himself. Velma and Shaggy tried to stifle their giggles as Daphne peeked out from under one of the blankets.
"That's easy for you to say, you weren't asleep when the snowballs hit"
"Reah, reeping" said Scooby peaking our from under the other blanket.
"Well it's time you two woke up we're nearly at the hotel" said Fred turning the van into road leading up to the hotel.
Velma looked out of the window as they entered the car park "Oh no" she whispered and sank back in the seat and glumly folded her arms.
"What's wrong?" asked Daphne peaking over the front seat.
"I recognise that car in the car park. It's Gibby's"
They had barely stepped out of the van when Gibby, carrying a snowboard, appeared next to Velma. She almost jumped out of her skin and quickly moved away as quickly as she could.
"I'm here on a snowboarding course, impressive huh Velma? I'm just getting cooler by the minute. You'd better get in line for a piece of the Gibster quick Velma. Form an orderly queue behind Velma ladies!" said Gibby posing with his snowboard. The gang just stared at him in silence and a few people standing nearby walked away, Gibby continued more awkwardly. "So what are you all doing here?"
"We're here to investigate a monster that is attacking visitors in the area." said Fred, Gibby nodded thoughtfully.
"I hear it is especially going after attractive and beautiful women but don't worry Velma, I'm here to protect you" he oozed.
"Oh joy" muttered Velma trying to hide behind Shaggy and Daphne
Shaggy put his arm around Velma and lead her away "Don't let him get to you Velms, me and Scooby will keep an eye out for you."
"Thanks Shag, but I think I can handle Gibby by myself" Velma paused, that had sounded harsher than she had intended and could tell from Shaggy's suddenly tense posture that he'd taken it the way it had sounded "Sorry Shag, that sounded so wrong. I do appreciate the offer and if he gets too much I'll come get you" she paused and sighed "I just need to learn to be less polite with him and simply tell him to go away." Shaggy relaxed and pulled her closer.
"Daph can give you tips of getting rid of annoying men. I've seen her in action, it's impressive, but like way scary"
"I can imagine" replied Velma "come on let's check-in"
"What's this?" asked Daphne; stopping to pick up a piece of paper on the floor in front of her "it's a flyer for a nearby resort called 'Indoor Hawaii – all heat, all the time'"
"Why come to a snowy mountain just to stay in doors and keep warm?" asked Fred
"Rakes rence ro re" shivered Scooby
Just as they entered the hotel lobby Velma stopped in her tracks "Jinkies, I left my laptop charger in the van, back in a moment." she went to head out again when Shaggy stopped her
"Like, let me, just in case Gibby is still hanging around"
"Shaggy! Thank you, that's so thoughtful of you" replied Velma almost jumping up and down with joy. Her eyes followed him as he went out of the door "that was so nice of him" she whispered to Daphne.
Having retrieved the charger Shaggy headed back as he approached the hotel he saw a group of people huddled together around a van having some form of meeting. A few were holding placards with slogans like 'Save the Yeti', 'Hand's off Big-Foot' and 'MInd your own business.' Underneath the M were the letters 'ystery' and underneath the I was 'ncorporated'. Shaggy didn't pay them much heed until he was a few yards away from the hotel when he suddenly found his way barred by them.
"We know what you are up to, you're in the pay of those nuclear people, they want to build a nuclear waste storage site here" said one pointing their finger at him while they spoke
"Why here? Don't they need to be put somewhere deserted?" he replied unsure of what was happening "like, there are loads of people here"
"They've been all over the mountains, they want to build it in a mine, so its kept secret." interrupted one
"You've been hired to discredit big-foot so they can just wreck this place. They're going to build bombs here, neutron bombs!"
"Mixed messages man, mixed messages. First it's a waste site, then a bomb factory, what's next, a snack factory?" said Shaggy trying to joke his way out of the situation.
The biggest of group walked up to Shaggy and pushed him over, he leant down and clinched their fist in front of Shaggy's face "Just beat it you lanky freak or..." they paused at the sound of knuckles being cracked. They turned to see a stern looking Fred, his arms folded, Daphne was slowly stroking a strip of black material
"Oh look, this cloth is black, just like all of my belts"
The group turned back to Shaggy to find Velma standing where he had been lying. Shaggy was standing behind her with Scooby at his side. Velma reached up and pulled down the person who had threatened Shaggy till they were face-to-face "Or what?" She growled.
"Marvin Morley! I told you lot to get lost you're not wanted here." A tall gangly man strode up to the group. The group with placards mumbled some insults under their breath and drifted away. The one named Morley remained where he was, unable to free himself from Velma's vice-like grip
"Just making the point" said Velma as she suddenly let go, the sudden loss of her grip caused him to go tumbling backwards.
"My apologies to you all, I'm..." their face broke into a huge smile of recognition.
"Shamus Lane, crypto-zoologist and environmental campaigner" said Velma smiling in return
"Velma! I heard rumours you were coming, it's so good to see you again." he said as he and Velma embraced each other.
"Like, you two know each other?" asked Shaggy, surprised to find there was someone taller and ganglier than he.
"Only via Velma's parents, we all went hunting for lake monsters once and Velma joined us during her spring break"
"Ah yes, no monsters but 3 new species of cave worm and we extended the range of the rare lava-bellied newt. Good times."
"Indeed, and that area is now a protected habitat thanks to you and your parents"
"So what's with those people with the banners?" asked Fred, Shamus sighed and shook his head.
"They used to be part of the group working to keep this area safe for wildlife. They were kicked out for being violent towards anyone who didn't agree with their way of doing things, especially towards other members of the campaign."
"Keep wildlife safe from what?" asked Daphne
"No one is quite sure what is going on up in the mountains, there are only rumours. Some say there will be a secret storage site, some a bomb-factory others that it is something more sinister in the mines – a biological warfare plant. We just don't want the area ruined."
"Well I don't either" replied Velma "but people are being attacked by some sort of creature. I guess you're here part for the campaign and part because of big-foot"
"Got it in one Velma, discovering big-foot would even top finding those cave-worms" replied Shamus
"The authorities called us as we specialise in these sorts of cases. We'll find out one way or the other if this creature is real. But it's never our intention to harm anything." said Daphne
"I know, you proved that with the coral creature off the Great Barrier Reef. I hope you get to the bottom of this. Whatever it was attacked two of our group last week, one was so frightened they headed straight home. Please be careful Velma."
"I will, time for us to check-in, see you later Shamus"
"You too Velma." They parted company, when he was a short way away Shamus turned round and called out to Velma.
"Don't forget to check out the hotel hot-tubs – they use volcanically heated spring water, really good for the skin and the environment."
"Well gang we've got a suite, individual bedrooms and a lounge so we can work in private."
"Nice one Fred" replied Shaggy "just like old times"
"Yeah but this time no cleaning rota" laughed Fred "let's get settled in. We've had a long day so I suggest we investigate just how great the hotels pool is."
"Then the restaurant please, I'm getting hungry after all that excitement" interrupted Velma giving Shaggy a sideward's glance.
"You're truly a woman after my own heart Velma" said Shaggy grinning at her, Velma blushed slightly.
"Really? Jinkies" she whispered becoming lost in her thoughts requiring Daphne to guide a preoccupied Velma up to their suite.
After the gang had settled in and unpacked they all headed for the pool to ease away the aches and pains of the drive.
"There's a game of water volleyball going on, let's join in" said Fred "You up for this Velms? Daph?"
"No thanks, I'm a bit too small to play water volleyball with you guys don't you think?" replied Velma looking at Shaggy "I'll relax while you do all the hard work and join you for a swim afterwards."
"I'll join Velma, I like the idea of you two doing the hard work and us watching." smiled Daphne
Especially the watching thought Velma. Unknown to Velma Shaggy had similar thoughts, he was trying not to stare too obviously at Velma, she was wearing a white one-piece swimming costume with cut-away panels at the side. The image of Velma consumed his thoughts, she was simply stunning. Velma was one of his oldest and closest friends, probably second only to Scooby Doo but recently it was becoming clear to him that he was thinking of her as more than just a friend. He had his suspicions that Velma was eyeing him up as well. The prospect that Velma might be after him was both terrifying and exciting.
"OK then, see you both later" said Fred heading to the pool "Shaggy?"
"What, like I'm with you man" said Shaggy walking to the pool but looking over his shoulder at Velma as she walked to the chair. Velma looked over her shoulder and smiled at him causing Shaggy to fall into the pool.
Velma was lying on a steamer chair by the pool her mind fully occupied; for once it was not with clues, a mystery or science, but with Shaggy. About a year ago, after a particularly difficult case he'd taken up gymnastics again to improve his monster escaping skills, this coupled with his usual high-protein diet had had quite and effect on his physique. And despite her protestations to the contrary Daphne could tell it was also having quite an effect on Velma. Shaggy looked at Velma and waved, she immediately became flustered and gave a shy little wave in return before hiding behind her book, only daring to peek out when she thought the coast was clear.
When the game was all about over Daphne got up and went to Velma "They're just about finished; time to go for a swim with the boys!"
"Huh? Oh right." went Velma, before she could react Daphne had dragged Velma off the chair. They walked towards the side of the pool where Daphne 'accidentally' bumped into Velma causing her to fall into the pool next to Shaggy. Velma surfaced, coughing and spluttering, Shaggy immediately reached out and held her against himself to steady her, the sensation of her body moving against his was enough to cause her mind to cease up completely.
"Like, you OK Velms?" and gave her a slight, shy smile as he brushed some hair from her face. Shaggy kept hold, not wanting to loose the feeling of their bodies in contact.
"Fine" came the abrupt reply "just, fine"
After their swim they began to get ready to head to their rooms to get changed for dinner, Fred and Daphne collected their things but Velma was standing motionless by the side of the pool, staring with her eyes wide open; oblivious to the world around her.
"You still in there Velms? Anybody home?" whispered Daphne waving her hand in front of her face. It was clear that Velma wasn't at home but from the goofy little grin on her face she was clearly enjoying wherever she was at that moment.
"Is Velma alright Daph?" whispered Fred coming up behind Daphne. Daphne looked in the direction Velma was looking and saw Shaggy was using one of the showers next to the pool. Shaggy turned his back to them, Daphne could see Velma's pupils dilate, he bent over to pick up something from the floor, they dilated even further. He stood up and stretched, Daphne got ready to catch Velma; her pupils now open as far as they could go.
"She's too busy staring at Shaggy, our resident He-Man. She'll be back on plant Earth once her brain re-boots" she whispered to Fred. He gave her an amused look 'he-man' and Shaggy were not words that usually went together.
Shaggy walked up the gang, mustered all of his courage then spoke "Hey Velms do you want to come to the hotel's gym with me after dinner and try their skiing machine? Sounds like fun and much warmer than real snow, plus it's next to the snack machines."
Velma slowly nodded like she was under some kind of trance but made no attempt to move.
"Or not" said Daphne gently nudging Velma to get her moving in Shaggy's direction.
"Still trying to get those two together?" asked Fred when Shaggy and Velma were out of sight
"Why not? There's a lot going on between them at the moment, I know from Scooby that they've both been spending a lot of time at each others apartments. You must have noticed it!"
Fred grinned "Yeah, if I need to find Shaggy, I just call Velma's. And his place is not as Shaggy-like as his old room at HQ was."
"See? They are so close and I think they are staring to realise it too. This is sooo exciting" replied Daphne thrilled at the prospect of playing matchmaker.
"You're right Daph" said Fred as he put his arm around her waist and lead her off to their rooms.
"They'll get together then in 6 months or so they'll get engaged and a year later they'll get married and I'll be Maid of Honour..."
"Just don't over do it."
It was late in the evening, Shaggy put down the room service menu, turned off the TV and stretched out on his bed "quiz time Scoob, like what's the softest, warmest and most wonderful thing to hold?"
"Ruper reat rall rand reese rubmarine randwich?"
"Even better than that, even better..." sighed Shaggy, Scooby did a double take, what could be better than that?
"Rhat rhen?" Quiche perhaps?
"I mean Scooby have you held, I mean actually held Velma"
"Ronly rhen rightened. Rhe's rood ro rold rhen"
"True, but not like that, I mean just held. No monsters, no ghosts just holding her in your arms."
"Rhy rold rhe rhen?" asked Scooby raising an eyebrow
"It just makes me feel so good Scoob, man she feels so good" he replied sitting up and hugging his pillow gently rocking it back and forth "hey this pillow-slip is orange, man I wish this was Velma."
Scooby pondered this for a few seconds then pursed his lips and made loud wet kissing noises
"Scooby!" yelled Shaggy and threw the pillow at him, Scooby retaliated and soon they were locked in a pillow fight. Eventually they both grew tired and declared each other the winner. After a few celebratory Scooby Snacks both fell asleep, Shaggy in his bed and Scooby likewise on the couch. Shaggy's snores echoed round the room, Scooby opened an eye, slipped of the couch and silently left the room. He went down the hall and quietly pawed at Daphne's door. The door opened and Scooby went inside.
"What did you find out?" asked Daphne kneeling down to speak quietly in his ear.
"Raggy rikes Relama lots, re roves rust rolding rer reven rhen rhere rare ro ronsters" said Scooby placing his paw on her arm for emphasis at then end. Daphne suppressed a giggle, no monsters, that was all she needed to know.
"Good boy Scooby, we know Velma is super keen on Shaggy so what do we do next?"
Don't ask me I'm not a human thought Scooby but some Scooby snacks might help me think and he began to look in the direction of a near-by box hoping that Daphne would pick up the hint.
"Phase two. Get them together, alone."
Anything! Just as long as it involves me being alone with those Scooby Snacks in the near future.