5. The Truth
Two officers in short sleeve, light blue shirts adorned with mouse ears wend their way through the tables toward them. The jig is up. Someone has spotted and reported them.
He still has time enough to run. No way they'd catch him. The one is heavy and the other is completely gray. They're about as threatening a pair as Chip 'n' Dale in Tomorrowland.
Blondie's a different story. She's on her third Discovery Blast, and is flopping around in her chair, giggling loudly, fully convinced she is drunk. When she gets like this, he ends up having to give her a piggyback ride to their condo, which she's decorated with Corona sunbursts. The deposit is a total loss.
And that's how he really got kicked out of the Magical Kingdom. She redecorated Snow White's Scary Adventures. It was supposed to be a surprise for Snow's birthday, and he went along with the plan, because he imagined making out on the dark ride might be entertaining. When she finished, he thought her paint job was an improvement, but the park authorities called it vandalism. Turns out Snow has a thing for tidiness, which failed to include an unsolicited redecoration of the walls of her eponymous ride. Uptight goody two-shoes.
There were a lot of serious, angry faces the day the two of them were called into the security office to watch the video of the two of them entering Snow's ride the night the vandalism took place.
"You wouldn't happen to have an explanation for this would you?" a security guard asked as the tape played on the screen before them.
He rubbed his chin. "I think the only explanation is that someone does a mean impression of me and Blondie. I mean, those are two strikingly good looking people. Wouldn't you say?"
"Do you know how serious the damage is?"
They weren't going to trip him up. This was child's play: he'd been questioned by much more fearsome inquisitors than the crowd of stone faces in the Disney World security office.
He stretched out in the chair as if this whole scenario bored him. "No idea. How could I? We haven't been inside that ride in weeks."
"You know we can't have this sort of thing happening in the park. If you did this, as the video suggests, we'd need to ask you to leave. Permanently."
He glanced over at Blondie, who was practically white with fear. It was a wonder she hadn't immediately confessed; the fact that she really liked it in Disney World was probably the only thing that kept her from spilling everything.
"To repair the ride would be so extensive a process that they've decided they're going to scuttle the ride and put something else in its place."
"Now you're just being ridiculous. You were going to close the ride as part of the planned Fantasyland expansion anyway," he pointed out coolly.
One of the men narrowed his eyes at him. "Is that why you defaced the ride, Mr. Fitzherbert?"
He could see that the culprit would have opened her mouth to incriminate herself, but he reached over, silencing her with a hand on her arm, as he smiled slowly. "That's Mr. Rider if you don't mind. Thanks."
"Are you confessing?"
"Eugene," she said plaintively, big doe eyes begging him not to do it.
He couldn't let her take the fall for this. She was happy here. Really happy. "Sure, I'll confess. Yeah, I defaced the ride, because Snow and her little dwarf friends creep the hell out of me. The lot of them are worse than Cinderella and her troop of mice. Mice—ugh," he said, shivering, "I hate 'em. Did I ever mention that before?" Oh, their horrified faces. It was priceless. "I thought I'd leave my mark. What's the harm, when you're going to tear it down anyway?"
The only thing that bothered him was the triumphant look on the security manager's face, when he turned to address his girl. "And what do you have to say, Princess?"
He jumped in before she could respond. "This is awk-ward." He cleared his throat. "Excuse me, gentlemen, but I don't take princesses out on crime sprees. They're not terribly reliable. That," he said gesturing at the screen, "is a girl I met on Pleasure Island. Real peach." He shrugged at Rapunzel, who looked understandably shocked at his fabrication. "Sorry, babe. I have a thing for blondes."
So, yeah, these guards are slow and he could totally outrun them, leaving Downtown Disney behind before they ever have a chance to catch up with him. He already mentally outpaced their kind after all, by saving his girl, the real paintbrush wielding perpetrator from being booted from the Magical Kingdom. But he isn't going to make a run for it.
He doesn't miss signing all the autograph books or the sticky fingered kids, who sneeze in your face or stare dumbly up at you in shock, but the adoration hadn't been so bad. He can't say he doesn't miss being a star. That and spending everyday with his girl.
No, he'd have to ditch her in order to escape, and while Flynn Rider wouldn't have thought twice, Eugene can't begin to imagine leaving her behind.
He sighs, looking down and hoping the bill of his hat will somehow magically protect him from discovery, as the guards approach their table.
"Sir," the one officer says, "if you'll come with us please."
"Something wrong, officer?" he says, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
The table he's been entertaining suddenly doesn't know the pair of them, turning quietly to their meals. No one wants to be kicked out of Disney World.
"Eugene Fitzherbert, we're going to have to ask you to leave."
"Flynn Rider. Get it right: a fake reputation is all a man has."
He hears an—oh, my God—from the table behind them. It makes him smile. Yeah, I'm Flynn Rider, jackasses.
He shrugs off one officer's hand as it comes to rest on his shoulder.
"Let's not make a scene."
"Scene, what scene? Me and my lovely girlfriend are having a nice dinner here in Downtown Disney. I didn't realize that was a crime." Even though things aren't exactly going well, she smiles when he calls her his girlfriend. It really doesn't take much to please her. "Did you, babe?"
"Downtown Disney Area admission and parking are complimentary," she recites straight out of the pamphlets.
It's been their hope that Downtown Disney is a neutral zone where he might be welcome despite his ban from the park, but he's always known better. Hence the dopey disguises.
"You can finish your meal, miss," the one guard says, as the other grabs him under the arm and hauls him upright.
Blondie sobers up real quick. "Hey! What are you doing? Let go of him!" she demands as she stands up.
"Miss, we're sorry, but this gentleman knows he's not supposed to be on property."
"He's trouble," the other one adds, as if he's doing her a favor by telling her this little factoid about her date.
"Give him back!" she says even more loudly, nearly knocking over his chair in her attempt to wrestle him from the officer.
He gives her a quick look. These guys aren't exactly going to clamp him in irons. So, it's better she doesn't whip out her hair and use it as a lasso in order to save him. Even if he's really touched by the sentiment.
But just as he thinks this, her hood falls back in the shuffle, exposing her glossy blonde hair. Several tables around them that have been watching with great interest go silent. Even in Disney World there aren't a lot of women walking around with hair this blonde. Or with this much of it.
The officer that had him by the arm let's go.
The other one begins to stutter. "Pri-pri-prin-cess?"
She insinuates herself between the officer and himself and his empty beer bottle topples over in the process, dribbling the last of its contents over the tabletop.
"Yes? I'm Princess Rapunzel of Corona. You were saying?"
"We're just…we're just doing our job, Princess."
Her face softens and she pats the one man's silver Walt Disney World Security badge. "Yes, of course you were. And we're just having dinner. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? No crimes are being committed."
The guards look at each other, obviously hoping one of them will have the answer.
"Look," she says, "the thing is, I need you not to get him kicked out of here." The one officer glowers at Eugene, as he kisses the crown of Rapunzel's head, as she continues, "Just for the evening, and then you can go back to keeping Eugene out of Disney World, ok?"
They remain silent, but he can tell their confidence is more than shaken.
"Be honest," he says resting his chin on Rapunzel's head, "did Snow send you guys?" He's pushing it, but his Blondie is such a little spitfire that he doesn't think it'll matter. Apparently, she's not letting him get dragged out of here. Not tonight.
The officer glares again, as Eugene smirks, wrapping an arm around her waist.
She smiles so sweetly as she adds, "And it's also my birthday, just so you know."
Oh, Rapunzel. He chuckles to himself, hugging her closer.
The officer looks entirely defeated, when he croaks, "Your birthday?"
"And no one's brought her a cake," he points out helpfully. "Someone should probably be on top of that." Free dessert.
The one officer actually turns and hurries off presumably to find a waiter and the other one is looking like he wishes someone else had gotten the call tonight.
"Sorry, Princess. You can, uh, you can finish your meal of course."
"We can finish our meal," she corrects.
"Yes, I'm sorry if we interrupted."
"You know what would make it up to her?" Eugene asks, before pecking her on the cheek. "If the Mouse picked up the check."
The officer fingers his walkie-talkie.
Rapunzel stretches out her hand to stop him. "It's not our meal I'm worried about. It's everyone else's: we've spoiled all these nice people's meals with the ruckus."
The officer glances around at the tables of staring customers. "I'll call my superior."
"Yeah, you do that," Eugene says with a wink as the man backs away.
She turns in his arms, her body warm against his as she slides her hands up around his neck.
She's just pulled rank to get him a pass and their free cake is no doubt on its way, but suddenly he doesn't care about being here anymore. "Let's go."
"Home." He leans forward, so he can whisper throatily in her ear, "I want to get you home."
Rapunzel lets go of him so she can grab what's left of her drink and drains it. "Okay," she says, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, "but you're going to have to carry me. I'm totally drunk." She giggles and blushes.
"Awesome," he says with a waggle of his brows. He can think of a half a dozen things Rapunzel will probably happily agree to in her current state of fake intoxication. He lifts her up by the waist and slings her over his shoulder.
Best. Day. Ever.