Written by: Charles Gray
Disclaimer: Baloo, Rebecca Cunningham, Don Karnage, Kit Cloudkicker, Molly Cunningham and WildCat are (c)1990/1991 Walt Disney Company and are being used without premission. The writer has made sure that all material represented here is not used for profit and is used with the upmost respect to Disney and the Tale Spin team. All other characters are the property of the writer.
"I cannot believe he did that!" Molly stormed, stalking around the H4H office. Rebecca looked up from her paperwork, raising her eyebrows as the fourteen year old started glaring at an inoffensive potted planet. Becky swore the planet looked like it was wilting on the spot.
"Did what, sweetie?"
"We were going to the movie.. he knew we were going to the movie, and then…."
"Yes?" Rebecca said, raising her eyebrows.
"HE CHANGED IT!! HE DECIDED WE SHOULD GO TO THE PARK!!" Becky didn’t say anything for a moment. Then:
"This is the third argument you have had in the last week, isn’t it…. Yesterday it was you forgetting about the photography exhibition." Rebecca noticed that Molly had the grace to wince at that one… she had forgotten and had been working on some old junk, so when Michael showed up she was covered in grease and grime. That had nearly led to a shouting match, until Michael, with all the grace he could muster, decided to go for a walk with her instead. It had been an honest mistake… but they had been having a lot of those lately.
"Molly?" Rebecca asked,
"Maybe you and Michael are… well… getting too close?"
"What do you mean?" Molly asked. Rebecca paused, and gathered her thoughts. This could all too easily turn into a shouting match, and she wanted to avoid that at all costs.
"Well…. Sometimes when people become close friends… they get ah, too close." Molly looked at her mother, arms folded, waiting for the next phrase. Rebecca felt herself turning red. "well, like the way you both try to do everything…. Even if you might not be interested in it. It’s alright to have different interests, Molly." Molly didn’t say a thing for a moment.
"And so I should?"
"Maybe associate with someone outside of your circle for a while." Rebecca said. "There are a lot of people at school… I don’t mean break up or anything like that, but…"
"Yeah…. That could work…. And it’ll show Michael that I’m not just some happy little Khan worker who can be expected to bow and scrape! Where’s Jack’s phone number." Molly said to herself as she bounded up the stairs.
"Oh…. Dear." Rebecca said. Somehow she didn’t think Molly had taken quite the meaning she had intended.
Molly picked up the phone in the upper office room, and thought for a moment, before dialing a number. The phone was answered by one of Khan’s switchboard operators, who put the phone call through.
"Hello Molly," Michael said, when he picked up. "Are you still tired?" He asked,
"No," Molly said sweetly. "But Michael… remember that we were going to the show on Saturday... well, something came up and I can't make it." She finished. There was a pause on the other end of the phone.
"Oh…. Well, then I’ll see you on Monday?"
"OK.. I shouldn’t be busy then."
"Very good then. Good bye."
She quickly dialed another number.
"Jack? Molly. Are you doing anything Saturday?"
"Why? Oh, if you weren’t, I’d thought we could go to the amusement park… No, Michael’s busy, and he won’t mind… it’s not as if we’re joined at the hip." Molly grinned, "great! I’ll meet you at 5th and Davidian street then."
Molly grinned. That’d show Michael!
Michael paced through his room like well…. A caged tiger. Well. If she wanted to do something else on Saturday, that was fine with him. Like he had said, he had something else to do… and he would plan it right now. Walking over to the phone, he picked it up, and made a call.
"Hello, Ceciela?" He paused, "I was wondering if you would like to go to the amusement park with me on Saturday." He held the phone away from his ear, waiting until the squeal went down to a tolerable level. "I take it that was a yes?"
He grinned. That’d show Molly.
Bright and early Saturday morning, Molly was waiting by the curb of her apartment, leaning against her bike. Jack came pedaling up on his bike; a somewhat scarred and dented veteran of many cross-country rides. The tall mountain lion looked over at Molly, in combined happiness and confusion.
I wonder why she isn’t going out with Michael? Oh well, his loss.
"Ready?" Molly asked, swinging up on her bike.
"Wh-Yes!?" Jack said, startled out of his reverie. The two pedaled down the road, heading for the amusement park. Even with the war, the park was open, although black out restrictions kept it closed at night… though some of the more streightlaced Cape Suzzetter's had been heard to comment that getting it bombed could only be good for the city.
"So, where do you want to go?" Jack asked her first.
"How about the death rocket?" Molly replied, referring to one of the newer rides. Jack gulped… and thanked heaven that his breakfast had been light.
"That works for me." He replied.
"Thanks…" Molly said, shooting him a happy glance. The two rode towards the park, stopping at the bike park set up right outside the main entrance. Jack paid for the bikes to be locked up, and Molly took his arm.
"You have to let me help out with lunch," The bearess said,
"Oh, that’s alright, I have more then enough money." Jack said, then started as Molly’s head whipped around, looking at another pair of bikes.
"What is HE doing here?" she asked, glaring at Michael’s bike, inoffensively locked up next to another bike that well… was frilly, for lack of a better word.
"Who?" Jack asked.
"Him… Michael!" Molly said. "Did he plan this before I called him?" She looked at the bike, and Jack looked also, wondering if it was about to melt down under her gaze. Then, Molly smiled, and took him by the arm. "Well, I’m certain that other bike belongs to one of his admirers, who has nothing better to do then to follow around with him." She said. "Ready?"
"Uhmm… yeah…" Jack said, more then a little uncertainly, uneasily running his hand through his dark hair.
The park was alive with people. Soldiers on leave, students, and defense workers taking some time away from their jobs. Before them was a dazzling array of rides, booths and contests, all designed to painlessly part the park goers from their money. Molly and Jack weaved through the crowd with the experience of many weekends at the park, heading for the newest attraction to grace cape Suzzette, a new roller coaster billed as "The fastest and deadliest ride in the world." Having gone with Baloo and Kit on some cargo runs that Rebecca still didn’t know about, Molly had her doubts about that billing.
Even this early, the line was over ten minutes long, but Molly and Jack spent the time making small talk. Jack was proud of his new position on the school football team, and he talked at length about it. Molly nodded.
"What do you like to do?" Jack asked her. "I don’t see you a lot other then at school."
"I work at the hospital, as an volunteer… and I-we have a little courier business." She paused, "when we’re not doing that… well… I keep busy." The line moved forward.
"I know… I like to keep busy too." Jack said, then launched into a description of last years race club, before he moved to the city. Molly found herself nodding slightly—football stories didn’t really compare to Baloo and Kit’s stories… or hers and Michael’s, for that matter. Molly shook her head irritatedly. That was really unfair to Jack! Jack looked over at her, then managed to break the awkward silence. "Well, it looks like we’re here." He said, as the attendant walked them over to the car.
They settled in, Molly actually looking excited, and Jack looking just a tiny bit green. The horn blew, and the cars began to move forward, increasing in speed as they came to the series of tight turns that had made the ride so exciting. Jack’s green tinge increased.
"Did I mention that I don’t like to fly?" He mentioned, trying to make a joke of it. Molly grinned, then gripped the bar to try to keep from getting whiplash. She looked down onto the crowd as the car rocketed across the park on its rails, enjoying the occasional upturned face. Then she blinked in shock. Down there, she had seen Michael… whi- with Ceciela!!?? How could he go out with that stuck up little piece of fluff…
Below, Michael and Ceciela were walking away from the carousel, where they had spent the last ten minutes. Michael looked up longingly at the Death Rocket, but Ceciela had mentioned that she suffered from vertigo… and the fact that she had turned green on another, much more sedate roller coaster had convinced him that going on the death rocket was NOT a good idea. He couldn’t help but think of the fact that Molly would probably have considered the Death Rocket just a little sedate.
Michael abruptly looked closely at one of the cars whipping past on the rails. Up there, almost upside down, a familiar shock of golden hair drew his attention.
"Molly?" He paused, "with James?!" His eyes widened, as he accidentally shredded the program he had been holding.
"Is ah, something wrong?" Ceciela asked, besides being completely out of touch? She finished mentally.
"NO!, ah, No. nothings wrong… how would you like to go over to the tunnel of love?" he asked, Ceciela squealed. As Michael extended his hand he carefully avoided the thought that the line to that ride went right past the exit from the death rocket.
Molly happily bounded out of the exit, with James following after…. Somewhat unsteadily. The teenager looked up to see where his stomach had ended up, and winced as he saw another group of screaming riders going through the triple loop of death… which had been aptly named in his opinion.
"So, want to get something to eat?" Molly asked. James turned green.
"Perhaps another ride… maybe more sedate then the death rocket?" He asked.
"OK, we can always come back and ride it again." Molly said, then looking across the way, glared. "James… lets take the Tunnel of Love." She said, her sweet voice at odds with the bared teeth. James looked and sighed as he saw the other two enter the ride… a light began to dawn….
As they got into the boat, James saw Michael turn around and glare at the two of them. The Mountain Lion mentally sent an apology Michael’s way. He helped Molly get into the boat, then got in himself, carefully positioning himself to see down the tunnel, in case Michael should have any mines in his pocket.
As the boat came out of the ride, Ceciela and Michael got ready to disembark. Ceciela was drying off part of her dress… as Michael had nearly tipped the boat checking on someone behind him. He’d just mentioned that it had been an old friend.. .but not really. Ceciela got out, then looked back… and saw a tall mountain lion helping someone out of the boat… it was… Molly Cunningham? Embarrassment warred with irritation. Ceciela did regret what she had said… but on the other hand she hadn’t come out here to be used as a way to get at Molly, either. She took Michael by the arm, and pulled.
"Let’s go over here, Michael," She said in a sweet voice, pulling with all of her might. The Tiger, already partially offbalance, came here way with a squawk of surprise. While trying to keep an eye on Molly, Michael allowed himself to be pulled off into the crowd.
When Molly next looked up, both Michael and Ceciela were gone… visions of them going off to some secluded place blazing in her head, the bearess grabbed James by the arm.
"James…. lets go this way." She said, in a tone that said that James had better damn well go that way.
"Ah?-" he asked, then nearly lost his balance as the attractive blond bearress grabbed him by the hand and pulled him over towards the area where she had last seen Michael and Ceciela. James let himself be pulled over towards the park area of the amusement park. It was planted with a variety of trees, with numerous knooks that allowed for couples to get away from the chaos of the larger park and midway. Molly dragged James, looking back and forth for Michael.
Ceciela finally dragged Michael over to one of the quieter parts of the park. She sat down on a bench, and Michael sat down next to her… looking only slightly like he was sitting in a den of cobras.
"Now Michael…" Ceciela said, "Maybe you could explain some things to me?"
"Like?" Michael asked, looking at her sweet… bared teeth. Well, you could call it a smile, but then piranha smiled too.
"Why have we been running all over the park after Molly Cunningham and her date?" At the last word, Michael’s claws involuntarily popped out.
"What makes you think that?!" Michael said, amazed that he hadn’t actually shouted. Ceciela folded her arms.
"We’ve been chasing them all over the park… when they haven’t been chasing us, that is." The teenager looked at her date and paused. "Did you go out with me…. Because you wanted to get back at Molly?" Michael sweated. He had heard THAT tone before, usually before Molly exploded at something. An unaccustomed twinge of guilt ran through him.
"No, of course not." Michael replied. "Molly was busy this weekend, and I was surprised to see her here today."
"You mean annoyed." Ceciela said, with more perception then Michael had granted her. Her next comment proved to him that he had underestimated the girl. "You’re angry that she found something else to do then sit in her room and count the seconds until you could grace her with your presence again… and I bet that you intended to "let drop" what you did today to her later."
Michael thought about his reply for a moment, knowing that at least, in the ruins of the day and a date, that it couldn’t get any worse.
"Oh Michael…." Another female voice intruded from the opposite end of the small clearing that had been created by the architect.
One day, I will learn to quite baiting God. Michael thought…. Although it was possible that by the end of the day he would be able to explain himself in person to the Most High. He looked over to where Molly stood, James by her side. The mountain lion looked like he wanted to get out of there… as did Ceciela, as she looked at Molly’s…. smiling face.
"How was the show, Michael?" She asked.
"Oh, it went about as well as your…. Something that came up." Michael replied, feeling his own temper begin to rise. She had broken the date, not him. He reached over to put his arm around Ceciela, then stopped, shocked, as the girl who had spent most of the last year trying to go out with him pushed his arm down. She rose gracefully and walked over to James.
"Why James! I haven’t seen you since you made the touchdown at the last game." James blinked, then—
"Why… Yes, you were in the stands by your schools team dugout!" He paused, "Weren’t you the one who was screaming for them to rip my spleen out?"
` "Oh that!" Ceciela dismissed it with a wave, "That was just to encourage them…. James, how about if we go get a drink and bring it back here…" She meaningfully looked at Michael and Molly, still staring at each other. James took the hint.
"Of course… I’ll be back in just a moment, Molly." The two left, leaving the bearess and Tiger in the clearing, alone.
"Well…." Michael said, drawing the single word out.
"Well what?" Molly said, glaring at him. Michael folded his arms.
"I was wondering if you decided to come her before, or after your emergency came up. I waited until after you couldn’t make it to the show…. And I found out I couldn’t get refunds for the tickets."
"Well why didn’t you have Ceciela go to the show with you?" Molly asked, her own voice getting just a tad louder.
"Well… I thought she’d enjoy the day here." Michael said. Wrong answer.
"Maybe you should have thought that about me!" Molly said furiously. She advanced on him. "I don’t like some snooty show full of people who look at me sideways!"
"Really! Did you consider saying: ‘Michael, I don’t want to go there, could we do something else?’ I don’t recall you saying anything of the kind!"
"Oh really! And that would have done anything? Like when you decided to go to the park instead of the movie?"
"We’d seen that movie five times!" Michael said.
"Well, I liked it!" Molly said, louder.
"Well I liked the photography exhibition, only someone was working too hard, forgot about it and showed up covered in oil!" Now Michael was shouting as loud as Molly.
"Maybe you should keep going out with Ceciela, then! She seems to like to follow you around." Molly snarled.
"Fine! You and James seem to be getting along fine… so I have no problem with that." Michael said.
Ceciela and James chose that moment to return to the clearing. James looked at Ceciela, and noticed that her expression had the same "uh-oh" look as his probably did. Molly stalked past them, and looked at James.
"Come on James… we still have tickets." She said, leaving the clearing. James turned around and followed her, to get grabbed by Ceciela.
"I think we should do what we discussed." She said, simply. James nodded and followed Molly out. Ceciela walked over towards Michael, who was sitting, glaring at the ground.
James caught up to Molly as she walked back onto the Midway. The happy sounds seemed to die a miserable death around the two of them, fading into the background.
"Molly?" James asked.
"Oh look, there a ride we haven’t gone on! Let’s go!" Molly said, in a happy voice… that didn’t quite disguise the catch in it.
"Molly, why don’t we sit down for a moment." James said, in the persuasive voice he used on his four sisters. In case that didn’t work, he simply sat down on the bench… and pulled Molly down after him. The bearess sat down, looking at James with just a little apprehension.
"Molly," James said. "Did decide to do something else before or after you decided not to hit the show with Michael?" Molly looked at him for a moment, then broke his gaze and looked around the park.
"Before." She said unwillingly. James nodded.
"That wasn’t very nice to do…" He mentioned. Molly glared at him.
"Why should I follow him around doing everything he wants to do… I could care less about the photo exhibits… and we go to them all the time!"
"Did you ever…. Mention this to him?" The silence was answer enough for James. He grinned, surprising Molly. "Molly, I’ve got four sisters, two older and two younger, a younger brother, and parents…. Half the arguments in the house are because someone got annoyed, but didn’t want to get into a fight, so they don’t say anything until they’re really angry, and can’t hold it in anymore." Molly said nothing. "Besides, I’m assuming that you occasionally want to do something he doesn’t want to do?"
"mmmmm…." Molly didn’t say a thing.
"besides, it’s not as if you’re joined at the hip." James said.
"Hmph." Molly snorted. "and why are you so concerned about this?" She asked.
"because I don’t want to be compared to Michael, and if I get you because you’re annoyed at him, that’s exactly what will happen." James said, "Like I said, I’ve watched my family." He paused. "I also think I deserve better then leftovers" James finished. Molly glared, then relaxed.
"Well, I’d say you do too." She replied.
Ceciela sat next to Michael, watching him mutter, and occasionally swipe at the air with his unsheathed claws.
"That wasn’t very nice." She mentioned.
"Excuse me?" It wasn’t –quite- a snarl.
"Well, I mean molly has a point—why should she go with you for something she really hates… just like you shouldn’t have to always go with her for something you hate." The glare Michael directed at her would have melted steel, but Ceciela didn’t look away. "Look, I’m a social person… better then Molly will ever be. But I’d never get the guts to tell you to go to hell… and I doubt anyone else would. We’d be too terrified you might put us down with some properly chosen word, and that would be it. It’s not as if any of us could get under your skin enough to get you angry… or get close enough to you." Michael blinked.
Why had Molly gotten him so angry? It wasn’t as if this hadn’t happened before… there were all kinds of functions that Uncle Khan had him appear at that bored him to tears.
"Besides," Ceciela said, "If she didn’t like whatever it was you were going to.. why did you want to bring her along in the first place?"
"Because I-" Michael broke off. Saying ‘Because I didn’t want to go without seeing her’ wasn’t the kind of thing one said to one’s current date. "Because she should get interested in something other then machines, our business, and school."
"Why?" Ceciela said. "She’s good at school sports… or at least those of my friends who’ve played her say that." There was a sniff there. Michael was reminded that one thing Molly would never do was sniff at the idea of a good game. "Besides…" Ceciela continued. "Why should she do what you think is good for her…. She did well enough before she met you." She smiled . "And If you think that, where do you get off getting angry because she decides to do the same thing to you?"
Michael looked around, trying to escape the sense of Ceciela’s words. Molly was bored when they went to photography shows.. and Michael had known it for the last several weeks, but he’d been trying to force her to keep going… hoping that she would get into it. He leaned back and closed his eyes. They only thing he had probably done was insure that she’d never enjoy it now. He sighed.
"So," Ceceila said, brightly. "ready to continue?" Michael really wasn’t, but good manners demanded….
"Yes," he said, getting up.
By the end of the day, Michael was tired and more then a little lonely, Ceciela and the crowds not withstanding. Finally, they came to a small stand with tables set up around it for those who didn’t want to stand while eating their meal.
"Well!" Ceciela said, "Here we are…. Oh look, it’s James and Molly." She finished, then, before Michael could say a thing, went over to James. "James…" she purred, "Could you help me get something from the lost and found?"
"Ah but-" Molly stuttered.
"Of course," James said, then walked off with Ceciela, leaving Molly and Michael standing. Michael sat down, and after a moment, Molly sat down next to him. They said nothing. Then:
"You really hate those photography shows?" Michael said in a neutral voice.
"Well…" Molly paused. Her irritation had faded in the hours since their argument. "I don’t hate them… I just…. They really bore me." She said.
Well, you could have figured that one out. Michael thought.
"Did you really hate the movie that much?" Molly said.
"Not hate, but when I could repeat the dialogue, for every character…" Michael let his words trail off, expecting an explosion. Molly said nothing, almost as if she didn’t know what to say, which was seldom a problem, usually.
"I guess I… did go a little overboard on it…" Molly finally said, quietly.
"Yeah, well I suppose I should have taken the hint about the photography stuff." Michael said. Molly looked over at him. For Michael, that was quite an admission.
Michael paused, then took Molly’s hand in his. The bearess didn’t resist, startled.
"Ah—" Now how do I go about this? "Look, Molly… I’m really sorry that I dragged you out to things you hated to do…and I’m sorry I yelled at you-"
"It’s OK, Michael." Molly said, "I was P’Od at you, and I should have told you before, not welshed out on the show…" She paused, "But I don’t think we’ve seen the film as much as you think." She finished, grinning to take any sting out of the words.
"’Don’t worry Commissioner, Danger Woman will save the day!’" Michael said. "Molly, when I know the female characters entire script…" Molly laughed, then looked up as Ceciela and James strolled back in.
"Oh good." Ceciela said, "You two are friends again… just in time for me to dump you, Michael." She finished. Michael blinked. "I’ve decided that James should escort me home… and tell me about how he saved the day for your school, Molly." Molly blinked. James gave a friendly wave, and then the two ambled off into the crowd.
"I’ve been dumped?" Michael said.
"Looks that way." Molly agreed.
"How can I survive the sorrow?" Michael said, trying to look sad, but with a smile fighting to escape. "Well." He said, getting up. "Seeing as our respective dates have been turned into irretrievable disasters, would you like an escort so we won’t be miserable alone?" Molly got up and stood by him.
"Well, Mr. Khan, I suppose we could do that." She said, smiling, finally feeling like the day might work out.
"Good!" And they both took off.
Back at H4H, Rebecca was putting the finishing touches on some paperwork, waiting for Baloo to return with the last shipment of the day, when the door banged open. Molly came trotting in, with… Michael in two!? The older woman looked up at her daughter and raised her eyebrows.
"I assume that James was transformed by a mad scientist?" Rebecca asked.
"Mom!" Molly said with the long suffering air of all who endure clueless parents.
"Hello, Ms. Cunningham." Michael said.
"Hello, Michael…" A familiar roar interrupted their conversation. "Michael, could you go out and give Baloo a hand… Wildcat’s uptown right now."
"Certainly." Michael said, as he turned and left. Molly’s attempt to follow him was forestalled by a look from Rebecca.
"Molly," She asked, as the door closed behind Michael. "What happened?"
"Oh, well, Michael and I ran into each other at the park and Ceciela and James decided that they wanted to go home together and so here we are." Molly ran down, gasping for breath. Rebecca smiled, then looked at her daughter.
"What about not doing everything together?" She asked.
"Well, We’ve decided that we don’t have to do everything together…" Molly said, then looked at Rebecca. "Why?"
"Well, when you left here you were all fired determined to show Michael that you didn’t need to be around him all the time."
"yeah… I was a little angry.. but I don’t need to be around him… I just…"
"Don’t bother, I understand." Rebecca said, smiling at her daughter.
"Yes sweetie?" In Michael’s absence, the nickname was acceptable.
"Did I make him see the movie too much?" Rebecca paused, then looked at her daughter.
"Well, I’ve only heard about it second hand and …’Don’t worry Commissioner, Danger Woman will save the day!’" Molly blinked. Rebecca continued, "So if I know every line in the show… then maybe you have seen it a bit much." Molly sighed, throwing her arms up in surrender.
"Ok, Ok… I guess I didn’t take the hint."
"No." Rebecca said, as Molly blew a forelock of golden hair out of her eyes. Then her daughter grinned.
"Well, If everyone is so deadset against seeing the movie again, I’ll just have to go myself… and maybe someday they’ll be making a movie about me!" She laughed, as she headed for the door. Rebecca waved her out, then looked down at her desk, including some photographs of Baloo and Kit, cut out from the various newspaper stories that they had appeared in over the years.
"You just might at that, sweetie," She said to herself, then got back to work.