TPCR: Chapter 14 and Chapter 15, Part 1
The next day at work, Erin is still on Cloud Nine after making out with Lucas. But all that is shattered when the next step of the Bad Side of the Family’s notorious scheme takes shape…
Framing Erin’s cafe for widespread food poisoning!
Mustache Twirler’s brother-in-law (and damn, everybody in this town really is related to everyone else!) barges in during the very beginning of the lunch rush, to loudly proclaim that Erin’s food made him sick. Then he vaguely threatens her that she might have to “shut down“…and leaves.
Well. Mission accomplished.
Now, you would think in a town as
tight-knit gossipy as this one, a lot of people (on The Side of the Good Side of the Family) would get that this is a ruse. Especially after months of pranks like this, including a different food poisoning scare.
But no, a number of people just so happen to walk out at the same time as Mustache Twirler’s cousin, and the two cooks confide to Erin that two other customers complained of not feeling well yesterday.
So there is no lunch rush…basically no lunch patrons at all. And despite her protestations, Erin actually thinks the food poisoning must be real, because “it was beyond her comprehension that Billy Dean had made up a story in the hope that her business would suffer.”
Um, Erin, you do remember that hundreds of thousands of dollars and many acres of land are at stake here, right? Why do you think this is all so impossible?
But surely, no person would ever, ever LIE!!! That makes Baby Jesus cry! Sure, Erin lied to everyone she knew back when she was dating the town Bad Boy, but that was totally different!
Erin also seems to be a bit closed-minded about the cause of the food poisoning, even as she assumes it’s real. Yes, we’re all supposed to assume it’s sabotage, given the feud and all, but is it really so impossible to believe that this is a coincidence? Hell, anything can cause food poisoning. I mean, it might be an undigested bit of beef, or a blob of mustard or a crumb of cheese…
Just sayin’, I don’t care if the two cooks are the Adorable Old Farts of the town…sometimes, the unexpected happens when it comes to food.
Anyway, Lucas shows up and Erin tells him what happened. Lucas, naturally, also suspects the Bad Side, though he oddly adds that “my family has been leaving a lot of blanks about what’s been going on lately.”
Oh, yeah, Good Side of the Family, that’s a wonderful idea. Keep people directly affected by all this in the dark. I’m sure that won’t make the problem worse.
Erin and Lucas set off together to track down Mustache Twirler, who of course must be the mastermind behind all of this. They track him down quite quickly (super-small town, remember), but Lucas sees a plot twist in Mustache Twirler’s truck…
…one of the men who kidnapped Max!
Now, you’d think those guys would be sitting in jail awaiting trial, or pled out and spending the holidays in prison, but apparently this Maurice “must have posted bond,” because he “claimed he didn’t know anything about Scott’s murder or a kidnapping,” even though Lucas implies here that he witnessed otherwise.
Which brings up another good question about Grandpa Asshat’s will: at some point, I can only assume that Lucas will have to leave the town and testify against these guys, possibly in multiple trials. You okay with that, Grandpa Asshat? Or is being a witness in a kidnapping insufficiently urgent?
Oh well. Relatively hidden and apparently not having been spotted, Lucas calls Sheriff Cousin and Erin calls Cousin Teen Bride, who is watching Max for the day. Lucas is successful, Erin is not. So Lucas takes Erin to Arabella’s house to find Max and warn everyone, while Lucas will go meet with Sheriff Cousin.
And…on that exciting pseudo-cliffhanger…till tomorrow!