Tintin smiled as he strolled down the sidewalk, his hands in the pockets of his jacket. Snowy, his white terrier, walked beside him. They were both in a great mood that day. Tintin was in a good mood because he was on his way to the Cocoa Mocha Café, where Juliet worked every other day. Juliet, to him, was a joy to be around, even if she sometimes could be obnoxious and a bit of a pain, she was still fun. She had this certain charm to her, Tintin couldn't quiet put his finger on it, but it just attracted him to her like a piece of iron to a magnet. He loved spending time with her, and he always looked forward to the days when they would have their little lunch dates. Although, they hadn't really gone out on any other kind of date since they started going out, but Tintin had a plan to change that. He could feel the tickets to the concert of one of Juliet's favorite artists burning a hole in his pocket.
Snowy was in a good mood because, whenever Tintin went to see Juliet, she always gave him one of her homemade doggy treats (Which were total heaven to him), and he could eat the fallen scraps of their lunch.
Tintin turned a corner, and smiled as he came upon the familiar sign bearing a cup of coffee, with a small chocolate square next to it, words beneath it reading 'Cocoa Mocha Café'.
His smile grew wider when he saw Juliet serving some customers, she was wearing a pastel pink dress and small white apron, the uniform for all the female Café employees. The men's weren't much better, wearing a pink shirt of the same shade, and khaki pants. On her head sat a little white folding hat that all employees had to wear, regardless of sex. She looked up, and smiled when she saw him, and he returned it. She held up her index finger, showing him that she'd be a minute before she could eat with him. She walked away, going over to a taller, older, blonde woman who was relatively attractive, and speaking to her. She nodded once, and Juliet handed her the notepad and pen she used to take orders at the café and went into the inner part of the café, coming out of the entrance and going over to Tintin, taking off the folding hat she wore as she did.
"Hello, Tintin." She said with a smile, coming over and kissing his cheek in greeting.
"Hello, Juliet." He said in return.
Snowy barked at her, and she smiled down at the little terrier. "Yes, yes, I know what you're here for." She knelt down, pulling something out of her apron pocket and held it out to him. Instantly, Snowy jumped up, trying to reach for it with his mouth. Juliet laughed, "Hang on, hang on!" She hid the treat in her fist, putting her hands behind her back, moving the treat back and forth between them so the scent of it would be on both hands, then brought both fists forward, presenting them to the terrier. "A little test before you get it." Snowy sniffed her left hand, then her right, then her left again, then her right, and barked, deciding that was the hand she had hid the treat in. She opened her hand, showing him the doggy treat that she had made for him, and he happily devoured it. "Good boy!" She praised, petting his head as he munched on the treat. She stood up, smiling at Tintin, and he returned it, but frowned when he noticed something was off about her smile. It looked… phony. "To our usual spot, then?"
"Ah… Yes." Tintin said, Juliet took his hand and they both walked through the café to the usual spot that they shared their lunches at, a small table in the corner of the café's patio that gave them a little privacy in the groups of people that would eat outside. When they arrived, Snowy slipped through the gates around the tables and went over to them, sitting beside Tintin and waiting patiently for food to be brought to them, causing them to drop scraps for him to chow on. Once they sat down, one of the waitresses came up, requesting their orders. Juliet ordered the daily special, and Tintin ordered the same. Once she had left, Tintin looked over at Juliet concernedly, and she looked back, feigning innocence.
"What?" She asked.
"Are you alright, Juliet?" Tintin asked. Juliet's phony smile disappeared and she looked away.
"I never can hide anything from you, can I?" She asked quietly.
"Years of reading faces." Tintin said with a smirk, it disappeared as Juliet's mood didn't seem to be lightened by it, and he reached over, taking her hand, "Juliet, what's wrong?" Juliet looked at Tintin, and opened her mouth, only to close it a moment later, as if debating whether or not she should tell him. Finally, she spoke.
"It's my father." She said, "I'm really starting to get worried about him." She tightened her grip slightly on Tintin's hand, "I mean, really, really worried."
"Did something happen?" He asked.
"No, but I think something's about to." She said, "Last night, a little while after you called, I went to leave, but my father was still at the museum."
"But I called you at eleven!" Tintin said, surprised at this news.
"I know!" Juliet said, "It worried me, and when I went to check on him, he said everything was fine, but there was something off in the way he spoke. Then, he started telling me about how much I was like my mother, and how much he loved me, and… it really scared me, Tintin. The way he was speaking… It sounded like he was saying his final goodbye before he… well, died."
"You think he's in some kind of trouble?" Tintin asked her.
"He must be!" Juliet said, "I thought we were through with this mob business." She sighed, reaching up and resting her hand in her forehead, "I don't know what to do. If he is in some kind of trouble, I know he won't want me getting involved, but…"
"Juliet, he's your father." Tintin said, "And he's the only one you're going to get. If there's something wrong, you really ought to help him. And I'll help you." Juliet looked up at him and smiled.
"Thank you, Tintin." She said, she reached over and took his other hand, "I'm so lucky to have you."
"On the contrary, I think I'm the lucky one." Tintin said, Juliet giggled.
"That's so cheesy!" She said in a laugh.
"It's true!" Tintin said, "I really do think that." Juliet smiled, looking at him silently, taking in his appearance.
"I never once thought I would go for a man like you." She said as she looked at him, "I never really thought you were my type."
"Nor I, you, to be honest." Tintin said, "I always liked the quiet, polite kind of girl."
Juliet scoffed, "I'm anything but that." She said.
"I know," Tintin said, "And that's what makes you so interesting to me."
"Well, so long as we're talking about types," Juliet said, "I always had a little thing for the bad boys. You know, the ones that liked to cause trouble because they could? I always thought those boys were the adventurous types."
"Well, that isn't necessarily true." Tintin said, "I'm always up for a good adventure, and I don't normally try to cause trouble."
"I know." Juliet said with a smile, "That's why I like hanging around you so much. There's always a little adventure to be found with you."
"Speaking of which," Tintin began, releasing one of her hands to reach into his pocket, "I have a surprise for you." He hid the tickets from her view by putting his hand under the table.
Juliet leaned over, trying to see what he was hiding, "What is it?"
"Sit down." Tintin said, Juliet did as he asked and looked at him expectantly, "Now, tell me, what's your favorite music artist?"
"You know that, Tintin." Juliet said, "It's Frank Sinatra."
"Well, as I'm sure you're aware, he's going on a worldwide tour," Tintin said, pulling out the tickets and showing them to Juliet, "And I just happened to get tickets to see him." Juliet gasped excitedly and snatched the tickets from his hand.
"Tintin, you didn't!" She said, looking at the tickets with wide eyes, she looked up at him, "How did you get a hold of them? I thought that show was sold out!"
"The man who manages the tickets owes me a favor." Tintin said, "So, what do you say? You want to go with me?"
"Are you kidding?!" Juliet asked him, "Of course I'll go with you, Tintin!" She leaned over the table and planted a kiss on his lips, "You have no idea how amazing this is!" She went back to her seat, looking at the tickets with starry eyes, "We're going to see Frank Sinatra!" She let out a girlish squeal, "This is so exciting! Thank you, Tintin!"
Tintin didn't answer. He was still stunned from Juliet's sudden kiss in thanks.
A little ways away, Juliet's manager looked at the couple, and shook her blonde head with a smile as she did.
"Young love." She sighed, she gazed down at her wedding ring, then turned around and went into the café, heading to the kitchen to work on the necessary orders.
Tintin walked with Juliet as they headed to the museum. "Thanks for coming with me, Tintin." She said to him as they neared the front gates, "I don't know if I could face him about this on my own."
"You're welcome." Tintin said. Juliet reached the front gate and pulled out a key that was supposed to be used to open the lock. She put her hand on the gate, and was surprised to see that the lock, while on the gate, was not locked. She pushed it open with a suspicious frown.
"That's not supposed to happen." She said, "Papa said he'd lock up before he left." She and Tintin walked through the gate, heading to the museum's front door, which was also unlocked. Juliet looked back at Tintin worriedly. He reached up and put a hand on her shoulder comfortingly.
"Maybe he fell asleep here." Tintin said, "And forgot to lock up." Juliet nodded in agreement, but she didn't look as though she believed him. They walked through the museum, which seemed just as empty as it had when Juliet left last night. And it was Sunday, so, naturally, the museum would be empty. The first place they went to was Juliet's father's office. Snowy, who had been following the two of them, paused, sniffing the air, then put his nose to the ground, tracking the strange scent that had entered his terrier nostrils. Neither teen really took notice of it as Juliet opened the doors to his office, and found that his desk chair was empty of any occupant. The office looked the same as it did last night. The lamp was even still on. Juliet went over to it and turned it off. When she looked on the desk, she saw one of the account books that her father had been looking through and picked it up, opening up the pages to more recent dates, looking at the numbers written inside. Tintin noticed her perusal of the book and asked, "What is that?"
"It's one of our account books." Juliet said, "We use it to keep track of all the money that comes and goes…" She trailed off, looking at something peculiar.
"What is it?" Tintin asked.
"Look at this." Juliet said, pointing out something specific to him. He looked to see that there were large amounts of money, hundreds of pounds, being taken out every few weeks, "What happened to all that money? We didn't have anything that needed repairs that cost this much. Not even one of the artifacts we bought cost this much. The tapestries were only fifty seven pounds total…" Juliet looked over at him, "Do you think that loan shark is behind this?"
Tintin hummed thoughtfully, "It is a possibility, we shouldn't rule out anything." Juliet nodded and put the book back on the desk.
They suddenly heard the sound of barking, and Tintin and Juliet ran towards the sound of it.
"Snowy, what's wrong?" Tintin called to the little terrier as they went to another room. When they entered, they saw why Snowy had been barking, and Juliet let out a scream.
Laying on the floor, covered in blood and severely wounded, was Juliet's father. Juliet ran to her father, picking up his head, tears falling from her eyes. She let out a broken cry when she saw how bloody his face was. "Papa…!" She patted his cheek, "Papa, wake up…!" Tintin went over to the other side of Mr. Ryder and put his hand to his neck, feeling for a pulse. He thanked God when he felt one.
"Juliet, I'm going to call an ambulance." He said, "Stay here, and try and get him to wake up." Juliet nodded, trying not to burst into tears as she looked at her father.
Tintin kept his arm around Juliet's shoulders as they carried her father's severely injured body on a stretcher into an ambulance. She was still crying as they carefully brought him in. Tintin was surprised when she suddenly dashed away from him towards the medics.
"Is he going to be alright?" She asked, "Please, tell me he's going to be okay!" The two medics glanced at each other, as if silently asking the other what they should say, then turned to her.
"That's for the doctors to tell you, Miss." One said, they closed the door of the ambulance and it took off, siren wailing. Juliet stood there, unsure of what to do, and Tintin came up to her, putting his arm around her shoulders again. She turned into him and started crying into his shoulder. He reached up and started rubbing her back to give her some comfort.
"It's alright, Juliet." He whispered into her ear, "He's going to be okay. It's alright."
Sorry it took so long! I hope you like it!