Shark and Sinbad tore into the Easter treats when the others got back, like it were Christmas morning instead of a couple of days before Easter. Dennis smiled at this before calling Sagebear over to him.
“Come here, puppy,” he said to her as he bent down to get closer to her height, “Come to Grandpa.” When she approached him, he pulled out her floaties, as well as a new set of dog booties. “Now what do you want to try on first?”
Sagebear appeared to select the booties, given the way she sniffed them before the floaties. With this answer, Dennis then began to slip them onto her feet.
Harwood and Marc watched them alongside Blaise. Once in a while, Marc looked over at Harwood munching on a raw cauliflower, and hoped he didn’t get sick from it.
“This needs more salt,” Harwood remarked casually, almost like he wasn’t eating something that could potentially make him sick.
They were then interrupted by a knock at the door. Because all the men and Sagebear were currently occupied with something, it was Blaise who went to answer it.
Renauld didn’t mind having to send out the invitations all by himself. If anything, he preferred it that way. Anything to get away from his domineering wife.
Holding the envelope in his hand, he waited for the door to open. When it did, he saw an amusing yet heartwarming family dynamic playing out.
It was the sole female that answered him. “Yeah? What can I do ya for?”
With a clearing of his throat, Renauld stated his business. “I suppose you and your family are cordially invited to a…”
When he began talking, the others stopped what they were doing to check it out. The family dog came out to smell his sandaled feet. Still, Renauld kept his air of stoicism as he handed the envelope to them.
“…To an Easter celebration tomorrow afternoon. I hope all of you are prepared for many festive hours of feasting and fun. And you are also allowed to bring your…” He looked down at the fat cur still sniffing his toes. “Dog.”
The woman smiled brightly. “We get to bring the grandbaby? All right!”
The Builder made their way into the prison cell area, holding a teapot of an infusion of very bitter liquids.
Just like before, Annette was still going through the motions of pouring tea for her dolls. Ox-Head drank his own tea, apparently continuing to wet himself.
The Builder just shook their head, then clicked their tongue. It was at least amusing to them to see two others suffer in such a way.
Realizing she was out of tea, Annette set her teapot down at the cell bars. “My daughter wants more tea! Can you give us more tea?”
Annette had deteriorated rapidly in the time she’d been in there. Her short hair was a mess, and there were dried tears running down her cheeks. A very plastered-on smile was on her lips.
Seeing her so broken put a grin on The Builder’s face. When they grabbed the empty teapot, they replaced it with the full one.
“There you are, sweetie,” they forced out in a sickening sweet tone. Ox-Head was too scared to even say anything to them.
When she went back to serving the dolls the fake tea, The Builder went back upstairs to work on making Molotov cocktails.
The next day, after all of them got spiffed up for a party, the family went to Catarina’s palace to find it was quite crowded already.
Several buffets and make your own pancake stations were set up, which the family immediately went for.
No sooner had they gotten their plates, Sagebear was then suddenly swarmed by a group of children. All of them were quick to pet her, hug her, or feed her bits of pancake.
When Sinbad caught sight of them, he scowled and grimaced at the thought of so many kids surrounding the poor dog. Shark just put a hand on his shoulder to get his attention.
“Sinbad, they’re just kids,” he said over the droning crowd. “It isn’t like they’re sucking her soul out or anything. See, look. She loves the attention.”
Despite this attempt at reassurance, Sinbad just scoffed. “All well and good for her. But the more I see a bunch of little brats, the more I don’t want them.” He turned to look at Shark. “I just want you and some more dogs. That’s cool, right?”
Shark smiled and nodded, before planting a kiss on Sinbad’s cheek. They then went to find a table to sit at.
“Funny,” Harwood said as he looked out over the crowd. “This reminds me of the last time I went to a Candlemas feast. Except back then someone got shot over apparently making a pancake wrong.”
Marc just seemed to ignore him, still confused over why he even came along. “I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t even celebrate Easter. Mama and her family never did either.”
He helped himself to a couple of pancakes anyway. As he did, he watched the woman said to be Catarina reaching the top of the staircase.
Catarina seemed to be projecting her wealth with the way she dressed. Her dress was quite elaborate, far more so than what anyone else was wearing. When she was visible to all, she began to speak.
“Greetings to you all,” she declared in a grandiose fashion. “It is a most joyous occasion to celebrate this fine Easter with you all-”
Before she could continue, however, something fell on her from the ceiling. When she came to, she discovered to her horror that it was a dead elderly woman.
At once, the attendees were in an uproar to get out of the palace. Dropping their plates, Harwood then grabbed Marc and went off in search of the others.
“It’s not getting shot at Candlemas,” Harwood shouted over the riot, “but exciting enough.”