Chapter 1: The Flower Power Festival
Daphne was sitting cross-legged on the floor of a greenhouse slowly breathing in the scents from the flowers and listening to the silence, her face a mask of peace and contentment. A few feet away Shaggy sat likewise carefully studying her features, Daphne had asked him to help her control her tempter, privately so had the rest of the gang.
"OK Daph, now imagine something that would annoy you in everyday life, not a mystery – as there you channel your anger to good effect – but a day-to-day thing," Shaggy said quietly.
"Not sure I want to, this is just so nice," Daphne replied her voice was so soft and gentle to his ears. To Daphne this was all a bit wishy-washy but a lot less embarrassing than going to anger management classes but she was determined to get her temper under control, whatever it takes she thought I'll even do those damn classes if I have to.
"Like, emmm, ok like what if Velma put all your clothes on a boil wash by mistake?" he knew that would get a reaction, but even he was surprised by the change in her body tone and face so he quickly moved to the next part.
"Right, now imagine all that anger filling your lungs as you breathe in, now breathe out and let the anger go," after a minute he realised that Daphne was hyperventilating "That was a bad example wasn't it?" he said and offered her a paper bag to breathe into, Daphne nodded as her breathing slowed.
"Phew, yes it was. But I see what you are getting at. I know Velma would never intentionally do that so I was surprised by how angry I got."
"Now all we have to do is find ways of positively channelling your anger. No one says you shouldn't get mad; it's just what you do when you are mad. Over the years of us being on cases and stuff me and Scoob have developed a good sense of when something is wrong. Likewise you need to develop a sense on when your anger is rising so you can deal with it, before you pass out from hyperventilating." he smiled.
"That's true Shag." Daphne smiled back in return, she had always seen Shaggy as a good and loyal friend, just not the sharpest tool in the box. Academically that was true, but now she was beginning to realise that he was actually quite wise in many ways, Velma had alluded to this on a number of occasions but she had never quite understood what she had meant until now. Daphne had to admit that she was developing quite a soft spot for Shaggy, just like Velma had said she would. "I think they want the greenhouse house back" she said noticing some people waiting outside. Shaggy got up and held out his hand to Daphne so he could help her up. "Thanks Shag" she said taking his hand. As Velma says, he can be quite the gentleman at times, just don't ask him to make you a 'I don't mind, surprise me' dinner she though. There again nobody had ever since Velma made that mistake, Daphne smiled at the memory, they had been unsure whether to call a doctor or the fire department for her.
"Hi Shaggy, sorry bro but you'll need to find another place, we need to turn this into the orchid house," A man wearing a black beret with brown collar-length hair and dressed in gardening overalls stuck his head through the door.
"Like no problem Wolfie man, thanks for the loan of the greenhouse," said Shaggy shaking the man's hand as he and Daphne left the greenhouse.
"Any time bro."
"Who's he?" whispered Daphne as they walked away.
"Wolfie Smith, the head gardener. He grows my all the Naga jolokia and Dorset Naga peppers I use for cooking in one of the hot-houses here. D'ya want to try one?"
"No thanks Shag, I saw the effect they had on Velma, I've never seen anyone go that colour before."
"Like don't remind me, I still feel guilty about that."
"Well, you did surprise her. Say, speaking of the small orange one have you noticed she's been acting a bit odd lately?" said Daphne
"Sneaking off and stuff like that?" Daphne nodded "Like now you mention it yeah," said Shaggy.
"I'm a bit worried about her Shaggy. She can be a bit odd at times but nothing like this. Could you keep an eye out for her, just in case she's in some kind of trouble?"
"We're on it. I'll see what Scoob thinks. I know Fred has been keeping a close eye on her as well."
"That's good," said Daphne "I'm meeting Velma for a heavy carb workout this afternoon so I'll see if I can find out what she's up to."
"You girls have really taken this exercise thing to heart."
"Well you got to look after yourself."
"True but don't overdo it."
"As if we would."
"Another ace workout," said Daphne licking the sugar and cream off her fingers.
"I think the idea is we're supposed to be burning carbs but this is more civilised, and a lot less sweaty." Velma picked up the last piece of cake from her plate and popped it into her mouth. She could see people exercising in the gym opposite. "Hey Daph, how are things with you and Shaggy going?" said Velma when she had finished eating.
"Good, I think I'm making progress."
"And how are you getting on with Shaggy as your teacher?"
"Actually I'm getting quite a soft spot for him just like you said I would."
Velma raised an eyebrow at the expression on Daphne's face "Ah amour du jour …" she said but was cut off by Daphne gently prodding her in the ribs.
"Velma! I can't believe I fell for that" Velma started to giggle and was soon joined by Daphne "Honestly Velma I can't take you anywhere" said Daphne shaking her head. With that they put a tip on the table and walked out the shop waving to the staff behind the counter.
"Sorry Daph what I meant to say was how are the sessions with Shaggy going?" replied Velma trying to make her giggles go away.
"Good, I think I'm making progress."
"That's great Daph."
Daphne paused and thought for a second "You know Velma, Shaggy does make me feel calm. There's something about him that's soothing," Velma nodded in agreement.
"I know Daph, it's hard to panic when he's there, well unless he's panicking that is. So you're not doing anything too sappy?"
"No, it sounded a bit daft at first but it does make sense," Daphne paused for a second whatever it takes she thought.
"Whatever it takes for what? Sorry you were whispering," Daphne looked around then moved in close to Velma.
"Velms I know you are really close to Fred," she spoke in soft tones.
"Yes Daph," replied Velma, her face taking on a quizzical expression.
"What are his feelings towards me at the moment?"
"Well emm, he's not mad at you anymore if that's what you mean, I guess you'd know that as we all still hang out and work together."
"I'm going to try and win Fred back."
"Oh," said Velma quietly looking briefly away, Daphne noticed that Velma was looking quite uncomfortable all of a sudden.
"Don't worry Velma, I'll take things slowly. I want to get my temper under control first, I'll even be patient if he's seeing some else in the meantime. Well I need to be off now, see you later." Daphne trotted off towards the car park leaving Velma alone with her thoughts.
"For everyone's sake I hope you can be patient," whispered Velma to herself "especially mine." Velma closed her eyes and gave an involuntary shudder as memories of being caught up in the brief but vicious cross-fire when Daphne and Fred had finally split up came to the front of her mind. That had been bad enough, but now? Velma's phone buzzed, she looked at it and her heart skipped a beat, it was a reminder for her date tonight. Not even the shadow of Daphne's intentions could diminish her growing excitement.
The next day saw the final preparation for the festival. The orchid house was having the final modifications made all of which were overseen by Harold Dinkley, Velma's father. Velma and Daphne were there partly to help, partly in the hope of getting a free lunch. Harold was adjusting the environmental controls of a large enclosure which was to hold the star exhibit.
"My mother and father are going to be guest judges for this. They brought the centrepiece of the show – a rare fresh-water orchid." Daphne could see the pride in Velma's face "They discovered it two years ago while on holiday."
"I remember I've never seen you so excited," said Daphne.
"You should have seen us if you thought Velma was excited, it's not every day that you make a discovery like that. It's a real privilege to study the flower; you need special licence to keep it as it has some very unusual properties. Our lab is only one of only five in the country who can keep the flower and collecting from wild is forbidden," said Harold.
"That flower must be high on any collector's wish list," said Daphne, Velma nodded.
"We have had many offers of money from private collector, some offers large enough that Marilyn and I could retire tomorrow, but we have respectfully declined all the offers," replied Harold proudly.
Indeed later that day Harold and Marilyn were approached by two people one man and one woman, purporting to be agents of an anonymous wealthy collector and offered them a six-figure sum, in cash, for the orchid. Harold and Marilyn's decline of the offer was taken with good grace, the man said that the collector would understand and that it was good to see that there were still people of principle in the world. They departed with a courteous shake of hands. Only when they were out of earshot did the two collectors speak.
"That wasn't unexpected; some suitable encouragement will change their minds," said the man.
"Time to move to plan B," the woman took out her cell-phone and made a terse call "Pick up the orange blossom as we discussed and take it to the safe place."
"Tomorrow we'll have something much more valuable to offer them," said the man with a humourless laugh as they headed for the car park.
Chapter 2: One Dinkley with fries to go please
The next day saw blue skies with a gentle breeze, perfect weather for the first day of the festival and the crowds flocked in. Daphne was sitting with Shaggy on a low wall overlooking the main show area people watching while Scooby was lying on the softest area of grass he could find soaking up some sun. Finally Daphne confided with Shaggy about her plan to win Fred back and that she was thinking of enlisting Velma to help.
"I'm not sure Velma would want to get involved, you know how hurt she got when you two split-up. I don't think she wants to go there again."
Daphne sighed "I know Shag I know, I mentioned it to her yesterday and I thought she was going to be ill. None of us want to go through that again."
"That's for sure. Are you sure that's a good idea though? I mean Fred's a great guy he's always looked out for you but…"
"What do you mean Shag?"
"Well why Fred?"
"Emm, I…" Daphne paused, Shaggy had a point why Fred indeed? True he would, no she reminded herself he had put his life in danger helping her and if there was ever a crisis Fred would be on the top of the list of people she'd want alongside her. Everyone had always said they were perfect together, suited for each other, everyone that was except... her and Fred, had they even stopped to ask themselves those questions? Shaggy saw the expression on her face he reached out and stroked Daphne's upper arm and shoulder.
"Like I didn't mean to upset you I just don't want you to go through that again." Least of all he wanted to find Velma hiding under his bed again to upset to even speak.
"No Shag, you just got me thinking. You're cleverer the Velma at times."
"Like I am?" he gave a big cheesy grin.
"Well not cleverer but, but some other word, smarter, no emmm…"
"Yes hungrier, no that's not what I'm saying!" Daphne laughed giving him a playful push.
"Hey, I'm delicate and fragile," said Shaggy pushing back.
"Oh yeah we'll see about that…" soon the pair were pushing, prodding and generally engaged in some light-hearted horse-play. After a few minutes they had to calm down, they flopped on the ground and rested against each other while they caught their breath and the laughter subsided. Shaggy missed this kind of fun, when they were younger he and Velma used to muck about like this all the time, but too many damaged and broken glasses plus the subsequent roasting from her parents put paid to that. Now she paid for her own glasses she did indulge when she was in the mood. Rough-housing with Daphne was more fun than with Velma simply because she tended to play games for keeps, which was good when the game was 'keep Shaggy out of harm's way' but with Daphne it had been fun for the sake of fun.
"Like I've gotta get ready for my cooking demo," said Shaggy looking at his watch. He stood up and offered Daphne his hand and helped her up. He was acutely aware of her long slender fingers holding onto his hand.
"Thanks for that. Well have fun then, I've got to go get a birthday present for a friend."
"Like, em see you later."
"Yeah, good, see you soon." Finally their hands parted.
Shaggy had just finished all the preparations for his cooking demonstration and was spending the last few minutes walking about near the stage mentally rehearsing what he was to do when he noticed a group of people, a woman and two men, acting suspiciously. They seemed to be looking for some something or someone but trying not to be noticed which is what caught his attention in the first place. He and Scooby crept closer to see what was going on while they were talking one of the event marshals.
"… no Harold and Marilyn aren't here at the moment, I could pass a message…"
"We need to leave soon, is their daughter here? We would rather speak with her as it concerns a private family matter," replied the woman firmly. The tone of her voice and the group's mannerism set all kinds of alarm bells ringing in Shaggy's head, he knew Velma's family very well and they didn't come over as being connected with any part of the Dinkley clan.
"I, I think she's having lunch in the 60's diner," replied the marshal trying to be helpful pointing in its general direction.
"Thank you," replied the woman and one of the men headed for the diner, the other walked quickly to the car park.
Would Norville Rogers please go to the cooking demonstration immediately –Shaggy cursed the PA announcer's timing.
"Scooby, you follow them and look after Velma, I'll call for back-up," he whispered to Scooby who needed no further instruction on that front. As Shaggy headed back to the demonstration he took out his cell-phone and made a call "Fred, this is important…"
Velma was sitting in a corner booth at the 60's style diner taking advantage of her parents being judges in getting a free lunch before meeting them at the orchid house. Thinking about Shaggy's cooking demonstration had made her hungry. She was slightly distracted by the sound of a car door slamming nearby but quickly resumed staring out of the window. She was quietly munching her way through a chilli-dog when a voice called her name. Velma looked up to see three people, a tall heavy-set lady in a business suit with a sour pinched-in face which made Velma think she'd been eating lemons who was accompanied by two burly men, both with similar suits and haircuts.
"Are you Velma Dinkley? The daughter of a Harold and Marilyn Dinkley?" asked the woman in a forthright tone of voice.
"Yes and yes," replied Velma. At that one of the men sat next to her, pressing her up against the wall, the other man sat facing her and the woman sat in the only available seat diagonally opposite Velma. Before she could react the man next to her pulled her tightly to him, the man opposite grabbed both her hands and held them together in front of her.
"Don't speak just stay still and listen," muttered the man next to Velma in low threatening tones.
The woman produced a wide roll of clear plastic tape and quickly wrapped multiple turns round Velma's wrists then hands. She then gave the man sitting next to Velma several of strips of tape which he pressed firmly over and around Velma's mouth. To finish the job he placed a strip of tape running from under her chin to each of her cheeks. Velma looked at her hands, the tape was almost invisible. To make the point the woman held up a compact mirror to show Velma her face, it just looked like her mouth was closed. She quietly tried to open her mouth, if she could call out for help she had a chance but her jaw wouldn't budge, no one would notice the danger she was in. To make matters worse none of the gang knew she was here, Shaggy was doing his cooking demonstration, Daphne had gone into town and Fred was meeting friends at the Country Club. The woman gave her a hard unforgiving stare then spoke.
"We have a proposition to put to your parents." Velma listened in mounting panic as the woman spoke "Let me explain, we are going to go for a very long drive together, in a few days' time you'll send your parents a video telling them that you went for a ride with some friends who would like to swap you for the orchid. You can tell your parents that if they bring the orchid as instructed then a few days after we've picked it up and are safely away we'll tell them where they'll be able to find you," she nodded to the man holding Velma and he began to move out of his seat dragging a terrified Velma with him, her eyes widened as the reality of what was about to happen began to hit home. Velma tried to make as much noise through her gag as possible, hoping to attract attention but the diner was deserted. All she got was a couple of hard slaps round the face for her trouble from the woman which nearly sent her glasses flying.
"Our car's just outside so don't bother unless you want some more, time to hit the road sweetie..."
The woman paused as she became aware of a jaw holding onto her forearm, the grip was gentle, but firm enough to ensure that the recipient was fully aware of all the teeth that were available to the jaw's owner. In addition it was delivered in such a way that made it all too obvious that should the owner of said jaw wish, they could and would apply as much force as they wanted. A low menacing growl caused the two men to pause. Velma pulled her hands away from the man opposite and removed the tape from her mouth as best she could.
"Let me introduce you to Scooby Doo, he's 100 pounds of Great Dane and very protective of his friends." Velma enunciated her words with as much menace as her trembling voice could muster, Scooby gave another threatening growl and increased the pressure of his bite so as to emphasise the point.
The next few seconds were a blur for Velma. All of a sudden a pair of arms descended either side of her, under her arms then pulled her up and over the seat, the next she realised she was being held by Fred, he turned his back to the booth so as to shield her with his body. Before any of the crooks could react to what was going it was all over as police officers swarmed around them and lead them away. Fred gently removed the remaining tape from her face and hands keeping eye contact all the time he did so. There were already angry red marks coming up on her face where she had been slapped.
"You're safe now. OK Velms?" he asked trying to mask the fear in his voice.
Velma shook her head "Freddie," she replied quietly as the tears came. Fred held her tightly and gently rocked her; she wasn't the only one who had been scared he could see Scooby shudder with relief.
"Good job Scooby," he whispered.
With a free hand he sent a text message to Shaggy that Velma was safe then he turned his full attention to Velma.
Daphne drove through the gates of the Country Club just as a police wagon left. Obviously something had happened as it looked like a few people had been arrested. Having parked, Daphne strolled around the festival, stopping off at a couple of stalls on the way to her next session with Shaggy. She got wind that the something that had happened took place in or near the 60's diner, as she approached she saw nothing untoward odd she thought there's no real commotion going on - boring. Daphne went into the strangely empty diner and almost fainted from shock. There was Velma, contentedly snuggled up on Fred's lap, resting her head on his chest. He was holding her so tenderly and lovingly, gently stroking her back and hair, making quiet soothing noises as he did so. Velma's face, though flushed, was one of peace and contentment; she was looking down and stroking Scooby's head with one hand and holding tightly onto Fred with the other. Velma looked up at Fred, her face aglow, she reached up and gave him a tender kiss on the lips, saying something too soft for Daphne to hear, but it caused Fred to give a gentle smile as he gazed at Velma, he reached down and gently caressed her face, she met his gaze and she smiled back. The way he looked at her, the way he held her, the way he touched her all consumed Daphne with jealousy, but the way Velma let Fred look at, hold and touch her was the last straw; her blood began to boil and felt the red mist descend. "You Judas Velma!" shrieked Daphne as she stormed towards her.