Night was upon the castle and the Beast was deep in preparation for the, supposedly what one could call a 'date'. Now in a situation like this, the male would probably be doing a number of things: checking his appearance, practicing what he was going to say, freaking out, making sure he had everything, trying to get his mother to stop bothering him about getting there late, forgetting to put pants on…. But the Beast wasn't doing any of that. He was in the bathtub. Foams of bubbles surrounded his entire lower body, though with the coat hanger being the expert stylist it was it was checking over every part of the Beast to make sure he was in perfect condition. The Beast's fur was soaking wet, he was being scrubbed, and he was getting soap and bubbles everywhere. It was surprising he hadn't gotten any in his eyes yet...hey why was the coat hook scrubbing him so hard? Ugh, he was probably going to get a concussion if the hook scrubbed his head any harder. That brush was more painful than it looked. And what...slightly grown to almost grown person figure still took a bath anyway? Especially just before a fancy dinner? It was just downright degrading. The Beast groaned, which was followed by a moan as the hanger nearly pulled on his hair - fur rather - just taking the brush away from him.
With a stool near the bathtub, Zeke happily hopped onto it as he entered the West Wing to check on the master. He looked so excited. And it wasn't just that this could be their chance to be human again. The night itself was supposed to be just plain wonderful. As a matter of fact, the entire castle staff was thrilled just to be helping prepare for this night, for the moment that was sure to happen. Jack and Gabriella were in the kitchen working on preparing the food and getting everything set up on the table from plates to napkins to a candlelit centerpiece. Jason was practically going back and forth between everything and everyone to see how the preparation was going. Tiara was looking everything over where it needed to be and was making sure the entire dining area was spotless. Martha was in the East Wing helping Taylor get ready and picking out the perfect outfit. And here was Zeke, making sure his master was in perfect condition.
"Tonight is the night!" Zeke exclaimed upon facing the Beast. "How are you feeling?"
At that instant, the coat rack picked up a bucket of water and poured it all over the Beast to wash the soap and such off of him. The now loosely curled fur nearly looked flat and straight after that big splash, and the fur on his head fell over his eyes. "Wet," he muttered as-a-matter-of-factly, moving said fur out of his eyes.
"Excellent!" Zeke exclaimed. Wait a minute, wet wasn't good. Perhaps he finally let the excitement get the better of him. "Well, master...you will dry off."
The Beast shook his head, mostly in an attempt to try and dry off at least that much of him before he got attacked with more water. "I don't think I can do this. Maybe it's too soon..."
"But we don't have any time to waste! We can't put it off any longer!" Zeke gasped. He pointed towards the cased rose, which was still in the wilting process. At this point about a fourth of it, maybe less, was left on the stem. And it was only going to continue faster from this point; the remaining petals most likely couldn't hold out much longer. "You can do this master!" Zeke encouraged, turning back to the wet, hairy Beast. "You must be bold. And daring!"
"Right, right..." the Beast nodded trying to get himself to believe he could be those things. "Bold." He sat up a little straighter in the tub. "Daring." Then got got on all fours and completely shook his body dry - for the most part anyway - and now had his slightly curly turned fur sticking up like a Mohawk on his back and on his stomach.
Zeke's eyes snapped shut, not so he couldn't see the Beast walk out of the tub and over to a full-length mirror as the coat hanger dried him off, but because he had been splashed very much by the Beast. He was soaking wet and the fire on his candles were out. He shook his arms to try and dry them off a little before opening his eyes again, trying to ignore the stinging in them. "There will be music," he started as he lit two of his three candles, "and romantic candle light," he blew on his third candle so it lit up again, then polished himself proudly, "provided by yours truly of course." More so then candle light than the music. But Zeke liked to think that he had made a decent contribution to the music. Who else would have thought to have a violin played or to possibly have Gabriella singing in the background? Zeke followed the Beast over to the mirror as the coat rack wrapped the towel around the mostly dry furry body and began coming to try and find the perfect hair style for the master. "And when the time is right," Zeke finished as he jumped onto a nearby chair, "you will confess your love to her!"
The Beast raised an eyebrow, looking at himself in the mirror while his personal hair stylist went to pick up another comb and some scissors. "Right. I con...I confe...I confess..." he tried saying it to himself to try and believe it. Come on, he wasn't a coward. He could totally do this. If the Beast could bring himself to say it then surely he will have a much better chance of mounting to it. "I con..." Well so much for that idea. "No, no I can't," he shook his head and hung it low.
"But you care for the girl, don't you?" Zeke asked with concern. And surely even he could predict the Beast's answer.
The master flinched momentarily as the snipping and the brushing began. "More than anything..." he managed to say as he stood up straight.
"Well then you have to tell her," Zeke said simply. He watched the cutting continued until the coat hanger stopped and examined its work. Zeke smiled widely, not even seeing the Beast's reaction - or his look. But Zeke was sure it looked nothing less of marvelous. And it had to, of course. "Voila!" he exclaimed. "Oh master you look so..." he opened his eyes and finally took in his master's appearance. His fur was dry now so it was back to tight and curly but around the bearded area, all the fur was done in braids and came together at the very end with a tight bow. Even larger braids were all around at the bottom of his face area, the bangs on his head were completely straight and in front of his eyes, and to top it off the fur on top of his head was tied into a high pony tail courtesy of a big fat bow. "So..." Zeke could not just find the right words to describe the circus-esque appearance.
"Stupid," the Beast finished, obviously completely hating it.
"Well...that word works too," Zeke said sheepishly. He couldn't even begin to start with what words was coming to his mind. He rubbed his head and looked at the master uneasily. "I'm sure we can fix it. Maybe we could...take a little more off the top?"
The coat rack thought it over for a minute before cutting the high ponytail off with the big bow, before moving in to start snipping and such again.
"See master?" Zeke asked. "The healing process is working!"
"It's bad fur issue, not some food issue," the Beast muttered.
"Well it can still be fixed," Zeke said. "Come now, put a happy face on! Where's that smile master? After we finish your hair you can put on that wonderful outfit." He gasped and covered his mouth. "Oh mon Dieu! I am starting to sound like one of the girls!"
The coat rack stopped with the Beast's hair only for a moment to let out its silent giggles. Yes, one of the numerous enchanted objects in the castle that never spoke.
But Zeke saw from the corner of his eye that reaction. "Alright, can we get back to work?" he sighed, causing the coat hanger to continue fixing the Beast's fur at once.
A loud throat clearing was heard and Jason entered the room ever so innocently. He'd been doing that once every ten minutes, but from the sound of his throat it sounded like he was here for a reason reason this time. He smiled widely and gestured towards the door, his other arm behind his back. "Your lady awaits."
Martha watched from behind the doors leading towards the East Wing as Taylor descended down that half of the staircase. It was back in the main hallway; said staircase was in the center and went up a bit towards a window, then departed in two separate directions, most likely where each of the two was coming from. She stopped at the foot of the split staircase, knowing not to walk down the remaining steps until the Beast was by her side.
From the other end of the staircase the Beast faintly saw Taylor step down. Zeke was on the banister beside him, urging the Beast to move down. The Beast looked at his candelabra wing-man before clearing his throat and attempting to straighten his jacket. He stepped down slowly and almost dignified, stopping just in front of Taylor. He couldn't help but smile - no not one of the awkward smiles that Zeke and Gabriella had urged him to smile way back when - a really nice smile as he took in her beauty. He hair was the same length and only had a headband in it as usual but even then it still looked so nice. Her ballgown highlighted her figure perfectly; from the neck area to the shoulders to just above the chest area was pure white which not only reflected nicely off her skin tone, but additionally looked like it fit her loosely yet perfectly. From there down to her waist was the purple - perhaps eggplant - shade of her dress and meeting up with the very voluming part of the ballgown; it reached down to her feet so they were practically covered and the entire area and had a very faint purple and white pattern across it.
Taylor's smile didn't look any less brighter than the Beast's did. She took in every bit of his appearance and he looked quite nice himself. His white jacket with a black outline really stood out with his fur color, and above the black shirt around him was a fancy looking poofy tie. His white pants which matched the same shade as his jacket went down to about his ankles, as opposed to the ripped pants he often wore which just stopped wherever on his legs. Though no shoes of any sort accompanied his hind legs, he still seemed to be standing perfectly upright on them and having the simplest time walking. Finally, a bit of tightly curled fur which would most likely resemble a part of his hair was tied back behind him with a tiny bow.
"Tale as old as time"
As the two took their bow and curtsy to each other neither of them noticed that not too far away from the steps on one of the carts Gabriella and Donny were watching them, Gabriella adding a faint yet very distinctly tune to what would be their date. Donny watched the two in awe as Gabriella just looked at them sweetly yet expectantly, knowing what a night this was going to be.
"True as it can be"
The Beast offered his arm to Taylor and she laced her hand through it, lifting her gown with her free hand slightly not to trip over it as she walked. The Beast led her down the steps, only to nearly be caught off guard by a very hyper Boi running around the stairs. Luckily, and even he didn't know how, but the Beast had anticipated it. In a case like that, what most likely would have happened was either he would have tripped on Boi or Boi would end up jumping on the master and showing his affection like all little dogs did to their human friends. But the Beast had only stopped short a step or so ahead of Taylor and let Boi run on by, barking and wagging his tail. Once the stairway was clear, he finished leading her down the staircase and through the hallway towards the dining room.
"Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
The pair sat at the long dining table, each at the opposite ends. Taylor was quietly sipping her soup while Zeke watched the Beast ever so closely on his end. At long last, the guy was using the spoon! Sort of, at least. He was holding it with two of his fingers carefully and using his other hand to push his tie in so nothing would spill on it. After all he didn't want to look like a pig again. Zeke bit his tongue as he watched the master purse his lips and stick his mouth out just enough to reach the spoon and quietly slurp the soup.
"Just a little change"
With the violin as the instrument of choice, the coat rack stepped over and began playing it for the two. Entranced by the music, Taylor moved herself out of her chair and went across the table towards the Beast. He looked at her hesitantly and she held out her hands to take his...paws. To take his paws. Not hands, paws. The Beast accepted, though moving slowly out of his chair. Even as Taylor led him away from the table she didn't look too sure of herself either. But something was telling her that they weren't going to get anywhere merely by eating dinner. The wonderful music was not about to be wasted. And something about going where they were, it just felt right.
"Small to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the Beast."
The two entered the very clean, very beautiful, very spacious ballroom. Numerous windows covered the walls and in between each windows were strong yet carefully placed pillars, including by the entrance to the room, which only seemed to add to its elegance. The floor was clean enough, courtesy of all the servants' hard work, to see reflections in it. It was perfectly smooth, perhaps something related to that of marble, so nearly anything that could make a sound against the smooth surface could be heard somehow. The entire room was circular shaped, and hanging right in the middle of the ballroom was a glamorous sparkling chandelier which provided much light via candles, though there was bound to be assistance from Zeke and at least one other candelabra.
"Ever just the same"
In the middle of the ballroom, Taylor and the Beast faced each other. Both appeared a tad on the nervous side, but Taylor seemed to be ready to make the first move. It could be an adjustment thing or it could be because that's who she was. But in this new environment, the new situation, it was near impossible to tell. She started by holding hers and the Beast's arms out straight and placing her hand in his paw. The Beast gulped when Taylor wasn't looking. They weren't about to dance, were they? He hadn't danced in ages. Who was he kidding, the last time he read was long after the last time he danced; it was easier to learn to read again than it probably would be to dance again. But Taylor didn't seem to notice. Or mind, for that matter. She placed his other paw around her waist; comparing the two sizes, his paw could fit around her waist and hold it just perfectly. Taylor looked up at the Beast and, though he wouldn't meet her gaze at first, she still knew exactly what to do. She took the lead and started the dance with the Beast following her step for step, even if he didn't realize it.
"Ever a surprise"
Zeke and Jason were of course in the room and they exchanged grins. Zeke chuckled faintly and nudged Jason. Normally this would be the point where Jason would say something stupid or funny, or just be completely lost; but he knew exactly what was going on and there was no way he was going to speak. The boys looked back over to Taylor and the Beast. They began dancing the waltz and Taylor rested her hand on the Beast's arm. He was watching every move carefully, not saying a word. Neither of them even needed to speak. They were just swaying together enjoying the music. And what made it even more enjoyable was that the Beast's lit up face was sheer proof that he was remembering how to dance. He knew exactly what to do.
"Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise"
The Beast signaled that he was ready to take the lead as he twirled Taylor under his arm and they continued dancing around. Taylor felt her head tilt back just slightly, and she looked up at the ceiling. The dome shape was perfect, not to mention highlighted by the painting on it. The clouds were circular and full, and though she couldn't exactly see them, hiding in those clouds were mini cupids.
"Tale as old as time"
The dancing continued and the Beast was now in full lead. He had now mastered nearly every step of the waltz nearly perfectly. What could he say, he remembered things so much better with Taylor around. That was the reason he got through a whole five pages of that book in thirty minutes. Ok, maybe it was a little longer than that but he wasn't paying attention. Right now he was completely focused on their movements and moving to the faint sound of the music.
"Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong"
After focusing so much on the dancing itself and the space around them, they were finally able to let go of all that attention and not only look at each other, but meet each other in the eyes.
"Certain as the sun"
For the first time since they probably met, neither of them could take their eyes off each other - or away from each others. Their movement was slowing and Taylor felt her eyes getting slightly heavy. Whether she wasn't even thinking anything of it or it was just an involuntary reaction, she rested her head on the Beast's shoulder. Well, sort of. It was more near his chest due to the height difference. The Beast continued moving, but his head nearly jerked back in surprised and luckily the rest of his body didn't jerk back either. He was processing in his head what was happening, resulting in a confused look on his face. When he finally realized what was going on his whole expression just lit up. He smiled widely and looked up, actually seeing Jason and Zeke. The clock and candelabra were silently cheering; Jason was waving his arms in the air like it was some kind of slow music type concert and Zeke was just trying his best to imitate a thumbs up. The Beast didn't even care that the two of them were there, or that Gabriella and Donny were still watching from the doorway on the cart. Gabriella had a soft smile as she watched, not once stopping the song that was evidently filling the background. Donny, on the other hand, had a mixed look of joy and disgust. The Beast didn't even care who was watching, as long as absolutely nothing disrupted this moment. It was working! He had finally won her over!
Gabriella's voice became more vibrant just watching not only the sight, but the absolute delight on the master's face.
"Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast"
The lights on the chandelier dimmed and Zeke turned down the lights on his candles as well. Going to the other candelabra in the room which was providing a bit of an extra source of light, he shushed it quietly and the flames on its waxy candles died down as well, making the ballroom near dark as Taylor and the Beast departed to finish their dance, waltzing around the room one last time.
"Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme"
Spinning Taylor one final time under his arm before slipping it in her arm again, the Beast then led her out of the ballroom and through the doors leading to the balcony attached to it outside. Gabriella and Donny were now the only ones remaining watching the sight. Donny's eyelids were drooping now, which was either from the music or just plain natural boredom he felt from it all. Gabriella's voice softened as the last bit of music faded.
"Beauty and the Beast."
Gabriella turned to her brother with a smile and saw him yawning. Of course, she should have expected as much. But still, he just looked so cute. Donny actually thought he could handle this mushy stuff and staying up past his bedtime. "You'd better get back to the cupboard, Donny. You should have been in bed hours ago."
And even through his tiredness Donny put up the same slight argument he always did, though much more quietly this time. "But I'm not sleepy."
"Yes you are," Gabriella giggled.
"No I'm not," he shook his head.
Gabriella rolled her eyes but didn't once take the smile off her face. She just gave him a peck on the cheek, which had Donny nearly jump back and wake up completely. Of course, most brothers hated it when their sisters do that. Donny even stuck his tongue out for emphasis. "Good night, bro."
Well he knew he wanted to avoid getting another kiss from Gabriella. Donny hopped down from the cart and made his way out of the ballroom and back to the kitchen. But before he left what he couldn't help but do was just glance back into the ballroom and through the windows or glass doors as the Beast and Taylor walked outside hand in hand and rested by the edge of the balcony under the starry night sky.