Beauty and the Beast HSM Style

Chapter 1

The sun shined brightly as it rose over the horizon on a small town in France. The sky brightened from a dark blue with faint tints of pink and orange to a brilliant sky blue shade, with barely any clouds in the sky. A gentle breeze blew and the windmill by a small farm. The front door opened and a young woman exited with a book at hand. Her shoulder length black hair was held back with a headband, nothing else holding it up. Her attire consisted of nothing but the simplest of outfits: a yellow sweater vest with a white shirt underneath along with a knee-length skirt in a plaid pattern consisting of yellow, white, and gold shades. The fabrics seemed to shine around her, as her skin was more of a deep cocoa and her brown eyes blended in perfectly. Her white low heels clicked against the ground faintly. And though they were covered in a bit of soil at the bottom, her eyes merely wandered around the village and the books in her arms close to her chest.

The village was less than a fourth of a mile away from her home, but even from standing at the front of it there was a perfectly good view. The town was that small, and in such a community nothing could seem to take anyone by surprise. It was all too predictable. She began stepping closer to the town, her eyes taking in the scenery all around her upon leaving the small farm. And the closer that she got to the village, the more her mouth began opening as a soft melody escaped her lips.

"Little town

It's a quiet village

Ev'ry day

Like the one before

Little town

Full of little people

Waking up to say..."

And at that instant, windows and doors began bursting open. Numerous townsfolk poked their heads out with wide smiles to greet the day.

"Bonjour!"

"Bonjour!"

"Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour!"

The girl smiled as the narrow roads began filling with people already off to their jobs. Not like it couldn't be seen coming, anyway. Everyone had their own work to do. It was necessary to be off hustling and bustling so early in the day.

"There goes the baker with his tray, like always

The same old bread and rolls to sell

Ev'ry morning just the same

Since the morning that we came

To this poor provincial town"

"Good morning Taylor!"

She turned her head to see the baker passing by, placing his rolls in the window of his shop. She didn't hesitate to step over to him. People in the little French town could be so generous sometimes. Other times...well let's just say some of them were a bit obnoxious.

"Good morning, sir," Taylor replied.

"Where are you off to today?" he asked, knowing she always had something planned. But of course, the answer was obvious.

"The book store. I just finished an amazing story. It's about a beanstalk and an ogre, which all starts when..." she eagerly began to explain. After all, as everyone seemed to know, books were Taylor's life. There was no way she could live without them. But unfortunately, most people did not see things the way she did.

"That's nice," the baker replied with a nod. He walked into his shop and called inside, "Lucile! The baguettes! Hurry up!"

Taylor smiled and rolled her eyes, taking that as her cue to leave. But as she walked on down through the village, numerous people sent some glances her way. In a way Taylor was oblivious to it, but that happened to be sometimes she could lose track of reality so easily. After all, not only was reading exciting and a good escape, but it also could help develop writing skills and enhance one's vocabulary. However it didn't change anyone's opinions of her.

"Look there she goes

That girl is strange, no question

Dazed and distracted, can't you tell?"

"Never part of any crowd

'Cause her head's stuck up on some cloud."

"No denying she's a funny girl, that Tay."

Now people were beginning to mingle and go about the day's usual business. Simple conversation, buying food, cooking breakfast, and of course the typical worries for any people.

"Bonjour."

"Good day."

"How is your fam'ly?"

"Bonjour."

"Good day."

"How is your wife?"

"I need six eggs!"

"That's too expensive!"

Taylor spun around, hearing every little conversation going on as she walked by. There was it predictability once again.

"There must be more than this provincial life"

Upon arriving at the book store, Taylor opened the door and walked in. The bookkeeper offered a friendly smile as he took the book she handed over.

"Ah, Taylor," he greeted.

"Good morning," she replied. "This is the book that I borrowed."

He blinked in surprise. The girl was quick, he'll give her that. "Finished already?"

Taylor nodded and began looking through the shelves for a new one. "I couldn't put it down. Have you gotten anything new?"

He chuckled and placed the book back in its place. "Not since yesterday."

Taylor shrugged, still scanning the shelves. "That's alright. I'll borrow..." her eyes wandered before a minute before glistening as she found the perfect one. She took it off the shelf and handed it right over. "...this one!"

"Again?" he inquired. "But you've read it twice."

"But it's my favorite!" she exclaimed, already getting lost in the imaginary world. "Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise..."

Now perhaps it was all a fantasy. Oddly enough, Taylor was alright with that. She had always tried to find a way to struggle stories with reality, finding a way to slip back and forth between both worlds easily. She was down to earth - when her head wasn't in a book, of course - but there was nothing wrong with finding an escape and find a way to feel better when things got down.

The bookkeeper just chuckled and handed the book back to her. "If you like it all that much, it's yours."

"But sir..." Taylor gasped even as he politely shooed her out.

"I insist," he replied.

"Well thank you. Thank you very much," she gushed as she exited the store. Less than three seconds later the book was opened and she was starting the first page, beginning to lose some contact with reality. Or at least enough to not notice that there were a few men watching her from the window and then acting like they were going about their daily business as soon as she was back outdoors. Then even they began opening their mouths to match the imaginary music.

"Look there she goes, that girl is so peculiar

I wonder if she's feeling well?"

This was where balancing fantasy and reality became critical. Though her eyes were clearly on the page, Taylor seemed to be walking around town just fine. She wasn't bumping into any people walking by nor any walls, not to mention she hadn't tripped over a single banana peel when the garbage wagon passed by. More townsfolk watched her as they began staring in confusion.

"With a dreamy far-off look

And her nose stuck in a book"

"What a puzzle to the rest of us is Tay."

Taylor sat herself down on a fountain, already past the first few decent amount of pages in the book. Though she was the only one there, there happened to be a few birds flying by to use the fountain like their own giant bird bath. And they just so happened to somehow be looking over at the page of the book. That was the one downside to juggling the two worlds: when reality gave even the faintest hint of fantasy, such as now when birds were watching like they were really interested, it was hard to believe it even was reality. Taylor took notice of that and showed the illustration in the book, a good addition to assist the picture being painted in her mind, to the birds.

"Oh, isn't this amazing?

It's my fav'rite part because...you'll see.

Here's where she meets Prince Charming.

But she won't discover that it's him till chapter three."

She stood up from the fountain and began reading once again, feeling even more eager than usual to get to chapter three. But even then, people were watching her. Not just from the streets or as she walked by, but even from inside their own homes.

"Now it's no wonder that her name means 'beauty'

Her looks have got no parallel."

"But behind that fair facade

I'm afraid she's rather odd.

Very diff'rent from the rest of us..."

"She's nothing like the rest of us,

Yes diff'rent from the rest of us is Tay."

Barely even across town now, a blond-haired woman exited a store. The door opened with a ring of the bell overhead and she gently slammed it behind her. Her locks were straight, barely leaving any bangs in her face, and her figure was nothing but curvaceous. A pink shrug rested over her white top and what looked like a sparkly pink skirt fit perfectly around her waist, almost too short even for short-shorts. Of course, with her high heels a few extra inches were added to her height. Her eyes sparkled as she struck a pose.

"Wow, you don't miss a step, Sharpay!" a male of close to the same height exclaimed. Though his short hair seemed stuffed under a blue and white striped newsboy hat, in the right light it was easy to tell that his locks were just as blond as the girl's. And with their eyes identical in shade and their skin tone both a simple white, it was fairly obvious that they were brother and sister. Twins, to be more precise. But even more obvious was who was in control. And while Sharpay's looks were nothing less than flashy, the male's were much more subtle yet stylish. It was a simple white collared t-shirt with a royal blue imprinted "R" in script print in one of the corners, along with navy blue pants and black shoes and a pair of sunglasses hanging from his shirt collar.

"You're the greatest model around," he continued.

Sharpay shrugged with her award-winning pearly smile. "I know."

"And no guy could ever say no to you," he added. "No girl holds a candle to you, either."

"It's true," she replied. Then she grabbed him by the wrist and pointed him in the direction of a passing-by Taylor. "But I've got my eye on that one."

"The crazy man's sister?" he blinked.

"She's the one, Ryan. The one who's butt I'm going to kick," Sharpay said, sure of herself.

Ryan, on the other hand, seemed a bit unsure. "But she's-"

"Assumed to be the best in town?" she folded her arms as she let go of her brother, though her eyes still sending a piercing glare towards Taylor.

"Well, actually-" he started.

"That makes her my competition," she interrupted again. "And I'm gonna take her down."

"Well of course you are," Ryan admitted, being the supportive brother that he was, "but-"

And once again Sharpay didn't give him the chance to continue. Now it was her turn to join in on the song.

"Right from the moment when I met her, saw her

I said she's gorgeous and I snapped.

Here in town there is only she

who actually rivals me.

So I'm making plans to grab and ruin Tay."

Adjusting her top a bit, Sharpay began strutting her way over, following what she called her competition. Ryan followed right behind her, of course. And with his own charming smile and subtle personality it made girls fawn over him.

"Look there they go

Isn't he cute?

Monsieur Ryan!"

And Sharpay appeared all innocent herself even as she passed by some men. Their mouths dropped and they automatically kept their eyes on her.

"Oh she's such a darling!

Be still my heart,

I'm hardly breathing!

She's so pretty, confident, and charming."

They began walking through the crowds as the hustle and bustle began growing stronger. People were moving faster, acting as though they were in more of a rush. It was later now, so there was much more to take care of. There were issues to handle, problems to take care of, more daily conversing to be made.

"Bonjour!"

"Pardon."

"Good day."

"Mais oui!"

"You call this bacon?"

"What lovely grapes!"

"Some cheese?"

"Ten yards!"

"One pound!"

"'Scuse me!"

"I'll get the knife."

"Hey, excuse me..." Sharpay said, trying to keep her little act up. "I'm trying to get through..."

But even that didn't seem to stop all the commotion between the folks.

"This bread-"

"Those fish-"

"It's stale!"

"They smell!"

"Madame's mistaken."

Taylor finally picked her head up from her book and spun around a nearby lamppost, though there was still that faint array of obliviousness to those watching her and Sharpay trying to catch up with her.

"There must be more than this provincial life!"

Sharpay stood in the middle of the crowd, most confidently. She did a hair flip ever so elegantly, making sure her voice was heard so she could get through.

"Just watch, I'm going to make Taylor pay!"

The townsfolk jumped in front of her again, as though they were practically dancing to the song. They watched as Taylor continued on her way, even though Sharpay was finding her own way out of the mob. They noticed Taylor leave the crowd and be on her way, but even then they wouldn't stop singing. As they did so, Sharpay found a way around there to take Taylor by surprise and jump in front of her. And as the morning drew to a close, so did the song of the villagers.

"Look there she goes, a girl who's strange but special.

A most peculiar mad'moiselle.

It's a pity and a sin

She doesn't quite fit in.

'Cause she really is a funny girl,

A beauty but a funny girl,

She really is a funny girl,

That Tay!"

Finally, Taylor's head was brought up completely from the pages. There was no way there'd be any singing around town...especially this early. But as soon as she turned her head to look at everyone behind her, it was as though nothing had happened. They were already back onto their daily business. Maybe she was reading for too long. But then again, there was nothing wrong with extensive reading. She merely shrugged and continued walking, her eyes falling back onto the printed pages.

"Good morning Taylor," Sharpay greeted from seemingly out of nowhere. She had her innocent face on at first, most likely a part of her little act. People have heard about it but they rarely saw it for themselves. Supposedly acting all sweet was just a way to let everyone's guard down so she could then walk all over them. Hilarious, they'd say. And they always did.

"Bonjour, Sharpay," Taylor replied as she walked by. But she didn't get very far, as Sharpay quickly snatched the book from Taylor. After all, just because the girl was mainly looks didn't mean her reflexes were all slow. She cocked an eyebrow as she flipped through the pages. And although the words were simple and her own language, Sharpay was still reading them like they were Chinese.

Taylor sighed and turned to Sharpay. "May I please have my book back?" she asked politely.

"Why would you even waste your time reading this junk?" Sharpay questioned. "It's not even French. Or English, for that matter. It's completely from the opposite side of the galaxy."

"It's easier to understand the words if you were to actually read something once in a while," Taylor stated simply.

"Still seems like garbage to me," Sharpay shrugged, throwing it behind her, causing it to land in a puddle of mud. "And you know Taylor, there really are more things you should be focused on. Like the looks those men give you around here." Which also implied, 'like the looks they should be giving me', though the words had not escaped Sharpay's mouth.

"Why be concerned with looks from them?" Taylor inquired as she scooped up her book from the filth and began brushing some of the mud off of it.

"Oh please, are you that dazed?" she rolled her eyes. Even she could see a group of men watching them right now. "Besides if you're gonna spend all your time doing something useless you might as well move to some book-loving town where they clearly have no lives."

"You mean like her brother?" Ryan inquired as he finally made his way over.

Sharpay started giggling. "Oh yeah. He really thinks he can invent something." she laughed. The guy had looks, Sharpay would admit, but he was pretty much dubbed the crazy man around town.

"Yeah, he is pretty crazy," Ryan chuckled.

"Don't talk about my brother that way," Taylor gasped. "He's not crazy, he's creative. And he's going to become famous for his work one day."

"And you believe that garbage?" Sharpay continued laughing. "I wouldn't be surprised if he blew this town up and got run out by an angry mob."

"He would never do that. He's much smarter than any of you give him credit for," Taylor said firmly, folding her arms. Ok, so maybe there were times when she could be dazed. But that didn't mean she didn't know her own family. Taylor knew her brother had talent and nothing was going to change that, no matter what everyone else saw in him. And she was certain that even though there were times when he could be a bit over his head, he would never do anything dangerous or end up blowing a the town - or their house - up.

And yet, at that moment, a faint explosion escaped the farm. Taylor's eyes widened as she spun in the direction. "Oh no, not again," she sighed. "I've got to get home!" Not even wasting another minute, Taylor grasped her book and ran as far as she could out of the town and back home.

Sharpay and Ryan just continued laughing. It was so priceless how even someone with such brilliance could be so naive at times. It really was quite impossible, actually. But then, Ryan stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow from confusion.

"Wait, who were we singing about, again?" he asked. "And who's name means 'beauty'?"

Sharpay hit her forehead. "People have middle names for a reason, Ry," she informed him. And yet, because Taylor's middle name happened to be Belle, it seemed not to have any effect on her. If anything would, it dealt with her head always in the books. Sharpay folded her arms and raised an eyebrow as she looked at the men nearby. Their eyes had been on Taylor the whole time as she left, and as soon as she was completely out of sight they were back on their daily routines. Sharpay scoffed. They should be watching her like that, not some bookworm.

"Ryan, we are going to find a way to take that freak off the market."

"And how are we gonna do that?" Ryan inquired.

A sly smile came across Sharpay's face. She slowly turned her head to face her brother, as though a lightbulb had just gone off. "Oh, I might I have a faint idea Ryan," she smirked. "As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, I believe I have the perfect plan."


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