In the Land of Love and Gold

The Storm

Belle walked in with her head held high. Gaston was behind her father and the king sat down in the chair. "Please sit Belle." He commanded and Belle walked over to the window and sat down on the hidey couch there. "Gaston has something he would like to say to you." Belle was stiff as he approached. He kneeled in front of her and took her hands rather roughly. Belle tensed in his grip. Gaston looked up at her with pleading eyes.

"Belle, darling, my future wife," He emphasized on the wife part and Belle wanted to cry. She resisted pulling her hands out of his and boiling them in a vat of scalding water. "I am sorry if anything I did earlier hurt you. I didn't hear you when you said 'no'. I was simply glad you were alright after what happened earlier. That horrible man could have hurt you and then I don't know what I would have done." Belle stared at him in shock and couldn't believe her father believe this. "Do you accept my apology?" Belle stood up and wrenched her hands out of his grasp.

"No Gaston, now I suggest you leave before I have you escorted out for lying to an authority figure." His face scrunched up in an ugly way as he got up. He fixed his shirt to hide his anger.

"Belle." Her father said, but she silenced him with a glare. Gaston nodded his head and left the drawing room, slamming the door. Her father stood up and walked over to her. "Belle the man was trying to apologize." She shook her head.

"It was all lies. Rumple would never hurt me." She cried. She sat down again and looked out the window. Thunder rolled in the distance and Belle prayed for rain.

"Rumple?" He sounded curious.

"What do you think he'll do when he finds out, Papa?" Belle looked over with sad eyes and Maurice crouched down to take one of her hands in his.

"I'm not sure, ma petite." He looked up at her, meeting her sorrowful gaze. The windows rattled as more thunder broke the sky.

"Don't make me marry him, Papa. I do not love him." She pleaded. "I'd rather die than marry him!" Silent tears rolled down her face. "You're the king! Change the rules!" She knew she sounded pathetic, but she would not live a loveless life knowing that if she married Gaston she was just a plaything. "Is it so much to ask for that I want someone to look at me the way you used to look at mom?" Maurice looked at her sadly. The silence stretched between them.

"You have four months. I will change the laws. Four months to find someone you love and it will be your choice. Gaston or your choice." Belle chuckled softly through the tears. She reached forward and hugged her father.

"Thank you, Papa." She mumbled into his neck. They stayed that way until someone rapped on the door. Maurice let her go as Jefferson, the hatter, came in. He stopped when he saw Belle.

"I'm sorry ma'am I need the king for a moment." Belle nodded and her papa gave her one last look before leaving with Jefferson. He gave a wide grin and shut the door. Belle chuckled. She looked out the window and could see small raindrops gather on the panes.

xXx

Belle tossed and turned restlessly. Rain pounded on the window. Lightning and thunder fought for attention in the stormy sky. Belle was covered in sweat as invisible hands covered her body and violated her. She cried out causing her to awaken from the dream. She shot up and held the blanket close to her chest. She looked around nervously as her hair stuck up at odd angles. The room lit up as lightning struck the castle. No one was here. She calmed down a bit, but got out of bed. She ghosted out of her room and made absolutely no noise as she made her way to the kitchen. She heard the shuffling of small feet and stopped. She looked out into the dark for the culprit. As she got closer the perpetrator jumped out with a yowl. Belle took a step back as Lucifer stalked out of the shadows.

"Lucifer." She scolded. The black and white cat looked up with the smuggest look a cat could have. Belle continued on her way to the kitchen. Eventually she got there without any hassle. She grabbed out some biscuits and a teacup. She put the teapot on the kindling fire. She put some tea leaves in the cup as she heard more feet shuffles. "Lucifer. Come out here." She turned around, but wasn't met with a black and white face. Instead her legs were bombarded with a small body. Belle looked down and Mabel looked up at her with teary eyes and leaking nose. Belle reached down and picked up the small child. "Mabel?" She rocked her back and forth softly. "It's okay, what's wrong honey?" She lowered her voice to a whisper. She was still crying, but it wasn't loud. Belle was grateful.

"Storm scary." As she finished thunder rolled and lightning flashed. She screamed and dug deeper into Belle's chest as if she could get close enough to be consumed by her and held safe next to her heart. The tea began to whistle and she hurried to take the pot off the fire. It stopped whistling and she set it on the counter. Next to it she set Mabel down with some resistance.

"Mabel its okay, you're fine. A biscuit will help, won't it?" Mabel wiped at her face and Belle grabbed a rag. She carefully cleaned the girl's face. "Shh, shh, here darling." She handed Mabel a biscuit and she began to nibble on the edges. Belle poured herself a cup of tea and poured in cream. She waited for it to steep. She grabbed herself a biscuit and began to mimic Mabel's actions by slowly eating the cookie. "Did you get cookies often before coming here?" She shook her head and crumb fell on her night dress. Belle felt her heart seize for a moment. "Do you want to go see your papa?" Belle finished her cookie and took a sip of the tea. It hurt her tongue, but she resisted the urge to wince. Mabel shook her head. "No? Where do you want to go?" She pointed to Belle and put her hand on Belle's chest. Belle held the small hand in her own and nodded. "Alright, after tea we can go to bed. Does that sound good?" The toddler nodded and grabbed another cookie hesitantly. Thunder clapped again and Mabel jumped. She hit her head on the cabinet and began to cry again. Belle set her tea down and grabbed the child. She shushed the small girl. Soon she was quiet and eating her cookie again. Belle left the unfinished teacup and decided to go back to bed. Mabel clutched to Belle, dropping to cookie, but unbothered by the loss. Belle took the stairs quickly, hurried to get to her room. Mabel was nearly asleep by the time Belle got to her bed. Thunder and lightning continued to duel in the night sky as Belle pulled back the sheets and laying Mabel in them. Belle curled herself around her, feeling cold. As her breathing evened out Mabel was asleep and Belle willed herself to stay up. Mabel mumbled in her sleep and moved closer to Belle. As Belle wrapped her arms around Mabel the last bit of fight in her fled and she was asleep before her arms stopped moving.


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