“I am scared. Belle could you please tell her what happened to me, I can't.” Adam affirmed, finally ready to share his true identity with the only other person he considered it important to tell- his daughter.
“Mama?” Irena asked, her brow furrowed in confusion as to the reason that this creature was being so cryptic.
Belle sighed, before beginning the story:
“Once there was a prince but his selfishness brought upon him a severe punishment. An enchantress turned him into a monster that would inspire fear and thus he was shunned, until 10 years later when a young woman came to the castle where he lived and fell in love with him.” Belle paused for breath, when she was interrupted.
“The enchantment ended right?” Irena asked, hoping that this story was a happy one.
“Yes. He was turned into a handsome young man, no longer selfish. The girl was made a princess when she married her prince. A few years passed and they were gifted with a beautiful daughter. The enchantress returned and exacted the same punishment in order that his daughter would learn to value the qualities of people over their appearances.” Belle said, trying to hide her tears from her daughter.
“Mama, is this true?”
“Yes darling it is.” Belle sighed.
“That means that you are the princess.” Irena said as her eyes lit up in triumph.
Belle smiled in response.
A sudden realisation came to Irena, “I am Adam’s child and he is my father.”
“There is no Adam. I am a beast.” Adam declared in defeat.
“You are not. Mama told me stories of the kindness that my father displayed. He was unselfish. Please allow me to return tomorrow, but I must leave now.” Irena firmly stated.
Irena left the room overwhelmed.
“She can't stand to be near me.” Adam said sadly, as he sank onto the ground in defeat.
“She is confused Adam. She did not know the fate that had befell her father. This will take time.” Belle said, somewhat reassuring her husband.
“She will not see me as anything else but a monster.” Adam said, a feeling of déjà vu overcoming him as he remembered that he had said the same thing when Belle first came to the castle, all those years ago.
“Give her a chance. She promised to return tomorrow.” Belle protested.
The next day, Irena returned to the West Wing as she had promised.
“Father? Are you here?”
“Yes...” Adam said hesitantly, hiding in the shadows.
“Please let me see you. I am not afraid, I was overwhelmed yesterday.” Irena said, somewhat apologising for her actions the other day.
“Irena, please. I am frightened that you will not want to see me again or break the spell.”
“I will try to break the spell no matter what. Please, all I want is my father, nothing more.”
“I cannot be the father that you deserve.” Adam said, his heart breaking as he told his daughter this.
“You can try- mama tells me many stories about you. I loved the one where you gave her the library, it is a real symbol of your love for her.” Irena declared, persisting in her attempts to convince her father to re-join her life.
“Did, did she tell you the whole story?” Adam asked after a short pause.
“What whole story?”
“Come, sit beside me. I shall tell you the full story.” Adam insisted, guiding his daughter to the bed so that she could sit next to him.
Irena moves closer to Adam, who sits on the bed that has been partially torn.
Adam took a deep breath to steady his nerves and began: “It was snowing outside and your mother had come into this room, trying to find out why I was being secretive. I was still in the form of the beast at the time and there was a rose that would count the days until I was doomed to remain a beast forever. I saw her looking at the rose, but I was angry. I shouted at her to leave the room but she decided to leave the castle altogether. It was becoming dark, and I was concerned that she would be attacked by the wolves who roam the area. I races out of the castle, only to find the wolves attacking her. I began to lash out against the wolves, successfully fighting them off, however I sustained an injury. I became unconscious. When I woke up, your mother was sitting before me, trying to clean the wound that the wolves had given me. I resisted at first, but eventually allowed her to take care of me.”
“Father, how does this end up with you making the library her gift?” Irena asked, somewhat confused.
“Patience, Irena. Well, the next day your mother was walking Phillipe in the snow, playing and having fun. It was in that moment that I realised that I loved her. I wanted to do something to show my affection, so I asked Lumiere what I should do. He said it should be something that sparks her interest, and then proceeded to tell me about the fact that she enjoyed reading.
I had to wait for her to come in from the cold, and when she did, I led her to the doors of the library. I told her it was a surprise and led her into the room. She was astounded by the sheer volume of books in the library.
Our friendship blossomed from that point on. You know the rest.” Adam finished.
“Father that was a beautiful story. Mama didn't really mention the fact that she helped you go back to the castle. You are still as kind as that, if only you would believe it.” Irena said, wishing that she could convince her father that he still possessed kindness despite his form.
“I think I may start to believe it now that I know I have your acceptance of me as your father.” Adam said, attempting to smile.
Irena wondered, “What more is needed?”
“You must see past my appearance to my qualities.”
Unsure as to how to do that, Irena asked, “How am I to do that?”
“I do not know.”
“Father, do you have to prove yourself too?” Irena asked, as a thought struck her.
“Maybe... I am unsure.”
“Maybe you could be more of a part of my life now that I know of your existence.” Irena insisted.
“How would you propose I do that? I can't even leave my room without frightening anyone.” Adam demanded.
“I have an idea. Tell Lumiere that you wish to venture outside and also tell him to make sure that the halls are empty so you may travel throughout the castle with freedom.”
“That may work. Maybe I could join you and your mother in the library one day?”
“That would be nice father. I shall tell mother, she will be so pleased!”
“It may not be for a few days but I shall speak with Lumiere about it.” Adam warned, not wanting his daughter to become too hopeful.
“Thank you father. I have to go now. I will come again tomorrow if I have no lessons to go to; however Cogsworth is bound to make some excuse for a lesson.” Irena said, rolling her eyes, as she stood up to leave.
Adam laughed at that, knowing the reputation that his friend had amongst the people in the castle.
“I shall look forward to your visit.”
Before she left, Irena embraced her father for the first time in her life. Unused to this action, Adam felt uncomfortable but eventually returned the embrace.
Once his daughter was gone, Adam wept for the kindness that had been shown to him by his daughter. He hoped that she would be able to stop the enchantment.
Later that evening, Belle came to see Adam in the West Wing.
“Adam?” Belle asked as she opened the door and entered the room that Adam occupied.
“Yes, I am here. Where else would I be?” Adam said dully.
“Oh, Adam. Irena told me of her visit today. She seemed quite happy to visit you and to continue doing so. She also told me of her plan to get you out of this dark and dingy room. I am honestly glad that she plans to do this, it is not good to be in here for so long.” Belle said, somewhat desperate to soothe her husband out of his mood.
“My Belle. Our daughter is so beautiful and kind. She also embraced me before she left.” Adam said, seeing that his wife was distressed upon his behalf.
Smiling, Belle said “Yes, she is both beautiful and kind. Why is it so important that she embraced you?”
“It means that she has accepted me for who I am, besides that I haven't been able to embrace anyone for so long without fear of hurting them.” Adam replied.
“I tried to. You wouldn't let me.” Belle reminded him, somewhat annoyed with this fact as she had missed being able to embrace her husband in so long.
“I know. I am sorry. If you wish to embrace me, I shall not pull away.” Adam reassured, moving closer to Belle in order to embrace her.
“I am being selfish. I wish my husband was by my side all the time. It is so hard. Adam? Are you crying?” Belle asked, curious about the sudden emotion that she was seeing in Adam as she had not seen such emotion in him in 10 years.
Somewhat embarrassed, Adam replied, “No. It is so hard to not be with you, but I swear I will return to you in my human form.”
“Adam, just be there for me- I don't mind what form it is in. I love you no matter what.”
“I know. I am tired of living like this though.” Adam said with a sigh, as he went to sit on his bed.
Belle smiled, for once able to see the man that her husband had been before the enchantment.
“I am too, but she will undo it. I know she will.” Belle said as she embraced her husband.