Chapter 8

Author’s Note: This is written with great respect, love and gratitude for the talents of Robert Carlyle, Emilie de Ravin, and everyone involved in of Once Upon A Time. I do not own these characters, nor do I own the songs mentioned in this story.
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Epilogue

Some things to remember before reading this chapter:

    Regina lies a lot.
    Izzy-B’s memories of events in high school are fake memories, because of course, Belle/Izzy-B was 30 years old when the curses began.
    For those who might be worrying about what those fake memories are, I adore Belle, so I will not go too far with things, even in a fake memory.
    Finally, there will be a fun treat for the readers at the end of the chapter.

Regina’s eyes gleam poisonous joy, as she views the security camera feed. It is almost orgasmic for her to see Kieron roughly force himself on Izzy-B French. She muses, of course, she would rather have watched him take her completely; bringing that ‘French girl’ to her knees, however the fear and pain that he did cause and the ultimate destruction of Gold and Izzy-B’s relationship is an adequate consolation prize. She cackles, “Gold will never trust her after this…and I can thoroughly destroy her later.”

Randall stands in cold shock, looking at the photograph that appears to show Izzy-B and his ‘son’, Kieron, cavorting shamelessly in an alley. He feels unknown hands ripping at his heart. Kieron betraying him is right in character for his son, but Izzy-B?…his Belle?…how could she? He questions if he has misjudged her, just as he had Desdemona. Had Izzy-B’s declarations of not wanting to rush into sex and her disdain for cheaters all been a pretense…a game? Though they have only had one date, it still feels like a betrayal for Belle to be romping in an alley with his son, of all people. Was he too blinded by his schoolboy crush on Izzy-B to see the truth in Regina’s warning?

His mind suddenly snaps into gear as he thinks, “Wait! Regina…truth? Something’s off here.” Remembering that only two people in town, he and Regina, have passwords to download the security camera feed, he begins frantically typing to access the feed. He spots a warning that the network is receiving a command to erase the memory from the security camera. He quickly overrides the command after several lightning fast keystrokes.

Randall mutters, “What is it that you don’t want me to see, Regina?”

After a flurry of keystrokes, Randall begins to download the camera’s memory to his laptop, makes a duplicate hidden copy of the file in the network and manipulates the security network to flash a notice ‘Deletion Completed’ to lull Regina into believing that she succeeded in covering her tracks. While the download progresses, he stares at the photograph of Kieron and Izzy-B, feeling his guts twist.

Randall suddenly hears the bell on the front shop door clang loudly, followed by the slamming of the door. From the front, he hears Izzy-B’s voice, “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”

He is too lost in his confusion to note the agitation in her voice, rather focusing on the words. He thinks, “She’s apologizing? Does that mean she was screwing around with my son, while we’re…we’re…whatever we are?”

Izzy-B storms into the backroom, nearly tearing down the divider curtain in the process. With a fierce expression on her face, she growls, “I’m sorry! I tried…I tried to be nice. Please tell me he’s adopted! Please tell me that’s not how you taught him to treat women!”

Gaping at her trying to catch up with her tirade, Randall asks, “What exactly are you apologizing for?”

Pacing back and forth like a caged animal, she says, “I’m sorry, but the creep had it coming. I know he’s your son. I tried to avoid a confrontation. Then he tried to…and I’m sorry…I broke his nose…and possibly his hand.”

Thinking aloud, Randall says, “What did Kieron try to do?”, and then for the first time, he gets a look at Izzy-B’s physical state; the most of back of her burgundy blouse is snagged and soiled, her hair is disheveled, her eyes are on the verge of tears, and there is a noticeable purplish bruise contrasting her fair skin running from her collarbone across her neck. The realization hits like a ball of fire, as Randall thinks, “I’ll kill the little bastard!” The love that he has tried for decades to feel for his ‘son’ is replaced by blind hatred.

He watches her, as she continues to pace. He recalls Belle’s altercation with Dr. Whale the night before. He thinks, “She dropped Whale like a sack of potatoes, without so much as breaking a nail. How had Kieron, who’s no great athlete, gotten the drop on a woman that regularly trains in self defense?”

Her pacing slows as Izzy-B says, “Don’t worry I’m not pressing charges. Just keep him the Hell away from me!”

Dumbfounded, Randall asks, “Why in the Hell aren’t you pressing charges?!?! The little bastard should be locked up!”

She looks at him as though he has asked a ludicrous question and replies, “Because he’s your son!”

He stares at her, as the pieces of a puzzle come together. Guilt suddenly wracks him as he realizes, that Kieron was able to get the advantage, because she held back because Kieron is his ‘son’. Randall feels as though he could vomit, knowing that his relationship with Belle put her in danger. He is so caught up in the agonizing thought, that he does not readily notice her looking at his laptop.

Then he sees Izzy-B glare at him with repulsion, and hisses through gritted teeth, “What’s that?!? Why do you have this?!? Did the two of you plan…”

Randall surmises what she is thinking. She looks as though she is debating between hitting him and running for her life. Pain and betrayal is written all over her face as she steps back and turns to rush out.

Randall exclaims, “No! Belle, I didn’t! I would never! It was in my email.”

She looks at him stunned, “Who would send you that?!?”

He explains, “Regina is the only person, besides me, who has a password to the security cameras in town. It was her.”

Izzy-B turns to the laptop and stares, “Why would she…”, and then seeing the photograph in a different context she feels ill. In an anguished tone, she cries, “That looks like we’re…like I’m…oh God! She set it up to happen! She wanted him to take me…and she was going to use it to make it look like I betrayed you!” Grabbing the desk as she starts to shake, the vileness of Regina’s plot makes her want to wretch.

Helplessly, he tries to comfort her, “Belle, you’re going to be alright now. Her plan didn’t work. I’ll do whatever I can for you.

Seemingly not hearing his words, she growls, “I’ll rip her apart!” and starts for the door.

“Belle no.”, Randall says, while reaching to grab her. The murderous look in her eyes, makes him pull back, instead saying, “You can’t go after her directly. You’ll end up in jail or worse. Please Belle, I don’t want to lose you!”

Exasperated, she asks, “What do you expect me to do?…roll over and wait for her next attack?”

With an ominous conviction, he says, “If anybody…anybody tries to hurt you again, they won’t live to tell the tale. I’ll make sure of it…but for now, you have to press charges against Kieron.”

She looks at him astonished, “Charges? Regina is the Mayor. If she set this up, she can manage to sweep it under the rug. It’s pretty clear that she can ruin my life if she wants. I’m not going back to…”, and she chokes out the bitter words, “…being called Crazy Izzy-B.”

With determination, Randall says, “I won’t let that happen.”

With her mood transitioning from angry to depressed, Izzy-B says sullenly, “Randall, I just want to go home, take a long shower and forget this ever happened.”

Adamantly, he says, “No, Belle, taking a shower will destroy evidence.”

She looks at him, as though he did indeed sprout a second head.

In a reasoned tone, he asks, “How are you going to feel if you let Kieron off the hook, and he hurts someone else? Belle, I’ve got a mountain of guilt on my shoulders from enabling him for too long. Trust me, you don’t want to feel that kind of guilt.”

Tiredly, she asks, “So do we go to the station now?”

Randall answers, “Not yet, I have some evidence of my own to add a nail in his coffin.”

She looks at him bewildered.

He clarifies, “I downloaded the security camera feed. I don’t want to leave, until I can burn a few DVD’s of it for safe keeping.”

She questions, warily, “So it’s on your computer right now? Have you watched it?”

He shakes his head, “No, it was finishing downloading, when you arrived. You don’t have watch it, but I think I should to verify that the file is intact.”

Uneasily she says, “I’m probably going to have to see it at some point. Regina might push the issue, just to see me squirm. The first time I see it, I’d rather it be just us.”

Randall nods solemnly, they walk back to the laptop, and he activates the video player. He cues the video up to the point when Kieron steps out from the alley. Stoically, they watch as Kieron confronts Izzy-B on the sidewalk. Muffled voices of discord can be heard. Izzy-B flinches, as she hears herself scream, while being pulled into the alley and slammed against the brick wall. Randall watches Izzy-B in the alley frozen in fear, as the attack progresses. He resolves that she should never have another moment of fear. His wanker of a ‘son’ did this to her, and he wishes Kieron had never been born. He feels his stomach recoil, as Kieron begins to shove Izzy-B’s skirt up. Izzy-B’s body clenches in disgust, and she feels dizzy and flushed from the sight of him touching her.

As they watch Izzy-B knee and stomp Kieron into submission, Randall kisses her head and says, “You’re Wonder Woman, you know that?” She begins to cry, and he holds her stroking her back, feeling the rough texture of her silk blouse that is extremely snagged from the abrasion of the brick wall.

Arriving at the station, Randall asks Izzy-B to allow him to go in first, because he wants to have a chat with his son. Randall Gold strolls into the police station, as though he owns the place. Graham fumes assuming that Gold is there to bail out his good-for-nothing son again. Kieron smirks, expecting his father to give him a disapproving look, then write out a check.

Graham glares at him saying, “Izzy-B French was attacked by your son and bail hasn’t been set yet.”

Kieron interjects, “Oh please, the tart was begging for it! We just should’ve done it in private, so Dudley Do-Right wouldn’t have gotten his knickers in a bunch.”

Doing his best to maintain a blank expression, Mr. Gold says, “Do tell, Kieron. Are you saying that you and Miss French were having a grand o’ time, and the Sheriff broke it up?”

Leaning against the bars arrogantly, “Well, dad, I know you had her first, but what was I to do? She came begging me for a bit of excitement. I’m not opposed to sharing if you want.”

Graham losing his temper yells, “Why don’t you shut it!”

With a placid tone, Mr. Gold says, “I’d really like to consider my son’s generous offer.”

Graham looks appalled by Mr. Gold.

Mr. Gold says, “Kieron, that offer to share Miss French doesn’t quite work for me, but I do have a counter offer: First, I won’t be paying any bail. Second, you are completely financially cut off from this point on. And third, and most important, if you ever come near Miss French or try to harm her in any way again, I will burn down that houseboat of yours that I paid for.” Then the murderous flash in his eyes seemed to add, “…with you in it!

Graham stands dumbfounded by the turn of events.

Kieron yells angrily, “Dad, you seriously can’t be choosing that who..”

Before Kieron can finish, Mr. Gold’s hand grips around his throat, as he says, “As a matter of fact, I am choosing that lovely lady. She is a first rate human being and has more quality in her little pinkie than you do in your…oh never mind.”

Upon that, Izzy-B enters saying, “Why thank you, Randall.”, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.

Kieron seethes in his cell, while Graham looks at the scene, trying to figure out it this is all some sort of bizarre dream brought on by eating cold mushroom pizza before bed. Returning to reality, Graham looks at the large bruise across Izzy-B’s neck and collarbone and in a worried tone asks, “Are you okay?”

A woman’s voice sounds tauntingly behind them, “Of course she’s okay. The young Mr. Gold made it quite clear Miss French asked him for a little excitement. She likes it rough; there’s no shame in admitting it, Miss French.”

Izzy-B responds angrily to Regina, “That’s not what happened! He attacked me!”

Regina replies callously, “Well dear, it’s your word against his, and you do have a reputation for not being choosy about who you spread your legs for.”

Randall interjects in a low threatening tone, “Regina don’t you dare talk to her like that!”

Glaring at Regina, Izzy-B growls, “Those were rumors you started, you lying witch!”

With mock offense, placing her hand on her chest, Regina says condescendingly, “Me? I don’t know what your talking about. Too bad a certain someone isn’t able to chat with us now. Oh the things he had to say after your little escapade.”

Randall sees a shroud of primal pain cover Izzy-B’s being and steps in front of Izzy-B and growls, “Enough, Regina!”

Regina continues the taunting, “Miss French, how about you tell us about that night? I’ve always wondered, are you a screamer?”, then switching to a dreamy tone, “I imagine you are, especially with that stud’s hands all over you, while he was inside you.” She smirks adding, “Too bad you couldn’t keep him interested for more than one night, but the story lives on.”

Izzy-B rushes Regina, “Go to Hell; where you belong!!!”

Before the fist aimed at Regina’s face can make contact, Graham grabs Izzy-B’s arm, pinning it behind her back, warning “Don’t or I will arrest you!”

Izzy-B gives her friend an incredulous glare.

Randall tries to soothe Izzy-B saying, “Please let me handle this. I don’t want you in trouble.”

Regina says in an ‘all business’ tone, “Graham release young Mr. Gold. I’m not wasting the town’s funds on a he-said-she-said case.”

Graham responds, “Yes, Madame Mayor.” and begins to walk to the cell holding Kieron, who is smirking at his imminent release, however Randall blocks Graham.

Coyly Randall says, “Madame Mayor, you seem to have forgotten that there’s a security camera in that alley. It can prove the veracity of Miss French’s accusation.”

Regina sighs, “Sadly, that camera hasn’t been working properly. There was no recording from that alley during the time of the alleged attack.”

With a self satisfied smirk, Randall says, “Actually there is. Right here.” and he pulls a DVD case from inside his suit coat pocket.

Regina is aghast at the turn of events, but then after a moment, composes herself and says, “Let’s watch it then.”, smirking acidically at Izzy-B.

Izzy-B stares stone faced at the screen as the video of her attack plays, and Randall holds her hand. When the video finishes, Randall says, “Sheriff, you should be aware that there are several copies of this video, hidden in various places, should someone demand that it turn up missing.”

Offended by his insinuation about her friend, Izzy-B defends, “Hey, that’s not fair! Graham would never…” She stops short when she observes the expression of guilt on Graham’s face.

Izzy-B suddenly looks as though someone has punched her.

Regina says dismissively, “That video could be interpreted many ways. I still see no need to waste the town’s time and money.”

Randall responds in a low threatening tone, “Madame Mayor, if this assault on Miss French is not prosecuted with vigor and every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, I will have the State’s Attorney of Maine here to investigate.”

Swallowing hard, Regina says, “Very well then.”, turns on her heel and leaves. As she leaves, Regina thinks that though she did not get the result she intended, she is gratified to have driven a wedge between Izzy-B and Graham and made Gold’s relationship with is ‘son’ more volatile.

After Graham photographs Izzy-B’s bruising and damaged clothes, enters them into evidence and files the formal paperwork, Randall and Izzy-B leave. Randall drives Izzy-B home, through a thick silence.

As they pull into her driveway, Randall asks in a voice full of concern, “Do you want to talk?”

Tiredly, Izzy-B replies, “No, I just want to be alone.” and gets out of the car without looking at Randall.

On his drive home, Randall hears Belle’s words from earlier that evening repeating in his head,
“Please tell me that’s not how you taught him to treat women!
Please tell me that’s not how you taught him to treat women!
Please tell me that’s not how you taught him to treat women!…”

Randall grapples with the questions that have plagued him for years. How had he raised such a mean spirited, cruel son? Though Randall himself is known as the Monster of Storybrooke, he still has standards; lines one should never cross. When had it all gone wrong? He had reminded himself everyday that he loved his son and tried to show that love, even though it felt strangely unnatural. Upon entering his house, he can visualize Belle standing at the mantle, looking heavenly in her poppy dress. He recalls Belle’s reaction to finding out Kieron is his son. Though it is clear now that Belle knew of Kieron and his beastly reputation, she still gave Randall a chance. She took a chance on Randall, and for a few days, he was happy. With guilt and anger seething through his marrow, Randall thinks, “That magnificent woman took a chance on me, and now she’s hurting because of my son…my son, who I failed to raise properly.”

He looks at the photographs of Kieron, thinking about his childhood and every moment since, trying to determine the exact moment Kieron became a horrible human being. His face contorts in anguish as a realization takes root; he hates his son with every fiber of his being. He knows that it is unthinkable for a father to hate his child, yet he does. With a swipe of his hand, all the photographs of Kieron crash to the floor, as a cacophony of shattered glass and broken metal which vibrates the oak floor. He crumples into a chair sobbing over his failure as a parent and the pain it has wrought.

The next day, Friday, Izzy-B wears a red turtleneck sweater and longer skirt to hide her bruises and avoid questions. She does her utmost to avoid talking to anyone, unless absolutely necessary. She eats her breakfast at home, drives to work instead of walking and eats her lunch in her car. With the exception of clients, suppliers and colleagues, cell phone calls go ignored. She has two messages from Randall and one from Graham, however she does not listen to any of them. At the end of the work day, she drives home, makes herself a can of Chicken and Dumpling soup, and hunkers down to spend the weekend alone, deciding she is better off that way. She decides to not bother calling Graham to cancel their Sunday sparring match, figuring that his unanswered message should give him a hint, and reasoning, why should she do the courtesy of calling him, when he betrayed her?

Monday comes and goes with hardly anyone seeing Izzy-B, much less having a friendly conversation with her. Tuesday morning, October 18, 2011 (five days before Emma’s arrival), Randall stews in his shop. He has not heard from Izzy-B since Thursday night, and it feels like a knife twisting in his gut. He has made some discrete inquiries and learned that Izzy-B had shut everyone out, which is apparently her standard way of dealing with hurt. While Randall is somewhat relieved that he is not being singled out for banishment, he worries about her isolating herself and decides something needs to be done.

By Tuesday, Izzy-B’s bruise has lightened enough that she can abandon the turtleneck sweaters, in favor of a purple silk blouse and some makeup to even out her skin tone. In the afternoon, as Izzy-B retrieves her egg salad sandwich from the break-room refrigerator, intending to eat in her car again, Jeremy leans against the door frame and asks, “Did Gold do something to you?”

Izzy-B looks up at him with her brow furrowed, as it takes a moment to register that he is talking about Randall. Upon the realization, she says adamantly, “No, Randall didn’t do anything to me. He would never hurt me.” She is not sure why she said that he would not hurt her or even if she completely believes it, yet she wants to believe.

His inquiry continues, “Did Ruby do something?”

“No.”, she answers.

Doggedly, he asks, “Mary Margret?”

She shakes her head, tiring of the interrogation.

“Graham?”, he sees her body tense, and says, “What the Hell did Graham do to get you in such a state?”

Trying to end the conversation, she says, “Look, I’m just going through some stuff right now, and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Double checking he asks, “So you’re not upset with Gold?”

With a headache beginning behind her eye, she responds irritably, “No, I told you already.”

Jeremy queries, “Have you talked to him lately?”

She sighs, “I’m not good company right now.”

In a pensive tone, “Does Gold know you’re not upset with him?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“You guess? Izzy-B, what are you doing?!?! If you’ve cut the man out, like the rest of us, he’s going to assume you’re pissed at him.”

“What’s it matter to you?”, she asks defiantly.

“Come on, Izzy-B, before whatever happened…well happened, you were the happiest I’ve ever seen you. Do you really want to screw this up?”

She growls at his audacity, “I said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’, leave me alone!”

The electronic chime sounds in the front office, and Clarice can be heard to say, “Hello, Mr. Gold.”

Jeremy chides, “Go talk to him.” Faced with the immovable force that is Izzy-B’s stubbornness, Jeremy walks to the front office, and says, “Good afternoon, Mr. Gold. Izzy-B is hiding in the break-room like a coward. Please come this way.”

Izzy-B fumes hearing Jeremy and wishes there was another exit to the break-room.

Getting straight to the point upon seeing Izzy-B’s rigid body language, Randall says, “Belle, I’m taking you to lunch.”

Choosing to ignore that it was not a question, rather a statement, Izzy-B says, “I’m loaded down with work, I really can’t.”

“What a load of crap!”, interjects Jeremy before Randall can respond, and then turning to Randall, “Mr. Gold take her out of here. Do with her what you will…I don’t care, just don’t bring her back until she’s in a better mood!”

Indignant, Izzy-B gripes, “Hey, where do you get off butting in like that?!?”

Pleased to have an ally in this endeavor, Randall decides to let Jeremy and Belle hash it out a bit.

Jeremy retorts, “Izzy-B, you can either go with him, or you and I can continue the conversation, we were having when he arrived, and I will not let up. Your choice: him or me?”

Randall smirks thinking, “Well played, Mr. Andrews.”, as he observes Izzy-B’s resolve falter.

In Randall’s car, Izzy-B stares mindlessly out the window, until she notices that they have passed the pawn shop. She turns to him in confusion, “I thought we were having lunch at your shop.”

Smugly he says, “No, my dear, there is some place else I have in mind for you today.”

Driving into the forest and down a couple of winding roads, Randall pulls into the driveway to his cabin. On the porch are chairs and a table with a picnic basket on it. Once seated at the table, Randall says, “You seem to want some space. Well, here it is, all the space you could want.”

Izzy-B ponders the irony that a week ago, she would have given anything for an outing like this. After several minutes of eating in silence and watching the occasional deer traverse their view, Izzy-B begins, “I feel like I’ve aged a hundred years in the last week. I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding you. I’m not good company right now. I’m not good with talking about my feelings when things get heavy. I prefer the bottle it up, let it fester then break things approach.”

He responds sarcastically, “That sounds healthy. Should I be concerned about the state of my rental?”

With a hint of a smile, she responds, “No, I just broke a bunch of dishes Sunday in lieu of my regular sparring session with Graham. I’ve still got some of the pieces left, if you want to add them to your collection of damaged dishware.”

Randall queries, “So you haven’t seen Graham?”

Shaking her head adamantly, she says, “No, it completely blindsided me that he would sell me out if Regina told him to. I know she has a hold on him, but I always thought, if something serious happened that he’d have my back. I feel so foolish for trusting him.”

Trying to comfort her, Randall says, “He’s your friend. It’s natural that you would trust him.”

She shakes her head and says, bitterly, “Some friend.”

Pondering for a moment, he says, “You said you feel like you’ve aged a hundred years in the last week. Our first date was a week ago. Is there something I should know?”

She responds, “No, it has nothing to do with you. Thursday night was the topper on an already hard week. You’ve been the one bright spot this week.”

Though he is pleased to be considered her ‘bright spot’, Randall is concerned and asks, “Belle, what’s going on?”

She explains, “It’s not common knowledge, but Albert Spencer is the new owner of Storybrooke Printing. The previous owner hired me when no one else would and treated the employees like family, but he got into some financial trouble and made some deal with Spencer. It seems a bit dodgy to me, but that’s the situation. Spencer is looking to cut overhead by cutting hours and firing employees that have been there for years, many of whom have kids. The print shop makes a respectable profit, but it’s not enough for him. I’ve been fighting with Spencer all week, trying to keep my staff’s necks off the chopping block. I’m starting to question whether I want to work there any more, though I don’t know what else I would do.”

Izzy-B’s gaze drifts to some squirrels scurrying along tree branches, as she continues tiredly, “Now, Spencer will be prosecuting my case, and I’ll have to deal with him outside of work too. During meetings since the attack, he’s been looking at me differently and not in a good way. Honestly, I don’t know that there is much difference between Spencer and the rat bastard who attacked me.”

A moment later, Izzy-B realizes what she has said and looks at Randall apologetically, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I know it must hurt to have someone say things like that about your son. This is why I just shouldn’t talk.”

With an understanding tone, he says, “Belle, don’t say that. You have every right to be angry. I’m so sorry for what Kieron did to you and tried to do to you. It makes me sick.” Then after pausing a moment, he adds, “About what Regina said…”

Izzy-B gives him a warning look to let him know that she will not discuss it.

He treads carefully continuing, “…she’s a spiteful, joyless woman who despises anything of real value. I hate that she hurt you the other night, but you must know nothing she said makes me think that you are any less magnificent than you are.”

Izzy-B says appreciatively, “Thanks. You really don’t know how much that means to me right now.”, and then in a pensive tone she adds, “Sometimes I just really hate Storybrooke and want to move somewhere nobody knows me; where people aren’t making judgments about who they think I am.”

Then with a bit of lightness in her tone, she says, “You wouldn’t want to buy a farm in Nowhere, Montana and raise sheep, and goats and ducks and such, would you? You might look cute in overalls.”

He smiles, “I’ve never thought about it, but for you, I’d consider it.”

Izzy-B chuckles, not knowing that Randall is only partially joking. If she left Storybrooke, he feels as though he would have to follow, because she gives him the will to breathe.

Gazing at the lake off in the distance beyond the trees, Izzy-B says, “It really is beautiful here. Thank you for bringing me. I needed this.”

He offers, “Feel free to come up here anytime you need to get away. Even if I’m not here, I want you to have this sanctuary.”

Astonished by the man in front of her, she looks deeply into his dark brown eyes, “I don’t know what to say, other than ‘Thank you.’, but it feels inadequate.”

He reaches for her hand and strokes it, “Your ‘thank yous’ are far more than adequate.”

By the time they are ready to leave, it has begun to rain. Izzy-B curses wearing high heels in the mud. As they walk to the car, an impulse strikes, Izzy-B exclaims, “Wait! Stay right there.”

Randall looks at her with mild annoyance, “I’m getting wet, dear.”

She smirks, “Rain’ll do that.”, then as her heels sink further into the mud, she rakes her fingers through his dripping wet hair, pulling him close to her, as she moves towards him. The rain is coming down harder, as she sucks the refreshing rain from his lips. She explores his mouth caressing his tongue with her own, realizing how much she has missed the taste of him in the previous days. A sound of pleasure escapes him, as he strokes her back feeling her contours under the wet blouse that now clings to her body.

She pulls away slowly and says casually, “I’ve always wanted to know what it is like to kiss someone in the rain, and you were here, so I figured ‘carpe diem’.”

As Izzy-B smiles at him smugly, rain running down in spiral ringlets from her curls, clinging to her thick lashes, streaming down her neck and pooling in the contoured recess of her collarbone, Randall does not know how he managed to survive the last few days without her. His firm, yet gentle hand fists the sopping wet hair at the back of her head, guiding Belle’s head backwards. He dips his head drinking from where the rain has pooled below her neck. His lips and tongue work in delicious tandem thirstily consuming the rain that tastes of Belle. Belle gasps, causing rain to pour into her mouth and cascade down her tongue, quenching a thirst that until now was unknown to her. He holds her firmly in place as she quivers under his oral attentions. Their clothing is soaked completely down to the skin, yet neither can find a reason to care.

Slowly guiding her head upright, his lips and tongue trail from her collarbone, up her neck to chin, finally stopping at her lips to ignite a passionate kiss. Once their lips reluctantly part, he takes a casual tone saying, “I was thirsty and you were here…carpe diem.” With an arm around her waist, he helps steady her wobbly legs as they return to his car.

Once in the car, Randall immediately turns on the heater, as Belle is obviously chilled from the rain. He asks whether they should stop by her house in order for her to change, and she informs him that she always keeps a change of clothes at work.

Deciding to say there farewells inside the print shop, as neither wants to end their time together, Jeremy and Clarice give each other a knowing smile upon seeing Izzy-B and Mr. Gold’s state. With an impish tone, Clarice says, “Hey you two, when you take a shower together, you’re supposed to take off your clothes first.”

Simultaneously, they respond to Clarice’s editorial comment; Izzy-B exclaiming in a sharp whisper, “Clarice!”, and Mr. Gold smugly saying, “I’ll remember that.”

Izzy-B turns to him and says in a scolding tone, “Don’t encourage her.”

He responds hopefully, “Can I encourage you to call me tonight?”

She smiles biting her bottom lip, “Of course. Now, get out of here. I have work to do, and you are a distraction.”

Upon leaving, from a distance, Randall spies Albert Spencer leaving Granny’s Diner and resolves to investigate the activities of Storybrooke Printing’s new owner. That night, Randall and Izzy-B talk on the phone for hours, neither wanting to end the call, eventually falling asleep together on their phones.

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Author’s Note: How many of you were surprised when Izzy-B momentarily thought Randall and Kieron had planned the attack? Most readers voiced a concern that Gold wouldn’t trust Izzy-B after seeing the photograph, which is a logical concern, considering Gold’s trust issues. That said, Izzy-B has her own trust issues. It is a testament to her feelings for Gold that when she thought he betrayed her, she opted to try to leave, rather than beat the living daylights out of him. This chapter had a lot of angst in it, but it was necessary for Gold and Izzy-B to each learn some lessons about who they can trust and who they can’t…and mostly realize that their trust should be placed in each other. On another note, who likes rainy days much more after reading the end of this chapter? ;-)
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2 Responses to Chapter 8

  1. Tessa says:

    Dear Pink~Thank you a Thousand xxx!!! That was scary & overwhelming & heart ~breaking to think that they almost lost each other again! I don’t know you personally but through your quips interspersed in your stories I think we would be friends! Trekkie
    (you will be assimilated ok ~7 of 9 !) As for Pheobe & Kevin I think they ROCK! Hey did you know her middle name is wait for it … “Belle” just an FYI~ As for the ride to the cabin & a wonderful picnic lunch it was a perfect way to unravel all of their stress’s caused by what that witch Regina had put both of them through !!! As I sit here & read this it is raining in Ohio, the fact she initiated the kiss is deliciously SEXY !!! I can still remember the first time I got my hubby to dance in the rain with me over (27 yrs. ago) he thought I was just a little nutty until I kissed him it is a very sensual & personal !!! If you haven’t ever done it ,it just seems silly!!!! You are a Great story teller & I can’t wait to read the rest of their tale! Have a Wonderful week!!!! Tessa~~~

    • nikkiadmin says:

      Tessa, Thank you for another wonderful review! I did not know that Pheobe’s middle name is Belle…ironic! A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to “Raised on the Radio”, and that’s when the Pheobe idea was born. I get annoyed that some people make an issue of the age difference between Emilie and Robert as the actors playing RumBelle, so this was my opportunity to comically address that with Pheobe and Kevin. This chapter was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster ride, but it was done with the intent of drawing Gold and Izzy-B closer together. By the way, it was raining when I posted this chapter, and I couldn’t keep from smiling. For a long time now, I’ve had that scene playing in my head like a movie. It’s such a visual scene that it was challenging to think how to put it into words, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I’m glad you enjoyed it! —Nicole

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