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.
October 19, 2011 – Four Days before Emma’s Arrival
Izzy-B fidgets as she addresses Mary Margret’s class. She thinks to herself, “How did I let Mary Margret rope me into presenting at Career Day?” Of course she knows how, Mary Margret has the sweetness and persistence of an eight week old puppy. Izzy-B loathes public speaking; especially in front of children. She can command an audience while wailing on her guitar in front of a drunken crowd at The Rabbit’s Hole, but this is like being thrown in with piranha. Why would children want to hear about working at a print shop? The simple answer is; they don’t. Some children stare out the window and some at the clock, others prop their chins in their hands, forcing themselves to stay awake. She really can’t blame them; this is deadly dull. However, one child stares intently at her. The brown haired boy three rows back, studies her with his hazel eyes.
Wiping her sweaty palms on her skirt, Izzy-B forces herself to breathe. An impulse strikes, and she decides to run out the clock, telling a story about the day there was a mechanical malfunction and ink of various colors exploded out of the presses. Actually, the ink oozed more than exploded, however in order to go out on a high note with the children, she opts for an ink explosion. Izzy-B’s improvisation works, and she prides herself on being less of a bore and surviving their little judging minds. As the class files out and Izzy-B prepares to extend her farewell to Mary Margret, the boy with the hazel eyes approaches her.
Mary Margret notices Izzy-B stiffen and whispers in Izzy-B’s ear, “He’s not radioactive.”
Henry Mills smiles mischievously, “Hi, Miss French! I’m Henry. That was an interesting presentation.”
Biting her lip, Izzy-B says warily, “Yes, I know who you are. Thank you.”
She thinks to herself, “Of course, I know who you are. You’re the kid of the witch who’s trying to ruin my life. What could possibly go wrong by talking to you?” Feeling a twinge of guilt realizing that Henry cannot help who his mother is, just as she cannot help who her father is, she says in a softer tone, “You can call me Izzy-B.”
With an inquisitive expression, Henry asks, “Is that short for Isabelle?”, already knowing the answer.
Izzy-B smiles softly, “Yes, it is, but most people don’t use my given name.”
With a tilt of his head, Henry inquires, “Does anybody ever call you Belle?”
Her brow furrows, as she answers, “Yes, one person.”
Thinking of his book of fairytales, he thinks to himself, “I knew it!” She looks just like Belle in his book. He has overheard the talk of Izzy-B dating Mr. Gold, and though Belle’s true love in the book does not exactly look human, the bone structure of his face is quite similar to Mr. Gold’s.
Henry says with a smirk, “Is it Mr. Gold?”
Cautiously, Izzy-B says, “Yes, how did you know?”
“Just a hunch. You’re very pretty, like Belle in my book.”, and he pulls out his book flipping to the story of Beauty and the Beast for Izzy-B to see for herself. Perhaps, she has some memory of the story. Her eyes widen as she realizes in this book, Belle does look strikingly like her.
Mary Margret interjects, “I’ve got to head out. Remember tomorrow night.”
Staring at the story, Izzy-B mindlessly says, “Sure. Okay.” Truthfully, she cannot remember to what her friend is referring, but she will check her day-planner later. Engrossed in the book in front of her, she is mesmerized by the man at the spinning wheel. She remembers having dreams like this, though they were hazy.
Hopefully, Henry asks, “Do you remember this?”
Izzy-B answers, “Um, kind of…I must have come across this book before.”
Henry wonders if he would have any more luck with jarring Mr. Gold’s memories, and then he says, pointing to the Evil Queen talking to Belle as she walks along the road, “That’s the Evil Queen. Doesn’t my mom look like her?”
Izzy-B abruptly closes the book and says, “It’s late. We should clear out of the school, and I have to stop back at work to finish up. Have a good day, Henry.”, leaving Henry gaping in the classroom.
In the hallway, Izzy-B pulls out her day-planner, turning the pages to tomorrow evening’s unknown event. She cringes saying to herself, “Oh no! No, no, no!” She immediately pulls out her cell phone to call Mary Margret, however Mary Margret is deliberately ignoring Izzy-B’s calls to keep her from backing out of their plans.
Deciding to take a different tactic, Henry strides into Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop. At the ring of the bell above the door, Mr. Gold looks up from the blue stoned necklace that he is cleaning and smiles broadly, saying, “Hello Henry. What can I do for you today?”
Henry lies, “I’m looking for a gift.”
Crinkling his forehead, Mr. Gold says, “Are you now? For your mother or a girl in your class?”
Henry continues his ruse, “Actually, Belle French. She spoke at Career Day today, and the class wanted to get her something.”
Mr. Gold raises an eye brow hearing someone else refer to her as ‘Belle’, which is just the reaction Henry is expecting. Mr. Gold asks, “What kind of gift are you looking for?”
“Don’t know. I’ll know it when I see it. She’s awfully pretty. She looks like the Belle in my book.”, and Henry opens the book to the story for Mr. Gold to see.
“The resemblance is uncanny indeed.” Mr. Gold notices the chipped cup on the page that looks remarkably like his own. Noting the coincidence, he decides that the china pattern must have been more common than he realized, and there must have been a structural weakness in the molding process to cause cups to commonly chip in that location.
Henry’s eyes study his reaction and he asks, “Do you remember this, Mr. Gold?”
“Of course, I do. Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast.” Mr. Gold refrains from remarking on the cup and the differences he noted that deviate from the original tale.
Henry rolls his eyes thinking, “What’s with these people?!? Why won’t they believe in what’s right in front of them?” He then says, “Well, I better be going. We’ll just get Belle a thank you card.”
Mr. Gold replies, “Excellent idea, Henry.” He suspects that the boy had come to the shop for some other reason as he returns his attention to cleaning the necklace.
As Henry reaches the door, he says, “I think she’ll like it.”
Mr. Gold looks at him inquisitively, and then Henry clarifies, “Belle. I think she’ll like that necklace.”
Looking down at the blue stones that he has been carefully caressing, and then back to Henry, Mr. Gold smiles saying thoughtfully, “Yes, I think so too.”
That evening driving to the theater for their date, Randall Gold says, “You spoke at Career Day at the school?”
“Yes, just another thing Mary Margret has roped me into.” She stares irritatedly at her cell phone, having called Mary Margret six times since the afternoon. Then she questions, “How did you know about that?
Randall responds, “Henry Mills stopped by the shop today. He showed me a picture of you in his book.”
Izzy-B chuckles, “Ha, yeah, he told me I look just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Would that make you my beast?”
With a smirk, Randall hedges, “It depends on what the job entails.”
Flirtatiously, Izzy-B, says, “From the looks of that book, I’d say we have to get you into some leather britches.”
Incredulously, he retorts, “I think not.”
She quips, “Out of leather britches?”
Slyly, he says, “Now you’re talkin’ dear.”
She laughs, “You are so easy.”
In a haughty tone, he rebuts, “But I’m not cheap.”
Izzy-B laughs, leaning back in the seat, wishing it would always be like this.
At the theater, Izzy-B excuses herself to make a quick phone call. Mary Margret still does not answer. Minutes later they are seated in the back of the theater with their popcorn, Jordan Almonds, Snow Caps and sodas, which is quite a change from Randall’s typical eating habits. As ‘The Rum Diary’ begins, two teenage couples can be seen several rows ahead of them. One couple appears to be more interested in amorous pursuits, than the movie. The other couple appears to be sitting politely, until the girl reaches for some popcorn, screams and slaps her date, storming out of the theater. The theater erupts in laughter, and Izzy-B whispers, “Oh God! What a creep!”
Bewildered, Randall asks, “What just happened?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
The other couple momentarily stops kissing to watch the commotion, then resume their entanglement. Soon Randall and Izzy-B find themselves looking at the couple more than the movie screen. With his arm around Izzy-B, Randall moves his hand lightly stroking her neck and whispers in her ear, “When in Rome?”
Setting the popcorn on the empty seat on the other side of her, she smiles impishly whispering, “Sure. I can watch a movie anytime.”
They begin to suck the salty, buttered popcorn flavor from each others lips. As their kissing becomes more passionate, Randall pulls Izzy-B as close as he is able with the arm of the seat between them. He strokes her ribs with one hand, while nesting his other hand in her soft thick hair. At some point later, the theater manager shines a flashlight on the teen couple and gives them a stern warning to behave. The manager then shines the light on the unruly couple in the back row, and Randall growls, looking menacingly at the young manager, who is at most twenty years old. He drops his flashlight at the sight of Mr. Gold and scurries out of the theater.
Izzy-B snickers into Randall’s neck, whispering sarcastically, “Oh, no! The Monster of Storybrooke strikes again!”
Randall smirks, “Infamy does have its advantages.”
“It appears so. Now come back here, Oscar.”, she giggles and gives him a gentle bite on the neck.
Taking the cue to resume previous activities, his hand tilts her face to his as he arrests her lips with his own, and his tongue plunges in stroking the soft flesh of her mouth. Though he would love to have her in his bed, feasting on her beautiful body, the darkened theater allows for exploration, while maintaining a restraint with which Izzy-B feels secure. Randall understands Izzy-B’s need to feel safe and in control after recent events. Though there are moments that he feels like he could explode with lust for her, he fights those impulses, fearing anything that might drive her away. Izzy-B can hardly believe how much the feel of his lips, the scent of his cologne, and his labored breathing makes her want him. Nothing has ever felt as right to her as being enraptured by Randall.
Upon leaving the theater, Izzy-B makes another call to Mary Margret, which again goes to voice-mail. Walking to the car, Randall asks, “What happened with that couple? Why’d she slap him?”
Izzy-B shakes her head and half chuckles, “You may not have the most pristine reputation, but at least you wouldn’t cut a hole in the bottom of the popcorn tub and poke something through.”
Taking a moment to process her words, and then with a tone full of disgust, he replies, “That’s what the lad did? Can we just have him shot?”
She replies, “Um, it’s a nice thought, but we can’t.”
Shaking his head, he says, “Even when I was his age, I can’t imagine doing something like that. Hell, if I did it to you, I’d be taking my life in my hands.”
She laughs, “Yeah, your cane would need to be surgically removed…along with my high-heel.”
Smirking he says, “Remind me to never anger you.”
She responds wryly, “I think I just did.”
In the car at the theater parking lot, Izzy-B says in a strained voice, “I have to tell you something.”
Warily he asks, “Why do I get the feeling that I’m not going to like it?”
With deliberate sweetness, “If it’s any consolation, I’d be disappointed if you did like what I have to tell you.”
In a serious tone, he says, “Alright dear, out with it.”
Trying to mask her nervousness with a reasoned tone, “I know it’s much too early for us to have the ‘Are we exclusive?’ talk. Maybe this isn’t as huge of an issue as I’m making it in my head…but apparently, I have a date tomorrow night.”
“Oh.”, he says, blankly.
Perplexed, she questions, “’Oh’? What does that mean?”
With a sterile quality to his voice, he replies, “It means you ‘apparently’ have a date, and as you said we’re not exclusive. This is only our third date, after all. You’re a grown woman. You can do what you want.”
She clarifies, “First off, this is our second date. Kidnapping me from work was not a date. Second, to the issue at hand, there’s no wanting in this. It’s just an ill thought out promise coming into play.”
He stares at her in confusion.
Taking a deep breath, Izzy-B explains, “Okay, here it is. Shortly after I rented my house, Mary Margret helped me with getting the place furnished. In the heat of the moment, my gratitude got the better of me, and I told her that if she ever needed anything, I’d help her out. That little ticking time bomb laid dormant until a couple of weeks ago, before we started dating, she called in the favor.”
“Which is a date?”
Izzy-B replies, “She wants to go out with Archie. Archie has a friend who has difficulties dating women and somehow I’m the guinea pig in this experiment. I had completely forgotten about the date, until the little sneak reminded me today that we have plans tomorrow night. By the time I checked my day-planner to see what those plans were, Mary Margret had high-tailed it out of the school, and she’s not answering her phone.”
Arching his brow he queries, “And you waited to tell me this until now because?”
“I’ve been calling Mary Margret over and over, hoping to get out of this, so it wouldn’t be an issue. That said, since it seems to be a fait accompli, I thought I’d tell you now, hoping since your brain has been without proper blood supply for quite a while, perhaps you wouldn’t be able to get too upset with me about it.”
He says wryly, “You’re a manipulative one.”
She smirks, “Only when I need to be.” Looking intently into his eyes, she says in a thoughtful tone, “Look, I need you to understand, I don’t want to date anyone else. I’m perfectly content with what we’ve got going here. I’ve even been thinking of breaking some of my rules in order to bring the date to a speedy end, but that’s not fair to some poor guy whose only mistake is agreeing to be set up on a blind date.”
Curious, he asks, “What kind of rules are we talking about here?”
Izzy-B elaborates, “The rude things that I’ve seen other women do during dates…texting during dinner or having a friend call them with a fake emergency.”
In a concerned tone, he asks, “Are there perimeters on this date?”
“Absolutely. Mary Margret wanted to go to dinner then dancing; but I can’t picture Archie dancing. Regardless, I wasn’t going to traipse all over town for this date. So, I specified that the date should be at The Rabbit’s Hole; home turf advantage, and that we should all meet there to avoid an awkward car ride. If she can get Archie to dance with her, more power to her, but I’m quite capable of telling a man, ‘no’. If he seems to be a fragile type of guy, I’ll just claim I have an injured ankle to spare his feelings.”
Impressed, he says, “You’ve got this all figured out, don’t you?”
She shrugs, “I’ve been on enough forced dates to have a strategy. Are you going to be around tomorrow night to talk after?”
With a warmth in his voice, he says, I’ll be around for whatever you need.”
She replies, “If you keep saying things like that, I’m going to start believing it.”
Sliding closer to her and wrapping his arm around her, he says, “That is my intent, my beauty.”
Meanwhile at Granny’s Diner, Jeremy and Clarice sit in a booth waiting to order. Ruby strides over and says agitatedly, “What’s up with Izzy-B? I haven’t talked to her in nearly a week!”
Jeremy and Clarice share a look, and Jeremy says, “I think she had plans tonight.”
In an annoyed voice, Ruby asks, “With Gold?!?”
Clarice answers with a shrug, “Yeah, probably.”
Ruby exclaims, “That is just so wrong!”
Noticing that Ruby seems to be seeing red and wanting no part of the drama, Jeremy says matter-of-factly, “We’re not here to gossip. I’d like to order a cheese burger.”
Dismissing him, Ruby says, “Yeah, whatever. How can she go out with that guy?”
Leaning towards Ruby, Clarice says, “Ruby, you haven’t seen what they’re really like together. The other night, Whale got handsy with Izzy-B, and if she hadn’t already cleaned Whale’s clock before any of us got the chance to do anything, Gold would have thrown down for her. It was really pretty hot!”
Aghast, Ruby says, “Hot? This is all wrong. He’s got to be using her.”
Realizing that getting his food will be waiting until this situation is clear in Ruby’s mind, Jeremy says thoughtfully, “Look, Ruby, it’s clear he really likes her; probably more than likes her. I don’t know how ‘hot’ it is that he was about to cane Whale into the middle of next week, but Gold is definitely protective of Izzy-B, and she could use someone like that in her life.”
In a confused tone, Ruby questions, “Gold is actually into her?”
Clarice chimes in, “More than that. Izzy-B started singing a song at sound check, and he looked at her like she was some golden angel. The man is seriously smitten.”
Ruby raises her eyebrows, and Clarice continues, “Izzy-B seems to have it bad for him too. That song she sang at sound check was one I’d never heard, so I Googled it. It turns out to be a Scottish song…hello, the man’s from Scotland…she was obviously singing it for him.”
Ruby breathes out a stunned, “Wow!”, trying to process this information.
Jeremy clears his throat impatiently, “Now that we’ve cleared that up. Can we order food now? I’m starving!”
Granny calls out, “Order up!”
Ruby satisfied with the information provided says, “Okay, as soon as I get that order to table three, I’ll come right back and take your order.”
The next evening, Izzy-B and Mary Margret arrive early at The Rabbit’s Hole and secure a table for four. Mary Margret is in her usual drab Sunday school teacher attire, accented with a pink cardigan. Izzy-B’s hair is pulled into a tight bun, and she is wearing a navy blue turtleneck sweater and matching dress pants.
Uneasily Izzy-B asks, “Who is this guy that Archie is bringing tonight?”
Mary Margret replies, “I don’t know. I’m guessing he’s too shy to meet women.”, and then looking over Izzy-B, Mary Margret, comments, “That’s not your usual look.”
Stiffly, Izzy-B responds, “I don’t want this guy getting any ideas.”
Rolling her eyes, Mary Margret says, “Oh come on, you could at least give him a chance.”
Emphatically, Izzy-B replies, “There’s somebody else I’m interested in.”
Having heard the rumors, with an expression of displeasure, Mary Margret asks, “Mr. Gold?”
Indignantly, Izzy-B queries, “You knew?…and you’re forcing me to go on this date?”
Wondering if her friend has had a mental break or just has an affinity for farce, Mary Margret asks, “Are you seriously going to use Mr. Gold, of all people, as an excuse not to date somebody?”
Indignantly, Izzy-B responds, “What’s that suppose to mean?!? I like him!”
Using her reasoned ‘teacher’ tone, Mary Margret says, “Just because you tolerated him for a date, doesn’t mean you get to use him as a shield from finding someone with whom you could have a future.”
Appalled by her audacity, Izzy-B says, “To be specific, we’ve been on two dates, and what makes you think that I couldn’t have a future will him?…or that I could with this guy that you manipulated me into dating tonight?”
Shaking her head dismissively, Mary Margret says, “It’s Mr. Gold, we’re talking about. He’s cold, cruel and heartless.”
Izzy-B defends, “That’s not who he is! You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve taken the time to get to know him.”
Before the conversation can get any more heated, Mary Margret spies Dr. Archie Hopper. The ginger haired man in his blue and white striped shirt, blue tie and brown tweed vest and pants ambles to the table and gives the women a meek smile.
Archie says, “Hello ladies. Uh, my friend is parking his car. He’ll be right in.”, and Izzy-B sighs, hoping to get the date over with.
Archie looks passed Izzy-B and waves, as Izzy-B and Mary Margret turn to see Izzy-B’s date. Shooting Mary Margret a flabbergasted look, Izzy-B whispers sharply, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Him?!?”
Dr. Whale saunters towards them.
Mary Margret whispers back sheepishly, “Well, he’s kind of cute.”
Through gritted teeth, Izzy-B says, “Great! Since Whale only wants one thing from a woman, why don’t you sleep with him?!?”
In a stammering voice, Archie says, “Mary Margret, Izzy-B, this is…”
Whale interrupts, “No need for introductions, Arch. We all know each other.”
Izzy-B mutters, “Yeah, the last time I saw you, you were eating sidewalk.”
Archie says, “Pardon me, Izzy-B. I didn’t hear what you said.”
With a fake smile, Izzy-B replies, “Nothing. I was just saying I need to use the restroom. You know us ladies and our thimble bladders.”
Mary Margret gives Izzy-B a scolding glance. Ignoring her friend, Izzy-B hurries to the restroom and once inside pulls her cell phone from her pants pocket. She selects the chosen contact and proceeds to call.
At his pawn shop, Randall Gold is alerted to his cell phone as it chimes. With a bit of smugness, he answers, “Date going swimmingly?”
With a strain in her voice, Izzy-B says, “I just need to know where I can bury some bodies.”
With his forehead crinkling and dimples appearing with his amusement, “Who are the corpses in question? I need to know how many graves to dig and how deep we need to bury them.”
She sighs, “Mary Margret, Archie and my date…”, and then, she coughs out, “Dr. Whale.”
His humor at the situation gone, he growls, “Your friend set you up with that swine.”
Somehow feeling comforted by the fact that he is as appalled as she at the situation, Izzy-B smirks, “Please don’t insult pigs.”
Walking to the door of his shop, flipping the sign to ‘Closed’, he says, “Do you need me to call you with an emergency?”
She sighs resolutely, “No, I’ll tough it out. Just be available to talk to after. I may need therapy.”, and then with a chuckle she adds, “Maybe Archie did this to drum up business.”
With a mixture of sternness and tenderness, he replies, “Whatever Dr. Hopper’s reasons, I don’t approve. I’ll have my phone turned on, whenever you need me.”
Sullenly, she says, “Thanks, I’ll talk to you later.”
As he reaches his car with his destination in mind, Randall bids her farewell, “See you soon.”
At The Rabbit’s Hole as the foursome eats their appetizers, Dr. Whale leans towards Izzy-B and says, “I saw that you were in the women’s clinic a few weeks go for birth control pills. They won’t be fully effective yet, but I have condoms.”
Gaping at the sandy haired man, Izzy-B is unsure which part of the statement to address first. In an offended tone, she decides to opt for something that might turn him off, “I have Menorrhagia. Once a month, it’s like a slasher movie.”
Unaffected, he says, “Based on your file, that shouldn’t be happening now, so we’re good to go.”
Red faced and eyes wide in shock, she exclaims, “Oh…my…God! That is so unethical! Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule mean nothing to you?!?”
Whale shrugs and says nonchalantly, “I like to be well informed.”
Curiosity getting the better of her, Izzy-B says, “Okay, I have to know…how did you convince Archie to set this up?”
Smugly, Dr. Whale leans in and whispers, “I gave him a sob story about how I put on bravado because I’m insecure with women, and how I’ve worshiped you from afar, but was too intimidated by you. He bought it hook, line and sinker.”
Disdain etched on her face, Izzy-B says, “You really have no scruples.”
The blood pounds in Izzy-B’s ears, as she works to convince herself not to do Dr. Whale bodily harm. She rubs her temples, as she listens to Mary Margret prattle on about a school play. She notices Ruby has entered the bar and is playing pool. She has never been thankful for her friend’s habit of having her assets on display, however at this moment, she is eternally grateful, because she seems to have caught Dr. Whale’s attention. At the bar, she spies a familiar figure and smirks.
Throwing her usual dating guidelines out the window, she glances at her three companions, all otherwise occupied, and begins to text on her phone. Randal’s phone buzzes, and he smirks reading the text.
Izzy-B: “What are you doing here?”
Randall: “Making you break your rules.”
Izzy-B: “Aren’t you the funny one?”
Randall: “I try.”
Izzy-B: “Good thing you’re cute. Your humor is lacking right now.”
Randall: “Been thinking about what you said last night.”
Randall: “About it being too soon to talk about being exclusive. It’s not, and I want to be.”
Izzy-B: “Because I’m on a date? If you need to mark your territory, there’s a tree out back.”
Randall stifles a laugh and texts, “No. I want us to only date each other, because you’re a fascinating, frustrating, challenging woman, who is constantly in my thoughts. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you’re gorgeous.”
Izzy-B: “Good answer. Excessively verbose for texting, but good answer.”
Randall: “And your answer would be? Are you willing to exclusively date the Monster of Storybrooke?”
Checking that nobody is noticing her texting under the table, Izzy-B replies, “If the monster is you, Oscar, absolutely.”
Randall: “The deal is struck.”
To his right at the bar, Randall notices the interaction between a large dark haired unshaven man and the bartender. Handing the man a shot of Tequila and a lime, the bartender says, “Here ya go. I haven’t seen you here before.”
The man replies, “The name’s Keith. Usually have another haunt, but somebody recommended this place. Glad they did, check out the hot piece of tail, Whale is with. After he’s done with her, I have dibs.”
In a disapproving tone, the bartender says, “Yeah, well, she’ll kick your ass.”
Undeterred, Keith smirks, “A spitfire, huh? I have ways of dealing with that type.”
Agitated at the implication, the bartender opens his mouth to protest, however before he can utter a word, Randall steps in front of Keith, staring him down, and growls lowly, “As of this moment, the lady is in an exclusive relationship with me. Now, let me be clear. You will not come anywhere near her, furthermore, you will not speak disrespectfully of her to anyone. I have eyes and ears all over this town. If I catch wind that you have broken either of these rules, the first thing I’ll do is cut out your tongue and feed it to the neighborhood felines…and then, I’ll get nasty. Do…you…understand?”
Gulping, Keith nods emphatically and rasps out, “Yes, sir, Mr. Gold.”
The bartender chuckles and walks away, while Randall gesturing towards Keith’s Tequila says in a tone full of contempt, “Don’t forget to swallow the worm.”
Back at the table, Izzy-B attracts everyone’s attention, “Look, this has been fun. Actually, not really. But I have to go. I’m in an exclusive relationship now, so this date is over.”
Her three companions stare at her dumbfounded. Mary Margret and Dr. Whale speak simultaneously.
Mary Margret exclaiming, “Since when?”, and Dr. Whale questioning, “With who?”
Izzy-B answers, “Since about two minutes ago and with…”
Randall interjects, “Me.”
Seemingly appearing from nowhere, Randall stands behind Izzy-B’s chair and punctuates his declaration by bending down, claiming Izzy-B’s lips with a scorching kiss. The entire bar seems to be watching in shock. Ending the kiss, licking his lips, he gives a decided glare in Keith’s direction, ensuring he received the message. Randall is satisfied when Keith seems to shrink. Dr. Whale is now leaning away from Izzy-B, as though she has Typhoid.
Training his steely gaze on Mary Margret, Randall says, “Miss Blanchard, from this moment on, your match making services are no longer needed nor tolerated. Understood?”
Mary Margret shoots Izzy-B a look that seems to say, “Are you going to let him talk to me like that?”
Answering the unspoken question, Izzy-B shrugs and says, “Don’t look at me. I agree with him.”, then standing, taking Randall’s hand and smiling broadly, she adds, “I’ll talk to you later, Mary Margret. You three have fun.”
As they walk away, Izzy-B quips, “So Oscar, your trash can or mine?”
Randall smirks, pleased as they leave through a sea of astonished stares.
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Author’s Note: Just had to have one more bad ‘forced date’ before they became exclusive. Please review and share your thoughts on this chapter. By the way, a reader asked about the conversation in chapter 2, as to why I had Izzy-B’s middle name be Lacey, and I thought I’d share the answer with everyone. That chapter was written before Lacey aired, but I wanted to make a point that she was not Lacey by having Izzy-B make a snide comment about not liking her middle name being Lacey. It was my ironic way of making it clear that Izzy-B is not Lacey and never will be. It’s just the twisted way my mind works. Here’s the exchange that prompted the question: [...she signs the contract; Isabelle L. French. Unable to resist, he asks, “What’s the L stand for?” She says, “My middle name is Lacey, but I never go by it. It sounds like I’m one of Granny’s doilies that she puts her knick-knacks on.”]
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