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. Some violence and discussion of sexual topics in this chapter.
All aboard for Storybrooke time!
Izzy-B’s eyes flutter open after a restless night. Her phone alarm has not chimed yet, but she is awake all the same. Randall had scared the life out of her last night, when he appeared to be extremely ill at Granny’s Bed and Breakfast, then his refusal to let her take care of him made her absolutely crazy with worry most of the night. By the time it neared three o’clock in the morning, she was determined to charge in and take care of Randall, whether he liked it or not.
Falling in love is frightening enough, but seeing the object of that love sweaty, shaking and babbling incoherently had her completely beside herself with anxiety. Seeing him answer the door looking much healthier, but seeming as though he had been through a major battle during their hours of separation, still left her on edge. Once she had him fed and in his bed, her own sleep had been fitful. There had been disturbing dreams. The dream of her father in old time clothes having men in black cloaks hurt her makes her wonder what horror movie or weird TV show had taken up residence in her brain. That dream had left her breathless and shaking, but the other dream, however, had painted a longing over her entire being.
Izzy-B’s thoughts of the other dream are interrupted by a tapping on the door. Groggily she says, “Come in, Randall”, hoping he is alright.
She smiles at the sight of him in his midnight blue silk pajamas with his hair slightly tousled. He announces, “Breakfast will be ready soon.”
She frowns and takes a stern tone, “Breakfast? What are you doing making breakfast, when you should still be sleeping?”
He smirks and says sarcastically, “Sorry mother, but I’m feeling in the pink this lovely morn…and I have things to do today.”
She gripes, “The thing you should be doing is making sure that you don’t have a relapse of whatever happened last night. Honestly, do I have to tie you to your bed to get you to stay in it?!?!”
Grinning mischievously, he says, “You could try, and we’ll see what happens.”
She groans frustratedly, “Randall, stop playing…you really had me worried last night.”
Seating himself next to her on the bed, she tenses slightly, then relaxes as he gives her a soft kiss, “I know. I’m sorry that I worried you like that, but I am quite fine now.”
With her voice full of emotion, she says, “You better be. You mean a lot to me, and I don’t know what I’d do if…if…”
He interrupts, “You won’t have to find out what you’d do ‘if’, because I’m healthy as a Kentucky Derby steed.” Pausing a moment looking his Belle over, he asks “What about you? When I passed the door earlier, it sounded like you were having a time of it.”
She shrugs, “Just weird dreams, as usual.”
“What kind of dreams?”
Yawning she says, “I had a couple of strange ones. In both, the clothes and scenery reminded me of what you’d see centuries ago.” He becomes riveted at her words, as she continues, “In one, my father had a bunch of men in black robes torturing me for being ‘the Dark One’s wench’. I’d rather not go into the details, but suffice it to say, that horror show made Freddy Krueger seem like a pussy cat. The other one was just sad. I was in a castle, but I was alone and missing someone…a man. He had some big plan that was keeping him away. I guess I supported the plan, but I really missed him. So I wrote a story, to distract myself from missing him.”
The alarm on her phone chimes, and she says, “Okay, time to get moving. I have to swing by my house, shower and get dressed for work.”
Struck by the realization that she seems to be dreaming of their past, but knowing now is not the time to delve into the matter, he asks, “Breakfast before you leave?”
She beams at him, “I can’t think of a better way to begin the day, than staring into your brown eyes across the breakfast table.”
With a strangely serious tone, he says, “Don’t try to leave Storybrooke.”
“It really wasn’t on my agenda for today.”
Shaking his head, he clarifies, “No, that’s not what I mean. I can’t really explain it right now, but it’s not a good time to leave Storybrooke. I need you to wait until I can go with you…and there are some things I need to deal with before that can happen.”
Izzy-B feels uneasy with his cryptic request, and something inside her still pushes her to leave Storybrooke, yet there is an earnestness in Randall’s words. She trusts that he has valid reasons for his request.
Wishing to ease his mind, she cups his cheeks between her hands stroking his whisker stubble. Smiling, she nods saying, “Alright, we’ll pull a Lewis and Clark sometime in the future. In the meantime, I’ll remain in the lovely metropolis of Storybrooke. Now, let’s eat.”
He kisses her slowly and escorts her to breakfast. After breakfast, they share a lingering kiss, before Izzy-B leaves and Rumplestiltskin move on with his day…
Kieron Gold swaggers into his houseboat, pleased to be free, yet seething at his father and his father’s chippy. Going straight for his unfinished whiskey bottle and taking a long swig, he plans his retribution. He thinks to himself, “That little bitch is going to pay.” Pulling out a hunting knife, he says aloud, “I’ll screw her this time…in the most painful way possible.”, and then begins to chug the remainder of the whiskey. He is caught up in his vengeful thoughts to the point that he never noticed the dark figure standing in the shadows that had been lying in wait.
It is not until Kieron finishes the bottle that he registers the thought that the whiskey tasted different. Kieron’s vision blurs, as a heavy wooden drink cart is rammed against him, with the hook shaped cabinet handle hitting him in the groin, as the cart pins him against the wall. Even in his stupor, the pain is excruciating.
Kieron’s mind and vision is hazy, as the dark figure pushes the cart against him hard and hisses in a heavy brogue, “Hello son, Looks like the only one that’s getting screwed is you!”
Kieron raises the hunting knife and swipes blindly at Rumplestiltskin, cutting Rumplestiltskin’s sleeve and nicking the skin of his arm which is held up defensively. Rumplestiltskin’s eyes gleam in cold delight as things are going just as planned, and he knocks the knife from Kieron’s hand with his gold handled cane. Seeing Kieron begin to slump from the effects of the drugs, Rumplestiltskin uses his good leg to hold the cart in place to keep Kieron upright. It is vital to Rumplestiltskin’s plan that the scene has the right appearance. He cannot appear to have beaten a man who is lying down.
Raising his cane, Rumplestiltskin growls, “This is for Bae!”, hitting Kieron in the face with his cane, and then he growls, “This is for Belle!” wielding another plow with his cane. Finally, eyeing the blood running down Kieron’s face and splattered on the wall, Rumplestiltskin growls, “And this is because you’ve always been and always will be a putrid pile of dung!!!”
As Kieron (Killian) loses consciousness, Rumplestiltskin’s desire to go in for the kill is strong. He reminds himself that although he wields great power in Storybrooke, Kieron is not the only person that he has to worry about coming after Belle, and he cannot protect her if he ends up in jail.
Pulling Kieron and the cart forward, Rumplestiltskin allows Kieron to fall to the floor. Removing Kieron’s boot and pulling out a drug filled syringe, Rumplestiltskin injects Kieron’s foot with drugs guaranteed to make him delusional, and then puts Kieron’s boot back on.
With all the forms in place and the right people bribed, Rumplestiltskin goes looking for the one person who can complete the task at hand. Watching Emma Swan storm out of Regina’s yard carrying a chainsaw, he smirks at her Hell Cat attitude. Approaching the woman wearing the red leather jacket and blue jeans, he asks, “Eventful day, Miss Swan?”
Emma looks at him warily, thinking so far today “I’ve been evicted from Granny’s Bed and Breakfast, smeared in the newspaper, hacked down most of Henry’s adoptive mother’s tree, what does this guy want?”
Pressing his hand to his chest and nodding, Rumplestiltskin says, “Pardon, my manners, I’m Mr. Gold. We met at Granny’s last night. I see ol’ Regina is giving you a time of it. She does tend to be territorial.”
Emma scoffs, “Territorial? Is that what you call it? Look, I just made the kid a promise to stick around a week, and I’m keeping my promise.”
Wryly he says, “Excellent. I have a proposition for you. It will require you taking a drive out of town just for a few hours, and I will compensate you well for your effort.”
She puts her hands up, eyeing him with caution, “I don’t know. I’m not doing anything illegal for some complete stranger.”
He says, “I assure you, it’s quite legal.” Then thinking he adds, “mostly”. He continues, “I just need your skills as a bounty hunter to ensure the safety of an innocent woman.”
Folding her arms, Emma says, “Cut to the chase. What are you talking about, Mr. Gold?”
Attempting to stay as factually truthful as he can, he says, “You haven’t been around here long, so you probably don’t know I have a son here in Storybrooke, Kieron Gold. Though I tried to be a good father, I’ve failed my son. Kieron’s had rage issues for quite some time. Recently, he attacked a lady friend of mine. He’s delusional, and he’ll come after her again if he’s not stopped. I tried to reach my son, and Kieron attacked me with a knife.” He lifts his arm to show Emma the wound, and she raises her eyebrows at the sight. He continues, “I know now I must get him the help he needs. I’ve arranged for his admittance into a mental hospital in Augusta, just a wee bit from the Kennebec River. You should be back to Storybrooke before dark, in plenty of time to see your lad.”
“And why aren’t you taking him? He’s your son.”
Motioning to his injured arm, he says, “I clearly agitate him worse. Besides since you are a bounty hunter, I assume you carry restraints and a weapon if he gets out of hand. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hate to think of my son chained like some animal, but I know Kieron is dangerous.”
Hesitantly, Emma asks, “How do I know what you’re saying is true?”
Rumplestiltskin produces a copy of the police report filed by Izzy-B, and then says, “There’s something else. When I went to see him, I video recorded a bit of his state for documentation purposes. See for yourself.” Pulling out his phone he plays a short video clip.
Emma watches Kieron take long swig from a whiskey bottle and pull out a hunting knife, saying, “I’ll screw her this time…in the most painful way possible.”
With his voice full of sincerity, “Please Miss Swan, I can’t allow Kieron to harm Miss French.”
Sighing, Emma says, “Alright, I’ll take the job. Where is he now?”
Rumplestiltskin responds, “Kieron was passed out on his houseboat, when I left him, after fighting for my life. He should still be there.”
Rumplestiltskin (Mr. Gold) escorts Emma to the houseboat where Kieron is coming back to consciousness, speaking gibberish. However, even in that state, he is aware of the shapely blonde near him and tries to grab Emma’s breast, which earns him a full throttle punch in the face from Emma. Rumplestiltskin has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling at the sight. With Kieron handcuffed and deposited in Emma’s car, Rumplestiltskin heads back to his pawn shop as if this were an average day. As Emma’s car crosses the town line, Kieron begins to scream and writhe in pain and ramble about needing his Hook. After a harrowing drive, Emma arrives at the mental hospital with Kieron and the admittance papers in hand. The hospital administrator, for whom Mr. Gold is financing a political campaign, prescribes a drug cocktail as well as high levels of electroconvulsive therapy and restraints as needed as previously discussed with Mr. Gold.
At his shop, Rumplestiltskin hears his cell phone chime, he smiles and answers, “Hello, Belle.”
She says, “Hey, I thought I’d grab some Granny’s take-out and bring it by your house tonight. You up for that?”
“Sounds great. I have a stop to make before going home. I’ll meet you at six o’clock at my house?”
“That will work.”, and then she adds cautiously, “Randall?…Do you have someone tailing me?”
He does not respond for a moment then says “Why would you ask that?”
“Because either you have someone tailing me or I have a stalker and it’s creeping me out.”
Thinking to himself, “Damn it, Dove, don’t you understand the word ‘discreet’?”, and then says, “Yes, I have an associate of mine following you. Kieron was released today.”
She exclaims, “What?!?”
He says, “Don’t worry…I handled it. I had a chat with D.A. Spenser and got him to agree to let me involuntarily commit Kieron to a mental facility in Augusta. Sweetheart, Kieron won’t be able to come anywhere near you. However, I’d like my associate to stay on the job, because we don’t know what Regina might do.”
After a long pause, Izzy-B says irritability, “Fine. Let him continue to tail me, but please, from now on, keep me in the loop with things that are my business.”
He responds, “I’ll try. See you at six o’clock.”
Izzy-B notes his non-committal response, but opts to let it go, saying “I’ll be there. Bye.”
5:40PM, it is already dark outside, as Rumplestiltskin strolls into the decorative lantern lit backyard of Mayor Regina Mills, as she tries to assess the damage to her apple tree.
“What a mess! It looks like there’s been a bit of chaos in your little kingdom today, Madame Mayor. You should have asks me for help with Miss Swan.”
She bellows, “I did come to you, the other day!”
Snidely, he says “Ah, but the devil’s in the details. You didn’t ask nicely, instead ranted about incompetence and threatened Belle with bodily harm.”
With a smirk, Regina says, “Yes, the French girl. I’m surprised you’re not playing guard dog right now.”
He grins, “Never underestimate my power to keep things under control. After what you’ve done to Belle, if you think I’ll allow you to hurt her again, you’re dead wrong.” He picks an apple off the tree and bites looking at her with smoldering hatred. Swallowing, he continues, “You’re going to be short one less bed partner from now on. I’ve had Kieron committed to a mental facility outside of Storybrooke.”
Her eyes grow wide with shock and frustration, “How did you? Wait, you had Miss Swan do it didn’t you? Well, that’s fine. I’m glad she could make a little cash on her way back to Boston.”
“Actually, she did her job and came back. I just saw her and you boy walking along thick as thieves.”
“You wanted her to come here, didn’t you? Tell me what you know about her or I swear your French tart will pay!”
With a wicked gleam in his eyes, he says nonchalantly, “Regina, I tire of your games. So, do me a favor and choke yourself, please!”
With that, Regina’s hand involuntarily clasp around her throat and squeeze, as her eyes bulge and she sputters.
Enjoying this test run of the ‘please clause’, Rumplestiltskin feigns concern saying, “Regina, dear, your color doesn’t look right at all. Perhaps you need something to eat.”, and then he rams the apple into her mouth as though she were a roasted pig waiting to be eaten and says, “Now chew, please!” She obediently bites of a chunk of apple, chewing and gagging making garbled guttural sounds as bits of apple and juice drool down her chin and onto her hands that continue to strangle her neck. Holding the remainder of the apple, he glances down at the apple in his hand, then back to her purple shaded face.
After a few moments more of relishing the anger and terror in her eyes, Rumplestiltskin says slowly, “Re-gin-a de-ar, sto-op cho-king your-self…pleeeease.” On command, her hands release their grip on her throat and Regina falls to her knees gasping for air. Leaning down on his cane, Rumplestiltskin says threateningly, “Madame Mayor, you should work on your people skills before someone suggests you jump in front of a moving truck.” Regina glares at him unable to speak.
He turns casually, strolling out of her yard tossing the apple behind him and giving a back hand wave.
Several days later, Izzy-B enters Granny’s Diner from the back to talk with Ruby in the kitchen.
Hesitantly, Ruby asks, “How are things going with him?”
Izzy-B answers, “Fine. Better than fine actually.”
Granny calls out, “Go out front and make sure the condiments are refilled before we get customers.”
Izzy-B and Ruby head into the dining area. Noting the emptiness, they continue their conversation.
Ruby asks, “How many dates have you two been on?”, as she refills ketchup, while Izzy-B refills mustard.
Sheepishly Izzy-B states, “Two.”
Ruby says incredulously, “Two? That’s it? You’re always together.”
Izzy-B stares at the mustard container as it refills and shrugs, “Yeah, but we’re not always dating. Dates are very specific. Sometimes we hang out.”
Ruby raises her eyebrows, “Gold, hangs out?”
“I don’t know if he’d use that expression, but yes, we hang out.”
With a wolfish grin, Ruby teases, “Well, you know what happens on the third date.”
With a groan, Izzy-B replies, “Yes, you’ve told me…over and over, and it seems absurd that the third date is the arbitrary sex date.”
Ruby shrugs casually, “It’s the Third Date Rule. I don’t make the rules.”
Adamantly, Izzy-B declares, “Well, it’s still ridiculous to have sex just because of a rule.”
“Have you bought condoms yet? Your birth control pills won’t totally work yet.”
Izzy-B’s head pops up from the task at hand dripping mustard on the counter, “Wait! How did you know that I’m on the Pill?”
Ruby explains, “Mary Margret heard Dr. Whale talk about it.”
Sarcastically, Izzy-B says, “Fantastic! Everybody knows I’m on the Pill now.”
Ruby smirks, “Does Gold know?”
Sullenly, Izzy-B says, “No, I haven’t told him. I’m not ready for that conversation and what comes after that conversation.”
With a scandalous tone, Ruby asks, “Why? Is he not good at stuff?”
Choosing to avoid talking about the fact that she is not sure she will like sex; Izzy-B focuses on the other side of the coin, “No. He’s extremely good at stuff. He’s so amazing, that at any given moment, I have all kinds of filthy thoughts in my head.”
Intrigued Ruby says, “Any given moment?…so like right now? Come on, you’ve got to tell me!”
Seriously regretting telling Ruby that she has those thoughts, she says, “It’s personal.”
“Please, please, please…I ask for so little!”
Talking about this feels torturous for Izzy-B. She has only been sexually attracted to one man in her entire life, and that’s Randall. At the same time, she is scared of starting that kind of relationship with him. She is completely ambivalent about the subject of sex, yet Ruby wants her to dish out her fantasies. Shutting her eyes and flushing with embarrassment, “The Nine and a Half Weeks refrigerator scene.”
Ruby exclaims, “Oh wow! You little tramp!”
Wincing uncomfortably, Izzy-B exclaims, “Ruby!”
Remorsefully, Ruby says, “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Izzy-B says, “It’s okay. I understand you have foot in mouth disease. I’m just not sure I’m ready.”
Gaping at her, Ruby says, “Iz, if you’re thinking about things like that, you’re ready.”
With her eyebrows raised Izzy-B looks at Ruby and says, “By that logic, I was ready before we started dating. I actually dreamed about us going at it in a cave.”
“Holy crap! A cave!” reaching into her purse under the counter, Ruby pulls a string of condoms, stuffs them in Izzy-B’s purse and says “Here, use them in good health.”
Blushing brightly, sounding scandalized, “Geeze Ruby, we’re not having a marathon!
“You never know.” and then Ruby suddenly grimaces at a thought. “Oh God, I bet you’ve fantasized about doing Gold in one of the booths.”
Izzy-B’s face turns beet red, “Not the booth exactly.” Her eyes lower to the counter as she bites her lip.
With a look of disgust, Ruby exclaims, “Ew, gross! The counter!”
Defensively, Izzy-B retorts, “What? Like the booth is that much better?!? The counter has the view of the wall mirror.”
Ruby squeals, “Isabelle French! I can’t believe that I didn’t know until now just how dirty your mind is. I’m going to need therapy!!!”
In the back booth, out of view, Rumplestiltskin battles to fight the tickle in his throat that compels him to cough. He knows he should have made his presence known before the conversation became explicit, however it’s too late now. His throat strangles and muscles twitch as the tickle in his throat becomes overwhelming. Suddenly it happens, the cough erupts.
The two women look towards the sound. Ruby bursts into laughter, while Izzy-B feels her entire body from toes to hair become hot with an extreme blush.
With eyes wide, Izzy-B exclaims, “I have to get to work now. Bye!”
Rumplestiltskin calls, “Belle wait!”
Izzy-B darts out the door, and Rumplestiltskin follows as fast as he can with his cane, while Ruby smirks at the scene.
As Izzy-B is about to get into her Saturn, Rumplestiltskin calls out, “Belle, please wait!”
She turns to him irritatedly, “Was that fun for you? Did you get a good laugh?”
A bit insulted, but understanding her upset, “Hey sweetheart, you know me better than that. I wouldn’t laugh at you.”
Conceding the point, Izzy-B says, “Yeah, well you could have let us know you were there.”
He explains, “I was going to, but the conversation became quite involved too quickly. If I could have exited without you seeing me, I would have. That said, you have nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Sullenly, she says, “It doesn’t feel that way right now. I just need a little time and space. I’ll talk to you later.”
That evening, Izzy-B feels a strong impulse to go to Randall’s pawn shop, even though it is passed closing time. She calls his cell phone first, but gets no answer. Alarmed she drives to his shop, noting that the lights are off, but his car is parked around back. A gnawing sensation begins in the pit of her stomach. She looks through the office window, but sees no sign of him. Walking around to the front of the shop, she stops dead at the sight of something on the floor. She turns the knob to the front door, finding it unlocked and rushes to Randall, who is lying unconscious. His temple is bleeding, and she smells a strong odor from liquid that is on his face. Her eyes and nose burn from the smell of it. Pulling out two handy wipes, one to mop the pooled pepper-spray from his face, while holding the other over her own mouth and nose, as a barrier. She then drapes his pocket handkerchief over his eyes, and with a feather light touch presses it against his lids and lashes, hoping the fabric will pull out the liquid without pushing anymore into his eyes.
In a muffled, worried tone, Izzy-B says, “Randall, can you hear me? It’s Belle. I’m going to call an ambulance.”
In a gravelly voice, he says, “No, don’t.”, and hisses in pain, trying to open his eyes.
Frustrated she says, “Oh for heaven sakes, nobody likes to go to the hospital, but you’re injured.”
Trying to sit up, he says, “I don’t need a hospital. It isn’t that bad.”
She growls, “Would you stop the macho guy thing and let me take care of you?”
Dryly, he replies, “Fine. You can take care of me, but no hospital.”
She asks, “Do you have milk at your house?”
In an instructional tone, she says, “It helps relieve the burning in eyes from pepper-spray. Do you have milk?”
“No, I used the last of it this morning.”
She replies, “Alright, you’re coming to my house. I should also call the police station to report this attack.”
Determinedly, he says, “No, Belle, I want to handle this situation on my own to get the outcome I intend.”
Assuming she has just wondered into the shadier side of his business, she says, “Alright. Let’s just get your injuries tended to.”
They arrive at her house to the sound of dogs barking in the mudroom in the back of the house. He is not surprised, yet still raises his eyebrows at her.
Izzy-B responds saying, “The contract never said my guests had to be human. Besides, I came to your rescue, so I don’t want to hear one complaint.
He smirks and says, “Yes ma’am.”
She keeps the lights dim to minimize the irritation to his eyes and guides him to a red puffy couch on which to lie. She returns with a first aid kit to clean and bandage the cut on his head and a rag soaked in milk to lay over his eyes.
Once his eyes are feeling better, she says, “Roll onto your stomach.”
His forehead crinkles, as he says, “Excuse me?”
She explains, “You fell. I want to get a look at your back.” Truthfully, it is a perfect excuse to check his back, because she has been concerned about it for weeks.
Pulling up his shirt, she runs her fingers searchingly down his spine, while she concentrates with her eyes closed. His breathing becomes a bit erratic at her touch. Just above the hips, she feels an inflamed disc.
She softly runs her warm fingers around the area as he hums his approval. She asks, “Did this happen tonight?”
“No, it’s like that most of the time.”
She is not surprised. She has assumed for a while now that the limp has been putting pressure on his spine. Gasping she says, “Oh God, Randall! You must be in pain all the time!”
Even though the nerve will sometimes pinch causing a blinding pain, just as it had before he became Dark One, Rumplestiltskin has no intention of admitting that; instead says, “It’s really not too bad.”
Sarcastically, she says, “We interrupt this program for the Macho Guy Alert…beeeep!” Then in a thoughtful tone, she asks, “Honestly, are you seeing anybody for this…a physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist…anybody?”
He responds, “If I want somebody to stick me with needles, I’m sure Regina would be all too happy to oblige.” and then thinking how much he is enjoying having her hands work his muscles, he adds, “If you want to be my massage therapist, I’d hire you at any rate you want to charge.”
She chuckles, “Just be aware, I don’t do ‘Happy Endings’.”, then she thinks, “For him, in a non-professional manner…someday.” Jolting her mind back to the issue of his spine, she says, “Stay right there. I have an idea.”
“Should I be worried?” he asks.
She says, “Come on, I would never hurt you…without due cause.”
She returns with a moist heating pad and she instructs, “Lay there with it on, while I make dinner.”
The man, who unbeknownst to her, is centuries old says ironically, “You’re making me feel old.”
“If a sore back makes a person old, then I’m old too. I screw up my back at least once every few months. Just relax, but do not fall asleep. I’m still worried about the head injury.” and she gets up and goes to the kitchen.
She calls out, “I hope boxed macaroni and cheese with fish sticks is alright. As you know, I’m not a culinary whiz.”
“That’ll be lovely. It’s reassuring that you don’t excel in everything.
She smirks, “Who says I don’t? I just haven’t applied myself in that arena…besides, neon orange mac and cheese is awesome!”
As he lies on the couch, he watches her in the kitchen. Turning on her stereo, as she prepares the food, she dances around to the upbeat Talking Heads song, And She Was.
“And she was moving very slowly
Rising up above the earth
Moving into the universe
And she’s drifting this way and that
Not touching the ground at all
And she’s up above the yard
The world was moving she was right there with it and she was
The world was moving she was floating above it and she was”
Izzy-B’s chaotic energy makes him chuckle, thinking to himself, “Yes, indeed, I love her too.” He tries to strategize when to tell her. His heightened intuition tells him that Izzy-B will not take a declaration of love in the same manner as most women. As much as he want to control this situation, as with all situations, he knows he must wait for her to come to him.
While she waits for the macaroni and the fish sticks to cook, Izzy-B returns to the couch, removing the moist heating pad and she begins massaging Randall again. It is an effort for her to remain in a clinical mode, as she find herself enjoying touching the skin of his bare back and fights the desire to kiss and nibble his back.
When Izzy-B returns to the kitchen, Randall (Rumplestiltskin) follows. He looks into the mudroom that is blocked with a baby gate, viewing two canines.
“Saying ‘Hello’ to my children?”
Bewildered he asks, “Did one of them just wink at me?”
Izzy-B laughs, “That would be Diva. She’s the biggest flirt in town. She could give Ruby flirting lessons.”
“The gray and black one doesn’t seem happy.”
Izzy-B says, “That’s Moon Dancer. Moonie decided the day that I got him from the rescue that he was my husband. That makes you the interloper who’s messing with his wife. He’s the most gentle dog around…he’s just sulking right now.”
“Are they your source for wool, if you learn to spin?”
She nods and smiles, “Yep. Some people make the nicest sweaters from the undercoat of such breeds. I bought one on eBay. It’s my favorite.”
Walking to the back door, a stunned look appears on Randall’s face, while Izzy-B purposely focuses her gaze on the food and blushes.
He observes, “The back porch is enclosed.”
In an all too innocent tone, she says, “Is it?”
Staring at her, trying to maintain a stern look, biting the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling, he say, “It wasn’t when you rented the place.”
She says, “I wonder how that happened.”
Still looking at her sternly, he fights not to laugh.
With a huff, she says, “Oh come off it! I paid for it with my own money, it increases the value of the house, and if you really don’t like it, I’ll have it removed before I move out.”
“No need. I’ll get used to it.”
Sitting at dinner, the phone rings unanswered, then the voice mail clicks on, and Izzy-B’s outgoing message plays, “Hey, it’s Izzy-B. I’m not available right now. Leave a message…or don’t…either way the world will continue to spin. Bye.”
Randall smirks, the machine beeps, the caller begins to speak, “Isabelle, it’s your father…”, read faced, she darts out of her chair towards the machine, “…I heard you’re dating that Gold bast…”, and she slams her fist on the power button.
Sarcastically he says, “Should I assume, me and dear ol’ dad will not be chums?”
Incredulously, she asks, “Would you actually want to be?”
He thinks to himself, “I’d rather mount a porcupine!”, and then says, “I’d prefer not.”
Nudging around her neon orange macaroni mindlessly, Izzy-B says in a serious and apprehensive manner, “There’s something I need to tell you, because I don’t want you hearing it from anybody but me.” Looking up from her plate to meet his gaze, she continues, “Okay, you know that my father is the town screw-up…no news flash there. Well, one day four years ago, my father was on a tirade about how much money he owes you. Of course, he owes money to God knows how many people. But, whatever…after he tantrumed for a while, he had the cockamamie idea that I should cozy up to you because the ‘attentions of a pretty thing’ like me might make you more lenient about his debt. It was pure idiocy…classic Moe French.”
Rumplestiltskin fumes thinking, “It wasn’t enough that Maurice nearly got his daughter killed back home…he tried try to sell her favors here?!?! I’d love to shove his face into a tank full of hungry leeches.”
Izzy-B continues, “Well, that was the last straw and I decided to move out.”
Uneasily he asks, “So dating me was such a repugnant idea that you left?”
Reaching across the table, grabbing his hand intently, she says earnestly, “Oh no! Quite the opposite. I knew I wanted to date you then, but with that sleazy suggestion of my father’s hanging like a black cloud over our relationship, I thought we’d be doomed. So I waited until plenty of time had passed. I kept fighting the urge to flirt with you, when you showed me this house.”
Izzy-B gets up, walking to the refrigerator to put away the ketchup. The image sparks Rumplestiltskin’s memory of the conversation between Ruby and Izzy-B. He smirks saying, “So the Nine and a Half Weeks refrigerator scene?”
She whips around in anger, snapping, “Look, I am not just some notch on a bedpost!”
Both looking at each other somewhat dumbfounded, Izzy-B closes her eyes and huffs out, “I am so sorry. You did not deserve that. I’m just on edge about some things.”
“Is this about that third date rule you and Ruby talked about? If it is, I’ve never heard of it, and it sounds like an asinine concept.” Izzy-B swirls the ice cubes in her tea, avoiding his gaze, as he continues, “Do you feel like I’ve been pressuring you. If so, I apologize. I’ve been trying not to push.”
Slowly raising her eyes to meet his gaze, she says sullenly, “No, it’s not you. I already pressure myself enough. My hang-ups are not your problem. It’s just that…that I don’t particularly like sex.”
Though the idea of Belle talking to him about sex with someone else is a loathsome thought, Rumplestiltskin decides he needs to know what happened and if it really happened or if it was a curse memory to know how to proceed.
He speaks tenderly, “Belle, I think you know how much you mean to me, and if this is an issue for you, it’s an issue for us to figure out. What happened?”
Her gaze goes back to the iced tea, staring hard at it. Her jaw clenches, as she begins, “I was sixteen. There was this football player in my Chemistry class. Regina, as T.A. at the time, paired up lab partners. He and I were paired up. He wasn’t really my type; a little too pretty boy for my taste, but he seemed nice. We spent a lot of time together and went out a few times. He paid a lot of attention to me and complimented me all the time. I wasn’t used to that…it was nice. We went up to Look Out Point to look at the Harvest Moon. The moon was huge that night. He took a telescope for us to look at the moon and some of the planets that were visible. We sat on a tarp in the bed of his pickup truck. God!…I was an idiot! He didn’t even get the telescope out. He told me he loved me and he wanted to show me how much. To be fair, I knew what he meant by that…I wasn’t completely stupid. It’s just…I’d never had someone treat me the way he did. I thought I loved him too…but in hindsight, I was just a needy teenage girl bowled over by a little attention. I…I guess I said, ‘yes’.
Unable to stop himself, Rumplestiltskin questions, “What do you mean, you ‘guess’?”
She clarifies, “I said, ‘yes’, but you know how you said that your time in Boston feels like a movie you watched? The whole thing was kind of like that, although the movie seemed to glitch, like when you watch a scratched DVD. Anyway, the second I said, ‘yes’, he had me pinned to the bed of the pickup and was all over me…doing things. It felt completely wrong. It was happening so fast. By the time I tried to say I’d changed my mind…well, we were already having sex. It hurt…a lot, and he didn’t even seem like the same guy I’d been spending time with. He didn’t seem to care that I was there. He was just getting what he wanted. It was over incredibly fast, which I guess was a blessing. I was damned lucky not to get pregnant, because it happened so fast that he didn’t bother with a condom and I wasn’t on anything. Well, things got worse after he was done.”
With his blood boiling and a sick feeling in his stomach, he asks without thinking, “How could it get worse?”
Izzy-B elaborates, “For starters, he had the nerve to be pissed that I got blood on his tarp. It was like he was surprised I was a virgin. Knowing what I now know, I’ve been able to deduce that Regina told him that I had been around…if you know what I mean. On top of that, before we went out that night, he let his buddy, Keith, know his plans for the night, and it turns out that Keith was nearby with night vision goggles and caught the whole show. Regina had been tutoring Keith and several of the other football players, including the guy I was with. Rumors started to fly that I was sleeping around. I had a couple of nasty incidents where guys tried to assault me on school grounds. Jeremy knew I wasn’t like that and became like my body guard. One day, Keith decided he was missing out by not nailing ‘the easiest lay in Storybrooke High’ and came after me in the stairwell. Jeremy showed up and broke his nose. Jeremy ended up getting suspended for two weeks and had a permanent mark on his recorded. When I tried to defend Jeremy’s actions to the Principle, the school Principle said, he was doing it to teach Jeremy a valuable lesson not to be ‘friends with girls that act like trash’.”
Her voice shakes as tears streamed down her face, and then with a half chuckle, she says, “Jeremy told him to go screw himself.”
After pausing to drink her iced tea, she continues, “I was ostracized by the girls in school, with the exception of Clarice, Mary Margret and Ruby, and the kicker to all this was, other than wanting to ‘get laid’, the guy I was with did it to make his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Katherine, jealous.”
“Wait, Katherine…as in Katherine Nolan.”
Bitterly, she says,”The one and the same. David Nolan was the one and only guy I’ve ever had sex with, despite rumors to the contrary. And now that he’s come out of his coma, I think Mary Margret has a thing for him…and I’m trying to figure out how to tell her what a creep he is.”
Rumplestiltskin’s mind spins. While he knows that this is a false memory, that the deal which Regina made with him in the dungeon prevented her from directly harming Belle, and that the protect spells that he cast seemed to cause the glitches in her memory of the events, Belle as Izzy-B was still badly hurt by the false memories of these events. He wants to strangle Regina with her own tongue…and even though it never happened, he still has the urge to beat David Nolan to a pulp. Meanwhile, he still needs the Charming David and Snow White Mary Margret to come together for his plans to work out.
“Regarding Mary Margret, she’s a big girl…and you don’t like it when she butts into your business. You never know, perhaps the near death experience has changed Mr. Nolan for the better.” Then he adds with a hint of humor, “But I’d be willing to break his legs for you, if you wish.”
Shaking her head, continuing to stare at her iced tea, she says somberly, “Thanks. I’ll put that option on the back burner for now.”
Getting up and moving his chair closer to hers, in a nurturing tone, he says, “Belle, look at me.”, she hesitantly meets is gaze. His hand strokes the tears from her face as he continues, “The way you were treated by everyone involved was deplorable. You never deserved to be treated like that…no one does. I will not hurt you. I want to date you and spend time with you any way I can. I don’t care what number date we are on. We won’t move forward to the next level until you’re ready…and when I do make love with you, I plan to make love with you. You will be the only thing that matters to me.” He kisses her chastely on the lips, then when she smiles, he makes a point of stealing a bite of her now cold fish stick and winking at her.
With a deep breath, taking a more controlled tone, she says, “On another topic entirely, I don’t want you driving tonight. So here’s what’s going to happen, you’re sleeping in my bed tonight, I’m crashing on the couch, and we’ll get up early enough for me to drive you back to your house, and after you shower and change, I’ll drive you to your shop. Then you should be okay to drive your car home tomorrow evening.”
His sense of chivalry affronted at the thought, he says, “I’m not putting you out of your bed. I’ll sleep on the couch.”
In a dictatorial tone, she says “No, I crash on the couch all the time, and as messed up as your back is right now, you are having the bed. No, arguments…that’s final.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to have children? You’ve got the mother attitude down pat.”
Sighing she says, “I don’t know. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s sour grapes…I’m thirty, you know.”
“Yeah, what does that have to do with it?”
She explains, “Women of my generation were told over and over…focus on career first, have children later. Then when we follow the mantra to fruition, some study says that a woman’s first significant fertility drop is at the age of twenty-seven.”
He points out, “There’s more to having babies than some study. The human body is an amazing thing.”
Warily, she asks, “What if I can’t?”
“If I’m fortunate enough to have an intelligent, beautiful, stubborn woman like you by my side, that is more than enough for me.”…he means every word. Though he would love to have a child with Belle and knows that she wanted to have children, the refreshed memory of losing Angela and almost losing Kenna has him a bit anxious on the subject.
Lying in Izzy-B’s bed that night, with the scent of her enveloping him, Rumplestiltskin has the best night’s sleep that he’s had in decades.
The next afternoon following a meeting with hospital administrators about a print order, Izzy-B observes Randall and Emma in an intense negotiation regarding the baby of Ashley Boyd. Uncertain what to make of this, Izzy-B later visits Randall at his pawn shop.
Izzy-B enters the pawn shop and he graces her with a crooked smile. She thinks to herself, “He’s so distracting when I have something on my mind.”
He asks, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Raising her eyebrow, she replies, “Curiosity.”
Izzy-B asks, “Have you had an interesting day?”
Hedging he says, “Much more interesting now that you’re here.”
Sarcastically she says, “Aren’t you charming?”
Crinkling his nose, “Not really.”
“So uh…Ashley Boyd’s baby?…Emma Swan? Do they qualify as interesting?”
Pretending to go through some paper work, he replies, “I have deals to make and many irons in the fire.”
She smirks, “So should I start calling you, Rumpelstiltskin, now?”
She notices Randall seem to flinch at the remark. Unsure of what he’s thinking, she says, “Hey, I was just teasing. It’s not an insult if that’s way you think. Rumpelstiltskin is one of the more endearing characters in ‘The Miller’s Daughter’.”
Raising his eyebrows, crinkling his forehead, “How do you figure?”
Thoughtfully, Izzy-B says, “Well look at the characters…the father is a jerk who is so interested in being seen as important that he claims his daughter can do this impossible thing…the king is a greedy sadist who on two occasions threatens to kill the daughter if she does not turn two rooms worth of straw into gold…then the daughter, for whom I feel sorry the first two nights, because she has to make a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to save her life, makes a deal the third night to give up her child to marry the psycho king. What?…and if that weren’t bad enough, when Rumpelstiltskin gives her a way out of the deal by giving her three nights to guess his name, on the third night, when she knows his name because the poor messenger traipsed all over the place to find out, she deliberately guesses wrong names at first. Playing head games with Rumpelstiltskin was more important than keeping her child. He would have been totally justified to take the baby after the first wrong guess on the third night. After all, he said she had three nights to guess; not an infinite number of guesses each night. In my opinion, Rumplestiltskin comes out looking pretty good in this.”
“You have given this a lot of thought.”
She concedes, “I think too much. I admit it. Now, back to the original topic; Ashley Boyd’s baby. What’s up with that?”
He asks, “Are you angry with me like the rest of the town?”
Sighing, “No, not angry…more curious, like I said. I’m assuming she’s the one that doused you with pepper-spray last night.”
“Indeed, Miss Boyd broke in to steal the contract…a contract that was completely legal, I might add.”, he says, defensively.
Shaking her head, she says, “Being with you makes me have very confusing emotions.”
She sighs, “Because regardless of what any number of people in town rant about, you have a point…she made the decision to give up her baby. For all this talk of ‘poor little Ashley’, she reminds me of the type that if the father did try to provide for the baby, she’d whine that he didn’t spend enough time with her.”
A hint of a smile forms on Rumplestiltskin’s lips, listening to Izzy-B surprisingly portray him has being in the right, as she continues shaking her head, “And well, I question my moral fortitude when I’m finding myself wanting to slap a woman that just had a baby, because I’m mad at her for pepper-spraying you.”
He smirks saying, “I’m questioning your morals on that last one too…but it’s nice to know I have a defender.”, and he pulls her in for a kiss.
Her brow furrows, “Will you ever tell me what this was really about?”
Stiffening slightly, he says, “I’m not sure what you mean.”
She smirks, “I can see it in your eyes. I’m on the right track. I watched you with Emma Swan and saw you make that deal. You didn’t want the baby. You want something from Emma Swan.”
Making a point of intently keeping eye contact, he asks, “How can that be? Miss Swan hasn’t been here that long?”
Biting her lip and grinning she says, “I don’t know, but that vein at the side of your nose is pulsing…letting me know that this is about something much bigger than Ashley Boyd’s baby.”
Cautiously he asks, “If that were true, how do you feel about that?…and me?”
Pensively, she says, “It’s not up to me to feel one way or another about it. I’m not your mother…I’m not your conscience. Just try not to hurt anyone that doesn’t deserve it…and try to stay out of jail because I’m not sure how much bail money I have.” Then reaching up putting her arms around him, lightly scratching her nails against the back of his neck, she softly kisses him and says, with her face still close to his, “I hope one day you feel comfortable with telling me this secret or any others because I really want to be a part of your life.”
Pulling her tightly against him, he whispers, “Soon, Belle…soon.”
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Author’s Note: Please review and comment. Just so everybody is clear…since Izzy-B remembers her first and only sexual experience as being with David Nolan, and David/Charming has been in a coma for 28 years, it never happened. Next chapter, Günther is back.
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