Chapter 16

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.  I’m rating this a ‘hard T’ for amorous activities…it’s still a T in my estimation, but it is heated.

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

Though Rumplestiltskin wonders how Regina found Gaston after he turned him into a rose, he decides the question is moot now that Gaston’s lifeless body is harbored under a tree. He resolves to deal with Regina eventually, but for now Izzy-B must be his priority. Returning to the veterinarian’s office, Rumplestiltskin thanks Ruby for keeping Izzy-B company while he was on his errands, and Ruby heads back home. The doctor informs Izzy-B and Mr. Gold that while the dogs should be fine, he would like to keep them overnight in order to keep them each hydrated with an IV, and they can pick up the dogs later in the morning.

Yawning she says, “Take me back to my house. I need to get cleaning before they come home.”

He responds, “No, you don’t. I want you to come home with me. I’ll send someone to clean your house top to bottom tomorrow, and I’ll change the locks. Then when Diva and Moon Dancer are released, I want all of you to stay at my house for a while. I can help you take care of the dogs.”

Pridefully, she says, “There’s no need for that. I can handle it myself. I shouldn’t hide from my own house, or expect someone to fuss over me like an injured bird.”

With a tone that is a mixture of irritation and worry, “Belle, please, for once would you let me take care of you? I want you to lean on me for now, please. You don’t have to go through this alone.”

In the morning, Izzy-B insists on going to work to maintain some normalcy. Rumplestiltskin agrees under the condition that he drive her. While Izzy-B is at the print shop, Rumplestiltskin arranges for Izzy-B’s house to be cleaned, he changes the locks on all the doors and windows of Izzy-B’s house, grabs some of her clothes, brings home his chipped cup from his shop, picks up Diva and Moon Dancer from the veterinarian’s office and gets them comfortably settled in the upstairs guestroom in which Izzy-B will sleep, before picking Izzy-B up from work.

That evening sitting at the kitchen table, they talk as they have tea. She smiles watching him drink from his peculiar chipped cup.

“Graham stopped by the print shop at lunch time.”

Trying not to seem invested, he asks casually, “Oh, how did that go?”

Sighing she says, “It went…fine. Look, I know I can’t trust him…not really. But we used to be friends, and I don’t want to totally lose that friendship, if I don’t have to. For my part, I didn’t talk about anything that I’d have a problem with Regina knowing…because she just might know something that I tell him. So he did most of the talking.”

“Sounds like a good approach.”

With a twinkle in her eyes, she adds, “I think he has a crush on Emma Swan. He hasn’t said so, but her name kept coming up…and as I’ve said before blondes are his type. If this happens, it could finally be the thing that makes him break away from Regina. That would be amazing!”

With the return of his memories he now understands the lack of control Graham has, he warns, “Belle, just don’t get your hopes up. Regina has quite a power over him. I’m not sure a new face in town will be enough for him to sever that hold she has.”

“I know. It’s an uphill battle…but I’ve gotta hope. Graham deserves so much better and maybe if he gets out from under Regina’s thumb, maybe one day we can really be friends again.”

He redirects, “On another topic entirely my match making beauty, how about we make tonight a movie date night here? I’ve stocked up on microwave popcorn, candy and sodas and brought home several videos from your house to choose from. I know how you like to watch some movies again and again.”

Taking his hand, she smiles saying, “It sounds like a wonderful idea. I could get use to this.”

“I hope so.”

Though Izzy-B is tired and already yawning, they pick two movies to watch. Snuggled together on a couch in the den, they distractedly watch Dead Poets Society. A fair amount of the movie is spent kissing and nibbling each other, feeding each other candy and popcorn with the occasional outburst of laughter at a Robin Williams line. In the latter part of the movie, the mood changes as Izzy-B cries. Even though she has seen the movie plenty of times, the life altering decision of Neil still affects her.

Rumplestiltskin presses pause and says, “This doesn’t make sense. Why did the lad kill himself?”

Taking a deep breath, welcoming the interruption from the drama, Izzy-B says pensively, “He couldn’t follow his bliss…and he saw his future as always being under someone else’s control. Even though suicide is never the answer, he was young, only seventeen or eighteen in this…he couldn’t see the big picture. Think about it, a lot of people about that age, make fateful decisions, not seeing the forest for the trees, and those decisions often have a staggering impact on their lives.”

Thinking about his own decisions at that age, he says remorsefully, “You have a point. If only people would know to make different choices, life would be very different.”

Wondering if his response has is related to his marriage to Desdemona, she says insightfully, “True, but our decisions, even that bad ones make us who we are. So perhaps there are no bad decisions. They’re just steps on our life path. As long as we are alive, there is always hope for the future. That’s what makes Neil’s suicide so tragic…by ending his life, he snuffed out all hope for an eventual happy ending.”

Rumplestiltskin looks upon her with amazement and plants a delicate kiss upon her silken pink lips. She gazes upon him intently, making a decision of her own.

She gets up from the couch saying, “While we have a break in the movie, I’m making a supply run to the kitchen, I want more snacks…”, and her heart races like a train as she blurts out, “…and I love you…I think we need more popcorn too.”, darting out of the room.

Rumplestiltskin shakes his head processing what just happened. She just told him she loves him…he thinks to himself ecstatically, “Belle said she loves me!” He has felt her love in her actions for a while now, but to hear her words is joyous, even if the little minx did dash out of the room as though her hair was on fire.

Rummaging aimlessly, frantically around the kitchen looking for snack supplies, Izzy-B’s mind races…she said it, she finally said it! Part of her is relieved, while another part wants to be sick, wondering what happens next.

Rumplestiltskin enters the kitchen, watching her scurry from cabinet to cabinet without even really seeing what is in front of her.

Seeing him in the entryway, she puts her hands on her hips and says in an irritated tone, “The organization of your kitchen is atrocious! How do you find anything?”

“I want to talk about what you said.”

Knowing full well, to what he is referring, she dodges the subject, “About the popcorn? Which do you prefer, regular or kettle corn?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

Apprehensively, she says, “Yes, I do. I said it. Do we have to talk about it? I’m not good with that.”

“There’s just something I want to say…Belle, I love you.”

Looking down at the floor her jaw clenches and she chokes back emotion, as she mutters, “You don’t have to say it, just because I said it.”

Cornering her against the counter with his hands on the counter on each side of her, he says in a gentle yet authoritarian tone, “Belle, look at me.” She nervously meets his gaze, unable to easily scurry away. When he captions her eyes, he continues slowly and deliberately, “Isabelle French…I…LOVE…YOU! I always have and always will no matter who you chose to be at any particular moment.”

Izzy-B trembles in front of him as a tears start to flow, “Really? Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I can’t imagine and don’t wish to imagine my life without you. I love you whether you’re jumping into a frigid lake, complaining about my shirts, or breaking my dishes…which you just might the way you’re running around here tonight. I love the sun that shines out of your navel…I love mind that challenges me and often baffles me…I love that when you get an idea in your head, it’s like trying to stop a moving tank…I even love your neon orange mac and cheese.”

Izzy-B cannot even begin to fathom the man in front of her. People have always expected and demanded that she be someone other than she is, however this man with his chocolate brown puppy dog eyes loves her no matter who she is. His unconditional love makes her love him all the more. She reaches up and pulls him into a tear soaked kiss. Her mind spins flashing on time they have spent together in the previous weeks, seeing Reimund and Lucienne sharing quiet moments, making love with him in a cave, lying in the snow with a strange golden man that she knows is somehow him…images dance through her head at a dizzying pace…yet this moment with him in the middle of his kitchen means everything to her. She has always wondered if she might be a bit crazy to have all these thoughts of different realities in her mind…and perhaps she is…however, even if she is crazy, it does not matter to him. He just loves her.

Pulling away with a voice hoarse from desire, she says, “You know…we don’t have to watch the other movie or even the rest of this movie. We could just go upstairs and devour each other. I’m ready now. I know I want to be with you in every way.”

As much as he has longed for this moment, Rumplestiltskin is still acutely aware of the fact that Belle is a virgin, yet she does not know she is. No matter how gentle and attentive he is with her, there will be some pain involved in the process. He fears that the pain will trigger a sense memory of Izzy-B’s false first time, marring the experience and possibly traumatizing her. He needs time…time to plan. He needs to devise a way to either get her to remember being Belle and thus knowing that the memory of David Nolan is false or at least get Izzy-B into such a deeply relaxed state that she is not overly affected by the pain.

His fingers delicately, stroke a strand of her dark chestnut hair from in front of her crystalline blue depths, tilts his head to the side and smiles softly, “As much as I want you at this moment, and I do want you, you had very little sleep last night and have been yawning all through the movie, including while we kissed. I propose that we table the aforementioned devouring until tomorrow if you still wish it then. …and I think you should take a personal day from work tomorrow. You’ve had a lot to deal with, and I’d like to spend the day together.”

“I’d love that more than you know…but Spencer will probably have a fit.”

Determinedly, he says, “I’ll make sure he doesn’t.”

As much as she is resistant to the idea of someone else fighting her battles for her, she knows that she needs this time and for the first time in her life, she has someone who honestly wants to slay a dragon for her. Thus, she pushes down her objections and agrees, simply nodding.

Rumplestiltskin excuses himself, while the popcorn pops, going to his office to call Albert Spencer. A while later, Izzy-B calls Mr. Spencer asking him if she can take off tomorrow as a personal day. He is uncharacteristically agreeable to the request.

On their way back to the den, Izzy-B hums the song, The Story. Rumplestiltskin asks, “What is that song?”

“Something I’m working on learning to perform. You’ll hear it soon enough, when I have it just right.”

After Dead Poets Society ends and Izzy-B is switching DVD’s, he asks, “Now what’s this one?”

In a somewhat giddy tone, she replies, “You’ve Got Mail…a classic romance…never judge a book by its cover story. Joe is the owner of a chain of mega-bookstores that puts small bookstores out of business when the big stores come into a neighborhood. Kathleen is the owner of a small bookstore formerly owned by her mother. She thinks he’s a soulless suit…no offense,…”

He smirks and shrugs nonchalantly, as she continues, “…which in some ways he is, and he thinks she’s a pretentious prig, which in some ways she is. While Joe works to open his mega store, destine to annihilate her store, and she works to save her store including taking a few pot shots at him both publicly and privately, they each are carrying on an Internet relationship with someone they’ve never met, but grown to adore and respect…each other. It really goes to show how you can thing you know who a person is and realize you’re preconceptions are totally wrong.”

As they snuggle together watching the movie, Rumplestiltskin avoids kissing Izzy-B too much, trying to reign in his desire and plan his seduction for the next day. He smiles wistfully, watching the movie, seeing Kathleen with the book and the rose.

Izzy-B giggles as Joe who now knows that Kathleen is with whom he’s been corresponding types at his computer putting off her attempts to meet him saying, “I’m in middle of a project that needs…tweaking.” Izzy-B squeals, “Kathleen’s the project! Joe is totally manipulating her to fall in love with him. It’s so devious…I love it!”

Nibbling her neck, and then nuzzling his nose into her hair, he says, “I’m glad you appreciate such things.”

Izzy-B sleeps in the guestroom to avoid temptation and to comfort Diva and Moon Dancer who are doing better, but still recovering from the trauma. In the morning, Rumplestiltskin slips into the guestroom, turning off Izzy-B’s alarm and escorting the dogs out. By the time she awakes, the dogs have been walked, fed and bathed, and she finds her chiffon poppy halter dress that she wore on their first date, hanging conspicuously on the bedroom door.

Taking his hint which is subtle as a sledgehammer after her shower, Izzy-B puts on the dress with red and black poppies on a white background, but she opts to go barefoot. By the time, she makes it down to the kitchen, breakfast is ready. They eat together stealing flirtatious glances, and Izzy-B playfully runs her foot up and down his leg from time to time.

Next at Rumplestiltskin’s suggestion, Izzy-B and Rumplestiltskin (Randall) play with Diva and Moon Dancer. Izzy-B notices some new dog toys, as they toss the toys around. A fleece hippo appears to be Moonie’s favorite, and Izzy-B laughs as Randall calls for Moonie to return it, and Moonie brings it within a few feet of Randall, then tucks the toy under himself and lies down to hide it. Watching Randall with her dogs warms Izzy-B’s heart.

In the afternoon, he makes tea and curiously has Izzy-B drink out of his chipped cup. She surmises that it is probably due to her amusement about him keeping the damaged piece. As she holds the cup, something about it feels right. Her finger tips cannot help dancing lightly over its features, feeling the swooping of the handle peak and the rhythmic contours of the scallops. Even the slight difference in texture where it is painted speaks to her senses.

By evening, Randall beckons her to the library, not that she needs any convincing. As she runs her fingers over the spines of the books, feeling the textures of the covers and the colors of the volumes as she walks through the room, she notices Randall has started using his grandmother’s spinning wheel. Astonished, Izzy-B walks over entranced…the creaking of the wheel, play of light reflecting on the moving parts and the contented expression on Randall’s face makes her want to enter the world to which he has gone. Even watching him manipulate the wool with his long artful fingers is highly sensual.

With her brow furrowed she says, “I thought you didn’t spin.”

Nonchalantly, he says, “I knew you were interested and you mentioned the YouTube videos, so I watched a few.”

Staring at him with her jaw gaping, she says incredulously, “You just watched a few videos and you spin like that?!?!”

He replies, “I have some memories of watching spinning from childhood. I guess it helped.”

Noticing some of the fine fibers flying through the air landing in his hair and on his clothes, she asks, “What is it that you’re spinning?”

With an impish grin, he says, “Dog fur. After I bathed, dried and brushed the mischief twins, I carded the fur.”

Rendered speechless, she shakes her head, putting her hand to her mouth and blinking wildly from emotion, she just stares at him for several moments. She says in a tone of awe, “You did all that with my dogs, played with them and bought them new toys…if I didn’t already love you, I certainly would now!”

With his trademark self-satisfied smirk, he says, “What about giving it a whirl, dearie?”, and he pulls up another stool on which Izzy-B can sit. “Dearie?” she thinks.

Though Rumplestiltskin has indeed had centuries of practice spinning, in truth, he did watch some videos on spinning dog fur, in order to be factually truthful in his ruse to lure Belle to the spinning wheel and because in all those centuries, he had not ever spun dog fur.

Positioning himself behind her, he instructs her, often hand over hand. With his brogue thick in her ears, he says, “These fibers are shorter and finer than wool, requiring a more delicate touch when drafting out from the orifice.” The fine carded dog fur floats in the air and dusting them as though they were playing in snow flurries. For the next hour or so, Rumplestiltskin is amused watching Izzy-B fluctuate between raucous laughter and curse words as she struggles to keep the yarn even. Something about this feels dizzyingly a familiar to Izzy-B, as she struggles to keep her grip on present reality. All her life, she has felt multiple realities pulling at her mind, yet never as ardently as now. She feels as though she could dive into another reality. Indeed at moments she has the distinct sensation of diving into a lake, yet it is not the lake in Storybrooke. Such feeling always scared her, however with Randall’s arms around her as she tries to spin a bobbin full of yarn, she feels safe to float among these different realities.

After a while, Randall stops her saying, “We should let the yarn remain on the bobbin overnight in order for the yarn to hold its form.” Then lightly blowing the fiber from her face where it has landed on her cheeks and long lashes, Randall kisses her slowly and says, “Belle, my beautiful love, would you care to join me in my bedroom?”

Though she flutters with nervousness, Izzy-B knows that she wants Randall in every way. Blushing she says, “Yes, I very much want to…to make love with you.”, deciding she should make it clear that she is willing to explore this new frontier of their relationship.

Entering Randall’s room, she is enveloped by the scent of roses, as she looks around and there are vases of roses on every flat surface; some are pink like the Belle Story Rose he gave her on their first date and some are of the deepest red. Once again tonight she gapes at him shaking her head, once she regains the power to speak, she says breathlessly, “This is the most amazing thing that anyone has ever done for me…and I’m so glad I don’t have allergies.”

His deep brown eyes peer into her crystalline eyes, his brogue with rolling R’s is thick and passionate, “Belle, I’d do anything for you. You are the rarest, brightest treasure of my life. I cherish you.”

Pulling a blue velvet draw string bag from his dresser drawer, he says, “I do believe this belongs to you.”

He takes her dainty hand and pours the contents of the bag into her hand. She feels the texture of various cool stones touch her palm as she stares at the myriad shades of blue, and hints of copper held together by a cord of gold. She rolls the stones between her finger tips, feeling every nuance and watching the color dance in the light of the room. She recognizes the necklace from the day of their blueberry pie lunch at this shop. Her head tilts to the side as her brow furrows. She moves her gaze to his tender eyes, and says “This is Lucienne’s necklace.”

He smiles with damp eyes, and says, “Yes, sweetheart, I believe it is. I think you were right about there being something magical about this piece.” Without a word, he takes the necklace from her hand and walks behind her encircling her elegant neck with the blue stones.

It feels as though her body and the necklace vibrate in harmony, as she has a flash of wearing it in a cave. He places a kiss on her neck and whispers, “I love you, Belle.”

Peeling the comforter back on his bed, he says tenderly and cautiously, “I know you like to be in control. Being challenged by you is one of the things that I love about you, but I need you to trust me when I say, that for this first time, things will go better for you if you let me take the lead. Can you trust me that much?”

Without hesitation, something deep within her speaks, as she says, “I trust you with me last breath.”

He turns on the stereo, playing Christina Perri’s song, A Thousand Years. With a hint of a smirk, Izzy-B says, “Modern music?”

With his hands firmly and gently holding her waist guiding her back onto the bed, he answers, “I heard it and thought of you, my love.”

Christina Perri croons,

…I have died everyday

Waiting for you

Darlin’ don’t be afraid,

I have loved you for a Thousand years

I’ll love you for a Thousand more…”

Plucking a crimson red rose from the vase on the nightstand, Izzy-B observes it has been de-thorned. He spins it in his fingers saying watch the rose as it spins. Izzy-B looks at him amused says, “I already said yes, and I mean it with everything that I am, hypnosis is not necessary.”

Narrowing his eyes, he says, “I told you a while ago, that when I made love to you, you and your enjoyment of it would be my absolute focus. Relaxing into the moment is a part of that…so my frustratingly stubborn love, watch…the…rose…spin.” She smiles and shakes her head, yet focuses her attention of the varying shades of red and changes in texture as the rose spins between his long slender fingers. He says, “Imagine each petal, caressing and tickling every inch of your body. As you slowly breathe in and out, imagine the petals infusing with your very skin, opening up to accept the refreshing rain.” He cranes his neck downward, claiming her lips for his own as his tongue teasingly beckons her own delicate to explore his sensual orifice, while his long fingers fist in her lush hair. She meets him with eager fervor dragging her nails along his scalp as his silky locks slide between her fingers.

Putting down the rose, he pulls away from her mouth and instructs, “Lay on your stomach.” She raises an eyebrow curiously, but does as he requests because in the deepest part of her soul, she knows she can trust him. His warm hands caress the bare skin of her back, as he kisses, licks, and sucks the tender flesh along her spine. Izzy-B buries her forehead in the pillow and murmurs, “Rumple!” and the gasps, “Sorry, Randall!”

Pulling his mouth away from her supple back, he says hoarsely, “No, don’t correct yourself…just let it happen, sweetheart. Let your senses run free.”

Her mind pulls her in tides of unbridled desire, as he licks up her spine to the nape of her neck, and his fingers stroke her ribcage. Her fingers and toes dig into the mattress, as his hands caress her hips. He recalls that both Belle and McKenna shared a highly sensitive spot and wonders if Izzy-B will react in the same manner. Deliriously happy that Izzy-B did not wear stockings today, Rumplestiltskin sits back, eyeing the creamy skin of her legs. His hands ever so slightly raise the hem of her soft chiffon skirt to reveal the tender skin at the back of her knee. As his thumb applies moderate pressure circling the soft underside of her knee, Izzy-B being to squirm and breathe heavily. He feels a wave of desire hit him as he thinks, “Gods, I’ve missed this!!!” As he has each hand stroking behind each knee pleasured sounds emanate from Izzy-B, he bends down to the closer knee and blows as his hair tickles the back of her leg.

As he careful nibbles the back of her left knee, scraping his teeth every so slight across the skin and flicks his tongue, her head rears up and she squeals, “Oh my God! Where’d you learn that?!?!?…never mind, do it some more!!!!!!!”

Izzy-B’s mind is flushed with dizzying sensations. She aches for him…her whole body pulses wanting him tied to the depths of her. “Rumple please! Rumple!” she gasps incoherently. Visions bombard her mind…the two of them entwined in the cave under a pelt…lying in the snow with him with golden skin…lying in his bed in a castle. Her fingers clenched around the pillow overwhelmed by it all, she needs him more than anything. In desperation she cries out, “Rumplestiltskin, I need you now!”

His heart nearly stops at her cry. In moments his body his lying on top of hers, as he tries to twist to see her face that she has buried in the pillow. His voice questions, “Belle?”

She arches into him, and rasps out, “Rumplestiltskin, I love you…I need you…please!”

Lifting his body to support his weight with his arms, he grabs her with his right hand and flips her over to face him. Both have tears in their eyes, as she lifts her head to kiss him passionately. Her hands fumble with the buttons of his shirt, and then in frustration, she pulls it over his head. His mouth quickly finds its way to the pulse point of her delicious neck. Her hands cup his backside, wrinkling the fabric of his pants. His body trembles beneath her hands as she wraps one of her shapely legs around his own. He presses himself firmly against her and she early arches to meet him as his hands pull at the tie of her dress revealing her collarbone to him. With one hand firmly pulling her should her to arch her up to his hungry mouth, he uses his other hand to pull the comforter completely over them, creating a cocoon for their love making…just has he had centuries before. Gasps of pleasure reverberate through the house interlaced with cries of each other’s true names.

By early the next morning after multiple entwinements, she is wearing his dark blue dress shirt with the black rose print. She awakes wrapped comfortably in his arms. Looking at the clock, a feeling of panic strikes her as she is running late for work, jolting her up out of bed. Scrambling for something to wear, he is awakened by the commotion.

He asks, “What’s going on?”

Frazzled she says, “Randall, I forgot to set the alarm. I’m late for work, but I’ll catch you at lunch.”

Rumplestiltskin’s expression is as though he has been punched.

Seeing his face in the mirror, she turns to him meeting his eyes with distress in her own, “No, no, no…sweety, what’s with the face?!?! Please don’t be upset…I love you…I just have to get to work.”

Reminding himself that he told her that he would love her no matter who she decided to be, and knowing the truth of it in his heart, he manages a smile and says, “No, you don’t sweetheart. It’s Saturday.”

She plops down on the bed tiredly and half chuckles, “It’s Saturday? I’m losing it. I think a blacked out a few times last night. Thank you by the way.”

Rumplestiltskin kisses her tenderly and says, “Anytime love.”

Something in the edge of her vision catches her eye, a red smudge in the middle of the mattress. She stares at his, thinking about the strange tenderness she feels inside. She thinks to herself, “That shouldn’t be there. I had sex when I was sixteen.” A rush of images flood her mind as she tries to make sense of what is real and what is not. Her mind is folding and unfolding time-lines, rearranging pieces of a puzzle. Her head feels too full and throbs.

As she grabs her head, Rumplestiltskin asks in a tone full of concern, “Sweetheart, are you alright?”

Breathing heavily, she responds, “Yeah, I just have a headache.” Then cautiously, she asks, “Have you have thought about living in a castle?”

His eyes widen as he says, tentatively, “Only if it’s a dark one.”

With a hint of a smile, she responds haltingly, “Yeah, but…it’s not a good idea to nail down curtains…someone could fall getting them loose.”

In unison, the say, “You remember?”…”Yes!”

She grabs his head in both her hands, urgently pulling his mouth to hers.

After kissing passionately, wanting further clarification, he says, “Izzy-B?”

Wincing from the pain in her head, she says, “Yes, Rumplestiltskin…Izzy-B is here…Belle is here and we both have a monster migraine…seriously, you couldn’t create a curse without a hangover when it breaks?!?”

With a half chuckle, he says, “Sorry, Belle, I think it’s because we woke early.”

Pulling a pillow over her head, Belle groans, “It sucks to be an early riser.”, and he smirks, hearing Izzy-B’s sense of humor still present.

Hours later, managing a bit of an appetite, Rumplestiltskin brings to the bed a bowl of chicken and dumpling soup for Belle. Taking a spoonful, humming in appreciation, Belle says, “We really should have had this at the castle.”

He smirks, and then his expression becomes pensive, “Belle?…What happened earlier?”

Clarifying she asks, “Why was I just Izzy-B when I woke up?”, and he nods.

Thoughtfully Belle says, “When I woke up…I mean Izzy-B woke up…um, I mean we woke up, and we thought we over slept for work. Izzy-B sprung forward. It came down to control. Izzy-B didn’t want to feel out of control. She always felt she might be crazy for having strange visions…but also, the idea of the visions being real scared her too, because of what my father and Regina did to me. And if I’m honest, I don’t want to give up the control that Izzy-B has found here. I never again want to feel as helpless as I did when my father turned me over to the clerics. We’re both here now…and though my head is extremely crowded. I don’t want to go back to being only Belle. There are things about Izzy-B that feel right to me.” Taking another bite of soup, she tilts her head to the side and says, “So, can you handle two women?”

He smirks saying, “I’ll love however many women you want to be.”

Touching the blue stone necklace, she looks at him questioningly, “It’s more than two…isn’t it?”

He shakes his head saying, “The original owner of the necklace was Lucienne.”

Belle nods saying, “I had that dream both as myself in the Enchanted Forest and here as Izzy-B.” Putting her bowl on the nightstand, she says, “Roll over. I want to rub your back.”


Belle chides teasingly, “Because I want to…and after twenty-eight years, you can be a little less obstinate.” Once he does as she asks, she goes right to work on the area of his lower back that Izzy-B fixated on the night of the pepper-spray incident. Thoughtfully, she asks, “What happened to your leg?”

Hesitantly, he asks, “Why do you want to know?”

Chewing her bottom lip, continuing to massage him, she says simply, “Because it’s something you don’t want to talk about…and I think we should be able to talk about things that aren’t comfortable.”

Sighing as she put more pressure on the area that she was massaging, he says, “In a nutshell, I was in the Ogre War, and there was a seer who was captured. She told me various things…among which was that I had a son who was born in my absence, and that my actions on the battlefield the next day would leave him fatherless. When other things she told me started coming true, I made a decision. I took a hammer and hobbled myself, so that I could be there for my boy. That’s when I became known as the village coward.”

Belle kept massaging him, but is silent for a moment processing what he told her. Pensively, she states, “That was quite a sacrifice you made for your family.”

Bitterly, he says, “My wife didn’t see it that way. She hated me for it. Actually, I guess she hated me before that, but that’s another story for another time.”

Lying down next to him, she asks, “Did everyone treat you badly because of it?”

Reaching over and running his fingers through her thick hair, he watches her eyes with intensity. He says, “Most people…but I did have one very special person, Kenna, in my life who actually thought I was worth something.” He stops short of saying more, uncertain as to how much to share about a past love.

Tiny flashes of memory dance in Belle’s mind, and she looks at him with her brow furrowed. She says slowly, “It was you and Kenna in the cave wasn’t it?”

Staring at her dumbfounded, he replies, “You remember being Kenna?”

“I have fragments of memories…but that is one of the most vivid. She loved you very much. I guess it’s something we all have in common.”

He kisses her slowly and says, “I love all of you.”

Pulling away slowly, as her fingers sensually stroke his ears, Belle says, “I want you to do something for me…no questions asked.”

Leery of the caveat, he avoids the premise of the statement, saying, “I can think of any number of this that I’d enjoy doing for you right now.”

Narrowing her gaze, she smirks, “Do I really need to swat you with a newspaper to get you to listen?”

Rumplestiltskin parries, “You are the mistress of the beasts in this house.”

Redirecting the conversation, she says, “I want you to come to The Rabbit’s Hole tonight.”

Crinkling his noses in annoyance, he says “I had hoped to keep you to myself a while longer.”

Raising her eye brows and speaking in a sultry tone, “A few weeks ago, you said that my wish was your command. I intend to hold you to that. We want you there tonight…please, it won’t take long, and then we’ll have the rest of the evening together.” Unable to deny her, as she is setting his senses aflame, he agrees to the exertion from their sanctuary.

Belle, who almost everyone knows as Izzy-B, heads to The Rabbit’s Hole early to meet her band mates. Entering The Rabbit’s Hole, Rumplestiltskin notes that Izzy-B is in her typical performance attire, red spiked heel knee-high boots, tight black jeans, a sun painted on her navel, however instead of her shirt, she is wearing his blue and black shirt that he wore before he made love with her.

With her B.C. Rich Bich Dragon’s Blood electric guitar strapped on, Belle stands in front of the microphone feeling oddly nervous. Though performing is second nature to Izzy-B, she has never felt comfortable making herself the center of attention. Then she muses that the Izzy-B part of her is likely also nervous because of what this moment means to her. Taking a deep breath deciding it is time for both of them to do the brave thing, Belle speaks into the microphone, “Now that the audience has arrived. We’re going to share with you a brief musical interlude. Music can often convey the emotions that we sometimes feel inadequate to otherwise voice. We’ve been learning this song for a couple weeks, because I wanted to share it with someone special who’s here tonight. So…here we go.”

The band begins to play the song “The Story” by Phil Hanseroth using the Sara Ramirez arrangement.

With her eyes locked on Rumplestiltskin, Belle sweetly begins to sing,

All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am…”

He is breathless recognizing the melody as the song Izzy-B had been humming a couple of days previous. As the song transitions from sweet sentimentality to passion, he feels goose bumps all over his body, unaware that Belle is also having goose bumps at the intensity of the moment.

Playing her electric guitar, Belle cannot help imagining that Rumplestiltskin is the instrument in her hands. She sings with ardent passion,

….You see the smile that’s on my mouth

It’s hiding the words that don’t come out

All of our friends who think that I’m blessed

They don’t know my head is a mess

No they don’t know who I really am

And they don’t know what I’ve been through

Like you do, and I was made for you…”

As she belts out the song full force, her face and body contorts and her eyes blaze pure fire into Rumplestiltskin’s eyes, heart and soul.

…Oh but these stories don’t mean anything

When you’ve got no one to tell them to

It’s true, I was made for you…”

Ending in gentle, delicate tones, she croons,

Oh yeah, and it’s true that I was made for you.”

When the last note sounds, she strides off the stage towards Rumplestiltskin, grabbing him kissing him deeply with the only thing that separates their bodies is her Dragon’s Blood guitar that is pressed tightly against him. Too wrapped up in each other to register the murmurs and stares of the bar’s patrons, Belle says, “Last night was the most amazing night of my, our life…you took the lead masterfully, and we are ever so grateful…” Then tugging playfully on his tie, she adds, “…but tonight, it’s our turn.”

Grinning lasciviously, he asks, “Will you keep the painted sun on your navel?”

She nods with a beaming grin, and he says, “The deal is struck…lead the way.”
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Author’s Note:  Please comment/review.  An epilogue is next.  In the next couple of weeks, I will begin Journey of Twin Souls, which will be the sequel to this story.
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