There she was walking with the other girls, giggling in the bright sunlight.
She carried her washing close to her flowering body and flipped her shining ebony curls over her shoulder when she passed him standing on the little porch of his modest home.
Her eyes, swirling with a million different blues and greens, were rimmed in thick black lashes.
Her pink lips were barely pulled up at the corners, a taunting smile that she dared not give him.
Thick, dark brows arched perfectly when one of her companions chirped, "He's staring again!"
But she didn't hear.
Her eyes were locked with his in one of those sweltering juvenile glares; the kind that promise long Sunday walks and frustrated nights lying in the wet summer grass.
Carefully he leaned onto the old wooden banister.
It creaked even with his meager weight.
She let her extraordinary eyes skim down the front of his lean body.
And then, with a toss of her head, she was gone.
"You're just as dark as I am, aren't you dearie?" he growls into her creamy neck.
Long silk clad arms wind their way around her tightly corseted waist and she presses against him.
He loves it.
He loves her.
She loves him.
"Get me out of this thing." She gasps.
"As you wish."
Stiff red taffeta pools around her ankles magically and she turns to face him.
Her demon lover.
Nose to nose.
"Take it all." She hisses.
"Can you help me?" this lovely girl with big, watery cow eyes whispers hopelessly.
She's a crumpled pile of ivory voile and thick waves.
Her engagement ring sparkles on her slender finger.
Hands like her mother….
A cold shiver passes through his body but he shakes it off and plasters a sickening grin to his ruddy face.
"My dear child," he purrs, stooping down to raise her from the ground, "I shall always help you."
Payment came in the form of a selfless young woman with eyes like the summer sky.
He hoped that she would refuse; repugnance and disgust firm in her voice, but when he heard the soft, lilting accent seep through the protective barrier of King and fiancé he knew he had finally gone too far.
"I will go with you." She said with her head so high and self-righteous it made his black heart skip a beat.
"It's forever dearie." He said in warning.
Please, do not do this.
One gnarled finger swayed in chastisement.
But she was resolute, this baby blue beauty.
Her expression said, "I am strong."
So he offered his arm.
Every day he waits for her to pass.
He knows she will come walking down the dirt lane around midmorning and he is always there watching.
He stills the wheel and breaks from his work even though he knows he shouldn't.
His heart quickens when she rounds the bend carrying her family's dirty clothes.
Her hem is covered in mud and tattered; her apron is worn and yellowed.
She should be dressed in the richest of silks, not faded calico.
Her feet are without shoes because they are a luxury her parents cannot afford.
But that face.
Even in the poorest of garments she could outshine a Queen.
Sometimes her hair is tied back with a scarlet ribbon, other times it's loose and flowing.
He longs to run his callused finger through it; heft handfuls of it to his nose.
Then one day she smiles and says, "Hello."
He gropes underneath her petticoats until he finds her, hot and ready for him.
Little beads of perspiration dot along her forehead and the bridge of her perfect nose.
The delicious curve of her red mouth quivers when he tickles her there.
He latches onto her collarbone and begins to worry the area with bites and kisses.
Never does he stop his lecherous ministrations upon the future Queen.
If that simpering Prince or future father-in-law of hers should suddenly walk in what should they think?
A beast ravishing their treasured beauty.
"Don't stop." She whispers raggedly into his dirty locks.
What would they say?
Here is the Miller's Daughter about to couple with a monster?
Alabaster legs, gartered with ribbons spread wide for an inhuman creature.
He grows hot at the idea.
Quickly, with his other hand, he frees himself.
"You belong to no one else but me, never forget that."
His hand is cupping her throat; his eyes glow with jealously and passion.
She only smiles.
But it doesn't reach her eyes.
"I don't know how to pronounce these words!"
She slung the spell book halfway across the room where it landed with a loud smack.
She hugged her crossed legs to her chest; her pale blue nightgown flowed over her bare toes modestly.
"Now dearie," he cooed, "don't be a pouter! You mustn't be so quick to let your emotions get the better of you!"
He's lying beside of her on the state bed made with cream and rose colored linens.
With legs outstretched, crossed at the ankles.
A lazy confidence held him up against several little throw pillows.
"I don't know how to do these things Master!" she cried, resting her chin on her knees.
Her dark hair spills over her shoulders and sleeved arms.
From profile, she looks exactly like her mother….
"My dear girl, that's what I am here for. What do I always tell you?"
Slowly, lovingly, he snatched curl and twisted it about his claws.
She sniffled and looked at him through a veil of nearly black hair, "That you're here to help me."
"And what else?"
He teases the healthy strand with a wicked smile.
"That I deserve to rule my own life and not allow others to manipulate me."
She stalled between her words as if trying to recall lines to a poem.
He releases the curl and lets it fall back into form with the rest.
"You are a beautiful, sensitive girl Regina," he says gravely, "and you mustn't ever let anyone take advantage of you."
She turned in the bed to face him, "How can I do that!? How can I become strong without becoming a monster like my moth-"
She stops herself before she can get the word out.
Her flawless face blushed and he cupped her powdered cheek.
"Like your mother?" he finishes for her.
Her eyes are downcast when she nods childishly.
"Oh my dear," he soothes, "you will never be like her if I have anything to do with it."
She smiled bashfully and flicked away a falling tear.
Her rosebud mouth smiles at him gratefully.
Like a child who scraped her knee.
He has bandaged her.
"Thank you so much for helping me Master, you're the only one I can truly trust."
He is a monster.
It has been so long since happiness occupied his life.
When Belle came she brought with her the colors of the kingdom.
No more black shadows and blood red waistcoats.
Shining maple curls and carefree eyes waited for him in the library, eager to read a passage or discuss a topic.
One night he slips.
"You are so beautiful Belle." He says randomly.
She's sitting on an overly large cushion at his feet, devouring another gilded novel.
Instinctively, he reaches out an aged, disfigured hand to skim through her loose curls.
He has totally forgotten himself.
Yet, she doesn't recoil.
She reclines against his calf as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
He doesn't stop petting her, nor does she look up from her pages.
He always calls on her after dinner.
She comes running from the back of the rickety shack wiping her red hands on a soiled dish towel.
"Hello." He says awkwardly, always awkwardly.
He brings flowers.
Daisies, roses, and sometimes bluebells.
Twice he brought ribbon for her hair, pale yellow and royal blue.
After the supper things are put away and she changes her apron they walk together.
Other young courting couples pass them by and smile.
Milah takes his arm.
He can feel the softness of her breast.
He swallows the lump in his throat.
"May is my favorite month you know." She says, breaking the barrier of uncomfortable silence.
"No, I didn't."
He keeps his eyes on the ground.
"Well now you do." she giggles.
"What's your favorite month?"
He thinks for a moment, "December."
"December?!" she wails in disbelief.
He smiles crookedly, "I like the cold."
Another silence falls between them as they pass the village gate.
Every now and then she presses her breast tight against his forearm.
They follow the cobblestone wall covered in thick green moss.
He daren't look at her.
"How come you to grow your hair so long? It's nearly as long as mine!"
She says, turning to face him.
He shrugs his shoulders and mumbles, "I don't like haircuts."
"Does it feel as soft as it looks?"
"I suppose, I'm not sure." He stuffs his hands in his pockets, "I've never touched anyone's hair but mine own."
She leans against the rock wall, "Well you can touch mine, I don't rightly mind."
Her small hands rest on her narrow waist.
"Truly?" he says hesitantly.
"Surely! Go on ahead!"
She laughs and shakes her hair in front her face like a lion.
Slowly, he reaches out and takes a lock in his rough hand, rough from the wheel.
This is what silk feels like then…
"Soft." He murmurs, letting it go like it burned him.
She giggles and pushed it all back from her face, "Glad you approve."
He smiles, abashed, and looks down to his feet.
"May I touch yours?"
"I-I don't rightly mind." He stutters.
Two feminine hands wind through the hair at his temples, the front of her body presses against his and too fast they're nose to nose.
He doesn't know what possesses him, but he wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her flush against him.
She sucks in a little breath.
Her fingers tangle in his chocolate hair, "Your's is soft too."
He makes no noise, he only breathes in the scent of her.
Lye and lavender from the washing.
"Would you care to kiss me Rumplestiltskin?"
"Aye, that I would."
"All my life I've been waiting for you."
Cora's tangled head is resting on his exposed chest, glittering with sweat after their love-making.
"Once Upon a Dream, dearie?" he chuckled breathlessly as he kissed the top of her head.
"I knew you would save me, I knew my life would not be wasted as my mother's had been."
"Was she as beautiful as you?"
Cora pressed her face into his chest and smiled, "No one was as beautiful as she," she paused and smiled wistfully, "she was the fairest of them all."
He stroked her hair lightly.
He traced the little ridges along her spine.
"Do you resemble her?"
She laughed musically and it filled his stomach with butterflies.
"Not a bit, I look like my father."
She sounded sad, disappointed at the end.
"I look nothing like her…"
"How was she?" he pried in a soothing tone that he had long forgotten.
Cora sighed heavily and burrowed into his blouse.
"She was golden. Her hair was the color of the thread we spin, perfect and shining. She never wore it up, even after she was married. It always hung loose like a maid. She smiled kindly when I done idiotic things, she laughed when my father came home drunk and foul. She floated. I strove to be like her, perfect in every way. I wished my hair would turn gold like hers and my eyes would be like hers, so warm and amber. She would brush her hair two hundred times twice a day, and she washed it in rose water perfume. We couldn't afford it but she was so beautiful the old man selling it would fill her basket to the brim for free. In the bedroom she had a drawer of silk ribbons, all colors. We couldn't afford them either, but the Taylor always let Mother have her pick. He would let her have bolts of fabric to make frocks too. Here she was this goddess with a little bedraggled girl nipping at her heels and a husband who passed out every evening before sunset. But she always laughed. The butchers gave her choice cuts; the baker let her come behind his counter and choose for herself. Men bowed to her in the street and laid their capes over mud holes so that we might pass."
Cora had risen up on her elbow as she reveled in the story of her mother.
The embroidered sheet had slipped down thus exposing her white breasts.
"I had all of my days with her. When my father would come home she dressed me in my nightgown and took me down the lane to my grandmother and I wouldn't see her again until the early morning. She would sleep beside of me for a time then my grandmother would come in with a steaming kettle and pour a bath. She was perfect.".
"What do you make of her?" Cora said abruptly as she stepped out of the darkness.
He was standing over the newborn heir's bassinette, pondering the fact that his lover had lain with another man and borne him a child.
The baby girl wriggled in her swaddling with an apple red face peeking out from all that lace and ribbon.
The royal nursery was silent and black except for the moonlight streaming through the floor length windows.
It was an opulent room; every detail had been handpicked by Cora.
"I think she looks like her father." He choked out, trying to make his voice higher but it didn't work.
Cora only smiled.
She was dressed elegantly in a lavender ball gown that was trimmed in white lace and sewn with pearls.
Her ring and bracelet heavy hands were folded comfortably across her stomach; she was confident in her position nowadays.
"I shall take her from you; I will turn her heart black as night."
"Yes, you may very well do that but just remember this-"
"What?!" he hissed, turning on his heels to face her.
"I know your name."
"How did you know roses were my favorite?!"
On the long mahogany dining table sat a cut glass vase bursting with fat yellow roses.
Belle rushed to them and sunk her face between the petals to inhale her most beloved scent.
"I am omniscient after all, dearie."
She turned and smiled at him, "Thank you, Rumplestiltskin."
He bowed low like a gentleman.
"Think not a thing of it my lady."
She tossed her fuzzy curls behind her shoulder and plucked a smiling yellow flower from the bunch.
"A favor." She said as she pinched the face of the rose from its stem.
Then, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to do, Belle walked up to him and tucked the flower into the lapel of his brown waistcoat.
Her white hand lingered there, pressing against his chest.
"Wear it over your heart."
May faded into June, then June into July, and before Rumplestiltskin realized it they were in the hottest days of August.
He worked on linens now, wools and flannels were to come in the colder months and that would hopefully earn him enough money for a gold-washed ring.
He would never be able to afford true gold.
Milah deserved gold.
He looked down at the thread in between his fingers and sighed, "Oh, that I could spin this damned straw into gold."
He let the thread fall to the floor.
He cared not for spinning as he once did.
He was restless these days.
He blamed the heat but he knew what the true matter was.
Every night he and Milah would steal away to the wood or a hayloft and kiss until their lips were sore and bruised.
He had never known such a feeling.
Last night she had let him lie atop of her.
Though they were fully clothed, Rumplestiltskin could feel the womanly outlines of her body.
They had to get married.
He loved her; he desired her.
Would she say yes?
He could give her a comfortable life, much better than the one she was living now with her mother and father and six other siblings.
She could have a few new dresses and pretty tortoise shell combs for her thick hair.
They could walk together in the evenings and then at night he would take her to his bed and make love to her.
He slumped against his wheel at the thought of lying with Milah as his wife.
He had a little money saved, but not enough to ask her just yet.
She would need things, a new thatched mattress, a new set of china, several more iron pots and pans, linens, and he desperately wanted to buy her the fabric to sew her wedding dress.
He had been to the Taylor's shop in the village and asked about enough white calico to fit a woman about her height and weight.
There was even a little bolt of lace that could be used for her veil.
Perhaps he could give her some of that; perhaps he could give her the world.
"You're getting good dearie, before long you'll be better than I."
Cora grinned and crossed the room to where he was seated, one long leg thrown over the carved arm of her vanity chair.
"Do you really mean that?"
She was wearing only her petticoats and stomacher.
"Well, come a little closer and I'll tell you." He said wolfishly as he patted his leather clad lap.
"As you wish….Master."
"Did you know my mother before she became evil?"
Rumplestiltskin looked up from his work table, "I knew your mother when she carried your grandfather King's flour on her back for a living."
"Do I look like her?" Regina said sweetly, flipping her long braid back over her shoulder.
"No, you have the look of your father." He said flatly.
But in truth she was the very image of her mother.
"I'm supposed to be a Queen you know."
He giggled that unnerving giggle of his and waved his hands stupidly, "So was your mother dearie! But look at how the cookie crumbled for her!"
Regina rolled her dark eyes and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her habit, "I'm not going to be like her, I shall be a great Queen and my people will love me."
"You missed a spot dearie!" the Dark One squealed at his new maid as she scrubbed the black marble floor of the forgotten ball room.
"Where?" she huffed, flicking a loose strand of chestnut hair out of her eyes.
He smiled and with a hefty swing his mud caked boot, kicked over her pail of dirty wash water, letting it flood her nearly finished floor.
So what does everyone think? Please R&R! Should I continue these little chapters in our favorite Imp's life? Thank you for reading!