A/N: I am so sorry for the delay and I really don't have any excuses for it but this chapter is longer than the first one so I hope that makes up for it!
After finding one of the most simple outfits he owned, after all it was only Belle who would be seeing him that day and the clothes would no doubt be coming off again soon regardless, Adam eagerly made his way down towards the kitchen.
He knew Belle had already made it downstairs when he heard the clink and clank of pots and pans as he neared the kitchen.
He entered the room and paused in the doorway, a smile lighting his face as he silently observed her.
As suspected she was already gathering supplies on the counters, her back to him and seemingly oblivious to his presence.
She was dressed in that blue and white dress he loved so much. It was something she wore often, as one of the only outfits she brought from her cottage in Villeneuve and the outfit she had been wearing when they first met. That day had not been a happy one but it was the day that changed everything.
Her hair was tied loosely behind her back. Her movements were so graceful and natural as she moved across the kitchen grabbing different ingredients and utensils, he would have been content to watch her for hours.
"I know you've probably never set foot inside a kitchen before but you don't have to be afraid to come in." Belle's amused voice reached his ears but she didn't turn around.
"I was simply admiring you." He said as he walked in. "I will also have you know I indeed have been the kitchen before."
"Oh, have you?" She turned around with a smile, holding out a rolling pin. "What is this?"
His face fell as he stared at the unfamiliar object and his eyes narrowed as her grin widened with every beat of his silence. He grunted quietly, "I said I have been in the kitchen not that I was familiar with its inventory."
Belle bit her lip and laughed quietly. "I am only teasing you. Come," she switched the rolling pin to her left hand and held out her right to him. "Let me teach you."
He let out a soft sigh but his face softened as he walked towards her, taking her hand.
She smiled up at him and moved over to give him room to stand beside her. "Its called a rolling pin." She explained. "It is used to flatten and smooth out dough."
She took the rolling pin in both hands and gave him another glance and raised her brow. "Are you going to wear that?"
He frowned as he glanced down at his chest. "Yes...is there something the matter? I did think it might have been too casual but you are my wife and have seen me in worse...and less…" he raised a brow suggestively, the corners of his mouth twitching in a smirk.
A delightful flush coated her cheeks and she shook her head. "No it isn't that. In fact I think it may not be casual enough...not for cooking anyway."
"No?" His eyes widened slightly. "What am I supposed to wear, then?"
Belle giggled quietly. "Oh my darling...we have much work to do with you."
He frowned in confusion and within only a few minutes of his first lesson he learned exactly what she meant.
Their hands, the counters and their clothes were soon covered in flour, much to his faint horror and Belle's amusement.
They were nearly finished preparing the dough for the oven when Belle stole a glance up at her husband.
His brow was furrowed in adorable concentration as he worked to finish what was in front of him. She had often seen that look on him as he sifted through paperwork or read a particularly interesting book and she beamed with pride that he seemed to be taking cooking as seriously as he did his royal duties.
However, in dealing with the flour, he must have unknowingly touched his face for his cheeks, chin and forehead were smeared in streaks of white powder.
He pressed his lips together and tilted his head as he finished. "Is it supposed to look this way?" he asked, turning to look at her and she bit her lip to suppress a laugh.
He certainly noticed her eyes dancing in amusement. "What? What is it?"
He looked at her with such innocence she couldn't help but laugh as her mind flashed back to their very first meal together and how he had shoved his furry face into his soup. She thought his chin and mouth covered in the red soup as he licked his lips had been one of the adorable things she'd ever seen. Her human Prince covered in flour was decidedly even more so.
Feeling particularly mischievous, she leaned against the counter and subtly gathered some of the excess flour into her palm.
She grinned and shook her head. "You have a little something on your face…"
She curled her fingers in and then reached toward him, letting out a laugh as she suddenly flattened her palm of flour against his cheek sending the white powder down his neck and across his chest.
She pulled back, her hands flying to cover her mouth at the look of horror that suddenly crossed his features.
He glanced down at his effectively ruined clothes and then back up at her, eyes wide and she snorted in laughter behind her hands.
His eyes narrowed and a smirk pulled at his lips. "Oh, think this is funny, do you?"
She lowered her hands, revealing a full toothed, proud grin. "Incredibly! You look ridiculous!"
And in fact he did, one half of his face covered in flour, some even dusting his formerly perfectly combed blonde hair.
His smirk grew into a wolfish grin, his eyes glinting mischievously as he took a step towards her. Belle let out a small squeak and then laughed as he advanced towards her, suddenly wrapping her up in his arms. She pressed her hands to his chest in an attempt to keep some distance between them but her half hearted attempts proved futile against his strong hold. She let out another peal of laughter, squirming in his arms as he nuzzled his cheek against hers, smearing the flour across her skin. As she turned her head, so did he and he rubbed against her other cheek and then started down her neck.
She let out a gasp in between laughs as the gentle caresses of his lips tickled against her skin. He slowly made his way back up towards her mouth and he pressed a soft kiss to the corner of her mouth, catching her just as she laughed again and then smothered any further sound by pressing his lips firmly to hers.
Her arms instantly flew around his neck, securing herself to him and his grip around her waist tightened in response.
He gently pushed her back up against the counter and let his hands start to wander. Belle eagerly responded to his every touch.
She was vaguely aware of their location with the hard surface of the counter pressing into her back and the scent of flour and the heat of the ovens and she had half a mind to stop him, for the briefest of moments feeling odd to be doing this in the kitchen.
The thought went just as soon as it came as soon as Adam's warm hands gripped tight on her hips and he moved his lips in such a way against hers to deepen their already passionate kiss.
Her fingers reached for his hair and she untied the ribbon keeping it tied neatly back to let it fall freely across his shoulders. Then she threaded her fingers through his hair and grinned at his audible pleasured response.
All else had been forgotten as they got wrapped up in the feel of each other. Belle had not even realized his skillful fingers had undone her apron and she probably could have kept going until she finally did feel those same fingers start to work at her dress.
As best as she could in that position, her hands flew to his, stilling them and she finally broke their passionate kiss. He let out a small grunt of frustration but instead lowered his head back down to her neck.
"Adam…" She wrapped her hands around his wrists, trying to scold him but giggled as his lips brushed a sensitive spot. She felt him grin against her skin and it was only when she pushed his hands completely off of her did he lift his head.
She attempted to give him a reproachful look but at the sight of him she only burst into another fit of giggles. He raised an eyebrow which only caused her to laugh harder. With his face covered in flour and his hair in wild disarray he appeared anything but princely.
She imagined she must have looked similar and in fact could see the amusement in his eyes, a smirk at the corner of his lips, and a laugh just waiting to come out.
She grinned up at him, hoping to coax it out and to her delight, he finally broke and a hearty laughter left his lips.
"Good heavens if my appearance is anything akin to yours, I must be a sight!"
She laughed and gently grabbed his face between her hands and pressed a sweet, short kiss to his lips. "A sight indeed."
She swiped her thumbs gently across his cheeks to wipe away some of the flour. When she lifted her gaze her stomach flipped at the blazing desire in his eyes.
He started to lean in towards her again and she quickly moved her hand to cover his mouth. His brow furrowed into a small scowl and she smiled gently at him. "We came down here to eat."
"I believe it was you started all of this." He motioned dramatically to their flour covered bodies and she smirked proudly.
"I will not deny it. However, I was intending on a little harmless, innocent fun, you were the one who went further."
He raised an eyebrow. "It is the first day I have you as my wife, you should be glad we have left the bedroom at all."
She rolled her eyes playfully at that.
"Not to mention, from where I stand you seemed to be enjoying it just as much."
"I never claimed not to enjoy it." Belle countered. "I do, in fact, enjoy it very much but there is a time for all of that and that time is not now."
She slithered out of his arms as he let out a heavy sigh. She cast a smile over her shoulder at him, "Don't you worry...you will not be deprived of anything today."
The glint returned to his eyes and he smirked. "Oh and I look forward to what you have in mind."
She raised her brow knowingly, her smile widening at the thought of what she had planned for the day.
She grabbed a cleaning rag off the counter and then stopped to observe their surroundings and she let out a sigh. "We certainly have made a mess, haven't we?"
"Yes, Mrs. Potts will not be pleased." Adam said with a frown as he observed the state of things.
Belle turned to face him. "Mrs. Potts will not have to know."
His brow creased together. "Who will then do the cleaning?"
Belle rolled her eyes and crossed the distance between them, shaking her head affectionately as she pressed the cloth into his hands. "We will, of course. We created the mess, we clean it."
He raised an eyebrow, the one on the cleaner side of his face. "Belle...I don't…"
She crossed her arms and gave him a look that instantly silenced him.
"You were the one who dismissed the staff today. You cannot make a mess of the place and then expect them to clean it all up when they do return. I believe that contradicts the point of giving them the day off. Today, my darling, we are not living as Prince and Princess but Adam and Belle and that means you and I are going to cook and clean."
She gave him a pointed look and then turned to grab another cloth and start to clean off the counters.
"The day alone was intended for us." She heard Adam grumble behind her and she turned back to him, her brow raised.
"We are alone, are we not?"
He blinked. "Well...yes...but this was not what I had in mind."
"It is all apart of life, Adam. Perhaps not the life you are used to but with me it is one you had better start getting used to."
She ran another few swipes of the rag over the counter. "You know the sooner we clean up the faster we will be able to do...everything else."
A smirk crossed her lips when he suddenly leapt into motion.
They soon had the kitchen cleaned of all traces of the mess they created, except for the flour still on their persons, which somehow, in his clean up, Adam seemed to get more covered in.
Belle could see by the look on his face that he was growing irritated with the situation but was holding his tongue.
However much he had grown as a person in the last several months she knew there was no changing some of the habits he had been born into.
She reminded herself that, despite the sour look on his face, he still did get down and dirty, doing tasks that a Prince would never dare do.
"I shall never take Mrs. Potts for granted again." He huffed with a frown and Belle smiled.
"Well she will be pleased to hear that."
"You do this all the time then?"
"What, clean? Well yes, of course. Though I do not usually make such a mess and I believe your kitchen is larger than my entire cottage."
He let out a slow breath and shook his head. "Then I admire you all the more for it."
She smiled softly and placed down the tag and crossed the distance between them to place a hand on his arm. "I am very proud of you."
His eyes narrowed slightly. "There is no need to be condescending."
"I'm not...I truly mean it. I know how you were raised and what you believe a Prince should and should not do. You have done very well today and I am proud of you for taking it all in stride. I can't imagine, what with your very faithful staff, this will happen very often so I thank you for obliging me." She raised onto her toes and pressed a kiss to the side of his face. "Now my dear Prince, I know you are just itching to clean yourself up. You may be excused to change...I will handle the rest of the breakfast set up."
He glanced over her shoulder to the breakfast still waiting to be made. "Are you certain?"
She nodded. "Yes I can handle it from here. I know when you have reached your limit and I think we both would be much happier if you went to change."
He glanced back at her and his face softened into a smile. "I do love you so very much."
"I know and I love you too...just as you are."
They shared another sweet kiss and then Adam left to change.
Almost thirty minutes later Adam returned to the kitchen, freshly bathed and dressed.
"It smells absolutely delightful in here." He noted as he walked back into the room.
Belle smiled, her back facing him. Then she turned around to speak to him and her words got caught in her throat at the sight of him.
It was almost as if he had foregone dressing like a Prince all together. He wore a plain white shirt, opened at the top to reveal just enough of his chest, and that was loosely tucked into a pair of simple brown trousers. His hair had been thoroughly combed through and removed of any trace of flour but fell loosely around his shoulders. The only other time she had seen him dressed in this way was just after his transformation and it suddenly took her back to that night. She remembered how she felt staring at the handsome man who suddenly took the place of her dear friend, then how when she realized they were one in the same, and the love and joy that overtook her and how she had never wanted to kiss anyone more in her entire life.
All those same emotions built up inside her now, with even more at the knowledge that he was her husband and she could do nothing but kiss him all she'd like for the rest of their lives.
She resisted running into his arms and doing just that. She knew, despite what she had told him about wanting breakfast first, if she did so she would not let him go. She imagined she'd receive no complaints from him but they really did need to eat first.
"What?" he asked with a smile and raised a single brow. "Why are you staring at me?"
She finally took a breath and shook her head. "When I told you to dress more casual I was not expecting you to actually do so."
He chuckled as he walked into the room. "I did debate with myself whether I should. I did feel rather naked leaving the west wing like so however, as we are indeed alone, I thought I could make the exception."
She smiled as her eyes once again trailed his form. "I am very glad you did."
She met his eyes and they grinned at each other, the same glint of desire in their eyes.
Adam began to lean in towards her and she quickly took a step back. He let out a small sigh.
"Is it so very difficult to get a kiss from my wife?"
She raised her brow with a smile. "I have kissed you plenty today already and will continue to do so countless times throughout the day and every other."
She turned her back to him with a flourish, the skirt of her dress twirling dramatically with her as she practically danced towards the counters.
"Not the time, of course." He muttered with another sigh. "Perhaps you will inform me when it is the time? That way I do not foolishly get my hopes up."
She let out a small laugh and glanced over her shoulder. "Oh you will know when it is time."
She lifted a small platter of fresh fruit and extended it towards him. "Will you take this to the dining room? I've just about finished in here."
He crossed the room and carefully took the tray from her and eyed it hesitantly as if he wasn't sure how to handle it.
Then he lifted his head and his eyes widened at the spread of food on the counters. "Do you know I have never met a woman with an appetite quite like yours."
"I have never seen so much food in my life." She answered with a shrug. "I could not decide what we should have." She pursed her lips. "Perhaps it is wasteful…"
"I am certain we can find some use for it all." He assured her and she turned to him with a small smile.
"Go on, then." She motioned her head and waved towards the entrance to the dining hall. "I shall join you momentarily."
His eyes lingered on hers a moment longer and then he headed out of the room.
As Belle finished up the rest of the preparations, Adam walked back into the room.
"Could you not wait a few minutes longer?" she asked, voice light with amusement.
"I have spent more days alone in a large and empty room than I care for. I thought perhaps I could be of use instead of waiting alone."
Her face softened in understanding, her heart once again aching for the lonely man he once was. "If you'd like…" she started to suggest but paused as he started to cross the kitchen towards the china drawers.
He pulled out two sets of dishes for each of them along with a full set of silverware. He turned around to find Belle watching him with a surprised smile.
"I noticed the table had not yet been set."
"I wasn't certain you knew where to find all of that."
Carefully balancing the cutlery in his hands, he smirked as he slowly crossed the room towards her. "As I said I have been in the kitchen before. In fact I used to spend a great deal of time here as a boy."
Her brow lifted. "Really?"
He nodded. "Yes before my mother passed. You see, long before Monsieur Cuisinier, we had another cook. I cannot say I remember her all too well, only that she was very kind and, like Mrs. Potts, had a son that lived with her in the castle and was just around my age. My father, as you can imagine, did not approve of my dealings with the staff's children but I was young and curious and well, frankly, needed a friend. I often snuck off to the kitchens to play with him and his mother would secretly feed us whatever she was making for the house. I enjoyed that a great deal, it was like a game...how many secrets can we keep from Papa?"
Belle smiled at him as they walked in towards the dining room, him with the dishes and she with the food.
She hung on his every word for it was not very often he spoke of his childhood.
He turned to her with a tight lipped smile. "That was before I knew better than to cross him. He was not all so awful when my mother was alive - I suppose she calmed him, or at the very least stopped him before…" he trailed off and then paused as he set the dishes down onto the table and gazed distantly off at the wall.
The smile fell from her face and she carefully set down the food on the table and then reached out to touch his arm gently.
He stirred from his thoughts and glanced down at her and almost at once his face softened.
"The other kitchen maids would use us to count the silverware." He continued his tale. "I, of course, was already receiving the highest of educations. I could read and write, in several languages and I could certainly count but he could not. Neither could the maids but they at least did know the bare minimum to get their work done."
Belle nodded, pressing her lips together. "Girls are so often ridiculed for wanting to learn to read and write. I was lucky to have my papa who not only accepted my desire for knowledge but encouraged it but so many young girls, and women for that matter, cannot read. It's barbaric."
He gave her a warm smile and covered her hand with his. "It is appalling but we will change all of that, Belle. With my influence and your knowledge, no child regardless of gender or class, will be denied an education."
Belles face softened into a smile and she squeezed his hand. He brought her hand to his lips and brushed a gentle kiss across her knuckles and then continued speaking.
"That all continued until my mother passed. I was in mourning, of course, for some time after and my father would not stand for anything less than the best for me. One day, months after, I realized I had not seen my friend in a long while and I tried to make my way towards the kitchens but was always turned away. "Master Adam, a Prince does not belong down here,"
they'd say. After a while, the more time I spent under my father, the more I focused on my studies and royal duties, I simply forgot about him and all of that." He frowned deeply and glanced down at the dishes and ran his finger along the intricately designed edges.
"They stayed with us, the both of them, for as long as my father stayed in residence. Once I became of age and my father left this castle to me I…" his brow creased and a look of deep shame and regret passed his features. "I let them go." He whispered.
"I kept on the most loyal of staff...Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Maestro Cadenza...Lumiere had only recently joined the staff but his work impressed me so I kept him on as well. However the kitchen staff...I had heard about Monsieur Cuisiner from a guest at one of my parties, the Comte of Somewhere or Other...and then bought him and his entire kitchen staff off of him, which meant of course the current staff at the time were to be dismissed. I had Cogsworth handle it because I didn't care to." He scoffed in disgust. "A coward. A heartless coward I was..I have not heard of or seen them since. I do not know what become of them and at the time I did not care to know."
"That is all behind you now." Belle told him sweetly, wrapping her arm around his to move in close beside him. "You are not that man anymore and the staff here know you would never do that to them."
"Do they?" he wondered, lifting his head. "It happened before, who is to say it could not again."
"You are." She stressed, tightening her hold on him. "You have changed so much that I cannot even fathom the thought that what you tell me of how you used to be could really be true. Even when we first met, you may have been a little prickly, with a short temper but you were not unkind to your staff. They all adore you, Adam...in my months here I have not heard a single ill word spoken against you."
He winced slightly. "That is both mine and my father's doing, I'm afraid. No one would dare speak ill against my father and during my teen years I once heard a footman make an offhand remark against me and demanded he be let go. In this castle if you speak ill against the master or his family you were shamefully dismissed."
"You have changed." She stressed again, moving her hand to his cheek, tilting his head towards her. "It is evident to anyone who cares to see. Your staff do see, you are not only their Prince but a friend and family, just as I know you feel the same way towards them."
He nodded with a small smile. "The only family I have known for years."
"Believe me, they know how you feel towards them. And if by chance I am wrong, which I know I am not, they at least know I would never actually let you do anything of the sort."
He let out a small bark of laughter and slipped his arm around her waist. "Yes, quite right. I will always have you to correct my narrow minded ways."
"You are not narrow minded, you are probably the most open minded man I have ever met, or else I wouldn't have married you. You have just been very set in your ways but yes I will be here to remind you when perhaps you are being a little too stubborn for your own good."
He smiled and leaned in to press a kiss to the side of her head. "I would be lost without you."
She turned a smile up at him. "You would be fine without me." She assured him.
He lifted a brow. "I would have been dead without you." He reminded her.
"Oh…" She was so quick to put some of the worst few hours of her life out of her mind. "Well apart from that."
"Apart from that." He chuckled and shook his head.
"I simply mean that I may have influenced your behavior, perhaps opened your eyes to a new life, but you changed yourself and it does not rely on my present and future presence in your life."
"Your present and future presence are greatly needed in my life." He countered.
"For your happiness perhaps but not I think, for the maintenance of your character."
"While I am grateful you believe in me I must say that I find happiness does often directly influence one's character."
She smiled and turned to face him and wrapped her arms gently around his neck. "Well then I will make certain to always be there for you."
He smiled and then they both leaned in for a sweet kiss.
Once they parted Adam took to starting to lay out the cutlery whole Belle laid out the food.
Thinking, Belle turned to him. "Do you remember her name?"
Adam glanced up from where he was placing down a knife. "Who?"
"The cook who used to work here. Do you remember her name?"
Adam frowned in concentration and then his face fell. "No." His voice was low with regret. "I shamefully do not...nor her son." He sighed and fixed the alignment of a spoon on the table. "Goes to show what sort of friend I was."
"It's not your fault." Belle said quietly and he lifted his head and she smiled sadly. "Your father kept you away from him." She walked back around the table to stand beside him.
"You said that Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth worked her with her, yes? Well then, I am certain they will remember her and we will find out her name and inquire after her. We'll find her...we'll make it right, Adam."
He gazed at her softly, lovingly. "Thank you."
She smiled as she slid her hand onto his arm and squeezed it gently. They held each other's gaze for a few long seconds and then Belle released him.
Her smile widened as she turned her attention down to the table. "You know, for a man who claims to be above such simple chores, you do know how to properly set a table."
He turned a look on her. "I never said I was above it…" he trailed off as she raised her brow at him, her lips twitching in a small smirk and he rolled his eyes. "Alright. I do pay attention to these things. I especially have taken note how my staff do their jobs over the last few months." He reached down to straighten out a fork.
"Do not tell Lumiere." He suddenly warned her.
Belle laughed. "Whyever not? He would love it!"
"Precisely. He would never let me hear the end of it and then he would get all of these ideas…"
"I know your staff are so dedicated in their work that they never would even suggest you do your own."
"No." He agreed. "It would not stop Lumiere from teasing me however."
Belle smirked as she leaned into him. "That is good, though isn't it? That they feel they can tease you without repercussion?"
He hummed lowly. "Good for them, perhaps. It is all in good taste, of course, I do know they don't mean any harm by their words but it is still at my own expense."
Belle laughed quietly and gently squeezed his arm. "Alright I will not tell Lumiere."
He raised an eyebrow knowingly. "Or Plumette...you know she must tell Lumiere everything."
Belle grinned. "I know very well that she tells Lumiere everything. Very well, I will not tell Plumette or anyone else. Your work skills will remain our marital secret." Her eyes twinkled up at him as he sighed in relief, squeezing her hand gratefully. "Thank you."
Belle nodded and laughed again before she released him.
"Oh and Belle," he called after her as she rounded the corner of the table, "you must stop referring them as my staff. They are ours now."
Belle paused and her nose scrunched up. "I know but...I do not feel comfortable referring to them as my staff as if I am somehow above them."
"Logistically you are...I employ them and as my wife, now so do you."
"They are my friends, first and foremost. You know I do not want to be waited on hand and foot. I only agreed to have Plumette as my lady's maid because Cogsworth insisted I have one and Plumette said we would grow closer because of it and it resulted in a rather nice promotion for her."
Adam nodded. "Lumiere says she deeply appreciated it and is delighted at the prospect. It is their job, Belle, and they are happy to do it. We do not mistreat them, we pay them fairly, there is no reason for them to be unhappy in their positions."
Belle sighed quietly. "I understand and I don't believe they are unhappy. It is I that am uncomfortable with the situation."
"Well as you said, they wouldn't ever dare suggest that I do my own work, I also think by now they know to let you do yours. With your new status as my wife, you may need to remind them of it though."
"I've already spoken with some of them about it. The whole of last night whenever they approached me they bowed!"
He chuckled quietly. "That is what happens when you are a princess, darling."
She rolled her eyes. "I did not change in the few minutes between the ceremony! I am the same person I was before we were pronounced man and wife."
"It is all a matter of custom and respect. For many years they lived and worked for a man...for several...that demanded it. If you did not bow to your superiors, it could be grounds for dismissal. At the very least you were seen as disrespectful which slandered your entire reputation in not only the eyes of the royal family but that of the staff as well. You, my dear, are quite unlike any other princess they have ever met. Your very presence has brought change upon this household, good changes of course, but years of rules and customs are not so easily dismissed."
Belle frowned. "I never want them to fear me."
"They do not fear you." He assured her. "It is not out of fear they act but out of respect and more probably, custom."
"I suppose I am just not used to receiving respect." She said quietly, turning her gaze downward. "As a person at all and certainly not as a high member of society."
Adam frowned as he crossed the distance between them and took her hands in his,drawing her gaze up to him. "You will never feel unloved in this home." He vowed, looking deep into her eyes.
Belle's face softened in a smile. "I do not feel unloved. In fact, I am happier than I ever knew I could be. Sometimes I do feel like it will all disappear. I have the adventure I always wanted and I know there will be many adventures to come with you starting with our honeymoon later this week and it all feels a little too good to be true."
He felt a sudden surge of warmth and love as he listened to Belle. His own fears and worries were being validated by the woman he loved - all his fears were hers too.
"I know precisely how you feel. I often wonder when I will wake up from this dream and once more be alone, cursed as a beast for all eternity. I awoke with you in my arms this morning and thought I must be in heaven."
"It is no dream." Belle said with a smile, reassuring not only him but herself.
He raised his other hand to brush a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "It is as real as can be."
"And it's only just begun."
They beamed at one another, their shared joy and love reflected in each other's eyes.
Their tender moment was only broken by the low rumble of Belles stomach as it announced its empty status.
Adam lifted a brow, the corners of his mouth twitching in amusement as he glanced down at her abdomen. "Hungry, are we?"
Belle laughed, releasing his hand to cover her stomach. "I suppose so!"
"Then by all means…" he spread his arm out towards the table. "Let us eat."
He walked over to the other side of the table and pulled out the chair to the left of the head of the table and then looked up at her with a dashing smile. "Your chair, ma chere."
She smiled at him softly and walked over laughed quietly as he swept down and pressed a soft kiss to her cheek once she was seated.
She watched him with a smile as he took his usual seat beside her at the head of the table.
They ate breakfast in relative quiet, stealing playful, teasing glances.
It was only towards the end of the meal that the tension between them became almost ready to snap.
Adam nearly dropped his fork and stared in a very undignified manner as Belle picked a strawberry off the plate in front of her and ate it at far too slow a pace.
He wasn't quite certain if she was doing it purposefully, but he gripped the fork tight in his hand, watching as her eyes closed blissfully and she let out a low pleasured hum as she enjoyed the taste of the fruit.
Her eyes widened slightly once they opened and she found him staring at her. The corners of her lips twitched up as she raised her brow. "What is it?"
He cleared his throat and carefully placed down his fork and straightened up his posture. "My darling wife," he started and her brow lifted further at the obvious tension in his voice, "I beseech you...please...may I kiss you now?"
His eyes darted quickly to her lips and his breath caught as she licked her lips and then smiled slowly.
As she slowly rose to her feet, his eyes drifted back up to hers and his heart leapt at the look in her deep, dark brown eyes.
She kept the smile on her face as she took the few steps toward him. She paused just beside him and he looked up at her eagerly. His hands moved to the arms of the chair to push himself up but her hand shot out to stop him.
His brow twitched and she simply grinned.
Then she leaned down and pushed the chair back and his eyes widened in curiosity.
She pushed it back just a few inches, just enough to allow herself room to slide in and perch herself on his lap.
A gasp caught in his throat and his hands instantly flew to her sides.
Her hands found their way to his head and she slowly combed her fingers through his hair. His eyes fluttered closed, sighing in bliss and he tilted his head back in response.
Her hands settled at the base of his neck and she leaned in towards him. Her lips barely brushed against his and his hands tightened their hold against her.
"Because you asked so nicely…" She whispered against his mouth and her warm breath sent a pleasured shudder through his body. She lightly brushed his lips again and then he let out a low, impatient growl and finally closed the remaining distance between them.
His hands climbed up her sides, leaving a trail of burning warmth and she arched toward him at the sensation.
Her hands slid back into his hair until she was cupping the back of his head, securing his position.
He let out a low, pleasured moan as Belle kissed him deeply. The fire that had been roaring inside of him since their wedding night but had been quelled during their breakfast came suddenly back to life.
He forgot where he was and all that mattered was Belle and how good she felt.
His hands wandered of their own accord and that was when Belle, once again, put an abrupt halt to their activities.
"We just ate." She reminded him, her voice thick and he chased eagerly after her lips once again.
He hummed against her mouth. "I am still hungry." He murmured between fervent kisses.
She smiled against him. "I can see that." She allowed him another long kiss before finally she pulled her head back.
He let out a small sigh and his eyes opened the meet hers and she smiled at the barest hint of a pout on his lips.
"You asked for a kiss and a kiss I gave you. Everything else will have to wait a little longer."
He raised an eyebrow and she ran her thumb lightly across his cheek. "Do not give me that look. It happens to be a very strenuous activity and we just had a very hearty breakfast. I don't know about you but I would prefer not to feel ill while making love to you."
His lips set into a frown. "No." He agreed with another sigh. "I suppose that would ruin the moment."
She leaned in to press her forehead to his. "All in due time, my love."
"Due time seems to be taking an eternity." He grumbled.
She laughed as she pulled back. "It has only been a few hours!"
"A few hours too many."
She shook her head affectionately and then smiled before she leaned down to once more capture his lips in a slow, deep kiss.
"Hopefully that will be enough to keep you happy for a while."
He let out a low hum and smiled as his eyes opened to look up at her. "You know that just being with you in any way makes me incredibly happy, I hope?"
A bright smile spread across her face. "Yes, I know. And I hope you know I want you just as much as you want me but we will just need to wait a little longer."
He nodded. "I understand. Truly, I do. Please forgive my impatience."
She smiled and pressed a tender kiss to his forehead. "You do not need to apologize and I fully intend to make it worth the wait."
His breath hitched at the teasing, seductive look in her eyes.
"You are deliberately trying to test my patience."
She grinned. "Not deliberately…"
He groaned, tilting his head back.
She laughed quietly. "Now I must apologize. I promise I will not tease you anymore until I am ready to follow through."
He lowered his head with a tight smile. "Much appreciated."
She caressed his cheek once more and then gave him one last gentle, quick kiss before leaving his lap.
Her effect on him was almost painfully obvious as soon as she stood and he gripped tight onto the chair and shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"How would you feel about a walk?" Belle asked, drawing him out of his distracted thoughts.
He glanced to where she stood, gathering the breakfast dishes.
"It is such a beautiful day it would be a shame to spend all day indoors." She went on to explain at his silence.
He took a deep breath and then nodded, trying to keep his mind off of the indoor activities he so desperately wanted.
"A walk would be lovely, I think."
Belle turned to him with a warm smile. "Wonderful! I will clean all of this up and then I must change but shall I meet you in our spot?"
He nodded again, clenching his jaw as he tried to focus on anything but the curve of her figure as she leaned over the table.
Belle was not oblivious to her husband's blazing stare. It felt like fire and it took everything in her not to drop everything on the table and climb back into his lap and have her merry way with him.
A flush creeped up her neck and heat pooled in her belly at the very thought. She never expected herself to react this way but Adam awoke things in her she didn't know she could feel.
She certainly wasn't lying when she said she desired him as much as he did her.
It was only the fullness of her stomach that kept her from him but if he kept looking at her that way, it would also be an incredible test of her patience and self control. Traits she once thought she had very much of.
Once again, Adam had a certain way of bringing new parts of herself to life.
She slowly took a breath and ignored him for both their sakes.
She gathered as much as she could in her hands and then finally turned to him, realizing then he hasn't answered her.
"Adam?" she prompted, raising her brow.
With the barrier of the dirty dishes between them, he finally was able to shake off any immediate untoward thoughts.
He cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably and his slight wince did not go unnoticed by Belle.
"Yes of course. I shall meet you there."
Looking at him, she was half tempted to bring the dishes to the kitchen and then offer to have him help her change. She realized though that would be counter productive in all accounts and kept quiet.
She also wanted to apologize for clearly working him up and leaving him in such a state, especially because she did initiate with no intention to yet follow through. However, she figured drawing attention to it would only make it worse for him, and decided leaving his presence would be the best thing for them both.
"Then I will see you there shortly." She gave him another soft, hopefully innocent, smile and then bustled past him before she did change her mind.
Adam held his breath as she walked past and then only released it when he heard her enter the kitchen.
Get a hold of yourself, man.
He groaned as he slumped down into the chair and closed his eyes.
He took a few deep breaths and tried to concentrate on something, anything, other than Belle.
He wasn't having very much luck until there was a high screech followed by a low thud from the direction of the kitchen.
He leapt to his feet in alarm and dashed towards the kitchen.
He came to a sudden halt in the doorway at the scene before him.
Belle stood in the middle of the kitchen, absolutely covered near head to toe in flour with an even bigger pile at her feet.
"The sack broke." She offered to him with a sigh and slapped her hands against her sides in frustration which sent a puff of powdered white flour into the air around her and which also effectively broke him.
A grin split across his face and he broke out into a hearty laughter.
Belle crossed her arms and did her best to try and scowl at him but the sound of his pure laughter was too joyful a sound to ignore.
He caught sight of her attempt at a pout, and with the flour covering nearly all of her dress so there was only a few visible patches of blue, her arms, most of her neck, and scattered in blotches around her face, he couldn't hold back another laugh.
He leaned against the door frame as his body shook.
Her lips twitched up in a smirk and finally she let out a few laughs of her own and her arms fell back to her sides.
The previously high sexual tension between them had effectively been broken as they stood there laughing.
"Oh, my darling," Adam said with a grin, after he had managed to quiet his laughter. "Do you need any assistance?"
Belle laughed once more and shook her head and waved her hands at him. "No, off with you...I will clean this up."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes there is no sense in both of us becoming all covered in flour again. Please, go...I will still meet you outside," she paused and sighed again as she looked at the mess at her feet. "I may just be a little delayed."
He stifled another laugh by quickly pressing his lips together and then they pulled once more into an amused grin.
"Though if you do not mind, it would be a great help if you could bring in the rest of the dishes."
"Not at all." He said past another chuckle and went and did just that.
When he returned, Belle was already working quickly with the broom to clean up the flour. He piled all of the dishes with the others in the sink and then turned to watch Belle.
After a minute, she huffed and turned around, placing a hand on her hip as she did give him a small scowl at the amused smirk on his face.
"Are you just going to stand there all day and stare at me?"
He laughed quietly and took a few steps toward her. "I apologize...am I in the way?"
"Only a little." She shot out her hands to stop him and he raised his brow. "Please, do not step in the flour...I do not want to have to chase you around the castle trying to clean up after you."
He glanced down to find himself just inches from the large pile of flour and he nodded and glanced back up at her with a smirk.
"I shall see you outside, then?"
Belle nodded and her face softened again into a smile as she shooed him, grinning, out the door.