Lacey smirked around her cherry sucker as the echo of Glass's feet boomed closer, her eyes never leaving the screen of her ancient but well-maintained computer.
She hummed when she heard him stop behind him and didn't even flinch when a rolled up newspaper hit her desk.
"Wanna explain this?" he seethed, hands on his hips like he actually could intimidate her.
Lacey held up one finger as she continued to read her email, knowing her "boss" was getting more annoyed by the minute.
"French," he growled in warning. Lacey chuckled, and turned to him.
"Yes?" she inquired, fluttering her eyelashes.
Glass held the paper to her face, causing Lacey to lean back.
"I read this morning's paper, thanks," she said.
Glass's finger slapped at a section of the paper. "I'm referring to this trash you put in my paper!"
"Trash that the night editor had no problem with," Lacey waved him off.
"I've talked to Cruella, but she's as perverted as you are."
"So, this is my problem how?" Lacy inquired with a flick of her wrist.
Glass's eye twitched. This was it. Lacey French was going to be give him an aneurism in the middle of his office.
"This," he began to explain quietly for the thousandth time. "Is a community newspaper, and you just told a member of that community to…to…"
Lacey bit her lip as Glass sputtered through the answer Lacey gave in her most recent advice column.
Well, to be completely fair, "advice" was putting it mildly.
Lacey gave a guide to pleasure, for one's self or for them and their partner, which ever they were seeking.
"Racy Lacey" as she was penned in a small, one-fourth sized space each Wednesday on the back of the Storybrooke Mirror's sports page, gave relationship, intimacy or any sort of general tips that dealt with one's sexual life. A twist on "Dear Abby," so to speak.
Yes, shocking in a small community newspaper, but hell, it made the Wednesday paper the most popular one each week.
She knew this from the hundreds of emails—good and bad—she got each week, depending on just how "degrading" the column was that week.
The process was simple: someone would send her an email with their problem (sex wasn't good anymore, she doesn't know I exist, he doesn't know I exist, something like that) and Lacey would write back with a suggestion. A handful of the emails (usually the most sexual one) would go in the Wednesday's paper, and Belle would spend the rest of the day going through the flood of emails that either bashed her for her "sinful" ways or wanted advice for their own conundrums.
This week was no different.
With a smirk, she snatched the paper from Glass's hands when he could find the words to describe her latest round of advice.
"Dear Racy Lacey," she began, dodging Glass's grab.
"I haven't slept with my husband in nearly five months! And I'm starting to worry he's no longer attractive to me!"
Lacey jumped on the desk of another journalist, a true feet in her heels.
"We've been so busy with our jobs and children, we're so tired during the week, so last weekend I sent the kids to their grandparent's house, put on something flattering, and thought we were set, but he just went straight to bed! What's happening to us?"
Signed: Bland Bedroom
Just as Glass was ready to take a stapler to her ankle, Lacey jumped down and began zagging through desks to keep away.
"Dear Bland Bedroom, my advice is to put on your sexiest high heels—"
"Put one on his chest—"
"I'm warning you!"
"And ride him until he's spent."
Lacey threw herself back in Glass's chair, lightly panting as Glass struggled for his breath at her.
"Remind him that you are a goddess among worshipers and he should be worshipping you, every night on his knees, preferably."
Lacey met Glass's heated glare and causally handed the paper back to him.
"Best luck to you, Racy Lacy."
Glass snatched the paper back, kicking his office door closed from all spectators.
Lacey shrugged. "I prefer imaginative."
Glass took in a deep breath. Lacey could practically see his blood pressure slowly drop down to normal.
Lacey waved him off as she spun in his chair. "No I'm not."
"Yes you are."
"No, I'm not." Lacey pushed with a chuckle. "People like what they're reading, and they like it more when it gets a little…sultry."
Glass groaned, a second away from busting a blood vessel.
He knew good and well Lacey's M-rated columns helped keep subscribers sending in those monthly checks, but he couldn't help it if some of those subscribers happened to be a bit more persuasive of what should and shouldn't go into their community paper.
"The truth is Lace…Regina called again."
Lacey's smirk melted into a scowl.
"So what?" Lacey shrugged, trying to hide the uneasiness bubbling in her gut. "Hasn't her majesty ever heard of first amendment rights?"
"Easy," Glass warned, more than certain that the walls had ears that led straight to Mayor Mills.
"No," Lacey scoffed. "I'm not going to let her dictate what I write, and neither should you!"
"That woman has the ability to sway this town any direction she chooses, and she might just persuade them to chase you out of town."
"Oh please," Lacey spat, though she wasn't foolish not to take such a threat lightly.
Glass groaned, exhausted already. Dealing with the mayor and then one of his most hard-headed employees would put anyone out, but he needed to find a solution to appease both sides.
Lacey was talented. Sultry, yes, but she had skills befitting a feature writer.
The advice columns were easy income for the paper, but a target for mockery for Storybrooke's more conservative residents.
It would seem the mayor was only getting involved to settle them, her biggest supporters and the ones who primarily funded her mayoral campaign each year.
"Look," Glass said. "For modesty's sake, can you try to write something nice for next week? Why not just a simple advice piece on…anything!"
"If people wanted advice, they'd go to Hopper," Lacey pouted, leaning her head back in the chair.
Lacey glanced at the man who was technically her boss. She'd always thought he looked like a bulldog, expressionless and kind of dumb, but loveable.
"I'm not publishing any fluff," Lacey affirmed.
"That's not your call," Glass replied with a dry smile. "Just keep it PG and we might live to see another edition."
"If by PG you mean post-coital gratification than—"
Lacey snickered before sliding out of his chair. "I'll…attempt to be civil," her smiled faded for a moment, her eyes going dark, "But no promises."
Glass sighed, knowing that was as good as he was going to get for now.
"Have something on my desk by Monday," he said as he began to leave his office. "And get your boots off the desk."
Lacey dropped one boot, keeping the other firmly stacked on yesterday's paper in defiance.
This was ridiculous! Who the hell was the mayor, telling her what she could and could not write!
"Probably the closest thing to sex she ever gets," Lacey snorted to herself.
With an exaggerated groan, she heaved herself upright, lazily logging into her work email from Glass's computer (he'd be pissed later but so be it).
She scrolled through the dozens of emails she received from Storybrooke's secretly lewd citizens, as well as the ones condoning what she did for a living (including a particularly lengthy one from Mother Superior.)
Of course, they signed their letter with a penname or a name surrounding their problem, such as "No Longer Interested" or "Spice it up or Give it up?"
She went through a few of them, but had to decline writing on them. They were sex-related, and already tempting her to screw what Glass or Regina or anyone else said and reply to them.
"Ugh," she moaned, sorrowfully scrolling past the deliciously sinful emails.
Just as she was ready to shut down the computer, a few choice words at the subject line of the email.
Alone in Storybrooke wrote:
Dear Racy Lacey,
Your mind is brilliant, in both your columns and in your day to day life.
I see you time to time in town, and I'm instantly drawn in, like a month to a flame.
Your courage to stand up to this town is admirable, as brilliant as a warrior on a battlefield.
Your outer beauty as well isn't without comment.
Brown hair, beautiful blue eyes and an unforgettable accent…and legs for days I may add.
Reading your columns every week is equivalent to sampling the finest of erotica the world has ever known, I hope to enjoy them…and perhaps one day you…in the future.
Lacey blinked, the twinge of pink that had spread over her cheeks heating her entire face.
It would seem she had an admirer, well another one that is.
She had her fair share of fan mail, some of which cusped on downright creepy, and there had been a time or two she had left a tip on Sheriff Graham's desk.
Yet this was more…flattering. Abet, a bit strange, but still worthy of a hearty reply.
She cracked her knuckles, ready to reply to this fellow. Her current task could wait.
As she highlighted the name of the penname, her eyes caught the email address, which looked terrifying familiar.
Lacey's stomach lurched.
She hovered her mouse over the email address and her worst fear was confirmed.
Mr. Augustine Gold. The beast of Storybrooke who owned every piece of property within the town line.
And her landlord.