Authors Note: "Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos." – Snoopy

Once upon a time, a few years ago I was working as a ranch hand at a resort near a National Park in a southwestern state that we like to call Zion. I convinced the desk lady to give me the password to the guest computers that were downstairs of my bunk house. And every night that summer I would open up a blank email and write down a few pages of the first three chapters of this monster of a fan fiction. At the time I was sure it would be finished by the end of the summer. Best laid plans of mice and men, right? This has been a lllllloooooooooooonnnnnggg journey. I don't know if anyone has followed this the whole time but for those that are still reading this, I give you my up most respect. You are true friends.

I think the best thing that has come of this was the fact that now I know that I can actually finish something this gigantic. It may not be the best but it's still something and I'm proud of it.

I love Beauty and the Beast very much, and even though I will probably move onto other things I'm glad I wrote this. I'm glad that I had something to keep me close to my most favorite story. It doesn't mean this is how I envision the movie or the original story or anything, but it can now be added to my collection of Beauty and the Beast mementos. And I give you permission to do the same.

I will probably not write another Beauty and the Beast fanfiction here. Never say never, I may change my mind. I actually want to start writing real novels that I can actually have published and see on a Wal-Mart shelve next to all the other cheap teen romance junk. But I want you to know that this was my first full-length writing experience and I am proud of myself.

As always I ask you to forgive my mistakes, for I have made many. If I could go back I would change a few things. Perhaps make it shorter. I wouldn't set it in France because I have no desire to be historically accurate. I would have just made up some silly country like the one in the Princess Diaries and then perhaps everyone would have bought that.

HOWEVER, I still would have named him Christian. I hate Adam. I think it's a stupid name and it isn't any more legitimate then the one I chose. There is NO proof that Adam was his official name. Some doofus made that up and everyone believed it. When Linda Woolverton, makes the official announcement, THEN I will believe it. Until then everyone needs to stop trying to convince me otherwise (end rant.)

Those things aside I will miss this. It's been a hobby for me to turn to for so long I am going to have to fill it up with a lot of other things for a while.

Thank you very much for your reviews and your encouragement. It has been a pleasure.

I hope you will all give long reviews for this and end it with a smile. I know I did. And besides it's your last chance to tell me how you really feel.

Enchantingly Yours,


Inspiration from this came from Awake by Secondhand Serenade but I want to give a special shout out for the song The Beauty and the Tragedy by Trading Yesterday. Sunshine Girl recommended it to me and I think it's just beautiful. Check them both out.

With every appearance by you, blinding my eyes,
I can hardly remember the last time I felt like I do.
You're an angel disguised.

And you're lying real still,
but your heart beat is fast just like mine.
And the movie's long over,
that's three that have passed, one mores fine.

I'm trying real hard not to shake. I'm biting my tongue,
but I'm feeling alive and with every breathe that I take,
I feel like I've won. You're my key to survival.

And if it's a hero you want,
I can save you. Just stay here.
Your whispers are priceless.
Your breathe, it is dear. So please stay near.

Say my name. I just want to hear you.
Say my name. So I know it's true.
You're changing me. You're changing me.
You showed me how to live.
So just say. So just say,

That you'll stay awake for me.
I don't wanna miss anything.
I don't wanna miss anything.
I will share the air I breathe,
I'll give you my heart on a string,
I just don't wanna miss anything

Chapter Forty-Four: Awake

It was morning. He noted it with an exasperated grunt. Christian was just inside that place in sleep where he couldn't tell you where he was or who he was exactly. He was lost in a blissful white haze that was slowly coming to an end and he desperately didn't want to go back to whatever it was he was supposed to go back to.

The sun was shining in through the windows and was running her warm tendrils across his bare skin, teasing him and bringing him back to a place of consciousness. This caused a coherent thought to pierce the hazy wall that separated him from reality. 'I closed the currents on those windows. Why are they open again?'

This led to another muzzy thought and then another until finally his brain was slowly finding its way back to reality.

Unfortunately Christian found out quickly that waking up was going to be painful. His head took the opportunity to tell him how hung-over he was. From the state of the pounding in his skull he would have guessed quite a bit.

Even though he still couldn't think very clearly, his subconscious thoughts were attached to the feelings he would have felt if he could just bring his head to order. He knew that somewhere in there he was deeply happy. He was in his bed, he was aware of that by this point. It was rather frigid outside and someone had opened his window, he knew that too.

He was also beginning to see images in his brain from what he was sure were his goings on's from the previous night. As far as his tired brain could comprehend it was a night far too good to be true.

With a sigh he reached his hand over towards her. If his jumbled memory was telling him the truth then he could wake up to her beautiful smell before she got dressed for the day.

The bed on the left side was empty.

Christian's heart froze in his chest. He reached further, stretching his stiff muscles as far as his arm would allow. Not only was the bed empty, it was cold. With effort he cracked an eye open. It was agony as the light hit his retina and he had to squeeze it shut again before he could actually see. The bed was made perfectly on the left side. No one had slept there. It was undisturbed.

Christian felt a wave of nausea that had nothing to do with his hang-over.

She wasn't here. He was putting it together slowly. The headache was caused from too much drinking. He couldn't even remember drinking all that much at the celebration but he must have because he had clearly hallucinated an entire evening with Belle that hadn't happened.

For a moment he didn't move. Then, unable to stand the sight of the empty bed he closed his eyes shut and willed them to never open again.

"Oh God" he moaned softly and there was a timbre to his voice that he would have hidden if he had thought someone would hear. Without thinking he curled in on himself and buried his hands inside his horribly tangled hair. The sheets and blankets were twisted every which way and he couldn't seem to get enough of them to cover his naked back so that he could smother himself.

'How could you have been so stupid?" he berated himself. 'How could you have imagined a whole night with her!'

Without thinking he let out a startling cry and tugged hard on his hair, hoping most of it would come out. 'What are you going to do now, you stupid fool! You stupid, drunken son of a-'

But he never got to finish that thought. There was a hurried swishing sound of bare feet rushing through the carpet and then cold fingers running along his shoulder blade. It had the same effect of someone dumping ice water on his bare skin. Exhausted and wine-addled he had not even smelled or sensed another person in the room with him. Instantly the animal in him kicked in and let out a startled yelp that sounded much like a dog being kicked. Suddenly hands and feet were flying everywhere. He heard her voice as she scuttled away with a frightened shriek, clearing the space where he was tossing sheets and kicking wildly to untangle himself from the strangling bed. With his heart up in his throat he came to a stop on top of his pillows with his back pressed against the headboard. One blanket was covering his left leg and part of his torso but the rest of him was completely naked.

And there she was, standing a good ten paces away from the bed. She had one hand wrapped around her stomach, the other on her heart, a look of fear on her face. Her hair lay loose and tangled down her back and over her shoulders and her lips were pink and swollen from the previous night. Despite his shock, Christian noticed right away that she wasn't wearing her traditional dressing gown. She was wearing one of his white shirts. It was a clean one, from what he could smell and it was so large on her that another whole person her size could have fit into it with her. The hem came almost to her knees and the sleeves covered her hands entirely.

With wide eyes she looked at him as they both breathed rapidly. Sucking in a deep breath she cocked her head to the side expectantly.

"Are you alright?" she asked, her voice shrill.

He still hadn't quite grasped the situation. His head was pounding and there were glimmering stars in front of his eyes that made her look like she was glowing. His chest rose and fell and he tried to swallow but didn't quite manage it.

"What are you doing here?" was all he was able to gasp out.

She looked around the room, confused and then back at his equally confused face.

"You….you asked me to stay." With caution she took a step in his direction. He had that wild animal look on his face, as if he wasn't entirely in control of his instincts. The ones that told him to either run away or start fighting with claws and teeth.

He shook his shaggy head, still trying to clear it from the haze and then looked at her with genuine confusion. Turning his head he gazed down at the other side of the bed to see that it was still made up perfectly as he had felt it. For all to see it looked as if no one had slept there at all.

"I know…" he murmured glancing back at her as if he couldn't quite believe she was actually standing there "…but…you're still here…"

She inched closer to him so that she was in reaching distance. He seemed more or less in control of himself, if a bit dazed still. She put a hand up in a soothing manner and it would have done just that were it not for the look of worry playing on her features.

"Would you….Do you want me to leave?" She asked her voice small and strained.

Christian immediately snapped out of his daze at her words. With a started, "No!" he reached out his arms at a speed quicker then she could follow and wrapped them violently around her waist. Then jerked her hard onto his lap and held her tightly there, pressed against his bare chest. The movement had caused his shirt she was wearing to get caught around his arm and fold upwards so that her body was exposed from right underneath her armpits on down. He buried his face in her hair and breathed in copious amounts of her thick unwashed scent. It was perfect and he sniffed several times to try and breath it all in before it went away.

"No," he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut as his headache continued to pound in his brain. "You're staying here with me forever."

She tried to adjust herself to a more modest position. This was hard as he had a grip on her that would have shamed a python.

"We have to get up at some point, you know. It's almost noon..."

"Shhhhh" he whispered into her hair, trying not to think about dates or times or anything really.

"We have guests that are awaiting our attention." She continued as if she hadn't heard him. By this point she was in a more comfortable position, lounging on his lap. Though her make-shift nightshirt was still not covering places she would rather have covered.

"Shh Belle." Christian said more firmly. "Don't ruin this."

She let out a breath of exasperation as she tried to untangle his arm from the hem of her shirt.

"Not to mention we have a wedding in three months." She finished just as he pulled the sheets around the two of them like a cocoon.

"Shh Belle!" He repeated, finally opening his eyes. "Stop ruining this!"

She let out a laugh and allowed him to hold her tightly. Neither spoke as she ran her fingertips along his exposed thigh.

"You didn't think I was going to be here in the morning." She said after a few moments.

It was meant to sound musing but it just came out sounding the way she felt, hurt.

He sighed deeply and tried to keep the pain out of his own voice. "You don't understand. I have awoken a thousand mornings only to find that I have misplaced you. I have missed you so much that sometimes I really believed you would be right there next to me.

But you were not…"

Deep frown lines etched themselves into Belle's face. "I would have if you would have let me."

Christian only held her tighter. "I know."

And with that, the cloud drifted off her face. No more argument, no self-depreciation, just an acknowledgment. That was all that she needed.

"Why weren't you in bed with me when I woke up?" Christian finally asked in a reproachful voice. "You nearly made my heart stop beating."

Belle twisted around to look at him in the face. "I have always awoken before you do. I was just sitting over there by the window."

She pointed in the direction of the window seat where the source of the cold draft was coming from. She had opened it up just a crack and sunlight was streaming in through the clear glass.

He instantly felt stupid and gave a dejected "Oh" before becoming silent again. He found that if he didn't talk, his head hurt less.

To his surprise she let out a soft chuckle and reached her hand up to stroke his hair.

"How is your head?" She murmured as her fingers trailed down his chest.

"It feels like I'm being beaten with a hammer."

She laughed and looked over at the window. "Would you like some tea?"

He followed her gaze to several breakfast trays that had been set on his desk, filled with an assortment of foods and drinks that both Christian and Belle were particularly fond of.

"Did you go to the kitchens to get those?" he asked cautiously, mentally picturing her walking down there in his over-sized undershirt and bare feet. He didn't like the idea of the servants ogling at her naked legs and rumpled hair. Those were his and only his to ogle at.

She snorted derisively. "Hardly. The servants knocked on the door early this morning and when I went to open it they were peaking around the corner of the corridor thinking I wouldn't see them. I am surprised you didn't hear them, they were making quite a ruckus."

Christian watched as she untangled herself from his lap and straitened out the shirt so that it covered her female parts and then walked over to the trays of food. He made particular note of the way her calves flexed when she walked and how the shirt hem ended so maddeningly over her thighs. The whole thing made him want to pull the shirt off as he was staring, though how he could think of things like that with his head pounding the way it was is anyone's guess.

"I guess I had a little too much to drink last night. But even so, I wish the servants weren't so nosy. What? Do they stay up all night together recording our whereabouts? How did the cooks know you were even in here?"

Belle poured Christian some lemon and ginger tea, plopping in a spoonful of honey and turned to look at him with a knowing smile.

"Well, you did make a rather roughish display last night. What, with the sweeping me away in your arms right in front of my ladies."

"I was trying to be romantic." He replied grumpily, accepting the teacup she offered him.

"And you did a marvelous job." She answered condescendingly as she settled herself in the space between his legs and up against his chest. "You know, they already fancy you enough without you making yourself more appealing when you do things like that."

"They can hang it. They don't even know what romantic is."

Belle looked away towards the window and curled a lock of her hair around her index finger. "No they don't." she murmured, trying not to think too hard about the happenings of only a few hours prior.

Changing the subject she felt Christian take several sips of his tea.

"Though, I must say, I think we need to moderate your drinking, dear. This can hardly be good for you."

Christian looked around the room to see the two empty wine bottles lying on the floor next to their discarded clothing he had tossed around the room in his struggle to remove them from their bodies. The third bottle was opened but barely touched and setting on the nightstand. He nodded his head and then rested his chin on her mess of hair.

"You're probably right." Then with a sad little sigh he set his empty teacup on the nightstand and lifted the full wine bottle. Humming a sad funeral dirge, he turned the bottle upside down over the chamber pot.

"Good-bye old friend, I am not sad to say I will no longer need you." The bottle made a funny chugging noise as it emptied out. Then Christian tossed it onto the floor with the others and enjoyed the way Belle's body moved against his as she silently laughed.

"That was a little dramatic, don't you think?" she finally said.

He just shrugged his shoulder and looked down at her. "I don't know if I can do anything without it ending up being overly dramatic."

She smiled at this and reached for his hand and twined her fingers into his. "I don't think I mind all that much, most of the time."

A moment or two passed as they sat together on the bed. Slowly Christian's headache began to dissipate and he relaxed his neck and shoulders against the mountain of pillows underneath and behind him.

"I am sorry we weren't able to get to all the other things on your list last night. They all sounded wonderful."

Christian laughed softly and rubbed the rough stubble on his face.

"I don't mind. We were rather preoccupied with other things last night."

Belle nodded in agreement. "Perhaps we can make up for them today. For example, I am sure the remaining guests would not mind a small dance after dinner this evening. That is, if you would like to come."

Christian smiled and looked down at her. "Are you asking me to join you for dinner tonight?"

She looked up at him and smiled back. "I suppose I am. Will I have to break down the door to get you to come?"

He wrapped his arms around her middle gently. "Doubtful, but then you never know in this castle."

She licked her dry lips, "I think I will need a bath first."

Immediately Christian shook his head. "No bath."

She glanced up at him. "Why?"

"I like the way you smell now." He breathed in her hair and smiled serenely to himself.

"You smell like sunshine and summer and when you take your baths your ladies rub those disgusting oils on your skin and then I can't smell the real you anymore."

Belle laughed out loud and shook her head. "You are your nose."

"Hmmm, better to smell you with, my dear." He answered playfully.

Pressing herself more firmly into him she sighed.


"Hmm?" he answered contentedly.

"I do have a secret I need to tell you."

"What?" he replied, confused.

"You said last night that we would share secrets. Well, I do have one I have been meaning to tell you."

The timid tone in her voice instantly made Christian sit up and pay careful attention to her. His mind became alert and he immediately began to tell himself that whatever it was she was going to say, it wouldn't change anything between them.

"Is it good or bad?" he finally asked.

"I… don't know."

"What is it?"

"Do you promise not to get angry?"

"Belle, what is it?"

She took a deep breath and looked away from him.

"Do you remember the night we met?"

He blinked several times and tried to think on what she could be talking about.

"Yes, how could I forget it?"

She ignored his question. "Do you remember asking me to dinner?"

Again he paused, wondering where she was going with this. "Yes… You locked yourself in your room and said you…." He paused. They rarely talked about their first encounters as it always brought painful feelings.

"You said you didn't want to…get to know me. You didn't want to have anything to do with…me."

Belle felt instantly guilty for bringing this up after they had been so happy sitting together in his room. But she plunged on anyways.

"Yes, you do remember, obviously. That was only partly true."

"What do you mean?"

"I was angry with you for locking my father up and keeping me here but… I also…. I also didn't want to come down to dinner because…..because I thought you were going to eat me."

There was dead silence between the two for almost a full minute. Then, quite suddenly, Christian moved around her quickly so that he was in a position right in front of her, the sheets wrapped around his middle and legs. He looked at her incredulously.

"You thought I was going to eat you?"

She nodded her head sheepishly and looked down at her hands.

"What was I supposed to think? You were a beast asking me to dinner!"

Christian shook his head in disbelief and looked at her as if he couldn't believe his ears.

"Yes, but, if I had wanted to eat you, don't you think I would have started with your father first?"

She gave him a look. "You ate other things. You told me so yourself."

"Animals! Not people! What kind of a monster did you take me for?" This was a ridiculous question and he knew it before it even left his lips.

She cocked her head to the side. "Do you really want me to answer that question?"

He paused for a second and then shook his head again. "No, not really."

"You cannot tell me you didn't think I would taste delicious?" She suddenly had a sly smile on her face. "You did say I smelled like summer, perhaps I taste like it too."

He looked up at the ceiling as if he was preying for strength. "I cannot believe you would think that I was some type of cannibal."

"Now, I asked you to promise not to get angry, remember? Besides, I didn't know you were human then."

He looked back down at her. "You think this is funny, don't you?"

She put on a face of complete seriousness. "Absolutely not. I have been harboring this for years. It didn't even cross your mind once?"

He looked at her from the corner of his eyes. "No, but now that you mention it, you do smell rather mouthwatering."

And then, without any type of warning, Christian moved his body with such speed that Belle hardly realized what he was doing until he had pouncing on her. She lay flat on her back in the same spot he had been sleeping in. One leg was on either side of her hips, both palms flat down on either side of her head.

"Now, let's see." He murmured before leaning down and gently biting down on her upper right arm. He continued to bite her softly down her arm, on her stomach and back up to her neck. When he reached her throat he paused for a second and with a wicked smile on his face he licked her all the way from her jaw to her hair line leaving a trail of spit in his wake.

She let out a disgusted shriek and attempted to push him off of her. He laughed out loud and flopped over onto his side, propping himself up onto his elbow.

"Mmmm, positively delicious."

She used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe off the spit from her face and gave him another disgruntled look.

They sat like that until his laughter subsided. She returned his smile after a few moments and watched him as what looked like years of age left his face, reminding her of the day she first met him as a human and how beautiful he was then.

"There you go. That was the only secret I kept from you. Now you know everything there is to know about me."

"Is that so?" he asked with a grin.

She nodded her head and was beginning to see the positive side of staying in bed with him all day. Apparently he was starting to rub off on her.

Gradually his face started to become serious as he looked at her. He reached out a hand to cup her cheek and some emotion akin to pain floated across his face.

"I can't do this without you anymore."

She reached out a hand to hold his cheek in return.

"Then don't."

"I don't think I could go back to my life the way it has been. Not after last night."

"I don't think I could either." She replied in kind.

He paused for a moment and then continued. "I am going to take you away for a little while. Take you to see those places you used to dream about before I trapped you in this castle again."

"I wasn't trapped in this castle, Christian. We started a family."

"I know that. But I should have taken you with me. There are so many places I want you to see. We'll leave after Sophia's wedding. Just you and the twins and me. A few servants, nothing too fancy. Our lives start now and I never want you to have another wasted day. Is that alright?"

Tears filled up in Belle's eyes and she let them fall down her face. She nodded her head and her heart lifted up at the thought of traveling with him, seeing places and sharing them with her family.

"Thank you."

He nodded and without even thinking about it, kissed her softly on her mouth. It started off so slow and agonizing. He leaned over further so that their bodies were pressed into each other. Her hands wrapped around his middle as he leaned over further onto her and tangled his fingers into her hair. He kissed her harder, sucking on her bottom lip and running his tongue along her teeth and mouth. Her body was getting warmer and flushed and he broke from their kiss only to let his mouth travel down to her neck were he sucked on a spot close to her collar bone and then leaned over to nibble her ear. He ran his hands down from her hair, along her arms, and across her chest. She made soft little cooing noises that caused his blood to race and he knew that he needed to slow down before he became too aroused to stop. His body didn't want him to and frankly she wasn't making any complaints. At the same time, they had both stayed up well into the early light of dawn as he had made love to her over and over again. He could tell that she was tired underneath him and that she needed time to think and become re-accustomed to their coupling. He could wait. He would not push or press her. He would wait until she was ready to let him in again on her own time. He owed her at least that much.

With a sigh he let her go and lay back onto her side of the bed, his breathing erratic but slowly returning to normal. Her face still wet from crying she gratefully wrapped her arms around his stomach and curled her body into his side, tucking herself underneath his arm. She tangled her legs around his, which wasn't doing anything to calm his ardor but he wouldn't have asked her to move for the world.

Pressing a kiss into the top of her head he whispered. "You are my angel…"

She smiled up at him. "And you are mine…"

He ran a hand along her back knowing that he was going to do everything he could to give her her wings back.

There was a beautiful catharsis that settled in between them as they lay there together that morning. He still feared the future, still worried that something could happen to her, knowing that he could not live without her. But for that morning they were happy; as happy as they had ever been. And for that moment Christian thanked God for everything. He couldn't even count how many times he had been given second chances, third chances, or whatever chance he was currently being given. He only knew to thank his God for all of them, because it meant he would get another moment to spend it, lying next to his love, knowing that she truly loved him in return.

Looking down at her upturned face he smiled at her with more love then he ever could express.

"I love you, My Beauty."

"I love you, My Beast."