Shooting for the Moon

By Jeune Ecrivain

Rating: K+

Summary: Robert lay awake at night, gazing at Giselle and pondering how and why he fell so hard and so fast for a women who seemed so unlike him. An introspective look at his own life and some philosophizing leads him to a possible explanation.

Disclaimer: The movie Enchanted and all related trademarks belong by rightful copyright to the Walt Disney Company. This story is written only for entertainment purposes out of respect for Disney's work. No profit is being made from it, nor is it the author's intention to do so.

A/N: I haven't written anything non-academic in ages, and I finally managed to find my runaway muse and keep her pinned down long enough to write something decent. I hope I'm not rusty! Also, interestingly enough, I saw this movie for the first time about a month ago. It was on an airplane traveling from Fort Myers, Florida to Milan, Italy for a two-week vacation that included Venice, Rome, and Paris as its highlights! You see, as an avid student of the Spanish, French, and Italian languages, I've dreamed of going to Europe since I was about 16 (I'm 22 now). The apparent lack of wheelchair accomodations (I have a mild case of cerebral palsy) delayed it though until my ever-supportive family found a way to make it happen! So, I got the experience of a lifetime, and I got introduced to this gem of a movie in the process! Did I mention that a five-day stay at Walt Disney World immediately preceded the European tour? --(looks at jealous and/or impatient looks on readers' faces)-- O-kay...shutting up now.

Robert Phillip was certain of one thing. What had transpired between him and the beautiful woman who now slept soundly beside him made absolutely no sense. Of course, if he were to recount the fantastical events that followed her abrupt entrance into his life to anyone outside of his immediate family, he was quite sure that he would find himself in a straightjacket within the hour. What had happened mere weeks earlier had been so magical, in a more literal sense than he would have ever dared believe, that he still found himself thinking at odd times that it had all been a bizarre dream. Yet he needed only look at the evidence, in the form of a striking woman simply named Giselle, to realize just how real his experience was.

It had all been so confusing, yet strangely uplifting overall. The climax, in which he had been carried like Fay Wray to the top of a metropolitan skyscraper by a reptilian version of King Kong, was naturally his least favorite part, but it only made the end of the whole escapade even more fulfilling. Still, the adventures that followed his initial encounter with Giselle at least made sense in their own way. They had progressed like a fairy tale, albeit a somewhat twisted one. What seemed to utterly defy logic, however fantastical the context, was how his own feelings towards the young woman had developed during the course of his incredible journey.

He remembered so vividly the moment in that fateful ballroom when his stomach had lurched at the sight of a deathly pale and unconscious Giselle, and suddenly nothing else had mattered beyond assuring that her unnatural slumber did not become permanent. Common compassion would have prevented anyone else present from disagreeing with this immediate shift in focus, but the realization that his own drive to save her was much more personal had slapped him in the face in that instant. He needed her, and when her would-be fiancé Edward had suggested that perhaps Robert was the one whose kiss was genuine enough to wake her, the latter suitor had found himself desperate enough to entertain the otherwise outlandish notion of "true love" having such palpable power.

So, he had kissed her tenderly, and it had felt oddly natural and right. He had then waited with baited breath for the longest three seconds of his life before a sharp intake of breath had signaled her salvation. Once again gazing into those wide, piercing eyes, he knew that the foundations of his skepticism towards everything in which Giselle so ardently believed were forever shattered. His rational side had screamed that he had gone mad, but the rest of his psyche had been too busy reveling in the sensation of holding her close to pay any attention to reason.

Then, the aforementioned climax occurred, and at the end of it all, he had found himself sharing a tender yet passionate lip-lock with Giselle on the roof of an edifice that made the cars on the facing road look like beetles. That night and the following day, so much had been resolved, and yet there remained several unanswered questions. Now, as Robert lay awake staring at Giselle's peacefully sleeping face, he pondered the biggest question of them all. How had he fallen so hard and so fast for a woman he had barely known? What did this mysterious bond have that the one with Nancy, a woman he'd dated for five years and intended to marry, lacked? Giselle's striking outer beauty was only a reflection of the marvel that lay within. She had the naiveté of a girl not much older than his six-year-old daughter Morgan and the saccharine disposition of a 1950s housewife, yet she also had an odd sort of intelligence and emotional strength about her. Her character was, in short, very consistent with having been unexpectedly transported to New York City from an idyllic world where life was essentially a living Disney movie.

How, then, could a cynical divorce lawyer who was himself divorced have been so captivated by someone like Giselle? More importantly, how could someone like her tolerate such a cynic enough to apparently return his love? Despite his previously long-standing relationship with Nancy, which now seemed far too formal by comparison, he had never been this emotionally close to a woman since his first and only marriage collapsed. Thinking of his ex-wife, his thoughts wandered in a new direction that he instinctively knew merited exploration. Following this train of thought back to the man he was before and during his marriage, a possible answer suddenly struck him.

The vision of a years-younger Robert reconstructed by his own memories strangely reminded him of Giselle. An intellectual prodigy who began college at the age of 16, he was once a hopeless romantic. He had dreamed of falling in love with a beautiful young woman, marrying her, and settling down to a comfortable life in which they used their joint careers to support and raise a model family. He had believed in the durability of a genuine romance and the feasibility of attaining it. In many ways, Robert's former self had the same outlook on life as Giselle did. The only real difference was that the fairy tale he had once envisioned for himself wasn't as flamboyantly stylized and anachronistic as hers. His rendition assumed more subtle terminology and demonstrations to fit its modern American context, but the underlying ideals were still very much the same.

When he had met the lovely and gifted Amy, he had soon arrived at the conclusion that his hopes were being realized. For several years, he had seemed to be living this personal version of the American dream as he dated and eventually married her in what had felt like a whirlwind romance. Then, the proverbial storm had come without warning. In a move that baffled him to this day, his wife had suddenly abandoned him and their infant daughter. He had later discovered that she had been having a clandestine affair with his co-worker. After the initial shock and anger had faded, he had quickly become withdrawn for roughly two months, wrestling with what could possibly have gone wrong and what he could have done better. It had taken not one, not two, but three interventions on the part of his mother, brother, and sister to convince him that it he was absolutely blameless in the whole tragic affair and that he simply had to overcome what had befallen him, if not for his own sake than for that of his young daughter. As he managed at last to do so, his intense disillusionment had become more subtle, but contrary to what he had believed before meeting Giselle, it had never truly departed.

Perhaps that was the reason, he realized as he continued gazing at his beloved's sleeping form. She represented everything he once had been, and somehow, she still saw that kindred spirit within him. Somewhere in the remote depths of his psyche, that optimism and romanticism still lurked, and she nourished this previously starved and isolated part of his character. Robert abruptly realized that the entire incident was, at its core, a culture clash between innocent naiveté and experienced cynicism. The result of this clash was the revelation that the two need not be opposing forces. Indeed, in the case of Robert and Giselle at least, they seemed to complement each other. There would be times for years to come when he would have to intervene in order to warn her and protect her from the dangers or corruptions to which her inexperience in the ways of his world left her blind, but equally as numerous would be the times when she would remind him to believe in everlasting romance, enduring happiness, and everyday good will. She taught him that fairy tales exist not only to entertain children but to give adults something to which to aspire, because striving for that impossible ideal is what allows one to attain the nearest possible approximation thereunto. It was a startling new interpretation of the saying, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll wind up among the stars."

So maybe he was crazy for believing he truly loved this woman whom he only met little over a month ago. He had thought that Giselle was crazy initially, but she had brought so much into his life and Morgan's that he couldn't bring himself to care. Robert had learned from her the value of taking the occasional leap of faith, and this seemed like one that was definitely worth taking. With her by his side, he knew he would eventually become the optimistic, fun-loving romanticist he once was. It would not always be easy, he knew. Even fairy tale princes and princesses have to confront dragons or malevolent stepmothers, but he knew now that it was their unconditional belief in the dominance of good over evil that always granted them victory. The demons he and Giselle would probably face were likely to be of a very different sort, and yet he intuitively knew that they were no less vulnerable to this impalpable weapon than the most wicked of all queens. As a smile formed on Robert's face that somehow mirrored her trademark, he wondered if perhaps Giselle was, in her own way, one of the sanest women he had ever met. Maybe he and virtually everyone else were the crazy ones. He finally drifted into a contented slumber, his last thought being that his and Giselle's relationship quite possibly made all the sense in the world.