Giselle was starting to think she was the villain in this story and she didn't like it at all. Everything had started so simple … as simple as falling into a strange world on her wedding day could be. Edward would come for her, she had been certain, and in the meantime maybe she could help Robert.
He was a nice guy, really, the only one in this strange, grumpy city who had bothered at first to help her. And it was obvious how much he adored his daughter. That pleased her in a way she couldn't explain. She wished that she'd had a father like that, someone who would kiss her forehead before she went to sleep and help her grow up to be strong. She couldn't remember either of her parents. There was always just the cottage in the tree and her forest friends, and that had seemed enough, back in Andalasia. But not here.
But Robert didn't know a thing about women. That was obvious from the way he'd left Nancy without a proposal for five years… no wonder she was angry. He'd had books about ladies who were strong and important, but he didn't really understand what they wanted, so she'd decided to teach him. That afternoon in the park she had imagined herself as a fairy godmother. She didn't have wings or a magic wand, but she had a song and sage advice, and that was almost as good. Somehow she'd messed things up between him and Nancy, but she'd fix it, and she'd make things better than before.
It had all be working. Nancy had loved the flowers, and Edward was coming. Pip had seen him – and Pip was all right, despite the scary man with the mustache who hadn't listened that the chipmunk was her friend.
Then Robert had come to say goodnight while she was trying to understand his world's greatest women, and everything had gone wrong.
No, right, something traitorous whispered inside her, and she had to keep herself from shaking her head as she tried to make the voice go away.
He'd told her once again that Edward wasn't coming when she knew that he was and something inside her just … snapped, like the branch that had sent the troll hurtling through the sky. "No," he said. No, people don't get married after one day. No, true love doesn't last forever. No, Edward won't come for you. You're deluding yourself. Everything you believe is wrong.
But she didn't agree with him, and she was tired of pretending she did, and something fierce and strong and indescribable surged up inside her and she yelled at him. When she tried to describe how she felt a word popped into her head that she'd rarely used, though he had. Anger. But as soon as it was identified it dissipated and was replaced with joy, exuberance that bubbled up inside her and made her want to sing, but for once she didn't have any words. She'd never felt quite so alive. Her very being had vibrated with the force of the emotion, and it was something so different from anything she'd ever felt that she cherished the experience.
And somehow, in all the excitement, her hand had ended up on Robert's chest. She still didn't know how that had happened. But giddy—alive—as she was after feeling angry, this touch sent off a whole new set of sensations. She'd touched him before. He'd pulled her by the arm through his office building. She'd dragged him all across the city while she sang. He'd caught her—poorly—when they first met. All those times she'd though nothing of it. This was different. He wasn't wearing a shirt, she realized for the first time, but his chest was so warm under her hand, and it sent warmth through her own body, strange stirring that she didn't understand and she leaned into him without thinking, seeming to expect something before her mind could comprehend what it was. His face was so close then, and she'd realized how much she wanted him to kiss her two seconds before he turned away, wished her goodnight and retreated to bed.
She shouldn't have been so excited about being angry. Because good people were never angry. It was always the villains—the wicked witches and the evil stepmothers—who got angry. But she had welcomed the anger, and now there was a portal to wickedness deep in her soul, and she wasn't sure how to get it out because she didn't know how it had gotten there.
Because she had wanted Robert to kiss her—was disappointed that he didn't—and that just wasn't right. Robert was going to marry Nancy. Giselle was supposed to be making that happen—repayment, for all the kindness he'd shown her. And she was engaged to Edward. He was coming for her, he was in New York, and if that old woman hadn't showed her the well they would have been married already. A true love's kiss was supposed to happen in a church on a wedding day, not in some practically affianced man's apartment late at night when she was wearing his pajamas.
It made her ill to think that Nancy was right to be suspicious. She hadn't meant to come between them. She really hadn't. But she just couldn't deny that a growing part of her wanted to, now. It dashed every happy thought in her mind to see Nancy and Robert dancing together, kissing. It was ten times worse than when she though Pip had been killed, and she'd though that had broken her heart.
Edward had come for her the very next morning, but somehow her joy was lesser than she expected. If he had arrived one day earlier she would have been ecstatic. But she woke up thinking of Robert and how he would treat her after what she had done, and for the first time since arriving in New York she wasn't thinking of Edward at all. Then there he was. They embraced and he twirled her all through the room, and even though she laughed and smiled it all felt a little flat. It wasn't that she hadn't wanted him to come, she told herself over and over again. Of course she had. But as he began to sing to her, their special song, their love's duet, which had seemed so enchanting after he'd rescued her in the forest, she could not help noticing that his flourish looked a little silly. It didn't have anything to do with Robert—she would not think of him while her fiancé was singing to her—even though she was sure his expression was priceless. It was just … New York was a big place, and there was so much left to explore, and if she had a few more days maybe she'd be ready to return to Andalasia.
She'd been so busy thinking she'd missed her cue. Even when Edward prompted her it took a moment to realize how she should have responded. That had never happened before. There were always songs bubbling at her surface, ready to be released whenever the occasion called for it. But not now. She knew the words, but she couldn't quite remember the tune, and she didn't feel like singing it.
So she skirted the song and asked him on a date instead, wanting Robert's approval, to show him that she'd learned something. Edward had been confused, of course, but he'd agreed. But he was so earnest it was painful, because Giselle wasn't being honest with him. It wasn't, really, that she wanted to go on a date with Edward. It was that she wanted to stay in New York just a little longer.
She didn't really remember goodbyes, just like she didn't remember her parents. But it hurt standing in front of Robert and Morgan, thinking every word might be the last they ever exchanged. It's not like this is forever, Robert had said, but he didn't know that. Once she returned to Andalasia, she wasn't sure she'd ever be able to get back to New York. And it really wasn't pleasant, having to fall down a well to see one's friends.
She thought of them all through her date with Edward: the way Morgan hadn't said anything, had barely looked at her, had appeared as sad as Giselle felt. She hated the thought of making Morgan sad. She was such a darling little girl, and she deserved every happiness. And Robert—she kept thinking of the night before, her hand on his chest, the puzzlement on his face until he turned away. He had rejected her, because what she had wanted was wrong, and maybe he was glad she was leaving. Maybe he was just pretending otherwise, for Morgan's sake. Even if he was sad, it was better, really, that she was going. Best to leave before she really messed things up with Nancy. Besides, he had a proposal to make.
It probably should have been a lovely date. They saw a lot of the city—walked in an aimless way that Robert hadn't allowed, and they bought souvenirs—oh how the shop man's eyes had widened when Edward handed him a gold coin—and she introduced him to hot dogs. But the city seemed to have lost the sparkle it had the day before, when she had sang in the park. And yet, she wanted more than ever to stay. Magic or not, there was so much here to learn and see and do.
They did talk. Quite a lot. Or Edward did. He told her all about his troll chasing exploits. All three hundred and twenty seven of them. It went on for hours. While the first three or four were really quite entertaining stories, they started getting repetitive after that. Once he finally finished she tried to tell him about her animal friends and the gowns they used to make together. But she was put off by the blank look he gave her. "That's nice," he said when she finished, and she knew he was sincere, but there was no emotion behind it. Robert would have hardly believed her. Morgan would have found it wonderful. Edward just accepted it, and tried to come up with another excuse to talk about trolls.
When there was nothing left to talk about and he mentioned going back to Andalasia Giselle felt a moment of blind panic, and she could not understand why her soul recoiled at the thought. What was wrong with her? Andalasia was her home. Edward was her true love. They had shared love's duet. Why didn't she want to go back with him? There was really no reason to stay here.
But the need to do so was so strong that she grasped for anything to delay her departure. And then she had remembered the ball… the ball she had convinced Robert to take Nancy to. It was exactly the thing Edward would enjoy and she told him so. But it felt so selfish and wrong, pretending to have suggested it for him when she was really thinking of herself. Robert would be there. Wicked, wicked, wicked. But that strange voice inside herself justified it. Perhaps if she saw Robert one more time, with Nancy, she'd see how leaving was for the best and be able to go. As long as she knew he was happy, she could live with never seeing him again. One of them needed their happily ever after.
At the ballroom her heart sped up when she saw Robert on the dance floor, looking dashing in a fine blue jacket that seemed strangely familiar. But when she saw Nancy her heart sank, and she went into witch mode without meaning to. "I didn't expect to see you here," she said when they met at the staircase, but the words tasted like poison even as she said them. Lies. She had known he would be there. She had bought him the tickets. And she had never lied before.
The introductions were awkward. She could not bring herself to call Edward her fiancé, so she said prince instead. Robert seemed unable to find a word for Nancy, so she had to finish for him. But Edward had no problem declaring his love for Giselle, in his typical flowery fashion, and every word seemed to strike her, because it should have made her radiant but instead she wanted to shrink away. Something had gone terribly wrong.
Then a strange voice echoed through the room, saying something about a king and queen's dance and Edward was leading Nancy off to the dance floor and it was just Giselle and Robert, and he'd held out his hand to her and she knew she shouldn't take it but she did.
She knew as soon as they started to waltz that he had been the one she dreamed about the night before this whole mess had started. Four nights ago. It seemed like years. When she'd woken up the image had blurred, and she'd mostly remembered the dark hair and sparkling blue eyes. Then Edward arrived, just at the perfect time to save her from the troll, and he'd fit the description well enough, even if he was wearing red, not blue. The clothes were hardly the important part and people changed outfits after all—though Edward didn't seem to. But she'd been wrong. The music swelled, and one of Robert's hands was holding hers and the other was on her back and it all felt so right, so familiar, and she recognized his jacket and his face and the way she had felt.
Robert, her true love? But what about Edward? And what about Nancy? She didn't know what that could possibly mean, or how it could be. "It's complicated," Robert had said about love and she'd told him he was wrong. But he'd turned out to be right—again. This was the most complicated she'd ever felt in her life.
But just because they were meant to be, didn't mean that they would be, here. He had taught her that.
If she didn't have forever and ever, at least she had that moment. So she let herself forget all the reasons she shouldn't have been dancing with him and get lost in the sensation. They grew closer as the song progressed, until she was resting her head on his chest, listening to the heart she wished would love her back. She was in love with Robert Philip. She repeated it in her mind, testing how the words sounded. Then the music sped up and they were twirling, and it seemed as if all the world had faded away, just like the lyrics said. She liked that. Songs were supposed to reflect what was happening. Glitter seemed to fall around them, and for a moment it was like being home. Lots of things in Andalasia sparkled.
Something broke inside her when she heard him singing softly in her ear, because she was so happy and so sad all at once that she could barely stand it. His voice held none of Edward's bravado. He didn't sound like he was performing for his entire kingdom. His song was just for her. Her mind went immediately to her advice in Central Park and his grumbled response: "I don't dance. And I really don't sing." Here he was, doing both. But how could Robert be in love with her, when he was already in love with Nancy? Surely he wasn't wicked too.
Then Nancy's hand was on his shoulder, asking to cut in, accusation in her tone and glare and the world was suddenly dark and cold. "Of course," she stuttered, dazed from being ripped so suddenly from the dance's magic. Edward was there too, eyes wide, looking sad, not angry. She was hurting him. She'd been hurting him almost constantly since he'd found her because he couldn't understand what was happening. And even though she no longer wanted to marry him, he was the sweetest man in the world, and he deserved so much more than this. She couldn't stand that she was causing him pain.
She had to get out of there. She should never have come. They'd only been there a few minutes, and she had promised Edward music and dancing, which she'd honestly meant to be between the two of them, but she just couldn't stand being out on the same dance floor as Robert and Nancy, thinking that just maybe Robert was as jealous of Edward as she was of Nancy. So she started up the stairs to the door, and Edward knew what she wanted without having to be told. It was how things worked in Andalasia. "I'll get your wrap."
There was nothing to do once he was gone but watch Robert's arms, where she'd rested in such bliss moments ago, now full of Nancy. She was kissing him—and it was too much. But Giselle made herself watch.
True love, she whispered to herself. One must never stand in the way of true love.
Then the crone was there, with an apple. She was more hideous here than she had been in Andalasia, with fouler teeth. But it was unmistakably the same woman. She had been intimidating the fist time, but Giselle had still been certain she must have fallen down the well, because why would the hag want to push her? She had been so naïve. This woman had sent her here.
She knew it was never wise to take apples from ugly old ladies. Many times she had heard what had happened to Snow – though that had turned out all right for her in the end. Everything about this felt wrong. But the words the crone spoke were so promising. To forget. How else would she possibly survive as Princess of Andalasia, constantly longing for a strange land and a man with no right to her heart? If only she could forget she had ever seen New York or felt anger. It was harder to want to forget Robert's face, but it would be better for her in the future if she did.
And if the stories were true and the hag was a witch, then that wouldn't be quite so bad. The forgetfulness would be more complete. Nancy would know she had nothing to worry about, and Morgan would have her new mother and Robert could be happy and uncomplicated. Edward would be free to find a girl who really wanted to finish his duet. She just wished she had been able to say goodbye to Pip. This world had been almost as cruel to him as it was to her.
With one last look at Robert, she took a bite of the apple.
A/N: Well, perhaps this was more of an angst-fest than Enchanted warranted. But we all know Giselle gets her happily ever after in the end. I haven't written any fanfiction in years, but I've seen this movie so many times I just couldn't get this plot-bunny out of my head without writing it down. I'd love to know what you think!