First, I apologize this chapter took so long. Schoolwork has kept me busy and I have been writing quick one shots when an idea hits me just to clear my mind and keep going.
This chapter at the beginning borders a little on T, but I kept it clean without much description. If I need to change the rating, please let me know. I am still working on "The Betrothal" and that one's rating will be changed to T because of some of the later chapters written. Overall, this chapter needs no explanation, so on with the story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Beauty and the Beast, but I hope to work for the Walt Disney Company someday.
Lumiere and Babette were making up for lost time. As Lumiere was kissing Babette, every word was accentuated with a kiss.
"So… my… little… flower… what… else… have… you… been… up… to…"
Babette moaned softly in reply, "Oh… just… Oh, Lumiere… getting ready… hmmm… for ze… Lumiere… master's proposal… ohhh…"
Lumiere suddenly stopped, "What do you mean?"
Babette was slightly frustrated, "What do you think I mean? The master iz proposing to Belle tonight."
Lumiere jumped up and buttoned the top of his shirt. "Tonight?" He started to look around for his shoes.
Babette was confused, "Lumiere, where are you going? I thought you wanted to catch up."
Lumiere was soon running out the door, "Later tonight, I promise."
Babette grabbed a pillow and threw it at the door in anger.
Henri was getting more anxious by the second and Cogsworth was slowly becoming annoyed as he continued to ask questions and paced.
"Are the flowers ready?" This was the second time he asked this one.
"Dinner?" Four times for this one.
"Mrs. Potts is seeing to it."
"Are you sure Belle will like this?" He had asked this question five times all ready.
"Sire, we have been waiting over two months for this night and I'm sure she has too."
There was a knock at the door and Cogsworth breathed a sigh of relief. Henri jumped five feet. Cogsworth hoped that the hours would pass quickly. He had never seen the master so nervous and he was starting to fear that the master would faint from the lack of breathing. Cogsworth called out, "Who's there?"
Lumiere's voice was heard, "Moi, mon ami."
Cogsworth practically ran to the door thankful for the help. He opened it and said very quietly to Lumiere, "The master is a nervous wreck. The waiting will drive him and me insane."
Lumiere rolled his eyes, "Cogsworth, have a heart. Proposing to a girl is a very difficult thing."
Cogsworth replied, "As if you would kno – oh, old friend, I'm so sorry."
Lumiere gave him a sad smile, "Don't worry about that. Let's calm the master right now."
Lumiere came inside and walked over to Henri. "Master, I heard the good news. And I must say that after the past week, if you weren't going to propose tonight, then I was going to push you beginning tomorrow. Belle certainly liked the way you – um – greeted her when she came home."
Henri blushed, but it could not be seen.
"And Maurice must know about the proposal or else the two of you would have been married tonight."
Henri was confused, "What do you mean?"
Lumiere was taken aback, but then he remembered that he and Cogsworth never got around to telling him the facts of life. With a proposal, they were going to have to do it soon. Well, that would be interesting. By the look on Cogsworth's face, he realized the same thing.
Lumiere tried to act nonchalant, "Oh, just fathers happen to be very protective of their daughters. If they think that a man is too close, then they would push marriage."
Cogsworth jumped in, "Society usually does not like to see men and women be together without marriage."
Lumiere was hoping that the master would drop the subject. "It's not important – what is important is how you plan to propose to her. How are you planning it?"
Henri began tripping over his words. Cogsworth replied instead, "The master hoped to recreate that night of their special dinner, hopefully without interruptions or worries."
Lumiere replied, "That should be easy as now everything is settled. Her father is here, they admitted their love, Belle has officially moved here – oui, nothing should happen tonight. Now, when and where do you plan to propose?"
Henri was still tripping. Cogsworth sighed before answering for him, "The balcony overlooking the gardens after dinner and dancing. The musicians and us will leave them completely alone."
Lumiere nodded and then looked at Henri, "Master, how are you feeling?"
Henri replied, "I don't know, but I think I'm going to be sick."
Cogsworth said under his breath, "Tell me about it."
Lumiere instead felt for Henri, "Master, you won't be sick because you know this is right."
Henri replied, "I don't know anything."
Lumiere tried to be reassuring, "Master, you know Belle loves you and she told me that marrying you would make her ultimate dream come true. Didn't you hear every night how she cried because she missed you so much and her fears of never seeing you again?"
Cogsworth stepped in, "Actually, no, he only heard about it. He gave the mirror to Maurice."
Inwardly, Lumiere sighed in relief. He was worried about the master's reaction to how Belle was treated in the town and that he stood by doing nothing.
Henri was upset at what he was hearing, "Maurice didn't tell me she cried everyday. Did she?"
Lumiere nodded and became wistful as he spoke, "And it was heartbreaking. Master, all she needs is you to be happy. Don't be afraid of her reaction. You both have the strongest love I've ever seen. While I do love Babette, we'll never have what you two have."
Cogsworth had put his hand on Lumiere's shoulder in a sign of support and friendship.
Henri was becoming more intuitive because of Belle and realized there was something more about Lumiere that he had never seen before, although he was not sure what.
Belle walked with her father along the castle corridors. As they were walking, she realized that she did not see any of the servants. Still, there was a cheerful feeling inside the castle instead of that dread she felt the night she and Henri brought her father here.
Maurice did not seem to notice the lack of servants and was cheerfully humming to himself, something he did when he was inventing. Belle had an idea of what was making him happy.
"You're awfully happy, Papa. What did I miss here?"
Maurice stopped humming, but was still smiling brightly. "Nothing, just happy you are home and now, you and Henri can be together."
Belle knew her father better than that, "So you're happy for our happiness. I'm sure it has nothing to do with Mrs. Potts."
Maurice looked quickly at Belle, "Henri told me you were observant about that."
Belle just smiled brightly, "Papa, I know you and of course, I noticed you had feelings for her. Neither of you deserve to be alone. I know you were happy with Mama, but it has been eight years, and no one is better for you than Mrs. Potts."
He hugged his daughter in response, "I love you, Belle."
"I love you, too." Belle pulled back slightly, "And I am grateful that you're calling the castle home."
"Home is where the heart is and my heart is always with you, my beautiful Belle. And I know your heart is with him."
A set of footsteps could be heard from behind them.
Mrs. Potts was walking toward them, "I'm sorry, but Belle needs to get ready for tonight."
Belle was confused, "Dinner isn't served for another four hours."
Mrs. Potts replied, "Don't you want to look nice for your dinner with the master tonight? You haven't seen each other in a week."
Belle replied, "Of course, I do, but the last time it took me four hours to get ready for dinner was the night… oh, Henri wanted to relive that night?"
Mrs. Potts nodded, "Of course, this time, no interruptions and no fears."
Maurice chimed in, "Belle, go with her."
As Belle and Mrs. Potts walked away, Maurice called, "Have a good time tonight."
When they disappeared from view, Maurice could not help but think about how much Belle had grown and that within six hours, she would be a fully engaged woman.
Henri was still pacing and just growing more jittery. Nothing Lumiere or Cogsworth said could calm him down.
Lumiere spoke, "Master, you need to calm down. If Belle sees you this shaky, she won't accept your proposal."
Henri froze, "Why not?"
"Because you are too nervous and she'll feel like we pushed you into this. Marry her because you want to."
Henri looked at him in shock, "Of course I want to marry Belle. I love her, but I'm still… this. What if she laughs at me?"
Cogsworth spoke up, "Do you think Belle is the type of person who would do that?"
Henri shook his head, "But I can't help but think that she's throwing her life away on me."
Lumiere asked, "Where is that confident man I saw earlier when we first returned?"
Henri shrugged, "I was sure then, but I started thinking –"
Lumiere interrupted, "That was your first problem – don't think but feel. You might not have to speak at all anyway. Once you show her the ring –"
"Ring? What ring?"
Lumiere just looked at Henri in shock and then turned to Cogsworth, "Didn't you make sure he had a ring?"
Cogsworth stammered, "W-w-well, it nev-nev-never occurred to me."
Lumiere rolled his eyes, "Of course not." He then turned to Henri, "The ring is a symbol of your commitment. You'll have one, I promise. When you pull it out and when she says yes, place it on her left hand, on the finger next to her smallest finger."
This was too much information for Henri. Lumiere saw him beginning to panic again, so he quickly added, "Which you won't have to worry about because Belle will hold the right hand with the right finger slightly raised."
"Where am I going to get the ring?"
Lumiere turned to Cogsworth, "Go get them and we'll let him decide." Cogsworth left quickly.
When Cogsworth came back twenty minutes later with the late princess' jewelry box, it was obvious that Henri had not calmed down one bit.
Cogsworth cleared his throat before opening the box. Henri looked at the rings thinking that most of them were too big for Belle, but there was a simple gold ring with a medium blue stone that stood out more than the others.
He picked it up and asked, "Do you think Belle will like this one?"
Lumiere remembered the ring, "It was a favorite of your mother's."
Cogsworth nodded, "It's simple and elegant, a perfect description of Belle."
Henri looked at the ring and decided Cogsworth was right.
Lumiere's voice brought him out of Henri out of his musings. "It is time, Master."
"Henri, you're so nervous." Belle was concerned as she looked at his face. Dinner was wonderful and both of them had enjoyed a night of dancing in each other's arms. Trying to recreate that night, Henri brought Belle out onto the balcony overlooking the garden when their legs were becoming tired. He thought the balcony in the moonlight would be the perfect place to propose.
He also knew that the moment was close and was absent-mindedly tugging his collar. "Oh… um… sorry…"
Belle reached for the hand that was fiddling and gently pulled it down between them. "Don't apologize. Remember, I love you." She smiled at him.
This helped him relax and he managed to smile back at her. He took his other hand and placed it on their joined ones. "I love you too." He decided to lean over and kiss her.
When they broke apart, Belle was beaming. Henri knew in his heart that this was the right time to propose.
"Belle, are you happy here with me?"
Belle remembered the last time he asked that question. She was a little worried as she emphasized, "Of course."
Henri removed his top hand and had put it in his jacket pocket feeling for the ring box. "Belle, I need to ask you somethi–"
"Will you marry me?" The question had come from Belle.
Henri was in shock, "What?"
Belle started stammering, "I'm sorry, I know it isn't the woman's place to ask, but I missed you so much and I want to be with you for the rest of my life-"
Her stammering was silenced with a kiss. She was breathless when they parted.
Henri spoke as his courage was soaring above the heavens, "Before I answer your question, I first want you to answer mine." He had the ring box in his hand ready to go.
Slowly, he knelt onto one knee as Lumiere told him and opened the ring box.
Belle was in shock, "Oh my God, Henri?"
It was Henri's turn to beam, "Belle, I love you. Will you marry me?"
Tears came to Belle's eyes as she glowed, "Only if you will marry me."
There was a pause before Belle practically jumped into Henri's arms. He caught her and held her tight on the floor of the balcony. Belle tightened her grip on him.
They both pulled back before they kissed in an expression of love that transcended time.
About half an hour later after the tears of joy and the initial shock of the fact that they were engaged began to wear off, Belle and Henri were found sitting on the ground of the balcony in each other's arms and leaning against the ledge.
Henri placed a kiss against Belle's hair and Belle sighed in contentment glancing down at the ring on her finger. She then looked at Henri.
Henri was the first to speak, "What?"
Belle replied, "I just realized that neither of us said 'yes' to each other's proposals."
Henri and Belle laughed and said, "Yes," at the same time.