Beauty and the Beast

Once upon a time there was a monster. A big, mean, angry monster that everyone feared and hated. She tried to be nice, tried to show everyone that she wasn't as scary as she seemed.

They wouldn't listen. They couldn't see past what was on the outside. So the monster decided that if they wanted mean, then she'd give them mean.

She tormented and pillaged, she threw people across the room for looking at her, made herself invincible. The people that hurt her couldn't do it anymore. She was strong. She was brave. And she was all alone.

The monster cried herself to sleep nearly every night, knowing that no one would ever want to be around her. She pretended that she didn't care what the others said, that she didn't have to be accepted to be happy and that she was better off alone. She became bitter, hard and cold.

Then one day, the monster found a boy stuck in a hole. The boy was kind and sweet to the monster, he even wanted her to come to his village with him. But the monster knew better. She knew he would only hurt her. So she remained cold, remained mean, remained bitter and skeptical.

But what she soon learned was that this boy, this boy that looked at her like she was the whole world, didn't want something from her. All the boy wanted to do was love her and treat her right.

Then, one day, the boy gave her a kiss. A real kiss. It was soft and wonderfully sweet. Suddenly, the monster started to change. Her sharp teeth fell out, her claws went away and the hard, cold scales melted off of her.

"Wh-what happened?" She asked, looking at herself. The boy smiled, holding her hands. "Do I look different to you?" He shook his head.

"You look like a princess to me. You always have." The monster, no, the princess, felt tears prick the corners of her eyes. The boy hugged her, smiling softly and kissing her cheek. "I love you, Lauren."

She didn't yell or push him away, she didn't say anything mean to make him go away. Instead, she hugged him back, wrapping her arms around him and leaning against his shoulder.

"I love you too, Noah."

And they lived happily ever after. The end.

"That's it?" Puck asked, looking up at her. Lauren frowned at him.

"Yeah, that's it. Not my fault you didn't fall asleep before it was done," she spat. Puck was quiet for a moment.

"Was…was that story about you?" He asked softly. She blushed, not looking at him, embarrassed.

"Maybe. I was just trying to get you to shut up, Mr. I need a bedtime story."

Puck smiled faintly, leaning up to kiss her cheek. He settled his head against her chest, closing his eyes. "You are a princess, Lauren. You're everything."

Knowing he couldn't see her, she smiled back. She hesitated at least three times before softly kissing his forehead, squeezing him closer to her.

"Goodnight, Puckerman."

"G'night, Lauren," he said sleepily. "I love you." She rested her cheek on top of his mowhawked head.

"I love you too," she whispered, not daring to say it any louder.

She fell asleep, praying –as she did every night- that she wouldn't be a monster again when she woke up.