Soli Deo gloria

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Beauty and the Beast or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Now, this idea came to me when I saw THoND, LOVED it by the way, and I saw Belle walking through the streets, reading to herself during 'Out There.' I started thinking, (a dangerous pastime, I know), the wheels in my head had been turning, ever since I saw her reading that book, now I've decided to do a story about her, and now why don't you take a look!

Belle, usually very composed when she walked through town, nearly knocked over three fruit stands, a cart full of bags of flour and six pedestrians as she ran through the square. This winter had been rather mild, but the streets were still icey, causing her to bump into everything and everyone. She constantly found herself apologizing to the townspeople as she clasped her book against her dress. The book, after all, was the reason she was running amuck.

The girl dodged a flock of flying ducks before bumping into their herder, who was a very grumpy old man. He took out the piece of straw he had in his mouth and rubbed the fluffy part around in her face in annoyance, causing the teen to start coughing. The herder had a goose, probably the male, on the end of a rope, like a leash. The gander squawked at Belle and added his two cents of anger.

"Oh, excuse me! Oh!" Belle gasped as she tried to brush away the piece of hay. "Please stop that!"

"What I want you to know is that you need to stop that!" the herder yelled at her. He did, however stop poking her with the piece of straw, much to her relief. Belle straightened herself up and blew a lock of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail out of her face as the mad man continued with his tirade, "Stop it with your running! You know how many people's days you're a-ruinin'?"

Belle had been trying to stay calm at the angered man, but her temper was growing shorter and shorter as she told him, "I was just trying to get to the book shop before it -"

"And you with your books! Always walking around town, head stuck in it and nary taking the time to watch where you're going! You're making everyone else in town having to watch out for themselves and YOU!" he pointed a finger at her face. She gently swatted it away.

"If you'll excuse me, you're holding me up when I need to get to the book shop," Belle articulated to him firmly. She straightened, for she had to bend down to the fuming man's short height, and tightened her shawl and started toward the book shop in a more orderly fashion. The herder scoffed and turned to the gander, who himself was fuming, "Women." The gander turned to his master and rolled his eyes.

Belle rapidly walked to the book shop, giggling to herself as she hugged her book. The bounded book that she was carrying was one of her very favorites. It had been a series of fairytales gathered by two brothers by the name of Grimm, and she had just heard from a couple down the road that there was a second edition to her favorite book. Of course, she had run home with her purchases, thrown them into the kitchen and had started racing to the bookshop.

She rounded a corner and the little shop came into view. She smiled and picked up a bit of her skirt as she ran (SO unladylike), to the front door. It was to her dismay to see the bookkeeper taking the key to the shop from his coat pocket and inserting it into the lock and turning it.

Belle caught her breath as she skidded to a halt in front of the old man.

"Belle! Belle! Are you all right?" the bookkeeper laughed as he held her straighten up. "What happened?"

"Oh, please, Mr. Livre, do you have the sequel to Grimms' fairytales?" Belle hurriedly pushed her book at the man, who adjusted his spectacles and examined the book carefully.

"Oh, the Grimms Brothers!" he smiled. Belle grinned as she replied, "It's one of my favorites!"

"Aw, I'm sorry, Belle," the old man sighed. He handed her back the book and re-adjusted his spectacles again as he explained, "I ordered them, but they're not coming for a month."

"A month!" Belle whispered in a horrified voice. She had to wait a whole month to read the next edition? She could hardly keep her thoughts straight as Mr. Livre sighed and patted the girl on the back.

"I'm awfully sorry, Belle, but they're all the way over in Paris, and I can't go get them until next month."

A bright idea came in the witty girl's brain and she asked him excitedly, "Wait, what if I go get the books from Paris?"

The man thought thoughtfully to himself as he rubbed his chin. Belle could hardly speak when he said, "Well, maybe. . ."

"Okay!" Belle said excitedly. She could barely contain her excitement; she was going to get to read the new book!

"But, you'd need a wagon, and everybody knows that your father blew up his last one," Mr. Livre pointed out.

"So I'll borrow a wagon, that's fine!" Belle defended her case.

"But, but Paris is huge!" he held up his hands and spread them wide apart in emphasis. "You can't go there alone!"

"And that's why I'll be taking her!" An arrogant voice told the man. Belle groaned as a brawny arm wrapped around her shoulders and squeezed her tightly. "No need to worry about her."

Belle shoved the arms of the town's local celebrity, Gaston, off of her shoulder in a huff. The man was the only person who could really get her irritated. His proud face spied her slipping away from him and he shoved her toward him by wrapping his arm around her again.

"I have a wagon AND I'll take care of her when she's in Paris," he continued. The storekeeper's face brightened as he wiped his spectacles with a handkerchief, "Why, that will do nicely." When Belle looked up at Gaston with a pained face, Mr. Livre smiled at the girl and told her, "And when you come back, you can keep one of the books."

Belle's face brightened at the prospect and said, "Alright."

"Here, let me get you a map and address," the man fumbled around in his coat pockets while Gaston leaned in on Belle and whispered in her ear, "Belle, we're going to Paris, the city of love!" Belle's eyes widened at the man's boldness and retorted, "I thought it was the city of lights?"

"Can't it be both?" Gaston challenged her. Belle rolled her eyes and ducked out of his arms again. He smirked at her and asked her, "I'll see you tomorrow, then?"

Belle hugged her book tighter and answered, "Bright and early."

"Early? Why not after I get up, around ten?" Gaston made his eyebrows go up and down to try to intrigue her.

Belle thankfully took the papers from the bookkeeper, who tipped his hat and walked off to his own house, and she shoved the papers at Gaston.

"You're the one driving, here's your directions," Belle acknowledged him. She turned on her heel and yelled back at him, "I'll see you at six!"

"SIX? Outrageous, nobody gets up at six!" Gaston yelled back at her. Belle answered him with a flick of her hand and called over her shoulder, "I do!"

Gaston folded his arms and grumbled to himself. LeFou crawled out of the snowbank that Gaston had shoved him into when he had noticed Belle and trotted over to the larger man. He clapped his hands together excitedly, "Wow! That was great, Gaston! Your brilliant plan worked, Gaston! Couldn't have done it better myself, Gaston!"

"Of course you couldn't have, LeFou, you'd have to be me to be able to do that," Gaston smirked. He grabbed the smaller pig nosed man by the collar and brought him to his face. He whispered into LeFou's ears, "Now, LeFou, part one in plan 'Courting Belle' is complete! Now," he put down LeFou and punched him on the back, "let's get a drink to celebrate MY victory!"

"Oh, yeah, sure, Gaston! Hey, am I going to Paris too?" LeFou asked the giant. Gaston slammed his beefy hand against LeFou's back and chuckled, "Of course not, LeFou!"

"Why, why not?" LeFou wondered. Gaston sighed and answered, "LeFou, when a man and a woman go courting, they are not accompanied by the village idiot!"

"Oh, oh, of course, Gaston!" LeFou babbled idiotically. He then stopped for a moment and asked, "What did he just call me?"

"Come on, LeFou, beer awaits us!" Gaston yelled.

That evening, a light snow blew about the house of the inventor. Inside, however, the small cottage was warm and cozy, lit up by a crackling and friendly fire. Maurice, Belle's father, straightened up in his comfy chair and blew his pipe. Belle added another piece of wood to the fire and poured the tea.

"Well, it sounds like a fine plan!" Maurice said to Belle cheerfully. She smiled at him and handed him his cup of tea. He stirred the liquid with a spoon and asked Belle, "Can I have the sugar?"

Belle smiled as she handed it to him and she sat back in her seat, "I guess so." She turned to the fire and sighed, propping her head on her hand. Maurice noticed his daughter sigh, and once he had added his sixth sugar cube to his cup, he asked her worriedly, "What's wrong, Belle?"

"Oh, Gaston is coming along and he's the biggest airhead in town!" Belle scowled. She raised her hand and counted off her fingers, "And, and he's rude, and self-centered..."

"Belle!" Maurice hushed her gently. She smiled softly at him and blew the hair out of her face as she said, "I just hope he doesn't ruin this trip."

"Oh, don't worry, he won't," Maurice reassured her.

"What if he won't?" Belle challenged him.

"Just ignore him. The trip's not about him, it's about the book. Think about the book and not about Gaston acting like Gaston," Maurice explained.

"Do you really think so?" Belle said hopefully. Maurice nodded and she got up from her chair and wrapped her arms around her father. Maurice smiled at her and patted her back. The clock over the mantle struck nine, and Maurice gently pushed her away and said, "You'd best get to bed."

"Yeah, going at six should be great," Belle laughed. She stooped and picked up her Grimms' Fairytale book from the coffee table and went to the staircase. She leaned over the railing and called back at the inventor, "Good night, Papa!"

"Good night, Belle," Maurice told her, and she smiled to herself as she carefully walked through the hallway to her bedroom. Opening the door quietly, she placed the book on her nightstand and went over to the mirror over her dresser. She carefully took her hair out of her ponytail and rummaged through her drawers to find her brush. She started to brush her brunette hair and sighed softly to herself. She hoped that Gaston could and would really come for her at six.

The Grimms' fairytales didn't come out until 1812 and the timeline for Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are way different, but I thought that it would be a nice touch for Belle to read those fairytales. Don't worry, Paris is coming up next, and I hope that you enjoyed!