Jack took a deep breath and straightened out his blue white-tinged coat. He took another breath to calm the slight nerves and lifted his arm in front of the turquoise painted doors. He knocked gently and stepped back, waiting patiently.
The blue doors opened and his jaw almost literally dropped. "You look... beautiful." He nearly whispered as he admired the girl... the woman before him. Her bright red corset dress with the black leather belt around her thin waist and her pale shoulders bare with just a simple snowflake styled choker necklace, the diamonds shining under the light. Her long pale legs wearing long, black lace-up boots. Her blonde hair tied into an elaborate sideways french braid, the blue highlights intertwining in an elegant way. He even noticed her nails were painted black. She also carried a blue gift bag in her hand.
"Thank you, Jack. You look very handsome yourself." She said, looking him up and down. He wore a dark blue suit tinged with white coming from the ends of the arm sleeves and bottom of his pants and the collar of the jacket, looking like the frost that spreads on the windows in the morning. His face looked better too. He looked rested and younger. His clear blue eyes twinkled almost as much as his perfect smile. And his hair looked perfect as ever.
"I can assume you already know where we are headed." He said as he held his arm out so she could hook her arm with his.
She shut her door and walked out to hook her arm with his. She nodded, "My mother's birthday party." She said with a slight tone of question.
"Correct. I'm afraid you might upstage her there. You look magnificent, Belle." He said with a smile.
Belle looked away and blushed. She smiled behind her hand. Jack chuckled at her expense, it was so adorable. "Oh! Jack, I need to go find mom and give her something. If you want, you can go on ahead-"
"No, no, it's alright. I'll wait." He said with a smile.
Belle nodded and quickly made her way over to find her mother. She went to her room and heard her on the inside. She smiled and put the blue gift bag in front of her door. She knocked four times and quickly ran away, not being able to hold in her childish giggling. She hid around the corner.
The door to her mother's room opened. Carol poked her head out and looked down the hall both ways. She saw the present on the floor and grabbed it. She grabbed the tag and read it, "From: Belle and Bernard. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Claus." She smiled brightly and opened it. Her eyes widened as she pulled out the long dress. "Scott, look at this! It's beautiful!" She gushed before shutting the door of the room.
Belle grinned and walked away to meet Jack outside. He was patiently waiting there. She smiled, butterflies hitching up in her tummy. "Shall we?" Jack asked, offering his arm again.
"We shall." She said with a smile.
"Did she like it?" He asked, looking at her now empty hand.
Belle grinned again, "She said it was beautiful. It was a dress." She explained.
"Oh. In that case, I can't wait to see her. She's bound to wear it tonight." He said.
"I hope so." Belle admitted.
"I still don't think it's enough to outshine you though." He said, his voice a little over a whisper. Belle was shocked at his flattering words. She blushed Rudolph red and didn't know what to say. Her smile were enough words for him though.
There was a rather comfortable silence all the way to their destination. The place looked amazing. The Christmas lights of different colors, the banners and streamers, the balloons in arks and spirals, the confetti over the snow, the elegantly decorated chairs and tables, all draped in white silky cloths and roses. "Wow, they outdid themselves." Belle said in awe.
"It is amazing." Jack agreed even if he wouldn't normally admit Santa's minions did a good job.
Belle looked around, now noticing just how many people showed up to this party. Every elf had to be here right now, there were so many. She spotted someone that stood out though. She smiled, "There's dad!" She said excitedly. She let go of Jack's arm and quickly made her way over to him after signaling Jack to wait for a second.
Santa watched as his daughter speed walked over to him. He smiled, each day she seemed more beautiful. He thanked the heavens she got her mother's looks and not his. That would have been a disaster. Belle did love her blue eyes though, she thanked her father for that trait.
Santa was a bit skeptic about her dress, being so short. He knew she was already a smart young woman and that no one here would do her any harm but the more fatherly part of him made him bug out over these sorts of things. Maybe she should have worn a sweater too, cover up a bit. He shook the thought off as she pulled to a stop in front of him. He pulled her into a warm hug, shaking her small body playfully.
"Hey, dad." She sighed with a smile. "Mom getting ready?" She asked.
"You know it. She absolutely loved the dress you got her." He said, smiling at her, his cheeks all rosy.
"Dad, it was signed 'from Belle and Bernard'. I can't take all the credit here." She giggled, using a slightly sarcastic tone. "He actually picked the dress. I just sealed the deal. He's the one she should thank, really." She said as a thought. She hadn't really thought about it until now. She had to thank Bernard for helping her out. Who knows what would have happened if he weren't there. The dress was probably extremely expensive too.
"Well, either way, she loved it. I'm sure she's staring at herself in the mirror wearing it right now." He mocked.
Belle giggled but kept the conversation going, "There was a great turn-out here. Every elf has to be here." She said, looking out to the child looking elves that walked around and mingled.
"Not all of them." He said with a sigh. "Unfortunately some need to stay at work, make sure nothing goes wrong. We are just days away from Christmas after all." He said.
Belle's face saddened and her good mood swooped. Her eyebrows sowed themselves together and a small frown played upon her lips, "You don't mean?" She asked, sounding utterly disappointed.
Santa sighed, "He told me to tell you he was sorry and not to get mad at him, he just had to do it." He said, sounding reluctant to give her the message. "He also said to have fun without him, he'll try to make it later." He added, hoping to lighten her mood.
"Oh, that's okay. Well, I guess I'll see you around. Can't keep Jack waiting." She said, still sounding disappointed, as she backed away slowly to walk away.
"Wait. Frost?" Santa asked disbelievingly. "You're here with Frost?"
Belle stopped and gave him a confused and worried look. She wondered why he sounded so shocked about it. "Yeah. I told you yesterday that we were going to- Oh no, I told that to Bernard." She said, remembering their conversation from yesterday. She sighed, the memory of him making her miss him again.
"It's like a... date?" He asked curiously but unintentionally sounding suspicious or slightly disapproving.
"Well, I think it's safe to say. But it's a friendly date, don't worry." She giggled, teasing the man in the red suit.
Santa frowned as he looked around and spotted Jack standing in the middle of the elves that walked around and chatted their time away. He grabbed his daughter's shoulder, not taking his eyes off of Jack so he would lose him. "Hey, I think your mother is coming this way over there." He said, his voice a bit vacant. "Go meet with her, I'll be right back." He said before walking away quickly, not giving her time to protest or say she could see Carol anywhere.
Santa strode up to Jack and stopped a few feet away. He fixed him a strange look. Not even he, himself, was sure if it was angry, threatening, suspicious...
"Oh, hello, fat man." Jack said coolly, using his infamous nickname on him. He didn't truly enjoy calling him that, not liking to judge someone based solely on appearance but to just be able to see that scowl on his face was worth it.
"Jack." He acknowledged gruffly.
Jack looked around, slightly over acting it. "What a wonderful party you have going on here." He flatly complimented. "Was it hard to get so many elves to assist?" He asked mockingly though Santa didn't catch on to it.
"Actually, this turn-out is without any invitations or anything. They just know." He explained.
"Right." He said, figuring there would be no mocking him on that one. "So! Doesn't Belle look... pretty?" He said, correcting himself quickly before he said ravishing. He bit his tongue, wondering where the thought had come from.
Santa turned to look at both of the fairest women at the party. They both look absolutely beautiful, stunning even. He smiled, his heart warming. He scowled as he turned back to face Jack Frost. "I came here to tell you something, Frost." He said, getting to the point. "Rather, ask you something."
Jack raised an eyebrow and waited for him to speak. He hesitated so Jack figured he needed incentive, "Yes? What is it?" He asked curiously.
"Why hello there, Mrs. Claus!" Jack greeted enthusiastically, walking past Santa and going over to Carol as she approached them with a wide grin. "You look wonderful tonight!" He complimented. "Belle was right, that dress was made for you!" He nearly gushed as he observed the elegant dress she wore. It did marvelous favors for her slender figure. Her blonde hair was tied up in a fancy looking do, some strands coming down in curls from the top and around her face. She wore long pearl earrings with a matching necklace.
Carol glanced over at Santa with a questioning look and a raised eyebrow. She smiled nicely at Jack, "Why thank you, Jack. I'm flattered." She said shyly, her cheeks turning light pink.
"Do not thank me for stating the truth, Mrs. Claus, it's silly." He chuckled.
Santa frowned and stepped up, standing between them. "Yeah, Carol, it's silly to thank him. So, how do you like the party?" He asked, turning her around.
Carol giggled, "They get better every year, sweetheart." She cooed, pecking him on the cheek. Santa blushed and smirked slightly. "Oh, is that an ice sculpture!?" She gushed, pointing at the shimmering figure on the long table where the food resided.
"That it is." Santa said proudly.
"Honey, you've outdone yourself!" She said, pulling him in for a tight hug. Santa squeezed her tightly with joy, he was so relieved she liked it. He glanced over at Jack who was grinning widely. Santa frowned, sometimes he could be so full of himself.
"Let's go take a closer look, shall we?" He suggested, holding out his arm for her to take. Carol grinned and hooked her arm with his, nearly towing him over to the table.
Jack reached out to get their attention, "Where's-..." but they had completely forgotten his presence, "...Belle?" He finished his sentence to himself and let his arm drop in defeat. He sighed, looking around for the pretty girl but she was nowhere in sight.
Jack was slightly startled and he turned his head to look over his shoulder. He grimaced, wondering what he wanted. He turned to give him full attention.
"Head elf." He acknowledged.
"It's Bernard." He corrected awkwardly.
Jack rolled his eyes, "Whatever." He mumbled. "Did you need something?" He asked, just wanting to rid himself of this pest.
Bernard held his hands behind his back and looked around, just giving him a shrug for a response. Jack cocked an eyebrow and shook his head, totally confused by his actions.
Both men turned their heads in the direction of the voice, clearly female. Jack watched awkwardly as the figure nearly threw herself into the elves' arms. "There you are. I've been looking everywhere for you! I thought you wouldn't be able to make it." Belle said, finally letting him go, leaving him at arms length.
"But I did." He chirped, giving her a bright smile.
"What made you change your mind?" She asked curiously. He never gave up work for anything. Well, maybe her sometimes. She blushed at the thought.
"A little elf told me there was a very beautiful girl assisting the party. Like, an unbelievably stunning girl. I had to make sure it was true..." He said, his voice low so only she could hear.
Belle blushed a deep red and giggled, looking away from him with a grin on her face. "You don't say? Have you found her?" She teased.
Bernard sighed dramatically and looked around for something, "Yes but she's here with another man." He whispered, glancing down at her from the corner of his eyes. She was frowning at him. He smiled, he just loved teasing her.
"Benny..." She said in a scolding manner.
Bernard and Belle pulled away from each other and turned to face Jack, both with blushes on their faces. Belle had all of her words caught in her throat for some reason. "I-I..."
"I'm parched. I'm gonna go get something to drink. I'll see you around, Belle." Bernard said flatly before walking away, leaving the two.
"Hm, I didn't think he'd make it." Jack said moments later. He turned next to Belle and casually put his arm over her bare shoulders, leading her forward toward the ice sculpture.
"Wow." Belle said in awe as she stared up at the large ice statue. It was perfect. It was a snow globe. It was perfectly round with frozen pieces inside, looking like immobile snow. Inside at the base was a model of Christmastown. "This is amazing. It must have taken a lot of work."
"Surprisingly not. The model isn't ice, all that was done was the exterior. Making it round was slightly difficult, ice is very fragile." Jack said, admiring the piece. It looked more magnificent with the lights shining against it in different colors.
Belle's eyes widened. How hadn't she noticed? "Jack, you made this?" She asked dumbly. Of course he did! Who else?
He nodded, "I did. Do you like it?" He asked, glancing at her.
"It's beautiful!" She gushed. The fact that he made it made the piece that more impressive.
"And heavy." He added with a chuckle.
Belle made a face, taking a step back and looking at the size of it. "It must be." She mumbled.
"So, are you hungry?" Jack asked.
Belle thought about for a second, glancing down at the food on the table. Nothing looked appetizing and she frowned, "Not really." She said, picking up a bite-sized cookie and popping it in her mouth. "Are you?"
Jack chuckled and shook his head. "What do you wish to do?" He asked politely.
"I really don't know. I don't know anyone here." She said, looking around. Not one elf was sitting alone. Not one.
Jack sighed, "There's no need to be shy. Everyone here is very nice. They love you, you know that." He said. He didn't want to admit that.
Belle sighed more audibly than he did, "I know but it's not the same. To the I'm just Santa's daughter. It's almost in their nature to like me automatically." She admitted sheepishly.
"Aw, I'm sure they like you for you too." He said, trying to console her. He pouted and pulled her into a soft hug which she accepted almost immediately.
"Thanks, Jack, but I doubt it. I don't think I'd really fit in anyway." She said. "I think it's better off the way it is. I like it like this." She said with a little smile. He new she meant it but he didn't know why. Doesn't she want to be liked by them? The elves like everyone. Well... he's an exception. He smirked at the thought.
"What's so funny?" She asked, looking at him curiously.
Jack noticed he was smiling like an idiot and quickly recomposed himself. He cleared his throat, "Nothing." He looked around, "Honestly, there's nothing you would like to do?" He asked.
Belle hummed as she looked around in thought. Her eyes landed on her best friend. He was talking to an elf that barely reached his chest. He was laughing as she talked to him about something. Her hair was very long, just like Judy's, only her's came down in waves. She looked angelic. Belle smiled but her eyebrows furrowed.
Jack noticed her expression and followed her gaze. He smirked mischievously, "Oh look, it's Neve!" He said, sounding overjoyed to see her.
"Neve?" Belle voiced, walking up to stand next to Jack.
"I hadn't seen her in so long." He stated.
"I'd never seen her here before." Belle said, a bit to herself.
"Hm? Oh, she's been busy lately." He said randomly.
"Who is she?" Belle asked.
"Neve is the nicest little elf you'll ever meet, next to little Judy. Those girls have the biggest of hearts. Neve's smile can light up an entire room on a bad day." He said with a happy sigh. He glanced over at Belle who was still staring over at the two.
"Seems like that." She said bitterly as Bernard continued to share laughs with Neve. "Let's go, it's getting stuffy here." She said before taking Jack's arm and towing him away in the other direction.
Jack smirked and caught up to her pace. She was pulling him further away from the party which since they arrived, he considered to be far too crowded.
"Are you alright?" He asked. "You seem upset all of a sudden." He said, knowing already she was upset. Honestly he hadn't a clue what Neve was like. He wasn't even sure that was her name. He knew it sounded right though.
"I'm fine." She said quietly, leading him on the way.
"Are you certain-"
"I'm fine, Jack." She snapped but not rudely. He sighed, deciding to leave it at that.
"Where are you taking me?" He asked with a chuckle.
Belle slowed her pace to look around. She hadn't noticed where exactly she was going and in only a couple of minutes they had gotten far. She sighed, knowing where her subconscious wanted to be. "Can you skate, Mr. Frost?"
"Skate? Do you mean ice skate?" He asked, slightly confused. She nodded. He chuckled, "I invented ice skating, dear." He said proudly.
"Good." She said, coming to a stop at the clearing's entrance. She grabbed the ice skates that hung from the tree branch. She sighed, her thoughts drifting off to Bernard. They were his skates. She forced a smile and turned to face Jack, handing them to him. "Put them on, they should fit."
She grabbed her own skates and slipped them on easily, having done it so many other times. She stepped out into the ice and started to skate gracefully.
"I don't believe they will fit, Belle." He said, pulling off the skate that would not budge. "That's fine." He said, taking off his other shoe and stepping out on the ice barefoot.
Belle's eyes widened in shock. It was no real surprise but at the moment she hadn't expected it. How amazing it should be to be able to do that. Jack slid his feet like you would with skates and came to her, grabbing her hands in his. "Not too cold?" He asked sheepishly, giving her hands a squeeze.
Freezing... "Not at all." She said with a small smile. Jack grinned and gently tugged her to move with him. A few tugs here, a few spins there and in no time they were moving in perfect sync, almost like they were dancing.
Belle laughed joyfully as Jack spun her around like a ballerina. He pushed away from her, holding their hands together and then pulled her in. She spun toward him until she bumped into his side and he wrapped and arm around her waist while still holding her hand in his. She looked at him and their eyes locked for a moment. She smiled and bit her lip, a blush creeping up her neck up to her cheeks.
Jack chuckled and pulled her outward, letting her go in the end and she kept spinning. He watched, not being able to take his eyes off of her and the way her short dress spun with her... He blushed a deep purple and pried his eyes away, looking at the scratched ice under his feet.
"Are you alright?" She asked worriedly when she stopped spinning to look at him. She skated toward him and he tried to look away. His face was in a scowl and his cheeks were a tinge of purple. His brow was sweating. "Jack, do you feel sick?"
"I feel fine, Belle." He said, slowly starting to recompose his flustered self. "Belle, your hands." He said worriedly, taking her hands in his to look at her palms. They were red and chapped. She was beginning to get frostbite. "Oh dear, how stupid of me!" He said, releasing her hands as if she had pinched him. "I'm terribly sorry!" He said frantically.
"It's alright, Jack." She said softly. She glanced down at her ill looking hands and they trembled furiously and they burned.
"It's not alright, Belle. You should have told me- I should have known!" He said angrily.
"I'm sorry, I-"
"No, don't apologize, it's not your fault, Belle. Here." He said, removing his scarf and wrapping them gently around her hands. He scowled when he felt the trembling. He truly felt terrible about it, he should have known she'd get frostbite for touching him! But he got so lost in the moment and she not once complained.
"Why didn't you say anything, Belle?" He almost whispered. He craned his neck to take a look at her face. She was blushing and clearly didn't want to answer his question. He almost smiled, taking her silence as a compliment. "Frostbite is very painful, love. Any longer and you could have lost your hands!" He scolded.
"Oh, Jack, don't exaggerate! I promise, I'm fine. It just stings a little." She admitted. "It's not your fault either, please calm down." She pleaded, leaning closer to him.
Jack pulled his head back just a bit and he looked down at her with a frown, not wanting to calm down about it. He had hurt her and he felt terrible about it.
"I'm so sorry I hurt you, Belle. I wasn't thinking, I was having so much fun and-"
"That's all that matters." She finished for him. "It was an accident, Jack. It doesn't even hurt so much now." She said, giving him a warm smile to reassure him. Truth was, the burning sensation was still there, she barely wanted to move her hands but poor Jack would beat himself up if he knew.
"Please just drop it, Jack. It'll make me feel a whole lot better if you did." She said, her eyes pleading.
Jack frowned but nodded. He wanted her to feel better. "I'm so sorry." He whispered and pulled her into a tight but gentle hug. He closed his eyes and rested his chin on her head, letting out a sigh.
Belle nuzzled her face into his shoulder and hugged him around the waist. She inhaled deeply, enjoying his minty scent. She smiled. His skin could be below zero but his hugs were always warm somehow. Jack sighed and pulled away before he got too cold for her to handle again. He held her at arms length and smiled halfheartedly. "We should probably head back to the party. Don't want your dad to start worrying."
Belle looked up at the sky. It was darker now than it was when they arrived. She wondered just how long they had been gone. She sighed and finally nodded, skating out to the snow. She pulled off her skates and hung them back on the branch, then pulled her boots back on. Jack followed and simply pulled his shoes back on. "Shall we?" He said, offering her his arm. She smiled and hooked her arm with his, letting him lead the way. She laid her head on his shoulder and enjoyed the silence they shared.
A/N: So sorry for the long wait! Hopefully the next chapter will be up soon! I'm sorry if this chapter wasn't any good, it's been a while. Thank you all for sticking by so long and being patient! I tried to fit more of Jack into this chapter, some people were begging for it so there you have it :) The night isn't over yet, guys, stick around and find out what happens next!
Please review, I love those things! They're so very inspiring! Love you guys! :'D