Belle sat at the window in the secluded room, staring out at the garden. Behind the library roses grew, all colors and sizes. It was Belle's favorite room of the quiet building because it was tucked in the corner, detached, and fairly empty, which meant no one ever wanted to go there. She could hum quietly to herself in here without being disturbed. The room was done in gold and white, with long velvet curtains that could be drawn if the sun became too much or it got too cold.
The other perk of this room was that the librarian, who Belle referred to as Beast, but was really called Vincent Frost, stayed as far away from her as possible, and in this room she could relax and he could work at the main desk. He kept his head down for the most part and Belle didn't mind, for she had seen a peek or two of him before. Shaggy dark brown hair, rimless glasses, a bit of stubble on his jaw, and clouded eyes were about all she saw of him. He seemed to always be working on something, but whether it was writing, entering data, or organizing the computer and files though, Belle wouldn't know.
She went to the shelf she had taken over with the books she wanted to read, taking down a couple different ones and spreading them out. She licked her lips, looking over the books almost hungrily. Belle began to study Shakespeare's biography, muttering to herself about her father's car. She didn't know why he took so much care of it and it was starting to worry her. He practically lived out of it these days, traveling on business all the time. She was worried his GPS would give out one day.
As Belle was thinking about her father, a sudden sound startled her. It was the theme song to Phantom of the Opera, blaring from her little phone she had left on the table. Letting out a surprised sound, she swallowed, grabbing the phone and hanging up from the call. She groaned, realizing it was her father, and flipped the phone on its side so she could text him instead.
"Sorry Papa, what did you want? I left my phone on and am in the library."
"What was that noise?" Standing in the doorway, the librarian glared at the girl. He knew she stayed there a lot and worked when she wasn't studying, but that annoying song had finally brought him to her hideaway. "Those books…" He scowled, going over to the shelf and taking some of them down. "I knew they hadn't gotten far." Turning, he glared at Belle, who stared up at him and pursed her lips.
"I'm sorry, my phone went off. I forgot to put it on silent." Belle looked a bit embarrassed, biting the inside of her lower lip. "And I was reading those books."
"You can read them when you take them out of the library." Frowning, Frost began to walk away from Belle. She pursed her lips, waiting until he left before she stuck her tongue out. She sighed, untying her hair and running her hands through it. She fastened it once more and stayed in the library quietly until it closed, leaving before the librarian and taking a seat outside. Belle felt a bit annoyed. She hadn't checked a book out in weeks because of this man. He truly was a beast! She paced back and forth outside, giving her father a call, then another when he didn't pick up.
As Belle was calling her father, she saw a shiny Mercedes pull up next to the library. She saw the librarian walk out towards it, pulling a fedora low over his brow, and enter the car, slamming the door and leaving. Curious, Belle stared after him, but she finally connected to her father on the phone.
"Belle, finally. I forgot you were at the library. I was calling to say I'll be out of town for a month or so, I have a project that a company is very interested in and will be there discussing the final details before it's put out."
"Really Papa? A month?"
"Oh I know it'll be lonely… I've left you a card on the table so you can get food and such. There's no limit on it, but don't go overboard on books, alright?"
Belle sighed but nodded. "Yes Papa. I'll be home soon then. Have you left already?"
"Of course not. I want to see my daughter before I go!"
Belle smiled and took the bus back home, then set her bag down as her father hugged her. She held onto him tightly, biting her lip and wishing him well with his project. He patted her hair and gave her the number of where he'd be, told her the bills had already been taken care of, and said if she had some friends over he wouldn't mind, but no parties.
Once he was gone, Belle looked around the empty house. She had been thinking about it for a while, but she wanted a cat. They were so much easier to handle than dogs and took care of themselves for the most part. She twirled some strands of hair over her finger, then looked at the garage. Her father had told her she could use the spare car while he was gone and she inspected it, eyeing the red Ford 2XL Escort. She shook her head, smiling. Leave it to her father to have a two door that looked like a sports car lying around. She took the keys and called Ella, asking if she wanted to go with her to the pet store.
"Well I mean I'd love to Belle, really I would, but…"
"That's awful. You should come to my place this weekend, we'll make it a girls' night."
After saying good bye Belle tried to call Aurora, but she was too busy to go anywhere. Finally she called Ariel and swung by her house to pick up the red haired girl.
"Eric's busy so I had nothing to do; I'm glad you called!"
Belle drove to the local pet store and parked, slipping her father's Platinum card into her wallet. It felt odd in there but she ignored it, looking around the store and letting out a low whistle. Since the family didn't have any pets, she never went into the store.
"Oooh, kittens!" Ariel bounced over to them and Belle slowly followed, looking at the pudgy and sweet looking things. She smiled, examining each one, but she was inching towards the young cats, leaving Ariel to cuddle a rust colored tabby.
After looking the cats over, Belle spotted a young silver tabby that was snoozing in the corner. She didn't notice the shadow next to her and took a step to her left, bumping into someone.
"Oh, sorr-" she paused, looking up at Vincent Frost, eyes widening. She rarely saw him in the first place, but to bump into him and catch him off guard was completely different. They stared at each other and she took in his sharp features, dark hair, and surprised expression before his brow furrowed, he scowled, then muttered about kids not knowing where they were going before he moved on. The tabby had woken up and was staring at Belle, but made no move to stand up. After staring at him for a bit longer she called a clerk over and said she wanted the tabby.
Ariel was still trying to get the attention of all the kittens while Belle bought the young tom, which had already adjusted to her holding him and was stretched out over her shoulder. As she was paying for the creature and the supplies she'd need, she saw Mr. Frost leaving, pulling his hat down over his eyes again. Belle watched him go, tilting her head and pursing her lips briefly.
Belle finally dragged Ariel away from the kittens and put her in charge of the cat on the way home. The sun was starting to set and she asked if the younger girl wanted to eat. They stopped at a fast food place and sat outside, Belle's cat on her lap, sneaking bits of meat that his owner dropped.
The teens said good bye when Belle dropped Ariel off, then the cat and his new owner went home. After setting up a food bowl, water bowl, and litter box, Belle took the cat she ingeniously named Cat to her room and stretched out on her bed, the feline soon joining her after he finished exploring the room.
In the coming week Belle had a lot of fun staying home and playing with Cat, reading books she had forgotten about, forgetting about the library. But finally on Friday she went out after class and dropped by the library to take out a book on cat care, a few pictures of Cat on her phone. When she went in Mr. Frost's head jerked up and he almost looked relieved. Raising a brow, Belle went to the section she wanted and thumbed through the books, looking for the most recent and informative copy.
"I thought you weren't going to come back."
Startled, Belle spun around and saw Frost standing behind her. She relaxed, letting out a breath. "I needed a book," she muttered.
"Are you going to keep working here?"
Belle felt a light tinge of pink enter her cheeks as she thought about it. "You have things under control here, Mister Frost."
"It gets rather lonely," he whispered. Belle swallowed, running her fingers over her hair.
"I don't want to leave Cat alone too long."
"Bring him here then."
Belle looked up at Frost, holding the book she had chosen close to her chest. He looked a bit troubled and she tilted her head, but after a moment she said, "I'll set up a spot for him in the white room." She was startled again when Frost smiled, but it quickly disappeared. "I'll see you tomorrow then."
Frost nodded and let her check out the book she wanted, watching her leave with a sad expression on his features.
Belle went home and on Saturday she brought Cat with her to the library. After exploring everywhere that he could get and eating a couple spiders, he settled down with Belle in the white room. Without her noticing, Frost had come to join them and was working quietly in a corner, typing on a laptop. Cat went from the spot next to Belle on the couch to winding himself around Frost's feet before going back to his owner. An hour or so before the library closed someone came in and said in a rather loud voice to Belle's ears, "Hello? Is the library open?"
She was so startled by the voice she dropped her book, eyes widening. Frost looked a bit alarmed, but didn't drop his laptop. They looked at each other, Belle looking surprised and shocked, Frost glancing away guiltily.
"I'd like to check out a book please."
"I'll handle it," Belle said, picking her book up and standing. Cat hopped up, following after Belle and finding a stack of papers to sit on at the desk. After Belle helped the stray customer, she sat there for a few minutes and looked at the book that had been taken out. It was by a new author, simply known as VFG. Belle had heard of him and read all the books he published, but there was never any information about the author in the cover sleeves. She pursed her lips and went back into the white room, taking out some History to work on, not noticing that Frost was glancing over his laptop to watch her, a smile tugging at his lips.
The next day after Belle put away the books that had been returned she curled up on the couch to do some more History work, grumbling and groaning at the papers and books.
"Need some help Miss Belle?"
"Oh, Mister Frost. What do you know about the American Civil War?"
"Rather boring, short, and a fight between two sides of the same coin. Why?"
"Well I have this report to do on it…"
"Let me see if I can help."
Before Belle knew it the day was half done and she had enjoyed it all with Vincent Frost. He glanced at his watch at a quarter past three and looked a bit alarmed, laughing softly under his breath. "I have some work of my own to do, Belle. Can you handle the rest of the report on your own?"
Blushing, Belle nodded, puffing her cheeks out in a teasing way. Cat was snoozing next to Frost's laptop, which he offered to let her type on. She took his offer and turned the machine on, setting it on her lap as she began to start Microsoft Word. She was about to play with the font when a silent alarm started on the laptop and warned her that the next chapter of the book was due next week. Confused, she paused the alarm and it opened a document titled "VFG- Change of Heart". She skimmed the first couple of paragraphs and realized that it was the third book in a series she was reading by the author LFG. She stared at the screen for a long moment and the absence of typing drew Vincent back to the room. He saw Belle's stunned face as she stared at his laptop and he began to feel a bit of cold on the back of his neck.
He stared at the girl and his laptop, mouth working to form a sentence. But finally he could only manage to say, rather coldly, "You went through my things."
"No, I- it-"
"Get out. Now."
Belle stared at Frost, but his expression had hardened, his gaze smoldering and his hands tightening into fists. She looked alarmed and gathered half her books, grabbed Cat, and fled the library before he could say anything else. As she drove home, her mind reeled. Vincent Frost was VFG? But what did the G stand for? She wanted to know. As she pulled in and took out her keys, she let her mind wander. Cat slinked about her ankles, begging for attention while Belle cooked, but she was barely paying him any mind.
At eight o'clock the doorbell rang and Belle rose from her chair in the living room to answer the door. She was surprised to see Vincent standing outside, his fedora pulled down low, long coat concealing most of his body.
"You left some of your things today." He sounded a bit awkward and Belle opened the door slowly, waiting for him to offer her things. He shifted and she looked down, seeing a bouquet of roses in his hand. He offered them to her and she blushed, taking them slowly. "I'm sorry I told you to get out. I saw the alarm had gone off."
"It's fine. Would you like to come in?"
Frost nodded and stepped into the house, hanging up his coat and hat. Belle made tea for them and they sat in silence for almost ten minutes before Frost offered a word of conversation. "I moved here after my publisher said a successful author shouldn't be living in a cramped apartment in the sticks."
"Do you like it here?"
"I enjoy the library."
"Why were you at the pet store looking at cats?"
"It's lonely where I am. I thought a cat might bring me some companionship."
"How old are you?"
"Twenty nine." He blushed at this and Belle raised a brow.
"Why do you use VFG when you write?"
"Vladimir France… Guilty."
Frost shifted awkwardly and rubbed at the back of his neck, saying nothing. Belle bit her lip but didn't ask any more questions. The name Vladimir France was curious and she thought it sounded familiar, but she didn't say anything. Phantom of the Opera began to play on her phone and she jumped, answering it and walking into the kitchen to talk to her father. He was doing well, the project was going forward as planned, and he'd be back in two weeks. Belle congratulated him and wished him well before hanging up. When she went back into the living room Vincent had turned on Phantom of the Opera, Music of the Night, and had a rose in his hand for Belle. She blushed and took the rose, tucking it into her hair and allowing herself to be swept away into a waltz by Frost.
After the dance Belle took a step away from Frost and smiled awkwardly, looking away from him. "I uh, have school tomorrow. You should probably go."
Frost looked as if he was going to say something, but he held back and muttered he'd see her at the library when she wanted to work. He left quietly and Belle sighed, taking the roses upstairs and putting them in a vase in her window. Cat slept with her that night but she barely slumbered, her thoughts occupied with the strange, mysterious librarian.
"It's just not fair, why is she giving him all the attention and not me?"
Gaston sat with his lackey Nabu, who was listening and nodding his head vigorously, patting Gaston's shoulder.
"She's just being nice I bet, Gaston. Take her out for a night on the town, show her your charm, she'll be your's by the weekend!"
Gaston smirked, knowing Nabu was right. Who wanted an old goat when a young stallion was right there?
Belle sat in Study Hall, blankly staring out the window. Ariel and Aurora were in seats next to her, Kiara and Alice sitting nearby, and Ella was in front of her. All of them were staring, save for Alice, who was also looking out the window.
"What's wrong with her?" Ella looked as if she was going to poke Belle, but Ariel brushed her hand away.
"She's in love."
"Vladi-Vincent." Belle finally looked at them, but she was frowning a bit. "And I am not in love with him, I just wonder why he changed his name."
"What was it before?"
Everyone turned to look at Alice, who was still staring out the window. Belle recovered first and swallowed, laughing softly. "What was that, Alice?"
"Vladimir France was rumored to have killed ten children, then ran away and used up all the money he stole from their parents to get plastic surgery from the black market. He disappeared without a trace and no one's been able to track him down since. That was five years ago."
The attention was back on Belle, but the expressions were mixed; pity, fear, and worry. Belle looked down at her lap, shifted uncomfortably in her chair, then left for the computer lab. Gaston watched her go, the moved to sit next to Alice and pry for more information about the supposed killer.
In the computer lab Belle looked up Vladimir France. She found out he had worked as a librarian in a small town and was accused of killing ten of the children who went to a class there in the course of a year. The children would go missing, as would any family jewels, and their bodies all turned up in the basement of the library. But before his trial he disappeared, and no one had found him since.
Belle looked up when VFG's books started coming out; two years after France disappeared. She chewed the inside of her lip and went back to study hall, freezing at the sight. Gaston had gotten all the student's attention, the teacher, and people from other classes were poking their heads in to listen curiously.
"He's a monster, a despicable fiend! He amassed his fortune from the families whose children he murdered. It could be your brother next, your fortunes he'll steal, and then he'll disappear again! We have to stop this monster, this beast! I say we go find out a bit more about our new librarian!"
Belle turned to go, but Gaston told one of the kids to grab her. They did and he scowled, going over to her and taking her arm. "And you, little miss Belle, will not be letting the Beast know we're coming. Come on, you'll ride with me."
Gaston took Belle to his car and locked her into it, taking the driver's side and opening the glove compartment. A small pistol was in there and he held it close, muttering as he did about shooting the monster. She was horrified and shocked, but couldn't do anything just yet. Gaston had a crazy glint in his eye and she was afraid of what he'd do if she tried to stop him.
Vincent was typing for his new book when the library door burst open and Gaston shouted, "Vladimir France, come out quietly. A little bird told us allllll about your past."
Vincent jerked up and looked at Gaston, who had a gun in one hand and Belle in the other. He reached over to the phone to call the police, but Gaston pointed the gun at his hand. "Oh no Mister France, no police for you. I've already called them and told them we have Vladimir France holed up in the library."
Gaston grinned and cocked his gun. Vincent froze, but he wasn't looking at the gun or its holder. He was looking at Belle, who looked confused and lost.
"I didn't do it," he whispered, and Belle's gaze lifted towards his. "The other librarian framed me. He was really-"
"Enough!" Gaston pointed the gun at Frost and fired. The sound echoed in the room and Belle let out a shriek at the sight of blood. Vincent staggered back and Gaston looked shocked that he had hit his target. He frowned when he realized he only got the man in his arm and let go of Belle so he could get a better aim, not having expected the gun to have a kick.
Once released, Belle ran to Vincent and stood next to him, looking at his bleeding arm. Gaston growled at her, lowering his gun slightly. "You'd pick him, an insane murderer, over me?"
"He said he didn't do it," she said, frowning. "I believe him."
Gaston looked furious and began to advance on the pair, but Vincent lunged at the gun and swatted it from Gaston's hand. Two shots were fired before he could though and Vincent fell. Belle screamed as police barged into the scene.
A few weeks later Belle opened the library and Cat followed, perching on the main desk and purring contently. Fresh roses were sitting in a vase and all the work had been done. Books were put away, the website was updated, and the quiet building seemed to be waiting. Slowly, the main door opened and a man walked in, an arm bandaged, a fedora on his head, and a faint smile on his face.
"Are you trying to take my job?"
"I might be."
Belle blushed a bright and happy shade of pink as she saw Vincent, then stood and embraced him warmly. After the police came, Gaston was arrested for shooting a person, firing in a public place, having a weapon, and endangering others. The police listened to Vincent's story and went to find his friend. As it turns out he had gone to another town to repeat his crimes and was not hard to catch this time. Vladimir Frost was cleared of all charges, although the judge was not happy he had ran from them. He was allowed to stay where he was with his job and no one would come looking for him. Belle had spent most of her time in the hospital with him and the library had been allowed to reopen that day. Belle was spending more time there than her father felt was normal, but he had seen why when she invited Vincent to dinner and they all enjoyed a lovely evening together. He wondered how much Belle would fall for the man, but was glad to be home. He promised to never leave for a month on business, there was no telling what trouble Belle would get into! Cat was comfortable though, since Belle and Vincent were so close. He had the ability to steal either lap!
"I'm glad you're out of the hospital."
"Why? You didn't like sneaking kisses when the nurses had their heads turned?"
"I was more worried they'd try to put the moves on you when they realized just who you were."
Vincent smirked and put an arm around Belle, holding her close. The truth had come out and it was known all over town that the mysterious VFG was their librarian. Leaning down, he stroked the back of his fingers over Belle's cheek before he pressed his lips to hers, enjoying a kiss before the first customer came in to check out a book. Since the shooting and truth of the librarian came out, the building was receiving many more visitors!
"You know, when I first met you, I thought you were a terrible beast."
"Oh really? You don't know how much of a beast I can be!"
Shrieking with laughter, Belle tried to fend off the "beast" as he stole another kiss from her, helpless to his charms now.
A/N: I love Beauty and the Beast, it's one of my favorite stories of all time. I figured I should do a whole story per chapter since the introductions are done and I wanted this one to be first. I hope you all liked it! I'm doing Alice in Wonderland next.