All the words that I come up with,
They're like gasoline on flames
There's no excuse no explanation
Believe me if I could undo what I did wrong
I'd give away all that I own!
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April 17th, a most horrendous date to remember, as well as a joyous one.
That was Mr. Gold's opinion on the day as he exited his estate, the warm spring air clinging to him like a fresh-out-of-the-dryer towel.
He limped up the cobblestone driveway towards the garage to claim his car. It was much too warm to walk through the small town today, not to mention he had several places to stop at for the day's celebration.
The streets of Storybrook were bright for once, the sunlight breaking through the gloomy clouds to gift the town with a slight amount of light.
Of course it's bright today. Why wouldn't it be…
The first stop was his own shop where a series of collected baskets existed in the back room. He looked at each one, studying them to the last detail. None of them seemed fit for this occasion in the least. With this staring him in the face, he swept the baskets off the shelf, leaning against the wall to settle his frustration. He found a box near the counter and put a few items in it until he found the perfect basket to put them in.
The bell to the front door rang. Hadn't he locked that door? He did not need a customer at the moment. He reluctantly stalked back into the shop to see one of the people he never wanted to be around. "Madame Mayor, what do I owe this discontent?"
Regina smiled despite the insult. "Morning Mr. Gold, I've come to ask you-"
"I'm afraid you'll have to come back another time. I'm about to close up."
She frowned. "Whatever for?"
He shrugged. "Today's a special occasion, so I plan to make a self-holiday out of it. You understand."
"Hardly." The queen growled. Mr. Gold brushed past her and she immediately followed. "And what, may I ask, is so important about today that you can not listen to the simplest of my requests?"
He froze, key stuck mid-turn in the lock. He smiled. "It's sunny."
Regina arched an eyebrow in confusion, looking up towards the sky. She smirked, "Not for long."
A new set of grey clouds were rolling in to block out the scarce light.
Mr. Gold shook his head. "I'll find something else worth celebrating." he made a deadly close step towards her. "Good day, milady."
Regina watched him limp away intently. She hated not knowing his schemes or what was on his mind. She knew that each time he did something unpredictable, it was a flaw in her plan that had to be soothed and fixed immediately.
She caught sight of Henry running across the empty street towards the sheriff's department. Her blood began to boil and she decided Mr. Gold and his shenanigans would have to wait.
Now that Regina was out of his path, Mr. Gold focused once more on the task of finding a basket. As he stalked down the streets, peaking in each window as he did, he received several hesitant nods and quick glances as the citizens of Storybrook diverse from his line of sight. He ignored each and everyone of them. Any other day he would have smirked and even pulled one of the little sheep aside to torture them with the reminder of an upcoming payment, but today was not that kind of day.
Just as he was about to turn around and head back to his car, he caught sight of a basket filled with bread inside the town bakery "Boot's in Bread", owned by a shaggily women plagued with a respiratory condition that only added to the stress of raising several grandchildren (Counterpart of: The Little Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe). Despite her condition, she was not pitied upon by the villain.
Mr. Gold entered the shop, the ding of a bell being his entrance.
One gray and three red heads shot up and the faces of these head turned pale at the town pawnbroker. The elderly woman shooed the children into the back of the store and approached Mr. Gold with her walker, this day being one of the few that she actually had the energy to get up.
"Mr. Gold, I know your rent was due yesterday but if you'd please-"
Mr. Gold held up a hand, and like a trained pet, she silenced. "Alas good lady, I'm feeling rather generous today, so I won't rip this…" he looked around at the small yet cozy shop, "hovel away from you, if you may do me a favor, that is."
The woman puffed up slightly, "Yes?"
He approached the bread basket, admiring the simple flower pattern circling the creative weave. Yes, this was almost perfect.
"Allow me to take this basket, without the loaves of bricks of course, and I'll give you, let's say, an week's addition to pick up on your rent."
The woman's paling calmed some, but she had a curious look in her eye. "I suppose, but what could you want with that old thing? It's merely an eye catcher, for display purposes."
"And deserves to have a better purpose," Mr. Gold spoke as he removed the loaves, gently smacking the crumbs out of the cloth inside, "a purpose I have today." He closed it up and gave a nod to the bewildered old woman wrapped in a shawl. As he turned, he was only inch away from stepping on the youngest of the many grandchildren. She was a small red-headed child, like her siblings, but her fearless eyes and determined expression made her stand out.
Mr. Gold heard the old woman gasp with anticipation, but he was too much of a man to bully small children. Instead, he pulled a shiny quarter from his suit pocket and displayed it for her. The little girl smiled brightly and took it, clutching it to her chest as she bounded off. Mr. Gold shook his head and left, looking around to make sure no one was around to witness his rare act of kindness.
After making a painful trip back to his car, Mr. Gold set off to gather the last essential for the event.
And where else would one find this item other than at the liquor store?
"How's the inventory, Leroy?"
The mid-sized man sucking on a bottle of scotch choked on the golden liquor before throwing it under the counter and wipping his mouth clean. "Quite well, thanks brother."
Mr. Gold nodded and began to browse the shelves for a suitable bottle of wine. All had fancy titles, most he recognized and had tried at least once during his existence in Storybrook. All of them were the kind to get someone drunk off their ass after one glass; not for this occasion.
"Need something particular Brother?"
Mr. Gold sighed, irate from both the quest and his insulting nickname. "I'm looking for something elagent and rare, a wine that is only meant to be drunk for purity purposes."
"You're nuts." Leroy state curtly. He sighed, "But I think I got what you need." he signaled him to follow him into the back. Mr. Gold carefully went with him, his gurard completely up. He had learned from his encounter with a formerly pregnant Ashely Boyd never to underestimate anyone, even if they were a foot and a half shorter than him.
Leroy began to search through the cluttered backroom with a series of grunts. He gave all the credit for helping the jerk to the alchohal he had been chugging down all morning. Finally he pulled out a red bottle, dusting it off slightly with his sleeve. "Here, try this."
Mr. Gold took it, eyeing the ex-dwarf suspiciously.
"It's the boss's forgotten treasure. Said it came from a bunch of French aristocrats or something stupid like that."
Mr. Gold stared at the cherry wine dated at 1845 and smiled; a drink with a story to tell. Perfect.
"And how much would this "forgotten treasure" be?"
Leroy grunted. "You really think I don't care?"
Mr. Godl chuckled and pulled a few bills from his pocket, not checking their worth. "Goodbye."
Leroy picked up the rumpled cash and whistled. "Pleasure doing business with you!"
Mr. Gold slammed the door, sighing iritatedly. He needed one last object for the occasoin. This item existed at the floral shop where the man he had almost killed just over a month ago. He smirked. It would be a pleasure to see the horror on that round bastard's face. Maybe he'd throw a flower pot or two around to give him more of a panic.
These ideas where instantly halted when he saw the CLOSED sign on the door.
"Damn it!" Mr. Gold sat the basket on the ground so that he could slam his hands into the wall. "Of all days! Of all damn days!" He took in several deep breaths to prevent himself from breaking the shop window. It would be fine. There were some wild roses blooming along the path he was heading for; those would suit just as fine.
He straightened his suit out, clapping the debris from his hands, and continued back to his car, completing ignoring the terrified looks he got from the towns people.
He took the drive to the park slowly, savoring the sunlight. He glanced at the objects in the passenger seat: a decorative bread basket, a wine with a story to tale, a group of wild rose that were smelling up his car…and a certain chipped cup.
He was driving past the graveyard now, a place he had visited a few times after the curse. People who had died in the Enchanted forest, the lost dwarf, Snow White's snake-bitten father, and even Regina's father and secret lover were buried there. However, even after reading every last headstone on the property, he had never found Belle.
He turned on a curb, looking at the forest of marble just for a moment, and by some chance saw Moe French standing over a gravestone. He pressed on breaks, the car coming to a sharp almost dangerous stop. He absently pressed a hand on the basket to save the items inside it, staring in disbelief at the man.
Who was he visiting? The former Maurice only had his wife Angelica French buried at the corner of the cemetery. He was smack in the middle, who could he-
Mr. Gold took just a moment to grab the basket and his cane before he marched off to where Moe was standing. He had his hat off, muttering something to the grave.
"…Daisies will be in soon. I know you love daisies, more than roses I remember…"
Mr. Gold looked at the roses in the basket and rolled his eyes. He cleared his throat rather loudly.
Moe turns around, his face immediately paling at the sight of the man that almost took his life that February night. "M-m-mr. G-gold?"
Said Mr. Gold smirked and stepped closer, loving how Moe French flinched and took baby steps backwards. His arm was in a cast and a thick bandage clung to the skin above his right eye. "And who would you be talking to?" he inquires with a nod to the gravestone.
Moe French steps aside to reveal the name of the stone. It was s a plain rock with only the name and a light inscription on it.
BELLA ROSIE FRENCH
A flower in Heaven
"She was…um…m-my daughter, Mr. Gold. It's her birthday today you see and I was just…" Moe began to twitter, his words becoming terribly unrecognizable. Mr. Gold wasn't paying much attention anyway.
The basket dropped from his loose grip as shock and overwhelming joy at him alive. "Bella…her name is Bella?"
He laughed because it was funny, his stupidity was at least. He had seen this very headstone at least twice and had made no connection. If he had thought a little deeper, he could have made peace long ago. "So, she really did die? Heaven must be a beautiful place then."
Moe looked at Mr. Gold's shocked expression. "I didn't know you…knew my daughter…Mr. Gold?"
He closed his eyes for a moment to force all the joyous and miserable emotions he felt into the back of his brain. He smiled. "You could say we were…distant acquaintances at a point in time. Just barely even friends."
Moe French is curious, awe-struck, and just slightly defensive. He had never known his beloved daughter had associated with the likes of the town's villainous pawnbroker. "Oh." is all he could say. His eyes shifted around. She was the one he almost killed me over then…"
Mr. Gold picked up his basket slowly. "All this time, she's been right here."
Mr. French coughed nervously. "Well, um, I have to go back to the shop now."
Mr. Gold nodded. Waiting until Moe French was far behind him before he moved closer to the gravestone.
He stared for a moment before getting opening the basket and setting two wine glasses on top of the dull rock, pouring a generous amount of wine in each. He then took out the roses and laid then at the base of the stone. Finally, he fished the tea cup out and laid it with the glasses. He picked his glass up and lifted it in a cheer.
"Happy birthday, Dearie."
He chatted with the rock, reliving some of their moments together, even recalling the only birthday she spent with him in the dark castle which involved the tiniest cake of all time and a basement full of rats the size of horses.
Very strange story.
He held up the tea cup them, running his thumb over the enlarged crack.
"Sorry; it seems as though the surplus of time didn't stop me from almost destroying this thing."
Her name stared back at him with a certain coldness.
He chuckled. "I see, you're still mad at me, aren't you?" he shrugged. Despite the heat of midday, he was shaking.
"I don't blame you. I was rather foolish. I think now…that if I'd just told you why I couldn't…" he washed down the dryness in his throat. It was a rock for Christ's sake, why couldn't he talk to it!
Because it's her rock. Her grave.
She was six feet below him rotting because he drove her away.
She, a now twenty year old beauty, was maggot food because he had hardened his heart to love of all sorts.
"I'm sorry Belle." He stared at the cold, grey headstone for a few moments, as if it were going to become enchanted and start responding. But not even the wind picked up, and Mr. Gold was left to face a heart-quenching realization.
Belle was dead, right in front of him at that.
She wasn't going to come back to life and start chatting with him.
She was gone forever, and the rock on top of the box holding the box she was in was the closest he would ever be to her again.
A sob broke his silence and he couldn't still the rush of grief that came after it.
"I'm sorry Belle!" he sobbed. He spread out on the ground, knotted leg be damned, and put his ear to the ground in a delusional hope to hear her. "I'm so sorry. I've lost you…God…my sunshine…"
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"She's hallucinating again Margie."
The young woman's eyes shot open to see two nurses, one a young man whom was her age at least, and the stout barbarian she had seen every day for the last eternity. Her powered gloved hand held up a shiny needle filled with the medication that would take away the girl's ability to even sneeze for a few days to a week at a time. She barely flinched when it entered her skin. It was always the same pain, always the same hole being stretched. What was there to get excited about?
The nurse, despite her cold-hearted expression, patted her knee. "That should take the nightmares away sweetie."
The male nursed offered her a smile. "See you in a couple of days Bella." the door closed after his retreat, leaving this "Bella" to wallow in her delusions.
Yet, she knew that they weren't delusions. She knew that they were something stronger, something that had existed beyond these cold stone walls. They were life, happiness, things she wanted but couldn't have but craved to make real. They were hers.
The man she kept seeing, the one with the long name that she could somehow knew, was always waiting for her with a lethal grin and a flamboyant bow.
There were other people as well, a large man who called her "my girl" during different moods, a beautiful girl in a red cape with an appetite of a wolf, occasionally a man with a crazed expression and an act for needlework, and, on rare, dreaded instances, there was a grown woman with a twisted smile and cruel eyes that inked right into her soul.
They may be just dreams, illusions as the doctors call them, but they were hers, and no matter how much poison the nurse shot into her veins she would not let them take them from her.
As darkness slowly eloped her, "Bella" knew that there was only one true way to keep her delusions with her forever.
She had to get the Hell out of the cage.