AN: Sorry about the late update. Enjoy!
Gold grabbed his cane and set after her as fast as he could, but he knew that she would be going a lot faster than he could and she would soon be gone. He prayed that she would listen to her own advice and not do anything rash.
Belle knew that she was being incredibly hypocritical as she nearly ran down the streets of the town hunting for Regina. She knew how foolish it was to go up against the Queen when she wasn't being rational. Even though Regina might not have magic here, it didn't make her powerless. But she couldn't stop herself any more than she could have returned back to her world.
It had been a long, tough day for Belle. She had felt the exhilarating rush of escape and freedom, the shock of finding the man she believed dead alive, and had learned the astounding fact that she had been held captive for more than twenty eight years without realizing it. To top it all off, her best friend had been killed by the woman she had already hated more than she had ever hated anything. In the back of her mind, Belle couldn't stop the traitorous thoughts of what if from creeping in. What if she had escaped from her cell sooner, would she have been able to save Graham? This guilt only added fuel to her anger.
Belle really had no clue where she was going, but she continued to stalk the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the evil witch. She was nearing the other side of town when luck shined on her. A little ways ahead of her, exiting a building that had a sign proclaiming GRANNY'S DINER, was the mayor herself, completely alone. Rage bubbled inside of Belle, who wished fervently that she had a sword in her hand.
"Regina!" Belle screamed across the street as she began to run. Regina had only a few moments to turn around and looked absolutely stunned before Belles fist connected with her jaw, sending her flying backward onto the ground.
"You killed him!" she screamed hysterically, as she launched herself at the fallen woman one of her hands gripping her neck tightly, her other fist flying with no thought to as where it landed. "You used him! You used him like that for years and then you just kill him? How can you be this way?" Every word she spoke was punctuated with a hit as she unleashed all her grief and rage Regina who was too shocked to even put up a fight. "You killed him!"
It only lasted a few moments before she felt hands trying to pull her off the mayor, and she lashed out at them too, landing some pretty good hits. She kept screaming at Regina.
"How could you do this, any of it? All of it is your fault! You did this all, you did this to all of us! You evil, freaking, heartless witch!" Someone finally succeeded in pulling her off of Regina. Belle kept pulling against their grip, but whoever it was knew how to keep her held back and had her arms pinned behind her back. The person was yelling incoherently at her.
"Hey!" the person yelled directly into her ear, making Belle look at her captor for the first time. It was a blond woman who was looking at her as if she was crazy, which Belle had to admit that she probably was acting that way. She glanced around at the small crowd that had gathered, and faces and names jumped into her mind with dizzying speed that almost hurt. She looked back at the blond woman, but nothing sprang into her head.
This oddity was enough to put a crack in the rage Belle had been feeling and she stopped resisting the woman's hold, though she was still shaking with barely contained fury. Belle looked down at Regina who was still on the ground. She was gratified to see several bruises and a split lip with blood running down her chin. She felt metal bit onto her wrists, making her wince and look over her shoulder at her arms.
"You're under arrest." The blond said and pulled Belle over to a parked police car and left her alone in the back seat. Sitting there alone, her arms aching and seeing the crowd trying to help the shaken mayor, Belle began to think about what a bad idea this had been as her burning rage started to cool. But she had to admit that finally being able to hit Regina had been incredibly satisfying. As she watched the crowd grow larger, she noticed one person hanging back who wasn't focused on the mayor, but was instead looking at her inside the car.
It was a man in a black leather jacket standing near a motorcycle, and he was looking directly at her in curiosity. Belle somehow felt uneasy with the way he was studying her. What really unsettled her was that he, like the blond sheriff, was unknown to the knowledge of the curse in her head. That coupled with the way that he was looking at her made her feel very uncomfortable.
Her attention was taken off of him when an ambulance pulled up and paramedics rushed over to Regina. At first, Regina seemed alright with their fussing, but she soon froze. Belle followed her gaze and saw Rumplestiltskin, Mr. Gold, WHATEVER!, standing at the edge of the crowd, but he wasn't returning the mayors look. Instead, his eyes were focused on Belle in the car. Belle saw Regina follow his gaze to her, and she went a shade paler. Belle smirked at the woman's look of terror, and then turned to look at Gold, her heart still beating a little faster just at seeing him.
He raised his eyebrow, and she knew that he was asking her what she had been thinking. She shrugged in response. He rolled his eyes. Any further silent conversation was cut off when the blond, who Belle guessed was the sheriff, slid into the driver's seat and they left the scene. Belle kept eye contact with Gold until he was out of sight.
Belle sat in stony silence the entire ride to the sheriff's station. The rage she had felt at Regina was still there under the surface, but she had it under better control now. The car pulled into the parking lot of the sheriff's station and the sheriff led her inside. The woman grabbed some papers from a file and began to fill in details.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Belle." Belle replied crisply. After a pause the woman looked up at her expectantly.
"What's your last name?" she prompted. Belle didn't answer. She repeated herself.
"I heard you perfectly clear." Belle said.
"So what is it?" The sheriff asked, irritation clear in her voice.
"What's your name?" Belle questioned instead. Maybe knowing this person's name would let her know who she was. The sheriff rolled her eyes.
"Emma Swann." She said. Sadly, no information kicked started in Belles mind. "Now you tell me your name."
"I didn't make that deal." Belle said. Emma looked at her in exasperated disbelief.
"It was implied!" she snapped. Belle shrugged.
"Are you going to tell me your last name or not?" Emma asked as she kneaded her temple.
"No." Belle said simply. Emma's eyebrows arched and then narrowed in irritation.
"Fine!" she said, turning back to the paper.
Now Belle didn't do that just to be irritating. But she knew that eventually someone, whether that be Mr. Gold or even Regina, would come up with some sort of history for her. And she didn't want to say anything now because it would certainly contradict anything created later. And she didn't want to be taken as either a liar or a crazy person. So instead, she settled for being uncooperative.
Emma didn't even bother asking for Belle's other information, figuring this strange person that no one seemed to know, wouldn't give anything else away.
"Well, this is the second time Henry's rule of 'no one comes into Storybrooke' has been broken." Emma couldn't help but think to herself as she took Belles mug shots and finger prints. She knew that she should be putting more effort into questioning this stranger, but couldn't find the effort to do it. She was too tired and exhausted from trying to figure out what had happened to Katherine Nolan to worry that much about her. When she had gone to open the cell door, she had felt Belle tense slightly and then force herself to relax. Emma wondered if that meant that this woman had spent some time in jail before and made a mental note to check.
Belle sat down on the bed and stared at the far wall as Emma walked to her office. An hour and a half passed before the complete silence and the nagging question became too much for Emma.
"Why did you attack Regina?" she called over to Belle. For the past hour, she had been thinking that maybe Belle had something on the mayor that she could use. Belle glanced over at her but didn't answer the question.
Not knowing anything about Emma put Belle at a distinct disadvantage that she did not like. She wondered who the sheriff had been the in the real world, and what her connection to Regina was. If she was just some other flunky of the Queens, she didn't want to say anything that may end up putting herself in greater danger.
"Oh come on!" Emma whined. "Just tell me why you hit her. If I wasn't the sheriff I probably would have helped you instead of pulling you off." Belle was intrigued; apparently there was no love lost between the sheriff and mayor. But then again, she was sure most of the people who had worked for the Queen didn't like her majesty all the much.
"You're the sheriff." Belle said. "Don't you work for the mayor?" Emma made a face.
"Technically, yes. Doesn't mean that I don't want to hit her every time I see her. I'm sure she deserved it completely." She said.
"She deserves a lot more than what I did." Belle muttered darkly. Emma smiled slightly; she liked the response, maybe this Belle wasn't so bad as long as she wasn't crazy.
"So what did she do?" she asked again. Belle wished that she could say what exactly Regina had done to her, but then she would have to deal with the whole 'crazy person' issue.
"Its personal." She chose to say instead. Emma was going to respond but was stopped by the entrance of the woman in discussion.
"Speak of the devil." Belle muttered just loud enough to be heard. Regina shot her a dirty look. Belle smirked at the bruises and cut lip the mayor had. She wouldn't be forgetting that encounter for a while.
"Madam Mayor." Emma said, her voice dripping with poorly hid venom. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought you might like this, sheriff." Regina responded, handing over a file.
"What is it?" Emma asked even as she riffled through it.
"A personal file on your prisoner. Her name is Isabelle Brooks." She said stiffly. Belle placed her elbows on her knees and leaned on her clasped hands, interested in what was happening.
"And you just happen to have a file on the woman who attacked you?" Emma asked, her suspicions clear. Regina raised her eyebrow.
"There's nothing sinister here, sheriff. I keep the records of everyone who leaves Storybrooke, that way their personal information isn't misused."
Emma looked up in surprise. Belle wasn't just a stranger, she was a past resident that had left Storybrooke? Henry's theory was being blown to pieces today.
"She left?" she asked in disbelief.
"Yes sheriff. Is that so hard to believe?" Regina asked, smirking slightly as if at some inside joke. "She left more than 10 years ago to go to school, in Australia I believe."
Even though Belle knew it was impossible for anyone to leave, and had never even heard of this place called Australia before, memories formed in her mind about a school there. The memories were hazy and intentionally vague; all she could really recall was large rooms filled with benches, long hallways and a lot of sunshine. Mostly, Belle was curious as to why Regina was doing this at all.
"Alright." Emma said, snapping shut the folder. "Why did she attack you?" Regina hesitated just a second before answering. It wasn't enough for Emma to think anything of it, but Belle had caught it. After all the time that the Queen had spent gloating, Belle had learned how to read her fairly well. And one thing was for certain, Regina was not doing this of her own free will.
"While she moved away, her father stayed here." Regina started. "He passed away a few years ago, and the town took possession of his house." As she was speaking, the story filled in inside of Belles mind. Every detail of the fake life that the mayor had created came to Belle immediately, even though Regina hadn't told the whole story yet. She remembered a large house that she had lived in, arguing with her 'father' a lot, going to Australia because it was the farthest away she could get and the fact that the house should have been left to her. If she wasn't in jail, Belle would have been entranced with the way that the curses magic had worked, giving her details that hadn't even been said yet.
"You stole that house. It was left to me, and you know it." Belle let just the right amount of anger slip into her voice. Regina's eyes widened in shock before she schooled her features back into a calm mask. Belle smirked just a little bit; let the mayor deal with the fact that not only did Belle remember the past, she could also use the curse to her advantage.
"There was no record of inheritance." Regina said, trying to regain her cool composure. "If there had been, we wouldn't have taken it. Perhaps your father changed his mind."
"He would have told me." Belle bit out. Regina huffed in feigned disbelief.
"Your estranged father? I was under the impression that you two didn't talk after you left. You never even came back for his funeral." Regina smiled slightly at the anger that was apparent in Belles eyes. Belle wanted nothing more to get past the bars and attack her again.
"Well if that is all the problem is, give her back her house." Emma said, cutting off the silent staring contest. Regina returned her attention back to the sheriff.
"I'm afraid that's impossible. The house was destroyed to make room for construction on the road."
"Yeah and you didn't think I might have liked to know that?" Belle snapped, playing her part wonderfully. "It was my home, it was were I grew up! Just admit it; you enjoy taking what people hold dear and destroying it. Ripping out their hearts." Belle was no longer pretending, she was talking about Graham. And if the stony look on Regina's was anything to go by, she knew that too.
"She beat you up over a house?" Emma asked incredulously.
"What can I say sheriff? People get upset over silly little things that never really mattered to begin with." Regina said, not looking away from Belle. Belle made an involuntary movement toward the bars as if she could get through them. Emma looked back and forth between them, not believing that a house could cause the level of hate she saw radiating off of her prisoner, but her super power wasn't picking up on any lies. She shook her head; there was nothing she could do to make them tell her the truth.
"I assume you'll be pressing charges?" she asked, tired of this whole thing. This snapped Regina's attention away from Belle. A look of disgust, and maybe even a little fear, briefly passed over her face.
"Actually, no. I think Ms. Brooks would very much like to not add a mark on her record so close to her return home. I'm sure we can chalk this little incident up to the stress of travel." Emma looked shocked, when had Regina become the forgiving type?
"You just want to release her?" she asked, flabbergasted. Regina laughed as if Emma had said something terribly funny.
"Of course not. Release her without any punishment after she viciously attacked me? What kind of message would that be?" Emma rolled her eyes, here was the vindictive Regina she knew. "If she can post bail, as a sort of repayment to the town for all the trouble she's caused, then you can let her go."
"And how much were you thinking the bail should be?" Emma asked, expecting a high number. She wasn't disappointed.
"I think $30,000 would be sufficient. That would cover the cost of the trouble the paramedics had to go through, as well as yourself sheriff." Belle gasped in disbelief.
"I don't have that kind of money!" she yelled. Regina shrugged, not bothered in the least.
"In that case, maybe a few nights in that cell will help to cool your temper." Belle paled slightly at the thought being in this cage that long; she was having a hard time with just a few hours. Regina saw her discomfort.
"Unless you'd prefer do real jail time?" she asked innocently. Belle glared.
"A few nights is fine." She said between clenched teeth, glaring daggers at the mayor. With a smirk, Regina left the station. Belle was reminded of the way that she used to prance away from the dungeons. She couldn't think of an insult bad enough to call the mayor.
"Wow." Emma whistled. "That was pretty harsh." She walked over to the cell and sat down on the couch.
"Actually I was expecting worse." Belle admitted, remembering what Regina could do when truly angry. Inside her chest, her heart ached as if it too remembered when Regina had slowed it almost to the point of stopping. Emma looked at over at her in mild surprise.
"Why does she hate you so much? Besides beating her up, I mean. It seems like there's more history between the two of you." Emma asked. She seemed genuinely interested, and Belle didn't think that the animosity between the mayor and sheriff was faked. She figured that telling the truth, after a certain fashion, couldn't hurt.
"She didn't think that she would have to deal with me again, not like this anyways." She answered.
Emma grinned at Belle. "Well anyone who Regina doesn't like is someone I want to get to know better, as long as you don't make it a habit to beat up more people." She said. Belles half smiled back. She was starting to like the sheriff, but she couldn't let herself warm up to her yet without knowing who Emma really was. They sat in silence for a few minutes, and when it was clear that Belle wasn't going to say anything else Emma went back to her office.
A few hours past with Emma or Belle would occasionally say something to the other, but nothing really serious. Belle had taken to walking back and forth in her cell, unconsciously practicing the ways that Hunter, Graham she reminded herself, had showed her how to walk silently. Several times she had been tempted to ask Emma about him; as the new sheriff she must have known something about the old one. But her apprehension of not knowing who Emma was always held her back, even though her curiosity was driving her crazy.
"Wow its late." Emma said, looking at a clock after she had pushed back from her desk to stretch. It had grown dark out a while ago. "I'm starved. I'm gonna go to Granny's, do you want anything?" she asked as she got up and started to pull her coat on.
"Sure." Belle said, suddenly aware that she hadn't eaten since the morning, when she was back in the hospital. It was hard to believe that only that morning she had been in that hospital cell, and was now in a completely new cell. Emma grabbed her keys and left the station.
As soon as she was gone, Belle tried wrenching the metal bars of her cell to see if any were loose. She had wanted to do this the entire time, but she couldn't with Emma there.
"Don't bother. Those bars aren't going to move at all." A familiar voice said, coming from around the corner so she couldn't see him. "And trust me, I've tried." He walked around the corner so she could see him. He wasn't smiling, but when he saw her a glimmer entered his eyes, revealing how happy he was to see her.
Belle leaned against the bars as Mr. Gold walked over to stand right next to the cell. Even though she knew that he was alive, seeing him standing in front on her sent a thrill through her. His mouth turned up into a sardonic smile.
"So I can't go up against the Queen in my anger, but you can?" He said it casually as if discussing the weather. Belle scoffed slightly, and looked away from him in embarrassment.
"I know. Very hypocritical of me wasn't it?" He shrugged one shoulder in silent agreement. "But you should have seen her face. And it was a very satisfying thump when she hit the ground" She said added, laughing softly.
"Oh I don't doubt that." He said. "But it would have been so much better if I was there with you."
"Next time." Belle promised, smiling thinly. The smile was colder than any he had ever seen on her face before, and it distressed him. He had no problems with taking a darker path than most, but he didn't want Belle to do the same.
"I take it you're the reason Regina was kind enough to create a story for me." She continued, sarcastically emphasising the word kind.
"I may have had a small role." He admitted, dismissing it off hand.
Regina sat on an ambulance stretcher, the paramedics adamant that she be looked after. She wasn't interested in being pampered; she wanted to know how Belle had escaped from the hospital. She had to admit that she was not expecting to see the young woman in Storybrooke on that day or any other. She was planning on going to the hospital immediately and find out how those fools had let her escape, when she saw him standing a little ways down the street.
Regina paled as Mr. Gold looked directly in her eyes. She could see the barely contained fury that she was all too familiar with, though she had never seen that level of anger in this world. She knew immediately that Gold knew about Belle, and Regina knew that she was dead.
Gold broke her gaze to look at something else. She followed it and saw that he was looking at Belle in the sheriff's car. Regina was sure that her heart had stopped. By the looks they shared, she knew that this was not the first time that they had seen each other. When Belle had first attacked her, screaming about how she had killed him, Regina had assumed that she had meant the false story she had told her about Rumplestiltskin. But seeing how they looked, she was now sure that wasn't the case.
She allowed herself a minute to think about who Belle had been referring to. She remembered how close the Huntsman had gotten to Belle, and reasoned that she must have learned about his death. Regina hadn't known that Belle had felt so strongly about her pet sheriff.
As soon as Emma drove away Belle away, Regina roughly pushed away the paramedics, insisting that she was fine. Without stopping to talk to anyone, she got into her car and drove quickly to her office. She knew that even there she wasn't going to be able to avoid Gold, but she was only trying to buy herself some time to try and prepare herself for his confrontation. The panic she had felt was gone, replaced by the old reassurance that he couldn't hurt her. It didn't make her apprehension fade completely though.
She had only been in her office for a few minutes, calmly arranging a few things and fixing herself a drink when before she heard the tell-tale sound of a cane. She sat down in her chair, the picture of a calm and collected person even though inside she was nervous. But she was the Evil Queen, she did not show fear even to the Dark One. She took a slow drink as Mr. Gold entered.
"Come to talk about how you broke our deal?" she asked with the sole purpose of irritating him.
"Well I think that it would be rather obvious now, but you lied to me, your majesty. And you know what happens to people who try to trick me." Gold said ignoring her comment. His voice was low and deadly. For a brief moment, Regina wondered if he might go back on a deal and actually hurt her.
"If that is so, than what are you waiting for?" she asked, cocking her eyebrow, silently daring him to do something. His answering smile was thin and dangerous.
"Don't think that deal I made will protect you forever, dear. I will find a way to make you pay for what you did, but that's not what I'm here to discuss right now."
"Then what do you want?" she questioned. His face was impassive.
"It's simple really. As the caster of the curse, you can invent and change everyone's stories on a whim. You are going to create a story for Belle that explains her behaviour and where's she's been all this time. And she is not to stay in jail."
Regina scoffed as if he was joking. "Really? Aren't you going to say your magic word?" she mocked. Gold chuckled quietly.
"I don't need to, dear. You'll want to do this one for yourself." Regina raised her eyebrow.
"And why would I do that?" she questioned.
"Because a woman without a past is a very curious thing. I'm sure Sheriff Swan would agree with me, and would start to dig around and would find out about your illegal holding cells underneath the hospital. I'm sure the information that comes out from that would not reflect well on you." He said, his face daring her to go against him. Regina hated it, but she knew he had a point.
"Fine. But if I do this, your girl has to agree to play the part I set up for her. She has to fit into this town as if she's always been here. She can do nothing out of the ordinary, and be just like everyone else. After all, we don't want uncomfortable questions to be asked. And if she doesn't do everything to fit in, I will make sure all the questions are focused on her, and she will be put back into that cell faster than she could call your name." The hand gripping his cane tightened and he lifted his other hand to point at her threateningly.
"Don't push me, your majesty. Deal or no deal, Belle is the only reason you are still breathing right now, and she's smart enough to already know what she needs to do." He said through bared teeth. Against her will, Regina swallowed nervously. Knowing that his point was reached, Gold turned to leave. As he walked through the door, Regina couldn't resist one final word and was gratified when it made him pause for a moment.
"She's can't be that smart, she fell in love with you."
"Are you alright?" Gold asked Belle softly. He had gone from teasing to concerned in a blink, and Belle smiled at the familiar radical shifts in mood that she hadn't realized she had missed.
"Not really, no." she admitted. Gold shifted uncomfortably; he knew what he wanted to do, but was unsure about what he should do. He settled for taking a step closer to the cell and hesitantly put his hand on her arm. A storm of different emotions raged inside of Belle at his touch which was different and familiar all at once.
"What did she do to you?" he asked, his voice so quite that she almost couldn't hear him. Images of her years of imprisonment, and the torture she had endured came flooding to the front of her mind. She remembered Grahams face every time he came back from the Queens chambers, and how Regina had caused her to break down because of a lie. All of her horrid memories screamed to be remembered in full and vivid clarity, each worse than the last.
She looked at Mr. Gold, not saying anything but silently begging him not to make her tell him. He had felt the shudder that had ran through whole body, and he understood that she couldn't tell him what she had gone through, at least not right now. He nodded his silent understanding, slightly mystified that after all this time they still understood each other so well.
"Graham was a good man." He said, telling her something he knew she would want to know. Her eyes clouded over slightly, but she looked at him expectantly, willing him to tell her more. He thought for a minute about what to say that wouldn't make her more upset.
"He was brave, fair and smart. He knew very well how Regina felt about Emma, and he still made her his deputy. That's his jacket there." He said, gesturing over to the leather jacket that hung in the office. Belle looked at it quizzically.
"Emma kept it?" she asked as if trying to figure something strange out. Gold took the moment to study her face. He had seen the look in her eyes when he had first mentioned Graham, and an uncomfortable thought had kept nagging at him.
"You cared about him a great deal, didn't you?" Belle nodded, the tone of his voice bringing her attention back to him. He was no longer looking at her, and she thought she could see an emotion in him that she had never seen before. Was he jealous? The thought made her smile slightly and she put her hand on top of his, making him look at her in surprise.
"He was the only reason I was able to get through everything. He was my strength everyday, my best friend. But nothing more than that, Rumplestiltskin." He tried not to show his instant feelings of relief. To hide it, he changed the subject.
"It's actually Mr. Gold here." He said, clearing his throat slightly. Belle smothered her grin at his rather obvious tactic. She decided that she would give him this one.
"I know," She said. "But it's going to be hard for me to call you a name other than your own." He laughed slightly as she crinkled her nose in mock disgust. A thought occurred to her.
"What did Regina want in return for making my past?" she asked.
"What we already knew. For you to fit into town here perfectly, not do anything out of the ordinary. Just to be like everyone else." He answered. A look passed over her face.
"And that would include staying away from you." She said sadly. He blinked, surprised that he hadn't thought of that. He could no longer picture her away from him.
"Belle…" he started, saying her name softly but was stopped by the sound of the station door opening, heralding Emma's return. Gold quickly removed his hand from Belles arm and took a step back before the sheriff came into the room. Emma was carrying a sack from Granny's but she stopped when she saw Gold.
"What are you doing here?" she asked suspiciously. All it took was her voice and he went back to being the pawnbroker that everyone feared. He turned to look at the sheriff.
"I heard about Ms. Brooks altercation with the mayor, and I thought I would come down and congratulate her for knocking Regina around a little." Belle rolled her eyes. Emma still looked suspicious and glanced between Gold and her prisoner.
"Is that so?" she asked. Gold nodded.
"I also came down to offer my help." He said.
"How?" she probed.
"By paying her bail, of course. I was an old family friend, so I wanted to help her." He said as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Emma narrowed her eyes at him, wary about deals he made with anyone. Plus the fact that he said that he was a friend; since when was Mr. Gold friends with anyone?
"Where you their lawyer?" she asked, clearly not buying the friend thing.
"No I wasn't. If I had been, I assure that Ms. Brooks would not have lost her house." Emma narrowed her eyes at Mr. Gold, something was off about him. She had heard how he had said Belle's name, as she had been closing the door, not opening it as they thought. Emma had never heard Gold speak so gently to anyone before, and frankly it disturbed her.
"And what does she have to do in return?" It was clear to Belle that the sheriff didn't trust Mr. Gold and was kind of touched that she was trying to look out for her.
"Simply pay me back in due time." Emma wouldn't let it go that easy, she knew how Gold operated.
"She doesn't have any money or a job." She said, determined that she wasn't going to let Belle get the short end of one of Gold's deals. Gold smiled slyly.
"Ms. Brooks will pay me back my becoming my house keeper." He said, glancing at Belle out of the corner of his eye. The corner of Belle's mouth twitched upwards; just like old times then. He half smiled at her acceptance of his proposition and then turned his full attention back to the confused sheriff.
"Your house keeper?" she asked incredulously. Gold smiled devilishly, and glanced at Belle quickly before replying.
"The place is filthy." He said as if it were a perfect explanation. Belle had to put her hand over her mouth to stop the snort of laughter as she remembered him saying that before. Emma looked at her in confusion. She had seen Mr. Gold be many things before, arrogant, condescending and manipulative but she had never seen him flippant before. She turned to Belle.
"House keeper? Is he making you do anything else for him?" Belle looked taken aback by the implication, but Gold cut in before she could answer.
"I would never make a deal with that as part of the payment." His voice had turned hard and menacing at the accusation, and Emma knew he was telling the truth. But that didn't mean that Belle knew what she was getting into. Emma walked over to the cell.
"Do you know what you're agreeing to? Are you're ok with this?" she asked quietly so just Belle could hear her.
"Yes I do. I need to get out of here, and this is the only way to do it." Belle replied. She was sure Emma thought her concern was justified, even though Belle knew that she wouldn't be burned by any deal she made with Gold. But she had to play her part; she had to pretend to be someone from this town, who knew Mr. Gold and was scared of him just like everyone else.
Emma searched the young woman's face, looking for any hint that would let her refuse Gold. She saw determination mixed with apprehension.
"Ok." Emma said, admitting defeat as she led Gold into her office where he paid the bail money. She was only half surprised when he paid the full amount in cash. Emma then grabbed her keys and unlocked the door to Belles cell.
"You need any help, you call me." She said quietly, slipping her a card. Belle looked at her and smiled warmly at the sheriff; the way that the sheriff was trying to protect her coupled with the knowledge that Graham had trusted her went gone a long ways in helping Belle trust the woman.
"I will." She replied tersely, still acting, before following Gold outside and into his parked car. He opened a passenger door for her, where there was a Styrofoam box with steam leaking out of it. After she sat down, Belle opened the box and breathed in the smell of food. Gold started the car, but remained parked while she ate her meal. When she had eaten as much as she could, which was a lot less then Gold would have preferred, he drove out of the parking lot.
The drive passed by in silence that had only the slightest feeling of unease in it. Belle felt all the events and the emotions of the day start to catch up with her, and all she wanted to do was sleep. They pulled up in front of his house, and Belle realized that she hadn't expected to go anywhere else, much less wanted to. She followed his slow steps into the house, remembering the last time they had done this.
"Tell me that I get an actual room this time." She joked through a yawn. Gold smiled at her and said that there was guest room up the stairs that he led her too.
The room was fairly good sized and was laid out perfectly. The bed was large and covered in soft blankets. Belle thought that nothing in the world would look as good as that bed did at that moment. A plush sitting chair sat next to the bed stand. Before she could move, Gold went over to the bed and pulled down the covers for her. She smiled sleepily at his gesture.
She fell into the bed fully clothed and pulled the covers up over. It felt like heaven. Gold chuckled at her blissful expression, hesitated and then turned to leave the room. He was stopped when Belle grabbed his hand and he looked back at her.
"Can you stay?" she asked hesitantly, biting her lower lip. "I'm afraid that if I go to sleep, I'll wake up to all this being a dream." Gold nodded, he understood exactly how she felt; he had wanted to stay, but didn't know how to ask her. He pulled the chair closer to the bed and sat down.
Belle reached out for his hand again, which he gave her gladly. Both knew without saying anything that the morning would bring with it everything they weren't saying, and that it would be difficult for the both of them. But for right now, they were content to just hold onto each other and the relief that they were both right here, right now. Soon, they were both asleep.