Day 3 - Three French Hens

Authors Note - Thanks to the reviewers as always I really appreciate every review I get and do reply to them all. Thank you also to those people who are following this without reviewing, following or making it a favourite through the fanfic .net system I hope you are all enjoying this story as much as I enjoy writing it. Do drop me a review even if it's as an anonymous guest - I'll still reply it will just be as another review that's all. I promise I don't bite ! Anyway this one's a little more straight forward than the last two hope you enjoy it.

The next day was a Saturday. He did not however sleep in and enjoy the comfort of bed and Belle like he would have liked to have done. No instead he woke up freezing and damp. He looked over at his bedside table momentarily confused and saw the water glass had tipped, apparently over him. That however, was not the most distressing thing. That was his cold feet caused by the lack of a duvet . He twisted his neck over to where his sleeping companion lay and to his irritation and amusement saw Belle snuggled in the entirety of the duvet. Well saw was maybe stretching it a bit as the only bit of Belle poking out of the ball of duvet was the top of her head and the big toe of one of her feet. That was enough, he was cold and after all she did wake him up yesterday. With that thought he shed his sodden top and gently rolled over to face her, crawling down to the base of the bed by her exposed toe.

A few minutes later the duvet lay abandoned on the floor and Belle was screaming at him through fits of laughter. "Stop...please...Eli...I can't ...breath...properly". He saw the tears running down her cheeks and relented. Without a word he grabbed the duvet off the floor lay down on his side of the bed and cuddled up in it. Apparently he was not the only one wanting to cuddle up and he jumped a little when Belle's hand touched the bare skin of his neck and as her chin nuzzled into his nape. He had decided that Belle was definitely partly feline as she wormed her way under the duvet alongside him and snuggle down on his shoulder. It was only five minutes later when he was startled from sleep again this time by something as cold as ice meeting his shin. He heard a small giggle and turning to look her way with a scowl. Gold proceeded to haul himself out of bed to sounds of protest from his companion which almost made him turn around but he had to get breakfast otherwise they'd stay in bed all day. whilst he didn't really object to this, today, when he had things to do it was an impractical distraction. So in order to sort this out he tossed the remnants of liquid in her water glass over her and moved as fast as he could toward the kitchen.

Twenty minutes later and Belle had appeared in the kitchen looking sullen and annoyed. Eli chose to ignore the dagger glares she was throwing his way and keep with finishing breakfast. He finally put plates on the table with fried eggs, bacon and pancakes. They ate in silence. After breakfast Belle shot him a glance, got up and retired into the lounge slamming the door behind her . He winced as the clock on the kitchen wall shook, she was clearly not happy with him. He steeled himself and having cleaned up started off with the rest of the tasks he needed to get done that day. Firstly Eli crept quietly as he could with his cane up the stairs to their bedroom. He thought ruefully that if he didn't win her over with what he planned for the day then this might be the last he'd see of it for a while. His Belle wasn't vindictive but she was fiery and would think nothing of making him sleep on the sofa or in a spare room until she decided they might be reconciled. Slowly he changed out of his accustomed suit into his only pair of casual slacks and a second best shirt and grabbed his grey sweater alongside it. Having picked up his cane, coat and scarf he headed out side.

It was considerably warmer than yesterday and the majority of the snow had thawed. Eli certainly needed it that way in order to start his work. It had come mid-day and Eli ceased his work to eat a quick sandwich and sighed as he heard the vacuum cleaner start up in the house. When Belle started cleaning it normally meant that he was in big trouble and could either risk his neck trying to get through the piles of spare stock to the second bedroom or sleep on the lumpy antique sofa. He had lost no sleep over what today's present should be and he had once more sent his minion (Henry Mills) out to scout out the major part of it. Finishing his quick lunch he went on with his work hammering nails into the correct panels of wood and trying to get the correct pieces in the right places. Several bruised fingers and swear words later the door was on and Gold stood back rubbing his sore fingers. It was then he heard the sound of chirpy whistling coming around the side of the house and suddenly Archie was stood in his back yard with a wicker basket in his hands.

Gold looked at him and raised an enquiring eyebrow until he heard a clucking noise coming from the basket. "Henry couldn't drop by and as I'm the one who breeds them I thought I'd drop them off. I have to say when Henry asked me if you could please have three I was really sceptical but he said you were going to forgive me a month's rent in lieu of payment. I couldn't say no." Gold nodded and proceeded to limp towards him. "They're what breed Archie? Anything I need to know about their care?" The man opposite him looked intrigued but answered none the less "they're three Maran hens a good French breed. They're both good egg producers and meat birds..." Archie was suddenly interrupted as he quickly spun around to look at the house. From inside they could hear a great deal of crashing and banging and Eli fancied he could hear the culprit mumbling under her breath. Archie looked at him for an explanation he was not inclined to one to the red headed man. That was until something came flying out of the window of the junk room upstairs accompanied by a shout of "why do you even have one of these? what kind of a deal gets you that?" The two gentlemen looked over at where the missile that had so narrowly missed them landed. Eli smiled, it was the stuffed penguin that he had bargained with a bartender for once when the man had wanted a small favour. It was quickly followed by another missile this time a stuffed and mounted fish which actually caused Archie to drop his basket and in doing so of course the chickens escaped.

The window slammed and the two men started to move after the escapee chickens but it wasn't going to be easy. They spent the next fifteen minutes moving as fast as each of them could in order to catch the chickens. However, it wasn't until another 15 minutes on top of that that all three had been finally caught and put into the new house Gold had spent the morning building. "Right I'll be off then" said Archie turning to go. "Oh no!" Gold exclaimed " You let the chickens loose so you can help me finish the run I've been building around their house". "I believe it is your partner in life who chose to give a normally flightless bird the chance of a lifetime and caused me to drop my basket. But in order for them to have a good home I suppose I could help you for an hour or so."

So it was that the two men began to hammer posts into the ground and unroll chicken wire around it creating four walls and a ceiling . Two hours later just as they had finished attaching the last piece they turned to see Belle in the doorway. Archie saw the look on both Gold and Belle's faces and beat a hasty retreat. Eli barely registered Archie's disappearance his whole being wanted to run to Belle and cover her in kisses and beg her forgiveness. He knew however that this would not wash with his determined little warrior so instead he stood still. She slowly left the light of the doorway moving towards him, he didn't even dare to breathe as she took in the construction and the animals now happily foraging inside the fence. "I'm sorry I've been grumpy all day Eli" she whispered coming closer to him. he looked down at her and saw a slightly sheepish look in her eyes "how's the penguin?" "I think for a bird that normally spends its existence earth bound it had the time of its life. I think however, the fish might be traumatised" He smirked at her and she giggled. "I know how you love the garden so I have spent the day with Archie's help building you this splendid chicken coop and making it a home for these three little ladies". It took him a couple of seconds to realise he was talking to an empty space and that Belle was in the coop with a chicken tucked under her arm. "They're lovely Eli". "They're a French breed which are good both at producing eggs and meat". At this point the thing in her arm made a wild flapping and clucking and ended up on the ground. Belle having escaped the coop smacked Eli on the arm "that's all because you said it might become meat!" He decided not to pick up that particular bait and so just re-directed the conversation "am I forgiven for the early morning bath?" She turned her back to him and held out her hand to him. Quickly he took it and followed her inside.

There on the kitchen table was the best china on top of her favourite tablecloth. Beside it were the components of a roast dinner. As he sat down she handed him a bottle of white wine to open and pour and whilst he did so she placed a covered roasting tray on the centre trivet of the table. "I don't think I can eat it now" she moaned pulling the foil off. "Not now there are potentially three of its friends just outside our backdoor". She had lifted the lid to reveal a perfectly roasted chicken. It was well after dinner had turned lukewarm that they managed to escape the hysterical laughter that had taken their sense and breath from them. Gold recovered first sitting up from the floor where they had ended in an attempt to soothe the pain from laughing too much and looked despondently at the table. "Oh, It'll be cold now and I spent two hours over that" Belle sighed looking up too. He was up on his feet as fast as his knee would carry him and by the phone in double quick time. Before she had a chance to realise what he'd done the chicken was wrapped and in the fridge and take out ordered.

Later they sat by the fire in the armchair large enough to accommodate both of them...just. The pizza boxes were discarded on the coffee table alongside the bottle of wine and the two glasses of whiskey. They were comfortably entwined with each other, half asleep and truth be told quite tipsy although Gold less so than Belle who was, at least on wine, a lightweight (drinking spirits or cocktails it was another matter entirely). "Come on love I think it's time we went to bed" he whispered, she cat stretched off of his lap and leaning down kissed him deeply. Catching the look in his eyes she giggled and ran off up the stairs. He sat for a few minutes contemplating the day behind him and the one ahead. It was as the two turtle doves of the clock in the kitchen emerged from their little house he decided that the song his girlfriend favoured contained entirely too many birds. He had to find a way to distract her tomorrow whilst he pursued the task at hand. In the meantime he had a tipsy flirtatious Belle to placate upstairs so he damped down the fire and made his way up the staircase towards the slightly off key singing.

End note - Well there we go. Question do you want a short tipsy Belle point of view chapter next or should I JUST GET ON WITH IT? please leave me a review have a great day and DFTBA