In which Belle and Rumple's story is in Henry's book, and Mr. Gold's real name is revealed. The town of Storybrooke suspects a relationship between the shop-owner and the librarian, but only Emma Swan has the guts to ask.
At first, the residents of Storybrooke believed that the illustrious Mr. Gold was spending a great portion of his time in library seeking antique books for his shop. True, libraries lend books, but with such a powerful influence as his, no one, especially the rather timid-looking new librarian, could deny him the right to just purchase anything off the shelves.
When Emma Swan, Town Sheriff, and known, well, disliker, of Mr. Gold arrived back on duty from Fairytale Land, she put an end to all of these rumours. You see, with her cat-like eyes and great deduction skills, she noticed every time Mr. Gold went into the library, he didn't actually leave with any books. How anyone had not seen that astounded her.
After two weeks of not-so careful observation, Emma and the townsfolk were still no closer to discovering the reason behind Mr. Gold's recent obsession with the library. To be honest, other issues - getting out of the town without losing memories, Regina's half disappearance from society, and still recovering everyone - had taken priority over the sorcerer's whereabouts and actions.
The only person in the town who looked distinctly concerned was Moe French. Every other day, he ran to the station on his breaks at 11 o'clock to pester Emma about the "investigation" and every day she was faced with the task of exasperatedly informing him that there were no new leads. At first, it had half broken her heart to have to keep telling him that, but after a while Emma began to get downright pissed off. It didn't make any sense as to why he cared. When she finally asked, he wouldn't say - kept mumbling along the lines of being too ashamed of what he had done - and then stopped coming by most days.
As the months passed, public interest died down completely until one day, a rainy day in the middle of November, the librarian - now known just as "Isabelle" - and Mr. Gold were spotted in Granny's by Ruby, who wasted no time in telling everyone.
The rumours were certainly creative to begin with, but soon enough the point was reached where they realized that Gold was her father. The way he acted with her - soft, gentle, completely out of character. He was less snappy and sarcastic to people who greeted him, and his deals and punishments were becoming less severe by the second. He bought her lunch every day - a hamburger more often than not, but always with iced tea - and bought her flowers. He seemed the least bitter and the happiest that anyone had ever seen before - in this world, and Fairytale Land alike.
Emma, however, was not happy. His actions seemed too gentle, and he seemed to be too involved in her life to simply be her father. She knew he had had a son in his other life - Henry and his book had assured her when she first started having doubts - but there was no mention of a son. Just a pretty girl named Belle who looked a lot like the librarian. The name and the looks were just too much evidence to ignore.
Finally, curiosity won out, and Sheriff Swan visited the library on a Saturday afternoon when Gold was confirmed - by Henry as part of Operation: Iced Tea - as present in his shop. With an air of confidence, Emma strolled around the library, brushing her fingers over the dust-coated books, taking an occasional look at some of the titles. Even though she was trying to remain inconspicuous, she still caught the eye of Isabelle, who raised her eyebrows at the local Sheriff's strange behaviour.
Getting bored with acting, Emma dropped all pretenses and strolled up to the desk, peering over at Isabelle, who was typing rather slowly at an ancient-looking computer.
'Hi there, I'm Emma Swan. I don't think we've been introduced yet,' Emma said kindly, putting on a friendly tone as to not alienate the girl.
The girl slowly dragged her gaze away from the computer and smiled up at the Sheriff. With an unexpected Australian accent, she extended her hand for a shake and replied, 'No, but I've heard about you. I'm Isabelle, the head librarian.'
No shit, Emma thought, but brushed away the thought. There was an awkward pause where eyes danced around the walls rather than across the desk, before Isabelle shifted slightly and coughed.
'Is there anything I can help you with? Are you looking for anything in particular?' she asked politely, waving a hand around the books, 'I can find you mainly anything, so long as we've got it here.'
'No, no,' Emma replied quickly, cutting off the young girl's suggestions, 'No, I was just wondering how you're settling in. I didn't ever see you around before the curse got lifted.'
Isabelle's eyes shifted down towards the ground, almost in embarrassment, before she meekly replied, 'No, you wouldn't have. I was...detained for most of my life. People thought I was crazy, but it turns out that there was some...erm, some wrong paperwork so I got...released from hospital a couple of months ago.'
Emma knew the moment she finished that she had been lying. Goddammit - why was it that she could detect people lying, but not the truth behind it?
'Right, well, I was just checking that you're doing okay, settling in well,' Emma said calmly, hiding her slight annoyance from the lie. She casually slipped in the question that she had come here to ask, hoping that it would seem casual rather than sly, 'How's your father?'
Isabelle looked pleased at Emma's former explanation, but her expression faltered at her ending question. 'My...my father?' she began in incredulity, 'I haven't spoken to my father in weeks.'
She knew it. Throwing away any attempts at being subtle, Emma rested her arms on the desk and asked gruffly, 'Well who is that you eat with every day? At Granny's?'
Isabelle looked slightly taken aback, but quickly responded, 'Oh, Rumple...I mean Adam...I mean, you mean Mr. Gold?' The girl blushed after her fumble with names and hid her face behind a few curly locks of mahogany brown hair. Emma took in the names - Adam, huh - and continued with the questioning, 'Yeah Mr. Gold. Isn't he your father?'
'No! God no!' Isabelle exclaimed quickly, looking a little panicked, 'No, he's not my father. He's my...boyfriend?' She tested the word, obviously disliking the taste on her tongue, but leaving the matter to rest.
Emma had to forcibly prevent her mouth from dropping open. Of all the relationships she could have imagined between the two, she had completely dismissed that one.
'Boyfriend?' she asked in total shock, 'You and Mr. Gold are together?'
Isabelle loosened up slightly and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, 'Yeah. I mean, I live in the apartment here and he lives in his house, obviously, but we meet for lunch and sometimes dinner, and it's nice like that.'
'Yes, it is. And I would thank the Sheriff to not delve into our private life,' a drawling Scottish accent suddenly offered up. Emma jumped at the harshness of the 'yes', annoyed that she had let her back down to someone like Mr. Gold, and turned to face him. Mr. Gold genuinely smiled, which confused Emma to no end, but then she turned her head back around and saw who he was really looking at. Belle's face had totally relaxed and she smiled back with such a look of love that Emma had to restrain herself from rolling her eyes at the sappiness.
'Not delving, just asking, bit of local curiosity,' Emma hissed back, and Mr. Gold looked back, with thin lips just curling into half a smirk. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
'Well I'm sorry to interrupt your curiosity Sheriff Swan, but myself and Miss French have a lunch date,' Mr. Gold said, sickly-sweet, and Isabelle rose from her chair behind the desk, pulled on a cardigan, and joined him next to the front door. She interconnected her arm with his, and grinned at Emma.
'I'm sorry Sheriff, but I need to lock up for lunch, so unless you want to stay here all lunch time...' Isabelle trailed off, evidently a bit embarrassed at having to evict the Sheriff from her establishment, but Emma waved away her worries, keeping her eyes locked on Gold.
'No problem, I'll just be going,' Emma said suspiciously, trying to figure out what it was that was bothering her. She strolled out of the library door, and down the street, refusing to look back at the couple. Couple...eurgh. That was so weird. Kind of sweet, but weird. Especially Gold. He was weird. Isabelle was a pretty young girl and he was just kind of creepy. She shrugged it off. After all, it wasn't really any of her business.
When she got home, finding Ruby and Mary Marga... no, Red and Snow eating lunch, she threw her jacket across the back of the sofa and settled down in front of a plate with two cheese sandwiches on it, each with the crusts cut off. She smiled gently, suddenly feeling like a child again. She supposed that was Snow's mothering, and she was grateful for it now. It was nice to have parents, no matter how old they both looked. And then it hit her.
Well I'm sorry to interrupt your curiosity Sheriff Swan, but myself and Miss French have a lunch date. Miss French. As in Moe French. As in, I haven't spoken to my father in weeks. Emma put down her sandwiches and rubbed her temples amidst Red and Snow's greeting to her. Moe French was the girl's father; no wonder he was worried, what with Gold's reputation. And also the fact that the sorcerer had previously nearly beaten the florist within an inch of death.
You shut her out. You had her love, and you shut her out! She's gone. She's gone forever. She's not coming back. And it's your fault! Not mine! You are her father! Yours! It's yours! It's your fault! It's your fault!
She should have seen it before. The sheer anger on Mr. Gold's face all those months ago - she had never ever seen him that angry before, she never wanted to see it again. For a moment, she had felt as terrified as Moe French before she had stepped in. And then connecting the words with Isabelle's explanation of being "locked away". And the puzzle pieces finally fell together.
Mr Gold loved Isabelle, in whatever world she had been in. And her father, Moe French the florist, had locked her away and pronounced her dead. No matter how much she loathed Mr. Gold, she couldn't help but feel a little bad for him. Emma couldn't imagine what it would be like if, for example, someone took Henry, said he was dead, and she then discovered that he was still alive. In fact she would have killed the person who did it.
A little change in perspective, she mused, chomping into her sandwich. The noises from around her started to come back into focus, and when Emma looked up at her friends, they were staring at her, clicking in front of her face to attract her attention.
'Sorry, sorry, was in my own little world there,' Emma muttered, taking another bite out of the sandwich.
'Sooooo,' Ruby drawled, 'Did you find out about the whole librarian-Mr. Gold thing?'
Snow looked just as interested, although she was hiding it. A regal queen could not be seen as excited about town gossip.
Although it wasn't as simple as it sounded, Emma swallowed the last part of her cheese sandwich and replied, 'Oh, well, he is not her father, let's put it that way.'
Red and Snow shared a look of confusion, and then Emma saw it dawn on Red's face. She turned to face Emma, 'You mean...they're...you know,' she replied, stuttering slightly at the implications of her words.
Oblivious to what was being implied, Snow blurted out, 'Well, who is he then? They're what?'
Emma rolled her eyes this time, unable to overcome the temptation to do so, and then laid out the words with equal significance on each syllable. 'I hate to be the one to say it out loud, but Mr. Gold-' she paused here and grinned at her mother and her best friend, '-no, sorry, Adam Gold, has found a girlfriend here in Storybrooke.'
'No!' Snow said in a hushed voice.
Seeming like a giggling schoolgirl Emma nodded back and Red started laughing, 'I can't believe that - how old is she compared to him?'
Snow turned on her sharply, 'What about you and Archie? What's that, thirteen years?' Red looked abashed, and Snow smiled gently at her and then turned to Emma.
'As long as they're happy, I don't see the point in bothering them any further,' she said reasonably, and after everything that she had pieced together today, Emma Swan couldn't help but agree.