Chapter 4: Tales
"You're looking well, dearie. How are you felling?" he asked the following morning as she cheerfully served him his breakfast.
"Wonderful! Although I think I spent far too long in bed," she replied, rubbing her lower back and grimacing slightly. "I seem to be paying for it now. I'm stiff and sore in places I didn't think were possible!"
Rumpelstiltskin coughed and sputtered out his tea. "Are you all right, sir?"
"Yes! I'm fine. I just…was too caught up in my reading to pay attention, is all." He waved a leather clad book in the air to prove his point.
"That's sounds intriguing! May I ask what it's about?"
He leaned back in his chair and touched the tips of all his fingers together. "I was reading a fascinating book about sleep disorders. The Evil Queen is trying to obtain a sleeping curse for one of her enemies so I thought I should brush up on other sleeping ailments, just in case."
He hopped out of his chair and began pacing about the room. "Have you ever heard the tale of the Cobbler?"
She shook her head no and he continued. "There once was a poor cobbler who couldn't feed his family. Business was not going well because he no longer had an assistant to help make shoes. The townspeople went to another cobbler who had more product readily available. One morning, he descended his stairs and discovered his entire shop was filled with shoes! He couldn't believe it. It was a miracle!"
"How wonderful!" Belle exclaimed. "Did it happen again?"
"Of course! The very next morning he awoke to dozens more finished shoes. He believed that a magical elf had snuck into his shop while he slept and made all the shoes for him. He boasted his good fortune to the entire town. Everyone wanted shoes made by a magical elf. His competitor was not pleased and decided to catch it for himself."
Belle seemed scandalized at the very thought of it. "Did he find the poor creature?"
"In a matter of speaking. That night, once the cobbler went to bed, the thieves waited outside the window to await the elf. A few hours later, the cobbler himself came down the stairs and began making the shoes! The poor man was sleepwalking and had absolutely no memory of it the next day!"
Belle tried to stifle her giggles and ended up snorting instead. "That poor man! How humiliating!"
"Yes, well apparently people do all sorts of things while sleepwalking and they have no memory of it ever happening. Some people get up and wander about the house, others ride horses and wake up in far off places, and some people make shoes."
"I shouldn't laugh," Belle said, wiping a tear from her eye. "One of my family's oldest maids swears she's caught me sleepwalking on more than one occasion, although I don't know if that's true or not. I've always awakened in the same place I laid my head."
Interesting, he thought. "Has anyone else ever told you this? Someone other than your servant, perhaps?"
"No, which is why I suspect she was mistaken. She was a bit mad at times. She sometimes locked me in my room at night, mumbling about how no man wanted a wife who wanders."
Rumpelstiltskin cringed. Perhaps this old crone was not as deranged as Belle believed. "Belle? Why have you never married?" he asked gingerly.
She playfully rolled her eyes at him. "I was going to be married. You know that. Remember the tall, dark Neanderthal that pointed his sword at you?"
He giggled impishly. "I meant before that. You are twenty six after all. Not that that's very old, mind you, but most princesses are married off as teenagers."
Belle worried her lower lip and flushed scarlet. She sat on the long table and swung her legs about absent mindedly. "I began receiving suitors on my sixteenth birthday. My father threw a grand ball and invited all the eligible princes and noblemen in order to present me to society."
She cradled her tea cup in her hands but never took a sip, lost in her memories. "You are probably not aware of this but I have a…reputation…in my village. Apparently I'm a bit odd."
Rumpelstiltskin leaned casually against the table next to her, all ears. "Odd, dearie? How so?"
"People in my land are very narrow-minded. They did not approve of my love of reading and neither apparently did any potential husbands. Over the last ten years I have had over thirty men come to court me. Each of them left after only a few days. Some said I was strange, others said my head was up in the clouds. A few even dared to question my…" Her face burned in shame and she took a sip of tea to hide her blush.
"Questioned what, Belle?" he asked, feeling he already knew the answer.
"My virtue," she whispered softly. "They said they could only marry virgins and they had reason to believe that I was not as pure as my father had led them to believe. It was all vicious lies of course!"
Rum was seething! Belle must have been sleepwalking while she seduced her suitors. These nobles…these cockroaches…accepted her into their beds, used her for their own perverse pleasures then discarded her the next day like a worthless prostitute.
And poor Daytime Belle had no idea why!
"What did your father say about these allegations?"
"He became angry and ordered them to leave our kingdom. He commanded them to never again speak of it to anyone."
"Did he ever ask you if the rumors were true?"
"No! Of course not!" she cried. "He never had to question me. He knows me better than anyone. Papa said they were just intimidated by my intellect and told me to pay them no mind."
They each sipped their tea quietly, lost in thought. Belle broke the tense silence once her tea cup was emptied.
"How about you? Were you ever married, I mean?"
"I was once, centuries ago," he replied softly. He moved quickly toward his wheel and immediately began to spin. "I think that's enough tales for one day. You may go about your duties."
"Of course, sir. I fear I am fighting a hopeless battle against the dust! I'm out of commission for two days and it's as though I've never been here!"
It was odd that the thought of Belle having never come to his castle seem to fill him with more sorrow than the memory of his horrific marriage.
Belle did not return to his bed that night, nor the next night, nor the night after that.
He was both relieved and a little annoyed that his services were not required (or desired) on a daily basis.
Relief because of the overwhelming guilt he felt at betraying her trust each time he took her and annoyance because he had a carefully laid out plan to wake her up that he desperately wanted to try!
His frustration at her delay had nothing to do with missing the warm embrace of her voluptuous body or the thrill of her soft caresses. Nor was it the look on her face when she climaxed in his arms or the indescribable feeling of her sex clenching around his cock as he released himself inside of her.
At least, that was what he kept telling himself.
He tossed and turned in his cold empty bed each night, desperately awaiting her presence. Try as he might, sleep continued to elude him until he finally gave into the baser urges of the feeble human body, something that he had not felt inclined to do since becoming the Dark One. Grasping himself in hand, he slowly massaged his member until it was engorged.
The first time, he thought about their nights together; her sultry voice as she guided him inside of her, the warmth of her delicate folds, and her inexpressible taste. Oh gods! Her taste!
The second night he thought of the things that he would like to do her and the incredible things that she had yet to teach him.
The third night he found himself thinking about her light, lilting voice as she read to him while he spun his gold every evening; the way she blushed ever so slightly whenever their fingers touched as she handed him his chipped cup; the way she smiled when he returned home from a deal, as though she were pleased to see him.
With a low grunt of pleasure, he spilled his warm essence unto his stomach and fell into a peaceful slumber devoid of his daily nightmares.
On the fourth night, she returned.
"Have you missed me these last few nights, Rumpelstiltskin?" she crooned, gently awakening him with a caress on his cheek.
He swiftly snatched her fingers then brought them to his lips. He tenderly kissed her knuckles and grinned mischievously. "Has it been that long? I haven't noticed."
"Hmph!" she replied, peeking underneath his covers. "The stains on your nightshirt say differently!"
She giggled uncontrollably as he seized her around the waist and pulled her unto the bed. Rolling on top of her, he clutched her luscious lips to his own and stroked up and down her side, lingering around the swell of her breast. She kissed him back fervently, seeking out his tongue, and he hardened against her stomach. "You have missed me, haven't you?"
"I haven't not missed you," he replied hoarsely, moving down her neck. With a snap of his fingers, hundreds of candles ignited and softly illuminated the room. The stone hearth's embers flickered into roaring, crackling flames, casting its warmth over the couple. "Could you please remove your clothing for me, mistress?"
"Oh?" she replied, her eyes swimming with anticipation. "Why so eager tonight?"
"I have a surprise for you," he purred into her ear. She raised her eyebrows and looked at him skeptically. "Humor me."
She rose up on her knees and lifted her arms. She smiled playfully and winked at him as he slowly removed her nightgown, his tongue eagerly ravishing her exposed skin as the silk came over her head.
He scooped her into his arms and effortlessly carried her towards the fireplace. His copper tub suddenly appeared in the corner, magically expanded to comfortably accommodate a second person. She smiled and bit her lower lip as the tub quickly filled with lavender scented water. "In the four hundred years or so that I've been alive, I have never had the pleasure of bathing with a beautiful woman. Will you indulge an old man's fantasy?"
"So long as we can throw in a couple of mine as well," she replied teasingly.
He lowered his head and sought out her lips, indulging in a languorous kiss. He sighed as they parted, her lips swollen. "Take a deep breath, love."
She raised her head to look at him questioningly but it was too late. He dropped her into the frigid bath water and she screamed as it enveloped her heated body. Her head went under, soaking her long tresses, and she came up, teeth chattering and shivering uncontrollably.
"Belle?" he asked tentatively, mentally crossing his fingers. Had the cold water awoken her sleepwalking form? Was the quivering girl now standing before him his sweet, innocent, Daytime Belle?
"What the bloody Hell was that about, you stupid green bastard?" she shrieked as she jumped out of the tub.
Damn, he thought sadly. So much for Plan A.
A puff of purple smoke enveloped the Beauty, warming her from the inside out and instantly drying her waterlogged curls. A soft linen robe appeared on her petite frame, hiding her nubile body from his unworthy eyes.
"I'm so sorry, dearie," he said as he affectionately tucked a few stray tendrils behind her ears. "It would appear the tub thought you were feverish again and wanted to cool you down."
She narrowed her eyes as she frowned at him. "The second night I came to you, the night you threw me out into the hall, you said I needed an ice cold bath to quell my desire. Is this some ridiculous plan to get me out of the mood or something?"
"I gave you my word I would not reject your advances and I meant it. This was just an unfortunate mistake. Come." He guided her back to the bed and gestured for her to sit. "Allow me to make it up to you."
A tray of vials and bottles appeared next to them. Belle looked at them curiously but said nothing. He removed the stopper of the first one and wafted it under her nose. She took a tentative sniff.
"It smells like strawberries!" she murmured, inhaling another lungful.
"Scented oils from Agrabah. They become warmer as they are massaged into the skin. Each one has a different fragrance." He gestured to the tray. "Please, smell them all then choose one."
She eagerly opened them one by one and breathed in their perfumes. "Mmm! Vanilla? This one must be a citrus fruit, but it's definitely not lemon. This is some type of spice, maybe? Oh, I love roses! They're my favorite!" She then reached for the smallest bottle and uncorked it excitedly.
She inhaled deeply then gagged. "Ugh! How horrid!" She closed her eyes and shook her head roughly as if to clear her mind. "What was that?"
"Hmm?" he mumbled innocently. "Oh dearie, dearie, dear! How silly of me. I must have accidently put Smelling Salts into the mix! This foul stuff could wake the dead." He gazed deeply into her blue eyes, looking for any sign of awareness. "How do you feel?"
"Fine, I guess. I think I'd like the rose oil, please." She laid down on her belly and rested her head against his pillow.
Damn, he thought. There goes Plan B.
He sighed as he picked up the bottle and rubbed the oil into his rough, calloused hands.
The slick fluid flowed smoothly over her form, warming ever so slightly with every stroke. She hummed appreciatively as he massaged her tight muscles, beginning with her lower back and working his way up to her shoulders. The kinks and twists she had accumulated from the unaccustomed hard labor over the last several weeks quickly dissipated under his tender ministrations.
Once her body was warm and loose he turned her onto her back. Laying down next to her on his side, he slipped his left arm under her neck to support her head and kissed her tenderly. "Pour some more oil into my free hand, love."
She complied eagerly, pouring so much lubricant into his palm that it spilled over onto her stomach. She giggled as he let it drip onto her bosoms. He massaged them tenderly at first, letting her become accustomed to the increasing warmth, then with a bit more fervor. She gasped at the heat radiating from her breasts, even after his touch was long gone.
He moved his hand lower, collecting the oil from her stomach and rubbing it all over her torso. It was an easy move to her legs, petting her inner thighs in concentric circles, getting ever closer to her core but never quite reaching it. She groaned at his teasing.
Her breathing was becoming rapid and her eyes darkened in desire as he inched closer and closer to her sex. She moaned in gratitude as his slick fingers finally felt along her delicate folds. After making sure her precious little nub was coated in the warm oil, he slipped a finger inside of her then added a second.
He moved his digits in and out massaging her nub with the palm of his hand while his tongue lavished her nipple. Her breathing was so shallow he almost missed her whispered plea. "Push up on your fingers when you're inside."
He immediately did as she asked, not even thinking of questioning it. She knew what her body needed and he was more than willing to give it to her. He crooked the tips of his fingers up so that they grazed the top of her channel with every pass. He noticed a small section felt different than the rest of her passage, almost sponge-like.
The response was immediate! She jerked in his arms and closed her eyes against the torrents of ecstasy passing through her. She pressed her hand over her lower abdomen, creating additional pressure as he continued pushing up.
"Sit up on your knees beside me," she sputtered. Again he did as requested, wondering if she required a change in the angle in which he entered her. Before he could ask what she desired next, however, she lifted up his black nightshirt and swiftly snatched his engorged member into her mouth!
Her warm tongue engulfed his cock. It was like nothing he had ever imagined! Milah could barely stand to touch his manhood, let alone kiss it or lick it tenderly. Belle was doing neither of those things. She wrapped her free arm through his parted legs and around his buttocks for leverage, then forced as much of the organ into her mouth as possible. Wrapping her lips around it tightly, she then moved her entire head forward and back as she created a suction that knocked his breath away.
So caught up was he in this new pleasure that he faltered in his own task. She took hold of his hand and manually forced his fingers in and out of her at a pace faster than he had planned on taking it.
She groaned loudly around his manhood. The closer she came to climaxing, the faster she sucked on his cock. By now she was in control of caressing herself as well as servicing him. He furiously penetrated his fingers over and over, making sure he grazed her inner sweet spot with each pass.
A gush of hot fluid flowed out of her in torrents, more than he thought was possible. She screamed with him still wrapped around her lips, her entire body shuddering through her orgasm. He tried to withdraw himself from her mouth but she gripped her arm around him tighter, keeping him in place. She moaned longingly as his seed spilled inside of her, swallowing every drop.
When she finally released her hold on him, he collapsed next to her, his head swimming from his rapid gasps. When his heart finally slowed enough for him to catch his breath, he turned to her and said, "That was not what I had originally planned, dearie. That was… I fear there are no words to describe it!"
"I think the oil made a difference. The heat it built up inside of me was remarkable. Thank you for sharing it with me." She reached over to grab his hand and held it tightly. They laid there together for quite some time, giving their bodies the chance to recover from their powerful orgasms. Once her body was cool enough, she cuddled into his side and he eagerly wrapped his arms around her to keep her warm.
"Was she a virgin?" she asked quietly.
"Your wife," she explained carefully. "Was she a virgin your first time together?"
"Yes, she was," he replied tenderly. "We both were. We waited until our wedding night."
She was silent for several minutes before delicately asking another question. "Did she cry?"
Rumpelstiltskin sighed heavily, remembering a deep wound that could never heal. "Yes. As you've pointed out, I was very inexperienced. I did my best but didn't really know what I was doing. My inept fumblings pained her more than it should have. She never really gave me a chance after that."
"My first time hurt dreadfully," she whispered almost too low to hear. "It was up against a cold, hard wall."
He froze, terrified and sickened by her revelation. "Someone forced you?"
"No. Please do not misunderstand. I was not unwilling. I wanted to give myself to him. It was the night of my sixteenth birthday; the night of the ball. He was so handsome and charming. He asked me to meet him later that night, in a quiet corridor away from prying eyes. I had decided that I couldn't go through with it and went to my room instead. I woke up not long before we were to meet and changed my mind. We were most likely going to be wed anyway so I thought 'what's the harm?' "
"I was young and naïve. I thought he would be a generous and tender lover like the Princes in my books. Instead he was rough, taking me from behind, my face pressed up against a wall. He cared only for his own pleasure and I didn't know enough to know what I was missing. He left the next day after he told my father his kingdom was no longer interested in a union."
"Which Prince was it, Belle?" he asked coldly.
"King George's son, Prince James."
Rumpelstiltskin tenderly kissed the top of her head but inside he was seething. Whether she was willing or not, that was an unforgiveable action. Prince James had to die for hurting his Belle!
"What about your betrothed? Did you ever give yourself to him?"
Belle laughed heartily. "Oh gods, no! I wouldn't let him touch me for all the soap in the world! I quickly learned that Royals and Knights are selfish lovers, while commoners and servants are much more eager to please their partners. Gaston is vile and arrogant. He wasn't worthy of my hand but we were running out of options. Let me put it this way; I was willing to trade away my freedom to get out of that wedding."
Rumpelstiltskin snorted derisively. "Dearie, you traded your life to me to save your people."
"That was just a bonus," she said smirking. She untangled herself from his arms and quickly donned her new linen robe.
"Will you be visiting me again tomorrow night?" he asked disinterestedly, hoping to keep the enthusiasm out of his voice. She didn't need to know the power she had over him.
"Perhaps." She ran her fingers through his wavy hair and lightly kissed his lips. "But only if you stop these ridiculous attempts to wake me up. I'm not sleepwalking, you know."
If Rumpelstiltskin was capable of blushing then he would have at that moment. "Deal," he replied hoarsely. She kissed him once more, a bit more passionately, then scurried from the room.
No, he wouldn't try to wake her up anymore. He would just have to find the real reason for her change in personality. In the meantime, he had a Prince's death to plan!
A/N – I wish I could take credit for coming up with the idea of Rumpelstiltskin killing the original Prince James in retaliation for getting too frisky with Belle, but that honor goes to RainMirror! Thank you so much for giving me permission to use it!
Next Chapter: Rum seeks advice from unlikely sources!