The Beast paced around his chambers in the West Wing. He rarely did anything else, though occasionally he would look out a window, take a nap, or just stare off into space and sulk. He did not have to do anything for himself, considering Mrs. Potts brought him food and Cogsworth and Lumiere would make sure any other necessary functions were taken care of for him.
Sometimes he considered doing something, if only for the sake of variety, but he never did. What was he supposed to do anyway? He couldn't remember what he did as a human for fun and only Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth would approach him willingly and they weren't very good sources of entertainment. They were probably the only ones in the entire castle who still hoped the curse would one day break. But he knew better. He knew the curse would never be broken, so he might as well get used to living as a beast. The enchanted rose, glowing brightly a few feet away, mocked him.
The Beast continued to sulk and pace, unsuccessfully trying to avoid looking directly at the rose. Sounds coming from the entrance interrupted his sulking, however. He could hear what sounded exactly like the giant, un-oiled front door being opened. He tried to think of a reason of why his servants would open the doors to the outside but his mind was blank. Intrigued, he left his room for the first time in days and headed downstairs. As he approached the front hall, he began to hear what sounded like a muffled "Hello" from the entrance hall.
Sure enough, as he approached he saw a portly old man talking to Lumiere and Cogsworth close to the front doors. He looked bemused by the talking clock and candelabra, but must not have cared much as he seemed to take the surreal situation in stride. The man sneezed, earning a few remarks from his servants. Despite his acute sense of hearing, the Beast could not make out any of what they were saying. He imagined they must have been explaining why the man had to leave and why he must never talk about the castle to anyone else.
Therefore, the Beast was surprised when Lumiere and Cogsworth began to lead the man into a den. It was the only room other than his bedroom that the Beast visited often, as the room contained his favorite armchair and fireplace. He stared at the closed door for a while. A few minutes later, he saw Mrs. Potts enter the room on her cart, doubtless with a cup of soothing tea and a few snacks. He could tell she hadn't noticed him lurking in the shadows.
Seeing a stranger, particularly a peasant, entering that room felt like a personal insult. They might as well have invited the man into his private bedroom. The real affront came from his servants' treatment of the man, however. He tried to remember time when anyone had been welcoming and friendly to him, talking to him for the sake of talking, but he couldn't remember a single time in his entire life, including before he had turned. Mrs. Potts sort of had, but that had been when he was a small child and definitely before the curse.
The Beast knew his thinking was not rational. He knew the man, who was obviously just a lost peasant, had done nothing personally wrong to him on purpose. But he wanted him to leave and to never come back. Seeing a human brought back the painful memories and his servants' friendliness made everything worse, as it reminded him of how he was fated to never be loved by anyone.
He moved towards the door to the sitting room and opened the door suddenly and dramatically. Almost instantly, all of the fires inside the room went out. He heard a tiny "Uh-oh" from Chip, who was never too far from his mother and Cogsworth shivering in fear.
"There's a stranger here," he finally said, trying, but failing, to keep his voice steady.
He heard Lumiere's voice trying to explain the situation. He roared at him, extinguishing his lights before he could get much out. Cogsworth then perked up and tried to explain as well, but he was not interested in listening to him, so he roared, causing him to crawl under the carpet. Finally, he set his eyes upon the stranger sitting in his favorite chair. He looked scared out of his mind, making the Beast feel a small twinge of guilt, but he just wanted to scare the man away from his castle.
He strutted towards the chair and saw the man turn his head side to side, trying to tune in to the monster's location.
"WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" he growled at the man. The Beast moved so his face was right across from the stranger's.
"I was lost in the woods and…" the stranger stopped mid-sentence and stared at the beast. The stranger's face, which had shown fear before, now looked positively terrified. Was that how everyone would react to seeing his face? Would anyone ever look at him without flinching? This man's reaction managed to turn his anger into pure rage.
"YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!" shouted the Beast.
"I'm sorry," the man's voice was weak and terrified. Even so, he refused to take his eyes away from the Beast.
"WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT?" he growled at the man, trying to show as much of his teeth as possible.
"Noth…noth…nothing," said the man, who was obviously trying not to offend the angry beast.
"COME TO STARE AT THE BEAST HAVE YOU?" he taunted, adding an even deeper growl to the accusation.
"Please, I meant no harm! I just needed a place to stay," the man tried to get away, but the Beast was too fast for him.
"I'LL GIVE YOU A PLACE TO STAY," He grabbed the man by the scruff of his neck and headed towards the jail cells on top of one of the castle's towers. He didn't actually know what he was going to do with the stranger. He had no use for him and he certainly did not want him to die on his castle. He made a mental note to have Mrs. Potts take some food and tea over later to the jail cell. He would probably release the man in a few days, after the man had learned his lesson about trespassing and the Beast had calmed down.
For now, he went back to his chambers, ready to pace and sulk again as if nothing had ever happened.
A few hours and miles away, in a small provincial village, Giselle woke up early with the sun. She began to clean her face and to brush her hair, getting ready for the day. She put on one of her best dresses. She slipped on a simple pair of white flats and began to look through her jewelry box for the perfect accessories. Right as she was trying to decide whether to wear pearls or gold, she heard a door opening that could only mean one thing.
"Daddy!" Giselle ran downstairs towards the front door, where, sure enough, stood her father with a dead deer strewn across his shoulders and a rifle slung across his back. He saw his daughter at the foot of the stairs, gave her a peck on the cheek, which she returned, and headed towards the dining room, where he set down the dead deer with a loud thump. Giselle followed her father and met her mother in the kitchen.
She was still wearing her nightgown while working in the kitchen, no doubt making something for breakfast. She set down some eggs and her utensils on the counter and headed over towards her husband, who slung his rifle over a chair and sat down. Giselle's mother headed towards her husband and gave him a peck on the lips.
"Breakfast is almost ready, Louis," she said, heading back towards the kitchen, "I'm making a quiche!"
Giselle stayed close to her father as she observed how he stared at the deer, almost as if he was expecting it to come back to life and run away. Finally, he spoke, "Giselle, please take this deer outside, I'll go clean it after breakfast," he said in a deep and gravelly voice. Giselle's face sank.
"But Daddy, I can't carry a deer in this dress!" she complained.
Finally, Louis turned around and truly looked at his daughter for the first time. He frowned, obviously concerned about the cleavage.
As if she sensed his concern, Giselle rolled her eyes and replied, "Oh, Daddy, you're so old-fashioned! Half the girls in town are wearing dresses even more revealing than this! They might as well wear nothing on top, seeing as how you can see practically everything."
Her father said nothing, although he clearly still disapproved of his daughter's choices in clothes. Honoring his daughter's request, he stood up, slung the deer across his shoulder and carried it through the kitchen towards their back porch, where he kept the bucket and knives he used to clean his hunts. Once he came back to the dining room, Giselle had already cleaned the table and was in the process of setting down the plates and spoons. After she was done, she sat down and looked at her father. By the way she was sitting and staring at him, Louis could already tell she was going to ask for something. He sighed and sat down next to his daughter.
"So what do you want?" he said.
"Oh, Daddy, you know me best!" said Giselle with a small giggle. Louis couldn't help but smile in return. As much as he had wanted a son, even having the perfect name already prepared, Gaston, he was happy with his daughter, who helped him on his hunts and liked to talk to him. In return, he spoiled his daughter as much as he could, buying her dresses and jewelry simply because she asked.
"Believe it or not, Daddy, I'm not asking for a necklace or a new dress this time," she said.
Maybe she wants a diamond crown? thought Louis. He began to take a drink of water, thirsty from the early morning hunt. Giselle cleared her throat, obviously ready to announce her new desire.
"I want a husband!" she finally announced, causing Louis to spit out his drink.
"WHAT?" he shouted as soon as he got some of his composure back. He began to protest, "BUT YOU'RE TOO YOUNG!"
Giselle appeared unfazed.
"Oh, Daddy, I'm eighteen years old now, a lot of the girls in town are younger than I am and already have babies!" she pouted, "Besides, you don't even know what man I swear is going to become my husband!"
Annoyed at the fact her daughter was making sense, she was at a perfect age to get married after all, Louis asked her with frown, "so who's the lucky man then?"
Giselle giggled and stared off into space, obviously imagining her beau. He hoped she was picturing him clothed. Finally, as if she had snapped back to reality, she simply said, "Alain," and giggled again.
"The inventor's son?" he asked, a little surprised at the choice, "But he's…"
"Handsome! I know"
"No, I mean he's kind of…"
"Worthy enough to accompany me down the aisle?"
"Well, isn't he kind of….
"Oh, Daddy, from the first moment that I met him I said, 'He's gorgeous!'" she began to stare into space once again. Taking advantage of his daughter's daydreaming, Louis spoke.
"Well, sure, Giselle, but isn't he kind of… odd?"
"Oh sure," she replied almost instantly, "but he's just incredibly handsome and the only man in town good enough for me. Besides, so what if he's eccentric? It doesn't change the fact he's gorgeous! He's the best in town! And don't I deserve the best, Daddy?" It sounded almost like a threat.
Louis shook his head and sighed, albeit with a smile. As much as he despised the idea of his innocent little daughter getting married, he knew Giselle's choice was not a bad one at all. Alain was more than just handsome. Louis knew he wouldn't harm a hair on his daughter's head. The few times he saw him or his father in town, they looked healthy and fit, even in the winter season when food was scarce. They would have to have a lot of food and money to keep themselves that healthy, and in the case of the father, that fat.
"Can you believe our daughter is thinking of marriage already, Marie?" asked Louis.
"Oh, no, I feel as if I was changing diapers just a few days ago," replied his wife with a shake of her head. Giselle, overhearing their exchange, simply grinned mischievously at the two of them. Marie headed towards the table and set down the quiche in the middle, along with a knife and a spatula, sitting down next to her husband. She immediately began to cut and serve breakfast and the three ate mostly in silence. Once they were finished, the dishes were put away, and Louis had taken out his rifle in order to clean and maintain it. Conversation returned once again to Giselle's desire for marriage.
"So has the boy told you he wants to marry you yet?" asked Louis while his eyes remained focused on his gun. And if he's done anything more than that, this gun is good for more than just killing deer.
For the first time, however, Giselle seemed unsatisfied with her marriage plan. She sighed.
"No, he's so clueless, if it keeps going like this, I think I'll be the one asking for his hand in marriage!" Louis could practically see her pouting, even without looking at her.
"Well, some men are just like that, you know," said Marie wisely from the background. "They're just clueless! Though if he doesn't propose we can have a talk with his father and make arrangements that way. It's a little old-fashioned but if he doesn't propose we can always go that route, Giselle."
"Really?" said Giselle, sounding hopeful and love-struck once more.
"Sure, whatever makes you happy," said Marie. Louis made a grunt of agreement as well. The three receded back into silence as Marie went into the kitchen to clean while Giselle watched her father work on his gun. Eventually, however, she came up with a plan to deal with Alain. She stood up suddenly and dramatically, causing her father to drop his gun, thankfully unloaded, to the ground.
"I know what I'm going to do now!" she announced as her parents stared at her, bemused. She moved towards the kitchen and frantically began to chop vegetables, crush herbs, and mix sauces. Her parents stared at her for a bit but quickly went back to work. Finally, half an hour later, Giselle pushed the vegetable and sauce mix into their little oven inside a fancy casserole dish.
She searched inside the kitchen cupboards until she found a basket perfect for a picnic. She put some cups, dishes, and cutlery inside along with a loaf of bread. Finally, she took the ratatouille out of the oven. She set it down to cool while she headed upstairs to her room, where she brushed her hair once again and put on her fine gold jewelry. She spent a further half hour putting on makeup and making it look just right. Last of all, she grabbed some cloth and stuffed it down her dress. She looked at herself in the mirror. She looked perfect, nicer than her everyday wear but still casual enough to not make it seem like she was trying too hard.
She ran back downstairs towards her ratatouille. She covered the casserole dish and placed it gingerly inside the basket. Then, she climbed down into the cellar, where she chose a small bottle of wine. She walked back upstairs, and tucked it inside the basket. She tried to think of anything missing but she was convinced everything was ready. As she was making to leave, however, a grunt from her father stopped her. He was still on the table taking care of his guns.
"What is it, Daddy?" she asked, a little impatiently.
"I want you to be happy, Giselle, but if you whore yourself out, I won't consider you my daughter anymore," he said without taking his eyes from his gun. Giselle frowned at his remark, not knowing where her father's remark had come from.
She left the house, making sure she didn't step in anything unsavory as she walked, as she was wearing white shoes after all. Finally, after she was far away from her house, she pulled down her dress just a little to give her dress even more cleavage. It could only help her chances, after all.
A/N: This chapter took a little longer than I thought to write, not because I couldn't think of anything but because I was lazy. I was only motivated to write one day when there was no internet and nothing else, really, to do. Also, I was surprised at how fun and easy it was to write in the Beast's voice. I thought he would be the hardest to write, but Alain is the character I'm finding most difficult to write about. Chapter 4 hopefully coming out soon, where we finally get to the castle.
Reviews are loved and appreciated, so please, please, please leave one, along with any questions or other comments. Thanks!