A/N-Hey everyone! This is my first OUAT, and while it looks like my first story, I had a penname on here years ago that I subsequently abandoned due to lack of time in University. But I'm back! Thanks to my beta, and best friend Woubazoid.
"Soooo this Friday. You're going right?" Belle leaned forward on her stool with her hands on her chin and looked at Ruby who was standing behind the counter. She smiled to herself. Even though it had been a long day, Belle's quirky accent never failed to make her grin.
"If I can convince Granny to let me go." Ruby rang out the rag and rubbed down the counter. "Plus next week is wolfstime." Even now, Ruby could feel her wolf writhing under the surface, waiting for when she could let go and chase the moon. It was like an itch she could not scratch and it drove her nuts.
"Ah, well that's not going to be a big deal." The grin on Belles face grew. "Everyone's going, from the way Snow talks. Everyone going means that there are no one left to come eat at the diner."
"Dress shopping tomorrow afternoon, then?" Ruby plunked a chocolate malt down in front of Belle.
Belle took her drink and, taking a long pull from the straw, left for the library.
It was the day before the dance.
Sitting at the counter, Belle's long dark hair fell over her face while she catalogued the new books she had just ordered. Since the library had been closed for as long as the curse had been in effect, the youngest book was 28 years old. Now, with borderline unlimited funding from Rumplestiltskin, and a grant from the city, she had wasted no time determining what books were outdated, ordering new textbooks, and then turning to the fiction, ordering hundreds of books to replace outdated novels.
As she pulled a new novel by Veronica Roth off the pile and began writing down the pertinent information about the book, she let her mind wander. She was getting excited for this weekend, for the dance but something irked her. Rumple either did not want to go or simply assumed that they would be going together because the frustrating man had not mentioned a word about the event.
She had bounced into the store the night before, with a long garment bag containing the dress that she had bought with Ruby. Their styles were drastically different, but each had managed to find a dress that suited them.
She had pecked them on the cheek, distracting him away from the scabbard he was looking at. "Whatcha doing?"
"This blade, dearie," he gestured with the loupe he was using. "Has Agrabah tones. I'm trying to determine if it is actually from there, or if it's something else." Looking up at her, he had smiled, and kissed her.
And then without so much as a how you do, he had looked back down towards his scabbard.
Belle growled to herself and thumped the heavy book down on her done pile.
"Oh. Um. What did the book do to you?" Belle looked up at the voice. Standing there, with his trademark scarf to hide the scar ringing his neck, was Jefferson. Grace had taken off into the children's section, leaving Jefferson to talk to the librarian.
"The book did nothing," said Belle wryly. "Call it misdirected anger. What can I help you with?"
"Grace wanted to look at the children's books. She has such an imagination. Meanwhile, I was hoping that you had some how-to books on dancing. It's for tomorrow. Grace doesn't know that I can't dance, and she's got this beautiful dress all picked out."
"Well," she said, pushing the desk chair back. "I can show you the self-help and dance sections but from there you'll have to try and cross reference some things."
Jefferson smiled, and thanked her.
A half hour passed quietly. A shuffling drew her attention from finishing the book stack, and she smiled.
Jefferson was standing there, a book in hand, jerking around the 4 count of a waltz. She giggled to herself and then stood. "Here, let me show you."
Rumplestiltskin had a problem.
Usually, when Rum had a problem, he made sure that the problem...went away, for lack of better phrasing. Before, in the Enchanted Forest, that usually meant that whoever had given Rumple a problem...disappeared.
And then Belle happened. And he grew a conscience against hurting people, even if they irritated him.
But today his problem had to do with Belle. Or, more specifically, his problem was with the fact that another man had his hand on Belle's waist, and that Belle was smiling up at the other man in her arms.
From where he stood in his store, he had a perfect view of the lobby of the library. And Belle waltzing with another man was driving him insane.
He knew, of course, about the dance coming. He had been operating under the assumption that since they were together, he would be escorting the lady to the dance. That was what was done in this realm, was it not? In fact, he had assumed it was etiquette in all the realms. And it seemed to him that she had been on the same page; if the garment bag she had had before had been any indication. Gripping the handle of his cane firmly, he began the short walk to the library, a scowl on his face.
Really, Jefferson was insane if he thought to come between Belle and Rumplestiltskin.
"You're really getting it!" Bell congratulated Jefferson as they flowed through the steps of the waltz effortlessly.
"That's a good thing. Although my partner won't be near as skilled."
"When I was younger, my dad let me dance on his feet. Maybe you could do that with Grace? I'm sure that would look just adorable." Belle smiled.
"We can practice if you want." Jefferson was readily opening up to the idea.
"If it's all the same to you I'd rather you didn't," the dry voice sounded from the door. Belle whirled around, surprised, and she felt Jefferson's arms drop as though they were filled with stones.
"Although," continued Rumplestiltskin "I'm sure you meant to practice with your daughter with Belle being more of a side teacher. Correct?" Shifting on his cane, he stepped forward arched an eyebrow at Jefferson.
Jefferson arched an eyebrow at Rumple, and lowered his head slightly in a submissive move. "Actually, Grace and I were just leaving." He gestured to his daughter and then the two of them left together.
Rumple shifted his gaze to his brown haired beauty. She was looking at him with a tiny bit of fire in her eyes, but more than that was the presence of a knowing. "Get a bit jealous there, Rum?"
"Of course not, Dear. But I would hate to have Jefferson start to get any ideas about you being available."
"You do realize that is jealousy, right?"
Rumplestiltskin deftly avoided the question by posing one of his own. "What was in that garment bag I saw yesterday?"
"Nothing important." Belle kept her tone offhand.
"Is it something I would get to see if I took you to the dance tomorrow?"
Belle smiled. "It's a deal."
Ruby and Belle had spent the day getting ready, fixing each other's hair and helping with the other's makeup. Now that they were done, they looked in the mirror beside each other.
Even though physically they looked as if they could be sisters, stylishly they couldn't have been different.
Ruby had her hair curled into long waves that were loose over her shoulders. Her striking eyes were highlighted by the right combination of eye makeup, and her lips were the dark scarlet she favoured. Her dress was also very similar to what she usually wore. It was skin tight, red leather with the hemline coming to a hand length beneath her hips, and trimmed in a black lace along the hem and the sweetheart neckline.
Belle looked completely different. Her curly hair was straightened and swept back into a graceful pile on her head. Her long empire wasted gown was the colour of a richly coloured evergreen tree. Just under her bust was a ring of green rhinestones, and the top of the gown was a halter top, that produced pleats over down to the belt. On her eyes subtle browns and golds had been used to emphasize the shade of blue she had.
She waited outside the dance hall for Rumplestiltskin to join her. When he did, his suit was a striking black, with a tie that matched her dress perfectly.
"Did you know what shade my dress was?"
"Lucky guess, dearie." He presented her with her corsage, a red rose framed by dark green ferns. A matching boutonniere was already pinned to his suit jacket. "You look amazing tonight. I'm honoured that you chose to accompany me."
"Well what were you going to do, go after anyone else who asked?"
"The thought had crossed my mind."
Lifting her wrist to smell her rose, Belle smiled behind the flower. "Well then it's a good thing I didn't want to go with anyone else."
The strains of a waltz echoed out into the street. Cane in one hand, he offered her his other arm. "Shall we? After seeing what a charming dancer you are, I really can't wait."
Belle took his arm and together they walked into the dance.