Title: Learn to Trust Me
Word Count: 1,100
Feedback: Please and thank you! Let me know what I'm doing right or doing wrong.
Summary: Ruby left Belle, trapped in the library, with nothing but her own worry. (Takes place right after "Child of the Moon.")
With teeth clenched together tightly, Belle pulled against the handcuffs a few more times. The metal clanked loudly against the pole, but the latch did not release, just as it hadn't released the previous time or the time before that. The handcuffs chafed against her wrist painfully, reminding Belle that she was trapped here in the library while an angry mob went after the only person she considered to be a friend in this town.
Belle was being forced into doing nothing, being unable to help in any possible way.
Her eyes darted around the empty library once more, searching once again in vain for anything that could possibly help her escape, but once more she discovered that a key did not magically appear out of thin air. Blinking away the stinging sensation, Belle bit down on her lip, shaking her head. Ruby had made off with it.
Why didn't Ruby think Belle could help her? Why did Ruby insist in facing this alone?
Belle had faced this before: a mob mentality against a situation they refused to understand, not when there was a beast threatening their safety and way of life. Ruby was not the monster they made her out to be, she couldn't be.
In the distance, Belle heard a faint howl. Her heart began to race painfully against her chest. Ruby. It had to be her. It had to be Ruby. What was happening? Was she safe? Was the mob going after her?
With a faint, frustrated cry, Belle tugged at the cuffs once more, hoping it would miraculously unlatch, but she tugged to no avail.
"Come on, please," she begged, as though it would cause her predicament to change, but at this point, she was willing to try anything no matter how ridiculous it sounded. Belle did not know how long she had been locked in here with nothing but books to keep her company. Under any other circumstance, it would have been her paradise, sans the handcuffs; this was torturous. This was hell disguised as her beloved paradise, being trapped and held against her will surrounded by the one thing that could take her to far off places and offer her adventure.
Each passing second felt like a minute, a minute an hour, and an hour felt as though an eternity had gone by. Time crawled by so slowly, not even bothering to bring any news along. Her shoulders fell as she sighed heavily. She leaned back and lowered her head.
"Please, be safe, Ruby," she murmured under her breath.
There was another distant howl, but was it one conveying a signal for help to which Belle could not respond? Without a thought, Belle gave the handcuffs a gentle tug once again.
A loud click coming from the entrance caught her attention – the front door of the building opening. Belle quickly sat up straight and pulled herself up to her feet with a wince due to the pain throbbing from her wrist. "Ruby?" she called out. "Ru-"
"She's all right."
Not Ruby. It was David. He rounded the corner, into the stacks, and made a beeline for Belle, key in hand. "She told me you were in here-"
"What do you mean all right? The mob?"
"Disbanded," David replied, unlocking the cuffs. "Ruby had nothing to do with Billy's murder. It was Spencer. He set her up."
Belle wrapped her hand around and gently rubbed her finally un-cuffed wrist that she held against her chest. "And where's Ruby now? Is she safe?"
"Yes, she's safe."
"Where?" Belle repeated.
"In the forest," David answered. "It's still wolf's time. She said something about wanting to run."
Belle waited a bit after she and David parted ways at the library before heading directly into the forest. It wasn't the most brilliant idea, no, to wander around aimlessly in the woods, and she would be the first to admit so, but she was also rather confident that Ruby would pick up on her trial sooner or later. Not to mention, there was something… oddly calming about the full moon. It showed a silver light, ridding the area of the frightening darkness, even though it casted shadows in place. The shadows were a reminder of the dark that could be, of the lurking danger walking through the night. Belle was not afraid.
She had no reason to be afraid, Belle told herself as she heard ruffling up ahead. Belle came to a slow stop and stood a little taller as the figure drew closer. She could make out an animal, approaching on all fours – a wolf. A large wolf.
"Ruby?" Belle asked as the shaggy, dark furred wolf came within reaching distance. The wolf stared at her, her eyes shining, questioning why Belle was out here to late.
"I had to see you, make sure for myself that you were all right," Belle explained.
"And," Belle began again, but then her voice lingered slightly. She looked down at the forest ground for a second in order to collect her thoughts. She gave a half nod, as if reassuring herself, before looking back up at Ruby. It was a little daunting to stare down a wolf, but it was Ruby.
It was just Ruby.
"And," Belle repeated. "I want you to never leave me like that again."
Ruby grunted, as if to protest.
"No, I know. Your intentions were good and all that, but just as I told my father and Rumpel, I am capable of taking care of myself," Belle explained, trying her damnest to keep her voice from shaking. "I never would have imagined I'd be telling you the same thing."
There was a whimper of a response.
"I wanted to help you, Ruby," Belle continued. "I could have helped you. You're my friend and I didn't want to see you get hurt, but that's all I was able to think about while locked away in the library. What if they got to you? What if they did hurt you? I couldn't do anything. I couldn't-"
Ruby took a step closer, with another whimper. She arched her neck forward and placed her china against Belle's shoulder. Belle found herself scooting toward her. She wrapped her arms around Ruby and rested the side of her head against Ruby's soft fur.
"I'm glad you're okay, but, please, learn to trust me."