Suddenly, from out of nowhere, her headache seemed to peek…and her mind began to swim with a hazy feeling...again.
A split second later the headache was gone…but something else had returned.
She could remember again.
She gaped at the realization, almost wanting not to believe it. But it was true. It was all there, like it had never left. She remembered.
She could remember her childhood. She remembered growing up in Australia and just how much she had loved that country. She remembered how much she had loved swimming in the ocean and spending her days on endless stretches of sand. She'd even tried surfing once! She'd loved that ocean so much that she used to leave her window open even on the coldest nights so that she could hear it crash against the beach and smell the salt in the air.
She could remember school, too. Even though it gave her the exact opposite feeling of the ocean. She'd hated school and everything that went with it: homework, studying, classes. There were only a few subjects that she had really taken an interest in and the rest she was bored with. But she'd gone, not because it was expected of her but because she found she could have fun even there. She had loved her friends, loved staying long after the last bell rang just to talk with them about boys and dances. She remembered late night trips to the mall and early trips to markets just to see what kind of clothes she could find for cheap.
She remembered clothes! She remembered how she'd poured over fashion magazines and watched all the fashion shows she could! She could remember sneaking into a movie set once just to get a taste of how designing worked and what went into the trade. That was the moment that she decided that she was going to be a designer someday. Her father had never thought much of her ambition but her mother had indulged it, taken her to a fashion week once and given her a sketchbook and colored pencils for her seventh birthday, then bought her a sewing machine for her twelfth, and on their last Christmas together she could remember getting silk fabric, lace, and a tape measure. It was the greatest honor she'd ever had. Fifteen years old, and it was her that designed that little black dress her mother wore when she and her father went out on their date that Valentine's Day. She could remember how proud she'd been when her friends wanted her to make them something for dances and dates. Her mother had joked with her that she had a brand name built right into her name…but she took it seriously.
She had a dream, she could remember it clearly again. All she wanted from that moment on was to have one of those A-list actresses interviewed on the red carpet respond "I'm wearing Lacey tonight!" It was perfect, her life, her future, everything was set for her from that moment on. She could remember being a happy.
And she could remember when it all changed.
Her mother had loved the ocean just as much as she did. Her father always said that it was her love of it that made him fall in love with her. They often took trips to the shore even as she got older. She and her father might not have gotten along well on their own, but whenever the three of them were together, they were happy. So when her parents suggested they go to the beach on a late afternoon in July she had jumped at the opportunity, not realizing the saddened look on her their faces.
Her mother had been exhausted for months, falling asleep here and there, tossing and turning, no matter how tired she was never truly resting. Her face had slowly begun to sink in, dark circles had appeared under her eyes, and the color had drained from her cheeks. She felt constantly dizzy, her headaches were endless, but it was when her speech began to slur and she started mixing up her words that they panicked. She could remember how they'd sat her down that afternoon and told her about the trip to the doctor as the tide came in. She'd stubbornly watched the surf as she listened to her mother's courageous and optimistic words. But she just couldn't bear to face her, for her to see the tears in her eyes. Her mother was being brave, why couldn't she be?
But bravery didn't matter.
Bravery wouldn't listen.
Bravery couldn't cure her mother.
They spent three more months together, but by the time Christmas came around the next year, she'd exchanged her happy colors for somber black. Her friends stayed in the wake of the loss, but eventually faded into the background. They just didn't know what to say to her. In the months that followed, she'd turned to the only thing she knew, the only thing that could make her happy…clothes. She worked day and night: sketching, sewing, creating, trying to find some meaning in the life her mother had taken with her. That had been when the delicate relationship she and her father had maintained began to unravel.
They'd never gotten along well, even when her mother was alive. She'd always been the mediator between the two of them. She suspected that he'd always wanted a boy, a son instead of a daughter, someone to run the family business when he was gone. She figured that had more to do with why he didn't like the fashion than anything. When she showed no interest in his interests, in his business, he'd simply lost interest in her. To make matters worse, clothes had always been something she and her mother had done together. The more she talked about designing, the more she worked at it, and received magazines, and looked into schools...the more and more he was reminded of her mother. It took her years, but slowly the clothes gave her a reason to come back to life, to seek out her friends, to live again. And the more she did the more and more depressed her father got. Then, one night, the summer before her senior year of high school, he'd announced to her over dinner that they were moving.
As he said the words, she suddenly found herself feeling those same things that she'd felt when her mother had died. Empty. Numb. Nothing. He couldn't stand to be here, he explained. He couldn't live in their house. He couldn't work. He couldn't go anywhere. The entire nation seemed to remind him of her and he told her that if he didn't leave soon, he didn't think he'd ever survive the blow. He was a man haunted and couldn't move on like she was. But he didn't understand. It hadn't been easy for her either, she'd had to claw her way out of her grief climbing hand over hand, inch by inch, to get back to the fraction of the happy person she had been. He hadn't even tried! And now he was going to take the little life she'd formed in the wake of the disaster down with him! No, she couldn't let him do that!
She'd begged. She'd cried. She'd tried to compromise: couldn't they stay until high school was done, couldn't she live with a friend for a year, couldn't she live on her own before she went away to study fashion design? He simply shook his head. He'd lost one family member, he couldn't bear to lose another. But he was wrong about that. The life that she'd been working hard to put back together was the only thing keeping her alive! The day he'd forced her on that plane and dragged her out into the middle of nowhere, Storybrooke, Maine, United States of America…he'd lost her already. He'd killed her spirit.
Her father had bought a new building and quickly restarted his business in the small town. She finished high school without a friend in the world. When she started looking into American design schools, he insisted he'd never pay for anything like that, still clinging to the hope that she'd give up and do something a little more secure, responsible, and noble with her life, at least by his standards. So, she'd gone to work in a local clothing store, Modern Fashions, to earn money to pay for school herself. When he figured out her plan, he shoved a brochure for the local community college in her hand and requested that she begin to pay rent, diminishing the little money she made every month. He was so afraid of losing her that he clung to her and it was suffocating. He could see how much she longed for her own life and he sought to correct it by keeping her chained. And she just couldn't take it.
It was okay though, she'd found freedom in other ways. When her mother had been around she'd been the vision of a perfect daughter, now she found that rebellion had its merits. If he wouldn't willingly give her up, she wondered if she could force him to.
It had been by accident, she'd worn a black dress two days in a row and he'd commented on why she couldn't wear something brighter. From that moment on she made sure to only wear black, just to get under his skin. Ever the insistent scheduler, he set times for them to meet for dinner and was furious when she walked in late and eventually stopped showing up completely. Since he hardly allowed her to keep the little money she made anyway, she stayed out later and later. The first time he'd screamed at her for staying out without bothering to even call, she'd screamed right back that she wasn't a child and he couldn't control her life! That didn't seem to stop him from trying though. On her twenty-first birthday she'd gone to the local bar and made friends with the bartender. The first time Sheriff Graham had pulled her over for drunk driving he'd "done her a favor" and drove her home without writing her up. Her father exploded and upped her rent. After that, she didn't need to come home drunk to irritate him. She just didn't have to come home.
All she had to do was spend time with certain people, powerful people, that the town respected out of fear and never harmed. She wouldn't say that they were ever her friends, she knew better, she never had any of their numbers or visited them at the end of the night, but her father didn't know that. And she found that if others knew she was looking for a good time, for a party, they were happy to oblige, even in the little town of Storybrooke. And then there was the collection of men's jackets that she kept in her closet from coming home in the early hours of the morning, hair untidy, make-up smeared, smelling of alcohol, and sex.
By the time her father truly opened his eyes and realized that she was too far out of control for him to handle, she didn't care. She was beyond caring and sympathy. In her opinion, he'd brought it on himself. He'd made a selfish choice once without any thought for her, the way she saw it that entitled her to a few selfish choices of her own and if he didn't like how she dressed or spent her time...he'd have to figure it out alone the way she had.
Still, they argued all the time. She was a brilliant girl and the way she was acting wasn't what was best for her, she'd heard the same old boring argument a thousand times! And he'd heard her reply a thousand times over as well. What was best for her was fashion school, to go after her dreams, to live the life he'd stolen from her! But he just couldn't see that! He refused to. Making a name for herself as a fashion guru was just as unlikely of her becoming a big Hollywood actress! She needed to find something stable, something that would promise her a paycheck and insurance and he wouldn't pay for school if she was only going to waste her education on a pipe dream that would never make it off the ground!
And so that was that. He wouldn't even give her a fair shot at trying and failing, just kept putting up road block after road block. He thought that he could choose her destiny for her, but it just didn't work that way. And so the tension grew and grew thicker and thicker with ever passing day and then month and then year until...
Until that night.
She'd come home from the Rabbit Hole, earlier than expected, irritated because the person she'd spent most of her time with that night hadn't invited her back to his place and she'd had no choice but to go home. He was sitting in front of the television, gazing at it without really seeing it. He made a rude comment as she walked in about her sleeping in her own bed for once, but two could play at that game. She responded by making a comment of her own about not getting lucky enough to find a strangers bed, fighting fire with fire.
Why couldn't she just be a woman that her mother would have been proud of? Why did she have to act this way? What had he done to deserve this behavior?!
She yelled right back.
Why did he have to take her away from everything she'd ever known? Why couldn't he have let her stay in her home? Why did he have to be so selfish? Couldn't he see that he was holding her back?!
Fashion wasn't a career it was a gamble he wouldn't allow his daughter to take!
And a job at clothing store was any better? Doing something that didn't make her happy was what she was supposed to do for the rest of her life?
What was so terrible about her job?! What was so hard about going to college and becoming a teacher or taking over the business?! Was she really happy the way she was? Was she really happy with what she'd become?!
He hadn't given her much of a choice at who to become! This way or his way she was miserable and wanted to go to fashion school!
"You are an adult, Lacey. No one is forcing you to be here, if you want to go then go!" he'd screamed pointing at the door. "But don't expect me to be there to pick up the pieces when you crash and burn!"
And so, for the first time in years, since they'd moved to this God awful place, she did as she was told.
The look on his face as she'd moved around him told her that he really hadn't expected the confrontation to end with her taking him up on his offer and leaving so abruptly. But with a final "Fine! I'll write to you from New York!" she found herself out alone in the chilly night, just walking. She should have gone to the Rabbit Hole again, no doubt she could have found someone else to spend the night with if she put some effort into it, but her father's words echoed in her mind and drove her in the other direction. "No one decides my fate but me," she muttered over and over.
Why hadn't she left before now? There had been nothing holding her here, nothing that bound her to Storybrooke. She was just someone who rang women up at the register and occasionally got to give them advice on what to wear, surely she could hold that kind of job in another town! She could leave, she could start a new life outside of this dull place. Surely it would be easier there than it had been here living under his roof!
She made her way out to the long black lonesome road. Part of her wondered if her father would come for her, insist she get in the car and come back home, that they could figure this out, the way they used to, the way they had when they'd been a family, and not just people bound to each other by blood. But she knew, somehow, this fight had been different from the others. They'd both said terrible things to each other. Worse. They'd both spoken terrible truths to one another.
Was she happy this way? Or had she simply done such a good job convincing her father that this was who she really was that she'd fallen for it too? She did her best to convince herself that she was happy, that this was who she really was and she liked it. She tried to tell herself that she'd grown since her mother died, that she'd recovered, and matured. She'd discovered herself! She was a grown woman, as her father had pointed out, why shouldn't she be allowed to act like it.
But the truth was, deep down, she felt like something was missing. She'd felt it since her mother had died. She'd done her best to create happiness, but at the heart of the issue she still wished that none of this had ever happened, that her mother had lived, that her best friend, the only person who had ever really supported and taken care of her, was still around. She'd be different if she hadn't. She had nothing to prove that belief, but she just knew, if she had that one piece of her that was missing, she'd be happy again.
Suddenly she saw lights cast shadows on the trees in front of her. Maybe she'd been wrong. Maybe her father was coming for her. Maybe they hadn't finished their fight after all, or maybe he'd come to grovel. It was too late. She couldn't go back, not even if he begged. The lights became brighter and she took a deep breath, preparing to face whoever might have been lurking behind her. If it was him, he'd come just in time, the town line was only a step away.
Hi! For those of you that are just checking out this fiction, welcome! For those of you who are a fan of the Moments Series, welcome back! I hope you'll enjoy this fiction. It's the third in the Moments Series, a series that is an attempt at an accurate portrayal of Belle's perspective during the Once Upon a Time series...or in this case, Lacey's. This fiction features everything that happened in Storybrooke from the moment Regina gave Belle Lacey's memories in "Lacey" to the moment that Rumple gave her the potion to make her Belle again in "...And straight On Till Morning".
Because I am working to keep this series as accurate as possible, there might be changes made to this fiction, as needed, to make sure it stays up to date. But I won't bore you with those details, if you really want them check out the authors note at the end, it'll explain everything. Also, to keep track of updates throughout the year I've created a Twitter account under Montreat11 just for Moments! So if you want to keep up on any changes, minor or major, follow me!
Now, if you are not a fan of Lacey, and want to get back to Belle, no worries. I'd read this chapter, so that you at least get a taste of Lacey, then head on over to Shared and Unshared which begins with the moment Belle gets her memories back. But if you choose to stay and read, please review! I always enjoy those wonderful gems waiting for me in my inbox and I love writing back to thank you personally for reading and reviewing! It helps me to know I'm doing a decent job. Peace and Happy Reading!