Trying my hand at fanfic – I hope you enjoy this short story even if you aren’t a fan of the show it’s based on, “Once Upon A Time.” I feel like this is really the end of a story (or maybe the middle?), but it’s what came to me; perhaps one day I’ll write the rest of it. (It also turned out kind of depressing, so I’m sorry for that too!)
In keeping with my new theme of naming stories after 80s pop songs, this one is called The Devil Inside. I’m splitting it up into two posts because it got kind of long…you can find the link to Part II at the end!
[I must state that I do not own the rights to these characters. This piece is based off of events that occurred in Episode 12, “Skin Deep,” in season one of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”]
The Devil Inside
In the first season of the Once Upon a Time tv series version of Beauty and the Beast, the lovely Belle becomes the prisoner of the wicked Rumpelstiltskin. Rumpel and Belle grow closer throughout the episode until they finally kiss; however, Rumpel breaks the kiss and kicks Belle out when he suspects that she is trying to break the curse that gives him his powers. In my version, this never happens; in fact, Rumpel and Belle do way more than just kiss many, many times. While Rumpel turns Gaston into a rose in the OUAT episode, Gaston is still alive in my version, and he comes to Rumpel’s castle to rescue Belle. Rumpel lets Belle leave with Gaston, insisting that he never had true feelings for her and was only using her for sex. Belle reluctantly returns home with Gaston, and this short story picks up the morning of their wedding day.
Belle studies herself carefully in the mirror. Her long, white silk gown fits her body snugly while still maintaining some semblance of modesty, and her maid has woven small white and pale pink flowers throughout her dark brown tresses. She watches a tear roll slowly down her reflection’s cheek. This is my wedding, she thinks to herself. Should I not be happier?
“You look breathtaking,” a deep, masculine voice rumbles behind her. Belle jumps, startled, then whirls around.
“Gaston! You should not be in here,” she gasps, making futile attempts to cover her wedding gown with her dainty, pale hands. “You know it is bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress!”
“A silly superstition,” he insists, strolling further into her bedchamber. He stops short and peers at her glistening cheeks. “Have you been crying?” he asks her softly.
“What?” Belle hurriedly wipes her cheeks dry with the back of her hand. “A little,” she confesses. “Tears of happiness.” But her voice cracks when she says this last part.
Gaston looks at her doubtfully and sits on the foot of her bed, crossing his ankles. She can’t help but notice how handsome he looks –imposing, in his midnight blue uniform and black boots, but handsome.
“You do not love me, do you, Belle?” he asks her, his bluntness catching her off guard.
“I –why –that is just not true,” Belle stammers, but she can’t look him in his hazel eyes.
“I know it is,” Gaston counters. “I have realized it for some time, I think, but I did not want to admit it to myself.”
Belle is about to protest again, but then her shoulders sag and she shakes her head sadly. “I am so sorry, Gaston. You are such a wonderful, kind man, and you are most deserving of a woman who can return your love. Do you love me?” she wonders, her voice barely above a whisper.
He finally catches her gaze and holds it steadily. “With all my heart,” he says.
Belle comes around to sit beside him on the bed, brushing aside any feeling of guilt over this breach of propriety. “What are we going to do?”
“Well, it is going to disappoint a lot of people, but…we are going to go into the church, shoulders back and heads held high, and let our guests know that the wedding is off.” Belle can’t help but smile at his words; Gaston’s tone makes it sound like it will be the easiest thing in the world.
“Belle, there is something I simply must know, if you will not mind my prying,” Gaston continues, suddenly standing and facing her squarely. “Do you love another?”
Belle feels a blush creep onto her cheeks. “Yes.” The word is barely above a whisper.
“Is it…Rumpelstiltskin?” Gaston gulps before uttering the name, and then says it as if it pains him to do so.
“Yes,” Belle repeats, this time more loudly and with more conviction. Yes, she’s fallen in love with Rumpelstiltskin. How is it any of Gaston’s business?
“Belle, may I make a request?” Without waiting for her reply, Gaston proceeds, “I am willing to accept that you do not return my love, and I do not wish to marry someone that is not in love with me. I wish you only the best and hope that you do find your one, true love.
“But please, please do not let that one, true love be that horrid Rumpelstiltskin.” Now Gaston is kneeling before her, taking her hand as though to propose marriage again. Pleading with her. “No matter how much you wish it otherwise, he will always be monstrous, wicked, and less than a man. Give your heart to someone kind, loving and good. Someone that deserves it.”
Belle yanks her hand away from his and jumps to her feet. “I appreciate your concern, Gaston,” she says through gritted teeth, “but I will love whomever I damn well please.”
For a moment, they are both silent, staring at each other, daring the other to speak. Finally, Gaston rises and crosses the room to the door.
“Then do as you please,” he says coolly from the doorway, his back turned to her. “May I request that you join me at the church as soon as possible so we can inform our guests that there is to be no wedding.”
Belle’s tenacity caves as she watches Gaston leave, wishing that they had left things on better terms. She goes back to the mirror and angrily rips the delicate flowers from her hair. They fall and pepper the floor around her like a pinkish white snow.