Gold sat back in his chair, enjoying the smokey backdrop of his den. He deserved a chance to enjoy his boons, he had risked everything to continue his business.
It was hard work running an illegal Opium den, especially in California. He put himself in a line of constant danger, just to please his customers.
He watched as they smoked his products every day. It put their minds at ease. It put smiles on their faces...and it put money in his pocket.
He smirked to himself, resting his hands against the top of his cane. As much as he loved to watch Mary Blanchard and her lover, David Nolan, fuck on his cushions and Jefferson Hatter play tea party, there was one customer who he enjoyed above all the others.
He waited for her every night- she was there every Tuesday, one hour past midnight.
Tonight, his waiting seemed to last forever. He had decided that tonight would be the night he was speak to her, actually speak to her.
Mr. Raibeart Gold was a leading businessman. He controlled the illegal Opium sales from New York to Los Angeles. He should not be afraid to speak to a young woman.
The door to Gold's Den swung open, and all of his brave words failed him when he caught sight of her.
She was dressed in blue. It was a swirling gown that blended in with the flourishing smoke, making her appear as though she was clothed in nothing but clouds.
Gold's mouth went slack and he had to tighten his grip on his cane to keep his hands from shaking. He had a terrible habit of curling and uncurling his fingers when he was nervous.
She noticed his gaze as soon as she walked in. Her lips twitched into a small smile, and Gold thought his heart would stop.
He had his other favorites, of course. Gold was a frequent customer of Ruby's, the town's personal...'ladies home.'
Prostitutes were nothing compared to her, though. He raised a hand, trying to hide his anxiety, and beckoned the woman forward.
She looked surprised, but not un-pleased. With a tentative smile and a nod of her head, she made her way to Gold's chair.
He tried not to notice how her hips swayed as she walked.
"Is there something I can do for you, Mr. Gold?" She asked, still smiling.
Gold stood, as was the custom when a gentleman greeted a lady," I would just like to know your name, dearie."
The woman pursed her lips," You know better than I, how dangerous sharing your name can be in a place such as this."
Gold smirked," You are an intelligent lass, but your name will be safe with me, I assure you."
"Perhaps you should like to make a deal for it then?"
Gold was intrigued," I did not know you were in the business of dealing."
She shrugged," I'm not usually much of a businesswoman, I'm afraid to admit. I prefer pleasure."
Her tongue darted out to wet her lips after she spoke and Gold was nearly gone right there.
"What would you like?" He asked, not caring for the way his voice shook.
"Just a kiss, perhaps?" Her eyes flashed and she grinned at him,"Kiss me and I'll tell you my name."
As much as he wanted to, Gold held back," Tell me your name, then I'll kiss you."
"It's a kiss or no deal."
Gold merely laughed," You are playing in my territory, miss. It's your name or no kiss."
"Fine. You drive a hard bargain, Gold," She took a seat to his right," My name is Belle."
"What a lovely name," He offered, then turned to one of his attendants," Hopper, bring Belle and myself a pipe."
Hopper nodded, silently. He was one of Gold's most loyal workers.
While they waited, Gold made small talk with Belle. It wasn't uncommon for him to enjoy idle conversation with his customers.
"So, what brings you to my den, Belle?" Gold reached over and started the Opium Lamp on the table. The lamps were not only used to light the club, but also to heat the poppy.
"I don't like to share details about my personal life with drug dealers," Belle replied, coolly.
Gold stared at her," You would deny me an answer in my own club?" His customers rarely talked back to him...the few who did were usually kicked out. Or shot.
Belle grinned," I was only kidding, Mr. Gold. You must learn how to take a joke. I come here to seek a break from the monotony of life, like everyone else."
Gold relaxed," What is so monotonous about your life, dearie?"
"If you must know, I am engaged to a man who is as ignorant as he is unfaithful," Belle sighed," My father has forced me into the relationship. My fiancee is our only hope to pay back our debts."
Gold frowned," Are these debts yours or your father's?"
Belle hesitated, idly twirling a curl of brown hair," My father's debt is my debt. He has cared for me my whole life."
"A child should not have to pay for the mistakes of the father," Gold replied, quietly. He did not like how much Belle made him think of his son, Baelfire.
Those memories were old and should have been forgotten, but he didn't seem to be able to stop re-living his mistake.
"You sound like you have had firsthand experience in the matter," Belle said, her voice barely a whisper.
When he didn't elaborate, Belle hung her head," I am sorry to have brought it up, I did not mean to upset you."
Gold gaped up at her, reaching for her hand," You could never upset me."
Belle leaned in to him, so that her lips were next to his ear, and when he tried to move his hand back, she held it tighter," What do you mean by that, Mr. Gold?"
"I-I will be honest with you, dearie. I have wanted to speak to you for a long a time. You're lovely."
Belle's lips curved into an easy smile and she moved her hand to his thigh," Then kiss me."
Gold could no longer restrain himself. He leaned forward, and to his relief, she met his lips with enthusiasm.
She moaned into his mouth and Gold took the moment to place his hands around her waist and deepen the kiss.
He explored her mouth with his tongue, relishing all of the little sounds she made. He understood now why Mary Margaret and David always seemed to lose themselves in these moments.
Gold dragged himself away from the kiss only long enough to lift her into his lap. She was surprisingly light. Belle felt almost as light as the smoke swirling around them.
Belle wrapped her arms around him and moved her lips to his neck. She trailed her tongue lightly across the hollow of his throat, leaving a tingling trail to the soft spot beneath his ear," I want you to know that when I leave this place, when I leave behind this smoke and your body, life loses it's vibrancy. When I'm here, everything is real."
She pulled away from his neck just long enough to stare into his face," I've wanted this for a long time. Without you, everything is hazy."