Belle didn’t want it to end. It was like nothing she had ever read in one of her books. Their kiss was slow but also filled with need, something that could never be truly describe with words. But Belle felt it in her heart and as her hand slide up his side, she felt how warm he was. How full of life he was, when moments ago his eyes were blank. She was desperate to feel him, to be around him, to take everything in.
Slowly the two broke away and Belle could feel the tears welling up in the corner of her eyes as she looked into his. They were the blue that she had grown to love so much, with the warmth that she longed to see again. It was truly him and as she cupped his cheeks with her hands, she couldn’t stop the tears from falling and the laughter that escaped her.
“It is you,” she whispered, a smile stretching across her face, “I-I had thought...with the rose and you were so cold…”
He gently grasped her hand, bringing it to his mouth and kissing it lightly, “I...I don’t quite understand myself,” he replied, “but as long as you’re here…”
Belle could feel the heat rush to her face, a warmth spreading across her body she didn’t expect. She found herself lost in his eyes and they stood liked that for what felt like hours.
What am I supposed to call him?
Embarrassment washed over her and she ducked her head slightly. How could she never have learned his name?
“Belle?” he asked in a worried voice, trying to catch her eyes, “what’s wrong?”
“I…” she stopped, shaking her head, “It’s silly really…”
“How silly can it actually be?”
Looking back up at him, she smiled sheepishly at him, “In all the time we were together...I never learned your name.”
His eyes widen slightly and he stared at her, his mouth slightly open. Suddenly, a smile broke across his face and he burst into laughter.
Shock was one word to describe Belle. Even as a beast, she had never heard him laugh before. And if she did, it was nothing more than a chuckle. But here he was now, in his old clothing and long hair covering his face, laughing.
It felt like a dream.
“I hadn’t even…” he said, his shoulders shaking slightly, “it’s been so long since someone called me by my name.”
“Lumiere and the other’s…?” she asked, confused.
“No, no...they insisted on calling me ‘master’,” he replied, combing his hand through some of her hair, “it’ll take some use to being called by it...but my name is Adam.”
“Adam?” she repeated, testing the name and nodded her head slowly, “Adam...it suits you.”
His eyebrow rose slightly, “You think so?”
A giggle escaped her lips, “I mean it’s no Romeo but…”
She couldn’t hold back her laughter as he rolled his eyes, groaning, “I thought we had gotten past that…”
“Don’t be such a snob,” she teased, “I can still like that story, thank you very much.”
Faint laughter filtered through the room and startled both of them. Belle took a few steps away from Adam and listened, a swell of happiness growing in her.
“If you’re back,” she said, turning towards him, “that means all the others…”
Realization dawned on Adam’s face and he quickly stepped towards her, taking her hand in his, “They must be downstairs...” he whispered, and for a moment Belle thought she saw some tears form in his eyes.
Squeezing his hand, she smiled up at him. It would take some getting used to, she thought. He wasn’t as tall as he used to be, and his voice wasn’t as deep, but it was him. She had seen beyond the beast and had seen the man inside of him, his love of literature, and the love for the people around him that he tried to hide. Like he was trying to hide now.
Tugging on his hand, she started to walk towards the door, “Let’s not make them wait anymore then they already have.”
She stopped, turning around to look at Adam. He smiled at her, his eyes full of warmth, “I...I love you Belle.”
Her heart felt like it would burst from her chest. She knew that he loved her, the way he kissed her expressed that, but to hear those words. Her knees felt weak and it took all her strength to not trip over her own feet as she stepped toward him.
“I love you too Adam,” she said, smiling, “Even if we don’t share the same taste in literature.”
He playfully scoffed, “I just happen to have better taste.”
Their laughter echoed through the chamber and he rested his forehead on her’s, looking down into her eyes, “We should go down...but I like having you to myself at the moment.”
“We’ll have plenty of time for that,” she replied, “we’ll have all the time in the world.”
As they walked out of the room, Belle’s breath was taken away. The west wing, which had been fallen apart with each petal, had been fully restored. The darkness that had seemingly overcome it was gone and the sun shown through the windows, bringing a new warmth to it. They walked down slowly, Adam readjusting to his human form.
“I’m just...a little lighter than what I’ve been used to,” he explained as he took another step, “it just feels a little off.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Belle said, gripping his hand, “It’ll just take some time. A change like that...well, you know more then I would…”
As they made their way down the main hallway of the wing, the laughter and chatter of voices grew. Confused, Belle looked up at Adam, “It’s rather loud out there…”
“You said people from your village came to the castle,” he began, confusion in his own voice, “but I don’t know why they would stick around.”
“Could…,” she mumbled, “Could they have been cursed as well? No one in the village seemed to know of your castle...and it’s not that far from here.”
Standing at the top of the stairs, they could see the crowd of people outside the doors. People hugging and laughing, like they hadn’t seen each other in years.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he agreed, “the enchantress seemed to have thought of everything.”
Belle looked over Adam and it was easy to see he was nervous. It was something she could tell rather quickly as well when he was in his other form, something in his posture. His shoulders were tense, the smile on his face slowly forming into a frown, and his eyes seemed a million miles away.
“Hey,” she whispered, squeezing his hand, “There’s nothing to worry about...they’re all waiting for us.”
He opened his mouth, probably to counter her statement, but she cut him off, “Adam...they’ll be overjoyed to see you. They care for you so much, you must know this.”
He stared at her, searching her eyes, and slowly nodded his head, “I just...you’re right, but I…,” he sighed, shaking his head, “I’m over thinking it.”
“Let’s not make them wait any longer to see their prince.”
He shook his head, smiling, “Not just their prince. You as well.”
This wasn’t how she imagined her life would go. She had dreamt of things like this, like the tales in her stories. But as she raced down the stairs with Adam, their hands locked, she knew this was far beyond a dream. It was real. It was better than any story she had ever read.