Belle’s lashes fluttered as she slowly woke from her sex-induced, near comatose sleep. A kittenish smile crept across her face, as a pair of bare arms encircled her waist. Her head was nudged to the side as her fiancé ran hot, moist, open-mouthed kisses down the column of her neck. A nip here, a suck there, soothed by his tongue, she could feel a tingle between her thighs. Last evening Gold had given her an engagement ring. He had proposed to her a couple weeks before, after their first time together and though she accepted and considered herself engage, having a ring on her finger made it official.
Belle rolled onto her back and before she could utter a good morning, Gold climbed on top and his mouth claimed hers in a passion fueled kiss. The reserve and cold façade he wore out in the world always slipped away when he was with her. Only she knew the real Tobias Gold, her best friend and generous lover.
Her hands spanned his back, her palms skimming along his spine, which was still sticky from their earlier couplings. Since they had started sharing a bed, she learned all sorts of things about her fiancé. That his nipples were sensitive, that there was a spot side that drove him wild, that he loved to be marked with her teeth. Best of all, after their love making, he liked to cuddle. All of her dating magazines implied that men were not cuddlers or affectionate by nature– Gold proved those rags wrong. He was very attentive to her needs. She had hoped that her own prowess had improved, but feared that she still had a long way to go.
At some point in their make-out session, her legs had parted and she cradled him. When the tip of his length brushed her core, her entire being cried out to be filled by him once more.
Belle hated to break the kiss, but when she heard the beeps of the alarm clock, she was reminded that they had an appointment. “Tobias, we can’t.” She giggled when he batted the alarm clock off the nightstand, killing that annoying squall. “We have to meet my father in a couple of hours.” Her hips jutted on their own accord as he skimmed her ribcage and belly and scraped down to her opening. Her resolve began to weaken as he slid a finger inside of her, making her voice quaver. “I have to grab a shower.”
There was a furrow in his brow; he was determined. He rubbed maddening little circles within, never quite hitting the spot that she needed him to hit. “I’ll be quick. Promise.” Gold lowered his to one of her breasts and kissed the end of the bud. When he rubbed his prickly cheek against it, eliciting a squeak from her, she wanted to swat him on the backside for teasing her. “Besides, if we grab a shower together, it’ll save on time.”
Belle pushed her sweat-damped head against the pillow and scoffed, “Somehow I doubt that.” She supposed it wouldn’t matter if they were a few minutes late. She’d text Papa that they got stuck in traffic…not that Storybrooke was large enough to have traffic necessarily, but her father would believe the fib. “All right.” She acquiesced, deciding that she’d her revenge in the shower.
Belle raised her legs up and wrapped them around his waist when nudged himself inside of her.
Gold dragged open the door of Granny’s diner and ushered Belle through, squaring his shoulders and ambling after his quick footed fiancé. Now that she had gotten used to her ridiculously high-heels, she had a quick, dainty stride. Sashaying over to where her father was waiting for them, he admired her perfectly shaped derrière and averted his gaze. He felt the eyes of the other customers upon him and smirked. He was the cat that got the cream... The room was full of hushed whispers. They didn’t get it, how someone as lovely and good as Belle could go for the Beast of Storybrooke. Hell, I don’t get it either. But he wasn’t about to question it too much, else prompting Belle to change her mind.
He slid into the booth beside Belle and nodded to his future father-in-law. The older man lifted his chin in return. Though Moe was spacey, Gold knew he owed the man every ounce of happiness that he had now. Moe was the source of all that confusion, but if he hadn’t suggested for Belle to ask for a deal, or right his wrongs, Gold would be holed up in his shop or house. Alone. And the man made no complaints whenever Belle would sleep over. There was a part of Gold that wondered if Moe was unaware of the extent of their relationship, and thought that might be for the best. No need to mortify the old man.
“Is that your ring?” Moe let out an ear-piercing whistle as he examined the diamond on Belle’s hand. He patted her hand before releasing it. “It’s huge! Like a hunk of ice!” He waited after Granny approached, took their orders, swapped some quips with Gold, and moved away before asking, “So, do you have any idea when you want to tie the knot?”
Granny returned seconds later with their drinks, lingering near their table longer than necessary. The older woman was about as subtle as an atomic bomb. News of their engagement, the ring, their plans would be known in Storybrooke before the lunch hour was over.
Gold shot her a scathing look until she returned to the kitchen. He didn’t care if the whole world knew that he was engaged to Belle. He had never been prouder. His only was concerned that certain information would get twisted or be used against Belle. The engagement, the wedding, their marriage – he wanted this to be a happy occasion for her.
“I don’t want to wait long.” Belle leaned down and sipped her iced tea through a straw. She shrugged and suggested, “Two or three months.”
Gold practically got whiplash when he did a double-take. “You think you can plan a wedding in a few months?” He rubbed the side of his neck, in a useless attempt to ease the tension. The muscles were strained and tender, as they were prone to be when he felt anxious.
“Yeah, why not?” Belle blankly stared, her expression muddled by confusion. “I’m not fussy. I’d be all right going to the courthouse and then go out to eat afterwards to celebrate.” She giggled slightly, but her laugh tapered off when he didn’t join in.
Gold fidgeted in the booth, his skin feeling as though it were on fire beneath the stifling layers of his suit. Even his longish floof weighed heavily on the back of his neck and grew sticky as he began to sweat.
Not that he was an expert on women, but they generally lived for the day of their wedding. At least Milah did. For over a year, she talked of nothing but a big fashionable wedding, complete with all of the trimmings and hundreds of famous guests. And she did nothing else but plan for it. Day and night, that was all he ever heard about, he was surprised that his ears didn’t bleed from her incessant chatter. She did everything, made all of the decisions, never once asked for his input. Not that he would have put his two cents in; after all, the wedding was the bride’s day.
If Milah got to play princess for a day, he’d be damned if his Belle didn’t get to play queen for hers. All of Storybrooke could marvel at her and the day would go down in Storybrooke history as the most magical day in history.
Gold knew he was gaping at her, his mouth drooping from shock. “Are you serious? You don’t want to have a ceremony and a reception?” He anxiously took a swig of his tea, but the cool liquid didn’t nothing to relieve him of his dry mouth. “What about the dress and the flowers and our loved ones? Isn’t that what all girls dream of?”
“I never did.” Belle confessed. “I never thought I’d find someone.”
Gold slid his hand over hers and compressed it. He often forgot her history was different from most. She hadn’t dated much before him and didn’t seriously consider marriage until she hit her thirtieth decade. Her birthday awakened something within her. They had a whirlwind courtship, one that leapt from dating and to engagement. Perhaps they were rushing things, but he didn’t see the point in waiting. Belle was all he would ever want.
He understood her loneliness, because before they became a couple, he had been incredibly lonely too. Which was all the more reason for Belle to have exactly what she wanted. Whatever her heart desires. He absent-mindedly toying with the ring on her finger.
Moe observed them with concerned eyes and nodded knowingly. “Pumpkin, you really ought to do something more than a civil ceremony and a meal. Its your big day, after all.”
The corner of Gold’s mouth lifted into a small smile. Thank you, Moe! At least someone understood. Perhaps her father could help him convince Belle of the necessity of a bigger celebration.
“Hey, I know!” Moe exclaimed, snapping his plump fingers. “Why not get married in our backyard? Its pretty; I put in new rose bushes and they ought to be in full bloom by then. We could have a barbecue or a carry in. I got an old boombox we can play music on…no, better yet, there’s this plumber I know, he can play the guitar…”
The longer Moe rambled, Gold’s body grew ridged and he had to bite down on his tongue to keep from losing his temper. A backyard wedding? He wrinkled his nose in disgust. A barbecue? A guitar-playing plumber! He couldn’t fathom it, how he could be the only one who wanted their wedding to be special? Traditional. Something to remember fondly of. If it fell short in any way, Belle might eventually regret choosing him.
Gold hadn’t realized that he was squeezing the life out of Belle’s fingers until she pried them loose. He guiltily stole a glimpse at her and calmed when she gave him a knowing look. Leaning over, she pressed a kiss to his freshly-shaven cheek, then patted it.
Belle nodded obligingly, which pacified her father. “We’ll think about it, Papa. I promise.”
Gold thanked whatever Higher Power there was, that he would not have to endure the trials of a barbecue wedding. Belle might not understand how important it was for this day to be perfect, but at least she wouldn’t force him into something he didn’t like.
Belle pressed her lips together in an attempt to conceal her laughter. She linked her arm through her fiancé’s and fell in step beside him as he escorted her to the library. Stealing a sideways’ glance, a wave of pity hit her. Poor Tobias. He was kind and heard her father out, but the rim of one of his pixie ears poked through his floof and was bright red. Gold was not a barbecue/carry-in kind of man. Not to mention the plumber-band. Not for a wedding.
Belle rubbed his forearm and pecked the corner of his mouth. “Don’t worry, I won’t put you through a barbecue or a carry-in. And I won’t hire the plumber band.”
Gold’s taut, wiry frame gradually lost its rigidness, assuring her that he was once again calm. “Thank you.” His larger hands encased one of hers, cradling it gently. “Belle, our wedding, that’s your special day. We can do whatever you want.”
“I know.” Belle sighed. He had to know from the start, that she was not like most women who spent years planning their wedding down to the very last detail. A large, expensive wedding was not her – or his – style. Having all of Storybrooke attend to criticize and gossip about them, judging their choices, would only detract from her joy. In her mind, as long as her fiancé and her father were in attendance, that was all that mattered. “Something simple is what I want.”
The last few weeks, between the makeover and misunderstandings, the odd courtship and swift engagement, she wanted something simple. She needed something simple. Just thinking about planning this is exhausting. Yawning, she sniffed the air and caught a whiff of pancakes. Her stomach rumbled and she regretted not ordering chocolate chip pancakes along with her meal. Or fried chicken.
“A few months, that’s what you said.” Gold reminded her, his lines tightening around his handsome features. “It goes fast, sweetheart.”
Belle rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Tobias, how difficult can it be?” She caressed the side of his face and stepping on tiptoe, she gave him a proper kiss. Easing back, she felt satisfied that he would soon come around to her way of thinking. “We get a place, a minister, a cake, a dress, a suit, flowers. It’ll be fine.”
Gold slowly nodded and brushing his lips against her forehead, Belle allowed him to guide her back the rest of the way to the library.
“A civil ceremony?” Jefferson crushed his palm to his broad forehead and paced the length of the shop, from the counter to the door, and back again. “A barbecue? Shut up!”
Gold massaged the soft cloth into the dip of the spoon. It had been a mistake to clue Jefferson in on some of his concerns, but he needed to talk to someone. Belle was focused in on a small, plain affair, Moe was no help at all, and the remainder of Storybrooke hated him.
Jefferson was it.
The younger man threw his hands into the air, still ranting and raving like a madman. “For the love of all that’s holy! Goldie, if you agreed to any of that, our friendship is over.” He returned to the counter and slammed his palm down on it. “I’ll never speak to you again and you can find a new best friend.”
Gold exhaled loudly and for the first time in a long time wished he had a cigarette. He hadn’t smoked in years, but between Belle’s disinterest in the wedding and Jefferson acting like a drama queen, he needed someone to relieve his stress.
“You’re not my best friend, but not to worry, I didn’t agree to it.” Gold responded, smirking when Jefferson stuck out his lower lip into a pout. He was as bad as his daughter, Grace. “I just don’t understand. This is Belle’s day. It should be magical and she couldn’t care less. I worry, somewhere down the line, that she’ll have regrets...and that she’ll regret marrying me.” He mumbled the last sentence, wishing he had not brought the subject up.
Jefferson chortled and nodded. “Yeah, I could see where you’d be concerned. There’s you,” He jutted his chin in Gold’s direction. “And then, there’s Belle.” He clapped his hands together and hopped from one foot and then to the other. “Ooh, I have a brilliant beyond brilliant idea. Let me be your wedding planner.”
Gold was on the verge of shouting Hell, no! When the bell above the front door sang out and Belle sashayed into the shop, a bag from Granny’s in tow.
“C’mon, please!” Jefferson whined. “I’ll make it classy and special.”
Gold laid the spoon aside and grinned like an idiot. The work day was nowhere near over, but during slow times, he and Belle pay each other little visits. More than once they had fulfilled his fantasy of the dominatrix librarian who doled out severe punishments on patrons who ruined library books. This, of course, led to a scenario where he had to play the harsh landlord who evicted tenants when they failed to pay their rent.
Belle went around the counter and greeted him with a kiss. “Make what special?” She cast a suspicious glance at Jefferson. “Jefferson, are you still flirting with my fiancé?”
Jefferson laid his hand on his chest. “Please, I never stopped.” He winked at Gold and then proceeded to convince Belle into agreeing to his ludicrous. “Belle, angel, you have to let me plan your wedding. I’ll make it beautiful and magical – I’ll do it all. You won’t have to lift a finger.”
Gold tightened his hold on Belle’s waist, otherwise he might swat Jefferson upside of the head. Giving Jefferson free reign over a wedding would be like giving fire to a puppy. A puppy that had stuffed himself full of candy and made messes all over the floor.
He waited for Belle to shoot Jefferson down and thought he misunderstood when she simply glanced at Gold and shrugged. “If you’re all right with it, I am.”
Belle placed the bag on the counter and emptied it of its contents. Rather than a small snack, she had a huge breakfast spread laid out. “I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.”
“Ooh, muffins!” Jefferson reached for one and whimpered when she sharply batted him away.
“Get your own.” Belle growled, her brows lifted, challenging him.
Jefferson held up his hands in defeat and stuck out his lower lip once more.
“Very well.” Gold sighed and fetched two plates and silverware from the back. On his return, he shook his finger at Jefferson, “But Jefferson, listen: no animals, no light show, no performers, and no obnoxious color schemes.”
Belle might not care right this second, but she wouldn’t want anything gaudy or ridiculous. And he didn’t want her to regret anything on their wedding day. He’d also find someway to subtly work in the things that most other brides wanted.
Gold’s eyes bulged when Belle shoveled spoonful’s of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and one very large muffin onto her plate. Leaving very little for him. Not that he minded, but usually she was more generous in regards to sharing her food.
“Fine, but I get to sing three Judy Garland songs-” Jefferson argued.
“One.” Belle pulled out a little plastic bowl from the bag and peeling off the top, she drowned her meal in syrup. “One Judy Garland song.”
Gold made a face, but kept his thoughts to himself.
“One, but my Grace gets to be the flower girl.” Jefferson insisted.
“Deal.” Belle replied, lifting and dropping one of her shoulders. “Now, go away so that I can eat this in peace.”
“Well!” Jefferson spun around on his heal and stalked out of the shop.
Gold smirked and scrounged up what remained of the meal. He didn’t know what came over Belle, but whatever it was, he was glad to see her hold her own against Jefferson. Her surly attitude was not like her at all, but he chalked it up to pre-wedding jitters and that perhaps he was rubbing off on her.
Month and a half later…
Gold could hear Belle sobbing as he climbed the stairs. Disregarding the pain that shot through his crippled leg, he managed to hobble up the stairs twice his usual pace. He stumbled into the room, only to find her perched on the edge of the bed, a handkerchief crushed to her face.
This is happening more and more. He bit the inside of his cheek. Since they became officially engaged and had begun planning the wedding, Belle had not been her normal self. Oh, she put on a good front of cheerfulness, but he could see through the act. She’s not happy. The mood swings, odd behavior, peculiar eating habits, and nausea proved all of that. No wonder she couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to have a big wedding; now it made sense to him.
Belle didn’t want to marry him. She had changed her mind about him or had met someone else…and all of this was a manifestation of her unhappiness.
Gold blinked away the sting in his eyes. He couldn’t fault her for changing her mind; he knew the day would come. At least I’ve had this time with her.
He dared to place his hand on his shoulder. “Belle? What is it?” He tenderly urged, “Talk to me, sweetheart.”
Belle tossed the handkerchief aside and held up a plastic stick for him to see. “I’m pregnant. Say something.”
Gold snatched the stick from her and studied the little plus sign that was indicating a positive. A baby! He swallowed a sob and clutched his chest. For years he had wanted to be a father, but when he split with Milah, he had given up all hope of having a child. Only when he met Belle was that dream revived. Her shy confession to him, that she wanted to get married and have children, led him to hope that they could do that together. And now here there were, about to be married with a baby on the way!
The baby explained all of the changes that Belle had been going through and he had to wonder why he didn’t realize it off-hand. The truth had been before him all along.
“Sweetheart, a baby!” Gold laid the stick on the dresser and sat down beside Belle, gathering her to him. Sprinkling kisses on her cheeks and eyes and mouth, he stopped when it dawned on him that she wasn’t responding to him. “This is what we both wanted. I mean, you said at the start of that make over, that you wanted children. Have - have you changed your mind?”
He had barely finished the question when Belle crushed her mouth to his, chasing away all of his uncertainty. He moaned when she nipped at his lower lip.
“Get that thought out of your head right now!” Belle framed his face, mushing his cheeks slightly. “Tobias, I want this and I want it with you. Its just, I had planned to get married first and then have children.” A dark hue stood out on her cheekbones. “There’s a certain order that you do things in. But here we are, engaged, planning a wedding, and pregnant.”
“Ah, Belle, babies come when they come.” Gold slid his hand around to her midsection and cupped the little belly that had formed there. Another sign that he had missed. To think, their child was there, growing inside of her. “I think that’s the best part about all of this. We were living our lives and now we have this unexpected blessing. It’ll be all right, I promise.”
Belle nodded, her eyes glistening.
Gold nuzzled his mouth to hers, sucking on her lower lip before raining kisses down the side of her neck. Fumbling with the buttons on her blouse, he had it open and was dragging his mouth down to her breast bone. “Have you suspected for very long?” He mumbled, easing her back into the mattress.
He smirked when her chest began to heave, recalling that he once heard that during pregnancy, sex could be intense.
“Not until this week. I’ve been stressed and things have been irregular lately.” Belle shook her head, chuckling. Her stomach muscles jumped as the ends of his shaggy hair brushed across her skin and tickled her. “But last night I dreamt that I was like a kangaroo and had this little pouch on my stomach to hide my snacks in. I woke up and my chest felt funny.”
Gold joined in on laughing. “Let me see.” He cupped her bra-clad breasts, loving how her nipples jutted against the fabric. “They do feel funny. I had better kiss them and make them better.”
When he got a squeal out of her, he knew that everything would be all right between them.
Belle’s breathing was labored once they finished, each falling onto their own sides of the bed. Neither of them had lasted long, but she liked to think that they had never come harder before.
Until she had that strange kangaroo dream, she had no inkling that she was pregnant. She chalked it up to nerves. The magazines cautioned brides that preparing for a wedding was a stressful experience. While Jefferson was doing the planning, he still had to consult her with everything.
Then there was Gold.
Belle rolled onto her side and slid her arm across her fiancé’s chest, drawing closer to him. She had sensed from the start that something was bothering him. Despite all of her attempts to figure out the truth, he clammed up on her and though she didn’t like it that he was keeping secrets from her, she didn’t want to pressure him into telling her before he was ready. The secret to uncovering the great mystery of Tobias Gold, was gently peeling back one thick layer at a time. Or risk scaring him off.
“Your turn.” Belle traced invisible little circles in his sweat-damp flesh, enjoying how now and then his heart skipped a beat. “Tell me what’s wrong. I know something is off.”
“I can’t understand why you don’t want a huge wedding ceremony.” Gold caught her hand and lifted it to his lips, kissing each of her fingertips. “With all of the trimmings and whatnot. Though, maybe the pregnancy might explain some things.”
Belle sighed and shrugged. “Tobias, of all people, I never would have guessed that you wanted a big wedding. You are so private.”
“It’s not about me or what I want. I want you to have everything and I worry that if you skimp on this or that, well, one day you’ll have regrets. And maybe you might regret marrying me.”
Belle’s heart twisted within her. His scars were deep and she had a feeling that it would take a long while for him to heal completely. But she would do everything in her power to assure him that she was here to stay.
Belle coaxed Gold back against the pillows. “Listen to me, I love you.” Rising up on her knees, the sheet fell away, revealing them both. She straddled his waist and braced her palms on his shoulders. He helped her balance by holding her in place. “You’re a good man and you’re my best friend. I will never regret marrying you. I don’t know if I can explain it, but I feel fine with a small wedding.” She bit her lip when he hardened against her thigh. Taking her cue from this, she took him in hand and guided him up inside of her. “Something big won’t make me happier than I already am. You and now the baby – how can I want more than that? Please, believe me.” Rocking her hips, she took him deeper.
“All right.” Gold concurred, his fingers digging into her hips.
The wedding was not just her day. It was their day: hers, his, and the baby’s.
Gold inhaled a ragged breath and entered the church. Life can be ironic. There was a time that the locals of Storybrooke claimed that he could not cross the threshold of a church without the roof caving in. And now, here he was, on his wedding day, marrying in a small church that pleased both his bride and himself.
Out of habit, he touched the back of his neck and cringed, not finding the crop of hair that usually touched the edge of his shirt collars. Everything else looked fine: his suit was in perfect, pristine condition, he was well-rested and calm, and his bum limb was not bothering him. Only his hair looked like shit.
“Take off a couple of inches,” He instructed the barber.
The barber left him with only a couple of inches. One of the reason he wore his hair long was to hide his ugly ears and the rest of his face. Now, with his hair shorn, he felt naked before the world.
Jefferson had handled most of the planning, excelling at multitasking and chaos. You had one job. Gold reminded himself. Show up on time for the wedding in his suit. And he now possibly spoiled it all with his new haircut.
Perhaps its not so bad. He considered. After all, it had been perhaps twenty years since he wore his hair short. Maybe no one will notice.
Jefferson skidded into the foyer to greet him and halted a few feet away. “Holy crap!” Decked out in a dark, cherry-black suit and a pinkish dress shirt, his friend seemed determined to make as much of a fashion statement as the bride. The eccentrically tall top hat suited Jefferson’s madcap personality, but it was out of place for a wedding. “What did you do, cut your hair with a machete?”
Gold let out an exaggerated groan. He was a fool to hope that no one would notice. “I went in for a trim and before I could stop the idiot barber, he chopped it off.” His future father-in-law joined them. Turning to the older man, he gauged Moe’s reaction, but the man seemed nonplussed. “How bad does it look?”
“You’re not ugly.” Moe responded, shrugging indifferently.
“Oh good. Thank you, Moe.” Gold grumbled.
He didn’t know what he had been thinking. Moe was the one who caused most of his and Belle’s misunderstandings during their courtship. Kind and well-meaning as Moe was, his opinion could not be relied upon.
“Here, borrow my hat.” Jefferson suggesting it, whipping it off of his own head and setting it on top of Gold’s.
Gold stood ramrod still, hating how confined the top hat made his head feel. He was sure as hell not a hat person. But if it hid a terrible haircut and wouldn’t ruin the wedding, he would wear it.
Moe made a face, reminding Gold of an over-grown baby who had tasted something nasty.
“Nope, no. Not good.” Jefferson frantically removed it and put it back on himself. “Let’s pretend that never happened.” He cackled.
Moe peered closer and swore under his breath. “Well, I’ll be damned. You have fairy ears.”
Gold slapped his hand over his ears and vowed that as soon as possible, he would triple that barber’s rent in retaliation. “Belle is going to hate it.”
He never did have any false illusions about his looks. But Belle fell in love with the suit-wearing, longish-haired, gold-toothed Mr. Gold. Not this. She would take one look at him and change her mind.
Besides, this was her day. Were it just him, he would be annoyed about the haircut and eventually get over it. But everything had to go according to plan, otherwise it might ruin the bride’s day. Belle had been wonderful, never once becoming one of those “Bridezillas” that he heard Jefferson ramble on about. There had been mood swings and meltdowns though, triggered by the pregnancy. Only God knew how Belle would respond to this.
“Why?” Moe asked. “Belle liked fairies when she was a little girl. For Halloween one year, she dressed up as one.”
Gold counted to ten before he lost his temper.
“Moe, don’t help.” Jefferson slid his arm through Moe’s and led the older man away before he made anymore little comments.
Gold left the foyer and decided to hide in the room off of the sanctuary. That way he could avoid further comments from the guests and word would not reach Belle of his stupid mistake.
Belle lapped the length of the room for what felt like the hundredth time. She couldn’t believe this. This can’t be happening! Everything had been perfect. Jefferson had planned out the wedding down to the smallest detail. He never pestered her and she often needed time away from the preparations to rest her nerves, yet it all fell into place and was precisely what she wanted.
Except for the dress.
She had bought the dress a couple days after Gold had given her the ring. That was three months ago and she had gained weight since then. When they went in to have an ultrasound for the baby, the doctor estimated that the baby was conceived approximately between their first love-making session and when he had given her the ring. We had been very busy those first few weeks. Her cheeks heated up recalling those tender moments.
She knew she had filled out, thanks to all of the craving she indulged, but she never would have guessed that she had put on enough weight to prevent the dress from closing in the back. The more she pulled, the worse it got. Then she heard the material rip and now she couldn’t get the original dress off!
If I weren’t so angry, I’d cry. But she had to hold it together and figure this out before the ceremony started. She had really liked the dress she had chosen, but at this point, she’d wear a suit if she had to, as long she could get down that aisle and marry her fiancé. The image of them both, marrying in identical suits, brought a smile to her face.
Belle jumped at the sound of a knock and remembered that she had made a hysterical call to a local boutique, the owner promised that she would bring a selection by. She wrenched open the door to reveal a tall, thin, auburn haired woman with large brown eyes, in a slender mermaid style frock. In her folded arms, were five or six white dresses.
“Oh, thank God!” Belle moved aside for the woman to come in. “You’re a lifesaver!”
The auburn-haired woman carried the dresses to a chair and draped them over it. “Oh, no problem.” Hands on hips, she asked, “Did the dressmaker make it in the wrong size?”
“No.” Belle sighed and rubbed a sore spot on her shoulder. She had done fairly well at managing her stress, but the mishap with the dress threw her into a tizzy. “I bought it three months ago and I’ve gained some weight since then.” She stroked her tiny paunch. “I’m pregnant. Oh, my name is Belle, by the way.”
The woman let out a loud gasp. “Congratulations! Oh, my name is Ariel.” Ariel went behind Belle and started fumbling with the original dress to get it off of her. “Here, let me help you.”
Ariel held Belle’s arm, helping her balance as she stepped out of the old dress.
Belle chewed on her lip. A thought had occurred to her. She had never gotten around to choosing a Maid of Honor or bridesmaids. Gold didn’t have a Best Man either, since Jefferson was so distracted with wedding preparations. But since she was already having troubles and had not even gotten her hair styled into the French twist that she wanted, she wondered if it might not be a good idea to ask for some assistance.
“Could I ask you a huge favor?” Belle gulped, feeling foolish for asking this of a complete stranger. “Would you be willing to double as my Maid of Honor? I know it’s a lot to ask and you don’t know me…”
“Sure. But don’t you have a best friend or someone?”
Belle nodded and didn’t know why, but she felt like crying. “Yes, but I’m marrying him. He can’t be both the groom and the Maid of Honor.”
“Aww!” Ariel placed her hand on her chest. “I’d love to! I’ve never been a Maid of Honor before.”
Belle thanked Ariel, squeezing her hand. And with her new Maid of Honor’s advice, she chose her second wedding dress. A simple off-white, A-line dress with a lace inlay. The cool fabric slid over her supple curves and fit perfectly.
Stroking her stomach once more, she knew that only good things awaited her and Gold and their little one.
Archie was sniffing and had become glassy-eyed.
Gold tore his eyes away from Belle and realized their wedding guests were in tears too. Hell, so am I. Jefferson was waving a handkerchief near his face, embarrassing his daughter, Grace, the flower girl. He blinked back the moisture and focused his gaze on his lovely bride. The second Belle had appeared on her father’s arm and walked down the aisle to the Wedding March, Gold nearly broke down. He had been waiting for this moment his whole life and hadn’t known it until he met Belle. An angelic vision of white, his dreams were finally coming true.
When Moe – who was blubbering harder than anyone else present – handed Belle off to him, she mouthed the words I love you and slipped her hands into his. Gold mouthed the words back, not caring who noticed.
Belle studied him and smiled.
My hair! He felt his ears burning. He had almost forgot that his hair was gone. But from the way she was grinning and eyeing his ears, he supposed that she didn’t hate it.
Archie greeted everyone and spoke a little on True Love, how it was a rare and precious gift that must be cherished by all. Throughout his speech, Gold could only think of how his and Belle’s True Love personified itself in the form of their baby. For him, there could be no greater testimony to their devotion to each other.
“Tobias and Belle have selected modern traditional vows to profess to one another.” Archie nodded to Gold to begin.
Since neither he and Belle were not particularly religious, they had found a set of vows that sounded traditional enough to be respectful, but non-traditional enough for a non-traditional couple.
“Belle, I take you as my wife,” Gold hated how thick his burr sounded, but his words were weighted down with all of the emotion he felt with in. He could only hope that Belle could understand him. “With your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help.” Lifting her left hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to where her ring was, as if to solemnly seal his lifelong commitment to her. “I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”
Belle’s thumb stroked comforting circles into the back of his hand. Somehow, she understood him, heart and soul. “Tobias, I take you as my wife/husband, with your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help.” She guided the gold band on his ring finger and lifted his hand to her lips, signifying her devotion as well. “I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”
“By the power vested in me in the state of Maine, I now pronounce you, husband and wife.” Archie jammed his hand into his suit-jacket pocket and rummaging around, he pulled out a white handkerchief and wiped his eyes. “You may kiss the bride.”
Gold caressed the side of Belle’s cheek and tentatively brushed his lips against hers. He squeaked when Belle grabbed his lapels and slanted her mouth over his, as if staking her claim before all of Storybrooke.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jefferson was at the microphone on stage crooning “That Old Black Magic” when Gold led Belle out to the center of the floor for the first dance together. With his leg, he wouldn’t be able to do anything extreme, but a sweet slow dance, with their bodies pressed together as they moved to the music, was her idea of heaven.
Aside from a few hiccups, their wedding had gone on without a hitch. The second wedding dress went over well and Belle felt it suited her better than the first.
Resting her cheek against his, Belle loved the feeling that they were the only two people in the room, even though the church recreation room was full of close friends and family.
“Well, Mrs. Gold, you look beautiful.” Gold murmured in her ear and left a kiss on her temple. “I think aside from my hair, it’s been a success.”
Belle had always been partial to his longer hair and loved burying her fingers in it. But now there was no shroud from him to hide behind and his handsome face was in full view. “Mr. Gold, I love you and your hair, however it looks. Your ears are adorable, by the way.” She drew back a little and playfully flicked his earlobe. “Pixie.”
Gold’s eyes darkened to the point they were black and with his wolfish grin, he looked as though he wanted to devour her. Her heart raced, eager for what awaited her once they got home.
Despite all of the flirty smiles she shot in his direction, Ariel finally figured out that if she was going to meet that intriguing, dark haired man in the top hat who could put Frank Sinatra to shame when he sang, she was going to have to take matters into her own hands.
She waited until he was seated with the young girl who appeared to be his daughter, scarfing down wedding cake, and made her way over to them. On the whole, she enjoyed it when she was pursued, but she had a feeling that with this Jefferson she had heard so much about from the other wedding guests, that she could not expect anything “normal” or “average” from him. He marched the beat of a very different drummer, wearing a black cherry suit and a top hat to match. But if Belle and Gold who were a very non-traditional couple, could find such happiness and have a baby, then why couldn’t she.
Ariel knew she was grinning like a fool when she got to their table, but thought she had to see this through before she lost her nerve. “Hi, I’m Ariel.” She wiggled her fingers at him and gushed like a schoolgirl. “I just wanted to say that you sounded great up there. Judy Garland is my favorite singer.”
His dark eyes widened and two red dots stood out on his high cheek bones. “Mine too.” He flashed her a toothy smile. “When she sang, God spoke.”
“Amen.” Ariel gestured towards an empty seat. “Do you mind if I-”
He shot to his feet and pulled the chair out for her. “Be my guest, my lovely lady.” He laid his hand on his chest and then nodded to the girl. “I am Jefferson and this is my daughter, Grace.”
“Nice to meet you.” Ariel extended her arm and shook the younger girl’s hand.
The girl’s soft gaze flickered back and forth between Ariel and Jefferson. Ariel was relieved that girl was more aware than her father. “Papa, you should ask Ariel to dance.” She insisted, smiling sweetly.
“Should I?” Jefferson’s mouth formed into an “O” as he scrambled to assist Ariel back out of her seat. “I should. Ariel, would you do me the honor?”
Ariel giggled and nodded, standing once more. “Yes.”
She linked her arm through Jefferson’s and followed him out to the dance floor, but made she to look over her shoulder and mouth “thank you” to his daughter.
Grace gave her a thumbs up.