“No! And if you ever even think about coming near me again, I’m going to smother you with that oversized hat of yours and stuff you in a teapot!”
“Were you even listening to me? I said I was going to STUFF YOU IN A TEAPOT, in case you weren’t listening. And no, I wouldn’t consider that foreplay, you overgrown nightmare! I can’t believe you’re still standing here harassing me!”
“Good Lord,” Cinderella said from across the table, sipping tea and enjoying a book across from Belle, who was doing the same, “At it again, are they?” Aurora grumbled something unintelligible into her wake-the-fates-green-eye a few tables away.
“You can’t take a hint, can you, you tea-guzzling buffoon? No, not even a hint! I have told you explicitly 103 times now, ‘No,’ and you can’t seem to get even that through your thick skull, can you? Is that hat interfering with your hearing? Oh, shove your unbirthday up your—”
For the sake of the rating, Belle snapped her book shut and looked over at the offending pair. Reginald seemed to be trading blow for blow, but only Alice’s shrieking reached their ears.
“Oh yes, they’re at it again… Must be a day ending in ‘y,’” Belle remarked, draining the last of her tea. “More, Cindy?” she asked, picking up the teapot between them.
Cinderella, on the other hand, was staring open-mouthed in the direction of Alice and her persistent Hatter, and didn’t seem to hear her. Belle turned around.
“Oh! That’s new.”
As it turned out that on this particular morning, Reginald had backed Alice up into the window of Belle’s bookshop, and was kissing her furiously, which was serving at least to stop the argumentative Alice from arguing for the time being.
Cinderella managed to close her mouth. “Hope they’re finished by opening, or they’ll both be in trouble,” she said finally, returning to her tea and novel.
A suspiciously familiar clicking dragged her attention back into reality again a moment later.
Belle was holding up her new phone, pointed in the direction of the kissing couple.
“Belle… are you filming?”
“Why, Belle, whatever for? You’re not going to report them, are you?”
“Hmm?” Belle turned, still holding the camera-phone in position, “Oh, no. I wouldn’t do that. But it just occurred to me that I could use this to blackmail Alice into cleaning the window for eternity.”
Cinderella rolled her eyes and poured Belle another cup of tea. “Your father wouldn’t approve,” she remarked pointedly.
Another click announced the end of Belle’s footage, though she continued to stare down at her phone.
A moment later a distinct noise like a train whistle emitted from Belle’s phone.
“Oh, don’t be so sure about that,” she said smugly, holding out her phone for Cinderella to see.
There was a text on the screen from Belle’s father, which read, “Excellent use of modern technology, dear! Keep up the good work!”
Cinderella was not quite sure what to say to that, so she wisely didn’t say anything.