One thing you may not know about me is I have a
n unnatural love for all things Beauty and the Beast. Until I can get my mind together enough to write, enjoy this something old. (And for a laugh, watch this)
“Those aren’t assumptions, those are facts. You have no idea how to treat a woman.”
He snorted which irritated her more. “Don’t be absurd, I know exactly how to treat a woman. In fact, I believe a demonstration is in order.”
Gaston tugged at her hand until she collided with his body, allowing him to wrap his arms about her waist. His lips descended before she could utter even a small protest.
The man used her surprise to his advantage, capturing her lips in a kiss that spoke of easy experience. By the time her mind caught up enough to be enraged, her body realized what an amazing thing it had pressed against it. Her protests melted into hot desire under the pressure of that kiss. Her higher brain registered that this was a kiss that turned sensible women into idiots.
The man was turning her into an idiot and she wasn’t trying to stop him.
Tessa couldn’t stop from going boneless. Her fingers found their way into his hair of their own accord, pulling him closer in order to experience more of him. She moaned and moved against him, having forgotten herself in the moment.
A goat’s loud bleating brought her back to earth in a hurry. Tessa realized she was acting like a common whore in the middle of a dusty road with a man she didn’t know. Breaking contact, she shoved at his chest until he released her.
It took work to draw in a steady breath, but when she did she spewed venom. “You self-absorbed, woman-mauling, arrogant prick! How dare you force yourself on me like I’m some prostitute on the street? Did no one teach you to treat a lady with respect.”
The man didn’t appear fazed by her anger. If anything, he looked more smug. “You didn’t appear to say no during the act, mademoiselle. In fact, you appeared to kiss me back. And unless you’re willing to show you are indeed a lady, I’ll treat you however I like. A whore seems quite fitting, non?”
While she prided herself on always remaining levelheaded, the nature of her entire situation drove her to behave completely unlike herself. The fact that he was a complete bastard being the breaking point. Tessa couldn’t be judged for her actions under such circumstances, could she?
She saw red. One moment he was smirking and the very next he’s holding his cheek. Her palm stung from the force of the contact, but she didn’t even wince. Tessa curled her fingers into her palm and stared him down.
His eyes turned that deep, dark blue she was coming to recognize as his ‘temper’ color. They darkened almost to the point of blackness, as beautiful as it was ominous.
“Do not strike me again, Tessa.”
She did wince when he dropped his hand and the livid print glowed red on his cheek. He would not cow her with his gritted teeth and flashing eyes though.
Lifting chin, she held his gaze. “Then don’t you ever call me a whore again.”
Tessa turned to walked away and this time he didn’t stop her. She called him every name imaginable as she walked, angry that she’d let him rattle her. What a pompous ass!
Her righteous indignation carried her as far as the bookstore Belle always went to. She debated whether or not to go in. Curiosity got the better of her and she ducked inside to the accompanying tinkle of the bell.
The musky smell of the old books rose up, greeting her like a friend offering an embrace. She took a deep breath, drawing in the scent, as she tried to figure out how in the world she was going to get home or wake up if this was a dream.
“May I help you, mademoiselle?” The storeowner came from the back to greet her. His white hair rose like wisps around his head and his glasses made his dark eyes appear owlish as he gazed up at her.
“Can you help me wake up?” She mumbled under her breath.
“That depends.” His voice was raspy as though the dust from his books irritated his throat.
He turned away from her for a moment and reached for a book. He sat it on the counter and began paging though slowly.
The way he ignored her, focusing on the large tome was odd, but she waited for him to reveal things to her. After long minutes of waiting, Tessa grew impatient and contemplated leaving.
A low hum halted her retreat made her turn back to see the man staring expectantly at her. He beckoned her close, and when she neared, took her hand and pulled her closer to the counter. The book lay open on a certain page and she couldn’t help looking.
What she saw drew a gasp from her.
There in that book was a picture of her. Her mirror image was dressed in an elaborate ball gown and gazing into the distance at something just out of sight, a brilliant smile on her face. Below the picture were the words. “Once upon a time.” The rest of the page was blank, but she could see the beginning of words starting to pop up on the page.
“It depends on whether waking up will be better for you then staying asleep.” The bookkeeper voice was still raspy, but now was filled with an emotion she couldn’t recognize. “You said you could change things, Tessa. Here’s your chance to do just that.”
“How do you know my name? Why is my picture in that book?”
She didn’t really want to know the answer, but fear made her ask. Backing away, all she knew was that she needed to get the hell out of there fast. Something was wrong, dreadfully and unexplainably wrong.
“What if you could change the way his story ended? What if you could stop him from dying?”
“Him?” Even as she said it she knew who he was talking about. “Won’t that change how the rest of the story ends?”
Why was she even contemplating this? She needed to get back to her apartment, back to eating her microwaved dinner, back to watching her favorite movie, and complaining about her awful dating life. This dream was too crazy and it needed to stop.
“You’re not dreaming, Tessa, this is your reality. You can change the ending; in fact, you have the power to make it end well for everyone. That includes you.”