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A Bad Idea

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This was a bad idea, Belle thought for the hundredth time that night, looking around the party.

Where was he? Glancing at her watch a nervous anticipation fluttered in her stomach. He wasn’t coming, she thought for a moment before a pang of guilt struck her for doubting him. Of course, he would come, he was the one person she could count on.

As she brought her hands down to straighten her skirt, her stomach dropped as a familiar bellowing laugh grated in her ears, and her nostrils filled with the musk of the overpowering cologne that she spent many of days trying to wash from her clothes.

“Well, well, well Bluebelle, I’m surprised you’re here.” Her ex-Gaston circled in front of her a prickly gleam in his eyes as she let out an exasperated sigh. “I had heard rumblings that you were back from University for the holidays, but I just assumed you would be home alone tonight with your nose stuck in one of those nonsensical books.” This

“Yes, well here I am,” she replied overly sweet, trying her best to masquerade her anger at his feigned surprise at her presence. His family had practically extorted her father to ensure she came tonight.

She could still hear the desperation and panic in her poor father’s voice when he called informing her that the LeBeau family was threatening to cancel their flower order for their big annual Christmas party, which accounted for a third of the flower shop’s annual revenue.

“He said his son was still so heartbroken over you, Belle,” she recalled him pleading with her. “And well it might have been suggested that if you came home to Storybrooke, you know, went to their party, he might feel more comfortable in honoring our supply contract.”

And so here she stood, face to face with her lying cheating toxic ex-boyfriend for her father’s sake.

“So, you’re here alone, I see,” he smirked.

“I’m waiting for someone,” she replied, glancing at the door willing for him to suddenly appear.

“Sure, you are,” he scoffed, in an unconvincing tone. She watched in horror as he placed two fingers in his mouth, loudly whistling for a leggy blonde, who stumbled as she approached.

“Belle I would like for you to meet, Jessica.”

“Jillian,” the woman snapped.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Gaston said locking a strong arm around her waist.

And here it was. The real reason he so desperately wanted her to be here. He wanted to hurt her, corner her while she was alone and show her how easily replaceable, she was to him.

Mustering all of her will power, Belle smiled, reaching her hand out. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking he had upset her. “It’s very nice to meet you, Jillian.”

She watched as the girl lifted her hand to shake but Gaston forcefully pushed her arm back down.

“Be a doll pussycat and get your big strong man a drink.”

With a curt nod at the order his date wandered off. Belle took the chance to turn and leave as well, but Gaston took a firm grasp of her elbow. “Not so fast, Bluebelle.”

She shook her arm, but his grip tightened as he leaned in. “You will be pleased to know, I’m willing to discuss taking you back.”

“Take me back? I wouldn’t be with you if you were the last man on earth!” she scoffed, struggling once again to break free of his grasp. Just then a firm hand landed on Gaston’s right shoulder. He turned in surprise, freeing her elbow.

A wave of relief washed over her as Robert Gold, her date for the evening, stood before them.

“I’m sorry I’m late, sweetheart. Traffic was heavier than expected.” Although he was clearly speaking to her, he kept his brown eyes glued on Gaston.

‘Showtime,’ she thought taking a small deep breath, as she maneuvered past Gaston, looping her arm around Robert’s.

“It’s okay darling,” she leaned in kissing his cheek.

Gaston’s startled eyes darted between the two, his mouth forming a hard thin line.

“Who the hell is this guy?” his thick beefy finger pointed accusingly at the intruder.

“Oh, where are my manners,” Belle bashed playfully. “Gaston, this is Robert…my boyfriend.”

Gaston’s silence lasted only a moment before he threw the first insult.

“You can’t be serious, Belle. This guy is old enough to be your father.”

She winced at the word, but quickly recovered. She shot a glance over at Robert, who stood stoic his chin up with a confidence that she rarely saw but it suited him.

As Gaston opened his mouth to surely deliver another jab, his date Jillian came to his side with two glasses of champagne.

“Here you are,” she said chipperly handing one of the glasses over to him. He snatched it from her hand, gulping down the contents, then quickly taking the other and downing that too.

“Let’s get out of here, Jana,” he sneered snatching her hand.

“It’s Jillian,” Belle called out cheerfully, as he dragged his date away.

Letting out an audible sigh of relief that the encounter was over, she turned with a ready apology for Gaston’s crude insults, but all thought of it ceased on her tongue as she took in how devastatingly handsome Robert looked in his suit.

He looked down at himself his brows furrowed, obviously worried as to what drew her stare.

“I’m sorry,” she shook her head, trying to keep her growing thirst for him at bay. “I didn’t mean to stare, it’s just I’ve never seen you without your clothes on…I mean…” she stumbled a small blush appearing on her cheeks. “I mean I’ve only seen you in…you know.” she trailed off biting her lip to stop further rambling.

Self-consciously he looked at her. “Do I pass muster?”

Wordlessly she shook her head yes.

“You’re the most handsome man here,” she said truthfully, as he gave her a shy smile. Her heart raced with growing affection as she gazed upon the man who had readily agreed to pretend to be her boyfriend tonight. The man she had developed feelings for. The man who was everything she could ever want and more. The man who was a priest.

This was a bad idea she told herself for the hundredth and one time that night.

Although she wasn’t surprised, she was impressed with how well Robert mingled amongst the party guests that evening. His soulful eyes, and gentle smile could put any stranger at ease, and she was proud to be on his on his arm that night.

The thought occurred to her that they should have planned some elaborate story of how they met and other details of this faux relationship, but in all truth, she had been scared that he might back out due to the dishonesty of it all and so she never pushed to discuss it with him the days leading up to the party. She soon learned that there was no need, as Father Robert had a vague way of spinning their truth, so that no one was the wiser.

After a few more rounds of small talk with the upper crust of Storybrooke, she surmised that they may need a break from the endless party chatter. She gestured towards the balcony doors, and he nodded with a look of relief.

The air was cool, but a large heater stood to the right, to keep the chill down for guests that may step out for a nightly smoke. Ever considerate, Robert took off his suit jacket, placing it around her shoulders. Turning her head, she closed her eyes for a moment inhaling the scent of him. When she looked up to thank him, she noticed a lock of hair had fallen over his eyes. Lifting her hand, she pushed it back, tucking it behind his left ear, drawing a ragged breath from his lips.

Yes, this was a bad idea.

X

She looked angelic as the Christmas lights strung around the balcony, illuminated her sweet smiling face. He had been nervous on the drive here, not of a fear of their ruse being exposed, but a fear that he might disappoint her. He had spent an embarrassing amount of time, pressing his shirt and suit, painstakingly going over ever crease with an exact precision. He wanted to look good for her. It would have been the first time she saw him out of the cloth, and he wanted to be someone, look like someone who could be worthy of her.

He could not fathom how deeply his life would change when he walked into that bookstore a little over a year ago. He knew Mr. Summers, the owner, had always spoke about hiring a part time worker to work the weekends, but he had heard the man’s desire for over two years now, and every Friday night, there Mr. Summer’s sat behind the counter doing his crossword puzzles. Robert was convinced that Summers only kept the store open those nights for him, as he was regularly the only customer that frequented at that time, and who could turn away a lonely priest.

With his small and ever dwindling congregation, Father Robert only needed to hold one mass on Sunday mornings. The same handful of parishioners, mostly over the age of seventy, came to his 10am service. The rest of his week was often spent in isolation, enjoying a good book, with an occasional invitation to dinner here or there. His Aunties use to read bedtime stories to him when he was a small lad, and his love for books grew from there.

And so, it came as quite the surprise that faithful Friday night, when Robert walked into the store, ready to greet Mr. Summers, and a bright-eyed Auburn hair girl stood before him. From the moment he met her, he felt a spark of life within him, that had long burned out.

It had not taken long before the two of them became friends. He found himself frequenting the store every Friday and Saturday, coming an hour or two before closing, when the store was empty. She always greeted him with a warm smile, as the two would sit and talk about a variety of topics, ranging from books to their life stories.

As months passed, they both opened up more. She often talked about her studies at the nearby university and how she hoped to one day become a librarian. She spoke of her mother’s passing when she was only ten years old, and how she missed her. He in turn had opened up about how as a teenager he had impregnated his first girlfriend, Milah, and how she had left both he and their son Neal, when he was only three months old.

It had felt good to talk about his son with someone, as he had kept that part of himself closed off for so long. He told her of his son’s tragic passing at the age of fifteen, and how he had turned to drinking to help numb his pain. She would listen intently as he explained joining the church and finding the priesthood at 37. How his faith guided him to become a Father again, just in a different sense of the word.

He cherished their weekends together, and nearly leapt for joy when she had revealed that she had finally gotten the courage to dump her ever unfaithful boyfriend. Parishioners had commented to him, how much happier he seemed, more energized, after church services. His weekends with Belle had given him a new purpose in life. He felt younger, happier…he felt more like his old self. His best self.

And so when he had come into the store last week to find her with tears in her eyes, he listened as she explained her father’s predicament, and how she was going to have to go back to Storybrooke, to this Christmas party, and worst of all back to him…Gaston.

It was the jealousy that burned deep inside of him, or maybe it was the hurt that he felt to see such distress in her eyes, but he readily offered to go as her date, to pretend to be her boyfriend, so that she would not have to face her ex alone. Although he had offered, he was surprised at how readily she had agreed to the idea. It excited him to think that maybe…just maybe she wanted this pretend date, as much as he did.

As so here he stood before her, the act of her touching his hair so intimate that it almost brought a tear to his eye. She was his miorbhail, his miracle. His eyes locked on her painted red lips, and his heart stopped as she slowly moved towards him. She was mere centimeters away when the balcony doors swung open, and a tall middle-aged woman came barreling out, onto the balcony.

“I swear if I hear jingle bells one more bloody damn time,” she uttered, rummaging through her small clutch to pull out a cigarette.

“We should head back inside?” she suggested, quickly moving towards the door.

X

She was going to hell, she told herself as they walked back into the ballroom. Did she seriously just try to kiss a priest? She needed to get her emotions back in check before she did something stupid. She turned around to suggest that they should leave, when an overweight man, who had way too much Christmas spirit for the evening, stopped before them.

“Mistletoe Fairy,” he chimed, dangling the little green plant above them. She looked at Robert who stared back at her with a wide-eyed gaze. Before she knew it, his arm wrapped around her, pulling her lips against his.

Her initial shock melted, as she opened her mouth inviting him in. Their tongues brushed as desire sprung in her belly. Brining her hand up, she grasped a fistful of his hair, fueling the passion between them. It felt so good, so right, but then, his lips were gone. She opened her eyes at the loss, just in time to see Gaston’s fist colliding with Robert’s jaw.

“You son of a bitch! That’s my girl,” she heard Gaston scream as he loomed over Robert splayed out on the floor. She was down on her knees in a second, reaching for Robert’s hand that was cradling his own jaw. Two men grabbed Gaston’s arms, rushing him away, as he put up a meek drunken struggle.

“Oh my God, are you okay?” she cried out, as a couple of party guests, helped Robert back up to his feet. She could hear Gaston screaming in the distance, as they walked Robert out into the hallway placing him down on a small bench near the front door. She recognized one of the men as Dr. Whale, who knelt to examine Robert.

“It doesn’t appear to be broken. Luckily, Mr. LeBeau wasn’t too steady on his feet when he hit you. But you do need to put some ice on it. Take some aspirin.” He stood up, looking at her. “Keep an eye on him tonight. If it gets worse give me a call tomorrow.”

Belle nodded at the doctor’s orders. She left for a moment, to get her coat. When she had returned, the same woman who was on the balcony was standing next to Robert, handing him her business card.

“That’s Mal Goodall. Call me anytime. You have one hell of a case, and I can get you ever dime you deserve.”

Taking Robert by the arm, she guided them out of the party. Digging in his suit pocket, she took out the keys, insisting she drive. She drove them to Granny’s Inn. She had booked him a room after he had agreed to this ruse. And with the circumstances as they were now, she was grateful that she had since he was in no condition to drive back tonight.

He was silent the entire time, as she checked him in, and took the room key from Granny. She could only imagine how angry he must be at her, for getting him into this mess.

Silently they walked into the room, as she turned on the lights. She immediately went into the bathroom, wetting a cold washcloth to clean him up. When she returned, his back was towards her, as he stared silently at the wall. The silence was deafening, and she opened her mouth to apologize, when his voice cried out.

“I want to leave!”

She closed her eyes her heart breaking at his desperate plea. Of course, he wanted to leave. Her selfishness had gotten him into this mess. How could she had been so stupid. She knew this had been a bad idea from the start. How could she have let her own feelings for him blind her judgement? Tonight, this faux date, had been a beautiful unattainable daydream that quickly turned into a nightmare.

"I understand," she whispered solemnly, as he shook his head before turning to her with tears in his eyes.

"No, you don't understand Belle." He frantically ran his hands through his hair before standing up straight his eyes locked on hers. " I want to leave the priesthood. "

He awaited her reaction, but her body stood frozen at his confession. He started to pace before her.

“I know what you’re thinking. One night out of the cloth and he’s lost his mind. One kiss and I’m ready to throw away everything, my job, my life, my faith.” he stopped mid pace to look at her. “I haven’t lost my faith Belle. I have found it…in you. God put you in my life for a reason. I love you, Belle. I want us to be together.”

One would think hearing a priest confess their love would be sinful, and yet Belle felt no shame in hearing those words. What she felt was relief. This sinful dark secret was out, and it felt…freeing.
“Say something, anything Belle.” He looked at her, his eyes pleading for her to react.

X

"I love you too,” she confesses with no shame. With two large strides she reaches him, crashing her lips to his. Desperately they tug and pull at the other’s clothes till their heated bodies are both bare. He roams his hands over her naked body, the pads of his fingers scorching her skin. Her hands cup his perfectly sculpted ass, as he groans into her mouth. He picks her up, as she wraps her bare legs around his waist, and carries them to the bed.

His eyes shine with holy devotion, as he enters her. They whisper words of love as his thrusts grew harder and faster, bringing them both over the edge. He pulls her close, and she lays her head on his glistening chest.

They do not speak about him leaving the priesthood, and the challenges they may face in that moment. That is a conversation for another day. Instead, he spends the night worshiping her body repeatedly, until they are both spent. The next morning, she awakes to find him on his knees next to the bed, praying.

He smiles as he sees she is awake. “I was praying that you didn’t wake up and tell me this was all a mistake. That this…us is a bad idea.”

Smiling, she leans over plucking a deep kiss from his lips. “No baby, this is a wonderful idea.”