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The Heart Won't Lie, Part 11
Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 11 of 25

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First Truths

Mr. Gold woke to the faint noise of rummaging emanating down from the hallway of his home. His eyes popped open as a hand instinctively went for the oaken nightstand by his bed for the gun he always kept tucked away inside for emergencies.

Even before he put his hand on the latch to the drawer he scolded himself, immediately remembering there should have been some one else in the house. Belle, his Belle, was there once more. He had gotten rather used to being alone, but the thought of Belle being back once again outweighed any feeling of loss about the solitude.

What could she be up to? He wondered as he closed his eyes once more, burrowing under the mess of warm blanket. Gold could still remember her routine in his castle, she'd wake and prepare their breakfast usually tea, eggs, and toast, try to ask about his day (if he was in the mood he'd reply to her) then she'd begin the rounds of chores of sweeping, washing, and dusting make sure everything was to his liking.

Those had been good times he remembered, the happiest in all his centuries as being the dreaded Rumpelstiltskin. As he was doing now, sometimes he'd lie late in his bed to listen to her start the day downstairs. He liked guessing her actions, and toying with the thought of having her bring breakfast up to him in bed. He never did of course, but it had been a pleasant little notion that had come to him often enough.

Everything somehow felt how it had been, her up and about in his home, him secretly spying on her or attempting to guess what she was up to, for he was far to wary to let her catch him staring at her or taking note of her routines. With a slight chuckle, Gold even fancied that when he opened his eyes again his home in Storybrooke might look like his grand esta-.

Thump. The singular noise banished all pleasant thought in a spilt second, and grinding his fanciful thoughts to a screeching halt.

A frown came to his face as he heard the front door closing, and the house sink back into desolate quiet. She had left. A cold panic washed over Gold that froze his heart in mid beat and made his blood turn to ice. Why had she left so early, where was she going? Had she decided that staying with him might not be the best option?

Ludicrous notions popped into Gold's mind, all that took him back to the time in his castle where he realized what loneness and heartbreak truly was. Gone. The word made him curse himself for lying in bed reminiscing like a moron about things that'd never be again, when he should have gotten ready to do business.

Tossing the cover from off him, Gold grumbled while rubbing his hand across his face, trying to hide the little part of him that was wondering where Belle had walked off to so soon. It was none of his business, he knew, even years ago he had willingly set her free. Belle's life was her own, and he had no right to know or demand information about where she went.

Grabbing his cane the wealthy business man grimaced and limped to the adjacent washroom trying very hard to focus on the day instead of his guest that seemed to be on his mind more than ever.

~8~8~

The misty morning air had a touch of coolness that seemed to pleasantly prickle the skin as Anna tramped down the street. The slight cold was invigorating clearing the last lingering remnants of sleep from her mind.

Wrapping her jacket around her tighter, she felt an odd sort of happiness about her that she couldn't explain. She didn't feel foggy or out of it, like she had cooped up in the padded cell, or taking the pills. On the contrary she felt as fresh and clear as the air and sky about her. It was a sensation she had long forgotten to the timeless, droll world of the institution, a feeling of normalcy, perhaps even happiness that was beginning to grow. She strolled with no particular destination, telling herself she was just meandering about to enjoy the early morn, and the old feelings that resurfaced with the rising sun.

A slight smirk came to Annabelle's face, and she shook her head slightly. Why was she trying to kid herself; she had only left not to run into Gold so early. Every time he was around, she thought of that night, and felt so awkward around his presence; fearful she would do or say something completely idiotic that might ruin their odd little…arrangement.

From behind Anna barely heard a car brake to a stop and the engine click off very close to her. Daring a look back she saw the brown and white Storybrooke police cruiser and a woman with honey gold hair in a familiar leather jacket step out.

"Annabelle French." The woman called her name as she stepped out the cruiser and slammed the door.

Anna turned, offering a wavering smile, a touch of worry creeping into her mind at the sudden presence of the seemingly ever scowling sheriff. "Uh, Sheriff Swann, right?" She asked, holding her hand out.

"That's right." Emma confirmed simply as she shook Anna's hand. "I hope I'm not keeping you from being somewhere. I don't feel like we got off on the right foot yesterday; circumstances given."

Smiling weakly Anna gave a caviler shrug. "It's alright." She tried to sound uncaring as if the brazen ruse of pretending Mr. Gold was her lover was not embarrassing in the slightest.

Emma gave a short nod; her eyes flashing in suspicion that almost made Anna believe she knew the story of them being lovers didn't have much clout. "If you're not busy I have a few questions I'd like to ask you."

"Am I in some sort of trouble?" Anna asked calmly although her heart leapt in her chest. Perhaps she did no something…

"Not at all." Emma shook her head adopting a small smile. "Just a few things in the police records I'd like to clear up." She lied. Nudging her head to the diner across the street she tried making herself sound as natural as possible. "It won't take long, a cup of coffee over at Granny's and we'll be done."

Anna grinned half-heartedly seeing no way out of the request. If she declined, that might make the cunning sheriff more suspicious than she already was. "Sure, why not…" She replied lamely turning towards the diner with more than a little dread.

Granny's diner was as busy as usual in the morning. The place buzzed with hometown activity as patrons finished off the last of their meals preparing to go to work and new customers coming off from graveyard shifts that staggered in looking for that last jolt of caffeine and something hot to eat. Noise was almost always loud in the morning as people chatted and greeted old friends; it had sort of a dulled roar to it that filled the whole diner in a merry kind of atmosphere.

All noise veritably ground to a halt as sheriff and maid walked through the door. The only sound that could really be heard was the sizzling of the grill in the kitchens roaring at full life, and the sometime clink of cutlery against a plate. Other than that it was nearly as quiet as a tomb.

Anna couldn't help but feel every eye on her as the door swung closed behind her; the sound of the bell overtop almost disconcerting in the silence. The faces of the diners were screwed in all sorts of manners that told their thoughts as clearly as if she was reading a book. Curiosity, disgust, pity, anger, fear, and a judgmental look that accented every one perfectly.

The reason, of course, was startlingly clear to Anna with just one look around the crowded diner- they knew. They all knew.

Painfully aware of every step she took through the diner each followed by a particular look she managed to sit in a stool at the counter next to the sheriff who was looking about in confusion. As if she didn't know, Anna thought almost bitterly. Only three people had known about the encounter, and two knew that it had only been a ruse to keep her from going back to the institute, or be evaluated for mental stability.

"Why is everyone looking at me like I have three horns on my head?" Anna asked Emma in a harsh whisper, unable to keep a bit of accusation out of her hushed tone; her brow furrowed quizzically.

"The horns are probably an after effect from shacking up with the devil." Ruby interrupted dryly as she walked up to the two women a pot of steaming coffee in her hand. The crimson waitress had never been known for keeping her words to herself, harsh or not, especially when it involved the hated Mr. Gold.

That did it, Anna's worst fears were confirmed. The brown haired beauty felt like blanching and blushing all at once, wanting very much to leave, but her feet refused to move like being in some nightmare where she could only watch disaster unfold. "Y-you told them?" She asked Emma, her brow furrowed, although it sounded much more accusatory than a question.

"I…no…" Emma shook her head, now putting the puzzle piece in place. "I'd never."

"You told no one?" Anna searched the sheriff desperately wanting to believe her and it was all just some sort of accident that would blow over.

The Sheriff paused for only a moment, remembering partly detailing something to Henry. That was all the hesitation Anna needed to confirm her disbelief. Shaking her head the beauty stood up suddenly, snatching her jacket. "I can't believe you'd do that. It was none of your business."

"I-." Emma began before the bell over the diner door rang again.

This time the shift of the patron's curious stares went to the door once more; even Anna looked toward the entrance to see the new comer.

Mr. Gold, crisp and coldly calm as usual cast his onyx black gaze around the diner. He knew even before he walked into the homely diner they suspected something. It was simply in his nature to know when things were stirred up in the quaint little town.

His eyes scanned the crowd slowly, making sure to look at a few target people eye to eye for a touch longer; people he knew he had a strangle hold over if they dare even say a peep in his presence.

He hadn't known Belle was down there, but he was suddenly glad he had chosen to make Granny's his first stop of the day. If there was one thing Mr. Gold had in plenty it was intimidation and his feared reputation that would protect both him and her from whispers while they were present. Slowly, under his stony gaze, the crowed shifted back to normal, looking down to their plates revamping different veins of conversation, fearful he would catch them staring.

Even though Gold could feel people spare a quick judgmental and hatful glance his way every now and again he felt reassured no one would dare say anything in his earshot. No, they'd wait till he had left then all their loose foolish tongues would be wagging about him and Belle being there.

He smiled thinly at the scarlet waitress as if nothing had happened as the crowd transformed back to normal. "Good morning, Ruby. Do you have this month rent for me?"

"Sure, Mr. Gold." Ruby replied with just a hint of wariness in her normal tone as if he had heard her harsh words to Annabelle.

With a nod Gold turned to Anna speaking cordially as if every ear in the blasted place wasn't listening. "Belle, will you open up the shop for me today, I have other matters to look after before I get down there."

Even though his face was as cold and calm as ever she could read the hidden message behind her words in his eyes. Like she had done to keep him from getting arrested, he was giving her an out. "Of course." She replied weakly to mask the thankfulness of finally being out of that diner. Putting on her jacket, she stepped out of the diner and disappeared around the corner.

Gold watched her leave with just a faint tug of longing, before turning back to Ruby who slid the plain package of money to him. Grabbing it up, he stuffed it into his suit pocket then faced Emma, his cold eyes flashing with underlying anger. "I suggest, Sheriff Swann, that you stop pursuing innocent people so dogmatically for no particular reason and focus on the real troubles of Storybrooke." He stated plainly.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Emma growled lowly, an eyebrow arched toward the cold Mr. Gold.

Gold let a faint dangerous chuckle slip pass his thin lips, as he stared at the sheriff with a thin smile. "I think we both know, Miss Swann." He replied before limping out of the diner without waiting for a response.

Anna was waiting around the corner for him just as he stepped out. A grimace came to his lips as she fell in step with him as they walked down the Main Street of the sleepy town.

"Thanks for that." Anna finally managed to say as they strolled. She knew he hadn't had to do it, but it was nice that he thought enough to help her out of the diner. "So what do we do now that this had gotten out so fast?"

Mr. Gold remained silent for a moment, his tactical mind working like mad, before speaking. "We don't have a choice but to stick with it now. The sheriff thinks we are...together, and now so does the whole town. We lied to an officer when she had a reasonable case, and warrant, that's ground for a slew of troubles I don't wont to be in."

If anyone found out that their 'relationship' was only a means to keep Anna out of an institution, Gold was fairly certain those of Storybrooke wouldn't waste a spilt second relating it to the sheriff. He knew, rather infuriatingly, that no matter what had been said now, they couldn't backtrack for either of their sakes.

"And to say we weren't together would raise more gossip than is already out there." Anna concluded glumly.

Gold spared a glance her way nodding swiftly. Belle had always been a bright one, sharp, and instinctive, she probably already knew what had to be done before the words had left his mouth. "It'll probably blow over soon enough." He lied more to himself than her. He knew better of course, he knew that the flames of gossip were the hardest to put out and the slowest to die down.

"Do you think the sheriff would really gossip to the whole town about our supposed interaction?" Anna asked. She hadn't gotten any notion that Sheriff Swann was one to lie, when she said she would be discrete; Anna had been inclined to believe her despite how they had first met.

Gold shrugged slightly even though he knew the answer to that question was a definite no. Only one person he could see would reap the benefit of spreading such news about town. "I don't know." He lied in a mumble.

"Well, seeing as though this is our only option, I think we need to make this supposed 'relationship' a tad more believable." Anna pointed out.

Mr. Gold's features knit in confusion, as he stopped then turned to face Belle. It was only then he noticed they were standing very far apart, like they didn't know one another or were trying to avoid each other. He could only imagine people who had caught glances of them as they had strolled down the street, thinking they were trying to hide the fact they were together. That would never do if they wanted the citizens of Storybrooke to buy their lie.

Even though he knew what had to be done, Gold felt nervous, his throat catching and heart refusing to beat at its normal tempo. He actually felt…scared at the sudden prospect of continuing their ruse to the public. Nodding once he knew she was right, they had to make it believable.

With a deep breath, and lying once more to himself that it was only to keep from being in criminal trouble, he carefully grabbed Belle by the hand.

Belle looked as nervous as he, but managed a weak smile as her grip tightened around his.

Neither said a word, knowing nothing to say, or braving speech even if they did. With a slight nod of her head, they both continued walking down the street hand in hand.

It was only a ruse…of course.

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 11 of 25

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