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The Heart Won't Lie, Part 18
Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 18 of 25

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First Truths

Days seemed brighter to Belle as she cantered down the scenic streets of Storybrooke. Of course most people still cast her incredulous glares due to her relationship with the most hated man in the town, but she hardly paid mind to them any longer. She was with her Rum, no longer worried over her mental stability, and found that he indeed did love her as she loved him. And in truth that was all that mattered.

"Hey, Ruby." Belle greeted to the crimson clad waitress as she entered the favorite diner of Storybrooke.

The usual ready to talk about anything to anyone server, paused as Anna addressed her. The girl hadn't said one word to her since the incident she had nearly blatantly called her Mr. Gold's whore.

Shaking the confusion off, Ruby tried a half hearted grin, from across the counter as she absently cleaned a coffee stain. "Uh…hey, what can I do for you?"

"Gold asked me to pick up this months rent for him today." They beauty revealed freely as she slid up to the counter.

Never in all her years of working in the diner had Ruby ever remembered Mr. Gold sending another to fetch his payment. A moments thought of perhaps she could be lying burst into the scarlet servers head, but then, Mr. Gold would find out all to readily he'd been robbed, and that would never work out for the person trying to cheat him.

"Sure…okay…" Ruby replied, not even trying to hide her surprise, as she jerked open the register to grab the usual plain packet.

"And could I get a coffee to go, please?" Belle added as an after thought.

Ruby nodded once, the packet still in her hand as she turned to fill a Styrofoam cup of the dark brew. A sharp muffled word from Granny in the kitchens had the waitress utter a loud sigh at the sudden irritated call of her name. "Be right back." She assured Anna without turning around as she charged into the back to see what the elderly lady wanted.

"Annabelle French, it certainly has been a while since we've spoken." A vilely pleasant voice stated from behind Belle, making the brown haired beauty go rigid in hallow terror.

A hand rested on her left shoulder, causing a series of crawling shivers shoot up her spine that she did her best to mask with a straight face. Her blood congealed like ice as the mayor of Storybrooke took a seat next to her.

"You…" She hissed breathlessly, forcing herself not to turn around to face the sharp featured witch.

She couldn't believe that when she had first gotten out of the asylum she had gone to the witch for help, and might have called her friend. Even though she knew it was only a part of the curse, she wondered how her misgivings about the 'mayor' weren't stronger after all she had done.

Regina gave a pleasantly wicked smirk as if basking in Belle's sudden fear and terror she inspired in the beauty. "Who else would it be, Annabelle?" The mayor asked, her voice cool and full of cruel mocking.

Casting her glance about the nearly deserted diner, Belle flashed her gaze back behind the counter where Ruby had departed to speak with Granny. Belle found that for the moment she was all alone with the witch that had ruined her life and chances with Rumpelstiltskin the first time. She might as well have been sitting next to the devil himself.

"You stay away from me." Belle hissed quietly, her voice wavering. Cobalt eyes narrowed angrily as she pulled away from the counter, the coffee forgotten. Her only desire, she wished with all her soul, was to be away from the monster that had twisted her happiness with her venomous words.

Regina cocked her head slightly to the side, her jet black locks falling somewhat in her face. "Miss French, are you alright?" She asked, feigning concern for the one the citizens of Storybrooke thought mad.

Ruby had re-entered the from behind the counter, watching as a silent spectator of the panic visibly etched across Anna's face. The other rare few patrons in the diner had quieted their chatter as well, looking upon the beauty intently, unsure what would happen.

"No! No, I'm not alright. You…you…you tortured me in you palace and tricked me into kissing him. You stay far, far away from me, or I swear I will kill you." Belle all but scream as she raced out of the diner like a bat out of hell.

As the door swung close the patrons immediately began to mutter to one another about the scene that had just unfolded with the 'crazy' Annabelle.

Regina did her best to look dumbfounded and shocked at the words, but in reality she was trying hard not to smile in devilish glee.

"You alright?" Ruby asked striding up to the counter where the mayor sat. She jerked a thumb over to the old corded phone behind the bar, her brow furrowed. "Should I call Emma for you?" After all a threat had just been made on the mayor's life.

The Madame Mayor shook her head slightly, her eyes still stapled to the door. She spoke rather calmly for one who's just had her life threatened by a known mentally unstable woman. "No, no, I wouldn't want her arrested over something she cant help. I'll call the hysteric department, and see what can be done to help her." She lied nonchalantly.

Mentally, Regina was setting the last domino of her scheme in place; all prepared to fall in a chain. She stood back and silently appreciated her work, before turning back to face Ruby and order a cup of coffee.

~8~8~

Belle ran through the streets of Storybrooke, wanting to put as much distance between her, and the dark queen as possible. The woman had succeeded in pulling her and Rum apart, pinning a sorrow in her heart that had felt like it would have never healed, and tortured her mind and body.

Her breaths came raggedly as she press homeward, the burn of tears welled in her eyes as the memories of being locked away and the love loss surged back through her. Every time she saw that witch nothing good came out of it, she almost felt that no distance could rid her of the feelings of dread she had about the Madame Mayor. The only thing that had ever held her at bay was Rum.

The thought of Rum was the only thing that made her heart steady its tremulous beat. Knowing that he would always combat the dark queen to wreak havoc upon her schemes. Regina had failed in separating them forever, love always found a way, even it was with the beast of Storybrooke.

A sudden spring of hope began to well in Belle's spirit at the thought, she had to remember that love conquered all. It could break a curse, and bring people back together from worlds apart. Regina was powerless against the greatest magic that dwelt in any realm she chose to inhabit.

"Annabelle!" A gasping voice hailed her from behind, jarring the chestnut haired beauty out of her promising thoughts.

Turning about she saw the plump Gus, running up to her. His face had grown a crimson along his cheeks, and he bent forward huffing and puffing like mad.

Belle had always liked Gus; he had been cheerful, considerate, and kind towards all he met, especially her when he had allowed an interview even though the owners had never been planning to hire her.

"Gus, what's wrong?" She asked alarmed, her hand resting on his shoulder.

The behemoth of a man sucked in huge amounts of air, as he tried catching his breath, his chest bellowing rapidly. "Gold…Gold is foreclosing on the company. He's having movers remove everything from his property." Swallowing hard, Gus looked to Anna pleadingly, desperate. "I don't know what made him decide to do this, but please you have to help."

"Help?" Belle knit her brow in confusion as she echoed the words in confusion, although her voice was laced with worry. "What can I do?"

The plump cleaner ran his thick finger through his hair, taking a quick look back the way he had came. "I just…I mean since he's…you both."

"You think I can change his mind." Belle concluded dryly. Even though she had once tried to turn Rum from his normally dastardly ways, it was easier said than done. He might love her, and be a normal comforting man around her, but the people who resided in terror of him were a different matter.

"Please." Gus gulped, clasping his hands together. "We can't go to the bank or take the matter to court, or even stall him. You're our only hope. Please, Anna."

They had been kind to her, a thousand times over by giving her job, taking the risk they knew very well wasn't good business sense to take, but they had done it anyway. She couldn't imagine the two going out of business, and she not even trying a trifle to help.

Belle nodded, even though there was no mistaking the worried grimace etched to her lips. "Fine, let's hurry

~8~8~

"You can't do this Gold!"

"This place has been here as long as people remember!"

"What about Gus and Jaq and all their paying customers?"

"You've sunk to a new low, Gold!"

Mr. Gold listened to the cries and calls of the helpless and outraged calmly without facing the crowed that had gathered behind him. He frowned thinly, both hands resting on his cane handle as he watched the paid movers take the dusty boxes of cleaning supplies and furniture off the property to be dumped carelessly on the walk.

He didn't like he was doing Regina's bidding, but he did feel a bit revenge blooming hot in his heart as he heard the shouts from the people behind him. They weren't tossing their refuse at him now, or giving him a piece of their mind. They were angry to be sure, but none dare take their ire out now upon the beast.

In front of him, the lanky cleaning owner, Jaq, was dashing to and fro like a mad man, yelling at the silent and grim faced movers, and threatening to sue, if one piece of property was damaged. His threats were empty, Gold knew, so he let the little over stressed nobody carry on; watching him dart about with malicious satisfaction.

Everything was going as smooth as it usually did when the beast of Storybrooke decided to bite; then she came.

Gold could almost feel her, nearby before he even saw her. In an instant Belle was beside him looking upon the scene with pity, a grim frown marbled upon her lovely face.

"Why are you doing this?" She asked hollowly, almost in a whisper. Her arms crossed, as she cocked her head to the side watching now as Gus joined in trying to stop the flow of their items ebbing from the house in a rapid pace.

Gold shrugged carelessly as if he didn't mind her being there, but in reality he was wondering why she wasn't back home. He had purposefully sent her in the other direction of town to avoid the unpleasantness before them now. "Business." He replied simply.

"You can't do this." She protested, turning to face him. Her eyes searched his own intently, trying to figure out his reasoning. "From what Gus told me, they've done nothing to have incurred this."

Gold snorted incredulously, shaking his head slightly. "Of course he would tell you that, he's trying to save his business."

"Then tell me why he's wrong?" She retorted all to swiftly.

She was seeing through him, Gold knew, she always could, no mask was good enough, and no lie held enough clout, when it came to her, she saw through them all as glass. He could have lied, but knew it would never be enough she would never believe it and to tell her right out Regina was blackmailing him for this would never happen.

"Go home." He growled his lips barely moving. He was now all aware of the eyes boring in from behind watching the scene unfold.

"Not until you stop this." She countered quietly. "The Gold I knew would never break a deal. Never." Her brow furrowed quizzically as she took a step forward. "What's wrong with you? You're not yourself."

It was true, he wasn't himself. He wasn't himself when Regina ordered him about like some slack jawed lackey, and he wasn't himself when Belle was near. It was a situation he feared was drawing him in two different directions.

Seeing that Rum was nowhere near ready to divulge the information of what was wrong just yet, Belle put a gently hand on his arm. "Whatever it is that is making you so different you can fight back against it. Don't do this, battle whatever has caught you."

If only she knew what mire he was enthralled in! A pawn of Regina's in his fear that the harpy would some how capture his Belle and take her away, forced to bow to her will. But then again he knew, Belle was right, he had to fight or he would be ground under Regina's iron heel. He could not live in fear, he was no ones puppet. The queen would have no sway over him and her, he would fight till his dying breath to keep the one he loved close to him even if that meant pulling out every stop to beat the dragon that was Regina back to whatever foul abyss she skittered from.

"We're almost done, Mr. Gold." The deep bass of one of the movers stated, as he wiped a line of sweat from his weathered brow.

"Put it back." Gold uttered before he even knew what he was saying. He still looked at Belle enraptured in her gaze and high off the thrill of throwing off his shackles to Regina.

The mover stared at him in astonishment for a moment, his jaw dropping. "Put it all back?" He stammered.

"Everything." Gold nodded, not even caring to look at the shocked worker. "I'll pay your crew double."

Still reeling in shock, and the sudden change of heart the mover muttered somthing that might have been a disbelieving okay and raced to tell his employees the turn of events.

Belle's shoulders slumped in relief, her frown disappearing like it had never been. "Thank you." She sighed, a grin coming to her face.

Gold thought rather amusingly, he should be thanking her for helping to suddenly find the strength to throw off Regina's threats.

Almost startling, from behind, Mr. Gold heard a sound he'd thought he never hear from people directed at himself -cheering. The crowd behind him clapped madly as they witnessed the movers start hauling the stuff back into the house. The two cleaners looked to one another as if they couldn't believe it actually worked before they started up a cheer as well.

For a man who regularly heard his name uttered as a curse, and tossed around in angry tones, it was a novelty to Mr. Gold to hear his name said without a sneer attached.

"See you did it, I always knew you could." Belle stated with a warm smile.

Gold tried to grin back, but found he couldn't even now that thoughts that permeated his head was what was Regina's next move from the rebellious act.

~8~8~

"I didn't think you had it in you." Belle admitted as she cuddled up beside him on the living room couch.

Mr. Gold wrapped an arm around her shoulder, as she rested her head on his chest. They both sat watching the crackling flames that danced merrily in the hearth, and cast odd glows about their faces.

Ever since the morning Gold had been mostly preoccupied with what Regina might be up to. He knew without a doubt she had found out in mere minutes after the event had taken place.

All day he had been walking on pins and needles, keeping an eye out for any white truck that even closely resembled a van for mentally ill patients, or one hint of Regina's cronies stalking about.

One hand had always rested comfortably on the gun in his suit, but as the day had passed, he'd seen hide nor hair of nothing that even had a hint of Regina's taint on it. He dared even slightly let the thought cross his mind that it had all been a clever bluff on Regina's part and she was now raging mad that he had so flagrantly called it.

As the day grew to dusk, and dusk to velvet night, he had finally relaxed a bit, now in the recesses of him home, knowing confidently he could get in and out with Belle with ease. Swann wouldn't come, and even if she did he could rearrange the terms of the favor with her. So for now, he let out a deep wavering breath knowing he was safe for the moment with his Belle.

"I do manage to surprise people every now and again." He shrugged nonchalantly, but their was no mistaking the mischief in his voice. "Keeps people from guessing my next move. It keeps them from learning the monsters weakness'"

Belle snorted incredulously, but it was meant in good humor. "I don't know what had happened to you, but I'm glad it's over. Also I think you liked it just a little bit, when they were cheering at you. Who knew there was a bit of good in Mr. Gold?"

"That wasn't 'good' you saw there, Dearie, that was a certain beauty putting an enchantment on me." He chuckled as he tipped her chin up preparing to kiss her.

A sudden knock on the door ruined the moment dashing the romance of the quiet time to pieces.

Belle withdrew slightly, her brow knit furtively. "Who could it be at this hour?"

For Gold that was the exact question on his mind as well, but he refused to voice it. His heart drummed wildly as the knock echoed again. This had to be it, Regina finally sending her stooges. "Go into the back room and lock the door." He mumbled to Belle as he rose.

Seeing in his midnight eyes there was no room for questions at the moment, Belle nodded once before creeping out of the living room.

Limping slowly to the heavy oaken door, Mr. Gold brandished his cane in one hand, and fingered his pistol in the next. They would not get her, even if he had to make that fact deathly clear.

Bracing for the rush of meaty, thickly built cronies, he swung the door open, preparing for the initial rush.

He could have almost laughed to see a wavering waif of a man standing under the bright porch light, wearing a white suit shirt, with thick bottle bottom glasses, and blinking rapidly in nervousness. Taking a quick scan of the exterior to make sure no brutes could have been hiding in the dark, his angry narrowed gaze feel to the cringing fellow.

"Do you know what time it is?" He growled threateningly to the man.

The stooped, weak eyed man seemed to squeak in fear at Gold's tone, nodding so fast it almost looked like his head would fly off. "Y-yes but it's important." With out another word, the handed Gold a plain manila packet, his hands trembling.

Even as Gold took it, the man high tailed it from Gold's property as if some sort of beast would be following him.

~8~8~

Belle paced nervously in the brightly lit back work room. A piece of forgotten pipe lay on the table ready for use as she waited and listened to any sound that would emanate from the home.

She would have had to have been blind not to notice the wariness Gold had had all day. Always looking over his shoulder, checking the persons they passed intently, keeping her close. She knew it had something to do with the Cleaning Co., but what?

Suddenly the door to the room creaked open, making Belle become alert once more. Snatching up the pipe, she brandished it awkwardly, ready to clobber the next thing that came through.

She sighed in relief as Gold appeared, and dropped the pipe carelessly to the floor. "Is everything alright? You had me worried."

Gold's brow furrowed as he eyes perused a packet in his hand. A harsh frown played at his thin lips, before he flickered his gaze to Belle. "Not alright, I'm afraid. The Madame Mayor is taking me to court…"

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 18 of 25

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