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The Heart Won't Lie, Part 3
Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 3 of 25

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First Truths

Not much surprised Mr. Gold. He was a man of trickery but also of sensibility. He lived in a world where there were no surprises because he controlled what went on around him. But when he turned around, he found that yes, even after all this time after, planning and expecting the unexpected, he still could be surprised.

"I'm Annabelle French." She greeted with a wide smile just as Mr. Gold turned around.

Gold's eyes widened, his breath seemingly snatch right from his lanky body. She looked exactly how she had in his castle her wavy light brown curls tumbling down her shoulders, her soft smile, and bright cobalt joyful eyes.

Images of that time and the present seemed to mingle in his head. The room took on aspects of his old home and the one in Storybrooke like some odd dream; curtains became tapestries, the items on the table magical potions and scrolls. Was he dreaming? He had to be, he only ever saw her in his dreams. But no, here she was speaking to him and smiling her hand outstretched for him to shake. He dropped his cane, his mouth swinging agape, simply blinking at her.

Her brow knit in worry as he blinked at her. "Mr. Gold?" She called his name worriedly snapping him out of his trance.

This wasn't a dream, she was still there. He licked his dry lips with his tongue, his breath and words feeling caught in his chest. "B-b-Belle?" He finally managed to sputter out hoarsely.

"Annabelle." She corrected quietly, still looking at him warily. "Are you alright, Mr. Gold?"

He pointed to his chest in disbelief. "Am I alright?" He echoed.

How could he be alright when she that was supposed to be dead stood in front of him alive and quite well. Belle, his Belle.

Anna watched him curiously as he stared owlishly at her. This was not what she had been expecting, strict, snippy, perhaps a cruel underlying word, but not blinking as if he'd never seen a female before.

Bending down she picked up his cane handing it to him. He stared as if it were some sort of serpent before slowly taking it. Their hands brushed just slightly and she could almost his heart drumming in his chest.

There were so many things he wanted to say. Where had she been all this time, why had she come back? He wanted to wrap his arms around her in a hug and beg her forgiveness. Her words when he had kicked her out had been true; he regretted it, he regretted letting her go with all his being. But he couldn't; she knew nothing of the other realm and even if she did he was dubious she would forgive him for his callous words and his hardened heart towards her.

"Yes…yes I'm fine." He finally managed to say after taking a deep breath. His trembling hands smoothed out the wrinkles in his work apron as he tried to catch his breath.

He was more than fine. He was through the roof although he showed only a hint on his countenance. Belle was alive and standing in his home as if nothing had changed!

She grinned awkwardly at him then pointed out the room. "Should I get started, Mr. Gold?"

"Uh…yes." Mr. Gold nodded slowly. He tried to grin back but only managed a somewhat weak twitch of the lips. He placed a hand on her shoulder and swore his other knee was about to give way. This was no trick or deceit. "I'll show you around…."

Mentally, as they strolled through his dim home, he prepared a short trip to see the Madame Mayor as he walked alongside Belle, and tried to force himself not to stare at her.

~8~8~

"You lied to me." Gold snarled accusingly as he entered Regina's office.

He paid no heed to the cameras he knew had to be zooming in on him as she strode in his limping gait to the Mayors desk.

Regina simply smirked and reclined coolly, her arms crossed not acknowledging him with words but with a superior glint in her eye that relished his anger and tumultuous thoughts like a sweet wine.

"You said she was dead!" He roared slamming his cane down on her desk like a gavel.

Letting an infuriating calm sigh pass her lips, Regina leaned forward her hands swiping Gold's cane from her desk. "Who are you referring to, Gold?" She asked in feigned childish puzzlement keeping her pleasant look about her.

"You know who." Gold growled, his eyes blazing like flecks of iron as if his gaze could melt the she-devil before him. "Her."

"I deal with many 'hers' during the day, Gold. You'll have to be more specific." Regina yawned as if she were bored of the conversation even though they both knew she was savoring his panic.

He glared at her forcing a deep breath before he hissed her name; even saying it again out loud caused his heart to contract. "Annabelle French."

"Oh." The mayor tapped her chin her eyes turned up as if she was trying to recall the name. "Yes, the poor dear, just cleared to go back into society after being declared mentally unstable. I do hope she's faring well."

"You know exactly how she's faring." He accused icily making Regina break out into a superior grin. "Your tricks won't work."

She chuckled deviously. "A trick? Think of her more as a peace offering. I'm tired of us always vying for dominance, Gold old friend. Let bygones be bygones; I give you back your little servant and you stop trying to undermine me here in at my post. We both get something we want and nothing changes in our daily lives."

By gone be bygones, the words made Gold want to spit as if they were poison. Gold believed none of it, there was always an underlying reason for everything the vile toad did, but he could see the game the queen was playing. He might have given a nod to her cunning if it wasn't he trapped in her web. There wasn't much he could do about it yet he knew.

"Bygones." He echoed, with a black grimace.

"Yes." Regina replied with a slight smile. Sighing she rose from her seat grabbing her black jacket and purse. Still grinning she stood face to face with Gold, unafraid and more than a little confident as she put her jacket on and swung her pocketbook over her shoulder. "And by the way, when we had that little chat, I never lied when I said she threw herself from the tower, but I never said she became a splat stain on the forest floor either." With that a nasty giggle escaped her lips and she walked out, knowing full well Gold eyes were boring into her.

Gold cursed Regina and himself profusely as he watched the vile snake of a woman leave. She was right, he went back to the memory of that day and she had never mentioned Belle having died; it was his own weak heart that had drawn the conclusion. But he wouldn't be weak anymore; Belle or not he refused to let someone else have a piece of his heart. He would fire her first thing in the morning and try to forget about the nonsense, then Regina would see who was truly in control.

~8~8~

He had her letter of dismissal all ready sitting upon the small kitchen table in his home. It was plain and business like with only her name scrawled upon it in his hand writing. Gold had sat at the table looking at it for almost an hour. He sipped hot tea gingerly from a ceramic cup, not the one he cherish dearly, but another of the same stock. His eyes rested stapled to the letter as he mentally prepare seeing Belle and sending her off when she was so close again. He had to, with Belle in the picture again he'd fall for whatever plot Regina, the witch, was trying to conjure. It was best if Belle was not in the line of fire.

"Mr. Gold." Her voice seemed to chime through out the heart as she opened the front door.

He had missed her voice, it always made his throat catch when he heard her merry tone, and now in this time and place of Storybrooke was not different. He wrapped his fingers around the small cup tighter until her could feel he was on the cusp of breaking the ceramic as she came into view.

"Good morning, Mr. Gold." Anna greeted as she turned into the kitchen. Even though he struck her as odd for his first reaction seeing her, he hadn't dismissed her which she been immensely grateful for. "I thought I could start by straightening out your living room."

"That wont be necessary." Gold replied huskily as he tried to be like his usual callous self, but failing in sight of the woman he'd thought lost to him. Her face grew into that look he knew as worry, but forced himself on. "I'm sorry, miss French, but-"

"Please don't fire me, Mr. Gold!" Anna blurted suddenly, her tones pleading. "I really need this job. I'll work longer shifts for no charge, talk down half my paycheck. Just don't send me away or Gus and Jaq will have to let me go." Her story came bubbling out, so desperate and disheartened not like the Belle of old he knew.

Silently he listened, watching every feature on his face, the worry the fear, he desired to take it all away and know his Belle of old again, one who didn't have to worry about keeping a roof over her head.

"And if Mr. Laffue kicks us out we wont have anyplace to stay." She finished breathlessly, her eyes searching for some sort of pity from the hardened Mr. Gold.

Her words suddenly jarred an old memory in Gold; standing inside his castle talking with the queen. She had told him Belle hadn't any place to go, that her father had shut her out. Back then, his heart had somersaulted in his chest. She was without a home in need of a dwelling. No matter what he had said, he'd never leave her shut and alone to the cold world. He had become joyous at the opportunity to welcome Belle back, not as a captive but as a guest, only to be crushed by the next words that had slithered out that wretch's mouth.

Anna knew he wouldn't care, he was Mr. Gold the heartless one that ignored the pleas of those down on their luck. Closing her eyes Anna waited to her his sorry once more then shoo her out, but none came.

"I don't know where you'd get the idea I'd be firing you, miss French." He smiled thinly taking another sip of his tea. "Sorry, but the living rooms not what I want you to work on. The guest bedrooms upstairs are simply filthy, if you could see to those today. Where would you get the ridiculous notion I'd be firing you?"

Her sigh was a loud and audible one as she leaned against the entryway to the kitchen in relief. "Thank you, Mr. Gold, I'll get to it right away." She promised before disappearing down the hall.

A frown instantly came to his face as she left. He paid special attention to her footsteps getting duller and duller away as he stared at the envelope. Regina had truly been clever on this ploy. She knew he hadn't the heart to loose Belle again, and she also knew the only thing that would beat Mr. Gold was himself.

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 3 of 25

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