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Storybrooke\'s Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Part 20
Continuing Tales

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 20 of 37

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Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

~: Belle :~

Henry had grabbed her hand, was dragging her down an alley.

"Stay low!" he told her, crouching down. She followed suit, staring from beneath her thick hood. They'd just gotten out of Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop, and she still had the tea cup clenched in her fingers. She watched for something, like Henry was watching.

A black car streaked by.

"Was that her?" she asked in a hushed tone, waiting for Henry to do something.

"Yeah," he panted.

"Is she after me?" she wondered, a thrill of terror shooting through her.

Henry smiled a bit, "No, she's after me. I'm supposed to be grounded for sneaking out last night," his breathing was calming, a scowl forming, "I'm sick of her rules. She isn't even my mom."

Belle frowned at that. It was true, and the boy was right about his adoptive mother. She was evil. However, if she knew his mother at all, and she thought she did, he was in huge trouble. Didn't he know "Why're you here?"

"Emma came by. She demanded to know where you were, if you had her," Belle could picture the scene, Emma barging into their house, Regina glowering and not saying a word unless it was a threat, "I kinda freaked out, but I thought I knew where you would be. So I booked it over here- or well, I booked it over to Mr. Gold's house, first, but then no one was home, so I ran here."

"You do a lot of running," Belle smiled slightly, stowing the tea cup gingerly into her large coat pocket, keeping one hand wrapped around it.

"You have no idea," he told her with a grin, straightening his legs but keeping low. "I'ma go check to see if the coast is clear." He pointed his thumb at the entrance to the alleyway.

"Alright," she watched him as he poked his head out into the street. He nodded for her to come forward, and she did. "You're a great Prince Charming, Henry."

"You should read more about my grandpa," he smiled back at her, straightening up. "He's the best there is."

"He'd be proud of you if he knew," she took his hand, and was reminded about how only a week ago she and Henry had run through the forest up to Mr. Gold's cabin as they started off towards her apartment. She asked a question that had been intriguing her for some time, wondering if the ten year old knew the answer. He'd had many answers thus far, "Henry, why was the curse on Rumpelstiltskin and me so easily broken, but not on Mary Margret and David?"

"I don't know- I have a theory that true love's kiss breaks the curse, but only for the individuals that are in love- I think that's why you remembered first, because you were in love with Rumpelstiltskin, and he was still afraid to be in love with you," he explained.

That made sense. She felt a smile bloom across her face. He loved her now. It was how he'd gotten his magic back. She had another question for him now, "So you think Mary Margret and David are afraid to be in love with one another?" her voice sounded muffled by the scarf, but he was understanding her fairly well.

"Yeah," Henry said matter of factly, even though he seemed sad by it, "I mean, David is supposed to remember being in love with Kathryn, at least according to the curse, so Mary Margret is terrified that she is going to have her heart broken, and David feels really guilty about not loving Kathryn, and so he doesn't know what to do. It makes perfect sense."

"It does- I really suppose it does," she weighed his words on her mind, "Are you saying in order to break the curse we have to, I don't know, have everybody kiss their true loves?" she thought of that, how impossible that would be.

"No, no," he shook his head fervently, his brown hair wild with the action, "because in stories like Hansel and Gretel, they're brother and sister, and stuff. No, they've just got to not be afraid anymore. They can't be afraid that they're going to end up sad. You're not afraid of that now, are you?"

"No," Belle smiled from beneath her scarf.

"It's just that the kissing helps, I guess," Henry made a face, and Belle giggled at his wrinkled nose.

"It really does," she told him. He shook his head at her teasing. She asked her next question, "So, how are we going to do it?"

Henry paused and they walked for a moment in silence. "Well, we can't do it," Henry finally answered.

Belle was taken aback, "But why?"

"Because- Emma has to be the one to do it," he smiled at the air before him as he walked straight ahead.

"Emma?" Belle was surprised. Emma was the one who had to break the curse? Did she even believe in it?

"Yeah," Henry grinned proudly. "She's the white knight, the one that has to destroy the curse in the end. I mean, we can give everyone their memories back, but we'll still be stuck here. You and Rumpelstiltskin aren't back in the Enchanted Forest," he gestured at her walking next to him, "so I've still got to work that part out. She's the key, I think."

Belle shook her head, "You have an amazing family."

"Tell me about it," he beamed proudly. He looked all around him momentarily, as though thinking they were being followed. Well, they had been followed, but, not by a physical body, and not by an enemy. "So, you think he's watching us?"

"Oh most definitely," she smiled waving at the sky. "He likes to pry," her smile turned sarcastic.

"At least he's on our side," Henry sounded relieved.

Belle was surprised by that, "How do you know?"

"What'd you mean?" Henry said, as though it made perfect sense for Rumpelstiltskin to be good. Rumpelstiltskin had never been exactly "good."

"He's unpredictable, that Rumpelstiltskin. He prides himself on it," she smiled, wondering how he liked the sound of that. It was true though, just as it was true that he was watching them. She liked the comfortable feeling, knowing he was always there.

"Yeah, but you're on our side, aren't you?" Henry's eyebrows were pulled together with concern.

She grinned at him, teasing, "Well, it is our side, isn't it?" She shook their adjoined hands.

"So that means he's on our side too!" His smile was back. She liked his logic, but it was wrong.

Belle smiled fondly at that, "I hope so."

"What? But, he loves you," he said it so blatantly.

"And I love him," she acknowledged, and to her immense surprise, felt the ghost of a finger pushing a curl back into her hair. "That's cheating," she whispered to the air.

Henry didn't hear her, "So, doesn't that mean you're on the same side?"

"Not exactly. Rumpelstiltskin was always one to fight for whichever side benefited him most. Maybe the Evil Queen has something that we don't," Belle shrugged at him.

"Well, she used to have you, but now we have you, so doesn't that mean we win?" he grinned.

She could only smile at that, tilting her head, "We'll see."

"But if he's not on our side, does that mean that-?" he looked at her worried. He was worried that their love would be erased, but Rumpelstiltskin hadn't been able to eradicate their love before, and she hadn't when he'd fled from the cabin, so it wasn't going anywhere.

"No, I will still love him…," she let those words fade into the night sky, before adding with a pointed glance at the heavens, "I just won't love his choices."

"You sound like Miss Blanchard when Jack and Jill fight at recess." Belle laughed outright at that, thinking of Miss Blanchard crouching before the unruly children. "Can I have my book back?" Henry asked her.

"No not yet," she felt guilty, but at the same time, they'd had a deal.

"Why not?" Henry made a face.

"Well, I'm writing up a copy for myself on some paper, so that way I know the stories and in case you lose it or something," Belle said truthfully. She'd already started, using the white paper from the mouth of a machine she didn't understand yet. A printer, Mary Margret had called it.

Henry's eyes lit up at the idea, "Yeah, that could be useful!"

Belle asked her next question, "So how are we going to convince your mom to believe you?"

Henry sighed, looking downcast, "I don't know. Emma said she believes me, but I can tell she doesn't really."

"Hmm," Belle pondered, rotating the tea cup around in her pocket, "I think about it. You too," she said, looking at the sky to Rumpelstiltskin, wherever his eyes were, before continuing, "I'm assuming nobody else knows?"

"Yup," Henry agreed.

"So it's just me, you, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Evil Queen," she listed off.

"Yep," he agreed again.

"And we have to pretend we don't know about it so the Evil Queen doesn't get us," she continued.

"Well, she knows that we know. Well, she doesn't think that I know like I do, but yes. One of the reasons she had you locked up here in this world was because I think you remembered a lot," Henry told her, and then added hastily, "But we can't let her know about Rumpelstiltskin's magic."

"Agreed," she nodded quickly. "And Henry- Is the Evil Queen the Miller's Daughter from the original tale of Rumpelstiltskin?"

Henry nodded sadly, "Yeah- but-."

"Isabelle! Henry!" David came running towards them, stopping Henry mid sentence. "I've been looking for you everywhere- Emma's worried that the Mayor took you - again."

"No- no," Belle smiled, shaking her head. She felt guilty, "Call her and tell her that we're fine."

"I gotta run," Henry told her as he backed up and then took off.

"Boy that kid can run," David said in appreciation, watching Henry sprint up the street and out of sight.

"He does it a lot," Belle explained with a smile.

~: Moe :~

Moe woke up early, like he often did these last few days. He had to get to his shop.

Life had a new meaning now, since Saturday. Before when he'd been getting up he'd been slow and miserable. Now that his little Isabelle was back in his life, he was up and at 'em at four thirty. Isabelle was asleep of course, but when he came home for lunch she would be here.

She was hope he'd not had when he'd stolen the van from Mr. Gold, and all those other things. He still thought that it had been weird that the Mayor had wanted the cup from him. It was broken. What kind of value did it have?

He was about to leave, when he had the urge, like he did every morning, to go look in the closet of a bedroom Isabelle was sleeping in. It was just to make sure his little girl was safe. That she was real. He'd confirmed that she was real though when Miss Blanchard and the Sheriff had been up to visit her on Sunday, and then the Sheriff again yesterday to inform her that the town psychiatrist had officially declared her sane. What two odder friends could she have made in a week?

There she was, sleeping on mattress- they hadn't been able to afford a bed for her yet, so they were making do and she hadn't complained. Well, she never had been one to complain. She was sleeping- she'd obviously been working on something though. In her hand was a pen, next to her a notebook of paper. An odd, leather bound book was open to one of the few last pages. Next to it-

Why on Earth did his little Isabelle have that broken cup? That was Mr. Gold's! He'd taken it right from his house a few weeks ago. He made a face, narrowing his eyes at it suspiciously through the gloom. He didn't know what to make of it. Despite everything Mr. Gold had done to apologize, Moe was still wary of him, wary of what he could do to them if he wanted. Mr. Gold had been willing to evict a few nuns from a place he owned because they were going to be late on the due date.

He would ask Isabelle later. Now he was going to be late to set up shop.

~: Belle :~

She woke slowly, feeling the dawn from the window spilling onto her face. She loved light. Ran on it. She fell asleep quickly when night rolled around. Mary Margret had teased her, saying that she was "Solar Powered."

A ghost of a hand flitted across her cheek.

"You don't play fair," she told him, burying her face in her pillow. "Maybe kissing you again was not the best idea I've ever had."

The hand withdrew at that, as though swatted away.

She smiled, rolling over so she was staring at the ceiling, giggles quickly turning into laughter at his easily offended self. She could tell he was questioning.

"It's not fair that you get to see me and I don't get to see you," she told him, though she'd already said this. "That I look insane when people come to visit because I'm talking to the sky." Maybe she was insane though. Maybe he wasn't even really there, and she was-

The hand was back again at her face. She touched where she felt it, and smiled softly. "Now, you go away. Today is the first day I can go out in public and I plan on looking my best." She rolled onto her feet, making her mattress up neat and tidy, and set the book she was almost finished copying, the notebook with all the copied scribbles, the almost used up pen and their cup in her treasure box. She'd already started to make one out of an old cardboard box. Treasuring things because she'd had nothing of worth for so long.

Archie Hopper had signed her release papers yesterday, which meant that today she was going job "hunting." And, if she could manage it, she could go see Rumpelstiltskin without anyone noticing it.

"No, I mean it," she told the presence. "Go." It wasn't as though she didn't like him there, it was that she wanted to surprise him with the end result. Well, she couldn't really surprise him. She had only a few things to wear still, and not much make up, and in the end he wouldn't care anyways. She probably wouldn't see him today anyways. She'd tried for the last three days to go and see him, but it had been unsuccessful on each count. Now that she wasn't known as the town lunatic, or the town's kidnapper, she could go out into public without worrying the population, or so she hoped. She could even get a job.

She needed a job. The money would help buy a dining table and a few chairs, since they had been using the single couch and the coffee table as a place to eat. They also needed kitchen supplies. They had little food, and only a pot and a frying pan with an odd assortment of silverware. Her father said that they had had to sell a lot of things in the move here, but Belle promised him they would get this house straightened up as soon as they could.

Well, and besides that, Belle needed to repay Mary Margret and Emma for their kindness. They had given her so much, and she had nothing to offer them but cookies and treats made with their own baking supplies. That was where her money would go first.

He was still there.

She started to pull of her pajama shirt.

In an instant, he was gone from the room.

For all his claims to be a monster, he was very gentlemanly, she decided with a small smile as she pulled the shirt back into place over her stomach.

~: Emma :~

She was so sick of those stupid posters she could scream. She had people on her side, helping her pull them off signs, off bulletin boards, off the windows of buildings and off light posts, and still they were places that she didn't think could have posters. Mary Margret had had her class remove them from around the elementary school building. At least they were out of the children's faces.

Archie had declared Isabelle sane a day ago, paperwork and all, and now Emma was walking around with Isabelle French, helping her find a job when she had asked. How could she refuse? Isabelle needed the job, and she'd never had one. She hadn't even known what to do.

Emma's first reaction had been Granny's Diner, but Ruby had told them that they were fully staffed for full time positions, even though she would have really liked for Ruby and Isabelle to work together.

"There aren't many new people around Storybrooke that disappear for like eons and then come back," Ruby smiled, and winked at Isabelle, "We'll have to catch up sometime."

"Yes," Isabelle had nodded slowly.

Ever since then every store they had gone to seemed overstaffed as it was, but when they took a look at Isabelle, and recognized her, despite her story and claim, they automatically said no. Without even listening as Emma explained what had happened. Emma tore down a poster as she stalked out of a department store.

They had been at this for hours now, and poor Isabelle was getting more and more downcast with every no she got, with every sideways glance that she was given, how everyone gave her a wide berth and pulled their purses and children in close as she walked by. Propaganda. Stupid propaganda that everyone around this town believed because of that witch of a Mayor they'd installed on her throne.

"Emma!" Isabelle called, catching up to her. "Maybe we should take a break?"

"No," Emma ground out. "We're going to find you a job where they at least give you an application and an interview." Just saying flat out no to one of the best workers- heck, best people Emma had ever met was seriously ticking her off. She was going to find Isabelle a job by the end of today or she would die trying. Man, she half paused, thinking about the expletives that she had used there in her own mind, watching your mouth around the Kid has permanent side effects.

Isabelle half skipped to keep up with Emma's long, determined strides, "Emma, don't worry about it."

"How are you supposed to buy groceries and pay the rent?" Emma demanded, rounding on her and coming to a standstill.

Isabelle tried and failed to give an explanation for that one, though maybe that wasn't entirely her fault. Emma was glaring daggers, not really at her, but at whatever her eyes fell upon.

"I rest my case," Emma began to walk again as though she hadn't missed a beat, trying not to feel guilty about scaring Isabelle out of her speech capabilities.

Isabelle huffed, before following her down the street. Her speech came back to her quickly enough with one of her questions, "What's the Spring Queen Charity Ball?" Isabelle asked her.

~: Mary Margret :~

Where had the weekend gone and how could she get it back? She wondered to herself, grading papers that Tuesday afternoon.

She had decided that Tuesdays were the worst days. Mondays you came back feeling fresh and ready to start life up again, while Tuesdays you realized life wasn't fresh at all, and you got back to your regular routine, except that there was no hope for the weekend relief yet. Wednesdays you could at least see over the hill to the weekend. Thursdays were the best because you could daydream about all the things you could do for the weekend as soon as it rolled around. Fridays you were home free. Tuesdays were the worst.

At least David said he would stop by after work today. That was always a good sign. A sign for hope. David was the best part of her life.

She missed Isabelle in the house when she came home though. Isabelle had moved back upstairs with her father. Her father had gone back to work on Monday too, so Isabelle had gone with him. She had learned about jobs, she said over the bowl of ice cream she and Mary Margret had had that night. She wondered if she could be a school teacher like Mary Margret too, or something. She would work at her father's business, but it wouldn't be bringing in extra income, something that Isabelle said she needed.

Emma had come home then, dishing herself a bowl before Isabelle had asked her if she'd help Isabelle look for a job. Emma had agreed, and then declared the good news, throwing down Isabelle's paperwork that declared her mentally stable. It had been more of giggling celebrations after that.

Mary Margret was letting Isabelle borrow her books, which she took the best of care of, and read quickly so Mary Margret didn't notice if they left the shelf or not. She'd finished the Harry Potter books in a week. She still had Henry's book too, but that was probably because the little kid was grounded for a month. He'd been caught climbing in through the window late the night David had come over last, and then he'd gone out of the house anyways, to help search for Isabelle. Regina had never been more furious.

Regina came right to the door of Mary Margret's classroom to pick up her son, and kept him locked away at home. Since she had no proof to pin it on Emma, she was forced to pin it all on poor little Henry, who was getting gloomier and gloomier by the day. Tonight Mary Margret would ask Isabelle for the book back. She knew it would cheer the kid up.

There was a knock on her classroom door. Mary Margret looked up as David walked in the room, smiling.

"David!" she stood up with a smile to match his. She hugged him, and he picked her up off the ground until she laughed at him to put her down, "What are you doing here?"

"I came to see you. I missed you," he said, pressing his forehead against hers as he kept her close.

"I missed you too," she confessed, and they laughed quietly to one another.

"What'd you teach your kids about today?" David asked.

Mary Margret couldn't really remember, not with David's rather delirium-causing presence before her. "We're still on fractions."

"Ah, the dreaded fractions," David chuckled, thinking back to it. He made a face, looking at her, "I still hate fractions."

Mary Margret paused, before agreeing, "You know, me too."

They laughed together at that.

"So, um," David said, obviously changing the topic. "I know that there's this ball coming up, and that everyone has to go on penalty of death or something."

Mary Margret nodded. It was true. You always showed up to the Spring Queen Charity Ball. For one it helped the charitable organizations around Storybrooke, but two, and more importantly, as soon as you were eighteen you almost felt forced to go, the compellation that strong. Mary Margret remembered her first time at the Ball, and remembered hating it. She'd never had anyone to go with. Maybe this year would be different?

"And I was wondering, since I have no memory of ever going to one, if you would, accompany me," he stared hopefully into her eyes.

"What? Me?" Mary Margret was taken aback. He was asking her?

"Would you like to go to the ball with me, Princess?" he repeated more blatantly. The word princess felt so perfect spilling from his lips, so right.

Snow W– Mary Margret felt the smile spring onto her face. "Of course J- David! I'd love to go with you!"

She kissed him then, despite the spike of headache that lanced through her head.

~: Regina :~

Henry was awful quiet today. She felt like checking up on him, but knew that there was no way the boy would leave again. It was Emma. She was corrupting him. How on Earth was he supposed to reign over Storybrooke with her one day if he stopped following in his mother's very misguided footsteps. Regina was his rightful mother, and she was going to raise him right.

She was working on an outline for her speech for the Spring Queen Ball, when they awarded her the prize. It was the only reason she tolerated the celebration. She should have never let it start, really, but with so much royalty all cooped up in one drab city they had all banded together once and had wanted it. She had let them have it. She was a good Mayor after all, listening to her people when they needed to be heard. And she couldn't lie that the first one had appeased her vanity. Since then, she'd made it almost impossible to miss, encircling magic around the occasion until slowly, everyone felt compelled to go.

No one ever ran against her as Spring Queen, but then again, who would? She had a winning personality here. It was her Happily Ever After of course, and it was her ball.

Something upstairs fell over.

Regina stood up, staring at the ceiling. "Henry?" she called.

When the boy didn't answer, she clicked her way quickly up the stairs. Had he been hurt? Had he tried to sneak away again?

The answers to both of those were no, she decided as she unlocked the door to his room with the key. He was fine, he had just toppled the little car box off the shelf, which had slammed, scattering across the floor in every which way. He was picking them up now, a blanket tied around his neck.

"Sorry," he said apologetically as she stood, framed in the doorway.

"Be more careful, Henry," she scolded, "I don't want anything happening to you."

~: Henry :~

Yeah, no kidding. Nothing ever did happen to him. The Evil Queen drove him to school, she picked him up from school, she took him home, she locked him in his room. She'd nailed the window shut. They ate dinner promptly. She came in to turn off his lights at nine.

He was stuck.

He didn't even have the book to distract him. He hoped Belle would be done with it soon. He didn't even really know how long his sentence was. He probably shouldn't have snuck out the second time when she'd grounded him from climbing out of his window, but he'd been worried that Belle had been captured again.

Instead, Rumpelstiltskin had his magic back.

That at least was some comfort to Henry. Belle had said that they weren't sure that he was on their side. That was why it was only some comfort.

~: Moe :~

He came home to find Isabelle making ramen noodles. He wasn't disappointed, but he was surprised. Normally the girl was cooking something elaborate. Then again, elaborate was something they really couldn't afford.

She looked downcast, but smiled as he entered.

"Hi Papa," she was taking out a bowl for him.

"Hello, Isabelle. How has your day been?" he asked her kindly.

She stirred the pot of soup, "Well, Papa, I've been looking for a job."

"A job?" he was surprised. He hadn't thought of her having a job. Maybe it was because he was set on putting her back in high school, but she was far too old for that now. He realized then that she didn't even have a high school diploma. They'd have to work on getting her her GED.

"Yes, but I was unsuccessful this morning," she said in dismay, her stirring slowing.

"It's hard to find a job in this town," he nodded, "Did you try the Diner? Sometimes that Ruby girl is a mite unpredictable." That would be a good place to work. It was close and it was a fun environment. He loved eating there himself.

"Yes, but they don't have any full time positions," Isabelle sighed, ladling out the soup.

"You don't need a full time position. You can start part time, and work your way up," Moe told her, and she nodded at that.

"Yes, but we need money," she handed him the bowl of soup, "This whole world seems to revolve around money."

She sounded so bitter he could only chuckle, taking the spoon she gave him, "My girl, every world revolves around money."

"But Papa-," she sounded defeated, her arms resting on the counter as he took his first spoonful of ramen.

"Wait-," he felt realization spring to mind, "I know exactly who has a position open right now. They have for years, it's just nobody has had the right hours-."

Isabelle's face lit up, "Who Papa?"

"You'll like it there," Moe grinned, putting down his soup and grabbing the keys, "Grab your coat, I'll drive you over."

"Alright," she beamed, following him out of their door.

~: Mary Margret :~

She sighed, her smile still on her face.

Emma had come home frustrated, and had retired to the television when Mary Margret had been still a space cadet.

David was taking her to the Spring Queen Ball.

It was a dream come true! But what would she wear?

There was a knock at the door, but Isabelle came twirling in, "Hello Mary Margret!"

"Hi Isabelle," Mary Margret grinned as the girl shut the door and turned to face her again, taking in Mary Margret's blissful expression.

"You seem happy- what happened?" she asked, a knowing smile on her face as she tilted her head in Mary Margret's direction.

"David asked me to the Spring Queen Ball," Mary Margret beamed excitedly.

"Really?" Isabelle gasped, eyes wide and smile wider, "Mary Margret that's wonderful!"

"I know- but I have no idea what I'm going to wear…" Mary Margret said a little deflated by the fact, leaning her head on her hand. She could wear her red dress, but she didn't really want to wear it again. She wanted to wear something special for David.

"You should wear something white-," Isabelle suggested, sounding almost mischievous, "I think you'd look absolutely beautiful in white."

"You think?" Mary Margret straightened up, thinking about it. She'd never thought about it before. White.

Isabelle nodded confidently, a twinkle in her eye like she knew something that Mary Margret didn't. "Yes, I do think."

"Oh! I'm so excited!" Mary Margret bubbled, "But, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, you came here to tell us something-."

"I got a job!" Isabelle burst, spreading her arms wide.

"Congratulations!" Mary Margret gasped.

"Where?" Emma demanded, turning around in her seat.

"Two, actually- um, the first one's at the book shop – the library –," she amended, "my dad is friends with the head librarian- they needed an assistant. The receptionist had been really busy doing both of the jobs, but I can reshelf books while she can be a proper receptionist," she grinned like it was a dream come true. Mary Margret felt a fresh smile spread across her own face. Isabelle continued, "And then I can work part time in the mornings until the book- I mean until the library opens, and the night shift for Ruby at the diner. They were happy to have me."

Wow. A lot of work so fast. Mary Margret was impressed.

"Good. I was planning on asking that girl to work for me soon," Emma sat back.

"I know, that's what Ruby said," Isabelle nodded. "I just have to get my social security card, and fill out an application at the diner. Granny said she'd order me a uniform."

"Won't you be really busy?" Mary Margret looked concerned.

"I like to be busy," Isabelle promptly replied. "They're giving me lunch off, and then I have about an hour and a half until I start at the diner for the closing shift."

"I don't think she'll work at all," Emma scoffed. When they looked at her, Emma shrugged, "She'll be reading all the time."

"I'll try to work, I promise," she grinned guiltily. She was stepping back towards the door. Mary Margret noticed she was wearing her coat, holding a rather worn bag, as though she were going somewhere.

"Where are you off to?" Mary Margret wondered.

"The book shop," Isabelle beamed happily.

"The library?" Emma corrected.

Isabelle made a face, "Right. I'll get the hang of it."

"Isn't it closed?" Mary Margret looked at the clock on the wall. It was past nine.

"Yeah," she smiled deviously, and held up a key, "Their mistake."

Both Emma and Mary Margret laughed as she left with a wave.

"Wow. Two jobs in one day," Mary Margret sighed as Isabelle closed the door behind her. "Sounds exhausting."

"She's a good worker-," Emma nodded, "but the Mayor's lies didn't exactly help her win over anyone."

"I'm worried that everyone is going to hate her," Mary Margret stared at the closed door that Isabelle had just gone out of, "They can't hate her as much as they hate me."

"I don't think they hate you. Ever since the candle thing-," Emma tried, supportively.

"Yes, but there are still rumors," Mary Margret said sadly, taking a bite of one of Isabelle's cookies.

"I hate small towns," Emma grumbled.

Mary Margret smiled wryly through her cookie, "Tell me about it."

Storybrooke's Tale of Beauty and the Beast

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Teddy's Twin

Part 20 of 37

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