Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 2 of 25

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First Truths

She had to get a job. Looking at her father try to pull scraggly weeds from the hard ground had Anna breaking into a cringe, every time he grunted in pain and tried to rub his sore back. He couldn't do that type of work anymore, but that pitiless soul of a motel keeper wasn't letting up.

Sighing and shaking her head slightly the young woman forced herself to close the tattered brown moth eaten curtain turning back to the newspaper before her. As far as she could see no one was hiring for anything in her limited abilities, and even if she managed to get an interview for one of those jobs, all they'd have to do was look at her medical records to completely take her out of the running. A woman who has spent years in asylum was usually not the picked in the running for a particular job.

It almost seemed hopeless, but she thought of one person who could help. She barely knew the woman, but it didn't seem like another choice. Grabbing her jacket she pulled it on in one smooth motion before walking out into the chill day.

Her father waved to her once as she set out for town. He had quietly been dropping hints she should go back into town and help with her reentry into society. Anna had been fearful of the thought, thinking anything could set off her 'condition' but she truly did need to find work. Wrapping the jacket tighter about her, she determinedly set off to find the Mayors office.


"Hello Annabelle." Regina greeted with a warm smile as the young woman slid into her office.

Anna shook the mayor's hand warmly as she enter, though the touch made her skin prickle. It always seemed that the Madame Mayor was sizing people up as if to judge how they could be of use to her.

"So what can I do for you to day?" Regina asked as they both took a seats in the rigid chairs.

Annabelle shifted uncomfortably in the hard chair, the words she knew she was about to ask seemingly to make it even more uncomfortable. "Well, you see I'm here to ask two things."

The Madame Mayor reclined in her chair, that satisfying look back playing upon her sharp features. "And that would be?" She prodded Anna on slyly.

"Do you know of any place that would give me a job, and if so could I get a recommendation from you." Anna blurted, seeing no need to drag it out, but have it through like pulling off a band aid. She was certain if she got a recommendation from the Madame Mayor a job would be almost assured.

"That's a mighty tall order from someone I barely know." Regina replied simply.

Anna's face fell at her words; fiddling with her hands uncomfortably she nodded in understanding and rose from the hard chair. "Sorry to waste your time then." She smiled half heartedly and turned to leave.

"But…" Regina spoke just as the woman turned away. "I know this one place, it's not much but it might get you started." She finished with a smirk.

Anna turned about slowly, hope shimmering in her eyes. "What's it called?" She asked eagerly. It didn't matter what type of job it was so long as it was good honest work.

"Storybrooke's cleaning services." Regina replied.

Grabbing a pen she scribbled down a few lines of information in her sharp script handing the precious paper over to Anna. "Here's the address, and a recommendation signed by me. Gus and Jaq, the owners, will know it."

Happiness blushed through Anna's face as she took the slip of paper. Holding it to her chest, she readily decided that any thing she felt off-putting towards the Mayor was nonsense. She didn't know her and yet she was offering her hope. "Thank you Madame Mayor."

"Please." Regina smiled craftily placing a hand on Anna's shoulder almost friendly like. "Call me Regina."

Chills came to Anna at the touch of the Mayor. Even though she was truly grateful for the help, she couldn't resist back away from the Mayor. "Thanks, Regina, I owe you one." Anna repeated then darted away, leaving the office of the mayor.

Regina watched her turn a corner then disappearing as she allowed another smile to etch into her face. "Yes, you do owe me one." She echoed in the room then sat back down again feeling quite satisfied that the plan to defeat Mr. Gold was in motion.


Cold wind raced through the town making wet leaves fly through the air, sticking like glue upon street lamps and cars. The breeze tousled Annabelle's brown curls as she pulled her black jacket around her tighter trying to ward off the cold, and clutching the slip of paper in her hand that threatened to be carried off by the strong wind.

She stood in front of a plain white building that looked as if it could have been a home at one time. Outside a wooden white sign to match the off white of the house stood on the scraggly lawn, the paint peeling slowly off the wood. There were two cute little mouse mascots in jackets on either side of the words that said: Storybrooke Cleaning Co.

This was the place, even if it didn't look like much. But Anna knew looks could be deceiving.

Walking up the gray walk, she rapped on the door nervously, perhaps even wishing no one was there. The door swung open almost immediately letting the smell of smoke and house cleaner drift out. A mouse of a man stood face to face with her, wiry with smoothed black hair and black eyes that scrutinized her disdainfully almost.

"You must be Gus, or are you Jaq?" Anna smiled stretching out her hand.

The man with the pinprick black eyes looked at her hand then to her again suspiciously making Anna feel awkward.

"I'm Annabelle French, we spoke over the phone." She tried again trying to sound even more pleasant.

"Oh yes, come in!" Another voice echoed from the cleaning company home. Another man bounded to the door, short and stocky but cheery faced his brown eyes almost unseen by his chubby smile, so different from the solemn lanky counterpart.

He smiled, holding out his tubby hand. "I'm Gus, this string bean here is Jaq, don't mind him much." Sort of pushing Jaq from the door he made a beckoning hand. "Come in Miss French and we can discuss the situation."

Smiling, Anna nodded and stepped inside, only to be bombarded with the reek of more astringent cleaning supplies. Covering her mouth, the beauty tried to suppress her coughs only to have Gus frown in apology. "Sorry is smells so bad, but you should get used to it if you get the job."

"I have a recommendation from the Mayor." She revealed in-between her wracking coughs.

Handing the white slip to Gus, the plump gentlemen perused it formally, his frown deepening. His brown eyes flashed to Annabelle as he folded the note. "You're friends with Madame Mayor?" It sounded very disapproving, almost accusatory.

"She did me a favor." Anna admitted, her brow knitted in confusion at his tone. "Is there a problem?"

Almost in surprise the lanky Jaq snatched the slip of paper from Gus' tubby hand then plopped down in a beaten armchair. "The thing is, Miss French, even though my portly associate Gus here was kind enough to allow and interview, we don't really have need of a new housekeeper. We're barely making due as it is, to hire another would be stretching our resources much to thin for comfort. The truth is he hadn't the heart to reject you, so he offered an interview, he never planned on hiring you."

"Oh come on, there must be need of just one more." Anna persisted almost desperately. She truly did need this job, it wouldn't be much but it would help her and her father get by.

Gus looked to Jaq almost pleadingly. It was obvious he never like to send some one away, especially when they looked like they need help.

"Well…" Gus drawled rubbing the back of his neck. "We have one client, none of our employees have been able to work more than a week at his house."

"He's just a ruthless miser slave driver is all." Jaq interrupted sarcastically in a scoff.

Gus spared a glance at his partner then back to Annabelle. "In all but name." Gus agreed. "He's tough to work for but the profit would be more than enough to keep you on."

"Perfect I'll take it!" Anna stated determinedly. Let him be a slave driver, she could endure, she had no choice but to endure. "What's his name?"

Gus and Jaq turned to each another, a distasteful grimace as if tasting a bad word in their mouths. "Mr. Gold." They replied simultaneously.


Mr. Gold's home was massive. It looked like some sleeping beast standing apart far away from the road as if in hiding from the rest of the world. Trees blocked the view of the towering structure until she took the path that led to his silent abode. The lawn was pristinely manicured, but vacant of anything that would give the home a little charm or off put the eeriness that seemed to radiate from it. She couldn't help but feel Goosebumps prickle her skin just looking at it.

There was no car she could see for some one claiming to be the richest man in town, and he seemed to live pretty humbly from the outside where the only decoration she could see was a bouquet of roses in one of the windows.

She wore her new uniform of blue and white, her cleaning supplies in her left hand as she stood taking in the sight of the ominous looking home.

"You can't blow this, Anna." She whispered steeling herself to meet the most infamous man in Storybrooke.

As she walked up to the door with each step she wondered how long her courage would stay with her. All she could imaging were the less than pleasant stories of the ruthless Mr. Gold. Unmerciful when it came to rent, uncaring about the plight of others. He had even taken her fathers van on the biggest day of the year when flowers were bought forcing her into this situation anyway.

Shaking those thoughts away she was determined to be the best housekeeper he had seen and bring Jaq and Gus more money than any of the other maids. Standing finally at the door, she knocked on the glass warily as if it would break and her touch.

"Housekeeping." She said, while trying to look through the pane.

The place was dark, and it didn't look as if anyone was home. If he wasn't there, that'd probably meant she couldn't keep her job.

Placing her hand on the iron latch she tried the door and was surprised when it swung open. The place was dark due to all the drawn curtains with a musty odor that seemed thick in the air. The rooms were big but packed with all sorts of odds and end some disheveled some quiet neatly tucked away.

Anna padded through the home quietly, her feet barely making noise upon the wood floor and she peaked into the rooms looking for the auspicious Mr. Gold. "Hello." She called out, cringing as her voice seemed to echo through the room. "Hell-"

"In the back!" A voice interpreting scolding like, making the woman jump at the sudden sound.

Shaking off her nerves Anna nodded bravely before striding quickly through the halls to finally meet Mr. Gold.

He was turned away from her, facing a table filled with tiny ceramic trinkets as she entered the back room warily. He had a slim wiry frame, with dirty brown tresses longer than most in the town of Storybrooke. A sturdy black cane with a golden hawk nose like handle was hooked on the table edge next to him.

He was engrossed in repairing some tiny crack on a porcelain doll not paying her much mind that she was behind him as he spoke. "I suppose you're the new girl, Gus and Jaq sent down. Funny, here I thought they were already barely making rent."

"Gus and Jaq want to make sure their customers get the best service." Anna replied smartly.

To say that she had been sent only because no others would go or could go would have been probably insulting and redundant. She could already surmise this Mr. Gold already knew why she'd been sent.

He chuckled slightly at her clever reply, while concentrating on repairing the crack. "I expect a lot, Dearie. I do like things just so. You can ask the other three ladies I sent out of here in tears for not making thinks ship shape."

"I understand." Anna replied before heaving a deep breath.

Hearing her words made him pause, the brush he was using frozen in his hand as he quirked his head slightly to the side. There was something in the voice, and those familiar words that nagged his heart.

Placing the brush down into a pot, he wiped his hands on the filthy apron he wore. "Very well then." He stated before picking up his cane and deciding to turn around and see this girl who prodded something in him he hadn't felt for a very long time...

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 2 of 25

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