Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 20 of 25

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First Truths

Three days. Three days the fierce battle between Mayor and Business man had raged like a hurricane off the Maine coast; drenching everyone in its wake. No one who had ever crossed their paths was spared in the trial. Those looking on at the scene, too found themselves caught along in the gale as some were called unexpectedly to testify.

Nothing was held back, between thin devious smiles, and calm rebuttals that were all but laced with poison and bile. One could almost feel the tension in the court as they passed through the door, pressing like the heat that had refused to relent over the past few days. It was a savage fight, not with swords or shield or magic, but just as cutting and deadly with words and logic.

"Your honor, I would like to call Annabelle French to the stand." Regina stated as she slowly paced back and forth from one end of the jurors bench to the other like some prowling cat on the tail of her prey.

Mr. Gold's throat caught at the words he had waited long to hear for a number of days at the trial. He did not fear this moment, or now did not, given what he had on Regina, but still to put Belle on the stand, knowing how Regina could twist words, filled him with more than a little trepidation.

Still, he had known, just like everyone in Storybrooke knew, this time would come and Anna would be tasked to talk. In truth, everyone knew she was the bare bones of the argument. She didn't have to talk, but every one knew she would, being that it would practically be the nail in the coffin for Mr. Gold if she did not, as blatant proof of his underhandedness and manipulation.

He could feel her wary glances brushing against his neck like a breath of warm air as she slowly rose from her seat. She to had have known the time would come when Regina would play this card; the only question remaining was what she would ask.

Belle's steps were agonizingly slow as she padded towards the stand; she turned back briefly, offering Gold a reassuring smile that felt weak even to her. She was traipsing into the lion's den, weak and without a prayer.

Regina watched every move Belle made carefully, like a predator stalking her prey memorizing the movements for the right time to strike and maul.

After Emma had sworn the chestnut haired beauty in Belle sat down, her eyes on the grim faced Rum as Regina dove into her questioning.

Folding her hands behind her black, the malicious Regina stepped up to face Anna, her thin smile plainly mocking and her black eyes flashing with viciousness. "I believe with all our time here, the jurors, and practically every one else in Storybrooke knows your history of mental instability. So, Miss French, could you please tell the court how you came to be associated with Mr. Gold?" She asked in an acid sweetness.

"He was my client when I worked for the Storybrooke cleaning Co." She replied slowly, as if every word she weighed before she deemed it go from her mouth. One could never be sure with Regina when they spoke; one phrase could be damming no matter how innocent it was meant.

The Madame Mayor nodded once, as she ran her clever fingers over the witness box. "A job I helped you obtain." She filled in quickly.

At that, a host of murmurs rose from the onlookers at the new information revealed from the Madame Mayor. The judge rapped his gavel once, giving the crowed a stinging auspicious glare that silently settled them down.

He turned to Anna, a thick wrinkled brow arched in her direction. "Do you deny this claim?" He asked in his bubbling gruff tones.

"No." Belle replied quietly; she couldn't deny the truth.

Biting her bottom lip slightly she dipped her head down, unable to meet Rum's gaze with her own. She had chalked up the courage to tell him how she had gotten the job, but now that she remembered everything, she felt a shame in her that she had let the witch help her. She had been a fool to think Regina wouldn't bring it up to use against them.

"It's understandable; a girl just out of a mental institution goes to look for work and seeks help; nothing wrong there, very commendable in fact." Regina paused for a moment, her gaze flashing over to Gold quickly in a silent meaning that things were about to heat up and he was powerless to stop it. "But since you had to know it was Mr. Gold that would be your client, and you had to know he was the man that beat your father to a concussion, and you had to know he was the one that repossessed your fathers van his only means of livelihood. Why would you go work for a man like that?"

"Objection." Mr. Gold interrupted in a low growl. "This has absolutely nothing to do with the case."

"I assure you it does." Regina calmly replied, her sickening smile widening.

The judge paused for a moment before nodding to Regina. "Carry on."

Belle shrugged, her cobalt eyes never leaving the mayor, as she watched her pace. "Works hard to find in this economy. Especially for someone like me, given my…past." She replied warily; her eyes trying to search Regina's to see where this was leading.

A thin smile came back to Regina's features, as she quirked a plucked brow at the beauty. "Which is why you targeted Mr. Gold after you found out you'd be working for him?"

"Targeted?" Belle shook her head, feeling anger begin to rise past her boiling point. "No, you're putting words in my mouth. I had no money. My father and I were to be thrown in the street or he could have died from under the conditions he worked so we could have a roof over our head!"

"Which is why leeching and preying on a man like Mr. Gold to change his nature would be perfect; wouldn't it?" Regina asked smoothly, although it sounded much more like a statement than a question. "If you could find a way to play it right, you could get him to do anything you wanted which was proven a week ago when the Mr. Gold had attempted to foreclose in the cleaning Co. and you stopped him."

Turning to the jury, the Mayor, pointed at Belle accusingly. "This is what you call unfit business." Regina stated as she slowly picked up her pacing once more; toying with her prey. "Tell me, who wants to live in fear that Gold would actually listen to this mentally insane woman simply because he has feelings for her? Would you risk your livelihoods, your future themselves on whatever way Miss French is feeling that day?"

Strutting over to her desk, the Madame Mayor plucked up a sheaf of papers that Gold knew she would wield with devastating effect.

Handing them out to the jurors she still stared at Anna, her eyes glinting devilishly. "Here is all the proof of my claims, please take your time to look over the evidence."

"No it's not like that." Belle wanted to shout out the words desperatly, but forced her voice to steady. "You've got it all wrong."

"Which is why he gave you private funds after you had been robbed? Which is why I have testimony from one Mr. Laffue about threats from Mr. Gold about your living conditions. Which is why you were seen and reported to have one of your 'mental episodes' and found your way to Mr. Gold's house, who you've only worked for a few months and suddenly move in with him. Can you honestly say you did nothing to convince him of corruption by targeting places he dealt with?" Regina spat as she leaned against the jurors bench, shaking her head at Anna, almost mockingly.

It made sense. That's what Gold hated, Regina's lies always made sense. He could see the glances from juror to juror as they enveloped the information staring at the written signed testimonies and the pictures in which she had some how acquired of picked moments she could skew anyway she desired.

How he wished he could whisk Belle away from the murmurs, and the reproachful suspect glances that were now being thrown her way. To free her from such a burden as being associated with him. To shield her from the scruinty and hate from those around her that only saw her as that 'crazy woman' who lived with the beast of Storybrooke.

"I…No! You're twisting things around as always!" Belle yelled; finally letting her anger fly.

Regina arched a brow at Belle's outcry. "As always? Miss French we've only spoken directly twice and once was a threat against my life."

"You ruin peoples lives! You deserve to die after everything you've done!" Belle snapped furiously. She was only barely aware of Emma's hand having gripped her arm to keep her in place, and hissed a warning into her ear that she didn't catch.

"What have I done? Reveal your plot to corrupt Mr. Gold?" Regina asked almost innocently.

Belle paused abruptly at Regina's sly words. Her eyes flitting around the room briefly to see the accusatory glances flashed her way. She had most successfully fallen into the trap Regina had laid out. The anger, the frustration, the fear built up for years had come out in the worst place imaginable-court. She couldn't disprove any thing Regina had claimed. The witch had baited her into sounding like a manipulative, vengeful, crazy woman.

Sighing once, the Madame Mayor shook her head trying to look concerned. "I'm sorry. I'm afraid I've upset you. That will be all, Miss French."

Belle could almost see the smile of victory masked behind the feigned concerned. Regina had pulled out all stops to blame her for Gold's actions. It was clever, even though Belle hated to admit it, it truly was ingenious.

Turning to Rum, who still sat calm and un-flustered, the brown haired beauty could only wonder what he had up his sleeve to comabt this disaster of disasters.


"I want you to go home." Gold stated as he met up with Belle outside of the court-house.

After the heated questions and testimony from Belle, the judge had called a brief recess to let the facts sink in, and for people to cool off from the hot court room.

She searched him for a moment, curiously her brow knit. "Don't you want to question me?"

"I have other plans." He replied quietly; absently almost.

Belle turned away from him, unable to meet his gaze. She felt like a failure, having tired so hard not to fall for Regina's tricks but running blindly into them anyway. What good was she when she could not even help the man she loved?

Gold placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezing slightly, his tones understanding. "Regina has been twisting things for years; it's what she does. You tried your best to fight her back."

"But it wasn't good enough…she manipulated my words, and now the court thinks I really did do something to you for my own gain and corrupted you somehow." She replied, holding back a choking sob that threatened to claw up from her throat.

He smiled thinly, a strange glint in his eyes that Belle knew all to well. "Well, I'll just have to disprove her, won't I?"


Regina sat reclined in her chair, feeling very victorious. She fought the urge to let out a cackling laugh, but bit it back tactfully as the court filled up again and the people took their respective seats. Quiet hums of voices could be heard as people excitedly waited for Gold's plan to parry Regina's damning evidence.

What trivial last ditch effort would Gold throw out? She pondered; toying with the thought of him making some pathetic ruse she could swat down and end this play-thing of a trial and scoop up her winnings like the victor she knew she would be.

Whatever he chose to combat her with, nothing could over haul what she had just done. She had covered every base, locked every door, made sure nothing was out of order. Her nose was clean, to put it simply.

Regina smiled venomously, as Gold took his seat; he was with out a hope with out a plan. Just a writhing bug, looking for a means of escape. He would be a bug after this, a bug she had squashed under her boot.

"Mr. Gold I understand you are not going to cross examine Miss French." The judge stated as he peered over his round glasses to the business man.

Gold nodded, as he stood up slowly, grimacing just slightly. "Correct, your honor. I intend to call another to the stand-Miss Emma Swann."

It was almost startling how fast Regina's victorious demeanor fell away from her grinning face to be replaced by a look of wary surprise. She sat rigidly, her mind working at a blurring speed as Emma unpinned her sheriff's badge and handed it to Ruby who dutifully swore her in. Why was she taking the stand; what did she know?

Slowly, Mr. Gold limped to the stand, flashing Emma a small smile. "Miss Swann, would you like to tell the jury what you heard three days ago in my shop?"

Three days? Regina's heart involuntarily clenched at the words. It couldn't be…

"Sure, I was going to get Mary Margaret's music box fixed at Mr. Gold's antiquates and pawnshop. While I was waiting for him to finish, Regina came in and I over heard their discussion." She turned to face Regina, almost with a look of 'I finally caught you' dancing on her features. "She talked of 'taking him down' and said that she had begun events for Mr. Gold's demise."

The crowd was in an uproar at that; people began talking aloud at once to their neighbors. Could it be that the Madame Mayor had been caught relishing in some plot?

"Objection, your Honor!" Regina forced herself not to shriek the words as she stood up, practically trembling in anger. "I demand this testimony be stricken from the record. If she even was there, then the whole private meeting was a set-up and therefore not valid in this case."

Mr. Gold chuckled slightly, shaking his head head sagely as he did so. "Now you see, my hours have changed to my shop; I'm open all night. Didn't you see my open sign when you walked in that night? As Miss Swann said she was only there to get her friends music box repaired in legal hours. I can't help that she listened in or had a recorder that happened to be on in the box."

Gold grinned maliciously to the Madame Mayor, reminding Regina so much of the old Rumpel, still getting one up on her. She could almost hear his impish giggle he had constantly made from the old realm. Her hand balled into a fist at his smile, her nails digging into her palm. He had found a way to wriggle into some loop-hole, like the little worm he was.

Digging into his suit pocket he produced a rectangular object and waved it about almost mockingly in Regina's direction. "I would also like to present the recording of said discussion."

This couldn't be happening! Regina's mouth went dry as she simply blinked at Gold unable to conjure any words to combat his own. She had been so careful, so cautious. But now was forced in place in some type of horrid nightmare as he placed the tape in the recorder and flicked the on switch.

Her words, her voice, a bit crinkled by the poor quality of the tape, but it was her nonetheless. Her face took on a ghastly white parlor as the words replayed in her head, over and over, "Of course I did." The damning words that she knew would crumble her.

As the judge and jury casts glances her way of admonishment and disbelief all Regina could do was look at the two smirking morons who had foiled her plot to taking control of the town main properties.

If looks could kill both the irksome Emma and the thorn in her side, Gold, would have burst into flames at her glare. It seemed that Rumpel, again, had managed to thwart her entirely.


"The verdict's tomorrow." Rum stated, absently stirring his tea. It was done, his best shot had been given, closing statement had been told, and deals struck in the dark to give him half a chance. All he could do was hope and pray his words and intimidation were enough to acquit him of all charges.

He felt Belle's lips press against his neck in a kiss as she wrapped her arms around him. "Thank goodness its almost over."

Whatever he had done, she knew it had been devastating to that witch. Everything would be alright; love always prevailed, even to the beast of Storybrooke.

Closing her eyes Belle let the small moment with him linger a bit longer than normal. With all the court procedures it had been taxing to find a few precious moments alone to whisper their love in-between soft touches and gentle kisses.

"I don't want you there tomorrow." He admitted timidly, his finger circling the cups rim. "I want you safe, in the open. Granny's perhaps where they'll be a large crowd.

He cringed as he could practically feel the hurt emanating off her at his words. He didn't want her to be there, just in case…things happened that she might get caught in-between.

She nodded once, though there was no masking the hurt in her tone. "If you wish." She didn't understand his reasoning (never believed she would) but that was part of the reason she loved him. He was a book that she'd never get tired of reading, even if that meant sometimes pandering to a few odd requests.

"Belle, why do you stay around me, even after all this…all that I am?" He asked, genuinely curious that one as beautiful and wonderful as she would even choose to affiliate herself with him.

He couldn't help but think that if Regina won, he would still have money enough to live comfortably, but he would have little power. What if Belle decided, like his last love, that he wasn't worth being around; that he was only a worthless cripple?

The russets haired beauty cocked her head slightly to the side playfully. "If I recall I don't really have a choice. To stay with you was an eternal agreement." She teased.

It's forever, Dearie.

Then I will go with you…forever.

Gold remembered those words almost as if they had still been spoken a few moments ago. He smiled warmly as he neared to explore her full pink lips with his. "Still honoring our contract?"

She chuckled slightly, before her lips met his, smiling into the kiss. "Always."


"Well I must say I am disappointed in the both of you." The judge stated gruffly. Shifting a few spare pages on his desk, he cast caustic glances at the both of them in a reprimanding manner. "You, Mr. Gold for such blatant underhandedness, and you, Madame Mayor, for you plotting part in all of this, though I do tend to believe you tried to do it for a just concern. Still with that sort of evidence on tape…"

He shook his graying head slightly before beckoning to the lead juror. "Jury, have you reached a verdict?"

The foreman of the jury stood up, his hands trembling so badly it looked as if the yellow slip of paper he held in his grasp was being tossed about by some imaginary wind. He licked his dried lips with an even dryer tongue, and pulled on his sweat stained collar before nodding. "We have your honor. We the jury in the case of Regina Mills vs. Travis Gold find Mr. Gold…innocent."

Innocent, the word thrilled through Mr. Gold like nothing else. His eyes breath eased out of his lips as his shoulders slumped slightly in relief.

On the other side of the court those in the room could almost hear the rage silently boiling inside Regina; she looked ready to burst like an over filled balloon. How! After all her careful planning and manuvering, how had he managed to slither away! But it would be alright; she had one last trick.

"Don't be so joyous, yet, Mr. Gold." The judge reprimanded him quickly. "You were not squeaky clean in this fiasco, even if you procured a tape. That being the case, the court it will only dismiss this case under one condition."

McClain turned to Regina very slightly and Mr. Gold could see a discussion between judge and mayor that he knew had been a safe fall all along. He had briefly forgotten, that even if the harpy had all confidence she would win, Regina always planned for the 'just in case'.

Coughing once the judge glared at the business man sternly. "Mr. Gold, this case will be dropped with no party gaining anything if you convince your…partner, Annabelle French, to be rechecked for a mental evaluation at her former institution for two weeks. I think Regina was on to something when she made the case of this woman trying to control you; as odd as it is. Do that and you keep everything. If you do not, I and the jury will have to reconsider your innocence…"

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 20 of 25

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