Continuing Tales

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 4 of 25

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First Truths

"Why so glum, Ruby?" Emma asked as she entered the small local restaurant.

The young blonde haired sheriff pulled up a red steel stool to sit at the counter, her elbows resting on the marble as she looked at the fiery waitress curiously.

Ruby grimaced while pouring Emma her usual mug of coffee she ordered when working the night beat around the sleepy community of Storybrooke. "Rent, why else." She replied grimly.

Emma nodded understandably as she took a sip of her coffee, she should have known the 'Mr. Gold will be slithering around today' look. It almost looked like people were preparing for some sort of tragedy when Mr. Gold was coming about.

The ringing of the bell atop the main door rattled making the two women in the mostly deserted diner look to the entrance. A woman slipped in wearing a beat up black jacket and a blue maid uniform hidden under it. She tried to slip into a booth like she had been invisible, but the sharp eyed Ruby recognized her almost immediately.

"Woah. French? Annabelle French?" The red hard waitress looked to the new customer in the diner like she had seen a ghost.

Anna smiled weakly at the colorful waitress before looking away, not offering a word of hello.

Emma arched a brow at Ruby who kept looking at the girl as if she had been raised from the dead; the last name had rung a bell to the new sheriff. "French, as in Moe French?"

"His daughter." Ruby replied, before wiping off the counter absently. "Odd, she got shipped off to an institution years ago; she kept on having these seizures and would be wandering the street in the middle of the night looking for him, and be rambling on about the craziest things if I remember correctly."

The sheriff frowned puzzled as she dared a look back to the woman sitting hunched over her table. She had an orange prescription bottle in her hand and counting out a few pills that she readily popped in her mouth.

"Him?" The sheriff whispered confused.

Ruby only shrugged in reply as the bell atop the door rang again. This time the slick Mr. Gold limped in, his cane tapping rhythmically on the tiled floor. He seemed more frazzled than Emma had ever seen him as if disconcerted. His eyes fell upon the woman Annabelle and sort of just stared at her for a moment intently.

The young lady caught his glare and slid out of the booth awkwardly before stepping out the restaurant and avoiding his gaze.

"What do you know; even crazy people are scared of him." Ruby grumbled as she yanked open the register to get the plain manila packet of Mr. Gold's money.

From the glass door Emma watched the new woman strike out into the evening, not totally buying that the girl was insane. She has seen plenty of crazy people, and Annabelle French did not look like one of them. But why had she left when Mr. Gold entered; either than she might owe him money. Maybe it was just bad blood after he had taken her fathers livelihood away. Whatever it was Emma was sure by some instinct inside her, there was more there than simple mental problems with the strange reappearing girl suddenly back in town.


Annabelle could almost sense he was following her. She could feel his eyes on the back of her neck as she trudged home making her skin prickle. She dare not look back in the encroaching dark, warning that she would only give into the mental problem. It was the same feelings she had all those years ago before getting shipped to the institution, except now she had a name to the feeling- Mr. Gold.

With a shake of her head she tried to brush off the notion. He wouldn't be following her, why did he have any interest at al-. She paused like a deer caught in headlight; she could hear the tapping of his cane, faint but there. He was following her.

Forcing herself not to break her pace she began to twist and turn through the wet dark alleyways of Storybrooke, eager to loose him. She only sped up ever so slightly taking a few twist and turns through the dimly lit alleyways till she was almost certain he wouldn't be able to keep up with that nasty limp of his.

Finally after what felt like an eternity, she allowed herself a rest. Leaning against a building she breathed a sigh of relief, and shut her eyes forcing her quaking nerves to steady; the cane rapping having grown quiet. She would have quit working from such an odd and ruthless man as Gold if she hadn't been so desperate for the money.

"Give me your purse." A voice grumbled suddenly through the darkness, the faint click of a gun emanating and the feel of cold steel pressing against her side making Anna freeze.

Gold knew he shouldn't be following, but couldn't help himself, having so long not seen her, he felt as if he could look upon her forever and it'd never be enough. Besides he had a right to as any to walk the alleyways of Storybrooke.

As he was making pitiful excuses for following her, a scream, her scream suddenly pierced the air, making his heart lurch. He knew that voice even if it felt like centuries since he'd heard it.

"Belle." He whispered looking around the winding alleyways to see where the voice had come from; panic like he had never known began to swell within him. "Belle!" He roared her name.

Hissing in pain he forced himself to race through the slick walkways, even though his knee was screaming in torture. "Belle!" He yelled yet again almost tripping to the stone, but managing to stay upright.

His word was met with another scream and the sounds of struggle making him force himself onward. As he turned a corner he saw Belle was trying to ward off a grizzled bear of a man who was fighting for her purse.

"Get away from her!" Gold roared swinging his gold tipped cane like a club.

The blow struck the thief across the shoulders making him grunt in pain. The mugger's huge fist slammed into Gold successfully knocking him away but also making the thief release Belle. His other fist still clutched her purse as he scrambled away into the night leaving the two alone in the dank dim aperture.

"Mr. Gold, are you alright?" Anna cried, kneeling down to him. For an odd moment she forgot all her wariness about him. She became panicked that he might have injured himself for her sake.

"I'm-I'm alright." Gold muttered trying to push Anna away.

He was a little bruised from the blow, his knee aching, and wet from the muddied puddle seeping into his expensive suit, but other than that he was fine.

Seeing that he was only a little worse for wear, a disparaged sigh escaped Anna's lips as she slid down to sit beside Gold. She felt tears prick her eyes; her first paycheck had been in her purse, it was only fortune she hadn't remembered to put her pills back but had stuffed them into her coat pocket.

First she had scrambled to get, and keep the job, now her only means of support had been taken away just like that. It simply felt too much, as if the whole world was conspiring against her, and no matter what she did or who she worked for it would never be enough.

"I can't do this." Anna whispered her voice hoarse and strained as she shook her head. "I quit, Mr. Gold. I can't work for you. I can't do anything anymore but watch all I used to know fall to pieces!"

He was still breathing heavily, his heart racing; after such a close encounter where all he feared was loosing Belle for good a second time. He was hell bent and determined not to let it happen again; he didn't think he could bear it.

"You can't quit." He grunted as he tried to sit up straighter. This was not the Belle he knew to simply give up. "I won't let you."

She glared at him as if he were insane. What right did he have to say she couldn't quit. "That's not your decision."

"I own this town!" He snapped, more in pain than anger. "I can make sure you and your father never get another job here! You don't have a choice. You stay with me, or you having nothing!"

He honestly didn't mean it like that, but in truth, letting her get away again was what terrified him more than anything else ever had. Even thinking of losing her again was almost to much to bear. He felt like saying anything to keep her close.

Blinking at him, she tried to refute but knew he was telling the truth. Sighing, her nerves having somewhat quieted she forced a deep breath. "Guess I don't really have a choice, my first check was in my purse so I do need this job."

"Your check." He echoed his breathing returning to normal. A measly minimum wage check was why she had clung like a limpet to her purse braving an armed thief? It did remind him so much of the Belle he had once known, determined until the end.

He knew he shouldn't do what had suddenly entered his thoughts; he should just get up and bid her goodnight, and talk to sheriff Swann in the morning about the assault and robbery. It was none of his business, and against his very nature; he'd never be concerned about the welfare of another…except her...always her.

"Here." He grumbled taking the bulging package from his jacket pocket. Opening the packet Ruby had given him he handed her a sheaf of fresh crisp bills.

Anna looked from the bills to Gold in surprised mixed with dubiousness, she knew all to well people did not want to be indebted to Mr. Gold, but she really did need the money. "I won't be able to pay you back." She admitted.

"Off the books." He replied with a slight tilt of his head. "Consider it a gift, Miss French."

The woman only looked at the money a second more, before gratefully taking the bills. A slight familiar smile came to her face, one she'd given him in his castle all those years ago when he had done her a small kindness or something thoughtful like bring her a new book, and for Mr. Gold that one smile had been worth everything that had just transpired.

The Heart Won't Lie

A Once Upon a Time Story
by Eyes Like Dawn

Part 4 of 25

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