Beauty & The Beast (An Erotic Re-telling)

by admin

Names and Meanings

(Because everyone and everything has a meaning in this story)

Diodore-Means ‘Gift of God’

Voisin– Means ‘Neighbor’

Audric– Means ‘Long time ruler’

Stephan– Means ‘Crown’

Aillard– Means ‘Nobel Strength’

Sophie– Means ‘Wisdom’

Acelin– Means ‘Little Noble’

Belle- Means ‘Beautiful’

Jori– Means ‘Earth worker or Farmer’

Loois– Means ‘Famous Warrior’

Madame Gouvernante- Means ‘House Keeper ‘

Prologue

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, lived a handsome, noble and strong King and his Beautiful, yet wise Queen in a kingdom named Diodore. Diodore was a peaceful kingdom that preceded its name in beauty and grace, and all who lived there were happy, content, and felt truly blessed. Diodore was ruled by the Audric, and much like the meaning of their name, they had ruled this beautiful kingdom fairly and with love for their people since the day the first Audric built the Palace with their bare hands long ago.

King Aillard Stephan Audric sat on the throne noble, strong, and true. King Aillard had a beautiful, kind and wise bride named Sophie. They were madly in love with one another and were happy they had found love in a time where arranged marriages were the thing to do.Sophie wanted nothing more than to please her husband and King by giving him a family and heir to the throne. She succeeded in doing so and sadly died from childbirth bringing Acelin, Prince of Diodore, into the world.

With a heavy heart, the King had an ivory and white marble tomb commissioned in his wife’s honor. He had put his heart along with the love of his life inside of it. From that moment on, King Aillard could not grow to love his son, the Prince. He was an everyday reminder of his wonderful wife. Anger and resentment resided in the place where love and compassion once dwelled, and from that point on, the King distanced himself from the palace and everything that reminded him of his dearly departed. Leaving the head housekeeper Madame Gouvernante in charge, instructing her to give in to his son’s every whim and desire if only not to be bothered by him. And in doing so, the king had inadvertently turned his son into a beast. The years passed quickly and now Acelin, Prince of Diodore was turning twenty-one and would be formally engaged to his betrothed, Princess of Voison the neighboring Palace…

Chapter 1

-ACELIN ! Bellowed King Aillard.

Acelin shot up in his bed of naked, giggling concubines. He surveyed the chamber in search of his clothes. He knew by that bellow, he better not keep his father waiting.He had once again lost track of time and was late. Only this time he was late to his birthday party. A hand squeezed his semi-hard shaft and re-captured his attention. He closed his eyes in pleasure. His bedchamber doors flung open like a mighty burst of wind had rushed into the room, shaking the walls and startling the women in his bed. It was his father.

-OUT ! He commanded with a roar and Acelin watched as the scantily clad women squealed in fear and ran quickly to the nearest exits and out of his bedchamber.

He watched his father still standing in front of the open doors, looking like the portrait in the great room that held all the Audric nobles, stoic and strong. Acelin resembled his father in coloring but had his mother’s green sparkling eyes. Acelin wrapped the bed sheets around his narrow waist walked forward and bowed.

-Get up! his father snarled at him, and he obliged.

-Yes, your Majesty.

-You are not fit to be king ! A king remembers his duties and obligations !

Acelin stood there holding the bed sheet in place, looking down at the floor. His Strong jaw was clenched shut, holding in the venomous words he wanted to say to his father.

He rarely saw his father and when he did it was only for royal engagements. At times, he felt useless and wondered why he had been born.He didn’t want to be a king and at this very moment in his life he did not want to become married.He was rather content with bedding multiple women and drinking his life away. His mother was dead and he was the cause of it, or so he believed and his father hated him for it, The thought was sometimes too hard for him to bear. Those were the times when a bottle and a nice pair of warm and willing thighs came in handy.He didn’t want to marry some stuffy princess who couldn’t satisfy him. He had dark appetites. Things virgins and dainty ladies need not be privy to.

Today was his twenty-first birthday. There was a party going on downstairs. His bride to be was waiting downstairs for him, along with her father the king of Voisin and the other neighboring kingdoms.Acelin didn’t care. He didn’t want to be married. He didn’t want to be a king.

-You insult us all by not being at your own birthday party.

-You’re majesty that was not my intention. He lied.

-I know your intention. You are still a boy.

That comment from the King hurt. Acelin was a man, more of a man than his father would ever acknowledge.

-You think by not showing up you will forfeit your title to become King of Diodore. You will be King regardless and you will marry the Princess of Voison. That treaty cannot be broken just because you care for the company of drunkards and whores. You are my son, my only heir. You will become King and do your duty.

-This isn’t my duty.

-What did you say?

He was silent for a moment, the tone in his father’s voice scaring him a little. He had never openly challenged his father in anything.He watched as his father walked toward him and was only mere inches away.

-What did you say little noble? He called Acelin his childhood nickname.

-I said this isn’t my duty I want nothing to do with this kingdom. I renounce my throne. He started to shout it. In one fluid movement, the King’s knife was to his throat. Digging into his flesh.He stood still and the cold steel pressed deeper into his skin.

-Say it again. His father commanded calmly. He had never seen his father this crazed and he didn’t know what to think. His father’s cold gray eyes looked into his own and he felt a chill rush through him.He would not say the words because, in that instance, he knew his father would kill him.His father leaned in close to him and continued on, -Death is the only alternative to what you are asking. You are an Audric and for seven centuries we have reigned no Audric has ever renounced the throne. He pressed the steel harder and Acelin hissed, -And no Audric will. Do you understand?

Acelin nodded as best he could.

-I’m sorry my son, one day you will see I am doing this because I only want the best for you. He removed the blade from his tender flesh and put it back in its sheath on his side and walked back to the open doors. -Two days is what I can give you. A very generous offer from a king.

-Two days? Your Majesty?

-Two days to think about the offer. I will tell the guests you are not feeling well and that we will push the festivities of your birthday celebration back two days.

Acelin looked at his father. He despised the man and wondered how his mother ever came to love him. He had never seemed to have time for Acelin and even now he only seemed interested in his own motives and not about his son’s. He had no choice in the matter now it was either death or ruler of a kingdom that knew he would be an incompetent King. Two days it was. He planned on taking advantage of those days with wine, women, and song, in that order.

He bowed again to his father and watched as he exited his bedchamber he threw himself back on the bed. He was dumbfounded and shocked at how intense his father was and knew he was following in his footsteps with his take what you want and ask questions later attitude.It was getting him in trouble. But still he didn’t care. He was a King after all and King’s were made certain allowances.

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The storm raged on as Prince Acelin drank wine from in between a young blonde’s creamy thighs in front of a raging fire in the great room of the castle.The servants had made a giant pallet out of soft blankets and furs for the Prince and his guests. A buxom brunette,who was pouring wine on the blonde girl at the same time kissing her deeply as the wine was poured all over her body and dripped off into Acelin’s mouth as she straddled his face. his hands splayed wide on her firm buttocks. He was drinking the deliciously expensive wine, trying not to spill a drop, the blonde girl was giggling and squealing in pleasure and delight. His first night was going seemingly well, he remembered thinking, As his tongue now ensued the girls wet folds and he moved her hips back and forth on his face. He looked up at the girl, who was enjoying his ministrations. Her eyes were closed and she was biting her bottom lip. Her cheeks were flushed with passion and he knew she was close to orgasming so he licked faster. Just then, there was a loud clap of thunder and a great knock on the palace doors. everyone grew quiet. Acelin pushed the blonde girl off of him, grabbed his black silk robe, and walked barefoot to the great doors. He turned around to see the two ladies huddled together, holding on to one another.He turned back around and opened the doors. He was greeted by rain and lightning.

On the palace doorstep stood a sad and withered looking woman. She was drenched and she looked so sad.She made Acelin feel uncomfortable.

-Good evening to you Sir I was hoping you could help me.

-Sir ? He sneered -I’m no ‘sir’ you may call me Your Royal Highness.

He puffed out his chest, forgetting he was wearing a silk robe. The old woman laughed and it infuriated him.

-Why do you laugh? He barked.

-Because no King would be answering his own door now would he? She smiled and he saw that her two front teeth were missing. He was repulsed by the sight of her.

-Old woman, what do you want? His patience was wearing thin with this silly old woman. He didn’t have to explain to her that he had sent the servants away for these two days. It was none of her business, and besides, he had more interesting things to be doing and it involved the blonde and brunette in the great room waiting for him by the nice, warm fire.

-I was needing shelter for the night. My carriage and horse were damaged badly in the storm. I had to walk quite a ways to get here.I promise I won’t be any trouble Sir…er..your highness. Please have pity on a poor old woman.

-Stop your sniveling. I can’t give you shelter. Get off my doorstep and go find a nearby stable. Good evening to you, ma’am. He said as he slammed the door in the old woman’s face. He turned around to the ladies and sauntered back.

He heard another great rumble and felt the walls of the palace shaking. The ladies started screaming, and just as he turned around to look at the doors they burst off their hinges in a blaze of white light. It’s power and force flung him against the wall and he landed in a pile by the staircase. He heard his ragged breathing and the far off screaming of the ladies he had entertained. He thought he was being attacked by some of Diodore’s enemies and feared his father wouldn’t pay a reward for him. His head was spinning he felt dizzy and looked at the doorway it was filled with white light and softly dancing orbs and bubbles. He saw a being walking forward and noticed it was wearing the same cloak the old woman wore. It was the old woman, except it wasn’t an old woman. It was a beautiful young fair maiden with red flowing hair and matching red pouty lips.

-You dare not let me stay! She scathed walking toward Acelin.

He thought he was dreaming. Never in his life had he seen someone this strikingly beautiful. She looked like an angry angel to him.

-I’m sorry. He gasped painfully his ribs felt broken. When she was inches away from him she knelt down and cupped his face with both her small, delicate hands.

-Not yet you’re not. She said. He was puzzled. -You have been a very bad Prince. Selfish and indulgent to the point of gluttony. It’s disgusting really.You are born into a life of privilege and the power to literally change lives and yet, you are holed up here getting drunk and sated with whores. She stroked his hair and shook her head in disapproval.

. He could taste the blood in his mouth.Her voice was soft but firm it was the most hypnotic thing he had heard and knew she was fae, a magical being.

-Now I’m going to teach you a lesson my sweet Prince.One that I think is long overdue.

-Who are you? He coughed out. It hurt to talk. It hurt to breath.

-A friend. She said and touched him on his wrist. A jolt of electricity shot through him and his skin felt as if it was on fire.The burning sensation grew more intense by each second and before long Acelin was screaming from the pain. When he opened his eyes the pain was gone. His ribs felt great. He saw the witch staring at him. He smiled and she smiled back. She had a beautiful smile. It seemed to light up the room and make him forget about everything but her. She had saved his life, even if she was the one who initially threatened it.

-Thank you. He said slowing his breathing down.

-Don’t thank me just yet. She said and stuck her hand into his chest. The pain his skin felt had nothing on the way his heart was feeling. He watched as she pulled it out and there was no blood. It looked like a giant, bright red ruby. Acelin rubbed his chest.There was no opening or scar. She smiled at him.

-Watch. She held his crystalized heart in the palm of her small hand and closed her eyes.

He watched as he heard her whisper words of a foreign tongue and watched as his heart transformed into a red rose inside of a gold and glass case.

-What did you just do? He asked. He was stunned. This couldn’t be real.

– I made some changes. She said smiling. She snapped her fingers and a hand mirror appeared. She turned it toward him. He saw his reflection but did not recognize the marred, scarred, bald, and tattooed creature in it.

-What did you do to me? I’m hideous I’m a …

-Beast ? He looked at his reflection once more.-Yes you are, but you were that before this, no one could see it and now they can. The thing you hate, you have become, on the outside as well as in. You don’t have very much time to find a woman who will love you for you.

-Are you serious? Who will want me? I look like I am a burned pirate lunatic. Turn me back! He demanded. He stood up.

-I’m sorry this type of magic doesn’t work that way. The spell only breaks when you find true love. This castle is now enchanted by magic. Just ask for what you need and the house will provide. The mirror is your looking glass you can see anything or anyone from anywhere. When the last petal on your rose falls the spell is permanent.

-You cannot possibly be serious. Please don’t leave me like this. Please !

-What ? You’re scared no one will love you on the inside for who you truly are ?You still have two lovely ladies here don’t you?

-Yes, I do. You may be right. I will give it a go. He felt the witch squeeze his shoulder and he walked slowly back into the great room.

-Ladies, I’m back. Who wants to have more wine with me? He saw the two women’s faces they were scurrying to get their clothes on. They didn’t recognize him.-Ladies please it’s me Acelin.

-Very funny where’s his highness at?

-Ladies, I am his highness !

-No, you’re not ! He is gorgeous. You look like an overcooked morsel, the brunette said.

He hadn’t realized how mean and bratty she was until now.

-If his highness is wanting us to leave we’ll be needing our money.

His blood was boiling now. His father had been right all along. these women cared nothing for him only for what he gave them.

-His highness says leave at once and he will send you your money.

Both girls stood there unmoving

-NOW ! He roared and the two girls dressed in a hurry and left.

Prince Acelin let out a cry of pain and anguish.

He had become a beast.

Chapter 2

Six Months later

Belle was weeding the cottage walkway when she saw her father, Jori, Riding his Gray stallion Phillipe back home from his travels. She smiled brightly, got up, dusted off her light blue dress, and went to greet him. The Fall chill cloaked the air and Belle knew that Winter was quickly on its way. She was so happy to see her father he had been gone on business for a week and although she was proficient in running their small farm by herself, she still didn’t like the feeling of being alone on cold nights. On those particular nights, Belle would wrap herself up in her wool blanket she had made five summers ago, and sit in front of the fire and read. Belle loved to read and knew it should be considered a sin. Women were not allowed to read in her village and to do so meant that you were a wayward woman and could be condemned as a witch. Her loving father, however, felt it was necessary for her to learn how to read. He was an inventor as well as a farmer and sometimes he would write his instructions down and have Belle recite them back to him when he was assembling his inventions.

Like her name, Belle was beautiful by anyone’s standard. She had soft, wavy, shoulder length, brown hair that framed her heart shaped face and full pouty lips. Her hazel, almond shaped eyes always seemed to sparkle in the sunlight and the fact that she only had two dresses made her inner beauty stand out even more. She was humble, grateful, and kind to others. She went out of her way to make others feel comfortable. She was quite a catch, but she did not care.Belle was a dreamer. Her mother had left when she was but a child and ever since then she felt the need to take care of her loving Papa. She knew the townspeople were pressuring him to find a suitable match for her, but Belle also knew her father wanted her to find a love like the kind he had found in her mother.

She watched as her father dismounted from his horse. She smiled at him as he came to her, and hugged her tightly. He kissed her on both of her rosy cheeks. She hugged him back. He smelled of horseflesh and musk. She had missed her dear papa.

-Hello Papa how were your travels? She said standing back so she could look at him.

They shared the same coloring, but her features came from her mother. She saw his brown eyes sparkling and knew he had come back with good news. Finances had become scarce, but Belle and her father always seemed to make it. They were grateful to have one another and they were happy.

-It was wonderful my dear. Absolutely wonderful. I have sold all my inventions and found you a husband all in one strike, my dear.

Belle’s eyes opened a little wider due to the shock of what she had just heard.

-Papa ? She squeezed her gray wool hooded cloak closer to her. She never thought her Papa would follow through with it. She saw her father going in the direction of their stable. She stood there. He stopped and turned.

-Come on my dear. We have much to discuss over our supper. Get the fire ready for your old Papa.

She willed herself to move, and her legs obeyed.

She went into their small cottage and hung her cloak on the peg by the door. She wiped her damp slippers on the floor mat in front of the door and set to the task of making supper. Her father came in to find his home neat, and cozy. Belle had already set the small wooden table with plates and goblets. A chicken rested in the middle along with fresh greens. He watched as his daughter rounded the corner with a slender jug of wine.

-Come papa, Supper is ready. Let’s eat. She waited by the chair while her father took his boots, cloak, and hat off. He walked to the table and they both sat down.

He handed Belle his plate and she began Piling chicken, greens and bread on it. He had missed her wonderful cooking. He would miss her if she were to get married, but he had to do what was best, and that was to make sure his daughter was happy and safe before he left this planet.

Belle put smaller portions on her plate and after pouring the wine for both of them Jori said grace.

-Heavenly Father thank you for this food we are about to receive for the nourishment of our bodies. Thank you for the many blessings you continue to bestow upon me and my daughter Belle. Amen.

-Amen. She waited until he started eating to begin.- Papa, please tell me all about your trip.

– My dear, it was wonderful. He said as he took a bite of greens. -I showed my inventions and no one seemed the least bit interested. They never do until they see it work.Yes fools, the whole lot. Calling my lovely inventions the devil’s work. Some of these inventions could save a farmer’s back or two in the fields.

Belle knew if she let her Papa continue he would completely lose track of the conversation and she would never find out about the man he had planned to have her marry.

-Papa, please continue, she gently prompted.

-I’m sorry my dear.I do love my inventions.Where was I? Oh yes, I showed them my latest farming invention and after Monsieur Loois’ valet approached me and asked if I would have an audience with him. He had a tent over on the hilltop looked like a tent that alexander the great would have! With greek sculptures and weapons of the likes. Some I’ve never seen. Yes, he is a good man. The whole town talks of what a brave warrior he is in Voisin.

Belle and her father had resided in Voisin since she could remember. Although she resided in Voisin, Belle rarely went to town. Her father would bring her books upon books from his travels, and the farm provided them with their necessities. Her Papa, however, always had a need to go to town to speak with the blacksmith about fashioning iron strips and metal screws for his inventions, and she knew he was telling her the truth.

– I sat down with him. Over a glass of chilled wine, we talked of all the inventions I have made and then he propositioned me.

Belle slowly chewed the chicken in her mouth. This was the news she had been dreading.

-Monsieur Loois offered to buy every single one of my inventions if he could marry you.We would be rich Belle! Just think of it! I could get a proper home and have servants and work hands for the farm.

Belle was astonished at what her papa was saying to her. She felt betrayed and alone in the world. If her mother was here surely she would be on her side.

-My Belle, please don’t be upset with your old Papa.

-Papa ! How could I not be? You made a deal with me as the barter. I have absolutely no say in this matter. What happened to wait for my true love?

-Ah, Belle. She interrupted him and kept speaking.

-What you did was down right low Papa. All for fame and money.

-Hush child you know of no such things.

-I’m not a child any longer Papa. You just sold me to the highest bidder!

She got up from the table, suddenly unable to finish the meal. It seemed spoiled now. Just like her mood. Their home seemed smaller now. She wanted to run, wanted to flee. She wrapped her arms around herself. She felt so empty. She was to be married to a man she didn’t know. A loveless marriage. It would break her. Her back was to her father. She was standing by the fireplace but seemed immune to feeling the warmth of the fire that blazed.

-We are going to lose the farm, Belle. Her Papa said simply. She could hear the tears and shame in his voice.She knew he was speaking the truth.

She turned around to see her Papa sobbing with his head in his hands. He looked defeated. She walked back over to the table and sat down beside him. She wrapped her arm around him.

-Papa, I’m sure it’s not that bad.

-Yes, my child, yes it is. I am in debt. I owe a very large sum of money.

-But why Papa? We have everything we need right here.

-For my inventions. I thought at least one would turn a profit, and none did. I just kept borrowing and borrowing. I used our home as collateral.

-Papa !

-I have to pay them Belle or We lose it all, and I go to debtors prison. He sobbed more. -Of course, I wanted you to marry for love. This is the only way my child, my Belle. I pray that you will grow to love Monsieur Loois and he will give you the world and me some grandchildren.

Belle tried to imagine that, but couldn’t, she didn’t even know what he looked like.

-I’m so sorry Belle. Her Papa repeated, and her heart ached for him.

She knew he loved her, but he was right. This was the only way. She poured more wine into his goblet and removed the food and trenchers from the table. She needed to think about everything that was said. Her Papa had shocked her with his omission. Her nerves were on edge.

-Papa, I am going to go get some more firewood. She went to the door, put her thin cloak back on, and opened it.

A large starkly handsome man was taking up the entire doorway. Belle had to look up at the handsome stranger with bright aqua blue eyes and raven black hair that was tied up at the nape of his neck. He looked like a hunter.

-Good Evening my lady, you must be Belle.

Belle looked back at her Papa who was drinking wine and refilling his glass. She looked back at the handsome man who was starig at her quite intently.

-Yes, I am Belle. Who do I have the pleasure of meeting?

He gave her a breathtaking smile.

-The name is Monsieur Loois, at your service Mademoiselle.

-Enchanted to make your acquaintance Monsieur. She curtsied quickly. -If you will excuse me.

-Aren’t you going to invite me in? He said oozing charm.

Now Belle didn’t think he was so handsome.

-I would, but alas, I am going out.

-May I go with you then?

Belle was annoyed now. He was the very reason she was trying to get out of the house. He had inadvertently made things in her life difficult. She was a good girl and in being so she accepted his request.

-Yes, I could use the company. She lied.

She smiled and he smiled back.

-Look at you two getting on so quickly. She heard her father say over her shoulder. He smelled of wine, and his words were beginning to slur.

-Evening to you Monsieur Jori, Loois said -I have come by to drop off the contract. Me and your exquisite daughter are going for a stroll.

-Oh, no Monsieur. I am merely going to get firewood, but we could get firewood and have a stroll, perhaps.

He inclined his head and smiled at her. -Of course Belle.

– My valet has them. Belle.He said and took her arm and the two walked toward the woodpile beside the stable.

The two walked quietly towards the pile of wood. It was Loois who broke the silence.

-Do you often get the firewood, Belle?

-Yes, I do.

-What else do you do on this farm frequently? They reached the wood pile. It was neatly stacked rows of cedar.

-If you please Monsieur, she said and Loois held out his rippling arms.

He wore a white shirt. His skin looked tan, and tufts of black hair sprinkled his forearms. She wondered if he was hairy all over. She blushed.and continued speaking.

-I cook and clean the cottage. I get the eggs every morning. I help plow the garden and tend to that, but Papa has an invention that will help me along in that area. She stacked more on as she talked.-He leaves me for weeks at a time and I run the entire thing except the mill.

-You are quite a woman. A catch really, he said holding the wood.

He watched Belle wipe her hands on her thin cloak.

-When we marry you will never work on a farm or have to be bothered with your crazy father’s inventions.

She shot him a look when he said that. She hated the term ‘crazy’ used in conjunction with describing her father. She thought he was innovative and fun-loving. They walked back to the cottage and deposited the firewood in the covered wooden box where they stored their firewood. Loois grabbed her by her hand and began walking in the opposite direction.She had no choice but to follow him. She felt knots in her stomach. She had never been alone with a man before, other than her father, and she had never been alone with someone this manly and large. She felt vulnerable. When they reached the fence line of the cottage. They stopped and leaned against it.

-Belle, I must say that you are beautiful, smart, and kind. You will bear me, many sons.Our union will have the entire town of Voisin talking. The King himself may show up if I marry a tasty morsel like you.

Belle knew she should feel flattered, but deep down this didn’t feel right. There was no chemistry, no spark, and he had just called her a ‘morsel’. He seemed more interested in her good looks and her ability to sire him children, more than he did about her true feelings of being married to a complete stranger. It baffled her and it made her a little sad. She remembered her Papa had said he prayed that she would grow to love him and she prayed then, to herself, that his prayer would come true. She decided then she would do this for her father.She would do her duty as his only daughter. She would marry this man. She pasted on her best smile.

-Thank you Monsieur I am glad you feel that I am a perfect match for you. I can only blush at your praises. She looked down. Hoping she was giving off a demure air.

Loois grabbed her by her shoulders and planted a hard teeth jarring kiss on her mouth. She was shocked at first and then she reacted. She pushed against his rock solid chest, but he did not move. She pulled away and broke the kiss.She was out of breath and a little bewildered.

-Belle, ma cher, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t resist. He walked forward.

She walked back.

-I should go! She rushed.

He walked forward once again and grabbed her by the waist quickly.

-Please, she whispered as she looked into his aqua blue eyes.She was in his clutches.There was no escape.

He looked as if he wanted to say something to her, but instead slowly let her go. She lightly jogged back into the cottage. Once inside she closed the door behind her and fell back on it. Her breathing was shaky. She didn’t know what to do about Monsieur Loois kissing her like that. She didn’t like it. It was far too rough. She put her fingers to her bruised lips.

-Belle ? Is everything alright?

She jumped at the sound of her Papa’s voice.

-Yes, Papa. Everything is fine.

-How was your walk with Monsieur Loois? He said smiling. She could tell he was really in his cups.

-Lovely Papa. We talked about …the future. She didn’t want to lie to her Papa.

-Sounds grand already. See how it worked out for us. He smiled and took another sip of his wine.

-Papa come sit in your chair by the fire. It’s growing dark and chilly. She said.

She wanted to get her mind off of what just happened.

There was a knock on the door. The sun had gone down, and Belle and her Papa had not been expecting company. Papa got up from the table and answered the door. It was Monsieur Loois’ Valet yet again, this time, carrying an invitation to his country estate in Voisin in two days time. Jori took the invitation and the valet left. He closed the door and walked over to his chair. once situated he spoke.

-He sent us an invitation to his country home. This is coming along lovely isn’t it. Her father was smiling so big now, turning the invitation over in his hands. He had a look of happiness to him now.

She wanted to tell him about the kiss that had happened between she and Loois but knew he was too drunk to care or remember, so she kept quiet about it.Next time she would just be more wary of his advances. It wasn’t long before her Papa was asleep in his favorite chair in front of the fire. Belle was in her room, lying on the bed and crying as quietly as she could. She would never have true love in her life. She felt her heart breaking and prayed for the strength to go through with it.

Monsuier Loois’ Country Estate In Voisin

Belle’s father had not exaggerated when he had told her Monsieur Loois had extravagant taste. His country estate looked like something she had read about in her Greek Mythology books.The butler had taken both her and her father’s cloaks and now they sat in a room waiting for Monsieur Loois. He came in with a flourish wearing the same garb he had worn when Belle had first met him, the only difference being he had on black Hessians instead of the brown boots he wore previously. He still looked extremely handsome and by the trophies, and plaques and the extravagant decor, Belle had a feeling he knew he was handsome.

-Welcome to my humble abode. He said walking over to Belle and her father.

Jori stood and shook Loois’ hand. Belle smiled and Monsieur Loois placed a soft sweet kiss on her cheek and then kissed her hand. She felt her cheeks growing red. He winked at her.

-I will have my man show you to your rooms. We will have dinner tonight. He smiled and walked toward her once more.-Belle I have some gifts for you in your room. Please wear them to dinner.

-Yes, Monsieur. She said keeping her gaze downcast.

She felt so awkward. A strange man kissing her and giving her gifts. At least he didn’t kiss her like he had before. She thought to herself.

-Please call me Loois. I ‘m to be your husband. No need for formalities. He looked to her father.

-Belle Monsui- er Loois is right.We are soon to be a family. This is for you, son. Jori reached into his breast pocket and removed the contract.

-Please, Papa Jori not now, we will discuss it over dinner. I am sure you are both in need of rest and refreshment. I have other matters to see to please forgive me.

-Yes, monsieur. Belle said hoping she didn’t sound relieved. Every second she stayed near him the faster she wanted to run.

-Yes son, see you at supper. Her Papa calling him ‘son’ seemed to irritate her.

Loois was gone and his butler appeared taking them upstairs to their bedchambers.

-Mademoiselle Belle will sleep in the adjoining chamber as Master Loois .

Belle felt like her knees would give away.

-Isn’t the adjoining chamber for his wife? She asked. knowing it would be considered improper. She hoped the butler would see his error and move her.

-I was under the assumption that you will be very soon mademoiselle. I was informed by the master to make this your home.Was I mistaken? Do I need to contact the master?

She felt like his cold silver eyes were shooting daggers at her. Daring her to protest.

Her home? She was just visiting. She was going back home with her father. She turned to look at him.

-Papa? She whispered, hoping he would speak up for her.

-Belle, darling, I’m sure it is a lovely room.

She turned back around to look at the Butler.

-No, You were not mistaken. The butler opened her bedchamber. She saw her small bag sitting on the large mahogany four-poster bed.

-If that will be all madame? He said.

She walked over the threshold and turned around. She thought she saw a glimpse of sadness on her Papa’s eyes but when she looked again it was not there.

-Papa ? Will you be alright?

-Of course child. I will be in the last room down the hall. I promise. Get some rest. He insisted.

She nodded her head and the butler closed the door.

She was alone in a room bigger than the farm her and her dear Papa had. She looked around and was impressed by the white and gold Grecian decor he had used for this room. the ceiling was painted like it was a sky and the clouds held cute little cherubs playing harps on them. It was a beautiful room. She looked to the big. It was enormous.

She took off her slippers, walked up the side steps of the bed and crawled into the comfortable bed. It was soft, Unlike the hay mattress she was accustomed to sleeping on back at her home. She let out a sigh of contentment. This wasn’t so bad, she thought as her bottom sunk into the soft mattress.

She noticed the three square shaped white boxes with black satin ribbon bows on them. Loois had said he gotten her gifts. She smiled at the thoughtful gifts and knew she should at least try to warm up to him. He was making an effort to make her feel wanted. She opened the first box, and inside she found a red cloak, made of satin, with red mink lining. It was beautiful and Belle knew it had to have been extremely expensive. She put the red fur to her cheeks. it felt soft and comfortable and it brought a smile to her face.

She hated to complain because he knew her father did his best, but this gift was a much-needed one. her cloak was worn and she had outgrown it four summers ago, but they never had the money to buy fabric for new garments.They were always investing in Papa’s inventions.They had finally paid off it seemed.

She was grateful for that gift. She gently placed the cloak at the foot of the bed and moved on to the second gift. It was a thin Red chemise. Belle held it up to her hand and could see her hand through the sheer material. She blushed. When would she wear this outfit? She put it back in the box and opened her third gift. she smiled as she opened the box and was greeted by a sparkling sapphire necklace. They winked and smiled at her. She couldn’t believe he had given her such an extravagant gift. she looked back into the box and saw he had also purchased a dress for her. It was deep blue and current with the fashion. The plunging neckline detailed with powder blue lace. She didn’t have a lady’s maid so she didn’t know how she would get dressed for the evening. Her dresses never had as many buttons and stays as the one she held in her hands.

There was a knock at the door.

-You may enter. Belle said. Her voice echoed in the chamber. She was still admiring the dress.

-Belle my darling?

-Papa? I’m in this enormous bed. One moment.

She climbed down from the bed and stood in front of her Papa.

-What is Papa? Is your room not to your liking? Is it as big as mine?

-No, it isn’t that. My dear, I must leave.

-But why? We just arrived here. Papa, I thought you were to be my escort here?

-My dear Belle, it seems I have some business to tend to.An urgent matter has come up and I must see to it immediately. I will only be gone a day, two at the maximum.

-Papa ? Surely you can say no. Surely Loois will understand. you are my father.

-And that is why I must go.

-He is doing this to get me alone with him isn’t he? Papa, we should leave now. Forget the gifts. Let’s just go we will find money elsewhere.

-Calm down my child. Calm down. I promise only a day if I am not back you come and find me ok? You have my permission to leave this place and find your Papa. But I do not think It will come to that. I will come back and we will continue getting to know your fiance, and you will see he is a good man, and you will fall in love with him.

Belle tried to stay positive like her father. He always saw the brighter side of life in general. Maybe it was because she was a reader and had an overactive imagination, but belle saw the truth. Loois was up to something. She hugged her Papa tight and he kissed her forehead.

-I love you, Belle. I must go. He let go of her and left her room without looking back.

Shortly after the butler sent a ladies maid to bathe and dress Belle. She was a very sweet girl no more than fifteen.Belle didn’t recognize herself in the mirror. She looked so polished, So beautiful, and clean. She smiled at her reflection. Her brown eyes sparkling just like the necklace of sapphires that she wore.

-Mademoiselle, you look magnificent. Master Loois is very lucky to have such a beautiful bride.

Belle blushed.

-Thank you. She said and the lady’s maid escorted her to the dining room.

They walked in silence. Belle felt nervous and was scared she might trip over her new dress. She really did feel like a princess. The dining room was extravagantly decorated as well and the table was laden with different dishes. Belle felt her stomach growl. She was hungry it had been quite a journey here. She hadn’t eaten since before the sun came up that day.She had shared a piece of bread and cheese with her Papa.

The butler opened the dining room doors and announced Belle.

-Madame Belle.

He moved out of the entryway and she walked through it. Loois was standing at the head of the long dining room table. Looking the part of handsome Master of the house.He looked cleanly shaven and his clothing had been changed. He smiled at her when she entered the room. She instinctively smiled back as she proceeded in his direction.

-Please, he said holding up his hand. She halted,- Walk slowly. He commanded and she did.

She felt his hard gaze on her as she slowly walked to her seat which was beside him at the table. Once she got there he assisted her in sitting and then sat down.

-Please forgive me, and thank you for your indulgence. You look ravishing in that dress, my dear. Loois said as his eyes scanned her body.

She felt like she was wearing nothing the way he was staring at her. She sat there feeling out of place. She wasn’t used to such grand luxury or a man looking at her the way he was. She smiled and looked down before he could see her cheeks flush. She wished she could control that.

-Did you find the accommodations to your liking, my dear? he asked as he poured them both chilled champagne.

She leaned forward and touched the flute it was cold to her touch and she smiled, she had never had chilled spirits before.Realizing she wasn’t alone and that Loois was watching her, she put her hand back in her lap. He smiled again and the butler began fixing their plates.

-Yes, I did. Thank you for the lovely gifts.She said .

Truthfully she felt grateful, but at the same time she felt trapped, obligated and conflicted. Belle felt sad, she wished her Papa was there and hoped he was alright.She hated that he had struck this deal with Loois. It still seemed surreal to her.Here she was in a miniature greek palace, wearing the finest clothes and being treated like a princess and all she wanted was to be back home cuddled up by the fire reading a book. She was out of her element.

-I hope I can continue to be accommodating for you even after we marry. He continued as the butler draped his napkin in his lap. Another servant did the same for Belle and when the deed was done they quietly dismissed themselves. -You will be the lady of this house soon. No more milking cows and having your nose stuck in a book. You will be a wife. You will entertain my guests as I have an inclination towards politics. You will also be the mother of my children.

-Loois. I was wondering. She realized she had cut him off. She looked at him to see his reaction when she saw none she continued. -When is our wedding date?

-In two days time. Your father had to go on a small expedition for me. He will return shortly. After that, we marry and begin our lives together. Until then, consider my home away from home.

-My father gave me permission to leave whenever I see fit Monsieur.

-Your Papa is not here. I am. He said the words with finality and Belle knew he was serious. He would not let her leave.

-Loois, Why me?

-Believe it or not I have known about you since I came back from the great war. I noticed you in town one day. You were walking through town, contently reading a rather large book, looking beautiful as ever, Not giving a care to the world. I asked about you. Everyone says besides the fact that your father corrupted you into reading. That comment made her smile.-you are kind and humble,as beautiful inside as you are out. I deserve a wife like you. Your father is a good man, he knows nothing of it. I was too shy in broaching the subject. He looked at her and waited for her to nod. She obliged him. He went on -His inventions really are amazing. Please don’t mention it. Let it stay between husband and wife.He winked at her.

He kept saying that and she felt dizzy every time. Her corset seemed to be making it harder for her to breath. She was never one to wear the latest fashions.Loois was laying out her life with him and not once did he ask if it was alright with her. He didn’t have to because he bought her. Her heart sank and she looked at the food on her plate. It looked delicious, but she could not bear to eat it. Her appetite had been spoiled. So she moved her food around on her plate with her fork.

They ate in silence for a moment. Loois barely taking his eyes off of Belle.She couldn’t eat she was too worried about Papa.She had a nagging feeling there would be trouble for him and herself…..

(Full story available on Amazon /Kindle books)