posted on 16-Aug-2002 5:18:14 AM by Sugarplum7
The Beauty Within

Author:
Katie (Sugarplum7)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, and I have no affiliation with Disney or Roswell.
Rating: G/PG
Category: AU, fairytale
Coupling: Max and Liz
Email: Sugarplmfarie7⊕yahoo.com
Distribution: If you wish to have it on your site just ask. I will most likely say yes.
Feedback: Oh, please. I love the stuff. It really gets me to want to write more.

Author’s Note:
After going to Disneyland for vacation it left me with this idea. I don’t know if anyone would care to read it, but I will figure that out shortly, won’t I. I thought that it would be interesting to create a collection of fairytale type of short stories based on the Disney movies that most of us love. I only know of two or three that I will try to do if you all like this idea.

Summary:
Well, have you seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? That is what this one is pretty much about.



The Beauty Within
Prologue



I have a story to tell you all. Would you care to listen? Come on, pull up a soft cushion and join me by this nice fire. It will only take a small portion of your day. You see my mother, who had been gifted by her own mother with this very same book, has given it to me. It has been passed down from generation to generation, and I was just about to read one of my favorite stories from it. Would you like to hear it? You will join me, won’t you?

Well, thank you. I have always enjoyed your company. It looks old doesn’t it? Like everyone always says, you can’t judge a book by its cover, this is one of them. It shows how loved these stories are in our family because of the worn binding and aged pages. And that lesson was something that is in this story I will tell you.

Are you ready to listen? For you blanket people, you have your blankets? Everyone’s comfy? Good. Here we go.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away from here a young girl who lived in a small provincial town dreamed of more. She dreamed of adventures and a life out of her reach. In order to pacify these dreams she normally had her nose buried in various books. She lived vicariously though the fantasies woven by writers, always losing herself in their tales.

Her dreams of a different life—a better life—set her apart from the fellow citizens of the small town. They all were content with mediocrity. Her dreams were not the only thing that set her apart from them. Her appearance made the other girls in the land envious. It often lured many boys’ gazes. Enchanted, they stared and admired her. What would the girls give for her silky hair, her warm smile, and those deep chocolate eyes? What would the boys sacrifice to spend time staring into the warm depths of her gaze, losing themselves in her pleasant company?

You may think that our story begins here, but on the contrary, it begins even before this. You see years before an event took place that would prove to this young girl’s advantage. This would be her opportunity for a different life. A life that is full of possibilities. The choice, however, masqueraded as a punishment.

A few years ago there lived a prince. This prince was not like any you would imagine. Yes he was handsome, and yes he was rich, but his riches and beauty made him selfish and unkind. He cared not for others. He had many servants, and many cared for him, but he showed no love, no generosity in return.

One night, when the wind was cold and biting, and the rain was harsh, a beggar came knocking on his castle door, asking him to have pity on her. She only sought shelter from the cold, stormy night. She did not have any money to pay him for his kindness, but she did have a single red rose, which she would gift him with in return for a place to stay throughout the storm.

The young prince laughed at her gift. He was not about to allow her shelter because of a single rose, not even one hundred roses could turn his head. He had no need for the rose, and he was not about to do something for her out of what others called kindness. She looked at him once more and again begged for shelter. She told him, as many parents often tell their children, not to be fooled by appearances. “This rose,” she said, “ is more than just a normal rose. It is enchanted.”

His eyes strayed from hers to the single delicate rose held between her gnarled fingers. It did not last long and he looked back to her while his eyes held a deep feeling of boredom. He turned away and proceeded to close the door in her face.

The rain continued to pour down and the loud sound of thunder clapped in the sky. It shook the walls of the castle. A bright light illuminated the sky, spreading light in all directions. The prince, startled and surprised, turned and faced the open doorway, the light catching his attention, and the once ugly beggar changed appearances right before his eyes.

Her once wet, haggard appearance changed miraculously before his eyes. She was now far more beautiful than anyone would have imagined. Her skin shone with an inner light, and her deep violet eyes stared into his shocked honey-brown ones. Her once common brown robes draped around her body changed into the softest silks of the most deep vibrant green shade imaginable. Black tendrils fell past her shoulders in a sea of waves and her lips were a perfect red pout. She was beautiful.

Now seeing her true appearance he begged for her forgiveness, for he did not know who she was. He offered her shelter, he offered her wealth, and he offered her anything her heart desired for her forgiveness in his last act. It did not work. She had seen his true worth. She knew that he had no love in his heart for others. She saw that he only looked at a person’s outside appearance, thinking that their inner worth was revealed.

She found it fitting if this was true in his case. With ease she transformed his once handsome appearance into what he truly was—a beast. She changed everything about him to be mirrored by his personality. The only thing the same about him were his eyes. They mirrored the pain he felt in his transformation. Her magic was more powerful than one could imagine. Her spell reached not only him, but all others in the castle. Her spell enchanted the castle, not leaving one person or animal unaffected. She left, but not without telling him what and why she had done this.

“You, who judge others on their outer appearances, will now be judged in the same way. I have replaced your hands with paws with sharp claws. You can use them to scathe others as your words once did. Thick coarse fur covers your body, giving you a monstrous appearance. You are now more animal than man, the same as your inner worth.

You wish to be what you once were, a handsome prince. I am not saying that it is impossible, but it will be a challenge. The rose that I have given you is enchanted as I said. It will continue to bloom until your twenty-first year of life. After that it will continue to wilt as any other rose. You must learn how to love another and also earn their love in return before the last petal falls to regain your true appearance and break the spell. All affected will be as they once were. The enchantment will have ended. If you are unable to do this you will remain the beast that you are forever.

As a gift I give you this mirror. It is a window into the world. Simply speak what you wish to see and it will be shown. Remember . . . until the last petal falls.” In a brilliant flash she disappeared and left the beastly prince with the two gifts she bestowed. A broken boy he returned into the castle and secluded himself to his rooms.

Time continued to pass, and season faded into other seasons. Winter melted into spring, and spring bloomed into summer. Summer wilted into autumn, and autumn continued to cool into winter. The cycles of seasons continued to flow, and years flew by. The prince began to lose hope. He was still a monster. Nothing changed in the least. No one came to see him since no one knew he was there. Even if he was able to fall in love. The task almost impossible because the years hardened his heart to a granite stone.

Time was running out and he began to despair. If there was a girl out there to soften his heart, there was no way she could fall in love with him. No one could.

Who could possibly love . . . a beast?


To be continued???


Okay, so that is my idea, come up with a collection of Disney fairytales with a Roswell twist. Anyone like?

Oh! And for those of you who read A Father’s Legacy no worries. I definitely plan on continuing it. The others are looking a little shady though. I just thought that I would take a trip on the lighter side of things and do something a little fluffier and not so steeped in prophecies and mythology. You know?

Hugs to my readers. I will be back to continue with story time if you want me to.

Sweet Roswellian Dreams,
Katie

PS. Isn’t Disneyland great? I mean a place with the entry words “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” It is just magical. “There’s magic in the stars . . .”



[ edited 6 time(s), last at 17-Sep-2002 4:03:34 AM ]
posted on 19-Aug-2002 3:57:22 PM by Sugarplum7
Hi Everyone!

I am just here to let you all know how much your feedback means to me. Thank you so much for your kind words. I don't have a lot of time to post a long thank you to everyone, but there will be one, I promise.

Classes started up for me once again. It looks like my time to write is going to be cut, so it might be longer between updates, but I am going to comtinue. I am having so much fun with this, and the idea is just so fun. It just might take a while to finish.

You don't mind, do you?

Again, thank you so much!

Hugs,
Katie
*angel*

posted on 22-Aug-2002 4:00:08 AM by Sugarplum7
Hello guys and girls!

I am just giving you a heads up, and making things easier for me. I am planning on updating this tomorrow, but seeing as it it 1:00 A.M. my time it will be later on today. If you see this, stay tuned, Chapter One is coming up.

OH! There will also be a very important author's question! *bounce*

Bump! So I can find it and update it later.

Hugs,
Katie

PS. Do you all know how much I treasure you?


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Aug-2002 4:02:44 AM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2002 3:33:41 AM by Sugarplum7
Hi everyone!

Thank you all so much for leaving me your thoughts on my idea. You are all awesome. Well, it looks like I already have requests on what Disney tale I take on next. Heehee! This one isn’t even done with. You guys are so wonderful. Just to let you know, when I said that I had maybe two others in mind after this one, I was thinking about Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid. Both are faves of mine.

I have a nice long chapter. For those of you used to me, yes it is in two posts. This is pretty closely tied into the movie, but there are some differences. There are some lines similar, but I tried to add stuff. Just another disclaimer: I don’t own the idea or basic plot for this fic. It is based on the Disney fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Hugs,
Katie
*angel*




Stay tuned after the part for an Author’s Question (Announcement).


The Beauty Within

Chapter One



The small town was bustling with activity this morning. The small shops that lined the street were filled with customers, shopping for the fresh goods they needed. The bread was soft and warm, filling the bakery with its sweet aroma. The simple scent brought smiles to little children standing there with their mothers.

The tavern was a completely different story. It was not bustling with the activity it was on the previous night. This was usually the case. All the nightly noise in the town was found here. Men shouted and laughed loudly, songs of merriment carried out the door and into the street illuminated with lamps. The front door of the tavern opened and out stepped the heartthrob of the small town, Kevin. His light blue eyes gleamed and a smile that made girls in town swoon covered his lips. Gleaming white teeth shone and sparkled in the warm sunlight. With confident strides he stepped father out into the outside street.

“Isn’t the morning great, Nicholas?” He asked after taking a deep breath of morning air into his lungs. He waited for a reply, and when he didn’t hear it he looked behind to see that no one was there. Silent grumbling broke the pleasant song of the lark as he tried to calm the anger that bubbled within him.

“Oh, wait, I’m . . . I’m coming.” Nicholas clumsily fell into the front door after tripping over his untied laces of his shoes. He stumbled a couple paces and then fell over a stool not pushed into the table. His head banged into the door, opening it but also creating a large bump on his forehead. He rubbed the newly growing lump and dusted off his clothes. “I’m here. Ow.”

“Isn’t it a lovely morning?” Kevin asked again, now sure that his comment was heard.

“Yeah, the best,” Nicholas replied with false enthusiasm. “Lovely if you like getting clobbered in the head with a thick wooden door,” he whispered to himself.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.” He smiled at the tall man who towered over him. “So what are we doing today?” Nicholas looked out onto the street, seeing the normal girls who stared and admired Kevin.

“Today is the day.”

“The day? What day?”

“Today is the day I ask Liz to marry me. What other day did you think that it would be?” With a slight roll of his eyes and a heavy sigh he returned to looking around at the bustling people.

“Umm, not that I don’t like your plan, boss, but do you think it is wise? I mean, sure Liz is great, but she hasn’t shown any interest in you. The most attention she paid you was when you . . . Actually she didn’t pay any attention then. Oh! There was the time when . . . Nope, another no. She hasn’t paid any attention to you.”

“That is going to change. I am the best. No one in this town is better than me. How could she resist? I am simply irresistible.”

“Well, uh,” Nicholas said as he tried to hide his true feelings.

“She is beautiful. She is the most beautiful girl in town, making her the best possible choice. If any guy here deserves the best it is I. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yeah, oh of course, sir. You are the best.” Now it was Nicholas’ turn to roll his eyes at the idea of Kevin being utter perfection.

They walked down the street as the sun gleamed off Kevin’s golden skin. They passed the trio of girls normally seen with their eyes on Kevin.

“Isn’t he amazing?” Tess asked her friends as she looked out across the street as Kevin and Nicholas strode by.

“Oh I know. If only he would choose me!” Pam said as her eyes glittered with the possibilities.

“Come on, Pam. If he would choose anyone other than that stupid bookworm, Liz, it would be me.” Vicky said as she took things into her own hands. The two girls on either side of her skipped behind her as they all made their way across the street to greet the two boys.

“Good morning, Kevin,” the three of them said breathlessly. Being this close to their vision of perfection was depriving their already deprived brain of the needed oxygen.

“Good morning,” he replied, not looking into either of their eyes until he scanned the street to see if Liz’s familiar face could be seen in the crowd. After a quick sweep he gave each a lopsided grin and then continued to walk down the street to continue to look for his prize.

The girls, having received attention from him, sighed as their knees buckled and they fell into a heap of limbs and bodies on the side of the street. A mantra could be heard as they all stared blankly into the sky. “He smiled at me. He spoke to me.”


~*~ ~*~ ~*~



“Dad?” Liz said into the vacant house as the fire continued to burn itself out. “Dad?” She sauntered down the stairs. And just like the normal picture for her, had a book in her hand. Many people in town, including her father, would tell you that she never left her house without it. Her brown hair was tucked back in a low ponytail, gleaming in the sunlight that entered through the windows.

She walked through the room and picked up the items out of place. Her father may be a great inventor, but keeping tidy was not something that he normally did. Lucky for him, his daughter took after her mother in many aspects, including finding enjoyment keeping the house clean. He was lucky because the young Nancy Parker, tried as she might, was too weak to survive childbirth. She did however find contentment in her last moments of life. She had given her husband the greatest gift she could have—a daughter. She spent her last breath holding the small baby close to her heart, whispering words of love and cherishment.

Liz picked up her basket and placed the book in it, along with an apple for a snack. She covered it with soft linen cloth and walked out the door to head off to see her father. She was not surprised that he was not in the house. The science fair, where all the greatest inventors in neighboring lands, was drawing nearer, a couple days away to be exact. His invention still needed some fine-tuning and a little improvement, and he spent every moment he could perfecting it.

She gently, slowly opened the door and peaked down into the room. “Dad?” she called out. “I am going into town to return the book I borrowed.”

“Huh?” he asked as he stopped what he was doing to walk over to her.

“I’m going into town. I need to return the book I borrowed from Mr. Culler,” she told him.

“Oh,” he said. “Okay.”

“Here,” she pulled the linen to the side and handed him the apple she packed. “Be sure to eat it,” she told him. He often got lost in his work and forgot about normal things like eating and drinking. She was sure that he did not even eat breakfast this morning.

He took the apple she placed in his hand and put it on the table beside the door. He smiled at her in thanks before asking another question. “Returning the book? But I thought you just got it yesterday?”

She looked down into the basket before she looked up to meet his gaze. “I did,” was her simple reply. “I finished it already.”

He smiled at her again and said, “Have fun,” before he turned to get back to his invention. He shook his head and chuckled lightly. She did take after Nancy. Her daughter had a passion for reading. He loved it. That was one reason he never gave up inventing. He wanted to give her a better life. The kind of life she dreamed of. He felt bad that she was born into a home where spare money was a rarity. She deserved more. This invention he was working on would revolutionize everything. With this, he could give her that gift.

The walk into town was normal. She passed the same people, the same houses, as she walked down the single path that led into town. She greeted everyone she saw with a smile on her face, asking them how they were doing and how things were going. Never once did she dismiss a person’s greeting.

Business was bustling in the streets as people made their way through the crowds to get to their destination. She did the same, but at a slower pace. She took her time, and never once did she frown. The door to the Phillip Culler’s shop was open as usual. A small chime of a bell indicated her arrival.

She looked at his back as she stepped into the room. His well used hands, shown his age, slightly gnarled, but still gentle in their touch. His skin was pale and in places she thought you could see the blood flow through his veins but she did not care. He was the only person in this town she felt comfortable talking to, other than her father of course. His hair fell atop his head in light, soft silvery white curls.

He did not have to look up. At once he knew who was at the door, but it did surprise him. “Hello, Liz.” he said cheerily. “Back so soon?”

“Yes. I came to return this,” she said as she walked to him with the book in her hand.

“You didn’t like it?” He asked as he looked deeply into her warm brown eyes. Normally you would think of gray eyes as being cold, unfeeling, hard like granite, but his were none of the above. They were warm, full of emotion, and soft like a down pillow. They had years of experience hidden away in their depths, and changed with every emotion. His eyes were the eyes she imagined her grandfather had, if he was alive.

“Oh, no! I loved it.”

“Why are you returning it then? You picked it up just yesterday.” He took it from her and looked questioningly in her eyes.

“I finished it.” She smiled and then walked to the wall of the room that carried all the books.

“You finished it!” He was astonished.

“Yes. I couldn’t put it down. It was one of the best you have.” Her slender fingers swept over the binding of the books as she looked at the titles, trying to find one that she had yet to read. She went down the rows of books and then looked at him. “Did you get anything new in?”

“No, not yet.”

“I have read all of these,” she said as she tucked a small strand of hair back. It was the same errant strand that she always had to tuck back.

“I’m not surprised. The way you read it is a miracle that you still come back.”

“Mr. Culler,” she said, lightly scolding him for making such a joke. She turned back to the books and once again looked at the titles. She found the one she wanted and pulled it out from between the other books. “May I borrow this one?” She asked as she walked up to him to show her choice.

He took it from her to look at the title. “That one? But . . . you read that one twice.”

“I know,” she said. She looked out the window into the mass of people lining the sidewalks, none with the purpose of coming in this store. “It’s just that it is my favorite. It has everything I love: exotic places, daring sword fights, an enchanted castle, a dark haired mystery man as a prince in disguise.”

“Well. In that case, I won’t allow you to borrow it.”

She took a deep intake of breath. In all the years she had come to see him, he never once told her no. Okay, so there was the one time when she was four and wanted to draw pictures on the inside cover, but he never said that she couldn’t borrow a book! Did he know what he was doing to her right now?

“Oh,” she said sadly. “Okay then.” She looked up to him with unshed tears welling up in her eyes. “I’ll just put it back on the shelf then.” She went to take the book from him, but he wouldn’t give it to her.

“That won’t be necessary,” he said sternly. “Because I am going to give this book to you. You can keep it.” A smile spread on his lips and happiness twinkled in his eyes.

“But you said—”

“I said that you couldn’t borrow it. And you won’t be. Since you love this one so much I am giving it to you. It is a gift.”

“I can’t accept it. It is too much.” Her eyes were wide at his last gesture. This was too much.

“Nonsense,” he said. With gentle hands, he placed the book into her. “I insist.”

She smiled once again, but this time it was bigger and brighter than any that she had given anyone before. This gift meant more to her than he would have ever known. “Well, thank you. Thank you so much, Mr. Culler.”

She walked to the door, but before the door was open the book was. She was already reading through the first pages on her way down the street, ignoring the sometimes insincere comments others were whispering about her. Skillfully she weaved her way through the streets and avoided all obstacles. Never once did she take her attention away from the story once again unfolding before her. This was the main reason why she didn’t see Kevin attempting to make his way through the crowd in order to get to her. The book moved her to distraction because she had to be in order not to see or hear his calls over the crowd.

He followed her through the crowds of people in the ways he would use to hunt an animal. He kept her in his sights and never once did he blink or lose her. Resolving that he was not going to be able to catch up with her by following her on the crowded sidewalks, which lined the street, he swept past the bread cart and ran in the street. He coiled and jumped like a snake attacking its prey, and made his way past the horses running through. He ran at full force through the cobblestone paved road, leaping and pouncing like a cat to avoid danger, each second bringing him closer to his goal of attaining Liz.



(I'll be right back with the rest.)


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Sep-2002 3:35:21 AM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2002 3:38:56 AM by Sugarplum7


Nicholas was attempting to follow the same path of his friend. With a timid step into the street he found himself in the path of a rampaging horse. It barreled down the street, halted in flurry of dust and stones. Feet from him it screeched and whinnied and bucked, its rider cursing Nicholas for his disruption.

With a stealthy leap, Kevin landed a few feet from her, escaping the dangers of fast moving townspeople on their ways to complete chores before midday. “Why hello, Liz,” he said, his deep voice resonating in the space between them. The breath in his lungs not even burning in his chest.

“Hello, Kevin,” she said without looking up from the pages before her. “How are you doing today?”

“I’m doing better now that I have seen you.”

“Well, that is nice. Thank you. Good-bye,” she said to close the conversation to get back over to her house and see what her father was up to. She really hoped that he had it fixed.

“What have you got there?” he pulled the book from her grasp and flipped through the pages.

“It’s a book.” Her answer was clear, and said sweetly.

“I know that, but what are you doing?”

“Reading,” she said. Her hand reached out to grab it away from him, but he quickly moved it out of her reach.

“Why? And it is just words. There are pages and pages of large words in small print. How could you possibly want to read that? There are so much better things that you could do.”

“Well, first off, some people like to use their imagination to see their own pictures. And I can read it easily.” Once again she moved to acquire her new book and once again he moved it out of her grasp.

“H-H-Hello . . . Liz,” came the breathless reply of Nicholas. Unlike Kevin, he was not built for weaving between the fast paced street. He had to go through the crowds. He ducked and crawled between people’s legs to reach his friend, and when he reached the clearing, he felt the fire in his lungs as they burned with each breath, scorching his throat as he inhaled and exhaled.

“Hello, Nicholas,” she said as she nodded her greeting. Quickly, she returned her attention to her prized possession. “Kevin, may I have my book back.”

“You didn’t say please,” he said correcting her.

“Please,” she added.

“In that case . . . No.” Both he and Nicholas laughed, each finding quite a bit of humor in the joke. Liz on the other hand was getting bored and wanted to get home to finish her book. She wanted to help her father and be with him. He was leaving later this afternoon, if he was able to get his invention to work properly.

“Kevin. Would you please give my book back to me?” She looked into his eyes imploringly. This was something that she never wanted to do. There was something cold, uncaring, unforgiving about his eyes. They were harsh and not in the least eyes that you would want to lose yourself in. She had many dreams about eyes that were the exactly opposite of Kevin’s. These eyes were filled with emotions. They were soft and caring. Forgiveness and most of all love could be seen in their depths. These eyes she would gladly lose herself in.

“Why don’t you come and have dinner with me tonight. I’ll give you the book back then.”

“Yeah. He’ll give it to you then,” Nicholas added.

“I would love to,” she lied. She always tried not to lie, but sometimes they were necessary to keep from hurting someone’s feelings.

At her last comment Kevin felt that he had her right where he wanted her. He would possess her like he had always dreamed. His destiny was being realized.

“She said she would love to,” Nicholas said quietly with light sounds of his laughter.

“I would love to, Kevin, but I can’t. I need to help my father.” Again her arm extended and she tried to grasp the bound pages of her book.

“What is wrong with her? He’s asking her out and she’s refusing!” Tess whispered to Pam and Vicky. They were watching the small conversation to the side.

“I know. He’s wonderful”

“Definitely more important than a silly book.” Vicky looked at Liz with envy in her eyes. What did this girl have that she didn’t? There was nothing special about her. She was just extremely odd. What respectable girl reads?

Kevin was getting tired of her trying to get the book. He could not understand why she was doing this when he was talking to her. He was more important that a stupid book. A stupid book without pictures at that! Without a second thought he tossed the book a few feet away. It landed hard on the ground, resulting in the sound of the cover scratching the rocks and stones in the road. That sound echoed in Liz’s ears.

That action proved to her that he truly did not care about her. She ran around him and made her way to her newly cherished possession. She picked it up gently and wiped the dirt and small rocks off it.

“Your father!” Kevin screamed at her. “Why would you want to spend time with him. He’s crazy!”

“Yeah. Crazy!”

“No he’s not,” Liz said firmly, coming to her father’s rescue. “He’s brilliant!” She turned to face the two men who were derogatively speaking of her father. No one was going to say such things about her father in her presence. She walked toward them with purpose but was stopped by the sound of a loud explosion coming from the direction of her home.

“Yeah right,” the two said together, both practically rolling on the floor with laughter.

“He is crazy. He blew up your house!” Nicholas said between the fits of laughter.

“Will you stop saying that? It isn’t true! He’s a genius!”

“Yeah, stop saying that,” Kevin said. “It’s rude.” With that said he slapped his friend’s back. The force of the hit was enough to knock Nicholas forward. His open mouth landed in the course dirt of the road, thoroughly parching his mouth and throat.

Another loud explosion echoed through the air, and Kevin could not keep up his act. It was too funny. His mouth curved in a smile and laughed. The sound of giggling girls soon added to the raucous noise of the men’s laughter. It was the most horrible sound. No human or animal should ever experience it for fear of instant death.

Liz stopped caring about the two men in her company. She quickly turned and ran away. She ran to her home. She needed to see if her father was still okay. She ran over the grass in the front of their house. She ran past the small barn where the few animals they owned were. The loud sound of chickens squawking filled her ears, but the smell of smoke filled her nose.

“Dad?” she said into the smoke that fell out of the room when she opened the door. She knelt down to escape the noxious fumes and called out again. “Dad! Are you okay?”

“What? Yeah, I’m fine.” He continued to walk around the monstrous piece of equipment in the center of the room. He couldn’t figure out what went wrong. He scratched his head and circled again. His tools were scattered over the table and some were still in his toolbox. The smoke began to clear out of the room and Liz could finally get a clear picture of her father.

“Dad?”

“Hey, can you hand me that?” he asked her pointing to the wrench lying beside her.

She picked it up and walked over to him. She placed it in his hand and watched as he worked.

“How did things go?”

“I got another book,” she said in answer to his question. “Mr. Culler let me keep it.”

“Why that was nice of him,” he said as he continued to tinker.

The quiet sound of his working filled the room for a string of minutes before Liz asked her father the question on her mind.

“Do you think I’m . . . Do you think I’m odd?”

He looked at her with a confused expression. His hair was pointing in all angles and his own fashioned magnifying goggles over his eyes. He blinked and answered, “Odd? Why would you possibly think you are odd?”

“Well, people in town . . .”

“Forget about them. People will always talk about those who are special, different. It doesn’t matter what they think. I know how wonderful you are.” He gave her another one of the gentle fatherly smiles he gave her before he went back to his invention.

He tightened something with the wrench and stepped away.

“Is it ready?” Liz asked as she watched him.

“We’ll see shortly.” He walked over to start the contraption. Squeaks and grunts came from the invention as it began slowly moving. It was supposed to cut the time it took to split fire logs and also designed so people did not have to do it. All they needed to do was supply the whole logs. The machine did the rest. It sputtered and snorted once before it happened. Logs were being split.

“You did it!” Liz exclaimed happily. “You really did it.”

“Ha, I suppose I did,” Jeff said slightly surprised. “I did!” he said again when he realized what he could do now. “I’m off for the fair!”


~*~ ~*~ ~*~



“Be careful,” Liz whispered as she placed some food in the packs on their only horse, Hermia.

“I will. You don’t have to worry.” He gave her a soft kiss on her forehead before heading out into the horizon.

She stood and watched as he disappeared in the distance. The sun finished setting and the crickets began to make the soft music they usually did throughout the night. She took her first steps into the house that seemed empty without her father’s presence. She sat on the comfortable chair, pulled her legs beneath her, and opened the book to do some light reading before heading up to bed.

Soon her eyelids grew heavy and the blanket of sleep covered her. She fell into a nice fitful sleep where the she continued to dream her usual dream. It was the dream where she found her happiness. Her dreams for a different life were realized. Everything was perfect.


~*~ ~*~ ~*~



Jeff looked at his surroundings. Nothing looked like it should. He looked at the map again and lightly kicked Hermia back into movement. They continued on the road together in silence, each uncomfortable in their surroundings. The wind was cold and the snow was falling hard. They needed to get out of the storm.

A sign appeared in the distance and Jeff began to feel relief. That relief was short lived as he drew closer to find that the words have rubbed off over time. There was a fork in the road and he had no idea which to choose. One was noticeably less treacherous than the other. He looked at the map gripped in his hands and shook his head in disbelief.

According to the map, the treacherous path was the right path!

Hermia wanted nothing to do with that. She did not know what Jeff was thinking, but she was not about to head down that road. She walked to the flatter road, the side without the gnarled tree branches and uprooted tree roots. Jeff pulled on the reigns and kicked her towards the path he wanted to take.

“Come on, Hermia,” he said. “This way will get us there in half the time.” She whinnied in response and stopped moving. “Come on.” She turned her head back in the more pleasant direction. Why did men always insist on taking short cuts? This was one time she would fight.

She gave a strong jerk of her head when he pulled the reigns. “Hermia, we are taking this path.”
She gave up her battle and cautiously walked in the direction ordered.

Soon the already narrow path narrowed even more. The cart attached to Hermia clattered over the terrain. The overgrowth of vegetation covered in white snow became hard to maneuver around and Jeff had the sinking feeling that they were heading in the wrong direction.

“Where have you brought us, Hermia? This can’t be right. We should turn around.” The sound of howling wolves brought Hermia to a complete halt. She did not like the sound of that. The distinct sound of snarling grew loud in both her and Jeff’s ears.

She whinnied and bucked when she saw the wolf at her heels. In seconds she was running, where she knew not. All she knew was she had to get out of there. Jeff was no longer able to control her and simply held tight to the reigns. The wolf disappeared but Hermia was still jittery. She stopped and turned around. She was getting out of here. Jeff, not ready for the quick change in direction fell off the saddle and landed on the hard ground.

“Hermia!” He shouted to no avail. His horse and his invention were gone. He stood and dusted himself off. Thinking it best that he try to find some shelter from the elements and the wolves he began to wander. That is when he found himself speechless.

After minutes of walking and numerous twist and turns he found himself completely lost. There was another shrill cry of a wolf’s howl, how far away from him he did not know. One thing was sure. He needed to find shelter soon. Deciding to pick up the pace he ran in the direction he had chosen.

He gave a large gasp. There standing in front of him was a marvel of architecture. With wide eyes he walked up to the gate and opened it. The castle he stumbled upon towered above him. The tops of its pointed roofs seemed to touch the heavens. The decorum outside went with the dark, dreary theme of the woods it was in.

He knocked on the massive front door but there was no answer. Taking a deep breath, he reached for the handle and to his surprise opened the door. It was unlocked. There was a creak as the door swung slowly on its hinges.

“Hello, is anyone here?” he asked. “I was out in the woods and I got lost. I was hoping to find shelter here.” He walked the main hall and waited for a reply. There was none. He stood silent and watched to see if anyone would come to greet him. He figured that this castle was deserted. That was he thought it until he saw the movement ahead. Shadows were moving.

“Michael,” a voice said sternly.

“What!”

“I can’t see, turn up the lights.”

“No. It would be suspicious,” Michael said.

“This is stupid. We can’t see anything like this,” a third voice said into the empty room. “It’s not everyday a visitor comes to the castle.”

“We know,” two voices said in unison.

“Alex,” Michael said, his voice commanding, “Go upstairs and tell Isabel what is going on. We don’t want her coming down. That would be too loud. Noise isn’t something that we need.”

“Fine, but don’t do anything. The master would be furious if he found out.”

“Can’t you turn up the lights a little?” a female voice asked.

“Maria,” he said. She knew it was a risk, but she wanted to know who was out there, and she wanted to know if there was more than just the man she heard. Perhaps a girl was there too.

“Please?” she asked looking deep into his eyes.

He looked away from her and back down the hallway. They were still relatively far away. Maybe he wouldn’t notice. A soft glow of candles burned, illuminating the small vicinity around them.

“Thanks,” she said and looked back in the direction of their visitor.

“Who’s there? Is someone there?” The man said again. Their hopes were dashed when they heard him. He saw. He saw the light in the distance and was on his way over.

“Great,” Michael said.

“Sorry, I honestly thought he wouldn’t notice.”

“Sure, just be quiet and stay still when he comes. You don’t know how he’ll react.”

Maria nodded, sort of nodded, and looked back down the hall to see how far away he was. Quickly she judged the distance between them and froze, becoming the object that she was transformed into all those years ago. Michael did the same. The soft glow he began continued to burn brightly in the dark hall.

“Michael,” she whispered. Her eyes were shut as she spoke and remained shut while she waited for his answer.

“Yes, Maria,” he said. His voice wasn’t angry or menacing. It held a soft tone to it. The tone was one that was reserved for her, when they were alone and when he was not in a foul mood.

“Do you think we’ll ever be human again? I mean, all of us, Alex, Isabel, Kyle . . . everyone.”

There was a strong silence stretched over the seconds as he thought it over. He had dreamed about it for years. Human again. The words seemed a dream that was always out of reach. But now with their new visitor things seemed even closer.

“I don’t know. It would be quite the turn around for Max. His heart has hardened over the years. It is more like the marble of the staircase after the despair. Facing this hopeless situation has jaded him.”

Maria’s heart sunk. She was getting her hopes up that humanity would once again grace her. She forgot that not only did they need a girl, but Max needed to love her. That alone would be difficult for him. The almost impossible task was having someone fall for him. Who could fall in love with an angry animal? Why would they want to?

“We would stand a better chance if we were nice to him. Maybe he would know a girl who would . . .” She trailed off deciding that what she was hoping might not happen.

“Someone who would fall in love with Max? I don’t think so.”

“Maybe she would change him. He would want to be nice for once,” Maria said.

“You always defend him.”

By now the thought of staying quiet was the farthest thing from their minds. Isabel always told them to stop fighting. When they did the only thing that existed was the two of them.

“I am not defending him. I am just—“

“Defending him!” Michael said. “You are saying that Max, our master, will be nice to her, so she would fall in love with him. For him to be nice he would have to have some feelings for her. That is impossible. You know it, and I know it!”

The entire castle, or the small section that he had been in was cold. The air chilled him to the bone. He was positive that it was warmer outside than inside this castle. It had to be uninhabited. No one could be comfortable in this temperature. He closed the gap between him and the light. He could have sworn that someone was there, but apparently there was none. He looked in another direction, but heard voices rising with anger. Deciding it would be best that he follow the sounds. Someone had to be making them.

“Excuse me,” he called into the space. “Is anyone there that can help me?” He continued to walk closer.

“Michael, why do you always do that?”

“Do what?”

“Can someone help me? I heard voices, and I would like to know if I could possibly seek refuge here.”

“Great, Maria. Now he knows were here.”

“Did someone say that?” Jeff asked as he picked up the candelabra perched on the credenza against the wall. He brought it up to light the different directions.

Michael resigned that the idea of keeping it a secret was over and spoke, “Yeah, over here.”

“Where?” Jeff said and turned around to see who spoke.

“And here,” Maria said from her perch.

Jeff couldn’t believe his eyes, sitting before him was a teakettle—a teakettle that talked. He then looked in his hand to the candelabra he held.

“Hi,” Michael said blandly before jumping down to the credenza.

“You . . . You two . . . You two can talk?”

“Uh, yeah,” they said together and looked up at him. It looked like the secret was out.


To be continued . . .




Was it too long? If you prefer short parts let me know and I’ll split the long ones up.

Up next, an encounter with the beast, and of course more stuff with Liz. There might possibly be some interaction between the two. Do you want it?



Author’s Question:

I posted this question on my other fic, A Father’s Legacy, and I thought that I would give you all the same opportunity to give me your input.

Would you like to receive email notification of updates for this fic?

I love to see the bumps and little notes saying hi and that you would love a new part. They really brighten my day. This is not a reason to discourage that or stop that. It is just something to ensure that you know when the new chapters are posted.

If you do just follow these steps and I ensure that you will be signed up for it.

This is how it will all go:

1. The address is already set-up: Fic Updates
2. If you want an email update send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
3. In the email tell me which fic you are requesting the update for and the addy that you want the email sent to if it is different than the one on the “return address”. (Being realistic there are only two fics that I will actively be writing for: A Father’s Legacy and The Beauty Within) Sorry for those who want some updates for Unseen and Undone. I am on a major block where those are concerned.
4. I’ll send you an email letting you know that you have been added.

That is it! Excited anyone?

Hugs,
Katie
*angel*





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Sep-2002 3:42:20 AM ]