Tale as Old as Time

Then Somebody Bends

The next day, Belinda Stone was walking merrily down the dirt road from her father's town house to Adam Pearce's plantation. She had a wicker basket slung casually over her left arm and she was humming a Fur Elise under her breath. Her peach pie had come out marvelous, and Mr. Pearce had been right the peaches were perfect for pie making. Nan had been excited when she saw the Golden Jubilee peaches, claiming that those were the kind of peaches Belle's mama had used, and her pie came second best, only to Adam Pearce's mother's. Belle remembered Mrs. Pearce's pies, but she felt that her pie had certainly outdone the deceased woman, may she rest in peace.

It was nearing two o'clock when she arrived at the gates of the plantation. She swung one side open and walked straight in. The path up to the main house was well worn by the people who always came to get peaches, many people were milling around browsing through crates of peaches as she strode up the walk. She held her head high and walked past the crowd that was whispering a bit and casting their eyes toward Gaston LeChien who was the butcher's son, undoubtedly trying to have an afternoon romp with a plantation worker. Gaston had been Belinda's prospective future husband until her father had found out that he was the kind to sneak around with any girl he could get his hands on. He noticed her as she was walking up the path.

"Belle," he called, smiling gently. "Are you here for some peaches?" he asked her, when she stopped and turned to look at him."

Luckily at that moment Adam Pearce was walking down the steps of the main house.

"Miss Stone was here yesterday to pick some peaches Mr. LeChien. I promised them to her half price in exchange for some marvelous peach pie, which she seems to have brought right on time." Gaston glared at the younger man, but nearly leaped out of his skin as Adam drew closer to Belle.

"Shall we go have some tea and a slice of that pie Miss Stone? I'm sure one of the other managers can handle business for a while?"

"I'll be a long in just a moment Mr. Pearce, I'd like to have a word with Mr. LeChien."

"Alright, I'll wait for you in the kitchen, it's fairly easy to find but if you need anything just holler."

"I most certainly will, Mr. Pearce." He gave her a soft smile, or at least, what he imagined a soft smile would look like if the half of his face that was burned could conjure one. Adam turned and walked back into the large house, leaving his front door open for whenever Belle decided to enter.

As soon as Mr. Pearce was out of sight Belle rounded on Gaston.

"Mr. LeChien, it would be very wise of you to refrain from referring to me by my chosen name, as well as my Christian name. We are not married, we are not engaged, we are not even friends. You will show me courtesy and respect when you address me, am I understood."

"So what, you're going to go spend your time with that mangled, ugly man rather than with me? Well I assure you Belinda," he spat, "The Colonel will hear about this."

"Daddy already knows where I am, Mr. LeChien and he quite heartily approves. Besides that, I believe that Mr. Pearce is a wonderful and kind man who happens to be scarred by a terrible accident. He has shown nothing but courtesy to me and my father and has given me all the respect that can be offered. Much more than I can say for you Gaston LeChien." With that she turned on her heel and stalked into the large house. Belle was seething, she had never been so angry in her life. For Gaston LeChien to judge Mr. Pearce based on some ridiculous rumors and his appearance. He wasn't always scarred, and Belle remembered how handsome he used to be, but it didn't really matter he was a good man.

She removed her hat and hung it on the coat rack by the door. Bringing her basket along with her, she made her way into the kitchen which was really fairly easy to find like Mr. Pearce had said.

"Miss Stone," he greeted, stirring tea in a glass pitcher.

"Mr. Pearce," Belle returned, setting her basket on the counter. She pulled back the red and white gingham cloth from over the top of the basket and removed the pie.

"Now that looks delicious, let me get some plates." He turned around, abandoning the tea and reached into a counter. Pulling out two plates and two glasses he moved on to the drawer in order to get silverware.

"Would you like a spoon or a fork?" he asked her.

"A fork will be fine, thank you."

He pulled two forks from the drawer and made his way across the kitchen, bringing as much as he could to the table. She caught on and brought the pitcher and the pie plate along as well.

"The pie's fresh," she murmured. "I made it this morning."

"What's wrong, peaches not ripe enough?" he teased lightly.

"Oh no, they were perfect!" she exclaimed, "I ate one last night. Or, maybe two or three. They really are delicious, but Nan was just too tired to teach me how to make one last night, so we made them this morning, and had a slice with lunch. Nan and Daddy both declared that they were better than any pie they'd ever tasted."

"Well I'll have to judge it too. Though I'm sure it'll be perfect." He stated, as he returned to the kitchen to get the tools to serve the pie. After settling at the table, Belle looked around the spacious kitchen.

"My this is a beautiful house. Daddy said it only took you three years to rebuild?"

"Well, some of the foundation was still usable, and I had every available man working on it or it would've taken ten. I paid a bit more than I should have, and I haven't been able to put too much into the peaches but I wasn't quite willing to sacrifice all that time. It came out beautiful though, after we eat I'll give you the full tour." He offered, as he sliced and served the pie. Sitting down he scooped up a bit of pie on his fork and took a bite. Before he could even finish the first bite his mouth was watering in anticipation for the second bite.

"Now that is simply the best peach pie I've ever had." Adam complimented. Belle blushed a little, and gave him a small smile.

"I'm glad you think so." She replied, taking the confident with pride.

"Must be the peaches." he teased, but the result was her clear peal of laughter ringing through the usually empty house, and for a moment it was like a picture of the future had been painted. He could see Belinda in the kitchen, baking pies and playing with children, teaching their little girls how to bake that perfect peach pie. She would make cornbread and birthday cakes and all sorts of treats for the family. They would on the porch sipping sweet tea as the sun went down in a pair of wicker rocking chairs. She would read bedtime stories to their little ones, she would wear a wide straw hat during a picnic in the lawn, she would wear a beautiful white dress when they wed, and her laughter would always light up his world. All of these things, and so many more flashed in front of him as he listened to her laugh, and his heart ached.

For who could ever love a beast?
♠ ♠ ♠
Okay, so Beauty and the Beast is a French fairytale and although my adaptation takes place in Georgia, I couldn't help but put a little bit of French in it. Initially I had Gaston named LeRoux but then I remembered that Gaston Leroux wrote Phantom of the Opera, and I didn't really want to equate him to this, well creep. Instead I named him Gaston LeChien which in French would be le chien and it means dog. I also almost named him Gaston Connerie, because it means bullshit. So, a little humor as far as our antagonist goes.