Tale as Old as Time


Adam and Belinda sat contentedly at the table, half the pie having been eaten, they'd spent the last hour talking.

"Well Miss Stone, I really must say that was the most perfect peach pie I've ever tasted, if you continue to make them like that I may half to always give you peaches half off, for the price of a pie of course."

"Mr. Pearce if you wanted I would bring you a pie everyday, unfortunately if you ate a pie every single day it might go straight to your gut, but I suppose if we managed to be civilized and only eat a piece each with tea, it may not be so bad." She teased, lightheartedly. He stared at her, taken aback for a moment, as she suggested she spend time with him everyday, and then he threw his head back and let out a roar of laughter.

"Leave it to a woman, Miss Stone, to worry about gaining weightt from peach pie." He managed to get out around his hearty chuckles. She let out a soft giggle and smiled up at him.

"I do believe you promised me a tour of this beautiful house of yours." Belle remarked.

"I did indeed, Miss Stone." He stood and offered her a hand in order to guide her through the house. Belle stood up and brushed off her skirt before taking his hand, letting him lead her around the table before slipping her arm through his. They walked through the large house, and he showed her every corner of it. He let Belle into his study, and into the drawing room. He led her upstairs and showed her the bedrooms and the new toilets in the bathroom, which she immensely enjoyed. The last room of the upstairs he showed her was the library. As soon as he opened the door her eyes lit up like a child who'd just been given a piece of candy. He could tell that she was working hard to not go zipping across the room and delve into the shelves.

"How many books do you have in here?" she asked him.

"I'm not sure, I had them all brought in after the room had been finished. I don't spend a lot of time in here though, I spend more time in the study than anywhere really."

She nodded a little, looking around the room, touching the spines of a few books.

"This is wonderful, I wonder if I might borrow a few of these sometimes."

"If you like. When you bring buy, you can take home a book or two at a time. No more than that though, I wouldn't want it on my head that you were over-taxing yourself with so many books." He grinned a bit, glad that she was taking interest in his home and spending more time with him.

"Oh that would be lovely," she sighed. "Well, let me pick one out and we can continue the tour, and I'll be sure to bring you more pie tomorrow, apple maybe, I'm sure you won't want peach pie every day."

"I think apple will do just fine. Shall we?"

Belle turned around and took the arm he was holding out to her and they continued to walk around the house, ending in the parlor where she saw a beautiful black piano that seemed to be collecting dust in the corner of the room.

"Do you play?" she asked him.

"I can, but I haven't in a long time." He responded, looking down at the wonder on her face.

"May I play it?"

"Certainly, do you need any music?"

"No, not today, but perhaps I'll bring some tomorrow." Belle let go of his arm and wandered over to the stool behind the piano, setting the book she'd selected on the lid. She brushed the underside of her skirt and sat down, placing her fingers gently on the keys. Closing her eyes she took a deep breath and began to play.

The sweet notes of Moonlight Sonata poured out of the piano. The people on the lawn closest to the house stopped and turned an ear toward the great house where the music was coming from. Most bystanders were shocked to hear the piano's soft notes. It had been a long time since music came through the walls of the white house. For Adam it was like a breath of fresh air after a long swim in the creek. Belle could have played the song in the wrong key and hit every note incorrectly and he still would have found it perfect. It was in that moment that he decided to court Belinda Stone, whether she rejected him or her father rejected him, at least he would have tried. He listened as Belle's fingers flew aptly over the notes of the first movement as it came to a close. She grinned as she stood.

"My, it's been a while since I played such a beautiful piano. Thank you for letting me play, I should be going though. It'll be dinner time soon and Nan won't like it if I'm late."

"Of course Miss Stone. I'll walk you out, let me go collect your basket." He offered and waited until she'd nodded her head in consent until he left the room and entered the kitchen. Spying the basket on the counter he picked it up and returned to Belle.

"Miss Stone, would you mind sending your father over tomorrow morning? I have a few things I'd like to talk to him about, if you don't mind?" He asked her, as she met him in the entryway, retying her hat.

"I will pass along the message for him Mr. Pearce, would you like me to come at the same time tomorrow?"

"I would, if your father allows it, but don't worry about bringing more pie, I'll save the one you brought today so I don't put on too much weight." Adam declared, giving her a subtle smile. "Perhaps you could bring music for a duet tomorrow and we might play together, if you have any that is."

"I'll see what I have." She stated returning his smile. Adam pulled the door open for her and followed her down the steps.

Belle stopped a few yards from his front porch and was beginning to say good-bye when Gaston LeChien walked up with his arm draped over a woman who was a worker on the plantation.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't the newest town harlot Belinda Stone." Gaston sneered.

It happened like lightning, in one second Gaston was standing there sneering and the next Adam was on top of Gaston with his fists swinging. Everyone stopped whatever it was that they had been doing and any conversations they had been having, in order to turn and gawk at the two men brawling on the ground. Finally a few other men rushed over and pulled Adam off of Gaston. The latter of the two pulled himself up from the ground clutching his bleeding nose in one hand and nursing his jaw with the other. Adam calmed down enough to talk.

"Get off my property LeChien, and if I ever see you on it again I'll report you to the sheriff after I've tied you to the whipping post and dealt you a severe lashing." He growled out, shrugging the two men holding him back off. Gaston spit blood out of his mouth at Adam's feet.

"She's still a harlot." At this remark Adam lunged at him again and Belle placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him but Gaston had already started running, and falling a few times, like a dog with his tail between his leg.

"Thank you, for defending me Mr. Pearce, but I had better leave now. I'll send my father over in the morning." She murmured.

He nodded and looked over at her.

"I'm sorry you had to see that Miss Stone." He muttered, feeling ashamed. But she gave him a small, sweet smile and shook her head.

"It's about time someone put him in his place, I'm just glad I was here to see it." With that she turned, pulling her basket up her arm and began walking off the plantation. "Until tomorrow then Mr. Pearce," she called over her shoulder, giving him a small wave. And he just couldn't quite believe his luck.