It had been two long weeks since Belle had stormed out of the castle and very few words had passed between the dark haired beauty and her princely husband since. Their interactions were tense and forced. Both were unhappy and even sad that they were apart. Yet, they were each stubborn enough to hold their place of content against their spouse without budging. And still, neither truly wanted the marriage to be wasted, and so they had decided that counseling could and would do some good—and not just any counseling, but marriage counseling. They were taking this seriously if they were going to take it at all.
Prince Adam had arrived early and anxious. He missed his Belle and he was ready to see her. But would she be as equally excited to see him? That he was unsure of. She had been terse during their few moments of communication over the last 14 days, only showing signs of warmth when he had timidly offered to attend counseling to save the union. He was desperate to keep her and their marriage, and so there Prince Adam sat across from the prickly faced man who would be their guide to a happier, healthier relationship. Or at least that’s what Adam hoped.
Belle arrived late and in huff, but this was not unusual for her. Being fashionably late and annoyed at something or the other was her womanly right and she took advantage of it full well and at every opportunity.
“Hi,” Adam mumbled sheepishly as his wife took a seat on the couch next to him.
“Hey, hon” she said quickly before turning her attention to the counselor.
“Hello, Belle, my name is Carl. Adam has told me a lot about you,” the therapist said softly with a smile.
Belle nodded politely and turned her attention to her husband.
“And what did my chatty husband have to say exactly?”
Adam thought of smiling but decided against it.
“Nothing much. I was just telling Carl here about our situation…”
“And what situation is that, Adam?” Belle said curtly.
“Um, the one where you moved out and left me with a house full of servants while you went to stay with your crazy old coot of a father?” Adam said as he gave Carl a look of sarcastic disbelief.
Carl tried to interrupt,
“Now, can we just–“
“You’re starting this off by insulting me? Great, Adam. Real mature as always,” Belle said crossing her arms angrily.
“Well maybe if you hadn’t accused me right off the bat AS ALWAYS!” Adam retorted.
“I don’t always accuse you! Maybe if YOU weren’t so consumed with–“
“SHUT UP!” Carl yelled above the fracas. Belle and Adam both froze in their argument and looked at Carl the counselor with shock. The room fell silent for a long moment as husband and wife sat back on the couch and remained motionless.
“Thank you. Now, let’s try to approach this with a bit more civility, shall we? After all, you are royalty, correct?” Carl asked with a raised eyebrow.
Prince Adam and Belle looked sheepishly toward the floor.
“From what Adam has told me, Belle, you’ve moved out of the castle. Is this correct?”
Belle nodded quietly as she tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
“And why did you feel that was necessary?”
Adam sighed heavily but piped down when Carl gave him a stern look.
“I just…things weren’t going the way I thought they would. The marriage feels a bit…restrictive. We’ve been together a while, but we’ve both been human for only a year or so, you know?”
“Yes, I’m familiar with your story.”
Adam looked embarrassed and as if he may begin to cry.
“I don’t know. It just seems like Adam has a lot of insecurities brewing inside of him from being a raving mad beast for ten years. I think that fostered a lot of anger and hurt in him. Honestly, I think he’s still bitter at me for what happened with Gaston and that whole mess. He says he isn’t, but I can tell he is.”
“Belle, I’m not bitter, okay? It’s just, like, hard to go from being this hulking beast to almost dying to having to learn how to use a toilet and toilet paper again. Maybe if you tried harder to understand that, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
“Adam.” Carl said in warning. Adam gave him a look of apology.
“I do try to understand. But you don’t make it easy. You cry at the drop of a hat, you’re unsatisfied with your looks and figure—which is like being married to a woman sometimes—and you think I’m still in love with Gaston for whatever reason.”
Adam gave his wife a quizzical look.
“Wait…what do you mean ‘still’ in love with Gaston? I thought you said you guys weren’t ever a thing?”
Belle looked to Carl for help, but the fuzzy faced counselor just listened.
“Look, it wasn’t really like tha–“
“I KNEW IT! You and that psychopath were together, weren’t you?! I can’t believe this!”
“What? No. We just, like, spent a few weekends together at his lake house or whatever. I would read to him and he would hunt us food. That’s, like, it. I swear.”
“Oh, yeah. Like I’m going to believe you now, you little trollop. Unbelievable.”
Carl wrote furiously on his notepad.
“Adam, we’ve discussed this. I’m with you now, okay? Can’t we just–“
“No, we just can’t nothing! You lied to me and your steroid-riddled freak of a lover tried to murder me and burn my house down. We can’t just anything, woman.” Adam said as he turned and stared furiously at the wall. Tears were beginning to well up in his eyes.
Belle sighed heavily and sat with her eyes closed in frustration.
“He doesn’t like to listen…” she said quietly to Carl. Carl wrote more notes as Adam scoffed heavily.
“Whatever. Not like you didn’t just marry me for my library anyway…” Adam said flippantly.
Belle gave the floor a knowing look and tried not to look obvious. Adam noticed and flipped out.
“You have GOT to be kidding me! Seriously?! You married me for books?! What happened to true love and tears and being sad I was going to die and whatnot?!”
Belle became angry,
“I do love you, you big oaf! It’s just that…well, I stayed initially because of the books. That’s all. But I did honestly grow to love you and cherish you.”
“Adam, use your words,” Carl scolded.
“The only words I have are curse words.” Adam said matter-of-factly.
“There were just so many wonderful books! I couldn’t help myself. And, babe, you have to admit, our first few weeks weren’t exactly friendly. You were keeping me prisoner, after all.”
“Whatevs…” Adam said.
“Like, I fell in love with the books first and then you. That’s all. I stayed for the books but I grew to love you, even though you were this monstrous, horrible beast with not great breath” Belle said to her husband.
“Um, I was under a curse. Couldn’t really help all of that, now could I?” Adam said angrily, still facing the wall.
“I didn’t say it was your fault. I’m just explaining.”
“Were you even sad when Gaston stabbed me or were you a little hopeful that the library would be all yours if I died? Be honest…”
Belle sat quietly, contemplating her words.
“Belle, your husband asked you a question and I think you should answer him,” Carl said as he continued to scribble on his notepad. Belle gave Carl a look of murder.
“By then I was completely in love with you. Maybe the books were, like, a little in the back of my mind, but I was probably eighty three percent in love with you then” Belle said quickly, wincing at her husband’s coming reply.
“Wow. I just…wow. I can’t even. You’re like…wow,” Adam shook his head sadly. “AND you were in love with Gaston. This day has been one of enlightenment. That’s for freaking sure,” Adam said angrily.
Belle gave the floor a sad look.
“I didn’t feel like I could tell you all of that. I had just moved into a great big, creepy castle with all of these people and servants that just been turned back into humans after being talking furniture—which isn’t really easy to comprehend anyway—with a husband who no longer had fleas and ticks. It was all a bit much, you know? I felt like I had to watch my step. After a while, I just forgot about all of that because I was just happy to be with you.”
Adam looked at his wife and thought for a long moment.
“I never thought about it that way. You’re right. I am so sorry. You had so much to deal with and all I could think about was my own feelings and insecurities. Belle, I…”
Belle smiled hesitantly at her husband.
“It’s okay. We’re both still learning, you know? But I want to keep trying with you. I love you, Adam,” she said with a smile. Her husband smiled back.
“I love you too.”
Carl smiled and continued to write.
“Will you come back home to me?” Adam asked, vulnerability in his voice. “We all miss you.”
Belle nodded slowly.
“I’d be happy to. I’ve missed you too.”
Adam took Belle’s hand in his own and kissed his beautiful bride.
“Well, that’s what I like to see,” Carl said with a big smile as he set his notepad to the side.
“Now will you guys be paying with cash or credit card? I don’t accept checks…”
Next week on Beauty and the Beast Continued, Belle moves back to the castle. But is she welcomed by all?
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