The Evil Queen in all of her elaborate garb and glory sat across the marble table in Regina’s mansion tapping her fingers on it. Belle sat on the other end of the table. She kept her eyes steady on her own hand not making eye contact with the proclaimed beauty. "I thought we had gotten past that little glitch of time I had you locked in a cell,” she minimized the fact that it was twenty-eight long, dreary years for Belle. She was trying to deflect attention off her current affair with Rumple. She knew Belle fought hard to leave Rumple, but her decision never permeated. It was a vicious cycle – a game of cat and mouse. Rumple would promise to change for the better, and leave the darkness behind; he reneged his promise; Belle became disappointed; she would threaten to leave; it was the same repetitive sequence over and over again. Whether Belle admitted it or not, she enjoyed being pursued by Rumple, and knowledge that he loved her. The Queen could tell that she still loved him through all of her fake denials, rejections, and threats of separation.
Belle cocked her head and shook it as she scoffed at The Queen from the other end of the table. “You’re unbelievable your majesty,” she said in a condescending tone. “Twenty-eight years Regina, excuse me, your majesty,” Belle said correcting herself. “How could I get over that? Why was that my fate you chose for me? Why was it different than everyone else’s?” her voice softened. Even when she was upset, the bookworm’s voice had a softness to it that The Queen could never possess. Her wavy light brown hair hung on her shoulders as she looked down to the floor in self-pity. She reminisced about how she wouldn’t know what time of day it was except for a small crack in the concrete wall of her cell. Once the glimpses of her traumatic experience of being a prisoner ceased, she looked at The Queen’s glammed brown eyes.
The Queen made eye contact with Belle, “why? WHY?!" She stood abruptly, and slammed her fist on the table. All of the phony gestures of kindness that laid on the surface of the table shook such as: tea cups, a tea pot, cream, and sugar. Belle jumped in her seat and gasped when The Queen slammed her hand on the table. She wished she hadn’t, she knew it would only been seen as weakness in the eyes of Regina’s evil counterpart.
"Unlike you I hate him enough to actually hurt him! You were just a pawn, a means to an end! A pathetic bystander." The Queen took a deep breath in to try and calm her temper. She had no qualms admitting that she hated Rumple. Nevertheless, she wasn't going to admit, even to herself, that she loved him as well. "Do you think I became this way just because I was born evil? No... oh no dear... evil isn’t born, it’s made,” she lowered her voice and narrowed her black outlined eyes at Belle. “Blame your husband for creating his perfect little monster, ME!" She snarled then began to walk around the table, with her finger tips never leaving it. Every slow-moving, clunking step of her feet and heels had intent and purpose. The Queen inevitably reached Belle and leaned into her ear whispering, "I’m the unfortunate result of his ideal woman. He had a vision of perfection, and created me..." The Queen ran her fingers through Belle’s hair and chuckled a single evil note.
Belle swallowed slightly; unsure if she should be afraid or slightly aroused by The Queen’s close vicinity to her. The Queen had such a cockiness about her much like her husband. Her characteristics and qualities were almost too analogous, too familiar for Belle’s comfort. The manner in which she stepped into her personal space; to whisper such cruelty in her ear with such a sensual technique; the way her hot breath felt on her skin; how her lethal hand felt as she stroked it through her hair. Similar to The Queen, Belle couldn’t admit an obvious fact, especially to herself - she was attracted to the dark. The Queen was just that in its entirety – another flawless example of damaged darkness. "You were but a mere piece to his puzzle to find his son. You’re a monster, not an ideal creation. I know he is dark…” Belle said so calmly yet she was shaking on the inside. She was afraid to move, but that wasn’t the only reason why she didn’t move; something was brewing inside of her, and she wanted to stand her ground “…but he has his moments. I know you have never seen the sides of him that I have. I am the only one who has the privilege of having such sentimental experiences with him," Belle said standing up for herself, Rumple, and her marriage. She kept her eyes straight ahead, “I believe Rumple can change your majesty, as can you. Regina managed to change for the better…”
The Queen’s eyes grew big and fierce, and her red lip curled. She took Belle by the throat and held her upper body on the table hovering over her. Belle gasped when The Queen grabbed her by the throat pinning her to the table. "You're utterly delusional! He will never change! He can't change! The problem lies within you! Always thinking he can will and if you're not motivation enough or his son not being motivation enough, what the hell makes you think that thing growing inside of you right now will be enough?! If you loved him you would accept him for who he is! A sadistic bastard!”
Belle squirmed trying to get free as she listened to The Queen’s forthright pessimism. "Because! I have hope that he will for our child! I have faith!" she swallowed against The Queen’s grip. It was a trying task for her to swallow from the pressure of The Queen’s hand around her neck. "Anyone can change," she said with strained words.
The Queen let go of Belle’s throat with a push. Belle grunted when The Queen pushed off of her, then carefully stood upright as she rubbed her throat. "My lesser half fought me for years," The Queen said smiling and shaking her head. She moved her mouth slowly to completely articulate every syllable of the statement, “she lost... She couldn't defeat me, she couldn't rid herself of me and the darkness inside; the darkness that was uncontainable. The darkness was swelling inside of her. Poor Regina tried, and tried, and tried,” The Queen pouted with insincere sympathy for Regina, and cupped her hands in front of her as they hung over her abdomen. “She realized it was too much of an internal battle. That her dark side would always win." The Queen stuck her nose up in the air, "the only way to guarantee a complete transitional redemption would be to remove her darkness from her being. To create a separate entity, but yet..." The Queen raised her hand in pride, "I’m still here," she laughed harder. "There's no escaping one’s darkness. You would know if you possessed an ounce of it. Once your heart blackens it only grows dimmer and dimmer. You claim to have hope?" The Queen tilted her head, "well dear... let’s try something."
The Queen walked back to Belle and held out her hand, "hold your hope in this hand. Do you have a good grasp on it?" She said nodding her head up and down sarcastically patronizing Belle. "Now here," The Queen ripped out her black ruinous heart, and placed it into Belle’s other hand. "Oh,” The Queen raised her hand and index finger up, “don’t waste your energy trying to crush it." She smiled and poked Belle in the nose with her finger, "I can only die if you kill Regina. Now hold it - hold pure darkness in that hand. Which one weighs more? Your hope or darkness?" The Queen raised her brow and stared into Belle’s blue eyes.
Belle felt The Queen’s heart in her hand feeling uneasy, anxious, and a bit spineless. She held so much hurt in her hand, the weight was almost too heavy to bare. The literal density of iniquity in her hand, she couldn’t imagine carrying it around with her every day of her life the way The Queen does in her chest. The Queen had stepped away turning her back to Belle with a smug grin on her face knowing that her point would be validated. To Belle’s surprise she spotted a negligible flicker of red, but the optimistic woman didn’t see it as such – this finding was significant. She held it up and pointed to the red speckle, "do you see that red glimmer in your heart? That is hope,” she said with all certainty. “You can't be all bad or you would have killed me by now."
The Queen flung her head back as her long raven-hair, cape, and gown followed along with the rest of her body. She looked at Belle in utter shock and confusion. She took a few steps forward and snatched her heart back into her possession making it vanish. "How?" The Queen looked Belle up and down with her shady brown eyes opened large, "how are you so positive? So..." The Queen’s red lips form an angry snarl again and she kicked the chair that was closest to her across the room. "So naive! SO INNOCENT!" She breathed heavily that her chest almost popped out of her well-designed dress. She placed both hands and arms on the table to the sides of Belle. She trapped her again with her body, and put her cheek against Belle’s.
Finding herself restrained again, a gasp escaped Belle’s mouth. She took a sharp intake of breath as she felt The Queen’s soft cheek on hers. The Queen moved Belle’s legs apart with her own, and placed herself between Belle’s legs. Belle heard her deep animalistic breathing and squirmed as she felt The Queen move between her legs. She bit her lip feeling her own heart beating vehemently in her own chest.
The Queen whispered in her ear again, "I think I may understand... you're so pure you make me sick, yet, it’s endearing, and something I haven't..." The Queen took a long deep inhale of everything Belle was and stood for – everything she could never be. "…felt in decades. You are right, once upon a time I was innocent until your husband got his hands on me. He’s the one who tainted and molded me into what I am now.” The Queen rubbed her nose and lips against Belle’s skin close to her ear, “it’s time for you to confess beauty. You like the darkness because you cannot manifest such abilities of your own. It’s not really about Rumple is it? That uncontaminated little heart of yours yearns for darkness. You like the way it tastes, feels, smells... am I wrong bookworm?"
"I... I.. Part... No...” Belle stuttered, but she couldn’t deny any of the harsh realities The Queen so boldly stated.
"Don't play coy precious," The Queen kissed Belle’s cheek and moved away from her as if no intensity between them had just happened. She made herself comfortable in a chair by leaning back, and crossing her legs. She laughed at Belle’s reaction to her outright come on, taunting her as much as she possibly could. She poofed herself a drink, and took a sip delicately then rested her elbow on the arm of the chair with her drink still in hand. "I guess I can appreciate what Rumple sees in you. You are quite adorable when you're at a loss of actions or words." The Queen took another sip, set her drink down, then poofed a mirror into her hands. She was making sure not a hair was disturbed from what had just occurred. "So, have you heard the news or not beauty?" She asked not looking away from her reflection in the mirror.
Belle did not see any of that coming, and was paralyzed momentarily. She couldn’t’ believe that everyone was right about The Evil Queen – she was powerful in her own right – irresistible in fact. Belle managed to at least turn around and watched The Queen fix her hair then scrunched her face inquisitively, "news? What news?"
"Why that I’m fucking your husband dear," The Queen peered over her hand-held mirror to witness Belle’s reaction. Being satisfied of Belle’s inability to absorb the news, she fixed her lipstick after noticing some was left on Belle’s cheek. She raised her eyebrow and grinned mischievously, "still holding onto that hope in your other hand? Or are you about to fill both of those hands with despair?" The Queen’s words, tone, and countenance were emotionless.
Belle couldn’t believe her own thoughts and emotions. Her face grew flushed, she began to tremble with rage. She wished she still had The Queen’s heart in her hand so that she could crush it without a second thought. Perhaps she was finally paying the price for being addicted to the dark. “I… will… ALWAYS have hope,” she said assertively, and with a firm expression. She chose not to acknowledge The Queen’s words, hoping they were mere lies.
Belle had thrown the queen off. She was awaiting a tear, a quarrel, jealousy, rage, anything. Instead Belle stayed as calm and collected as possible; more than she had anticipated. The Queen set down the mirror carefully and observed Belle more curiously than ever before. She stood up and approached Belle. In turn, Belle backed away trying to hold back tears of fury and betrayal. The Queen forcefully took the hand she had asked Belle to hold her hope in. She placed her hand in hers gently then intertwined her fingers with Belle’s. She locked eyes with her, “is there enough hope in this hand to spare a little for this rotten soul?"
Belle looked down at The Queen’s hand in hers, and gave it a soft squeeze. Oddly, her negative emotions towards her husband, and this malicious woman vanished. The darkness had a hold on her heart metaphorically and literally. She looked up; her forgiving bright blue eyes meeting The Queen’s alluring, yet tainted dark brown eyes as she spoke, “yes, I have enough hope for you too, your majesty." Belle offered her a small, hopeful, and encouraging smile, "I can handle a little darkness."
The Queen knew that Belle could, and would. A genuine smile crossed The Queen’s crimson lips, "it’s a deal," she said softly while stroking Belle’s hair again. The Queen hesitantly leaned into Belle’s face – so differently than earlier - without the cockiness and dominance. She kissed Belle’s lips gently giving her a much-needed fix of darkness. The Queen opened her mouth turning an innocent peck into a wet passionate kiss of apology for everything she had done to her; she had every intention of those not being the only lips of Belle’s her mouth and tongue would consume tonight. It may have seemed as though The Queen was going against her malevolent nature, that a modification was taking place, but in the back of her mind she thought, “I can’t wait for Rumple to taste his wife on my lips.”