Fic: Chalkdust - Chapter 3
Title: Chalkdust (3/3)
Summary: Belle is Bae’s teacher, and Mr Gold develops a crush
A/N: This is set in a Storybrooke that really is an entirely normal town: no magic, no Curse, no ftland backstory.
ALSO: This is my 400 FOLLOWER THANK YOU fic. So I hope ya’ll enjoy it!
Much as he would love to invite Belle inside, after they’ve been kissing and smiling at each other for nearly twenty minutes, Gold knows that that is not an option. Bae is inside, and even though the boy appeared to not be openly hostile to the idea of his father and his teacher, Gold is not going to force him to deal with it tonight.
He doesn’t even know himself if this has a future, despite how much he hopes it does.
“I ah,” he says, after kissing her once more just because her eyes are so bright, and then again as an excuse to run his hands again through the dark, soft waves of her hair, “I should be going inside.”
“Go inside…” she frowns, as if she is as dazed and confused by their activities as he is. Then it dawns on her, “Oh, yes!” she presses a hand to her mouth, stifles a giggle, “Bae! Oh, dear, I’m so sorry, yes, by all means!”
He smirks at her: she seems as flustered by their behaviour as he, and he’s tempted to move her hand out of the way so he can kiss her again. But if he does that, they’ll be right back where they were, and he’ll never be able to leave her.
“Bae’ll be fine, don’t worry,” he says, “But he’ll have seen the car pull up nearly half an hour ago, and may have guessed half of what’s going on.”
“Fuck…” she breathes, and he’s never told her how adorable - and, admittedly, somewhat hot - he finds it when she swears. “Oh, god, sorry, I’m trying to stop swearing, I promise!”
“Don’t worry about it.” He grins, brushes a strand of her hair back from her face. She leans into the brush of his fingers on her face, and he runs his thumb along her cheekbone, just to see her nuzzle against his hand, and her eyes flutter closed. “It’s sweet.”
“I was mortified,” she admits, “When I finally had a chance to come and talk to you without your son being sick all over the place, and the first thing I did was curse in front of the kids.”
“I think that was when I decided I liked you,” he says, without even thinking about it. His brain went to a dazed, happy place about the time her mouth met his, and he’s left with simple truth, and the desire to have her looking at him like that always. “More than just a innocent little schoolteacher.”
She snorts, delicately, at that notion, and pulls him in by his tie for a scorching kiss, all lips and teeth and tongue. She pulls away grinning, as his eyes blink open and his mind scrambles for something resembling intelligent thought. “That dispel any doubt?”
“Definitely not innocent,” he nods, “Good. Good thing.”
She giggles, “You could… you could go inside on your own, be with Bae.” She means ‘should’, surely.
“Yes.” He nods, and manages to get his hand onto the door handle before his own voice stops him, “But… I’m buying you that coffee I owe you tomorrow.”
“I’ll be in Granny’s at eleven.” There’s a funny little note to her voice, disbelieving and dazed, but happy. There is definite happiness there.
He takes her by surprise - himself, too, - and whips around to kiss her just once more. She’s like alcohol or cigarettes: one taste is never going to be enough.
Then, before her hands can re-tangle in his hair, he pulls away and grins as he leaves the car. She waves, smiling, as she drives away, and he knows his grin is probably somewhere between shellshocked and lovestruck. He can’t help it: when at least half of all one’s dreams come true at once, it’s difficult to act as if everything’s normal.
Bae is curled on the sofa with his laptop, typing intermittently between little pinging noises. “Good walk?” he asks, without looking up.
Gold realises, with a smile of relief, that his son hasn’t noticed a thing. “Not really: I got caught in the rain. Had to get a lift back.”
“Oh?” Bae looks around, sees he dazed smile on his father’s face and the rumpled, bedraggled nature of his hair, and frowns, “I told you not to go stalking.”
“Not stalking if she found me, is it?” he defends, grabbing a towel from the downstairs bathroom and coming to sit in his armchair, his soaked jacket discarded by the front door.
“Oh, god,” Bae mutes the pinging coming from the computer and rolls his eyes, “What did you do?”
Gold can’t even pretend innocence, “I got a lift home from Miss French: she was driving by when I reached the road.”
“And what, boy?”
“Why’re you so happy about that?”
“It, ah,” he frowns, not at all certain how to broach this subject with his son. He needs to ask permission, somehow, before he can enter into any form of relationship with Bae’s schoolteacher, but this is awkward at best, “She…”
“Oh, my god.” Bae sighs, exasperated, his nose wrinkling in disgust “You guys… made out, didn’t you?”
“…Maybe.” He cringes: this conversation was not supposed to go this way. Bae is far smarter and more aware of the world than any twelve-year-old has any right to be. “I don’t want to upset you, son,” he almost begs: he couldn’t stand for anything, even Belle, to come between him and his son, “But I like her a lot…”
“Yeah,” Bae sighs, “She likes you too. You couldn’t… dad, she’s my teacher! You couldn’t wait until I was in middle school?”
He flinches, “I didn’t plan for anything to happen ever, as a matter of fact.”
Bae slouches into the seat cushions, shooting a somewhat half-arsed glare to his father, “Fine.”
“Fine? What’s fine, Bae?”
“You and her… kissing and things. Fine. Just don’t do it in front of me, ok? I do not need to see that. I’m scarred for life enough as it is just thinking about it.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, son.”
“And don’t dump her and let her fail me as revenge.”
“Bel- Miss French wouldn’t do that!” He defends, offended on her behalf.
“I don’t wanna find out.” Bae returns, ominously, “Don’t screw this up.”
“I’ll do my best.” Gold sighs, glad to have his son’s - somewhat begrudging, but genuine - blessing. Bae nods, satisfied, and goes back to his computer. The pinging begins again in earnest, and Gold’s curiosity is piqued.
“What’re you doing anyway, Bae?”
“Just…” his son goes an interesting shade of red, “IM-ing.”
“Oh?” Gold feigns obliviousness, “With whom, pray tell?”
“Just… a friend.”
“I see.” Gold nods, “And would this be a rather pretty blonde friend who happened to be eating with us this evening?”
“My son’s got his first girlfriend,” Gold sighs in somewhat-mocking satisfaction, “How sweet.”
Bae’s embarrassment turns to defensiveness within moments. He scoffs, “So says the man who spent his night making out with my teacher.”
Gold frowns, “Touche.”
He’s in the diner at eleven am sharp the next morning - actually, it’s more like quarter to eleven when he shows up, but he doesn’t want to risk being late and disappointing her - and glances about for a seat that’s a little out of the way.
He sits in the booth by the window, with his newspaper, and ignores his tenants and unhappy acquaintances as they scuttle by.
They don’t like him because he is a ruthless landlord, when it comes to the rent and the rules being kept to, and because he’s not exactly endowed with a generous and loving nature to make up for it. He’s not Storybrooke native, and after the stunt he pulled to get Emma elected Sheriff - the former Sheriff, Graham, died in a car accident only months after Miss Swan moved here, and Gold saw the opportunity to get one over on Regina and took it - what little trust they had for him is gone.
Were he the Mayor’s pet and a pushover, they would love him until the day he dies.
But he refuses to do the bidding of City Hall, and he has an even more relaxed view of the law in relation to his goals than even his son. He doesn’t allow the cheaters and the liars of this town to screw him over on rent or anything else.
And they hate him for it.
He’d expected Belle to feel the same, but then she is as foreign here as he, and has had no reason to deal with him for rent or anything else.
She might be the one person in the whole town he’s not managed to offend.
He’d like to keep it that way.
She arrives almost on the stroke of eleven, and glances around the diner cautiously. As if she’s afraid he won’t be there; as if there’s a chance in Hell that he would miss this.
But then she sees him, and this time he can see the happiness in her eyes he always managed to miss before. She practically lights up when their eyes meet, and she comes to his table without even looking to anyone else.
“Hi.” She says, quietly, as she sits down opposite him, and her smile is so soft and warm he could curl up and die in it.
“Hello,” he smiles back, and he’s suddenly acutely aware of how they’re staring at each other, how sickeningly romantic they must look to everyone else. “How are you?”
“I’m… yeah, I’m good,” she ducks her head and smiles, “How about you?”
“I think I owe Bae a new bike or something,” he grins, “But yes, I’m doing well.”
“Oh dear!” she giggles, “How’d it go, last night?”
“He… he’s fast becoming an eye-rolling teenager, by the looks of it. He’s afraid I’ll offend you somehow and you’ll fail him as revenge.”
Her mouth falls open, “Really? Untrusting little…” she pauses, “What did you call him?”
“Many things. ‘Cretin’ is among my favourites.”
“Yes,” she nods, “That works. Well, tell the little cretin that he’ll only fail if he doesn’t do his homework.”
“I’ll make sure he knows that.” He nods, smiling. He turns and makes eye-contact with Ruby Lucas, who comes over immediately to take their order.
“What do you want, love?” he asks, and watches with amusement as Belle’s cheeks flush at the endearment.
“Um,” she turns to Ruby, “I’ll have a latte, please.”
“Sure thing!” Ruby chirps, and turns to him, “And you, Mr Gold?”
“Just black coffee, please, Miss Lucas” he even smiles at the waitress, and can’t help but enjoy the little shock of surprise on her face.
“Coming right up!” how the girl manages to scamper away in those ridiculous heels is beyond him, but scamper she does.
He turns back to Belle, and when he sees her hand resting on the table he cannot resist reaching out and covering it with his own. She glances down and smiles, that disbelieving surprise back in her eyes, and turns her hand over so he can hold it properly with his, palm to palm.
They attract plenty of stares, but he’s used to that.
She, however, is not. When their drinks arrive and their contact breaks, she glances around and catches the eyes of a few of their onlookers. “Everyone is staring at us.” She murmurs around her coffee cup.
“They’re expecting me to eat you alive, like as not,” he replies, “I don’t think they expect to see me courting a bright young woman in daylight. More likely to skin you for your pelt.”
He says it flippantly, not really thinking, but she jerks in surprise and the cup slips from her fingers. It lands on the floor with a little cracking noise, and she gasps in horror.
“It was just a quip, love,” he raises an eyebrow, “Not serious.”
She shakes her head, “I’m horribly clumsy,” she apologises, “I just… yeah, my hand slipped.” She slides from her seat and crouches to gather the broken pieces of the cup. Ruby comes to see what the trouble is, and kneels with her to survey the damage.
“I’m so sorry,” Belle makes an attempt at a smile, “It’s chipped.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Ruby brushes her off, “It’s one of Granny’s ugly old things. This is an excuse to buy replacements!”
“Right,” Belle manages a proper smile this time, “Well, I’ll pay for the damage, it’s only fair-“ she stops when she feels Gold’s hand on her shoulder.
“I’ll cover it,” he says, “Don’t worry.”
Ruby stands, hands on her hips, “It’s fine, Mr Gold, it was worth five dollars max.”
“Then here.” He hands her a twenty, “This should cover the damage and our drinks.” She gapes in surprise as he takes Belle’s hand again, and brings her to stand, “Fancy a walk, Belle?”
She nods, but it’s a little tight, “Sure, let’s go.” He squeezes her hand encouragingly and lets him pull her from the diner.
They walk in silence for a little way, before he finally has to ask “Are you alright?”
“You… you didn’t have to do that.” She says, and he wonders at the little hard note in her voice.
“Pay for the damage.” She says, “I’m not destitute, you know, I can pay for myself.”
“I never said you were, love,” he returns, mildly, “I was simply holding up my end of our deal.”
“Oh?” she looks at him, one eyebrow arched, “And how do you figure that?”
“I said I’d buy you a cup of coffee sometime.” He explains, “I bought you both coffee, and then the cup.”
She stares at him, and he stops to look down at her, watching her try to hold her anger against the amusement he can see building behind her eyes. Finally, she gives up and lets out a reluctant little giggle, “Fine. Fine!” she throws up her free hand, and curls around his arm, her head on his shoulder, as they start to walk once more, “I bow to your superior word skills.”
“There’s no shame in it,” he agrees cheerfully, “Many have tried and failed.”
“Hmm,” she smiles up at him, and he wonders if she doesn’t already know the worst of his reputation, the acceptance in her gaze is so strong. “How about this?” she comes around in front of him, and leans up, and he bends willingly to kiss her slow and deep, her arms around his shoulders and his hands at her waist.
He pulls them around a corner, so they are in a small alleyway and not in the public street, and he can kiss her deeper, try once more to devour her whole.
She seems just as fervent, her hands coming to tangle once more in his hair, holding him as tight against her as possible. Out of the public sight, without the awkwardness of kissing in cars, he is free to mould her body against his, to clutch at her and plunder her mouth, make her moan and shudder against him as he had imagined for so long.
Finally, they break apart for air, and she is staring up at him, “Many people tried and failed at that?”
He frowns, shakes his head, “You are the first to try in a very long time, and you succeed wonderfully.”
He doesn’t understand the bright smile on her face at that - she cannot have been asking if he was seeing someone else, cannot be in some strange way jealous for him - but he smiles back, pets her hair almost unconsciously, “This is a little intense for a first date, isn’t it?” He’s not sure if he’s apologising or merely commenting, but he’s aware that they’ve not known each other long, all things considered.
“Is that what this is? Our first date?” she stares at him a moment, and then lets out a little giggle, shakes her head.
“Well, what else is it?” he’s a little offended by her laughter, as if it is that ridiculous that she would be on a date with him. It is ridiculous, he’s aware of that, but he’d hoped she hadn’t noticed.
“Well, I didn’t think you the type to date,” she replies, “Thought you’d be more likely to just haul me into your home and have your way with me.”
“And whatever gave you that impression?” he’s frowning now, entirely unsure of what she’s getting at, of how he should react.
“Everyone was so quick to warn me away from you any time I mentioned your name,” she shrugs, tightens her arms around his shoulders comfortingly, and absently toys with his hair. The small caress much to calm him down, as does the very fact of her closeness. He’ll never grow tired of the ability to touch her, not ever. “I assumed you were some kind of lecher underneath, ready to defile young women.”
“And yet you still let me kiss you in your car,” He points out, a little puzzled, “Not exactly sending a message of fear and repulsion, that.”
“Well,” she smiles, eyebrows raised, “I never said I had a problem with being defiled.”
“You would have…” he trails off, the idea taking root in his mind, “Last night, you would have…”
“You can’t be looking for something serious, Rum,” she tells him, as if it’s obvious, “You have a son to raise and all your work, and… well, no one’s ever heard of youin an actual relationship since… well, for a long time, at any rate.” She’s rambling again, and it’s still adorable, even as she tells him all the reasons he supposedly doesn’t want her, “I thought… I thought that if you’d… if you wanted me at all it would be a one-time kind of thing.”
“You thought-“ he needs to stop repeating her, he needs to get his thoughts into one place so he can have this discussion with her. In an alleyway. With his hands tracing patterns through her coat against her waist, and her fingers tangled in the strands of hair at the back of his neck. It’s not a situation conductive to complex thought. “You know me a little, don’t you? What could make you believe I would just… that I would settle for one night?”
“Settle?” she raises her eyebrows, “It’d be an indulgence, surely. Stupid little girl with a crush… and now you’re talking about dating.”
“Yes,” he nods, decisively, because she’s being ridiculous and it’s time to set things straight, “Dating. As in… well, I’m perhaps a bit vintage to be your ‘boyfriend’, but words to that effect. As in meals in restaurants and nights on the sofa. As in this…”
He leans down and kisses her once, softly and sweetly, not allowing it to develop further. It is a kiss to show something more than passion, something deeper and more important. It is a kiss designed to show her that he could love her, one day, if given the chance.
“Oh.” She flushes in pleasure, “Yes, that… I’d like that. And don’t go giving me speeches about age differences, boyfriend suits you just fine, thank you.”
“Hmm,” he smiles, brushes her hair back from her face, and once again she leans into his fingertips. She presses a soft, open-mouthed kiss to his palm, and he stares, unable to believe at all. “Girlfriend.” He tests out the word, “Yes, I like that.”
Three months later
Parent/teacher conference night was never going to be easy with Bae’s record. Any teacher he could have had would have spent their meeting trying to find words that meant ‘troublemaker’ but sounded positive.
That would have been awkward.
Gold finds it much worse, however, sitting in an empty classroom, behind the desk with ‘Miss Belle French’ on the sign, smiling like a concerned parent at this particular teacher. Who is also his girlfriend.
She had insisted they do this properly. Said that there’re procedures and that people will talk. Principal Vincent has no rules against parents of students dating teachers, but there is no reason to stir things up unnecessarily.
So there she sits, prim and proper in her summer dress and cardigan, hair piled on top of her head, hands clasped in front of her. “So, Mr Gold,” she smiles, solicitously, as if the very same man hadn’t come downstairs only three days hence to find her in the kitchen, clad only in her underwear and one of his shirts, “How do you feel Benjamin is doing in class?”
“Well, Miss French,” he begins, and he tries - oh, he tries - to keep the smirk off his lips and the gleam out of his eyes. He fails, but it’s an admirable effort, if he does say so himself. “Bae is enjoying school, I think. He gets more help with his homework, these days, so I think that’s helping.”
Belle grins, “It’s so important for parents to have an active role in their child’s education.”
Okay, he thinks, that one she did on purpose, “Indeed,” he returns, mildly, “I have tried to take a more… active role in Bae’s schooling recently.” He practically drawls this last, eyes fixed on hers, one hand absently stroking the handle of his cane.
Her eyes flick from his to his mouth - he licks his lips, on purpose, watches her cheeks flush that delicious shade of pink - and he knows she remembers all the things he can do with his mouth on her.
“And it shows,” she nods, busies herself with her papers to hide her blushes, and he settles back in his chair, “His grades are some of the best in his class; he’d be top if he applied himself better.”
Perhaps that is the reason she insists upon this formality: she needs to tell him things teacher to parent without him getting offended as her boyfriend.
“He’s trying his best, Miss French.” He says, in defence of his boy, “He’s working harder this year than ever before.”
“And I am impressed, believe me,” she nods, her eyes clearer now that he’s stopped trying to tease her, “I just feel that if he were to focus all his efforts on school instead of on making a nuisance of himself… perhaps get a hobby or something if he feels bored or frustrated, then he could be getting the highest grades.”
He nods, trying to remember that, right now, she is Bae’s teacher and not his father’s girlfriend. She is trying to be helpful and objective; he must do the same. “What would you recommend, Miss French? He’s not interested in arts and crafts, if that’s what you’re thinking…”
“Perhaps something…” she sighs, “He mentioned that he enjoys computers, and yours is ancient at best… how… fuck, this is awkward…”
“Miss French,” he can’t keep the smirk off his face, “I hardly think that that’s appropriate language in a parent/teacher conference.”
She shoots him a look, “Shut up, Rum. You know what I’m talking about.”
“Indeed.” He inclines his head, “I hate the dratted things, as you might recall… I’ll look into getting Bae something a little better for his birthday.”
“It might be a start,” she smiles, “He needs something to do, a way of releasing his creative energy.”
“As you’ve said before,” he nods, “Well, thank you Miss French.”
He stands to leave, holds out his hand for her to shake, and she smiles. Then she catches him completely off-guard and pulls him by his hand across the desk, so she can kiss him instead.
His leg is protesting, but he doesn’t care one bit.
“Little unprofessional, wouldn’t you say, dear?” he teases, when she pulls away and caresses his cheek with her free hand.
“Be thankful the Hudsons are waiting outside,” she murmurs, “I don’t have time to live out a certain fantasy right now.”
He chuckles, remembering similar thoughts he’d had months back, before she even knew his first name. Thoughts that, admittedly, had sprung into his mind a few times when she’d told him about this little meeting.
He’d love to live out a few of them, too, but there’d be a queue forming outside and people would talk. Perhaps, he thinks, next time he can take her last appointment of the night, and they’ll have time to do more than kiss and rile each other up.
So he settles for kissing her again, sucking on her tongue in his mouth the way he knows she likes, and chancing a brush of his hand against her breast through her dress, as her hand on his cheek absently strokes his cheekbone with the side of her thumb. She moans, and he tugs on her lower lip with his teeth as they break apart for air.
“You’re coming for dinner tonight, correct?” he asks, when he has breath again.
She can manage no more than a little sound of assent, and a nod of her head.
“Then I shall see you at home, dear,” he says, and enjoys the little whimper she makes as, with one last little kiss to her lips, he breaks all contact, and strides from the room.
He has to look back, when the door closes and he can just see her through the window pane.
She is stood at her desk, tidying the escaped curls of her hair and sorting the papers, the order messed up by their activities. He sees her touch her fingers to her lips just once, and smile a sort of unbelieving, dazed smile. The kind he knows he wears any morning when he wakes up and she’s stayed over, curled in his bed with her dark hair on the stark white pillows.
It’s been three months since they started dating, since she declared him her boyfriend, and he knew even then that he could love her, if given the chance.
Someday soon, he will tell her.
He loves her so much, in that one glance through the door window back inside, that he can hardly breathe.
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