Fic: Rumour Has It - Chapter 1
AU: Because of one little lie, everyone at Storybrooke University now thinks that Belle Charmin is sleeping around, and Professor Gold, the only guy who seems to believe her innocence, is totally off limits. Easy A!AU.
AN: Okay, so this is entirely Marchie’s fault. She asked for a college!AU inspired by the 2010 movie Easy A. However: while watching the movie is a wonderful and entirely hilarious use of your time, prior knowledge of the plot shouldn’t be vital for understanding this fic. It also deviates from the canon plot at several points, so it’s not a carbon copy of the movie itself.
Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8
Rumour Has It
Just to set the record straight: I have only ever had sex with one person.
Ironically, that’s the one relationship no one actually knows about.
This isn’t a diary: my diary is sat across the room, staring at me accusingly. It knows I’m cheating on it with this. It can get in back of the line of people ready to accuse me of whoring around.
This isn’t a diary: this is something closer to a novel. Call it autobiographical fiction, if you want, since I’m changing some of the names to protect the innocent.
When I started college, I thought… I don’t know, that it’d be easier somehow. Less juvenile and fucked up than high school, at any rate. Maybe I should have known better.
Belle Charmin looks up from her third attempt to commit any of the past year to paper, and sighs. It’s not a good idea, really, allowing any of this to live on in any way, shape or form. No one needs to know about Jefferson Madden’s problem, or Professor Mills’ axe to grind, or Graham Hunter’s guilt complex.
No one needs to know about the warmth in Professor Gold’s eyes, either, or how she learned the secret of his first name, the first student in history to do so.
No one should ever ever know, and yet Belle plans to commit every moment she can remember to paper. If only because otherwise, no one will ever believe the truth, and she refuses to die with everyone still thinking she was a prostitute for a year of college.
She wants a job, someday: this’ll come up one way or another.
So she decides, finally, this third attempt, to sit back in her desk chair and type until the words become automatic and thoughtless. To remember rather than write, and if it still doesn’t work she’ll buy a megaphone and just shout at the whole campus until they believe her.
With a solid plan B in mind, Belle settles in with her Red Bull and her laptop, and prepares to share her tale.
Alright then, here goes nothing.
My mum always told me to be brave. I’ve found it easier to do the scary shit first, and let the bravery come out of the fact that you have to do this whether you like it or not. Too late to go back now.
Is it brave to write it rather than say it aloud?
I guess I’ll find out.
It started with Sophomore year.
Maine in the autumn was not the brightest and sunniest of places, but Belle preferred warm jackets and gloves to bikinis and shorts anyway, and for her first year she had been certain that SU was the perfect fit for her.
But the second year rolled around, and she moved into her dorm with Abigail - she had thought, long and hard, about sharing a room with Ruby this year, and then thought better of it - and everything felt… off, somehow.
Maybe it was because Greg had transferred away, and their break up had been so quiet and anticlimactic. They’d been together since they were children, an item since they’d finally kissed at a party at the age of thirteen, and it was odd not having him around.
Even if Texas was a better fit for him; even if they had been little more than best friends with the occasional hook-up by the end.
She was missing a childhood comfort, and somehow sophomore year was already feeling lonelier and scarier by far than the last.
“Hey, are you alright?” Abbie finished hanging her posters on her half of the walls and frowned at her.
“Yeah,” Belle rubbed a hand over her eyes, “Moving day just takes it out of me, I guess.”
“I can go get a coffee or something if you want to take a lie down?” Abbie offered, and Belle smiled at her friend’s concern.
“I’m okay, really, I just… coffee’s sounding like a good plan, actually. I can grab something for you and bring it back?”
“That’d be great!” Abbie smiled gratefully, and turned to her boxes of clothes, “I’ll make a start on this mess.”
“Alright, just a skinny latte for you, right?”
“No, make it full fat,” Abbie grinned, and Belle eyed her suspiciously, “Freddy says he doesn’t mind what I eat so long as I’m happy, and I’m going to take him up on that!”
“Oooh,” Belle raised her eyebrows, “Is this the same Freddy who you wrote me about over the summer?”
“Maybe,” Abbie looked so happy Belle suddenly wanted to hit her with something. Something soft, though, that wouldn’t do any damage. “He said he’d come up and get a job on his dad’s farm so he could see me more.”
“That’s lovely, Abbie, really,” Belle tried to be convincing, and wondered what the hell was wrong with her. Abigail was one of the loveliest girls she’d ever met; if anyone deserved a knight in shining armor then it was her.
“Yeah,” Abbie didn’t seem to notice her lack of enthusiasm, “Anyway, I might not be here when you get back: I have my first meeting of the year at three.”
Abbie was a fairly regular member of the Student Ethics Committee, a group set up by Professor Regina Mills designed to keep crime, drugs, alcohol and random sex on campus to a minimum. They were the most polarising group in the whole university: people either supported them, or hated their guts.
Belle knew, considering her upbringing and her general outlook, that she would have happily fallen into a kind of vague dislike and general piss-taking of the whole exercise, had it not been for Abbie.
It was hard to dislike anything that seemed to make someone so nice so happy.
Belle just nodded, and said “Well, if I’m coming back before then I’ll bring your coffee, otherwise I’ll see you later?”
“Yeah,” Abbie smiled at her, a warm smile, “I hope you feel better.”
Belle nodded, and turned to leave, muttering, “Me too,” as she went.
Yeah, somehow that first day back already got off to a bad start. Mom claims she can feel things in the air when the winds are changing, when the shit’s about to hit the fan. But then Emma claims she can spot a liar as soon as look at him, so it’s hard to know with my family.
But it wasn’t until a few weeks later, when Abbie had gone to visit Freddy and I was stuck with Ruby for a whole day without respite that things really got started.
“Wait, wait,” Ruby shook her head, “So Abbie the Moral Majority is off fucking some guy, and she still thinks she can sit on that Committee thing? That’s messed up.”
Belle snorted into her coffee, “Please, the chances of Abbie doing anything with Fred are so slim it’s actually hilarious. They’re going to hold hands and skip through meadows or something, I don’t know.”
Ruby set down her coffee and looked at her, hard, “Woah, what’s eating you?”
“Being a heinous cynical bitch is my job,” Ruby said, decisively, “you’re supposed to say ‘oh, no Rubes, she’s really nice and I’m sure she’s not at all a hypocrite’ or something.”
“I don’t even know,” Belle said, “I just… I don’t feel right, anymore.”
“Is it Professor Gold?” Ruby asked, sympathetically, “He rip your ideas apart again?”
“No,” Belle shook her head, but then thought for a moment, “Okay, maybe a little bit. He’s an awesome teacher, so I don’t know why I feel so messed up every time he tears apart my arguments in class.”
“Um, didn’t you just answer your own question?”
“It’s the only way to learn, Ruby, you know that.”
“Not if it gets you down for days afterward!”
“I’ve been ‘down’ for weeks now. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just since Greg left.”
“That lump?” Ruby snorted, “Holding a conversation with him was like talking to a brick. Only a brick would probably have more to say about things.”
“Okay, well, you try saying goodbye for the first time to your oldest friend and see how you feel, hmm?”
“Alright, sorry,” Ruby raised her hands in surrender, and then her eyes brightened, “Hey! Why don’t you come with me for the weekend? Granny’s not using the cottage so I’m having the guys over for a party.”
Belle groaned inside: Ruby’s ‘guys’ were a group of seven boys from the football team, plus their assorted girlfriends, and they prided themselves on drinking a whole keg in half an hour between them. One of them, Pete, claimed he could do it all by himself: naturally, he was the one Ruby’d taken a real shine to.
“No, it’s fine. I’m… I’m busy.”
“Doing what? I thought you were Miss Lonely Mopeface.”
“I ah… I have a date!” Belle improvised, “Yeah, one of Fred’s friends, Abbie hooked me up.”
“Okay, what’s his name?” Ruby’s eyes narrowed, her expression reminding Belle of nothing less than a wolf who’d caught the right scent. Belle was sure her story smelt strongly of bullshit, but it was better that than a weekend spent with Pete and his buddies.
“Cameron,” she blurted, then cringed: she knew the Titanic rewatch last night had been a bad idea. No way was Ruby going to buy that.
“Uh huh.” Ruby nodded, and Belle knew she’d failed. “Cameron, cause that’s a sexy-ass name.”
“Well, my Cameron is.”
“Come on, Belle, just admit you haven’t been on a date since Greg left and come out with me and the guys. You’ll have fun, I promise!”
A hundred images of alcohol, random drunken sex, the company of the pothead she’d only ever heard referred to as ‘Happy’, and all the things that would go wrong as a consequence flashed through Belle’s mind.
“I’ll have fun on my date.” She corrected, calmly.
“But…” Ruby sighed, and she did puppy-eyes very well for someone who was human and not canine, “I promised Doc you’d come with.”
“Oh, Ruby, no.” Belle frowned at her friend, “What Rob Dockery does in his spare time is nothing to do with me, and I’m not being the tagalong friend again just so you can get laid.”
“Fine,” Ruby shrugged, levelling a glare that was only just the right side of murderous at Belle, “But you’re a horrible person and I hope Hell is as fun for you as your Cameron.”
“I hope Pete decides to make out with you before he’s too wasted to stand, this time.” Belle bit back, and then regretted it: that was a little on-the-nose for her liking. Ruby could be a little brash sometimes, but it was only because she knew they were close enough that Belle wouldn’t be offended by anything she said. Offended was the wrong word: irritated was more like it, these days.
There was something wrong with her: nothing felt right this year.
I made a big fuss out of the ‘date’, one of my larger productions. I bought a new outfit and new underwear and everything, really went all-out, right up until the moment Ruby shrugged, hugged me, and left for the country house.
Then I decided to get the hell out of Dodge, and head home for the weekend. My childhood home is only about two hours’ drive from campus with a good following wind, and I miss my family when I’m not with them. Emma’s an annoying brat sometimes, but mama and papa are… well, they’re still speaking to me even now, and they know everything.
Not just speaking, but on my side and smiling and kicking ass anytime someone tries to slander my name. Of all the weirdos in the world who could have adopted me back in 1991, I think Mary Margaret and James Charmin were the best I could have gotten.
I hung with Emma all weekend. She had been texting with Jefferson Madden, who she’d met and liked back when we did the school play together senior year. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the consensus - at that time, at least - was that he was gay as the sunrise.
But, come Monday, I had a story to tell. Ruby wouldn’t accept a family visit as an excuse not to go and party, after all.
“So, how was your date with Mr Imaginary?” Ruby asked, as she and Belle made their way to classes. Belle had her English Lit seminar, Ruby had a chemistry lab session, although her fingernails were painted blood red again and Belle knew that Professor Wolfe wouldn’t approve.
“Cameron,” Belle stressed the name, “Was wonderful, a perfect gentleman. He bought me flowers and we went driving in his car, and he let us get Italian for dinner. Totally worth missing the party.”
“Right, uh huh, sure,” Ruby nodded, “So you going out with him again?”
“Um…” Belle knew that there was no way she could keep up a fake boyfriend, not for very long, so she shook her head, “No, I mean, probably not, he lives way out with Fred, after all, and I don’t want to be crowding him and Abbie or anything.”
“But this Cameron was such a great date,” Ruby pressed, needing an admission of guilt, and Belle felt her stubbornness kick in, “Why not call him back?”
“Eh, it was just one of those weekends, you know. Lost and all that.”
“A whole weekend, huh?” A new gleam - lascivious and wicked - came into Ruby’s eyes, “So is that why you don’t want to see him again? Dirty, unmentionable sex acts?”
“Ruby!” she gasped, scandalised, “It was nothing like that!”
“Yeah right, I thought you might have just made him up, but now… oh my god you’re totally blushing! You did nasty, kinky shit with him and now you’re too embarrassed to see him again!”
That put Belle in a very difficult position: either lie now or admit to the earlier lie. Neither was a nice prospect, but Ruby was eyeing her expectantly and she didn’t have time to deliberate.
“Alright… yeah, okay, it wasn’t freaky or anything, but we kind of… spent the night. And it’d be awkward seeing him again after that, cause I don’t want… anyway, I don’t want to go out again, so I’m not calling him back.”
“I knew it! Belle Charmin, secret super-slut!” She shouted, and everyone seemed to look their way.
Belle was about to clamp her hand over her friend’s mouth to keep her quiet, when Professor Gold brushed - more like barged - past them, causing Ruby to drop one of her books. As she bent to pick it up she glared after him, “Sorry!” she called in a tone that suggested she was anything but, and Belle elbowed her in the ribs as Gold spun to face them.
“I’m sorry, ladies, did I disturb your little chat?” His tone was biting, icy, as he came back to meet them.
“No, we’re fine. Sorry, professor.” Belle shot a look to her friend, “Ruby needs to take her pills.”
She was certain she didn’t miss the little smirk forming on his face, before the cold mask of imperious annoyance slid back into place. “Well, be that as it may, class starts in two minutes, Belle, and you know what happens to latecomers.”
Ruby giggled as Belle nodded, solemnly, and Belle was just about ready to kill her friend when Gold turned back to face them, “Something funny, dearie?”
Ruby shook her head, glanced at Belle, and then back at Professor Gold, who’s eyebrows were raise expectantly. “It’s just… you make late people answer a load of really bad questions, right?”
“…Yes.” Gold frowned, “You’re not in my class, though.”
“No,” she brushed that off with a wave of her red-clawed hand, “Belle’s always talking about it. Anyway, she’s done all the reading. Can’t make her stop. So it’s funny that that’s the punishment.”
Gold glanced back at Belle, and she felt the heat rise in her face, “Well well, Belle. How does that explain your last B-minus?”
“Not my fault if you disagree with my reading,” she mumbled, mortified. Ruby was so, so dead.
“Indeed.” Gold smirked, and Belle wanted the floor to swallow her whole, “Well, class now starts in a minute and a half, but I’ll give you a head-start.”
“Thanks.” Belle shot one last death-glare to Ruby, and walked past her professor toward the class doors. She heard Ruby call one last word of encouragement behind her, and Gold’s footsteps following as she hurried into the classroom and took her place beside Tom Herman.
She avoided her professor’s eyes when he took his place at the front.
He just smirked, the one time he caught her glancing at him: he was a bastard, for all that he was a brilliant teacher. And she still hadn’t pulled better than B-minus all semester.
The lesson passed quickly, mainly because she kept her mouth shut for once and just made notes on what the others were saying. It was easier, sometimes, when the lessons were like this one: the rare times when Professor Gold decided to simply talk, rather than allowing much discussion. She couldn’t help that she enjoyed the sound of his voice.
Abigail was waiting for her when she got back to the dorm.
“Anything you want to talk about?” she asked, as Belle flopped back on her bed and stared resolutely at the ceiling.
“No.” Belle groaned, and pulled a pillow up to cover her face. All the way back from class, guys had been wolf-whistling and girls had sneered. It was nice to be noticed, but a little unnerving.
“Really?” Belle could almost hear Abbie’s eyebrows raise, “Because that’s not what I heard.”
“Ruby Lucas needs to be muzzled.” Belle said, her voice muffled by the pillow. She pulled it back, and found Abbie smirking at her.
“What she say, exactly?”
“I told her about how I spent my weekend.”
“You went home, didn’t you?” Abbie frowned, and Belle wondered for a moment about simply being honest with her friend.
But Abbie knowing the truth would run the risk of telling her Ethics Committee friends, and then Belle would either be a liar or apparently ashamed of her ‘slut’ status. Better to keep up the lie.
“I ah… I met someone.”
Abbie’s eyes narrowed, “And spent a weekend with them?”
“I told Ruby that, alright? And she decided that somehow one overnight stay turned into a marathon of weird, kinky sex stuff, and now I’m a ‘super slut’.”
“Well… are you alright with that?”
“It doesn’t matter either way, does it?” Belle frowned at her, “I mean, I know the truth, but if I had done that stuff and not gotten hurt or hurt someone else, then who should even care?”
“I suppose…” Abigail shrugged, “You know where I stand, but as long as you’re okay, I’m okay. Just… tell me the truth, okay? Don’t let me find out stuff through the grapevine.”
Belle felt a little knock to the stomach, guilt curling through her, but she managed a weak little smile, “You bet. Don’t worry about it: if you ask for it, I’ll tell the truth. Starting now.”
“Deal.” Abbie smiled, relieved, and Belle didn’t know if she felt relieved or sickened by herself.
That was, at least, some decent fine print. Maybe she should look into pre-law.
- unicornbloodandguts likes this
- elizasmythe likes this
- ian-mickeysarchive likes this
- colferchris likes this
- jamesjuliet reblogged this from rufeepeach
- nightthorn likes this
- lumiereandpenumbra likes this
- elizabethtowne likes this
- smearedliner likes this
- cheminsdudesir likes this
- youngwolfrides likes this
- creamofmycoffee reblogged this from rufeepeach
- criss-colfer-and-me likes this
- humblequill likes this
- squealingwhovian likes this
- too-much-roslyn likes this
- dobrevswift likes this
- onlyreadsbooksandshecannotdraw likes this
- cantiatleastknowyou likes this
- ladyenjolras likes this
- plotweaver likes this
- missgolightly29 reblogged this from rufeepeach
- daisyagainsttheworld likes this
- iloveyoumrbates likes this
- lookitsteatime likes this
- athelstanned likes this
- weareall-madinhere likes this
- missblackwood likes this
- omgkimwtf likes this
- accio-firewhiskey reblogged this from rufeepeach and added:
- accio-firewhiskey likes this
- eva-aftagrl likes this
- wonderlandanddolphins likes this
- king-undisputed likes this
- fuckyeahbelleandrumpelstiltskin reblogged this from rufeepeach
- roxytisch likes this
- lisianpeia likes this
- robinsparkles14 likes this
- neverwheredreamer likes this
- theternalstud likes this
- rosetintedlover likes this
- ameetingengagement likes this
- ragnymphm likes this
- chippedhearts likes this
- devwasnotthere likes this
- raisedbyanother likes this
- marquesadesantos likes this
- whiteorangeflower reblogged this from rufeepeach
- whiteorangeflower likes this
- ddagent reblogged this from rufeepeach and added: