Adam saw Maurice out of his office and sighed as he closed the door. He had spent the last forty minutes assuring Belle’s father that there was definitely some interest in his invention that would help the lumber min clear out some of the forest on his castle grounds for renovations. The lumbermen had been there earlier that morning begging him to make Maurice destroy his machine, or, at least, use it far away from any person it could harm.
He sat at his desk and looked around the room. A long time ago, before the enchantress came, this had been his father’s office. When his family had fled the enchantment, and long since died, these rooms had been closed off. Now it was open, cleaned out and, for the most part, bare. Lumiere and Cogsworth were still arguing over decorating this part of the palace. Rumor was the two had tried to start in on Belle’s quarters with some sort of Neo-baroque décor and Mrs. Pots and Madame Armoire ran to the girl’s aid. As far as he knew, the room hadn’t changed since Belle came here…and he dearly wish he knew what it looked like inside now…knew what his beloved gazed upon during her day…the feel of her bed were she slept.
Adam pushed the thought away and sighed. He had barely seen Belle in two days. The last two nights he had hoped to see her at dinner, to reach across and grasp her hand, to feel warmth flood through him by a single glance of her large, doe-like eyes. But both nights he was disappointed. Mrs. Pots informed him Belle had dined in her room and retired early.
Maurice had tried to console the prince, told him Belle often desired to be alone, “the introverted young thing.”
Looking at the letters from foreign diplomats who had heard of the Prince’s return, Adam contemplated skipping dinner tonight himself. Hearing a knock at the door, Adam about shouted at whoever it was to go away but refrained lest it be Maurice again or Chip, who often came to bring news of Belle. “Come in.”
It was Mrs. Pots, to Adam’s surprise, looking somewhat agitated and not her usual, rosey self. “How can I help you, Mrs. Pots?”
The older woman looked Adam over. She was impressed by the prince, he was a handsome young man who had retained his youth despite the decades enchanted. Still, in his blue eyes and how he carried himself, there was still a hint of the Beast within, lurking. “My lord…its…” She faltered a bit, not wanting to give too much away about what the young lady upstairs was going through.
“What is it, Mrs. Pots?” Adam did his best to restrain his irritation but it came out in his tone, only angering the woman before him.
“It’s Belle.” She stated roughly.
At this Adam sat up, “What is it? What’s wrong with her? Is she sick?”
Mrs. Pots shook her head, “No, nothing like that.” She considered a way to say this, “Belle is…like most of us, thrown off by the changes going on at the palace.”
“Have Cogworth and Lumiere tried to redecorate her rooms again? I’ll have a word with them immediately.”
“No…well…yes but Belle set them in her place, she prefers a soft, Victorian look…but that is besides the point, My Lord. Belle is bothered by the changes she sees in you.” It was blunt, but Mrs. Pots saw that they would get nowhere without being up front with the prince.
This statement stopped Adam in his thought process. “Changes…in me?” He had wondered if Belle was avoiding him because of how different he looked now. He knew that before the enchantment he had several women seeking his attention and his looks had not changed much. Was he now, no longer her type? It had been a silly thought for surely a woman who could love a beast would not care about looks. But something had been wrong and he hadn’t felt ready to address it with her, especially as she hadn’t been near at hand for any sort of discussion.
“Sire…I know it is not my place…” Mrs. Pots ventured.
“You know that I hold your advice in high regard, Mrs. Pots,” Adam encouraged.
“I think…if you were to take some time alone with Belle…she could see that despite your outward appearance and the change of the castle, that things have not changed…in your heart.” She smiled at Adam as he thought this over. “She simply needs reassurance, Sire.”
Adam nodded and smiled, “Of course…and the sooner the better. Mrs. Pots. Do you think the kitchen staff could set up a private dinner for Belle and I? On the balcony?”Smiling, Mrs. Pots liked his idea. “Of course, My Lord.”
And...I couldn't resist