December 3, 2010

The girl blushes when I ask her if I look like a beast. Man, she's gorgeous. I feel bad. "Sorry," I say. "I've had a rough ... um..." I look out the window and onto the brightly-lit lawn. "A rough morning. I'm here to meet the beast, but he isn't expecting me."

I back up and lean against the Greek-style column that makes up half the door frame. "Don't mind me."

The girl relaxes and nods. She sidesteps over to the flowers, and shoots a glance at me before looking at them more closely. She smiles and smells the roses, then touches one, just barely, with the tip of her pinky. Wow. She really gets a kick out of flowers I guess.

I slide down to sit on the warm marble and think. How can I speed things up?

I hear a bunch of clicks coming in from the opposite side of the room. I have no idea what I'm hearing until I see a huge dog walk into the room. Except the dog has horns and a snout that looks more like a wild pig. And really, really big  claws. The ones that click against the marble floors. I round the pillar to get out of sight and listen to the conversation.

"Beauty," said the beast, "will you give me leave to see you sup?"

"That is as you please." Her hands were shaking. Poor thing.

"No, you alone are mistress here; you need only bid me gone, if my presence is troublesome, and I will immediately withdraw."

So... yeah... skip ahead. The conversation went on like this for a while. Basically, it all ended in a marriage proposal (I'm not kidding.) and Beauty turning him down. Figures.

The beast leaves, kinda sulky, and Beauty (who's sitting in a gold-framed chair now) puts her hands in her lap. She jumps a little when she sees me. Honestly. How bad is her memory?

"You just turned him down?"

Beauty frowns. "I did. He cannot possibly expect me to comply."

"Comply?" I pull another chair away from the table and sit in front of her. "I know you may not believe this, but that beast," I point at the empty doorway, "is under a spell. And he'll die if you don't change your mind."

Beauty's face wrinkles. She's still beautiful, though. "He'll die? But he's so..."

"Good-natured? Well-educated? Disgustingly wealthy? Totally into you?" I laugh. Yeah, I can see why you wouldn't want to marry him." I stand up. "Look, if you can just get past what he looks like, you'll see that you two belong together. He's perfect for you." I turn to leave the room, but stop. "I mean that as a compliment."

Beauty's face is pale, but she nods. I wait for the room to change, but it doesn't. Crap. I'm still here.

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