'Ello! So if you didn't read the summary, this story is based off of East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon. It was one of my favorite stories growing up, and I thought the tale would make an excellent addition to the town of Storybrooke. I'm mostly sticking to the traditional tale, but for names and minor details I'm referring to East by Edith Pattou. If you haven't read it, it's a great book, even if you don't know the fairy tale.
I'm going to try to keep to a (semi) regular posting schedule, since it's the summer and there's no excuse for me NOT to post as often as I can.
Without further ado, the first chapter of East and West.
The deceptively sleepy town of Storybrooke was full of stories. Everything from small interactions between those who normally never would have met, to dramatic soap operas played out in the streets. Most of these stories remained hidden, due to the dominating nature of a few key individuals. Every member of Storybrooke had a life in the town, as well as another that they had all lost from the curse. The curse guaranteed an unhappy ending, but some were still able to find their light in the dark.
The weather was average for Storybrooke, requiring a jacket to repel the cold, but not an overly heavy one. The street where Regina's house lay was most often deserted. There was no friendly chat between neighbors over the neatly trimmed hedges, nor the near constant laughter of children present in most neighborhoods. Three houses down from Regina's was the only house that refused to rely on hedges and a gate to block out the rest of the world. It was at the end of the block, still big and beautiful, but it was obvious that the owner disliked closing off the house from any who would approach from the outside. A large tree spread its shade just across the narrow street.
The owner of the house was leaning against the tree, a sheaf of papers on his lap and a pencil in hand. His hair was a light blonde and his face perfectly shaven. His dark brown eyes were concentrating hard on the papers in front of him. However, he was distracted from his work long enough to spot the woman walking past him.
On a whim, he set down the papers and called out to her. She turned, with a pleasant look on her face. "May I help you?"
"I… Just wanted to say hi." The man scrambled to his feet. He held out his hand in greeting and she took it. "My name's Charles."
"Rose," the woman replied. She had quite unusual eyes, a beautiful shade of violet. To his knowledge, violet eyes were just a rumor spread by beauty gurus and idealized by fantasy authors. He made a mental note to research it later, but for the moment he was simply lost in the unusual color. Charles coughed awkwardly, attempting to shake away his fixation, instead taking a moment to look at her other features. He had seen the girl from afar often, but had never been able to examine her up close.
Her dark red hair was tied up into a bun and she wore a brown leather jacket over a t-shirt and jeans. A large brown bag that seemed to carry clothes was thrown over her shoulder. She adjusted the strap before returning the handshake. He noticed the thick silver ring that she wore around her thumb as they shook. It was easy to tell from the sheer size that it was a man's ring, and her thumb was the only finger that it would fit upon.
"I, well, you've been walking past here almost every day and…" Charles' voice dwindled after the primary burst of confidence.
Rose smiled, which sent her purple eyes glittering. Charles felt a flutter in his chest. "Same here, I'm happy to finally talk to you, Charles." She glanced at her wrist, where a slim watch lay. She frowned. "I'd love to talk more, but I have to get to work. Maybe tomorrow I can leave earlier so we can continue…?"
"Yeah!" Charles replied energetically. He coughed again. "I mean, uh, yeah. I'd like that."
The woman gave a cheery wave before taking off down the street, hurrying her pace so as not to be late. That night, he spotted her walking home from work once more in the dark from his bedroom window, but he didn't dare call out to her once more. He just hoped that she would stay true to her word.
Charles had nothing to fear. Rose left early just as she had promised. The two sat down in the shade of the large tree and continued their conversation.
"So you're a musician?" Rose asked as she readjusted her sitting position so she lay cross legged.
"I also make instruments. It's mostly a hobby though." Charles replied. "My family left behind a fair bit of money, which leaves me free to do what makes me happy."
Rose's face seemed to tighten a little and her voice came out terse. "That must be nice."
Charles noticed the change in mood and instantly regretted bringing up his money. He hadn't meant to drop the 'hey, guess what, I'm rich' bomb so early on in the conversation. It had just slipped out. He switched topics to try to take ease the tension. "What do you do? I see you walk to work everyday, but I've never seen where you go." perfect!
Rose paused as she attempted to answer. "I'm a… I'm a waitress, but it's just a job... "
"I'm sure you're great at it." Charles smiled warmly. "You're very friendly. Everyone must love you there."
Rose didn't meet his gaze. "Yeah, I guess so… Speaking of which, I don't want to be late…" She scrambled to her feet. "It was nice talking to you, Charles."
Charles followed suit and smiled. "It was nice talking to you too. Maybe… Um… You'd like to have dinner with me some night?"
Rose blushed a little. "I'd like that. I'll stop by tomorrow too. We can make plans later." She hurried off. As she turned her back, a wide smile cracked her features.
The woman walked the rest of the way to work in an elated state. However, the second she stopped at the back door of her workplace her smile faded. She took a deep breath and opened the door. With a few steps, she was inside the kitchen of the Rabbit Hole. The cook gave her a wave in greeting as she passed by him, heading towards the employee bathroom. It was a usual routine. With the door firmly locked, she quickly changed clothes and removed a makeup case from her bag as well.
Ten minutes later, Rose stepped out into the kitchen, completely changed. Heavy makeup caked her eyes and face, with dark red lipstick drawing attention to her white teeth. She wore a black mesh shirt with a torn half shirt over the top, exposing much of her midriff. Bright red shorts and black heels completed the ensemble, but she was still obviously unhappy.
"I wish the boss wouldn't make you girls dress like that," the cook said sympathetically. "Rose, I've told you time and time again this is no place for you."
"I have no choice, Dan," Rose sighed. "I can't find a job anywhere else. Trust me, I've tried."
"Hmph," Dan the Cook grunted as she headed out into the bar. She immediately switched with another, similarly dressed waitress, who seemed relieved at her appearance. She forced a smile on her face as she went over to a table to take orders.
The curious thing about Storybrooke was that even with the curse in effect, friends, spouses, and family could still find each other in their day to day life. When Charles asked Rose on a date, he had no idea what she had truly meant to him in the Enchanted Forest, or how she had gone to the ends of the Earth to save him once. Storybrooke brought a new beginning and it was finally Charles' chance to save Rose.
Once upon a time...
So? What do you think hypothetical reader I am communicating with through a computer screen? I accept all reviews with an open mind and heart (as long as Regina doesn't steal it first for potentially screwing up Once Upon a Time). My editor Starcrossed Writer can only take me so far.
With that, I bid you adieu!
I hope you have a great day!