My dear friend, Flaming-Blizzard, gave me a prompt the other day, asking me to write a cute fall story for Belle and Adam. It's not set in any specific AU, just a basic modern setting.
I don't own any Disney characters, only the story concept.
The Perfect Day
The crisp fall air greeted Belle as she stepped out of her car. She wasn't completely sure of where she was. Adam texted her that morning, and she just plugged in the address he'd sent and drove. Around her were open fields; some held trees, while others contained dried out corn stalks. Mud squashed beneath her knee-high boots. She was glad she'd chosen the practical outfit of a sweater, jeggings, and boots as opposed to the long-sleeved dress, knee-high socks, and cute flats she'd originally put on.
Lifting her hands to the sky, Belle stretched her back and arms, working out the kinks from her long drive. Adam was often full of surprises, but none had taken her so far from home before. Two hours out of the city, and he wasn't even here yet. It figured. Adam and punctuality weren't exactly "buddy-buddy." She'd enjoyed the trek though, spending that time listening to a really good audiobook.
Ten minutes passed, and Belle was starting to think he wasn't going to show. She frowned as she peered out at the field in front of her. Why send her all the way out here for nothing? But then, in the distance, she saw movement. It was a tractor of some sort, pulling a wagon.
What on earth is he up to? she wondered, popping out her airpods and turning off her book. As the tractor came closer, she saw who was driving. It was Adam! She laughed at the sight. He wore jeans and a flannel shirt, with a ball-cap on his head. He was the picture of a stereotypical farm-boy despite being the furthest thing from it.
"What are you doing?" Belle shouted, not sure if he'd be able to hear her over the rumbling of the huge tractor. Behind him, an actual farmer sat on a hay bale, nervously instructing Adam, gesturing for him to turn.
Adam waved at Belle and completely missed the direction. The tire of the machine dipped into a huge hole, and Adam gripped the steering wheel as the tractor jolted to a sudden halt, lurching his body to the side.
"I said RIGHT!" the man shouted, and Adam shrugged.
Belle ran forward, worried he'd fall and hurt himself, but he gave her a mischievous smile with a wink. To the older man, he said, "Sorry."
She was laughing as she walked up to where the vehicle was now stuck. Adam jumped down and took the hat off, tucking the bill into his back pocket.
"I'll call my boys to bring the truck," sighed the farmer. "But I'm charging you double now."
Adam turned on his charming grin. "Wouldn't expect anything less." Then he mouthed worth it to Belle and gave her a kiss. "Hey, babe. How was your drive here?"
She smirked at him, then kissed him back. "Better than yours. Are you even qualified to drive that thing?"
His hand scratched the back of his neck as he looked back at the tractor in the ditch. "Um… He gave me a few lessons back on the farm, but we didn't cover avoiding ditches and potholes. Those big tires rolled over everything, so it didn't even occur to me."
"You are ridiculous." She playfully swatted at him, but Adam grabbed the hand and pulled her close. His other arm came around her waist, and he kissed her again.
He can be as ridiculous as he wants if he keeps doing that! Belle leaned into him, letting his kiss take over her senses for a few minutes. Somehow, it was always like that with him. One little brush of his lips, and she was putty in his arms.
A throat cleared behind them, and Belle jumped back, embarrassment racing up her cheeks. "Ohmygod… We shouldn't… I am so sorry!"
The grin on Adam's face made Belle smack his arm, and this time he wasn't ready for it. His wince gave her a momentary sense of accomplishment. "That was incredibly rude of us. I'm sorry," Belle said to the farmer, who was now glaring at Adam.
"I'm not. You knew this was part of the day's plans," Adam defended, his arms pulling Belle back to his chest. "Can't help it when I have a girl as beautiful as Belle. Pun intended!"
She sighed, rolling her eyes at him. "Don't pay any attention to him, he's lost his mind."
"Ah, well, young men tend to do that over pretty young ladies. I'm Henry, and this is my farm." The farmer extended a hand, looked down at his muddy glove, then removed it and offered the hand again.
Belle shook it and said, "Wonderful to meet you, Henry. It's beautiful here, but may I ask, what kind of farm is it?"
Adam stepped in, cutting off the farmer's attempt at answering. "You'll see." Belle glared at Adam, but didn't interrupt. "I'm gonna grab the baskets, and you'll text me when we're up and running again?"
"Yeah, sure." Henry nodded. "Just don't get lost. It's a lot of acres, and I don't want to have to get the drone to find you. I'd charge ya triple then."
"Understood. No getting lost. Got it." Three baskets and a blanket filled Adam's hands as he came back to Belle's side. "Let's go."
But Belle didn't move. Her arms crossed her chest, and she pointed to the empty baskets. "What are those for?"
"Not telling, or do you really want to ruin the surprise?" He walked backwards, holding up the items. "Or you can stay here, and I'll have all the fun."
Belle jogged to catch up, since two of her steps equaled one of his long strides. "I'm coming, I'm coming." Her arm looped through his, and he handed over one of the empty baskets. "But seriously, what are we doing at a farm, Adam?"
He smiled down at her, and her heart picked up speed. It wasn't fair how incredibly handsome he was. She was mesmerized by the way the golden light of the sun caught on the copper strands in his hair gave him a halo effect. He was no angel, but to her, he sort of was.
Adam strolled onward. "Remember when I asked you what you wanted to do this fall?" They walked through a small wooded patch, following a narrow trail through the thick trees.
"That was a few weeks ago, but yeah, I remember." He helped her over a fallen branch, setting the baskets on the ground before lifting her by the waist and setting her down on the other side. He stole a kiss for his efforts, and Belle cupped his cheek to give him another.
His arm came around her after grabbing his burden, and he guided her through a curtain of fall foliage. "Well…"
Belle's eyes widened as she took in the endless rows of trees, all lined up perfectly, brimming with apples. "An orchard!"
Belle shook her head. He had really outdone himself this time. After a year together, one would think she'd be used to his over-the-top date ideas, but she wasn't. And based on the fact that they were the only people here, and this didn't look like a normal U-Pick farm, Belle concluded that he'd gone beyond over-the-top and skated straight into crazy extravagant. "You rented an entire orchard?!"
"Yep!" he beamed with pride, and Belle looked at him in awe.
"You really are insane. Who rents an entire farm?! When I said I wanted to pick apples, I was suggesting we go to a cider mill and orchard. Ya know, hayrides and corn mazes, cider and donuts, picking apples and pumpkins. Not... ," she swept a hand, gesturing to their surroundings, "this!"
"Go big or go home, right?" His shit-eating grin was in place, and Belle could not have adored him more. He held up the lidded basket. "And I've got the goods right here. A picnic for two with apple cider, fresh pie, caramel apples, and those paninis you love so much from Panera."
Her brow raised, and she lifted the lid to the basket. "No donuts?"
Adam chuckled, kissing her quickly. "I'm not an idiot. Yes, donuts too."
Belle squealed in delight, and went up on her toes to kiss him back. "You are incredible. Insane, but incredible!"
His smile widened. "And as soon as Henry gets the tractor out of the ditch I inadvertently drove into, we'll have our hayride with guided tour around the property."
They picked a few dozen apples before Adam declared that the middle of a grove of gala trees was the perfect picnic spot. He lay the blanket down, setting out everything he'd packed.
Belle sipped her cider and washed down the last of her panini. "This is so perfect. I can't believe you did all this."
Adam shrugged. "Neither of us are real big on crowds, and those touristy orchards are always so overrun with little kids running around everywhere. Not to mention the swarms of yellow jackets. I thought this would be better. One day, when we have our own little rugrats, we'll do it the normal way, but for now, I'd rather keep you all to myself."
Belle leaned over, kissing his full lips. "I love it. And you. So much."
"I love you, too."
Next, they shared the pie, which was still a little warm, feeding each other forkfuls. Adam had planned some really romantic dates, but nothing would ever top this one. The stunning scenery coupled with the peaceful quiet was so refreshing, it was the perfect recharge to the beginning of a stressful semester for them both. School had been overwhelming already, and Belle was restless and desperate for an escape. That Adam picked up on it, even though she'd never said anything, just reaffirmed what she already knew. He was the one. After everything they'd been through to get here, she'd never felt happier in her entire life.
"Thank you," she said, as she gave him the last bite of apple pie.
Adam hummed, chewing and nodding his head. After he swallowed, he grinned at her. "You're welcome. But we've got more apples to pick. You all set for now?" He started packing up their leftovers, finishing off his cup of cider.
Belle threw the rest of hers back as if it were a shot, and said, "Ahhh. Yep. Let's go."
He stood first, giving Belle a hand up. It amazed her how, after more than a year together, the touch of his hand still sent tingles up her arm. She remembered the first time, and sighed. Part of her knew then, but she hadn't been ready to accept it. Well, she was ready now, and instead of letting go, she laced her fingers with his.
"Um… I might need that hand to fold the blanket." He lifted their joined hands and laughed.
"We can manage together. I'm not letting go. Ever."
Adam chuckled again, kissing her hair. "That might get awkward real fast… We did just drink a lot of cider."
"So? You've seen me in the bathroom, and vice versa. What's the big deal?"
"I mean… Yeah, but not like… use the bathroom, ya know? Not sure we're at the 'I can shit in front of you' stage yet. Right? Or did we barrel past popping one another's zits and went straight to dropping deuces with no shame?"
Belle cracked up, snorting with laughter. He joined in as he swiped the blanket off the ground. "Ohmygod… I can't…" she gasped, trying to catch her breath, but she couldn't. "You're gonna make me puke." Her sides hurt as her stomach clenched, still laughing.
"Oh shit… where does that fall on the scale? Is holding your hair back while you spew before or after the zit popping?" His face turned pensive, and Belle fell to her knees. But he kept on going. "Gotta be before, right? Because I know I've done that a few times already. You can not hold your tequila. So puke before puss and shit after?"
Her face was beet-red, and she took sips of air between the hardest laughter she'd ever experienced. It hurt, but she couldn't calm it down.
Adam crouched next to her, an innocent expression on his face. "You okay? Are you choking? Or are you really gonna puke? Should I hold your hair out of your face, babe?"
Belle swiped at him, but missed, which only made the whole thing funnier.
"I know I'm hilarious, but please don't die."
"Stop!" she gasped. "Just shhhhh." Her hand found his face, and she covered his mouth. But he wasn't complying, and his tongue came out and licked her palm. She pulled it away, then wiped it on his flannel. "Ewww, did you just lick me?!"
"Yeah… Not the first time. But you usually don't complain." He wiggled his brows, and her laughter died as heat swirled in her stomach now.
When she finally gained control of herself enough to speak again, she said, "You usually lick better places."
He licked his lips and whispered in her ear. "Later, I'll have you point out all your favorite places for me to lick. Okay?"
And just that quick her body was on fire, and she didn't really want to wait. But they were in the middle of nowhere, on a farm with an owner who had a drone. She didn't dare risk what her body wanted to do right now. "Mm-hmm," she replied, and turned her head to kiss him.
His free hand threaded through her hair, holding her captive as he took over. Their tongues tangled, and Belle moaned at how delicious he tasted; the perfect blend of cider and sweet apple with cinnamon from the pie. Belle's hands skimmed up his stomach, over his chest, settling on his shoulders, holding on as their kiss intensified.
Adam dropped the baskets and blanket, grabbing her ass with his now free hand, and Belle gasped as the move made her pelvis rub against his. She hooked a leg around his hips, putting her weight on his shoulders. It never took long for them to get swept up in their passion for one another once they got started. But Belle tried hanging onto a fragment of awareness. They couldn't do more than kiss here, and if they kept kissing like this, she'd be incapable of resisting going further.
Pulling back, Belle breathed, "Must stop… Not private."
Adam's eyes were two pools of deep midnight blue and dilated. "Yeah… We should… Stop." But he didn't. His lips captured hers while his tongue licked across her upper lip. "You taste so good… Can't stop." This time his tongue slipped into her mouth, stroking hers into playing along. And like the helpless, wanton jezebelle she dissolved into whenever he kissed her like this, Belle met him, lick for lick, nip for nip, claim for claim. Her fingers gripped the back of his neck, and she hopped up, wrapping both legs around his waist.
He caught her, holding her up, as they continued making out.
Mid-kiss, Adam bit down on her lower lip, hard, and Belle yelped, pulling out of his hold and jumping to the ground. "Ow!" she said, licking at where the coppery taste of blood hit her tongue. "You bit me!"
Adam's face was pinched, and his hand rubbed at his backside. "Sorry, something stabbed me in the back."
Belle frowned, sucking on her lip a little more, but walked around him. She gently lifted his shirt, and sure enough, a little welt was starting to form. "Looks like a bee sting."
"No way. That sucker had to be at least three times the size of a bee. I bet it was one of those murder hornets! Shit… it hurts." Moisture gathered in his eyes, and Belle rested a comforting hand on his shoulder.
She got closer and could see the stinger still in his skin. "Hold on, let me get my tweezers."
She snagged her small purse from the apple basket she'd set it in and unzipped the back.
"You carry tweezers in your bag?"
"Yeah, that and bandaids, and Neosporin."
"Wow. You're like a real-life, gorgeous, amazing MacGyver."
Belle's brow furrowed. "Who is that?"
"You've never seen MacGyver? They rebooted it a few years ago. But the original was the best. It's this guy who can take ordinary items and make them into life-saving gadgets. I'm shocked your dad didn't watch it religiously. It's totally his kind of show."
"He doesn't watch much TV, if any."
"We'll have to watch the new ones tonight."
"Okay, sure… Now lift your shirt again. I'm gonna get the stinger out then cover it."
He turned away, shielding himself from her. "Uh… No. I'm fine."
Belle sighed. "Seriously? You can't leave the stinger in your back, silly. It could give you an infection. Besides, it'll take half a second, and you probably won't even feel it."
Adam narrowed his gaze at her and shook his head. "No, really, I'm good."
"Adam…" she warned, trying to skirt around him, but Adam spun, keeping his back from her reach. "Just hold still…" She chased him around in circles before finally punching him in the arm.
"Ow! What the hell was that for?"
"Quit being a baby. That punch hurt a lot more than getting that stinger out will, so if you don't want me to deck you for real next time, lift your shirt and let me get this over with."
His shoulders slumped, and he finally complied. Belle walked around him, and in less than a second, she plucked the stinger out. He didn't even wince.
"See. Easy," she said as she put the bandaid on. "Thank God, you're not allergic to bees."
"You're telling me. Although, if I was, I'm sure you'd have an EpiPen in your Mary Poppins bag of tricks."
"Who says I don't?"
Adam snorted a laugh, but when her eyes remained level with his, he sobered. "Really? You carry an EpiPen? How did you get that? You're not severely allergic to anything."
"No, I'm not, but I have a spare one. Papa is allergic to shellfish, so I always keep it handy, just in case."
Wrapping her up in a crushing hug, Adam kissed her head again. "You are so amazing. And way too good for me."
"I know," she mumbled into his chest.
He chuckled once again and loosened his hold. "Okay, so we need to finish filling the baskets with apples, then hopefully we can take our romantic hayride as the sun sets."
"Sounds perfect. Thank you for doing all of this." She gave him a peck then beamed up at him.
"Thank you, for being perfect." He kissed her nose and smiled back.
The next hour, they slowly filled their baskets with the best apples they could find, weaving in and out of the trees, collecting every variety of apple the orchard held. By the time the sun started going down, Belle's basket was at least fifty pounds, and getting heavier with every step.
"I can carry that for you," Adam offered, moving the picnic basket up his forearm and transferring his apple basket to the same arm. His free hand reached out. "Let me take that."
Belle scoffed and held the sturdy wicker basket with both hands. "Nope. I can do it myself." But the strain in her voice gave away her struggle.
His hand closed around the top, and he pulled it free. "You are the strongest woman I've ever known, but you'll pull something if you keep carrying it like that."
Her eyes narrowed, and she grumbled, "But you won't hurt yourself, because you're a big, thick, muscly man?"
Adam flexed as he lifted the baskets like they were weights. "Exactly. I've spent years perfecting these guns."
Belle snorted, this time rolling her eyes. "Okay… Gaston."
All humor fled his face, and his jaw tightened. "Don't even joke about that shit."
"If the shoe fits."
"Fuck that. I was kidding and you know it. Don't ever compare me to that jackass." His tone turned harsh, and Belle's stomach tightened. She hadn't meant to upset him. It was just such a boastful, arrogant thing to say that it immediately reminded her of Gaston.
"Sorry. You know I don't think you're anything like him. Never in a million years would Gaston ever plan anything this incredible, for anyone. You are everything good, and wonderful, and perfect in the world, and he's the puss growing on pond scum."
That loosened his shoulders a little, and Belle scooted as close as she could get. "Besides, your body is a beautifully toned and sculpted machine. His is jacked up on steroids and god-knows-what-else. There's no comparison." She stepped into his path, and Adam stopped. She reached up and cupped his face. When he didn't object, she lifted up on her toes and kissed him, slow, soft, and sensual.
"Damn right." He smiled, giving her a quicker, sweeter kiss. The phone in his pocket rang just then, and he tried shifting all the baskets to one hand, but couldn't manage it.
"I got it," Belle offered, slipping her hand into his back pocket. She gave his ass a little squeeze before taking the phone out and answering it. "Hello."
"Hi, this is Henry. The tractor is finally free if you want to head back. We can do the hayride now. My daughter made hot chocolate for you and brought an extra blanket."
"That sounds lovely. We'll be right there." Belle hung up and relayed the information to Adam. He nodded and they continued walking back to where they'd started.
Or at least, that's where they thought they were going. Fifteen minutes later, and they still hadn't found the little forest path back to the road.
"I know this is the right way," Adam groaned, getting more and more frustrated with every second that ticked by.
"No, I told you, it was that way. I remember it was by the apple trees with the willow-like branches that drooped."
"I'm telling you, that's where we had the picnic, not where the woods were," he snapped. Sweat was breaking across his brow, and he set the apples down, shaking his arms out.
"I said I'd carry my own basket. You don't need to act all He-Man about it." Belle's temper was flaring now, and each time Adam contradicted her, it just pushed her closer to real anger.
"And I don't want your skinny little arms breaking." He picked the baskets back up and strode in the direction opposite to the one Belle had pointed.
"You're impossible!" Belle grumbled.
"I thought I was insane?" he shot back, not turning around.
"You're insane and impossible!" she yelled, also not turning around as she went the way she knew was right.
By the time she turned around to try and yell at him again, he was gone. A frustrated scream released from her throat, and she kept going. If she found Farmer Henry, then they could look for Adam on the tractor and pick him up.
Leave it to Adam and his quick temper to ruin the best date Belle had ever had. She stomped her way to where her car was parked, grumbling and cursing him under her breath the entire time. When she got to Henry, her face was red, and she needed a minute to cool down.
"Trouble in paradise?" the older man asked.
"If by trouble, you mean am I with the most stubborn, absurd man in the history of mankind? Then, yes. He insisted I was going the wrong way, when I had my GPS out and I knew I was right."
Henry chuckled. "It's a defect of the Y chromosome. Sadly, we're all infected with it. He'll figure it out, and when he does, he'll humbly ask your forgiveness. When he does, hug him, don't shame him. Men screw up all the time, but very few would go to these lengths to make their woman happy. So don't let a little squabble where your pride clashed ruin the day. Be the compassionate woman, the shining example for him to look up to, and spend the rest of the night in each other's arms like you should."
Belle hardly wanted to hear the farmer make some lame excuse for Adam's childish behavior, but something in the older gentleman's eyes was so sincere that she nodded.
Looking down, she saw the worn track around his left ring finger. Not only the tan line, but an indent as well spoke of a wedding ring having lived there for a long time. That it was no longer present told her all she needed to know.
So what, Adam had gotten frustrated and dug his stubborn heels in... He was lost now, and probably feeling like a complete fool. She didn't need to pour salt in the wound and say "I told you so" when he finally found them. He knew he'd been stupid. But it wouldn't stop him from making the same mistake the next time.
It only took five more minutes before a sweaty, contrite Adam came through the trees and crossed the field. He lay the baskets down with a thump, and Belle could see the exhaustion in his eyes.
"Are you alright?" she asked, handing him a fresh water bottle from a cooler on the back of the wagon.
He scrutinized it for a second before taking it. "Thanks…"
Belle felt his tension, like he was holding his breath, waiting for her to let him have it. So she smiled at him, and kissed his cheek. "I'm glad you found us."
Blue eyes widened, and Adam looked to Henry, then back to Belle. His hand gripped the back of his neck, and he mumbled, "Um… yeah… I, uh… followed your footprints."
The pause stretched, and Belle bit her tongue. Shame was written all over his face, and she found no satisfaction in it.
Stepping aside, Adam took her by the elbow and pulled her far enough away so that Henry couldn't hear him. "I'm sorry I snapped at you. I just wanted to have a perfect day, and then I went and lost my cool over stupid directions. I'm so sorry, Belle."
Belle put her hands on his biceps and massaged them a little. "It's alright. You biting my head off isn't… but I'm not mad at you. I was worried though when you disappeared. How are your arms holding up? Those baskets were really heavy."
He sighed as she rubbed his arms, so she kept going. "Why don't we go enjoy the cocoa and the tour, and just relax?"
The look he gave her was full of confusion and gratitude. "I know I already said it today, but you're perfect. Thanks for not chewing me out, even if I deserved it."
Belle grinned at him, closing the little space between them, and kissed him. "I love you, even when you're being a stubborn jerk."
Adam chuckled and slung an arm around her. "Lucky me." They returned to the tractor, and Adam helped Belle into the back of the wagon. He hopped up and sat next to her, his long legs stretched out. As the sun fell below the tree line, a nippy breeze blew through them, and Belle shivered.
He grabbed the blanket and wrapped her up in it, then pulled her close. "Let's get that hot cocoa in you." He poured them both a mug and plopped a few marshmallows in them.
Belle took a sip, and moaned, "Mmmm. Perfect." Her smile was sweet as she laid her head on his shoulder.
Henry fired up the tractor and started their tour. He pointed out different sections, telling them what crops grew there, but after a few minutes, stopped. The tractor was too loud, and Belle and Adam too focused on one another to pay attention.
The rest of the ride, Adam whispered in her ear, making up his own tour, claiming they grew candy corn and chocolate bars instead of the raspberries and zucchini actually planted beyond the apple orchard. Belle giggled at his silliness and loved every minute of it.
As the wagon rounded the farmhouse, the trees parted, and the most beautiful sunset Belle had ever seen glowed over the fields. Golds and pinks faded into purple and deep blue as the sky stretched above them. She nestled back into Adam's arms, and he kissed her temple.
"This really has been the perfect day," she said, twining her fingers with his across her stomach.
"Almost," he corrected.
But Belle shook her head. "No. Even that was oddly perfect, because it reminds us that we're not perfect and we're never going to be. Loving one another through frustration and cross words makes us real, makes us stronger, and makes us human. I wouldn't want you any other way. Growly temper and all."
She felt his smile against her cheek before he placed a kiss on it. "And I wouldn't want you any other way; Miss-know-it-all attitude and all."
Belle laughed. "Can you really call me a know-it-all if I was right?"
"Yes. Yes I can, because you're doing it again." There was humor in his voice, and Belle elbowed him lightly in the stomach.
"I'm just being truthful!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." His free hand cupped her cheek, turning her head toward him. Softly, he took her lips with his, and Belle surrendered to him. Her body melted against his as they kissed.
The wagon rocked side to side while the sun slipped below the horizon. Belle and Adam spent the rest of their time eating the donuts left in the basket, sipping their cocoa, and enjoying one another's undivided attention. Tomorrow it would be back to the typical stressors that plagued them both, but for now, they remained snuggled up, and perfect.
Thank you Enchanted Rose members TheGreenArcher, CarolNJoy, So-crates Johnson, and Flaming Blizzard for betaing this for me! You are all incredible and wonderful!
Please leave me a comment!