Chapter 4: Beauty and the Beast

"Scene 12! TAKE 34! ACTION!" Standing before the stage, the director with his two hands on his waist shouted exasperatedly. The blonde girl in front of him was trying to reach the bottom of his patience. He didn't know why in the hell, of all people Alex chose her to play for the role. And for goodness sake! There was only one week left before the play would be staged and yet they were still halfway through with the play! The sounds, costumes, lights, props, stage… everything was all set but all those would be useless if they couldn't finish the whole play for a period of just one week!

Cagalli looked at the stout guy in front of her. He was playing the role of a merchant who was Beauty's father. He seemed so irritated to her but at the same time pitied her for trying so hard to please Mr. Berge but still couldn't. Cagalli's eyes were both droopy after spending sleepless nights practicing and memorizing her script. She knew how everyone was so eager to make the play successful that's why Cagalli was trying her best to do her role but it seemed that no matter how hard she tried Mr. Berge just ended up having a hard time to her. Maybe acting was not just really her line. But this wasn't the right time to back out; she had to do her part and not to let all their hard works be put into waste. And for the thirty-fourth time she delivered her line again. "Papa, do not worry much about me. I had this wonderful dream last night. A beautiful la-"

"CUT!" Mr. Berge shouted for the nth time. "I give up!" He threw the paper he was holding and without any word he walked out of the theater. Everyone fell silent as they watched Mr. Berge exited the hall. As soon as he went out, everyone began whispering their opinions. And almost everyone was blaming Cagalli. Cagalli went out, tears falling freely on her cheeks.


Cagalli went to the school gardens. She sat on one of the stone chairs and there she burst everything that she had been feeling.

Suddenly someone approached her and sat beside her.

"What are you doing here?" Cagalli said in between sobs.

"I heard what happened a while ago." Alex said knowingly.

"See what you did! You're ruining all they had worked for and you're making me looked like an idiot in front them! Much worse they're all blaming me for ruining the play which I didn't mean to! But I understand them. It really hurts to see all your efforts are put into waste just because of some beginner. Alex, I'm doing my best! But I told you I wasn't really born with acting skills!"

"I'm sorry, Cagalli I didn't mean to put you in this kind situation. But it's too late to quit now. "

"I know. If only my best friend is here, I know he could help me and make me stronger." Cagalli sighed. "Umm… Alex sorry for blaming you, I know it's my own decision so no one else has to be responsible for it except for me."

"But, Cagalli, I'm still the one who put you into this…" Alex said with guilt. "Anyway why don't you just give me a shot of your line and let's see what's wrong."

"As you wish…" Cagalli began reciting her line, "Papa, do not worry much about me. I had this wonderful dream last night. A beautiful lady talked to me in my dream and assured me that everything will be safe. So do not despair, papa. I know everything will turn out fine." Cagalli recited the whole line with all the emotions she could muster. It turned out convincing like she was really about to be parted from a loved one.

"Hmm… that's really nice!" Alex commented truthfully.

"True?" Cagalli asked unbelievably

Alex nodded. "Hmm… But I'm wondering why didn't you perform like that a while ago?"

"You mean you were actually there? You've seen my performance?"

"Yes I watched you. I was at the props committee… trying to help them with some stuff. But Cagalli, as I was saying your performance back there was not even half of what you just did now."


"Yes. I guess your problem is that you're being conscious whenever you're already on stage. I mean that's just normal for beginners. But Cagalli come to think of it, a lot of girls are dying just to be in your position and not everyday someone's given a chance to play a lead role. So would you still let your consciousness eat you in front of everyone? While for those people who think that you're unworthy of the role… don't you think it's time for you to show them what you've got? Oh don't ever say again that you don't have the acting skills! Of course there's no such thing as that. Everyone, even you and I are given equal skills it's just up to us whether to hone them or not."

Cagalli for a while was enthralled at how Alex was able to feel her so lightened. She couldn't remove her gaze from his emerald eyes. With the way Alex looked and spoke to her, she could feel Athrun's presence just in him. "Thank you, Alex. And you're right there! Not everyday someone's given a chance to play a lead role… which I guess is the same with my best friend Athrun. You know what… Athrun is just like you. You both love acting the only difference is that he was never given a chance to play the lead role. Maybe because of his looks but swear he is a really good actor and I mean it… he's better than anyone here. So I guess for my best friend's sake I won't let this chance pass. For sure if he's here he would be very proud of me… that's why I have to do my best so when he comes back I would brag to him that I already played a lead role and he still hasn't! Wahaha!" Cagalli heartily laughed. While beside her Alex smiled inwardly.


Cagalli and Alex went back on the theater together. There they saw Mr. Berge rehearsing some scenes with the other characters. His back with the same high spirit level he had when they had the first practice for the play. It was like nothing happened a while ago.

As the people in the theater noticed the newcomers, they welcomed the two leading characters with a lively and friendly smile. When Mr. Berge noticed Cagalli's presence he immediately called her and instructed her and the others as well to practice their scene again. As soon as Cagalli stepped on the stage her eyes immediately traveled towards Alex who happened to be looking and also smiling at her.

She smiled back at him and said, "I can do this!"

"Okay everyone back to your places!" The director told everyone as he clapped his hands.

"Scene 12. One, two, three. Action!"

And so the practice went on. Cagalli delivered her lines flawlessly and for the very first time she received a compliment from Mr. Berge. From then on everything for her became easy. She played Beauty's role with much ease and passion. Alex, on the other hand, was also doing great that was why Cagalli couldn't help but feel slightly intimidated to him. But she was proud of him nonetheless. The practice went on smoothly. They were able to practice a lot of scenes. And in every scene, Cagalli's performance was undoubtedly improving.


On the night after their rigorous practice for the play, Alex was the only one left at the theater. He was busily fixing all his things inside his bag when someone approached him and began sliding her hands at his arms down to his hands.

"Hmm Alex, you know… you really hurt me when you chose that sick gir- uh Alex!"

Alex clutched Mia's wrist firmly making Mia leaned closer to him. "Watch your words Mia. Use that word again to her and you'll be sorry." Then Alex forcefully threw his grip to her.

"Hey what's your problem? Why are you so cold to me! Have I done you something wrong? I just wanted to be close to you! What's wrong with that? And you know what? I haven't been like this to a guy before! I let them come to me… and court me! But you! You were so insensitive! I've been waiting here all this time but you were just ignoring me. And it was also because of too much waiting for you that I haven't been in a relationship for the longest time!"

"So you want me to apologize then."

Mia didn't mind his sarcasm. "You want Cagalli, right? But unfortunately she wants someone else. Oh poor boy… You know what Alex it's really useless pushing yourself to her since it's so obvious that she will never like you. So why not just have somebody else. Someone who can be perfect for you… someone like-"

"You," Alex finished her statement and laughed at her. He got his bag and placed it on his shoulders then turned to Mia again. This time he spoke softly with his lips centimeters away from Mia's. "I guess, Mia, you must know this; if you can't accept someone at his worst then you definitely don't deserve him at his best."

Mia was dazed for a moment but as soon as Alex left the theater, that one last sentence left a disturbing mysterious meaning to her.


The last day of the practice had been so exhausting. Everyone was cramming since tomorrow would be the judgment day. They had to squeeze all they have to do for one day. And unfortunately it was only now they've gotten the chance to practice the last and most important scene. They really have to work hard for it because this would be the scene that would leave a lasting impression to everyone. To make everything much worse they still have to practice the play from the start.

"HUWHAAT!" Everyone turned their heads at the sudden commotion made by a blonde who was a while ago, silently sitting on a corner and peacefully reading the script.

"Cagalli?" Mr. Berge turned his attention to her.

"Why haven't anyone told me that at the end of this play there would be WHAT no- Hell NO!"

"Cagalli, what's your problem?" this time it was Alex's turn to confront with the blonde.

"You! Why didn't you tell me that there would be a kissing scene at the end of the play! Don't tell me you planned all this! Yes that's right! You chose me because you want to take advantage of me!"

"Hey don't accuse me of that!" Alex suddenly blushed furiously.

"Mr. Berge, do Alex and I really have to kiss at the end? But I still haven't kissed a guy in my whole life! Look I have this idea why don't we just let my hair fall from behind and cover our lips then we'll just move our heads like we're kissing! Yes that's a brilliant idea!" Cagalli complimented herself.

"NO!" Mr. Berge screamed out of disagreement.


"Everyone back to your places. We're going to practice the last scene now!"

"But how about my propo—" Cagalli said relentlessly but before she could continue Mr. Berge immediately snapped her off.

"CAGALLI and Alex on the stage! NOW!" Mr. Berge retorted. Then the both of them obediently followed him.

Then the practice for the last scene went on and with all honesty it became almost perfect. Of course there was still no kissing yet. After that they started practicing the whole play again and this time with costumes, lights, sounds and everything. The last general practice went on smoothly, except for the last part wherein the director already instructed Cagalli and Alex to include the kissing part. Because with all the still props, music on going, spotlight's lighting and everyone's mouth opened, the two figures in front just remained frozen while their eyes awkwardly avoiding one another's.

"NO! I can't!" suddenly Cagalli's piercing voice slashed the serenity of the whole play.

Everyone was at still, no one dared to speak and everyone was throwing deathly glares at her. "No! I mean not now! Tomorrow… Promise I'll do it tomorrow. Of course I have to do my best tomorrow! I SWEAR! Forgive me…" With that Cagalli ran down the stage and out of the theater.

Mr. Berge sat back on his chair, caught his forehead with his two hands and sighed. Alex approached him and talked to him. "I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to cause you much trouble-"

"No Alex it's alright! Honestly, I didn't expect for Cagalli to be such a great actress. Actually she's perfect for the role if only she's not stubborn. I could also feel that she could easily captivate the hearts of the audience tomorrow. But Alex if she will do the kissing tomorrow without even making her self comfortable doing it with you; the last and most important part of the play will look bland. I think you really have to talk to her. I'll trust everything in you, Alex."

"I'll do my best." And then he left the theater to follow Cagalli.


Alex was able to catch up with Cagalli on her way out of the school. Then he walked up with her without saying any words.

"Hey won't you say anything?" Cagalli began breaking the dead air.

"Are you mad?" Alex said as they continued walking

"Do I really look like I'm going to kill?" Cagalli joked and stopped to face him. Alex followed her.

"So you're doing it tomorrow?" Alex inquired.

"I don't know. But I guess I will…. of course I have to. But I don't how…" Cagalli said confused.

"Cagalli, I won't force you to do it now. Of course a kiss will never be real kiss if there's no emotion involved, right? So I guess tomorrow… let's just allow the emotions of the characters we're portraying engulf us and for sure it will just come out naturally. So don't think much about it, I promise you tomorrow everything's going to be perfect."

"Come what may…"

Cagalli smiled at Alex appreciatively,


'Today is the day.' Cagalli declared as she gazed her self in front of a full-length mirror. She was wearing a cream off-shouldered dress that falls down to her ankle and a pendant that glitters on her white chest. She also had a very light make up. Her cheeks were slightly pink, her lips were glossy rose and her eyelids were greenish pink in color. She also wore a long blonde wig that was smoothly curving down her waist. All hairs covering her forehead were also swept back to give way for her perfectly trimmed eyebrows.

"I've never seen such a dazzlingly beautiful creature in all my life!" Alex exclaimed from behind the mirror.

For a short moment, Cagalli left her mouth opened as she first saw Alex. She stared at the beastly figure in front of her. Then she began bursting all the laughter she felt. "Wahaha! Look at you Alex wahaha! How have you grown your body that big? Look at your hand! Is that really all prosthetics! Can I touch your ears… it's a bit long! Oh what happened to your eyebrows… have you forgotten to shave them for years! Haha your horns! It fits you but I guess you deserve more! WaHaha! And your beard you look like Santa only yours were brown. Wahaha!"

"Go laugh! Laugh! Laugh! Let's see who has the last laugh once I transform into a handsome prince!" Alex said with a smirk.

"Wahahaha!" Cagalli ignored him and continued laughing.


An hour before the play started, the whole theater was already crowded with hundreds of people. Mostly high school students who were so eager to see the performance of their crushes or friends. Anywhere you look, you will surely no longer see any vacant chairs. All were occupied even the elevated aisles at both sides of the theater. They insisted the English club members to let them enter even doubling the original price of the ticket. They didn't care whether paying double or sitting on the aisle or chair because what was important for them was that they let them enter and watched the play. Tickets were also sold out even before the day of the play which really never happened among the previous presentations. And among all the plays staged by the English club, this for sure was the most successful. And the main reason for this success was Alex and Cagalli. Actually half of the audience consisted of Alex's diehard fans which of course were mostly girls. One-fourth was Cagalli's fan boys. While the remaining ones were fans of other characters and some neutrals as well.

Inside the theater, almost everyone was simultaneously talking. Each and everyone had the same topic which was all about the play. And the most heated topic amongst everyone was Alex and Cagalli's kissing scene. Of course Cagalli's fan boys were frantic at Alex for taking advantage of their Cagalli and Alex's fan girls on the other hand were all outraged at Cagalli for having to kiss their Alex. Almost everyone was already shouting just to make their companions hear what they were saying. But the moment the announcer pronounced that the play would start in just a minute all noise instantly died down. All the lights in the theater suddenly disappeared making the whole theater plunge into darkness and silence. Drifting to the serenity of the hall was the lively melodious sound of the chirping of birds. Suddenly the lights on the stage sprang up showing three ladies in dress and a fat old guy holding a cane.


Cagalli felt her heart beat abnormally fast as soon as the lights showed up indicating that their play has finally started. She tried to peep at the audience but all she could see was darkness as if no one's watching their play but she knew that behind that darkness hundreds of eyes were watching her. Cagalli felt nervous at that thought but immediately calmed herself down and tried to focus for the play, successfully she was able to do so.

For almost one and a half hour the play went on without any major or minor bungles. Everything was going as it has been practiced except for one scene where Cagalli somehow forgot a bit of her line and had her own ad lib. But what she did was great for no one even noticed that she had already altered some lines. Many were amazed at Cagalli's performance and wondered why she hasn't been starred on the previous plays. Alex, on the other hand, was simply bravo. He played the beast's role with such fervor. All his lines were delivered perfectly like it all came from the bottom of his heart. Most of the females in the audience couldn't help screaming out of joy just seeing their beloved Alex performed on the stage. They didn't care even if he was in his beastly outfit throughout the play.

And now for the most awaited part of the play…

Everyone's eyes were focused at the center as soon as a bluish hazy light illuminated two figures at the stage.

"Dearest Beast! You're dying, and it's all my fault!" Cagalli cried, pearly tears slowly falling down her cheeks. She caressed Beast's head affectionately as he held him on her lap. Melancholy music playing softly at the background…

"No… don't say that…" Alex spoke weakly as he tried to reach Cagalli's cheeks and wipe her tears away. "It isn't your fault, Beauty."

"No! I broke my promise! If I only came back much early… this wouldn't have happened!"

"But my dear, every life surely has to end… life is not how long you lived but how you were able to make it meaningful. And with that I thank you… for making mine as meaningful as I could ever imagine. Just by coming here willingly and by treating me normally despite of my appearance, you were able to give me another chance to live. And with your tears right now, you make me feel special and in all my life as a beast no one has ever made me feel so loved… and with that I'm setting you now free! You're now free to have your life back." The Beast smiled as he tried to open his eyes to see his beloved for one last time.

"But you're my life!" Cagalli sobbed. "I realize how much you mean to me. I can't live without you! I love you and I would gladly marry you." As she spoke, tears fell on the beast's peaceful face.

Suddenly the whole stage was clouded with blue, yellow, pink, red, green and violet smoke… plus different colors of dazzling lights illuminating the whole stage. It lasted for more than a minute and when it all faded, the gloomy dark place was now replaced with trees, flowers, rose bushes and happily chirping birds. Everything turned out so magical and in front of Beauty, was no longer the Beast but a handsome young prince!

"Where's Beast?" cried Cagalli her facial expression showing confusion.

"I am the Beast… Cagalli," replied Alex.

Cagalli was shocked as soon as Alex mentioned her name. She looked at him in the eye seeing if it was just a mistake but with Alex's intimate gaze at her it seemed that he intentionally said her name.

The audience, even the director and other members of the play were able to hear it as well. But they all just ignored it of the thought that it was just accidental.

"I was doomed to remain a beast forever until a true heart could love me for myself. And because you were able to fully accept me despite of my flaws and still cared for me despite of everything I've done to you… you have finally broken this terrible spell on me, Cagalli."

And for the second time Alex said her name. Everyone most especially Cagalli couldn't believe everything they were hearing. Everything he was doing was no longer on the script. From that moment, Cagalli was already in complete utter shock and was entirely lost with their play.

"No it can't be…" Cagalli weakly whispered but enough to be heard by everyone through her lapel microphone.

Then he continued now facing the audience, while beside him was Cagalli. "Yes I am Athrun Zala… the beast in this school before. I was the beast who tried to live normally like everyone else. I tried so hard to excel in everything with the hopes that someday the girl I badly wanted would finally notice me. Unfortunately, she's disgusted to me but even so I continued worshipping her. And in the process of tailing her, I even hurt the only person who fully accepted me and was able to see me beyond my flaws… my best friend. One day after my best friend defended me from the insults of that girl, I foolishly told her insignificance in my life… that I don't need her protecting me… that it would be better if she would just get out of my life. I know that was all folly but I was so blinded that time. After our fight the girl I wanted and hated me so much miraculously became my girl friend. The news spread like fire. Everywhere I go I heard students criticizing our relationship saying that I was just being played on. But I was so happy back then that I became absolutely invulnerable to all their denunciations and that it came to a point that I even forgot about my best friend whom I hurt so much. Until one day, I've learned that my girlfriend's real intention was to revenge on my best friend for humiliating her just to defend me. And after successfully driving my attention away from my best friend and making her jealous; my girlfriend quickly ended our relationship or rather her game. I was so heartbroken that time that all that came to my mind was my best friend. All the happy memories we've shared together suddenly flashed back to my mind and I felt so guilty for forsaking her and our friendship for a girl who was not even half my best friend's worth. I wanted to go to her burst to her all I felt that time but knowing after all I did to her… I know it was just simply impossible. So I decided to go to my grandfather's house to escape even in just a short time all the harsh realities that unfolded to me. I know I must discover my real self more before I face everything. But on my way to my grandfather's house I ended up being hit by a car. I didn't know what exactly happened to me after that incident. It was like a very long sleep but when I woke up and faced myself at the mirror I saw a very unfamiliar person. My parents told me that the owner of the car who hit me was a cosmetic surgeon and as a compensation for the accident he underwent me for a free plastic surgery. I was so confused what to do after that but my parents were insisting me to transfer into a new school and have a new life. At first I agreed with them but suddenly I remembered my best friend and the promise I left to her in a letter. That was when I finally made up my mind to come back here and tell her how much she's important to me. But before I went here I made up a plan, I concealed my whole identity and waited for this moment to tell her and everyone here about everything. Yes, all these were my plan and even this play was part of it. And right now I want to apologize especially to Mr. Berge, actors, actresses, staffs and crews who all worked hard for this play and everyone gathered here who are watching, for using your precious time hearing all my sentiments. I know I shouldn't have used this play for my own cause but for the girl who's so important to me I'm willing to accept whatever consequences you'll give me after just give me this chance to say in front of the hundreds of our schoolmates here my deepest and sincerest apology to her."


Mia was also at the audience's seat when Athrun said all these. She couldn't believe all she was hearing and hated him for how this guy was revealing all she had done to him in public. Of course everyone in their school knew that the 'girl friend' Athrun was talking about was she. Their relationship was immensely known through out the school but the real reason for Athrun's sudden disappearance and Mia's real intention in their relationship was still unknown to them. For that she thought of a way to stop everything.

"You!" She pointed at Athrun. "Don't you see that with what you're doing you're just ruining the whole play?! We didn't pay for our seats just to hear those craps!" Mia waited for someone to agree with her but as she looked around everyone's attention was focused at the sad story of Athrun and Cagalli… some were even crying. In short Mia just looked like a fool talking to no one at all.

Even Mr. Berge and the whole casts and crews of the play went out of the back stage to watch all that was happening.

"Whoah! That was so romantic for him to do that!" One student said.

"That was wonderful! I think I have to cast them again on the next English club play and this time it will be their own story that is going to be staged!" Mr. Berge sniffed and wiped the tears on his eyes.


Cagalli was still speechless since the time Athrun revealed his real self to her. She was just listening to everything he was saying. And she couldn't help but wear a yearning smile on her face as tears continued flowing down on her cheeks.

This time Athrun faced her, held her two hands with his and knelt in front of her while his emerald eyes locked with her gold ones. "Cagalli, forgive me for coming all the way this far before I tell you all the truth. I know how you've been so worried about me but I believe a simple 'sorry' won't be enough to amend all wrong things I've done to you. Cagalli, you've been such a real good friend to me. You're always there whenever I need someone to talk to. You always make me happy whenever I feel down. But all those were sacrificed when I chose a very foolish love over our friendship. I know I've lost a real great part of my life when I left you. And now I finally realized your true importance in my life and without you I will surely be nothing. Cagalli, from the deepest bottom of my heart I'm really really sorry for everything. You're the only person who's able to accept me… not for who I become but for who I really am. And I am so touched when you declined Alex's proposal to you and still waited for Athrun Zala's return. But like what I've promised; I will come back… not as anyone else but as Athrun Zala, your best friend. And Cagalli, in front of these hundreds of people as our witness, I promise you that I will never leave your side again and I will always be here to love you."

Cagalli began sobbing; her voice was overcome by her tears. Athrun stood up and hugged her trying to calm her down. They stayed in that position for more than a minute until Athrun was able to calm her. "I know it's you Athrun even the first time I saw you! I know it's you! I could feel it! And of course you're already forgiven even before! Athrun, I love you! I love you so much! And I'm so glad that now I know that you were able to see me even just for once…" The whole crowd who was a while ago crying was now laughing at Cagalli's outbursts.

Without any signs, Athrun instantly grabbed Cagalli's waist closer to him until their faces went few inches closer and then Athrun flashed his ever so charming smile at her then without any further thinking the both of them locked their lips and passionately kissed each other.

And with all the applause coming from the crowd, Athrun and Cagalli were finally lost in a world only they could know.

-The End-

And that's it for the last chapter! I hope you all had a great time reading! And oh YES! These guys… A BIG BIG THANKS TO ALL OF YOU: Namdongco-TheGreatMushroom, icysweet34, lac73, AkiMiya, Bianca (hope I answerd ol ur questions dis chap & I hope you could have ur own account), Urie Gundam, Million Voices, .Heiress, aishiteru (thanks for recommending… I hope u could also log in with ur own account!), Jade Valentine, Naiyobi, Freyris, gseedlover, .cake, cara410, and Elegant Lily. I'm sure guys, without you, I won't be inspired continuing this story! Your reviews simply mean so much to me! I just hope I made you all satisfied with this story because you all made me really happy! Thank you so much again! I hope you could also be with me on my upcoming fics! Bye for now! .

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