Reining in the Belle
Disclaimers: This story is my own original work and may not be reproduced, either electronically or in print except for personal use. All disclaimers, title, author, and copyright must remain on the copy.
Usual Warnings: Yup, this is intended for adults who don’t mind romance between women. Bad language and violence is minimal although childish tantrums are not guaranteed to be avoided.
Author’s Notes: This is a continuation for Now What? And The Fallen
“Belle! Belle! Will you please stop teasing your little sister!” the queen said in frustration, sighing.
Her eldest child echoed the sigh, wondering why she couldn’t dab mud on Brittany. Glancing at her artistic endeavors, she thought her little sister looked good with all those dots and swirls on her pale skin. She certainly didn’t seem to mind.
“Where does she get this?” Tashalia muttered while taking a damp cloth to the baby’s skin to remove the streaks. The toddler sat there quietly. She was always patient, known as the quiet one. Very little upset her as she watched those around her, taking it all in with big brown eyes. Lona figured Brittany would be a studious child and would make an adorable nerd.
Lona grinned and closed her eyes, basking in the warm sunlight. She didn’t want to point out that her mate liked playing with her food, smearing sauces and such on her pale skin. Oh no, she mustn’t remind Tashalia of the streak of her own naughtiness. A palm slapped her naked thigh.
“Why are you grinning like that, you overgrown imp?” Tashalia laughed.
“Me? I’m not grinning,” Lona claimed, doing her best to erase her smile. Tashalia rolled on top of her and tickled her sides.
“Yes you are! Brat! No wonder Belle is such a hellion, she gets it from you!” she accused.
Her eldest daughter giggled and joined in the fun, helping her mother to tickle Lonnie. Lona squealed and tried to retaliate against both of them, but there were too many wiggling fingers. She begged for mercy. They stopped their torture and received loud kisses from their victim as an award. Brittany got to her feet and waddled over to the others, not wanting to be left out. Lona gave her youngest child nibbling kisses on her belly, making her giggle louder.
“Okay everyone, nap time!” Tashalia announced, getting resigned moans from the children and a naughty wink from her mate. The queen returned the wink, enjoying naptime as much as she did. She hitched Brittany to her hip while Lona tossed their eldest daughter over her shoulder like a sack, making her squeal. They went inside, stopping first at the bathroom to wash the mud from Belle’s hands and legs. Once clean, the children were put down onto their beds. From past experiences, the parents knew the children would fuss for a bit then settle down, needing the rest. They took after Lona that way, having shorter eternal clocks.
The statuesque queen took her mate’s hand and led her to their own bedroom down the hall, nodding at the bored guards outside their quarters. Once alone in their bedroom, they undressed and settled under the covers. Looking down at her older mate, Tashalia noticed her hair was more silvery than it had been six years ago when they first met. The silver streaks made her even more distinguished looking, highlighting her strong features. Tracing a finger along her face, she searched for any sign of wrinkles and found none as yet. Lona was blessed with skin inherited from her own mother, whose face didn’t begin aging until well into her 60’s. She smiled, enjoying her smooth skin.
“I think Belle looks more like you every day,” she commented, pleased.
“Poor kid,” Lona joked. She knew intellectually that her looks were considered pleasing on C’hela but memories of her own unhappiness over her plainness still remained a part of her. She was happy that her child would be considered attractive and wouldn’t go through what she did as a kid. No, she’d have her own problems growing up, Lona thought, then pushed aside the worries for now.
Tashalia was nibbling along her neck and time for fretting could wait until later.
* * * * *
It was her own idea but the consort was still suffering from tightening in her stomach. She watched as her daughter left with Palla in the car, heading for her first day of school. True, it was a private school and special steps had been taken to insure her safety, but Lona couldn’t help but worry and suffer the pangs all parents felt when their first child took this step.
Tashalia sniffled and held her hand tighter. “Do you think she’ll be alright?” she asked for the 4th time.
Lona gave her the same answer as before. Both of them had agreed that as future queen, she needed to be able to deal with issues, to see people as real, and learn how to cope with everyday situations. It would be nice to keep her in a bubble of safety and never expose her to the harsher realities of the outside world, but naiveté was worse.
“Sometimes I wish I could still smoke,” Lona grumbled.
Belle held onto Palla’s hand tightly, a bit nervous. She was normally a very confident child, secure in the love of her family, but this was something unknown. She had rarely left the Residence during her short life, and always with the comforting presence of Lonnie. Her parent was unique, she knew, not really thinking about it, but always knowing it. Mother and Lonnie had explained it simply, telling her that she and her sister had been born differently as well.
She didn’t really understand completely, but she was bright and understood more every day. Belle understood Mother had a very important job, one that she would understand and do herself when she grew up. Mother watched over everyone, making sure no one was bad. She could understand that. People came to their home every week, asking Mother to help them with problems and settle arguments.
People treated Mother nicely and Lonnie had explained why they called her Queen, Majesty, and High One. When mother spoke, people obeyed her. Belle, under her parents’ guidance, avoided the belief she was so special that she could do what she wanted since Mother was the Queen. They explained everyone was born to a role, but that in the Holy One’s eyes, every person was equal and must be treated with respect. Every role was important. People filled every need, from artists to weavers, to leaders and farmers. If one role were left empty, the world would be a lonelier place.
Belle had nodded, not always understanding, but was taught to be polite and appreciate what others did for her. Lonnie had a way of explaining things that helped, even if it took time to understand what she said. Like when she said the servants did as they were ordered, they had no choice. But, if she appreciated their work and thanked them, they would feel good and like her more. It took few experiences to see that Lonnie was right. The few times she misbehaved, she saw people act quieter around her, giving silent disapproval. The times she was nice, the servants did little things for her, like giving her a cookie when mother couldn’t see.
The queen’s eldest daughter smiled, having many memories that reinforced her good behavior. Rewards took many forms, like when Lonnie did things to make Mother smile. Lonnie told her she felt good inside when Mother was happy. With such role models, Belle couldn’t help developing her kind side. But her role models were also independent women who were strong willed and prone to stubbornness, which Belle also inherited.
She was introduced to her teacher, an elder woman with a no nonsense approach to teaching. Palla was dismissed from the room.
“Sit over in that chair Mistress Belle,” the teacher told her.
Belle remained where she was, disliking the woman’s tone and her forgetting to say ‘please’. The woman stared at her, annoyed, but doing her best not to use a harsh tone with the Queen’s child.
“Belle, sit in that chair, next to the girl in blue.” Belle remained, staring at her silently. “What is your problem Mistress Belle?” The woman sighed inside, hoping that the child wouldn’t be a little tyrant.
“You didn’t say ‘please’. Mother and Lonnie taught me to always say it,” she informed the teacher with an air of disapproval at the teacher’s lack of manners.
Mistress Kithra bit back an angry reply and asked Belle to sit once more, adding please to her request. Belle sat promptly. It was going to be a very long year, the teacher thought to herself.
Teachers and students alike always welcomed recess. The children poured into the playground, heading for their favorite areas. Belle’s class was new to the school and had to find their own niches gradually. They hung around together and quickly fell into small groups. Belle joined three other girls who wanted to play with a large ball. At their tender age, they actually never truly caught it except by accident but it was taken in stride. The girl tossing it to Belle sent it well over her head and into a group of older kids.
Belle chased after it. It came to a stop at the feet of a beefy girl. Before Belle could scoop it up, the girl snatched it away and held it out of the younger girl’s reach, laughing.
“May I have our ball please?” she asked politely, expecting the girl to be equally polite. The Queen’s daughter had never played with children who grew up outside the Residence and had no idea that others would ignore her request or dealt with a bully before. This was going to be her first lesson.
“You’re out of luck squirt. It’s ours now.”
Belle was stunned. This girl had actually taken their ball and refused to return it! What did she do? She could go to a teacher of course, but even in her young mind, she knew that would be considered weak. Maybe if she asked again…Repeating her request, she received an answer she didn’t understand since she never heard foul language before. The girl translated in the usual bully fashion, by trying to shove her to the ground. The bully never met a half-alien child before.
The bully stood a full head taller than her victim did but when she tried to push her down it didn’t work. All she managed to do was nudge her just a little. Gathering herself for another attempt, she raised both hands and found herself laying face down on the ground and the ball snatched from under her arm. She hadn’t seen the new girl step aside, leaving one leg in place and trip her.
Pleased the trick that Palla taught her worked, she returned to her classmates. Unfortunately, the Security Chief never told her that bullies got angry when they were humiliated and would retaliate. On C’hela, girls were raised to be aggressive, to fight for position in society, and to never allow a slight to go unpunished.
Belle found herself being tackled painfully and hit the ground hard. Fists began pummeling her. Squealing, Belle squirmed until she broke free and swung her own fist without thinking. The bully screamed when her cheek was struck. Lashing out, the older girl tried to overpower Belle, intending to slam her face into the dirt. The smaller girl grabbed her hand and twisted, making the bully scream in real agony. Teachers came running to break up the fight. Mistress Kithra tried to pry Belle’s fingers from the other child’s hand but wasn’t quite strong enough.
“Belle, will you please let go of her!” she snapped. The fingers immediately let go. Examining the hand, she told another teacher to take the child to the doctor’s office. The hand was badly broken. People stared at the tiny girl, some in awe, some fearfully. Most of the children didn’t even know who or what she was, but the teachers did. Belle was half alien and her strength came from the Consort. She was only five but was as strong as someone nearly full grown. Some shuddered in fear at the Queen’s daughter.
Before long, the children also learned who she was, and never again were they as open with her. She had kids she played with, but none that would form a close bond with her. Alienated by her own heritage, Belle formed her own emotional defenses. She would never allow anyone other than family to get close. It was a hard lesson to learn.
To be continued...