Tale as Old as Time

'For who would ever learn to love a beast? ' These words lived with Belle, every minute, of every day, the words of a fairy tale in a book, the book that was the only thing left by her mother. The pages burned by the fire of her past, the story once told through her mother's words, when it was all just a fairy tale...

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2. Monster

Belle

I hated mum’s Beauty and The Beast book, all it did was brought it all back, reminded me of what I really looked like. Like someone so beautiful would fall in love with such an ugly person in real life, that was the message, but it was just a fairy tale. This book was mum’s dream, her life, not mine, that’s why my name is Belle. It’s funny really; well every thinks it is, someone so ugly with a name that means beauty.

“Belle, you are going to be late for school, get up.” I could feel Dad was standing next to my bed, the gentle tap of his spotless brogues, tapping on the polished floor boards. I didn’t want to go to school; I never did, but today was a bad day. I could tell. I pulled the duvet over my face, it was cool against my burning skin, the burning that never stopped.

“Belle, come on sweetie, if you’re quick Claudia will give you a lift.” I laughed,

“Dad, Claudia taking me to school is the last thing I want.”

 

 Claudia was my dad’s new girlfriend, who only looked about twelve. (I’m joking by the way, she’s in her late twenties or something, but I never really paid attention at her last birthday party she held for all her snooty friends.) I hated most things about her, her perfectly curled blonde locks, her big blue eyes and pouty pink lips, her annoying voice and cheery disposition, her perfect skin. But most of all I hated how she’d replaced mum and made dad so happy. Some days, like today, I wished I’d been with mum, and was with her now, but instead God had punished me for what I was before. God made the fire that night, the fire that destroyed my whole world; it burned me, put me in pain and now left me like this. The girl with burns, the ugly girl, a distorted reflection of the girl I used to be, and took the only person who loved me, the real me, without even saying goodbye, he took her away that night and replaced her with Claudia. Maybe it wasn’t him, but I knew for sure, they wanted me punished, and they’d got exactly what they wanted.

 

“Please try to be nice to Claudia sweetie? It really upsets her when you’re so mean to her; she’s just trying to be a good mother to you…” He went to brush my hair from my face but I pushed his hand away,

“She is not and will never be my mother.” I glared at him, but he just winked at me. Why did he never understand me, it was always, ‘Belle’s just having a bad day Claudia’, ‘She looked at her mum’s book, it’s just upset her Claudia, don’t take it to heart.’ I watched dad as he left the room, pulling the door behind him, I could hear another set of footsteps come to just outside my door.

“Is she okay today babe? She wouldn’t eat my pasta bake yesterday, I’m worried.” Claudia whispered, but to be honest no one in their right mind would eat that pasta if it was the last plate of food on this earth. Claudia had come across mum’s recipe cards at the back of the pantry, because I saw her rattling around their yesterday and the toxic waste she presented at dinner was meant to be like mums. Claudia made the worst house-wife, she was used the young person’s party life-style, glamorous boyfriends, designer clothes, manicures each week. She wasn’t ready to be a mum, she just wanted the lifestyle, so on her path to ultimate gold digging, she stumbled across my father at his work’s HQ building, when he was lonely and vulnerable, full of money making ideas and mum’s inheritance. Dad’s an inventor, designs the next big things, from the insides of a hover, to the engine of a F1 car, they’re all dads.

“I don’t know, just a bad day I think. That bloody book was out, she shouldn’t have it really just makes her worse.” No way was anyone taking this book away, it was mum’s, it was my childhood. “Well, I’m going to work! Don’t do too much shopping!” Claudia giggled, why is he so stupid, without the shopping she wouldn’t be here? I could tell in a few moments she was going to come in and try and ‘mother’ me so I made a runner for my en-suite bathroom, gently shutting the door behind me.

 

A year ago, I was blessed with my looks, I mean I got attention because of them and lived for it. Being the girl everyone wanted to look like, being the girl every boy wanted to date, nothing had really changed, but this time I was the joke, the one everyone made fun of. I’d taken down the mirror in my bathroom, but today I wanted to look. I picked it up and rested it on the sink, to reveal it. Half of me was me, still with the rosy cheeks, and china doll skin, but as I tucked my hair behind my ear, there was the new me. I raised my hand, and run my finger along the lumps and bumps, feeling every little bit of the monster I could see now. I was half of my old self, half of the new me, I didn’t recognize what was there. I tear fell from my eye, finding its way along the veins that rose from the burns, it stung but I just left it, I was used to that feeling now. I was meant to be in pain.

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