Every gift had her name. Belle. Sometimes it was scrawled hastily, as if in a terrible hurry. Other times, it was done with elaborate flourishes, sketches of roses encircling her name. But her admirer…with every book, every golden bracelet, golden ring, golden necklaces, the golden hand mirror, they seemed to adore using her name whenever they could.
The gifts had been ongoing for a month, and Belle was ready to learn who the admirer was.
One afternoon, she took a walk in the woods, choosing to forego an escort. Her father wouldn’t be pleased, but Belle didn’t care. The dark green foliage helped her think and the cool breeze was very pleasing. She had gone about a mile down the deer path when she had the most curious feeling that someone was watching her.
Quickly, she swirled around. A boy was peeking at her, looking curious. He had swathes of dark hair and lovely brown eyes. He seemed to be very oddly dressed, in a mixture of green and brown patchwork.
"Hello," Belle greeted cautiously. "Who are you?"
He cocked his head. ”Baelfire,” He replied and Belle blinked at the odd name.
"Were you following me?" She asked curiously and he nodded a little shyly. Smiling warmly, she went to him.
"Are you the one who’s been leaving me gifts?" Belle asked gently. "Like this?" She showed him the golden bracelet encircling her wrist.
Baelfire examined it carefully. ”My father made this,” He pronounced.
"And—who is your father?" Belle asked eagerly.
The boy furrowed his brow. ”I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell,” He said slowly and Belle could’ve screamed in frustration, she was so close to knowing the truth.
"Could you—could you give me a hint?" She begged.
Baelfire glanced sideways. ”He’s watching us right now,” He remarked and a shiver went down her spine. She peered in the direction he was looking in but saw nothing.
"Won’t you please—please tell me his name at least," Belle pleaded.
Baelfire tilted his head. ”I can tell you that least of all,” He informed her. “Because I don’t know it. Only he knows it.”
Belle stilled. ”What do you mean?”
"Papa would never tell his name to a mortal," Baelfire said seriously. "That’s just foolish."
Belle stared at him slack-jawed. Baelfire smiled at her charmingly one more time before turning away and disappearing into the forest.