Painting Layers of Love (Chapter Ten)




Synopsis: Belle French lives alone and she likes it that way. She’s lived alone ever since the terrible car accident which killed her mother and claimed her eyesight. Belle spends her days painting, in complete solitude, until one day she wakes up and hears movement outside. Somebody has moved into the cottage next door. She had grown comfortable in her solitary existence until Mr Gold crashes into her life. Now her future is uncertain, like a blank canvas, waiting for her to apply the paint and decide what kind of story she is creating.

Note: Banner by the awesomely amazing @rowofstars who has very kindly and patiently beta read this chapter. Thank you so much! I am really, really sorry for the wait on this chapter. I had a really bad March and didn’t write much of anything. It’s Camp NaNo this month though and that seems to have kickstarted the old writing engine again. This chapter involves the start of a prompt from @betsypaige22. I hope that despite the delay you all still enjoy this chapter 🙂

Warning: Deals with depression and anxiety.

On Tumblr: Chapters One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine

AO3 Link

The next day
Gold woke up bright and early to drive into the city. He’d been planning on his
visit to Neal being a surprise but Belle had counseled him against that.
Instead he’d called and asked if it would be convenient, and they’d arranged
that he would get to their apartment just after lunch. That would give him more
than enough time to make the drive, stop off at the toy store and see about
something for Belle.

Belle liked
books, but that seemed a risky purchase, she had talked with him about a lot of
books but he knew she had read hundreds more. He really didn’t want to buy her
a book that she already had. Besides, a book wasn’t something they could do
together. They were limited on activities they could do within the boundaries
of the four walls of a cottage. His instinct was to buy tickets to something,
but that had disaster stamped all over it. Belle wasn’t ready for that, may
never be ready for that, and pushing would only make it worse.

Alone in his
car, as the powerful sedan ate up the miles, Gold ruminated on the
possibilities. Belle had two passions, reading and art, and he wanted whatever
he gave her to be personalized. He didn’t want to just get a generic gift
because he went to the city, he wanted her to know that he’d really thought
about it. It was quite the conundrum and when he reached the city outskirts,
and had to slow down through the suburbs, he was no closer to a solution.
Unfortunately, the toy store wasn’t exactly conducive to thinking.

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Oh, Belle. You always leap before you look. I’m sure Nick will be there for her to help catch her when she falls.

The disconnect between Gold and Neal is very interesting. Neal has this idea of his father that’s probably only half true. He really thinks that Gold working so much and whatever else, meant that in some way he wasn’t paying attention and that he didn’t love him. When Gold was always paying attention and always loved him and in his mind did everything for Neal. It’s a bridge they’ll have to cross together.

Thank you! In my experience kids and adults see things differently about stuff that happened growing up. Adults assume that kids understand their motivations and they don’t. I’m hoping time and communication will fix this for Gold and Neal. Though it’s one thing to know something to be true and another for the subconscious to accept it.

So even if Neal does grow to completely understand what happened, it might still take time for him to really believe it. I’m really glad you liked the chapter! Thank you again for all your support and help. You are the best! 🙂


Aww, that was so sweet!!! I loved Gold’s interaction with Anna; it was hilarious. He was far more patient than I would have been. His playtime with Henry and the reminiscing, very precious. And then his gift…don’t want to give too much away, but that was beautiful. I can’t get enough of this verse; its one of my favorites. Wonderful job as always!

Thank you! 🙂 I think Gold was pretty stunned by Anna to be honest, plus he needed her help. If they’d met under different circumstances then a stinging insult probably would have ensued. I confess I do have a soft spot for Anna. I’m thrilled that you liked it!


I’m so glad that Belle has made the brave choice, but at the same time I’m kind of worried that something’s going to go terribly wrong…

It’s kind of heartbreaking seeing the disconnect between Neal and Gold, almost as if Neal’s determined to think badly of his father but then kind of gets tripped up and neither of them really know what to do with it, so I hope that they can continue to get closer as time goes on. I think Emma and Henry will do a lot to bring them together again.

Looking forward (although with a little trepidation) to seeing how the sculpture date goes!

Heh thank you! I’m glad you liked it 🙂 I felt bad for Gold in that visit scene to be honest. He came close to a revelation about himself and he completely missed it. That’s something that will be built on later. You might be right to be worried but don’t worry I have a golden rule – I break them, I fix them. So it’ll all come right eventually I promise 🙂