Authors note: Set before the movie. I may make it so it leads up to the movie, but I may change my mind.
Belle wandered through her family’s new house, trying to get a feel for the place she would have to call home. As she entered the last bedroom she let out an exasperated sigh.
"Well, not only have we managed to relocate to the crappiest town in America, we also managed to move into the shittiest house on the entire planet too." She thought aloud.
Although she though she’d best not complain because it could have been a whole lot worse. They were flat broke and the only reason they had this place was because their grandma had left them it. She couldn’t remember when it had all gone wrong, the point when her life got flipped upside down. Although she suppose it began when her father had died 6 months ago leaving Belle, her mother Julie and two younger siblings, Tyler and Dani, to fend for themselves. It hadn’t even been a week that her dad was in the ground when the FBI had turned up at the door. Apparently her dad hadn’t been to prompt at paying his taxes. In fact, he was about 15 year years late in paying them. So the government took everything from them and they had spent the last 6 months at the mercy of friends, sleeping in their houses and eating their food. Then two weeks ago they heard that old nana May had died and had decreed the house to them.
"Belle?" A hoarse voice shouted from down stairs. It was her mother.
"Yea?" She shouted back.
"Could you come here a minute please?"
"I’m just comin’" She said as she closed the door to the bedroom she was in and began to walk down the stairs. She was half way down when ran into her brother who was bounding up the stairs towards her.
"Hey Tyler. What you up to, trouble?" She said, scooping him into her arms and continuing to walk down the stairs.
"Nothin’" He shrugged. "I was just lookin’ around"
"Oh yeah? Well what do ya think of the place?"
"It smells funny, like old people" He stated. Belle giggled.
"That would be Nana." She said as she walked into the kitchen where her mother was feeding Belle’s baby sister Dani.
"What’s up?" Belle asked. Her mother stopped feeding Dani and put her in her high chair when she noticed Belle was in the room.
"Tyler why don’t you go see what the back yards like honey? I’m sure Nana told me she had a swing out there." Julie said. Belle put him down and he excitedly ran out the back door.
"Want a drink Belle?" Her mother asked as she poured some juice into a glass.
"No momma" She answered, sitting down at the dining table. Julie came over and joined her.
"I got in touch with principle Haim just now. He said that you are definitely welcome at Santa Cruz High School. All we have to do is go in and sign a few form to get your test scores transferred and you’re in. I thought we could do that next week, after we’re settled in"
"Sure mom, whatever" She said nonchalantly. She noticed an odd look on her mother’s face and she was nervously twiddling her fingers.
"What's wrong" Belle asked, concern filling her voice
"I… I don’t how to ask you this. You know our money situations tight right? And although I’ve got a job at a bank here I just don’t think that we’re going to be able to survive on just one pay check. So I was hoping that maybe you could help out, get a part time job for after school or something? It doesn’t have to be forever, just until we get back on our feet"
"Mom that’s fine. I wanna help" A relieved smile formed on Julie’s face
"Good, good" Her mom said as she got up and pulled Belle into a tight embrace.
"I think I’ll go now. Some guy at the gas station said there might be some jobs down at the boardwalk so I think I’ll start there"
"Okay then, be careful."
"I will" Belle said, pulling out of her moms arms and turning to walk to the front door. As she was nearing it, Tyler came running back through the back door.
"Where ya goin’ Belle?" he said coming up behind her.
"To the boardwalk to look for a job" She answered.
"The boardwalk? That’s where they have the fair isn’t it?"
"Can I come, can I come?" He pleaded. Belle glanced back at her mom, who nodded in reply.
"Sure buddy. Bye mom" She said as she picked up Tyler and went to walk out the door
"Bye mom" Said Tyler
"Bye bye honey" replied Julie as the door shut behind them. She sighed and returned to her cleaning.
Belle and Tyler plodded slowly along the boardwalk, hand in hand and attempting to eat their ice creams before the sun melted them. She was from way up north and could no way handle the intense heat. Thankfully it was 7:30 now and the sun would soon set. They’d been walking around for about 5 hours now and she was no closer to finding a job. No where seemed to be hiring.
"Hey look Belle, a comic book store. Can we go in?"
"I don’t know Tyler. I’m meant to be looking for a job" she answered. But Tyler gave he sad, puppy dog eyes and she caved in completely.
"Fine" she relented as he dragged her towards the shop. Once inside she let go of his hand and walked a few paces behind as he excitedly shuffled through the comics. An old couple caught her eye that sat in chairs in the corner, looking totally stoned. She giggled to herself but stopped when she saw two boys staring at her from across the store. She smiled slightly at them before looking away quickly.
"A freak filled store. Yah" she commented under her breath.
"Look belle, Spiderman." Tyler said, getting Belle’s attention.
"Wow, Spiderman huh?" She said crouching down to his height and looking at the magazine.
"Can I help you?" Asked a voice behind her. It startled her and she shot to her feet to face the person. It was one of the guys that had been staring at her.
"What?" She asked, still confused.
"Can I help you?" He repeated slower, as though she was stupid.
"Ah yea, I’d like to get this comic book please" She said holding it up to him. He silently took it off of her and walked towards the cash register. Belle took Tyler’s hand and followed.
"New here?" He asked once they had reached the counter.
An awkward silence hanged in the air.
"Do you know of any jobs goin’ round here?" The boy scoffed at her question.
"Not much work in this town, although you might wanna check the video rental store. They sometimes have work" He said, handing over the comic.
"I’m Edgar and that boy over there’s my brother Alan."
"Nice to meet you Edgar, I’m Belle"
He leaned across the counter and motioned Belle to move closer. She did so hesitantly.
"Notice anything strange about Santa Carla yet?" He whispered.
"Nooooo" She answered back in a whisper, raising her eyebrows at him. "Should I have?"
"There’s a lot of weird elements here… Creatures of the night to be exact"
She widened her eyes and stared at him incredulously. She was waiting for him to burst out laughing and tell her it was a joke but he never did.
‘Oh my god, he’s serious’ She thought to herself. ‘Warning, psycho alert.’
"Oh… Well, thanks for the heads up. Um....Bye" She said, backing away from the counter and walking out the store, Tyler in hand. Once she got a bit further from the shop she turned to talk to Tyler.
"Don’t ever go in that shop again, okay? People like that are bad news" She said, shaking her head.
"Right, now I’m goin’ to phone mom and tell her we’re be home soon and then we’re gonna go find this video store"
"Can we rent a video?"
Belle put her hand into her back and got out her wallet. She opened it up and found that she only had five dollars left.
"Sorry kiddo, not today. Maybe next time"
She made the phone call and then they walked silently along the board walk looking for the store and after fifteen minutes they finally found it. Belle let out a relieved sigh when she saw the help wanted sign in the window. It was already dark now and she just wanted to get this over with. She stepped into the store and looked around, it was empty.
"Hello?" She said timidly. A head popped up from behind the counter.
"I’m sorry, we’ve closed early today. We open up at 9 tomorrow; you can get a video then" He spoke politely.
"Um, I’m not here for a video. I saw your sign out front and I was wondering if you’ve filled the position yet"
"Well no we haven’t. You up for the job miss…"
"Greene, Isabelle Greene. But feel free to call me Belle." She said walking towards the counter and offering him her hand. He shook it firmly.
"Well I’m Max. Pleasure to meet you"
"Nice to meet you too"
"Are you new in town?"
"Yeah I’ am. I just moved here with my family"
"Is this your son?" He asked pointing to Tyler. Belle giggled.
"Ah no, he‘s my brother Tyler. Tyler go shake the mans hand okay" Tyler shyly stepped forward and Max walked round to their side of the counter and shook his hand, smiling at him
"Well hello Tyler. Do you like lollypops?" Tyler nodded. Max took one off the counter and handed it to him.
"What do you say Tyler?"
"Thank you Mister."
"Your welcome. Well about the job. What I’ll do is give you a trial day tomorrow. If you do well you’ve got the job. Does that sound good to you?"
"That sounds great. I’ll see you tomorrow at…"
"Nine got ya. Well see you then. Bye"
"Bye" Reply as he watched her leave, then went back to what he was doing.
Belle woke up at 7:30, got dressed and slowly headed towards the boardwalk. She reached the store and saw a girl sitting at the counter. She pushed open the door and walked in.
"Hey. Is Max here?"
"You the new girl?"
"Max told me to show you the ropes. He’ll be in later"
"Okay, cool, I’m Belle"
Tina spent till one teaching Belle how things worked and also managing to make Belle feel totally unwelcome. She was beginning to think that everyone in this town was completely crazy or a bitch. Belle was glad when Max walked in at seven and Tina was sent home. She liked Max; he seemed a really nice guy. They talked for a while until Max went into the back room to make some calls. After awhile he came back out.
"I’m going to pop out for a moment Belle. Do you think you can handle running the shop by yourself until I come back?" he asked
"Yeah, I’ll be fine. See you soon"
Belle pulled a magazine out of her bag and started to flick through. The streets outside were still buzzing with people, but the store had been mostly empty all day.
Max had been gone half an hour when she heard the bell jingle at the front door, letting her know that the door had been opened.
"Hey Max, we still haven’t had anyone in yet." She said over her shoulder, not taking her eyes off the magazine. When she didn’t get a reply she turned to look at the door and jumped when she saw four men standing there.
"Oh, I’m sorry, I… I thought it was someone else" She stammered. Their gazes were fixed intently on her. The one who stood out in front of them smirked at her and it seemed as though his intense blue eyes could see right through her. He frightened her but she found something magnetic about him that was just drawing her in.
"Can I help you?"
"No… just looking. Seeing if there’s anything new in" He said in a husky voice, both soothing and alarming at the same time. They began to walk round the store, circling her, their eye contact never breaking. Belle couldn’t help but feel like bait wriggling on a hook. She finally tore her eyes away from him and looked back at the magazine, trying to regain some composure.
"Well, let me know if you need any help"
She heard their footsteps getting closer until they were right in front of her, but she refused to look up.
"Oh Miss, I need some assistance" He said in a sing-song voice. She tilted her head up and found his face was just inches away from hers as he leaned on the counter. She flinched slightly but didn’t move.
"Well how can I help you?"
"I have some questions."
"About movie rental?" He laughed at her statement
"Maybe. Let’s start with your name." She looked at him in silence for a second, debating whether to tell this complete stranger her name.
"Belle… Belle" He said as though he was deeply considering it. A smile formed on his lips. "It suits you" He said finally causing her to blush slightly.
"Was that a pick up line?" She said smiling.
"Did you want it to be?" She shrugged in reply
"I don’t even know your name."
"David. And this is Marko, Dwayne and Paul." He said, pointing over his shoulder. She looked past David at them.
"Hey" She greeted
"Hey" They replied in unison, giving winks and smirks. She directed her attention back to David, who was still staring absorbedly at her.
"Are you new here Belle?"
"Yep. Is it that obvious?"
"You could say that. When people stay long enough they start to go stale, you still seem fresh" She furrowed her brow slightly at his words.
‘People going stale. Well I’ve never heard that expression before’
"So, does that mean your ‘stale’?"
"No, we’re different"
"Well what makes you so special?"
"Do you want me to show you?"
"Yeah" She was totally focused on him now, mesmerised by his eyes which seemed to glow somehow.
"Lean closer to me and I’ll whisper it" He said quietly. She slowly inched forward until her check was side by side with hers.
"Closer" He whispered and she did so without a second though. His mouth was now in line with her ear and throat. He lifted his hand up and gently tucked her hair back behind her ear, exposing her neck. He sniffed her neck, breathing in her intoxicating sent. He put his lips near to her ear.
"Are you sure you wanna know?" She nodded. Licking his lips he moved his mouth down here neck until it was in the middle. Belle felt like she was in some euphoric trance. She didn’t even notice that David’s face had morphed and his open mouth was descending on her pulse point. His lips clasped to her neck and his teeth pressed into her skin. Just a little pressure and it would be over. David was definitely going to enjoy this, although he had fleetingly about turning her, but he was just to damn hungry to care.
"I thought I told you not to come in here anymore!" A calm but commanding voice said, from the direction of the door.
David pulled away from Belle, quickly morphing back to normal and turning to face the door. Belle felt like she had been slapped round the face, instantly bringing her to her senses. She stepped back from the counter. She was a little dazed about what had just happened.
"I just wanted to greet the new staff Max, relax."
"Belle, why don’t you head home? You’ve got the job. Come in tomorrow at 12 and we’ll discuss what times you’ll be working, okay" Belle looked back and forth between Max and David. David was giving Max a menacing look and she didn’t know if it would be the right thing for her to just leave Max here to with them. They might beat him up or even kill him, not that she could stop them if they tried.
"Are you sure you don’t want me to stay"
"No Belle, I’ll be quite all right. Head home now, I’m sure you’ll mom will be worrying about where you’ve got to" He said smiling.
"Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow" She said picking up her bag and moving towards the door
"See you around Belle" Called David. She turned back to face him momentarily before leaving the store.
"What are you doing here?" Asked Max as he moved towards them
"I told you Max, just giving the girl a friendly welcome." He answered grinning.
"Boys will be boys I guess. But I don’t want you making trouble, okay?"
"Of course not Max, I wouldn’t dream of it."
"I can’t keep finding new staff. She’s the sixth one this year."
"Sure, whatever" He said walking past Max, the rest of the pack in tow.
"Boys" Sighed Max