Chapter 15: Belle

Papa always said I deserved to be a star.

But in my love and beauty vlog, amour was the true star.

“My first guest,” I announced to the camera, “is mon cher ami, Gaston Blackwell-Straud.”

“Gaston, are you ready to be loved?

“Rr?”

“Do tell our audience what you look for in a–oh, that sounds so very coarse–in a lady dog, s’il vous plaît.”

“…”

“Gaston, oh, dear, dear Gaston, there’s simply no reason at all to be embarrassed…”

“Rowww!”

I smiled. “Gaston enjoys a fragrant derrière, ladies–and dog owners–of SimTube. He’s a purebred standard poodle whose pedigree is positively brimming with grand champions. If you know of anyone who might suit mon beau garçon, do leave me a note in the comments–and don’t forget to like and subscribe, mes amies.”

Alas, my second guest wasn’t nearly as well-behaved–and was drenched in cologne, an onslaught against my delicate alabaster nose.

“I’m getting paid for this shit, right?” Silas–Sly–wore his sunglasses indoors, despite my repeated attempts to convince him to remove them.

“Talk of money is so very gauche,” I said. “Amour et argent are completely independent of each other, except on a lady’s birthday.”

He smirked at me. “Tell that to all the gold-diggers in Starlight Shores, sweet cheeks.”

“Tell us, bête mauvaise, what do you like in a woman?”

My dick.”

“…Non. Try again, bête.”

“I gotta say, I’m an ass man,” he said, his smirk widening. “Tits are great and all, but asses–asses are where it’s at.” He seemed to delight in emphasizing these words. “Can’t get chicks pregnant that way either, and it’s so tight, if you know what I mean.”

Merci beaucoup for the helpful anatomy lesson, my beastly nephew. You apparently share a passion for derrières with Gaston.”

“…Isn’t that your dog?”

Oui.”

That didn’t throw him off for long. Like my sister Galatea, he always had a retort–usually laced with profanity. “Guess we both like us some fine-ass bitches.”

“If anyone knows of a lovely young lady who meets my beastly nephew’s requirements…perhaps reconsider before leaving a note in the comments. …And don’t forget to like and subscribe.”

If I could breathe, I would call my next guest “a breath of fresh air”–or une bouffée d’air frais.

“Are you certain you’d like to have an old man like me on your show?” Thaddeus asked. “I don’t believe I’m particularly photogenic or charismatic…”

“My audience will adore you, truly,” I insisted. Hopefully I had a number of older women as viewers…

“So, mon frère,” I began, settling onto the pale pink sofa, “who is your ideal woman?”

“My late wife, Lyanna,” he said immediately.

A grieving widower’s tragic love would most certainly win points with a sympathetic female audience. “Très bon, and what did you love most about your late wife?”

“Ah, she was the mother of my children…?”

“So,” I said brightly, “it’s fécondité you value most?” I liked the French words that only had slightly altered spelling and pronunciation…it made them easier to recall. And this was already far more than he’d given me for his dating site profiles…

“N-no, my wife was far more than that. She was…the dawn to my dusk. A wise, kindhearted woman, a partner I trusted in both matters of the home and the heart… I’m–I’m sincerely not looking for anyone else, Belle–”

“Sometimes,” I said, “amour finds you, Thaddeus.”

I truly hoped there would be promising leads for mon frère in the comment section of my latest video. Of my three guests, I was by far the most invested in his love life, or lack thereof. He deserved such happiness, truly he did.

Unfortunately, there were only obscene comments directed at me, as well as links promoting other vloggers’ videos and offers to help me make thousands a month working from home part-time, despite the fact that I had absolutely no need to work at all.

But I soon discovered something far more disconcerting…

There was only one man who might give me answers.

“Papa,” I said, “I only started my SimTube channel a week ago. Do you have any idea why I might have three million subscribers in so short a time?”

“The undeniable mass appeal of my porcelain princess’s beauty and charm?”

“I don’t need you to pay anyone, Papa, truly… I wanted to find success based on my knowledge of Love and Beauty.” Beauty tip number one: Have gorgeous parents like mine.

“It’s only the success you deserve, ma belle.”

I decided to ask Maman for help–she was the only one he listened to no matter what.

“Belle, darling,” she said, “you’re getting older, and it’s weighing on him, knowing you’ll soon be off on your own. He can’t bear the thought of saying goodbye to his little girl, so he tries to do as much as he can while you’re still here.”

“But I’m going to live with you both for éternité,” I said. I couldn’t imagine otherwise.

“You’re much too beautiful,” she insisted. “You take after me that way. Someday, a man–or woman, I suppose–will steal you away, and Graham will likely try to murder the poor dear.”

So Maman wasn’t going to be of much help this time…

But I did think of a way Papa could help me with my channel. I couldn’t stop thinking of Thaddeus and his ideal woman. Would any living woman be able to live up to his late wife? Of course not, if that wife was his one true love.

But what if he could have her back again? His wife’s grave was beside his son’s–I could recall a Lyanna Lyons beside Maman’s late husband…

Papa knew all sorts of people and kept records of their professions, skills, blackmail material and contact information in his office. (He had many, many assassins on file.)

Thaddeus often said that only a necromancer, not a matchmaker, could restore love to his life. Did Papa know such of such a person? I knew Thaddeus had been jesting in that self-deprecating sort of way, but still…

Papa knew everyone.

I thought it was fitting to go off in search of the necromancer on a dark and stormy night; it was straight out of my sister Ophelia’s vampire novels.

Oui, I had most certainly found a necromancer’s place of residence…

What an odd place, truly.

Necromancers apparently didn’t make a habit of locking their front doors. Of course, few would dare to visit a necromancer’s residence unannounced, but there was only one Belle-Blackwell Straud.

The decor was positively vampiric, though it was a touch dated. Thaddeus would be beside himself at the dust.

There were a great many steps in the tower…

And a number of things that hinted at magic within.

But eventually I emerged in an office of sorts. “Bonjour,” I said. “I’m Belle Blackwell-Straud, the precious daughter of Graham Straud, and I have a request.”

The man–presumably a necromancer, unless he was a normal man particularly fond of black robes–scowled at me. “You’re visiting me outside of my office hours.”

“Office hours?”

“You’re one of my students, are you not? I’ve repeatedly told all of you that I will only discuss your coursework within those office hours–and at my office, not my home.”

I smiled at him. “But I’m not your student at all. This is a personal matter.”

“Do you think I have time for personal matters on top of my research? If you aren’t my student, I have no obligation to listen to you. Leave.”

What a homme impoli! Truly, he was unimaginably rude, though in rather a different way from my beastly nephew.

I moved closer. “Mon père would gladly compensate you for your assistance.”

“I require time, not monetary compensation. Once again, I must ask you to leave.”

How had he managed to drag so many coffins to the top floor of his tower? Rain pounded against the windows, mirroring my mood. But I wouldn’t give up on Thaddeus…

“I’ll gladly leave,” I said. “Once we discuss a certain corpse. Is there a time limit on how long a person might be dead before you can no longer resurrect them? And is it possible to restore them to the way they appeared in life? Thaddeus’s wife was so very pretty, or so he says, and it would be a terrible shame for her to return in an advanced state of decay…”

“…Every one of your questions is answered at length in my Introduction to Necromancy course. You sound like a student who hasn’t bothered to study for her final exam–but as you aren’t my student at all, I owe you no claim on my time or expertise. My students are also aware not to step within one meter of their professor.”

D’accord,” I said, turning on my heel, “but you haven’t seen the last of me, Monsieur Graves.” According to Papa’s records, his name was Valerian Graves–I picked him because his name sounded the most like a necromancer’s, but now I wondered if I should’ve picked someone else.

And then I reminded myself that I was Graham Straud’s porcelain princess. I always got what I wanted.

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24 thoughts on “Chapter 15: Belle

  1. Take his class because the only way to get things right is to do them yourself. 😉

    Gaston was such a good guest, look at him! Apparently there is room in my heart for one curly-haired ass man. 😛 And we saw his lovely chompers (so many of them!)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love Belle and her little vlog! How cute is that! Haha Gaston was freaking adorable too…

    Sly, much less so haha. I keep wondering whether he even has nearly as much action with the ladies as he keeps claiming. He’s a good looking kid, but my goodness, that level of douche-ness is… I feel like most girls would probably run in the other direction the second he opens his mouth haha

    And Thaddeus… He is so sweet and kind. Love him! And I know Belle does too… But my goodness, what a terrible plan she has! Haha (and I have a feeling Thaddeus would agree, if he knew!) It was fun seeing her interact with one of the new characters though. I freaking love that Valerian never takes his head out of that book. Does he sleep with it laying across his face?

    And ah, Graham. I know he means well… But now that Belle’s getting older, I feel like she might start resenting her dad a bit for not letting her do things on her own if he doesn’t start backing down when she asks him to. I know she loves being spoiled, but at some point in your life, you want a little independence too!

    Another great chapter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, I had too much fun with Belle’s vlog and her “guests”!

      Sly’s level of douchiness is off the charts, omg. I don’t know what kind of girl would be willing to put up with him for long…

      Belle’s Lyanna 1.0 plan is absolutely awful, and no way would Thaddeus approve of it if he knew. But she thinks it’d be a nice surprise…! (Valerian has an eyemask with a book print on it, probably.)

      Graham never stays out of his kids’ lives when he probably should (with the exception of Rhys, at one point). Belle usually loves being spoiled, but this time…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Apparently Clem is the only one who would be willing to try! 😛 But he did seem to soften the douchiness a smidge when he was around her, at least? Still tho. That boy… Poor Gal and Bas LMAO

        Also, I want to hope that Thaddeus will figure out the plan and stop it before it gets too far… But where would be the fun in that?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Awwww, poor adorably clueless, gorgeous Belle! I know why you got 3mil subscribers! 😉

    Valerian is so funny, what with his dismissive attitude and “air-or-superiority snark” – I hope that Belle does end up taking his class, should be a laugh! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Belle! And her new profession: vlogging for love! (Of the little folks who need it. Not her, of course!)

    Sly…is so SLY. What did she expect? 😏 But he is her best friend even though he’s also her nephew. I find the pair hilarious.

    Thaddeus—poor old dude. He’s perfectly happy(or so he says) with the memory of his late wife. Omg…I hope bad things don’t happen with this little exploit of hers. 😱

    And now she meets Mr. Dirt! Maybe she can fix him up, too. He looks like the lonely sort, nose always stuck in a book. Seems she might have to sign up for his class to get all her answers! 😝

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For someone so interested in the love lives of other people, Belle doesn’t seem to have much interest in her own, LOL.

      She’d be murderous if you called Sly her best friend though. 😉 (But…I guess he kind of is? Not like she has many others…)

      As for Thaddeus’s happiness, hmmmmm… He’s been alone for so long now, maybe it feels natural to him. Belle should probably leave well enough alone~

      LOL, Mr. Dirt wouldn’t take too kindly to Belle interfering with his love life (or lack thereof, because dude obviously doesn’t get out much).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am secretly hoping that Belle is ace! Maybe even aroace, though she does seem to be very much a romantic. But romantic aces are awesome! (OK… my secret wish isn’t secret anymore… )

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Papa is right, ma petite pelle; you DO deserve to be a star!! ❤

    I love that she has her own vlog, omg
    “Gaston, are you ready to be loved?”
    I AM (ready for Gaston to be loved).

    Man, I know Belle and Sly are the same age, but he's so big and hairy and fully ridiculous looking, and she's so sweet and dainty and put together like a little doll, my brain is trying to tell me he's older HE'S NOT THO BRAIN, OK.
    “Guess we both like us some fine-ass bitches.”
    You said it, babe ❤
    Omg, Bas, r u even in there anywhere?? O.o

    Thaddeus! Ahh, he's just so sad looking, and I'm sort of horrified about the idea of resurrecting Lyanna… but also… that would be WICKED. 10/10 Zombie Lyanna + Thad
    I SHIP IT.
    They can be undead lovers together for eternity PERFECTION.

    Graham, you spoiling all her funnn! Lol at Bianca low key being all "um, no, you should move out eventually"

    Val! I can't get enough of this guy; please take his class, ma belle, PLEEEEEEZE.
    He's just so grumpy.
    I need his grump in my life.
    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m ready for Gaston to be loved too. ❤ ❤ Most photogenic dog…? (For a Fangs dog, anyway.)

      LOL, it's hard to remember that Sly and Belle were born on the same exact day when he's a lot bigger. I get so frustrated with the height sliders and all the janky animations/f'd up poses that everyone is the same height-wise as YAs, but damn Sly is still huge and hairy. Definitely my beefiest dude.

      OMG, Thaddeus and Zombie Lyanna… I don't know if he could be happy with that, because she wouldn't be the wife he remembered. Oh man, I kind of hope they don't add zombies in TS4, I hated them in 3 and would rather see just about any other occult type.

      LOL, Bianca doesn't baby Belle nearly as much as Graham does. He'd be happy to have Belle live with them for eternity too, of course.

      Ahhh, I'm glad you love Val's grumpiness. ❤ Idk what it says about me that my two favorite character types to write are spoiled, bratty girls and grumpy old men.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I can’t help that I love Sly. I think all of his rough exterior is just insecurities. I hope that Clem can maybe soften him a bit and get to know the real Sly underneath all that bravado.

    Belle…Trying to find love for everyone except herself because she will always live with her parents. Even tomthe point of going to the necromancer for Thaddeus. I agree with WagonFruit, a zombie Lyanna and vampire Thaddeus could live happily ever after – maybe. Haha. And perhaps, Mr. Graves (lol at his name) will be broken down and softened by Belle and get his nose out of the book. She is, in fact, undead.

    Gaston….haha….maybe he can hook up with Velvet! Oh, but she is hot for the demon so….who knows. Still looking for ships as you can see. Interesting chapter pulling things together for what proves to be a very interesting gen full of different types of magical beings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, I love Sly too, my problem child. It’s hard to say how teenage/YA Clem might react to him though…

      Belle has a good life, why mess things up! She’s got everything she needs right at home, including servants to do the laundry. LOL, big maybe on Zombie Lyanna and Thaddeus, huh! Depends on how much of a zombie Lyanna 1.0 is… Good point about Belle and Mr. Graves. 😉

      LOL, another Gaston and Velvet shipper (?). Velvet apparently shares Gaston’s love for derrieres though, or at least demon ones. And ship away! ❤ This might be the very first gen where I think I know who ends up with whom from the start, but I might surprise myself in the end…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. She is meddling and nosy, bust damn it, I like Belle! 😀 She’s a lot like Emma–worrying about everyone’s love life but her own, but all for the best of intentions. I think we will learn to love this spoiled little princess!

    Liked by 1 person

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