Thursday, October 6, 2016

The "Lost Chapter" of Befriending the Beast

Actually, it'd be more like a "deleted scene." ;) As my beta-readers gave me their feedback, several of them agreed that the current chapter six I had changed Belle's personality, plus, it didn't move the story forward. 

So, I rewrote chapter six, and I'm so much happier with what is in the book. But, I like things like deleted scenes, so here's what didn't make the cut (those of you who have read Befriending the Beast will notice that, yes, I kept a few sentences).

The Deleted Chapter Six
Anis hovered behind Belle as she walked around the walls that guarded the secret garden. Days had passed without any sight of the king, and idle waiting was wearying.
"Your highness, are you certain this is a good idea? A lady of royalty should never soil her hands -- and certainly not her garments."
Belle gave a quick glance at the hem of her blush pink gown. A few pieces of grass peeked from among the beaded hem.
"'Tis nothing that cannot be remedied in the wash."
"That is beside the point, your highness."
Belle ignored her and studied the wall. "Do you think we can break into the gate?"
"Your highness! 'Tis not proper--"
"Aye, I know. But propriety never agreed with me."
Anis gasped and Belle grinned. Poor Anis. She had suffered much from Belle's carefree attitude. What would she say if she knew of the morning rides Belle had resumed?
Seeing Carpus in the distance, Belle lifted her skirts and ran towards him. "Carpus!"
"Your highness, a lady of good breeding never runs, and never raises her voice to call--"
"Carpus! Come here a moment, please."
The man stood up straight then bowed. "Your highness," he called as he took several strides towards her. "How may I assist you this morn?"
"I desire access into the garden."
Carpus looked over his shoulder at the castle and lowered his voice. "I am not certain such is a good idea."
"Percy said that Papa hasn't expressly forbidden it. Have you any idea how to enter?"
Carpus' forehead crinkled as he thought. "One may scale the wall. Tisn't too high."
Belle spun around to look at the wall. "I fear I shall send Anis to her death, dare I try that method."
"Well, then, your highness, I may be persuaded to break the lock." His brown eyes twinkled as he winked at Belle.
"Then be persuaded, for I am in dire need of entering today."
"Yes, your highness." Carpus bowed.
Belle followed the gardener to the gate and almost pranced as he worked on the lock, ignoring Anis' comments about correct behavior even in excitement. Within a minute, Carpus had the latch broken. The iron hinges grated together as the gate was forced open.
He bowed low. "The garden awaits, your highness."
"Much gratitude," Belle laughed lightly as she skipped inside the garden. Her laugh faded as she picked her way along the overgrown paths. Mama would have never allowed the garden to reach such disarray. The rosebushes that remained were overgrown with dead stems tangled in the growth.
She knelt and gently fingered a faded rose petal. The roses were supposed to blossom all year, yet only a few faded petals were left to fall to the ground. She plucked one of them off. That was how she felt. Like a petal clinging to its stem, hopeful of staying, fearful of being cast away.
With resolve, Belle turned and walked back to the gate. "Carpus, can you please supply me with garden tools?"
"Your wish is my command." Carpus dipped a bow and hastened away. When he returned, he pushed a barrow filled with shears, rake, and spade. "Your highness, behold the tools."
"Thank you kindly, Carpus. Now…" Belle took hold of a shear. "Mayhap you would counsel me the best method with which to proceed?"
"Aye, your highness." Carpus bowed low. "First, your highness might request her lady to find a pair of thick woolen gloves lest your fair hands be damaged."
Belle laughed. "Excellent idea. Anis?"
The lady-in-waiting nodded, but frowned as she walked back to the castle.
"Tell me the process now, please, while we wait!"
Carpus took the shears from Belle and went to the nearest rosebush. Kneeling, he brushed his hand against the faded leaves and said, "A neglected bush like this must be shorn."
"Must it indeed?" Belle cried.
"Aye, your highness." Carpus' eyes were serious now, the teasing glint gone. "For there to be new growth, you must do away with the old."
Belle tilted her head to the side slightly. "Like the new Christian -- the old man must pass away."
Carpus raised his eyebrows but smiled at the princess. "Dead branches like these -- and damaged branches like these -- must be removed."
"Aye, sounds simple. And the weeds must be pulled out?"
"Aye, your highness." Carpus stood and Belle reached for the shears.
She surveyed the area. "I used to know the names of all of the bushes. Now I can remember nothing."
Carpus grinned. "Mayhap I can assist you in that as well."
"Excellent." Belle walked forward to one of the bushes whose stems were thicker than the others. "Can you tell a rose's color by its stems, Carpus?"
Carpus walked to Belle's side. "Other gardeners may. I cannot. Why do you ask, your highness?"
"If I recall correctly, Mama had a favorite rose. 'Twas a yellow rose. 'So yellow that it sends a ray of sunshine where it's placed, a beacon of hope,' she used to say."
"Tis possible for the rose to still be here, but I wouldn't hope too hard, your highness."
"Aye," Belle sighed at the irony.
"Your highness, 't'will take a lot of hard work for this to become the garden it was years ago. 'Tis a wonder that any of the rose bushes still survive."
Belle smiled at the gardener's concern. "I am aware of the work, and it doesn't frighten me."
"Your highness, I am at your service."

"I know you are, Carpus, but I think…" Belle surveyed the abandoned plot. "I think I should like to do this on my own." If she was only guaranteed that her idea would work.

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