Friday, October 28, 2011

January 23rd, 2011

Well, I didn't think it was possible, but Rapunzel was right! Eugene's actually not that bad. After our brief meeting Friday, Rapunzel and Eugene waited in the drawer until everyone was in bed. Then the three of us ventured out so that I could give them the grand tour.

Before we started, Eugene and I helped Rapunzel with her hair. It was getting tangled (no pun intended) ;) and in her way, so we braided it for her. She liked it much better! :)

We went everywhere. I showed them all of my favorite hang-outs, like the computer desk, the TV area, and the back of the love seat, where there's a great view of the front yard. We even went back to the playroom for Beast'sbelle's girls and met some of the Barbies and toys in there. As I introduced them, the Barbies waved to the new pair as well as they could in their various contorted positions. Eugene and Rapunzel were rather horrified by the disheveled mess many of them were in. But when you're primarily played with by a two and a half year old, you can't expect much better. I assured them that we wouldn't be played with this way, and was amused at the relief in their faces.

Eugene really lightened up as we wandered about. He even laughed and told jokes! It was like he was a different person. Rapunzel gave me a knowing look every time he would venture out of his shell.

That night, the three of us sat on the back of the love seat and talked until the early morning hours. We shared our past, our future dreams, and everything in between. Rapunzel and I did most of the talking, but when Eugene could get a word in edgewise, he had plenty to say as well. He was very considerate of Rapunzel and polite to me...and he could be really funny, too. Rapunzel is blessed to have such a man beside her. I found myself thinking again about Monday for the millionth time. What would the Prince be like? If he was someone like Eugene, I could handle being stuck with him for years and years. I just didn't like having a relationship thrust on me.

"How did you guys meet?" I asked, curious to know their story.

They shared a special smile. Eugene took Rapunzel's hand in his. "We were across the aisle from each other at the Disney Store," he began. "There were so many Rapunzel dolls, but she stood out to me."

"Why?" I asked. "Didn't they all look just the same?"

"Well, sure, they all looked the same, but it was the way Rapunzel acted that made her stand out," Eugene said. "All the other dolls were trying so hard to be noticed. When we had our nightly sings, they were all trying to out-sing each other, to the point that it was painful to listen to. But Rapunzel was different." He looked over at her with warmth in his eyes. She blushed, but smiled back at him adoringly. "She just sang quietly, content to be in the background. In all the weeks I knew her, she never tried to draw attention to herself. She was just there, ready to be noticed when the time was right."

"And the time was right," he continued. "I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. There was something so beautiful to me about her humility and simplicity. Then, just when I was falling head over heels in love, the worst thing happened."

"What?" I asked.

"One morning I woke up and Rapunzel was gone. I know what you're thinking. How could I tell, when they all looked so alike? I could tell because my special Rapunzel, with her sweet smile and gentle voice, wasn't there. All of the dolls were out-singing each other now. No one wanted to go unnoticed."

"I was heartbroken. I was sure I'd never see her again. What were the odds that we'd be sold to the same person, at different times?" Then he gave a little sideways smile. "But I guess our love story wasn't meant to end there." Rapunzel put her head on his shoulder.

"Three weeks later, it was my turn. I left the bright, cheery shelves of the Disney Store and found myself in a dark, suffocating box instead. Days of tumbling and jostling and loud trucks...quite honestly, I don't remember most of the trip...maybe I've blocked it out."

I nodded in understanding, remembering my own UPS trip.

"When I woke up, I was pulled out of the box in the back bedroom, only to be hastily stuffed into the bottom drawer, still in my store box. I was dazed and tired. Defeat washed over me. The thought of spending my life in that stuffy, dark drawer, still trapped by all of my twist ties and stuck behind that clear plastic, was more than I could bear. Then, out of that darkness came the sweetest sound I could imagine."

"Rapunzel?" I guessed, looking over at her.

She nodded, beaming. "I'd been stuck in the drawer for a week or so by now. When Beast'sbelle opened it, I thought for sure I was finally getting out of there. But instead, she put another box in next to mine...a box that looked really familiar. You see, he didn't know it at the time, but all those weeks that Eugene was watching me, I was watching him, too." She paused and looked up into his face. "He was different than the others. So many of the other Eugenes, besides insisting on going by 'Flynn' because it was 'cooler', were all about swaggering and boasting. They thought they were God's gift to all female fashion dolls. But Eugene was quiet and serious. He could be funny, but he never laughed at things that were inappropriate or degrading. He was a true gentleman."

"But, how did you guys realize you were the ones stuck in the same drawer? You'd never even spoken to each other!" I pointed out.

"Because I knew her voice," Eugene explained. "It was so different than the others. Soft, sweet, and innocent, not flashy and blaring like everyone else."

"We were both in there, quiet. I think Eugene was pretty out of it after his trip," Rapunzel said, glancing over at him. He nodded in agreement. "I found myself wondering if it was him...I missed him so much! I thought how terrible it would be to have a Eugene here that wasn't my Eugene. And then, I did what I always do when I'm lonely or worried...I sang."

"It was the singing that did it," Eugene said, playing with the end of her braid. "She started singing 'I See the Light', from the movie. Within moments, I knew I'd found her. I just lay there, listening to that beautiful voice, and somehow, it didn't matter anymore that I was still stuck in my box, or trapped in a dark drawer. I had found my Rapunzel. And when her solo part ended, I sang my part." He gave her a teasing sideways look. "She didn't let me finish my part, though. You could have just told me you didn't like my singing...OW!!" he yelped as Rapunzel punched his arm.

"I was just so excited when I heard him and the way he sang...I knew his voice, too, and I couldn't wait for a whole solo and duet to tell him so."

"That's most of it," Eugene confided. "We spent the next several weeks stuck in that drawer. We couldn't move, or hold hands, or even see each other's faces, but we talked. It's the only thing that kept us sane. I think we probably know more about each other than we ever could have known otherwise."

"Didn't you have a hard time hearing each other, though?" I asked. "I tried talking with Beastbelle's 'Deluxe Belle doll' and I could barely understand her."

"Is she the one up next to you, by the curio, in the red dress?" Rapunzel asked.

I nodded.

"I think the plastic on her box is extra thick. We could hear each other just just sounded a little muffled."

"That would explain why I didn't ever hear you down there...if you had to talk to each other as loudly as I had to talk to the other Belle, I would have been able to hear you in the living room!" I exclaimed.

"Beast'sbelle finally opened our boxes at the beginning of this week," Rapunzel said. "We were so relieved to be free! And just today she mentioned that by next week, we'll be up on the dresser with you."

"Goodbye, drawer!" Eugene said gleefully.

"Wow," I said slowly. It sounded like something straight out of one of our movies. I almost wanted to laugh at the overdone romance, but I didn't want to hurt their feelings. "I can hardly believe it," I finally managed.

"Neither can we," Eugene said softly, stroking Rapunzel's cheek gently. "But we're so glad to be together again."

And with that, they were in their own little world, as if I didn't exist. Holding hands, gazing at each other, whispering was a bit awkward. Note to self, I thought. I want to remember to make everyone feel comfortable around me when I'm with the man I love...this is too weird.

"I'm going to head back," I said quietly. "I'll see you guys in the morning."

The spell was broken. They both looked up at me. "Are you sure?" Rapunzel asked. "We still have a few hours before everyone wakes up."

"I'm sure," I nodded. "You guys could use some alone a nice, pretty, comfortable spot." I grinned.

Rapunzel laughed. "All right...we'll see you tomorrow."

I gave them a wave as I headed across the living room, back down the dark hallway. Two more days, I thought to myself. What will he be like? Beast'sbelle, why did you have to do this to me? What if he has a special someone he remembers from the Disney Store? Then I'll never be good enough. The thought still troubled me as I climbed back to my spot and waited for morning's light.

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