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! :)
"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."
"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."
"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 think the plastic on her box is extra thick. We could hear each other just fine...it 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.
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.