Before I get back into the narrative, I wanted to just mention in passing something that happened just a couple of weeks ago, especially since one of you brought it up in the comments. Yes, it's true that Beast'sbelle bought YET ANOTHER Belle doll, as well as another Rapunzel doll. Rest assured, though, that this hasn't bothered me as much as you might think. Beast'sbelle has kept them on the other side of the room from us, so we really haven't interacted much at all (besides that annoying comparison photo shoot that she did for her blog). The other thing that keeps me from any concern is the fact that Beast'sbelle is sending them to new homes for her blog giveaway. Honestly, I feel a little bad for them. They'll have to go back into a dark box and be sent to who knows where! Hopefully they go to good homes. I suppose the chances of this are likely, since Beast'sbelle's followers seem to be nice people who care about dolls. :)
Okay, on to the rest of my story! Two things happened in the beginning of October that made life rather interesting. First, Beast'sbelle rearranged her room. She moved all of us (her deboxed Disney fashion dolls)on top of her curio, which was now on the other side of the room. This was both a blessing and a curse. We had a much better view of the room from our higher perch, but it was a lot harder to get down and go to other parts of the house or go outside. Also, we had less space, so we were all squished together. Now, instead of having Ben on the other side of the dresser, he was literally standing right behind me! It definitely made things more awkward knowing that he was right there at all times of the day. I think he sensed my discomfort and tried to be sensitive. There was only so much he could do, though.
You gotta love the huge roses beside Rapunzel and I, not to mention the gigantic ones on top of the curio. Beast'sbelle loves decorating with fake flowers. :}
I was informed of the other change in a conversation with Rapunzel. One nice thing about our rearranged spot was that Rapunzel and I got to sit together all day long. I'm not sure how Eugene felt about this, but he was just as stuck as the rest of us. It was a morning in early October. We could hear the frantic sounds of Beast'sbelle trying to get her three daughters out the door in time to get her two oldest to school. Suddenly, Rapunzel leaned over and whispered, "I have something to tell you once they leave!"
I glanced over at my friend curiously. "What?" I asked her softly.
She shook her head. "Let's wait until they're gone, just in case."
Beast'sbelle's daughters still didn't know we were alive, and we all intended to keep things that way until we were sure they'd be gentle around us!! I understood Rapunzel's point, but I was dying of curiosity! I stole another glance at her face and didn't miss the happy glow it held. Of course, then I knew what her news was. What was the one thing she and Eugene had been longing and hoping for all summer?
I peeked up at Eugene and saw that his face was brimming with happiness. He stealthily reached forward and squeezed Rapunzel's shoulder. They both looked ready to burst.
At last, the side door of the house slammed shut, and we heard the car pulling out of the driveway. A hush fell over the entire house. Then, collectively, we all let out a long breath, as if we'd all been holding our breath the entire time the humans were here.
I turned to Rapunzel. "So?" I asked, willing myself to act surprised when she told me.
Rapunzel shook her head again. "Not here...I'm so excited I can't sit still! Let's take a walk!"
It was so weird having everyone so close together. Robby, Eugene, and Ben could hear everything we said. Maybe that was the other reason Rapunzel wanted to wait, so we could actually have a private conversation! I almost felt like I needed to explain to everyone where we were going.
Rapunzel gave Eugene a quick kiss while I awkwardly waved to Robby and Ben. Then we both walked to the edge of the curio and leaped down. In the week since our move, we'd all discovered that the easiest way to get down was to jump onto the bed. It was closer than the floor and more comfortable to land on. :)
We slid down the sides of the comforter and headed out of the room. Once we reached the hallway, my friend couldn't wait any longer.
"Beast'sbelle has found a baby for us!" she burst out excitedly, sharing the news I'd been expecting.
I wasn't sure whether to feel happy or sad, but I smiled anyway. "I'm so happy for you!" I told her...and I was! I knew how much she and Eugene had been longing for this. But I still felt that sense of melancholy foreboding, that feeling that things wouldn't be the same between us once a baby entered her life.
We walked down the hallway towards the living room. Actually, it would be more accurate to say we "power walked" down the hallway. Rapunzel's excitement gave her unusual speed, and it was all I could do to keep up!
"So," I said, trying to keep my voice steady even though I was already out of breath, "when is the arrival date?"
"Beast'sbelle thinks the baby should be here within another 2 weeks or so," Rapunzel said wistfully. "It seems like such a long time to wait!"
I had just been thinking how little time that gave her to get ready. I suppose it was all in your perspective.
I reached over and squeezed her hand. "It will go quickly. You've been waiting all summer, so a couple more weeks shouldn't be too difficult. And hey, just think, humans have to wait 9 months to have a baby, or so I've heard."
Rapunzel smiled at my encouragement. "I know. You must think I'm crazy!"
I pretended to think about this statement. "Well, maybe a little bit."
We both laughed.
By now, we'd reached the love seat, which was our favorite spot to visit. Without missing a beat, Rapunzel leaped up and grabbed fistfuls of material. In moments, she was up.
I really need to get in better shape, I thought to myself. You'd think rambling outside all summer with Robby would have helped. Of course, most of Rapunzel's energy this morning is because she's over-excited!
With considerably less ease and grace, I scrambled up the love seat myself. Then we climbed up the back of the seat together. Rapunzel moved aside the curtain and looked outside. It was another beautiful day. Our fall had been so mild that it looked more like April than October out there.
"Do you know what you're getting?" I asked.
Rapunzel gave me a funny look.
"I mean, will it be a girl or a boy?" I clarified.
She shook her head. "Beast'sbelle knows, but we asked her not to tell us. We wanted it to be a surprise." Rapunzel looked outside again, a dreamy expression on her face. "I've already imagined I'm holding him or her. I feel like I'll explode if I have to wait a moment longer."
I watched my friend for a moment. I'd known this was important to her, but I think it wasn't until right then that I realized just how important it was. I didn't really understand it myself. Not that I was opposed to having a baby someday, but...babies were so much work!! And doll babies never grew! I just couldn't imagine saddling myself with a drooly infant for the rest of my life. But for Rapunzel, it was different.
"You're really ready for this, aren't you?" I asked her.
She turned to face me with the most serene expression I'd ever seen on her face. "Yes," she said with quiet determination. "There's no higher calling than parenthood, Belle. Eugene and I have never been more ready for anything in our lives."
"But...how do you know you're ready?" I questioned. "I mean, what if you get into it and it's too much? You're stuck forever!"
Rapunzel sat down right next to me. "Well, I'm not foolish enough to think that it will always be easy. I'm sure there will be days where I'll wonder why on earth I ever thought it was a good idea." She laughed a bit, then shrugged her shoulders. "But the blessings of caring for a child far outweigh any inconvenience or sacrifice."
I shook my head. "Well, maybe I'll be there someday, but I sure don't understand it now!"
My friend smiled. "That's good! You have some time to think about it, you know. And it's best to have a good husband first." She glanced back towards our room. "One of the reasons I'm so confident is that I know Eugene is going to be a wonderful daddy. I couldn't do it without him."
"I think I'll just let you try it first. If you go crazy, then I'll avoid it in the future," I said jokingly.
"Oh, thanks a lot!" Rapunzel laughed.
I was suddenly hit with an idea. "Hey, maybe we should plan some sort of celebration! Just you and I and Robby and Eugene. We could spend an afternoon outside while the weather's still good!"
"That sounds wonderful!" Rapunzel agreed.
"I'll talk it over with Robby, and we'll work out the details."
Rapunzel looked concerned. "Should we invite Ben? It might be a little bit hard for him to not be included, especially now that we're all so close on the curio."
I blushed. "I'm sure he's got other things to do."
She eyed me carefully. "Belle, what aren't you telling me? Did something happen between you two?"
I looked away. I never had told her about my last conversation with Ben. Reluctantly, I shared the details I'd tried to forget.
We were both quiet for a while after my confession.
"I...I just don't want to feel weird or embarrassed on a day that's supposed to be fun. With you and Eugene and Robby, I can just relax and be myself. Would you be upset if I didn't invite Ben?"
"Of course not!" Rapunzel assured me, putting a gentle hand on my shoulder. "I'm sure he'll understand. Maybe you should wait to discuss your plans with Robby until you two are alone, though. I don't want to hurt Ben's feelings." She seemed to be thinking about something, but whatever it was she didn't decide to share it.
"Well, should we get back?" I asked her. "I'm sure you and Eugene would like to take your morning walk while you have the chance."
Rapunzel nodded, smiling at the mention of her husband. "Yes, let's. I still have so much to discuss with him."
We climbed down from the love seat and made our way back to the room, thankfully at a slower pace than we'd used before! :} I couldn't wait to talk to Robby and see what he thought about all of this. I wished I could talk it over with Ben, too, but I hadn't worked up the nerve to speak to him again since our last conversation. I wondered if he'd ever considered having children someday. I couldn't quite picture him as a father, but you never know.
More than anything, I just wanted to enjoy these last 2 weeks with my friend while she still had time for me. I wasn't delusional enough to think that parenthood wouldn't affect our friendship. It would never be the same, I just knew it.