Sunday, November 24, 2013

Catching Up - Meeting Paige

As it turned out, I didn't have to wait all that long to meet the mysterious Paige.  Just three days after our Ever After High friends came over, Robby, Emilie and I were having a relaxing evening at home.

I was busy tidying up the living room, but I paused in my work to peek in on Robby and Emilie.  They were both on the floor, playing with Emilie's Beauty and the Beast castle.

"Here, Daddy, you be the Beast," Emilie stated, handing her Beast doll over.  "But you have to do a really growly Beast voice, okay?"

"I'll do my best," Robby said seriously.  "Who are you going to be?"

"Daddy," Emilie said patiently, "I'll be Belle, of course."

"Yes, of course," Robby agreed, as if the thought had just occurred to him.  "Are you sure you don't want to trade?"

Emilie giggled.  "I don't think you could do a very good Belle voice, Daddy."

I smiled at this adorable exchange between them.  It was always so wonderful to see the two of them interacting.  Emilie had Robby wrapped around her little finger.

Just then, I heard a hesitant clearing of a throat from behind me.

I turned to see Ben standing in my living room, with Paige hiding shyly behind him.

"Forgive this intrusion," Ben said slowly.  "I wondered if this might be a convenient time to stop by for a short visit."  He hurried on with a nervous explanation.  "Ordinarily I would never presume to invite myself in, but our schedules have been so conflicted I thought it might be best to seize the moment..."

I gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile, trying to hide my amusement at his flustered manner.  It was unlike Ben to be so awkward.  "Of course we don't mind!" I said warmly.  "I'll just let Robby know you're here."

"Robby," I said clearly, leaning around the shelf.  "We have visitors."

Robby turned to see who our guests were, then looked back at Emilie.  "We'll finish our game a little later, okay?"

She nodded.  "Okay."

I helped Robby to his feet, and he quickly hobbled over to where Ben and Paige stood.  (He was always a little stiff after sitting on the floor for too long.)

"Welcome, Ben," he greeted the other doll with a smile.  The two shook hands.  "I'm so glad you stopped by."

I stood back for a bit, letting the two begin the conversation.  Emilie picked up her Belle and Beast dolls and peeked out at our guests from behind my skirts.

Paige held back as Robby and Ben chatted, looking horribly uncomfortable with the whole situation.  My heart went out to her.  I knew how overwhelming it could be to meet a whole group of dolls all at once.

Ben seemed a bit preoccupied.  He cleared his throat again.  "I...hope you don't mind, but I thought I might take the opportunity to introduce you to Paige."  His face burned red.

He turned to the doll behind him, and a soft expression instantly came over his solemn features.  He gently placed a hand behind her back, and she slipped hers behind his as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Robby must have sensed my excitement somehow, for he placed his hand over mine and squeezed it gently.  I got the translation.  Steady, Belle.  Don't scare them with your enthusiasm.  I squeezed back, assuring him that I understood.  I felt like breaking out into a huge love ballad right on the spot, though. ;)

"I'd like to introduce Paige, a Dazzling Princess Belle doll."  Ben must have realized how this sounded.  "Dazzling Princess Belle is the type of doll she is, I mean.  That is, I do think she's dazzling, but..."  He seemed to realize it was a lost cause.  "Um, Paige, I'd like you to meet Robby, Belle, and their daughter, Emilie," he mumbled.

"It's very nice to meet you," I said brightly, hoping to ease Ben's tension.  I couldn't get over how tongue-tied he was.  He was the most eloquent doll I knew.  He must be pretty smitten with her.

Paige gave a shy smile.  "Thank you.  It's lovely to meet all of you, as well."

Her voice sounded so graceful.  She had a bit of a British lilt to her voice, not the French accent we were used to with Marguerite and Isabella.  Perhaps that was for the best, though.  Another French doll might have constantly kept Marguerite in Ben's mind.

I stepped forward.  "Paige, would you like to come see Emilie's room?  That would give our guys a chance to talk." I winked playfully.  

Paige looked hesitantly over at Ben.  He gave her an encouraging nod.  She turned back to me.  "That would be nice, thank you."

So Robby and Ben settled themselves in our easy chairs in the living room and shared a quiet talk...

...while Emilie, Paige and I headed into Emilie's room.  Paige and I sat on Emilie's bed.  We spent the first part of the visit listening to Emilie as she talked about her room and all of her special toys.  Paige was very patient with her, which impressed me.

After a while, Emilie settled down to play with her Beauty and the Beast castle again, which gave Paige and I an opportunity to talk without interruption.  Of course, we had to be careful what we said.  No matter how occupied Emilie seemed, I knew from experience that she was very good at picking up on adult conversation.  I suppose all children are that way. :}  We kept our conversation as quiet as possible.

"It's so nice to finally meet you," I confided.  "I'm so glad you and Ben came over."

"I'm glad to hear that," Paige said with relief.  "I was rather worried when Ben suggested it.  Not everyone enjoys having uninvited visitors."

"Oh, Ben's an old friend," I said, waving a hand.  "He's always welcome.  And any friend of his is a friend of ours."

"You're very kind," Paige said softly.  "I've heard so much about you, Belle.  Ben speaks very highly of you."

I blushed.  "I'm surprised at that.  I always figured he thought I was a little silly."

"Oh, no...not at all!" Paige assured me.  "He goes on and on about your blog and how creative you are."

I couldn't have been more shocked if she'd slapped me upside the head.  Then I found myself hoping he hadn't read my earlier posts, when I was sharing my feelings about him.  I suppose that's what I get for blabbing my feelings to the entire world. :{

Paige gave me a shy, sideways glance.  "To be honest, I didn't think I would be able to compete with such an accomplished doll."

I thought I couldn't blush any more, but my face was now so warm I was worried my plastic might melt.  "You don't have to compete with me, trust me.  I'm not anyone special."  I flipped a stray strand of hair back behind my shoulder.  "Robby and I are both so grateful to Ben.  His medical talents are just amazing.  I don't know what I would have done without him when Robby was hurt."

Paige's face became serious.  "Yes, he told me about that.  Does..." she stopped and looked down at her hands.  "Never mind."

"What is it?" I asked. 

Now it was Paige's turn to blush.  "Nothing.  I shouldn't ask such personal questions when we've only just met."

I gave her a reassuring smile.  "It's okay, really.  You're wondering if it still hurts him?"

She looked away.  "It's none of my business.  I just...noticed the limp and..."

I put my hand on hers.  "It's natural to be curious."  I took a deep breath.  "Yes, his injuries still bother him.  They probably will for the rest of his life.  He doesn't complain, though."

"That must be hard for you," she said sympathetically, looking into my face.

I pulled my hand back into my own lap and observed my fingers.  "It is hard.  If there was anything I could do to ease his pain, I would.  But at the same time, I'm just so thankful that he's here.  I'd rather have him here and injured than live without him."

Paige's eyes filled with tears.  "I can't even imagine how hard it must be to see him suffer so much every day.  If Ben was going through the same thing, it would just kill me."

"It's not always easy," I admitted, "but we manage."

I decided now might be the best time to ask my own personal question.  "So, you and Ben seem to be very close."

A little smile played on Paige's lips.  "Yes, you might say that."

I waited for more, but that seemed to be all the information Paige was ready to share.  I couldn't help trying just one more prod.  "It's so nice to see him looking so happy.  You must be very special to him."

My companion turned a bright shade of pink.  "I would hope so...he's everything to me."

"If you don't mind sharing, how did you two meet?"

"Beast'sbelle brought us together," she explained.  "I've been one of Beast'sbelle's boxed dolls since before she married, so for years I've just watched things from behind the plastic of my box.  Then, a few months ago, Beast'sbelle randomly decided to open me.  The first thing she did was to set me beside Ben.  She made a few brief introductions, gave us a coy little glance, and walked away."

I swallowed to keep from saying something harsh about Beast'sbelle.  I'd thought she'd been so much better about the whole matchmaking thing, but apparently she was still up to her old tricks.  Then I remembered my own escapade, climbing on the dresser.  I might not be an active matchmaker like Beast'sbelle, but I was just as nosy.  Put in my place, I pushed unkind thoughts of Beast'sbelle away and focused my attention on my new friend.

Paige played with one of the flounces on her skirt.  "As you can imagine, it was quite awkward at first."

"Oh, I can imagine, all right," I said stiffly.  "That's how Robby and I met, too."

"Really?" Paige looked up.  "So this must be something she does often."

"Quite often, I'm afraid," I responded.

"Although, you have to admit, she does seem to have an uncanny ability to find dolls suited for one another.  Look at you and Robby, and Ben and me."

"I suppose," I said reluctantly.

"Anyway, at first things were very stilted between us.  But then, one day I mentioned my interest in medical science.  Ben suddenly looked at me with new eyes.  It was a wonderful turn in our friendship.  He shared all of his experiences as the 'doll doctor' of the house.  I hung on his every word."

I covered a smile.  Ben would have thrilled to having such a captive audience.  "So when did you, you know, realize how you...felt about each other?"  I knew I was pushing, but I couldn't help it.

Paige blushed again, but her expression was dreamy.  "From that first conversation, I knew he was the doll for me.  His eloquent way of speaking, his quiet dignity, and his knowledge of the medical field...I was smitten.  And thankfully," she continued, "in time, he came to feel the same way about me."

It was all I could do to keep from hugging her.  I impulsively grabbed her hand instead.  "I'm so happy for you and Ben," I said, blinking back tears.

"Are you okay?" she asked me, a concerned look on her face.

I laughed and wiped my eyes.  "Yes, I'm sorry.  Ben and I have been friends for a while now, and it's so wonderful to know that you've made him so happy."

"I hope so," Paige said shyly.

"I know you have," I said firmly.  "I've seen the way he looks at you."

She smiled.  "Sometimes I can hardly believe it.  He...he says he wants to marry me."

"That's wonderful!" I cried.

Emilie gave us a curious look, and I ducked my head.

At that moment, Ben poked his head around the shelf that separated the living room from Emilie's room.  "Paige, are you ready to go?"

Her face was radiant at the sound of his voice.  "Yes, I'm ready."  She turned back to me.  "It was very nice to meet you, Belle."

"Nice to meet you too," I told her warmly.  "Feel free to stop by anytime you like."

Robby and I waved goodbye to our neighbors as they left.  I watched with pleasure as Ben wrapped his arm around Paige's tiny waist as they left.  I never thought I'd see him so happy after everything he went through with Marguerite.  

When they were gone, I turned to Robby.  "I should go get Emilie ready for bed."

"Only if you promise to come back soon," he teased.

I pretended to think this over.  "I suppose I could."  I slid my arms around his waist.  "Isn't it wonderful to see them so happy?"

Robby winked.  "Your matchmaking dreams have finally come true."

I blushed.  "I've tried to be good about it."

He chuckled and held me in his arms.  "I know, Dearest.  And I'm glad to see Ben so happy, too.  If she brings him half the joy you've brought me, he'll have a wonderful life."

I kissed Robby's cheek.  "You've made me happy, too, Darling.  And I'll tell you all the ways you've done exchange for a foot rub after I get Emilie to bed."

He raised one brow.  "You drive a hard bargain."

"I know," I teased, "but I'm worth it."

He laughed and shook his head in mock bewilderment.  "What am I going to do with you?"  

"You'll think of something," I grinned, and headed to our daughter's room.  I could hear his laughter behind me.


Natalie said...

Oh that's so exciting! I'm so happy for Ben and Paige!

Desert Lily said...

You do know you're going to have to tell us about Paige and Ben's wedding, don't you? And then maybe their children, when they come along....The dolls over at our house are eager to know.

The dolls! said...

Merida: What a very wonderful thing to happen, (I have gone back and read ALL your posts) Ben is very lucky. ;) Emilie is so sweet, she doesn't seem fragile like a young doll here that I know. Then again, this wee doll was found at a dollar store, and given to Bear, who has taken care of the little doll. I am amused at the varying accents in your home, here most of the dolls sound the same, (American accents,) except for me, I have a Scottish accent. (Can ya tell from my spelling?) Here is Rapunzel,

Rapunzel: Paige seems like someone you will easily be friends with. :) Emilie is so adorable, the way she plays with Robby, you are a very lucky doll. :) It seems as though neither of us have anything more to say,

Merida and 'Punzie,

Lulu T-J said...

Wow Belle, I hope you and Paige become great friends!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for all of the comments, everyone. :)

I'm happy for them too, Natalie! :)

Lol, Desert Lily. Like I said before, I'll keep people updated on Facebook. I think I can safely promise a post sometime around Christmas to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and perhaps provide a few updates. ;) Beyond that, I don't want to make any promises, just in case. :)

Hi Merida and Punzie. It's always so nice to hear from you two. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, I know how blessed I am to have such a special husband and sweet daughter. :)

Thanks, Lulu T-J. I hope so too! :)


honeysucklejasmine said...

Hehehe, love this post! Ben was so funny, especially when he introduced Paige! LOL!

Thanks for sharing this with us!

beastsbelle said...

You're welcome, honeysucklejasmine. :) Glad you enjoyed it. :)