Belle had spent her first days in the village trying to...not forget, she couldn't do that even if she had wanted to, but to at least live without being bogged down by Rumple's loss. She'd familiarized herself with the streets, pleased to find it actually didn't seem that much bigger or different from Storybrooke under the face of things. She'd lingered in the bookshop and library, taking note of the layout and selection in both. She knew she'd have to inquire at one of them for work, and she welcomed the idea of that distraction, but right now she was sure she wouldn't be a model employee.
The nights had been difficult. Lonely. Even though they'd spent more nights apart than they had together, even in Storybrooke, at least she'd had reminders of Rumple--his clothes in the house, his shop--and now all she had was their cup. Oh, she had some of her own things, that book she'd been reading the day they met, other trinkets--but that was the only one that mattered. She found herself lingering on it when she went to bed, running her finger along the slightly-golden rim, thinking of him saying it was the only thing in his shop he treasured.
Usually Belle was able to shake off the worst of the pain in the morning after some quiet tears, but this morning the heavy cloud just wouldn't leave. She knew wandering around the town wasn't likely to help, nor would curling up with any of the books she'd already read three times. She needed to talk to someone. Someone who knew her.
For a moment, Belle considered calling Paris. But he had already shouldered her freshest grief, and besides, he knew her far better than she knew him, and she wasn't sure how much he knew of her past with Rumple just yet. But she had seen a name in the registery that was familiar, one she hadn't dared call on in case their timelines hadn't meshed. But today, her hurt was strong enough to drive her to bravery, to washing her face and dressing and walking out the hall to the door with the number she'd scribbled down that first evening.
Biting her lip, she hesitated for one moment before knocking. "...Ruby? It--It's Belle."