“Get off the street!”
Belle didn’t respond to the car driver whose expensive Mercedes she had almost hit while passing him with her bike. Instead, she stood op straight on her pedals to make more speed as she moved through the 5-o-clock traffic jam.
The people of London weren’t very tolerant of bicyclers, that was for sure. In fact, it seemed as though the entire country agreed on the fact that riding a bicycle in London was just asking for trouble.
Belle wouldn’t do it out of her own free will, in fact, she didn’t mind taking the subway at all. But she worked at an antique place - for a man named Harold Schmitt - and he was somewhat of a hippie. He insisted that they’d only eat lunch at the vegetarian place around the corner. He also insisted that they wouldn’t waste any paper on receipts unless it was absolutely necessary. And whenever a delivery had to be made in town, he insisted that it would be made by bicycle.
He didn’t have an antique place that sold furniture or other large things. He specialized in books and small memorabilia. Swords, pistols, candle-holders… Old little things that reminded Belle of her time in the Enchanted Forest.
But she had left Storybrooke and her friends of the Enchanted Forest behind her and she was rather enjoying the city life in London. At times she felt rather alone in the crowd, but Harold was a great boss to have and he treated Belle as though she was his daughter. He was her family now and she was glad for it.
Belle stopped at the corner of a street in the Soho district and pulled a map out of the pocket of her coat, glancing from the street signs above her onto the map until she had figured out where she needed to be.
Soho wasn’t particularly her favorite part of the city and she felt a bit awkward as even the prostitutes seemed to have a need to express their dislike for bicycles as she passed them by.
Taking a deep breath, she eventually got off her bike and locked it - not that anyone would want to steal it - and she took the heavy box with books that she had strapped onto the back of her bike. Judging from the weight of the box, there were about thirty books in there and Belle clumsily opened the door into the hallway of the apartment.
“Erik Destler,” she said to herself as she read his name aloud from the doorbell, but there was a sign put up next to the row of doorbells, saying: “Electricity is off today. The door is open.”
Belle raised an eyebrow at this note and clumsily opened the door, still holding the box of books with two hands. She made her way inside and read the names on all doors, until she had climbed up all the way to the attic and her arms felt like lead under the weight of the books.
Clumsily, she knocked with her knuckles against the wooden door with Erik’s name and she took a step back, looking rather flustered from driving the bike and climbing all those stairs as she waited for him to open up.