Love Has Returned



I was 13 years old when Beauty and the Beast began.  I loved it.  I remember falling more and more in love with Vincent each episode.   I would sit there, watching it with my mom or my sister, and I would imagine what it would be like to live in the Tunnels.

            At the same time, I managed to go to several Star Trek conventions, and the dealer rooms always had BatB merchandise.  I left those conventions with little or no Star Trek merchandise, but with a few more pieces of BatB to enjoy.  At those dealer tables, I even saw a few fanzines for sale, but my 13- and 14-year-old eyes were caught by the flash of the poster, or the journal, or the crystal necklace, or the T-shirt (all of which ended up in my roomÖ).

            When the third season began, I was so excited.  I couldnít wait to see how the pregnancy would be resolved.  As I watched, however, I could feel each of my heartbeats become more and more labored, each breath more painful.  When Catherine died, a part of me did, too.  I remember sitting in shock for several hours.  I couldnít sleep.  I felt like I had lost my best friend.

            I managed to watch the rest of the third season, just to see if they would find the baby; just to see if, somehow, by some miracle, Catherine would come back.  Every week was like torture, but it was ďsuch sweet pain.Ē  I got to see Vincent, the magical Tunnels were still there, but it hurt a lot, too.  When, by the end of the third season, Catherine still hadnít shown back up, I was glad that it was over.  I couldnít not watch it, but I didnít want to watch it, and having it go off the air was a good way to solve both problems.

            After that, I couldnít deal with seeing Vincent and Catherine on my walls every day, so I took the posters and magazine clippings down.  I stopped wearing the T-shirts.  Gradually, I stopped wearing the crystal necklace.  The journal with Kristopherís painting on the cover was put up on a shelf and all but forgotten.

            For years, I would be reminded of the show by little--and not so littleóthings:  a poem assigned in a class, watching the Terminator movies, the shiny black spine of the journal on my bookshelf, seeing the Disney film.  And at each reminder, my mind shied away from remembering, because the pain of the third season had overwhelmed the love that the first two seasons had inspired.

            Finally, in my online wandering within other fanfiction genres, I found a crossover story with Beauty and the Beast.  The summary implied that Catherine was brought back from the dead, so I read it.  I was stunned when I finished it.  After all of that time, when I couldnít even think of Beauty and the Beast, I found that I had actually enjoyed it.  There, on the monitor in front of me, was the key to my return to BatB fandom.  Catherine didnít have to die.  Almost trembling with excitement, I did a search for more fanfiction.  One of the first websites I found was the one for Winterfest Online 2005.

            Unfortunately, I found it sometime around the 20th of January, 2005.  I was a bit frustrated by having missed it by only a few days.  However, the links to other websites were still working, so I decided to utilize them in my search.   After sampling many, I found one or two that I especially liked.  When I found the CABB website, I realized that there were other fans who had disliked the third season as much as I. 

            For the last year, I have been faithfully reading new fanfic, and still searching for the more elusive, older ones that I missed in my years absent from the fandom.  I even recently got up the courage to write a couple poems.  One of them is here on the WFOL 2006 site.  I have a story in the works, coming along very slowly.  Maybe itíll show up on a website some day.  Some of you may see me in the coming days as I search through your websites.  Please say ďhi.Ē  Iím still a little shy.

            Finally, I want to thank those of you who have been keeping the dream alive all these years.  The love and hope that exists on your pages and in your fanfiction have sustained me through a very rough year.  I feel like I have a second home that I never knew existed.  And if you hadnít been keeping the candles lit, I wouldnít have been able to find my way home.

            I look forward to meeting some of you in the future.  I donít think Iíll be making it to the 2006 con in Denver, but Iím definitely going to be at the 2007 con in LA.  Maybe then I can thank you in person for all the wonderful things you have accomplished. 

            Iíll be seeing you around.  Iím not going anywhere.