So, since I need to post a blog and it’s Tell a Fairy Tale day, I thought I’d post up chapter one of my currently unpublished m/m Pinocchio retelling I’ve been sitting on, Leo.
Hope you all enjoy! Warning it’s cheesy AF.
I’ve always been here, through the good and the bad. I watched you grow from a boy to a man. I was there for your first kiss with a girl and your first kiss with a boy. I was there for your first time. I want to keep being with you always. I only wish I could tell you that.
Chapter One — Leo Gets His Name
The first memory the leopard-spotted stuffed animal had was of being behind a clear glass screen of some sort which people passed by, day in and day out. There were other stuffed animals there, too. None of them ever moved of their own accord, only by the hands. With the jingle of a bell, people came and went, toys going with them. Others always replaced them though. The stuffed animal didn’t know what the purpose of this existence was.
“You’ve been here for a while haven’t you, little one? Don’t you worry, a child will choose you someday soon,” a voice said. “Then you’ll get to leave this shop and go on a great adventure. Won’t that be nice?”
An adventure? That did sound interesting.
The stuffed animal learned that the voice was the owner of a toy shop, Maestro Giuseppe. Every day Giuseppe greeted and bid farewell to all of the toys within the shop. Giuseppe always did his best to make sure the children that came into his shop left with a smile on their faces. He had a good, kind heart.
“My grandson is coming to stay with us for awhile,” Giuseppe told all the toys one day.
The stuffed animal wondered what a grandson was. Something good he guessed, from the smile it brought to Maestro Giuseppe’s face.
Not long after that, a child came to the shop. This child ran into Giuseppe’s arms, hugging him and laughing.
“Gino, my boy!” Giuseppe lifted the child up and laughed joyfully. “Let’s introduce you to everyone,” he said, looking around the shop. “This is my grandson, Gino. He’ll be staying here and helping out in the shop.”
Giuseppe carried Gino around and told him a little about all of the different toys in the shop, from wooden rocking horses to music boxes to dolls to stuffed animals.
From then on, Gino was with Giuseppe in the shop every day. The stuffed animal watched as Giuseppe taught Gino about the shop. Some days he would let Gino go play outside instead. Gino would run out of the shop, giggling with joy and saying, “Yippee!”
When Gino came back he was almost always so tired that he would fall asleep at Giuseppe’s feet before the shop closed. One day, however; Gino came back in tears.
“Oh, Gino, my boy. What’s wrong?” Giuseppe asked, gathering him up and stroking his hair.
“Another boy pushed me.” Gino sniveled into Giuseppe’s neck.
“Who’s this boy?”
“Scusami, signori,” another voice came from the door to the shop. A man walked in with his hands on the shoulders of another child, who was staring down at the ground. “My boy wants to apologize.” The man tightened his hands on the boy’s shoulders. “Hurry up and apologize, you ungrateful brat.”
“Sorry,” mumbled the boy.
“Speak up.” The man shoved him forward.
“I’m sorry,” the boy, still quickly, but more audible this time.
Giuseppe sat Gino back on his own feet and gave his head a pat. “What do you say, Gino?”
Gino held onto Giuseppe’s leg and peered around him. “It’s okay.”
“Wanna be friends?” the boy asked, holding his hand out.
“Okay.” Gino stepped closer and shook hands with him.
“Let’s promise to be good friends from now on!”
“Yeah!” Gino smiled wide.
“Now don’t cause any more trouble, boy. Or you’ll pay for it later.” Anton’s father crossed his arms and walked out of the shop, not sparing a glance back. Anton didn’t follow him.
“Would you like to pick out a toy, Anton?” Giuseppe asked.
“Okay!” Anton walked around the store, looking at a few things closely before going to the window display to the very place the stuffed animal was watching from. His hands grazed over a few of the other toys sitting nearby before picking the leopard up. Anton ran back over to Gino and held out the stuffed animal. “This one’s neat!”
Gino took the stuffed animal and looked at it, smiling. It was the closest the stuffed animal had been to him yet; Gino’s eyes were a beautiful shade of blue, and kind like Giuseppe’s.
“He’s cute,” Gino said.
“You can have it if you want.”
“Really? Thanks.” Gino hugged the stuffed animal tight.
“What’re you gonna call it?” Anton asked.
“Hm… Well, he’s a leopard, so… How about Leo?”
“I guess so.”
Were Leo able to express himself, he would have been jumping with joy. He had an owner, and a name! His day had finally come! Did that mean he would go on an adventure now?