The fact that Belle took the time to look deeper than the surface was something that still occasionally surprised him. Of course, he knew she was smart enough not to take things at face value, but when it related to him, he was rather a bit surprised by things. "People often wish to focus on the short comings and not on anything else. I do wish there had been more people like you there at that time, but I wouldn't change anything that happened because it means I never would have met you." Really, Rumplestiltskin couldn't imagine his life without Belle. Well he could given he'd lived that way in Storybrooke, but he didn't want to live without her if he had any say in it. It was because of her that he was trying to be a better man, trying to be worthy of her.
"I knew it was out there in some form, I just never believed it was real for me until that day." He too didn't dwell upon the happenings of the rest of that day. It wasn't exactly the best memory they could share. "You are my strength, Belle, and I always want you here with me. I love you." He took one of her hands in his and held it tightly, reinforcing his words. Oh how he didn't want to be without her again. He knew that without her, he would turn into the monster he had been before she came into his life. Before she showed him that even a monster like him had some good within him and that he could be loved for it.
Leave it to Belle to point these things out to him. He never made a spectacle of his intent to change. He had no need for flair and wanting people to know he was trying to be different. No, he was one that did it through quiet action, allowing his actions to speak for themselves. "I find myself not precisely caring what others think of me in this. All I want is to be as good of a man as I can be. As for my view of myself, well, that is a complicated subject, my dear. But let us call it a work in progress, shall we?" He couldn't help but smile a bit. "You do have a point. If I can attain love, friendship, trust and acceptance should not be overly difficult to attain."
Though after a moment, he remembered he had been telling his story before getting side tracked. "I seem to recall I was telling you about Bae. Did you want to hear the rest of it?" He wasn't trying to change the subject, not at all. He was trying to keep his promise to tell Belle the story he owed her. And there was still a key part of Bae's story that needed to be told, one that would allow Belle to understand his motivations for everything he had done since losing his son.