I HATE this chapter but I can't fix it, no matter how I try. Maybe next time it'll turn out better.
Belle smiled to herself as she puttered around her apartment. She had just gotten home from work and for the first time in weeks, her heart felt a little lighter. Shawn had left the night before, giving her a soft kiss good-bye, and she finally felt like things could be fixed for the two of them.
She heard a soft knock at her door so she went to answer it. As she opened the door, she fixed a polite smile at the woman standing there.
“Hello?” she said, keeping one hand firmly on the door. The woman smiled at her and Belle felt a slight tug of recognition.
“Hi Belle” she said. “I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Carrie, Shawn’s cousin”
“Oh, right” Belle said, smiling at her warmly. “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you. Would you like to come in?” Carrie stepped in and accepted the glass of tea Belle offered her. As Belle heated up the water, she wondered why Carrie was here. They had only crossed paths a few times, at Brady family events, and they barely spoke. But she would be a Brady soon herself so she straightened her shoulders and went to sit at the table with her.
“So Belle…how are you doing?” she asked, as she brushed back her long dark hair. She picked up her cup of tea and glanced at her over the rim. “I mean, really doing”
“I’m fine” Belle said, lightly, as she stirred her own glass. “Why would you ask?”
Belle set down her spoon with a snap. “Why would Shawn tell you everything?”
“Don’t get angry with him for talking about it, he was only trying to help” Carrie said. Belle bit her lip and silently steamed but Carrie continued. “I don’t know if you knew that I’m a psychiatrist. I specialize in family psychiatry but Shawn thought maybe you could talk to me”
“I know you only mean to help” Belle said, her face flushed with embarrassment and anger. “But if I wanted a psychiatrist, I would find one on my own”
“Then how about talking to me as a friend?” Carrie suggested. “As your future cousin?”
Belle stared at Carrie’s face, watching as it slowly blurred as tears filled her eyes. Dropping her head into her hands, she began to cry.
An hour later, Belle walked Carrie to the doorway. “I’m sorry I was so rude when you got here” Belle said, sheepishly, as she paused to blow her nose again.
“It’s ok” Carrie said, turning to give Belle another hug. “Now that we know what’s been bothering you, you can get some help. But I think what you need is a lot of time, love, and support”
“Shawn’s been very good to me lately with those three things” Belle answered, and then paused. “Are you going to tell Shawn what I told you?”
“No, that’s for you two to talk about” Carrie reassured her. “But you need to talk to him. And you need to find someone else to talk to besides me. Someone who isn’t family. But if you just want to chat, unofficially…just call me, anytime”
“Thank you” Belle said, hugging her one last time before she left. Sighing, she moved to wipe away the tears that seemed unable to stop. She started toward the kitchen to straighten it up when she heard another knock on the door. Wiping her eyes, she went to open it.
“Shawn” she said, barely resisting the urge to throw herself into his arms. Instead, she gripped the edge of the door. “What are you doing here?”
“I just saw Carrie leave and I wanted to make sure you were ok” he said, taking in her tear-stained face. “Can I come in?”
“Sure” she said, stepping aside for him. She blew her nose again and he waited as she composed herself.
“Are things that bad?” he asked, quietly.
“No” she said, taking a step toward him. Shawn watched, silently, as she slowly stepped toward him. He lifted his arms and she slipped into them. Biting her lip against the wave of emotion, she buried her face in his shirt. “I think things are getting better”