When we first landed, I wanted to go straight to the hospital. I headed to the bathroom first clutching my stomach. So much for getting over the damn flu.
Have you seen a doctor? Chloe asked when I emerged from the bathroom. She wrapped an arm around me, concerned.
I shook my head. I havent had time. Its nothing anyway. Just the flu.
Chloe and Phil shared another one of their looks. Thats what Sami said.
Sami said what? I asked as Chloe helped me to their car.
That she had the flu. Shes now six months pregnant.
Pregnant? I stared at Chloe. I knew my sister was pregnant, of course. But that didnt mean I was. You think Im pregnant?
Im not a doctor, Chloe said as if it was obvious I should know what was going on. I just know what Ive observed. You ate a ton of food on that plane. You got sick just now, and youve said youve gotten sick for over a week now. Thats longer than the flu would last. Theres also the fact that you look exhausted and you glow at the same time.
You do look like youre glowing, Belle. Phil said.
Youre the doctor, Belle, havent you tried to diagnose yourself? Chloe asked.
I diagnosed myself with the flu. Thats it. Im not pregnant. Thats not possible. I dont have time for that right now.
Just think about it? Chloe pleaded. Take care of yourself. Something is off with you.
I ignored Chloe and Philip the rest of the ride to the hospital. I tried to study Michaels chart instead. Chloes words wouldnt leave my mind. I just couldnt be I couldnt even say the word.
At the hospital, after I examined Michael with his regular doctor nearby, Chelsea was waiting for me. She wrapped me in her arms as soon as she saw me, apologizing profusely for everything she had said before and thanking me for coming to Salem to help with Michael.
Chelsea, Id do anything for you and your family, dont you know that? I told her as I patted her on the back.
Shawn told me that. But I was so awful to you, and she continued to babble into my shoulder and I couldnt understand her. I just let her cry.
Michael is stable right now, I told her, but he needs surgery as soon as possible.
They said that about JT too, remember? Chelsea cried. I wish RJ was here. Hes with the kids right now. Chelsea started to babble, I knew so that she didnt have to think about Michael in the same terms of JT.
Chels, Im going to do everything I so that Michael doesnt end up like JT. Chelsea nodded. I could tell she was clinging to that piece of hope. I hoped I lived up to her expectations because I didnt think that the Brady family could go through what they did with JT again.
Do you want me to give you my opinions right now, or do you want the family with you? I asked her gently as I guided her to a chair in the doctors office.
I want RJ here. And Mom and Dad. And Shawn, if thats okay. The last sentence she said quietly as she gauged my reaction.
Well get them here, I said, without missing a beat. I knew Id have to come face to face with Shawn eventually. What about Zach?
Zach and Charlotte can watch the kids. Just get RJ here as soon as you can.
Within half an hour, everyone that Chelsea requested to be by her side was there. Id consulted with Michaels current doctor and realized that while Michael needed surgery immediately, but it wasnt a surgery I was prepared to do, so I had already contacted a cardiologist that I trusted who would be able to perform the surgery. They were on the way.
I looked around the office with all of Chelseas family. They all looked at me expectantly as though I was their only hope and, I wondered how I would tell them that even if Michael got surgery, he may or may not live.
RJ and Chelsea were holding onto dear life. Ricky, the man I had met at the bar with Shawn was standing close to RJ. He was apparently RJs father and the only family they had were each other. Bo and Hope were standing close to each other as well. Shawn stood by himself. If I didnt know him so well, he could look like he was being strong and stoic, but one look at his eyes and I knew he was terrified. Like the rest of the family, he was wondering if history would repeat itself and devastate his family again.
I wanted to reach out and hug him and give him my strength, but I didnt. I wanted to keep this as professional has possible. I also still wanted to keep my distance from Shawn. At least until I had a chance to talk to him away from the rest of his family.
Michael needs surgery The gasps around the room were pretty much what I expected, but it was still heartbreaking to hear. My heart broke watching Shawn as he glanced around the room at his family. The last time he had heard this kind of news, he had been holding me in his arms, and now he had no one. As did I, but I was the one delivering the news. He needs I continued on as the family listened, their hearts breaking even more as I did.
The cardiologist, Dr. Leo Julian, would be landing in the evening and was prepared to do the surgery the next morning. All we needed to do at the hospital was to get his team ready.
Will you be in the room with him? Chelsea asked.
I nodded. Ill be assisting.
Do you trust this Dr. Julian? Shawn asked.
I do. We were in med school together. Hes a good doctor.
If you trust him, then we all do. Bo said.
I appreciated Bos comments as well as others in the room agreeing with what he said. Im sorry, but I have to go and get the surgical team ready for tomorrow.
We wont keep you longer. RJ said. Thank you for everything youve done, Belle.
Before I leave, I just wanted to say that Im sorry that youre family is going through this again, or at all. I just wish
We all wish things were different, Shawn said.
When I met his eyes in understanding, I couldnt say anything. So I just nodded to him and everyone and left the room.
A few minutes later, I found myself in the ladies restroom with my back sliding down the cold tile wall, my arms wrapped around my knees. Tears sprang from eyes and I wondered why I let myself on this case in the first place. I knew the Bradys had requested me, but I could have turned them down and showed my support in another way. Watching their faces and remembering what had happened last time was hurting me. I remembered JT dying. I remembered that he was the reason why I went into my profession. I just never thought I would be in this situation with his family again.
And I kept remembering how Shawn had practically clung to me the whole time JT was sick and with one look in his eyes today, I wanted that time in my life back. I wanted him to lean on me again. I wanted to be able to be there for him and to lean on him if I needed him.
I wanted Shawn.
Honey, are you okay? I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked up to see Hope Brady staring at me.
Im fine, I said, dismissing my obvious tears. How are you? This must be awful for you and Bo. To go through this after JT
Belle, Hope sat down next to me on the cold floor. You dont have to do this. This has to be hard on you, too. I know you loved JT.
I felt nausea in my stomach, but I tried to ignore it the best I could. I did love him. Hes the reason Im a doctor today.
I know. Caroline told us. And Shawn hasnt stopped talking nonstop about how and why you became a doctor. Hes really proud of you. We all are. But, honey, if this too close to your heart, please dont feel obligated to do the surgery. Yes, we want you in the room, especially since we trust you, but if you trust this Dr. Julian, then Hope trailed off. We just want whats the best for everyone.
I know that Hope. Im not doing the actual surgery because I feel like Im too close to this family. I know I havent been close to this family in years, but this whole situation has brought up so many feeling about JT, Shawn, Chelsea, your whole family. Anyway, I need to be in that room. I just feel like.I cant explain it.
You dont have to explain anything. We all love you and trust you.
Thank you Hope. Its been a long time since weve had a nice long talk. I really do miss you.
Hope wrapped an arm around me and gave me a hug. I miss you too, Belle. No matter what has happened between you and Shawn, I still care about you.
We sat in silence for a few minutes before Hope asked, Have you talked to Shawn?
I shook my head. I will. Soon. I just... I dont know what to say. There are things
Say whatever comes to your heart.
I nodded my head as I got up. I splashed water on my face as I tried to distract myself from the nausea.
Are you okay? Hope asked me. You look rather pale.
Im just tired. Its been a long day. Hope smiled at me.
It has been a long day. You need to take care of yourself, Hope said before she left the bathroom.
As soon as she left, I was in one of the stalls on my knees facing the toilet. The nausea had won.
When I left the bathroom, I was on my way to check on Michael again. I ran straight into Shawn instead.
Belle, he said as I pried myself off of him. Do
Im sorry, I didnt mean to I said at the same time.
I must have appeared unsteady because Shawn put his hands on my shoulders to steady me. Thank you for coming. It means a lot to Chelsea and our family. It means a lot to me. The last part he said hesitantly as if he wasnt sure he should say it.
The tension was still there.
But so was the spark between us.
And so was that look in his eyes that I wanted to believe was directed at me.
Shawn, I.Can we talk?