Chapter 60 - NC17
August 13, 2010 The Cabin 5am
Shawn looked down at Belle. She was sound asleep nestled against his body, her blonde head resting in the crook of his arm. It had taken every ounce of charm and persuasion he possessed to convince her that he really did want her, that he wanted to be with her as badly as she wanted to be with him. He wondered what those lies would end up costing him. All he wanted to do was leave her bed and have a hot, scalding shower. He wanted to feel clean. He wanted to remove all trace of her scent and her touch.
The only thing he felt thankful for was that he had finally been able to persuade her that he had something extra special planned for the first time they made love. She hadn’t wanted to wait reminding him of all the other times they had planned for the perfect time. She rehashed the long list of the times they had been interrupted and the reasons why. He had finally appeased her by agreeing to sleep in the same bed as her. She had fully expected to be able to seduce him but he had held firm in his resolve to hold out for this special time he had planned. He knew that his time was running out. She expected that tonight was the night and no amount of persuasion and charm would soothe her if she didn’t get her way. Damn it, Andrew. Why haven’t you called? Surely you’ve had a chance to follow up on everything on that list I gave you by now. He had to find a way to get out of this. He didn’t want to show his hand until he had a chance to talk to Andrew. He didn’t care what the result of Andrew’s investigation turned up. Either way his mind was made up. He just wanted to know all the facts. He knew one truth that wouldn’t change. He loved her.
He looked down at Belle again. This was the second night he had spent in her bed. He knew he couldn’t handle another night of having to return her kisses and caresses. How the hell had he let things get to this point? He thought back to his visit with Dr. Balfour almost a week ago. After he had left her office he had stopped to see Derek and find out the results of the test he had had him run. As he expected Derek had found no match for the fingerprints on the glass. The next few days had passed slowly. Belle was becoming more and more clingy and persistent. When he had returned from his trip into Spokane the day Andrew had left for Vancouver, Belle had been waiting for him. She had a picnic basket packed and their evening mapped out. It had been two thirty in the morning when they had finally returned to the cabin. He had a chance to glance over at his phone but the message waiting light was not flashing indicating he had no new messages. Belle had convinced him to leave his cellular behind and just take his pager with him in case of a true emergency. He never bothered to tell her that his pager was set to notify him each time a voice message was left on his cellular. It turned out not to be an issue because there had been no messages left on his cellular voice mail either. The next morning she had greeted him with breakfast in bed and plans for the entire day and evening. It seemed like she literally had every minute of their day and night planned out. Making the deal with her to sleep in her bed meant spending practically every minute with her and it was driving him crazy.
He carefully extricated himself from Belle’s embrace and from the bed. He made his way quietly to his bedroom and had his hot, cleansing shower.
When Belle woke up at seven Shawn was waiting for her downstairs. He gave her a quick kiss. “Good morning, sweetheart. Did you sleep well?”
She ran her palms upward over his chest. “I slept well but I didn’t wakeup so good. You weren’t there,” she pouted.
Shawn looked down at her and smiled gently. “That’s because I have to leave you for a day or so and I had things to do.”
Belle pushed away from his loose embrace. “What do you mean you have to leave? I thought we had really special plans for tonight. You’re doing this to avoid making love, aren’t you, Shawn?”
“That’s not true, Belle.” He reached for her but she swatted his hands away her blue eyes blazing with anger. “Listen to me, Belle, please. You’ll understand why I’m going if you let me explain.”
“I need to go home to Salem to get something very important that is stored there. Something really special that has always been meant for the woman I love.” He had to make her believe him. He had to buy some time because he knew Andrew would be back tomorrow at the latest.
She looked deeply into his eyes.
He noticed the gleam of excitement that replaced the anger in her eyes.
“Can’t you make it back tonight, Shawn? You know how afraid I am of being left alone out here during the night.”
“I can’t, sweetie. I’ll be back in a couple of days. When I talked to Mom a short time ago she informed me that Zach’s little league team is playing in the League championship game tomorrow night. It would mean the world to him if his big brother was there to cheer him on and support him. The game won’t be over before the last flight for Spokane leaves from Salem.”
“Would it really matter if you left the game early. It’s going to be bad enough spending one night out here alone in the middle of nowhere, let alone two.”
“That’s why I thought I’d check you into a hotel before I drive out to the airport. You can spend the rest of today and tomorrow shopping. Also the hotel you’re staying at has a top notch spa. You could book yourself in for the full treatment. I know how much you love to be pampered,” he teased.
She smiled trying desperately to reign in her excitement. He’s going home to get me an engagement ring. She was positive about that. Could things get any better? “That sounds good. I’ll feel safer in a big hotel with a lot of people around than I would here. What time is your flight?”
“My flight is at eleven this morning. So why don’t you have a quick bite to eat and then go up and pack a few things. I’ve made arrangements for you to check in early.”
“Okay. What’s for breakfast?”
Shawn smiled inwardly. She had fallen for his lies. He had bought himself some time.
Andrew’s Apartment 10:30am
Lil cast a critical eye at her reflection in the full length mirror. The filmy red silk spaghetti strapped sundress combined with the matching red high-heeled sandals that she wore were a little too dressy for the library. However the ensemble would be perfect for her luncheon at one of Spokane’s most exclusive restaurants. She was to meet Dr. Balfour at one pm. In the meantime she needed to use the computer at the library for research. She wanted to check out the two Vancouver university web sites. She had ruled out the university in Victoria. She was sure that she had lived on the mainland, not the island. Since her conversation with Andrew she had been practically bedridden. Her headaches were getting worse as vague, elusive memories assaulted her brain. She had started feeling better yesterday evening.
Her memories were still spotty and coming in bits and pieces. Nothing of consequence that would help her to find out who she was. Nothing definitive that would help her to remember exactly where she lived. Nothing that could confirm the growing suspicion she had of who she really was. Hell, it’s not a suspicion, it’s a belief. I believe that I’m… Stop, I can’t even think it let alone say it out loud until I have something substantial to say and some proof to back it up. She hoped that by visiting the university web sites something would trigger more memories. Maybe a photo of a professor that taught her or a building name or picture that would strike a chord. Anything would help.
She reached for a white sweater. That helped tone down her outfit a bit and make it more suitable for a library environment. She glanced down at the sandals she wore and remembered Shawn’s reaction to them and how that night had ended. She sighed deeply. God, how I miss him.
As she was fumbling through her purse for her keys she heard the sound of the deadbolts being unlocked. She smiled. Andrew was home. She went out into the hallway to greet him. “Hi, Andrew. How was …” She stopped dead in her eyes as her eyes widened in shock. “Oh…” was all she managed to get out before Shawn’s lips crashed down on hers. She wound her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss, the kiss that her soul had been starving for.
When Shawn slid his tongue over her lips seeking entrance she broke the kiss fighting the impulse to continue kissing him and never letting him go.
He placed his fingers over her lips. “No talking, Lil.” He groaned softly as he lowered his head to capture her lips.
She pushed him away. “We have to…”
“No. I’ll say what I have to say and then there will be no talking.” He cupped her beautiful face in his hands before sliding them down her neck to her shoulders. As he slid the sweater off her shoulders and down her arms forcing her to drop her purse to the floor, he pushed her against the cool wall of the entrance way. “I love you, Lil. You and only you,” he rasped.
She gasped not only at his declaration but at the predatory look in his eyes that were now locked on her lips. “I love you too,” she said surprised at how shallow her breathing had become. An unbearable craving to be possessed by him again washed over her. He hadn’t actually really touched her yet she was a heartbeat away from a climax.
She watched through half-closed eyelids as he slid his finger under one of her dress straps and pulled it down her bare arm until the fabric of her dress was pulled tight against her breasts. He moved the same finger down and under the front of her dress. When his finger brushed against her hypersensitive, distended nipple she let out a small moan.
He kissed her deeply.
She moved her head away from his punishing lips. “Here, Shawn?” she managed to say.
“Shh. Yes, here.” He manoeuvred his finger under her breast and they both watched as the swollen tip was exposed, her creamy skin pale against the deep scarlet of her sundress. Shawn made a noise deep down in his throat as he reached down with his hands and bunched the skirt of her dress around her thighs. He grasped her hips and nudged her up the wall until she had to curve her legs around him to keep her balance.
“Shawn,” she whispered through her ragged breathing. Her heart was pounding so hard she thought it would burst.
His hands slid down the back of her hips under her panties, squeezing her behind as she felt herself open for him.
His gaze slammed into hers, his deep brown eyes filled with lust and love as he slanted his mouth over hers and drank deeply, silently demanding a similar response from her.
Lil wrapped her arms behind his neck lacing her fingers together and forcing his mouth down harder on hers. The rough material of his jacket rubbing against her exposed breast along with the feel of his fingers delving into her shallow crevice from behind made her wetter yet.
She knew he had said no talking but she couldn’t prevent the words from slipping out. “Oh, god.”
Shawn slid his finger through her shallow, fleshy crevice then thumbed the tight bud at her core. Lil held on to him for dear life and clenched her teeth together to prevent the moan she felt threatening from escaping.
Shawn forget about his no talking rule. “You’re so hot,” he whispered against the shell of her ear. He pinched her tightened bud. “Are you hot for me, Lil?”
She looked into his eyes. “You have no idea,” she murmured.
Shawn pressed his forehead against hers never breaking their gaze as he thrust two fingers inside her dripping wetness. “Oh, I think I do,” he smiled wickedly.
An overwhelming need coursed through Lil’s veins. She slid her hands from around his neck down his chest and under the lapels of his jacket down to his belt, forcing Shawn to keep them balanced as she fumbled with his belt buckle. Within moments she held his long, pulsing thickness in her hand.
“Mmm. Seems like someone else is hot as well.” She squeezed her fingers around the hard, silky flesh.
Lil grasped his shoulders and positioned herself for easy access. She wanted him and she wanted him now. Shawn didn’t disappoint as he pushed aside her panties and with one thrust filled her to the hilt.
Lil’s breath caught as every muscle tightened and pulled at his manhood. A sweet feeling of weightlessness grew in her stomach, twisting, surging through her. Shawn slid his hands up her bare legs to grasp her bottom, holding her steady as he pushed into her again.
“I’ve missed you like crazy, Lil. You’re all I can think about,” he whispered.
Lil could barely focus on his words as he thrust even deeper into her. He bent his head to pull her exposed nipple into his mouth. The feeling of weightlessness turned into a feeling of overwhelming pleasure. He moved his mouth from her nipple to her mouth, swallowing her moans as he stroked her with both his tongue and his erection. She seemed to hover forever on the brink, waiting for that wave of incredible sensation. She finally collapsed, totally spent in his arms.
“Do you have any idea how incredibly beautiful you are when you’re climaxing?” he asked.
Attractive? Beautiful? How was that possible when a fine sheen of sweat coated her skin and her hair and makeup were mussed. She didn’t think she could speak so she just smiled up at him.
Then he rocked into her again and she gasped as aftershocks shot through her.
“Did you think I was done?” he teased.
Shawn almost completely withdrew before surging into her again, filling her to overflowing. She stretched her neck and tightened her legs around him thus tightening the muscles cradling his thick, hard erection.
She knew he was going to come soon. He slammed into her, throwing his head back as a vein pulsed rapidly in his neck, his hands holding her bottom still and tight against him. Just watching him in the throes of his climax knowing that she was the one that was the cause of it toppled her right over the edge again.
They stayed like that, still, their breathing laboured, their hands clutching for several moments. Shawn kissed her slowly, igniting a feeling of deep, warm contentment that spread through her heart.
“Have I told you how incredible you are?” he murmured as he nipped at her neck.
He chuckled softly as he put her feet back down on the floor. The skirt of her sundress settled around her. She reached down for her purse and handed him a tissue. He quickly took care of business, zipped his pants and tightened his belt.
“Hi, Lil. It’s really good to see you again,” he smiled before resting his forehead against hers. "I told you sometimes hard and fast could be good and this was definitely one of those times."
Chapter 61 - NC17
August 13, 2010 Downtown Spokane
Lil glanced at her wristwatch. Had it really been only an hour since Shawn had arrived unannounced at Andrew’s apartment? Not that she had minded. She was still basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking session in the hallway. She really should be embarrassed by how eager she had been but she wasn’t. She loved him and she would make love with him anyplace or anytime.
As they stopped at a red light she recalled her luncheon date with Dr. Balfour. Shawn hadn’t given her a second to think straight since he arrived. After they had made love he told her to throw a few things into a bag, he was taking her out to the cabin.
“Shawn, I have to call Dr. Balfour and cancel my lunch date with her. I don’t remember her number.”
Shawn pulled out his palm pilot and handed it to her. “I have it listed. Do you know how to use one of these?” he asked calmly.
“Of course I do. No self-respecting university student would be caught dead without one. Dad always made sure I had the newest and top of the line technology at my fingertips,” she said as she accessed his list of telephone numbers.
Shawn eased forward as the light changed. Keeping his voice very casual he asked, “So you and your Dad got along okay, I take it.”
She was dialing the number for Dr. Balfour when she replied, “Got along. I guess you could say that. I…” she stopped, her train of thought lost. “Damn it. No…sorry Dr. Balfour, I wasn’t talking to you.” She listened to what the doctor had to say. “Just following your advice and talking to myself and yes, I was having a memory but again nothing of any substance. At least the headaches have been subsiding.”
“That’s good advice, Dr. Balfour. The reason I’m calling is because I can’t meet you for lunch today.” She glanced over at Shawn who was watching her. “No, I feel fine. I just can’t make it, something came up.”
Shawn smirked. “And you can bet it’s going to come up again.”
She covered the mouthpiece, “Shawn, stop it.” She tried to sound disapproving but the grin on her face gave her away. “No, I’m not with anyone, Dr. Balfour. I’m outside, there are people around. How about we reschedule when I come in on the fifteenth?”
“Thanks for understanding. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” She placed her cell phone back in her purse keeping silent as Shawn awaited his opportunity to turn on to Hwy 206. Once they were heading towards the cabin, she turned towards him. “What’s going on, Shawn?”
“Well I thought we’d go for a swim, make love, have a bite to eat, make love, dance, make…”
He glanced over at her. “I missed you, Lil. I missed you so much I didn’t think I could survive another minute without seeing, touching you, kissing you, telling you that I love you.”
She was taken aback by the raw emotion of his voice. She found that she couldn’t speak past the lump in her throat. Her eyes filled with tears.
Shawn sensed her turmoil. “I missed you so much, little one that it hurt to breathe.” He caught his breath before continuing, “And I know it was the same for you. I could feel how much you were missing me. I could hear you in the dead of night calling for me just as I called for you.”
Lil forgot about rules and regulations and safety as she unclasped her seat belt so she could throw her arms around his neck. “Oh, Shawn,” was all she could manage to say between sobs.
“Baby, don’t cry. It kills me when you cry,” Shawn crooned softly wishing he could pull her into his lap. Bucket seats and steering wheels and travelling at sixty miles per hour weren’t conducive to comfort sessions.
Lil pulled away from him and wiped away her tears. As she buckled her seat belt she asked, “What about…Belle? She’s not going to be very happy to see me and she’s especially not going to be happy that I’m spending the night in your bed.”
“I told Belle that I was going out of town. She’s paranoid about staying at the cabin alone during the night so I put her up in a luxury hotel in the city.”
Lil digested the information. It didn’t make her very happy.
“So you lied to her?”
Shawn was perplexed by her tone. “Not really. I do have to go out of town and I will before I pick her up. Just not today.”
“Did you tell her that you were going to be spending time with me?”
Shawn had idea where she was heading and he had to calm her down. She was growing angry with him.
“Lil. I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say and don’t interrupt and try not to react until I’m through.”
“I’ll try,” she whispered.
“You have to know that I’m telling you the truth when I say I love you. You can feel it, Lil. I can’t go into any details but circumstances prevent me from telling Belle that I don’t love her. Before you say anything, no I haven’t been discouraging her from thinking that she and I have a future together. Exactly the opposite in fact.”
He heard her quick intake of breath and could feel her pain. He reached for her hand and entwined her fingers in his. “I haven’t had sex with her, Lil. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I have slept with her in the same bed but…”
“You kiss her, don’t you? You touch her?” Lil accused.
“Yes. I need her to believe that there’s a future for the two of us.”
“I told you I can’t go into details.”
“Don’t you trust her, Shawn?”
Shawn turned the question over in his mind wondering which way he should approach it. “I feel responsible for her, Lil. She risked her life to come to me. I can’t tell you why she was in hiding but I can tell you that the danger is very real.”
Lil sensed the ambivalence in Shawn’s voice. He was trying to state his position without giving too much away. “You’re trying to protect her, I can understand that. What I can’t understand is why you feel you have to pretend to be in love with her to do that?”
Shawn wished he could tell her everything but he couldn’t. Why hadn’t Andrew called? “Lil, do you love me?”
She glanced up at him and caught the look in his eyes before he had to turn his attention back to the road. She could see his frustration. Why is he frustrated? Is it that he wants to tell me everything but feels he has to hold back? Why? Answering his question was easy. “Yes.”
“I know this is a lot to ask of you considering everything that I’ve just told you and everything that I haven’t told you but I need you to trust me. Can you do that? Trust that I’m doing what I have to and when I can I will tell you everything.”
“I trust you, Shawn. And if it’s okay with you, can we make a pact not to mention Belle’s name again?”
Shawn smiled at her. “Deal.”
Lake near Shawn’s Cabin
“Shouldn’t we go and change first, Shawn? I’m not exactly dressed for a walk through the woods or to go swimming either.” Lil glanced down at her red high-heeled sandals.
“Well you can hang on to me while we’re walking. There’s a really special spot I want to share with you that you haven’t seen yet. As for swimming, who says we need to change?” Shawn’s dark eyes twinkled.
They made there way down the path. “I’m not so sure this is a good idea, Shawn. It looks like rain.” Lil wiped away the beads of sweat from her forehead. It was very humid.
“You’re right. I’ll just show you my secret little spot and then we’ll head back to the cabin.” They broke through into a clearing and Lil gasped. The sun had broken through the scattered rain clouds. The pond sparkled with reflected light as a small waterfall cascaded into its depths.
“This is where the river feeds into the lake. This spot happens to be on my property and the rangers are very good about keeping quiet about it so I’ve never had any trouble with campers trespassing. I’ve spent many an hour swimming here or lying out on that flat rock that’s halfway beneath the waterfall. That way I get the heat of the sun and the coolness of the water both at the same time.”
“It’s beautiful here, Shawn.” As she spoke the sun was hidden by dark rain clouds. “I think we…”
As she started to speak, the heavens opened and the rain started to fall. First a few drops and then a steady downpour. When the first few drops fell, Shawn draped his jacket around her shoulders but when it turned into a downpour, he held the jacket over both of their heads. He was getting soaked. His grey dress pants were clinging to his calves and thighs.
“You’re getting soaked, Lil.”
“So are you, Shawn.” She smiled up at his scowling face watching as he blinked a prism of raindrops from his long eyelashes. They had to stand close together under his jacket. So close that she could feel the heat from his body but not quite close enough to touch. And god, how she wanted to touch.
Water was dripping down his forehead from two stray locks of hair so she reached up and pushed his hair back into place. She let her fingers trail over the contours of his face and his frown softened. She trailed her fingers down his jaw line to his chin and down his neck to settle at the open collar of his shirt. The sensation of the cold of his shirt and the heat of his body caused her fingers to tremble against him. She took a deep breath as she looked up into his narrowed eyes. “It’s always been a fantasy of mine to make love in the rain.”
His deep, husky voice sent shivers down her spine. “Think about it. Rain is refreshing. It makes everything come alive. The water would make everything slippery. There’s something about water running across your body that makes you think of…”
She couldn’t speak any longer. The rain may be cool but her skin was hot and flushed. Her nipples beaded against the wet silk of her dress.
Shawn’s piercing gaze settled first on her lips and then on her breasts. That look made it difficult for her to breathe and set her pulse pounding. She closed her eyes and imagined him carrying her to the crystal waterfall. She imagined his kiss, hot and wet on her open lips. She imagined the feel of his hands on her body, his mouth on her breasts. She imagined the heat and moisture forming between her thighs. She wanted him.
“Lil.” The sound of Shawn’s hoarse cry penetrated her fantasy. Her eyes flew open and she saw the rise and fall of his chest as he struggled to control his breathing. She looked down and realised that the hands on her breasts were her own. She was touching herself through the soft silk of her dress. She was hot and she wanted to make her fantasy a reality.
She threw his jacket to the ground. The force of the rain on her face and body was cooling. She slid her hands into his wet hair and pulled him into a kiss. She loved the feel of his warm hands as they caressed her back. Water splashed on their faces as they breathed in and out.
He drew her closer, pressing her body against his. “You are so damned sexy, Lil” he growled against her ear.
She angled her hip against his feeling the unmistakeable evidence of his desire for her jutting through their wet, clingy, body hugging clothes. Shawn stopped long enough to kick off his shoes and socks and remove all items from his pants pockets and slip them into his inside jacket pocket. He also removed his belt. He knew that the water in the pond was only about knee deep to the large flat stone at the base of the waterfall. He picked her up and carried her there.
She melted into his kiss, hanging on to him, trusting him to be her anchor. Shawn held her against him, her bottom pressed against the rock, her toes touching the wide ledge of the rock that kept the both of them above water level. All kinds of new sensations rocked her from inside and out. The rain pelting against her skin. The fiery brand of his lips against her neck. The molten weight of desire in her belly. The deep breaths of moist, cool air.
Shawn’s water-slicked hand shifted from her back and palmed her breast, squeezing silk and flesh with bold grasps. Every moan, every pinch, every caress of his palm over her swollen nipple fed into the kiss, filling her with hot, wet, mad desire.
He slid his hand down her bottom and cupped her thigh. He lifted her higher against his hip and pushed into her. Finding her heat that was exposed by the spread of her legs and the thin wet silk of her panties, he rubbed against her.
“More, Shawn.” Her nipples dragged against his chest as she struggled to fill her lungs with air and speak. She rubbed against his rock hard thigh that she was perched atop, stretching to grant him better access to her wet core.
With his tongue laving the inside of her mouth and his hands roaming over her breasts she thought she was going to shatter into a million tiny pieces. Her desire was at a fever pitch. He dropped her leg and let her feet hit the ledge of the rock that was just above the water’s surface as he began to unhook the back of her dress. She tugged his shirt from the waist of his pants. He curled his fingers in her hair as his tongue continued plundering her mouth. With shaky fingers she undid his shirt and pushed it down off his shoulders. They threw his shirt on to the flat surface of the rock.
She loved his chest. She ran her fingers over his flat male nipples. She kissed her way down his chest, laved one nipple with her tongue and teased the other with her fingers. Shawn gasped. She nuzzled the brown curls, tasting the salt of his skin and catching a small whiff of his cologne. She could hear his heart pounding. She could hear his throaty moans that matched the growl in her throat. “Shawn…please…”
“Not yet, little one.”
He silenced her protests with a mind-blowing kiss, the lick of his tongue distracting her as he peeled her dress away from the front of her body. Her breasts were exposed to the cool rain. While he kissed her nipples in turn he pushed her dress and panties down past her hips. The coolness of the rain and wet rock were replaced by heat by a brush of his fingers and the gentle nips of his mouth against her skin.
“Shawn…” she moaned as his hands kneaded, squeezed, rolled and pinched at her nipples until she forgot about the coolness of the rain and waited for his mouth. His fingers and lips traced her legs from thigh to foot.
He guided her hands to his shoulders as he knelt on the rocky ledge and slipped her dress and panties over her feet. She lifted her foot for him to unto the straps of her sandals. “Uh, no. The shoes stay,” he said as he rose up in front of her capturing her mouth for a heated kiss. “That’s my fantasy,” he growled.
She couldn’t seem to tear her keys away from the very prominent tent in the front of his pants. When he noticed where her eyes were glued, he quickly removed his pants and boxers. He picked her up and carried her beneath the waterfall. He wrapped her in his arms, chest to chest, heat to heat. The water cascaded over their bodies, cool and slick. It made the contact of skin on skin seem even hotter. He stood her on a rock. He kissed her throat, her breast, tongued her navel as he knelt in front of her.
The force of the water almost sent her falling forward so she grabbed on to Shawn’s shoulders. He ran his hand up her belly and between her breasts and with his strong hands supporting her got her to arch her back. As she leaned back into the water, he grabbed her hips and parted her golden curls with his thumbs. She grabbed harder on to his shoulders, fearing that she would fall.
“Trust me, baby.”
She tipped her head back, beyond the trickling waterfall and found dry air to breathe. The water hit the thrust of her breasts. It wasn’t gentle nor was it too hard just a steady coolness against her fevered skin. She cried out when she felt his mouth on her. At first just a soft kiss as he rubbed his nose in her wet curls. She gasped as he kissed her again licking his tongue along her swollen crevice.
He kissed her again, harder opening his mouth against her heat. She latched her fingers into his hair at the back of his skull holding his head against her. He pulled her open with his hands and thrust his tongue inside her. He bit down gently on her tender bud pushing his mouth against it as he drove his tongue in and out of her as his hands squeezed her bottom.
The pressure of the water drumming against her breasts was similar to the pressure Shawn’s tongue was creating inside her. She gasped for air and fought to think straight as she tried to straighten her spine. “I want you…inside me.” One hand palmed her belly and arched her back again as he slipped one hand square on her bottom as he pulled her harder against his open mouth. The dam inside her broke. With his tongue deep inside her she felt wave after wave of bliss consume her. As her legs buckled, Shawn caught her and carried her to the flat rock and laid her on their clothes. “Are you all right?” he asked as he kissed the spot in her throat where her pulse was beating wildly.
She kissed him. “I’ve never been more all right in my life.” As he rested his forehead against hers, she teased him. “We’re not done yet are we? I’d hate to be ruining these shoes for no good reason.”
Without any warning, he slipped inside her. She stretched to accommodate his size, loving the feel of him inside her. His hips were already rocking against her so she spread her legs and let him drive himself completely into her. She could feel that sensitive nub hidden in her curls coming to attention again. Shawn slid his hand down her side teasing her taunt nipple with his thumb, cupping her butt and bending her knee up beside his hip. He then repeated his actions on the right side of her body opening her more to the stroke of his shaft.
As he thrust in and out of her his tongue did wicked things to her mouth. She felt the tension building inside her. “Shawn,” she sobbed silently begging for release from this exquisite torment.
He looked down at her and let his gaze wander over her face, down her breasts. “You’re beautiful.” Then he looked into her eyes and smiled. “You’re the sexiest damn woman I’ve ever known.” With that he plunged deep inside her driving her to the edge. She rose to meet his thrusts. As her climax shook her body, Shawn dragged his hands all the way down to the tips of her toes in her red, spiked heels and pushed her legs up as he emptied himself inside her.
“Damn,” was all he could manage to say.
August 14, 2010 The Cabin 12 Noon
Shawn and Lil lay in bed a tangle of arms and legs as they slept.
Andrew used his key and disarmed the alarm as he entered the cottage. Where the hell was Shawn? He had to be around because his SUV was parked in the garage and so was his motorcycle. He bounded up the stairs to his office. Empty. He made his way to his cousin’s bedroom. Where the hell is Belle?
He stopped short at the end of the bed his eyes wide with shock.
Shawn sensed someone’s presence in his room and reacted instinctively. Throwing his body over Lil’s he reached for the nightstand.
“Whoa, Shawn. It’s me. No need to go for the gun,” Andrew yelled.
Shawn sat up. “Jesus Christ, Andrew. Haven’t you heard of calling before you come over?”
Lil tried to pull the covers over her body but they were so tangled around both her and Shawn she couldn’t get them loose. She stayed pressed hard against Shawn’s back to cover her naked breasts. When Shawn started moving forward she wrapped her arms tight around his waist.
“Calling, that’s…” Andrew stopped. “Why don’t I let you two get dressed. I’ll wait for you downstairs.”
“Good. Could you put some coffee on, please?”
“Sure thing, cuz.”
Shawn and Belle? He could have sworn that Shawn loved Lil. Had he been wrong? No way. What the fuck is going on?
Shawn came down the stairs first.
Andrew turned on him. “What in the name of all that is holy are you doing? How could you do this to her, Shawn? She loves you so much…I’m so angry at you I could just belt you one.”
Shawn stood back at first shocked and than amused. Before he could say anything, Lil came into the kitchen. “Hi, Andrew. How was your trip?”
“Lil? But I…what are you doing here? Where’s Belle?”
“I’ll let Shawn fill you in later. Is the coffee ready?”
Andrew shook his head trying to clear it. He glanced at his cousin and seen the trace of amusement lingering in his eyes. “Yes it is, Lil. Listen would you mind if Shawn and I took our coffees up to his office. I really need to talk to him alone.”
Lil sensed the undercurrent of tension flowing between the two cousins. “Sure go ahead. I’ll make us some lunch.”
As soon as the door closed they both started talking at the same time.
Shawn barked, “Why in the hell didn’t you call?”
Andrew shouting, “Why the fuck didn’t you answer your phone?”
Andrew continued. “When’s the last time you checked your messages on either your cellular or home phone?”
“There’s no message waiting indicator light flashing. Check for yourself, the phone is on the desk. I have my pager on and it’s set to alert me when a message is left on my cellular. No alert, no messages.”
“Shawn, your mailboxes are both full. I filled them,” Andrew said.
Shawn removed his pager from his pocket. “Damn it, the battery has been removed.”
“Check your cell, Shawn. I’ll check your phone.”
“Shit, my battery is dead in my cell. I know I recharged it. Belle must have swapped the good battery with the bad.”
“And your phone has been turned off.”
“Never mind, you’re here now. What did you find out?” Shawn was eager to find out if his suspicions were correct.
“Steve and I will go through the contents of her hard drive later tonight. I gave him a copy of your notes like you asked me to in case he gets a chance to look at it this afternoon. From my end, everything checks out.”
“Yes, Shawn. I was able to verify everything on your list.”
Shawn had to rethink his position. “That means one of two things, Andrew. Either I’m dead wrong or the DiMera’s have had someone on the inside all along.”
“Which way are you leaning, Shawn?”
“I don’t think I’m wrong, Andrew,” Shawn said quietly. “Now it’s more crucial than ever to find absolute proof. I need Belle’s fingerprints and I’m going to get them tonight no matter what it takes.
“How are you going to manage that? You were right yet again about her apartment being clean. The ISA must have a sweeper team go through and not only check for bugs but wipe all surfaces clean. Aside from the caretaker’s prints I never found another print, not even the roommates.”
“I can’t wait any longer. I have to confront John. I have a flight to Salem booked this evening. I thought Steve could go through the contents of Belle’s hard drive as soon as you downloaded them to his system”
“No, he never had a chance to unfortunately. Some critical issues came up on the project and he had to attend to those first. I talked to him as I was driving here from the airport. As I said, we’ll look at them tonight after he hacks into the ISA servers if he doesn’t get a chance this afternoon.”
“I have a really bad feeling about this, Andrew. I thought for sure you would have found some discrepancies. No diaries, either I suppose?”
Andrew just shook his head.
“Damn. Dana wouldn’t have been able to talk about me or anyone else from her past. If she would have kept a diary, I’m sure there would have been something in there we could have used as verification.”
“I’m sure John made her understand how difficult it would have been to ensure that no one else ever read them. Hopefully there will be something on her computer. I have never seen a personal computer as secure as hers. Nobody and I mean nobody without a technical background could gain access. I had to phone Steve to help me bypass all the various security that PC has built into it.”
“John may have been too thorough with the measures he took to protect Belle. He better have copies of her fingerprints and samples of her DNA. I wonder if he…” Shawn was lost in thought. “Oh god, I just thought of something…”
“What?” Andrew wasn’t following Shawn’s train of thought.
“No, I won’t even think it. John couldn’t be that arrogant…he just couldn’t.”
“I don’t have any idea what you’re thinking and I’m not going to try and guess. I’m sure you’ll fill me in when the time is right. Now, I have some information about Lil if you’re interested.”
Shawn just glared at his cousin.
“Did she mention that she remembered where she lives, Shawn?” Andrew watched his cousin’s startled reaction. “You two weren’t doing too much talking, were you?”
Shawn’s eyebrows rose and Andrew took the hint. “Got it, none of my business. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is going to university there. She doesn’t remember which university unfortunately. She does recall moving there specifically to go to school.”
“The pictures? Did you show them around?”
“Yes. Didn’t matter whether I showed a picture of Belle or a picture of Lil, everyone identified the person in the photograph as Dana Summerall. Just as we expected. The resemblance between the two of them is remarkable.”
“Too remarkable if you ask me,” Shawn stated under his breath.
“I heard that, Shawn and I agree. I do have very good news though that might clear up the mystery of Lil’s identity.”
“And you’ve been sitting on it this entire time! Jesus, Andrew. Why didn’t tell me that first? How can we find out Lil’s identity?”
Andrew told him of the conversation he had had with Dr. Gordon and Erin. Shawn’s excitement grew.
“Maybe Dr. Gordon already knows who Lil is.”
Andrew hated to distinguish that gleam of excitement he noticed in his cousin’s eyes. “No. I called Derek as well. The x-rays were useless. We have to get Lil to agree to have another one done.”
“Come on, let’s go. We’ll take her there right now.”
“No point, Shawn. Derek called Dr. Gordon to arrange it. The technician that was used during Lil’s stay in the research center is at a seminar. Because Lil technically doesn’t exist due to all the work we did to keep hospital personnel from knowing about her, Derek didn’t think it was wise to schedule another technician. Dr. Gordon told him the guy would be returning tomorrow morning. An appointment has been sent up for noon tomorrow.”
“There’s going to be a lot going down tomorrow, Andrew. Derek will in be in Phoenix. Hopefully you will have learned the reason that Matt Turner was terminated from the ISA. Lil will have her x-ray done and if all goes well, I should be on my way back from Salem with Belle’s fingerprints. Maybe just maybe, I can finally start planning my life with Lil.”
“What are you going to tell John, Shawn?”
“I didn’t want to play my hand with him until I had conclusive proof but I can’t wait any longer. I’m going to tell him what I know and then I’ll fill him in on the current situation.” As Shawn talked, he paced.
“John’s going to want to take control and push you out, Shawn,” Andrew stated quietly.
Shawn stopped, pivoted and faced his cousin. “You think I don’t know that, Andrew. Hell, for as long as I can remember the people of Salem referred to him as mercenary John. He can rant and rave all he wants, I’ll immobilize him. He is not going to interfere with this investigation. He is not going to get the chance to spirit Belle away again.”
Andrew admired his cousin’s determination but he didn’t think Shawn had a chance in hell of keeping John out of the picture very long. “How do you plan on immobilizing John? Even if you succeed in locking him up someplace until we get the mystery in Spokane cleared up, do you seriously believe John won’t be able to escape.”
“That’s not the type of immobilization I was referring to Andrew. My method is much better and I don’t see John being a problem.”
“Explain it to me, please. This should be interesting.”
“I’m going to let Marlena know that Belle is alive and that John has been keeping it secret from her all these years. John is going to be busy trying to save his marriage to interfere with our plans.”
Andrew’s respect for his cousin and friend grew. “That’s a little mean-spirited, Shawn but it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Shawn sighed. “I know it’s not going to endear me to John but this has gone on long enough.”
“What are you going to do if we never can prove your theory? What happens if Lil never remembers more than little bits and pieces of her past?”
“I hope that Lil regains her memory for her sake. How can she ever truly find inner piece if she can’t remember her past? She’ll always have questions. If we have children and one of them gets sick she’ll always wonder if something in her past would have prepared us for the possibility. That’s just one scenario, Andrew. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to know nothing about your family history.”
Andrew smiled at Shawn’s reference to having children with Lil. “And you, Shawn. What do you hope?”
“I hope to solve the mystery and prove my theory. If I don’t, I’ll always be looking over my shoulder. I’ll never feel that she is safe, that our family will be safe. Lil is smart. It won’t take her long to pick up on my anxieties.”
Andrew didn’t really have anything to say, he just clamped his hand onto his cousin’s shoulder to indicate he understood.
Shawn smiled at him. “Either way, I intend to spend the rest of my life with her.”
August 14, 2010 The Cabin
Shawn and Lil stood in the open doorway watching Andrew drive away. Lil had both her arms wrapped around Shawn’s waist, her head resting against his chest. Shawn rubbed her arm slowly.
When Andrew’s car was out of site, Shawn closed the door and turned Lil in his arms so that she was facing him. He looked into her pensive blue eyes, a small frown appearing on his face. “You’ve been exceptionally quiet, Lil. Do you want to tell me what’s wrong?”
“I think that’s a question I should be asking you, Shawn. I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that something serious is going down. You were locked up for quite some time with your cousin. I’m not a paranoid person or at least I don’t think I am but I do have the feeling that I was involved in your discussions.”
Shawn decided not to tell her everything. There was no use worrying her when his conspiracy theory was at this point nothing more than that, a theory. “We did talk about you, that’s true.”
She tried to smile but failed. “Anything about the conversation that you can share with me?”
Shawn gathered her close. “I was letting Andrew know how much I love you.”
Oh, Shawn. You’re not telling me everything. Maybe I should tell…no, I can’t. Not yet. She leaned back in his arms and searched his eyes, seeking solace for the fear that was threatening to paralyze her.
Shawn’s breath caught when he met her panic-stricken gaze. “Baby, what’s wrong?”
She couldn’t speak She brought her lips to his. She kissed him hard, desperately, hungrily.
Shawn thought she was going to swallow him whole. He tried to pull back and get her to talk to him but when she whimpered his name against his lips, he stopped thinking. He lifted her up and carried her to the bedroom.
Shawn glanced over at Lil who sat quietly staring out her window. They had made love, shared the most intimate of moments together yet she still refused to tell him what was troubling her.
“Lil, please. Talk to me.”
His only response was a soft sigh. He drove the rest of the way in silence. He pulled into a visitor’s parking spot in front of Andrew’s apartment building. When Lil reached to open her door, Shawn stopped her. “Wait.” He got out and went and opened the door for her. He took her hand and walked with her across the street to the neighbourhood park. They sat on a bench for a few minutes both lost in their thoughts.
“I can’t leave you like this, Lil. Please tell me what’s bothering you.”
His brown eyes pleaded with her to let him ease her fears. “Shawn, it’s silly. Don’t worry about me. I’ll work through it on my own.”
“You and I are part of each other, Lil. When you hurt, I hurt. Don’t you get it? I love you. Let me help you.”
Tears streamed silently down her face as she gently caressed his cheek. “I know there are things you are keeping from me, Shawn.”
When he opened his lips to start explaining, she placed her fingers against them. “You don’t have to explain. I understand.” She let her hand trail down his face, down his arm until his large hand engulfed hers. Looking down at her small hand entwined in his, she felt stronger, more confident. “This is going to sound stupid…”
“Lil…” he started.
“Hear me out, Shawn. While you were meeting with Andrew this feeling of…of…god, I can’t come up with words to describe it.”
“Take your time. It’s okay.”
She looked up at him trying to come up with the words to describe how she felt then and still felt now. “There’s something I have to say first. Please don’t interrupt me, okay?”
Shawn nodded his agreement.
“I love you. I can’t begin to tell you how much. I just want you to know that all the pain I’ve suffered was worth it because it brought you to me.” She laughed half-heartedly. “Personally, I would have chosen a much simpler way to meet you because I believe that you and I were destined for each other.” Her slight smile faded. “Shawn, you do know how much I love you, don’t you?”
Shawn sensed the desperation in her look, in her touch and in her voice and struggled to understand the reason for it. “Yes, little one, I know,” he said softly, assuredly.
“Always hold on to that feeling. The love will always be there.”
“Lil, you’re making this sound like goodbye. I’m just going out of town for a couple of days.” Shawn could hear the panic in his own voice and fought to control it.
“I’m sorry, Shawn. This feeling came over me this afternoon. Something bad is going to happen. I can sense it.”
“For god’s sake, Lil. Don’t invite trouble…”
“I told you I didn’t know how to explain this properly. I’m sure you’re right and nothing is going to happen to tear us apart again. I just wanted to make sure you know how much I love you…” her voice trailed away. Oh, Shawn. I’m praying that I’m wrong. I just have this feeling that you and I are never going to have that fairy tale ending.
Shawn held her close and whispered words of encouragement and love. As he left for the airport she turned to enter the apartment building. Sorry, Shawn but if my feeling is right there will never be a happily ever after for us.
August 15, 2010 Salem, Illinois 3pm
Shawn sat in his dad’s car watching the entrance to the parking garage of the luxury building John and Marlena resided in. He cursed his bad luck at arriving in Salem when John and Marlena were out of town. Thank god they were due back today. He wanted this situation cleared up before he returned to Spokane. He decided to check in with Derek in Phoenix.
As he waited for Derek to answer he thought back to his conversation with Lil last night. He was worried about her. She had really tried hard to hide it but he could tell that she was still feeling apprehensive. He had spoken to her for almost an hour until his parents had interrupted him. He had to hang up abruptly because there was no way he could let them know about Lil as yet. His mother had sensed a change in him almost immediately upon his arrival home.
Shawn, let me get a good look at you.
You’ll have to release me out of this bear hug then, Mom.
She had looked at him and smiled. You’ve met someone, Shawn. You’re in love.
Bo had chimed in next. Is she right, Shawn? Have you finally moved on?
As he was recalling the discussion that followed, Derek answered. “Hey, Shawn. Are you on you way back to Spokane? Did you get what you went to Salem for?”
“No. John and Marlena happened to be out of town but they should be arriving home any time now. I’m watching their place as we speak. What’s happening there? Any chance you picked up a lead on Rodney Warren’s current whereabouts?” Shawn was being overly optimistic but he was hoping just once to have something actually result in a solid lead.
“We pretty much knew where he was as soon as he we unlocked the door, Shawn.”
“How is that possible?” Shawn sat up straight.
“From the smell. I think we caught our first big break in this case. Whoever was behind Lil’s attempted murder slipped up. They’ve been so careful to cover all their tracks, I can’t believe they forgot about this.”
Shawn picked up on Derek’s excitement and was slightly amused. Derek never got excited about his work. He was one of the most thorough investigators Shawn had ever met. His heartbeat increased. Could it be that they were finally going to find some hard, actual proof that would lead to an arrest? “Derek, you’re killing me here. Tell me everything.”
“When we opened the door to his apartment we knew what we were going to find. The stench was unbearable. The heat was stifling. We had to regroup and go out and get masks and sterile gowns. The people that were so careful to give the illusion that Mr. Warren had moved by paying his rent in advance, in all likelihood, bribing his parole officer as well and then killing the man so he couldn’t talk, these very same people forgot to pay Mr. Warren’s utility bills. His power was shut off.”
Shawn didn’t like the sound of this. He had a feeling that the odour was caused by more than rotting food in the fridge and freezer. He listened intently as Derek continued.
“It was a pretty gruesome discovery, Shawn. Remember how I was telling you that the Phoenix P.D. told me that Pitbull’s most prized possession was those damn custom made cowboy boots and he would die before giving them up. Well, that’s exactly what happened.”
“How do you know that he died because of some stupid boots, Derek?”
“The boots are gone, Shawn. So are his two legs,” Derek added quietly.
“Jesus, Derek. Someone cut his legs off?”
“Yeah and what’s even more grizzly was the fact that he was still alive while they did it.”
“How do you know that? Has the coroner made an examination and given you a preliminary report already?”
“God no, Shawn. We had to get to get them to remove the freezer and its contents after the forensics team finished taking prints and collecting evidence. It’s almost unbearable working in here but we’re sticking it out. The police chief got the power restored so we have the a/c cranked right up but the smell…well, I won’t get into that.”
“Please don’t. Go on.”
“When the freezer was moved we noticed all this cabling running up into the wall. We had to follow it so we had some of the beat cops bust through the walls. Mr. Warren was real paranoid about something. He had surveillance cameras hidden throughout his apartment.”
Shawn’s excitement rose. “Please tell me that those cameras were working and you found something on the tapes. Is that how you know he was still alive when they amputated his legs?”
Derek snorted. “Amputated isn’t the word that you would use if you actually watched the tape. That word is far to sophisticated for what they did to him. Try butchered, that might be closer to the act.”
“Do you know who did it? Can we tie that person to the DiMera organization?”
“I took stills and ran the photos through our database. I found matches for the goons that held him down, but not the guy that did the hatchet job. No pun intended.”
“The ones that you identified, what can you tell me about them?”
“All local, all small-time…” he hesitated.
“And all dead. Is that what you were going to say, Derek?”
“The DiMera’s are nothing if not thorough, except for this slip up with the power I can’t think of one mistake that has been made.”
“Yes you can. You pointed out the first mistake they made. The boot print on Lil’s thigh.”
“I just don’t understand the significance of those damn boots, Shawn.”
“That’s easy, Derek. That’s the ego of Tony DiMera. He is truly his father’s son. The mark of the Phoenix is the DiMera brand, if you will. How they found out Mr. Warren was using it on a pair of cowboy boots is a mystery. Wait, I just thought of something. Could you fax the photo of the killer to the local sheriff’s office where Pitbull had the boots made and see if the guy ever paid a visit to the man’s shop? It’s a long shot but our sure shots haven’t been panning out like we expected.”
“Good idea, Shawn. I also sent the photo to Andrew and followed up with a phone call. I got his voice mail so I left him a message asking him to run it through the ISA database. They might have something on the killer. Like you said, it’s worth a shot.”
“I wonder why Andrew isn’t in his office.”
“Apparently they ran into some problems last night when trying to infiltrate the ISA servers. They almost got caught so Steve had to do some quick work so that it couldn’t be traced back to them. Andrew had to make a quick trip into Alberta with a lap top that contained the copied files. Some poor guy is going to have to some explaining to do. Don’t worry about it though, Steve made it look totally innocent. He also picked a guy who is not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Gotta love those chat rooms. Steve got the guy’s IP from some computer game site chat room and from there got his name and address.”
“Surely Andrew didn’t leave all that detail on his voice mail message. How did you find out about this?”
“He sent us both an email detailing everything. Needless to say they haven’t looked at the contents of Dana’s or should I say Belle’s hard drive nor the ISA files. They’ll get to that later this afternoon.
Shawn glanced up when he noticed John’s SUV entering the parking garage. “Thanks, Derek. It’s time for my showdown with Belle’s father. They’ve just arrived home. Great work old buddy. I think we might be closing in on our friend Tony. We just have to stay one step ahead of him from now on. I’ll see you back in Spokane.”
“Good luck, Shawn. I head back early tomorrow morning so I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Black Penthouse 3:45pm
John was about to follow Marlena up the stairs to unpack when the doorbell sounded. He noticed that Marlena had hesitated at the top of the stairs. “Go ahead and make your calls, Doc. I know you have some patients you’re anxious to check up on. I’ll get the door.”
John waited until answering the door. He was surprised to see Shawn. “Hey, Shawn. Come in.”
Shawn stepped inside and looked around. “Where’s Marlena?”
“She’s upstairs. Do you want me to call her?” John was curious to find out why Shawn was in Salem and in particular why he had paid them a visit.
“No don’t disturb her, John. I want to talk to you one on one.”
“You know you can talk to me about anything, Shawn. You’re like a son to me.”
Shawn looked at John and wondered how he was able to live with himself knowing that he had let everyone believe Belle was dead even his own wife, her mother.
“Well, what is it? Or I you just going to stand there and look at me like I suddenly grew another head?” John laughed but he was feeling uneasy.
“I’m trying to understand why you did what you did all those years ago, John.”
“Shawn, have you been drinking? I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
“No, I haven’t been drinking. John, look at me. Look into my eyes.”
John did as Shawn asked but as a trained operative he gave away none of his inner turmoil in his demeanour. He waited for Shawn to speak.
“I know, John. Please don’t insult my intelligence by trying to deny it.” Shawn took a deep breath. “I know that Belle is alive and I know that you are the person that arranged for her disappearance.”
John met Shawn’s gaze head on, never flinching or giving any indication of what thoughts were rolling through his mind.
“Shawn, Marlena and I have been patient with you in the past because we know how much you loved Belle. It’s time to move on, son. She’s gone.”
John’s placating tones grated on Shawn’s frayed nerves. He took a deep breath and then spoke carefully and slowly. “Belle is not dead. You know it and I know it.”
When John started to speak, Shawn held up his hand and shook his head. John waited, his eyes narrowed as he watched Shawn fighting to keep his emotions in check. How the hell can he possibly know? Is he bluffing?
Shawn looked up at John. “You had a team of ISA operatives kidnap her from her dorm room and spirit her away to Lucerne, Switzerland. You kept her there for three years before moving her to Vancouver, British Columbia. She goes under the name Dana Summerall and she just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English Lit this past April.”
John’s eyes widened in disbelief.
Shawn smiled. Gotcha!
“I need something from you, John. It’s critical that I have Belle’s fingerprints.”
“Critical. Why do you need a dead girl’s fingerprints?” John blustered.
“For Christ’s sake, John. Drop the act. Belle is not dead but she could well end up that way if you keep stalling.”
Both men pivoted at the sound of the loud gasp from Marlena before she crumpled to the floor.
Shit. Shawn had hoped to spare Marlena finding out in this manner. He would have liked to be able to prepare her to hear the news. What he had really hoped for was that John would agree to be the one to tell her.
As John tried to revive Marlena, he turned towards Shawn. “I want you out of here before she comes to.”
“I’m not going anywhere. Maybe Marlena can you convince you to give me the information I need.”
John silently cursed the stubbornness of the Brady clan. Secretly he admired Shawn’s tenacious. He had always thought that Belle could never find another man better for her than this young man. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Damn the DiMera’s. I never wanted my children to be hurt because of them and Belle has suffered more than any of us.
“Shawn, get out or I’ll throw you out myself.”
John felt Marlena’s grip on his wrist and turned to attend to her. He helped her up and walked with her to the sofa. “Would you like a glass of water? Some tea…”
“No. I want Shawn to explain what he meant when he said that Belle is not dead but could end up that way.” She turned towards Shawn and patted the seat next to her. When he sat next to her she took her hand in his. She spoke to him gently, soothingly. “Why do you think Belle is alive and in danger?” She was really worried about him. He should have moved on by now.
Shawn spoke clearly and concisely. “I don’t think that she is alive, I know that she is alive.” He paused as he stared at John. “And so does your husband because he’s the one who made everyone believe that she committed suicide.”
“What? That’s not possible. John would never…” Marlena looked at both men catching the quick look of panic in John’s eyes.
“John, is that true?” Marlena couldn’t believe what she was seeing in John’s eyes. Shawn was telling the truth.
Should I try and bluff my way out of this? John looked at Marlena and knew that she could see the truth in his eyes.
“Doc, please let me explain. I had to do it. It was the only way to keep her safe. Cassie wanted her dead.”
Marlena gasped. “How could you possibly know that, John?”
“I overheard her. You know I was investigating Tony. I happened to get on to his property one day. Cassie was demanding that Tony have Belle killed because she believed that was the only way that she could get Shawn to love her. Tony wouldn’t agree to killing Belle but he did plot to have her kidnapped and spirited away where she would never be found. He promised Cassie that she would have Shawn.”
Shawn listened to John carefully. Oh my god, this is all my fault. If I would have believed that Cassie was obsessed with me, maybe I could have gotten through to her.
“Did you frame Cassie for Colin’s murder, John?” Shawn asked.
“Of course not, Shawn. I heard her tell Tony what had happened and I made sure the police got enough evidence to get the search warrant they needed to find the murder weapon.”
Shawn believed him. John might be a lot of things and go to great lengths to protect his family but he didn’t believe that John could deliberately frame someone for a murder they didn’t commit.
Marlena sat quietly trying to digest the information she had just heard. Her sweet baby girl, Belle, was alive. She had been kept from her by her husband of all people. Marlena’s anger grew.
“John, I need her fingerprints,” Shawn stated quietly.
“Why do you need them, Shawn? You know she’s alive. You know where she lives and under what name, why don’t you go to her?” John was resigned to having to tell the complete truth from now on. God, how was he going to keep Belle safe? It wasn’t going to take long for Tony to find out that Belle was still alive.
“Do you know where Belle is now?” Shawn was puzzled. He would have thought that the ISA would be keeping a very close eye on Belle.
“Yeah, she’s gone a sailing trip with a couple of friends. Their radio is equipped to transmit emergency signals only so I haven’t been able to talk to her. She finished her finals early, I think by the second or third of April and then was gone shortly after that. She’s set to return the first week in September. I had to let her go. She told me that she thought she might have found love again…”
Shawn looked sharply at John. “She didn’t. I would guess that she was using that as a cover. She was coming to me.”
John was taken aback by the sheer confidence of Shawn’s tone. “She wouldn’t be coming to you, Shawn. She thought you were married and that you had a family.”
“Wha…” Shawn was stunned.
Marlena turned on John. “You let Belle believe that Shawn moved on and found someone else to love. How could you hurt her like that? You’re her father.”
“Doc, please understand. I did it for her. She needed to let go of the life she lived as Belle Black. She needed to let go of Shawn.”
“How…how did you manage to convince her that I married someone else?”
“We rigged her internet connections and screened all her queries. I’d feed her information and then tell her what sites to go to for verification. We also tracked any searches she did on your name and made sure she only saw the information we wanted her to see.”
Shawn just shook his head. “I don’t know how she found out that you had been lying to her but she did. She was coming to see me. That is why she arranged this so called trip.”
John felt sorry for Shawn. Once again he was going to have to hurt him. “Shawn, don’t you think I checked everything out? The ISA thoroughly checked every one that was going on that trip. We watched her leave. We watched from a distance but nevertheless, we did watch. We had her trailed from her apartment to the sailboat. We watched them sail off into the Pacific. We placed a tracking device on the boat. They’re going everywhere Belle said they would. I’m sorry son but she finally accepted her new life and she’s moved on.”
“NO.” Shawn couldn’t prevent himself from yelling.
“I don’t care what you say, John. Belle found a way to outsmart you so she could contact me.”
“If that’s case, Shawn, why do you need her fingerprints? If she was coming to see you she should be there in Spokane with you now.”
“She…” Shawn’s cell phone interrupted his reply. “Excuse me, I have to take this call.” He stepped out on to the terrace, closing the door behind him.
Black Penthouse Terrace
“Jesus, Shawn…Shawn…damn…” Andrew was tripping over his words.
“Andrew, calm down. Take a deep breath. What’s going on?”
“Things are bad, Shawn. Real bad,” was all Andrew could manage to get out.
“Andrew. Talk to me. What’s up?” Andrew’s sense of panic was threatening to overtake Shawn.
“DiMera. He worked for the fuckin’ DiMera’s.”
“Who worked for the DiMera’s?”
“Matt Turner. That’s why he was fired from the ISA and imprisoned. They found out that he was a mole for the DiMera’s. You know what that means don’t you, Shawn?”
Shawn was silent.
“Shit, yes I know what that means. That means that John and Shane unknowingly sent a DiMera operative on the mission to abduct Belle from NYU. Tony has always known exactly where Belle was. I’m sure once the ISA arrested Matt, he sent someone else to keep tabs on her. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he was the one behind Matt’s escape from a maximum security prison.”
“Why do you think Tony waited so long to make his move?”
“He probably figured that the Brady’s and the Black’s were suffering enough with Belle being dead.”
“But why make a move now?” Andrew hesitated. “Once again, I think you’re instinct was right on the money. Tony made a move, exactly the move you predicated he would make in this situation.”
“Tony made his move now because Belle was coming home to me and he didn’t want that to happen.” Shawn answered slowly, lost in thought.
“But why wouldn’t Tony want John to know about his triumph over him?”
“Because it’s not over yet. The rest of his plan is just playing out. Think about what’s going on for a minute, Andrew. You don’t really think that Tony would just be happy with killing Belle. That’s too easy. He might still do that but he wants John to suffer. John is his target.”
Both men were silent as they planned strategies to thwart the DiMera’s.
“Andrew, listen to me carefully…”
“Wait, Shawn. That’s not all. I got a call from the sheriff’s office up in that place in Montana. Derek asked him to notify me if the boot maker recognized the picture of the man that killed good old Pitbull. He did. Apparently Matt Turner came in and asked for a pair of boots with the Phoenix insignia. The guy refused to make them saying his boots were one of a kind and he had already used that design. He also mentioned that the guy scared him with the coldest stare this side of the North Pole that he had ever been pinned down with in his life. He did say the next morning that his file cabinet was unlocked and he had been sure he had locked it the night before.”
“This isn’t good, Andrew. I want you to promise me that you’ll protect Lil. Do not let her leave your apartment, not under any circumstances. Also, I’m playing a hunch here, but get the feed of the surveillance tapes from Cassie DiMera’s visitors over the past few weeks. See if you recognize anyone that’s visited her lately.”
“I’ll get on that right now, Shawn.”
“Andrew. Keep her safe. I couldn’t bear to lose her again. I love her.”
Andrew heard his cousin’s plea and understood. “I will, Shawn.”
|This message has been edited by Mrs.B. on Nov 5, 2004 8:42 PM|