“So what day is your birthday Belle?” Shawn asked her. “You mentioned it’s this week, but you didn’t say which day,” He said.
It was Sunday evening, and Shawn and Belle were engaged in another lengthy telephone conversation.
Not that either one of them minded.
“Why do you want to know?” Belle asked, smiling at the other end of the line. She sat up in bed excitedly as she spoke to Shawn. It was late in the evening, and she had already changed into her pyjamas, and was just settling into bed when Shawn had called her earlier.
“Because – I might have something in store for you,” He teased.
“Well, if you must know, it’s Saturday night,” Belle told him, pulling the sheets tightly around her.
“Any big plans?” Shawn asked.
“Nothing big really – my parents and my brother are taking me out for dinner, nothing special,” Belle said.
“I see.” Shawn said.
“So what did you do today?” Belle asked him.
“Me? Nothing really – just spend some time with the family, that’s all,” Shawn said.
“You still live at home?” Belle asked him.
“Yeah – I’ve thought about getting my own place, but I haven’t made any decisions,” Shawn said.
“Have you looked around?” Belle asked him.
“Yeah, but the places I’ve seen – they’re either too far from work, or too far from my parents, and I want to be close to both,” Shawn said. “Or maybe it’s just an excuse to stay home, so my Mom can still do my cooking and laundry for me,” He joked.
Belle giggled. “I wouldn’t be surprised,” Belle said. “You know, most guys I know don’t live with their parents any more – I’m kind of impressed that you don’t mind living with them,” Belle said.
“Yeah, it’s kind of weird I guess,” Shawn said. “But I’ve always been pretty close with my mom and dad, and my younger brother,” Shawn said.
“How old is your younger brother?” Belle asked.
“He’s 22 – he’s one year younger than me,” Shawn told her.
“What’s his name?”
“JT,” Shawn said. “What about your brother – what’s his name?” Shawn asked.
“Brady, and he’s 23,” Belle told him.
“No kidding!” Shawn said, chuckling.
“What’s so funny?” Belle asked him.
“It’s just that your brother’s first name happens to be my last name,” Shawn said.
“Your last name is Brady?” Belle asked. She narrowed her eyes, trying to think of why that name should matter to her.
“Yes, it is – didn’t I tell you that I work for my grandpa’s pub – The ‘Brady’ Pub?” Shawn said.
“You know, you probably did mention it to me, but I forgot,” Belle said. There was something nagging at her, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. Something about his name, but she decided that it couldn’t be anything important.
“No worries,” Shawn said. “Well, I guess I’d better let you go – we both have to be up for work, bright and early tomorrow,” Shawn said.
“Unfortunately,” Belle mumbled.
“Okay, well - I’ll say good night, but we’ll talk again tomorrow?” Shawn asked.
“Sure thing,” Belle said, smiling. “Good night Shawn,”
“Good night Isabella.” Shawn said.
They hung up a moment later, and Belle smiled to herself. She felt like a lovesick teenager, but she didn’t care. Shawn had been calling her every day now for the last week, and after last night’s kiss on her forehead, Belle knew that she had something special with Shawn – something that was going to develop into a wonderful relationship, she could feel it in her bones.
She frowned once again, when she thought about Shawn telling her his last name. Why did it bother her so much? Was there some significance with his surname?
“It’s probably nothing Belle,” She said aloud. She sighed, and turned off the lights in her room, hoping she would dream of Shawn once again.
Shawn waited patiently for Belle to walk into class. He knew he was early, but he couldn’t wait to see her. He hadn’t seen her since Saturday night, since the night he had given her the small kiss on her forehead.
He had wanted to give her a real kiss, but he knew the timing hadn’t been right.
He found his thoughts filled with the beautiful blonde, who had a heart of gold, and a sunny personality; one that could cheer him up, even on the darkest of days.
Shawn sighed as he glanced at his watch once again. He wondered how much longer he would have to wait for her.
He beamed when she walked in a few moments later, carrying her book bag over her shoulder. She walked over to him, and greeted with a cheery smile. “Shawn!” She said, sitting next to him. “You’re early – that’s a first,” She said.
“Well maybe I wanted to be early for a change,” He said. “ Maybe,” He said, lowering his voice, “ I wanted to wait for a certain blonde angel to show up,” He said.
Belle felt her heart beat quicken when she realized that Shawn was flirting with her. She didn’t know what to say – she had never really been good at flirting, and worried that she would say the wrong thing.
“Um, you were, were you,” She stammered. She shut her eyes tightly, wondering how she could be such an idiot. She opened them a moment later, only to find Shawn grinning at her.
“Thank Goodness you didn’t keep me waiting too long,” He said, winking at her.
She nearly fell the floor. Oh, he couldn’t do this to her – not in the middle of a classroom, with dozens of people around them! She wanted to melt to the floor, and was thankful that she wasn’t standing up.
“Yes, well,” She stammered, taking out her books. She pretended to study her notes, but felt Shawn’s eyes on her. He had never flirted with her before, but she had to admit – she was enjoying it!
Shawn seemed different tonight, she thought. He seemed more confident – not that she minded!
“Belle, would you like to go out to dinner with me on Friday night?” He asked, looking at her intently.
Belle looked up from her notes, obviously surprised. “What?” She said.
“I want to take you to dinner – I was thinking the Penthouse Grille – what do you say?” He asked. He had finally done it – and he had done it so naturally, that he didn’t even have time to think about what he was going to say, or how he was going to say it.
“Wow Shawn, you’ve caught me totally off guard,” Belle admitted. She tried to slow down her heartbeat, but knew that was impossible where Shawn was concerned.
“In a good way, or a bad way?” He asked.
“In a good way – definitely in a good way,” She said. She smiled at him, and touched his arm. “I’d love to go out with you on Friday night – what time do you want me to meet you?” She asked.
“I was actually going to pick you up – could you give me your address? I want this to be a real date Belle – there’s nothing casual about this,” Shawn told her huskily.
Belle didn’t know how much more she could take of this. Shawn was asking her out, and he was being so…sexy about it! She cleared her throat and said, “Okay, I’ll give you my address – just let me know when you want me ready,” Belle said.
“No problem.” Shawn said. He grinned at her, and said, “We’re going to have a terrific time, just you wait and see,” Shawn told her.
“Somehow I don’t doubt that,” She mumbled.
“I heard that,” He said.
Belle blushed. “So what if you did,” She said.
Shawn was about to respond when Professor Woods walked in. The Professor got right down to business, asking which pair was going to do their seminar that day.
A couple of their classmates stood up, and proceeded to present to them their thoughts about Hawthorne’s ideal of women in the 19th Century.
Shawn couldn’t seem to concentrate on what they were saying; he still couldn’t get over the fact that Belle had said yes to him. He could hardly wait to take her out – he had a wonderful evening planned for them, and hoped that Belle would enjoy herself.
When class was over three hours later, Shawn walked Belle to her car. “Hey, I know it’s late, but do you want to get a drink or something?” Shawn asked. He didn’t want to say goodnight to Belle – not yet anyway.
Belle tilted her head to the side, about to apologize and say no, but stopped when she caught the look in his eyes. She realized that he wanted to spend more time with her, which is why he wanted to have a drink with her.
“Let’s go,” Belle said.
They ended up having a soft drink at. dotcom twenty minutes later, and they talked about when they should get together for their seminar once again.
“How about Friday night?” Shawn asked her.
“Shawn!” Belle exclaimed.
“Friday night we have plans, remember?” She told him.
Shawn pretended not to know what she was talking about, and then smacked his head. “Oh yeah, I forgot!” He said.
“Yeah, sure you did,” Belle muttered. Despite herself, she found herself smiling at him.
They remained at their booth, talking about the seminar, and about each other. Shawn found out Belle was into ‘chick flicks’, and groaned when she told him she had seen the movie, “The Princess Bride” over a dozen times. “I love that movie!” She squealed. “Cary Elwes is such babe,” She said.
“Yeah, and Robin Wright is not too bad either,” He said.
“What?” Shawn said. “It was all right when you were drooling over Cary Elwes, but I can’t say anything about the beautiful blonde in the movie?” Shawn said. He narrowed his eyes, and leaned closer to her across the booth. “Or are you jealous?” He said.
“Jealous? Don’t be absurd!” Belle said.
“You are!” Shawn said.
“Am not-“ Belle stopped and took a deep breathe. “You know what? We sound like a couple of kids, and I’m not going to continue on with this,” Belle said, in a firm voice.
“Whatever you say,” Shawn said, grinning from ear to ear. He loved to get her all riled up – it showed him how passionate she was in her beliefs. She was obviously NOT jealous, but he wanted to see how far she would go to prove her point.
Kind of made him wonder how passionate she was in the bedroom…she would probably hold nothing back…give just as much as she received. He felt himself becoming aroused, and quickly took a sip of his soda. He had an urge to take the ice, and pour it down his pants for thinking about Belle this way in the middle of. dotcom.
“You know what? It’s getting late – I should walk you to your car now,” Shawn said, standing up.
“You’re right,” Belle said. She put on her jacket, and they walked the short distance to Belle’s car together.
When they finally arrived, Belle bit on her lip and turned to face Shawn. “Okay, so we still didn’t decide when to get together for our seminar,” Belle said.
“You’re right,” Shawn said. He thought for a moment and said, “How about tomorrow night?”
“Um, yeah sure – can we meet here – say around 7:30?” Belle said.
“Sure thing,” Shawn said. He noticed Belle shivering, and he instantly reached out, and took her small hands in his. They were cold as ice, and he rubbed them gently with his thumbs. He saw that Belle had become quiet, and he raised one of her hands to his lips and kissed it gently, watching her with his warm brown eyes as he did so.
Belle was clearly surprised, but pleased. She smiled at him, and said, “I should go now Shawn – it’s really late,” She said gently.
Shawn nodded and let go of her hands. “You’re right.” He said lightly. “Until tomorrow then,” He said.
“Right – until tomorrow,” Belle whispered.
She turned around and went inside her car, looking at him one more time before she finally drove off.
She nearly melted to the floor when Shawn had kissed her hand – never had a man done that to her before. He made her feel so warm, and so special.
And he had asked her out! She had heard of The Penthouse Grille – it was a very elite restaurant, and she had only been there a couple of times in the past, with her parents.
She knew she needed to wear something formal, and hoped she had a nice dress.
Belle sighed – finally, things were going well for her, and she only hoped that things would get better.
Chapter Six, Rated PG-13
Shawn and Belle met the next day after work, and worked on their project together. They were happy with the way things were going between them – they already knew they had feelings for each other, and going out on Friday night would prove eventful for both of them.
Shawn continued to call Belle - every night, and they talked about their long day at work, each counting down the days until the weekend.
They met up for night school, both Tuesdays and Thursdays, and realized they only had two weeks until they presented their seminar. But Shawn was confidant that he and Belle were going to shine.
Friday had arrived for Belle, and she found herself unable to concentrate at work. She was daydreaming about Shawn – again, and she wondered how their date would go.
She had picked out a dress for their date – it was dark blue, and made out of silk. It had thin straps, and was long, going all the way down to her ankles. The bodice was plain, but the dress showed off her figure perfectly, which is exactly what she wanted.
Shawn had told her to be ready at 8:00, and when she heard someone knocking at her door at 7:55 later in that evening, she smiled.
She took a deep breath, and tried to calm her nerves. It was just Shawn, she told herself. She knew that no matter how good he looked, she had to appear cool, calm, and collected.
Her little self-lecture did nothing for her once she opened the door and saw Shawn. He was wearing a dark blue suit, with a crisp white dress shirt, and a matching blue tie. His hair was slicked back, giving him a very handsome look. He gave her one of his gorgeous smiles, and whistled at her in admiration when he saw what she was wearing.
“Wow Belle,” He said, stepping into her apartment. “You look…. stunning,” He said. His eyes took in her luscious curves, which the dress showed off perfectly. She had her hair pulled up in an elegant French twist, and her make up was flawless.
Belle was sure he could hear her heart beating as she smiled at him and said, “Thanks Shawn.” She looked at him apologetically and said, “I just need to get one more thing before we leave – follow me,” She said. She walked into the living room, and smiled at him once more. “Why don’t you wait in here? I should only be a couple of minutes,” She said.
“Sure,” Shawn said. He watched as she walked in the opposite direction, down a long hallway, which he assumed led to her bedroom. He admired her apartment, as she got ready. He took in his surroundings; impressed with the way Belle had decorated the living room. There was a set of leather couches, all black, with a coffee table in front of them, made out of glass. Shawn noticed two end tables, also made out of glass, beside the long sofa.
There was a television set a few feet in front of him, enclosed in a large Wall Unit, made out of black wood.
Shawn looked closer at the wall unit, and noticed pictures on top of the television – Shawn didn’t recognize anyone, but when he saw an older man and woman, he only assumed they were her parents.
He walked back to the long leather sofa, and glanced over to his right, where the kitchen was located.
He sat down, and wondered how much longer Belle would be.
She walked in a couple of minutes later, with her purse and her long coat, all ready to go.
“Shall we Mr. Brady?” She asked.
Shawn grinned at her as he stood up from the sofa. “Yes, we shall,” He said.
Belle giggled, and they walked down to the parking garage. “You have a really nice place Belle,” Shawn told her as they went into his car.
“Thanks – I like it. I’ve been here for two years now, and its’ really quiet, and the rent isn’t too bad either,” She told him. “Plus, it’s not too far from work,” Belle added.
“That’s an added bonus then,” Shawn said to her.
They drove off to the Penthouse Grille, and arrived about twenty minutes later.
They rode up the elevator in silence, and once they reached the top floor, an older gentleman, who gave them a friendly smile, greeted them.
“Mr. Brady – ah, yes, your table is ready for you Sir; please, follow me,” He said.
Shawn and Belle walked behind him, and were seated a moment later.
They were given their menus’ and they ordered their dinner a few minutes later. While they waited for their food to arrive, Belle took the moment to look around her. The restaurant was quite busy, and there was a live band off to the side. They were playing soft melodies, and Belle noticed a few couples swaying slowly to the music.
Unlike the ambiance at the Blue Note, where everything seemed dark and sultry - the Penthouse Grille was open and bright. But when Belle looked at her handsome date sitting across from her, she didn’t care where they were.
They made small talk as they ate their dinner, and Shawn was sure to order a bottle of champagne for them.
They each had sip and stared at each other, wondering what the other was thinking. Shawn knew one way to find out. He cleared his throat, and put his napkin down on the table. He stood up, and held his hand out to her. “May I have this dance?” He asked gently.
Belle looked up at him timidly, loving the face that he was being such a gentleman. She swallowed nervously and placed her tiny hand in his. “I’d love to,” She said, standing up.
They walked over to the dance floor, and stood in front of each other. Shawn pulled her closely to his body, making sure that her soft curves were pressed against his hard body. This dance was going to be the complete opposite from the dance they had shared last weekend, he thought to himself.
They had both been shy and unsure of themselves, and of their feelings for one another the last time. But tonight, Shawn knew what he wanted, and he wanted Belle to know that friendship wasn’t enough for him any more.
She almost gasped when she felt their bodies pressed tightly together, and she looked into his brown eyes, which were filled with a mixture of warmth and desire.
They swayed together to the music, silently telling each other with their bodies how they truly felt for one another.
Belle sighed as Shawn pressed his cheek against hers, and she closed her eyes. She had never felt more content than she did at this very moment. Being in Shawn’s arms offered her a sense of security – something she had never felt with anyone before, aside from her parents.
She felt his lips brush against her forehead gently, and she opened her eyes quickly. She raised her head and found her eyes locked with his.
He smiled down at her, and gently asked, “Are you having a good time Isabella?”
Belle didn’t trust herself to answer, and merely nodded.
“Good.” Shawn said.
He continued to hold her in his arms, not wanting to let her go. It felt wonderful to have her so close to him, and he wondered if she felt the same connection to him that he felt with her. It was as though she could see into his very soul – he had never felt this way before, about anyone.
She was intoxicating to him – whenever he wasn’t with her, he thought about her constantly. He couldn’t wait to hear her voice, and rushed to his telephone every night, impatiently dialling her number, feeling his heart surge with joy whenever she answered the phone.
He loved to listen to her talk – about her ideas, letting him know what was going on in that beautiful head of hers. He liked to listen to her opinions, and loved disagreeing with her.
Simply put, he couldn’t get enough of Isabella.
“Belle,” He whispered to her. “I have a confession to make,” He said.
“What is it?” Belle asked, looking up at him.
“Ever since I saw you sitting in our American Lit seminar, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you – even when I didn’t know your name,” He admitted.
Belle looked at him, her face brightening, obviously surprised at his admission. “Really?” She said, her voice cracking a bit.
“Yes, really.” He said, smiling at her.
Belle swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. He had a tendency for leaving her at a loss for words, and she wondered what she could say in response.
“It’s the same for me Shawn,” She found herself saying.
“I hoped that it would be,” Shawn said.
They continued to stare at one another, neither one of them moving, nor breathing, fearing this electrical moment would end.
Their bodies moved together - slowly, delicately, but stopped a few moments later when the music came to an abrupt end.
They were told that the band was going to take a break, and Shawn and Belle walked back to their table.
When Shawn glanced at his watch, he frowned. “Belle, will you excuse me for a moment?” He asked, standing up.
“Um, yeah, sure,” Belle said. He walked off, leaving Belle confused. He obviously had something on his mind, and she wondered what it was.
He returned almost ten minutes later, and apologized to her. “I had something to take care of,” He said.
“What was that?” She asked.
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough,” Shawn told her.
Belle looked at him suspiciously. “Okay, now you’ve definitely peaked my curiosity,” Belle said. “Tell me what you’re up to,” Belle said.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Shawn said, an adorable grin splashed across his face.
Belle huffed a little, and crossed her arms across her chest. Shawn smiled, but refused to back down.
Shawn decided to break the silence by pouring each of them another glass of champagne. Shawn glanced at his watch once again, and smiled to himself. It was time.
A few moments later, Belle was shocked when the waiters and waitresses at the Penthouse Grille all gathered around their table, holding a cake, and sang Happy Birthday to her.
“Shawn!” She exclaimed. “You did this, didn’t you?” She said.
“Guilty!” Shawn said, giving her one of his sexy smirks.
The waiter who was holding the cake stepped closer to Belle, and said, “Come on, make a wish Miss-“
“It’s Belle,” Belle told him politely.
Shawn kept his eyes locked on Belle, who blew out all 23 candles, and everyone clapped once she was done.
Shawn stood up from his chair, and walked over to her, kissing her cheek lightly. “Happy Birthday Isabella,” Shawn whispered.
“Thanks Shawn, but my birthday isn’t until tomorrow,” Belle told him.
“Yes, but if you look at your watch, it’s past midnight,” He said.
“So that’s what you had planned!” Belle said excitedly. “You are very sneaky Shawn Brady,” She said.
“Kind of like 007?” He teased.
“Yeah, kind of,” Belle said. She felt her pulse racing, her heart soaring with admiration for this man. She was touched that he had arranged this for her – and had done it in such a way that she had been caught totally off guard.
Shawn Brady was truly a special man.
A waiter bought each of them a piece of cake, and Shawn said, “I hope you like chocolate.”
“I LOVE chocolate!” Belle said.
Shawn laughed when he saw the look in her eyes – she had the innocence of a child, but the sensuality of a woman – a wonderful combination, in Shawn’s opinion.
After they had finished eating their cake, Shawn said, “Belle, I know it’s getting late, but can I take you somewhere before I drive you home?” He asked.
Belle knew she should say no – it WAS late, and she was getting together with her family the next day.
But she wasn’t meeting up with her parents until the evening time, and she told herself that the night was young.
“Sure Shawn,” Belle told him.
They were in his car ten minutes later, and Belle wondered where he was taking her. It suddenly occurred to her that she didn’t care – she trusted him, and didn’t care where they went, as long as they were together.
Belle was surprised when they arrived down by the Pier. Belle zipped up her long coat, and thanked Shawn when he held the door open for her. It was chilly that night, and Shawn held her hand as they walked together, and grinned at her. “Come with me,” He said. “We won’t be walking for too long,” He told her.
Belle nodded, and they walked together silently. A few minutes later, they stopped in front of a boat. Belle looked closer and saw the words, “Fancy Face” written on the side.
“This boat belongs to my parents,” Shawn said quietly. “It’s been in our family for years, and when I was born, my parents and I travelled around the world with it,” He told her. “Wanna go inside?” He asked.
Belle nodded eagerly, desperate to get out of the cold.
They walked in, and Belle noticed it was small, but comfy. She noticed a small kitchen, and a door off to the side, presumably leading to the bedroom.
“This is great Shawn – you must have a lot of great memories on this boat,” She told him.
Shawn walked up to her, and handed her a cup of hot chocolate. “Yes, I do,” He said.
“How did you make this so quickly?” Belle asked.
“I have my ways,” He said.
Belle thanked him, and sipped eagerly, loving the way the hot fluid felt going through her system at that moment.
Once they were finished, Shawn set both their cups down on the table, and stepped closer to her. His hand reached up and caressed her cheek lightly, and looked into her bright blue eyes. “I took you here tonight, because I want you to know that this boat is very special to me,” He said tenderly. “You are also very special to me Isabella,” He whispered.
“Oh Shawn, that means so much to me,” Belle said softly. She was touched that he felt that close to her, to share such a deep part of himself with her.
“YOU mean so much to me Belle,” He said, leaning closer to her. One of his hands grasped the back of her neck lightly, while the other went around her waist.
Belle felt herself being pressed against Shawn’s hard body, and her hands touched his chest lightly.
She saw Shawn’s lips moving closer to her, and she closed her eyes, and moved forward - slowly, until finally, their lips met for a soft kiss.
Shawn nearly groaned when he felt how warm her lips felt, and he tilted her head to the side, silently asking for permission to deepen the kiss.
Belle instantly opened her mouth for him, allowing his tongue inside to meet and share a sensual dance with her own. Belle felt the room spinning around her, and instantly hooked her arms around Shawn’s neck.
Feeling Belle’s response meant so much to Shawn, and he continued to kiss her with everything he had in him, unable to keep a lid on his feelings any longer.
Belle pulled away after a few moments, her lips swollen, and her heart beating furiously. Never had a kiss affected her so intensely – she craved for more, but stepped away, trying to breathe evenly.
Shawn stepped over to her and said, “I wasn’t out of line, was I?”
Belle shook her head and gave him a tiny smile. “No you weren’t,” Belle said. “I enjoyed that just as much as you did,” She admitted. She glanced at her watch, and said, “But it’s really late Shawn-“
“I know,” He said, interrupting her. “Come on, I’ll drive you home.”
They were in front of her door twenty-five minutes later, and Belle turned to look at him nervously. “Shawn, thank you so much for tonight – I had a great time,” She said.
“I’m glad you did,” Shawn said, leaning closer to her. His lips met with hers for another short, but sweet kiss. “I’ll call you tomorrow Isabella,” He whispered.
“Okay, I’ll be waiting,” She told him.
She nearly floated into her apartment, thrilled at how well her first date with Shawn had gone.
She was falling hard for him – and she had a feeling that he felt the same way.
And nothing could please Belle more.
The next evening, Belle was sitting with her parents and Brady at Chez Vous, where they had decided to take Belle for her 23rd Birthday.
Belle smiled politely at her parents as they all made small talk, but her mind was elsewhere. She was thinking about Shawn, and the kiss they had shared late last night. It had been everything she could ever dream of in a kiss – tender, warm, passionate – Belle still felt her knees shaking when she recalled how he had made her feel.
He had called her that morning, wishing her a Happy Birthday once again. She had giggled, telling him that he didn’t need to do that, since he had already wished her a happy birthday the previous night.
But Shawn said it just gave him an excuse to call her, so he could hear her voice once again.
“What time are you meeting your parents tonight?” Shawn had asked.
“I’m meeting them at Chez Vous around 7:00,” Belle had told him.
“Can you call me when you get back?” Shawn had said.
“You bet I will,” Belle had said.
Now that they had eaten dinner, Belle was anxious to go home, so she could call Shawn. She couldn’t wait to hear his voice.
But she didn’t want to seem rude – her family had, after all, taken her out for her birthday, so Belle knew she would have to remain at the restaurant for a little while longer.
“Honey, how are you finding night school?” Marlena asked.
“It’s great Mom,” Belle told her. She noticed that she hadn’t finished her glass of champagne, and took a sip. “I’ve met some really great people,” Belle said.
“We know that,” John mumbled. “But you still refuse to tell us who those people are,” John said looking bothered.
“What is that supposed to mean Dad?” Belle asked, not missing the hint of annoyance in his voice.
“You know exactly what it means Isabella, so don’t play coy with me,” John said, a little too harshly.
“John, please,” Marlena said, touching her husband’s arm gently.
“No, it’s okay Mom,” Belle said. She felt herself becoming infuriated, but was determined to deal with her father and in a cool fashion. “Can you explain to me why you’re so upset Dad?” Belle asked.
“I’m upset because you’re seeing someone from your class, and you won’t tell us who he is,” John said.
“Dad, there’s nothing to tell – we’ve only been seeing each other for a short time,” Belle told him.
“That’s fine Izzy B – but why won’t you tell us anything about him?” John asked.
“Because it’s none of your business!” Belle snapped.
“Isabella, don’t you dare talk to your father that way!” Marlena said.
“Whoa, whoa,” Brady said, interrupting. “Everyone time out,” He said. “Mom, Dad, we’re here to celebrate Tink’s birthday, not give her the third degree,” He said, eyeing his father.
“That doesn’t give her the right to talk to me like that,” John said. He looked at Belle, who had crossed her arms across her chest in anger. “Izzy B, I’m waiting for you to apologize,” He said.
Belle remained silent, and refused to look at her father.
“Belle,” Marlena said. “I know you’re upset, but your father is only looking out for your best interests,” She said calmly.
“Yeah right he is,” Belle mumbled.
“Belle!” Marlena said. “That’s enough.”
“Izzy B, I just find it strange that you’re obviously smitten with this guy from College, and you refuse to tell us anything about him,” John said. He was much calmer now, which surprised Belle, to say the least.
Belle sighed. “Dad, I appreciate your concern - really, I do,” Belle said. “But I’m an adult now, and I don’t feel that I’m ready to tell you about him yet,” Belle said in a gentle voice.
“John,” Marlena said, always the voice of reason. “She’s right – she’s 23 years old – she doesn’t have to tell us everything that goes on in her life,” She said soothingly. “When she’s ready to tell us about her special friend, she will,” She said.
“Thanks Mom – at least someone understands,” She said quietly.
“Belle!” Brady said. “Will you quit it? You’re not a kid any more.”
“Thanks for reminding me Brady,” Belle said sarcastically.
“Belle!” Marlena said. “I won’t say anything more about this – now apologize to your father, and let’s get on with our night,” Marlena said.
Belle lowered her head and said, “I’m sorry Dad,”
John sighed. “I’m sorry too Izzy B – I don’t mean to be so nosy – you have a right to your private life, and I guess I’m going to have to accept that sooner or later,” John said.
“Thanks Dad,” Belle said quietly.
The Blacks remained at the restaurant for another hour; finally, when it was time to leave, Belle tried to contain her excitement. She hugged her parents and her brother as they said good night, thanking them for her presents, as well as the wonderful dinner.
John and Marlena had purchased a diamond necklace for Belle, which she had immediately hung around her neck.
Brady had done the smart thing – he had given her gift certificates for a shopping spree at Salem Place, and Belle had been thrilled.
Belle was in her apartment a short while later, and she picked up the phone and dialled Shawn’s cell phone number, which she already knew by heart.
“Hello birthday girl,” Shawn said.
“Hey Shawn,” She said.
“How was dinner?”
Belle thought about the episode with her father and said, “Oh, it was all right,” She said.
“Why? What happened?” Shawn asked.
Belle sighed. “Oh nothing, my father was just trying to control my life - again,” Belle said. Belle took a deep breath and explained how her father had a tendency to be overprotective, and just plain annoying.
Shawn listened, and sighed as Belle finished. “Well, you can’t really blame him, can you?” Shawn said.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, here he is, with this gorgeous daughter, who can probably get any guy she wants, and he just wants to make sure that nobody takes advantage of you,” Shawn said. “I’m sure it gets annoying that he wants to know about everything that goes on in your life, but he’s just looking out for you Belle,” Shawn explained.
Belle immediately felt at ease – it felt good to have someone explain it to her, calmly and rationally, and she was starting to see her father’s point of view.
“Thanks Shawn – I think I needed to hear that come from someone else other than my father,” Belle said.
“So what are you up to right now?” Shawn asked.
“Me? Nothing really – why?”
“Well, I wanted to stop by – only for a few minutes – if you feel uncomfortable with me coming up to your apartment, I understand,” Shawn said. “But maybe you could meet me downstairs in the lobby?” Shawn asked.
“Shawn, don’t be silly!” Belle said. “You remember my apartment number?” She asked.
“Good – I’ll be waiting for you,” Belle told him.
Shawn quickly hung up, and drove off to Belle’s apartment. He was knocking on her door ten minutes later, and he grinned at her when she opened the door.
“Hey,” Belle said.
“Hey yourself,” Shawn said.
“Come on in,” Belle said.
Shawn walked in, carrying a small gift, and Belle smiled. “What’s that you got in your hand?” She asked, as they walked into her living room.
“Oh this?” Shawn said. “I just thought I’d get you a little something, since it’s your birthday and all,” Shawn said.
“Shawn,” She said, obviously touched. “You didn’t have to get me anything.”
“I know – but I wanted to.” He handed the gift to her and said, “Here, open it.”
Belle took the gift, and with shaky fingers, took the wrapping paper away. When she saw what it was, she gasped.
“Shawn! This is so sweet! Thank you so much!” She exclaimed. It was special DVD edition of ‘The Princess Bride’, with special behind the scenes footage, as well as interviews with Cary Elwes.
Belle stepped closer to Shawn and hugged him tightly. “You really didn’t have to do this,” She whispered.
Shawn pulled away after a moment and smiled down at her. “You said that already,” He said.
“I know,” Belle said. She didn’t know what else to say to express her gratitude, so she leaned forward, and placed her small hand on his cheek.
She noticed Shawn take a sharp intake of breath, and she felt her pulse quicken. They both had the same reactions to each other – that much was obvious.
Belle glanced at his lips, and licked her own eagerly, wanting to feel them pressed against hers.
Belle hesitantly moved closer to him, and when Shawn realized what she wanted, he met her halfway. Their lips met for a tender kiss, and when Belle felt Shawn’s tongue lick her lips, she wasn’t about to deny him.
Their tongues met with one another, causing the two to moan in pleasure. Belle had never felt this way about anyone before – if she didn’t know better, she could swear that she was falling in love with him.
They were out of breath by the time they pulled away from each other, and Belle smiled at him timidly. “That was just a thank you - for the gift,” She said. “I love it,” She added.
“I should get you a gift everyday then,” Shawn said, touching his lips lightly. He smiled when he saw her blush, and said, “I should get going,”
Belle nodded, and walked him to the door. He turned to look at her once more and said, “I’d like you to see you again tomorrow – do you have any plans?” He asked.
Belle shook her head.
“Good – I’ll call you, and we could get a cup of coffee together,” Shawn said.
“Sounds great,” Belle said.
Shawn leaned forward and kissed her lips lightly once again.
“Night Isabella.” He whispered.
He left, leaving Belle shaking with excitement.
This was definitely a birthday that she was going to remember - for a long time.
The day of Shawn and Belle’s seminar arrived, and Belle couldn’t help but feel nervous. The seminar was worth 40% of their final grade, and she hoped they did well.
“Belle, we’re going to do great,” Shawn assured her. They were the first one’s to arrive to class that night, so they could make preparations for the presentation.
“I wish I had your confidence,” Belle mumbled.
“Hey, come on – just take a deep breath, and remember everything that we discussed,” Shawn said in a gentle and even voice.
“You’re right,” Belle said. She took a deep breath, and held her head high. She glanced at the books in front of her, and made sure her handouts were ready for the class.
A half an hour later, Belle and Shawn were in the middle of their presentation, and the whole class couldn’t contain their laughter. Shawn and Belle had set up their seminar in a unique and spectacular way – they both had different ideas as to how Hawthorne felt about women’s ideals in the 19th century – that had been obvious when they had first gotten together.
So they creatively decided to set up the whole seminar as a movie review, with two critics disagreeing on Hawthorne’s views. They sat side by side, in front of the class, explaining each of their point of views. They were sure to add in their own humour to the presentation, which the class obviously appreciated.
They were sure to include examples and quotes from Hawthorne’s novels, and by the time the presentation was over, the class applauded them. Belle and Shawn were relieved, knowing that the class had obviously enjoyed it.
After class, they were thrilled when Professor Woods took them aside and told them their mark – they had been given an A!
“See Belle, I told you we were going to do well!” Shawn said excitedly, as they met up with each other, twenty minutes later.
They were in the parking lot of the Blue Note, and before they walked in, Shawn took Belle in his arms and twirled her around.
“Shawn!” Belle exclaimed. “Put me down!”
“Why?” He said, as if he was confused. He stopped twirling her, but made sure she was still in his arms, and he stared into her eyes.
“Well, for one thing - it’s the middle of November, and I’m freezing!” Belle said, giggling.
“Okay, I guess I should let you go then,” Shawn mumbled.
“We make a great team, don’t we?” Belle said, when they were later seated in the restaurant.
“Yeah, we do,” Shawn said, taking her hand in his. They were silent for a few moments, as they looked into each other’s eyes.
Belle cleared her throat when the waiter came over with their drinks, and Shawn released her hand.
“So what are your plans for this weekend?” Shawn asked.
“Oh – nothing really,” Belle said.
“Good – want to catch a movie?” He asked.
“Sure,” Belle said.
“I should probably tell you - this time, you won’t have to worry about me not touching you,” He teased. “I’m sure you were dying for me to touch you the last time, but I intend to make up for lost time,” He said, smiling at her.
Belle felt her pulse increase, as it always did when Shawn smiled at her.
They remained at the Blue Note for the rest of the night, talking to one another, and when it was time to leave, Shawn was sure to walk Belle to her car.
“You don’t have to walk me to my car, every time we’re together,” Belle said to him.
“Now what kind of gentlemen would I be if I didn’t walk you to your car?” Shawn asked teasingly.
Belle blushed at his comment. “I guess you wouldn’t be much of one,” She admitted. She looked at her watch, and said, “I’d better get going – I have to be at the office early tomorrow morning,” She said.
Shawn nodded. “Yeah – I’m opening up the Pub tomorrow morning, so I gotta get going too,” He said.
Shawn cupped her cheek with his hand, bringing her face closer to his, and kissed her lips sweetly.
Belle moaned when she felt his lips on hers, and she tilted her head to the side, allowing him to deepen the kiss.
Shawn pulled away from her a moment later, gasping for air. “Damn Belle, what you do to me,” He said huskily.
Belle looked at him with her eyes half closed. She knew what he meant, because he did the same to her – made her lose control, made her feel so passionate, and desirable. It was almost dangerous.
Shawn kissed her lips once more and whispered, “Good night Belle.”
Belle pulled away from his embrace and said, “Good night Shawn.”
As she drove off, Shawn watched her. She was so intoxicating, and Shawn couldn’t get enough of her. He found himself wanting to spend more and more time with her, and it felt strange.
And that was because no one had ever made him feel this way.
But Shawn had no complaints – he was enjoying every minute of his time spent with Belle.
The weeks passed by, with Shawn and Belle getting closer everyday. They talked constantly – while Belle was at work, Shawn would call her personal line. On her break, Belle would call Shawn from her cell, and ask how he was doing. In the evenings, they would talk once again, usually until it was late, and they eventually decided to hang up – reluctantly of course.
They were seeing each other much more frequently than before. Aside from the time they spent together in class, they also made sure to get together through the week – usually for a coffee, or for a late dinner. It really didn’t matter – all they cared about was spending time together.
As Christmas approached, Belle wondered what she could buy for Shawn. She had decided to buy him a gift, even though they hadn’t really discussed it. But Belle figured it had been nearly three months since they had started seeing each other, and she wanted to surprise him with something special.
She smiled as she thought about how smitten she had become with Shawn – she was falling hard for him, and she wondered how close she was to falling in love with him.
“Don’t be absurd Belle,” She mumbled to herself. She was sitting in her office, supposedly working on a marketing report, but it wasn’t happening.
But even as she doubted herself, Belle knew it would only be a matter of time before she admitted that she was in love with him, although a part of her suspected that she already was.
Falling in love with Shawn hadn’t been difficult. He was everything that he wanted in a boyfriend – he was sweet, caring, thoughtful, and had a wonderful sense of humour. He had this ability to calm her down whenever she was upset or down about something. She thought about the times she had argued with her father, and afterwards, when she opened up to Shawn, he would always manage to calm her down, and make her feel better.
Belle bit her lip when she thought about her father. Their relationship had been rocky these last few weeks. It had been that way ever since she refused to tell him who her boyfriend was. She had admitted to seeing Shawn in the beginning, but now it was obvious that Belle was serious about him, and John obviously wanted to know more about him.
But Belle still refused to open her heart to her father. Belle had already confided into her mother about Shawn, telling her that she was experiencing the most wonderful and intense feelings of her life.
As usual, Marlena assured her daughter that whatever Belle told her would be kept in confidence, and for that, Belle was thankful.
John sensed that Belle had told her mother about Shawn, and it enraged him that she wouldn’t open up to him. He never came out and said it, but Belle was pretty sure that it didn’t please him too much. The fact that John wanted to know so much about her life further proved to Belle that he was out to control her. And Belle wouldn’t allow him to do that.
But Belle knew that eventually, Shawn would have to meet her parents. As a matter of fact, Belle was going to meet Shawn’s parents in a couple of weeks – the Brady’s were all getting together for Christmas Eve at their house, and Shawn had invited Belle for dinner.
Belle had been touched at his invitation. Obviously, he was serious about her if he wanted Belle to be with him during Christmas Eve. And nothing could please Belle more.
Shawn admitted to Belle that he had already told his parents about his girlfriend, and they were quite anxious to meet the young lady who had their son smiling all the time.
Belle was nervous about meeting them, but he assured her she had nothing to worry about. He told her that as long as she was herself, his family was going to love her.
Two days before Christmas Eve, Belle invited Shawn to dinner – at her place. She had promised to order in, and had told him to get a movie, so they could watch it together.
She couldn’t believe she had been so bold to do that, but Shawn had been pleased when she had asked him. He had eagerly agreed, asking which movie she preferred.
Belle had simply given him a long kiss and said, “Surprise me,” in a thick and sultry voice.
Shawn felt aroused when he thought about the way she had looked at him when she had said that. She was such a sensual woman, and he was so lucky to be dating her.
Shawn had decided upon a pair of dark khakis’ and a blue fleece sweater for his intimate date with Belle. He made sure to add on a little bit more cologne, and glanced at his reflection once more in the mirror. He was satisfied, and made his way over to Belle’s, anxious to see her.
He arrived at her apartment twenty minutes later, holding a bouquet of red roses. Belle smiled in appreciation, and thanked him with a kiss on his cheek.
“They’re beautiful Shawn,” Belle said, as he followed her into the living room.
She made sure to find a vase for the flowers, and excused herself to the kitchen. Shawn sat down, waiting for her to return.
“So what movie did you get?” Belle asked him, once she returned.
“Oh, I thought I’d get a chick flick,” He said. “My girlfriend is crazy about these type of movies, so I thought I’d amuse her,” He said, grinning at her.
“Wow, your girlfriend is one lucky girl,” Belle said.
“I’d say so,” Shawn replied.
Belle giggled and glanced at her watch. “Shawn, I have to go and get dinner warmed up – I ordered Chinese Food, so could you just get the DVD player ready, and I’ll bring dinner in here,” Belle said. “We’ll eat while we watch the movie, how does that sound?” Belle asked.
“Sounds great,” Shawn said.
“Okay, I’ll just be in the kitchen,” She said.
Shawn nodded, and went over to her television set, turning on her DVD player. As he did, he noticed the pictures of her parents once again. It was the same picture he had seen the last time, but this time, he noticed something else beside it. It was a large newspaper article, and Belle had put in a large frame. When Shawn looked closer, he saw that it was dated recently, and had the caption,
“Owner John Black given award as top fashion designer”.
John Black’s name caught Shawn’s attention instantly. His eyes flashed in anger, and when he glanced down to look at the picture of him - which was in the article, he gasped. The picture showed John accepting the award, and it was then that Shawn realized that it was the same man in Belle’s other pictures.
Belle was John Black’s daughter.
His girlfriend’s father was the man who had put JT in a wheelchair, the man that Shawn had sworn he would confront since he was ten years old.
He raised both of his hands and covered his face, trying to breath steadily. But he found it nearly impossible.
Shawn frowned as he looked towards the kitchen, where Belle was busy getting dinner ready for them.
What should he do? What could he say to her once she walked back into the living room?
Belle meanwhile, was in the kitchen, humming to herself as she got everything together. She had warmed up the food in the microwave, and she walked over to the fridge to retrieve the bottle of champagne she had bought earlier that day.
She wanted this night to be special – she hoped that it would be, because she knew she was crazy about Shawn.
She put everything on a tray, and slowly walked out to the living room.
“Okay Shawn, I hope you’re hungry, because dinner is ready,” She said, setting the tray down on the coffee table.
Belle frowned when Shawn was nowhere to be seen.
“Shawn?” She said. She walked over to the bathroom, and peaked into her bedroom, trying to find out where he had gone.
“Shawn, where did you go?” She called out.
She went back into the living room, and started to panic. Shawn wasn’t there, and she felt her body shake when she realized that he had left.
“Shawn,” Belle sobbed, her heart breaking. “Why did you leave?” She said, burying her face into her hands.
Shawn ran from Belle’s apartment, not even thinking about the fact that he had left his car behind.
He simply ran, as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn’t even know where he was going. Now that he knew that John Black was Belle’s father, he didn’t know what to do.
He shouldn’t have run out like that on Belle, he realized that. He was behaving like a jerk, and Belle deserved an explanation.
He finally stopped running, not even caring that it was the middle of winter, and that his jacket was undone. He couldn’t even feel the cold air outside – all he thought about was Belle, and her father.
“Why didn’t I figure this out sooner?” Shawn said to himself. He remembered Belle mentioning that she worked for Basic Black, but he hadn’t suspected anything. And she came right out and said that her last name was Black, but Shawn still didn’t make a connection.
He had just presumed that Black was a common last name – he never dreamed that Belle would be related to the same John Black who had caused his brother’s accident.
He cursed as he thought about what this was going to do to his relationship with Belle. Just when he had found someone special – they had even made plans together for Christmas. Shawn had been looking forward to Christmas Eve, which was in two days – he had been planning on introducing Belle to his whole family.
Now that would never happen.
He could just imagine telling his family that he was dating John Black’s daughter – that would go over well, he thought.
Shawn remembered when JT had been in the accident – he remembered how upset his parents were, and how Shawn had tried to appear tough and indifferent. But deep down, Shawn had been deeply affected.
He remembered looking at his brother in the hospital bed, seeing him in so much pain – he remembered the vow he had made – to confront and get even with the man who had done this to his little brother.
The Brady’s never did press charges, and John Black had gotten off with a slap on the wrist. It paid to be wealthy, and the incident had been John’s first offence, so he had gotten away with community service.
Shawn had been very bitter about that – JT had lost the use of his legs - because of John, and he didn’t serve one day of jail time.
That hadn’t been fair.
Shawn wondered what he should do about Belle – should he turn around, go back to her apartment, and face her like a man? He could just imagine how upset she was, especially since she didn’t realize the connection her father had to his family.
Belle was innocent in all of this - Shawn knew that.
Nonetheless, it broke Shawn’s heart to know that he and Belle could never be together.
Back at Belle’s apartment, Belle was a basket case. She wiped her tears away with the back of her hand, and tried to think. Where could Shawn have run off?
Maybe something had come up – maybe there was a problem at home?
But Belle shook her head, knowing that Shawn would have told her. Something had happened, and she wanted to know what had made him so upset.
Belle glanced at the DVD player in front of her, and walked over to it when she realized Shawn hadn’t put the movie in. She went to turn it off, and noticed the pictures of her parents, and the newspaper article she had framed.
John had recently received the award for top fashion designer, and everyone had been so proud of him. Belle couldn’t help but frame the article, and she wondered if Shawn had noticed it while he had been preparing the movie.
But even if he had, what had made him so upset? It didn’t make any sense.
Belle felt her head throbbing as she continued to think about Shawn – she couldn’t handle it any more, so decided to call his cell phone. She deserved some answers, and she was going to demand that Shawn tell her what was going on.
She was disappointed when she realized he had left his cell phone off. Obviously, he didn’t want to talk to her.
Obviously, Shawn didn’t want to have anything to do with her, and Belle had no idea why.
The next day, Belle continued to try and get in touch with Shawn, but he still refused to pick up his cell phone. What started out as concern, turned into anger for Belle – here she was, worried sick about him, and he didn’t even have the decency to pick his phone up when she called him.
“You are something else, Shawn Brady,” She muttered, as she cleaned her kitchen later in the morning.
“You should be the one trying to get a hold of me, but here I am, still worried about you, and you don’t even care,” She said. She picked up a washcloth, and wiped her kitchen table furiously. “What gives you the right to do this to me!” She exclaimed.
If only he hadn’t run out on her last night - but the more she thought about it, the angrier she became. She concluded that Shawn was nothing but a coward, and if he didn’t want to talk to her, then she was simply going to leave him alone.
Obviously, he didn’t care about her – the last few weeks they had spent together – talking with each other into the late hours of the night, connecting with one another –it didn’t mean a thing to him.
The kisses they had shared – Belle blushed as she thought about how intense they had been, and she was sure that he had strong feelings for her.
They had yet to talk about the depth of their feelings for one another, and perhaps Belle had been a fool to think that Shawn had loved her.
“Just stop thinking about him Belle!” She exclaimed. He wasn’t worth it, she told herself. If he could just get up and walk out on her like that, without a word, Shawn Brady was nothing but a loser in her book.
And she wanted nothing to do with him.
Two days later, it was Christmas Eve, and Shawn sat in his kitchen, helping his mother.
Hope was making a huge dinner, and Shawn had volunteered to peel the potatoes.
He tried to occupy himself with the task in front of him, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Belle. She had called quite a few times, and he didn’t have the nerve to pick up his cell whenever she did.
He found it odd that she stopped calling the previous day– but he supposed he should be happy; after all, they had no future together.
Hope watched her son as helped her. He had something on his mind – he had been distracted these last couple of days, and she hoped he would open up to her.
She sat down next to him at the table and said, “Shawn, you want to tell me what’s bothering you honey?” Hope asked, in a gentle and soothing voice. “Everyone’s noticed that you’ve been really moody these last couple of days,” Hope said.
Shawn sighed, and dropped the potato peeler he was holding. “Am I that obvious?” He asked sadly.
“Oh honey, why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind?” Hope asked, touching his hand gently. “You know you can always come to me,” Hope said.
“I know Mom, and I appreciate your concern – but there’s nothing you can do to fix this. No one can, and that really upsets me,” Shawn said.
“Shawn, does this have anything to do with Belle?” Hope asked.
Shawn sighed. “It has everything to do with her,” Shawn said.
“What happened? Did you two get into a fight?” She asked.
“No.” Shawn said. He closed his eyes, thinking about the sadness that Belle must’ve felt when she realized he had left her apartment. He had felt her pain, and he hated himself for doing that to her. “Mom, everything is so screwed up!” Shawn said, in a sad and tired voice.
“Why?” Hope asked.
“Because – I care about her so much; I really thought we had something special,” He said.
“And now you don’t?”
“No,” Shawn said. He stood up from the table, and ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “We can never be together Mom,”
“It’s complicated,” Shawn said. He couldn’t tell his mother the reason – she would hate Belle, and he didn’t want anyone to feel that way about her.
“Shawn, maybe if you tell me why-“
“No Mom, it’s no use!” Shawn said. He kicked the chair in frustration, not even bothered by the pain in his foot. “This is so unfair – I really thought I had found her, you know – the most perfect girl, with the brightest smile and the warmest heart,” He said, his voice breaking. “Mom, I think I was falling in love with her,” He mumbled.
“Oh Shawn honey, come here,” Hope said, standing up. She spread her arms out, and embraced her eldest son tightly. “There, there,” She said soothingly, gently stroking his back. “My poor baby boy,” Hope whispered. “You’re a wreck,” She said.
“I hurt her Mom,” He told her. “I hurt her so bad,” Shawn said, pulling away from his mother’s arms. “I didn’t mean to, and I hate thinking about what she must be going through right now,” Shawn said.
“Shawn honey, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong,” Hope said. “I promise you I won’t say a word to anyone, and maybe you’ll feel better about what’s bothering you so much,” Hope told him.
Shawn wanted to tell her mother – he needed to tell someone, because this secret was eating him alive.
But he couldn’t – this was something he had to keep to himself.
“Mom, I’ll be okay, really – don’t worry about me,” He said, walking back to the table. He held his head high, and took a deep breath. He pulled out a chair and sat down once again. He resumed his job with the potatoes and Hope watched him, shaking her head.
She wanted to help her son, yet he refused to let her. It broke her heart to see him so upset, and she hoped that he would be all right.
Christmas came and went for Belle, and she did her best to appear as though she was happy. She went and spent the day with her parents and her brother, and they all had dinner together.
Even though she had convinced herself that she didn’t want anything to do with him, every time the phone rang, or someone knocked at her door, Belle hoped it was Shawn.
But it never was, and it pained Belle to realize how immature he was acting. She still believed that he owed her an explanation, and she wondered how she would face him in class after the holidays.
The day after Christmas, Belle made arrangements to meet Marlena at Salem Place – the two were planning a major shopping spree, and Belle was sure to be on time.
Belle glanced at her watch, wondering why her mother was late. Marlena was always on time, and she wondered if she should call her cell phone.
Belle opened her purse, and looked for her cell phone, cursing when she saw that the battery had died.
“Well, I’m going to do something that I haven’t done in ages,” Belle mumbled. “I’m going to use a pay phone.”
She walked over to a row of payphones, and hoped that she had a quarter in her purse. She sighed in relief when she found one, but stopped before she could make her way over to the phones.
Her mouth became dry, and her whole body began to quiver.
Standing in front of her, looking tired and heartbroken was Shawn.