Belle tried to focus on her new life with her husband, despite the fact that John had hurt her deeply. At one point, she had convinced herself that John wasn’t serious about what he had said to her. She woke up the next morning after her confrontation with him, determined to walk into work, as though nothing had happened. Shawn, being the wiser, warned Belle not to go into work.
“Belle, I think your father was very serious when he told you that you no longer work at Basic Black,” Shawn said. The two of them were sitting down, having breakfast together. Shawn looked at Belle, who seemed to be in her own world.
“Shawn, this is my father we’re talking about – he would never do that to me, even if he doesn’t approve of our marriage,” Belle said confidently.
Shawn sighed. Obviously, she was in a state of denial, and he didn’t know how he could convince her otherwise. He decided to accompany her to work, knowing that she was going to need him. But he wasn’t looking forward to making the trip to Basic Black.
When they entered the offices of Basic Black an hour later, Belle was shocked. Her office had been cleaned out completely, and all that was in the office were a bunch of boxes, and a bare desk over by the window.
Belle felt like she was in the twilight zone – she never thought her father would’ve gone through with this, but it was obvious he had. Even her nametag had been removed from the door, and Belle felt her eyes fill with tears.
“What’s going on in here? Who told you could – oh Belle, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was you,” Kate Roberts said awkwardly. She was holding a stack of folders, and she looked at Belle and Shawn uneasily. She cleared her throat and said, “What are you doing here?”
Belle looked at Kate, completely shocked. “I work here, remember?” Belle said angrily. “What is the meaning of all this,” Belle said, pointing to her empty office.
Kate looked down for a moment, then said, “Your father came into work this morning, telling us that you’re no longer with the company,” Kate said. She looked at her closely. “I was under the impression that you had quit,” She said in a low voice.
Belle shook her head. “No, I most certainly did not quit,” Belle said. She walked over to the boxes, and kneeled down. She looked through them, and found some of her personal items, such as her pictures, her small radio, and her nametag. She felt her heart sting with pain at the realization of what her father had done. She couldn’t believe that he had actually gone through with his threat. Shawn walked over to her, and bent down, putting his hands on her shoulder.
“Belle, we should go,” He said quietly.
But Belle didn’t hear him. She was busy looking through her stuff once again, and she looked up at Kate. “What are those folders in your hand?” Belle asked. She stood up and walked closer to her, and attempted to take them away from her, but Kate held onto them tightly.
“Belle, please honey, don’t make this any harder than it already is,” She said, her eyes pleading with Belle not to take this any further.
“Kate, please don’t tell me that you’re working on the winter line, because we all know that was MY project,” Belle said. Tears poured down her face as she turned to look at Shawn. “How could he do this to me? How could he kick me out of the company? I love working here – I loved working with him, and Kate, and everyone else,” Belle said sadly.
Shawn sighed. He knew this was hard on her, so he walked over to her, and took her hands in his. “Baby, let’s just get your stuff and get out of here,” Shawn said calmly.
Belle nodded and went to pick up one of her boxes.
Kate bit her lip, wondering if she should tell Belle what she had been ordered to say to her. “Uh, Belle, there’s something you should know.” Kate said. She sighed heavily. “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but if you’re seen in this building again, John has told us to call security, immediately,” She said.
Belle looked at Kate in shock. “He –“ She stopped, and took a deep breath. “Okay.” She said. “There’s no use in taking this up with you, because you’re just the messenger Kate,” Belle said. “Is my father in his office? If he is, I’d like to speak with him,” Belle said.
“Belle, that’s not a good idea,” Shawn said cautiously.
“I’m afraid he’s not in his office,” Kate said. “He went out with some prospective clients – he’s taking them out to brunch, and he won’t be back until later today,” Kate told her.
Belle sighed. “Okay, there’s nothing more we can do then,” Belle said. “Come on Shawn, we’d better get going,” She said.
Twenty minutes later, Belle and Shawn were on their way back to their apartment. Shawn glanced at Belle, and felt his heart aching for her. He couldn’t believe that John was acting like such a jerk, and he could see it was taking a toll on Belle.
She had her head bent down, and she was staring at her hands, lost in thought. Shawn wished he could do something to help cheer her up, but he had no idea how. She had lost her father, her job, and a stable income along with that. He wondered if Belle would get another job, and if so – where?
He shook his head. It was so unfair – she definitely did not deserve this type of treatment. Shawn hoped that John would come around soon.
They spent the rest of their day in the apartment, with Belle looking through the want ads in the newspaper, hoping she could find another job. She had some money saved up, but she knew that would run out fast. Once she paid the rent, and paid off her car, she would have virtually nothing left.
Belle had never felt so helpless and alone in her life. Despite the fact that Shawn was very supportive and loving, she still couldn’t get over the fact that her father had turned his back on her. She shook her head when she thought about how stubborn and unreasonable he was being about everything. He was behaving totally irrationally, she thought, and she wondered if he would ever get over himself, and accept Shawn as her husband.
The days passed, and Shawn continued to work at the Brady Pub. Thank goodness he was working at least, so they had some money coming to them, Belle thought.
Belle had a couple of interviews for office jobs, but she found that they didn’t go very well. She was very nervous, and couldn’t seem to focus on the questions she was being asked. She didn’t know why, but they seemed like very vague questions, which didn’t relate to the position she was applying for.
As Belle made her way home one afternoon, after another very unsuccessful interview, a thought occurred to her. She stopped walking, and said, “Dad!”
She knew she had to speak with Shawn, so she made her way over to the Brady Pub, where she saw Shawn helping one of the waitresses gather some dirty dishes.
“Shawn!” She called out.
Shawn turned to her and smiled, and asked Lisa if she could excuse him. Lisa nodded, and went over to his wife. He kissed her cheek softly and said, “This is a nice surprise – did the interview go well?” He asked gently.
Belle shook her head. “No, it didn’t. In one week, I’ve had three interviews, and not one of them went well. I wonder why that is,” Belle said, tilting her head to the side.
Shawn looked at Belle in confusion, and said, “Maybe we should sit down,” He said.
Belle nodded. “Okay.”
They walked over to an empty booth, over by the corner, and sat down together. Shawn reached across the table, and took Belle’s hands in his. “Now why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you baby,” He said softly.
Belle sighed as she looked into Shawn’s eyes. There were filled with so much love, and so much sincerity. He was such a wonderful man – always supportive, and he always knew how to say the right things to make her feel better. She hated the fact that her father wouldn’t take the time to get to know him. Belle was sure that if John saw how wonderful Shawn was, he would accept him into the family, no matter what his last name was.
“Shawn, I think my father is making sure that I don’t get a job,” Belle told him.
“What? Now come on Belle, your father is capable of a lot of things – but what you’re accusing him of – I don’t think he’d go that far,” Shawn said. When Lisa walked by their table, he said, “Lisa, can you get me and Belle a couple of glasses of water?” He asked.
Lisa nodded, and he turned to Belle once again. “I want you to have a glass of water, then I’m going to the kitchen to whip you up something for lunch. You’re hardly eating these days, and I don’t like that.” Shawn told her.
“Shawn, I don’t have much of an appetite,” Belle told him. “I only eat when I’m hungry,” She said.
“Belle, I’ve noticed the way you’re picking at your food, and I’m not happy about that. I know you’re trying to maintain your figure, but you can’t starve yourself,” Shawn said, in a stern voice.
Belle exhaled slowly. “Shawn, I know you’re worried about me, but really, you don’t have to.”
“The hell I don’t,” Shawn said, in a low voice. “I love you Belle, and I don’t want you to fall apart because of what happened with your father,” Shawn said. “I know you’re under a lot of stress, and I understand that. But you can’t neglect your needs,” Shawn said. “And you need to eat, do you understand me?” He said.
Belle nodded. “I’m just so frustrated. I’m highly qualified for these jobs Shawn – in fact, I think I’m over-qualified, yet no one wants to give me a chance. I’ve been working at Basic Black since I was 16, which is why I think my father has something to do with this. He’s trying to punish me, and this is the best way he knows how,” Belle said. She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. “And it’s working,” She whimpered.
“Oh Belle, come on, don’t cry,” Shawn said. He watched helplessly as tears poured down her face, and he sighed. “Belle, it’ll be okay, please, just try to stay calm,” He said in a gentle and soothing voice.
Belle lifted her hands to wipe her tears away, and tried to breath deeply. She couldn’t believe the way things were going for her. She wanted to be strong, and remain calm, but every time she thought about her father, her heart would break.
“Shawn, what am I going to do?” She said in a heartbreaking voice. “I can’t find a job, and how are we going to live on one pay check?” She asked. “It’s impossible – I’ll have to sell my car, and we won’t be able to make rent, and then what about-“
“Belle, come on now.” Shawn said. He stood up from the booth, and went over to sit down with her. Shawn turned on his side, and faced Belle. He wiped her tears away with his hand and smiled at her warmly. “All is not lost my dear,” He said gently. “I’m still working, remember? We can still make rent, and we can continue making the payments for the car,” Shawn said. “And I make a lot of tips, so we’ll have enough for food and other things,” Shawn said.
Belle sighed. “Okay, but I still have to find a job.” She said. “I just don’t know where I can go, without my father influencing anyone who wants to hire me,” She said angrily.
Shawn thought of something, and he wondered if it would work. “Look Belle, if you want, you can work here,” Shawn said. “I know it’s not what you had in mind, but maybe if you worked part time, it’ll help your self-esteem, and you can still continue looking for another job,” Shawn pointed out to her.
Belle thought about what Shawn was saying and she had to admit, the idea was appealing. She hadn’t expected to work in this type of atmosphere, but she couldn’t think of anything better than working with Shawn and his grandparents on a daily basis. Shawn was right – it would give her some income, while she looked for another job.
“Do you think your grandparents will hire me?” Belle asked.
“Of course they will. You leave everything to me,” Shawn said. “I’ll talk to them later this afternoon, and I’ll arrange to give you a little bit of training,” Shawn said. He kissed her forehead gently. “In the mean time, I’m going to whip up a fabulous lunch for the both of us, and then I want you to head home and relax. You’re all pale, and you have dark circles under your eyes,” Shawn noted.
Belle took his hand in hers, and kissed the back of it tenderly. “You don’t have to worry about me Shawn,” Belle said. “Now that there’s a possibility that I’ll be working, I feel much better,” She said.
“Good,” Shawn said. “Now, you stay right here, and I’ll go get us our lunch,” Shawn said.
It all worked out well for Belle – the next morning, Belle and Shawn came into work together, and Shawn gave Belle his ‘crash course’ training program, as he liked to call it, on waiting tables. Belle listened carefully to her husband, as he explained the various items on the menu that she wasn’t familiar with. She followed behind him into the kitchen, as he told her where to put the dirty dishes, and how to load the dishwasher.
By noon, Belle felt confidant that she was all set. Shawn frowned at her, as she told him she was ready to work on her own.
“Baby, are you sure? Most waitresses need a couple of days before they work on their own, and even then, they’re pretty nervous,” Shawn told her.
“Shawn, if there’s one thing about me, I’m a quick learner.” Belle said confidently. “Tell you what, I’ll serve the next customers that come in, and you watch me from the bar,” Belle said. “If I screw up, then I won’t work on my own until tomorrow. But if I do well, then you let me work on my own.” She said. She stuck out her hand. “Deal?”
Shawn raised his eyebrows, but nodded nonetheless. “Okay Missy, you’ve got a deal,” He said, shaking her hand.
Belle smiled at him, and looked over towards the door. She saw a young couple walk in, and watched as they sat down in one of the booths. “Okay, here’s my chance to prove myself,” Belle said. “Now you sit here and watch as I work my magic,” Belle said, winking at him.
“Okay.” Shawn said. He sat down one of the chairs by the bar, and watched as Belle walked over to the couple.
Belle took her pad and pen out of her apron, and greeted the young couple with a smile. “Hello there,” She said. “I’m Belle, and I’ll be your waitress today,” She said. “Can you I get you anything to drink before you order?” She asked politely.
The young man turned to her and smiled back at her. “Hello there – you know, I’ll just have a glass of water – how about you Marie? What would you like to order a drink?” He asked, as he turned his head towards the young woman.
Marie paused and said, “I think a glass of water will be fine,” She said.
“Okay,” Belle said. “I’ll be right back, and then if you’re ready, I’ll take your order,” Belle said. She returned a moment later with a pitcher of water, under the watchful eye of her husband. Once she was finished filling their glasses with water, she set the pitcher down on the table behind her, and turned back towards the young couple.
“What would you like to order?” Belle asked, still making sure to smile at them.
“Marie, have you decided?” The man asked.
“Oh Gosh, I’m not sure what to eat – my cholesterol is so high, so I’m trying to stay away from fried foods,” She said as she looked over her menu.
Belle cleared her throat and said, “Marie is it?”
The young woman nodded.
“May I suggest a grilled chicken, and a side order of green salad – if you’re looking to stay away from fried foods, I think that would be the best thing. And the Brady Pub is notorious for making a fabulous grilled chicken,” Belle added cheerfully.
“Hmmmm, that sounds great.” Marie said. “Okay, I’ll have the grilled chicken, and a diet coke. What are you going to have Wil?” She asked, turning to the young man.
Wil looked over the menu quickly before he turned to Belle. “You know what? I could probably stay away from fried foods myself,” Wil said. “I’ll have the same thing that my wife is having,” He said. “And I’ll have a Sprite with that,” He said.
“Sounds good,” Belle said, writing down their orders. She was sure to keep a smile on her face, just the way Shawn had told her to. She could feel his eyes on her, watching her every move. She wondered what he was thinking as he watched her, and she couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say.
“I’ll be back soon with your lunch. If you need anything else, just let me know,” Belle said.
“Thank you,” Wil said. “I’m sorry Miss, what did you say your name was?” He asked.
“Belle,” She said. “My name is Belle,” She told them.
“Oh, you must be new,” Marie said, smiling at her brightly. “We’re regular customers here, and we’ve never seen you before,” She told her.
“To tell you the truth, this is my first day,” Belle admitted.
“Really? You don’t say!” Wil said. “You’re very good. I think the Brady’s will definitely keep you,” He told her.
“Thanks. I appreciate you saying that.” Belle said. She turned to Shawn, who was still watching her carefully, but grinning at her.
She excused herself a moment later, and walked over to the bar, watching as Shawn gave her a thumbs up sign. He kissed her nose and murmured, “You were perfect.”
“Really?” Belle said, her heart pounding furiously. “You don’t think I overdid it by being so polite?” She asked anxiously.
“No, not at all,” Shawn said. “You were very natural, and that’s what our customers like in a waitress. I can’t wait to see the tip you’re going to get,” Shawn said, grinning at her.
Belle impulsively hugged Shawn, and closed her eyes. For the first time in days, she felt more confidant about herself, and she felt a sense of hope course through her. She hadn’t thought that being a waitress would be so fulfilling, but so far, she had no complaints.
As the day passed by, Belle felt more and more confidant with herself. She enjoyed interacting with the customers, who seemed intrigued with their new waitress. By the time the day was over, Belle and Shawn were alone at the pub, cleaning up.
Belle was sitting at the bar, counting her tips. “Shawn, I have almost fifty dollars in tips!” Belle exclaimed.
“That’s great baby,” Shawn said. “You did very well for your first day. My grandparents were proud of you,” He said, walking over to her. He kissed her cheek and said, “And I’m very proud of you.” He whispered.
“Thanks Shawn.” Belle said. She couldn’t stop smiling, and she knew it was because she was filled with hope – even if she didn’t find a job somewhere in her field, she had something that was going to help her bring in a steady flow of income.
She knew she had Shawn to thank for this, and she couldn’t wait to show him just how grateful she was, once they got home. She was planning on showing him plenty of loving that night.
She glanced at her husband as he continued bringing dishes into the kitchen, and stood up to help him. She knew the sooner she helped him clear this mess, the sooner they could get home. Which is when all the fun would begin.
Chapter 31, Rated NC-17
It was late when Shawn and Belle returned to their apartment. Belle breathed a sigh of relief when she realized it was Friday, which meant both of them had the weekend off. They walked into the living room, and took off their jackets before sitting down on the couch.
“Are you hungry?” Belle asked Shawn, as she sat down next to him.
Shawn closed his eyes as he relaxed on the couch. “No, I’m not.” He said. “But I could use a cold beer,” He said, glancing at her quickly.
“One cold beer coming right up,” Belle said cheerfully. She walked off to the kitchen, and returned with a beer. She handed it to him, and he thanked her.
“I am so tired baby,” Shawn said, as he drank his beer.
“I know – it was really busy today,” Belle noted.
“Yeah, and you still kept a smile on your face, which is excellent.” Shawn said. He looked at her and smiled. “You did great today – my grandparents were really impressed Belle,” He told her.
“I’m so glad,” Belle said. “It feels good to know that I can contribute in this household,” Belle said. “I’m so happy that your grandparents agreed to let me work there,” She said quietly.
“They love you,” Shawn told her. “Just like I do.” He said softly.
Belle felt her face turn red at his words. She couldn’t understand it – it had been almost a year since they had met, and here she was, still blushing like a schoolgirl whenever he said anything sweet to her. She remembered what she had in mind for him, and she smiled knowingly. “Shawn, why don’t we go to our bedroom – since you’re so tired, I know a back rub is exactly what you need,” She said.
“Oh God, did you read my mind?” He said, grinning. He quickly finished his beer, and set it down on the coffee table in front of him. “Let’s go.” He said.
Belle got up and followed him to their bedroom. She laughed when she walked in and saw Shawn sprawled out on the bed, on his stomach, just waiting for the massage.
“A little anxious, aren’t we?” Belle said, as she turned on the lamp.
“I think so,” Shawn answered.
Belle glanced down at her clothes, and decided that she was going to change into her nightshirt before she gave him a massage. “Shawn, just give me five minutes, okay?” She said.
“Okay.” Shawn answered.
Belle walked over to her dresser drawer, and took out a v-neck sleep shirt, with short sleeves – one of Shawn’s favourites. ‘Probably because it’s so easy for me to take off,’ Belle thought to herself, grinning. She took off her pants and sweatshirt, and brought them to the hamper, which was in the bathroom. She glanced at herself in the mirror, and decided to let her hair down. She looked at her choice of sleepwear once again, and knew she needed to do one more thing before she returned to the bedroom. Once she was done, she walked into the bedroom, and found Shawn still on their bed.
She sat on her knees right next to him, and smiled as she placed her hands on his shoulders. She began to rub them slowly, hearing Shawn groan with delight as she did so.
“You like that baby?” She asked playfully.
“You know I do,” Shawn answered, obviously very pleased with the way she was making him feel. She continued to rub his shoulders, and then lowered her hands down to his spine, where she rubbed him slowly, wanting to make him feel completely relaxed.
“Oh Belle,” He murmured. “This is what I needed.”
“That’s what I thought,” Belle said to him. She lowered her body and placed a chaste kiss on his neck. Hearing Shawn moan only encouraged her to place more kisses along the part of his neck that was exposed by the shirt. “Baby, why don’t you take your shirt off? It’ll be easier for me to massage you,” She suggested.
Somehow Shawn suspected that massaging him wasn’t what his wife had in mind. And nothing could turn him on more. He slowly sat up in bed, with his back turned to her as he removed his shirt. Belle gasped as she took a look at his tanned back, and couldn’t help admiring his muscles. He was quite a sight, and Belle had to remind herself that he was all hers. He was her husband, and he would be hers forever.
Shawn threw his shirt off to the side, and lay down once again. Belle straddled him, and continued working magic on him with her small hands. She could sense the tension in him as she massaged his back, and she smiled to herself. “Shawn, try and relax – your muscles are filled with tension, I could feel it all over your back,” She told him.
Shawn said nothing as she lowered his hands right by his behind, and she focused her attention on his spine.
“Belle, this feels so good, but what I did I do to deserve this?” He asked, in a muffled voice. He still had his head bent down, so she could barely understand him.
“Shawn, try not to talk,” She told him.
He sighed, as he moved to sit up. Belle moved over to her side of the bed, and looked at him in surprise. “I thought you were enjoying the massage,” She said.
“I was – I mean, I am,” He told her, once he was facing her. “But what did I do to deserve this?” He asked.
Belle smiled at him, and extended her hand so that it was resting on the side of his face. “You were just being you,” She told him tenderly. “You were there for me when I needed you the most, and you helped me see that I could stand on my own two feet, without having to rely on my father,” She told him.
Shawn blinked in surprise. “What do you mean sweetheart?” He asked, visibly confused.
“It’s simple really – I was miserable because of what happened with my father, and it didn’t help that he blackballed me from getting another job in the business community,” She told him. “I mean, I could always look for a job elsewhere, and maybe I will,” She said. “But you had such faith in me, when you asked me if I wanted to work with you, and that really helped me with my self-esteem,” Belle said. She sighed happily. “And it touches me to see how much you love me,” She told him.
“Oh Belle,” Shawn said. “I didn’t do anything – you proved to yourself that you can do anything that you set your mind to,” He said softly. “I’m just glad that I was able to help you see that,” He told her.
“So am I.” She said. “Now, why don’t you lay back down, so I can continue pampering you,” She said, winking at him.
“Oh no, I think I’ve had enough massages for tonight,” He said. He noticed her nightshirt, and he smirked at her. It was his favourite, and she knew it. It fell just above her knees, but since she was sitting up on the bed, it exposed her bare thigh to his hungry gaze, and he licked his lips eagerly.
She had let her hair down, and she didn’t even appear to be tired, even though she had worked just as hard as him. He was so proud of her – all day she had remained on her feet, and when Shawn and Caroline had asked them to close up, she hadn’t hesitated when she said yes. She was determined to make it on her own, without her father’s help, and he couldn’t remember ever loving her more.
Shawn almost gasped when Belle threw her hands in the air and stretched, making sure that she thrust her breasts forward. He felt his jeans tighten instantly at the sight of those breasts thrusting forward, and somehow he knew that she was not done with him. She was teasing him, and he wanted to see how far she would go. He looked into the sultry blue eyes of his wife, and felt his heart pounding with excitement. She wanted him. He could tell, by the way she was looking at him, and licking her lips. Her mouth was opened slightly, and she was breathing heavily – sure signs of desire, he thought wickedly.
He stepped away from the bed, and unzipped his jeans, all the while keeping his gaze on his wife.
Belle finally broke the silence by whispering, “Why are you taking your pants off?”
Shawn smirked at her and said, “Because it’s time we got some sleep – you know I always sleep in my boxers,” He told her.
‘Or without them,’ Belle thought to herself. She noticed the tent in his boxers, and couldn’t help but smile. ‘He wants me’, she thought. ‘And I want him.’
She pulled back the comforter, and lay down next to Shawn. She made sure to turn off the lamp, and she lay on her side, facing her husband. There were in total darkness, but Belle could feel him, only inches away from her. She could tell that he was on his side as well, facing her. She heard his breathing, coming in quick pants, and she knew he was still aroused. But for some reason, he didn’t want to reach out to her – it was almost as though he was playing a game with her, to see who would crack first.
Belle couldn’t help but extend her head so that it rested on the side of his face. “Shawn,” She whispered. She stroked his cheek gently. “You’re not asleep yet, are you?” Belle asked. She knew that he wasn’t, but she wanted to hear his voice.
Shawn didn’t respond – not verbally anyway. He grabbed her hand and took her fingers into his mouth, sucking on each one of them greedily, loving the way she gasped in surprise. She hadn’t expected that, but he was sure that would answer her question.
“So you’re awake?” She asked teasingly.
Shawn groaned when she removed her hand from his face, and lowered it between his legs, gently stroking the bulge that had formed there. She could feel him hardening even more, and she knew he wouldn’t be able to last that much longer.
“Oh yeah baby, I’d say I’m that I’m definitely awake – wouldn’t you agree?” He asked, his voice thick with passion as he spoke to her.
Belle wanted to laugh at his response, but she didn’t. The air was thick with sexual tension as she continued to stroke his enlarged manhood. She became bold and put her hand inside his boxers, and heard Shawn breath in sharply when she touched his manhood once again.
“Oh Belle,” He moaned. She was working pure magic on him, just as she had before, when she was massaging him. But this was a much better massage in his opinion, and he didn’t want her to stop.
She continued stroking him, smiling when she noticed that he was becoming larger and larger with each passing second. Hearing Shawn’s moans was turning her on as well, and she felt a wetness gather between her thighs. She wanted him, and she wanted him now. She removed her hand, and said,
“Take off your boxers Shawn.”
Shawn didn’t hesitate – he swung his legs over to the side of the bed, and removed his boxers, throwing them to the floor. In seconds, he was facing Belle once again, his hands restless as he placed them on her sweet body.
Shawn stroked her thigh slowly, and he groaned as Belle leaned forward to capture his lips in a smouldering kiss. Belle impatiently thrust her tongue into his mouth, and met his tongue for an erotic dance. They twirled together, and they both moaned as they tilted their heads to the side, desperate to continue their passionate kiss.
Shawn lifted the hem of her nightshirt, and his hand moved upwards – when his hands fell on her core, he nearly fainted. He pulled his lips away from her, breathing desperately as he exclaimed, “Oh Belle, you took off your panties!”
“Damn right,” Belle mumbled. She cupped his face, and pulled his lips towards hers once again, anxious to feel her lips moving against his once again. She sucked on his bottom lip once they met, and her tongue emerged from her mouth, licking his swollen lips, once again demanding permission to enter his mouth. They moaned loudly as their tongues danced with one another, and Belle almost cried out when she felt Shawn’s hand cup her core intimately. His hand felt like heaven on the most private part of her body, and when he inserted one his fingers, she pulled her lips away from his. “Oh Shawn!” She cried out.
Shawn grinned as he continued to touch her, and he inserted another finger, thrilled when he felt how wet and ready she was for him. Belle threw her head back, and groaned his name as he continued to pleasure her. When she could feel her muscles clenching, she was so sure that she was going to peak, when all of a sudden, Shawn removed his fingers.
“Shawn!” She shrieked. Her body was crying out for him, wanting him to touch her again, but all she heard was Shawn’s voice, telling her to stay calm.
“Patience my dear,” He said, in a voice thick with arousal. He reached out and cupped her breasts, his thumb grazing over her nipples, which hardened at once. He grinned as he continued to touch her through her nightshirt, but when he heard Belle moaning his name, her voice filled with her obvious arousal, he quickly released her breasts, and pulled up the hem of her nightshirt. Belle twisted her body so that she was sitting up for him, making it easier for him to remove the bothersome material.
He wished he could see her luscious breasts, so he moved away from her momentarily, his hand reaching out to turn on the lamp, which was next to the bed.
He squinted his eyes as he looked at his wife. She was completely naked – both of them were, and Shawn was still panting for air as he looked at her hungrily. She was still sitting up in bed, and her cheeks were flushed, her lips swollen from their deep kisses. She was looking at him, desperate for him to rejoin her, and continue making love to her. And he wasn’t about to disappoint her.
His body covered hers quickly, and his lips found hers as they kissed, and slowly fell back on the bed, with Shawn resting his manhood between her legs. They continued to share a long, lingering kiss, their tongues not wanting to let go of each other. Belle was sure she was going to release at any minute – kissing Shawn, his hard body on top of hers, and his swollen manhood between her legs, just inches away from her core – it was too much for her. Her arms were hooked around his neck, and she felt Shawn’s hands touch the sides of her breasts gently.
“Shawn,” She breathed, once their lips had finally pulled apart. “Please, don’t make me wait any longer,” She begged, still panting for breath.
Shawn didn’t waste any more time – he plunged into her softness, both of them crying out in pleasure once he did so. He moved within her, grunting her name as Belle wrapped her slender legs around his waist.
“Shit,” He murmured. He could feel himself expanding within her, felt her muscles clenching around his manhood. There was nothing better than this – they were connected on so many levels with one another, but nothing was as close or as satisfying as this.
Belle felt her orgasms hit, moments after Shawn had entered her. She cried out his name, meeting each and every one of his thrusts. Shawn slammed his lips against her neck, kissing her wildly, knowing that his peak was going to hit at any moment now.
Seconds later, he too, was crying out Belle’s name, as he felt the most intense pleasure ever known to him.
“Belle,” He said, trying to breath. “That was so –“
“Intense?” She panted.
Shawn lay above her, and looked down at her beautiful face. He shook his head. “No – it was more than that.” He told her. He raised his hand, and stroked her face gently. “Every time, it gets better and better with you – why is that?” He asked.
Belle shrugged. “I don’t know – maybe it’s because we’re so in tune with each other thoughts and feelings – we have some sort of-“
“Connection.” Shawn finished for her. He kissed her eyelids. “I think that’s what it is,” He whispered.
“I agree.” Belle said softly. “Shawn, I love you – so much. I love you more and more each day,” She told him.
“It’s the same with me,” Shawn admitted. “I’m so happy that you’re my wife – I know we’re going to be so happy together,” He said.
Belle nodded. “You’re right – I’m already happy, so I don’t doubt that our future will be filled with happiness,” She said.
“Good. I’m glad we agree on that.” Shawn said. He felt his heart fill with warmth as he looked at her, and saw how happy she was. He wanted her to keep her smiling – always, no matter what had happened with her father. He was going to be there for her, whenever she needed him.
And Shawn promised himself that one day, he was going to help her get over the hurt and betrayal she felt from her father. He wasn’t sure of how he was going to do this, but he knew he would move heaven and earth to keep that beautiful smile on her face.
The weeks passed, and Shawn and Belle settled into a daily routine of leaving for work early in the morning, and returning together in the evening.
Belle found her job as a waitress fulfilling. She had only meant to work part time with her husband, but the busier it got, the more she found herself coming in on her days off, and finally, Shawn and Caroline decided to hire her as a full time waitress. She worked the same hours as Shawn, and had weekends off, just as Shawn did. Belle didn’t have a problem with that – she enjoyed spending more time with her husband, as well as his family. It gave her the perfect opportunity to get to know them better.
Every morning, for instance, Shawn’s Uncle Roman came in for breakfast. Belle was always the one who served him, and she would engage in a delightful conversation with him, every day. Roman Brady found himself captivated by the young Mrs. Brady, and Belle giggled one morning as Roman made his way out the door, but not before stopping his nephew.
“She’s a keeper Shawn Douglas – don’t let her go.” He had said.
Shawn had grinned and said, “Don’t worry Uncle Roman, I don’t plan on letting her go – ever.”
His eyes had met Belle’s and she instantly smiled back at him.
Belle also had the chance to get to know her in-laws, Bo and Hope. They made sure to stop by the pub, every day, with JT always tagging along. Belle found herself liking her brother-in-law more and more each day. He was so vibrant, and funny, despite what had happened to him. Every time she would look at him, sitting in his wheelchair, she would think about her father, and what he did. JT sensed her apprehension one day, and he quietly took her hand and whispered, “Belle, it’s okay – it’s in the past. Just try not to think about it.”
Belle agreed. She kept her chin up, and tried not to focus on the past. She wasn’t going to let her father bring her down, no matter what.
Bo and Hope enjoyed spending time with their new daughter-in-law. It was obvious how much she adored Shawn – every Sunday, Shawn and Belle would come over to the Brady house for dinner. Bo and Hope felt their hearts fill with love as they saw how Belle’s face brightened whenever Shawn would kiss her cheek tenderly, or hold her hand, or just look at her.
They never brought up the issue of her parents – they knew she had been disowned from her father, and that broke their hearts. But thank Goodness Shawn was there for her, and they were hopeful that Belle would get over her hurt.
As each day passed, customers who were at the Pub on a daily basis enjoyed being served by the young blonde. By the time a month had passed by, Belle found herself on a first name basis with most of the customers.
Shawn and Caroline watched as their grandson’s wife charmed each and every customer, and they thanked their lucky stars that she had come to work for them. She had a charisma about her that everyone seemed to love.
Caroline smiled brightly at Belle as she walked by her, with a tray of dirty dishes in her hand. “Belle honey, do you need some help?” She asked.
“Oh no Mrs. Brady – I’m fine,” She said.
“Belle, I think we should have a talk,” Caroline said, frowning at her. “Come and sit down with me, once you’re finished loading the dishwasher,” Caroline said.
Belle looked at Caroline nervously, wondering what she had to say to her. “Okay.” Belle said. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat, and she began to wonder what Caroline would say – perhaps she wasn’t being fast enough? Maybe she was too talkative with the customers? She shook her head, knowing that it was no use trying to figure out what it was. She would just have to wait and see.
She found Shawn in the kitchen, already loading the dishwasher for her.
“Shawn, I could’ve done that,” She said to him.
“I know.” Shawn said. “But since you’re doing such a great job out there, I thought I’d help you out a bit back here,” He said.
Belle gave him a tiny smile and said, “Well thanks.” She looked away from him as he loaded the dishwasher.
“Belle honey, what’s on your mind?” He asked.
Belle sighed heavily. “Well, Mrs. Brady wants to talk to me,” She said.
“Well, she sounded serious,” Belle said, twiddling with her hands nervously.
Shawn stopped for a moment, and walked over to her, placing a kiss on her forehead. “Baby, I can assure you, it’s not what you think,” He said, in a loving voice.
Belle raised her eyebrows, and said, “It sounds like you know what this is about,” Belle said.
“So tell me,” Belle said anxiously. “I want to know.”
“You’ll find out, don’t worry,” Shawn said. “Now you’d better go – Grandma is waiting for you,” He said.
Belle pressed her lips together tightly, and shook her head at her husband. It was obvious that he wasn’t going to tell her what was going on, so she walked out of the kitchen, and went and sat with Caroline.
“My dear, there’s no need to look so worried,” Caroline said, smiling warmly as Belle sat across from her.
“There isn’t?” Belle said, looking confused.
“No, no,” Caroline said, holding her hand tightly. “What I wanted to talk about is the relationship we have with one another,” Caroline said.
“Oh, okay,” Belle said.
“First off, I want you to stop calling me Mrs. Brady,” Caroline said, in a serious voice. “I don’t know if you realize this, because I know that you and Shawn have only been married for a couple of months, but we’re family now, and I won’t tolerate you calling me Mrs. Brady,” Caroline said. Her face softened as she continued. “We all love you Belle, that’s why Shawn – my Shawn that is, and I would be very pleased if you called us what your husband does,” Caroline said.
Belle felt her eyes fill with tears. “Oh my, you want me to call you –“ She swallowed nervously. “You want me to call you Grandma?” She asked, still uncertain.
“Yes.” Caroline answered. “But only if you feel comfortable doing so. And I know that Shawn would love it if you called him Grandpa,” Caroline said. “Again, only if you feel comfortable enough,” She added.
“Oh wow,” Belle said. She felt her heart fill with joy – this was obviously another reason to love the Brady’s so much. “I would be honoured,” Belle whispered.
“Good. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, my husband and I have been doing some thinking,” Caroline said. “We already ran our idea past your husband, but he insisted that we talk to you,” Caroline said.
“Oh, okay,” Belle said, not sure where this was leading to.
“Belle, we’re very impressed with the way you’ve handled yourself. I know things haven’t been easy for you, but we’re very glad that you’re working for us. The customers adore you, and you seem comfortable in your new position,” Caroline said.
Belle nodded. “I do feel comfortable. I went to school, hoping to become a journalist. I have my degree in my hand, and I even applied for a couple of positions,” Belle admitted. “But it just didn’t work out. Now that I’m working here, I’m enjoying myself,” Belle said. “So I’ve held off looking for another job, for the time being,” Belle said.
“Well, I’m glad,” Caroline said. “You’re fitting in very well,” Caroline said. “We’ve been watching you Belle, and we see how comfortable you are, working here. We see how you not only take the initiative to wait on tables, but to do other things, such as loading the dishwasher, working behind the bar, even working on cash,” Caroline said. “Lisa told me that you were able to help her with the books the other day as well,” Caroline said.
Belle blushed at Caroline’s words. “Yeah, well, when I was starting out at Basic Black, I picked up on a few things. You see, I started out doing menial jobs, and I worked my way up,” Belle explained. “So I helped out with accounting – I picked up pretty quickly, which is why I helped out Lisa the other day – she seemed really stumped about something,” Belle said.
“And you solved the problem,” Caroline said. “You’re a valuable asset to us Belle, which is why we’re trusting you and Shawn to close down the place, every night,” Caroline said. “Obviously, we’re not getting any younger, so we’d like to ask you if you would mind having this,” Caroline said. She handed Belle a key, and Belle looked confused.
“What is this?” Belle asked.
“It’s a key – to the pub. We want you and Shawn to have it,” Caroline told her. “I know that you two have been closing up the pub for awhile now, but Grandpa would usually hand the key to Shawn before he’d leave for the day. We decided that we want you two to have your own key,” Caroline said.
Belle was speechless.
Caroline laughed when she saw Belle’s face – she was obviously surprised.
“Mrs – I mean, Grandma,” Belle corrected herself. “I – wow, I don’t know what to say, except thank you. I’m happy that you and Grandpa trust us enough to give us a key to the pub,” Belle said. “This is all such a shock,” Belle said. “This means so much to me.”
Caroline patted her hand lightly. “I know it does dear, that’s why Grandpa and I knew we were making the right decision,” Caroline said. “We know we can count on you, and Shawn, to take care of things when we’re not around,” Caroline said.
“Oh yes, you can count on us, most definitely,” Belle said. Belle stood up from her chair, and walked over to Caroline. She kneeled down and hugged her tightly. “Thank you so much Grandma – it feels good when you know you’re important,” Belle said warmly.
“You most certainly are.” Caroline said. She glanced over Belle’s shoulder, and saw Shawn looking at them. “And Shawn, if you’re jealous, there’s plenty of hugs for you too my boy,” She said, grinning at him.
Belle pulled away, and smiled when she saw Shawn watching them. “Come here you,” She said. Shawn slowly walked over to them, and grinned at his wife. “I didn’t want to interrupt you girls – you looked like you were having a ‘moment’ together,” Shawn joked.
“Nonsense you silly boy,” Caroline said. She hugged Shawn and Belle at the same time, both of them laughing simultaneously.
Later that night, Belle and Shawn were at home, getting ready for bed. Belle still couldn’t believe what had happened, and she was holding the key in her hands, just staring at it.
“Belle, when are you going to believe it?” Shawn asked, as he took his jeans off.
Belle turned to look at him in confusion. “Uh? What do you mean?” She asked.
He climbed on top of their bed, and kneeled down in front of her. “When are you going to believe how important you are to me, and to the rest of my family?” He asked, kissing her eyelids gently. “Is that why you were so surprised when Grandma gave you the key?” He asked gently.
Belle sighed. “A part of me does believe it,” Belle told him. “But another part of me keeps thinking about my father, and the way he treated me. I mean, I feel important and so loved by you, and the rest of your family,” Belle explained. “But so many times, I think, if I’m so great, why did my father reject me?” She asked, her eyes filling with unshed tears.
“Oh Belle,” Shawn murmured. He took her into his arms, and rocked her gently. “I hate that your father did this to you, made you feel like this, so unwanted,” He said angrily.
Belle sobbed softly as she heard Shawn’s words. “I hate it too,” She admitted. She pulled away from Shawn’s arms to face him. “I keep in touch with my mother, but she’s different too. I know she doesn’t approve of the way Dad acted, but it’s almost as though she was told to take sides, and she decided to take Dad’s,” Belle said. “And that hurts so much,” She said. “She hardly calls me any more,” She whimpered.
Shawn pressed his lips together, trying to keep his anger in check. He was pretty sure John had something to do with this, but he didn’t want to admit it to Belle. But it sounded as though Belle suspected the same thing.
“What about Brady?” He asked. “Has he kept in touch with you?”
Belle nodded. “Brady has never been one to take sides,” Belle said. “As a matter of fact, he’s planning on visiting us at the Pub in a couple of days,” Belle said. “It’s not him I’m worried about, because he’s made it clear to me that he’s not taking sides,” Belle said.
“Well I’m glad Brady’s being rational,” Shawn said. “As for your dad, well, it’s his loss, and your mom’s, if they don’t want to have you in their life,” Shawn said. “Just try not to think about them. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to focus on the good things in your life,” He told her. He smiled at her and said, “Like me,” He said teasingly.
That caused Belle to smile, which is exactly what Shawn wanted. “You’re right,” Belle said. She sniffled a little bit, and moved over to the side of the bed, reaching for the Kleenex box that was sitting on her nightstand. She took a Kleenex out and wiped her tears away. “I try not to think about them, but it’s so hard not to,” Belle said. She sighed. “It hurts right here Shawn,” Belle said, pointing to her chest, and her eyes filling with tears once again. “I feel the pain right in my heart Shawn, and I don’t know how I’m ever going to get over this,” She admitted.
“You’ll get over it, because you’ll have me to help you,” Shawn said, in a determined voice. He tried to look strong, but on the inside, his heart was aching for his young wife. She didn’t deserve to be treated like this – first it had been her father, but he had just found out that her mother was giving her the cold shoulder as well. He shook his head, and felt his own eyes filling with tears, as his heart broke for the woman he loved.
“Come here,” He whispered, opening his arms to her. She didn’t hesitate – her head lay against his chest, and she let her tears fall freely. Shawn felt her body shaking as she sobbed, and it was then that his first tear fell. He sniffled a little bit, and said, “Give me a minute.” He pulled away from her, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, his back turned to her. Belle looked at him, confused as to what was happening. When she heard him sniffling, she crawled over to him, and hooked her arms around his neck. It was then she realized he too, was crying. He was crying for her.
“Shawn, please don’t cry,” Belle whimpered. “Please, I need you to be strong for me,” She said. “You’re all I have,” She said.
Shawn nodded, still crying uncontrollably. “I just feel so bad for you – I can’t believe that your parents could do that to you – could hurt you so much,” He said. He shook his head, and looked at her. “I am so sorry Belle. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, and it just breaks my heart when I think about it, and I feel so helpless, because I want to make your pain go away, but I’m not sure how,” He admitted.
“Oh Shawn,” Belle said. She stood up in front of him, and cupped his face. “You are helping me, by just being there for me,” She said. “I can’t believe you feel so helpless, when you’re the one whose helped me realize that I can make it on my own, without my parent’s,” Belle said. She noticed his eyes were red from crying, and she wiped his tears away. “I can’t believe you actually cried for me,” She said. “You really do love me, don’t you?”
Shawn looked at her, with a surprised look on his face. “You’re just realizing that now?” Shawn said. “Of course I love you,” He whispered. “I love you so much.”
“Shawn,” She said. She leaned forward and hugged him tightly, letting all her emotions out. “I am going to get through this,” She said to him. “And I’ll do it because I have to think about the good things in my life, mainly you,” She said, giving him a warm smile.
“Well I’m glad.” Shawn said. He pulled away from her embrace, and blushed a little when he thought about what had just happened. “I’m sorry that I lost it like that,” Shawn said sheepishly.
“Hey, you don’t have to apologize,” Belle said. She stroked his cheek gently, and leaned forward to kiss his lips. “I love you so much Shawn. That’s why I’m determined to move on with my life – with you of course,” She added.
“Good. I’m glad we got that straightened out.” Shawn said. “Now why don’t we get ready for bed?” He said, lying down.
“Shawn, there’s one more thing I think you should know,” Belle said. She exhaled slowly, and murmured, “I don’t know how to tell you this,”
Shawn arched his eyebrow. “I take it this has to do with your parents,” He said.
Belle nodded. “I already mentioned to you that I’ve spoken to my mother, and how distant she’s been,” Belle said. “Well, I talked to her earlier today, while I was on lunch. She called me, on my cell phone, and she was totally out of it,” Belle recalled. “I finally told her to calm down, and asked why she was calling me. She said it was important, and that it had to do with my trust fund,” Belle said.
“Wait – you have a trust fund?” Shawn asked.
“Correction – I HAD a trust fund,” Belle said. She swallowed nervously. “As of yesterday, Dad had all the money in my trust fund donated to a local charity,” She said.
“He what?” Shawn exclaimed. “I can’t believe the nerve of him!” Shawn said. “He is truly selfish – what a son of a-“ He stopped, when he saw Belle’s face. “Sorry.” He said.
“It’s okay. I was pretty mad too. You see, the condition was that I could have full access to it once I turned 25,” Belle said. “That was only a couple of years away, and I was looking forward to my birthday, especially now,” Belle said. “But I should have known that Dad would ensure that I never touched that money. Just another way of punishing me,” Belle added.
“Oh Belle, I’m so sorry,” Shawn said. “I really am.”
“I know. But it’s like you said – it’s time to move on, and I’m going to prove to my mother and my father that I can make it without that trust fund,” Belle said. “I hope you’re not too disappointed,” Belle said.
“Disappointed?” Shawn said.
“Well yeah, there was a lot of money in that trust fund. Once I turned 25, neither one of us needed to work again, trust me,” Belle said.
Shawn took her hands and kissed them softly. “We don’t need that money,” He whispered. “We have each other – that’s more important that any trust fund. So who cares – your dad let you down – again.” Shawn said. “We’re not going to dwell on it.” Shawn said.
Belle lifted her chin up and agreed with him. “You’re right. Again.” Belle said, giggling. “Oh Shawn, I’m so glad I have you in my life,” Belle said.
“And I’m glad to have you in mine.” Shawn said.
After a few moments had passed, Belle decided they should get some sleep.
“We’d better call it a night – we have to be at the pub early tomorrow.” Belle said.
“You’re right.” Shawn said.
After the two were settled in their bed, Shawn gently urged Belle to snuggle up to him. Once she did, they two sighed happily together. They weren’t rich, and they would never be rich, but they both felt like millionaires – simply because they had each other.
It was another regular day at the pub for Belle. People were coming and going, and she remained with a huge smile on her face throughout the day. It had been three months since her and Shawn had gotten married, and she honestly thought they were the best three months of her life.
She was working a steady schedule at the pub, with Shawn of course. They usually came in together every morning, at about 11:00, just in time for lunch. Then they would close up the place around 9:00 each night. Belle found herself not waiting on tables as much these days. Shawn and Caroline had hired another two waitresses to help out with the lunch rush, so it was pretty much covered. Belle still made sure to help out, but she was busy with other duties as well.
Shawn was teaching her how to cook – she had never been much of a cook, but Shawn was teaching her so many things. She also made sure to help her husband in the kitchen when it came to time to wash and dry the dishes.
Ever since Belle had helped out Lisa with the payroll that day, Caroline had insisted that she do the bookkeeping for the Pub. There was a small office located in the back of the kitchen, and Caroline showed Belle around, letting her know where to find everything. So each day, after the lunch rush passed, Belle would be in the office, working on the books. It was something that she felt comfortable doing, and she would usually be in the office for about three hours. When it was dinnertime, she made sure to help out once again with serving their customers.
All the while, the Brady family couldn’t believe how helpful Belle was. Shawn Douglas’s young wife seemed to be a blessing in disguise, and Caroline and Shawn Sr. secretly hoped that she wasn’t planning on going anywhere.
One afternoon, Belle was working in her small office, when Shawn walked in, looking very serious.
“Sweetie, what’s wrong?” She asked, standing up from her desk.
Shawn cleared his throat. “Well, I don’t know how to tell you this,” He said.
“Just tell me what it is,” Belle said, bracing herself. She knew whatever it was, it couldn’t be good by the look on Shawn’s face.
“Well, your mother’s here, and she wants to see you.” He said.
Belle almost fainted. Her mother was here? She wanted to see her?
“What did you tell her?” Belle asked.
“Well, I said that I’d let you know.” He walked closer to her, and places his hands on her shoulders. “Baby, it’s up to you whether or not you want to talk to her. And whatever you decide, I’m with you a hundred per cent.” Shawn said, kissing her forehead gently.
Belle gave her husband a tiny smile, and tried to decide what she should do. She hadn’t spoken to her mother in weeks, although she had been keeping in touch with Brady. Her brother told her that things had cooled down at the Black house, and had begged Belle to come over and speak with their parents. But Belle had refused. She insisted that her father apologize for treating her and Shawn so badly, but an apology never came.
Now her mother wanted to see her. She scoffed when she thought about how she had been acting. She had obviously chosen her husband over her daughter, and that infuriated Belle to no end. Marlena knew that John had been in the wrong, and instead of trying to talk some sense into him, she merely kept her mouth shut about the whole situation.
“I don’t know if I want to see her Shawn. I was in a good mood today – something tells me she’s about to ruin it,” She said grimly.
“I know baby,” Shawn said. “But I’m sure you’re curious to find out what she wants to say to you,” Shawn said.
“You’re right,” Belle decided. “Okay, let’s go,” She said.
They made their way out of the office, and through the kitchen. When Belle saw her mother waiting for her at one of the booths, she sighed. “Shawn, I think I should talk to her on my own. Is that okay baby?” She asked.
Shawn nodded. “Of course it is,” He said. He kissed the side of her head softly and said, “I’ll be here in the kitchen, if you need me,” He told her.
“I know. Thanks.”
Belle slowly walked over to her mother, and didn’t smile back at her when Marlena stood up for her.
“Hello Belle.” She said.
They both sat down across from each other, and Marlena knew by the way her daughter was sitting that she wasn’t going to be pleasant.
“How’ve you been?” Marlena asked, shifting in her seat slightly.
“Fine.” Belle answered.
“I understand you’re working for the Brady’s now. That must be nice.” Marlena said.
Belle rolled her eyes. “Give it up Mom.” She said, through clenched teeth. “Cut the crap, and tell me why you’re bothering me today,” She said.
Marlena looked shocked. “Why Isabella, I didn’t expect you to be so hostile,” Marlena said. “I’m quite disappointed in you.”
Belle’s mouth opened in surprise. “YOU’RE disappointed in me!” Belle exclaimed. She shook her head. “What nerve mother – I can’t believe you.” Belle said. “You’ve been giving me the cold shoulder for weeks now, and you just waltz into my family’s restaurant, asking to speak with me as if everything is honky dory,” Belle said. “I’ve got news for you Mom,” Belle said, lowering her voice. “Everything is not all honky dory.”
Marlena sighed heavily. “Yes, I know.” She said. “These last few weeks have been very hard on your father and me-“
“Don’t.” Belle interrupted. “Don’t even mention him.” Belle said.
“Why Belle, he is still your father-“
“Mom, you mention him one more time, and I’ll ask that you leave. No, I’ll insist on it,” Belle said evenly. She was close to exploding, and her mother realized that.
“I’m sorry.” Marlena said. “I won’t waste your time,” Marlena said, opening her purse. She took out a piece of paper, and gave it to Belle.
“What is this?” Belle asked as she glanced at it.
“Just read it.” Marlena said.
Belle read over the contents of the letter, and her eyes widened in surprise. “What – you’re giving me back my trust fund?” She asked.
Marlena nodded. “I realize that your father was a bit harsh in that respect, so that form just says that you’ll be getting the money two years earlier,” Marlena said. “I had Gene Cisco prepare the papers this morning,” Marlena explained. “We’ve been working very hard these past years, and we always wanted to ensure that you and your brother got something out of it. That’s why we created these trust funds,” Marlena said.
“Mom, just hold it right there,” Belle said. “It says that I’m getting 10 million dollars here. That isn’t hard earned money, so stop trying to make it sound like it is,” Belle said.
Marlena looked sheepish for a moment, but finally spoke. “Belle, look at it anyway you want to. That money is yours – it has been since you were a child, and that’s why I decided you should have it. It doesn’t matter that we’re not on good terms right now – you still deserve that money.” Marlena said.
“Well thanks, but no thanks,” Belle said, folding up the piece of paper and giving it back to her mother.
Marlena was shocked. “But Belle – I –“
“You what?” Belle said. “You thought I would take the money, and then all would be forgiven? Let me guess – this is Dad’s way of ‘reaching out’ to me, am I right?”
Marlena merely nodded. “He wants you back in his life Isabella. He misses you – we both do. And we know that Shawn is a part of your life now,” Marlena whispered.
“Funny, because all of a sudden, you and Dad don’t matter any more,” Belle said. “I don’t want anything from either of you,” Belle said. “Including the trust fund. As far as I’m concerned, this money is tainted, and I don’t want any reminders of you or your husband,” She said. She was very calm, and speaking very slowly to her mother. “Just take your money, and get the hell out of my family’s restaurant,” Belle said.
“Belle, you don’t understand,” Marlena said. “The money has already been transferred to your bank account,” Marlena said.
“What?” Belle said, obviously not expecting her mother to say that.
“Look, your father and I thought that if we told you that the money from the trust fund was gone, Shawn wouldn’t want anything to do with you any more,” Marlena said. She lowered her head. “We thought he married you for other purposes,” Marlena mumbled.
Belle felt a vast amount of anger forming within her. “You thought he married me because I was rich?” Belle whispered.
“Your father did, and obviously, he was wrong-“
“I can’t believe you two! Did I ever know you at all?” Belle shrieked.
“Belle, lower your voice,” Marlena said.
“Mom, you and Dad have treated me like dirt!” Belle said. “You weren’t so bad in the beginning. In fact, you supported me. You listened to me, and reassured me that everything would be okay. And you were so nice to Shawn,” Belle said. “I can’t believe how things changed for you,” Belle said. “It was as though someone told you to choose between us,” Belle said, looking at her mother in disgust.
Marlena sighed. “Belle, he’s still my husband. He’s the one I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.” She said.
“That’s nice Mom. So just as you support your husband, I’ll support mine. Let me make this perfectly clear to you,” Belle said. “If you and Dad don’t apologize to my husband for the way he’s been treated – never mind what you’ve done to me, we won’t even get into that – but if Shawn isn’t begged for forgiveness, then you can forget that you ever had me,” Belle said, trying to keep herself composed.
“No Belle, don’t say that!” Marlena said, her eyes filling with tears.
Belle felt her own tears forming, but she lifted her chin up, determined to stay strong. “It hurts, doesn’t it Mom?” Belle asked. “It hurts when you think about someone you love casting you out of your life,” Belle said.
Marlena began to sob, but Belle was unfazed. She crossed her arms, and stared at her mother intently. “That money may have been transferred to my account, but it’s all going to be donated to a local charity,” Belle said. “I want no reminders of you or your husband,” Belle said bitterly. She stood up, and pointed to the front door. “Now get out Mom,” Belle said. Her voice was shaky, but she was trying to remain as calm as possible.
“Belle, please, we have to talk about this.” Marlena said, sobbing.
“Are you and Dad willing to say ‘I’m sorry’ to Shawn?” Belle asked.
When Marlena didn’t answer, Belle shook her head. “I thought so.” Belle said.
“Belle, it’s complicated, but if we could all sit down, and talk about this…”
“No Mom.” Belle said. She sighed impatiently. “Could you please go – I have work to do, and you’re preventing me from doing that,” Belle said.
Marlena, with tears streaming down her face, looked at her daughter once more, her eyes pleading with her to give her and John a chance. But Belle never budged from her position. Marlena slowly walked away from Belle, and left the Pub quietly.
After she was gone, Shawn rushed over to his wife, and put his arms around her. Belle sobbed quietly, letting all her emotions out. “I hate them Shawn! I hate them for doing this to me!” Belle whimpered.
“Shhhh, it’s okay baby,” Shawn said. “It’s going to be okay.” Shawn said.
He pulled away from her, and wiped her tears.
“It was awful Shawn,” Belle said. “She told me they transferred the money from my trust fund into my bank account. It was a way of buying my affection – our affection,” Belle said. “I can’t believe the two of them – they have got a lot of nerve,” Belle said.
“It’s okay Belle, just try not to let it upset you,” Shawn said.
“I know, you’re right.” Belle said. But Belle couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. She swore to herself that she would never let her parents hurt her again. She had no intention of keeping that money. She decided that she would donate it somewhere – anywhere, just as long as she had no reminders of her parents. She was determined to move on with her life, and this was the way to do it.
One week later, Belle was much better. She pushed away thoughts of her mother and father away from her mind. She focused on her wonderful husband, and found it easy not to think about her parents whenever he was around.
One night, Belle and Shawn were closing up the Pub, when someone knocked at the door. They were surprised to see Shawn Sr. and Caroline.
“Hey you guys – what are you doing here?” Shawn asked, as he let them in.
“Well, we wanted to talk to you kids, if that’s okay,” Shawn Sr. said.
“Sure,” Shawn said. He turned to Belle. “Are we about done in here?” He asked.
Belle nodded. “We are.” Belle said. “Come on, we’ll sit over here,” Belle said.
The four of them sat together, and Shawn and Belle were curious to see what they wanted to discuss with them.
“First of all, I wanted to tell you kids how proud I am of ya,” Shawn Sr. said. He smiled warmly at both of them. “You both know that we’re not getting any younger, so it’s nice to know we can count on you to hold down the fort when we’re not here,” Shawn said.
“Grandpa, it’s no problem,” Shawn said. “We enjoy working here,” He added.
Belle nodded. “Shawn’s right. It’s been great working here – I’m making great tips,” She joked. “But the best part is, I get to spend more time with Shawn’s family,” Belle said.
“We’re glad to have you too dear,” Caroline said, patting her hand. “That’s why we have a proposition for you two,” Caroline said.
“A proposition?” Shawn said. He wrinkled his brows together. “What do you mean?”
Shawn Sr. took out a large vanilla envelope, and handed it to his grandson. “I think this will answer all your questions,” He said.
Shawn opened the envelope, and found some sort of legal documents inside. He quickly glanced at Belle, and shrugged, telling her without words that he had no idea what this was about. As the couple read over the documents, Belle gasped.
“Oh my word!” She said.
Shawn looked at his grandfather, then at his grandmother. “But this says…are you guys sure?” He asked, his voice filled with uncertainty.
“Of course we’re sure my boy!” Shawn Sr. exclaimed. “Nothing would make us happier!”
“But Grandpa,” Shawn said. “This document says that you’re turning over all rights of the Brady Pub to me,” Shawn said.
“And to Belle,” Caroline said. “Don’t forget about Belle,” She said.
Belle felt her heart fill with love for Shawn’s grandparents. They obviously had the utmost faith in them, to want her and Shawn to run their business for them. Belle had been touched when they trusted them enough with the key to the Pub, but now taking full ownership? She couldn’t believe it.
“Grandpa, this business has been yours for years now, are you sure you want to let it go?” Belle asked, in a soft voice.
“My dear, Caroline and I don’t have the willpower we did back then, when we decided to open the Pub,” Shawn said. “I’m hardly here as it is, and you and Shawn, well, you know how to run this business,” He told them.
“But Grandpa, are you sure about this?” Shawn asked.
“Believe me, your grandmother and I have been talking about this for weeks now, ever since we saw how well you and Belle worked together. All you have to do is sign those papers, and as of the first of the month, the Brady Pub belongs to you two,” Shawn Sr. said.
“Oh wow,” Belle said. She was still in shock. What had started out as a part time job, something to give her some sort of stability, was turning into something long term. She knew that running the business was something that she was already doing, but having her sign as owner made it official.
“Belle, what are you thinking?” Shawn asked, when he saw how deep in thought she was.
“Oh, nothing,” Belle said.
“Look, I know this is a big decision for us Belle,” Shawn said. “So we’re going to talk about this, and then we’ll let Grandma and Grandpa know our decision,” Shawn said.
“There’s one more thing,” Shawn said. He looked at his grandparents suspiciously. “These documents say that you’re selling the Pub to us,” Shawn said.
“Oh that’s just some legal mumbo jumbo,” Shawn Sr. said. “We’re just turning ownership over to you, we’re not really selling it to you, so to speak. I mean, we are, but we’re not going to have you buy it, because we’re giving you everything,” Shawn Sr. said.
Shawn shook his head. “Look Grandpa, if we’re going to take over the Brady Pub, we’re going to do this right. I know you’ve put in a lot of time and money into this place, so I’m not going to take it away from you without a price,” Shawn said. “Now tell me, if you were to sell this place, how much would it be?”
“Nonsense my boy,” Shawn Sr. said. “I will not take money from family,” He said.
“Shawn,” Caroline said. “It’s already been decided. Now we’ll leave these documents for you, and you let us know when you and Belle have come to a decision.” Caroline said. “Come on Shawn, it’s getting late, so we should head home,” Caroline said.
Later that night, Belle and Shawn were sitting in their living room, looking over the legal documents Shawn and Caroline had given them.
“I can’t believe him!” Shawn exclaimed. “He wants to hand down his family business to us, and he wants to give it to us for free!”
“I know,” Belle said. “Shawn, I’ve been keeping the books up to date for a while now, and let me tell you, that place is a gold mine,” Belle said. “If we take over - let’s just say, we’ll be very comfortable,” Belle said.
“I don’t doubt it,” Shawn mumbled. “I want to do this Belle, I want to run this business, because it’s something that makes me happy, and I know you want to do it too. Am I right?” He asked his wife.
Belle nodded. “This feels right.” Belle said. “This is something we can do together, and we know how to do it.” Belle said.
“I can’t do this without officially buying the place from Grandpa. I’m going to find out how much the Pub would sell for, if Grandpa ever decided to sell it. Then I’ll see if we can work out some sort of loan with the bank, so we can pay it off a little bit at a time.” Shawn said. “What do you think?” Shawn asked.
Belle didn’t answer right away. She thought of her trust fund, just sitting in her bank account. She had sworn to herself that she would not touch that money, except to donate it to a charity. She hadn’t gotten around to that yet, but she knew she would have to.
“Shawn, we’ll buy the Pub from Grandpa, but don’t bother asking the bank for a loan,” Belle said, her eyes shinning brightly.
“Belle, if this has anything to do with your trust fund, don’t even go there,” Shawn said, turning away from her.
Belle sighed. She knew she would have to deal with his pride, but she was determined to get through to him. “Shawn,” She said, placing her hand on his shoulder. “Please, let me do this,” She pleaded. “I want to put that money to good use. There’s a lot of money there – as soon as we buy the pub, I promise the rest of it will be donated, just as I said it would be,” Belle said. “Please Shawn, reconsider. We’re not doing this for any other reason than to buy the pub from your grandparents,” Belle said.
Shawn turned to look at his wife, and shook his head. “I still don’t like touching this money,” He mumbled. “What if your parents find out, and they think we’re giving into them,” He said.
“But we’re not!” Belle said. “The money isn’t for us – it’s for a good cause. Trust me Shawn, the rest of it will not be used, I promise you,” Belle said. “Please, please, let me do this, I want to do this,” Belle said. “It’s for our future!”
Shawn knew he should say no. He didn’t want any money coming from John Black, but he had to agree with Belle.
“Okay.” Shawn said quietly.
Belle squealed in delight, and threw her arms around her husband’s neck. “So we’re going to do this!”
Shawn found Belle’s excitement to be contagious, and he gave her a great big smile. “Yes, we’re really going to do this – we’re going to purchase the Brady Pub, and it’ll be ours as of next month!” He said.
“Oh My God Shawn – this is so exciting – we’ll get to work together all the time now,” Belle said. She clasped her hands together, and babbled on endlessly. Shawn merely tilted his head to side, delighted that Belle was so excited about this. He knew it wouldn’t be easy convincing his grandparents to take money from them, but he was sure he would make them understand.
The following month, everything was set. Shawn and Caroline Brady had finally agreed to sell the Brady Pub to Shawn Douglas and Isabella Brady. Everyone was ecstatic. For the first time in her life, Belle felt as though she truly belonged with the Brady family. Everyone had been thrilled when they learned that Shawn and Belle were the new owners of the pub.
They had a farewell party for Shawn and Caroline, but the couple promised to come by everyday.
“If you ever need any help, you know who to call my good boy,” Shawn Sr. told his grandson.
Everything was finally on track for Belle. She was enjoying her role as owner and operator of the Brady Pub. She had withdrawn just enough money from her trust fund to buy the pub, and she made good on her promise, by donating the rest of it to a local charity. She felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders when she had done that.
Neither one of her parents tried to make contact with Belle, ever since her confrontation with Marlena that day at the Pub. And that suited Belle just fine. She knew she had to focus on her new life with Shawn. Now that the two had a business under their names, they agreed to start looking for houses together.
Belle often thought about her parents, and even missed them. But every time she thought about how they had mistreated her, as well as Shawn, she attempted to push them away from her mind. She was still hurt from what had happened, but she knew that everything happened for a reason, and she decided that in time, her hurt would disappear.
Shawn and Belle were thrilled when the original staff agreed to stay on at the pub, leaving weekends free for the couple.
One Saturday morning, Belle woke up, feeling refreshed and all ready to start the day with her husband. She noticed he was sleeping soundly, so she slowly got out of bed, and made her way to the kitchen.
As she poured herself a glass of orange juice, the calendar on the far wall caught her eye.
“It’s already the 15th?” She said to herself. “But why haven’t I….” She stopped talking, and realized something.
She quickly went to find her purse, and slapped her head when she realized what she had done. She pulled out a small packet of pills, and wanted to kick herself. Belle had been on the birth control pill for five months now, and she remembered her doctor telling her how important it was to take her pills, every day. If she missed one day, the doctor told her to take the missed pill immediately. But there was a problem.
Belle looked at her package closely, and sighed. She had missed three days. There was no way she could take three pills at once.
“I’ve been so tired every night, that I’ve forgotten to take the pills,” Belle murmured to herself. She sighed. Her and Shawn had made love last night, and the night before, so for all she knew, she could be pregnant. Especially since her period always arrived around the 10th of each month. She was late. And Belle was never late.
“What am I going to do?” She said out loud. Perhaps she shouldn’t be upset – after all, her and Shawn were married. But would Shawn be happy if Belle was pregnant? They hadn’t talked about starting a family, but that didn’t mean that Shawn wouldn’t want a baby if she were pregnant. Before she decided anything, she knew she had to find out if she was pregnant or not.
Once she found out, then she would talk to Shawn, and find out how he felt about the prospect of becoming a father.
Note: Special thanks to Roxy (aka Sliver) for the idea of making Shawn and Belle the new owners of The Brady Pub – I never would’ve thought of it if you hadn’t suggested it in your feedback! Thanks again girlfriend!
Two weeks later, Belle was in the middle of a busy lunch hour at the Brady Pub. She couldn’t stop and take a breath, much less return a phone call to University Hospital. Belle had been at the hospital a couple of days earlier, to get a blood test. She wanted to confirm if she was pregnant before she told Shawn, but she already had a feeling that she was.
She hadn’t told anyone anything, but she had bouts of morning sickness. Shawn was concerned about her, but Belle assured him that it was probably a bug. Belle bit her lip as she glanced at her watch again – she wanted to call back the hospital, but knew it was impossible. She would have to wait for the lunch hour to pass before she did anything.
At 3:00, Belle made her way over to her office, feeling completely exhausted. She had to be pregnant – she never used get tired so easily, she thought. She closed the door behind her, and took a deep breath once she was inside. It was time. She was going to call the hospital, and find out what the results of the blood test were.
She supposed she could’ve taken a home pregnancy test, but somehow, Belle didn’t think it would be accurate. She wanted to know 100% if she was pregnant or not, and now it was the moment of truth. She felt her heart pounding wildly as she dialled the number she knew off by heart. Her hands were shaky, and she realized that she was actually excited about this. She had been a little weary and frightened at first, but after she had thought about it, she knew she wanted to have Shawn’s baby more than anything in this world. She wanted to have Shawn’s life growing inside of her, and she wanted to nurture it, and when it came time for this new life to make it’s appearance into the world, Belle wanted Shawn right by her side.
She was giddy as she thought about everything – she knew she needed someone to love, and to love her back unconditionally. Ever since the blow out with her parents, Belle had been clinging to Shawn – not that he minded, but Belle didn’t want to become a nuisance to her husband. She had so much love to give, and who better to give that love to than her own baby?
Belle waited for Dr. Bader’s office to come on the phone. The secretary had put her on hold, while she was looking for Belle’s file. Finally, after what seemed like hours, when it had only been a couple of minutes, the secretary returned.
“Yes?” Belle said anxiously.
“I have the results of your blood work in my hands.”
Belle closed her eyes. “And?”
Belle didn’t remember anything else the secretary said after that. Belle felt her eyes fill with tears, and she hung up a moment later, her body trembling with excitement.
She was pregnant. She was going to have Shawn’s baby.
She stood up from her desk, and paced around her small office, wondering if she should tell Shawn now, or wait until they got home. When she saw how early it was, Belle knew she couldn’t wait that long.
Belle left her office, and went to find Shawn. She was relieved when she found him in the kitchen, drying off some dishes.
“Hey babe, you okay?” He asked, when he saw her walk into the kitchen.
Belle nodded. “Yes, I’m fabulous,” She told him. She cleared her throat, and said, “Shawn, do you think you can come with me into my office?”
Shawn looked at her, his face filled with concern. “Why, is everything okay?”
“Yes, yes, everything is okay,” Belle said hurriedly.
“Does this have something to do with that flu bug you had?” He asked her.
“Well, I notice you’ve been sick the last few days, and you mentioned that it was probably a flu bug. Didn’t you go to the hospital to have some blood work done?” He asked her.
“Yes, you’re right.” Belle said. “That’s what I want to talk to you about,” Belle said.
“Okay, let’s go.” Shawn said.
They walked to Belle’s office together, and Belle tried so hard not to giggle. Shawn had no idea what she was about to tell him – she couldn’t wait to see the look on his face!
Shawn closed the door behind him, and turned to face Belle. “Okay, what is this about?” He asked.
Belle stood in front of her desk, and watched him carefully. “Shawn, I asked to speak to you – alone, because I wanted to tell you something,” She said. She took a deep breath, and decided that she was just going to come right out and say it. “I wanted to tell you that you’re going to be a father,” She said.
“I’m what? I’m going to be a-“ He stopped, and looked dumbfounded for a moment. Her words seem to finally sink in, and his eyes lit up with joy. “I’m going to be a father – I’m- you’re pregnant?” He exclaimed, glancing down at her stomach.
“Yes!” Belle answered, her eyes filling with tears.
“Oh Belle – I love you babe!” He said, taking his wife in his arms. He hugged her tightly, and he felt a wave of love wash over him as he thought about the life growing inside of Belle at that very moment.
“Are you feeling okay? Do you want to sit down?” He said, pulling away from her. He walked with her over to her chair, and insisted that she sit down. “I want you to take it easy – from now on, you only work a half day, and then-“
“Shawn!” Belle said, interrupting him. “I’m only a few weeks along, and I feel fine!” She said.
“Oh.” Shawn said, his face blank.
Belle giggled. “Look baby, right now, it’s business as usual,” Belle said. “If I feel like I have to take a break, or relax for a bit, I promise you, I’ll be out of here in no time,” She said.
“Okay.” Shawn said. He looked at her, and smiled brightly at her. “Oh Belle, you’ve made me so happy!” He exclaimed. He kneeled down in front of her, and placed his hands on her abdomen. “I can’t believe it – you’re going to have our baby!”
“I know – it’s still sinking in, but the more I think about it Shawn, the more I get excited!” She said. “We have to tell everyone!” She said, glancing at the phone on her desk.
“Yes, we do. And we will.” Shawn said. “I’d rather do it in person, so don’t make any phone calls yet.”
“Damn!” Belle said. Shawn knew her so well. She was about to pick up the phone and call Hope.
“We’ll tell Mom and Dad on the weekend, when we go over for dinner on Sunday night,” Shawn said.
Belle looked at Shawn as if he had grown another head. “You mean you actually want me to wait until Sunday to tell them?” Belle asked.
Shawn smiled at her. “Sorry Belle, but this is something that will have to remain between the two of us,” He said. “Think you can keep your mouth shut until then?” He asked, kissing her nose.
Belle stuck out her bottom lip out, but it didn’t faze Shawn. “Don’t even try that on me,” He said. “We’ll tell them on Sunday, and that’s final,” He said. He thought of something else, and frowned. “Um, Belle, if you want to tell your parents, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea-“
“Shawn, we said we weren’t going to talk about them,” Belle said. She immediately became dejected at the mention of her parents, and Shawn sighed.
“I’m sorry Belle.” He said. “If you really feel that strongly about this, then at least tell your brother.”
Belle nodded. “I will.” She said.
He pulled her close, and kissed her lips softly. “I love you Isabelle Brady. I love you and our little baby,” He said, touching her flat stomach once again.
Belle smiled at him. “I love you too Shawn.” She said. “And I can’t wait to have your baby.”
When Belle and Shawn told the family about their news, everyone was ecstatic. They had all gathered at Bo and Hope’s house the following Sunday, at which time Belle couldn’t hold the news in any longer.
Shawn Sr. and Caroline were there, along with Roman, and Hope’s parents, Doug and Julie. Tears of joy streamed down Hope’s face when she realized she was going to be a grandmother.
“You two have made me so happy!” She said, hugging the two of them tightly.
“Uh, fancy face, what about the grandfather?” Bo asked, as he stood off to the side. “Can’t I get in on this?” He asked.
They all laughed. “Of course you can Dad!” Shawn said. They had a group hug, and everyone was laughing together.
Belle was happy – they had recently found a house that her and Shawn admired, and they were planning on putting forth an offer. Business was going well – the same steady customers came in daily, and Belle knew it was a bit premature to think this, but it looked as though their business would continue to be profitable.
And now they were expecting a baby. Belle sighed happily as she looked around the room – all of Shawn’s family had smiles on their faces, thrilled to learn that another person would be added to their family. She thought of her own parents, and wished that things could be different. Belle wanted to tell them the news, but knew that she wouldn’t. She planned on getting together with Brady the next day for lunch, and she had every intention of telling him. But she would make him promise not to tell their parents.
JT watched his sister-in-law, and realized that she was deep in thought. He moved closer to her, and put his hand on her shoulder.
“Hey Belle,” He said, smiling at her warmly. “You should tell them,” He said quietly.
Belle sighed. Obviously, JT had picked up on what she was thinking about. “I’m not sure what to say to them,” She said.
“Just tell them what you told Mom and Dad – that they’re going to be grandparents. Maybe this baby will help you guys find your way back to each other,” He said.
“I wish that were the case JT,” Belle said. “But I refuse to allow my parents back into my life until they apologize to Shawn,” She told him.
JT shook his head. “Belle, Shawn appreciates the fact that you’re putting your foot down because of him, but you have to be realistic here – do you really think that your mother and father are ever going to apologize for what they did?” JT asked.
Belle thought of what had happened, and knew the answer. “No, I know they will never admit that they were wrong.” She said sadly.
“So maybe it’s time to forget about what happened, and move on,” JT said. “I mean, I know it’s none of my business, and you don’t have to listen to a word I’ve said, but-“
“JT, I know you’re only looking out for my best interest,” Belle said. She smiled at him, and took his hand in hers. All these months that she had been dating Shawn, JT had always been so wonderful to her. He treated her like a little sister, even though he had enough reason to be bitter and angry towards her family. But he made it clear to Belle that all was forgiven, and he welcomed her into the family with open arms.
“Hey, you do whatever makes you happy,” JT said, squeezing her hand tightly. “We all love you Belle,” He said.
“I know,” Belle said. “I love you too – all of you,” She said.
“The reason I’m encouraging you to speak with your parents is because I don’t want you under any stress. We all know how crucial it is to remain stress-free in a pregnancy,” JT said, in a firm voice.
When Belle looked at him in surprise, he smiled sheepishly. “Hey, I’m a Horton too, remember? A lot of Hortons are doctors, so I know these things,” He said.
Belle nodded. “I know what you mean. And I’m grateful that you’re so concerned about my health,” She said. “But don’t you worry, I intend to stay stress free during this pregnancy,” She said.
JT looked at Belle cautiously. “Belle, staying stress free is a little unrealistic, don’t you think?” JT said.
“I know, but I’m going to try my best,” Belle said.
“Good.” JT said.
She kissed JT’s cheek softly, and thanked him for the little talk. She walked back to her husband, and put her arms around his waist, leaning closer to him and placing her head against his chest.
The rest of the night passed by quickly, and before they knew it, they were on their way home.
“Belle, are you going to see Dr. Bader this week for a check up?” Shawn asked, as they drove home.
“Yes, tomorrow morning actually. She’s going to schedule regular appointments for me, and she’s also going to tell me how far along I am,” Belle said.
“That’s good.” Shawn said.
The next morning, Belle went to her appointment at University Hospital, and learned she was already two months along. It was already November, so Dr. Bader informed Belle that the due date was May 2nd. Belle could hardly wait to tell Shawn, but before she left, Dr. Bader had a long talk with Belle.
“Belle, I understand you run a business with your husband,” Dr. Bader said.
“Yes, that’s right.” Belle said.
“I want you to watch yourself, particularly the last few months of your pregnancy,” Dr. Bader said. “I notice your blood pressure is unusually high, and that could be because of stress,” Dr. Bader said. “I want you to take it easy, and relax. Keep working, but try to take lots of breaks, and elevate your feet once you sit down,” Dr. Bader said.
Belle’s face was filled with concern as she listened to the doctor. “Dr. Bader, what are you saying? Is my baby in danger?” She asked.
“No, no, far from it,” Dr. Bader said. “But I’ve often found that when pregnant woman have a high amount of stress in their lives, they’re likely to go into premature labour, or are unable to give birth naturally. Now there’s nothing wrong with having a C-section, but if it’s possible to have a natural birth, than that’s the way I’d like to go,” Dr. Bader said. “So keep working, but just watch yourself. I want you to drink plenty of fluids, and try to see if you can take naps during the day. See if it’s possible to work out some sort of schedule with your husband,” Dr. Bader said.
Belle nodded. “That’s not going to be a problem. Once Shawn finds out about this, I’ll be surprised if he lets me work at all,” Belle mumbled.
“Now that’s not what I said. You should keep working, because if you stay home from now, you’re likely to gain a lot of unnecessary weight. I want you to keep moving around, but you have to be careful, that’s all.” Dr. Bader said.
“Okay Dr. Bader. Thanks.” Belle said.
Later that day, Belle relayed all of the information to Shawn. They were at the Pub, eating lunch together, while Shawn listened to what Belle had to say.
“Okay, it’s settled – I don’t want you working here any more.” Shawn said, wiping his lips with a napkin.
“Shawn, she never said that I shouldn’t work,” Belle said. “I’ll still work, but I’ll just work half days, how’s that?” She suggested.
Shawn shook his head. “No way. I don’t want you under any stress. We all know how it is here at the Pub – you’ll be doing ten things at once, and I want you to be relaxed,” He said.
“But Shawn,” Belle said, reaching out to hold his hands gently. “If I stay home, that’s no good for me either.” Belle said. “Look, I’ll come in the mornings with you, just as before. I’ll work in the office until lunchtime. IF I’m feeling okay, then I’ll help out with the lunch rush,” She said. When she saw Shawn open his mouth to speak, Belle stopped him. “I said IF I feel okay. If I don’t, then I’ll just head home.” Belle said.
“Well, I suppose that would be okay,” Shawn said. “But after lunch, you go home, and I don’t want you back until the next morning, you got that?” Shawn said sternly.
Belle nodded. “Yes, I understand.” Belle said.
“Good. And during the lunch rush, if you feel the least bit uncomfortable, you tell me, and I’ll take you home,” Shawn said.
“Okay.” Belle said. “Shawn, it’ll be okay, don’t worry.” Belle said.
“I hope so,” Shawn said. “I just want you and the baby to be healthy,” Shawn said. “And once you’re six months along, I want you home, until the baby is born.” Shawn told her.
“Seven months.” Belle said stubbornly.
“Six and half,” Shawn said.
“Done. But at six and a half months, I’ll still come in, but I’ll stay in the office, - I promise I won’t help out with the other waitresses,” Belle said.
Shawn looked at her suspiciously. “You better mean that,” He said.
“Good. It’s a deal then.” He said.
And so it began – Belle kept her promise to Shawn. She came in with him every morning, and went straight to her office to work on the bookkeeping. She had lunch with her husband every day, and still helped out the other waitresses. Shawn put out an ad in the newspaper for a third waitress, to replace Belle, and Belle found herself occupied with finding someone to fill her shoes.
It wasn’t an easy task. Belle had dozens and dozens of interviews, but no one seemed to satisfy her. As she finished up an interview with yet another unsuccessful candidate, she was surprised one day when Mimi came to see her at the Pub.
“Oh My God – Meems, is that you?” Belle said, rushing over to her and hugging her tightly.
“In the flesh,” Mimi said. “How’ve you been Black?” She asked, as they sat down together at one of the nearby tables.
When Belle lifted her left hand up, Mimi gasped. “Oh My Gosh, you didn’t!” She said, totally shocked.
Belle nodded. “I did. Shawn and I got married about four months ago,” Belle said.
“Oh Belle, that’s great,” Mimi said. “I see marriage aggress with you,” She said, looking at her closely, and raising one of her eyebrows.
“What do you mean?” Belle asked, obviously confused.
“Well, you look so happy,” Mimi said. “And…”
“And what Meems?” Belle said, wondering what her friend was trying to say to her.
“Is it just me, or have you gained a little bit of weight?” Mimi asked, biting her lip. “I hope you don’t think that I’m being rude.”
Belle laughed at her friend, and held her hand tightly. “Oh Meems, I’ve missed you!” She said. “I have put on some weight, but there’s a reason,” Belle told her. She smiled brightly at her friend. “I’m pregnant Meems!”
Mimi jumped up from the table, squealing excitedly. “Oh My Gosh! This is amazing!” Mimi said, walking over to her friend and hugging her tightly.
“I know, I know,” Belle said. “Shawn and I are so happy!” Belle said.
“Wow Belle, you’ve really made a life for yourself,” Mimi said, once they had sat down again. “Last I heard, you and Shawn bought this pub from his grandparents –is that true?” Mimi asked.
Belle nodded. “Yes, it’s true.” Belle said.
“That is so neat!” Mimi exclaimed.
“Yeah, it is,” Belle said.
The two girls continued talking with each other, getting caught up with one another quickly. Belle felt a pang of guilt for not keeping in touch with her friend. She had been so caught up with Shawn that it had been ages since Belle had picked up the phone to call her.
“So Belle, you haven’t mentioned how your parents took your marriage to Shawn,” Mimi said, taking a sip of her diet coke.
Belle sighed. She hated getting into this, especially now. “Meems, let’s just say they didn’t take it well,” Belle said. “We’re not on speaking terms right now,” Belle added.
“Oh no way!” Mimi said. She frowned. “But haven’t you told them about your pregnancy?” Mimi asked.
Belle shook her head. “I told my brother, but I made him promise not to tell them. I don’t want them to know.”
“But why?” Mimi asked.
“Because, I don’t want them coming around, trying to patch things up with me. I told them I would only allow them back into my life if they apologized to Shawn. They have no intention of doing that, so I don’t want them around. If they find out I’m pregnant, I’m sure I’ll get a visit from them, and I know I’ll get upset, and I don’t need that right now.” Belle said. She exhaled slowly. “Look Meems, things are really complicated in my life, and I really don’t need to see my parents right now.” Belle said.
“I understand.” Mimi said. “I hope everything turns out all right.” Mimi said.
“It will.” Belle said.
Shawn walked over a little while later, and sat down with the two friends. Mimi admired the way he took care of Belle; he immediately asked Belle if she was hungry, or if she wanted him to cook her anything. Belle said no, so then he asked if she wanted a massage.
“No Shawn, I’m fine,” Belle said, smiling at her husband.
“How about a glass of milk?” He asked.
“Shawn, would you just sit here, and shut up!” Belle said, swatting his arm.
“Sorry.” Shawn said awkwardly.
Mimi was touched – she hoped she would be as lucky as Belle, to have such a wonderful husband like Shawn.
When it was nearly 4:00 in the afternoon, Mimi looked at her friends apologetically. “Look, I have to go guys,” She said, standing up from the table.
“You do?” Belle said, obviously disappointed. “Where do you have to go?” Belle asked.
Mimi sighed heavily. “Well, I’m trying to find a job, to help pay my tuition fees. I’m only enrolled part time at Salem U, but it still costs an arm and a leg,” Mimi said.
Shawn turned to Belle and winked at her. “Mimi, maybe we can help you out,” Shawn said. “Ever waited on tables before?” He asked.
“Waited on tables? Yeah, sure. I worked at Hudson’s Diner when I was sixteen. I was there for almost three years,” Mimi told them.
Belle clapped her hands together excitedly. “Meems, you can work for us – we’re looking for a waitress, to replace me,” Belle said. She explained to Mimi how they needed someone to work afternoons, and on weekends.
“That works out perfectly for me!” Mimi said. “I only have morning classes - when do I start?” She asked.
“How about tomorrow afternoon – say around 5:00?” Shawn said.
“Sounds great!” Mimi said. “I’m so excited – thanks so much you guys!” Mimi said.
And so Mimi was their new waitress. She looked over their menu the next day, and learned which days the pub had specials, and what specifically those specials were.
As the days passed, the other two waitresses, Lisa and Cynthia, got along with Mimi well, and Belle found herself with more free time on her hands, now that Mimi was taking care of things. The only thing she had to worry about was having someone replace her with the books, when it came time for Belle to go on maternity leave. But after giving it some thought, she decided to hand the job over to Lisa. She already had experience, and she had been working for the Brady family for years. She was the best choice.
The weeks passed by, and before Belle knew it, she was already five and a half months along. She was beginning to show, and made sure to go on a shopping spree with her husband for maternity clothes. Belle had her ultrasound, and everything looked to be okay.
At six months, Belle’s stomach was very noticeable. The customers at the Pub congratulated Shawn and Belle, and made predictions as to what the sex of the baby would be. Secretly, Shawn and Belle hoped for a boy. But they knew that whatever it was, all that mattered was that it was born healthy.
Belle began to take it easier at the pub. She was hardly doing any waitress duties, and found herself coming in the mornings, working in her office for a couple of hours, and then heading home. Her blood pressure was still high, and that worried Dr. Bader. She insisted that Belle take as many naps as possible, and drink plenty of fluids. She even suggested that Belle not go into the pub at all. But Belle informed her doctor she had every intention of working at the pub, until she was at least seven months along. She was always sitting down, so it was never anything strenuous on her. Dr. Bader seemed fine with that, but she still warned Belle to take it easy.
At seven and a half months, Belle found herself getting bigger and bigger. It seemed that each day she woke up, her stomach would get larger. The baby was kicking up a storm, and everything seemed to be going well.
One morning, Shawn accompanied Belle to her doctor’s appointment. As they entered University Hospital, they were surprised to hear Shawn’s pager go off.
He frowned. “Who could that be?” He asked. They stopped at a set of payphones, and Shawn dialled the number. He walked back to Belle after a moment, and kissed his wife’s hand softly. “Look, there’s a leak in one of the pipe’s in the kitchen over at the Pub, and they need me to get back there to fix it,” Shawn said. “Think I can come back in about an hour to pick you up?” He said.
Belle nodded. “No worries my dear. I’ll be waiting for you out front,” She said.
“Okay.” Shawn said, giving her a quick kiss before he left.
In fifteen minutes, Belle was getting her check up done by Dr. Bader. The young doctor looked concerned as she felt around on Belle’s stomach.
“What is it?” Belle asked, as she watched Dr. Bader perform her examination.
“Well, the baby’s head hasn’t turned around, and it should have by now,” Dr. Bader said. “If by 36 weeks the head hasn’t turned around, we’ll have to operate on you,” She informed her.
“Really?” Belle said. “Is that good or bad?”
“It’s not good or bad; obviously, I want a natural birth, but if need be, we will operate on you two weeks before your due date,” Dr. Bader explained.
“I see.” Belle said, frowning as she thought about the possibility of having a C-section.
“It’s all right Belle – it could very well turn out that the head will turn around. We’ll have to wait another week to see.” Dr. Bader said.
“Okay then.” Belle said.
She left Dr. Bader’s office about ten minutes later, and made her way over to the elevator. She stopped when she saw who was already there.
It was her mother.
Marlena noticed Belle right away, and her mouth opened in surprise. She quickly walked over to her and said,
“My goodness Belle, why didn’t you tell us that you’re pregnant?” Marlena whispered.
|This message has been edited by Mrs.B. on Nov 5, 2004 12:59 PM|