“We had no idea you were pregnant,” Marlena said to Belle, as she stepped closer to her. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
Belle rolled her eyes at her mother. “You really think I was going to pick up the phone to tell you?” She asked. Belle shook her head. “You’re unreal mother,” She said.
Marlena pressed her lips together tightly, obviously not pleased with what Belle was saying to her.
“Belle, we’re still your parents, and John and I have a right to know about these type of things,” Marlena said, in a firm voice.
“Oh please,” Belle said. She wasn’t going to listen to this any more. “If you don’t mind, I have to get going,” Belle said, stepping closer to the elevator. But Marlena took a hold of her arm, not allowing her to leave.
“Not so fast young lady,” Marlena said. “You and I have to talk,” She said, in a hard voice.
Belle sighed impatiently. “You know, I would LOVE to argue with you right now, but Shawn is waiting for me outside, and I don’t want him to get worried,” Belle told her.
“I’ll just need five minutes of your time.” Marlena said.
Belle exhaled slowly. “Fine.” Belle said.
They walked over to Marlena’s office in silence. Belle was actually surprised that she hadn’t run into her mother sooner. She worked at University Hospital almost every day, and Belle had thought it was pure luck on her part that she never ran into her. Up until now that is.
Marlena closed the door to her office, and said, “Why don’t you have a seat.”
“No thanks, I’ll stand.” Belle said. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and said, “Remember, you only have five minutes.”
“Yes, I know.” Marlena said. She forced a smile on her face. “You look good honey,” She said to her daughter. “How many months are you?” She asked.
Belle sighed. “Seven and a half. My due date is May 2nd.” She said.
“Oh, I see.” Marlena said. “And is everything going okay?”
“Mom, everything is fine. I’m feeling fine, and the baby is fine. Now if that’s all you want to know, you’ll have to excuse me,” She said, starting to walk towards the door.
“Belle, wait,” Marlena said. Belle remained with her back turned, and Marlena said, “Your father and I had no idea about this. If we had known, we would’ve come by to see you,” Marlena said.
Belle scoffed at her mother, and turned around. “Oh please, give me a break. Spare me the bullshit Mom, pardon my language,” She said. “You honestly mean to tell me that you and Dad didn’t know I was pregnant?” She asked.
Marlena shook her head. “No, we didn’t. I’m going to assume you told Brady,” She said.
“Yes, I did.”
“I see.” Marlena said. She cleared her throat, and put her hands in her pocket. “Belle honey, maybe this is a sign – it’s God’s way of telling us that it’s time for a new beginning, for all of us,” Marlena said. She lowered her voice, her eyes filling with tears. “We miss you baby,” She said.
Belle refused to look at her mother. She knew if she did, she would begin to feel sorry for her, and she didn’t want to. She looked down at the floor, and said, “Mom, believe it or not, I miss you guys too,” She mumbled. “I miss the way things were before this whole thing started. I wish you and Dad would’ve accepted Shawn, because if you did, none of this would’ve ever happened,” Belle said.
Marlena sniffled, and walked over to her desk, taking a couple of Kleenexes. She wiped away her tears, and looked at Belle sadly. “Belle, I know what happened between you and your father was unfortunate, but perhaps it’s time we forget about the past, and focus on the future,” Marlena said. “I’m sure your father will be thrilled when he finds out he’s going to be a grandfather,” Marlena added.
Belle looked at her mother in shock. She told herself to remain calm. She remembered Dr. Bader telling her how important it was not to endure any stress.
“Mom, I’m not going to repeat myself – you and Dad know the conditions.” Belle said. She clenched her fists tightly, trying so hard to stay in control. “The only way you’re going to be in my life is if Dad apologizes to my husband.” She said. She took a deep breath, and told herself to count to ten slowly. Her mother wasn’t worth this, neither was her father. She knew that, but yet, she felt her insides quivering with anger.
“Belle dear, you know your father, and how stubborn he is,” Marlena said.
“That’s nice mother, but you also know how stubborn I am.” Belle retorted. “Now, before I have a conniption fit, I am going to leave.” Belle said.
This time when she walked towards the door, her mother didn’t try to stop her. Belle felt both relieved and sad at the same time. It was hard seeing her mother again after so many months. It was even harder hearing her say how much her father and her missed her.
Belle didn’t know if she should believe it or not. As she went down the elevator to meet up with Shawn, she thought about the number of years she had looked up to her father. She was always proud to say that she was John Black’s daughter. She thought her father was the most respectable man there was. Had she been wrong?
Belle thought about the times when she was a little girl, and how often John would kiss away the hurt whenever Belle had a bruise. He always took her to baseball games, and made sure to watch her soap operas with her when she came home for lunch on his days off from the office. He used to cook for her – the almighty John Black, owner and operator of Basic Black, would get down and dirty in the kitchen to make hamburgers and fries for his two children.
Tears poured down her face as she recalled the number of times John had been there for her in the past. She had always felt her father’s love, but ever since Shawn came into her life, he refused to show that love for her.
It didn’t make any sense – just because of a mistake that occurred over thirteen years ago, John was punishing Shawn, and her. She shook her head, and tried to compose herself. She didn’t want Shawn to see her like this. She knew he would be worried.
When she finally stepped outside, and saw him waiting for her, she walked over to their car, and stepped inside.
“Belle, what took you so long?” He asked, leaning forward to kiss her.
“I, uh, well….” Belle stopped. She wasn’t going to lie to him. She was going to tell him the truth. “I ran into my mother.” She said.
“You what?” Shawn said, his face filled with shock.
Belle breathed deeply before she continued. “I ran into my mother. She didn’t know that I was pregnant, or at least, that’s what she said,” Belle said.
“You don’t believe her?” He asked.
“That’s just it Shawn – I don’t know what to believe any more,” She mumbled.
As Shawn drove her home, he listened as Belle told him about her conversation with her mother. “So they want to be a part of your life – a part of our life?” He said.
Belle nodded. “I told her nothing had changed. They still owe you an apology – at least Dad does,” Belle said.
Shawn sighed heavily. “Look Belle, if you’re going to insist that they apologize to me, you should know something,” He said.
“What?” Belle said.
“They are never going to say I’m sorry. You know that, and I know that. With that being said, if that’s the only thing standing in your way of reconciling with your parents, I have something I’d like to say about that.”
“Okay. What is it?”
“If you want your parents back in your life, I’m not going to stop you. I’ll welcome them into our lives – it’ll be awkward at first, but if that’s what you want, then I’m behind you all the way baby.” Shawn said gently.
“Oh Shawn,” Belle said. She began to sob uncontrollably as she realized what Shawn was willing to do for her. He was putting his own feelings aside, just to make her happy.
“Look Belle, they’re still your parents, and they have a right to get to know their grandchild, even if you think they don’t deserve it,” He said.
Belle nodded. “I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t know Shawn. I don’t know if I’m ready to take them back into my life.” She admitted.
“Ultimately, it’s your decision. I’ll support you either way.” Shawn told her.
Belle reached out to squeeze his hand and smiled at him. “Thanks sweetheart,” She whispered.
Shawn dropped off Belle at their house, and made his way to the Pub. He promised to be home for dinner, and Belle was left alone with her thoughts. Their maid Eliana, had the afternoon off, and Belle was happy to have this time to think.
The house they had bought together a few months earlier was a bungalow. It had three bedrooms, a large eat-in kitchen, and a cozy living room. They arranged to have someone fix the basement, knowing that when their little one grew older, they would need a vast amount of space to play in.
Belle walked into to the living room, and sat down on the large leather sofa. She thought about her parents, and wondered if she should allow them into her life. She shook her head. She didn’t know.
Belle had admitted to her mother that she missed her parents – she missed the way things used to be with them. She worried about how her father would behave around Shawn, and she wished he would admit to being in the wrong. But knowing John Black, he would never do that.
She sighed, and decided to get a bottle of water from the fridge. She decided that she wasn’t going to think about her parents any more. She felt herself becoming extremely tired, and went upstairs to her bedroom to take a nice long nap.
One week later, Belle went to see Dr. Bader, nervous about what the doctor would tell her. As Dr. Bader examined her, Belle bit her lip apprehensively, wondering if the baby’s head had turned around as hoped.
“Well?” Belle asked, once she was finished.
Dr. Bader smiled at her warmly. “Success. The baby’s head has turned around, so no C-section for you!” She said.
Belle let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God.” Belle said.
She was quick to leave the hospital, and found Shawn waiting for her in the car.
“Good news!” Belle said, as soon as she came face to face with her husband.
“The baby’s head turned around?” Shawn asked.
“Oh baby, that’s great!” Shawn exclaimed. He hugged his wife tightly, grateful that everything was going well with her.
Shawn had not persisted Belle about her parents, and what she had decided to do. But since she hadn’t brought them up, he figured that she didn’t want them back in her life. She was obviously trying to get on with her life, and that was fine with Shawn.
When they returned home, they were surprised to find a black jeep parked in the driveway. Belle instantly paled when she realized who it was.
“Belle, what is it baby?” Shawn asked.
“It’s… my father.” She replied, barely getting the words out.
Shawn frowned. “What is he doing here – did you invite him?” He asked.
Belle shook her head. “I – I didn’t think that he knew where we lived…. unless…”
“Unless what baby?” Shawn said.
“Brady must’ve told him.” Belle said.
“It’s okay, just take it easy. Everything is going to be okay.” Shawn said.
He helped his wife out of the car, and they walked into their house. Their maid Eliana had obviously let the Blacks in, and sure enough, John and Marlena were sitting comfortably in their living room once the couple walked in.
Belle stared at her father, speechless. She was trembling, and wondered what the hell she would say to him. She couldn’t believe the nerve of him. And he had brought gifts – Belle could see two or three large boxes, off to the side. They were wrapped, and had bright yellow ribbons around them.
Shawn finally spoke up, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “Um, what can we do for you?” He asked, his voice tense.
John looked at his daughter, and smiled slightly. “We heard the good news, and we wanted to congratulate you,” John said.
“Yes,” Marlena said. “We’ve bought gifts,” She added, gesturing towards the large boxes.
“We don’t want them,” Belle said, her hands shaking as she spoke. “Take them, and get out,” She said.
“Izzy B,” John said, standing up from the sofa. “That’s no way to talk to guests, especially when they’re your parents.” He said.
“Oh, but I’m not your daughter any more, am I JOHN?” Belle said, putting extra emphasis on her father’s name.
John arched his eyebrow at her, and said, “We’re still your parents, whether you like it or not,” He said in tight voice. “Now, we came here to make peace, not to start a war,” He said.
“Don’t give me that Dad!” Belle exclaimed. She could feel her heart pounding wildly, and she felt herself becoming faint. “I told Mom what the conditions are, if you two want to be a part of my life. Now unless you apologize to Shawn, I suggest you get the hell out of my house,” Belle said.
“Belle, stop being so overdramatic!” John exclaimed. He waved his hand in the air as he spoke to her. “Listen, what’s done is done. It’s all in the past, and we have to get over it. Your mother and I want to be a part of your life again.” John told her.
“No,” Belle said, breathing in deeply. “You want to control my life again,” Belle said. She was having trouble breathing, and she sat down. Shawn was by her side immediately, holding her hand.
“Baby, what is it?” He asked.
John kneeled before her and glared at Shawn. “Izzy B, what is it?” He asked.
“Nothing!” Belle exclaimed. “If you’re so concerned about my health, I suggest you leave, because you’re going to make me worse!” She said. She stood up, holding on to Shawn for support. “I want you to leave! Leave now!” She shouted.
John and Marlena stared blankly at their daughter. John clenched his jaw, and said, “You don’t mean that. We came here to make up with you, and you should be jumping into our arms, not throwing us out. What kind of a kid are you, huh? How did I raise you? Or are you picking up on these excellent manners from your husband?” He snarled.
Marlena touched her husband’s shoulder, and squeezed it tightly. “John,” She mumbled. “Isabella needs to lie down. Look at her – she’s lost all the colour in her face, and she’s barely standing!” She said. “We should leave.” She said, going to grab her purse.
“Yes Mom, please take Dad and get the hell out of here. And next time, you come IF you get an invitation!” Belle said.
“What!” John exclaimed. He ignored Marlena’s pleas, and stepped closer to his daughter. He didn’t seem to care that she was barely breathing, and that she was still grasping her husband for support.
“You dare talk to me like that, after all I did for you!” He exclaimed. He shook his head. “I’m so ashamed of you,” He said. He turned to his wife. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” He mumbled.
“YOU’RE ASHAMED OF ME!” Belle shrieked. John and Marlena stopped walking, and turned to face their daughter once again. She was shaking uncontrollably, and Shawn was begging her to calm down.
“Belle baby, please, just forget them,” He said. “Remember what the doctor said.” He said.
But Belle wasn’t paying attention to her husband. She was so filled with rage, and contempt for the man she called her father. “I can’t believe you Dad… you disown me, and you, you…insult me, and my husband,” She said, breathing unevenly. She struggled to say the words. “You refuse to speak with me for months…. and then when you find out I’m pregnant, you, you…decide you want to be a part of my life again…” Belle said. “I’m the one whose ashamed…ashamed… of…. you….”
All of a sudden, Belle fell to the floor. Shawn kneeled beside her, frantic when he saw that she was unconscious.
“Eliana!” Shawn yelled. “Call an ambulance!”
“It’s all right, I’ll call,” Marlena said, running over to the phone.
“NO!” Shawn said, glaring at his in-laws. “You did this to her – both of you. How stupid can you be?” He said to them. He turned his attention back to his wife, and slapped her face gently, trying to get her to wake up. “Come on Belle baby, let me see those baby blues,” He said, desperately trying to get through to her.
When the ambulance arrived a few minutes later, they checked her pulse, and found that it was beating erratically.
“How many months is she?” One of the paramedics asked.
“Um, almost eight.” Shawn answered.
“Okay, we gotta get her to the hospital, ASAP.” He said.
Shawn nodded, and walked out with them to the ambulance. As he prepared to walk in, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Shawn was shocked when he saw who it was.
“What do you want?” Shawn sneered. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble?”
John lowered his head to the ground, and Marlena spoke up.
“Shawn, we’re sorry,” Marlena said. She was quite emotional, and trying to speak coherently. “We just wanted to see our baby…we wanted to be a part of her life. We were so desperate…we didn’t mean for this to happen.” She stopped, and started to cry.
Shawn clenched his jaw, and glared at her, then at John. “You obviously don’t know this, but Belle is in a very delicate condition. Her blood pressure has been way too high ever since she found out she was pregnant. She was supposed to remain stress-free.” He said, choking on his own tears. “I even insisted that she stop working at the pub. All I wanted was for her to be healthy. But now thanks to you,” He said, pointing at John. “She collapsed. And if anything happens to her, or the baby, you can bet your ass that I’ll be holding YOU responsible.” He said, pointing his finger right at his chest. “And I want you to live with that on your conscious. If you felt guilty about what happened to JT, I’m sure this type of guilt will be ten times worse. Because this time, it’s your daughter’s life you were responsible for.”
Belle was rushed to University Hospital within minutes, with Shawn by her side. When she was taken into Emergency, Dr. Wesley insisted that Shawn remain in the waiting room.
“But Doctor, I have to be there with her!” Shawn exclaimed, once he tried to follow them.
“Shawn, you have to stay out here. We’ll let you know what’s happening,” He said. Craig disappeared into emergency, and Shawn remained in the waiting room, pacing around nervously.
Bo and Hope showed up fifteen minutes later, with Shawn Sr. and Caroline right behind them.
“Shawn honey, what happened?” Hope asked, hugging her son tightly.
Shawn sobbed in his mother’s arms, finally letting his emotions loose. “Mom,” He said helplessly. “I’m so worried about her, and the baby,” Shawn said. He pulled away from her, and sighed. “She has got to be okay.” He said. “I just hope she doesn’t go into labour,” He said.
“Son, what happened?” Bo asked, placing a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.
Shawn wiped his tears away with the back of his hand, and sighed. “John Black happened,” He mumbled.
“What?” Bo said, frowning at him.
Shawn sighed once again. “John and Marlena showed up at our house – uninvited. They got into an argument with Belle – a really heated one, and Belle couldn’t handle it, so she collapsed.” Shawn told them.
“Oh poor Belle,” Hope said, covering her mouth with her hand. “I hope she’ll be okay.” She said.
“Me too.” Shawn said. He took a deep breath, and willed himself to be calm. He had to be strong for Belle’s sake, and for the baby’s.
“Shawn honey, did the doctor give say if Belle had gone into labour?” Caroline asked.
Shawn shook his head. “No, he didn’t. To tell you the truth, I didn’t see any signs either, but I’m afraid that she might, any time now,” He told her.
“But why?” Shawn Sr. asked.
“Look, I didn’t tell Belle this, but I had a talk with Dr. Bader last week,” He said. “She called me in to speak with her, alone. She told me that any type of stress could set of an early labour. She told me to make sure that Belle remains stress free, so that labour could be avoided at this time. She said it wouldn’t be good for Belle to have the baby this early.” Shawn said. “Obviously, I did a lousy job of keeping her stress free,” He added.
“Shawn, don’t blame yourself honey,” Hope said, gently rubbing his back. “It’s not your fault that she got into an argument with her parents. I’m sure you tired to stop it,” She said soothingly.
“I did Mom, but it was no use. John insisted on getting into a fight with her.” He shook his head. “I don’t care about that right now. All I care about is my wife. She has to be okay.” He said.
Shawn’s family remained with him, trying to offer him support. But he remained down, worried about what would happen to Belle and the baby. Finally, after waiting for over an hour, Craig Wesley walked into the waiting room.
“Dr. Wesley how is my wife?” Shawn asked anxiously. The family gathered around the young doctor, impatiently waiting to hear his response.
The young doctor sighed heavily. “Look Shawn, she could be better.” Dr. Wesley said. “Her blood pressure is very high; I’m very concerned about her. And she’s still unconscious.” He told them.
Shawn put his hands over his mouth, as he listened to Dr. Wesley. “How about the baby?” He asked.
“Well, so far everything is okay, but I’m not going to lie to you Shawn. Belle may go into labour – that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since she’s already eight months along. The baby is fully developed, and the chances for it’s survival are excellent,” Dr. Wesley said.
“So then what’s the problem? Why the long face?” Shawn asked.
“Well, I’ll have to talk to her doctor about this. Is it Dr. Bader?” He asked.
Shawn nodded. “Dr. Wesley, what are you so worried about?” He asked.
“Look Shawn, Belle is in a very delicate condition right now. The positioning of the baby is very good – she’ll probably give birth naturally. But it’s Belle that I’m more worried about. She’s not responding to anyone when we try to wake her up, and that’s not normal. She should’ve regained consciousness by now, and that’s why I’m worried.”
Shawn eyes filled with tears as he listened to the doctor. “Let me see her.” Shawn said. “I know I can get her to wake up.” He said, his voice filled with determination.
“Not just yet Shawn. I will let you in to see her, but I really have to page Dr. Bader, so I can consult her about this.” Dr. Wesley said.
“Just what are you planning on doing?” Hope asked, her face filled with concern.
“Mrs. Brady, I plan on delivering this baby, because it looks like this baby is going to make it’s entrance into the world, whether or not Belle is awake,” He said.
Shawn gasped. “But how can you…isn’t it dangerous to deliver this baby without Belle conscious?”
“That’s why I’d like to speak with Dr. Bader. I’m sorry Shawn, as soon as I speak with her, I’ll give you some information.”
Shawn sat down with his parents and grandparents in the waiting room, waiting to get word from Dr. Wesley about Belle’s condition. His parents insisted that he drink a cup of coffee, but he refused. He didn’t want anything – he only wanted to see his wife, and make sure that she was okay. Shawn knew there was something that Dr. Wesley was holding back, and he wanted to know what it was.
Forty-five minutes later, Dr. Wesley walked in, along with Dr. Bader.
Shawn stood up immediately.
“Well?” He asked.
“Shawn, Belle is starting to get contractions. They’re mild, only happening every twenty minutes, but she’s dilated to about two centimetres,” Dr. Bader said.
“Oh my,” Caroline whispered.
“Okay, so she’s in labour. What now?” Shawn asked.
“Well, we want to deliver this baby, but since Belle is still unconscious, we’re going to perform an emergency C-section,” Dr. Bader said. “I’m going to prepare for the operation momentarily, but there’s something you need to know.” Dr. Bader said. She glanced at the members of his family and said, “Would you like to come with me so we can talk privately?” She asked.
Shawn shook his head. “No, I want my family present.” He said. He knew he was going to need support for whatever the doctor was about to tell him.
“Okay.” Dr. Bader said. She sighed heavily. “Look Shawn, we’re going to deliver the baby tonight, because Belle’s body has shut down, so to speak. She was obviously under a lot of stress in order for that to happen, which is why I talked to you about this. I was so afraid that this was going to happen, but now that it has, we have to focus on this baby. Belle is eight months along, and Dr. Wesley has already told you that the chances for survival are very good.” Dr. Bader said.
“All right, so there’s no problem,” Shawn said.
“Actually, there is,” Dr. Bader said, biting her lip. “I’m afraid Belle’s chances for survival aren’t so good.” She said.
Shawn felt as though a ton of bricks had been thrown at him, and he almost fell back. Luckily Bo caught him, and held him up.
“You okay son?” Bo asked.
But Shawn wasn’t paying attention to his father. He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, and he looked at Dr. Bader closely.
“Dr. Bader, are you telling me that if Belle delivers, she’ll…. she’ll…die?” Shawn could barely say the word.
Dr. Bader nodded. “Unfortunately, yes. It’s as though her system has totally shut down. I’ve never seen anything like this, but I have been warning you about her blood pressure, which is too high – it’s almost past 200, believe it or not.” Dr. Bader said. “It is much too dangerous for her to be carrying a baby with that blood pressure, so that’s why we’re going to deliver it tonight,” Dr. Bader said.
“But what about…what about…Belle?” Shawn asked, his voice shaky.
She sighed. “Look Shawn, I want to tell you that she’ll be all right, but I can’t lie to you. Her chances aren’t so great. But we want to give your baby a chance to survive. Now, what do you think?” She asked.
Shawn shook his head, and said, “No, no, Belle has to make it – I can’t raise this baby alone.” He turned to Dr. Bader. “Please Dr. Bader, you have to do something – please, I can’t live without her!” He said, his eyes pleading with her to make everything all right. “You don’t understand – she’s a part of me, and if she dies, so do I!”
Hope rushed over to her son, and tried to calm him down. “Shawn, honey, just-“
“No Mom!” He snapped. “Don’t you understand what she’s saying? She’s giving up on Belle! Well you may have given up, but I’m not!” He exclaimed. “I want to see her before you deliver our baby,” He said.
Dr. Bader nodded. “Of course.” She touched Shawn’s arm. “I know this is difficult for you, and please know that I’ll do everything to help your baby – and Belle.” She added.
Shawn completely broke down once Dr. Bader had left. Hope and Caroline tried to calm him down, while Bo slammed his fist against the front desk.
“This is so unfair,” He mumbled.
Shawn Sr. nodded. “This is very hard for us, but think about what Shawn is going through,” He said.
“Pop, that’s all I’m thinking about. If Belle doesn’t make it….I don’t know what will happen to Shawn. I’m really worried about him.” Bo said, as he glanced over at his son.
“Let’s hope that Belle makes it then,” Shawn Sr. said. He walked over to Caroline, and tapped his hand on her shoulder.
“Caroline, I think we should head to the chapel and pray for Belle and the baby, what do you think?” Shawn Sr. said.
Hope and Bo nodded.
“Come on honey,” Hope said, touching her son’s arm. “Let’s go say a prayer for your wife,” She said.
But Shawn refused to go. “No one can help us now,” He mumbled. “And I’m not praying to a God who’s willing to take my wife away from me. She’s the reason I live and breath – if I don’t have her, I have nothing.” He said.
“But Shawn, you will have a son or a daughter. Don’t you think you should be thinking about them?” Hope said gently.
Shawn listened to what his mother said, and thought about what he should do. He didn’t want to lose Belle, but it was a possibility. But maybe his mother was right…their baby deserved a chance to live, and Shawn knew it was his responsibility to make sure that their son or daughter grew up with at least one parent.
“Okay.” Shawn said. He took his mother’s outstretched hand and said, “Let’s all head out to the chapel before I see Belle,” He said.
When they all arrived to the chapel, Shawn paused before he entered. “Look, is it okay if I go in alone?” He asked. “I just, uh, want to say a few words in private, if that’s okay. You guys can come in after I’m done. I should only be about five or ten minutes.” He said.
“Sure sweetie,” Hope said. “We’ll wait out here in the hallway,” Hope told him.
“Thanks.” Shawn said. He opened the doors to the chapel, and walked in. He was relieved when he saw that no one was inside. He needed time alone with his thoughts.
Shawn walked to the front of the chapel, and decided that he was going to light a candle. Once he was at the front of the chapel, he kneeled down, and lit a candle quietly. Once he did, his thoughts went to his wife and unborn child, and he sighed heavily.
“I don’t do this very often,” Shawn said. “And I’m not here to beg for forgiveness, or anything like that. But of course, you already know that.” He said. He clasped his hands together, and felt his eyes fill with unshed tears. “I’m here for Belle,” He whispered. “I’m praying that Belle gets through this; I need her in my life. I know it sounds selfish, but it’s not; she’s my heart and soul, and she’s a necessity in my life. She’s the only reason I live and breath, and I know I’m going to need her even more after our child is born.” Shawn said.
He unclasped his hands, and fingered his necklace. He brought it out from underneath his shirt, and held the cross in his hands. “I was given this from someone very special; someone who told me that as long as I wore this, I could keep the faith,” Shawn said. “And I’m trying; Lord knows I’m trying to keep the faith, but the doctors are telling me that it doesn’t look good for Belle. I need for her to come back to me; I need to see her smiling face, and her beautiful blue eyes. I just – I-“ He stopped, and swallowed nervously. “Please, let my wife come back to me. Protect her, and my child. I need them both in my life.” He said.
Shawn remained a few more moments, but said nothing else. He felt he had said everything that had to be said. He just hoped that someone up there was listening to him.
Shawn exited the chapel a few minutes later, and gave his family a small smile once he saw them.
His mother walked over to him and hugged him. “You all right sweetie?” She asked.
Shawn nodded. “Yeah. I’m going to see her now.” He said.
“Okay. We’ll be here for you, if you need us,” Hope said.
“I know. Thanks Mom. I love you.” He said to her. He glanced at his father, and his grandparents and added. “I love you all.”
“We know son.” Bo said. “We all love you too. Very much.”
Shawn made his way over to Emergency once again, and asked to see Dr. Bader. The young doctor emerged a moment later, and said, “If you’ll follow me, I’ll lead you to Belle,” She said.
Shawn nodded, and followed Dr. Bader into Emergency. Once they came to a bed, Dr. Bader pulled the curtains aside, and ushered Shawn in.
There was Belle, lying peacefully on the bed, her eyes closed, and an intravenous hooked up to her arm. He felt his heart sway once he saw her there. He slowly walked over to the side of the bed, and sighed. Shawn took her hand in his and kissed it gently.
“Belle, I know you can hear me.” He said. He took her hand and held it against his cheek. “Baby, the doctors are really worried about you. They want to deliver this baby soon – but that’s okay, because the baby will be fine.” Shawn said. He lowered his voice and said, “But they’re worried about you. You’re not doing so well baby; we need to open your eyes, and tell us yourself that you’re going to be okay.”
Shawn sighed, and released her hand. He found a chair nearby, and sat down as he moved it closer to her bed. He brushed her hair away from her face and kept his eyes on her. “Baby, you’re the most stubborn person I know. You want to wake up, so do it! Open your eyes, and let me see those baby blues,” Shawn begged.
When nothing happened, he took her hand in his once more. “Look Belle, I know what happened was unfortunate. I’m not even going to try and rationalize it. I don’t care how you got here, or what’s going to happen after this. I only want you to open your eyes. Please Belle, open your eyes – if you do, I promise, you will never have to deal with your parents ever again. They will never bother us. Just don’t give up on yourself, because if you do, you know that I’ll be lost without you.” He whispered.
Shawn watched as Belle’s eyes flickered, and he jumped from his chair. “Belle?” He said, his voice filled with hope. “Baby, you’re listening to me, I know you are. Please Belle; if you come back to me, we’ll face whatever life throws our way together. Please, just come back to me. Please!” He begged.
Shawn thought he saw her eyes flicker once more, but then there was nothing. Five minutes later, Dr. Bader entered the room.
“Shawn, I’m sorry, but we have to take her into the operating room,” She said apologetically.
Shawn looked at Belle once more and nodded. “I know.” He said. “Dr. Bader, after the baby’s been delivered – what’s going to happen to Belle?” He asked.
“Well, we’re going to put her in the recovery room, and simply wait. There’s a small chance she may regain consciousness, and I’m hoping that she will, but it’s really hard to say. It’s up to her now.” Dr. Bader said.
“Okay.” Shawn said. “I guess I should go back out into the waiting room,” He said.
“Yes. As soon as the baby is delivered, I’ll let you know.” Dr. Bader said.
“Okay.” Shawn said. He bent over and kissed his wife’s forehead gently, and whispered, “Remember what I told you Belle. After our baby is born, he or she will want to see their mother, so don’t keep us waiting too long,” He said, his voice breaking.
He walked back to the waiting room, and sat down. Bo and Hope were there, and Hope noticed that he was a mess. His hair was tousled and his face was showing signs of a day old beard. But he didn’t care – none of that seemed to matter any more, Hope thought. She knew that he just wanted Belle to be okay.
Shawn had his head bent down when Dr. Bader walked into the waiting room an hour later.
“Shawn?” She said.
Shawn looked up at her. “Yes?”
Dr. Bader smiled at him. “You have a baby boy.” She said.
Shawn couldn’t help but smile back at the doctor. “Is he okay?” He asked. “I mean, how much does he weigh? Did everything go okay?” He asked anxiously.
“Yes, yes, everything went fine. He’s just a little over five pounds, but that’s normal for a premature baby,” She said. “We’ll be holding him in the hospital for a couple of days, but he’s going to be just fine,” Dr. Bader said.
Shawn cleared his throat, almost afraid to ask the next question. “And Belle? How is she doing?”
Dr. Bader frowned slightly. “She’s the same Shawn. Her vital signs are normal, but her blood pressure is still at 200. She shows no signs of regaining consciousness.”
“I see.” Shawn said sadly. “Well, can I at least see my son?” He asked.
“Of course. You’ll have to wear some scrubs, since he’s an incubation tube, so just follow me,” She said.
Moments later, Shawn was standing in front of the incubation tube, staring at his son. His eyes filled with tears as he took in his sight. He was rather small, but had all ten toes, and all ten fingers. He was sleeping soundly, and was wearing a tiny diaper. He had a pudgy face, and the most beautiful lips Shawn had ever seen. He felt the urge to hold him, but knew that he couldn’t. Dr. Bader showed Shawn how to insert his hands, so he could at least touch him.
Shawn kept his eyes on his newborn son, and spoke to him quietly. “Hey little guy,” He said softly. “I’m your daddy. You don’t know me yet, but we’re going to be really close. I just know it.” He said. He tried to compose himself, and continued. “You’re probably wondering where your mommy is. I want to tell you that she wanted to be here, but she’s not feeling all that good right now. But I promise that she’s going to get better, so that both of us will take care of you. We’re going to love you forever,” He whispered.
As Shawn continued staring at his son, his thoughts went back to Belle. He knew that she would’ve wanted to be here. He needed her, now more than ever. She had to be okay, he thought to himself. It wasn’t fair to have this beautiful baby boy to grow up without ever knowing his mother.
Within ten minutes, Shawn was asked to leave, but Dr. Bader informed him he could see his son again in the morning. It was getting late, but Shawn wanted to see Belle one more time.
“Please Dr. Bader, I have to see her,” He begged, his eyes filled with desperation.
“Okay, let’s go.” Dr. Bader said.
Shawn stepped into his wife’s room, and walked over to the side of her bed. He took her hand in his, and squeezed it tightly. “Belle, I just saw our son. He’s so beautiful. He’s a bit small, but Dr. Bader says he’ll be all right. He’ll be able to come home in a couple of days – isn’t that great?” He said. He sighed, and tried to remain in control. He knew he was going to break down at any minute, so he tried to stay calm.
“Look Belle, our son will be going home soon. We have a nursery set up for him, and I’ve got lots of help, but I’ll still be lost without you. Please, open your eyes! Please Belle, do it for our son! He needs his mother!” Tears poured down his face as he stared at his wife. He was so desperate to get through to her – she had to realize how much she was needed.
Shawn sat down on the chair, and kissed her hand. “Please Belle, I need you – our son needs you. I can’t make it without you,” He murmured.
Shawn looked up to the heavens and said one last prayer. “I’ve never wanted anything more badly in my life. Please God, let her find her way back to me,” He begged.
All of a sudden, there was silence.
Shawn sat perfectly still, wondering if he should just leave. But he didn’t want to leave. He couldn’t leave Belle like this – it didn’t feel right leaving her all alone.
He put his head down on her stomach, and sobbed quietly. He didn’t know how long he remained in her room, crying desperately, but when he felt a hand touch his head softly, he knew it was Dr. Bader, coming into tell him that his time was up.
“I know, I know,” He murmured. “I’m leaving.” He said. He slowly lifted his head, and nearly fell to the floor when he looked at Belle. “Baby?” He said, not quite believing his eyes.
“Yes Shawn.” She whispered. Her voice was a bit groggy, and she was struggling to keep her eyes open, but she was looking straight at him.
“Belle, you’re awake?” He said excitedly. “You’re awake – you’re really awake! Oh My God Belle, I have so much to tell you! The baby – the baby was delivered tonight.” Shawn said, leaning forward to kiss her eyelids gently. “Oh Belle, I can’t believe you’re awake. We were so worried about you.” He said tenderly.
Belle nodded slowly. “I know sweetie. I know.” She said.
“Oh Belle, you should see our baby. You’re probably wondering what we have,” He said, preparing to tell her the sex of the baby.
“I know.” She said, in a simple voice.
“You do?” Shawn said, in shock.
“Yes.” Belle said. “We have a boy.”
“But how…how did you know that?”
“I heard you.” She whispered. “I heard you begging me to come back to you, begging me to come back to help raise our son,” She said, her eyes filling with tears. “Oh Shawn, how is he? Is he okay?”
“Belle, he’s perfect. Almost as perfect as you,” He mumbled, kissing her hand.
“Shawn.” Belle said. She tried to raise her hand to cup his face, but she felt so weak.
“Belle, it’s okay, try to save your strength. You’ve been through a lot,” He said.
“I know, but I need to tell you something.” She said. She sighed happily. Her voice was still a bit unsteady, but she insisted on speaking to him. “When I was out, I felt your love – it willed me to return to you Shawn,” She said. She swallowed nervously. “I don’t know how long I was out for, but I felt you – your sadness, and your sorrow. I knew I had to come back to you.” Belle said.
“Shawn, please, let me finish,” She said. “I’m trying to tell you that your love is what brought me back. I couldn’t stand to hear you in so much pain. I couldn’t believe that you were so upset, over me,” Belle said, as if in disbelief. “And I love you even more for that.” She said. “I’ll never leave you Shawn; we’re going to be together forever. You, me, and our son.” She said.
“Oh Belle, that’s all I wanted to hear baby,” He said, leaning forward to kiss her lips softly. “I love you baby.” He said gently. “I love you, and our baby.” He said quietly.
When Dr. Bader returned to Belle’s room, she was shocked to see Belle awake. She was obviously weak, but her eyes were bright as she listened to her husband speaking to her.
“Well, well, well, I guess someone decided to make a great comeback,” Dr. Bader said jokingly.
“Hi Dr. Bader,” Belle said.
“Hello Belle. It’s nice to see you. I’m sure your husband has already told you that you’re the proud parents of a baby boy,” She said.
“Good. Shawn, do you mind leaving for a couple of minutes? I need to do a thorough check up, just to make sure that Belle is okay.” Dr. Bader said.
“Sure.” Shawn said. He kissed Belle’s cheek lightly and said, “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay.” Belle said.
When Shawn returned to the waiting room, he saw his family still waiting for him. His face broke into a huge smile, and everyone stood up immediately.
“Shawn, is there any news?” Caroline asked.
“I’ll say.” Shawn said. “She’s awake everybody – Belle’s awake! Isn’t that great?” He exclaimed.
“That’s wonderful,” They heard another voice say. Shawn turned around, and clenched his jaw instantly. It was John Black.
“So Shawn, when can I see my daughter?” He asked.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Shawn asked, as he moved closer to his father in law. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble?”
John sighed, and looked down. Shawn noticed Marlena and Brady standing behind him, and mumbled a hello to Brady.
“Shawn, I know you’re upset with us, and you have every right to be,” Marlena said, stepping in front of her husband. “But we’re terribly worried about Belle. How is she?” She asked.
Shawn scoffed at his in laws. “Like you care. If it weren’t for you, she wouldn’t even be here right now,” He said angrily. He shook his head, hardly believing that they had showed up at the hospital.
“Shawn,” Brady said. “We’ve been worried about her all day,” He said. “Please, is my sister all right?” He asked, his eyes pleading with Shawn to tell him the truth.
Shawn sighed. “Yes. She is now. But it was touch and go for a little while,” He told him.
“Yes, so we heard,” John said.
Shawn turned to John once more. “What do you mean, ‘so we heard’.” Shawn said mockingly. “How did you know about her condition? And if you knew, why the hell are you just showing up now?” He asked, giving John a less than pleasant look.
“Marlena and I have been here ever since the ambulance brought her in,” John admitted.
“What? That’s impossible. I would’ve seen you,” Shawn said. He didn’t know what kind of game John was trying to play with him, but he didn’t like it.
“You wouldn’t have seen of us, because we knew we didn’t belong here,” John said quietly. He sighed. “Marlena and I went to her office, and Marlena called the nurse’s station, where we got updates on Isabella,” He said.
“Is that so?” Shawn said. He had to admit, he was……….impressed. John could’ve caused a scene, by showing up in emergency, but he had the good sense to stay away. Lord knows what Shawn would’ve done to him if he had shown up.
“Shawn, I know we’re responsible for Belle’s condition. And I know you don’t believe it, but we’re sorry. We never meant to let it get this far,” Marlena said. She covered her hand over her mouth, trying to control her sobs. “She’s still our little girl, and we want to make things right with her,” She said.
Shawn never felt more confused in his life. Did he dare believe Marlena? What would Belle think? He wasn’t sure, but he knew he couldn’t say anything without talking to Belle first.
He ran his hand through his hair, and stepped closer to the Black family. “Look, a lot has gone on these past few months,” He said, in a low voice. “We all said things that we shouldn’t have. But I have to say this, and take it any way you want to – you guys are more to blame than Belle,” He said. “The way you treated her, especially you John, was uncalled for. I may not know much about parenting, but I do know that you should always love your child unconditionally, not just when they listen to you, and agree with everything you say,” Shawn said. “I’ve only been a father for a couple of hours, and I already know that I would put my life on the line for that little guy, just to keep him happy.” He said.
Marlena nodded. “I know. You’re right.” She admitted.
Shawn looked at Marlena, contempt in his voice as he continued. “You were almost as bad as your husband,” He said. “You actually chose between your husband and your daughter! How low can you go!” He exclaimed. “I mean, I know someone put you in that position, that’s what makes this situation so terrible!” He said, glaring at John.
John merely stood still, not saying a word.
Shawn sighed heavily, and tried to calm himself down. “I’m not going to lie to you – all of us were hurt during this whole thing with what happened in the past. You made a mistake John. You shouldn’t have been driving drunk. My little brother lost the use of his legs because of that. But when JT told me he was willing to forget about the past, I decided that I would too. I had to, for Belle’s sake. I never wanted to put her in the middle, and make her choose between her father, and the man that she loves.” Shawn said.
“Kind of like I did.” John mumbled.
Shawn crossed his arms in front of his chest and nodded. “Finally, we’re getting somewhere,” Shawn said, making eye contact with John. “You put her in a terrible position, one that hurt her very much. And when she told you we were married, you announce that she’s no longer your daughter.” He stepped closer to John, and grabbed his collar. “Do you have any idea how much you hurt her with those words, and with the actions that followed? Do you know how many times I had to console her and let her cry in my arms, because she was so heartbroken? Uh? Do you have any clue what you have done to her?” He said, his voice becoming uneven. “You guys have been married a long time now, so I’m sure you can attest to this; when my wife is hurting, I feel her hurt. When my wife cries, my eyes fill with tears. When she’s heartbroken, I feel a piece of my heart breaking right along with hers.” Shawn said passionately. “Do you have any idea how much I love and worship your daughter?” Shawn said, his voice filled with emotion.
“Yes,” John said, lowering his head. “I do know. That’s what sparked my stupidity,” He admitted.
“What?” Shawn said, obviously confused. “Care to explain that John?”
John looked up at his son in law, then at his wife, then to his son. He saw Brady smile at him for encouragement, and he nodded. “Shawn, I’m a very stubborn man. I think you’ve figured that out by now.” He said. “And I totally understand what you’re saying about loving your children unconditionally. I failed to do that, when it was obvious that I shouldn’t have turned my back on Isabella,” He said. “I’m a proud man. I hate to admit when I’ve made mistakes. In fact, I rarely admit to making them, even though I’ve made quite a few.” He glanced at the Brady family, who was all gathered around the waiting room, sitting together and talking to each other. “I was responsible for putting JT in a wheelchair. I shouldn’t have been driving drunk. In fact, when I found out what happened to JT, I wanted to come over to your family, and apologize in person, because I was so remorseful over what I had done,” John said. “Marlena stopped me. I’m not blaming her for doing that, because she only had my best interests at heart,” John said. He rubbed his hands together nervously, trying to find the right words to express what he was feeling. “When Izzy B told me about your relationship, and that JT was your brother, I was furious. And that was because I knew that every time I looked at you, I would have a constant reminder of my mistake. There would be occasions when I would run into JT, and I wanted to avoid that more than anything. So instead of dealing with my inadequacies like an adult, I forced Izzy B to choose between me and you, thinking that I would be the winner,” He said. He chuckled a little bit and said, “Obviously, I lost.”
“Shawn,” Marlena said, touching her husband’s arm affectionately. “We don’t expect you and Isabella to take us back into your life just like that,” Marlena said. “We’ve hurt you deeply, and we’re sorry.” Marlena said.
Shawn listened to John and Marlena closely, and wondered what he should do. “You guys, I don’t know what to tell you,” Shawn said. “I will tell you that I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to see Belle right now. She’s very weak, and I don’t want her put under any more stress, is that clear?” Shawn said, intentionally keeping his eyes on John.
John merely nodded. “Crystal.” John said.
John walked closer to Shawn, and took a deep breath. “Shawn, I don’t expect you to forgive us; what I did was terrible, and I am genuinely sorry. I’m sorry that I hurt Izzy B, and I’m sorry that I mistreated you.” He swallowed nervously. “I’m sorry that I made my daughter doubt if her parents really loved her,” He said. “But most of all, I’m sorry that it had to come this far for me to realize that I was in the wrong. You and Izzy B are to blame for nothing.” John admitted.
Marlena smiled at her husband’s courage, and rubbed his back lovingly.
Shawn just stared at John, and nodded. “Thank you John.” He said. “I have to admit, I never expected you to apologize to me. Ever.” He said. He looked over his shoulder, and turned back to the Black’s once again. “If you’re thinking that I’m going to prevent you from having a relationship with Belle, please know that I won’t. I’m going to leave the decision up to Belle. I’ll talk with her, once she’s more stronger.” Shawn said.
John nodded. “Fair enough.” He said.
Shawn thought of his love for Belle, and his desire to make her happy, above everything else in his life. Thinking about all of this, encouraged him to say one more thing to Belle’s parents.
“Um, you guys, I don’t know if Belle will want you back in her life. I know she’s hurt about what went on, but I also know that she misses having her parents around. She wants things to be normal. I don’t know if things will be normal. I already told you I’m leaving it up to her about what’s going to happen. With that being said, I’ll also tell you that your daughter has a beautiful heart – one that tends to forgive, even if she shouldn’t. I know from experience,” He said, smiling at them a bit. “But if she does decide to forgive you, you have to know one thing; it’ll be very awkward at first. Don’t expect things to be all lovey dovey for the first little while. But I want you to promise me, especially you John that there will be no more arguing. I don’t care if you burst because you disagree with me, or you dislike me. We will not get into any arguments, and you will refrain from getting into any arguments with Belle. Do you understand?” Shawn said.
“You drive a tough bargain kid,” John said. “I admire you perseverance, and your obvious concern for Isabella.” He said.
“Well, she’s the most important person in my life. And I want her to be happy, and not have to worry about you starting up something. At the same time, you have my word that I won’t start anything either.” Shawn promised.
John nodded. “You’ve got yourself a deal kid,” John said, extending his hand out to him.
Shawn paused for a moment. If he shook John’s hand, that would seal his fate. John would be a part of his life, whether he liked it or not. Granted, it was still up to Belle, but he had a feeling that she would want her parents to be a part of her life once again. Thinking about Belle’s health, and knowing what was best for her made Shawn extend his hand, and shake John’s hand firmly.
“Deal.” Shawn said.
The next morning, Belle woke up, and was concerned when she didn’t see Shawn next to her in her bed. She sat up, but felt a jolt of pain run through her body. She forgot that she was hooked up to an IV tube, and she also forgot that she was in the hospital.
She laid her head back against the pillows, feeling relief once she did. She felt incredibly weak, and tried to remember why she had been brought into the hospital in the first place. Belle’s thoughts wondered to the afternoon she and Shawn returned from her appointment with Dr. Bader, and it all came back to her.
Her parents had been waiting for her at home. Belle had immediately rejected them, and had thrown them out. They had exchanged unpleasant words, and then it was all a blank for Belle.
Her head was throbbing, and she wanted to know what was wrong with her. Then she remembered something else; she remembered being unconscious, and hearing Shawn’s soft voice, pleading with her to wake up. She recalled how desperate he had been; he had told her that she had given birth to a small baby boy, and he needed her to help raise their child together.
Her eyes had slowly opened, and she felt tears spring to her eyes when she recalled how happy Shawn had been.
Just then, Shawn walked in to the room, with a bouquet of a dozen roses.
“Hey beautiful,” He said, greeting her with a sweet kiss on her lips. “How are you feeling?” He asked.
Belle licked her lips, and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “Like I’ve been to hell and back,” She whispered.
Shawn chuckled, and set the bouquet of roses off to the side. “I can just imagine,” He mumbled. He turned back to her, and held her hand gently in his. “Did you get any sleep last night?” He asked.
Belle nodded. “Yes. I slept like a baby,” She said. “Speaking of babies, when can I see mine?” She asked. “I want to see him Shawn, please, take me to him,” She pleaded.
“Belle, you’re still very weak – I don’t think the doctors are going to allow you to leave this room.” Shawn said, his heart breaking when he saw the disappointment in her eyes.
“Shawn, I haven’t even seen him yet,” She said, her bottom lip trembling. “Please, you have to let me see him,” She begged.
Shawn sighed, as placed his hand on her cheek. “Baby, I’ll do everything I can so that you can see him,” He whispered.
“Thank you sweetie, I knew that I could count on you,” She said.
Shawn smiled at her, and kissed her nose. “I’ll be right back.” He said.
When Shawn returned in ten minutes, he smiled brightly at her. “Okay, here’s the deal; Dr. Bader will be here momentarily, to do another check up. If she sees improvement, she’s agreed to let me wheel you over to see our baby,” Shawn told her.
Belle frowned slightly. “Wheel me over…no, no, I want to walk,” She said, her voice filled with determination.
“I’m sure you do baby, but I don’t think your body agrees with you,” He said.
Belle sighed. He was right. She felt extremely weak, and she didn’t know why. “Shawn, what happened to me? I mean, I know that I got into an argument…with Mom, and Dad…then I blank out. The next thing I remember is waking up, with you by my side,” She said. “Was I really that bad for a while?” She asked gently.
Shawn sighed, and stroked her face gently, as if to remind himself that she was truly here with him, and that this wasn’t a dream. He had fallen asleep in the waiting room last night for a little bit, and he had dreamt that Belle was still unconscious. He had woken up in a cold sweat, and when he remembered that Belle was going to be okay, he had rushed to her room, only to find her asleep. She was oblivious to him, as he had kissed her eyelids, then her nose, then gently, ever so gently; he had laid a kiss to her soft pink lips. He needed to reassure himself that Belle was going to be okay. She hadn’t left him. After that, he had rushed to get her a bouquet of flowers, knowing that would put a smile on her beautiful face.
He looked at her, noticing that even though her eyes were bright as she stared at her husband lovingly, her face was still pale. She looked very tired, and very weak.
“Baby, you collapsed after you argued with your parents. Your blood pressure shot up, and it was almost as though your body had given up. The doctors decided to deliver our baby, before anything else happened to you,” He told her.
“Oh my,” Belle said, looking down. She realized the seriousness of the situation, and understood why Shawn had been so worried about her. “Oh Shawn, I’m so sorry you had to go through this,” She whispered. She slowly lifted her hand, and cupped his face gently, noticing the roughness of his face from the day old beard. She looked closer at him, and noticed his eyes were bloodshot, and his clothes were wrinkled. “Shawn, did you get any sleep at all?” She asked, her face filled with concern.
Shawn nodded. “Yeah, I did.” He answered.
Belle tilted her head to the side and said, “Where? Here, at the hospital?” Her eyes roamed over him. “Because I can tell that you didn’t go home,” She said.
“Okay, you got me there,” He admitted. “But I did fall asleep in the waiting room.”
“For how long?”
“Oh, an hour, maybe two.”
“Shawn!” Belle exclaimed. “No wonder you look so exhausted.” Belle said softly.
“Belle, I don’t even care about that. All I care about is that you’re going to be okay, and that our son can come home with us in a couple of days,” He said.
“I can’t wait for that,” Belle said. She frowned at him once more. “What were you doing up all night anyway?” She asked.
“Well…” Shawn didn’t know if he should tell her or not. He didn’t want her to get upset, but he didn’t want to keep the truth from her either. “I had a talk with your parents,” He admitted.
Belle immediately tensed. “You did?”
“Yes.” He said. “Before you get all upset, let me just tell you that we didn’t argue. It was the first time I saw a bit of humanity in your father, believe it or not.” Shawn said, chuckling to himself.
“What?” Belle said.
“Belle, they admitted that they were wrong - both of them. I listened to what they had to say, and they listened to what I had to say. I basically told them how wrong they were – don’t worry, I made them feel like **** for what they did to you,” He mumbled. He cleared his throat and continued. “We came to an understanding. They made it clear to me that they wanted to be a part of your life. I told them that it was all up to you, and that I would support anything you decided.” Shawn said.
Belle looked at her husband, and felt her eyes fill with tears again. “Oh Shawn. You are the most unselfish person I know,” She whispered. “You really said that?” She asked.
“There’s more.” Shawn said. He stroked her cheek gently as he spoke. “Belle, I made it clear to them that even if you decide to forgive them, there will be no more arguing. We’re all going to be on our best behaviour. All of us.” Shawn said. “I wanted them to understand that we are not going to argue about anything, no matter how much it kills us to keep our mouths shut.” Shawn said.
“And Dad agreed?” Belle asked, in astonishment.
Shawn nodded. “Yes. We all know it’s not going to be easy. It’ll be tense and awkward for the first little while. But that’s only if you decide to forgive them Belle. Whatever you decide, I’m behind you, 100%.” Shawn said.
Belle’s face lit up at her husband’s words. “Thank you.” She said quietly.
Shawn smiled and kissed her forehead. “No need to thank me. All I want is you to be happy.” He said.
“I know.” Belle said. She took his hand in hers, and squeezed it. “I love you so much Shawn.” She whispered.
“And I love you.” Shawn said.
Their lips met for a tender kiss. Belle felt her whole body come to life when she felt Shawn’s tender lips caress hers, and she smiled brightly at him once he pulled away.
Dr. Bader walked in a few moments later, and was shocked at the change in Belle. “Belle, you look so – refreshed!” She exclaimed.
Belle laughed. “Well, I guess that’s a good thing.” Belle said.
“Oh, it definitely is.” Dr. Bader said.
Belle’s check up was done within a few minutes, and Dr. Bader nodded. “You’re much better Belle. Your blood pressure had dropped dramatically, which is what I was hoping for. Whatever made you decide to come to us has obviously improved your health,” Dr. Bader said.
Belle looked at Shawn and said, “It was my husband.”
“I thought so,” Dr. Bader said. “So, if you’ll just wait for the nurse to bring in a wheelchair, Shawn can bring you to meet your son,” She said.
“Okay.” Belle said, becoming excited.
Ten minutes later, Belle and Shawn were in front of their son’s incubation tube. Belle stared at him in wonder. She couldn’t believe how tiny he was! He was sleeping soundly, his lips slightly parted. He had Shawn’s nose, she decided, and her lips. She sighed happily as she looked at him – she couldn’t believe he had been in her womb for eight months. It truly was a miracle.
Shawn instructed her how to insert her hands in the tube so she could touch him, and once she did, she felt a wave of joy wash through her. It was amazing to be able to come into contact with her son, who was still sleeping.
“Shawn, he’s perfect,” She murmured.
“Yes, he is.” Shawn said.
“I can’t wait to hold him,” She said. “How much longer do we have to wait?” She asked.
“Not too long. The nurse told me this morning that he’s doing very well, and in a couple of days, he’ll be free to go,” Shawn said.
“I can’t wait,” She whispered.
“Neither can I. That’s when we’ll be a real family. You, me, and our son.” Shawn said.
They left a few minutes later, promising their precious baby they would be back to see him later.
“Shawn,” Belle said, once she was back in her room. “Do you know that we haven’t named him yet?” She asked.
Shawn stroked his chin lightly. “You’re right,” He mumbled. “Any ideas?” He asked.
Belle thought for a moment, and said, “Maybe we should write a list, cause I honestly have no idea!”
Shawn laughed, and said, “Well, let’s just list some names, off the top of our head, and see if anything appeals to us,” He said.
“Okay.” Belle said. “Ready?”
“Ready.” Shawn said. “What about Jonathan?”
“No.” Belle said. “How about Richard?”
“Dick Brady?” Shawn said, scrunching his nose. “Uh, no.”
Belle couldn’t help but giggle. “Ok, how about Kevin?”
“No. How about Jordan?”
“No.” Belle said. “Doesn’t do anything for me. How about Peter?”
“No.” Shawn said. “How about Jason? That’s a REALLY cool name!” Shawn said.
Belle shook her head. “Sorry, that doesn’t hit me as a great name. I know – how about Alexander?”
Shawn thought about Alexander for a moment. It was obviously appealing to him.
“Hmm,” Shawn said. “Alexander. I think I like that,” He said.
“Well, it’s a little different,” Belle said. She thought of something else, and said, “Shawn, I’d love to name our child Alexander – we’ll call him Alex for short, but I’d like his middle name to be Beauregarde – after your father,” She said. “Is that okay? The only reason I say this, is because your parents have been so good to me ever since we started dating, especially your father.”
“Belle,” He said, amazed at the woman in front of him. “I…wow - I’m speechless,” He said.
“That’s a first.” Belle said, giggling.
“Hey, watch it!” Shawn said. He smiled at her, and said, “I would be delighted.” He said. He kissed her hand gently and said, “So, what have we got then?” He asked.
“Alexander Beauregarde Brady.” Belle said. “How does that sound?”
A month later –
Belle lifted little Alex from his cradle, smiling vibrantly at his scrunched up little face.
“Well, I guess somebody is hungry!” Belle exclaimed. She walked over to the large sofa in the living room, and sat down. She reached over to the coffee table for his bottle, and gave it to her eager son to drink.
“That’s my boy. Oh, look at you – you really were hungry!” She said, smiling to herself. Alexander was quickly consuming his bottle, and seemed content as soon as it was finished.
Belle sighed as she held her baby up, making sure he burped before he fell asleep. Once that was done, she rocked him in her arms gently, patiently waiting for him to close his eyes. It didn’t take long for Alexander to fall asleep, and Belle stared at him in wonder.
She thought back to the last month, starting with the day after Alexander had been born. After Shawn and Belle had named their baby, they waited patiently until he was feeling strong enough for his parents to hold him. Two days later, the child had been taken out of the incubation tube, and Belle had held her son for the first time. She had cried silently as she cradled Alex, and stared at him in wonder. After a few moments, Shawn demanded that she hand her son over to his daddy.
“Can’t I hold him?” He had asked, looking at her with his puppy dog eyes.
Belle had laughed, and had given him to her husband. Shawn had stared down at him, much the same way Belle had. The two parents fell in love with their child instantly, and they couldn’t wait to take him home.
Their wish had been granted – three days later, Belle, and Alexander were released from the hospital. Belle had been pleasantly surprised when she had gotten home, and found Bo and Hope waiting for them. They had thrown a last minute surprise party for mother and son, and Belle had been thrilled. Everyone had been waiting for them, including Shawn Sr. and Caroline, JT, Doug and Julie, Roman, Alice, and Mickey and Maggie Horton.
Once they were settled in at home, Shawn approached Belle in the nursery, as she silently watched her son sleep.
He kissed her forehead gently, and said, “Do you want to call your parents, or should I?”
Belle smiled at him, and said, “I will.”
An hour later, John, Marlena, and Brady showed up on their doorstep. After thinking about it for almost three days, Belle had decided that she was going to allow her parent’s to be a part of her life once again. It hadn’t been easy – many times, Belle had thought about telling her parents to forget they ever had her. But Belle had reasoned that she didn’t want her son growing up without knowing his grandparents. The bottom line – Belle still loved her parents, and she wanted them to know that.
So she invited them over for tea the same afternoon she got back from the hospital. It had been very awkward at first, but thank goodness that Brady and Shawn were able to keep a conversation going by talking about guy stuff, such as cars, and sports.
Alexander had been sleeping when the Black’s showed up, so when he finally woke up, Belle had taken him in her arms, and silently walked over to her parent’s. They stared at him in wonder, and Belle asked her father if he wanted to hold his grandchild.
John had been shocked. He had given her a tiny smile and had said, “Please.”
And when John held Alexander in his arms, it was over. Tears poured down his face, as he thought about all the pain he had caused his daughter and her husband. John had been the cause of Belle’s collapse, and thanked the Lord above that his daughter had a soft heart. He was thankful that she had a husband who was willing to give him a second chance as well.
John had kissed Alexander’s forehead gently, and had quietly handed him to Marlena.
Yes, it had been awkward, and even today; it was still a little tense. But John lived up to his promise to Shawn – he started no arguments, and he was very civil to Shawn’s family.
Just last week, Belle had invited everyone over for dinner – everyone meaning the Black’s, as well as the Brady’s. It had been very tense at first, but JT had been the one to break the ice when he had sat down with John, and had merely put his hand on his shoulder, saying, “It’s okay Mr. Black. Everything’s in the past – why not leave it there. What do you say?” He had asked.
All eye’s had gone to John, who had frowned a bit and had said, “I only have one problem.”
Belle had felt her knees grow weak, but smiled when she heard what her father had said.
“I insist that you call me John.”
Belle sighed happily as she held little Alex in her arms. It hadn’t been easy – the last year had been one roller coaster after another. But true love had won out in the end.
Her and Shawn were as happy as ever – Belle decided to remain home to raise Alex for his first year. After that, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Her father had spoken to her the night before, when she had gone over for dinner to her parent’s house.
“How about you come back to Basic Black, after a year has gone by?” He had asked.
Belle had thought long and hard before she had answered.
“You know what Dad? I really appreciate the offer, but Shawn and I are running the Pub now, and just as soon as Alex is up and walking, I’m going to arrange for someone to care for him, so I can return to the Pub.”
John wasn’t pleased, but he had respected his daughter’s wishes.
Belle was happy – for the first time, she didn’t have to worry about her parents. It felt good. Others in Belle’s position might have decided not to forgive her parents. But Belle couldn’t keep her parents out of her life, no matter how badly they had treated her and Shawn. Belle believed in forgiving, and that was fine with Shawn.
She smiled as she thought about her husband – he was working less and less at the Pub these days, just so he could spend more time with Belle and the baby. He woke up every morning, at the crack of dawn, and opened the pub. But after the lunch rush, Shawn would race home, desperate to see his son.
“I don’t know what it is about this little guy – I have to see him, as much as I can, and I can’t wait to leave the Pub.” Shawn said one afternoon.
“Shawn, its because he’s a part of you. Actually, he’s a part of you, and a part of me.” Belle had said.
Shawn had looked confused for a moment, but then he had agreed.
“You’re right. That’s what makes this guy so special.” He grinned at Belle wickedly. “So when can we start planning on giving little Alex a little sister?”
Belle had blushed, but told him, “In due time my dear husband.”
Indeed, it was too soon to say, but Belle knew that she wouldn’t wait long to have another baby. She was back on the pill for now, but she had no doubt that the time would come when she would stop taking her pills.
Belle glanced at the clock on the wall, and saw that it was only 1:30. She decided to let Eliana have the rest of the day off. Belle was in a cooking mood, and since Alexander would likely be asleep for the next hour or so, it would be the perfect time to make Shawn a nice dinner.
Later that afternoon, Belle wondered if anything was missing. She had made grilled chicken breast, boiled some vegetables, and steamed some rice. She had a green salad all ready, and she had made sure to open a bottle of red wine for her and Shawn.
The table had been set – all that was needed was for Shawn to come home. It was funny, Belle thought, because he was usually home by now. Just as she was about to pick up the phone to call him, he breezed in the back door.
“Hello beautiful!” He said, giving his wife a long, hard kiss.
“Hello yourself!” Belle said, nearly out of breath. “How come you’re so late?” She asked.
“Well, I stopped off on the way home to get this,” He said, handing her a large bag.
Curiosity got the better of her, so Belle opened it up, only to find a large photo album.
“Oh Shawn!” Belle exclaimed. She turned the pages slowly, noticing that Shawn had organized all of Alex’s pictures in order, starting from the day he was born. He had included some shots of Alex with his parents, his grandparents, and his uncles.
“Shawn, I love it!” Belle said, throwing her arms around her husband’s neck. “That was so thoughtful of you!”
Shawn smiled, glad that his wife liked his little surprise. When he pulled away from her a moment later, he said, “There’s more.”
“What?” Belle said.
“I said there’s more.” Shawn said. He handed her an envelope.
Belle couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked inside.
“Shawn! These are two tickets to the Bahamas!” She said. “When did you plan this?” She asked.
“Not too long ago. I had to talk to our parents first.” Shawn said.
“Our parents – why?”
“To watch Alex silly,” Shawn said. “The tickets aren’t for few months, so don’t worry, we have plenty of time to prepare for the trip,” He told her.
“But Shawn, I can’t leave Alex!” Belle said, turning away from him. “I can’t go off to paradise, and leave my son!” She said.
“Belle,” Shawn mumbled, as he stepped closer to her. He put his arms around her waist, and whispered in her ear softly. “We didn’t get to go on a honeymoon, and we’ve been working so hard,” He said. “We deserve this. We both do.” He whispered.
“I know,” Belle said quietly. “But how am I going to leave Alex?” She asked, turning around to face him. Her eyes were filled with tears, and Shawn smiled at her tenderly.
“Belle, our parents have agreed to watch him. We’ll be gone for two weeks – one week John and Marlena will watch him, the second week Mom and Dad will watch him. Now they have plenty of experience with babies, obviously,” Shawn said. “They raised us, didn’t they?” Shawn said, trying to lighten up the mood a little.
“And our mothers are amazing with Alex. Remember in the beginning when they took turns spending the night here, so they could help you take of Alex?” Shawn asked.
“So then, what’s the problem?” Shawn asked. “Come on baby, I know what you’re thinking. You’re feeling guilty, because you’re going to be off on a beach somewhere, with your baby left behind. Don’t think of it that way. We need some R &R, and this is the perfect way to get it. And by the time we go on this trip, Alex will be about eight months old.” Shawn said.
“Well, when you put it that way…” Belle said. She thought about the sleepless nights – the first couple of weeks in which Alex would sleep for no more than an hour or two. Or sure, Belle had help - the first few days. But after that, she had been on her own. Thank goodness she had Eliana around to cook for her, but Belle wanted to take charge of her own house. But it proved impossible at times. Taking care of a baby was a lot of work, and taking a vacation was exactly what Belle needed.
“Okay, let’s do it!” Belle said, smiling brightly at him.
“All right.” Shawn said, grinning at his wife. “Like I said, we don’t leave for a little while, but it’ll give us something to look forward to.” Shawn said, giving Belle a quick kiss.
“That’s right,” Belle said. “Okay, now that we’ve got that settled, let’s sit down and have dinner,” Belle said, taking Shawn’s hand and leading him to the dining room.
Shawn was pleasantly surprised when he saw the table covered with a white linen tablecloth, and dinner set for two. There was a tiny candle in the middle of the table, and a bottle of wine just waiting to be opened.
“What’s the occasion?” Shawn asked, as he went over to sit down.
“Oh, nothing,” Belle said, smiling at him. “I just thought it would be nice if we could have a quiet dinner together,” Belle said, as she joined him.
No sooner had they started eating when they heard Alexander crying in the next room. Belle sighed, and dropped her napkin on the table. “I guess someone has other ideas,” She mumbled.
“Belle, let me get him,” Shawn said. “You finish your dinner, and I’ll give Alex his bottle.” Shawn said, standing up.
“Are you sure?” Belle asked.
“Of course. Now, just relax – I’ll be back soon,” He said.
A half an hour later, Shawn returned, with Alexander in his arms. “Well, he drank his bottle, and I burped him right after,” Shawn said, as he stared at his son.
“So why didn’t you put him back in the cradle?” Belle asked.
“I didn’t want to,” Shawn said, smiling sheepishly. “I just wanted to hold him for a little while longer.”
“Oh, well that’s okay.” Belle said.
“You know something?” Shawn said. “I know it’s hard taking care of him – I mean, he cries all the time, and doesn’t sleep as much as we would like him to,” Shawn noted.
“Ain’t that the truth,” Belle mumbled.
Shawn laughed, and continued. “Seriously though, I think it’s all great. I love having this little guy around – I know it sounds weird, but I love him more and more every day,” He said.
“I know what you mean,” Belle whispered. “I know I complain about him sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade him in for anything in the world.” Belle admitted.
“Neither would I.” Shawn said.
They both stood up, and walked Alexander over to his cradle in the living room. Shawn set him down gently, making sure not to wake him up.
Shawn wrapped his arm around Belle’s waist, and she sighed happily, leaning her head against his shoulders.
“Oh Shawn,” She said. “I’m so happy.”
Shawn kissed her forehead. “So am I.” He said. He chuckled as he thought of something. “You know, I was talking to JT today – he dropped by the pub for lunch. And he was telling me how ironic it is that you and I met each other,” Shawn said.
“What do you mean?” Belle asked in confusion.
”Well, from the very beginning, it looked as thought it wasn’t meant to be for us, considering the history between your father and JT,” Shawn explained. “I mean, when we found out the truth, it was like our love was-“
“Forbidden.” Belle said. She nodded. “I know. Dad came right out and said that I was forbidden to see you, but I of course, didn’t listen to him.” Belle said, kissing her husband’s cheek.
“I know.” Shawn said. “But think about it – our love was forbidden from the start, yet that didn’t stop us from being together, no matter what obstacle was thrown our way,” Shawn said.
“You’re right,” Belle whispered. She wrapped her arms around Shawn’s neck and said, “We were meant to be.”
“Damn straight,” Shawn mumbled, as he lowered his head and kissed her sweet lips.
“I love you Shawn Brady,” Belle said, as she looked at him, her eyes filled with love for the man standing in front of her.
“I love you too Isabella Brady. I love you both, and I can’t wait to give little Alex a little sister,” He said, winking at her.
“What makes you think the next baby we have will be a girl?” Belle asked, looking at him suspiciously.
“I don’t know – just call it a hunch.” Shawn said. “I guess it doesn’t matter what we have next, as long as you’re healthy - that’s all that matters to me. I never want to lose you Belle,” He said, his voice becoming serious.
“You won’t Shawn,” Belle said. “You’re stuck with me forever.”
“And nothing could please me more.” Shawn said lovingly.
Three years later
“Alex, you have a little sister!” Hope said to her grandson.
Alex didn’t seem to care – he was busy with the colouring book one of the nurses had provided for him.
“Isn’t that great?” Caroline said. “A little girl for Shawn and Belle! I wonder what they’ll name her?” Caroline said.
“I don’t know,” Marlena said. “But I’m happy that everything went all right with Belle’s delivery.” Marlena said.
“Everything went perfect!” Shawn exclaimed, as he joined them in the waiting room.
Everyone gathered around Shawn, hugging him and kissing him eagerly. The families offered their congratulations, and asked if they could see Belle yet.
“Sorry everyone, but before Belle sees anyone, she’d like for Alex to meet his little sister,” Shawn said, looking over at his son. He extended his hand out to his son, and Alex took it, and walked with Shawn over to his mother’s room. He was silent as he walked in, and was surprised when he found Belle holding a little baby.
“Look big guy – that’s her! That’s your little sister!” Shawn said excitedly.
Alex was obviously confused when he saw the tiny baby in Belle’s arms. He frowned when he saw Belle looking down at her, with a big smile on her face.
“I don’t like her!” Alex exclaimed, crossing his little arms across his chest.
“Alex,” Shawn said, changing the tone of his voice. He kneeled down to his son, and kissed his forehead. “I know it’s strange seeing this new baby, but she’s going to be a big part of our life,” Shawn explained. “Remember when we picked out names for the new baby?” Shawn asked.
Alex didn’t answer.
“Come on big guy, you remember,” Shawn said.
“Well,” Alex said, trying to remember the names. He couldn’t, so he asked his father to remind him.
“Well, there was Elizabeth, Rose, Linda, and there was another one, but I can’t recall it at the moment,” Shawn said, putting his hand to his lips, obviously in deep thought.
“Elissa,” Alex said. “Will Mommy and the baby will ‘wike it?” Alex said, glancing at them once again.
“Well, let’s ask them,” Shawn said, encouraging his son to move closer to Belle’s bed.
Belle smiled at her son brightly when she saw him. “Hey sweetie!” She exclaimed. “Are you excited to be a big brother?” She asked.
“I don’t know,” Alex said honestly.
Belle looked at Shawn, and nodded. “Well, maybe if you give her a name, it’ll be more exciting, what do you think?” Belle asked, looking at her son intently. It was so important to her that her son accept the new addition to their family.
Alex looked as though he was deep in thought, then smiled brightly.
“Well, Daddy and I ‘wiked Elissa,” He said.
“Elissa!” Belle said. “I love it! That’s what we’ll name her – Elissa Brady. Thank you Alex,” Belle said. “Come closer to mommy so I can give you a kiss,” Belle said.
“Okay.” Alex said, moving closer to his mother. Shawn lifted him up and he giggled as Belle smothered his face with kisses. It was at this moment that Alex had a close up of his little sister. He stared at her, speechless.
“Mommy, can I hold her?” Alex asked.
Belle looked uncomfortable for a moment, and made eye contact with Shawn. When he nodded, she said, “Okay, but Daddy will help you, okay?”
“Okay.” Alex said.
Belle handed her precious daughter to Shawn, and as Shawn took his daughter into his arms, he sighed happily. She was sleeping soundly, and wrapped in a pink blanket. Shawn noticed she had Belle’s lips, and as he grasped her tiny hand, he noticed that even her hands were identical to his wife’s, if that was even possible!
Shawn kneeled down, and told Alex to hold his arms out. Alex did as he was told, and after Shawn had placed the tiny infant in his son’s arms, he made sure to hold onto her too.
“She’s so small.” Alex said, in wonder.
Belle smiled, her eyes filling with tears.
“Just think – you were once a baby like this too,” Shawn said to his son.
“’Weally?” Alex said, in surprise.
“So are you excited about being her big brother now?” Belle asked, with a hint of hope in her voice.
Alex stared at his little sister, then turned to his mother. “No.” He said.
Shawn and Belle burst out laughing. What else did they expect from a three year old?
Eventually, Alex handed his little sister back to his father, and Shawn held her in his arms once again. He sat down on the bed with Belle, and gestured for Alex to sit on the other side of the bed. Belle sighed happily as she put her arm around Alex, and he snuggled closer to her.
Shawn kissed his wife gently, and she looked at him.
“I hope we’ll always be this happy.” Belle whispered.
“We will. As long as we have each other, and our two precious children, we’ll always be happy.” Shawn said. “I promise you.” Shawn said.
The two parents became silent after a couple of minutes, lost in the moment. They were both staring at their newborn, and glancing at Alex as well. Yes, they would be happy together, because they were a family who would love each other, and be there for each other, until the end of time.
|This message has been edited by Mrs.B. on Nov 5, 2004 1:00 PM|