For the next couple of days Shawn tried, but was unsuccessful in finding out where Belle had gone off. He knew she had left town, but even Mimi wouldn’t tell him where she was.
“I can’t believe what a pig you are Shawn Douglas Brady!” Mimi said two days later, as they stood in the middle of what used to Belle’s loft. Shawn had called Mimi over, hoping that she could help him find out how Belle was doing.
“Look Meems,” Shawn said as he put his hands in his pockets. “I know that Belle told you what happened, but I have to tell you – I didn’t do it. I didn’t betray Belle,” Shawn said in a calm and rational voice.
“Sure you didn’t,” Mimi mumbled, as she turned away from him. “Not only was Belle heartbroken when she found out, but so was I,” Mimi admitted. “I really thought you loved her.”
“No Shawn, listen to me,” Mimi said interrupting him. She turned to face him once again. “You don’t understand what Belle is feeling right now,” Mimi said. “She loves you so much Shawn – even now, after what she found out,” Mimi said.
“Mimi, I know that you think that I cheated on her, but I didn’t – I swear it,” Shawn said, with conviction in his voice. “I know how much Belle loves me and let me assure you, I love her too,” Shawn said.
“So that’s why you went and slept with Maya, on the night you were supposed to leave for your romantic weekend together?” Mimi said resentfully.
Shawn blinked in surprise. “How did you know about our romantic weekend?” He asked.
Mimi blushed slightly, and sighed. “Belle told us.”
“Us?” Shawn said in confusion.
“Me and Chloe.” She said.
“I see,” Shawn said.
“Look, she was excited that’s why she told us. Poor thing had no idea that nothing was going to happen, cause you couldn’t keep it in your pants!” Mimi exclaimed.
“Meems listen to me,” Shawn said, as he stepped closer to her and grabbed a hold of her shoulders. “I was set up. Do you hear me? I was set up. I did not sleep with Maya. I could never do that to Belle.” He said.
“Yeah, right. That’s what they all say,” Mimi murmured.
Shawn sighed heavily. “Okay you’re upset, and I understand. But can you at least tell me how she’s doing?” Shawn asked.
Mimi turned her back to him, and wondered if she should tell him. Should I tell him she’s heartbroken? That she hasn’t stopped crying for the last two days? “She’s been better,” Mimi muttered.
“I thought so,” Shawn said dejectedly. “I need to speak with her, but she’s not returning my messages.” Shawn said.
“Can you blame her?” Mimi said.
“No,” Shawn said. He exhaled slowly. “Where is she Meems?”
Mimi raised her eyebrows and turned to give him a hard, long look. “That I won’t tell you.” She said.
“Come on Meems, its Shawn – your buddy. You’ve known me since Kindergarten. You know I didn’t do this to Belle,” Shawn said, hoping he could get through to her. His soft brown eyes pleaded with his friend to believe in him.
Mimi was torn. On one hand, Shawn seemed sincere – and she wanted to believe him. The Shawn Brady she knew and loved would NEVER cheat on Belle. Yet Belle had seen him in his loft, with Maya. Apparently he was so satisfied with Maya that he didn’t even hear Belle come in!
“I don’t know what to think Shawn,” Mimi said softly.
“I understand,” Shawn said. “Can you at least tell me where she is?”
“No. I promised Belle, and I can’t break that promise.” Mimi said. She softened when she saw the sad look on Shawn’s face. “Look, just give her some time. When she’s ready to talk, she’ll find you herself.”
Shawn nodded. “Has she left town? Can you at least tell me that?” Shawn asked.
“That I can tell you,” Mimi said. “And yes, she has left town. She hopes to be back in a little while. I’ve talked to her twice, and she’s told me she needs time to think. But she won’t be moving back to the loft, in case that part wasn’t obvious,” Mimi said.
“I see,” Shawn said. He sighed. “Okay then, thanks for telling me what you can Meems,” Shawn said. He left Belle’s loft with his head lowered, wondering if he was ever going to get a chance to explain himself to Belle.
Shawn tried over the next few days to reach Belle on her cell; when she didn’t answer, he left dozens of messages. He wasn’t surprised that she didn’t return them. So Shawn did what he could do to pass the time – he threw himself into his work. He worked overtime, hoping he could get his mind off of Belle. He carried his cell phone with him at all times, hoping that Belle would call him.
A week later, Shawn was shocked when Maya walked into Mickey’s law firm, demanding to speak with him.
“I don’t appreciate being ignored Shawn,” Maya said once she came face to face with Shawn. She was wearing a tight red dress, and her hair was piled on top of her head in a mass of curls. Her bright red lipstick matched her dress to a T, and Shawn shook his head in annoyance. She was trying to impress him, but it wasn’t working.
“I’m not ignoring you Maya,” Shawn said, in a tight voice. “I’m still working with you – I am after all, a professional. Even if you tricked me, and lied to me and stabbed me in the back,” He said.
“What? What are you talking about Shawn?” Maya said, as she placed her hands on her hips. “The way I see it, you were supposed to call me last week, and you didn’t. I want to know why – that hearing is coming up, and I need you to be prepared.” She said.
“I assure you, I am,” Shawn muttered. “The hearing’s been set for next Wednesday, and Matthew Morton will be assisting you.” Shawn told her.
“Who the hell is Matthew Morton?” Maya asked in a callous voice.
“He’s an associate who works with Uncle Mickey from time to time. He’s also more qualified to help you.” Shawn said coolly.
“No way Shawn,” Maya said. She pointed a long finger at Shawn and frowned at him. “You promised me you were going to represent me, and I’m holding you to that.” Maya said.
Shawn glared at her. “Yes I did promise you, didn’t I?” Shawn said. “Just like you promised me you would behave when I agreed to help you. Well guess what? You broke your promise, and now I’m going to return the favor. I told you before that I believe everyone deserves a second chance. Well I was mistaken,” Shawn said harshly. “I was insane for getting involved with you,” He added.
“Well, I’m hurt,” Maya said, as she folded her arms in front of her chest. “If this has to do with the night at your loft, when Belle found us –“
“It has everything to do with that night at the loft,” Shawn interrupted. His usually warm brown eyes were filled with rage as he stepped closer to Maya. His jaw clenched, and Maya noticed he was breathing heavily. “You were determined to ruin my relationship with Belle, and you know what? You succeeded. I haven’t seen her in a week, and she refuses to let me know where she is.” Shawn said.
“And you blame me?” Maya said, in complete disbelief.
“No, I blame myself,” Shawn muttered. “Belle’s always said I was clueless, and she’s right. I didn’t see through your games when you asked me to help you with your case. I should have, but I didn’t. And now I’m paying the price.” Shawn said.
Maya smiled inwardly. Philip’s plan is working like a charm – he said that Belle wouldn’t want anything to do with Shawn, and he was right. Now I have to work my charm on him She thought.
“Shawnie, you’re being way too hard on yourself,” Maya purred, as she stepped closer to him. She raised her hand, and placed on his cheek. “When are you going to accept that you wanted me that night?” Maya said.
“I won’t accept it, cause it never happened.” He said. He removed her hand from his cheek, and walked towards his desk.
Maya sighed. This part is harder, but I’m always up for a challenge She thought. “I’m sorry if Belle was hurt, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. We should try to move on with our lives, don’t you think?” Maya said.
Shawn thought about Belle, and upset and hurt she was feeling. He would give anything to take all of that pain away and he would, if she would only agree to see him. She shouldn’t be alone right now, but what could he do if she refused to speak with him?
“I won’t give up on Belle,” He mumbled.
“Oh give it a rest Shawn!” Maya exclaimed. “I mean, snap out of it – Belle Black is not the be all, end all of women – ever hear of the expression ‘there are other fish in the sea’?” Maya said.
“Other fish - like you?” Shawn said grudgingly.
“Yes, like me,” Maya said. “I don’t understand you at all – you wanted to have sex with me – you wanted me. Don’t deny it. And don’t even bother telling me that you don’t remember anything, because I’m not Belle, so I’m not buying it.” Maya said.
“Hey, I don’t have proof but I know nothing happened with us that night at the loft,” Shawn said. “I would remember doing something like that,” Shawn muttered.
Maya smiled, and sauntered back towards him. “What do you say we try to refresh your memory then tough boy?”
Shawn glared at her. “Don’t call me that,” He said angrily.
“Why, because Belle used to call you that?” She asked.
Shawn didn’t respond, but his silence spoke volumes to Maya.
“Face it Shawn - Belle will never forgive you, and it’s time you accepted that.” She said.
Shawn sighed heavily, and walked back to his desk. “Miss Leano if you’ll excuse me, I’m very busy,” He said.
“Oh, I see. You’re trying to be professional now. Okay, I’ll go. But you haven’t seen the last of me Mr. Brady,” Maya said.
“Oh yes I have. I never want to lay eyes on you again,” Shawn muttered.
Maya left the office with a huge smile on her face. “Never say never Shawnie boy.”
The days passed with Shawn still trying to contact Belle, but he was unsuccessful. Belle was determined to keep her distance from him, and she was doing a good job.
Maya’s hearing was successful – that’s what Shawn had heard anyway, since he still refused to accompany her. Matthew Morton had helped her out immensely, and he informed Shawn that Maya was going to keep her shop. Shawn didn’t bother returning Maya’s message when she called to thank him. Shawn wanted nothing to do with her. He knew without a doubt that she had set him up even though she refused to admit it.
Shawn was also positive that someone had helped her. He still hadn’t figured out who it was, but he was determined to find out.
He still kept in touch with Mimi, who had decided to still remain friends with him, even though she was still upset about what happened with Belle. But she informed Shawn it was none of her business, and that she would remain neutral.
“How about we head to the Blue Note for a drink?” Mimi said to Shawn one Friday afternoon.
“I don’t know,” Shawn said. “I was thinking of heading home and staying in tonight,” Shawn told her.
Mimi sighed into the telephone, thankful that Shawn couldn’t see her rolling her eyes at him. “Shawn, you’ve been staying in every night. Now I know you’re still down about Belle, but come on, you have to get out and live a little bit.” Mimi said.
Shawn looked at the picture of Belle on his desk and sighed heavily. “I just wish I could talk to her Meems,” He said softly.
“I know that, but for the time being just join a friend for drinks. We’ll talk about Belle, and some other stuff too, if it’ll make you feel better.” She said.
Shawn couldn’t help but smile. “I thought you said you’re not getting involved in my situation with Belle,” Shawn said.
“And I’m not. I’m not going to make any comments – I’ll just listen to what you have to say. Do we have a deal?”
“Okay. Meet you at 7:00.”
Later that night, Shawn was happy that he had agreed to meet Mimi. Although his mind was still occupied with thoughts of Belle, Mimi was a welcomed distraction. She always had the ability to make the most of a tough situation, and he found himself smiling more that night than he had in days.
“Belle can’t stay away forever,” Mimi said, as she touched his hand gently. “She’ll be back eventually. And when she does come back, you make sure you fight for her,” Mimi said.
Shawn narrowed his eyes at his friend. “Are you saying that you believe I didn’t sleep with Maya?” Shawn said.
“I’m not saying anything,” Mimi said, shrugging her shoulders. “I’m neutral, remember?”
Shawn smiled. “Yeah right,” Shawn said.
Shawn talked to Mimi – opened up to her about how much he missed Belle, and told her how he wished that he never agreed to get involved with Maya again.
“Yep, she’s definitely bad news,” Mimi said. She looked behind Shawn and groaned. “Speak of the devil,” She said.
Shawn turned around, disgusted when he saw Maya walk in with Matthew Morton – Mickey’s associate. She strutted by his table and gave him a huge smile, but did not speak to him.
“What was that about?”
“Oh nothing,” Shawn said. “I’d just like to try and forget that she’s here,” Shawn said.
“Fine by me.” Mimi said. She heard her cell phone ringing, and stood up from the table to take the call. “Hello?”
“Meems, it’s me.”
“Belle! Where are you?” Mimi said, as she lowered her voice. She didn’t want Shawn to hear her, so she moved further away from their table.
“I’m home Meems.” She told her friend.
“Thank God. How as Colorado?”
“It was okay I guess,” Belle said. “But I thought of Shawn the whole time,” She confessed.
Mimi glanced at Shawn, who was having a sip of his beer.
“Shawn hasn’t stopped talking about you Belle – he really wants to see you.” She said.
“Well I don’t want to talk to him,” Belle said. “Where are you anyway?”
Mimi knew she shouldn’t be doing this, but couldn’t help herself. “I’m at the Blue Note,” She told her. “Why don’t you stop by? It’ll be great to see you again,” Mimi said.
“I don’t know,” Belle said uneasily. “Are you alone?”
“Chloe’s with me,” Mimi lied. “Come on Belle – I’m waiting for you,” Mimi said.
“I’d really like to see you,” Belle said. “I’ll be there in half an hour,” She said.
“Good.” Mimi said. “Can’t wait to see you,” Mimi murmured.
Mimi returned to Shawn, trying not to look excited. She knew she shouldn’t get her hopes up, but surely it was a good sign that Belle and Shawn were going to see each other. It would finally give them a chance to talk. Mimi glanced at her watch, hoping that Belle wouldn’t be too long.
She wasn’t disappointed; twenty minutes later Belle walked in, and stopped dead in her tracks. Her mouth opened in surprise when she noticed Mimi and Shawn sitting down together.
“That little sneak,” Belle mumbled. It was obvious to her what Mimi was trying to do, and Belle looked helplessly at Shawn, realizing just how much she had missed him. He hadn’t noticed her yet, but after a moment or two, he seemed to sense that someone was watching him, and he slowly turned his head towards her and their eyes locked.
Belle’s heart was beating erratically in her chest; she wasn’t ready for this. Every time she closed her eyes she saw him lying in his bed naked, and with Maya standing close by wearing his shirt. She knew she should just turn and leave, but her body wouldn’t cooperate with her. She loved him so much – when would she ever get over that?
“Belle,” Shawn mumbled. She was staring at him, and Shawn could sense her inner battle – a part of her wanted to leave, but another part of her wanted to stay. He stood up instantly, and walked over to her. He followed her when he noticed her trying to leave. “Belle, wait,” He said, as he caught up with her in the staircase. “Don’t leave.” He pleaded.
“Shawn, I can’t talk with you right now,” She mumbled. She refused to look at him, and lowered her head.
“Belle, please,” Shawn said. “I know what you’re going through, and I have to tell you that I never betrayed you,” He said. “I know that’s what it looked like, but Belle, you have to believe that I would never do that to you,” He said soberly.
Belle looked at Shawn and shook her head. “Shawn, I’m not an idiot. I know what I saw.” She said harshly.
“You saw what Maya wanted you to see,” Shawn said. He took her hands and held them tightly in his own, despite her protests. “You know I would never do that you!” He exclaimed.
Belle looked into his brown eyes, and noticed the tension in them. He was obviously apprehensive about the whole situation, but Belle didn’t know what to think. Her heart still couldn’t believe that Shawn had betrayed her, but her head kept replaying the scene with Maya over and over again.
“Shawn, please!” Belle exclaimed. “You can’t tell me that nothing happened – I was there, remember?”
“I know that, but a lot of things don’t add up! Like the fact that…”
“Just stop!” Belle said, covering her ears. “It was a mistake for me to return to Salem.” She said. “I’m going now, and don’t follow me, and don’t call me.” She said sternly. “I mean it Shawn.”
“But Belle –“
“No!” Belle said. “I won’t say it again Shawn – leave me alone. I never want to see your lying face ever again!” And with that, she stormed out of the restaurant, leaving Shawn behind.
“I like what you’ve done to the place Belle,” Philip said, as he walked into Belle’s new place of residence. “Is there where Sami used to live?” He asked.
Belle nodded, as she brought Philip a glass of juice. “She moved out a month ago when her and Lucas finally decided to get married,” Belle told him. She offered Philip a seat, and he complied. “So she asked me if I wanted the place, since I moved out of the loft a little while ago,” Belle said.
“Who would’ve thought – my brother and your sister,” Philip said, smiling.
“Stranger things have happened,” Belle said quietly. She sat on the sofa across from Philip and cleared her throat. “I was surprised when you called me this morning.” She said.
Philip took a sip of his juice and sighed. “I’ve wanted to see you ever since you got back, but I didn’t think you’d want to,” He said.
“Why would you say that?” Belle asked in confusion.
Because I’m the reason you and Shawn broke up
“Well, I know we’ve been avoiding each other since we split up,” Philip said. “I thought things would be awkward.” Philip said.
Belle frowned slightly and said, “Philip, that was weeks ago. And I wasn’t avoiding you – you were avoiding me. Do I have to remind you what happened at the Blue Note?” Belle pointed out to him.
“The Blue Note? What about it?” Philip asked in mock confusion.
Belle sighed. “Shawn and I were there a little while ago – I guess it was about two months ago, and you walked in with Cynthia. You walked right by our table and totally ignored me.” She told him.
So you were jealous Philip thought to himself. “Well considering the circumstances, I thought it was best not to say anything to you guys,” Philip said.
Belle folded her arms across her chest, looking slightly annoyed with him. “You could’ve at least said hi Phil. We did agree to be friends, remember?” Belle said.
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry Belle,” Philip said. “So how are things with Shawn?” He asked.
Belle paled slightly and cleared her throat. “I thought you knew,” She said in a quiet voice.
Belle lifted her chin up and said, “Shawn and I aren’t together any more.”
“What?” Philip said in mock surprise. “What happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it Phil. Things just didn’t work out – Shawn is not the man I thought he was, so we’re going out separate ways,” Belle told him.
I’ll bet Philip thought.
“So you guys broke up?” He asked, raising his eyebrows.
“How long ago?” Philip asked.
Belle looked at him and narrowed her eyes. “You honestly didn’t know?” She asked.
Philip shook his head. “No – I haven’t been keeping in touch with anyone, so no one told me.”
“Not even Kate?” Belle asked.
“No, my mom and I hardly see each other since she moved in with Roman.”
“Oh.” Belle said. She seemed satisfied with his answers and sighed. “Shawn and I broke up two months ago. You would know that if you kept in touch with me,” She said just a tad sharply.
Philip looked sheepish for a moment, and stood from the sofa. “You’re right Belle. I’m really sorry.” Philip said. He pretended to be understanding and sincere, but on the inside, Philip was jumping for joy. He had been patient – had stayed away from Belle in order to keep suspicion away from him. He had a feeling that Shawn would accuse him of setting him up with Maya but so far, he had heard nothing. Philip still kept in touch with Maya, who was annoyed that she hadn’t made any progress with Shawn.
All he does is talk about Belle, and whine about how much he misses her and loves her. It’s disgusting She had told him.
Well, that wasn’t Philip’s problem. He had already paid off Maya, and paid her well might he add. Not only had he arranged for Maya to be released from prison, he had also paid her a hefty reward for making Belle believe that Shawn had betrayed her. Philip thanked God for Nico, who was able to pull some strings and hire two hotshot lawyers who got Maya out of prison with a technicality.
Philip praised himself for coming up with such a brilliant plan - after racking his brain and trying to find someone to help break up Belle and Shawn, Maya had been the obvious choice. So he had gone to visit her while she was in jail, and made the proposal to her; when she had learned that she could pursue Shawn freely, and get a handsome payoff Maya had agreed.
It was all taken care of – Maya was released from jail and had to Shawn with a valid reason – she needed someone to help her keep her business. Philip had known Shawn all his life, and suspected that his nephew would take pity on the sexy older woman.
He had been right. The first part of his plan had been completed.
The second part involved Cassie DiMera. He needed someone to spy on the couple and find out what their plans were. Luckily, Cassie had found out about their romantic getaway to Green Mountain Lodge.
Now all that was left was for Maya to stop Shawn from leaving.
Being a Kirakis definitely had its advantages, and Philip knew that. After brainstorming with Maya one evening, they came up with the perfect way to stop Shawn and Belle from leaving together – making Belle think that Shawn had betrayed her.
We slip him a mickey Phil – that’ll put him out cold, and he won’t remember anything from the last twenty four hours when he wakes up the next day Maya had said.
Okay, but we still have to make Belle think the two of you had sex Philip had said.
Then the idea popped into Philip’s head.
Maya, I think I’ve got it; Once Shawn is knocked out cold, you call me on my cell. I’ll come by, and we’ll carry him to the bedroom. We’ll make sure he’s undressed, and when Belle comes by to look for him, she’ll assume the worst Philip had said.
Maya had been thrilled with his idea. And I’ll change too – I’ll make it look like Shawn and I had sex, and little Miss Belle will be devastated!
Philip smiled inwardly. The plan had worked; he knew that Belle would never forgive Shawn. And he had himself and Maya to thank for it.
“Philip, are you okay?”
Philip blinked in surprise when he realized that Belle was speaking to him.
Belle almost laughed. “You look like you’re a thousand miles away. Everything okay?” She asked.
Oh Belle, if you only knew He thought to himself. “I’m fine.” Philip said. “I actually came by to see if you wanted to catch a movie with me,” He said, as he glanced at his watch. “They’re showing a matinee at Salem Place,” He said.
Belle looked uneasy for a moment, and Philip sighed. “Look Belle, I’m not expecting anything. I know you don’t feel that way about me.” But you did, and you will again now that Shawn’s out of the way
“Philip I would love to go to the movies with you, as long as you understand that we’re going as friends.” She told him.
Philip nodded. “You betcha!” He said.
“Okay, let me change first,” Belle said.
Maybe she should have said no, Belle thought later that afternoon. Maybe it was too soon to be out with another man. But Philip was a friend. She had no more romantic feelings for him, and she wanted to keep his friendship.
If Belle were honest with herself, she would admit that she wanted a distraction. She needed to get out of the apartment, and stop thinking about Shawn. But even as Belle went out with Philip that afternoon and she had a good time, thoughts of Shawn lingered in her mind.
She hadn’t seen him since that night at the Blue Note. That had been weeks ago. He was keeping his distance. He wasn’t calling her. But she knew he was keeping in touch with Mimi. According to Mimi, he was still working at the law firm, and was taking night classes. That explained why Belle never saw him on campus. It unnerved her that she still looked for him, even though she knew they were over.
The pain of finding Maya in Shawn’s loft was still fresh in Belle’s heart. She still found it hard to believe that Shawn had done that to her, but she doubted that Maya had set things up the way Mimi had suggested.
Mimi had defended Shawn, but Belle didn’t want to hear anything. She knew what she had seen.
Belle tried to be strong which is why she agreed to spend time with Philip. She had missed being his friend, which is why she continued seeing him.
“You sure he doesn’t have the hots for you still?” Mimi said one morning, as they went window-shopping together.
“I don’t think so,” Belle said, as she frowned a bit. “I made it clear to him that I only want to be friends.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you any more.”
“Well I hope for his sake he doesn’t, because I have nothing to offer him.” Belle said.
“Okay,” Mimi said.
The two women were surprised when they bumped into Rex just outside of Ballistix.
“Hi Belle, hi Mimi,” Rex said softly, his eyes glued to Mimi.
“Hi Rex.” Belle said.
Mimi remained quiet.
Belle sighed, and nudged Mimi’s arm gently. She turned to her and whispered, “Talk to him – talk to him now.”
Mimi shook her head, but Belle was ten steps ahead of her. “Rex, I’m sure you and Mimi have lots to discuss, so I’ll be over by Java Café having a coffee. See you guys later.”
“Belle – wait –“
But it was too late – Belle had gone off, leaving her alone with Rex.
Rex smiled at her timidly and said, “You look great Mimi.”
Mimi exhaled slowly and smiled back at him. “Thanks Rex.”
“I’ve been hoping to speak with you – you keep avoiding me every time we see each other,” Rex said.
“Rex, I don’t think it’s a good idea…”
“Wait Mimi before you say anything, can I just tell you how much I’ve missed you?” He said. He walked closer to her, and took her hand in his. “I know I was a jerk, and I treated you like crap. But I’ve been seeing someone – a professional to help me.” He told her.
Mimi blinked in surprise. “You have?”
Rex nodded, and started to walk with Mimi over towards one of the benches. “I realized I had a problem with my headaches and my short temper, so I had Marlena recommend me to someone who could help. Her name is Dr. Philips, and I’ve been seeing her for over a month now.” Rex said.
Mimi’s face softened instantly. “Oh Rex, that’s wonderful.” She said.
“It was something that I should’ve done a long time ago. Dr. Philips has really helped me. So that’s why I want you to come to one of my sessions. I’ve told her about you, and it would really mean a lot if you could meet her.”
“Oh Rex, I don’t know.” Mimi said, looking uneasy.
“Please Mimi – just one session. I want you see that I’m determined to change. I want to be a better person for you – for myself.” He said.
“Okay.” Mimi decided.
A huge smile broke on Rex’s face, and he kissed her hand gently. “Thank you Meems. You won’t regret it.” He said.
Over at Java Café, Belle sat by herself thinking about how relieved she was that Mimi and Rex were finally talking. Mimi deserved to be happy, even if Belle was miserable herself.
Belle ordered a cup of tea, and was surprised when Philip walked over to her table a few minutes later.
“Hey Belle,” Philip said. “Mind if I join you?” He asked.
“Not at all,” Belle said, smiling at him.
“You out shopping?” He asked casually.
“Yeah, Mimi and I have been here since this morning.” She told him. “What are you doing out here?” She asked.
“Oh nothing,” Philip said. “I just needed to get out of the house – it’s such a nice day even though winter is just around the corner,” Philip said.
“Don’t I know it,” Belle said.
Philip ordered a cup of coffee, and the two talked for the next little while. Neither one of them noticed Shawn off in the distance, who was watching them.
Shawn clenched his fists tightly as the light went off in his head. Everything makes sense now Shawn thought. Dear old Uncle Phil is the one who’s working with Maya. He helped set me up, so he could have Belle to himself
Shawn watched helplessly as Belle smiled at Philip, but even from the distance he could see the smile did not reach her eyes. He wanted to over to her, assure her that everything would be okay, but he couldn’t do that until he confronted Philip and made him admit the truth.
But I know the weasel will never do that Shawn thought.
“So she’ll just have to take my word for it,” Shawn said out loud. Either way, he was going to make sure that Belle knew the truth, and then they could finally get back together.
Maya Leano walked into the law offices of Mickey Horton with a huge smile plastered on her face. She felt she had good reason to be smiling – Shawn had called earlier that day asking to speak with her. And she knew it had nothing to do with business.
Finally he’s coming around Maya thought. Soon I’ll make him forget that Belle ever existed
“Good afternoon Maya,” Shawn said once she entered his office.
“It certainly is handsome,” She flirted.
“Have a seat,” He said politely.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Maya said. She sat down, and took a cigarette out of her purse. “So what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Oh, nothing really,” Shawn said casually, as he paced around the office. “I just needed to ask you a question.” He said.
“Ask away.” Maya said as she lit her cigarette.
“How did Philip get you out of prison?” He asked in a voice that told Maya he meant business. His deep brown eyes looked her straight in the eye, catching Maya by surprise.
“What? What do you mean?” She asked shakily.
“You know exactly what I mean,” Shawn said. He looked at her closely with a serious look on his face. “I’ve figured it out Maya – I know that you and Philip were working together,” He told her.
Maya put out her cigarette and sighed. “Shawn, where do you get these ridiculous ideas?” She asked, avoiding his gaze. “I haven’t seen Philip for ages,” She said.
“Yeah, right,” Shawn said. “Why don’t you just admit it Maya? For once in your life, be honest with me.” Shawn said. He stepped closer to her, and put his arms on either side of the chair she was sitting in, and looked at her straight in the eye. “We never had sex, did we?”
Maya pressed her lips together, wondering if she could continue lying to Shawn. Somehow, he had figured things out and he was demanding that she tell him the truth.
“Shawn, would you stop this, please,” Maya said, looking extremely uncomfortable. “I will not admit what you want to hear – you may think you’re a genius for figuring things out, but you’re too late,” Maya said, trying another angle.
“What do you mean I’m too late?” Shawn said, frowning at her. “If you’re admitting that we didn’t have sex, then it’s definitely not too late to tell Belle,” Shawn said.
“Shawn,” Maya said. “I’m not saying anything,” Maya said. “But let’s say for argument’s sake that you’re right – and I’m not saying that you are – but if were right, you think I would be stupid enough to admit it?” She said, smiling at him. She had to show him who was in control; she had to undermine him, and prove to him that there was no point to his theory - she had to prove to him that it was too late for him and Belle.
“Maya, you’re talking in circles – just come out and say what you want to say,” Shawn said impatiently.
Maya sighed, and stood up from the chair. “It’s simple really – it’s been weeks since Belle found us together at your loft. Even if she finds out the truth, she won’t care any more. She’s with someone else now.”
“That’s crap,” Shawn said angrily. “Belle is not with anyone else,”
“How can you be so sure?” Maya asked.
“Because I know Belle – she’s still in love with me, even if she’s still hurt,” Shawn said.
“I wouldn’t be so sure. I think she wanted to move on with her life, and the best way to do that was get involved with someone else. Namely your uncle Phil,” Maya said.
Shawn narrowed his eyes at Maya and said, “How do you know that she’s involved with Philip?”
Maya shrugged, and said, “I have my ways.”
“I don’t believe you. I still think you and Philip have been in cahoots all along,” Shawn said. “But you won’t admit it – he probably paid you pretty good, didn’t he?”
Did he ever Maya thought. But I have yet to get the biggest payoff of all – you Maya would never admit what Shawn wanted to hear – she would never go back on her deal with Philip.
“You have a very wild imagination Shawn,” Maya murmured. “Why don’t you give me a chance, huh? I think I could make you very happy,” She said, winking at him. “I’ll make you forget all about what’s her name,” Maya said, as she slithered closer to him.
Shawn shook his head. “You’re unreal.” He said. He didn’t stop her from pressing her body up against his, and even allowed her to run her fingers through his dark hair. But it did nothing for him – all he could think about was the way Belle’s body felt pressed up against his, and the way Belle’s fingers felt in his hair. He always felt like little bolts of electricity were running through his blood whenever she touched him.
But with Maya, he didn’t feel a thing. She was a beautiful and sexy woman, but she did nothing for him.
Shawn smiled at her. “Maya, how many times do I have to say it?” He said, as he removed her hands from his hair. “I don’t feel a thing for you. I love Belle. I’ll always love Belle.” He told her.
“Whatever,” She mumbled, as she looked away from him. “One day you’ll wake up and smell reality Shawn,” Maya said, as she prepared to leave. “You’ll realize that Belle doesn’t want to have anything do with you, and it’ll be time to move on with your life. When you do, give me a call.” She said.
And with that, Maya left.
Shawn sighed heavily as he sat down, wondering if he would ever find proof that Maya and Philip were working together. He was positive about his theory, but how could he prove that to Belle? She was the most trusting person he ever knew, and Shawn knew she would find it hard to believe that Philip had betrayed her that way.
“And they’re seeing each other again,” He mumbled. Mimi had told him yesterday at lunch that Belle was dating Philip – although Belle had made it clear to Philip that she was only interested in him as a friend.
“But Philly boy will try to take advantage of her, I’m sure of it,” Shawn said quietly. He rubbed his temples lightly with his fingers, wondering if this would ever end. Every time he and Belle took a step forward, something else happened that made them take ten steps back. Something or someone was always trying to break them up, and it annoyed him.
“I have to talk to her – tell her what I believe. She’ll believe me – she has to, because she knows that I still love her,” Shawn said.
Shawn turned off his computer, deciding that there was no time like the present. He had to talk to Belle now.
It was later in the evening by the time Shawn arrived to Belle’s apartment. Mimi had informed him of Belle’s move, which bothered him a lot. It was obvious she had moved out of the loft to be away from him. Shawn remained in his apartment, even though he missed Belle.
Shawn knocked on her door, and hoped that Belle was alone. She opened the door after a moment or two and looked surprised to see him.
“Shawn.” She said. Shawn’s heart soared when she said his name – he had missed her so much.
“Hi Belle,” He said softly. “Have I come at a bad time?”
Belle shook her head. “No, but I don’t think it’s a good idea that you came here,” She said.
“Belle, please - can I come in? We really need to talk,” He said.
Belle hesitated for a moment, but then allowed him in. She closed the door behind her, and played with her hands nervously. It didn’t help matters that her whole body was shaking because she was close to him; she hated the fact that she couldn’t stop loving Shawn Brady, no matter how hard she tried not to.
“What is it Shawn?” She asked as she stood over by the side of the living room. She refused to be close to him – she feared that he would learn the truth if he stayed close – the truth being that she still loved him.
“It’s about Maya, and me,” He said.
Belle rolled her eyes, and turned away from him. “I don’t want to hear this,” She mumbled.
“No Belle, listen to me,” Shawn said. “I know you saw me in bed that night at the loft, and I know that it looked bad,” Shawn said.
“Looked bad?” Belle said, as she turned to face him. Her face scrunched up in anger as she told him what she really thought. “Shawn, it was obvious what had happened. I found clothing scattered around – obviously thrown to the ground in a heat of passion,” Belle said bitterly. “I saw you sleeping like a baby – obviously satisfied from what Maya had to offer you,” Belle said angrily.
“No Belle, you saw what Maya wanted you to see,” Shawn said. “You know me Belle – you know I wouldn’t cheat on you,” Shawn said.
“I thought I knew you,” She whispered. “But I never did – I couldn’t have,” Belle said.
“Belle, I did not cheat on you – I was set up – don’t you see? Maya wanted you to think that we had sex, but we didn’t,” Shawn said.
“Oh really?” Belle said, in disbelief. “You’re sure about that?” She said sarcastically.
“I am.” Shawn said. “And there’s more,” He said. “I was drugged Belle,” He told her.
“You were what?” Belle said. “How do you know that?” She asked.
“Don’t you see? It all makes sense – Maya claims that she came into the office that day, and we were ‘flirting up a storm’. Then she says that I suggested we come back to my place in the middle of the day.”
“She told me that too,” Belle mumbled. “Thanks for reminding me.”
“Well I don’t remember anything from that day – all I remember is Maya coming into the office earlier that morning, and that’s it,” Shawn said. “I’ve tried to remember but I can’t, and that’s not a coincidence. Don’t you see – Maya wanted me – and you – to think that I had sex with her, but I didn’t,” Shawn said. “That’s why I’m positive that she drugged me,” Shawn said.
Belle gasped. “What? Are you sure?”
“I don’t have any proof, but my instincts are telling me that’s what she did. Why else can’t I remember what happened?” He said.
“I don’t know Shawn; it sounds a bit far-fetched,” Belle said uneasily.
“Come on Belle – it makes perfect sense. I don’t remember a thing, and I wake up naked the next morning, with her claiming I cheated on you.”
“So suppose you’re right – where did she get the drugs from?
“Oh, she had help,” Shawn said. “You’re not going to like what I have to say, but you deserve to know the truth,” Shawn said.
“What’s that?” Belle said. “I don’t know if I can handle this,” She said apprehensively.
“I think Maya had help. How else did she get me upstairs?” Shawn said.
“Who do you think helped her?”
Shawn exhaled slowly. “I’m positive it was Philip.”
Belle almost laughed. “You think Philip tried to break us up?” She asked in bafflement. “You’ve got a lot of nerve – blaming someone else for your mistakes,” Belle mumbled.
“Belle if you take a good long look at the circumstances, you’ll agree with me,” Shawn said, trying to reason with her. “I didn’t –“
“Cheat on me, yes that’s what you keep seeing. Hell even Mimi believes you,” Belle said. “But I don’t. Unless you have some proof – and I mean REAL proof, I won’t believe it.” Belle said.
“So you don’t believe me then,” Shawn mumbled. He sighed – he had suspected that she wouldn’t. The memory of finding him naked in his bed was probably still fresh in her mind. He cursed Maya once again for setting him up.
“You have a lot of nerve accusing a dear friend of mine for betraying me,” Belle said.
“Yeah, a dear friend who’s still in love with you,” Shawn pointed out to her. “A good friend who had a motive for trying to break us up – namely you,” Shawn said.
Belle shook her head. “To prove you wrong I’ll call Philip over, and I’ll confront him. I want to see what he has to say,” Belle said, as she went over to her phone.
Shawn scoffed at her. “Like he’ll admit it,” He said under his breath.
“If he’s lying, then I’ll know,” Belle said. “Philip and I have gotten close these last few weeks and unlike some people I know, I can actually trust him,” She said bitterly.
Shawn shook his head, but said nothing. He had no doubt that Philip would deny Shawn’s accusations, and then where would that leave him?
It would leave him with nothing. Belle didn’t believe him and Shawn had no idea how to convince her to trust him once again.
They each paced around the tiny apartment as they waited for Philip to arrive. Luckily Philip had been in the area when Belle had called his cell phone, and told her he would be there shortly. Belle had not told him that Shawn was there.
When Philip walked in a few moments later he was stunned to see Shawn.
“Hey Shawn,” He said, rather awkwardly.
Shawn merely glared at him. Philip could sense the tension immediately and flinched inwardly. Now he suspects something; that’s why I’ve been called over Philip thought to himself. It’s time to put on the performance of a lifetime
“What’s going on,” Philip asked, as he looked at Belle closely. He could see she was torn; she didn’t believe Shawn’s accusations, if in fact, Shawn had accused Philip just as Philip suspected. She was still confused and Philip would be sure to take full advantage of that.
“Why don’t you tell him Shawn,” Belle said, as she folded her arms in front of her chest. She watched closely as Shawn stepped closer to his uncle and former best friend. Belle was more than confused by now – on the one hand, she wanted to believe Shawn. It would please her to know that Shawn hadn’t cheated on her. But if Shawn was right, she would lose a valuable friend in Philip, and it upset her to think that she had misjudged Philip. If he were capable of manipulating Shawn and her this way, she would want nothing to do with him.
I need to watch Philip’s reaction closely; I have to determine if he’s telling the truth She thought. Because right now I don’t know who to trust, and I’ve never been more confused in my life
“So tell me what the problem is,” Philip said, as he sat down on one of the sofas. He had prepared himself for this; had known that this day would come. He had to pull this off – his future with Belle depended on it.
“I’ll tell you what the problem is,” Shawn said gruffly. “You and Maya have been playing the both of us like a piano,” Shawn said. “You got her out of prison and you arranged for her to drug me and make Belle think that I had sex with her. Which I did not,” Shawn added.
“I see,” Philip said quietly. “And just how did you come up with this work of fiction of yours?” Philip asked mockingly. “Cause it definitely sounds like a best seller if you ask me,” He said, grinning at his nephew.
“I didn’t make it up,” Shawn snapped. “I know I didn’t sleep with Maya, and I know that you two are working together. You’ve wanted Belle to yourself all along, but you needed to get me out of the way.” Shawn told him. He stepped closer to his uncle, and grabbed him by the collar. “I know what you did, so just admit it, Phil,” Shawn sneered.
Philip swallowed nervously, but was determined to appear strong. “I didn’t do anything,” Philip said, in a firm voice. “And let go of my collar,” He said.
Shawn merely tightened his hold.
“Look,” Philip said. “I had no idea that you and Belle had even broken up – just ask Belle. I had no idea that you cheated on her with Maya of all people, and I haven’t seen Maya in ages. This is all news to me,” He said casually.
Shawn released his collar, and clenched his fists in anger, wanting to punch the living daylights out of Philip.
“Shawn!” Belle exclaimed.
Shawn sighed impatiently, and stepped away from Philip. “Belle, he’s lying. You can’t tell me you believe him over me,” He said.
“Belle,” Philip said. “Shawn is probably just trying to cover up his betrayal. He probably wanted Maya all along, but he’s not going to admit that,” Philip said. He sneered at Shawn. “You’re such a creep. I can’t believe you would hurt Belle like that,” He said.
Shawn told himself to count to ten – he had to, or else he wouldn’t be held responsible for his actions.
“Want to know what I think? I definitely think you and Maya had sex, but you’re trying to spare Belle’s feelings,” Philip said. “What you don’t’ realize is that you’re hurting her even more with these wild accusations.” Philip pointed out to him.
“Wild accusations – Belle!” Shawn exclaimed. “You know me,” He said, as he walked over to her, and sat down next to her on the sofa. “You’ve known me all my life, and you know I would never cheat on you!”
Philip stepped closer to Belle, and said, “And you’ve known me all your life Belle,” Philip said. “Who are you going to believe?”
Belle sighed, and covered her face with her hands. She was in complete turmoil; she wasn’t sure how to answer their questions so she stood up, and walked towards the kitchen.
“Shawn, I have to ask – why the hell do you think I drugged you?” Philip said, as he looked at him closely.
“Because I don’t remember a damn thing about that night,” Shawn said. “And I know you would stoop that low to make me and Belle believe that I had sex with Maya,” He said harshly.
“You don’t know Philip at all, do you?” Belle exclaimed. “He has never given us any reason to believe that he is capable of doing something so low – so sneaky!” Belle said. “But you Shawn – I saw you – and Maya. And you keep telling me that you don’t remember anything, and you’re positive that Philip and Maya set you up, but you know what? I don’t believe you.” She told him.
Shawn gasped, and tried to compose himself. He didn’t just hear those words; she believed Philip over him?
“No Shawn,” Belle said, as she marched over towards the door. “It’s time that you left. And it’s time that you moved on with your life – cause starting today, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m moving on – without you in MY life.” She told him.
“Morning Belle – you ready to get some breakfast?” Philip asked as he stepped into Belle’s apartment early one morning.
“Sure thing,” Belle said, smiling at him. “Let me just get my purse.”
“Okay.” Philip said.
“Where are we going today?” Belle asked, as they went downstairs to Philip’s car.
“I thought we’d go to Hudson’s Diner – sound good to you?” He asked.
“Sure does.” Belle said.
They each ordered some pancakes and sausages once they arrived, and talked about schoolwork and other things. Belle was careful not to mention Shawn’s name – he was still a sore subject with her. It had been nearly two weeks since Belle had talked to Shawn and she had yet to see him since. She knew he was still working for Mickey and continuing with his night courses, according to Mimi.
Belle was trying to move on with her life without Shawn in it, but it proved difficult at times. She had moved out of the loft hoping to escape the memories she had created with him there. But it didn’t matter where she was – thoughts of Shawn filled her mind wherever she went.
I have to stop thinking about him – he hurt me. Besides, I’m with Philip now She told herself. But if Belle was honest with herself, REALLY honest, she would admit that she did not feel the same passion and longing for Philip as she did for Shawn.
But Shawn betrayed me She thought. But as she thought about Shawn’s ‘betrayal’, she wanted to smack herself. Why didn’t she believe Shawn when he said he hadn’t cheated on her? She had known Shawn all her life, and she was ashamed to admit that she now realized that she believed Shawn. She was even more ashamed to admit that she suspected Philip was lying. So why did she tell Shawn that she didn’t believe him?
Because you have to find out for yourself if Philip was lying. And I’m beginning to question Philip’s true motives these days
Belle felt horrible for hurting Shawn; she realized that he had never slept with Maya, but she still wasn’t sure about whether or not Philip had been involved. IF Philip was involved, Belle was determined to find out.
But then Belle also realized something else – even when she did expose Philip, her and Shawn had no chance of ever being together. She didn’t deserve Shawn – if she did, she never would’ve believed that he could cheat on her. And she had – in the beginning she had. It didn’t matter that she had changed her mind just recently. If she truly loved Shawn, she would’ve trusted him when he said that nothing had happened between him and Maya.
It was a no win situation anyway she looked at it.
As Belle realized the reality of it all – that her and Shawn would never be together again, she longed to see Shawn, even though she knew it would prove pointless. She longed to be in his arms again, and kiss his soft lips. She missed being close with him, and regretted the fact that they had never been intimate.
Her heart still ached for him, no matter how many times she told herself that she had to get over him.
It was easier said than done.
Even though she was seeing Philip again, she could not forget Shawn. She had tried. Philip was extremely patient with Belle which was exactly what she needed right now. But Belle still wondered if that was all an act.
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like you didn’t get much sleep last night,” Philip noted, interrupting her thoughts.
Belle raised her eyebrows as she looked at Philip. “That’s not a way to compliment a lady,” Belle said dryly.
“I’m sorry,” Philip said softly. He reached across the table to take her hand in his. “I’m just concerned about you. You seem to be still down, and I bet I know why,” Philip said. “Besides, the dark circles under your eyes give it all away,” Philip noted.
“Of course,” Belle said, smiling a bit. “I tell you Phil – some days are better than others,” She mumbled.
“Want to talk about it?” He asked.
Belle shrugged. “Why not – that’s all I’ve done for the past two weeks – talk about Shawn,” She said. Her blue eyes were filled with sadness as she looked at Philip. “I wish I could stop thinking about him,” She whispered.
“Belle,” Philip said softly. “You were with Shawn for a long time. It’s not going to be easy to forget about him,” He said. “And you know what? He was your first love,” Philip added. And not your last, if I have anything to say anything about it He thought. “You’ll never forget him, but eventually you’ll have to move on,” He told her. With me
“I know that,” Belle said. “I just wish it wasn’t so hard,” Belle said.
Philip sighed. “Look, I’m sure Shawn is already moving on with his life,” Philip said. “And I hate to put my nose in where it doesn’t belong, but I bet you that Shawn is with Maya by now,” Philip said bluntly.
“What do you mean? Like dating her?” Belle asked obviously not too thrilled at that prospect.
“Come on Belle – you’ve seen her – Maya is irresistible,” Philip said. He knew he was planting a seed of doubt inside of Belle’s head, and he had to be careful about how he worded things. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s with her right now,” Philip said.
Belle looked uncomfortable as she thought about Maya and Shawn together. It left a bitter taste in her mouth, and she tried to be rational. “Shawn swore to me that he doesn’t feel anything for her,” She murmured.
“Yeah, just like he says he didn’t sleep with her,” Philip said. “But we both that he’s lying,” He said cynically.
Belle nodded, and looked down. “I wish he never met that woman,” She muttered.
“If it hadn’t been her, it would’ve been someone else. This is God’s way of telling you that it’s not meant to be,” Philip said gently. And that you’re meant to be with me He thought.
“I guess,” Belle said inaudibly.
“Belle, I only want what’s best for you honey. I don’t want to see you hurt, but it’s time you face facts. Shawn is not the one for you,” He said.
Belle looked at him closely. “And you are?” She said.
Philip blushed slightly. “I hope to be,” He said gently. “Belle, I’m not going to lie to you – I’m still in love with you; I never stopped loving you. But I’ve told you that I’m going to be patient, and I meant it. I won’t rush you into anything that you’re not ready for.” Philip said.
“And I appreciate that,” Belle said. “Really I do.” Maybe Shawn was right – it looks as though Philip had the perfect motive to break us up She thought.
“Hey, don’t mention it,” Philip said. “But I want to be totally honest with you Belle. I want you to give me a chance to prove that I’m the right person for you,” Philip said. “Just give me that chance Belle – please,” Philip said, looking at her longingly. “I love you so much and I think you love me too,” He said.
“I do,” Belle admitted “But not the way you deserve to be loved,” Belle told him.
“Hey, it’s a start; that love will eventually run deeper if we give it time and nurture it, don’t you think?” Philip said.
Belle frowned. “Phil, I don’t know,” She said uneasily. “I don’t think I’m ready,” She said.
“I disagree,” Philip said. “You told me yourself that it’s been weeks since you and Shawn broke up. I think this is the perfect time to see other people – namely me,” Philip said, grinning at her. “What do you say?” He asked. He prayed that she would say yes; she had to say yes – Philip needed Belle in his life, and was so desperate for her to fall in love with him.
Belle thought long and hard about what Philip was saying to her. He was agreeing to be patient with her; she liked that.
Oh Belle, throw caution to the wind for once She thought. Who knows? If I agree to give him a second chance, I’ll find the proof I need that he is working with Maya
Belle knew what she had to do.
“Okay Philip.” She told him. “I’ll give you – I’ll give US a chance,” She told him.
~~The Blue Note~~
Shawn had had a long day. He had been working all day on a case for Mickey, and he had forgotten to have lunch because of how busy he had been. He had finally called his grandmother at the Pub, asking to have some lunch delivered to Mickey’s office that afternoon.
It was now late in the evening, and Shawn decided he needed to unwind before he went back to the loft. He didn’t have any classes that night, for which he was thankful. So Shawn had decided to head over to The Blue Note to see if Brady was there.
Fortunate for Shawn, Brady had learned of his and Belle’s break up and instead of taking Shawn’s life he, like Mimi, decided to remain neutral. Shawn was thankful, since he needed some male friends in his life. Philip was obviously out, since Shawn knew Philip’s true colors. Rex was out too, since Shawn had accused him of attacking Bo and Hope.
That left Brady, who encouraged Shawn to drop by The Blue Note whenever he needed a friend. So Shawn had made a habit of coming in nearly every night. He usually came in after his night classes were finished and Brady would join him for a drink.
That particular night Shawn noticed Brady was busy behind the bar, talking to his bartender. Brady waved hello to Shawn, but did not come over right away to his table.
“He must have a problem,” Shawn mumbled.
Shawn sat down and ordered a beer. He was finishing up with his first when Brady finally joined him.
“Sorry about that buddy,” Brady said as he sat down with a beer in his hand. “We had a problem with one of our customers,” He said.
“No worries,” Shawn said.
“So how was your day today?” Brady asked, as he had a sip of his beer.
“I’ve had better,” Shawn told him. “And you?”
“Pretty much the same,” Brady said.
“How are things with Chloe?” Shawn asked.
Brady sighed. “Well, they’re better I guess,” Brady said. “We’re seeing each other again, but I’m not so sure I was wise in agreeing to that,” Brady said.
“Why’s that? You still love her don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” Brady said. “It’s because I love her that I think it’s better if we’re apart.” Brady said.
“So she can pursue her dream,” Shawn said.
“Bingo,” Brady said.
“Look man, it’s up to Chloe what she wants to do. You have to let her decide for herself.” Shawn told him.
“I know that but it’s just hard, you know? I love her so much, and I’ll never stop loving her,” Brady said. Brady was about to have another sip of his beer when one of the waiters tapped him on his shoulder.
“Hey Bob, what’s up?” Brady asked.
“I’m sorry to bother Brady, but there’s a problem in the kitchen. Think you can solve it?”
Brady smiled. “Don’t I always?” He turned to Shawn apologetically. “Sorry cuz – looks like you’ll be on you own tonight. I’ll come back as soon as I can,” He told him.
“No problem,” Shawn said.
As usual, Shawn’s thoughts lingered on Belle. He wondered how she was doing. He wanted to see her, talk to her, and try to convince her that Philip was the one who had betrayed her. But he knew there was no point; she had made it clear to him who she believed, and that hurt Shawn. He knew she was still confused, and he wished he could find a way to prove that Philip was lying.
He didn’t know, and he had spent hours thinking about ways to help prove his theory to Belle. But he had come up with nothing.
In the mean time, Shawn was certain that Philip was taking advantage of Belle’s vulnerability. That was his plan all along – to make her vulnerable so he could pounce on her He thought angrily.
His thoughts were interrupted when he noticed he had company.
Shawn frowned when he realized who it was. “Maya,” He said dryly. “What are you doing here?”
Belle stood in front of the mirror and told herself to be calm. “It’s not big deal,” She scolded herself. “We’re just going out for drinks. It’s not big deal,” She repeated.
But Belle was wrong - it WAS a big deal. This was her first official date with Philip since she had decided to start dating him seriously. They were going to meet at The Blue Note for drinks. At first she had protested, because she knew that Shawn went there nearly every night. Brady had told her that he was still friends with him, and had asked her if that was okay.
Brady, I haven’t forgotten that you and Shawn are cousinsBelle had told him. If you want to be friends with him, then by all means, go ahead
Brady had seemed relieved. I just feel strange Tink – I know what he did to you, but somehow, I think there’s more to it than that Brady had said.
“Maybe you’re right Brady,” Belle mumbled to herself. “If you are, then I’m going to find out.”
Belle took a deep breath and decided to leave for The Blue Note. If she saw Shawn, she would deal with it.
Belle arrived at The Blue Note a half an hour later and found an empty table over in the corner of the restaurant. As soon as she sat down, she heard an annoying laugh. An older woman’s laugh – Maya’s laugh. Belle searched the restaurant until her eyes landed on Maya Leano. She gasped when she realized who she was with. She was sitting with Shawn.
They were both having a beer, and Shawn seemed to be enjoying her company. Belle was immediately filled with rage.
Philip was right She thought. He told me that Shawn was dating Maya, and now I have proof
She felt like a child for watching them, but she couldn’t help herself. Despite everything that was going on, Belle couldn’t help but notice how handsome he looked; his hair was slightly tousled, with some of it hanging in front of his eyes. His shirt was undone, revealing his tanned skin which Belle noticed even though she was sitting a great distance away from him. And he seemed very comfortable with Maya.
“It’s so obvious that they’re dating,” She mumbled. “It’s time to face reality. Dating Philip is the smartest thing to do,” She told herself. “Even if I find out that Philip broke me and Shawn up, it’ll be too late. Shawn is already moving on with his life, just like I told him to.”
Philip joined her a few minutes later, and Belle tried to keep her eyes away from Shawn. She was determined to move on with her life now.
Shawn didn’t know when it had happened but somehow, he found Maya to be charming. And funny. He had been extremely cold to her when she approached his table, but she insisted on sitting with him.
Shawn had barely said two words to her, except to make sarcastic remarks.
“Should I move my drink closer to you? Were you thinking of drugging me again?” He had asked.
Maya had smiled.
“No, I was thinking I’d do that later.”
Shawn was tired – at least, that’s the excuse he made for bursting out laughing when Maya made that remark. He had needed a good laugh, even if she had made a bad joke.
“Wow Shawn, you really need a woman,” She had mumbled.
Shawn had merely laughed even more. He was pathetic – he knew that. But maybe Maya was right, he thought. He needed someone in his life – even if it was Maya.
So he had ordered her a beer, and they had talked. Shawn let his guard down, completely forgetting everything that Maya had put him through. He told himself that it didn’t matter – Philip was the brains of the operation, but he couldn’t prove that anyway.
And Belle was with Philip now; she had taken Philip’s word over his. That proved that things were over for them. Shawn allowed himself to have a good time with Maya; he felt he was owed that considering everything he had gone through. He had to start moving on with his life, just like Belle had told him to.
While he laughed and talked up a storm with Maya, he tried not to notice of Belle sitting at a table from across the room, watching him helplessly.
Maya Leano had done it; she had finally gotten close to Shawn. She smiled as she thought of Shawn while she waited for him to show up at his grandparent’s pub for a late dinner. They weren’t exclusive but then again, Shawn wasn’t dating anyone else, and neither was she.
And Maya didn’t want anyone else – she wanted Shawn Brady. He was captivating with those warm brown eyes and that strong jaw line that had Maya thinking naughty thoughts about him all the time.
He was a challenge, and she was enjoying every moment with him.
Oh sure, he had been upset with her before. But he was over that – she was sure of it. Maya was determined to make Shawn a very happy man. She wasn’t looking for any marriage proposals – no long term commitments. No - she wanted Shawn in her bed, plain and simple.
And she was getting closer to accomplishing her goal. They had been seeing each other almost every night for the last three weeks. It had started out casual – merely running into each other at The Blue Note. But Maya made sure to turn on her charm, and Shawn fell for it.
Now she had to focus on taking their relationship to the next level. She wasn’t sure how, but she would come up with something. She was dying to have Shawn as her lover. They hadn’t even kissed yet, but she knew what his lips felt like from a few months back. She remembered how he had tried to persuade her to stay in town and how he had kissed her. It had been unreal - Maya was sure that she had been close to climaxing.
Pretty soon she would know what it was like to be with Shawn, in every way. She had a feeling he would rock her world.
She smiled at him once he walked in.
“Have you been waiting long?” He asked.
“No, not at all,” She said, her eyes brightening at the very sight of him. “How’s it going Shawn?” She asked.
“Pretty good thanks,” Shawn answered.
“Glad to hear it,” She flirted.
They had lunch together, and Maya was thrilled when Shawn asked her out to dinner for the following evening – and at Chez Vous of all places. She knew that was a good sign. If she had her way, Shawn would be making breakfast for her the next morning.
“I’ll pick you up at 7:00,” Shawn said. “Is that enough time?”
“You bet it is,” Maya said. She was positively glowing as Shawn walked her to her car. Before she opened the door to her car, she turned around and impulsively laid a kiss on his soft lips. He was surprised, but after a moment or two, he decided to respond to her. He pulled away from her a moment later, and smiled.
“See you tomorrow tonight,” He whispered.
“You bet,” Maya purred.
As she took off in her car, Shawn wondered if he was doing the right thing. He was obviously trying to forget Belle but so far, it wasn’t working. The kiss he had just shared with Maya had been nice, but nothing earth shattering.
Nothing like his kisses with Belle.
He drove home, asking himself the same question he had been asking for days now; did he enjoy Maya’s company? Could he trust her, after what had happened? He was still firm in his belief that he never slept with her that night at his loft.
But somehow, he didn’t feel bitter any more. Why was that?
He wasn’t sure; maybe he was so lonely that he was desperate for attention, and for companionship. Maya was only more than willing to provide that for him.
He needed to feel wanted; he needed to be in someone’s life.
Shawn sighed; he needed Belle in his life, but she would never be his again. It was time he accepted that.
“So am I late?” Mimi said, as she joined her friend for lunch.
“No, you’re not,” Belle said.
“Good.” Mimi said. “Rex and I got caught up in the moment, if you know what I mean…” She trailed off when she noticed the irritated look in Belle’s eyes. “Sorry.” She said in a soft voice. “I didn’t mean to be so insensitive.”
“It’s okay Meems,” Belle said quietly. “I’m glad you and Rex are back together,” She said.
“So did you order for us?” Mimi asked.
“Yes.” Belle answered.
“Good – I’m starving!”
Belle couldn’t help but laugh. “I’ll bet.”
“So how are things?” Mimi asked, once the girls were served their lunch.
“Good,” Belle said. “Philip and I have another date tonight,” She said.
“Is that good?” Mimi asked as she took a bite out of her sandwich.
“I guess it is,” Belle said a bit uneasily.
“You don’t sound sure of yourself,” Mimi noted.
“Well, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not enjoying Philip’s company. He’s a great guy. And I’m almost positive that I’m starting to have feelings for him – again.” Belle said. “And how couldn’t I? I mean, he’s charming, sweet, and so easy to get along with,” Belle said.
“That’s good,” Mimi said.
“Yeah, so we’re taking things slow. Poor Philip is so afraid to kiss me when he walks me to my apartment,” Belle said, smiling.
“What a gentleman,” Mimi noted.
“That’s what’s so great about him,” Belle said.
“I’m happy for you Belle,” Mimi said. “Really, I am. I want you to be happy.” Mimi said.
“Thanks Meems,” Belle said.
“So have you seen you know who?” She asked, as she took a sip of her water.
Belle exhaled sharply. “You mean Shawn?”
“The one and only.”
Belle nodded. “I’ve seen him a couple of times at The Blue Note,” She said. “But we don’t speak to each other. He’s so wrapped up in Maya that I doubt he even notices I’m there,” Belle said sullenly.
“I’m sure he notices you Belle, but you’re always with Philip aren’t you?”
“Well then what’s he supposed to say to his former girlfriend and former best friend?”
“Nothing,” Belle mumbled. “I just wish it didn’t hurt so much every time I see him with Maya,” She said.
“So you know that he’s seeing her?” Mimi asked.
“Yes,” Belle said. “They seem to be getting along.” Belle said quietly.
Mimi sighed. “Shawn told me that she’s different than she seems,” She said.
“Please, I don’t want to hear about it,” Belle said in displeasure.
“Sorry,” Mimi said. “I hate to be annoying Belle, but you were the one who told him it was over.”
“Only because I thought that he cheated on me!” Belle exclaimed. She frowned. “Meems, what was I supposed to think? He doesn’t show up at my loft as promised, which worried me to death. So when I walk into his loft, I find him naked and Maya prancing around with a big ass smile on her face.” Belle said heatedly.
“You walked in on a set up, that’s what you walked in on.” Mimi said quietly.
“Well even if I did, it’s too late now,” Belle mumbled.
“What do you mean?” Mimi said, as she leaned closer to her friend. “Are you saying that you finally believe Shawn?”
Belle sighed heavily. “Meems, I was so confused. But after I had calmed down, I realized that Shawn was telling the truth. But then when he accused Philip of working with Maya, I was so angry. Not at Shawn – but at Philip, for manipulating us like that,” Belle said.
“So why the hell are you dating Philip then?” Mimi asked, shocked.
“Well because I’m still not sure if Philip is working with Maya. I planned on dating him so I could get proof, but now….”
“But what? What changed?”
“I realized there’s no point. Even if I do find out that Philip was working with Maya I realize that I hurt Shawn so badly when I didn’t believe him. I should’ve believed him Meems, and I didn’t. I’m so ashamed,” She said quietly.
“Oh Belle, you were confused,” Mimi said as she patted her hand gently.
“That’s no excuse,” Belle said tearfully. “I should have at least given him the benefit of the doubt. But no, I just pushed him away and into another woman’s arms,” Belle said.
“Belle, if you tell Shawn how you feel, maybe…”
“No Meems. I told you – it’s too late. Shawn and I are finished. I don’t deserve him – I realize that. So I’m going to take my own advice – I’m going to move on with my life.”
“With Philip?” Mimi said.
Belle sighed. “I don’t think so. I lied to you before – I’m not starting to have feelings for Philip, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time that we called it quits. I can’t be with someone who I doubt. It’s time that we stop dating. Philip is going to be hurt when I tell him, but it’s best that we end things now, before they go any further.”
“That’s probably the smartest thing to do.” Mimi said. She glanced at her watch and sighed. “I’d better eat my lunch quickly – I have to be at the hospital by 1:00,” Mimi said.
“So you’re still volunteering there? I think that’s great,” Belle said. “Maybe I should start again,” Belle said.
“You should – when you have time of course,” Mimi said.
“Yeah, between classes and Basic Black, I’m sure I can still come in on the weekends or something,” Belle said.
“You know, I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon. Why don’t you stop by and we’ll talk to Brenda? I’m sure she can make some sort of arrangement,” Mimi said.
“Maybe I will.” Belle said. “Thanks Meems.”
The next day Belle met with Mimi at the hospital and spoke with the head nurse Brenda, who was only too happy to have Belle volunteer once again.
“The patients need another smiling face,” Brenda told her.
So Belle agreed to volunteer twice a week, starting this coming Saturday.
“Walk me to my car?” Belle asked Mimi, once she had finished talking to Brenda.
“Sure thing,” Mimi said. “So when are you going to talk to Philip?” Mimi asked her as they waited for the elevator.
“Soon.” Belle said. “We have a date tomorrow night, so I’ll probably break it to him then,” Belle said.
As the elevator doors opened, Belle and Mimi were surprised when they saw Philip stepping off. He smiled at them as soon as he noticed them.
“Hey you two,” He said. “What are you doing here?”
Mimi pointed to her uniform and laughed. “Well I’m on duty, and Belle here came in to see if she could start volunteering again,” She said.
“Oh yeah?” Philip said. “That’s great.” He said.
“What are you doing here?” Belle asked.
Philip looked uncomfortable for a moment, but then said, “Well, I’m here because of my annual physical,”
Belle frowned. “I thought you did that back at the base,” Belle said.
“Well I did,” Philip said. “But the doctor was concerned because of some irregularities in my knee,” He said. “He wants me to run some tests, so I’m here to do that,” He said.
“Oh,” Belle said. “Is it something serious?” Belle asked, obviously concerned.
“I don’t think so,” He said. He glanced at his watch and sighed. “Look I’m running late girls. See you tomorrow night Belle?” He said.
“Yeah, definitely,” Belle said.
They watched as Philip walked away, and Mimi turned to Belle with a serious look on her face. “I don’t think Philip’s telling the whole truth here,” She said as they stepped onto the elevator.
“Why not?” Belle said, looking at Mimi in confusion.
“Because, he’s a marine. The base wouldn’t have sent him to University Hospital if they didn’t find something that was seriously wrong with him,” Mimi noted.
Belle instantly became worried. “So you’re saying that whatever is wrong with his knee could be something serious?” She asked.
Mimi nodded. “I think so.” She said. Mimi bit her lip. “Belle, you know I would never tell you what to do, but maybe you should hold off on dumping him,” She suggested.
“Yeah, definitely.” Belle said softly. “I hope he’s okay,” She said.
The next day Belle met up with Philip at Tuscany for dinner, just as they had planned. As soon as they were seated Belle didn’t waste any time – she immediately asked how things had gone at the hospital the previous day.
“Philip, what did they tell you at the hospital yesterday?” She asked, showing concern for him.
“Oh, nothing,” He said, averting her glance. “They’re going to run some more tests.” He said.
Belle noticed that he refused to look at her in the eye, and she leaned forward to touch his cheek gently. “Phil, if something is wrong, I want you to know that you can tell me.” Belle said gently.
Philip sighed, and covered her hand with his own. “I know that. But I don’t want to worry you.” He said softly.
“Phil, just tell me what’s going on,” Belle said. “The doctors must have some idea of what is wrong with your knee,” She said quietly.
Philip nodded and looked down. “They have an idea, but they still have to run some more tests to confirm it,” He said.
“Okay, so tell me what they think it is,” Belle said softly.
Philip sighed heavily.
“Okay, I’ll tell you.” He said. He looked up at her, his eyes brimming with unshed tears. “I lied to you yesterday – I told you that something is wrong with my knee, but my problem has nothing to do with my knee,” He said.
“So what is it then?”
Philip looked away from her. “It’s a little personal,” He mumbled. “But the doctor noticed that my sperm count was low.” He said. “There’s a chance that – a chance that…”
Philip sighed again, and looked at Belle straight in the eye. “There’s a chance that I might be sterile Belle. The doctors are telling me I may never be able to father children.” He told her.