“What did you say?” Shawn asked unsteadily.
“Oh my god….” Belle mumbled. She thought about Alice Horton – the matriarch of the Horton family. She had practically raised Belle as her own, and Belle couldn’t imagine her life without the wonderful Mrs. Horton in it. Tears fell from her eyes when she thought about her future – a future without Mrs. Horton. She couldn’t believe this was happening; her heart filled with sadness – not only for herself, but also for Shawn, Hope, and the rest of the Horton’s. They had already lost so many loved one’s; when was this going to end?
“Gran,” Shawn said unevenly. He thought about his wonderful great-grandmother, who was a role model within their community – someone who personified goodness and courage within their family. “She’s dead?” Shawn asked, in complete disbelief. “She was…murdered?” Shawn said, his eyes filling with tears.
Bo nodded. “Strangled to death.” Bo told him.
“No!” He exclaimed. “Not Gran! Why Gran? We’ve already lost so many people Dad – why Gran? Why Dad?” Shawn asked helplessly. He tried to be strong – he knew he had to think about his wife and his unborn child. But every time he thought about his great grandmother being dead, his heart filled with sadness and grief. “Why Dad?” He asked, putting his arm around Belle’s shoulder and holding her close to him. “Why?”
“I don’t know son,” Bo said sadly. “I just don’t know.”
“Who would do this?” Belle asked shakily. “Who would kill Mrs. Horton? Who?” Belle asked unsteadily. “How did this…” Belle stopped speaking when she felt something –she wasn’t sure what it was, but she could feel a tightening pain around her stomach, and she clutched it with her hands instantly, hoping to try and alleviate the pain that she was feeling all at once. Her head pounded and she was in terrible pain all over her body.
“Belle,” Shawn said, holding onto his wife. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” Belle whispered. “But I’m in so much pain – my stomach, my legs – I can’t…I can’t stand up…I have to sit down…”
“Dad, we have to get her to the hospital,” Shawn said, through clenched teeth. He was very alarmed – his wife was very pale and he could tell that she was in a lot of pain. He didn’t have time to think about how this had happened – all he wanted to do was make sure that his wife and child were safe.
“Let’s go,” Bo said, walking towards the door.
“No!” Belle exclaimed. “I don’t want to go to any hospital. I just need to sit…ow!” She exclaimed, when she felt another sharp pain hit her body.
“Damn it,” Shawn cursed. He put his arm around Belle’s waist and tried to steady her. “Isabella, listen to me,” Shawn said in a firm voice. “Something may be wrong with the baby and we have to get you checked out. Now don’t argue with me – let’s go!”
“But nothing,” Shawn said. “Dad, help me,” He said.
Bo nodded, filled with guilt instantly when he saw how helpless Belle was. He didn’t want to tell them the news about Alice, but he knew he had no choice. He just hoped that Belle and the baby would be okay.
“Shawn, why does it hurt so much?” She asked nervously. They were in Bo’s car; her and Shawn were in the backseat and Bo was driving.
Shawn sighed heavily and held her hand tightly. “I don’t know baby,” Shawn said. But Shawn did know what was happening – his wife was in labor, but if he told her that he feared she would become even more upset. So it would be better to keep quiet about that.
“Are we almost there Dad?” Shawn asked apprehensively.
“Almost,” Bo muttered. Damn it – what’s the matter with me? Why did I tell them? What if they lose the baby? If they do, I’ll never forgive myself…. Bo thought helplessly.
“Shawn it hurts,” Belle whispered. “My stomach – it hurts so much. It’s like this belt tightening around my waist and it keeps tightening and tightening…” she stopped as she was hit with another series of pains. “Ow!”
“Hang on baby,” Shawn mumbled. “You’ll be okay.”
“Oh my god Shawn,” Belle said, a realization hitting her. “These are contractions…this is how Dr. Bader described them to me when I asked…” Her blue eyes filled with worry. “Shawn, it’s too early – I’m not even seven months along yet! What are we going to do?” She said, her eyes filling with tears instantly.
“Baby, it could be nothing,” Shawn said, trying to sound convincing. “Maybe it’s a false alarm,” He told her.
“But what if it isn’t?”
“Don’t worry,” Shawn said. “Just try to stay calm.”
But he knew it was easier said than done. Here he was telling Belle to remain calm, when his own heartbeat wouldn’t slow down. He was so afraid of what would happen to Belle and their baby. He prayed that they would both be okay.
They arrived to the hospital within minutes. Dr. Bader was not in, so another doctor attended to Belle as soon as they walked in.
“I’m Dr. Richards,” He said. “Are you the husband?” He said to Shawn. He ordered Belle onto a gurney, where they carried her off to the examining room.
“Yes,” Shawn said nervously.
“Then I’m going to ask you to wait here, while I examine your wife. We have to find out what’s happening,” He told Shawn. “Please try to be patient with me – I can see that you’re worried but I’ll let you know what’s happening as soon as I can.”
“Okay.” Shawn said.
Reluctantly, he waited in the waiting room with his father. He paced around at first, desperate and anxious to hear something about Belle. He was ready to climb the walls, and turned to face his father whom he noticed was very quiet.
“What is it Dad?” He asked quietly.
“I feel terrible,” Bo said dejectedly. “I feel like I caused this,” Bo said.
“You didn’t,” Shawn said in a gentle voice.
“But if I hadn’t told Belle the news about Mrs. H…”
“She would’ve found out Dad – it was inevitable.” Shawn said. “Don’t blame yourself Dad. Let’s just pray that Belle and the baby will be okay,” Shawn said. He sighed heavily, wishing that he could see her now.
Thirty minutes later, he was surprised to see his mother and John walk into the ER.
“Mom,” Shawn said quietly. Her face was streaked with tears – he knew this couldn’t be easy for her - his mother and Alice had always been close. His heart broke for his mother. “Oh Mom…I’m so sorry….” He said. He walked over to his mother and hugged her tightly while she broken down in his arms.
“Shawn Douglas,” She cried.
“Mom,” Shawn said. He faced his mother and motioned towards the chairs over by the far wall. “Let’s sit down.”
“How are you doing Mom?” He asked gently, once they had sat down.
Hope sighed heavily. “I’m heartbroken.” She whispered. “I can’t believe that Gran…” She stopped and covered her mouth with her hand. “When I walked into the house and found her sitting in the kitchen…barely breathing…” She sobbed quietly. “It was so horrible Shawn Douglas,” Hope said. “My heart is breaking. And then Bo called me earlier, to tell me about Belle…and the baby…” Hope said. She exhaled slowly. “I hope to God that Belle is going to be okay.”
“Me too,” Shawn said. “Belle took the news badly,” Shawn admitted.
“I know honey. But she was bound to find out.”
“I know,” Shawn said. “I’m so worried about them Mom. If anything were to happen to Belle…or the baby…” Shawn stopped and cleared his throat. “I just hope they’ll be okay.”
When Dr. Richards stepped into the waiting room a few minutes later, Bo, Hope, and John gathered around Shawn anxiously waiting to hear what the doctor had to say.
“She’s okay,” Dr. Richards said, as they all breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank God,” Shawn said.
“What about the baby?” John asked worriedly.
“The baby is fine. We managed to stop the contractions; for a little while there it looked bad,” The doctor admitted. “But Mrs. Brady is stable now. It’s imperative that she carry this baby to term, or at least to a full eight months,” Dr. Richards said. “The chances of survival for the baby at eight months are very good. I’d like to keep her in the hospital for a couple of days Mr. Brady, just so we can monitor her,” He said.
“Fine,” Shawn said. “I just want her and the baby to be okay.”
“As long as she’s taken care of, she’ll be fine.” Dr. Richards said.
“Can I see her?” Shawn asked.
“Of course.” Dr. Richards said. “She’s very tired, so I ask that you keep it short.”
“No problem,” Shawn said. He turned to his parents and John. “I’ll be right back.”
“Tell Belle we all love her,” John said.
“Will do John.”
Shawn walked into Belle’s room and sighed when he saw her resting peacefully. Her eyes were closed and he could hear her breathing evenly as he stepped closer to her. He took her hand in his and kissed it gently with his lips.
“Hi baby,” he whispered. He touched her stomach and sighed heavily. “Thank God you’re both okay. If anything had happened to you…to either one of you….I don’t know what I would’ve done.” He said, his voice breaking.
Shawn watched as Belle’s eyes opened and she smiled when she saw her husband. “Hi sweetheart,” She whispered. “What’s wrong?” She asked, when she noticed the pale look on his face.
“Nothing,” Shawn said. He kissed her forehead and held her hand in his once more. “Absolutely nothing.”
“But Shawn…” Belle stopped when she realized what had happened. “Oh my god…I went into labor…” She looked down and noticed she was in a hospital bed. “When did I get here? Is the baby okay?” She asked anxiously. She tried to sit up, but Shawn stopped her.
“Take it easy baby,” Shawn said softly. “Just lie back, and take it easy.”
“Shawn, is the baby okay?” She asked, obviously very worried.
“Yes. You and the baby are going to be fine.”
“I don’t care about me,” She snapped. Shawn flinched when he heard the tone in her voice. “The baby is what’s most important, don’t you understand?”
“Belle, I understand that you’re upset, but you have to listen to me. You’re fine and the baby is fine.” He told her, in a firm voice.
“So the baby isn’t in any danger?”
“I didn’t say that,” Shawn said. He sighed. “Look, the doctor wants to keep you in the hospital.” He told her.
“Fine. As long as my baby is going to be all right, that’s all I care about.” She said in a detached voice.
“Belle, sweetheart. The baby is very important to me, but you have to look out for yourself too. I thought I had lost you tonight,” He said shakily.
Belle instantly softened when she heard the tone in Shawn’s voice. It was obvious to her that Shawn was very concerned about her.
“I’m sorry,” She said, feeling horrible for being so short with her husband. “I don’t know what came over me,” She said quietly. “I’m just so afraid Shawn. We came so close to losing the baby tonight. I don’t know what I’ll do if…”
“Shhhhh,” Shawn said, stroking her face gently with his hands. “It won’t ever come to that,” He said, trying to assure her.
“But what if it does?”
“What do you mean?”
Belle cleared her throat and took Shawn’s hand in hers. “Shawn, you have to know something,” She said. “You know that I love you with everything in me. You are my life, and it’s because of our deep love that we were able to create this wonderful life together,” She said, gently touching her stomach.
“I realize that,” Shawn said.
“Okay then,” Belle said. “So if something like this happens again…”
“It won’t,” Shawn said, interrupting her.
“But in case it does you have to promise me something.”
“What’s that?” Shawn asked.
“If it comes down between my life and the baby’s, you have to promise me that our baby will live. This experience has made me realize how important it is that our baby live.” Belle said. When she noticed the shocked look on Shawn’s face, she continued. “I’m very serious about this Shawn. It’s imperative that our baby live. Do you understand me?”
Shawn looked at his wife, and stepped away from her obviously shook up by her request.
“No,” He said quietly. “I will not do that, so you can just forget about it.” Shawn said.
“No deal Belle,” Shawn said harshly. “I will not choose our baby’s life over yours so just forget about it.”
“No!” He snapped. “Now look, I know you were scared and confused when you started having contractions. We both were; we both thought you were going to lose the baby. But you’re okay, and so is the baby. So there’s no need in trying to alleviate your guilt and your fear by making me promise you that I’ll choose the baby’s life over yours if something were to happen again,” Shawn said firmly.
“No buts Isabella,” Shawn said, his face turning serious. “Stop thinking about what may or may not happen with you and our baby. Just focus on getting your strength back, so you can come home,” Shawn told her.
Belle exhaled slowly. She knew when she had lost an argument and she was the first to admit she had lost this one.
“Okay Shawn.” She said quietly. “I’m sorry,” She said. “I didn’t mean to upset you, it’s just that when I think about what almost happened…it just freaked me out Shawn,” Belle admitted. “I feel a strong bond with this baby – I can’t explain it, but I have this urge, this will to protect it from all harm,” Belle said, touching her stomach gently with her hands.
“I know baby. I feel the same way. Those maternal instincts are starting to kick in early, that’s all,” Shawn said, his voice softening. “Nothing wrong with that,” He told her, kissing her forehead gently.
“So how long will I have to stay in the hospital? Did the doctor say?” Belle asked.
“For a couple of days at least,” Shawn told her.
“Oh.” Belle said, looking down. The last thing she wanted to do was remain in the hospital for the next couple of days.
“John and my parents are out in the waiting room,” Shawn said. “I don’t know if Dr. Richards will let them in to see you though…he wants you to get some rest.”
“How’s your mother doing?” Belle asked, with concern in her eyes.
“As well as can be expected,” Shawn told her. “I can just imagine how everyone else is doing,” Shawn mumbled. “Uncle Mickey, Julie, Jennifer…damn it, when is this ever going to end?” Shawn said, as he stood up and paced around the room.
“I don’t know honey,” Belle said. “I’m so sorry that your great grandmother is gone – we’re all going to miss her so much,” She said sadly.
“You don’t have to tell me,” He muttered. “Damn her!” He exclaimed. “Damn her to hell, whoever did this!”
Belle cringed at the harshness is Shawn’s voice. She hated it whenever he was upset or angry, but she knew he had every right to be.
“If I EVER get my hands on her….Gosh, I don’t know what I’d do….I’d probably kill her myself!” He exclaimed, clenching his fists in anger.
“Shawn!” Belle said. “Stop talking like that – if you’re thinking like that, than you’re no better than her,” Belle pointed out to him.
“I know that,” Shawn muttered. “But I can’t help feeling this way…”
“Sweetie, I know,” Belle said softly. She understood his frustration completely.
Shawn sighed and walked over to his wife’s side once again. He kissed her nose and smiled at her. “I’d better go – Dr. Richards doesn’t want me staying too long. You need your rest.” Shawn said quietly, obviously reluctant to go.
“Do you have to go?” Belle asked anxiously. “Can’t you stay?”
Shawn knew his wife needed him and truth be told, he needed to be by her side too. He was reluctant to leave her, so he knew what he had to do.
Forty-five minutes later, after he had sent his parents and John home he went back into Belle’s room and smiled at her.
“I managed to convince Dr. Richards that I have to stay with you,” He said gently.
“I’m glad.” Belle said. “Thank you Shawn.”
Shawn slept very little that night; no bed was available for him, so he took two chairs and put them together so he could be by his wife’s side. But he knew he wouldn’t have slept, even if he had been at home. He kept a watch on Belle, even though she was sleeping. He knew he was being paranoid, but he couldn’t help himself. Dr. Richards had assured Shawn that Belle and the baby were fine, but he was still worried.
The next morning, Belle woke up feeling much more relaxed. She asked once again when she could go home.
“Shawn, I want to be there for you when Mrs. Horton is buried,” Belle said. “I wasn’t there for you at your grandfather’s funeral,” Belle pointed out to him.
“That wasn’t your fault,” Shawn said. “Besides, I’m not sure what kind of arrangements Uncle Mickey and Julie have made for her,” Shawn said. “I guess I’ll have to ask Mom when she comes by,” Shawn said.
But Belle was still impatient. She wanted to leave the hospital. She wasn’t used to being in one place for so long, without moving around. She was desperate to leave, so she could go to the Horton house and be there for everyone. She knew that everyone would be taking Mrs. Horton’s death very hard.
Belle was relieved when Dr. Bader came in to examine her later that morning.
“How is she doing?” Shawn asked, once Dr. Bader was finished with her examination.
“Better,” Dr. Bader said. “Dr. Richards filled me in on what happened last night. You’re very lucky Belle,” Dr. Bader said.
“I know that,” Belle said.
“You know stress and pregnancy never mix well,” She told her.
“I know,” Belle said.
“However, I know that it couldn’t have been easy when you learned the news of Mrs. Horton’s death – the whole hospital is in shock, so I can’t really blame you for reacting the way you did,” Dr. Bader said. “But try to remain calm. Your blood pressure soared last night when you came in. It’s almost back to normal, so if you continue to do this well, I’ll release you by this afternoon so you can attend Mrs. Horton’s funeral.” She said.
“Thank God,” Belle whispered. “I really appreciate this Dr. Bader.” Belle said.
Bo and Hope arrived a little while later, both relieved that Belle was going to be released that day.
“How are you holding up Hope?” Belle asked softly, holding her mother in law’s hand tightly in her own.
“I’m fine sweetie,” Hope said, forcing a smile for her. “It’s you I’m worried about. We’re all worried about you. Jennifer wanted to come, but she had to stay behind and help Uncle Mickey and Julie make funeral arrangements for Gran…” She stopped, and bit her lip. “I’m sorry,” She whispered. “It’s just so hard to talk about,” She said in an uneven voice.
“Of course it’s hard,” Belle said softly. Her eyes filled with tears. “I was so upset when I found out, because I realized that Mrs. Horton was never going to meet her great, great grandchild,” Belle said sorrowfully.
“I know honey,” Hope said. “She loved you so much; she always wanted you and Shawn to be together.”
“She was rooting for you all the way,” Bo said quietly.
“I know. And I loved her too – we all did. She was like a part of the family.” Belle said. She cleared her throat and knew what she wanted to ask next. “When is the funeral Hope?”
“Tomorrow,” Hope said. “We’re still waiting for other members of our family to arrive…Jennifer’s father Bill Horton, is already on his way back from Africa, and my aunt Marie should be here by tomorrow morning.” Hope said. “It’ll be so nice to see everyone, but I hate that we have to gather for such a sad occasion,” Hope said despondently.
“Of course,” Belle said.
Belle exhaled slowly, trying to stay calm. She knew she had to be in control of her emotions; if her blood pressure shot up, she knew she wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital. She looked over to Shawn, immediately feeling at ease.
John was the next to arrive, even though he had already called the hospital earlier to check on Belle.
“How are you feeling sweetheart?” John asked, as he held his daughter’s hand tightly in his own. “You gave us quite a scare last night. We were all worried about you.”
“I know, and I’m sorry Dad,” Belle said softly. “I’m so glad you’re here.” Belle said. She looked over her father’s shoulder and said, “Where’s Mom?”
John cleared his throat and kissed his daughter’s forehead gently. “She’ll be here shortly,” He told her.
“Okay,” Belle said.
Marlena showed up within minutes, and asked Belle if she was feeling all right. While Belle was glad that her mother was there, something wasn’t right. Belle couldn’t get over how distant and detached her mother was and it bothered her a great deal.
Before she could be released, Dr. Bader came by Belle’s room to check her one more time.
“Belle, I’ll ask that you stay off of your feet after Mrs. Horton’s funeral,” Dr. Bader told her. “And I want you to take naps – plenty of them,” Dr. Bader said. “You’re going to get tired much more easily now these next few weeks. And I don’t think we’ll be waiting until the end of November to have this baby; looks like you’ll be in the hospital by the beginning of that month. I really want to monitor you,” She said.
Belle frowned. “Is it really that bad?”
“It could be,” Dr. Bader said. “Just be careful.” Dr. Bader said.
“Don’t worry Dr. Bader – I’ll keep a close watch on her,” Shawn said.
Later that afternoon, Belle was relieved to be home. She was sure to follow Dr. Bader’s advice and stay off of her feet. She sat on the sofa, reading the newspaper as she watched Shawn get ready to leave for the wake at Alice Horton’s house.
“I really want to come with you,” Belle said sadly.
“Honey, I’m taking you to the funeral tomorrow,” Shawn said. “I really don’t want you there for the wake. It’ll be too emotional for you.”
“But Shawn, I want to pay my respects too. I want to be there for your family.” She said, hoping she could change his mind.
“And you will be – tomorrow.” Shawn assured her.
“Shawn, please,” Belle pleaded. “I promise that once I walk in to the house I’ll sit down and I won’t move.”
Shawn exhaled slowly. “Belle, I still think you should stay home…”
“Shawn,” Belle said. “I’m part of this family now and I want to be there for you.” Belle said, with determination in her voice.
“I know you do honey. But I just want you to take it easy.”
“And I will. Just let me come – please.”
Shawn walked over to her and cupped her face with his hands. “You promise me you’ll put that cute behind of yours on a chair and not move for the rest of the night once we get there?” He asked softly.
“My behind is not cute, believe me,” She mumbled. “But yes – I promise.”
“Okay.” Shawn said. “Get dressed, and we’ll leave.”
Belle smiled and kissed his lips softly. “Thank you Shawn.”
“No Belle - thank you for wanting to be there for me.” Shawn said softly.
“I’ll always be there for you Shawn, just like you’ve always been there for me.” Belle said. “Now help me get upstairs so I can change.”
“Okay.” Shawn said.
Shawn and Bo stood in the middle of Alice’s living room, overwhelmed by the amount of people that had shown up for Alice’s wake.
“I feel like all we do is get together for funerals,” Shawn muttered.
“I know what you mean son,” Bo said, patting his shoulder gently. “Where’s Belle?” Bo asked, as he looked around the room.
“She’s sitting with Mom and Julie,” Shawn said. “Over by the window,” Shawn said, pointing them out to his father.
“I see her,” Bo said. “I’m surprised you let her come.” Bo said quietly.
“Well, I wanted her to stay home but she insisted on coming,” Shawn told him, frowning slightly.
“She wants to be there for you Shawn, and for the family. You can’t blame her for wanting to be here,” Bo told him.
“Of course not. I’m just really worried about her Dad,” Shawn said. “She’s been real down about her mother; she’s acting so strangely. She’s avoiding everyone, including Belle. And Belle doesn’t know why,” Shawn said.
“She’s been like that for months now,” Bo muttered. “Look, I know this isn’t the time to talk about this, since we’re mourning for Mrs. H and all, but personally, I think she knows something,” Bo said, looking around and making sure that no one was listening to them.
Shawn frowned slightly at his father as Bo led him out into the hallway. “What are you talking about Dad?”
“Hear me out on this,” Bo said. “Everyone can see that Marlena is acting strangely; she’s definitely not herself. And personally I think she’s hiding something,” Bo said.
“What do you mean? Hiding what?” Shawn asked, obviously confused. “Dad, is she a suspect?” Shawn asked, lowering his voice.
“Marlena? No! Of course not!” Bo exclaimed. “This is Marlena we’re talking about – no way she could kill all those people – people who were like family to her,” Bo said.
Shawn couldn’t help but think back to when he suspected Marlena as the killer. He had been verbal about his suspicions to Belle, which had angered her greatly. But he then remembered apologizing to Belle and to Marlena, because of the fact that Marlena had an alibi the night that Victor Kirakis was killed.
But wait - the serial killer didn’t kill Victor…Jan confessed to killing him – Nicole helped her. That’s what she told the police the night me and Belle were rescued, Shawn thought. He felt dizzy for a moment, and then took a deep breath. “Dad, what are you saying?” He asked.
“I’m saying that I think Marlena knows who the killer is.” Bo said.
“Why would you say that?” Shawn asked.
“Think about it Shawn – we all know that the killer is someone close to us. We’re almost a hundred percent sure it’s a woman. We know they’re disturbed and they need help.” Bo said. “Which is why I believe this person is seeing Marlena. And I think that Marlena knows who the killer is and can’t do anything about it. She’s bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. So in a sense, she feels guilty for all these killings.” Bo said.
Shawn thought about what his father was saying and had to admit that it made sense.
“So you think that’s why she’s acting so strangely?”
“What else could it be?” Bo said. “She’s pushing everyone away – hell, she even kicked her own husband out of the Penthouse and she’s avoiding Belle. Why else would she be behaving like this?” Bo asked. “And John knows something is up with his wife; he just doesn’t know what it is, and it’s killing him,” Bo deduced.
“Maybe you’re right Dad,” Shawn mumbled. He thought again about his accusations against Marlena; he remembered how convinced he had been. He had looked at the evidence presented to him and he had deduced that Marlena was the killer. He had been sure of it. Shawn knew he was no police officer, but he also knew to follow his instincts. But then Shawn remembered something…he remembered begging Belle for her forgiveness when he had accused Marlena of being the killer…
I came to apologize – I came to tell you that I was wrong to accuse your mother of being the Salem Serial Killer – the question is, are you willing to forgive me?
Belle had been very upset with him when he had made the accusation against her mother. But he had apologized – not only to Belle, but to Marlena as well…
I was wrong Marlena and I’m sorry.
Belle believed that Shawn had been mistaken, but what if he hadn’t been? What if Shawn had went straight to his parents, and told them his suspicions? Perhaps Marlena would’ve been investigated, followed, tailed, and then….
“No,” He mumbled. Shawn refused to believe that anything would’ve happened, because Marlena was not the killer. His father wouldn’t have believed him; even if he had said anything so therefore he could not have prevented Doug and Alice’s death.
“What is it Shawn?” Bo asked.
Shawn blinked at his father in surprise. “What?”
“You look like you’re a million miles away. Why don’t you tell your old man what’s on your mind?” Bo asked, obviously concerned about why his son seemed so quiet.
“Nothing Dad,” Shawn said. No use in saying something that will just upset everyone, Belle included. Shawn thought. “So you really think that Marlena knows the identity of the serial killer?” Shawn asked.
“I believe so. Question is - how do we get her to tell us the truth?” Bo said.
“I don’t know Dad,” Shawn said. “But I hope we found out who the killer is soon.” Shawn said.
Over in the living room, Belle was sitting with Julie and trying her best to help her through this sad ordeal. She held Julie’s hand tightly and smiled at her.
“You all right?” Belle asked gently.
“I’m fine darling,” Julie said softly. “I should be asking you the same thing,” Julie said.
“I’m all right,” Belle said. “I’m just glad to be here,” Belle said.
“Shawn is such a lucky young man to have you as his wife,” Julie said, offering her a small smile.
“I’m the lucky one Julie,” Belle said, squeezing her hand tightly. “I love him so much.”
“And he loves you darling.” Julie said. “Do me a favor, will you? Cherish that love – embrace it, and don’t ever, EVER let anyone come between you.” Julie said. She sighed heavily. “Because you never know when that love can be taken away from you,” She whispered.
“I know Julie,” Belle said. “Thanks for the words of advice.” Belle said.
Belle looked around the room, and noticed that it was filled completely. Many friends and family were there to pay their respects to Alice Horton, which didn’t surprise Belle at all.
When her mother walked in a half an hour later, Belle attempted to stand up but was stopped by Hope.
“Sit tight,” Hope told her. “I’ll tell Marlena to come see you,” She said, trying to hide the bitterness in her voice. It angered Hope when she thought about the way Marlena was acting. She was avoiding everyone and upsetting them a great deal. But most of all, she was upsetting Belle and letting her down, just when Belle needed her mother the most.
Hope had always loved and admired Belle and honestly considered her the daughter she never had. She enjoyed spending time with her daughter in law, but Hope knew that Marlena wasn’t spending as much time with Belle as she should. Which is why Hope was always more than happy to help Belle, or go shopping with her, or have lunch with her, whenever she was needed.
But Belle needed her mother.
Hope approached Marlena and greeted her with a grim smile.
“Hello Marlena,” Hope said. “Thank you for coming.” Hope said quietly.
“Oh hello Hope,” Marlena said, obviously distracted. “I’m so sorry – I’m sure you all must be devastated by your loss,” Marlena said unsteadily.
“We are, but we’re determined to be strong,” Hope said. She glanced at her watch and looked at Marlena closely. “I’m surprised that you made it. We had almost given up on you,” Hope said, arching her eyebrow at her.
“Yes, I’m sorry,” Marlena said, stammering a bit. “I was very busy,” Marlena said. “But you must know I would never miss this. Not when we’re going to honor Alice Horton’s memory.” Marlena said.
“Of course,” Hope said. “Listen Marlena, your daughter is here and she needs to speak to you. NOW.” Hope said in a stern voice.
“Sami?” Marlena said. “What’s she gotten herself into now?” Marlena asked.
Hope sighed impatiently. “Not Sami – your other daughter,” Hope said.
“Yes.” Hope said. “Go and talk to her.”
“Of course,” Marlena said. She noticed her daughter sitting over by the window and she sighed heavily. Marlena knew she wasn’t being a good mother; she knew that she had been avoiding everyone in her life, not just her children but her husband as well. Truth be told, she was avoiding everyone not because she didn’t love them; it was the exact opposite. She was keeping her distance because she loved them enough to want to keep them safe.
She had killed so many people, starting with Abe Carver. When she had been ordered to kill him, Marlena had been reluctant. But she had eventually realized that she HAD to kill him. That was when this whole mess started.
Marlena constantly struggled to remain in control – she had been trying to do that ever since she had killed Abe. She made herself believe that she had no choice and that she HAD to kill all these people. She told herself that if she tried to enjoy killing everyone, it would become much easier for her to perform her job.
And she was right.
After Abe had been killed, it was only logical to determine that Jack Deveraux would be next. He knew too much; he had no idea that Marlena was the killer, but Marlena knew it was only a matter of time before he figured out the truth. Marlena knew before hand that Jack would be snooping around. Jack was a very smart man, and Marlena sensed that he was going to find out her secret in good time.
Maggie Horton was the next victim – the truth was locked inside of her subconscious – she had witnessed Marlena, in her mask shoot Abe and she had been getting closer to remembering that and revealing that tiny little tidbit to everyone. So Marlena had taken advantage of her trust and killed her right in her own home.
Then Caroline Brady had to be killed…many thought that Caroline perhaps knew the identity of the killer as well. But what everyone didn’t know was that she was an unfortunate victim – Caroline’s death had been necessary, simply because of her last name.
Cassie DiMera – a girl whom Marlena had thought to be her own daughter had died by Marlena’s hand as well. She had figured out the truth and she had to die. Marlena’s superior was very upset with her when he learned of Cassie’s death, but Marlena had argued that she had no choice.
Next had been Roman Brady. It still haunted Marlena to this day that she had to kill a man she had been in love with at one time in her life. He was the father of her children and she didn’t want to kill him. But she knew the consequences if she didn’t.
Because Tony DiMera had learned the truth, Marlena felt she had no choice but to kill him as well. By this time, Marlena was on a roll. She knew there was no turning back now.
Doug Williams fell victim to Marlena when he learned the truth; Marlena didn’t want to kill him; but then again, she didn’t want to kill ANYONE. But it was too late now.
Finally, her last victim Alice Horton had become an unfortunate victim when she too, revealed that she knew the truth.
Now I’m safe, Marlena thought to herself. Now no one will ever know that I am the Salem serial killer. Marlena thought. She had taken care of one last person who could incriminate her; Marlena had visited her that morning and made sure she wouldn’t reveal Marlena’s secret. She looked at her daughter and offered her a small smile as she down next to her.
“How are you feeling Belle?” Marlena asked.
“Do you care?”
Marlena wasn’t surprised by the one in her daughter’s voice. And she couldn’t blame her. Belle had every right to be upset with her mother; Marlena hadn’t been much of a mother these last few weeks.
“I’m sorry honey,” Marlena said. “I’ve been very busy,” She said.
“I’ll bet,” Belle snapped.
Marlena closed her eyes, and tried to remain in control. You’ve been doing good so far Marlena – don’t let Belle get to you,
“Belle,” Marlena said softly. “I do care about you, because I love you. You’re my daughter – one day you’ll understand what lengths you’ll go to in order to keep your family safe.” Marlena revealed.
“What?” Belle said, frowning at her mother. “What do you mean?”
“Never mind,” Marlena said. “Just know that I do love you. That will never change, no matter what.”
Marlena walked away from Belle, leaving her very confused. Marlena took a deep breath and tried to stop her heart from beating furiously. No one would ever believe what she was willing to do to keep her family safe. No one would understand. They would lock her up and throw away the key if they knew what she had done and why she had done it.
And most importantly, everyone would hate her if they knew whom she had done it for – none other than Stefano DiMera.
Marlena remembered exactly when it happened. As she made her way into the kitchen to get herself a snack, she remembered everything. She was still at the Horton house, and while she went and got a sandwich she recalled the exact moment she had received a dozen red roses at her parent’s house in Colorado.
That was when everything had changed for Marlena Evans Black.
The card had said they were from her husband, and Marlena had been pleasantly surprised. The writing resembled that of John’s, which is why Marlena hadn’t thought twice about meeting him at the Holiday Inn as requested on the card. She had been thrilled that John had shown up in town; she had missed him so much.
But when Marlena walked into the hotel room booked under John Black’s name, Marlena had nearly lost consciousness. Stefano DiMera, apparently alive and well was waiting for her…
”Hello Marlena - it’s good to see you,” Stefano said. He was dressed in a sharp black suit, a crispy white dress shirt with a red tie. His look was completed with an expensive pair of Italian dress shoes. The room he had booked was filled with fresh flowers and a table was over in the middle of the room, filled with food and champagne.
“I wish I could say the same,” Marlena said shakily, still in shock that she was standing just a few feet away from her greatest enemy. “For a dead man, you look well.” Marlena noted.
Stefano laughed – a deep laugh, which made Marlena shiver.
“What do you want?” Marlena asked. “Why did you lure me here?”
“Would you believe it was to catch up on old times?” Stefano said. When she shook her head, Stefano chuckled. “I didn’t think so,” He said. “Come – we shall have dinner together.” Stefano said, gesturing towards the table, which had been set for dinner.
“No thank you,” Marlena said coldly. “What I should do is pick up the phone and call the Salem PD, telling them you’re very much alive,” Marlena said, as she searched her purse for her cell phone.
“You could do that,” Stefano said calmly, pouring himself a glass of champagne. “But you won’t.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Come Marlena – let’s talk.” Stefano said.
“About what?” Marlena asked.
“Have a seat and I’ll tell you,” Stefano said. When she protested, Stefano said in a menacing voice, “I insist.”
Marlena had reluctantly sat with Stefano and had been shocked by what he had told her. He had always hated the Brady’s; their families had a long history together, and Stefano was determined to seek revenge against them. And he had thought of the best way to do that; unfortunately for her, Marlena was caught in the middle of all this….
”You can’t be serious!” Marlena exclaimed, once he had told her everything.
Stefano smiled at her. “Oh, but I am.” Stefano said.
Marlena became very, very angry in that instant. “So you want me to kill Abe Carver for you? Are you crazy? He is a wonderful man; he has morals and he would do anything for John and me. He’s the most unselfish person I know – not that you would understand,” Marlena mumbled angrily. “And have you forgotten what this will do to Lexie? It would devastate her to lose Abe. My God Stefano – they just had a child together! Theo needs his father – doesn’t that mean anything to you? Do you want your grandson to grow up without his father, the way Lexie grew up without hers?” Marlena pointed out to him.
“Alexandra will be fine,” Stefano said calmly. “Celeste will be there for my daughter to help her raise Theo, and Anthony will be the father figure that Theo needs,” Stefano said.
“You bastard,” Marlena said, clenching her fists in anger. “You really think that I’m going to do this? Well, I won’t.” Marlena said defiantly.
“You will Marlena. You will go back to Salem tonight. You will take the first flight out of Colorado and you will tell no one of your early return. Not even John,” Stefano said. “Once you return, you will do this for me.” Stefano said.
“I’ll do no such thing.” Marlena said.
“You will Marlena. After you’ve killed Abe, you will kill this man,” Stefano said, showing her a picture of Jack.
“Jack Deveraux? No, I will not!” She exclaimed.
“Yes you will. Jack is the next logical choice because we all know that he’ll be snooping around, trying to get to the bottom of the truth. If you don’t kill him, he’ll find out that you killed Abe, and then you will be arrested and sent to the death chamber,” Stefano said. When he saw Marlena shaking her head in defiance, Stefano sighed heavily. “Listen to me Marlena – listen well. If your family means anything to you, you will follow my instructions to the letter. You will do as I say, or else John, Brady, Isabella, Samantha, and Eric – they will all die. It’s your choice – either members of the Horton and Brady family die, or your family does. You decide.”
“I won’t let you do this,” Marlena said, her whole body shaking violently. She knew she couldn’t kill Abe, and Jack. She couldn’t. “I’ll go to John and I’ll tell him everything,” Marlena said.
“Fine. Just know that you’ll spend the rest of your life, looking over you shoulder and fearing for the lives of your children.” Stefano said. “Is that what you want?” Stefano asked.
“We’ll go into hiding,” Marlena said unsteadily.
“It’ll be no use – you know I have the resources to find them. I always do.” Stefano said. “And once I find them, I will have them killed. Of course, I’ll make it look like an accident, but the effect upon you will be the same. And that’s not all – I’ll also make John Black my assassin – my mercenary once again. Your love won’t save him this time,” Stefano said gleefully.
“No,” Marlena whispered. “I don’t want that.” She said. “But I can’t do this…”
“Yes you can Marlena. After you’ve killed once or twice, you’ll get the hang of it,” Stefano said. “Now listen…”
“Why me?” Marlena asked, interrupting him. “And why like this? Why can’t you just brainwash me to be an assassin like you did with my husband?” Marlena asked.
“Marlena, it wouldn’t be the same,” Stefano said. “Let me explain. If the truth ever comes out – and I’m sure you’ll do your best to prevent that,” Stefano said. “But if it does, it will be the proverbial icing on the cake. You see Marlena, if the truth comes out that you are responsible for murdering these people, the first thing everyone will say is ‘she was brainwashed by Stefano.’ But of course, you won’t be. And when the Brady’s and the Horton’s learn that you killed members of their family of your own free will, they will hate you. Even if they find out that I played a part in this, it won’t matter. I’ll have my ultimate revenge against the Brady’s by using one of their own to kill members in their family.” Stefano said. “It works perfectly for me!”
“No,” Marlena whispered.
“Oh Marlena – do not look so alarmed. I told you – once you start killing regularly, you’ll start to enjoy it. You’ll feel the ultimate power, knowing that you’re taking these lives away and never getting caught.”
“I’ll never feel that way,” Marlena said stubbornly.
“You will,” Stefano said. “Trust me Marlena, you will.” Stefano said.
After her meeting with Stefano, she had worried about her family. She feared for their lives. So she had done everything Stefano had ordered her to do. She had booked the first flight back to Salem and she had murdered Abe Carver in cold blood.
Then when Jack got too close, she murdered him too, just as Stefano told her. Next was Maggie; she was getting close to the truth too, so Stefano ordered her to kill her dear friend.
And then, it continued…Stefano kept in touch with her, ordering her to be careful – very careful. If she was caught, Stefano informed her that he would NOT help her.
But after the killings had started, Marlena knew what she had to do. She kicked John out of the Penthouse, so she could keep him safe from harm. She never wanted to cause John any harm, but she also knew that he could never learn of her mission for Stefano. It would devastate him. She knew she would lose him completely. Even though they weren’t together any more, Marlena took comfort in the fact that at least he was alive.
As for her children, Marlena knew the best thing was to stay away from them. She loved them with all of her heart, but she could no longer be a mother to them. Nothing would ever be the same for Marlena and her family. She couldn’t be there for them, as she had been in the past. While it upset her and bothered her, Marlena knew she had no choice.
That’s why she was avoiding everyone. She could no longer have her loved one’s a part of her life. But at the same time, Marlena was determined to continue on with her mission for Stefano and NOT get caught. Her family would never forgive her.
Marlena knew that Belle would be affected the most, because of the fact that Marlena tried to murder Shawn in cold blood.
Well, at least Stefano was right about one thing – I AM enjoying myself now, Marlena thought. She no longer felt any remorse for her actions; she was a killing machine. She couldn’t help but smile viciously. She was truly an evil woman now- she was a former shell of herself. The Marlena Evans that everyone knew and admired would never even THINK about killing nine people in cold bold.
But here she was, guilty as sin.
Stefano had applauded her on a job well done with Alice Horton. He informed her that as long as no one suspected her of being involved in Alice’s death, she was done.
No more killing for you Marlena, Stefano had said. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job.
Stefano didn’t know this, but Marlena had killed one more person. He would be angry when he found out, because he hadn’t told her to kill this person, but Marlena knew that it was necessary since this person had learned her identity.
Even though Marlena believed she still loved her family, darkness and evil had now entered her heart and her soul. She was not the same woman. Killing people had changed her, and she would never be the same respectable woman she had been before Stefano had contacted her.
It felt almost surreal to Marlena, being in the Horton house. She had just been there the previous night and had killed Alice. And no one suspected her. She almost laughed out loud. It was too funny, she thought. She had attended every funeral for her victims.
No wonder they’re popping up everywhere as ghosts, She thought. They’re so restless – knowing that I killed them and I haven’t been caught. Marlena thought.
She emerged from the kitchen a few moments later and went into the living room once again. She greeted Jennifer Deveraux with a small smile and offered condolences.
“I hope they catch the person who is doing this,” Jennifer mumbled. “Because whoever they are – male or female – they’ve made our lives miserable.”
Thank you Jennifer – I’ll remember that. Marlena thought.
Marlena excused herself and made her way towards the two people who Marlena knew she had to steer clear of as well – Bo and Hope Brady. They were over by the fireplace, and were talking. They both looked intense and Marlena wondered why that was.
Marlena walked as close to them as possible, hoping that they wouldn’t see her. She listened to what they were saying, obviously very interested.
“Bo, she must have had some news. She knew something. I’m willing to bet that she knew the identity of the killer and she wanted to tell me,” Hope said.
“How can you be so sure?” Bo asked.
“It’s just a feeling I have,” Hope explained.
“Well, I guess we’ll never know now,” Bo said sadly.
Hope sighed heavily. “You’re right.” Hope said.
They didn’t notice Marlena, who was trying to stop herself from laughing. She knew they were referring to Alice; obviously, she was going to tell Hope what she had known.
You call yourselves professionals – the killer is standing right next to you, and you have no idea that it’s me! Marlena thought.
She decided that she had stayed long enough and headed towards the door. She would join this party the next morning at St. Luke’s, for the funeral.
~St. Luke’s, the following morning~
The church was filled with people, all gathered for Alice Horton’s funeral. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church as Bo, Hope, Mickey, Bill, and Marie all gave speeches for Alice.
Shawn had his arm around Belle’s shoulder the whole time, and made sure he held her close. He needed her so much – he knew he couldn’t get through this day without her.
When it was time for the gravesite ceremony, everyone stood up and walked behind the pallbearers as they carried Alice’s coffin. Just as they were about to exit the church, everyone stopped dead in their tracks when Celeste showed up, obviously very late.
Marlena paled instantly. What in the world…. She thought. How did she…Why is she….
“Mom,” Lexie said, making her over to her mother. “Where have you been? I got your email yesterday, but I was still worried about you even though you said you were ill,” Lexie said. “Are you all right? I’m sure you heard about Mrs. Horton’s death,” Lexie said.
“Yes I heard,” Celeste said unevenly. “And I never sent you an email Alexandra,” Celeste said through clenched teeth. “Someone else did,” She muttered. She turned to look at everyone and exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry I’m late, but I came to tell everyone that I know who the killer is,” Lexie said.
Marlena exhaled slowly, trying to remain calm.
“Well who is it?” Bo asked.
Celeste pointed out the culprit. “It’s Marlena!” She exclaimed.
The people at St. Luke’s Church were in shock. Murmurs filled the crowd as they all stood around, confused by what Celeste had just said. They had all been on their way out of the Church, preparing to participate in the gravesite ceremony for Alice Horton. But before they could leave the church, Celeste had showed up with a startling revelation.
“What did you say?” Bo asked shakily, as he approached the frantic woman who was standing in front of the church.
“You heard me,” Celeste said unevenly, her eyes filled with tears. “Marlena is the serial killer – Marlena is responsible for the deaths of your family and friends. I know this because she tried to kill me; she came to my room at the Salem Inn and tried to kill me. Luckily, I survived.” Celeste told everyone.
“Oh my God,” Lexie mumbled, holding her mother tightly. “Are you all right? My God – why didn’t you tell me that you were hurt?”
“There was no time darling,” Celeste told her daughter. “I wanted to be released from the hospital in time for Alice’s funeral,” Celeste said. She narrowed her eyes and looked at Marlena closely. “You thought you had gotten rid of me, but you were wrong. You’re getting careless Marlena,” Celeste said. “You were hoping I had died, but you were wrong,” Celeste said.
“No,” John said angrily. “She doesn’t know what she’s saying,” John muttered. “Why in the hell are you accusing my wife of this?” John said, approaching Celeste, his voice uneven. John felt his whole world falling down around him; his worst suspicions were now being confirmed and he hated that. He had hoped that he was wrong about his wife, but it didn’t look that way now.
“It’s the truth,” Celeste said. “Alice knew it, which is why she was killed. And Marlena had to keep me quiet too. After she killed Alice, she came to my room at the Salem Inn and she tried to kill me – she shot me right here,” Celeste said, pointing to her stomach. “She thought she had killed me.” Celeste said shakily. “But after she left, I managed to call an ambulance and I was saved.” Celeste told everyone. She turned to John. “Go ahead – ask your wife,” Celeste said, looking at Marlena who was standing next to Sami and Belle.
“Marlena?” Bo asked, still in shock by Celeste’s accusation. “What do you have to say about this?”
“What do I have to say?” Marlena said. She looked lost in thought for a moment and sighed heavily. “She’s lying.”
“No,” Celeste said. “I am not lying. Tell the truth Marlena – my God, why don’t you admit that you killed all these people!” Celeste exclaimed.
“Celeste!” Hope exclaimed. “Calm down for God’s sake,” Hope said. “Are you telling me that Marlena showed up in your room and tried to kill you?” Hope said. “And you and Gran suspected all along that Marlena was the killer?”
“Hope, your grandmother knew the truth. She called you the day she died – she left a message for you, don’t you remember?” Celeste asked, looking at Hope frantically.
“Yes, I do,” Hope mumbled. “I never got a chance to return her call though,” Hope said.
“That’s what she wanted to tell you – she wanted you to know that Marlena was the killer,” Celeste told her.
“Celeste,” Mickey said, approaching her from behind. “This sounds hard to believe – are you sure about this?” He asked, obviously puzzled. “Mom never mentioned anything to us,” He pointed out to her.
“She’s right,” Jennifer said, holding Abby’s hand tightly. “Gran wouldn’t have kept something like this from us,” She said.
“We both knew for a long time,” Celeste said. “But we didn’t have any evidence.”
“And you still don’t,” Sami said, walking over to her with Lucas by her side. “My mother is NOT the serial killer,” She said shakily. “Where do you get off accusing her of this?”
“I’m sorry Samantha,” Celeste said, looking at her. She felt a wave of sympathy rush inside of her veins for Marlena’s children. None of this was their fault, but they would suffer the consequences of Marlena’s actions. “I must tell the truth and the truth is, Marlena tried to kill me so I wouldn’t reveal her secret.” She said.
“Liar!” Sami exclaimed. “You are nothing but a liar!”
“Take it easy Sami,” Lucas said, pulling her back.
“I can’t!” Sami said angrily. “Celeste is lying!”
Belle paled as she watched her father lower his head and sigh in exasperation. She too was confused; she didn’t know why Celeste was accusing her mother of these horrible crimes. Everything was such a mess and she held onto Shawn’s hand, hoping he would give her strength to get through this.
She instantly felt at ease as he squeezed her hand tightly.
“Don’t worry sweetheart – we’ll figure out what’s going on,” He said softly.
The only person who seemed to be thinking throughout all of this chaos was Brady Black. He stepped next to his father and whistled, hoping to catch everyone’s attention, which he did.
“Look everyone, we’re all confused here,” Brady stated. “I don’t know what’s going on, but why don’t we proceed with burying our beloved Alice Horton and then we’ll worry about who is or isn’t the serial killer,” Brady said firmly. He glanced at his stepmother then at Celeste. “Do you think we can all do that?”
Everyone agreed, but Celeste pulled Bo aside before they left the Church.
“Bo darling – keep an eye on Marlena. Please.” Celeste pleaded. “She’s dangerous.”
Bo sighed. “Fine,” He said. “I’ll make some calls.” He said.
Bo took out his cell phone and asked for two police officers to come down to St. Luke’s immediately. He instructed them that Dr. Marlena Evans was not to be let out of their sight.
“Sir?” Officer Santos said, obviously confused.
“I’ll explain later,” Bo told him. “Just get here – now.”
“We’re on our way.”
Bo could feel a pounding headache erupt inside of his head. This was too much – he couldn’t believe that Marlena, his former sister in law and very good friend was responsible for the deaths of his friends and family. But Celeste claimed she was; she claimed that Marlena had tried to kill her, but was that the truth? He knew it was his job to figure that out.
But for now, it was time to say goodbye to Alice Horton.
Everything else would have to be put on hold for now.
“John, you’re very quiet.”
John turned to his wife and sighed deeply.
Everyone was making their way to Alice’s gravesite, and Marlena decided to walk with her husband, wanting to know what his state of mind was since Celeste had made her announcement.
“You don’t believe it, do you?” She asked softly. Fear ran through her veins; if John found out the truth, she didn’t know what she would do.
“I can’t answer that right now Doc,” John said. He cleared his throat and said, “Excuse me.”
Marlena watched as he walked ahead of her and caught up with Belle and Brady. She noticed that everyone was keeping their distance from her. She caught the cold glares and heard everyone murmuring her name. Obviously, they believed Celeste.
Damn it! She thought. Celeste wasn’t supposed to live - what am I going to do now? As soon as Alice is buried, they’ll take me downtown and they’ll find out the truth. I can’t let that happen. She thought.
“I’ve got to get out of here – now.” She mumbled. When everyone was at the gravesite, she took advantage of the fact that everyone was focused on the ceremony. She saw Alice’s coffin being lowered in her grave and she made her move.
Marlena took off, determined to escape and not get caught.
After the ceremony was over, Bo looked around for Marlena and frowned when he didn’t see her. He walked over to the front of the Church and stood in front of his car. He sighed impatiently as his men approached him, both looking very upset.
“Where is she?” Bo asked heatedly.
“We don’t know sir,” Officer Santos replied. “We came to the Church as soon as you called us. When we got here, she was nowhere to be found.”
“Damn it,” Bo cursed. “She must be guilty then – why else would she run away?” Bo muttered angrily.
“Bo,” Hope said. “We don’t know that.”
“All this time,” Bo mumbled, ignoring Hope’s words. “I knew something was going on with her – we all did. I thought it was because the killer was her patient, but I was wrong,” Bo said, clenching his fists in anger.
“What are you talking about?” Hope asked, frowning at her husband.
“I’ll explain everything in the car,” Bo said, as he unlocked the door. “Let’s head on down to the Penthouse,” Bo said.
“Where’s John?” Hope asked as she looked around.
“He was just here…” Bo stopped and slammed his fist against the roof of his car. “He went to warn her,” Bo muttered angrily.
“What’s going on?” Belle asked quietly.
Bo and Hope turned around, surprised to see Belle and Shawn standing behind them.
“Nothing,” Bo said, turning his back to them. “Let’s go Hope.”
“Dad,” Shawn said sharply. “Is Marlena guilty?”
“We don’t know honey,” Hope answered. “We want to talk to her, but she’s gone,” Hope said.
“Oh my God,” Belle whispered. “What if it’s true Shawn – what if Mom’s the serial killer? Oh no!” She exclaimed.
“Belle, stay calm,” Shawn warned her. “Remember the baby?”
Belle nodded and took several deep breaths.
“Are you all right?” Hope asked worriedly.
“I’m fine,” Belle said. She looked at Bo and sighed. “Bo, Mom’s not the killer. You’ve got to believe that.”
“Belle, I don’t know what to believe right now,” Bo said, trying to remain calm. “Right now, I’d just like to talk to her.” He turned to Shawn. “Take your wife home,” He told him.
“Okay,” Shawn said quietly.
“We’ll let you know what happens,” Hope said, as she said goodbye to them.
“Ready?” Bo said, once the couple had left.
“Let’s go,” Hope said.
~Later that afternoon~
Belle put her hand over her mouth and held back a sob. She couldn’t believe what she had just heard. She refused to believe what Shawn hat just told her…
Your mom confessed Belle; she is the serial killer – I’m so sorry….
Belle threw herself against Shawn, and hit his chest with her fists.
“It’s not true!” She sobbed. “It’s not…it’s not…”
Shawn’s eyes filled with tears and he tried to grab a hold of his wife’s hands.
“Belle, listen to me,” Shawn said. “Your mother confessed to your father. She tried to kill him, but when he had the upper hand…” he stopped and held her arms tightly. “Listen to me – when she couldn’t kill him, she tried to shoot herself with a gun. Luckily John stopped her.”
“NO!” Belle said. “She’s not the killer Shawn! She can’t be!” Belle exclaimed.
“But she is,” Shawn said, in a gentle voice. “I know this isn’t easy for you, but you have to accept the truth.”
Suddenly, Belle became very quiet. Shawn frowned when he saw her eyes widen and she gasped.
“Belle, what is it?” Shawn asked, his heart pounding furiously in his chest. “What is it?” He repeated.
“Shawn,” Belle said gently, making her way over to the counter and gripping the sides of it with her hands. “Bring me to hospital – now.” She said.
“Why?” Shawn asked. Even as he asked, he searched for his car keys and grabbed his cell phone.
“I think it’s time.” Belle said.
~University Hospital – the next morning~
Belle stirred slowly, stifling a yawn as she opened her eyes. She noticed she was in a bed – but not her own bed. She saw sunlight coming through the curtains and she tried to sit up but felt a sharp pain in her stomach.
“Ow,” She mumbled.
Belle turned when she heard Shawn’s voice. “Yes,” She said. “What happened Shawn?” She asked quietly. “And why do I feel so…tired?”
“Oh Belle,” Shawn said. He walked closer to the bed and when he did, Belle noticed his eyes were filled with tears.
“Shawn? What is it? What happened? Did the serial killer strike again? Oh no – who died this time?” She asked, her voice shaky.
“Belle,” Shawn said. He took her hand in his and held it tightly, bringing it to his lips and kissing it softly. “I love you Belle, and we’re going to get through this, no matter what,” He said unevenly. “Our love will survive,” He said tearfully.
“What are you talking about?” Belle asked. She sat up in bed, and then she remembered everything. She remembered coming to the hospital, because she had contractions. She remembered being brought into an examining room and seeing Dr. Bader. She remembered the doctor saying something about an operation.
“Did I have the baby, is that why I feel so sore?” Belle asked. She felt different; she could tell that she was no longer pregnant.
“Oh Belle,” Shawn said softly. His heart broke; he thought nothing could compare to the pain he had felt when he lost members of his family.
But he had been wrong.
“Shawn, where is our baby? What did we have? A boy, or a girl?” She asked anxiously. She could see tears pouring down Shawn’s face, but her heart refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong, even though he was pale and clearly upset.
“I’m so sorry sweetheart,” Shawn said in a gentle voice. “But the baby didn’t survive.”
“I want to know what happened.” Belle said calmly.
“We’ll talk about it later,” Shawn said, putting his hand on his hips. “Right now I’m more worried about you. Are you feeling okay?” He asked.
“No, I’m not okay,” Belle said. “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know what happened,” Belle said.
Shawn sighed. He could tell this wasn’t going to be easy. Instead of breaking into tears and wanting him close to her, Belle was eerily calm and refused to be touched by Shawn ever since he had told her about the baby. He was extremely worried about her. He knew she was in shock by the whole thing, and he had a feeling that once she truly realized what had happened, she would be heartbroken.
Shawn ran a hand through his thick dark locks and looked at Belle closely. “How much do you remember?” He asked quietly.
“I remember being bought into ER,” Belle told him. “I remember Dr. Bader being there with me, and I heard her say something about an operation, but then I’m drawing a blank,” Belle said. “Want to fill in the blanks for me?” She asked.
Shawn felt a shiver run down his spin when he heard the tone in Belle’s voice, which was void of any emotion. Detached – unfeeling. This was not like Belle at all.
Shawn walked over towards the bed but stopped when Belle held her hand to him, silently telling him not to take another step. Shawn looked down, and wondered how he would be able to do this. He knew Belle was only behaving this way because of the baby. But he wanted to help her through this ordeal; he wanted to know how she was feeling. He looked into her eyes, which were cold and distant.
“Belle, are you sure you want to hear this?” He asked.
“Yes.” Belle answered.
“Okay,” Shawn said. He took a deep breath and proceeded to tell Belle everything that happened the previous night. He struggled with his emotions, trying to maintain control. “You were bleeding by the time we got to the hospital,” Shawn told her. “Which wasn’t a good sign. Dr. Bader took one look at you and knew what had to be done.” Shawn said. “She made sure she put you to sleep and once she had, she told me that it didn’t look good. You were in already in labor and there was nothing she could do to stop the contractions. She said that even though they were going to take the baby out of you, the chances of it surviving were very minimal,” Shawn said, looking down for a moment.
“I see,” Belle mumbled. “Then what happened?”
“Well, you were taken into the operating room. It was done pretty quickly.” He said.
Belle exhaled slowly and refused to show any type of emotion. “What did we have?” She asked quietly.
“A girl,” Shawn told her. “A beautiful baby girl. I wish that you….” He stopped and looked away.
“What Shawn?” Belle asked. “What were you going to say?”
“I was going to say that I wish you could’ve seen her, but maybe it’s better that you didn’t,” Shawn said. “After she was born, I held her in my arms and I felt as though I was looking into a miniature version of you Belle; she had your deep blue eyes, your pouty lips…even her nose was identical to yours,” Shawn said softly.
Belle swallowed nervously. “You mean…she was alive when she they took her out of me?” She asked shakily. “She was…breathing?”
“Only for a little while. She died an hour later.” Shawn told her.
“Oh,” Belle said. She put her hand over her mouth, determined not to cry. But as she thought about the baby – her baby - her little girl, whom she never saw, never had a chance to hold, endless tears fell down her cheeks. “I never held her in my arms,” Belle said tearfully.
“I know,” Shawn said. “But maybe it’s better that you didn’t.” Shawn said.
“Why do you say that?” Belle asked, frowning at him.
“Because you’re not going through what I’m going through. I held our daughter and I’m going to be haunted with that feeling for the rest of my life. It only made it harder for me to let go of her when she stopped breathing.” Shawn said sadly. “At least you don’t have to experience this agony – this great sadness,” Shawn said.
“Oh Shawn,” Belle said. She could see how heartbroken he was. She wanted to reach for him, comfort him and hold him, but something held her back. And she wasn’t sure what it was.
“I talked to Dr. Bader after she…died,” Shawn said quietly. “She never stood a chance Belle – she was born much too early. Your uterus refused to keep her in any longer; she had to be born, which is why they performed a C-section on you,” Shawn told her. “So in case you’re wondering why you’re in pain, that’s why,” Shawn said.
“I see,” Belle said. She cleared her throat, and wiped away the tears from her eyes.
“She didn’t have a chance to survive either; she was born much too early. Her lungs weren’t fully developed. If it had been maybe around eight months, then yeah, the chances for survival would’ve increased,” Shawn said.
“Where is she now?” Belle asked.
“I said, where is she now?”
“I don’t know,” Shawn said. “I don’t know what they do with the…body, when something like this happens,” Shawn said unevenly.
“I want to see her,” Belle said. “Where’s Dr. Bader, so I can ask to see my daughter,” Belle said shakily.
“Belle, it might not be a good idea…”
“I don’t care,” Belle said. “Don’t you understand Shawn? I need some type of closure – at least you got to hold her, but I have nothing,” Belle said. “Get me Dr. Bader and get her now,” She said, in a demanding voice.
Shawn sighed and nodded. “I’ll be right back.” Shawn said.
Later that afternoon Belle returned to her room, visibly shaken. She had seen her daughter for the first and last time. Dr. Bader had suggested that Belle seeing her baby would not be a good idea, but Belle had insisted.
Belle wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing. They hadn’t removed her baby’s body from the incubator yet. Belle wasn’t sure what the proper procedure was in situations like this, but she had been relieved that she could see her child.
Seeing the baby lying in the tiny incubator, with no signs of life had broken her heart. She had asked to go alone. Shawn had insisted on coming with her, but Belle had been adamant that she be left alone with her daughter.
After Shawn had left with Dr. Bader, Belle had collapsed to the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. She couldn’t understand why her baby hadn’t lived - why she hadn’t been given the chance to raise this beautiful gift from God.
“Shawn was right,” She mumbled as she covered herself with the bed sheet. “She did look like me,” She said softly. “Except she was perfect.” Belle said. “This is so unfair,” She said shakily. “Why did this happen?”
She would never know, she realized that.
In the mean time, Belle could feel a darkness envelope her heart. She didn’t see things the way she had seen them before. She thought about her life, and saw nothing to be optimistic about.
Belle knew her mother had confessed to being the serial killer. That was something else that she didn’t need to deal with right now.
“Shawn was right,” Belle murmured. “He told me that Mom was the killer and I didn’t believe him. If I had listened to him, then Doug and Mrs. Horton would still be alive,” She said unsteadily. “But I believed in my mother – I chose to ignore Shawn’s beliefs.” Belle said. She shook her head and sighed. “Shawn will never forgive me for this.” She said sadly.
Belle looked up, surprised to see Shawn by the door.
“Sorry,” He said sheepishly. “I came to check and see how you’re doing,” Shawn said.
“I’ve been better,” She said.
There was a long pause before Shawn spoke again.
“Look Belle, I’m sorry,” Shawn said.
“You’re sorry?” Belle asked, sitting up in her bed. “Why?” She asked, frowning at him. “It’s not your fault that I went into premature labor. It’s not your fault that my mother is a killer. And it’s not your fault that our baby only lived for an hour and I wasn’t able to hold her in my arms,” Belle said miserably.
“I know that,” Shawn said. “But I feel terrible. I can feel your pain, and I want to be there for you.” Shawn said, stepping closer to her bed. He wanted to take her hand in his, but he didn’t dare. Belle was still so unreadable, which confused him because usually he could tell just by looking in her eyes how Belle was feeling.
That wasn’t the case any more.
“What happened in terrible,” Shawn said. “But I want us to…”
“Stop right there Shawn,” Belle said. “Don’t even say it. Don’t even think it. After what’s happened, there is no ‘us’.” Belle said firmly.
“What? What do you mean? You’re still my wife – or have you forgotten that?” Shawn asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“Of course not,” Belle said. “But under the circumstances, I think it’s best if we keep our distance form each other.” Belle said evenly.
“Belle,” Shawn said. “If you think that I blame you in any way for what happened with the baby, then let me assure you, I don’t.”
“I know you don’t.” Belle said.
“Well then, what’s the problem?” He asked. “No one presented me with a choice to save the baby’s life over yours, so don’t even go there.” Shawn said.
“I realize that,” Belle said.
“So then I repeat – what’s the problem?” He asked.
“Everything,” She mumbled. “Look Shawn, I need time away from you – from us - so I can decide what to do,” Belle said.
“Belle, I really think you and I shouldn’t be apart right now. We’re vulnerable and we need to mourn the loss of our child together,” Shawn said. “Why won’t you let me be there for you?” He asked.
“Because,” Belle said. “I feel like every time you look at me, you’ll be reminded about everyone that you’ve lost,” Belle said. “Come on Shawn – you can’t tell me that it doesn’t bother you that you’re married to the daughter of the woman who killed your grandmother, grandfather, you aunt, your uncle, your cousin, and great grandmother,” Belle pointed out to him.
“Belle, that’s not your fault,” Shawn said. “I don’t blame you.” Shawn said softly.
“Not right now you don’t,” Belle said. “But you will. One day, you’ll realize that I had a hand in Doug and Mrs. Horton’s death. You’ll find a way to blame me for their deaths, because you didn’t go to your parents with your theory about my mom because I wouldn’t let you,” Belle reminded him.
“Belle,” Shawn said. “I won’t blame you. I could never blame you,” Shawn said, hoping to assure her.
“You’re saying that now,” Belle said. “But that will all change. Just like me, I…” She stopped and sighed heavily.
“You what?” Shawn said.
“When I look at you all I can think about is the fact that our daughter is dead. It’s not your fault Shawn, but I can’t help but think of her. And if I keep thinking about that, we shouldn’t be together because all I’ll bring is sadness to your life and I couldn’t bear that,” Belle told him.
“You’re upset. That’s normal. We’re all upset but this will pass,” Shawn said grimly.
“This won’t pass,” Belle said.
“It will,” Shawn argued. “After we’ve had time to mourn our loss, both of us will realize that while losing our daughter is a terrible tragedy, we’ll become stronger as a couple. One day you’ll get pregnant again and we’ll have another baby…”
“NO!” Belle exclaimed. “You can just forget it – I will never get pregnant again – NEVER! Do you understand me Shawn? My heart couldn’t take it if I went through this again,” Belle cried.
“But sweetheart, how are you going to move on with your life if you won’t let us mourn together?”
“I’ll be fine on my own, thank you very much,” Belle said coldly. She lifted her chin up and said, “Now will you please leave?”
The last thing Shawn wanted to do was leave. Belle was extremely fragile and he sensed that she was on the verge of a breakdown. He wanted to be there for her, but if she didn’t want him there, what could he do?
“Fine,” Shawn said. “I’ll leave Belle, but I’ll be back. One day, you’ll realize that you need me just as much as I need you. You are more important to me than breathing, and I know you feel the same way. I just have to wait for that day when you’ll realize how much you love and need me.” Shawn said.
“Please leave Shawn,” Belle said, acting as though she hadn’t heard him. “Now.”
“All right then,” Shawn said. “If you need me…”
“Okay.” Shawn said. “Goodbye Belle.”