She could feel the tenseness and the wariness that still radiated from him as they made their way to the parking garage. She had hoped the kiss would tell him everything that he needed to know but that clearly hadn’t been the case. There was no question that he desired her. There was also no question as to whether or not he still loved her. She knew that he loved her as deeply as she loved him. What was missing was his trust in that love. She had hurt him. She still remembered the look in his eyes when she had revealed to him in one of their couples sessions that she had been taking birth control pills after the miscarriage. At first he had looked stunned and then the pain had set in and his eyes had filled with tears. It had taken him several minutes before he could trust himself to be able to speak without breaking down.
It would be a long slow process regaining that trust but she believed that it would happen. She was so much stronger emotionally now. Shawn had always been the best part of her and she would never lose sight of that again. They had been through more separations and more life threatening situations than anyone should have had to endure and yet through it all they had never stopped loving each other.
She released her hold on his hand so he could place her luggage in the back of the SUV. When he shut the door and turned to go to the driver’s side she grabbed his hand and stopped him. He stood and waited.
“Shawn, please look at me,” she pleaded.
He reluctantly turned towards her.
The look in his eyes cut right through to her soul. She could see how he was fighting to keep his fear and anxiety from overwhelming him. “I’ll never leave you again, Shawn. Not of my own free will,” she said firmly. “I’m going to keep telling you that until the day comes where you actually believe it.”
He searched her eyes. She didn’t blink or turn away or lower her eyes like she had done before she disappeared on him. “My mind believes what you are telling me, Belle but…”
“I know, baby,” she said as she placed her hand over his chest right where his heart was beating furiously, “but you need to feel it here and you can’t do that just yet.”
“I want to,” he said forlornly.
She leaned in to him and hugged him. “We’ll talk more on the way home,” she promised.
Dusk was settling in by the time he pulled out of the airport and on to the Interstate. “Don’t you want to know why I arrived so late?” she asked.
He shrugged. “I just assumed that the doctors wanted to have a final session with you and give you some final advice.”
“No. I went to University Hospital to get the results of all the tests I had done a week ago,” she stated.
He turned his head and asked, "What kind of tests? Are you sick, Belle?"
“Oh no,” she answered hurriedly. “I’m fine. I went to an Ob-gyn to have tests run,” she explained.
His shoulders slumped. “You went to get a prescription for birth control pills, didn’t you?” He didn’t wait for a response. His anger simmered. “I thought we were going to talk through decisions that affected the both of us…”
,” she interjected. “I didn’t go to see the doctor about birth control. I wanted to make sure that the miscarriage was simply what Dr. Gordon said it was, just one of those things. I had tests run to see if there was any medical reason I couldn’t carry a baby to term. I wanted to be sure before we get pregnant again that we know what we’re in for. If there was some medical issue that would put the fetus in jeopardy I want us to know about so we can be prepared to do whatever is necessary to give the baby the best possible chance of making it to term.”
He glanced quickly in her direction again. He couldn’t miss the sincerity in her eyes. “You want to have a baby?”
She laughed and the joy in her voice touched him deeply. “Yes, Shawn. I want to have your
baby. Hell, I want to have at least four of five maybe six. We’re not getting any younger. I really want our children to be fairly close together in age. What about you?” she asked eagerly.
“I’ve pictured us with at least two children but I like your idea of having them close together and if we have more than two that would be fine with me,” he said and then hesitated.
“We can try to get pregnant whenever you’re ready, Shawn. But I have to warn you, I’m not taking any birth control so if you don’t have any condoms back at the cabin then celibacy will have to be our method of birth control.”
Her joy was infectious. “There will be none of that in our home,” he scolded.
“What’s that, celibacy or condoms?”
He decided to take a leap of faith. “Neither,” he said softly. “I want us to have a baby.”
Tears sprung to her eyes. “Oh, Shawn,” she said as she leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Me too.”
Once he had turned off the Interstate on to the highway leading to the cabin he took her hand in his. “I’m so happy to have you back home with me.”
“I’m happy to be back. This is home, isn’t it, Shawn?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I was hoping that you feel the same way about the cabin and Spokane as I do. This is where I want to raise our children. This is the place I want to put down roots.”
He smiled. “Any place you are is where home is, Belle.”
“I feel the same, Shawn so if you would rather live somewhere else that will be fine it’s just …”
He squeezed her hand. “I know, this is home and I can’t think of any place else I would rather raise our family. We can always make numerous trips to Salem because I bought the cabin from the Horton estate. Hell, I bought the island the cabin sits on so that can be a vacation spot for us and the kids.”
“You bought the island and the cabin?” she squealed. “That’s terrific, Shawn. What do you think about renewing our wedding vows on our anniversary? We could throw a big party and celebrate with our family and friends in Salem.”
“That would be perfect. We can have the renewal ceremony on the beach in the same spot we got married,” he said enthusiastically.
“With any luck we might even a special announcement to share with everyone,” Belle said dreamily.
When they turned off the highway to travel the final three miles to the cabin, she was overcome with emotion.
He turned to say something to her and noticed the tears streaming down her face. “What’s wrong, Belle?” he said as he braked.
“Don’t stop, Shawn. It’s just the memories,” she said softly. “I remember the first time you brought me here.”
“That seems like a lifetime ago,” he said quietly.
“I didn’t know who I was or where I came from. I did know even then that you were my home. It just felt so right. You made me feel so safe and even though we never talked about it at the time, I felt loved. I was so excited at the prospect of being out of the hospital and spending every day with you.”
“I was excited as well. I was sure you were Belle and that at long last you and I were going to be together. To be honest I had a hard time staying within the guidelines Dr. Balfour laid down but I see now that she was right. You had to regain your memory on your own.”
He pulled up in front of the cabin. “We’re home, Mrs. Brady.”
She pushed open the door of the vehicle almost forgetting to release the seat belt in her eagerness.
“Just wait there,” Shawn commanded. “Don’t move. Let me take your luggage inside and then I’ll come and get you.”
“I’m perfectly capable of walking inside, Mr. Brady,” she retorted.
He crooked his finger under her chin and tilted her head up. “I want to carry you in just like I did the first time I brought you here,” he said softly before kissing her lightly.
“Oh,” she said breathlessly, “okay.”
After depositing her luggage in their bedroom he rushed back outside and found her waiting patiently by the vehicle for him. He grinned as he picked her up and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Ready to go inside,” he asked.
She looked at him and smiled. “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my life,” she said sincerely.
He carried her through the doors and stopped just inside and let her look around.
“It’s just like the day you first brought me here. You even remembered the flowers.”
“I can’t take credit for those. That was my Dad’s doing. He and Rex went into Spokane and brought them while Mom and I talked,” he admitted.
“I’ll be sure to thank both of them when we see them again which should be in August.”
He set her down but didn’t remove his hand from around her waist. “Actually we’ll be seeing them in less than three weeks. Rex and Taylor are getting married on July twelfth.”
“Really?” she exclaimed. “I knew that they were serious about each other when I saw them together. I’m happy for Rex.”
“I am too. He’s going to adopt Taylor’s children so he is going to become a father as well.”
“She has a boy and a girl if I remember correctly.” Her brow furrowed as she tried to remember everything Taylor had told her in the one visit she had made with Rex to The Meadows.
“Yes, she does. Are you hungry? Do you want something to drink? I thought that we’d grill some chicken tonight. I made a salad before I drove in to pick you up. How does that sound?”
“Perfect. Do you mind if I go for a shower while you fire up the grill? I’d really like to freshen up before dinner.”
“Belle, you don’t have to ask. This is your home,” he chided.
“I guess both of us have a little bit of readjusting to do,” she said.
“As long as we’re open and honest with each other about everything we will be just fine, sweetheart,” he replied.
He swatted her lightly on the rear. “Go up and shower. I’m going to get the chicken from the fridge and get dinner started.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” she mocked as started up the stairs. “Have a glass of wine poured for me. I have a feeling this is going to be one very pleasant dinner.”
He smiled as he caught a whiff of her signature scent as she came up behind him. He was flipping the chicken breasts for the final time. They were almost ready. “Can you go down and bring the salad up from the fridge?”
“I could do that or we could put supper on hold and satisfy other appetites,” she said huskily as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
“The chicken will get cold, probably dry out…” he said as he shut the burners off and placed the chicken on to a serving plate.
“Does that matter?” she asked lightly.
“No,” he replied as he turned around. “What matters is that I plan for us to satisfy those other
appetites all night long so we need to fortify ourselves.”
She laughed. “I’m agreeing to this only because I’m hungry. I’ll go get that salad. Is there anything else we need?”
“Not unless there’s something that you want.”
She looked at the table and then back at him and winked. “Just you, lover. Just you.”
They ate their meal and Shawn shared his idea of what he wanted for his future.
“I thought you loved your job in the District Attorney’s office,” she said.
“I do, Belle. But I’m not going to run for DA. That’s just not me. I think I could make a real difference by representing the homeless. I’ve looked into setting up a fund to run the clinic using part of my inheritance. It’s definitely not going to make us rich but we’ll have plenty left over for us and our children. I won’t put our financial security at risk.”
“I think it’s a great idea, Shawn. It’s going to take a lot of work to get this started and I can only imagine that lawyers that work in these types of clinics put in long days for very little pay. Please don’t be upset with me but I was really hoping that you would be willing to scale back your hours not increase them,” she said.
“There is a clinic in Spokane that is on the verge of running out of funds. I’ve already spoken to the man running the place. I’ve told him that I’m willing to fund the place and that I will volunteer my time on the condition that I set my own hours. He’s just so happy that he doesn’t have to close the place that he accepted before I even finished laying out my terms. They are so burdened with case loads that I’ve already given him some money to hire another lawyer and a couple of paralegals.”
“When do you start?” she asked.
“I told Cleavon that I would have to talk to you first. I won’t commit anymore of our money and my time unless you agree to it.”
“Cleavon Dubois is the lawyer that runs the clinic. So what do you think, Belle?”
“I think you’ll make a great advocate for the homeless,” she responded.
“Great. I’ll give my notice tomorrow. I was hoping you would say yes so I typed up my resignation and left it at the office. I’ll call my secretary tomorrow and have her hand it in. That way while I’m on vacation this week they can get started reassigning my cases.”
“That’s settled then. Now, Mr. Brady do you think we can stop talking now?”
He smirked. “I think that can be arranged but we do have to clean up out here or we’ll have night visitors.”
She sighed theatrically. “I know. I know. You clean the grill and I’ll take the dishes downstairs. Let’s just meet in the bedroom.”
“A little eager, Mrs. Brady?” he teased.
“Hell no. A lot
eager more like it, Mr. Brady.”
“I like the sound of that,” he said.
She kissed him hard and fast. “I hope that’s not all you like, Shawn.”
He pulled her hard against him so that she could feel his arousal. “I think you know exactly what I like,” he murmured against her lips before capturing them in a kiss full of love and hunger and homecoming.
Chapter 47 – NC17
She hesitated at the door to the dressing room. She could hear the shower running. She wanted to join him but decided to take it slowly. She had felt his desire but she also sensed the hesitancy. She had hurt him, scarring him deeply by her actions. It didn’t matter that she had been emotionally crippled and not thinking clearly. Her actions had caused a rift between them that she would have to bridge. She spotted the gift bag from one of her favourite lingerie shops and quickly opened it. Perfect. It’s exactly what I need for tonight.
She quickly stripped and changed into the beautifully detailed full length night gown made of the finest quality white cotton lawn fabric. It was softer and sheerer that most cottons. She removed the clips that held her hair back and shook her head so her hair tumbled down and rested on her shoulders. She headed for the den. She rummaged through the CD’s until she found the perfect one. She lit several candles to chase away the shadows the room had been cast into because of the dark rain clouds that were rolling in from the west.
She poured them each a glass of wine and set the glasses on the coffee table. She would let Shawn decide if he wanted to light the logs in the fireplace. She wanted fire tonight but not necessarily one of the wood burning variety.
He hesitated before entering the bedroom. What the hell is the matter with me? I want her. Why am I all tied up in knots?
He took a deep breath and opened the door. He was surprised to find their bedroom empty. She must still be cleaning up after supper. I better go give her a hand.
He headed down the hallway and then saw her standing in front of the wall of windows watching the rain clouds roil in the distance. She had found the nightgown that Rex had picked up as a gift for him to give to her. It may have been full length and cotton but there was nothing chaste or demure about it. She must have sensed his presence because she turned towards him. The gown was sleeveless with wide shoulder straps trimmed in eyelet lace as was the bodice of the gown. The bodice laced up the front drawing his eyes to her cleavage. The elasticized empire waist further accentuated the fullness of her breasts. The cotton moulded to her hips and thighs and fell in soft folds to her ankles. His eyes travelled back to her face and the soft smile on her pouty lips that lit up her eyes.
He returned the smile and approached her quietly. He could feel the tenseness begin to coil in his groin as she unabashedly let her eyes drift over his body. The fact that she still seemed to be captivated by his tan line
as she affectionately referred to the slightly lighter coloured skin that was exposed by his low riding lounge pants didn’t escape his notice. How many times had he teased her trying to get her to admit that it wasn’t the tan line she was fixated on but what lay below it? He could feel himself hardening as he invariably did when she would get that smouldering look of desire in her eyes.
“Like what you see?” he teased.
“Uh huh,” she nodded and then reluctantly forced her head up to look in his eyes. She wondered if he knew that the walls he had erected around his heart were showing clearly in his eyes. She also saw the love. It wasn’t going to be easy but she knew that one day he would trust her completely and the shadows from his heart would disappear. One day she would look in his eyes and all she would see was his unwavering love, the wariness would be gone.
He picked up the glasses and handed one to her. He needed to relax a bit. He could feel the tension tightening his neck and shoulder muscles and this tension wasn’t of a sexual origin. It was like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. He hated feeling this way. She had told him repeatedly that she was home to stay. He believed her yet he couldn’t substantiate his belief in her. His mind said yes but his bruised and battered heart said no. He took a sip of his wine and looked out the window. “Looks like we’re in for a storm tonight.”
She stood next to him. Close but not touching. She could feel his tension. “A storm might be just what’s needed,” she answered him. “You can feel the electricity in the air.”
He took another sip of his wine. He understood the meaning behind her words. “You’re probably right,” he answered.
She had made her point and now it was time to try and get him to relax a bit. “Thank you for the lovely nightgown, Shawn.”
He glanced at her and then back outside. “I can’t take the credit for it just like I couldn’t take credit for the numerous bouquets. Rex and Dad went shopping yesterday after I told them you were coming home. Mom and I talked as I mentioned earlier.”
“I’ll make sure and thank them both when I see them at the wedding. I can’t believe your Dad picked this out especially considering some of the stories your mother has told me,” she said lightly.
He smiled when he heard the hint of laughter in her voice. “Rex picked it out. I did reimburse them both so I guess technically the nightgown and the flowers are from me.”
She touched his arm.
He turned towards her.
“Did the talk with your mother help a bit?”
He shrugged. “We just talked, Belle. It’s no big deal.”
“You talked about me?” she persisted.
He turned and walked towards the couch. “We talked about a lot of things. I don’t particularly remember.”
“Shawn Douglas Brady,” she said angrily.
He stopped and turned towards her surprised by the look of fury in her eyes and the anger in her voice.
“Don’t you dare pull this crap on me. Tell me what’s on your mind. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. Talk to me, Shawn.”
“I told my mother that I couldn’t take it if you left me again. I told her I was happy that you were coming home but scared to death that you would walk away from me again.”
Her eyes filled with tears. She set her glass down and wrapped her arms around him and hugged him as tight as she could. She didn’t say anything for the longest time. She just held him.
He stood awkwardly his arms hanging rigidly at his sides. Why don’t you hold her? You know you want to.
He waited for her to make him promises he wasn’t sure she could keep. The fact that she didn’t say anything helped him relax. He let his arms encircle her and rest lightly on her lower back.
“I’m here to stay, Shawn. I’m not going anywhere at least not of my own free will. One day you’ll trust that. Until then we’ll have to move forward as best we can.”
He knew she was right. He had to make a decision. He could let her in completely or he could hold her at arm’s length until all his doubts and fears had been laid to rest. He missed that special brand of closeness that one could only share with one’s soul mate. He was tired of being alone. His hold tightened.
“I love you, Belle,” he whispered. “God, how I love you.”
She leaned back using his forearms for support. “Dance with me,” she said softly.
“There’s no music,” he answered quietly.
She moved out of his embrace looking for the remote that belonged to the CD player. “One of my fellow patients was a huge fun of country and western music and it kind of grew on me. I heard this song on the radio a few weeks ago and it brought me to tears. I thought it sounded familiar and it was. It’s from almost fifteen years ago and you have the CD in your collection. All I could think about when I was listening to the words is what I had done to us and how all I want to do is make things right between us again.”
“Belle, don’t take all the blame for what went wrong between us. I contributed just as much as you did. For two such literate people we sure dropped the ball when it came to communicating with each other. I’m glad you called me on that earlier. You’re right. We can’t afford to make that mistake again. The cost is far too high.
“Aha,” she pounced on the couch. “Here it is,” she smiled as she retrieved the remote from behind one of the throw cushions.
She pressed the Power button and then the Play button, threw the remote on the couch and moved into his arms.
They began swaying slowly together in perfect synchronization. Their bodies melting together as she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, her head resting on his shoulder as he held her close.
Tell me what I have to do tonight
Cause I'd do anything to make it right
Let's be us again
I'm sorry for the way I lost my head
I don’t know why I said the things I said
Lets be us again
She leaned her head back to look up at him. “It’s not what I said that I regret, Shawn, it’s what I didn’t say. Things would have been so different between us…” Her voice faltered as she was overcome with emotion.
“Don’t dwell on the what ifs
or the should haves
, Belle. We can’t undo what has already happened. Tell me now. Talk to me. What do you wish you would have said?” he urged.
“There are so many things but mostly I regret not telling you that the guilt I was feeling was slowly eating me alive and that I wanted and needed you with me. You were spending so much time at work and with Roxy and the girls. That reinforced my feelings of guilt and I held those feelings inside instead of telling you how much I needed you with me. I felt so selfish when I would feel resentment towards poor Roxy and the kids.”
“And those feelings of self-resentment piled on top of your feelings of guilt bringing your spirit even lower,” he said softly. As a result of their joint sessions and his own sessions he now had a clearer understanding of how desperate she must have been, how filled with guilt and self-loathing she had been at the time she had walked away from him and their marriage.
She nestled her head back into the crook of his shoulder and neck and felt his breath ruffle the hair on the top of her head. This was where she wanted to be now and forever. In her husbands arms. She closed her eyes and sighed softly.
Here I stand with everything to lose
All I know is I don’t wanna ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reachin’ out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Lets be us again
His bare skin was warm too the touch. She let her fingers smooth over his back and then entwine into the thick hair at the nape of his neck. She began planting small wet kisses along his collarbone working her way to where his shoulder met his neck. She reached that spot that she knew if she suckled, nipped and laved with her tongue he would be moaning her name in short order. She proceeded to do exactly that.
“Belle,” he moaned roughly as he dropped his head to the side to give her delicious tongue and mouth freer access to continue to drive him mad with need. She worked her way along his jaw line to that one little spot behind his ear. She moved restlessly against his pulsing hardness and caught her breath when he cupped her buttocks and pulled her harder against him.
Look at me I’m way past pride
Isn't there some way that we can try
To be us again
Even if it takes a while
I'll wait right here until I see that smile
That says we're us again
He wasn’t the only one throbbing. She rubbed her thighs together trying to assuage the need that pulsed through her. It just made it worse. “Kiss me, Shawn. Kiss me and…” she lost her train of thought when she met his eyes. The usual warm brown depths were black, blazing with passion. She parted her lips waiting not conscious of the fact that her tongue had darted out sliding over her suddenly dry lips.
“And?” he watched that pretty little tongue moistening her lips.
She stared at him blankly, lost in a fog of passion.
He smirked. “You said kiss me and
then you stopped.”
“I need you to kiss me and touch me,” she whispered.
He brought one hand to her face and traced her lips watching her eyes. He felt the tentative swipe of her tongue against his finger. He watched as her mouth pulled his finger in deeper. She never broke the gaze that they were locked in as she sucked and tugged on his finger as her tongue wrapped around it. He trembled. He slid his finger from her wet lips and crushed his mouth to hers. He pushed his tongue into her sweet, hot mouth wanting to feel that softness wind around his tongue the way it had wound around his finger. Hell, he wanted to feel that tongue on all of him.
Her hands skated up his chest distracting him from the task at hand. He didn’t trust himself to let her keep touching him. He was so close to losing control. It had been months since they had been together and he was wild with the need to release. He grabbed her wrists and brought her hands behind her back holding them together with one hand as the other cupped the back of her head bringing her mouth harder against hers. For a second she stiffened but his demanding kisses had her softening against him. When he finally lifted his lips from her hers, she whimpered and be damned if he didn’t almost come right there and then.
Here I stand with everything to lose
All I know is I don’t wanna ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reachin’ out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Lets be us
She waited. Her eyes pleading with him to touch her.
He stared at her. He had never seen looking so aroused, so needy, so…so…wanton. He didn’t think it possible but he felt his already painful hard swollen penis swell and harden more. With slightly shaky fingers he tugged at the bow that held the laces together. He loosened them and slid his fingers up her clavicle to first one strap resting on her shoulder to the other pushing them down her arm a bit to further loosen the bodice of the nightgown.
He let go of her wrists and looked at her. She was flushed with heat. He could feel the heat radiating from her as he was sure she could feel his heat. He ran his hands palm down slowly up her arms over her shoulders to her breasts. He felt her shudder as he rubbed his fingertips over her protruding nipples that were all but spilling over the loosened top of her nightgown.
She shuddered a second time when she felt his warm breath caress her sensitive nipples. “Please,” she moaned as she grabbed on to his hips not trusting her weak knees to hold her upright much longer.
He dipped his head and ran the tip of his tongue across each engorged tip. He felt her twitch and heard the soft groan that escaped from between her lips. This time he dragged his tongue slowly over first one nipple then the other. This time he wasn’t sure if it was him or her that groaned. “God, I’ve missed tasting you. You are incredibly sweet.”
“More,” she pleaded.
He slipped his lips over one pebbled bud, pulling it into his mouth and suckled it as she shuddered with pleasure. He moved from one to the other and back again until her whimpering had his knees decidedly weak.
Baby baby, what would I do
Can't imagine life without you
Here I stand with everything to lose
All I know is I don’t wanna ever see the end
Baby please I'm reachin’ out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Oh here I am I'm reachin’ out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Lets be us again
Oh, lets be us again
As the final strains of the song ended the room was cloaked in silence except for the sounds of their laboured breathing. He looked deep into her eyes and saw nothing but love and desire.
His face was illuminated by the flash of lightening that danced across the dark heavens. When the thunder rolled he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. He stood her at the side of the bed and helped her step out of her nightgown. He didn’t protest when she sat down and reached up and pulled his lounge pants down over his hips freeing his raging hard on to her ardent gaze.
She caressed the hot shaft from the base to the tip her fingertips savouring the feel of the velvety skin that was as hot as molten lava which is what her insides were like. She was so wet and so ready for him. She leaned forward and let her tongue duplicate what her fingers had just done. When she drew him inside her mouth she felt his fingers entwine in her hair holding her head in place.
“Jesus, Belle…ahhh,” he groaned as she sucked and licked bringing him to the brink of release. He pulled her mouth away and bent down and captured her lips with his gently pushing her back on to the bed. He kicked off his lounge pants and tumbled on to the bed with her rolling until they were laying vertically in the centre of their king sized bed. He slid off of her to lie next to her as his mouth plundered the soft skin of her neck. His hands pleasured her breasts.
She pushed against the top of his head.
He smiled against her skin and started kissing her shoulder. He blew on her tightened peak and she jerked.
“Shawn…” she groaned.
“Is this what you want,” he half growled as he worried the taut nub gently between his teeth.
He had her whimpering and panting and squirming restlessly as his teeth, tongue and mouth worked their magic on her hardened nipples. When she felt his fingers skim over her damp, swollen crevice she arched off the bed. The combination of his fingers thrusting inside her as his thumb applied pressure to her clitoris and his lips on her breasts had her screaming his name as she exploded.
He withdrew his fingers and kissed his way to her navel. He let his tongue swirl inside her navel and skimmed his fingers on the inside of her thighs. He loved that she was lying there open, waiting for him to love her. He settled between her legs and bent his head and ran his tongue over her hidden treasure.
“Shawn…dear…god,” was all she could say as she began to pump her hips against his seeking tongue.
He slid his hands up her slick belly to her nipples. She dug her nails into his shoulders as he massaged her nipples. He continued to play with her, tease her with his tongue and fingers until she quivered underneath him.
She couldn’t help herself. She was so close to orgasm for the second time in just a few short minutes. As his tongue hit that one spot she gasped. “There. Stay…right…there….ahhhh…god, yes,” she moaned as she went over for him.
He waited for the tremors to subside and then positioned his manhood at her entrance.
Her eyes opened when she felt the tip of his penis rub against her. She cupped his face. “Are you sure about this. No protection?”
His eyes filled with love. “I’m sure,” he whispered softly, almost reverently.
She smiled and brought his mouth close to hers. “Then let’s make a baby, Shawn.”
He grasped her hips and pulled her up to meet him halfway as he thrust inside her. He shuddered as he felt himself sink into her welcoming warmth. He had missed her so much.
She moved with him loving the feel of him expanding inside her. When she felt that they were both close to the pinnacle she made sure that they were staring into each other’s eyes. She wanted to remember this moment forever. The moment that they would conceive their child. She didn’t know what made her think that but she was sure that tonight they were going to begin the process of bringing a new life into the world. She saw his eyes turn coal black as she called out his name as she rode the crest. She felt him stiffen before exploding inside her washing her insides with love. She smiled. She just knew that she wouldn’t be getting her period in two weeks time.
“I love you,” she murmured against his lips.
“I love you,” he responded before kissing her softly wanting to savour every taste and sensation. Something told him this was a night he would never want to forget.
Song Credit: Let’s Be Us Again – Artists – Lonestar – Lyrics by Richie McDonald/Maribeth Derry/Tommy Lee James
June 26, 2018 Dr Linda Mann’s Office Waiting Room
“May I help you?” the woman seated at the receptionist’s desk asked him as he entered.
“I’m here to pick up my wife. She is with Dr. Mann now,” he answered politely.
“You’re name please,” the woman asked with a hint of ice in her tone.
“Shawn Brady. My wife’s name is Isabella Brady. She prefers to go by the name Belle. She is five feet nothing in her stockings. She has blue eyes, blonde hair…” he answered sarcastically.
“Dr. Mann treats several women who come from abusive relationships. Sometimes their abusers try to track them down, Mr. Brady. I’m trained to be careful with the information I provide to strangers,” she answered.
“My apologies,” Shawn answered sincerely.
The woman glanced at the appointment book. “Your wife should be out in just a few minutes, Mr. Brady. Please have a seat.”
“I prefer to stand if that’s all right with you.”
“Suit yourself,” she responded and turned back to her computer.
Within minutes he heard the voice of a stranger followed by that of his wife. “Thanks Dr. Mann. I’ll see you in two weeks,” he heard her saying.
She came into the waiting room and a smile lit up her face. “Hi, honey. Have you been waiting long?” she asked as she crossed the short distance between them.
Before he could respond she surprised him by kissing him full on the lips. He had barely settled into the kiss when she pulled back and turned towards the receptionist. “Dr. Mann would like to see me in two weeks time. What times do you have available?”
After booking an early afternoon session they left the office building and crossed the street to the parking garage. Shawn held her hand as they walked towards their vehicle. “Do you want to head back to the cabin or stay in the city? If you like we could go to the park or the mall, get a light supper and take in a movie.”
“There are a couple of things I would like to do, Shawn,” she said. “Actually I’ll re-phrase that. There are a couple of things I need
He picked up on the edge to her voice. What has her so nervous?
He pressed the Unlock button twice on the remote and opened the passenger door for her. “What is it that you need
to do, dear?
Shawn turned the key in the ignition. Without the motor running the CD player shut off as well. He turned to Belle. He could tell from her body language that she mentally bracing herself for what was to come. “Are you sure you can handle this?” he asked, his soft voice full of concern.
She loosened her clenched fingers and took a soothing, calming deep breath. “I really need to do this, Shawn. I want
to do this,” she said earnestly.
He smiled at her. “I’ll get the flowers from the back.”
They walked hand in hand silently through the grounds of St. Joseph’s Cemetery until they came to Andrew’s headstone. Belle placed the bouquet of flowers in the vase in the base of the monument. She knelt on the grass and bowed her head in prayer.
Shawn knelt next to her. He watched as she reached over and traced the date of Andrew’s death with her fingertips. He noticed the tears falling softly onto the grave. He stood and pulled her up and held her close to him as she cried.
“He was such a good man, Shawn. He loved Roxy with all his heart and soul and he adored his little girls. His little angels he always called them,” she sobbed. “Why, Shawn? Why did he have to die?”
He felt the tears forming in his eyes. “I don’t know, Belle. Our faith tells us it was his time.”
She sniffled. “But he was so young. It’s just not fair. His girls needed him. Why couldn’t God change his mind just this one time?”
“God has granted us many miracles, Belle. He brought you back to me when everyone else had believed you were dead.”
She laid her head against his chest cherishing the sound of his steadily beating heart. “We have been blessed. That’s what I don’t understand. Why were we spared and Andrew wasn't?”
“We paid a different price, Belle. Our blessings have sometimes been a curse. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not for us to question the why
or the why not
when it comes to trying figure out God’s mysterious ways. We have to learn to accept the will of God no matter how painful and move on.”
“Let’s sit here awhile. Would that be all right?” she asked.
“Sure. I haven’t visited his grave in a while. I’m glad you wanted to come out here,” he said as he sat on the thick grass. He spread his legs so she could settle comfortably between them. He leaned back against the tree trunk and she rested her back against his chest.
“I got to know Andrew really well during the time you were being held by Tony. I was so grateful for his and Roxy’s presence at the cabin and of course, the girls. They kept my mind occupied for the most part. Not that I ever stopped worrying about you or missing you but they made it tolerable,” she explained. “At least during their waking moments…” she dropped what she was saying as she thought back to the time Shawn had been kidnapped.
“I had trouble sleeping too. I had nothing to distract me either during the days. If Rex hadn’t told me he was going to make sure that Tony’s plans would never be carried out and that he would see to it that we were reunited, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I probably would have done something rash and who knows what the consequences would have been.”
“Imagine our surprise when we found out that Rex was the person on the inside that was providing the ISA with insider information on Tony,” Belle chuckled. “You should have seen the reactions in that room.”
Shawn chuckled along with her. “I bet that both my Mom’s and your Dad’s eyebrows must have been arched almost right off their foreheads.”
Belle giggled and Shawn snuggled her closer. It was times like this he had thought he would never share with her again.
Belle grew quiet. “Andrew seemed to be able to sense when I was having really bad nights. I would be sitting out on the deck in the dead of night and all of a sudden he would be there carrying a blanket for me and a tray. He would bring me either herbal tea or warm milk. Sometimes he’d just bring me bottled water. Sometimes he would talk. Sometimes he’d just tell me it was going to be okay and then sit back and not say a word. I don’t know how he did it Shawn but he always knew when I needed him to talk to me or when I just needed silence.”
“Andrew was a good man, Belle.”
“He was. He loved you like a brother. He talked about some of your childhood exploits and invariably got me to laugh. He missed you like crazy after your Aunt and Uncle split and then his Mom moved them to California.”
“I know. We tried to keep in touch but it was never the same. Especially after he decided to move to England to be with his Dad when he turned fourteen. After I transferred to Pepperdine my second year of college I got to see him when he came to visit his mom and sister. We reconnected then and as they say the rest is history.”
“He told me how tough it was to make the decision to move. He missed his mother and sister but he really wanted to live with his Dad and learn about his English heritage.”
“I use to tease him endlessly about being a little Lord of the Manor
. He used to get back at me and call me a rebel wannabe,” Shawn said with a hint of self-deprecation in his voice.
“You’ll always be just enough of a rebel for me,” she said softly.
The Donovan House
Shawn looked down into his wife’s anxious eyes. “We don’t have to do…” He stopped when he saw the look of determination cross her face. He rang the doorbell. “I know, I know. You don’t have to, you need
to do this.”
Belle felt her pulse quicken when she saw the door knob turn. She took a deep breath preparing herself to see her friend for the first time in a little over a year and a half. The door opened and Belle stared into the living room momentarily surprised. She had been expecting to glance into Roxy’s eyes. She lowered her head and broke into a huge smile as her eyes filled with tears. “Hi, Misty. You certainly have grown since I saw you last.”
Misty looked from Belle to Shawn. “I’m almost seven. I’m a big girl now.”
“Misty. How many times have I told you not to open the door before finding out…” Roxy came rushing into the front room from the kitchen stopping in mid-sentence when she saw who was standing in the open doorway.
“Oh my gosh. Belle? Oh my god,” she rushed to her and pulled her into a big hug. She pulled back, tears running freely down her face and pulled Belle into the living room. “Come in, come in. No need to stand in the doorway.” She released Belle and gave Shawn a big hug. “Hello to you too Shawn. I didn’t mean to ignore you it’s just that I was so excited to see Belle.”
“I understand. I’m sure you two have a lot of catching up to do. Where are Storm and Wynter?” he asked.
“Oh good lord. I left them in the kitchen with the cookie dough. The girls and I were baking,” Roxy said, slightly flustered. “We better head back there.”
Shawn and Belle both broke out laughing when Roxy stopped dead in her tracks and gasped. Storm had dumped the measuring cup full of flour over Wynter’s head and Wynter had retaliated by dumping the bowl of mixed cookie dough on her sister’s head.
“Girls. What have you done?”
They both started talking at once and Roxy threw up her hands. “Enough. I don’t want to hear another word from either of you. I told you not to touch anything and wait for me.”
“We wanted to surprise you, Mommy,” Storm said her lower lip quivering.
“My eyes hurt,” Wynter whined as she rubbed them with her tiny fists.
“Why don’t you come with me?” Shawn said. “I’ll help you girls get cleaned up.”
Neither Storm nor Wynter had noticed that their mother hadn’t entered the kitchen alone. “Uncle Shawn? Did you bring us something?” Wynter asked.
“Wynter Rose Donovan. You are not supposed to ask for gifts. Aren’t you at least going to say hello to your Uncle Shawn and Aunt Belle. And what about you Misty. Did you say hello?”
Misty looked up shyly at the two adults in the room as she moved closer to her mother. “Hi,” she said.
“Hello, Uncle Shawn,” Storm and Wynter chimed in together. They both turned to Belle and looked at her closely. Their greeting to her was made with downcast eyes and slightly subdued voices.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to see you,” Belle said gently. “I’ve been away but I’m back now and I will be around to see you more often if that’s all right with the three of you and your Mommy of course.
“That would be great, wouldn’t it girls?” Roxy replied.
The girls nodded still eying Belle cautiously.
“Misty will you help me get your little sisters cleaned up. We’ll let Mommy and Aunt Belle clean up the kitchen,” Shawn smiled at the little girl that had her father’s eyes and his smile.
She moved towards Shawn and held out her hand. “Okay, Uncle Shawn.”
“Come on girls, bath time,” Shawn said.
“Just a moment, Shawn,” Roxy said as she removed as much of the remains of the cookie dough out of Storm’s hair and clothing that she could. Then she quickly shook out the flour from Wynter’s clothing and brushed out as much as she could from her hair just using her fingers.
Shawn took Misty’s hand in his and let her lead the way with Storm and Wynter trailing behind.
Belle took one look at the mess and laughed. “Let’s get at it.”
“We can leave it and just go and sit out on the deck and talk,” Roxy said.
“Shawn was going to take the girls for ice cream if it was all right with you,” Belle explained. “We can make short work of this mess and then talk while he takes them out but of course that’s only if you agree.”
“He’ll have to take my van. Wynter needs to be in her booster seat.”
Forty-five minutes later they were sitting on the deck with tall glasses of iced tea waving goodbye to the girls as they followed Shawn to the garage.
“How are you doing, Belle?” Roxy asked.
“I’m better, Roxy. I’m more than better actually. I’ve finally laid all my demons to rest and I look forward to a long and happy life with my husband,” Belle smiled. Her eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth. She turned to Roxy. “Oh my god. How insensitive of me. I’m so sorry…”
Roxy covered Belle’s hand, the one that was gripping the arm rest of the deck chair. “Don’t apologise for being happy. It’s not necessary,” Roxy said quietly.
“But I’m talking about my future with my husband when your husband is…” Belle stopped. Talk about opening mouth inserting foot. I can’t seem to say anything right.
“Dead,” Roxy said, her voice steady and firm. “You can say it, Belle. Andrew is dead. I’ve accepted that. I miss him like crazy but I’ve learned that life has to go on. My girls need me. My regret is that I leaned too heavily on Shawn and I feel that I somehow contributed to your depression. For that I would like to apologise.”
“Let’s make a deal, Roxy. Let’s agree that apologies aren’t necessary. I just want you to know that you can call on Shawn and me at any time for anything. I’m going to work from home from now on. This time around I’ll be much more visible so that the girls know that Shawn and I are a family unit.”
Roxy smiled. “I know the girls would like to come out and spend some time at the cabin. They love that swimming pool.”
Belle laughed. “You’ve given me the opening I was looking for. How would you like to be our neighbour?”
“What are you talking about, Belle? There are no other houses near your place. Just the state park.”
“We have lots of property. You could build there. There’s a beautiful spot about two miles from where Shawn and I live that would be perfect to build. It would only require some minor landscaping because there are woods at the back of the property.”
“I don’t know…” Roxy said.
“If money is a concern. Don’t let it be. This would be a gift from Shawn and me.”
“Absolutely not. If
I decide to do this I will pay for it. Andrew left us very well cared for. Money isn’t the issue. It’s just…” she hesitated and then looked at Belle.
Belle was surprised by the soft light she saw in her friend’s eyes along with a little bit of nervousness. “It’s just…what?” Belle asked.
“I’m kind of seeing someone,” Roxy said so quietly that Belle could barely hear her.
“Kind of?” Belle coaxed.
“No. I’m seeing someone and it’s getting pretty serious between the two of us. I would want to talk to him first,” Roxy stated firmly.
“I can understand that,” Belle smiled at her friend. “You talk to him whenever you feel ready to. There’s no time limit for you to decide.”
“Does the offer still stand if it means I might want him to live with us out there?” Roxy asked hesitantly.
“Shawn and I have talked about the possibility of you eventually moving on and finding someone new to love and we both believe that if the man loves you and your children than he would have to be a pretty special guy. The fact that you love him tells us everything we need to know about him except his name,” Belle teased. “Are you going to spill?”
Roxy laughed. “I’d like to talk to him first. I want to be sure he’s okay with me announcing to Andrew’s first cousin and best friend that he’s the new man in my life.”
“Shawn and I will look forward to meeting this man. Now before Shawn returns I have some wedding business to discuss with you.”
“Wedding? Who’s getting married?” Roxy asked her brows furrowed as she tried to think of mutual acquaintances that might be getting married.
“Shawn and I want to renew our vows on our anniversary. It would be on Smith Island back home. Would you stand up for me like you did then?”
Roxy beamed. “Of course I will. And just maybe I’ll bring my mystery man with me so you can meet him,” she winked. “I have a feeling that both you and Shawn will be happy with my choice.”
“As long as you’re happy, Roxy, we’ll be happy. We love you.”
Roxy’s eyes filled with tears as she turned to her friend. “I love you both and I’m so glad you’re back, Belle. I’ve missed you.”
Shawn and the girls returned just as Belle and Roxy were hugging and shedding tears of mutual happiness. He watched indulgently and with a smile on his face as Belle worked her magic on the three little girls. He watched as Wynter held out her arms for Belle to lift her onto her lap. He didn’t miss the glint of fresh tears when Wynter clasped Belle’s face in her tiny hands and whispered “Kisses, Auntie.” His breath caught in his chest as she looked up and their eyes met. He was looking into the eyes of the woman he had fallen in love with oh so many years ago. He couldn’t see a trace of the woman she had become after Andrew’s death. I love you
he mouthed silently and sighed happily when she returned the gesture. Life was only going to get better, of that he was sure. He settled back into the lounge chair and closed his eyes savouring the feeling of contentment that filled him.
Belle glanced over at the relaxed form of her husband and smiled. “Now what story do you want Auntie Belle to read?” she asked and laughed as all three of the girls answered at once each with a different story request.
August 8, 2018 Smith Island 7pm
Shawn stood patiently under the flower covered arbour his bare toes curling into the warm sand. He was feeling very emotional. He was overjoyed to be renewing his vows today with the woman who had held his heart probably her entire life but saddened that Andrew was not there to stand up for him like he had been seven years ago. Roxy and Mimi were going to be part of this wedding party just like the first one but instead of Andrew and Brady it would be Zach and Brady. He was dressed basically the same. A white short sleeved shirt worn over a pair of black dress pants. Roxy and Mimi wore sundresses. They weren’t identical to the ones they wore seven years ago but they were similar in colour and style.
Basically the same people that attended the marriage were here for the renewal of their vows. Shawn smiled at Rex and Taylor and their children. His half-brother gave him a big grin and a thumbs up. It had only been a few short weeks ago that Shawn had stood up for him at his wedding. What a difference a few years makes. For years we thought he was Belle’s brother and our enemy. Now he’s my brother and a well loved member of the Brady family.
He glanced back at Mimi who was looking decidedly uncomfortable and whispered something to Brady.
Brady took his wife’s elbow and led her to an empty chair in the front row. “Why don’t you sit down until Belle is ready to make her appearance?”
Mimi laughed. “If I sit down I’m going to need help getting up,” she said as she rubbed her swollen belly. She was due to give birth to their second child next week.
Taylor came running and sat next to her mother. “Hi, Dad,” she smiled at her father.
“Hey, pumpkin. Mom’s just going to rest for a bit until your aunt Belle decides to make an appearance.”
“She looks beautiful, Dad. I just saw her,” Taylor replied.
Shawn overheard what his niece said. “Your Aunt Belle always looks beautiful even when she doesn’t have any makeup on and her hair is all mussed up but I can’t convince her of that.”
“You just need to keep telling her that, Uncle Shawn. My Dad tells my Mom every day that she is the most beautiful woman in the world even now when she’s so fat,” Taylor giggled.
“Hey, there. You’re mom’s not fat she’s just pregnant,” Brady protested and then winked. “Very
Mimi was too tired to protest. She knew that Brady was as excited about their baby as she was. They had been trying for the past five years to give Taylor a baby brother or baby sister but it hadn’t worked out for them. They worried that the eight year gap between siblings would be too much for the children to bridge as they grew older but with love and tolerance they knew that everything would work out. They just had to look to their convoluted extended family for support and reassurance.
Taylor poked her mom. “It’s time. Aunt Belle is here.”
Shawn looked towards the end of the aisle and his breath caught in his throat. She was wearing the same dress she had worn when they were married but there was something even more radiant about her today. She literally glowed. An aura of happiness, peace and serenity bathed her features and she seemed to be literally floating on air as she made her way to him.
A quietness entered his soul. He was at peace. Looking at her beautiful face and then into her clear, shining blue eyes he saw his love for her reflected back at him. Everything was alright in their world and somehow he just knew that nothing and no one would ever tear them apart again.
Tears filled her eyes as stood opposite her husband. She could sense that he had let go of the last vestige of his misgivings. He trusted in their love again. She had thought it would take a long time but in the past six weeks since her return they had spent practically every moment together. She had gone with him into Spokane to help get things organized at his new offices. The building was run down but they had done the best they could do. They had kept his furnishings very low key. Considering his clients were going to be homeless people with no regular source of income the last thing he wanted was anything flashy or expensive looking in his office. She had gotten to know Cleavon and his family and marvelled at the level of commitment and sacrifice that the entire family had in their efforts to make the lives of the less fortunate better. She only hoped that they could instil that same level of selflessness in their children.
She reached up and wiped away the lone tear trickling down the side of his face with the pad of her thumb. “I love you,” she whispered.
He cupped her face and kissed her. “I love you,” he whispered back.
“Uh…excuse me but that’s supposed to come after
the ceremony,” Father Gregory joked.
All their friends and family laughed along with the priest. Shawn and Belle just stared into each others eyes their hands clasped together.
The ceremony progressed quickly. “Shawn and Belle have chosen to exchange rings and say a few words along with a selected wedding vow. Shawn,” Father Gregory prompted.
He took a deep breath. He couldn’t believe how nervous and excited he was. Good lord, Shawn it’s not like this is the first time and that you’re not already married to this gorgeous creature. Rein it in, man. Tell her how you feel.
“Belle. Forgive me but I don’t know where to start. I had something written but in this moment it just doesn’t seem to say enough. I honestly don’t think I can put into words how much I love you. Without you I’m just a shell of a human being. You complete me. You are my everything. I loved you in all my yesterdays; I will love you for all my tomorrows. I will love you forever, Isabella. I will love you for all eternity.” He couldn’t say anyone. His emotions were threatening to overpower him and he could hear the tremor in his voice.
Belle sniffed trying to keep her tears in check but she failed. She took a moment to get a tissue from Roxy and dab her eyes. “Thank you, Shawn. Thank you for loving me. You show me each and every day with every word and every action how you feel about me. I hope that I do the same for you. I love you with every fibre of my being, Shawn Douglas Brady. You are my life. You are my everything. Always have been and always will be. I love you.”
Brady handed the rings to the priest who blessed them before handing them over to Shawn and Belle.
Shawn took Belle’s left hand in his and placed the new band on her finger. “Fifteen years ago Belle I promised you the ocean, moon and stars. When we got married seven years ago the rings signified the moon and stars. As we renew our vows before God, our family and our friends I want to fulfill that promise I made all those years ago. This ring signifies the ocean.”
Belle looked down at the sapphire encrusted gold band. “It’s beautiful,” she said through a fresh batch of tears.
He drew her gaze back to his. He wanted her to see the truth in the words of the vow that they had researched and decided on together. “God has given us a second chance at happiness. I come today to give you my love, to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I promise to bring you joy, to be at home with your spirit and to learn to love you more each day, through all the days of our lives. My love for you is endless and eternal.”
He paid no attention to the tears that coursed down his cheeks. His eyes remained riveted to those of the woman he loved.
Belle heard the rustle as their friends and family searched for tissues. She heard her father sniff loudly and knew he was affected by the love and sincerity that had coursed through Shawn’s voice. She placed the new band on his finger breaking their gaze. “This is a Celtic wedding band. An endless circle of linked hearts that signifies the eternal joining of our hearts, minds and souls.”
Shawn looked down at the band. The relief of the knot pattern against the frosted background radiated warmth and texture. Thank you
he mouthed silently.
She repeated the vow that he had spoken a few minutes ago. “God has given us a second chance at happiness. I come today to give you my love, to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I promise to bring you joy, to be at home with your spirit and to learn to love you more each day, through all the days of our lives. My love for you is endless and eternal.”
“Just a few more formalities and than you will be free to celebrate,” Father Gregory smiled warmly.
Shawn and Belle turned to face him.
“Shawn, do you here, in the presence of God and of this congregation, renew the promises you made when you bound yourself to Isabella in holy matrimony?”
He answered loudly and clearly. “You bet I do.” He smirked when Belle gave him a quizzical glance. “I do,” he said in a slightly more subdued voice but his smile never wavered.
“Isabella, do you here, in the presence of God and of this congregation, renew the promises you made when you bound yourself to Shawn in holy matrimony?”
“You bet I do.” She winked at Shawn then responded again, “I do.”
Father Gregory smiled and then blessed them. “May the Holy Trinity bless you this day and forever. Amen.”
“Amen,” everyone repeated and then stood up and cheered as Shawn and Belle made their way down the makeshift aisle in the sand.
They partied until almost one in the morning. The younger children were nestled into sleeping bags inside the cabin as the parents enjoyed the food and company outside. They had arranged for a catering company to be onsite to barbecue their meal. There was something for everyone. A wood dance floor had been constructed and a DJ spun records so that anyone that wanted to dance could.
It took almost an hour to clean up a bit outside and then carry the sleeping children to the boats that were going to take everyone except Belle and Shawn back to Salem.
“Honey, I’m home,” he called out jokingly as he entered the cottage. She came out of the washroom covered in a floor length heavy robe. His eyes travelled over her from head to toe. “That’s a radically different look from that little piece of nothing you wore on our wedding night,” he said hoping his disappointment couldn’t be heard in his voice.
She grinned. “Don’t worry, honey. I can guarantee that you will like what’s underneath. I wanted to talk to you for a bit and I knew I could never get you to focus on what I was saying if I paraded around in the outfit I have on.”
He reached for the belt. “Talking is highly overrated,” he growled.
She slapped playfully at his hand. “I really
want to talk first, Shawn. Why don’t you go change into something more comfortable?”
“Well if I must,” he grumbled good-naturedly as he headed towards the back of the cabin.
“Oh sweetheart,” she called out.
He turned back to look at her.
“Make sure that whatever you change into is easy to remove.”
He winked and disappeared into the bathroom.
In less than ten minutes he returned with just a navy blue towel knotted low on his hip. “Easy enough?” he asked as he bobbed his eyebrows up and down.
She laughed. “You are such a goof,” she teased. “A lovable goof but goofy none the same.”
“Is my goofiness
what you wanted to discuss?” he teased.
She couldn’t disguise her happiness. She radiated with it. “Let’s sit.”
He did so reluctantly. He was really hoping this wasn’t going to be a one of the long conversations that they had engaged in frequently over the last six weeks. They had talked about everything and nothing. They had talked long into the night. The odd time they had talked so far into the night that the sun was making an appearance. Of course they had spent many nights making love as well and that is what he really wanted to be doing right now.
“What’s on your mind?” he asked.
“Did you enjoy the day?” she asked innocently.
“I missed being with you until the ceremony and I especially missed spending the night with you. The bed and my arms just felt so empty,” he said giving her his famous puppy dog look.
She giggled. “I missed you last night too. I know we didn’t really have to follow the not see each other before the ceremony tradition
but it did give me the opportunity to spend some time with Mom and Dad and Brady and Mimi. Besides one night of abstinence will make tonight special.”
He returned her smile. “We haven’t missed a night since you returned, have we?”
“Or day,” she grinned back.
He reached for her hand. “One night away from you was too much. Are you sure we can’t put this conversation on hold until later…several hours later preferably?”
“No, sweetheart. Please be patient with me,” she pleaded.
“You know that I can’t say no to you. Especially when you widen those baby blues on me and go all doe-eyed,” he said softly.
“What did you think of the menu tonight, Shawn?”
He looked at her in shock. “You want to talk about the caterer?” he asked, his voice rising.
“Not particularly. I was wondering what you thought of the menu
“Jesus, Belle. The food was fine. I was too busy looking at you to really pay attention to what I was eating. I just don’t understand why you want to talk about the food…”
“Not the food, Shawn,” she interrupted, “the menu.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?” he asked, his confusion apparent in his voice.
Belle sighed theatrically. She handed him a copy of the menu that had been printed for the guests. “I’ll go get you the special dessert I ordered just for you while you look over the menu. It truly is special.”
He was more confused than ever. Menu. Special. Is? Hell, the meal is over and done with. Why does she want me to ready the menu now? And dessert? I’m craving something sweet but a confectioner’s delight isn’t what I had in mind.
He forced himself to focus on the printed menu. He read it once. He read it twice and his pulse rate increased substantially. Could she be…are we…
He read it again.
Baby Spinach Salad with Tomato and Mozzarella
Baby Back Ribs Barbecued
Baby Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
She plopped a bowl in front of him and he looked at the ingredients and then up at her.
She laughed at the goofy grin on his face and the slightly dazed look in his warm chocolate brown orbs.
He looked at the confection in front of him; ice cream garnished with a dill pickle and the small silver baby spoon. He flew out of his chair not the least bit worried that it crashed to the floor or that the towel that had been around his hips fell unnoticed to the wood floor. “You’re pregnant? We’re having a baby?”
His excitement was contagious. She hurled herself into his outstretched arms and laughed as he twirled her around. “Yes, Shawn. Yes. We’re having a baby.”
He set her down gently. “When. How?”
“Around the end of March. And I think you know how
, she teased.
“I mean when and how did you find out for sure?”
“I took a home pregnancy test a couple of weeks ago and then I went to see the same Ob-Gyn yesterday that I saw before I came home at the end of June. I had the blood test done and it came back positive,” she beamed.
“You’ve known for a couple of weeks and you’re just telling me now
“I couldn’t think of a better…uh…renewal wedding vow gift to give you,” she said softly.
He kissed her soundly. “It’s the best gift possible but from now on this pregnancy is ours. I want to go with you each time you go to the doctor. I don’t want to miss a thing.”
“I’ll get Dr. Gordon to recommend a good specialist for us when we get back from our honeymoon. Do people who renew their vows get to call their trip after a honeymoon?”
Shawn laughed. “Who cares? We can call it anything we want,” he said as he undid the belt of her robe. He sucked in his breath when he saw the exquisite camisole she was wearing. It had the tiniest of straps; it tied together at the center of her breasts and then hung open revealing her still flat stomach, the edges trimmed in scalloped appliqués. With it she wore a matching g-string. He dropped to his knees in front of her and placed his palms down gently over her stomach.
She ruffled his hair as she felt him stroking her belly.
He leaned in and pressed small little kisses to her stomach. “Hi, baby. This is your daddy. I can’t wait to see you. I promise you that I will love and protect you always. Your mommy and I will always be here for you.”
She felt the dampness of his tears against her skin. “Shawn…” she breathed.
He stood and cupped her face. “I love you, Mrs. Brady. You have made me the happiest man on earth.”
“I love you, too Mr. Brady. Now how about taking me to bed and showing me just how much you love me,” she murmured against his lips.
“For you,” he said, “I’ll do anything,” he said as he lifted her and carried her to the bed.
Wedding Vow courteous of http://www.gettingremarried.com/second_marriage_ceremony.html
Chapter 50 – NC17
August 9, 2018 Horton Cabin Smith Island
Belle stretched languorously and reached out for her husband. She moaned in protest when all her searching hand found was bed linen. She cracked open one eye to verify her findings. She was right. His half of the bed was empty. She yawned delicately and stretched again a small smile playing across her lips. Her body ached in places she hadn’t realised could ache. After her announcement last night Shawn had shown her over and over in the most creative ways exactly how much he loved her.
She threw back the top sheet and slipped out of the bed. While she had been living in Canada Shawn had an addition built on to the cabin. A large, luxurious bathroom with running water. He had left the outdoor shower intact for use after swimming but it was a vast improvement not to have to wait for the sun to warm the water. Hot water at the turn of a tap was taken for granted and she had never realised what a luxury it was until it wasn’t available. Wearing only a smile and her wedding rings she headed to the bathroom where she heard the shower running.
Steam filled the tiled room, the floor feeling slick and cool against the bottom of her feet. He didn’t hear her come in so she didn’t say anything content to watch him through the frosted glass. She was so happy, exhilarated and anticipating the next phase of their life together.
She watched him standing under the spray running soap over his body. Within minutes she was dying to touch him, to be the one whose hands lathered his slick muscled body. She opened the glass door and slipped in behind him. He wasn’t surprised when she ran her hands down his back and curled them around his waist pressing herself against him. A small moan escaped her parted lips. She didn’t think she would ever get enough of him.
“Good morning,” he said in a sleep roughened voice that sent shivers down her spine.
“I should have known you knew that I was in the room. It appears that you like to be watched,” she teased.
He turned, his skin all slick and slippery as it rubbed against hers. “Only by you, baby. Only by you.” He took her mouth without even opening his eyes, sliding his fingers into her hair. His kiss went on … and on … and on … until she was barely able to stand upright, her need for him so strong that it left her body weak.
Without speaking he grabbed her hips and lifted her off her feet backing her against the tile. He thrust inside her as she was wrapping her legs around his waist. She grabbed his head and pulled his mouth back to hers. They panted and gasped, growled and groaned and then moaned and panted some more as he continued pushing himself inside her.
Her orgasm whipped through her, the pleasure so great that it wrenched one sobbing moan after another from somewhere deep inside her. Shawn buried his face in the curve of her neck, water beating down on him as he grunted and groaned his way through his own climax, pushing, pulsing, pushing until they both collapsed panting for air against the wet tiles.
It was several minutes later, when their bodies stopped shuddering, their breathing became less laboured that he finally lifted his head and dropped a heartbreakingly sweet kiss on her lips.
She smiled. “Remind me to always start my day in the shower with you.”
“I can’t think of a better way to start off each day, Mrs. Brady,” he grinned. He helped her up ignoring her groans of protest. “Come on, sweetie. We need to finish up in here. Everyone is waiting for us at the Brady pub.”
“I told everyone that we didn’t want any gifts so I hope it’s just a get together for brunch before we take off on our second honeymoon.” Her eyes glimmered as the water clung to her lashes. “Speaking of honeymoons, just where are we going?”
“I guess I can tell you now. We’re going back to where this all began.”
She slid her arms around his neck. “We’re going to island near Puerto Rico. Perfect, Shawn!”
Two hours later they approached the Brady pub walking hand in hand. “Shawn, what do you think of the new man in Roxy’s life?”
Shawn stopped and looked down at this wife. “I’d be a hypocrite if I said he wasn’t good enough for her or that I didn’t approve. Derek and I have been friends since he joined the Spokane Crime Scene Investigation division. Andrew and Derek also became friends after Andrew moved to Spokane. I really believe that Andrew would approve of their relationship. He had great respect for Derek.”
“As Derek still respects Andrew. Roxy told me that he doesn’t want the pictures of Andrew put away. He wants the girls to remember their father and how much he loved them.”
“I had a chance to talk to Uncle Shane, Aunt Kim and Jeannie and her husband during the reception last night. They are all very happy for Roxy. Apparently when Shane was visiting Jeannie and Stuart after the birth of their first child, Roxy, Derek and the girls flew down to L.A. Uncle Shane said Derek spoke to them about his love for Roxy and her daughters, Andrew’s daughters and how he hoped that Andrew’s family would remain a big part of their lives. He doesn’t want the girls to forget about their Donovan heritage.”
“I watched him with the girls last night, Shawn. They adore him.”
“I noticed that as well. I made sure that the photographer got a short of Storm curled up asleep in his arms in front of the bonfire as he was telling a story to all the kids.”
“Have you talked to him, Shawn? Roxy said he was very nervous about what your reaction would be. Not only were you and Andrew cousins, you were also best friends.”
“The right time didn’t present itself last night. I’ll make sure I speak to him before we leave for the airport later this afternoon.”
Belle nudged Shawn and nodded her head in the direction of the pub. “I see several pairs of eyes peeking through the windows,” she laughed. “We better get inside.”
They entered and were immediately swept into numerous hugs, handshakes and kisses. They were separated almost immediately but she always knew where he was. The were so in tune that she could feel when his eyes were on her and all she would have to do is lift her head to turn and meet his ardent gaze.
The brunch gave them a chance to reconnect with family and friends that were at Rex and Taylor’s wedding and to catch up with those that had not been there and that they hadn’t spent much time with at their reception.
Despite their protestation to the contrary there was a table stacked with beautifully wrapped gift boxes and pretty gift bags. They spent a good hour appropriately oohing and aahing
over the various gifts ranging from electronics to the finest crystal. Belle didn’t know where she was going to put half the stuff or when they would find a use for some of the gifts but she knew an opportunity would invariably present itself.
Shawn and Belle rose so that they could thank everyone but before they could say a word, John spoke out. “Sit down you two. We have something else to present to you.”
“Dad,” Belle said.
“Izzy B, just sit, please,” John cajoled.
Phil, Nicole, Brady, Mimi and Marlena joined John. “We want to wish you both nothing but the best. Shawn has started a new phase of his career by joining and funding a law firm whose clients are the homeless of Spokane. Clients that will rarely be able to pay for services rendered. Shawn has set up a non-profit organization to fund the clinic using the money from his trust fund that Victor had set up for him.”
“Dad, I told you that I would make sure there was enough money left to provide for Belle and our children,” Shawn stated. “I would never short shift my family.”
“And Dad, don’t forget, my little career brings in some money,” Belle joked.
“I still can’t believe my best friend is a best selling author, world renown in fact,” Mimi gushed.
“Thanks, Meems. Dad seems to think my writing is just a little hobby of mine that brings in some spare change,” Belle replied, tongue-in-cheek.
John protested. “I’m very proud of you and your accomplishments, Izzy but we’re getting off topic here. We fully support the path Shawn has chosen. What this little gathering is about is to put our money where our mouths are. Shawn is doing so much, not just talking a good game. We also know that you are working right alongside him, Belle. We want to do something as well.”
“Dad, I assure you…” Shawn started to say but John interrupted.
“Hear me out son. Basic Black and Titan Inc. have joined forces to assist you with your endeavours. Both companies have pledged a percentage of sales from our retail fashion stores to be used to assist the homeless with getting back on track. Land has been purchased and construction on the Black Titan Learning and Employment Centre begins next week. I’ll let Brady explain what the facility’s purpose will be.”
Belle clutched Shawn’s hand tightly. “I can’t believe this, Shawn,” she whispered.
“We understand that a percentage o f homeless people are people that fell on hard times. Businesses’ downsize, jobs are lost and new ones can’t be found. Medical bills bankrupt families. We are also aware that a percentage of people end up on the street due to various addictions. We aren’t targeting that group with this centre because there are all types of various programs and facilities to help the addicts. What we want to accomplish at the Black Titan Centre is renewed hope and self-confidence. We will hire trained professionals to help people with resumes and coach them on how to handle job interviews. We will also establish an employment agency that we hope in time the businesses of Spokane will learn to trust and come to first when looking for new employees. Another facet to the centre is that we will provide a fitting wardrobe to those going on job interviews. The final purpose of the centre will be to award scholarships to the children of homeless parents so that they can be afforded the same level of education that the rest of us take for granted. Along with the scholarships we will offer funding for retraining programs for those who qualify and wish to better themselves. We hope that with Shawn and his partners we can establish a model centre that other cities throughout the country will copy.” Brady stopped to take a sip of water.
Mimi leaned in and whispered in Brady’s ear and he chuckled.
“My beautiful wife just reminded me that I forgot to mention one important fact. The centre will also house your new law offices, Shawn.”
Shawn and Belle watched as Phil and Zach carried over the architect’s scale model of the centre.
“I don’t know what to say,” Shawn said, clearly moved as he studied the impressive model.
“Maybe you should let your writer wife speak for you,” Bo joked.
“I’m as overwhelmed by this show of generosity as Shawn is,” Belle said, her voice choked with silent tears.
“Cleavon is going to be totally blown away by this,” Shawn said. “I can’t wait for you to meet him. He and his family are truly an inspiration to myself and Belle and hopefully, one day our children.” Shawn leaned down and kissed Belle’s cheek. “It’s up to you, dear,” he said softly into her ear.
She smiled up at him. “I doubt we’ll have a better opportunity or so many of our family and friends together in the same place.”
“What are the two of you whispering about?” Hope demanded. “You both have been in this special little world of your own since you arrived. What gives?”
“Fancy Face, has it been so long that you don’t remember what a couple that has just been married generally ends up doing all night long,” Bo drawled.
Hope mock punched her husband. “Probably the same thing we did when we got home last night,” she quipped. “But this is more than afterglow.”
Shawn laughed. “That’s my Mom and Dad. I should be used to your openness and your proclivity to share your personal information but come on…you’re my parents
. I just don’t want to know.”
Bo slapped him on the back. “We’ll remind you of that, son when your kids make strange faces and groan when you and Belle kiss in front of them.”
Belle poked Shawn and whispered. “You couldn’t ask for a better opening.”
“I guess we’ll see, Dad if your prediction is correct. We’ll start putting it to the test as soon as our first child makes his or her debut,” he paused. “In about seven and a half months.”
Hope and Marlena were the first to react. Marlena gasped and broke into tears. Hope let out a loud yell and launched herself into Bo’s arms, kissing him soundly. “We’re going to be grandparents, Bo,” she said and then quickly added on, “again.”
Rex said, “Mom, its okay to be excited.”
Taylor added, “Yes, Mom. Jordie and Tyler know that Rex is in the process of adopting them but they love their grandparents. My ex could care less about his children but his parents dote on them. They’ve basically disowned their own son to stand by me and the children. We understand. This will be your first biological grandchild. You have every right to be happy and excited.”
After hugging Rex and Taylor, Hope turned to Belle who was being hugged fiercely by both John and Marlena. They moved aside to let Bo and Hope congratulate the happy couple.
Derek and Roxy hung back and waited until everyone else had their moment with the new parents to be.
Belle and Shawn finally had a quiet moment to themselves when they saw Derek and Roxy approach them hesitantly. Belle held out her arms and Roxy relaxed and gave her a quick hug. “I’m so happy for you both,” she said.
Derek shook Shawn’s hand. “Congrats, old buddy. It looks like all your dreams have come true. I remember thinking after I met you that you were living in a vacuum, putting your life on hold waiting for a dead woman to come back to you. You never gave up on Belle. You never gave up on your love for her or hers for you. When we discovered that Lil was Belle, something you had always believed to be true, I realised that what you two share is very rare indeed. You are an incredibly lucky man and I envy you.”
“No need to envy me, Derek. I admire you. You treat Roxy and her girls like they were precious gold.”
“I love her, Shawn. All of her. The girls are part of who she is. How could I not love them? I know that part of her heart will always belong with Andrew however I also know that Roxy loves me. She and the girls have made such a difference in my life, Shawn, I can’t even begin to explain it.”
“You don’t need to explain it, Derek. I understand.”
Derek smiled. “I don’t mind admitting that I was scared shitless about making our relationship public, especially to you.”
“Belle was telling me about the trepidation you were feeling about telling me. You and I are friends. You had to know how happy I would be for the both of you.”
“You and Andrew were not only best friends but family and I guess that old adage blood is thicker than water
was preying on my mind.”
“Andrew and I were close, Derek, I’m not going to deny that. We talked a lot. He liked you. He said your were probably one of the most stand up guys he had ever met. I firmly believe that Andrew is watching over us and that he’s smiling.”
“Thanks, Shawn. That means a lot to me,” Derek said.
“Roxy has something she wants to tell us, Shawn. Are you two done with the male bonding thing,” Belle grinned.
Shawn curled his arm around her waist and felt her nestle against him.
“I’ve talked this over with the girls and with Derek, of course, and we would like to take you up on your generous offer. With your permission we’d like to start construction on our new home the week after you return from your trip.”
Belle hugged both Roxy and Derek. “That’s great.”
“We’re hoping that the girls and I can move in by Christmas,” Roxy said, her voice filled with excitement.
“What about Derek?” Shawn asked.
“We haven’t told anyone else yet but Derek and I are going to get married next June. We’d like the both of you to stand up for us. It will be a very small wedding at our new home,” Roxy blushed.
“Congratulations,” Shawn said as he shook Derek’s hand and kissed Roxy on the cheek.
Derek held Roxy’s hand. “Keep the information to yourselves for now. We’ll become officially engaged at Christmas. Roxy is going to invite Andrew’s family to spend the holidays with her and we’ll make the formal announcement then.”
Belle was about to congratulate them when she heard Bo calling for her and Shawn to join him near the bar. John, Marlena, Hope, Brady, Mimi, Philip, Nicole, Rex and Taylor stood next to him.
“This day couldn’t possibly get any better, Dad. What more do you have to add?” Shawn questioned.
“I believe your day is about to get a whole lot better. You’ve been saying for quite some time that you don’t get the chance to spend as much time with your brother Rex as you wished you could. That is about to change,” Bo grinned.
Shawn turned to Rex. “What’s up, bro?”
“I talked this over with John, Brady and Philip and of course my wife and children. It’s a quick decision but we feel that it’s the right decision for our new family,” Rex replied.
“What are you talking about?” Belle asked.
“As you know I control the DiMera fortune and I’ve been dispersing the bulk of the money to charity. I couldn’t think of a more fitting course of justice than to use the DiMera millions to support a cause run by the families that Stefano and Tony tried to destroy. With your agreement Taylor and I will head the centre and its operation and look after the funding so you just have to focus on the legal side of things.”
“That would mean that you would have to move to Spokane. Are you really willing to relocate?” Belle asked.
“We are,” Rex and Taylor answered together.
Shawn embraced Rex. “Wonderful. We’ll be practically neighbours and working together. We’ll definitely be seeing more of each other. When will you be moving?”
“It’s going to be very quick,” Taylor laughed. “We will be flying out to Spokane in the next couple of days to look for a place. Even if we don’t find anything we’ll want to be there before school starts. Mom has agreed to look after selling our home in Salem,” Taylor said as she embraced Hope. “If we don’t find anything suitable we’ll stay in a hotel until we do.”
“Nonsense. You’ll stay with us until you get settled,” Belle said, her tone of voice brooking no argument.
“How are you with all of this, Mom?” Shawn asked a teary-eyed Hope.
“Just expect to see a lot more of your father and me,” Hope smiled. “All the more reason for us to visit more often.”
“Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but it’s time,” Mimi said loudly.
“Meems, we’re using dad’s corporate jet to fly to Puerto Rico. We can leave anytime,” Belle said, slightly confused.
“No, I mean it’s time
,” Mimi eked out the last few words as she clutched her stomach.
Mass confusion ensued until finally Hope calmly organised Mimi’s departure for the hospital.
Shawn and Belle waited it out with the rest of the family. Nine hours later Joshua Victor Black made his entrance into the world. Two hours after that the plane was in the air and Shawn was tucking his exhausted wife into bed.
“Sleeping isn’t exactly what I envisioned us doing in this bed,” Belle murmured, her voice husky.
“We have all the time in the world to do everything you envisioned. What’s important is that you and our baby get the rest you need,” he said as he slid under the sheets and pulled her close to him.
“Our baby. That sounds so wonderful, Shawn,” she said sleepily. “I love you.”
“I love you, too. Goodnight Belle.” He rested his hand on her stomach and bent down to kiss the smooth, silky skin. “Goodnight, little one. Daddy loves you.”
March 30, 2019 Roxy’s New Home
Belle lowered herself gingerly into one of the dining room chairs, one hand clutching the back of the chair the other resting lightly on her swollen abdomen. She groaned softly.
Roxy looked up from the box she was unpacking. “Are you okay, Belle?” she asked.
“If you count feeling like a beached whale okay I can answer truthfully with yes,” she answered wearily. “I’m really not being much of a help with the unpacking, am I?”
“Don’t you worry about that, Belle. You shouldn’t be doing anything. You’re due to give birth any day now.”
“Overdue is more like it,” Belle muttered. She looked up as she heard Rex, Shawn, Bo, Zach and Derek carrying in one of the sofas. She had to laugh as the men joked about who was carrying most of the load. “That would be me,” she called out.
After the sofa was put into the spot Roxy wanted it in Shawn jogged over to her. “How’s my baby?” he said softly as he brushed his lips against hers.
“We definitely have a little soccer player or place kicker on our hands. He or she is extremely active. I swear I can feel the kicks even in my back today.”
Shawn chuckled. “I was asking about you, sweetheart.”
“I’m so tired of being so big,” she pouted.
“And beautiful,” he said quietly concerned about how fragile and tired she look. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take you home so you can get some rest. Mom should be back from the airport in a few minutes. It will be several hours before we finish moving and unpacking. I’ll come and pick you up when we’re done.”
“I can’t wait to see Mom and Dad again and of course Brady and Mimi and our niece and nephew as well. I wonder if Phil and Nicole are making the trip with them. I know Taylor is very anxious to have her sister here this evening. Do you have any idea of why?”
“No, I don’t but I’m sure we’ll find out. Now I better get back before the guys come looking for me. As soon as Mom shows up I’ll take you home and hopefully your mother will stay with you.”
“I don’t need a babysitter, Shawn,” she scolded. “Speaking of babysitters, I wonder how Taylor is doing with all the kids upstairs.”
“She’s fine, Belle. While you and Shawn were talking I went up and checked on them. It was a smart move on our part to get the family room finished and furnished before moving in. They’re watching a movie right now. I’m about to make them some lunch. Do you want anything?” Roxy asked.
“I’m not hungry but thanks for asking. I’m going to go home and lie down. I just don’t feel good.”
“Do you need me to take you into the hospital. Should I call the doctor?” Shawn asked.
“No. I mean that I’m tired.”
“Are you sure you’re not having labour pains?” Shawn asked.
“I’m feeling twinges but it’s nothing out of the ordinary, Shawn,” she replied as Hope followed by Marlena and John entered the house. “Mom, Dad,” she burst into tears.
Marlena rushed to her side. “Oh dear. What’s the matter?”
Belle wiped away her tears. “I’m just overly hormonal, Mom. It comes with the territory. I’m so happy to see you both.”
“What about your big brother, are you happy to see him too?” Brady chimed in.
After hugging everyone Shawn helped her up from the chair. “Mom, I’m going to take Belle back to the cabin to get some rest. Can you stay with her?”
“Of course, I will,” Marlena replied.
“We’ll see you back here for the barbecue, Belle. In a way it worked out for the best that the house wasn’t ready by Christmas. We have an early spring and it is sure making moving in a lot easier,” Roxy said.
“Later,” Belle said as she left.
Later that evening
Belle pushed the food around on her plate trying to make it look like she was actually eating. She was having a hard time finding a comfortable spot. The nagging pain in her back wasn’t helping matters.
Shawn watched Belle playing with her food. He could see that she was in pain. He was about to lean over and tell her he was taking her to the hospital whether she wanted to go or not when Rex struck his fork against his beer mug. “Listen up everyone. Taylor and I have an announcement to make.” He waited for Taylor to make her way to his side. “As you know we’ve been living in Spokane since August and we love it here. Construction on the centre is actually slightly ahead of schedule at the moment and we’re feeling confident that our opening date of October first will be met. As you’ve read in some of the newspapers and watched some news programs on television, the centre and its purposes are drawing a lot of buzz throughout the nation. We’ve accomplished part of our goal before we’ve even opened.”
Everyone cheered and clapped. “What’s the announcement, bro?” Shawn called out. “Is it anything to do with the centre?”
“Not really. It will have some impact because for the first little while after the centre opens Taylor won’t be able to work with me. I’ll be on my own.”
“Why’s that, son?” Hope called out.
“Because she’s going to be at home taking care of the newest Brady,” he answered proudly. “We’re expecting our first child in August. In fact Taylor’s due date is Shawn and Belle’s anniversary date.”
Hope was the first up to congratulate the happy couple. Shawn helped Belle from the chair. She took a couple of steps forward and then doubled over in pain. “Oh god, Shawn. It’s time.”
For a split second, Shawn panicked and then his police training took over. “How far apart are your contractions?”
She was about to answer when she doubled over again.
“Jesus, Belle. They’re less than a minute apart. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“Get me home, now,” she said between clenched teeth.
By this time everyone had noticed that Belle was in pain. “Come on, Shawn. We’ll drive you both to the hospital,” John offered.
Belle groaned and held Shawn’s hand in a vise-like grip. “No time. Shawn, please get me home. The baby is coming.”
Shawn didn’t argue. He helped her into the SUV and crawled in the back with her. He threw his keys to Bo. “Drive, Dad.” Hope and Marlena piled into the front with Bo.
“We’ll clean up quickly out here and then the rest of us will follow,” John called out.
“Dad, tell Derek to call for an ambulance to come out to the cabin.”
“Will do, son.”
Bo was driving as carefully as he could over the newly constructed gravel road that joined the two properties.
“Breathe, Belle. Remember the Lamaze classes,” he said gently. “Dad, step on it.”
Within minutes Bo pulled up in front of the cabin. He jumped out and opened the door and helped Belle out of the vehicle. Shawn was right behind her.
“Oh no,” Belle said as she looked down at her feet. Her pants were stained and there was a pool of water at her feet.
“Shawn, her water has broken. We don’t have much time,” Marlena said calmly.
Shawn was slightly dazed but shook his head to clear it. “Do you know how to deliver a baby?” he asked, his voice breaking up.
“It’s not something I was trained to do, but you were Shawn. I think between the two of us we can manage.” Marlena turned to Hope. “Run upstairs and strip off their bed.” She turned to Shawn. “Do you have anything rubber or plastic that we can put down over the mattress so it isn’t damaged.”
“Mom, I can afford a new mattress. Don’t worry,” Shawn said anxiously.
“I know you can but what happens if Belle wants to stay in the bed after the delivery,” Marlena responded.
“Yes, there’s a roll of heavy duty plastic in the garage, Dad…”
“I’ll take care of it, son. You get into the house upstairs and get Belle changed into something more comfortable.”
Within minutes the mattress was covered in layers of plastic and covered with a plain white sheet and several towels to absorb the blood. Shawn had helped Belle into a loose cotton nightgown and then went to change into sweats. He scrubbed and scoured his shaking hands. Before he headed back into the bedroom he took several deep breaths trying to calm his nerves.
Hope and Marlena had brought up a bowl of ice chips and some ice water.
“Honey, I need to examine you,” Shawn said soothingly. He noticed that she was hanging on to both Hope and Marlena’s hands and breathing through another contraction.
“I have to push, Shawn,” she said between clenched teeth.
Shawn pushed the blanket down and got her to slide her feet up. Jesus, the baby is crowning. There is no way in hell the ambulance is going to get here in time.
“Mom, find some scissors and sterilize them please. Marlena go and get some blankets from the nursery and a cloth to clean the baby. It isn’t going to be long now.”
“When your next contraction starts, bear down and push, Belle.”
“I’ll try,” she answered weakly.
“You can do it, Belle. I know you can.”
Ten minutes later, Shawn was holding their son in his hands. Tears flowed down his face as he looked up at Belle. “We have a son.”
Belle sobbed as Shawn held up the baby for her to see. Marlena and Hope came in at just that moment and they both started to cry. The baby let out a wail.
Shawn chuckled. “Our son is telling us enough blubbering. It’s time to look after him. We need to clean him up and wrap him in something warm. But first we need to cut the umbilical cord.”
Shawn and Belle cut the cord together and Shawn improvised and used a clamp from the kitchen that was generally used to keep open bags of various products sealed. “I’ll look after the afterbirth,” Shawn said as he handed their son over to Hope. “Can you two clean him up?”
“You bet we can,” Marlena beamed.
After the cleanup, Shawn lifted Belle into a chair as he helped strip the bed and then make it. He helped Belle back into bed and then brought their son to her. He sat on the bed next to her, his one arm wrapped around her shoulder and the other resting under the baby alongside her hand. “I can hear the commotion downstairs. You better bring everyone up to meet the little guy.”
They waited until everyone was assembled in the room and had a chance to look at the baby. “God help us all,” Brady mocked. “He’s the spitting image of his daddy. Just what this world needs, another Shawn Douglas Brady.”
“Thanks, Braid. I’ll remember that,” Shawn smiled.
“This little boy will grow up to be his own man,” Belle said proudly.
“Well does this little boy have a name or do we just call him Junior?” Bo asked.
Belle looked up at Shawn and he smiled and nodded his head. She sought out Roxy. “His name is Andrew Donovan Brady. We’re going to call him Drew.” Belle anxiously held Roxy’s gaze hoping that she would be all right with their choice.
Roxy immediately burst into tears. “Thank you,” she whispered as she leaned in and kissed Belle on the cheek and then the baby’s cheek. “Andrew would be so proud. I’m so proud…” she couldn’t say anymore as her emotions got the better of her.
Just then they heard the sound of the sirens as the ambulance approached. “I’ll go and show them the way. Why don’t we give the new family a few minutes alone together,” John suggested.
After the room had cleared out, Shawn leaned over and kissed his wife. “Belle, you have made me the happiest man on earth. I love you and I love our son.”
Belle just smiled and leaned into the crook of his shoulder. “After all these years Shawn I do believe we have it all. We no longer have the threat of the DiMera’s hanging over us. We have a son and hopefully in years to come we will add to our family.”
Shawn looked heavenwards. “Hey old buddy. You watch over your namesake now and keep him safe. We love you and we miss you.”
The baby squirmed and opened his eyes and yawned. Belle laughed. “He is just like his Daddy. He doesn’t like his sleep disturbed.”
They heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs. “I’ll be right by your side, Belle. Where I’ll be for the rest of my days.”
“I love you,” she sighed as she rested her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes letting her exhaustion overtake her.