Belle and Shawn slept peacefully on the boat that gently rocked, lulling them to sleep and allowing them to stay calm as they rested comfortably in each other’s arms.
After a few hours, Shawn was startled awake and jumped slightly in bed. His sudden movement woke Belle.
“Shawn? What’s wrong?” she asked groggily. Her voice full of concern as she saw Shawn shaking, sweat pouring down his face. “Baby?” she sat up, touching his face gently.
“We’re not safe here,” he replied. He stared straight ahead in a wide eyed gaze, trembling slightly.
“Shawn, what do you mean? Oh honey, come here. It was only a nightmare,” she tried to calm him down, assuming he had a bad dream. He got out of bed and grabbed his jeans from the floor. He slipped them on and picked up Belle’s clothes. Tossing them to her he looked stoned face, and said flatly, “get dressed, we need to go.”
“It is 3:00 in the morning!” Belle protested. “Why are you acting like this?” she cried.
He walked over to her, placing a gentle hand on her cheek and spoke softly. His voice full of urgency, but steady, “trust me Belle, but I think Jan is here.”
Her eyes widened with fear, “what?” she whispered.
“Please Belle, I just have a feeling that she knows we are here. I know Jan. I know how she thinks and we aren’t safe here. Please, get dressed.”
Belle quickly got dressed and walked out of the cabin with Shawn. He grabbed her hand and led her off the boat and rushed down the pier towards his car.
“So was she that bad in bed you have to rush her home at this time of night,” Jan said from behind. Her voice was slow and deliberate, dripping with bitterness, laced with hatred.
Shawn and Belle stopped at the sound of her voice. Both slowly turned around to see Jan standing in front of them, her hands behind her back. As she looked at the two an evil smirk formed across her lips.
“You know I thought I’d have to wait until the morning before you got out of that tiny thing you call a boat. It wasn’t hard to find you, but finding out about this girl,” she laughed, “that took some work.” She paused and sauntered up to them, “Belle, Belle, Belle,” her voice dripping with disdain. “You know he really doesn’t love you. He can’t love anyone but me. I’m the only who turns him on, isn’t that right Shawn baby?”
“Shut up Jan!” Shawn demanded in a tight voice. “Just be quiet! You have NO idea what you are talking about.”
“Is that right?” she mocked. “I think I do, baby. We share a son. That’s how much in love we are Shawn, we share a son!”
“You KNOW that kid’s not mine.”
“Do you want proof, because he’s certainly not Paul’s”
Shawn was surprised by her words. He gulped slowly and sighed deeply, “you’re lying.”
“What proof do you have?” he asked calmly.
“I know in my heart. I look into his eyes and I know. He has your eyes Shawn.”
“That’s not proof. Besides you know that we weren’t together when he was conceived. You gave me up for Paul by that time. Remember that Jan? REMEMBER!” his hand tightly gripped Belle’s to gain strength to face Jan. “Jan you have no idea what you’ve done to me. NO IDEA how you ruined my life! I am NOT going to let you do this to me again. Finally, I know what love is, with Belle. She is the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. I know you vandalized her car. I can’t prove it but I know because it is the kind of sick and twisted thing I’d expect you to do. Jan, trust me when I say that the only feeling I have for you is pity. We’re leaving,” he asserted, turning around and leading Belle down the pier.
“Shawn!” Jan yelled. “SHAWN!” her cry became loud, the tremble in her voice indicated her pain, but the two continued walking. “That BITCH is NOT going to take you away from ME!” she screamed, and lifted the gun from behind her back. Three shots rang out, in the still night. The echo of the gun firing rippled through the air, sending tiny shock waves through Shawn. Belle was no longer walking with him and she collapsed down onto the ground next to him, hitting her head on the crates piled on the side of the pier she still clutched onto his hand. It happened so fast, and Shawn did not register all that had occurred, until he saw Belle laying down on the ground, struggling to breathe. Her clothes instantly stained by fresh blood, and a gash on her head.
He dropped down next to her, kneeling on the hard wood planks of the pier. “OH MY GOD, BELLE!” he screamed hysterically. “Belle, baby please don’t leave me!” Her eyes were closed and he saw the blood oozing from her side, he ripped off his shirt and tied it around her to control the profuse bleeding.
“Shawn,” she mumbled, her eyes struggling to stay open.
“Thank you God! Belle?” Her eyes started to close again. “BELLE?” he screamed, “don’t go to sleep baby, PLEASE! Keep talking to me. Listen to me Belle! You HAVE to keep your eyes open!!!”
Her eyes fluttered open, but she could hardly keep the heavy lids lifted. “It hurts, Shawn,” she coughed, gasping for air and struggling to speak as her eyes filled with tears. “Shawn .. I .. I .. love you.”
He started sobbing uncontrollably, holding her head in his lap. “Come on Isabella, don’t give up. HANG IN THERE! You’ve got to fight for me. You’ve got to fight for US!” He lifted her up, ignoring Jan still standing on the pier with the gun in her hand, yelling incomprehensibly . He quickly walked away to his car that was nearby, realizing time was of the essence he knew he could get Belle to the hospital before the paramedics would even arrive at the pier. As he ran with Belle in his arms, leaving a hysterical Jan behind, he heard another gun shot. Avoiding what he thought would be another confrontation with Jan, he stayed strong for Belle and carried her quickly to what he hoped would be safety.
He got Belle into the car and drove her to the hospital, rushing to the emergency room. During the ride she drifted in and out of consciousness, mumbling incoherently. Once at the hospital, he immediately got the attention of the staff to look after Belle who was losing a lot of blood. The shirt he wrapped around her was completely soaked. His heart continued breaking as he saw them wheel Belle away into one of the rooms. Crying and visibly shaken he called his parents. He informed his Dad what happened with Belle and Jan, prompting Bo to call the station to investigate.
After dropping Angela and JT off at the neighbors, his parents arrived into the emergency room seeing their son staring blankly with a stone face as he sat on one of the chairs. He was wearing surgical scrubs that a nurse gave him so he could get out of the blood stained attire he was wearing after carrying Belle.
“Shawn,” her mother gasped, tears filling her eyes at the sight of her son.
He fell into her arms like a child, feeling helpless at the situation.
“Son,” Bo said, putting a protective shoulder around him, “has the doctor said anything?”
“No. Not much, only that she’s losing a lot of blood and if they can’t stop it soon, she’s not going to make it.” He looked up at his mother, his eyes bloodshot, “Mom I can’t lose her,” he whispered. “I can’t.”
She hugged him tightly, “I know honey. We are all praying for her to pull through. She will get out of this she’s tough and she has you to live for,” she smiled reassuringly.
“That’s right sailor man, believe in the power of love. It will see her through,” Bo assured his son.
While they waited, Bo called John to tell them what happened. John was going to call the airport to get his jet ready and would be there in a couple of hours. They waited impatiently, Shawn was distraught, emotionally drained by what had happened.
The doctors had been able to stop the bleeding, but Belle lost so much blood that they had to give her a transfusion to stabilize her before they could take her into surgery. The emergency team ran a series of tests to make an appropriate diagnosis, and operated. Finally, Dr. Rawlings, the surgeon came out to speak with Shawn.
“Mr. Brady,” the doctor said, walking out of the operating room.
Shawn quickly stood up with his parents. “Is she ok?” he asked urgently.
“She will be. We’ve stabilized her and we have determined the extent of her injuries.” Looking over to some chairs in a more secluded area, “why don’t we have a seat.”
The group sat with the doctor as he continued to explain Belle’s condition, “Mr. Brady ..”
“Call me Shawn,” he interrupted.
“Shawn, from what you told us about what happened to your girlfriend we were initially afraid that a gun shot injury to the back would have harmed the spine, but that is not the case. However, one bullet did graze one of her kidneys and then became embedded in the small intestine. Fortunately, there is no serious damage to her organs. The other bullet hit her arm. She has a forearm fracture, we reset the bone and she’ll have to wear a splint for a few weeks until it heals properly. As for her head injury she’ll have a mild concussion. The cut on her head was not too deep and no stitches were required, other than that I expect a full recovery. I’m not too sure why she lost so much blood, initially. They were relatively contained injuries, but as I said she is stabilized and being transported to the recovery area, right now.”
“So only two bullets hit her? There were three shots. I heard three shots.”
“My assumption is considering how far to the left of Belle’s body the bullets hit, one of the three just barely missed her. Tomorrow we’ll run some follow up tests, an x-ray, CT scan, and get some final blood work done to make sure everything is fine.” He stood up and smiled, “I’ll take you to her.”
Shawn eagerly followed the doctor to the recovery room. Once he saw Belle, he rushed to her side. Taking her hand gently in his, tears streamed down his face as he saw her laying peacefully. He stroked her hair softly and talked to her quietly, whispering in her ear. “You scared me for a minute there,” he chuckled lightly, “I guess for more than a minute.” He paused, continuing to lightly touch her hair, “God Belle, I love you so much. If I had lost you, I don’t know what I would have done. You’re everything to me. The reason I feel alive again, and I don’t plan on ever letting you go.” He placed her hand on his face. Holding her palm against his cheek so he could feel her warmth. “I know we’re not ready now, but we’re going to get married one day Belle, that’s a promise I intend to keep.” Kissing the palm of her hand he continued, “Without you, my life isn’t worth living. I love you Isabella.” He kissed her cheek, and silently repeated, “I love you.” He continued to hold her hand as he waited for her to wake up. He sat there, talking to her quietly, hoping she would open her eyes soon.
John Black rushed into the recovery room to see Shawn with his daughter. Her eyes were shut but she looked comfortable, resting peacefully in the hospital bed.
“Shawn, how is she?” he rushed to her side. He touched her cheek lightly and kissed her forehead. “Izzy B, it’s Dad. I’m here, sweetheart.”
Shawn looked up at John with bloodshot eyes. “Hi Mr. Black,” he sniffled. “The doctor says she’ll be fine. The surgery went well and now we’re just waiting for her to open those bright blue eyes,” he smiled faintly. He stood up, “I-I’ll leave you alone with her.” He walked outside the room, and closed the door behind him. He looked through the window of the door closely watching, desperately waiting for her to wake up.
As he gazed, an angry male voice spoke. “You bastard. What did you to her?”
Shawn turned around to see Brady fuming. His face red and eyes blackened by rage. He pushed Shawn against the wall with great force making him groan as his back thudded against the flat surface. Brady threw a powerful punch that connected with his face. Shawn winced in pain as Brady continued to hit him, gripping his neck with one hand and pummeling his face with violent blows.
Shawn was debilitated, weak from fatigue. He couldn’t find the strength to fight back, and leaned against the wall vulnerable to the surprise attack. Brady kept a strong hand around Shawn’s throat, almost cutting off his air. Aware of Shawn’s struggle to breathe, Brady resorted to hitting his body, throwing quick jabs to the abdomen. The momentum of the beating made Shawn fall to the ground, doubled over in pain.
Bo came back to the hallway with Hope after getting food from the cafeteria. When he saw Brady enraged and Shawn laying on the floor he quickly ran over to prevent Brady from continuing his assault. Bo pulled him back, gripping his arms from behind his back as if he were going to arrest Brady. As Bo stopped the altercation Hope dropped the assortment of food she had gotten from the cafeteria where she stood and rushed over to Shawn’s side.
“OH GOD!! SHAWN!!” she cried, holding her son’s bloody and bruised face. She screamed for help and a nurse quickly ran to the scene.
“Nurse, please help him,” Hope pleaded, hugging Shawn tightly as he lay defenseless. His left eye swollen shut from the powerful blows he sustained.
The nurse looked down at Shawn, and asked full of concern, “can you get up on your own?” He nodded slowly, grunting as he pushed himself off the ground. The nurse and Hope helped him up as he walked gingerly toward an open exam room down the hall.
John could hear the commotion from outside the room. He ran out to see Bo restraining his son and Shawn walking slowly down the hall with Hope and the nurse.
“WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO BRADY?” John demanded. His voice was controlled, but booming. He looked at Bo who still held Brady’s arms tightly behind his back. “Bo, I can take care of this. Go check on your son.” Bo released his arms roughly, and left the two alone.
Brady shook his arms, trying to get the feeling back in his lifeless limbs. Bo’s grip was so tight that his circulation was temporarily cut off. He scowled at his father, “HOW can YOU protect that son of a ..”
“BRADY!” John yelled, cutting off Brady’s remark. “You calm yourself RIGHT NOW!”
“WHY DAD??? Are you that deluded? Are you that BLIND to see how that bastard almost got Belle killed!”
John replied calmly, “You’re sister is going to be fine. But you need to settle down son, Brady it is time for you to grow up.”
“GROW UP?” he was shocked at how calm his father was, he became irate at his flippancy of the situation.
In a raised voice, John answered with a hint of annoyance, “YES Brady. GROW UP. You’re sister is NOT a child, she can take care of herself. You have GOT to accept that! What happened to her last night,” he hesitated, choked up by the thought, “it – it hurts me. It hurts me deeply,” biting his lip to hold back the emotion he spoke quietly, “that’s my little girl in there.” He quickly regained his composure, “BUT I am not flying off the handle, falsely blaming and accusing people!” He stood directly in front of Brady, staring him straight in the eye. He was very serious, and reprimanded his son, scolding him like a child. With his finger buried in Brady’s chest, he spoke in a low voice. His words steady and deliberate, “when I say grow up, THAT is what I mean. Learning how to deal with your emotions like a CIVIL HUMAN BEING!”
Brady exhaled loudly. Covering his face and then slowly running his fingers through his hair, he sighed deeply. He looked up at the fluorescent lights and worn tiled ceiling above his head. His father’s words sunk in slowly and he finally realized that he was right. Stubborn pride set aside, he looked at his dad and quietly declared, “you’re right.”
John pulled him in for a hug, at that moment all of Brady’s emotions that he misdirected against Shawn were released as he started to cry on his father’s shoulder. John comforted his son, “listen Brady you need to be strong for your sister, ok? She’s going to be alright,” he held his face, looking directly into his eyes, giving him a look of fatherly reassurance. “Why don’t you go and see her.”
“No, Dad there is something I have to do first.”
John smiled proudly at his son, realizing what he wanted to do. “Alright, son.”
John walked back into Belle’s room as Brady walked down the hall.
The nurse finished cleaning up Shawn’s wounds. “Fortunately, it looks as if you don’t need any stitches. You just have some scratches and bruises, but you’ll live,” she smiled warmly.
Shawn chuckled lightly, though the action hurt his face. He winced from the slight discomfort, “thanks, I’m pretty used to getting beaten up. Usually not so much to my face though.” He looked up at the confused nurse and quickly explained, “I used to play football in college.”
His mind wandered to the weekly icing routine he used to have with Belle. A wide smile came across his lips as he got lost in the memory. “Belle, used to help me ice my shoulder after the games, she would ..” his voice trailed off as he snapped back to reality. He put his shirt back on and hopped off the exam table, “I-I should go back to her,” he said urgently. As he walked to the door he saw Brady standing in the doorway. Stepping back, worried Brady would come after him again, he defended, “listen Brady, I just want to go see her. Please let me be with her,” he pleaded.
Bo quickly stood up and put himself in between Brady and Shawn, in order to protect his son. “Brady, haven’t you done enough here?”
“I’m not coming after you again, Shawn.” He spoke quietly and unsteadily. His voice full of remorse and guilt. “I-I .. I came to apologize.” He became disgusted with himself as he saw Shawn bruised. The left side of Shawn’s face swollen from his own fists, he mentally chastised himself. The conflict was displayed on his face, and his sorrow did not go unnoticed by Shawn, who had his own problem seeing properly. His left eye was practically swollen shut.
“I know you’re sorry Brady,” he said calmly. “I can’t say I blame you.” He sighed deeply, “do you know why I didn’t defend myself against you?”
Brady shook his head in response.
“While you were hitting me I lacked the strength to fight you back. I felt helpless. As I looked at Belle laying there in the bed, recovering from something I should have been able to prevent, I realized you were doing me a favor.”
“Yes. I look the way I feel. Pitiful.”
“Oh Shawn,” Hope gasped at his words. She hurried to him, “honey, that’s not true. Shawn you must believe that!”
“Yes it is Mom. I should have been able to protect her from Jan, and I couldn’t. It’s my fault she was shot. It’s MY fault!” Hope reached to him and hugged him deeply. Again, he fell into her arms, tears stinging his swollen eyes. The salty bitterness of the drops burning his wounds. His body shook in her arms, weeping, “it’s my fault, Mom.” He felt a strong hand touch his shoulder and assumed it was his father, but when he opened his eyes he realized that it could not be, since Bo was standing behind Hope. Shawn turned around to see Brady, his eyes welled up with tears.
“Shawn,” his voice trembled slightly, “can we talk?” He glanced at Bo and Hope, then looked back at Shawn who was wiping the tears from his face. “Please? Alone?”
“Sure,” he mumbled, leaving his mother’s embrace. The two walked into the hallway, looking at each other with melancholic expressions. “Ok, Brady, what now?”
“You really love her don’t you?” he asked flatly.
Shawn mockingly laughed and with a hint of irritation replied, “that’s a stupid question.”
“Ok, I deserve that,” he realized how belittling the question was considering the circumstances. He looked up at Shawn, whose eyes were despondent as he stared at the blank wall in front of him.
Shawn sighed, “Brady I know you don’t really like me, or at least you don’t like the idea of me with your sister, but you know the truth. You know I love her. You know I would do anything for her,” he hung his head down, “I would give ANYTHING to be in that room instead of her.”
“And have her worry? I don’t think so Shawn.” In shock, Shawn looked up at Brady. “You heard me. It is tearing me up inside to know that Belle’s life was threatened last night, but honestly it would tear me up even more if I saw her looking like you do.”
“What? Would you beat her up, too?” he grumbled facetiously.
Brady glared at him angrily for the comment, but soon calmed himself, “what I mean is if she was crying uncontrollably, emotionally wrecked like you are, that would hurt me more. For whatever reason she loves your sorry butt.”
“Is that supposed to be a compliment?” once again his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Are you trying to be difficult? “ He deeply exhaled, “hear me out, ok? Shawn, I don’t know the details of what happened last night. I don’t know about this Jan girl you mentioned a while ago and what she has to do with this, but there is one thing I definitely know. My sister loves you, and finally I have figured out why.”
Shawn laughed to himself, “so are you saying you love me, too?”
“Damn it Shawn! I’m trying to be serious. You really are a pain in the ass, you know that?”
“I’m sorry, man,” he tried to stop laughing, but failed in his attempt. His laughter was contagious, causing Brady to break a smile and chuckle to himself. They laughed together in the hallway, breaking the tension that was always present between them.
When they stopped, Brady scratching his head said, “Shawn, I know whatever happened was not your fault. I KNOW that, and I want you to know that, too. You’ve got to stop blaming yourself, because I’m sure that whatever did happen could have been worse if you weren’t there for her. THAT is why I know she loves you. You do everything in your power to make her feel safe and loved, I appreciate you doing that for my sister. Please don’t lose sight of why you love each other, whatever you do, don’t take that for granted, ok?”
Shawn nodded his head in agreement. “So are we cool?” he asked tentatively.
Shawn looked up at Brady and grinned mischievously at him, “you sure you don’t love me?” he joked.
“Do you want another black eye?” he smirked.
The two laughed again. A few moments later, John rushed out into the hallway and saw the two laughing. “Hey you two, she’s waking up!” he exclaimed.
They rushed down the hall to Belle’s room. John stood by Belle’s side, smiling down at her lovingly as she started to stir. Brady walked into the room and stood at her other side, leaving Shawn in the hallway who stood in the doorway, afraid how Belle may react to his condition.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open. Startled by her surroundings, she looked around in a wide eyed gaze, her eyes fell on her father who was stroking her hair softly. “Daddy?” she whispered groggily.
“How’s my princess?”
“W-where .. am .. I?” she struggled to ask.
“Shhh, sweetheart. You’re in the hospital. You were shot and had surgery, but you’re fine now,” her father assured.
She continued looking around the room and saw Brady next to her, “Brady what are you doing here?”
“Aren’t you happy to see me?” he joked.
“Yeah, but you didn’t have to come all this way to see me wake up,” she smiled weakly. “You, too Daddy. I would have been fine, Shawn would have ..” her voice trailed off as she searched for him. She began to panic, “where is he?”
Shawn slowly walked into the room so she could see him. Belle gasped when she saw him walking gingerly, his face wincing slightly in pain, but he smiled warmly at her. His eyes, though swollen and bruised, were still expressive. Deep brown, warm and gentle, looking at her with complete love. She tried to sit up, wanting to get up and go to him.
“No Belle, you need to rest,” her father urged, placing a gentle but firm hand on her shoulder.
Shawn sat next to her and took her hand. “I’ve been waiting to see those bright eyes,” he grinned.
“What happened?” she whispered.
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll be ok,” Shawn tried to convince her.
“Tell me what happened,” she demanded quietly.
“It didn’t take you long to be your old stubborn self,” Shawn chuckled.
“He’s stalling Tink,” Brady interrupted, “because he doesn’t want to upset you.” He paused briefly and with a sigh confessed, “the truth is, I’m responsible. I sort of lost my temper.”
Belle’s eyes narrowed and glared at him, “you didn’t,” she gasped in disbelief.
“Yes, he did, but it’s ok,” Shawn smiled reassuringly. “We made up in the hallway,” he laughed and Brady chuckled with him.
“I don’t understand. Honey, look at you.” She weakly raised her hand to his face and softly touched his bruises. Her fingers brushed his lips and cheeks. The soft fingertips traced the scrapes.
“I know. I’m not much to look at,” he said timidly.
“Oh Shawn,” she whispered, her eyes dancing as they examined his face closely. Studying every inch of his bruised face. “That’s not true.”
Their eyes met, capturing how much love they felt for each other. Speaking without words, their loving gaze spoke volumes. John and Brady looked at the two who seemed to forget they were in the room with them.
“Sweetheart,” John interrupted, “we’ll leave you two alone. We will be outside if you need anything.” He and Brady walked out in the hallway to see Bo and Hope waiting. They did not want to crowd Belle, so they remained outside. When John and Brady walked out, the two slipped in to see Belle.
“Hi Belle,” Hope smiled brightly, peaking her head in the door.
“Hi Hope. Hi Bo. You guys don’t have to be here for me.”
“Oh don’t be silly. You’re like a daughter to us. We had to be here,” said Hope.
“How are you feeling, Belle?” Bo asked.
“I’ll be ok. I’m a little sore and tired, but other than that I feel as good as new,” she smiled brightly.
“That’s good to hear. Well, I’m sure you two want to be alone so we’re going to head out and check on the kids,” said Hope.
“Yeah. I’m going to head to the station to see how the investigation is going.”
“Alright, Mom and Dad.” Shawn stood up and hugged his parents, “keep us posted.”
“Shawn let me talk to you for a sec,” Bo put his arm around his son and they moved away from the bed, leaving Hope talking with Belle.
“What is it Dad?”
“I just wanted to update you on this, now that it seems everything is fine. I didn’t want to mention it earlier while you were waiting on Belle to wake up.”
“What?” he asked impatiently.
His face dropped at the news. “Dead?” he said quietly, almost inaudible.
“You told me that you heard another shot while you were carrying Belle. Well apparently Jan fired that final shot to her head.”
“Oh no,” he gasped. His eyes widened, full of concern, “what about her son?”
“She has a kid?”
“Yes, a son .. about 5 years old.”
“I’ll look into it. Don’t worry. Stay with Belle and take it easy. You’ve had a long night and morning.”
“No problem.” Shawn walked back to Belle and Hope got up, joining her husband who was leaving the room. They closed the door behind them, leaving Belle and Shawn alone together, more than grateful for the chance to see each other again.
Shawn sat at Belle’s side, holding her hand tightly and rubbing her fingers softly with his thumb. His eyes gazing lovingly at Belle. Examining her face closely, as if for the first time. He studied her eyes affectionately, losing himself in the crystal blue sea that fascinated him, bringing within him an overwhelming sense of tranquility.
“I love you Isabella,” he whispered.
“I love you Shawn. I’m so glad you’re with me.”
“Where else would I be?” he joked.
“But you must be beat,” she winced at her choice of words, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I was just saying that you look tired. I’m sure you didn’t sleep much.”
“You’re right,” he paused and looked for a clock, “I don’t even know what time it is.” He located the clock and saw that it was late in the evening. “I can ask the nurse if I can get a cot or something, I don’t want to leave you.”
“I don’t want you to leave me either, but you don’t need a cot. This bed is big enough for two,” she smiled brightly. “After all we used to make due on my narrow twin bed in the dorm. We could reminisce,” she smirked.
“Are you sure? Aren’t you sore or something?”
“I’ll live. You aren’t exactly healthy yourself. I want to be close to you. Come on.” She moved over to make room for him. Taking off his shoes he carefully climbed up on the bed. They quickly got comfortable, as Shawn put his arm around her and brought her close to his body. He took the extra blanket and wrapped it around them and they lay cozily in each other’s arms.
“I had such a great dream while I was sleeping.”
“Really? Was I in it?” he grinned, kissing her temple.
“It wouldn’t have been great if you weren’t,” she flirted. “You may not want to hear about it though. It might scare you.”
“I thought you said it was great. How can it scare me if it was such a good dream? That doesn’t make sense.”
“No, it was great, but the subject matter may scare you. It is typically something guys try to avoid.”
“Ok. I dreamed that we were getting married. It was beautiful. We were in a great big church, packed with all our family and friends. It was one of those really fast moving dreams though so I saw us get married and then the next thing I saw was me holding a baby, our baby. I saw a lot of different scenes, all with the two of us growing old together. Raising our children, laughing and playing. It felt so right, and then we had our fiftieth anniversary. Our children, and grandchildren surrounded us. It was so great .. just wonderful.”
“It sounds perfect,” he smiled, bringing her closer to him.
“You really think so?” she asked surprised.
“Of course. Haven’t I told you that I don’t plan on ever letting you go?”
“Yes, but ..”
“There are no buts. I don’t break a promise,” he asserted. “We’re not really ready to think about marriage now, but I know in my heart that one day we will be ready. I love you Belle, and I know that I have never and will never love anyone like I love you. What I feel for you is so right. It’s perfect, and nothing can ever come close to it.”
He took her hand and laced his fingers with hers. Emotions started to rise and he became slightly choked up by his words.
“When I,” he cleared his throat trying to gain composure. “When I thought I had lost you, I, um,” his eyes filled with tears. “I didn’t know how I was going to go on living. You’re the reason I live, the only reason.” A tear rolled down his swollen cheek, “I was a mess when I didn’t know what was going to happen to you.”
“Baby,” she whispered, touching his bruised cheek gently. “The reason I came back was for you, to make that dream come true.” She kissed him sweetly on the lips and he returned the kiss with equal tenderness. They continued to lay in bed in each other’s arms, falling asleep quickly from shear exhaustion.
The next morning the two woke up. Belle’s nurse was checking on her and shortly after the doctor came to briefly examine her. After looking at some test results the doctor told Belle that everything seemed to be progressing quite well. He assured her that if all went well in the next 24 hours she would be discharged the following morning. The news delighted both Belle and Shawn, and after the doctor left, the two talked quietly.
Shawn hesitantly decided to go home quickly to shower and change. His appearance was awful, and though he did not feel good about leaving Belle, she insisted she would be fine and he left, promising to quickly come back.
When Shawn got to his apartment, he saw the light on his phone blinking indicating that he had messages. He sighed as he saw the red flash, not really in the mood to deal with anyone. With a loud groan of frustration he checked his voicemail. Richard left a message about the campaign. He had called telling him he needed him to be available tomorrow for some meetings. The final message was from Mimi, frantically wondering where he and Belle were. She rambled on explaining that she had called their cell phones, and was panicked when she could not find out where they were. Shawn immediately picked up the phone and called Mimi.
“Hello?” she answered quickly.
“Hey Mimi, it’s Shawn.”
“SHAWN! Oh my God! Where have you been? I know Belle didn’t want to stay in the apartment the other night, but that was practically a day ago. What happened?”
“We were on the boat, and Jan was there. To make a long story short, Belle was shot, but she’s fine now. She’s at the hospital, recovering from surgery.”
“OH NO! I hope that bitch Jan rots in jail for this!”
“You don’t have to worry about Jan. She’s dead.”
“She killed herself after she shot Belle. I’ll tell you about it later. I just got home and I’m about to shower and change. I’ll be heading back to the hospital in about half an hour. Belle is in room 221, I’m sure you want to go see her.”
“You’re right. Ok, this is unbelievable,” she sighed. “Shawn I will see you at the hospital, I’m heading over there right now!”
“Ok, Meems. I’ll see you.”
After he hung up with Mimi, Shawn called Richard and updated him on the situation. He took the next day off. The campaign workers were all very understanding and were willing to take over his workload so he could take his time with Belle before he came back to the office.
Shawn completed his phone calls, and then cleaned himself up. Taking a long over due shower and shave.
The moment Mimi got off the phone with Shawn, she called Philip to pick her up so they could go to the hospital. After a few minutes they arrived at University Hospital to see their friend. Belle was sitting up finishing her lunch, that consisted of some very unappealing soft food. Due to her injury of her digestive system, the doctor did not want her to eat any solid foods immediately. She suffered through the meal, the one highlight was the Jello she had for dessert.
Mimi peaked into the room to see her roommate taking the final bites of her gelatin treat. “Hey Belle,” she said softly. Not knowing the extent of Belle’s injuries, she was unsure of how to act around her initially.
“MEEMS!” she exclaimed. Her eyes brightened at the sight of her friend hesitantly entering the room. Aware of Mimi’s tentativeness Belle reassured her with a warm smile. “It’s ok, Mimi. You can come in. I’m fine, just sick of this food already,” she laughed.
Mimi quickly walked in and hugged Belle. “I’m so glad to see you’re ok. You had me worried sick,” she playfully pouted.
“You sure did,” Philip laughed as he walked inside. “And we both know how Mimi can overreact!” He walked over to Belle and gave her a hug, “it’s good to see you Belle.” He gave her his signature wide, dimpled smile. He leaned against the window sill, while Mimi sat in the chair next to Belle’s bed.
“I’m glad to see you two. It gets a little lonely sitting in this room.”
“Well once I finally found out where you were ... I mean, Belle you really don’t know how much I was going out of my mind! I must have called your cell phone like twenty times, and Shawn’s too and then I left this really long message for Shawn at his apartment. I even called your Dad, but he wasn’t home.”
“That’s because he was here. He and Brady flew up sometime yesterday morning. They were here this morning and I pretty much told them to go back to Virginia.”
“What? Were they getting on your nerves that much?” Mimi wondered.
“No, it’s just that it looks like I’ll be getting out of here either tonight or tomorrow morning and there isn’t much they can do now except drive me crazy with their endless questions about how I am feeling.”
“I’m sure Brady was mad.”
“You better believe it, but I was able to convince him that Shawn would take care of me.” She paused and added flatly, “he and Shawn sort of made amends, although in a very odd way.”
“How did that happen? From what I’ve been told it seems like your brother carries some type of chip on his shoulder,” Philip stated.
“Brady beat up Shawn,” she mumbled with a hint of disgust at the thought.
“He beat him up?” Philip asked full of surprise. “He beat up Shawn?
“So what…they fought and then made up and now they get along?” Mimi asked alarmed by the thought of them fighting. Shaking her head in disbelief she snickered, “I tell you men are so screwed up.”
“Well it wasn’t really a fight in the traditional sense, Brady beat up Shawn and Shawn didn’t fight back,” Belle explained.
“WHY?” Philip asked outraged Shawn wouldn’t defend himself.
“Because he thought he deserved it,” Belle sighed. “He blamed himself for what happened to me.”
“Belle I hate to be a bother, but what exactly did happen?” Mimi asked.
“I’ll give you the short version,” she smiled weakly, trying to keep the mood light, despite the heavy nature of the situation. “Shawn and I were asleep on the boat and then he woke up, sensing Jan was nearby. I don’t know how but he did. So we were leaving the marina and once we got on the pier we ran into Jan. Shawn and Jan argued, mostly over her son. She claimed he was Shawn’s and he said that was impossible. Finally he got fed up with the situation and we walked away. Then everything is kind of fuzzy after that. I heard the shots. Apparently there were three, I didn’t hear anything except for a loud boom, followed by a sharp piercing pain in my back and then my arm. It was agonizing, I’ve never hurt so bad. I collapsed on the pier and Shawn rushed me to the emergency room.” She continued telling the two what happened, updating them on what the doctor, Shawn, and her family told her about her surgery.
Shawn hurried back to the hospital. As he walked to the elevators he approached the gift shop and decided to go in quickly to pick up a few things for Belle. After a few minutes he was satisfied with the purchases and headed back to the elevator. He walked briskly down the hall, getting excited to see Belle again. He reached her door, knocked anxiously to alert her of his presence and swiftly opened the door. Holding a bag full of gifts he walked into her room.
At the sight of Belle sitting up in bed, looking bright he grinned widely. He saw Mimi sitting next to her and Philip leaning against the window.
“Hey Mimi. Philip. You two keeping my girl company?” he smiled as he went up to Belle, kissing her quickly.
“Yeah, man,” Philip laughed to himself, “for someone who looks so bad you sure are in a good mood.”
Shawn looked at his laughing fraternity brother, trying to look mad but couldn’t pull it off, he knew Philip was right, “well trust me I looked a LOT worse earlier. At least the swelling has gone down.”
“Yeah I can see both eyes now,” Belle giggled softly.
Shawn pouted slightly, “are you making fun of me, too?” He sat on the edge of the bed next to her.
“Of course not, honey,” she teased. She looked down at the bag he was holding and with a child-like eagerness asked, “so what did you get me?”
They all laughed at her giddiness.
“What makes you think I got you anything?” Shawn grinned mischievously.
“Shawn you have to be nice,” she whined.
“Ok, fine,” he chuckled and quickly gave into her protest. “I guess there’s no fooling you.” He reached into the bag, “I got you a few things from the gift shop to cheer you up.” He grabbed something out of the bag, “first for a little light reading I got you these.”
“You got her Cosmo?” Philip rolled his eyes. “You are so whipped!” he laughed.
“Philip!” Mimi chided, causing Belle and Shawn to laugh. Philip grimaced at Mimi’s harsh tone.
Belle smiled at Shawn as she happily took her magazines. “I can’t believe you got me girl magazines. Thanks honey, maybe I won’t get so bored sitting in this room.”
“That’s why I got them, but that’s not all,” he flashed her a devilish grin as he slipped his hand back into the bag and pulled out a stuffed animal. A small teddy bear with a bandage on its head and a sling around it’s shoulder. It wore a white T-shirt with the words “get well soon” written on it.
“Ohhhh, it’s so cute,” she squealed with delight. “I love it! Thank you sweetie.” She leaned forward to kiss him. Their lips met softly and tenderly. It lingered with great passion.
Philip rolled his eyes and cleared his throat loudly, interrupting the two lovebirds. He looked over at Mimi, who met his gaze. She nodded her head in agreement, knowing that Philip felt it was time to leave.
“Ok, you two we can take a hint,” Mimi joked. “We’re going to head on out. Belle do you want me to bring you some clothes? I can drop them off later tonight if you want.”
“Thanks Meems that would be great.”
“Hey don’t worry about it Mimi, I can pick up her clothes later.”
“No, it’s ok Shawn. I know you don’t want to leave her again. Besides, I have a million and one errands to run today, this is not a problem,” she reassured as she hugged Belle. “I’ll see you later.”
Philip hugged Belle, “alright take care, and I’ll see you both later.”
The two walked out leaving Shawn and Belle alone in the room. Belle was holding on to her bear, softly playing with the soft hair of the stuffed animal. Studying it’s cute features, especially the button nose and big brown eyes.
“He has your eyes Shawn,” she said playfully.
“Who?” he asked in confusion, not realizing she was examining the bear so closely.
“The bear silly. Look he’s got big brown eyes. Deep brown eyes like yours!”
“Belle, they’re like made of glass or something,” he protested. “Are you saying my eyes are like glass?” he snickered.
“No,” she pouted, disappointed he didn’t share her excitement.
He smiled brightly at her, “hey I got you something else!” He picked up the bag from the ground and handed it to her. “I wanted to give it to you in private.”
Belle reached inside the bag and pulled out a small gift basket. She read the label, “A Day at the Spa Gift Set.” Looking up at Shawn with a hint of surprise and confusion, “this is so nice Shawn, but why wouldn’t you want to give it to me in front of Mimi and Philip?”
“Because I wanted to explain what I plan on doing with it,” he said in a low, husky tone.
“Is that right,” she flirted back.
“Oh, yeah.” He moved in closer next to her on the bed and held the basket in his hand. “See I figured, you’re first couple of nights home you’re going to need a LOT of pampering,” he grinned. “So I got to thinking and thought I would draw a hot bath for you. I’d add this,” he picked out one of the bottles in the basket, “let’s see what is this? It is called - a bath soak. Right, so I’d add this and you’ll be all relaxed from the aroma. It is aromatherapy? That is what it’s called, isn’t it?”
“Yes dear,” she giggled as he tried to figure out the components of an aromatic bath.
“Ok, see I know what I’m talking about. And then I’d use this thing here,” he pulled out another bottle from the basket, he read the label to himself and chuckled. “Yes, I will DEFINITELY use this! The ‘All-Over Body Scrub’ this will be fun,” he smirked. “And I use this little do-hickey to, uh .. scrub you properly.”
“You mean the loofah,” she corrected.
“Loofah, shmoofah, I just know I’m going to rub it all over your body,” he kissed her quickly, then looked through the basket some more with great excitement.
“I like the sound of that, but how exactly do you plan on getting all of me clean,” she asked. Her voice low and seductive, arousing Shawn greatly as she swirled her finger under his shirt, feeling his tight abdominal muscles.
He gulped slowly, trying his best to contain his arousal. Only a slight touch from Belle, made him weak. “I, uh ..,” his voice cracked like a pre-pubescent boy. The screech in his voice made Belle laugh, but she continued her exploration under his shirt. He cleared his throat, “I plan on joining you.”
“Really?” her tone remained seductive. “Do you think you can wait until tomorrow?”
“It’ll be hard, but I think I can.”
“I know it will be .. hard,” she teased.
“Oh God, baby. What are you trying to do to me?” he groaned.
“Nothing.” She replied innocently, moving her hand from under his shirt. It roamed down to his pants. She brushed her fingers against the tightness in his jeans and let them wander down, finally resting her hand comfortably on his thigh. “Are you planning on doing anything else to me? What about this other bottle?”
“This one?” He pulled out the final bottle of moisturizer. “What is this? Moisture Balm?” He was confused by all these strange lotions, scents, and oils. He knew Belle loved them, but he never really cared to learn about it, he figured it was all girl’s stuff. He read the bottle in a monotone voice, full of skepticism. “Luxurious emollients and moisturizing essences soothe, soften & protect your skin. A blend of Vitamins A,B,C,D & E make this nutrient-rich skin balm a wonderful daily whole body moisturizer.” He put the bottle back and looked at Belle puzzled, “what does all that mean?”
“There is only one thing you need to know and that is,” she started to explain huskily as she nibbled gently on his earlobe, “after my bath. And you,” she ran her fingers up his body, “dry off my wet body.” Shawn’s heart began beating faster as she purred in his ears. “Then you take this body lotion and,” her fingers caressed his face, carefully moving her fingertips along his still bruised face, “and rub it all over my” she moved his face closer to hers so their lips barely touched, “my naked body.”
He kissed her hungrily, breathlessly tasting her as he deepened the kiss. He moved in closer to her, both lying comfortably on the bed, he gently held her face as he kissed her with more urgency. Belle returned the intensity. Though she ached from her recovery, her longing for Shawn was far more painful.
“Oh God, Belle,” he panted in between kisses. “Hmmm - baby. I want you so bad.”
“Shawn, I want you, too but,” she continued kissing him, unable to maintain any self control. “Ohhhhhh,” she moaned as Shawn made his way to her neck, softly attacking it with open mouthed kisses that left her body wanting more. Becoming more aware of her surroundings Belle gently pushed Shawn away, “Shawn,” she gasped. “Baby, please, we can’t. Not here. Someone could come in.”
He hesitantly stopped his perusal of her soft skin and groaned loudly in defeat. “You’re right,” he agreed in disappointment. “Although I’m sure you’re not ready for that anyway. You must still be so sore from your surgery. I’m sorry.”
“My back does hurt a little, but all the aching I have is for you,” she pouted. A mischievous grin swept across Shawn’s face. The devilish look did not go unnoticed by Belle and she quickly inquired, “what is that look for?”
“I was thinking that this hospital gown is uh…” his eyes roamed down the length of the flimsy garment, “it has easy access.” He licked his lips slowly as his eyes became transfixed on her body.
“Shawn what did I just say!”
“No, hear me out, ok?” he playfully defended. “I was thinking that we may not be able to really do what we want to do, but I can find a .. suitable alternative,” he smirked.
Belle looked at Shawn, puzzled by his words. She wondered what he meant by a “suitable alternative” and then it clicked. She thought back to the last time they were together intimately on the boat, and she felt empowered, more bold than ever to show Shawn how much she loved him. He had promised he would return the favor. As she stared into his suggestive eyes, she knew she was right. There was a hint of playfulness in his face, but complimented by so much love and desire. Her eyes brightened at the thought, and the corners of her mouth became slightly upturned as the proposition intrigued her immensely.
“Suitable alternative, huh?” she teased, her voice was throaty. “Could you possibly give me a demonstration?”
“Oh, I’ll do a lot more than that, but what I want to know first is,” his voice trailed off as his hand ran down to her thigh. He softly tickled her inner thigh, teasingly urging her legs to part a little. “I want to know if you’re hot for me.” He kissed her lips tenderly and repositioned himself on the bed.
Laying next to her comfortably on his side, he kept his arm resting against the mattress up above Belle’s head, gently running his fingers through her light hair. His other hand drifted down to the end of her gown and rolled it up so that he could more easily access her quickly heating core. They kissed deeply, but very sweetly as Shawn’s hand continued its journey. Tugging the elastic of her panties, he pulled them down gently. Leaving her exposed, he whispered, “pull the sheet over you in case anyone comes by, ok baby?” She nodded and quickly obliged.
Shawn rubbed the sensitive skin lightly. “Oh Isabella, you feel so hot,” he moaned softly. “Are you hot for me, Belle baby?”
“Yes, Shawn,” she whimpered, her body quivering at his soft caress. “I’m so hot for you right now.”
“Tell me baby,” he teased. His voice gruff, full of lust. “What do you want me to do?” he asked, slipping his fingers down to her swollen lips, gently grazing the sensitive skin folds with the back of his fingers. His casual action caused Belle’s body to shiver in anticipation of his touch.
“Ohhhhh,” her voice trembled as his fingers barely touched her. She instinctively spread her legs wider to intensify his light touches. “Hmmmm .. Shawn.” She gasped again at the feel of his tenderly rough fingertips.
“Yes, Belle. Tell me,” he quietly demanded.
“Show me how much you love me,” she breathlessly blurted out. As her heart beat rapidly, she ached for his touch. She kissed him hungrily, naughtily biting his lip to urge him to continue. At that moment she wanted so badly to be satisfied by him.
He rubbed her gently, in a circular motion, arousing her greatly. Making her hotter and wetter at the light touch. He slid his finger along the moist folds, and parted the lips in one smooth motion. Inserting his finger slightly, teasing her by his partial entry, she gasped at the sensation. He pulled it out slowly, and then quickly back in, this time completely. He continued the in and out motion, eventually adding another finger. Moving his fingers inside, exploring new sensations as her body encased them. He teased her with new touches and became more bold, twirling them around. The actions made Belle’s body squirm with desire, wanting more of his touch.
Shawn continued his exploration. Methodically moving his fingers in and out, he muffled her moans with deep kisses. He swallowed her squeals of desire, afraid someone may hear in the hallway.
Belle’s body began to shudder as he continued to satisfy her. He could feel her muscles begin to tighten. She grabbed his face bringing his lips even closer to hers and kissed him ferociously. Gently tugging on his short hairs, as her body started to buck from the imminent climax, she so helplessly tried to control.
“Belle baby,” Shawn broke the kiss, “I want to see you.”
She looked at him with a sense of worry.
“It’s ok, baby. Just please look at me, I want to see how much you like it,” he smirked.
She couldn’t argue, the electricity escalating through her body. “Ohhhh Shawn,” she cried, keeping her eyes on him. He looked at her so lovingly, wanting so badly to kiss her red swollen lips. They pouted slightly as the climactic sensations surged through her. “Hmmmmm .. baby. That’s it, right there.”
“Tell me what you want Belle,” he growled. “Is this it baby? Is this what you like?” he asked teasingly as he increased the speed of his fingers moving in and out of her. Going as deep as possible, twisting around to increase the sensation.
“Oh yeah Shawn,” she moaned. “Ohhhhhhhh…” she gasped as her body began to buck violently. He did not stop working, his fingers remained busy. “Hmmmmm… God Shawn … I’m … I’m ….” Her voice trailed off as she reached her peak, closing her eyes as the wave of pleasure swept through her she shook uncontrollably.
“I want to see you Belle. Open your eyes baby,” he whispered.
She followed his instructions, fighting hard to keep them open she looked at him. He gazed at her lovingly, his eyes filled with desire and lust for her. Once they met each other’s gaze, Shawn gave into the temptation of her luscious lips. He crashed down on to her waiting mouth, and he muffled her remaining screams of passion.
Belle’s body began to relax and Shawn slowly removed his hand from the delicate area, he had just pleasured. They kissed tenderly as a now exhausted Belle leaned against Shawn, breathless.
“Oh, Shawn,” she panted. “Thank you.” She kissed him sweetly, “I love you so much.”
“So does this mean you liked the alternative,” he grinned widely.
“I didn’t like it, I loved it!” she exclaimed. “Oh baby, you are too good to me.” She nuzzled up to him and rested her head comfortably on his strong chest.
“I aim to please,” he smiled and hugged her tightly.
Belle felt a little tired. Her exhaustive state was a combination of her recuperation from both her surgery, and Shawn’s actions. She nodded off quickly, and drifted off to sleep, unnoticed by Shawn.
“I love you Isabella.” He paused and chuckled softly to himself. The vibration from his chest caused Belle to breathe heavily. “You know what I was thinking?” He stopped, waiting for a reply. She was always so quick to get a word in. When he only heard her breathing deeply, he looked down and saw her sleeping peacefully. “I guess I wore you out again,” he said quietly, with a slight smirk. He kissed her head gently, and held her close. Enjoying the moment, he watched her sleep peacefully and became hypnotized by her breathing.
About an hour later, Belle woke up to see Shawn reading one of the magazines he had bought for her. He was flipping through the pages silently trying not to wake her. She moaned softly as she stretched under the sheets, hugging Shawn in the process.
“There are my bright eyes,” he smiled, giving her a quick peck on the nose. “Did you sleep well?”
“Mm-hmm,” she nodded and looked down to see an open magazine in his lap. Realizing it was the Cosmo he got her she looked at him with a quizzical look, “anything good?” she asked.
“Oh what? In this?” he asked uneasily, repositioning himself in the small bed to get more comfortable. “Well, I uh, I wanted to keep myself occupied while you slept. I was afraid to move, thinking I might wake you and figured the TV would disturb you, too so I figured I’d give this a look,” he explained a little nervously.
“Shawn was that long explanation necessary? It’s ok if you look at it, I’m not going to think you’re weird or something.” She paused and smiled brightly, “unless you like it,” she teased and sarcastically added, “then we may have to talk.”
“Whatever. Anyway, I’m not going to say it’s bad, it’s ok. I figured I could at least check out the models, see what they have to offer but they weren’t too exciting, I mean after all they’re tame in comparison to the beauty next to me,” he grinned mischievously.
“Ok, you are definitely up to something. You’re buttering me up a little too much.”
“I’m not up to anything. It’s true.” He sat up straighter in the bed and picked up the magazine. Eagerly flipping through the pages, “ok, look at this one. She’s too skinny and her chest,” he rolled his eyes, “it’s practically nonexistent!”
“Shawn I’m not even going to ask why you’re looking but don’t you think you’re being too critical. She’s attractive, I’d love to have her legs!”
“Why?” he asked startled by her confession.
“Look at them! They’re so long and slender. I wish I was taller with legs like that.”
“Are you serious? I love your legs. The way they feel so smooth against mine when we’re lying next to each other and the way they wrap around me tightly when we make love.” He became entranced by the thought. “Oh,” he added excitedly, “the way they look when you wear one of those short skirts .. hmmmm,” he moaned softly at the image he created in his head. He quickly snapped out of his trance, and finally asserted, “and as for height. I love the way your head fits so snuggly against my neck. Your body just fits perfectly with mine.” He pulled her closer to him, “see?”
He continued leafing through the magazine, bypassing articles and various other features. “Oh here’s another one. The chest is way too flat,” he stated rather bluntly and continued to go through the pages, randomly commenting, “flat .. flat .. flat again .. flat as a board!”
Shawn’s colorful remarks about the models made Belle laugh hysterically. “Ok, Shawn I get the picture,” she giggled. “You’re a breast man,” she squealed.
“Yours specifically. They’re perfect. I love them, the way they look and feel. God, I just love to touch them,” he said breathlessly.
“I know you do. You pay a LOT of attention to them,” she sighed.
“Does that bother you?” he asked full of concern.
“No I’m not bothered that they’re your favorite part of my body,” she said dryly.
“I never said they were my favorite.”
“Then what?” Her eyes roamed down her body and she groaned out of disappointment, “not that?”
“Oh, I love that, too. Trust me, but,” his voice trailed off as his eyes drifted to page in front of him. “Ok, look at this girl here. She’s alright looking but look at her eyes. They’re all dark and brooding. I guess she’s supposed to look sexy or something but they’re not. She just looks miserable, too dark, too boring, but yours.” He breathed in a cleansing breath and exhaled slowly. His eyes became distant, images of Belle running through his mind like a slide show. He tried to find the perfect words to say. He looked back at her, staring into her beautifully crystal blue eyes.
“They lighten up the room. You’re my bright eyes. Everything about you is perfect, but your eyes are more than perfect. They are so gorgeous. Expressive. Mesmerizing. Isabella, I love everything about your body but I completely, absolutely, positively, adore your eyes. I could look into them forever, and I have every intention to, as long as you let me.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said kissing him sweetly.
“Good,” he said satisfied with the way he handled the situation. He sat with a smug expression and asked, “so what’s your favorite part about me?”
“Honestly?” she teased.
“Honestly. I want to know. Is it my bulging biceps?” he laughed, playfully flexing his muscular arms.
“No,” she shook her head innocently.
“How about my rock hard abs or strong chest?” he smirked.
“Hmmm .. no,” she purred softly.
“Ok,” he playfully searched for other questions to ask. He flashed her a devilish grin. “Is it my little Shawn?” he asked naughtily, bobbing his eyebrows up and down.
“I do love that, but that’s not it and by the way, it is anything but little,” she laughed.
Pleased with her comment he grinned arrogantly and almost forgot what they were talking about. He quickly remembered and asked anxiously, with a hint of frustration, “then what? My feet? My eyes? My nose? My mouth?”
“Yes, to what?”
“Your mouth.” She put her fingers on his lips, carefully tracing the outline of his mouth. “I love your lips. They’re so soft and gentle. They’ve got that kind of pouty fullness, the way they turn down slightly at the corners. I just want to kiss them all the time.” She brushed her lips against his lightly, teasing him with her feathery touch. “And then your smile!” she exclaimed. “If you think my eyes light up a room then you need to check out your smile, buddy,” she giggled, making him laugh. “Shawn, I still go weak in the knees when you smile at me, that grin you have that makes whoever you’re smiling at forget what they were thinking. I absolutely melt.”
“That’s good to know,” he grinned mischievously.
“See! Now I know you’re up to something,” she laughed.
“Maybe,” he said flatly. “But I want to show you something that I saw. A pretty interesting article you might like, and while you’re reading it I’m going to go out in the hallway and make some phone calls.” He eased off the thin mattress and skimmed through the magazine until he found the article. He handed it to her, “happy reading,” he smiled as he walked out.
She looked down at the article and laughed to herself, “How you know he’s Mr. Right.” The article had a questionnaire that she had to fill out but Shawn took the liberty of scribbling little notes in the margin to make her laugh.
Shawn leaned against the wall, using the pay phone down the hall from Belle’s room. He couldn’t use his cell phone in the hospital and didn’t want to bother Belle with his work related calls. He checked his messages. His father had called and wanted to update him on the investigation. Shawn immediately called his Dad, figuring he was still at the station he called the department.
“Detective Bo Brady,” his father answered.
“Hey Dad. I just got your message. I’m at the hospital, hanging out with Belle.”
“How is she doing?”
“Really good. The doctor said she should be fine to go home either tonight or tomorrow morning. She’s pretty excited about leaving, the food isn’t all that great and well you know how she’s a busy body. Being in bed all the time is no fun.”
“I’m glad to hear things are on the up and up for her. As for the investigation I’ve got some news. We got in touch with Jan’s mother.”
“Is she still in Europe?”
“No, she actually lives in California. They had actually only lived in Switzerland for a year after everything had happened with Paul. Her mother was saying they moved to California where Jan went to UC-Santa Barbara for a semester and then dropped out, moved out of the house and she lost touch with her.”
“So does she know anything about her son?”
“That’s the thing Shawn, Jan never had a son. Apparently she did abort Paul’s child because her mother told me Jan was not pregnant while they lived in Switzerland.”
“That doesn’t make any sense Dad. Who was the boy with her?”
“Ok, this is what we’ve pieced together. Do you know a girl named Amanda Hewitt?”
Shawn paused slightly, “the name sounds familiar.” He searched his memory and finally realized how he knew her, “yeah I know who she is. She was one of Jan’s best friends in high school, but she dropped out in the beginning of our senior year. I think her parents ended up shipping her off to some home for,” he hesitated and slowly continued as he put two and two together, “a home for pregnant teens.”
“Exactly. Apparently, Amanda lives in Chicago with her son. Jan had moved to Chicago about a year ago. She worked odd jobs in California, had a brief stint in Vegas, then Kansas City. She had stayed in St. Louis for quite some time but finally moved to Chicago. Well, we’ve been in touch with Amanda. She told us that Jan had been following up on you closely. Getting all sorts of information on you from the internet, Salem U’s web-site and downloading articles from the Salem Chronicle. Basically obsessed with you. She came up with a plan to trap you by using Amanda’s son, who surprisingly bears a striking resemblance to you, purely coincidental but Jan figured you’d remember the past and being the good guy that you are .. well, you get the picture.”
“So Amanda was in on this?” he asked disgustingly.
“No. Jan told Amanda that she wanted to visit Salem and offered to bring Brian, the little boy, with her to visit his grandparents who he doesn’t see often. When you saw her at the pub she was only here for maybe a day or two. According to Amanda, when Jan came back she was furious. Jan was telling her how, and I’m quoting now son, that ‘some tramp has taken her man,’ referring to Belle. Seeing you happy with Belle at the pub, infuriated her and she was out for vengeance, hence her quick assaults on Belle, both the car and the shooting.”
“Oh my God. She was practically stalking me,” he gasped. “So Dad, what you’re saying is Jan dragged this poor child into the middle of her obsession. Then enraged to see me actually happy she attacks my girlfriend?”
“That’s what obsession can do,” Bo said simply.
“So I’m assuming that after she saw how I reacted to Belle being shot she probably felt, in her twisted mind, that she in a way lost me and decided to end her life because she couldn’t have me?”
“Probably, although she most likely assumed she killed Belle and thought she would make you suffer forever.”
“That’s sick Dad.”
“I know son, but when you spend everyday around criminals you know how to get into their heads. I’m willing to bet Jan killed herself with a little satisfaction thinking she ended Belle’s life. Shawn, one thing I’ve learned is, vengeance IS twisted, and vengeance fueled by obsession and jealously is, as you’ve seen, VERY dangerous.”
“God,” he sighed. He ran his fingers through his hair, shaking his head at the thought of all that had happened. “So is there anything else?”
“Not a whole lot. We’ve got the big mysteries solved. I have contacted a buddy of mine with the Chicago PD to check out Jan’s apartment, see if there is anything unusual, normal procedural stuff.”
“Alright, well keep me posted. I’ve got to make a few more calls.”
“Ok, take care of yourself sailorman. Oh by the way, did your Mom tell you about having dinner this week? She wants you and Belle to come over later this week when she’s feeling better. You know how she just loves her like a daughter, can’t wait until she’s a part of the family,” he added teasingly.
“I know,” Shawn chuckled.
“Oh wait a second Shawn, didn’t you catch what I said? You didn’t overreact to me saying your Mom wants Belle to be a part of the family.”
“I heard you the first time,” he stated calmly.
“Do we need to have a serious talk here son?” he asked full of concern. Afraid his son was moving too fast.
“No Dad. I’m not proposing, don’t worry. I know we aren’t ready, we need to get our lives together first. She’s just a sophomore, I just graduated and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. We aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. I know that,” he reassured. “I like the way things are right now with us.”
“Good. I’m glad you’ve got a rational head here.”
“But Dad, I also know this. I love Belle. Simply put, I love her and I see myself being with her always. When the time is right, I will ask her to be my wife, but for now Mom will just have to pretend Belle’s apart of the family until we make it official.”
“I’m proud of you son. I’ve always been proud of you, but what you just said shows a lot of maturity and level headedness.”
“Thanks. Anyway, I do need to go, but I’ll talk to you later.”
“Alright sailor. Take care of yourself and that lovely girlfriend of yours. Give her my best and don’t forget to call your mother about dinner.”
“Ok, Dad. Bye.”
He hung up and then called Richard to tell him he would stop by the office tomorrow and would probably be available to work full time again starting Wednesday. He was very understanding and told Shawn to take his time, but Shawn insisted that he needed to get back to his normal routine. He didn’t want to miss anymore time at work.
After making a few more calls and then stopping by the vending machine for a snack, he went back into Belle’s room. She wasn’t in bed, figuring she went to the bathroom he sat down on the chair and turned on the TV. He got comfortable and put his feet up on the bed waiting for her to come out.
Belle walked out of the bathroom, shuffling her feet as she made her way back to the bed. “I’m sick of this bed,” she complained. She sat on the edge of the bed, looking up at the television, there was a commercial on and she wondered what program would be showing after the break. “What’cha watchin?” she asked eagerly.
Munching on potato chips, he garbled, “ESPN.”
“Shawn!” she whined, “why are you watching sports in MY room? Don’t I get a choice?”
“Nope,” he said flatly as he chewed loudly. He licked his fingers and then pulled the remote control from next to him on the chair. “Not as long as I have this,” he waved it teasingly.
“No fair,” she pouted as she sat completely on the bed.
Sports Center started back up and Shawn’s eyes became transfixed on the tube. Looking straight ahead at the sports highlights he spoke in a monotone voice, “did you do your homework?”
He took a sip from his bottle of soda to wash down the potato chips. “The article. Did you read the article about Mr. Right?”
“Yeah, although after this I may have to change some of my answers on the quiz,” she mumbled, unable to hide her annoyance.
He kept drinking his soda and looked at her out of the corner of his eye. Not phased by her annoyance he kept watching the sports highlights with great enthusiasm. “Whatever you feel like doing. I still know all the answers will point to me,” he grinned arrogantly.
“And you’re beautiful. What’s your point?” he dismissed her annoyance with him and continued to keep his eyes directed on the TV.
Belle sat there in silence, stunned by his nonchalant approach to the conversation. He kept watching until there was another commercial break. He looked over at Belle who was visibly pouting, turning the pages of the magazine without looking.
“Baby come here please,” he said softly, putting his feet down from off the bed. He patted his lap, indicating that he wanted her to join him. She slowly got up and he pulled her close to him, wrapping his arms around her as she sat on his lap. He held the remote and handed it to her, “what do you want to watch?” he asked softly, kissing her shoulder gently.
She smiled warmly at the gesture and took the remote. She tossed it on the bed, “Sports Center, but only if you don’t get annoyed if I ask a question. No matter how simplistic or stupid you may think it is. Deal?”
“I’ll agree if I’m still Mr. Right,” he smirked.
“You’ll always be Mr. Right,” she giggled and kissed his nose. “Ok, it’s back on! Shhh!”
He laughed at her enthusiasm, knowing that she was confused by the upcoming story on NFL trades and information on different football camps. He was waiting to hear what was happening with the Bears, but at the moment the story was on the Redskins, once again rebuilding the team.
“Brady’s a Redskins fan,” Belle mumbled. “I don’t like them.”
“Why? I mean, I don’t blame you but what’s the reason?”
“I don’t know, they kind of suck,” she said timidly.
Shawn laughed to himself, “you’re definitely right about that. So what do you think about the Bears?”
“I guess they’re ok. That’s your favorite team isn’t it? Didn’t they get close to the Super Bowl or something last season?”
“Not quite. The second round of the playoffs, but you’re sort of right. That’s closer than most teams get.,” trying to reassure her. News about the Bears was starting, “ok I want to hear this. This should be good.”
They listened closely to the sports program. Shawn explained certain things to Belle that she was unsure about, she knew quite a bit, especially after watching all of his home games. They continued watching television, laughing and teasing each other like they were accustomed to doing, not letting the hospital setting damper their moods.
After a while, Belle got tired again and needed to take a nap. While she slept, Mimi had stopped by with her clothes. Shawn and Mimi talked briefly in the hallway and while they chatted, Dr. Rawlings stopped by Belle’s room to let her know she was being discharged after dinner. Since, she was sleeping, he shared the news with Shawn and Mimi. Both assured the doctor that they would take good care of her, as he explained to them the post-operative needs they would have to provide for Belle and the special instructions she would have to adhere to over the next few weeks.
Belle was sitting back in her bed. She was eating dinner, actually drinking it. The special diet the doctor had her on was already annoying her and this was the first day she was on it. She was unsure how she would cope for the rest of the week.
Pushing back the tray of food, she folded her arms and pouted, unsatisfied by the meal. “I don’t want to eat this anymore,” she whined.
“Oh come on. It can’t be that bad,” Shawn defended the unattractive meal.
“Then you try it!”
Shawn winced a little at the thought as he looked at the pureed food. It was pale in color and didn’t smell too great, but he knew she had to eat. Putting on a brave face he took the spoon and took some of the food. He swallowed quickly, trying to avoid the taste as much as possible. Once it went down, he struggled to keep a pleasant face, but the feel of the liquid food did not appeal to him and he closed his eyes trying to hide his displeasure. “It –it’s ok,” he coughed. “Not bad, you just have to get used to the – the aftertaste.”
Belle laughed at the sight of Shawn trying to keep a straight face. He couldn’t hide his facial expressions and though his words said one thing, his face said something completely different. “Shawn you’re so cute,” she giggled. “I’ve got the best boyfriend in the world. Look at you!” she delightfully exclaimed.
“What?” he asked, still coughing. He took a sip of her water to get rid of the taste.
“I know this food is bad, but you really want me to eat it don’t you?”
“Well, yeah. You need to eat something. I’m sorry you have to suffer through this but you need your strength.” He looked at her with his deep brown eyes, they were full of concern and worry for her. They slowly turned to puppy dog eyes that made her cave in to his request. “Please Belle. For me?”
“Ok,” she relented in a loud groan.
“That’s my girl,” he grinned brightly. “Hey I’ll help you out.” He took the spoon and scooped out a little food, “ok open up Isabella!” he said playfully.
She glared at him with a disapproving expression, “are you serious?” she asked flatly.
“I am VERY serious,” he flashed her a mischievous grin. “Open up!” He started making an airplane sound as he moved the spoon around in the air. His actions made Belle laugh and the moment her mouth opened he sneaked the spoon inside, surprising her by the sly move. She had no choice but to swallow the food.
Glaring at him, displeased by his slick trick she grumbled, “that wasn’t fair.”
“I had to do what I had to do,” he smirked. “Ready for some more?” he asked happily.
“You used to do this with Angela, didn’t you?” her voice still harbored a hint of irritation.
“What do you mean used to? I still have to when she’s sick. I’m the only one who can get her to eat.”
“And you trick her like that?” she pouted.
“Only when she’s being difficult. Now come on, we need to finish this up. You need to get your strength back.”
She continued sitting with her arms folded across her chest and pouted. She looked straight ahead at the wall, pretending not to hear Shawn’s requests.
“Belle please,” he pleaded softly. “For me. I’ll give you a special treat if you do.”
She quickly turned her head and looked at him with a faint smile, “what kind of treat?” Her curiosity peaked at the offer.
“It’s a surprise.”
“There’s no surprise is there,” she continued to pout.
“You’ll never know if you don’t finish,” he teased in a light, sing-song voice.
“Ok,” she grumbled. “You know you really are good at this. Angela is lucky to have you as a big brother.”
“Thank you, and do you consider yourself lucky, too?” he smirked.
“I suppose,” she teased.
He continued to give her small helpings of the dinner, until she was finished. It was a struggle but she got through it with his help. Afterwards she drank a lot of water to wash it down and get rid of the taste.
She looked at the empty tray, and looked a little sad. “I didn’t get any Jello,” she complained.
“Well, I’ll get you some when we go home.”
“So you want me to wait a day?” she complained. “Why don’t you go to the cafeteria and get me some?” she asked sweetly, batting her eyelashes.
“There’s no need to do that when you’re going home.”
With a confused look she asked, “what are you talking about Shawn?”
“This is your surprise,” he grinned widely. “You’ve been discharged.”
Her eyes brightened at the thought of going home and sleeping in her own bed, but then quickly narrowed as she looked at the empty plate in front of her. “Did you make me eat that – that stuff when I could have had some better food at home.”
“No. Doctor’s orders. When you were sleeping I talked to Dr. Rawlings and he said I could take you home, but only after you finished your dinner because of the special diet or something. So now you have and I can take you home.”
“But I don’t have any clothes, Mimi hasn’t come by yet.”
“She did when you were napping. It’s all taken care of,” he moved the tray from in front of her so she could get out of bed. “Alright, so why don’t we do this. You get changed and I will go talk to the nurse to see if there is anything you’ve got to do. I’m sure you’ll probably have to sign some papers and all that.”
He walked out of the room to talk to the nurse while Belle put on her clothes. He returned a few minutes later as Belle was putting on her shoes. “Ok, here’s the drill. The nurse will be by in a few minutes with some papers and a wheelchair. It won’t take but a few minutes for you to take care of everything, so I’m going to go get my car and meet you outside the main entrance. The nurse will take you down, alright?”
“Ok, but Shawn can I ask a favor?”
“Sure! Anything for my girl. What is it?” he asked. He stood in front of her sporting one of his famous grins.
“Can I have ice cream?” she smiled.
“Ice cream?” he asked confused by the request, and then quickly remembered the previous conversation. “Oh, instead of Jello?” He gave her a quick peck on the nose, “I’ll get you your favorite. Mint chocolate chip!”
The nurse walked in at the end of their conversation. “Ok, Miss Black are you all ready to go,” she asked brightly.
“I sure am. I can’t wait to get home!”
“Ok, I’m going to go get the car.” He picked up her bags to take with him. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.” Walking by the nurse he stopped and spoke to her quietly. “Thanks for taking care of her,” he flashed her his characteristic charming grin.
“You are very welcome, but I think you took better care of her than I did,” she laughed to herself. “We normally don’t allow people past visiting hours, but we could never say no to you. That smile made all us nurses melt!” The middle aged nurse looked at Shawn like a proud mother. Her mind was racing filled with thoughts as she admired the young man in front of her, after a moment she quietly confessed, “I wish my daughter could find a guy like you.” She smiled warmly at Shawn, and looked at Belle who could not help but giggle softly at the interaction between the nurse and her boyfriend..
“He’s the best,” Belle agreed. Her eyes sparkling, excited that the nurse, practically a stranger, knew she had lucked out with Shawn.
Chuckling to himself, “aww, gosh ladies, you’re making me blush! I just had to be here for my girl that’s all,” he smirked. “Anyway, I’m going now. I’ll see you outside.”
He quickly walked out avoiding any more compliments. Minutes later he picked up Belle outside the front entrance of the hospital. On the way to her apartment he stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items. Soup mainly, and other foods the doctor recommended for her to eat for the rest of the week. He also picked up a gallon of ice cream, and some boxes of Jello, just in case.
He took her home and got her settled back in, which did not take long. She and Mimi talked and giggled non stop, like they had not seen each other for days or weeks, not a few hours. Belle was excited to finally get her life back to normal. The last few days had been unbelievable. She wanted to get back to the lab as soon as possible, but Shawn encouraged her to take it easy for the week and then think about going back to work next week. She hesitantly obliged to his wishes, knowing he was right, but she was a little disappointed that she would be sitting around the apartment for the next few days. It didn’t suit her personality. She liked to be out and doing things, she was definitely a busy body and being in the hospital had driven her crazy. Now that she had a taste of freedom again she didn’t know how being cooped up in the apartment would fair her.
The next morning, Belle woke up to an empty apartment. Shawn had stayed the night but had to leave early for work, and Mimi was working at Salem Place at one of her and Belle’s favorite stores, Ballistix. It was the greatest job either could ask for because they greatly enjoyed and used, almost abused, Mimi’s employee discount.
Groggily shuffling through the cozy apartment she roamed around lazily trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her day. She walked into the kitchen to try and find something to eat. Belle was convinced that the special diet the doctor had her on for the rest of the week was going to kill her. It was difficult not to eat solid foods, but she did not want to risk endangering her body any more. Her hand grabbed the handle to the refrigerator but she hesitated to open the door when she saw a note for her stuck on the freezer door.
She quickly removed the note and smiled once she recognized Shawn’s handwriting.
“Morning sunshine! Remember the doctor’s orders. There’s a bag of goodies on the counter to make your decision easier. I’ll call later to check up on you. I shouldn’t be in the office long today, remember we have a spa to create!”
She laughed as she read the note, picturing Shawn sport a mischievous grin with the last comment. Her attention quickly shifted to the bag on the counter and rummaged through to see a variety of food that the doctor had suggested. There was a box of instant oatmeal and she figured that she found her breakfast. While the oatmeal cooked in the microwave the phone rang and she quickly answered, happy for any human contact.
“Hello?” she answered brightly.
“Hi Belle, it’s Hope. How are you feeling dear?”
“Hi Hope. I’m fine. I just finally woke up and I’m fixing some oatmeal for breakfast. I can’t eat solid foods for the week, and it’s already bothering me.”
“Well, I was calling to see if you would like some company. Angela and I are going by Gran’s for a visit and I thought that maybe we could come by to see how you’re doing. Angela has been asking about you and has made you a gift.”
“Oh, how cute! I would love to see you both. I could use the company. What time were you thinking of coming by?”
“Um, let’s see. It’s 10:30 now and we’re leaving here shortly. I’d say about noon. Is that fine with you?”
“That’s perfect. I’ll see you then!”
“Okay great. Angela is going to be so excited when I tell her. We’ll see you soon, bye.”
The oatmeal was finished by the time she got off the phone. She quickly ate the instant breakfast that only partially satisfied her. She was so hungry and really wanted a bagel, or bacon and eggs, or waffles, anything would be better than eating food she did not have to chew. It was already frustrating, and it was only Tuesday, she had to stay on this diet until Friday.
After breakfast she showered and got herself presentable for her soon to be arriving guests. Settled on the couch she flipped through the channels of the television, frustrated that she could not find anything decent to watch. Finally, there was a knock at the door and she rushed to open it.
The moment she turned the handle and pulled the door open, Angela ran in and gave her a big hug.
“BELLE!” the little girl exclaimed.
Belle laughed at Angela’s exuberance and returned the hug with great enthusiasm. “Hey Angela, it is sooo good to see you! How are you?”
“I’m fine!” She handed her a folded piece of construction paper that was a little wrinkled by the hug. “Here, I made this for you,” she smiled brightly anxiously waiting for Belle to read it.
“Thank you so much!” she looked at the get well card Angela made. After glancing at the creation and giving Angela another hug, she looked up at Hope and Alice Horton, who stood in the doorway greatly amused by Angela’s outburst of energy and Belle’s ability to match it, even while recuperating. With a deep sigh and warm smile, Belle greeted the two. “Hi Mrs. Horton! I wasn’t expecting you to come by, what a pleasant surprise!” she said brightly, giving her a hug.
“She insisted,” Hope briefly explained as she hugged Belle.
They all came inside and made themselves comfortable in the living room except for Angela who roamed aimlessly around the two bedroom residence, desperately searching for something to play with or get into. Hope and Alice sat on the couch, while Belle relaxed on the love seat, hugging the throw pillow.
“Isabella dear, how are you feeling? You gave us all quite a scare you know?” Alice asked, full of concern.
“All things considered, I’m great. My back is still a little sore and well this thing,” she raised her stabilized arm, “the splint takes some getting used to, I forget from time to time that I don’t have 100 percent use of my arms. But Mimi and Shawn have been so great. Helping me out and all that when they can. I’m really lucky to have him, I mean them,” she quickly corrected. The two women smiled at her failed attempt to hide her thoughts of Shawn.
“Yes. THEY have been really worried about you,” Hope mused.
“Well it is good to see you in such good spirits, Isabella. It warms my heart to know that you and Shawn have been able to handle such adversity positively, and most importantly, together,” Alice said warmly.
“Shawn’s been fantastic, the best,” she smiled, her look distant as she thought about all the things he had done for her over the past few days.
“He was so worried about you. Beyond worried, Belle I’ve never seen him so emotionally distraught, and I don’t know if I could bear to see him in that much pain again. I don’t really know why I feel compelled to tell you this but the last time I saw Shawn cry so much was when he was seven and he had appendicitis. It broke my heart to see him like that, and I’m sure he never told you.”
“You’re right. Although I can’t imagine him ever admitting to it. He has this silly notion of always being strong for me.”
“It’s a Brady thing. The one thing you will have to understand that Shawn is very much like Bo, and Bo is very much like his father, and big brother Roman. The Brady sense of pride is strong, so strong that it can flare up without a moment’s notice, turn into stubbornness, but despite all that it protects the ones they love. It is both a blessing and a burden,” Hope briefly paused and smiled warmly. “But I see the way you are with him and I know you’ve already learned the trick of handling a Brady man.”
The ladies continued to talk, laughing and the older women were open books, giving Belle lots of advice on a variety of topics, but mostly on love. The two possessed a lot of knowledge on the subject and Belle admired them and aspired to be like them. Angela was still busy checking out all sorts of things. Playing on Belle’s computer, listening to her CDs, and drawing with Belle’s highlighters. The restless antics of the young girl didn’t bother Belle, although Hope was very apologetic for Angela’s behavior.
After quite a while, the three continued to chat in the living room when they heard the door unlock. Assuming it was Mimi coming home for lunch the three continued their chatter. When Shawn walked in instead they did not notice.
He walked down the entrance way and heard the familiar voices. He stood in the living room surprised, “Mom? Great-Gran? What are you doing here?”
“Shouldn’t we be asking you that same question Shawn-Douglas?” Mrs. Horton laughed to herself.
He grinned and walked over to his mother and great-grandmother. He greeted them with a hug and kiss, then walked over to Belle and kissed her cheek softly, “how are you feeling?”
“Better,” she whispered. They shared a smile and she continued, “Did you stop by to check on me?”
“Sort of. I only worked a half day today so I could keep you company, but I didn’t realize you would have guests,” he smiled as he sat next to her on the love seat, moving her legs that stretched out on the cushions and replacing them on his lap.
“How was work?” Belle asked.
“Alright. A slow day. Richard delegated my work to some other people while I was out of the office so I don’t really have anything right now. Not until another project rolls around which will probably be tomorrow, Thursday by the latest.” He grinned and looked over at his mother and great grandmother, “But, enough of that! Great-Gran how is everything?”
“Oh fine dear. Nothing too exciting happens to me these days,“ she chuckled. “Your mother and sister came by for a visit and when I learned they were coming by to see Isabella I insisted on seeing how she was doing. It seems like you’ve been doing a good job keeping her company,” she smiled lovingly at the young couple.
He looked at Belle, gazing adoringly into her bright eyes, speaking volumes with his passionately deep brown pools. “I like keeping her company,” he said quietly. Finally snapping out of his daze, he looked back at Alice and Hope who were visibly touched by Shawn’s subtle display of affection. “Um – so Angela is here?”
“Yes, I’m afraid she’s invaded Belle’s room,” Hope sighed.
Shawn turned his head facing the direction of the bedroom, “where’s my Jelly Belly?” he yelled, grinning from ear to ear excited that his sister was there.
“SHAWNIE!” Angela exclaimed, quickly running into the living room after hearing his voice. In her small hands she held a small, round, light pink container that fell out of her loose grip when she hugged her big brother. Belle immediately noticed that Angela was holding her birth control pills and was mortified that Alice and Hope had most likely seen it in Angela’s tiny clutches. Belle gasped at the sight, and the uneasy breath did not go unnoticed by Shawn. He looked over at Belle, seeing her with a stunned expression, her face frozen in panic and followed her stare to the small compact that fell to the floor.
He quickly picked it up and tried to hide it in the cushions before anyone noticed but Angela was quick to observe and whined, “Shawnie I want some candy!”
“Candy?” he asked, perplexed by the timing of the statement.
“Yeah, you just shoved it under the cushion!” she exclaimed. Her declaration made Belle sink deeper into the couch. Her face flushed as the wave of embarrassment washed over her.
“Oh God Angela!” Shawn panicked. “Did you take any of these?”
“No. I wanted to find out what type of candy it was first.”
“Good,” he sighed out of relief. He smiled reassuringly, “Angela, this isn’t candy. This is uhh,” his voice trailed off trying to find the right words.
Belle finally got out of her daze, forcing a smile she said to the confused child, ”it’s my medication, Angela. To - to make me feel better. I know they are in a pretty case, but it isn’t candy. It wouldn’t have been good if you took these, and plus they don’t taste good either,” she smiled sweetly, this time not forced, but genuine. Belle got up from her seat and took the pills, “I’ll just put them back,” obviously embarrassed by the situation she rushed off trying to gain her composure. Shawn quickly followed her, knowing she was flustered by the situation. He went into her room behind her and closed the door.
“Are you ok?”
“Shawn I shouldn’t have kept them lying around like that,” she said frantically, blaming herself for the situation.
He put his arms around her and brought her in for a deep hug, “I’m sorry. My sister is just a little snoop,” he chuckled. “It’s not your fault. So they saw the pills no big deal.”
“No big deal? NO BIG DEAL?” she asked, horrified by the thought as she quickly got out of his arms. Belle stared at Shawn incredulously. “SHAWN! They KNOW we have,” she hesitated and whispered, “sex.”
“So they know,” he shrugged. “I’m sure they assumed we were anyway,” he dismissed, confused why Belle was so worried about his mother and great-grandmother’s opinion.
She stared at him, her eyes maintained a wide eyed glare as she wondered how he could be so nonchalant about the situation. “Shawn there is a difference between ASSUMING what we do in bed and KNOWING! Think about if the tables were turned and my father found the pills. Would you be so dismissive about this?” she argued.
He thought for a moment and understood where she was coming from, he silently conceded, “I see your point.”
“Thank you,” she sighed. “GOD! I can’t believe this happened!”
“Well the only thing we can do now is go back out there and act like everything is fine.”
“I think we’re past that point,” she snickered. After a deep breath, she smiled, shaking her head in disbelief, “maybe one day we’ll look back at this and laugh but right now it’ll be hard. Anyway, you’re right we should probably go back out there before they start thinking something is wrong.”
He held her hands and kissed her forehead sweetly, “it’ll be ok.”
They walked back out to the living room where Angela was being softly reprimanded by Hope for taking things out of Belle’s room. The precocious child listened closely to her mother and promised she would apologize. When Angela saw Belle come back in she went up to her, pouting slightly.
“What’s wrong Angela?” Belle asked sweetly.
“I’m sorry Belle,” she said, her voice saddened and eyes downcast.
“Oh, it’s ok Angela,” she squatted to be eye level with Angela and softly stroked her hair reassuringly. “We were just a little worried that maybe you took one. That’s all sweetie, we were just concerned.” She stared into Angela deep brown eyes, that looked so much like Shawn’s and smiled warmly. Belle thought of Angela as a little sister and wanted to protect her somehow. Angela returned the smile and hugged Belle tightly.
“Ok, Belle,” she muffled as she held on to her. “But do you have ANY candy?” she asked wishfully.
“Alright young lady,” Hope got up from the couch, laughing quietly at her daughter’s strong determination. “No candy for you. We need to get going. We have some more errands to run before your Daddy gets home, ok?”
“Awww Mommy! Can I PLEASE stay with Belle and Shawnie? PLEASE?” she whined.
“Not today Jelly Belly,” Shawn said softly, joining in his sister’s pouting. He tickled her sides and she squealed in delight. He stopped and reassured her, “but maybe you can come over some other time when Belle is feeling better, ok? Maybe if you’re real nice you can have a sleepover,” he grinned.
“YAY! Can we Belle?”
Belle laughed at Angela’s excitement and nodded her head, “sure. You, Mimi, and I will have a slumber party.” She looked over at Shawn and saw his developing puppy dog eyes, she quickly added, “no boys allowed!”
“YAY! I can’t wait.”
“Alright little one,” Hope said as she and Alice walked to the door. “It’s time to go, I think you’ve caused enough trouble,” she laughed.
All three walked out of Belle’s apartment after long good-byes, filled with well wishes and deep hugs. Hope and Alice did not say anything about what they saw, recognizing the awkwardness of the moment they were not going to further embarrass Belle, and Belle was more than grateful at how the ladies treated the situation with great ease.
Shawn had walked his family out to his mother’s car while Belle stayed inside. She flopped down on the soft couch and flipped on the TV to see the rest of The Hourglass. It was Mimi’s favorite soap opera and she taped it daily. During the past year Belle became hooked on the daily serial and somewhat addicted, but not as bad as Mimi. The two had their favorite characters, Jason and Kirsten, an up and coming super couple on the show. The story line was so interesting, and Belle was fascinated by the teens.
When Shawn came back in he saw Belle’s eyes glued to the television set, transfixed on the young couple in a coffee shop.
“What’s this?” he asked a little surprised she would be watching TV now.
“Shhh..” she dismissed his question, waving her hand in the air, still watching the television closely.
“Alright,” he mumbled to himself and moped as he went into the kitchen to find something to eat. He walked back into the living room with a bag of potato chips and sat next to her, munching loudly. Belle glared at him out of the corner of her eyes, annoyed he was being so loud, she sighed deeply, indicating to him to stop or else. He quickly stopped, not realizing she was so serious about this show and the two sappy teens he saw. Shawn did not know anything about the daytime drama yet alone this particular couple that obviously intrigued his girlfriend.
Finally, much to Shawn’s delight, the show faded to black for a commercial break. Belle leaned back on the couch and took in a cleansing breath. “Oh I just love those two!” she exclaimed.
“Why?” Shawn garbled as he continued to snack.
“Don’t they remind you of anyone?” she asked hopefully, wishing he would share her excitement about the pair.
He thought for a second and shook his head, “nope.”
“Uugghhh,” she groaned in disappointment. “Men,” she mumbled.
“What did I do now?” he asked, a little worried that he missed something in the two second conversation. Putting down the bag of chips he wiped his hands together and looked at her a little panicked.
“Nothing. It’s silly,” she dismissed. He looked at her not satisfied with her brushing it off and knew something was on her mind. Remaining silent his deep brown eyes coaxed her into telling him. “It’s just that they kind of remind me of us.”
“Who? Those kids I just saw?” he was surprised by her confession. He didn’t understand soap operas, and nor did he want to, to him it was something his mother did to pass the time. The story lines were too bizarre and he had a hard time understanding how he and Belle would have anything in common with a couple of characters.
“Well, yes, but not completely, just little things. Like the way they interact with each other and would do anything for each other, like us. I don’t know,” she sighed out of frustration. “I just look at them and think how they’ve been through so much and stick together through the good times and the bad and I’m hopeful.”
“About us?” he asked quietly.
She nodded her head in agreement, looking away from him shyly. “You must think I’m some really immature girl wishing for a fairy tale romance.”
“What do you mean wish?” he smirked. He moved closer to her on the couch and lovingly put his arms around her. Kissing her temple sweetly he continued, “you don’t need to watch a show or read a book for a fairy tale. That’s what we have. Think about it. As far as I’m concerned I’ve loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you, if that’s not a fairy tale I don’t know what is. Besides, we’ve weathered the storm. Obstacles that have come our way we’ve gotten through them together. We will always stick together. And trust me,” he moved to look at her. Cupping her face he gently caressed her face with his thumbs and smiled warmly, “we’re going to live happily ever after.” He kissed her sweetly. Their lips tenderly capturing the love they had for each other.
The show started again and Belle broke the kiss, much to Shawn’s surprise and increasing disappointment. He groaned loudly as she resumed her position on the couch, glaring at the television screen. Jason and Kirsten’s scene continued and Belle was once again hooked.
“Oh God, is this show going to be over soon,” Shawn grumbled.
“Shhhh!” she demanded.
“Obsess much?” he mumbled sarcastically getting up from the couch. He shuffled his feet, and hung his head down, acting as if he had been defeated as he slowly made his way to her bedroom. He accepted that she watched the daytime show, but he did not want to get caught up in it. He walked back to Belle’s room and found a pair of shorts he had left there a few days back. Getting out of his work clothes he made himself more comfortable and walked into Belle’s bathroom, noticing the “home spa” basket he gave her in the hospital. “Should I or shouldn’t I?” he asked himself as he looked at the basket and then the bathtub. A huge smile came across his face, like a kid in a candy store, and he excitedly took the bottles out of the basket. As he held the bottle of bubble bath his cell phone rang, clutching the bottle he went and answered his phone that he had placed on Belle’s dresser.
“Brady,” he answered.
“Shawn, it’s Richard. How are you? Enjoying your day I hope?” he asked in a friendly voice.
“Oh, hi Richard,” he replied, surprised he would be calling. “Is everything ok? Do you need me back in the office?”
“Oh, no, I just wanted to share the good news with you! I tried to call you at home but since you didn’t answer I didn’t want to leave a message, I needed to talk to you right away. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”
“No, I’m just hanging out at my girlfriend’s place. I’m not really doing anything,” he said, staring down at the bottle in his hand, he walked back into the bathroom and put it back. Walking out of her room he continued, “I’m not doing anything right now. So what’s the good news?” he asked as he walked over to the balcony. He opened the screen door as he continued to listen to his boss and stepped outside.
“You have been chosen to go with Mr. Roberts, and a few others to the Republican Convention in Los Angeles!”
“WHAT?” he asked excitedly. “H-how? I mean, I thought Dan was going. I-I thought they couldn’t take anyone else!”
“I’m glad to hear you’re excited,” he laughed heartily. “You’re right, Dan was going, but he can’t make the trip. He didn’t want to leave his wife, she’s due to deliver the baby any day now and with the length of the trip he opted not to go. So, since you are such an asset to the campaign, all of us in the office agreed that you would probably benefit the most from going. I decided that you should take Dan’s place. So how about it?”
“Thanks! Of course I’ll go! That’s great! Los Angeles, that’s awesome! When do we leave? How long is the trip?” he was beside himself with excitement. He realized this was such a good opportunity for him and he was ecstatic that he was chosen to go with Mr. Roberts and others from the campaign.
“You’ll leave tomorrow night and you’ll be gone for 10 days.”
“Tomorrow?” he asked full of surprise. “Ten days?” he sighed, instantly thinking about how Belle would react. He did not think he could leave her so soon after everything that happened. There was a long pause after his initial shock. “I’m sorry Mr. Kesler, I-I mean Richard, but I don’t know if I can go.”
“Well why not?” he asked, his voice full of disappointment.
“It’s my girlfriend. After all that’s happened, I don’t know if I,” his voice trailed off as he leaned back on the railing of the balcony, looking at Belle still inside on the couch watching television. He sighed as he saw the love of his life resting comfortably on the couch, knowing she was not feeling her best she still managed to keep that brightness that he loved so much about her. The sweet spirit that captivated him. There was still a sadness in her eyes though, an element of doubt, possibly fear that something might happen to her again. She had a constant reminder of what happened, the cumbersome splint on her arm and the chronic back pain from the gun shot. He felt guilty beyond belief for what happened to her, he didn’t think the time was right to leave her.
“You don’t know what Shawn?” Richard asked, a little irritated by Shawn’s uncertainty.
“I don’t know if I should leave her. I mean, she just got out of the hospital and - and ten days? That’s so long.”
“I know this is a tough decision for you Shawn, but you need to let me know soon. If you aren’t willing to go I’ll have to find someone who is. I don’t want to make this hard on you or sound insensitive, but frankly I’m a little disappointed that you aren’t jumping at this opportunity. Shawn you’re young and new to this. National conventions only happen every four years, you’ll be missing so much if you choose not to go. I’ll tell you what. It’s almost 2:00 now, I’ll give you until 5:00. That’s three hours to talk with your girlfriend and think about this, and I really mean THINK about it Shawn. If she is as wonderful as you always tell me, she is going to understand. Give me your answer by 5:00, not a minute later, if I don’t hear from you I’ll assume your answer is no.”
“Ok, Richard,” he sighed, “thanks. I’ll talk to you later.” He hung up the phone and kept his eyes on Belle.
A few minutes later Belle turned off the television after the show was over and got up from the couch. When she stood up she saw Shawn standing on the patio facing her with a somewhat melancholic expression on his face. “He can’t possibly be upset about me watching The Hourglass,” she thought to herself. Dismissing the idea quickly, she figured he must have heard some bad news or something when he was on the phone. She smiled brightly as she opened the door to the patio and walked up to Shawn who continued to lean his back against the railing. Arms folded across his chest, he looked at the smiling beauty in front of him and weakly smiled back.
“Hey,” he said quietly.
“Honey, what’s wrong? You look upset.”
“I’m not upset,” he sighed. “I just have a lot on my mind right now. I, um .. I just got off the phone with Richard. I’ve been chosen to go to LA for the national convention.”
Belle quickly hugged him excitedly, he slowly put his arm around her to hug her back. Sensing his hesitancy and lack of enthusiasm, she pulled back and looked at him confused, trying to look into his now downcast eyes. “Shawn?” she softly touched his face, gently urging him to look at her. “Baby why aren’t you happy?”
He exhaled loudly, “I can’t go. I’d have to leave tomorrow. And I – I would be gone for ten days.”
She stepped back out of his loose embrace, “and let me guess. You don’t want to leave me so soon after everything that’s happened.”
“So you see why I have to stay.”
“No. I see why you THINK you have to stay, but I think you should go. The national convention is fun and a good opportunity for you. Shawn if you stay here you are going to regret it, and I’d feel guilty if you stayed.”
“Belle, you shouldn’t be alone. Maybe you can come with me?” he asked wishfully, his eyes brightened at the thought. He felt he found the best solution to the situation.
“No, I can’t do that,” she smiled. “Shawn it is sweet of you to want to stay with me, but I’ll be fine. All I have to do is take it easy this week, go to the doctor Friday and I’ll be back at work on Monday. If you stay you’ll be moping around wishing you were in LA.”
“That’s not true Belle. I can’t believe you won’t go with me,” he pouted.
“Shawn, this is your chance to follow your dream. I know about that world. I’ve been at enough conventions, and dinners, and conferences to last me a life time,” she laughed softly. With a bright smile she gently touched his cheek, stroking it softly to reassure him, “my place is here, ok? I can’t go.”
“You mean you won’t go,” he mumbled, unmoved by her explanation.
“Ok fine, can’t go, won’t go, what’s the difference?” her voice slightly raised. His stubbornness was starting to irritate her. She pulled back from him, staring into his intense gaze.
“There’s a HUGE difference! When you say you can’t go you’re saying you don’t have a choice. Belle, you DO have a choice and you choose NOT to be with me!”
“Oh GOD why are you being so difficult Shawn?” she asked angrily. “We can’t be together 24-7.”
“Is it so wrong of me to wish we could?”
“Not if it means you want to smother me and not let me live my life, and do the things I want to do LIKE go back to work. It’s bad enough I’m missing this week but you want me to miss another 10 days! I can’t believe we’re arguing over this,” she sighed, turning her back to him and walking back inside the apartment so their fight wouldn’t disturb the neighbors.
He quickly followed her and closed the patio door behind him. Annoyed she walked away from him he raised his voice slightly. “Well we wouldn’t be arguing if you would just let me take care of you and protect you!”
“Jesus Shawn!” she yelled. “Take care of me? Do you really think I need you to take care of me! That I’m some helpless and hopeless little girl that needs a man to make sure everything is alright. To PROTECT me?! Need I remind you that I was with you when this,” she raised her braced hand in front of him, “happened to me!” She watched his whole appearance sink as her final words hit him like a ton of bricks, he was mentally and emotionally crushed by her words and visibly shaken. The moment the words escaped her lips she gasped, “oh Shawn I’m sorry. I-I didn’t mean it.” She apologized frantically, but the words and the deep regret on her face were ignored by Shawn who journeyed into a world of self pity and guilt Belle could not reach. “Shawn PLEASE!” she pleaded.
He looked at her with a blank stare, his eyes cold and distant, black like coal full of hurt and anger. He lifted his phone that was tightly clutched in his hands and dialed a number. Bringing it to his hear, he waited for an answer as he looked at Belle, unshaken by her desperate cries and pleas for forgiveness. In a monotone voice he spoke into the phone, “Richard, hey its Shawn. I’ve thought about it and I’m going to LA. What time is the flight tomorrow night? .. 7:10, that’s fine .. I’ll drop by the office tomorrow to get more details from you then .. No, it wasn’t a hard decision to make,” he glared at Belle. “She doesn’t care if I leave, she doesn’t NEED me to stick around,” he stared at her coldly as he continued his conversation. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Bye.” He clicked off the phone and looked at Belle crying, upset at herself for what she said, but he knew she was right. He walked to her room to get his things and quickly walked back into the living room where she was sitting on the floor sobbing, “I’m going to go home to start packing.” He went to the front door and turned the knob.
“Shawn please,” she begged. “We need to talk. You can’t leave mad. We promised each other we would NEVER leave things unsettled.”
He didn’t turn to face her, his heart broke at the sound of her crying, but he was tearing apart even more from her words. He couldn’t face her. As he held the doorknob he hung down his head and spoke softly, “Isabella I’m not leaving things unsettled. I’m leaving here agreeing with EVERYTHING you’ve said. You don’t need me, you can take care of yourself.” He paused and deeply sighed, holding back the tears that began to sting his eyes. In a trembled voice, “I’ve got to go.” He quickly opened the door and left her on the floor, her head buried in her hands as she cried uncontrollably.
A few hours later Belle was sitting in her room. She had tried to call Shawn a number of times but he was not answering at home or his cell phone. She felt stuck. Her car was still in the shop getting fixed. So for the time being she had no mode of transportation except for Shawn and Mimi.
She laid down on her bed hugging the teddy bear Shawn had given her while she was in the hospital. She had stopped crying but her eyes were puffy and red, still moist with tears. Her fights with Shawn were always so heartbreaking, even the small ones, but this fight was a recurring one but in a different guise. Shawn’s overprotective nature was always a source of conflict but they always got through it, and up until Jan showed up he was doing better, he wasn’t too overbearing. Belle was patient with him and he learned to let go and not be so paranoid, but after Jan it seemed like all of her work with him was in vain, out the window and she had to start from scratch. Neither expected this argument to take such a bad twist and she felt horribly guilty for attacking the one thing he felt sorry for the most, her injury. Her words were like a stab in the back, and she knew that, but her temper could be just as bad as Shawn’s at times and she could say some hurtful things, too. She had faith that he would call when he was ready, she just had to wait patiently until he did.
As she stayed in her room she heard the front door unlock. She rushed out of bed, clutching the bear tightly, “Shawn?” she yelled anxiously, practically running out of her room into the living room.
“Um, no. Try the other person who actually pays rent here,” Mimi giggled, walking through the door. She put down her bag on the chair and hung up her keys. When she finally looked up she saw Belle standing in front of her with slumped shoulders and a dreary expression. Her face was flushed, tear stained and eyes filled with tears, full of sorrow. “Oh God,” Mimi sighed at the sight of her despondent roommate. She went up and hugged Belle who did not move. Her body went limp in Mimi’s arms as she started to cry again. “Belle, tell me what happened,” she whispered, desperately trying to console her friend. “Is it Shawn? Did something happen with you two?”
“Mimi,” she sobbed on her shoulder, finally gaining some energy to lift her arms to hug back. “I think I really blew it this time.”
“Oh I’m sure that’s not true,” she quietly reassured. “Come on let’s have a seat,” she guided her to the couch and they sat down, Belle rested her head on Mimi’s comforting shoulder. Her crying stopped once again as she tried to gain her composure to tell her friend what happened. Mimi rested her head on top of Belle’s and the two sat together in silence, only the sound of Belle’s sniffles could be heard. After she calmed down a bit, Mimi asked, “tell me what happened. Did you two have a fight?”
“The worst fight,” she mumbled.
“That’s what you say after every time you fight,” she chuckled softly to herself.
“Meems this is serious!” she asserted.
“You always say that, too,” she smiled in response.
“Belle, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be insensitive, but you and Shawn are always having some kind of disagreement, and later that same day you cry on my shoulder then the two of you patch things up and then you’re glowing for like a week straight after incredible make up sex. You and I both know that you and Shawn are in it for the long haul so whatever these tears are for, you ..”
Belle interrupted Mimi’s theorizing. “Not this time Meems,” she sniffled. “This time is serious. I basically told him that I don’t need him,” her crying continued.
“Oh Belle,” she put her arm around her trembling friend to further console her. “Why would you say something like that honey?” she asked quietly.
“We were arguing about him leaving for LA to go to the National Convention. I told him he should go and he thought he should stay to be with me. I told him that I would be alright without him and one thing led to another and we both lost our tempers. He twisted my words around and said I needed him to take care of me. Then, I lost it and said that I still got hurt even though he was with me. Mimi, I hurt him so bad. You should have seen his face! And he’s leaving tomorrow for 10 days Mimi! He won’t talk to me and he’ll be gone for more than a week. What am I going to do Meems? He won’t answer his phone and talk to me,” her crying intensified, “he won’t talk,” she curled up on the couch and put her head on Mimi’s lap, her body shaking from her deep sobs, “he won’t talk to me. God, I messed up so bad.”
Mimi stroked Belle’s hair softly. “Belle you didn’t mess up. It’s ok. Shhhh .. everything’s going to work out, ok? He just needs some time to cool off and you need to be patient. I know it’s so hard to do that, but you have to take it easy. He’s going to come running back you’ll see. How could he not? He loves you Belle, you know that and you two are going to work this out.” She spoke softly, but confidently offering tremendous reassurance for Belle. “Now how long ago did this happen?”
“Around 2:30 or so.”
“Ok, well give him another few hours. If he doesn’t call by 8:00 I will take you to him personally, ok? If he’s leaving tomorrow you don’t want him to be gone for 10 days and you haven’t worked things out.” She paused and giggled to herself, “ok correction, I don’t want him to be gone 10 days without you two working things out. That would be miserable seeing you mope around and if you mope around I mope around and Philip will mope around and,” Belle started to laugh a little, “then we’ll all be unhappy!”
“Thank you Mimi,” she sniffled.
“Hey what are best friends for? Belle it’ll be ok, and then I’ll have to deal with that freakin glow!” she joked.
The two laughed together for quite a while as they sat on the couch. Belle’s crying subsided but she was still devastated by what had happened earlier. She waited patiently to hear from Shawn, but she was doubtful he would call.
“Mimi I can’t believe this! I’m going to find Shawn.” Belle was frantic. For hours she waited on Shawn to call and she tried to reach him but he wasn’t answering his phone. She was beside herself. Normally she would not be so panicked but he was leaving the next day and to her time was of the essence. There was no way she would let him leave for ten days without talking to her about what happened.
“Ok, Belle give me a second. I know I said I’d take you to his place if he didn’t call by 8:00 but geez, let the minute hand move first,” Mimi yelled from her room, getting herself ready.
Belle stood by the door, tapping her foot nervously, “Meems it’s 8:05, I’ve let it move 5 times! God, this is ridiculous! Why hasn’t he called?!”
“I don’t know Belle, but you’ll work it out,” Mimi rushed out of her room to see the front door open, drops of rain splattering inside the doorway. Her eyes shifted to the wall to look for her keys and saw they were missing. “She didn’t,” she gasped in disbelief. She ran to the door and looked outside through the pouring rain to see her car skidding off in the parking lot. “Great,” she grumbled to herself. “She can barely drive with two good hands, how is she going to do this with only one?” Watching her car disappear in the distance she closed the door and walked back inside, praying that Belle would be ok.
Belle was frantic as she drove on the wet road, but tried her best to take her time, realizing that her skills as a one handed driver weren’t too great. She went straight to the marina, knowing that Shawn probably never even went to his apartment to pack like he claimed. The moment she arrived she saw his car and knew her assumption was right. Running out of the car into the pouring rain she headed down to the pier to the marina where The Perfect Girl was docked.
She walked hurriedly through the downpour with a sense of extreme purpose, her emotions rising as the rain falling on her face blended with the freshly fallen tears. “SHAWN!” she yelled as she approached the boat. “SHAWN DOUGLAS BRADY!! COME OUT HERE!!” she continued yelling as she tried to board the boat. “SHAWN I KNOW YOU’RE HERE! PLEASE SHAWN!” she screamed at the top of her lungs and stomped up and down the wet deck to be heard over the heavy rain. “SHAWN I’M SO SORRY!!! SHAWN PLEASE!!!”
The cabin door opened slowly and Shawn peeked his head out wondering what all the noise was outside. From inside the words were muffled, but he clearly heard his name. He saw Belle drenched on the deck, obviously distraught. He quickly walked out when he saw her pacing around, somewhat frenzied as if she were possessed.
Her back to him as she moved around, she did not know he was walking to her and continued yelling, “I’M SO SORRY SHAWN! PLEASE!”
“BELLE?” he asked loudly over the pounding rain drops that beat the wooden deck. She turned around to see him standing in front of her, his eyes dark and full of worry. He slowly walked to her, “Belle what are you doing here?”
“Shawn I’m so sorry for what I said earlier. Please Shawn, we need to talk. You’ve got to forgive me, please,” she begged, trembling from both the tears that began to fall again and the cold of the rain that soaked her clothes. “Please Shawn,” she fell into his arms and sobbed. He held her tightly and brought her inside.
Once in the cabin he led her to the bedroom where she sat on the bed. He wrapped a blanket around her so she could get warm. “Do you want some tea or hot chocolate to warm up?” he asked quietly.
“No, I just want you to talk to me,” she said, her body shivering as she tried to warm up.
“Ok,” he sighed at her stubbornness. “You want to talk?” he asked annoyed. “Answer this question for me.” He sat on the piano bench in front of the bed and faced her, “are you crazy or something? It’s a mess out there and you only have one good hand to drive with! How could you be so reckless?”
“Is this your way of saying you care?” she asked sarcastically.
“Care? Belle I love you, of course I care.”
“I love you, too Shawn. I am so sorry for what I said. I thought I lost you. I thought I really screwed things up earlier,” she smiled weakly at him, but his expression was unchanged. His eyes were deep and gentle, but still harbored hurt and pain. She realized he had not really gotten over everything she said to him.
“Belle you didn’t lose me, but you did really screw up,” he sighed deeply, “and so did I. If anyone should be apologizing it’s me. I pushed you in a corner and that was unfair. It doesn’t take away what you said and the pain it has caused me, but I’m not mad at you. I am upset, and a little disappointed, but not mad. I just need to figure things out for myself. I hope you understand.”
She stood up from the bed, dropping the blanket on the floor. With a stone face she said dryly, “I’ll leave you alone then.”
Shawn quickly got up from the bench and grabbed her hand, “no you can’t leave.”
With her back to him, he pulled her arm gently but she resisted him, refusing to turn around. Her head down, she stared at the floor, holding back the tears that wanted to fall once again. She refused to cry anymore over him that night. Not wanting his pity she held firm and kept her voice tight.
Unfaltering she replied calmly, with a hint of urgency, “why can’t I leave Shawn? You don’t want me here. I apologized, that’s all I can do. I am so sorry I hurt you but if you want to leave tomorrow without resolving this then so be it. I tried. God knows I tried even though you may be mad as hell at me for trying, I did try,” she turned quickly to look at him, her eyes ablaze with hurt and anger. Her voice raised, “and that is a hell of a lot more than you’ve done Shawn!” She snatched her hand out of his grip and ran off the boat.
Shawn ran after her barefoot, wearing only his shorts. “BELLE!” he yelled as he tried to catch up with her but she was fueled by pure adrenaline, powered by her emotions that allowed her to elude his capture. He caught up with her as she reached Mimi’s car. As she frantically tried to unlock the door he grabbed her arm and turned her around forcefully. Pushing her against the door, causing her to grunt loudly at his strength. His eyes stared into hers. They were no longer deep and brown like moments ago, now they were black like coal. Hot, filled with anger and frustration, “damn it Belle! I SAID you CAN'T leave!”
The rain fell down on them cascading against their faces, drenching them both as their eyes locked. “Shawn there’s nothing more to say! LET ME GO!!”
He did not release her. Pinning her against the car with his body, he avoided her stabilized arm in the now soaked splint and held her good hand against the door. He raised his other hand to her cheek and firmly held her face, “you can’t leave me Belle.” He moved in closer to her, his firm hand now caressing her cheek softly, “you can’t leave me,” he whispered as his lips brushed against hers. “You can’t Belle,” his voice faded away as his lips met hers. He kissed her hungrily. Passionately their lips met with great ferocity, suctioned as their tongues danced widely. Their eyes were closed tightly, both of them wishing that they could start the day over, have a fresh start and avoid the pain they caused each other. Shawn let go of Belle’s hand and with both of his hands he held her face. He continued to kiss her deeply, his desire erupting inside of him. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, running her fingers through his wet hair, tugging at the short hairs lightly to hold onto him. In between kisses he gasped, “open the door.”
Belle moaned as Shawn ran his tongue along her neck, tasting the rain drops that had fallen on her soft skin. He licked the droplets of water and moved up to her jaw, nibbling fervently. His hands moved from her face to her waist where they quickly rose up her body, under her shirt. Roaming his fingers up her damp skin as Belle moved her hand to the door and struggled to find the handle to open it. She finally gripped the handle and opened the door.
Shawn’s arousal grew by the second. His mouth explored Belle’s neck and collar bone, planting deep, hungry kisses all over her. The sensation of his hot lips on her wet skin was electrifying. They both moaned loudly, wanting to be with each other immediately to cool the fire that was consuming their bodies. An inferno raged that only each other could put out.
Shawn’s hands found Belle’s bra and quickly undid the snap. He grasped both soft mounds with his rugged hands, continuing to kiss her wildly. “Ohhhhhh,” she moaned at the sensation of his fingers kneading her breasts.
“Hmmmmm .. Belle,” he panted. “Unlock .. the .. back door.” He turned her around so her front pushed against the car. With one hand he continued to knead the soft flesh as the other journeyed down to the button of her shorts. Unfastening it and unzipping the shorts quickly, he put his hand inside and moved it around slowly. Belle almost collapsed at the feel of his hands touching her most sensitive area, driving tremendous surges of electricity through her body. As Shawn’s hands moved he kissed the back of her neck intensely. His body pressed against hers, bringing her closer to him he thrust his hips against her backside to further stimulate his already hardened excitement. “Oh God baby, please hurry. I want you so bad.” His motions made it more difficult for Belle to unlock the door. She attempted to snake her arm around to find the lock but her fingers kept missing it and with every thrust of Shawn’s hips she lost herself in the moment, forgetting what she was doing. Her body heating rapidly, she felt her muscles tighten and an added dampness not caused by the rain. Finally her hand found the lock and she flipped it quickly.
“Open the door,” she gasped breathlessly.
He removed his hands. He opened the back door and closed the front door almost simultaneously. Belle went inside and he quickly followed behind to the back, closing the door behind him he lay on top of her and kissed her feverishly. His hands moved down to her shorts and desperately tried to remove them but his wet fingers made it difficult for him to grab the soaked clothes. With all his strength he pulled them down as the drenched fabrics clung to her skin, and followed the shorts by rolling down her equally wet panties. “Baby, I’m so sorry for what happened today,” he whispered as he continued to kiss her with great desire. He hurriedly sat up and pushed down his old football practice shorts he was wearing and kicked them to the floor. Sitting up in the car he grabbed Belle so she straddled his waist.
“I’m so sorry Shawn,” she gasped, feeling his hard member rub against her heated core. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I love you so much.”
“I know you are baby. God I love you Belle. I love you so much, I don’t want us to ever fight again. Baby I’m so sorry.” He lifted her shirt above her head and pulled the hanging bra off her shoulders. Attacking her breasts with his mouth she moaned in delight as he feasted on her searing flesh.
“Hmmmm.. Shawn. Please, say you forgive me,” she begged. Speaking breathlessly as he sucked on her mounds of flesh. “Please tell me. Ohhhhh God.”
“I forgive you Belle, baby. I could never stay mad at you. NEVER. Do you forgive me?”
“Of course baby, please don’t wait any longer. I want you inside of me. PLEASE Shawn.” She nibbled on his earlobe, driving him crazy. He lifted her hips slightly and then plunged her down on to him. “OHHHHHHH!” she moaned loudly.
He groaned as he felt her body tightly encase him, “hmmmmm.. you feel so good.” He continued paying close attention to her chest as she rode him, moving quickly up and down to satisfy the growing need to be loved completely by Shawn.
The heat of their bodies rubbing together produced so much heat causing the windows to instantly fog up. The rain beating against the small car provided the perfect rhythm for them. It was hypnotic, the pulsating beat urging them to move quickly and hurry their pace. Belle rocked back and forth along Shawn’s hips, the grinding action making them both moan loudly and hasten their climax.
“Ohhhhhh .. SHAAAAWWWWNNNNN!!! OOOOHHHHH!!! Please, don’t stop! GOODDD!! Baby PLEASE that’s it!”
He guided her hips to move faster. His eyes black, filled with lust stared at Belle whose gaze was intense, dark blue like a storm at sea. The fire that raged inside consumed them both. “Isabella I love you so much .. baby, I’m .. I’M .. OOOOOHHHHHHH .. BELLLLLE!!!”
Belle’s body relaxed in Shawn’s loving embrace. She carefully ran her fingers through his damp hair and then traced his jaw line before softly caressing his cheek. Her crystal blue eyes, full of calm and peace peered deep into Shawn’s. “I love you Shawn Douglas, so very much. I am sorry for all the pain I’ve caused you.”
He smiled warmly, his deep brown eyes gazing into hers lovingly. He softly stroked her hair, “I know you are, and I am so very sorry I hurt you. I love you Isabella, so much it hurts sometimes. I hate it when we fight, but..” he grinned at her mischievously, “I really do love making up.” He kissed her sweetly, his lips tenderly locking with hers.
“Shawn you do know we still need to talk, right?”
He groaned, “I know, but not now. Maybe tomorrow morning when we’re eating breakfast in bed,” he smirked. “I just want to be with you tonight.”
“I do, too. Are we going back to the boat?”
“No, let’s go back to my place. We shouldn’t be on the boat with another storm coming. Besides, I need a little more room to work with to do everything I want to do to you. This car is a little cramped,” he chuckled. He kissed her quickly, “but I think I did ok. What do you think?”
“You were perfect.”
“And you were an animal,” he joked. “I loved it, and I love you.”
“Grrrrrr..” she jokingly growled, biting his lip playfully.
“Hmmmm,” he moaned delightfully at her antics. “We better get out of here before round two, which seems to be quickly coming, if you catch my drift.”
“And besides, I don’t think Mimi would be too pleased if two rounds took place in her car. She’s going to kill me when she finds out about round one.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll clean up in the morning, but for now you wait here for a second. I’m going to head to the boat to get a few things, and I will be right back.” He slipped on his shorts and handed Belle her clothes.
“Shawn aren’t you going to give me my underwear?”
“Nope. I’m going to hold on to these,” he grinned, holding on to the delicate clothing. “What’s the point of putting them back on if they aren’t going to stay on much longer?”
“I like the way you plan ahead,” she giggled, kissing him quickly.
Shawn hurried back to the boat, leaving Belle to get dressed in the car. A few minutes later he came back and opened the door. “Come on. We’ll get her car in the morning.” She walked out and they got into his 626 that was parked close by. They quickly drove to his apartment, on the way Belle called Mimi to assure her she was fine and apologized profusely for taking her car. Belle assured her that the car would be back in the morning before she had to leave for work. Mimi understood and did not press the issue, she wanted her roommate to work things out with Shawn and encouraged her to take her time.
After an exhaustive round two, Belle and Shawn lay in bed, resting comfortably as their bodies molded perfectly together. Spooning each other, Shawn’s arms were wrapped tightly around Belle like he never wanted to let her go. He placed tender kisses along her shoulders, lightly touching her skin with his soft lips.
She moaned quietly as he held her and affectionately caressed her body. Her eyes were closed as she relaxed in his embrace, becoming hypnotized by the rhythmic beat of his heart. His careful exploration of her shoulders continued and she quietly mumbled, “I’m not ready for round three.”
He chuckled lightly and nestled his head on top of her shoulder so that he lay with her cheek to cheek. “I know. I just want to stay like this with you. After all, I’ve got to savor this moment for 10 days.”
“Hmm.. you’re right.” She paused and asked quietly, “are you excited about going?”
He hesitated, “you sure you want to talk about this, now?”
“Mm-hmm. I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want to know,” she said lazily.
“Actually, I am excited. I’ve never been to LA before and .. and going to the convention .. I know it’s probably nothing to you, but this is a big deal. I’m just surprised they asked me to go.”
She smiled and turned her head a little to face him. “I know it’s a big deal.” She repositioned herself so that she lay on her back to look up at Shawn. “It’s a REALLY big deal and I am SO happy for you.”
“You are? Why would you be happy for me?” he asked a little surprised.
“Shawn, are you really asking me this question? Why wouldn’t I be happy for you? This is what you want to do. It’s almost an honor to be selected to go.”
“But I thought it bothered you? I mean, politics. You always say how much you don’t miss that world.”
“You’re right. I don’t miss it, but Shawn I love you and I support you AND your dreams, whatever they may be. I thought you understood that?”
“I did,” he sighed. “I mean, I -I do understand. I, um .. I lost track of that earlier. I realized that when I thought you were saying you didn’t need me what you were really doing was trying to help me realize what was best.”
“Shawn, this is your chance to follow your dream. I know about that world. I’ve been at enough conventions, and dinners, and conferences to last me a life time,” Belle laughed softly. With a bright smile she gently touched his cheek, stroking it softly to reassure him, “my place is here, ok? I can’t go.”
“You mean you won’t go,” Shawn mumbled, unmoved by her explanation.
“Ok fine, can’t go, won’t go, what’s the difference?” her voice slightly raised. His stubbornness was starting to irritate her. Belle pulled back from him, staring into his intense gaze.
“There’s a huge difference. When you say you can’t go you’re saying you don’t have a choice. Belle, you DO have a choice and you choose NOT to be with me!”
Shawn continued to look into Belle’s eyes, gazing lovingly. “I .. I sort of twisted your words around. I apologize. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry, too.”
“It’s ok Belle.”
“No, it’s not ok. I made you feel unneeded and unwanted. I blamed you for something that you are not responsible for. I hurt you Shawn. I attacked one of the things that means the most to you - your ability to always be there for me. I wish I could take it all back, I really wish I could but I just – I just want you to know that I was not serious. I was frustrated. There’s no excuse really, but I just .. I,” she sighed deeply, “I’m sorry Shawn. I am so very sorry.”
He kissed her sweetly, letting his lips linger with hers passionately. “I know,” he whispered. “Belle, I know,” he simply stated.
“Shawn, and I want you to know that I DO need you. I NEED you Shawn, don’t ever doubt that. I need you to love me.. always.”
“I know,” he kissed her again and grinned mischievously. With a raised eyebrow, he said in husky voice, “and I need you to get ready for round 3.”
She pushed him slightly, “Shawn I’m serious!”
“I am, too!” he protested. “Belle you’re beating a dead issue. I don’t want you apologizing anymore. I know you’re sorry and I forgive you. I’m sorry and you forgive me, so can we please start making up again?” He started to pout and his eyes pleaded with her, “please?”
“Not the puppy dog eyes,” she whined. “You know I can’t resist them, that’s not fair!” she playfully protested.
“I know I’m playing dirty,” he smirked.
“You always do,” she mumbled.
“I know,” he replied in a low growl. He moved so his body rested on top of hers. He supported himself up slightly so he did not crush her with his body weight.
Belle felt a poke in her thigh and her eyes widened as she realized he was very ready. “You’re kidding?” she asked flatly. “Is this what I get for being involved with an athlete? Incredible stamina?”
He grinned mischievously, “if I didn’t know better I would think it bothered you, but ..” he kissed her deeply and she returned the intensity, “but I know better.” He flashed her a devilish grin, “although maybe I do need to convince you that you’re ready.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You trust me?”
“You know I do.”
“Then relax,” he kissed her passionately and quickly ran his lips down to her chin. His tongue journeyed down her chin to her neck and then slowly paid attention to her chest, sucking softly on her breasts, paying both equal attention. He soon made his way to her flat stomach, placing open mouthed kisses all along her soft skin. He moved his body down the bed and disappeared under the covers. Belle knew immediately where he was going as his body would slink further under the sheet. She moved up a little to give him more room and bent her legs, raising them up so she made a small tent with the bed sheet. Shawn finally reached his final destination, and slowly began to move his tongue around her most sensitive area.
“Hmmmm ..Shawn,” she moaned in delight. The feeling of his lips and tongue carefully probing her body her were overwhelming. He took his time swirling his tongue to taste her deeply. “GOD SHAWN!” she exclaimed. Gyrating her hips to intensify his actions, she moved closer to him, rocking back and forth, she wanted more.
Satisfied with her reaction as his mouth became filled with her moisture, he ended his feasting and reemerged from under the sheets. Grinning widely he saw her looking dejected, disappointed he had stopped.
“Shawn?” she asked breathlessly. “W-why?” she stammered
“Are you convinced?” he teased. He didn’t wait for her answer and he kissed her deeply. She could taste herself as his tongue swirled around with hers. It caught her off guard, but soon turned her on tremendously. She kissed him deeper, her fingers ran up and down his back rapidly, scratching his broad back. Her nails digging into his skin trying to control her intense stimulation.
“Shawn, please,” she gasped in between kisses. In a heavy pant, “I’ve never wanted you so badly. Baby, I want you NOW.”
He quickly entered her with a hurried thrust. He stayed inside her feeling her muscles tightly wrapping around him. Continuing to kiss her feverishly he breathlessly asked, “how do you want it baby?” He moved slowly, but barely, just a slight motion to develop a certain rhythm. “Tell me Isabella,” he whispered.
“Shawn,” she growled, staring at him with great intensity. In a low, husky voice she continued, “take me.”
His eyes widened in surprise at her declaration as he increased his thrusts. “Belle?” he asked, his voice shaking with a little concern.
Her eyes were dark, burning with desire. Staring into his eyes, her glare pierced through his deep brown gaze. In a throaty voice she prompted him to continue, “I want it hard and I want it fast,” she brought him closer to her and kissed him hard, causing him to groan at her forceful attack. Abruptly, she broke the kiss and stared at him once again, her eyes darker, filled with lust, “do it Shawn. HARD!!!”
Amazed by her order he quickly found a steady rhythm. He moved rapidly, plunging deep inside, accelerating with every thrust to satisfy her need. “Is this what you want, baby?” he asked assertively. “TELL ME BELLE!” he growled loudly
“OHHHH YESSSS! SHHHAAAAWWWWNNN!!! I want you deep inside, PLEASE!”
“Do you want it rough? TELL ME baby, how ROUGH do you want it?” he demanded.
“OHHHHH GOOOODDDDDD! Yes! I want it SOOOOO rough .. AND HARD!”
“Is this what you want baby?”
Shawn pumped harder sending shock waves up and down his body. The feel of Belle completely surrounding him and her screams of passion motivated him to work even harder. Belle’s fingers continued to dig into his skin, scratching his strong back causing slight stinging sensations but he loved the feel of her holding onto him tightly. She tried to pull him to her as close as possible to intensify the already intense love making.
“YESSSS Shawn! OHHHHHH YES! Baby, fill me up .. GO DEEPER. OHHHH that’s it Shawn! HMMMMM .. oh God! That’s it .. I’M .. OHHHHHHHH SHHHAAAWWWNN!” Her body shook, bucking violently against him as she reached her climactic pinnacle of desire. A surge of multiple tremors swept through her as Shawn continued his deep thrusts.
“Oh YEAH Belle! .. BAAAABBBYYYY!!! .. I love you so much ..OHHHH .. OHHHHHH GOOOOODDDDDD!!!!”
Shawn collapsed next to Belle. She ran her fingers through his hair as they both struggled to catch their breath. She kissed his forehead gently, “poor baby did I wear you out?” she giggled.
“Just as much as I wore you out,” he replied breathlessly.
“So who won this round?” she asked playfully.
He exhaled loudly as he lay next to her and mumbled into the pillow, “you did.” He continued breathing heavily, “by knockout.”
She smiled brightly, filled with satisfaction, “good.” After a few minutes, she got up from the bed and started to walk out of the room.
“Where are you going?” he whined.
“I’m thirsty, so I’m getting some juice. You want anything?”
“Water,” he gasped.
Belle giggled to herself at his inability to speak. “Alright,” she laughed. She walked to the kitchen and quickly came back with some water for Shawn, and a glass of juice for herself. Once she got back to the bedroom she saw Shawn fast asleep. Putting both glasses down on the bed side table she grabbed a big shirt of Shawn’s and threw it on. It fit her like a dress and covered her completely. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel tired and decided she’d go back into the living room to watch some television. Picking up her juice she walked back out of the room, closing the door behind her and dropped down on the couch. Flipping on the television she started watching a late night program which was beginning and she laughed quietly to herself during the opening monologue.
After about thirty minutes of enjoying the program, Belle heard the bedroom door open slowly. She turned around to see Shawn standing in his boxers in the doorway, rubbing his eyes slowly. He shuffled groggily toward her, scratching his tousled hair and squinting, his eyes trying to adjust to the television screen shining brightly in the dark room. “Babe, what are you doing?” he grumbled, his voice scratchy from lack of sleep.
“I wasn’t really tired,” she said quietly as she continued laying down on the couch. “Did I wake you?”
“Uh-uh,” he groaned. “I was lonely,” he whined like a little boy. He lay down next to her on the couch, nestling his body in between her and the couch. Intertwining his legs with hers, he placed his head on her chest and draped an arm over her body to keep her close to him. He yawned, “that’s better,” as he closed his eyes and dozed off again. She kissed him softly on the top of his head and gently caressed his face. The light stubble tickled her fingertips as she slowly swirled her hand along his cheek. She continued watching the late night program and afterwards turned off the television and fell asleep, peacefully resting with Shawn as he held her closely to him on the couch.
As the faint rays of sunlight traipsed through the small living room, Belle’s eyes fluttered open, enjoying the incredible warmth of Shawn’s arms encasing her on the soft couch. She slept peacefully on the narrow space, and he continued to sleep. His head resting comfortably on her chest, the warm breath escaping his slightly agape lips blew softly across her body.
Belle started to move from off the couch. Slowly trying to make her way from Shawn’s hold but was unsuccessful. His grip around her was too tight, and she could not release herself from his hold. Determined to get up she tried again, this time a little more forcefully. Once she thought she would be able to get out of his embrace he pulled her closer to him and eventually rolled her over on top of him. Laughing immediately by his actions she looked into his now open eyes, his gentle brown gaze dancing playfully.
“This whole time you were playing!” she giggled.
“I wasn’t playing. I didn’t want you leaving so soon,” he defended, flashing her a mischievous grin.
“Whatever,” she started to get up again, but he held her close to him, chuckling to himself as she struggled to get out of his hold. “Shawn!”
“You’re not going anywhere. Not yet.” He wrapped his arms around her tightly, pressing her body firmly against his. He smirked, “kiss me.”
She shook her head teasingly, “no.”
His eyes widened at her refusal, he gasped jokingly and asked, pretending to be hurt, “what? Belle, please kiss me,” he reiterated, sticking out his bottom lip to pout.
“Uh-uh,” she playfully protested again. Her smile widening as they continued to play their little game.
“After everything last night you won’t give me a little kiss,” he whined.
“Not even a little one.”
“Even after last night and the way you acted?” he grinned and narrowed his eyes. He talked in a low growl, “after you talked dirty to me last night?”
Her face turned bright red, remembering how she acted during round three.
“You aren’t .. embarrassed are you?” he teased, his smile widening as she continued to blush and appeared to be speechless.
After a brief pause she replied in a throaty voice, “No. That’s what I wanted and that’s what I got.”
“Hmmm... glad to be of service. Now kiss me.” She lowered her lips to his and lightly brushed them against his. He gently held her face and brought her closer to him, taking the time to slowly taste her sweet lips. Before it deepened Belle pushed herself up, breaking the kiss. “Belle?” he whispered.
She got up from on top of him and stood up next to the couch looking down at a shocked Shawn. “We’ve got to get moving,” she said starting to walk away. He quickly stood up and followed her into the bedroom. She rambled off a list of things to do, “we’ve got to get Mimi’s car and drop it off before she leaves for work. We’ve got to get you packed and ready to go for your trip. You’ve got to go to the office and well I don’t really need to do anything but ..” her voice trailed off as Shawn caught up with her and stood in front of her grinning from ear to ear. “What?”
“You don’t really need to do anything but kiss me.”
“And you’re beautiful. Now for the last time kiss me and make it a good one. I’ve got to go ten days without you and well, I want to get my ten days worth.”
“Worth of what?” she asked as she started getting herself ready. Belle was fully aware of what he wanted but she knew they didn’t have any time for what he had in mind. She acted busy much to his disappointment.
“Ok fine,” he sighed. “I see what you’re doing.”
She turned to look at him and smiled brightly, her eyes twinkling filled with an extreme sense of satisfaction, “I knew you’d see it my way, now get dressed.” She walked into the bathroom and then quickly walked back out when inspiration hit. Looking at Shawn with a faint smile and a glimmer in her eye, she was thinking deeply about the bright idea she just had.
As she saw Shawn rummaging through his drawers throwing around his clothes frustratingly in an attempt to work off his disappointment, she slowly walked up behind him. Wrapping her arms around his waist she kept her injured arm around him and ran her other hand up his bare chest, feeling the defined lines of his muscular body. Placing feathery kisses on his strong back, he threw the fist full of clothes in his hand back in the drawer and placed his hands at the ends of the chest of drawers trying to control his urge to turn around and lift Belle in his arms and take her back to bed.
He sighed deeply as she continued paying attention to his shirtless body, “I,” his voice cracked and he quickly cleared his throat, “I thought you said we needed to get ready.”
She continued her light perusal of his deeply tanned back, “I did,” she whispered.
“So,” he gulped, “so what are you doing?” he struggled to ask. She was driving him crazy by her light touches, his knuckles turned white as he gripped the wooden furniture.
“I have an idea that will help us get ready.”
“Yeah,” her voice was sultry, becoming more throaty with each word. “My idea will make me happy and, it will definitely,” she lowered her hand and playfully grabbed his crotch, “make you happy.” He closed his eyes tightly, suppressing the burning desire racing through him and intensified his already firm grip on the drawers, his knuckles losing all the blood in them. In a low growl Belle added, “and did I mention we’d both get clean.”
Using all his strength to keep his composure, Shawn turned around cautiously and looked down in disbelief at Belle who now continued to lightly kiss his chest. “Clean?” he mumbled.
She stopped her actions and looked at him, biting her lower lip playfully she slowly shook her head yes. Kissing him quickly on the lips she smirked, “I’ll see you inside,” and she walked away from him. He stood there in shock as he tried to soak in what had just happened, finally the sound of the water from the shower forced him out of his daze and he quickly went into the bathroom.
Once inside he saw her standing under the showerhead, the water cascading off her body as she leaned her head back, getting her hair wet. He became transfixed at the sight before him, she was stunningly beautiful to him and he could not suppress his urge to be with her any further. He quickly kicked off his boxers and joined her.
“Is there enough room for two?” he grinned as he walked in, pulling the shower curtain closed behind him.
“I was wondering if you were going to join me. You took a long time,” she giggled as she turned around so her back was to him. “Would you like to get wet or are you just going to stand there and stare?”
“Can I do both?”
“No you have to participate.”
He stepped closer to her and she turned around to look at him. Holding her small frame strongly against his, he kissed her passionately, keeping his arms tightly around her waist. Her hands moved to his wet hair, playfully moving the slick strands back with her fingers. The water falling down on them intensified their feelings, almost like a replay of the intensity they felt in the rain last night. As her thoughts ran to the moment, Belle quickly broke the kiss.
“Oh come on you aren’t going to do this to me again?” he groaned.
“No, we just need to get going. We don’t have time to continue what we’re about to start. But there are other ways we can have fun,” she said flirtatiously. “Will you do me a favor? Since I can only use one arm properly, especially since I have the splint off, will you help me wash my hair?”
“O-ok,” he replied, surprised by the request. “You want me to wash your hair?”
“Yes,” she laughed softly at his hesitation. “It’s ok, Shawn. I’m not asking you to style it. Just a simple shampoo. Come on.” He picked up a bottle from inside the shower. “No, not that one,” she corrected. “That’s yours, my bottle is right behind.”
“Oh sorry.” He picked her shampoo and tentatively started to wash her hair. Soon after his apprehension dissipated he slowly rubbed the shampoo into her hair, his fingers moving gently along her scalp. “Is this good?” he asked nervously, afraid he may be too rough.
“It’s great. Thanks sweetie. Maybe you should do this more often,” she laughed.
“What’s so funny? That I’m good at this?”
“Sort of. I think you may have found your calling,” she teased.
“I don’t know about that, but,” he stopped shampooing and held her as she leaned her head back to rinse her hair, “but there is something I was definitely put on this earth to do.” He helped her get the last traces of shampoo out of her hair and picked up the bar of soap and handed it to her. He took his shampoo and switched places with her under the showerhead.
As he started to wash his hair Belle stood in front of him holding the soap in her hand, puzzled by his last statement. She was waiting patiently for him to finish his thought. “Aren’t you going to finish what you were saying?” she asked allowing her curiosity to get the best of her.
“Oh about what I was put on this earth to do?” he asked playfully, his mischievous grin emerging.
“All I was saying is I was definitely put on this earth to,” he paused and smiled at her warmly, “to stay clean.” He continued washing his hair. She hit him on his chest and pouted a little. Chuckling to himself at her reaction he stopped massaging his scalp and with his hands still in his hair he looked down at her and started laughing even harder. “I’m kidding,” he managed to get out.
She smacked him again on his chest. “That’s not funny. Getting my hopes up and then teasing me like that!” she complained as she slowly started rubbing the bar of soap along his chiseled body. The slippery bar moved smoothly along his wet skin, making small bubbles along the way.
“Well what were you hoping I’d say?” he asked slyly.
She continued lathering up his body, almost becoming fascinated by the motion of her hand making the tiny suds. “I was expecting you to say something super sweet like you always do, like us always being together or telling me how much you love me or something like that. I don’t know.”
He remained silent as he finished washing his hair then took the bar of soap from her and finished the job Belle had started. He moved from under the showerhead and she took his place from under the water. “Ok you’re turn,” he declared holding the soap in his hand.
“You’re not using that are you?” she asked pointing at the soap.
“Oh yeah. I forgot you keep your little girlie things in here,” he mumbled as he took her loofah that hung up on the shower head and squirted some of her shower gel on it. “By the way, you were right about what you expected me to say. I figured you would be.” She smiled as he lathered the mesh sponge and turned around so her back was to him. “No don’t turn around, I want to do the front first,” he said, his voice was throaty. She turned back around and faced him, he slowly looked her up and down, “that’s better.” He gently started to rub the loofah along her body, making small circles on her shoulders. Slowly he brought the lathered sponge down to her chest, seductively letting the mesh linger against her breasts, caressing them with much care as he swirled it along the contour of each. Belle moaned softly at his light touches. Aware of her reaction Shawn asked quietly, a little uncertainly, “is this ok?”
“Mm-hmm..” she moaned.
He continued to let the sponge travel down her body, circling it along her taut abdomen and sides. Wrapping an arm around her waist he brought her closer to him, he slid the loofah along the back of her thigh and he spoke quietly in her ear, “lift your leg.” She slowly raised her leg and he guided the sponge along it, keeping it up with his smooth strokes up and down the length of her leg. “Ok, time for the next one,” he said huskily. He moved his other arm around her waist and moved the loofah into the other hand. Once again she slowly lifted her leg and he lathered the full length of her leg.
He stayed close to her and kissed her sweetly on the lips. The closeness in the shower and the intimate way in which he cleaned her made their hearts beat faster, and louder adding to the rhythm of the spray from the shower. “Hmmm..” he gulped and continued, “time for your back.” He turned her around, keeping a strong arm around her waist he used the other hand and slowly ran the lathered sponge across her shoulder blade and then down her back.
“Shawn you don’t have to do this,” she said timidly.
“I want to,” he said quietly bringing the loofah down to the new scar that adorned her back. Softly sliding the sponge along the wound, he whispered, “is it ok if I do this?”
“Yeah,” she whimpered, her breath slightly staggered as he examined the wound on her skin. “I guess I’m not perfect to you anymore,” she said quietly, her voice faltering as her emotions started to rise, remembering why she had the scar.
“Oh Belle,” he whispered softly, “that’s not true.” He stopped washing her back and put the loofah down, letting the water wash off the soap from her body. Placing his hands delicately on her waist, he bent down and gently placed his lips on the scar. He deliberately placed lingering kisses on the healing area. His actions caused Belle’s eyes to fill with tears and stream down her face, joined by the drops from the shower falling from above. Trembling from the wave of emotion sweeping her she turned around as Shawn stood up. He cupped her face, bringing her face up to meet his gaze. Smiling warmly, he gently stroked her cheeks with his thumbs and kissed her forehead sweetly. “Belle,” he whispered, “you are more perfect to me now than ever. Scars, after time, do fade away but my love for you grows more and more each day. There’s nothing that can change that .. NOTHING. You will ALWAYS be my perfect girl.”
She cried harder and he pulled her in close to him, hugging her tightly as the water fell down on them from the pulsating shower head. The two held each other close as Belle sobbed in Shawn’s arms, finally releasing her emotions about the shooting. Never once before this moment did Belle allow herself to face her feelings and cry about her injuries. She broke down in Shawn’s loving embrace, for the first time, allowing herself to grieve over what happened to her.
Keeping her close to him, Shawn turned off the water and grabbed her towel. Putting it around her tightly she hugged herself with the huge, fluffy towel to stay warm while he quickly took his towel and wrapped it around his waist. His actions were swift, not wanting her to feel alone in anyway. “Ok baby,” he whispered and picked her up. Crying softly she put her arms around his neck as he carried her, her head buried into his chest trying to muffle the sounds of her endless sniffling and soft gasps for air. “Shhhh..” he quietly reassured, “it’s alright. It’s going to be alright Belle baby.” He took her to his bed and sat down, holding her close to him in both arms. As he sat up on the bed, leaning his back against the head board, he sat her on his lap her head still buried against his chest. He tightened his embrace, keeping her warm as she shivered slightly from her still damp skin.
“I’m sorry Shawn,” she mumbled.
“Why are you sorry?” he questioned, kissing her temple sweetly. “There’s nothing to be sorry about.” His voice was soft and very comforting as he rubbed her arms to keep her body warm.
“I-I don’t know why .. Shawn I’m crying and I don’t .. I mean, I’ve been so happy with you and ..” she stammered in between sniffles as her sobbing intensified. “God Shawn I’m – I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m crying. I just .. when you .. in the shower. The scar, Shawn .. it’ll never go away.” She cried uncontrollably and buried her head even deeper against him.
The sight of his love crying broke his heart. It tore him up inside and to know that later that day he would be leaving made this moment with her even more difficult. Holding back the tears that wanted to well up in his eyes he stayed strong for her, gaining his composure so she could lean on him and truly feel supported and secure. “Isabella, please honey believe me when I tell you that it’s all over now. I promise nothing will ever happen to you again. I promise.”
“I know Shawn. I know nothing will happen to me.”
“I don’t think you do baby. Do you realize this is the first time you’ve allowed yourself to cry about everything that’s happened? You’ve finally released all the emotions you’ve had bottled up inside. Sweetness, this is why I didn’t want to leave you. You haven’t healed emotionally from this and I’m relieved you’ve finally started.”
Her crying subsided slightly, she looked up at him, her eyes red and sunken. With a sense of disbelief at what she heard, she asked dryly, very annoyed by what she thought he was implying, “you’re happy I’m crying?”
“No. Oh God no Isabella,” he defended. “It breaks my heart to see you like this. Honey you’ve got to be believe me. The last thing I want to see is you unhappy or in any pain, but if it means that you crying now and starting to come to terms with what happened to you will bring that sparkle back in your eyes and that sweetness back to your smile then so be it. I guess what I’m trying to say is seeing you without the twinkle in your bright eyes is even more heartbreaking for me. I love you and I want to see you through this.”
“Shawn?” she asked weakly.
“I just want to say thank you, and .. and you have been so wonderful to me and I’ve .. I’ve been saying .. I’ve been giving you grief for wanting to help me. I um.. I just want to say .. I appreciate what you’ve done but I don’t want you to feel obligated to stay. I know that you are doubting your trip right now. I know you and don’t try to deny it.”
“You know me too well, and you are so VERY stubborn, but I’m still going to LA. I know that’s what you want. I don’t want to upset you even further,” he chuckled softly. The vibration of his chest made Belle giggle to herself quietly.
“I love you Shawn.”
He grinned, “I love me, too.” She playfully hit him and he held her closer to him and kissed her temple, “but I love you more. Now let’s get you dressed.” He lifted her up from his lap and stood up as she sat down on the bed. He quickly went into his bottom drawer and picked out one of his favorite shirts. “Here I want you to wear this,” he said handing her a baseball jersey. “This is my favorite and I – I want you to have it,” he said nervously. “It’s good luck,” he smiled warmly.
She unfolded the jersey, it was his high school baseball jersey. It was a white shirt with blue lettering, the number five was in light blue and above it the name ‘Brady’ was written across in the same blue hue. She smiled at the gesture and held it close to her, “thanks,” she sniffled.
“It’s silly I know, but my senior year in high school after all the crap I went through I had a great baseball season and we won the state championship. I, uh,” he blushed slightly, “I hit a double that batted in the tying and winning runs. I was wearing this jersey and well, it was the first time I really allowed myself to be happy about something after I had been arrested. Anyway, ever since then I’ve kind of convinced myself that this jersey had a little luck to it. So I figured since I won’t be here to protect you and be here for you in person, maybe having this .. wearing this will ..” his voice trailed off and he squirmed slightly out of discomfort, “never mind, it’s silly.” He turned around and started looking through the drawers for something else.
Belle quickly put on the jersey as he rummaged through his clothes. “Shawn, it’s not silly. This is the nicest thing you could ever do for me.” He turned around to see her standing in front of him with the jersey on unbuttoned. “Thank you.”
He walked up to her and hugged her deeply. “It looks good on you,” he whispered. “Let’s finish getting you dressed,” he smirked as he buttoned up the jersey. She soon got the rest of her clothes while he quickly put on his clothes.
“I’ve decided that I’m going to call Richard to get the details for the trip, I won’t go into the office, I’m sure they don’t really need me. I want to spend the day with you and before you protest I just want you to know that my mind is made up. After we drop off Mimi’s car I’m staying with you. No questions.”
“And when are you going to pack?”
“I already did. I actually did come home to pack after our fight yesterday, but I couldn’t stand being here very long so then I went to the boat. So there’s no excuse.”
“I’m not going to argue,” she said quietly, still recovering from her uncontrollable crying from only moments ago.
Shawn and Belle drove to the pier and he went to get Mimi’s car cleaned. Feeling extremely guilty for what they did in the backseat of her Maxima he had it cleaned inside and out at the local car wash. They quickly got the car back to Mimi on time and Shawn stayed with Belle in her apartment.
As they stayed in Belle's room, sitting on her bed talking Mimi called from her car.
Belle picked up the phone, “hello?”
“I’m not even going to ask WHY my car is SO clean and smells like a pine tree, I’m not going to think about it!” Mimi blurted out on the other side of the phone making Belle laugh nervously. “Anyway, the reason I AM calling is I just want to find out how you’re doing since I didn’t really get to talk to you when you got home. So, is everything between you and Shawn cool? You looked a little down when you got home.”
“I’m fine Meems. Shawn and I are good, we’re really good. You were right, we worked everything out and um, well you’ll probably see the glow,” she giggled.
“Oh great,” she groaned playfully. “Well we’ll catch up later, ok? I just wanted to check up on you.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it.”
“Hey no problem. Why don’t we just have a girls night tonight. I’ll rent a couple of movies and we’ll have a boyfriend free evening,” she chuckled.”
“Sounds good Meems,” she replied softly. “I’ll see you later.”
After she hung up with her roommate she and Shawn continued to talk. Working out her feelings and insecurities. It was refreshing for both to be so open and honest with each other. They always tried to keep that at the heart of their relationship but in light of recent events, certain feelings had been repressed. Finally, they released their suppressed emotions and talked about what they had been through in the past week.
Shawn sat on Belle’s bed, leaning back against the wall with his legs stretched out across her bed spread. Belle sat up, surrounded by her pillows and stretching her legs out across, laying them on top of Shawn’s thighs. He gently rubbed her legs, feeling the smoothness of her soft skin with his rough fingers.
As their conversation progressed, Shawn asked tentatively, “Belle, does it bother you that I was with Jan?”
Stunned by the question, “Why are you asking me? It’s kind of ancient history.”
“I don’t know I can’t help but shake the feeling that it does. I mean, I want to be totally honest with you and I have tried to be completely open with you about my past, even with Jan, but I don’t know if I’ve ever bothered to consider how it made you feel.”
“I guess on some level it did bother me, but not anymore. The first time I saw her I kind of compared myself to her and let insecurities kind of take over. It’s weird to meet your boyfriend’s ex, you know? But after a while before the shooting and the car stuff, I just felt sorry for her that she hadn’t moved on. It’s really sad what happened to her, I mean although she made our life hell I never wanted her dead ... just out of Salem.”
“I know what you mean. Jan was so damaged and she never got the help she needed. It’s too late now, it’s a shame it happened this way.”
“Yeah,” she timidly agreed, looking down at the teddy bear in her lap. She slowly rubbed the bear’s hair, smiling faintly as she examined the cute features.
“Is something wrong?” Shawn asked, picking up on her bashfulness.
“It’s nothing,” she looked up at him slightly, avoiding looking into his eyes so he couldn’t tell she was hiding something. “There’s nothing wrong.”
“Belle, yes there is. You won’t look at me because you know there is.” He lowered his head to meet her eyes and he urged her to look at him with his gaze that locked with hers. She looked up at him, her eyes guided by the hypnotic lock he possessed with his deeply intense brown stare.
“This is kind of embarrassing.”
“No need to be embarrassed with me.” He grinned mischievously, “I’ve seen you naked.”
“Shawn!” she blushed, smacking his arm. “Don’t make this harder for me.”
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly after his reprimand. He took her hand, pressing it against his face and gently kissed the palm, with a whisper he continued, “I’ll be serious. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing is really wrong I just thought about ... something ... that does sort of bother me ... about you and Jan. I, um ...” she squirmed nervously, removing her hand from his face and tried to find the right way to say what was on her mind. Shawn looked at her closely, caressing her legs, his soft touch comforted and calmed her as her nervousness quickly rose. “It bothers me a little that there were other girls before me and that you were my first but ... um ... I wasn’t yours.”
He looked down at his hands slowly moving up and down her legs and became spellbound by the motion. His body sank in to the wall as he searched for something to say. His quietness made Belle more nervous and upset with herself that she had confessed her secret.
“Shawn?” she asked anxiously.
“I’m sorry Belle, I just never expected you to say that, I guess I should have but,” he paused and looked up at her, his eyes full of sorrow, “but I wish you were my first, too.”
“Belle baby you have no idea how much I wish I had never fooled around so much in high school. I barely remember my first time. It was so quick, and I didn’t know what I was doing and I ... I didn’t ... well,” he struggled to talk and after a brief pause he continued. “We were friends and we were drunk - not exactly romantic. It pisses me off actually that my first time was like that, after it happened we just pretended like nothing happened. No strings attached in a way.”
“She was a friend of yours?”
“Yes,” he mumbled. “She was a year older than me. Sort of an outcast, one of those artsy types that no one got in high school. Everyone was so dumb and immature back then. Anyway,” he sighed, “we got along basically because of music. She loved to sing and I would accompany her from time to time. That was about it,” he shook his head at the memory trying to hide his uneasiness. He grumbled, “do we need to talk about this anymore?”
“Is it uncomfortable for you to talk about her?” she asked concerned.
“Sort of ... a little, but – but doesn’t it make you uncomfortable to hear about it?”
“No. I’m a little curious for some reason, but not uncomfortable. Can I ask you a question about her?” He nodded slowly. “What happened with you two?”
“Well, she moved to New York to go to one of those performing arts school. You know one of those academies that you have to be really talented to get into. She left after my sophomore year, her junior year. I can honestly say she was the only real friend I ever had in high school. If she hadn’t left I probably would have never gotten involved with Jan. I wouldn’t have dated her, but we probably would have just stayed friends. I am 100 percent sure that I would not have gone down my shameless spiral if she had stayed.”
“You miss her don’t you?”
“I guess. I never allowed myself to miss her, and this may sound weird but I never really thought about her until I met you. What I mean is having you in my life, not just as my girlfriend but my best friend made me realize how much I missed being close to somebody. You know just having fun.”
She smiled slightly at his explanation. “Did you love her?”
“Only as a friend. We were close ... we just understood each other.”
“Shawn, you haven’t even said her name. Is it that painful to talk about her?”
“It’s not painful, just a little sad. She was a good friend and we never stayed in touch after she moved, but she lives a really busy life I know that now since I get to see her every Wednesday night at 9:00.”
“What? I don’t get it.”
“Ever watch that show ‘The Senator’?”
“I’ve seen it once or twice. I don’t think it’s that good, a little farfetched in a lot of ways. After all it’s a show about a politician and his family,” she laughed. “So what does this have to do with her? Is she on the show?”
He slowly nodded his head in agreement, biting his lip he spoke softly, “it’s Chloe Lane.”
After Belle and Shawn had a very long talk, it was time for him to leave for LA. The two had worked out everything, feeling closer and more bonded than they ever had. There love was renewed and their relationship even stronger.
The time quickly approached when Shawn needed to leave for the airport. Belle walked him out to his car. They stood next to his car as Shawn leaned back on the door grasping her waist tightly to keep her close to him. She slowly ran her hands up and down his chest taking the time to memorize the feel of his muscular frame. “Alright, now don’t go driving the California girls crazy,” she teased, smiling brightly as she tried to hide her sadness that he would be gone for almost 2 weeks. They had said long good byes before but it was usually her leaving, not the other way around. Now she got the chance to experience what it was like to stay behind.
“You don’t have to worry about that,” he smirked. “I only plan on driving one girl crazy.” He started chuckling to himself, “I was just thinking about the last time we were leaning against a car.” After a brief pause he continued in a low growl, “I wish it weren’t light out, I could REALLY drive you crazy.”
“You sure could.” Her response was throaty as she kissed him quickly. “I’m going to miss you.”
“Me, too. I’m glad we talked though, I feel a little better about leaving.”
“I know,” she said quietly, snaking her arms up his chest and around his neck, softly playing with the hairs at the nape of his neck. Gently pushing his head down to kiss him, she leaned in closer to him and their lips met softly. Tenderly locking, slowly moving as they touched delicately. Taking the time to sweetly taste each other and linger to savor each moment.
“God I’m gonna miss you,” Shawn gasped as he continued to kiss his love with greater passion. Deepening the kiss with immense intensity.
“I am, too,” she whimpered as he held her tightly, his hands roaming up and down her back. “but ... hmmmm..” she moaned. Pulling away slightly, “baby, you’ve got to get going,” she whispered. “You don’t want to be late.”
“I know,” he groaned. Kissing her quickly, “I love you.”
“I love you, too Shawn. Now get going before I give you a reason to stay,” she giggled.
“Hmmm...” he smirked, bobbing his eyebrows up and down. “What kind of reason?” he asked slow and deliberately.
“You’ll find out in 10 days!” she laughed playfully as she moved away from him.
“Fine,” he grumbled, opening the car door. He got inside and closed the door. As he started the engine he quickly rolled down the window and Belle leaned against the window frame, partially sticking her head inside the car.
“You do me a favor and have a lot of fun out there, ok? Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about me.”
“I’ll try but you know you’ll be on my mind all the time.”
“Call me when you get in, ok?”
“You sure? It’ll be late.”
“I want you, too.” She kissed him quickly, “I love you.”
“You better,” he grinned mischievously. “I’ll call when I get a chance.”
They kissed briefly. Belle moved away from the car and watched Shawn drive away.