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Chapters 58 - Epilogue

October 24 2004 at 11:31 AM
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Colleen  (Premier Login Mrs.B.)
Forum Owner


Response to Mysterious Ways

CHAPTER 58:

That week Shawn tried to come to terms with the fact that his relationship with Belle seemed to be falling apart before his very eyes. The meeting at the pier was disastrous, and though Belle seemed to have had a sudden change of heart, it became apparent to him that she was seeking more of an explanation than he was able to give. He tried and he felt helpless. Sitting in his apartment, staring at the television blankly, unaware of what was actually on, his thoughts ran to Belle. The next day was their anniversary and they were not talking.

Initially he was willing to push his pride aside and beg for her forgiveness, but as time went on he felt he did not do anything wrong and he was not going to let go of that conviction so easily this time around.

Slumped on his couch, he sat around with nothing to do. His thoughts tortured him and he hurt deeply ... wanting badly for Belle to be next to him on the couch, snuggling next to him like she often did. He closed his eyes imagining the feel of her small frame in his arms. Her fingers slowly moving across his body, lazily moving around his chest and grazing his stomach. Her scent wafting over him, and he took in a deep breath, remembering that familiar vanilla scent that intoxicated him every time. Sometimes she would change to a floral scent or berry, but he preferred vanilla and she used it often ... just for him. His mind wandered to her hair and the way it felt so soft under his finger tips. The way she would twirl it around her finger when she was nervous. He loved it when she wore her hair up in loose curls, just softly touching her neck ... oh her neck, he groaned at the thought of tasting her soft flesh and finding that spot near her earlobe that made her knees weaken and melt into him. She would say his name in a raspy voice, very throaty and in a whimper that made him know she was his ... only his, and that no other man would ever make her feel that way.

His fantasies were interrupted with a loud knock. He immediately thought it was Belle and rushed to open the door, "Belle!" he said wishfully as he swung the door open, but soon his shoulders slumped and the emerging grin quickly faded when he saw his father standing in front of him. "Oh," he mumbled, "hi Dad."

"It's good to see you, too son!" he said sarcastically as he walked into the apartment. Looking around he saw empty cans and fast food bags strewn across the coffee table and on the floor near the couch. The kitchen counter had an empty pizza box and 2-liter bottle with a small amount of coke left. "God," he gasped at the sight of the filthy apartment. "I know this is your place but son ...." he shook his head in disgust, "this is disastrous."

"I know," Shawn grumbled, as he scratched his head. He walked to the couch and flopped down in front of the television.

Trying to ignore the mess, Bo had a seat on the chair near the couch and watched his son, blankly watching an infomercial. "Looking to buy a multipurpose cleaner?" Bo joked, as he watched a man with a long pony tail sell the cleaning product with great enthusiasm, demonstrating how easily a coffee stain can be removed from carpet.

"What?" Shawn asked, looking at his father confused and then looked at the program. "Oh. I just had this on. I wasn't paying attention."

"I could tell. So how are you doing son?"

With a heavy sigh Shawn seemed to sink further into the couch. "Terrible," he mumbled. "Absolutely terrible."

"So why are you here instead of trying to get her back?" Bo asked.

"Why should I Dad?" he asked angrily. "I did my part and she did not want to hear what I had to say. Not a word, and then when she did ..." his voice trailed off and could not finish.

"What Shawn? What happened?" Bo urged him to continue.

"When she did finally believe me ... FINALLY, I realized that she twisted this whole thing to make me feel guilty when she was the one who doubted me. She DOUBTED my love for her, and ..." he shook his head in disbelief. "I just can't get over that."

"I see," Bo said as he rubbed his chin, feeling the rough hair against his fingertips. He was deep in thought and let Shawn's words sink in.

"So you see that I'm right."

"No," Bo sighed. "Shawn, your mother made me come over here to see if her theory was right."

"And what theory would that be?" he muttered under his breath. He had a good idea what his father was going to say.

"That the Brady pride has gotten the best of you ... and she is right."

"Dad this has NOTHING to do with Brady pride!" he argued. "This has EVERYTHING to do with Belle forgetting that I love her!"

"Shawn why don’t we head out to the pier," Bo stood up. "Come on, go put on some shoes. Let's head out to the Fancy Face."

"Dad," Shawn complained.

"Let's go," he insisted in a fatherly tone that could not be questioned.

---
Belle was sitting in front of the television, bored out of her mind. She was home alone since Mimi was out with some friends. Belle did not feel like going out with her, and though Mimi wanted to stay and keep her company, Belle insisted that Mimi not let her bad mood ruin her Friday plans.

Belle's mood worsened since Monday and her failed talk with Shawn. Since discovering Shawn had seen Chloe in LA she acted like the victim, but not until her argument with Shawn at the pier did she realize how she had hurt him, too.

Flipping through the channels she finally stopped on the entertainment news program as it was beginning. The headlines caught her attention as the hosts discussed a surprising announcement of one of her favorite music groups. She watched the program patiently as different stories about various celebrities filtered through. Coming to another commercial break a picture of Chloe Lane flashed across the screen and the announcer's voice came over, "shocking news about the star of The Senator." Belle rolled her eyes and groaned in frustration as she heard the story. Afraid that another picture of Shawn for all the world to see would be sprawled across the television she picked up the remote, tempted to change the channel but something told her not to flip to another station.

Minutes later the hosts came back on and started the next story:

"Tonight we have a special story about The Senator's Chloe Lane," said the female host. "The young actress that has Hollywood all abuzz with her portrayal of Natalie on the hit show is making news with the announcement of her wedding to super model Kyle Diamond."

The news story cause Belle to sit at the edge of her seat. Her eyes widened in amazement as she listened closely to the story.

"That's right Kathy, Chloe Lane and Kyle Diamond have tied the knot in a secret ceremony in New York. News came to us just this morning and we caught up with the happy couple. Here is Justin Barnes with the latest."

"Thank you Bob. Here I am with Chloe Lane, star of primetime's hit show, The Senator and super model, Kyle Diamond. First of all, let me say congratulations to you both."

"Thanks Justin," Kyle responded, keeping his arm around Chloe in a tight embrace. "The time was right. I'm the happiest man alive," he beamed.

"You two look so happy, but Chloe I have to mention this. Only last week there were stories about you and a young Republican," Justin half asked and half stated.

"Yes," Chloe sighed with a hint of annoyance at the situation. "That was a dear friend of mine from my home town. He happened to be in LA for the Republican convention. We met up for drinks and that was all. We talked and caught up on old times. In fact all he did was talk about his girlfriend and I talked about Kyle," she laughed. "He just kept talking on and on about her. Anyway, I haven't talked to him since all of this came out, but I have no doubt this did not affect his life, just like it did not affect mine. As you can see I could not be happier," she smiled, and looked at Kyle who gave her a quick kiss.

"Well, there you have it," Justin reported. "Back to you in the studio."


Belle quickly turned off the television. "What have I done?" she whispered. Chloe's interview confirmed everything Shawn told her and then knowing that all he did was talk about her made her sink into the chair with incredible guilt. Belle pushed all her stubborn pride aside and realized that it was up to her to make this right. She still felt Shawn was wrong in not telling her about Chloe, but she felt horrible for jumping to the wrong conclusions. She searched her mind for possible ways to take care of the situation ... after all, tomorrow was their anniversary, and she could think of no better gift than to have Shawn back.

CHAPTER 59:

Bo took Shawn out on the Fancy Face II for a night sail. Sailing out just far enough so that Salem looked like a small dot in the horizon, they dropped anchor and Bo brought out a couple of drinks from the ice box in the cabin. Shawn stared out at the night sky. Looking for the constellations his father had taught him when he was a child. The familiar Orion's belt stood out to him first and then his eyes found the North star. He became entranced by the formation of the images in the heavens above. He remembered the first time he took Belle out on the Perfect Girl and he told her some of the myths behind some of the constellations. It was a gorgeous spring night, he remembered it like it was only yesterday. They had set sail and dropped anchor just about as far as he was currently. A smile escaped his lips as he thought about how they had made love under the stars, ignoring the cool night air as they kept each other warm with their love for each other.

Bo watched Shawn closely and noticed the distant gaze in his eyes, and the smirk on his lips. "You're thinking about her, aren't you?" he asked softly.

"Yeah," he said sheepishly.

"Son, tell me what happened. We all know you two are at a ... stumbling block, but no one knows why."

"I don't really want to get into it. You wouldn't understand."

"Try me. I know a little about love," he joked. "Come on. I know how much Belle means to you and I want to see you happy. Maybe I can help."

Shawn continued to tell his father about what happened in LA with Chloe and how Belle found out. He explained his failed attempts to talk with her and how he feared it may be over.

---
Belle was frantic after hearing the interview with Chloe and Kyle. Quickly she picked up the phone and dialed Shawn's number. After his machine picked up she called his cell phone, and his voicemail automatically came on. Desperate to find him she called the only other number she could think to try.

"Hello," Hope answered.

"Hi, Hope ... it's Belle," she said tentatively, with a hint of urgency.

"Belle," Hope said happily with a sigh of relief, "you and Shawn are fine."

"Well, not quite. Do you know where he is? I need to talk to him."

"No sweetie. I sent his father over to talk to him, knock some sense into that hard head of his for letting that Brady pride get in the way," she stated with a hint of motherly disappointment. "My assumption is they are out on the Fancy Face for a little father, son bonding. I think that was Bo's plan."

"Do you have any idea when they might be back?"

"Hmm... let's see. Bo left here about an hour and a half ago, so they have probably set sail by now. There is no telling when they might get back. Usually they are out for hours." She paused for a second and was unable to let her curiosity get the best of her. "Belle, do you mind me asking what happened between you two?"

"It was a huge misunderstanding, but I'm pretty sure we will get through it. I just realized that I have made a big mistake."

"Whatever you say, but I know my son isn't innocent of all this either," Hope assured. "Anyway, I will call you back in five minutes, ok. I'll track them down."

"You don't have to do that Hope," Belle said.

"I insist. I'll call you right back! Bye!"

---
Shawn finished telling his father all that happened over the past week and a half since Belle broke up with him. Bo listened closely to the tale and gave Shawn his best advice. Telling his son that he needed to fight for Belle regardless of how wrong he thought she might be. He stressed how important it was for him to open up the lines of communication.

"Dad I hear what you're saying but ..."

"But nothing Shawn. I don't want you to learn this lesson the hard way, like I did and like so many others have. Trust me on this one son."

"I don't know," Shawn began to argue.

"You really are stubborn," Bo mumbled. "It's just amazing ..." he continued but was interrupted by his cell phone ringing. He took the phone out of his pocket and looked over at Shawn. "It's probably your mother wondering what is happening. Give me a sec." He clicked on the phone, "Brady."

"Hey there," Hope said happily. "Any luck?"

"We're getting there," he said as he watched Shawn sitting deep in thought. "I'm working on him. He's a lot more stubborn than I expected."

"The Brady pride rears its ugly head," she mumbled. "Anyway, the reason I'm calling is to find out when you two plan on heading back."

"Well, we are about a half hour away from land. I think we have a few more things to work out here. I would guess ... let's see it is almost 9:00, we'll probably be out for another hour and I should be home by 11:00."

"That's fine. I wasn't calling for me, Belle called a few minutes ago asking for Shawn. She says she made a mistake and she is sure that the two of them will work things out. Anyway, she wanted to know when he would be back home."

"Like I said, around 11:00. I won't mention this to him. I hope this works out because I can't stand to see him this miserable anymore."

"Thanks sweetheart. I'll see you when you get home."

"Ok, Fancy Face," he smiled. "I'll see you." He hung up the phone and made his way back to his son who was deep in thought. "That was your Mom checking up on us. I told her we'll probably be out for another hour or so. Is that good?"

"Yeah," he said quietly, keeping his gaze fixed out at the dark sky. "Dad, I've been thinking about what you were saying and ... you're right. You know I dated girls before Belle, but she is the only girl I have ever loved. It's intense sometimes the feelings I have for her. I think I do let my pride get in the way and I keep thinking it's my job to just protect her." He chuckled a little at the thought. "She is always telling me that she can take care of herself and that she just wants me to be with her."

"Sounds like you should listen to her. Son, I know you have had a hard time with girls in the past. Your saga with Jan is enough for one man to not believe in love and that added with what you went through with Chloe ... let's just say I don't blame you for wanting to hold on to Belle like you do but maybe intense is the right word to use. When you two work things out, and I know you will, maybe it would be a good idea to just slow things down a bit."

"WHY?!" Shawn asked angrily, completely surprised at his father's suggestion. "How can I control my feelings like that?!"

"It's called self control son. I think you get so caught up with being with Belle all the time maybe you forgot all the reasons or at least, maybe not forget but you have taken some things for granted."

"Dad I can't believe what you are saying!"

"Shawn, calm down. Let me explain what I mean. Why did you fall in love with Belle?"

"Why? I don’t know if I can just name the reasons."

"Try it. This is important."

Shawn leaned against the railing and ran his fingers through his hair, thinking about all the things he loved about Belle. "Well, she is just a beautiful person, inside and out. She has this spirit, that is so contagious," he smiled as thoughts of Belle danced in his head. "The first thing that made me know she was special was how excited she was about my boat. It's not an impressive boat, not in comparison to the Fancy Face or most of the boats at the marina, but she loved it the first time," he said with amazement, "like it was a yacht or something."

"I remember you telling me that," Bo smirked. "What else?"

"The way she makes me feel like I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I always put this pressure on myself to be the best, and it's like she has this sense about me. She always knows what to say or do to get me to just enjoy life and have fun."

"The whole family has sensed that change in you," Bo teased. "That's one of the reasons why we all like Belle so much. She has done you some good."

"She has Dad. What we have is real, I am sure of it."

"So what else?"

"Um ... her laugh," he said sheepishly. "It always brings a smile on my face. I just forget whatever is bothering me when she smiles and gives that soft giggle. It gets me every time."

"Anything else?"

"There is so much Dad. The way she bends over backwards to make sure people are happy. She is the most selfless and giving person I know. She just has a good heart and wants to see the best in people. And she is intelligent, and driven, and full of life and ideas," his eyes lit up with every passing moment.

"Shawn, that's no different from you," Bo stated.

"Yeah, it is. I may be a smart guy but I just know how to test well, Belle just has this insight into everything, you know? She loves her classes and she wants to do well in them, but she is more concerned about understanding things and being well rounded. That is so awesome to me. She is just so wonderful ... all around. I am just amazed by her everyday."

"Son, if you are so amazed and just in awe by her, why has it taken you so long to get her back."

"I tried and I got frustrated and I couldn't do it anymore," he sighed. "I know it wasn't a good move, but I just could not deal with her doubts, and the accusation that Chloe and I did something. It was too much."

"I know sailor, but something tells me this will be over soon."

---
Belle quickly picked up the ringing phone, "hello?"

"Hi Belle, it's Hope. I just got off the phone with Bo and he and Shawn should be back by 11:00."

"Thank you Hope. I appreciate it."

"No problem. I pray everything works out."

"Thanks. I'm going to need those prayers."

"Let me know if there is anything you need to help you make my son come to his senses."

" I think I have it under control," she laughed softly, "but I will let you know."

"Ok, dear. Hopefully, I will see you back at Sunday brunch," Hope said wishfully. "It wasn't the same without you."

"We'll see. I will talk to you later, ok?"

"Alright Belle. Take care and please be patient with my son. I know he can be stubborn, but he has a good heart and I know he loves you."

"I will Hope."

"Good. I'll talk to you later. Bye."

"Bye."

Belle put down the phone and scribbled a note for Mimi not to wait up. She grabbed her keys and purse and ran out the door. She had a plan in mind and she had less than two hours to put it into action. If this didn't work, she feared nothing else would. She wanted Shawn back and tonight was the night.

CHAPTER 60:

Belle was finishing up her plans in Shawn's apartment. She was shocked to see Shawn's place so dirty, it was usually immaculate or close to it. His perfectionist tendencies spilled over into everything he did so she knew that their time apart had taken a serious toll on him. Quickly she cleaned up and set up the apartment with a variety of candles. She put all the items she needed in the bedroom so that everything would be set when Shawn arrived. Eleven o'clock was quickly approaching and she became more nervous with every passing moment.

Bo drove Shawn back to his apartment a few minutes after 11:00. He purposely took a few extra minutes to make sure Belle had enough time to do whatever she planned to do. Bo pulled the truck up to the building to drop off his son. "Here you go sailor," he said happily.

"Thanks for the talk Dad. I appreciate it."

"Anytime son, but just promise me that whatever happens you will talk and listen to what Belle has to say without losing your cool, ok? You're hurting and she is, too, but the important thing is you both love each other and somehow you will work it out, but you WILL work it out," he emphasized.

"Ok Dad," Shawn smiled faintly. He opened the door and hopped out. "I'll talk to you later." He closed the door and walked into his building. Bo drove off with a growing smile on his face, knowing that his son's foul mood would be a thing of the past very soon.

Belle was looking out of the window in great anticipation. When she saw Bo's truck pull up to the building she quickly began to light the candles and turned off the lights to surprise Shawn. Soon she heard the door unlock and she hid out of the way.

Slowly, Shawn pushed open the door and immediately noticed that his apartment was a lot cleaner than how he left it. He looked around and saw a variety of candles lit and he became curious as to what was going on. As he closed the door and locked it back, he walked in cautiously and then soon noticed Belle come out of the shadows.

"Belle?" he whispered.

"Hi Shawn," she said timidly as she walked to him. Her hands stayed behind her back as she looked at him somewhat bashfully.

"What are you doing here?" he asked softly.

"I came to apologize and ..." she brought her hands out from behind her back and revealed a single white rose, "and to try to make peace." She handed him the flower and he hesitantly took it. His face showed so much surprise and confusion.

"I don’t understand. I should be apologizing to you Belle," he said, taking a step closer to her.

"No," she shook her head, as she took a step closer to him so only inches separated them. "I was wrong for not believing you. Shawn I feel so guilty."

"Don't," he insisted. He brought his hand to her face and lovingly stroked her cheek with his fingers. "I should have been up front with you from the beginning."

"And I should have believed you from the beginning and never doubted you and your love for me." Her blue gaze pleaded with him and locked with his deep brown orbs that comforted her and blanketed her with love.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked softly.

"After I do this," she said with a deep seductive stare. She leaned in and brushed her lips against his. He returned the kiss, bringing her closer to him and they kissed slowly and sweetly. They apologized to each other with the lingering passion of the longing kiss they shared.

As their lips parted, Shawn continued to stroke her cheek lovingly with his thumb. His eyes danced around her face, closely examining her as if seeing her for the first time. "Come on," Shawn said quietly as he took her hand and led her to the couch. They sat down next to each other and Shawn quickly spoke, wanting to make everything right at that instant. "I want to say how wrong I was to not tell you right away that I saw Chloe. I don’t know why I didn't, I felt that I needed to tell you about my history with her before I told you that we talked, but you do believe me that nothing happened right?"

"I believe you Shawn, and I know that you talked to her about me," she smiled at the thought.

"What?" he asked with a confused expression. "How do you know that?"

"See, I was watching TV earlier and flipped to one of those entertainment news shows. They had Chloe and Kyle Diamond on, they got married and the reporter asked her about the story in the tabloid. She said that you two caught up on old times and that all you did was talk about me," Belle explained as her eyes filled with tears at the thought that she had doubted Shawn and did not believe him.

"I did Belle. I couldn't stop talking about you. You were always on my mind and she said that I looked happy ... I had to tell her why," he grinned.

"After I heard that, I realized how wrong I was and I felt guilty for doubting you. I am still hurt though that you didn't tell me, but I know I am partly to blame, too."

"I know you're hurting baby," he said quietly.

Belle smiled, "I've missed you talking to me like that."

"Like what? Calling you baby?"

"Yeah," she said sheepishly.

"Well, how about bright eyes?" he grinned widely.

"Especially that," she giggled softly that made Shawn melt at the sound.

"I've missed that laugh bright eyes," he grinned.

"I've missed laughing," she lamented. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course," he put his arm around her and brought her close to him. He kissed her head softly, "what do you want to know?"

She wrapped her arm around his body, hugging him tightly as he held her closely. "Since we know we both need to talk do you want to talk about everything now or do you want to wait until tomorrow?"

"Hmm ..." he thought, "no need to put it off any more. I want to tell you and you deserve to know why I was hesitant to mention Chloe. Is that fine with you?"

"Yeah," she answered timidly.

Shawn continued to tell Belle about his history with Chloe. He told her about his time with her in high school and her infatuation with him. He discussed how he was drugged and that Chloe tricked and manipulated him. He talked about how he felt betrayed by Chloe when she left Salem and then he explained how he and Chloe met up in LA. Belle could not believe that Shawn had been through so much with Chloe in high school and she had a better sense of why he was hesitant to discuss her.

"Shawn, honey ... I can't believe you went through all that."

"I know but compared to Jan, my problems with Chloe were nothing."

"At least she has moved on ... unlike Jan," Belle observed. "She looked happy with Kyle. Did she talk to you about him?"

"Uh-huh, a little bit. I knew he had proposed, but she had not given him an answer when we talked." He paused briefly and pulled back slightly to look at her, "so are we good? I know it will take some time to completely heal, but I just want to make sure I have answered all of your questions and concerns," he said with a worried look.

"You have," Belle assured. "But now I want to give you my surprise."

"Surprise? Belle you don’t have to give me anything. Being with you like this is perfect."

"I know, but trust me, ok? I want to pamper you and make you relax." She stood up and took his hand bringing him to his bedroom. She led him to the bed and he sat down. Standing in front of him she looked at him with a look of mischief. The sparkle in her eyes did not go unnoticed by Shawn and he smirked, excited about what he thought would happen next. "Now," Belle said playfully, looking at his T-shirt, "we need to get rid of this." Shawn quickly took off his shirt, revealing his chiseled body. The well defined lines were accentuated by the soft light in the room and Belle bit her bottom lip as she closely examined him, becoming entranced by his well sculpted chest. Her eyes roamed down to his khaki shorts, "we definitely need to get rid of those," she stated in a sultry voice.

Shawn stood up, keeping his eyes locked on hers and reached for the zipper of his shorts. He pulled his shorts down revealing his plaid boxers. With a smug look on his face he spoke quietly, "are you next?"

She shook her head slowly, still biting her lip in a playful way, "lie down." He got on his bed and lay down on his back flashing a cocky grin. "Turn around ... on your stomach," she said quietly. He looked at her confused but hesitantly obliged. "You are so obedient," she giggled softly, "I like that!"

"I aim to please," he grinned, trying to see what she was doing as he looked over his shoulder. "So what are you going to do?"

"Just relax honey." Belle took a small bottle from the table and straddled Shawn's body. She squirted the oil into her hands and then carefully placed her hands onto his back. Slowly her fingers began kneading his skin, giving him a deep massage.

Shawn groaned deeply in delight at the feel of Belle massaging his body. Her fingers roamed his broad back, making circular motions at his shoulders, then sliding down to his shoulder blade, and moving along his sides.

"How does this feel, sweetie?" she asked softly.

"Hmm..." he moaned. "Baby this is great. I didn't realize how tense I was."

"Well, all that sexual frustration," she spoke in a low seductive voice. "Sleeping alone all these nights ... you must be sooooo tense."

"Oh Belle baby what are you trying to do to me?" he groaned as her hands traveled down his body after she applied more oil. Her slick hands roamed his body, her movements grew more sensual as she deepened the massage.

"I'm giving you your anniversary gift," she said in a throaty reply.

Shawn looked over at the clock and saw that it was a few minutes after midnight. He looked at Belle over his shoulder and saw the bright smile on her face. She lowered herself down onto his body and whispered in his ear, "happy anniversary Shawn Douglas."

Slowly, Shawn turned around under Belle and on his back, he held Belle close to him. He flashed her a sexy smile and studied her face closely. Brushing her hair back with his fingers he kept his eyes locked on hers. "Happy anniversary Isabella. I love you so much."

"I love you, too." She lowered her lips to his and they gave each other a deep and longing kiss.

Shawn rolled her over and continued to kiss her passionately. His kisses became more hungry, the heat between them growing, as Shawn's lips electrified her searing flesh.

"Oh, Belle baby I've missed you so much," Shawn mumbled as he kissed her neck feverishly. His lips roaming up to her earlobe to find that spot he could always melt her with. He sucked on the soft flesh, flicking his tongue over her lobe.

"Hmmm... Shawn," she whimpered. He continued his actions and in one instant his tongue found that spot that sent her soul shattering. Her nails dug into his back, trying desperately to hold on to the now slick skin, slippery from the oil that made his body glisten.

Hesitantly Shawn stopped his attack, compelled by the nagging voice of his father in his head telling him to turn down the intensity. He then remembered the gift he had for Belle and he slowly got up. "Stay right here," he said quietly. He stood up and went to his chest of drawers. Opening the second drawer he rummaged slightly and picked up a small package. He walked back to the bed where Belle was sitting up watching him closely. A smile emerged on her face as he approached her and he sat down next to her, handing her a small blue bag.

"Happy anniversary," he whispered.

She looked inside and saw a ring box staring back at her from the bag. Immediately her eyes opened wide and looked at Shawn in amazement. "Shawn," she gasped.

"Open it," he urged, unable to hide his grin.

She took out the small velvet box and opened it slowly. Inside she found a ring, a combination of gold and silver intertwined. She gasped in astonishment at the sight. It had an antique look and she was mesmerized by the infinite intermingling of the band. "Shawn," she whispered, "this is beautiful, but what ... why?" she struggled to find the right words to say.

"This is called an Infinity Knot of Promise ring ... it's not an engagement ring if that is what you're wondering, but it is a commitment ring." He took the ring from the box and held it in the palm of his hand. "See, it sort of has a legend behind it. It has a silver side and a gold and the story is a priest tied this knot and sealed the ends with God's energy making it into an eternal loop. No matter how hard he tried, he could not break the promise to God."

"Shawn that is beautiful," her eyes filled with tears.

"When I was away I went into this gift shop ... you know one of those specialty stores and I found this there. I thought it was perfect for you but if it is too much too fast I will totally understand. I don't want to rush you into anything."

Belle shook her head, "no Shawn," she insisted. "You are not rushing me. I love it!" she beamed.

"You do?"

"YES!"

"I'm glad. I was a little worried you might not. As I said it is a commitment ring ... a commitment to each other to love each other and support one another. I think that after what we have been through I want everyone to know how serious we are about honoring that commitment." He picked up the ring and took her hand. He glided it on her finger slowly, imagining what it would be like when he proposed and then that magical day he would make Belle his wife. So many milestones he planned on sharing with her with that simple gesture of putting a ring on her finger to symbolize his promise to her.

With tears streaming down her face Belle was overwhelmed by the idea of always being with Shawn. She had never felt anything so powerful and she knew she would never feel anything like this with any other man. Belle loved Shawn with her every breath and beat of her heart. He was her everything and knowing that he loved her so deeply and completely and wanted to for as long as they both lived meant so much to her. She stared at the ring that intertwined the two precious metals as one in an infinite pattern. It was a perfect symbol of their love.


CHAPTER 61: (NC-17)

Shawn and Belle lay in bed together, holding each other tightly as they enjoyed the feel of finally being back together after what seemed like a lifetime apart. As if it were destiny or a twist of fate, they were able to realize their anniversary together, loving each other for hours, expressing a sweeter love, a more perfect love neither had ever known. Belle slept peacefully in Shawn's arms, resting her head on his strong chest, lulled by the rhythmic beat of his heart. Shawn enjoyed the feel of Belle's small frame molded next to him. He had now felt more complete and whole as a person, now that she was back in his life. He watched her sleep comfortably in his embrace. She looked perfectly at peace and possessed a certain sweetness as she breathed softly, her nose wrinkling a little and her mouth slightly agape. She looked like an angel in his arms and silently he thanked God in a quiet prayer for bringing her back to him where he knew she belonged. Soon he drifted off to sleep, keeping his arms wrapped around her, never wanting to let her go again.

Hours later, Belle woke up in Shawn's embrace and a smile quickly came to her face as she remembered last night. As she lazily roamed her fingers along Shawn's chest like she always did, she soon slowed her actions as she became transfixed on the new ring on her finger. A happy sigh escaped her lips as her mind wandered to how Shawn made love to her so slowly and passionately .

"Morning bright eyes," Shawn said in a groggy voice.

Belle was surprised to hear his voice and looked at him happily. The smile on her face growing as he took her hand and laced his fingers with hers. "Hmm ... good morning," she said lazily as she stretched under the covers. "How long have you been awake?"

"I didn't really sleep. I kept dozing on and off, but I just wanted to watch you. I sort of wanted to make sure you wouldn't go anywhere," he chuckled softly.

"You watched me all night?"

"Are you surprised?"

"Well, yeah ... it can't be that exciting."

"It was. You look so beautiful when you sleep. Your nose has this little crinkle, it kind of just ... I don't know, sort of like a rabbit or something."

"A rabbit? Shawn are you calling me a bunny?" she laughed softly.

"Maybe," he said hesitantly, not too sure if she took the comparison as a compliment or the opposite.

"Hmmm ... well you know what bunnies like to do?" she asked in a sultry voice. The change in tone did not go unnoticed by Shawn and he immediately knew his words were a compliment.

"What's that baby?" he asked in a low growl. Belle moved, putting a leg on each side of his body and straddled him. Feeling her naked body on top of his, Shawn was quickly ready for anything she wanted to do. Belle lowered herself and kissed him passionately. Her body heating with every passing moment as she darted her tongue into the warmth of his mouth and he slowly and very methodically moved his tongue inside. Belle moaned deeply, as her body tingled throughout, the surge of electricity ending at her heated core, that coated itself thoroughly.

Shawn's lips roamed to Belle's neck and he feasted on her soft flesh. Belle lost herself as Shawn's hot lips electrified her searing flesh with his fervent kisses. "Shawn?" she whimpered. His arms held her close to him and his hands roamed the length of her body, making his way to her rear that he squeezed softly as his kisses grew more hungry. "Hmmm... sweetie?" she panted. "Ever hear ... of the phrase..." she pulled up from him and stared him in the eyes, her blue depths playful and seductive. With a mischievous smile she continued, "going at it like rabbits?"

Shawn smirked in response to her question. "Oh, baby I love you," he chuckled excitedly and rolled over so he lay on top of her and almost immediately as they landed on the other side of the bed he plunged deep inside of her. He captured her lips into a blazing kiss that left Belle gasping for air.

---
Belle sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast wearing only Shawn's old football jersey which she loved. Shawn leaned against the counter, wearing only his black boxers drinking a glass of juice. He hadn't done much grocery shopping recently and the only thing he had was cereal and barely enough milk for the two of them. Belle teased him mercilessly about the condition of his apartment and how she had to clean just for peace of mind when she came to his place last night. They continued to talk about what had gone wrong but they focused primarily on the fact that they were together for their anniversary.

"How's the corn flakes?" Shawn asked as he searched for something else to eat. All he could find was cold pizza that he ate gratefully, desperately trying to get his strength back after his night's activities.

"They're a little dry," Belle teased at the lack of milk.

"Funny," he said flatly. "I really need to get to the store."

"What for? You always mooch off of my stuff and if I don't have anything you go to your parents. You are such a bachelor," she joked.

"You are full of jokes this morning aren't you?" he grinned.

"I'm just happy," she smiled.

"I'm glad ... I am, too."

"You know who else is going to be glad is Mimi and Matt," Belle stated as she finished up her bowl of cereal. "They tried to be understanding but I could tell they were getting upset with me for staying mad at you."

"Well they were going to plan something to get us back together."

"Really?" Belle asked full of surprise.

"Yeah, originally it was supposed to take place tonight."

"I wonder what it was," Belle asked. She was curious to know what those two came up with and though she was glad she and Shawn were back together, part of her could not help but wonder what the plan was.

"Well I guess we will never know," Shawn garbled as he finished a second slice of pizza.

Belle looked at him with a mixture of mischief and disbelief. She came up with a way that she could find out about the secret plan, but as she watched him eat she couldn't help but be bothered by his strange breakfast. "You are such a guy," she mumbled under her breath and rolled her eyes at him as she got up from the table. "Anyway, I have a plan of my own."

"What's that? What kind of plan?"

"Aren't you dying to know what Mimi and Matt planned because I am. I want to know what the brilliant idea is!"

"But we aren't broken up," Shawn said, a little confused by Belle's insistence.

"I know, but we can pretend that we still are."

"What?!" he asked in shock. "No I will not go through that again," he argued.

"I'm not saying we have to break up I'm saying that we pretend which means we can pretend to make up again," she purred as she approached him and leaned her body next to him. She kissed his chest softly, "wouldn't you like that?" she asked quietly, her breath brushed against his skin sending a shiver through this body.

"I don’t know," he whispered. "What will you tell Mimi when you go back home?" he asked trying to control his urge to give into her request.

"I will tell her," she stopped her light perusal and gazed into his eyes, "that I tried to find you last night, but we argued again and I went to the boat to be alone."

"This doesn't seem right Belle. I don't want to lie just to satisfy some curiosity. They don't deserve that," he reasoned.

"Ok, fine," she grumbled in defeat and started to walk away.

"Wait," he quickly added, grabbing her hand, "you're giving up so soon? I was sort of liking the persuading," he smirked.

"Really?" her eyes twinkled with excitement. "Did you need this kind of persuading?" she teased as she placed her lips lightly on his chest and kissed him softly.

"Yeah, that's the kind," he said quietly as Belle brushed her lips along his broad chest and flicked her tongue against his nipples. As he leaned against the kitchen counter he gripped the smooth surface behind him, keeping a tight hold for strength as Belle kissed him. He groaned as she continued her persuading, running her tongue along his body up to his neck where she carefully placed open mouthed kisses that made his knees buckle at her soft perusal.

"Are you convinced yet?" she whispered while she sucked on his earlobe.

"Hmmmm..." he moaned loudly. His throbbing erection started to ache as it formed a tent in his boxers. He could not control himself anymore as Belle hit every button with her lips, he was more than aroused. He grabbed her by the waist and picked her up. She wrapped her legs around him as he held her close to him and kissed her hungrily. "I'm weak to your powers of persuasion," he mumbled in between kisses. Walking out of the kitchen with a sense of purpose and urgency, Shawn could not keep his balance and strength as he continued to kiss Belle passionately. His tongue slowly mating with hers in a way that he wanted to do with his body. He stumbled and hit against the wall bringing Belle with him. Finding some kind of support against the flat surface he steadied himself and quickly turned around, with a slight force Belle hit the wall as she made impact with the surface but whatever pain she felt was overshadowed by the passion and aching need she had for Shawn.

Belle quickly removed the jersey she was wearing, revealing her naked body and Shawn, keeping one arm around her waist to support her against the wall, he took the other hand and forcefully grabbed her breast, kneading the soft flesh with his fingers. He tugged the pert bud, twisting it between his fingers and lowered his mouth to the other to pay both equal attention. Belle gasped at the sensation, the electric wave that surged through her body left her breathless. Her fingers slicked through Shawn's hair and tugged at the short strands, trying anything to hold on to him as her body remained suspended in mid air, only the wall and Shawn's strong arm around her kept her secure.

Shawn moved his hand down from her chest and pulled down his boxers that were restraining his attentive arousal. Slipping them off and quickly kicking them to the floor he slowly made his way into her, both of them moaning loudly as he entered her body, enjoying the familiar feel of her body encasing him. He supported her with his strong hands gripping her thighs to support her body and keep her close to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck tightly as he pushed her against the wall with his powerful thrusts, making her scream out his name as he ravaged her body with increasing passion. She rocked against him, her body moving rhythmically with his to intensify the already intense experience. Shawn continued to move inside her, going in deeper and faster with every passing moment, driven by Belle's loud screams. He kissed her deeply, muffling her cries of passion. "Belle ... baby," he panted. The strain on his face showed a mixture of struggle and pure pleasure. He worked hard to hold her and love her, all at the intensity he wanted so badly to sustain. "Isabella I love you," he whispered breathlessly, his bottom lip trembling as the emotions swept over him.

"I love you Shawn Douglas," she whimpered, holding on to him tighter as she lost herself in the moment. She kissed him deeper, the suction of their mouths together giving her another way to stay close to him. "Gooooodddddd .... ooohhhhhhhh..." she moaned loudly as he increased his speed.

"Hmmm... baaabbbyyyy..." he groaned. "Baby I'm gonna come," he panted staring into her eyes with so much desire. His usual gentle brown orbs were black with passion, fueled by the feel of her body completely surrounding him and gripping his manhood. He deepened his thrusts, and Belle's hands moved to his back digging her nails into his skin, trying desperately to hold on with all her might as her body shook from the eminent orgasm she was experiencing. She kept her eyes focused on Shawn whose face began to contort in a way that only she knew. "Hmmm...baby," he groaned loudly. "I'm coming!" he gasped, his voice raised in a higher pitch as he spoke breathlessly.

"Shawn ... please!" she pleaded as her body began to shudder. "Fill me up ... PLEASE!!!"


Shawn held Belle tightly to him as he leaned against her trying to keep his balance as he stood up holding her. He panted breathlessly in her ear as he tried to catch his breath. Belle ran her fingers up and down his broad back and then up to the hairs at the nape of his neck. Gently she ran her fingers through his hair and softly kissed his cheek.

"Now ... what were you saying about rabbits?" Shawn asked.

Belle laughed softly and continued to kiss him gently as they held each other against the wall, unable to move after the powerful experience they just shared.

CHAPTER 62: PG-13

Saturday morning (Shelle's anniversary)
Salem U


Mimi rushed over to Matt's dorm Saturday morning after getting a call from Belle. Mimi was beyond frustrated and upset with her roommate and Shawn, she couldn't understand how two people who were so perfect for each other would have such a hard time patching things up over an unfortunate mistake and miscommunication. The plan that she and Matt had conjured up was on the back burner, but she knew it was time to put it back in action.

Rushing up the stairs to the second floor she found Matt's room and knocked furiously. Matt opened the door with a frazzled look on his face. It was early and Mimi's incessant knocking woke him up out of his deep slumber. His hair was tousled, most of it hanging in his face and his face full of patchy stubble surrounding his goatee. Wearing an old pair of soccer shorts he stood in front of the door, squinting as his eyes tried to adjust to the light filtering into his room from the hall. He made out the image of Mimi in front of him and scratched his head out of confusion. "Mimi what are you doing here?" he asked in a scratchy voice. "What time is it?"

"We've got to talk," she huffed. "Can I come in?"

"Oh ... yeah," he moved out of the way. "Sorry, I was just surprised to see you. What's up?"

"Belle and Shawn are STILL fighting!" she said loudly out of frustration. She stood in the middle of his room trying to find a place to sit or at least walk in the messy room. Clothes were thrown around the room intermingled with papers, books and sports magazines. Taking a second to survey the junky cramped space she looked up at Matt who was still trying to wake up as he shuffled groggily around the room. A soft laugh escaped her lips as she watched the sight. For a moment she forgot about why she came by as she became amused by what she could only assume was Matt's morning ritual of random grunts and groans as he rummaged through his drawer for a shirt. Soon he gave that up and she watched him randomly pick up a yellow shirt from the floor that in no way matched his red and black shorts. He cleared off his chair for Mimi to sit and then flopped down on his bed. All of his actions were methodical without saying a word.

"Alright," he said in a less gruff voice. "What happened now?"

"Ok," she sighed and then began talking quickly, rambling on about what happened earlier. "Last night when I got home after the party I thought they made up because Belle left me a note saying that she went out and not to wait up. That's usually the kind of note she leaves when she's with Shawn, so I was like, FINALLY!' when I read it. Then this morning I'm sleeping and the phone starts ringing and I answered it and low and behold it was Belle. She sounded like a mess and she told me that she and Shawn had another fight and she ended up staying by herself on their boat. She didn't feel like coming home."

Matt let out a frustrated sigh. "Great," he grumbled. "Alright so I guess the plan is still on?"

"Yes, I am on my way to Salem Place to take care of everything and ...," she added with a hint of annoyance, "I need to pass by the Beta house."

"Mimi you sure you don't want me to do that?"

"You won't have any time with your game this afternoon. Besides, I can handle it ... I'm not asking the favor for myself. They will do anything for Shawn, they practically worship him," she joked.

"Ok, so let's get all this straight," Matt said and the two of them discussed the plan to help out their friends.

---
Shawn's apartment

"I should probably get going," Belle said as she started to gather her things.

"Do you have to?" Shawn whined like a little boy, he walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. Nuzzling his head on her shoulder. "I don't want you to go so soon, I was just getting used to having you around," he said in a low growl.

Belle turned around and faced him with a look of disbelief and shock. "Three times ... three times Shawn and you are NOW getting used to me being around?"

"What can I say, I'm a slow learner," he smirked.

"Three times Shawn," she repeated, "in record time I might add," she said with a growing smile.

"I can go for four," he said in a low voice and kissed her neck softly.

Giggling at his unbelievable stamina she pushed him away gently, "no, I think we should wait until we make up again," she smiled. "For now, I am tired and I need to recuperate ... alone."

"What do you need to recuperate from?"

"Hmm... let me think about that for a sec," she laughed. "Aside from the fact I can barely walk, maybe I'll be fine," she replied sarcastically.

Shawn laughed, "I was wondering why you were moving funny."

Belle smacked him on the chest as her eyes widened in shock. "SHAWN!" she yelled, holding back the growing giggles.

"I'm sorry baby," he continued laughing. "But I'm pretty proud of myself," he said with a devilish grin.

"You would be," she mumbled. "Anyway, I'm going to go before I get tempted to stay."

"Yeah, I wouldn't want you blowing out your back," he laughed harder.

"SHAWN!" she hit him again and laughed along with him. She grabbed her bag and walked away. "I'm leaving now," she said in a sing song voice.

"Ok," he followed her to the door. "I'll see you tonight ... to make up," he smirked. He brought his hand to her face, and cupped it gently. He kissed her sweetly and whispered, "I love you."

"I love you, too," she kissed him quickly. "You sure you don't have a problem doing this to Mimi and Matt?"

"I know how much you're dying to see what they had planned. It's a little twisted, but hey ... if I get a chance to uh," his eyes blackened with desire and his voice grew deeper, "to repeat what we did this morning then ..." his voice trailed off as he gave her a knowing look, bobbing his eyebrows up and down with an emerging smirk. He spoke, hiding the fact that he knew more about Mimi and Matt's plan then he let on.

"Then you're fine with it," she said. "Good so now I am pretending to break up with you so we can make up ... again," she giggled.

"Get plenty of rest and carbo up or something so you don't get so tired next time around," he joked, "I can't promise I'll be gentle," he flashed her a devilish grin.

She gave him a quick glare, narrowing her eyes to complete her disapproving look. Turning the doorknob she started to walk out of the apartment and she looked back at him grinning widely as he hung on to the door. "I'll try and get to the gym if you think it will help," she joked.

"You definitely need some physical therapy," he smirked, chuckling to himself at the ongoing joke.

"You're impossible," she said as she walked down the hall towards the stairwell.

"And you love me for it," he yelled down the hall.

"I do," she turned back around and with the brightest smile she said, "I'll see you tonight!"

---
Saturday afternoon

Mimi made her way from the photography shop at Salem Place, holding a bag of pictures for the plan she and Matt had in mind for Belle. As she walked through the outdoor mall her cell phone rang and she quickly answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hey Mimi, it's Philip. I got your message."

"Oh ... hi Philip," she replied somewhat distantly, a little caught off guard to hear his voice. "I uh ... I mean thanks for calling me back so quickly."

"No problem. So what's up?" he asked with a little sadness in his voice.

"Shawn and Belle," she quickly replied. "They're still fighting and I still need your help. Can we still use the Beta house?"

"Sure. Anything for those two. Shawn's family you know I'd help him out, so um ... what do you need?"

"The basement of the house. Do you guys still have that home movie equipment stuff ... you know the projection screen and all."

"Yeah, we still have it. We never use it but we have it. Anything else?"

"Your stereo system set up. I have a CD, I just need the famous Beta house DJ equipment," she laughed.

"I've missed your laugh," he said quietly.

"Let's not do this Phil, please," she sighed.

"I'm sorry Mimi ... I'm just being honest ... that's all," he explained, his voice harbored so much pain as he continued to talk to her. "Anyway, the uh... the stereo is all yours. So, I ... I guess I'll see you later ... unless there's something else?" he asked wishfully.

"No," she said softly. "I ... I'll see you later Philip. And uh ... thanks."

"You are more than welcome Mimi," he said. "Let me know if you need anything else ... bye."

"Bye," she clicked off the phone and sat down on a nearby bench, unable to move after hearing his voice. Her thoughts betrayed her as she remembered all the good times with Philip. Almost three years she was completely devoted to Philip and over the last month she had been coping fine without him. She still loved him, but the feelings weren't as intense as before, she had Belle to get through the tough times and of course Matt who was proving to be a very loyal and caring friend. But Philip ... he was her first love and though with every passing day it was getting easier to get over him, hearing his voice made the memories flood back.

"Ok, Mimi," she said to herself. "You've got to get through this for Belle and Shawn." She took in a cleansing deep breath and exhaled slowly to calm herself down. She stood up and made her way through the mall.

---
Shawn sat in his apartment thinking about his plan for tonight. His mind wandered to his time Belle and her reaction to the ring he gave her.

"The ring!" he said in a mild panic. He quickly picked up his phone and dialed rapidly the number he knew so well. Belle soon answered, "hey baby I just remembered something. For tonight, make sure you take off the ring. You don't want Mimi to get suspicious if she sees it."

"I didn't even think about that, I'll take it off right now. Actually, you know what I'll put it on my chain, I want to keep it close."

"Ok, good ... I just remembered about it. Anyway, I'll talk to you later. I've got some things to do before tonight. I'll see you later. Love you."

"Um ... alright," she said a little caught off guard by his abruptness. "Love you, too. Bye."

Shawn hung up the phone and quickly dialed another number.

"Hello," Mimi answered a little distracted.

"Mimi, it's Shawn. What's up with tonight?"

"Oh hey Shawn. Everything is set for tonight. I just talked to Philip and Matt and I will set up our little plan. I think you two will like it."

"Alright Mimi. I trust your judgment," he chuckled. "So is their anything you need me to do?"

"Just show up around 7:00 or so ... that's when Matt will get there. I will make up some excuse to get Belle to come with me like 7:15 or so. Anyway, just be there and you may want to bring flowers or something."

"Ok, I'll do that. I'll see you in a few hours. Bye Mimi and thanks."

"Not a problem. I just hope this works."

"Something tells me that it will," he replied smugly.

CHAPTER 63:

Belle hung out in her room, avoiding Mimi as much as possible so her friend would not know that she reconciled with Shawn. Belle was extremely curious to know what Mimi had planned. Part of her felt guilty for not being completely honest but another part was too curious to know what the secret plan to get her and Shawn back together was. As far as Belle was concerned Mimi would never get a chance to plan such an elaborate scheme again. She let her fingers rub against the ring that Shawn gave her that now dangled on her chain and thought about how they celebrated their anniversary together that morning. Her fingertips moved along the intertwined silver and gold bands, feeling how the ring connected perfectly with the two precious metals. Sitting at her desk, attempting to read a chapter from her history book she became lost in a daydream, anxious about tonight.

A knock at her door broke her out of her trance and she quickly hid her chain under her shirt to keep it hidden from Mimi. "Come in Meems," Belle said, trying to fake a sad voice.

"Hey Belle, I need to ask you a favor," Mimi said as she walked into Belle's room. "Will you go to the Beta house with me for a sec?"

"What for Meems? I sort of just want to stay in."

"I need you to go with me. I have some stuff to get from Philip that I really need to get and I don't want to go alone. Matt is busy with soccer stuff so he can't go with me. So please ... I promise it won't take long."

"Ok," Belle sighed and got up from her desk. Ready to know what was in store for the evening, but trying her best to control her nervous energy.

The two walked to the Beta house and Philip answered the door.

"Hey you two," he smiled, "the stuff is downstairs in the basement. Sorry you had to come over here. I know this is kind of uncomfortable for you," he said to Mimi, partly acting but completely sincere. "Anyway, come on in," he moved aside to let them walk in and then led them downstairs to the basement. The three walked slowly down the stairs into the dimly lit basement, as they descended music started to play from the speakers set up in the damp space. It was a solo acoustic guitar playing the tune of a familiar song and Belle could see a mini theater set up in the area. Soon the lyrics of More Than Words filled the room and Belle reached the bottom of the stairs in total amazement as she saw two chairs facing a large screen and on the projection screen was a picture of her with Shawn, early in their relationship. He was in her dorm room last year picking her up to go out, Mimi had taken the picture.

"Mimi," she whispered in shock, bringing her hands to her face her eyes widened in amazement and quickly filled with tears as she took in the sight of another picture flash on the screen and the powerful lyrics sweeping over her. She looked over at her friend who smiled sweetly at her and motioned for her to look over in the other direction. Belle turned her head and saw Shawn appear out of the shadows holding a dozen white roses. He walked out of the shadows and as he made his way to her, Philip slipped out and went back upstairs and Mimi sneaked to the back where Matt was hiding out taking care of the music and advancing the slides. The two watched Belle obviously moved and starting to cry as Shawn walked to her and handed her the flowers which she took happily and then wrapped her arms around his neck to hug him tightly. The song continued to play as they held each other in a deep embrace.

Now I've tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos I'd already know


"Come on," Shawn whispered. "We have a show to watch." He took her hand and led her to the chairs that were set up in front of the screen. Unable to let her go he sat down and brought her to him to sit on his lap. She placed the flowers on the other chair and he pulled her close to him, keeping his arms tightly around her waist. They stayed quiet as the emotion swept over them as they saw the story of their love flash across the screen, like a movie. The pictures advanced slowly to give them a chance to reminisce and think about the captured event or moment that was so special to them.

The next song started as pictures from New Years Eve flashed across the screen. Another beautiful song to capture their love began.

Unforgettable
That's what you are,
Unforgettable
Tho' near or far.
Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before
Has someone been more...
Unforgettable
In every way,
And forever more
That's how you'll stay.
That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.


Belle's tears began to stream down her face as she thought about all the great times with Shawn that clearly outnumbered the bad times. She felt so lucky to not only have Shawn but to have a best friend who cared so much about her. This "surprise plan" was far more than she could have ever expected. She held on tightly to Shawn who was choked up by what he saw, too. They stayed silent in each others arms, no words could be spoken to match the emotional experience they were having.

Another song began as pictures from their Spring Break trip to the Kiriakis lake retreat came across the screen.

How do I get through the night without you
If I had to live without you
What kinda life would that be
Oh I need you in my arms, need you to hold
You are my world, my heart, my soul

If you ever leave
baby you would take away
everything good in my life
and tell me now

How do I live without you?
I want to know
How do I breathe without you?
If you ever go
How do I ever, ever survive
How do I, how do I, oh how do I live


Both remembered that magical trip together. The first time they made love, and Shawn held Belle closer as close as possible as a picture of them in a canoe was shown. He kissed her head gently, falling in love with her all over again in that moment. He knew Mimi and Matt had planned something and they had asked him for some pictures but he did not imagine this, nothing quite so powerful and moving.

His graduation pictures came up leading to pictures from their summer.

"Everybody needs a little time away," I heard her say, "from each other."
"Even lovers need a holiday far away from each other."
Hold me now. It's hard for me to say I'm sorry. I just want you to stay.

After all that we've been through, I will make it up to you. I promise to.
And after all that's been said and done,
You're just the part of me I can't let go.


The song played as pictures from the summer came across the screen. The two remembered how tumultuous it had been. Jan reappearing and the shooting. Belle's time in the hospital and then Shawn's trip to LA that caused the biggest rift in their relationship.

Couldn't stand to be kept away just for the day from your body.
Wouldn't wanna be swept away, far away from the one that I love.
Hold me now. It's hard for me to say I'm sorry. I just want you to know.
Hold me now. I really want to tell you I'm sorry. I could never let you go.

After all that we've been through, I will make it up to you. I promise to.
And after all that's been said and done,
You're just the part of me I can't let go.

After all that we've been through, I will make it up to you. I promise to.


The slide show ended with the song and a final slide simply stating:
"HAPPY ANNIVERSARY." Another song came on.

From this moment
Life has begun
From this moment
You are the one
Right beside you is where I belong
From this moment on


"Belle may I have this dance?" Shawn asked softly, his voice breaking slightly as he choked up. They stood up and he held her close to him, his hands fitting comfortably on her waist and her arms wrapped around his neck. He closed his eyes and enjoyed how her body molded into his hands, sinking closer to him. Swaying gently to the music, the lyrics seemed to capture everything he felt in his heart.

From this moment
I have been blessed
I live only
For your happiness
And for your love
I'd give my last breath
From this moment on

I'd give my hand to you with all my heart
Can't wait to live my life with you can't wait to start
You and I will never be apart
My dreams
Came true
Because of you

From this moment
As long as I live
I will love you
I promise you this
There is nothing
I wouldn't give
From this moment on

You're the reason I believe in love
And you're the answer to my prayers from up above
All we need is just the two of us
My dreams
Came true
Because of you

"Isabella," Shawn said quietly. He moved back slightly to face her. His eyes consumed her with such great love and adoration. "I know we made up and all already, but I just want you to know that I am so sorry for the pain I caused you and I also want you to know that you mean everything to me. I love you so much."

I will love you (I will love you)
As long as I live
From this moment on


"I love you Shawn," she cried, unable to hold back the tears that flowed freely. He kissed her sweetly and then brought her close to him for a deep hug. As they hugged Belle looked up and saw Mimi and Matt trying to sneak out and she let go of Shawn slowly. Holding on to his hand, she wiped her eyes with her other hand and spoke in a tremulous voice, "Meems? Matt?" They both stopped their ascent and looked at Belle who was trying to gain her composure as she and Shawn walked to the staircase. "I can't believe you did this," she said trying to gain some strength in her shaky voice, she held tightly onto Shawn's hand for some kind of support.

Mimi walked back down and gave Belle a hug. "It was the least we could do, now you two talk and make things all better," she smiled.

"Ok, Meems," Belle sniffled. "And Matt ... thank you," she smiled sweetly.

"No problem darlin!" he winked. Mimi joined Matt back on the staircase and the two made their way up, leaving Belle and Shawn alone in the basement.

Belle turned to Shawn, her eyes still filled with tears. "That was better than I could have ever dreamed."


Song Credits:
More Than Words by Extreme
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
How Do I Live by Leanne Rhimes
Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago
From This Moment by Shania Twain

CHAPTER 64:

Shawn led Belle through the familiar Beta house that they spent so much time in the last year. Going through the kitchen to go through the back door Shawn led Belle to the porch.

Sitting next to each other on the porch steps Shawn took Belle's hand, rubbing her fingers gently with his thumb. "We've gone through a lot together, haven't we?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah," she replied. "It's like after seeing all the memories on the slide show I don't know how I could have doubted you. We have been through so much and ..."

"I know Belle," he interjected. "I understand why you did have doubts and I promise you I will do everything in my power to never have you doubt me again. That's my promise to you."

"And my promise to you is to do everything in my power to keep you to that promise," she chuckled.

Shawn laughed along with her and brought his arm around her shoulder. Kissing her temple sweetly, he rubbed her arm gently to keep her close to him. "I like the sound of that," he chuckled. "You know we've sort of come full circle. I remember the first time we spent on this porch. I was so nervous."

"I know, so was I ... you were so cute ... all bashful and ..." she giggled.

"Bashful?" he asked surprised.

"Yep. It was adorable. You didn't know what to say and you acted so nervous around me, but I felt the same way."

"If I remember correctly you didn't act so nervous. You actually told me off when you found out I knew who your father was," he laughed. "You were a little feisty," he joked.

"I know," she blushed. "I was just caught off guard. I just expected you to be like the boys back home who wanted in on the Black fortune."

"Hmmm ... it must have been hard but I'm sort of glad that circumstances worked out in a way that led you here to Salem ... to me. Belle we come from different backgrounds and somehow it's like the differences perfectly compliment each other."

"Sort of like Jerry Maguire," she giggled softly. "You complete me ..."

He chuckled lightly, "yeah, something like that. But you're right. You do complete me and I don't know if it is by some twist of fate or destiny, but all I know is God sure does work in mysterious ways. He brought you to me ... like an angel." Shawn moved his arm from her shoulder and moved back slightly to face her. Taking both of her hands in his he spoke to her softly, his voice breaking slightly as the emotions swept over him. "I ... I remember that first time I saw you in the pub and it was like time stood still for me. It was just you and me and I knew ... in my heart I knew that my dreams had come true in that instant."

Belle eyes welled with tears and cascaded down her cheek as she listened to Shawn speak to her so tenderly and full of so much emotion. "Oh Shawn," she whispered, as tears sprang from her eyes endlessly. He brought his hand up to her and gently wiped the tears from her face, softly and delicately touching her face with his fingers.

"Don't cry Isabella," he said in almost a whisper. He cupped her face gently and kissed her cheek sweetly, letting his lips linger on her skin, moist from the tears. He kissed her other cheek with the same tenderness. "I don't want you to cry," he said softly.

"I can't help it," she smiled through her tears. "I ... I ... I can't believe how amazing you are to me."

"You're amazing," he grinned. "You ... you are the amazing one. I have to work hard to keep up with you."

"Shawn," she shook her head. She sniffled and with a light gasp for air she tried to gain her composure. "No Shawn, honey you are ... you are the best person I know. You just ... I mean ... I don't know ... you do more than I could ever imagine one person could do," she said, trying to convince him. Her eyes widened in amazement.

"You make me want to be a better person. I love you Isabella."

Inching his way to her, he tilted his head slightly as he made his approach. As if kissing her for the first time, Shawn was filled with nervous energy. His breath became shallow and his heart rapidly beat. Cupping her face gently, his lips met hers softly and kissed her sweetly, tenderly locking his lips with hers to enjoy the fullness. Their movements were slow and sensual, deepening at a somewhat leisurely pace. It was the most passionate and pure, pouring out so much love for each other. Without any hint of urgency they took their time to explore, their tongues mating in a slow dance in a perfect kiss.

They continued to kiss on the porch steps. Loving each other, blanketed by the starry summer night, practically identical to that first night a year ago when they met and their lives changed forever. They renewed their commitment to each other with their affectionate caresses, ushering in a new chapter of their love.

EPILOGUE:

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Alexandria, VA


Shawn sat in the congregation at St. Luke's church, surrounded by a number of strangers. He watched the wedding ceremony somewhat closely, thinking about the day he would get married and how he would do anything to be the groom at that moment and Belle his beautiful bride. His eyes drifted from the couple as they exchanged rings to the line of bridesmaids in pink gowns, Belle told him they were rose colored, but to him they were pink. The bridal party was not too large, a good size he thought, three groomsmen and three bridesmaids. He quickly figured out who he would ask to stand up with him, and had a pretty good idea who Belle would ask. As he fantasized about that day which he knew was a couple of years away, he no longer paid attention to Brady and Adrienne standing at the altar. Instead he looked down the line of bridesmaids to Belle who stood there, watching her brother closely as he married his college sweetheart. His gaze stayed fixed on her, until he was startled out of his daydream by the thunderous applause from the congregation as the priest announced the new Mr. and Mrs. Black. He joined in the clapping, still watching Belle closely and as if she sensed his gaze she looked into the crowd, knowing exactly where to find him and her smile brightened as their gaze locked.

Shawn knew she was thinking the same thing as he was. They were honest enough with their feelings to talk about getting married one day. After Shawn gave her the promise ring for their anniversary their commitment to each other was stronger and more intense then anyone could imagine. The thought of Belle always being with him excited Shawn. To him it was unbelievable how lucky he was to have someone like Belle who just understood him, sometimes without a word she knew what he was thinking and how he was feeling. They were connected mind, body, and soul.

---
After the ceremony, Shawn made his way to the reception at the country club with a group of Brady's friends who he got along with pretty well, at least well enough to make small talk. After the toasts and all the "formalities" of a wedding reception the guests filled the dance floor and Belle left the head table where she was sitting to find Shawn. He was sitting alone after all the others at his table went to dance.

Belle walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around, her lips giving him a loud smack on his cheek. "Hey there handsome," she laughed as he turned his head to look up at her.

"Hey you," he smirked. "Come here," he pulled her around and she sat on his lap. With one arm around his neck, and the other resting comfortably on his arm, she settled happily on his lap and kissed him quickly as he held her.

"Are you having fun?"

"I am now that you're here," he grinned. "Have I told you how beautiful you look?"

"I could tell by the way you were staring at me in the church and during dinner," she teased.

"Couldn't help it. I could hardly pay attention to what was going on. You look so good in your pink dress."

"It's rose, Shawn ... there's a difference."

"Whatever. I just wish we weren't staying in separate rooms at your Dad's house. After having my little fantasies it will be hard to sleep alone," he said in a low growl. "Maybe you can sneak into my room tonight."

"I just may have to do that," she said happily. "Anyway, let's dance!"

"Sounds good, I thought you'd never ask," he laughed. They walked to the dance floor and joined the crowd as a slower song started. Swaying slowly, they held each other closely.

"I love weddings. They're so romantic!" Belle beamed happily. "I can't believe my brother is married! I mean, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised he said he was ready and he did it. He's so determined to get what he wants ... sort of like you. Anyway, it was a great wedding. Nice ceremony, not too many people ... everything was just perfect."

"I know what would make it more perfect," he smirked.

"What's that sweetie?" she asked as they continued to move slowly on the crowded dance floor.

"You and me up at that altar." He looked at her with so much love and as he raised his hand to her cheek, he softly touched it, lightly caressing her silky skin. "Isabella, do you promise to ..." he grinned, "to trust and support me, through good times and bad? To give me that beautiful smile when I'm down and give me that twinkle in your eyes when you're excited? To laugh at my bad jokes?" he chuckled. "To always be by my side and to continue loving me so completely for the rest of our days?"

"Yes," she smiled. Her eyes shimmered with tears, "always and forever." Shawn kissed her forehead softly. She looked up at him with a bright smile and ran her hand up his shirt, feeling his muscular frame she knew so well. "Shawn Douglas, do you promise to trust me and support me through good times and bad? To give me reassuring hugs when I'm upset and encourage me when I doubt myself? To keep telling your corny jokes that make me laugh?" she giggled softly at the thought. "To be my strength and to continue loving me so completely for the rest of our days?"

He leaned in and whispered, "always." He brushed his lips against hers, gently touching them and he kissed her sweetly. "... and forever."


THE END

 
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