Warm sunlight slowly crept across the dew laden fields, creating a soft misty fog over the growing crop. A solitary deer easily and cautiously meandered through the corn looking for something to feed on. The summer was late upon the farm and food was scarce to some upon. Fall rains would bring back the parched grasses and then the deer would eat their fill again. A cracking and creaking noise caused the white tail to fly up and the deep to bound away, trampling everything in it’s path.
The young woman who had stepped out of the small farmhouse chuckled at the sight of the animal. That same deer ran through their field every morning. Shaking her head in amusement she headed towards the chicken coup that sat on the shady side of the house. They were out of eggs and she knew that her husband would be hungry when he came in from tending to the cows. Whispering softly, she collected eggs from the frightened animals. She only took a few before retreating back to her kitchen.
Warm smells of fresh baked bread filled her as she walked back inside. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d bought a loaf of bread. It hadn’t been since she’d married, he had always asked that she make it fresh in the mornings. She didn’t mind, she loved the kitchen and took pride in the meals she produced every day.
Checking the time she knew she had fallen behind in her schedule, and that was not a good thing. Panicking, she popped four slices of bread in the toaster, started the eggs and was glad the bacon was almost done. She would not eat with her husband, her meal would come after the early morning chores were done.
The sound of tires crunching on the gravel drive made her jump and she cursed the toaster for being so slow. By not have his breakfast for him she knew that there would be hell to pay. The creaking of the screen door made her whirl around, frying pan in hand. He came striding into the kitchen, tight blue jeans clinging to his muscular thighs, work boots covering his perfect feet, open shirt over his muscular chest and dark hair in need of a cut tucked under a bandana.
“Is breakfast ready yet?” He asked looking at her sternly. He didn’t ask much of her, only to cook and clean for him. Yet she seemed to have problems with the simple tasks. “I don’t see anything on a plate for me.”
“I’m sorry.” She said placing the frying pan back on the stove. The wood heat was not on her side this morning and the eggs just slid around the pan. “The bread didn’t rise as fast I wanted it to.” She knew that excuses were futile, he’d still punish her.
“All I do for you and you give me this?” He asked looking at the empty table. She may have been a beautiful woman, but she had the brains of a fish. “I did you a favor. Your ruined yourself and I came to your rescue. If it wasn’t for me you’d be living with him and that bastard child of yours.”
“I’m sorry.” She said as he advanced on her. “I’m sorry.” Tears welled in her eyes as she anticipated what would come next and she felt her body begin to tremble.
“Oh stop your crying you stupid bitch.” He said removing his belt from the loops on his jeans and doubling it over. “ Don’t think I don’t know how you cry at night. I hear you crying for your baby.” He raised his hand and brought the belt down across her cheek. “You are my wife, not his.” He hit her again, laughing as she fell to the floor. “From now on the only name I want you to call out is mine. Do you understand me Isabella?”
“Yes.” Isabella replied through her sobs. “I understand.”
“Good.” He said kicking her once in the ribs. The frying pan had fallen with her and his breakfast was ruined. “I’ll head into town and eat.” He smiled down at her and decided one more kick would teach her. “Remember, you belong to me Belle Brady.”<br />
Belle lay on the floor, crying in pain, watching him leave. She could feel blood trickling from her cheek and she wondered if she’d be able to hide the cut so no one would know what happened. A searing pain spread across her other cheek and down her neck and she screamed when she realized that she’d been lying on the bottom of the hot cast iron frying pan. Climbing to her feet she ignored the pain in chest and rushed to the bathroom. Spreading from just below her left eye to halfway down that side of her neck was a bright red burn. “He’ll never love me now.” She whispered gingerly touching the raw flesh. Isabella Brady would never again be the same.
Belle sat numbly as her parents looked at her with concern. The white bandage that covered most of her face was a mystery to them. Her father had believed the story of how the woodstove flared up while she was loading it and she’d been burned. He’d decided that it was time to modernize the house and had called to order a new stove and furnace. Her mother on the other hand, knew better than to buy the story.
“Well I’m going to go and see how your crop is coming along.” John Black said rising from his chair. His dark, tailored business suit was a remarkable contrast with the country décor of the house. He always looked out of place when he came to visit.
Marlena Black jumped up the moment her husband was gone. “Baby what happened?” She asked smoothing her youngest daughters hair. “What really happened? I know that that wood stove did not flare up like that, none of your hair is burnt and your eye is ok.”
Belle attempted to smile, but it hurt too much. “The same thing that happened to my ribs.” She said lifting her shirt up so her mother could see the bruises along her chest. “Breakfast wasn’t ready when he got home. He started to hit me with his belt, and I fell down. I took the frying pan with me and I landed on it. I didn’t feel it either, not right away at least.”
“Oh my poor baby girl.” Marlena said taking Belle into her arms. She’d known that something was up after Belle’s last phone call. “I’m sorry about this. I wish your father would have let you marry who you wanted.”
“Me too.” Belle said trying not to cry, it hurt her cheek if it got wet. “I miss him mom. Please, tell me if I had a boy or a girl. Please, I have to know that they’re ok.”
“If I tell you honey you know it will only hurt you more.” Marlena said feeling extremely guilty at keeping the baby from her daughter. “But, they’re both doing great, don’t worry, he’s taking good care of them both.”
“I want to leave Mom.” Belle said feeling suddenly hot all over. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m miserable, and sick. I haven’t been into town sine I got here. Please take me home, take me back to him.”
Marlena frowned at her daughters plea. If Belle would have fit in her purse she would have taken her in a second. “Honey, I can’t do that.” She said noting how warm Belle’s hand was. “Are you feeling alright?”
“I feel hot.” Belle said fanning her face with her hand. The stove was off, she didn’t know what was making her so warm. “He thinks I’m might be pregnant, but I’ve never even slept with him, I can’t bear to think of it. I just let him get drunk and pretend we’re doing it. That can’t be healthy for a marriage, when the wife is afraid to get into bed with her husband. Why the hell is it so hot in here?”
“Did the doctor who treated you give you any antibiotics?” Marlena asked, worried Belle might have an infection in the scare tissue on her face.
“What doctor?” Belle asked with a cynical laugh. “He didn’t let me see a doctor. I did the bandages myself and I’ve been taking Advil for the pain.” She closed her eyes as the room started to spin around her.
“Belle?” Marlena asked steadying her. “Belle say something.”
Belle managed, “did you hear, we’re having a baby, yeah I’m due in June,” before toppling over and landing on the floor in a crumple heap.
Marlena jumped to her feet and headed to the door. “John!” She screamed spotting her husband and son in law near the car. “John come quick.”
John rushed over at the urgency in his wife’s voice. Perhaps she just found out that Belle was going to have her first legitimate baby, he’d been thrilled when he’d been told a few minutes ago. “What’s the matter doc?”
“It’s Belle, she’s passed out.” Marlena said as she led him back to their daughter. “I think she might have an infection. She has a fever and asked me if I knew they were having a baby in June. It’s September, she had the baby in June.”
“Doc, she’ll have medication to ward off any infections.” John replied trying to soothe his wife. She was always over emotional when it came to her children. “I was just told we are going to be grandparents so that might be what’s happening.”
“The only way Belle has medication is if she baked it right here.” Marlena retorted glaring at her son in law. “And she’s only pregnant if she’s the new Mary. She’s just spilled a few little secrets to me.” She crossed the room to the tall handsome man who was watching them carefully. “You did this!” She raised her hand and slapped him hard. “You stay away from my daughter!”
He reacted automatically and hit her back. Marlena stumbled backward at the impact. “You can’t tell me to keep away from my wife! She’s my property now, not yours.”
“How dare you strike a female.” John said stepping forward to stand between him and Marlena. “You do this to Belle don’t you. You’ve been beating her all along! That’s why she hasn’t come home and why she doesn’t want us to come here!” He moved back and picked up Belle’s limp, and hot, form. “You stay away from my family.”
“You can’t take her!” He screamed as they headed towards the car. “I won’t let you do this. After all, my father and uncle are police officers! They’ll arrest you for this.”
“The only one who will be arrested will be you.” John said placing Belle gently on the backseat of the car and helping Marlena in next to her. “And don’t ever expect to see her again Mr. Brady, she’ll be free of you now for ever.”
John paced nervously outside Belle’s hospital room, waiting for Marlena to come out and give him an update. She had been right, Belle did have an infection, a very severe on at that. Belle’s second degree burns were so badly infected that they’d bee forced to remove her top layer of skin growth so they could clean the skin underneath it. This is was all his fault. If he had just let Belle marry the Brady of her choice this never would have happened. The one she wanted would never have abused her, he loved her too much to lay an angry hand on her.
“John?” Marlena asked as she came out of Belle’s room. “She’s awake now. She said she feels ok, but is refusing to see anyone. Well, she’ll see us as long as we don’t see her, but it’s the same I guess.” She slipped into her husbands outstretched arms. She knew that he was blaming himself for the whole mess, and he should, it was.
“Does she hate me?” John asked looking down at Marlena’s bruised face. He’d had to restrain himself from attacking the son of a bitch when he’d been arrested. Bo Brady has used that same restraint as he cuffed the bastard.
“No she doesn’t hate you.” Marlena said dropping her face so her hair hid the dark bruise under her eye. “She just doesn’t understand why she could keep the baby. She wanted to be with him and the baby. I don’t understand it either so I couldn’t explain it to her.”
“It’s complicated.” John said pulling away from her. “I didn’t want the Dimera’s to find out that there was a baby uniting the Black and Brady families. I knew that if I married her to him, that there would be no children. I just didn’t want to see the three of them hurt.”
“But they were hurt.” Marlena said softly. “You didn’t see the look on his face when I brought him the baby and told him to leave. He was heart broken, he wanted to take Belle home too. He was completely heart broken. And look at what happened to Belle. On top of her injuries she’s the mother of a baby she doesn’t even know the sex of.”
“I just wanted to make sure they all lived.” John said as a solitary tear slid along his cheek. “I love all of them too much to let Dimera get his hands on them. We know the things he could do to a family, did you want that to happen?”
“You know I don’t want anything to happen to them.” Marlena said stepping into his embrace again. “But you know he would have kept them safe. And you and Roman and Bo could have helped him do it.”
“Roman and Bo did help.” John said wondering what their initial reaction had been to hearing the report of Belle’s beating. “One gave us a son, the other turned a blind eye. I mean, they got me the papers for the marriage and for them to get out of Salem immediately.”
“Straight from a home of love into a home of hell.” Marlena said firmly. “This is not the first time he’s hurt her John. They’ve been married two months and he’s broken her left arm and nine ribs. She’ll need the arm re-broken and set since he didn’t take her to a hospital. It’s healed crooked and is very weak. She can’t even write with it sometimes because of the way she holds her pen, it hurts too much to curve her wrist around.”
“How could we have not known?” John asked wishing he could take the past two months back. This was his Izzy-B, his only little girl. “Why did she not tell us?”
“Would we have believed her?” Marlena asked softly as she laid her head on his chest. It had been a long nine days since Belle had been admitted and it was taking it’s toll on her. “She was scared that we’d tell her we didn’t believe her and we’d say something to him.”
“Are we going to tell him?” John asked leading his wife to a chair and pulling her down onto his lap, kissing her softly as he did so. “He’s going to hear what happened sooner or later and he’ll want to bring the baby to her. Is she going to want to see them?”
“No!” Belle said from her doorway. She clung to the frame with one hand and glared at her parents through the full facial bandages. “No, I don’t want him to ever see me!”
“You don’t have to.” Marlena said rushing to her distraught daughter. “You don’t have to see anyone right now. I know you think you’re ugly with the bandages and the scar, but it will all be gone soon and you can have surgery to remove the scar tissue.”
“But I’ll never be the same again.” Belle wept against her mothers shoulder. She reached out for her father and he came to join the hug. “I’ll always bear the scars of my time as a Brady, even if my face looks normal, my heart will bear them. I will never be the person I was before all this. I have nothing left, all I lived for was his love. I can’t be a mother to my baby and if I could, there is no way that Shawn Brady will ever love me after this, never.”
Shawn sat quietly listening to Marlena explain what had happened to Belle in the past two months. He’d only known that she would not be coming to raise the baby with him, the details had always been left out. “You mean you forced her to marry Rex instead of letting her marry me?” There was no room left in him for anger, all he could feel was heartbreak. “And he hurt her?”
“I’m sorry Shawn.” Marlena said wiping her eyes with a tissue. “I wanted her here.” She closed her eyes as a sob threatened to escape her throat. “You know that.”
“When can I see her?” Shawn asked checking the baby monitor for small sounds.
“She doesn’t want to see you.” Marlena said wishing she didn’t have to say this to him. She and John had tried to get Belle to reconsider, but she’d stayed firm in her decision. “She told us that she never wanted you to see her. She’s scarred Shawn. Half her face, everything below her left eye, and part of her neck was burned. She’s already had two surgeries and will need more in the future. She’ll be a long time in her recovery.”
“Tell her I want to see her.” Shawn said gently. His heart was void of emotion, he’s spent months longing for Belle, and now that she was there, he couldn’t be with her anyway. “Tell her I don’t care about the burns. Just tell her that I love her.”<br />
“I’ll tell her, but don’t get your hopes up.” Marlena said taking one of his hands. “She’d depressed and John and I are afraid that it may stay that way for quite a while.”
“Could you possibly stay a few minutes longer?” Shawn asked as an idea popped into his head. “I’m going to write her a letter, maybe you could drop it off for me.”
“I’ll do that.” Marlena said smiling at the young man. He’d always been a gentleman, being quick to jump in and demand Belle’s hand when they discovered that their diligence with birth control had failed. A loud scream filled the room and her eyes darted to the baby monitor. “Would you like me to?”
“Go ahead.” Shawn said nodding towards the stairs. “You need to spend more time together.” He quickly went to work on the letter. ‘And mother and child need to as well.’
Belle sat alone in the darkened hospital room staring at the letter that her mother had brought to her. It had been dropped on the edge of the bed and there it had stayed for the past three hours. It was from Shawn, she could tell by the way her name was written on the envelope. She was terrified to touch it, let alone open it. If he still loved her, she’d be breaking his heart all over again when she told him she didn’t want him to anymore.
“Open it Belle.” A young nurse said as she came in to check her vitals. “You’ll fell better after you know what he has to say.” She did her check in barely a minute and placed a gentle hand on Belle’s shoulder.
“I’ll feel torn.” Belle retorted as her light was flipped on. She had come to hate the light, in the dark no one could see her. “I won’t go back to him now. Not while I look like this and I’ll look like this for a long time.”
“You will recover Belle.” The young woman said as she gently began to remove the bandages that wound their way around the pretty blondes head. “You’ll be wearing a bandage on your cheek now, not the whole dressing. I’ll come and wash your hair for you in the morning.”
“So my good cheek will be bare now?” Belle asked feeling slightly relieved. The full face bandage made her look like a mummy and she’d hidden in her room since her surgery. “What will the new one look like?”
“It’s something new that’s just been approved.” The nurse explained as the doctor cautiously made his way into the room. “It’s the color of your skin, and feels like skin. It will fit right onto your cheek, adhering just over the scar tissue so it won’t stick. It will look like your face. You can ever put make up on it.”
“That’s right Isabella, you’ll be looking a little more like your old self in a few minutes.” He quickly went to work securing the bandage to her face, smiling at the results. “There, what do you think of that?”
Belle reluctantly accepted the mirror, laying it in her lap immediately. She didn’t think that anything could improve the marks on her face, and she doubted that they’d ever be able to remove them. “Oh.” She said as she finally stared her own reflection in the face.
“See, you look like you used to.” The nurse said taking Belle’s hair out of the tight braid and securing it in a loose ponytail. “Maybe now you’ll reconsider reading the letter.”
Belle sat motionless until she was alone again in the dim light of her room. Slowly, she reached out and lifted the envelope onto her hand. Knowing that Shawn hand written it filled her with a warmth she hadn’t felt since the last time they’d been together. She gingerly opened the loosely sealed paper and pulled out a single sheet of green paper with his familiar Brady letterhead on it.
Dear Perfect girl,
I see your hand flying to your face as you read those opening words. Drop it back to your lap, you are still perfect to me. I don’t care about how you look, I only care for you as a person. I love you as a person.
I would like to see you. I know you don’t want to be seen, but I need to hear your voice again and hold you in my arms. Please Isabella, I lost you once before, I don’t want to lose you again.
Shawn Douglas Brady
Crying, she dropped the letter and reached for the telephone. Dialing the familiar number, she prayed that he’d answer the phone, and waited.
Belle’s voice caught in her throat at his words. Even thought they were only his name, and only two words, they’d had a huge emotional impact on her.
“Hello, is anyone there?” Shawn asked leaning back in his chair. He could hear soft sobs on the line so he knew that someone was there. “I can hear you. Are you ok?”
Belle swallowed hard before trying to talk. “Shawn?”
Shawn jumped to his feet scattering his textbooks across the floor. “Belle?” His heart was racing and his mouth had gone dry. She’s actually called him, Marlena said she wouldn’t.
“I got your letter.” Belle said softly. The letter was clutched in her hands, the green from the paper rubbing off on her cast. “Did you mean it?”
“I meant every word of it.” Shawn said slowly sitting back down in his chair. “I do not care what you look like, not one bit. You are the mother of my daughter, all I care about is having the two of you in my life. And in each others.”
“Daughter?” Belle asked choking on a sob. “We have a little girl?” Immense joy filled her as she imagined a little angel in Shawn’s arms as he sang her to sleep every night.
“Didn’t you know?”
“Dad refused to let me see the baby. Mom knew that if I knew what I had, the it would be harder for me to let go. She was right.”
“We have a beautiful baby girl. Sami and I named her Aimee Isabella. Sami said you’d never get to see her again, and it would be nice if you had her as your namesake.”
“I love it.” Belle said. She paused in her speech, trying to compose herself. “I…”
“I want to see you. I need to see you with my own eyes to make sure you’re ok, I need to … please.”
The emotion in his voice broke through any resolve she may have had and she sighed. “I’m going home tomorrow. If you want to see me you’ll have to come over to the penthouse.” She fought to keep her voice clear, she needed to sound more in control than she felt.
“I’d go to China for you and you know it.” Shawn said as he heard his mother come into the house followed by a racket he assumed to be his little brother Zac. “I am coming tomorrow around three. Do you want me to bring Aimee?”
“No!” Belle said quickly. She didn’t want it to seem like she didn’t want to see her daughter, because truth be told, she’d do with out seeing Shawn first. “I don’t want her to see me like this.”
“Ok then. I will see you at three o’clock.” Shawn said smiling at his mother who had poked her head inside his room. He noticed the full moon out the window and he grinned at the irony. Things usually go awry during the full moon, but things were happening perfectly for him. “I love you Isabella.”
Belle openly sobbed at his gesture but knew that she couldn’t share it back. “Good night Shawn.”
Chapter 4 - Rated R
Belle paced nervously throughout the penthouse as she waited for Shawn to arrive. She and her mother had spent hours that morning ensuring her hair fell in perfect curls and that make up had been applied to her entire face. She had to admit that she looked quite good, quite normal, even though she felt self conscious of the bandage on her face and the cast on her arm. Shawn was now late and her patience was wearing thing.
Shawn nearly flew out of the elevator when it finally stopped on the top floor the building where the Black’s penthouse was located. Traffic had been backed up due to an accident and he knew that Belle would be angry with him for being late. But two children had been killed and he knew that the wait was not in vain, a third had been saved. He reached out to ring the bell when the door opened.
Belle threw the door open, ready to scream at the empty hall and shrieked when she saw Shawn standing there, arm outstretched to the bell. Instinctively she turned her back to him and fled into her parents home.
“Come back here.” Shawn said closing the door and moving after her. She stopped near the windows and he kept a few feet between them. Marlena had warned her about advancing on her, saying that quick movements scared her senseless. “Turn around Belle.”
Belle shuddered at the gentleness in his voice. Rex had never spoken to her like that, although what Shawn said was an order, there was no commanding tone in it, only a plea like gesture. “I’m afraid.” She said in a shaky voice.
“Don’t be afraid.” Shawn said taking a small step forward. He watched as she stiffened at this closeness and he felt a sharp pain in his heart for her. She was so scared of being hurt again that she was afraid of the one person in the world who would never hurt her. “I’m not going to hurt you Belle. I would never hurt you.”
“I know.” Belle said placing her hands on the window sill so she could support herself on the shaking legs that were threatening to give out at any second. The cast pressed painfully into her hand and she quickly pulled it to her chest. “But you don’t understand how I feel.”
“Tell me.” Shawn said placing one of his hands gently on her shoulder. He was prepared for her to pull away, he knew he shouldn’t touch her, but he had to. “Tell me how you feel. I’ll listen to anything you have to say.”
Belle jumped at his touch. She’d thought he’d have better sense that to touch her. “Don’t please.” Her voice was strained and her words a plea. “Shawn you can’t understand what I’ve been through. You’ve never lived in fear of another human being like I have.”
“You can tell me what it was like, you can help me understand.” Shawn said pulling his hand back and letting it drop uselessly to his side. She’d always been comforted by his touch and it was killing him to know that things had changed because of his cousin. “I want to be here for you Isabella I promised you when you got pregnant that I’d never desert you no matter what happened. I meant that then, and I mean it now.”
“Why won’t you just let me be?” Belle asked as she started to cry. She felt exasperated with his caring personality and just wanted to be alone again. “I’m not the same person I was before and I never will be her again!”
“Do you still love mint chocolate chip ice cream and NSYNC?” Shawn asked trying not to smile at himself. Sometimes he was just too smart for his own good, perhaps that was why he was studying to be a counselor. “Do you still want to lie on the beach in Monaco and try sushi in Japan?”
Belle frowned at his questions, she didn’t understand what they had to do with anything. “Yes I still like those things.” She turned the good half of her face to him and looked at him questioningly. “But what does that have to do with anything?”
“The Belle Black that I love wanted all those things.” Shawn replied wanting to reach out and stroke her cheek, but he refrained from doing so. He could see pain and confusion in her ice blue eyes and it made him want to use Rex for a punching bag. “You haven’t changed as much as you think you have.”
Belle felt her face flush at his observation. Was her right, had she not changed all that much? “I’ve changed in other ways Shawn.” She said as a single tear slipped down her cheek. “Do you really want to see my entire face? Do you think you can stomach what I’ve had to do to stay alive for the past two months?”
“I do.” Shawn said as he watched the tear roll along her face before dropping onto the front of her blouse. He wanted nothing more than to know what she’d been through. If he knew, then he could think of how to help her. “Let me see you Isabella. Let me touch you. I don’t want more than you can give, but I have to know.”
Belle slowly turned to face him front on, waiting for a look of utter repulsion to cross his face. She knew that this would change his mind, she wasn’t his beautiful Isabella anymore. And she was totally surprised when he cupped her good cheek in his hand and tilted her face slightly to look at her.
“You look beautiful.” Shawn said, and he meant it. He could see the difference in the two sides of her face, but they weren’t that severe. One had the smooth look of healthy skin, the other a raised plastic look. That was it, like she was wearing a mask from the Phantom of the Opera. “I know you’ve see what is under this, but I think that you look fine.”
Belle broke down when she saw the undying love in his eyes. It was the same love that she’d always seen, the love she’d thought would have taken care of her and their baby. The love she knew he was giving to their daughter every second of the day and night. “He resented you you know.”
“Rex?” Shawn asked wiping a tear away with his thumb. He wanted to cup both of her cheeks and cry with her, but the burns would sear with pain at the touch. “Why would he resent me?”
“Because you had everything that he ever wanted.” Belle said nuzzling his palm slightly. The skin was soft and smelled of baby powder. “Your parents adored you and Zac, the spent time with you and were always around when you were growing up. He refused to believe the stories that I told him. He said I was only lying so you’d seem more like him. He firmly believed Roman and Kate gave him and Cassie up.”
Belle paused and sighed. The things she’d gone through had all been because of the Dimera’s. “He thought that it was amusing how he’d beaten you. He got me and you got a bastard child to take care of. We’d only been legally married for a day when the abuse started. He informed me that as soon as my six week waiting period was up we’d try for our first baby. I refused saying that the only babies I’d ever have were yours. Well needless to say, he freaked out and I ended up with a broken arm. He refused to let me go to the hospital so it healed crooked and it was lamed. As you can see, they’re trying to fix it now.”
“Why didn’t you leave him?” Shawn asked gently, showing more restraint than he felt inside.
“How could I?” Belle asked leaning back against the window. “We lived forty miles from the nearest town and out truck only had one key which Rex had at all times. He continued to beat me for every little thing. A spot on a plate or a stain on his shirt would send him into a fury. I could barely move let alone walk for help.”
Shawn watched as Belle’s face stoned over. He knew she was closing off and that wasn’t a good thing. “Come on, tell me.”
“I cried out for you one night.” Belle said with a shudder. “It was about a month into our marriage and well he flipped out. He said that he was going to make me forget about you once and for all. It was then that the sexual abuse started. He’d torture me Shawn. He’d bring home an array of objects and force them inside my body.” Belle choked at the memories. “He’d force me to use them saying that this was what it felt like to have sex with you.” She thrust herself at his chest, needing to feel his arms around her. “It hurt so much. I’d bleed for days, but that never stopped him.”
Shawn wrapped his arms tightly around her and whispered softly to her as she cried. He’d bet his life that Marlena didn’t know most of this, or she’d have hinted to him about it. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’d have to get him drunk when he wanted sex.” Belle said forging on. “He’d pass out and it made my job a lot easier. He always told me that I was bad in bed, that he wasn’t satisfied. But, well, what is more satisfying, using a hand or the real thing?”
Shawn sensed that her question was genuine and he softly kissed her hair before replying. “If we can alter my opinion to my hand or you, the answer is you. You’ve, uh, never…”
“I know.” Belle said cutting him off before he embarrassed the both of them. “I’d do it by hand while he wore a condom. I’d be so violently sick afterwards, I’d shower for hours before finally collapsing on the bed. I’ve grown accustom to sleeping on the edge of a mattress, I’d never sleep anywhere close to him. I’d, well, I’d think of us to get through the nights.”
“I’d think of you as I stayed up feeding Aimee until four am.” Shawn said as he continued to hold her. “I’d think of you holding her instead of me.”
“Do you have a picture of her?” Belle asked pulling back from him slightly. After her confession she felt more at ease with him. “I’ve searched the penthouse, but didn’t find anything.”
Shawn laughed at her innocent question. He carried a small photo album in his pocket with his credit card and drivers license inside. “I’ve taken more photos of her in the first two months of her life than most parents take in a life time.” He pulled them out of his pocket and showed her the first one. “This one was taken the day she was born.”
Belle smiled at the picture of the tiny child. She looked just like Shawn with the dark hair and eyes. “She’s beautiful.” She closed her eyes and pushed the album away. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you. I hate them fore making me lose you.”
“But you’re back now.” Shawn said placing his pictures back in the pocket. “You’re here now and it’s only been two and a half months. It could be worse.”
“I just can’t understand why they took my baby from me.” Belle said laying her head on his chest and sighing. “Did they have such doubts in us as parents? Did they think that I deserved to be punished because I was 20 and pregnant?”
“I don’t know.” Shawn said holding her close. She may not stay so open with him and he wanted to take advantage of the time he had. “All I know is I have you in your arms and nothing else matters.”
Belle looked up from her place in his arms and smiled at him. He’d been a rock for her since she’d started talking and that meant the world to her now. “I’m glad you came.”
“I’m glad you called me.” Shawn said wanting to kiss her. “I want you to see Aimee. I know what you said yesterday, but I just want you to know her too.”
“Soon.” Belle said sounding breathless. His lips were so close to hers and they looked so kissable. “Let me come to her when I’m ready. And I will come, I promise, I just need more time.”
“Will you see me again?” Shawn asked suddenly afraid that he’d lose her again. He bit down on his lip waiting for her to answer.
“Yes.” Belle said lifting her lips closer to his. He looked so venerable and she found herself drawn to him. “I will see you again.”
“Belle, you’re making this hard.” Shawn said swallowing forcefully. He could feel her breath on his lips and he fought to keep his arousal to a minimum; he didn’t want to scare her.
“I know.” Belle said slowly running her tongue along her lips. She didn’t know why she was doing this, he still frightened her.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Belle moaned softly as Shawn’s lips pressed against hers. She’d forgotten just how good it felt to kiss him and she succumbed to the feelings and allowed herself to continue. Shawn’s lips were firm but gentle with her, slowly deepening the kiss at her pace. He gently probed her lips with his tongue and dove inside her mouth when she obliged and opened it. They knew that if they continued they might not have the control to stop. But with desire and loneliness weighing on their shoulders they pressed on until the front door opened and a loud voice boomed through the quiet room.
“What the hell is going on?”
Chapter 5 - Rated R
“Daddy no!” Belle cried as she watched her father pull Shawn from the Penthouse and slam the door in his face. It had all happened so fast that neither of them had had a chance to react to their being ripped away from each other. “What was that?”
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” John asked staring at his daughter. His first instinct had been to beat the hell out of Shawn, but that would have traumatized Belle beyond repair. “I took you away from Shawn Brady for a reason. There is no way in hell that you are going back to him.”
Belle felt like she’d been slapped when her father ruined her dreams. “What do you mean I’m not going back to him?” She asked feeling like she was trapped in the room. The walls were closing in on her and there was an angry man between her and the door.
“As soon as you are cleared for air travel you’re going to Switzerland to a convent.” John said firmly. He kept a straight face as he watched his daughters world crumble around her. But he’d been working for days on devising a plan for her and he would not change it now. “They’ve agreed to take you in, despite your past.”
“No.” Belle said quietly. She could see anger in her father’s eyes and it terrified her. To go against him could make him snap, but she was prepared to do that if it mean that she got to stay in Salem. “No. I’m not going to a convent. No way!”
“You will go.” John said hoping Marlena would be tied up at the office for a little longer. He hadn’t had a chance to share his plan with her, and he wasn’t even sure that she would agree. “It’s for your best interest Izzy-B.”
“No.” Belle said bursting into tears. She couldn’t lose Shawn again, she just couldn’t. “Daddy no.” I just got them back again. I can’t leave, Shawn needs me.” She cast her eyes down and admitted something to herself, “Aimee needs me.”
John froze at his Granddaughters’ name. She wasn’t supposed to know about the baby, she was never supposed to know. “He told you?” He felt anger swell up inside him. “He was told not to tell you!” He flung his arms forward and overturned a nearby table sending glass and roses flying everywhere.
“Daddy stop it!” Belle screamed as she backed towards the wall. Her body was shaking so badly she could barely stand and her heart was racing faster than she had ever remembered it doing. “Stop it!” She picked up a nearby vase and hurled it across the room. “Stop it!”
“You stop it!” John yelled dodging the vase and advancing quickly on Belle. “You are only twenty years old! You are still a child for fuck sakes. There is no way in hell I’m letting you go back to Shawn Brady, never. He can’t offer you anything Isabella.”
“He loves me!” Belle cried trying to get away from her father as he stalked towards her. She’d never see him act like this and she was so scared, she was afraid she’d faint. “He loves me and that’s all I need! All I need is for him to love me!”
“He loves you does he?” John asked with a laugh. “Did he tell you that? Do you really think that love is enough? What about all those expensive things you like to have, or the new car you’ve had every year since you turned sixteen. Shawn can’t afford things like that for you, he never will be able to. And let me tell you something Isabella, when that bandage comes off, he’ll go running in the other direction leaving you with the baby. How will you feel then?”
“No, you’re wrong.” Belle sobbed wishing she could make him disappear. She didn’t understand how her always loving caring father could be so cruel. “You’re wrong! Shawn would never do that to me or Aimee! He’s not like that!”
“You have a bastard child!” John screamed grabbing Belle by the arm and forcing her to look at him. He had to make her understand and the only way that would happen would be if she was hurt in the process. “That’s all she will ever be! A bastard!”
“Then she’ll be just like me.” Belle retorted angrily. She’d known that John Black was a hot head, but she had no idea that it was this severe. But she also knew that she was his daughter and she could meet him with as much force as he was showing her. “I am a bastard too remember? So you and mom are no better off than Shawn and I are!”
Fury raged through John. How dare she say that to him? He’d worked hard to ensure she had a good life and this was what he got in return. “You little bitch!” And at that moment he raised his hand and prepared to do something he had never done in his life.
Marlena could hear the yelling and screaming a floor below the penthouse. She could make out Belle’s fearful tone and John’s angry one, and the thought of what could be happening frightened her. “Come on!” She urged the elevator doors. When the finally opened she saw Shawn banging on the door.
“Marlena he’s gone nuts.” Shawn said spotting her as she rushed out of the elevator. “Belle and I were, uh, making amends with each other and he threw me out! They’ve been screaming at each other like this ever since. I think I heard something breaking a bit ago.”
“Let me get the door.” Marlena said hearing Belle scream about her being a bastard too. She knew that the conversation had taken a turn for the worse if they were talking about what she thought they were. Fumbling with the key she finally managed to unlock the door as they heard John call Belle a bitch.
Shawn and Marlena stood motionless when the door opened. They didn’t see the broken glass or scattered flowers. All they could see was John holding onto a crying Belle and then the back of his hand coming towards her cheek. Belle’s scream and the sound of skin on skin brought them around.
Belle didn’t know what to do. Never in her life had either of her parents struck her or any of her siblings, other than Sami when she really deserved it, but even then it was always her mother. A howl of pain escaped her lips and she twisted from her father’s grip. Blindly she ran towards where she hoped the door was, tears streaming down her cheeks, ruining her make up. “No.” She sobbed as someone placed their arms around her and held her tightly. “No!”
Shawn cried as Belle pounded her hands against his chest. He’d known that John was a violent man but he’d never thought that he’d hit any of the women in his life. “Belle it’s me.” He said pulling her out into the hall away from her father and the fury that was Marlena Evans. She was stalking across the room flinging words in every direction. “Shhh… come on stop that.”
Belle stopped striking the person who was holding her and collapsed against their chest. Her heart was broken into a million pieces, like the crystal vase she’s thrown across the room. The one person who was supposed to protect her, had abused her. Nothing that had happened before hurt her like this did. “No!” She twisted in the persons arms trying to get away.
“Belle stop it.” Shawn said gently but firmly. He had her securely wrapped in his arms and he had no plans on letting go anytime soon. “Shhh… it’s me. It’s Shawn. Come on, stop hitting me, I’m not hurting you.” He grabbed her good arm while keeping his other arm securely around her.
Belle looked up and sobbed when she saw that the person holding her was indeed Shawn. “He hit me.” She leaned into his chest and cried into his T-shirt.
“I saw.” Shawn said kissing the top of her head softly. “I’m so sorry. I tried to get back in to get you, but I couldn’t.” He leaned back against the wall and held her as she sobbed out her pain. His own tears slipped silently down his cheeks, landing softly in her hair.
Belle shrieked at the sound of the slamming door and wrapped her arms tighter around his body.
“I’m getting a room for us at the Salem Inn sweet girl.” Marlena said wiping tears off her cheeks. Never in her life has she expected things to turn out like this. Belle was scarred from abuse, she would be divorced for the second time and her husband didn’t think he did anything wrong. “I’ll get Brady to come over and get our things later.”
Belle turned around in Shawn’s arms to look at her mother. She was too scared to pull away from Shawn. He was like a big security blanket who could kick her fathers ass if she’d let him. “I’m sorry mom.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for.” Marlena said as she watched Shawn nuzzle Belle’s neck. “This is all your fathers fault.”
“Can I go with Shawn?” Belle asked feeling like a small child. She knew that she didn’t need her mothers permission, but she felt like she owed it to her mother to ask. “Unless you have something else to do,” she said looking over her shoulder at him.
“Even if I did you could still come with me.” Shawn replied smiling at Marlena. This was exactly what they wanted, Belle back in his arms. “I do have to relieve mom of Aimee though. But she’ll sleep from seven until about midnight.”
“That’s ok.” Belle said softly as she felt a tug on her heart. She’d be in the same house as her daughter, but was she ready to see her?
“I’ll have Brady drop your things off at Shawn’s and you can bring them if you decide to join me.” Marlena said kissing Belle’s cheek. “Take care of her Shawn. You’re going to need each other now more than ever.”
Belle moaned happily as she rolled over. She hadn’t slept this good in over eight months and she felt refreshed. Opening her eyes, she was surprised to see herself tucked into Shawn’s bed. The last thing she remembered was feeling drowsy on his couch as they watched a movie with his parents. She smiled at the soft sheets that were spread over her body and she noticed that they smelled just like Shawn did. ‘Of course they do, he sleeps here.’ She thought yawning.
A nearby alarm clock flashed eleven twenty at her and she pushed herself into a sitting position. The room was dark, but the hall light was on so she knew that there was still someone up and she decided to go and find Shawn. Quietly she padded towards the door bit stopped when a tiny wail echoed through the room. Belle’s heart began to race as she listened to her daughter cry out.
Slowly, as if she was being drawn to it by an invisible cord, she crept up to the nursery door. The room was dimly lit by a light on the dresser and it smelled of vanilla. Belle chuckled and shook her head at the scent. It was the same scent that she wore and she knew that it was a favorite of Shawns. Another wail came from the crib under the window and Belle felt her heart melt. Her daughter was crying out for Shawn and she was just standing there letting her cry.
It was then that Belle knew what she wanted from life; her family. “Hey sweet girl.” She said using her own nickname for her little girl. “What’s the matter huh?” She leaned over the rail and burst into tears in the child in front of her. Aimee was clad in a pink sleeper and her face was flushed from crying. “Come on now, don’t cry.”
Hope watched quietly as Belle talked to her daughter for the first time. She knew that his was Belle’s very first meeting with her daughter and she was not going to spoil it by making her presence known. She knew, from talking to her earlier, that Belle had once had big plans for being a mom, a plan that included breast feeding, and after a phone call to Lexie Carver she’d been able to tell Belle that she could start anytime up to four months after giving birth to start. ‘Do it Belle.’ She said silently as she retreated from the doorway, leaving them alone. She smiled as she crept down the hall, hoping that her granddaughter would finally have the family she deserved.
Belle gently reached into the crib and lifted her daughter into her arms. She sobbed as she cradled the tiny body against her chest. This being had come out of her own body, and she couldn’t believe that she was really a mommy. “You’re hungry aren’t you?” She asked as Aimee continued to cry. Belle turned towards the door and wondered where Shawn kept the formula and bottles for the baby. She shifted Aimee off the hard cast and thought about going to find him or Hope to ask, but a warm feeling on her breast stopped her. Hope had told her that she could still breast feed if she wanted to and she wondered what Shawn would say. “What do you think sweet girl, should I?”
Aimee’s cried helped her make her decision. Settling down in the padded rocking chair that had once been in Zac’s nursery she struggled to undo the clasp on her bra with out letting Aimee slide off her lap and onto the floor. When she had successfully undone it and gotten comfortable she gently brought her daughter towards her bare breast. Tears of joy slid down her cheeks as Aimee latched on immediately and sucked strongly against the swollen nipple, feasting on the warm milk that flowed freely. Belle had never felt so alive as she did at that moment, this is what she had lived for.
Shawn quietly snuck in his bedroom, careful not to wake Belle and frowned when he saw that his bed was empty. He’d assumed Belle would at least stay one night and was afraid she’d left without saying goodbye to him, or seeing Aimee. He fought tears of disappointment and turned towards the nursery, baby bottle in hand. He’d heard Aimee cry through the baby monitor and he knew she was hungry since she hadn’t taken a lot before she went to sleep. Shawn stopped when he saw Belle with Aimee in the rocking chair. She looked like an angel holding their daughter, softly singing to her. He was about to walk in to giver the bottle when he realized she wasn’t going to need it, she was feeding her in a way that only a mother could. He quickly moved out of sight and leaned against his bedroom wall. Tears of happiness slid down his cheeks as stood there, he had his family back now.
Belle looked up from watching Aimee just in time to see someone jump out of the doorway. For a moment she feared that it was Shawn and that he would be angry with her. “Shawn, is that you?” She held her feeding daughter tightly in her arms in case it was an intruder.
Shawn took a deep breath before returning to the doorway. The bottle had been discarded on the dresser and he prayed that Aimee would never have to use another one. “Yeah, it’s me.”
“I’m sorry Shawn.” Belle said suddenly panicking at her situation. She fought the urge to flee and cast her eyes to the floor so she couldn’t see his reaction. “I didn’t know where to get her bottle, and she was hungry, and your mom told me that it would be ok…”
Shawn dropped to his knees next to the rocking chair. He had never seen a more beautiful sight than he was seeing right this moment. “Shhh… it’s ok. ?I…” Shawn lightly stroked Aimee’s dark hair before looking up at Belle with tear filled eyes. “I love you Isabella. You’ve made me the happiest person on this planet.”
Belle felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. “She’s so perfect.” She said as they both gazed at the tiny child who was drifting to sleep, her tummy full of the warm milk. “And I, well, I can’t describe how I feel right now.”
“I have never in my life seen something more amazing than this.” Shawn said rising to kiss Belle’s cheek. A smile spread across his face when she didn’t pull away. “I hope you weren’t afraid when you woke up. I didn’t want to leave you on the couch so I brought you up here. I actually thought you’d left when I came in and you weren’t in bed.”
“I woke up and just as I was going to find you she started to cry.” Belle said as Aimee let go of her breast and snuggled into sleep. “I just couldn’t let her cry, it broke my heart. I thought that if I went in she might stop, but she was too hungry and I couldn’t wait for you to do something, I had to make her stop.”
Shawn carefully took her sleeping daughter from Belle’s arms and placed her in the crib, tucking her under the soft pink quilt that his Gran had made for her. “Come on, let’s let her sleep.” She waited for Belle to straighten her clothes before leading her back into the bedroom.
“We should go and make up the guest room.” Belle said smiling at him. He looked so attractive in the moonlight with the light shining in his dark eyes and his slightly long hair hanging in his face. “I’ll need somewhere to sleep.”
“I’ll be staying in the guest room not you.” Shawn explained flipping on a lamp. “I’d like you to be close to Aimee. I had planned on getting you to see her in the morning, but you’ve beaten me to it.”
“I don’t want to kick you out of your own bed.” Belle protested frowning at him. He was too caring and sometimes she wanted to smack him for it. “I’m the guest in this house, so I sleep in the guest room.”
“If you sleep in the other room than you’re going to be sleeping with me.” Shawn said silently wishing that she’d let him be with her. But he knew that there was no way for it to happen, she was still too scared. “It’s your call.”
“That’s mean.” Belle said attempting to pout at him. She still couldn’t win an argument after all the time they’d know each other. “I should make you get up with me when Aimee wants to be fed.”
“You don’t have to make me, I’ll do it willingly.” Shawn said running his fingers along the bandage on her cheek. He gave her a reassuring smile when she tried to pull away. “Don’t Belle. I can see it now, let me touch it. I won’t hurt you.”
“It’s ugly.” Belle said wanting to run and hide from him. She’d forgotten about her face until he’d touched it and she wondered how he could stand to feel it. “But what’s underneath it is worse.”
“It can be fixed.” Shawn said lightly brushing his lips across her cheek and trailing them down her neck, careful not to press too hard. “You can have your first surgery in a few weeks, or at least that’s what your mother told me.”
Belle smiled, but then her father’s voice echoed through out her head, ‘What about all those expensive things you like to have, or the new car you’ve had every year since you turned sixteen. Shawn can’t afford things like that for you, he never will be able to,’ and she started to cry. “How am I going to pay for it?” She asked feeling depressed. “Dad has always paid for all our medical care.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Shawn said kissing her nose softly. He couldn’t believe she was letting him kiss her like this. “Your mom has already called a lawyer to protect your trust fund, she said that there were not standing conditions on it so he can’t close it out. And right now, I have mind. I’ll take care of it.”
Belle looked at Shawn with a puzzled expression. “Your trust fund?” She hadn’t thought that Caroline or Shawn Sr. had money enough to provide Shawn with a huge sum of money that was common with trust funds.
Shawn chuckled at her obvious confused expression, and he knew exactly what she was thinking. “Victor.” He said unable to conceal his laughter anymore. Most people forgot that Victor Kiriakis was his grandfather by blood. “Not Grandpa Shawn. My father is Victors son remember?”
Belle shook her head and grinned. How could she forget that Shawn was Phillips nephew, they’d only said it to each other about a zillion times growing up. “I feel like an idiot now.”
“Don’t.” Shawn said as he sat down on the side of his bed. “Victor announced my trust fund at the party held after Aimee’s christening. He figured I could use the money to give her an easy life since she lacked the most important person; her mother.”
Belle smiled at Victor’s gesture. “That was nice of him.” She said as he pulled her down to straddle his legs and sit on his knees. Victor, though an unforgivable business man, could be a big lovable teddy bear when someone touched his heart. “I hope you’ve been spoiling her.”
“Don’t you know it.” Shawn said settling his hands in the small of her back. “She’s got more of everything than she need, but I can’t seem to stop buying for her. She’s got an accessory kit to rival yours. I think she looks adorable with hats on or little bows in her hair.”
“Shawn Brady has a fashion sense!” Belle exclaimed in a triumphant voice. She raised her hands and rested them on the back of his neck, careful not to hurt him with the cast. “I’ve taught you well.”
“Yeah you did.” Shawn said as his hands came into contact with the skin on her back. “Do you know how much my family spoils our little girl?” He asked as he lightly trailed his fingers over the exposed skin. “She gets to the mall almost everyday with mom, gets more female attention than Brady and has every cop in Salem wrapped around her little finger.”
“That’s my girl.” Belle said yawning. Even though she’d had a nap, her body was telling her that it needed more rest than a few hours. “Maybe we should finish talking in the morning.”
“How about if we talk over lunch at the pub?” Shawn asked hating to leave her. “I have class from nine until noon, and I usually take Aimee from mom until I go back at two.”
“I forgot about you going to school.” Belle said feeling slightly disappointed. Her time at Salem U had been cut to only two years thanks to her father sending her into hell, causing her to miss the start of the semester, and she wondered if she could go back when she got her trust fund or if Shawn would want her to wait until Aimee started school. “I probably kept you from studying.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Shawn said helping her up from his lap. He could see the longing look on his face and he wondered if she was thinking of her lost time at school. Though classes had only been in three weeks, she would be too far behind to start now. “I got all my work finished and ready for tomorrow. So do we have a date for tomorrow?”
“Sure.” Belle said watching him grab some clothes from his dresser. He’d take all he needed so he didn’t have to wake her in the morning, she didn’t have to ask, that was just the way he was. She moved close to him, pressing her body against his side and tipped her head up for a kiss. “Good night.”
“Good night Isabella.” Shawn said touching his lips to hers in a long sweet kiss. He smiled as he started from the room and turned back at the door. “I’ll see you around three am.”
Chapter 7 - Rated R
THIS IS A VIOLENT CHAPTER PLEASE BEWARE!
“Come here you little bitch!” Rex screamed as he chased after Belle. “I told you what I wanted now get back here and do it!” He hated when Belle put up a fight, it wasn’t attractive or fun for him. Chasing after your wife when you wanted to get laid made it more exhausting than need be.
Belle screamed as she ran through the waist high grass. The nightly dew had already collected on the blades and she was soaked despite her nakedness. Her right cheek throbbed from where he’d hit her and she was afraid that her eye was black. She turned back and ran harder when she saw that he was gaining on her. She had to get away from him before he caught her and forced her to do things she didn’t want to.
“Gottcha you fucking bitch.” Rex exclaimed triumphantly as he grabbed her by the hair and hauled her back towards him. “I told you to never run away from me!” He forced her to knees and kicked her hard in the side of her ribcage. “Now we’ll continue what we started.”
Belle struggled as Rex tried to force her mouth open. There was no way in hell she was going to do what he was asking. It was something she’d never thought of doing with Shawn, the mere thought disgusted her. If he wanted it, he’d have to kill her or dislocate her jaw first.
“Open up bitch!” Rex said pulling sharply on Belle’s jaw. A loud pop reached his ears as the bones separated and he laughed at her howl of pain. “I pulled it out didn’t I you little whore? At least now I don’t have to worry about you biting me.”
Belle gagged as Rex forced his swollen rod into her mouth. This was wrong, she never wanted to do this with anyone. Crying she choked as he thrust himself in and out of her mouth, hitting the back of her throat each time. Fighting the nausea that was building in her stomach she clawed at his legs with her nails.
“That’s it bitch, suck it.” Rex moaned throwing his head back in ecstasy. Using her hair for leverage he pushed her face towards his hips as he thrust forward. “Oh that’s good.” He groaned as he felt pleasure he’d never felt in his life. ‘I know something else I’ve never felt with her.’ He thought making a change in his plans. He pulled out of her mouth and threw her to the ground. “I’ve got a better idea for the end of this.”
Belle noticed a familiar look his eye and screamed for help. He wanted something that she wanted to only share with Shawn and she was prepared to fight to keep that. She awkwardly scrambled over the ground on all fours in an attempt to hide in the grass.
Rex grinned stupidly as the sight of a naked Belle on her hands and knees. “Good idea there bitch.”
Belle knew she was defeated, that she had nothing left, when Rex caught her again. He pulled her arms forcefully behind her back, not caring that one arm was broken and not in a cast, and pressed her face into the ground. She was in a very venerable position and she knew that she couldn’t prevent it from happening now; she was caught. A scream of pain erupted as he forced himself inside her unprepared body, and she heard him say the sentence that scared the life out of her, “now you’ll carry my baby, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Shawn bolted upright as Belle’s anguished scream pierced through the darkened and silent room. For a moment he wasn’t sure if the scream had been in his dreams or not. The house was completely silent except for the sound Aimee breathing in the baby monitor.
“No please no!”
Shawn threw off his covers and jumped out of the bed. Now he knew for sure that she was screaming, now he was awake and hearing it. Dashing from the room he burst into his own bedroom, ready to save her from her attacker. The room was dark, but empty other than a thrashing Belle who was obviously in a deep sleep.
“Belle.” Shawn said crossing the room to stand next to the bed. Her screams were breaking his heart, she was obviously being hurt in her sleep and there was nothing that he could do unless she was awake. Shawn shook her slightly as was taken a back when she attacked him.
“Get your hands off me!” Belle screamed attacking Rex as he leaned down over her. There was no way he was going to hurt her again. “No!”
Shawn had been completely unprepared for the blow Belle dealt to his chest and he staggered backwards away from her. She jumped from the bed and made for him again. Shaking his head he moved to grab her hands before she could strike him again. “Belle, don’t.”
“Stop it, you’ve hurt me enough haven’t you?” Belle screamed kicking out at his shins to stop him. There was no way she was going to let him rape her again, she’d fight harder this time. “Get away!”
Hope shrieked as she watched Belle sink her teeth into Shawn’s neck as they struggled. She’d heard Belle’s screams and had woken Bo to go get Shawn. But it looked like they were too late, and it seemed to her that Belle looked like she was still asleep. “Isabella!”
Belle snapped awake at the sound of Hope’s voice. What was Hope doing in the bedroom while she was sleeping, had Aimee woken up and she’d not heard her. Sleep disoriented her and she was unsure of what was going on, only sure that someone had a hold of her hands.
“Fuck Belle.” Shawn shouted jumping back from her. He could feel blood running down his chest and watched it glisten on her lip. Grabbing a shirt off the floor he pressed it into side of his neck.
“Shawn, out now!” Hope commanded moving to shove him out of the room. “Get your father to look at your neck, leave Belle to me.” She turned to the obviously confused and scared girl and looked her with concern.
“Oh my god.” Belle sobbed as she wiped blood, Shawn’s blood, from her lip. Her heart lurched and her dream came back to her. She looked up at Hope who was still watching her intently.
“What is it sweetie?” Hope asked grabbing a tissue off the dresser and wiping the blood of Belle’s face. She was positive Shawn had not been attacking Belle, it wasn’t like him and he knew she was scared of being grabbed. Her logical explanation was, Belle had been having a nightmare.
“I just remembered something.” Belle said as her voice dropped to little more than a whisper. It was all clear to her now, the strange things she’d been noticing, the nausea. “I think I might be pregnant.”
Shawn sat in silence as his mother left him in the guest room alone. He knew that he’d never make it to class now, he’d spent three hours in the emergency room and two more listening to his mother explain why Belle had attacked him. The story had broken his heart and shattered his dreams.
“Shawn?” Belle asked softly from outside the guest room door. “Can I come in?”
“Sure.” Shawn replied standing to meet her. He’d been afraid that she’d shy away from him again after what had happened and her coming to him made him feel slightly reassured that there might be hope for them after all. “Are you ok?”
“I’m fine.” Belle said bursting into tears at the sight of the white gauze bandage on the side of his neck. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” She sobbed as she felt her knees go weak underneath her.
“Hey, it’s ok.” Shawn said moving to catch her before she fell over. He wrapped his arms around her in a gently, but supportive, hug. “I know you didn’t mean it.” He kissed the top of her head and moved towards the bed. “I’m ok, one little cut never hurt me.”
Belle frowned as she sat down next to him. “I bit you Shawn.” She said softly. She still couldn’t believe she’d mistaken him for Rex, they were nothing alike. “I sunk my teeth into your skin and I hurt you.” She sobbed as he held her close.
“Sweetie, it’s not the first time you’ve bit me.” Shawn said with a chuckle. “I seem to remember you chomping down on my shoulder so you wouldn’t scream. I believe your excuse was, Brady did not need to hear you screaming my name in ecstasy.” He kissed her cheek before trialing them to her ear and nibbling on it.
Belle shook her head at his memory. “Only you’d say that at a time like this.” She leaned back from him and looked into his concerned eyes. She knew that Hope had told him everything, and the fact that he hadn’t turned her away made it all a little easier. “But we need to talk about something.”
“About the pregnancy?” Shawn asked leaning back on one arm. His neck was throbbing and he was exhausted. He felt a wall forming between them and he knew that it was because she was pregnant again, and it wasn’t his baby. It didn’t mean he didn’t love her anymore, but that things had changed for them.
“I’ve got two options.” Belle said nodding her head at him. She’d spent the past two hours trying to make a decision for herself, but had come up to a wall before she could decide. She just hoped Shawn could be open to help her. “I’m either having an abortion or giving the baby up for adoption. I am not keeping it.”
Shawn’s jaw dropped momentarily when she mentioned abortion; it was the one thing in the world that he was dead set against. But in this case he just might be able to shut away his conscience. If there was no baby, then things could be ok for them. But would they be able to live with themselves if they agreed to kill an unborn baby. Swallowing hard he looked straight into her eyes. “Ok, which will it be?”
Belle smiled at his answer. She’d been deathly afraid he’d blow up and throw her out of his life for even considering it. “I don’t know.” She admitted takin his hand in her good one. “I thought that maybe we’d decide together.”
“Even though I’d rather see a baby given a chance, this is your decision Belle.” Shawn said gently layer his hand on her leg. “I can’t make it for you.”
“Will you still love me if I’m carrying another man’s baby?” Belle asked as tears threatened to fall again. She was tired of crying, she just wanted to be happy again. If Shawn couldn’t love her then she’d have the abortion, his love was something she could not live without. “Will I be able to see Aimee if I carry this baby to term?”
“I would never keep you from seeing Aimee.” Shawn said wishing this new baby would just vanish so they could all start to heal. This new development was the salt being rubbed into their open wounds. “And I will never stop loving you. It will be hard for me to watch you carry this baby, I wish it were mine. But remember, I will always be here for you.”
“Thank you.” Belle said wondering what she’d done to get a guy like him, she obviously didn’t deserve him. “Your mom and I talked while you and your dad were gone. She talked with me about what happened, how I needed to tell you how I was feeling and what was going through my head. I thought she was crazy, but I think she was right. I’m not ashamed of what happened, it was beyond my control.”
“That’s right.” Shawn said wrapping an arm around her shoulder and laying his chin on the top of her head. “That’s what I want you to say every time you want to cry. This was not your fault in anyway, you didn’t ask for any of these things to happen. There are two people to blame, your father and Rex.”
“You’re absolutely right.” Belle said with a sleep nod. “But your mom mentioned something else to me. It seems that there is a great adoption agency in Chicago that will let us, or me, or who ever pick the baby’s new parents. We can meet them, run all kinds of checks and have a say in how the baby is raised. I thought it sounded pretty good, I like the openness factor.”
“I like it too, it means that strangers don’t get to run away with a baby you’ve carried for nine months.” Shawn agreed with a yawn. His pain medication along with physical and emotional exhaustion were catching up to him and he was sure he could sleep for a month. “How about we do this: tomorrow we’ll go see Dr. Bader and get you checked out. Then we’ll go see the agency and get the ball rolling. Sound good? Ok then, let’s get some sleep.”
“Ok.” Belle said feeling a pang of loneliness as she thought of going back to Shawn’s big bed alone. “Shawn, would you do me a small favor?”
“Sure, what?” Shawn asked noticing the slight look of fear on her face. She’d always been one to hate going to sleep at night, fearing that the door wasn’t closed or the oven wasn’t turned off. “Did you want me to go check the locks?”
“No.” Belle said biting down on her lip and looking at the floor. “Um… would you come over with me?” She blushed from her head to her toes before looking up. “Your room is big and lonely, I don’t like being by myself.”
Shawn’s heart stopped momentarily at her question. “Are you sure?” He asked not wanting her to make the wrong decision and regret asking. Lexie would die laughing if he came in for a second time that night for more stitches.
“I’m sure.” Belle said smiling at him. She knew deep down in her heart that asking him to stay with her was the right thing, she had no reason to be afraid of him. “Come on, I promise I won’t bite you.” She pulled him towards the door and giggled. “But I won’t promise I won’t do other things to you.” She stood on her tip toes and gave him a long, slow passionate kiss; just enough to light his desire.
Six months later
“Have you picked a couple yet?” Hope asked as she watched Belle pour over adoption applications. After a legal struggle with Rex they’d finally gotten the go ahead. Seems the young man wasn’t too keen on having his child put up for adoption, but thankfully a Salem judge had terminated his parental rights and wished Belle luck. Hundreds of couples had qualified for the adoption and it was up to Belle to pick one set. “Want a hand?”
“Sure.” Belle said kicking out a chair for Hope. “I’d be able to concentrate better if this little monster would leave my ribs alone.” She shook her head as she rubbed her sore abdomen.
Hope laughed as Belle winced again. “Do you remember what it was like with Aimee?” She asked placing her hand on Belle’s stomach. Belle had avoided letting anyone become attached to the baby, but she’d never stopped her. “Oh, a little soccer player.”
“Ugh.” Belle groaned with a nod. “I remember one night all too well. The night I stayed here to be exact. I had that ugly bruise on my back and Shawn had one on his chest. Served him right for holding me all night long. Speaking of Aimee though, have you seen her since she and mom got back from their trip?”
“Well she’s changed a little in the past month.” Belle said grinning. Her mother had insisted on taking Aimee to Hawaii for a month so Belle could adjust to her pregnancy and it had been a long hard month. “Our Shawn look alike now has blonde hair and blue eyes! Oh it’s so cute! She lost all that long hair she hand and it’s come back in the color of mine!”
Hope laughed at the thought of her granddaughter looking just like her mommy. “I told you she’d be just like you. Zac was the same way, blond as a toddler and dark like the rest of us now.” She tossed the application aside and picked up another. “Are her eyes like yours or are the darker?”
“Way darker, almost black.” Belle replied shaking her head. “I won’t be surprised if they’ll stay brown.” Something on the paper Hope was holding caught her eyes and she reached out to take it. “Hey look at this woman. Stay at mom with two adopted teenagers. Says here that they’re looking to adopt a couple more children since they can’t have their own. They’re listed under the infertile female category and it says here that she had an abusive ex husband who ruined her reproductive organs during a stabbing.” She covered her mouth to hide a sob that threatened to leak out. “Oh that poor woman.”
“It sounds like she knows what you’ve been through.” Hope said wrapping an arm around Belle’s shaking shoulders and giving her a kiss on the cheek. “It’s ok to cry honey. I know you’ve been holding it in for a while now. Let it out.”
“No.” Belle said straightening up and wiping her eyes on her sweater. “I won’t cry anymore, crying means that he’s won, and I’ve been the winner.” She turned the application over and finished reading the information. “They own a ranch at the base of the Rockies in Colorado.” He turned to her second mother and giggled, “if we tell Zac he’ll want to go too, they’ve got horses. I think we have a winner.”
“Glad it’s over?”
“I didn’t realize that it would be this much work.” Belle said pushing the papers into a pile. “I don’t understand how some of these people made it into the agency to start with. I mean, one couple lived in a one room house and barely made enough money to get by. How does that qualify them for raising a baby? I know money doesn’t matter, but basic needs are expensive for a baby.”
“I understand what you mean.” Hope said nodding her head. When Shawn had been born it had been hard times for her and Bo, until they got settled in. But it still cost thousands of dollars to raise a child. “You’ll have to run them by Shawn when he gets home. Speaking of the devil.”
Shawn slammed the back door as he stomped into the house. Tossing his briefcase on the floor he kicked off his shoes and shrugged his jacket off.
“Hard day?” Belle asked taking in Shawn’s appearance. His hair was ruffled, most likely from running his fingers through it one too many times, and his tie was hanging loose. “I know you didn’t leave looking like that this morning, I did that tie for you.”
Shawn looked up at Belle with tears in his eyes. He’d thought that is job would be tiring, but he didn’t expect it to be emotionally damaging. “I need to talk to you about something.”
Fear soared through Belle’s body at the sound of his voice. There was a pained look in his eyes and she wondered for a moment if it had something to do with Rex or her father. “Shawn you’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry.” Shawn said wringing his hands. He had to ask a favor of her, one that he knew would be difficult for her to deal with. “I need you to do something for me.” He crouched next to her chair and took her hands in his. “Do you think that you could show your scars to a four year old little girl?”
Belle gasped at what he was asking her. So far only her mother, he doctors and a legal photographer had seen her face, and even those people caused her to feel ashamed. “You don’t know what you’re asking me.” She said as panic welled inside her chest and she found herself looking for a way out.
“Calm down.” Shawn said in a soothing tone. “I have a little girl who had most of her body burned in a fire set by her father. He lost a large sum of money and had bookies on his back, ready to kill him if he didn’t pay up. So he decided to claim the insurance money on his wife and daughter. He drugged them and set fire to their beds.” He stumbled over his words as he watched her cry. “The sprinklers saved their lives, but not her skin. She looks at me from behind her hair and won’t say a word. I talked to Lexie and my supervisor, and they thought that maybe you could help.”
“You don’t know what you’re asking me.” Belle said wondering if she was just trying to see her face. He’d expressed that the bandage was starting to bother him, but she wasn’t ready to lose it. “You don’t understand what that will do to me.”
“Belle, it won’t do anything to you.” Shawn said slightly annoyed. She had been given permission to remove the bandage months ago, but she refused. “If anything it may help you. You need to stop hiding.”
Hope shook her head at the two young adults who were about to give grounds for a divorce before they were even married. “Shut up the both of you before you dig yourselves in deep and say things you don’t mean.” She said sharply. “Shawn, be nice before I smack you. You need to understand what Belle feels. And Belle, I hate to say it, but honey he’s right. It would do you a world of good to take off that thing. What are you going to do when Aimee starts asking questions?”
“I’ll do it.” Belle said glumly. Aimee had already developed a curiosity for the injured side of her face, and had begun to pick at the edges of the bandage. “But not for you, for Aimee and this little girl.” She said to Shawn. She was hurt by the way he’d spoken to her, she’d thought that he’d understood that she wasn’t ready.
“Fine.” Shawn said storming off. He didn’t feel like getting into a huge argument with her, he was just too tired. “I’ll be in the guest room going over my notes.” He sent her a look that told her that he was upset with her and that he would come to her when he felt ready. “Don’t wait up for me.”