“Good morning Meems.” Belle Black said as she came into her office early one May morning. She flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and smiled at her friend. “Is everything ready for the day?”
“All set to go.” Miriam Lockhart said smiling at her life long best friend. “You’ve got an easy day, only a handful of patients.”
“Good, I’m not up for a hectic day.” Belle said as she poured her self a cup of coffee. “When’s the first one due in?” She sat down on the extra chair in the reception booth.
“Mr. Blume comes in at 10:30.” Mimi said sipping her of coffee. “So you’ve got some time to chat this morning since you did all your charts yesterday.”
“I always make time to talk to you.” Belle said smiling at her. She and Mimi had grown up together and now here they were working together. It was almost like they’d imagined it. Only when they were kids the dream job had been candy tester, not paediatrician and secretary. “I like your new hair style.”
“Thanks.” Mimi said smiling back at her. She ran her fingers through her chin length strawberry blonde hair. “Did you hear Shawn Brady left the Merchant Marines?”
Belle nearly chocked on her coffee. Shawn’s dream had been to spend his life in the Marines and he’d done so for the past 16 years. “Why?” She asked, willing her heart rate to slow. She and Shawn had gone their separate ways after high school graduation, leaving a great relationship and hearts broken.
“I guess he thought it was time to settle down.” Mimi said shrugging her shoulders. “I also heard that there were some family problems. Other than that I don’t know anything more.
“I wonder if it has anything to do with Zac.” Belle asked casually taking another drink of her coffee. Noticing Mimi’s confused look she continued talking. “Zac has a 16 month old little boy named Jullian.”
“Wow.” Mimi said wondering how she’d missed hearing that piece of information. Nothing happened in Salem with out her knowing about it.
“Not too many people know it’s his.” Belle explained. “I was working in the ER when his girlfriend went into labour. They thought they’d lose her at one point because she started to haemorrhage. Turns out Zac would lose her anyway. She dropped the baby off on his doorstep and took off. They haven’t heard from her since.”
“That’s terrible.” Mimi said shaking her head. She’s seen many fathers leave their children over the past 4 years that she’d been a medical receptionist, but not too many mothers abandoned their children.
“I need some help out here!” Someone called as they pulled open the main door to the office. “My son’s in trouble.” The door banged shut causing Belle to start.
Belle jumped up and rushed out the door after the voice. A man, in the back of a pick up truck, was performing CPR on the small child. “Mimi get me a gurney now!” She yelled as she climbed into the truck. “What happened?”
“He was eating a cookie when he passed out and stopped breathing.” The man said looking up at Belle for a second. “He’s allergic to peanuts. I think this is a reaction.”
“Did you give him any epinephrine?” Belle asked as Mimi placed a gurney near the back of the truck. “Administered in the form of an epi pen?”
“No.” The younger guy said. “Will he be ok Belle?”
At the sound of her name, Belle’s head snapped up. The person standing on the ground worrying about his son was none other than Zac Brady. “Let’s get him inside.” Belle said as she transferred the little boy to the gurney.
Belle and the older man rushed the rolling bed into the clinic. She quickly went to work on getting a tube into the child’s throat, which was swelled up due to the attack. “Mimi squeeze this.” She said getting a bag attached to the tube. She checked for a heartbeat and smiled, “He’s go a pulse. That’s a good sign.” Visible hives were covering the little boys face. She reached into a drawer and gave him a dose of epinephrine.
“Thank God.” Zac said from the doorway. There were tears in his eyes as he looked at the tube down his sons’ throat helping him breathe.
“I’m going to call an ambulance.” Mimi said turning the bag back over to Belle.
“Thank you Belle.” The man said.
A shiver ran up Belle’s spine as the voice rang in her head. She looked up and realized who it was that was speaking to her. “Shawn?” She asked as she fought to keep a steady rhythm with the bag.
“Yeah it’s me.” Shawn Brady said smiling at her. “I didn’t recognize you at first.”
“I didn’t recognize you either.” Belle said looking down at the little boy. Shawn’s hair was now short and flecked with blonde, but his brown eyes were the same ones she’d looked into in high school. The same ones she’d fallen in love with so many years ago.
“Ambulance is here.” Mimi said as two paramedics came in. They quickly moved the little boy to another gurney and loaded him and Zac into the ambulance.
“Thank you for helping him.” Shawn said as Mimi led him and Belle into the lounge. He smiled at her, noting that she hadn’t changed a bit since high school.
“It’s my job.” Belle said shrugging her shoulders. She was alarmed that the mere sight of him could set her heart racing.
“I didn’t know you opened your own practice.” Shawn said looking around the room. There were pictures of Belle and a tall brunette in caps and gowns. “Mom told me that you’d gotten you practitioners licence, but not that you had your own place.
“I work with Chloe.” Belle said pointing to another door. “I deal with paediatrics and she’s an ENT.”
“Chloe’s an ENT?” Shawn asked. “Chloe Lane is an ear, nose, throat specialist?”
“Yes.” Belle said blushing at her use of medical lingo with him. She was always so careful to talk in laments terms with her friends and family. “I’m only here until I finish my Neonatal ICU training.”
“You want to work with premature children?” Shawn asked with interest. He’d received a medical degree in the Marines and was Salem’s newest NICU doctor. “I’m a doctor too, you know. I’m working in the NICU here in Salem. I watched women overseas lose children because they came too early, and I wanted to help.”
“I um…” Belle said unsure if she should continue. She was so comfortable with him and it felt like she could tell him anything, like the old days when they were dating. But it had been 16 years since she’d seen him, could she just open up to him like that?
“I’m still the same old Shawn.” He said as Mimi brought them coffee. “You can tell me anything Belle. Just like when we were in high school.”
“I was raped my first year of Med School.” Belle explained holing the cup tightly. “I ended up getting pregnant and went into labour at 24 weeks. My little girl was in the NICU for 40 days before she caught pneumonia and died. I’ve wanted to help children like her ever since.”
“I’m sorry Belle.” Shawn said covering her hands with his.
“It’s in the past now.” Belle said smiling at him. “I’ve moved on and I’m happy. It took me a little while to get here, but I did and that says something about my strength.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t write to you.” Shawn said wishing he could change the past. He’d written her so many letters over the years, but had never had the courage to send any of them.
“We decided to go our separate ways.” Belle said glancing at her watch. “My patient will be here in a minute, I should go get cleaned up.”
“I’ll head over and check on Jullian.” Shawn said standing up still holding on to her hand. “I’d like to talk to you again.”
“Um… I’m pretty busy.” Belle said thinking of her schedule. “I finish my training this week. I work seven night shifts.”
“I’ll try and catch you on a break.” Shawn said releasing her hand and heading to the door. “It was nice to see you Isabella.”
“It was nice to see you too Shawn.” Belle said smiling at him as he closed the door. She sat there and gazed at the closed door for a moment before she dropped her head into her hands and cried for the love of a man and the child that she had lost.
“Ok Belle, I think she’s been exercised enough.” Dr. Clay said as he walked into the NICU while she was doing her rounds. He’d been watching her move the arms and legs of a baby who’d been born at 26 weeks.
“But she’s not crying.” Belle said looking down at the tiny baby in front of her. “Gina’s reports said she cries like she’s in pain when they exercised her.”
“No baby cries for you Belle.” Dr. Clay said as he watched her place the baby back in the incubator. “I don’t know what it is about you but you have a way with these babies. You have a way with them that no other doctor in here has, other than your friend Shawn Brady.”
“I know they’re hurting.” Belle said as she rearranged the wires and tubes so the baby could move her arms and legs freely. “And I just try to make them feel better.”
“You do a good job.” Dr. Clay said leading her out into the hallway. “At this very moment a 24 week old baby is being delivered. I would like you in charge of the procedures up here. It’s the last of your required training and if you pass, you’re on full time up here. Do you think you can handle it?”
“Yes.” Belle said nodding her head. “Are there any important facts that I need to know about the baby or the mother.”
“The mother has leukemia.” Dr. Clay explained leading her into the room where new arrivals are kept. “A relapse sent her into labour. The chemo therapy she received probably left the baby with some medical problems.”
“Ok.” Belle said as a shiver ran up her spine. “Um, Dr. Clay, this case has a personal touch for me. I won’t give up on this baby until the very end or the parents say to stop. I’ll put every ounce of energy I have into its care.”
“I know about your past Belle.” Dr. Clay said touching her shoulder softly. He noticed her recoil slightly and pulled his hand away. “That’s what will make you a good doctor up here. You have compassion and a need to make your daughters death seem like it happened for a reason.”
“Thank you.” Belle said smiling. She noticed Shawn pushing an incubator into the room, a look of distress on his face. One hand was slipped inside, doing compressions on the infants’ chest.
“Get a respirator!” He yelled bringing the cart to a stop. “Who’s in charge?”
“I am.” Belle said grabbing a tube and respirator and bringing it closer to the baby.
“Well then, come on Belle.” Shawn said as he watched her quickly and easily thread the tube down the tiny infants’ throat. “Let’s get this little one back.”
“What a night.” Belle said as she and Shawn flopped down into a booth at the local diner. They’d worked together all night saving the tiny baby.
“It all worked out in the end.” Shawn said moaning with pleasure as his feet came off the floor. He’d worked overtime that night and his feet were aching.
“Yeah it did.” Belle said smiling at the thought of the tiny girl who was sleeping peacefully in the NICU. She glanced at the clock and groaned. “I’m so glad its Sunday.”
“Doesn’t your boyfriend get upset when you work so late?” Shawn asked as a waitress poured them cups of hot coffee.
“I don’t have one.” Belle said adding milk and sugar to her cup. “I threw myself into school and work; I haven’t had a date in about 12 years.”
“Belle that’s terrible.” Shawn said shaking his head at her. “You’re too beautiful and special to stay single for the rest of your life. I’ll bet there are hundreds of guys that would love to date you.”
“Shut up.” Belle said reaching over and slapping him playfully. “You’re making me sound like the perfect catch.”
“You are the perfect catch.” Shawn said giving her his special Brady smile. “You were my Perfect Girl at one time.”
“Shawn Brady are you hitting on me?” Belle asked in a flirty tone. She hadn’t planned on flirting with him, it just happened naturally.
“Yes.” Shawn said resting his chin on his hands. “I can’t help it Belle. You’re just like you were when I left.”
“You’ve changed a lot.” Belle said, enjoying their flirting. “I always thought you’d turn out to be a cop, not a doctor.”
“I thought about it.” Shawn said smiling at her again. “But I decided saving lives was a lot more rewarding.”
“I’ve wanted to be a doctor all my life with the exception of wanting to be a candy tester in first grade.” Belle said repeating information he already knew. “And I really love what I do.”
“You’re good with the preemies.” Shawn commented as he finished his coffee. “I’ve seen it as well as every other person in that ward. Most doctors would have given up on that little girl after her being down for an hour. But not you, you got oxygen to her brain and got her heart going every time it stopped. Her parents are proud of you.”
“I gave up on my own little girl.” Belle explained gripping her cup tightly. “I’m not about to give up on someone else’s.”
“I would have run as far away from the NICU as I could have if I’d lived through what you have.” Shawn said loosening her hands from the cup and holding them in his own. “I respect what you’re doing.”
“Thanks.” Belle said feeling better about her past than she had in a long time. “I’m going to miss my bus if I don’t get going.”
“Let me drive you home.” Shawn said not wanting the evening to end.
“I don’t want you to go out of your way.” Belle said leaving money for her coffee on the table.
“How do you know it’s out of my way?” Shawn asked following her out into the darkness. “Where do you live?”
“Salem Towers on the other side of town.” Belle said referring to the three huge apartment buildings that had been erected a few years before to accommodate the growing number of Salem residents. “I live in Tower 2 on floor 18.”
“I live in Tower 2 on floor 17.” Shawn said smiling at her. “I moved in last week.”
“Well then I guess I can accept your offer.” Belle said following him to his truck. “How do you like your apartment?”
“It’s great.” Shawn said as they started for home. “It would have been better if I could have gotten a two bedroom one. All that was available was a four bedroom apartment. I have too much extra room in there.”
“I’m in a two bedroom one.” Belle explained. “I love it. I keep my gym equipment in the extra room. It’s great because I never have to leave my place to work out. Not going to the gym in the snow for me.”
“At least with my place I know I can throw parties and have enough room to hold everyone.” Shawn said smiling at her. “Mom and Dad said that the larger the place I get, the less likely it’ll be that I’ll ever have to move.”
“If I get married I’ll go buy a house.” Belle said as the first rays of sun crept over the buildings. “But a big house all to myself would be too lonely.”
“I totally agree.” Shawn said pulling into the underground parking garage. “I keep 2 doors closed at all times so the place isn’t so big. And I don’t have enough stuff to fill them yet.”
“I have too much stuff.” Belle said with a laugh. “But I guess that’s because I’m female and we have a habit to buy more than we need.”
“Yeah it is.” Shawn said as they climbed out of the truck. “But I’ll get more things as time goes on.”
“Why’d you come back Shawn?” Belle asked curiously. Rumours had been spreading all over town and she wanted to know how many were true.
“Um,” Shawn said reluctantly. He’d been hiding his reasons from everyone, even his parents. “I have my reasons.” He looked over at her with stony eyes, putting a barrier between them.
“Are you not telling anyone why you’re back?” Belle asked as they stepped into the elevator. If he’s told her the truth earlier when he said he was the same old Shawn she knew he would tell her.
“I was sick.” Shawn confided in her. “I had cancer Belle. When I reached the 5 year mark, being cured, I decided that it was time to come home and settle into real life.”
“Oh Shawn,” Belle said as tears formed in her eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
“It in my past now,” Shawn said touching her cheek slightly. She pulled back a first but not totally. “I have a degree, my life and my family. You won’t tell them will you? They’d be devastated that I didn’t come home when I was diagnosed. Hell, they’ll be mad that I didn’t even tell them.”
“I won’t tell them.” Belle said as they stopped on his floor. “You know I can keep a secret. You don’t have to worry about anyone finding out.”
“Thank you.” Shawn said moving to step out of the elevator. He quickly turned back and brushed his lips across hers. He hurried out into the hall allowing the doors to close behind him leaving a very stunned Belle just standing there.
“Hey there stranger, haven’t seen you in a while.” Belle said as she approached Shawn at the Java Café. Their schedules were completely different so she hadn’t seen him since the kiss in the elevator. There were no children in their section of the hospital so they’d been given a few days off.
“Hey to you, I’ve been meaning to call you.” Shawn said gesturing for her to join him. “Beautiful out here isn’t it?”
“Summer will soon be here.” Belle said sliding into the empty chair. “How have you been?”
“Busy.” Shawn said smiling, knowing she’d been the same. “And I’ve been missing you.”
“You’re a flirt Shawn Brady.” Belle said flirting back. “You haven’t changed a bit since high school.” She casually tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled at him.
“I wish that were true.” Shawn said as his smile faded.
“Talk to me Shawn.” Belle said taking one of his hands into her own. “You left me in the elevator two weeks ago with a million questions in my head. Answer some of them for me.”
“Ok,” Shawn said taking a deep breath. “As I told you, 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia or ALM. It’s a cancer of the blood. Anyway, I under went chemotherapy and radiation to get rid of it. After I went into remission, I never relapsed. When I reached the five year mark I decided it was time to come home to the ones I love.” He squeezed her hand as he spoke.
“I’m glad you came back.” Belle said as her heart broke at his confession.
“I am too.” Shawn said wanting to pull her into his arms. “I’ve missed so much since I left. My little brother is a daddy, I have a little sister and I’ve missed my friends and family, especially you. I still love you Belle.”
Belle’s internal alarms went off at his words. She’d put off men since the rape and couldn’t get past her feelings of fear from being around them. She grabbed her purse and ran.
“Belle,” Shawn called out after her. He jumped up and hurried after her, leaving money for his coffee. Belle had already vanished from sight by the time he reached the parking lot. ‘Where would she go?’ He asked himself, “The Park!”
Belle huddled under her favourite tree in Salem Park. It was an old pine that she and Brady had made into a fort, clearing away a hollow spot by breaking off branches. She was sitting on the ground with her knees pulled up to her chest and her head resting on them.
“Belle,” Shawn said as he crawled under the tree. He moved to hold her but she recoiled.
“No, Shawn don’t touch me,” Belle said trying to keep her voice calm. She knew Shawn wasn’t going to hurt her, but her experience had left her scarred. There was fear in her voice and she was mad at herself for it.
“I’m sorry Belle.” Shawn said sitting near her. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” He gently reached out and touched her hand.
Belle watched him reach out and touch. She relaxed under his touch. “Oh Shawn, I’m so sorry.” She threw herself into his arms, sobbing.
“It’s ok Belle.” Shawn said in a soothing tone. He stroked her hair with one hand as he held on to her with the other. “Shhh.”
“I’m sorry Shawn.” Belle repeated still crying.
“Talk to me Belle.” Shawn said holding her at arms length. “Why did you pull away from me when I went to hold you?”
“I can’t be touched by a man.” Belle explained as her sobs turned into hiccups. “That’s why I haven’t dated Shawn. I’m afraid of men.”
“I’m sorry Belle.” Shawn said letting go of her. “But you don’t pull away when I hold you hands.” There was confusion in his voice.
“I can see you touch my hands.” Belle said wanting to be back into his arms. “I’ve been recoiling from every man I know since I was raped. It was awful Shawn. I can still remember what it was like.” She wrapped her arms around her body and shivered.<br />
“Have you ever told anybody?” Shawn asked as me moved to hold her again, making sure she could see what he was doing. “Or have you kept it pent up inside you all this time.” He held her as close as he could, making sure she knew he was there for her.
“I’ve never told anyone details.” Belle said as she continued to shake. “I’ve always been afraid if anyone knew they’d think I was a slut.”
“You’re not a slut Isabella Black.” Shawn said placing his chin on her shoulder. “You’re a beautiful woman who someone thought was going to give them something they wanted.” He placed his lips against her neck softly. “Why don’t you tell me the details? I want you to so you can feel better. You know I’ll never look down on you.”
“I was out with a friend.” Belle said launching into her story. “He was in my class and I thought I liked him. Anyway, he walked me to my door afterwards and asked if he could come in. I say no, I was going to bed. He didn’t like my answer. He pushed me back into the room and closed the door. Mom and Dad weren’t home and he knew that.”
“Can I come in Belle?” Darren Frank asked as he stood out side Belle’s door. They’d had a wonderful evening dancing and he didn’t want it to end.
“I was going to go to bed.” Belle said knowing she shouldn’t let guys into the Penthouse with out her parents being there. “I have some things to do in the morning.”
“Ah come on Belle.” Darren persisted. “Only for a few minutes I promise. I’ve never seen your place.”
“It’s my parents place.” Belle said reaching to close the door. “I’ll see you on Monday; thank you for a wonderful evening.”
“It’s not over yet.” Darren said pushing her back into the Penthouse. He slammed the door behind himself and locked it. “You come out with me, wear a little red slutty dress and think it’s going to end without some action?”
“Darren I think you should leave.” Belle said backing up into the centre of the room where she had room to move. “My parents are out and I’m not supposed to have guests in while they’re not here.”
“I can’t do what I want with you if they’re here.” Darren said advancing on her. He grabbed her arms and pulled them behind her back. “You looked great tonight.” He ran his hand along her breasts.
“Darren let me go!” Belle cried as he continued to touch her. “I’ll scream.”
“Who’s going to hear you?” Darren asked with a laugh. “No one, you’re mine.” He reached for the zipper on her dress and slowly undid it.
“NO!” Belle screamed fighting to free her self from his grip. “Let me go!”
“Shut up!” Darren said bringing his elbow down on the back of her head.
“Ohhh,” Belle said as pain spread through her head. Feeling the room start to spin she slipped to the floor. She fought to remain conscious as her vision doubled.
“That’s it.” Darren said as she stopped fighting. He quickly removed her dress, leaving her there in a strapless bra and a thong.
“No!” Belle cried as her strength returned. She lunged at him, hoping to knock him off balance.
“No you don’t.” Darren said throwing her back down. He punched her once, square in the jaw. “You’re mine Belle, do you hear me? You’re mine.” He took advantage of her lack of movement to remove his pants. “You see this?” He asked holding his erection in his hand. “I’m going to use this to bring you the greatest pleasure you’ve ever had.”
“No.” Belle whimpered as she held her jaw in her hand. She tried to move away but he caught her again.
“Get back here.” Darren said punching her again. He ripped her undergarments from her body, leaving her naked on the floor. He spied a few ties lying on the coffee table and grabbed them. He quickly bound her arms to each other. He placed her on the coffee table and bound her legs to it. He tied her already bound hands to the other side. “Now I get my fun.”
Belle cried out in pain as Darren pushed inside of her. “No!” She cried. She’d wanted to wait for her future husband. “No!”
“Oh Belle, I’m so sorry I wasn’t here for you.” Shawn said as her tears fell onto his arm. “I never should have left you. I loved you so much, I was stupid to leave.”
“I wished for so long that you’d come home.” Belle said as she felt his tears fall on her shoulder. “I had convinced myself that you didn’t love me any more. But that night I wished you’d burst in and save me whether you loved me or not. Mom and Dad found me two hours after he’d left, unconscious and bleeding on the floor. My jaw was broken in two places, I needed 45 stitches and I had a severe concussion.”
“I hope you put the asshole in jail.” Shawn said trying to control his rage. This jerk had hurt his Belle and that was going over the line.
“We did.” Belle said nodding her head. “But he got out a few years ago for good behaviour. He’s never come to see me or talked to me, other than a phone call saying he was sorry that my little girl had died. He called her my little girl not his.” She started to cry again. “Oh Shauna I miss you so much.”
“Is that what you called her?” Shawn asked as Belle spoke to her dead child.
“Yes.” Belle said nodding her head. “She was named after you. You were a Brady and you’re all fighters. I thought it would help her fight.”
“Come on Belle.” Shawn said standing her up. “Let me take you home. You need to relax.”
“No.” Belle said revisiting him. “I don’t want to be alone.”
“I’ll stay with you.” Shawn said leading her out from under the tree. “I’ll stay as long as you need me to. I won’t abandon you again Belle.”
“Thank you.” Belle said in an exhausted voice. “You’re still as sweet as you always were.”
“I’ll tolerate that this one time.” Shawn said taking her to his truck. “But from now on, no more calling me sweet, ok?”
“Ok.” Belle said climbing into the truck. “No more sweet, got it.”
“I’ll take care of you Belle.” Shawn said as they drove back to the apartment complex. “For as long as you need me to be there for you, I will be.”
Chapter 4 – Rated R
“Shawn.” Belle whispered as she gently shook him. “Shawn wake up.”
“Hmm,” Shawn asked as he started to wake. Noticing it was Belle who was talking to him he smiled at her. “How are you feeling?”
“Better.” Belle said laughing. “It’s Tuesday morning if you want to know. You fell asleep at the end of my bed.”
Shawn looked where he was lying. Sure enough, he was sprawled over the foot of Belle’s bed. “I’m sorry Belle.” Shawn said sitting up and stretching. “I hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable.”
“You didn’t, actually I slept pretty well last night.” Belle said patting the bed next to her. “You’re a good safety blanket.”
“I’m glad I was of some help.” Shawn said moving next to her. He’d brought her home the day before and they’d watched TV until she went to bed. He’d lain on the end of her bed to wait until she fell asleep. “Though all I did was sleep.”
“You did more than you know.” Belle said looking into his brown eyes. “You made me feel safe Shawn. No male, not even Dad or Brady have been able to do that in almost 10 years.”
Shawn pulled her into his arms. He groaned when she stiffened at his touch. “I’m sorry Belle.” He said as he released her. “I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s ok.” Belle said staying close to him. “You fared better than Phillip did when he hugged me one day in Salem Place.” She smiled at him as she remembered that day. “Mimi was mad at me because Phillip was out of commission for three weeks. I didn’t mean to hit him in the balls but it was my reaction to being grabbed from behind.”
“Ouch.” Shawn said feeling sympathetic for his friend. “Do you really feel safe with me Belle?” He touched her cheek as he spoke.
“Yes.” Belle said nuzzling her cheek against his hand. “You’re my Tough Guy remember?”
“I do.” Shawn said taking her face in his hands. He could feel two small bumps along her jaw line from where it had been broken. “Do you trust me Belle?”
“Yes.” Belle said as he moved his face closer to hers.
“Belle, may I kiss you?” Shawn asked when her lips were only inches from his.
“Yes.” Belle said in a small voice. Shawn carefully brought his lips down on hers in a gentle kiss. Belle moaned against his lips as he moved his hands from her face to her shoulders. He continued to move them to the small of her back where he left them.
Shawn pulled away from her; his breathing was ragged and uneven. He looked deep into her eyes to see how she had reacted. “Oh Belle,” He whispered still holding her. “That felt so good.”
“Oh Shawn,” Belle said bringing her lips to his. It was the first time, since they split at graduation, that she’d kissed a man. She kissed him with a passion she didn’t know she still had. She rested her hands on his chest as they continued to kiss.
“Belle we have to stop.” Shawn said pulling away suddenly. “It’s not that I want to, but I’m afraid that if I don’t stop now, I may have great difficulty doing so later.”
“I understand.” Belle said as he pulled her into a hug. Her heart was still racing from the kiss. “I’m not ready to do anything anyway.”
“I know you’re not.” Shawn said giving her a smile. “If this was 16 years ago, I wouldn’t have stopped unless you told me to. But I love you Belle. And because I love you, I’m going to give you space.”
“I don’t want space.” Belle said feeling tears well up in her eyes. “I want you. I lost you once before, I don’t want to do it again.” She whipped at her cheek as a tear slid from her eye.
“You’re not going to lose me Belle.” Shawn said taking care of the tear himself. “What do you say you and I go out tonight? Movies, dinner you name it we’ll do it.”
“Like a date?” Belle asked excitedly.
“Like a date.” Shawn said jumping up off the bed.
“Sure.” Belle said glancing at the clock.
“It’s only 10 am though.” Shawn said following her gaze to the clock. “What do you want to do until then?”
“Why don’t you come over here and kiss me again?” Belle asked giving him a seductive smile. “I could use some attention. And I’m a little out of practice, care to help me in that area?”
“That movie was great.” Belle exclaimed as she and Shawn left the theatre. “I’m so glad we saw that one and not the one I wanted to.”
“Me too,” Shawn said rolling his eyes at the thought of the love story she’d wanted to see. “What do you want to do now?”
“We could go watch some TV at my place.” Belle suggested as it started to lightly rain. “Or even a movie.”
“Ok.” Shawn said as it started to rain harder and they ran towards the apartment building. They were soaked by the time they got inside. “I’m going to get some dry clothes from my apartment.” They stepped in the elevator and stopped at his floor. “Do you want me to meet you upstairs?”
Belle let out a shriek as the power went out and thunder rolled through the air. “No.” She said jumping out of the elevator. “I’m glad the door was open.”
“I am too.” Shawn said following her into the hall. There was no light and he couldn’t see her well. “Belle, I’m going to take you hand. Don’t be afraid.”
Belle jumped slightly at his touch. “Sorry.” She said as he led her towards his apartment. “I can’t help it. I’m afraid of the dark too.”
“I know.” Shawn said putting his key in his door. “I have a battery operated lamp that will be on inside.” He pushed the door open and was greeted by the light. “Better?”
“Yes.” Belle said grateful for the light. She shivered as the wetness of her clothes got to her skin. “Thank you.”
“Why don’t we stay here?” Shawn asked grabbing a lighter and fishing for some candles in a drawer. “I can give you some dry clothes and I’ll walk you up later.” He quickly lit the candles and shut off the light. “To save the batteries,” He explained to her.
“Ok.” Belle said as he led her down the dark hall, a candle in his hand.
“Here.” Shawn said handing her a pair of scrub pants and a t-shirt. “I’ll get you a sweater too then I’ll go out so you can get dressed.”
“Ok.” Belle said as she tried to remove her fitted tube top. The zipper on the back was stuck. “Um, Shawn could you unzip this?”
“Sure.” Shawn said moving to undo the shirt. His heart raced as he pulled the zipper down, revealing her bare skin and black bra. “There you go.”
“Thank you.” Belle said turning to face him. She had let go of her shirt and it was slowly sliding down. Shaw reached out and held it up.
“If you keep this up Belle, I’m going to have to go back out in that rain to cool off.” He smiled as she blushed at his words. “I’m trying to resist you, but I only have so much will power.”
“I’m not sure if I want you to resist me.” Belle said letting her shirt drop to the floor. “Shawn, while I was being raped I was thinking how I wanted to save myself for the one I would marry or the one I loved. I was saving myself for you.”
“Belle don’t do this.” Shawn said closing his eyes. “I can’t resist you forever and I don’t want to take advantage of you. I love you too much to risk that.”
“Shawn do you want me?” Belle asked slipping her hands under the hem of his shirt.
“Yes.” Shawn said with a moan. Her hands made his skin feel like it was on fire. “But Belle, I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You’ve never hurt me.” Belle insisted. “If you don’t want to do this, it’s ok.”
“I do Belle.” Shawn said opening his eyes and looking at her body. “You’re so beautiful. Belle I want more than anything to take you into my arms and make love to you.”
“Then why don’t you?” Belle asked fearing that he was afraid to catch some disease from her.
“Two reasons.” Shawn said looking into her eyes. “One, I don’t want to scare you. Two, I don’t know how.”
“You mean…” Belle asked as her jaw dropped.
“No Belle, I’ve never had sex.” Shawn said taking her chin in his hands so she would look up at him. “I’ve been saving myself for you.”
“Then take me.” Belle said moving to kiss him. She moaned as he pulled her body against his.
“Ok.” Shawn said lifting her off the ground and carrying her to the bed. He kissed her bare skin before reaching to undo her bra. “This is in your control Belle. If you want to stop, tell me. I can suffer for you.”
“I won’t want to stop.” Belle said moaning as he captured one of her nipples with is mouth.
Shawn was soft and gentle with her, making sure there was plenty of foreplay. He undressed her with care, making sure to kiss everywhere he could. Soon Belle was begging for him Shawn carefully undressed and slid on a useless condom. ‘She may know some secrets, but I’m not telling her this one.’ He thought as he covered her eyes with his hand so he could move over her. “I don’t want you to be scared of me.”
“I’m never scared of you.” Belle said. In truth she was glad he’d not let her see his erection. She gritted her teeth as he gently probed her with it.
“It’s ok Belle.” Shawn said touching her cheek. “Let me know when you’re ready.” He moved to kiss her breast. He carefully reached down between her legs and softly began to caress her.
“Oh Shawn,” Belle moaned as he touched her most sensitive spot. “I’m ready, now please.”
“Shhh,” Shawn said touching her lips with his other hand. He gently moved and place himself at her opening. He gently but quickly pushed inside her. Belle cried out in fear as Shawn rested inside her. Not knowing what to do, she burst into tears. “Oh Belle, I knew this was a mistake.” He started to pull out of her.
“No.” Belle said holding onto his hips. “I don’t want you to stop.” She looked at him hoping he couldn’t see her fear.
“Belle you’re scared.” Shawn said not knowing what to do. His mind was telling him to stop but his body was telling him to continue. “I don’t think you’re ready for this.”
“I’m sorry.” Belle said looking into his eyes. Pleasure was starting to spread through her body and she started to wither under him. “It was a rush of memories. They’re gone now.”
“Belle, do you really want to do this?” Shawn asked her again. If his Marine buddies could see him now, they’d beat the crap out of him.
“Yes.” Belle said with clear eyes.
Shawn kissed her as he started a rhythm with her body. Belle moaned as he kissed her neck and jaw. He smiled at her as he eyes closed with climatic pleasure. He was shocked when she rolled him over so she was on top.
Belle smiled at Shawn’s reaction. He’d given her total pleasure, now it was her turn. He moaned as she kissed his chest, and as she moved up and down him. She tried not to giggle as his body began to shake. “Ooh.” She cried out and she felt her body climax with his. She collapsed on his chest with exhaustion.
Shawn carefully lifted her off his body and moved to clean himself up. He was careful to make it look like he was trying not to get anything on her. He pulled her into his arms and held her until she fell asleep.
Shawn listened to her soft breathing as she lay against his chest. He watched her eyes flutter from her dreams, and her chest rise and fall. He looked down the length of her body until his gaze rested upon her stomach. Someday Belle would want children, his children. Shawn let out a shaky breath as tears rolled down his cheeks. Tears for the children he would never have. Tears for the children Belle would have, with another man.
6 months later…
“Shawn what do you think about the mother who just had that baby?” Belle asked as the morgue came to collect an infant.
“Let’s see.” Shawn said rubbing his jaw. “I think she’s cruel and should be tried for murder. The doctor at the abortion clinic should be too. I mean, trying an abortion on a 31 week old fetus is murder. Babies can be born at 31 weeks and be healthy. Here we just lost one because of stupidity.”
“I know.” Belle said tossing her garments into the trash. “I’ll go start the report; will you come help me as soon as you’ve talked to the father?”
“You bet.” Shawn said kissing her cheek before heading out into the waiting room. He was on his way to tell a man that his son was dead.
Belle made her way into her office. She sat down and began to write her report.
35 year old female attempted abortion on her 31 week old fetus. Procedure goes wrong and mother is brought in. Attempt to remove Baby with suction tools goes wrong at abortion clinic. Baby suffers severe head trauma when the tool shatters the skull. Infant dies at Salem University Hospital at 11:25 am on December 10, 2016. Efforts to save the baby were abandoned after head CT revealed bone fragments deep in the brain. Child was left under the care of Shawn Brady and Isabella Black until it passed away. Police intervention is inevitable, body to be kept for autopsy.
Belle whipped at a tear as she finished the report. There was no embellishment in her report. She was angry at this woman. Why would someone want to kill their child? She’d tried so hard to keep hers alive, but failed in the end and it wasn’t fair. Why could someone who wanted a child so badly, no matter how it came into being, no be able to carry it to term and someone who didn’t want one be able to only to murder it?
Shawn made his way back to their office. That was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. It’s never easy to tell a parent they’d lost their child. It was even harder to explain to the father that his wife had tried to have an abortion when she was 8 weeks from her due date. His heart had broken at the look on the mans face. He stopped in the door way and looked at Belle. “Come here Belle.” Shawn said coming into the room and seeing her tears. Belle stood and moved into his arms sobbing. “It’s ok. I know it’s unfair, but some times that’s the card we’re dealt. I worry about how emotionally attached you become sometimes.”
“I know.” Belle said drying her tears. “We’re finished now, can we go home?”
“Sure.” Shawn said grabbing her coat for her. “I’ll make us lunch and we can enjoy it at home.”
“Sounds great to me,” Belle said as they boarded the elevator. “I’m not up for a day of excitement.” She snuggled against his chest as they began the descent to the basement where their car was.
“Me neither.” Shawn said with a yawn. “What do you say we eat then take a nap?” He nuzzled her cheek with his.
“Only after you have a shave,” Belle said rubbing her cheek with her hand. “You’re scratchy!”
“I will.” Shawn promised. “After this morning I need a long hot shower.” Four babies had come in premature that morning; a set of triplets whose mother had been in a car accident and the child that had been aborted.
“May I join you?” Belle asked Shawn in a seductive voice.
Shawn nearly winced at her question. In the past six months their relationship had deepened. He’d caught himself going over to ask his parents for the diamonds that were for his soul mate. He couldn’t ask Belle to marry him. He would be denying her the one thing she wanted most of all, a child. “Sure.” He said trying to sound cheery. “Oh shoot! I told Mom I’d stop over after work.”
“I’ll take my car and go home; you go to your parents place.” Belle said as they stepped out of the elevator. “I’ll start dinner in an hour and I’ll see you later.”
“Ok.” Shawn said kissing her. He was grateful for his mothers insisting on talking to him, it got him out of the apartment. He’d asked Belle to move in with him and he loved it so much. He just didn’t want to hurt her.
“Hey Mom,” Shawn said as he walked into his parents living room. Not much had changed since he left years before except there was a picture of a little girl on the wall. His mothers little angel, Kelli Lynn Brady had been born 13 years before during a snowstorm that caused Hope to give birth at home.
“Hey there,” Hope Brady said moving to kiss his cheek. “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” Shawn said sitting down next to his father on the couch. “Is this a social call or is something wrong?”
“You tell us.” Bo Brady said looking at his son. “Belle was here yesterday and she’s worried about you.” Bo Brady was just beginning to age. At almost 60, he still had the physique of a young man.
“She is?” Shawn said confused. Belle hadn’t said anything to him.
“Shawn, you’ve loved Belle for 27 years, why are you not engaged?” Hope asked her son. “Belle’s worried about putting off having a family too much longer. She knows she’s running out of time. If you don’t act soon, you’re going to lose her.”
Shawn ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. He’d have to tell his family now. “I haven’t asked Belle to marry me because I can’t give her what she wants.” He said looking at his mothers’ kind face. “I can’t give Belle children.”
“Why on earth not?” Bo asked as a feeling of dread crept into his mind.
“I had cancer.” Shawn blurted out. He’s wanted to be a little more subtle but this involved Belle and he couldn’t tell this to her. “I’m cured now though.”
“Cancer?” Hope asked looking at him with tears in his eyes. “Why didn’t you tell us?” She touched his face with her hand.
“Because I didn’t want to come home while I was sick, I wanted to deal with it on my own.” Shawn said looking at his father. “If you knew you’d have wanted me to come home. If I’d stayed sick I’d have told you. But after one round of treatment, I’ve stayed cancer free for five years.”
“What does this have to do with giving you and Belle a family?” Bo asked touching his son’s shoulder. It hurt to know that his son had gone through such an illness alone, not wanting to come home to his family. But Belle was family to him and he was worried about her too.
“I received radiation as part of my treatment.” Shawn said dropping his eyes to the floor. “A treatment that has more than likely left me sterile; so I can’t give Belle children, no matter how much I want to.”