Ill be fine Mom. Belle Black said to her mother as she leaned against a wall at Salem Place. I mean, Ive gone out shopping before. She rolled her eyes at her mother unnecessary worrying. Mom, Im 18, Ill talk to you later and Ill be home after I go to Mimis. She shut off her cell phone and started towards the drug store.
Looking over her shoulder, Belle entered the drugstore. Why am I doing this? She asked her self as she made her way to the back of the store. Stopping near the end of one of the isles, she picked up a home pregnancy test. Theres no way Im pregnant. Im just late because of stress. She slowly made her way to the front of the store and waited in line with the test kit.
Hello Belle. Jan Spears said coming up to her. What you got there? She pointed to the box that Belle was hiding in her hands.
None of your business Jan. Belle snapped. If Jan saw the test shed run straight to Shawn and shed have some explaining to do. Im just picking up some things for my sister Sami.
What ever you say there Belle. Jan said walking away. She knew Belle was buying a pregnancy test. And she wanted to go tell Shawn what Belle was up to. She hurried out of the store. She ran into a man looking in the window. Oops Im sorry.
Watch where youre going you little tramp. The man hissed at her. He looked her over and turned back to looking into the store.
Bite me. Jan mumbled as she hurried out of sight.
Belle quickly paid for her test and hurried out of the store. She knew that it was just a matter of time until someone told her mother what she had just done. Glancing around her she hurried towards her car, oblivious to the figure following her. Reaching her car she bent to unlock the door.
Not so fast. The guy Jan had bumped into said as he grabbed her around the waist. Youre coming with me. He covered her mouth with his hand and threw her through the open door and into the backseat of the car next to them.
Mmm! Belle exclaimed as she tried to scream. She landed in the lap of a different person and the door was shut behind her.
This is her. He said. Its the Black girl.
The boss will like this. The first guy said. Sedate her.
Belle screamed a muffled scream as she was injected with some sort of medication. She tried to fight, but the stuff was powerful and she was almost instantly incoherent. Shawn. She said with the last ounce of strength before she slipped into unconsciousness.
Who is Shawn? The first guy asked as he started to drive. They were heading out of Salem and they had no intentions of bringing her back.
Brady kid. He explained. This will shock and destroy both the Blacks and Bradys.
* * *
Hi Marlena. Mimi Lockhart said as she paced her living room. Is Belle there? She nervously twisted the phone cord around her arm until it became tangled.
I thought she was coming over to your house. Marlena Evans Black said as she glanced at the clock on the wall. She said shed be there by 3.
I know she did. Mimi said starting to worry more. Belle was always on time and if she was going to be late, she called. But she never showed up and after calling her cell for the hundredth time I thought I should call you.
Shes not here either. Marlena said glancing at her husband who was looking at her with concern in his eyes. Did she call you at all?
No. Mimi said shaking her head. Shawn Brady looked up at her and shook his head. Jan had found him and he had come over to Mimis to confront her.
Im going to make come phone calls and Ill call you right back. Marlena said hanging up the phone.
Shes going to make some calls. Mimi explained to Shawn as she hung up the phone. This is not like Belle.
I know. Shawn said slumping back into Mimis couch. I just cant believe what Jan told me.
Did you call Sami and see if Belle was running errands for her? Mimi asked trying to shake the feeling she had. Belle wasnt ready for kids. If she was pregnant, the reason she was missing now might be because she went to Chicago for an abortion. I mean maybe it wasnt for her.
Sami said that she hadnt heard from Belle. Shawn said shaking his head. Meems, what if she went for an
I thought about that too. Mimi said sitting down beside him. But isnt Belle against abortion? I mean, she loves kids too much. The phone rang and she ran to answer it. Hello?
She left Mimi. Marlena said with a sob. There was a voice mail at Basic Black saying that she had to leave and she wasnt coming back.
I cant believe shes gone. Shawn sobbed to his father as they sat on the Bradys couch. I mean she was the love of my life, my perfect girl. He whipped at his cheeks to remove the tears the trailed along them.
I dont understand it myself. Bo Brady said to his son. She seemed so happy lately. Do you have any idea why she left?
Jan saw Belle buying a pregnancy test today in the drugstore. Shawn said cautiously. Mimi and I are wondering if maybe she was pregnant and she didnt want anyone to know.
Pregnant? Bo asked trying to remain calm.
I dont get it either Dad. Shawn said realizing his father was starting to get mad. We used protection every time we did anything and we were never reckless with anything like that. Thinking of the weekend before when theyd gone camping and theyd made love under the stars, he sighed. I loved her too much to do anything stupid.
I know that sailor man. Bo said lightly rubbing Shawns back. I just dont think that this is what everyone thinks. I really dont think that Belle would do this. Especially if she was pregnant, she knew she could go to you and youd be there.
I guess I didnt let her know how much I really loved her. Shawn said climbing up off the couch. Im going up to bed. Ill see you in the morning.
Everything will be ok Shawn. Bo said as he watched Shawn start up the stairs. Shell come home to you. I know she will.
* * *
Yes this is her. Alexandra Dimera said as she looked at the unconscious Belle who lay on a bed before her. You guys did a good job. She smiled at the two young men who stood on the opposite side of the bed.
Thank you boss, we knew youd be happy. Gregory Dimera said smiling at his aunt. Dad said youd trust us to do what you wanted.
Im just glad you werent seen. Lexie said smiling at her other nephew. Everything would have been ruined if youd been caught.
Greg and I took care of the girl while Emma took care of the car. Jonathan Dimera said smiling at his brother. She called to say that the car was on its way to Australia, underwater.
Very good. Lexie said smiling again. Ill watch Belle while you two get home to your father. Say hello to Tony for me.
Night. The boys said at the same time. They left the room and shut the door with a bang.
The loud noise woke the sleeping Belle. Where am I? Belle asked her tone groggy sounding. She looked around the room and tried to sit up, but she was tied down to the bed.
Hello Isabella. Lexie said smiling at Belles panicked face. Dont bother to struggle, youll only find that youre firmly fastened to the bed.
Lexie? Belle asked not sure if she was seeing things right. What are you doing here? She tried again to sit up but sure enough she was tied to the bed.
Im here to take revenge on your father. Lexie said in a nasty tone. He helped them take away my son and in return I took his daughter. She smirked at Belle and let out a little laugh.
But my dad only did what was right. Belle said in her fathers defense. I mean the babies were switched and they belonged with the people that they belonged to.
Isaac was my son. Lexie spat. I loved him and he belonged to me. Not with Hope Brady.
Why did you take me? Belle asked not really understanding Lexies motives. Wouldnt it have made more sense to take Shawn? I mean his parents have Zac. Not that she wanted to lose Shawn, but she always thought logically.
You see, I am hurting the Bradys. Lexie explained sitting down beside Belle. By taking you, Shawns life will become a living hell, and in return, so will Bo and Hopes.
Why are you so bitter? Belle asked wishing Shawn was there to take her home.
Im my fathers daughter. Lexie replied heading towards the door. Dont you worry Belle; soon everyone will have gotten over your leaving and then youll be just a memory for me to dispose of.
8 months later
I hope Im doing the right thing. Belle thought as she slowly made her way through the thick woods. In her arms she cradled a tiny bundle that whimpered softly at the cold. Its ok baby. She cooed. Well soon find the road and then well go home to daddy.
Whos out there? A male voice called through the darkness.
Hello? Belle called shielding her baby with her arms. Help me.
Stay where you are and Ill come to you. He called out. He flipped on his flashlight and shone it on Belle. Are you ok?
I was kidnapped eight months ago. Belle said she saw the light. I have a baby with me. I have to get to Salem. I have to get the baby to her father Shawn Brady.
Belle Black? The man said softly. Is that you?
Phillip? Belle asked realizing who the voice belonged to. Oh thank god.
Phillip hurried to her. Im so glad youre safe. He said pulling her into an embrace. Your family told us that youd left.
Lexie kidnapped me. Belle said grateful for the familiar touch of her life long friend Phillip Kiriakis. I need to get to Shawn.
Ill drive you to him. Phillip said taking the ragged book bag from her hands and leading her out of the trees. My cars in the driveway.
Driveway? Belle asked confused. But were in the middle of nowhere.
Belle, youre in my backyard. Phillip explained as they entered a lit area. You must have walked a long way. He opened up his car door and helped her inside.
No I didnt. Belle said becoming more confused as she talked to Phillip. Are you telling me that Ive been close to Salem all this time and I didnt know it?
I guess so. Phillip said climbing in and starting the car. When was the baby born? He pulled slowly along the long driveway of the Kiriakis Mansion.
This afternoon. Belle said leaning back into the comfortable seat of Phillips Mustang. At about 1:30, I was alone with Lexie and her special doctors.
Belle I should be taking you to a hospital. Phillip argued as he pulled out onto the road. You gave birth less than 12 hours ago.
I need to see Shawn. Belle said shaking her head. I feel like Ive kept something from him and I want him to know what happened. She smiled down at the brown haired child she held in her arms.
I will. Phillip said as he hurried through the streets of Salem. He knew every turn in the road from his place to Shawns and he knew he could get there fast. Are you ok Belle? I mean have you been hurt in any way.
Just a broken heart. Belle said with a shrug. She looked out the window. Do you think hell believe me? Hes so stubborn, maybe hell think that Im lying.
Shawn will be glad to see you and hell be fine. Phillip said shaking his head hoping he wasnt lying to her. Um Belle, Shawn had a date tonight. He decided a few weeks ago to move on.
Belle hung her head at Phillips words. Shawn wasnt going to be there for her like she hoped. I figured he would. She said shaking her head. I didnt expect him to hang around forever.
Hell be there for you Belle. Phillip said as he neared the house. Do you want me to carry the baby in for you? It might be better if you go in alone first.
Thats good idea. Belle said as Phillip came to a stop in front of the Brady house. Wait about 10 minutes. She handed him the baby and headed towards the front door. It was late but the lights were still on. Taking a deep breath she rang the doorbell.
Coming! Shawn called as he climbed up off the couch where he and his parents had been watching a movie. He pulled opened the door and gasped. Belle? He asked in a whisper. His perfect girl stood there before him, looking as beautiful to him as the day she left.
Hello Shawn. Belle said nervously tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. She looked awful and she knew it. Shed only been able to take a pair of sweats and a shirt when she left and now they were muddy and torn from the walking.
Thank God! Shawn exclaimed pulling her into his arms. Youre back. He kissed the top of her head and pulled her even closer.
Belle? Bo asked realizing who she was.
Hello everyone. Belle said self-consciously covering her stomach with her hands. She had on tight clothes and she knew that they could see the extra weight. Its great to see you all. She sighed as Shawn continued to hold her. Especially you. Ive missed you so much.
Where have you been? Shawn asked letting her go. Youve been gone for eight months.
I didnt leave you because I wanted to. Belle said as she could feel the tears start to form. Lexie kidnapped me and has been holding me prisoner for the time Ive been gone.
That bitch! Shawn exclaimed as he watched Phillip get out of the car. She kept you from me. She should be arrested.
She wasnt the only thing she kept from you. Belle said as Phillip walked into the house. She took the baby and placed it in Shawns arms. I was pregnant, we have a baby. Im sorry I couldnt tell you earlier.
Baby? Shawn asked looking down into the blue eyes that looked up at him. Jan was telling the truth?
Yeah, for once in her life she was telling someone the truth. Belle said shaking her head in disgust. Im sorry you werent there for us. I really wish you could have been there to see her being born.
Her? Shawn asked in awe of the little form in his hands. I have a daughter. He smiled at Belle before leaning down and giving her a kiss. We have a daughter.
Yes Shawn we have a daughter. Belle said smiling for the first time in days, other than at the baby. Shes only nine hours old.
Nine hours? Hope Brady asked from the couch. Belle Black, get over here and sit down. You should be at the hospital right now, not here.
I never was in the hospital. Belle explained as Shawn led her to the loveseat. He sat her down, handed her the baby and pulled her into his arms. I gave birth where ever I was being held. They left me alone to bond with her and I left there. It was hard, but I had to get out of there.
I understand. Hope said smiling at her son. He had been depressed since Belle had gone and he looked like hed won a million dollars. Can you tell us what happened?
It was like this. Belle said taking a deep breath. And for the next hour she explained what her life had been like since shed gone shopping at Salem Place on that sunny May afternoon.
Youre mine Isabella Black! Lexies voice said as it echoed through Belles head. You may have run this time, but remember that you cant hide forever. That little girl of yours will be mine and you will be left with nothing. Nothing at all for the rest of your life!
No! Belle screamed as she sat up in her bed. She quickly looked around her, instantly becoming relieved that she wasnt in her room at Lexies place, but in the Bradys guest room. Baby? She looked over to the cradle where her child lay sleeping peacefully.
Belle are you ok? Shawn asked coming in through her door. He could see fear in her face and he hurried over to her side. What happened?
I had a nightmare. Belle said with a laugh. What a child she was. Lexie said that she was coming for our baby. She looked over at the child again.
She wont. Shawn said pulling her gently into a hug. Youre here with me now and Im not letting anyone take you away from me again. Either of you, youre mine now. He gave her one of his famous smiles and kissed her lightly.
Shawn, please dont. Belle said pushing him away. She knew he had moved on and she didnt want him to feel obligated to be with her. Youve moved on, dont make this harder.
What? Shawn asked as his heart skipped a beat. Belle I moved on because I thought you were never coming back. I didnt want to see other girls because I love you. Do you hear me Belle? I love you. I want you in my life. I want us to raise our little girl together. He lifted her chin to he could see her eyes. Or do you not want me there to help you. If you dont I guess I could do with visitation. Its not what I want but I want you to be happy.
Shawn, I do want you to be there. Belle said, her heart breaking at the sadness in his voice. I just didnt want you to give up on the lucky girls you were dating. She gave him a tired smile.
Belle, Ive only dated one girl. Shawn said carefully. He knew this would hurt her, but he hoped she would understand. Ive only taken her to movies and dinner. I havent even kissed her yet.
Belle smiled. With every sentence he spoke the tone in his voice became higher and higher. You dated Mimi didnt you? She asked trying not to laugh. Her will power collapsed as his face became pale and he dropped his gaze to her sheets.
Yeah. Shawn said instantly wishing he had never done it. Mimi was Belles best friend and he had gone out with her. Im sorry.
What are you sorry for? Belle asked as her laughing subsided. Im glad it was Mimi. At least I knew she wouldnt badmouth me like Jan would have.
I didnt think youd take it this well. Shawn said as she smiled at him. I really thought youd be upset because I dated your best friend.
Not at all. Belle said as the baby started to cry. Hold on. She hurried to the cradle and carefully pulled the baby to her chest. Hey there, are you hungry? You must be you havent eaten in hours. She made her way back to the bed. Um Shawn, I decided to breast feed her. If you want to leave you can.
Am I allowed to stay? Shawn asked raising an eyebrow at her. He didnt want to miss another minute with them.
If you want to. Belle said as he moved to sit behind her. But its not that exciting. She undid part of her nightshirt and allowed the little girl to attach to her breast. I felt great to have a bond like that with another human being. Great to know that you were needed to help children grow.
Its not boring. Shawn said becoming fascinated with the child whose stomach was being filled by the liquid in Belles body. In fact I quite enjoy watching this. He leaned her back against his chest and rested his chin on top of her head. What are we going to name her?
I dont know. Belle said shaking her head slightly. She had been more concerned with leaving where she was than naming the child. Maybe it should be something Irish?
Grandpa Shawn would like that. Shawn said smiling at his little girl again. What about Kathleen? We could call her Kat or Kay for short.
I like that. Belle said nodding her head. What about Alexandria Grace for the middle ones? I think they all go together very well.
I think so too. Shawn said as a feeling of pride swept across his heart. Hello Kathleen Alexandria Grace
Brady. Belle said as Shawn stumbled on his words. Shes a Brady. Just like her daddy.
A small sob escaped Shawns throat as he heard Belle address him as daddy. Thats right angel, Im your daddy and Ill always be here for you. He said as a single tear fell from his cheek onto Belles hair. And for your mommy.
I love you Shawn. Belle said as she started to cry. Ive wanted to be here in your arms for so long. I never wanted to be away from you, especially while I was pregnant. Lexie robbed you of something that is sacred and its not fair.
Shell get whats coming to her. Shawn said kissing the top of her head. Dad and Uncle Roman will make sure shes caught and sent to jail for what she did to you.
I hope so. Belle said as Kathleen stopped sucking and slipped back into sleep. Im going to put her down and then go and take a shower. She said as she climbed off the bed.
Ill stay here and watch her. Shawn offered as he watched her button up her shirt. That way you dont have to worry about whats happening to her while youre in the bathroom.
Thanks. Belle said as she headed out into the hall. Youre going to be a great dad Shawn Brady, one of the best.
Belle! Marlena called as she entered the Bradys house. She searched the room for her little girl. Hope had called her at dawn and told her what had happened and she had come over as soon as she could.
Mom. Belle exclaimed as she hurried in through the kitchen door. She flung herself into her mothers arms and sobbed. Ive missed you so much.
Oh my baby girl. Marlena sobbed as she held Belle in a tight embrace. Im so glad youre safe.
I am Mom. Belle said as she heard Kathleen cry. Shawn can you bring her down? Belle called up the stairs. My mom is here.
Sure. Shawn called back as he scooped the little girl into his arms. He had been changing her diaper when she had started to cry and was more than glad to have a reason to pick her up. Lets go see your Grandma Marlena.
Im so sorry you had to go through this alone. Marlena said as she and Belle sat together on the Brady couch. I really wish wed have realized that you hadnt left the note. Bo did but your father and I were too shocked to think about it. But now we have our little girl back.
Im glad to be back. Belle said as Shawn walked onto the landing. Hope told you everything right? I mean everything?
If youre talking about the baby, yes she told me. Marlena said as she watched Shawn come towards them carrying a brown haired child. Can I hold her? She asked quietly.
Of course you can. Shawn said placing the baby into Marlenas arms. Isnt she beautiful?
She is. Marlena said as tears started to flow down her cheeks. Hello there little one, Im your grandma. She smiled at her daughter. She had been disappointed to hear that at 19 Belle had a child but seeing the little girl made her feel nothing but pride. Whats her name?
Kathleen Alexandria Grace Brady. Belle said as she watched her mother whisper softly to her daughter. We thought something Irish would be nice.
I like it. Marlena said kissing the babys head lightly. And you kept the Grace tradition. That makes me very happy.
I knew it would. Belle said smiling at Shawn who was beaming at his daughter. I couldnt break the tradition after what 8 generations now could i?
I guess not. Marlena said as Kathleen yawned. So when are you coming home?
Home? Belle asked confused. What do you mean?
When will you be coming back to the penthouse? Marlena asked as Shawn took the baby from her. I need to know when I have to have your room ready by.
Shes not going back to the penthouse. Shawn said pulling Belle to him with his free arm. She and Kathleen are staying with me. He held onto the baby with a strong but gentile grip.
Thats nice of you Shawn but you live at home and are going to college. Marlena said in her gentile but professional tone. It makes more sense for Belle to come back with us so we can help her take care of the baby. Youre welcome to visit anytime, as long as you call first.
What? Shawn asked as Belle held onto him tightly. I have to call before coming to see my daughter? No way! Belle is staying here with me. If I have to drop out of school to make that happen it will.
Theres no need for you to do that Shawn. Bo said as he came in out of the kitchen. He and Hope had agreed to leave Belle and her mother alone but when they heard shouting they knew something was wrong. Belle and the baby can stay here. Hope and I are more than ready to have them. We already have most of the baby stuff and the extra rooms.
Its nice of you to offer but I think Belle would be more comfortable at home with her father and I. Marlena said looking at Belle. She hasnt been there for a long time and wed like to spend time with her before she starts school in the fall.
I want to be with Shawn. Belle said as he held onto her protectively. We have a baby together, I cant leave him.
You can Isabella. Marlena said sternly. And its for the best. Actually its for the best that you come with me now. That way we can get the things that you need for the baby.
Im not leaving! Belle said sternly. Im 19 years old now mother; I have the right to decide my own future. Kathleen started to cry and Belle took her from Shawn. Now if youll excuse me, I have to go feed her daughter.
Dont do this Belle. Marlena called after her daughter. Do you want to end up poor and unhappy for the rest of your life? Well thats what youre setting yourself up for.
Get out! Bo said in his deep voice. I dont want you here if youre going to bad mouth my son. When Belle is ready to talk to you shell call. He led Marlena out the door and left her on the step. He turned back to Shawn who looked like he had been hit by a train. Dont listen to her son. Youll make Belle happy and be able to take care of her and Kathleen in a comfortable way. Youre a Brady, youre strong.
Thanks Dad. Shawn said smiling at his father. I will take care of my family. And no one can keep me from doing it.
Are you ok? Shawn asked as he walked into the guest room where Belle was feeding Kathleen. Im sorry for what your mom said to you.
Its not your fault. Belle said giving him a smile. Shes a mom and I can see where she is coming from. I mean I wouldnt want Kathleen to move away for any reason.
But she had no right to tell you what to do. Shawn said sitting down on the bed across from the rocking chair that she was sitting in. I mean youre an adult now.
I know. Belle said as Kathleen stopped feeding. But she thinks that she knows whats best for me and I know that its hard for her to accept that she doesnt need to run my life anymore. But shell get over it.
I hope youre right. Shawn said as Belle fastened up her shirt. I dont want the two of you to leave me again. I love you both too much for that.
Well we love you too. Belle said as she turned to place Kathleen in her cradle. And lets just say that Im relieved you didnt turn away from us. I know you always said that youd be there if it happened but under the circumstances I didnt think youd live up to it.
Ill always be here for you Belle. Shawn said as she joined him on the bed. Im a Brady and I have expectations to live up to and I will. Ill love you forever and be with you forever and Ill die to protect you two. He kissed her softly. I love you Isabella.
I love you too Shawn Douglas. Belle said kissing him back. It felt so good to be near him again and she only wished she could take everything further. We have somethings to talk about.
Like what? Shawn asked as his body screamed at him for more of her.
Getting her baptized. Belle said with out hesitation. I know she was just born yesterday but Ive got a strange feeling that we shouldnt wait too long. I dont know what it is but I really want to get it done.
I agree with you completely. Shawn said stroking her cheek with his finger tips. She should be done as soon as possible.
Lets ask your mom to watch her and go over and see Father Mike. Belle said eagerly. Maybe he can do it next week.
He did Zac right away for my parents. Shawn said hopefully. I guess he could do it for us. I bet theyd do it right away. Do you realize that the Black and Brady families are now really joined by blood? What a party that could be. He gave her one of his special smiles.
Youre right. Belle said smiling and getting up off the bed. Lets got now while shes asleep. Id like to see Mimi and Chloe today too. Did you call Mimi and let her know what happened?
Yeah. Shawn said nodding his head. She was too excited about you being back to care about being dumped by me. He smiled thinking of Mimis squeals when he told her Belle was back. I think Ill need a hearing aid in my left ear after that phone call.
Im worried about something though. Belle said as they left the bedroom. Wont it be awkward between you and Mimi now? I mean can you two handle it?
It was just dating Belle. Shawn said as they started down the stairs. Not like us, we were going out.
Were? Belle asked cautiously.
Sorry, we are going out. Shawn said blushing. Im still not used to you being home. I thought youd left me so I said that wed broken up.
Its ok. Belle said taking his hand in hers. Im here now and thats all that matters.
Thats right. Shawn said smiling at her touch. My missing love has come home.
Youre telling me she wont come home? John Black asked his wife.
She wants to be with Shawn as they raise the baby. Marlena replied leaning back into the armchair. She doesnt want to take her away from Shawn. I wish shed come to her senses. Shawn cannot support a baby while going to school and its not right for Bo and Hope to do it. Shes our daughter, and our responsibility.
I guess there is no way of convincing Belle to put the baby up for adoption is there? John asked sipping his brandy.
Not in my eyes. Marlena said shaking her head. I thought we raised Belle better than that. I mean she managed to get herself pregnant and she refuses to do things to make the mistake easier on everyone.
Im going to talk to her later about putting the baby up. John said placing his empty glass down on the coffee table. Shell see that its for the best sooner or later and I hope its sooner so she doesnt become too attached to the child.
Why cant she keep her? Marlena asked thinking of the little girl she had held in her arms earlier. I mean it seems rather cruel to make her give the baby up when shes already had time with her. I just want her to come home.
Do you think shell really come home if she still has the baby? John asked reaching for the flask of brandy. Shes a dreamer, that girl. She thinks that Shawn will take care of her if she stays with him. I think that hell eventually leave her. His type never sticks around.
But Shawn isnt that type. Marlena said shaking her head. Hes the type to do what ever he sees as the responsible thing and he never runs from his mistakes.
Well see what Mr. Brady will do. John said sipping the fresh brandy. Im going to see Belle now. Ill take her out shopping; she must still like to do that.
Knowing our Belle, shell shop to the day she dies. Marlena said with a smile. Shell never change that much.
* * *
Three months later in April
What name do you give this child? Father Mike asked Belle and Shawn as they stood at the baptismal font.
Kathleen Alexandria Grace Brady. Shawn said smiling at Belle.
Father Mike turned to Mimi and Phillip who stood waiting to be named god parents. He smiled at them before continuing the service.
* * *
Hey Belle! Shawn called out over the noise in the Brady pub. Over here! He waved his hands in the air until she saw him and came through the crowd carrying Kathleen.
What a crowd. Belle commented as she came to rest against his side. Nearly every Brady, Horton and Black family member had come to attend the service and the party. I didnt know we had this much family.
Me neither. Shawn said kissing Belles head. But its just one big happy family now. Were all joined by blood and thats the way it should be.
Can I have your attention please? Shawn Brady Sr. called out over the crowd in his Irish accent. Id like to have a toast to our newest family member. He raised his glass signaling the toast. And on the return of our precious Belle.
To Kathleen and Belle. Bo said raising his glass with a smile. The fact that his son was a father wasnt on his mind; the fact that he had a granddaughter was his main focal point. May they always be Bradys by name and heart.
Hear hear! The crowd exclaimed as they touched glasses.
This is so great. Mimi said coming up beside her best friend. Im so glad youre back. And Im very glad you brought this little one with you. She touched Kathleens nose and the baby giggled at her. Youre such a happy baby.
And very easy to take care of. Belle said smiling at Mimi. She started sleeping all night about a week ago. Its a lot easier on me.
Im going to ask a personal question. Mimi warned her friends. Are you still living in the Bradys guest room? She brushed a lock of her strawberry blonde hair out of her eyes.
Yeah. Shawn said with a frown. My parents dont want Zac to see us sleeping in the same room. I can see where they are coming from but its a pain.
Going through a little withdrawal? Brady Black asked coming up behind Shawn. He hadnt been thrilled when he heard his little sister had given birth to Shawn Bradys baby, but little Kathleen made it hard to stay mad at him. Its been how long since youve had any?
Brady! Belle exclaimed reaching out and smacking him.
Sorry tink. Brady said blushing.
Almost a year. Shawn said as Belle glared at him. What? He asked her shrugging his shoulders. Its not like Im telling him what it was like only how long since Ive had the pleasure of loving you with my heart and body.
Shut up. Brady moaned as he covered his ears.
Seeing what Shawns plan had been Belle burst out laughing. Oh Brady, get used to it. She said as Kathleen started to giggle. Look even your niece knows that was funny.
My niece thinks that her mommy has a pretty voice so she smiled and laughs when she hears you. Brady said pointing a finger at Belle. Your voice has changed since you left.
When youre locked in a room by yourself for eight months you learn to sing along with the radio. Belle said sticking her tongue out at her brother.
Kathleen, dont watch your parents when they act like this. Mimi said covering the little girls eyes with her hand. Kathleen responded by grabbing Mimis hand and chewing on it.
I think that she has other ideas. Belle said with a laugh. I think I should take her upstairs and feed her. She started towards the stairs when her father interrupted her.
Can I talk to you? John asked stepping in her path.
Im on my way up to feed Kay. Belle said as the baby started to fuss. Shes getting hungry.
This is important. John said in a serious tone.
Come up with me. Belle said stepping around him and heading up the stairs into Shawns grandparents house. She sat down in one of the armchairs, covered herself with a receiving blanket and started to feed the baby. Whats on your mind?
You. John said sitting in a chair opposite Belle. Do you have any idea what youre doing? He shifted so his gaze wasnt on his daughter.
Im raising my daughter with Shawn. Belle said relaxing as Kathleen started to feed. And Im happy doing it. Why?
Your mother and I think you should place Kathleen with an adoption agency and go to college. John said in his no nonsense tone. Its for the best.
No its not. Belle yelled shocked at what her father had said. I love my daughter and Shawn. Im not giving her to another person because I have no reason to.
Isabella, you will give the child up for adoption. John said standing up. You will not argue with me on this subject. I will come over tomorrow with an agent.
No way! Belle screamed pulling Kathleen closer to her chest. Im not giving up my daughter and youre not taking her from me.
This topic is not open for discussion. John boomed as he rose from his chair. You and Shawn can have one more night with the child, them she will become property of the state. He took a step towards Belle.
Get away! She screamed as she clutched Kathleen so tight she started to cry. Shawn! Shawn!
Shawn, Phillip and Brady dashed up the stairs as they heard Belles cries. What the hell is going on up here? Shawn asked as he hurried over to Belle, who by now had tears streaming down her cheeks. Tell me damn it!
The issue is closed, Isabella. John said as he started down the stairs. Ill be over first thing in the morning.
Hes coming for her. Belle gasped as Shawn pried Kathleen out of her grasp. Hes taking her away.
Who is? Brady asked clenching his jaw. No one upsets his sister and gets away with it. Belle, who?
Dad. Belle said sharply as Phillip took Kathleen. Hes taking her and having her put up for adoption. She turned and sobbed into Shawns chest. Tomorrow morning.
He cant do that! Shawn exclaimed stroking Belles cheek with his hand. Shes our baby and were adults.
Dont let him take our baby Shawn. Belle said as her sobs turned to hiccups. Shes ours, we cant lose her.:
We wont lose her. Shawn said looking to Brady for help. Shes ours and shell stay that way, forever. He kissed her lightly.
Ill talk to him Tink. Brady said storming out of the room.
Everything will be fine. Shawn said silently cursing John in his head. Ill always take care of you. Always.