Shawn was out of the car almost before it had come to a complete stop, he raced into the building and opted for the stairs, not wanting to wait for the elevator, it always took forever. He entered Belle’s apartment first, since the door was open and he knew they’d been in there. Maybe they’d left a note or something, fifteen minutes of searching turned up nothing and Shawn figured if they’d left a note they’d leave it in plain sight. Reluctantly he made his way across the hall; he was hesitant about entering, afraid of what he might find, more afraid of what he might not find. He unlocked the door and stepped into the apartment, everything seemed to be in place. Until he saw the bag on the kitchen counter, it was Mimi’s and there was a note propped up against it. With shaking hands he unfolded the note, it read:
So it seems you’re willing to play with the big boys, question is do you have what it takes? I have something you want. Actually, and I do mean to brag, I have two things you want. You shouldn’t play in the big league when you have that much to lose Mr. Brady.
So now we see just how tough you really are. You know the location, you’ve been there before, as an uninvited guest. Come alone and don’t involve the cops or you’ll never see either or your sweethearts again.*
“You can’t go in there without a plan.” Patrick commented from the door.
Shawn’s grip tightened on the paper, “And I suppose you have one?”
Patrick nodded, “I do, but it’s risky at best.”
“Do you know who’s behind this?”
“I do, I know everything. I know exactly where they were taken, by whom and when it happened. I tried to stop Mimi but she’d left before I could get a hold of her, I didn’t know they’d go after Belle though.”
“How do you know all this?”
“ISA if you haven’t already guessed. Luc’s in command of this assignment; any action I take has to be cleared by him first.”
“Fill me in on the way to the hospital.” he said as they walked out of the apartment.
She watched as Patrick walk down the corridor, when he came to a stop before Luc’s door, she told him. “I’m going with you; if you leave without me I’ll only follow you.”
He stared at her, was about to argue when she added, “They’re responsible for putting my husband in this place. They’re threatening my family; I have as much right to see them pay as you do.”
Patrick nodded, “I’m leaving as soon as I’ve spoken to Lucien, be ready.”
“I’ve been ready for a long time.”
Patrick walked into the hospital room with a smile on his face.
“What’s got you in such a happy mood?” Luc asked.
“You wife has balls, she’s a lot like her mother.”
“How are things, have you found your sister yet?”
“Yeah, she’s safe for now. The bastards are having me followed; they think I’m on my way to L.A. now.”
“How’d you manage that?”
“That’s not important, what’s important is that they won’t know what hit them.”
“Have you filled Shawn in on everything? So he doesn’t screw this up?”
“I told him what he needed to know, his main concern is getting those girls home safely. Your wife’s intent on tagging along, said she’d follow me if I left her behind.”
“Sounds just like her. You’ll be glad she’s got your back, never met a girl who could kick ass as well as she could.”
“So you’re not objecting?” Patrick asked.
Luc shook his head, but as Patrick turned to leave, Luc grabbed his arm, “Just one thing. Take care of her.”
“Sure thing boss.”
“He wants to see you.” Patrick said as he came out.
Victoria popped her head around the door, hoping this wasn’t a distraction so Patrick could get away from her, “You want something?”
“Yeah, a goodbye kiss.”
“This isn’t goodbye.” she said
He smiled at her, “Humour me.”
She walked over to him and planted her lips to his. As far as kisses went it was a peck, but she figured it’d be incentive for her to get home in one piece, so she could lay a proper one on him.
She tried to lift her head but he kept her in place, “Come back to me.”
“I’ll see what I can do, you know how I hate to disappoint.” She got up and walked to the door.
She turned around and smiled at him, “Yeah?”
He smiled back, “Kick ass.”
“I always do.”
“Well, what do we have here? You’re late.”
“I know, I couldn’t find the place. You have something that belongs to me and I want it back.”
“Now, now Shawn Brady, is that any way to ask? You don’t have to worry though, your women are safe, both of them. For now.”
“Just let them go, this has nothing to do with them.”
“Of course it does, they’re connected to you. Now I’ve been thinking.”
“Must’ve been quite a challenge.”
“You really have no respect do you? Or do you just not care what happens to these lovely young ladies?” As he said it, Belle and Mimi were brought out so Shawn could see them.
“Shawn!” Belle shouted, Mimi didn’t have that luxury since her mouth had been gagged.
“Are you okay?” he called up.
She nodded, “Yeah, we’re both fine.”
“Now Shawn Douglas, I’ve been thinking. It’s not entirely fair, this little thing you have going with these lovely ladies. Two women, now come on Shawn, that’s not right at all.”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to make a choice Shawn, I want you to decide. You can save one of them, only one. She’ll go home and she’ll get to see her kid, the other of course.” He shrugged his shoulders, “Who’s to say?”
As he stood there, he remembered Luc’s words. He’d told him this could happen, he’d said. These people can hurt you in ways you never imagined, in ways that’d make you wish you were dead.
“So who’s it gonna be?”
“I can’t, I can’t choose one over the other.”
“You have to. Either choose one or both of them die right now.” Shawn dragged his hand through his hair, how was he supposed to choose knowing that neither of them would be safe. Who did you choose? “Come on Shawn, time’s a wasting. Who’s it going to be, the pretty little blonde or the feisty brunette? Have you made your decision?”
“And who will be the lucky lady? Who’s getting to go home?”
“Belle.” Shawn said, “Let Belle go.”
“Somehow I thought that would be your answer. Seems so did your gorgeous wife. Quite honestly, I don’t see the appeal. The washed out blonde is welcome to you, this one however,” he grabbed Mimi by her hair and pulled her closer, pulling the gag out of her mouth, “she’s enough to make any man stay up at night…in more ways than one.”
“Take your hands off me you creep.” Mimi said as she kneed him.
He went down, but she had no opportunity to run because one of the guards came up and grabbed her, she watched as they took Belle away. Having regained his composure, the leader grabbed her and walked her back to the room she’d been hauled from earlier, “You’re either very dumb or very brave trying to pull a stunt like that. But don’t try my patience Miriam; you don’t know me very well.”
“And you don’t know my brother very well either.” she spat at him.
“Ah, so you’ve never harboured any hopes of your husband rescuing you, you’re holding out for your brother. What if I told you he wasn’t coming, that he was indisposed?”
“I’d say you’re lying.” she said with confidence she didn’t feel.
Just then the door opened and Shawn was brought in, “Seems your new roommate has arrived, but then you’re used to sharing living quarters with each other aren’t you?” They heard the door being bolted from the outside.
“Mimi, thank God you’re okay.” Shawn exclaimed, almost running to her but when his arms opened to pull her into an embrace, she stepped out of his way.
“Where are Zach and Claire?” she asked.
“In protective custody, they’re safe.” She nodded. “How did you get here?” he asked her.
“I was at the apartment.” she said, going to sit on the cot that had been placed in the room for their ‘comfort’. She knew they’d have a long wait; it had been hours since they’d brought her here and she knew it could be another few hours before they heard anything else.
“What?” Shawn asked bewildered. What had Mimi been doing at the apartment? Especially after he’d called to tell her to stay away from it, that someone was having the place watched.
She looked out the window, at the cliff and wondered at just where she was. She and Belle hadn’t been able to come up with any ideas as to their exact location. “When they took me, I was at the apartment, I was coming home. I was going to give us another try; I was going to take that second chance. I’d walked in and they’d been waiting for me, when I woke up again I was here and so was Belle. I was coming back Shawn…”
“Why do you keep saying was?”
She turned her head and looked at him, not bothering to hide the pain that would be in her eyes, “You chose her again. God! I don’t know how I could have been so stupid, I fell for all the same lines once again. You know what they say, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice…”
Shawn came and knelt before her, reaching for her hand. “No Mimi, listen to me I chose you.”
She pulled her hand out of his reach and folded her arms, “Funny,” she sneered at him, “I distinctly remember you saying Belle should go, I remember them coming to fetch her, taking her home to safety, to Claire.”
“And we don’t even know if that’s where she’s gone,” he argued, “for all we know, Belle didn’t even make it out of this building alive. But I do know where you are, I know you’re alive and well because you’re here with me. Don’t you see Mimi, I chose you.”
She drew her knees to her chest and turned to the window once again, “I wish I could believe you.”
He didn’t try and touch her this time, but he did sit down beside her at the opposite side of the window but instead of looking out he looked at her, “You can because it’s the truth.”
She turned her head to him, “The truth, right, because you’ve always been so honest in the past. I look at you and I can’t even see what’s real anymore, I can’t see you anymore. I don’t see the man I’ve loved for what seems like forever and maybe that’s my fault, maybe he never existed. Maybe I was in love with a fantasy.”
“No,” he said forcefully as his hands held her head in place, not allowing her to glance away yet again, “you fell in love with me and I fell in love with you. It wasn’t a fantasy, it wasn’t a dream it was real, it was as real as this is.” He pulled her mouth to his and kissed her with such passion it shocked her to her core. It wasn’t sweet and gentle, which was what she’d been expecting and when he ended it she had to stop herself from shivering because she’d suddenly gone cold. He didn’t let go of her, simply drew his head back so he could examine her face, her reaction. “Our son is proof of that, Mimi look at me. Open your eyes and look at me,” he ordered, she responded by squeezing them even tighter, she did not want to see his face, see the look she suspected was there and think about all the months they’d wasted. If he’d done this in those first few months, if they’d just been honest about everything, they could’ve been so happy.
His grip tightened as his hands cupped her hair, almost pulling it, “Look at me Mimi.” And when finally, she opened her eyes, she almost cried out in pain because she could see it their in his eyes, right before her, the truth. She knew what he was going to say before he even opened his mouth, “I love you; I love you like I’ve never loved anyone in my entire life. I love you today, now, I’ll love you tomorrow even more and in ten or twenty or thirty year’s time, I’m still going to love you. If you believe nothing else, believe that.”
“It’s just so hard.” she whispered slowly as the tears streamed down her face.
“I know, but nothing worth having is ever easy Mimi. Remember, if love came easy…”
She smiled at the memory of Tory’s speech, “We’d never appreciate it for what it was. You don’t let it go simply because there’s a barrier you can’t cross, you find a way over, around or under it and if you’re lucky, you find the ammunition to go through it. I want a house Shawn; I want a big house, with a white picket fence and rose bushes out front, and a yard big enough for children to play in. I want more children; I want lots and lots of babies.” She frowned, “Okay, maybe one or two but I want them Shawn, I want them with you.”
“You want…so you’re saying… I love you. I love you so much; you have no idea what hearing you say those things mean to me. I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you; you’re never going to be able to get rid of me no matter how hard you try.”
She laughed, blinking back tears, “Good, I love you too. Now tell me what the plan is.”
He let go of her, his hand tracing the outline of her face. “Basically we just have to sit here and wait for your brother to come and get us.”
“But that guy said Patrick ‘indisposed’.”
“That’s what he wanted them to think, he should be along any minute now.”
They heard the door being unlocked and each held their breath, hoping it was Patrick. “The boss wants to see you, the both of you.”
Mimi looked at Shawn worriedly; obviously things were not going according to plan.
“Surprised to see me Shawn?” Jan asked when they were finally led outside. They were standing just metres from a very nasty drop and Shawn had no intentions of letting either himself or Mimi make their way down there.
Shawn shrugged, “Not really.” It seemed Patrick, EJ and Lucien had been right all along. He still couldn’t figure out how Jan Spears had managed to do all this and he was sort of flattered that she would go to such lengths just to get him, but she was in for a rude awakening.
“Not really? So you knew…you’re bluffing.” She spat at him.
“We’ll see.” He hoped, prayed that Patrick and Tory were already in the building, were in fact minutes away from rescuing them because Jan Spears had never been the most stable person and he didn’t want to push her over the edge, not while Mimi was still in danger. All he had to do was keep her attention focused on him. “So, what’s the plan this time?”
“Well, since I’ve already gotten rid of Belle.” Shawn winced and he felt Mimi stiffen beside him. He hoped that Luc’s inside man had gotten to Belle first. “You know, she’s been a thorn in my side for so long. You know all about that don’t you Mimi, I’ll bet you’re glad she’s gone to meet her maker. Prissy, perfect Belle Black. She’s not going to be bothering us anymore. It must’ve been hard for you, growing up in her shadow. Being known as ‘the best friend’, Belle’s little ‘sidekick’. It’s no wonder your life is as messed up as it is. Running after Shawn the way you have, you should’ve known he’d never want you that you’d be nothing but second best. I can understand why you’d fall for him though; too bad he belongs to me.”
Mimi shrugged, “That’s okay; I’ll always have a part of him even if I can’t have all of him. I have Zach and I’m never going to be second best to him because moms always come first don’t they Jan?”
“We would’ve had a baby too Shawn, if that bitch hadn’t pushed me down the stairs. We would’ve had a beautiful baby together, Shawn Jr.” Jan quickly snapped out of her fantasy, “I liked you Mimi, for a while. That’s why it’s a pity you’ll have to meet the same fate as Belle, but don’t worry, your death will be almost painless.”
“No Jan,” Mimi shook her head, “there’s really no reason to do that. I’m no threat to you, not like Belle was. Shawn doesn’t love me, you know that. We’re not even living together, we’re getting a divorce.”
“But you have his son,” Jan pointed out, “As long as you have his child, Shawn is going to want to be with you, around you and I just can’t have that. Unless of course you’d be willing to trade places with your son, you get to live and he…”
“NO! Don’t hurt him, please. Don’t hurt him.”
“What makes you think I’d be willing to be with you Jan? When you play fast and loose with my son’s life? Why would I want to be with someone like that?”
Jan lifted a gun Shawn hadn’t known she’d had, “Maybe I won’t give you a choice in the matter.” She walked slowly towards Shawn gun pointed till she stood right in front of him, with the gun aimed at his heart. She motioned her head to the side, “Dump her.”
Mimi felt herself being lifted; she fought though it was useless. And was about to be thrown over the cliff when there was a commotion from inside the building. Jan ordered her men to check it out, all of them and the heavy holding her simply dumped her on the ground. But still perilously close to the edge and before Mimi could crawl to safety, she felt the ground give way.
“Shawn!” she screamed helplessly.
Shawn turned around just in time to see Mimi disappear, clawing at the disappearing ground, “Mimi!” he shouted and would’ve run to save her had Jan not grabbed him to her.
He felt the gun stab into his back, “You’re not going anywhere.” she said in a voice so cold and malicious, that it sent shivers down his spine.
“Oops.” She said casually, as though she hadn’t just knocked a veritable giant unconscious. “Ouch, that’s going to hurt.” She commented as the man slid to the floor, knocking his head against the railing on his way down.
Patrick stared at her in shock, “My God Tory, where did you learn that?”
She shrugged, “A girl picks these kinds of things up.”
Patrick shook his head, afraid to even ask where she’d have been able to pick up information on how to render a seven foot giant unconscious with a single blow. “On second thoughts, I don’t think I want to know.”
“Good because I don’t have time for conversation. We’re supposed to be getting Shawn and Mimi out of this place and bagging the bad guy too. Where are my parents by the way?”
“They’re cleaning up the litter of injured and unconscious bodies we left in our wake, last time I saw your mother was escorting Belle safely out of here. Knowing Luc as well as I do, I can definitely see why he’s so crazy about you.”
“Ah, because I’m my mother’s daughter right? A regular kick-ass girl.” she said knowingly. He didn’t reply; she was as perceptive as her mother too. “What’s say we leave this one for them too and go and find your sister and my brother? I miss Luc.”
They walked out of the building and spotted two figures near the edge of the cliff, recognising them instantly as Shawn and Jan, Patrick indicated that she should keep them distracted. She waited for him to move away before calling out, “Put down your weapon.” and walking slowly over to the pair of them.
“Tory, don’t worry about me, get to Mimi.” Shawn shouted. For the first time Tory realised that Mimi wasn’t around and she hadn’t been in the building either.
Then she heard Mimi shout from over the cliff, “I’m fine.”
“So this is the other sister. I was expecting a lot more than this.” Jan commented.
“Put the gun down.” Victoria repeated.
“Oh please,” Jan said, “you’re not going to shoot me.”
“Don’t bet on it, now lower your weapon slowly to the ground and maybe I won’t shoot.”
“How about this, you turn around and leave and I forget I saw you. This is between Shawn and I so stay out.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, now I’m going to give you till the count of three and if I have to shoot through Shawn to bring you down I’ll do it.”
Jan snorted, “Yeah right, you’re not going to shoot your brother. Why don’t you stop trying to play the hero and just go away, you’re really staring to annoy me.”
Victoria ignored her comments and stated again, “One more chance Jan.” When she saw Patrick move into position and give her the thumbs up, she started counting, “One…Two…Three.” At the count of three, the gun went off.
Victoria made her way to the two lying on the floor, praying Patrick hadn’t hit Shawn as well. Shawn was getting to his feet and she breathed a sigh of relief. Jan had stayed down and while Shawn ran to the cliff intent on saving Mimi, Victoria walked over to the injured Jan.
“You shot me!” she accused.
“No but I would’ve. Guess you were wrong huh?” she smiled down at her as her parents came running out towards her.
Hope took the situation in and cuffed Jan; Bo went back in to get a rope to help Shawn.
Shawn ran to the ledge and looked over; Mimi was hanging on, just barely. The ground was giving way and if he didn’t get to her soon, she’d end up at the bottom of the gorge. “Mimi!”
Mimi glanced up, “Shawn, I’m slipping.”
“I know, just hold on Mimi. I’m coming down.”
“No Shawn, stay where you are. It’s too dangerous, no point in both of us dying.”
“You’re not going to die Mimi; we still have to buy that house with the rose bushes out front. You still have to be there for Zach’s graduation. I’m not doing all that on my own so you just hang on okay.” He said this all while he navigated a safe way to get to her. In the distance he could here sirens and then Tory was leaning over as well, with a rope.
“I’m slipping Shawn, I can’t hold on much longer.” He grabbed the rope Victoria had lowered and slipped it around him.
“Shawn!” Mimi screamed as one of her hands slipped and she struggled to position it safely back on the ledge.
He lowered himself till he was close enough to swing an arm around her waist. “It’s okay,” he said in her ear, “I’ve got you. I have you, you can let go now.”
She linked her arms around his neck and buried her head against his shoulder, “Don’t let go, don’t let me fall.”
“I won’t, I promise I won’t ever let you go.” he held onto her as they were lifted off the ledge.
“And he kept his promise. He didn’t let her go, not after they’d been pulled to safety and not after they were safely back home. She decided she might as well stick around, because where else would she find a guy as perfect for her as Shawn Brady? Where would she find a guy as willing to put up with her?”
“Oh thanks a lot Tory. You make it sound so romantic; Shawn just had to save me from myself.”
“This is my story okay; I get to tell it my way.” She defended herself.
“Yeah.” her children chorused, though it was a rare occasion when her children actually did agree on anything.
When Victoria got up from the sofa, the half dozen children sitting at her feet protested.
“But the story’s not finished yet. What about Aunt Chelsea and Uncle Nick, and you didn’t tell your story either.” Claire stated.
“Well, blame your Aunt Mimi then, she interrupted the story.”
Mimi was suddenly the recipient of a half dozen angry gazes. “You’ve heard the story a dozen times if not more. You know how it goes.”
Six year old Mia looked at her mother, knowing full well they wouldn’t be hearing the rest of the story, “Can we go swim now?”
Tory nodded, “As long as there’s an adult to watch over you.”
Suddenly the room was deserted by anyone under the age of fifteen. Tory motioned to Mimi, “Okay, hand him over. You’ve been hogging him.”
“He’s my son.” She pointed out, but gently handed the three month old infant to his aunt.
Before Tory could bring the newest Brady closer, Mia came storming into the room and threw herself onto her mother’s lap. Tory handed Caleb over to Chelsea and turned her attention to her daughter. Mia gave her mother the strongest hug she could and declared, “I love you mommy, you’re the bestest ever.” Tory hugged her back and as Mia left the room waited for her son, she knew Luc would have sent them in to thank her for the story. She decided they might as well join the men outside, that way she could keep an eye on the children. Her mother opted, like most of the women, to stay in the kitchen and get caught up on the gossip, in a family as big as theirs; there was always plenty of gossip.
She walked over to where Shawn and Luc were busy talking and watching the kids in the pool, she slipped her arms around his waist, her head on his shoulder and hugged him. His arms enveloped her immediately and brought her even closer. It was something she always did after she told the story, as though having relived what they almost lost she had to reassure herself of what she had.
“Hey,” Shawn protested, “no hanky panky around here. You’re an old married couple; public displays of affection are taboo. And besides you’re distracting him, he’s supposed to be watching the burgers.” This despite the fact that their father was manning the grill and they were nowhere near it.
“Well then I guess I’ll return to the kitchen.” she said turning away.
“Good, I like a woman who knows her place.” Shawn called after her.
She turned around, outraged and about to give him an earful when she was swept off her feet by two determined guys. Austin and Luca were about to toss her, fully clothed into the swimming pool when Luc stopped them. But before she could thank him, he removed the watch he’d bought her for her birthday, “This thing cost me two grand and I don’t think its waterproof.”
She only had a few seconds to feel outraged before she was tossed in. The kids thought it was hilarious and she wasn’t all that peeved. She figured they didn’t need to know that and muttered plans of getting revenge as she dragged herself out of the pool. “I doubt very much your son or daughter appreciated that Lucien Dimera.”
Luc stared at her shocked but she ignored him and walked, dripping to the pool-house to change. She heard the congratulations outside and smiled to herself. She still marvelled at how happy she was given everything she’d gone through, everything her family had gone through. But that was the great thing about a family like theirs, everyone always stood by each other, no matter what.
Later that night, as Luc went to tuck in Mia and Claire, who had been allowed to spend the night; Mia asked him, “Is mommy really going to have another baby daddy?”
“Seems like.” he said as he kissed her forehead.
“Daddy, would you tell us a story?”
“You’ve already had one today.”
“I know, but I want to hear the one about you and mommy. How you met and how I was born and…”
“I can’t tell stories the way your mom can.”
“That’s okay, right Claire?” Claire nodded her agreement.
“Well you asked for it. I remember the first time I ever saw your mother…”