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Chapters 31 - 35

September 15 2007 at 10:40 AM
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rsafan  (Premier Login Mrs.B.)
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Response to The Trusting Game

Chapter 31

“You know, this could have waited till tomorrow.” Philip complained as he drove to Shawn’s house, “They probably won’t even be home.”

“We’re spending the day with my family tomorrow.” She reminded him, “and Shawn said to drop in any time. This is that time.” He slowed down as they reached the house, “I told you so” she said as she spotted Shawn’s SUV in the driveway.

Philip pulled in behind the vehicle muttering under his breath, “Yes you did.” And more clearly, “I still think we should have called, now may not be a good time.”

Mimi shot him a menacing glance as she got out of the car, “Five minutes Philip. Just to say hi, I haven’t spoken to either of them in so long…”

Philip swung his arm across her shoulders, “Five minutes.” he said seriously, “We still have plenty of other stops to make.”

“Five minutes.” she promised him as they made their way up the steps to the front door.

They heard the yelling before they’d even knocked and Mimi ignored the ‘I told you so’ look Philip sent her way. From the raised voices coming from the other side of the door, Mimi knew they had come at a really bad time, “Should we knock anyway?” she whispered.

Philip doubted very much that their knocking would be heard over the yelling. Shawn and Belle were making a real attempt at having the loudest argument ever. “Maybe we should just retrace our steps and pretend as though we never came here. I think that’s the best idea right now.”

Mimi nodded agreeing with him and turning around, walking back to their car. They were just about to climb aback in when the door swung open so violently, it hit the wall and came careening back, slamming shut. Belle came storming out, she stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted them, “Oh!” was all she managed to get out.

Mimi watched her friend turn red and knew what she was thinking. She closed the door she’d only just opened and put a huge smile on her face, “You can’t be that happy to see us, banging doors Belle? That’s just not your style.”

Belle’s face visibly relaxed as she realised her friends had only just pulled up and were therefore unlikely to have heard the argument she’d just had with Shawn. She held out her arms for belle and the two hugged fiercely for what seemed like forever, “I missed you so much,” she told Mimi, “you have no idea.”

Philip, finally catching up with everything that had happened and Mimi’s sudden one eighty, walked over to the women, “I hope you missed me too.”

“Of course I did.” She assured Philip, moving from Mimi’s arms to Philip’s for an equally fierce hug. “When did you guys get back?” she asked when they finally broke apart.

“Oh about an hour ago.” Philip said, “Mimi insisted we stop off here as soon as we were unpacked because she hadn’t spoken to you in ages. I actually had to convince her not to come before unpacking, she was that anxious to see you.”

Belle sighed, glad they hadn’t done that. “Come on in then.” she said taking Mimi by the hand, “We have so much to talk about.”

“Not today though.” Philip put in quickly, “We have plenty stops to make before the day’s over.”

“Shawn!” Belle called as soon as they stepped into the house, “We’ve got company, all the way from New York!”

Mimi glanced around, not much had changed in the house since she was last here, and the same couldn’t be said for her life though. Just before she’d married Philip; that was when she’d last been here. If she’d known then what she knew now, she’d probably have been less reluctant to go along with Philip’s ‘brilliant’ plan.

Shawn came out of the kitchen, dishcloth draped over one shoulder. Mimi knew instantly that he’d been cooking, “Hey guys, it’s been a while. We weren’t expecting you till tomorrow.” He hugged both new arrivals.

“Yeah,” Philip said, “Mimi insisted.”

“We had a slight change of plans. We’re spending tomorrow with the Lockharts. Our first real Christmas Eve spent together as a family.” Mimi told Shawn.

“Ought to be interesting.” Shawn commented, having had more exposure to Bonnie Lockhart in the year he’d been married to her daughter than either Philip or Belle had had in their lifetimes as her friend, “Good luck man.” He told Philip, only half joking.

Mimi didn’t take any offence. Shawn VERY valid reasons for making such a statement. Mimi laughed instead because she could just imagine what Bonnie had to say to Philip. Her family was after all, the only people outside of her marriage who knew their real reasons for getting married and neither Bonnie nor Patrick had been too pleased about the matter. Patrick, Mimi knew, had had a change of heart when he’d visited them in New York, having seen the two of them together; Bonnie however was a different matter entirely. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on her either, that her family, whom everyone considered to be no better than common a bunch of social misfits who were not to be trusted, were the only ones who knew the truth about anything going on in her life and she knew, because he’d said so on several occasions, that Philip had far more trust in her family than he did in his own.

“Where’s Caleb?” belle asked, for the first time noticing his absence.

“At the mansion.” Philip told her, “He’s getting some sleep and giving us a well deserved break.”

“Not a pleasant traveller huh?” Shawn asked knowingly. He’d had ample experience with Claire to know that children their age never behaved when you expected them to, even if it was only when taking a trip to the zoo or the park.

“Not in the least.” Philip confirmed.

Mimi glanced at her watch, “Well I hate to pop in and pop out again but we still have a few other stops to make and I promised Philip we’d only stay five minutes.”

“We’ll see you at Christmas then?” Belle asked anxiously.

“Of course,” Mimi confirmed, giving each of her friends a hug before leaving.

“I’ll see you out.” Belle offered, doing just that. “Call when you have time, maybe we can go for coffee or something.”

Mimi nodded, “Definitely, we have a lot of catching up to do.” She hugged her friend again and got in, waving as they drove away.

“Well wasn’t that pleasant.” Philip said as they headed to Lucas and Sami’s apartment. When Mimi didn’t reply, he glanced her way. She was frowning, “What’s the matter?” he asked.

She shrugged, “It just seems wrong you know. That we should be this happy without really working at it and yet they’re so unhappy when they don’t really deserve it.”

It was Philip’s turn to frown, “You’re saying we don’t deserve to be happy?”

Mimi shook her head, “No, of course not. All I’m saying is that if anyone deserves to be happy together, it would be the two of them. After everything they’ve been through together, you’d think it’d be smooth sailing for them.”

“After everything they’ve been through,” Philip corrected her, “you’d think they’d know that relationships, no matter how strong, takes had work to make it succeed and you’d think they’d also know when to just give up and call it quits.”

“Do you think that’ll happen?” she asked him.

He shrugged, “I don’t know what things are like between them, this could be an everyday occurrence or it could be a once off thing. I don’t see what it has to do with us though, how it has any bearing on our relationship.”

Mimi shot him a disbelieving glance which he didn’t see because his eyes were focused on the road. Shaking her head she turned to lookout the window. How could he be so naïve as to think Shawn and Belle’s relationship wouldn’t affect their own? For one they were friends and there was bound to be some fallout with people being expected to take sides and for another... “You don’t see…” she started, but didn’t finish her thoughts because she didn’t want to get into a fight, which really proved her point. “Whatever Philip.” She knew full well that the minute Belle was free; her marriage would essentially be over. She just wondered why he chose to deny the truth.

Her words brought his frown back, he could understand why she was upset that two of their friends’ relationship wasn’t working out but he didn’t understand her tying it to their own. Was this some weird female logic of ‘if they can’t make it there isn’t any hope for us’; or was she saying something else, something more serious? If Shawn was suddenly available again would she leave their marriage for him? He’d given her an out before they’d gotten married and he wondered if Shawn would be that out. Maybe things between them weren’t as solid as he’d thought, as he’d hoped. Maybe it was only their distance from Salem, and ultimately Shawn, that had made her happy with him. Out of sight, out of mind. Was Mimi really still in love with Shawn Brady?



Chapter 32

“Belle, come in. God you’re soaked.” Philip exclaimed as he opened the door to her. He’d been on his way to pick Mimi up at the library, she hadn’t called but he’d started to get worried when the weather had turned bad and it had started raining.

“Thanks.” Belle said as she stepped into the Kiriakis foyer. She really wasn’t sure why she was there. She’d known Mimi wouldn’t be, she’d said as much on Christmas when she’d been talking about varsity and the work she still needed to do on her project, she seemed to be getting on well enough and Belle was glad that she’d have the opportunity to graduate in a few months. She knew it was a big thing for Meems and was truly proud of her friend for going back to school, no one else had. So here she was, soaked to the bone in the Kiriakis foyer and she didn’t even know why. She’d gotten into yet another fight with Shawn; she couldn’t even remember what had started it this time, only that it had escalated until they were doing nothing but yelling hurtful words at each other. All she’d been aware of when she’d stormed out was the need to get as far away from Shawn Brady as she could, it didn’t however explain just how she’d ended up on Philip’s doorstep.

“Why don’t we get you out of those wet clothes and into some dry ones. Then you can tell me what possessed you to come out in this weather. Or we can wait till Mimi gets home and you can talk to her.” His hand on the small of her back, he guided her upstairs to his own bedroom. Leaving her standing in the middle of the room, he walked over to the closet, “I’m sure there’s something of Mimi’s you can borrow.”

No! Her mind screamed, she didn’t want to wear anything of Mimi’s right now. “Mimi’s smaller than I am.” She heard herself saying, “I don’t think anything will fit.” She knew it was a lame excuse but it was really the best she could think of.

Philip turned around, looking her up and down, he nodded his head, agreeing with her. “Well get out of those clothes anyway. I’ll think of something but in the meantime, there should be a bathrobe behind the door in the bathroom, you can wear that….And there should be some dry towels in there too.” He called after her.

In the bathroom, Belle closed the door behind her and leaned back against it. What was she doing here? Why had she shown up and why had she so vehemently rejected Philip’s suggestion to wear Mimi’s clothes, at least in her mind? Her head was filled with all these questions and absolutely no answers to any of them. Or maybe it was just that she was too afraid of looking to closely for the answers. She undressed slowly, drying herself and slipping into the bigger of the two bathrobes Philip had said would be behind the door. It didn’t smell like him and she’d known it wouldn’t. He’d never worn one when they’d been married, she doubted Mimi gave him any reason to wear one now. Still she felt a lot better knowing it was his as she snuggled into it.

She jumped guiltily at the soft knock on the door. She didn’t know why she was feeling guilty, she had no reason to but her heart wouldn’t stop racing. As though she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, “Yes?” she asked tentatively.

“I’m going to need your wet clothes.” Philip’s voice said from the other side of the door, “I’ll ask Henderson to put them in the dryer, you can stay in the robe till they’re properly dry.”

She breathed a sigh of relief, having half expected Mimi to be home and on the other side. She opened the door only wide enough to shove her arm through and hand Philip the wet clothes before shoving it closed again. She knew she was acting like a fool and that he was probably thinking she was all kinds of crazy, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. She picked one of the towels up and started drying her hair.

Back in the room, Philip shook his head at Belle’s behaviour. He really wished Mimi was home because he didn’t want to have to deal with her, especially in the mood she was in. He figured she’d had another fight with Shawn, that that was what had driven her to show up on their doorstep wearing nothing but what she’d probably stormed out in, and that meant no coat. He checked his watch, Mimi hadn’t called yet to say she was done but he knew the library would be closing soon. They weren’t open that late during the festive season and he didn’t want Mimi waiting there for him. He really wanted to go and fetch her but he didn’t want to leave Belle alone either. Walking out of the room in search of Henderson, he contemplated his choices. Mimi would call when she was finished, she always did only this time he’d be the one who would have to pick her up, he hadn’t even thought of suggesting that she take one of the many cars his father had in the garage, it would’ve made perfect sense. But this worry he had didn’t make perfect sense either. He was worrying because…he didn’t really know why. Maybe it was being in Salem again, this town had a way of screwing his life up every time he was in it and now he was worrying about his wife for no other reason than personal experience. If he was honest with himself, he’d admit what he really feared. That Mimi might be with Shawn, especially since he knew that Belle wasn’t. That was the crux of it really, the minute he’d opened the door and found Belle on the other side, he’d been aware of Shawn and Mimi out there by themselves…together. Mimi had never indicated that she wanted anything from Shawn other than friendship, their own sex life hadn’t changed so that wasn’t any reason for him to doubt except she’d said-

Henderson took the wet clothes from Philip as soon as he saw the young man, “There’s some tea in the kitchen for Miss Belle.” he said as he walked off with the load.

Snapped out of his thoughts, Philip simply nodded and said, “Yeah, thanks Henderson.” even though the man was no longer in the room. He turned and walked to the kitchen to get the tea.

“I brought some tea up.” He called to Belle minutes alter as he came back to the room. She appeared to be still in the bathroom and he put it on the bedside table. He’d been about to leave, to check on Caleb then fetch Mimi when the door opened with a ‘click’ and Belle walked out wearing his robe and drying her hair with one of the towels.

“Thanks Philip.” she said as she walked over to the tray he’d only just put down.

“I’m going to check on Caleb.” He told her as he turned to leave the room, “We can discuss whatever it was that made you drive here in this weather when I get back or you can discuss it with Mimi when she gets back if you’d prefer.”

“I’d much rather discuss it right now if you don’t mind. And I’d prefer to do it without Mimi’s presence.”

He sighed; he’d been so hoping she’d want to talk to Mimi. Mimi who knew how to handle these things, he really didn’t want to hear about whatever problems she was having with Shawn. It wasn’t that he didn’t care; he just didn’t want to know. “Fine.” he said, turning around. His jaw practically dropping to the floor at what he saw. While his back had been turned, Belle had gotten rid of the robe and towel and stood before him wearing nothing but an unsure smile. “What the hell are you doing?!” he demanded as he walked over to her to pick the robe up off the floor and cover her again.



Chapter 33

“Good Evening Henderson.” Mimi said greeting Victor’s butler through chattering teeth as she walked into house. “Is Philip in?” she removed her dripping coat, which Philip had insisted she wear. Fat lot of good it had done her in this weather. She’d had to walk all the way from the library and it hadn’t been a pleasant experience. Especially since her coat seemed to absorb every drop that fell on her instead of keeping her dry. She’d cursed Philip, who had promised to pick her up after he’d dropped her off this morning, and herself, for having left her bag, with her phone and her purse in at home, with every step she’d had to take on her way there. She’d left all her work with the librarian, who also had the bad fortune to be without a car on that day.

“Yes he is Miss Mimi.” Henderson replied, “I’m assuming he’s in a lot of trouble.”

Mimi, who was managing to cause a small flood in the foyer with her dripping clothes, smiled sweetly, “Of course he isn’t. Why would he be in any kind of trouble? Just because he’d neglected to pick me up at the library when he’d promised to and I had to walk all the way here doesn’t mean he’s in any sort of trouble.”

Henderson smiled, “Knee deep in it I see. Dinner will be ready in a few hours if you want to have a bath in the interim.”

“Is Victor joining us?” she asked as she turned towards the stairs.

“Mr. Kiriakis had a last minute engagement but he promised to try and make it. He said to start dinner without him if he wasn’t back in time. He wanted everyone together before you and Master Philip left for New York again.”

Mimi nodded, they were leaving in two days and in the few days they had been here, Victor had made a concerted effort to spend time, not only with his grandson but also to spend time with Philip and Mimi. It had been a surprise to Mimi, a welcome surprise to find that Philip had been right and that his father had finally accepted them. She was still waiting for the fallout from Kate but it had yet to come and Mimi was starting to think that maybe the woman was genuine in her efforts to rebuild her relationship with both Philip and Mimi. “Well if he doesn’t make it, there’s always tomorrow night.”

“I believe Miss Roberts will be joining you tomorrow night.”

“That’s right, Kate and the rest of Philip’s family will be here, I suspect Victor wanted some private time with his son and grandson though. I think he misses them a lot.”

Henderson smiled, because he truly believed, as his employer did, that Philip had made the right decision when he’d married Mimi. She was a sweet girl, unpretentious and blatantly honest; something Henderson knew came from having been burnt in the past for keeping secrets. He liked the young woman and she earned extra points in his books because it was evident how happy she made Philip. “I’ve been with this family a long time, before Master Philip was born. I don’t think I have to tell you that he didn’t have the best childhood; I don’t think you did either and I’m glad he married you. I don’t think I’ve seen him this happy…not even when he was with Miss Belle.” He put the last bit in because he knew she felt insecure about Philip’s first wife.

“Thank you Henderson, that’s a very nice thing to say.” Mimi smiled at him.

“I meant every word Miss.” He told her honestly, loyal as he was to Victor Kiriakis and his family, Mimi had just gained the same loyalty for making Philip so happy. He didn’t think she realised it, she always seemed surprised that people liked her or that they accepted her just as she was. He couldn’t do much about her belief but hope that she’d finally get over it and realise what a treasure she was. She’d keep Philip on his toes if she ever realised her worth.

“Well if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a nice long bath now.” She turned and walked upstairs.

“Of course.” he said to her retreating back, it wasn’t till he was in the kitchen again that he realised he hadn’t told her Belle Black was ‘visiting’.

*****
Mimi opened her bedroom door thinking of nothing but getting into a nice long, hot bath and then snuggling up in some very warm clothes with Philip before going down to dinner. Of course, she’d have to lay on the guilt first; she couldn’t just let him get away with abandoning her. It wasn’t his fault she hadn’t thought to ask the librarian if she could call him, but he should take some of the blame. Every thought going through her head stopped when she stepped into the room though. A very naked Belle was standing in an embrace with her husband.

“Philip, please!” Belle practically begged as Philip unhooked her arms from around his neck. She used the opportunity and brought her hands to her heart, the back of his hand brushing her breast.

Before Philip could respond, he heard Mimi’s gasp. He turned to see her shocked expression and the tears in her eyes, “Mimi…” he said lamely as he pushed Belle aside and chased after his wife who had spun on her heels and had left the room.

She was going to be sick, she knew it the instant she’d seen them together. She didn’t need them to explain what was going on; she could see that pretty clearly herself. She whirled out of the room and into the nearest door she found, across the hall. Thanking Victor for having bathrooms in all the bedrooms in this wing of the house, she went straight to it and emptied out what little she’d had for lunch in the toilet. She flushed, wiped her mouth and then just sat there, staring into the water. She felt a hand on her shoulder and shoved it off instantly, not wanting to be touched, especially not by Philip.

“Mimi, its not-”

“Get away from me.” She warned him when he came closer.

“If you’d let me explain-” he started again.

But she didn’t need his explanations, didn’t need anything from him, “Don’t touch me! Don’t talk to me!” she got up from the floor and walked towards him, “Get away from me!” she shoved at him, causing him to back up a few steps, “Get away!” she shouted again, shoving at him until he was out of the bathroom.

He held up his hands, “Okay. I’ll leave you alone.” She slammed the door in his face, locking it to keep him out. He knocked on the door, wanting to explain to her what she’d just walked in on. That it wasn’t at all what it had looked like but when he heard the shower running, he knew she wasn’t listening.

“Philip?” Belle asked from the bedroom door.

“If you value your life, you’d stay the hell away from me right now.” He warned her.

“I’m sorry, I never-”

“No Belle, I don’t want to hear it. Just go away.”

But she didn’t listen; she came to sit on the bed, waiting for Mimi to come out. She didn’t say anything and she didn’t even know if Philip was aware of her. His concentration was focused totally on the bathroom door and the activities going on the other side.

Mimi stood and let the water run over her. She didn’t think it would work because she didn’t think she could ever be warm again. She replayed what she’d just seen, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why Belle would be standing naked in her bedroom with her husband’s arms wrapped around her. Maybe what she’d walked in on was some innocent…innocent what? There was absolutely no reason why Philip ever had to see Belle naked again unless their lives depended on it and it didn’t seem as though it did. She turned the shower off after the water turned cold, the fact that it had told her she’d been in there a long time; hopefully Philip and Belle had taken the hint and had relocated. She wrapped a towel around her, thanking Victor once again, this time for having the guest bedrooms ready for last minute guests. She opened the door and found both Philip and Belle still there. Ignoring them she walked out of the room, into her own and locked that door, keeping them out.

Philip took the hint this time. He went to Caleb’s room instead. Choosing to give Mimi the time and space she needed. He wasn’t all that worried because once he explained what she’d really walked in on, she’d understand and things between them would go back to normal. Except of course she may choose to cut Belle out of her life but with the emotional roller coaster she was on right now, he knew Belle would need all the support she could get. Losing her best friend might just push her over the edge. He lifted a sleeping Caleb out of his crib and sat with him for a long while. It’ll come right, he told himself, it has to.

Belle stayed on the bed. She couldn’t believe what had just happened, the role she’d had in that look on Mimi’s face. She didn’t know what was wrong with her these days. She’d actually tried to seduce Philip, he’d turned her down, many times, but she’d tried and that scared the hell out of her. When had she become this desperate and why was she chasing after Philip when she had Shawn? She loved Shawn, she’d always loved Shawn and when they’d gotten back together it was like everything she’d imagined and more. So when had that changed?

Mimi stood before the mirror and looked at herself. She didn’t see anything different, nothing to mark how her life had just changed. No sign that her world had been knocked around yet again, it wasn’t right. The pain she felt inside should be made visible, for the world to see what a fool she’d been. She heard Bonnie’s voice, the words she’d repeated so many times, “You’re a Lockhart; it’ll take a lot more than a broken heart to bring us down.” Right now, it sure didn’t feel as though her mother was right. She put her hand to her heart, it was still beating, and it gave no sign, just like the mirror hadn’t, of all that had happened. Maybe her mother was right; maybe she was strong enough to survive this.



Chapter 34

“I guess we’re even now huh?” Mimi asked Belle from the doorway of the guest bedroom.

Belle, who had only just changed back into the clothes she’d arrived in, lifted her head in surprise. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Well, after all the hateful things I’ve done to you, marry Shawn, keep the truth about Claire, marry Philip…I can’t think of any others but I’m sure there are plenty. So I guess this makes us even.”

Belle shook her head, “I’m sorry Mimi, I really am for-”

“God, just stop lying Belle. I’ve heard it all before. I’m just wondering what Shawn is going to make of all this.”

“No, you can’t tell him.” Belle said panicking, it had been a mistake, a monumental mistake and she knew that now. She couldn’t lose Shawn and her best friend all in the same day. She needed someone to help her make sense of this mess she’d made. “Mimi please, don’t tell Shawn.”

“Well isn’t this surprising? Well, not really. This is after all your usual response. What are you going to tell me now? You love Philip and you always will, even though you’re with Shawn the two of you share a bond that isn’t simply going to disappear? Because you see, I’ve heard all this before. Only the last time, it was when I was married to Shawn.”

“Mimi I know you don’t understand. I don’t understand myself but-”

“Oh I understand Belle, I understand perfectly. You’re just not happy unless everything revolves around you. You had Philip, how dare he move on to someone else. Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to stay in love with you for the rest of his life, wait around for the little crumbs you’ll throw his way every so often. You-”

“That’s not true!” Belle yelled, “That’s just not true. And that’s not what happened, Mimi if you’d just let me explain.”

“I’ve heard all the explanations I can stomach from you Belle and I don’t need to know any more. I’d appreciate it if you left now. I really don’t want you anywhere near my family, not after what you just did.”

“I can understand that but you should really…Is this the end of us? Because I really don’t want to lose you Meems, I don’t want to lose our friendship.”

“This is not a friendship!” Mimi shouted at her, “Friends don’t come on to other friends husbands Belle; they don’t try and break marriages and families apart. Especially not simply because they feel like it, you did it before and I’ll be damned if I let you do it again. You have no place in my life, you never will. What you did is unforgivable, I don’t want you calling me, I don’t want you visiting. I’d appreciate it if you stayed as far away from Caleb as possible, I can’t speak for Philip because ultimately the two of you are going to do whatever you want but all I ask is that you consider both his and Shawn’s feelings before you do any more damage. Before you ruin any more lives.”

“Mimi…” Belle reached out to her friend, wanting to tell her everything. Wanting her to help her sort this entire mess out but she realised too late that she no longer had the luxury of calling on Mimi for help. She’d just bulldozed her friend’s life and marriage with no more consideration than one would have when deciding which toilet paper to buy. “I’m sorry, I know it’s not worth much but I truly am sorry.”

Mimi shook her head, she couldn’t look at her ‘friend’, “Just go home Belle. Wherever that is, just go.”

Belle nodded and got up off the bed, walking out of the room. She wouldn’t cry, she didn’t deserve to, she’d brought this all on herself she had no right to mourn what she’d thrown away, what she’d discarded without a second thought.

Mimi bit her lip but refused to cry, Belle didn’t deserve her tears she didn’t…but the tears fell anyway. For the years they’d spent together, for the secrets they’d kept, for the friendship of a lifetime that was now worthless. She braced her shoulders when she heard Philip at the door, she knew it was him. Knew it like she knew that the sky was blue and the sea was salty, knew it like she knew that her heart was shattered into a million pieces and this time no matter how much effort she made, she’d never put all the pieces back together, not this time. Bracing her shoulders she turned around, one down, one to go.

“My father won’t make dinner, Henderson wanted to know if you wanted to eat now or wait.” He’d heard most of her conversation with Belle, hadn’t meant to eavesdrop but he needed to know how she’d felt, how she’d reacted. He needed to brace himself in the event that she walked out the door and never looked back. He wouldn’t bring it up now, they needed to talk but he’d give her the time and space she needed to sort through this.

She had to swallow the lump that formed in her throat before she spoke, “Has Caleb eaten yet?”

Philip shook his head, “He was going to eat with us. So-”

“Then I’ll feed him and we can wait till your father gets home if you don’t mind. I’m not really that hungry.”

Philip nodded, “I’ll go and tell the kitchen staff.”

“Is he awake?” she asked him before he left the room.

Philip nodded. “He woke up about an hour ago.” he said before walking away.

*****
He knew he’d promised himself to give her time and space but the longer she ignored him, the harder it was to do just that. They were in the dining room, she was feeding Caleb but she’d ignored him for the past few minutes and her silence worried him. Mimi wasn’t one to keep things inside, she usually chose to address and issue when it became an issue.

He cleared his throat, “I can explain what you walked in on this afternoon.”

I doubt that very much. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“It really isn’t what you-”

“Philip really, I don’t want to talk about it, not now.” Not ever. I just want to ignore what I saw and pretend that things are okay between us. That they’re always going to be okay.

“If you’d just let me-”

She banged the plate she was feeding Caleb out of so hard in the table that it cracked, “Dammit Philip I told you I don’t want to talk about it!” she shouted. “What part of that do you not understand?!”

Caleb started whimpering at his mother’s raised voice and pretty soon, he was crying. “God!” she exclaimed, picking her son up, “I’m so sorry baby, mommy didn’t mean to shout.” She soothed Caleb. “Why can’t you just leave things well enough alone?” she asked Philip. “Do you always have to have your own way all the time?”

He thought that was unfair, he’d made many compromises and sacrifices for her. She might not know but that didn’t matter. He knew she was angry, had every right to be but if she didn’t let him explain, she’d never learn the truth. She go on thinking he had some desire to be with Belle when the truth was that he didn’t want anyone but her. He needed to explain that what she had walked in on was not what she thought, he needed her to understand that he loved her, only her and that that wasn’t going to change. “I just need to tell you-”

“For the last time Philip, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear any of it. Not now and not from you. I don’t even want to be looking at you right now so just leave it be okay? Just leave it alone.”

“No!” he shouted back at her, “You’ve had your say now let me- Where are you going?” he asked when she walked out of the room, following her.

She grabbed a set of keys from the table in the foyer and without even getting a coat for either herself or Caleb; she walked out of the house, away from him. Pressing the alarm so she’d know which car to use, she was glad it had stopped raining.

“Mimi come back.” He called as he chased after her, “I’m sorry, I won’t bring it up again just please go back to the house.” Mimi ignored him and got into the car, strapping Caleb in the back seat. Philip held her door open, “You’re not going anywhere.”

She just sat there for a while, not saying anything; then she turned to him, “Please, if you care for me even a little, please just let me go.”

He didn’t want to, he really didn’t want to but her words…her words…If he cared for her? He loved her for goodness’ sake, how could she…he let go of the door, closing it for her. She was right and he hoped that his actions would make her realise just how much he cared. “Call when you get there…wherever there is. Just so I know you’ve arrived safely.”

She nodded, started the car and drove off. He watched her go, praying she’d come back and praying that the person she was going to was not Shawn Brady.



Chapter 35

“Where’s Mimi?” Shawn asked after they’d been there for over a half hour and neither she nor Caleb had put in an appearance yet.

“She’s with her family.” Philip replied, somewhat relieved that Mimi hadn’t gone running to Shawn. When she’d called last night, as promised, to say she was at her mother’s place, he’d been so relieved that he hadn’t even bothered to try and explain exactly what had happened when she’d walked in on him with Belle. “She’s saying goodbye and should be here later in the evening. She said she’d try to make it for dinner.” He knew this not because she’d told him, but because she’d called the house and told Henderson in case he’d been worried about the extra setting.

“But she is coming?” Kate asked, having eavesdropped on the conversation. She knew Mimi hadn’t spent the night at the mansion, Victor had told her as much and her son looked a little rough around the edges but Victor didn’t know anything more than that Mimi was staying with her mother. That was all Philip had been willing to tell him, Kate knew there was trouble in paradise, she knew this because she knew her son so well.

“Like I said mom, she said she’d try.” Philip said through clenched teeth. What was this, interrogate Philip day? First his father, then Lucas and Sami, Shawn and now his mother, all asking the same questions, all of them about Mimi. He only wished he knew half the answers to their questions but he’d have to wait till Mimi got back to get any sort of answer as to their future. All he knew was that no matter what she wanted to do, he was not giving up on them nor was he giving up on telling her the truth, whether she wanted to hear it or not.

“Well, I think your father should have invited them along, they are family now after all.” Kate responded, taken aback by his tone. She’d had a reprieve of sorts over Christmas but it seemed things were back to normal, her son still hated her.

“Patrick has to catch a plane to Chicago tonight, that’s why she’s there now. She wanted to say goodbye before he left.” he explained. Walking away when Belle approached the group, he really wanted to keep his contact with her to an absolute minimum, at least till he’d spoken to Mimi.

But Belle had other thoughts. As soon as he turned away, she reached out to him, grabbing a hold of his arm. She tried not to flinch when he shrugged her off; he had a very valid reason not to want to touch her. “Philip, please...”

The echo of the words shed uttered the day before, in a similar tone made him freeze. Were it not for her, everything between Mimi and him would still be fine. Mimi would still trust him. “What do you want Belle?” he asked, not even bothering to turn to face her.

“To talk, to explain.” she said softly, not wanting to be overheard. Her future depended on Philip’s cooperation, which she knew she couldn’t expect from him.

“I think the time for that has long since passed.” He told her coldly, walking on.

But she grabbed his arm again, this time not caring who saw that the two of them had obviously had a falling out. “Philip, please just five minutes. That’s all I ask, all I’ll ever ask of you.”

It sounded like a good deal to Philip, five minutes of his time and in exchange, he’d be free of her for the rest of his life. “Do you want to go somewhere private?”

Belle relaxed the instant she heard his words, at least he was giving her a chance which was more than she deserved. Nodding, she followed as he led her to one of the empty rooms.

“Okay.” he said after she’d closed the door behind them. “Let’s here what you have to say.”

“I’m sorry about yesterday.” She began, “And the things I’ve been thinking for a while now-”

“Well, I don’t know what you’ve been thinking Belle but if it was anything like what happened yesterday-”

“It was…well, sort of. If you’d just let me explain…” She looked at him, he’d folded his arms across his chest and was leaning against the backs of one of the chairs in the room, waiting for her explanation and suddenly she really didn’t know what to say. She’d thought it over in her mind but to actually tell him these things, things that would hurt him and a lot more people. “You know the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’?” she started.

He nodded, “I’m familiar with the phrase.”

“Well for a really long time, the only thing I really wanted was for Shawn and I to be together. To me that was the ultimate. I wouldn’t need anything else as long as I had him in my life, as the person I’d walk through life with. I know you probably don’t want to hear that given our history but those are the facts. Did I love you? Yes, and I think I always will. But was it the way I loved him, still love him? Not even close.”

Philip closed his eyes, digesting the information. She’d only told him things he already knew, had already guessed for himself but to have her confirm it was something else entirely. He waited for the sharp pain that usually accompanied the realisation but found only a dull ache. The kind you feel when your team loses a game, it hurts but eventually you get over it, move on.

Belle, mistaking his closed eyes as his way of coping with the truth reached out a hand in comfort, laying it gently on his crossed arms and giving a light squeeze, “I really didn’t want to hurt you like this.” she said honestly.

He opened his eyes, realising what she thought and replied just as honestly, “You didn’t. It just came as a shock to realise that I’m well and truly over you. Your words left me unaffected; I couldn’t really care either way. All you did was confirm what I’d already thought.”

“Oh…” Belle said, taken aback at his words. She certainly hadn’t been expecting them, was she really as Mimi had accused? Did she really need him to still be in love with her? What else would explain the feeling of disappointment when he’d just said he was over her? It didn’t matter now though, all his words meant was that she wouldn’t hurt him as she thought she would.

“Why don’t you continue your explanation.” He said, bringing her out of her thoughts to the real reason she’d wanted to talk to him.

“Yes of course. So where was I?”

“Getting what you always wanted.” he replied, sounding rather bored, as though he really didn’t want to hear any of it.

“I love Shawn, I really do. If yesterday made you question that then I’m sorry. I’m even sorrier that I questioned it. You see, when I thought about what our life would be like when…if we ever got back together, I imagined everything so perfectly.”

“But life is never perfect though is it?”

She shook her head, agreeing with him. “No it isn’t, far from it in fact. Yesterday made me realise that…but I’m getting way ahead of myself. Shawn and I can never go back to what once was, the relationship we had back in high school, part of me realised that but still there was this other part that refused to accept that we couldn’t go back and pretend that the last few years had never happened. So I tried to do what that small part of me wanted, I tried to go back, to when everything was clean and unspoiled again and quite obviously THAT didn’t work out. Thinking about it now I can’t believe I was ever that naïve. Things really started falling apart when he started travelling, he had thins amazing new job and it required him to travel and at first I was okay with it but sometimes he’d be gone for weeks on end and I’d start thinking that maybe he wasn’t coming back. We fought, a lot, mainly about his job and getting married. I wanted to, right away, he wanted to plan things, make sure we didn’t have any regrets, that sort of thing. Was so lonely and confused Philip, I had my family around me, their support, I had Shawn and his love, his support, his devotion, it was supposed to e the happiest time of my life but it wasn’t, I just couldn’t get my mind around all the insecurities. I questioned everything he did. And then we came out to New York and I saw you with Mimi. I was jealous, I wanted that, I wanted what the two of you shared. And some time over that weekend it dawned on me that I’d already had it, that you’d given it to me and I felt like such a fool for throwing it all away. Yesterday was…I just wanted to get it back you know? I wanted to feel that way again and you were…I wanted to feel alive again. I didn’t want to simply go through the motions. I never meant to cause any problems for you or Mimi; I just didn’t think period. About anything other than what I wanted, which is what both Shawn and Mimi have pointed out is something I do regularly. I think about what I want right now and be damned the consequences…We wouldn’t have gotten far yesterday, even if you hadn’t been pushing me away, I don’t think I could have gone through with it…It doesn’t matter now though, the damage has already been done and I doubt very much if Mimi is ever going to forgive me or you for that matter. I’m going to tell Shawn, as soon as I muster up the courage, I’m going to tell him everything and just let the chips fall where they will. If it means the end of us, I guess I’m going to have to accept that but I hope it isn’t because yesterday made me realise just how much I do love him. I wish you and Mimi all the best; I want you to know that. I want you to be happy together and if that means I have to…I’ll do anything you need me to do…”

“We’ll be fine.” Philip assured her, “There’s really no need to worry about the two of us. I think you should be worrying more about yourself right now, maybe go and see a professional to help you deal with everything. I know it’s not easy and I hope you understand that I can’t be there for you right now.”

Belle nodded, “I understand perfectly, Mimi wouldn’t want us within a mile of each other and I really can’t blame her. I just wish our friendship-”

“I could talk to her, try and convince her to at least-” he broke off when Belle shook her head.

“I don’t need you running interference, I messed up and I have to fix it. Besides, I don’t think she’d appreciate it if you suddenly started encouraging her to renew her friendship with me. It could cause more trouble for you and I don’t want that, I don’t want to be the cause of any more conflict between the two of you. I’m glad you understand though.”

“I’m not saying what you did is okay because it really wasn’t. All I’m saying is that I can understand why you’re confused and why you may have done certain things.”

“So I’m forgiven? Do we still get to be friends?” she asked hopefully.

“We’ll see.” was all he was willing to commit himself to for now. Everything else depended on Mimi, on talking to her and getting her to understand.

*****

“What are you still doing here? You were supposed to leave an hour ago.” Bonnie said when she stepped into her kitchen to find her daughter still sitting at the table, a cup of coffee in front of her. The cup was still full and she was simply staring at it. “Is this a ‘is the cup half empty or half full’ kind of thing?” Bonnie asked when Mimi didn’t even acknowledge her presence.

“I don’t know if I can go back there.” was all Mimi said.

“Of course you can, all you have to do is get in the car and drive over. How had can it be? Ou’ve been driving for ages.”

“I’m not talking about physically getting there mom, I’m…” she sighed and shook her head, biting her bottom lip in a gesture Bonnie recognised very well.

“You’re a Lockhart for goodness’ sake; there isn’t anything you can’t do.”

“Okay, I don’t I want to go back there.” Mimi said, amending her previous statement.

“Now why on earth wouldn’t you want to go back?”

“I don’t want to see him mom, not yet. I have to be ready here.” She put her hand over her heart, “I don’t want him to see how upset I am by all this. God…How could I be so stupid? I knew he loved Belle, I knew he’d never gotten over her and yet-”

Bonnie, knowing about the agreement between her daughter and Philip Kiriakis didn’t understand why this was so hard for Mimi and said so.

“Because I slept with him mom, stupid idiot that I am and I did more than that. I did a lot more than just share his bed; I fell in love with him. Once again I’ve fallen for one of Belle’s guys.”

“Now you listen to me,” Bonnie said, taking a seat opposite her daughter. When Mimi had showed up the night before she hadn’t questioned her daughter, merely given her a place to sleep. When she’d finally said, after much prodding from Patrick, what had brought her home, Bonnie hadn’t said anything. She hadn’t known the relationship had gotten that far, which she should have. She should have known that her baby girl was aching, that something was brewing between the two of them when they’d been all lovey-dovey on Christmas Eve even though everyone in the house knew they weren’t in love. “You are not stupid nor are you an idiot. And I refuse to believe that Philip is still in love with Miss Goody-goody when he has you. The man is not stupid Mimi; he knows something good when he sees it. You’re not going to lose him to Belle; I’m not going to let her take another husband from you.”

Mimi laughed bitterly, “That just proves that she can mom, she can get whatever she wants; she always has. And if she wants Philip back, then who am I to stop her?”

“You’re his wife.”

Mimi scoffed, “Like that means anything.”

“Look at me Mimi.” Bonnie waited till her daughter lifted her gaze come the coffee cup to her mother’s eyes, “You are not going to sit back and let that hussy ruin this for you. You’re the one married to the man for goodness’ sake and while you might not think so I know that counts for something. It counts for a hell of a lot.”

“What am I supposed to do mom?” Mimi cried, “Beg him not to go? Beg him to stay with me? I did that with Shawn and I will not do that again.”

“Now who said anything about you begging? If you ask me, he’s the one who should be doing the begging. You have two aces up your sleeve, things Belle doesn’t have and it’s about damn time that you used them.”

“Oh and what’s that mother? A family with a thorough knowledge of the criminal justice system based on personal experience and the experience of having been homeless?”

Damn, where did this girl get all these insecurities from? Bonnie thought. “No, you have a marriage certificate and a beautiful baby boy. You have a little arrangement with Richie Rich so if you don’t want him to find out how hurt you are; you’ll use that arrangement to your advantage.”

“First off, I’m not using Caleb for anything and secondly, just what are you proposing I do with these ‘aces’?”

“First off, you’re going to walk into that mansion and pretend for all you’re worth. You’ve managed to convince an entire town you fell in love with a man you despise-”

“Yeah and managed to convince myself of it too.” Mimi said sarcastically but Bonnie just ignored her.

“- and now you’re going to use that talent to convince your husband that your heart isn’t broken into a million pieces. You’re going to sit down with those people and not one of them is going to know that anything is wrong.”

“And just what is that supposed to accomplish?”

“I wasn’t finished.” Bonnie bit at her daughter, “Belle Black is going to know that she hasn’t beaten you at anything and Philip Kiriakis is going to know exactly what you get when you piss off a Lockhart.” Mimi smiled because she figured that Philip already knew what that was like. He hadn’t seemed the least bit frightened when she’d thrown a tantrum and gotten physical. In fact he’d responded in kind only his idea of physical was all about touching and kissing. “You’ll fall back into your arrangement Mimi, you’re playing things by my rules this time and you’re going all the way with it.”

“The last time I did that I ended up with a divorce.” Mimi reminded her.

“No, the last time I told you what to do, you didn’t listen. This time you’re going to listen and you’ll thank me after. Now this is what you’re going to do…” The more Bonnie said, the more Mimi smiled, quirky though it might be, it just might work.

 
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