Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 18th, 2004, 12:11 pm #1



Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 1:38 am #2

Erin's Fics


Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 1:40 am #3

By His Honor

A Belle and Shawn Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC17.

By His Honor

Chapter 1

Shawn Brady entered his chambers after the last court case of the afternoon. Running his finger around the collar of his light blue dress shirt, he loosened the yellow and blue tie as he shook his head. Another deliquent was back on the Salem streets and there wasn't anything he could do about it.

The ADA had lost to the prosecuting attorney this time because of a hot head on the police force. At the time of the incident, the rookie failed to read the Miranda rights to the shooter as he was taken into custody.Shawn knew that the police Commander would be addressing that situation in the Ready Room on the morrow. Heads would be rolling and Shawn was glad that he didn't have to listen to the Commander's speech and dressing down.

The rookie, who had erred in his judgement call, did not check first to see if the assailant had any priors and he failed to wait for backup. Because of this, two innocent people were killed during the liquor store robbery. Clinching his jaw with anger, because the teenage punk was released, Shawn tried to calm down and relax.

Frustrated with how the court system worked, Shawn knew that the difference between right and wrong was only razor thin some days. Standing at the window with an unfocused gaze, he beat his fist against the wood by the paned glass. Fury darkened his brown eyes to black as the vein in his neck pulsed. The Law balanced itself out most days, but some trials were just hard to swallow. Turning, he balled his tie up and he flung it against the wall. Frustration ruled the moment, but there was not anything he could do about the trial now. That was history.

Shawn walked toward his desk to check his messages. Picking them up, he noticed several were from a man who needed help with a problem. He recognized the urgency in the tone of the notes, but as he tried to call him back , he was unable to reach him. If it was that important, Shawn thought, he would contact someone else. He left his own message and gave him a counselor 's name and number to call. The rest of the messages could be dealt with on Monday. He had a hot date tonight and he was ready to escape the city. He needed some R & R and the weekend looked promising.

Leaning back in the leather chair behind his antique cherry desk, Shawn noticed the time. If he was going to meet the most beautiful woman in Salem for their special celebration, he had to hurry. What the general public didn't know was that today was his first anniversary with his wonderful wife. It had been the most amazing year. Looking down at his golden wedding band, he could still picture his angel placing it on his finger, reciting their vows in front of their families, and kissing the living daylights out of him at the altar. That kiss, the first one as Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Douglas Brady, had been toe curling, mind blowing, and very arousing.
He picked up their wedding photo on the corner of his desk and traced a finger over her face. She was still the most beautiful woman in the world to him. They had planned on celebrating out of town for this special occasion, but the trial had lasted longer than he had anticipated.

His angel was probably on her way to their destination without him. Leaning forward, Shawn hit the speed dial on the desk phone as he called to check in. "Hello Beautiful! Are you there yet?" His voice lowered to the husky pitch she loved to hear. "Happy Anniversary Angel."

"Hi Sweetie! Did you just get through with work? I stopped by earlier, but you were still in court." Her soft tones were filled with anticipation.
"I just got back in the office. Let me pack my briefcase and I'll head out the door. Did you remember to pick up the champagne?" Shawn stood to place the papers on his desk inside his satchel. Listening to his wife's giggle, he wondered if she had already started on the magnum.
"Sweetie, I picked up a few extra surprises for you and I have the bottle chilling as we speak. Now hurry up and drive over here. I can't wait until you unwrap your present."

Shawn reached into the desk drawer to pull out the wrapped package. Turning it over in his hands, he placed it in his briefcase too. He hoped she would like it, because he had thought she would be pretty wearing it. He had stood in the store for an hour before finally deciding just which one to choose. Shawn blew his wife a kiss, as he said good bye and finished cleaning off his desk. The weekend was here and he was ready for some loving with a capital L.

Shawn drove his dark blue Explorer down the winding road. He was thankful that it had stopped snowing. The roads seemed to be dry. Just yesterday, he and his father , Detective Bo Brady of the Salem Police Department, had been discussing driving conditions. Shawn's younger brothers wanted dirt bikes for their birthday and Bo was thinking about buying them. After all a man who rode his own powerful motorcycle, understood the envy and want the younger boys felt. Those two boys could wrap their Dad around their fingers sometimes. But, Bo was a very just man, and he would deal fairly with his sons when it came time.

Bo Brady had instilled in his oldest son the value of self and right and wrong. Following that discipline, Shawn had gone on to finish law school and pass the bar. He appreciated his parents for giving him a loving home and good work ethics too. Without them, he would have turned into a juvenille deliquent. He remembered his own attitude when he came home form boarding school . He had tried to be tough and not let anyone close to him. But, he had managed with the help of his family and friends to become a decent guy. Look at me now, thought Shawn, I sit in the biggest office in the courthouse, and look how it turned out today. Shawn shook his head to quit thinking about the lost case. He set his mind on how he was going to love his wife all night long.

Turning onto the highway as he left town, he had picked up speed. Now as he approached his final destination, he was more than anxious to see his angel. Turning into the lane that led into the woods, he noticed a car with it's hood up. He drove past the vehicle and then stopped. His parents had drilled it into his head to be courteous. So he backed up and asked if he could help the troubled man who stood looking at the engine.

The man rasied up and whipped a gun in Shawn's face. His evil smile looked unholy in the fading twilight. "Why, if it isn't Bo and Hope's son. Hiya Brady spawn?" His father's old nemisis, Vin Ramsel, stood holding the snub nosed revolver as his cold eyes gave him the once over. Dressed in slim jeans over boots, he was still on the thin side, thought Shawn. He reached into the Explorer and turned it off, pocketing the keys. This could turn into an ugly situation.
Shawn knew he had to be careful. His gorgeous wife was close by and if she decided to come looking for him, she would run head on into trouble.

"What do you want Vin?" Shawn got out carefully, always keeping an eye on the gun. He wanted to make sure that he didn't slip up.
"I heard that you almost sent my younger brother to the big house, Brady. That was a bad mistake. Cole is a good kid."
Shawn drew in a breath when he realized that the trial today had been about Vin's brother. Too bad he wasn't sentenced.
"I heard about it Ramsel. He got off on a technicality. He'll mess up again, and this time the Salem Police will catch him and send him away." He zipped up his leather jacket against the cold air as he watched Ramsel.

Vin laughed with a crazed cackle. Shawn thought that too many drugs had finally sent him off the deep end. "Well if Cole messes up, he can take care of himself." Smiling with eyes that gleamed too brightly, Vin said, "Look what I found. I"m going to take care of this fine thing tonight." Vin reached into the back seat of the car and pulled out a woman with red hair. She was dressed in a long black negliee. The thin silk material barely covered her skin, as it was torn and hanging haphazardly off of one shoulder. Her translucent complexion was white with fright as she looked up at her kidnapper.

"Look who I found all by herself?"Vin shifted his hold on her arm, making her cry out in pain. Red marks appeared in the shape on fingers, marring her skin. One eye was swollen shut and beginning to turn purple with bruising. Shawn, leaping toward the man, with only thoughts of saving his wife, forgot about being careful.

Vin shifted and got a choke hold on Shawn as he played dirty and gave the woman an elbow to the stomach and a fist to the head. Throwing her to the ground, Vin stepped over her as she lay helpless, stunned from the blow. Punches flew in all directions as the woman watched with a frightened eye.

The two men fell on the ground fighting for control of the gun. Rolling around, the wet snow covered their clothes, as a fist flew into Shawn's face. His leather jacket tore at the shoulder as Vin seemed to be taking advantage of the hit. Blood flowed freely down the side of Shawn's cheek as he reached up to wipe it away from his eye, he missed the stiletto knife that Vin pulled from his boot.

Shawn heard his wife scream, "NOOOOOOOO " as he tried to grasp the plunging hand. Blinking furiously, he couldn't see very well, but he knew that he didn't want to die tonight. And neither was his wife. With the strength of a man intent on living, he turned Vin over tussling for control, when the woods echoed with the sound of gunfire.

Chapter 2

The wind had turned even colder as Shawn lay on the ground. His chest hurt, a fire burning agony that spiraled downwards toward his gut, as he tried to roll over. Lifting up, he tried to focus and clear his head. Something was blocking his vision. Swiping a hand across his brow, red slicked the fingers as fresh blood seeped from the wound. He saw the reflection of the red and blue lights from several police cruisers pulled up behind his Explorer. The whiny siren pitch was still sounding as he remembered what had happened.

Rising quickly, he stumbled the first few steps until he knelt by his wife. She was propped up by a tree, wearing a policman's jacket over her torn gown. "Shawn, you're alive!" She cried as she gathered him close to her frame. "I was so scared when Vin grabbed me." Her arms felt like heaven as he hugged his beloved.

Shawn was still not sure of the events that led to her kidnapping, but he was thankful that she was all right. "Angel, " he cupped her face gently, looking at the bruising around her beautiful eyes. "Did he hurt you in any way other than by hiting you?" He had to know. As God as his witness, he would kill Ramsel himself if he had.

She reached up and laid her palm against his face, looking for wounds herself, as the paramedics drove up. "I am fine. If Hope hadn't called to warn me though, I might not have been."

Shawn stood up to glance at his father, as the officer in charge pulled the sheet over Ramsel "He's dead, Shawn. Just let if go."
Bo Brady had dealt with death more times than he would have liked, but this death was justified.

A snitch had called and told Bo that Ramsel was out to hurt him through Shawn. Bo had tried to warn his son, but as he could not be reached during court, Bo had called Hope Brady. She knew of their son's plans and was able to reach their daughter-in-law. Hope had called the cops herself and given the location, so a watch was set. It had almost been too late.

It turned out that Mrs. Brady had just gotton her bath and changed clothes when Hope called to warn her. The cabin window had busted, breaking glass everywhere, as Vin climbed inside. She was able to scream into the phone before Vin had ripped it from the wall. Hope had immediately called the police and they were on their way.

Shawn reached under his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt. Pulling it off, he shivered in the night air. Lifting off the protective bullet proof vest, he was thankful that it had saved his life. His Dad, along with the police Commander, had warned him about wearing it two weeks ago. He was glad that he had taken heed to their foresight. Dressing again, the paramedic checked him out. There would be bruises from where the gun shot had hit him on his chest, stitches on his forehead where he had been cut, but for the most part, he was just thankful to be alive.

Going back to his wife, he helped her to stand. As she shivered in the air, Shawn realized she didn't even had on shoes. Her toenails were painted a shade of pink that he could just make out in the glow of the headlights. He picked her up in his arms, cradling her close as he kissed her head and swollen eye, as he carried her to his own vehicle.

"Dad, is there anything you need for me to do right now? I want to go get my wife warm. She's shaking with cold and fright." Shawn walked back to the crime scene, as another cop wound the yellow tape around the trees, roping off the area. The medical examiner had arrived and pronounced the victim dead. The police officer, who had used a high powerful weapon with a long range scope, was being interrogated by someone from Internal Affairs.

Bo glanced over at the Explorer. "Go on Sailorman, She's probalby suffering from shock. I know where to reach you if I have to. You'll come down to headquarters tomorrow and make a statement." Bo knew that the press would be there at the first whiff of the news of Vin Ramsel's death. "I love you, Shawn." He pulled his eldest into a hug, not ashamed at all at the tears that glistened in his own eyes.

Shawn returned the hug as he said,"I love you too, Dad. Thanks for looking out for me." He shook hands with the police chief as he returned to his wife.

Entering the vehicle he took her small hand in his as he gazed at her face. "I am so glad that you are all right. I was so scared when I saw that ...."He could not even say what he thought about Vin. "When he pulled you out of the back seat, I saw your eyes and thought "What the Heck has she done to herself?" "

She reached up to place her fingers on the lips that she had thought that she might never kiss again.
It's over Shawn, it's over. Let's go back to the cabin." She scooted over the bench seat and settled her head on the shoulder of the most precious person in the world to her. Looking up, she squeezed his arm until he placed it around her shoulder. Everything was going to be fine now.

Chapter 3

Shawn built the fire in their fireplace to knock the chill off of the large room. His wife was soaking in a bubble bath, getting warm all over again. He hung a wool blanket over the broken window to stop the draft since he could not tamper with the evidence. He knew the police would be coming by the next morning to take pictures of that part of the crime scene. Even the broken telephone still hung suspended from a lone wire.

Using his cell phone, he called Hope, thanked her for quickly calling the police, and gave her details of the situation. Running his hand through his hair, Shawn felt like he had aged five years within the ten minute altercation with Vin. God help him, but he was glad the SOB was dead. To think if he had harmed his wife............

Shaking his head with disgust, Shawn went to the kitchen to swallow a few Advil that were always kept stocked in the cabinet. He gave thanks to his grandmother for seeing to the details of the dinner that he could smell warming in the oven. He hoped that they would soon be enjoying their anniversary together. Walking across the room, he knocked on the closed bathroom door.

"Angel, are you OK in there?" Shawn waited a moment before opening the door. His eyes were drawn to the gorgeous picture his wife made as she lay back in the old fashioned white claw- footed tub. Steam from the hot water had sent her hair curling into ringlets as she had it pinned to the top of her head. As the soap bubbles drifted as she moved, he could see snatches of pink skin glistening with moisture. His eyes took in the sight of her eyes glowing in the light from candles sitting around every available space on the counter. His mouth watered with longing to stroke is tongue along her breast, to capture the drops lingering on her nipples as she arose from the tub. She turned away from him before the water finished cascading down her body. Looking demurely over her shoulder, she handed him a large sponge. "Will you wash my back for me darling ?" Her good eye twinkled as she reached down to unbuckle his belt as he stepped closer.

Shawn quickly shed the rest of his clothes as he struggled to breathe. She was an enchanting goddess tonight, and she was all his. "I remember the first time we bathed together, do you?" His lips wrapped around her shell of a ear as he caressed it. Nipping the lobe with his teeth, he let his lips and tongue worry it, as he let the warm water sloosh down her back. Lathering the sponge with the fragrant bath soap, he used one hand to rub the sponge in large circles and the other hand, with splayed fingers, to travel down her spine and buttocks. Stroking with unsteady hands, he raised back up, and stepped in the tub.

Shawn gathered her wet body to his, moulding the womanly curves to his hard frame. The texture of their skin had always fascinated him. Her skin was fair and tanned beautifully whereas his had always seemed dark. His black hair on his forearms was wet as he reached them around to hold her under her breasts. His erection, which had become hard at the first sight of her in the tub, was stabbing at her hips. He bent his knees so that she rode his erection between her thighs. The sawing motion against her folds was making her whimper. Grinding harder he raised his large hands.

With fingers that were now soapy, he drew concentric rings around her breasts, holding the firm globes as his hands slide easily around the textured surface. Feeling her mounting tension, Shawn resumed his lip lock on her neck as he finally captured the aroused tips between his fingers. Alternating between pinching and plucking the tight buds, Shawn felt her come as she sagged against his body. Satisfied that he had removed all traces of that creep from her mind and body, Shawn turned her around too quickly. They both slid on the wet bottom. Giggling like newlyweds, Shawn picked her up and stepped out onto the bath mat.

His wife stepped back, as she reached for a large red bath towel. With one finger she stopped his lips from opening as she took her turn of loving him. Drops of moisture clung to his long eyelashes. She used the towel to soak up the drops before continuing down his neck and chest. The broad shoulders were next to receive attention.

He felt her pat the water off before following it with her mouth. The tiny mouth was hungry as he felt her nip his collar bone and then sooth it. Swallowing a moan, he stood his ground. His wife slowly dried his chest after giving exceptional attention to his flat male nipples. After torturing them with flicks of her tongue and nibbles designed to make Shawn pant, she lowered herself to the mat.

Kneeling, she laid the towel on her thigh and motioned for him to place his foot on it. Carefully she dried between each toe, giving special attention to ther arch and heel. The second foot was taken care of in the same way. Looking up she saw that Shawn's eyes were closed with bliss as she moved to dry the long legs. Swiping the towel down his calf, she stroked the strong muscles, and gripped his thigh to keep her balance.

Shawn opened his eyes to look at his angel, and was rewarded two fold. He could view her in the large mirror that took up one side of the wall and also just look down. With eyes darkened with need, he watched her take his shaft in her small hands. The grip was not too tight yet, just how he liked it. With strokes of pleasure, he felt himself grow harder. One single drop pearled out as he heard her sigh.

Swallowing hard he tried to raise her up, but to no avail. Her hot mouth had clamped on to his rod with a need of her own. Her agenda included making this a night to remember for all the right reasons. Strong strokes were called for as she felt him tense. Sucking harder, she used her hands to cup his testicles. Shawn reached down forcefully and pulled her off of him.

He took her mouth with his own as he swung her up in his arms. Carrying her to the loft bedroom they tumbled on the bed together. With a need that was met, Shawn entered her with one fast stroke. Her blue eyes glazed over and Shawn knew she was close to coming again. He kissed, using his tongue like his shaft, both in the same rhythm as they assaulted her body as she gloried in the raw need for this one man.

Cresting together, they both gasped, as Shawn sank onto her body. With one final thrust, he felt himself slip out of her. Laying back, he reached to bring her body still warm from the loving, close to him. Kissing her forehead, he gently used one hand to slowly rub her arm.

Much later, after they had eaten the delicious meal fixed by Alice Horton and Hope Brady, Shawn gave his wife her present.
Watching her open it, he was anxious. Inside the jeweler's box was a three stone necklace. The round drops went from smaller to larger in descending order. The color of the aquamarine stones matched her crystal blue eyes. Shawn took it out of her hands to place it around her neck.

"This reminded me of how your eyes looked on our wedding day. " He wrapped his arms around her tiny body as Belle clung to him.
"Shawn, they are beautiful." She leaned back to kiss her husband in thanks as she touched the gold chain of her necklace. "Let me get your present."

Belle retreated to the bedroom and brought out a single card with a tiny present. "Do you remember how long we waited to make love Shawn? " At his nod, she reminded him off how often he liked to make up for the time after they had gotten married. "Well, open the card first." Belle wrapped the pink silk robe around herself as she watched his eyes.

Lifting the flap, a card ,with a little boy walking with his Dad over a baseball diamond, holding hands at the end to a long day was inside. Opening it, he swallowed as he raised his eyes to look at his wife. Tears glistened as he picked her up and swung her around. "We're really pregnant? We're having a baby?" Shawn picked up the ultrasound photograph from the floor where it had dropped.

Laughing, he spun her around again. "When Belle, when did it happen?" His brown eyes danced as he kissed her hard.
"Do your remember when I waited for you in your office several months ago?" At his nod, she continued," I was wearing your judges robe and nothing else when you came back. We made love on your desk. That is as near as I can pinpoint the time Shawn." Belle was glad that Shawn was happy. Shawn opened up the second gift of a tiny wiffle ball and bat,

Shawn reached up to pull the pins from the red hair. Tugging, the wig came off as Belle shook her own hair out. "No more playing dress up, Belle. We'll just take our surprises as they come. Have you told anyone else?" Shawn was mistified that she had been able to keep it a secret.

Belle snuggled into Shawn's arms as she said." Actually, Gran knows. When I stopped by there this afternoon before coming here, she told me I was expecting. She said it was plain to see. So, as soon as I got back in the car, I had to look in the mirror. I couldn't tell any difference."

Shawn's lips turned up into his gorgeous smile as he hugged her closer. "You're always beautiful to me, Belle. I can't wait until we have our own little Brady boy or girl. I don't care which one either, as long as your and the child are healthy." He captured her lips once more before releasing them. "That's why the bottle of sparkling cider was in the refrigerator. You cannot drink."

Belle nodded her head as she relaxed against her husband. Just one year ago today, they had become husband and wife. A lifetime of memories filled her mind of the events that had taken place. Just think of what this second year of their life together would bring. "Happy Anniversary Shawn. You will make the best Daddy to our little one."

Kissing her temple while holding her close, Shawn made a promise, by his honor, that he would be the best husband and daddy there had ever been. Thank you for my wonderful present,Belle. I love you so much." Kissing her once again, he murmered Happy Anniversary Angel before sweeping her back into his arms and taking her back to bed.

The End

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:02 am #4

Southern Hospitality

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Last edited by Mrs.B. on December 16th, 2007, 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:03 am #5

Prologue - Chapter 5


Brady Black drove down the quite back roads as he was heading home. His mirrored sunglasses reflected the sun from his eyes. it had been awhile since he had been home and he was looking forward to a relaxing visit with his family and friends. His younger sister, Isabella, was to make her grand society debut at the annual Cotillion over the Memorial Day weekend in Salem.

Brady didn't often think back to the time he hadn't lived in Salem. When his mother, Dr. Marlena Evans Black was killed in an Amtrak derailment, his aunt Vivian had insisted that the family move in with her. After all, she was between husbands so there was plenty of room in the mansion for the family.

John Black was devastated when his beloved "Doc" died. His world revolved around his wife, children, and his fledging business Basic Black.

John was Vivian Alamaine's favorite nephew. Her invitation was a chance for his children to still have a loving home environment while he was off promoting his retail business. He gladly accepted the chance to move his family back to the homeplace.

Vivian was the last surviving child of THE Alamain's of Salem. the Alamain's could trace their heritage back to the time before the War Between the States. The family had always lived in the antebellum plantation called Wisteria Manor. Wisteria Manor was as much a lady as Vivian. She had aged gracefully as the years went by. The homeplace had survived the War, a fire that had gutted the kitchen, butler's pantry, and the conservatory, and the hideous paint job that Rolf and Bart and given it when they moved in when Vivian was traveling with her companion.

Vivian was quite a character on her own. The Alamain's had always been pillars of the community, lending a helping hand when needed, contributing and chairing fundraisers but always loyal to the family first.

When John brought Brady and Belle to live at Wisteria Manor it gave new life to Vivian. She rushed home from Europe and kicked Rolf and Bart out of the house. An interior decorating team had arrived promptly and went to work masking the horrendous mess that the deprived duo had left. After all, Vivian felt that as a leading citizen, she had an image to uphold. the wake for Marlena was held and the children's life was changed forever.

Brady thought that Aunt Vivian was sure to have a cold beer waiting for him when he drove up. He checked his speed as he traveled past the Welcome to Salem city limits sign. Vivian would definitely be in director mode this weekend. It was a fact that she ran Wisteria Manor with a gloved fist. The iron ruler of the plantation was sure to have plenty of social obligations planned for the first weekend of summer.

Brady was glad that his best friend was meeting him at the homeplace. Shawn Douglas Brady was his college roommate and would be arriving tomorrow. The friends were as different as day and night. Whereas Brady had the cool blond looks and blue eyes like his mother, Shawn was black haired and brown eyed. Shawn had come to Georgia on a scholarship and stayed hoping to get his degree in marine biology. Shawn had always wanted to work on or around water. That's why it was never a hardship to get him to come down to visit at Wisteria Manor. Salem was home to one of the largest lakes in Georgia. Shawn and Brady would both be taking advantage of the water sports this weekend.

Brady was going to be a corporate lawyer and work with his father at Basic Black. John's business had grown over the years into a major retail leader. Getting the best designers possible and keeping up with a young image helped to maintain the large profits John saw each year.

Turning into an Oak tree shaded lane, Brady saw the house come into view. Three stories and gleaming white in the afternoon sun, Brady noticed that new wrought iron railings lined the upper balconies. Stopping his jeep in the curved driveway, Brady got out and caught the flying whirlwind that was his sister. Twirling her around and around, Brady laughed as he kissed her head. "Tinkerbelle, I knew you were excited about the weekend but you'll have to let me catch my breath first. Let me stretch my legs after that long drive down here."

Isabella "Belle" Black had inherited their mother's delicate features. Blond, light blue eyes, and with a petite frame, Belle was going to be a heartbreaker someday. Brady just hoped that he wouldn't have to break some boys face this weekend.

Chapter 1

Vivian Alamain looked in the mirror hung in the foyer of Wisteria Manor. "Where have the years gone?" she asked herself while trying to see if any new wrinkle lines had appeared over night. Tonight, she had to look her best as Isabella was going to be presented to the society of Salem for the first time as an adult. It was going to be such an exciting evening. Just everyone who was anyone would be at the Country Club tonight. Vivian would be flashing her diamonds at the crowd along with her Basic Black designer dress. She needed to have her favorite papaya/mint facial soon. Calling out to her secret lover, she glanced one more time in the mirror before swishing her rainbow caftan around and faced the stairs. "Isabella, it's time to practice your entrance."

Belle came out of her room and smiled downstairs. "I'm ready Aunt Vivian. But where is Ivan?"

Vivian turned around and shouted "Ivan, get in here now! We don't have all day!"

Ivan Stancile hurried out of the large kitchen. "Forgive me Madame, but I was just checking on a surprise I have for you. You have been under so much stress the past few weeks preparing for this event and I just wanted to give you some pleasure." Ivan's voice dropped to a whisper as he raised Vivian's hand to his lips and kissed the tops of her fingers.

Vivian giggled like a school girl as she pinched Ivan's cheek. "Oh you darling! I can't wait. Now get in place so Belle can make her entrance." As she moved around Ivan she couldn't help but to pinch his behind.

Ivan jumped and said "Madame! Be very careful or you'll bruise my tender skin." Vivian chortled as she winked at him. "Later darling."

Belle glanced down wishing that she had someone to love her like that. Ivan had been with Vivian for over twenty years and stayed even though Vivian had been married three times, widowed once, and been divorced twice. He loved her so much that he was willing to see her happy with another man and still be her butler. She couldn't help but to think that love like that was only found once in a blue moon.

Belle started down the grand staircase as she paced herself. Step, pause, step, pause. Hold your head high, keep smiling, step, pause. Reaching the bottom she held out her gloved hand to Ivan as she dipped into a deep curtsey. After a moment, Ivan raised Belle up and as he turned her toward the large brick fireplace in the parlor he said, "May I present to you Miss Isabella Evans Black.” He stepped back as Belle used baby steps to walk across the polished hardwood floor. Turning around in front of the fireplace she stood straight and smiled to her audience of two.

Vivian clapped her hands while saying" Isabella that was a beautiful entrance. Now remember, John will come be your escort to the dance floor for the first father-daughter dance and then you can be with what’s his name." She embraced Belle and her eyes staring flowing.

"His name is Jason, Aunt Vivian. I was so excited when he told me he would be my escort. He seems to like me for who I am, not just John Black's daughter." She pushed Vivian’s turban back up where it have fallen over her forehead when she hugged her.

"Oh my little girl has grown up overnight.” Vivian cried harder.

Ivan rushed forward with his handerkerchief to dry up Madame's tears. "There, there dear. You mustn't have red eyes today of all days. Here come upstairs and I will get you a soothing gel mask for your eyes while you lay down." Striding back to the kitchen, Ivan was on his own mission: sooth, relax, tempt, and enjoy an afternoon nap with his lover.

Belle decided to go outside and sit in the shade while waiting for the afternoon to arrive so she could start getting dressed.

Chapter 2

Walking out the front door Belle turned and looked back. The Alamain family seal was the door knocker. It hung down from a brass hook that gleamed in the morning light. It had stood the test of time like the house had, from Yankee rogues to fierce thunderstorms. It was still hanging there greeting all that came to the door. The house itself had aged gracefully. Twenty large columns lined the wrap around porch and held up wrought iron balconies on the second floor. The columns were wrapped with Wisteria and Carolina Jasmine giving the plantation it’s name. Wrens chirped out happy songs high up in the vines in their nests. Two curved stairs led to the crescent driveway. Wicker furniture glistened with a new summer coat of white paint. Wind chimes tinkled from one corner of the porch.

Belle walked across the freshly mowed lawn to the gazebo under the towering oak trees. Sitting in the shade on an inside bench she planned on whiling away the hours until she heard the sound of tires coming up fast down the driveway. Looking up she held her breath. It was him.

A dark blue Honda stopped at the front door of the house. Belle recognized the car for she had seen it many times over the years. Her brother's college room mate had been coming down to Wisteria Manor for the past four years. For some reason she could not identify, Belle always felt like she had butterflies in her stomach every time she was around Shawn Brady. Shawn was tall, at least 6'1", and had to be the best looking guy she had ever seen. Dark black hair that fell over his collar, chocolate brown eyes that could make you melt while looking at him, and muscles that filled out his frame. Belle sighed, he was just built. At school on a football scholarship, Shawn made sure he stayed in shape by conditioning with weights, eating healthy, and running. As place kicker, he was not the most muscle bound he-man on the team, but Belle was in no doubt that he could hold in own when it came time to stand up for himself. Rising, she walked toward the car as he stepped out.

"Hi Shawn. I'm glad you came. Brady said last night that you’d be coming in this morning." She glanced shyly at Shawn as he took off his dark sunglasses.
Shawn smiled back at Belle as she thought to herself, "Ad one killer smile to his virtues"" Peaches, good to see you too. I had my last final this morning." he said, reaching out to in fold Belle in a bear hug.

Belle hugged Shawn back as she felt the quivering begin. He was the only one who ever affected her that way. "Well come on and sit outside awhile. Aunt Vivian is upstairs getting pampered for tonight."

Shawn reached back into the car while saying,” You’d think she was going to be inducted into some club the way she was talking on the phone last week." Brushing the hair out of his eyes, Shawn looked back at the house before smiling again at Belle. "I've brought you a surprise. Close your eyes."

Playing along with the game Belle squinted her eyes shut and held out her hand. Feeling a warm hand grasp hers and place something in it she opened them to find a half dozen apricot colored rose buds nestled in baby's breath. Raising them to her face Belle breathed in the sweet scent." Ooooh Shawn, they're beautiful. I love the color. Belle reached out to squeeze his waist as they entered the gazebo.
"I'm glad you like them Belle. The color reminded me of your skin," Shawn brushed a long narrow finger down Belle's cheek as he smiled into her eyes.” They also reminded me of my nickname for you."

Feeling herself blushing Belle settled back in the seat she had occupied earlier. "I've never understood just where you came up with that name anyway Shawn. I mean Brady calls me Tink for Tinkerbelle and Dad calls me Izzy and that's short for Isabella. "
Shawn stretched his long legs out and crossed them at the ankles as he looked across at Belle.” Do you remember the first time we met?"

Puzzled as to how that incident had to do with now she nodded yes. Looking up, Shawn met her blue gaze. "I was coming in from the first full day of practice with the pads and reading my mail as I was going up the stairs. I had my mind on what my Mom had written me in her letter and was not paying any attention to where I was going. You started down the steps carrying the empty moving boxes out of our room. I had known Brady was moving in that day, we had talked the night before on the phone, but didn't think he would have such a hot sister helping him. “
Belle felt herself blushing even more at the compliment. Looking away from his intense stare, Belle stared at the flowers in her lap.

Reaching forward, Shawn cupped her chin as he met her eyes once more. "That was the biggest crash and I just knew that as I felt you falling on top of me as we landed at the bottom of the steps that I had hurt you.” He smiled once more before continuing." I was sweaty and grass stained and here you were smelling delicious, like a basket of fresh peaches. Whatever lotion or perfume you had on stayed with me. I just thought of you as my own Georgia Peach. I hope you don't mind Belle. Do you want me to stop calling you that?"

Belle reached out her hand as Shawn was withdrawing his from her face. "No, I like it Shawn. It makes me feel special." Clasping hands they both smiled feeling comfortable with each other once again. Breaking the spell he had on her, Belle said "Let's go in and cool off with a glass of tea." Standing up and holding the flowers in one hand she held her other out to Shawn. Rising, he placed his hand in Belle's and walked toward the house.

Chapter 3

Brady sat on the sofa in the family living room turning the pages on the latest issue of Sports Illustrated while giving Belle's date a menacing eye. He had almost perfected the famous Black scowl that his dad always gave when he was thinking. Jason Welles was a jock who thought he was tough, but Brady had already given him warning to behave with Belle. He still didn't like it that Belle was "dating" but he guessed she had to grow up sometime.

Jason was moving and biting his fingernails when John walked in with Shawn.. "I'll tell you Son, it was the biggest fish I have ever caught on that lake. You'll have to go there sometime."

John stood over the seating figure waiting for him to rise. "I'm John Black, Belle's dad.” Holding out his hand Jason finally shook it. "This is Shawn Brady." Shawn held out his own hand while giving him the once over.

"It's nice to meet you sir.” Jason’s voice broke as he cleared his throat. "I've been looking forward to getting to know you better."

John raised his eyebrow while looking at Jason.” Well we'll see how tonight goes before we plan anything else. If I had a big date I'd be looking forward to it not meeting the parentals. Now where is the Belle of the Ball? Has anyone seen Belle yet?"

Brady laid the magazine down while Shawn crossed the room. "Dad, come on now. Aunt Vivian and Ivan have been fussing and pampering Tink all day long. If we caught a glimpse of her we wouldn't have recognized her under all that face and hair stuff. "

Shawn smirked a grin as he agreed. "I talked to Belle this morning when I arrived, but after lunch Vivian shooed me out of upstairs rooms.

Jason let the conservation lapse before saying,” Excuse me sir, "looking at John he cleared his throat again before continuing.” Is it possible that you and I could play around of golf tomorrow at the club? I'd like to get your view on some ideas I have."

Shawn looked at Brady as Brady held his thumbs down. Mouthing the words looser, Brady waited for his dad's reply.

"Now have I not already said we'll see how your date with Belle turns out tonight?" John Black did not like to repeat himself twice. Going to the door he called upstairs, "Isabella"

Shawn spoke up, "I'll go see if we can hurry Belle up."

As he started across the floor they all looked up as they heard soft footsteps.

Belle entered the room and stood smiling at her father. Dressed in a white satin formal she looked like a porcelain doll. Her golden hair was styled in a French twist with soft tendrils escaping and framing her face. Her eyes glowed with excitement and were highlighted with light make up that accented the light blue color. A soft blush tinted her cheeks as she twirled around for their approval. The dress was made along simple lines. Her shoulders were left bare as the fabric was gathered at her waist to make it seem impossibly small. An A line skirt flowed with enough flare so that she could move when dancing. Long white gloves covered her arms. John stepped forward holding out both hands. "You look so much like your mother tonight. She would have been proud to see you standing here" He kissed her temple before turning to Jason. "Now make sure you have her home before midnight."

Belle turned to Jason smiling shyly and glanced at him. "You look nice Jason."

Belle had been dreaming of this event for months and it had finally arrived. She had been smiling when she came downstairs but now she could feel the tension in the room and wondered at the cause. Turning to her brother Belle said, "Save me a dance tonight Brady. I know there will be lots of older girls showing up, but I want to have one with you too if you can fit me in."

Brady hugged her close and told her to have a good time and he would see her on the dance floor. Belle felt Shawn's eyes on her as she looked over Brady's shoulder. she didn't think she had ever seen him look good. He winked at Belle and told h to have a good time. Feeling disappointed without knowing why she nodded.

Jason reached for her hand and started pulling her towards the door. Well let's go." When they heard the large front door shut Shawn shook his head. "I'm afraid Isabella is in for a long night."

Brady rolled his eyes and said “Please, can't Belle do any better than that jerk? I'm keeping my eye on them all night."

John stroked his chin with his hand as stood there looking out the window as Belle and Jason drove off." He did seem like a jerk. If I had had plans for a big date, I sure wouldn't have tried to make time with the girl’s father. Being polite is one thing but smoozing up on a golf course is another. Shawn," he turned to around and looked him in the eye. "I'm counting on you to help Brady watch after Izzy tonight. I don't think she quite knows what she has gotten herself in. That punk had better not mess with my girl."

Shawn nodded at John, "I'll be watching too. He didn't impress me at all. I would have thought as pretty as Belle is she would have already been on a date before tonight. I'll dance with her later and make sure he's behaving himself."

They all agreed as they left for the Country Club.

Shawn held out his keys to the valet as he and Brady stepped out of the car. Music could be heard from inside as couples were entering the glass doors. Laughter spilled out the casement windows. Brady gave Shawn his own invitation to hand to the waiting attendant. "I sure hope Belle has a good time. I'm going to see if I can find out anything about this Jason. Someone here must know what kind of reputation he has. Let's head over to the bar and see what we can find out."
Shawn was trying to give Jason a chance before judging him. But for some reason he did not understand, he just hated the fact that Belle was on a date. His instinct told him this was not right. Looking around the room he tried to find the couple on the dance floor. They were across the room talking with other girls who were debutants as they were all wearing long white dresses. The other girl’s dates arrived holding out drinks for them. Shawn wondered why Jason didn't offer Belle anything.

"Come on Brady,” he said to himself" give the guy a chance. Wouldn't you just want to spend time with a pretty girl too." When he said that knew he would have been by her side as much as he could. Shawn thought Belle had never looked prettier than she did tonight. He was watching her when she glanced over and met his eyes across the room Their gazes locked and Shawn felt his heart stop. What was it about her that made him feel this way. He smiled at her and Belle looked quickly down.

Belle had felt someone staring and was trying to see who it was when she saw Shawn standing by the bar with a glass in his hand. She felt herself blushing even more than before as his eyes swept down the length of her. She felt warm and excited and breathless." Why does he make me feel like this? He's older and almost like a brother to me." she asked herself as she looked away. Jason stepped up and asked her to dance so she followed him on the dance floor.

By the time everyone had arrived the girls were all asked to go upstairs so they could have a chance to freshen up in the mirrors before being introduced. Finished with putting on fresh lip gloss, Belle turned to one of the other girls. “Your dress is so pretty Mandy. Where did you get it?" Mandy capped her tube of lipstick and put it in the tiny purse she was carrying. "My Mom and sister and I all went to Atlanta a few weeks ago and came across it at Gwinnett Place Mall. They had the coolest dresses. I couldn't make up my mind for the longest and then Mom said just choose one since we were running late." Pulling her gloves back on Mandy glanced back in the mirror one more time. "The gloves are the only thing I don't like about the outfit. I can't wait until we get to take them off for good."
Elizabeth, another one of their classmates, came by and said “Belle that Jason is a hottie! I bet you can't wait until we can leave to go to Inspiration Point." She was older by several months and had a more developed figure. Belle stood up and pulled the top of her dress up wishing she had larger breasts to fill out the top. Knowing that she couldn't change her appearance she turned around, “Jason didn't say anything about where we going when we leave tonight. I'm not sure what his plans are Liz." Elizabeth gave her a knowing look. "Well I dated Jason last fall and let me tell you can he ever kiss! You'll be melting all over the floor."
Mandy stood up for Belle as she could tell her friend was getting uncomfortable talking about Jason. “Well if he is such a great kisser and date why aren't you with him Liz?"

Elizabeth raised her chin as she replied “He did not have time to take me anywhere last year because he was all the time playing basketball or soccer. I wanted a date that would take me places and be seen with me. Sometimes he would stop by after practice and be all sweaty and it was just a turn off." Elizabeth left them as Mandy turned to Belle. "She's just jealous that you're with Jason, Belle. Give him a chance. I always though he was nice. My brother is on the basketball team with him and he comes over to hang out with him sometime."

Belle agreed but still was uneasy. Her first date just did not seem be working. "I just wish that I felt excited when he dances with me. When the band played that slow song and we were dancing," Belle twisted her hands together as she struggled to put into words what she was feeling. “Jason was holding me close and he put my head on his shoulder but it was like I was holding on to a piece of wood. Maybe I have just read to many romance novels and I was expecting too much." Biting her bottom lip, Belle decided to go back downstairs and try to have a good time.

The ladies who were in charge of this years Cotillion called the girls to line up alphabetically before going out in the hall. Belle moved to the front of the line as she heard the MC announcing her name. Descending the stairs she met Vivian's eyes as she stepped gracefully down. Rising from her curtsey, she walked across the room and stood waiting for the other girls. She saw Shawn standing with her father. She hoped he would ask her to dance later.

When the last girl was lined up they received bouquets of red roses and had their picture made. Then the father-daughter dance started the festivities again.
John led Belle out on the floor. "Are you having a good time honey?" He eased them out of the way as other couples started dancing to the slow music. “Yes, Daddy. It has been a fun night. I'm sure Mandy and I will be talking and coming notes all day tomorrow at the BBQ at the lake. " Belle said as the dance was ending. "Jason and I having a good time."

John gave Belle his famous stare as he told her to be careful and be home on time.

Jason walked up then and led Belle back to the floor. "What's with your old man Belle? I know what time I have to bring you home."

"Dad is not old, Jason." Belle started to defend him when he pulled her closer.

"Well it seems to me like I'm getting the third degree from him, your brother and that other guy who was at the house. What's up with him anyway?"

Belle pulled away from his shoulder as she looked at him “Jason, you know that Shawn is Brady's friend and room mate at college. Didn't you listen to anything I was saying on the drive over here tonight."

"Yeah babe I did. Do you think that your Dad could get me a job this summer in one of his stores?" Belle smelled alcohol on his breath as Jason nuzzled her neck and ear. Belle jerked back and then relaxed. She had told herself to have a good time and then was just something new. Closing her eyes she felt Jason's hands stroking the exposed skin along her back. It did feel nice she thought. Jason had large hands and they were constantly moving on shoulders and back.

"Let's get something to drink.' Belle was hoping to dance another one with him when Jason led her to the bar. I'll have another one and a coke." Handing her the glass Belle watched as he pulled out a flask and poured something amber colored into his drink. "Doesn't that make it taste awful?" Belle had never been around heavy drinkers. Aunt Vivian had her preferences for white wine with her meals and the late night brandy.

Jason just grinned as he said, "No it makes me feel good." I'm going to get another one. I'll be right back"

Belle watched as he stumbled back towards the crowd. Feeling a hand on her shoulder she turned around. "Shawn, hi are you having a good time?" Giving her glass to a passing waiter Shawn held out his hand. "Dance with me Peaches. I want to dance with the most beautiful girl here."

Belle felt herself blushing again. "I'd be delighted too Shawn. I was hoping you would ask me. Brady seems like he's having a nice evening."

Shawn held Belle as he laid his finger across her bottom lip. Stoking it one time he pulled he closer as the lights dimmed and the slow song started.

Belle reached up and placed her hands around Shawn's neck . Feeling his breath as he tightened his arms around her, Belle felt the butterflies in her stomach again.
Shawn's hands moved slowly down her back and then up as he stoked her spine. Following the path up and down Belle felt herself straining to get closer. Shawn's lips whispered in her ear "You look so beautiful tonight Peaches. You took my breath away when you came downstairs."

Belle raised her head up and met Shawn's brown eyes. They were looking at her differently tonight. They were filled with some emotion that she could not identify.
Losing herself within that look she sighed as Shawn pulled her close once more. “Thanks Shawn. You look handsome tonight too. The tux makes you look so ...." at a loss for words she shook her head as he watched her.

"I'm glad you came down from Athens Shawn. Will you be staying here for awhile?"

"Actually, I'm going to be working out at the lake this summer and interning with one of the Senator's aides. He is going to be campaigning for the fall election and one of his big commitments is cleaning up the environment and the lake is a big part of it. Do think you'll have time to share a coke and a smile sometimes over the summer?" He asked as he met her blue eyes. They reminded him of the water. Sometimes they were light and bright and other times they were dark with swirling emotions.

Belle smiled at him. “I’m glad you're going to be here then. It will be a fun summer."

The music ended and Belle hated to leave his arms. "Thank you for the dance. "Belle said as they left the floor. "I'm sure Jason is looking for me.” She really didn't know where her date went.

"Here he comes Belle. "Shawn noticed that Jason was unsteady on his feet. Looking for Brady to mention it to him, Shawn left Belle. Noticing her staring after Shawn's back, Jason said "Just what do you think you were doing while I was getting something to drink?" he pulled Belle out the French doors to the outside courtyard. "You're my date not somebody else’s.” Slurring his works he continued. "You're supposed to be with me not him. I saw you cuddling during that dance."

Belle tried to prize her arm from Jason's grip. "Stop Jason! That's hurting my arm." Belle twisted away from him trying unsuccessfully to get free.

"You were all over that college guy. Well if you can give it to him, you can give it to me. You owe me anyway since I went out and rented this tux for this big dance.” Jason slammed his mouth over Belle's lips as he grabbed her shoulders in a forced hug. Feeling him trying to unzip her dress, Belle tried to get away from him. “NO, Jason stop! I'm not giving anything to Shawn. He's just a friend."

Jason had been drinking all during the evening and his strength was over powering Belle's struggles to get free. "We'll see just what was just so fascinating to the big man on campus that he wanted to dance with you. "Kissing her again Jason pushed his tongue into Belle's mouth. Tasting the alcohol Belle felt like gagging.
In her mind she knew this was not supposed to be happening. Where was everyone. Wouldn't someone come outside to help her. Belle tried to break away from his strong hold when she felt his large hands touching her chest. Cold slimy fingers pulled her bodice down and grasped her breasts for the first time. Pinching her nipples and twisting them in his hard hands Belle felt tears streamlining down her face.

"NOOOOOO, HEEEELLLPPP ," she screamed as Jason bit her neck. He leered up at Belle as he said "Scream baby. Tell me how good this feels."

Then Belle felt the cool night air on her chest as Jason's hands and arms were gone. Brady slammed his fist into Jason's nose as Shawn gathered Belle up to his chest.

Belle struggled but then realized she was safe. Watching her brother as he hit Jason in the stomach she heard him say, “Tell me Jason, how good does this feel?" He hit him one more time as he dropped him on the ground. Jason had passed out.

Standing over him Brady turned to his sister.

"Tink are you all right? Thank God, Shawn and I got here when we did. "He reached over to wipe the tears from her eyes. Looking at Shawn he said thanks for getting Belle.

Shawn had taken off his jacket and wrapped it around Belle. She was shivering as shock as she realized just what could have taken place if they had not come out on the patio.

"It was awful, " Belle sniffed as she tried to stop crying. "His hands were hurting me and I couldn't get away."

Brady said "I'm getting Dad and then we're going home." Turning inside he hurried to find John.

Shawn continued to stroke Belle's back through his jacket. He was angry that Belle had been hurt this way and was just glad that nothing else had happened to her. He wished that he could have been the one to stop Jason.

Running his hands over her back Shawn led Belle away from the still form on the ground, Belle tried to get closer to Shawn's warm body as she shivered again. "Shoooo, it's OK Peaches. I'm here and you're all right." Soothing words and the steady beat of Shawn's heart as he held her against his chest relaxed Belle. She became aware that her nipples, that had been hurting with pain, were now hard points stabbing into Shawn. She also noticed that Shawn was aroused because she felt him stiffen.

Shawn tried to not let Belle notice that holding her close had made his erection start to harden. But feeling her nipples rub against the cotton fabric of this shirt and her snuggling closer was driving him crazy. "Belle," he whispered as he held her away from him. "Peaches, please you don't know what your doing."

Belle gazed into the chocolate brown eyes of her hero. "Shawn would you kiss me? Please. I just want to erase the feel of Jason's mouth on mine." Belle bit her bottom lip as she pleaded with him.

Knowing that one kiss would help, Shawn bent down and brushed her lips with his. Catching his breath he kissed each corner of her lips. Raising his hand he cupped her face gently within his palm as he bent once more.

Standing up on her toes Belle circled her arms around his neck. She met Shawn half way as she eagerly awaited the sweet pressure of his mouth.

Tracing her lips with his tongue Shawn was about to deepen the kiss when he heard Brady coming back. Stepping back but still keeping his arm around her shoulder, Shawn looked up to see John, Brady, Ivan ,and another man coming over.

"Get this piece of scum away from here Chief. This was attempted rape." John reached out to hold Belle as she started crying again. '

"I'm glad you're here Daddy. I was so scared."

John held his daughter and held out his hand to Shawn. "Thanks for helping Belle. Let's all go home. Commander Carver I'll call you tomorrow before we come down to the office."

Ivan went inside to get Vivian as Brady went to get the cars brought around to the front of the building.

Shawn followed John and Belle as he thought about what had just happened. His heart had just been lost to an eighteen year old girl.

Chapter 4

Five years later.....

The early morning light reflected the glistening droplets of water that sprayed out behind the cruising boat. The wind rushed past, still chilly in the early spring air, as the driver eased back on the throttle and brought the boat closer to shore. A few of the Canadian geese, still visiting in the warmer area, arose from the lake and took off for to a quieter spot to look for breakfast.

To anyone watching, it would seem that the man standing at the wheel was calm and enjoying the sunrise. It was not so. There was tension in his shoulders as he shrugged them under his leather bomber jacket. He felt that there was something going to happen and he could just not put his finger on it. He had had these feelings before. His mother called them premonitions. She and his dad had always seemed to have a connection between them. Each knowing what the other was doing, knowing when one was sick or in trouble, even being able to read the other's thoughts. Once, when he was playing football in college, he had known that his kick had been a winner before it sailed through the uprights on the field before time expired. Another time he had known where a missing child was that had gotten lost around a camp site when his group had been called in to help hunt for him.

But he had never felt that connection with any one person. He had felt like he was missing a part of himself. Maybe that was why he was still unmarried. He had never met that special woman that would fill that part of his heart. Whenever he went home to visit his family, they asked him about who he was dating and when was he going to settle down. He just couldn't tell his family that he was just envious of the relationship they had and he would not settle for anything less for himself.
Stepping out onto the dock he tied the lines and made sure the boat was secure before turning one last time to watch the sunrise. The light was changing from pale pink and soft yellow in the east to the fiery glow of the sun coming up. A new day and he had a million things to do.

Turning he went inside the log house that was the office for the state Corps of Engineers. The coffee that he had set to brewing before he had gone for his boat ride was ready as he poured his first cup of the morning. Adding cream and sugar he reached into his desk drawer for his organizer. As he was turning to see what was planned for the day an envelope fell out. Picking it up he turned it over and over before laying it aside.

A meeting with the county extension agent was set for 9:00 and then he had a lunch meeting with the Senator to work on plans for the annual Keep Troup Clean and Beautiful Lake campaign. Then the local boy scouts had to be contacted to do their part in the lake clean up. His fingers brushed the envelope as he reached for a pen. Glancing at it he picked it up once more.

Lifting the flap he pulled out the invitation on the cream paper.

Vivian Alamain had sent him an invite to her annual Spring Celebration. Each year she had hosted an informal party to welcome any newcomers to the town. She had always insisted that spring was her favorite time of year and she wanted to share it with everyone. There would be lavish amounts of food on the tables from delicate morsels that would melt in your mouth to more heartier foods for the men and enough beer or wine to float his boat. Then there would be dessert. Ivan always prepared more than enough for the town. Thinking about those two put a smile on his face. No matter what the situation, Vivian and Ivan had stayed in love and kept entertaining after all these years. Just maybe there was hope for him yet.

Chapter 5

From the twinkling strands hanging around the white tents outdoors, to the dying rays of the evening sun reflected in the glass paned windows, the stately
mansion glowed with lights. Waiters were offering trays with drinks and appetizers when Shawn approached the side terraced yard. Nodding to a few of the townspeople he silently looked around for his hosts. Spotting Vivian holding court under an arbor covered in the infamous Wisteria vines, he made his way towards her.

"Why Shawn Douglas, you did make it tonight." Vivian held up a smooth cheek as Shawn bussed it with his lips. Reaching out for a quick hug she whispered, “I’m
glad you could make it. You've been keeping yourself scarce lately." Gently reproaching him she turned to the ladies standing with her.

"Shawn, this is Ms. Terri Washington and Ms. Pat Bailey. They are here from the Southeastern Tapestry Magazine. They are doing a cover story about my home and our rose garden. Ladies, this is Shawn Douglas Brady."

Holding out his hand he shook both of their hands murmuring hello. "Your magazine has a formidable reputation. My mother reads it as far north as
Illinois. I'm sure you couldn't have picked a prettier place in the spring to come visit than at Wisteria Manor."

"Thank you Mr. Brady. We have try hard to please our readers." Ms. Washington said as she sipped from her glass of wine. "With topics from interior designs,
tea luncheon menus, to garden ideas , we aim to reach a wide variety of ladies."

Ms. Bailey nodded her head as she curled her fingers around her camera strap. “Is there any particular topics your mother mentioned that she might like to read further about Mr. Brady?"

Shawn shook his head. “I’m not sure. She always had a copy out on the coffee table. She would try to plant flowers that were in some kind of garden grid but
always told me that some of them wouldn't live that far north. When I would go home to visit, I would usually take her some pots from the nursery to try and

Vivian raised her lavender hat, that matched the lavender cabbage rose dress she wore, and set it back on her head as she said, "If you'll excuse us Shawn, I'm going to take the ladies inside to see my Great-Granddaddy's collection of duelling pistols. They have been passed down to each generation for over a
hundred years."

Nodding his head by to the ladies he turned to look for something to drink when he felt a hand clap him on the shoulder.

"Shawn, good to see you man. Where have you been for so long?" Brady Black stood dressed in a grey suit with a scowl on his face. “I have been waiting impatiently for you to show up."

"Brady," clasping hands Shawn was glad to see his best friend again. "What's up with you? You know I've been busy with work. Let the weather turn the least bit warm and some crazy fools have already started trying to water ski out on the lake."

Brady laughed out loud as several heads turned to study the two good looking men. Brady had lost weight and looked cavalier in his suit. He had started wearing his blond hair shorter than before and letting his beard grow out. The wire framed glasses added a more adult look to his baby face or so he thought.

Shawn, on the other hand, stood with his feet braced apart as long narrow legs were encased in black dress pants. A white dress shirt covered his broad
shoulders and the sports coat rippled over his muscles. His face and hands were bronzed already from many days out in the sun. Laugh lines edged the brown eyes as he smiled back at Brady.

"There are some crazy teenagers that are drinking and trying to party too much out at the lake every weekend now. The park rangers asked for my help to run
them off if I saw any of them parking."

Brady smirked, "I remember parking out there myself a time or two. You can't blame a guy from trying Shawn." Looking up he noticed his father walking in with a surprise that Shawn was going to love he hoped.
"By the way Shawn, did I mention that Belle's coming back to Salem to work in the Basic Black office here instead of in New York?" Brady was inwardly laughing
at the confusion and leap of hope that filled Shawn's eyes. Brady had known for years that Shawn had feelings for his little sister but had never tried to do anything about it. He felt that it was time to give him a nudge in that direction especially since Belle was back home to stay. "Hey, look there's

Shawn turned to see John Black but his eyes locked on to the figure walking arm in arm with him. A petite woman was walking beside him dressed in a long flowing
pastel colored dress with a matching apricot colored sweater that hung to her waist. Golden locks were swept up on top of her head giving the impression of
height. But the give away was her eyes. No other woman had ever had the light blue eyes the color of Belle's.

Shawn swallowed the lump in his throat as the couple stopped in front of Brady and himself. "Hello Shawn Douglas, glad you came tonight. It looks like Ivan and
Vivian have pulled off another terrific party." John said as he shook hands with the younger man. Noticing that Shawn had not even acknowledged him, John
said, “You remember by daughter, Isabella, don't you?"

Looking into the mesmerizing blue orbs Shawn smiled and said, “Welcome home Isabella. I'm glad you are back."

Belle felt the tingling that she had forgotten existed start at the base of her neck. It rose to her cheeks as she blushed under the ardent gaze. Meeting the chocolate brown eyes that she had dreamed about for so long, Belle replied, "Hi Shawn Douglas. I'm glad to be back home again."

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:04 am #6

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Chapters 6 - 10

Chapter 6

Isabella Black drew in a sweet breath of clean air as she stepped out of her father's Jaguar. Looking around at the Bradford pear trees she noticed that she
had just missed their peak bloom time. There would be time over the next few days to see the changes that had occurred over the past few years to her family home. Thinking to herself that she was finally home she gave herself a quick pinch. There would be no more mad dashes for the subway to go to work in
the mornings, no more hailing a cab for a ride back to the apartment late at night, and no more quick jogs through the park. Instead, she would be starting
over in her home town with an agenda of her own. She had the desire to bring the Basic Black designer label to a new level. She would be meeting with the Board and her father next week to seek their approval.

Holding onto her father's elbow she climbed the steps to the porch. "Dad, did I ever tell you thank you for letting me grow up on my own and become self
sufficient? I think that working while in college and being away from everything familiar made me realize just what kind of person I wanted to be."
Belle let her head rest against John's shoulder.

Looking down to the gilt hair that reminded him of his beloved Doc, John felt his heart swell with pride. "Izzy, you make me proud to call you my daughter, but also an associate of Basic Black. I look forward to hearing your presentation next week. But for now, let me just be your Dad this weekend. " He hugged her close to his side.

"Brady said that he would be here early to greet you. I know he wanted to come pick you up from Heartsfield but he had to meet with a potential client for one
of Black's subsidiaries." John gave her overnight bag to the waiting maid to carry upstairs.

Belle refreshed her lipstick as she put her purse in the hall closet. "I'm sure, if I know Brady, he has found some woman to monopolize while chatting about his
lack of a partner during social time." Brady had always been able to juggle girls and never mix up their names or dates. "We'll find him eventually. That
sounds like Aunt Vivian coming down the hall."

The years had been kind to Vivian Alamain. She had kept her matronly figure and still managed to go to the hair dressers every week. This week she had auburn
colored hair accented under a wide picture hat that matched her lavender dress. Her flamboyant personality was as colorful as her clothes.

"Belle dear, welcome home. Come meet my two friends from Southeastern Tapestry Magazine." Belle had expected air kisses but received a full squeeze from her aunt.

" Pat, Terri, this is my niece, Isabella Black. She's the marketing director of the Basic Black corporate office here in Salem. Belle, this is Terri
Washington and Pat Bailey. They are the duo behind one of the most respected ladies magazines in the states."

"Good evening. I hope your stay at Wisteria Manor will be a pleasant one." Belle acknowledged the two women. "I have enjoyed reading your articles and recipes over the years."

"Thank you. We have tried to appeal to an audience of all ages. Keeping up with current trends, planning new designs and showing the consumer how to go about
planning their own gardens and landscapes has never failed to keep us busy." Terri said. "We are also trying to raise the awareness of our readers on current environmental issues. "

Pat agreed. "We might just have to go back and talk to that young man, Terri, about his ideas on the river issues that the state governments are arguing
about. He proposed some good arguments our readers might be interested in hearing. Besides, why waste that gorgeous smile on just stuffy government agents. I know our ladies would love to see his picture." Pat raised her eyebrows at Terri and tried her best to get them to wriggle.

Laughing with her partner, Terri agreed. "He did have a good looking body too. I know the women on our staff would be ogling his photos."

Belle tried to follow their conversation but could not guess who they were talking about. Excusing herself, Belle met up with John as he left the powder
room. "Let's go find Brady, Dad."

They exited out the French doors and walked towards the tents where the food was being served. Several round tables held couples and familiar faces that Belled spoke to as she reacquainted herself with her father's peers. A younger crowd seemed to be
gathering around the bar and Belle was heading in that direction when she heard her father say, “You remember my daughter, Isabella, don't you?"

Looking up Belle held her breath as she met brown eyes that reminded her of pools of milk chocolate. She heard a deep voice say, “Welcome home Isabella. I'm
glad you're back." and knew that she had not forgotten just what that voice did to her insides.

Meeting the smile with one of her own, Belle greeted the man standing there. He was not a stranger but one man Belle had been hoping to see again. "Hi Shawn
Douglas. I'm glad to be back home."

Chapter 7

Feeling a blush rising in her cheeks, Belle looked behind Shawn's head to see her brother smiling at her. Pushing Shawn aside Brady said "Let me get the
first hug Tink." Picking her up, Brady squeezed Belle until she giggled. "If it's possible, you look prettier now that you did at Christmas Belle." Setting
her down on her tiny feet Brady couldn't help but watch his best friend as he put his plan in to motion.

"Now that you are moving back Tink, I want you to meet several of the guys who work in the office with me. I think you might like some of them. What do you say Shawn? Do you think Belle might be interested in Greg?"

Brady wanted to see what Shawn's reaction would be when a potential suitor was mentioned for Belle to meet.

"Well Brady, I always thought Greg was too much of a womanizer. I wouldn't want to see Belle hooked up with him." Shawn was already uncomfortable talking about Belle's future dates. Especially with her brother and her father standing right beside them. "Why not let her decide?" Reaching out his hand, Shawn pulled Belle towards the bar as he escaped without realizing that father and son were smiling identical grins.

"Whew, that was close. Thanks Shawn for rescuing me. I didn’t want to have to jump into the dating pool my first day back." Belle took a glass from a waiter
as Shawn guided them around the back of the caterer’s tent. He kept one hand twined with Belle's while the other held a plate of food that was filled with
all kinds of tempting morsels. Following the pathway that led to the rose garden, Shawn settled them on the footed swing built for two. As they leaned back against the wood slats, their feet automatically pushed in tandem to set the swing in motion. Grinning Shawn finally realized that his heart was starting
to beat again in a normal rhythm. Turning to Belle he met her blue eyes in a gaze that lasted until the swing slowed down.

Feeling bashful Shawn held out the plate to share the appetizers.

"I am glad that you came home Belle. I have missed you." Reaching out he tucked a loose strand of her blond hair back behind her ear and let his fingers linger on the outer rim. "Your emails were just not the same as seeing you here with me." Picking up her hand once again, he let his long narrow fingers move
slowly up and down and in between her fingers.

Belle let her fingers rub Shawn's as she bit into a mini spinach quiche. Sticking out her tongue to catch the broken crust from her lips, she watched as Shawn's eyes followed the path of her tongue. Butterflies flew rampantly as Belle quivered with a need that she had known only when Shawn was around.

As a child she knew that Shawn was a special person in her life. But now, seeing him as a grown man, she realized how special he truly was.

With the pretence of shifting the skirt of her dress, Belle rose up and settled back on the swing seat. This time though she was a lot closer to Shawn
than before. "You don't know the half of it Shawn. When Aunt Vivian took me away the day after my debut with the Cotillion Club, I didn't know if I would ever
come back to Wisteria Manor. It took a long time for me to be able to trust myself with being alone with a guy. Even with the circumstances being purely
platonic and innocent, I still had a hard time. My cousin Nicholas helped me a lot those first few years. He introduced me to several of his friends who were on his church league basketball team. I guess he probably threatened them with their lives because none of the guys ever got fresh. He's a lot like Brady in some ways.

By the time I graduated from the New York Designer Institute, I had already been working full time. Dad made sure that I started at the bottom of Basic Black New York and worked my way up. I had to start in the mail room, then work my way up to the cosmetics counter to sell perfume. After a few years interning, I finally got to actually work the sales floor. Over the summers Dad would come up and teach me how to work in the offices. "

Looking at Shawn, Belle was glad to see that he seemed interested in her finishing her story.

"Go on Belle. I want to hear everything about your life over the past few years. I came to see you with Brady one time, but you had gone to Dallas unexpectedly."

Shawn released her hand to lean forward and put the empty plate on the grass. When he returned to his position beside Belle he put his arm around the seats

"I'm sorry Shawn. I wish I had known. I would have been there if it was possible." Leaning back into the curve of his arm she scooted closer as he started rubbing her shoulders.

Shawn traced a path with his fingertips. Sweeping along the back of her shoulders, he saw her pulse beating rapidly against the soft skin. Breathing in
the fragrance of her hair Shawn wanted to bury his nose in the curve of her neck.

"Dad made me marketing director of the offices here. I have to prove to him and the Board of Directors that I can handle the job. Shawn, I just know I can do it too." Belle said as she looked up.

Shawn cupped his hand around the back of her neck as he traced her bottom lip with his thumb.

"I'm sure you'll do a great job, Peaches." He rested his forehead against hers as they continued to swing.

The tension mounted as Belle felt herself falling under Shawn's spell. She reached out with her hand and starting drawing circles on the black clad thigh.
Muscles bunched under the fabric as she felt rather than saw a tightening in his groin.

The swing slowed as Shawn turned to Belle. "Peaches, I just want you to know one thing. I wish that we could have continued where we left off the last time that I held you."

His brown eyes glowed with something that Belle wanted to see. Was it desire for her?

Reaching her own hand to his cheek, Shawn nestled in it while closing his eyes.

With a whisper to him, Belle leaned forward and placed her lips gently on the end of his chin. That was as far as she could reach without breaking out of his arms.

Shawn opened his eyes, flaring with need as he turned and dropped his head.

Stopping, with just a breath of air between their lips meeting for the first time in years, he waited, giving her a chance to pull back. A pause, as long as
his heart beat, and then Shawn lowered his mouth to hers. Softly he kissed her.

Once, twice, three times before he felt her lips move under his.

Belle shyly drew back, licking her bottom lip in anticipation. Raising her face she met his lips again. Feeling Shawn trace her top lip with his tongue, she opened her lips for his entrance. Barely touching the roof of her mouth and testing the line of her teeth, he drew back to nibble on her lips again.

"Shawn... Shawn, that was wonderful" Belle's breathless whisper floated on the evening breeze to his ears.

Standing up, Shawn held out his hand.

"Come on Belle. Let's go back inside. I don't want you to think that I can't control myself the first night you arrive. We have a lot of catching up to do."
He rested his forehead against hers once more before turning and walking up the pathway. "Besides, I want to go out on a date with you without brother along."

Smiling with him Belle agreed. "I'll bet that can be arranged."

Chapter 8

Belle awoke to the music of birds singing. It was a sound she had not heard in years. Usually there were sirens screaming and horns blaring down on the streets below her apartment in New York. Throwing off the covers, she ambled to the window to take her first look at the grounds in the daylight. The caterers were taking the tents and chairs down and loading them into a large truck. Vivian, already dressed in a jade two piece ensemble, was making sure they did not step on her flower borders. Raising the window Belle called out a greeting. "Good morning Belle, did you sleep well?" Vivian asked.

"Believe it or not it seemed too quite, Aunt Vivian. I'm sure I'll get used to it again. I'll see you downstairs."

Belle hurried through her bath and joined Ivan in the kitchen. He had risen and baked fresh apple cinnamon muffins and a bacon and Lorraine cheese quiche. Cantaloupe slices were garnished with green grapes for Vivian and her friends. They were having the magazine interview out on the red brick patio overlooking the side garden after breakfast.

Vivian had worked hard, actually planting many of the flowers and shrubs herself, to make her home more beautiful. The protected corner off the side of the home offered an ideal spot to showcase the spring bulbs. Dozens of bright red tulips, majestic yellow King Alfred daffodils, and grape hyacinths were opening their faces to the bright sunshine.

Ivan placed a coffee urn and a carafe of fresh orange juice on a wheeled tea table and rolled it out to the wrought iron table. Belle brought the plates and cups. "Please set the table for me Isabella. Madame will be here in a minute and will want to see how everything looks. She's a perfectionist." Belle put the napkins and silverware around the place settings as Ivan returned with the creamer and sugar dishes.

"Aunt Vivian is truly blessed to have you around Ivan. You take such good care of her."

Ivan looked up at Belle as he replied, “But of course, Isabella. I love her very much. I would do anything for Madame. She is my life."

Belle agreed. "She loves you too, Ivan. I hope that I find someone who loves me like that one day."

Ivan reached out to cup Belle's chin. "You are so sweet Isabella. One day there will be a young man who will catch your eye and you will catch his. Then you will go about a courtship and fall in love. Oooo love is so grand. Mooning over the look in each other's eyes and you see a sparkle that is there just for you. Such bliss you will find. Romance is half the chase. The other is the loving. " Kissing his fingertips, Ivan smiled. "Love is wonderful Isabella."

The ladies from the magazine were delighted with the breakfast. Ivan bent over to refill their coffee cups and take up the plates after they had finished. "I know I must have gained five pounds this weekend eating all this delicious food. From last night's meal to this morning, I am stuffed." Pat said as she stirred the creamer into her coffee. "I'll have to walk around the grounds today to work off some of this. Didn't I hear someone say last night that there is a covered bridge with a pond on the property?"

Vivian nodded. "My nephew, John and his son Brady, decided to surprise me with it one year for my birthday. I had always wanted one and when I came back from Europe, it was built. Actually, the road through it leads back toward our lake access. We have our own boat house and dock there."

Terri agreed on walking around later when they would be taking the photographs. She began her interview by asking random questions on family history and what made the Alamain house a home. Was it a fortress to all that arrived to stay or did others see it as a museum? Were there any times that were more special there?

Belle excused herself because she didn't want to spoil Vivian's hour in the limelight. Going inside, Belle started making a list of things she needed to do that day when the telephone rang.

"Alamain's residence." Her voice held warmth as she picked up the receiver.

"Well good morning, Peaches." Shawn's husky rumble came through the line. "I just wanted to make sure that last night wasn't a dream. It actually happened." Pausing, he cleared his voice before continuing. “You came home Belle."

Blushing at the thought of his warm mouth covering hers, Belle spoke softly, "Hi Shawn. Yes, last night was my homecoming."

"Finally, I've been waiting forever for you to do that." Even though he was talking more to himself, Belle heard every other word.
"What did you say Shawn? I couldn't understand everything you said." Belle carried the cordless telephone with her as she headed up the stairs. Entering her room, she sat on the padded window bench.

"I just said that if you haven't made plans for Sunday afternoon, then how about going for a drive around town just to familiarize yourself again? A lot has changed in five years."

Belle knew a lot had changed. She had noticed that Shawn's shoulders had seemed more broader, his hair darker and longer, and his hands seemed to have longer fingers that she wanted to caress her... Now where did that thought come from? Belle wondered silently.

Listening again, she heard Shawn ask if three o'clock would be a good time to stop by." That will be fine, Shawn. I'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Thank you for thinking about it. "

Shawn shifted the receiver to his other hand as he leaned back on the balcony rail outside his apartment. "I just want you to make the transition back to Georgia a good one, Belle. Moving can cause a lot of stress sometimes. "

"Thanks Shawn. You're always so thoughtful. That was one of the features that made you so different from Brady's other friends."

"Different? Different good or different bad?" Shawn waited anxiously for her answer.

"Different good Shawn. You have always had this amazing gift for seeing the best in everyone. Sometimes you appear to be real gruff and manly but underneath you've got a heart of gold. Like a teddy bear."

Shawn chuckled at that last tidbit. "So, Belle, you think I'm manly?" He was waiting to hear her reply.

Belle caught her breath before answering. "Of course I think you're manly Shawn. You are very handsome and I think you know that already. But, you have always looked for ways to help out other people. You're generous without really doing anything to let anyone know that. You do things quietly. You are a special man, Shawn. I have known that for years and ..."

Belle paused while trying to get her thoughts together.

"And what, Belle? You can't leave me hanging here." Shawn was glad he was sitting down now. After being impressed with her vision of him, he was wondering what else she would say.

Belle spoke softly, "I hope to get to know the friend that sent me such crazy emails and talked long into the night on the telephone, a lot better now since we'll be living in the same town for the first time for an extended length of time."

"Well I'm not planning on going anywhere Belle. Salem is my home. I have really enjoyed living here these past few years. Anytime you need anything you know you can call me Belle. Day or night. Here, let me give you my new cell phone number."

Reaching for a pen and paper, Belle quickly wrote the number down. "I won't lose it Shawn. " Committing it to memory, Belle knew she wouldn't be forgetting it any time soon. "So what are you doing now?"

Shawn had been relaxing on one of the vinyl coated lounge chairs that made the seating for his deck. “I’m waiting for Brady to come over with a few of the guys from work. Today, the Final Four will be played and we're all watching it together."

"Oh yes, male bonding.” Belle giggled as she pictured the guys sitting around yelling at the TV referees and making their own commentary. “Well, have fun. I'll see you tomorrow. I’ll be ready at three."

"Until then, Peaches. Bye." Shawn hung up and grinned. Sunday was going to be fun. He couldn't wait to see Belle again. But, he wanted to ask Brady about the guys her brother wanted her to meet. He didn't like the sound of it and wanted to nip it in the bud before it went anywhere. Going inside, he put out a few bags of pretzels on the coffee table before he went to lift the weights at the gym. He wanted to relieve some of the tension he was feeling while listening to her voice. Thoughts of Belle filled his head . Sunday couldn't come soon enough.

Chapter 9

Belle was unpacking the last of her spring and summer wardrobe, when Ivan came into the room carrying dresses on hangers. "Oh Ivan, I didn't mean for you to iron my clothes for me." Belle hurried over and took an armload to the walk in closet.

"Isabella, now you know Madame would have been disappointed with me if I did not help you." Ivan smoothed out a wrinkle in a turquoise suit. "This color will be marvalous on you Belle. With your skin tone and blue eyes, what young man wouldn't turn around for a second look?"

"Do you think so Ivan? I thought I might wear that on my first day at work. It's a confidence booster."

Feeling the texture of a silk blouse, Ivan draped the sheer fabric over the suit. "Well, I can see why. It's bold and beautiful all at the same time. But you do not need that, Isabella. You were born to help run Basic Black. A smart, witty woman like yourself full of humor and beauty, she needs no extra confidence. Just give anyone who disregards you one of the famous Black stares." Ivan practiced stroking his chin with his fingers while trying to glower like John.

Laughing, Belle reached out to give Ivan a hug. "That's what I needed to hear Ivan. I guess I have been thinking while I was unpacking. I have wondered if I made the right decision."

Ivan smiled as he started walking out the door. "You made Madame very happy when you returned. She has been wanting you to come back for years."

Belle smiled as she shut the closet door. "Well, I'm here to stay. For better or for worse." Wondering what she would wear when she went out with Shawn the next day, she decided to wait and see what the weather would be like.

Vivian was drinking a cup of tea in the conservatory when Belle came downstairs. "Well, darling, did you get finished unpacking?" Vivian had changed from her jade outfit to a dusk blue caftan. A matching scarf was tied around her hair.

Belle settled onto a chaise lounge chair and stretched out. "Yes ma'am. I have all my spring and summer clothes unpacked. I am going to wait a little while on the winter clothes. It's not as cold down here, so I don't have to get out my wool pants and sweaters. I am really, really looking forward to warm weather after all the frigid air and snow this winter."

Vivan nodded in agreement. "The bitter cold and wind chill is so harmful to my complexion. Ivan makes the best face masque if you are interested. He takes such good care of me."

Watching Vivan's eyes light up as she spoke of Ivan, Belle was envious. That's what I want some day. Someone to love me like that.

"Did your friends from the magazine get off all right this morning? Did the interview go over well?"

Vivan smiled as she buffed her nails. "It went very well. Terri and Pat are going to stop by next Saturday on their way back to Savannah. I am hoping that the Wisteria will be blooming on the porch so Pat can take some pictures. Terri said that if it turned out to be a good photo, they might even use it for the cover of the magazine. Can you imagine that? Our home on the cover of Southern Tapestry Magazine. What an exclusive that would be.

"I even mentioned that you were the new marketing director at Basic Black, so that's a pull for the company too."

"Isabella, where are you? Izzy B. are you home?" John's voice preceeded him as he came in the room carrying a small wrapped box. "Hello ladies. You're just who I wanted to see."

Sitting on the edge of Belle's chair, John handed her the gift. "Here you go sweetheart. This is just a little welcome home present." He leaned over and kissed the top of her head.

Vivian laughed as she clapped her hands. "Oh wonderful! I love surprises. Hurry Belle. Open it up."
Belle gingerly turned the small box over and over and shook it gently. "Well, it doesn't rattle."

Taking one corner of the bow, she pulled the ribbon until it came a loose. Slipping a finger under one side of the paper she was carefully unwrapping it, when John said,"Izzy B. You are just like your mother. Slow, slow ,slow."

"Every Christmas it was the same thing. Everyone would have already opened all their gifts while we sat around waiting for Marlena to open just one present."

Belle looked up at John as she tore the paper off. "How's that Dad? OOOHHH!!!!" Nestled inside cotton were two sets of keys, "Just what do these go to Dad?" Belle held up one set with the wireless remote keyfob attached to a keyring. Excitement filled her voice as she stood up.

John stood as well as he reached out to hug Belle. "If you had gone to college here in Georgia like you had first planned, I would have already given this to you. But, Vivian took you to New York so you did not need a car. Do you remember when Brady graduated from Salem High? Brady got that black 4x4 Jeep he always wanted."

Belle nodded as she hugged her Dad. "I remember because he taught me how to drive a stick shift. It was so cool."

John led Belle out doors to the family entrance. There outside was a new black Nissan Altima. "You realize Isabella, it has to be black?"

Belle giggled as she hurried over to unlock the new car and sit in the driver's seat. Rolling down the window she said, "How can I ever thank you? I was wondering if I could talk Ivan into taking me to work on Monday."

Laughing John sat in the passenger seat as Belle took him for the first test ride.

Sunday afternoon came as Belle applied another coat of rose lip gloss to her mouth. Well, I am as ready as I'll ever be. Now where is Shawn? Belle's stomach was already getting the butterflies once more. Just relax, she said to herself. It's just Brady's best friend. You've seen him before. It's not anything to get worried about. Hearing a car door slam outside her window, Belle looked outside.

He simply took her breath away. Shawn's broad shoulders were covered by a navy short sleeved polo shirt. His chest filled out the shirt as he self consiously tucked it into khaki pants. The pants were belted around a narrow waist and made his hips seem slim as he covered the ground with long strides. Dark sunglasses shaded his eyes but Belle knew they would be filled with laughter and mischief. The breeze ruffled his hair as he reached a hand up to keep it out of his eyes.

Belle picked up her raspberry cardigan to match her jewel necked sweater as she left the room.

Finding Vivian entertaining Shawn in the family den, Belle stepped inside. Immediately she felt the dark gaze fasten on her figure. The oversize raspberry peony print on her crisp white pants flattered her skin tone. Silver earrings and a matching necklace were her only accessories. Setting her purse on the sofa back, she bent down to kiss Vivan good bye.

"Ya'll have fun now. " Vivian folded the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution as she spoke. "Shawn Douglas, if you aren't doing anything next Saturday, can you help me out?"

Shawn smiled as he bent over Vivian's hand. Brushing her knuckles with his lips, he replied,"But of course, I'll do anything that you need, if it's possible."

"Why you scoundrel ! If I hadn't seen Ivan first, and I was a good thirty years younger, I would give Belle here a run for the money." Teasing Shawn had been a habit that Vivian would never break.

"Really, Shawn Douglas, my friends from the magazine are coming back on Saturday. I want them to see some of the surrounding area from the water. You remember, my poor Ivan, he gets sea sick in our garden tub. I just can't trust him behind the wheel of the boat."

Shawn tried not to laugh as he answered."Of course Vivian, I'll be happy to take them for a ride. Are you coming too?"

"I think I will let you be their guide. Isabella might like to go though." Looking at her niece, she urged her to go be with Shawn.

"Sounds like fun Aunt Vivian. I would love to go out on the boat. Just let me know what time next week Shawn."

Smiling at Belle, he took her hand in his as his thumb stoked her palm. Sending quivers up her back Belle squeezed his hand.

"All right, we've got that planned. I'll touch base with you to see what time will be good for your friends then. Come on Peaches, let's go." Swinging hands, Shawn led Belle out to his dark green Range Rover. Helping her inside, Shawn let his hand linger on her leg before he shut the door.

Driving off, he glanced over at Belle. "Are you OK with going out next week? I don't want you to feel like you have to do it for Vivian." Looking worried, Shawn glanced back over as Belle buckled her seat belt.

"Of course not Shawn. I would love to go out on the lake with you. If the ladies want to come, then that's fine. We can be together afterwards if you want to." Was I too forward? Belle wondered to herself. I just want to spend time with Shawn to see if I can decide just what is it about him that makes me so nervous.

Reaaching over to hold her hand, Shawn shook his head. "That's fine by me too, Peaches. I reallly would like to spend time with you getting to know you all over again. How does that sound?"

Belle was filled with a warm glow. Speaking softly she said, "I would like that too." Shawn's fingers played with her hand as he drove. It was turning out to be a beautiful day.

Shawn drove around Salem. He wanted Belle to see how much the town had expanded over the years. A new high school replaced Salem High. A new mall replaced Salem Place. St. Luke's Church was still sitting on one block of the downtown area. New wrought iron fences with old timey light posts surrounded the town park. Oak trees towered over and shaded benches made for sitting and observing the town.

"How about stopping for something to drink?" Shawn parked his car and quickly came around to Belle's side to help her down. "That's a big step down for someone your size Peaches."

Belle enjoyed walking besides Shawn as he matched his stride with hers. Stopping at an outside table at the newest coffee shop in town, Shawn ordered two lattes as he sat across from Belle.

"Well, what do you think so far? Think you can find your way around town?" He was stroking the back of her hand with his thumb again as he watched her eyes light up.

"Shawn Douglas, I think I can find my way around here blindfolded. If I can make it in New York, I can make it anywhere. But seriously, even though a lot of the landmarks have changed, the home town feel and atmosphere is still the same. I am so glad."

Releasing her hand to take the latte from the waitress, he captured Belle's eyes. His eyes were filled with hunger and a restlessnes that confused Belle. "What is it Shawn?"Belle felt a need to sooth as she became lost in the chocolate pools. Feeling as if time had stopped, Belle was aware that she could almost hear Shawn's voice in her mind telling her that she looked beautiful and he wanted to kiss and carress her. Blinking, Belle sat back and knocked her purse off of the table.

Shawn bent to retrieve it. When he did, Belle noticed a gold chain hanging out from under the collar of his shirt. As he rose and handed the purse to her, Belle gasped as she felt compelled to to touch his necklace. A tiny gold cross hung suspended in the middle of the chain. Shawn closed his eyes as her fingers traced the chain along his collar bone,dipped into the hollow of his throat where the cross rested, and followed the chain to where it reached around his neck.

Taking her fingers in one hand, he kissed each one that had touched him. Watching Belle's blue eyes darken, Shawn took one finger into his mouth and laved it with his tongue. Belle felt herself become damp as she tried to rub her thighs together. He gave a smirk as if he knew what he was doing to her. Belle broke the spell as she picked up her drink."I remember this. You used to wear it all the time when you went swimming and water skiing with Brady. You would never take it off."

Shawn nodded. "My grandfather gave it to me when I was in high school and I have never taken it off. He was very sick at the time and in the hospital. Grandpa had always been one of my biggest supporters when I was playing football. Our team was going to play in the state final and Grandpa coudn't come to the game. It was out of town, so Gran brought in a portable radio so Grandpa could listen to the game.
"The day before our last team practice he called and asked me to stop by and visit with him before we left the next morning. "

Shawn swallowed as he closed his eyes. Belle reached out and covered his hands with hers this time. "Take your time, Shawn. There's no rush." Whispering the words to tell him she would listen when he was ready.
Shawn leaned forward as Belle took one hand and cupped his cheek. Leaning into her palm, he smiled before continuing. "Grandpa gave me this necklace. It was his and I could never remember a time when he had not been wearing it. He told me to be stong, believe in myself, and to never forget that God was always watching after me. Grandpa would be watching after me too and he would pray that we would win the game if that was God's will.

Well, the game was tied, the clock was running down, when Coach called for time. There was only five seconds left on the clock. We had only one chance left to win. Coach came over to me and put his arm around my shoulders. Walking down the sidelines, "He said, Son, you just go out there and kick that ball and we'll all go home winners. But, if you go out there and kick that ball and the other team blocks it, well, we'll still go home winners because we have had a great season."

That blew me away. Here, I was a seventeen year old wtih the chance of scoring the game winning field goal and Coach just says do my best. Well, I walked out and strapped on my helmet. It was like I was moving in slow motion. I reached up and took hold of my cross and asked God and Grandpa to help me kick the ball straight. Then everything became a blur as the referee's whislte blew and the snap came. I kicked with instinct and I knew, I knew when the ball left my foot, it was going to sail through the uprights. That's when I was raised up on my teammates shoulders and everyone was cheering. We had won."

Belle squeezed Shawn's hand as she released it.
"That night, when our team bus rolled into town, everyone was there with banners, screaming our names and congratulating us. Dad met me as I was coming down the bus steps. One look at him and I knew, just like I had on the field. Grandpa was gone." Closing is eyes, Shawn swallowed the lump in his throat.
Belle felt her eyes grow moist with tears as she reached up to stroke Shawn's cheek. "I'm so sorry Shawn. I do know how hard it is to loose someone you love."

Shawn rasied his head and used the pad of his thumb to catch the tear that was slowly sliding down Belle's cheek.

"Peaches, it's OK. That was a long time ago now. He's in a much better place, just like your Mom is. But thank you anyway. Are up finished?" Standing up, Shawn walked around the table to Belle's side. Putting an arm around her waist he pulled her close as he kissed her hair.

Belle put her arm around his waist as they walked back. The warmth of his body was seeping into her side. The dark hair on his forearm tickled the inside of her wrist as they window shopped. "Let's go ride around some more. I'll show you where I'm living these days."

Shawn drove up to an old house that had been divided into apartments. "I live here on the backside of the house. Come on in Belle." Taking his key, he opened the door and flicked on the light.

Belle observed that the apartment was exceptionally clean after the boys night out the day before. "It's nice Shawn." She sat on the edge of a solid navy sofa with yellow and blue plaid throw pillows. A love seat in the same colors was across from it. A pine coffee table sat in the middle of the seating arrangement, with a few sports magazines and the remote control on it. An entertainment center took up one wall. Through a door beside the center, she could see into the kitchen with it's matching colors.

"The bedroom is down the hall and the bathroom is the door next to it if you need to freshen up, Belle." Shawn wanted her to feel comfortable in his home.

Belle excused herself as Shawn stretched out on the sofa. "No wonder Brady likes to come here Shawn, "Belle said as she came back into the room. "This is a really comfortable home. It suits you." Belle started to sit across Shawn but he took her hand and pulled her close.

"i would really like to hear about your plans for taking on the marketing department for Basic Black. Do you want to talk about them?"Shawn's deep voice was low as he stretched an arm across the back of the seat. His fingers began carressing the back of her neck as little tendrils of fine blond hair escaped her French twist.

Closing her eyes and relaxing, Belle tried to gather her thoughts. If he only knew how good that feels, Belle thought to herself. I wish those fingers would slide around....whoa back up Belle! Where are thoughts coming from? Blushing, she leaned forward to try to escape the fingers that were moving slowly back and forth.

"Is that bothering you Peaches? Do you want me to stop?"Shawn rested his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it as he looked into her eyes.

"No Shawn, it feels like heaven. I have wanted you to touch me for....." Belle gasped as she covered her mouth with her fingers.What have I done? She was upset to think that she was trying to push herself on Shawn, when she realized he was smiling and trying desperately to get her to look at him.

Taking her chin in his hand, Shawn gently turned her around to face him. "Peaches," softly whispering her name,Belle felt his warm breath on her cheek. "Isabella, look at me." Lifting her eyes to his, Belle felt herself drowning in the dark pools. They were burning with an emotion that she couldn't identify, but wanted to remain lost in it.

Belle reached up and traced his bushy eyebrows with her finger as she followed the path down his cheek and across his top lip. When she reached the bottom lip, his mouth opened and sucked her finger inside.

Belle's gaze flew to his as he leaned closer. "Belle, I want to kiss you. If you want me to stop then now is the time." Shawn waited for a sign and as Belle closed her eyes he softly nipped her bottom lip.

Taking his time, Shawn relished the idea of kissing Belle. He had dreamed about this moment all weekend. Ever since he had tasted her lips on the night of her return, he was eager to do so again. Savoring her cupids bow with tiny kisses, he waited as Belle begin to respond. With the tip of his tongue he traced her lips, licking at one corner before coming back to the seam of her mouth, His persitence paid off as he felt Belle's lips opening in response to his invitation. He deepened the kiss as his tongue swept inside her mouth. He tangled with Belle's tongue daring it to follow his back into his mouth. Slowly, with hesitation, Belle began to kiss Shawn back.

She felt a slow tingling all the way to her toes. Moisture creamed her panties as Shawn kissed her neck. Gripping his shoulders with both hands,Belle slowly let her fingers slip around his neck and play with the hair that fell over the collar of his shirt. Her fingers traced patterns on the cords of his throat as she kissed his chin and his Adam's apple.

Breathing in deep gasps of air, she looked up and was lost. Shawn's eyes were black, filled with desire, and she knew she was the cause. Raising up to kiss him again, this time Belle eagerly opened her mouth first. Shawn didn't hesitiate as he covered her lips. Sucking her tongue into his mouth, his hands slid up and down her back, moving slowly in circular patterns. Pulling Belle closer, he tightened his arms as he begin kissing the side of her neck He found that the spot on the back of her ear was especially vunerable. Tracing the outer rim of her ear he blew softly into it and whispered to her. Leaning against the arm rest of the sofa Shawn pulled Belle across his lap and up onto his chest. They both gasped as they felt her soft breasts crushed against his chest as well as her buttocks settling into the cradle of his hips. Ripples of electricity swept through Belle. Breathing heavily, she looked down and saw that her own nipples were hardening through the sweater. Shawn's eyes were drawn to the hard nubbins. He wanted to reach out and touch the tip of her breast. Raising one finger he touched the tip. Feeling as if a live wire ran from her breast to her womb, Belle didn't realize that she arched her back towards Shawn. But he did.

Continuing the soft movement of using one hand to touch her breast, Shawn began an assault on her neck. As he took quick nips followed by soothing stokes with his tongue, he felt her pusle race. Using his hand he held her right breast in his palm. Fingering the underside and crease, he teased her without touching her nipple again. Circling the hard center with his callous fingertips, he made patterns on her sweater as his lips kept up the seduction on her neck and ear.

"Please, Shawn, ...."Belle's voice was like velvet. She used her own hand to grab Shawn's larger one. Holding it close to her chest, she watched his eyes as she brought it to the crest. Fingering the nipple Shawn's eyes glowed as he pulled the bud with his thumb and forefinger. "Do you like that, Peaches?" he used his other hand to touch her left breast too.
Belle slowly opened her eyes, darkened with desire, and nodded. "No one has touched me since that awful night with Jason." Belle was embarrassed to admit it to Shawn.

He raisied up carefully as he wanted to make sure of what she had just said."Belle, you mean......no man has touched you?" Dear God, she was innocent! What a dream come true.

Listening to her now, Shawn realized what he must do.
Setting Belle back on the sofa he used the plaid pillow to hide his erection as he said,"Peaches, it's OK. I know how scared you were that night. I was there, remember? I wanted to beat Jason's face in so bad, but I knew I had to protect you first. When you snuggled into my arms, I felt like I was your hero."

Belle reached up and cupped Shawn's cheek in her palm. "You were my hero that night. You and Brady. That was the first time you ever kissed me."

Shawn reached up and held her hand, kissing the palm and feathering it with his tongue before resting it on his thigh. "I woke up that night and realized you were a beautiful woman. I wanted to hold you longer but I had to turn you over to your Dad and brother. Then you were gone. Isabella, there hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about you since you left Salem." Kissing her hair, Shawn rested her head on his shoulder.

Belle sighed as she snuggled closer."I know Shawn, I thought a lot about you too. Why did you think I wrote you so many times and emailed you so much?" Closing her eyes, Belle was content to stay beside him and just talk as her her heart rate slowed down from the heavy make out session.

Breathing in the scent of her hair, Shawn closed her eyes and tried to keep his thoughts at bay at how sexy Belle felt beside him. "I was always looking forward to hearing from you Peaches. Brady kept me updated sometimes. Vivian would mention your name so of course I had to ask how you were. I'm glad you're home now." His voice had taken on a husky sound as he continued to run his fingers down her arm."Now, how about those plans for BB?"

Belle sat up as she turned to look at Shawn. "Well, first of all, I would like to see the company began merchadising a new line of lingerie. I have been working on some designs and also have acquired the rights to a new designer if the executive board of BB agrees to the idea. This is the 21st century. We need to start growing in another direction.

"Not everyone can look like the models and tell me, who has time to wear some of those clothes? We need to start addressing the needs of our clientele, rather than forcing out clothes to them to purchase that they could not possibly wear except for special occassions. Also, I have a few ideas about a junior line of dresses that might be profitible too." Belle drew in a deep breath as she had spoken very quickly.

Impressed with her vision, Shawn smiled in delight."That is one more plan. I would love to be able to watch you give that speech in front of the board. I don't see any reason why they would turn that idea down."

"I don't know Shawn. From what I understand, they can be very closed minded about new ideas. I 'll just have to wait and see how they feel on Wednesday."
Nodding in agreement, Shawn stood up and pulled Belle up with him. "I had better take you home so that you can get plenty of rest before tomorrow. I would not want to be the cause of you not getting enough sleep before your first day at work.

Going outside, Belle noticed how dark it had gotten. "I did not realize it was so late. I forgot all about the time." Smiling and remembering the distraction, Belle felt warm all over.

"Shawn, I had better confess right now before it gets too late to tell you this." Belle turned in the seat as they were headed toward Wisteria Manor. "You will be the reason that I won't be able to sleep tonight. I will be dreaming about you and our day together." She was blushing at the thoughts of Shawn's hands covering her and how good it had felt.

Stopping at the family entrance, Shawn shut off the engine. "Peaches, I don't think I can properly do that statement any justice. Kissing you had me so hot and bothered that I am surprised there were not any flames coming from between us.

"I guess it was a good thing we slowed down back at the apartment. We'll have to take it slow and slide right in to easy." He rasied his eyebrows at her as he slid her down the front of his body as he helped her down from the seat.

Catching her breath as she felt his erection still bulging in his tight pants, Belle nodded."Good night Shawn. I really had a nice time tonight." Raising up on tiptoe, Belle started to kiss his lips lightly.

What started out as innocent quickly became steamy. Shawn used is lips to suck on her ear lobe as he carressed it around in a swirling pattern. Pulling her close he let his hands roam down her back. Cupping her bottom he pulled her closer as he spread his legs and raised so that her soft mound was even with his erection. Gasping for breath, Shawn smirked a self satified grin as he let her go.

"I 'll call you this week Belle. Sweet dreams."

Giving her one last peck, he climbed back into the car. Driving away, Shawn knew he had to go take a long cold shower. He didn't know how he was going to last until Belle felt ready for the next step. But he wished she would hurry.

Chapter 10
NC 17

Belle pulled into the parking lot reserved for the Basic Black employees. Taking a deep breath, she checked her make up one last time in the rear view mirror before walking inside the seven story building. The board meeting was to be held at 9:00 AM. in the conference room. The formal notice had been sent around Monday afternoon announcing that Isabella Black was the new marketing director. The past two days had flown by. Belle felt as if she had made a good impression with the staff. She had asked for their patience as she learned their names and what positions they held.

John had asked her to come to the petite women's section on the third floor, the first afternoon. There she had met some of the sales ladies as they were choosing clothes for an Easter fashion show for the upcoming weekend. The Salem Daily News reporter/ photographer was there to take a few preview photos as well cover the report of the time and place of the fashion show. Since this had already been set up, Belle just stood back and watched. She couldn't wait until it would be her turn to be responsible for a presentation like this to the community. Taking the elevator up to her fifth floor office, Belle glanced at her watch. There was still an hour until the meeting. Walking across the grey and burgundy paisley carpet, she laid her leather briefcase on her desk. Reaching for the fax that had come through after she had left the day before, she quickly reviewed the operating statements from the Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Franscisco stores. Booting her computer, Belle quickly pulled up the test market scores that she would need for her own presentation. She had been working steadily on this project for months. Belle had wanted to present this advertising idea to John after the day of 9-11 had changed her own life. Having lived before, during , and after the events in New York, she had come to realize that high society fashion statements were a thing of the past. Most people were still trying to get on with their lives, and would not care about what color was in for the season or high the hem length was going to be. Current status reports indicated that more and moe women were working to supplement the family income in a two parent household; women were working so they could raise a child without a companion; and Belle thought to herself, there were women, like me, who wanted to make something of themselves and of course since money didn't grow on trees, they had to work for a living too.

Belle looked up from her reading as a knock sounded on the door. "Come in" she called out as Brady stuck his head in through the open door. "Hi Tink, want some company before we got into the lion's den?"

Rising up, she met him with a hug "Sure thing Brady. But do you think it will be a tough morning?"

Brady sat on the corner of Belle's desk as he picked up her pen and started twirling it through his fingers. "The figures look promising going into late spring. We have Easter, Mother's Day, graduation and Father's Day sales forecasts to project. Then, there will be talk about the new lease on the building Dad wants to take over down in New Orleans. The fifth store to open under the Basic Black name will be big news when it hits Wall Street. The company stock will continue to rise. Investment firms call every day wanting tips. You'll be pretty big news too, Belle. Didn't I hear it mentioned that you wanted to present a new concept today?"

Walking over to the window, Belle looked down on the landscaped lawn and entrance way into the store. "Yes, Brady, you heard right. I hope that it will go over well too, especially with Mr. Callahan. You know he has gone round and round with Dad over the years.

"I know. They have butted heads on a lot of projects. Then they would meet for a round of golf and presto! It was if they were the best of friends." Brady took off his glasses and polished them on a handkerchief that was monagrammed with his initials. "How's Shawn?"Brady was watching carefully to gage any reaction from Belle. He was rewarded with a blush as she turned away from him. Things were going well then, he thought.

Sitting down in the desk chair, Belle started placing her reports into a manilla folder to take into the boardroom. Shifting one stocking clad leg over the other one, Belle was quietly remembering being in Shawn's embrace. Feeling heat flush her cheeks, she recalled how much attention Shawn had given to her lips and neck. She wanted him to touch her again. She wanted to see if she would feel the same way once more. Would her senses be enflamed with passion, or would the sensations have just been like a bolt of lightening,a flash of light and then they would disappear? Only time would tell. But, she so wanted to feel like that again.

"He's fine. He said that you and a group of guys watched the championship game from that basketball tournament on Monday night." Belle leaned back as she spoke, smiling as she remembered that Shawn had called late after the guys went home, to see how her first day at work had went."

He's going to pilot the "Black Beauty" for Aunt Vivian and her friends from that magazine on Saturday. She roped him in without too much trouble. She just batted her lashes and begged. Ivan gets motion sickness from being out on the water."

"Boy, do I remember that ! I learned the hard way too." Brady stood as he straightened his suit jacket. "Dad, Ivan, Bobby Joe Russell, and I were all going camping/fishing one weekend with our scout troop, when BJ and I were trying to earn our merit badges of living out in the wilderness. Ivan was so sick,he made us all miserable." Opening the door for Belle to preceed him Brady continued,"I sure was glad when we came home. Aunt Vivian met us down at the dock and I'll never forget how much she fawned all over Ivan. He ate it up too."

Arriving at the door to the conference room, Brady kissed Belle on her cheek as he said,"Good Luck,Tink. You'll have them eating out of your palm in no time. My money is on you."

Vivian and Ivan were strolling across the lawn when Belle pulled up that night. "How are you Belle? How did John like your presentation? Was he impressed with all your research and hard work?" Vivian knew that Belle had worked hard and wanted her to succeed on her own merit. John had always taught the children that they should earn their rewards, not just expect them as a reflection from having the same last name as the company.

Belle dropped her briefcase as she flung her arms out and spun around."Yes, Aunt Vivian. Can you believe it? Kate Roberts was here from the Dallas divison. She was very enthusiastic about the career oriented woman's wardrobe. The new line of lingerie with my friend, Irene as the main designer is still in a tentative stage." Belle slowed down as she held onto Ivan's arm until her head stopped spinning.

"Mr. Callahan was the hold out on this one. I have to have the line ready to be shown at the July show in New York. That's only three months until we walk down the runway. I talked with Irene and Nicholas both today. Nicholas has already lined up models for the show and will be coordinating it from that end. Irene has turned her loft apartment into a sewers room. We are going to turn heads, Aunt Vivian. I just know it."

Belle's excitement was contagious. Vivian and Ivan were both happy that all was going like Belle had anticipated. "That's marvalous Isabella. You must now celebrate your good fortune." Ivan escorted them into the back hallway that led to the kitchen. "Madame, would you like some champagne? he asked bringing out a chilled bottle.

Belle's grin lit up her face. "Yes, darling. Open it for us." Reaching her hand out to Ivan's shoulder she let it drop to his hips as she walked behind him. "I'll get the glasses. Isabella, I'll make the first toast to you."

After the champagne was opened and the glasses were filled Vivian raised her glass up."To Isabella, may your light continue to shine as brightly tomorrow as it does today. May your eyes still be as full of stars, and may your heart be as full of happiness."
"Here, here."Ivan cheered while trying to whistle through his teeth. "To Isabella."

Drinking the sparkling bubbles, Belle was glad that she had accomplished the first stage of her campaign. Now if only the end results would be as well received. She feverently hoped they would be.

Belle was stepping out of the shower when she heard her cell phone ring. Since she wasn't expecting anyone to call so late, she was hesitant about answering. Reaching for a towel she quickly wrapped it around herself, as she hurried across the bedroom. "Hello," She wished she had picked up another towel for her head as drips from the wet trails of hair were falling on her shoulders.
"Hello Peaches. How was the big day?"Shawn's husky voice filled her ear as she grabbed the phone with both hands.

"Shawn, I'm so glad you called. It was wonderful! I wish you could have been here to celebrate with us tonight." Belle breathed into the phone as she struggled with the towel. "Can you hang on a minute,Shawn?" Not waiting for an answer she quickly went back to the bath and slipped on a terry cloth robe and got a dry towel for her hair.

"OK, I'm back. Are you still there, Shawn?"

The rumble of his voice was sending chills down her spine. "I'm not going anywhere Belle. I'm finally home for the evening." Tossing his bath towel across the shower curtain rod, he ran a hand through his hair as he walked back into his bedroom."I tried to reach you this evening after I got in off of the lake but then I got called out again. I wanted to hear about your day." Turning back the cover, he stretched out under the sheet.

Belle reached up and blotted most of the moisture from her hair as she answered."It was wonderful! Shawn, I was so scared when I first went in this morning but Brady showed up at the door and broke the ice. When the time came to actually get up and speak in front of the board," Belle paused, as she stepped up on the stool at the side of her antique queen sized four poster bed. She continued speaking as she pulled back the comfortor and blankets and crawled in the middle of the bed."Let me put the pillows behing my head Shawn, and then I'll finish telling you the story." Belle was finally settled in a comfortable position.

"Then, they all sat around and listened to the ideas that I had and after a lengthly discussion, the board agreed on some of the ideas. The most important factors are that they are willing to give me a chance to expound on the idea of the more career oriented woman and what she wears. I have until July to see that this is a marketable concept. Then if it doesn't pan out, I guess I have to come up with something else."

Shawn was having a hard time getting past the fact that Belle was in the bed and his thoughts were betraying him. Shifting himself underneath the sheet, he tried to tell himself to think about football, the weather, anything but Belle alone in the bed.

His voice had dropped a tone as he said,"That's great Peaches! I knew you had it in you to knock them over."

"How about your day? Why was it so long?" Belle reached over to squeeze some lotion, from the bottle that sat on her night stand, into her hands as she rubbed it in. "That feels good."

Shawn groaned as he wished he could be holding her. "What feels good Belle? Would you like my hands to be stroking your back?" he waited for her reply as he shifted again.

Belle's eyes opened wide as she wondered where this conversation was going. "Actually, I was rubbing in some lotion on my hands but, Shawn," she took a steading breath as she whispered,"I wish you were here rubbing my shoulders and back." There, she had admitted it. Now the ball was in his court.

Shawn gulped as the sheet shifted on it's own this time. The bulge underneath was starting to rise. He spoke softly, "Peaches, I would like to take that lotion and warm it between my hands and stroke it down your shoulders, smoothing it in, in a slow circular path. What scent are you wearing tonight?" Shawn was about to see how far he could lead Belle over the phone and see if she would follow him.

"It's the vanilla scent from the cosmetic section in Basic Black. It's got a rich creamy feel to it and I like how soft it makes my skin feel." Bellle said this innocently but was starting to picture Shawn, stretched out beside her, touching her in places no one ever had.

Groaning, Shawn reached under the sheet to move himself once more, but ended up using a hard stoke for a minute. Breathing hard, he asked," Where else would you like me rub the lotion in, Isabella?" He had given up on relaxing.

Using her given name in that husky growl, made Belle aware that the cool air was teasing her nipples as the lapels from her robe had come open while she moved on the bed. Wishing that Shawn could touch her breasts, she reached up and touched the top globe herself. Not just the same feeling though, she said to herself.

"I wish you would part my robe and hold my breasts. They liked the attention the other night. I did too, Shawn. Then, your hands could warm the lotion and rub it in, going around and around and around until I can't stand it anymore."

"Then what would I do, Belle?"

"You would lean forward and trace the top with your tongue and then follow it..... with kisses and then....... take it in your mouth and suckle the crest until...." Belle stopped as she felt her pulse racing.

Shawn closed his eyes, visions of Belle in the nude, Belle wearing only a g-sting, Belle dripping wet from his mouth while screaming his name, Belle curled up beside him with her hair spread on his pillow, filled his mind. "Now, that your breasts have been sufficiently carressed and tasted, I think my hands would most likely try to rub you in other places to Peaches. I think my mouth would follow your ribs and stop in the well of your navel. After sipping from here and giving you time to like this, I would most likely explore further."Shawn was hard as steel thinking of Belle like this.

Belle on the same token was wanting to be with Shawn too. "My fingers would slip down and touch your folds. They would be wet with your love juices. I would slide a finger inside and then touch your clit..... Can you feel how wet you are Peaches?"Shawn groaned as he heard Belle's low moan through the telephone.

"Shawn, I feel so......excited... I don't know how else to explain it."Belle was whispering. "I feel..... hot all over, achy ...needy... and I wish......."

"You wish what Peaches?" Shawn ran a hand over his face trying to come to terms with the idea they were actually having phone sex.

" that ... I could ....touch you too." She heard Shawn groan low in his throat. "I would like to kiss you and make you ache the same way I am now."

"Oh don't worry, Belle. I'm in a very hard place right now...... I do ache for you."

Belle gently smiled as she whispered, "I'm glad you feel that way too Shawn. I guess we had better say good night."

"Good night Isabella. Dream of me." Shawn blew her a kiss through the phone as he hung up.

Getting up, he looked down. The happy trail and the good 'ole boy below was going to get a rude awaking in the ice cold shower. He wondered if he ran it for an hour would his body cool down.

It was doubtful.

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:05 am #7

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Chapters 11 - 15

Chapter 11

Vivian carried a clipboard as she walked the halls of Wisteria Manor double checking that all was in readiness for the magazine crew. Even though this was more of a social visit, she still wanted the home to glow. Did the vases have enough water in them for the fresh cut flowers? Yes, they did and no they were not leaving wet rings on the antique furniture. Did the window panes sparkle in the early morning light? Yes. but no streaking, check. Were the runners all straight in the halls? Check. Was there enough of those caffenine free sodas that Pat liked to drink? She would have to make sure Ivan packed some for the refreshments on the boat today. Sticking her pen behind her ear, Vivian advanced through the rest of the downstairs checking off each room. Heading back to the kitchen she sat at the breakfast bar to look at the grocery list Ivan was making.

"Do buy some steaks for the grill this weekend, Darling. You need the red meat to keep your strength up after last night. " Vivian brushed her fingers over Ivan's hair." Besides, with Isabella home, Brady will be stopping by more often. You know he has those hollow legs. You can never seem to fill him up."

Vivian leaned her head against Ivan's shoulder as he rubbed her back.

"Madame, if you were not such a tigress, I would not need to go out and get more fuel." ivan let his lips wonder up Vivian's neck as she leaned her head back.

"You weren't complaining last night Darling. " Hearing footsteps in the hallway, Vivian sat up straight."Shhhhh, someome's coming."

Belle came into the room, smiling sunnily. She was looking forward to being with Shawn today. Even though she would be sharing him with the magazine duo, it would be worth it.

"Morning everyone. The coffee sure smells wonderful. Can I pour anyone else a cup?" Reaching into the cabinet by the sink, Belle took down a large cup. Adding the cream and sugar, she stirred it slowly as she thought about Shawn.

She was determined not to be embarrassed when she met those gorgeous brown eyes for the first time after their erotic phone conversation. He had called Thursday while Belle was at work, to see if she was upset. Belle had been in a meeting with John at the time and couldn't talk. He had left a message for Belle to return his call. Belle hadn't been upset after their late night chat. No, she had been moved by his choice of words and the nuiances she had heard in his voice. That low sexy whisper, the groan that had slipped out from his lips, the teasing and tempting remarks that she wished would come true, had excited her to no end. But, Belle was unable to tell him that except through his answering machine. It was a fact, that she had felt aroused whenever her thoughts turned to Shawn. She was having a hard time concentrating at work. If only she could actually talk to Shawn, Belle thought, then maybe she could tell if he was just being nice or if he really felt something for her. They had played phone tag, much to her frustration, the remainder of the week.

"Isabella, you are very quite this morning. Is everything all right?" Vivian's voice held concern as she studied the younger woman.

"Yes, Aunt Vivian. It's just been a long week at work, especially with the move back home. I guess I am more tired than I realized. " Sitting across the breakfast bar from the couple, Belle munched on a bran muffin as she sipped the hot coffee.

"I stayed up too late while visiting Brady last night. He had invited some of the guys from his office over to his apartment and I was meeting some of them. I am afraid Dad will have to start looking for another corporate lawyer soon. One of the men, I think his name was Mark, wants to strike out on his own. I can't blame him though." Resting her chin on her palm she stared out the window.

"What did yo think of Brady's girlfriend?" Vivian only wanted the best for "her children" and she didn't think that the woman was good enough for Brady.
"Truthfully, I think he only dates her because of her breast size. It sure isn't her IQ." Belle's hand flew to cover her mouth."I really should not have said that Aunt Vivian. I didn't really have a whole lot of time to just talk with Mitzi. She was constantly going around the room making sure everyone had enough to eat or drink. She was a good hostess."

Vivian rolled her eyes as she replied."Well, atleast she has some manners. What about this man named Greg that Brady wanted to introduce to you? Did you find him attractive?"

Belle shifted in her seat, hooking her ankles around the wrungs of the stool. "Not really. I have so much on my plate right now with this big project at work that it would be unfair to string someone along."
And, Belle said to herself, I can't keep thoughts of Shawn Douglas out of my mind.

Ivan nodded wisely. "That is all right then, Isabella. You make your Dad proud first, then look around for a man. You just might find the one you are looking for right under your nose."

"I doubt that seriously, ivan" Belle rinsed out her cup in the sink as she watched Terri and Pat drive up. "Here are your friends Aunt Vivian. I'm going to go freshen up before we leave."

Terri and Pat were dressed casually in cotton pants and short sleeved tops. Pat had several cameras and cases with her as she stretched outside the van. Terri was finishing up a the last bite of a Nutrigrain bar before speaking to Vivian.

"Thanks again for taking us on this boat ride. We have been looking forward to it all week. The weather looks perfect."

Vivian glanced at the sky as she smiled her welcome. "I ordered this shade of blue especially for you. The humidity will be low. Did you bring a wind breaker in case it's cool on the water?"

Pat reached back into the van as she wisely pulled two out. "We tried to have all out bases covered. Let's go take that photo of the porch."

Purple blossoms were suspended over the light green vine. The early morning breeze caught a few of the blooms and gently blew them. Bees buzzed, sipping nectar as they walked around the wrap around porch. It was going to make for a beautiful photograph. Setting up for her shot, Pat began adjusting the settings on her camera.

Shawn pulled up by the family entrance as he glanced in the mirror. He wasn't vain, but he wanted Belle to think he looked decent. Not hearing her from her except through the answering machine, had left him aching to hear her soft voice talk to him. She had a way of biting her bottom lip when she was thoughtful, that drove him crazy.

Carrying a cooler in one hand, he knocked on the back door. Ivan opened it and let him in. Wiping his feet on the doormat, he went inside. Terri and Pat were both seated around the breakfast bar when Shawn entered. He felt their perusal as he lifted his sunglasses and rested them on the top of his dark crown of hair. Giving them a wave, he looked around scouting for Belle. Terri gulped, as she grabbed Pat's shoulder to keep Pat from sliding off of the tall stool. "Easy does it Pat," Terri whispered."We can look, but we can't touch."

Pat snickered at Terri's words."I am going to take a few pictures of him today just so I can remember this day forever."

Shaking her head, Terri just smiled. "Well, you and I both know that all the ladies at STM would like to see a fine package like that!" Terri started to say something else but gasped. She grabbed her chest and said,"HOLY THUD!"

Belle had entered the kitchen and Shawn had let loose one of his killer smiles that he held in reserve especially for her. Not even noticing the ladies, he moved across the room to take her hand and bring it to his lips.

At that sweet gesture, Pat had her turn of keeping Terri upright."Whew! Did it get hot in here fast! I would give anything to have him look at me like that."

"Hey, I saw him first." Pat was going to stick up for herself.

Turning towards the couple they watched as they spoke quietly. She was the first to admit that she didn't mind eavesdropping when it suited her.

"You look real good this morning, Belle. That's a pretty shade of pink on you." Shawn kept holding Belle's hand as his eyes roamed down the length of her figure. Letting his gaze linger on the soft mounds of her breasts, he was rewarded when her nipples responded by pressing against the soft shirt.
Raising his eyes once more to Belle's tender gaze he was amazed when he saw she was giving him the once over too. Leaning closer he whispered,"Like what you see Peaches?"

"Oh yeah, I sure do." Belle was determined to give as good as she got today. Tracing a rosy fingernail down his arm, she brushed past Shawn to pick up the picnic basket full of snacks and sunscreen.

"Time's a wasting Ladies. Are ya'll about ready to go for a ride?" Shawn asked as he held the door open for the women. Shawn's question was innocent but Pat and Terri both snickered. "What I'd give to ride him." "Ssshhhh! He'll hear you!"

They both got up still laughing and followed the couple out the door.

Once out on the lake, the view was beautiful. The lake itself was full. The spring rains had helped by keeping the pollen count down so the outer edges were no longer yellow. In the woods surrounding the outer edges of the lake, Dogwoods could be seen shining white in the sunlight while Redbuds took on their usual purplish hue. The first Azaleas were seen showing off their colors as cardinals and robins flew and sang. Shawn opened up the motor and turned out toward the middle of the lake. Following the river bed they soon left the views of any close houses.
After riding for an hour, Shawn slowed the boat and let her drift. Passing out diet cokes he smiled as he waved at another boat passing by. The current rocked the boat when the waves reached it. Pat looked around and took a few pictures discreetly. Terri smiled and engaged Shawn in conversation so the shots would be more candid. "What does a corps engineer do, Mr. Brady? Do you just ride around in a boat all day long getting a suntan?"

Shawn crossed his arms on his broad chest as he replied,"Well, right now our office is involved with the annual county wide Clean and Beautiful program. We help keep the river banks cleaned from trash and educate groups on the awareness of no dumping in the river. In conjunction with the July 4th holiday, we hold a RiverFest summer celebration. A committee is already planning this event. This includes a conservaton showcase of making people aware of the importance of the water quality and keeping our river healthy. Our local senator is very big on this project. We have conservation partners with many area businesses and industries to help fund this big project.

Shawn checked the drift of the boat as he continued. "With the increase in warm weather, we start offering personal watercraft and boating safety courses in the evenings, usually from 6-9, after Day Light Savings time changes. This course meets Georgia's new boating laws while providing information on legal requirements, navigational rules, and these in turn help to prevent watercraft accidents."

Belle finished putting on a coat of sunscreen as she listened. She was impressed because she had no idea what all Shawn's work entailed. His voice was excited as he explained the differences in planting healthy trees and taking out ones that looked good.

Pat covered the camera lens as she asked her own questions,"What's the difference in reforesting and just planting trees? I thought they were the same thing."

Rubbing his neck and taking a long swallow of bottled water before answering, Shawn turned his gaze towards the elder woman.

"When we reforest an area we do it with native trees to enhance a habitat for wildlife in the Riparian zone. " Terri interrupted,"What's that? It sounds like an area for snakes or something else reptile like."

Chuckling, Shawn shook his head. "Actually the Riparian zone is the area along the bank of a natural water course, like our on Chatahoochee River. Reforesting the trees here, helps clean the environment by removing toxic substances from the air,like ozone and carbon monoxide. They also help prevent soil erosion. The roots stabalize the soil while the leaves and branches slow down rain so the soil isn't washed away." Starting the boat, Shawn steered toward the shoreline where a few homes could be seen through the trees.

"The trees here in this area are beneficial to the wildlife. They provide a natural habitat for them to live in while also providing food. Think about where you live. Do the trees soften the landscape and color it in the fall?" At their nods, Shawn slowed down and continued with the difference with just tree planting for fun.

"You can plant trees for many reasons. They muffle traffic sounds while providing shade. Studies have shown that trees have a soothing effect on humans by relieving stess and keeping us healthier. They are also great support for tree houses and tire swings. I even climbed a lot of trees when I was boy too."

Terri leaned back on the seat as she nodded her head and turned off her recorder."You've provided us with a lot of information today. We really appreciate it too, I hope our readers will enjoy reading about this. Can you sign a waiver for me for the magazine?" Passing a pen to him Terri noticed a large red boat coming in fast. It had poles and baskets hanging all around the outside of it.

Pat said, "Who and what is that thing?"

Shawn turned around as the red boat drew closer."Oh that's just Robert Russell's boat that he hires out as a fishng guide. Actually, he has a pretty good business taking out guys on all day tours. You always bring home a good catch.

"I heard he was taking out a couple of actors from some soap opera today. They had some kind of fan fest up in Atlanta on Friday and they wanted to get away for a day after it was over with"

Throwing up his hand, he was surprised when Pat pushed him down. Squealing she couldn't move Terri out of the way fast enough. To their wonderous eyes there appeared a man with longish black hair and mustache wearing a black t- shirt and tight blue jeans.The other man had on jeans and a yellow shirt. He was dressed more conservatively of the two. Sliding their sunglasses back on, the men both nodded as the boat they were on pulled up next to the Black Beauty. Offering hellos, they smiled as Robert asked Shawn if he had an extra gauge on board. Since it was John's boat, Shawn went below deck to look in the engine room.

Terri began stuttering as she grabbed Pat's arm. Pointing she said,"Look it's Bo and Jack!!!!!" Pat quickly grabbed her camera and started shooting pictures. She was as anxious as Terri to see the soap stars.

"I just can't believe you two are here. Hi, I'm Terri Washington and this is Pat Bailey."

Matt Ashford took of his sunglasses and introduced himself. Peter Reckell did the same as he gave the ladies a wicked smile. "Do you want our autographs?" Both ladies were thrilled with this offer. "I just can't believe you are here." Terri was smitten. Pat reached into her purse offering Terri a tissue to catch the drool that she was sure about to fall from her open mouth.

After signing a blank log chart for each woman, Peter gestured to the camera Pat was holding ."Do you want to take our picture too?" Terri was so excited about this idea that she leaned too far out of the boat. Over balancing she fell head first into the water. She flayed around as Belle screamed for Shawn to come back up on deck now.

Looking for the life preserver, Belle called again for Shawn. Peter and Matt both saw that Terri was in trouble. Peter pulled off his shirt and dove in to help save her. Shawn came up the stairs pulling his shirt off. He tossed it to Belle as he dove over the side.

Pat was screaming save her, save her as she squeezed Belle in a death grip. Matt, after realizing his help was not needed decided to stay dry. He grabbed towels from the storage area to help dry everyone off as Peter hauled Terri to the side of the Black Beauty. Shawn climbed on board and reached down to help pull the woman up on deck. Laying her flat, Shawn checked her pulse. It was beating rapidly. Her breathing was fine just a trifle erratic.She was mumbling to herself. Peter climbed up too as he knelt beside Terri. Pat fainted as she realized her friend was all right.

Shaking the water from his head, Peter reached across the side of the boat for the towel that Matt handed him. "Peter, you did it again." Explaining to Belle and Shawn, Matt continued,"It happens all the time. Every time Peter meets his fans, they faint. Why did you have to go pull your shirt off? That probably pushed that woman past her limit." Shaking his head, Matt settled back in his chair on the red boat. Robert told Shawn that since everything seemed back to normal he would follow the Black Beauty back to the dock to pick up Peter.

Agreeing, Shawn turned around and started his own engine. Belle placed a seat cushion under each woman's head before she went to stand beside Shawn.
"Can you believe those two? Falling over themselves because they meet an actor." Belle laughed to herself as she brought Shawn a towel to dry his shoulders and back.

Taking the towel from her, Shawn blotted the water as he answered. 'I guess they liked what they saw, Belle. Some people scream for rock stars and my cousin swears that her Mom fainted for Elvis back in the early '60's." Sharing a smile, he reached out and ran the back of his fingers against her cheek. "Have you had fun today?"

"Well, it's been an adventure that's for sure. I don't know it I can take anyone else screaming and fainting today." Looking back Belle saw that Terri was sitting up and Peter was patting her hand. Pat also was sitting up, sipping slowly from a bottle of water. "They're both OK."

After coming to a stop back at the Black's dock, Shawn and Peter helped the ladies off the boat. When it was Pat's turn, she picked up her cameras and was taking Shawn's hand to step out, when she screamed herself. Shawn jerked her hard as he was surprised by her yell. Stumbling backwards, he fell over a shank of rope, pulling Pat on top of his wet chest.

Pat looked up and saw Shawn's gold chain glinting in the sun and felt the muscles bunch in his arms as he pushed her back up on her feet. "Ma'am is everything all right with you?" He was wondering what was wrong now.

Pat wailed as she said,"The whole time I was taking pictures I had the lens cap on. Now I won't have any photos of Peter or Matt." Raising her watered blue eyes to look up at Shawn and Peter, she felt fresh tears starting to flow.

Peter took over the converstation then. "Pat, if i can call you that, how about you give Matt and myself your names and addresses. We will see that you both receive autographed photos from the fan fest or a picture from the set at the studio."

Pat's tears dried up with that suggestion. Terri even began to speak coherently once more.

"Oh thank you so much. We will treasure it always." Terri held on to Peter's hand shaking it and not letting go.

When Robert's boat pulled in, Peter hurried away from the group and climbed back in the red boat. "Take care ladies. It was nice to meet you both." Matt took their names and their addresses down before they left.

Walking back to Shawn's Range Rover, Terri said, "I am never going to wash this hand ever again."
Reaching up she laid her cheek against her palm of the hand that Peter had shaken.

Pat agreed. "That was so, so , so wonderful. Can you believe it? We met Bo and Jack." Both ladies began jumping up and down, holding hands and squealing again. "Just wait until the staff hears this story. But we'll have the autographs and the pictures to prove it really did happen."

When they arrived back at Wisteria Manor, Shawn detained Belle as she was walking inside. "Peaches, I'm going to take off now. I'm going to go change clothes. Do you have any plans for tonight?"

Belle was hopeful that Shawn was going to ask her out again. "I haven't made any yet. I went over and visited with Brady last night."

Shawn smiled as he cupped his hand behind her neck. "Good, then how would you like to come over and grill out tonight?" Leaning forward he whispered, "and you cannot bring anyone else. No magazine ladies or cameras either."Smiling, he touched his forehead to Belle's.

"I agree Shawn. I just want it to be us tonight. Can I bring anything?" Belle's eyes were sparkling with excitement.

"Just yourself Peaches. I'll come by around 6:30. Until then." He gave her a quick peck but was not satisfied until he stroked his tongue along the seam of her lips and they parted for a brief tasting.

Looking up into her beautiful blue eyes, Shawn felt his breath catch. Belle's eyes were filled with longing and maybe, just maybe he thought, she was finally realizing that they had something special going on between them. He sure hoped so. He had waited forever for Belle to grow up.

Chapter 12
Rated R

Shawn slipped into a soft yellow shirt as he walked into the kitchen. Checking the potatoes that were baking in the oven, he glanced at the timer and noted that he still had thirty minutes to wait until it was time to go pick up Belle. He put the butterfly porkchops in to marinade and pourred the dressing over the cole slaw. Putting both food items back in the refrigerator, he finished buttoning the shirt. Shawn reached into the cabinets and pulled out plates and glasses. Checking for missing chips and to make sure they were clean, he went ahead and set the table. Did he want Belle to sit beside him or across from him? If she sat across from him, Shawn could easily reach across the table and play with her fingers. But, if he happened to sit next to her, then he could accidently brush his leg against hers. Deciding it would look better to began sitting across from each other, Shawn placed two small candles that he had picked up earlier in the grocery store in the middle of the table. Walking outside, he poured the Match Lite into the grill and arranged the briskets so that they could be easily lit. Whistling a tune, he stepped back inside to check his selection of CD's for the night. Choosing several old classics, he programmed his stero before heading back to the bathroom to splash on some cologne. Picking up his car keys, Shawn headed out the door.

Driving down the street, Shawn turned the radio on to the local Atlanta station he usually listened to on his way to work. Rod Stewart's version of "Tonight's the Night" filled the air waves. Humming along with the lyrics, Shawn thought to himself.'Yeah, I wish tonight would be the night with Belle. But we are no where near ready for that stage yet in our relationship. Even though my body says yes, it's time, Belle still is too shy. She sure can kiss though when she warms up. I wonder how she will taste?' Feeling his body respond to his wayward sexual thoughts, Shawn shifted in the seat and turned on the Braves game. Thinking about the action on the baseball diamond took his mind off of Belle until he pulled into the oak lined driveway.

Vivian and Ivan were trying to play croquet on the front lawn. Ivan was trying his best to make a shot but Vivian kept distracting him. Reaching around to take the mallet away from him, Vivian kissed him on his cheek. Belle was sitting on one of the wicker chairs on the wrap around porch watching the action when Shawn pulled up in the crescent driveway. Opening the Range Rover's door, he headed toward the porch. "Be careful Shawn, there's a wren up here flying around the Wisteria and Carolina Jasmine. She's darting about so much ,she must have a nest full of eggs." Belle called out as Shawn climbed up one side of the twin stairs.

Ducking his dark head, Shawn stepped up on the porch and made his way over to Belle. Dropping down onto the wicker love seat, Shawn looked up at the tiny flying bird. "Well you know what they always say. Spring is definetly mating season."Giving Belle one of his trade mark grins as he gave her a saucy wink, he added,"Give it a couple of weeks and you'll have baby birds chirping everytime you open the door.

Belle quickly agreed as Ivan and Vivian came up the steps.

"Hello Shawn Douglas, how are you this evening?" Ivan sat on the porch rail as Vivian settled in the other wicker chair.

"Pretty good Ivan. Did your friends head back to Savannah?" Shawn asked. He wondered if the magazine duo were still around.

Vivian laughed as she said, "Yes they did Shawn, but I heard about what happened this morning. I am so sorry that the boat ride was spoiled when Terri fell into the lake. Then you had to jump in and help rescue her." Vivian rubbed her temples at the tension she felt there. "I hope they don't make a mention of it when they publish that article on our home. That was so dreadful. But, wasn't it convinent that Robert's boat happened along when it did? Pat told me that some fellow jumped in to help rescue Terri. I'm glad she was not seriously hurt. Could you imagine it if a total stranger had to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation? I would never forgive myself if anything had happened to her."

Vivian was totally unaware that Terri had over balanced herself and fell into the water, Shawn thought. And the way Terri had been acting, she would probably have loved the life saving techniques if they had to have been used. Image that, falling for a celebrity like that. He would have thought that the magazine ladies would have been used to meeting celebrities all the time.

Shaking his head at Belle, they motioned to both keep silent about the real events of the morning.

"Peaches, are you about ready to go? I've got the grill already lit."Shawn stood up, putting his hands in his front pockets. The material of his dockers, stretched across his hips flattering his buttocks, as he turned to make sure the wren was not going to dart back and hit him in the head.

Rising, Belle slipped her feet into a pair of tan sandals and joined Shawn as he walked down the steps. "Bye Aunt Vivian, Ivan. I'll be home later."

Following Shawn to the car, Belle took his offered hand as she climbed up into the auto. Feeling a quick jolt, Belle glanced at Shawn to see if he had felt the electricity between their joined fingers. Shawn looked at Belle as he brought her fingers up to his mouth. Kissing them gently, he let them go long enough to enter from the other side. After starting the motor and shifting gears, Shawn once again reached for her hand. "I like the way this feels Belle. Your hand is so small in comparison to mine." Brushing his lips once more on her fingers, Shawn looked deep into Belle's eyes as they stopped at an intersection. "Your hand is so delicate and creamy whereas mine is rough and calloused."

Belle used her other hand to lightly trace her fingertip over the back of the tanned skin. "Shawn, you hand is beautiful too." Turning it over in her hands, Belle said,"Your palm shows that you are hard working, care very much for your family, love the water, have a mild interest in sports, Wait, that's a lot of interest in sports," she grinned up at Shawn as she continued, "and you will live long and prosper."

Shawn raised an eyebrow up in imitation of Mr.Spock,"So does that mean I'm a Vulcan too?" Driving down the tree shaded street, he kept a tight hold of her hand and brought it to rest on his thigh.
Belle felt the taunt muscles reflex in his leg as she rested her palm on top of his thigh. "No, it's the only fortune I could think of on the spur of the moment." Smiling back she gently started carressing his leg. Her fingers smoothed the fabric down to his knee and back up.

"Well, I don't know about you Belle, but I think I could have come up with something else."

"Like what Shawn?" Belle looked up from under her lashes and flashed him a flirty glance with her sparkling blue eyes.

"How about this? You will spend the evening with a beautiful woman and receive lots and lots of kisses, have your every wish granted, and win the lottery tonight." Shawn reached down and grabbed Belle's hand as she brought it back up his leg. "Peaches, you are not playing fair. If you want to get home and have a nice dinner you are going to have to behave for awhile." Shawn's eyes glittered with arousal as he kissed her fingertips.

Belle looked up and blushed. "I'm sorry Shawn. I didn't mean to tease you. But your fortune does sound much better than my version. If you are lucky, some of it might just come true." She couldn't help but tease him a little bit. "Do you feel lucky Mr. Brady?"

Shawn pulled into his driveway and stopped the vehicle. Reaching over he cupped the back of Belle's neck and leaned over the gear shift. Belle met him halfway as she eagerly kissed Shawn. Lifting her hand to hold his cheek, Belle opened her lips as Shawn deepened the soft embrace. Tracing her upper lip one last time, Shawn eased back into his seat and shook his head. "Belle, you are so amazing. I could stay here all evening and kiss you."

"The neighbors would probably have something to say about that."Belle said as two people came out of the bottom apartment door."Let's go inside and get something cool to drink."

Shawn helped Belle out as they went inside. "I don't think a gallon of ice tea would help me right now. For such a small woman, Peaches, you sure do pack some explosives when you kiss me.Whew!"

Belle reached out and slapped Shawn's arm as they walked inside. "You could say the same thing about yourself. You're pretty hot too.'Grinning at each other they called a truce.

After the delicous meal, Shawn introduced Belle to his family through the photographs on his entertainment center. Belle held a framed picture of a dark haired man and woman sitting close together in a booth. Looking at their faces she could see parts of Shawn in each of them. "These are my parents, Bo and Hope Brady. It was taken at my grandparents pub. Dad's a police officer and Mom is a stay at home mother these days.She used to be a model before getting married. " Picking up another picture, Shawn said, "These two characters are my fraternal twin brothers. Zack and JT."

Belle reached for the frame as her fingers brushed against Shawn's hand. "There sure does seem to be a big age difference between you. How old are your brothers?"

Shawn traced a finger on JT's face as he set it back on the shelf."Mom had them when I was 16. They are a mess. I sure do miss them too. They can get into so much mischief."

"They have your eyes. I always wanted a younger brother or sister but it just wasn't meant to be."
Shawn rested his hand on her shoulder as he squeezed it. "Well they are a handfull. Dad is coaching their little league team this spring. JT plays hindcatcher and Zach is short stop."

"Who is this with you Shawn? You look very young in this picture? Was this when you were in high shcool?" Belle looked at a young Shawn Douglas sitting on the arm of a wing back chair with an older gentleman. "It looks like it's Christmas time."

Shawn's arm encircled Belle's waist as he pulled her close to his side. "I was a junior in high school when this was taken. That's my grandfather, Tom Horton. That was the last Christmas we celebrated with him. He died in December of my senior year." Leading Belle to the sofa, they sat down. "It's a family tradition that each year we go to Gran's house and decorate her tree on Christmas Eve. Every member of the family has their own special ornament." Shawn leaned against the cushioned back and pulled Belle into the circle of his arm. "Gran's oldest child and their family start with the first ornamaents. Then Mom will hang her own mother's ornament along with Grandpa Doug and Julie." Belle interuppted,"You were named after your grandfather? That's sweet." Shawn chuckled as he said, "Well you are going to love this. I was actually named after my two grandfathers. Dad's father is Shawn Brady and Mom's Dad is Doug Williams. So, I got a double name. Shawn Douglas Brady."

Reaching out to touch his hand, Belle stroked her fingertips over the skin, soothing as he relaxed. "That's nice Shawn. Thank you for telling me about your family. I know Brady and Dad have both visited with you in your home town and met your parents."

Shawn shifted his head so that Belle's head nestled under his chin. His fingers were drawn to her light hair, twining in the loose strands that escaped from her upsweep. Rubbing her ear ever so often, he felt her tremble when he did it again. "Maybe one day you can come visit too, Peaches. I think everyone would love you. I know my brothers would." Belle sighed as Shawn's hand continued to knead her neck and shoulder. "That feels so wonderful. I know I told you earlier that you had nice hands. I don't know it if's because they are so large and strong, but whatever it is they are pure magic."Closing her eyes, Belle leaned forward so that the strong fingers could continue the massage.

"Magic huh?" Shawn had an idea he wanted to try. "Well how about this? Hocus Pocus." After saying the words, Belle felt the blond locks waterfall as Shawn held up the large barrette that had kept her hair up all night. "I have wanted to feel your hair in my hands for over a week now." Shawn turned Belle so that he could take her hair and tunnel his hands through it. Watching the golden strands reflect the light from the floor lamp, Shawn thought it resembled melted gold. "It's beautiful Isabella."

Catching her tongue between her teeth, Belle stopped the tiny moan from escaping. Wanting Shawn to be as aware of himself like he had made her feel, Belle traced the soft pads of her fingers over his cheek bones. Placing a foot underneath her hip, Belle raised up and kissed his closed eyes. Softly, she let her lips travel from one cheek to the other. Rimming the outer shell of his ear with the curl of her tongue, Belle dipped inside before nipping the tiny golden hoop that hung from his earlobe.

Shawn groaned as he felt his body respond to the innocent kisses. Deciding that payback was going to be fun, Shawn took his own sweet time about giving Belle what she wanted. He began his seduction by pulling her into his lap and letting her feel the evidence of his arousal. Swallowing her gasp, Shawn closed his mouth over the cords in her neck. Sucking and then following with soothing strokes with his tongue, he gave quick nips that sent chills up and down her spine. Arching her neck to give him more room, Belle's pulse was racing underneath the moist heat. She felt like her skin was on fire and only Shawn could put it out. But the infero was building, not diminishing.

Coming to her lips for the first time since they had come inside, Shawn dove in. Belle's response was so open. He did not seem to be able to get enough of her kisses. Sinking into the void his tongue tangled with her in a wild tango. He led and she followed. Raising his eyes he looked down at her swollen lips and groaned. Clutching the golden stands once more, he slanted his lips for a deeper angle to taste more of the slow, wet kisses. His erection was prodding against the pants fabric and with Belle twisting on his lap, the pressure was getting to be unbearable. Wanting to settle Belle more fully on his lap he grasped her hips and lifted the petite figure until she straddled his legs. Belle gasped as she felt the stiffened hardness press upwards into the cradle of her thighs. Moisture dripped and creamed her panties as the thin silk teased her heated center. Moaning as Shawn thrust up, Belle desparately tried to spread her legs wider so that she could attain some relief. Seeking some kind of pressure to ease the coiled tension that was building inside, Belle again squirmed on his lap. Breathing heavily, Shawn swallowed her whimpers as he let his hands begin wandering from her shoulders downward. Come to rest on her hips, he began cupping them in his hands and letting his fingers trace the line of her crease. Through the thin summer capris he could make out her panty line. Easing his hands down the curved backside, Shawn wished he could actually let his fingers dip inside to feel the flaming heat of her body. Not wanting to rush Belle, he started easing off and slowing the heated embrace. How his mind was functioning, he didn't have a clue. His body parts were definetly trying to lead his head, but not his heart.

"Peaches, we have to slow down, Isabella, ..." Shawn's husky voice was thickened with desire. Easing Belle away from his chest, he thought she had never looked more beautiful.

"Shawn , you have no idea...what you ....do to me." Belle was breathing heavily. "I have never felt this way and ....."she reached up to wipe Shawn's cheek where the lip stick that she had worn had come off.

Shifting aside back on to the sofa, Belle took several deep breaths trying to calm herself. "I wish that I could have touched your chest Shawn." Looking up into his darkened eyes, she noticed that the pupils were black, the irises that were usually soft pools of brown could not even be seen. Tracing a finger from his throat to the hollow where his gold cross lay, Belle felt Shawn respond to that one touch. Watching his eyes flare with a need of their own, Belle slipped one button from the hole as another followed it.

Catching the roving fingers in his hand, Shawn said, "This isn't smart Belle. I'm having a hard enough time resisting you without that part in this cuddling session," Shawn was desperate to feel Belle touch him, but denying that pleasure took more will power than he had. His resistance was used up.

Chapter 13
PG 13

Belle gently pulled her fingers from Shawn's grasp, as she reached up and continued to slowly unfasten the buttons on his shirt. Shawn's eyes darkened in the soft pool of light shed from the floor lamp. His nostrils flared as his breath came out in quick hot puffs. As Belle slid her hand through the two yellow panels splitting his chest, she felt the rapid beating of his heart, as she touched Shawn for the first time. Electricity ran up her arm as she flattend her palm and spread her fingers over the smooth tanned skin.

Glancing up at Shawn, Belle saw that he had closed his eyes and had let his dark hair lean against the sofa back. Using both hands, Belle pushed the shirt back and laid her palms against his chest. Her fingers explored at will. Starting at his neck, Belle traced a finger over his gold chain and edged a nail under it to slip along his collar bone.

His shoulders seemed much wider this close up, Belle thought as she leaned closer. Touching the sides of his chest, she felt the hard ridges of his abdomen. A dark line of hair started at his navel and dipped into the waist of his pants. Looking back up into Shawn's face, Belle saw that his eyes were open now, glowing with need. As she held his gaze, her nails grazed the flat male nipples. He groaned as she moved the pads of her fingertips back and forth until they were erect with desire.

Shawn had had enough. He moved quickly as he gathered Belle into his arms and laid her gently on the sofa seat. "Peaches, I gave you fair warning. You tempt me too much." Shawn's husky voice had lowered as he covered her lips with his. Hungry for Belle, he took his time in nibbling her mouth. With small teasing kisses, Shawn settled his body between her legs.

Feeling his maleness harden even more, he throbbed with an inner rhythm, as her hips cradled his body.
Shawn swallowed the soft moan that escaped from Belle, as he felt her accept his lower body. Her hands ran over his chest again and slowly slid aroung to carress his shoulders. Her hands explored his back as he gave her mind drugging kisses. Her hands pulled Shawn closer, as he raised his head and gently rested his forehead against hers.

Shawn and Belle both drew in deep breaths of much needed air. Shawn raised one hand to stoke Belle's cheek. The soft skin was flushed in the lamplight, as her blue eyes glowed with a light.

Shawn saw desire in her gaze and wanted to take it futher.

But, he knew that this was not the time. His determination that he was going to make Belle his was still strong but he wanted to take his time with it. They had only been together on a few dates. Belle deserved romance and courtship and he was planning to give it to her.

Shawn sat up and pulled Belle wp until she was curled up by his side. He held her palm as it rested against his chest, to keep it still and not start another round of loving. He rested his head on the blond locks. The scent of peaches from her shampoo filled his nose as he drifted his fingers through the hair that he had let down earlier.

Sighing, Shawn asked softly if she wanted anything to drink. Agreeing that she did, Belle followed Shawn to the kitchen. Belle filled their glasses with ice as Shawn poured the rest of the tea into them. Shawn leaned back against the refrigerator as he drank quickly. He buttoned his shirt with regret, knowing that they had crossed another line in their relationship.

"I guess I had better take you on home Belle. It's after midnight." He picked up his car keyes from the kitchen counter where he had tossed them earlier.

"I didn't realize it had gotton so late." Belle said as she glanced at the oven timer. The blue glow on the numerals flashed another minute as she turned to walk into the living room to retrieve her purse.

Shawn followed Belle and reached around her to hug her back close to his chest. His strong arms circled her waist as he held her tight. His thighs molded to hers, as he felt himself stiffen again. "I'm glad you came over Belle."His voice whispered into her ear. "I hope that you come back soon." His lips traced a pathway down her neck with soft kisses.

Belle whispered agreement as she arched her neck and rotated her hips against the swelling she felt. Hearing Shawn groan, Belle began to push back against his length, Shawn's hands held her arms and moved away from Belle.

"You are dynamite Peaches. Come on. Let's go now before I decide to forget protocol and just take you to bed." Shawn's voice was rougher than Belle had ever heard it. She took the hand he held out to her and walked out the door with him.

As they drove back to Wisteria Manor, Shawn told Belle that he heard that the Swinging Medallions were going to be the highlight band at Callaway Gardens for the annual Fourth of July celebration. Since he could not take the time off to go back to his own family's annual Horton / Brady cookout, he wanted to make plans with Belle for the national holiday.

"That sounds like fun Shawn. I haven't been to the Gardens in years. I have to leave the following week for New York. The new line will be debuted the week after the Fouth." Belle was glad that Shawn was including her in his summer plans.

Pulling up to the family entrance, Shawn got out and opened Belle's door. Lacing his fingers through hers, Shawn tightened his grip when they reached the back door, "Isabella. I really had a good time tonight. I'l call you tomorrow," Kissing her lightly, Shawn groaned as Belle opened her mouth and her tongue traced a moist path over his lips. Deepening the kiss, Shawn allowed his hands to finally travel down her arms and continue back up to brush the sides of her breast. Both hands reached out to trace the underside of her curves as his large thumbs found the hard nubs that were standing at attention. His palms cupped her breasts, molding their shape with his fingers, as he pulled back.

"You feel so good, Belle. You are driving me crazy." Shawn took a deep breath as he picked up her hands again. Kissing both palms gently, he released them as he stepped back.

"Until tomorrow, Belle. Sweet dreams." Shawn turned and walked back to the Range Rover.

Belle called out a soft good night and blew Shawn a kiss. Pretending to catch it, Shawn held it close to his chest as he waited until she was safely inside.
Driving back to his apartment, Shawn knew that Belle was the one he wanted to share the rest of his life with. Hoping he could convince her of it, he thought of ways to spend time with Belle when they could share parts of their daily routine with each other. His plans included giving Miss Belle all the romance she deserved. Sighing as he traveled home, Shawn realized he was totally in love with Belle Black.

Chapter 14

Shawn started the week diligently working on making sure all of the beach parks and boat ramps were in order. With the onset of warm weather, the season would be starting soon. The gates to to the public beaches would open when Salem High had their Spring Break. Thank goodness he didn't have to patrol the beaches then. He had been riding in the boat checking the west end of the lake over the course of several days. Still needing to check the east end, an idea came to him that he could use to start his romance with Belle. Saving one of the middle ramps and beaches for last, Shawn would pull out all the stops and give Belle a night to remember. With that in mind, he couldn't wait until he reached his office to look at the calendar and call Miss Belle.

Belle was working on her own agenda. The lingerie designs had been sent on to Irene and Nicholas had started the necessary marketing strategy with the media for coverage on his end. This was going to be the highlight segment on the last night of the fashion show. The shows were earmarked as a guide to all the store buyers, who came to view the new selections and would be buying the clothes for the next season when the Apparall Market opened the following day. Anticipating that this would be a launch for herself as a designer and not just as marketing director, Belle was anxious to see how Irene would react when she saw the designs. Wishing that Federal Express delivered faster than overnight, Belle just had to keep calm and wait. By morning, she would know if all of her work had paid off.

Shawn tied the boat at the dock instead of letting it drift into the hanger where it was usually stored off the water. Running a hand through his hair he thought about getting a trim before tonight. He still had to call Belle and see if she was available.
Entering into the log cabin, he rounded his desk and looked at the calendar. The date for the last full moon before Easter was tonight. Just in time for some romance. Deciding to call Belle and surprise her, Shawn quickly dialed the Basic Black office number he had memorized.

"Belle Black's office. May I help you?" the kindly motherly tone sounded in his ear as Belle's secretary answered the telephone.

"Yes, Mrs. Deese. It's Shawn Brady. Is Belle available for a few minutes?" Shawn eased down into his swivel chair as he leaned back.

Mrs. Deese had been an a member of the Basic Black staff for as long as Shawn could remember. She had always sent Brady home baked brownies and cookies every few weeks while he was in college. As Brady's roommate Shawn felt that it was his right to help eat all the goodies.

"Of course she's in Shawn. She's been working too hard lately. Isabella needs to take a break." Being as close to the family as she was, John had allowed Mrs. Deese to call them by their given names. She was old enough to be John's mother, but looked as trim as Belle. Her foritude as a hard worker had kept her position.

Chuckling,Shawn thought he could handle some relaxaion time for Belle. "Thanks, Mrs. Deese. I'll see what I can do." Being put on hold, Shawn continued to plan out the night.

"Isabella Black, how can I help you?" Belle's soft tones sounded like music to Shawn's ear. "Hello?"

"Hi Peaches, how's your day so far?" Shawn pretended not to know that she had been working hard. "You've been in meetings everytime I called you lately. I thought you might be avoiding me for some reason."
Belle quickly put a stop to that nonsense. "Of course not Shawn. I have been so wrapped up in getting my designs sent in to New York, that I haven't even stopped for lunch some days."

"Well in that case, don't plan on eating anything too heavy this time of the day. I'll be by to pick you up for a special dinner tonight. How does that sound?" Shawn knew that Belle had a weakness when it came to food when she was under a lot of stress. Usually she ate chocolate mint ice cream but that was not nourishing enough to keep her strength up if she was undertaking a major campaign.

Belle smiled as she cradled the phone between her cheek and shoulder. Shifting the pages of her planner, she knew that she could postpone several of the afternoon's appointments. "I believe I can handle that Shawn. What time do you want to go and will my office clothes work?" Belle toed off her high heels under her desk, as she rubbed one stocking foot over the other. She would love just to sink into a hot bubble bath and relax for the next hour or two.

Shawn pictured Belle wearing one of the famous short skirted suits that she invariabley wore. Her legs would be encased is silk hose that would be so smooth when he ran his hands up her... Woah Shawn, quit your day dreaming, he said to himself.

"Shawn are you still there? I asked what time do you want to come by?"

Shawn's voice had lowered as he replied. "How about 6:30 Peaches? Will that give you enough time?" He was anxious to see her again. The past four days had been long ones."You can wear jeans too or something casual."

Belle was glad that she could wear something not so dressy for a change. She had had back to back business dinners and hadn't arrived home until late the past two nights. She would be able to relax and be herself with Shawn.

"That sounds wonderful Shawn. I'll look forward to seeing you tonight. What do you have in mind?"

"Miss Black, your two o'clock appointment has arrived. He is speaking with your father right now." Mrs.Deese's voice carried itself through the intercom on Belle's desk. "Mr. Black said to join him in the conference room."

Belle reached down to slip her shoes back on as she juggled the telephone. "I have to go now Shawn. I'll see you in a little while. I am definitly looking forward to out date."

Shawn let his feet come down off of his desk as he said good bye. "Until tonight, Peaches. I'll see you then."

Hanging up, he quickly pulled out the telephone book to look up a number for the catering service in town. He knew he could count on Dee, owner of Dee's Desires, Desserts, and Delights. It was a quaint little shop that sat on a corner in the downtown area and did exceptionally well when it came to home baked items. She had a pretty good business mailing out all of her home made fudge and other candies. Shawn had never outgrown his sweet tooth.

He had met Dee and her husband through their son, when he had participated in last year's Children's Fishing Rodeo. Dee and Dan had become good friends with Shawn. Calling her up, Shawn knew that he could count on her help with fixing up a delicious dinner. After all, she wasn't known for being the queen of romance in Salem for nothing. Dan and Dee, had both tried to set him up on numerous occassions. He had just not been interested. Belle had been in his heart for too many years, without someone else trying to replace her. Soon, he hoped that Miss Belle would see him as a potential candidate for the future.

Chapter 15

Shawn parked his Range Rover in the lot behind Dee's Desires, Desserts, and Delights. The evening breeze was softly blowing as he made his was across the asphalt. Running his fingers through the short hair that now topped his head, Shawn hoped that Belle would like the night he had planned. As he opened the glass door, the tinkling bells overhead had Dee sashaying around the counter. The blond hair drifted over her shoulders as she welcomed the tall man with a hug. Dee smiled as she said, "Shawn, you are looking fine tonight. I can't wait to get the scoop on this woman you are taking out tonight."

Shawn release her as he stood with his hands in his jean pockets. Thinking about Belle, he was trying to come up with a description that would do her justice.
"Well Dee, I have known her for almost nine years. Her name's Belle and I didn't start seriously thinking of her as a woman until she was 18. I don't think that she thought that I was anything special either until recently. She moved out of Salem and I kept in touch with her sporatically. She's moved back here just a few weeks ago."

Dee led him over to a small wrought iron table and they both sat down. "OK, so you have known her for a long time. What does she look like?" She watched carefully as Shawn crossed his knee over one leg. He was nervous as his foot kept bouncing to an inner beat.

"She's very petite, her head comes just under my chin." He held his hand up measuring the distance. "Belle's got soft blond hair that looks like bottled sunlight, mesmerizing blue eyes that remind me of the lake in the early morning. They change shades as her mood shifts as if her emotions were ......" He looked up and caught Dee grinning. "What?" he asked.

Shaking her head, she reached across the table and squeezed his hand."Welcome to the world of love Shawn." Still grinning, she eased back and wanted more details."It sounds like you are totally besotted."

Shawn gave her one of his trade mark smirks, "Well, she's pretty amazing. I just want to give her a night that will let her know I think she is special. Got any ideas?"

"Shawn, the way you talk about her, I don't think that you will need any help. But, I did fix you up a meal that I think you wil both enjoy. Do you have a boom box?"

Wondering why she asked, he shook his head. "Not with me. There's one out at the office."

"Does it have batteries Shawn? I just want to make sure that it does before I give you this CD i made earlier."

Shawn nodded as he replied. "We have to keep extra batteries in stock all the time in case of emergencies. Just what did you burn on that CD?"

"Shawn, why don't you be surprised along with your date? If the mood is right and you want to slow dance, then pop in the CD. I promise you, it's nothing but love songs. Some of them are the one's that Dan likes to dance to."

Standing, Dee went behind the counter and picked up a big picnic basket. The aroma of food tickled his nose as Shawn reached out to take it. Giving him the CD, Dee told him to have a good time. "Remember Shawn, if the situation doesn't come up to dance tonight, you can always use it at another time."

Thanking her, Shawn settled the account and walked outside. The anticipation of seeing Belle was building. Whistling under his breath he placed the picnic basket on the floor board in the car. He already had two large quilts and a UGA sweatshirt on the back seat. Starting the motor, Shawn turned down the street. He sure hoped that Belle would have a good time. As long as the clouds didn't come out tonight, everything ought to be smooth sailing.
Glancing toward the west side of town, Shawn saw that the sun was still hanging above the horizon. The sky was clear with no clouds in sight. Grinning, he floored the gas pedal. He was anxious to see Belle again.

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:07 am #8

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Chapters 16 - 20

Chapter 16

The breeze was still blowing when Shawn helped Belle out of the Range Rover. The wind teased the fine blond strands that framed Belle's face as she reached up to push the hair back. The French braid gave her jeans and long sleeved shirt a casual look as she glanced up into the brown eyes. Smiling, she took the offered hand and joined Shawn on the walk to the log house. "So this is where you work Shawn?" Belle's melodic voice softly asked as Shawn led her inside. Turning on the light, Shawn headed for the back to pick up the battered boom box that was kept on a shelf.

"Yep, this is it. Well, the inside work that is. You know I have to spend time out on the lake too. The daily logs are filed in the cabinet behind you and we take water samples from all areas of the lake during the course of a week and examine them in the lab. That's where most of the indoor work is done. Unfortunately, there is paperwork to do, but I wouldn't trade this job for anything else Peaches."

Shawn turned back towards Belle and caught her giving his backside the once over.

Watching the blush that crept into her face, he smirked as he came over to run one finger down the smooth cheek. Her skin felt like silk as he ran his palm down the path of her throat. Cupping her neck with his large hand, he traced his thumb over her bottom lip. Dipping his head, he gave her one brief kiss. Belle reached up to wind her arms around his neck but Shawn pulled back.

He had to keep the bigger picture in mind without getting lost in her kisses. Even though they were mind blowing, that was not how he wanted to advance his plan. He wanted to give Belle a romance that would hopefully last a life time. He didn't want her to think that he was using her just for a one night stand.

Seeing that she had a frown on her face because he had not responded as he usually did, Shawn said." Come on Belle, I've got a nice surprise for you and we've got to get on the boat." Handing her the quilts and sweatshirt, Shawn opened the door as he carried the basket and CD player. "So how was the rest of you day at the office? I'm glad that you were able to get off early."Shawn kept up a flow of conversation as they got on the boat and settled in. As he slowly backed away from the dock, Shawn turned and gave Belle a pair of sunglasses. "Here Belle, you might need these."

Thinking that Shawn had thought of everything, Belle leaned back against the seat to take in the view. It was different out on the water in Shawn's boat. The seating arrangements were more open and the view was lower to the water, but it was just as beautiful.

The Black Beauty was a cabin cruiser that could carry twenty people easily. This boat was made for skimming over the water at fast speeds. As Shawn opened the throttle, he glanced back and noted that Belle had a smile on her soft lips. The tension of the day was easing out of her shoulders as each mile pushed the grind further away.

Grinning, Shawn watched as she lifted her chin to catch the dying suns' rays. The soft light gave her face an etheral glow. The golden locks shimmered and made Belle look like an angel.

He felt his heart turn over once more in his chest as he filled his own eyes with her beauty. If only he had the gift of words like his Irish namesake.

Grandpa Shawn could always come up wth glib words of wisdom when he wanted to. Sighing, Shawn turned back and watched the shoreline to make sure he pulled up at the boat ramp where he wanted to stop. Slowing down, he eased the boat into the shallow water until he could reach out and tie it up to the side of the walking ramp that led to the water.

This was the last beach that Shawn had not checked. With Belle's help this evening , Shawn would finish it up. The season would be opening with the Easter weekend and Spring Break for the local school system. Placing the picnic basket and quilts on the planked dock, Shawn stood and climbed up. Sitting on the wood railing, he reached out a hand to help Belle up. Lifting her small frame next to his own, Shawn accidently let his hand slide down the inside of her thigh as they straddled the wood. Feeling the smooth muscles as they tightened against the faded denim, Shawn thought he would go crazy if he didn't feel them wrapped around his waist soon. For the sake of his own sanity, he hoped that it would be soon,
After they had both gotten out and walked to the sandy beach, Shawn shook out the first quilt and spreaded it on the ground.

"Do you want to go ahead and eat while the food is still hot Belle, or do you want to walk around first?"

Belle sat on the corner of the quilt as she kicked her shoes off, "Let's go ahead and eat Shawn. Whatever you have inside sure smells good," She waited as he lifted the lid.

Taking out containers of fresh cole slaw, crowder peas, and yeast rolls, Shawn passed out plates and forks. He lifted the largest container of fried chicken and placed it in the middle between them. As Belle spooned up the food on two plates, Shawn opened a bottle of wine. Pouring it into the tall glasses, Shawn handed one to Belle. Clinking the glasses in a toast, he watched as Belle took a sip.

"Everything looks delicious Shawn. Thank you. This means a lot to me." Belle said as she swallowed the first taste of wine. Closing her eyes in enjoyment, Shawn cleared his throat as he answered.

"You're more than welcome. Thanks for coming at the last minute. I know this was a spur of the moment date."

"But I have been looking forward to it since you called Shawn." Taking a bite, Belle wiped her mouth with her napkin before continuing. "I really enjoy spending time with you. I don't really care what we do."

"I'm glad Belle. I feel the same way. After dinner, let's walk around the shoreline."

They spent the remainder of the meal discussing anything and everything. Topics ranged from Brady's new girlfirend to how Belle liked her new car, from current movies they had both seen to the chances of the Braves winning another division title, and from the spring football practices at Georgia to which singer would be the winner on American Idol.

Placing the remaining food in the picnic basket, Shawn stood and streched. "Let's go for a walk. We'll have dessert later."

As they followed the beach, Shawn reached out and took Belle's tiny hand in his. Rubbing his thumb over the delicate fingers, he continued the conversation. With the ease of years of friendship between them, both were comfortable with the quiet silences that filled up part of their time together.

Watching a mother duck on the bank as she huslted her babies back away from the humans, Shawn pulled Belle into the circle of his arms. Resting his head on the top of hers, he felt so complete and content.

"I didn't tell you this but it looks like you will get to meet my folks sooner than I expected. Dad called earlier today and said that my brothers are out of school next week for Spring Break He's taking some time off work and they are all going to come down."

"That's great Shawn. I know how important family is to you, You must miss your brothers a lot." Belle answered as she snuggled into the embrace. The wind continued to blow and she now wished she had brought along a sweater.

Feeling Belle shiver, Shawn tightened his arms around her. Shifting his back to the breeze, he kept Belle warm as he stepped close. Wrapping his arms around her, he breathed in the perfume that had been tickling his nose since he had picked her up. The fragrance was different from anything else she had worn and he liked the scent. Letting his lips slide down her temple, he kissed the side of her head.

Belle moaned as she felt Shawn's desire as she leaned back against the strong chest. She felt his heart beat strongly as she turned her face toward his. As she tilted her head up, Shawn's lips nipped at her earlobe and the sensitve skin there. As he took soft bites and soothed with his tongue, he widened his stance to brace Belle against him. Feeling her respond to the gentle loving, Shawn knew he had to slow things down once more. The night was still young.

Easing out from her embrace, Shawn reached out and tucked Belle under his arm as they started back to the beach. His vision had taken in that all seemed in readiness for the summer season. His job was finished for the night and now he could concentrate on giving Belle the rest of his undivided attention.

Looking up into the sky, Shawn saw that the evening stars were making their appearance and the ghostly glow of the moon was rising. Time to go settle down and wrap up in the quilt and watch the wonder of the heavens with his own angel.

"Peaches, did I tell you tonight was going to be a full moon?" Shawn's voice was low as he stopped and knelt of the blanket. Reaching up for her hand, his eyes were reflecting the fading light of twilight.

Belle felt as if her soul had come full circle as she met Shawn's dark eyes. They were filled with something that she was afraid to name but was willing to follow, Catching her breath, she knew that her life was changing. It had changed when she met his eyes again when she came home. It had changed again because now her heart had opened up and she had fallen in love with Shawn Brady.

Chapter 17

Belle felt as if her soul was tumbling loose and swirling around with the melting colors of the sunset as they faded into dusk. As twilight perched in the inbetween time of total darkness, Belle was about to reel over with her feelings. Visions of Shawn over the years were flickering in her mind at a rapid pace. Snapshots of Shawn on the football field, playing basketball with Brady at Wisteria Manor, and reclinging on the sofa at his apartment assailed her.
Belle wondered if Shawn could hear the heavy pounding of her heart across the beach blanket. She continued to stare at Shawn as he stretched out his long frame along the green and white quilt. As he reached a hand up to pull her down beside him he said ,"Here you go Peaches," as he handed her his battered red and black UGA sweatshirt. "I thought it might turn chilly out here, so I brought this along."

Coming out of her trance as she continue to look into Shawn's eyes, Belle mechanically pulled the warm cotton over her head.

"You think of everything don't you, Shawn?" Her voice shook with emotion as she settled on the quilt too.
Murmuring her thanks, she lowered her eyes. Knowing that if she looked into those dark mesmerizing pools, she would be lost, she briefly closed her own eyes. Having known Shawn for all these years, Belle knew that he would be able to see the love she felt for him reflected in her eyes with one look. She could not let him see it either. She didn't trust herself at the moment, so how could she trust Shawn? She loved him with every fiber of her being.

Belle would not let him see how pitiful she was either. Just because a man had given her some attention, she had gone and fallen in love with him. "That's great Belle, you fall for the first man that really kisses you. How could you do this to yourself? What about Shawn? What will he think?" Belle admonished herself as she reached up to tug her braid out of the neckline of the warm sweatshirt.

Afraid that Shawn would guess what had happened in that one instant of their eyes meeting, Belle leaned back on her bent arms and kept her eyes closed as she lifted her face towards the water. The lapping of the waves against the wood pier kept a rhythm with the small unseen animals that were starting their nightly chorus. Listening to the normal sounds of the waterfront, Belle's emotions calmed down somewhat.
Shawn felt the tension radiate off of Belle. He was puzzled because he could not think of anything that had happened to upset her. Reaching into the picnic basket, he brought out the wine and refilled the two glasses. "Here you go Peaches" Handing Belle one of the glasses, he let his fingers brush against hers. Electricity shot through him as the gentle touch.
Belle quickly pulled her hand away spilling several drops of wine. "Sorry about that. Are you ready to be heading back?"

Shawn sat upright at Belle's question. He knew he was clueless sometimes, but he just didn't understand what had gone wrong since they had eaten.

Setting his drink down, Shawn eased his legs up until he was sitting facing Belle. He lifted a hand to gently take her soft chin in his palm. Turning her to face him, Shawn saw a tear slowly trickle down her cheek. Taking his thumb to catch the drop, Shawn eased closer to Belle.

"Peaches, tell me what's wrong? Something has happened since we walked along the beach. I can feel your pain and it's killing me inside." Shawn took Belle's hand and held it against his chest. His own heart was beginning to pound with fear. Something just wasn't right.

Belle swallowed a choked sob and wiped her face. Trying her best not to look at Shawn, Belle sipped her wine slowly.

"Belle, look at me." Shawn's voice was trembling with emotion and Belle felt an answering within her heart. It was if an "inner Shawn and Belle" were talking and carrying the conversation without words.

Belle could hear Shawn telling her to look at him. Trust and love were shining in the depths of his gaze. Under the light of the moon, Belle could see and hear Shawn telling her how special she was and how much she meant to him. Nodding in agreement, she saw herself accept that love and give it back. Realizing that she had crossed another boundary with Shawn, Belle looked up and met Shawn's eyes with her own.

Taking his hand that was holding hers against his chest, she brought it up to her lips and kissed it. Smiling she let her love for this one man wrap around them and cocoon them in the night.

"I'm fine now Shawn. Thank you so much for the picnic. I didn't realize just how much I have missed being home and out on the water until tonight."

Shawn knew that wasn't all that was going on in that beautiful head but he let it slide as he felt her relax. Kissing her hand, he released it to give her one of the strawberries. "How about some dessert?"

Belle scooted closer and accepted the sweet concotion from his fingers. Her tongue swiped her lips to catch the broken chocolate as the strawberry juice dribbled on her lip. Shawn couldn't help himself as he leaned foward to kiss the juice from her mouth. Taking his time, he closed the distance slowly, giving Belle time to pull back if she wasn't comfortable. He smiled to himself as she leaned forward to meet him halfway. Belle couldn't deny what her heart already knew. Loving Shawn was all the homecoming she needed for now.

They took turns feeding the sweet coated fruit to each other until they were full. Closing the lid of the picnic basket, Shawn looked at his watch. He picked up the CD player and pushed play as soft music filled the night. Holding out his hand he stood to pul Belle up. "Dance with me Belle, please." His soft whisper floated on the wind as she rose and placed her arms around his neck. Feeling as if she had finally found her home in his arms, Belle closed her eyes and felt him pull her closer until her cheek rested on his shoulder. His arms tightened as they swayed under the full moon. The night was still young.

Chapter 18
Rated R

Shawn felt Belle relax against his body before her hands started curling in his dark hair and flicking his gold hoop earring with her nails. As her fingers kneaded his scalp, fresh tingles of awareness ran up his spine and back down to center in his groin. Stifling a groan, he let his own hands began a journey over the course of her small frame. Slow circles traveled out and down as his hands lingered at the small of her back before cupping her hips with his long fingers. The soft introduction of My Love, by Paul McCartney and Wings filled the night. As the couple swayed to the music, barely moving at all, each was lost in the wonder of being in the other's arms and feeling whole.

Belle listened to the beat of Shawn's heart and smiled to herself as she closed her eyes and snugged closer. She loved Shawn irrevocably. She accepted this realization because she could not fathom not loving Shawn. Her heart and mind knew that this was it for her. There would not be anyone else.
She was just like the other great romantics that had come before her. Shawn was her soul mate and one day she hoped that he would know that too. Feverently she prayed that Shawn would look at her as a potential lover, a life mate. From what little experience that she did have, Belle knew that Shawn was a very patient man, not rushing her to commit to anything that she was not ready for, and giving her the time to decide what she wanted. But her own body was pushing for more than a platonic relationship with this wonderful man as each time they were together, Belle's senses were more in tune with him. Her body was beginning to burn for him without much stimulation. She could be across the room and know that he had walked in. Electricity seemed to sizzled between them, heating up to an inferno when they kissed. Her body clinched with a wanting at times, that Belle now knew that only Shawn could satisfy.

Shawn cuddled Belle closer as his thoughts turned inward. His feelings for Belle were getting stronger each time they were together. She filled his mind at odd times during the day, when he was working with the free weights, buying produce at the local market stand, and when he was on the water in the early morning. Each day without even seeing Belle, made his heart miss her that much more. The old saying of absense makes the heart grow fonder was certainly true.

Stepping impossibly closer, Shawn let his lips linger at her temple. Brushing softly back and forth, his mouth traveled to her ear and nibbled on the lobe, catching it between his teeth, caressing it before soothing it with a stroke of his tongue.

Shivers of delight coursed through Belle as she arched her neck to continue the sweet loving. Percy Sledge sang of When A Man Loves A Woman and Shawn couldn't help but agree with the lyrics. He was having a hard time keeping his mind on anything else but the sweet temptation in his arms. Leaning down his lips grazed the corner of Belle's mouth.

Whispering and taking pleasure in the small sips of kisses, Shawn bided his time. Belle raised her head and slowly opened her blue eyes to see why Shawn had stopped kissing her when he bent to take her lips with passion.

He was famished for the taste of Belle. He had waited so long that the fire inside was consuming him. He had waited for Belle to grow up and now that she was here, he could hardly contain himself. Belle cried out mewing sounds as if she was being eaten alive, but in actualality, she could not get enough of the soul stealing kisses. Flames burned hotter as she tried to get closer to the source. Feeling herself floating on air, Belle realized that Shawn had picked her up by her buttocks and was now slowly lowering her to the beach. Taking in gulps of air, she raised her fingers to slide the hair off of his forehead as she met his eyes. They were obsidian and filled with desire. She plunged her hands back into his hair as she pulled his head down to taste him again. Mouths met with hunger, tongues danced, and warm breath mingled as the couple rolled over the quilt. Belle felt Shawn's thigh spread her legs as he closed the distance between their overheated bodies. Her hips lifted to strain against his erection as they both felt their hearts collide.
Shawn groaned as he settled more firmly between her legs. Kissing Belle, his hand slowly came around her to cup her face before sliding down her chest.

Feeling the wildly beating of her heart, he opened his eyes to watch Belle as he touched her. Opening his palm wide, he smoothed it along her ribs and continued to travel upwards. The soft mound of her breast was aroused as he cupped the taunt nipple. He leaned forward to take it between his lips as he moisten it with his mouth. Feeling his hips thrusting against her most private part along with this new torture was more than Belle could stand. She tossed back her head as she brought her fist up to her mouth to stop the cry that was caught in her throat.

Tension was mounting and she felt the lacy thong of her panties tease her overheated mound as Shawn rocked harder.

His head came up, scenting Belle and victory as he felt her body shudder with release. The only thing he regretted was not getting to see her beautiful eyes go opaque this first time that she crested with him. There would be other times though.

Lifting up and rolling to the side, he cradled her body to his as the shudders slowly receded. Kissing her hair, Shawn felt like that he had given Belle the world. He heard her answer him in his mind as she told him that it was magical, wonderful. Her heart ached with the beauty of loving Shawn. He whispered to heart and knew that she heard him, I love you too, Peaches.

Chapter 19

Saturday dawned bright as the new day had no visible clouds. John turned around on the small brick patio to refill his coffee cup as he grabbed a couple of warm muffins from a basket. Ivan had made an extra pot of coffee this morning, because John and Brady were going to need the caffeine today. Belle, on the other hand, didn't need the extra stimulation. She always had more energy that anyone else he had ever seen. And, he thought to himself, if a certain young man is here today, she'll be glowing. John was happy in the direction it seemed that Isabella and Shawn were taking. He had enjoyed watching Shawn Douglas grow up and become a man. He seemed to have a reasonable head on his shoulders and valued his daughter. He had seen THAT look in his eyes sometimes when he was watching Izzy B. though, and it worried him. He didn't think that Shawn would hurt her. He had seen love and adoration in the younger man's eyes. It warmed his heart that love could blossom there. John wanted both of his children to find their soul mates just like he had found Doc. He still missed her. Thinking about Belle and Shawn again, John said to himself, he just had better not hurt her or he would be answering to him, and that was a fact.

Isabella had been fragile because of that stupid punk at the Country Club. She had been very badly shaken and her self esteem had disappeared. She had been scared to be alone with a boy and needed to gain her confidence back. Sending her away to New York from everything familiar had seemed harsh at the time, but it gave her a chance to heal and grow up and realize what she wanted to do with her life. But, John thought as he sat back down at the wrought iron table, I want grandchildren and she is taking too much time.

The Saturday before Easter, Basic Black always closed its doors by four o'clock. John had started this when Brady had been a youngster, so that families could get together and celebrate the holiday. He firmly believed in family first and after the birth of his son and daughter, he made sure they came first. Marlena and John had begun hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for the employees' children before Belle had been born. After Marlena's death, John had wanted to cancel everything, but Vivian Alamain had stepped in. She had coped with the death of her two husbands, and knew that life went on regardless, with or without you. So the annual Basic Black family picnic and Easter Egg hunt for the employees and their families was moved from the town park and held on the grounds of Wisteria Manor. It had turned into an enjoyable get together for everyone. Even the employees without kids seemed to enjoy it.

Ivan and Vivian always came up with a menu and had tables set up on the side lawns. Brady took care of hiding all the prize eggs in the three age groups of the children. Belle had made a suggestion that this year, they get the Humane Society to bring out any animals, especially baby rabbits if they had any, and set up a petting booth. Maybe they could help with these animal adoptions. She had even hired a photographer to take pictures of the children. It looked like this was going to be the best Easter yet.

Waiting on Belle and Brady to finish eating inside before they began hiding the five thousand plastic eggs that Ivan had bought, John took his time reading the sports section of the Atlanta morning paper. He noticed that the Braves would be playing at home the following week. That was good. After a lousy start they were now number one in their division.

Brady had mentioned that Shawn's parents and brothers were coming down on vacation next week. He would have to see if they would be interested in going to see a game at the Tedster. He had a skybox up at the Atlanta stadium that he hardly ever used. Brady took more friends up there to use it than John did. It would be good to go see a live game instead of the televised one. He might even take some time off himself and take Bo fishing. That was one pleasure that he had been denying himself for too long. It would be good to see Bo and Hope again. The last time they had visited was when the boys had graduated from Georgia.

That was a day that John had looked forward to for along time. It had made him proud to see his son walk across and get his diploma. But when Brady finished law school and passed the bar, that was a bigger moment. He didn't have to pay anymore school tuitions. Belle had graduated by that time. Chuckling to himself, John was glad that Belle had just gone to design school. Her school fees had been less expensive, but did that girl like to shop! He was glad that she got a family discount at the store. Now that she was earning her own salary, she could buy whatever she wanted.

Finished with the paper, John got up to join his family in the kitchen and see if they were ready. Even though he didn't punch a time clock anymore, he hated wasting time. He thought that if the weather would hold up, he might be able to go throw a line in down by the dock before the picnic started. Any day was a good day to fish and it looked like it was going to be beautiful.

Chapter 20
PG 13

Brady was tired after the first thousand plastic eggs he had hidden. With the grass not being cut on the south lawn, it had made excellent hiding places to begin with. But now, he was ready for a break with only a hundred or so of eggs left to hide. Looking for his sister, he saw that she was diligently "hiding" the eggs for the 2-3 year old group. The larger plastic eggs were laying on top of the grass, around the tree roots, and on top of the scattered table and chairs. It wouldn't take much hiding for those children, but he knew from experience, that that age was a fun group to watch as they toddled on unsteady pudgy legs. Many children would take home a basket full of eggs, while others would only take home a few. Walking toward Belle, he called out to her.

"Hey Tink, let's rest for awhile. i guess I stayed up too late last night." Brady stretched his blue jeaned clad legs out in front of his body as he leaned back on his arms. The weights that he had been lifting had given his arms a workout the day before. He was trying hard to impress his girlfriend, that he forgot about just enjoying exercising for himself.

Joining Brady as she sat with her legs folded underneath her, Belle looked around. It was if time had stopped and she could see a younger version of her brother and herself doing the same thing years before. "I'm so glad to be home Brady. I have missed it so much." Belle's wistful voice alerted Brady to her mood.

"Well sis, you could have come home sooner, if you had wanted to. I know Dad and Aunt Vivian would have loved to have you here. Not to mention Shawn." Brady watched carefully as the golden head dipped so he could not read her eyes.

"I know Brady, but I had to make something out of myself first, for me, not just so Dad could be proud." Belle closed her eyes to keep the sun out of them as she raised her face to the spring breeze. "But, I won't say that I'm glad I'm not in New York today. I heard that the weather forecast was going to be highs in the 40's. Feel this air." She breathed in the clean, crisp air of the south as she turned to look at Brady.

"It's supposed to get close to the low 80's today. That's hot for this time of year." Belle looked back as John started walking across the grass. "Dad seems like he is glad I'm home too."

Brady smirked at that. "Oh yeah, he is. You're just another body to help with the eggs, that's all. " He was laughing as Belle launched herself at her brother. Rolling on the grass, they came to a stop when John cleared his throat.

"This reminds me of the same events several years ago. The adults doing the work while the children played." He joined them on the ground as he gave them his infamous look of the raised eyebrow. "Now, what are ya'll doing?"

Giggling and leaning over to hug her father, Belle said, "I just finished with my share of the eggs. Brady over there wanted to take a break." She got out of the way as he started to tickle her.

Brady glared back as he stopped the teasing. "I only have about a hundred more to hide, Dad. We were just resting."
John was thankful to having both of his children home this year. "Well Brady, what do you say we go finish and try our hand at fishing this afternoon?"

Brady agreed as he stood up. Walking back to his area he waved at Shawn as he drove up. "I haven't seen you around a lot Shawn. Where have you been?" Leaning against the door of the Range Rover, Brady had a good look at Shawn as he ducked his head. Shawn raised his eyes back up to meet Brady's. "I've been around Bro. I just haven't seen you about. I came over the other evening and took Belle on a picnic."

Brady reached in the open car window and knocked knuckles with Shawn. "It's about time you realized Tink has grown up man. She has had eyes for you for years."

Shawn slipped his sunglasses back on as he shifted gear. "Well, I knew she was special Brady, but now she is something else........" Not finishing his sentence because he had found the petite form with his own eyes. "See ya later!" He didn't waste any more time as he finished traveling up the drive way and parked. Getting out Shawn made his way toward Belle.

She was straightening the tablecloths and securing them with the clamps to the tables set up under the towering oaks. "Need any help Peaches?" His smiled as he reached out to grab one corner of the pastel cloth.

'Shawn, I was a million miles away. I didn't hear you come up." She gave him her mega watt smile that always made him feel good inside. "I 'm glad that you are here though. Aunt Vivian said at breakfast that your parents were going to be staying here this week at Wisteria Manor."

Shawn nodded in agreement. "Yeah , Dad and John got to be pretty good friends when I was at Georgia. Dad keeps in contact with him still. It was pretty nice of Vivian to offer to let my family stay though. I told her how noisy my brothers are and she just laughed."

Belle took Shawn's large hand in her tiny one as she smiled back up into his chocolate pools. "Aunt Vivian handled us pretty good when Brady and I used to run hellbent around here." Looking down and then back up from under her eyelashes, she tried to flirt with Shawn. "I hope this means that you'll be around more this week Shawn. I really enjoy your company."

Shawn squeezed her hand, "You betcha Peaches. I'll be around as much as you want me to be." Letting go of her fingers, he cupped her face with both hands. His thumbs caressed her cheekbones that turned a pretty shade of pink. Gently brushing them back and forth, he kissed her upturned lips with just a brush of his mouth. Stepping closer Shawn dropped his hands to reach around her body to gather her up in his arms. His mouth drank from hers slowly, sipping tiny kisses with nibbles in between. Feelings swamped Shawn as he held her tightly. Kissing Belle brought an ache to his chest like he had never felt before. Desire for her was a part of breathing for him, but this constant throb that built to a deep longing, was getting harder to deny. Who would have thought that little Belle Black could bring a man to his knees this quickly.

Shawn felt the pain of wanting as he shifted to align their bodies so that his erection could find a home against Belle. The kiss lengthened, deepened without conscious thought. Her response to Shawn was instant, joyous, and vibrant.

Hot blood coursed through Belle's veins as she wrapped her arms tightly around Shawn's neck. Her fingers lingered in his dark hair, weaving the soft strands that fell across her knuckles. What had started off innocently had become a combustion of emotions. Needs, desires, passions, all were being met in that one joining of their mouths. Belle wondered what would happen when they made love. The time was coming when she would not be able to resist Shawn any longer. Her heart had already committed to him and her body was ready to join with his.

Reluctantly drawing away, she touched her tongue to her top lip. Shawn groaned as he followed the pink tip with his hungry eyes. Releasing her, he stepped back and tried to get his breathing under control. It would take time for his body to relax. Distance and a cold shower would do wonders for him about now. "Come on Belle, let's finish putting these cloths out and head back to the house." Turning away from Belle, Shawn walked back to the last table that needed the tablecloth. Shaking out the creases, he smiled over the edge of the cloth as Belle picked up one corner.

During the early evening, Vivian had Shawn and Belle set up the chairs before letting them leave. Belle had decided that she wanted to go for a walk while waiting for Shawn's parents to arrive.

The light from the sun cast a golden halo on the oaks that lined the Avenue in the front of Wisteria Manor. During the 1800's the Avenue was the only entrance to the plantation home. Everyone who came to visit rode up the lane. During her great- grandfather's time, he had paved a driveway making it easier for everyone. The mighty oaks, which were registered with the state for their size, had stood the test of time, through hardships of insects, woodpeckers, and summer storms. Moss hung down hiding the view from the house as they strolled along.

Taking his hands from his jean pockets, Shawn bent down to pick up a stone. Throwing it at a tree, he watched it bounce off of the limb. Thoughts of the tiny woman beside him consumed his mind. How was he going to tell her just how he felt. He knew without a doubt that he needed to tell her. He had not been raised to skirt around an issue, but to face the challenge directly.

Belle reached out to take his arm as they neared the beginning of the Avenue. "Are you thinking about your family, Shawn?" her voice was soft, controlled, and entirely to quiet for him.

Shawn shook his head and tried to get his thought together. "You could say that Isabella. Do you realize how much it means to me, to have them close by for a whole week?" Shawn let his fingers twine with Belle's as he told her about the beginning of his life, when Bo and Hope had taken him on a cruise for several years. Explaining how he had always been drawn to the water, how his Dad had shown him how to shave when he was six, and how he had taught his brothers how to play catch. The words that were in his heart, stuck in his throat. Shawn knew that he would find the right time to tell his Belle. But when he did, Shawn only wanted Belle around, not anyone else to cause distractions. Here at the plantation home, someone was bound to show up and interrupt.

Belle squeezed his fingers before letting go to check the mailbox. Hearing a car on the pavement she turned to see a silver SUV drive up. Shawn whooped when he saw the vehicle. Going up to the driver's door he leaned in to say hello to his family. "Dad, Mom I'm glad ya'll made it down." Hope Brady looked at her eldest son and could read what Shawn was on the verge of spilling. His eyes had always told the story of his emotions. Her eyes took in the sight of Belle, who stood back to let Shawn see his parents alone for a few minutes. She approved the woman her son chose for himself. Daring to question her, Hope started to ask questions, but Shawn turned the conversation around. Hope knew that she would get Shawn alone sometime during the week, and he would spill everything to her about Belle Black.

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:08 am #9

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Chapters 21 - 25

Chapter 21
Rated R

The Basic Black employee's and their families had finally left, when the Brady family settled into the manor home. Ivan had outdone himself once again with the two large hams he had smoked for sandwiches for the Easter picnic. The two younger Brady brothers were fascinated with the large smoker and were eagerly helping him with it and with the clean up. They made several trips from the picnic area with the large serving trays and many empty bowls. Brady let each boy take a turn driving the golf cart, that Ivan had used to carry all the food out to the front lawn.

Vivian held court in the large family den. Between the Brady’s and John, conversations were sporadic. After Brady, JT, and Zach came in with Ivan, talk ranged from many current events to how well the boys had been playing Little League. John mentioned that he would be taking them to Turner Field to watch the Braves. Both boys were excited at this news. JT wanted to know if he could meet Javey Lopez since he was the hindcatcher. He was interested in him specifically because that was the position he played. John wasn't sure about that, but he promised to get them there in time for batting practice. Bo was even eager to go see the new stadium.

Hope agreed to go with them, but Vivian suggested that Belle give Mrs. Brady the tour of the spa center and receive a full treatment at the Basic Black Salon while the men had a day together. Belle was happy with that suggestion. She loved to be pampered and said so.

"Mrs. Brady, you will so enjoy having Pierre give you a massage. He has the best hands." Belle sighed when she said this. After she had finished her first week of work, she had treated herself to the full treatment. Pierre was the best masseuse that John could hire. He had been in demand at several other businesses, but he could not refuse the offer that Basic Black had made him.

"Better hands than mine?” Shawn leaned over and whispered in Belle's ear as she turned towards him, blushing a soft rose. Reaching out and giving him a swat on the arm she replied softly for his ears only, "Silly, He's not like that.' Belle made sure she had emphasised the word "he" when mentioning Pierre. "Besides Shawn Douglas, I want your hands to really touch me.”Raising her eyebrow at him, she watched his brown gaze darken, his nostrils flare, and the sexy grin that she had come to love, light up his face.

Hope Brady had watched the interchange between the couple as they sat at one end of the large sectional sofa. She could see that each seemed to have genuine feelings for the other. Shawn, she could read easily from years of practice. But she couldn't wait to talk to him alone.

"Please Belle, call me Hope. It sounds like it will be a fun experience at this salon. I will definitely look forward to a little pampering myself." Hope thought it would also give her some time alone with Belle and see how serious her intentions were toward her eldest son.

Bo stood up to go with John as they were taking a tour of the old smoking room that had been used during the pre-Civil War era. The room's name still stuck, even though it was used for something else entirely now. John still kept it stocked with liquor for after dinner drinks.

Vivian escorted Hope back upstairs with the younger boys to show her where the extra towels were stored. The long drive down had worn the boys out, and now they were beginning to droop. Hope promised to come back down as soon as the boys were settled in.

Brady decided to leave too, while Ivan went back to the kitchen to prepare more desserts for the next day. As Brady left, he reminded Belle to save him a seat the next day at church. On Easter, John expected the whole family to sit together.

After Brady made his exit, Shawn led Belle down the stairs to the conservatory, where he knew they would have some privacy. Closing the door with a predatory look, he advanced as Belle walked backwards until her knees came up against the covered love seat. Shawn swooped Belle up on his lap and gave her the punishment she deserved for tempting him when he couldn't retaliate with everyone watching. Ever since their intimate whispered conversation, he had just wanted to kiss Belle.

Urging her mouth to open, he began his assault with a hard driving thrust of his tongue. Leaving no surface untouched, he gentled the kiss, and began a seduction like none that he had given her so far. He explored the cavern that beckoned him. Her mouth was like sweet nectar as his velvet tongue seduced her. Smothering the soft cry that crept out of her throat, he recognized that as a sign of her desire for him.

Swirling his tongue along her bottom lip he traced the inside edge of the moist lips. Stroking along the rim of her mouth, he felt the tiny shudders of pleasure that he had caused. The texture of Belle's swollen lips were as tempting to him as a lush, ripe peach. The need that he felt to taste and touch was not to be denied this time.

Raising his dark head, Shawn used one hand to brush the fine golden tendrils away from her flushed cheeks. Belle's eyes opened, the crystal gaze held his as he said, "Peaches, I want to give you what you asked for upstairs. I want to touch you, feel you silky skin against me," Shawn slowly reached down to unbutton her blouse as he continued, never taking his mesmerizing gaze off of her. "I want to feel your breasts swell with arousal, and feel your nipples peak." His voiced throbbed with emotion as he felt the shirt open. "I need more this time."

Holding her blue gaze with his, Shawn let his fingers slowly trace the pulse that was pounding against the soft skin of her throat. Dipping his head, his lips fluttered a soft kiss there as his palm cupped her breast. Feeling her breath quicken, Shawn glanced back up to make sure Belle was all right with his advancement. Desire shimmered from the blue orbs and he had to swallow hard. There was no denying it. He loved Belle so much. The need to show her was too strong.

Belle felt the air blow cool from the air conditioner, but her skin felt scorched from Shawn's hot gaze. She watched his eyes as they glanced down and took in the soft white lacy bra that she had worn. Hoping that Shawn would touch her like he had promised, she waited with bated breath. Finally, his palm cupped her. His hot fingers slid to and fro against the lace that hid the bud from his hungry eyes. With anticipation, Belle watched as one lone finger dipped inside under the lace rimmed edge. Shawn had been watching her eyes as he touched her. Withdrawing that finger, he traced the white strap that rose over her shoulder. Pulling Belle towards him, Shawn reached around to unhook the back fastener. Slowly, he pulled the fabric away from his goal. Trailing the straps down her arms, he tossed the bra aside. Shawn took his first look at Belle and almost wept with his own pleasure. Beauty was truly in the eyes of the beholder.

"You're beautiful, Isabella." Shawn's voice shook as he reached out to touch the light rose velvet nipple. He had never felt anything sweeter and wanting to taste, he lowered his lips, eager to fasten on the hardening bud. Nearing his destination, he blew softly first on the tip and watched it curl even tighter. Wrapping his soft lips finally on the crest, he suckled as he felt Belle weave her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer.

Belle felt her lower body clinching with a new ache that she recognized. Hot flames rose in her belly, stirring up needs that were so far unquenched. Shawn had been the one to awaken these hot fires within her body. Her soul she had given to him, her heart was already his, now her body was ready to mate.

Gathering him closer, Belle felt his hot tongue trace patterns on her breast, and finally take it again in his mouth. His hand gave the other breast attention and now he switched sides. Letting his mouth take hot tugging pulls on the other tender flesh, he kept the twin mound taunt with his fingers. Feeling herself becoming more damp, Belle twisted and squirmed, seeking and finding the hard bulge in his pants.

Shawn released her breasts, and watched her eyes once more, as he lowered his hand to her hip. With anticipation, Belle opened her thighs to his hands. Needing relief, she wanted Shawn to touch her. As she felt his hands, hot through her linen pants, travel up her thigh, she eagerly waited this new loving.

As Shawn was about to cup her through the soaked fabric they heard Vivian on the intercom, calling them. "Belle, Darling, if ya'll are in the house come on back to the den. Hope wants to say good night before she retires."

Groaning at the interruption, Shawn let his forehead rest against Belle. Looking into the eyes that glowed with pleasure, Shawn knew he could become lost in those dark blue pools. He said with determination, "The time is coming when we are going to finish this Peaches." He let his large hand cup her face as he kissed her with frustration. His fingers tangled in the golden locks as he gathered it up. Grasping her hair, he pulled her as close as he could, her nipples, still hard and damp from his mouth, stabbing his chest.

He felt the soft skin of Belle's hand as she raised his head up. Meeting her eyes, she rested her palm against his cheek. Cuddling into the softness, he heard her answer. With a soft voice that was still uneven, she whispered, "I know we will Shawn, And soon."

Chapter 22

The Brady's were enjoying their vacation time in Salem. The days were just passing to quickly though. Their week was going to be up before they finished everything they had planned on doing. Shawn was a frequent visitor during their stay. Dropping by for breakfast some mornings as Bo joined him on the lake for an early boat ride, he knew he would be welcomed, and it gave him a chance to see Belle too, JT and Zach were like their mother, sleeping late when they had the chance.

John had been true to is word about the trip to Atlanta to Turner Field. The boys were eager to try and field the batted balls that the Braves were hitting during practice. Each had brought their own gloves, but neither JT nor Zach were able to snag one of the high foul balls.

It had turned into a guys night out, when Shawn and Brady both joined the group. His brothers' excitement was contagious as they made their way around the seats after the practice session. Walking around the inside of the stadium before the game began, Shawn bought his brothers t-shirts and caps.

Bo was glad to see his eldest son again. Shawn had filled out even more since his last visit home. He stood tall and slim as he paid for his purchases. The sun had bronzed his skin, his eyes were as dark as his own, but Bo thought, he has his mother's smile. He could see bits and pieces of his wife in him too. Bo walked up and slapped Shawn on his shoulder, as they climbed up the stairs to the skybox. "So, is Salem the town where you want to spend the rest of your life, Son?"

Shawn agreed as they walked slowly behind the noisy group. "Yeah Dad, I feel that here is where I can make a difference. It might not be what someone else would think of as a career, but I am happy. I..." He stopped, as Bo beckoned for him to continue, as they went inside the plush booth. "Realistically, I might get tired of all the paperwork that is involved with the job, but I wouldn't trade being out on the water everyday for a job that I had to sit behind a desk. I don't see how Brady likes being enclosed in his office as much as he is now."

Bo scratched his bearded chin as he listened. So far Shawn had not mentioned Belle Black' s name at all. Over the past few days, Bo had waited for Shawn to mention if he was dating anyone seriously. Maybe his Fancy Face was wrong this time. Shawn hadn't mentioned a woman at all and that was starting to worry Bo. He felt that Shawn needed someone with whom he could share all the joys and hardships of life. He needed his own soul mate, a wife that would stand up to the Brady temper when it flared, and to all the love that Bo knew his son possessed inside. "If you are happy, Sailorman, I can't ask for anything else. Just know, that if ever you want to come home, your room is still there."

Shawn hugged his Dad, as he thanked him for all that he had taught him. "I was telling Belle, the other night, how we used to travel to so many ports and countries. She asked if I had felt like a gypsy since we were on the move so much." He stood looking out the large window, as with an inner eye he saw Belle's reflection in the glass, instead of the green baseball field and brown earth below. Shawn wondered what she had been doing that day.

The plan was for Hope Brady to go to work with Belle today. Belle had given Hope a tour of the building and had planned an all day spa session with her, but because both John and Brady were not going to be there at Basic Black, Belle had to fill in when something came up. Belle was just planning on seeing his Mom that afternoon for the steam bath and massage. He sure would have liked to have been the one giving Belle the massage, But, if Hope had been in there in the room with them, he would have had to behave. Hope could give him the look that all the Horton women in his family used on a regular basis. And, he thought ruefully, his hands would have had to stay above the towel.

Belle's body had been so sweet and lush. His dreams had been about her every night since her return to Salem. Now they had taken a more carnal turn. Shawn wanted her to be apart of him and be with him both day and night. He had pledged to himself that she was going to be his very soon.

"Hey, Earth to Shawn, are you there?" Bo said louder than he intended too when Brady Black came by to hand them each a beer. Shawn quickly turned around, his dream vision of Belle, dressed is a soft sheer gown, the color of moonbeams, vanished. Blushing, he turned back to the window, his hard on clearly outlined under the faded denim jeans.

"Don't mind him, Bo." Brady said, as he stuffed a handful of peanuts in his mouth. "When he starts to think about Belle, he gets that look in his eyes." He grinned at his best friend as he backed up. Shawn could be quick to snag out his fist when they rough-housed it around sometimes.

Bo watched as the two young men faced off. "If you have something to say about your sister, then say it man." Shawn turned, his eyes darkened to slits, his stance was coiled with fury. The vein in his neck throbbed and his jaw clinched.

Holding both hands up, palms turned outward, Brady replied, “It’s no skin off by nose who you want to fall for Shawn. Belle's been crazy about you for years. I'm surprised it's taken this long for you to realize it." His own blue gaze, not nearly as light blue as Belle's, was narrowed in his lean face. His glasses were pushed up and gave Brady a studious look.

Shawn relaxed as he said, "It's not like that Brady. I.....I..lov.... I ....lov....I lo......" Shawn stuttered as he looked as his father. Knowing that he had had years to watch his dad smooth talk his own mom, he swallowed and said. "I am really in love with Belle. I want to marry her." Releasing his pent up breath, he watched as Brady's eyes widen and he smiled until he felt a strong hand clamp down on his shoulder.

Turning around, Shawn looked into John Black's eyes. John's stare was thorough and Shawn met it with one of his own "John, I guess that you heard that. My intentions are honorable. I do want to marry Isabella." He watched with trepidation as John's hand tightened on his shoulder, his hawk like features constricted with emotion. Then he was pulled into a bear hug that seemed to squeeze the breath from him.

John stepped back and offered his hand. "Welcome to the family then, Son" He smiled as he turned to Bo. "I wished for this a long time ago. I hope you're not upset by it?"

Bo shook his head as he congratulated his son for admitting what was in his heart, and for standing proudly to face John head on. "No, I'm not angry, just the opposite. I'm glad that Shawn has found someone to share his life with. Hopefully we'll get to know more of Belle during our visit."

JT turned away from the food table with a plate of hot wings as he said in a sing song voice, "Shawn's got a girlfriend, Shawn's gota girlfriend.." He quickly side stepped the hand that was going to pop him one on his bottom when Zach chimed in making kissing noises with his lips on his hand,

One glance from Bo Brady hushed both boys up as they turned back to the seats to see the players coming onto the field. Hearing the cheers from the stands, they could see the action live, plus on replay on the large tv screens inside the booth.

Shawn just shook his head as his brothers settled down. Reclining in his own chair, Shawn knew that his mom would be giving him the third degree after Bo told her his news. He just hoped he would be able to tell Belle first, before Zach or JT let something slip.

Hope Brady sat in the padded chair as she had a pedicure. The latest issues of several fashion magazines were laying around so customers could read as they relaxed. There were several ads for Basic Black included in the magazines. Hope found one ad particularly interesting. She decided to go shopping for herself to buy some new clothes after she finished. Belle was to join her for the steam bath and massage in an hour. Then they would meet up for a late lunch. Belle was taking her to the Kudzu Grill.

Hope wondered how involved her son was with Belle Black. They seemed to have been real cozy the other night on the sofa. When she had come back downstairs after the twins were in bed, she had noticed that Belle's blouse had been untucked, and Shawn looked like he was .....uncomfortable, disturbed..... frazzled... something was going on. Hope didn't know what, but she was going to find out.'

She looked up as Belle walked in the salon. She looked fresh and happy as she stood chatting with the receptionist. Today, she wore a red power suit with a short skirt. It flattered her figure and Hope could tell that she had a sweet nature, she seemed to really care about the employees. Her sweetness wasn't an act like those girls who used to call Shawn when he was home from college. Belle's flare for business was keen. It seemed liked she could hold her own in the company and Hope wondered if she would survive when the time came for her to present her fashion designs. She wondered if that was all that she had learned from her father. Her looks definitely had to have come from her mother.

"Hi Hope. Sorry, I couldn't come down before now. Mr. Callahan called wanting to speak with Dad and wouldn't take no for an answer." Belle shifted her purse to her own manicured hands as she continued. "Pierre is ready when you get through here. I'm going to go ahead and change clothes." Belle glanced around the salon. Even though she wasn't going to use it today, she liked it when everything was in order.

Hope arose too with her freshly painted brick colored nails. "Wait Belle, and I'll go with you. How do you like this color?"
Belle looked down and saw the darker color of polish.

"It looks pretty. I can't ever get away with wearing something that dark. But with you coloring, it looks fantastic." Looking closely at Hope's face, Belle could see a resemblance to Shawn. She said, “Shawn really looks like both you and Bo. I think he gets his smile from you and his wonderful eyes from Bo."

Hope genuinely smiled at that. Now she had an opening. "I have always thought so too. But he has his father's Irish temper. It flares up every now and then." As they both slipped on burgundy robes with the initials BB embroidered in black, Hope joined Belle as they walked into the hot room. Steam rose from somewhere, a smokey mist hung in the air. "So Belle, what do you think of Shawn?" Hope was very much interested in hearing her answer.

Belle looked up and met the older woman's eyes. They were brown also, but not as beautiful as Shawn's eyes. Belle could get lost just looking into those dark pools. Blinking, Belle responded, "I enjoy his company. We have had a lot of fun together since I moved back home." She thought of the Sunday afternoon when they had walked in the spring rain that quickly turned into a downpour. They had held hands and ran to stand under Vivian's covered bridge until the rain had let up. Stolen kisses had warmed them as they snuggled together.

Other times they had rented DVDs and watched them on John's wide screen tv in the play room. One night Shawn had even played the baby grand piano, that stood in the music room, for Belle. She had been putting out fresh vases of Peonies when Shawn had walked in the room. He had sat down on the seat and started to play. Belle had joined him for an hour for the mini concert.

"I think he is doing what he has wanted to do for along time. Shawn loves the water. He told me about growing up and traveling on your boat, the Fancy Face. How he fished on the docks with his Grandpa and uncle. " Belle smiled and blushed as she thought about the man Shawn was. "He misses his family a lot. He has told me about you annual Christmas tradition about the tree and ornaments. I thought that sounded lovely. Sort of like something you might see in a movie." Belle shrugged out of the robe as she lay down on the padded table.

Hope was listening carefully to how Belle talked. She believed you could read between the lines of what the younger woman was saying. "I feel like I have gotten close to Shawn in the weeks that I have been home. He's a wonderful man."

"But just how do you really feel about him Belle?" Hope was persistent. If her son was as crazy about this young woman as he seemed, then Hope wanted to know exactly how deep were her feeling for him.

Belle opened her eyes as she stared at Hope. "Hope, I think that before I tell you how I feel about Shawn, that he and I need to discuss it first." She turned her head away, biting her lips because she didn't want to cry.

How was she to explain to his mother, just how she felt, when she had not even told Shawn yet that she loved him? And love him, she did. That was a fact, like John Black always said. Belle thought her heart would break if Shawn didn't love her too. How could he touch her, whisper all the things he wanted to do to her, make her feel all these wonderful, wild, lustful feelings, if he didn't love her? Only finding the time to talk to Shawn and face her fear that he didn't love her, would she be able to ease the ache that had been building up inside of her over the course of the past few weeks. Rubbing at a spot on her chest, Belle realized that it was the spot covering her heart that hurt.

Hope smiled to herself as she closed her eyes. Belle Black loved her son very much. That much was evident. She was a woman on the brink of having a love affair. If she could have chose a woman for her son, she might have picked out someone like Belle. She seemed like the perfect compliment to him. Now, if he had inherited his father's skills in the bedroom, then Belle was going to be a very happy woman. Laughing to herself, Hope would be glad when her husband came home tonight. She couldn't wait to talk to him.

Chapter 23

The week was nearing it's end, when Shawn and Hope settled down on the Vernada to have their long awaited talk. Shawn had known all along that he could not keep his feelings from his mother. She could read him like a book. Knowing that, he waited patiently as she led the conversation around to Belle.

"I talked with your father the other night, Shawn. He told me about your revelation at the baseball game." Hope brushed her long dark hair out of her eyes as she carefully watched her son. He sat on the porch, with his denim clad legs stretched out in front of him down the wide steps. His head was tilted up to the sky, as if he was seeking answers among the stars.

"Mom," Shawn began as he closed his eyes. "Do you remember the time we sailed into Spain? It was the time when I had wanted a monkey for a pet and Dad kept saying no way, Jose. "He turned his head around to see if Hope was listening. Her soft voice floated on the night air, "I remember. We were reading the book "The Summer Of The Monkeys". It was your favorite for so long."

Shawn nodded. "Remember, it had a brother and sister in it who only wanted the best for the other. One of them knelt in this fairy ring they found in the woods. It was made out of mushrooms and they made wishes for each other." Shawn stopped speaking, as if he was getting his thoughts together. Hope waited, knowing that it would be leading up to something.

Shawn finally continued as he ran his hand through his hair, making it stand up messily. "Anyway, it's a shame sometimes that there are not fairy rings today, just to make wishes in." He turned around as Hope came to sit beside him on the steps.

"Shawn, what do you want so badly that you have to make a wish for it?" Hope was concerned. Maybe Bo was wrong, and Shawn was not in love with Belle.

Rubbing her hand along his shoulder, she waited. At times like this, Shawn reminded her of her grandfather, Tom Horton, as he studiously pondered his thoughts. "Mom, I am in love with Belle. She is it for me." Turning, Shawn looked Hope in the eyes, so she could read the truth. "I want to marry her..... love her forever......one day raise children with her .....be able to sail away if that's where life takes us." Bending his dark head, Shawn said, "I want to be able to look into her beautiful eyes and thank God that she is my wife everyday....and finally one day, find us a porch of our own with a rocking chair and be able to look back on our family." With tear filled eyes he looked at Hope, "Is that too much to wish for Mom?"

Hope gathered her eldest son to her chest. Pressing her cheek to his, she was thankful that Shawn had such a good head on his shoulders. Kissing the top of his dark hair, she brushed it off of his forehead. "I think, that Belle will make a wonderful daughter-in-law. I can tell just by the way you two look at each other, that you love her, Shawn." She sniffed, as she tried to hold back her tears. Her baby was in love. "I really like Belle. She's so energetic, fun, has a deep respect for her family. She seems like she had a good sense of humor too,"

Shawn straightened at that last little bit. "You do know her then. Mom, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. What if she doesn't love me though?" Shawn watched as Hope took his chin in her hand and turned him to face her.

"Shawn Douglas Brady, what's not to love about you? I may be prejudiced, " she stopped as he gave her his trade mark grin, as she arched her own eyebrow above her dark eyes, “but, I think you are a pretty special fellow. She likes you.... a lot....Shawn, I can tell just by the way she says your name. It speaks volumes. Her eyes, they light up when you walk into the room too."

Standing up, Shawn pulled Hope up beside him. He had stood above her for so long, but he still valued what words of wisdom she offered. "Thanks, Mom, Go on and tell Dad. I know you can't keep a secret from him." Hope gave him one last hug before walking back inside the plantation home. Closing the door, she couldn't wait to find her husband,

Shawn stood alone, a few minutes more, as the dark night deepened. When his parents left and he had more time for himself, then he would tell Belle. They would find a place to be alone, and then with his heart, he would tell her how he felt.

With his mind made up, Shawn started to go inside when he glanced up. A bright trail was streaking across the sky. With a smile, Shawn made his wish on the shooting star.

Chapter 24
Rated R

The weekend was looming as Hope came outside after packing one of the suitcases for the twins. The Brady’s were leaving the next day and this was to be their last meal with everyone. Vivian was entertaining Bo and Ivan as they sat on the Veranda. The breeze from the slowly rotating ceiling fan stirred Brady's hair as he passed Bo a beer and Hope a glass of white wine. Sitting on the porch rail, he joined the conversation as they talked about their last night in Georgia. Voices were muted, dispersed with laughter, remembering all the good times. The sun was setting, reflecting in the French doors, as Hope watched the couple that sat alone. She could already picture them posing for wedding photographs. Smiling to herself, she couldn't wait to get back home and discuss this with all the Horton women.

John was manning the grill as he watched the flames sear the thick ribeyes. The smell was enough alone to tempt a man, but the couple who sat apart on the glider were lost to their surroundings. They had eyes only for each other. Looking at the two, John was pleased with the match. There was no doubt in his mind that his little Izzy B. was in love with Shawn Brady. He noted that Shawn couldn't seem to keep his hands off of Belle though. Whether it was touching her shoulder, twirling his fingers in her golden locks, or holding her hand, Shawn Douglas was enthralled with his daughter.

Shawn was lost in the crystal blue gaze as he held Belle's tiny hand in his own. His larger hand caressed the soft, silky one, using his thumb to slowly stroke back and forth over her fingers. Turning her hand over, he traced one long finger down her palm, pressing downward, and watching her eyes turn a darker shade. Belle was chewing on her bottom lip, a habit that he had recently noticed, that usually signaled her own agitation. Smirking at the idea of getting Belle all hot and bothered, Shawn wanted to doing nothing more than to slide his own lips against hers and delve inside, tasting the passion that was there for him.

Unconsciously leaning forward, he was about to do just that when he heard Zach saying, "Shawn's got a girlfriend, Shawn's got a girlfriend, Shawn's....." "Shawn and Belle, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, ..."JT joined in at the same time, wanting to be a part of the fun of kidding their older brother as Shawn stood up. Zach leapt off the porch as JT followed, both running across the wide lawn. Walking across the porch, Shawn was about to go after the pre-teens when Hope placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Honey, let them go. They are just trying to get a rise out of you." Hope watched as Shawn grinned and turned his head toward Belle. "I guess I was pretty occupied." Grinning, he gave her a saucy wink and walked over to the cart to grab a beer as he started talking with Vivian. He would soon have her all to himself.

Belle walked over to her father as she handed him a platter for the steaks. "This has been a fun week. I know you will miss Bo, Dad." She stepped back away from the mesquite flavored smoke, as John handed her the full platter.

"That's a fact Sweetheart! I have really enjoyed playing golf with Bo. He's a worthy opponent. I'll have to see about taking a trip to Illinois soon."

Belle led the way to the side buffet as she placed the platter down with the other foods. Ivan had made a broccoli salad, marinated vegetable kabobs, and a traditional banana pudding for dessert. With all the food spread out, Belle wondered how it was all going to be eaten. Joining Belle, Hope said that it would disappear quickly. "You forgot that those twins can consume so much." Hope hugged Belle as she quietly asked, "Belle, you're not upset with Zach and JT are you?"

Belle shook her head as she replied, "No, I realize how much they miss Shawn. They love him so much." Pushing her blond curls back behind her ear, she continued. "I guess I was monopolizing him. I'm sorry Hope. I know you need to spend as much time with him as you can today."

As they went inside to fill the tea glasses with ice and beverage, Hope shook her head. The fluorescent light cast a pretty sheen on Hope's dark hair as she stood at the refrigerator. It was not as dark as Shawn's, but Belle could see where he got his looks. His face was shaped liked Hope's, the delicate bones were more masculine and defined, the nose crooked from being broken during a football game. Belle could see that Hope must have been a beautiful model when she did her turn down the runways. She was still gorgeous.

"Don't be silly, Belle. I am so glad that my son is smart enough to catch your eye. He likes you very much." Hope turned away so that Belle couldn't see her smile. "I will miss him of course, but I am looking forward to being home and sleeping in my own bed tomorrow."

Belle agreed. "I know, I hate that part of traveling. I like my own pillows too." She thought of her own large bed upstairs, where she had spent many recent nights dreaming on a certain dark eyed man. The twisted sheets and unfulfilled longings had awakened her on several occasions. Restless nights were becoming the norm.

Dinner was a noisy affair, as were the goodbyes when Brady Black left to go home. He reminded Zach not to forget the chords he had taught him on his old guitar. JT was not as musically inclined, but had enjoyed listening to John and Brady jam out the Rolling Stones and the Doobies songs. "You know, he'll be wanting a guitar for his birthday." Shawn said as he stood in the doorway.

Bo said the same thing as the twins joined the male family members. "Those songs by those old guys are great Dad." Zach said pleading his case with his own gaze. "I'll bet we can find their CD's in the Music Warehouse." Bo snickered as he scratched his chin. "Those old guys are worth millions. They're both terrific groups." He knew that he would be making a stop at a mall on the way home for the CD.

Shawn stood leaning against the wall as he watched his brothers say good night. He would stop by early before they left on Saturday to see them off. Both boys raced up the wide staircase, ahead of the other adults, as Belle joined the Brady men.

"I guess I'll say goodnight fellas. I'll see you in the morning too." Her soft spoken voice touched Bo as he turned around. Knowing that Shawn would want to say good night privately, he kissed Belle on her cheek and went upstairs to join his wife.

Shawn pulled Belle into his arms, gathering her close against his muscled chest. "Aaahhhh, alone at last." With that one sentence, he closed his lips over hers negating any conversation. With careful steps, he walked Belle backwards inside the darkened side room, keeping his lips on hers the entire time. Framing her face with his hands, he used his thumbs to smooth the skin on her cheeks as his tongue tormented hers. Raising his eyes, he stepped back and pulled the pocket door from the frame. Enclosing them from prying eyes, he turned the key with a solid click. Belle could hear her heart pounding in the silent room as he turned around.

Watching Belle as he came closer, Shawn's eyes became accustomed to the light that shimmered through the sheer summer curtains. The illumination cast a angelic glow on her face. Using one hand he gently gathered the blond curls together and tugged her closer. He loved it when she wore her hair down. Stopping just shy of her body, Shawn felt the heat of her warm skin. Leaving a narrow span between them, Shawn used his other hand to cup the back of her neck. Drawing her the rest of the way, they both stopped breathing when their bodies brushed.

Firm muscled chest to soft crested breast. Shawn brushed his thumb along her cheek, watching her beautiful eyes. He saw acceptance in that one look and knew that she was ready for more. Anticipating being touched, Belle wound her arms around Shawn's neck as she brought her lips up to his. Her fingers slipped into the strands of hair that she enjoyed touching. Kissing his soft lips, they firmed and hardened as did other parts of his body. She sighed as she cuddled closer, wanting to feel him. His legs braced as he cupped Belle by the hips and pulled her up. Her slim thighs wrapped around his waist, finding a home, as her tongue stroked his. Robbing him completely of his breath, Shawn withdrew his lips and walked across the room, setting Belle down on the green felt of the billiard table. The dim light showed the sweet smile on Belle's face as she reached a hand up to pull him down with her.

Laying beside Belle, Shawn was astounded by her beauty. There was nothing on earth that he could compare her to, as he gently took her small hand and placed it on his chest. He wanted to be touched in return this time. Just to feel Belle touch him, stroke his own chest like she had done before at his apartment, Feeling the fingers of both small hands spread out and come around to hug his hard body, Shawn was surprised when her hands went to his waist and tugged the polo shirt from his faded jeans. Her hands slipped under the smooth fabric, causing sensations to explode within him. Her fingers warmed the skin as they slowly slid the shirt up. Shawn sat up and pulled the shirt off completely. The muscles stood out along his arms, the tight abs looked firmed to Belle's eyes, as she raised her palm to touch his chest.

The slow burning fire that had been building up was in need of being put out. As her legs rubbed against his, Belle felt him slip one hard thigh between her own. Belle bit her lip as she lay back against the felt.

The denim fabric of his tight fitting jeans was soft against her bare leg. The short skirt that she had worn slid up her thighs nearing her hips. She wanted to tempt, to touch, and to taste Shawn, but could not deny to herself this feeling of want that he aroused within her. Shawn slid his arousal over her core and rocked as he watched her eyes. His chest was brushing against hers and wanting to feel her too, Shawn stopped his motion, much to the agony of his lower extremities.

This time, Shawn was going to feel Belle come apart, loose herself as he brought her to orgasm, see her eyes fill with passion. But first, her loose fitting blouse was going to come off. With a slow hand, he raised up and brought her hands to his lips. Motioning for Belle to sit up, he pulled her top off. His dark eyes took in the peach colored demi-bra as he ran a finger down the lace edged cup. Wondering if she wore matching panties, Shawn was determined to find out tonight.

The small white globes were barely contained as with one finger he slipped her nipple out from under the silky fabric. Doing the same to her other breast, the hardened buds were perkily aware they were on display. Just by watching them, Shawn saw the tips hardened even more. His fingers slipped down and unfastened the front clasp. Releasing the treasure, Shawn slid the straps down until her arms were trapped behind her body. Taking his mouth on a lazy journey, he began by kissing her mouth, His lips gnashing against her teeth as with his tongue he tasted her lips, ripe with passion. "Shawn, please,,,,,,"her voice was heavy as Shawn continued to ply her lips. Her breasts were heaving with every breath, her legs twisting against his, as Belle capitulated and gave Shawn everything that she had. With skill, Shawn captured her lips again, drugging Belle with mind numbing kisses. His thirst for her as was unquenchable.

His hands were never still, running down her back, cupping her backside, sliding down her smooth thighs and caressing her stomach. He never touched her breasts or lower as with just his lips alone, he brought her to the brink of wanting.

Finally, Shawn couldn't resist any longer. His lips slid down her neck, licking and nipping as he went. His hands released her arms and she brought them around to caress his face. "Peaches, I want you so much." His voice was rough, deepened with his own needs as his lips fastened on one nipple. His hands were constantly in motion, caressing her body, kneading her other bud, plucking it with his fingers, as he tugged relentlessly on her breast. Licking her nipple, he turned his head to give attention to the other side. His hands set out to destroy Belle, as they began a journey down her small body.

Belle felt his hands finally touch her trembling leg. She was burning up and wanted to finally feel him touch her core. Her panties had long been soaked. Moisture dripped from her and slid down her thigh. She was ashamed that she was so wet until Shawn quieted her.

"Peaches, I want you wet. When you make love with me for the first time, it will hurt. I promise you, " Shawn raised his head to look into her eyes. "I promise you that when that time comes, I will be as gentle as I can be." Belle read the truth of this statement. She was more than ready to be his in every way possible.

Brushing a lock of hair from out of his eyes, Belle smiled up at Shawn. "I know you will Shawn," she softly whispered. "And I know that it will be earth shattering."

"I promise you this Isabella, When we do make love, you will have all the stars that you can handle." With his lips hovering above her once more, Shawn slid his hand down to cup the wet folds hidden by a scrap of lace. His hand found the moistened silk. Wet with her fluids, Shawn smiled as he slid his middle finger up and down the fabric, bunching it up and sliding it downward. This time he let his finger slide inside as he felt Belle hold her breath. Keeping his eyes on Belle, Shawn sat up and pulled the silky material away. Tossing it on top of his shirt, he lay back down.

The golden triangle was matted and the curls bunched together in tight ringlets. His breath was stolen at her beauty. Telling her so, Shawn brought his hand back up her toned leg. This time, Belle kept her legs closed until Shawn asked that she ease them open. "Please, Peaches, spread them for me."

Belle leaned back and did as he asked. Anticipation was driving her crazy. She felt Shawn's fingers began to touch her folds. One long finger slid up and down again, just like before, until he slipped it inside the warm core. Belle jerked at the invasion. Shawn felt her tightening her inner muscles as she gripped his finger. Wanting to reassure her and get her to relax again, Shawn settled back down at her breast. Teasing, licking, caressing her nipples, with his tongue, he could not get enough of her sweet body. The tight, quivering buds he suckled, hollowing his cheeks with each swallow. Blowing on the wet surface, he felt her clinch his long finger. The finger that he had kept inside was now sliding in and out, the motion he hoped to do one day. He felt her hips arch up as he slid in deeper, feeling the barrier inside.

Belle felt like she was on fire, liquid heat coursed through her veins, driving her mad. She craved his touch, and his touch seemed to be everywhere. Shawn had spread the dew from her body all around her throbbing outer lips.

His fingers caressed deeper, rubbing the delicate folds that he wanted to taste, but knew he would wait until another time for that pleasure.

With his thumb, he circled the knot of nerves at the top of her hot cleft. Feeling her tighten once more, Shawn applied a steady pressure as he quickened the pace. Whimpering, Belle closed her eyes until Shawn asked her to open them. Keeping her gaze on his, Belle bit her bottom lip to keep from sobbing with pleasure. Within moments he was rewarded as he felt Belle gasp. Trembling with emotion, Shawn watched as Belle reached the pinnacle and tumbled over. He felt the spasms as she climaxed as he watched her eyes.

While his fingers lingered inside, stroking the last bit of sensation from the velvet folds, Shawn shifted up Belle's drenched body. Taking her lips eagerly with his own, he. kissed her one last time. He let his breath caress her closed eyelids, as he whispered the words that his heart was wanting to share. "I love you, Peaches."

Chapter 25

The grandfather clock's pendulum swayed back and forth as it chimed the last tones of the hour. Feeling the warm body cuddled close to his, Shawn knew they had crossed one more boundary tonight. With the words that he had whispered, he had given his pledge to the only woman with whom he wanted to share his life.

Raising up, Shawn used one hand to prop up his dark head, while he used the other hand to trace a line down Belle's throat as she lay beside him. The soft light, illuminated from the hurricane lamp on the porch, spilled over Belle's hair, casting a golden halo on the pool table. Shawn was mesmerized by how luminous her eyes were as they met his. He knew that his own eyes were filled with love for the tiny woman who had stolen his heart. Belle's crystal blue gaze was moist and overflowing with emotions that were yet unnamed.

Belle's shudders from the orgasm had subsided, even though her skin was still flushed. Shawn was fascinated with how silky her skin was, how soft her lips were as they puckered up for more kisses. Not being able to resist her mouth, Shawn lowered his own until they touched. With the ease of experience, Shawn parted her lips to taste the hot passion that still burned within Belle. Not wanting to spoil the best night of his life, Shawn began easing off and settling for sweet sips from the swollen lips.

The faint scent of jasmine drifted in through the open window, as windchimes gave a tinny bell sound as they danced on the evening breeze. In the distance, the lonely sound of a whip-o-will, as it called to it's mate, echoed in the dark night. Shawn hoped that it would find it's partner soon, because he now knew what it meant to be bonded for life with the one you love.

Shawn felt like his whole world had changed within the space of the past hour. He thought of how right it had felt to be able to touch Belle the way that he had. Even now, lust filled him until he was hurting, but he had to back off. He just couldn't spoil this first time of touching Belle.

"Are you all right?" he whispered softly as his fingers slipped down her shoulders, caressing the skin as they went.

Belle reached up with her rose colored nails and stopped his lips from uttering anymore words. She took his hand and held it against her naked breast, unconsciously rubbing his knuckles against the swollen tissue. "Shawn Douglas, you have made me feel so beautiful tonight. What you just did......"biting her bottom lip, Belle dropped her gaze, searching for anywhere to look but into his eyes.

Feeling her chin being tipped up, Belle swallowed and met the dark brown pools that shimmered with emotion. Was it really love that she saw reflected in them, like he had whispered when he had finished tumbling her world upside down?

"Isabella, I have to know now. Are you upset that things went too far tonight?" Shawn was aghast to think that this incredible night was going to be remembered as something bad. Feeling her hand take his and began rubbing it against her naked flesh was making it difficult for Shawn to concentrate. All he had to do was look down the length of her body and knew that it wouldn't take much for him to loose complete control. Trying to corral his thoughts, he missed what she had just said.

"Shawn, no, no, no don't think that. What you just...., no let me start again......"Belle took a deep breath to start over. "What We just did together was so incredible,...... wonderful,......right. I never knew what if felt like to fall apart that easily and to know I want to do it again and again with you." Closing her eyes, she swallowed the lump that had formed, before continuing. "Shawn Douglas Brady, I have been crazy about you for years. When I was younger, I couldn't wait until we went to see Brady at college, because you would always be there in the room to say hi to me."

Shawn's fingers were trailing up and down her toned thigh as he watched her eyes darken. The skin here was warm and beginning to tremble once more. Shawn could envision sliding his tongue along this path.

"You gave me the most incredible orgasm, it was like a thousand butterflies tickling and exploding and ....." Belle reached up and swatted Shawn as he gave her a smirk about the tickling.

"Just you wait, Peaches," His husky voice had lowered a pitch. "One day, when I take you with my mouth, you won't be saying anything about it tickling. " Shawn's eyes were filled with laughter but soon sobered. "I cannot wait until I have you that way." Breathing heavy as he thought about doing that to Belle, Shawn continued. "I have dreamed about it so many times." Belle watched Shawn's eyes grow lustful as he began walking his fingers down her chest and stomach. "I want to hear you scream my name when you come that way."

Belle's chest was beginning to warm, as she felt her breasts become aroused as Shawn's hand was playing with the turgid buds. Feelings swamped her, as Belle saw herself laid across the blue and yellow plaid spread on Shawn's bed being loved by this man. Moaning at the picture, Belle raised up and straddled Shawn, pushing his shoulders down on the felt. Feeling her hot core find a home on the hard ridge of his erection, Belle reached for the zipper of the faded jeans.

Shawn reached down and stopped Belle, hating himself, denying himself, but knowing that this first time Belle needed to be the one satisfied. "Peaches, shoooo, Peaches stop." He caught the fingers as they rasped the zipper all the way down, but not before her tiny hand had worked it's way under the fly.

He felt his breath cease, as the small hand brushed the coiled breadth of his erection. Letting go of her hand, Shawn placed one of his hands behind his head for a pillow, the other he used to touch her shoulders and back,

Belle shifted as her hand reached between the cotton fabric opening and felt Shawn firsthand. He was much softer than she expected, but ooooohhhh was he hard too! What a contradiction. She slowly eased her hand all the way into his pants and felt him lengthen even more. Her fingers found the ridged tip and was rewarded when she felt a drop on the tip. Smoothing it around and down under the hard shaft, Belle rose up on her knees to pull the jeans down. So intent on just doing that, Belle missed out on Shawn swinging her up and forcing her down on her back.

"Now, young lady, what did I tell you?" Shawn began as he let his hips drop to hers and covered her body. instinctively, Belle spread her legs wide to accommodate Shawn. She felt her hot core, open up as he used two fingers to spear her.

"Belle, you are driving me crazy tonight. You are lethal." Shawn continued the motion as he lowered his face to take nips of her skin. His face rasped against the soft tissues, the five o'clock shadow that he had shaved off before coming over in the afternoon, was back and leaving patterns of red on her skin. Moving his chin back and forth he latched on to one hard nipple and rimmed it with his tongue. Licking it over and over, but never taking it in his mouth, Shawn felt Belle claw his back with her nails as she came again. The shudders racked her body as she drenched his fingers. His name on her lips was filled with passion.

"Shawnnnnn , oooooohhh, Shawn,...." He quickly slid up and covered her lips with his own to keep the groan from being heard. Even though they were alone, Shawn knew that noises sounded louder in the dead of the night.

Catching her breath from the second climax, Belle rested her head on Shawn's broad chest. Her palm covered his heart, feeling it beat in time with her own, as it slowed from the race of that round of loving. And loving it was. Belle couldn't deny it any longer. It was like a song, waiting to burst from her lips. The words that had being building up and jumbling her mind for weeks were ready to be heard.

Raising herself up until she was propped on Shawn's chest with head pillowed on her folded hands, Belle looked Shawn in the eyes and said the words for his heart to hear.

"I love you Shawn Douglas." The soft sounds vibrated in his ears and nestled within his mind. Her soft lips sealed the spoken words, as she kissed him and repeated them against his mouth, as he gathered her close to his heart.

Joined: October 17th, 2004, 8:41 pm

October 21st, 2004, 2:09 am #10

A Shawn and Belle Fanfic. This fic has an overall rating of NC-17

I disclaim, I just love Shelle.
Chapters 26 - 30

Chapter 26

The smell of rain was in the air, when Shawn docked the boat for the day. He had been taking water samples from various areas around the lake, trying to beat the storm that was darkening the sky. Bringing the vials with him, Shawn hurried inside the log cabin, as thunder crashed. The ear-splitting boom was loud enough to rattle the office windows as he shut the door. Turning on the shortwave radio, he kept an ear open for any updated weather reports, as he went about measuring the chemicals before dropping them into his samples. Logging the entry, he read his email while waiting on the test results.

Hope had sent him a picture of JT, when he had tagged an opponent out in one of his baseball games. Shawn was glad that one of his brothers was turning into a
fine athlete. Reading a review of the game, that had been written up in his parent's newspaper, Shawn was glad that JT was following in his big brother's
footsteps on the playing field. Zach was showing an affinity towards the arts. He had badgered Bo, until he had bought him a guitar. Now, he was driving his
parents crazy, by playing it loudly everyday. Not playing it well, just loudly. Hope had banished Zach into the garage to practice his lessons, so she could
have some peace inside her home.

His grandmother, Alice Horton, had been very interested in hearing that Shawn had taken an interest in the lovely Belle Black. As Matriarch of the family, she stated that is was about time for him to be getting serious about a woman. She wouldn't be around forever, and wanted to see him bring his "wife" for a visit and to help decorate the annual Christmas tree. Hope had told her not to rush
Shawn, but Shawn thought to himself, that is exactly what I want to do. I love Peaches so much. I do want her to be my wife.

Shawn smiled as he finished reading his Mom's thoughts. She had finished with reminding Shawn to tell Belle hello for her. That was one thing Hope Brady could count on, Shawn thought. The petite blond was on his mind constantly. His arms ached to hold her close to him, to kiss the rosebud mouth, to touch her and be touched in return, but that was just not possible for the time being.

Returning to the lab, Shawn checked his test tubes and logged the results. Finishing up for the day, he thought about swinging by Brady's and see if he had
any news of Belle. Besides, he was hungry and didn't won't to eat anything left over in his refrigerator.

Driving down the highway, Shawn had time to think about Belle. He knew she had been busy the past few weeks, flying to New Orleans with John, when Basic Black had made the announcement of the new store's grand opening. As marketing director, she had been working with the local media in advance, building up
interest in the new store and the special sales that would mark the entrance into the clothing district before the opening. She had even been on the local tv
station's morning news show with John during a promotion. The affiliate in Salem had covered the interview and been rebroadcast. Dee had made sure that he knew about the time. Ever since his picnic under the full moon, Dee had been offering him tidbits of romantic advice. When Belle returned, he was planning on giving it another shot.

With the opening of the sixth store under the corporate logo, Belle had had her hands full with the advertising. Shawn would be glad when she returned though. It had been a month since they had been alone on a date, a month since he had felt her respond to the slow wet kisses that he liked to indulge in, and a month since he had slept peacefully without dreaming of making love to her all night long. His dreams were getting to be very detailed and he couldn't wait until she was back in his arms. Even though he had talked to her every few days, he missed
her. That was a new experience for Shawn. The empty aching that filled his heart was beginning to take its toll on him.

The hot, sultry heat rising from the concrete hit Belle in the face, as she walked outside the air conditioned building. With just two more days to go
before opening Basic Black- New Orleans, she was more than ready to go home to Salem. And home it was. For the first time in many years, she was actually looking forward to going back to Wisteria Manor. But, she corrected herself, not just to go home, but to go see a certain dark haired man. A man with an ardent
gaze that could melt the ice sculpture she was about to go check on.

John had wanted something a little different this time for the stores' opening party. The night before the opening, John was hosting a dinner for the employees and their families. The dinner was to be held in one of the dining rooms at Basin Verde, one of the oldest hotels in New Orleans. Belle had seen about all the details for the buffet. Now, with one last task of checking on the ice sculpture, she would be through. With any luck, by the weekend, she would be heading back to Salem and to Shawn.

Irene had talked to her several times. The designs that Belle had sent in were now a product, already made and delivered to the home office in Salem. Belle
couldn't wait to see her designs in material form. Irene had said that some were going to be show stoppers. She had laughed when she had told Belle, that Nicholas just stood with his mouth hanging open, when several of the lingerie designs were modeled. The plans for the fashion show for July were now all set.

Belle was hoping that this would really launch her career. She was so excited that she wasn't paying attention when she turned into the ice shop. Running
into a solid wall of muscle, Belle was almost knocked off of her feet. Two strong hands reached out to grab hold of her arms to keep her steady. Looking up
into sunglasses that reflected her appearance, Belle was shocked to see how frazzled she looked.

"I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying any attention to where I was going.' She offered the apology as she stared up at the man. Brushing a stray lock of hair back, she checked her appearance in the reflection.

With genuine concern for almost knocking her down, he took off his glasses and tipped his head. "It was my fault, miss. I was hurrying down the street and
didn't see you way down there." His voice was deep, as he looked down from a height of over six feet. His face was shadowed in the sun as Belle held her
hand up to shade her own eyes.

"All is forgiven. Hi, I'm Belle Black." With an open friendly expression, Belle held out her hand. Feeling it swallowed up in the large grip, she smiled up at
the man. Two dimples flashed down at her as they stood on the sidewalk. "My pleasure. I'm Philip Kiriakis." The man stood with blond hair swept back over a high forehead. A dark navy suit emphasized his shoulders as he crossed his arms over his chest.

Belle gasped, as she recognized the name. He was Kate Roberts' son and the new store manager of Basic Black - New Orleans. "It's a small world, isn't it?" Belle said as they shook hands. "I'm glad to finally meet you. I have admired your mother for years."

Philip pulled them both to the side of the building, out of the flow of site seers that were craning their necks looking at the wrought iron balconies
overhead, spilling with fragrant pots of geraniums and sweet peas.

"I met John last week and he mentioned that his daughter was helping him. I just didn't realize you were such a beautiful woman, Belle. I heard that you were the inspiration behind the advertising campaign that crossed my desk. The promotional ads that are being televised are exceptional." His sincerity made
Belle blush as she looked down.

"Well, it was nice to meet you Philip. I am sure we will be seeing each other over the next several days." Belle said as she started to go inside the

Philip reached out to take her arm, as she hesitated. "Do you want to have dinner with me tonight?" Belle looked up at that question. She was hesitant about accepting, but knew that it might help matters in the store on future projects.

"Sure, Philip. Do you want to come by the hotel this evening?"

After making plans for dinner, Belle finished her errands. The humidity was beginning to drain her, so she went back to the hotel room longing for a cool
shower. Hoping to hear from Shawn before the evening, Belle couldn't wait until she was able to go home. Home to Shawn.

Chapter 27

Belle felt better after she had freshened up. The cool shower had soaked away the early summer heat. She had forgotten how hot the summers could be in the
south. Now, contemplating her wardrobe, she wondered what she could wear. Belle wished that she had refused to go out tonight. She longed to just be able
to stay in and have a light meal and finish the night with a good book.

She had gotten the impression from Philip Kiriakis today, that he was much more of a socialite than she was. With his playboy looks and debonair personality, he would probably turn heads in whatever restaurant they went to tonight. That kind of man usually only thought of themselves, not the person they were with.
Sighing, Belle finished dressing as her telephone rang.

Hurrying to answer it, she was relieved to hear Shawn's sexy voice. "Hello, Peaches. How are you doing tonight?" His voice sent goosebumps up Belle's spine as she eagerly answered.

"Shawn, I am so much better, now that I have heard from you today. What have you been doing? How's the weather. I missyousomuch. “Taking a breath, Belle giggled as Shawn laughed at her.

"OK, do you want to run that by me again, only slower?" he remarked as he stretched out on the love seat. He could picture Belle on the cushioned sofa
with him, from the only time he had cooked her a meal in his apartment. That was the first time she had consciously touched him.

Belle finished fastening her earrings and slipped her heels on while holding the phone one handed. "I said, that I have missed you a lot, Shawn. And, I am coming
home this weekend." She was hoping that he would be as anxious to see her as she was to see him. This month of absence had made her long to be held by this man, feel him kiss her and hold her.

"Uggghhh, did you say you would be coming this weekend?" Shawn offered a smirk that he knew she could not see. His mind created a half clothed Belle sitting in his lap, as he waited for her reply.

Belle, gulped as she answered the sexual innuendo. "Weeelll..." taking her time she let her voice soften as she whispered, "If you help me, I just might, Shawn. Think I could interest you in helping little 'ole me with this project?" She
tried to drawl out her words as images of them on the billiard table filled her mind. She could hear Shawn beginning to breath heavy through the phone lines.

"Peaches. you better get plenty of rest, and I do mean plenty of rest, before you come back. I am almost certain that you will enjoy yourself and I will too."

"And that's a fact?" Belle couldn't resist using one of her Dad's lines as she continued her end of the conversation. She loved talking to Shawn. Sharing in
the daily routines, hearing about his watercraft classes he was teaching in the evenings and his continued work with the senator on the lake issues. The river wars were getting national attention. She had caught a few of the headlines on the early newscast this morning as she was heading out to work.

"I will try my best to get some rest in before this weekend. I'll sleep on the jet on the way home too. How about that Shawn?"

Closing his eyes, Shawn remembered how good she had felt in his arms, how sweet her lips were, and how hot she was when she was aroused. "Belle, I sure hope
your plane is early. I have missed you too."

Belle sighed, she was glad that he had said that. The tone of his voice sent thrills through her, as she remembered being loved by him. It was nice to be
missed, but the homecoming seemed like it would be worth it. She couldn't wait to see those dark brown pools of chocolate that she could get lost in, feel
those hot lips kiss the very essence from her, and feel those solid arms, corded by the muscles in his biceps, wrap her up and hold her tight against him.

Saturday was still a long way off. Belle shared with Shawn the problems that had come up with the catering company, the everyday busy work that filled many hours
of her day, and the meeting that she had to go to tonight. She could just not bring herself to tell him that it was only going to be herself and Philip.

Shawn struggled with ending the conversation, when he heard the knock on her door. "I guess you have to go for now. Belle....Isabella....remember this tonight, when you are sitting at the table." Shawn waited a moment. letting the anticipation build up. "Isabella Black, I love you. Hurry home."

"Oh, Shawn, I love you too. I'll see you in few days." Belle reluctantly hung up as she went to open the door. Philip stood in the doorway, dressed in another suit, looking handsome. But, thought Belle, he's no Shawn Brady. Not by a long shot.

Chapter 28

Philip had reservations in a French restaurant that promised the patrons a quiet evening. Soft music from a string quartet alerted the diners to muted conversation. The lighting set the mood for romance as the facets in the chandelier reflected the shining light and sent it to the dark corners of the room.
Tall ivory tapers, that flickered in globes, were set on tables covered with linen cloths. Belle could see her reflection in the china as she glanced down. Biting her lip, she wished Shawn was the one sitting
across from her. Feeling her stomach drop, at Philip's chosen dinner location, Belle hesitantly smiled. He gave her a beaming look of his own, the
twin dimples flashing.

"Thanks for agreeing to go out with me tonight, Belle." He reached out a long fingered hand and rubbed the back of her soft hand resting on the table. Playing with the ruby ring that adorned her finger, he said, "I know it was short notice, especially since we just met.”

Trying not to jerk away, Belle sat up and drank from her water glass. "This is a lovely restaurant, Philip." Picking up her menu, she studied it as she avoided his eyes.

Philip chose a wine as the steward left. "I like the surroundings. I was told that the food is excellent too." He studied her above the menu.

He could tell she was avoiding him, but he was going to win her over. "Tell me about yourself, Belle. Have long have you worked for Basic Black?"

Relaxing with the conversation. Belle talked about working in school during the holidays and summer vacation, starting from the ground up. She was able to speak about the retail end as well as talk about the corporate level. John Black had believed in teaching his business principles to his children at an early age.

Sipping the wine, Belle talked about the office at how much she enjoyed working in the marketing end of Basic Black. As their food was brought to the table, Belle was surprised at how easy it had been to talk to Philip.

"You know what it is like, growing up with a parent who breathes the clothing business." Belle said. Kate Roberts had been a fixture over the Dallas division of Basic Black for years. She was an astute lady who
could be a shark when it came to business.

Philip smiled as he finished his dinner. Placing his silverware across his plate, he acknowledged the waiter to come pick it up before relaxing with an after dinner drink. He thought about his mother. She had been busy with Basic Black for as long he could remember. She had worked hard for a living, earning her salary and company appreciation by her
dedication to the job. Right now, she was probably working on figures at home. She had always put the job first, never taking time out for Philip when he was younger.

"Let's not talk about my mother right now. How would you like to go for a ride around the city, Belle?" He asked, as a horse drawn carriage pulled up in front of the famous building. Belle was surprised at the rare treat. She had seen the horses pulling the fabled taxis around town but had never ridden in one. Taking the opportunity, she agreed as Philip helped her inside.

Philip kept his hand on Belle's as they started to drive around. The driver pulled out into the traffic, as they clip-clopped slowly around the Quarter. Drawing her attention to the mimes as they performed, he put his arm around her shoulders trying to draw her closer to his side.

Belle scooted to her side of the carriage, hugging the corner, away from Philip. Using the excuse of seeing the saxophone player up close on the street corner, she slide smoothly away from the man who was playing havoc with her senses. "This has been fun, Philip, but I need to be heading back."

He acknowledged her as he spoke to the driver. As they returned to the restaurant, he helped her back into his Mercedes for the return trip to her hotel.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Belle settled back against the plush upholstered seat. Thankful that the night was almost over, Belle closed her eyes, and sighed.

Philip picked out a classical CD as he drove down the small narrow roads. He had a plan, and it included Miss Black. But he was not ready to set all the events in motion.

When they arrived back at Belle's hotel, he escorted her back up the elevator. At the door, as she turned to go back inside. Philip leaned his arms on either side of her head, effectively trapping her close to
his body.

"Philip, I don't think this is a good idea. We barely know each other."

Belle said as she tried to open the door behind her back. Trying not to seem apprehensive, Belle was unprepared for the kiss he bestowed on her lips. He was suave, as he manuvered her back against the door. Stepping close, his body brushed hers, as he let his arms slide down her shoulders until he clasped her hands. His lips caressed hers, as he sought to
bring out feelings within her in the few moments that he took to kiss her. He had always had a way with women, so he was sure that Belle would enjoy his lovemaking skills.

Belle was surprised at the quick kiss. Before she could respond in anyway, Philip stood back and ran a finger down her cheek. "Thanks for dinner. I enjoyed your company tonight." Stepping back, he said, "I'll see you tomorrow, Belle"

He turned and walked down the hall, whistling an aria as Belle held a hand to her lips. Watching the retreating figure, she wondered what she had gotten herself into.

Chapter 29

The day before the grand opening found Belle up early. After using the weight room the hotel provided, she quickly showered and dressed. She had to see about any last minute details for the dinner that night, as well as any small catastrophes in the store itself.

Arriving early, Belle settled into the office she had temporarily used. The hum of the computer and fax offered background noise to the quiet room. Morning
light filtered through the rose colored blinds as she settled down at her desk. Slipping her heels off, Belle read the incoming figures.

The reports showed an increase in men's sales due to Father's Day coming up in a few weeks. Overall, the gift items were picking up too. With graduation and the traditional June weddings, these lines always were high end dollars for this time of year. Sighing, wishing she could plan her own wedding, Belle gasped.
What had she just thought? Questioning her ownself and her feelings, Belle realized what direction she wanted her relationship with Shawn to go in.

Marriage. A lifetime of love. Vows to be shared with one man. The give and take, the ultimate understanding, the ideal of love and everlasting acceptance of one another, the good times and the bad, sickness and in health, joining their lives
until they were one, all that encompassed a marriage. A complete lifetime commitment. With one person. Focusing on a future with Shawn was what she truly
wanted. Belle felt her stomach drop and her heart stop beating for those few minutes of realization. Taking slow deep breaths, Belle was truly astonished
with herself. She knew it was a fact that she loved Shawn, but she really, really and truly loved him, with all of her heart.

Knowing that she loved Shawn, she took a few moments to sort out her true feelings for him. He was everything in the world to her, simply everything with
a capital E. She would do anything for him. Love meant all those things to her.

Wanting to build a life with Shawn, share in just the everyday activities and the daily routine of homelife, to wake up in the mornings to snuggle in the bed together and have late night conversations in the dark with their heads resting on the pillow. And, Belle thought, Shawn already wanted her. She felt a
quickening within her and a tingling in her thighs at the thought of his dark eyes giving her the once over, kissing her to distraction until she was a mass
of quivering nerves, loving her until she was wild with wanting.

He would be a gentle lover and would make her first time a beautiful experience. Already, Belle knew that her body was ready for that commitment, and yet, Shawn had been patient with her and not rushed her into any decisions. He was a true gentleman, but she felt like he would be impatient on occasions, just by how deep his feelings seemed to run. She knew that men in general, seemed to always want "it" just to have relief and something to talk about and she didn't want Shawn to think she was a tease. Shawn was a very sexy man and Belle wanted to be his wife if every way that was possible.

Wishing that she could share these thoughts with someone, Belle closed her eyes and leaned back to savor her own feelings. The shrill ring of the phone jerked her upright. Reaching to answer the insistent pealing, Belle got ready for another day at work.

By the time that lunchtime arrived, Belle had already been to see the settings for the night's party. The flowers had been delivered and now the food was going
to be sent over by 4:30. The heavy hors'dourves were just an appetizer while the bluesy band played that night. John had specifically asked Belle to come early so that they could look over the room together before the employees drifted in that evening. Raffle prizes included shopping sprees, a few extra discounts to the store, besides some specialty clothes. Belle was excited because this was
always a fun night at any opening. Looking forward to this event, Belle knew that it would only be a matter of two days and then she could go home.

Hurrying back to the hotel room, she quickly changed into a dark sapphire dress that stopped just above her knees. The view from the front was very demure but
the halter style top left her back uncovered. Fastening sapphires in her ears and a matching bracelet, she finished putting her hair up in a French twist. Hearing a knock on her door, Belle went to the open it for her Dad.

It wasn't John who stood there, openly smiling and letting his dangerous eyes rake over her body. Feeling heat instantly warm her cheeks, Belle was very
surprised by her visitor.

"Looks like I'm your escort tonight. Are you ready to go?" Holding out his arm, the black clad tux sleeve brushed her soft skin, sending quivers racing through

Chapter 30

Magnolia and eucalyptus leaves were threaded into wreaths marking the entrance to the hotel reception area. The Blue Note Lounge was a favorite attraction to the elite of New Orleans. Most visitors to the city didn't know about the excellent food, drink, or band that played nightly. But to the ones who stepped into the fabled lounge, a good time was had by all. Many a time one of the famous or not so famous Hollywood stars or some of the local pro athletes would come in and make an apperance, to sit and relax in the company of others.

Blue and white lights were shining among the ficus trees, creating a setting of tables for four, as the wait staff, all dressed in cobalt jackets over black pants, set water glasses out. The bartender already had a good selection of wine open, waiting to pour as the Basic Black employees came in to the lounge. The band sat on the stage off to one side, the alto singer warbled a few notes adjusting her range for the night to come.

The room was filling with people when Belle and Philip arrived. Looking around the room, Belle spied her father talking with several of the board members who had come down for the grand opening. "If you will excuse me Philip, I want to say hello to Dad." Belle eased her arm from his as she adroitly stepped around a waiter. Walking toward John, she took a breath of fresh air, Philip's aftershave had over powered her the whole time they had been enclosed in the cab on the way over to the hotel.

Standing to one side of the circle, Belle waited until the conversation had reached a lull before interrupting. "Gentleman, if you will excuse us for a moment, I need to speak with my father." Her modulated voice was soft as the circle widened to let her enter. John took her elbow as they moved away.

"Izzy B. you look beautiful tonight. It was well worth the wait." John patted her fingers resting on top of his arm. "That blue dress just goes with the scene tonight." They climbed the staircase together as more employees began arriving.

"Thanks for the compliment Dad, but I wasn't late. What gave you that idea?" Belle turned to John as they stood overlooking the party. She reached up to adjust his tie as he leaned against the balcony rail.

John let his fingers run over his chin as he arched his eyebrow at his daughter. "I had just put on my tuxedo when Kiriakis called my room. I was preparing to leave, when he said you were running late, and he had already made plans to take you tonight. What's up Isabella?"

It was Belle's turn to look dubious as she tried to see Philip below. "Of all the nerve! I was not running late, and I had not even spoken to Philip about the party except in general."

John turned his hawk -eyed gaze on the younger man, socializing and smoozing with the board of directors. If he didn't know better, he thought Kiriakis was trying to move up the ladder. "Well, give the boy the benefit of the doubt, Belle. You are a beautiful woman, and he probably thought it would be good PR to come in together tonight." Just because he said this, didn't mean that John wasn't going to start watching him closer. No one, and that meant NO ONE, was going to hurt his Izzy B.

Belle turned away from the party. "Well, I for one am glad to see the opening of the store. I hope to be going home this weekend." Leaning her head on John's shoulder, she thought about Shawn, and smiled. She couldn't wait to see him again.

Glancing down at the golden head, John thought she looked so much like her mother. His Doc would have been proud of the remarkable young lady they had produced. Belle grew to be more like her each day. "I bet I know a young man that can't wait for you to come back to Salem either." Teasing Belle, he wrapped a strong arm around her shoulders. He was pleased with Shawn and wondered if Belle had admitted her feelings toward him yet. She was the most stubborn of females, just like Doc had been at that age, not wanting to admit what was in her heart.

Smiling, Belle acknowledged John's teasing. "I know Dad, I've missed Shawn too. I can't wait to go back to Wisteria Manor."

The band finished warming up and began a hot jazz number as several couples started dancing on the floor. John's foot began keeping the rhythm as it tapped in time to the music.

"What do you say, kiddo, let's go join the party?" leading the way, they descended the stairs. John had decided to look into Kiriakis' background tomorrow. Just because he was Kate's son, didn't mean that he was man enough to run his store.

Belle moved from one cluster of employees to another, always making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. Even old Mr. Callahan, one of the staunchest board members, seemed to warm up to Belle this evening. He remembered to ask how her designs were coming, and Belle was thrilled to be able to tell him how well everything turned out. She was just praying that the fashion show in July would be a success.

Heading to the ladies room, she saw Philip talking on his cell phone. Waiting until he moved away from the ladies room door, she stood up against the wall, behind a ficus tree. Taking a moment to herself, Belle was not paying attention to the conversation until she heard the word Salem mentioned.

"Yeah, she'll be in Salem around that time. I made it a point to find out that you already knew her and had reason to not like her family." Philip's voice was loud, trying to be heard over the singer as she belted out another song of the crowd. " i'll expect you to do your job. That's why you got such a big commission."

Belle tried to lean around the bush, she was wondering about his end of the conversation. She wondered who he was talking to on the other end.

"He won't no what hit him when it falls apart." turning around, Philip saw Belle as she quickly straighten and headed for the door.

"HI, Philip, great party isn't it?" opening the door, she said, "Please excuse me for a few minutes."

She slipped inside and heard Philip end his conversation. Thinking that he was being secretive, Belle just shrugged her shoulders and freshened her lipstick. Just a few more hours and she would be heading home. She was so excited that she could hardly be still, her mega watt smile flashing at everyone she met.

The night lengthened as the door prizes were given out. John gave his speech, thanking everyone who had worked hard and participated in the festivities, before he introduced Philip as the store manager. The parish mayor would be on hand with a pair of oversized scissors the next day to cut the ribbon on the door.

As the band started winding down. Belle finally agreed to dance with Philip. "Tell me about you mother Belle. Someone mentioned tonight, just how much you favor her."

Belle was surprised at how he began the dance. She had thought he would try to be slick and try to talk her into having a nightcap with him when they returned. "My Mom?" She was very puzzled as to why he would even mention Marlena. Philip had not even met her.

"My mother was a very smart, successful psychologist. She had written several books and was asked to speak on talk shows for years. Dad once told me she was introduced on the Mike Douglas and the Merv Griffin Shows. She had many speaking engagements. That was way before my time. It was before Oprah and Dr. Phil had even made it to the networks." Belle hesitated as her thoughts turned to the happy memories she had still carried close to her heart.

"Mom always smiled and called me her sweet girl. She and Dad was always so close, snugging together on the sofa, taking my brother and me to see plays and to local football games. She worked with the hospital and every year she would make us go and give the children in the pediatric wing presents for Christmas."

Unconsciously relaxing in Philip's arms, Belle talked about her mother some more. "When Mom and Dad would go out in the evenings, they would be so dressed up, looking like movie stars. I always dressed my Barbies up like Mom and pretended they were going out like my parents were."

The band began another set, as they continued to move around the room, slowly dancing, not realizing John was watching every move. "When Mom was killed, I just couldn't believe it. I guess I was in denial for a long time. It was hard on all of us, but Dad was very upset. I remember hearing him crying late one night when I was supposed to be asleep. I went inside their room, and there Dad was, standing over her dresser, holding a bottle of perfume, with tears running down his face." Belle stopped as she glanced at Philip. He was absorbed in her tale, hearing about her life. "We moved right after that time and settled in with my aunt down in Georgia. That's been my home ever since."

Philip nodded his head, "Thank you for sharing that with me Belle. I am glad to know a little more about you."

Finishing the dance, Belle thanked him. "I'm going to say goodnight to Dad." Belle left the dance floor, heading up te landing where she had last seen John standing.

Later that evening, Philip leaned over and gave Belle a token kiss on her cheek. She thought he had been acting strangely all night, but was glad that he had not kissed her again. She only wanted to be kissed by a certain dark eyed man. Telling him goodnight, she slipped inside her hotel room.

Belle was planning to finish packing her suitcases so that she just had to pack up her cosmetics the next morning. The Basic Black jet would be landing at the airport around lunch time. As the marketing director, Belle was expected to speak with the press after the ribbon cutting ceremony. And then, thought Belle, I am heading home to Shawn.