Two Hearts

A new fanfic by

MikesLuv

aka/ Shawn's_Girl

Chapter One

The Assignment

The students groaned in unison as their teacher, Mrs. Smithers, told them their assignment.

"You'll each be assigned a "mate". "Pretend" of course but you'll be responsible for setting up an apartment, finding a job, grocery shopping, childcare…"

"Childcare!?" exclaimed Mimi. "We're supposed to have, "she gulped," kids with each other?"

Mrs. Smithers smiled, "Pretend ones, yes, Mimi."

The students were all a buzz with excitement, curiosity and utter disappointment that they would have to complete this assignment.

"Alright… who wants to go first?" She asked, holding up two paper sacks, one marked "boys" and the other marked "girls".

Phillip Kiriakis stood up, "I'll go first," he said smugly. Several of the students giggled and were making comments on who he'd get as his mate.

When he reached the front, he reached into the bag marked "girls" and grabbed one. He opened it praying it would say "Belle". It didn't.

"Oh, noooo," he groaned. "I would never be married to her," he complained as he returned to his seat.

Mrs. Smithers took the slip of paper and read the name aloud, "Chloe".

Everyone turned to look at Chloe while she simply rolled her eyes.

Several other students took turns choosing their mate until Mimi finally spoke up and said, "Okay, Belle, you haven't chosen one yet."

Belle stood up, tossed a lock of blonde hair over her shoulder and walked to the front.

"Please be Shawn, please be Shawn," she chanted to herself.

She put her hand in the bag, moved the slips of paper around, and finally, drawing one out. She took a big breath and held it, opened the slip of paper and said his name while releasing the breath. "Shawn Brady".

A slow smile came to Shawn's face. My dream is finally coming true, he thought. I'm going to marry Belle Black.

Chapter Two

The bell rang to signal the end of class and Belle was gathering her books while Shawn walked over to join her.

"Well, Mrs. Brady," he started. "Where are we going to live?"

She smiled, "Well, Mr. Brady, I was thinking about living in the loft," she replied while walking toward the hallway.

Shawn nodded, "Yeah, why don't we go over and take a look at it. Mrs. Smithers said that we'd have to furnish our apartment and all that."

Belle nodded, "Sounds good. I'll meet you out front after my last class."

"Okay, see ya then," Shawn replied, as they went in different directions.

The crowd at the flagpole was getting rougher and Belle didn't want to be here any longer than she had to. She kept getting jostled, pushed, and even had her books knocked out of her hands.

"Who's this little Miss Priss?" one of the rougher looking characters asked his friend.

He took a long drag off his cigarette, "Dunno, never seen 'er."

His friend hopped off the wall and stepped in front of Belle. Pushing up against her, he said, "I'd like to get to know you, though, sweet thing."

"Logan!" came a voice in the crowd. The crowd cleared.

"Get away from her," Shawn demanded.

"Shawn," Belle almost whispered.

Logan threw the cigarette down and backed away. "Sorry, Brady…I didn't know she was your woman."

"Well, she is so back off."

Shawn motioned Belle to stand by him. "You okay?" he asked.

"I am now," she answered.

They watched Logan walk away with his friends and then Shawn put his arm around her.

"Sorry it took me so long to get here. I was helping with the cleanup in the lab. Someone trashed it last class," he said in Logan's direction.

She nodded, "It's okay. Let's get to the loft."

Belle put the key into the lock while Shawn held the flashlight.

"Remind me to get dad to have that light fixed." She turned the key and Shawn slid the door open.

She reached inside to turn on the light while Shawn pulled the door closed.

The loft had been empty for a long time but had not lost its charm. Cozy and warm was the way Belle had remembered it. She would enjoy recreating that effect again.

"Well, the flue still works, "Shawn said, standing at the fireplace.

"That's good. At least we'd have heat when the power goes out," Belle responded, walking toward the small kitchen.

"I wish this kitchen were bigger. We'll have a hard time cooking in here with all the kids."

Shawn's eyes grew wide, "All the kids", he asked. "Uh, just how many kids are we going to have?" he asked as a grin spread across his face.

She shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know. How many would you want to have?"

Shawn thought for a moment, "Enough for a football team," he answered crossing his arms in front of him.

"HA! Not with me, you won't Shawn Brady," Belle answered, with her hands on her hips.

"No?" Shawn responded. "Okay, then…how many do you want?"

She thought for a moment and then answered, "Four." She nodded, "Yep, four. How does that sound?"

"Four, huh. I guess that's enough."

" 'Enough'?" Are you trying to repopulate the earth or something?"

"No, but I do want a large family. It's always been just me. I've missed not having brothers and sisters to hang out with."

"Yeah, well…that can be fun but it can also be a pain," she said, remembering the fights with her older sister Sami.

"I'll have to remember that then."

They went through the loft exploring each room. They both ended up in the master bedroom at the same time.

"Will this room be big enough to have a baby's crib in here, too?" Shawn asked.

Belle looked around the room, "Well, we could move this dresser and put the crib here on my side of the bed."

Shawn nodded, "yeah, we could do that I guess but we're not going to want to stay here forever.

We'll need to find a bigger house eventually."

"Yeah, you're right," Belle agreed. "This will have to do for now, though."

"Yep. Hey, I'm getting hungry. Why don't we go down to the pub and get a burger or something."

"Yeah, sounds good," she replied, as they stopped at the top of the stairs. "Ya know, Brady. I kind of like this assignment…so far."

"Yeah, it's not too bad," he said with a grin.

They shared a smile and Shawn said, "Well, come on. Let's get to the pub."

Chapter 3

Shawn and Belle walked along the sidewalk at the mall to his grandparent's pub. Shawn met up with some friends and Belle said that she'd go on to the pub. After a few minutes, Shawn turns the corner to see Belle being harassed again by Logan.

"Logan!" Shawn shouted, walking up to the group.

"I thought I told you to leave her alone."

"Yeah, well, you said that she was your woman but I haven't seen anything to convince me yet."

Shawn stepped a bit closer, "Do I need to convince you, Logan? Let her go."

He let go of Belle's arm, "Yeah, sure, Brady," he spat out. "But don't think for a minute that we wont' be watching. One day, Brady…one day."

Shawn turned to Belle, "Are you okay?"

Belle, near tears, nodded.

Shawn knelt down and picked her bookbag up from the sidewalk.

Putting his arm around her he said, "I'm sorry they bothered you again, Belle. I'll put a stop to this."

Again, she nodded.

"Ya know," glancing over his shoulder to see Logan watching them, "the problem is that he isn't convinced you're my girl. He needs proof."

Belle raised her eyes to meet his, "Well, you could kiss me. Would that be proof enough?" she asked with a mischievous grin on her face.

Shawn thought for a minute and then nodded, "Ya know…I think that might work," he said, turning to face Belle.

They moved closer and Shawn whispered, "I'm going to kiss you now," as their lips touched. They held their brief but tender kiss just long enough for their parents to walk around the corner.

"What the hell?" John started.

Shawn and Belle's lips parted but were still holding on to each other. Shawn glanced in Logan's direction to find that he was no longer there.

"Maybe it worked," Shawn said to Belle.

"Maybe what worked?" Bo asked as the three of them walked up to their children.

Startled, Shawn and Belle finally let go of each other. "Oh, dad, this guy, Logan, was harassing Belle…" he started to explain.

"So you kissed her?" John asked.

"Daddy…" Belle started. "Shawn rescued me not once but twice from this guy."

"This Logan is scum, John. Earlier today him and he cronies were harassing her at school so I broke it up. I lead him to believe that she was my girl so he'd leave her alone."

Bo nodded his understanding. "Makes sense."

"Belle, honey, are you okay?" Marlena asked, putting her arm around her shoulders.

"Yes, Mom. I'm fine now," she replied, looking longingly at Shawn.

"Thank you for saving her, Shawn," Marlena said, escorting Belle into the pub.

"Any time, Marlena. Any time."

John offered his hand, "Shawn, I apologize. I thought you were taking advantage of my little girl. I know you'd never do anything to hurt her."

Shawn shook John's hand, "John, you know I'll always protect her."

He nodded, "Yep, I know that now."

Bo slapped the two men on the back, "Okay, let's get inside and see what the ladies are doing."

Chapter 4

Everyone is gathered around a big table at Brady's Pub and they're all laughing and talking. John and Grandpa Shawn go over to the bar and talk for a minute. Marlena is talking with Caroline about Will so it's just Belle, Shawn and Bo at the table. The conversation turns to Hope and if Bo will propose to her when they find her.

"So, dad…how are you gonna do it? How are you going to propose to mom?

"Well, I don't know Sailor Man…I'm sure I'll think of something when the time comes."

"I know just how I'll propose," Shawn announced.

Belle and Bo looked at him curiously, "Okay, Shawn," Belle started, "enlighten us."

He thought for a moment and then got down on one knee in the aisle. He took Belle's hand and began, "Belle, I've loved you my whole life and I know that you love me too. We are so good together and we would be so happy. I want to marry you and have lots of babies with you. I want to take our daughters to ballet lessons and our sons to baseball practice. I want to grow old with you and watch our grandchildren play on the front lawn. I love you, Belle Black. Will you marry me?"

Belle (flustered and thinking she said this to herself): Oh, Shawn…yes, yes, I'll marry you."

Shawn and Bo chuckle and Belle gasps, "Oh my gosh! Did I say that outloud?"

Bo responds, "Yep, you sure did."

Belle jumps up and rushes off, mortified.

Shawn smiles, "That's how I'll propose," he announced returning to his seat.

"Well, Shawn…you do have a way with the ladies," Bo said, winking at his son.

John returns to the table, curious, "Uh, someone want to explain what all that was about?" he asks.

"I was just showing Belle how I was going to propose."

John nodded, "I see," and returned to the conversation with Grandpa Shawn.

Belle returns to the scene of the crime after a few minutes, "Well, I hope you're happy, Brady," she said, stuffing her books in her bookbag.

"What'd I do?"

"Oh, nothing, just humiliated me in front of everyone," she responded.

"Hey, YOU'RE the one that said it aloud. Not me."

She stopped stuffing her bag and glared at him.

"Aw, Belle, sit down," he said, gently pulling her arm.

She sits down and shoots a shy smile his way, "Were you warning me?"

"Nope, just letting you know what to look for," he responds matter-of-factly. "You know, you did promise to marry me," Shawn said.

Bo looked at Shawn and then to Belle, "You promised to marry him?" he asked.

"Yeah, but we were 8 years old so I'm not sure it still counts," she said, smiling.

Belle ran down the stairs of the penthouse and grabbed a muffin from the table.

"Belle, what is going on?" Marlena asked.

"Oh, Mom, I am SO late for school," Belle explained. "I've got to get to school. There's a test this morning."

"Well, I'm sure you'll make it in time. Come on, I'll drive you."

"Awesome!" she exclaimed, running out the door.

"So, Belle, what's Shawn up to these days?" Marlena asked.

"Oh, you know how Shawn is. Always up to something," she answered.

"I can't believe he said that yesterday. I was so embarrassed."

"Why do you think he said that?

"Cos he likes to embarrass me, Mom. He's just so aggravating sometimes."

"I'm sure everything will work out fine, Belle. Shawn's just a typical teenaged boy, I guess."

"Yeah, I guess so. I just wish we could stop arguing about everything."

Marlena drove up to the front of the school. "Okay, sweetie, here you are."

"Thanks, Mom. See ya this afternoon," she called as she ran up the stairs.

The bell rang as Shawn ran into the classroom and sat down in his seat.

"All right, class. Settle down," Mrs. Smithers said. "Today, we're going to discuss our projects. Which couple would like to go first?"

Several of the couples let the class know what was happening with their projects. Apartments, furniture, wedding plans, etc.

"Okay, well, we haven't heard from Shawn and Belle."

Shawn and Belle got up and went to the front of the room. Shawn started, "Okay, well, we've moved into the loft apartment and we bought our furniture and had our utilities turned on. We stayed on budget and are doing okay."

"Belle, how's it going for you?" Mrs. Smithers asked.

"Good, I guess."

"You guess?" Shawn asked.

"Yeah, well, I mean…"

"Okay, now, I've got everyone's e-mail address and I'll be sending each of you your next challenge."

"Challenge?" Shawn asked as he and Belle returned to their seats.

"Yes, each couple will be receiving a challenge from "life". Some of you will have car accidents, some will get robbed, etc. It's just to see how you react to each challenge. I'll be e-mailing each of you tonight with your challenges."

The students did their usual groaning bit and then the bell rang to end class.

"Well, this ought to be interesting," Shawn said as he gathered his books.

"Yeah, totally," Belle responded. "Wonder what "challenge" we'll get?"

Shawn shook his head, "No idea. Let's get to class."

"Okay, let's see if the "challenge" has come in yet," Belle said to herself when she got home from school. She checked her e-mail and found several e-mails from friends but nothing from Mrs. Smithers.

"Belle," Brady said, coming into her room.

"Yeah, what's up?" she asked.

"Are you going to the Spring Dance?"

"I guess so," she answered slowly. "Why? What's going on?"

"I was thinking about asking Mimi to the dance. Do you think she'll go with me?"

"I don't see why not, Brady. Why don't you ask her?" She said, smiling at her older brother.

He chuckled, "Yeah, I guess I ought to do that, huh?"

"Just ask her, Brady. You won't know until you do."

"Yeah, okay. Well, let me get going. I've still got a chem test to study for."

"Okay, see ya."

Belle decided to recheck her mail. She signed back on and saw the "You've got mail!" symbol on her screen. "Well, here we go," she said, opening the mail.

"Oh, my, God," she exclaimed, picking up the phone. She dialed Shawn's number and he answered on the second ring.

"Hello."

"Shawn, its Belle."

"Belle, hey. What's…"

" I got it. I got the challenge from Mrs. Smithers."

"Well what is it?"

Marlena picked up the phone to call John and overheard Shawn and Belle talking.

"Shawn, I'm pregnant," she answered.

Marlena's eyes grew wide.

"Belle, are you sure?" Shawn asked.

"Yep, she said that I'm six weeks along," she said.

Marlena hung up the phone quietly and was about to go upstairs when Belle came bounding down the stairs.

"Belle, don't run on the stairs," Marlena warned.

"Mom, I gotta meet Shawn at the pub. I'll be back later," she called running out the door.

"Oh, Belle. My little girl," Marlena said worriedly.

Marlena opened the door of the Brady Pub to find John, Bo, Shawn and Belle sitting at a booth. As Marlena joined them, John pulled a chair over for her.

"Hi, Mom," Belle said.

"Belle," Marlena started, and then to Shawn, "Hi, Shawn. What are you two up to?"

"Just sitting here having milk shakes and talkin'," Shawn responded.

"Yeah, Shawn was telling us that when they were eight years old, Belle had promised to marry him.

Smiling she answered, "That's right, I did. Do you remember that, Mom?"

Marlena shook her head.

"Well, I remembered. You promised to marry me and have lots of kids," Shawn responded.

Marlena looked at Shawn and then to Belle. "What?"

"She promised to marry me and have lots of babies," Shawn explained. "We were just…"

"You were just jumping the gun a bit, Shawn. You kids always think that playing house is fun. Well, it's not always fun," she spat out. "It's hard work to keep a marriage going."

"Whoa, there, Doc. The kids didn't mean anything. They were just…"

"Yes, I know. All in good fun, right?" She stood up, "Belle, let's get you home."

"Mom, I can't. Shawn and I are…"

"I know what you and Shawn are doing. You need to come home. Right now."

"Marlena, we're studying for mid-terms this week," Shawn answered.

"The kids will be fine, Marlena," Bo responded. "I'll drive Belle home myself."

Marlena finally relented, "All right, but I want you home at a reasonable hour. You need your rest."

Belle nodded, "Okay, mom. I'll be home early. I promise."

Marlena said her goodbye's and then left with John to go to dinner at Tuscany.

" 'You need your rest'"? What did that mean?" Shawn asked as they watched her parents leave the pub.

"I have no idea, Shawn," Belle answered.

"So, let's talk about this pregnancy thing," Shawn started.

Belle nodded, "Yeah…"

"You're pregnant?"

"Yep, six weeks. Isn't that awesome?"

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," Shawn agreed. "I kinda like the idea."

"You do?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, not right now but eventually, sure. I'd love to have kids."

"Okay, well, I guess we ought to get things lined up for a baby. I mean, check things out with the hospital and stuff."

"Yep, I'd have to agree with ya," he said, taking another sip of his milk shake. "Hey, why don't we talk to Lexie about it."

She shook her head, "I'd rather not. Let's just go to a clinic and ask there."

He nodded, "Okay, let's do that tomorrow after school."

"Yep. Now…let's get to this chem test."

The next morning, Belle's phone rang early.

"Hello," she answered still groggy from the nights sleep.

"Belle? You awake?"

"Shawn? What on earth? It's six in the morning. What's going on?"

"I was wondering if you wanted to meet for breakfast."

"Uh, yeah. I guess so. Let me get a shower. Come one over and wait while I get ready."

"Okay, I'm on my way."

Belle lay there on the bed for a minute or two and then got up to take a shower.

"Belle?" Marlena said, knocking on her door.

"I'm getting dressed, Mom," she called.

"I just wanted you to know that Shawn was here."

"Okay, tell him I'll be ready soon."

Marlena decided to use the time that Belle was in the shower to her advantage.

"Shawn, how's school going for you? You doing well in your classes?"

He nodded, "Yeah, doing good. Of course, I wouldn't be passing Chemistry if it weren't for Belle."

"She's always been good in Science."

He nodded again, "Yeah…she sure has."

"So, you're graduating in a year or two."

"Yep, next summer."

"Have you thought about what you wanted to do?"

He thought for a minute, "Well, I'd like to play ball but I'd love a career in music."

"Music. Can you provide a stable home with a career in music?"

Shawn was confused, "Stable home?"

Belle came bounding down the stairs, "Shawn, hey."

"Hey, you ready?"

"Yeah, let's go."

Marlena walked toward them, "Where are you two going so early?"

"Breakfast."

"I see," she said slowly, then, "Wait, I'll drive you," she said grabbing her purse.

"Not necessary, Mom. We'll walk."

Marlena nodded, "Okay, that's probably good for you."

Belle stared at her mom for a minute, "Uh, okay," she said. The turning to Shawn, "Okay, let's go."

Walking to the door, Shawn opened it for Belle. "Bye mom," Belle called.

"Eat something nutritious!" she called.

Shawn and Belle walked along the Salem Place mall and enjoyed their early morning together. They stopped at the small outdoor café on the corner and ordered breakfast.

Shawn leaned toward Belle, "I'm going to kiss you."

"Is Logan looking at us?"

"That guy over there is a friend of his."

She nodded her agreement.

He placed his right hand on the back of her chair and leaned toward her, she toward him. They moved closer and were an inch apart. He held her face gently in his left hand and tenderly kissed her lips. Shawn lingered near her for a moment drinking in the sweet smell of her hair and then sat back in his chair. Belle touched her hand to his lips and then drew her hand away in embarrassment.

"What's wrong?" Shawn asked.

She shook her head, "Nothing. Nothing at all," she said drawing in a deep breath.

He touched her hand, "Are you sure?"

She nodded slowly, "Yeah, I'm okay."

"We'd better get a move on. We're gonna be late," Shawn said.

"Yeah, let's go," she agreed, clearing their area.

"I've got American History first class. Can you walk me?"

"Yeah, I'm in the next room with Civics so that's not a problem."

They walked down the hallway to Belle's class. Grabbing him by the front of his leather jacket, she pulled him to her and leaned up against the locker just outside of the door.

"Belle, what are you doing?" he asked as she pulled him closer.

"Kiss me," Belle ordered.

Obliging, he leaned in and kissed her but it wasn't the tender kiss they shared at the café but a rough one.

Shawn pulled back, "What was that for?" he asked, putting his hand to his lips.

"I-I'm sorry, Shawn," she stammered. "I was just so flustered."

"What is going on, Belle?"

She took a deep breath, "Can we talk about this later?"

He shook his head in exasperation, "yeah, I guess so."

She kissed him quickly on the lips, "thanks. Gotta go!" she called, running into the classroom as the bell rang.

He shook his head again, "women!" he exclaimed, walking into his Civics class late as usual.

"Okay, you wanna tell me what that was all about?" Shawn asked when he met Belle in the hallway when the bell rang.

Belle leaned against the locker, "Shawn, can we go to the pub? I'm starving."

"Okay, sure."

Walking to the pub, she puts her arm in his and smiled up at him. He returned the smile and they continued walking to the pub.

Once inside, they ordered Grandpa's famous burgers, fries and chocolate milk shake.

"Okay, Belle," Shawn started, "what's goin' on?"

Belle put the French fry in her mouth slowly and chewed quickly, as if afraid to speak.

"Come on, Belle, we've known each other too long for you to play this game with me. Hell, we're supposed to be married and having a baby together."

She took a deep breath and began, "I just don't know what to say, Shawn. I've got all these feelings bouncing around inside me. I just don't know what to do, where to go."

"Feelings?" Shawn asked.

"Yeah, "feelings," Belle answered.

"What type of feelings?"

"Feelings about…people," she answered coyly.

"Ah, of course," he replied, rolling his eyes.

"Shawn, it's just…"

"Just what, Belle?" Shawn asked, concerned.

"I have feelings for a boy, okay!" she exclaimed.

Shawn raised his eyebrows in surprise, "A boy, huh? And just who is this "boy"?

She shook her head, "oh, no, Brady. I'm not tellin' you. You'll make fun of me and you're not gonna do that."

"Belle," he exclaimed innocently, "would I do something like that?"

"Yes!"

"Aww, no. No way," he answered. He leaned closer to her from across the table, "Who?"

"No, Brady. You won't get it out of me!"

"Okay, fine. Tell me about these "feelings" you're having."

"I'm really starting to like this guy," she said, pouring more ketchup on her fries.

"yeah?"

"Yeah," she answered. "He's so…," she took a deep breath. "He's just so cool," she finally said.

"Cool?" he repeated.

She smirked, "See. I knew you'd make fun of me."

"I'm not making fun of you. I'm trying to figure this out."

"I've known him a long time and we just…I don't know. We just get along so well…most of the time."

"Most of the time?"

"Yeah…most of the time," she took a deep breath.

"We just argue about silly stuff mostly."

"Yeah? Why is that?"

"'Cos he's like you! Aggravating!"

Shawn smiled, "like me, huh?" He understood. She liked him. Okay, it was time. Time to tell her how he felt.

"Aggravating, huh? Nah, I'm just lovable."

"Lovable? Oh, my God! You're serious, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I'm not that bad."

"Not that bad?"

"Could you stop repeating everything I say?"

Belle let out a heavy sigh.

"Look, I've got feelings, too."

"Ha!"

"You actually think I have no feelings. That I don't care about people."

Belle got up and was standing in the aisle, "Shawn, you've never cared about anything."

It was Shawn's turn to stand in the aisle, "Yeah? Well, I care about you!" he yelled.

"Oh, puhleez."

"I do. I've always cared about you. Hell, we grew up together,"

"That doesn't make us a couple!"

Frustrated, he grabbed her shoulders, pulled her toward him and kissed her square on the lips.

In shock, Belle asked, "What did you do that for?"

"To shut you up," he retorted.

"Oh, give me a straight answer for a change, Shawn.

"Okay, dammit? You want the truth?

"Yeah!"

"It's because I love you!"

She stood completely still.

Shawn turned and walked towards the patio. He put his hand on the door knob, hesitated and continued out the door.

Belle stood in the middle of the pub with twenty or so people around her.

Caroline came up to her and put her arm around her shoulder, "You okay?"

With a tear in her eye, she nodded and then joined him on the patio.

Belle walked up and stood behind him.

"I didn't mean to embarrass you," Shawn commented.

"You didn't embarrass me, Shawn," Belle answered softly.

He took his right hand out of his pocket and held it backward toward Belle.

She took it and put her head on his shoulder.

"I love you, too," she said.

Shawn turned and looked at her, "You do?" he asked.

She nodded, "Yeah. I have for a long time."

"Why didn't you…"

Smiling, she asked, "Why didn't you?"

He nodded. "Okay, I get it. I guess I'm not the easiest person to get along with."

Chuckling, she answered, "You can say that again."

"Hey!"

She pulled him into an embrace, "We found each other, Brady. Let's take advantage of it."

He pulled back and held her face in his hands, "I really do love you, Belle," he said and pulled her in for a tender kiss.

"Hey, you two!" Caroline called from the door.

Shawn and Belle put their foreheads together and smiled, "Yeah, Grandma!" Shawn answered.

"I'm making a new batch of milk shakes. You two want some?"

Belle's eyes grew wide, "Milk shakes!" she screamed pulling Shawn along with her.

***Part 7***

Belle and Shawn made their way back into the pub and to the booth where Caroline had placed two huge chocolate milkshakes.

"Your Grandma is the best, Shawn," she said, sitting down first.

Shawn nodded, "Yep, I'd have to agree with you. She's pretty awesome."

Caroline smiled at the two from behind the bar. "Those two are so cute together, Shawn," she said to her husband.

"Yes, Caroline, they are so good together. Reminds me of our Bo and Hope when they were little."

She nodded her agreement.

They sat at the booth, talking about their assignment, their day and their plans.

"Ya know, Shawn," she started, "I think that when a woman first gets pregnant she has morning sickness. So, I guess I ought to have some of the same things, don't you?"

"Yeah," Shawn agreed, "I guess so."

Marlena walked through the door and waved to Shawn and Belle.

"Mom, hey," Belle answered.

"Belle, how are you?"

"I'm good, Mom. We're just talking about school and stuff."

"I see," Marlena responded. "How's school going? Any problems?"

"No, not at all, mom. Things are good."

Shawn finished his milkshake and turned to Belle, "I'm going to get a Coke. Do you want anything?"

"Nah, I'm fine. Thanks, though."

"Marlena, how 'bout you? You want anything from the bar?"

"Tea is fine, thanks, Shawn."

They watched Shawn walk over to the bar and place his order.

"Mom," Belle started.

"Yes?"

"I was wondering. What can you do for morning sickness?"

Marlena was surprised but answered her. "Crackers."

"Crackers?"

"Yes, before you get up in the morning, eat a saltine or two to settle your stomach."

Shawn returned with Marlena's tea and his Coca-Cola.

Marlena looked up to him, "Oh, Shawn. Thanks."

"No problem," he answered to Marlena and then to Belle, "Are you sure you don't need anything?"

She smiled, "Well," she started, "I'd LOVE another milkshake."

He laughed, "Geez, Belle," and got up to get her another milkshake.

"I'm sorry! I just love chocolate milkshakes."

"I see that," Marlena observed.

"Belle," Marlena started, "You know you can talk to me about anything, right?"

Belle smiled, "Of course I do, Mom. We've always been able to talk about stuff."

Marlena nodded, "I want you to remember that and no matter what, your daddy and I will always love you."

She nodded, 'I remember, mom."

Marlena glanced at her watch, "Oh, I need to go. I'm seeing a patient in fifteen minutes." She reached across the table and squeezed Belle's hand, "I love you, Belle, and I' m so proud of you."

Shawn brought the chocolate milkshake to Belle as Marlena was getting up to leave.

"Okay, Shawn. I'm leaving for an appointment. Can you see that she gets home at a reasonable hour?"

Shawn smiled at Belle, "Sure, I'll take care of her, Marlena."

Marlena nodded, "Good. See you two later," she said, waving goodbye to Caroline and PapaShawn.

Watching Marlena close the door behind her, Shawn asked, "What was that all about?"

Belle shook her head, "I don't know, Shawn. I guess she's just trying to get close to me."

Shawn nodded, "Guess so."

"Listen, we need to get busy if we're going to get this trig done in time," she said.

"Yeah, let's get it done," Shawn said, grabbing his Math book and opening it.

Shawn and Belle finished their trig homework as Caroline brought a tray of burgers, fries and milkshakes over.

"Oh, Mrs. Brady, thanks," Belle exclaimed. "We needed a break."

"I thought you two might need some refueling so I brought you a snack," Caroline answered.

"Yeah, Grandma. Super!" Shawn responded, grabbing a fry.

Phillip, Jan and Jason walked in the door of the pub and walked up to the booth that Shawn and Belle were sitting at.

"Belle, I was wondering if you wanted to get out of this place and have dinner with me at Tuscany," Phillip said smugly.

"Um, well, I'm actually having dinner right now, Phillip," Belle answered.

Phillip glanced at Shawn and then back to Belle, "Yeah, well, I can offer you fine dining and ambiance instead of," looking around, "being in this place."

Shawn put his milkshake down and stood up, "Phillip, why don't you just leave."

"This is a free country Brady. I'll stay if I want to stay and besides, I'm here with Belle," he said sitting down beside Belle and putting his arm around her.

Belle moved away from Phillip and removed his arm from around her shoulders, "Phillip, get up."

"What? I thought you'd enjoy being with me after being with a looser like Brady."

Shawn pulled Phillip up by the front of his shirt and pushed him away from Belle. "Get out!"

"What's the matter, Brady? Can't take a little competition?"

"Believe me. You're not any competition at all. Belle doesn't want you here so you need to leave."

Phillip smiled smugly, "I haven't heard her say it."

Belle stood up, "I don't want you here, Phillip. You're bothering me. Please leave."

Phillip pulled his shirt out of Shawn's hands and straightened his clothes, "All right, Belle, but I think you're making a mistake. A big mistake," he said as he turned and walked out the door.

Part 8

"Geez, what an attitude!" Belle exclaimed.

"You okay?" Shawn asked.

"Yeah. He's so full of himself, though. Someone will put him in his place someday," she answered. "And ya know what? I hope I'm around to see it."

"Okay, let's get back to work," Shawn started. "We've got a report to write for American Lit. We'd better get busy."

"Oh, I hate writing reports. You do it."

Shawn shook his head, "No way, Mrs. Brady. We're in this together," he replied, handing her a pen. "Get busy."

She took the pen and opened her book, grumbling the entire time. "You're a slave driver, Brady. A slave driver."

"Yeah, yeah…I know. And you love me."

She smiled, "That I do, Brady. That I do."

Smoke swirled around his head as he stood waiting on the corner. "Damn, where is he?" he asked outloud, tossing the cigarette butt to the street.

Hearing a noise, he turned to his right and saw the man he was waiting for.

"You're late."

"Yeah, I know. Sorry."

"You got it?"

"Yeah," he said, handing him an envelope.

The man took it and flipped through the bills to count them.

"There's only three hundred dollars in here," he said.

He hesitated, "Sorry…that's all I could get."

"And you'll bring me the rest when?"

"When the job is done. I swear."

He nodded, "All right, I'll get it done. Do you want me to call you when it's over?"

"No, for God's sake. No. I'll find out about it soon enough."

The man smiled, "Okay, don't be so paranoid.

"Listen, are you sure you can handle this?"

"Look, I can handle it, okay? Question is…can you?"

"Just get it done, dammit. I don't have time for your games. I want her spooked. Not hurt. Just spooked."

"Yeah, yeah…I got it," the man replied, lighting another cigarette.

"Now, get going before we're seen together," he said.

The man nodded, "Later," he answered, walking away.

Maggie rushed into the pub and waved to Caroline.

"Oh, hey, look…there's Maggie," Belle said. "Hey, Maggie!" she called.

"Hey, you two. How's it going here?"

"Good," Belle reported, "American Lit report, though. Ick."

"Well, you'll get through it. Just keep up the great work, you two." She glanced over at Caroline, "I need to talk to her for a minute. See you two later?"

"Sure, Maggie."

Maggie went over to the bar and began chatting with Caroline. After a few minutes, they approached Shawn and Belle.

"Shawn, dear," she started, "Maggie has a favor to ask."

Shawn and Belle looked at Maggie questioningly.

"I was wondering, Shawn, if you're not busy. If you could play a set at the club tonight. My piano player has called in sick and I have no back up. Would you? Would you mind?"

Shawn smiled, "No, of course I don't mind. I'll be there. What time?"

"Oh, thank you, Shawn. This is a big help. Your first set starts at six then you'll have a break and do sets at seven, eight and nine. Is that okay?"

He smiled again, "Sure. Sounds like fun."

"Thank you so much," she said, running toward the door. "I'll see you tonight!" she called.

Belle grinned at Shawn, "Well, aren't we popular?"

"Hey, I'm doing a favor for my aunt, okay?"

"Uh, huh."

"Hey, why don't you meet me there?"

"Well, I know I can't make the first set but I'll definitely be able to make it later."

"Yeah, sounds good," he said. "Now, before I make my debut on stage, I need to get this American Lit report done."

"Yep, let's get busy."

Part 9

Shawn straightened his bow tie and checked his hair in the mirror.

"Dad," he called, "could you see if this is right?"

Bo came into his room and stared, "Uh, Sailor Man? You got a big date?"

Shawn smiled, "No, dad, remember? I'm playing at Maggie's club tonight."

"Oh, that's right. What time again?" he asked, straightening Shawn's tie.

"Starts at six."

"Okay, well. Your mom and I will be there," he said heading toward the door.

"Great. Do me a favor? Bring Gran," he said with a glint in his eye. "I'm going to sing to her."

Bo smiled, "I will definitely bring Gran." He opened the door but turned, "Break a leg, Shawn."

"Thanks, Dad."

Shawn sat down at the piano and tickled the ivories. People sat down and listened to him play. His first choice was a classical piece from his favorite Beethoven CD. The patrons all clapped when he was finished, appreciative of his fine playing. The second piece was a show tune from "Hello, Dolly!" Lots of applause for that one, too. The next few choices were different pieces from musicals that he'd enjoyed.

Just before seven o'clock, there was a lot of commotion in the lobby. The Horton, Brady and Black clans arrived and made their way to the section in front of the piano.

"Mom, look. There's Shawn," Belle exclaimed as Shawn made his way through the crowd.

"Hey, everyone," Shawn started, "Hey, Gran. Do you have a good seat? Can you see me from there?"

"Shawn, dear. I'll be fine. You just go and sing for your great-gran okay?"

"I'm going to do just that, Gran," he said, winking at her.

He saw Belle and mouthed an "I love you" to her.

Returning to the piano bench once more, he tickled the ivories to get their attention.

"Good evening."

The audience returned the greeting.

"I'm so glad you're all here tonight. I'd like to ask a favor of my grandfather, Doug Williams. Grandpa? Could you help me out with this one?" and played the opening notes of "Me and My Shadow" a signature piece that Doug did with his old partner and friend, Robert LeClaire in their days at Doug's Place.

It brought a tear to Doug's eyes. He stood and nodded, "I'd be happy to, Shawn," and made his way to the stage.

Doug finished the set with his grandson relishing in the applause. He quickly returned to his sit amid a flurry of congratulations.

"Oh, I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. I'll just sit here and watch."

Shawn took a break and joined his family at their tables.

"Shawn, you're doing a great job," Maggie started. "I've gotten several requests to have you back."

"Well, thanks. I'd enjoy that."

"Hold it there, Shawn. What about school?"

"Dad, I can do both ya know."

"Well, we'll see."

"Oh, Shawn…I hear the band playing again," Gram said, taking his hand.

"Yes, ma'am, I'd better get back up there before they find a replacement for me," he said smiling.

He squeezed her hand gently and returned to the stage. He played a short piece from ***Jason's favorite classical pianist*** and then turned to the audience, "The next set is dedicated to all women in my life," he said. "The first song is to my girlfriend, Belle."

My eyes adored you.

Though I never laid a hand on you,

My eyes adored you.

Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you,

So close, so close and yet so far.

Carried your books from school

Playing make believe you're married to me.

You were fifth grade, I was sixth.

When we came to be.

Walking home every day,

Over Bonniegut bridge and bay

'til we grew into the me and you who went our separate ways.

My eyes adored you.

Though I never laid a hand on you,

My eyes adored you.

Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you,

So close, so close and yet so far.

Headed for city lights,

Climbed the ladder up to fortune and fame.

Worked my fingers to the bone,

Made myself a name.

Funny I seem to find, that no matter how the years unwind

Still I reminisce about the girl I miss and the love I left behind.

My eyes adored you.

Though I never laid a hand on you,

My eyes adored you.

Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you,

So close, so close and yet so far.

All my life I will remember…

Ó Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan

Stone Diamond Music (BMI)/Kenny Nolan Publishing (BMI)/Tannyboy Music Co. (BMI)

Shawn's voice faded as Belle daydreamed of him. Marlena's hand on hers jolted her back to reality as she realized everyone was applauding. She joined them as she captured Shawn's smile in her own.

The rest of the evening flew by. Belle enjoyed spending the evening with her parents and family but she grew anxious to spend time with Shawn.

Shawn joined his family at their table when his last set was over. He reveled in the fact that everyone enjoyed themselves.

As everyone was standing to leave, he leaned over to pull out Belle's chair for her.

"Can I take you home?" he whispered.

She nodded, "I'd like that."

"Mom, dad…I'm going to drive Belle home but first, I'd thought we'd go for a drive."

"All right, son, but be careful. It's late."

Marlena agreed. "You need to get home soon, now, Belle. It's late."

Belle nodded in agreement, "I will, Mom, I promise."

Bo handed Shawn the keys to his car and looked over at John, "Can we get a ride home?" he chuckled.

"Sure," John agreed.

Shawn helped Belle on with her sweater and they walked outside into the cool spring evening.

"How beautiful!" she exclaimed, looking at the stars.

"Yeah, beautiful," he agreed, looking at her.