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Forbidden Fruit

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Peter walked out of the church with tears in his eyes. For a long time he walked around trying to get his thoughts together. Despite his guilt and grief he knew he still loved Belle and needed to be with her. Could there be a future for them together now? He had no idea but he knew he had to talk to her. He searched high and low for her and finally found her sitting on the beach shivering in her wedding dress. She looked so lost and helpless and he longed to take her in his arms and hold her.

"Belle" he said gently as he came up behind her.

Belle recognised Peter's voice and turned to look at him. His eyes were full of love and it made her tears start flowing again.

"Oh Peter just hold me" she said throwing herself into his arms.

Peter held her and gently wiped the tears from her eyes.

"Do you still love me?" Belle asked nervously

"You don't even have to ask that Belle" said Peter "of course I do!"

"That's good to know as everyone else hates me even my own mother and my best friend".

"Well my son definitely hates me. In fact he gave me this earlier today!" said Peter pointing to his now black right eye.

"Oh Peter!" said Belle reaching up and gently kissing the bruise.

"You do realise we will both be ostracised by the Bay if we make our relationship public?" he said

"Like we aren't already!" snorted Belle

"The question is are you willing to face it?" asked Peter "because I am but I don't want to put any pressure on you. It has to be your choice and perhaps you should go away and think it over before making a decision. Especially as it may well mean we have to leave the Bay and start a new life somewhere else. Could you stand leaving your friends and family behind?"

"But Peter don't you see? I already made my decision in the church today! I realised when I was standing in that church about to make my vows that I could not go through with them. I loved you too much! Plus it would have been totally unfair to Drew to deceive him like that! It's you I want Peter and no amount of thinking will change that!"

"Then we will have to explain everything to our families as we owe them that much."

Belle nodded and Peter helped her up and put his jacket around her shoulders to keep her warm. They then left the beach together. It would not be easy making a new start together in the face of opposition from both their families but they were both determined to do it.

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"I guess the first place we should visit is Dan and Leah's as I have a feeling Drew and Amanda may well be there" said Peter as he and Belle made their way back hand in hand.

"I guess so" said Belle nervously. She was dreading facing Drew but knew it had to be done sooner or later and wanted to get it over with.

Soon they were standing outside the Baker house. Peter tried in vain to calm his nerves as he rang the doorbell. The door was opened by Dan who looked very angry indeed!

"You two have a nerve turning up here after what you've done!" he snapped

"Please Dan" said Peter "we need to talk. Is Drew here?"

"Yes he is and he's in bits thanks to yet another betrayal by his so called father!"

"I know and I'm sorry but we need to talk to him as well".

"Ok if you insist but after you've said your piece I don't want to see either of you here again - ever!"

Peter was so saddened by his brother's anger. They had once been so close, sharing everything like best friends as well as brothers. Now it looked as if he'd lost Dan for good.

Dan stood back and let them both in to the disgust of Drew who was sitting in the kitchen looking even more angry than his uncle had!

"What the **** are those 2 doing here?!" he yelled as Dan walked out of the kitchen to sit in the living room with Leah who was also very upset and in tears.

Peter took a deep breath and began to talk

"Look Drew I don't blame you for hating me but, if it's any consolation, you can't hate me more than I hate myself."

"I wouldn't be so sure of that if I was you!"

Belle then spoke up.

"Believe me Drew, neither of us planned this. In fact we both tried to fight our feelings for each other but they were too powerful. I had hoped that by going ahead with the wedding I'd be able to be able to put all this behind me but I realised as I stood in that church that I just could not marry you. I care too much about you Drew to deceive you like that!"

"Bull****! You are just like your mother, a cheap little tart who enjoys ruining people's lives! Everyone in the Bay knows what a skank you are!"

"Don't you DARE talk to Belle like that!" shouted Peter angrily

"What's wrong Dad? The truth too much to bear? Still you're no better! You're obviously a lech who likes seducing young girls! I bet Annie Campbell is next on your list!"

Belle was furious and slapped Drew hard across the face.

"For your information Andrew Curtis, Peter is twice the man you are and he is a much better lover! You've always been pretty hopeless in that department!"

Drew was now beside himself with rage. Without realising what he was doing he reached for a large kitchen knife that was hanging up near by and lunged at Belle. Peter saw what he was doing and pushed Belle out of the way by jumping in front of her thus taking the brunt of the knife himself. He fell down clutching his stomach. This was enough to bring Drew to his senses and he dropped the knife.

"Dad I'm so sorry!" he said, tears running down his eyes.

"You b*****d!" yelled Belle.

Just then Dan came into the kitchen to investigate and was horrified to see Peter lying on the floor bleeding. He immediately ran to the phone and called for an ambulance to come immediately. Meanwhile Belle sat cradling the head of the man she loved.

"Please Peter don't leave me!" she sobbed hysterically over and over again.

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At last the ambulance came along with police officers Jack Holden and Lara Fitzgerald. Jack immediately arrested and cuffed Drew, taking him down to the station for question. Drew, for his part, was in a daze not quite believing what he had just done. Meanwhile Peter was drifting in and out of consciousness while he was placed on a stretcher, and into the ambulance along with Belle and Leah. When they arrived at the hospital he was immediately taken into the Emergency Room where a medical team that included Dr Rachel Armstrong awaited him.

"The patient is Peter Baker, 36 years old and suffering from an apparent stab wound to the abdomen" said Rachel as she examined him and put an oxygen mask over his face "he needs to be taken down to surgery straight away!"

Immediately Peter was rushed into the theatre still half conscious.

"Is he going to be alright?" Belle asked desperately over and over

"I can't say at this stage Belle" said Rachel "but rest assured he is in good hands here and everyone will do the best they can for him".

"He's not going to ... die is he?"

"I wish I could reassure you" said Rachel gently "but these sort of situations can be very unpredictable".

"You can't let him die, you just can't!" yelled Belle hysterically.

"I'm afraid sometimes these situations are out of our hands".

At this Belle collapsed on the floor almost insane with grief.

"If Peter dies it will be my fault not Drew's!" she thought to herself over and over again as she felt a nurse pick her up off the floor and take her still sobbing to a room. Leah went with her and for the first time since the news of Belle and Peter's relationship, she took the suffering girl in her arms and held her. By a miracle Belle fell into a restless sleep that was punctuated with dreams of Peter dying and herself in prison along with Drew. At last Rachel came into the room and Belle woke up immediately.

"How is he?" Leah asked. Despite her anger at what Peter and Belle had done her heart now went out to both of them.

"Well the operation went well and Peter is now back on the ward though he is still very sleepy. He is asking for you though, Belle".

"Thank God!" said Belle as relief swept through her body "Can I go and see him?"

"Of course you can but keep things quiet as he needs his rest".

Belle immediately ran to Peter's room where he lay in the bed looking pale and drawn. However as soon as he saw Belle his face lit up.

"Oh Peter I thought I'd lost you!" said Belle as she ran to his bed and started covering his face with kisses.

"Hey you don't get rid of me that easily Taylor" chuckled Peter

Leah stood back and watched the 2 lovers together realising for the first time the depth of their love for each other.

"Some people are just meant to be together" she thought to herself.

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Meanwhile Drew was being questioned by Jack and Lara down at the station. The boy was obviously in deep shock and although he told the officers what he had done it was like he was talking about the actions of another person. At last he was charged with attempted murder and read his rights.

"You'd better pray that your father pulls through, young man" said Lara angrily "because if he doesn't you'll be looking at a full blown murder charge!"

Jack gave his colleague a look which told her to go easy on him. Despite his anguish about the possibility of losing a close friend his heart went out to Drew as he had obviously suffered so much.

A few minutes later Drew called Dan and explained what had happened.

"I'm so sorry Dan" he sobbed "I really didn't mean to hurt anyone!"

"It's ok Drew" said Dan "I'll be down there as soon as I can".

After that he asked a neighbour to take care of Ryan and VJ while he drove to the station as fast as he could.

"I should never have left Drew alone with Peter and Belle. This is all my fault!".

He arrived at the station just in time to see his nephew being taken away to jail. The 2 of them hugged each other and then Dan had to swallow back his tears while he watched the boy he loved like his own son being taken away.

"What are his chances?"

"I won't lie to you Dan" Jack replied grimly "he is looking at about 10 years but if he is lucky his lawyer may be able to get the charge reduced to GBH. However if Peter dies he will be looking at a possible life sentence."

"But surely the charge can be reduced to manslaughter?" said Dan "after all it was a crime of passion. I know Drew and he is not a murderer! I may have already lost my brother! Do I have to lose my nephew too?"

"Again that depends on his lawyer and even then he is looking at a 10 year stretch. I wish I could give you better news but you deserve the truth".

Just then Dan's mobile rang. It was Leah telling him that Peter had pulled through. Dan breathed a sigh of relief and told Jack before he left for the hospital.


Meanwhile Amanda had arrived at the hospital and made her way to Peter's ward.

"Please don't make any trouble Amanda" said Leah "there's already been enough of that today".

"Don't worry I've no intention of doing so. Quite the opposite in fact".

She then turned to Belle

"I think I owe you an apology for the way I treated you today" she said "and to tell you that if you and Peter want to be together you have my blessing."

Belle hugged her mother tears running down her face.

"Do you really mean that?"

"Yes of course I do. I had time to think things over and realise that what Peter and I had was good at the time but it is in the past now and we both need to move on".

Peter smiled at Amanda

"Thanks Amanda" he said "it means a lot to hear you say that because even though we are no longer married I still think of you as a friend and would like to keep it that way".

"And I agree with you" said Leah "don't get me wrong I'm still angry at you 2" she looked at Peter and Belle in turn "for the way you went behind Drew's back instead of coming clean straight away but it is obvious you both really love each other".

Belle hugged Leah and Amanda in turn. Just then Dan arrived.

"Thank God you're going to be alright!" he said to his brother "I don't want to lose you but I am still pretty p****d off with you!"

"What's going to happen to Drew?" said Peter ignoring his brother's comment.

Dan explained what had happened.

"Oh no!" said Peter "this is all my fault!"

"And mine too" said Belle "if only we hadn't lied to him!"

"It's a bit late for that now!" snapped Dan "the best thing you can do is stop this seedy little affair right now!"

"That's not going to happen" said Peter "I regret all the lies and deceit but I love Belle and I'm not going to apologise for that. You'll just have to accept it".

"Peter is right" Belle said quietly"and don't forget he is lying in this hospital bed because he took the brunt of that knife. He was willing to lay down his life for me".

"What a load of crap!" yelled Dan "you just don't care about Drew do you? Either of you! All you care about is your own selfish desires! Drew can rot in jail for all you care!"

With that he turned on his heels and stormed out of the hospital despite the attempts by Leah and Amanda to pacify him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The next day the following headline appeared in newspapers in and around Summer Bay and even in "The City Herald"


Police were called to a house in Summer Bay yesterday afternoon when 21 year old Andrew Curtis allegedly stabbed his father Peter Baker (36) after a heated argument. Mr Baker was hospitalised with serious injuries to his abdomen and Mr Curtis was subsequently arrested. The argument was said to have occured after the accused found out his father - a detective for the Summer Bay police force - had been having an affair with Andrew's fiancee Belle Taylor. Miss Taylor aged 20 and a popular student at this city's most prestigious university is said to have refused to go through with the couple's planned wedding earlier that day. After extensive surgery and a blood transfusion Mr Baker was reported to be in a "stable" condition. Mr Curtis- a car mechanic at a garage in nearby Yabbee Creek - has been charged with attempted murder and remanded in custody until his preliminary court appearance next week. Miss Taylor was not available for comment and the victim's brother Dan Baker just swore at reporters when they tried to interview him about the incident late yesterday afternoon. However a local resident - and the only one who would talk to the press - Mrs Colleen Smart told us she was not really surprised at yesterday's horror.

"As far as I'm concerned Detective Baker and Belle Taylor deserve each other" she said in a statement to our reporter shortly afterwards. The case continues.

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A few days later Peter was discharged from hospital but told to take it easy. He went home to his brother and sister in law's house only to find his bags had been packed and were waiting for him.

"I should have known you'd do this" sighed Peter as he picked up his bags from the hallway.

"And I guess you think I enjoy throwing my own brother out of my house!"

"It sure seems that way!"

"Look Pete I love you but to allow you to stay here would look like I'm condoning what you and Belle did".

"But it was ok for Drew to try to murder me I guess!"

"Of course not" said Dan "but remember he was heartbroken and then Belle just had to put the boot in herself! Yes what you did was very brave but the whole thing is such a mess I think it would be better if you and her left town for a while. For one thing thanks to you and Belle this family has got 15 minutes of unwanted fame!"

"I guess you're right" said Peter as he walked out of the door with a heavy heart. He knew now what he needed to do.


Belle was sitting alone in the caravan she had rented out after Jules had made it clear she was no longer welcome to stop in his and Drew's apartment. Despite the turmoil of the past few days she had no regrets. She knew most of the townspeople hated her and Peter and that the events of that fateful day had been plastered all over the front of the papers one of which she had found on her doorstep when she got up that morning. Belle had just ripped up the rag and thrown it in the bin determined to not let it get to her. During this time her mother had been very supportive telling her to just ignore the gossips as they would soon get tired of talking about her and Peter and would find someone else to gossip about. Her reverie was interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. It was Peter. Belle ran to him and kissed him, so glad to have him here with her again.

"There's something we need to talk about" said Peter

"Ok" said Belle hoping it was not bad news.

Peter took a deep breath. He was not very good at this.

"Belle these past few days have made me realise something"

Belle nodded "Go on"

"It's made me realise I don't want just a tacky little affair where we have to sneak around like we are committing some terrible crime. I need something more".

With that he took out a tiny but beautiful diamond ring

"Belle Taylor ..... will you marry me?"

Belle was unable to speak for a few minutes but finally she found her voice.

"Yes" she said quietly and then in a louder voice "YES!!!"

Peter then put the ring on her finger and then took her in his arms and the trauma of the past few days were then forgotten for the rest of the evening.

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The next morning Peter woke early while Belle was still asleep. He looked at the woman he loved so much and thought how beautiful she was with her long dark hair spread across the pillow. He also knew they would both have a lot to face not least having to tell Drew and Dan about their engagement. A few minutes later Belle woke up

"Hey handsome" she said as she looked at Peter and smiled. Peter leaned over and kissed her tenderly

"We need to talk hon" he said "and I think you know what about".

"You're not ... regretting asking me to marry you are you?" said Belle frowning slightly

"No of course not" reassured Peter "but I don't have to tell you our engagement is going to go down like a lead balloon with the locals and with our families".

"So what! We can't let these small minded folk run our lives for us".

"Well I am worried about how Drew will react when he finds out"

"Well that certainly doesn't worry me. As far as I'm concerned he can rot in Hell. I hate him for what he did to you!"

Peter flinched at the anger in his fiancee's voice

"Well he is still my son no matter what he has done and I can't - and won't - just turn my back on him!"

Belle snuggled up to Peter and kissed him

"Let's forget about that for now"

Peter took her in his arms and forgot about Drew, Dan and all the others as they gave in to their mutual passion.


Meanwhile Drew sat in his prison cell trying to get his head around the events of the past few days. He was filled with a mixture of guilt, remorse and yet anger. Part of him was not surprised at his father's betrayal as over time Peter Baker had proved himself to be the sort of man who put his own needs and desires before anyone else's including Drew's. However he had been totally gutted by Belle's betrayal. He sighed to himself and wished he could hate her like he did his father and part of him did just that. However the other part of him still loved her and that was what tormented him the most. As it was the day of his bail hearing a prison officer came and escorted him to court in handcuffs.

"Andrew Curtis you'll be pleased to know your father has put up $10,000 for your bail so you can go free until the trial provided you stay at your uncle Daniel's place and do not go anywhere near your father or Miss Taylor. Do you understand?"

Drew was furious

"Well you can tell my so-called father to stick his money up his a**!" he snapped "I'd rather stay in jail than take one red cent off him!"

"Are you sure of this Mr Curtis?"

"Damn right I'm sure!"

"In that you will have an extra 3 days added onto your sentence for contempt of court. Take him down"

With that Drew was taken back to jail to remain there until his trial for the attempted murder of Peter Baker.

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Peter was sitting on the couch looking and feeling forlorn when Belle came in

"Hey what's the matter?" she asked Peter as she kissed his cheek.

"It's Drew" sighed Peter "he totally hates me. He not only refuses to see me but he has even refused to take the $10,000 bail money I offered".

Belle was stunned and then became angry.

"You mean you offered to pay $10,000 of our money to get that scumbag out of jail!"

"That scumbag as you call him is my only son. Besides I think it's the least I owe him after the way I've hurt him".

"What about the fact that he tried to kill me and that you yourself have just spent a week in hospital thanks to him! That money could have gone towards our future!"

"I'm beginning to wonder if we have one" snapped Peter "I honestly never realised you were so selfish Belle!"

The words cut Belle like a knife and she burst into tears.

"Oh Peter I'm so sorry" she cried "I have no right to ask you to give up on your own son. It's just sometimes it seems he is far more important to you than I am!"

Peter took her in his arms and wiped her tears away with the tips of his fingers.

"Sssh Belle, it's not like that at all. I love you so much Belle but I also love Drew. He is the only child I have though hopefully we'll change that one day!"

"That would be wonderful" said Belle "I'd so love for us to have a child together some day".

Peter held her close

"I've been thinking how about we could both leave this dump together as soon as possible and start afresh somewhere else".

"I'd like nothing better!" said Belle "as I'm absolutely sick of people nudging each other when they pass me in the street and calling me names like 'slag' and 'wh*re'. I know we should really brave it out but it is really getting to me and I guess that is why I snapped at you".

"How about we book into a hotel in the city and then ring around the registry offices and see if I can't make an honest woman out of you!"

"Sounds good to me" said Belle as she kissed him.


The next day Belle and Peter left Summer Bay in the early hours of the morning without leaving so much as a forwarding address. A few days later they were married at a small registry office with just Amanda Vale and a friend from the city as witnesses. They then settled down in a small apartment in a part of the city where no one knew them. A few months later Drew Curtis was tried and found guilty of GBH after his lawyer managed to get his sentence reduced. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.


or is it?!


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