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Shattered Glass

Guest Louise_2983

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Story Title: Shattered Glass

Type of story: Medium/Long fiction

Main Characters: Mainly Aden and Belle plus some other regulars

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Romance, Drama, Angst

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Sexual content, abuse references, alcohol abuse, serious illness and death

Summary: Sequel to Stockholm Syndrome. Belle Taylor returns to Summer Bay after almost 5 years away. Why is she back and why did she leave in the first place?

Chapter 1

Welcome to Summer Bay

As she swerved the hire car past the sign welcoming her to the place that had long ceased to be her home she wondered just how welcome she would be in Summer Bay. It had been almost 5 years and the only person she could imagine being anything close to welcoming was the person who had asked her to come back in the first place.

As the car glided along the beach front she realised it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, she was here for one reason only. She wasn’t going to turn her back when someone she loved needed her, no matter how much it pained her to return to the town she had fled all those years ago. As she drove through the Bay, a haze of painful memories overcoming her, she struggled to maintain her composure. The overwhelming sense of shame and hopelessness she had felt departing the picturesque town surged through her once more and she knew that there was no use trying to suppress the emotions she would no doubt have to finally face now she was back.

Before she knew it, her car was parked in the driveway of The Beach House and she was pulling the key out of the ignition. Hastily wiping a few stray tears from her cheeks she took a deep breath before grabbing her designer handbag from the passenger seat and jumping out of the car. Silently she scanned the exterior of her former home, looking for any sign of change, desperate for even the tiniest hint that the town had moved on since she had been away. But nothing had changed, not visually anyway and she couldn’t help but fear that the false appearance of normality would lead her to fall back to reality with an almighty bump.

Her gaze wandered to the window that had once belonged to her. The window he had climbed through so many times which was now tightly shut. And no doubt locked too she thought to herself.

Suddenly the front door swung open and he smiled weakly in her direction. He didn’t speak and she took the opportunity to examine his appearance. He was older. His eyes were tired and tinged with sadness. But he was still the same.

“Are you going to stand out here all day?” he asked prompting her to finally move forward towards the house.

As she entered she nervously pushed her sleek bob behind her ears only for it to spring back as a body hit her with unexpected force and slightly took her breath away.

“Belle!” the girl cried as she wrapped her arms around Belle, her pained voice a mixture of fear and relief.

Belle’s gaze wandered down to the young girl clutching her. She shifted in a moment of discomfort before realising just how scared she must be right now. She looped her arms around the younger girl

and hugged her back gently.

“It’s going to be ok Annie” she whispered but as she did so she caught his eye and knew that not one person in the room believed there to be any truth in her soothing words.

“We didn’t know if you’d come” Annie confessed as she finally let go and perched her tired body on the edge of the sofa. At 22 she was now an adult but Belle had never seen her look as childlike, as innocent or as fragile as she had in the moment.

“What? Of course I’d come. I’m here aren’t I?”

“You look... different” Annie settled on the ambiguous description as she absorbed every detail of Belle’s appearance.

Her perfect, glossy hair was just the start of the changes. Her make-up was flawless, her nails long and perfectly manicured and, although Annie wouldn’t recognise a designer label if it hit her in the

face, she was sure every garment her surrogate sister wore was straight off the catwalk.

Belle turned to Geoff and found him surveying her appearance too, nodding in agreement with Annie’s statement.

“Guys you knew what I looked like, it’s not like I’m not in the press much is it?” she cringed, the fact that she was now in front of a camera almost as much as she was behind it still causing her discomfort. She may be a little more used to it now but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

“But I never thought that was really you” Annie mumbled.

“Who did you think it was? My long lost twin?” she attempted to laugh, disorientated by their judgement of her. She began to worry about how she would hold up being back in the Bay. If she felt this way being judged on her appearance how would she feel when people began commenting on her past actions?

“You were just never about this” Geoff gestured to her appearance.

“Designer labels and flawless make-up”

“It’s been 5 years” she replied defensively.

“People change”

“In to Nicole?” Geoff scoffed uncharacteristically.

“Geoff, from what I remember you used to really like Nicole once upon a time so don’t you dare judge me” she told him, annoyance building up inside her.

“Guys, does it really matter what Belle looks like? She’s here isn’t she?” a male voice spoke from the kitchen alerting her to his presence, of which she had previously been oblivious.

“You’re right” Annie nodded before turning feebly to Belle.


“It’s ok” she smiled weakly.

“Why didn’t one of you call me sooner?”

“She wouldn’t let us” Geoff replied defensively.

“She said she didn’t want to put anyone through any more worry than was absolutely necessary. She said she would beat this and I think she genuinely believed it”

“But she doesn’t anymore?” she dared to ask in a whisper.

“She asked for you didn’t she?” he confirmed her worse fears in a low voice.

“How long?” her voice trembled slightly as she asked and both Annie and Geoff instantly avoided her gaze.

“Roman?” she looked to him for an answer to her question.

“A few days at most” he replied, looking her straight in the eye. She was grateful for his honesty no matter how much his words broke her heart.

“Where is she?” she asked suddenly desperate to be with her.

“My old room” Geoff nodded towards the bedroom at the front of the house and instantly she began to move towards it.

“Belle” Geoff gently placed his hand on her arm as she passed. She stopped and looked back at him.

“She’s not how you remember. She’s ill and tired and... dying Belle”

“She’s still Irene Geoff” she told him, determined that no matter how different Irene looked she wouldn’t let her, or anyone else, see how much it affected her. Gently she took his hand from her arm

and made her way into the downstairs bedroom.

“Hey there girly” her familiar voice met Belle’s ears as she closed the door behind her. The affectionate term she hadn’t heard for so long warmed her heart and brought a small smile to her face.

“I’ve been dying to see you” she joked as Belle perched on the edge of the bed in which Irene was tucked up.

“Irene that is not funny” she shook her head as she took hold of Irene’s clammy hand.

She had lost too much weight and she was tired and drawn but her words to Geoff had been true. She was still Irene.

Belle squeezed her hand gently, a sudden urge to hold on to her and never let go surging through her. This was the first time she had seen her in almost half a decade and she wanted to cry for all the

time she had wasted.

“Lighten up love” Irene smiled weakly up at her.

“If I can’t have a sense of humour now when can I?”

“Irene you didn’t have to go through this alone” she told her, guilt washing over her.

“I’ve never been alone Belle. You know what this place is like. I had Geoff and Annie and all the friends I could ever wish for”

“I still would have been here. I would have been here”

“I know that” Irene lifted her free hand and brushed Belle’s cheek gently.

“But you’ve got your own life to lead now love. And I am so proud of you”

“I’m just doing a job like anyone else Irene”

“You’re too modest. I don’t see anyone else round here becoming world renowned for doing something they love”

“I take a few photos, that’s all” she shrugged trying to play down just how far her career had come. In that moment, clutching Irene’s hand in the stuffy room, none of it seemed to matter.

Irene chuckled.

“Of Hollywood celebrities and haute couture!”

“It’s all just people and clothes and photos at the end of the day” she shrugged again.

“Well I’m still proud of you” Irene told her adamantly, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Even after what I did?” she bit her lip nervously, referring to her departure from the Bay all those years ago.

“Well that was one of the reasons I didn’t tell you. I didn’t want you to come back here because you felt you had to. Love, I think you beat yourself up about what happened enough without anyone else

joining in” Irene made an attempt to squeeze Belle’s hand but her failing body lacked the strength to do so.

“I still did it Irene and I’m sure people around here are going to have a lot to say about it now I’m back”

“It’s none of their business love but if you’re that worried about it you don’t have to stay. I just wanted to see you befor-”

“Irene I’m not going anywhere!” she interrupted.

“You are the one person who has always been there for me no matter what and I’m not going to leave you now. They can say what they want. I might not like it but I’m tough enough to handle it”

“That’s my girl” Irene smiled.

“I love you Irene” Belle whispered as Irene’s eyelids began to droop.

“I love you too girly” she smiled, her eyes closed.

“You’re tired, you should get some sleep” Belle told her, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead.

“But we’re all here so if you need anything t-“ Belle’s sentence trailed off as she realised Irene was already asleep. She gently wrapped the covers further around Irene’s dwindling frame, her heart

breaking as she realised what a shadow of her former self the woman had become.

Satisfied she was comfortable she quietly slipped back into the living room to find Annie and Geoff staring at her expectantly for a reaction.

“I’m just going to get some air” she told them, avoiding their gazes and picking up her bag from the kitchen table.

Once outside she slumped into the metal patio chair and rested her head in her hands. Before she could stop herself, warm tears began to stream down her cold cheeks. She made no effort to wipe them away as gentle sobs shook her body, reality finally hitting her.

“Belle” she felt his hand gently rub her shoulder as he sat down across from her and handed her a tissue.

“Thanks” she sniffled, attempting to wipe her face but leaving a trail of mascara in her wake.

“Well, this is embarrassing” she half laughed.

“I came out here so no one would see me do this”

“It’s ok to cry Belle, she’s practically your mother”

“Why didn’t you call me Roman? I get why Annie and Geoff wouldn’t. They’re probably glad I’ve never been back because it meant they didn’t have to pretend to still have any sort of respect left for me

after what I did. But you didn’t h-”

“You think I had less reason to judge you?” he laughed.

“No” she shook her head.

“You probably had more reason. But I just thought you would be able to see that this wasn’t about any of that. This is about Irene and she’s dying for god’s sake!”

“She’s been well looked after Belle I assure you. She’s got a lot of friends here. Rachel, Leah, Alf, Colleen there has always been at least one person her to help her and Geoff and Annie. And the minute

she asked for you I called you I promise you that”

“I just...I would have been here Roman” she sniffled.

“In a second”

“I don’t doubt that” he smiled glancing at his watch.

“I’m still trying to figure out how you got here so quickly from LA”

“Private jet” she laughed covering her face with her hand through embarrassment.

He laughed too as she tried to wipe the smudged mascara from her face.

“It’s not mine!” she protested as if that made it better.

“Borrow it from Tom Cruise did you?” he laughed.

“No!” she shook her head.

“We don’t get on. I said some things about scientology at a party once. I’m not his favourite person”

“Right” Roman looked shocked.

“I’m joking! I’ve never met Tom Cruise actually. I’ve met his wife though at fashion week. The jet belongs to Johnny”

“Right.” He nodded things becoming clear.

“The rock god boyfriend”

“Rock god?” she laughed at his choice of words.

“Hey don’t look at me like that!” he laughed back.

“I live with Nicole remember?”

“You have my sympathies” she instantly shot back at him.

“Boy I bet she’s got some lovely things to say about me huh?”

“She just cares about him Belle” he shrugged.

“I know that. Believe it or not so do I. What happened Roman, it was never about not caring for him. I loved him”

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me”

“I know” she responded before asking quietly.

“How is he?”

“I don’t know how much Irene has told you” he replied hesitantly.

“Enough” she laughed thinking back to how awkward Irene had obviously felt breaking the news to her over the phone.

“I know he got married. That didn’t surprise me, that was always going to happen. It was who he married that was the shock”

“They might not be the most obvious couple but they seem happy and that’s all that matters right?”

“I’m glad he’s happy” she replied sincerely, pulling her Blackberry out of her bag.

“I guess I should let my pa know I’m not going to be back for a while” she told him as she began to type an email.

“She’ll need to cancel some things”

“Let me guess” he joked.

“The Brangelina wedding?”

“Erm...yes actually” she replied sheepishly.

“I was joking” he laughed.

“I know you were but that really is one of the things I’m going to have to cancel on”

“Isn’t that career suicide?”

“Who cares right now?” she shrugged pressing send before shoving the Blackberry back in her bag.

Muffled voices in the distance suddenly got closer and as Belle looked up Rachel and Coleen rounded the corner.

“Belle!” Rachel exclaimed, pulling her into a hug and as she hugged back she realised Rachel was genuinely pleased to see her. She allowed this to lull her into a false sense of security she instantly

regretted when she pulled back to find Coleen looking at her with utter disdain.

“I wouldn’t have thought you’d have dared to show your face around here” she told her scornfully.

“Coleen!” Roman and Rachel protested in unison.

“No, it’s ok” Belle shook her head.

“Coleen’s only saying what most people will be thinking. Even Annie didn’t think I was going to come back, not really. But I am back Coleen” she told her looking her directly in the eye.

“I’m back for Irene. And what happened before that is nobody’s business but mine and Aden’s and...” she let her sentence trail off before mustering up the courage to speak again.

“It has nothing to do with anyone else. Irene wants me here so I’m here and I think right now you and everyone else can just put whatever judgments you have about what I did or didn’t do to one side because nothing matters more than Irene right now”

Coleen looked at her feet sheepishly, avoiding Belle’s gaze.

“Coleen?” she asked expectantly.

“Ok, but only for Irene” she conceded.

“Good” Belle nodded turning to go back inside as she wondered just how many times she would have to give that speech to judgmental locals in the next few days.

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I'm so glad that you got this up so soon!

Once again, a brilliant chapter with so many questions! I love how you give us clues about the characters by their speech or thoughts but you never delve too much into it so that it gets us thinking! It's annoying too cos it's makes me so impatient for the next chapter!

Cannot wait for more at all! :D


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OMG! You made me cry in the first chapter!!!!!!

Why did Belle leave?

Who did Aden marry? (and why??????!?!?!?!!?)

What happened with Aden?

I loved the humour, you wrote it so well, i love how you changed Belle, i really can't wait to see how you are going to unfold this!!!!! IT's going to be amazing whatever you do!

Please update fast!!!! :D

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