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Stockholm Syndrome

Guest Louise_2983

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Story Title: Stockholm Syndrome

Type of story: Long fiction

Main Characters: Mainly Aden and Belle plus some other regulars

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Romance, Drama

Does story include spoilers: UK spoilers

Any warnings: Sexual content, abuse references, alcohol abuse

Summary: Aden needs Belle more than ever at a time when he’s least willing to accept her help.

Chapter One.

“Belle, get a move on girly! They’ll be beating The Diner’s door down if we’re not there soon!” Irene bellowed a little more irate than the time before, her patience dwindling more with each passing second.

“Just a minute!” Belle called back as she struggled to fasten her bright yellow belt quickly enough.

“You said that 5 minutes ago!” Irene shouted back through Belle’s closed bedroom door before her attention was quickly diverted to another of the teens she had opened up her home to.

“ Geoff, where do you think you’re going? We had this conversation yesterday, no more helping with Melody’s campaign until you’ve caught up with your school work”

“But Irene I ju-“

“No buts boyo. I know you’ve had a lot on lately but late assignments and failing tests? This just isn’t like you. You’ve got to knuckle down and catch up. Belle! I’m leaving now, right this second! If you’re not in the car before I get the key in the ignition you’re walking to work!”

“Irene, wait!” Belle cried as she flung open her bedroom door and hobbled into the front room, one dark leather boot on her right foot the other clasped in her left hand together with her overflowing handbag.

“Argh!” she half screamed as she caught a glimpse of Irene retreating through the kitchen door.

Pausing briefly she struggled to maintain her balance whilst putting on her other boot and trying to prevent the contents of her handbag from spilling all over the floor. She’d been up half the night putting the finishing touches to the photography portfolio she had compiled ready for her interview at a top agency in the city and hadn’t been able to resist the call of the snooze button when her alarm had unkindly interrupted her deep sleep earlier that morning. Only now, as she realised her shirt was buttoned up incorrectly and she was only wearing one earring, did she curse her lack of willpower.


“Not now Geoff!” she cried as she hastily removed the offending earring and turned her back on him to rearrange her buttons so that Irene wouldn’t fire her for indecency as well as tardiness. That sure wouldn’t make the best reference.

“I just thought that maybe yo-“

“Can’t you see this isn’t such a good time?” Belle snapped as she finally deemed herself to be presentable and headed hastily for the door.

She got as far as the fridge before a tinge of guilt washed over her and she spun on her heels back towards Geoff. It wasn’t his fault she was late after all.

“Make it quick” She instructed. A broad smile spread instantly across Geoff’s face and Belle knew she’d been right to stop, even if Irene was going to kill her.

“Well I guess you heard that I’ve kind of fallen behind at school lately?” he squirmed his face glowing slightly red.

“Kind of” Belle nodded not wanting to increase his levels embarrassment. He hadn’t had the easiest of times of late.

“Well I’ve got this assignment due Monday and if I could really blitz it then it would certainly be a good start getting back on track”

“I guess. But I don’t really understand why this has anything to do with me?”

Geoff hesitated, the back of his hands suddenly becoming the most interesting thing in the world.

“Spit it out Geoff, I said quick didn’t I?”

“Well I thought if I good get the point of view of someone who had actually been through it, rather than just using accounts from books then it would help my grade”

“Been through what?”

“Well it’s a history assignment”

“Right. So is this your way of calling me old?” Belle laughed.

“No!” Horror flashed across his face at the thought he had offended her. He hurried to explain.

“It’s about hostage situ-“

“No!” Belle interrupted firmly, the small smile that had been playing on her lips instantly disappearing.

“No way Geoff! I can’t even believe you would ask”

“I just thought th-“

“Well think more carefully next time!” She snapped, retreating out of the door and heading up the drive way to find that Irene had in fact left without her. She sighed as she passed her rust bucket of a car, that had been out of action for days, and set off walking in the direction of The Diner.


“Nice of you to grace us with your presence girly” Irene mocked as Belle ran into the kitchen and speedily tied an apron around her waist.

“Well I would have been here earlier if someone had waited 5 seconds!” she moaned as she picked up the order Leah had just placed on the counter and began to put it together.

“Ha!” Irene scoffed “5 years more like at the speed you were going!”

“Well I would have been 5 seconds behind you had Geoff not decided to be an insensitive pig this morning!”

The tone of Belle’s voice was almost an audio version of steam gushing out of her ears.

“Woah! What?” Irene asked baffled and Belle filled her in on Geoff’s request.

“I’ll have a word with him” Irene offered giving Belle’s shoulders a reassuring squeeze.

“No.” Belle shook her head “No. Just leave him. I probably overreacted a little. He wasn’t there, he doesn’t know what it was like. Best just to leave it”

“OK, but just because he’s an upstanding Christian the vast majority of the time that doesn’t mean you should let him get away with it when he doesn’t think about anyone else’s feelings remember that”

Irene smiled as Leah hurried into the kitchen.

“Are those orders for tables 6 and 9 ready yet?”

“Working on it!” Belle pressed fast forward on her internal remote and began to speed up.

“We’re all going to have to work a bit faster today to deal with the Saturday crowd what with Roman being at the hospital” Leah sighed.

“What? Is he ok?!” Irene asked clearly concerned as Belle slowed down again and rotated her head towards Leah.

Leah looked slowly from Belle to Irene then back to Belle again.

“Oh no. You don’t know do you?”

“Know what?” Belle was starting to worry now and stopped what she was doing completely.

“Is Roman ill?”

“No, Roman’s fine. He’s just there supporting Aden”

“Aden?! There’s something wrong with Aden?” Belle enquired, her face etched with concern.

“No! No. It’s Larry, he was rushed to hospital early this morning with suspected multiple organ failure. It’s not looking good” Leah explained.

Belle stood in silence staring back at Leah for what could have only been a few seconds but felt like a lifetime, as her words sunk in.

“Irene” She finally spoke, her voice fraught and breaking.

Instantly Irene pulled her car keys from the top of her handbag and placed them in Belle’s right hand.

“Go!” she instructed closing Belle’s hand around the keys and untying the knot that held Belle’s apron in place.

Without a word Belle rushed out of The Diner, Irene only just catching the falling apron as she did so.


“Roman!” Belle called out as she caught sight of him at the coffee machine at the opposite end of cold and clinical hospital corridor.

“How is he?” She asked as she finally stopped in front of him.

“He’s in surgery but it’s not looking good” he replied and then realised he’d incorrectly interpreted her question.

“Bearing up but I’m not sure how much of it’s an act” he answered again.

“He’s down the corridor, first left. Just follow the yellow line” he gestured towards the line painted on the floor before taking a sip from the beige plastic cup he held in his hand.

Belle took a deep breath before setting off down the route the yellow line had planned out for her. She wondered if Dorothy had felt this apprehensive following the yellow brick road?

Turning a corner a flash of Nicole’s golden hair was the first sight that greeted Belle. Ahh the wicked witch she thought, this is actually a Summer Bay version of The Wizard of Oz.

She hadn’t anticipated Nicole’s presence and almost turned right around and left again but it was too late.

“Belle?” Aden questioned as though he thought he was hallucinating. His eyes were full of exhaustion and vulnerability that made her want to throw her arms straight around him. She resisted.

“Hi” she attempted a weak smile.

“What are you doing here?” he asked confused.

“I just thought you might need a friend” She shrugged suddenly feeling stupid for rushing straight there. They weren’t even on speaking terms. Aden had been avoiding her like the plague since she’d confessed to sleeping with Angelo.

“He’s got friends, so you’re surplus to requirements” Nicole smiled snidely as she threaded her arm though around Aden’s.

“Nicole!” Aden scolded her.

“Well I’m sorry” Nicole said insincerely “but since when have you two ever been friends? She made her choice.”

Nicole looked straight at Belle and stepped forward encroaching on her personal space.

“So why don’t you toddle back off to Constable Risotto like a good little girl” Nicole mocked.

“It’s Roset-” Belle stopped mid correction. “You know what it doesn’t matter, don’t worry I’m leaving”.

She turned to go.

“Belle wait!” Aden called after her. “Stay.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. Dad likes you and it was nice of you to come” He turned towards the blonde scowling by his left shoulder. “Nicole, this is not the place so just zip it ok?”

“I guess so. But don’t for one minute think we’re friends” She glared at Belle.

“Oh don’t worry, I’ve got friends so you’re surplus to requirements’ Belle quipped, noticing a small smile grace Aden’s lips for a brief moment as she did so.


Aden fidgeted in the hard and uncomfortable seat next to Belle, stress and heartache clearly rushing through him. She wanted to reach out to him but held back fearing he would push her away and that Nicole would relish the opportunity to tell her how unneeded she was again. Nicole had already embarrassed her by pointing out that her shirt was still buttoned up wrongly. Another snide comment and Aden would have to physically restrain Belle from slapping her. And that was not what he needed right now.

It had been hours, but the tension, the awkward silence and the constant ticking of the clock on the wall above them made it feel more like days. Belle was thankful when Rachel appeared and the uncomfortable silence ended.

Aden instantly jumped up from his seat.

“What’s happening?” his question sounded more like a demand.

“Aden, why don’t you sit down?” Rachel asked sensitively.

“I don’t want to sit down, I just want to know what’s happening, it’s been hours!” he snapped, running his fingers through his hair in frustration as tears threatened to break free from his resistance.

“Well there’s been some complications with the surgery. It seems Larry has a problem with his blood, it’s not clotting and that’s making everything more difficult which means it’s taking longer than usual. But a haematologist is in the theatre assisting now, they’re doing everything they can”.

“Is he going to make it?” Aden looked Rachel straight in the eye.

“We’ll know more when the surgery is completed” She dodged the question.

“That’s not an answer!” He shouted his body slumping back into the chair as he buried his head in hands.

“Aden,” Belle said softly “They’re doing their best”.

She lowered her body onto the edge of the chair next to Aden’s and finally reached out to him, gently placing her hand on his arm. Instantly he recoiled, knocking her hand away so forcefully it sprang backwards and hit Nicole, who was inconveniently stood next to her, square on the chest.

“Oww!” Nicole cried out vigorously rubbing the point of contact for affect but no one was paying any attention to her.

“Aden!” Belle cried “I was only t-“

“Only what Belle?” Aden interrupted turning his head towards her, his voice brimming with rage. “What do you care about anyone but yourself?”

“Aden, I-“ Belle began clearly wounded by his words. She cared, he knew she cared. Didn’t he?

“I DON’T CARE!” He bellowed so loudly Belle wondered if only dogs could hear him as both she and Nicole recoiled in shock at the pure venom in his voice.

“Why are you here? I clearly mean nothing to you so why are you here? Just get out!”


“GET OUT!” He screamed, moving closer towards her as Roman reached out and pulled him back.

“Calm down mate!” He instructed as Rachel pulled Belle away from him.

“Belle I think you should go” Rachel advised clearly concerned for her wellbeing as much as Aden’s.


“Belle!” Roman snapped.

Without another word Belle fled back down the yellow line, wishing she had Dorothy’s shoes to transport her home.


A few hours later Belle scanned the fridge for something tasty for dinner. Anything to distract her from the day’s events. She had been replaying Aden’s outburst in her mind over and over but she still didn’t know where his pure venom had come from or if he’d really meant it. Was it just because he was stressed or had he been carrying all that hate around just waiting for the right time to unleash it on her?

She sighed and slammed shut the heavy fridge door not having found anything capable of distracting her. She glanced towards the table where Geoff was rapidly flicking through the pages of about 20 different books he had scattered around him, clearly stressed and tired.

“History assignment?” She asked glancing at the cover of one of the books.

“Erm yeah” Geoff replied sheepishly. “Listen, about earlier I’m so-“

“Don’t worry about it” Belle replied scanning the first chapter of the book she now held in her hand as Geoff turned his attention back to his assignment. She read a few lines of the book and watched Geoff write and delete the same sentence on his laptop at least 3 times. She pulled back a chair and sat down.

“Ok, so what do you want to know?”.

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Chapter 2.

“So were you scared?” Geoff asked then shook his head “Sorry silly question, scratch that of course you were scared!”

“No, it’s not a silly question at all” Belle reassured him before hesitating as though searching for the right words to convey what she wanted to say.

“Yes. Yes I was scared but not for myself. And not of Aden”

Geoff remained silent, a slightly baffled expression occupying his face.

“I was scared yes” Belle clarified “But I was scared of what Aden might do to Larry and what would happen to him if he did it.”

“So you weren’t scared for yourself at all?”

“No I knew that he would never hurt me, he just wouldn’t”

“So...” Geoff began as though he didn’t believe a word Belle was telling him. “Aden holds you hostage and you’re more concerned for him than for yourself?”

Belle hadn’t thought of it that way before, it did sound kind of stupid when she someone else said it out loud.

But that didn’t make it any less true.

“I guess” She shrugged her shoulders a little as she responded.

“You don’t think you’ve got a little bit of Stockholm syndrome do you?” Geoff half joked “Because that would definitely make my assignment stand out!”

“Stockholm what?” Belle asked puzzled “Geoff you do know we were only at Larry’s house not in Sweden don’t you?”

“Yes of course I know that” Geoff laughed “Stockholm syndrome is where hostages demonstrate loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger that they’ve been placed in. Some of them even

fall in love with their abductors”

“Well I guess it was different for me” Belle told him defiantly. She was slightly offended that he seemed to think she was only concerned for Aden because of some psychological syndrome.

“How do you mean?” Geoff pushed.

“Well...I was already in love wit-“

“Knock! Knock!” A male voice interrupted Belle mid sentence and both she and Geoff turned their heads to find Angelo stood in the kitchen door way.

“Hi!” She hoped her enthusiastic greeting didn’t come across as flustered and as forced as it felt.

“Hey you” he smiled striding over to her and swooping down to place a delicate kiss on her soft lips. Geoff flushed crimson with embarrassment and squirmed in his seat slightly.

“You didn’t forget our date did you?” Angelo asked as though a date with him was such a fantastic opportunity no member of the female species would ever forget. “Only I thought you were going to wine and dine me tonight?”

“Well if you pay for the movie I’ll buy the popcorn?” She laughed trying to hide the fact that yes she had forgotten as she quickly covered up the title of the book which lay on the table before her with her forearm.

“Of course I didn’t forget I was just helping Geoff with his assignment but I think we’re done right Geoff?”

“Right” Geoff replied as Belle grabbed her handbag from the kitchen counter before taking Angelo’s hand and guiding him quickly out of the house before he saw just what the topic of Geoff’s assignment was.


“Yes I know you’re only meant to give that sort of information out to relatives but like I said I’m a family friend and I just want to know how he’s doing!” Belle sighed in frustration.

“Yes I understand that but...Oh Ok! Ok! I get it you’re not going to give it up to anyone but a relative. Well thanks for nothing!” Belle slammed down the phone receiver feeling annoyed but also a tiny bit guilty for being so rude to the receptionist. She was only doing her job after all.

But all Belle had been able to think about through her date with Angelo the night before had been how Larry was doing and how Aden was holding up. Her head heavy and confused, she hadn’t been able to concentrate on the movie at all and was now almost certain she’d muttered something about aliens when Angelo had wanted to dissect the movie afterwards.

A quick glance at the, already faded, ticket stub confirmed they had in fact been to see a showing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s as per her request for something “classic”.

The house was eerily quiet. Annie at Jai’s and she was pretty sure Geoff has snuck out to work on Melody’s campaign whilst Irene was at work at The Diner. She had a few hours to kill before her own shift started and Irene had left her the car to do the grocery shopping for her.

The silver metal of the car keys glistened in the sunlight and perched on the counter they called out to her like a predator calling its prey.

There was nothing else for it. Belle pounced on the keys and fled.


She walked down the long, clinical corridor wishing she really was Dorothy and she at least had Toto or a scarecrow to keep her company. Anything to stop her from feeling so isolated and alone right now.

A flurry of people rushed around almost in a blur at the opposite end of the corridor as she made her way towards them and they slowly became normal sized humans rather than the tiny dots on the

horizon they had initially been. She would hate to be wheeled down the never ending corridor on a hospital trolley in a life or death situation, she was pretty sure the former wouldn’t even be an option by the time they’d reached the end.

A wave of recognition washed over her as she spotted a familiar face in the throng of people huddled around the nurse’s station.

“Rachel!” She called her voice hesitant and shaking as she did so, her confidence dwindling more by the second.

“Belle” Rachel addressed her, her voice almost tinged with disappointment “Look I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be here.”

“I know, I agree” Belle nodded her head in concurrence “But I couldn’t stop myself, no one will tell me anything and I can’t stop thinking about it. All these horrible outcomes buzzing around in my head

and torturing me 24/7, I just can’t cope not knowing”

Rachel’s expression instantly softened as she witnessed the clear distress of her friend stood before her. Gently she placed an arm around her shoulders and ushered her away from the bustling nurse’s station.

“Larry’s surgery went as well as could be expected” she explained “He’s still unconscious, he’s stable but in intensive care and the next 48 hours are crucial. As for Aden...well he hasn’t said much since...”

“Since he practically shattered all the windows screaming at me yesterday?” Belle asked knowingly but before Rachel could respond a familiar voice pierced the air.

“What is she doing here?”

Belle and Rachel swivelled their heads in unison and were greeted by the two faces Belle least wanted to appear in her line of vision right at that moment.

“It’s ok Nicole, Belle was just le-“

“Leaving” Belle finished Rachel’s sentence for her. “Yes I am leaving” she continued but moved closer towards Aden as she spoke and only stopped when she was standing directly in front of him.

“But not until you hear what I have to say”

Aden’s lips began to form the outline of speech but Belle refused to give him the chance to interrupt her.

“No Aden! Don’t interrupt me please, just listen! I have no idea where you got the crazy idea that I don’t care about you from because I do. I care so much and I am trying to be here for you. But I can’t do that if you won’t let me. And don’t for one minute think that it doesn’t hurt when you push me away. But I am not going anywhere. If you don’t want me near you then fine. But you know where I am. You know where I live. You know where I work. You even have bedroom window privileges. So if you need me, I’m there”.

Finally she took a breath as the flow of words streaming out of her came to an end. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting but it certainly wasn’t the reaction she got. Or the lack of one.

Aden’s face remained void of expression and he didn’t speak a word allowing an uncomfortable silence to linger in the air around them.

“Didn’t you say you were leaving?” Nicole asked snidely.

Belle refused to even dignify her with a response. She quickly spun on her heels and retreated back down the corridor from which she came. If this was some alternative universe Wizard of Oz then she definitely wasn’t the lion as that had taken more courage than even she knew she had.


The Diner was chaotic. Irene was sitting Ollie, Leah was visiting relatives in the City and she could only assume Roman was still at the hospital. This left her to man the fort alone and she was in severe danger of becoming completely lost in a sea of mixed up orders and complaining customers.


She looked up from behind the counter where she was hastily trying to calculate table 8’s cheque and almost scoffed.

“Nicole now is not a good time for a fight but if you want to pick a free slot in my schedule I’ll pencil you in. But right now unless Roman has sent you to rescue me or you actually want to buy something then just go!”

“5 stars for customer service, I’ll be sure to mention to my Dad the high calibre of the people he employs”

“Nicole. I. Am. Busy. Get. Out.” Belle stressed every syllable of each word for effect.

“It’s Aden” Nicole persisted.

“What about him?” Belle’s expression softened for half a second before she tried to pretend that Aden’s obvious indifference towards her earlier had not affected her.

“His Dad died a few hours ago”

“Oh god” Belle’s whole demeanor instantly changed, shock and concern clearly hitting her with equal force.

“Aden’s taken it pretty bad. Larry never regained consciousness after being admitted to the hospital so he never got to talk to him, to say what he needed to say”

“Where is he?”

“That’s just it” Nicole shrugged her shoulders dramatically “He took off and we can’t find him anywhere, I thought he might have come to you but obviously not”

“Why would he have come to me?” She tried to mask the pain caused by the fact that he hadn’t.

“I don’t know, you’re just normally the person he turns to. In fact I think you’re the only person he turns to” Nicole conceded. Belle actually felt some admiration for her in that moment, she knew that could not have been an easy thing for Miss High and Mighty to admit.

“Well not anymore” Belle sighed “You saw him earlier. He couldn’t have cared less”

“And you couldn’t have cared more. He could be anywhere Belle, anything could have happened to him!”

“He’s a big boy Nicole”

“Too much information” Nicole raised her eyebrows suggestively.

“I meant that he could look after himself!” Belle raised her eyebrows back more out of annoyance than humour.

“ I meant what I said today, I am here for him but I am not going to chase after him and interfere in his life if he doesn’t want that”

“But what if h-“


“OK! I’m leaving but don’t blame me if he does something stupid!” she finally gave in and flounced out of The Diner, her blonde tresses bouncing behind her.

Belle stared after the departing blonde, her mouth slightly agape at the insinuation that it would be her fault if Aden had in fact done something stupid. She sighed.

He wouldn’t.

Would he?

She pushed even the mere possibility to the back of her mind and began serving customers again. She rushed into the kitchen to plate up an order for table 4 and darted back out into the seating area

to serve it.

She got half way to the table and stopped dead in her tracks as the thought overpowered her and fear hit her hard causing her to feel extremely nauseous as bile rose to the back of her throat. She clung onto the steaming hot plates, her knuckles turning white as she increased the strength of her grip to avoid dropping them.

“Ok!” She announced forcefully “We’re closed. Everybody out!”

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Chapter 3.

Belle pulled her tiny purple jacket further around her as she made her way back to the Beach house. The wind was howling as the waves crashed against the shore and a gentle drizzle of rain began to descend from the almost pitch black sky. She was tired and freezing and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed and sleep for days. She knew in reality however, that she wouldn’t be getting any sleep until Aden had been found.

She’d looked everywhere. Literally everywhere. She’d started with her own bedroom praying that he’d remembered her bedroom window comment and would be sat waiting for her.

He wasn’t.

She’d scoured the beach, she’d been to the surf club, to Roman’s, to Larry’s and even to the school but Aden it appeared would bring home a medal for Australia if Hide and Seek ever became an Olympic sport.

Sighing she took one last glance at the beach. The ocean unsettled and angry as the wind whipped it into a frenzy. She just hoped wherever Aden was he was safe because tonight certainly wasn’t the best night to go missing.

It was only as she began to turn away that a flash of red near the shoreline caught her eye. She squinted and tried to identify the object but couldn’t make out anything definite through the rain. She racked her brain to try and remember what Aden had been wearing but all she could see was his void expression staring back at her.

She tried to ignore the sharp pain of his rejection slicing through her as she started to trudge down the beach and although not successful at first as she got closer the sight before her allowed her pain to be replaced with relief.

“Aden!” She called out to the hunched over figure sat way too close to the water for her liking. Wearing only a red T-shirt and jeans he was rain soaked and dishevelled.

“What are you doing out here? You must be freezing!” she asked concerned as she finally stopped behind him. He didn’t respond and continued to stare out at the violent waves.

“Aden?” her tone became more gentle as she placed a hand delicately on his shoulder “Nicole told me about your Dad, I’m sorry”

“Why? It’s not like you killed him” he replied without turning to face her, his voice empty of emotion.

“Well no but..”

“But it’s just what people say right Belle?!” finally he turned to face her as his tone brimming with anger.

“I’m sorry” He repeated mocking her own voice as he stood unsteadily and moved his face closer and closer to hers until she could feel his warm breath tickle her cheeks.

“As if anyone really cares! I’m sorry!” He scoffed but she refused to rise to his bait.

“You’ve been drinking” She stated calmly, their bodies still so close she could slip her arms around him in a heartbeat. But she resisted. No matter how much his obvious pain was killing her his rejection

would hurt her more.

“Want some?” He lifted the half empty whisky bottle he held by its neck and swung it in front of Belle as though trying to tempt her. The amber liquid sloshed around its glass prison as he did so.

“No I don’t and I think you’ve had enough” she told him as she grabbed hold of the body of the bottle to stop him swinging it in her face. He resisted and a gush of whisky shot out of the bottle and down both their arms.

“Nice one Belle” Aden laughed “Do you have any idea how much this cost Morag?”

“So that’s what you’ve been doing whilst we’ve been looking all over for you? Stealing from the people who care about you and drinking yourself into a stupor?”

“Nobody cares Belle”

“Well that’s where you’re wrong Aden” she told him angrily. It was one thing for him to accuse her of not caring but after everything Morag and Roman had done for him she didn’t know how he dared.

“Well who’s “we“ then?” He asked accusingly. “We’ve been looking for you? Let me guess you? And Roman and maybe Nicole if she could find a gap in her schedule between filing her nails and

straightening her hair?”

“That is not fair” Belle was amazed to find herself jumping to Nicole’s defence “Nicole is really worried about you”.

She finally eased the bottle from his grasp before doing her best to wipe away the whisky trickling down her arm with the clean tissue she had in her pocket. Without thinking she instinctively reached forward and wiped away the amber trail running down Aden’s arm. As she began to pull back her arm he reached out and held her hand over the now sticky spot where the liquid had been.

They both looked down at the point where their bodies now made contact as the tension between them intensified.

“And what about you Belle?” he looked up at her through hazy eyelids.

“What about me?” she played dumb.

“Were you worried about me? Or were just worried that people would blame you if I’d done something stupid?”

She hesitated as she remembered how she had felt when Nicole has insinuated that the latter would be the case. Before she had chance to reply he lifted her hand from his arm and pushed her away, swiping back to whisky as he did so.

“Go back to Supercop Belle!” he almost spat before turning away and taking a long gulp from the bottle.

“A bit of both actually” She ignored his outburst and honestly answered his question.


“I was worried about you. But yes I was worried people would blame me. Roman, Morag...Nicole. I was worried they’d blame me because out of all the people who’ve supported you I am the only one who has inspired such venom within you as you unleashed on me in that hospital yesterday. And I don’t know where that came from but-“

“You really don’t know?” He scoffed as though he didn’t believe her.

“No!” She shook her head “What have I done to make you hate me so much?”

Slowly he turned back to face her, the whisky bottle still half raised as he looked her straight in the eye scanning her face for signs that she didn’t really believe what she was saying.

“I don’t hate you Belle” he told her as he moved back into her personal space once more.

“Then why?”

He lifted his hand and gently brushed her cheek with his fingertips.

“Because I love you” he slightly slurred, the whisky clearly getting to him now.

Now it was her turn to scoff.

“Because you love me?! You love me so you make me feel like you hate me more than Larry and your Granddad put together?” She fumed.

He instantly dropped her hand and stepped back.

“Oh god Aden, I didn’t mean that” She realised what she’d said just a second after the words exited her mouth. She reached out to bring him back towards her but he slapped her arm away.

“You have no idea do you?! But then why would you? Life gets tough so you just move onto the next boyfriend like you always do. You’re a wh**e Belle!”

“You don’t mean that” she tried to stay calm and pretend the anger in his eyes didn’t and the force in his words didn’t break her heart.

“How do you think it makes me feel?” He shouted “Seeing you with him? Knowing that..that he’s touching you and..”

He turned away from her and hurtled the whisky bottle onto the sand before burying his face in his hands. She watched him for a few seconds before daring to approach him.

“Aden” She gently placed a hand on his arm “I’m so sorry”.

Carefully she pulled one hand from his face and wanted to cry herself as the tears trickling down his face glistened in the moonlight.

“He’s dead Belle” he cried “He’s dead and I never told him that I loved him.”

Without even thinking or contemplating the possibility of rejection Belle embraced Aden and comforted him as he cried. His own arms tightened around her and he buried his head deep in her shoulder.

“He knew” she told him soothingly “He knew”.

* * *

Belle took one last glance at herself in the mirror before rushing into the kitchen for a glass of water. Carefully she placed it on her bedside table together with some extra strength paracetamol before grabbing her portfolio and shutting her bedroom door tightly behind her.

“You’re looking very smart”

Belle jumped as Irene came up behind her.

“Erm yeah I’ve just got a meeting with one of the editors at The Gazette, there might be some extra work in it if I’m lucky and well it always helps to be smart doesn’t it?” Belle lied hoping it all sounded more convincing than she felt. She hated lying to Irene but she didn’t want to have to go through the possibility that she might be moving to the City with anyone until she was sure she had the job with the agency.

“Well good luck, I’m sure you’ll knock ‘em dead in that get-up” Irene told her as she tried to move past her.

“Irene where are you going?”

“Where do you think I’m going with this lot, The Sands?” Irene laughed as she gestured towards the fresh bed linen in her arms. “My chambermaid service doesn’t extend that far!”

“It’s fine I can do it later” Belle stood between Irene and the door.

“Which means the new linen will sit in your room until the next time I change your bed I know what you’re like girly!” Irene began to move forwards again.

Belle still didn’t move.

“No really Irene I’ll do it as soon as I get home, it’s just I’ve been working on my portfolio and it’s a mess in there – photos everywhere!” Belle told her quickly.

“Belle I’ve never known you to be so unwilling to let someone else do housework. Look if I can cope with Geoff and Annie’s mess then a few photos won’t shock me...unless there’s a few nudie shots in

there” Irene laughed cheekily as she finally moved past Belle and reached for the door handle.

“Irene! No!” Belle sighed realising she would have to confess.

“Aden’s in there.”

“What?!” Irene screeched.

“Sssssh! He’s asleep!” Belle cringed.

“Asleep? I’ll give him asleep!” Irene told her and Belle knew she would barge into the room if she didn’t stop her. She quickly rushed between Irene and the door once more.

“Look it’s not what you think”

“It better not be. Didn’t Angelo stay over just the other night girly?”

“Yes but that was...different. Look Irene nothing happened last night.”

Irene looked unconvinced.

“Aden’s Dad died yesterday and I found him on the beach last night. He’d been drinking and I couldn’t just leave him there to drown his sorrows...and probably himself”.

“He does have a home to go to you know”

“I know but how would you like to try getting a drunk Aden all the way across town?” Belle raised her eyebrows knowingly.

“Well ok you’ve got a point there” Irene conceded

“Nothing happened, I swear. He slept on the floor” Belle lied. Irene didn’t need to know that they’d shared her bed or about the incident when Aden had snuggled up to her in his sleep and she hadn’t

pushed him away for several minutes.

“Well whatever did or didn’t happen you can’t go out and leave him in there”


“No Belle. Annie’s staying home sick today and I am not going to work and leaving her in the house with Aden!”

“Irene it’s Aden not some psycho, he’s not going to do anything to Annie.”

“This is the same Aden who held you hostage a few months back yes?”

“Irene we both know why he did that. He is not going to do anything stupid, Annie will be perfectly safe. You didn’t see him last night, he’s a mess and I figure whilst ever he’s asleep he’s not thinking about what happened”

“Well ok but if he so much as-“

“Irene, trust me. He’ll wake up, realise where he is, get dressed and climb out of the window....Preferably in that order”

“Get dressed?! You mean to tell me he’s naked in there?!”

“Oh for goodness sake Irene! He’s wearing boxers! And I’m leaving” Belle laughed and hurried out the door praying she wouldn’t be late for her interview.

* * *

Belle’s interview could not have gone better. She arrived back in the Bay feeling confident that she would be leaving it in the not too distant future. She just wasn’t sure how she was going to tell everyone.

She parked Angelo’s car outside The Diner and hurried to meet him for lunch but as she got half way to the door she realised he himself was also late as he strode towards her.

“Hey, thanks for lending me your car” she smiled as she stood on her tip toes and placed a quick kiss on his lips. His response was cold.

“Is everything ok?”

“I don’t know. Have you got something to tell me?”

Belle rubbed her forehead. Surely he couldn’t have found out about her interview? She’d wanted to tell him herself and not until she definitely knew she was moving away.

“Like what?” she feigned ignorance hoping he wasn’t talking about the interview at all.

“Oh I don’t know, like maybe why I saw a half naked Aden Jeffries climbing out of your bedroom window this morning?”

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So this was finished yesterday but I thought I'd wait until today to post it seen as it's a memorable day for Aden and Belle fans! I hope you all enjoy it. I can only apologise that it's not shirtless. Or in the rain. But I hope you enjoy it all the same.

And whilst you all read this I'm finally off to watch what could possibly be my favourite Adelle episode ever!

Chapter 4.

“What?!” Belle tried to feign shock “Annie and I swapped rooms yesterday...the little...”

“Belle” Angelo was clearly not amused.

“Ok..ok. So I’m guessing you wouldn’t buy that he’s dating Irene now either?” She asked hopefully.

“Belle” He repeated in exactly the same tone as before.

“And Geoff would be really pushing it huh?”


“Ok, I admit it!” She half smiled “We had rampant sex all night and then once I’d had my wicked way I kicked him out the window before he even had a chance to get his clothes back on”

“Belle, you’re not funny” he shook his head in disdain.

“Who said I was joking?” She raised an eyebrow suggestively in his direction.

“Belle” His expression hadn’t altered once.

“Well whatever I say you’re not going to like it!”

“Then why not try the truth?” He challenged her.

“Fine. Aden’s dad died yesterday and he, as would be expected, took it badly. He was drunk and a mess ...and he needed...”


“A friend. I was going to say a friend” She quickly defended herself.

“And that had to be you?”

“Well there weren’t many people queuing up to help”

“And that surprises you?” Angelo scoffed

“Look you don’t know him so don’t you dare judge him Angelo! He needed a friend and as much as I know you won’t like it I care about him and I wasn’t just going to leave him on the beach all night in

that state”

“You still care about him?”

“Yes. Because I’m not a cold hearted b***h! So what we had ended badly and yes I’ve moved on but he has been through so much and I am one of the few people he let in so if he needs me to be his

friend than that is what I’m going to be. ”

“We both know he wants you to be more than just his friend Belle” Angelo half accused her.

“Well friendship is all that’s on offer. Nothing happened last night”

“You sure about that?”

“Certain and I promise you we won’t have any more sleepovers without inviting you first” She laughed and winked suggestively trying to make light of the situation.

“Eww. Don’t even joke about it” He looked visibly disgusted at the mere thought but seemed to soften towards her.

“Relax. He slept on the floor. He crashed out as soon as we got there and was still asleep when I left this morning”

Well at least the last part was true.

“So do you forgive me or am I eating lunch alone?”

“Depends whether you’re paying or not?” He slung his arm casually around her as they began to walk into The Diner.

“Looks like it’s over then” Belle laughed as Angelo nudged her shoulder a little too hard and sent her flying straight into a passing Nicole causing the strawberry milkshake she was clutching to splurt all over her crisp white shirt and school pinafore.

“Owww! Watch where you’re going! Oh it’s you

“Oh my gosh Nicole! I’m sorry! That was his fault” Belle glared at Angelo, of all the people to have pushed her into. He knew how to pick his moments.

“My top!” Nicole screeched “It’s ruined! How exactly am I going to go back to school like this?”

“Leah has got this amazing stain remover” Belle thought quickly.

“Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll help you get the milkshake out. Angelo grab a table I won’t be long” She commanded him before pulling Nicole into the kitchen causing Irene to cast a suspicious glance

their way as she continued to serve the growing surge of lunch time customers.

“So where’s this miraculous stain remover? I haven’t got all day!”

“Erm..” Belle hesitated sheepishly “I lied...sorry. I just needed to talk to you without Angelo around”

“Well that explains the wet shirt. Sorry Belle, you’re not my type”

“Ha ha. Very amusing Nicole”

“So what do you really want because I have a top to change befo-”

“How’s Aden?” Belle interrupted.

“Ah!” Nicole smiled almost triumphantly “I should have known. He’s...well he’s Aden. Mean and moody. And storming around like a bear with a sore head”

Belle thought back to just how much whisky Aden had consumed the night before.

“Trust me, there’s no like about it. He’s got a sore head”

“Thanks” Now it was Nicole’s turn to be sheepish “You know for letting us know that he was safe last night”

“That’s ok, I know how worried Roman was” Belle tried to spare Nicole’s blushes.

“Oh yeah he was out of his mind” Nicole played along. “Look I should really go”


“Yep?” The blonde turned, already half way out of the door.

“Look I know you and me we’re never going to be friends but...truce?” Belle offered an olive branch.

“Nah! I enjoying winding you up too much” Nicole winked as she exited.

Belle couldn’t help but laugh.

* * *

Belle couldn’t believe what she was seeing as she strode along the beach, the storm of the night before a distant memory as the scorching sun shone down and caressed the golden sand beneath her feet.

She lifted both hands and vigorously rubbed her eyes hoping she was imagining the sight before her.

She wasn’t.

She picked up her pace slightly hesitant to get any closer especially as the closer she got the better she could hear exactly what they were arguing about.

“Look just stay away from her” Angelo scowled looking slightly out of place on the packed beach in full police uniform.

“For your information mate” Aden mocked “She’s the one who can’t keep away from me. The hospital, the beach I just can’t seem to shake her off”

“Dream on little boy. She’s with me now”

“Right I forgot” Aden smirked “So easy to let a little thing like that slip my mind. What with the fact that I was the one in her bed last night”

Belle cringed as she got even closer and Aden exposed her lies.

“You slept on the floor like the down and out loser you truly are” Angelo sneered.

“That’s what she told was it?” Aden laughed to himself as Angelo turned redder the more anger rose within him.

“Face it. She wants me. She always has. You’re nothing more than...what is it they call it in those women magazines?” Aden paused pretending he didn’t remember for effect, moving forward until he

had completely invaded Angelo’s personal space.

“Ah of course that’s it. The rebound guy. You’re the rebound guy. The loser just holding the fort until I step back in”

Belle saw something change within Angelo, as though he was an elastic band and Aden had finally stretched him that little bit too far. Venomously he snapped.

“Well at least I can give her what she wants” he hissed “without a cycle of counselling first that is”

“Aden!” Belle screamed as he lunged at the policeman before him fists clenched, finally close enough to grab his solid arms and attempt to pull him away.

Not strong enough to move him far enough away she saw no option but to slip between the warring men, her hands still grasping Aden’s arms as she saw his good behaviour bond close to being in


As though she triggered some sense of rationality within him, Aden instantly dropped his fist as she came into his line of vision but it was too late. Angelo had already put his retaliation into action.

Belle gasped as the policeman’s fist sailed through the air and Aden’s arm’s instantly tightened around her, pulling her out of the way. As if in slow motion Angelo’s flying fist smashed square into Aden’s face sending them both tumbling backwards onto the golden sand.

Suddenly the heat between them disappeared until all that remained were the three parties staring back at each other, Angelo’s knuckles red and inflamed, Aden’s hand covering the point of contact just below his right eye and Belle’s mouth still slightly agape in disbelief at what had just happened.

“Belle!” Angelo cried as though realising she was there for the first time.

“Are you ok? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to kno-“ He stretched out his hand to help her up but fuming at his actions Belle slapped it away and remained where she was. Half lying on the beach, half on top of Aden’s broad chest.

“Get off me!” She snapped before twisting her head around to face Aden.

“Are you ok?!” She asked gently, reaching up and carefully prising his hand away from his eye so she could inspect the damage done close up, still unconsciously clutching his hand gently in hers as she did so. The skin around his eye seemed a little irritated but the real extent of the damage was yet to cone. Belle could tell Aden was going to have a shining black eye in a few hours time.

“I should have known!” Angelo snapped back “It’s always him you’re concerned about no matter what. I’m your boyfriend Belle!”

“Well that’s debatable” Aden muttered from where he still lay splayed on the floor.

An irritated Belle threw his own hand back at him and let it hit him in the face before jumping up off the ground.

“Yes you are my boyfriend Angelo, but you’re also a cop. So brawling on the beach with my ex is not where I expect to find you on an afternoon!” She shouted in frustration.

“And you” Belle looked down in disdain at Aden who had now proceeded to a sitting position on the sand.

“I know you’re grieving and that life is hell for you right now but you can’t keep messing up and then just expect the world to forgive you. We’ve all got problems Aden!”

“Hear, hear” Angelo sneered down at Aden causing Belle to fume even more.

“Yes we’ve all got problems and right now I’m looking at my two biggest ones!” She continued “I am not some piece of meat you can fight over, never mind in public! Believe it or not I don’t want the whole Bay knowing who is or isn’t in my bed of an evening! Yes Angelo you are my boyfriend and yes Aden is...well I’m trying to be your friend. And if you two can’t handle that then that’s your problem but right now I don’t want to see either of your smug faces for the foreseeable future”

“Belle!” both men called after her she stormed off across the beach but the departing brunette didn’t look back.

* * *

Belle picked up her bleeping mobile phone off the table and scanned the third text message in a row Angelo had sent her. More grovelling. She laughed before promptly deleting the text. A knock on the kitchen window caused her to jump nervously as a flash of blonde hair went by.

She looked down and checked the digital display on her phone before casually tossing it back onto the table.


It had taken him exactly 104 minutes to ignore her instructions to keep away.

She looked up to find him in the doorway.

“Does that hurt?” She asked as he walked into the house and leant against the breakfast bar. His eye was red and swollen and she suddenly had an urge to reach out and caress it.

She resisted and walked past him on her way to the freezer.

“No it’s fine” Aden replied before giving up the macho act as Belle raised her eyebrows in disbelief.

“Well ok…maybe just a little”

“Good!” Belle replied before burying her head in the deep freezer.

“Here” She pulled out a bag of ancient frozen peas from right at the back and placed it abruptly just below his eye.

“Owww!” He cried out “”God that’s cold!”

“Frozen things usually are” she replied still refusing to show the slightest sign of sympathy.

“It’ll help the swelling” She told him moving the ice cold packet into a slightly more comfortable position but continuing to hold it against the injury.

“You’ve been drinking” She accused him as she caught the scent of alcohol on his warm breath.

“Nothing else to do”


“Belle, you’re not my mother”


“And very lucky because the thoughts you have about me are definitely not motherly” he smirked.

“You haven’t got a clue what I think about you Aden. In fact, I rarely think about you at all” She lied.

“Whatever you say Belle” he grinned up at her from his slouched position. She mirrored his expression, grinning back in amusement.

“Thanks for the paracetamol by the way” he grinned as if he was demonstrating that she thought a lot more about him than she cared to admit.

“Head hurt this morning did it?”

“Hmmm maybe a little”

“A little?” Belle scoffed.

“Ok! Ok! A lot. But I was trying to forget”

“I know” Belle nodded feeling slightly guilty for teasing him.

“About before…” he began sheepishly.

“What about it?”

“He approached me, I was minding my own business”

“I don’t doubt that actually” She conceded “He saw you climbing out of my window this morning, he wasn’t happy”

“Ouch” Aden laughed clearly having no sympathy for Angelo.

“It’s not funny!” Belle protested but couldn’t help letting a small laugh escape. “You could have at least got dressed first Aden!”

"I couldn't find my t-shirt!" He laughed

"Which means it's still in my room!"

"Yep, better move it before Supercop catches sight of it"


"So you and Angelo... can I ask you a question?" He raised his eyebrows as if he was challenging her.

"If you're going to ask me if he's good in bed then I swear your eyes will match before you leave here!"

"No that wasn't what I was going to ask and anyway, I know I'm better" he half bragged.

"Oh is that right?" Belle laughed incredulously.

"Well don't they always say it's better when you actually love the person?"

Belle didn't respond, his question catching her off guard. He looked up at her through his long eyelashes and she could have sworn she felt her stomach flutter. Unable to stand the tension any longer she looked away and concentrated on moving the frozen peas into a new position in a feeble attempt to stop her hand going numb.

"I was actually going to ask if he had bedroom window privileges too?"

"Are you kidding?" Belle laughed heartily. "If I told Angelo my bedroom window was always open he'd launch into a lecture about home security and bring me home a police approved window lock!"

"Sounds a catch" Aden mocked.

"You don't know him. He's a good guy"

"Tell that to my eye"

"It was technically self defence"

Belle wasn't sure why she was suddenly defending Angelo.

"Did you see me lay a finger on him?"

"No, but you would have done if..."

"If I hadn't seen you and come to my senses?"

"Yeah" Belle nodded “But next time I might not be around and you’re on a good behaviour bond”

“Next time? Think a lot of yourself don’t you Belle? Think you’re worth fighting over?”

“I didn’t mean that, I just... I don’t want you to get in trouble because of me”

"I won't, don't worry I can handle myself"

"I'm sorry he used what happened to get at you..you know with your granddad and everything. I know that's why you didn't want to talk about it the trial, everyone knowing"

Aden flinched and shifted uncomfortably.

"You know I could press charges, assaulting a member of the public whilst on duty how much of a blemish would that be on Supercop's record?"

"You wouldn't!" Belle hadn't even though of that.

"Wouldn't I?"

"Aden, please don't. Please just don't tell anyone about this."

"Why shouldn't I?" He challenged.

"For me" She told him finally making full on eye contact with him once more.

They stared into each other's eyes for what felt like forever but in reality must have only been a few seconds before Belle felt herself tilt her head gently towards Aden's.


Belle instantly jumped back, dropping the packet of peas as she did so.

"I got an A on the assignment you help-" Geoff trailed off as he caught sight of Aden.

"That's great, well done" she tried to act as normally as possible. This wasn't weird at all.

"What happened to you?" Annie asked Aden as she trailed into the kitchen behind Geoff clearly having recovered from that morning’s illness.

Aden hesitated and glanced at Belle before replying.

"Belle" He told Annie "She's vicious when she's angry!"

"Aden!" Belle laughed "Annie that is not true!"

"Don't let her fool you too Annie, stay away from her!" Aden laughed as he exited the house and Belle was left to stare after him, mouth slightly agape.

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Chapter 5.

“I was wondering how long it would take you to show your face around here” Irene told the sheepish male as he entered her kitchen.

“Belle told me to stay away” He attempted to justify his recent absence.

“That didn’t stop Aden” Irene raised her eyebrows “I would’ve thought you’d have known that”

“What? He’s been round here already?”

“Days ago.” She confirmed.

“Look Angelo I know this is none of my business but you’re better for Belle than he ever was but if you just sit back and let him win then-“

“You’re right Irene it is none of your business!” Belle scolded her as she entered the room.

“I just though-“

“Irene, you don’t know anything about my relationship with Aden. Or the one with Angelo for that matter”

“I know what you’ve told me, I know how many times I’ve had to wipe away tears caused by tha-“

“Irene, there is so much more than I have ever told anyone so please just let me work this out for myself without interference”

“Well ok, I was only trying to help but I guess that’s my cue to leave for work” Irene gave in and picked up her bag from the counter before heading for the door. Belle felt a slight pang of guilt but at the same time knew that she didn’t need anyone judging who was better for her because it wasn’t about that at all.

“So you’ve still got a relationship with Aden?” Angelo picked up on her earlier words.

“A friendship, yes” Belle tried to convince him “You already knew that”

“Belle you know he doesn’t want a friend”

“Yeah well, I’m pretty sure he didn’t want a black eye either but he’s got one!” Belle was getting annoyed now, she was tired of having to justify herself all the time.

“About that, I’m sorry but I was angry just thinking about him in your bed and...”

“I told you he slept on the floor” she repeated her earlier lie.

“I know but I was jealous, I admit it”

“I’d worked that out funnily enough”

“I shouldn’t have hit him, I just snapped” He confessed.

“You’re a cop Angelo, he could have pressed charges!” She sighed in frustration.

“He didn’t need to”


“The beach was pretty packed that day, an eyewitness reported me. I’ve been suspended pending further investigation”

“But surely nothing will stand up without a statement from Aden?” She asked slightly distressed that he may lose his job because of her.

“Which they’re obviously going to get”

“No” Belle shook her head “He won’t. I’ll make sure of it”

“Right I forgot” He looked annoyed despite her trying to help her “because you and Aden are so close”

“Look Angelo!” She snapped “I’m only trying to help, you were the one throwing your fists around not me! And I am sick of trying to justify who I can and can’t be friends with. Aden is my friend ok? And

if you can’t accept that without making me explain myself every 5 minutes then just get out and don’t bother coming back!”

“I don’t want that but it’s hard for me Belle you have to understand that”

“Can’t you just try to understand? For me?”

“Yeah” He nodded “I can do that, I don’t want to lose you Belle”

He held out his arms and she stepped forward into his embrace, resting her head on his shoulder. After a few minutes he pulled back and looked down at her outfit questioningly.

“You’re looking very sombre today”.

Belle hesitated before deciding upon telling him the truth.

“I’m going to Larry’s funeral”

“Right. Well I guess me not making a fuss about it is the kind of understanding you’re looking for?”

She nodded.

“Then you better go” He kissed her forehead gently.

“Meet me afterwards?”

“Coffee at the diner?”

“ Sounds perfect” She placed a light kiss on his lips and glanced at her watch

“But I really better go”

* **

Belle entered the church quietly. It was smaller than she expected. Tiny even. She glanced around for somewhere inconspicuous to sit but given the diminutive size of the building there was no place to hide discreetly.

“Belle?” A female voice called out to her and she rotated her head to be greeted by Nicole who, together with Morag and Ross, was sat on the third pew back.

“Come sit with us” Nicole told her and, not wanting to appear rude, Belle followed her instruction making her way towards the front of the church and slipping into the end of the pew next to Nicole.

She smiled a brief greeting to Morag and Ross before slowly taking in the people around her. There was a small scattering of people. Mostly men around Larry’s age. It wouldn’t have surprised Belle if

they’d been his drinking buddies.

Suddenly the doors opened and an attractive male, almost an older version of Aden entered the church, bound in handcuffs and flanked by police escorts on either side. They led him to a pew towards the back of the church and he sat silently with his head bowed as though embarrassed that the small population of the church all had their eyes focused on him.

“Is that-?” Nicole began.

“Aden’s brother” Belle concluded.

“Does Aden even know he’s going to be here?” Nicole looked slightly concerned.

“I don’t know” Belle shrugged “But I guess it makes sense, Larry was his father too”.

Belle glanced around the church again and the absence of one person finally struck her.

“Where is Aden anyway?”

“Outside” Nicole explained “Him and Roman are going to be...what is it they call it when you carry the coffin again?”

“Pallbearers Nicole” Morag clarified as if she’d had to tell her more than once that day.

“Right. Pallbearers. They’re going to be pallbearers” Nicole repeated just as the organist struck his first note and loud music began to flow through the church.

The doors opened and the small congregation turned to face the back of the church as the pallbearers began to proceed down the aisle, Larry’s coffin raised onto their shoulders.

Belle felt her stomach lurch and her heart break a little as she took in the sight before her. Aden’s face was void of emotion but she knew he was just hiding his feelings from the world like he always did. She could only imagine how painful this was for him and it hurt her so much knowing there was nothing she could do to take it all away.

A sense of irony washed over her as she watched Aden carry Larry to the front of the church. In life it had been no different with father and son mostly playing reverse roles. Larry’s drinking had forced Aden to be the strong one, to carry his father through life and even in death here he was still doing it.

As the pallbearers reached the front of the church and rested the coffin on the stand set out for it Aden and Roman slipped into the front row. The other pallbearers, presumably the undertakers, disappeared to the back of the church.

Belle noticed Roman reach out and pat Aden gently on the shoulder and she was glad he had someone to support him, someone to finally play a fatherly role in his life.

As the priest began to speak Aden glanced behind him and his eyes locked with Belle’s for the briefest of seconds. She forced a weak smile, trying to convey that she was there for him without being inappropriate in the middle of a funeral. But before she could discover if he’d read her smile correctly he’d turned away from her and faced the front of the church once more.

The priest began the service but Belle wasn’t really listening. She couldn’t concentrate on the words being spoken and instead focused on Aden although mostly this meant she was staring at the back of his head. He sat silently, no tears, no obvious sign of distress but she knew he was falling apart inside and all she really wanted to do was reach out to him.

It was only when the priest announced that Larry’s son would now say a few words about him that Belle actually truly heard what he was saying.

Belle noticed Aden glance briefly in Roman’s direction. Roman nodded in a “You can do this” vote of confidence and Aden rose to his feet and stepped up to the pulpit, pulling a small scrap of white paper out of his jacket pocket as he did so. In any other circumstances Belle would have been thinking just how gorgeous Aden looked in his suit but as she watched him that day she was consumed with fear that he was about to fall apart.

“My Dad...” Aden hesitated looking out at the congregation before looking back down at the paper he clutched in his hands.

“My Dad wasn’t...” He started again but stopped once more as his gaze fell on the coffin before him as though he was seeing it for the first time. As though what had happened was only now sinking in.

Suddenly a barrage of tears escaped and began to flow silently down Aden’s face, now clearly etched with heartbreak and distress.

He wiped away a tear with one hand and tried again.

“My Dad wasn’t perfect he...” He stopped again staring down at his hands and before Belle knew what was happening she was on her feet and walking towards him.

“I can’t do this” Aden mumbled through his tears as he finally looked up again and caught site of Belle as she stopped next to him. Without a word she took the scrap of paper from him and began to read.

“My Dad wasn’t perfect” she began glancing towards a heartbroken Aden. She paused for the briefest of moments, reaching out and clutching Aden’s hand with her own free one before continuing.

“He was stubborn, selfish, cowardly and he was a liar. He was never there when I really needed him and he drank himself to death trying to forget all the things he should have been supporting me and

my brothers through”

Belle scanned down the paper quickly, not sure such a scathing character assassination was appropriate for church but continued regardless. If this was what Aden wanted to say and couldn’t then she would say it for him.

“My Dad was hopeless, spineless, a thief and a drunk. But he was still my Dad. He was my Dad and I loved him. I loved him. But I never told him. Because deep down I guess I’m as stubborn as he was. I had the chance to tell him and I didn’t take it. So I guess this is my last chance. I love you Dad, I always did even though I never said it and I think I always will”.

Belle felt a tear began to slowly trickle down her own face as she squeezed Aden’s hand tightly and watched him stare at the coffin to the side of them.

“You hurt me and you let other people hurt me when all you should have been willing to do anything to protect me. But I get it now. You were human. You were scared too and whilst that doesn’t excuse anything you did and I won’t ever forget it for as long as I live I can forgive you. I do forgive you.”

Belle paused and squeezed Aden’s hand once more as he wiped away his tears with his free hand.

“Because it wasn’t always bad, there were good times too. I remember when you taught me how to ride a bike and the first time we ever played soccer together. Before Mum died we were a family, a proper family and I’m glad I had that even if only for a little while, even if it did all slip away eventually. You let it slip away Dad and we ended up like this, distant and cold. But I miss you Dad and I hope wherever you are now you’re happy and that you can truly move on from everything that happened because I know that one day I will”.

** *

Larry’s house was emptying now with only one or two of the men from the church remaining. Aden walked over to where Belle was in conversation with Morag and Roman and without thinking she placed her hand gently on his arm.

“How are you holding up?”

“I’m ok, Dave knew Dad since they were kids so he was just filling me in on what they used to get up to”

“Oooh gossip, do tell” Nicole asked as she entered the conversation.

“Nicole!” Roman scolded “I hardly think this is the time or place”

“Ah right, yeah sorry” She looked genuinely guilty.

“It’s ok, maybe later” Aden half smiled as if to show he knew she didn’t mean any harm. “I think I’m going to walk back to our place if that’s ok with you guys? I need some air”

“Sure mate” Roman nodded.

“I could come with you, keep you company?” Nicole offered.

“Thanks Nic, but I kind of need to be alone right now”

“Sure” She nodded as Aden turned and glanced at Belle.

“I should get out of here too, I’m meant to be meeting Angelo” She excused herself and followed Aden out of the door and up the driveway towards Irene’s car. As she reached to put the key in the door

Aden stopped and looked back at her.

“So you really are going to meet Angelo?”

“Yeah, didn’t I just tell you that like 2 minutes ago?”

“Yeah I just thought...oh it doesn’t matter I’ll see you around I guess”

Belle watched as he retreated up the driveway feeling slightly guilty as she realised Aden had thought she’d excused herself so she could walk with him.

She sighed before getting into the car and heading towards The Diner.


Belle was exhausted and very glad to be home. She kicked off her heels by the door and pulled off her jacket. Coffee with Angelo had gone well, he’d been wise enough simply to ask how the funeral went and then move on to another subject, but she was glad he hadn’t wanted to accompany her home it had been a very draining day and right now she just wanted to curl up on her bed and sleep. She flung open the door to her bedroom ready to do just that.

“Aden!” She jumped at the unexpected sight of him sat on her bed, his collar open and his tie undone. “You scared me!”

“Sorry... I just” He nodded towards the open window “You said...”

“Yeah I know and I meant it.” She perched on the end of the bed concerned. “Are you ok?”

He hesitated.

“I don’t know”

“That’s understandable, it’s hardly been the best day. Look I’m sorry about before”

“Before? What are you talking about” He sat forward and took her hand gently in his.

“Belle I couldn’t have got through today without you, you were really there for me. Thank you.”

She slipped her fingers softly in between his and starred down at their entwined hands.

“In the church yes. But then I let you walk home alone”

“Like I said I needed some time alone” he shrugged it off.

“Aden I know you thought I’d just said I was meeting Angelo so I could walk home with you. And then I actually went to meet him”

“I can cope without you Belle” he let a small smile creep across his face.

“Which is why you climbed through my bedroom window and sat waiting for me is it?” She teased.

“Yeah” he laughed and she almost melted when he smiled.

“Does that still hurt?” she lifted her free hand and gently ran her fingertips over his bruised eye.

“No, not anymore” he reassured her “It just looks bad”

“You know Angelo’s been suspended”

“Yeah the police came to ask me for a statement”

“Oh God” she sighed. She didn’t want Angelo’s career ruined over a silly fight about her.

“Don’t worry” he laughed “I told them you did it and they don’t like to get involved in domestics”


“Relax!” he nudged her playfully “I just said I didn’t want the matter to go any further and declined to make a statement”

“Thank you, you didn’t have to do that. I’m grateful”

“I did it for you. But if he touches me again Belle th-“

“He won’t. I promise”

“Why Belle?”

“Because he’ll lose me if he does an-“

“No I didn’t mean that” he interrupted.

“Then what?” She asked confused.

“Why did you sleep with him? You told me that you loved me and then you slept with him anyway.”

Belle bit her lip and looked down at their hands, still locked together.

“Because of you. I slept with him because of you” She admitted finally looking up to face him.

“I told you I loved you and you walked away from me like I meant nothing to you and that hurt me more than anything before Aden. I just needed to feel like someone could love and want me and Angelo was there and I know it was wrong and believe me if I could go back it wouldn’t have happened but I can’t change that now”

She looked down again, embarrassed by her own admission.

“Belle” Aden gently cupped her chin with his free hand and lifted her face to look at him.

“I want you. I love you”

“I know” she bit her lip nervously once more as he moved slowly towards her.

“Aden! No I can’t!”

“Belle” he replied calmly.

“I’m with Angelo now” she protested.

“I know” he replied still moving forward towards her.

“And I don’t care” he told her mere seconds before his soft lips met hers and she gave in to his kiss, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.

A warm feeling flowed through her. As though she'd finally come home.

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As promised. Please don't hate me too much :ph34r: I've noticed a few fics on a similar theme to this part today, sorry about that this was always planned and just seems to have coincided with similar thoughts from other writers! I hope you like my original take on the scenario!

Chapter 6

Belle felt herself melt into Aden’s arms as their kiss became more intense and he gently parted her lips with his own. She allowed herself to respond, kissing him back with as much passion and tenderness as he was giving. Her heart throbbed, finally getting what it had desired, but its pounding wasn’t enough to drown out the voices in her head, nagging away at her and stopping her from truly enjoying the kiss.

“Aden...stop” she murmured, their lips still pressed together.

He pretended not to hear her request and carried on regardless.

“No, Aden I mean it!” she prised her lips away from his and, sliding her arms downwards, pushed forcefully against his shoulders to create some much needed distance between them.

“Belle” He grabbed her hand but she jumped off the bed and let her fingers slip through his.

“We can’t keep doing this Belle, pretending that we don’t feel anything”

“Who’s pretending?” She dismally tried to feign nonchalance.

“Belle” he stood up and moved towards her.

She instantly stepped back and smacked her back so hard onto the edge of her desk that the whole structure rattled for minutes afterwards.

“I know you want this. We both want this. You kissed me back, I didn’t imagine that. These feelings are real and I know you feel them too”

“I can’t” She whimpered uncharacteristically.

“Yes you can” He almost commanded moving forwards and with no where to move to, other than to actually climb on the desk, she raised her hand placing a palm square in the middle of Aden’s chest.

“Please Aden, just don’t. I’m with Angelo, I made my choice”

“So change it!” He snapped in frustration.

“Look just go”

“No” He looked her square in the eye.

“Aden” She sighed,

“I. Love. You.” He paused after every word as if to accentuate them.

“I am not going to walk away Belle”

“Fine then I will” She pretended his words hadn’t affected her, her face expressionless, her tone flat and dull.

“You live here” He smiled as though he’d won some big prize.

“You’re right” She smiled back before reverting to her unaffected expression and pushing him towards the window.

“Get out!”

“Belle!” He tried to move back into the room but she was actually quite strong for a girl he realised as she forced him further towards his preferred method of entry into her room.

“GET OUT!” She screamed, the venom in her voice causing him to recoil in shock.

“Ok, I’m going!” He held up his hands as though surrendering and climbed out of the window.

Belle slammed shut the window the instant he was through it, with such force that the glass almost shattered. She bolted it tightly shut and turning back into the room, slumped back against the

surprisingly cold pane of glass and burst into tears.

Sobs shook her body as reality hit her.

She tried to wipe away the tears but they replenished themselves quicker than she could wipe them away and it was though the dam had finally opened and she was never going to be able to stop now

she had started.

A gentle tap at the window made her jump slightly as she desperately tried to stop crying.


She tried to ignore him but he simply tapped on the window and repeated her name until she turned around to face him.

“Belle, let me back in” he pleaded, his face full of concern.

“No, please just go” She shook her head, still vigorously rubbing the tears from her eyes.

“No, Belle” he sighed.

“Just go Aden, I’m ok” she lied.

“Don’t lie to me” He told her gently. “You’re not ok. Just let me back in please”.

“No” she told him forcefully and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind her, leaving him staring through her locked window after her.

She grabbed some tissue from the bathroom and dabbed away the tears as her anguish subsided a little and she made her way into the living room.

Her tears finally seemed to run dry as she rubbed with the tissue and took a deep breath. Finally a little calmer, her stomach lurched as she looked up.

“Aden! I said go” She told the figure stood in the kitchen doorway, leaning against the door frame.

“I’m not leaving you like this”

“I’ll be ok”

“Belle” he moved cautiously towards her.

“Just tell me what’s wrong. You can trust me”

“I know” she replied trying to convey that she did trust him.

“It’s just..you know..everything” She shrugged.

“You don’t have to stay with Angelo just because you chose him before you know, just end it” He incorrectly identified what he thought was the problem.

“You don’t understand. I can’t break up with Angelo”

“No you’re right I don’t understand why you seem to think that, why can’t you?” He replied frustrated before Belle finally blurted out the problem.

“Because I think I’m pregnant!”

Aden’s expression instantly changed.

As though he’d been kicked in the stomach with incredible force.


“Please tell me nobody saw you” Belle told him as he walked back into the house, clutching a bulging brown paper bag.

“No nobody saw me” he reassured her placing the bag down on the counter in front of him.

“Are you sure? You really didn’t see anyone you knew at all? You got all the way there and back without seeing anyone?” she panicked.

“Well Martha was in the chemist” he admitted.

“Oh no, did she see you?” she sighed rubbing her temple dramatically.

“It’s ok” he comforted her “I just told her I think I’ve knocked up Nicole. Serves the little princess right, let people gossip about her for a change”

“Aden!” Belle shrieked.

“Relax” he laughed “She didn’t even see me”.

“This is not the time for jokes” She scolded him, reaching out and delving into the bag.

“How many of these did you buy exactly?” She questioned as she pulled out test after test examining each box carefully.

“5...I didn’t know which one was the best so I thought you could just take them all”

“And what if they’re all different?”

“I didn’t think of that” he replied sheepishly.

“May as well do them all I guess” She told him “It’s not like I’ve got anything to lose. Oh other than the rest of my life that is”

“It’ll be ok” he tried to reassure her but knew he wasn’t convincing either of them.

Belle gathered up the tests without a word and disappeared into the bathroom.

Aden sat drumming his fingers impatiently on the hard wood table until the bathroom door swung open 5 minutes later.

“Well?” he jumped up expectantly.

“I don’t know, I can’t do it”

“Belle, you have to find out for sure” he sighed.

“I know, I just can’t...you know...go” she explained.

“Oh!” her meaning dawned on him suddenly.

He strode into the kitchen and pulled a class from a high cupboard before filling it with water from the cold tap and handing it to her.

“Here, this should help”.

Their fingers brushed gently as she took the glass from him. She couldn’t deny the spark of electricity that ran through her at his touch.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked, looking up at him before she began to down the luke warm water.

“Because this is killing as me almost as much as you” he admitted as she tipped back the glass and gulped down the last of it.

“Thank you” she touched his arm gently but quickly looked away unable to deal with the tension as well as everything else in that moment.

“Well I guess I’ll try again” she announced marching back into the bathroom. When she hadn’t reappeared a little while later Aden knocked gently on the bathroom door.

“Belle?” he called out “Is everything ok in there?”

The door creaked open to reveal the scared brunette crouched on the floor surrounded by five empty boxes, a small white stick perched on top of each. She hugged her knees close to her chest as she

leant back against the bath.

He sat down beside her, almost mimicking her pose apart from his legs being stretched out before him.

“90 seconds left” she told him still staring at the tests before explaining “It still took me a while”

“Longest 90 seconds of your life huh?”

“Yeah” she nodded as he reached across and took her hand in his. She didn’t object and instead let him pull her hand onto his raised knee and hold it there in his own.

She rested her head gently on his shoulder and lightly he placed a delicate kiss on her temple.

“Belle, I thought you would have at least been careful”

“I was!” she jumped to her own defence.

“But I guess accidents happen”

“Yeah sorry, I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, it’s just...I wasn’t expecting all this today on top of everything else”

She raised her head to look at him.

“I’m sorry you’ve had an awful day and here I am unloading all my problems on to you”

“Belle, your problems are my problems. ”

“Thank you” she gave him a weak smile before checking her watch.

“How long now?”

“45 seconds” she sighed “Please do something to distract me!”

Before she even realised what she’d said Aden’s lips touched hers as he pulled her into a kiss.

“Aden! What do you think you’re doing?!” She exclaimed pushing him away.

“Distracting you” he laughed.

She punched him in the arm.


“I didn’t mean like that!”

“Sorry” he told her only sounding half genuine as he rubbed his arm and pouted a little.

“I guess Supercop would have known what to do”

“Aden, don’t!” She sighed frustratedly.

“I can’t help it, he annoys me”

He paused for a second.

“It is Angelo’s isn’t it?”

Instantly he knew he’d said the wrong thing as he saw something snap within Belle.

“Actually I’m not sure” She replied jumping up and yanking her hand from him.

“I mean I guess it could be Angelo’s or it could have been that night with Mr Stewart ...or that week with Bartlett... oh and then there was Geoff” she fumed.

“Belle I didn-“

“Why is it Aden that you seem determined that I’m some sort of skank?! Of course it’s Angelo’s!”

“Belle I di-“

“Get out!”

“Belle not again!” he pleaded.

“Go. Aden. I won’t tell you again”



Without a word he did as she said, turning his back on her and leaving as she slumped in frustration back to the floor just as the last remaining second ticked away.


“No matter how many times you look at it it’s still going to be positive” Belle told Angelo as he held the one pregnancy test she’d kept aloft in front of him for at least the tenth time that morning.

She’d only kept it out of fear that if she threw all 5 out she still wouldn’t believe they’d all displayed a bright pink line after the two minutes had been up. Now she wished it was on its way to the nearest dump with the other four.

“I know” Angelo beamed as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. “I’m just so happy”.

He kissed her lightly on the lips before placing a hand protectively on her stomach.

“I swear you can tell already”

“Don’t be ridiculous” she looked down at her stomach which was still as flat as it had always been.

“I must only be about 10 minutes pregnant.”

“Well I can tell” he insisted.

“Are you calling me fat?”

“Oh god mood swings already!” he joked as she playfully hit him.

“Seriously, you are happy about this aren’t you?” he asked hesitantly.

“Yeah of course I am, it’s just a surprise that’s all I need to get used to it a bit more” she wasn't sure which one of them she was trying to convince more. Angelo or herself.

“I want to shout it from the rooftops, I’m so happy” he grinned.

“Please don’t. I need to get used to it myself first and besides aren’t you meant to wait a few months until everything’s ok?”

“But we can tell family right?” Angelo looked disappointed.

“Well I guess I’ll tell Irene and you could tell your parents but I’d rather no one else knew for now...please?”

“Ok” he agreed “But it is going to kill me keeping my mouth shut!


“Baby names?” Irene glanced at the book perched on Belle’s bedside table above Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Pregnancy.

“Isn’t that a bit premature?”

“Angelo’s excited” Belle explained “REALLY excited”

“So I see” Irene chuckled “So is there a short list?”

“Well he’s determined it’s going to be a boy and at first he wanted to call him Toby but I vetoed that because I am not giving my baby a dog’s name! So now he’s decided he wants to name the baby

after someone important. And current favourite on his list is Angelo”

“Oh my word” Irene rolled her eyes.

“So what do you want to call him...Aden?”


“Darl I’m only saying what we’re both thinking”

“Aden and I are just friends”

“Roman told me what you did at Larry’s funeral”

“And? I was just doing what any friend would do Irene”

“This is Angelo’s baby isn’t it?”

“Oh my god!” Belle exclaimed “Why does everyone have me down as such a skank?”

“Calm down, it’s just you and Aden have been very close recently, I thought maybe something was going on”

“Aden and I haven’t...you know...for a long time, We’re friends, that’s what’s going on”

“Right if you say so. But just don’t waste your life with someone you don’t love Belle, it’s not worth it. Even if you are having his baby...because you know you don’t have to be”

“It’s a bit late for that isn’t it?” Belle scoffed.

“You have other options” Irene hesitated “I mean it’s still early enough for an abortion isn’t it?”

“I can’t even believe you would suggest that Irene”

“I’m not saying you should, I’m just saying you could”

“No I couldn’t. I could never. What if Amanda had thought that when she was having me? I wouldn’t exist Irene. I can’t have an abortion!”

“There’s adoption”

“Because that worked out so well for me didn’t it? And anyway Angelo would never let that happen. No Irene I let him in my bed and now we both have to lie in it”


The surf club was heaving with people in an array of costumes as the Halloween Ball got under way. Belle adjusted the devils horns which kept slipping down her head as she followed Angelo dressed as

Frankenstein, to the bar.

“You have to try my Halloween punch!” A witch resembling Leah shouted over the music as they finally reached the bar.

“No, thanks, it’s ok I think I’ll just stick to orange juice. I’m feeling a bit off tonight” Belle made an excuse to avoid the alcoholic beverage.

“Go on! It’ll make you feel better” a ghost Belle thought was Tony joined in the conversation.

“Really I can’t” Belle shouted back over the music just as Angelo butted in and the music came to an abrupt end.

“She can’t really, she’s pregnant!”.

The whole place went quite as Belle cringed in embarrassment. She’d been with Angelo all of 5 minutes she knew what everyone was thinking.

“Oh my gosh! Congratulations!” Leah exclaimed throwing her arms around Belle. Belle gave her a weak hug back and looked over Leah’s shoulder to find a heartbroken Grim Reaper, bearing a striking

resemblance to Aden, looking back at her.

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So it's taken me 7 chapters to really take this fic in my chosen direction but here is where it all really starts. Thank you for sticking with me!

Chapter 7.

“So orange juice wasn’t it?” Tony asked Belle after numerous people had offered their congratulations and she had feigned excitement until her face ached from forcing a wide smile.

“Erm..” she paused momentarily distracted by a tall figure slipping discreetly out of the door.

“Actually, I really do feel a bit off. I might just go outside and get some air”

“Are you ok? Do you want me to come with you? Do you want to go home?”

Belle knew Angelo meant well but she could not have felt anymore suffocated in that moment even if his hands had been clasped tightly around her neck.

“No, honestly I’m just a bit tired. I’ll be fine after some air, you stay here and enjoy the moment seen as you let the cat out of the bag”

“Yeah sorry about that, I’m just so happy” he tried to excuse himself.

“It’s fine” she lied through clenched teeth and false smile.

“People were always going to find out eventually. You enjoy yourself, I’ll be back in a minute”

Hastily she weaved her way through the crowds of costume clad people and slipped outside. Looking around anxiously she spotted him stood against the wooden fence, looking out onto the beach. The

hood of his cape was down, his plastic scythe abandoned on the sand beside him.

She hesitated briefly, looking around to check no one was watching. A gaggle of teenagers all in costume hustled past her. The only problem with Halloween was that it could have been Nicole or Geoff

or Annie for all she knew and here she was staring longingly at the one person she wasn’t meant to.

Once the group had disappeared into the Surf Club she walked slowly to where he was standing and stopped just behind him so their bodies were literally centimetres apart. She gently put her hands on his upper arms and placed a tentative kiss delicately on his shoulder.

He shrugged his shoulders as if it was an automatic reflex, pushing her backwards and away from him.

“You should have told me Belle” he stated solemnly without turning to look at her.

“I know. I just... it wasn’t easy to take in myself you know?”

“You told Angelo though”

“It’s his baby Aden!” she exclaimed before adding with a subtle hint of sarcasm “Although of course you have your doubts about that don’t you?”

He finally turned around to face her, rubbing his temple as if it would solve all his problems.

“I should never have said that. I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry”

“I’m sorry too. You were so understanding about everything and you even went out and bought the tests and then stayed with me...and I just blew up in your face”

“It’s ok” he shrugged

“You’re actually kind of hot when you’re angry” He grinned suggestively.

“Aden, don’t” she sighed.

“Yeah, yeah I know. Just friends right?”

“Actually I don’t think so”

“What do you mean Belle?” His tone suddenly filled with hope.

“I can’t be friends with you anymore Aden” She struggled to look him in the eye as she spoke the words she’d been building up the courage to say for days.

“Then what?” his hope suddenly diminished.

“Then...then nothing I guess. I can’t be your friend Aden” She finally looked him in the eye. Her heart pounding as she saw his break right in front her for the second time that evening.

"All we seem to do is bring each other drama and hurt and I can’t deal with that anymore. I’m pregnant, I need to concentrate on my baby and that means doing everything within my power to make my relationship with Angelo work”

“Sure, you need to make it work” he feigned nonchalance.

“I have to do this Aden. All my friendship with you has done is put a great big obstacle between me and Angelo and we don’t need that, we have a child to focus. He or she has to be the most important thing now”

“I get it, don’t worry about it. I guess I was just collateral damage”

“Aden” she buried her face in her hands as he began to walk away.

As he went to walk past she instinctively reached out her arm and grabbed his wrist. Although she wasn’t physically strong enough to actually prevent him from passing her he stopped and they both looked down at the point of contact between them. She took her hand from his wrist and hesitantly wrapped both arms around his neck, burying her head in his shoulder and memorising his scent.

He didn’t respond and, for the briefest of moments, allowed her to cling on to him before reaching behind him and taking both her hands in his. In one swift movement he removed her arms from around his neck and dropped them sharply to her sides.

“You can’t have it both ways Belle” he snapped before storming off down the beach, leaving her to watch as he became nothing more than a shrinking figure in the distance.


“Belle, hey are you ok?” Roman greeted her as he entered the kitchen.

Belle was stood by the counter perfectly still with a hand clasped tightly over her mouth. She didn’t respond for a few moments but eventually dropped her hand and turned to look at him.

“It’s just the smell” she gestured towards the stove. “Everything is making me nauseous these days. It’s not exactly the best job to have when you’re pregnant”

“Look I can handle things here until Irene arrives if you want to leave” Roman offered and Belle smiled gratefully at him. It had been almost 6 weeks since Angelo had blurted out their news at the

Halloween party and although she had expected everyone to judge her they had in reality been understanding and supportive.

It made Belle uncomfortable to think she may be leaving the Bay come the new year. She had almost forgotten about her interview with the agency until a week earlier when they had called apologising for the delay and advising she was in the final shortlist.

They would be letting her know within the next few weeks whether she’d got the position.

Angelo had been really supportive when she confided in him and had immediately started looking into a transfer to the city. He had raved about how they could live near his family and send “Angelo Junior” to a top school.

Belle wanted to be excited but the thought of moving away and dealing with a new born baby without Irene or any of her other friends there to support her scared her more than she dared to admit.

“Thanks Roman” she told him untying her apron and placing it on the counter.

“Don’t thank me yet” He replied sheepishly “I was kind of hoping you’d do me a favour instead”

“As long as it doesn’t involve lecturing Nicole about the downsides of pregnancy I’m at your service.” She laughed.

“And anyway she’s dating Geoff I really don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about there!”

“No it’s not Nicole. It’s Aden”

“Then I can’t help, sorry” she instantly replied as she pulled on her jacket.


“No! Roman, I mean it. Aden and I, we’re not friends anymore. We’re not anything” she sighed.

“I know and I think that might be part of the problem”

“What problem?” She was intrigued even if she was trying to pretend that she didn’t care.

“He’s a mess. He’s drinking. And I don’t just mean the odd beer occasionally; every time I see him he’s drunk. Although that isn’t often because he hasn’t been home for weeks now, he’s hiding out at

Larry’s and he won’t talk to anyone. I’ve tried, Morag’s tried, god even Nicole’s tried an-“

“And now you want me to try?” she interrupted.

“I’m getting desperate Belle. I know you’ve moved on and you’ve got your own issues but when you cut yourself off from Aden it wasn’t exactly a good time for him. He was grieving, he had the HSC

coming up, which I have no idea how he handled because he won’t talk to me, he-”

“I can’t babysit Aden all my life Roman, I’ve going to have an actual baby to look after soon”

“I’m just asking you to talk to him Belle. I know you had your reasons but you walked away when he needed you most and I think you might be the only person he’ll accept any help from”

“I just can’t Roman, I’m sorry” she told him, her tone inflicted with genuine sorrow, before quickly grabbing her bag and leaving The Diner.


“Aden! I know you’re in there!” She bellowed as she pounded on the front door for the third time.

“Look just let me in! As soon as I see you’re ok I’ll go, just let me in...please!”

She stood staring at the front door, waiting for some sort of response.

Any response.

“Do not make me find a window to climb through!”

Still no response.

She sighed. She’d been determined not to come here but for the past 2 hours it had been all she could think about and somehow she’d ended up on Larry’s doorstep.

“Because I will you know and it’s not exactly the smartest thing to do when you’re almost 3 months pregnant!”

Finally the door swung open before her.

“What do you want Belle?” He snapped.

His face was tired and drawn, his appearance slightly scruffy. Stubble camouflaged his cheeks and his hair was stuck up.

“Oh god Aden...” she sighed taking in the sight of him.

“I’m ok see? So now you can leave like you said” he told her closing the door.

“Wait!” she wedged herself in the door, preventing him from fully closing it.

Clearly not wanting to hurt her, he swung it open again.

“You’re not ok” she told him.

“What do you care Belle? We’re nothing remember?” He spat, his face so close to hers she could feel his warm breath on her cheeks.

“You’ve been drinking” she accused as the scent of alcohol wafted in her face and she spluttered.

“And?” he looked at her spitefully.

“And I hear you’ve been doing a lot of that lately” she replied, barging past him and into the house.

“And what’s it to you, Belle? You’ve got other things to focus on remember?”

She didn’t reply but instead picked up the half full bottle of whisky on the kitchen counter and began to pour it down the sink.

“Just who exactly do you think you are?!” He snapped.

“Barging in here as if you actually give a damn when you haven’t so much as looked at me once in the past six weeks?!”

He reached out his arm to grab the bottle from her as she continued to pour it away but in that moment something snapped within her and she knocked his arm forcefully away.

“I’m the last resort!” She screamed back.

“Roman, Morag, Nicole they all care about you and they have all tried to help you. But no you’re so stubborn that you have to push them away don’t you? When all they want to do is help you

through...whatever this is” She raised her arms gesturing at his current state.

“So here I am. The last person on the list”

“We’re not friends anymore Belle, you crossed yourself off that list weeks ago” he told her somewhat calmer as the last gush of whisky exited the bottle and she crossed the kitchen to deposit it in the


“Maybe I couldn’t find a pen” She replied as she lifted the lid to the bin.

“Aden...” she sighed as she realised the bin was already full of empty bottles. She added the one in her hand to the pile.

“What are you doing?” She looked up at him as she let the lid to the bin snap shut.

“What do you care?”

“You can’t go on like this, you need help...you need to talk someone” she almost pleaded with him.

“I need you to leave, that is what I need Belle”

“I’m trying to hel-“

“You’re not helping you’re interfering. As if I’m going to let you in again just so you can toddle off back to Angelo when the going gets tough!”

“It wasn’t like that, you know it wasn’t”

“Just go Belle”

“No” She shook her head defiantly.

“Go!” he repeated “You can go and not feel guilty. You can go back to Roman now and tell him you tried at least. Because that is why you’re here isn’t it? Because Roman asked you to come? To try and

talk some sense into his hopeless pity case?”

“He cares about you” She defended Roman.

“So he did ask you to come” Aden laughed.

“Get out Belle”

“Aden, you have to l-“

“I don’t have to do anything. You and me we’re nothing to each other remember? So whatever I do you don’t care. That’s how this works. Go back to Angelo, play the good little girlfriend” he mocked.

“Fine!” she marched towards the door, a scrap of paper fluttering out of her bag and onto the cold linoleum floor as she did so.

She turned back for the briefest of seconds as she reached the front door.

“But for the record you’re not a pity case. And people do care. But if you don’t sort yourself out you will be and they won’t give a damn anymore”.


The satisfying click of a camera shutter was normally Belle’s favourite sound on earth but as she took landscape shots of the beach that afternoon she found it irritating and unnecessary. Her favourite past time, which could normally take her aware from the stresses of real life only served to remind her of them that day.

She sighed as she changed the focus and began to snap away again.

“Belle?” A voice behind her broke her concentration.

She turned to look up at him, her face empty of emotion, her camera poised in mid air as though she was only willing to give him the tiniest amount of her time.

“I’m done Aden” She told him wistfully.

“I’ve tried but this is never going to work no matter what we do. So please just leave me alone because I’m done. I’m well and truly done”

“You dropped this earlier” He waved a leaflet in front of her and horrified she quickly snatched it from him and shoved it in her camera bag out of view.


“Look it’s none of your business Aden” she pretended to be preoccupied with her camera.

“ Maybe not but Belle...abortion?” he asked tentatively.

“It’s just a leaflet” she insisted.

“It’s not you”

“It’s a piece of paper Aden, it’s not like I’ve actually booked myself in!”

“I know you Belle, you’re not the type of person who looks into abortion clinics... unless they’re planning on protesting outside them that is. You wouldn’t even be looking at this if you weren’t scared half to death”

He sat down beside her on the sand.

“Of course I’m scared! I’m 19 years old, I have no idea where my life is going and I’m 3 months pregnant. I had to consider everything. That wasn’t the only leaflet I had, there was adoption too. But I’ve made my decision, I’m having this baby”

“You don’t have to do this Belle”

“Yes I do” she insisted.

“Look,” he turned towards her and brushed a stray tendril of hair from her forehead.

“Whatever you want to do, I’ll help you”

“I don’t need your help. I’ve got Angelo” she snapped.

“Right” he looked away, clearly hurt,

“And besides you need to sort your own problems out Aden. Look at you!”


“You’re a mess, you look like you haven’t shaved since puberty hit and you reek of alcohol! Didn’t Larry teach you anything?!”

“He was always too drunk”

“Exactly!” she exclaimed.

“Larry drank himself to death and if you’re not careful you’re going to go the same way! You should know that the answer to your problems is not at the bottom of a bottle. If anything that just makes

everything worse!”

“I know” he admitted rubbing his temple with both hands in frustration.

“I need help Belle” he reached out for her hand.

“I need your help”

She quickly snatched her hand away.

“No Aden, you need professional help” she insisted.

“How exactly is that meant to help? Talking to a bunch of strangers who are only pretending to care because they’re getting paid?”

She didn’t respond.

He had a point.

“I need you Belle” he pleaded.

“I need you to care”.

He looked at her, his baby blue eyes full of hope.

Quickly she put her camera back in its bag.

“I’m sorry but I’m done”


She put her hastily packed bag in the car before quickly scribbling a note for Irene. Angelo had not been impressed at all by her sudden decision to go and visit Amanda in the City but she had promised to be back for her first scan and for Christmas and he’d eventually relented.

She hated lying but she knew she had to do this.

The car journey went by in a blur of nerves and before she’d stopped to really consider what she was doing she was knocking at the door. Waiting for the contempt that would no doubt greet her when it was finally answered.

Tired of waiting, after a few minutes she tried the door handle and, finding it open, let herself in.

Closing the door she noticed the key in the lock and smiled to herself.

This was going to be easier than she had anticipated.

She locked the door as she heard footsteps behind her.

“Belle? What are you doing here?” Aden questioned.

She turned around to face him and held the key aloft for him to see.

“Well,” she hesitated realising just how ridiculous the sentence was going to sound.

“I’m taking you hostage”

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Sorry for the wait! Thank you for being so patient :)

Chapter 8

Warning: This chapter deals with the issue of child abuse.

“You’re what?!” Aden half laughed at her,

“Taking you hostage” she repeated trying her hardest to keep a straight face but unable to prevent a small laugh escaping as she did so.

“Right” he laughed again. “Little Belle Taylor taking me hostage?”

“Don’t laugh at me!” she retorted slightly annoyed “I’m serious!”

“Come on Belle,” he chuckled “even you must realise how ridiculous that sentence sounded?”

“Maybe so” she confessed “but you asked for my help and here it is”

“You’re helping me by taking me hostage?” he laughed again, infuriating her.

“Stop laughing at me!” She cried again.

“It’s not that ridiculous”

“Belle, do you really think you could successfully hold me hostage? That I couldn’t just overpower you or break a window or kick the door down if I wanted to?”

“I’m not that weak!” she tried to object.

“No, no of course not. I’m just really strong” he laughed flexing his arms to show off his muscles as he did so.

“Stop it!” she laughed with him and he lowered his arms.

“Ok so maybe it doesn’t sound like the most realistic plan in the world but you asked for my help. And if we stay out there in the real world and I try to help you then it will never work. Because every

time I say or do something you don’t like or you see me with Angelo then you’ll just take off and get drunk again. So if we’re doing this, we’re doing it my way”

She paused and looked at the shiny, silver key which lay in the palm of her hand.

“And that means me holding you hostage and you not breaking windows or kicking down doors”.

She went to put the key in the pocket of her jeans but quickly changed her mind and tucked it inside the soft fabric of her bra instead. She smiled at him satisfied the key was now out of his reach.

He smiled back at her mischievously.

“You left out overpowering you” he smirked as he moved towards her, until he had invaded her personal space to such an extent that his broad frame was almost leaning against hers

“Aden!” she protested stepping backwards.

He moved forward in sync with her movement so the space between them didn’t increase. Even for a second.

“You really think I won’t go there?” he grinned his baby blue eyes resting cheekily on the point where her t-shirt ended and the small amount of cleavage it created began.

“Don’t you even dare!” she squealed but giggled as she did so. She moved backwards again and her back slammed into the front door. He moved towards her, knowing that this time she had nowhere to


“Not if you’re ever planning on having children” she tried to threaten but couldn’t help laughing.

“Fighting talk...I like it” he grinned gently raising his hand and running his fingertips over her shoulder and down her bare arm. His eyes were still concentrated on exactly the same part of her body as


“But as if that’s going to stop me. After all it’s no where I haven’t been before is it?”

“Aden! Seriously, stop it!” she laughed ducking under his raised arm and retreating further into the house.

“You wouldn’t lay a finger on me I know that” she stood behind the kitchen counter for protection, her cheeks flushed with a tinge of red.

“Do you?” he raised his eyebrows suggestively.

“Aden, I’m pregnant!” she exclaimed and instantly his cheeky demeanour disappeared.

“As if I needed reminding” he replied, the playful atmosphere evaporating as tension filled the space between them.

“Try vomiting 3 times a day as a reminder and then you might have a reason to complain”

“Too much information Belle” he looked queasy.

“You should try living it” she laughed trying to ease the atmosphere.

“So are we doing this or should I just retrieve the key and leave?”

“Or I could retrieve the key and you could stay?” he lightened the mood again.


“Ok! Sorry. I..I guess...I guess we’re doing this. I need your help Belle, I really need your help” he confessed rubbing his temple anxiously.

“Then you’ve got it” she assured him.

“I thought you were done?” he reminded her of her earlier words to him on the beach, clearly apprehensive that she wasn’t completely in this.

She looked him directly in the eye and smiled weakly.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be done”


“And you’re sure that’s the last of it?” She questioned as the last remnants of alcohol gushed from the bottle she grasped and trickled away down the plug hole.

“I’m sure”

“Positive?” she looked at him doubtfully.

“Yes! Belle! For goodness sake! I haven’t turned into my Dad yet you know!”

“I just want to be sure we’re both starting on the same page. And that means no alcohol at all left in this house”

“That was all there was I promise” he gestured towards the four, now empty, bottles lined up next to the sink.

“If I wanted more I could just go out and buy it. It wasn’t like I had to hide it from anyone” he explained.

“Ok” she accepted his explanation before commanding “And now it’s time for you to get a shower. When was the last time you and water were acquainted exactly? Over the font at your baptism?”

“Ouch!” he held a hand up to his chest in mock pain as through she’d just hit him with a bullet.

“It can’t be that bad, seriously it hasn’t been that long!”

“Aden you’re a mess, just get in the shower!” she ordered bluntly picking up the bag she had left by the door and heading towards the bedrooms.

“I’ll just put my stuff in your old room. You’re sleeping in Larry’s room right?” she questioned as she made her way down the hallway.

“No Belle!” he rushed after her.

“You can’t sleep in there!” he exclaimed putting his hand across the doorway, creating a barrier which prevented her from entering the tiny, single bedroom.

“You can have the double bed in my Dad’s old room. I’ll take the couch” he offered.

“Aden, don’t be ridiculous. I’ll be fine in here, There is no need for either of us to sleep on the couch!”

She looked down at his arm still spread across the doorway in front of her. He hesitated but didn’t remove it.

“Aden, I can’t get in until you move your arm”

“You can’t sleep in there” he repeated calmly.

“Aden I’ve told you I don’t mind, I can cope with a single bed for a few weeks”

“It’s not about the bed!” he exclaimed “Well I guess it is”

“Aden, what is it?”

“This is where it happened” he replied solemnly finally dropping his hand but Belle didn’t move.

“In this room, on that bed...” he continued, staring into the empty room as though he was a child again.

“Oh god Aden, I didn’t think” she put her hands to her face in horror at her lack of consideration.

He didn’t respond but silently ran his hand down the edge of the door, stopping abruptly as his fingertips reached a jagged hole in the woodwork.

“He put a lock on this door not long after it started, I literally ripped it off with my bare hands when he died, like it would somehow make me free. It didn’t”.

She reached out her hand and placed it gently over his so they were both covering the gap in the door.

“As if a lock made any difference anyway, no one cared. This door could have been wide open and no one would have stopped him”

She rested her chin against his shoulder and raised her hand, rubbing her fingers in comforting circles on his back.

They stood there in silence for a few moments before he walked away and into the room itself.

“He told me I was special, like what he was doing was some sort of reward for being his favourite” He half laughed as he told her.

“He made me promise never to tell anyone because they’d be jealous of our “special” time. He made me believe it was special Belle, I even felt guilty for not enjoying it, for not being grateful that he’d

chosen me!”

He wiped away a tear running down his cheek.

“I was so stupid Belle”.

“Aden, you were just a kid” She followed him into the room and took his hands in her own.

"You will never be stupid do you hear me? What he did to you was unforgiveable and I don’t just mean the physical side. Everything he said to you about it, everything he made you feel, every barrier

he put up between you and people you should have been able to confide in it was all wrong. And it was all him”

“I used to lie in bed at night listening for his key in the door” he told her as he threaded their fingers together and rested his temple against hers.

“ It was always after he stumbled home from the pub hours after we’d all gone to bed. It was always so quiet, so still. Like that’s all there was in the world. Him and me and what happened in this room.”

“That’s why yo-“

“Can’t stand silence” he finished her sentence for her, nodding in agreement.

"I’ll shout and scream rather than have to listen to the thoughts in my own head, to my heart pounding so hard inside of me, like I’m going to explode”

She raised their right hands to her red lips and gently grazed his knuckles against them.

“I prayed every night that he wouldn’t come home, that he’d just disappear” he continued.

"And when he died you know what I felt? Not relief that it was finally over, I felt guilty! I thought it was my fault he was dead because I’d prayed for it every night.”

“It wasn’t your fault” she reassured him.

“I know that now, but back then...”

“How did he die?” curiosity got the better of her.

“He wrapped his truck around a tree on the way back from the pub one night.” He explained, then hesitated as though he was recalling the events in his head.

"I’d prayed that night like I did every other and I really thought someone up there, god or whatever exists beyond, us if anything or anyone at all, had answered me. And then there was a knock at the door and I thought he had just forgotten his key. I was already crying when Dad let the cops in. They thought I was crying []for him but I was crying in fear of him”.

Belle removed her hands from his and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him towards her and embracing him so tightly she thought she might break him.

He placed his arms tightly around her waist and rested his cheek against hers as she placed her hand on the back of his head.

“They made me go and view his body and all I could feel when I looked at him there, cold and lifeless, was relief. He would never do that to me again, I didn’t have to pretend anymore. But I was wrong because I spent the rest of my life pretending until-“

He stopped abruptly. She tilted her head back slightly to look at him.

“Until what?”

“Until you” he admitted.

She placed a delicate kiss on his cheek and gently moved her fingertips through his hair as he rested his head on her shoulder.


“Ok I think I got enough to feed the whole street for a year” Belle laughed as she entered the house and locked the door behind her. Aden came to meet her at the door and took the groceries into the kitchen.

After scanning the fridge earlier she had realised that food had not been top of Aden’s priorities of late and supplies would be needed if they weren’t going to starve.

“Well you are eating for two now” Aden replied as he began to unpack the groceries and Belle slipped the key back between her soft skin and the lacy material of her bra.

Belle was pleased to note that Aden had followed her instructions and was now freshly showered and in clean clothes.

“Really? Well please feel free to tell Angelo that next time you see him because based on the portion sizes he’s been giving me lately you would think I was gestating an entire soccer team!”

Aden laughed as he placed the perishable items in the fridge and Belle caught sight of a book half open on the counter.

“Have you been reading this?” She laughed as she picked up the copy of “Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Pregnancy” that had been resting on top of her bag in Larry’s room when she had left.

“What, no of course no- oh ok! Maybe a little bit. I was just...curious”

“Right” she laughed pushing the open book against his chest.

“Not feeling broody are you?” she teased.

“Definitely not after the graphic descriptions of childbirth in here!” he replied in genuine horror “I could not watch that, even if the kid was mine!”

“Oh please, do not enlighten me!” She almost begged.

“I haven’t dared venture that far yet. It’s true what they say denial is definitely not just a river in Egypt!”

He laughed as he glanced at the page the book had fallen open at when Belle had let go and he’d quickly had to grab it to prevent it from falling to the floor.

“So how far along are you?”

Belle laughed at his sudden interest as she placed a fresh loaf of bread in the bread bin.

“Almost 12 weeks”

Her looked at her suspiciously and tilted his head to the side as through considering her from a different angle.

“Shouldn’t you be showing by now?”

Belle chuckled loudly.

“When did you become an expert exactly?”

“Well it just says here th-“

“I know what it says” Belle interrupted.

“That’s one chapter I have read and I did wonder about that too but I spoke to Rachel and she said all women are different and some women don’t show until later on. I’ve got my first scan in a few weeks, they’ll check the baby’s growth then but Rachel said I really don’t have anything to worry about”

“Easy for her to say. Have you seen Rachel lately? She’s huge!”

“Aden! She’s not huge, she’s pregnant. With twins for that matter! And she’s further along than I am anyway, they just announced it later because Tony can keep a secret unlike Angelo”

“What’s happening with him anyway?”

“What?” she asked confused.

“Well I’m pretty sure you didn’t march up to him and say you were off to hold me hostage and you’d be back in a few weeks. Or did you?”

“Of course I didn’t. He thinks I’m visiting Amanda in the City”.

“So, lying to him again huh?”

“Don’t you dare judge me Aden Jeffries! I’m doing this to help you remember?”

“I know that but he’s not going to be happy when he finds out!”

“He’s not going to find out!” she almost ordered.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes because I’m not going to tell anyone and if you know what’s good for you then you won’t either!”

“Right” Aden nodded.

“So when I break out of here, I should ask for a different officer when I go to the cop shop to report you for kidnap?”

“You’re so not funny” she pulled a face at him as he walked into the living room before shouting after him.

“And you forgot to shave!”

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Chapter 9

Belle thumped the side of the TV with all her might one last time before pressing the power button on the remote control once again.

She sighed in frustration before admitting defeat.

“Ok, you were right. It’s definitely broken”

“Told you so, it’s been like that for weeks” he laughed at her from the couch.

“So bored” she sighed again. They had only been locked in the house a few hours and she was already beginning to wonder if she could do this.

“What exactly have you been doing to entertain yourself for the past few weeks?”

“Do you really need to ask that question?” he raised an eyebrow in her direction.


The penny finally dropped as they both laughed before speaking in unison.


“Ok, so we need to make our own entertainment or I’m literally going to go crazy in here. And then you’ll be the one having to stop me drinking!”

“What’s wrong with good old conversation?” Aden teased.

“It involves talking to you” she stuck her tongue out at him playfully.

“What happened to “If there’s a problem we talk about, if you want a drink we talk about, that’s how this works?” he repeated her earlier words to him.

“Well I forgot it would involve actual conversation...with you” she laughed as a sudden flash of inspiration hit her and she delved into the wooden cabinet the TV was perched on.

“Board games!” She exclaimed as she pulled out a pile of rectangular boxes.

“You have got to be kidding me!” Aden groaned.

“Come on, it’ll be fun. Well more fun than twiddling our thumbs anyway!”

“Belle, they’re called board games for a reason!”

She pouted slightly in an attempt to convince him but his expression remained unchanged.

“Ok, so what if we make it interesting?” she grinned cheekily at him.

“And how exactly do you intend on doing that?”

“Well, how about we raise the stakes a little? If I win I get whatever I want and if you win you get...”

“Whatever I want?” he grinned back at her.

“Exactly” she nodded smiling mischievously.

She had spent most of her childhood playing board games. It had been the only activity her adoptive parents had deemed appropriate after any school work had been finished and even then the game had to be educational and morally acceptable. As a result however, she was a whizz at board games and there was no way Aden was going to beat her.

Anything I want?” he raised an eyebrow in her direction suggestively.

“Well, maybe not anything” she backtracked realising just what it was he probably had in mind.

“You can’t change the rules now Belle”

“Ok! Ok! Anything you want” she agreed knowing he would never win anyway.

“Great, I’m dying for a scotch”

“Aden!” she exclaimed realising she had totally misinterpreted him and blushing slightly at the impure idea that had actually formed in her mind.

“I’m joking!” he laughed.

“The look on your face!”

She pulled a face at him before looking down at the board games laid out on the floor before her.

“So which one shall we play?”

“You choose, that way you can’t accuse me of cheating when I kick your ass”

“Ha, dream on!” she exclaimed before plucking a game from the selected assortment.

“Ok, Game of Life is definitely out because I’m really not in the mood for a game where you have to fill your car with babies right now”

Aden chuckled as she shoved the offending game back into the cabinet.

“Scrabble?” she pondered before sending it the same way as Game of Life.

“Maybe not, I know the filthy words you’d try and get away with”

“And where did you get that idea?” he laughed.

“I know you Aden Jeffries!” she laughed with him before finally picking a game to play.

“Monopoly! Definitely Monopoly!” she exclaimed.

“Only if I can be the banker”

“No way, I’m being the banker!”

“I don’t think so!”

“Well I do, after all I’m not the untrustworthy drinker around here am I?” she smiled cheekily, grabbing hold of his hand and pulling him off the couch.

“I can’t believe you just said that!” he only half laughed as he sat down at the dining room table and she began to set out the game.

“I know you’ve got thicker skin than that!” She told him as they both reached out for the silver counter they wished to play with.

“No way, I am always the top hat!” Belle exclaimed.

“Nu-uh” he shook his head, refusing to let go of the piece they were both trying to claim.

“Not this time Taylor, I’m always the top hat!”

“I’ll sulk” she threatened.

“Nice try, but still no” he laughed.

“Aden!” she pouted and had to stop herself from actually stomping her feet.

He laughed at her obvious distress.

“You’re the boy, you’re meant to let me get me own way!” she protested.

“And I’m pregnant!”

“I can’t believe you’re playing the pregnant card Belle Taylor, I thought better of you.”

“Please?” she pouted, sighing dramatically.

“Ok” he finally gave in always having known that he would eventually do so.

“But only because it’s you”


“I can’t believe you won!” Aden exclaimed as Belle reached over the board and relished in taking the last of his play money.

“Believe it!” She laughed kissing the paper notes and throwing them upwards so they scattered all over the Monopoly board.

“I knew I shouldn’t have let you be the top hat”

“Excuses, excuses! Accept it, I kicked your ass and now I get whatever I want”

“What if you want what I want?” he asked suggestively.

“Then I guess we’d both be happy” she grinned.

“So what do you want?”

“Follow me and I’ll show you”

She grabbed hold of his hand and pulled him towards the bedrooms.

He stopped for a second, not quite believing what was happening. Still holding onto his hand she twisted her head to face him.

“Come on!”

“Belle, are you sure about this?”

“Oh I’m definitely sure!” She smiled gleefully pulling at his hand until he followed her again.

To his surprise she stopped before they reached the bedroom and pulled him into the bathroom. She let his hand drop and searched in the bathroom cabinet before pulling out the object of her desire.

“Here you go!” She waived the razor in front of his face playfully.

“No way!”

“Yes way, I won and this is what I want”

“Of all the things you could make me do, shaving is the one you want most?”


“You know, sex would be so much more fun”

“For you maybe” she continued waving the razor at him.

“Ouch! Nice shot!” he had to laugh at her comeback even if he should have found it offensive.

“Just shave!” she pushed the razor towards him.


“Aden, we had a deal” she told him impatiently as though the razor weighed 100 pounds and she was tired of holding it.

“I told you, I kind of like it” he admired his facial hair in the mirror.

“Aden, you look like you’ve got a dead animal on your face, just shave please!”



“No. If you want me to get rid of this then you’re going to have to shave it off yourself” he dared her.

“Fine!” she pushed him until he was forced to sit on the edge of the bath and proceeded to cover his face in shaving foam.

“Are you really going to do this?”

“Yes, now shut up or the razor might “accidentally” slip” she mock threatened him and he obeyed her command as she stood in between his open knees and began to cautiously glide the silver blade

across the delicate skin of his cheeks.

She leant over him as did so, their bodies centimetres apart, the scent of her perfume so close he could taste it. His eyes followed her every moment as she concentrated on the task, every slide of

hand and twist of her wrist was filled with such grace and beauty that he wished he had a camera to capture her in that moment.

They stayed liked that for a few minutes until Belle paused to inspect her work so far and Aden grabbed an opportunity to break the silence.

“So when did you become such a master at Monopoly anyway?”

“Oh, I’ve only really it played it a few times before. Just natural talent I guess” she shrugged as she began to run the razor over his skin once more.

“You little liar!” he laughed, causing her hand to slip momentarily and nick his cheek with the sharp blade,

“See what you made me do now?!” she exclaimed as he rubbed the area the blade had sliced into and brought his hand away to find it covered in tiny dots of blood.

Belle grabbed a tissue and applied pressure to his cheek to stop the bleeding,

“See this is why women don’t have facial hair” she tried to excuse herself.

“Well most of them don’t anyway!” he chuckled.

“Aden!” she laughed and nudged his shoulder a little too forcefully. He toppled slightly and had to reach out to prevent himself from falling backwards into the bath,

“Careful! You are determined to injure me today aren’t you?” he laughed as she winced in pain.

“Are you ok?” he questioned clearly concerned.

“Yeah, just a little back ache, I guess it’s to be expected” she reassured him as she rubbed her lower back.

Gently he pulled her closed towards him and looped his arm around her back, rubbing slow circles gently where the pain was.


“Mmmm” she sighed and closed her eyes for a brief moment.

“Keep going” she instructed as she opened her eyes and began to shave off the remaining hair from his cheeks.

“I didn’t lie” she told him reverting to their earlier topic.

“What?” he questioned her, clearly confused.

“I didn’t lie, Belle Taylor has probably played Monopoly once or twice before tonight, Susan Taylor on the other hand played more times than anyone could possibly remember”

“Susan Taylor? Belle are you ok? Have you stopped taking your medicine again?” he joked to mask how her words had slightly freaked him out.

“I’m Susan Taylor...or at least I used to be”

“I don’t understand?”

“You’re not the only one who had a childhood they wanted to run away from, I’m not saying what I went through was anything near what you did but we’re a lot alike you and me. Except of course that

I did literally run away”

“Ran away from what?”

“My adoptive parents. I changed my name and came to the Bay to find my biological mother, like that would suddenly make my life better. It didn’t. She slept with my boyfriend and generally caused

me a lot of grief but if I hadn’t come to find her well I would never had met Irene and she is the closest thing to a real mother I’ve ever had. And if I hadn’t come to the Bay well I’d still be Susan Taylor and that doesn’t bear thinking about"

“This Susan Taylor,” he began, still rubbing her back as she finished her task and began to wipe away the remaining shaving foam from his smooth skin.

“Who was she?”

“Susan Taylor was a little girl who wanted to choose her own path in life, to make her own decisions and find her own identity but instead she was sent to a convent school and went to mass every

evening, she played one pre-approved board game with her parents every evening before being treated to a reading from the bible passage of her choice”

She paused as though trying to recall a personality she had long since forgotten

“Susan Taylor wanted to play out after school, to go to birthday parties, to eat junk food until she threw up and learnt never to do it again. She wanted to graze her knee and to roll around in dirt just to know what it was like not to be perfect for once. Susan Taylor just wanted to be herself but that was the one thing she was never allowed to be”

“She couldn’t sound anymore different to girl I know” he told her, taking the towel from hand and grasping her fingers in his.

“No one, would ever dare tell you what to do”

“I’m not Susan Taylor anymore” she shrugged.

“I’m glad”

“Me too because if I was I would never have been allowed to even look at you!” she teased lightening the mood between them as he kissed her hand gently.

“All done!” She told him pulling him to his feet so he could inspect her handiwork in the mirror.

“See I told you, much better!” she proclaimed and he had to admit to himself that she was probably right, although he would never tell her that.

“So, what did you want anyway?” she asked intrigued.


“If you’d won? What did you want? And don’t say sex because I know that’s all bravado”

“You know what I wanted” he turned to face her, so their bodies were so close he couldn’t tell whether it was her body heat or his own that he could feel.

He ran his fingertips gently up her bare arm and tilted his head towards her. He felt her shift but instead of moving away from him as he had expected she leant her body towards his and twisted her head in the opposite direction to his. He looked into her eyes and saw his own desire mirrored in them.

His lips almost upon hers she pulled away quickly.

“You didn’t win remember?” she reminded him, looking away in a desperate attempt to break the tension between them.

She lifted her right hand, making her thumb and first finger into an L shape.

“Loser” she made a feeble attempt at a laugh before quickly exciting the bathroom.

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Shortish chapter this time which I feel should come with the following warning:

Contains more fluff than a belly button.


Chapter 10

“Brrrr, it’s freezing in here!” Belle exclaimed loudly, only slightly exaggerating. She wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her arms vigorously for extra effect.

“It’s the middle of summer!”

“Yes, the coldest summer on record since ...well since records began apparently!”

“Who told you that?” He looked at her doubtfully.

“Erm...Look I’m just cold alright!” she sulked.

“Here!” he gently threw his SB Gym hoodie in her direction. She caught the garment and held it up for inspection.

“Tell me this isn’t smelly and sweaty!” She moved her head cautiously towards it and sniffed suspiciously.

“It’s clean!” He exclaimed in mock offense.

“Yeah you’re right, it is“ she concluded, slipping her hands between the layers of material and pulling it on over her head. It was easily 3 sizes too big and dwarfed her petite frame. She tugged at the neck but it wouldn’t budge over her head, all she could see in front of her was the bright red material of the hoodie and suddenly the room had gone suspiciously quiet.

“Aden?” Her voice was muffled by the cotton and polyester blend covering her mouth but he was only a few metres away and she knew there was no way he couldn’t hear her.

“Aden?” she repeated frantically tugging at the hoodie, panicking that somehow she’d never get it over her head and would die a slow death from suffocation.

She heard a gentle chuckle from the other side of the room.

“Aden! It’s not funny!” she exclaimed and sighed with relief as she finally heard his footsteps crossing the room towards her. Carefully he untied the knot in the neck cord and gently eased the garment

over her head, smoothing down her hair with his hands as he arranged the hood behind her.

“About time!” she pouted as he lowered his hands and rubbed her arms as though trying to warm her up.

“Better now?”

“A little bit” she was not going to admit to how snugly and comforting she found an item of his clothing to be.

“Just a little bit huh?” he smiled.

“So what can I do to make it a lot? Any cravings yet? Because I’m sure I can find some coal or some gherkins around here if you want”

“Eugh” she raised a hand to her mouth.

“No cravings as yet actually but a hot chocolate would be good?” she turned the statement into a question smiling sweetly.

“Right, a hot chocolate in summer?”

“With extra marshmallows!” she nodded.

“In summer?” he repeated.

“Aden I think we’ve established what season it is”

“Ok, ok your wish is my command!” he told her pulling two mugs out of the cupboard and filling them with hot chocolate powder whilst the kettle boiled.

Belle enthusiastically yanked open the marshmallow packet with a tad too much force and sent them toppling all over the kitchen counter and onto the floor.

“Oh no!” Aden feigned horror.

“You dropped all the pink ones on the floor, they’re the only ones Nicole will eat”

“Well it’s a good job I’m not Nicole then isn’t it? No princess tendencies here!”

“Just the way I like it” he smiled suggestively as a loud beeping interrupted them.

Belle crossed the room and retrieved her mobile from the depths of her bag as Aden poured boiling water into the mugs. She scanned the text before promptly deleting it.

“Supercop again?

“Who else?” Belle sighed. It was the fourth text he’d sent in the few hours since she’d last seen him.

“Suffocating much?” Aden laughed although it was clear he didn’t find it funny.

“He’s just concerned about me” she tried to defend him but wasn’t sure who she was trying to convince more. Herself or Aden.

“Belle, that’s like the fourth text since you’ve been here. And you’ve been here what 5 hours now? You just almost had a panic attack stuck in my hoodie for 30 seconds, how are you going to cope with

this guy for the next 18 years?”

“He’s just reminding me to take my vitamins, it’s kind of sweet” she ignored his question as she accepted a steaming mug of hot chocolate from him.

She took a huge gulp and sighed in satisfaction.

“Ok, now I’m a lot better”

“Glad to be of service” he smiled, accepting the fact that she had completely dodged the subject altogether.

“You kind of missed something though”

“What?” she asked confused.

“Well, what type of kidnapper lets their hostage keep their phone?” he replied pulling his mobile from his pocket and swinging it teasingly in her face.

“An inexperienced one?” she laughed “Give me a break, I’m a virgin when it comes to kidnapping”

“I could make a very inappropriate joke there but I won’t” he laughed as she opened her mouth in mock offense and slapped him playfully on the arm.

“Seriously though, the people I could contact on this thing”

“Go on then, I dare you! But you only get one text before I confiscate it. So who do you choose? I mean there’s the police but what if it’s Angelo? He’s just going to leave you to rot. So who’s the one

person you’re sure you can rely on when you’re being held hostage? You could try Nicole but hmmm is she going to be able to fit you in between painting her nails and the latest episode of Gossip Girl? Then there’s Morag, usually highly reliable but understandably caught up in her own problems right now what with Ross being ill and everything”

“I know exactly who I would contact”

“Ah now I know you’re thinking Roman right? And normally I’d agree, muscles of steel and considers you to be one of his own but I happen to know he was going out of town for a few days tonight. So that leaves you with erm ...let me think”

She paused dramatically for effect before announcing in a satisfied tone.

“No one!”

“Break it to me gently why don’t you?” he laughed.

“And when exactly have you been checking Roman out?”

“When haven’t I?” she winked at him cheekily.

“All this,” she gestured to the both of them.

“It’s all a ruse, I’m just trying to get close to Roman”

“Then I better text him, he’ll definitely come back for me”

“You reckon? One text only remember, you better pick the one person you know you can rely on no matter what or you’re stuck here with me”

The shrill text alert of her mobile filled the air.

“Seriously if he texts me one more time, I am actually going to report him for harassment!” She exclaimed as she stomped over to her mobile.

As she did so she noticed Aden typing in a text and prayed he was choosing someone who’d just think he was drunk and ignore it, she never thought he would actually take her up on the offer! Surely it would just be easier to wrestle the key off her or break a window?

“Argh!” She screamed as she read Angelo’s latest offering.

“If he mentions the words folic and acid in the same sentence once more before this baby is born I swear he will “accidentally” overdose on the stuff before the birth!”

As she deleted the text another one came straight through.

“What now? Let me guess he’s been considering birthing positions?” she fumed as she opened the text only for her expression to instantly change into one of bemusement.

Being held hostage by a crazy, hot chick. (Don’t) Help! Aden x

She looked up at him, a small smile playing on her lips.

“Well you did say the one person I can rely on no matter what”

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