Jump to content

Family Matters

Guest Red Ranger 1

Recommended Posts

I've been concentrating on Audition Piece lately but I promised to have this one up as soon as possible so here it is.And hopefully no-one will regret asking for it...

You know how it is.An idea floats into your head that makes you think "Imagine the reaction if I did that."And you laugh and think about something else.And then, horribly, you realise you could do it and you think of all the scenes that could be in it and you think maybe there's actually a half-decent story in there...

Story Title: Family Matters

Type of story: Long fic

Main Characters: Aden, Belle, Geoff, Nicole, Amanda, Larry, Peter, Irene, Roman, Mattie, Ric, Ruby, Annie, Morag and probably a whole host of other characters

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Mild to moderate sexual content.And something that wasn't even mentioned in the guidelines, hence the A rating.

Summary: Aden and Belle's relationship has progressed to the point where it's time to meet the family. Except that their families have secrets and, when those secrets come out, nothing will ever be the same again.


“Are you sure it’ll be okay?”Aden asked, for what seemed like the hundredth time.

Belle gave him an indulgent smile.“Yes, Aden, it’s going to be fine.”

“You think she’ll like me?”

“Aden, when has anyone met you and not liked you straightaway?Rhetorical question, no need to answer.”

Aden nodded but didn’t seem all that reassured.“It’s just, I want this to go right for you.”

“Aden, honestly, Mum is going to love you just as much as I do.But hopefully in a different way.”She noticed his look.“Long story, let’s not even go there.”

Aden sat brooding, angry at himself for feeling so nervous.He spent most of his time not caring what other people thought of him and it annoyed him that he so wanted Belle’s mother to like him.They’d met before, of course-he’d seen her around town in the past, he even remembered her brief tenure as a teacher at Summer Bay High-but meeting her in the capacity of Belle’s boyfriend was a new experience.It was important to Belle and he wanted it to go well for her.He found himself casting his mind back to her classes, praying he hadn’t done anything that would have made a bad impression on her.

“How long until she gets here?”he asked at last.

Belle checked her watch and sighed.“Another two hours.”

With the tension building in the room, it was almost a relief when they heard the knock on the door and Irene went to answer it.“Hey there, love, come in,”they heard her say.

Belle and Aden hastily clambered to their feet as Amanda entered.“Thanks, Irene,”she responded before turning to the pair.“Belle!”She held out her arms and her daughter joined her in a hug of greeting.“Sorry I haven’t been around lately, it’s just things have been so hectic with Ryan starting his new school…”

“It’s all right, Mum,”Belle told her,“I’m just glad you’re here now.”

Amanda turned to the boy who had just stepped up beside her daughter.“Pleased to meet you, Aden.I was a bit surprised when I heard you were the one Belle was dating but you seem to scrub up well.”

“I’ve only got eyes for Belle, Mrs.Baker,”Aden assured her, slipping an arm round his girlfriend.

Amanda noticed the other two occupants of the room.“And..?”

“Oh, that’s Geoff and Annie,”Belle introduced.

“We saw you at Mr.Baker’s memorial,”Geoff told her.

Amanda shook her head.“I’m sorry, there were so many people about that day, I don’t remember.”

“Geoff and Annie are meeting some friends,”Irene said pointedly,“In fact, they’re meant to be leaving right about now.”She shot them a look that had them both scurrying out the back door.

“So, Aden,”Amanda continued with a broad grin,“you worried about getting the seal of approval from your future mother-in-law?”

“Actually, I was just looking forward to getting a look at the embarassing baby photos,”Aden replied.

Everything went quiet for a moment before Belle answered.“Aden, Mum didn’t see me until I was sixteen, remember?”

“Oh yeah, of course, sorry.”

“Feeling left out, Aden?”Amanda teased,“Why, has Belle seen all the photos of you as a baby?”

There was another awkward moment.“I haven’t really spent enough time with Aden’s family,”Belle said at last.

Amanda looked at Aden, confused.“Your parents?”

“They’re not really around anymore,”Aden told her,“For one reason or another.”

“Right!”Irene clapped her hands together, a little too loudly.“Tea anyone?”

“I’m sorry we haven’t got room for you here,”Belle remarked when it was time for Amanda to go.

Amanda noticed Irene arching an eyebrow in the background.“It’s okay, Belle, I’ll be fine at the Sands for a few days.”She paused for a moment.“Aden.”

“Yes?”Belle asked nervously.

“He’s a bit of a character but he obviously cares about you.And if you’re looking for this absentee mother’s approval, then you’ve got it.”

“Thanks, Mum, that means a lot.”Belle sighed as she looked around the room.“I just wish he hadn’t scooted off like that.”

“Well, I expect he’ll tell you what he was up to.Maybe I’ll see him later on when we go out for dinner.”

“I’ll try and get him to put in an appearance.See you then, Mum.”Belle hugged Amanda again before drawing the door shut.

“Have I missed her?”Aden asked as he came in the back door.

“Only just,”Belle replied,“I can call her back…”

“No, it’s okay, I think I’d rather this was just the two of us.”

“Think that’s my cue to leave,”Irene noted,“I’ll see you both later.”

As Irene left, Belle noticed for the first time that Aden was hiding something behind his back.“Aden, what’s this about?”

“Do you feel you’ve missed out on something?Not getting to hang out at my old home, hear the stories about what I was like growing up?”

“Well, I guess it’s a traditional rite of passage when you’re in a new relationship but I don’t mind.”

Aden guided her over to the sofa before handing her the photo.“’Cos I want you to see this.”

Belle looked at the image.It showed a man and a woman standing either side of a blonde-haired boy on a bike, he appeared to be about five or six years old, all of them smiling.She recognised the man as Larry but she didn’t know the woman.And as for the boy…“Aden, is this you?”

“Yep.I think that’s the last photo of me and Mum together.After she was gone, no-one was really interested in taking photos.”

Belle examined the picture of the young Aden for a moment before a smile spread across her face.“You were cute.”

“Still am, I hope.”

“Where did you get this from?”

“I found it when they were clearing out my dad’s place.It’s been in storage.”

“And you went to get it?Why?”

“Because…there isn’t any part of myself that I want to hide from you.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 23
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Thanks for all your comments, everyone, hope you stay with this fiction.I think I'm probably one of the few people who'd start a fiction with Aden and Belle happy and together and go downhill from there...


“So what’s Belle’s mum like?”asked Nicole.Geoff and Annie had met up with her and Jai at the Diner after being summarily evicted from the house.

“Actually, she reminded me a bit of your mum,”Geoff told her,“Bit more subdued though.”

“Belle and I come from the same genetic stock?That thought’s gonna give me nightmares.”

“I didn’t even know Belle had a mum,”Jai commented.

Everyone shot him curious looks.“How could she not have a mum?”asked Annie,“You don’t still believe in that stork story, do you?”

“You did,”Geoff reminded her.

“Yeah but I stopped believing in that when I was…”Annie broke off, embarassed.

“Go on,”Nicole told her.

“Thirteen,”Annie admitted at last.

“What I mean is,”Jai continued, at least partly to save his girlfriend’s blushes,“I don’t have a mum and you and Geoff don’t have a mum and Aden doesn’t have a mum and Ruby doesn’t have a mum.Melody wishes she didn’t and Nicole…”

“Feels the same way sometimes,”Nicole conceeded.

“So I just thought Belle was the same.”

“Well, I suppose the law of averages means at least one of us would have a mum they still talk to,”Nicole observed.

“She lives in the city,”Geoff told Jai,“Belle talks to her occasionally.”

Annie smiled slightly.“Although I’d love to know what she made of Belle going out with…”

“Aden!”interrupted Nicole loudly, as her housemate entered the Diner behind Annie,“How did meeting the in-laws go?”

“Not as well as I hoped, bit better than I expected,”Aden replied as he came over to their table,“I think we hit it off.”

“Managed to work that famous Aden charm on her, did you?”

“From what I’ve heard, you’d better not have charmed her too much,”Geoff commented.

“Yeah, what exactly is that long story?”Aden asked.

“I’ll, um, tell you later.”

“So is it safe to go home yet?”Annie asked.

Aden checked his watch.“Well, she’s coming back to take Belle out to dinner so I’d give it a while longer.”He headed towards the kitchen.“Now excuse me, kids, but some of us are actually here to work.”

Belle hurried down the stairs as she heard the knock at the door and threw it open.“Mum, hi,”she greeted Amanda, feeling flustered,“Nearly ready, just come in and wait for a minute.”

“Don’t worry, love, I’m a bit early,”Amanda called after her rapidly retreating figure.She sat down on the sofa, her eyes flickering onto the photo sat on the table, the one Aden had brought earlier.Mildly interested, she picked it up and looked at it.She was about to set it down again when something caught her attention and stopped her in her tracks.She stared hard at the photo.It couldn’t be…

“Right, done,”Belle announced as she came out of her room, slinging a bag over her shoulder with one hand while trying to put her earrings in place with the other,“Ready to go.”

Amanda stood up, holding the photo.“Belle, what is this?”

“Oh, Aden brought it round earlier.I think all the talk of baby photos made him feel a bit guilty.He was a cutie, wasn’t he?”

“That’s Aden?”Amanda asked, pointing to the boy,“So who’s the man?”

“That’s Aden’s father.”

Although Belle didn’t seem to have noticed, Amanda was slowly turning pale.“That’s Aden’s father? Well, where is he now?”

“We told you, Aden’s parents aren’t around anymore.”

“Yes but where exactly is he?Belle, this is important.”

Belle sighed.“He’s in jail, all right?He was involved in a hit and run and a boy was killed.Look, it’s got nothing to do with Aden…”

“No, no, of course not.”Amanda tried to keep her tone casual.“So what’s his name?”


“Oh, no reason.”Amanda put the photo back on the table.“He just reminded me of someone I used to know, that’s all.”She offered Belle her arm.“Come on, are we having a mother/daughter bonding meal here or not?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Amanda glanced nervously around the reception area, feeling as uncomfortable as she’d ever done in her life.She’d spent time in a cell before, back when the police had suspected her of killing Josh West, and it wasn’t something she’d care to repeat.Walking into a prison certainly wasn’t her idea of a fun day out.And it wasn’t as if that was the only thing she had to feel uncomfortable about.

The queue in front of her thinned until it was her turn to approach the desk.She handed her documentation to the warder.“Amanda Baker.I’m here to see Larry Jefferies.”

Aden knocked on the back door more out of courtesy than anything else, he was used to just walking straight in.“Coast clear?”he asked.

Belle looked round from clearing the table and grinned.“Yes, don’t worry, there aren’t any relatives waiting to ambush you and ask your intentions.”

Aden returned the smile as he came into the house.“Did your meal go all right last night?”

“Yeah,”Belle replied, although Aden noticed her tone was uncertain.

“You don’t sound so sure.”

“It’s just Mum seemed a bit quiet, which isn’t really like her.I think she had something on her mind.”

“Are you seeing her this morning?”

“No, she said she had to catch up with someone.An old friend.”

“You’re not buying it?”

“Well, it’s just…I know most of the friends Mum made while she was here, not that there were that many of them, and the way she said it was as if it was someone I didn’t know.As if she was being secretive or something.”

“Guess we’ll find out sooner or later.”Aden glanced about.“What did you do with that photo I gave you?”

Belle grinned.“Slept with it under my pillow, of course.What else?”


“No.It’s in a drawer in my bedroom.”

“You haven’t shown it to anyone else, have you?I mean, I don’t mind you seeing it but…”

“You don’t want anyone else finding out you were a sweet little boy once?”


“Don’t worry, I haven’t…”Belle stopped, remembering.“Oh yeah, Mum saw it.It was still out when she came round.”

“Well, I guess that’s my payback for the baby photo crack.”

Belle was still thinking about the incident.“It was a bit odd really.She saw your dad in the photo and she suddenly started asking all these questions.She seemed to think she knew him from somewhere.”

Aden shrugged.“Maybe she met him when she was living here.”

“Yeah,”Belle agreed, distracted,“That’s probably it.”

“You have to tell him,”Amanda insisted.

Larry shook his head.“I’m not even sure he’d come and see me.We don’t exactly have the best of relationships.”

“We can’t let this go on, Larry.The longer it does, the more people are going to get hurt.”

“You’re on speaking terms with Belle.Why don’t you tell her?”

“I can’t,”Amanda protested,“It’d destroy her.”

“And what about Aden, huh?You think he’s not going to be destroyed if I tell him?And what do you think’s going to happen to Belle then?”

“Maybe…maybe he won’t tell her, maybe he can keep it quiet.”

“That’s not going to happen, Mandy.As soon as I tell him, he’ll tell her.And even if he doesn’t, what’s that going to do to her?If he breaks up with her and won’t tell her why?”

“Maybe…maybe he could make up some sort of excuse.”

“What sort of an excuse would possibly explain it?They’re in love with each other, Mandy, it’d take something pretty big for him to just walk away.”

“We have to do something,”Amanda insisted,“I have worked so long to build up any sort of relationship with Belle, I can’t just tell her something that’s going to make her hate me again.”

“And Aden already hates me so that’s all right?Is that what you’re saying?”

“Larry, please.”Amanda gripped his hand desperately.“You have to help me out here.”

Reluctantly, Larry nodded.“All right.I’ll tell him.But, Mandy, there is no way this is going to end well for any of us.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, here it is, the infamous fourth chapter.If you need me, I'll be running for cover...


“Oh, hang on a minute, he’s just walked in.”Roman placed his hand over the telephone’s speaker before talking to Aden.“It’s your dad.”

Aden was surprised at the news.He and his dad hadn’t exactly cut each other out of their lives but then they weren’t exactly on speaking terms either.“What does he want?”

“Just said it was important.”Roman noticed Aden’s hesitation.“I think he means it.”

Aden stood there for a moment longer before giving a nod of assent.He took the receiver from Roman’s hand and spoke into it tentatively.“Dad?”

“Aden.Son.”Larry sounded as uncomfortable as he did.“I need to see you.”

“Look, Dad, I get that there’s things that need to be said…”

“Aden, please, this is important.I need to see you as soon as possible.There’s something I need to tell you and I don’t want to have to do it over the phone.I need you to be here in person.”

Aden wanted to refuse, for so many reasons, some of them more valid than others.But there was an intense urgency about his father’s voice, something that made refusing him seem almost unthinkable. “Okay.When?”

“I’ve spoken to the governor.He’s agreed to let you come and see me this afternoon.”

“All right.I’ll be there.”

Belle hurried to answer the insistent knocking on the door and found a somewhat nervous looking Amanda there.“Hey, Mum,”she greeted her in surprise,“Were we meant to be meeting up?”

“No, I, er, just dropped by on the off chance.”

“Oh, okay.How did your meeting with your friend go?”

“Good, yeah, we managed to clear up a few things that have been unresolved for a while.”Amanda glanced around the room.“Is Aden here?”

“No, he’s headed off home.”

“He’s at home?”

“Well, that’s where he was heading when he left here.I couldn’t tell you for sure if that’s where he is now.”Belle gestured towards the kitchen.“Did you want a coffee or something?”

“No, I’m not stopping.I just wanted to make sure you know where I’m staying.”

“The Sands, right?”

Amanda nodded.“Room 229.”She paused, waiting for a response, before repeating it insistently.“Belle, Room 229.”

“229, right.Got it.”

“I just need to make sure you know where to find me.In case you need to talk.”To Belle’s surprise, Amanda wrapped her arms around her in a hug.“I love you.Please try and remember that.”

And as she watched her mother leave, Belle was left feeling that something was going on, something that she wasn’t aware of.

The chair Aden was sitting on felt uncomfortable and he had a feeling he’d be even more uncomfortable when the one opposite him was occupied.He glanced at the trickle of prisoners making their way into the visiting area and picked out his father among them.Larry smiled as he saw him but although Aden could see genuine warmth there, he could see something else as well.He had a feeling that a large part of his father had almost been hoping that he wouldn’t come.

“Thanks for coming to see me, son,”Larry said as he took his seat,“I really need to tell you something.And before I do, I need you to know that I’m sorry, that if there was any other way I wouldn’t do this.”He faltered slightly.“I didn’t think there was anything I could say to you that would make you hate me more than you do.”

Aden felt a knawing sensation in his gut.It was as though he knew, deep down, on some level, that it wasn’t just a case of him not liking what he was about to hear.That it was going to go far deeper than that. “What is it, Dad?”

“You know I married young, right?I think I just wanted to get out of that house, away from your grandfather.When your mother told me she was expecting you, I panicked a bit.I was twenty-eight and I was about to become a father for the third time.We were only just getting by with your brothers, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cope.So that night, I went out and I got drunk.”

Aden didn’t even try to hide his distaste.“Not sounding like anything new.”

“I ended up in this bar.And that was when I saw this girl.Pretty little blonde thing.Looked like she was there for the same reason as me, to try and forget who she was for a while.I offered to buy her a drink, I think we were both pretty far gone by that point.She told me her name was Mandy.We had a drink together, more than one.And then I suggested we go on somewhere.”

“What sort of somewhere?”

“A hotel.”

Aden looked at him in anger.“You cheated on Mum?Is that what you’re saying?”

Larry nodded regretfully.“After that, I never heard from her again.Until yesterday, when she got in touch with me and asked to come and see me.That’s when I learnt her full name.She was Amanda Vale when I knew her, Amanda Baker now.”

“Belle’s mum?”Aden was shocked.“You slept with Belle’s mum?”

“And that’s when she told me, when she came to visit me here.She told me that shortly after that night she found out she was pregnant.”

Aden could feel every drop of blood in his body turning cold.“What are you telling me, Dad?”

“She was pregnant with my child at the same time your mother was expecting you.You know what I’m telling you, Aden.”

“Maybe I do but I need to hear you say it.”

They both stared at each other for a long time, the unspoken, unthinkable thing sitting between them.Until finally Larry spoke.

“Belle’s my daughter.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to say again, thank you so much everyone for your comments.It always amazes me how much people let me get away with and it's very flattering.Hope you enjoy this.


Aden stared at his father in silence for a long time, as though it was taking time for his mind to process the information.“Belle’s mum was only fourteen when she had her,”he said at last,“Are you saying..?”

“She was in a bar, Aden,”Larry reminded him defensively,“The guy that served her didn’t ask for ID, did you expect me to?”

“I expected you to find out a few things about her before sleeping with her.Like her name, her age, whether or not you were managing to screw up my life before I’d even been born.”

“Aden, I had no way of knowing…”

Aden got to his feet, his voice quiet and angry.“You have taken everything from me.My childhood was one long nightmare because you were too spineless to make sure we were safe.And now, the one good thing in my life, you’ve taken that from me too.”He turned away, heading for the door.

“Aden, please!”Larry called after him beseechingly.

Aden didn’t look back.

Belle had been preparing a cheery greeting when she opened the door to find Aden there but it died on her lips as soon as she got a good look at him.His face was completely ashen, as though he was in a state of shock.“What’s wrong?”she asked.

“I need to tell you something.”

She allowed him into the room and watched as he walked slowly over to the sofa and sat down.She made to sit next to him but he seemed to shrink back from her proximity.Not really understanding the reaction but suspecting she was about to get an explanation, she sat down in the other chair.There was something familiar about his behaviour and it took her a few seconds to remember when she’d seen him like this before.It had been the night he’d told her about his grandfather, as though he had something that he didn’t want to tell her but knew he had to.

“I went to see my dad today,”he told her,“He said that your mum had been to see him.”

Belle didn’t try to hide his surprise.“Mum?Why would she go and see him?”

“They knew each other once.”

“I thought they did!The way she reacted when she saw his photo.But…how?”

“She told him…”Aden paused, as though it was requiring a lot of effort to say the words.“She told him that he’s your father, Belle.”He waited for a moment, watching her reaction.Belle wasn’t sure what her reaction was.How could you react to being told something like that?“Which makes us…”

“I know what it makes us, Aden.”Belle could feel anger rising up inside her.She didn’t even know who she was angry with.Amanda?Larry?The world?All she knew was she wanted to stay angry because when the anger faded she didn’t know what she’d been left with.She shook her head.“This can’t be right, Aden.I don’t know why she’d say something like that but it cannot be true.”

“I think it is, Belle.Dad told me, he said he slept with her, round about the time she was pregnant with you.”

“Then he’s lying.They’re both lying.Because this is not possible.”Belle knew deep down that she was being irrational but she wasn’t ready to accept the alternative.She got up decisively.“I’m going to see Mum and I’m going to sort this out.I’ll find out why they’re doing this to us.”She placed a hand on his shoulder on her way out, ignoring the way he tensed up as she did so.“Don’t worry.I’ll sort this out.”

Belle hammered hard on the door of Room 229 until Amanda opened it.“Belle, are you..?”she managed before Belle pushed her back into the room, slamming the door behind them.The force of the push sent Amanda staggering back a couple of paces until she hit the bed, causing her to sit down on it heavily.

“Did you go and see Aden’s dad today?”Belle demanded.

“Yes, I did…Look, honey, sit down and…”

Belle was pacing back and forth in front of her, focusing on what she had to say.“Did you tell him that he was my father?”

“Yes.Look, Belle…”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because it’s the truth.Belle, Aden is your half-brother.”

Belle stopped her pacing and fixed Amanda with a look of intense, barely controlled anger.“That is not the truth.”

“I only met him that one time but Larry Jefferies is your father.”

“He must have been a grown man when I was born!You were…”

“I met him in a bar.You know things were never easy between me and my mother, she was always focused on her career, never had much time for us.I went out and got drunk and ended up sleeping with the first man I found.I’m not proud of it but it is what happened.”

“And what?You wait until now to tell anyone?”

“When my mother found out that I was pregnant, I was scared what would happen if she found out it was an older man so I told her it was one of the boys from school, that it had been an experiment.She kept pressing me for a name but I wouldn’t give her one.He didn’t know how old I was, it wouldn’t have been fair to drag him into that.”

“You didn’t think you should tell him he had a daughter?”

“I thought you were dead!My mother took you from me when you were born and told me that you’d died. And when I found out that it was all a lie, that you were still here…Belle, what could I do, how could I track him down?All I had was his first name.I didn’t even know he had a family.”

Belle could feel the first tears beginning to stream down her face.“Why, Mum?Why?I’ve never pressed you about my father, I’ve always known it was something you didn’t want to discuss, why did you have to tell me this now?Just when I thought I’d found someone that would make me happy.”

Amanda got to her feet and went to hug her.“Belle, I’m sorry, if there was anything…”

Belle pushed her back down again.“Ever since I’ve met you, all you’ve done is mess my life up again and again.I am through with it, Mum.Pack your bags and get back to the city because you are no longer part of my life.”

She turned away then, not wanting to see the hurt in her mother’s eyes.Because she couldn’t deal with it, not now.She had too much pain of her own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, everyone.Bit of a long chapter here so brace yourselves.


“No, Nicole, I am not going to give you an advance,”Roman insisted as they came in through the front door,“No matter how many sales are on at…”

They both stopped as they took in the state of the front room.All of the chairs, and a few other pieces of furniture, were scattered about in a haphazard state, as though someone had picked them up, thrown them and just left them where they landed.Aden was sitting on the floor in the middle of it all, looking like someone who’d expended all his energy and found himself with nothing else to do.

“Aden?”Roman asked cautiously.

Aden looked round, his expression tired and listless.“Roman.Sorry, I’ll clear it up in a bit.”

Nicole came over and sat down beside him, placing a consoling hand on his knee.“Never mind clearing it up.What’s wrong?”

Roman didn’t feel entirely comfortable with sitting down on the floor so, as a compromise, he crouched down so he was on the same level as them.“Is this about you going to see your dad?”

Aden nodded.“He had some news for me all right.”

“What news?”

“He told me Belle’s my sister.”

“He’s your what?”Annie asked in astonishment.Belle had waited until she, Geoff and Irene were all home before breaking the news to them.

“He’s my half-brother,”Belle repeated.

Annie still didn’t seem to understand.“But he’s your boyfriend.”

“Yes, Annie.I know.”Belle couldn’t even muster the energy to get angry with her.

“But…that’s wrong.”

Irene looked as if she was about to bark some admonishment at her but, perhaps fortunately, Geoff got in first.“They didn’t know, Annie,”he said gently.

Annie suddenly seemed to realise what she’d been saying.She looked at the older girl guiltily.“Sorry, Belle.”

“It’s okay, Annie.You’re right.It is wrong.”

Irene put her arm round Belle and the girl rested her head on her shoulder.“Oh, love, I wish there was something I could say but…Are you sure?”

“Mum says it’s true, his dad…”Belle stopped.She had to get used to saying it.“Our dad says it’s true. They’re the only ones that know for sure.”

“Right.”Irene got up and headed for the door.“I think I need to have a word with Amanda.”

“I wouldn’t bother, Irene,”Belle sighed,“She’ll have gone by now.”

Amanda opened the door with a certain amount of trepidation.She’d had to relate one of the most unpleasant chapters of her past once that day and she wasn’t looking forward to doing it again.She put on a smile before stepping inside.“Hi, boys, you miss me?”

Her son Ryan and her husband Peter smiled back at her.“You’re back early,”Ryan remarked.

“Oh, is that a disappointment for you?”


It was only the fact she knew he didn’t mean it that let Amanda keep her smile in place.Because she knew her other child had meant every word.“Oh, well, I’ll go away again, shall I?”

“Did you bring me a present?”

“Sorry, darling, there wasn’t time.”

Ryan smiled.“Definitely go away again then.”

“Come on, mate,”Peter interceded,“Your mum’s had a long journey, you can at least tell her you missed her.”

“It’s good to have you back, Mum,”Ryan admitted at last.

“And I’m glad to see you again,”Amanda told him,“Have you got any homework to do?”

“A little.”

“Run along and do it now then.I need to talk to Uncle Peter.”Amanda waited until Ryan left the room. Then she let the façade drop.

Peter was shocked at how tired and unhappy his wife suddenly looked.“Manda?What’s wrong?”

Amanda let out a deep sigh.“Oh, Peter, I’ve made such a mess of things.”

Aden was expecting Irene to answer the door.What he wasn’t expecting was for her to do something she’d never done before:She put her arms round him in a hug.Despite his surprise, he returned the hug for a moment until she released him.“You all right, love?”she asked.

Aden shrugged.“As you’d expect.”

“Yeah, love, sorry, daft question.”

“Where’s Belle?”

“Locked herself away in her room, pretty much.”

“Can I see her?”

Irene sighed.“Are you sure that’s a good idea?Maybe you both need some time apart to get your heads round things.”

“I want to be there for her, Irene, whatever she’s going through.”

“But you do understand that things…aren’t the same between you anymore, don’t you?”

“Irene, please.”

“All right, love.I’ll ask her.”

“Larry Jefferies is Belle’s father?”Peter asked once Amanda had poured out her story.

Amanda nodded.“Do you know him?”

“He used to work as a security guard.Our paths crossed a few times.”

“I did wonder what happened to him a few times, whether he still lived around here, whether he had any other family.I didn’t think he’d turn out to be her boyfriend’s father.”

“Was Belle angry?”

“Angry as I’ve ever seen her.And that’s saying something.She’s right, all I ever seem to do is cause her trouble.The thing with Drew, my drinking…now this.”

“It’s not exactly your fault.”

“I’ve been thinking about what I could’ve differently.Maybe, when I found out she was alive, I should have tried to track down her father.Hire a private detective or something.Then she’d have known that Aden was her brother before she became involved with him.Before she fell in love with him.”

Peter glanced towards the stairs that his nephew had disappeared up.“We’re going to have to tell Ryan.”

“Do you think he’s old enough to understand?”

“He’s a smart kid.”

“And what if he hates me too?”

“Amanda, whatever they might say, deep down both Ryan and Belle will always love you.Belle will come round.”

“But until then?”Amanda looked at Peter with sorrowful eyes.“My little girl’s hurting Peter.And she won’t let me do anything to help her.”

When Belle finally emerged from her room, she looked as though she’d be crying for a long time.She was hugging herself in an almost protective gesture.She swallowed hard as she sets eyes on him.“Aden.”

He nodded in response.“Belle.How’d it go with your mum?”

“As you’d expect.She told me it was all true.I think I already knew that really but…hearing her say it just made it seem real.”

Aden nodded towards the stairs, where Irene had headed after passing on his message.“Irene knows?”

“And Geoff and Annie.I couldn’t really keep it from them.”

“I told Roman and Nicole.”

Belle sighed.“How long until the rest of the town knows?”

“I don’t think any of them would tell anyone.”

“This is Summer Bay, Aden.People always find out eventually.”She stared at him for a moment, almost as though seeing him for the first time.“I just can’t believe it.”

“I can’t believe it either.”

“I’m standing here looking at you and I’m seeing the same person I’ve always seen and yet, now you’re my brother.How do I deal with that?”

Aden shrugged helplessly.“I don’t know.”

“It’s like, I don’t even know who I am anymore.I’ve suddenly been given all these new facts about myself and I don’t know what to do with them.”She froze for a moment, almost seeming to stop breathing.“Oh my god, Aden, your grandfather.”

Aden looked at her confused.“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you get it?He was my grandfather too!”

Aden understood.He’d had most of his life to face up to the fact he shared DNA with such a monster. “Belle, that’s got nothing to do with the people we are.”

Belle had lowered her head, letting out sob after sob of confusion.Aden stepped forward and put his arms around her, drawing her to his chest in a tight embrace.And for a moment, it was as if the day had never happened, as if they were the same people they’d always been.He lifted her head and went to kiss her.And then she was pushing him away, scrambling backwards, putting as much distance between them as she could.“What are you doing?”

Aden wasn’t sure what he’d been doing, it had just been instinctive.“Belle, I’m sorry, for a moment there, it just felt right.”

Belle shook her head vigorously.“It’s not right, it was never right, Aden.”Her tears seemed to have been replaced by anger once more.“It was wrong, it was the most wrong thing I’ve ever done.It’s disgusting. We’re disgusting, Aden.”

Aden was shocked by her words.“Belle, this wasn’t our fault.”

He took a step towards her but she took a step back, holding up her hands as if to ward him off.“Go, Aden, just go.Please, I just can’t deal with this.”

He wanted so much to go to her then, to hold her and comfort her.But instead he left.Because he knew, more than he cared to admit, that nothing he could say or do would make it better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hehe, I've already commented, but I just love the way everyone knows there is no way you will be nice to Aden and Belle because you don't like them XD I was even surprised you were even writing fanfiction about them until I saw the word 'torture' in the advertising thread XD

Are you saying I've got a reputation?However can that have happened?Actually, for a long time I was going to make the subtitle of this "Adelle fans beware" but I thought that might put people off a bit too much.

I'm sat here wishing for Aden's Mum to have cheated too so they're not actually siblings but given this is your fic I'm not holding out much hope :lol:

Oh, I never thought of that...Not going to happen.

Hope you all like this chapter.


Geoff and Annie were sitting up in her room, the sound of Aden and Belle’s voices drifting up to them from downstairs.They took in the sudden silence for quite a while, expecting the noise to start up again.“I think he’s gone,”Annie said at last,“Do you think we should go down and see if she’s okay?”

Geoff didn’t look particularly keen on the idea.“Irene can deal with it better.”

Annie could see the sense in his words but she wasn’t the type to sit around doing nothing.“We should still try and help her.”

“And what can we do?”

“I don’t know but…she needs to know we care.I think I made things a bit worse when she told us.”

Geoff smiled sympathetically.“I didn’t know what to say either.I don’t think she really noticed.”

“I wish I could tell Jai.”

Geoff was surprised by the comment.“Why?”

“It’s all right for you, Nicole knows.Jai’s going to be able to tell there’s something wrong.I don’t like keeping things from him.And…I need someone to talk to.About the way Belle is.About how we wish we could help her.”

Geoff nodded.“Yeah, I get that.But, Annie, this is something really big for Belle.And for Aden.I think the best thing we can do for them is let them handle things their own way.”

Nicole was sitting in front of the telly when Aden came home.She used the remote to turn the set off as he landed heavily on the sofa next to her.“How did it go with Belle?”

“I don’t think I could have got it more wrong if I tried.”

“I’m not sure there is a right thing to do.It’s not a situation you normally come across.”She noticed him take two tickets out of his pocket.“What are those?”

“A waste of money probably.It was meant to be a surprise for Belle.”

Nicole pulled the tickets towards her slightly so she could read the writing on them.“That’s that band she likes, isn’t it?The concert next week?”

“I just wanted to do something nice for her.”

“You could still take her.”

Aden laughed bitterly.“Yeah, that’ll work.My new sister.”He glanced across at her, an almost hopeful look on his face.“Hey, maybe we could go?”

Nicole held his gaze for a long time before shaking her head.“I don’t think so, Aden.”

“Why not?”

“I just…I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Come on, you know you want me.”

Nicole could feel annoyance edging out the sympathy she felt for him.“What?”

He practically lunged at her, pushing her back onto the sofa, kissing her roughly.She pushed him away and scrambled to her feet, moving round the other side of the sofa as though placing it between them.She might as well not have bothered, he showed no interest in moving from where he was sitting, not even bothering to turn round to face her.

“Leaving aside the fact that I’ve already got a boyfriend, Aden, I am not going to go to a concert with you or to bed with you when I know you’re going to be wishing I was your actual sister instead of just your pretend one.”She waited for a response but Aden almost seemed to have forgotten she was in the room. “I’m meeting Geoff,”she said at last,“If you decide you need a friend, give me a call.”

Irene stood in the doorway of Belle’s room, watching as she stuffed clothes and travel things into a bag. “Are you sure this is the best thing, love?”

“I just need to get away for a while, Irene.I can’t be around Aden at the moment, I can’t be around this place where every single little thing reminds me of him, of somewhere we used to go, of something we used to do.I just can’t handle seeing him and feeling things for him that I know I can’t be feeling.”

“I guess I can understand that.But, Belle, where are you going to go?”

“I gave Mattie a ring.She said I can stay with her and Ric for a while.”

“In Perth?”

There was a hint of her old feistiness in Belle’s response.“That is where they live, Irene.”

“Well, I guess at least you’ll have your friends around you.”Irene looked worried for a moment.“You are coming back, aren’t you?”

Belle smiled.She went over to Irene and hugged her.“This is my home, okay?I’m always going to come back here.”

They both turned round as Annie appeared in the doorway.“Are you all right?”she asked timidly.

“Yeah, I’m…”Belle sighed.“No, I guess not, but I will be.”

“I’m sorry if I didn’t understand.”

“It’s okay, Annie, I don’t really understand it myself.”

“I just want you to know that we’re here, me and Geoff, if you need us.And I won’t say a word to anyone, I promise.”

Belle held her gaze for a moment before replying.“You can tell Jai.”

Both Annie and Irene were surprised by the announcement.“Are you sure, love?”Irene asked.

“No.”Belle looked at Annie.“But I know you want to and I know you’re going to need someone to talk to while I’m not around.And people are going to find out eventually.”She looked from one of them to the other and then put her arms round both of them, so they all hugged each other.“Just…don’t let the place fall apart without me, okay?I need at least one thing I can rely on.”

Aden was halfway through his breakfast when he heard the banging of crockery behind him that told him Nicole had come down.He was tempted to just ignore the noise.After all, he’d never been any good at this sort of thing.But he knew he had to say something.He turned round to face her.“I’m sorry about last night.”

Nicole looked as though she was trying to glare at him but she was unable to stop her face softening into a smile.“What is it about you that makes it impossible for girls to stay mad at you, whatever you do?”

He grinned.“Must be my boyish charm.”

She came over to the table, sitting down next to him.“Not so boyish anymore, mister.How long is it until you leave your teenage years behind for good?”

“Long enough.”

“I’m sorry too, for blowing up at you like that.I know this isn’t easy for you.”

Aden sighed.“It’s just…I thought she was the one, Nic.The only one.The only proper girlfriend I’ve ever had.When I looked to the future, all I could see was being with her.And now…I just don’t know what I’m going to do next.”

“Okay, if you’re about to go over to that oven and stick your head inside it then I’m sorry, buster, but friend or not, I am not going to resuscitate you.”

Aden wanted to glare at her but, like her a few minutes ago, found that he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it.He’d never known anyone as capable as Nicole of being so inappropriate and still managing to make him smile.“I’m gonna go round and see her this morning.”

“Belle?Aden, she’s not there.”

Aden looked at her in surprise.“What?”

“Geoff told me last night.Belle’s gone away.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your comments and welcome aboard anyone who's just joined us.(Sorry if I just destroyed your social life.)

Things are going to be angsty for a while but would it cheer everyone up if I promise it will get better eventually?

Hope you like this one.


Belle double-checked the piece of paper on which she’d written Ric and Mattie’s address, confirming she was at the right flat.The journey from Summer Bay to Perth had been a long one but in a way she’d been glad to be on her own, to not be surrounded by people who knew her and knew…what had happened.For a second, she considered turning around and going somewhere else, losing herself in a crowd somewhere. Then she sighed and knocked on the door.

Matilda answered and Belle put on her bravest smile.“Hi, Mattie, you’re looking…”

Before she could get any further, her friend had grabbed her in a hug that practically squeezed the breath out of her.When she released her, there was an embarrassed smile on her face.“Sorry.”

“It’s okay, I’m getting used to it.Would have slept with my brother long ago if I’d know I was going to get this much love in return.”She could tell from Matilda’s expression that she didn’t know how to respond. “It’s a joke, Mattie, I am still allowed to make those.”

Matilda nodded, still looking awkward.“You’d better come in.”

Ric got up from the sofa as they came into the living area, giving Belle a hug that thankfully wasn’t as tight as Matilda’s.“Good journey?”he asked.Matilda gave him a look.“Well, what else am I supposed to say?”

“I take it Mattie told you, huh?”asked Belle.

“She…filled me in on a few details, yeah,”Ric confirmed,“So Aden’s your brother?”

“Well, half-brother anyway.”

“Would never have picked that one.”

“Yeah, it took me a while to cotton on myself,”Belle replied testily.

“Why don’t you take Belle’s bag to her room?”Mattie suggested.

“Oh, yeah, sure.”Ric took the bag from Belle’s shoulder.“Back in a mo.”

Matilda showed Belle over to the sofa and sat down with her.“Sorry, we’re not doing a good job of this. It’s just neither of us know what to say to you.”

“Don’t think there’s really anything you can say.Except…can you try not to treat me any differently? Pretend I’m the same old Belle?”

“Hey, as far as we’re concerned, you are.So who exactly knows about this?”

“Irene, Roman, Geoff and Annie, Nicole…We’ve managed to keep it inside the household so far.Oh, I told Annie she could tell Jai.But apart from that, just those of us here.”

Ric had come back through in time to hear the tail end of the conversation.“Hang on, are you telling me this isn’t common knowledge?”

The two girls looked at him.“No,”Belle confirmed, worried,“Why?”

“Well, I spoke to Grandad on the phone earlier, about you coming here, and I may have mentioned the reason why…”

Mattie put a consoling hand on Belle’s arm.“Don’t worry, I’m sure he won’t say anything.”

“Yeah…”Ric’s interjection drew their attention back to him.He looked sheepishly at them.“Only…I think Auntie Colleen was in the room at the time.”

Aden had been hoping that doing his shift at the Diner would have given him a sense of routine, a sense that there were still some things in his life unchanged.Irene had even given him permission to stay in the kitchen for the shift so he wouldn’t have to spend his time eyeing the customers warily, afraid that word had slipped out about his and Belle’s news and the whole town now knew.It would have worked fine except no-one had counted on Colleen, who was insisting on standing right behind him while he worked and giving her opinion on the subject.

“I know exactly how you feel, pet.When I found out I was a Stewart, you could have knocked me down with a feather.In fact, ah, the feather wasn’t actually necessary.And I daresay that Alf and Morag weren’t entirely comfortable with their new sister suddenly joining them.But we sorted it all out and now we’re all one big happy family, just like you and Belle will be.”

“Yeah but you weren’t actually dating Mr.Stewart at the time,”Aden reminded her.

“Well, ah, no.Although when I think about what happened between him and my Maureen…So, you see, there isn’t really any stigmata involved in mistakenly finding yourself in an unnatural relationship.”

Aden found himself staring at one of the pans and imagining the noise it would make if it suddenly connected with Colleen’s head.The only way he could think of to restrain himself was to undo his apron, dropping it to the floor, and walk out of the kitchen as calmly as he could.

“I’m sorry, Irene,”he said as he reached the counter,“But I swear if I have to spend one more minute in that kitchen, I’m going to murder her.”

Irene gave him a sympathetic smile.“As tempting as that may be, darl, it probably wouldn’t be good for business.”She patted him on the arm.“Go on, you head off home.I’ll give one of the casuals a ring and see if they don’t mind a bit of extra work.”

Aden had been at home for a few hours, sitting in the front room with nothing to do, when Roman arrived. “I hear things didn’t go too well at the Diner,”he commented.

Aden sighed.“Feels like the whole town knows.Didn’t take long to get out, did it?”

“Guess it’s the way things work around here.”

“You know, I feel like just taking off like Belle.Putting some distance between myself and this place for a while.”

Roman sat down on the arm of the sofa, at the opposite end to Aden.“Well why don’t you?We can arrange cover at the Diner.”

Aden shrugged.“Not like I’ve got any old mates that’d be willing to put me up for a while.”

“Well, I know one person who’d be pleased to see you.”

Aden looked at him for a moment until he realised who he meant.Then he shook his head.“Nah, she’s got enough on her plate at the moment.”

“Well, why don’t you let her decide that?I can give her a call, see if she’d mind having a house guest for a few days?”Aden hesitated for a moment then gave an abrupt nod.Roman patted him on the shoulder.“I’ll go and make the arrangements.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments again.Hope you like this one.


It was just after breakfast when Annie came bursting into the caravan park house, looking annoyed.“Jai, did you..?”She stopped, seeing Jai and Melody sat at the table, apparently engaged in homework.“Er, hi, Melody.Didn’t see you there.”She glanced back at Jai.“It can wait.”

“If it’s about Aden being Belle’s half-brother, I already know,”Melody told her.

Annie looked accusingly at Jai.“You have been telling people!”

“I didn’t tell her,”Jai protested,“Mrs.Smart did.”

“When we got home yesterday, she was running out of the house shouting ‘Oh, the shame, the shame, what cruel fate!’”Melody added helpfully.

Annie sighed and sat down.“So the whole town knows?”

“Mrs.Smart knows,”Jai stressed,“That’s pretty much the same thing.”

“I heard people talking in the Diner today.I’m sorry, I thought you must have let it out.”

“How are Belle and Aden?”Melody asked.

“Belle’s gone to Perth for a while.Geoff spoke to Nicole last night and she said Aden’s going to the city for a few days.”

“Well, at least they won’t hear people talking.”

I can hear it.”Annie noticed them exchange a glance and felt embarrassed.“That sounded bad, didn’t it? It’s just I don’t like hearing horrid things being said about them.”

“Well you won’t hear any here,”Jai assured her.

Aden was standing at the bottom of the stairs with his bag packed.“You got everything?”Roman asked.

“I think so,”Aden confirmed.He paused, awkwardly.“Look…thanks for the way you’ve been the past few days.The whole thing’s been, well…”


Aden grinned slightly.“Yeah.”

“I know you’ve had a hard time, mate, but if I’ve done anything to make things easier for you in any way, then, seriously, it’s been a pleasure.”He clasped his hand.“And you know that whenever you’re ready to come back, I’ll be glad to see you again.”

Aden tried to think of an answer but they were both disturbed by a heavy clomping from the stairs.Nicole was coming down, two rather large bags slung across her shoulders.“Right, ready,”she announced.

Aden had an uncomfortable feeling he knew what was coming next.“Um, where are you going?”

“With you, of course.”She looked from one of them to the other.“Come on, it’s the school holidays, I don’t have anything else to do.I’m being a supportive friend, okay?”

Aden looked at Roman beseechingly but he just shrugged, a slight grin on his face.“Your call, mate.”

Aden looked back at Nicole, looking as innocent as she could manage, and reflected that he wasn’t the only person in the house who it was difficult to be angry with.“Come on then,”he sighed.

It was gone ten o’clock by the time Belle staggered out of her bedroom.She noticed Mattie in the kitchen, clearing away the last of the breakfast things.“Ric not here?”

“No, he’s gone to work,”Mattie answered.

“Haven’t you got lectures or something?”The answer came to Belle just after she asked the question.“No, right, holidays.I’m a bit out of sync.”

“Did you sleep all right?”

“Mmm.How did you end up with a spare bed anyway?”

“Oh, we got it in case we fall out.”Matilda smiled slightly at Belle’s worried expression.“No, my old room mate was sharing with us to start with but she soon started to feel like a third wheel so she’s moved out.”

Belle nodded.“Well, her loss is my gain.”

“I was thinking we might go out for lunch.”

Belle looked a bit nervous at that.“Uh-huh?Where to?”

“Just a place down the road, it’s not far.”

“Right.And you wouldn’t rather stay in?”

Matilda looked at her sympathetically.“Belle, no-one knows you here.There’s not going to be any pointing and whispering.”

“Maybe not but…it feels like there would be.”Belle caught Matilda’s gaze and sighed.“Okay, you win. We’re going out for lunch.”

“Aden!”Morag greeted him warmly when they arrived at the sheltered accomodation,“How are you?”

Aden smiled slightly, pleased to see her in spite of everything.“I’m fine, Morag.Thanks for letting us stay.”

“Hi, Morag,”put in Nicole perkily.

Morag gave her a smile that contained considerably less warmth.“Nicole.Yes, your father informed me you would be joining us.How fortunate it is that we arranged for a berth with two guest rooms.”

“Is Ross about?”Aden asked.

“He’s out in the garden at the moment.”Morag heard the sound of the back door.“Ah-ha!That sounds like him now.”

Ross came in, still wearing gardening gloves.“I don’t know, Morag, I swear that greenfly’s getting worse.”

“Ah, Ross, our guests have arrived.”

Ross focused on the pair before smiling at Aden.“Samuel!Good of you to come and visit!”He held out his hand before realising he was still wearing the soil-covered gloves.“Oh sorry.”

“That’s all right,”Aden replied, accepting the hand once Ross had removed the glove.

“So, how’s your mother?”

Aden wasn’t sure what the proper response would be.“The same,”he offered at last.

This seemed to satisfy Ross.“Good, good.Must get down to see her soon.”

“Um, perhaps our guests would want some tea,”Morag suggested.

“Good idea, I’ll get it sorted,”Ross agreed before heading into the kitchen.

“Who’s Samuel?”Aden asked quietly.

“Ross’ nephew,”Morag explained,“I gather he’s quite fond of him.I suppose you should be flattered.”

Ross stuck his head out of the kitchen for a moment.“Charlie, could you come and give me a hand?”

It took Nicole a moment to realise Aden and Morag were both looking at her.She sighed.“I think I’d rather have been Samuel.”She raised her voice so Ross could hear her.“Coming!”she called, in a saccharine sweet voice.

“It is good to see you again, Aden,”Morag noted once they were alone,“Although I would have preferred if you hadn’t had Miss Franklin in tow.”

“She’s like a shadow sometimes.Hard to get rid of.”Aden sighed.“Actually, she’s been a help, not that I’d ever tell her that.”

“I shall take your word for it.”

“Did Roman fill you in on everything?”

“The recent revelation of Belle’s paternity?I have been informed.In fact, my own recently discovered sister felt the need to subject me to a fifty minute phone call on the subject a few hours earlier.Needless to say, Roman managed to provide me with more information in less time.”

“I just needed to get out of there for a while.”

“Aden, my home is your home.And Miss Franklin’s it seems.If you need to talk, then I’m here and if you don’t, I shall respect your silence.”She put an arm round his shoulder.“Now, let’s go and make sure that Ross and Nicole don’t set fire to the kitchen.”

“Where have you been?”Matilda asked when Ric came through the door.

“Drinks with the boys after work.I told you.”

“Yes but that was before we had other responsibilities.”Matilda nodded in the direction of the sitting area.

Ric peered round and caught sight of Belle sat on the sofa, clutching a half full wine bottle.He had a feeling the other half was inside her.“What happened?”

“We went out for lunch, she had a couple of glasses of wine with the meal and she hasn’t stopped since.”

“What?How many bottles?”

“Well, I told you not to buy that truckload of wine.”

“They were on special!”Ric sighed and led the way over to where their friend was sitting.“Er, Belle?”

Belle looked up at him and grinned.“Ric!We used to go out, didn’t we?”

“Um, yeah, a while back.”

“Why did we stop?Oh yeah, you left me for Cassie.Story of my life that.And Matilda!You didn’t like me when we first met.Thought I was a tramp who stole people’s boyfriends.”

“Well, I didn’t know you then,”Matilda responded awkwardly.

But Belle didn’t seem to be listening.“But I’ve outdone myself now.Turns out even her own family isn’t safe from Belle Taylor.You know, I think there’s a lot of unnecessary prejudice about incest because I’ve tried it and seriously it’s great.Really, Mattie, you should have a go.I mean, you’ve got three brothers to choose from.And Ric…have you got a sister?”

“Not usually.”

“You should try and find one.See if your father ever slept with anyone and got them pregnant without telling you.That happens a lot.Hey, it could be Matilda!Wouldn’t that be funny?”

Ric glanced at Mattie.“We should probably get her to her room.”

“Good idea.”They both took hold of her arms and began gently leading her away.

“You know, guys usually buy me a drink before taking me to bed,”Belle observed.

Ric sighed.“From the look of things, I’ve already bought you several.”

Aden and Morag noticed Nicole yawn for the umpteenth time.“Don’t you think all those yawns are telling you something?”Aden asked.

Nicole sighed.“All right.Going to bed now.”She headed towards the bedrooms and nearly collided with Ross as he came through the door, looking as though he’d got dressed in a hurry.

“Morag, why didn’t you wake me?It’s gone ten o’clock!I should have been in work nearly three hours ago.”

“Ah, Ross, it’s ten o’clock at night,”Morag explained gently,“Besides which, you’ve retired, remember?”

“At night?”Ross looked around him, seeming to notice for the first time that it was dark.“Oh yes.Silly of me.I suppose I’d better head back to bed then.”

Nicole took his arm.“Hey, maybe you’d better show me to my room.I think I’ve forgotten the way.”

“What?Oh yes.It’s this way.”

“Sometimes that girl surprises me,”Morag commented once she and Aden were alone,“Another fact that I will never be sharing with her.”She got to her feet.“I think it’s about time I turned in as well.”

“Morag…”Aden paused before going on.“Don’t you find it hard, seeing Ross like that?”

“Well, yes, sometimes.”

“It’s just…you fall in love with someone and you think that’s it, you can picture the rest of your life.And then suddenly, something happens that changes it all.And that future, everything you’d dreamed about, it’s all gone.It can never happen.Wouldn’t having them around just remind you of what you’d lost?”

Morag sat down slowly, looking at him.“It’s true that this isn’t the future I imagined for us.But he’s still Ross.And I still love him.And as hard as it is, knowing that things will never be the same, I think that having him in my life, in whatever capacity we can manage, is still worthwhile.Don’t you think?”

Aden nodded.“Yeah, maybe.”

“Is there anything else on your mind?”

“Just…I don’t really remember my mum all that well.But I’d like to think that, if she were here, she’d be a bit like you.”

He was shocked to see tears in the old woman’s eyes.“You know, I think you’re quite possibly the first person to have ever thought that.”

“You never..?Sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

“No, it’s all right.My first husband, Richard, couldn’t have children.I think it contributed to us splitting up in the end.But I did have a daughter once.A long time ago.I was very young, my parents made me give her away to another couple.”

“You never thought of tracking her down?”

“Actually, I knew exactly where she was all of her life.She died some years ago.It’s strange, it never really occurred to me to try and be a parent to her.Her father did, once he found out about her, they managed to build a relationship those last few years.But I decided she wasn’t the sort of daughter I wanted. It’s just one of many things I’ve come to regret as I’ve grown older.”She placed a hand over his.“So, Aden. Perhaps having you around has taught me a few things as well.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for your comments, everyone.I'm so glad you liked that last bit because it was when I thought of that scene and it nearly made me cry that I realised I had to write this.Hopefully I've done as good a job on this chapter...


Belle had woken up the morning after her drinking session with a very large hangover and a lot of apologies.Ric and Matilda had told her to think nothing of it but had suddenly decided that several of their friends would appreciate one of their bottles of wine as a present.And had put a lock on the liquor cabinet.

“What are you doing tonight?”Belle asked a few days later,“I was thinking of cooking dinner as a sort of thank you.”

“Actually, I’m not going to be here,”Ric told her,“One of the lads from the garage is having a bit of a do for his birthday.”

“Lads only, eh?”Belle joked,“Planning a night of debauchery?”She saw a look pass between Ric and Matilda and wasn’t sure what it meant for the moment.Then she looked at Matilda.“You were going to go with him, weren’t you?”

“Girlfriends were invited,”Matilda confirmed reluctantly,“But that was before we knew we had company.”

“Mattie, I don’t want to spoil your night out.You go on ahead, I’ll be all right on my own.”

“No, no.”Matilda shook her head emphatically.“You’re a guest, we can’t go out and leave you all alone.”

“Well, why don’t we all go?”Ric suggested.

“Are you sure?”Belle asked.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to the guys, see if they can extend the invitation to girlfriends and house guests.”

“Okay,”Belle agreed,“Night out it is.”

Aden had never been much of a gardening enthusiast but he suspected that, prior to his move, Ross hadn’t been either.With little else to do, he’d found himself helping the old man out quite a bit.“Careful what you’re doing, Aden,”Ross chided as he bent over him,“Bury the seedlings too deep and they won’t get enough sunlight.”He noticed Aden grinning at him.“What?”

“You called me Aden,”he explained.

“Of course I called you Aden, it’s your name, isn’t it?”


Ross crouched down beside him.“Fishing.”


“We should go fishing, now that you’re here.You always used to enjoy that.”

Aden sighed.“Ross, I’ve never gone fishing.”

“What?”Ross looked confused for a moment.“Oh yeah, of course.That was Samuel.Sorry, I got a bit mixed up.”

Aden smiled, trying to defuse the situation.“Maybe we’ll give it a try next time I’m here.”

“Next time?”

“It’s been good being here, having a bit of a break,”Aden explained once he, Morag and Nicole were alone in the kitchen,“But I don’t think I can hide from this any longer.”

“Have you any idea what you’re going to do?”asked Morag.

“I think I need answers.”

“To what?”

Aden sighed.“To the fact that my dad slept with someone younger than Annie.I mean, would anyone really do that?”

“Well, I met a few,”Nicole observed.She noticed the way they were looking at her.“I didn’t take them up on it.”

“You intend to visit your dad?”Morag asked,“Attempt to discover the background to events?”

“I’m not sure I could face going back there again,”Aden admitted.

“Then that only seems to leave one alternative.”

Aden realised what she was referring to.“I can’t just turn up at Belle’s mum’s place and start asking her questions.”

“Well, I’ve done a few jobs for Detective Baker in the past.What if I were to act as a go-between, see if they mind having some guests for a while?”

“That’d be good, thanks.”As she headed off to make some phone calls, Aden looked at Nicole.“You can stay here if you like or go home.”

“Hey, you’re not leaving me with those two on my own.I started this trip with you, I’m going to see it through.”

He put an arm round her in a half-hug.“I appreciate it.”

“Besides, I’m not turning down a chance to meet Belle’s mum.”

There was a crowd of boys waiting at the bar when Ric, Matilda and Belle arrived, a buffet laid out in a corner.Ric went over to them.“Hey, guys.You know Matilda, don’t you?This is Belle, an old friend of ours.”He gestured to the guys in turn.“That’s Gaz, Col and Nick.”

“You came alone?”Mattie asked them.

“Girls are in the bathroom,”Col explained,“Others’ll be here soon.”

“Oh, looks like I’m going to be playing gooseberry all night,”Belle sighed.

“Well, I’m here on my own as well,”Gaz told her.

Belle smiled at him.“You’d better buy me a drink then.”

As the pair went off together, Matilda looked at Ric in concern.“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“She’s just having a good time,”Ric replied dismissively,“What’s the worst that can happen?”

“Thanks for having me again,”Aden noted as they were about to leave.

“As I said before, it has been an absolute pleasure,”Morag assured him,“You’re welcome here any time.”

“Notice you’re not saying that to me,”Nicole commented.

“Well, much as it has surprised me, Nicole, your presence here has not been the disaster I was expecting.”

“Thanks, Morag.You’re not so bad yourself for an old person.”

Morag looked at Aden, her expression strained.“You are sure you’ve got everything, haven’t you?Because I’d hate for you to have to come straight back.”She turned round as Ross came wandering through.“Ah, Ross?Our guests are leaving now.”

“Mmm?Oh yes.”Ross came over.“Good of you to pop round.”

“I’m looking forward to that fishing trip,”Aden told him.

Ross looked confused for a moment then nodded.“Yeah.Fishing.Next time.”He looked at Nicole.“And you, tell your younger sister to visit more often.”

“I will…sir.”Nicole glared at Aden.“I am expecting a lot of karma for this.”

Peter and Amanda’s house wasn’t far from the sheltered housing so Aden and Nicole didn’t take long to get there.Amanda answered the door and let them into the house.“It’s good to see you again, Aden.”

“Thanks.”Aden gestured to his companion.“This is Nicole, a friend of mine.”

Amanda nodded.“Pleased to meet you.”

Aden looked at Peter, remembering with embarrassment the various minor misdemeanours the police had pulled him up for.“Detective Baker.”

“Aden,”came the response.

“Is, er, Drew here?”

“No, he’s gone away with some mates.”

Aden was relieved at that.The last thing he wanted at the moment was to bump into one of Belle’s exes, especially one he’d never got on with.

“Actually, you’re in his room,”Amanda explained,“Nicole’s just down the hall.”

Ryan had been watching the conversation with interest.“So you’re Belle’s new brother?”

“Um, yeah, that’s right,”Aden confirmed.

“So does that make you my new brother too?”

Aden floundered for a moment and Amanda stepped in.“You know how Belle’s your half-sister, right? You’re both my children but you have different fathers?Well, Belle’s father is Aden’s father but I’m not his mother.Okay?”

“Okay,”Ryan accepted.

“Maybe you can show these two to their rooms?”

As they followed Ryan up the stairs, Nicole whispered to Aden,“I thought you wanted to talk to her?”

“In the morning, Nicole.”

“Wonder what Belle’s up to now?”

Belle was up against the wall behind the bar, Gaz kissing her.She felt his hand on her leg, moving upwards under her skirt and put her own hand on it, stopping him.“Don’t you want to?”he asked.

Belle swallowed hard, deliberating.“Not here,”she said at last.

“My place isn’t far.”

Belle paused a moment, then nodded.And let him lead her away.

Matilda came back inside and hurried over to Ric.“I can’t find her anywhere.And she’s not answering her mobile.”

“Belle’s a big girl, Mattie,”Ric assured her,“She can take care of herself.”

“Normally, yeah, but her head’s in a funny place at the moment.One of the guys said she left with Gaz.”

“So?Gaz is a mate of mine.He wouldn’t do anything to her.”

“I’m more worried about what she’d do to herself.”

Belle spent a long moment looking at Gaz, asleep next to her, then slipped out of the bed and began gathering up her clothes.She dressed as quickly and quietly as she could before making her way out the bedroom.

She got out of the flat into the corridor and pulled the door close behind her.Then she sank to the floor and sat there, hugging herself, sobs wracking her body.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.