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Story Title: Breathe

Type of story: One shot

Main Characters: Aden and Belle

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama, love

Does story include spoilers: I think everyone knows it by now .. the belle one

Any warnings: not really

Summary: What happens when the love of your life dies ? How are you supposed to go on?

This one is for Elainea aka tessalove for all her help and because she was the first one to ever read this

Italics are thoughts and memories

The whole house was a dump. Beer bottles lined the floor; greasy pizza boxes crowded the table. When Belle had been around, I kept the house tidy. It saved us both tidying it later. But now she was gone, and it didn’t matter. No one else came into the house, only Nicole and Morag still bothered to try. I had successfully managed to push away everyone who had ever loved and cared for me, but I didn’t care. They couldn’t make me forget about my dead wife.

I had married her despite her illness. I couldn’t bear to leave her while she was alive. She was my other half, still is. That position will always belong to her. No one, no matter how hard they try, will ever take her place. There is no point even trying to love someone else. It won’t be the same; it won’t be amazing, and breathtaking and miraculous. It won’t be life changing. I have only one other half and I had lost her.

Disease had taken her from me. I wouldn’t even mind if we were just broken up. At least she would still be alive and breathing. I could still see her smiling face every day, and my heart would still jump up into my throat. I would easily take the break up pain over this, the never ending cycle of heartbreak and tears.

I am the only one that still remembers her. Everyone else has moved on. They have lives to life, other people to care for. My life was snatched away from me, in less than two weeks. I thought she was fine, just stressed, and then she was dying.

All this pain, all this suffering, is worth it though. I can’t imagine ever living without loving her. Even though she is gone, I don’t want to change meeting her. I can’t bring myself to regret meeting her. I just wish I could go back to the night she died in my arms. Maybe I could have saved her. Maybe I could have gone with her.

Tonight is a night like any other night. I have drunk way too much, trying to drink myself into oblivion. It hasn’t worked, it never does. I’m out of beer though. I have drunk about 40 bottles of beer in the last 4 nights. I get into Belle’s tiny blue car. Geoff still hasn’t been around to collect it. I head off, driving way too fast. The roads are still winding, as I push my foot harder onto the accelerator. I want to get this trip over and done with. I hate going out. People alternate between looking at me with sympathetic eyes, and expecting me to already be over Belle.

The tree comes out of nowhere. I try and shift my foot to the brake but my reflexes are slow, and I can’t move fast enough. I should have listened to the don’t drink and drive campaigns, but I don’t care. It’s kind of a relief. I’m going way too fast, the crash will be severe. It’s late at night; no one will find me till morning. I will have bled out by that time, but I feel no pain. I just feel closure, I feel closer to Belle than I have in a long time.

I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the tree coming at me. I just picture my beautiful wife, in her wedding dress. The happiest day of our lives. Even though there was so much pain, I was immensely happy. Our lives were finally coming together.

The crash echoed in my ears. It was an awful noise but I didn’t care. Everything was finally coming together. I was getting closer to my wife.

I held her tight, as we watched the sunset. I couldn’t look at her face, it hurt me too much. There were dark circles under her eyes, but she still radiated beauty. I didn’t want to let her go. She meant too much to me. She asked me to take her for a walk. I could never deny her anything she wanted. I was afraid that she wouldn’t be strong enough, but I had to do what she asked. I was right though. The walk was too much for her. I had to carry her back to Irene’s and we spent her last night in her old bed. It was kind of a full circle. Belle had come so far. She had made her way to Summer Bay, been taken in by Irene, got married and moved in with me, and then it was back to Irene. She even asked me to leave the window open, for her. I should have known then. I feel guilty every day. I shouldn’t have let her walk with me. It’s my fault.

Heat surrounds me. It is coming from every area of the car. It’s burning me, but I still don’t feel pain. Instead, the flames are caressing me, protecting me from the pain of my everyday life.

Her funeral was beautiful, if you can call it that. Everyone was sad, they missed her, wanted her back in their lives. I had no more tears to cry. Irene made a heartfelt speech and I could hear everyone choking back tears and sobs. No one understood what I was going through though. They all felt sorry for me, pity because I had lost my wife. But in their opinion, I was young, I would be able to get over Belle, be able to move on, to look at another woman with love in my eyes.

I could hear the tinkling of glass all around me. Footsteps were coming closer and I could hear voices in the background. I didn’t want to hear voices. I wanted to be alone with my memories. I wanted to spend time with Belle. The footsteps just kept coming closer, until I could feel someone trying to pull me out of the car. I couldn’t manage to make them stop, and then everything went black.

I woke up a few hours later, but I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t properly open my eyes. All I could see was darkness. All I could hear was the beeping of machines.

I sat on the steps, surrounded by gardens. Belle would have loved this place. It was peaceful. It hadn’t yet been destroyed. Nicole came up beside me. I could tell it was her straight away. She was hesitant, not sure if she should interrupt me. In the end, she just decided to hand me a red balloon. I held on tight to the string. Belle had ordered those balloons. It was one of my last links to her. I couldn’t let it go. It would be letting Belle go as well.

A hand gripped mine.

“Aden, its Nicole. I was being driven home from a party and we saw your car. You’re going to be okay Aden. Rachel says that you’re in a coma. There is nothing medically wrong with you. You just have to wake up. It’s all up to you Aden.”

The balloon was like a lifeline to me. I could feel it slipping through my fingers, just like I had let Belle slip through my fingers. We had been this close to a happily ever after, but it was gone. Destroyed. I let go of the balloon and it drifted gracefully into the sky. I knew that forever onwards, I would be watching that red balloon float away from me.

I could feel more pressure on my hand.

“Aden, I know life hasn’t been too great for you recently but it will get better. Just open your eyes Aden. Rachel says if you don’t wake up within the next twenty four hours, you will have brain damage, and if you don’t wake up within forty eight hours, I have to turn off the life support.”

All I had to do was survive another forty eight hours of this hell and I would be with my precious Belle.

One hour in:

She had never been interested in me. She thought I was more trouble than good, but I liked her. She had a feisty, prickly attitude and it intrigued me. Nicole could tell straight away that I liked Belle. I think she was a bit annoyed. I had always thought I would end up with Nicole, it just seemed natural, but I loved her like a sister. Belle was something different. Even though she wouldn’t go out with me, I could see myself spending the rest of my life with her.

Four hours in:

I was drunk and had nowhere else to go. Her window was open; I could see the curtains billowing in the wind. I don’t know what had drawn me to her house but I was kind of glad I was there. I felt calmer just because I was closer to her. I managed to climb through her window and scare her half to death. She made me sleep on the floor, but I didn’t care. It felt like silk to me. She was so close I could hear each breath she took, every rustle of the sheets as she moved. It was then that I realised I couldn’t live without Belle Taylor. I wouldn’t even mind sleeping on the floor.

Eleven hours in:

I told her that I didn’t want to sleep with her, that she had slept with every guy in Summer Bay. I could feel my heart breaking, and I could see the pain in her eyes but I couldn’t stop myself. It was like I was trapped in my body, unable to control the words spilling out of my mouth. Again, it was my grandfather’s fault. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Belle Taylor, but he was holding me back, even though he was long gone.

Thirteen hours in:

She accepted a date with Angelo. She had come to me first, asking me what the problem was, but I just ignored her. When I saw her with Angelo, my dreams shattered. All of a sudden, I couldn’t see myself and Belle in a beach house, surrounded by the pitter patter of children’s feet. Angelo suddenly replaced me. I couldn’t let it happen, so I told her the truth. She may not be able to love me after my confession, but I had tried my hardest.

Sixteen hours in:

Belle Taylor was the girl of my dreams. I told her all about my grandfather, but she didn’t look disgusted. She didn’t pull away. Instead, she pulled me closer, and hugged me while I cried. No one would ever be able to come close to her.

Twenty one hours in:

I tried to kill my father, and held Rachel and Belle hostage. We broke up; despite the fact she told me she loved me. She moved on with Angelo, and I tried to hate her, but I couldn’t. She owned my heart and I couldn’t switch off my feelings. Love, however, is a very powerful thing, and the cop didn’t get between us.

Twenty four hours in:

My brain is starting to go blank. I’m having trouble retaining information. Names, faces, dates and memories are drifting out of my head. I can no longer remember who is sitting next to me, clinging onto my hand. All I can hear are sobs. All the edges are going fuzzy, fading away, except the edges concerning Belle Taylor. She still has the ability to overpower my senses. I can still remember her smell; it fills up my nose. She smells like mint toothpaste, and lavender shampoo. I can still remember the way she feels; it’s as if I’m still holding her hand. Her skin is perfectly smooth, and always, always warm. Her voice is ringing in my ears. It’s like music to me, like a perfect melody. I don’t know how I managed to live that long without her. And the way she looks still shocks me into silence. She is the most beautiful person in the world to me.

Thirty two hours in:

She got addicted to drugs. I tried to help her but she couldn’t stop. My beautiful, independent, strong girlfriend didn’t exist anymore. I broke up with her, and slept with Nicole. For a while, Nicole and Liam Murphy got between us, but then I realised that I still loved her. She was my soul mate.

Thirty five hours in:

I got beaten up by the money shark, trying to pay off an engagement ring. Belle found out, and proposed to me. We were happy, blissfully happy. I didn’t notice that Belle was getting thinner, the bags beneath her eyes bigger. I thought it was just stress. Again, I was picturing picket fences, beach houses, and little children running around. And then, the night before our wedding, I found out she was dying. I left her in the hospital and went home. I cried all night, while she begged to be let in. I forbade Nicole from opening the door. It felt like I was dying. I had let Belle Taylor into my life and she had become another part of me. Half of my body, heart and soul was dying and I didn’t know how to cope.

Thirty seven hours in:

I almost didn’t show for our wedding. She was telling people that the wedding was off, when I came out behind her. It was a letter from Roman that changed my mind. Belle Taylor still took my breath away, and I couldn’t leave her. She may have been leaving me but that wasn’t her fault. Our wedding was small and simple, at the most beautiful location I have ever seen. We went to Broome for our honeymoon but came home early.

Forty three hours in:

I was next to her when she spilled the news to Annie, Geoff and Irene. It spread like wildfire around Summer Bay. Everyone was saddened, even the people who didn’t know her well. Suddenly, we were comforting many people, but all I wanted was to be alone with Belle.

Forty eight hours in:

I woke up one morning, and she wouldn’t wake up. She wouldn’t stir in my arms. I was alone, in all senses of the word. I was thankful for all the time I had been able to spend with her but at the same time; I knew I couldn’t live without her. I, Aden Jeffries, am addicted to Belle Taylor.

I had to turn off the life support machine. I never would have thought that I, Nicole Franklin, would have been Aden’s next of kin.

It was a small, simple and dignified funeral. Aden wouldn’t have wanted anything else. It was held at the same place as Belle’s. He was cremated, and the ashes were scattered between their wedding spot and the place they viewed the last sunset.

Aden Jeffries had gone for a late night drive, well over the legal alcohol limit and the speed limit. He had crashed into a tree. The car had been on fire, and he hadn’t even attempted to get out. I sat by his beside, telling him that it was up to him to wake up, and he didn’t. He had nothing left to live for.

Aden Jeffries and Belle Taylor shared an epic love. Abuse, attempted murder, kidnapping, Angelo, drugs, myself (Nicole), Liam Murphy and death could tear them apart.


My eyes finally open. I have no idea where I am. All I can see is an endless stretch of pristine beach and beautiful water. Suddenly, everything comes rushing back to me.

But then, I see a figure on the horizon, and I know everything is going to be OK.

Standing in her wedding dress, is Belle Taylor. Her feet are bare, her hair is let down and she looks more beautiful than ever before. My heart stops beating for a second, before I run towards her.

A smile lights up her face, and she looks radiant. Belle opens up her arms, and we embrace, not wanting to move apart.

“I’m so sorry for leaving you” she whispered in my ear

“Nothing can keep us apart Belle”, I whispered back

We eventually separated, but held on tightly to each other’s hands.

We walked off, slowly, not rushing, as we had all of eternity to spend together.


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