At the penthouse Chloe, Belle and Mimi were upstairs in Belle's room wrapping the last of the presents.
"What's that, Chloe?" Belle picked up a box, which Chloe quickly snatched from her.
"It's nothing. Something I picked up tonight after Brady and I started on our way here."
"What is it?" Mimi tried to grab for it.
"Yeah, come on, Chloe," Belle prodded.
"Fine, fine, it's a pocket watch. For Craig. I thought it would be nice for him to have."
"Let us see," Belle quickly got it away from Chloe and opened it. She read the inscription. "Chloe? Is there something you're not telling me?" Belle passed the watch to Mimi.
"Ooh, spill, Chloe," Mimi laughed.
"We've become really good friends and I wanted to get him something special. I thought he'd like."
"With the inscription, ‘To Brady, I'll depend on you, Love Chloe', I think you're trying to say something Chloe. Even if you don't realize it," Belle said, handing the watch back.
"It was supposed to say ‘From Chloe'," she tried to excuse it.
"But what about the depending part?" Mimi raised her eyebrow, much in the fashion of John Black.
"It's part of a song we sang this summer."
"You sang?" It was Belle's turn to raise her eyebrow.
"Yes. And, you know, friends depend on each other."
"I still think you have feelings for Brady," Mimi shrugged.
There was a knock at the door.
"Come in," Belle said.
"Do you have all the wrapping paper, Tink?"
"Yes, I do. I thought you were done with your presents, Brady?"
"I found one more today while we were out," he answered picking up some paper and ribbon, leaving the room.
Belle picked up another role and quickly followed Brady into his room, closing the door behind her.
"Chloe likes this paper best," she said simply.
"What are you talking about, Tink."
"Brady, who else are you going to buy an ‘Encyclopedia of Opera' for? I'm not dumb. She got you something too, by the way." Belle smiled at him and left the room, going back to her guests.
The morning they were supposed to leave came and Brady was loading up the cars while his father went to stock up and this and that. Belle and Mimi were at Chloe's and would be back any second, ready to do.
Brady was packing his own things, after loading everyone else's, in his room.
From the doorway Marlena smiled. "My son, all grown up and in love."
He looked up from his task, "Oh, did you talk to Eric today?"
"I meant you, Brady."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you're my son just as much as Belle is my daughter. I know we've had our differences, but Brady, I do love you as though I had given birth to you myself."
"And about the being in love part. Well, anyone could see how much you and Chloe care for each other. Your father and I were talking about it last night, just how in love you two seem to be."
"Chloe's my best friend. That's all."
"I don't think that will last for long," she said smiling. "I don't think I'd be wrong in saying that you got her a gift for Christmas?"
"Take a chance, Brady. I think you'll be pleased with the results. Merry Christmas."
"Thanks," he said again. He meant it too.
The drive to Green Mountain went by quickly. The lodge was oddly quiet and empty, considering the season. In fact there were only a handful of guests. Every one had arrived as planned. The trip was now underway. The parents had decided that since their kids had become such good friends and so close that it would be nice to spend the holidays together.
They settled into their rooms and with some swift planning by John and Marlena, Brady and Chloe had adjoining rooms.
While flipping through channels there was a knock on Chloe's door that led to Brady's room.
"Come in, Brady!"
He walked in and she stared in awe. No matter what he always looked good to her.
"What are we watching?"
"Nothing, just flipping through."
"Usual Holiday fare?"
Without warning Belle stormed in followed by Shawn and Mimi.
"Isn't this amazing?" Belle sat on the bed next to Chloe.
"What, are you guys going out?" Brady noticed that the three of them had on their hats, coats, and gloves.
"Yup, and so are you," Mimi said.
"Yeah, if they're making me come, you have to, Brady," Shawn pleaded.
"To do what?" Chloe stood up and went for her coat.
"Snow ball fight out back," Belle squealed. "Girls against boys."
"That's an uneven number, Tink."
"Afraid you'll lose?" Chloe raised and eyebrow and smiled.
"Not at all. You girls are on. Prepare to be creamed."
"Prepare to bring me waffles in the morning," Chloe winked at Brady on her way out the door.
Philip paced in his room. Ever since that dream he couldn't shake the feeling that something was going on between Chloe and Brady. It was Christmas Eve and his dad and Nicole were downstairs enjoying their egg nog. He could sneak off without them even noticing and bring Chloe back in time for Christmas tomorrow morning. He knew when he told her how much she meant to him and how sorry he was she would take him back. Just one more time was all he needed to make her see how right they were for each other.
Outside their snowball fight ensued, with the girls winning and badly bruising Brady and Shawn's egos.
"Brady, Brady. When will you learn? First the bowling, then the skating, now this," Chloe said on their way in to dinner.
"Someday I will get you back for these things," he said.
"I think we should have a rematch. I don't know how yet, but I think you cheated," Shawn said.
"The poor boys are in denial," Belle sighed.
Every single one of them was to be eating at a local restaurant. The kids got there to find their parents, Sami, Will, and Austin already there.
"Well, well, what took you all so long?" John raised an eyebrow.
"We challenged Brady and Shawn to a snowball fight," Belle answered.
"Who won, darling?"
"We did," Mimi answered. "They got beat bad."
"They cheated," Shawn defended he and Brady.
The waitress came to their table and it was Brady's turn to order.
"I'll have pancakes, with every kind of topping you can find," he said.
She moved on to Chloe.
"Same thing," she winked at Brady.
"You must be hungry," Marlena said.
"Now, Chloe, you're right. There was the bowling, which I say was beginner's luck and Nancy, and there was the skating, and now the snow balls. But I'll bet I can down all of that food faster than you can," Brady challenged her.
"Chloe, I've never seen anyone eat as much as Brady," Belle warned.
"Yeah, don't do it, Chloe. You've beat him three times already," Mimi added.
"It's too easy of a contest," Shawn threw in. "It'd go to Brady by a long shot."
"Don't be so sure," Chloe answered. "You're on. But you still have to serve me breakfast in the morning."
"Don't worry, you'll get your waffles. I don't know if you'll want them after tonight, we might have to carry you out of here." Their food came and Brady and Chloe threw all of the toppings they could onto their pancakes.
"That's a lot of food," Hope said.
"You guys aren't going to be able to walk after this," Austin chuckled.
"Tink, count us down," Brady said, fork in hand, gaze directly to Chloe's eyes. He thought for a moment they seemed to be pleading with him for something.
"Five, four, three, two, eat," Belle said as the two dug into their pancakes.
The rest of the group went about eating their dinner and finally Brady and Chloe were almost done after only five minutes. Just a few bites left and they were already in pain.
Finally, after the last bite was gone on her plate, chewed, and swallowed, Chloe leaned back in her seat with a very intense feeling of nausea. Brady still had two bites on his plate.
"Chloe, you have my respect and admiration for the rest of my life," Shawn said in awe of what she had just done.
"I cannot believe you just did that," Belle added.
"I feel sick just watching," Mimi complained.
"Try having eaten all of that," Chloe quietly answered.
"I just don't get it," Brady smiled at Chloe, proud of her.
"You've met your match, son, and that's a fact."
"I guess I have," he was smiling at Chloe even more.
"I need to walk this off," Chloe said.
"I'll go with you, Brady offered.
"Go straight back to the lodge," Marlena told them.
"We will," Brady said, holding Chloe's coat while she put it on.
She smiled at him, and he at her. Despite her stomach ache she was still excited to be in his company, just the two of them.
They walked slowly, taking their time, her arm linked in his.
"You didn't have to do that, Chloe."
"I know. I wanted to. I have fun with our little contests."
"You're actually very competitive."
"I know," she laughed.
"I am proud of you, though. Think of it, my best friend, beats me at everything."
"Kind of destroys your theories on your being perfect, doesn't it?"
"Guess so. Congratulations, you have brought me down and shrunk my head."
"It's a nice head." There was an awkward silence. "Brady?"
"I got you something, for Christmas."
"I got you something."
"Really? Thank you."
"Wait until you open it."
"I was thinking that since we don't get anyone second guessing our relationship, thinking we're more than friends, that maybe we should open them tonight, just the two of us."
"That's a good idea."
They reached the lodge and went to get their presents for each other. Chloe knocked on the door to Brady's room and went in before he answered. She found him on the bed, waiting for her.
"What took you so long?"
"Very funny," she said sitting on the bed with him. She saw that next to him was a neatly wrapped, rectangular shaped item. In her hand was a small box.
"You first," he said handing it to her. It was heavy. She tore into the paper with a toddler's enthusiasm.
Upon seeing it's contents she grew a large smile and looked at him. He smiled too, knowing that beautiful smile was meant for him and him alone. He had made her happy.
"I love it Brady. I was going to buy it myself after Christmas. Thank you much," she said, hugging him. He held her close, letting the hug go on longer than it should have.
Finally, reluctantly letting go, he said to her, "Look inside."
Written inside in his handwriting, she read, "To the best friend I ever had, someday you'll be included in this book, love Brady."
"Thank you, so much, Brady."
"Well, what did you get me?"
"Impatient, aren't we?"
"Yes. Hand it over."
"Maybe not." Brady looked down and started to pout. "Fine, but only because I love your present so much."
"Thank you," he said opening the box and pulling out the watch. He opened it and read the inscription. "Thank you, Chloe. This is the best gift anyone has ever given me."
She leaned in to hug him. This time the hug lasted longer and when it was over she looked into his eyes and kissed him softly on the lips.
"Chloe, why did you do that?"
"I don't know."
He kissed her again, brushing his lips against hers, softly, it was a sweet kiss.
"Because I'm in love with you, Brady," she answered, resting her face into the palm of his strong, capable hand.
"I've been wanting to hear that from you for so long, Chloe."
"I'm in love with you. I've never felt this way about anyone. I never will."
She kissed him again, moving her hands to the back of his head, moving them through his hair.
Things progressed and they found themselves on his bed, making out.
"If I don't stop now, Chloe, I won't be able to."
"I don't want you to stop. I want you, Brady. I love you."
"I love you, Chloe."
They made love for the first time not caring about anything else in the world, but the two of them in that bed.
Afterwards, Chloe rested her head on Brady's chest.
"I'm glad we did that," she said.
"Belle knew something was going on between us."
"She told me. I told her she was wrong. I guess I was a little afraid of this. It's a new feeling. I like it, though."
"Me too. My dad and Marlena knew something was going on. She talked to me about."
"I'm happy you two seem to be getting along so well."
"Things are pretty good in the Black house right now."
Downstairs everyone else was coming back from dinner. Belle looked in the lobby and found Philip sitting in a chair.
"What are you doing here?" She hugged him.
"I had this really weird dream. I had to come and get Chloe and bring her back to Salem with me. Tonight. But the guy at the counter wouldn't give me her room number, so I was waiting for all of you."
"Philip, you and Chloe aren't together anymore," Mimi reminded him.
"If I can just explain it to her one more time I'm sure we'll be okay. I know it, I just need to talk to her. Please, where's her room."
"Come on. I don't think she'll go with you, but I guess you two should talk. In fact I know she won't go with you," Belle said heading upstairs with Mimi and Shawn following. She knocked on Chloe's door, but there was no answer.
In Brady's room he and Chloe began kissing and making love again.
"We'll try Brady's room, they left the restaurant together," Belle explained, knocking on Brady's door. He and Chloe didn't her it. Belle turned the knob and walked right in.
She and the rest were shocked to see Brady on top of Chloe, kissing her down her neck to her chest. Which immediately stopped when they realized that there were people in the room.
"You forgot to lock your door," Chloe said, covering herself with a sheet.
"You slut, I can't believe you've done this to me," Philip spewed before he walked out of the room.
Brady stood, taking a blanket with him. He went to the bathroom and walked out in a terry cloth robe, leaving the room and going after Philip. Knowing Brady and what was going to happen, Chloe went to her room and grabbed her robe and followed him. Shawn, Belle, and Mimi were still standing in shock. They quickly followed after Chloe who found Philip and Brady in the lobby, fighting. Brady's lip was bleeding, but he had the upper hand.
"Stop it, Philip, stopping hitting him," Chloe cried. Shawn ran forward and pulled Philip away, although he was still trying to get at Brady. Chloe went to Brady and took his face in her hands and wiped the blood from his lips.
"What the hell is going on down here?" Bo went to intervene, followed by John, Marlena, and Hope.
"I can't believe I was stupid enough to come here to get you. You're nothing but a whore. The thing I regret is wasting my time with you. A year! Didn't take you long to slip into bed with my nephew. How was it, bitch?"
"Philip, calm down," Marlena tried to smooth him.
"No, no, I'm not going to calm down. That bastard stole my girlfriend."
"I am not your girlfriend, Philip. I haven't been for months. We broke up because I can't trust you."
"Like I can trust you? Look at what you did tonight."
"You don't need to trust me. I don't love you, you have no claim on me."
"He's just going to hurt you and when that happens I'm not going to be there to take you back when you come crawling."
"You don't hurt people you love," Brady said.
Philip looked at every one of them in disgust before leaving.
"I hope he gets back okay," Mimi said.
"I'll call Victor," Bo volunteered.
Hope, no one had noticed go off, returned with some ice for Brady's lip and handed it to Chloe.
"Thanks," both Chloe and Brady said as she took the ice to his lip.
"What happened here?" John looked at his son.
"How did Philip get here?" Chloe was still taking care of Brady, kissing him on the forehead.
"He said he had a dream and was coming to take you back to Salem. I told him you wouldn't go, but I thought you guys should at least talk. When you weren't in your room I went to Brady's door and it was unlocked. We really didn't meant to walk in on you two," Belle apologized.
"It's okay, Tink. How could you have known."
"What exactly did Philip and you all walk in on?" John glared at his son.
"I'm tired, I'm going to get ready for bed. Come on, Mimi," Belle excused them. Shawn followed.
"I think it's time we turned in too," Bo and Hope turned away.
"Are you both alright?" Marlena squeezed Brady's hand to let him know things were okay.
"We're fine, thanks Marlena," Brady smiled.
"What were you two doing that got Philip so upset?"
"John," Marlena cautioned. It finally dawned on her husband as he looked and saw his son and Chloe on their bathrobes, their hair slightly mussed.
"Just be careful," he warned.
Late into the night Chloe snuck downstairs, not being able to sleep. She found Marlena sitting in a chair in the lobby, reading a book.
"Couldn't sleep?" Marlena put her book down upon noticing Chloe enter.
"No, not really. Too much excitement I guess," she sat down in the chair next to Marlena's.
"Things will calm down tomorrow."
"Are you okay with Brady and I together?"
"Chloe, Brady is my son whether I gave birth to him or not. I want him to be happy. You make him happy, you have my approval and my support. And, if you'd like, I'd be happy to talk to your mother about this."
"I'm not looking forward to telling her I'm in a relationship with Brady. She went crazy with Philip. Now a man from the same gene pool. It won't go over well. It won't matter to her that I'm in love with him."
"You're in love with Brady?"
"Are you sure? What about your feelings for Philip?"
"I loved Philip. I don't anymore, and I was never in love with him. I think I felt like I owed Philip because he was my first kiss, my first date, my first boyfriend. I've never felt with anyone what I do with Brady. It's this amazing feeling of contentment and excitement all at once. I'm at peace knowing he's there, but I can't wait to hear what he has to say next. I go to sleep thinking about him, I dream about him, and then when I wake up I'm still thinking about him. He's my best friend, more than anyone has ever been because he understands me on so many levels."
"I suppose you are in love with him. He feels the same. I see it when he looks at you and when someone mentions your name. I've never seen him light up when talking about anyone but you."
"I haven't gotten the chance to talk to Belle about this. Do you think she'll be okay? She's my best friend, besides Brady, and I don't want to lose that."
"I think that she'll be fine with it. Especially when she sees how happy the two of you are together. You two can talk in the morning."
"Thanks, Dr. Evans," Chloe smiled.
"Anytime, dear. And call me Marlena."
"Thank you. I'm going to try and get to sleep now."
"Good night, Chloe. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," Chloe said as she went up to her room. She went in and took off her robe and was about to climb into bed when there was a knock on the door. She went to open it and found Belle standing there in her robe.
"Hi," Belle said walking in.
"Can we talk?"
"Sure. I wanted to talk to you too," Chloe sat on her bed and Belle followed.
"I saw you down with my mom so I knew you were up."
"Yeah, I couldn't sleep."
"Listen, Chloe, I am really, really sorry for walking in on you and Brady. That's the last thing I wanted to see and I didn't mean to bring Philip in either."
"It's okay, Belle. That isn't how I wanted you to find about Brady and I."
"How did that happen, Chloe?"
"I honestly don't know. One minute we're just hanging out and the next thing I know we're telling each other that we're in love and then we're making love."
"Now, if it were any other guy I'd be asking a million questions, but since it's my brother, I'm only asking one. Is Brady your first?"
"Yes. Belle, I need to ask you something?"
"What is it?"
"I'm worried that you think I'm going to hurt Brady. I mean, the casual observer would think that after Philip I might just be using Brady, but I'm not. I honestly am in love with him. I would never hurt him and I want to know if you think that's what I'm going to do."
"I trust you, Chloe. I don't think you'll hurt Brady. And you both are happy together, even when you're just friends. But if you ever hurt him I will never forgive you."
"Just wait until you two get married and I get to be an aunt again!"
"Slow down, we just got together."
"I know, I know."
After talking for a few more minutes they went to sleep. In the morning after showering and getting ready Chloe answered a knock on her door to find Brady standing there with mistletoe.
"Well, well, I was just thinking about you," she said before kissing him.
"Good thing I got here when I did."
"I love you."
"I love you. My prince came."
"After we sang ‘I'm Wishing' and ‘One Song' I sang ‘Someday My Prince Will Come' and he came. This is my fairy tale."
"I watched you sing. I was mesmerized. What's left now, riding off on a white horse?"
"Fine by me, as long as you're there."