Shirley’s father’s death challenges her on how she feels about Lelouch.
Lelouch arrives after the show ends on a cold rainy night. When he counters Shirley there is obviously something wrong. Shirley acts with her emotion and is all over the place. Confused, angry, and sad Shirley cries in Lelouch’s arms asking for help and cements it with a kiss.
It’s hard to say for sure if this was a declaration of love since Shirley told Lelouch on the next day to forget about it and that she acted impulsively.
Mao did tell her that she took advantage of her father’s death to make advances on Lelouch. But Mao always digs deep into people’s subconscious to pull out the most messed up thoughts so it’s hard to take that with a grain of salt.
Kissing and getting embarrassed is one way to show love for someone but there is another. The other way is by your actions. During the battle at the Port Yokosuka.
Villetta was able to get to Lelouch after Suzaku destroys his KMF. Villetta told Shirley she would be awarded for this but then realizes too late that Shirley was his girlfriend.
I always thought that Villetta was just dumb to not look into Shirley’s relationship with Lelouch. But it is possible that she never saw them together so she just assumed they are just classmates or friends. If that happened then it would have been accurate so it’s hard to completely fault Villetta here.
Now back to the scene and Shirley shoots Villetta to protect Lelouch. Later on, in R2 Shirley tells Suzaku that she forgave Lelouch for what he did. I do not know if this act at the port was proof of that or if that was something that happens later. But it was something that I was thinking about.
What I can say is that Shirley cared so much for Lelouch that she was willing to kill another for him. They say you would kill to protect those you love. So you can argue that early as Stage 13 Shirley loved Lelouch.
And Shirley only loves Lelouch Lamperouge at this point since she never brings up Nunnally. Which is the one that Lelouch cares the most about and is his reason for living.
Also, we learn in the picture drama for stage 3 that Milly explains to Kallen, Shirley, and Nina that Lelouch loves Nunnally the most. So Shirley was aware of this but never brought it up with Lelouch.