Title:Past, Present and Future
Written:18 July, 1999 - 8 November, 1999
Rating: M15+ - just a few naughty words here and there, also if you're really young you prolly shouldn't read it either.
Category: Romance, crime, and death...
Author's Notes: OMG!!! I've finally finished this fic... I'm so excited! And so should you [all nearly 140 of you!] that are about to read this. Some parts of the fic are just a "tad" unrealistic, but hey, it *could* happen... maybe. Anyways, now to the ever recurring topic of FEEDBACK! Basically, it's compulsory. I *could* give a sermon on how it fuels thought and inspiration etc... But I won't bore you cause you've heard it all before, so I'll just do this. Until I get sufficient feedback from each part, I won't be sending the next part, and there are a lot of parts... 15 to be exact. I can hear you thinking OMG! But it's a good fic in my opinion, so please guys, anyone out there READ! READ! READ! And send me that feedback, or you'll never know what happens!! - I know you can do it, cause you guys rock!
As thus enduth my begging!
Summary: people die, people re-unite, and people lose something important to them. A crime is committed. And a big shock is revealed [it's something that you'll never suspect!]
Dedication: Hmmm... A few dedications… Obviously, Jaye, Sim and Anna for obvious reasons, but also to Ness, cause she a funky-doobie and guys, you all rock! I think I'll also dedicate it to Channel Seven, cause basically I'm a suck and I thought the 250th episode was fabulous, and just incase you were wondering I was near the end of part 11 when it aired [just a useless bit of info for you!]
Hmm, and to the Brissie Chicks, Pippa and Kylie, the Brissie fund is looking healthier by the week! J
Disclaimer: Okay, we all know it. Suzie doesn't own them. She never will, never. Unless of course... no, well just maybe I will get them for my birthday, or Christmas... or... Hell, that's just wishful thinking isn't it? They're Hal's and Seven's and Southern Star's. Not fair, is it? [See the very end for more disclaimer!]
Past, Present and Future
I'm looking for a friend today,
A friend who'll never stay away.
I want one friend, or maybe two,
But I want a friend who's just like you.
I'm looking for a friend, you see,
A friend who needs someone like me.
I want this friend, I really do,
But I want a friend who's just like you.
I'm looking for a friend sincere,
A friend who'll always bring good cheer.
I want a friend who wants me too,
But I want a friend who's just like you.
I'm looking for a friend who's good,
Who'll do the things a kind friend should.
I want a friend who's happy too,
But I want a friend who's just like you.
I'm looking for a loving friend,
Who will not let our friendship end.
I want a friend who's always true,
I think I've found my friend - IT'S YOU!
"So, would you like to begin where we left of last time?" Annie gestured for her to take a seat on the couch opposite her.
"I guess so." The young woman sat down and crossed her legs, which were closely followed by her arms.
"You're still very defensive, you going to tell me what you're scared of?"
"I'm not scared of anything."
"No, of course not. You just sit like that all the time then, why?" Annie was becoming sarcastic.
She hated that.
"Fine, maybe I am defensive. But, I can't help it. It's all his fault, bastard." She spat the last word out hoping that hate was entering her voice, she failed.
"Hey, slow down, tell me."
"Well, we loved each other, once. We still do I guess, to some extent. I mean, I care about him so much, but he's not even here anymore, he left. And with another woman for crying out loud. He made a promise to me. He told me that he loved me. And the stupid thing is I believed him. He told me that I was the one. How innocent I am."
"Don't blame yourself, you couldn't have known. A lot of people, women, get told the same type of things and believe them." Interrupted Annie.
"But he was different. So different. He, he loved me, I know that he did. He would do anything for me. And he did. He gave up something so important to himself, and for me. Then he left. I sometimes wonder, no I always wonder if I could have done something different to keep him here. Maybe if I hadn't let him give up his job things would be alright now. If, if." Annie interrupted her again.
"Stop right there, never, I repeat never blame yourself."
"He was so kind to me, he would treat me like a princess. He *did* love me. He did."
"Okay, I believe you. But to me it sounds like you're trying to convince yourself."
"No, no I am not."
"Then what is it, tell me, it's what you're here for, remember."
"It's the past, that's the problem, I *do* want to move on with my life, but my heart is still with him, in the past."
"What would you do if he walked in her now?"
"I'd slap him then hug him tightly and never let him leave."
Annie raised her eyebrows.
"Are sure that's what you'd do Maggie?"
"I've been seeing you for 9 months now, and you never stop surprising me. When we first met, you were so timid and shy. But, you've evolved. And you've only ever spoken badly of him a dozen times. And then only when provoked."
"I love him Annie, I love him."
I know I let you down
Again and again
I know I never really treated you right
I've paid the price
I'm still paying for it everyday
The young girl ran to answer the phone at the order of her mother.
'Iz!' The stern voice was heard from the kitchen.
'Sorry, Hello, Isabel speaking, can I help you?' The voice on the other end of the phone chuckled.
'Um, I'm looking for a Maggie Doyle, is she there?'
'Hang… oops won't be a moment sir.' Isabel spoke curtly and placed the phone on the table and ran to get her mother.
'Mum, it's for you!'
'Who is it?'
'Well…' Isabel picked up the phone once again.
'Can I ask who's calling please…' She turned to face her mother.
'Who is it?'
'Someone called PJ!' Isabel shrugged and turned back to her bedroom. Maggie stood looking at the phone for several moments before picking it up.
'PJ… it's Maggie.'
'I know, I could never forget your voice.'
'I've missed you.'
'I've missed you too, that’s kind of why I rang. I don't hate you, I never could.'
'I thought that you hated me and that’s why you left.'
'No… that's not it at all.'
'But PJ, you left me, and you left with another woman.'
'How could you?' Hurt filled Maggie's voice, and PJ could see the tears through the phone.
'Don't cry Maggie, please. I did it for you.'
'No you didn't. You did it for yourself. You left the force, for… no because of me, and you resent me for it. And you still do.' PJ looked down at his shoes as he heard Maggie sobbing quietly over the phone.
'No, you don't guess PJ.' Maggie's voice was laced with hurt and anger. 'You left me for another woman, and you *willingly* gave up your position in the force. Didn't you?'
PJ nodded and then spoke realising she couldn't see him.
'Yes I did. I left for you though Maggie, but, then, then I wanted to leave, it was right for me. But now…'
'It's not, and you do hate me for it.'
'No, no. I don't hate you, I will never, ever, EVER, hate you, you understand?' Tears continued flowing down Maggie's cheeks.
'Maggie? I love you, still, I never stopped loving you, I never will stop loving you.'
'PJ, why all this, why now? Why not ten years ago. I mean, you've waited this long and you come back and tell me you still love me, why?'
'Cause Maggie, its my mum...'
'Mum… The Smiths are here to pick me up! Am I right to go?' Isabel ran in interrupting PJ.
'Excuse me for a minute PJ…' Maggie put down the phone composed herself and went to the door with her daughter. 'Have a great time honey, now, if you want to come home, you ring, okay?' Isabel nodded and ran down the path, turning to wave at her mother before jumping in. Maggie watched the car disappear before going back inside to the phone call. Taking a deep breath she picked it up again.
'Sorry about that.'
'How old is she?'
'Oh right.' Conversation was suddenly lost, words that were flowing so freely before had disappeared. Questions of PJ's appearance also forgotten.
'I still love you too PJ. But you hurt me very much. And I'm still angry with you, you have to understand that. I will be angry for a long time. But I haven't and will not ever stop loving you, ever.'
'I know I hurt you, Maggie it's been nearly 10 years. I really want to see you again, please?'
'Not yet Peej let me get used to the idea of you wanting to be back in my life first. Okay?'
'Anything, but I really want to and need to see you, I miss you like crazy, and it's taken me this long to ring you. I wanted to the first night I… I…'
'The first night you left me?'
'Yeah. But I just couldn't, I thought it would be better if we made a clean break.'
'You were wrong.'
'Yeah, I was.'
'PJ I have to go, I've got a lot of things to do, and dinner's on the stove.'
'Okay, you expecting anyone?'
'PJ!' Maggie cut him of harshly and then softened. 'I'm not seeing anyone, it's just me tonight, Isabel's got a sleep-over.'
'I'm not seeing any-one either… Would you like some company.' Maggie gave a small laugh.
'My very first instinct is to say yes, but I know it's the wrong one, for now. But soon, 'kay?'
'It's been *really* good hearing from you.'
'Yeah, me too.'
'Yep, I'm sorry Maggie, I really am.'
'Yeah, I know. See-ya.'
Maggie sighed as she hung up the phone, she didn't even get his number. He'd call back though, she hoped.
Sometimes I wish that I could turn back time
I check myself 'cause I was out of line
I only hope that we can start all over again
END PART ONE
'He rang me the other night Annie. He said that he was sorry… and I believe him. Is that stupid?'
'No,' Annie shook her head. 'What else did he say?'
'He wants to see me again, that night in fact, but I said no, I needed time to get my head around him being back in my life.'
'Did you ask why he rang now?' Maggie shook her head and looked at her watch.
'Oh Shit, I've got a meeting for Izy at school I completely forgot. Sorry… I've ah, I've got to go!'
'That's fine Maggie, it'll give me a chance to catch up on paper work.' Annie smiled at her and watched her run out the door. Shaking her head Annie rose and went over to her desk.
Maggie got home that night to two messages blinking on her answering machine, pressing the button she moved around the lounge taking of her shoes and tidying up.
'Hi, ah Mags, it's me… PJ. I'm sorry to ring again, so soon, actually it's probably good I got the machine in a way. Um…' Maggie could hear PJ thinking, trying to remember why he rang. 'Oh yeah, I just thought, I'd give you my number, so when you're ready, you can call me. Cause the last thing I want to do is to push you right now. God knows I did enough of that when I was in Mt. Thomas. Remember those day's Mags? They were great. Out on the job together. Catching the bad guys. Trying avoid Dash and Nicks and even Chrissy's constant prodding. Trying to find out if we were together. We thought we had them all fooled, didn't we? I loved that time Maggie, I did, honestly. And I miss it so much. I'd give *everything* to go back. And turn back the clock…' PJ's voice suddenly went silent. 'Look Mags I've probably taken up the whole tape. I'll hear from you soon hey? I lo…' The machine cut him off. Beeping it went to the second message.
'Mags it's me again, I just realised that I didn't even give you my number, I'll keep this short and sweet.' PJ rambled of his number and took a deep breath. 'Please call.' He sounded so sincere as he hung up. Maggie sat down on the couch and closed her eyes.
She was soon interrupted by Isabel skipping down the hallway.
'I'm home! I had the best day today. Jenny and Anna asked me to play with them on the slides! And then Mrs. Booth said that she wanted to put my painting up and, and…'
'Slow down honey, come give me a hug and take a breath.' Isabel skipped over to her mother and threw her arms around her planting a kiss on her cheek in the process.
'Mmm?' Maggie stood up again leaving her daughter sitting on the couch and once again began cleaning the room.
'How come you're home so early? You normally get Mrs. Smith to drop me off way later than this!'
'I finished early today, besides. I had that appointment at school… *remember*?'
'Oh yeah… oops! I'm not in trouble am I?' Isabel looked up innocently at Maggie.
'No,' she laughed. 'Just a check-up thing, although your last Math's test wasn't fantastic, was it?'
'No… well, you see…'
'No excuses now. The truth please!'
'Yes Mum. I just, it was. I forgot! I'm sorry, I'll try again harder, I promise I will. Now can I go get changed and have a snack and then go over to Anna's place cause she wants me to go and watch a video with her. And then she said that Jenny was going over after ballet and then the three of us are going to start this secret club. And no boys are allowed in it. Cause boys are yucky. And, and we don't like boys. None from our class anyway. Except Jenny likes Billy in Miss. Kelly's class. But Billy doesn't like Jenny. He likes Pippa. And…'
'Izy, honey, take a breath.' Maggie shook her head as she laughed.
'Don't you wanna hear Mum?'
'Want to… and yes I do, just pace yourself.'
'That's fine… now go get changed out of your school stuff whilst I make a phone call, okay?'
'Yep, can I have some chocolate milk later? Or did you forget to buy it again?'
'Sorry honey, I forgot. Tomorrow I'll grab some after work, 'kay?'
'Mum!' Isabel scowled at her mother and stomped down the hallway to her bedroom. Maggie sighed and sunk back down onto the couch, deciding against ringing PJ that night. Her peacefulness was interrupted moments later by her daughter skipping down the hallway, the argument about the milk long forgotten.
'Mmmm?' Maggie opened one eye and looked at her without moving.
'Who was that man that rang last night? PJ? I've heard his name before.' Maggie sat up and opened her eyes, knowing she couldn't put it off any longer.
'He was someone I worked with a very long time ago, before you were born.'
'Was he a police man?'
'Kind of, a detective, like Mr. Stewart is.'
'Oh, is he still a police man?'
'I don't know.'
'Was he your boy-friend?' Izy looked over at Maggie with a cheeky grin on her face.
'Yes he was.' Maggie chuckled.
'I thought that Mr. Tom didn't want you to be boyfriends with the men you work with.'
'How did you know that?'
'I'm clever.' Maggie raised her eyebrows and waited for the real answer. 'Uncle Nick told me.'
'What else did Uncle Nick tell you? Or Dashy for that matter?'
'Not much. Am I allowed to go to Anna's house now?'
'Sure, but don't be very long and is Anna's mum going to bring you home?'
'Yep, otherwise I will ring you, 'kay?' She nodded as Izy kissed her on the cheek and skipped down the hallway and out the door. She got up and followed her watching her skip down the street and into Anna's yard.
She turned back into the house to hear the phone ringing.
'Hello, Maggie speaking… Ben.' Her heart dropped just a little, she was hoping it was PJ, again.
'Yeah, Mags, can you start early tomorrow?'
'Aw, why this time?'
'Jo's had to go back home, something with her father, he's in hospital. An old lady had a heart attack and ran into him. She's okay but I think Jo's Dad has a few broken bones.'
'Sure thing Ben, see tomorrow.'
'Mags, you still there?'
'Would you like to come over for dinner tonight? Bring Izy, Emma and Madeline are dying to see her again.'
'No Ben, I can't.'
'Maggie, is it me or what?'
'No,' Maggie shook her head. 'No it's not you, it's just.'
'It can't still be PJ can it?'
'Yeah it Ben, it is… look I gotta go, I'll see ya tomorrow.'
Maggie put the phone down and sighed. She'd have to call him sooner or later, later sounded a lot better. But sooner was fairer, not that she was very fair to him, but then again...
She picked up the phone and dialed his number, it seemed quite familiar, then again so did everything about PJ.
'Hi, we can't come to the phone right now, but leave your name and number and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.' Answering machine… who was we?
'Hi, ah, PJ it's Maggie. You know the number, please call me I really wanna…'
'Mags! Sorry I just got home, I was with Mum.'
'No that's okay, is your Mum okay?' She heard him go quiet all of a sudden. 'PJ? You there?'
'Yeah, she's not okay. She had another heart attack she ran into this man. But it's her third one, she's not going to make it this time Maggie. I'm so scared.'
'Oh PJ, I'm so sorry. I know how much you love her. You'd always do anything for her, to make her happy.'
'That's one of the reasons why I rang the other day Maggie, I need your help.'
'Don't say that yet, it's a lot to ask. But please consider it.'
'What is it PJ?'
'I want you to come and see Mum, and for her sake, just pretend that we're together. She knew that you used to make me happy, well you still do. She told me…' His voice started breaking. 'She told me that all she wanted was for me to be happy, with you again and I couldn't tell her no Mags I'm sorry. Please?'
'You're right PJ, that is a lot to ask… You want me to pretend that we're back together to make your mum happy?'
'Before she dies, which, which, is going to be soon. Please Maggie, I wouldn't ask if there was any other way you know that. I need you right now… please I'm begging you, one last favor, and after that if you want I'll get out of your life forever. I promise. Maggie…'
'PJ, don't beg, I'll do it.'
'Thank-you so much, I owe you big time for this!'
'You do, you'll have to buy me dinner one day very soon.'
'Does this mean that you're ready to see me?'
'Yeah it does, I'm ready now, but I'm guessing you're in Melbourne, so it will have to wait.'
'I'm not Mags, I'll be in Mt. Thomas in two hours.'
'I need to see you anyway Maggie before you come here.'
'Yeah, I want to see you too. You know where I live.'
'Two hours then?'
I've been wrong before
But now I know
I've made mistakes in the past
But now I know the difference
From gold and brass
'See you then.' Maggie sighed as she put down the phone. As soon as it clicked into place in the cradle it rang again.
'Hello.' Maggie rubbed her eyes as she spoke.
'Hello Mum, it's me.'
'Nothing, I just wanna know if I can stay over at Anna's place tonight that's all, we wanna watch this video. Jenny is staying too!'
'Does Anna's Mum say it's okay?'
'Yep, you can speak to her if you like, she's standing here…'
'Hello Maggie, June.'
'Hi June, what've they planned this time?'
'Not much, just a sleepover, I did say it was alright, even though it's a school night.'
'That works really well actually, I have to go to Melbourne tonight… a friends mother's sick.'
'That friend wouldn't be PJ would it?' Hearing Maggie's thoughts of "how would she know" June continued. 'Izy was rambling on about it earlier.'
'You don't mind having her there for the night?' Maggie avoided the question.
'No it's fine.'
'That's fantastic, I owe you one. I'll drop her things off soon.'
'Sure, see you then.' Once again as soon as Maggie hung up the phone it rang again.
'Maggie, it's Ben again.'
'Can you work tonight?'
'No, and I can't work tomorrow either, I have to go to Melbourne.' Hesitating she didn't know whether to explain why or not.
'But Maggie, Jo's going too, we can't be two members down.'
'Get Jack in… I can't avoid it Ben. Is the Boss there?'
'Yeah I'll just get him.'
'Yeah Boss, I have to go to Melbourne… with PJ it's his Mum, he's arriving here in a couple of hours and we're going up there… basically to say goodbye.'
'PJ's coming back to town?' Tom couldn't muster up more than three words. Ben looked shocked at the words he did speak.
'Yeah, I can't talk now Boss, I'll explain in a few days, when I'm back.'
'Maggie… just be careful, I don't want him to you know… hurt you again. But, bring him in if you have a few minutes, I wouldn't mind seeing him after all this time.'
'I won't Boss. Thank-you and I might.' Maggie put down the phone and looked at her watch. He'd be here very soon and she had no idea what she thought or felt about him, even what she was going to say to him. Going into her daughters room she grabbed a few necessities and her school stuff shoving it in a bag. Maggie went through the room picking up the mess that Isabel had left on the floor, about an hour later she turned back to her room. Pulling her overnight back down from the top of her wardrobe something came with it.
A photo album. She picked it up and sat down on her bed. The first few pages were of her and Dash stuffing around about 15 years ago now… they looked so young. Memories came flooding back to her as she continued turning the pages. She came across a photo she remembered well. The last Christmas she'd had with PJ 10 years ago. There were a heap of them at the station. Nick, Zoe and Dash had all come back for a visit. Ben, Jack, Jo, the Boss all grouped around, all laughing at PJ planting a kiss on her cheek. She couldn't even remember who took the photo now, probably Chris. She turned the page, it was one of her and PJ, arms around each other, holding hands. PJ's chin was resting on her head. Now, it looked so awkward, but she remembered Ben taking it. She closed her eyes remembering that day. They were so happy, she missed that. Brushing a lone tear away from her cheek she chuckled softly didn't even know why she was crying. The next photo was of her and PJ. She was sitting it his chair in his office and he was on her knee. They both looked so happy. The next was the same as the previous only they were in the reverse positions. She was interrupted by a car door slamming, she shut the album and looked at her watch, the time had flown by. She stood up and went to the door.
She opened the door and watched him walk up the path, hands in his pockets, head down. He looked up and saw her leaning against the doorway and froze. They both did. Eyes locked for what seemed like hours, reading one another's thoughts and feelings as though it was only yesterday that they had seen each other last.
PJ took the last few steps up the path and stood less than a meter away from her, eyes still fixated on each other.
Maggie was the first to make a move. She raised her right hand and slapped him across the face, hard. She then threw her arms around him and held him as though she would never let go.
And I should know but I can't explain
The endless noise sounding in my brain
Who would've thought
What you could feel such pain
When you've tried everything
END PART TWO
Maggie and PJ stood holding each other for several minutes before PJ pulled away.
'It's so good to see you,' he rubbed his cheek. 'I'd forgotten what that felt like.'
'Sorry, but I had to.'
'I know you did.' Once again silence overcame them.
'You coming in?' Maggie walked inside with PJ following. She picked up the photo album that she'd left on the table near the phone.
'I'll just go get my things.'
'We can talk first if you like...'
'There's time to talk on the way to Melbourne, and if I know you, which I do, I know you'll want to get there as soon as possible.'
'You can get yourself a cup of coffee if you like, you know where everything is.' She handed him the photo album and went to her room shutting the door behind her.
'Hey Mags!' She heard PJ from the kitchen.
'You've moved the mugs.'
'Sorry, they're in the top cupboard, that way Isabel can't reach them.'
'Thanks... where is she?'
'At a friends.' Maggie emerged from the bedroom bag in hand. 'How's that coffee coming?'
'It's not... I, I...' PJ trailed of and slumped in the chair.
'You're worried about her, aren't you?' He simply nodded she took a step toward him but stopped herself. 'Let's go then, just gotta drop this of down the road on the way.' She held up Izy's bags. Flicking of the lights as she moved through the house PJ stood and watched the familiar movements, the way she walked, moved her hands, her whole body. The way her lips moved as she spoke. He missed it so much.
'You ready Mags?' She froze and spun around.
'Yeah.' No one had called her that for years, now she'd heard it twice in as many minutes. Old habits die hard...
'Stop just here.' Maggie pointed to a house a few doors down, PJ pulled up and watched her jog up the path. She spoke to a woman at the door who, quite noticeably tried to get a look at PJ.
A few seconds later he saw a little girl run out, blonde hair dark complexion, and throw her arms around Maggie. Maggie hugged her back kissing her on the check before standing up again. PJ watched the exchange with a smile on his face. A few moments later Maggie was sitting in the car again.
'Mmmm' He started the engine and looked at her.
'How would feel about stopping by the station before we leave?'
'You serious?' he quizzed.
'Yeah I am, I'm sure that the Boss and Jack and Jo would like to see you again.'
'Ben?' PJ scoffed.
'Ben I'm not so sure about.' Maggie looked at him honestly.
'I'm not so sure I can face them right now Maggie.'
'It's always good to have friends, old friends around at times like this.' Instead of answering PJ started the car and headed towards the station.
'Maggie, I thought you were going to Melbourne!' Jack looked up at her confused.
'I am, I've just got a visitor first.'
'Who... PJ?' Jack asked. She nodded as he followed her in.
'Jack, how's things?'
'Pretty good... sorry to hear about your Mum though.'
'Thanks Jack, it's her time I guess... where is everyone?'
'Ah, Ben's out...probably a good thing.' Jack lowered his voice as he realised his mistake. 'Um, Jo's, Jo's... around here somewhere and the Boss...' Tom walked out of his office at that moment and Jack left in search of Jo.
'PJ, long time no see.' He stuck out his hand and PJ shook it.
'Yeah, Boss, too long, how are you?'
'Good, be better if they stopped trying to make me retire.' The three of them laughed and caught up for several minutes before Maggie looked at her watch.
'PJ we better go if we want to get to Melbourne tonight.'
'Yeah, I'll just say goodbye to Jack, I think he went into the locker room.' PJ took a few strides over and opened the door to find Jo sitting on the table and Jack standing in front of her, arms intertwined and lips locked. He turned and indicated for Maggie to join him. They both stood at the door grinning.
'Ahem!' Both jumped Jo pushing Jack away sending him to the floor and jumping of the table.
'PJ! Hi... It's ah, really good to see you, but I've gotta get to Melbourne myself, Dad was in a car accident with an old woman, broken bones...' She spoke quickly hoping to skip the comments about the position she and Jack had just been sprung in.
'Mags... she does a much better job of this than you used to.' Maggie shot a look at PJ.
'Hey Jo... what happened in your fathers accident?' Maggie began thinking of PJ's mothers accident.
'Oh, um an elderly woman had a heart attack and ran into him. Why?'
'I think it was PJ's mum...' she looked over at PJ who'd become silent all of a sudden. 'We really better go Peej.'
'Yeah, good to see you. And you too Jack... but a few words of advice, get up *off* the floor before the boss see's you, and next time shut the door properly so you can hear it open.' Maggie and PJ laughed softly as they left the station waving goodbye to Tom who'd, luckily, retreated back to his office. Leaving two very embarrassed red face coppers in the locker room.
'Jack?' Maggie turned back to the locker room for a second.
'Yeah?' Jack replied picking himself up off the floor.
'Can you and Ben keep an eye on Isabel whilst I'm gone?'
Maggie and PJ had been driving in silence for about 45 minutes, each in their own thoughts about what to say, and how to say it to the other.
'You okay PJ?'
'You sure? I mean, back at the station...'
'I looked happy, like nothing was wrong, you should know me Mags, it's the way I deal with it. You know I'm not the sort of person to air my emotions.'
'I have so much to say to you PJ, I just don't know where to start.'
'You're not the only one.'
'I missed you PJ, but you know that. But I do wanna know why you left with that other woman.'
'I don't honestly know the answer to that Maggie. I think I thought I was getting back at you for hurting me, for being one of the reasons I left the force.'
'You didn't want to leave did you?'
'Yes and no. I would have done anything for you, I still would. But the force was everything to me, and to you. But I knew how important it was to prove yourself to your Dad. I left for you...'
'Do you have any regrets?'
'Honestly... now, yes I do, but then I didn't.'
'I'm sorry that you left. It wasn't the right thing to do, was it?'
'No it wasn't, but we all make mistakes.'
'You back in?'
'Yeah, in Melbourne, with Mum. I'm dying to get back to the country.'
'You.' Maggie laughed. '*Wanting* to get back to the country. I never thought I'd hear you say that. Ever.'
'Me either. I miss it all though Mags. I mean you're all back there, together. All of you that I left.'
'Ben's leaving though.'
'Pardon?' PJ looked a little shocked.
'Going back to be with his kids. They're not really kids anymore. Maddie's 24 now, getting married in a few months.'
'Yeah, she's um, a musician just like she wanted to be.'
'Who's the guy?'
'You sound just like Ben. He even did checks on him when she first started going out with him! He's a doctor, specialist of some sort I think.'
'Classy, how's my old mate Josh?'
'In the army, joined about 6 months ago. Loving it.'
'Army, never would of thought. And how's um... Emma?'
'She finally got over the fact that Ben and I would never be together, although she still jokes about it. She's doing art at Uni.'
'You've kept pretty close tabs on them all.'
'They're good kids. They love Isabel.'
'I'll have to meet her one day.'
'Yeah... Do you want me to drive for a while?'
'Nah I'm right. Keeps my mind occupied.'
'How bad is she PJ?'
'She won't make it through the night I don't think, she's been pretty sick.'
'I'm so sorry PJ. She's always meant a lot to you, hasn't she.'
'Yeah, but she's not the only one Maggie.'
'PJ...' Maggie shook her head.
'No Mags, we have to talk about this, we both did things we regret. Things we can't take back. But I still want us to be friends at least, we always said that we would be best friends, didn't we?'
'Yeah we did. But I also said, on more than one occasion that if you jilted me...'
'You'd thump me, or hit me with a fire poker, I know I know.' The both laughed. 'I would have preferred that than...'
'I know PJ.' Maggie was quick to interrupt. 'It's in the past though. You just said you want us to still be friends. And dredging up the past isn't going to help that.'
'I know Maggie. But our friendship lies in the past, doesn't it?'
'Yeah it does, but so do a lot of other things. Things that I don't particularly want to remember right now.'
'We can't ignore them forever Maggie.'
'We have for the last 10 years.'
'I don't want to ignore them anymore.'
'Neither do I' Maggie replied quietly. The car went quiet for a second, whilst PJ slowed down.
My true love has found himself alone
And he's sorry for it all
And for the hurt we've done
'Petrol. Won't be a sec.'
'Want me to drive for a while?'
'That'd be great.' Maggie got out of the car and walked around for a few minutes to stretch her legs whilst PJ filled up the car.
'Mags, you ready?' He threw the keys toward her. She missed. 'Still haven't learnt to catch I see.'
'Nah, bad throw.' Grinning they both climbed in the car.
'Hey PJ?' Maggie spoke after several minutes of silence.
'Why now? I mean, you rang me the other day out of the blue and told me that you still loved me...'
'It's the truth Maggie, I couldn't lie to you again.'
'But you were so, so intense for the first phone call in ten years PJ, you said more nice, no beautiful meaningful things to me over the phone that you did to my face the last few days we were together.'
'I know, I was wrong. Very wrong and I hurt you. I wish that I hadn't but I did, and I don't know how to make it up to you except to tell you how I feel about you.'
'PJ...' Silence once again filled the car for several minutes.
'Did you bring that photo album? I wouldn't mind having a look at it.'
'Yeah, it's on the back seat.'
END PART THREE
'PJ... PJ...' Maggie tapped his thigh trying to wake him. 'We're here... PJ, wake up!'
'Huh? What? No, go away!'
'You *still* get grumpy when you're woken up do you? We're here.'
'Oh...' Maggie swung into the car park and looked across at PJ. He looked scared, sad, worried...
'You coming?' He nodded. PJ took his time getting out of the car.
'Mags, I can't do this, I can't go and watch her die. I can't.'
'Yes you can, you have to, you'll regret it otherwise. Believe me.' Maggie looked at him leaning up against the car hands in pockets head down. 'Come on, you'll be alright, I promise.' She pulled on of his hands out of his pocket and grabbed hold of it securely. 'Lets go.'
'My Patrick, you brought her, thank-you.' Her eyes lit up as she saw Maggie and PJ walk in hand in hand.
'Mrs. Hasham, so good to see you again.'
'Yes dear, it has been too long. And please call me Helena'
They chatted together for a while
'Patrick darling, please can I speak with Maggie alone?' PJ looked over to Maggie, she nodded and gave him a little smile. He kissed her on the cheek for his mothers benefit before leaving.
'Maggie my dear, I want to thank you for coming.'
'That’s okay, I don't mind.'
'No, no. I know that you and Patrick are not together anymore.'
'Yes.' Mrs. Hasham nodded and smiled. Taking a few moments and a few deep breaths she spoke again. 'He is such a sweet boy, wanting to see his mamma happy. And I want to thank you for helping him. Just seeing you two together, even though I know you are not, makes me so happy.'
'I'm sorry if we offended you…'
'No dear, you did nothing of the sort. You have made me a very happy old lady. But I want see my son truly happy, in his heart. And I can see that he is happier, just by spending time with you. You are a god-send to him.' She paused again.
'I don't know about that.' Maggie giggled softly, seeing her close her eyes, she jumped up to get PJ. 'PJ?' she looked out the door into the hospital hallway and saw him jogging down the hallway.
'Mags, is she…?' He didn't need to finish the sentence.
'No not yet, but it's not far.'
'Mags, I don't want her to…' PJ's voice cracked and the tears welled in his eyes. He stood looking at her sadly. 'She's my Mum.' He closed his eyes willing the tears to go back. PJ felt two warm hands gently rubbing the tears from his face.
'Shh, PJ, its okay honey.' She kissed him lightly on the lips
'Maggie, no.' He pushed her away. 'I don't want you do it out of sympathy, please.'
'Mags just, just hold me.' He leant down and pulled her tight, she grabbed hold of him holding him, like she would never let go.
They stood there for what seemed like hours just holding each other, till Maggie spoke into his neck.
'PJ, you have to go see her.' He nodded and squeezed her a little tighter before standing up straight. He reached down and held her hand and walked toward the room. 'No, you have to do this yourself Peej, you have to.'
'I can't Maggie, I need you. Please?' She nodded and he squeezed her hand a little tighter and went into the room pulling Maggie with him.
'Patrick honey… thank you for bringing Maggie to see me, I love you so much.'
'I love you too Mum.'
'I know.' Maggie slid her hand out from PJ's.
'I'll be back in 5 minutes.'
'It was a pleasure knowing you Maggie dear. And seeing you make my baby happy.'
'It was good knowing you too.' She smiled and bent down and kissed her softly on the cheek. Bringing her hand up she stroked PJ's cheek before leaving. 'You'll be fine, I'll wait outside.' He nodded slightly back at her and took a step towards his mother.
'I have so much I want to say to you.'
'I love you, I love so much and I'll miss you and I'm sorry for anything I ever did that…'
'Patrick, shh, I know all that. I love you too.' PJ took hold of his mothers hand and kissed it, closing his eyes he raised her hand to his face and the door behind him opened quietly.
'She's gone Mags.' Turning around in his chair he pulled her close to him and buried his face in her stomach. Maggie held his head close to her as he sobbed quietly.
Maggie and PJ sat quietly on opposite ends of the couch. PJ's face red and tired from crying.
'You really should get some sleep Peej.'
'I know, it's just...'
'No, go to bed.' For once he didn't argue. Head hung low he walked to his bedroom. Maggie watched him leave before standing up and looking for some blankets.
'Mags, where are you...' PJ turned around to face her.
'On the couch.' He didn't argue, as much as he wanted and needed her there. 'Unless...' PJ's only response was a small nod.
Maggie stood silent, still. Thinking.
'Maggie, look, if you don't want to I understand.'
'No, it's okay, but just you know. I mean no...' She trailed off.
'No of course.' Maggie picked up her bag and joined PJ in the hallway. Taking a deep breath she followed him to his bedroom.
PJ disappeared into the bathroom and Maggie took the opportunity to get changed. Look around the room she realised he mustn't stay here all that often, only when she's sick. Or she guessed so anyway. Hearing the door open behind her she spun around to see him wearing some old track-pants and a t-shirt, much like herself.
Pulling back the covers PJ looked over appreciatively at Maggie.
'Mags, I really... thank-you for this...'
'It's okay PJ, you need me right now. And I'm here for you. You used to do anything and everything for me.' PJ climbed into the bed and gestured for her to do the same. Taking a deep breath Maggie followed suit.
They both lay there silently for several minutes before Maggie turned off her bedside lamp.
'Night.' PJ moved beside her turning of his lamp also. They both lay there once again.
'Why'd you leave me?'
'Why did you cheat on me?'
'Maggie, I'm not stupid, you can't honestly tell me that you're the modern day virgin Mary can you?'
'See, Maggie we both did stupid, hurtful things.'
'I wanna know why though PJ.'
'To get back at you.'
'So you knew that I...'
'Yeah, but not who.' Maggie looked up at the ceiling, debating whether to tell him or not.
'I suppose you want some answers then?'
'I think I'm entitled to them.'
'Just as much as I'm entitled to answers from you.'
'It was just one night. As far as I know he doesn't even remember it. I left before he woke up, so that he *didn't* know.'
'You didn't want him to know?'
'I couldn't let him know, it'd be too... awkward.'
'I guess that means you knew him.'
'Yeah, quite well.' Once again, they lay in silence. 'PJ, I'm tired, we'll finish this conversation another time?'
Hours later, Maggie still lay awake, hearing PJ sobbing silently beside her. Mourning his mothers death. His sobs we constant as he lay on his back, facing the ceiling.
Maggie reached over and took his hand in hers. Rolling onto his side he moved a little closer to her. Wrapping her arms around his neck, Maggie pulled PJ close to her and let him cry himself to sleep.
The sweet caress of twilight
There's magic everywhere
And with all this romantic atmosphere
Disaster's in the air
PJ awoke early the next morning to find himself clinging to Maggie. Trying to recollect what happened he recalled her hugging him tightly, holding him. Just like he'd done when she needed it. Closing his eyes again he fell asleep once more.
Awaking again several hours later he found himself alone in the bed. Rolling over sleepily he heard a saucepan drop in the kitchen and then Maggie cursing.
The previous day's events flooded back to him tears once again welled in his eyes. Dragging himself out of the bed, he padded barefoot into the kitchen and stood in the doorway to see Maggie quietly pottering around in the kitchen.
'Morning, how'd you sleep?' Maggie spun around and gave him a small smile.
'Not too bad. Thank-you for...' She nodded. 'This brings back memories.' PJ indicated Maggie, plate in one hand, milk in the other.
'Yeah. It does. How you feeling today?'
'I still can't believe she's gone, you know? I'm expecting her to walk in here any second now and...'
'So you were living with her?' Maggie looked confused.
'Only for the past week or so. She was sick, really sick.'
END PART FOUR
'Thanks Nick, that'd be really good... yeah, he's getting there. I'll tell him thank-you. See you then.' Maggie placed the phone in the cradle and looked over at PJ who'd fallen asleep on the couch.
'Mmm...' He replied without even opening his eyes.
'That was Nick, he'll be at the funeral tomorrow. So will Zoe, and the Boss and I think Jo is coming too.'
'Yeah, she's still down in Melbourne, moral support I think. I thought it was nice of her.'
'Yeah, it is. Can we talk?'
'What went wrong.'
'I guess so, but I think it's time that I got some answers, don't you?'
'You know why I left Maggie.'
'To hurt me, and you succeeded, but there has to be more to it than that.'
'I dunno Maggie, I don't know what it was, or why I did it... You know she left me three weeks later. Came back to Mt. Thomas.'
'Can I ask why?'
'Because, I guess she knew that there was someone else. Then we found out you were pregnant, and I guess she presumed it was mine.'
'Presuming always gets you in trouble... So she just left, just like that?'
'I was given the option to ring you and find out if it was mine. And I told her that I couldn't hurt you anymore. I wanted to ring you though.'
'Did you want to know?'
'I don't know. I think it was better not knowing.'
'Ignorance isn't always the way.'
'Sometimes it's better not knowing though Maggie.'
'Yeah, I know.'
Maggie held PJ's hand all throughout the service, only letting go when he went to give his eulogy.
'I loved my Mum, I guess that's given. She was a most inspiring woman. More so than anyone I've met. I compare everyone to her. They all lose out. No-one will really ever match up to the way she's helped me all throughout my life. She loved me no matter what I've done or said. She stuck by me through everything. And I'll miss her, very much...'
As PJ took his place back next to Maggie she felt him searching for her hand. Finding it, he grabbed it tightly and didn't let go for the rest of the service.
'PJ, I'm so sorry about your Mum.'
'Thanks Jo, thanks for coming, how's your Dad?'
'Yeah good. I'm heading back to Mt. Thomas this late this afternoon. I've got the night shift with Jack.' A smile crossed PJ's face for the first time in the past few days.
'Don't do anything I wouldn't do would you now constable?'
'Senior Constable, and that really doesn't mean much does it Hasham?'
'Now, now Parrish not insulting our seniors are we?'
'Never!' Jo looked at her watched and said a quick good-bye to PJ and moved over to Maggie.
'I'm off Maggie, I'll see you back home in a few days?'
'Yeah thanks for coming Jo.' Maggie looked across at PJ. 'What'd you say to him to make him smile?'
'I just mentioned that Jack and I had the night shift together.'
'That'll get him every time.'
'Yeah, remember the very first time Jack and I had night shift together?'
'How could I forget.' Maggie cast her mind back to that night. The night she'd admitted her first indiscretion. Telling PJ that she'd kissed Ben, when he got out of the car and walked of she could have kicked herself.
'PJ... you really should get some sleep, you've had a long day.'
'You sound like a school teacher.'
'I don't know whether that's a compliment or not. But bed.' PJ looked exhausted. They'd arrived home only a few hours earlier from the wake of his mothers funeral. At which PJ had barely said two words to anyone but Maggie.
Maggie disappeared to the kitchen for a few moments and returned to find PJ dozing in the chair.
'PJ, come on. Bed.' Pulling him up she dragged him to the bedroom disappeared into the bathroom to brush her teeth and get changed.
Upon returning to the bedroom she found PJ once again asleep. Grabbing the blanket she pulled it over him. Maggie stood there looking at him sleeping for several moments before leaning down and giving him a small kiss on the check whispering 'you held up really well today.' PJ's eyes fluttered open.
'Only because you were there to hold my hand. Thank-you Maggie. It really meant a lot to me.' She found herself once again lost in his deep blue eyes, the closeness of their bodies created, almost an electrical current through them.
They both noticed it and they both wanted it.
'We shouldn't be doing this,' murmured Maggie. PJ softly whispered much the same. In the end, the both gave into what they had wanted, for what had felt like an eternity.
'No, PJ, we really, really shouldn't be doing this.' She pulled away from the intense kisses
'You don't want too...?'
'We can't keep falling into bed every-time we feel the urge'
Maggie pulled away and disappeared into the lounge leaving PJ on his own not wanting to risk the closeness of being next to him tonight. The number of times they'd slept next to each other and not resisted temptation could be counted on both hands. Instead she avoided the uneasy atmosphere and went to the lounge room giving PJ the space to think. Being so tired PJ soon succumbed to sleep before having much of a chance to dwell on the situation minutes earlier.
But if I touch you like this
And if you kiss me like that
It was so long ago
But it's all coming back to me know
That night in Mt. Thomas Jack and Jo sat together in the patrol car out on Lovers Leap.
'I remember PJ telling me about the time when he and Maggie were nearly found out after being up here?'
'Yeah, some guy with a video camera, was pretty funny actually.'
'I can just imagine. How long were they... you know, before everyone found out?'
'I don't think anyone really knows. I think Chris knew before anyone else. But you know Chris.'
'Yeah, I wonder how long before she works out that we are?'
'I'd prefer later rather than sooner myself. I'm not quite sure how Tom would handle another "office romance" as he puts it.'
'I wonder why they broke up they seemed the perfect couple' said Jo
'There is no such thing as perfect Jo, everyone has imperfections,' Jo leant in grinning pulling Jack a little closer to her.
'I'm sure they'll find out soon enough Jack, but right now, I've got other things on my mind, hey?' Nodding Jack leant in. And suddenly pulled back. 'What's wrong?'
'I slept with her.' Jack blurted out. Jo looked confused at his admission.
'What, who?' Jack took a deep breath.
'It was only one time, I mean, I don't even know why it happened. It was stupid really. Just, stupid. Neither of us...'
'Jack!' Jo interrupted him. 'Who was it?'
'I don't even know why it happened... we were *very* drunk. It was stupid... You'd left, it was after the footy club thing. You were angry with me. We were just *very* drunk, we just walked home together. It was a long time ago... It was stupid"
'Jack, not when who?'
Both officers shot a look at the radio when it jumped to life.
'VKC to Mt. Thomas 508...' Jack looked relieved and jumped on the radio instantly whilst Jo looked ready to kill it.
They both sat in an awkward silence, Jack knowing that he would have to tell Jo who it was, and Jo really wanting to know, but not wanting to ask.
END PART FIVE
The next morning PJ approached Maggie from behind as she stood over the sink in the kitchen. Standing inches behind her he reached out and placed his hands on her waist pulling her close to him. Maggie leant back into PJ resting her head on his chest.
'How you feeling this morning?'
'Better,' he paused. 'You didn't have to sleep on the couch last night you know.'
'Yes I did PJ. You know it too.'
'Didn't you want to?'
'I don't know PJ. I think I did, yes. But it wasn't the right time, was it?'
'I dunno Maggie. Was it?'
'PJ, you were upset and not thinking clearly, that's not always the best was to go into that type of situation.'
'It's not like it was new territory was it?' PJ slid his arms further around Maggie's waist pulling her closer still. Leaning down he placed a few kisses on her neck. Maggie stood in silence. PJ pulled her around to face him. Standing for several moments looking at one another deciding whether "this" was the right time. Just minutes later they'd once again succumbed to the urge, the spark between them.
Ten years of being apart bottled up inside them finally being aired. As the moment intensified all inhibitions were forgotten. Slowly the began moving toward the bedroom.
'You sure about this Mags.' PJ spoke between kisses.
'Yeah, very sure.' She smiled at him whilst leaning into him once again.
The moment was broken by the shrill sound of the telephone ringing. 'Ohm.' Maggie groaned pulling away looking over at the phone.
'Timing.' PJ looked between the phone and Maggie, taking the better option he kissed her again. 'Let the machine get it.'
'Sure?' He nodded
"Hi, we can't come to the phone right now, but leave your name and number and we'll get back to you as soon as possible." They both ignored the machine until they heard the voice on the other end.
'Maggie, PJ you there? Pick up, it's really important.' It was Tom. 'Look, I guess you're not there, but call the station ASAP, it's Izy.' As soon as the words were out of Tom's mouth Maggie was by the phone frantically flicking off the machine and trying to catch Tom on the other end.
'Boss, you there?' Maggie asked breathlessly. 'Boss?' Maggie cursed as she hung up the phone picking it up again she punched in the number.
"Mt. Thomas Pol..."
'Yeah Jack, it's Maggie, what's going on? What's happened to Izy?'
"I think you better speak to the Boss."
'Dammit Jack just tell me.'
"Izy's gone missing."
'What do you mean missing?'
"I just think you better get back to Mt. Thomas."
'Thanks Jack, see you soon.' Maggie hung up the phone gently as she tried to stay calm. 'Isabel's missing, I have to go back to Mt. Thomas, now.' Maggie became frantic. 'PJ, what if... I mean.'
'Maggie, calm down. You'll be fine, Isabel will be fine. Go grab your stuff and we'll leave straight away.' PJ's calm state amazed Maggie, she did exactly what he said and was ready in minutes, as was he.
'Let's go.' PJ held open the front door for her.
'You're coming too?'
'Of course, besides, how else do you expect to get back there, no car... Come on, let's go.' Maggie ducked under his arm and kissed him before going out the door.
'Thank-you.' Nodding in response PJ locked the door and jogged down the path.
Maggie had sat tapping her fingers on the window for the past hour before PJ cracked.
'Maggie *please* don't do that, you're driving me insane.'
'What, you're going insane. My baby girl is missing PJ, missing. Who knows where she is? And you're worried about me tapping my damn fingers on the window?' PJ glanced across at her with a concerned look on his face.
'She'll be fine Mags, she'll be fine.'
'How would you know?' Maggie snapped back and turned back to staring out the window.
Maggie leapt out of the car before it had even pulled to complete stop outside the station. Dashing inside she faced a near empty station Jo being the only one there.
'Jo, where is everyone, what's the latest?'
'Welcome back, You got here quick. Um, Ben and Jack are out questioning people in the streets around your house and her friends place. And Tom is off talking to Chris finding out if she knows anything.'
'How long's she been gone?'
'The last time June saw her and Anna was last night when they went to bed. Anna heard her get up to go to the toilet or something at some stage during the night. Now she doesn't know what time it was cause she doesn't have a clock or anything in her room. She's really upset, she thinks it's her fault.'
'Thanks Jo, I'll ah, just go get my uniform on.'
'Ah do you really think that's such a good idea, you know what the Boss will say.'
'Let me guess, "you're too close to it Doyle, just *go* home." Hi Jo.' PJ said as he entered.
'See Maggie, even PJ realises that you just won't be able to work on this one.'
'Jo... Parrish you should know me well enough to realise that I'm going to work on this whether I'm on duty or not. Right PJ?'
'She's right Jo. Although I do agree with them Mags, you're definitely too close this time.'
'Argh!' Maggie turned and went into the locker room slamming the door behind her.
'Will she ever change?' PJ looked at the firmly shut door and then turned back to Jo. 'So, what've we got?'
'PJ...' Jo was reluctant.
'Jo it's okay.' He read her mind. 'I'm back in the force.' She raised her eyebrows at this but decided to let it slide until a later date. Maggie appeared several minutes later to see PJ and Jo studying a map of the surrounding area.
'Any news?' Both shook their heads in reply. 'I'm going out looking for her.'
'Mags wait, you sure that's a good idea.'
'PJ you said it yourself, I'll do this with or without your help, so what's it going to be?' Glaring at him she stood with her hands on her hips.
'Fine, I'll come. Keep us up-to-date Jo?' Jo nodded as they walked out the back. Watching them leave she cast her mind back to over 10 years ago when she'd just arrived in Mt. Thomas.
Those two argued like cat and dog. She never would have guessed that they were together had Jack not told her.
She was interrupted by the phone and Tom entering at the same time
'Mt. Thomas Police, Senior-Constable Joanna Parrish speaking.' She saw Tom roll his eyes at her greeting, she could be so like McKinley sometimes and the thing with Lawson. That was Doyle all over again. Shaking his head as he took his hat and jacket of he turned to Jo as she hung up the phone.
'Boss, that was Michael Jefferies he *thinks* he saw Izy getting in the car with this woman. I'm going to head over there now to show him a more recent photo.'
'How does he know what she looks like?'
'Michael Jefferies, remember, Maggie went out with him a few times a few years back. He's married now though.'
'All right then off you go.' Jo ran out of the station and returned seconds later.
'Maggie and PJ are back, Maggie's put her uniform back on and gone out with PJ looking...'
'I thought I told you not to let her go out.'
'I know Boss, but you know what's she's like, she's hardly going to listen to me, she wouldn't take no for an answer, even PJ...'
'PJ wouldn't dare say no to her, he'd go along with anything she said, you know that as well as I do. Now go take that photo to that Jefferies bloke.' Tom sighed as he watched her disappear around the corner.
'Maggie come on it's late, it's dark. We'll be better off waiting till morning to look again, when we've had some sleep.' Hours later Maggie and PJ were still driving around looking, getting out every so often to knock on a door.
'PJ, you're not telling me to give up are you?'
'No Maggie, I'm just saying that we're not doing anyone any good now.' Glaring at him she kept driving.
~~Mt. Thomas Station to Mt. Thomas 509~~
PJ picked up the radio breaking the stare with Maggie.
'Yes Boss.' PJ felt himself slipping into old habits.
~~I want you and Doyle back at the station NOW! ~~
'Yes Boss, on our way.' PJ shot a look back to Maggie saying, "I told you so."
'Grow up PJ.' Maggie swung the car around and headed back to the station.
They arrived at the station several minutes later, Maggie got out and slammed the door shut still angry from being made return. She stomped up the path and with each step got less angry and more upset. Before she reached the door she was in a heap on the ground in tears. PJ rushed to her side picking her up and escorting her inside.
'About bloody time, where have you two been?' Tom bit his tongue as soon as he saw the state she was in. 'PJ?' He turned to PJ who still had an arm firmly around her for an explanation. PJ shook his head as he sat Maggie down and went to make her a coffee, running into Ben at the same time.
'Ben mate, it's been a while.'
'Yeah too long, sorry about your Mum.' PJ nodded and left the conversation there. Both knew that they would never be as good friends as they once were. Too many things had happened, in the past.
PJ finished making the coffee and headed back over to Maggie where Ben was giving her a hug. She looked guilty when she saw PJ standing there holding her coffee. Reaching out for it gratefully she smiled at him.
'Look.' Tom spoke up after surveying the weary bunch of officers that stood before him. 'Why don't we all go have something to eat at the Imperial and then start looking again in the morning.' Everyone glanced across at Maggie, who, at this stage looked too tired to argue.
The six weary officers walked into the Imperial later that evening, to see Chris leaning against the bar looking bored.
'Busy night Chrissy?' PJ grinned at her.
'Peej, oh my god, you're back! It's so good to see you. I was sorry to hear about your Mum.'
'Thanks, it was her time. But I've got other things on my mind at the minute.' They both looked across at Maggie who looked drained. 'You got anything for us to eat?'
'I'm sure I can rustle up something for you lot.' They all went over to the table and literally collapsed in their chairs. All were emotionally drained as well as mentally. Ben and Tom looked the healthiest of the lot. Jack and Jo had been on night shift and were yet to sleep and Maggie and PJ had traveled from Melbourne that day. Chris noticed the officers dreary looks and went over to speak to them.
'You found out anything yet?' she asked. Tom shook his head.
'Nothing.' It only took that to set Maggie's tears off again. Ben, PJ and Jack stood to follow her. But Jo was the first to leave the table.
'Maggie? Maggie, you out here?' Jo wandered around outside. She saw her sitting on the ground against a tree looking up at the sky.
'You okay? Sorry stupid question.' Maggie looked over at her for a moment before returning her gaze to the sky.
'I'm so worried about her Jo, it's not fair.'
'I know it's not. She'll be okay though, it'll be okay.'
'I wish people would stop saying that.' Maggie whispered. 'No one knows for sure, do they?'
'No they don't Maggie but you have to think positively.'
'Do you know how hard that is Jo? My baby is missing. I have no idea where she is, or even if she is still alive. I can't do anything, I feel so helpless, and I just have to sit on the sidelines and watch every work and hit dead ends each time. And I want to help but I know that I'm more of a hindrance than a help.'
'Maggie you're doing everything you can.' Jo sat down next to her and leant against the tree also and gazed up at the stars. Once again remembering the discussion Jack and herself had had one night. Coincidentally it was the same night she'd thought of a few days earlier. Jack had told her about the stars, her mind clicked back into the present when she heard Maggie speaking.
'They're beautiful aren't they?'
'Sorry?' asked Jo
'Yeah, they are. Like a big blanket with moth holes.' Maggie and Jo sat quietly for a long while.
'It's getting cold Maggie, we should probably go back in.' Jo stood up and offered her hand to Maggie.
'I think I'll just wait out here a few minutes.' Jo shrugged her shoulders and went back inside, passing Ben on the way out.
'Is Maggie out here?' Jo pointed to where she was sitting. 'I think she wants to be alone though.' Ben nodded and went over to where she was sitting anyway.
'Mind if I sit down?' The only reply was a non caring shrug so he took a seat where Jo had just been. 'How you holding up?'
'How do you think Ben?'
'I think you're handling it a lot better than I would if it was my little girl missing.' Maggie's head snapped instantly to face Ben.
END PART SIX
'How would you handle it Ben?' Maggie was curious.
'I honestly don't know Maggie. I wonder sometimes.'
'But you were fine when Madeline went missing when she was about 12.'
'Yeah, but that was different...'
'What do you mean different. Ben, what are you implying?'
'Nothing Maggie, it's alright.'
'No Ben, it's not alright.' Maggie began getting worked up. She turned to Ben and glared at him. 'If you wanna say something, say it.'
'Maggie, all I'm saying is that I think you're handling it all well, she'll be fine.'
'Ben, I've just been through this with Jo. We, no-one *really* knows do they?' Maggie got up from the ground and began walking home.
'Maggie! Wait up.'
'No Ben,' she spun around and glared at him once again. 'I want some time alone, okay? Tell PJ to meet me at home later.' Maggie turned on her heel and disappeared into the darkness.
'Maggie!' Ben called after her, getting no response he returned inside.
'Where's Doyle?' Tom was the first to notice Ben's return.
'Ah, she's gone home. PJ she said for you to meet her there later, she wants some time alone.' They sat in silence for several minutes
'Ah Boss. Do you think we'll find her?' whispered Jack. It was a fair question, everyone knew it.
'Lawson.' Tom was ready to scold him, but softened. 'I really don't know. But don't tell Maggie that, she's got enough on her plate right now with out us being pessimistic.' Jack nodded.
'Steak and chips alright?' Chris returned with several plates of food. All officers looked up and nodded hungrily and reached for the plates. Each serving was devoured quickly as no one had had time for lunch. About an hour later Tom stood up ready to leave.
'I'll see you all bright and early tomorrow then?' They nodded as he left.
'I might head upstairs too, I'm beat.' Jack stood up.
'Me too, night shift kills me every time.' Jo dragged herself out of her seat and pushed Jack along in front of her. 'Come on Stretch, bed-time. Night Guys' PJ and Ben watched them walk out the door, and Jacks arm pull Jo close to him as they walked up the stairs.
'Are they...' PJ continued watching them curiously.
'I think so, they've been pretty good actually. Although they fight a little more than you and Maggie used to.' Ben bit his tongue. 'Sorry.'
'It's okay,' PJ waved him off as he stood up, the atmosphere between them was still a little awkward. 'I might head off too.' Ben nodded and watched him leave before downing the last of his beer and also leaving.
'Ben!' Chris caught him at the door.
'How's things between Maggie and PJ, or you and PJ for that matter?'
'It's hard to say, Maggie's in no mind to be thinking about her and PJ and well, I don't want to bring it up and neither does anyone else.'
'And you and PJ?' Chris prompted. Ben simply shrugged and shook his head. 'You can't avoid it forever Ben, you'll have to talk to him.'
'Yeah I know Chris.' Ben left Chris standing there.
Jack and Jo were standing outside Jack's room.
'We should really get some sleep.' Jo spoke between kisses.
'Yeah, we should.' They pulled away and Jack opened his door. He leant down to give her a last kiss goodnight.
'Mind if I come in, you know, you sleep better with company.'
'Is that right?'
'Yeah,' Jo nodded confidently. 'It's a fact.'
'Really?' Jo nodded once again and pushed him into his room the door clicking shut just as Chris rounded the corner.
PJ knocked on the door to Maggie's place before walking in.
'Mags? You here?' PJ wandered into the kitchen, the lounge room and her bedroom without finding her.
'Maggie?' He stood silently for a few moments before hearing quiet sobs coming from Dash's bedroom, which he presumed, was now Isabel's. 'Mags...' PJ walked into the room quietly to see Maggie slumped at the end of the bed holding a stuffed animal and a photo.
PJ stood and observed her for several minutes, she just sat there quietly sobbing. Clutching the bear in one hand gazing at the photo. Taking a few steps closer he crouched down to her level. She didn't move to acknowledge his presence just yet. It wasn't until he placed his hand on her knee that she looked up at him.
'This is... this is us at her birthday last year. She was nine.' She handed him the photo to have a look at.
'She's pretty.' Maggie nodded. 'I look forward to meeting her.'
'But PJ what if...' Maggie's eyes welled up with tears once again.
'Just think positive Maggie, it's all you can do.' PJ sat down and leant against the bed also. Maggie rested her head on his shoulder as he handed back the photo. Placing his arms around her he held her until she fell asleep.
END PART SEVEN
PJ woke abruptly to a phone ringing the next morning, taking a few seconds to get his bearings he found himself still in Isabel's room and Maggie's head on his lap. He woke her gently before jumping up to grab the still ringing phone. Flicking off the answering machine he picked it up.
"PJ, its Jack. You and Maggie might want to get down here."
'Why, what've you got. You found her?' This brought Maggie out of the bedroom waiting anxiously next to PJ.
"Just get down here, we can fill you in then." PJ hung up the phone.
'Mags get changed and we'll get down to the station as soon as you can.'
'I'm ready to go.'
'No Maggie, go and have a shower first. A quick one then get changed, you'll benefit from it I promise.' Maggie opened her mouth to protest but PJ simply shook his head and turned her towards the bathroom.
He went and changed quickly himself and was making some toast by the time she re-emerged looking much better.
'Feel better?' she nodded. She went and grabbed several pieces of toast from the pile PJ had made.
'Can we go now?'
'Yep.' He grabbed the remaining food and flicked some switches before following Maggie out the door.
'Maggie, good you're here.' Tom walked out of his office as Maggie entered.
'Yeah Boss, what've you got?' Maggie looked worried at what he was about to say. 'Have you found her?' Tom shook his head and she relaxed somewhat.
'No we haven't but we've had someone who saw her yesterday morning, they were on their way home from work at 3 am and saw her getting in the car with some woman. He's coming in to give a description soon.'
'Who was the woman? What kind of car? How...'
'Maggie, just calm down, we'll find her.' Ben spoke calmly.
'HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?' Maggie screamed losing it completely.
'Maggie, calm down.'
'Shut up Ben. Just find her!' Maggie was getting more distressed by the minute. Tom finally stepped.
'Doyle... Maggie, just sit down, we'll find her I promise.' She took a few deep breaths as she sat.
'But how do you know that she'll be okay when you do find her?' she whispered. 'I mean, she's been gone for over 24 hours, anything could have happened to her.'
'Maggie we'll find her, I promise.' Jack looked sincere. 'Look, Jo and I'll go out now, door knock some more people, all the workers that finished their shift the same time as Mr. Edwards.' Maggie nodded as Jack squeezed her shoulder as they left.
'I want to go and talk to her school friends, she's got a lot of hiding places and things, maybe they know where she might be.'
'Doyle I really don't think that's a good idea.'
'But Boss, I'll go crazy sitting here doing nothing.'
'Doyle, you're too close, go home and wait by the phone incase the person she was seen with calls, okay?' Maggie nodded and flipped over the date on her desk calendar to see the words. "ANNIE, APPOINTMENT" scribbled down.
'I'll have to cancel that.' Maggie spoke her thoughts.
'Huh?' PJ was grabbing his jacket getting ready to take her home.
'Oh, I've got my therapist appointment today, I'll just have to cancel.' PJ looked stunned.
'You're seeing a therapist?' Maggie nodded as she stood up and followed him out.
'Keep me posted Boss?' Tom nodded.
'Can I ask why you're seeing him, or her?' PJ asked as they reached the car.
'Her... Annie Phillips. She...' Maggie paused deciding how to tackle the question. 'It helps to talk to someone outside of the problem sometimes PJ.' PJ nodded and looked at her.
'Fair enough.' They rode in silence the rest of the way back to Maggie's.
Maggie picked up the phone once she was inside and dialed the number of the therapist.
'Hi Jeannie, it's Maggie Doyle. I've got an appointment with Annie this afternoon, I need to cancel it. Something's come up.'
"Ah yes, Maggie. I was about to ring you. Annie didn't show up to work yesterday or today. I think she must be sick."
"It's not like her not to ring, you know. It's strange, that's why I was ringing you apart from the obvious of course. I think something's happened to her."
'Yeah, um, can you ring the station Jeannie. I'm at home.'
"Sure, are you okay Maggie, you don't sound like yourself."
'No, I'm not. Isabel's gone missing.' Maggie replied flatly and somewhat under control.
"That's terrible, I'm so sorry Maggie. I might hang of ringing about Annie then. I'm sure she can look after herself."
'Just report it Jeannie, they'll deal with it. Look, I've gotta go. See you soon' Maggie hung up the phone and lay back on the couch closing her eyes.
'You cancel the appointment okay?' PJ walked back into the lounge holding a cup of tea. Maggie nodded.
'Yeah, strange thing is Annie didn't show up to work yesterday or today.'
'What did you say her name was again?'
'Annie Phillips, why?'
'She got dark brown hair, slim, big brown eyes?'
'She's the...' PJ took a deep breath. 'She's the woman I left Mt. Thomas with.' He looked over at her.
'You're kidding right?' PJ shook his head softly.
'No... it's the same woman.'
'I can't believe this PJ. The one person I've told *everything* about you and Izy and what went wrong between us is part of the goddamn reason!'
'I think we have a problem.'
'Tell me about it.'
'Do you really think she's capable of it?'
'You tell me PJ, you're the one who was screwing her.'
'You must know her pretty well too Mags, did she ever say anything about Izy or me?'
'It's mainly what I talked about, why?'
'It's why she left. She left when I found out you were pregnant.'
'She thought that it was mine.'
'We definitely have a problem Maggie.'
'I know Peej, we better ring the Boss.'
END PART EIGHT
"All right then Doyle, you and PJ get back here and tell us everything." Maggie hung up the phone and left to meet PJ who was waiting in the car outside.
'PJ, I'm so scared. I thought she was normal you know? I really trusted her PJ.'
'Mags, we don't know that it's actually her though.'
'PJ what are the odds, really? I bet that the description Mr. Edwards gives matches that of Annie.'
'Let's just wait and see hey?'
'I'm sick of waiting PJ, it's killing me not knowing where she is.'
'I can only imagine Maggie.' They rode in silence for the next few minutes.
'Mags?' PJ looked across at her staring out the window.
'Do you think that we, you should tell her father?' Maggie looked at him silently.
'Oh look, we're here.' She said as PJ pulled into the station. Jumping out of the car she jogged up the path, leaving PJ sitting in the car.
Maggie walked into the station to see only Tom there standing at the computer.
'Boss, what's happening? Where is everyone?'
'On their way, they do need sleep Maggie.'
'Yeah I know...' Maggie rubbed her face with her hands as she went over to the computer. 'She's got a record?' Maggie sounded surprised.
Tom nodded. Maggie moved over to the computer running her finger down the screen.
'Petty theft, possession, 4 years inside... I can't believe I trusted this woman.' PJ moved over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder.
'You know how to pick them, don't you Mags?'
'You were the one who bloody slept with her PJ.' Maggie lost it, giving PJ a shove that sent him flying.
'Hey! What the hell was that for?'
'You're a bastard PJ, if you hadn't slept with her, my baby would be safe with me.' She yelled at him fiercely.
'Now you listen here Maggie, I...'
'You, it is always been and always will be about you, won't it!' Maggie had tears streaming down her face.
'Maggie,' said Tom walking out from his office as voices and tempers started getting out of hand. Maggie took one look at tom and just broke down sobbing in a heap on the floor
Jack came in and saw Maggie in a crumpled mess. Moving past PJ he lowered himself to the floor placing his arms around Maggie. Looking from Tom, to PJ and then back to Maggie.
'What's going on? I could hear the yelling from the verandah.' Neither Tom nor PJ answered. 'She's a mess, I'm taking her home I'll be back soon boss.'
'It's okay Lawson, take all the time you need. She needs someone...'
Jack started picking Maggie up off the floor when Jo entered.
'What's happening... Maggie?'
'I'm taking her home.' Jack looked up at Jo.
'Again?' she bit her tongue and started again. 'But what about...'
She looked at PJ, as Jack helped Maggie out of the office still in an uncontrolled blubbering mess. PJ looked down at Jo for an explanation. Jo simply shrugged.
'I have to get back out there, I have to find her...' Maggie looked frantic.
'We WILL find her Maggie, I know we will...'
'I know Maggie, I am just as worried about her as you. You know I am... How could I not be...'
'God, what if we lose her Jack, I don't think I could go on without her...'
'Maggie, now stop it! We will find her. We will...' Jack didn't want to think about the alternative to not finding her, he wouldn't let himself go there.
'I am going to call the doctor. You need something to make you sleep. And I am not going to listen to any arguments from you. So don't even try.'
Back at the station PJ was questioning Tom about Isabel.
'She's like part of our family. She's just like a grand-daughter to me... Jack and Ben have been so good to her. Taking on the role of substitute fathers.'
'Who was the fath...' Ben walked in interrupting the conversation.
'Jack took her home she's...' started Tom
'Not good.' Interrupted PJ
'Oh Jack, well that I can understand.' Ben said simply.
PJ didn't take long to get back to Maggie's house. He let himself in as he had so many times. Jack was sitting on the couch, Maggie asleep with her head resting on his knee. Jack motioned to PJ to hang on as he gently slid out from under her. Jack carefully swept Maggie up in his arms and carried her to her bed. After throwing the doona over her tired limp body, he kissed her softly on the forehead before leaving the room, closing the door carefully behind him, PJ was standing there. He had watched Jack do something that he himself had done so many times...
'The doctor has been, given something to help her sleep. I didn't want to just leave her alone...'
'Its okay Jack... I will stay with her. You too have become close over the years I guess...' Jack didn't know what to tell PJ. It wasn't really his place to say anything.
'We are all really close, Ben and Jo and Tom... We are all there for her.'
'Jack????........... Jack??????????' they heard Maggie call from the bedroom. Jack opened the door and walked over to the bed.
'Its okay Maggie. Go to sleep'
'Where are you going?' she asked sleepily as the sedative started to take hold once again.
'Out to look for Iz.'
'No you're not you're staying here with PJ.' Jack turned to leave, Maggie reached out for his hand. Holding it for support he squeezed it tightly before letting go and leaving.
'Go on, I will look after her...'
'Thanks mate, thanks.' Jack patted PJ on the shoulder as he left.
PJ watched Jack leave the house and thanked his lucky stars that Maggie had someone like that.
PJ went into the bedroom to find Maggie sleeping peacefully. The medication had taken hold. He stood watching her, she looked so peaceful, so happy. Without a worry in the world. PJ knew that this happiness across her face would disappear the second she woke up. He smiled at her sleeping body and backed out of the room. Opening the door quietly he pulled it open, it squeaked, loudly.
He turned to see if Maggie had heard she was stirring in the bed.
'PJ?' she asked sleepily. For a few moments PJ was delighted that it was his name she'd said.
'Can you come here?' Maggie had opened her eyes and looked over at PJ sincerely. PJ approached the bed as Maggie sat up. PJ took a seat a safe distance away from her.
'PJ...' she began, looking at him. 'I'm so sorry.' He nodded.
'It's okay Maggie.'
'No it's not,' she said shaking her head. 'You say that everytime, but this time it's really not. I shouldn't have pushed you like that, I shouldn't have yelled at you. I'm so sorry.' Maggie began to sob. PJ edged closer to her and she put her arms around his neck and pulled him close to her. Hugging him tightly she buried her face in his neck.
'PJ I still love you, after all this time. Is that stupid?' She pulled away to look at him.
'No, it's not. I feel the same way.' Maggie leant forward and gave PJ a kiss. PJ fell into the kiss as if it was 10 years ago, and nothing had happened. Momentarily, the present situation was forgotten as they let their feeling run wild.
PJ was the first to pull back.
'Maggie we can't, not now.'
'PJ, no... don't'
'Maggie, come one you know that we can't.' Maggie opened her eyes and looked up at him sadly.
'Yeah I know.' Maggie rubbed her face as she lay back down on the bed, reaching out for PJ's hand he took hers in both of his and watched her till she fell asleep once again.
Thank god for my bad memory
I've forgotten some of the stupid things that I've done
I've come to a little wisdom through a whole lot of failure
So I watch more carefully what rolls of my tongue
Several hours later, the Mt. Thomas Station was filled with police, SES workers and superiors. Tom and Ben were frantically trying to stay in control, looking as though they were, they managed to sneak out for several minutes.
'Boss, do you think we'll find her?' Ben looked across at Tom, who looked down into his cup of coffee and shook his head.
'I don't know, honestly, I don't know. We *should* think positive, but I can't this time.'
'Boss...' Ben gazed up to the sky and Tom joined him. 'I think I feel the same way.'
END PART NINE
Maggie slept for several hours, taking her past lunch time. Waking up sleepily to the sound of PJ on the phone in the lounge, she jumped out of bed in an instant and was by his side in almost the same motion.
'Sorry, no news.' PJ looked down at the expectant Maggie and her face drop. Closing her eyes she took a deep breath.
'PJ, I'm going to go insane if we don't hear anything soon.' She sat herself on the edge of the couch and PJ joined her. Leaning against his shoulder for support a few lone tears fell down her cheeks. Moving closer to him again he placed his arm around her for support. Suprisingly she accepted the gesture and held his hand. Allowing more tears to fall again, she buried herself in his shoulder.
'Shh, Maggie. Shh.' PJ was unable to find words of comfort. Isabel had been missing for over 24 hours now. With a woman who they knew little about.
'PJ, you can't even tell me that everything's going to be fine, can you?' She looked at him with tears brimming her already red eyes.
'Mags...' She looked so sad. 'I hate having to say this, you know I do. But' he took a deep breath. 'I can't promise anything.' She nodded and looked around the house.
'What I would give for her to come skipping down the hall now. I would give *everything* for that. EVERYTHING!' She sounded so sincere, so heartbroken. He had to do something. But for now all he could do was holder her tighter for comfort.
Ben was out in the state forest, searching, it was a long shot. But maybe, just maybe he could find her. He knew her hiding spots. Not that it meant anything right now, especially if she was with Anne. Anne Phillips, he knew her well. Too well in fact. Maggie had set them up a couple of times. Mainly to get him off her back he supposed. The number of times that he'd asked her out, even whilst PJ was still there, and then after he'd left... but they both knew that was only a fling. Ben had just had more trouble accepting it.
The only way he felt as though he was able to make it up to her was to be there, like the father he instinctively was, for Isabel, and for Maggie when she needed it.
Giving up as it started to rain slightly Ben, with only his suit jacket for warmth headed back to his car.
Arriving back at the station soon after he was greeted by solemn looking faces.
'Still nothing?' Jo shook her head.
'I feel so bad for Maggie. I can only imagine, in fact I don't want to imagine what she's going through right now. It must be hell.' She looked over to Ben and Tom.
'I don't want to think about it.' Tom looked grim.
'If this is what you go through I don't think I want kids.' Looking sideways at Jack he gave her a small smile.
'Jo...' Ben paused. 'It's not all bad, is it Boss?' Tom shook his head before retreating to his office. 'Having kids is one of the most enjoyable experiences you can imagine. I'm sure that you'll experience it soon enough Jo, and I promise, you won't regret it.' Ben smiled and walked back to his office.
Jo looked across at Jack who reached out and held her hand.
'It'll be fine, just keep telling yourself that.' Jo nodded and placed her hand on her stomach.
Maggie had been pacing up and down for the last hour.
'Maggie, please sit down, you're driving me insane.'
'I'm so frantic, *please* can we at least go back down to the station? I need to do something Peej, I can't cope with this any longer, I'm serious. I'm so, so worried. I don't know what to think.'
Maggie's eyes were wide, mixed with fear, terror and hopefulness. She needed her baby girl back. 'Can't you tell me anything?'
'Mags, I don't know whether I want you to hate me for telling the truth or to love me for telling lies. Cause if I told you that I knew she was going to be fine, I'd be lying and I've promised myself that I won't do that to you again.' Maggie looked at him and nodded. 'How 'bout we go down to the station? It may not be the brightest of ideas, but it may just help both of us keep our sanity... you think?' She nodded and gave him a small smile before grabbing his hand and pulling him outside.
Sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to
Close my eyes and hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you
Till the fear in me subsides
That night Jack and Jo were sitting watching Annie's house in silence.
'She'll be okay Jack,' Jo said quietly.
'I don't think she will be,' he replied just as quietly. Jo looked across at him. 'I have this terrible feeling that we won't. Just... I have this *gut* feeling that something has happened to her, something terrible.' Jack began sobbing quietly and Jo pulled him close to her.
Ben and Chris stood leaning against the bar side-by-side.
'I don't know Chris, I just can't shake this feeling, you know?'
'You have to think positive Ben.'
'I know I do, but the *gut* feeling just won't go away.'
'I know exactly how you feel Ben.' He looked sideways at her and she nodded.
Jack and Jo were still sitting in the CI car waiting for something to happen.
'Mmm?' she looked across at him.
'For not being honest with you after all this time.' Jack looked down at his hands.
'Is this what we started the other night?' He nodded. 'Who was it Jack?' As Jack opened his mouth they both turned to the radio.
'It's not going to get me out of it, is it?' She shook her head with a small smile on her face. He turned looking up and down the street.
'She's not coming either Jack.' He looked down at his hands once more and then up into the blackness.
'It was after the footy do, about nine years ago. You remember, you'd had a bad day and I wouldn't dance with you?' she nodded. 'Then you left, pretty plastered, as was everyone else.'
'Champagne.' He nodded.
'Do you remember who came with us?'
'Yeah, you cornered Maggie and PJ into it... oh my god. It was Maggie, wasn't it?' Jack remained silent. 'I'm taking that as a yes.'
'You don't sound angry.'
'Why should I be? I mean I am that you didn't tell me sooner, but we weren't actually together then, were we?' He shook his head.
'Can I as how... no why?'
'We were both *really* drunk. Her and PJ had just had that huge fight, you know the one I mean?'
'How could I forget. The whole hall heard it.'
'I guess we were both angry at someone and all the alcohol had taken its toll...'
'So Isabel...?' Jack looked down and shrugged slightly.
'I don't know...' he whispered.
'Jack!' He looked over at her, ready for an argument but saw her pointing to Annie's driveway.
'That's her,' he said. 'But where's Isabel?'
Jo got out of the car as Jack picked up the radio. She jogged up behind her as she put the key in the door.
'Yes,' she said spinning around. Annie took one look at the uniform and ran.
'JACK!' Jo took off after her on foot and Jack jumped back in the patrol car to follow.
She disappeared down an alley way and Jo wasn't far behind her.
'Annie, STOP! This isn't helping!' Jo was yelling as she ran after her. Continuing she heard Jack round the corner in front of them she hoped that he would be able to cut her off.
It was getting hard to see, the back lanes and alleys didn't have a lot of light, and Jo was simply running after shadows. Ahead of her she could see Annie's outline.
'Annie!' She called at her once again. It looked as though she turned her head to see how far behind Jo was, and then she stumbled and fell over something ahead of her. Jo increased her pace hoping to catch her before she stood up again.
She watched Annie scramble to her feet and look back at Jo who was only meters away. Picking up her pace once more Jo was almost within reach of Annie, she saw Jack ahead.
As Annie stopped still Jo crashed into her unable to stop in time. Both falling to the ground and struggling to keep a hold of her, Jo reached out for her foot. Finding the tip of it she held it tight, if she could just hold it till Jack was closer... Annie's foot slipped out of her grasp and as she stood up she was faced with Jack, in all 6 foot glory and she realised it was over.
END PART TEN
'So Boss, they've got her?' Maggie walked out of the CI office and her face lit up as Tom put down the radio. He nodded.
'Yes, but um... no Isabel. She wasn't with her.'
'What do you mean no Isabel? What about. But. Where is she?' The smile on her face has disappeared and once again was filled with worry. Her bottom lip began to tremble.
'I don't know Maggie. We'll just have to wait and see what she has to say.' She nodded and took PJ's hand. 'You're not going to let me sit in on the interview, are you?'
'You know that.' Said Tom.
'Can PJ?' Maggie's request shocked them both. Tom and PJ exchanged a glance.
'Why's that Mags? I'm not going to be able to help the situation. In fact I'd probably make it worse.'
'You can listen to the tape when they're done Doyle.' Maggie nodded and went to make herself a cup of tea.
'Boss, are we going to let Maggie in the same room as her? I mean, at the minute I *really* don't think it's a good idea.' PJ spoke quietly.
'I know... get her into my office or Ben's.' He nodded.
'All right then.' Maggie returned catching the end of the conversation.
'Huh?' Tom left leaving PJ to talk to her.
'Mags you wanna go into Ben's office for a moment?'
'Why PJ? So I'm not here when *she* turns up?' Maggie spat the words out. 'I don't think I could look at that woman right now. I'd be glad to get out of here.' She turned and walked into the locker room, leaving PJ confused.
'I don't see what the problem is, *why* do you want to talk to me?'
'I think you may just know Ms. Phillips, why else would you have run like that when you saw us?' Jack and Jo entered with Annie Phillips.
'Sergeant Croyden, can you please tell me why these officers have dragged me down here?'
'We think you may have something to do with the disappearance of Isabel Doyle.' Tom looked over the top of his glasses.
'Isabel's missing? When? How did this happen?' She looked shocked.
'Through to the interview room please Lawson. Let's just wait for Stewart before putting her through the ringer.' He retreated back to his office.
'Where's Maggie?' asked Jo.
'Locker room,' replied PJ.
'How is she?' PJ shook his head and shrugged. 'What's wrong PJ?' He looked at her surprised. 'You're not very good at hiding your feelings PJ, you never were.' He nodded.
'I dunno Jo. I mean, I'm so worried about this little girl. And I've never even met her. And Mags is so upset. And, her baby is missing!'
'She's everyone's baby PJ. But yes, Maggie's baby *is* missing, and she needs you right now. She has missed you *so* much. You understand that?' He nodded once again.
'I've missed her too.'
'Then why'd you leave? Why'd it take you this long to come back?' PJ didn't reply. 'Sorry, that's none of my business.'
'Nah, it's okay. I honestly don't know why I left Jo. I mean, I love Maggie, and she says she loves me to. We always have. But we lost trust in each other... There was that thing with Ben...'
'It was just a kiss PJ.'
'I know, and then Ja...' He stopped short.
'Jack, I know about that. I'm surprised you do though.'
'I'm not stupid Jo, anyone could have seen it.'
'I didn't. I found out about an hour ago. But PJ that can't be the only reason that you left.'
'She caught me with another woman Jo. I had to leave. She couldn't trust me after that.'
'I think she would have.' Jo said quietly. 'Maggie is one of the most forgiving people I know.'
'But Jo, forgiveness, it's not the same as trust. It's so much more than that.'
'I don't think I'm the one you should be talking to about this. Go and talk to her.' She smiled at PJ and pushed him toward the locker room where Maggie had retreated to.
Ben sat in the watch house, thinking. Looking at photo's that had been taken over the past 10 years.
He smiled as he looked at one of Maddie, Emma & Isabel and Lucy. The four girls stood with their arms around one another, and huge smiles on their faces. Despite their age differences, all girls had got along particularly well.
He had to find Isabel, he had to. To make it up to Maggie if nothing else. To say he was sorry, for everything. For all of it. For the time he kept pursuing her. For almost forcing her to sleep with him. No, that wasn't true. She did it out of guilt, and anger. But it *was* just a fling. He took one last look at the photo before grabbing his jacket and heading out the door.
END PART ELEVEN
'Interview suspended at 10:35 PM.' Ben looked over to Jack and he turned off the tape recorder.
'You're sure you don't want to add anything else?'
'Look, Senior Sergeant Croyden, I don't even know why I'm in here.'
'You know full well why you're here. Where's Isabel?' Ben raised his voice.
'I. Don't. Know.' She spoke quietly, and with such force that it was almost believable. Tom indicated to the others to follow him out of the room.
Chris leant on the bar resting her chin in her hand.
'Hello! Chrissy? Wake up.' She was brought out of a day-dream by a hand waving in front of her face.
'Sorry, can I help you?' She spun around and was face to face with PJ. 'Peej, what are you doing here?'
'I have to find her Chris, Maggie's going insane. And I can't bear to watch it. She's tearing herself up and it's killing me, that little girl is her life and someone has taken it away.'
'I know Peej, I don't want to sound like a downer, but we've looked everywhere for her and there just seems to be no trace at all.'
'Which means that whoever has got her is either keeping her *very* quiet or they've left town.'
'Well where do you think they'd go?'
'I don't think they'll leave town. Whoever it is has obviously taken Izy to get at Mags somehow and they'll stay around to see what they've done. They could be in here for all we know.' They both stopped and looked around in thought of PJ's last comment.
'Maggie, you can't do this on your own.'
'Jo, you can't stop me.'
'Yes I can Maggie, I'm your friend and I'm not going to let you go out there and try and find her, in the dark by yourself. At least wait till morning.'
'Jo, how can you say that? Especially when you're...'
'Maggie, that's got nothing to do with this.'
'I'm going Jo, you don't want me to go by myself, then come.' She raised her eyebrows. Jo sighed heavily and looked over at Maggie. She was going to go no matter what. She reached into her locker and grabbed her jacket.
'All right then, lets go. But not for long huh?' Maggie nodded with a smile on her face.
'Thanks Jo.' Jo simply nodded and walked out of the locker room.
'Where are you to going?' Tom walked out of the interview room closely followed by Ben and Jack. They both turned around guiltily.
'Ah, just for a drive. Take our minds of things for a little while.' Jo looked as innocent as she possibly could. Tom closed his eyes and shook his head, waving them out the door.
When the night, has come
And the land is dark
And the moon, is the only,
light we'll see
Maggie and Jo sat quietly in the car as Jo turned down random streets.
'What exactly are we looking for Maggie?'
'I don't know Jo, just anything that may link to her. Anything.' Maggie shone the torch out the window once again swearing under her breath as Jo turned the corner once again.
'We'll find her Maggie, I'd tell you not to worry but you will anyway.'
'Gee thanks Jo, that's a real help. You're really one of the most helpful people I know sometimes.' Sarcasm was laced through Maggie's voice.
'We're not getting into this again are we?'
'I've no idea what you're talking about.'
'Oh bull Maggie. I'm out here helping you and all you can do is dredge up the past when we should be focusing on finding Isabel. Can't we just leave it for now?'
'No! I can't forget it Jo. And so what if we dredge up the past? Huh? I *need* to right now.' Maggie's voice became louder with each word.
'This is about PJ, isn't it?' Jo spoke quietly in an attempt to calm her down, and pulled over to the side of the road.
'What do you think?' Maggie's tone had softened. 'He jumps back into my life after nearly 10 years. TEN! They've been the longest years of my life you know? It's been so hard. Each time I put him behind me someone says or does something and it brings all the memories back. Of what we used to have and what we used to do and...'
'Maggie, but that's not what this is about is it?' She shook her head silently. 'You wanna tell me what it's about?'
'Jo, you've really got no idea of our history, have you?'
'I know more than you think.' They looked each other square in the eye.
'Like what?' Jo hesitated before answering.
'Like I know about how long you and PJ were together before anyone knew, I know when the boss found out. I know about the whole Ben thing. I know...'
'How do you know?' Jo looked down at her hands.
'I'm not the only one who knows.'
'Jo, who else knows?'
'Jack. And before you ask how we know,' she sighed. 'We've kept in contact with PJ.'
'And you didn't tell me because?'
'Because we knew how much he hurt you.'
'I can't believe that you didn't... Oh my god, Jo, over there!' Maggie pointed across the road at a guy carrying a small body over to his car.
Your arms are open wide
Waiting for me to rush inside
I'll meet you in the clouds
Please you, your power to bring the heaven down
END PART TWELVE
'Maggie, I'm going as fast as I can without causing a damn accident ok!'
Maggie held Isabel in her arms. She was pail, wet, bruised... and barely alive. Opening her eyes slightly Isabel looked up to Maggie.
'Mummy...' her voice was barely above a whisper and her eyes fluttered shut again.
'What did you do to her?' Maggie's head snapped around to the back seat where Mr. Jackson Phillips sat handcuffed.
'Nothing, I swear it. I only just found her downstairs. Like I said, I've been away on business for the last week and only just got home.'
There were stretcher bearers, nurses and doctors everywhere when they pulled up to the hospital. Maggie was out of the car in seconds.
'I'll just drop this guy of and someone will come back okay?' Maggie nodded as Jo pulled the door shut and drive off.
Isabel was taken out of Maggie's hands and the stretcher flew through the doors and down the hallway. Maggie was with it until they forced her to stop.
'Sergeant, we'll tell you as soon as we know, take a seat, please.' The young nurse looked at her sympathetically. Maggie ran her hand through her shoulder length hair and sat down. All she could do was wait.
Jo led a co operative Mr. Phillips into the station.
'This is him.' The three men standing at the computer looked at him with utter disgust. Jack chose that moment to bring Annie out.
'Annie, what are you doing here?'
'I might ask you the same question.'
'Is it about that girl downstairs? Why was she there Annie.'
'Mr. Phillips, I'll have to...' Tom raised his hand to indicate for Ben to be quiet.
'I don't know what you're talking about Jackson.'
'Bull shit Annie! I can't do this anymore, that's it.' He turned to Jo. 'Through here is it?' He made his way past everyone and Ben escorted him through to his office.
'Put her back in the interview room Lawson, Parrish my office.' Tom turned back to his office. 'And Hasham, go and see how Doyle is doing.' A chorus of 'yes bosses' followed and people disappeared.
'Mags, how is she?' PJ ran up the hospital corridor.
'PJ,' she was barely able to get the word out before she began sobbing.
'No, but, but,' Maggie leant into PJ once more and sobbed into his shirt. 'PJ why is this happening to me, to her? It's not, its just.' PJ held her close and rubbed her back.
'Doctor?' PJ was the first to notice the doctor coming through the doors. Maggie stood up and wiped her eyes and face, hoping to gain just a little bit of composure.
'Honestly, it's not looking good I'm afraid. She's suffered severe internal injuries and'
'But she's going to be alright?' Maggie cut him off.
'She's only a little girl Sergeant, she may pull through. But it's not looking good. You can see her in just few minutes.' Maggie closed her eyes and nodded. PJ placed a hand on her shoulder which she shrugged off.
'Mags...' he stopped himself, this wasn't a good time.
'Just don't touch me PJ, this is your fault. Yours. Just leave me alone.' Maggie glared at him before storming of down the corridor. PJ sighed as he once again sat down on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs.
'Boss, I just checked with Mr. Phillips secretary. He was in fact away on business and I've confirmed it with the hotel. He's in the clear.' Jo shrugged and looked over to Ben.
'I guess we've got nothing to hold him on then.'
'Just hold on a second Stewart. If you recall he pushed Mrs. Phillips maybe she'll crack if they "accidentally" have another confrontation?' They nodded and Jo went to get Jack whilst Ben collected Mr. Phillips.
Just as if it was on cue they met in the main office.
'So what've you done Annie?'
'I told you Jackson, NOTHING!'
'Bull shit Annie. You've been the only one home for a week and I get home to find a little girl locked downstairs. What am I supposed to think?'
'Cut the crap Jackson, how can I be sure that you *were* away, hey? You could have just staged all that, huh?'
'Actually Mrs. Phillips,' Jo cut in. 'We've verified his alibi, he was away.'
'Oh, well I still don't know how she got there.' Tom exchanged a glance with Jack.
'Annie, you can't keep lying your way through life like this. Why'd you take her?'
'I couldn't help myself. I didn't want her to die.' She broke down and crumbled to the floor and they stood there and watched.
'PJ isn't it?' PJ looked up at the doctor who had approached him without realising. He nodded.
'You're Isabel's father?' PJ half shook his head and half shrugged.
'Nothing yet, I just think you need to be with Maggie right now. She needs someone there with her.'
He followed the doctor down to the room where Maggie had been sitting for the last three-quarters of an hour, and stood in the doorway and watched her.
'Come on Iz, wake up honey, you've got to.' Maggie's hand stroked her face around the tubes, the other holding her daughters hand. 'Isabel, I need you, you can't go. You can't leave me, you're my baby.'
PJ looked at the little girl. Even through the bruises and tubes she was a gorgeous little girl. She had her mothers eyes and mouth. Something that he'd never forget, they were etched into his memory.
'She looks so weak.' PJ's voice was barely above a whisper. Maggie didn't turn around, instead releasing one of her hands from Izy and reaching out to him. PJ took her hand and stood behind her.
'She'll be okay Maggie.' Maggie's only reply was a small shake of her head. Silence filled the little room as they listened to the beeping of the machines and Maggie's quiet sobbing.
'I just want to see her smile again.'
Something went wrong
You are not laughing
It's not so easy to get your smile
You gotta be strong
To walk these streets
And keep from falling
But when you're not, just let yourself cry.
END PART THIRTEEN
Maggie sat in the front of the church. She wore a simple blank pants suit. PJ sat to one side of her. Someone slid in on the other side.
'Dash!' Maggie turned to hug her friend.
'Oh Maggie, I'm so sorry. It's not fair is it?' Maggie shook her head and hugged Dash tighter. She gave PJ a small smile over Maggie's shoulder. Maggie finally let go of her friend and turned slightly to see almost everyone she knew filling into the church, even Adam Cooper was standing up the back. She hadn't seen him since he and Dash had come back down for Isabel's 5th birthday party, she missed seeing all her old friends. She turned back to Dash. 'Thanks for coming back,' her voice cracked as she broke down once again.
Maggie didn't hear the first part of the service, she sat with her eyes closed, concentrating on her breathing.
'And now there's a few people that would like to say a few words.'
Jack stood up and walked to the podium and took a breath.
'It's hard for me to talk about Isabel. She was so much a part of my life for the last 10 or so years and it's hard for me to realise that's she's gone. She was so beautiful...'
Something that I said
Made you wear a frown
The way you hang your head
Has made the tears come down
But don't you wear a sigh
'I loved Isabel so much, as much as my own daughters. She was so happy, so full of life. She brought something special into our lives. And everyone here will miss her so much. She was just...'
You know it doesn't burn
When you touch the sun
So don't be concerned
My Golden One
You're gonna reach the sky
'She was going to reach the top. I knew that would. She'd ring me and tell me her hopes and dreams. She called me "Aunty Dashy" even though I was no relation to her. And I'll miss that more than anything. It's hurts that she's gone...'
Tom took his place and a deep breath.
'Isabel was everyone's somehow. She was a part of all of us it didn't matter how, she was a daughter, grand-daughter or a sister to somebody. And each somebody loved her more than anything in the world. Most of all her mum, Maggie. Just remember we're here for you, in the loss of your baby. We loved her almost as much as you...'
There is no other place
The human race
Is running out of space
There is no better love
And human love is what it takes
Jack once again took his place at the podium. This time Jo was with him.
'It's unusual for this many people to come and say something about someone, unless it's a great tragedy, which this is. We just have to read this poem. It's from Anna, Isabel's best friend...
I’ll wish upon a star tonight,
but I know it won’t come true.
But I’ll wish upon that star tonight,
and wish that I’m with you.
I will look up in the Heavens,
and pick the brightest star.
And promise to myself,
that’s exactly where you are.
Forever in my heart,
that’s where you’ll always stay.
My beautiful little Angel,
you’ll help me find my way.
And in my darkest hours,
I know this to be true.
My Angel up in Heaven,
I’ll never stop loving you.
Thank-you, Isabel, rest in peace and may you fly with the angels.'
Tears steadily poured down Maggie's cheeks as Jack and Jo once again took their places.
Maggie sat and watched as her baby, her daughter, her child was carried out in the tiny coffin. PJ's hand rested on her shoulder for support as Dash and PJ each took a hand as she left the church
And I'll be at your side
When you're falling down
You'll be feeling fine
When you hit the ground
So don't slip away
END PART FOURTEEN
Maggie sat at her chair at the station after the wake. The most important people in her life, past and present, were there with her. She laid her head on her desk and listened to the quiet conversation.
'She'll forgive you PJ, it's really not your fault, you know that right?' PJ nodded at Chris. 'She needs time, you'd have to understand that wouldn't you?'
'Chris, I'll give her all the time in the world if that's what it takes. I know it's not my fault but I have to make it up to her.'
Nick approached them then, beer in hand.
'Where's Miranda & Jeremy?' Chris spoke of his two children.
'They're with Zoe's parent's, we didn't think they should come.'
'Do they know what happened?' Nick nodded.
'I can't believe she's gone. I only spoke to her the other day on the phone, about you actually PJ.' PJ raised his eyebrows. 'About you and Maggie, she asked who you were, so I told her.' PJ nodded solemnly and looked around.
Tom stood with Ben and Robyn, just one of the many that had made the trek down from Melbourne. Madeline, Emma, Lucy and Josh sat on the floor nearby, Lucy sat in Emma's lap, and the looks on their faces were devastating. Tear stained cheeks and red eyes. Messy hair and rumpled clothes only slightly expressed what they felt. Used tissues scattered the floor around them. Madeline rested her chin on the top of Josh's head and another tear rolled down her cheek.
Jo sat in Jack's chair, legs tucked up to her chin, facing the desk which Jack had placed himself on. His arms encircled her neck and their foreheads rested together as they spilled tears for the life lost.
Dash and Zoe sat side-by-side leaning against the wall. Both had their eyes shut and heads resting back looking towards the ceiling. Dash leant over and rested her head on Zoe's shoulder and arms wrapped around each other as they sobbed quietly.
PJ excused himself from the conversation and made his way over to Maggie. He crouched down beside the chair and tapped her on the elbow. She looked up and reached out to hold him.
'PJ I can't do this, I feel like I'm going to die. I feel like I'm falling apart. It's not fair.'
'I know Mags, shhh.' Maggie held PJ tightly until he pulled away.
'Um, Maggie I know this is a bad time, but I need to ask.'
'PJ it's not a good...' He placed a finger on her lips and shook his head.
'Not that. Her Dad, he needs to know. Have you told him?' Maggie froze for a few moments and looked around the room. At her friends, Chris, Dash & Zoe, Tom, Robyn, Nick, Jo, Jack, Ben and finally back to PJ.
'It's alright,' she spoke quietly. 'He knows.' Sighing she rested her head on the desk once again.
Goodbye my friend
I know you're gone, you said you're gone,
but I can still feel you here.
It's not the end
You gotta keep it strong before the pain turns into fear.
Just a little girl
Never letting no-one take it away
Went into the world (into the world)
What a revelation
She found there's a better way
For you and me to be
Look for the rainbow in every storm
Find out for certain
Love's gonna be there for you
You'll always be someone's baby
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE FINISHED! DID YOU LIKE IT?
So did you work out who her Daddy was? Did you guess it was him?
More notes and some thanks: Jaye, cause without her help this fic would have been utterly hopeless - and the poem that Jack read isn't mine, it's Jaye's, she wrote it, not me... To Sim, cause apart from the fact that she rocks and has the four o'clock funnies at 12:30 AM she has helped me just soo much with this one. Also to Anna, cause without her the ending may have been a little more boring than what it is...
Also the poem "Candle Of Friendship" in the prologue isn't mine, it's by an unknown author, so, author of the poem, if you happen to read this, the poem is great I really like it and thought it fitted well with the fic.
The song "Beautiful Child" isn't mind... it belongs to the Eurythmics, and it's off their funky new CD - "Peace."
Um, a few other little things, I wrote PJ's mum dying before the ep with her coming back sick aired, so I just must have tapped into their minds or something huh? But in mine it wasn't Emphysema.
Other song lyrics included that aren't mine [in no particular order]:
--Stand By Me - Ben. E. King
--Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Tim Rice, Elton John
--Wishes - Human Nature
--It's All Coming Back to me Know - Celine Dion
--Sometimes When We Touch - Newton
--I Don't Know You Anymore - Savage Garden
--Gold to Me - Ben Harper
--I've Tried Everything - Eurythmics
--My True Love - Eurythmics
--Any Luck Penny - Dawson's Creek Album
--Cry Ophelia - DC Album x 2
--Goodbye - Spice Girls
THANKS FOR READING!