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Angels Don't JUST Live in Heaven

Guest AngelRose

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Jack looked down at Martha, his heart breaking for the pain she was going through. Man, sometimes he sometimes wished he was allowed to arrest people just for being a royal pain in the butt! Right now Justice Bellingham was a PRIME candidate! He sighed heavily:

"Well, the very first thing you're going to do is ring your grandfather & tell him you're spending the rest of the day at our place, but you WILL be going home tonight, ok? It'll give us time to think."

"This is MY problem Jack!"

"Yeah Mac, but you're MY best mate & you're unhappy; that's MY problem!" he insisted. "Now, call your granddad?"

He offered her his cell phone. She took it with a sigh & smiled. He smiled back:

"That's my girl!"

He praised & without either of them thinking he pulled her into a hug & kissed her on the forehead.

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The stunned silence around the Holden dining-table was only broken by the crashing sound as the jaws of Tony & Luc Holden hit the floor. Eventually Tony let out a long, low, whistle:

"No offence Martha, but that Aunt of yours is some piece of work!" he said.

"Oh none taken, believe me. The question is what do I do about her?" Martha sighed despairingly.

"What are WE going to do about her you mean." Jack corrected, squeezing her hand supportively.


During this exchange Luc's stunned look had turned to an angry, thoughtful frown:

"There is one easy solution you know."

"Let's hear it then." Martha said eagerly.

"Marry Jack; you two would get along ok, you're best friends; that would leave her with no say over your private life at all."

Martha sighed heavily:

"Great idea Luc with just three MAJOR flaws:

1.Even if Jack was prepared to throw his life away on a nut-job like me, Morag has to have approval & right now she'd disapprove of the Governor General if he were MY choice.

2. If I married Jack, the WITCH could bankrupt me anyway, she could still ruin the business.

3. I won't marry now, even if, by some strange miracle I DO find Mr Right, until I COULD pay her off. She might win the war in the long run but not THAT battle!

You are now looking at a confirmed spinster Luc."

Now Jack spoke up:

"Mac, you are not the nut-job here; don't you even think that, ok? And if you don't want to marry, you'll walk down the aisle over at least three dead bodies, mine, your Granddad's & Ric's, ok?"

"Make that five."

Tony agreed, indicating himself & the now nodding Luc.

"Thanks guys." Martha's voice began to waver again.

Jack got up & stood behind her rubbing her shoulders:

"Don't you worry Mac; we WILL get you out of this."

'Somehow.' He added silently.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jack walked a very reluctant Martha back to apartment that night; but they both knew, as tempting as it was for Mac for to take up Tony’s offer of the sofa bed, if she started avoiding home it would look like she was running, the very last thing she was going to do. All the same she was so quiet & pale as she deactivated the burglar-alarm on the Diner, Jack felt he had to say something:

“Mac, are you working tomorrow?” he asked.

“Even I wasn’t, I sure as heck will be now.” She sighed sadly, as she reset the alarm. “It’s the only shot I’ve got at ‘reducing the length of my sentence’. Why?”

Jack smiled: “Because I’m on early shift & when I finish at 2 I’m taking you into the City to buy your birthday present.”

“But my birthday’s not for 6 months!” she cried.

“Details, details; remind me, is your future happiness at stake here, or not?”

“You know it is; what are you planning?” She was suspicious.

“Martha please, just trust me. Meet me outside the cop shop at 2:15pm, ok?

This pulled Mac up short; Jack never called her Martha unless he was really, really, serious.

“Ok?” he pressed

“Ok.” She agreed. “Thank you, Jack, for everything.” She said quietly.

“Don’t thank me ‘til we’re clear Mac. You ok from here?” (They’d reached the stairs up the flat) “I don’t think I’d be any good to you up on a slander suit!”

They both tried to laugh.

“I’m good thanks.” She turned to go up the stairs. Martha had her foot on the first step when Jack’s hand on her arm caused her to turn back. “What?”

For the second time that day, Jack pulled Martha into a hug & kissed her on the forehead: “’Night Mac.”


The next morning, having spent a sleepless night alternating between dreaming up wild money-making schemes & fighting the almost overwhelming urge to run, Martha gathered up her scattered courage & forced herself to get up & leave her room. WHY was it SO much easier to stay hopeful with Jack around?! Determined to stick to what little plan they had so far, she steeled herself with the knowledge that she’d see him later & was very careful to kiss both her beloved Granddad & her now not quite beloved Great Aunt, good morning.

“Morning love.” Her Granddad looked up from his paper with a smile. “Sleep well?”

“Oh, you know, a couple of cups of coffee & I’ll live. Want a fresh one Auntie Morag?” Mac asked, hoping she sounded bright.

Morag looked up from her latest batch of paperwork, clearly surprised: “Oh, yes please Martha dear. I must say I’m surprised you’re still talking to me after yesterday.”

“Well, I realise you’re only trying to do what think is best for me; just because we don’t agree on what that is, it doesn’t mean we can't behave like adults, does it? After all, we do have to live together, right?”

By this point, Alf had folded his paper. The scene over the breakfast table was clearly going to be far more entertaining than anything The Creek Chronicle had to offer today!

“Quite right. I knew you’d come round to my way of thinking after you’d calmed down.” Morag smiled a smug smile.

Martha stood up a little straighter as she gave her Aunt the coffee: “Oh no, Auntie Morag, you misunderstand me. Finishing School is still the last thing I want, but I’m not going to behave like some spoilt six year old over it either.”

Justice Bellingham sipped thoughtfully at her coffee: “Well, we’ll see; but at least you’re not behaving like some wailing banshee any more. That’s a start.”

“So what are you both doing today?” Alf asked carefully.

Martha politely indicated that her Aunt should speak first; with a nod of thanks she did so: “Well I have a meeting in Yabbie Creek at 10am & then a lunch date with Justice Susan Jefferies; she’s an old friend from Law School. She’s presiding over that big fraud trial in Johnson’s Hill. I may well stay with her overnight.”

(Johnson’s Hill was the Westerly neighbouring town to Summer Bay, whereas Yabbie Creek lay to it’s East).

“Ok, just let me know; so I know what to cook. What about you love?” Alf had turned to Martha.

“Well, I’m checking out some work on the old Simpson place this morning (the Agent wants it fully rewired before it goes back on the market), & this afternoon Jack & I are going into the City shopping. Don’t cook for me; we’ll eat out.”

Alf had noticed that during this Morag had stood up & begun to pack her briefcase, whether spurred on by the fact that she was running late or by the mention of the name Simpson he wasn’t sure.

“Well Alfred, I should be gone. I’ll see you both tomorrow probably. Martha.” With that, she left.

“Now young lady, would you mind telling me just what in the name of ‘The Big Fella Upstairs’ is REALLY going on here?” Alf demanded. “I expected you to come out all guns blazing this morning & yet I get a Ladies Aid Meeting.”

Mac broke into her first truly genuine smile of the day: “That’s the point, Granddad. Quite apart from the fact that I can’t afford to waste my energy in screaming matches if I’m ever going to pay off this debt, a screaming match is just what Auntie Morag was expecting to.”

“Martha.” Alf said warily.

“Granddad, please, trust me. Truth to be told, we both know there’s NOTHING Auntie Morag likes better than a claw’s out, screaming cat-fight & she darn good at them, right?”

Alf looked disapproving at this description of his sister, but he was forced to concede the glaringly obvious point with a grim nod.

Martha carried on: “So why start a skirmish I’ve got a snowball’s chance of winning? Listen Granddad, I may be the great niece of an ex High Court judge, but I’m ALSO a Stewart, not to mention the blood-daughter of a power-broker. There’s more than one way to skin a cat Don’t worry, ok?”

With that, she kissed on the cheek & left; leaving Alf wondering whether, just for once in his life he actually had something to be GRATEFUL to that low-life Brett Macklin for?!

Jack Holden too compensated for a lack of sleep with a strong cup of coffee but crept out of the house so as not to wake his Dad & Luc. He too had spent the night going over crazy plans to ‘save’ Mac. With members of the family like Morag, who needed enemies?! The next time he saw Morag Bellingham Jack knew one thing for sure; he’d be relying heavily on prayers to keep his temper! With any luck he’d be able to grab something to eat at work. He’d learnt since coming to the Bay that though the private lives of its residents could be pretty tricky, police matters were really pretty rare & he was more likely to find himself fighting the worst Mother Nature could throw at the town or finding a missing person in the Bush than locking someone in a cell. This often left plenty of time to eat, use the station gym, catch up on paperwork, keep up to date with new laws or hear & hopefully learn from the stories of more experienced officers. All that said though, Constable Holden had learnt better than to actually WISH for a quiet shift for that was as sure a curse as you could get.

Jack’s partner Corey met him as he reached the locker-room door: “Morning Jack.”

“Hi.” Said Jack, dully.

Corey’s smile turned to a frown as he dropped his voice as he put a hand on Jack’s shoulder: “Nightmare’s again mate?” he asked softly.

Jack shook his head: “Nah, you have to get some sleep for that.” Jack sighed.

Corey gave his shoulder a sympathetic squeeze:

“We’ll get role call over with & make for Stewart’s Point; you can buy me a lousy tea & clear your head. I’ll drive.”

“Thanks mate; see you in a minute.” Jack got changed with a slightly lighter heart.

Over at the Simpson house Martha followed the Estate Agent through the front door & looked around horrified. She’d expected the place to be in a bad way but this was a wreck! This was a huge job! On the up side (if there was one), was the fact that this would keep her in a job, & therefore let her start saving to pay-off Morag for at least a month to six weeks. She was so taken aback that it took her a minute or two to realise that the Agent was talking to her again:

“Well I’ll leave you to check the place out. Meeting a buyer on Beach St. The neighbour has your set of keys, be sure to lock up when you go. And watch your step in the master bedroom, the floorboards are less than ‘healthy’ shall we say?”

“Ok, thanks Mr Peterson.” Mac stammered. “Thanks.”

“Good luck.” Mac was almost sure she heard him mutter “You’ll need it.” As he headed back down the front path.

Everything finally pulling her down, Mac slumped down in corner by the living-room fire-place & wept.

“So, you want to tell me what all this is about or are you just going to sit there staring off into space all shift?”

Corey asked handing Jack his tea & leaning on the hood of the car as they watched dawn turn properly to day.

“It’s Mac,” Jack answered.

‘When isn’t it?’ Corey thought inwardly, hiding a knowing smile by taking a drink.

Meanwhile Jack had carried on talking, oblivious: “she’s up to her neck in trouble with Morag.”

“What’s so new? Those two are always bickering about something or another.”

Corey was well used to hearing tales of woe about Justice Bellingham from both Martha & his partner.

“No mate, this time it’s really serious; this time she’s threatening to close the business & MAKE Mac move to the City with her.” Jack sighed.

Corey’s head snapped up. That had gotten his full attention; he wasn’t at all sure that a Martha-less Jack was someone he even wanted to be around, let alone partnered with 4 days out of every 7!

“You’re kidding!” he gasped.

“Deadly serious.” Jack sighed heavily. “Morag’s given her 2 non-choices, marry by her 21st birthday (if she doesn’t she’ll be sent to Finishing School & married off to the son of a lawyer), or buy her Aunt out of the business, which unless she wins the Lotto…” his voice faltered.

“Hell Fire, Jack no wonder you look like death warmed over! That’s medieval!” Corey knew a lot better than to doubt the judge. “How’s Mac?”

“Out of her mind, how else?”

“Right. So how’s the plan?”

“Ropey; let’s just say I won't have much down-time for the next 18 months.” Jack crushed his cup in frustration.

“Well anything I can do mate, just say the word.”


Some time later, after figuring out that tears weren’t exactly a waste of time but wasting time, Mac got up, dried her eyes & went off to explore. This house may not be her salvation, but this, Jack, Ric & Granddad were all she had to fight with & she’d better start working with them ASAP if she was ever going to save herself from a fate worse than death.

She wondered if Granddad had told Ric yet. Probably not, she decided for as soon as Ric did, he was bound to go & do the one thing she literally couldn’t afford to; namely lose his temper with Auntie Morag. The reassuring thought that Ric undoubtedly WOULD lose his temper & give Auntie Morag a good tongue-lashing when he found out, sustained Mac somewhat as she wondered round inspecting the house. Morag needed someone to tell her that what she’d done was not ok, not ok at all, & if Ric had to be the one to do it then so be it.

Trying to fill his shift so that he didn’t have time to think too much (aka panic), Jack set to & did all the filing he & Corey had putting off for ages. Doing his best to be a supportive partner, Corey even swallowed his well-known loathing of technology & voluntarily updated the crime data-base. If the Sergeant noticed, he thought better of ‘looking a gift horse in the mouth’ & let it go without comment. That done, they washed down their patrol-car, Jack all the while with one eye on the seemingly crawling clock. He sighed & looked up but Corey beat him to the punch:

“6 minutes later than when you last asked.”

He said as Jack opened his mouth. Jack shut his mouth again without a word. They worked for a while in silence for a couple of minutes when Corey decided to risk his neck by speaking up:

“You know Jack, Luc’s idea does have some merit; easy cowboy…”, (he’d seen that Jack was about to explode) “…all I mean is at least you’d be there to watch over Mac.” He sighed.

“I’m there for her anyway.” Jack growled.

“Of course mate.”

Corey kept his head down & finished rinsing down the car hood, thinking better of saying more, despite having ideas of his own.

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