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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

A WEEK AND A HALF LATER

"This is it. I'm finally home," Martha said to herself outloud.

She turned her car off and stepped outside. She inhaled deeply; taking in the salty scent of the sea air. One of her favourite smells in the world. It felt a bit strange being back; especially since she had been gone for three weeks. She was only supposed to stay with Morag for two weeks but she ended up deciding to stay a bit longer. But no doubt; she was now glad to be home again.

She'd missed everybody so much. Three weeks was a long time. It was also the longest amount of time that she'd ever spent away from Jack. She missed him a lot, but she wasn't about to admit it to anyone. She needed to stop thinking about him. She'd only been back in town for a minute and already her thoughts were consumed by him.

"Hey Martha," she heard a voice call out. She looked up and saw Ric running towards her.

"Hey," she gave him a big smile.

"I'm so glad you're back. I've missed you," Ric said, giving her a hug.

"It's good to be back. I've missed this place," Martha told him.

"Woah, where did that come from?" Ric teased as he looked down at her stomach. "I'm pretty sure that wasn't there when you left," he laughed.

"Ah yeah. I've been eating. A lot," Martha joked, as she touched her small, now noticable bump. She was only four months along, so it wasn't a big bump, but people would most likely be able to tell that she was pregnant.

"When I left you couldn't even really tell I was pregnant. It's amazing how much things can change in the space of a few weeks," Martha told Ric. "So, if people didn't know I was pregnant; they're definitely going to know now," she finished.

"Oh, don't worry. The whole town practically knows already anyway. Once Colleen and Madge found out, they made it their personal mission to tell everybody," Ric started to explain. "If they had it their way, they probably would have made a banner," he joked.

"Oh goody, I just love it when the whole town knows my private business," Martha said sarcastically.

"Don't we all," Ric added with sarcasm. "Anyways, I'll walk you to the apartment," he offered.

"Okay," Martha nodded. "Let me just get my bags," she said as she opened up the back door of her car. She pulled out her two bags and chucked them over onto the grass. She then grabbed her jacket, and locked the car before walking over to where Ric was waiting. She picked the bags up and started walking in the direction of the diner.

"What do you think you're doing?" Ric demanded.

"Going home. What does it look like?" Martha said, looking confused.

"Ah yeah, I can see that. But put those bags down. You shouldn't be carrying them. Let me do it," Ric ordered her.

"Don't be stupid," Martha laughed. "I can carry my own bags. I'm fine," she fobbed him off, and continued walking.

"Give me the bags," Ric said once again, as he tried to grab them off her.

"I'm not a cripple Ric. I can carry the friggin bags," Martha started to yell as she snatched them back from him. Martha's raised voice soon starting grabbing the attention of people walking past, and of course Tony, Jack and Lucas. Martha had yet to notice them.

"I don't want you to hurt yourself, so give me the bags," Ric said again through clenched teeth.

"Arghhh, for gods sake. Take the damn bags if it makes you happy," Martha yelled once again, as she chucked them on the ground and stormed off.

On her way she walked passed Tony, Jack and Lucas, who were watching her with slightly amused looks on their faces. This only proceeded to annoy Martha, whose last nerve was about to snap. How dare they get their laughs out of her.

"What the hell are you lot lookin at?" she snapped, and gave them the dirtiest look she could muster up. She then continued on her way.

"Maybe I should go and say hi.............," Jack started to walk after her.

"Ah mate, maybe you should give the girl some space," Tony couldn't help but laugh at Martha's outburst. "I don't think she's in a very good mood, and she might physically hurt you," he continued to laugh.

"Hormones," Ric stated to them, as he ran past with the bags.

"You're telling me," Lucas snickered.

Jack didn't care if Martha was in a bad mood. And he couldn't really care less if she hit him. He hadn't seen her in three weeks. He wanted to talk to her.

"I just want to talk to her," Jack trailed off, as he watched her stride up the stairs.

"She's only been back for five minutes. Give her some time to settle in. She'll come to you when she's ready to talk," Tony explained to his son.

"Whatever," Jack exclaimed and walked off towards the beach.

Now he was in a bad mood.

****************************************

Once Martha had calmed down and had rested for awhile after her long drive home, she decided to go see Tasha.

"So, have you seen Jack yet?" Tasha asked, as they sat in on Tasha's bed, looking at the wedding and bridesmaid dresses.

"I saw him down by the diner when i first got back. He was with Tony and Lucas. Stupid jerks," Martha exclaimed.

"What happened? What did they do?" Tasha wanted to know.

"I was carrying my bags home, and friggin Ric went all protective on me. He wouldn't let me carry my bags because he thought I might hurt myself," Martha started. "I might be pregnant, but I'm not completely helpless. I can carry my own damn bags. Anyways, I kind of yelled at Ric and threw my bags at him. Jack, Tony and Lucas were just standing there laughing at me, so I gave them a peice of my mind and walked off," she finished her rant.

"So you didn't talk to Jack then?" Tasha tried to cover her laughs.

"Well, no, I didn't. And quite frankly, I don't want too," Martha replied with a stubborn edge to her voice.

"But I thought you missed him," Tasha said.

"I did. But that doesn't mean I don't think he's a jerk," Martha stated.

"You're gonna have to talk to him sooner or later," Tasha told her.

"I'm thinking later. Much later," Martha said. "But, lets not talk about me anymore. You're getting married tomorrow," Martha said excitedly.

"I know, I'm really excited," Tasha bumped up and down on the bed.

"Your dress is beautiful. You are going to look stunning," Martha smiled.

"Well you and Kit are going to look great aswell," Tasha started. "Actually speaking of the wedding, you're partnered with Jack," she said quickly and looked away.

"What? No. Why couldn't you partner me with Kim," Martha sulked.

"Because Kit's partnered with Kim. And besides, all you have to do is walk into the reception together. It's not the end of the world," Tasha laughed.

"You think," Martha added sarcastically. Great, now she'd probably have to touch him. She didn't think she could handle that.

"So, Rob and I thought that instead of having seperate bux and hen's nights, we'd just have a joint one at Noah's," Tasha then explained.

"What? No sexy male strippers," Martha pouted.

"Mac," Tasha scolded, but then laughed along with her.

**************************

NEXT CHAPTER: Tasha and Rob's bux/hen's night. Martha and Jack have a tiff. And who's getting it on?

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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Martha was standing in the store room at Noah's; wanting some time alone, but more importantly, trying to hide from everyone. When she had arrived at Noah's for Tasha and Rob's party, everyone had practically flocked towards her. They all wanted to congratulate her, and ask about the baby. As much as she loved her friends and family; she needed to get away from them. All the attention had gotten a little over-whelming. And geez, she had only been at Noah's for twenty minutes.

See hadn't even seen Jack. She didn't think he had even arrived yet. She was still in a foul mood with him; especially after what had happened when she had first gotten home. She didn't even know what she would say to him if they did speak. She wasn't even sure if she wanted to talk to him. Just thinking about it made her feel nervous and uncomfortable.

She got up from the stool she had been sitting on and took a deep breath; walking towards the door of the store room. Can't hide in here forever, Martha thought to herself as she opened the door and walked out. She smiled lightly as she walked past Alf, who was chatting happily with Barry and Irene.

She spotted Tasha standing at the bar ordering a drink, and moved towards her.

"Hey, I was wondering where you got to," Tasha smiled at her.

"Yeah, I just needed a breather. I felt like a monkey in a cage," Martha sighed. "Don't get me wrong, I love all these guys, but, all the poking and proding was driving me insane," she explained.

"I can only imagine," Tasha exclaimed. "So, Jack just got here a few minutes ago," she then told Martha.

"Whoop di do," Martha tried to sound uninterested.

"Martha," Tasha scolded.

"What? Would you like me to just run up and give him a big wet one," Martha said sarcastically. "Well, guess what? It ain't gonna happen," she took a sip of her orange juice.

"I just thought that maybe you two could talk," Tasha suggested. "Perhaps you could apologise for keeping the baby a secret, and he can say sorry for yelling at you," she continued.

Martha laughed. "Firstly, I already apologised for lying to him. He didn't want to hear it, and kicked me out of his house. So I ain't doing it again," she started to rant. "And secondly, I'm here to party, not to suck up Jack's ass," she finished.

Martha took another sip of her drink, and looked up. Standing on the other side of the bar looking at her was Jack, and Kim. She groaned to herself. Great, she thought.

She locked eyes with Jack for a moment, and found it hard to move her gaze away from him. His chocolate brown eyes seemed to draw her in even further. With a quick shake of the head; she broke the gaze.

"Did you hear what I just said," she asked Jack, sounding confident. She meant what she said. There was no way that she was going to suck up and beg for forgiveness.

"Loud and clear," he replied.

"Good," Martha stated simply.

"Ouch," Kim muttered under his breath.

"Tasha, let's dance," Martha then grabbed Tasha's hand and pulled her off towards the dance floor.

**************************

Jack watched from afar as Martha danced with Tasha. She looked beautiful. She had on an emerald silk dress, that fell to mid-thigh. Her hair hung in ringlets around her face; and cascaded down her back. Just the way he liked it. He looked down her tanned legs, which were covered by a pair of black boots; her trademark he liked to call them.

His eyes roved back up her body again, and he watched as her hips swayed seductively to the music. He had also noticed how the green silk of the dress clung tightly across her now swollen stomach; and he couldn't help but find it unbelievably sexy.

"Ah mate," a voice interrupted his thoughts. "You got a little drool there," Kim teased, as he indicated to Jack's mouth.

Jack laughed. "Shut up," he said.

"Hey, I'm just saying," Kim smirked. "No, seriously. You can't even keep your eyes off Mac for five seconds. You want her bad, huh?" he teased a bit more.

"Didn't I tell you to shut up?" Jack laughed.

"Yeah yeah," Kim laughed along with him.

"You should have seen everyone when she first got here," Kim started to talk again, as he turned the conversation serious. "Everyone just practically swamped her. Wanting to know about the baby and all that. She ended hiding in the store room. Certainly don't blame her though. It was enough to scare anyone away," he finished.

Jack stole another glance at Martha and noticed that she had now stopped dancing and was moving back in towards the bar. He watched as she stopped to talk with Alf. After a few moments she started moving again.

"Should I try to talk to her? Do you think she's angry with me?" Jack asked Kim, as Martha seemed to move closer towards where he was standing.

As she got nearer she didn't even bother to look up at him. She walked straight past and completely ignored him.

"There's your answer," Kim laughed. "She's pissed," he continued.

******************************

After all that dancing, Martha needed a break. She was already feeling a little tired. She'd had a long day; especially after the long drive back from the city. She walked over towards the couch on the back wall, and was about to sit down when she felt a hand grasp gently around her arm. She didn't even have to turn around to know that it was Jack. She always knew when it was him touching her.

"We need to talk," he whispered in her ear. Before she could protest, he was dragging her off towards the direction of the gym. He pulled her through the door and closed it behind them; making sure that they could talk in private.

"What is it that you want?" Martha looked up at him.

"I want to talk to you," Jack said to her.

"You want to talk," Martha said sarcastically. "You didn't want to listen to me, when I wanted to talk. You kicked me out of your house remember. So give me one good reason why I should listen to you," she raised her voice at him. She didn't worry about anyone hearing her. She knew nobody would be able to hear over the sound of the loud music anyway.

"Look, I'm sorry that I yelled at you that day. I didn't mean to hurt you," Jack told her.

"Could have fooled me," Martha scoffed. She couldn't do this. She didn't want to do this. She wanted out, right now. She tried to walk away, but Jack grabbed her. "I haven't finished yet," he told her.

"And I certainly didn't intend on making you leave town," Jack started again. "Speaking of, why exactly didn't you tell me you were going away?" he asked.

"Last time I checked, I didn't need your permission to go on a holiday," Martha shot out.

"Why didn't you answer or return any of my calls or messages?" Jack then asked.

"I was busy," Martha exclaimed. She knew she was being stubborn. But it was what she done best.

"Right," Jack laughed with added sarcasm. "Doing what exactly?"

"What's you point?" Martha tried to sound bored.

"My point is that you went away for three weeks and you didn't tell me. I didn't know if you were okay. Or if the baby was okay," Jack yelled at her. "You just left me here alone to worry about you. I was worried," he yelled a bit more.

"I didn't think you'd care," Martha snapped back at him.

"Of course I cared," Jack's voice got softer. "I care about you, and I care about the baby. Our baby," he reassured her, as he tucked a curl behind her ear.

Martha looked into Jack's eyes. She could feel herself softening towards him. The stubborn side of her was telling her not to though.

"Maybe we shouldn't talk about this now. I think we should leave it till after the wedding," Martha suggested.

"If that's what you want," Jack agreed.

"It is," Martha nodded. "Can we go back in now?" she then asked.

"Yeah," he smiled and moved back towards the door to open it.

He was just about to pull it open, when two bodies crashed through it; attached at the lips.

"Woah," Jack exclaimed. "I knew it," he then laughed, closing the door again quickly.

"What's going on guys?" Martha teased.

Kim and Kit looked back at them; surprised. It was like they'd just been caught with their hand in a cookie jar.

"So, how do you guys feel about secrets?" Kit smiled innocently.

Martha groaned. Secrets.........here we go again.

****************************

NEXT CHAPTER: Tasha and Rob get married.

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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

Hope you all weren't expecting me to write out Tasha and Robbie's wedding. I totally couldn't be stuffed, so this chapter is starting at their reception.

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

"Ladies and gentleman, it's time for the bridalwaltz," Tony called into a microphone.

Martha watched as her two bestfriends made their way onto the dance floor. She raised her fingers to her lips and let out a loud wolfwhistle; which led to loud cheers and applause from everybody else.

Martha looked around the room; it looked amazing. Tasha and Robbie had decided to have the reception at the banquet room at the 'Sands Resort'. It was a great decision. The ceremony had been beautiful; it had been held down by the wharf, over looking the water; and Tasha had insisted that the whole bridal party go bare-foot.

Martha smiled as she watched Tasha and Robbie dance together. They were so in love, and Martha was so happy for them; they looked beautiful together.

After a few minutes a lot more people started to join them on the dancefloor. Martha wasn't really in the mood for dancing, she was more worried about the food sitting in front of her. Her stomach was grumbling; she was starving. And so was the baby.

Jack was sitting next to her, but she didn't dare look at him. But her prayers were answered when Beth came and waltzed him off for a dance. She was just about to take a bite of a delicious looking sandwich when she was interuppted by Robbie.

"What ya doin?" he smiled at her.

"Eating. What does it look like?" Martha smirked at him.

"It looks like you're about to get up and have a dance," Robbie told her.

"Like I said, I'm eating," she tried to fob him off.

"Come on Mac. I want to have a dance with the pregnant girl," he pleaded.

"Pregnant girl? How did you come up with that one?" Martha smiled.

"Well, you're pregnant and a girl. Hence, pregnant girl," Robbie explained.

Martha couldn't help but laugh. "Ok, I'm coming," she agreed, standing up.

"Let's boogie," Robbie spun Martha as they made their way into the crowd.

******************************

"So you and Jack haven't really spoken yet?" Lucas asked Martha as they danced together to a slow song.

"We had a bit of an argument last night at Noah's. And we've only said a few words to each other today," Martha sighed.

She cursed Tasha for pairing them up for the wedding. They'd had to walk into the reception together; which meant that they'd had to touch. And Martha knew that Tasha had purposely sat them together at the table. It wasn't that she didn't like to touch him or be close to him; because honestly she loved being around him. But she was still feeling anger towards him, and being around him and touching him, made her feel things that she didn't want to feel. She loved the feeling that overcame her whenever they were close together; but things were tense and very different between them now, and she didn't need her feelings for him confusing things more.

"He might not have said it to anyone, but he missed you alot while you were gone," Lucas told her.

Martha went to speak again but stopped when Jack walked up to them. "Mind if I cut in?" he asked.

"Nope," Lucas replied quickly. He smiled at Martha and then walked off.

I can't believe Lucas just left me here with him, Martha thought to herself. He's so dead.

"Don't you just hate that?" Jack smiled as he pulled Martha closer towards him; and swayed to the music.

"What do you mean?" Martha was confused.

"When somebody leaves you alone with someone you don't want to be left alone with," Jack smirked.

Martha groaned. "If you're going to be smart, I'm going," she said, and tried to pull away from him.

"Hey, not so fast," Jack held on to her tighter. "I'm sorry, I was just messing around," he apologised.

"Whatever," Martha sounded uninterested.

"So, it looks like Kim and Kit decided to come clean with everyone," Jack started speaking again.

Martha looked over to where Kim and Kit were dancing together. Martha smiled. She was happy for them.

"Yeah, well, it's good to see Kim get something that he wants for a change," Martha began. "The last year has been pretty rough on him. Kit deserves some happiness aswell," she finished.

"Tasha and Robbie look happy too," Jack commented.

Martha swung her head around so she could get a look at the happy couple. Tasha and Robbie were dancing close together and kissing; completely oblivious to the world around them. She didn't think she'd ever seen them look so happy.

"Maybe that will be us someday," Jack confessed.

Martha paused; shocked at what she had just heard Jack say. She didn't know what the hell she was supposed to say back. Of course she wished that they could be happy like everyone else around them. But there were so many things in their way. Things that were stopping them, and people like Megan.

She looked into his eyes, and felt a shiver run down her spine when she felt his soft fingers run across her cheek. "Don't," Martha whispered, as she moved away from his touch. Martha knew that she had just hurt him. She could tell by the look in his eyes. She could see sadness, and hurt.

"Um, I'm going to go outside and get some air," she shot out. She pulled away quickly and walked off towards the door.

Good one idiot, Jack muttered to himself.

******************************

Martha sat down by the pool; hanging her legs into the cool water. She had gone for a quick walk around the resort and had found herself by the pool.

The sun had set about half an hour ago and the first stars of the night were starting to twinkle in the sky.

She was still feeling weird after what had happened with Jack inside before. After what he had said and the way he had touched her; she just freaked out. She didn't know what to say or do. So she just left him standing there. Now he probably thought that she didn't want to be with him anymore.

She was just about to stand up so she could go back inside and join the party, when she realised that somebody was just about to sit down beside her. It was Jack.

"Are you following me?" Martha asked him.

"Obviously," Jack replied as he sat down. "So, look what I just caught," he said, as he twirled Tasha's garter around his finger.

"Who caught the bouquet?" Martha wanted to know.

"Colleen," Jack laughed. "You should have seen her. She wanted those flowers like they were the last thing on the planet. Kit's gonna have a good bruise in the morning, that's for sure," he continued to laugh.

Martha couldn't help but giggle. She could imagine Colleen storming her way through. She would have loved to have seen it.

"So, Colleen caught the bouquet? And you caught the garter. You do know what that means, dont you?" Martha smiled at him.

"I have to marry Colleen," he replied.

"Yep," Martha laughed when she saw Jack shudder at the thought. "You're a very lucky man," she said sarcastically.

They continued to laugh and make jokes for a few more minutes, but then Jack turned the conversation serious.

"Inside before, I hope I didn't upset you or anything," he said.

Martha sighed. "No, you didn't. I just wasn't expecting it, that's all," she started. "I haven't been around you in like three weeks, and to have you touch me like that again, it felt strange. It kinda freaked me out," she finished honestly.

"Are you saying that my touch doesn't feel right anymore? That you don't like me touching you," Jack asked. He sounded a bit upset.

"No, it's not that at all," Martha tried to reassure him. "Of course I like you tou..........," she trailed off; feeling slightly embarrassed that she was about to admit that she liked him touching her. She felt a blush creeping up into her cheeks, and quickly looked away from him.

"What do you mean then?" Jack wanted to know.

"I was expecting to come back to some guy who was furious with me. Someone who couldn't stand the sight of me. I guess I just expected you to yell and scream at me," Martha started again. "I thought you'd never want to touch me again".

"I may not be yelling and screaming at you, but I am still angry with you," Jack told her honestly. "I still can't believe that you hid something like that from me. We always talked about trust, and how we'd never lie to each other. And you broke that trust. But just because I'm angry, doesn't mean I don't still love you. Because I do love you, and we can get through this. We can still be together," Jack finished.

"But that's the thing Jack. As much as I hate to say it, and as hard as it is to say; we can't be together. Not right now anyway," Martha told him.

"I don't understand," he said softly.

"I need time alone, and so do you. We need to build our trust up again. If we don't have that trust, it's going to eat away at us until it drives us crazy," Martha started to explain to him. "Sometimes love isn't enough," she said in a hushed tone.

Jack was quiet. He wasn't saying anything. She could tell that he was upset. She was too. It was hard having to do this. But she had been thinking about it for a while now, and she thought it was the best thing to do. Until they could trust each other completely, they couldn't be together.

"There's also Megan. She doesn't want us to be together Jack. And she'll do anything to make sure that we're apart, even if it means using Grace as a way to do it," Martha began. "I know you're probably thinking that she wouldn't do that, but she would. Things have been said, things that you don't know about. And don't ask me what exactly, because I won't tell you. I'm not about to stoop as low as she has," Martha finished.

"I know what Megan's like. And you're right, she would use Grace as a means of getting what she wants. I've known her for a long time, and I've seen what kind of person she can be," Jack started to take his turn. "She actually tried to make a move on me the other week. But I told her that it would never happen. She knows that I love you," he told Martha.

"This is where the trust issues come into it. But just so you know; I trust you, but I don't trust her," Martha exclaimed.

"So, we're not getting back together?" Jack asked.

"Not right now, no," Martha shook her head. "But, if things run smoothly, then I would like to eventually. That's if you still want to of course. I love you, and that will never change," she told him.

"I'll wait for you," he declared.

Martha smiled, and nodded. "You wanna head back inside? It's getting a bit cold," she suggested.

"Yep, lets go," Jack replied, helping her to her feet.

"So, do you think you'll be able to resist me?" Jack started to tease.

"Of course I will. I'm Martha MacKenzie; Queen of self control," she stated.

"We'll see," Jack smirked back at her.

**************************

NEXT CHAPTER: Who's back in town?

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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

ONE WEEK LATER

Martha was on a day shift at Noah's. It wasn't very busy; only a few people sitting at a table. But she was sure that as soon as it hit three o'clock, all the school kids would come swarming. Thank god she was finishing before then. Plus, Tasha and Robbie had just arrived back from their honeymoon, and Martha was looking forward to seeing them.

Over the last week Martha had kept herself pretty busy. She was willing to do anything and everything; as long as it kept her mind off Jack. But of course that had been pretty hard; everytime she turned around, he seemed to be there. But it was okay. They'd talked about the baby a little, and they seemed to be getting on quite well. No fights as of yet.

But the one thing she had noticed, was that he was constantly teasing her. It wasn't the normal teasing; it was more of a sexual teasing. She knew he was doing it on purpose. He was trying to break her, but she wasn't going to give into his advances. She had enough power to resist him; but the question was, did she want too?

"Get your mind out of the gutter women," she muttered to herself, as she went about the task of cutting up strawberries. Martha was in such deep thought that she hadn't even realised that someone had snuck up behind her.

"Nice strawberries," they whispered in her ear.

Martha got such a fright that she jumped. And in the process knocked over the bowl of strawberries; scattering them across the counter. She knew straight away who it was.

"Friggin jerk," she shot out, as she spun around to face the culprit.

Jack just stood there with an innocent look on his face. "What?" he said.

"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Martha snapped at him.

"Of course not," he laughed.

Martha huffed and turned back around to continue with her job.

"What are you doin?" Jack asked her.

"Giving you the time of day," Martha sighed. Jack just laughed.

"So what were you thinking about before? You looked like you were in a deep thought. Must have been important if you didn't even notice me coming up behind you," Jack said to her, as he sat on a stool opposite her.

"Oh, it was nothing," Martha told him. She wasn't about to admit that she was thinking about him.

"So you were thinking about me then?" Jack smirked, as he leant across the bar towards her.

"Don't flatter yourself," Martha scoffed at him.

"I wasn't," Jack laughed. "I was just stating the obvious".

"The obvious?" Martha smiled across at him.

"Yeah. You still want me, and you're not going to be able to resist me for much longer," Jack teased her. "So lets just hook back up now. Save all the hassle," he continued.

Martha laughed at him, and this time, she was the one who leant across the bar towards him. She kept leaning until there was only a few inches between their faces. "Not if you were the last man on earth," she whispered to him.

Martha was so close to him, that she could feel his soft breath on her cheek. And she knew he was about to kiss her, so she did the first thing that came to mind.

"Strawberry?" she smirked, as she brought one up to his lips. She heard him groan as he moved away; snatching the fruit from her hands and shoving it into his mouth. "Tease," she heard him mutter under his breath.

She couldn't help but laugh at him; she knew she had won this round.

"Martha," she heard a voice call. She looked up and saw Beth approaching the bar.

"Hey Beth," Martha smiled.

"You can go now sweet," Beth told her.

"Are you sure?" Martha asked.

"Yeah, of course. And plus, Tasha's eager to see you," Beth reassured her.

"Okay, thanks," Martha grabbed her bag from under the counter. She made her way to the door, but Jack stopped her before she left.

"You know, pay back can be a bitch," he smiled at her.

"Yeah, I know," Martha nodded. "But in the mean time, I have a suggestion for you," she smiled sweetly at him.

"What's that?" he moved closer towards her.

"Go home and have a cold shower Jack," Martha roved her eyes down his body. "I think you need it".

And with that, Martha gave him one last smirk before walking off. Jack heard a soft laugh come from behind him. He spun around and found Beth trying to control her laughter.

"It's not funny," Jack said to her and walked off; definitely in need of that cold shower.

******************************

Martha was on her way to the diner with Tasha, Robbie, Lucas and Matilda, when she spotted Megan. She was sitting at a table outside the diner.

"Oh, joy to the world," Martha muttered.

"Don't let her get to you," Lucas said. "She's not worth it".

"Hey everyone," Megan stood up when they approached her.

"When did you get back?" Lucas asked her.

"This morning. And guess what? I'm staying for good," Megan smiled.

Oh hell no, Martha thought to herself.

"I'm sorry. What?" Lucas questioned in disbelief.

Megan laughed. "Yeah, I decided to move to Summer Bay. I wanted Grace to be closer to Jack," she began. "I'm renting one of the apartments in that new unit block down the road," she told them.

"Is it on 'who cares' avenue?" Matilda snarked.

"Excuse me," Megan glared at Matilda.

"You heard what I said," Matilda smiled sweetly.

Megan just shook her head and ignored her. "Jack's just gone inside to grab us a coffee, he should be back soon. Why don't you all sit down," she suggested.

"How bout no," Matilda exclaimed.

"What is your problem?" Megan glared again.

"You are," Matilda scoffed.

"Listen sweetie. You might still be in high school, but I'm not," Megan started. "So why don't you take your childish behaviour back to the playground," she finished.

"Don't talk to her like that," Martha finally snapped.

"Oh, so she speaks," Megan snapped her gaze onto Martha.

"Do you have a problem with that?" Martha asked.

"No, of course not," Megan said. "By the way, you look well. Pregnancy obviously agrees with you," she smirked.

"So nice of you to say," Martha said sarcastically.

"But you know what's stumped me? Why you and Jack aren't back together. Yeah, he told me that you're not together any more," Megan continued to smirk. "Ah well, more Jack for me".

Martha could feel her temper starting to flare. If this girl didn't shut up soon, Martha wouldn't be held accountable for her actions. Tasha and Robbie must have noticed that she had gotten tense, because they had both all of a sudden moved closer to her and were grabbing for her arm.

"So, why haven't you and Jack gotten back together?" Megan wanted to know. "There could be a couple reasons, I guess. One; you're just not attracted to him anymore. Two; maybe he doesn't want you anymore, or three; hey, maybe Jack isn't the father of your baby," Megan stated.

That was it. Martha was not going to stand around and let her her say things like that.

"You bitch," Martha lunged at her.

"Hey hey, calm down," Robbie grabbed Martha and had to hold her back.

"Did you just hear what she said? She said Jack wasn't the father of my baby. How the bloody hell would she know?" Martha yelled, trying to get away from Robbie.

"Martha, you need to calm down. Think of the baby. You, getting into a fight right now, isn't healthy for the baby," Robbie tried to calm her.

"What the hell is going on?" a voice roared. Martha stopped struggling and looked up. Jack was running towards them.

"She's crazy. She just tried to attack me," Megan exclaimed.

"Maybe you should keep your own opinions to yourself next time," Martha yelled at her.

"See, she's nuts," Megan told Jack.

"Let go of me Robbie. I'm out of here," Martha pulled herself out of Robbie's grasp. She turned towards the diner and stormed off towards the flat.

Once she got upstairs she slammed the door. Only to have Jack burst through a few moments later. "What just happened down there?" he asked.

"Why don't you go and ask your stupid girlfriend," Martha shot out at him.

"How many more times do I have to tell you? She's not my girlfriend, he said.

"What have you been saying to her about us? She's been back in town for all of five minutes, and she already seems to know what's happening in our personal life," Martha snapped.

"What are you talking about?" Jack was confused.

"She was down there raving on about why you and I aren't together. Have you told her that you don't think you're the father of my baby?" Martha started to cry.

"What? Of course not. Why would I say something like that," Jack replied. "I know I'm the father, and I know that you would never betray me in that way. Look, if Megan said that, she was probably just trying to upset you," he finished.

"I think you should go. I'm too angry to talk right now," Martha told him.

"I don't think that's such a good idea. Your upset, I don't want to leave you alone," Jack insisted.

Martha groaned. "I swear to god Jack, if you don't get out of here, I will punch you," she snapped.

"Alright, I'll go. But I'm coming back later when you've calmed down a bit," Jack told her.

"Whatever," Martha fobbed him off.

She waited until Jack left, and then finally fell onto the couch in tears.

************************

Martha was sitting on the couch, in the dark drinking a hot chocolate, when there was a knock on the door. She stood up and quickly moved to the door and opened it. It was Jack. Damn, she forgot that he was going to come back. She moved away from the door and went and sat back on the couch.

Jack closed the door behind him and walked over towards her. "How are you feeling?" he sat down next to her and flicked on a lamp, so he could see.

"Peachy," she said sarcastically. "According to Megan, you're not the father of my baby. Oh, and to top it all off; she's moved here," Martha continued.

"I was as shocked as you were when she told me that she was moving here. And I told you earlier, I know i'm the father, so stop beating yourself up about it. Megan said it because she knew it would upset you," Jack told her.

"Yeah, I know. But it really hurt," Martha said softly. "I would never cheat on you, and the fact that someone would even suggest that makes me sick to the stomach. See, I told you she would do anything to keep us apart," she exclaimed.

"I know that you would never do anything like that to me, okay. And just forget about Megan. Stressing about her all the time is not healthy for you or the baby," Jack said. He picked up Martha's hand and gently caressed it with his own. He then reached out his other hand and softly ran his fingers across her cheek.

Martha closed her eyes; his touch made her feel so calm. When she opened her eyes again, Jack was watching her intently. Martha couldn't help but smirk at him.

"Just because I'm letting you touch me and look at me like that, doesn't mean you're gonna get in my pants," she smiled.

"Trust you to ruin a nice moment," Jack laughed at her. "And because of that, I might keep this for myself," he said as he pulled a cherry ripe bar from out of his pocket.

"You wouldn't dare," Martha glared at him.

"I would," Jack smirked.

"Aww Jack come on. You'd actually let your child go without," Martha pouted, as she rubbed her stomach.

"Here's the deal. I'll give you the cherry ripe, if you give me one kiss," Jack tried to bargain.

"One kiss? Alright," Martha agreed. "But you have to hand it over first," she held her hand out.

"Okay," Jack handed it over reluctantly. "Now, pay up," he smiled as soon as Martha had the chocolate in her hand.

Martha smiled back at him. But then she moved forward quickly and grabbed his face; kissing him quickly on the cheek. "There ya go," she giggled.

"Hey, no fair," Jack growled. "I meant a real kiss. And I seriously thought you were going to give me one too," he sighed. "I gave up that cherry ripe for nothing," he sooked.

"It wasn't for nothing. It was for the baby," Martha patted his hand.

"Ah well, lucky I brought two then," Jack pulled another from his pocket.

*******************************

NEXT CHAPTER: Martha gets a surprise.

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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

THREE DAYS LATER

"So, you and Jack seem to be getting on a lot better. The two of you have been hanging out a bit aswell," Tasha said to Martha.

"I guess," Martha sighed as she took a sip of the herbal tea that Tasha had just made.

"You guess? What does that mean? Don't you like spending time with him?" Tasha asked.

"Of course I like spending time with him; it's nice," Martha admitted.

"Well, what's wrong then?" Tasha was curious.

"He's constantly flirting with me, touching me, and trying to kiss me. He's always teasing me, and I know he's doing it on purpose," Martha started to explain. "He's trying to break me, and it's beginning to work. I don't know how much longer I can resist him. It's driving me nuts," she continued.

"So, what are you saying?" Tasha smiled.

"I miss him," Martha exclaimed. "I miss him so much".

"Well, there's only one thing to do. You love him, and he loves you, so just get back together. It's as simple as that," Tasha told her.

"I don't know Tash," Martha sighed. "I just don't think it's the right time yet. We've still got a lot of stuff to work through. I want us to trust each other completely, and I want to make sure that nothing can tear us apart," she paused. "But at the moment, we've still got Megan in our way. She wants Jack for herself, and she'll try her hardest to make sure we're not happy," Martha finished.

"Yeah, well you also need to stop all this stressing. It's not healthy," Tasha said.

"Yeah, I know," Martha nodded. "But there's just so much crap going on and it's hard not to stress about it".

"Speaking of the baby, how are things? Everything's going okay? You're eating properly?" Tasha questioned.

Martha smiled. "Yeah, I'm doing okay. Actually the best thing about being pregnant is the eating. I've kinda been pigging out a bit lately," she said. "I spend my time eating, thinking about food, and more eating. It's basically all I think about," Martha laughed.

"What do you think about when you're not thinking about food?" Tasha asked her.

Martha didn't even need to think hard. She knew exactly what the answer was. "Sex," she said honestly.

"Are you serious?" Tasha gasped.

"Yes, I'm serious. I swear to god Tash, now that I'm pregnant, I think I want it even more," Martha explained. "It must be my hormones going crazy," she exclaimed.

"No wonder you're finding it hard to keep your hands off Jack. Maybe you should ask him for a special favour," Tasha teased her.

"Don't worry, I'm tempted," Martha laughed.

Infact she was very tempted. She knew that Jack would jump at the chance. She just didn't know if it was a good idea. She didn't want to complicate things even more. And sex always complicated things.

*******************************

Martha was walking along the beach on her way home when she noticed Megan sitting in the sand further up the beach. This was the first time she had seen her since the incident the other day.

"It's the crazy girl," Megan snarked when she noticed Martha approaching.

"Just shut up alright," Martha snapped.

"Touchy," Megan laughed.

"Will you just cut the crap," Martha snapped again. "If I ever find out that you're out there spreading lies about my baby, and telling people that Jack isn't the father; you won't know what hit you," Martha warned her.

"Am I supposed to be scared," Megan sounded bored.

"I'm just telling you to mind you own business. Besides, I don't know why you keep trying to make me look like the bad guy. Do you think it will make you look better? Make you more appealing to Jack?" Martha wanted to know. "Because it doesn't make you look better. Infact, everytime you try to upset me, it just makes Jack worry about me even more. You need to get it through your thick head, that Jack doesn't want you," she finished.

Megan laughed sarcastically. "And what makes you think that Jack still wants you?" she asked smugly.

Martha smiled. "Maybe it's because he tells me everyday that he wants me back," she said.

"Really? Then why aren't you back together?" Megan smirked.

"Like I said before; you need to mind your own business," Martha glared at her.

"You better be careful Martha, because Jack gave into me once before, and it could easily happen again," Megan glared back.

"Try all you want. But it's going to be a hard task," Martha insisted. "It's a pretty easy task for me though; all I have to do is say the word, and Jack would be back in my bed in a second," she told Megan.

Megan gave Martha one final glare, and started to storm off.

"Oh, there's one more thing," Martha called out to her. "How do you think Jack would feel if he found out how you used Grace to get me to break up with him that first time? He'd be pretty angry. So, next time you stick your nose in my business, or **** me off, I'll tell him. Got it?" she yelled out to her.

Martha felt good. Actually she felt great. If Megan wanted a war; she'd get one. Martha might have been pregnant, but that wasn't about to stop her.

*************************

THREE DAYS LATER

It was late afternoon, and Martha was on her way home from work. She made her way up the steps to the apartment, and was about to open the door when she heard voices and laughter. She recognised two of the voices as her grandad and Ric, and the third voice also seemed very familiar to her. She pushed open the door and gasped.

"Oh my god," she squealed. "Macca".

"Hey bug," he grinned at her from across the room.

Martha dropped her handbag on the floor and shot across the room; throwing herself into her brothers arms. "What are you doing here?" she hugged him tightly.

"We wanted to surprise you with a visit," Macca hugged her back.

Martha pulled away. "Wait. Did you just say 'we'?" she asked him. Macca just smiled.

"Don't I get a hug?" a voice called from behind her. Martha spun around quickly.

"Dad," she cried, and ran towards him.

"Hey baby girl," he said, as he pulled her into an embrace.

"I can't believe you two are here. I've missed you all so much," Martha said, almost crying.

"Well after you called us the other week and told us about the baby, we decided that we really wanted to see you. So, here we are," her dad explained.

"This is great, I'm so glad you came. How long are you staying?" Martha asked.

"A couple of weeks," Macca told her.

"Did you two know about this?" Martha then asked Ric and Alf; who had been standing back, happily watching as Martha was reunited with her adopted family.

Alf laughed. "Your dad called me yesterday and told me. They wanted it to be a surprise," he answered.

"I'm definitely surprised," Martha smiled. "This is going to be great. I can't wait for you to meet everyone," she was getting excited.

"Well first things first; I need a beer," Macca announced.

"We can all head down to Noah's." Ric suggested.

"Excellent," Macca exclaimed. "The youngest MacKenzie is having a baby, so I think that's cause for a celebration".

***********************

NOTE: Martha's dads name is Ray. I've noticed in the show that Macca calls Martha either, babe, bub or bug. I've never really understood exactly what he said, but I'm using 'bug' in this fic. I think it sounds the cutest.

NEXT CHAPTER: Jack meets Martha's family for the first time. And can pay back really be a bitch?

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Hey all. Here's a new chapter.

WARNING:This chapter may contain some material that isn't suitable for younger readers.

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

Alf and Ric had made a few calls and had organized for a few other friends to join them for a drink at Noah's. Sally, Flynn, Leah and Dan had just arrived and were chatting happily with Macca. And Martha's dad was in a deep conversation with Tony, Beth and Alf.

"So, I guess we're all going to be one big family now that my girl is having a baby with your boy," Ray smiled at Tony.

"The more the merrier. Welcome to the family," Tony raised his glass to clink with Ray's.

Martha smiled to herself. It was great seeing her dad getting on so well with Tony. Martha looked towards the door; waiting anxiously for Jack to arrive. When she had called Tasha and Robbie and had told them to come down and meet her dad and Macca, they had told her that Jack was at their place. So he was getting a ride with them.

Martha excused herself from present company and walked over to where Macca was now standing, talking with Ric. They seemed to be getting on like a house on fire.

"So where is this copper boyfriend of yours?" Macca asked her.

"He's on his way. And like I already told you, we are not together at the moment," Martha groaned. "Also I'd really appreciate it if you kept all smart comments to yourself, and please don't embarrass me," she smiled at Macca.

"I would never do such a thing," Macca laughed.

"He would," Martha told Ric. "When I first turned fifteen, his sole purpose in life was to embarrass me in front of any boy that I liked. And then he, along with my two other brothers, would chase them down the road with shot guns; warning them to keep their dirty hands away from me," she explained as Ric practically howled with laughter.

"Oh come on bug, you should be thanking us. We were just looking out for you," Macca laughed. "And besides, look what happened when me and the boys weren't around with the shot guns; you got pregnant," he pointed at her stomach.

"I'm a big girl, I don't need your protection anymore," Martha insisted.

"I know that. But that doesn't mean that I won't keep my shot gun handy," Macca joked.

"They're here," Ric then pointed out.

Martha spun around, and noticed that Jack was standing at the bar with Kim. A few moments later Robbie, Tasha and Kit walked in. "Come and meet my friends," Martha pulled on Macca's shirt.

"Which one is he?" Macca wanted to know. "There's three guys standing there, and I need to know which one touched you," he joked.

"Just be patient," Martha sighed. Martha practically hauled him across the room until she reached her friends.

"Everyone, this is my brother Macca," she said. Robbie went to introduce himself but was cut off by Macca.

"So, which one of you blokes banged my sister and got her knocked up?" he grinned.

No way did he just say that, Martha thought. "Macca," she screeched as she elbowed him hard.

"I was just asking a simple question," Macca gasped as he held his stomach. "No need to get violent".

Robbie and Kim were snickering, and were in the process of getting pulled away in another direction by Tasha and Kit.

"So you must be Jack?" Macca held his hand out to shake, when he realised that the other two blokes had snuck off.

"Ah yeah," Jack said reluctantly, as he shook hands with Macca.

"Hey mate, I was just messing around before," Macca laughed. "I just wanted to see how riled up I could get Martha. I promised her that I wouldn't make any smart comments or embarrass her, but I guess I lied," he continued to laugh.

"It was so funny," Martha laughed sarcastically.

"Hey, what's going on?" Ray asked as he walked up to them.

"Dad, this is Jack. And Jack, this is my dad; Ray," Martha introduced them.

"G'day, it's great to finally meet you," Ray shook Jack's hand.

"Yeah, you too," Jack smiled.

“As you will see, not everybody in my family is a total moron,” Martha said to Jack, and then gave Macca a dirty look.

“Hey,” Macca whined.

“So, Martha tells me that you’re a copper,” Ray started. “It’s good to know that my daughter and grandchild will have somebody responsible taking care of them,” he continued.

Oh, here we go, Martha thought to herself. Sometimes she thought that her family purposely liked to embarrass and make her feel uncomfortable.

“What was it that I said about morons,” Martha muttered as she started to walk away.

“Hey, where are you going?” Ray called out.

“I need to pee,” she answered and kept walking.

“What’s her problem?” Ray asked Jack and Macca.

“She thinks we’re trying to embarrass her,” Macca smiled.

“Gee, she should be thankful that we’re not chasing him away with a shot gun,” Ray exclaimed.

“Hey, what?” Jack laughed.

“Long story mate,” Macca told him.

“I’m all ears,” Jack smiled.

***************************

Macca watched as Martha and Jack stood together talking. Occasionally he would see Jack reach out and touch Martha gently, or brush a piece of hair away from her face. It was great seeing a guy treat her so well. She’d had bad experiences with guys before, and it was really good seeing someone treat her with respect for a change. He really liked Jack; he seemed like a top bloke.

“Martha was always telling me over the phone about how much she loved Jack, so I know how she feels,” Macca said to Robbie and Tasha. “But what about him, does he love her?” he wanted to know.

Robbie laughed a little. “Everybody around here knows how much he loves her. A lot of people can just tell from the way he looks at her,” Robbie started to explain. “Jack Holden has been head over heels since the moment he set eyes on her,” he finished.

“Why aren’t they together then? It’s obvious to me that they want to be,” Macca said.

“It might have something to do with the fact that Martha is as stubborn as all hell,” Robbie exclaimed.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me,” Macca laughed. “She’s been like it practically her whole life. Always throwing tantrums when she didn’t get her own way,” he continued.

“Mate, you don’t have to tell us that,” Robbie laughed aswell. “We’ve seen it first hand, don’t worry”.

Some things never change, Macca smiled to himself.

************************

Noticing that she was being watched by her brother, Rob and Tasha; Martha started to feel slightly uncomfortable. Macca seemed to be watching every move she made while she was talking to Jack. It was like he was analyzing her.

“We have an audience, come into the store room with me,” she pulled Jack behind her.

“Ah, why?” he asked. She was acting weird, and seemed a little nervous.

“Because I want to talk to you, alone,” Martha pulled him away. Actually, what she wanted to do, didn’t involve talking.

“So, what’s wrong?” Jack asked when they were alone.

“Well for starters, I just want to apologise for what Macca said earlier. You know, the whole thing about getting me knocked up. He just likes to tease; it wasn’t serious,” Martha explained.

“I know he was just messing around,” Jack laughed. “And besides, when you think about it; what he said was true. I did get you knocked up,” he pointed out.

“I guess,” Martha sighed.

“Was there anything else?” Jack asked.

“Are you happy? About the baby, I mean,” she really wanted to know.

“Of course I am,” Jack reassured her as he moved to stand in front of her. “It’s a part of you, and a part of me. It’s something that we created together. How could I not be happy,” he said softly as he ran his hands over her stomach.

Martha smiled lightly. “That’s the first time you’ve touched me like that on the stomach since you found out. It’s nice,” she said honestly.

“Maybe I should do it more often then,” he smiled back at her.

“You should,” Martha agreed.

Martha raised her eyes to look at him again. He was watching her closely and she could feel the heat coming off his body. He was so close, and she could smell his beautiful scent.

“You smell………….nice,” she said a little breathlessly. God, she couldn’t believe that she just said that out loud.

“I miss you,” she whispered to him.

“I miss you too,” he moved closer to her and wrapped an arm around her waist.

Martha moved forward until her body was pressed against his and her face was buried in his neck. She grazed her lips across his skin until she found his pulse point; sucking on it softly. She then moved her arms around his body; wanting to feel him even closer. She then started moving her lips up his throat, until she finally latched herself onto his own lips.

Jack immediately deepened the kiss. His tongue ventured into her mouth; enticing her until she let out a small moan. He’d been waiting for this for over a month. He couldn’t believe that it had been so long since the last time he had touched her so intimately.

Seductively, his hands started roaming her curves; sending tiny bolts of pleasure coursing through her body. He then moved his hands lower; moving them under the material of her black skirt, until they were caressing her bare thigh. He ran his hand up, teasing her soft skin.

Martha pulled away from his kisses; but their lips were still touching. Her breathing was heavy and chest was heaving. “Maybe we should go some place,” she said in a raspy breath.

“Or not,” Jack smiled.

“What?” Martha continued to breath heavy.

Jack knew what he was about to do was cruel, and hell, he didn’t want to do it. But she needed to be taught a lesson.

“Pay back’s a bitch,” he smiled as he moved further away from her.

“What?” she looked at him stunned.

“Go home and take a cold shower Martha,” he whispered in her ear. He then moved away; his eyes roving up and down her body. “It looks like you need it,” he smirked.

No friggin way, Martha thought to herself. That jerk just played me.

Jack opened the door and walked out; leaving Martha with a stunned look on her face; and in definite need of a cold shower.

***********************

NEXT CHAPTER: Martha talks with her dad, and Macca. And even has a serious conversation with Jack.

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Hey guys. Here’s a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

“This place is great,” Macca told Martha as they walked up the beach towards the diner. “If I didn’t love the farm so much, I could definitely see myself living here,” he said.

“Hey, well at least you have a good excuse to come here for visits. I’m here, and soon you’ll have a niece or nephew to visit aswell,” Martha smiled at him.

“You’ve done well for yourself here. You’ve got great friends, Alf and Ric, and not to mention a guy who adores you. I’m really happy for you Bug,” Macca smiled back at her.

“Speaking of Jack,” Macca started to talk again. “What happened last night at the bar? The two of you went into the storeroom, and then a few minutes later Jack came out looking all flushed with a big grin on his face. Not to mention he looked pretty happy with himself. But then when you came out, you looked like you wanted to kill someone. What got you into such a strop?” he laughed.

Martha groaned. She wanted to forget that last night ever happened. She still couldn’t believe that Jack had done that to her. And he had said it was pay back. Pay back for friggin what? Sure she had flirted with him a lot over the last couple weeks, but she had never left him hanging like he did to her last night.

“Oh, it was nothing. Just Jack being a jerk,” she shot out.

“Touchy,” Macca smirked. “Sounds to me like someone didn’t get their way”.

“Shut up,” Martha grinned and pushed him. She then grabbed hold of him again and pulled him into a hug. “I’m so glad you and dad are here. I’ve been feeling a little down these past weeks, but having the two of you here has really perked me up,” she told him.

“I’m glad we could help,” Macca hugged her back.

“Well, well, what do we have here?” a voice rudely interrupted them. Martha pulled away from Macca, and found Megan standing in front of them.

“What do you want?” Martha snapped at her.

Megan smiled. “I was just walking past and I noticed that you were pretty friendly with……….whoever he is. New boyfriend is he? What would Jack think?” she smirked.

Martha laughed at her. “I don’t know about your family, but in my family, we don’t believe in dating your brother,” she smiled sweetly at Megan. Martha heard a small snicker come from Macca.

Martha watched as the smile faded from Megan’s face, and turned into a frown. “What?” Megan asked, sounding a little confused.

“Yeah, this is my brother Macca,” Martha told her. Megan just stood on the spot; not really knowing what to say.

Martha and Macca just looked at each other and laughed, as they watched Megan walk off in a huff.

“Let me guess, that’s the annoying blonde who already has a daughter with Jack,” Macca assumed.

“That’s her,” Martha stated.

“It must be pretty rough having her around all the time causing trouble,” Macca said.

Martha nodded. “Yeah, it is. But I know how to handle her, so don’t worry about me,” she insisted.

“If you say so,” Macca smiled. “Now, let’s go and get one of these famous milkshakes you keep raving on about,” he said, as he pulled Martha into the diner.

*************************

Jack sat in the sand as he watched Grace making sandcastles. This was the first time that he had been alone with her, and it felt strange. He had thought that after nearly two months, that he would have at least grown a bond with her. But there was nothing. He still couldn’t think of her as his. He guessed that if he had of been in her life from the start, it would have fine.

The baby that he was having with Martha hadn’t even been born yet, and he already felt a connection with it. Why couldn’t he feel that with Grace? What kind of father had trouble bonding with their own flesh and blood? He felt so bad about it. That’s why he had asked Megan if he could start spending some time alone with Grace. Maybe then he would start to feel something.

Jack was in a deep thought that he hadn’t even realised that somebody had sat down next to him. He looked up; it was Martha.

“Hey,” she smiled lightly at him.

“Hey,” he smiled back.

“She’s such a sweetie,” Martha said as she looked at Grace playing.

“Hmmm,” was all Jack could say.

Martha looked at Jack; he seemed worried about something. And he was a bit too quiet for her liking. “What’s wrong?” she asked him.

“Should I feel bad about not feeling a bond with Grace?” he asked her.

Wow, Martha definitely wasn’t expecting him to say that. She didn’t really know what to say to that.

“I don’t think so. You haven’t really spent much time with her. Maybe after a while you’ll start feeling it,” she replied. “Look at me and my real dad, I’ve known him for nearly two years, and I don’t feel anything towards him,” she explained.

“Great, that just makes me feel heaps better,” Jack said sarcastically.

“Ok, so maybe Brett and I wasn’t a good example. But hey, at least you’re not a selfish jerk like him,” Martha sighed.

“I feel like a jerk,” Jack muttered.

“You shouldn’t. It’s not your fault that Megan kept her away from you. If you had of been there right from the start, then I’m sure everything would be different,” Martha started. “Just give it some time; I’m sure it will come”.

“Thanks,” Jack smiled at her.

“So, Macca and I took a walk this morning, and we ran into Megan. She, ah, thought Macca was my new boyfriend,” Martha started to laugh.

“Are you serious?” Jack laughed with her.

“Yeah, I think she felt like all of her Christmas’s had come at once. Well, until I told her who he really was. Then she walked off in a huff,” Martha told him. “She probably would have got a thrill telling you that I had a new boyfriend” she grinned.

“Probably,” Jack laughed. He then paused for a few moments. He really wanted to apologise for what he did last night. He wanted her to know that it was just a bit of fun, and that he hadn’t done it to hurt her.

“Listen, about last night. I’m sorry,” he finally told her.

“Don’t worry about it,” she tried to tell him, but he kept talking about it.

“I just want you to know that I didn’t do it to hurt your feelings. It was just a bit of fun. I hope you don’t think that I was rejecting you, because I wasn’t. I still want to be with you,” he explained.

“I know. And don’t worry, you didn’t hurt my feelings. I was a bit angry at first, but only because you left me hanging,” Martha smiled.

“How much longer do we have to do this? Stay apart, I mean,” Jack then asked; turning serious again.

“I don’t know. But I’ll be honest and tell you right now that I miss you heaps. And I’m starting to find it very hard to stay away from you,” Martha said truthfully. “So maybe it will be soon. Do you think you can wait for me a bit longer,” she smiled.

“Of course,” Jack reassured her.

***************************8

Martha sat down next to her dad. He smiled at her and pulled her into a hug. “What’s going on?” Ray asked.

“I’ve just been talking with Jack,” Martha told him.

“He’s a top bloke Martha. I really like him, and I can tell that you do aswell,” Ray said.

“I love him,” Martha smiled.

“I’m glad you’re happy. You deserve it. And I’m so proud of you,” Ray exclaimed. “And you know who else would be proud; your mum,” he continued.

Martha could feel the tears starting to well up in her eyes. She missed her mum a lot, and she wished that she was still around.

“She would have loved to have seen you happy, and she would have loved to have seen you bring your own baby into the world. She would have loved to be a grandmother,” Ray said, as he brushed some tears away from Martha’s cheeks.

“I miss her so much,” Martha cried. “I wish she was here”.

“She is here. You may not be able to see her, but she’s always around; watching over us,” Ray assured her.

Martha smiled through her tears. She knew her dad was right. She may not be able to see her mum, but she was definitely around. Martha swore that she could feel her presence sometimes; and it always made her feel calm.

“Come on, wipe those tears away. I told your brother that we’d meet him at Noah’s for a drink, so why don’t we head off,” Ray announced.

“Actually, I have a shift starting there in an hour. So why don’t you head off now, and I’ll see you when I get there,” Martha told him.

“Alright, I’ll see you later,” he kissed her softly on the cheek.

Martha was so lucky she had him.

*****************************

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Hey guys. Here’s a new chapter.

This chapter is pretty boring. Not much going on. Just a filler I guess. But it will pick up again next chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

ONE WEEK LATER

“Nice place,” Jack exclaimed as he looked around Megan’s apartment. This was the first time he had been there since she moved in. He was taking Grace for a few hours today, and had offered to pick her up from here.

“Yeah. We like it, don’t we sweetie,” Megan nodded as she kissed Grace on the cheek.

“Where’s your mum? I haven’t even seen her yet,” Jack then asked.

“Oh, she went home yesterday. But she’ll be coming back down sometime over the next couple of weeks,” Megan told him.

“Oh well, I’ll guess I’ll catch up with her next time she’s in town. It would be nice to see her again. It’s been a couple of years since I last saw her,” Jack said as he picked up Grace’s bag. “So, Grace and I should head off now,” he then announced.

“Have you thought anymore about my offer? You know, just a bit of fun,” she smiled suggestively at him.

Jack groaned. Why the hell couldn’t she just give up? “Why do you keep asking me? You should know by now that the answer is always going to be no. Nothing is going to happen between us,” he told her for about the thousandth time.

“How is Martha, by the way? I see that the two of you still aren’t back together yet. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something,” Megan smirked.

“Martha’s right. You don’t know how to mind your own business,” Jack snapped at her.

“No need to get stroppy,” Megan pouted.

“Look Megan, just leave Martha alone, okay? Stop sticking your nose in, and stop trying to cause trouble,” Jack ordered. He then took Grace out of Megan’s arms and made his way to the front door.

“I’ll have her back in a few hours,” he said as he walked out.

Megan stomped her foot. Why the hell couldn’t Jack just get over Martha, and realize that he was supposed to be with her and Grace. She and Jack were so perfect for each other. So why couldn’t he see it?

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“So have you thought of any names for the baby yet?” Beth asked Martha as they sat down on the couch with a cup of tea.

“I was actually thinking about that last night,” Martha smiled. “But I can’t seem to come up with anything that I really like. Of course Macca suggested that if it’s a boy I should name it after him,” she laughed.

“I’m sure the perfect name will come to you eventually,” Beth smiled back at her. “But I guess the big question is whether you’re going to find out if it’s a boy or girl before it’s born,” she continued.

“I guess I’ll have to talk to Jack about that. But honestly, I think I like the idea of being surprised at the end,” Martha told her.

“That’s exactly how I felt when I was pregnant with my kids,” Beth explained. “We go through all the mood swings, and pain, so it’s nice to get a little surprise at the end”.

“Can I tell you something?” Martha asked.

“Of course sweet, you can talk to me about anything,” Beth answered.

“I’m scared,” Martha’s voice wavered a bit. “I’m scared that I’m going to do something wrong. I’m scared that I’m not going to be a good mother,” she explained.

Beth moved closer to Martha and put an arm around her and hugged her tight. “Don’t worry love, everybody gets scared. I was only 16 when I fell pregnant with Scotty, and I was terrified. Terrified that I would probably hurt him somehow, or that I wouldn’t be able to take care of him. But I got through it,” she consoled Martha.

“I don’t know if I’m ready to be a mother,” Martha cried.

“You will be ready,” Beth reassured her. “It will come naturally, and you will be a great mother. And when you hold that precious angel in your arms for the first time, that’s when you know everything will be okay. All the bad stuff will just drift away,” she finished.

Martha smiled through her tears. “Thank you. It’s nice to have someone to talk to. Somebody who knows how I’m feeling,” she said.

“I’m here for you whenever you need me, okay?” Beth told her.

Martha felt so much better now that she had gotten that off her chest. It felt great to talk about it in the open. And Beth was already a mother, so she seemed like the perfect person to talk too.

“Now, how about a nice big piece of chocolate cake? I’m sure the baby would love to try it,” Beth grinned.

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“Well I think that if it’s a boy, you should call it Robert. And if it’s a girl, you should call it Robyn. That way, we can call it Robbie, and it will be named after yours truly,” Robbie grinned.

“There is no way that I am calling my kid after you,” Martha laughed. She then turned to look at Macca, who had just opened his mouth to speak. But Martha cut him off before he even got the chance. “And for the tenth time, I will not be naming it after you either,” she smiled sweetly.

“What’s wrong with the name Michael?” Macca pouted.

“I’m looking at it,” she smirked.

“Oh, you wound me,” Macca held his hand to his heart.

Martha was at the diner surrounded by Macca, her dad, Tasha and Robbie. And they’d been riddling off names for the baby over the last half hour.

“And why do you all keep suggesting boy’s names. You’ve hardly come up with any girls names,” Martha whined.

“That’s because it’s going to be a boy,” Robbie stated.

“It’s a girl,” Matilda and Cassie both spat out as they waltzed up to the table.

“It’s a boy,” Robbie said again.

“It’s a girl,” Matilda shot back at him.

“And how would you know?” Robbie looked at them.

“We don’t know. But if we wish it enough, it will happen. And besides, there are too many Holden men already. There needs to be another girl to even things out a bit more,” Matilda huffed.

“I’d love a granddaughter,” Ray smiled at Martha. “I’ve already got a grandson from Greg, so I think a girl would be nice,” he said.

“I don’t care what it is. As long as it’s healthy,” Martha exclaimed.

“Here here,” Tasha agreed.

“But I want it to be a boy,” Robbie whined.

“Get over it geek boy,” Matilda laughed as she walked off.

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NEXT CHAPTER: Ray chats with Jack. And who’s in an accident?

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Hey guys. Here’s a new chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

ONE WEEK LATER

Jack was just about to lie down and have a sleep, when he heard a knock at the door. He’d been at work all night, so he was looking forward to having a sleep while his dad and Lucas were at school. At first he wasn’t going to answer the door, but then he thought that he had better answer; just incase it was Martha.

He slowly walked to the door and was surprised when he found Ray standing there.

“Hi Jack,” Ray said.

“Ray, come in,” Jack invited him in. “So, what’s up?” he asked once Ray was inside.

“Well, as you know, Macca and I are heading back to the farm tomorrow, and I still haven’t really had a chance to have a proper chat with you,” Ray began. “About Martha, that is,” he stated.

Jack didn’t know what to think. Was Ray about to get stuck into him?

Ray smiled lightly when he noticed the worried look on Jack’s face. “Hey, don’t worry. It’s nothing bad,” he laughed.

“In that case, sit down,” Jack offered.

“Look, I’ll make it quick, because I’m supposed to meeting Martha in half an hour,” Ray started. “I just need to now that you’re going to look after Martha,” he said.

“Of course I will,” Jack assured him.

“Do you love her?” Ray asked.

Jack nodded. “Yeah, I do. More than life,” he paused for a moment. “And Martha knows that. I tell her all the time,” Jack told Ray.

“Good, because she loves you too. And I’d really hate for her to get hurt,” Ray started again. “I just want Martha to be happy. She deserves to be happy. She’s had a rough trot since my wife died, and she deserves something good for a change,” he finished.

“You don’t have to worry about Martha. I’ll make sure she gets everything that she needs. And I will take care of her. And our baby,” Jack promised.

Ray smiled. “You’re a good kid Jack Holden,” he exclaimed. “I’m glad that Martha has found someone who loves her back, and treats her well. And I’m glad that it’s you. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that she has you to take care of her”.

“Thank you,” Jack smiled.

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Martha walked with her dad towards the car park, where Ray’s rental car had been parked. The two week visit was unfortunately over, and Ray and Macca were now about to head off to the airport.

The two weeks with them around had been great, and Martha had had a lot of fun with them. She just wished that they could stay longer. She was going to miss them.

Once they reached the car, Martha turned towards her dad. “I’m going to miss you,” she started to cry.

“I’ll miss you too,” Ray told her. “Now, I want you to take care of yourself, okay? Don’t go getting yourself into trouble, and stop stressing about everything. Keep that baby safe,” he smiled.

“I will, I promise,” Martha told him as she gave him a tight hug.

“I love you,” Ray said.

“Love you too,” Martha sniffed.

Ray then moved away, and went to say goodbye to Alf, Ric, Jack and Tony. Ray and Macca had said goodbye to everybody else the night before; when they had farewell drinks at Noah’s.

Martha then walked towards Macca. “Don’t start crying on me,” Macca joked as he pulled Martha into a hug. “I’m going to miss you bug. But I’m going to try and come back for another visit real soon, okay,” he told her.

Martha smiled and nodded. “And take care of that kid,” Macca laughed.

“I’ll miss you,” Martha said, and gave him another hug. He then opened the door and got into the car.

Ray gave Martha one more hug before he jumped into the driver’s seat. He then turned the car on, and backed out of the parking lot. Martha and the others waved goodbye, and stood by the side of the road and watched as the car disappeared around the corner.

Martha sighed and turned around and started making her way back to the diner. Alf, Tony and Ric went in the other direction, towards Noah’s.

“You okay?” Jack asked as he walked beside Martha.

Martha paused on the spot and tried to contain her tears. But she couldn’t. “I’m going to miss them,” she cried.

“Come here,” Jack sighed, and pulled Martha into a warm embrace.

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Megan walked around the corner of the diner; with Grace hanging from her hip. She stopped walking when she noticed Jack and Martha hugging a bit further in front of her. They looked quite comfy with each other.

Megan felt a surge of anger run through her body. She needed to stop them. She couldn’t stand seeing Jack touch her. An idea popped into her head; so she decided to use it.

“Jack,” she called out, and rushed up to him quickly.

Jack slowly detangled himself from Martha and looked up. “What is it?” he asked when he saw Megan approaching.

“There’s something wrong with Grace. I think she has a fever or something. I want you to come to the hospital with me,” she put on an upset tone of voice.

“Alright,” Jack sighed. He then looked at Martha. “Sorry,” he apologized.

“It’s okay. Just get Grace to the hospital and make sure that she’s alright,” Martha smiled. “I’ll seeya round,” she said.

That was easy, Megan smiled to herself.

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Martha walked into her room and sat down on her bed. She felt so lonely now that her dad and Macca had gone. They had only been gone for about half an hour, but she already missed them.

“As soon as your born baby, I’m taking you to the farm for a visit,” Martha smiled as she rested her hand on her belly. Her stomach seemed to be getting bigger and bigger everyday. She was five months now; so that was halfway through already. It had gone so fast.

She stood up from the bed and walked over to the long mirror in the corner. She stood in front of it, and looked at herself. She smoothed her hand over her stomach and smiled. She was so happy about this baby now, and she couldn’t wait until she met him or her.

She let out a small sigh and walked back over to her bed. She was about to sit down when her mobile phone started to ring. She reached into her bag and pulled it out.

“Hello,” she answered the phone.

“Martha, it’s Racheal,” she heard on the other end of the line.

“Oh, hey Rach. What’s up?” Martha asked.

She heard Racheal sigh. “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there’s been an accident. It’s your dad and brother. I think you should come down to the hospital,” Racheal told her.

Martha went silent. She didn’t know what to say. She was in shock.

“Martha, are you there?” she heard Racheal’s frantic voice call out.

Martha snapped out of her thoughts. “Yep, I’ll be there soon,” she hung up the phone quickly.

She snatched up her car keys and ran from the room. So many thoughts were going through her mind. She wished that they weren’t hurt. They had to be okay. She needed them to be okay.

“This can’t be happening,” she cried to herself.

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NEXT CHAPTER: Will Macca and Ray be okay?

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Hey guys. Here’s a new chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTY

The first person Martha saw when she got to the hospital was Jack. He was sitting in the waiting room with Megan and Grace. Surely he must have seen or heard something by now.

“Where are they?” Martha cried, as she ran up to them.

“Martha,” Jack looked up; surprised to see her.

“Where are they? Are they okay?” Martha asked again.

“What are you talking about?” Jack asked her; he was confused.

Martha then realized that Jack had no idea what she was on about.

“Racheal just called me, and she said that dad and Macca have been in an accident. I don’t know if they’re okay,” Martha stared panicking.

“Oh my god,” Jack gasped. “Alright, just calm down. I’m sure they’re both fine,” he tried reassure Martha.

“Calm down,” Martha scoffed. “How am I suppo……….,”she started, but was cut off from a voice behind her.

“Martha,” they called out. Martha spun around quickly. It was Macca.

“Macca,” she cried as she threw her arms around him. “Are you okay? Are you hurt,” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Just a scratch,” Macca pointed to the cut on his head.

“What about dad? Where is he?” Martha then asked.

Macca sighed. “He’s in with some Doc’s now. They won’t let me in to see him,” he told Martha. “So, I don’t know if he’s okay,” he said truthfully.

“What happened mate?” Jack then asked. Martha had completely forgotten that he and Megan were there.

“Well, we had only been driving for about ten minutes. But then dad started getting pains in his chest,” Macca started to explain. Martha didn’t like where this was headed. “The pain got so bad that he ran off the road, and we crashed into a tree,” he finished.

“Was it a heart attack?” Martha asked.

“I don’t know,” Macca sighed. “They haven’t said anything to me yet. Racheal just told me to wait, and she said that she’d be out soon. So the best thing to do is just sit down”.

“This isn’t fair Macca. Why does this keep happening to us?” Martha started to cry.

Macca wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. “He’s going to be fine,” he said in a hushed voice.

I hope he’s right, Martha thought to herself. She couldn’t lose another parent.

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Martha sat in the waiting room with her head resting on Macca’s shoulder. It had been half an hour and they still hadn’t heard anything. Martha was starting to lose patience; and the longer she waited, the more she worried.

Alf had arrived about ten minutes before; he had come to the hospital as soon as Martha had called him. Jack was still there aswell. He had told Megan to go home, but she had refused. Martha reckoned it was because Megan didn’t want to leave Jack alone with her. Grace’s doctor had also come by with her results. They couldn’t find anything wrong; so it must have just been a bit of a flu.

“Do you want anything, love? Maybe a drink or something to eat?” Alf asked Martha.

Martha shook her head. “I’m fine thanks, granddad,” she replied. She was just about to let out a loud sigh, when she noticed Racheal exiting one of the rooms. Martha and Macca stood up quickly and moved towards her.

“What’s going on? Is he okay?” Martha asked.

“He’s stable at the moment, but I’ll be honest with you and say that he isn’t out of the woods yet,” Racheal sighed.

“So what actually happened Doc?” Alf asked.

“Well, he suffered a heart attack, and it was very serious. It’s left his heart very weak; so that’s why we are keeping a very close eye on him,” Racheal started to explain. “He also took a very hard hit to the head; which he received from the car accident,” she finished.

“Can we see him?” Martha asked.

“Yes, but just yourself and Macca for the moment. He’s still quite drowsy, but he’s awake. So, just be gentle with him,” Racheal told them.

“Thanks Rach,” Martha smiled, and took Macca’s hand.

Martha pushed open the door to her dad’s room, and walked in with Macca. They slowly walked towards the bed. Ray was so still, and so quiet, that Martha thought that he wasn’t awake.

“Dad,” Martha whispered as she took Ray’s hand in her own.

She watched as his eyes fluttered open. “Hey,” Ray groaned, in a raspy voice.

“You gave me a fright, you know. Try not to do it again,” Martha smiled lightly at him.

“Yeah, you scared the hell out of me too,” Macca added.

“Sorry,” Ray whispered. “I didn’t mean it,” he apologized.

“Hey, it’s okay. It wasn’t your fault,” Martha told him. “I just want you to rest, and get better,” she said.

“Tired,” he moaned.

“Just relax dad. You don’t have to speak,” Macca insisted.

“We’re here now, so don’t worry,” Martha assured him. “Everything is going to be okay”.

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Martha and Macca sat in with Ray for about half an hour before the nurse asked them to leave, so that they could do some more tests.

Martha leaned down and gave Ray a kiss on the cheek. “We’ll be back later,” Martha promised.

“I Love you all,” Ray rasped, as he cupped Martha’s cheek.

“We love you too,” Martha smiled and went to walk out with Macca. But before they reached the door, they heard a loud beeping coming from one of the machines.

“I need some help in here,” the nurse yelled.

“What’s going on?” Macca demanded.

“I’m not sure,” the nurse replied.

Martha looked at her dad. He wasn’t moving, and his eyes had just rolled into the back of his head. Two male doctors and another nurse then came rushing into the room.

“What’s happening?” Martha cried. “I demand to know what’s going on,” she screamed.

“He’s gone into cardiac arrest,” the doctor told her. “Now please, I need you to step away”.

This couldn’t be happening, Martha thought. He was fine just a minute ago. They couldn’t lose him.

Martha felt Macca wrap his arms around her from behind and pull her back towards him. “He’s going to be okay,” he whispered in her ear.

“This isn’t fair,” she started to cry.

They watched for a few moments as the doctors worked on her father. But then they stopped. Why are they stopping? She thought.

Martha wiped her tears away from her cheeks and tried to pull away from Macca, but he held her tight. “Why are you stopping? Keep going. You have to help him,” Martha screamed at them.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said.

“No, no you’re lying,” Martha cried as she moved towards the bed.

“Martha, please,” Macca pulled her back.

“They have to keep going. He’s fine,” Martha kept crying.

“No, he’s gone,” Macca started to cry softly.

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