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Spiral (Part One)

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Topic Title – Spiral (Part One)

Topic DescriptionFeatures Morag, Josh West, Amanda

Type of story: long fiction

Rating: A: Adult content or themes. Recommended 15+ (V)

Main Characters: ie. Morag, Josh West, 2 OCs,

Genre: A mixture

Warnings: Violence, mild sexual content

Is Story being proof read: No

Summary: When newcomer Laura Tate arrives in the Bay with her son Jacob, she forms an unlikely bond with Morag Bellingham and their lives suddenly get a lot more complicated. Please R&R. COMPLETE!

This fic contains mild fem slash and if you are under 13 then you shouldn't be reading it. It takes place during the Josh West Murder storyline.

Disclaimer: The characters of Home and away are not mine.


" The police think I may have something to do with the murder of Joshua West." Morag Bellingham told her visitor, " Detective Peter Baker asked me a few questions I never wanted to answer."

" What if they start asking me?" her current lover asked her worriedly, "I was in the Bay during the time Josh was murdered. I don't think Peter believed in the alibi I gave him." A pause, " The only way to get Detective Baker off our backs is to come clean about us."

" I don't think I'm ready for that…" Morag trailed off.

" But it will clear our names." Her lover pointed out, " At least think about it Morag." Her lover kissed her cheek before heading into the kitchen.

Morag stared into space. She has been interviewed twice by the annoying Detective Peter Baker. Asking her questions about the case files he had in his possession and also asked where she was on the night Josh West was murdered. Those files are confidential and I'll be they'll be going through them right now. The thought made her angry. And she also knew it wouldn't be long until they interviewed her friend as well.

I'm not ready to tell anyone. Morag decided, and the people in this town won't be ready for us. That's for darn sure.

A month earlier

" So Jacob, what do you think?" Laura Tate asked her fifteen year old son. Jacob scowled up at the tacky looking sign that read: Welcome To Summer Bay. He had been against the move from the start. He'd been happy living in the city with his friends and the girl he crushed on. He had to leave all that behind because of his stupid parents, stupid divorce. Did they ever take him into consideration? Of course not. They never even asked which parent he wanted to live with.

Sometimes it's like I don't matter. Jacob thought sourly, running a hand through his curly blonde hair.

He read about Summer Bay in a brochure. It was your average small seaside town where everybody knew everybody else. It was sickening really. Jacob knew he was going to hate this town and the people in it.

Laura didn't get an answer from Jacob and she sighed. Jacob's been in a bad mood since they left their old apartment this morning. He barely touched his lunch which was worrying-Jacob usually ate like a horse.

" Jake, come on, it won't be too bad." Laura tried to reassure him.

" How would you know how I feel?" Jacob demanded, " and it's Jacob." He added as he stormed back to the car.

Laura followed suit and mother and son didn't say another word for the rest of the trip.

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Sky-slash means female/female pairings, male/male pairings. To my knowledge anyway.

This is rated...PG. For violence.

Here is chapter one.



" First things first," Laura declared as she parked the car outside the Summer Bay Diner, " Let's get something to eat."

" I'm not hungry." Jacob answered as he glanced over at the beach. It looked crowded-it wasn't surprising as it was a warm day.

" Well I am." Laura said and shouldered her handbag, " Listen Jacob, loose the attitude okay? It's getting kind of old. And we'll be staying here for quite some time so like it or lump it."

Jacob rolled his eyes in reply as he followed his mother. I don't have to like it! He wanted to shout at it, you can't make me! But he knew if acted like a child, his mother would treat him like one.

They walked into the diner and grabbed a table. It wasn't busy and in a few minutes a lady in an apron walker over to them.

" What can I get you?" the brown-haired woman asked them with a friendly grin.

" A tuna salad. What do you want Jacob?"

" Nothing". Jacob muttered, shoving the menu aside.

" you got to have something. A growing boy like you." The waitress smiled at him encouraging.

Jacob sighed, " A toasted ham and cheese." He paused, " and a chocolate milkshake."

" Okey-dokey. The food will be out in a jiffy." Irene Roberts promised as she made her way back to the kitchen. On the way, she glanced back over her shoulder. The woman looked familiar to her. But she couldn't figure out why.

" Something wrong?" Leah Baker asked her co-worked as Irene gave her their orders.

" That woman over there with the blonde kid. I swear I've seen her somewhere before."

" Don't you hate when that happens. It'll bug you all day."

Irene nodded and studied the newcomer. She was of petite build with short, wispy brown hair. She dressed in slacks and a white blouse. Her son looked about fifteen or sixteen with blonde hair. He obviously got his hair colour from his father. Wherever he was.

It's none of my business where the father is. Irene told herself, but that woman looks so darn familiar.

It haunted Irene for most of the morning. Then when was making some more salad, it hit her. When she went to take their plates away, she asked:

" Say, aren't you Katherine O'Neil?"

Laura looked up startled.

" Pardon me?"

" Are you Katherine O'Neil?" Irene asked again, " You look a bit familiar to me and I just figured out why. I saw you on the news and-"

" I think you got me mixed up with someone else." Laura said, " I'm Laura Tate."

" Oh. I'm sorry…you look a heck a lot like her though."

Laura just smiled politely, " Are you ready son?" she asked Jacob who was listening to the exchange with interest.

" Uh…yeah." Jacob stood up, " Can we check out the beach?"

" Not at the moment. I want to get to our new apartment." She hurried up to the counter to avoid any more conversation with the other woman. She paid for their lunch and they headed back to the car.

" But Mum-"

" You can check it out later." Laura said impatiently, " the beach will be here tomorrow and the day after that. It's not going anywhere."

" I don't want to look at our new apartment. What do you need me there for? I'll just get in the way. Please, can I check out the beach?" Jacob gave her his innocent wide-eyed look that she always fell for. With his blue eyes and curly brown hair he looked like a mini version of his father. And it was sometimes very painful to look at her son.

" Okay." Laura sighed, " I won't win this argument so I'll quit while I'm ahead. I'll pick you up in a hour."

Jacob opened his mouth to protest.

" One hour. That's it." Laura said sternly. Jacob decided to leave before she changed his mind. He hightailed out of the diner almost running into a ginger-haired woman on the way out. " Watch where you're going young man!" she called after him.

* * *

Jacob didn't see what was so special about this beach. He's seen plenty of beaches in his time and this one wasn't so great. All he could see was miles and miles of sand, people everywhere getting sunburned and of course the ocean. He took off his shoes and went for a walk along the shoreline, picking up some interesting shells on the way. In the distance he could see two hot looking girls in bikinis splashing each other in the surf. They looked about his age. A guy joined them, and pecked the smaller girl on the cheek. They were obviously together. He wondered briefly if they went o Summer Bay high.

So what if they did, do you want hicks as friends? He asked himself. He had cool friends back at his old school and would have the same here. No loser friends for him.

A young couple walked by him. The guy was thin and wore glasses, his girlfriend was very pretty with long blonde hair. The girl smiled at him and said hello. Jacob just grunted back and pushed past them.

" Gee, what's his problem?" Robbie Hunter asked Tasha Andrews, " You were just trying to be friendly."

" I never seen that kid around before. He must be new." Tasha replied, glancing back at the blonde kid.

" Don't worry about him. If he wants be unfriendly, it's his choice." Robbie told Tasha, putting his arm around her, " now let's talk about Josh West."

* * *

" How was the beach?" his mother asked when they arrived back at their new apartment. Boxes were waiting to be unpacked and Jacob wasn't looking forward to it. How could two people culminate so much stuff?

" It's okay," Jacob said and found a box with his name on it. " I'm gonna unpack." He said lugging it to his new room.

He didn't ask how my day was. Laura thought. Jacob always used to do that. He was always interested in what his mother does, but he doesn't seem to care anymore.

Laura glanced down at a card she had pulled out of her purse. After her son had bumped into the woman in the diner, they had introduced herself and Laura has asked if she new anyone in the area that was a solicitor. The woman (Morag Bellingham,) told her she was a solicitor and asked if Laura needed one. Laura had replied she might, she was in the middle of a very messy divorce. Morag had given her a card and they had struck up a conversation. Laura liked the woman and learned Morag lived in the Bay with her brother. Laura had the feeling they would see each other again soon-after all this was a small town.

* * *

" She said to tell me not to say where she was headed." The landlord shrugged helplessly at Sam Tate, " she didn't want you to follow her I guess."

" You have no right to keep my wife from me." Sam Tate growled, " Tell me where she is before I beat you to a bloody pulp."

The landlord held up his hands in protest, " I can't tell you, I made a promise!"

Sam growled and lunged for the man, punching him the solar plexus. The landlord doubled over, groaning before Sam kicked him in the head. The landlord went down, moaning.

" Nobody comes between me and my wife." Sam growled as he went back to his car, " Nobody!"

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Laura and Jacob have been in Summer Bay for a week. There really wasn't much to see in Summer Bay as they found out. They checked out the touristy spots and a few historical sites.

The following Monday it was time for school. Jacob woke up with butterflies in his stomach. He felt nervous but he wasn't about to show it. He reached for his new school uniform and tried it on. He fiddled with his tie before heading into the kitchen.

Their new apartment was starting to look more of a home. The boxes were pretty much gone now.

" Want some brekky?' his mother asked as she poured herself a glass of orange juice.

" Some cereal-I'll get it." Jacob went to the pantry and took out a box of cornflakes and helped himself.

" Excited?"

" No…it's just school." Jacob said flatly as he sat at the dining table. He dug into his cereal.

Laura smiled, he was nervous. She could tell because when he's nervous he ate quickly. Jacob gave her a quick kiss goodbye before leaving. School was only a fifteen minute walk.

Jacob hitched his backpack up higher as he followed the school principal Barry Hyde to the lockers. He chose one and began storing his textbooks inside. Hyde was explaining he had Ms. Fletcher for his first class but as she was on leave, he would have Dan Baker instead-for all of Ms. Fletcher's classes.

A blonde boy and a girl walked past them and Hyde called out to them. " Matilda and Lucas."

They turned. Lucas was holding Matilda's hand-they were obviously a couple.

" This is Jacob Tate. He's new…I'd like for you two to show him around." And they did, chattering on about the classes and teachers. Jacob took one look at them and decided these two were too dorky for his liking. Lucas was a pretty boy. Jacob needed find real friends.

On the way to his second class he was tripped in the hallway. He stumbled but managed to catch himself. He turned and glared at the boy who tripped him. " Saw you hanging with the goody-goody two-shoes Lucas and Matilda."

" I wasn't." Jacob replied, " they were showing me around that's all." He started to go into the classroom when the boy grabbed his arm.

" A group of us are going to the diner after school. If you want real friends, hang with us."

Jacob studied the boy. He was tall with messy brown hair and wide grey eyes. His tie was crooked and shirt untucked.

" I dunno."

" I think you will." The boy decided for him and walked into the classroom, bumping into him on the way in.

The kid was clearly a bully but if he were to have real friends, this kid is it.

* * *

Hours between 3 and 4pm were always busy at the Diner. That was when most of the kids came from school to get a snack or just hang out. Irene had made a new rule long ago that if you weren't there to eat or drink, then "skedaddle". But some kids ignored that rule. Especially Tim Morally and his gang.

" How many time do I have to tell you lot?" Irene asked the kids as they sat at a booth, " Either order somethin' or get out."

" Chill Ms. Roberts," Tim answered, " We're gonna order hamburgers."

At that moment, Jacob arrived. Irene took their orders and disappeared into the kitchen.

" What's wrong?" Leah asked her. Irene looked slightly flustered.

" Tim and his group are here." She frowned, " and Jacob Tate is with them. Doesn't he know they are a bad lot?"

" Jacob's the son of Laura isn't he? I don't suppose he knows. Should we tell him?"

Irene peered out and saw Tim ribbing Jacob. " Let Jacob find out for himself." Irene said grimly. " And he will-sooner rather than later."

* * *

" Okay," Tim said as he slurped nosily at his thick shake, " If you want to become part of my group you have to do an initiation."

" An…initiation?" Jacob repeated warily.

" We all had to do it." David piped up. Jacob had disliked him from the moment he met him. He sucked up to Tim a lot.

" That's right, you won't get any special treatment because you're new." Tim thought for a bit until his eyes lit up when Morag Bellingham entered the diner. He loathed that woman-ever since she put his dad behind bars.

" I want you to puncture someone's car tires."

Jacob stared at him, stunned. " Whose?"

" I'll show you which car. If you won't do it then we'll know you're chicken and too much of a city boy to fit in." Tim sneered.

Jacob swallowed. What if he got caught? I'll worry about that later. He decided.

" Well? You gonna do it?"

" Can't I have time to think about it?" Jacob tried to reason with him.

" No." Tim smirked.

" Okay…I'll do it."

The boys cheered and Tim shushed them. He and Jacob slid out of the booth and went outside to the parking lot. He handed Jacob a pocketknife and directed him to puncture a silver Mazda.

" I'll keep a look out." Tim said and Jacob looked around. Nobody was in sight-for the moment. He knelt and jabbed the knife into one of the tires. He heard the soft whistle as the air slowly went out. He did the same to the other three until all four tires were flat.

" Quick, someone's coming!" he heard Tim hiss. Jacob leaped up and ran for his life-until he heard Tim burst out laughing.

" Jeez Tate, you're easy."

Jacob stopped running and glared. Nobody had been coming-he felt like an idiot. But he was proud of himself.

" The first phase is complete." Tim declared.

" First phase?" Jacob groaned, " There's going to be a second phase?"

" Yup. It's in three phases. If you can do phase one, the next two will be easy as pie."

Jacob didn't believe him.

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Thought the title of this fic rang a bell! :P

Like I said in my other reviews, I don't actually like slash, but, apart from that, but this is a really good story. And, like you said, the slash is only mild anyway... :D

it's nice to see origional characters for a change.

And I agree with SKYKAT, it's fantastic when people actually use their imaginations in fanfics and create original character too. :D

Thought you'd might like it I Love Music :P

And to think Sam Tate came from my imagination. I scare myself.

Chapter Three.

Morag took the keys out of her handbag and headed for the car. She slowed when she saw one of her tires was flat. On closer inspection she discovered all four tires were flat.

" How on earth did this happen?" she muttered to herself. She knelt and inspected one of the tires. She put on her glasses and peered closely. She could see a tiny puncture hole.

Someone has gone and punctured my tires! She realized. But who would do a thing like that?

She went back to the diner, fuming.

" Is something wrong Morag?" Leah asked as she walked past her with plates in her hand.

" My tires have been punctured. I need to call a tow truck." Morag took out her cell.

" Who would puncture your wheels?" Irene asked who was making coffee.

" I don't know…but I won't worry about it too much." Morag said.

" Really? I thought you'd be furious." Irene said in surprise.

" I won't give the culprit the satisfaction." Morag told her firmly before calling the tow truck company.

* * *

" Oh my God, did you see the look on her face?" Tim roared with laughter as he and Jacob walked along the beach.

" Yeah, it was priceless." Jacob didn't see the point of puncturing someone's wheels but he certainly didn't tell that to Tim.

" At moments like those I wish I had a camera." Tim shook his head, " That bitch gets what she deserves. And this is just the beginning."

Jacob studied his new friend. It seemed Tim had a vendetta against the woman. But surely Tim would think of something bigger than just puncturing her tires.

" What's the next phase?"

" Keep tonight free and I'll give ya a call." Tim said mysteriously.

* * *

" It's nice that you have friends but going to this young man's house on a school night? I don't know." Laura hedged.

" Please Mum?" Jacob pleaded, " It'll only be this time. I swear."

" Do you need dropped off?"

" No, he wants me to meet him at the surf club. I won't be too late."

" You'd better not." Laura warned then gave in, " Okay you can go. Leave your phone on."

Jacob nodded and left quickly. He knew his mother trusted him, as far as she was concerned, he could do no wrong.

He met Tim and the gang at the destination before heading to the beach. It was chilly and Jacob forgot to bring a jumper. He shivered slightly.

" Cold Jacob?" David sneered.

" No." Jacob replied and stuck his hands in his pockets.

" Okay, see that buoy over there?" Tim asked gesturing to the buoy. It was a few meters away from the shore.

" Yeah."

" We want you to swim out to the buoy and back."

Jacob's heart sank. He was a good swimmer, he used to be a member of his old high school's swim team. But swimming in the ocean at night was dangerous. There could be sharks and he could just barely make out that buoy.

" Tim, that's a bit risky." Gerald Inglewood frowned at this idea.

" He can hack it. Cant you." Tim turned to Jacob.

" Yeah, easy." Jacob wasn't sure what he was going to do when he came home clothes dripping wet.

" I guess I forgot to mention to bring your trunks." Tim snickered.

I'll show him…I'll show them all. He strode towards the water.

" He's really gonna do it." David whispered in awe.

Jacob waded into the water and dived. He did a forward stroke and got into a rhythm. Before he knew it, his fingers were touching the buoy!

He treaded the water and waved to the group back on the beach. There were cheers and whistles.

He grinned to himself when he got an idea. He sank underneath the dark water and waited.

* * *

" Where is he?" David peered out to sea, " Shouldn't he be back by now?" it was more than fifteen minutes since Jacob made it to the buoy. Now there was no sign of him.

" He'll be back." Tim snapped, he was getting worried. The kid looked like a strong swimmer, so how was it he was not back yet? They waited another ten minutes.

" Damn it." Tim cursed.

" If something has happened to him…it'll be your fault!" David shouted at Tim, getting angry.

" I have to go in." Tim said, staring at the pitch blackness of the water. He wasn't a great swimmer. A hand slapped his shoulder then and he almost screamed. He whirled and saw Jacob, dripping wet.

" Jesus Tate!" Tim spluttered, " Way to go in scaring us hey?"

Jacob smirked and flicked a strand of wet hair from his eyes before heading back to the men's toilets to dry off as best he can. He knew then he had won the respect of the school bully. There wouldn't be a phase three.

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Chapter Four

Sam washed his hands in the sink watching as the clear water turned red. He then studied his face in the mirror. There were a couple of cuts from where the landlord tried to stab him but they will heal.

He stepped over the landlord's body before leaving the house. He slid into his car and reached for a brochure he had found in the man's briefcase.

Summer Bay. Picturesque seaside town. Please, sounds a bit too tacky. He wondered what his son thought of it. Jake would hate it there.

Jake was better off with him. Sam grabbed his mobile and dialed his lawyer's number.

" Pete, I need you to do something for me."

" What is it?"

" I want sole custody of my son. Think you could do that for me?"

" I'll get the papers to your wife."

" Thanks." Sam hung up and smiled.

* * *

" Hey Mum." Jacob entered the living room the following morning. His mother was sitting up and yawning.

" Jacob…what time did you come home? I must have fallen asleep on the couch." She rubbed her neck, " It may look comfy but looks are deceiving."

" Not late. Around 9ish." Jacob fibbed. It was well after midnight since he got in. His wet clothes were now dry thanks to their new dryer. Whoever invented those things should get a medal. She would never need to know about his midnight dip in the ocean.

" Oh. Had some breakfast?"

" Nope…I'll make it. Do you want anything?" Jake asked cheerfully.

" No thanks." She was frowning at him.

" What?" Jacob asked warily.

" Why are you so cheerful? You're usually cranky in the mornings."

Be careful. Jacob warned himself, " I guess I slept ok and woke up feeling good." Jacob shrugged and helped himself to a generous bowl of cornflakes.

Laura stood up and headed for the bathroom when her mobile beeped. She glanced down at it. It was a text message from Morag, she wanted to have lunch. She replied and agreed to meet her at the diner. They were slowly becoming friends. Underneath Morag's tough exterior, she was a lovely person to get to know.

That afternoon, Laura met Morag at the diner. The woman smiled and invited her to sit down when Laura's mobile went off.

" Hello?"

" Mrs. Tate?"

" Ms. Tate." Laura automatically corrected the caller, " Yes?"

" This is Peter Westerman. I'm calling on behalf Sam Tate."

" Yes?" Laura said again, her hand gripping her phone. This was the call she's been dreading.

" I'm unfortunate to tell you Sam is suing you for sole custody for your son."

" What?"

" We have to arrange a meeting-"

" I'm not seeing anyone until I get a lawyer. My ex-husband will not get his hands on my son." Laura told the lawyer firmly before hanging up on him.

Laura turned to Morag, her face pale, " It looks as though I might need your services after all Morag. My ex husband is suing me."

" For what exactly?" Morag took a sip from her coffee. She liked the younger woman, she was warm and friendly. It was nice to meet someone who hasn't lived in this town for bloody ages.

" He wants sole custody for Jacob." Laura frowned, " I could understand it I guess, I was the one who left and took our son. Jacob didn't get to say goodbye to his father…not that he wanted to."

" How old is your son?"

" Fifteen. He'll be sixteen next month."

" I'd like to meet him one day." Morag said, " in the meantime, I'll get the papers ready to fight for him. I've heard of Peter Westerman, he has won every court case. He's a tough one to beat."

" If I have you as my solicitor, he'd lose his very first case." Laura said confidently.

" Do you want me as your solicitor?"

" Yes…if you want to be."

" Of course I do. I wouldn't have offered my services otherwise. We will have to talk about the court costs but-"

" Money is no object." Laura interrupted, " Not when it comes to my son." She took a long gulp of her coffee.

It seemed to Morag Laura was very devoted to her son and would do anything for him. Morag decided she would fight tooth and nail for Laura.

* * *

" I must warn you," Westerman was saying as he rifled through the bunch of papers, " The court do not take favorably to parents who wish to seek retaliation by way of child custody arrangements. Unless you can prove Ms. Tate is an unfit parent, we might not be able to proceed with the case."

" Oh she is unfit all right," Sam waved his hand dismissively. He didn't know what Westerman was blabbing on about. Westerman was one of the best solicitors in the country. He'd win this case, hands down.

* * *

" So you think Sam is doing this out of pure retaliation?" Laura asked Morag.

" Unless he can prove you are an unfit parent."

" Unfit parent!" Laura exploded, " He's the unfit parent Morag. I should be suing him but I have our son."

" We have a tough battle ahead of us-" Morag was interrupted when her phone rang. She spoke a few minutes before turning back to her client.

" I have some rather…good news."

" Oh?"

" There was a hearing scheduled in a couple of weeks but it has been cancelled. I suggest we take up on the offer of having our hearing in place."

" Two weeks?"

" In two weeks. I will let Mr. Westerman know."

" Morag, we won't be ready in two weeks."

" We will be ready…you just need to find proof that Mr. Tate is an unfit parent. Just stay calm, we can do this."

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" Two weeks." Laura muttered. The hearing would be held in Yabbie Creek Courts, so she would be in the city for awhile. But what about Jacob, who would look after him? She couldn't pull him out of school, he just enrolled.

" Now, perhaps we can find family or any of your friends who can prove Mr. Tate is an unfit father. We might even need your son as a witness."

" I will not have my son involved." Laura said firmly.

" But he is involved, he's the subject of this court hearing."

" No Morag. " Laura said firmly, " He's too young-"

" All right, all right, it was merely a suggestion. Do you have other family?"

" There's my father and my brother. My mother died about five years ago-cancer." Laura paused, " my family all loved Sam. They would never say anything negative against him. They wouldn't be much help I'm afraid. And neither will friends. Everyone just loved Sam Tate." She sighed, " They couldn't see for who he really is. They never saw his bad side."

" And what was his bad side?" Morag felt a bit sorry for this woman. Several years ago Laura married what she thought was the man of her dreams only to discover he was another crummy bastard.

" His temper. When he first lost his temper." Laura closed her eyes briefly as the memory of Sam hitting her came flooding back. That wasn't the first time he did it. The funny thing was, Sam never took it out on their son. Jacob was the apple of his eye.

" And that was when he showed his true colours." Laura continued, " and he never took it out on his son."

" Are you telling me he abused you?" Morag was shocked.

" Verbally abused me that's all." Laura fibbed. She wondered why she wasn't telling the whole truth. She figured it didn't matter much, they were trying to find a way to prove Sam was an unfit father to Jacob.

" And he never touched your son?"

" Not from what I've seen no"

" So in conclusion he was an unfit husband, not a father."

" Yes…" Laura trailed off when she realized she was going to lose her only child. And no one, not even Morag, would be able to do anything about it.

* * *

" I know you've been seeing him!" Sam screamed at Laura one afternoon.

" Seeing who?"

" Liam."

" Sam, we are just friends. He's married for goodness sake."

" So? You've been seeing him behind my back. I've read your text messages. They sounded a bit overfriendly for my liking."

" You are being paranoid Sam." Laura replied just as Sam gave her a stinging slap across the cheek.

" Don't you ever lie to me again you bitch." Sam whispered, his face red and blue eyes bulging. Laura turned away, covering the angry red welt with her hand.

A door opened and Jacob entered the living room. He had heard the slap and knew what his father had done. He glared at his father before pushing past him into the kitchen.

" Let's say we go to the park and shoot some hoops?" Sam asked lightly as if it never happened. Laura disappeared into the bathroom. She stared at herself and refused to cry. She wouldn't give Sam the satisfaction.

How had they come to this? Where has the Sam Tate she married gone?

* * *

Jacob walked out of Math class and headed for his locker. Tim spotted him and walked towards him.

" Meet us at the surf club after school." Tim told him as Jacob grabbed his Science book

" Why?"

" It's time for the third phase." Tim reminded him and Jacob stared at him stunned.

" Phase three? But I thought-"

" What? You think that swimming to a buoy would turn you into some kind of hero? I've already told you, you won't be getting any special treatment. You'll be the treated the same as everyone else. Got that?" Tim's eyes bore into his and Jacob looked away.

" Got it." Jacob mumbled as he headed for the Science labs. He couldn't believe it, he's been so confident he won the bully's respect.

Science was usually his best subject but today he could not concentrate. He wondered what Tim would make him do this time?

He met the others as instructed at the surf club. They were playing a game of pool ( well, only David and Tim were) until Jacob walked in.

" Good you're here." Tim greeted him.

" Why wouldn't I be?" Jacob asked him.

" I don't know, thought you'd chicken out is all."

Jacob didn't reply, " Well, let's get this over with."

Tim nodded towards Noah's Bar, " You have to be eighteen and over to buy drinks from there."

Jacob glanced over, " Yeah, so?" he asked.

" And I have a taste for vodka tonight. I want you to grab us two bottles of vodka-I like the lemon and limes flavor."

" I can't buy that stuff, I'm only fifteen."

" I didn't say buy," Tim said, " We'll distract Mrs. Hunter."

Jacob looked over at the Bar where Beth Hunter was serving a couple of guys. It didn't look particularly busy…

" I don't know…"

" This is your last chance to hang with us." Tim reminded him. Then grabbing David's arm they began causing a ruckus, and Beth Hunter was immediately distracted by the two boys.

" You know you boys shouldn't be in here," Beth exclaimed as Tim pretended to hassle David. The other boys joined in and Beth had her hands full.

Ok, it's now or never. Jacob thought. He glanced around and was confident no one was looking. He quickly darted around the bar and scanned the rows of alcoholic drinks. He spied the vodka and snatched two bottles. He stuffed one in his pocket and hid one behind his back and causally backed out. He whirled around and made his getaway, stuffing the incriminating evidence into his backpack.

Ten minutes later, the guys rejoined him.

" Well?" Tim asked a bit breathlessly.

Jacob opened his bag and Tim peeked inside.

" You really did it." Tim said, trying not to look too impressed. The kid had successfully completed all three phases without a hitch.

" I thought I was gonna get caught for sure." Jacob said trying not to sound or look to smug. " Do you want 'em?"

" Drink on a school night? Keep them at your house until Saturday." Tim said with a devilish grin. Jacob sighed, he would have to hide them real good. His mother cleaned his room on a fortnightly basis.

" Well, you are now a member. Congrats." Tim slapped him on the back. Jacob grinned but earned a dark glare from David. It was common knowledge that if a new guy was made a member, he was Tim's new best friend which meant David was now pushed out.

I did it, I showed them all. Jacob thought with satisfaction.

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" I said it before and I'll say it again, we'll never get ready in time."

" I've only had one week to prepare hearings before so two weeks is actually a long time. " Morag said putting the paperwork away. They had just finalized the costs. Laura put her head in her hands and rubbed her temple.

" I need some paracetamol, I have one hell of a headache." She grumbled.

" I know a cure that's a lot better than paracetamol," Morag said and took Laura to Noah's Bar.

" Good idea Morag," Laura said smiling as she followed the other woman to the bar where Beth was serving. (From this day onwards she and Morag would meet every day around 6.30 pm for a drink or two).

They didn't talk about any legal stuff. Laura talked a little about her family. Her mother died years ago and her father was still around but Laura didn't talk to him. She hasn't talked to him since he remarried just a year after his wife's death. That was the main reason why she cut off all ties from him. He married a blonde bimbo who Laura loathed. Laura had a younger sister whom she didn't talk to either-her sister still contacted their dad and even approved of their father's second marriage.

Laura also had an older brother who shared the same opinion as Laura about their father's second marriage. He was the only sibling Laura still kept in contact.

" My family isn't…worth it." Laura shrugged, " We've basically lost all contact since my mother died. It was if when she died, the family did too." She laughed bitterly, " my father marrying that…blonde twit didn't helps matters. All it took was a year! He didn't even grieve for my mother."

" People deal with grief their own way. Everyone is different. Perhaps marrying that woman helped your father." Morag suggested.

Laura shrugged, " No…not my father. He basically married the woman for her money, she was wealthy and he wasn't. He always resented the fact my mother made more money than he did."

" What does your father do?"

" Oh, he's retired now. He used to be a partner in the software business. My mother was on the board of directors at our local hospital."

" And even after all these years, you still don't talk to him?"

" No. He's a stranger to me." She took a long gulp of her red wine, " I've talked about my family. Now tell me about yours."

" Well, you know my brother is in prison…he was setup by our esteemed mayor."

" Was there any proof?" Laura challenged her.

" Well yes, but the man who set him up was blackmailed by Josh so in the end we couldn't use him as proof." Morag said, " my brother is an innocent man Laura."

" I didn't say he wasn't," Laura protested.

" And Joshua West will get what he deserved, you can bet on that."

* * *

" Is that the time? I better get home." Laura said after glancing at her watch. It was almost seven thirty. She wasn't worried about Jacob and dinner, he could pretty much fend for himself. She was proud of her son.

" Laura…I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier." Morag apologized.

" Think nothing of it. That Josh West sounds very crooked. How a man like him became mayor is beyond me."

" It's beyond me too, but I have my suspicions that he fixed the election somehow." Morag walked her client to the car park. She now thought of Laura as a friend than just a client.

" Thanks for the drinks. It's my shout next time." Laura smiled at Morag before they said goodbye and headed for their cars.

" Jacob? I'm home!" Jacob heard his mother shout. He quickly hid the bottles of vodka under his bed and for good measure threw an old shirt over them. He took a deep breath and sauntered into the living room.

" Hey. Where were you?" Jacob asked her.

" I was with my solicitor. Going over some legal stuff."

" Is there anything I need to know?" Jacob asked her.

Laura paused. She had not told her son about his father suing her for sole custody.

" No. It's nothing to be worried about. Did you have dinner?"

" Yeah, I ordered pizza." Jacob gestured to the two opened pizza cartons resting on the bench.

" I'm famished. You got our favourite." Laura grabbed a slice of barbecue chicken pizza.

" How was school?"

" It's fine. I have some assignments to do. Can I use the laptop?"

Laura nodded and her son sat at the dining table and began working. She smiled fondly at him. So studious! She would be looking forward to his first report card.

Jacob kept his head down as he started his History assignment, glad his mother couldn't see the guilty look on his face.

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Thanks to everyone who has commented on this story so far. Thanks guys!


A Week Later...

The hearing was getting closer, there was just one week to go. Morag had drawn up a few cases against Sam but nothing to prove he was an unfit father. She called up Peter Westerman and had tried to get him to call off the hearing.

" Scared Ms. Bellingham?" Westerman sneered at the opposition, " Scared you'll lose?" he sounded so confident, the bastard.

And he has every right to be, he's never lost a case. Morag thought disdainfully.

" No. I just think that Mr. Tate is suing my client out of pure vindictiveness-"

" That's where you are wrong," Westerman interrupted frostily, " I'll see you in court Ms. Bellingham."

Laura studied her son as he got ready for school. She has been thinking about letting her son testify against his father…but what if he had nothing against him? Well, it was time to find out.

" Jacob…I want to talk to you about something," Laura said and Jacob looked up startled. She looked very serious and he swallowed nervously. Had she found the bottles? He'd checked this morning, they hadn't been touched.

" What is it?"

" It's about your father. I need to ask you if…did he…abuse you in any way?"

Jacob stared at her, " Sometimes he'd shout at me if I'd done something wrong but otherwise-"

" I don't mean verbally. I meant physically." Laura loathed herself for asking him this. But if it helped the case.

" Dad would never hurt me." Jacob replied, " He'd lose his temper sometimes but he never laid a hand on me. I thought you knew that."

" I did…but sometimes when a child does get physically abused by his father, he'd keep it quiet. Like he's too afraid to tell anyone."

Jacob nodded, " Well, he didn't." he bent over to tie his sneaker. He then sat up, " Is Dad…has he been contacting you?" he asked suspiciously, " Is this why you're asking me this stuff?"

" Jacob…I have to tell you something. You're not going to like what I'm about to say."

" Just spit it out Mum."

" Your dad has sued me for sole custody of you."

There was long silence. Finally Jacob blurted, " He can't do that…can he? And besides I think I'm old enough to decide who I should live with."

" Actually…you are still only a minor. Your father can do whatever he wants with a lawyer."

Jacob looked worried, " Mum…I don't want to live with Dad. Don't I have a say in this?"

" The only way you can have a say is to tell me if your dad has been an unfit father."

Jacob sighed, " No…he wasn't." his shoulders drooped, " We're gonna lose this case aren't we?"

" Not necessarily." Laura patted her son on the shoulder as she walked past, " I have a brilliant solicitor who is going to make everything possible. Don't you worry about a thing." She smiled at him as she disappeared into her room.

Yeah right. Jacob thought. He thought about the times his dad lost his temper towards him, but never laid a hand on him. And now I have to go live with him. Jacob thought, it's not fair.

Jacob grabbed the ball on the rebound and almost stumbled into his father.

" Watch out," his father yelled, shoving him backward, making him drop the ball. For some reason his dad was in a bad mood that day. It seemed Jacob did everything wrong.

" Sorry, but you threw the ball really hard." Jacob complained, rubbing his ribcage.

You are being paranoid. Dad wouldn't hurt me. Jacob tried to reassure himself as his father dribbled the ball.

" You a wimp or something? Okay, it's five to two-"

" No, its five to four." Jacob interrupted without thinking. His father's eyes narrowed, " I can count Jake."

Jacob winced, " But it is five four, you being the four."

" Do you want to play or not?"

" Not anymore…I got a ton of homework to do."

" Homework can wait. You and me need to spend some time together." His father threw the ball at him-hard. This time the ball did wind Jacob. He doubled over, gasping for breath.

" You really are a wimp. You take after your mother." His father looked disgusted as he walked off.

Jacob put on his t-shirt and slowly headed for his room. The hearing was next week. Should he testify against his father? What if no one believed him? After all, when his parents had been married, everyone loved Sam Tate.

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Here is another chapter...I'm updating so much because it's finished. This series is done in parts and I'm currently writing Part Four.


Morag checked her watch as she saw Laura walk into Noah's Bar. It was 6.30 pm and the poor woman looked haggard.

" Hello Morag," Laura greeted her friend wearily, " Do I need a drink." She went up to the bar and ordered one. She then joined Morag on the couch. They chatted about things other than the impending hearing. Morag asked about Jacob and Laura told her he seemed to be settling in well with the new school. He was a bright kid and would catch up in no time.

* * *

Beth watched Morag and her friend Laura. Those two have been meeting here every night around the same time for a week. They obviously enjoyed each other's company.

Beth started doing the inventory and frowned when the figures didn't quite add up. She rechecked again and her worst fears were confirmed, two bottles of alcohol had gone missing.

She turned to one of the casuals and asked him if he knew anything about the missing bottles. He shook his head and asked if she definitely knew if they were missing. She got him to check the inventory just in case her calculations were off.

" Nope, you were right the first time," Chris shrugged and went to serve a customer. Beth frowned, and tried to remember if there was a time she was momentarily away from the Bar. When she was on shift, she was hardly ever away from the Bar. If she was, there was always someone manning it.

It was really worrying if there was someone around stealing alcohol from right under your nose. Beth promised herself to be more vigilant from now on.

* * *

Laura glanced at her watch and lurched to her feet, " It's nearly nine! I must get home and see how Jacob is doing." She swayed a bit on her feet, " I think I had more than I planned." She slurred.

" Then we better get you home." (They had driven in Morag's car).

Driving home, Laura seemed to sober up somewhat. " Thanks for tonight, I really needed it." Laura said, " Took my mind of the you-know-what."

Morag nodded. Admittedly she was more worried about the case than she let on. Westerman was a really tough lawyer to beat. She's never been opposite him before, only what she's read of him. He can be really cunning…and then again so could see.

If I lose this case, Laura will lose Jacob and I may lose a friend. Morag thought casting a sideways glance at her. She valued her friendship… she felt closer to Laura than anyone else in Summer Bay.

They headed for Laura's apartment. " Well…I'll see you tomorrow night." Laura said as she grabbed her keys out of the handbag.

Morag nodded and put a hand on her arm, " Try not to worry." She said gently and Laura nodded. She could not help but think, It's easy for you to say. You don't have the most important thing in your life at stake.

The keys dropped from her hand and they both knelt to retrieve them when their hands brushed together. Laura glanced at her friend and in a split second decision, she planted a kiss on Morag's mouth!

Morag was stunned as she felt the woman's lips on hers and her first instinct was to recoil, but she didn't. Instead she found herself returning the kiss-tentatively.

Oh my God, what am I doing? Morag thought to herself as the kiss gradually deepened…

* * *

Sam Tate pulled to a stop and got out of the car. That's the tackiest thing I've ever seen. Sam thought sneering at the welcome sign in front of him. He was in the outskirts of Summer Bay. Just off in the distance, he could see the ocean.

Laura was about to get the surprise of her life…she would not know what hit her.

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Morag was the first to pull back. " How long…?" she asked, she didn't need to finish the question.

" A while," Laura admitted, " What about you?" she already knew what the answer must be.

" I don't know."

" Then why did you kiss me?" Laura asked.

" I didn't kiss you, you kissed me," Morag corrected her. " I need some time to think about this."

Laura has never felt this mortified. What has she done? Has she just ruined a good friendship by letting her feelings get in the way?

God I am such an idiot! She cursed herself as Morag left quickly.

* * *

The following morning, Laura walked along the beach. She didn't sleep well, she kept replaying the kiss over and over. What had made her do it?

Her mobile beeped, and she glanced down at it and her face went pale. It was a text from Sam! How did he get this number?

She read the text: YOU ARE LOOKING LOVELY TODAY it read. She gasped and looked around her wildly. Sam couldn't be here! She saw no one but decided to head for the diner where there would be people around.

She continued walked and saw a tall figure in the distance. As she neared she started trembling.

The person was Sam and he was in Summer Bay.

He had found her.

Sam looked up and smiled as he walked over to her. She wanted to turn and run but her feet wouldn't move.

" What…what are doing here?" she asked him.

" I have to make an appearance at the hearing don't I?" he replied, " I hope you're ready to say goodbye to Jacob. You only have a few days left with him. Better make the most of them."

Laura trembled but not in fear this time, but anger.

" You will not get him." She hissed, " I have an excellent lawyer who will make sure of that. You'll be wasting your time, the court's time and not to mention your money."

" Oh it'll be worth every penny to see the look on your face when I win." Sam said, " that will be my revenge."

" Leave us alone you hear? I don't want you near me or my son." Laura hissed before making a quick getaway to the diner

* * *

Laura tried to act as normally as possible when she entered the diner but it was hard. Seeing Sam again rattled her. How did he find out where she lived? The only ones who knew was her previous landlord-who had also been an old family friend and her older brother Cameron. Cameron wouldn't betray her like this so the only one left was Rick, the landlord. Sam must have done something to him to make him tell…or bribed him. Rick had promised not to tell Sam where she and Jacob would be living.

" Hi Irene." Laura greeted Irene Roberts, " Uh, can I get a coffee please?"

Irene nodded and studied Laura. " Are you all right?"

" What do you mean?"

" You look a bit worse for wear."

" Oh…I didn't sleep well. Thanks for your concern." Laura smiled at her. None of the locals knew about the hearing. Laura just didn't feel close to anyone at the moment. The hearing would be a private one.

Irene got her the coffee and she sat down at a nearby table. Irene frowned as she continued to watch Laura. She was still convinced she had seen Laura before she arrived in the Bay. She looked a lot like the woman she's read about Katherine O' Neil. Could they be related…or be the same person?

At that moment, saw Morag enter the diner. Morag was about head to the counter but discovered Laura was sitting nearby. Before Laura could see her, Morag turned and left.

Irene wondered what that was all about.

* * *

Damn it Laura! Morag muttered as she headed back to the car. Laura may have ruined a perfectly good friendship by acting on her feelings. Morag could not believe Laura hid her feelings so well.

I've been so blind. Morag thought. Things between them may never be the same again.

* * *

Later that afternoon, Sam was about to climb into his car when a blonde guy approached him,.

" Are you Sam Tate?" the man asked him.

" Who's asking?" Sam replied.

" I'm Detective Baker and I need to give you something." Baker thrust an envelop at him.

" What's this?"

" Your ex wife took out a restraining order against you. You are not allowed to go near her or her son. If you breech this order, you will suffer the consequences."

Sam glared, " And which are?"

" It's all in there. Have a good day."

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