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The Dark Side

Guest WYN100

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Story title: the dark side

Type of story: Intertwined threads of various characters' lives

Main Characters: Jack, Martha, Rachel, Tony etc etc

Genre: Narrative

BttB Rating:G

Any Warnings:No

Does story include spoilers:No

Is story being proof read: yes

Summary: Cross-section of characters' lives impacting on each other



Jack's head nodded chaotically over his unmarked patrol car's steering wheel. bursting him rudely awake after his brief "micro-sleep. Lunging awkwardly to his left he sent the decidedly unappealing dregs from within his plastic coffee cup swimming across the passengers' seat - the simultaneous and exasperated " Damn !" he emitted also expressing annoyance that he might have missed anything important while he'd been dozing.

He needn't have worried - he hadn't. The object of Jack's undercover surveillance was a tall terraced house in an affluent corner of the Bay known as Almond Grove. The case he was currently pursuing had seemed to receive a big boost earlier that day claiming that the man he would dearly love to find a "smoking gun" against would be in that particular house that particular evening. But as he crumpled the aforementioned piece of paper in his hand he took refuge in that over-used though still fairly meaningless in origin policeman's stock phrase of "Huh - another bum steer - and after all that too !!" He turned the car out of the secluded space where it had been positioned behind a bank of trees about 500 yards or so up the road. Fitzy would of course want a full report on his fruitless evening of observation -but - he decided firmly- that could wait until morning. His deep sigh showed realization that by the time he arrived home he'd missed another evening with baby Jake - two going on 22, he smiled- but in his enforced absences, Martha was doing a quite splendid job of bringing the youngster on - and looking like she'd finally come through all her own troubles too ! Mentally touching wood in respect of that last statement-cum hope, he swung the car left out onto the freeway that led back towards their house.

Indeed, had he remained at Almond Grove, the action level wasn't rising significantly if at all. Isolated and random leaves were propelled across the street, while a tired looking cat plodded its way presumably in the direction of home and a waiting entrance flap - but until two o'clock was showing on the digital clock in the window of a nearby pharmacy that the kind of action Jack had waited so long and doggedly for was to be witnessed. Very slowly, the door of the house he'd kept under such close watch inched open to reveal two inevitably shadowy figures, one holding a designer leather briefcase. He turned and spoke in short, clipped tones to the other, "So you've got that now...?- and I mean ALL of it ?" He laughed sardonically " After all. I've got a certain reputation to preserve among the good folk of Summer Bay !" The other, decidedly more ill at ease, replied through tightly compressed lips.."And as it happens- you may care to remember - - - so do I "

A similarly mirthless laugh were all they were left with as even the cat, who'd stopped on its way hóme to watch the brief exchange, lost interest and continued its unhurried progress home, trusting - as cats do - that a tasty late supper had been left in its bowl.........

"Shayne....!!!!,,,,, Earth calling Shayne !!!" Roman projected his voice as far and as sonorously as possible to the back kitchen of his new restaurant "Waves" With Leah now a minor sleeping partner thanks to the booming success of her new textiles business and Irene off sick that day it was just the two of them bearing the brunt of the typically heavy breakfast contingent though Roman was having moments of believing he'd employed The Invisible Man of late. Shayne Anderson had arrived with the hallmark of Dream Employee 2009 - nothing was too much trouble for him - waiting tables, washing up, carrying out the garbage to the rear - he'd even earned the -extremely- hard won Irene seal of approval. But - in these last few days he'd become elusive, distant and a tad frustrating.

Indeed. that frustration had risen high within Roman as he craned his head round the kitchen door and bawled "SH-AYNE ! Any chance of a hand out here ??" The rear end of the man in question could be seen on a slight inclíne out of the door leading to the back yard - he gave a slight jump on hearing his name rattled at him with such power and from such a short distance away but completed the act he looked engaged in of depositing some large and awkward empty boxes which had contained a new mega-blender Roman had recently ordered plus hundreds of filter coffee sachets they'd bought on special offer out into the back yard for that morning's scheduled garbage collection.

"Sorry boss," said Shayne, donning his engaging smile and jabbing a finger towards the yard behind him, "but they WERE a couple of doozies, right ? Anyway AT your service now sir !!"

Roman's features eased - a combination of Shayne's infectious personality plus the fact he'd finally tracked down his prey had won him over , but even as he informed Shayne "Two full breakfasts table 10 and a couple of flat whites to table 2 , quick as you can., ok mate ?" - the unseen careful shutting of the back yard gate at that very moment by someone most definitely NOT a member of the Summer Bay refuse department would have brought a whole host of renewed uncertainties stirring rapidly to the surface of his mind once again........

"Wow-Tony -Bali !!! -I mean are you ABSOLUTELY certain ?? I mean can we REALLY afford this ??" Rachel's face was beaming open-mouthed at the travel agent wallet she'd found on their kitchen table as she arrived home. outlining the details and itinerary of a ten-day break on the aforementioned tropical island. Tony's smile was equally warm and excited as he responded "Price doesn't come into it where your happiness is concerned - and BEFORE you ask. Martha said she'd be delighted to look after Megan while we're away - she's doing marvellously with Jake now and they're so close in age she reckons it'll be just perfect !"

Rachel leapt from the table to give Tony a hug and plant a kiss of sincere appreciation on his cheek.

"Well who IS a clever thing then !" she purred , tightening the hug -" It's...it's just more than I could have ever DREAMED of !" Tony's own smile broadened as he savoured Rachel's reaction to the plan he'd been working on for several weeks now. " Well, you said you had holiday time owing and you weren't certain what you'd do with it - I mean I know there;s Megan now but you've always said how frustrated you can get when your holiday days end up with you just rattling around the house. "PLUS, "....he added with the wag of a finger, "..it's no use denying how tired you've been getting since you combined looking after her with going back to work this last six months or so either..!"

She nodded in slow agreement. "You know me too well Mr Tony Holden - and this just looks like the ideal answer to everything, doesn't it !"

His turn to nod " Well I was easily able to get temps in to cover that time at the gym. ", and as they folded into another embrace he declared "Well' here's hoping for the holiday of a lifetime, eh ?"

In point of fact, the celebratory duo's delight would have taken a direct swap for naked alarm had they known that even at that moment, far from the Holiday of a lifetime, unknown to them, someone was already constructing plans to make it a possibly fatal holiday from Hell...

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Interesting - Can't believe Jack's still alive - and with a baby :D Can't wait to see scenes with him & Martha together

Roman ; new character working in the diner, yey! Sounds like Roman hasn't changed, lol.

And tony & rachel - eep who's after them!

Nicely written, I look forward to more :D

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"Any chance of shooting off a few minutes early, boss ?" Shayne's smile was-as ever-wreathed in innocence and likeability, and Roman had to admit that despite his early elusiveness, the new recruit to "Waves" had worked hard through his shift -available, attentive and charming the guests - particularly those of the female variety ! "Yes OK thanks mate, you scoot off.."Roman himself was going through the necessary but never appealing duty of 'cashing up' the day's takings, while the ever-available Colleen was engaged in her own unique speciality of making the collection and cleansing of the day's final few dirty dishes extend beyond what seemed a humanly possible timescale for the task at hand. This was achieved by engaging the handful of remaining customers in long and detailed questioning about how their day had been, what the remainder of it held in store and pointless comparisons with how 'her Lancie' would have filled any similar available time.

Jai and Annie had skilfully avoided the inevitable inquisition by brandishing their tickets for that evening's Yabbie Creek multi-screen showing of "Bride Wars" and deftly exiting one eitheir side of the disappointed interrogator before she could detain them any further.

Others who didn't possess a similar "get out of jail free" card were less fortunate. One of those was Martin Bartlett, who seemed a little distracted anyway, and as Colleen attempted to lean across him and wipe the table, ended up with the frothy dregs of his late frappe in the lap of his well-tailored school suit trousers. His alarm only increased at Colleen's apologetic offer to "get a cloth and give it a bit of a wipe"- so he- and his unsolicited damp patch- made a quick departure through the exit door.A flustered Colleen was then summoned to the main desk by means of a crooked forefinger from Roman, whose furrowed brow indicated that the task of balancing the day's books had not been going smoothly. Quickly waving away her hastily-assembled case for the defence over the Bartlett trousers, he asked her thoughtfully "Colleen, do you still have any cash you've collected that needs to go towards today's takings ?" Br idling in characteristic fashion she replied indignantly " No I certainly do NOT !! And I HOPE you're not incinerating....!!" Roman gave a deep sigh , not even able to summon a laugh at her mis-placed use of vocabulary "No of COURSE I'm not Colleen -It's just that whichever way up I do these books, it still comes out two hundred dollars short..." Colleen gave a gasp and launched into another pointless bout of self-defence. But even as she spoke it wasn't her that Roman was looking at - instead his gaze was suddenly fixed thoughtfully upon the door through which Shayne had exited some ten minutes or so previously....

Martha gave a contented smile as she stood behind the chair occupied by Jack at the kitchen table as he ate either a late breakfast -or early lunch- depending on your perspective. She'd been sorry that Jack had again missed the chance to play with Jake and help put him to bed - it may be a cliche, but one never did get that kind of time again with young children - but today promised better.

Winding her arms around Jack she said happily " Ah, I'm SO glad you took today off after that late one last night-was Fitzy OK about it ?"

"Yes, pretty much - " and then with a slight edge of gui lt invading his voice "..though I may have to work a LITTLE on the report tonight ..."

"Hmm...." from behind him as Martha tweaked his ear only semi-playfully "Well I hope it's a VERY little, Mister - I've got big plans for you today !!...."

Rising from his chair, Jack joined her hug,saying "Mmm - now that DOES sound interesting Madam - what exactly did you have in mind..?" Pushing him away gently she smiled " NOT those sort of plans ....these involve your young son....IF you can remember who he is of course !!" Covering the few steps towards the other end of the dining table where Jake sat smiling and gurgling happily, waving his banana-essence covered spoon as if he was conducting an orchestra.

Tickling him on either side of his stomach which induced further hilarious giggles, he asked in mischievous tones "Só then mate, what ARE you, me and your mummy going to be up to today ? What's the big secret, eh ? " Smiling genially across the table at the kind of scene she wished she could be witnessing far more often. she said "No secret - but I've arranged a fab picnic basket for the THREE of us to go to Stewart's point and have a lovely day - TOGETHER !!"

"Now that sounds VERY good to me !"smiled Jack - "when do we leave ??"

"Well - I'll get his Lordship ready, and we can shoot off as soon as you like !!"

"Sounds like a plan !" from Jack. He headed for the kitchen door until being stopped short by the peal of the house telephone bell. While Jack hesitated momentarily, Martha's face darkened - "DON'T answer it Jack - you KNOW what'll happen = and you PROMISED !!.."

As the bell continued to ring, Jack said quickly "I'd better answer it Martha - it's probably nothing -could be Fitzy.."

As Jack stepped across to answer the phone, it was questionable as to whet her he could feel his wife's eyes boring flame-like into the back of his head as he did.As she listened with rising anger, she heard "What...who IS this ? WHERE will he....and WHEN did you say he'd be there ..? Look, who ARE you....and how do I know....."

The continuous long tone audible through the phone showed the mysterious third party had hung up. Shaking his head apologetically at Martha, Jack hesitated a few seconds before saying "Martha I've just GOT to go....it's this case..." He made his way out of the room leaving Martha with arms crossed across her chest, fuming silently...this role of policeman's widow was, for her part, beginning to show some severe-and worrying- cracks....

"I truly just can't BELIEVE it !!" cooed Rachel for possibly the dozenth time since Tony had broken the news of the holiday the previous evening - " I've ALWAYS wanted to go to Bali, and ten days there with the hunkiest, kindest guy in Summer Bay too...!"

Holding up the palm of one hand, Tony responded "Hey - steady now ! They'll be charging me extra baggage space on the size of my head at this rate !"

"And I can't believe how you organized it so QUICKLY !!"

"Well, there are one or two other minor things to come - travel insurance etc etc - talking of that, has the mail arrived yet today ?"

"No, it is a bit late today, and SPEAKING of that I'm a little behind for my shift - unless you want me to come back from holiday unemployed and keep me in the style to which I've become accustomed, that is ! You'll give Megan her breakfast, yes ?" He nodded, as she headed for the bedroom , and with ideal timing, t he morning mail dropped onto the kitchen mat.

Bending down to pick the envelopes up, he gave a look of welcome recognition at one bearing the travel agent's logo. Slitting it open with his thumb, he extracted and laid on the table a small sheaf of documents contained within, but paused, wrinkling his brow at the sight of a small plastic pouch containing white powder also lodged low within the envelope. Opening it, with a dawning sense of familiarity at the odour drifting from within it. His mouth dropping open in shocked amazement and dawning realization, he barely noticed a sharp knock on the wooden frame of the kitchen door, nor even Rachel scurrying past him to open it. As the envelope fluttered from his hand, too late he cautioned "No, Rach, wait.....", and looked up to see the ample form of Sergeant Ken Harper from Yabbie Creek Police standing at the open door.....

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Another brilliant chapter! I love that there is a Tachel fan fic FINALLY! I was wondering, is this following on from your last fic, I know Rachel had a bit of a drug addiction in that one (although it was painkillers not the hard stuff I know :P) Interesting to know why that's in with the insurance documents, I hope Ken Harper doesn't think it's Tonys! Please update soon! Rachel's happy - about time!

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