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The Best Laid Plans


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Thank you for the comments!

On ‎27‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 11:39 PM, JosieTash said:

Wondering also if Skye's glasses make a rtn, or the whole contacts for sex is your way getting Skye to where she is on screen [i.e. sans glasses].

That was actually a way of making it clear she still had them, I just figured she wouldn't wear them to bed.I'm sure they'll get mentioned again at some point!

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Evelyn came into the house to find Matt slumped in front of the television.It looked as though everyone else was out or, more likely, had gone to bed.She glared at him.“Don’t you have a caravan to go to?”

  “Your TV’s better.”

  Evelyn slumped down next to him.“What are you watching anyway?”

  “All night action movie.”

  Evelyn wasn’t particularly impressed.“You seen Maddy today?”

  “You seen Josh?”Matt bit back.

  There was a silence for a few moments, enough to make them both feel awkward.Despite the catastrophic nature of their relationships, taking it out on each other didn’t feel right.“I miss him,”Evie admitted at last,“The thing with Tank…it just felt like the right thing to do.I know he hurt Josh, hurt him badly, but I was the one he opened up to, he doesn’t really have anyone else, I thought I could help him.I just wish Josh could understand.”

  Matt shrugged.“Sometimes you do understand and it doesn’t make any difference.Things have changed and they’re not going to change back.”

  “Is that what it’s like with you and Maddy?”

  “You picked up on my subtle subtext there, huh?I don’t blame her but the situation is what it is and… I’m not sure if there’s a way back from it.”

  Evelyn nodded slowly.“Looks like we’ve both had relationships fail disastrously.Any ideas?”

  Matt shrugged.“Hook up with each other?”

  Evelyn laughed.“Not in a million years.”

  Matt laughed as well, and then they looked at each other and the laughter faded slightly.Matt leaned forward and kissed her gently, pulling back to see if she pulled away.She didn’t and he pressed the kiss again.It began to deepen and intensify.Matt pushed Evelyn down on the couch, lying on top of her as they continued to kiss.Evelyn pushed him round so they fell off the couch, ending up on the floor with her on top.They continued to kiss a few moments more, then Evelyn stood up and pulled Matt to his feet.“My room, now,”she announced.

  Matt followed her, hands linked, as they dashed upstairs.

***

Oscar and Skye were kissing on the couch at the beach house when they were interrupted by a pointed “Ahem.”They sprang apart and glanced over to where Irene was looking at them sternly, Olivia just behind her.Oscar gestured towards the movie that had been playing unwatched.“Only another twenty minutes left.”

  Irene glanced at her watch.“Watch it another time, buster.It’s time you were making tracks.”

  Oscar got up then bent down to kiss Skye.“I will see you in the morning.”He gave her another lingering kiss before exiting, leaving her with a broad grin on her face.

  “Make the most of it,”Olivia told her,“Soon you’ll be up to your neck in baby sick and poo.”

  Skye continued grinning.“I don’t care.”She noticed the looks the other two were giving her and reddened, feeling caught out.“I’d better go to bed,”she decided before hurrying upstairs.

***

“So, have you heard anything from Matt?”Roo asked as she and Maddy finished their meal.

  “Passed him and said hello a couple of times,”Maddy admitted.

  “You think you’ll get more than that?”

  “I don’t know.Looks like I’ll be bringing up this baby without a partner.”

  “You’ll have Oscar,”Roo pointed out.

  Maddy sighed.“I know, and he’s been great.But it’s not the same, he’s not going to be by my side all the time.I’m not sure if I can do it alone.”She glanced at Roo.“You said you understand?I know you’ve got a daughter…”

  “Yeah, Martha.I was younger than you when I had her.”Roo sighed, knowing she was going to have to tell the whole story.“I was young and angry and stupid.I had a falling out with Dad and ran off to Auntie Morag’s.And I hooked up with the first spoilt rich kid I came across and ended up pregnant.He told me to get rid of it but I couldn’t do that.She already felt like a part of me.”

  “So what did you do?”

  “Pretty much the dumbest thing possible:Came back to town, found a decent guy to sleep with and told him he was the father.I couldn’t go through with it in the end.We ended up getting married anyway, not that it lasted, but that was later.When I saw Martha born, I loved her so much but I couldn’t give her what she needed, her father definitely couldn’t, so I gave her up.”

  Maddy tried to imagine Roo as someone her age, without support.“It must have been tough.”

  “Yeah.The toughest thing it was my only chance to be a mother.Martha tracked me down in New York when she was eighteen, we spent a few months together.Then she came here, Dad was more of a parent to her than I was.I don’t even know where she is now.I didn’t really get to be a parent until you came along. So…make sure you don’t make any choices that you’re going to regret.”

***

As the sun shone in through the window, Matt and Evelyn slowly blinked themselves into wakefulness to find they were looking at each other.It took them a few moments more to realise that they were in bed together and naked.“Oh yeah,”Evelyn said at last,“We did that.”

  Matt nodded slowly.“I seem to remember it was really good,”he opined.

  Evelyn gave a slight smile.“It wasn’t bad.”She fidgetted awkwardly.“So…I guess we write it off as a bit of harmless friend sex?Fun but not to be repeated?”

  “Probably sensible,”Matt agreed.A smile crossed his features.“Of course we are here, in bed, and it would be a shame to waste it…”Evelyn smiled back and he leaned forward and kissed her…

  …just before Oscar walked in.“Evie, have you got your uni plan..?”He paused, took in the scene and sighed.“Really?”

  “We weren’t going to do anything!”Evelyn blurted out.She looked askance at Matt.“Else,”she felt the need to add.

  “You know what?”Oscar asked,“I really don’t care anymore.”He quietly left the room.

  There was a long silence.“Well that killed the mood,”Matt said at last.

***

It was a short time later that Matt was walking down by the beach.He suddenly saw Maddy crossing the grass ahead of him and hurried over to her.“Look, it just happened, okay?Neither of us planned it, I was feeling down, Evie was feeling down, her room was just upstairs…”

  Maddy looked at him blankly.“What are you talking about?”

  Matt paused, realising he might have misjudged the situation.“You’ve spoken to Oscar, right?”

  “Not since yesterday.What are you..?”Maddy stopped, her expression freezing as she examined what he’d just said.“You and Evie?”She studied his face searchingly.“You slept with her?”His silence confirmed it.Maddy let out an exasperated sigh and began walking in the other direction.

  Matt hurried after her.“Look you and I were broken up, right?”

  “Oh yes, we’d broken up.And now you’ve hammered the last nail in the coffin.I’m pregnant by one MacGuire twin and you’ve slept with the other one.There really doesn’t seem to be a lot else to say right now, does there?”

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Thank you for all the comments! I think I enjoyed writing Matt and Evie a bit too much...I did have them as a couple in my previous fic, Bonds of Blood and Water (plug plug) but I don't think I did a very good job of them there. Hope you enjoy this one!

CHAPTER TWELVE

Matt handed Josh a stack of pizzas.“Get out there, grasshopper.Show those mean streets of Summer Bay what you’re made of.”

  Josh glowered at him.“Feel free to step out in front of my bike any time you want.”He turned and swept out of the restaurant.

  “Have a nice day!”Matt called after him.

  Phoebe emerged from the office.“You boys still not made up?”

  “Apparently sleeping with his ex-girlfriend who he probably still likes has caused a bit of tension between us.”

  “Hmm, I wonder why.Anyway, good news!I’ve just handed in my resignation!”

  Matt stared at her in bemusement for a few seconds.“Good, I’ve hated every minute of working with you,”he deadpanned at last.

  Phoebe punched him on the arm.“Because of my music career, you boofhead.I’ve finally got myself a manager who doesn’t want to film me in my underwear and post the results on the internet.He’s sorted out a modest domestic tour with an option to crack Japan afterwards.So it’s sayanara Summer Bay!”

  Matt was silent for a few moments, considering.“Do you need an opening act again?”

  It was Phoebe’s turn to consider the words.“Maybe.You looking to volunteer your services?”

  “I just think my time in Summer Bay’s coming to an end and this looks like as good a reason to leave as any.”

  “This wouldn’t have anything to do with your ex-girlfriend who you probably still like?”

  Matt sighed.“Probably.But…I guess that’s just the way it has to be.”

***

Skye went downstairs and headed for the door.“Just going out!”she called, hoping that would be the end of the conversation.

  Instead, Irene came barrelling out of the kitchen looking as though she’d been waiting there to pounce. “Hold it right there, girlie.”

  Skye stopped and grimaced but made sure she had a smile on her face when she turned to look at her temporary guardian.“What’s the matter, Irene?”

  Irene gestured towards Skye’s broad smile.“That.I’ve been around enough teenagers to know what that goofy smile you’ve been wearing for the past couple of weeks means.You’re sleeping with Oscar, aren’t you?”

  Skye’s smile didn’t slip.“I will decline to answer that on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.”

  Irene sighed.“Look this isn’t a telling off.I just want to make sure you know what you’re doing.”

  Skye nodded.“We used a condom the first few times and now I’m on the pill.”

  Irene almost looked embarrassed.“Not quite what I meant but good that you’re thinking about it.Are you sure you should be sleeping with him at all?”

  For the first time, Skye faltered.She looked down at her feet for a moment but when she looked up her expression was resolute.“I…think I love him.”Then the smile was back.“Plus it’s really great!”

  Irene sighed.“You’re gonna need to learn how much information you should give.”

***

Maddy was slightly surprised when Matt entered the flat.Since he’d moved out, and especially since their argument over Evie, he’d barely been there and certainly hadn’t taken to letting himself in.“Was there something you wanted?”she asked bitterly.

  Matt sighed.“I just came round to say goodbye.”

  That threw her.She hadn’t been expecting to get back together but saying goodbye, him not being around, sounded so final.“You’re leaving?”she asked.

  Matt nodded.“Phoebe’s going on tour and I’m going with her.”She turned away from him, not wanting him to see her expression, how upset she was.He went on.“I mean, it’s not like there’s anything keeping me here.”

  “No,”Maddy agreed, unable to keep the sarcasm out of her voice,“Nothing keeping you here.”

  “What we had was great,”Matt persisted,“But…it’s over now.”

  “Yeah,”Maddy echoed,“Over.”

  Matt hesitated.She still hadn’t looked at him.“I’ll be leaving from near the pier at three o’clock if you wanna be there.”

  She heard the door close behind him and stood there, trying not to cry.

***

Matt looked round at the semi-circle of well wishers before finally focusing his attention on Leah. “You’re finally seeing the back of me then.”

  “I’m going to miss you,”Leah told him.

  “Hmm, you’ll miss the witty conversation, the charming good looks, the occasional bit of trouble I’ve brought to your door…”Matt stopped, unable to carry on while looking at her teary face.“I’ll miss you too,”he concluded before hugging her.

  “See you, mate,”VJ noted, shaking hands with him.Zac just gave him a friendly nod.

  Matt turned to Evelyn.“Sorry I messed things up between you and Josh.”

  “I think we had a hand in that too.I’m sorry he didn’t turn up.”

  “Guess he missed the memo.”Matt turned to Oscar and paused, his gaze flicking across to Maddy.“Look after them both, okay?”

  Oscar nodded.“Will do.”He and Matt briefly clasped each other, then he stepped back to stand by Skye, who threaded her arm through his.

  Matt finally turned to Maddy.“Timing, huh?Or maybe we were doomed from the start.”

  “I don’t regret it,”Maddy told him.

  “Me neither.”He kissed her softly on the forehead.

  “Hey, backing singer!”Phoebe called from the car,“You coming or what?”

  “On my way!”Matt gave one last wave to the group then slid into the passenger seat.

  As the car drove off, Roo put her arm around Maddy, who buried her face in her shoulder.

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Thank you as ever for the comments, hope you like!

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Oscar slowly woke up to find himself inches away from Skye, who was staring hard at him.It had taken quite a bit of work to convince Leah to let her stay over, but the logic that, since they’d been sleeping together for months anyway and he had a baby due(due any day in fact), it was a bit late to be worrying about that sort of thing had finally won through.

  He had been looking at Skye for several moments before he realised that she was wearing her glasses, which he’d last seen resting on the table next to the bed.He thought long and hard about why that would be.“You were watching me sleep, weren’t you?”he asked at last.

  Skye pouted and stroked his cheek gently.“You just look so cute.”

  “Well, it’s nice to know I’ve finally graduated to that point.I hope you’ll be that affectionate with the baby when it comes.”He saw Skye’s smile waver.“Too much reality?”

  Skye shook her head and rolled over on her back.“No, I did kinda figure out that your last girlfriend being pregnant meant there’d be a baby around at some point.I’m just worried about…whether I’ll cope.I don’t want to just be a spectator, I want to help you, I just…”

  “Oh, you think I know what I’m doing?”Oscar asked,“Trust me, I am quietly losing it at the thought of another human being dependant on me.But…you’ll help.Just being there will help.”

  Skye smiled.“You say the sweetest things.”

  Oscar leaned over and kissed her, softly at first then with increasing intensity as they began to caress each other through their bed clothes.Then their hands began to travel underneath those clothes…

  They didn’t get out of bed for quite a while.

***

Roo felt slightly concerned when she found Maddy sitting at the table.The girl just looked so down, and being nearly full-term probably didn’t help.“Have you got any plans for today?”she asked.

  Maddy sighed.“I was thinking I might go for a walk.See if I can get this labour started.”

  “Are you seeing Oscar today?”

  “I think he wants time with Skye.Can’t blame him for that, I guess.”

  “I’m sure he’ll be there for you when the baby comes.”

  “I know he will.I’m just not sure…”Maddy trailed off.

  “Not sure what?”Roo leaned forward, concerned.“Maddy, what is it?”

  “This…wasn’t how I imagined becoming a mother, that’s all.I kind of thought I’d do better than my own mum, put what the baby needed first…”She got up suddenly.“I’m going for that walk.”

***

Oscar emerged from the water to find Skye lying on the beach reading.It could almost have been six months previous except that, despite lying in the shade of a beach umbrella, she was wearing a pale blue bikini that she probably would have found too daring back then.“Do you find it easier to read dressed like that?”he asked.

  Skye flashed him a winning smile.“I just finally worked out I could get a tan while reading.”

  “I’ve heard girls are good at multi-tasking.”

  “You like?”

  Oscar cocked his head slightly.“I’m definitely seeing the advantages.”He leaned over and kissed her. This time, unlike the first time they’d kissed on the beach, she leaned back, their bodies pressing against each other.

  “You’re wet,”Skye mumbled between kisses.

  Oscar pulled back slightly and raised an eyebrow.“Gee, thanks…”

  Neither of them realised Maddy was watching them from the headland.She was happy for them.That’s what she told herself anyway.But it was just another reminder of what they had and she didn’t.

  She turned to leave and bumped into a tall, dark-haired youth.“Sorry…”She stopped as she looked up and realised that she knew him.“Spencer?!”She flung her arms round him as best as she could in her condition.“What are you doing here?”

  “Well, my brother does still live here,”Spencer pointed out,“It’d make sense for me to drop round some time.How have you been?”His gaze drifted down to her swollen stomach.“Apart from the obvious.”

  Maddy hesitated.“Do you want to get a coffee?”Spencer nodded, and Maddy linked arms with him as they headed for the Diner.

***

Maddy had found a table when Spencer rejoined her with the coffee.“So, what’s new with you?”he asked again as he took his seat.

  “You heard I’m pregnant?”Maddy asked ironically.

  “I’d heard rumours, yeah.Oscar’s, right?”

  Maddy nodded.“And he’s got a new girlfriend, who’s actually really nice and is fine about the baby.I haven’t been so lucky finding someone who’s fine with it.Matt left town and there hasn’t really been anyone since then”

  “You really dated Matt?”Spencer asked with a trace of bemusement.

  Maddy smiled ruefully.“He grew on me.What about you?”

  “No, I never dated Matt, that was just a rumour.”

  Maddy laughed and relaxed slightly.“See, this is what I’ve missed.Someone who can make me laugh.”

  Spencer nodded.“Is Roo upstairs?I’d kind of like to see her.”

  “Yeah, sure, let’s go up.”Maddy stood up…and a wave of pain rushed through her.She gasped and clutched her stomach, knocking her empty coffee cup on the floor as she did so.

  Both Spencer and Irene hurried to her side.“Love, what is it?”Irene asked.

  Maddy let out an agonised gasp.“Get Roo,”she told Spencer,“I think the baby’s coming.”

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Thank you for all the comments! Hope you like.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Oscar and Skye came hurrying down the hospital corridor to find Spencer waiting outside the delivery room.Oscar did a slight double take on seeing him.“Spencer?Where’s Maddy?”

  Spencer nodded towards the door.“In there.Roo’s with her.”

  Skye stuck out her hand.“You’re Chris’ brother, right?I’m Skye.I used to live with him and Irene but now I live with John and Marilyn.I’m Oscar’s girlfriend.”

  Spencer accepted the hand with a slightly bemused air.“Um, good to meet you.”

  Skye smiled broadly.“You too.”

  Oscar stopped a nurse.“Hey, I’m Oscar MacGuire.I’m the father of Maddy Osborne’s baby.”

  The nurse nodded.“I’ll let her know you’re here.”

***

Inside, Maddy was panting and groaning with a contraction.Roo held onto her hand and gently brushed her hair.“Hang in there, Maddy, you’re doing really well.”

  The nurse stuck her head around the door.“Maddy, the father’s here.”

  Maddy looked quizzically at Roo but Roo just shrugged.“It’s up to you,”she offered.

  Maddy turned back to the nurse.“Tell him he can come in.”

  “Do you want me to go?”Roo asked.

  Maddy groaned again.“Actually, I’d really like you to stay.”

  Oscar appeared in the doorway and raised his eyebrows slightly at the sight.“Wow, we’re really doing this, huh?”

  Maddy glared at him.“We?”

  “Well, I acknowledge that you’re doing all the hard work at this stage but I do have some involvement.”

  “Get up this end,”Maddy snapped,“I don’t want you looking.”

  Oscar shrugged as he went to stand on the opposite side of the bed to Roo.“Nothing I haven’t seen before.”

  “Best not to aggravate a woman when she’s like this,”Roo reminded him.

  “I can still tell you to go,”Maddy agreed.

  Oscar mimed zipping his mouth shut.“My lips are sealed.I’ll just stand here and be a useful punchbag.”

***

Skye and Spencer were sitting in the corridor outside.“So why haven’t I seen you visit before now?”Skye asked.

  “Guess I got busy,”Spencer admitted,“I mean, I finished school and went to college.I’m doing an engineering degree there.I used to help out Mr.Stewart on his boat, I guess it struck a chord or something. You..?”

  “Year 12,”Skye answered slightly awkwardly.

  “And then there was my parents, I guess I was busy reconnecting with them.I dunno, Summer Bay still kind of feels like home.Just...not where I live anymore.Not even where my life is.What about you?”

  Skye shrugged.“I guess it kind of does feel like home.Oscar told me when I first moved here that I’d find a family and friends and have a wonderful time and I pretty much have.”

  Spencer smiled.“Yeah, it’s that sort of place.But we all have to move on sooner or later.”

***

The nurse wiped the baby clean and wrapped it in a shawl before handing the bundle to Maddy. “Congratulations, Maddy, you’ve got a baby girl.”

  Maddy smiled down at her baby daughter before turning to Oscar.“So have you, I guess.”

  Oscar shrugged.“Well, that’s what the test said.”

  “She’s gorgeous, Maddy,”Roo said softly.

  “Have you thought any more about names?”Oscar looked around and cursed.“Damn, forgot the list.”

  “I’m…I’m not sure I’m ready to give her a name yet,”Maddy admitted.

  Oscar nodded slowly.“Okay, no rush.She’s gonna be stuck with it for the rest of her life we want to get it right.”He paused.“Excuse me, I just need to run up and down a hospital corridor.”He dashed out of the room and ran into Spencer and Skye, grabbing his girlfriend in a bear hug and lifting her off her feet.“I’ve got a daughter!”

  Skye grinned broadly.“That’s great, Osc.”

  Spencer patted him on the shoulder.“Yeah, that’s great, mate.Maddy?”

  “Yeah, yeah, she’s fine,”Oscar assured him.

  Skye was already tapping away on her phone.“I have got to tell Livvy and VJ.”

  “And I’d better tell Zac and Leah and Evie.Probably should be in person.”Oscar looked at Spencer. “Come with?I’m sure they’d like to see you.”

  Spencer hesitated for a moment, looking at the door, then nodded.“Yeah, sure.”

***

The baby had been placed in a basket thoughtfully provided by the staff, next to Maddy’s bed.Maddy was lying on her side, looking at her.Occasionally, she would hold a tentative hand out to stroke her daughter, who gurgled happily.Maddy smiled…but it was a smile tinged with sadness.Roo noticed. “Maddy, what’s wrong?”

  Maddy sighed.She sat up and sat on the edge of the bed, facing her daughter.Roo sat down next to her. “I love her so much, Roo.I want her to have everything she deserves but…”She trailed off.

  “But?”Roo prompted.

  “But how can I give it to her?I’m barely out of high school.I’d have to drop out of college and…and Mum’s made it clear she’s not going to help.”

  “You’ve got me,”Roo pointed out,“And Oscar and Dad…”

  “I know but…”Maddy shook her head.“I just think she deserves better than a teenage mother stuck in dead end jobs and never seeing her.What you said about your daughter…”

  “Maddy, I didn’t mean you to think that was the right thing for you, I meant the exact opposite…”

  “But she had a better life away from you.Didn’t she?”

  Roo hesitated, then nodded.“Yes.Yes, she did.”

  Maddy straightened up, decided.“Then I’ve got no choice, have I?I’ve got to do what’s best for her.I’ve got to give her up.”

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Thank you for all your comments! Let me know what you think of this one.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Roo was still in the room with Maddy when Oscar and Skye came in.Oscar was holding a small teddy bear.He held it up slightly awkwardly.“His name’s Pink Tedlet.Kind of the cousin of the one I got you.”

  Skye had gone straight to the basket and was staring down at the baby.“Oh my gosh, she’s so tiny!You must be so pleased about her.”

  “I am,”Maddy said quietly.

  Roo looked between them and then stood up.“I’ll leave you to talk.Skye, do you want to come with me?”

  Skye looked confused.“She can stay,”Maddy decided.Roo gave a nod of assent and left the three teens alone.

  Oscar looked at Maddy with sudden concern.“What’s going on?”

  Maddy felt a wave of guilt at the look on her face and suddenly dreaded what was to come.“Please don’t hate me but…I want to give her up.”

  Oscar looked like he’d been hit with a sledgehammer.“What?Don’t you love her, is this some post-natal depression thing?”

  “Of course I love her.I want what’s best for her and…that’s not us.We’re young, we’re not even together, my family’s nowhere to be seen, most of your family aren’t around anymore, my boyfriend’s skipped town, your girlfriend’s still at school, we’d probably have to drop uni…”

  “And don’t I get a say in this?”Oscar demanded.

  “Can you honestly say I’m wrong?”

  “Yes!We’d cope!”

  “I’d help,”Skye offered,“I know I’m not really much use but…every little bit, right?”

  “Let me…let me see what I can do,”Oscar urged her,“Just don’t sign anything until I’ve spoken to people.”

***

“She said what?”asked Alf.

  Oscar hadn’t exactly wanted to tell him but he’d been in the room when he’d found Zac, Leah and Evie so he hadn’t really had much choice.“She wants to give up the baby.”

  Alf grunted.“That’s Roo’s influence, I bet.”

  “It sounds like she’s just trying to do what she thinks is right,”Leah suggested.

  Alf softened slightly.“Yeah, I guess it would be a pretty hard thing for her to decide.”

  “What do you want?”Evelyn asked Oscar.

  “I…I’ve been gearing up all this time to be a parent,”Oscar replied,“I thought it was what Maddy wanted too.I don’t want to give up on being one but…I need your help.”

  Zac nodded.“Well, just tell us what you need.”

***

Spencer and Roo were in the room with Maddy when Oscar arrived back at the hospital.He took a deep breath.“We need to talk.”

  “Do you want us to leave the room?”Roo asked.

  “You can stay if you want.”Oscar turned back to Maddy.“You don’t think you could be a good enough mother.Do you think I wouldn’t be a good enough father?”

  Maddy sighed.“Oscar, it’s not about you.I think you’d be great.But just think about it.You’d have to give up uni…”

  “And I will.Billie’s put a word in for me at the gym, I can get a job there.”

  “Didn’t you hate working at the gym before?”Spencer asked.

  “I was working with Andy.”

  “Good point.”

  Oscar went on.“I’ve spoken to Zac and Leah and Evie.If you let her come and live with us, they’ll help look after her.And I wouldn’t cut you out, you can spend as much time with her as you want.”

  Maddy looked at him long and hard.“Are you sure this is what you want?”

  Oscar nodded.“I’m sure.”

  “Then…okay.”

  Oscar stopped, not quite sure of what he was hearing.“Okay?”he asked at last.

  “She can come and live with you.”

  Oscar smiled.“I’ll let the uni know I’m not coming back.”He hurried out.

  Roo looked at Maddy with concern.“Are you sure about this?”

  Maddy shrugged.“He wants to be a dad.I can’t take that away from him.”

***

Oscar found Skye sitting out in the corridor.She looked up at him quizzically and he nodded.“She’s agreed to it.”

  Skye smiled:Not one of her broad smiles, but genuine all the same.“I’m pleased for you.”

  Oscar sat down next to him.“What about you?I mean, it looks like I’m gonna be a full-time single parent. That’s a lot to take on.”

  “Well…you with a baby, that’s kind of a cute image.”She looked at him seriously.“I’m not going to walk away from you, Oscar, okay?You’re too special to me for that.”

  Oscar smiled and hugged her.“Thank you.”

***

It was a few days later that Maddy was packing up her things, Roo and Spencer with her again.This time when Oscar arrived, he was flanked by Skye and Evelyn.His attention was immediately drawn to their daughter, resting in her tiny cot at the end of the bed.“They’ve said we can take her home,”Maddy told him,“Which means you, I guess.”

  “We’ve got a cot at the flat,”Roo noted,“It’ll take a while to dismantle it but you can…”

  “We’ve already got one,”Evelyn explained,“Oscar got it for when she slept over with us.”

  “We put it together last week,”Skye explained brightly,“I even got VJ and Olivia to help even though Olivia was complaining and VJ read the plans wrong so we ended up putting the bars on the wrong way round and…”She noticed the looks everyone was giving her and stopped talking.

  “You keep your cot,”Oscar told Maddy,“For when she sleeps over with you.”

  Maddy bit her lip slightly but said nothing.“There is one other thing,”she said at last,“We haven’t given her a name yet.You put enough ideas in that jotter so…anything grab you?”

  Oscar stared at their daughter for a moment, then looked at Evelyn.“Denise?”

  Evelyn gave a sad smile.“Denny would have made a great aunt, wouldn’t she?”

  “Well…so will you.”

  “So, Denise it is then!”Roo decided with exaggerated cheerfulness.

  Oscar hovered over the cot, reaching out cautiously.“Do I just..?”

  Maddy smiled in spite of herself.“She won’t bite.”

  Slowly, Oscar lifted the newly-christened Denise out of the cot.“Hey,”he greeted her,“I’m your dad. And I’m going to look after you, okay?Me and your mum and everyone else here.”

  Maddy turned to Roo and Spencer.“Let’s go,”she said quietly.

***

Roo hovered in the doorway of the flat, with Maddy and Spencer seated on the sofa in front of her. “You’re sure you don’t mind me meeting Leah and Irene?”

  Maddy looked over her shoulder and nodded.“I’ll be okay here.”She linked arms with her oldest friend. “Spencer will look after me.”

  Roo hesitated a bit more before agreeing.“Okay, well, have a good night then.”She left them to it.

  “How are you really feeling?”Spencer asked.

  Maddy bit her lip nervously.“It hurts, Spence, it really hurts.I love…I love Denise,”she stressed, using the name Oscar had given their daughter for the first time,“more than I could have imagined but…she’s not here and it’s like every part of me wants her to be here.”

  “She still can be,”Spencer suggested,“If you spoke to Oscar…”

  Maddy shook her head.“This is right for us both, I know it is.But I’m going to have to watch Oscar taking care of her and she’ll probably grow up thinking Skye or Evie is her mother…”

  Spencer slipped his arm around her and she cuddled up to him.“Oscar won’t let that happen,”he assured her.

  “Maybe but…it doesn’t make any difference, does it?”Maddy pulled herself up straight and then she kissed him, their bodies becoming entangled.

  Spencer responded to the kiss for a few moments then pulled back.“Maddy…”

  Maddy shook her head.“It’s all right, I just…I just want to feel something different.”She kissed him again and he made no objection.Then she pulled him to his feet and led him to her room.

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Thank you for all the comments! This is the last chapter, hope it doesn't disappoint!

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

When Maddy woke up the next morning, she was lying on her side, Spencer on his back next to her.He noticed her wakefulness and glanced across.“How are you feeling?”

  Maddy gave a rueful smile.“A bit like I had sex with my brother.”

  Spencer grinned.“Yeah, it was kind of like that, wasn’t it?”

  “And I understand why they tell you to wait a week or two after giving birth.”

  “Uncomfortable?”

  “A bit.But…thanks.It was kind of what I needed.”Maddy sighed and rolled over onto her back.“Doesn’t really solve anything though.Denise still isn’t here.Or rather she’s with Oscar.And I’ve got to work out what to do with my life.”

  Spencer looked across at her.“Any ideas?”

  Maddy sighed.“One.”

***

Roo looked up, slightly startled, when Maddy and Spencer emerged from Maddy’s room.Maddy looked at Spencer.“I’ll see you later, okay?”

  Spencer nodded.“Okay.Good luck.”He gave her a supportive pat on the arm before making his exit.

  Maddy looked back at Roo.“Don’t judge.”

  Roo held up her hands.“Hey, not judging.I’m just worried about you.”

  “Yeah, I know.”Maddy took her seat at the table.“You’re probably not going to like what I’m about to say.”

  “That’s not a very good opening.”

  “I’m going back to the city with Spencer.To live.Not with Spencer, we’re just friends but he’s going to help me find a place to stay.”

  Roo looked at her in shock.“But what about…college and all your plans..?”

  “I can get a transfer to college in the city.It’s what Josh did after all.”Maddy sighed.“I just can’t do it, Roo.I can’t be a part of Denise’s life and I can’t stay here with her and not be part of her life.I need to get away.”

  Roo paused, not sure what to say.“I’ll miss you,”she said at last.

  Maddy smiled sadly.“I’ll miss you too…‘Mum’.”

***

Oscar calmly lifted Denise out of her cot and held her to him.“Now, you’re going to be a good girl for Daddy and not need your nappy changing now, right?”he asked her.He held her close to his face and sniffed her cautiously.“Well done.Because there’s something important we need to do right now.”

  Skye came into the bedroom and smiled at him.“See?Now that right there is a cute image.”

  Oscar grinned.“Glad you approve.”He nestled Denise in his arms then held out his elbow to Skye.“Shall we?”

  Skye took his arm and they headed downstairs.Zac, Leah. Evelyn, VJ and Olivia were all there.VJ smiled at the sight of them.“Aw, look at you three, like a little family!”He looked pointedly at Olivia.

  “Yes, okay,”Olivia sighed,“I was wrong to tell you to stay away from it.You look as though you’re managing well.But don’t come to me when you’ve had a few more sleepless nights.”

  “I won’t,”Skye replied with a smile.

  “Are we all ready to go then?”Zac asked.There were nods of assent all round.

  Evelyn glanced at Oscar.“I can’t quite believe we’re doing this.”

***

Maddy and Spencer were waiting by the car on the headland, Alf and Roo already with them, as the MacGuires approached.Roo hugged them both.“Look after yourselves, okay?And make sure you write or phone or Skype or…something.”

  “Love, let them go or they’ll never leave,”Alf remarked.

  “I think that’s the idea,”Maddy returned with a smile.She looked at him with a degree of seriousness. “Goodbye, Mr.Stewart.”

  Alf nodded awkwardly.“Take care, okay?You’ve been a bit of trouble from time to time but…all the best, anyway.”

  Zac and Leah both enveloped her in hugs.Evelyn looked on with slight bewilderment.“I can’t believe you’re really going,”she remarked.She punched Spencer on the arm.“And you!Make sure you visit more often.”

  Spencer rubbed the spot.“Yeah, you’re really selling it to me,”he remarked.

  Maddy went over to Oscar, who was still cradling Denise.She kissed her daughter on the forehead and stroked her hair gently.“I’m going to miss you,”she said softly.

  “I’ll tell her all about you,”Oscar assured her,“You’re still her mum, okay?”

  Maddy smiled at him.“Thank you.”She looked at Skye.“I’m pleased he’s got you.”Skye gave an awkward nod and smile.Maddy gave her family a brief hug before joining Spencer in the car.One more wave and they were gone.

  Skye moved to Oscar’s side.“Do you think we’ll see her again?”

  Oscar shrugged.“I hope so.Anyway, come on.I want to give this one her first trip to the beach!”He sniffed Denise and sighed.“After I’ve changed her, of course…”

 

 

 

 

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