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Silver Couple

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I have no idea if there's a market for this and spent an awful lot of time thinking about whether or not I should write and post it.But sometimes a story keeps nagging away at you and I figure there must be at least a few 90s fans on here.Hope you enjoy!

Story Title:  Silver Couple
Type of story: Long Fic
Main Characters: Shane, Shannon, Selina, Sally, Curtis, Michael, Pippa, Donald and others
BTTB rating: T/A
Genre: Romance/Family
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: Moderate sexual content
Summary: We all know the story of how Shane died on his and Angel's first wedding anniversary.But what if it was the other way round?Now Shane is a widowed single father struggling to rebuild his life and finding it going in unexpected directions.


Shane gazed down at his daughter, who was nestling in her bassinet in the front room.One of the few good things in his life.A few months ago, he seemed to have everything.A beautiful wife that he loved more than anything in the world.A stepson that adored him and that he adored.A child on the way.And then, in the space of a few short hours, he had lost it all.It should have been the happiest day of their lives.Their daughter had just been born.Angel had held her in her arms for just a few moments, then complained about a headache and handed the child to him.And then a moment later…

  The doctors had explained that she’d had an aneurysm that had suddenly burst, perhaps as a result of the stress of labour.The details didn’t matter.All that mattered was that after a year of marriage he was suddenly a widower and a single father.He had named their suddenly motherless daughter Angel after her mother.If the positions had been reversed, he suspected she would have done the same thing.

  His reverie was broken by a sound behind him.Three people came through from the back garden.One was his lodger, Alex.With Alex was his girlfriend, Shannon.And walking between them was Dylan.

  Shane hadn’t been certain if he would be allowed to keep Dylan after Angel’s death.The fact that Dylan’s father Paul had stalked Angel and held her prisoner was at least a point in his favour.In the end, he had handled the situation by saying and doing nothing, and the favour had been returned.The idea of Dylan being taken away hadn’t even been suggested.

  “Someone was missing his sister,”Alex explained.

  Shane managed to paint a smile on his face.It was completely fake of course, but he was willing to fake it in the hope one day it would become real.“Well, here she is.”

  Dylan inched forward and stared down into the bassinet.“How long until she’s big enough to play with me?”

  Shane wished he could come up with a quick, clever and cute answer.But somehow, over the past few months, that ability had been drained from him.Seeming to sense his discomfort, Shannon sidled forward and crouched by Dylan.“Not for a long while yet,”she told him,“She’s still small so you have to be the big brother and look after her.Can you do that?”

  Dylan nodded.Shane was grateful to Shannon but couldn’t muster the energy to smile at her.Instead, he just held her gaze for a moment, hoping that conveyed the message.

  “We were just going to the Diner,”Alex explained,“Do you want us to bring you back anything?”

  “No, you’re all right,”Shane replied, still trying to appear happier than he was,“I’ll make us something. Guess I have to get used to that.”


“Poor guy,”Shannon noted as she and Alex took a booth in the Diner.

  Alex nodded.“Yeah, it’s rough on him.”

  “We should do everything we can to help him.”Shannon looked across at Alex expecting him to be nodding in agreement but instead he looked somewhat ambivalent.“What, you don’t agree?”

  “I feel for him, of course I do,”Alex confirmed,“But we’ve got our own lives to lead.”

  “And helping friends isn’t part of that?”

  “Yeah, of course it is.”Alex hesitated before adding,“If we’re here.”

  Shannon looked confused.“Is there a reason why we wouldn’t be?”

  “I heard back from that art placement in Italy.”

  Shannon was even more confused.“I thought you turned that down.”

  “I did but they asked me again.And with what’s happened to Angel and everything…I feel like I can’t turn it down a second time.Sometimes you only get so many chances to do what you really want to do. So…would you come with me?”

  Shannon gaped.“Me?There’s so much here though:There’s school, and Michael and Pippa, and all my friends…”

  “Yeah, I know it’s a big ask.Look, Red, I’d like you to come but if it’s not for you then, that’s fine too. No pressure.”He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.“I’ll see how they’re getting on with our order.”

  Shannon’s mind was left awhirl in thoughts, so at first she didn’t notice that her best friend was standing next to her.“You look like you’ve just been asked to find the solution to world peace,”Selina observed.

  Shannon glanced across at the counter, making sure Alex wasn’t too close.“Alex just asked me to go to Italy with him.”

  Selina gaped.“Wow, there’s a sentence you don’t hear every day.Are you going to go?”

  “I don’t know.There’s so much I’d miss if I went.”

  “Including me, right?”Selina checked.

  Shannon smiled at her.“Yes, including you.”

  “Because I’m a bit short of girlfriends at the moment, what with Chloe going to boarding school.She wasn’t there long but the house feels empty without her around.”

  Shannon nodded.“Same with Jack going off to the navy.He drove me mad when he was here but he’s left a big hole.Could I do that to Michael and Pippa, have them lose me to?”

  “Well, you can’t let them or me decide it,”Selina pointed out,“You need to work out what’s best for you.”

  “Yeah,”Shannon agreed, her gaze wandering over to Alex again,“If only I knew what that was.”

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Alex emerged from his room with his bags packed and caught sight of Shane, standing in his usual position watching over Angel’s crib.This was the bit he hadn’t been looking forward to.A part of him just wanted to carry on out of the house but he knew that wouldn’t be fair.He put the bags down and walked over to Shane.“I’m just on my way then.”

  Shane barely looked round.“Okay, see you.”

  Alex sighed.He didn’t want to leave it like that.He and Shane had been good friends, even before they were housemates.No matter how uncomfortable it made him feel, Alex had had to support him when Angel died.Now…“Mate, are you sure you’re going to be all right?”

  Shane seemed to want the conversation as little as Alex did.When he turned to him, the smile didn’t come even close to reaching his eyes.“Alex, I’m not going to stop you going off and doing what you want to with your life.You deserve this chance, take it.”

  “Yeah, I will do,”Alex confirmed,“But are you going to be all right on your own?I mean, if you need someone for the room, I can ring around and see if I’ve got a friend who’ll take it…”

  “I’ll manage,”Shane said simply.

  Alex wasn’t convinced but there wasn’t much more he could do.“See you, mate.”He touched Shane’s arm for a moment, then picked up his bags and headed out.


When Alex exited the house, Shannon and Selina were waiting there with Dylan.“Are you sure you’re going to fit all that on your bike?”Selina asked ironically.

  “It’s a balancing act,”Alex noted,“But I’ve had practise.”

  Shannon nodded towards the house.“Is he all right?”

  Alex gave a small shrug.“No worse, I think.”He bent down to Dylan.“Now you, little buddy.I am going to miss you.You promise me you’ll help Shane with your sister if he needs it?”

  “I promise,”said Dylan in a quiet voice.

  “Good man.”Alex ruffled the boy’s hair as he straightened up.

  “Are you going to miss me too?”Selina asked with the same tone of amusement.

  Alex adopted a mock thoughtful face.“Gosh, I don’t know, Selina.Am I going to miss the aggravation and the earache?”

  Selina smiled.“I’ll miss you too.”She nudged Shannon.“And I’ll miss you putting a smile on the face of this one as well.You think I’m moody, you should have seen her before you came along.”

  “Oh, I saw enough of the moodiness, trust me,”Alex confirmed.

  Shannon gaped at both of them in mock outrage.“Remind me why I like you two again?”

  “Because you know we tell it how it is.”Selina steered Dylan towards the garden.“Come on, let’s give these two a bit of space.See you, Alex.”

  “See you, Sel.”Alex waited until they were far enough away before turning back to Shannon.“Sure you can’t come, Red?I could squeeze you into my bag if you wanted.”

  Shannon sighed.“That is really really tempting.But it’s not the right thing for me right now.I’ve got Year 12 to finish, I’ve got family and friends here…I can’t throw all that away.”

  Alex nodded.“I think I kind of knew that.It’s just I’d be kicking myself forever if I didn’t at least ask.I suppose we could promise that we’d write and phone, and that one day we’ll meet up and just pick up where we left off.”

  Shannon couldn’t help thinking of when she’d first come to Summer Bay, desperate not to be separated from Curtis.She’d thought at the time that they’d be together forever.Nearly two years on, she was well aware that life wasn’t like that.Very few couples had forever.“We wouldn’t though, would we?”

  “No.But we can dream.”Alex gave her a soft, final kiss.“See you around, Red.”He pulled on his helmet and mounted his motorbike.Shannon took a step back, watching and waving as Alex reversed out of the drive and powered away.


The sound of the door banging brought Shane out of his reverie and he turned to see Shannon steering Dylan into the house.With a start, and a feeling of intense shame, he realised he hadn’t given much thought to where his stepson was and who was looking after him.With Alex gone, the responsibility now fell entirely on him.

  “Did Alex get off okay?”he asked, feeling it was what he should say.

  Shannon nodded.“Selina went to meet up with Curtis and Sally.I thought I’d just see this one inside.”She seemed to sense the implied criticism in the comment and paled, but somehow Shane couldn’t bring himself to be offended.“I’ll be off then,”she decided.

  “But I need someone to play cricket with me,”Dylan complained.

  “Well, Shane can do that,”Shannon suggested.She looked back at Shane.“I mean, if you’re not too busy. If you are, then I can…”

  Shane cut her off.“Tell you what, how about we all go out the back and play?”He picked Angel up out of her cot and she clung to him.“We’ll put your sister in her pram and she can watch us.That okay?”

  “Okay,”Dylan agreed with a certain amount of reluctance.

  Shane looked at Shannon.“Okay with you?”

  Shannon seemed to relax, if only slightly.“Yeah, if it’s okay with you.”She took a deep breath.“I was meaning to say, I know with Alex gone, there’s no reason for me to be round here as much, but if you need me here, to help with Dylan or whatever…”

  Again, a part of Shane felt he should be insulted.But another part knew Alex and Shannon had been picking up the slack a bit and he could do with her still being around.More than that, he was used to her being around.“Well, we’re still friends and I know Dylan likes seeing you, so come round whenever you want.I might even invite you sometimes.”He looked back at Dylan.“Now come on, what about this cricket match?”

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Thank you for the comments, chair and Kristen! I hope everyone likes this.


Shane dug his spade deep into the caravan park’s flowerbed, shifting some earth.It wasn’t the most mind-stretching of work but it was what he needed for the moment.He needed to get back to work, to have something in his life other than thinking about Angel and the life they could have had together.

  Michael crossed the caravan park towards him, trying to look casual.“How are you doing?”

  “Fine,”Shane answered, trying not to sound irritated.

  “Could you help me shift some bags?If you don’t have to go anywhere.”

  “Yeah, I’m free.”Shane followed the older man over to his ute and together they hefted a bag of manure and laid it in a pile with others.

  “So how are you managing with the childcare side of things?”Michael wondered.

  “You worried I might have to stop work again?”Shane asked.

  “No, no, just taking an interest.”

  Shane reminded himself that not everyone had an agenda.“Well, Marilyn said she’s happy looking after Angel for as long as I need.And Shannon’s picking up Dylan from school and looking after him until I get back.”

  “She’s spending a lot of time at your place at the moment,”Michael commented.

  It sounded to Shane like a criticism and he struggled to contain his anger.“Is that a problem?”

  “Not for me,”Michael assured him,“I was just wondering if she was getting in the way.”

  Shane relaxed a bit.“No, not at all.It’s good for Dylan to have someone like her around.Good for me too.I’m a bit short of adult company with Alex gone, you know?”

  The words were meant to reassure Michael, but judging from his expression they hadn’t done anything of the sort.He looked more concerned, for reasons Shane couldn’t fathom.But whatever those concerns were, he obviously decided not to voice them.“Well, good.So long as it’s all right with you and all right with her.And she stays on top of her schoolwork.”

  “Yeah, of course,”Shane agreed.But he had an uncomfortable feeling that he’d missed something.


Shane had picked Angel up from Marilyn without much fuss…well, except from Marilyn of course, who had been very reluctant to let her go.But he’d headed back home and got there to find Shannon scrubbing one of the living room tables.She favoured him with a smile as he entered.“Hey there.”

  “Hey,”he returned,“Is Dylan about?”

  “In his room.He seemed to be having a good time amusing himself so I left him to it and made myself useful in here.”

  Shane found himself feeling oddly uncomfortable about what she was doing.Was this what Michael had been concerned about, Shannon becoming sort of unpaid housekeeper?“You didn’t have to do that.”

  “No but I was here and I was free and I thought you might not feel like doing it when you got home.”

  There was logic to that but Shane still wasn’t entirely certain about the situation.But all he could offer was “Well, thank you.”

  Dylan came running out of his room.“Shane!”

  Shane bent down to give the boy a hug.“Oh, hey, you hear me come in, did you?”

  Dylan nodded.“What’s for tea?”

  Shane laughed.“Oh, is that the only reason you’re pleased to see me?Well, I’ll check the cupboards but I think I can heat up some spaghetti hoops and toast for us.”He glanced over at their guest.“Maybe Shannon would like to join us?”

  Shannon gave a small laugh.“Oh, you want me to do the cooking as well, do you?”

  It was meant as a joke but Shane felt a bit put out.Did Shannon think he only saw her as an unpaid housekeeper as well?“No, of course not.I wanted to thank you for helping out.”He could see her becoming uncomfortable at the joke falling flat so quickly turned his attention to Dylan.“What do you think?Shannon stay for dinner?”

  Dylan seemed to mull the matter over for a bit before deciding “All right.”

  Shannon smiled.“Okay, I’ll give Michael and Pippa a ring and let them know I’m stopping.”


Shannon had felt some trepidation when Shane had made the invitation.She wasn’t sure why, since it wasn’t exactly the first time she’d eaten there.But that was back when Alex and Angel had been there.It just being the two of them felt like uncharted waters.

  She hadn’t stayed uncomfortable for long however.The two of them had relaxed quickly and having Dylan there had been a definite ice breaker.In fact, it had gone so well that neither of them had discussed her leaving straight afterwards and she’d found herself still there as Shane put Dylan to bed.

  Shannon stayed on the sofa until he returned and plonked himself down next to her.“How is he?”she asked.

  “Out like a light,”he answered.

  “And what about you?”

  “Yeah, it’s been a long day,”Shane admitted,“That’s not a hint for you to go by the way.”

  “Well, I’ll have to go some time,”Shannon pointed out.

  “I guess so.Shame, I was kind of getting used to you being here.”His tone suddenly became more serious.“It’s a bit lonely sometimes, just me and the kids.”

  “Well, you can always give me a call,”Shannon promised, putting a hand on his arm.

  “Thanks.”And then suddenly he leaned forward and kissed her.

  Shannon was shocked but quickly decided not to react.She didn’t kiss him back and she didn’t push him off.She just sat there, unresisting, as Shane’s lips pushed against hers, until finally he pulled back.He looked shamefaced.“Sorry.”

  “That’s okay,”Shannon said cautiously,“It’s not the worst thing that ever happened to me.”She was tempted to add that she probably owed him one for the kiss she’d planted on him the previous year, but something told her that bringing up that time wouldn’t help.“I really should go though.”

  “Yeah,”Shane agreed simply.

  Shannon got up, somehow managing to feel bad about the incident.“I’ll see you tomorrow,”she added before excusing herself.


When Shannon arrived home, she found Pippa and Sally just inside the doorway.It only took her a moment to notice that Sally was wearing a smart dress outfit and had more make-up on than was usual for dinner at home.“Why are you all dressed up?”she asked in what she hoped was a friendly tone.

  “Sally has a date,”Pippa noted in a playful tone of voice.Sally shot her mother a dirty look as the older woman disappeared into the kitchen.

  “Oh, who with?”Shannon asked.

  Sally looked as though she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her.“Curtis.”

  Shannon didn’t even try and hide her surprise.“You and Curtis?”

  “Not…I mean, it’s the first time.That we’re going out.I know it’s come out of nowhere a bit but Jack and Chloe have gone, and you and Selina are in Year 12 now, so we’ve been spending a lot of time together at school and he asked me out and I said yes.”

  “Well, I hope you have a good time.”Shannon found she meant it, now matter how strange her foster sister going out with her ex-boyfriend was.

  Sally relaxed a bit.“Thanks.”

  Shannon glanced round and saw Curtis entering, noting he’d dressed smartly as well.“Oh, your date’s here.”

  “Hi, Shannon,”Curtis greeted her without actually looking at her.He looked Sally up and down.“You look great.”

  Sally blushed slightly.“Thank you, so do you.”

  Pippa stuck her head round from the kitchen.“Don’t be back too late.”

  “We won’t!”Curtis called,“We’re just going for a meal in Yabbie Creek so we should be back by ten.”

  “Okay, have a nice time.”

  Shannon waited until the pair had left, then went over to the sofa and collapsed onto it with a loud sigh, which obviously drew Pippa’s attention.She came over.“Is everything all right?”

  “Yeah,”Shannon confirmed,“Just remembering when things were that uncomplicated.”

  Pippa gave a sympathetic smile.“Well, your life isn’t that complicated.”

  “No,”Shannon sighed as Pippa headed back to the kitchen.“Not that complicated.”

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Thank you for the comments, Kristen, chair and Summer's Bay! I hope everyone like this.


Somehow Shannon didn’t feel able to go to bed.Even Michael and Pippa had gone up nearly half an hour ago, yet she was still sat in the front room.She’d run out of decent films to watch and hadn’t even pretended to get some reading done for school.Instead, it looked like she might actually have to think about the day’s events.

  Before she could get too far into that however, she heard footsteps coming from the porch area. Instinctively, she ducked down and peered over the top of the sofa.A few moments later, Curtis and Sally came into view as they entered through the side door.“I had a good night,”Curtis commented.

  “Yeah, me too,”Sally confirmed.She gestured towards the fridge.“Are you sure you don’t want me to get you anything?Coffee or hot chocolate?”

  “Nah, I’d better get back.Alf needs me working in the store tomorrow morning.”

  “Yeah, I’m doing a shift in the kiosk”Sally agreed.

  “So, if I happen to drop by the surf club on my break, I’ll see you there?”Curtis checked.

  “You will,”Sally confirmed.

  Curtis seemed to hesitate for a moment then leaned in for a kiss.Sally met it and Shannon watched eyebrows raised as her adopted brother/ex-boyfriend and foster sister kissed, oblivious to their audience. The kiss broke.“Was that okay?”Curtis asked.

  “Very okay,”Sally confirmed.

  They kissed again, long enough that Shannon was wondering if she should make a noise to get their attention by the time it ended.“See you tomorrow,”Curtis noted before backing out the door.Sally turned away with a big smile on her face, practically skipping in the direction of the stairs.

  Shannon turned away and adopted a nonchalant sitting position before asking.“Date go all right then?” She glanced back and took in the sight of Sally frozen partway across the room, face red as she realised what Shannon might have seen.Shannon was unable to keep the smirk off her face.

  “You were there all the time?”Sally asked, even though they both knew there was no other way she could be there.Shannon nodded.Sally came over and sat on the arm of the chair.“I guess this is a bit strange for you, huh?”

  “A bit,”Shannon admitted,“I never really picked you and Curtis together.”

  “I know we’re not an obvious couple,”Sally commented,“I mean, I’m meant to be the class brainiac, the teachers’ pet, the boring and sensible one.And Curtis is into surfing and he’s really outgoing and people are probably going to be wondering why he’s picked me when there are loads of girls…”

  “Sally!”Shannon was horrified at what the younger girl was saying.“Don’t put yourself down.”

  “They will though,”Sally pointed out,“And I tried going out with Jack that time and that was a disaster…”

  “Curtis is not Jack,”Shannon insisted,“He’s different from when we were going out but he’s still pretty gentle-natured underneath all that macho stuff.And you’re friends, right?That counts for a lot.Sometimes it’s not about how much you’ve got in common, it’s about what you’ve been through together.”

  “You sound like you’ve thought about this a lot,”Sally remarked.

  Shannon paused.She didn’t think she’d been thinking about it at all but somehow it had just come out. And she wasn’t entirely sure if she’d been talking about Sally’s situation or her own…She quickly dismissed the thought.“Yeah, well…come on.We’ve both got things we need to be up for tomorrow.”


“When’s Shannon going to get here?”

  Shane had been dreading the question, mainly because he had no idea how to answer it.He’d spent a fair bit of the night and most of the time since he’d woken up going over the events that had led to Shannon leaving.She hadn’t seemed angry or upset, but that didn’t mean she’d be willing to risk the same thing happening again.

  He realised Dylan was looking expectantly at him and felt for the boy.He’d been through a lot of upheaval in the last few years:Meeting Angel and learning she was his mother, coming to live with the two of them only to lose her only a year later.Perhaps it was no wonder he was looking for some sort of stability, which Shane wasn’t sure if he could provide.

  “I’m not sure,”he admitted,“She might not be coming.”

  “But she promised to play with me!”

  “I know but…”Shane struggled to come up with an explanation that would make sense to the young boy. “She might want to spend time with friends her own age, or she might have schoolwork to do…”

  He could see Dylan looking more and more confused and disappointed.But before he needed to go on, there was a cry of “Hi, there!” from the direction of the front door.Shannon came through to the kitchen and put her head round the door frame.“Pleased to see me?”she asked, directing the question at Dylan.

  “Shane said you might not be coming,”Dylan told her.

  Shane felt embarrassed.“I thought you might have schoolwork,”he offered.

  “Well, yeah, I do,”Shannon agreed,“But I can spend the morning here and do that later.”

  Shane was relieved but felt the need to talk further.“Dylan, have you finished your breakfast?”Dylan nodded.“Okay, go and tidy your room and you can play with Shannon after.And do it properly!”Dylan ran off and, aside from Angel lying in her basket, he and Shannon were alone.Shane cleared his throat. “So, last night.I…”

  “You kissed me?”Shannon prompted.

  Shane nodded.“Yeah.”

  “Why did you do that?”

  “I’ve been asking myself that a lot.”Shane tried to put his thoughts into words.“It’s just I came home and you were here with the kids and…it was nice.Like we were family.So I guess kissing you was part of that.For a moment there, it felt…right, I guess.”

  Shannon seemed to process this.“Do you ever think about that?Being a family with someone else, I mean, like you were with Angel?”

  Shane sighed.“I still miss her,”he noted,“I guess I always will.But I don’t suppose it’ll just be me and the kids forever, they need someone else.Which is why it’s good having you around and why I really hope I haven’t just made you want to stay away.”

  “Because you momentarily found me kissable?”Shannon laughed.“It’s all good.I like coming here and being with you and Dylan, so if you’re fine for me to carry on, I’m fine too.”

  Shane smiled, relieved.And it crossed his mind that he was more pleased than he probably should be.

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Thank you for the comments, I hope you enjoy this one!


Shannon wolfed down her last few bites of dessert, dropped her spoon into the bowl with a clatter, then stood up.“Okay, I’m going out now.”

  She’d hoped that declaration would be the end of it but the rest of the family looked at her flustered.“Er, where are you going?”asked Pippa.

  “Round to Shane’s.”Saying things like that tended to involve her being given looks, from Michael and Pippa at least.They didn’t disappoint.

  “I’m not sure I’m too happy about that,”Michael noted.

  “He’s expecting me,”Shannon protested,“Dylan too, I promised I’d read him a story.Do you really want me to let him down?”She suspected it was hard for anyone to argue with that, although she also suspected they’d try.“Sally and Sam are doing the washing up tonight.”

  “That’s not fair!”Sam protested.

  “It is if your name’s on the roster,”Pippa replied.

  Michael wasn’t to be put off so easily.“Well, what about your homework?”

  “I did it when I got home from school,”Shannon explained.

  “She’s right, she did,”Sally noted, backing her up.Shannon was grateful.

  “Look, it’s going to be dark,”Michael pointed out,“I’m not happy with you walking home that late.”

  “Shane can walk me home,”Shannon suggested.

  “Shane has two children to look after.”

  Shannon accepted that her suggestion didn’t make much sense.“Okay, well, I can call Curtis or Steven or someone.”

  “Call me,”Michael told her and she realised in that moment that the conversation had shifted from whether or not she could go to how she would get back.She tried hard not to look too pleased.“I’ll wait up, so don’t be too late.”

  “I won’t!”Shannon hurried out before they could change their minds.


Shannon turned the page of the book.“The first thing that the children did after breakfast,”she read,“was to fetch the precious box and take it out to the tool shed in the garden.They were simply longing to force it open.All of them secretly felt certain that it would hold treasure of some sort.”She looked down and saw that Dylan was asleep.She placed a book mark in the page she’d got up to and put the book down next to his bed.“Maybe we can do the rest of it another time,”she suggested before quietly leaving the room.

  Almost as soon as she stepped out into the main living area, she collided with Shane, who was emerging from his bedroom.“Sorry,”he apologised,“I was just putting Angel down.How’s Dylan?”

  “Sleeping like a lamb.”

  Shane grinned.“Yeah, he’s always at his best when he’s like that.”

  Shannon gave him a mock scolding look before glancing at the window.“Well, it’s not too dark.I could probably walk home.”

  “Do you have to go now?”Shane asked,“I could use some adult company for a bit.”

  Shannon hesitated but it wasn’t exactly unusual for her to spend time alone with him as well as the children.It was only Michael’s concerns from earlier that made her pause.But he had said that she could call him for a lift and it wasn’t late yet.“Yeah, okay.”

  Shane rummaged in the fridge.“Beer?”

  Shannon felt uncomfortable.“Not eighteen yet.”

  “Right,”Shane agreed awkwardly,“Coke?”

  Shannon nodded.Shane threw her a can and took one for himself.She opened it and took a swig.

  “I heard you reading to Dylan earlier,”Shane noted,“You do it a lot better than I do.”

  “I don’t know about that,”Shannon attempted.

  “You’re a born storyteller,”Shane insisted,“Angel was too.She won a writing competition as well once, you know?”

  Shannon nodded.“Damian told me.Didn’t she fall out with Sarah over it or something?”

  Shane gave a small laugh.“Yeah, she based it a bit too heavily on real life.”

  “It happens.”Shannon took a large gulp from her can, then checked her watch.“Look, I’m going to have to go now if I’m not going to drag Michael out.I’ll give you a call some time.”

  She headed towards the front door but to her surprise Shane followed her.“I don’t want you to go,”he said.

  Shannon was surprised.“Look, Shane, I have…”

  Gently but firmly, he took hold of her wrist, stopping her.“I really don’t want you to go,”he told her seriously.

  She knew what was going to happen but she did nothing to stop it.And then he was kissing her and it wasn’t like any kiss they’d had before: She was kissing him back and she knew that if she didn’t pull back then it wasn’t going to stop and it was going to go somewhere else…

  She didn’t want it to stop.

  Instead, she let him lead her towards the bedroom and lower her onto the bed.

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Thank you for the comments, Summer's Bay, chair and Kristen! I hope everyone like this one.


Shane felt Shannon move next to him, climbing out of the bed.He rolled over and opened his eyes, seeing her pulling her jeans on over her underwear.“Are you going?”he asked.

  Shannon nodded, pulling on her sweater and straightening her hair out before talking.“I’d better.I mean, it’s already later than I was planning.”

  “Do you want me to give you a lift?”The conversation was almost absurdly casual given what had just happened but Shane didn’t feel able to discuss it yet and he had a feeling Shannon felt the same way.

  “No, I’ll give Michael a call.Is it all right if I use your phone?”

  “Yeah, sure.”

  Shannon hesitated a moment longer.“I’ll wait for him outside.”The implication was clear.Shane should stay where he was.That suited Shane fine, since he didn’t fancy standing around making awkward conversation with her, but it still felt like the coward’s way out.Yet Shannon didn’t seem to want anything more from him and even now she was hesitating, as though unsure how to end things.In the end, she leaned forward and gave him a hug so brief that he barely had time to let his own arms encircle her before she pulled away.“I’ll talk to you soon,”she added rather lamely before hurrying off to make the phone call.

  Shane lay back down in the bed, listening to the faint whisper of her side of the phone conversation, and wondered what on earth he was supposed to do now.


“I don’t like it,”Michael told Pippa the next morning.This wasn’t exactly news to her:He’d made his view on their oldest foster daughter’s recent activities plain before.

  “It’s not ideal,”Pippa agreed.

  “He’s just lost his wife and she’s round there all the time.They shouldn’t be spending this much time together.”

  Pippa gave a sad smile.“That’s what Haydn thought about us.Sally too, for that matter.”

  That brought Michael up short.“That’s different.”

  “Was it?I’d only been widowed six months when we first met, and you weren’t that long out of your first marriage, Haydn was still hoping you’d get back together.A lot of people thought it was too soon for us to be spending so much time together.”

  “Including you, as I remember,”Michael recalled,“But Shannon’s still at school.Do you really want her to end up playing mother to those two children?And yes, I know that’s what I ended up doing with Sally and Sophie, not to mention Christopher, but I’d already had a family of my own, I knew what I was getting into.”

  The question seemed to leave Pippa deep in thought.“Do you think that’s what’s happening?”

  “I don’t know what’s going on between Shane and Shannon,”Michael observed,“Maybe they are just friends.But she’s picking Dylan up from school, she’s putting him to bed…it sounds like she’s turning into his mother figure to me.”

  Before Pippa could answer, Shannon, Sally and Sam appeared, all dressed for school.“We’ll see you later,”Sally attempted.

  Michael wasn’t willing to let it go at that.“Shannon, before you go, about last night…”

  “It’s okay,”Shannon replied,“I know I was later than planned.In fact, I’m not going over to Shane’s tonight.I think we need a bit of a break.”

  “Oh, okay.Well, you’d better get off then.”Michael waited until the three youngsters had gone before turning back to Pippa.“What do you make of that then?”

  Pippa shrugged.


Selina handed Shannon a water bottle and sat down next to her in the school grounds.“Okay, out with it then.”

  Shannon did her best to look innocent.“What do you mean?”

  “I mean whatever you’re not telling me.And I know there is something.I’ve been your best friend long enough to notice these things.”

  Shannon considered any number of lies but somehow she knew she had to tell the truth.“I slept with Shane.”

  Selina’s mouth dropped in shock.“You didn’t!”Her demeanour changed to a suspicious one.“You didn’t actually…didn’t, did you?Because I remember before, you said you’d slept with him and…”

  “This isn’t like then,”Shannon reassured her,“I’m not making things up because I wish they were true. I…To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it.”

  “How did it happen?”Selina persisted.

  Shannon gave her a pointed look.“You don’t actually want me to answer that, do you?”But she knew deep down that there was more to the question that enquiring about the mechanics.“I was over there last night, helping out again, and when I was going to leave…”

  “You didn’t?”Selina asked.

  “I did eventually, I didn’t stay the whole night but…I didn’t leave straightaway.”

  Selina shook her head.“What is it with you and older guys?”

  Shannon gave her a look again.“You’re seriously asking me that?What about you and Steven?”

  The comment obviously shook Selina.“I didn’t think anyone knew about that.”

  “Like you say, I’m your best friend, I notice these things.”

  Selina spoke slowly and carefully.“Nothing happened.Or practically nothing.We both wanted it to, but he’s a teacher, there’s no way it could have worked.”

  “What about Damian then?”

  “Well, yeah, that’s kind of a case in point.I thought he was serious about me but he was just after a quick fling while he was home from college.What does Shane think of all this?”

  “I don’t know,”Shannon replied helplessly,“I don’t know how to talk to him about all this.I mean, can you imagine him being my boyfriend?Talk about baggage.And yet, it feels like somehow he’s become this really big part of my life, the kids as well.And I don’t know what to do about it.”


Shane pushed Angel’s pram back and forth in the back garden.Travis came out of the house and handed him a bottle of beer.“Here.”Shane took it from him without comment and took a sip from it.“You know,” Travis went on,“one day there’ll actually be a proper bar in this town and we won’t have to drink at home or go to Yabbie Creek.”

  Shane gave a slight chuckle.“I can’t see them providing anything stronger than what you get at the Diner.”

  “Maybe we should start up a place ourselves.”Travis paused, eyeing Shane cautiously.“But you didn’t invite me here to come up with a business plan.”

  That was true.Shane wondered what to say, then decided his best option was just to say it.“I slept with Shannon.”

  Travis looked surprised.“Shannon as in..?”He didn’t quite seem to know how to finish the sentence.

  “How many Shannons do you know?”Shane asked.

  “Good point.”Travis thought for a moment.“She’s a bit young for you, isn’t she?”

  “She was in Year 10 when I was in Year 12, there’s not that big a gap between us.”Shane wondered why he felt so defensive.

  “Fair enough.So what’s the problem?”

  “The problem is I have no idea what to do about it.”Shane tried to put his thoughts into words.“I feel like I should think I’ve cheated on Angel.”

  Travis tried to follow the convoluted remark.“But you don’t?”

  “No, so I end up feeling guilty about that.And about her, Shannon I mean, whether I just used her or something.”

  “Did you?”

  “I don’t know.”Shane felt helpless again.

  Travis seemed to gather his thoughts.“Look, relationships end in lots of different ways.And I don’t want to be blunt, but you and Angel are over.So, if you’re ready to move on, don’t feel guilty about it.Which just leaves us with Shannon.What exactly is there between the two of you?”

  Shane wasn’t sure if he could put it into words, the role Shannon had started to play in his family.“I just don’t want this to end with us never seeing each other again.”

  “Well, in that case, you need to talk to her.”

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Thank you for the comments, chair, Kristen and pembie! Hope everyone like this.


Shannon slowly made her way down to the beach.Shane had done well in choosing a secluded spot:There was only him in sight.She walked across the sand until she was standing a few yards away from him and then she stopped.Stand off.

  “I wasn’t sure if you’d come,”Shane noted.

  “You really thought I wouldn’t?”Shannon returned.

  “Well…it crossed my mind.”

  Shannon didn’t feel ready to have the conversation that they were there for.“Where’s Angel?”

  “Travis and Kelly are looking after her.”

  Shannon couldn’t help but smile at the idea of the straitlaced doctor as a babysitter.“Did anyone tell Kelly that in advance?”

  “Travis thought it would be a learning experience for her.Um, he knows what happened, by the way.”

  Shannon nodded.“I told Selina.”

  “Not Michael and Pippa?”Shane checked warily.

  “Did you tell Mr.Fisher?”

  Shane gave a slight laugh.“Yeah, you’re right, not a conversation I’d want to have.”He paused before launching into it.“So…we slept together.”

  “We did,”Shannon agreed.It wasn’t the most intelligence response but it was all she could think of.

  “How do we feel about that?”

  Shannon couldn’t help but notice that Shane seemed to be putting it all on her, but she couldn’t think of a reason not to answer.“I don’t know,”she sighed,“I mean…we seemed to be good friends and I thought that was all it was.”

  “Yeah, me too,”Shane agreed.

  “Well, I hate to point this out, but you made the first move.”

  “You didn’t exactly push me away,”Shane returned,“But you’re right, I guess…I wanted it to happen. And I guess that was because I find you attractive.”

  Shannon nodded.“Is it wrong for me to say I enjoyed it?”

  Shane laughed awkwardly.“I’d feel worse if you said you didn’t.”Things fell silent for a while longer before he noted,“I don’t feel like we need to beat ourselves up over it but I’m not ready to start, I dunno, dating anyone or anything like that.But at the same time, I don’t want to start avoiding you.”

  “So, what does that make us?”Shannon asked,“Are we making a vow never to let it happen again?”

  “We kind of tried that and it didn’t work,”Shane pointed out,“Maybe we’re…friends who just happen to fancy the pants off each other.Literally.”

  Things still felt awkward between them but it was a kind of nice awkward.Shannon felt herself relaxing a bit.“So, we’re saying that…what happened isn’t the end of the world, and if something else happens it wouldn’t be the end of the world either?”

  “I guess,”Shane agreed,“Is that okay?”

  “Well, I guess we could give it a try?”

  Shane nodded, accepting it.“Coffee then?”


They arrived at the Diner to a sight that managed to unnerve them more than a little.Not only were Ailsa and Irene manning the counter but Marilyn was there as well, apparently between clients at the salon. “You ready to run the gauntlet?”Shane asked Shannon quietly.

  “Lead the way,”Shannon confirmed.

  Shane did as instructed, putting on a smile for the ladies.“Two coffees, please.”

  “Froth on mine,”Shannon added.

  Shane smiled at her.“Feeling a bit decadent, are we?”

  “Just adventurous.”

  Ailsa handed them the coffee without comment.“Dollar twenty, please.”

  Shane handed the money over.Shannon took a first sip from her drink and ended up with froth on her nose.“You’ve got some…”Shane gestured to her, then wiped the froth off with a napkin.“Come on, let’s get a table.”

  They were apparently unaware of just how many eyebrows had been raised in their direction.“Are they..?”Marilyn wondered.

  “I was just wondering that myself,”Irene agreed.

  Marilyn looked after them and shook her head.“No, no, he wouldn’t.Angel’s only been gone a few months and he loved her so much…and Shannon’s still at school…and after all that business last year when everyone thought he’d cheated on Angel with her…”

  “I think that was mostly just you,”Irene commented.

  “All the same…”

  “I don’t know.Sometimes things don’t happen to any sort of timetable.”

  Marilyn mulled this over.“I suppose if the positions were reversed and Angel had found someone else, we’d all be encouraging her to do what made her happy.What do you think, Mrs.Stewart?”

  Ailsa took a deep breath.“Well, I think both of us know what it’s like to be with someone who’s lost a wife and who other people think shouldn’t be moving on yet.And I also think that, whatever’s going on between them, they don’t need being gossiped about.Haven’t you got another client due soon?”

  Marilyn coughed awkwardly.“Um, yes, I suppose I should be getting back.”She put down her long-empty teacup and hurried back into the salon.

  Ailsa turned her gaze on Irene who felt a similar desire to be elsewhere.“I’ll see if Table 3 want anything else.”

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13 hours ago, Summer's Bay said:

From what I remember, Michael didnt adapt too well to the foster parent life, and its great that you are showing it here. 

It was certainly a learning curve for him: He seemed to take a few years to grasp just how much of a commitment it was.

Thank you for the comments, chair, Kristen and Summer's Bay. I hope everyone enjoys this one.


Sally was chopping vegetables for dinner.A hand snaked past her and took one of the pieces.She turned round and gave Curtis a glare as he innocently popped it into his mouth, waving the knife in his direction. “Do that again and I’m going to regret inviting you to stay for dinner.”

  “Hey, I’m hungry!”Curtis protested.

  Sally couldn’t help smiling at him fondly.“Oh and I’m just supposed to be won over by that boyish charm, am I?”

  “Are you?”Curtis answered.He took her hand and pulled her into a kiss.She quickly melted into it…but he stopped abruptly as he saw someone appearing from the direction of the stairs.“Shannon, hi!”

  Sally quickly turned round and decided the best way to address what Shannon had just seen was just to ignore it.“Michael and Pippa were looking for you.They wanted to know if you were going to be home for dinner.”

  Shannon shook her head.“No, I’ll be eating at Shane’s.”

  Sally looked Shannon up and down.She had put a not-quite-knee-length dress on and was wearing more make-up than seemed really necessary.

  Curtis obviously had the same thought.“You’re going round there dressed like that?”

  Shannon immediately looked defensive.“So I wanted to look nice, what’s wrong with that?Tell Michael and Pippa I won’t be back till late.”She made a quick exit.

  “What’s going on with her?”Curtis wondered.

  Sally sighed.“I don’t know.I’m not sure she does either.”


There had been no pretence at all, really.They had both known what was going to happen.Sure, the evening had proceeded in the way it normally would.They’d had a meal with the often-inquisitive Dylan who had been allowed to stay up and watch television for a bit longer.Then Shannon had put him to bed while Shane checked on Angel.And with that duty discharged, they had met up again outside the bedrooms, and without a word, they were kissing again and heading into his room and undressing…

  Shannon lay alongside Shane for what felt like the right amount of time, neither of them saying anything.Then she’d slipped out of bed and looked around for her discarded dress.

  “Don’t go,”Shane said.

  Shannon turned to face him.He looked awkward but serious.“I can’t stay too much longer, they’ll be missing me at home.”

  “I mean…stay the night.”

  He seemed to mean it but she wasn’t sure why.“People are going to notice that.”

  “Well, we’ll deal with that,”he said it in a determined manner but then he seemed to falter, as though unsure how to put what he felt into words.“I don’t want to sleep with you and then kick you out,”he said at last,“I don’t want to be that guy and I don’t want you to be treated like that.”

  Shannon suddenly realised that she did want to stay.But it wasn’t just the two of them in a bubble.They weren’t even the only people in the house, let alone in town.People already seemed to have an opinion about them and the further they went down this road, the more they’d hear those opinions.Was Shane ready for that?“I’ll have to let Michael and Pippa know.”

  Shane nodded.“You can use the phone.”

  Shannon’s eyes fell on the t-shirt Shane had dropped on the floor during their rush to get into bed.“Can I put this on?”He nodded and she pulled it on over her underwear before going to find a phone.


Michael listened to Pippa’s side of the phone conversation from the kitchen:“Okay, well, I guess we’ll see you in the morning then.Let us know if you need picking up.Bye.”She ended the call and came over him. “Shannon is spending the night at Shane’s.”

  Her tone didn’t exactly indicate approval but Michael proceeded with caution anyway.“At Shane’s or with Shane?”

  Pippa looked somewhat sheepish.“I got the impression it was the latter.”

  Over the years that he’d been married to Pippa and acting as a foster parent alongside her, Michael had had to learn to relax a lot and to learn that losing his temper over things he wasn’t happy about didn’t always produce the best result.But with all that in mind, there were still times when getting angry was a hard instinct to lose.“And how do we feel about that?”he asked as mildly as possible.

  “It’s not ideal,”Pippa admitted.

  “But we’re not going to do anything about it?”

  “Well, what can we do?Shannon will have left school in a few months.If she wanted to move in there, we couldn’t stop her.”

  Michael wasn’t convinced there was any danger of that.“Do you think she’d do that?Do you think he’d want her to?”When Pippa didn’t answer, he took that as a prompt to continue.“ I can’t help feeling that she’s on dangerous ground and this could all blow up in her face.”

  “I know,”Pippa agreed,“And we definitely need to talk to her when she comes home.”

  Michael nodded.He could deal with that.“I guess that’s all we can do for tonight then.Come on, let’s get up to bed.”

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7 hours ago, CaptainHulk said:

We want more!

We want more!

We want more!

*beats a drum, blows kazoo*

So, do you want more then?

Thank you for the comments, everyone!


Shane woke up to find Shannon cuddled up to him.It was, he had to admit, not an unpleasant feeling.He had no idea what he felt about her, or what the future held for them, but he did know that he liked her being around.And somehow that had led to the situation they were now in.

  He felt Shannon shift next to him and then pull away.He watched as she slowly took in the situation and remembered how they’d come to be there.“We should get dressed,”she said at last.

  Shane couldn’t really disagree so he got out of bed and went to the wardrobe to get some clothes. Shannon did much the same, pulling on the dress from the previous night.She hesitated.“Is this going to happen again, me staying over?”Shane wasn’t sure how to answer but he didn’t really need to because she quickly went on.“Because if it is, should I keep some clothes here?You know, so I’ve got something fresh to put on in the morning?”

  “Yeah, that seems like a good idea.”Shane looked at the wardrobe.Angel’s things had been cleared out months ago and he didn’t really have enough clothes to fill it.“Maybe we could say this drawer here is yours?”He pulled the empty drawer out to show her.

  Shannon looked relieved that the suggestion had gone down so well.“That would be fine, yes.”

  “Why is Shannon here so early?”The question drew both their attention to the fact Dylan was standing in the doorway.

  “Shannon stayed over last night, mate,”Shane replied, hoping there wouldn’t be any questions as to why, “She might be doing that sometimes.”

  Shannon crouched down in front of Dylan.“If that’s okay with you?”

  Dylan seemed to mull the matter over for a moment before declaring,“Okay.”


Shannon had been hoping to slip back into the house quietly.That was, she knew, never going to happen, but she tried anyway.She quickened her pace as she entered the side door, hoping to cross the short distance across the living area to the stairs unnoticed.She’d nearly made it when she heard Pippa’s voice saying “Hold it!”

  Shannon stopped and turned, adopting a sheepish expression.“I wanted to get up and change.”

  “In a minute.Take a seat.”Pippa gestured towards the lounge area and Shannon reluctantly took a seat. “So.You and Shane.”

  She said nothing else, letting Shannon take the lead.“I was just…”

  “You spent the night with him,”Pippa said carefully, taking the lead back.

  Shannon wanted to deny it but she knew there was no use.“Yes,”she confirmed.

  “Was it the first time?”


  There was an obvious next question, but instead of asking it, Pippa answered it herself.“That time you were late asking Michael to pick you up.”She sighed.“Oh, Shannon.”

  “I know what I’m doing,”Shannon insisted, even though she didn’t have a clue.

  “Do you?”Pippa challenged,“Where do you think this is going?”

  “I don’t know,”Shannon admitted,“Do I have to know?Can’t we just see?”

  “Ordinarily, yes, but there’s Dylan involved as well and a baby…”

  “I love Dylan!”Shannon protested,“He loves me too.”She was surprised at the admission but she knew what was going on wasn’t just about her and Shane, it was about his whole family.

  “And if things don’t work out between you and Shane?”

  “There is no me and Shane.We’re just…”Shannon struggled to put a label on it.“It’s just something that happens sometimes.”

  Pippa sighed.“All right, I guess we’d better leave it there.”Relieved, Shannon got up.“Is Shane coming in to work today?”

  Shannon hesitated.“I think so, why?”

  “Michael wanted to have a word with him.”Pippa obviously saw the concern on Shannon’s face.“Don’t worry, he promised to tread carefully.”


If Shannon had been hoping for a respite when she went upstairs, she was disappointed.When she reached the bedroom they both shared, Sally was sitting cross-legged on her bed.Shannon made an attempt to ignore her, going to her drawers to get some clothes to change into, before Sally asked,“Well?”

  Shannon paused, still trying to ignore the inevitability of the conversation.“Well what?”

  “Come on, Shannon, I notice when you don’t come home at night.You and Shane?”Sally shook her head in bewilderment.“Even saying that feels weird.You and Shane?”

  “What’s wrong with ‘me and Shane’?”Shannon asked defensively.

  “Nothing.It’s just…he’s been with Angel since before you came to town.Shane and Angel, it’s been like that for a long time…”

  “He’s not with her now,”Shannon pointed out testily,“Is he meant to wait around for the rest of his life?”

  “No,”Sally agreed.She seemed to back off from the accusatory tone.“So…is he your boyfriend?”

  Shannon sighed.Somehow it didn’t feel like that.“I don’t know.I don’t think so.We’re…friends who sleep together?Is that a thing?”

  Sally hesitated.“I guess if it works for both of you.I know you’d rather talk to Selina about this sort of thing but you can talk to me too, you know?”

  The comment reminded Shannon that Sally still wasn’t the most confident person.“Sally, of course I’ll talk to you!”

  “Thanks.”Sally’s expression took on a mischievous edge.“So, what was it like?”Shannon tried to pull a scandalised look, even though she felt like laughing.“What?I’m interested!”

  Shannon found herself smiling, possibly for the first time that day.“Definitely worth repeating.”


Shane had arrived at work expecting to be met by a barrage of questions and accusations.So he was surprised at how placid Michael seemed.“Van 4’s got a rusty cupboard hinge,”Michael noted,“Needs replacing.”

  “I’ll get onto it straightaway.”

  “But before you do that…we need to talk about Shannon.”

  And there it was.It wasn’t as if Shane hadn’t been expecting it.“I guess there’s no point me playing dumb.Are you going to warn me off?”

  “No.Because I know Shannon well enough to know that if I do that, she won’t listen.But I need to know what you’re doing.”

  Shane hesitated.He didn’t have a clue what he was doing.Shannon was younger than him, not massively but enough for it to be noticable.And here he was, having only lost his wife a few months earlier, somehow involved with her.“Look, I don’t have any sort of plan,”he admitted,“And I’m not planning to hurt her.I just…I like having her around.I feel happier with her than when I’m on my own.Our lives are better off with her in them.”

  “And that means her stopping over?”

  Shane had no excuses, no explanations, not even any grand declarations.“It was what we both wanted to do.”It felt feeble just to him.

  “She’s been through a lot,”Michael pointed out,“The last thing she needs is someone messing her about.”

  “I’m not going to do that.”

  Michael sighed.“All right.Van 4’s waiting.”

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Thank you for the comments, CaptainHulk, chair and kristen! I meant to post this a bit earlier but things got away from me.Hope everyone enjoys it!


Shannon snuggled up close to Shane in bed.There had been no pretense between them this time, no suggestion that they might be doing something else.They had left Dylan playing with Duncan and dropped Angel off with Marilyn…then gone back to Shane’s and spent the afternoon in bed together.“I wish we could stay like this,”she noted.

  She wasn’t sure how she was expecting Shane to respond but the comment seemed to bring him back to some sort of reality.“I should probably check in with Ailsa and Maz.”

  Shannon pulled away from him.“Yeah, of course.”She made to get out of bed but Shane caught her wrist and smiled.

  “Not just yet though.”He kissed her and they lay back down on the bed…

  At which point, there was a knocking on the front door.They both looked puzzled and then a familiar voice called out,“Shane, are you there?”

  “It’s Don,”Shane realised.

  “Mr.Fisher?!”Her school principal turning up was quite possibly the last thing Shannon had wanted to happen.Even though things between them had softened since the days when Donald was warning Steven not to spend too much time with a girl with her reputation, she still wasn’t his favourite person.

  “Yeah, be there in a minute, Don!”Shane called out before speaking in a quiet voice to Shannon.“Get dressed, now.”

  Shannon was quick to comply, pulling on the dress that, she realised, looking at it, was a little bit too tight for a friendly visit.Nearby, Shane was quickly changing into his shirt and jeans.“Should I hide in here?”she asked.

  Shane shot her a bemused look.“Yeah, because that won’t look suspicious if he finds you.Everyone knows we’re friends, it’s not that unusual for you to be here.”

  “Right, yeah.”Shannon straightened herself out, smoothing the dress down, then gestured for Shane to proceed.

  Shane opened the front door and let Don in.“Hello, Shane, I was just…”Don paused as he realised they weren’t alone.“Shannon, I didn’t know you were here.Did you two have plans?”

  “Nothing definite,”Shane offered.

  Donald nodded.“Well, I was going to ask if you and the children wanted to come over and have dinner with me tonight.I’m a bit short of company these days and I thought it would be a nice change of scene and you wouldn’t have to cook…”He paused, as though he’d been practising the spiel and then suddenly remembered that Shannon was there.“Unless that’s going to inconvenience you?”

  “Oh, no, I wasn’t planning to stay.”In truth, Shannon wasn’t sure what she’d been planning to do.A part of her had probably been hoping to spend the evening and maybe even the night there.But she was reminded that whatever else was going on, Shane wasn’t her boyfriend and she wouldn’t be invited to family dinners.

  “Right.”Donald looked at Shane.“So, should I see you at six o’clock then?”

  “We’ll be there,”Shane confirmed.

  Shannon felt like a bit of an intruder.“I’ll get going,”she concluded.


Shannon was sat crosslegged on the bed when Sally came in.Sally took a deep breath before asking,“Can I talk to you about something personal?”

  Shannon shot a suspicious look at her.“I think I’ve had enough of talking about personal things.”

  “No, not personal for you, personal for me.”

  Shannon nodded in understanding.“Okay.Shoot.”

  Sally sat down on her own bed.“I slept with Curtis.”

  Shannon raised an eyebrow.“Wow, okay.When?”

  “A couple of days ago.We were at his place and Alf and Ailsa were out…we’d talked about doing it and it felt like the right time…I know he went there with Selina but…”

  “It was your first time,”Shannon concluded.Sally nodded.“How was it?”

  Sally gave an awkward smile.“Nice, I guess?Can you say that?I mean, he was really gentle with me and made sure I was okay with it…”

  “You want to do it again?”

  “I…guess so…”

  “Were you careful?”

  Sally seemed surprised by the question.“Um, yeah.”

  “Well, carry on being careful, okay?Don’t let yourself think ‘Oh, it’ll be okay this time.’”

  Sally’s suspicions had been aroused.“Shannon, why do you keep looking at the clock?”

  “Because I’m timing it.”Shannon picked up the pregnancy test that had been resting on her lap and tossed it to Sally.It was positive.

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