The Intrigue

A/N: (and perhaps a small warning for spoilers!) Set just after the second season final.
Intrigue (noun.) – a clandestine love affair. Even though she knew it was wrong, the feelings she had for him were uncontrollable.
Rated: T - nothing too 'bad' in this at all now that I think about it, but anyway.

Christine's life had become nothing more then a set of hard hitting questions, with no definitive answer next to each one. Even as a psychologist she could not figure it out. That was the irony of her job; she was able to help others, yet when it came to helping herself… the thought was there, but nothing happened. Ever since her husband's affair 16 years ago, she had been putting on a brave face automatically, pretending that she was happy. As if by some sort of chance though, he suddenly walked into her life: the attractive, sexy, smart, yet down to earth man who began to change the way she felt about everything.

Her morality had been shifted dramatically, and Christine was no longer the person she thought she was.

The sound of footsteps came from a slight distance, and her eyes opened to find Max looking at her with his eyebrows raised a little, "I thought you would've been in bed by now, mum."

She sat up a little, rubbing her eyes. "What time is it?"

"Just after midnight," Max replied with a small smile, before he left, heading off to his bedroom. Christine grabbed her phone off the coffee table, and looked at it; 12.06am, 2 new text messages. She opened the first one to find that it was from Tim. Hi, in Singapore now finally, will give you a call tomorrow. Love you both. xx

The second one was from Spiros, and the tiniest of smiles appeared on her face. Everything okay with your friend's daughter? I had a great time with you earlier, short as it was, I hope you did too.

Christine closed her eyes, and cast her mind back several hours; the unforgettable memories were fresh and vivid. She did have a good time with him. Even though she knew it was wrong, the feelings she had for him were uncontrollable. He had definitely changed her - for better or worse, she was not quite sure yet. Christine replied only to Spiros' message before she tiredly trudged off to bed.

Daylight entered the room in what she thought seemed to be a lot earlier than usual. She forced herself to get up though, wanting to get Max's school lunch ready before he woke. It was a routine which felt familiar to Christine. They were yet to talk about anything that had happened, and when Max left to go to school at around eight o'clock, she was left in an empty house, rueing quietly. All she wanted was to find happiness in her life. How hard could it be? It seemed like just about everything was falling apart around her however, and there was nothing she could do, except watch it happen.

Later in the afternoon Spiros sat in his office at parliament house, his mind anywhere but there; the thoughts were constantly about her. When Billy interrupted the blissful silence, he growled softly in annoyance. It did not go unnoticed to the older man, however, and he questioned, "What's wrong with you? I thought you'd be happy."

"I am."

Billy could not help but raised his eyebrows, not from Spiros' answer, but from the absent look on his face. Curiosity soon got the better of him, "Are we talking about the same thing here?"

Spiros smiled. In a laconic mood, he simply replied with, "Probably not."

About to leave the office, Billy glanced back over his shoulder, saying, "With Tim in Singapore, this gives you the opportunity to show us what you're made of. The chance to shine." Spiros stared blankly at the closed door when the room fell silent again. There was always something about Billy's demeanour that made him feel a little uncomfortable.

When her phone rang, and she saw who was calling, Christine was not sure whether to be happy or anxious about the conversation that was to come. "Tim!" she exclaimed into the phone, hoping that her voice sounded excited enough.

"Hey sweetheart," he replied, his voice sounding happy, happier than hers. "How's things?"

Christine hesitated, and closed her eyes. Should she tell him the truth or not? "Alright. How are you? Did you get there okay?"

"Yeah got here fine. Long delay through customs though."

The conversation continued in a rather stagnant fashion, and only ended when Christine had another incoming call on her phone. She apologised to Tim a couple of times, and hung up, feeling somewhat thankful and relieved for the other call. "Hi," came Spiros' sexy sounding voice when she hit the answer button, and her heart melted. "What are you up to?"

"Oh I'm just sitting here twiddling my thumbs," she answered.

"I'm doing the same, why don't you come over."

Christine wanted to see him, she really did. Only she had not talked to Max about anything yet, and she wanted to sort that out as much as she could before something else took priority. Unsurprisingly, Spiros noticed the long hesitation, "If you've got too much to do, it's okay. Another time perhaps?"

Grateful that he was so understanding and kind, Christine said goodbye, and waited anxiously for Max to get home from school. She knew what she wanted to say to him, she just had no idea how to put it into words. He knew as soon as he walked in the door that she wanted to talk, and he tried to get out of it.

"Max, I just …" she sighed; where were all the good words when she needed them? "God I don't even know how to put it."

"I know what you want to say, mum," Max told her honestly, shrugging his shoulders a little, "But you don't have to."

Christine's eyes followed him as he made his way up the stairs. That went well, she thought, eventually deciding that maybe it was better this way; maybe some things were better left unsaid. She poured herself a glass of wine, and sat down on the couch. The house somehow felt a little bigger without Tim, and Christine knew that there was a possibility that she may be the only one living there soon. The thought of being alone frightened her, and to make things worse, she was livid, absolutely livid, knowing that Max was thinking about moving in with Nat - his birth mother.

From Max's doorway she watched him pack some of his clothes together, trying to hold back tears. It was hardly surprising that he noticed the upset and sad look in her eyes. "It's only temporary," Max reassured her, "I just want to see if it would work out."

"And if it does?"

"You'll always be my mum," he answered with a smile, "I know you're a bit scared of being by yourself, but you won't be. He wouldn't le–"

Christine gave him a look that made his mouth shut. She knew what he was going to say, and the person he was talking about. All she could do though was shake her head at him; the right words always managed to escape her. Max said nothing more as he continued to pack. When Nat knocked on the front door, Christine felt her heart sink and her stomach begin to tie itself into knots. With a small hug he was gone, and she stood in silence by the door. She always thought that finding out Nat was pregnant 16 years ago was the worst time of her life, but Max moving out was starting to equal it.

Christine glanced down at her mobile phone, trying to somehow urge it to ring. When the phone remained silent, she pressed a few buttons and Spiros' number appeared on the screen. She pushed the 'dial' button, and waited merely a second or two before he answered. Forcing herself to breathe, she said, "Is that offer still …"

"Of course."

She drove to his apartment, and once there, he let her inside with a smile; a gorgeous smile. The road to happiness did not quite seem so long and windy when she was with him.