"Mm, we should stop," Max murmured, as Kenny kissed her in the kitchen early the next morning. "Kenny."

He kissed her again, not letting her out of his arms. "Everyone is still asleep."

I can't resist this, she thought, wrapping her arms around him and holding him close. I love you, she thought, I love you so much. "Oh, really?"

"You want to take this back upstairs?"

Yes, she thought, oh yes. What is he doing to me? Hmm. He's been all over me this last year, every time we're alone. Or not…in the car, bathrooms, parties, I'm surprised we haven't gotten arrested yet. "Mm, wait."

"For what?" he teased, still kissing her and letting his fingers slip into her waistband. "Right here, right now?"

Max pulled back and studied her husband for a long moment. How have we been married for five years? How have the past 13 years gone by so quickly? It seems like just yesterday I was 22, meeting him for the very first time. I just want to sit, talk, and he is practically giving me an orgasm already. Feeling him slide her pants down, Max felt herself giving in to his gentle touch. Let him, we can talk later. Groaning, as he slipped into her, she clung to him.

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"How's Max?" Skeeter asked, as he and Kenny went on patrol. "I haven't seen her in awhile."

Busy, he thought, thinking of the number of playgroups, classes and sports she took the kids to. The Mom friends, he thought, completely unsure of what to do when they were at the house. "She's good."

"Linda said she's in the cool Mom group."

"Max doesn't care about any of that," Kenny replied, thinking of the women his wife was hanging around with. "She has some new friends, so what?"

"What are you doing this weekend? You guys want to get dinner or something?"

Kenny nodded. "Yeah, let me run it by her."

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"He's good," Linda said, nodding toward the field.

Max smiled at her old friend, as she followed her gaze where Nate and Billy Skeeter were playing soccer. "They both are. Nate loves it."

"How are you?"

Max shrugged, pushing her hair off of her face. I get that a lot, she thought, from Linda, Jill…I am okay though, except for Kenny poking at me all the time. Not that the sex is bad, it's great, fantastic…I can hardly walk some days with the way he's been plowing into me. "I'm good. Great."

Linda frowned, not really believing her. "Come on, what's up?"

Max bit her lip, not sure she wanted to share. "What? I'm fine."

Not sure she believed her, Linda glanced over at her friend. "Come on, spill it. You miss working?"

Max shrugged, not wanting to delve into that too deeply these days. "Yes and no. I love being with the kids, I think it's important to be with them. Em and Lindsay are so young, Samantha and Nate lost so much, and it's working. I think it's been good for all of us. Of course, I loved my job, but things changed, a lot, and who knows what will happen in a few years?"

She sounds grounded, Linda thought, more so then her husband. Skeeter is worried about him, thinks he living in complete denial, and that he forced Max into this role she never wanted. She does sound good, and despite hanging around with those Mom's I can't stand, she loves her kids and I think she's really doing this for them. "You'd go back to work?"

"I don't know. Maybe," Max trailed off. Kenny would kill me…I just want to talk to him again, and have it not end with sex on the table. "It's a long way off either way."

"Maxine!"

Linda groaned internally, as she watched Natalie Johnson and Ann Davidson walked up. I don't know what she sees in them. "Do I need to get lost?"

"What?" she asked. "Oh, come on."

Linda smiled. "I'm not underdressed?"

Max laughed despite herself. Glancing down at her own jeans, tank top and cardigan. It's clean and fits, that's all I can ask some days. "No more then I am. Give them a chance."

They're snobs, she thought, glancing over at her friend. I get that their kids are friends, but really? They look like they're going to the country club…I can't see them doing the pizza and barbecue that I know are regular events at the Lacos' house. Forget it, she likes them, it really is all about the kids.

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Kenny forced himself to stay neutral as they stood over the child's remains. Forcing himself not to think of his own son. Almost two years ago, he thought, it's fine. I'm fine. He's barely older then Lindsay. Not about my kids, they're safe with Max.

"Jesus Christ," Skeeter stated, looking over at his partner. "Who could do this?"

Kenny gulped, wishing she was anywhere else. Focus, compartmentalize, this is someone else's child, not mine. Slaughtered and dumped in the shallow grave. "We haven't had reports of missing children."

Skeeter shook his head, as the others arrived on the scene. "No. They barely even bother to hide him. He's been here awhile."

Kenny nodded, clamping down on his own pain. Dumped and buried. Left alone… "Yeah."

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"Of course I remember," Max said, mentally kicking herself. "It's going to be great."

Natalie smiled. "It's going to be fabulous. The perfect spring party."

"We're going shopping," Ann added. "Friday, are you coming? Then we figured lunch and playground. If I can tear Bella and Nigel away from their new nanny."

"Friday, what time? I have to check a few things," Max trailed off. Dress up, a night out? I miss that, even just heading out for a beer together. He keeps distracting me with sex…I'd settle for a conversation. "Should be fine."

"We were thinking about a spa day too. Or weekend."

Max nodded, running her hand through her ponytail. A whole weekend? Kenny might kill me. I really need to talk to him again. "Yeah, that might be fun."

"Who is that?" Ann asked, nodding to Linda coming back over. "Her?"

"We're old friends…Our husbands work together," Max said. Who I used to work with too…No, I'm okay. I actually like this. I love my kids, my husband, my life, I'm okay. "She's a good friend."

Natalie pursed her lips and nodded. "What are you guys doing after practice?"

Max shrugged. "Just heading home. Kenny is off at five, and Samantha has cheerleading until six and should be home at seven. We're going to barbecue."

"Again?"

"It's easy," Max admitted. I don't know how they do the organic, five course meals every night. "And it's nice out, so we take advantage of it."

"Max?" Linda called, doing her best to ignore her discomfort around the other two. "Did you get his too?"

"What?" she asked, pulling out her vibrating phone and reading the message. "Oh."

"Caught a case?" Linda sighed. "Can't be good."

Max felt a familiar tightening in her chest, that she tried to ignore. I understand, I get it. Sliding her phone back into her purse, I guess I'm firing up the grill tonight.

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"No missing two year olds in the area," Kenny said, still feeling the disappointment from Jimmy. He still wishes Max was here…I'm sure everyone wishes Max was here. No, she's happy at home. I know she is…If I really asked her, I hope she would. I'm afraid to talk to her, afraid of what she could say. That she really hates me underneath it all. I should talk to her, I know she wants to.

"So we expand the search," Jimmy stated.

"On it," he said, shaking off his home problems.

I should pull him, Jimmy thought, this has to hit home at least somewhat. Max said he never mourned, never really got over it. That it is a huge part of the reason that she gave up her career…this isn't healthy for either of them. "Get on it."

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Max smiled to herself, as she sat back in the lawn chair. How did I get talked into this today? Organic chicken breasts and 10 people in my yard? All I wanted was a hot dog.

"Does he do this a lot?" Natalie asked, sitting down beside her.

"What?" Max asked, keeping an eye on her kids. "Work late? Yeah. I get it though. He'll be home when he can."

"Seriously? Are you that naïve?"

"What?" she asked again. "It's not like that at all. He's a cop, I was one too…we worked a lot of late nights together when we had a case. I understand, and he knows I understand."

Natalie cocked her head to the side. "I thought that about Tom too…all the late nights at the office. He has a 22 year old girlfriend that I'm not supposed to mention."

Max gulped, not too sure what to say. "What? Really? Oh…He does?"

"I don't have any place to go. I don't want to give up my life."

The country club, the big house, the BMW, Max thought, that's why she stays with him? While he cheats on her? How…Would I do the same thing? "You can stay with us."

Natalie smiled and shook her head. "Your husband does not like me. He gets this look on his face like I want to make you into my clone."

Max groaned, knowing the issue ran deeper then that. That he was weird about people he didn't know around the kids and me…that he was less trustful of everyone. That I hate telling him when I'm getting a sitter for a few hours. "He's overprotective. A clone? I'm good if I just put on something clean everyday and brush my hair. I don't think I've worn anything but jeans for the last year. I can't polish myself up to look like you everyday. I'm serious, if you need a place, even for just a few days. We don't have a lot of room anymore, but we have a couch."

"I never worked, I married Tom was I was 18. I had our first baby at 20," she sighed. "I worked so hard to make our home nice, raise our five kids…kept myself in shape, did all the right things, and he does this?"

Max gulped, a little unsure of what to say. Thinking of their lack of conversation of late and the sexcapades of the last year. How he was even a little distant with the kids, like he's afraid of them. Oh, Kenny, what are we doing? "I'm sorry. I'm here if you want to talk."

"I can't talk to Ann or anyone else. They're…you know?"

Because I'm different, Max thought, I've seen too much…lost too much. I can't just turn a blind eye to things. Except when Kenny is all over me lately. "It's harder then I thought it would be, being a wife and mom."

"I don't think they get it."