Secret Revealed

"That was lovely Josh I'm stuffed." Laura said as they left the Italian restaurant where they'd had a nice romantic dinner after going to see a movie. Laura had never been to that particular restaurant before with its individualised waitering service, candle lit tables and roomy atmosphere, but Josh had been there before and he'd said she would like it. As usual he'd been right the atmosphere had been very pleasant and quiet romantic and the food had been absolutely gorgeous - all three courses of it.

"I knew you'd like it," Josh replied as they walked to the car shivering slightly in the cold wind blowing in off the sea. For the last several days weather forecasters had been tracking a powerful storm out in the Pacific that was heading towards the American West Coast. It would arrive soon the cold wind that had started to blow across Del Oro Bay was a good indicator that the coastal metropolis lay straight in its path. "Shall we go there again?"

"Oh you bet," Laura replied giving her muscular boyfriend a hug to hide something that had been bothering her. While they were waiting for the first course of their meal to arrive she'd read her horoscope in one of the newspapers provided by the restaurant. It had said that she was soon going to learn great secrets and that she should be understanding and forgiving Laura hadn't really understood what that meant. What great secrets, she wondered as they climbed into the car, something to do with Josh? Or could it have something to do with Pete? Or even Max Steel?

They parked the car in Josh's garage and decided that they would go for a walk along the promenade to walk off some of the effects of the enormous meal they had just consumed coats done up against the strengthening wind. They walked in companionable silence holding hands in the classic mode of lovers the whole time.

It was on there way back that they ran into trouble. Three men in dark clothing and bulging with the kind of muscles that would make even the local bodybuilders look small appeared seemingly from nowhere and blocked their path. All three were armed one with a length of pipe, one with a baseball bat, one with a short but vicious looking knife. Josh and Laura immediately stopped holding hands and took up defensive martial arts stances. Martial arts were one of the many interests they shared and both were highly skilled. Rachel's combat training had further sharpened Josh's skills. The three muggers were unperturbed by there intended victims assuming martial arts stances. They were confident that their strength would be easily able to overpower their opponents. Had they known what Josh could do however they would not have been so confident in fact they would have backed off immediately for they would have known that Josh was fully capable of taking on and defeating a dozen men like them all without even breathing hard.

"Give us you wallets and valuables now," the lead mugger said – the one armed with the knife. "And we won't hurt you." Josh swapped a quick glance with Laura. Like hell, their expressions said.

"Come and get them," Josh snapped at the men. "If you're brave enough." The lead mugger glared at him then lunged sweeping the knife from side to side intending to slash Josh's throat while simultaneously one of his compatriots - the one wielding the length of pipe - dove towards Laura. Josh fainted to the side. The mans inertia carried him forwards and Josh pivoted and threw a kick hard into the mans side causing a satisfying whumph as the man's breath was knocked from him. The man rubbing his throbbing side came around again the knife raised high above his head as he prepared to strike. As the knife started descending Josh reached out and grabbed his wrist hard intending to pit bone against muscle that would force the man to release his knife, unfortunately Josh squeezed a little to hard and his nanotech enhanced strength crushed the finer bones in the mans wrist to powder. The knife dropped to the deck as the thug's face went purple contorting with the kind of pain that was too great for a scream. Simultaneously with his other hand Josh performed a classic knockout chop to the side of the mans neck. The thug's eyes rolled backwards and he collapsed into an unconscious heap.

Josh turned to check on Laura to see that she was more than holding her own. The thugs length of pipe had been knocked from his hands, blood was trailing from his nose and his one eye was swollen shut. As he watched Laura back-pedalled a bit then leapt into the air and delivered a reverse snap kick to the thug's chest. The thug crumpled backwards and Laura kicked him hard on the chin. The thug collapsed.

The third thug took that moment to swing at Josh with the baseball bat. Josh instinctively blocked the swing with his left arm where the bat struck his watch. In Josh's ears there was a snap of damaged electronics from the concealed bio link but it didn't shatter. Even as he blocked the swing Josh kicked the thug in the knee as hard as he could without going turbo, the knee gave a satisfying snap as it shattered. The thug screamed and dropped to his knees the last thing he saw was the heel of Josh's hand smashing into his jaw the force of the blow physically throwing him back and eliciting a spray of blood and broken teeth. The thug was unconscious before he hit the floor.

Josh and Laura both eased out of their martial arts stances and looked down at the three disabled bullies.

"Are you okay?" Josh asked Laura.

"Fine. What about you? You took a blow on your arm?"

"It's fine," Josh replied even as a damage schematic flipped up in his vision. Ugh oh there was class two damage to the bio links control circuitry. He would have to go to N'Tek and have Berto repair the damaged bio link in the morning assuming of course that the max probes didn't repair it in the meantime according to the display some of the probes that normally patrolled his bloodstream acting as a booster for his immune system were already racing into the bio link to repair or at very least isolate the damaged systems. "Nothing broken."

Suddenly at that moment the concealed bio link emitted a snapping noise as shorting relays tripped a certain function. Laura's eyes went wide and she stared at her boyfriend in complete shock and amazement as with a soft crackling noise and a strange ripple of yellow-green energy Josh McGrath transformed into Max Steel right in front of her eyes. Max for his part looked down in startled surprise even as the bio link snapped again and he changed back into Josh. He looked up to see Laura staring wide-eyed and open mouthed at him. He knew what this meant. Laura had just seen him change from Josh to Max and back again, there could be no going back now. She knew.

"J…J…Josh," Laura stammered in utter amazement. She could not believe what her eyes had just seen. "Y…y…your Max." Josh knew that he had no way out of this situation. It was the situation he had always dreaded being put in.

"Yes," he said. "I am." Laura shook her head still finding what she had just seen hard to believe. How was it possible? How could Josh McGrath also be Max Steel? How could he change like that? Instinctively she knew she'd just stumbled onto one hell of a big secret.

"What-? How?" she managed to say even as a little voice inside her urged her to get out of whatever this was before she got in to deep. Laura ignored that voice her desire to know to understand what she had just seen was to great.

"It's a long story," Josh replied. "And this is not the place to tell it." He walked up to her cautiously and was pleasantly surprised when she didn't flinch away from him, as he had always feared she would. Laura observed his cautious approach and wondered why he was approaching her like that.

"Josh," she said softly and his brown eyes met her gaze she could see that he was afraid. "Why are you-?" Then it dawned on her. He's afraid that I'm going to reject him, she realised, that I'm going to consider him a freak and won't want anything to do with him. But I could never do that. Never. "Oh. Josh there's no reason to think that. I will never leave you. And no I don't consider you a freak, special maybe but not a freak. I will always love you no matter who you are or what you can do."

"Do you really mean that?" Josh asked softly lowering his eyes. Laura gently gripped his chin and forced him to look up at her.

"Yes I do," she told him putting all her conviction behind those three words. Then she kissed him full on the mouth. A second later she felt his arms go around her and they kissed deeper. Then finally they parted. "Come on," Laura said. "Lets go home you can tell me everything then." And with that they resumed walking hand in hand leaving the three unconscious thugs motionless on the ground behind them.

They got back to Josh's house just in time. For as they arrived the first large drops of rain from the approaching storm began to impact the ground as the thick matt of clouds raced inland from the ocean.

After turning the lights on and taking their coats off Josh and Laura went into the living room and sat down next to each other on the sofa. Josh mentally prepared himself to explain everything to Laura; the real N'Tek, the max probes everything. He had no choice now that she knew about him and apparently accepted it. He would have to think what to say to his father later. Dad was going to have a fit about this he knew that for a start, though he would understand that Josh had no other choice. Laura for her part sat beside her boyfriend waiting patiently for him to begin his explanations, she could tell that this was not an easy thing for him to do. Not at all.

After a few moments of silence Josh began talking about how he'd become Max Steel. He told her everything how he'd gone to N'Tek that fateful day in June last year to find a pair of lifts hidden in the gardening shed. He told her about how he'd followed Psycho down to the vast underground complex that existed beneath the N'Tek global headquarters tower out in the bay. The battle that had ensued between him, a group of N'Tek agents and Psycho. And then he explained about his accident in the nanotech lab caused by a blast from Psycho's laser cannon that shattered the glass on the max probes containment cylinder drenching him in suspension fluid, his voice faltered as he explained about the pain he'd experienced as the max probes first went inside and then became a part of him. He explained about how the probes had integrated with all his systems his skin, his bones, his muscles everything. He told her about how he'd nearly died after his accidental infusion with the max probes and about the transphasic energy transfusion that had made the probes fully operational and saved his life. Then he went on to explain how he'd discovered how he could alter his appearance and how he used that power to assume the persona known as Max Steel and detailed the super powers he possessed and how he needed regular transfusions of transphasic energy - or T-juice - in order to keep his max probes operational otherwise they would die and take him with them. He also outlined Team Steel and its members Berto Martinez, Rachel Leeds, Kat Ryan and occasionally Jake Nez and Chuck Marshak.

All in all it took about an hour Laura asked questions now and again mainly about his abilities and their limitations. When Josh was done she sat back on the sofa and thought about what Josh had just told her. It all seemed so amazing yet she knew that it was true. And she did understand why he'd never told her about any of it, though it would have saved them both a lot of emotional turmoil had he done so before. He'd been protecting her from the part of him that had changed that day last June, and from the terrible dangers of the murky cloak and dagger world of international espionage which was where he lived and worked whenever he changed into Max. Laura had seen some of those dangers when she'd met him as Max and could fully understand why he would want to protect her from them.

"I've got to go over to N'Tek in the morning and get this thing repaired," Josh said making the bio link appear on his left wrist and examining the damage. The status screen and three of the main controls had been damaged but at least it was no longer shorting, the max probes had shut down the damaged parts of the bio link system and re-routed some of the damaged functions. "At the moment I'm not sure what's working now and what isn't. It's nothing that cannot be fixed however. I was wondering do you want to come over with me. See my world for yourself." Laura nodded even as she curiously examined the damaged bio link on Josh's arm. "All right then." Josh glanced over at the windows and the sheets of wind driven rain lashing against the glass. "I think it would be advisable if you stayed here with me tonight." Laura glanced at the rain herself. If she went out in that she would be soaked through to the skin with a minute or two.

"I think your right," she agreed. Josh smiled at her and stood up and inclined his head at the stairs. Laura caught what he was thinking, grinned and held out her hand, Josh helped her up and they kissed before going upstairs to the bedroom.


1.1.1 N'Tek Headquarters

Next Day

Josh's Shadow sports convertible pulled into the main parking area of the headquarters complex. Josh pulled into the bay that was assigned to him and stopped the engine. He glanced over at Laura who was looking a little nervous. She knew that once she entered this world - even though she was not a secret agent herself - there would be no going back.

"Are you ready for this?" Josh asked. Laura nodded. "Okay." They got out of the car and Josh locked the doors. He didn't need to put the hood up as it already was up against the storm that was still battering Del Oro Bay as if determined to wipe the city off the face of the Earth. Not that there was any danger of the Shadow being stolen from here. The car park was monitored twenty four hours a day three hundred and sixty five days a year by the headquarters security network any attempt at theft would bring a dozen agents running before the thief or thieves could react and would seal the entrance with an energy net preventing an escape.

Josh led her through the car park towards the stairs and lifts the led up into the tower above them. But when they reached the stairwell they didn't go up the flight of steps that led up to the tower lobby. Instead Josh pressed his hand against a seemingly blank concrete wall. A light glowed beneath his hand and then there was a humming noise. A rectangular section of the wall retracted then moved aside revealing a flight of steps leading down.

"Come on," he said leading Laura down the steps.

Laura was surprised to find that the steps led down to another pair of lifts and a stairwell leading down. Laura briefly walked over to the stairwell and looked down the gap between the individual flights and whistled. It was along way down.

"It's along way down," she commented.

"Fifteen floors," Josh replied. "Then you reach the first level of the underground complex. It's quicker to go this way." Josh led her over to the lifts. In place of the normal lift summoning buttons was a number pad, palm scanner and LCD display panel. Josh typed in a code then placed his right hand on the palm scanner. There was a short pause.

"Agent Steel identity confirmed," a brisk female voice said from the panel. The lift on the right opened to allow them access. They got in and Josh pressed a button on the control panel inside the lift. The doors closed and they started descending.

"Does this go all the way down," Laura asked.

"Only to the first complex level," Josh replied as he transformed into Max. "There is another set of lifts and stairs for moving about between complex levels. All protected by security codes."

"Not to sure of security are you?"

"We cannot afford to be," Max replied. "Look what happened the last time we got complacent about security Psycho walks in here without being challenged. We've been watched from the moment we arrived. The only reason why you haven't been challenged is because you're with me."

"Oh," was all Laura said in reply. She was surprised by how easily she accepted suddenly standing across from Max not Josh, which is who he'd been a moment ago. Maybe getting to grips with Josh being essentially two people one of whom lived a very perilous existence would not be so difficult.

It was at that moment that the lift came to stop and the doors opened into a concrete walled corridor lit from overhead by harsh fluorescent strips and with conduits snaking along the ceiling. An annoyed looking Jefferson Smith was standing waiting for them arms folded and dark face resembling a thundercloud.

"Max you better have a damn good explanation for this," Jefferson rumbled dangerously throwing a very angry look at his son who met his gaze with his usual defiance. Jeff looked over at Laura to see equal defiance in the Asian teenager who was the love of his son's life. "What is she doing here?"

"Well last night I found out that my boyfriend - and your son - is also Max Steel," Laura replied not the least bit surprised by Jeff's fury Josh had warned her to expect a frosty reception at best at least at first. If anything Jefferson looked angrier at her reply as he threw a look of mixed fury and shock at Max.

"You told her!" he exclaimed without realising it he slipped into angry father mode not angry superior officer. "Josh we have been over this a thou..."

"I didn't have a choice," Max interrupted. If his stepfather got started on another one of his lectures about security and the need for secrecy they would be here all day. The interruption had its desired effect and stopped Jefferson's lecture dead in its tracks. With an effort Jefferson shut the angry father back into his box. The last thing he wanted was to get into a shouting match with Josh\Max.

"I'm listening." Max took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. Laura put a supportive hand on his arm. Surprised despite herself by how deceptively normal his arm felt. Beneath the soft fabric of his uniform she felt only the healthy hardness of normal Human muscles. There was no indication there that Max/Josh possessed physical strength way beyond that of normal men.

"Last night after we returned from our dinner date at Bazola's," Max began his tone the formal tone of a subordinate reporting to a superior. Laura took note of this and wondered if it was a habit for Josh to always speak to his father in such a manner whenever he went into what he'd termed Max mode. Somehow she knew that to be the case. It would fit into the whole double identity thing. "We went out for a brief walk along the promenade to walk off some of the effects of the meal," Max continued. "This was before the storm hit of course."

"On our way back three thugs jumped us," Laura said breaking in. "They threatened us with a lead pipe, a baseball bat and a knife. They demanded money and any other valuables we were carrying. Since we are both skilled in martial arts we engaged them and soon disabled them."

"During the course of the fight I was hit hard in my left arm by the baseball bat. The bio link took the bulk of the strike." For emphasis Max held up the damaged bio link and allowed Jeff to examine it. "For a few seconds it malfunctioned," Max continued. "I immediately transformed from Josh to Max and back again before the max probes could shut down and re- route the damaged circuitry."

"I could barely believe my eyes," Laura admitted she knew she would always remember that brief malfunction in the damaged bio link that had revealed to her that Josh McGrath and Max Steel were the same person.

"And so you told here everything," Jefferson said still looking at his son his ire fading away. The damage to the bio link had put Josh in an impossible situation. There was no way that he could have explained away his transformation into Max Steel and back again to Laura without telling her about the real N'Tek. He could not have lied his way out of the situation. Not this time. And it was possible that he wouldn't have anyway.

"Not straight away," Max replied. "We waited until we got home." Jeff sighed.

"I see," he said softly. "Max go to Berto's lab and get him to repair that blasted thing," he gestured at the bio link. "Laura you will come with me." Neither Max nor Laura looked happy at that but reluctantly they did what they were told. Max gently shook free of Laura's grip on his arm, turned and walked off down the left-hand side of the corridor. Laura watched him go.

"Will he be all right?" she asked softly.

"Perfectly. It's not the first time the bio links been damaged though not quiet like that. Damage is bound to occur in the field it can get very very rough out there," Jefferson replied as Laura turned to look at him. "Now then what are we going to do with you?"

"So that's what happened," Max said finishing his explanation for Berto and the rest of Team Steel. Berto shook his head with a sigh even as he carried out repairs on the bio link that he'd removed from Max's wrist and taken over to the main workbench. Leave it to Max to find trouble on something as simple as a walk on the promenade he was beginning to believe that N'Tek had to have included a trouble magnet in the make up of the max probes. He made a mental note to review the design schematics again.

"So now Laura knows about us," Rachel Leeds queried from where she stood leaning against the wall with Jake and Kat. They'd been hanging around in the lounge down the hall when he'd walked past. Curious as to what he was doing here when there wasn't a mission to go on they'd followed him to Berto's lab where they'd found out what had happened last night and its consequences. Particularly about Laura being here at N'Tek.

"Yep," Max answered.

"So what's this going to mean," Kat wondered aloud. Max shrugged.

"One things for sure Laura's going to stop thinking I'm cheating on her. We won't row as much." Everyone chuckled. They all knew that Laura and Josh argued quiet allot these days. Usually because Laura frequently suspected Josh of cheating on her.

"I'm serious," Kat said even as she chuckled.

"I know," Max replied. "And the answer is I just don't know what Laura knowing about us will mean for the future. All I know is I did not have a choice last night."

"No one's saying that you did have a choice Max," Rachel reassured him softly not surprised by the defensiveness she heard in his tone. "Under the circumstances you did the only thing you could. Now though we have to live with the consequences of the choice you made."

"I know," Max replied his blue eyes locked on the blank console screens and his voice so soft and quiet that they could barely hear him. "I know."

Meanwhile Jefferson Smith was showing Laura Chen around the underground complex. Laura was amazed by what she was seeing. There were agents and scientists everywhere all of them detected to thwarting the plans of the world's worst terrorists. There was a fully equipped gym and exercise rooms, underground hanger bays filled with attack fighters and a huge aircraft that was designed to carry them and other vehicles and equipment into the field. According to Jeff the monster was named Behemoth and was used almost exclusively by Team Steel. Then there was a fully equipped hospital here and much more. Laura was especially awed by the huge transphasic generator that was used to provide power for some of their weapons but primarily to keep max probes - which they used in all the vehicles as well as the things being inside Josh/Max - operational.

"You must never tell anyone about any of this," Jeff said to her as they started back towards the lifts that would take them back up to the first underground level. "Our operation depends on absolute secrecy at all times. Only a few people in the government, the UN, CIA, FBI, Interpol and the British MI5 and MI6 even know that we are more than just a high tech sports company. That's just our public face. Of course all the other anti- terrorist organisations know who we are as we occasionally have to work together."

"I understand," Laura told him. "I won't tell a soul. You have my word."

"That is not necessary I know we can trust you." Laura practically glowed at hearing Jefferson say that about her.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

After a moment they reached the lifts and Jefferson used his security code to call one. As they ascended upwards in the lift Laura decided to speak to Jeff about something that had been bothering her ever since last night when Josh had told her just who and what he was.

"I should apologise to Josh," she said softly. Jeff looked over at her inviting her to explain. "I should not have been so quick as to assume he was cheating on me."

"If you want my advice Laura don't speak to him about it," Jeff advised. "You hurt him badly when you accused him of that although he knew you were wrong. Speaking of it now would only reopen those wounds. You know he wasn't cheating on you now. Rachel and Kat are two of his team mates nothing more. Yes they're close but that's natural when your lives depend on each other it forms a bond stronger than love, friendship or family. But he would never cheat on you he loves you too much. Now you cannot go forwards as if nothing has happened but you can trust each other." Laura looked down for a moment.

"I know."

"And he knows it to." The lift came to a stop at the top level of the underground complex and the doors opened, they climbed out to see Max waiting for them at the top, the bio link on his arm repaired - in fact it showed no sign of ever having been damaged. Laura smiled at her wonderfully unique boyfriend letting him know that all was well. A look of relief appeared in his blue eyes as he smiled back at her.

Jefferson watched and hid a smile himself. Somehow he knew that Josh and Laura were going to alright now and there would be no more of the upset that had occurred between them this last year as a direct result of the freak accident that had transformed Josh McGrath into Max Steel. After a moment Max turned to him and asked if he was needed for anything today. Jeff assured his son that there was not, things had been very quiet on the terrorist front these last few weeks, specially since the capture of John Dread and the destruction of his network of terror. True there had been some rumblings from fundamentalist Islamic groups in the Middle East but other than that it was quiet.

Satisfied that there was no mission for him to go on or anything else secret agenty to do Max took Laura's hand in his own and they walked off back towards the lifts to the surface levels. Jefferson watched them go, then he sighed and headed towards the lift that linked directly to his office and nowhere else. Unlike Max he had work to do, work to do with N'Tek's corporate side and there plans to expand into other sectors of the economy besides the manufacture and sale of high tech sports gear sector. Sometimes running both a anti-terrorist organisation and a corporate empire could be quiet tiring.

It was quiet in Josh's car as Josh and Laura drove away from the headquarters complex towards the bridge to the mainland, with the storm still raging it was too dangerous to take the ferry. Laura was deep in thought and Josh for his part was concentrating on his driving since the strong winds and heavy rain was making driving treacherous to say the least.

Laura found she couldn't stop thinking about everything she'd learned in the last twenty-four hours - was it really so short a time? First last night she'd discovered that her boyfriend possessed superhuman abilities and was secretly Max Steel, and today she'd seen the real N'Tek, the one carefully hidden behind the sports technology company facade that N'Tek projected to the world. It was as if her whole world had changed in these last couple of hours. But at least she knew now why Josh disappeared so often for no apparent reason, he'd simply changed into Max and gone off to do battle with this terrorist or another. Suddenly something occurred to her. She'd always been suspicious of Josh's disappearances but Pete hadn't had a problem with it. Did he know?

"Josh," she asked softly.

"Yeah?" he asked not taking his eyes off the road and the slick asphalt surface that was covered in puddles some of which were so big they could qualify as ponds.

"I was just wondering something."


"Does Pete know about you?"

"Yes he does," Josh replied. "He found out when Dread kidnapped him and attempted to blackmail me into giving him some max probes and their performance data in exchange for Pete's life."

"So what did you do?"

"Simple what he wanted. Only I took him some tainted max probes that would never work and the performance data was simply a college report. By the time Dread figured it out we turned the tables on him and took him prisoner. Dread's now in jail where he belongs. However only me and Berto know that Pete knows. Kat wasn't part of Team Steel then and Rachel was back in England tending to other matters." Laura chuckled. Josh had brains as well as brawn. He definitely didn't fit into your usual muscleheaded athlete mould. But then Josh was not a normal person.

"Clever," she complemented. "That's one of the things I like about you. Brains as well as brawn." Josh laughed then he turned serious.

"Are you okay with all this?" he asked her softly. Laura considered her answer for a moment. Everything she'd learned and seen still seemed to be amazing some of it boarding on the unbelievable but yeah she could live with it. After all Pete had and if he could then so could she.

"Yeah I'm okay with it," she assured him. "It's just going to take a little getting used to."

"It does that," Josh agreed with a smile on his lips.

"I cannot imagine what it was like for you," Laura added. "Coming to terms with the fact that you were no longer a normal Human being."

"It was hard," Josh admitted. "On the morning of that day I went to N'Tek as normal as anyone. But when I came back I wasn't normal anymore and I never will be again. Learning to control the superpowers I suddenly had because of these things inside me wasn't easy. Suddenly being twice as strong as anyone else and able to be stronger whenever I want was not an easy thing to learn to live with."

"I can imagine it would be very hard. But you didn't have to go through it alone you could have called me in Shanghai you know! I would have come running to your side you know that."

"I know," Josh replied with a warm smile on his face as they came to a stop at a set of traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic on and off the bridge to the main land. "And had it been anything else I would have called you. But controlling nanotech powers was not something you could have helped me with. Plus I would not have been allowed to tell you what the problem was. I was also afraid."

"Afraid of what?"

"That I would hurt you without meaning to," Josh replied softly the lights changed and he began driving over the bridge ignoring with practised ease the spray of the waves lashing against the bridges support columns. "I could have broken your wrist as I did that one thugs last night when all I would have meant to do was hold it. Or I could have thrown you across a room when all I meant was to nudge you that kind of thing."

"I would have been willing to risk it," Laura assured him touched by the concern he had had for her safety. Despite her words she knew that being with Josh back then would have been somewhat hazardous especially since he hadn't known his own strength back then. He was right it would have been dangerously easy for him to have injured her without intending to.

"I know and I almost called you," he admitted.

"Well that's in the past now. We have to look forward to the future." Josh smiled warmly.

"Yes we do."

It was there that they left it. Laura knew the truth about her boyfriend now, and she was deeply shamed for having suspected him of cheating on her when it should have been obvious that he was not, and would never do so. She knew now why his behaviour had changed so much during the three summer months that they were apart. He'd been shielding her from those parts of him that had changed that day. He'd been forced by circumstances to hide who he'd become from her because it would have been to dangerous for her to know. It still was dangerous for her to know that he was Max Steel but Laura was willing to live with that danger. As her father sometimes said the best way to reap enjoyment out of life was to live dangerously.

Laura was not a psychic she did not know what the future held. But whatever it was she would face it at Josh's side no matter what happened. After all weren't lovers supposed to be there for each other through thick and thin.

The End