I can't thank you all enough for the feedback that was left on the last chapter, it really was lovely. I'm pleased you seem to still be interested, I thought I would post another chapter after all of the lovely things that you said yesterday. So, here you go. I hope you enjoy this. :-)

Tom wasn't sure what time it was, but it was early when he felt little hands pulling his bed cover down. He frowned and smiled to himself when he found Dempsey standing at the side of the bed trying to use the cover to clamber up. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her onto the bed so that she was sitting at the side of him. When he moved his arm she climbed over him so that she was sitting on his chest. She prodded his cheek and he pretended to bite her finger causing her to laugh He would have had a couple of more hours in bed but something told him that the little girl wasn't ready for some more rest. So, he sat up a little and raised his eyebrow as Dempsey spoke.

"We get food?"

Tom nodded, "We can't have you going hungry can we, and I think that Liam has some chocolate chip muffins downstairs. How about we go and pinch one before anyone else gets up?"

Dempsey chuckled and nodded, "yeah but we no tell anyone?" she made a zip gesture with her finger against her lips.

Tom laughed and shook his head, "No, we'll just blame Liam."

Dempsey laughed once more and after pulling a t-shirt on, Tom made his way downstairs with her and then into the kitchen. He frowned when he found Liam sitting in the chair wearing the same clothes that he'd had on the previous day. Deciding not to get into a conversation about what was going on while Dempsey was there, he made his way over to the kitchen counter while Dempsey moved over to Liam after Tom had put her down onto her feet. "You need snuggles?" she questioned after he'd lifted her into his lap.

Liam nodded "I think I do sweetheart, yeah."

Dempsey wrapped her little arms around his neck and placed her head against his shoulder for a cuddle. He let a flicker of a smile tug at the corners of his lips and brought his hands up to return the cuddle.

"What do you want for breakfast curls?" Tom questioned, his new nickname for her making Dempsey laugh.

"mmmm, chocolate toast?"

Tom nodded and smiled, turning around to make what she had asked. After doing so, Tom poured her some milk into the beaker that was on the side. He placed them in front of her and she began eating while he made himself and Liam a coffee. It was only seconds after doing so Jack walked into the room and spoke. "I'll have one of them if you're making son."

Tom nodded and after making the drinks he brought them all over to the table. It was only moments after sitting down Jack could tell that there were things left unsaid between the two boys and once Dempsey had finished eating, he had another mouthful of his coffee and spoke. "Shall we go and get you in the bath Mrs, you're covered in chocolate?

"Wif the bubbles?"

Jack nodded, "if you want to."

Dempsey let out an excited squeal and hopped off Liam's lap, running over to Jack to take his hand and pull him out of the kitchen and down the hall to the stairs. Liam smiled at her and then sighed when then had stepped out of the room. Tom moved so that he was sitting opposite Liam. "What's going on?"

"What isn't?"

Tom raised his eyebrow. "So you're telling me that nothing else has happened since last night?"

"No I'm not saying that . . . me and Maria have finished."

"You are joking?"

Liam shook his head and sighed, pressing his lips together for a moment before speaking up once more. "No, it finished a long time ago and I want to be with Carla."

"How did she take it?"

"How do you think?"

He sighed, "Who else knows?"

"My dad, I'm guessing granddad knows too, he wouldn't have taken Dempsey for a bath before he'd had his breakfast if he didn't."

Tom smiled an a little and nodded in agreement before speaking up once more. "So if Baz knows, does that mean your mum knows?"

"Not yet, he said he'd tell her."

"I'd hate to be in your shoes when he does."

Liam nodded in agreement and sighed, shaking his head a little. Tom wondered what to say for a moment and all he wanted to do was make his cousin feel a little better. So, he spoke up with the only thing that he hoped might work. "I've arranged a meeting with Marc for today"

"Oh, when for?"

"Half 11."

"Thanks Tom . . ."

"You don't have to thank me." Liam gave a tiny smile and then Tom spoke up once more. "What are you doing today?"

"I've got to go into work, I need to get some things for Dempsey and pick Liam up from Michelle's. I want to meet you later on if you're having that meeting today. I think Dom is arranging a meeting with his two mates who he suggested for security too."

"Are you not taking Dempsey to nursery?" Liam shook his head and Tom frowned. "Why not?"

"Well that's the perfect opportunity for them to take her, isn't it? If she is in there the teachers can't make sure she is where she should be all of the time and I promised Carla that I wouldn't let anyone take her, and I intend keeping that promise."

"Why don't you call the police Liam, they might be able to help."

"No, they're useless. I think we should wait to find out what your friend says before we make any decisions like that. He isn't playing by the book and I don't think we can afford to either."

Tom nodded his understanding before answering Liam once more. "I think I'm going to go and get ready but once I've spoken to him I'll try and call you and find out what you're doing."

Liam nodded and Tom turned and left the room.

An hour later, Liam had made Jack sit down and rest after he'd got Dempsey ready for him. He was managing with his injuries but it didn't stop him worrying. Dom had called his friends and told them to come to Liam's place around 12 and had told Liam that he would stay in the house with Jack so that he wasn't on his own. Dempsey ran down the hall to Liam who picked her up and span her around before holding her on his hip. "You're feeling very energetic this morning."

"I 'ad baff."

Liam smiled "I think you have a bit of an obsession with my baths, don't you?"

Dempsey laughed, though she had no idea what Liam was saying to her. The door went and Dempsey turned to Liam when the bell sounded. He noted that she was panicked and ran his hand over her back gently, the anger coursing through him once more as he remembered what would have caused such a reaction in her.

"Who dat?" Dempsey whispered.

Liam ran his hand over her back in a soothing manner and shook his head a little. "Hey, don't panic sweetheart. I've got you all right?"

She nodded and Liam walked over to the door to answer it. He sighed quietly and raised his eyebrow a little when he found Maria standing opposite him. Her blood boiled that he had Carla's child in his arms, but, she swallowed and hesitated for a moment to try and calm herself down before she spoke. "I wanted to talk too you . . ."

Liam nodded and opened the door to allow her inside. "Just give me a minute."

Maria nodded and Liam walked into the living room where Jack and Dom were. "Can you sit with her for a little while. Maria's here and I need to speak to her."

Jack hadn't been told what had gone on but after his chat with Liam a couple of night's ago he had worked it out for himself. He immediately nodded and held his arms out to Dempsey who reached for him. "You can sit here with me sweetheart."

Dempsey nodded and on sitting by Jack on the couch she pointed in the direction of the Tv. "Horsies?"

Jack nodded, "yeah, they're racing."

"Who wins?"

"We don't know yet, but we want the man in yellow to."

"You have a bet on Jack?" Dom questioned.

Jack nodded "it would be a shame not to really, wouldn't it?"

Dom laughed and nodded his agreement before sitting back in the chair. Once he knew Dempsey was settled, Liam walked back out into the hallway and gestured to the kitchen with a nod of his head. "Should we?"

Maria nodded and walked along the hallway and through to the kitchen though she couldn't help making a snide comment. "Left you with her brat has she?"

"You know when you came here asking if we could talk I assumed it wouldn't be for another argument."

She sighed, "I didn't. It's just all a little convenient if you ask me."

"But I didn't ask you and I don't want to discuss it with you. If you want to talk feel free to sit down and I'll make you a drink, if you don't, just leave."

Maria hesitated for a moment and Liam silently wondered whether she was going to just walk away. However, she sat down slowly and he gave a small nod before walking over to make a coffee. He hesitated for a moment before turning around to take the drinks over once they were made. Once he had sat down, Liam spoke, genuinely meaning what he was saying. "I am truly sorry for what's happened Maria."

"If you are so sorry then why are you doing this?"

"I haven't taken this decision lightly and I am not doing it out of wanting to despite what you might think. I am not apologizing for falling for Carla, I don't regret that. But, I am apologizing for going the wrong way about it and for you getting hurt."

She wasn't really sure of how to respond so settled for a nod. She knew getting into another row would get them nowhere and the carefully conducted plan she had created last night wouldn't allow for it either.

"Do you mind if I speak first?" Liam questioned, and Maria shook her head after taking a slurp of her coffee. "Now, I know this is horrible and if it could have been done in a nice way I would have. But, I don't intend leaving you with nothing to get on with things. I want you to visit Liam a lot and be able to live like you are now, I think that's only fair, as this was my decision. You find a house near here and I'll buy it, I'll get you a car and I will pay you more than enough money a month to live on and take care of Liam when you have him."

"Why would you do all of that?"

"You're the mother of my son, why wouldn't I? I'm not completely horrible Maria, regardless of how you feel at the moment."

"I thought you hated me . . ."

"Of course I don't hate you."

A flutter in Maria's stomach let a small smile tug at the corners of her lips, though she had a drink of her coffee to disguise it. She hesitated for a moment, shrugging gently before speaking once more. "You have a funny way of showing it, you choose someone who can't even do an office job over me?"

Liam frowned, "what are you talking about?"

"A simple telephone order, she couldn't carry that out like she should have. I mean, I don't think it was that hard but yet she messed it up."

Liam paused for a moment, remembering what Maria was referring to. Of course he knew what had happened as he had been in the office that morning when Carla had been worried about what she had or hadn't done and the machinists who worked for him were kicking off about having no material to work with and using the excuse to have a go at her about it. Liam's jaw clenched, he had never told Maria about what had happened, knowing that she would do what the factory workers had and use it as an excuse to have a go at Carla. Therefore, the only way that she could have known about it would be if she had been involved and the thought made his blood boil.

"I never told you about that." He stated, his told cold and sharp.

"Of course you did . . ." she hesitated for a moment and stuttered slightly which told Liam that his thoughts about what Maria had done were spot on. "I mean, how else would I have known if you hadn't?"

Liam raised his eyebrow a little. "Why don't you tell me?" He waited for a moment and when Maria didn't answer, Liam spoke up once more. "You vindictive little cow Maria, what did she ever do to you? Were you jealous of her from the off or something."

"I didn't like her and it turned out that I had good right not to, doesn't it?" she shouted.

Liam sighed; he knew that he had probably been hoping for far too much when he'd hoped there wouldn't be another argument between them. "You know what, just get out. I meant what I said but apart from that I don't want to speak to you."

"We need to arrange when I can have Liam." If she could have, Maria would have gone to lawyers but she knew that it would cost her a lot of money, and though her parents would pay for it for her she knew that with wouldn't come out with anywhere near what Liam was offering her.

"A Sunday and a Monday night."

"Two nights, is that all? My parents will want to have contact with him too."

Liam couldn't help but silently wonder why she was going on as she was. While they were together she hadn't thought twice about leaving their son for a couple of weeks at a time. He guessed that it was to try and get at him, though he was trying to do what he could to stop that from happening. "I'm not stopping you from taking him on holiday. But, four of the nighty's I have him he is at nursery so I want at least one day at the weekend where I can take him out or whatever. If there's something you really want to do that means changing the deal then that's fine but, just let me know."

Maria nodded, she knew there was very little that she could do now, especially as Liam was being so reasonable but she didn't intend giving up. She turned around and walked up the hall, Liam following a little way behind her. On getting to the door Maria opened it and turned around to Liam, hesitating for a moment before speaking. "So I could come and get him on Sunday?"

Liam nodded, "yeah . . ."

Liam wasn't sure what happened in between but the next thing that he knew, Maria's lips were on his. He took a step back and put out his arm out to distance himself from her, shaking his head a little. "What are you playing at?"

"I wanted . . . I thought . . ."

Liam threw his hands up at his sides and shook his head a little, not allowing Maria to say another word before he spoke himself. "You thought what? I just told you that we were finished and you thought I wanted that?" He shook his head a little once more indicating that he didn't understand her and she sighed.

"I don't want this, us, to be over."

"I'm sorry but I do . . ."

"But . . ."

"No buts, I don't know what I've done to give you that impression Maria, but I am furious. It's sick that you would do some of the things you have and say some of the things you have. You threatened to take my son and get whatever you could out of the divorce. Now, I know what I have done was wrong but you're not innocent are you?"

"You promised me that you'd never bring that up again."

"No, I didn't. I told you that I'd forgiven you for it, that was all."

"I kissed someone, I didn't sleep with them."

"It was still cheating. Now, I know this isn't what you want but I think this needs to happen for us both in the long run. I meant what I've said, that I will try and do things as right by you as I can for Liam's sake but that's all."

Maria didn't say or do anything in response to his comment for a moment, but after a couple of seconds she turned around and walked down the path. She was furious and he could tell, though he hoped that would be an end to it. However, what he didn't know was what Maria was thinking of. She didn't intend letting him go without a serious fight and intended to find Carla Donovan and do something about what had happened. Liam was her husband and she wanted to do whatever she could to make sure he stayed hers.

Jack walked across the land at the front of Liam's house with Dempsey and frowned as Maria passed the two of them. When they were close enough, Liam spoke, before Jack had the chance to ask him how things had gone. "What are you two doing, I thought I told you to keep her in?"

"We only went to the shop don't panic, this little Miss wanted some chocolate."

Dempsey held up a large packet of milky stars. "Got deese."

Liam smiled "can I have one please?"

"Pretty please?"

Liam nodded "yeah, pretty please . . ."

Dempsey offered him the bag and Liam took it rather than just taking one. He grinned at Dempsey who gasped before holding her hand out. "You steal dem, give dem back"

"They're very nice . . ." he teased, eating one of the sweets.

Dempsey ran at him so Liam ran away slowly, though they were halfway down the hallway when Dempsey went crashing into his legs, wrapping her arms around one. "Caught you, dey mine now."

Liam smiled "Oh all right then . . ." he gave her the sweets back and laughed as she ran through into the living room where Dom was sitting. Jack walked back through into the house and smiled in Liam's direction at his interaction with the toddler before speaking up. "Why don't I go and pick Liam up from our Michelle's, I think you'll have enough on your plate today."

Liam nodded and gave a small smile. "Thanks granddad."

"You're welcome son."

As the door closed, Liam an Jack were completely unaware of the man who had walked around the trees at the far front of the land of the house. He was pleased the broken fence hadn't been fixed as Liam had asked it to be the previous day, and even more pleased with the images that he'd gotten on his camera. He strolled back to where his car was parked a little way from the house, guessing his boss would be very pleased with his work that day.