Smithy starred at the small child sitting on the counter in front of him. He seemed oblivious to Smithy's eyes upon him and carried on happily playing with the toy car in his hands.
Stevie watched Smithy intently, she saw him staring at her child, shocked and extremely confused. She swallowed hard trying to picture his next move but he kept staring. She could see the cogs moving around in his head, estimating her son's age, reworking out dates.
"Mommy," her sons voice woke her from thoughts.
"That man keeps staring at me," Smithy finally noticed and quickly looked away.
"Sorry," he looked across to Stevie "How old is he?"
"Four," She searched his face hoping that he wouldn't question her anymore.
"DS Moss," She turned to see Reid standing at the bottom of the stairs "A word please,"
Stevie looked at her son and back at Reid "But!"
"NOW," he yelled before heading back up the stairs.
Stevie looked from the door behind her back to Smithy and her son torn. "Go talk to him," Smithy said, "I'll watch him,"
Stevie looked surprised "I can't ask you to do that,"
"I'm offering Stevie," He smiled "Unless you don't feel comfortable leaving him with me," He sounded hurt, like she didn't trust him. This was a man that even after all they'd been through she trusted with her life.
"Oh course I do," she answered reassuringly "Are you sure?"
He smiled and nodded.
Stevie lent on the counter with her son sitting between her arms "Hey buddy," she whispered softly. "Do you think you can go with mommy's friend for a bit," He looked up at her and nodded.
She groaned and Smithy chuckled like he used to whenever she got herself in trouble. He smiled warmly at the memory.
"Coming Sir," she yelled "Back soon baby," she kissed her son's cheek and made her way back upstairs.
Smithy glanced at the child staring at him and he felt slightly uncomfortable. "Hey mate, how bout we go get you a drink?"
He nodded and Smithy picked him up and headed towards the canteen. He was finding it hard to get his head around the idea of Stevie with a child. This was a woman who once killed a goldfish because she forgot to feed it for a week. Stevie Moss maternal? He thought amused him somewhat but there was something that he couldn't quite put his finger on, but this new information made him slightly uneasy. He was waiting in line in the canteen when he heard his name called. "Dale!" A young woman headed towards him and he was surprised that she knew his first name.
She spoke softly at the small boy in his arms "Hey Dale honey, you come to help mommy catch the bad guys?" He young boy giggled in Smithy's arms and nodded his head enthusiastically.
The pretty blonde began chatting to Smithy but none of it registered. He just kept thinking about the boy, the boy with the same name as him. Why? Why had she called her son after him? 'She was your best friend after all,' he reasoned with himself. 'But you hurt her. She left because of you, why then would she name her son after the man who broke her heart,'
"Inspector Smith," he refocused back on the woman staring up at him.
He felt himself pale as a realization hit him and the police office in him needed to investigate more "I'm sorry but I have to go," he placed the money for Dale's drink on the counter and headed back out the door with the boy in his arms.
Taking Dale into an empty room, Smithy sat himself and the boy down on the floor. "Hey mate, can I play with your car too?"
Dale looked up at Smithy and eyed him suspiciously. Smithy couldn't help but chuckle, he looked so much like his mother when he did that. Hearing Smithy chuckle Dale grinned and handed him the car.
"Hi my names Dale," Smithy held his hand out to the young boy who giggled at him.
"No that my name silly,"
"Mine too," Smithy grinned.
Dale eyed him cautiously "Really?" There was a hint of disbelief in his voice, Smithy's grin widened, this kid was sharp.
"Yep," Smithy nodded.
Dale giggled, "It's my daddy's name too,"
Smithy blinked "Your daddy's name is Dale too," he repeated. It was more a statement than a question.
Dale nodded "He's a policeman like…. Mommy!" Dale jumped up and ran to Stevie who was standing in the doorway. The little boy hugged his mother's waist and looked up at her "I'm hungry mommy,"
"I know baby, were going home soon,"
Stevie looked over at Smithy who had paled, he grabbed the sofa behind him for support and the room began to spin. He was thankful that he was already sitting down. The realization hit him! He was a father; the boy who had just been playing beside of him was his son.
"Smithy are you ok?" Stevie approached him with caution. But he didn't hear her, he just kept playing Dale's words round and round in his head. "My daddy's name is Dale,"
The words shocked Stevie as she knelt down beside him. He looked straight at her. Confusion, hurt, anger, fear evident upon his features as he struggled to form the right words. He looked like a lost little boy trying so desperately to piece back together everything he had ever believed in. She hated seeing him like this and instinctively reached for him, they may have been over a long time ago but that didn't mean she wanted to see him hurting, it almost broke her heart.
He pulled away and stared up at her with accusing eyes "He's mine isn't he?" He already knew the answer but he needed her to say the words.
Stevie's eyes stung with tears, as she looked between her beautiful little boy playing on the floor behind her, so oblivious to the carnage that she was about to cause, and Smithy fully aware of what her pending admission would mean.
Slowly she nodded, the tears now falling freely "Yes he yours,"
As the words came out she felt a sense of relief, like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders and she was free of this terrible secret. She expected Smithy to scream at her, threaten her for access, or smash the room up but he just sat there, tears running down his face.
"Do you hate me that much?" he asked sadly
"What?" Stevie was confused
"I know I hurt you Stevie," he said barely above a whisper "But I didn't think you hated me enough to keep my son from me,"
"It wasn't like that," she protested
"No?" he questioned disbelievingly
"No," Stevie answered, "I know I did a terrible thing,"
Smithy snorted quietly.
"Please Smithy…." she began.
He shot up off the floor and began pacing in front of the sofa. "Look," she began again "I didn't do this to hurt you,"
"BULLSHIT!" He spat.
Stevie watched Dale's attention pick up as Smithy let his anger out. She understood why he felt the way he did, but she didn't want her son seeing a heated exchange between them.
"Smithy please," she gestured to their son sitting on the floor looking up at them both suspiciously. That boy was far too smart for such a young age and she didn't want to give him any more opportunities to ask awkward questions that usually resulted in a trip to McDonalds or a new toy in the hope that he'd change the subject. "Not here, not in front of him…. I promise I'll tell you anything you want to know, you can let rip at me as much as you want…. God knows I deserve it… Just not with him present,"
Smithy was a reasonable man, more reasonable than he probably should have been but he knew she was right, getting angry at her in front of Dale wouldn't achieve anything, he wouldn't get the answers to the questions he needed to ask her.
"Fine," he huffed "But I want answers Stevie, I need them,"
"Come round tonight…after he's gone to bed and we'll talk,"
He nodded gently and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a card. "Text me your address and I'll pop round,"
Taking it from him she smiled before turning to leave. Taking her sons small hand she led him towards the door. She was dreading the conversation she would be having with Smithy later on tonight, but she knew it was long overdue.