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Open Unknown Road: Part 2

When Max entered the pub early that evening, he was met with an 
unexpected scene.  It was unusually crowded, Meredith appeared to be 
in the process of handing out free beer, and in the centre of all the 
laughter and commotion, was Laura.  He stood in the doorway for a 
moment, watching, and was struck by two thoughts.  The first, how 
beautiful Laura was.  Smiling around at her rowdy audience, her cheeks
glossy, her green eyes shining.  She made him weak just looking at 
The second thing he noticed, was the disgusting leer shared between 
Grif and Bucket, and obviously aimed at Laura.  What was that about? 
 Strange jealousy started to well in him, as he watched her cheerful 
interaction with everyone.  He hadn't been able to make her smile 
like that in days.
Max strode determinedly across the room, ignoring Bucket's greeting 
as he reached the tight knit circle.  Before he was able to demand an
 explanation, a roar rose up from the crowd, hands slapped his back 
and Laura started to look nervous.  Max glanced around confused, until
an arm clapped his left shoulder.
"Well done Max," said Grif winking, and then another male voice said,
"Good score!"
Max bristled with immediate understanding and anger at their comments.
 Shooting a warning look at the men he growled, "Watch it."
Then he turned to Laura.  His eyes boring into hers silently. She 
paused only a moment before she put her drink down, stepped forward 
and slid her arms around his stomach.  Max was more than surprised, 
since they hadn't yet resolved their fight, but he placed a tentative
 hand on her back.
"Max and I have um, reservations for dinner, so we should go."  Laura
 leant on him to signal that they should leave.  He turned and walked 
towards the door.  Laura scurried behind him, grasping his hand to 
hold.  He led her out of the pub, thoroughly confused by these sudden
displays of affection.

Once out on the street, Max dropped her hand and raised his eyebrows,
Laura looked uncomfortable, "No, I just said it so we could leave.  
But we probably should go out for dinner." 
 She finished brightly, trying to smooth things over.  
Max smiled dryly, "You couldn't bare to look at me this morning and 
now you want us to go out for dinner?"  He shook his head and headed 
off towards the sand.
Laura swallowed her pride and quickly followed.

She tugged on his arm, pulling him down to sit with her on the sand.
She took a deep breath and mumbled something that resembled an apology.  
His eyes widened: Laura never apologised.
"Didn't quite catch that Laura."
She paused, annoyed that he was making her say it twice, "I'm really 
sorry about this morning Max.  I didn't mean it."  Then she met his 
eyes, "I'm incredibly glad that you kidnapped me in that boat."
He smiled a little and gazed out at the horizon, "Me too."  Then, "Why,
when we were fighting, did you go and announce the baby?  Why did you 
make that decision alone?"

She placed her hand on his shoulder, "It really wasn't meant to be 
like that.  Meredith found out and it all sort of escalated.  You 
don't really mind me telling do you?  Your reaction wasn't all that 
good in there."  She raised her voice a little, "If you're at all 
ashamed Max, of the baby, or, or me, then I think you should probably
 tell me now."
Max almost laughed.  He put his arm around her, curling her into his 
"I could never, ever be ashamed of you, and I am ecstatic to be 
having a baby with you."  She pushed her face up into his neck, 
kissing him.
He continued, "I still don't think you should have told them all alone,
I didn't like what Grif and Bucket were saying."
"They were just joking," she murmered, eyes closed.
"Well I didn't like it," he repeated.
Laura opened her eyes and said playfully, "What?  You don't think I'm
a 'good score'?"
He grinned, hugging her tightly, "Yeah, but my score and my score only."