Chapter 1

Jack O'Connor was supposed to be working, sort of. Jack was supposed to be doing many things of late, and none of them seemed to get past the 'sort of' stage. His house, which was also his place of work, was still littered with boxes, packing crates, and bagged items even though he'd lived there for two months now. In that respect, even the move had only been 'sort of' too. Before that, Jack had sort of lived in a two bedroomed flat, which he hated. Before that he'd lived in another house that he'd never felt comfortable in, because of it's close proximity to the house he'd lived in prior to that. That had been twelve months ago and Jack had sort of floated along ever since. He looked at the pictures on his computer screen and smiled. Yes, he'd liked that house very much indeed. It was a big, three story building, much like the one he'd sort of moved into now, both had four bedrooms and five downstairs rooms. The only thing that was in the first house that wasn't in the current house was Lynne. She was so beautiful and she looked so happy on those pictures. Jack had only ever seen hair like Lynne's in magazines, but Lynne's was natural red, flame red.

"It's nice here, baby." He smiled at the screen. "I couldn't stay in the town, I know you understand that. I need a clean break to get a grip on my senses. Work's doing quite well, or at least it will if I ever get round to doing some. It's quiet here and the natives seem friendly. I've not heard even a whiff of trouble at all." Jack sighed loudly and poured himself a drink. "I'm putting all these pictures on disc, sweetheart. You'd have told me to do it months ago." He slid a CD into the drive. "I love you, Lynne." Jack watched the little arrows moving across his monitor as his memories were moved into storage.

"Dad?" A mop of flame red hair poked round the office door. "I did knock."

"Hey, Slogger." Jack held out his arm for his seven year old son, Alex. Alex was a walking tribute to Lynne in every respect except gender. He was exactly like her, something that Jack would be grateful for as long as he lived. "Aren't you supposed to be in bed?"

"I came down for a drink. Mrs. Wilson forgot to leave me some milk by my bed." Alex scrambled onto his dad's knee. He loved this room simply because he wasn't usually allowed in it. No one was, not even their housekeeper-come-child minder-come-godsend, Mrs. Wilson. "Are you hacking?"

"Alex!" Jack burst out laughing. "I don't hack! Where did you hear about hacking?"

"I told my teacher at school that you got into other peoples' computers from home and Gary Towers said you were a hacker. He's my best friend now because he thinks that's so cool." Alex said proudly.

"Well I'm pleased your friends think I'm cool, but I'm not a hacker. That's against the law." Jack laughed again. "I'm a systems analyst and anyone's computer I get into is with their full and written permission. Yes?"

"Nah. Hacker sounds cooler." Alex shrugged. "Dad, why are you deleting mum's pictures?"

"Huh? Oh! Oh Alex I'm not." Jack smiled and hugged his son. "I'd never do that. I'm burning them onto disc so we'll have them forever and we can look at them any time we want to. See?" He showed Alex the flashing lights on the disc drive. "I'd never delete them."

"I miss her." Alex said, watching the arrows.

"I do too." Jack kissed the top of Alex's head.

"I think it's a good idea putting them on disc, dad." Alex nodded. "It makes you sad when you see them."

"Is that why the one in your room is overturned? You think it was making me sad?" Alex nodded. "There's no need to do that. Of course I get sad sometimes, just like you do, but I'm not sad all the time now, you aren't either. I bet we're the same." Jack nodded conspiratorially at Alex.

"Same how?"

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