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Please Welcome Ch 3

by Jubbly 

Posted: 14 January 2004
Word Count: 3004
Summary: Early drafts of the other two chapters are in my profile but I've re written them extensively and not posted them yet.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Chapter Three

As it happened I didn't have to break the news to the girls, Sammy found out from her dad; not in person mind, she called him to ask when he'd be back cause her mobile needed topping up and he went and told her over the phone - the swine.

There she was standing outside the corner shop on her way home from school; the only choice she had to make was would she buy sugar free spearmint gum or take a chance on the peppermint; now she had to choose between her mum and her dad.

Strangely, she's furious with me.

I'd wanted to tell them both first thing in the morning but I just couldn't, then Joe started playing up and looked a bit off colour so I rang the doctors and while I was on hold they shouted out "Bye Mum, " and they were off.

"I can't believe you never told us, when were you going to tell us mum? Or weren't you? "

Then Laura joined in.

"What did you do mum? Why does he want to leave you?"

I saw red and slung the bag of frozen chips I was holding across the room. It's always difficult to be dramatic in a domestic setting unless you're smashing glass.

"It ain't my fault, you want someone to blame, you can start with your father."

There I'd done it, despite promising myself I wouldn't; I'd read somewhere it wasn't healthy to let the kids take sides, but I just couldn't help myself, I was hurting and I wanted to lash out, besides I don't believe it's particularly healthy for one parent to upstick from the family home and jump into bed with some old bird he hasn't seen in twenty years, call me old fashioned.

"I did everything for that man but it wasn't good enough alright? Why don't you ask him what he sees in his new girlfriend, maybe she makes a better shepherds pie than me, I don't know.Ó

I could feel myself welling up and I didn't want to cry in front of them, I didn't want them to see what sort of crushed, defeated, cotton wool ball of a mother they had looking after them. I bit my lip and willed the tears to go away but the only escape route they had was down my cheeks. I brushed them away with the back of my hand and turned to face the wall hoping I could hide my sorrow, I should've known better.

"You lied Mum, you said he was visiting Uncle Barry, how could you?"

I tried to compose myself.

"I'm sorry luv, I only found out myself last night, when we got home, I just didn't know how to tell you."

But my eldest daughter was not in a forgiving mood.

"I knew about her you know?"

I felt like I was drowning, My god she must hate me, my own daughter watching me float out to sea and instead of raising the alarm, just standing there, brazen on the shore, watching me drift away.

"What, when?" I spluttered.

"A few months back, I saw how dad was logged onto Friends Reunited and I told him what a sad tosser I thought he was and he showed me her details. Said she was an old girlfriend, I even joked about her, asked him if he wished he'd married her instead....
Sammy was struggling now; I could tell the anger was transferring from me to her father.

"He said don't be daft, she's a married woman with two grown kiddies."

I flinched.

" He said her daughter's got kids, she's a grandmother."

Oh the humiliation, I felt like my life had turned into a headline in a waiting room magazine. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR SOMEONE'S NAN.

"Well it seems like you know more than I do Samantha."

"Yeah well, he sounded pretty happy on the phone." she retorted, the anger coming back to bat for the other side.

"Seems like the pair of you had quite a cosy little chat, did he invite you up there for a visit or did you offer to baby sit her grandchildren? "

"Mum!' Samantha looked shocked, she stood defiant her arms crossed protecting her heart.

"I'm sorry Sammy, I didn't mean that." my voice trembled and I knew I was in danger of coming completely undone. "What exactly did he say to you Sammy, please I need to know?"

She shrugged and flicked her hair back like a petulant pony's mane.

"He said, Oh hello darling, I suppose your mum's told you then? So I said told me what? Then he said that he'd gone up North for a while to sort himself out and he was staying with an old girlfriend; but that doesn't mean anything does it mum? She's just a mate isn't she? He's not serious about her? You two have just had a row right? He's coming back isn't he?"

Sammy had suddenly lost her capable teenage look and had regressed to a little girl wanting mummy to kiss everything better for her.

I couldn't lie to them, I shook my head.

"He wants to be with her not me, he still loves you, I know that for sure but he's been in contact with this woman for sometime now, they've been emailing each other and it would appear that now she's divorced they want to pick up from where they left off."

There I'd said it out loud to my children, I'd told them their father fancied a woman other than their mother.

"I hate him!" snapped Laura, "He's a fucking bastard."

"Don't you dare talk about your dad like that and don't you dare use the F word in this house young lady." Now that I was both mum and dad I had to start acting like a responsible parent.

"Why not, you do," she said in that horrible singsong voice teenagers reserve for their parents.

"I do not use the F word." I said, who the hell was on trial here anyway?

"Yes you do," said Sammy, "all the time, I used to think it was part of a nursery rhyme when I was little, 'Fucking - hell - where' s me fags, do - you - know - where to find them...'

I blushed, she was right, I used to have a terrible mouth on me when I was younger, but I'm not so bad these days and since I had the baby I've made a conscious effort to replace the F word with flipping, and instead of 'Shit' I always try and say sugar, there's nothing worse than a toddler singing away merrily in his pushchair with words that would make you grandma blush.

"Well I'm sorry I haven't always been the perfect mum, alright, very sorry, but sometimes life isn't that pleasant and I get angry and when I do - I swear, but that doesn't mean you can."

Yeah yeah whatever and Sammy waved me away as if I didn't matter.

'What about Christmas?" said Laura suddenly.

Bloody hell, I hadn't even thought about that. How could he do this to us, why couldn't he have at least waited until the new year, when I was distracted by the sales, anything?

"I'm sure everything will be alright by Christmas.'
Laura turned her round sad eyes my way.

"But dad always puts the tree up"

Yes that's true, he brokers a magic deal at one of those Christmas tree pop up shops, brings it back in a van and lugs it into the living room. Then we all decorate it.
"I'm sure he'll be back for Christmas." I said, not sure at all, not sure if we'd ever have a proper family Christmas again.

"Did he say that mum, is he actually coming down on Christmas Day?" asked Sammy.

It was then I noticed Laura, huddled in the corner pretending to pick out a new ringing tone for her phone. She kept auditioning horrible little trilling noises that all sounded the same, modern technology gone mad, it managed to make Carmina Burana sound exactly the same as a Westlife song. She was sniffing and tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Oh babe, don't worry." I rushed over to her and put my arms around her. But she shook me off.

"I don't want him here." she said through a broken voice.

"I hate him and I hate his bitch girlfriend and I don't want any presents from him anyway." Laura drew herself up from the chair and ran upstairs; I heard the door slam on their bedroom door. The girls used to have separate rooms till Joe came a long, now they have to share and they resent it. They get in each others way you see, it bothers me, sometimes I fear they might resent Joe, especially now - blame him for what's happened, the poor little bugger, but I do know how she feels, everything was fine until I got pregnant again. I'm sure it was, but it's not Joe's fault, he didn't ask to be born as those wayward brats bleat on daytime telly talk shows and I'm damned if I'm going to let him grow up feeling less than he should.

The doorbell rang, it was my mum, I hadn't found the courage to tell her yet, but when I opened the door it was obvious she already knew.

She'd run into Lisa; quite literally, mum had been crossing the road, nowhere near a zebra crossing and Lisa's pupil had nearly smashed into her; Lisa had slammed her foot down on the dual control break and rushed after her.

"Pauline, are you alright luv, sorry about that, she's got her test tomorrow and she's a bit nervous." her pupil a black woman in her thirties waved from the car and pulled a 'silly me face', Lisa could never keep her big yap shut.

"Isn't it a shame about Tina and Pete, I just can't believe he's done it."

Of course mums face was a picture and not one you'd care to have hanging in your living room, Lisa knew at once she'd let the cat out of the bag and into the path of an oncoming lorry in fact if I'd bothered to check my voice mail I'd have heard her warning and apologies over and over again.

Naturally Pauline wasn't going to let a remark like that go, so Lisa had to tell her everything, right there on the side of the road, which meant her lesson over ran by 20 minutes.

"So when were you going to tell me?" she asked accusingly, barging her way into the front room. "I knew you two wouldn't go the distance, just knew it."

"Mum" I felt I had to defend our relationship. "We were married for over twenty years, that ain't bad going."

"Your dad never liked him, "

That was a shock, I always thought they got on well, Pete cried like a baby when dad passed away, he even put a separate announcement in the local paper - For Dan the best father in law a man could have, Pete.

"Well what you going to do about it?" she asked, lighting up a fag.

I just shrugged, "What can I do?"

Mum shook her head and offered me a cigarette; Sammy went into the living room and plugged her brain into a computer game.

"Make sure you get what's owed to you." she said.

"He's sorted all that out, he's going to keep up the mortgage payments and look after the kids, he's promised."

"Oh yeah, who does he think he is, a film star? A professional footballer, a lottery winner, or has he robbed a bank eh, how does he think he's going to support two families?"

I explained that Madeline didn't need any financial support.

"Maybe he just got bored Tina, men do have a very short attention span, perhaps you just bored him."

I was speechless.

I mean look at yourself, you don't go anywhere or do anything, personally I think you should go back to work my girl!" announced Mum.


"Put the baby in full time nursery and get a job, let's face it, you're going to need money."

Before I couldn't even formulate her thought process, she was off and running,

"You should get your license and come and work with me."

"No Mum, I couldn't, I'm not very good with kids." and right on cue Joe rammed his head into the corner of the dining table, a frozen moment of peace heralded the much anticipated yowl that rang out loudly from my sons lungs. A trickle of ruby red blood oozed from the tiny cut, complimenting the yellow lump that was starting to appear. As I comforted and patched him up mum continued her ' Tina get a job' campaign.

"The hours are very flexible and the more popular you become the more requests you get, and they always provide such lovely food."

For the past six years, Mum had been working as a children's chaperone for films and telly . She was required to look after the child actors on set, keep them in line, see they were all fed and watered, pick them up in a taxi and drop them home, the whole time keeping their parents in touch of all proceedings.
Many's the time she's dined out on the story of the two little blonde cherubs playing royal brothers in the BBC's 'The Princes in the Tower'.

"I had to pull the little bastards apart, blood all over their ruffs, one broken nose and two black eyes all because of a wretched Gameboy SP, little delinquents - one of them's in Eastenders now. "

Mum stayed most of the afternoon dispensing advice and cups of tea, she did a complete 180 degree turn, first she blamed Pete then me then said we were better off a part then hoped we'd get back together, eventually she left, kissing and hugging me and promising to pop over every day, great just what I needed.

Five minutes to five, damn, Joe had a doctors appointment at five o'clock, I told Samantha where I was going in one of those rare brief moments when I'd got her attention and shouted out to Laura.

"I'll put the tea on when we get back!"

Even though Joe was lying on his back he still managed to bounce out of the pushchair and onto the ground with all the force of a dribbling basketball. My arms were aching as I wrenched him back into his seat.

Why is he like this, the girls were no trouble, tiny, fragile pansy fairies so malleable, in their buggies out again, even been known to walk along side me holding my hand. If I let Joe do that he'd sprint down the street giving Sally Gunnell a run for her money. After the umpteenth attempt to strap him back in just so I could wheel the little devil round the surgery and find out whether his ongoing diarrhea was in fact a tummy bug or just bloody minded spite I gave up on the pushchair. I heaved him onto my groaning shoulders, changing bag rucksack on my back, handbag hanging round my neck and mobile phone in my coat pocket, we looked like Bosnian refugees searching for a homeland. It was getting dark now and I couldn't be arsed to walk all the way down to the traffic lights, so I held onto Joe's legs firmly and darted across the street dodging cars. Midway I heard a crack on the pavement, I instinctively felt my pocket, it was empty I looked round and down and saw it, my brand new mobile smack bang in the middle of the road. I knew if I bent down to pick it up some boy racer with his stereo blaring would just run straight into us, before I could pick it up sure enough a car came charging down the road. I don't know what possessed me, but I just couldn't bear to see my precious phone crushed under the wheels of a silver ford escort.

"STOP! " I commanded, holding my hand up in front of my face, "Stop!"
But he didn't, Joe was wriggling on my shoulders and I knew if I was being judged in a bad-parenting competition I'd walk a way with a trophy and a sash. Still he didn't stop, just slowed down and I watched my phone disappear under the bonnet of his car, but miraculously the wheels missed it, I'd lost all reason now and began screaming through the windscreen, he looked terrified, who is this mad woman, why does she have a huge baby on her shoulders and more importantly what the hell does she want with me? Now we were joined by a chorus of impatient car horns, how dare a pedestrian hold up our journey, doesn't she realise she's wasting a whole 8 seconds of our traveling time.

"Shut up," I bellowed, remembering and regretting my decision to stop bad swearing in front of the baby.

The driver wound down his window a few centi metres.

"My phone," I managed, "It's under your car, please can I just get it."

He nodded nervously, now I was holding up both sides of the road as I maneuvered all of us into a position whereby I could bend down.

I whisked Joe off my shoulders and held him close against my waist, and then somehow lay down in the middle of the road crawled under the car and retrieved my phone. The impatient drivers had crept around the stopped car hooting all the while, shouting expletives and continued with their journey.

"Thanks, thanks a lot," I said to the driver, he just stared and I hated that he thought I was as crazy as the rest of them.

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 17:05 on 15 January 2004  Report this post
Jubbly, this is very good. Youíve got the comedy-tragedy balance just right and there are some great lines

Oh the humiliation, I felt like my life had turned into a headline in a waiting room magazine. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR SOMEONE'S NAN.
This is SOOOO you but it works here.

It was then I noticed Laura, huddled in the corner pretending to pick out a new ringing tone for her phone. She kept auditioning horrible little trilling noises that all sounded the same, modern technology gone mad, it managed to make Carmina Burana sound exactly the same as a Westlife song. She was sniffing and tears rolled down her cheeks.

Here (for me) it doesnít. Her daughter is upset so We donít need the details of her mobile ringing tone.

That was a shock, I always thought they got on well, Pete cried like a baby when dad passed away, he even put a separate announcement in the local paper - For Dan the best father in law a man could have, Pete.

I donít believe this!

we looked like Bosnian refugees searching for a homeland. = excellent.

Faultless otherwise.
Well done!


change the but it works to and it works!

Jubbly at 19:24 on 15 January 2004  Report this post
Thanks as always Elspeth, I took your other comments on board and really tried to redress the balance. I'll have another crack at this too.

Thanks again.


Ralph at 09:56 on 22 January 2004  Report this post

There's so much life in this that the world outside looks boring when I finally have to put it down - yet there's something so genuine about it as well. Some convinvcing imagery (the frozen chips - oh yes!) and the mother's face like a picture you wouldn't want hanging in your living room. I loved the idea of someone plugging their brain into a computer, and I was really caught by that frozen moment of peace when Joe bangs his head - you actually manage to contain it within the piece as well - a slowing of pace before everything starts again. Beautifully done.

Just one thing that snagged really... It seemed right that Lisa would call Tina's mum Pauline, but a little further down from this it reads "Naturally Pauline wasn't going to let a remark like that go." I just wondered if this was Tina's voice - and if so maybe "Mum wasn't going to let..." instead?

Looking forward to finding out what on earth is going to happen next.

Thanks for posting this


Jubbly at 11:17 on 22 January 2004  Report this post
Cheers agin Ralph, ch 4 is going up today.

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