Welcome to the Diary of Roxy Collins – The Serious Relationship Series.
Every Thursday you can read Roxy’s latest diary entry.
What has happened so far?
Roxy, a thirty something, single mother of three spirited children, is looking for love and wants to find someone who will accept her chaotic life and crazy ways.
She’s not had much luck with men. Her first partner, Jon, informed her he was gay, whilst she was pregnant with Matilda. Her second partner, Rob, father to Harry and Toby, ran off with the local barmaid, leaving her destitute with three children. Luckily Brian, her 68-year-old landlord and emotional rock in life let her rent his late mother’s house.
Roxy is currently pregnant with her fourth child to boyfriend, Marcus, the love of her life. In this series they finally got together after a series of mishaps and situations led my Roxy’s runaway emotions.
What happened last week?
Roxy and Marcus shared the news about the baby to the family. It got a mixed response. Marcus’s mother accused Roxy of being a ‘gold digger’ and Roxy’s teenage daughter, Matilda, had to come to her rescue.
At the end of last week’s emotional diary entry Marcus asked Roxy and her kids to move into his big house with him, on the posh side of town. This is something Roxy has been dreaming about for years.
Moving day has arrived!
By the end of today, the kids and I will be snuggled up on Marcus’s extra long leather couch, all wearing goofy happy facial expressions. My teacher at school always said I had a vivid imagination.
“Mam,” says Matilda, clip clopping into the kitchen wearing a pair of pink stilettos, tight denim jeans and a minuscule t-shirt, “I’m not going into school today.”
I stop packing kitchen utensils and stare at her. “Why not?”
Matilda flicks her long brown hair in my direction and rearranges her pink t- shirt, which has the words ‘Booty Call’ emblazoned across the front in gold lettering. “Bad period. Big shame, for me and the school, but I don’t want to push myself in this delicate state.”
“What do you mean bad period? You look perfectly well to me!” I snap. Our definition of ‘bad period’ differs.
Matilda rolls her eyes, takes out a tube of pink lip gloss and smears on a thick layer. “I got severe cramps, Mam. Can’t you tell?”
I can feel irritation prickling my cheeks. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Matilda.”
My daughter shakes her head. “I know I put on a good show, Mam, but believe me under all this (sweeping hand gesture of body) I am crippled with period pain.”
“Every woman gets bad periods Matilda, you have to deal with them and get on with your life.”
Matilda exhales loudly and drums her long pink nails on the work surface.
“Do you have to wear that t-shirt?” I say, shaking my head with disapproval. “At your age you don’t make booty calls. You shouldn’t even know what one is.”
The thought of my teenage daughter arranging clandestine sexual liaisons makes me feel sick.
Matilda grins. “Chill out, Mam. You wouldn’t understand about my t-shirt, it’s called fashion.”
Reassure myself, the t-shirt means nothing and is simply a fashion trend.
“Oh and another thing. I have anxiety. Did you know my student counsellor said I had to watch for anxiety triggers? The house move is one of them.”
“You’ve never had anxiety and who is this student counsellor?”
“Mam, I know put on a good show (sweeping hand gesture of heavily made up face), but believe me under all this I am drowning in anxiety.”
I return to packing up my kitchen and assess the situation. Maybe the house move is a big thing for her? Maybe she needs a day to adjust to living on the other side of town? I could do with another pair of hands until Marcus arrives with the van.
“I thought you said you didn’t have much stuff?” Marcus wipes away a layer of sweat from his forehead as I point to the 6th suitcase and 23rd cardboard box, standing in the hall way.
“You know I have a ton of clothes and Matilda could open a cosmetics business with the amount of makeup she has.”
Marcus casts me a strained smile and drags the suitcase outside.
I turn to face Brian, my beloved landlord and emotional rock. “Thank you for everything,” I croak, my voice thick with emotion.
He smiles before giving me a huge Brian hug. “Goodbye Roxy, you deserve some happiness.”
Tears stream down my face as I struggle to pull myself away from him. “Oh Brian,” I sob, “what will I do without you?”
I can feel Marcus’s warm hand on my shoulder. “I’ll look after you now, Roxy.”
Brian tries to manoeuvre me into Marcus’s arms but I bury my face deeper into Brian’s beige anorak. “Oh, Brian, I am going to miss you.”
Once again he tries to pass me to Marcus but I am too distraught.
Still crying on Brian’s damp shoulder. He’s had to sit down as his knee hurts.
“Is she always this upset over goodbyes?” I hear Marcus ask Brian.
“This is nothing to what I went through when one of her relationships ended,” whispers Brian. “I had to sit like this for hours. Played havoc with my bad shoulder.”
“Mam,” barks Matilda, “stop blubbering, you’re doing my head in!”
We’re sat in the front passenger seats of Marcus’s removal van. Marcus is driving.
“I’ll miss Brian,” I sob, dabbing my sore eyes. “He’s been so good to us.” I recall all the times Brian has let me use his car, listened to my love life problems and searched the housing estate when one of my kids has gone missing.
Matilda turns to stare out of the window at the posh part of town. “I feel like I am coming home,” she sighs.
I stop crying and stare at her. “You’ve never lived here?”
She casts me a sugary sweet smile. “This is where I belong, Mam,” she purrs and points to the quaint high street filled with luxurious designer shops, colourful restaurants and exquisite wine bars.
“I thought you said the house move made you anxious?”
Matilda sweeps her hair out of her face and places a pair of designer shades on her head. “Oh yea, I’m drowning in anxiety.”
Marcus swings the van into his long gravel driveway. Matilda and I both stare in amazement at his vast Victorian house.
“I have finally come home, Mam,” gushes Matilda.
Marcus leans across and grins. “Right ladies, your new home awaits you. Before we get started I want to introduce you to the Fitzhenrys.”
“Who?” snaps Matilda.
Marcus points at the mansion situated to the right of Marcus’s house. “My neighbours, the Fitzhenrys. They are my closest friends and I hope you will all get on with them.”
Matilda’s head snaps round to the Fitzhenry’s sizeable house. “OMG they have electric gates and outbuildings!”
“This is Roxy, my girlfriend and this is Matilda, her daughter,” says Marcus, as we stand in the Fitzhenry’s marble hallway, with the giant sweeping oak staircase in front of us.
I turn to Elizabeth Fitzhenry, who is blonde, tanned and fresh from a skiing holiday to the French Alps. “Nice to meet you.”
Matilda leans in and whispers. “This is where I belong, not Marcus’s house.”
Elizabeth casts me a friendly smile. “And you, Roxy. Marcus says you have two young boys and a baby on the way as well.”
Matilda nods. “Mam loves having babies.”
I glare at Matilda.
“So where did you used to live?” enquiries Elizabeth.
“A slum,” says Matilda, ignoring my dig in the ribs. “You know that rough housing estate behind the chemical plant, the one where that lad got stabbed last week, we lived there!”
“Matilda,” I bark, noticing the smile evaporating from Elizabeth’s face.
Elizabeth clears her throat. “We must all get together. I would introduce you to my son, Freddy but he’s..”
“You have a son?” shrieks Matilda. I can almost see pound signs in her eyes.
Elizabeth nods and then frowns. “He’s studying upstairs. Freddy is going to be a brain surgeon.”
Matilda flicks her fringe and places a hand on her hip. “Ooooh I love studying too.”
Both Marcus and I both stare at Matilda in surprise.
Elizabeth folds her arms across her chest and reads Matilda’s t-shirt. I can see a hint of a grimace on her tanned face. It’s at times like these I wish my daughter wouldn’t wear t-shirts with Booty Call plastered across the front.
“Freddy doesn’t go out much. He prefers studying. Are you the same?”
Matilda lets out a sigh. “Oh yea, I can’t keep away from books.”
A door open upstairs and footsteps can be heard on the oak stairs. Elizabeth turns and grins. “Here’s my boy, Freddy.”
A tall, blonde haired, young man appears wearing thick rimmed spectacles and an intense frown. His tweed jacket and beige chinos give the impression he’s off out to a posh lunch.
I notice my daughter is running her eyes up and down Freddy. Why do I sense danger?
“Freddy, this is Roxy and Matilda. They’re moving in next door.”
Freddy turns to stare at Matilda’s t-shirt. After reading her t shirt he fumbles with his glasses and nervously looks away.
“Freddy, why don’t you show Matilda what you are studying upstairs?”
My neck and shoulders stiffen. “No it’s ok, Matilda has a lot to do next door.”
“MAM,” thunders Matilda, “Freddy wants to show me his books!”
Elizabeth leans in to me and whispers, “don’t worry Freddy has never had a girlfriend. She’s quite safe.”
I let out an inner groan.
I am stood in Marcus’s kitchen staring out of the French windows at the Firzhenry’s mansion.
“Matilda will be fine,” says Marcus. “Freddy is a proper geek. She’ll be bored in no time.”
I shake my head. “She’ll change him. My daughter puts strange spells on boys.”
I recall the series of sixth formers who turned up to give Matilda help with her homework over the years. It didn’t take long before they were like lovesick zombies.
“The kid doesn’t go out, Roxy. I don’t think he knows the word, party. All he does is study. Elizabeth and Keith have spent a fortune on school fees. They are determined to get him into the best university.” Marcus comes to stand beside me.
“I have a weird feeling, Marcus.”
He kisses me on the forehead. “Trust me, Roxy, what can go wrong? Elizabeth and Keith are my oldest friends, their son has had his head stuck in books for years and Matilda…needs constant excitement.”
“Harry, stop jumping on Marcus’s sofa!” I scream as my eldest son flies into the air.
“Mam,” says Toby, tugging on my arm. “Where’s Till?”
Harry kicks the football which narrowly misses my head.
I glare at Harry and turn to Toby. “She’s made a new friend called Freddy, he lives next door.”
Toby’s mouth drops. “Her new boyfriend lives in the mansion next door?”
“He’s NOT her boyfriend.” Frantically I text Matilda another message demanding she comes home ASAP. There has been no word from her.
Matilda struts into Marcus’s living room with a smile. Her long hair is messy and her face is flushed.
“Why didn’t you answer my texts?” I ask, putting down my phone to stare at my daughter.
She smooths down her ‘Booty Call’ t-shirt and takes out her phone. “Freddy showed me his books and I…” Her voice tails off as she reads whatever is on her phone screen.
“Did what, Matilda?” I ask, praying her and Freddy spent the afternoon studying biology…I mean chemistry…I mean studying boring dull history together.
Marcus leans over and places a reassuring warm hand on mine. “Don’t worry, it’s a good thing she made a friend, Freddy might help her with the anxiety.”
I stare at Marcus. “Does she look anxious to you?”
“Calm down. I am sure there was no teenage mischief. Freddy is now in the family library writing one of his Mandarin essays.” Marcus puts his arm over my shoulders.
His phone bleeps on the glass coffee table. He reaches over, picks it up and frowns. “That’s odd, Keith wants to have a chat with me, in private. Tonight.”
I turn to Matilda. “Do you know anything about this?”
“Got to make a call, Mam,” whispers Matilda, giving me a wink and racing out of the room, before I start screaming at her.
There will be more from Roxy next week