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. They have finally got together after a series of mishaps and situations led my Roxy’s runaway emotions.
What happened last week?
Roxy and the kids moved into Marcus’s large house on the posh side of town. Matilda made friends with the rich neighbour’s son, Freddy, and Roxy spent the day worrying about the influence her wild teenage daughter would have on geeky Freddy.
“What time is everyone coming over tonight?” Marcus hands me a mug of steaming tea and plants a wet kiss on my cheek.
A warm tingling feeling consumes me as I lean against him, on his majestic leather sofa.
Here I am, pyjama clad, child free (all three at school and the one in my belly is the size of a rice grain, so they’re no trouble at the moment), enjoying a week off from work and living in the house of my dreams, with Marcus, the man I love. Life is good.
“Are you going to be entertaining in here tonight?” Marcus makes a sweeping gesture across the room with his arm.
A goofy happy smile spreads across my face. Tonight all my family and friends are coming over to hear our baby news and have a nose around my new home.
“Can we talk about my new carpet?” Marcus sits up and turns to me.
I can feel my smile evaporating.
He points to the fluffy beige carpet beneath us. “I know it’s a bit sad but I am sort of attached to my new beige carpet.”
I stare at the beige carpet and try to recall a time in my life when I have been attached to a carpet.
He clears his throat. “Can we ask our guests to be ultra careful in here?”
My smile has officially disappeared.
“Great Aunt Vera’s wheelchair might leave track marks,” I say, before taking a gulp of tea.
Marcus nods. “We can stick her over there in the corner,” he advises.
“She won’t like that, you know how she likes to be the centre of attention.” The thought of putting Great Aunt Vera in a corner feels me with fear. “The carer at her nursing home who stuck her in the corner during the last season of Downton ended up in hospital after a mysterious fall down the stairs.”
Marcus takes a slurp of tea.
I continue. “Harry is a messy eater, Useful Kim has a habit of knocking drinks over at parties and Shaz is bringing Little Spike, who has just got over a vomiting bug.”
Whilst I sip my tea Marcus bends down and runs his fingers over his new beige carpet. “I have never felt so strongly about a carpet, Roxy. Do you think I should put a plastic covering over it?”
The thought of my guests standing on a plastic sheet makes me screw up my face. “No, we can do this. I will serve nibbles in the kitchen diner and I will ask Orange Lorna to hold Useful Kim’s drinks.”
“We can do this,” I say, giving his arm a squeeze. Sometimes in life you have to think positively.
“How do you think your family will react to the baby news?” asks Marcus, still stroking his carpet.
“Good grief, Roxy, you have put on some weight!” Great Aunt Vera points at my swollen belly with her walking stick. “Lynn, I think you might have another grandchild on its way.” She turns back to stare at my mother, who is stood behind Uncle Bob on the doorstep.
“I do hope not!” cries my mother. “I prayed Roxy would stop at two.”
Great Aunt Vera lets out a shriek of laughter.
I smile sweetly and let Uncle Bob push his mother, Great Aunt Vera, into Marcus’s house.
My mother’s eyes scan my abdomen. “I put on weight when I met your father, Roxy. It happens. When you are in a long-term relationship with a man, you often find yourself sat on the sofa listening to their dull sports talk for hours on end. Eating helps to ease the boredom, well, it did for me with your father. Don’t listen to Vera.”
Cousin Mags is the next to enter. “Hello cousin,” she cries, throwing her arms around me. I struggle to breathe in the cloud of expensive perfume which always follows my cousin.
Mags looks at my belly and whispers, “if I went to bed with gorgeous Marcus every night I would have a bun in the oven in no time too.”
“Roxy, is your Uncle Bob here tonight?” asks Useful Kim, casting me a look of concern from the doorstep. “He’s not returning my calls after the….rash…episode.”
I grip the door. “Yes he is.”
Useful Kim takes a large gulp of air and dabs at her eye with a tissue. As she steps inside I come face to face with Orange Lorna, stood behind Useful Kim on the doorstep.
I gasp in shock.
“Don’t ask!” Orange Lorna waves a heavily bronzed arm. “This tan is a lot darker than normal and the hair dye I used is whiter than I expected. The packet said it would resemble angel hair.”
My eyes survey her dark bronzed face set against shoulder length chalk-white hair. I manage to stifle a giggle.
Shaz appears next, wrestling a crying baby in her arms. “Evening Roxy, is Matilda about because I could do with some time apart from this one?”
Leaning back I yell, “MATILDA!”
A bedroom door opens upstairs. “WHAT?”
I let Shaz inside. “I NEED YOUR HELP!”
Matilda comes to the top of the stairs, red-faced and out of breath. “Mam, I am busy.”
“Doing what?” I snap.
“Freddy and I are studying.”
Shaz smirks. “Is that what you call it Till? I need you to babysit this monster.”
Matilda shakes her head. “Sorry, I have an important test tomorrow. Must dash.” The door slams shut.
I take Little Spike from Shaz. “Better get some practice in myself.”
Marcus comes to stand by me and loops his hand around my waist. “Everyone we have an announcement.”
Great Aunt Vera raises her gravy boat filled with gin and cackles. “When is it due Mark?”
Uncle Bob wipes away a layer of sweat from his bald head and bends over to his mother. “His name is Marcus, Mum.”
“Roxy, please tell me this is not what I think it is,” pleads my mother. “I can’t cope with another grandchild.”
Great Aunt Vera shrieks with laughter. “Come on, Mark, put Lynn out of her misery.”
“We’re having a baby,” says Marcus.
Silence descends upon the room.
Shaz loops her arm through mine. “Your Mum’s face was a picture. LOL!”
I nod and catch sight of Orange Lorna knocking back her third rum and coke. “Why is she drinking like a fish tonight?”
Turning away from Orange Lorna, Shaz leans in and whispers, “her new man, Gordon, doesn’t like her tan.”
Shaz nods. “Things are not going great between them. I think she’s drowning her sorrows.”
I send God a silent prayer about making sure Orange Lorna is careful with her rum and coke drink.
“When’s the next TV show?” Shaz grins.
A sinking feeling passes over me. “A few weeks but I am thinking of pulling out,”
“What?” Shaz stares at me, her mascara clad eyes widening by the second.
“Marcus doesn’t like me being near that celebrity judge and I’m not sure I want to be a famous singer anymore.”
Shaz shakes her head. “Do not give up on your singing dreams because you’re playing happy families with Marcus.”
I take a sip of my fruit juice.
She takes my arm. “You got through to the semi finals of ‘Search For a Star’ which is further than a lot of singers get. Don’t waste this opportunity, Roxy.”
Useful Kim and Uncle Bob are having a heated conversation in the corner of Marcus’s spacious lounge.
Shaz gestures towards them with her wine glass. “She wants to get back with your Uncle Bob.”
My shoulders and neck stiffen. I was hoping their relationship had died a death after the rash incident. It’s an uncomfortable thought to think your sixty-four year old Uncle is responsible for your friend’s strange rash.
We watch them both leave the lounge and enter the hallway.
Marcus comes to stand by me. He strokes my hair with a smile. “Everyone is being ultra careful with my carpet.”
I wish he wouldn’t give me an hourly carpet update.
Orange Lorna’s loud sobs distract us both. She’s staring miserably at her phone.
“Is she ok?” Marcus asks.
I nod. “Her new man, Gordon, doesn’t like her tan.”
Marcus gives me one of his diplomatic looks. “I share Gordon’s concerns.”
“Mam,” says Toby, tugging on my blouse. “Some people are having a bath together.”
I stare at him. “What do you mean?”
“I can hear people laughing in the bath.”
Blood drains from my face. I put down my fruit juice and race out of the lounge. All I can think about is Matilda and Freddy.
I climb stairs two at a time and reassure myself with the ridiculous notion that they are bathing in swimming costumes.
As I reach the landing her and Freddy are stood outside her new bedroom. Freddy is fiddling with his thick rimmed glasses and Matilda is flattening his blonde hair.
Before I can say anything laughter and the sound of splashing fills the air.
Matilda frowns at me. “Mam, who is having a bath at this time of night?”
Marcus is suddenly behind me on the landing. “Is there a problem?”
“A man and a woman are having a party in the bath,” pipes up Toby. “Malcolm [imaginary friend] says this is what you do when you are romantic with someone.”
I head towards the closed bathroom door as a female shrieks with laughter. The voice sounds familiar. I have heard that laugh before. As I am about to knock / yell at whoever is inside, a high-pitched scream from downstairs makes me jump.
We all forget about the bath and charge downstairs.
As I run into the lounge I freeze. Orange Lorna is giggling and lying face down on Marcus’s beige carpet.
Great Aunt Vera is pointing at Orange Lorna with her walking stick. “Roxy, your bronzed friend is pissed and fell over whilst taking a selfie of herself. Apparently Gordon has changed his mind about her tan.”
Marcus races over to Orange Lorna and peels her off the carpet.
My heart stops beating as I catch sight of an ugly false tan carpet stain.
“I’ll call her a cab,” offers Shaz, taking out her mobile, as I prop up a drunken Orange Lorna in the hallway.
“Gordon, I want him so badly,” slurs Orange Lorna.
“My beautiful carpet,” wails Marcus, from inside the lounge.
Cousin Mags pushes out Great Aunt Vera. “Roxy, where is my father? He’s taking Granny home.”
I scratch my head and try to recall the last time I saw Uncle Bob.
“He better not be with that large friend of yours, Roxy. The one who dresses up as a cowgirl in her spare time,” croaks Great Aunt Vera.
Cousin Mags lays a hand on Great Aunt Vera’s shoulder. “Its ok, Granny, he promised he would stay away from…Texan Kim.”
“Roxy, pour me another gin, whilst we wait for Bob?” Great Aunt Vera hands me her white china gravy boat.
Cousin Mags holds out a glass for me. “Where is my father?”
Over her shoulder I catch sight of Marcus sprinting into the lounge, with a plastic box of cleaning products.
“Goodbye everyone,” I say as my family troop outside.
As Marcus and Uncle Bob lift Great Aunt Vera’s wheelchair over the step, she turns to her son, “Bob, why do you smell strongly of lavender?”
He mumbles something and looks away.
Apparently Uncle Bob had been talking with Useful Kim in the kitchen all along. This was strange as Marcus had been in there, rummaging in cupboards for carpet stain removal products and claimed he’d not seen them.
Shaz reminded me that Marcus has a big house. I nodded in agreement. It’s easy to miss a giant woman with black curly hair and a balding sixty-four year old man, stood in an open plan kitchen diner.
I place a hand on Marcus’s shoulder. “Leave it now, you’ve done enough.”
He rises from his knees after scrubbing his beloved carpet. “False tan leaves a stubborn stain.”
“Let’s go to bed.” I stroke his arm.
“Did you find out who was in the bath?” he asks, putting down his cloth.
I shake my head. “No, but I do know they used up all my lavender bubble bath.”
Marcus frowns. “Hang on, didn’t your Uncle Bob stink of lavender when he left, after doing a disappearing act with your friend?”
I take a deep breath and cling onto some positivity. “Apart from the tan on the carpet incident, Uncle Bob and Useful Kim taking an impromptu bath, I think tonight went well, what do you think?”
Marcus’s eyebrows shoot up his forehead in surprise.
There will be more from Roxy next week.