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, is currently pregnant with her fourth child to boyfriend, Marcus.
She used to work for Marcus. After a drunken kiss over a photocopying machine at an office party and months of lusting after each other they finally got together.
Roxy and her kids have moved into Marcus’s big house on the expensive side of town.
She’s trying her hardest to adapt to her new life and to this serious relationship, however as the weeks have gone by Marcus’s controlling side has started to show itself.
A few weeks ago Roxy caught Marcus kissing her cousin Mags. Last week Great Aunt Vera’s fortune-telling tea leaves showed Marcus running off to Greece to be with Mags.
Mystic Clive has just tweeted his Gemini horoscope. ‘Not one of your best days, Gemini, please try to stay calm. There is an angel in your life but you are not in the right frame mind to notice them yet.’
I groan at Mystic Clive’s tweet. His Gemini horoscopes are getting worse. With a look of disapproval I reply back, ‘Happy Monday to you too, Mystic Clive! #whereisthisangel
My Twitter friend FluffyFiona123 replies to my tweet. ‘I have been told I can expect sweet romance today.’ #luckyleo #loveisintheair
Mystic Clive’s angel prediction catches my attention. I restrain myself from sending him a DM message and asking whether this so-called angel can turn back time and stop Marcus from kissing my cousin Mags?
Marcus is stood by the bedroom mirror. He’s making sure his sculptured hair quiff, at the front of his head, is rock solid and not at risk from collapsing mid morning.
Judging by the amount of hair gel he has gone through I think his quiff will still be in place by the end of next week.
“Roxy, I think we should have a family night later,” Marcus announces. He’s trying to make things work after what happened with Mags.
“I am going to get to grips with this fatherhood business.” He straightens his red tie and whirls round to give me a dazzling smile. “How about I organise a Family Night for later?”
Plumping up my pillows I sit back to listen to his idea. “What has made you think of a Family Night?”
“We should all spend some quality family time together.” He grins and fiddles with his gold cufflinks. “Hanging out with all the children is a good way of getting to know them.”
“Don’t you feel you know Matilda, Harry and Toby then?”
Marcus tucks in his white shirt. “I have to admit, Roxy, all three of your kids have seemed a little crazy, but I think it’s because I don’t know them properly.”
He places a kiss on my cheek and leaves the bedroom.
I listen to him clip clop downstairs. He’s clearly trying to make things work which is good to see, but I can’t forget what happened.
There has been no word from Mags since their kiss. Great Aunt Vera paid for her to return to Greece and Uncle Bob took her to the airport.
Marcus has assured me he has cut all communication ties with her. He called their kiss a ‘moment of madness’ and since that dreadful night has become the world’s best partner. I have had five bouquets of flowers, 2 boxes of chocolates, 1 romantic meal, one bottle of expensive perfume and today’s offer of a Family Night.
His phone bleeps and vibrates on the bedside table. He has a text message.
I can hear him banging around downstairs whilst making my breakfast.
Half of me wants to check his phone. A nagging voice inside my head is whispering, ‘what if he’s still in contact with Mags?’ and the other half wants to leave it. I have to trust him and it will probably be from his mate, Keith or even his mother.
I can hear Marcus whistling downstairs. He rarely whistles. I smell a rat.
I can’t stop staring at his phone.
Oh what the hell – I am not the trusting type! I trusted Rob, my ex partner and look where that got me.
On his phone is a text. It reads, ‘we can do this, together!’
I check the sender. It’s an unknown number.
Half of me has assumed the worst. He’s back in contact with that man stealing family member of mine and that is her text.
I stick my head into my pillow and let out a muffled scream. That text is from her. They are planning to do something, together.
The other half of me is urging for caution. It is probably from one of his work colleagues about a project they’re working on.
He arrives carrying my cup of tea and a bowl of cereal.
“You have a text message,” I say, through gritted teeth. He places the mug and bowl by my side of the bed. I watch him go to his phone, read the text and place it in his suit pocket.
“Who was it?” I ask, taking a sip of my tea, trying to act like I haven’t just read it.
A wide smile spreads across his tanned face. “My mother.”
He’s left for work.
I am shaking with anger as we both know full well the text was not from his mother.
The other half of me is once again urging for caution. Mags would not dare get back in contact with him after the chaos she caused.
Matilda has left Marcus’s new Family WhatsApp group as she finds it dull and has no interest in his ‘Family Night’ later.
Harry has used the new Family group to inform us he hit a boy this morning and a letter is being sent home. Toby has used the Family group to say he’s not feeling very well, but the school nurse won’t send him home.
I have come home from work early as I can’t stop thinking about that text.
As we are all being made redundant next week, due to the firm relocating to Scotland, no one really cared when I left the office.
No amount of loud, soothing whale music can calm my anxious state. I know the text is from Mags. What exactly are they planning to do?
Great Aunt Vera’s prediction makes me shiver. I bury the crazy idea of Marcus running off to Greece to be with Mags at the back of my mind.
What we all need is a fun-filled Family Night!
I am holding open the front door for Harry and Toby, who are returning from school.
Harry is looking up at the noise coming from the upstairs window. Toby is shuffling up the path with his hand cupped over his mouth.
“Is that Matilda and Marcus arguing?” Harry asks, dumping his school bag at my feet.
I roll my eyes and nod. “He’s not happy about her metallic silver coloured bedroom.”
Marcus decided to surprise me and finished work early. After finding me sprawled on the sofa, listening to whale music he went upstairs and discovered Matilda had redecorated her bedroom without his permission.
Harry grins. “Do you think the baby will be like her?”
“That’s what he’s worried about,” I say with a sigh. One day my teenage daughter will mature into a sensible, young woman.
I turn my attention to Toby, who still has his hand cupped over his mouth. “What’s the matter with you?”
Toby doesn’t speak but the sight of his chalk-white face and dark sunken eyes makes me grip the door frame. A mother has an inbuilt child sickness radar. Mine is wailing inside my head.
Marcus storms downstairs fresh from his argument with Matilda. “What have you raised, Roxy? Your teenage daughter is a…” His voice fades as he spots Toby standing on the doorstep.
Harry reappears and laughs at his brother. “Toby’s been sick into his hand.”
“What?” I shriek, staring at Toby. “Is this true? Is there sick in your hand?”
Marcus wipes his sweaty brow.
Harry pipes up. “Toby’s carried it all the way home as he didn’t want to make a mess on the pavement.”
I usher Toby inside. “Right, let’s go into the kitchen and get you cleaned up,” I say, leading him into the hall.
“Oh my god – your kids are crazy, Roxy! If they’re not redecorating my beautiful house or hitting other children, they are carrying around vomit!” exclaims Marcus, placing his hands on his hips.
Time grinds to a halt as Toby turns, coughs, gags and then vomits all over Marcus’s fitted white shirt and red tie.
For a moment none of us speak as Marcus looks down at his vomit coated shirt.
I have put Toby to bed with a sick bowl. He’s spent most of the evening vomiting. I feel drained. As I pad out of his room I pray I don’t get this bug in my pregnant state.
Harry is now complaining of a tummy ache and has locked himself in the bathroom.
Marcus is waiting for me on the landing as I emerge from Toby’s room. “How about we have a romantic evening, tonight?” he whispers, caressing my neck.
I bat him away. “After an evening with a vomiting ten year old, romance is the last thing on my mind, Marcus.”
Also I still can’t get that text message or the image of him kissing my cousin out of my head. I don’t tell him this but its true.
“Roxy, what’s happening to us?” Marcus is standing by the stairs. “I’m trying to make everything better but…”
The sound of Harry being sick fills the air.
Marcus runs his hand through his gelled quiff and it gets stuck on his ring.
I knock on the door. “Harry, let me in.”
Marcus exhales loudly. “My house stinks of sick. How long does this vomiting thing go on for?”
“For as long as it takes.”
Harry starts to heave again.
“Look I need to go to the pub. This is not my idea of family time.”
Harry unlocks the bathroom door. He’s dishevelled and pale. “This is family time, Marcus!” I snap. “Looking after them when they are ill, talking to them after school, cleaning up after them, arguing with them, eating meals with them and doing the nice stuff.”
Marcus storms off, leaving me to sort Harry out and fighting back tears.
Harry and I must have fallen asleep on the bathroom floor. Someone is shaking me.
Unable to pull myself away from my dark sweaty dream I wonder whether Marcus has come back from the pub to apologise.
I open my eyes to see Matilda.
“Mam, go to bed, I will sort Harry out.”
“What?” I gasp.
“Go to bed, you’re pregnant and I feel a bit helpless. So, I have decided to help out. Now get up and leave me with my brother.”
I lift Harry’s warm head from my shoulders and let Matilda sit down.
“Are you sure?” I ask, staring at my teenage daughter.
She nods. “Let me help you, Mam.”
I smile and recall Mystic Clive’s prediction about an angel. Maybe Matilda is my angel?
“We don’t need him, Mam.” Matilda is looking up at me.
“Marcus. You’ve raised kids on your own and I can help out with the baby. I know you think I don’t care about what happens but I do. What he and Aunty Mags did was inexcusable and I don’t think you can ever go back.”
I blink back an army of tears.
“But this is such a nice home and a decent area to grow up in,” I mumble, surveying Marcus’s white sunken bath.
Matilda shakes her head. “It’s about the love you give a child, Mam. Take me for example, I have never had much and look at how well I’ve turned out.”
I raise an eyebrow at her and smile.
“We’re survivors, Mam. We always will be. You don’t need Marcus. It’s time to face facts.”
“But I thought you loved living round here?”
She takes hold of my hand. “I want my Mam back and I don’t care where we live!”
Both boys are in their beds and asleep. Matilda has cleaned up the bathroom and has told both her brothers to wake her in the night should they feel unwell. She also told them both to get a grip and stop moaning but I am ignoring that.
I am lying awake wondering what the hell I am going to do with my life.
“Mam,” says Matilda from the doorway. “Remember what I said. We don’t need him.”
There will be more Roxy next week.