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. Great Aunt Vera’s fortune-telling tea leaves showed Marcus running off to Greece to be with cousin Mags, which Roxy refused to believe.
Last week Roxy discovered her cousin had been secretly texting Marcus.
“You’re not singing with a band, Roxy, this is getting ridiculous now!” Marcus places his hands on his hips and shakes his head with disapproval at me. “You’re thirty-seven, a mother of three and pregnant with my child. Please have some self-respect.”
My cheeks are getting hotter and I am trembling with anger. I thought telling him about Zack’s text and explaining how much I wanted to join the band practice on Saturday night would be the right thing to do. “What do you mean by have some self-respect?”
Marcus rubs his stubble clad jaw. “You’re not twenty-one again.” He takes a large breath suggesting something major is coming. “Please do us all a favour and stop this silly singing.”
An old lady stops me from screaming at Marcus. She smiles and slowly shuffles past with her walking aid.
We are currently at Great Aunt Vera’s Nursing Home, outside the Day Room waiting for a family announcement. Great Aunt Vera emailed us all earlier in the week. Her son, my Uncle Bob, is busy getting the Day Room ready.
“It’s not silly singing!” I hiss.
Marcus leans in towards me. “Roxy, you are not going to sing with a band and that’s final.”
The old lady pauses and then carries on along the corridor.
“You don’t control my life,” I say, in low voice.
“As my girlfriend and the mother of my unborn child, yes I do have a say.”
Stinging tears well up and I have to summon all my strength to hold them back.
“What’s happened to us?” My voice wavers as my fairytale relationship cracks open.
Marcus let’s out a snort. “Your crazy ways, your feral children and your unplanned pregnancy – that’s what happened to us!”
“I don’t have crazy ways!”
He exhales loudly and fiddles with his silver cufflinks. “You get another man’s name tattooed on your shoulder, you kiss a celebrity, spend all your spare time with your weird friends planning some ludicrous business idea, you run off to London to speak to some mystical fool in a pink suit and all this is done whilst your wild kids wreck my house.”
I flick my eyes to the floor. When it’s put like that – maybe he has a point?
A fluttering in my belly reminds me of our baby and his comment about the unplanned pregnancy. “When we were in the laundry cupboard I don’t remember you asking about contraception?”
He takes a step back. “I never wanted a child. It was a mistake. Now I am expected to be super Dad.”
Air becomes traps in my throat. How can he say such things?
I notice the old lady is stood listening to our heated debate.
Uncle Bob strides out of the Day Room rubbing his hands together, with a beaming smile. “Nearly ready, folks.”
I regain my composure. “Do we know why she’s summoned us here?”
A huge smile spreads across Uncle Bob’s face. “She’s going to hand me the keys to her house. I have been wanting to get my hands on it for years.”
Marcus slaps Uncle Bob on the shoulder. “Well done, Bob. If that house is where I think it is you could do it up nicely and sell it for a tidy sum.”
Uncle Bob nods and waves at my mother who joins us. “Evening, Lynn. You look happy.”
My mother grins and I notice a sparkle in her pale blue eyes. “Had some good news but don’t tell Vera. Do we know what she is announcing tonight?”
Uncle Bob gives my mother a wink. “She’s giving me the house. Early inheritance gift.”
Raised voices can be heard from the Day Room. Uncle Bob and my mother dart inside.
I turn to Marcus. My anger has failed to subside. “You kissed my cousin and you’re still in contact with her.”
Marcus shifts his weight uncomfortably from one polished black shoe to another. His silence says a lot.
“Aren’t you going to deny her text on your phone?”
“Kissing Mags was a mistake. A moment of madness. Now let’s stop this and support your uncle.”
I wipe away a solitary tear as Matilda appears behind me. She takes one look at me and frowns at Marcus. He storms off into the Day Room.
“You don’t need him, Mam,” she whispers, stroking my hair.
I hold her hand. “I have no money, no place to live and no job. We do need Marcus.”
Matilda stares at me.
I hang my head. “Why do I feel like I have let everyone down?”
Matilda places her ring clad hands on my shoulders. “Mam, you haven’t had an easy time. Rob left you with that huge credit card debt, I am not surprised we have no money.”
She pulls me closer. “We’re going to get out of this situation, Mam. I am going to sort it.”
I smile at my teenage daughter. She might be a hormonal tornado but this evening she is my rock.”
Matilda places her denim clad arm over my shoulders. “Trust me, Mam, I will sort this.”
I place my hands over my bump. “What about this little one in here?”
She grins. “Trust me, I will talk to her. She’ll be cool.”
I gasp. “Do you think it’s a girl?”
My scan’s next week and I have been wondering about the sex of my baby.
“Definitely a girl. She’s going to be just like me!”
I roll my eyes and turn to see the old woman still staring at us.
As Matilda and I make our way into the Day Room the old lady quickly shuffles away.
We are all sat in a circle awaiting Great Aunt Vera.
There is an awkward silence between Marcus and I. Uncle Bob is on the phone to Mags and my mother is busy texting her friend at Zumba.
As I rub my bump the baby sends me one of its flutter messages. A tear makes it way down my cheek. I wish things were different for him or her. Right now all I see is a life of unhappiness. My relationship with their father has deteriorated and my financial situation is dire. Marcus is clearly not interested in fatherhood and it’s like history is repeating itself. My mind takes me back to my disastrous relationship with Rob.
I suddenly realise Matilda has disappeared.
The door to the Day Room opens and in walks Matilda, pushing Great Aunt Vera’s wheel chair. Shuffling behind them is the old lady with the walking frame and a young man in a grey suit.
Uncle Bob hangs up on Mags and my mother puts her phone away.
Matilda pushes Great Aunt Vera into the centre of the room. Great Aunt Vera gestures for Matilda to stand by her side and hold her handbag.
“Thank you for coming, everyone.” Great Aunt Vera surveys us all. Her dark beady eyes focus in on Marcus.
“Come on, Mother, let’s get this started,” says Uncle Bob, rubbing his hands. His dazzling smile lights up the room.
Great Aunt Vera turns to her son. “Robert, I told you to keep your daughter in check.”
Uncle Bob’s smile evaporates.
“You couldn’t control her, could you?” Great Aunt Vera points her walking stick at him.
He casts me an awkward glance and then turns back to his mother. “Mags has apologised.”
Great Aunt Vera lets out a sigh. “That makes it right does it, Robert?”
Uncle Bob’s eyes widen and I notice he is now gripping the plastic chair.
“I asked you to stop her from seeing Mark weeks ago,” she says, pointing her stick at Marcus. “You failed, Robert.”
Uncle Bob rises from his seat. “Now, look here, Mother..”
“SIT DOWN!” barks Great Aunt Vera. “You allowed that wayward daughter of yours to wreck Roxy’s life. That sort of mistake is something I struggle to forgive.”
Uncle Bob takes out a handkerchief and dabs his gleaming bald head.
“You also have more money than sense, Robert. You do not need my house.”
“Look, Mother, please…”
“BE QUIET!” screams Great Aunt Vera. “You and that daughter of yours have upset me, Robert. For this reason I have changed my will. James, here, is my solicitor and he has sorted everything out.” We watch her tap the young man in the suit on the arm.
Uncle Bob’s phone starts to ring.
Great Aunt Vera points to the phone. “Tell HER we’re busy!”
My mother and I are staring in amazement at Great Aunt Vera.
Marcus is squirming in his seat.
Great Aunt Vera points her stick at him. “You are no good for Roxy, Mark. I know that kiss wasn’t the first with Mags.”
My head snaps round to look at Marcus. “Is this true?”
Great Aunt Vera continues. “Now my spies (she looks across at the old woman with the walking frame) tell me you regard Roxy’s ways as crazy and are children feral. Is this true, Mark?”
Marcus’s jaw falls open.
“I know Roxy can get carried away with her emotions and her children are spirited, but having a full blown affair right under her nose, with her cousin, was a mistake, Mark.”
Marcus smooths out his suit trousers as an army of tears race down my cheeks. A full blown affair?
“Roxy,” says Great Aunt Vera. “Wipe your tears, girl. All this upset is no good for your baby daughter.”
I dab at my sore eyes.
Great Aunt Vera reaches for her handbag. She opens it and brings out a set of door keys. “Roxy, you will be getting my house when I die. Until then I want you and the kids to move in.”
Marcus erupts into a coughing fit and Uncle Bob clutches his chest.
I stare at my Great Aunt who smiles at me. “You’ve always been my favourite, Roxy and its broken my heart to see you have such bad luck.”
“Mark, I don’t want any more trouble from you. All I ask is that Roxy is given financial support.”
Marcus stands up, without looking at me. “I have had enough of this.”
Great Aunt Vera shakes her head. “Don’t tell me, you are running off to Greece to join your lover?”
I watch Marcus stare in horror at her. He wipes his sweaty hands on his trousers and marches out of the room.
Great Aunt Vera jangles the keys at me. “Let him go, Roxy. The rubbish has just taken itself out. Oh and before I forget I have something else for you. Tom, will you bring in our other guest?”
We all turn to see the handsome male nurse, Tom bring in my ex-partner, Rob. He looks pale and battling exhaustion.
“Give the gambling money you owe me to Roxy, please,” says Great Aunt Vera, pointing to the white envelope Rob is clutching. “That should clear the credit card debt you made her take on for you.”
Rob doesn’t make eye contact with me but shuffles up, hands me the envelope and leaves the room quickly. My jaw is aching from hanging wide open.
Great Aunt Vera turns to my mother. “Now Lynn, do you have something to tell us?”
My mother shakes her head. “No, Vera.”
Great Aunt Vera waggles her walking stick at her. “Come on Lynn, please don’t keep your scratchcard winnings a secret?”
I watch my mother sit bolt upright in her chair.
“How the hell did you know that?” she gasps.
Great Aunt Vera gives me a wink. “It was in my tea leaves. Do you remember Lynn how you promised me to give Roxy more support?”
My mother nods. “Yes, Vera.”
“Well, you can give Roxy some of your scratchcard winnings because you don’t need twenty grand, do you Lynn?
The blood drains away from my mother’s face. “But I was going to go on a…”
Great Vera smiles. “A luxury cruise. As I said Lynn, I want you to give some of your winnings to your daughter. She needs to support herself whilst she’s at college. Oh and when she has the baby you will be helping out with childcare.”
“What?” hisses my mother. “No, please Vera. I don’t do babies.”
Great Aunt Vera points her stick at me. “Lynn, your daughter and her children need you. Its time to stop avoiding the issue”.
My mother fumbles inside her handbag and takes out her tissues.
“Tom, please bring us all a nice cup of tea,” orders Great Aunt Vera, with a click of her fingers. “I do love a nice family celebration.”
Matilda comes over carrying the keys to Great Aunt Vera’s house. “We are free, Mam.”
There will be more Roxy next week.