This is the thirtieth part of a fiction serial, in 767 words.
When one suitcase was full, I ran out of steam, and just stuffed a load of underwear and socks into a holdall. Lugging them downstairs, I placed them strategically in the hallway, and left the inside light on. Then I wrote a note on some printer paper and sellotaped it to the front of the case.
‘Ronnie told me about you and Lauren. You had better go. I’m too tired now, but we can sort things out tomorrow’.
Back upstairs I was feeling drained, but unsure if I would sleep. Too many things to consider after the shock had worn off. Mainly the financial side, like how much Olly would have to pay for keeping us both, and whether he could afford that as well as contributing to living with Lauren, or renting another place to stay. Then telling my parents, if Ronnie hadn’t already done that. Then I also had to think about the truth that I wasn’t even that upset. And I sat in bed wondering if I had ever even loved Olly.
The sound of the key in the door tensed me up. I really didn’t want a huge argument that late, and when I was feeling very fragile. The door closed, and I heard Olly’s voice on his phone, speaking softly. Ten minutes later, the sound of a diesel engine stopping outside, presumably a taxi. Then the door closed again.
Leah might sleep for a good few hours without needing a feed. I decided to get some rest myself, and drifted off surpisingly easily.
There was no early phone call from Olly the next morning. I was feeling surprisingly fresh and positive, considering that the man I thought would be my life-partner had betrayed me. I resolved to do some things, and wrote them down in the back of an old diary.
1) Olly would pay through the nose, whatever it took.
2) Unless Leah improved, I would not be able to go back to work. I had to investgate what I could live on.
3) I was going to have to manage without Rosa, unless Olly carried on paying her.
4) I needed some support to deal with the mental impact of Leah’s development issues.
5) I would have to locate and join some kind of group that offered that help.
6) I would get my hair done and a few beauty treatments, while I still had access to the money to pay for them.
7) Olly wasn’t going to get the car. I needed that.
8) I would not blame Ronnie for telling me, and would try to make up with him.
9) I would not expect any help from my mum, whatever happened.
10) I would ask my dad to come over with his tools to fit the stair gates and door guards.
I started with number ten, ringing my dad. He seemed friendly, and appeared not to be aware of anything. My guess was that Ronnie hadn’t blabbed. I decided I would tell dad when he came over later that afternoon to do those jobs for me. Then I sorted Leah out, put her in a play pen, and had a shower. Before dad arrived, I got Leah ready and went to the supermarket to stock up on all sorts of stuff. Then I drew out two hundred from the cashpoint in case there was any stop on the account. That was probably an unfounded fear, but you never know. With that in mind, I also filled the car to the brim with petrol.
My dad arrived on time, and tried to play with Leah as I made him a cup of tea. When he was sat quietly with the tea in his hand, I told him what had happened. He was very calm about it, sitting shaking his head. “Lauren? He’s gone off with her? I never thought she would do something like that. You know, break up a family. Mind you, your mum never liked her, not one bit. To tell the truth, she never cared much for Olly either, love.”
It was clear to me that mum didn’t really like anyone that much, even her own husband and children. I said that to dad, and he nodded and laughed. Then he got up and started to fix the gates across the stairs, top and bottom, then fixed another one across the kitchen door from the hallway. He had been and bought that one on the way, knowing I only had the ones for the stairs. As I watched him working, he looked up and winked at me.
“You’ll be alright, love. I will make sure of that”.