This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 733 words.
Susan surprised me by having a very difficult pregnancy. Her morning sickness was terrible, and long-lasting. She also had some spotting that caused frequent scares, and trips to King’s College hospital. Her back ached constantly, and she sometimes took to her bed for most of the day. She went into work so rarely, her boss had to get a Temp in to cover, and he eventually suggested she leave the job until she was fit enough to come back after the baby was born.
Her mum was useless, offering little sympathy, and no advice. By contrast, my mum was great. She spent most of the week at our house, even doing the cleaning in between caring for Susan. Then again, my mum was obsessed with having a grandchild, and determined to do whatever it took to guarantee a safe delivery.
I had my new job by then. It was much more pressure, as most of our business was telesales, something relatively new then. I had targets to meet, call-to-sale ratios to explain, and I was expected to keep hounding my Motors team to get results. As you might imagine, that made me about as popular as Hitler. But I did it, and it worked. When the whole team got a huge bonus, everyone decided they liked working for me after all.
There were at least four women at work who were seriously showing out to me, but I kept my distance. Life was beginning to get quite complicated, and I didn’t need any distractions at the time.
Johnny finally came up with a date in May. Terry and Keith could make it, so it was up to me to get a Friday off, or at least finish early. As I was flavour of the month at the time, my line manager allowed me the whole day off, as long as I was back in control on the Monday.
That was only going to be a couple of weeks before the baby was due during the first week in June. Possibly earlier than that, given Susan’s constant complications. But when Johnny phoned me, I confirmed. Best get it over and done with, even though I had seriously gone off the idea.
My mum agreed to spend the weekend at our house to look after Susan. By then, I was getting a bit fed up with the drama of it all, and a weekend away might be just the ticket. Okay, I had expected Susan to breeze through the pregnancy, and pop out the baby like she was shelling peas. But it hadn’t worked out like that, so I had to deal with what was happening.
There was no point Terry driving, as he only had a van with three seats in the front. Johnny didn’t have a car, and Keith hadn’t learnt to drive yet. It was down to me, and the elderly Escort Estate. They all came to my house on the Friday. Keith and Johhny by bus, Terry in his van, which he left parked outside. We didn’t get away until after three, which meant we arrived at the caravan around five-thirty.
There was a social club on the site, so we agreed to have a drink there later, and the chicken in a basket that they served up. Johnny had brought a pack of beers, and so had Terry. But Keith kept insisting he wasn’t going to drink, so had turned up with nothing. I had sprung for two boxes of lager, as well as a few family packets of crisps. On the way to Sussex, conversation was strained, to say the least. I kept asking them pointless questions, as I couldn’t stand the silence as I drove along.
The caravan was quite modern, but had one double bedroom and two single beds made up from the cushions in the seating area. We bought some milk, bread, butter, sugar, and tea from the site shop, and were told we would have to book a table in the social club to get food. So we did.
Terry was happy to share the double bed with Johnny, and me and Keith took the two singles.
By the time we were in the club eating chicken and chips, we had run out of things to say. Just as I had feared we would.
So we had too much to drink, to compensate for the silence.