Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Sunday Lunch

Grandmama is the best at indirectly causing a family stir. Sunday was no different.

Every so often she invites the whole family over for dinner; Mother & Stepfather, Father & Lady-Friend, Sister, Brother-in-law and Nephew, Solicitor and Me. In most cases some of us can't make it.

Mother and Stepfather tend to cancel more than the others. I don't think Mother's quite gotten over the fact that Grandmama loves my Father like her own son, and that she never took sides during my parents divorce.

Sunday was a rare occasion when we were all present. Solicitor thought it would be an ideal opportunity to tell everybody about the baby. In theory, it's ideal. In practice... well...

"I've got something that I want to say to everyone." I said smiling.

"You're pregnant." Grandmama stated. "I know, darling, it's quite obvious." She smiled across the table and nodded knowingly.

It wasn't so obvious to my mother. The shock, followed by mortification, was so apparent.

"My God!" She glared at me furiously. "How can you embarrass yourself like that?"

"Excuse me?"

"Have you no shame, Elise? Pregnant out of wedlock!"

"Please." My Father cut in rather dryly. "You have no right to talk about shame."

"And what's that supposed to mean?" Mother shot back at him.

"You actually want me to talk about it then?" Father raised his eyebrows.

"Enough!" Grandmama slammed down her wine glass.

A few moments of silence passed.

"Congratulations." Brother-in-law supplied awkwardly.

Sister leaned across the table and gripped my hand.

Another few moments of silence.

"I can't believe you just blurted it out without even speaking to me first!" Mother hissed.

I felt my cheeks flush with rage.

"With you?" I asked incredulously. "You're the last person I would have told if I decided to tell everyone separately."

Mother clanged down her cutlery.

"Elise..." Sister whispered, half warning, half pleading.

"It's not like you've been a model mother." I carried on spitefully. It was childish but she made me so angry.

"I did what I thought was right." Mother said stiffly.

"Having an affair and pissing off?" Father nodded thoughtfully. "Yep, sounds like you thought about it."

The entire table stilled. I suddenly felt cold.

"That's enough!" Grandmama shouted standing up. "It's in the past." She glared at Mother and Father. "In the past!" She repeated with emphasis. She slowly and gracefully sat down.

A few moments of reflective silence passed. Grandmama was right. It was so far back in the past it shouldn't have ever been brought up.

"Are you having a baby, Aunt Elise?" Nephew asked curiously.

"Yes, babe." I answered smiling, thinking of the little person inside.

"Why is everyone angry?"

"Eat your carrots." Sister snapped.

"I don't like carrots!" Nephew moaned. "Dad, do I have to eat the carrots?"

"No, eat what you can." Brother-in-law said kindly.

"Thanks." Sister said sarcastically. "You're supposed to back me up."

"What do you want me to do?" Brother-in-law whispered. Sister threw him a look. "Fine! You're mother told you to eat you're carrots."

Nephew sat back in him chair. "No."

"Wonderful!" Sister glared at Brother-in-law. "You deal with him."

"So how did you know Elise was pregnant?" Stepfather asked Grandmama suddenly. He bit his lip as soon as te words left his mouth. It was obvious he was trying to make conversation but said the wrong thing.

"She's got a glow." Lady-Friend smiled warmly. "I thought there was something new about her."

"And how many pregnant women do you know?" Mother snapped.

"I don't want my carrots!" Nephew yelled.

I buried my face in my hands.

"Do you want ice-cream?" Solicitor asked Nephew. "Eat your carrots first and you can come and help me dish it out."

"The first logical thing I've heard all night." Grandmama beamed at Solicitor. "Top up my glass, dear boy. It looks like it's going to be a long day."

Friday, 24 April 2009

Crazy Evening

I was in the middle of peeling potatoes last night when Solicitor arrived home from work. He normally loosens his tie and casually shrugs out of his jacket before walking about the house in search of me, so it was a bit of a surprise when he stalked into the kitchen, slamming the door open.

My hand slipped and I accidentally cut the palm of my hand with the knife.

"Hi honey, why don't you try that again. Maybe next time I'll sever my wrist." I sarcastically drawled. The cut was pretty minimal but it stung like hell.

"Sorry. I need to talk to you."

I silently held my bleeding hand under cold water. Whatever he had to say could wait a couple of minutes. I was still pretty angry with him for blowing up about the meeting in Riyadh.


"Yes, I'm coming! Give me a second to stop my hand from bleeding will you."

He stalked out of the kitchen. There was definitely something bothering him. I pressed a sheet of kitchen town into my hand and followed him into the living room.

"What's up?" I asked casually.

The cat chose that moment to spring up onto Solicitor's arm. Solicitor instinctively shook his arm free and sent the cat flying off.

"What the hell is wrong with the cat?!"

Oh yeah. I forgot.

"I haven't fed her."

"What? Why?"

"I can't open her tin of cat food without puking." I explained. It's such an odd feeling. As soon as I get a whiff of her food, my body seems to go into hyper rejection. "So what did you want to talk about?"

The cat trotted back to Solicitor and rubbed her face against his ankle. She moaned and yelped desperately.

The fire alarm suddenly shrilled loudly. Crap! The grill!

I ran towards the kitchen and pulled open the door. The smoke from the grill fogged the room in a haze and the smell hit me like a bullet. I turned and smacked straight into Solicitor.

"I'm going to be sick!" I moaned.

I knew I wouldn't make the bathroom so I turned and swiftly unlocked the back door. I ran towards across the patio and coughed into the flower bed. I felt so weak and tired and so damn pissed off that I couldn't control it.

Solicitor joined me a few minutes later with a cool wet towel. He pressed it against my forehead and I leaned back on him. So tried.

"I've thrown dinner out. I guess we'll be ordering in tonight." He kissed the top of my head. "You okay?"

He helped me back into the house and up to the bathroom. The nice thing about Solicitor is that he knows what to do to make me feel better. He always has. He switched the shower onto a cooler setting and left me alone.

An hour later, feeling much better, I found him sitting on the sofa watching television.

"What did you want to talk about?" I asked as I snuggled up to him.

The doorbell rang. I pulled my robe tightly around my body. Who could that-

"Pizza." Solicitor sprang up and reached for his wallet.

The smell of pepperoni made my stomach churn. Before Solicitor had even brought the boxes into the living room, I bolted up to the bathroom.

Isn't morning sickness supposed to be in the morning?!

I couldn't make it back downstairs. I cleaned my teeth for the thousandth time and crawled into bed. I pretty much fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Hours later I was woken by Solicitor slipping into bed beside me. I snuggled up to him.

"I'm sorry." I whispered. "What did you want to talk about?"

He kissed me head.

"It doesn't matter. Go to sleep and we'll talk tomorrow."

"Is it bad?" I asked, suddenly worried.

"No babe. It's not bad."

"Is it about Riyadh?" I asked hopefully.


"Tell me."

"We'll talk tomorrow."

I wonder what it is. I've been bouncing about all day today. I've called him seven times and I've sent him a few emails (about fifteen). He's not letting on. Maybe he's found a cure for morning sickness! I would love him forever if he did.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Human Rights and Male Ego

Why do guys turn into complete pricks?

Trust me I'm not hormonal, I'm just angry.

Yesterday morning I got in touch with an old business associate. Now this guy is a genius, and if I could associate myself with his company it would definitely kick start my slow starting business.
As you can imagine, I switched on my sweet professional voice and convinced him to agree to a meeting.

The only problem is that he doesn't live in the UK. He lives somewhere I have never ventured to before.

A quick weekend trip didn't seem like a bad idea. It doesn't take too long to fly there, it's out of Europe so I could stock up on duty free... There was one problem.

When Solicitor returned from work I sat down with him and told him that I wanted to ask him something.

"I've got a new business meeting. A really good prospect."

"That's good. Who with?"

"An old associate. The thing is... I'm going to have to travel abroad to see him."

Solicitor frowned.



Have you ever felt icy coldness run down your spine? Solicitor froze. I could practically feel the ice that ran through his blood. His reaction was expected. I sat still, feeling very much like a child asking her parent if it's okay to take drugs.

Solicitor shook his head, clenching his fists.

"No fucking way."

"Look I-"

He sprang up from the sofa, blazing in fury.

"What kind of a business associate invites a woman to Saudi? You're not going. There's no fucking way you're going there alone."

"That's what I wanted to ask you. I'm not allowed to travel alone out there. I think it's against the law. I need you to come with me."

"We are not going to Saudi. They'll take one look at our passports, see we're not married and God knows what will happen to you. I'm not risking it."

"Don't be so dramatic."

"You think I'm being dramatic?" He began pacing the room. "Okay. You do know that you're not allowed to have any flesh what so ever on display there don't you?"

"Yes, but-"

"That's including your face, your hands."

"I know-"

"You're not permitted to go anywhere without a male escort."

"That's why I wanted you to-"

"You're not allowed to wear a fucking seat belt in a car! I will not have you risking your life for a fucking business meeting with some shithead."

"Be reasonable-"

"Reasonable?! Are you taking the piss? You think it's reasonable to be lashed as part of punishment? Because trust me, Elise, you step one foot wrong and they will not hesitate to do something like that."

"So I won't do anything wrong."

Solicitor laughed bitterly.

"Okay, what happens if you get ill, huh? Something goes wrong. You're pregnant for fucks sake."

"I'm sure there are doctors-"

"Darling, you won't be able to see one without a permission slip signed by, let me see, a male member of your family. And before you try to say something, I don't count!"

He ranted for hours. He flung out reasons why the plan was so damn off the mark, I must have some kind of mental issue for even considering it. He paced about swearing at the business associate who must be some kind of sick twisted fuck for expecting me to go there.

I retaliated. I told him that my one chance of a break would be on hold because he's too damn set in his way to even bother to listen. That I'd travelled to the middle east before. I'd been to Bahrain, Dubai, Damascus and the human rights laws are deeply exaggerated by the media.

In the end he won. He's a lawyer. He calmed down and pulled up evidence for his cause, including a list of laws and punishments. Did you know that a male can murder any female member of his family and get away with it out there? A woman can not drive. She can not go anywhere without an escort.

I think it's bollocks. It's illegal to do many things, but is it truly put into practice? If you do your best to follow the law I don't see how it could be "dangerous" to go there. People live there for crying out loud!

I resorted to calling my father. I explained the situation slowly and calmly.

Okay that was a lie. I spilled everything out as fast as I could and begged and pleaded with him to come with me. I was desperate.

"No! Solicitor is right. You are not going. I don't care if I have to tie you down myself"

Damn him!

"I'll take away your passport if I have to!"

What the fuck?! Saudi was supposed to have the human rights issues. Not Solicitor and my Father. Maybe its just men in general. Stupid men.

I called my associate this morning and told him that my partner can not accompany me so we'll have to make other arrangements. I didn't say much more than that be he knew what had happened.

"Elise, Riyadh is not as bad as people think." He sighed. "I understand you're dilemma, I really do. We'll have to put our meeting on hold until the Autumn if you can not fly here. I'll return to the UK then and we can rearrange a time."

Great. Just great. I can kiss goodbye to my glimmer of hope. I feel like crying! Am I being hormonal? Do the guys in my life have a point? Or was I completely cheated?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Gift Wrapped

Stoner leaned over the coffee table and studied the little box.

"Yeah, it's perfect."

I smiled and began wrapping the box. I'm not great with wrapping presents. For some reason I always manage to rip the corners. Sellotape is used liberally, and one ends always ends up with more wrapping paper than the other. I have to make an extra fold to stick it down.

"Don't tell Bimbo." I whispered glancing up at the door to make sure she hadn't arrived. "She'll start crying or do something else dramatic. In fact, don't tell anyone."

Saturday afternoon was bright and sunny. I invited Stoner and Bimbo over for the day. Solicitor went to the pub with a few of his friends to watch the football. Stoner arrived first. I purposely asked him to be there early because I had something to show him and I needed his advice.

"Holy shit!" was pretty much his reaction.

I felt a flutter of nerves.

"This is big isn't it?" I asked him


When a big moment takes place in life it often makes people think of the bigger picture. When you graduate from education you suddenly realise that the world is you oyster. That there are many different career paths. That you are now a fully qualified adult.

I tend to think of stupid little things. When I graduated from university the first thing I realised was "I won't get discount at HMV anymore."

Because of my warped mind I needed a logical friend to give me some logical advice. Stoner is my pillar of logic. The voice of reason. The one person that I can rely on to say something that will bring perspective.

"I don't know what to say."

Oh my God! That's it. It was a bad idea.

"You think he'll hate the idea."

Stoner's eyes widened in surprise. "It's only an idea?!"

"The present." I said patiently. "The actual meaning is real. Don't you think it's cute?"

"Right..." He slowly nodded.

"Yeah, it's a good idea." He paused. "Cute."

"Check out the colours." I said enthusiastically. "You like?"

He leaned over the coffee table and peered into the box.

"Yeah, it's perfect."

Solicitor arrived home later that night to a candle lit dinner for two. I'd changed into the little black dress that he loves and I stood by the table nervously biting my bottom lip. He smiled when he saw my efforts.

"Wow. Something smells good."

"Thai." I said as he gently kissed me.

"Nope. You."

My knees buckled slightly as he nuzzled at my neck.

"I've got a present for you." I told him pointing at the badly wrapped box on the table.

Solicitor frowned.

"Did I forget some kind of anniversary?" He asked.

"Just open it."

When he picked up the box I sank into my chair. He took his time peeling off the sellotape. Why couldn't he just rip the wrapping paper? I wanted to scream in frustration.

When he finally peeled off enough tape to open one side of the wrapping, I panicked and jumped to my feet. My arm clumsily knocked my glass of orange juice onto the floor.


My fingers shook as I bent down to pick up the glass.

"What's wrong with you?" Solicitor asked squatting beside me holding my wrists.

"Just open the present, will you!" I snapped back.


He pulled the wrapping off and stared. Silently. God, please say something, I begged.

"Is this...?"

I nodded.

"Are you...?"

I nodded again.

He placed the box of tiny baby booties on the table and pulled me into his arms.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter/ Family Weekend

As Easter weekend approaches, family woes kick in.

Solicitor and I are on speaking terms. Last night I cooked him a nice meal and apologised as soon as he walked through the door. He didn't say much, he just nodded. Things aren't right yet, but they will be. I will speak to him properly tonight and tell him what happened and why.

We decided to spend Easter weekend separately. Mother and Stepfather invited me and Sister to their home. It's the first time in years that we'd be there at the same time.

It takes me back to the days when I was in my late teens and Sister was planning her wedding. Mother, Sister and I picked out hundreds of pictures of dresses, cakes, flowers etc and presented them to Stepfather along with price tags. His hair practically fell out during that weekend!

Solicitor planned to spend the weekend with his very large and loud family. His mother was of course upset that her "new daughter in law" wasn't coming. I love that about his family. They welcomed me into their arms with no questions. When I pointed out that Solicitor and I are not married or even engaged, his mother laughed and said "You don't need a piece of paper or a ring to prove that you are man and wife, I can see it in your hearts."

This morning, Mother called.

"Hi Elise, I've got some news."

"What news?"

Please don't say something sick like your pregnant.... That would be awful!

"Well you remember my cousin Tommy, don't you?"


"Well Tommy's daughter Marlene is getting married and we're invited to the engagement party."

"Okay. Should I bring a formal dress with me?"


"Darling, you haven't been invited."


"Oh okay. What day is it?"

"It's a weekend thing... In Scotland."

"You and Stepfather going to Scotland?"


"I'm sorry darling, I know you and your sister were looking forward to this weekend."

"It's fine."


"Honestly, Mother it's fine. Have a good time."

When I hung up I felt like crying. It sounds so stupid, but I felt so angry at her. Angry because I miss her. Ever since I was young I was always craving her attention. She left me to live with Grandmama when I was 13 and moved out of the city with Stepfather. I spent all of my weekends with them but it wasn't the same.

For a few moments I sat on the sofa cradling the phone in my hands. I could spend the weekend with Solicitor I suppose. Or I could call Sister and we could do something together.

I called Father.

"What's wrong?" He answered.

I've only ever called him during emergencies.

"Nothing. I just felt like talking."

He paused.


"What are you doing this weekend?"

"You're mother cancelled on you."


I felt a giant lump in my throat.

"Do you fancy spending some time with me? Lady-Friend wants to get to know you better."

"I don't want to impose."

"Elise, I wanted you to be with me this weekend. You're mother got there first."


"Yes. Why don't you come by tomorrow night and we can have dinner and talk. Just the two of us."

"What about Lady-Friend?"

"I'll ask her to wait until Saturday. I need some alone time with you."

"Thanks. Dad...?"


"I love you."

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Arguments and Laxatives

Solicitor and I are not speaking. We had a huge argument last night.

Brother-In-Law dropped by last night with his new girlfriend. She's great. Swift thinking with a sharp wit. We got on like a house on fire.

Brother-In-Law brought up the conversation about bulimia. He'd seen a thin girl purchasing three boxes of laxatives and couldn't believe the shop attendant sold them to her without questioning her.

"A shop attendant can't question someone about their purchases." Girlfriend laughed. "If some guy bought three bottles of lube the guy wouldn't question him about his personal habits. This is no different."

"Yes it is." Brother-In-Law argued. "Laxatives are dangerous. Lube isn't."

We argued about the moral obligation of the shop attendant for a while before the subject shifted to the actual eating disorder.

"I don't understand why someone would do that to themselves." Brother-In-Law said shaking his head in disgust. "You don't even lose weight doing it."

"It's not about losing weight." I argued. "It's about feeling that you have."

Solicitor and Brother-In-Law looked skeptical. Girlfriend nodded.

"I think I understand what your saying." She said slowly. "Some days you feel fatter than others, regardless of how much you weigh."

"Exactly. Laxatives just makes you feel good." I paused. "I'm assuming." I added.

The conversation soon shifted onto another subject.

When Brother-In-Law and Girlfriend left Solicitor studied me seriously.

"I didn't realise you had an eating disorder." He said quietly.

"I don't." I retorted. "Why the hell would you think that? Have I ever said no to food?"

"I didn't say you have, I said you had."

"You don't know what your talking about. Just because I understand the other side of the fence, it doesn't mean I've been there." I argued angrily. "I have an A-level in psychology, remember? I learnt a little about the disorder."

Solicitor was quiet for a while.

"You want to tell me what happened?"

I lost my temper.

"I don't have a problem and I never have had one!" I shouted. "What's you're problem? Just because your ex wife is fucked up it doesn't mean that I am."

"Aimee has got nothing to do with this." He bit out angrily. "This is about you."

I shouldn't have mentioned Aimee. I could tell that I hit a nerve and I should have stopped there.

"Are you sure this isn't about you?" I said defiantly. "You're marriage failed because she was a smack head. Looking for a problem with me?"

Solicitor lost his temper and slammed his fist against the door frame.

"What the fuck is the matter with you?" he yelled

"Nothing!" I screamed "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I asked you one fucking question and you've lost your mind! You're acting like a psychopath."

"Leave me alone." I shouted slamming the bedroom door in his face.

He left me alone. He slept in the spare room. I didn't sleep all night. I kept staring at the door hoping that he would come back. But he never did.

This morning I heard him get up for work. Instead of waking up and making him breakfast I kept my eyes closed and pretended to be asleep.

I haven't called him all day and now I can't stop thinking about it.

I'm not angry at him, I'm angry at me. I said some horrible things. He was right I acted like a psychopath.

I don't have a problem. I have enough self confidence and I'm actually happy with my image. But when I was 14 it was a different story. It wasn't that serious. I didn't make myself terribly ill. I'd call it a phase that I went through, a way of dealing with some things.

I haven't told Solicitor about it. I guess deep down I'm really afraid. I know it's against all logical thought, but I'm worried that he'll think I'm like Aimee.

He'll be late home today. He text me earlier:

Got a meeting at 6. Be home after that.

I guess he's still angry. He normally leaves a kiss at the end of texts.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Using the Sofa

It started out like a normal Saturday.

Bimbo and I decided to do some window shopping. Bimbo loves taking Baby Girl out shopping, she can hook all of her shopping bags on the handles of the pram.

We've changed our usual routine. Bimbo and I used to spend hours trying on clothes in TopShop but now we stop, look and grab. Having a baby around expands the shopping world even further. We now spend time in every department at John Lewis, Women's Clothes and Shoes (for obvious reasons), Men's Clothes (gifts for Solicitor and Pierce), Home and Furniture (you never know what you'll find! It's like disneyland!), and the Children Section (for darling Baby Girl).

So, Bimbo and I were trying out Furniture at John Lewis (Bimbo was feeding Baby Girl her milk on one of the large sofas), when a sales guy decides to offer his advice.

Blah blah blah Money Back Guarantee blah blah blah Three Years Interest Free blah blah blah If you purchase today you'll receive Free Insurance

Bimbo stared up at him, her large blue eyes filling up with tears.

"I'm sorry, there's just nowhere to feed her!"

The sales guy stopped and stared.

"I can't buy the sofa!" Bimbo cried "That's what you want, don't you? You think I've used it don't you?"

I open my mouth.

And then shut it again.

The sales guy did the same.

"I'm sorry, I thought you needed help with buying." He stammered. He shot me a quick look of apology before practically running away.

I put a gentle arm around Bimbo and asked her what was wrong.

I'm used to Bimbo crying. She does it quite often when she's facing huge issues. Like the time that she had a sip of wine when she was pregnant and she thought she was a bad mother. And the time that she accidentally posted a letter without checking to see if she had the right amount of stamps on it.

"So... um... are you okay?"

"No I'm not!" She cried. The couple checking out the big red sofa looked up at us in surprise. They looked away swiftly and gave each other a look.

Bimbo carried on, oblivious to the attention that she's caught.

"I can't handle it. I've only shaved one leg and I can't sleep!"

Baby Girl choked on her milk and started wailing. A high pitched baby scream.

"Okay." I said quietly, taking Baby Girl into my arms. "It's okay. Let's go and... and... get out of here. Let's go get some coffee."

"I can't!" Bimbo whispered, tears running down her cheek. "I'm breast feeding. I'm not allowed coffee."

"Okay you can have hot chocolate." I said desperately. "You like hot chocolate."

Bimbo gulped. "Okay."

"Okay, good, lets go."

She can't sleep because she only shaved one leg??

We settled down in Costa with a Hot Chocolate and a Cappuccino. Bimbo's eyes had dried and she looked at me sheepishly.

"I'm sorry, I just couldn't handle it." She took a small sip of her drink and wiped the milk off of her lips with a napkin. "Baby Girl keeps me up all night. I can't even have a shower with the door closed anymore. I have to shave my legs in shifts. Every time she drifts off to sleep I can't sleep in case she stops breathing. I just can't, I just can't!"

Bimbo pulled the napkin to her eyes and began breathing jerkily. I reached out and gripped her hand.

"It's okay." I soothed. "It happens to all new parents. I'm sure Pierce's life has changed too."

"Yes but he goes to work. He only has a few hours of it." Bimbo's voice lowered dramatically. "I have to be awake all the time!"

"I'm home all the time. Just call me and I'll come over and help you." I smiled at her. "I'm here."

"I know." She blew her nose. "I was okay. Honestly I was fine. But now... What am I going to do with two?!"

I stared at her stunned.

"Oh my God! You're pregnant?"

Bimbo started crying... again.

"Yes. Pierce can't wait. He told me that the news has made him the happiest person."

I started laughing.


Bimbo hiccuped.

"Th..thank you."

Solicitor was busy watching football on Sky Sports when I got home. I flopped down on the sofa with armfuls of shopping bags.

"Anything nice?" he asked absently.

"What's the score?" I asked in response.

He smiled and kissed my forehead.

"Bimbo's having another baby." I told him.

Solicitor paused. "That's good news." He said finally.

I nodded. "Yeah."

We watched the television for a few minutes.

"We should get our skates on if you want our kids to play with theirs." He said finally.

I laughed as he pulled me into his arms.