Book One in a series of Three
Kat is pregnant after only being with Max for 6 months. Running her own beauty salon, dealing with her depressed alcoholic father, fighting battles with Max’s mother and
facing ex-girlfriends, Kat isn’t sure if having a baby is the right thing to do. Her life feels like one big mess, whatever decision she makes will change her life for ever.
of the profits go to the Hope for Holly Charity.
The laughter was the strongest memory of that afternoon. We giggled as we ran through the perfectly trimmed hedges of the maze while Mum and Dad followed our screams of excitement. This type of frolicking would usually have had me, a twelve-year-old,
sitting on a bench, far too cool to join in such childishness. There was something about knowing I wouldn’t bump into my school friends, and my parents’ enjoyment,
that made the whole day different. I was relishing the fact that I was still a child. Libby was only six years old at the time, and pleasurably held my hand as we meandered round the densely grown hedges.
had packed a bundle of sandwiches. We devoured our way through the mixture of ham, cheese and jam, picking at the plain-flavoured crisps, the pink, decorated cakes and the chocolate biscuits. The large red blanket allowed space for us all as we soaked up the
glorious weather, appreciating the small breeze that cooled our clammy bodies.
Lampford Hall stood proudly at the top of the park but the Hall itself was not open to visitors. Lord and Lady Lampford had opened
their delightful grounds to the public but wanted to keep their home private. A dwarf stone wall with wrought-iron railings separated the Hall from the gardens and three members of staff circled the magnificent place. The sandstone building gleamed elegantly
in the sun as people stood outside the guarded area, taking photos which would allow them to savour the moment for ever.
We had listened to Mum tell a story about the fairies who lived in the magical Hall (for
Libby’s benefit, not mine, although I loved listening to her tales). Libby had been mesmerised as Mum told her they all have their own responsibilities. Libby, who’d lost her first tooth the month before, concluded that the ‘tooth fairy’ must have the most
important job. Mum explained we couldn’t go inside the magical Hall because if we saw the fairies the magic would disappear; just like we couldn’t
see Santa. I remember thinking that when I had children I’d want Mum to tell these amazing stories. She’d had them stored, adapting
them for different scenarios. When I listened that day I wished I was younger, still believing in the magical spirit of childhood. It was a deep-rooted feeling. One that had nested with me since my discovery that Santa didn’t exist (all because of Hannah Johnson, who hit me and told me I was stupid for believing such a ridiculous story). When Mum explained the truth, it wasn’t only Santa
that disappeared; the enchantment of childhood and that special ability to believe in anything also vanished.
Choosing to immerse myself in the childhood atmosphere of Lampford Park, I joined Libby on the swings,
slides and roundabout. We fed bread to the ducks, carrots to the deer and lettuce to the rabbits. We devoured soft chocolate ice-cream which trickled with
chocolate sauce, chocolate sprinkles and a chocolate
flake - absolute luxury. We ran through the water fountains, tasting the splashes that bounced against our skin. Our clothes were soaked right through. Mum and Dad watched us from the edge, their arms linked together, enjoying our squeals of exhilaration.
Over-excitement unleashed our deviant side as we dragged Dad by the arms, pulling him into the water jets. Libby and I laughed hysterically as he chased us through the shower of cold, refreshing water.
journey home we all (except Mum) had to take off our clothes. Libby and I were down to our pants. Poor Dad had to strip off too: his shirt and trousers were soaking wet. Mum wrapped me and Libby tightly in blankets as fatigue engulfed us. I remember closing
my eyes as they joked about hoping they didn’t have an accident or get pulled by the police.
would they think?’ Mum laughed.
It was decided that fish and chips would end the day nicely. Mum dropped us off at home with strict instructions
to get our pyjamas on, ready for a cosy and warm night. It was mine and Libby’s job to rummage through our collection of videos and pick a suitable film for us all. It was always one of the Disney
collection which Libby decided upon.
Usually Dad would have done the fish-and-chip run, but because we’d well and truly drenched him, Mum insisted
she go. I still wonder to this day: if we hadn’t soaked him, would she still be here?
I wanted to ask the policeman that, as he sat with Dad in the
lounge, relaying the news that Mum had been involved in a car accident.
She didn’t make the fish and chip shop.
‘You think?’ Suzy smiled. ‘So you might not be.’
‘You’re right, I might not be, but I’m four days late.’
‘That’s nothing. Sometimes I’m
a week late.’ Optimism shone from her eyes, her gentleness always present as she relaxed back in her chair.
‘I’m never late and I feel so ill.’
‘You wouldn’t be ill after four days, would you?’
‘Some of my customers say they knew as soon
as it happened.’
I nodded, raising my eyes at the absurdity that a woman would know when one of her eggs had been impregnated. With flashes of how and when it could have happened piercing through my mind, I asked, ‘Can
you remember that ball I went to with Max?’
‘God, how could I forget?’ Suzy
groaned and we both laughed at the memory of me dragging her around Newcastle, York and Leeds, looking for the perfect dress. I was so nervous about meeting Max’s work colleagues for the first time.
I wanted them to be impressed, or I didn’t want Max to be embarrassed; I wasn’t sure which was the more important. I knew I had to look
my best: a scruffy beauty therapist is never a good advert. We’d shopped for weeks on end, but it was worth it: Max commented, as did most of his colleagues, about how stunning I looked. It didn’t stop the nerves, though.
‘Well, remember I told you I was that nervous, I drank too much and threw up in the
toilets before the meal was served?’
‘I still can’t
believe Max doesn’t know about that.’ Suzy laughed. Then suddenly, her smile vanished. ‘But
that was, what? Seven, eight weeks ago? Did you miss last month’s─’
‘You remember a few weekends back we went to the Lakes?’
‘Of course. It’s when I met Michael,’ she giggled, like a teenager.
I took two packs of pills back to back so I wouldn’t have my period whilst we were away.’
‘Well, now I’m
due on and four days later it’s still not happening.’
if you’ve taken two packs together this can delay it, can’t it?’
‘I think so, but I don’t think I’d be this late.’ I ran my hand through my dark mane, the shine and texture inherited from Mum, the colour from Dad. ‘Plus, I feel so sick, my boobs hurt,
and they’re bigger. I thought it was because I’d taken two packs of pills, but I know it’s
‘You don’t know for sure.’
‘I’m sure enough - and I don’t
know what the hell to do about it.’ Tears formed and I swallowed the lump in my throat.
you talked to Max?’
‘Not yet. There’s no point
saying anything if I’m not.’ I sipped my coffee, trying to calm my nerves.
‘Right, come on. Let’s go.’
‘To buy a test.’ Suzy was already out
of her seat as I sat stubbornly in mine. Not only was my sofa the most comfortable place to be, I’d had the day from hell.…