I never post crushes, 'Top Ten' or 'Never Unfollow' lists. You are all equally special.
Roy: Okay, I’d better be getting back to the office. Later, dude-
Anita: Um, Roy? Haven’t you forgotten something?
Joël: Dude? Can you give us our baby back, please?
Roy: Damn. Busted.
…and hoping it won’t be for too long, because I’ll miss you all too much. Stay golden, lovelies!
Monday 11.27 am
Harry: Hey, that was Joël on the phone! He rang to say they’ve just arrived at the hospital because Anita’s gone into labour! It’s so exciting! Aren’t you excited?
Mireille: Yes, I can barely contain myself.
Harry: Hey, when the baby’s a bit older do you think Anita will enrol it in our daycare centre? I guess we should charge her discount rates. Seeing as it’ll be Saffy’s half-brother or sister. Mireille? What do you think?
Mireille: *snarling noises*
Tonight’s meeting of the Infertility Support Group is being held at the Bridgeport City Library, and Sonia is excited because they have invited a special guest speaker, Professor Lydia Burgess, to talk about trends in Third Party Assisted Reproductive Techniques. She is also looking forward to going to Claire’s apartment after the meeting for what Claire calls her continuing ‘missionary work’. This is the phrase Claire likes to use to describe her attempts to woo Sonia away from her marriage. At breakfast this morning Roy told her he was planning to go to the gym tonight for a few hours and then said something vague about meeting some people from work for a drink or two. Sonia very much doubts he’ll be home before she is.
Bridgeport has been basking in an Indian summer the last few weeks, and tonight is soporifically warm despite the library’s aircon. To everyone’s disappointment, Professor Burgess is not a particularly engaging speaker. Sonia has almost nodded off when Claire jams her elbow into her ribs.
Sonia: Oww. That hurt, Claire. What-
Claire: Would you mind explaining what HE’s doing here?
Now Sonia is wide awake and so is everybody else. Roy is bounding up the stairs. For some reason he’s shirtless. Now he’s shaking the professor’s hand, who looks more than a little flustered. Claire looks livid. It doesn’t help when Roy winks at her. She turns her head away in disgust. Roy kisses Sonia noisily on the lips and plonks himself down next to her.
Sonia: Roy, what on earth…where’s your shirt? And didn’t you tell me you were going to be busy tonight?
Roy: I went to the gym for a little while but the aircon was broken and it was too damn hot. And then I remembered what you’d said about your meeting and I thought hey, Third Party Assisted Reproductive Techniques, woah, that actually sounds really interesting. More interesting than going out drinking with the boys, anyway!
Sonia: You’re scaring me, Roy. I have no idea what you’re up to, but when I find out-
Roy: What are you talking about? I’m not allowed to be a supportive husband? Did you hear that, Claire? How the hell are you, anyway? You know, it takes a really gutsy person to wear that shade of yellow. I really admire the fact that you don’t care how you look and can just leave home wearing something like that. Don’t you, honey?
Claire gets up and walks down the stairs. Sonia wants to go after her but knows she can’t, not if she doesn’t want to arouse Roy’s suspicions. Sonia feels a little bit annoyed with Claire. She really ought to act more cool around Roy. If she doesn’t watch it she’ll totally end up giving the game away. Roy shrugs and puts his arm around her shoulder, his knee pressing against hers. Professor Burgess is talking about assessing sperm DNA fragmentation with the sperm chromatin dispersion test. Poor Claire, thinks Sonia. She mustn’t forget to ring her to apologise first thing tomorrow morning. She feels terrible, she really does. Roy whispers something in her ear. She feels a blush creeping up her neck and tries not to giggle.
Thursday 11.47 pm
Joël is on the dancefloor enjoying a break from his bartending duties with Monica. That is, until he receives a text.
Joël: What the actual-
Monica: What is it?
Joël: Nothing. I’m going to sit down.
The text is from Dom. He and Megan have broken up. He wants to apologise to Joël for getting together with her in the first place. He should have listened to him. Sorry man, says Dom. You were right all along. Twenty seconds later he gets a text from Roy asking if he’s heard the news. Then comes another text from Damo. They are like a bunch of gossiping old women. Joël puts his phone away and tries to work out how he feels. Smug, vindicated, but there’s an element of apprehension as well, the source of which he’s unwilling to probe too deeply at the moment. He guesses it’s only a matter of time before he gets an email from Meg. Shit. Monica is still staring at him.
Joël: It’s nothing. Just one of my mates broke up with his girlfriend.
Monica: So what do you care? Wait. You’re not the cause of the break-up, are you? You haven’t been playing up behind Anita’s back?
Joël: As if.
Monica: I can tell when you’re hiding something.
Monica: I bet Anita can too. Especially with her being a cop and shit.
Joël: What the hell makes you think I’m hiding something?
Monica: You’ve got a dick. End of story.
Thursday 10.58 pm
Anita likes her nurse, whose name is Constance. She is efficient, polite and physically unattractive, all desirable qualities in a nurse. Constance is staying all night while Joël is at work. His shift tonight doesn’t finish until 6 am. Anita has been telling Constance how quiet Joël has been lately. She asks Constance if she’s noticed.
Constance: No, not really. But I don’t have many conversations with him. We just say hi and bye, basically. Now Anita, you didn’t eat much dinner-
Anita: I had a few bites but this reflux is killing me. Can you get me a yogurt? That seems to help. Anyway, I think it’s my fault for dragging up stuff about his ex-girlfriend. The fact that Joël’s been quiet lately, I mean. I try not to let paranoia get to me but I can’t help it. It’s hard being with a man who’s so much younger. Especially when his ex is a model who’s still trying to weasel her way back into his life, for God’s sake. I mean, is it any wonder I feel insecure sometimes? Anyone would, right?
Constance: I suppose so. I’ve never had a proper boyfriend so I wouldn’t really know. What flavour yogurt would you like?
Anita: Mango. Another thing that’s freaking me out is how we haven’t had sex since I came out of hospital. I think Joël’s scared it’s going to hurt the baby or something. But I mean, we don’t have to have actual penetrative sex, right? There’s lots of other things we can do-
Constance: I guess. But you’re asking the wrong person. I’ve never really-
Anita: Sex was always like the cornerstone of our relationship and the fact that it’s…oh my God, Connie. Did you just tell you’re a virgin? But you must be well into your thirties. Oh my God.