As she lay in the bath, surrounded by a ridiculous amount of lavender scented bubbles, Lucy could not help but smile at how different her weekends had become. At one time Friday and Saturday nights had always meant wine. Either at home, or out with friends, or colleagues from work. Sometimes Carl from upstairs would invite her up to join him. He had a girlfriend now, she remembered. A small shy looking girl named Tara. She guessed that his weekend nights had changed as well.
Where once there would have been a large glass of wine, placed next to her head was half a cup of tea. It had probably gone cold now, but she hadn’t really been enjoying it anyway. As she had told Michael earlier, the sickness part was easing off now, but there were still certain foods and drinks she couldn’t enjoy like she used to. Coffee was a complete no no. Marmite was another one. Toast was okay if plain and nearly cold, otherwise it would feel like it was clogging up her throat, making her want to gag. Chocolate didn’t taste the same anymore either.
She reached up with her big toe and pushed the hot tap until it came on. A boiling flow of water spurted out and she dunked her foot back under the water to avoid being scalded. She closed her eyes, feeling her entire body relaxing and unwinding muscle by muscle as the hot water swirled slowly around the bath. Music was playing in the bedroom, turned up so she could hear it in the bath. She had gone for The Stone Roses, which she knew was probably a mistake, going by how sensitive and emotional she had been since discovering she was pregnant. Every song would only serve to remind her of Danny, and all the music he had shared with her back when they were kids. It had been like a religion to him hadn’t it? He had always reminded her of one of those church going fanatics, the type that are always trying to convert you, and get you to feel what they feel, and see what they see. He had been like that about music. She could still hear him now. This is good, this is so good, you have to listen to this, you just have to, your life will not be complete or worth living if you don’t listen to this. And he’d always been right, hadn’t he? From The Smiths to Bob Dylan, from Nirvana to The Stone Roses, he had converted her easily every time, and he reminded her of an addict, always searching, hunting for more. Coming back from the record shop, beaming brightly, having discovered Cream, Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart.
They had spent so many hours like that, just listening to music, not talking. Lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. She would rest her cheek against his chest and listen to his heart beating there. She would feel the shivers go down her spine when a certain lyric, timed with just the right guitar riff or drumbeat seemed to fill the room, the emotion of it lifting them up above it all, taking them somewhere else entirely. Sometimes she would lift her head to look at him, and see this almost serene look on his face, eyes closed, smile huge and dopey, like one of those people in church, praising their lord, believing in it completely.
Her hands wandered slowly towards her stomach and she shivered again now. It was a combination of the music and the memories, and the thought of the life whirling around inside her. Sometimes it was all too much. The thought of the baby both frightened and enthralled her. It sent jolts of fear through her body, and turned her stomach upside down every time she thought of it, but at the same time, she could not stop her hands going to it. It was a comforting urge she had. She would wake up in the morning with her hands cupped around her belly.
There was something nice about that, she thought now, sliding her palms across her stomach, feeling the way it had popped out, creating a neat little pot belly. She was never alone now, she had realised recently. Wherever she was, whatever she was doing, there was someone else with her, all the time. When she went to sleep at night, the baby was there with her, and when she woke up in the morning, the baby was still there, and she was starting to get used to it. She was starting to feel excited. There were times when worry and guilt ruled her day of course. She had not told anyone at school yet, and that whole scenario could keep her awake at night if she thought about it enough. She was seventeen weeks or there abouts, according to her doctor, and she was definitely starting to show. What would people at school say? What would they think, and what would they ask her? Sometimes she felt so tired she wondered how on earth she would cope once it was born. If it was this exhausting being pregnant, how would it feel to never get any sleep?
There were times when she just sat with her head in her hands and cried. At first she had admonished herself for this, finding herself weak and silly for sobbing. Be strong, she had wanted to tell herself, you can do this, you can do anything. But now she wasn’t so hard on herself. The sole book she owned on pregnancy informed her that carrying a baby sends your hormones into overdrive. She allowed herself tears when she needed them. She would look at her book and sob at the pictures of loving couples, the father placing his hands over the woman’s swollen belly. Sometimes she would feel so lonely it was impossible to bear, and then she would phone her mother.
She felt calm today though. It was Saturday night. No school until Monday. She could lie in and laze about to her hearts content. Her mother wanted to take her shopping tomorrow at some point. You need to start buying things, she kept telling her, or at least start looking at things. By things, Lucy presumed her mother meant cots, and prams and nappies and clothes, and the thought of these things always made her want to giggle. She would suddenly and inexplicably feel far too childish to be having a baby, and the thought of browsing through baby vests and moses cots, just made her want to burst into hysterical laughter.
Then she would inevitably think of Danny, and wonder, if things were different, would he be finding those things funny too? Would he be placing his hands on her growing belly like the men in her book? Would he be helping to think of names, and guessing if it is a girl or a boy? Normally such thoughts would bring the tears to her eyes at once, but today, she felt different.
There had been his text message earlier. It had been such a surprise, such a nice shock. It hadn’t sounded angry, had it? She had read and re read it a dozen times since it had arrived. We need to talk. That was a good thing, wasn’t it? It meant the news had finally sunk in for him, one way or another. It meant he was sober, and thinking clearly again. It meant he wanted to talk. She had sent a message back asking what time and where, but he had not yet replied to this. She had been fighting the urge to prompt him for three hours now.
Her hands laced upon her stomach and she wondered how long it would be until she first felt the baby kick. She had started to feel something, just a fluttering, a sort of whirling, swooshing movement inside her. She felt it more when she was like this, totally relaxed in the warm bath water. It made her smile. Even if she had just had the shittiest, most exhausting day, that strange floating feeling in her tummy, like little butterflies stretching their wings, it made her smile. It made her feel better. Hello, she would mouth silently to the baby, giggling in embarrassment, is that you?
Maybe she would let her mother take her shopping tomorrow. She was going to need new clothes soon enough. Everything was getting too tight now. Maybe they could go clothes shopping, and then just take a little peek at the baby section? Just a tiny little peek. She smiled and giggled at the thought, imagining her mother would probably get ridiculously excited once face to face with rows of tiny baby pink and baby blue outfits. I wonder what you are… she started to ponder, when suddenly she heard her phone go off. She sat up violently in the bath, jerking to a sitting position so quickly that she forced a wave of water out onto the floor.
Lucy told herself not to rush, not to panic, not to be so silly, but she could barely stop herself from leaping out of the bath. She stepped out, hurriedly wrapped herself in a towel and trudged quickly through to the bedroom where she had left her phone. She found it on the bed and picked it up. It was Danny and her hand flew her to her mouth. I’m stayin at mums 2night- any chance u cud pick me up in morn? Her breath caught in her throat as she impatiently typed in her reply; of course I can, any time? She held the phone tightly in both hands, holding her breath, willing it to respond. She thought of the baby inside her right now, and she wanted to tell it that maybe everything was going to be okay, just maybe, maybe. Just as she sat slowly down on the edge of the bed, the phone beeped and vibrated again; any time 2 suit u. I cud come back 2 yours or something. Lots 2 tell u. Mostly I’ve been a twat and I’m sorry.
Lucy laughed out loud as she burst into tears, and held the mobile phone up to her mouth, squeezing her eyes tightly in relief, as hot tears rolled down her cheeks. It was the same words he had said to her the day they had shared their first proper kiss. How had he remembered, after all this time? Or was it just a coincidence? They had stood in Michael and Anthony’s lounge, she remembered. Girl From Mars by Ash had been playing on the stereo. He had said those exact words to her, and she had repeated them back to him. Because they had both been twats, she grinned now, hadn’t they? Her for freaking out when he didn’t show up at the beach one time, and him for pushing her away after that. She found the small curve of her belly with her other hand and kept it there, reassuring the baby. Don’t be silly, she text back, I’ve been a twat and I’m sorry 2. lol. C u tomoro xx She almost thought twice about the kisses, but then told herself, fuck it, I do love him, so fuck it, let him know.
Moments later the phone beeped again;