A Starr is born.
Maxine spent hours getting ready, having her hair and nails done.
She stood before the mirror in her bedroom staring at her reflection deciding if he dress she now wore was the right one. It was the third dress she had tried on. Satisfied, she added shoes and a light cardigan to the outfit.
Stood by the window, she watched the street for activity; his car was yet to arrive. He was usually very punctual.
Maxine lived in a bottom flat that was once a house. The people in the flat above her were once quiet people, but the day they brought home the dog, things changed. Yet Maxine knew she only had to put up with it for so long, because she truly believed that Toby was going to marry her and they would move into a house of their own.
The street had been a nice place to live; she did not mind the dog that much, not really. Kids in the street were noisy, but no noisier than she had been as a teen herself, that was until a new family across the street moved in. That day, things changed.
She stood now at the window watching that very house. At first, they seemed a lovely couple, the children nice, polite, they seemed the perfect family. Something she wanted herself.
The family before them had kept to themselves and they too were quiet and as it turned out were related to the family who owned the house. The house had been passed down to the oldest sibling. A perfect family home, on a nice quiet street.
They really did seem perfect and Maxine wanted what they had, but as the years passed, so did the family, as the children grew. The family became lazy. They never bothered to cut the grass or apply a lick of paint to the property. The mother was the laziest of them all, allowing her children to run riot, to scream and shout at all hours. Many had complained about them, Maxine did not want to confront them, even if she was fed up with the children herself. She vowed when they had children theirs would never be like that. How her views changed on those once quiet polite children.
What happened to those children, they seemed feral now. She shook her head. All she knew once he proposed she would leave this flat and move into his place they would buy a place together. She got giddy thinking about it. Just as she thought about those children, did they appear, teenagers now, loud music blared from one of the boy's speakers that he balanced on the wall outside their home. At thirteen, the youngest was the worst, smoking the cigarette his brother handed him. She could hear them from where she stood, hoping they would be gone by the time Toby arrived. Twenty minutes later, the boys picked up the speaker and wandered down the street, yelling and kicking a car as they walked along the path until they were out of sight.
She watched his car arrive and pull up outside her home, he tooted the horn. Usually, he would make his way to the door and walk her to the car, but not today, today he remained in the car. She wondered what was wrong, was he nervous, she knew he would be, it was how it should be, what if she said no, not that she had any intention of saying that.
The smile remained on her face as she climbed into the car and he drove, not even saying hello. She looked forward, her heart racing, he looked worried, so nervous, she had thought. He looked pale; he did not need to be.
Maxine knew he would have a lot to think about, like how he was going to do it. Go the whole way, down on one knee, or would he do it cheesy like and put it in a glass or a cake? She did not care, all she wanted to do was say yes and have him slide that ring her on her finger.
He stopped the car, turned off the engine and walked around to her side of the car and opened her door. He did not take her hand. She put this down to nerves too.
They were shown to a table, ordered the food that the waitress suggested. It arrived twenty minutes later, the whole time he looked nervous. Maxine watched him watch her, she felt giddy the whole time, until the meal was eaten and the pudding arrived. She dove into the cake, hoping to find the ring; she made a mess as she dug around, only to find nothing inside it. She looked confused, he frowned.
“What are you doing?” he asked. He had not spoken a word until that moment.
“Where is it?”
“Where is what?”
“What ring?” she repeated. It dawned on her; he had not brought her there to propose to her. “Why are we here?”
“Oh, I get it,” he shook his head and laughed. This made her angry, her face red with embarrassment. “Oh, that ring. You really thought I was going to ask you to marry me?”
“Yes, of course, I did, We’ve been together for three years now, Toby, I…”
“Maxine, as much as I loved you, this, is not what is happening.”
“Loved, what do you mean loved?” the fork that was in her hand tumbled from her fingers and clattered on her the plate, the sound louder than it was in the silence in the room. All ears were on them.
“You really need me to spell it out.”
“I don’t understand what is going on.”
“It’s over, you, me, we are over.”
“No, what, wait why?”
“I don’t love you anymore.”
“You don’t love me anymore? You brought me to this fancy restaurant to end things with me, what kind of person does that?”
“Didn’t want me to cause a scene?”
“Three years, three damn years. We have been together and you felt you could not just talk to me about this.”
“Is there someone else?”
“Why would you ask that?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because this is out of the blue, last week we were having sex every day and you told me you loved me, what changed?”
“I have been feeling like this for a while and…”
“…so sleeping with me meant nothing,” she stood, threw back her chair and made her way to the door. “I can’t believe you would do this, like this, Toby.”
He stood watching her leave, not once attempting to follow her. The door closed behind her, her heart broken, shattered into a thousand pieces, but she would not cry. In a way as she stood outside, she thought it was part of it, she held her breath as she waited for him to follow her and tell her it was a joke, a cruel trick. Yet he did not follow her, she waited ten minutes, as she realised it was it, it was over. She would not cry, not there, not now, she would wait until she was home, in the safety of her home, the home she hated. Realising she would not be escaping that place any time soon.
The moment she entered the flat, she removed the dress, kicked her shoes off and threw herself on the sofa and sobbed until sleep finally took her in the early hours.
The next morning, Maxine woke up at ten. She had booked a week off work and was thankful; she needed time to adjust to what had just happened. What she thought she would be doing was celebrating; instead, she needed to mend her broken heart.
She was not one of those women who would text and call and beg her ex to take her back. She was heartbroken; she needed comfort food and her mother. Showered, Maxine made her way to her mothers and entered using the key she had to her family home.
“Mum,” she called out.
“In here love.”
As soon as she saw her mother, the tears fell freely again.
“Oh, sweetheart what is the matter?”
“Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry, I…”
No more words were needed as her mother took her in her arms and held her. Releasing her, she stepped back and inhaled.
“Right then, today is all about you, you’re not at work right?”
“No, I have a week off.”
“Good, I am taking you out. Go wash your face. You can use makeup in my room, and then we are going to have a pamper day.”
“Thank you, mum.”
Three weeks later, she had accepted that things were over, she was not happy that they were not together anymore, she had loved him. Still did, and although she had not stalked him in person she had online. Saw his status was still single, as was hers. She was thankful for that. Entering the supermarket for her morning shift, as a shelf stacker, she passed the shelves where the woman’s monthly items were stored. It dawned on her she had not brought any for that month. Checking her phone for her due date she realised it was a week past due, she was never late. Tilting her head she stared at her phone and then rolled her eyes, it had to be stress, it had happened before and shrugged it off.
“Morning, how was your weekend?”
“Same as always. You know I enjoy my one full day off, but I was here Sunday.”
“True, have you met the new boss?”
“No, I haven’t. I thought he was due to start next week!”
“Yeah, looks like he arrived early, anyway, better go and get started, as long as I don’t get called to sit on checkouts again.”
“Yeah, because they still expect us to get all our stock out even if we are stuck on a checkout for hours.”
“Damn straight, see you for lunch, I’m already starving.”
“Yeah me too, but I will not be eating in that canteen, I heard it’s gone downhill since they changed the menu and suppliers.”
“Yeah, I heard the same; we could walk to the café across the road. They do homemade lasagne. I really fancy some of that and means I don’t have to cook later, so a win for me.”
“Yeah, sounds good to me I cannot be bothered to cook for myself.”
“Oh, Toby not taking you out anymore? Loved up at yours or his place now?”
She shook her head, swallowed; she had yet to tell her they had split up.
“Maxine, what’s wrong, what did I say?”
“Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s okay,” she inhaled. “I am still getting used to it being over, I just…he…we…I don’t know why he ended it, I just don’t get any of it.”
“He dumped you?”
“I am here for you if you need me.”
“Thanks, Hannah, we can talk more at lunch, see you then.”
She patted her friend on the arms, Maxine hurried away, knowing her friend was watching her.
Lunchtime the two women walked to the café ordered and chatted about general things before Hannah brought up Toby.
“So he never said why?”
“No, other than that he no longer loved me. I just wondered why he no longer loved me, I mean we were together for three years, I deserve an explanation of some sort, don’t you think.”
“Damn straight you do, I would have demanded to know,” she placed her fork down and lifted the mug of tea, sipped at it before continuing. “Unless…”’
“That was the first thing I asked, he denied it and his online status says he is single.”
“What if he created a new account that you don’t know about, men are sneaky.”
“I never thought of that, should I snoop?”
“Yes we should, but let me do it,” she said, pulling out her phone and tapping into it. “I can’t find any others than the one he has. Unless it’s under a new name, maybe…what was his nickname?”
“He didn’t have one.”
“Okay,” she said and winced and inhaled deeply.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just period pain. I don’t like to ask, but I wondered if you had any pads on you, I need to you know and realised I didn’t put any in my bag.”
“I don’t have any on me, sorry.”
“Painkillers, I should really stock up but I…”
“None of those either, those new ones should help with the cramps, have you tried those?”
“Yes, they are brilliant; I had taken the last this morning. I should have got some on the way out, I will have to get some when we head back, but for now, I need to see if they have any, be right back.”
As she sat there thinking about her own late period her mind wandered, what if, what if she was pregnant. She thought about winning him back, the house she wanted for them to live in, the other children she had imagined they would have. She had visualised it all. She worried for a second if she had scared him off, but shook that thought and the thought she might be pregnant from her mind. She too needed to buy supplies after work, she made a mental note to pick them up after she finished, along with a test kit, just in case.
A few hours later, items in a bag she arrived home, put them in the small cupboard in the bathroom, before reading the information on the test kit. It read to do it first thing, she could wait a few more days, her period was just late, and she knew the test was not really needed. She believed it, but when she woke the next morning, she thought about if she was, she had to know and could not wait a second longer.
Tearing it from the packaging, she read what she needed to do, peed on it and waited for the results. Minutes passed and she was soon sat on the toilet seat, the stick in her hand. She stated at the little pink line as it turned into a cross. Did this mean what she thought? She did a second test, leaving the third in the packet. The same result, crap, she was pregnant.
She had to tell Toby, but first, she decided she needed it confirmed by a doctor. She had to be one hundred percent sure. She knew that meant four days to wait for the results, but she already knew she was, the results were 99%.
The doctor confirmed her fear, she was and now she had to tell Toby. She sent him a text, asking him to meet her; she needed to talk to him. He ignored it, she rang. He did not answer.
She sent more messages, saying she needed to talk to him and would meet him at a café, it was the least he could do. She gave him a time and place, telling him she would wait for him. She would not stop until he met her, and he knew she would, where this matter was concerned she would not let it go.
Dressed in jeans a jumper and trainers, Maxine arrived at the café, sat at a table by the window and waited. Picking up packets of sugar and emptying the contents into a coffee as she waited. She watched the road for his car.
The coffee half-drunk as she waited another fifteen minutes passed, she ordered a second mug. Which she now sat with her hands wrapped around it. Just as she was about to give up, she saw his car, watched him enter the café, he looked as he always did, her heart flipped. He slumped in the seat opposite her.
“So what do you want Maxine?”
“Toby, there is no need to speak to me like that.”
“Why am I here?”
“I wanted to talk.”
“There is no us, I told you, I don’t love you anymore.”
“I know, but why, I deserve to know why, what happened?”
“Nothing happened, I just stopped loving you, simple as that, it happens.”
“Why am I really here?”
“Yes, and if you think you and I are getting back together that I would suddenly love you after three weeks apart you are mistaken.”
“Okay, I get it, but I wanted to be the one to tell you.”
“Tell me what?”
“It’s not mine.”
“Excuse me.” She scrunched up her nose and slammed the results from the doctors on the table.
“That could be fake. How do I know it’s real.”
“What do you want me to do, pee on a stick to prove it?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Fine, come back to mine I have one left and I will.”
The test sat on the sink, they both waited in silence. He watched the seconds pass by as the results showed him she was telling the truth.
“Now do you believe me?”
He could not deny it?
“How do I know it’s mine?”
“Sorry, but I had to ask.”
“We have been broken up for three weeks; you know it’s yours.”
She wondered if she should ask him with this news if they should try again?
All rights reserved