The week had dragged and she could not wait for the weekend. She had a few days holiday and planned spending them with her daughter. She missed her terribly while she worked. When she worked in the bar she had no time to think about her, except when her boobs throbbed. Her boss was great, allowed her to express when she needed to. It was like clockwork, at eight she spent her break, eating and pumping.
Boobs empty she returned to the shift and served those that arrived for the late shift, the youngsters always tried it once a week to buy a drink or fags. She told them time and time again, no ID no sale and that they should leave.
Glass in her hand she dried it and added it the shelf above her head.
“You out after work tonight?” she asked.
“Yeah, always, you not coming again?”
“Nah, I have got to get back, you have one for me okay?”
She nodded, as Tiffany served one of the customers waiting. Ten minutes later she was called away to help out in the restaurant, it happened many times when she worked. She was the one that was asked to help elsewhere. Maxine did not mind, she liked to do whatever was asked of her, sometimes the bar could get busy and she got flustered. Most of the staff worked later than she did and they at first were not happy, but she took the job on with the hours she had. It was not her fault and now she could not work any later.
Ten on the clock, she collected her coat and said her goodbyes. She then made her way home to allow his parents to go home.
She unlocked the door and entered the flat. The street quiet. The sound of her daughters cries made her heart miss a beat.
“Is she okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, she just woke up, think she needs another feed, she is a hungry little thing tonight.”
“She has been eating a lot more lately; I should feed her and put her back down, thank you again for tonight.”
“Pleasure, I realised earlier it’s your birthday next week.”
“Yeah, I cannot believe I will be twenty-three already. Time is flying by and Starr will be six months already.”
“I know, she is a dear little thing. Just a shame my son doesn’t…”
“Dear we said we wouldn’t talk about him here, besides he…”
“Yes dear, he has a lot going on just now?”
Maxine narrowed her eyes.
“I guess we should tell you, it affects you and I don’t want you reading about it. I told him didn’t we dear, that he should tell you himself.”
“Tell me what?”
“He’s getting married.”
“I know, it’s been a shock to all of us and she is a nice girl, she is, but you two were, he…I…”
“No, in the end, we weren’t. I know that, but I am glad you told me. Glad I did not have to read it and find out that way. I hope he is happy.”
“Oh, he is,” his father said. “To damn happy, ashamed of himself he should be.”
“What else are you not telling me?”
“Oh nothing dear, we better go. We said too much already, we will see you Sunday!”
“I have the weekend off, I did say didn’t I?”
“Probably, we could pop over unless….”
“I don’t know what we are doing yet, I planned a weekend with just the two of us, I will call you if my plans change.”
She nodded and hugged me goodbye before they both left. Maxine added the expressed milk to the fridge and sat in the chair she used to feed Starr in.
“Hungry again are you, young lady, come on then, but then it’s to bed with you.”
Half an hour later, fed, changed Maxine carried her daughter to her cot and laid her in it. She needed a shower, before she could climb into bed, her eyes were heavy and the water felt amazing on her aching body. Running her hands down her body, she washed away the day. Her stomach now flat, she was amazed that her stomach had returned to its almost original state, she knew many mums did not. She was lucky, her own mother envied her. She had put so much on when she had been pregnant; her body had never been the same again.
Her breasts had gone up two cup sizes when pregnant and another once she started to feed her, she loved them bigger and wished they would remain that size, but knew the moment she stopped they would shrink. Her mother warned her that they would, all you need in life she had said, was a good mattress, shoes and a good bra.
Towel wrapped around her body, she made her way to her room. Maxine tiptoed into the bedroom and saw her daughter was fast asleep. She then made her way into the living room where she dried and changed into her bed things.
Switching the kettle on, she set a mug down on the side and was soon settled on the sofa, the tea in her hand, closing her eyes briefly she felt the hot scolding water trickle over the edge of her cup and onto her hand, she screamed out in pain. The cup went flying the sound of it crashing down woke her daughter. She sighed, set the cup on the table, ran her hand under the tap for a few minutes, thankful it was only a little that had landed on her. She wrapped her hand and went to her daughter and soothed her back to sleep, sat on her bed, leaning over the cot, her eyes heavy once again.
She woke the next morning, slumped over the cot, her hand resting on her daughters back. She sat up, before lying down and closing her eyes, not daring to move. She needed another half an hour to stretch her back out. They had no rush to get up, she had a day out planned, just the two of them.
As she looked out the window an hour later, she looked up at the sky, dark clouds formed. She should still go out; a little rain would not hurt.
She packed all they needed and added the rain cover to the pushchair before making her out of the flat; the boys were out again, the music blaring, but not as loud as before. They were better, but still did not attend school. They wolf-whistled as she passed by them; she rolled her eyes and marched on. They were not spoiling her weekend off.
She had missed the first bus, she did not mind, she would catch the next one. Laying the pushchair back, Starr’s eyes closed, she had slept most of the night, but seemed she was tired again. If she slept now she hoped she would be awake to see the animals.
The bus arrived she boarded and made her way down to the seat reserved for pushchair users. She watched the traffic. She recalled her mother’s words once again on how hard being a single mum would be, she had been right, but when she smiled or laughed at her, held her finger, it was all worth it.
The rain held off for the first hour she was there, the animals were on form. Starr was awake when she saw the monkey’s swinging on ropes. She giggled and watched in amazement.
The day was fun and just as they reached the elephant enclosure did the rainfall, huge droplets of water came crashing down, hitting her hard, stinging her face. She dashed for shelter and waited for it to blow over. An hour later, Starr was hungry and the rain had not stopped. She decided to call it a day and made her way home, deciding to pop into her mothers, it was closer than her own home. She arrived, soaked to the skin. Her mother opened the door and ushered her inside.
“Where have been in this weather?”
“Yes, I took Starr to see the animals; I wanted to have a day out just the two of us.”
“I would have come with you, if you had asked. You could have chosen a day with better weather, look at you. Go upstairs and get out of those wet things, you can find some of my leggings in my room, you will have to go bra-less I don’t have any that would fit you.”
Maxine did as she was told and made her way up to her room.
“Did you bring any bottles for her?”
“No, I brought my boobs; she can have some of that in the jar. I won’t be a minute.”
“A jar, what did I tell you about jar food.”
“Mum, it was for the day out, I don’t feed her that all the time, you know that, one jar will not hurt her.”
“No, no, no, I will make her something, fresh is best.”
“Mum, that will take too long, just give her the jar for today, she is my daughter and I said its okay, so it’s okay.”
“Fine, but don’t blame me if she becomes one of those fussy eaters.”
Opening a drawer in her mother’s room, she put her hand inside and looked for a pair of black leggings, but she did not expect was to find what she did, she knew instantly what it was and wished she had not done so. Instead, she covered it back up and pulled on the leggings and a t-shirt from one of the other drawers. She giggled to herself as she imagined her mother finding out she found it, she would never mention it.
Entering the kitchen, she found her mother feeding Starr, she gobbled it up as she always did and wanted more. She had only been on solids a short time, but as a hungry baby, she needed more. She mainly had breast milk first thing and before bed and the odd one in the middle of the night.
“Stay for tea, I can order in Chinese, if you fancy it?”
“Why not stay the night? Doesn’t look like the rain is going to stop anytime soon if you want?”
“Okay, but only for one night.”
“Good, I will order the food and you can find a movie we can watch.”
“Okay,” Maxine agreed, sitting on the sofa, Starr now in her bouncer. “Don’t look at me like that, you little tinker. I smell you.”
The next morning, Maxine woke to the best night sleep she had in ages. She did not hear her daughter wake in the night, or if she had, she had an idea her mother had seen to her. She had not told her mother about Toby, it hurt her now thinking that he had found someone to settle down with and that someone was not her. She knew they would never have worked out, they were right about that. She was still angry with him for not wanting any part of their daughter’s life, she had a feeling they were not telling her something and it worried her what she thought it was, and the reason he had popped the question. Yet, with her, he was not interested. She knew in a heartbeat his new girlfriend, fiancé was pregnant.
“Morning, did you sleep well?”
“I did, but there is something I need to tell you.”
“Please tell me you are not pregnant again already?”
“Thank God, I love Starr, but you would not cope with a second baby already, anyway, go on.”
“Toby is getting married.”
“He is, to who?”
“I don’t know, all I know is he is, his mum and dad told me.”
“Yeah, but I had a feeling they had other news too, and I have an idea of what that is.”
“Yeah I can too, I am so sorry honey, he is her father, but he has not been a father. Maybe he will step up now that…”
“So because he knocked up his new partner, and he is happy with her I should let him back in my life and Starr’s, she has no idea who he is.”
“True, so what do you want to do today?”
“I don’t know, but I should get back to the flat.”
“I only have so much with me, and…”
“Okay, well the least you can do is stay for breakfast.”
“Sure sounds good, is Starr still sleeping?”
“Yes, she woke in the night, but soon fell asleep again.”
“I wondered why I did not hear her.”
Her mother nodded and made her way out of the room. Maxine got up and followed her to the kitchen and sat at the table, while her mother made them tea.
Tea made her mother sat opposite her.
“I really wish you could move back in with us.”
“I am sure Dad wants that, where he is?”
“In bed, I will take him a tea up.”
Just as she said it, her father walked in carrying Starr.
“Morning, think this little lady is hungry.”
“Thanks, Dad, give her here, come on you little monkey, did you wake your granddad up?”
“No, I was awake and your mother is right you should move in here.”
“No, I am sorry Dad, I am grateful, but I have my name down for a better, two-bed place. I am hoping I get a place soon.”
“I hope so, that street used to be a lovely place, the owner of that flat should be ashamed of himself.”
“I know Dad; I hope we get to move out soon.”
“Well as soon as you know when we will help you move.”
“I was hoping you would say that.”
Alone in her flat an hour later, Maxine thought about Toby, his pregnant fiancé, what if he wanted to take Starr, now he was a family unit. Would he do that to her?
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