Joanne tried to suppress the grumble under her breath and quickly retreated to her favourite spot her dusty , pink sofa. resting her head against the plush cushions she was forced to quickly shut her eyes, it was either that or survey the mess , the happy mess only children can create. which lay before her like the aftermath of a nuclear war.
Oblivious like children should be to their Mothers utter exhaustion Sophie and Charlie charged past her and ran into the small, but cosy kitchen. hearing nothing for a bit Joanne relished the silence until crash, Bang!. A saucepan? perhaps? Charlie walked into the sitting room a rusting pot on his head. only his brown curls stuck out . laughing Joanne hurled herself off the sofa pausing a moment while her huge bump which housed her third and definitely last child, went tight.
"Mummy!" said Sophie "Is it lunch time?"
Joanne looked at the wild eyed eight year old and quickly glanced at the clock on the wall. It was two o clock!
“Ur yes, “ she muttered and searched frantically around the cluttered kitchen for some bread. Finally she found some on top of the washing machine ! Of all places.
She did a quick mental check had she done her online shop at Tescos? The phone rang and answering it with her free hand she quickly began to make three cheese sandwiches.
“Hello?” she said feeling rather out of breath.
“Hi Jo “ said her younger yet probably more intelligent sister.
“Hello Cleo.” the lump of rather dry cheese fell onto the sticky lino causing Jo to nearly say a rude word.
Quickly retrieving the only food she had for lunch she wiped off a bit of hair and began to grate it on to a plate.
“How are you? Hows bump?” asked Cleo and Jo heard her take a big slurp of something, coffee maybe? How Cleo craved a nice milky, sweet latte.
“Oh you know living the dream I am just packing actually for my holiday to Greece.”
Charlie ran past her and nearly made her drop the knife she was holding.
“Really?” said Cleo, stupidly, and for someone so intelligent Cleo really can be dense at time. Her sister just qualified as a lawyer and lives in London with her rich boyfriend and two goldfish. Jim and Steve.
“No!” said Jo gently though. “We are good thank you I'm just making lunch. How are you?”
“Oh I’m OK.” but first there was a pause then a sob.
Frowning Jo plonked three plates in front of her TV channelled kids smiled kindly although she probably looked insane due to the lack of sleep.
“Mummy!” cried Sophie and paused Sponge bob briefly, walking back into the sitting room Jo almost jumped at sponge bobs crazy stilled eyes on the flat screen TV.
“Why have you given us three plates?” asked her puzzled daughter her two wonky pigtails sticking up and Jo smiled at the blue crayon smudged all over Sophie's soft cheeks.
Looking at both kids she then looked down at her huge bump and remembered. Taking one on the plates she went back into the kitchen the phone still magically propped under her ear. Sitting down she took a huge bite and suddenly realised how hungry she was.
“Jo!” she heard her sister rather squeaky and impatient wail through the phone.
“Sorry yes I'm back.” said Jo and quickly sunk her teeth back into the moist white bread again.
“Richards left me!” her sister wailed and began to sob heavily. Nearly choking on her sandwich Jo pushed the plate away.
“Oh no Cleo! I’m so sorry and why?” asked Jo , unsure of what else to say.
“He said he doest want to commit or he cannot commit to me, doesn’t want to hold me back he’s to young!”
“He’s 38!” said Jo angrily and hurting for her sister.
“Oh Jo I don’t know what to do, can I come and stay with you guys for a week? I just need to get away for a bit?”
“Yes of course when were you thinking?” said Jo and surveyed the mess around her.
“Ok...” said Jo “you will have to take us how you find us.”
“Of course.” said Cleo and stopped crying for a moment.
“You will be alright Cleo. I know that’s probably an unhelpful thing to say but you will be OK. Me, Pete and the kids would love to have you.”
“OK thanks sis,” sniffing loudly Cleo sighed. “I dint seem to have any luck with men!”
JO looked out in to her wild but beautiful garden. “You will be ok sis just let me know what time you are getting here tomorrow.”
“Ok I have to go now and eat chocolate and watch a trashy film!”
Hanging up Jo went back into the living room and couldn’t help but laugh even though she shouldn’t Charlie had put the reminders of his cheese sandwich on to Sophie’s plate which had been discarded and was trying to get the whole thing into his mouth.
That evening once the children were in bed and Sid the cat was snuggled up by the hot fire Jo sank into her sofa next to Pete and flopped her very weary head onto his firm and reassuring shoulder.
“Good day?” he asked her and kissed the top of her head.
“Ur yea pretty good but I must say I will be relieved when Sophie starts school next month”
The summer holiday was lovely but getting too long now and with their third baby due in five weeks Jo was getting increasingly weary. Pete flicked through
some channels on TV but unable to find anything decent to watch he turned it off
“ I really think its time I took driving lessons. I’m nearly forty!” Announced Pete, who sounded like he had just declared he was going off to fight in Afghanistan.
Rather reluctantly Jo put down her copy of hello magazine.
“Well. Ok but what about the cost of running or even buying a car?” she said and stroked Sid after he jumped heavily onto her lap.
“True but with my wage and I am due for a pay rise soon, anyway I think we should look into it . I don’t think we can survive with out a car for much longer”
Sighing Jo tried to stretch out her legs but her huge bump halted her. They had only planned for two children the third was lets say a drunken but pleasant mistake! Jo had only missed one pill due to a slight stomach upset and had the following day consumed a bottle or two! Of white wine with Pete and their very kind neighbours Sally and George.
Sally and George thankfully! Lived about ten minutes if that away walking distance. Both in their late forties with no children or pets, commitment free! As they both put it. Delightful couple if not a bit dotty and eccentric had lived in the village for twenty years. Anyway after Jo’s brief and now not infectious illness they had asked if they could host dinner at Jo and Pete 's house.