It’s what parents do

After I finished blogging earlier I picked up the phone but I couldn’t dial. I just needed someone to talk to. Someone who’d understand. Someone who would let me blether and sob. I dialed HarryPotter.

He answered the phone to me in a state of snot and tears. He didn’t ask what was wrong, or what had happened. Instead he said, ‘You know the first time I ever met you, you were crying. I don’t think you’ve stopped since.’

That was exactly what I needed, and I started to laugh.

Then he said, ‘Do you want to tell me what’s wrong? Or is this another one of your storms in a teacup?’

‘No, it’s nothing,’ I said. Cheering up a bit. ‘No one’s dead.’

And you know what? It was okay. No one was dead. Someone could have died, but they didn’t. In fact, not a day or a second goes by that couldn’t result in death. We all escape it and we all face it.

Talking to HarryPotter made me feel better, and I love the fact that he doesn’t care why I’m sad. He just makes me feel better. And if it was something truly tragic, then he’d be there for me — ready to make me laugh or let me cry.

He excused himself from the office so he could talk to me away from ‘prying ears’, and he went for a walk as we talked. We didn’t talk about anything really, just a bunch of nonsense: books he’s working on, Conspiracy’s old book, me working in an empty office.

He had walked a full circle, and had to go back into the office, but before hanging-up he asked me again if I’d reconsider coming to Glasgow for the weekend.

God, I want to. But I can’t. It’s not fair toFife, who’s looking forward to a weekend with me and the kids.

Oh god. The kids. ‘I can’t face the kids. Not today’, I thought. So I stayed in the office as long as I could. Actually, I could have stayed much longer, but Fife rang wanting to know where I was. I said I was just catching up on work, but I’d be home shortly.

I’d just got into the flat when there was a knock on the door. It was CoolTrous. He was coming to get some stuff to bring back to PoshPhD at the hospital: pajamas (like she owns any of those), toothbrush, hairbrush, etc. Plus, I still had the key to her flat and her phone.

‘Oh my god, I never rang her family. I was going to do that but…’

Fife came up behind me and stood there for a moment.

‘The hospital called her mum and dad. Her mum’s in the US, and can’t get over, but her dad’s in London and will be up tonight,’ CoolTrous said.

‘Who’s in the hospital,’ Fife asked.

CoolTrous then told Fife everything. How I found PoshPhD on the doorstep; how I called the ambulance, and how I managed to keep a calm head when he was flipping out. (I thought CoolTrous was pretty stoic until the end, and I certainly would not have thought he was ‘flipping out’, but I guess other people’s perceptions of yourself are always different than your own.)

Then he apologised for PoshPhD snubbing me in the hospital, ‘She’s just not herself,’ he said.

I told him to please stop apologising for her. It wasn’t his place to do that. CoolTrous stammered for a bit and said, ‘I just don’t think she means to act the way she does. That’s all.’

I gave CoolTrous the keys to PoshPhD’s flat and her phone. He said he’d keep me posted.

Back in the house Fife took me to the kitchen table and sat me down, while he fixed me a cup of tea. He asked why I didn’t call him, or even tell him what had happened. To be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t tell him. I just didn’t. And I’m sure I would have told him eventually, but CoolTrous beat me to it.

So I said, ‘After I left the hospital I’ve been in kind of a daze. That’s all. I was going to say something.’

He held my hand and asked if I was alright, and I said I was fine. Absolutely fine. Just tired. I then realised how quiet the house was, so I asked about the kids. They were outside playing in the garden, and Fife had been keeping an eye on them through the kitchen window.

Fife then got up and kissed me on the forehead. He said he thought I was ‘brave’, and that today proved I’d be a good ‘step-mum’. I looked at him in shock, so he responded, ‘I know you think I’m going too fast, but I love you. I know the kids are a handful, and that worries me. But you kept your calm today. You didn’t need to call anyone else for help. You were the rock in an emergency situation. That’s being a parent.’

Then he said he was going to play with the kids outside for while, which is where he is just now. He said to ring him when the timer goes off, because he’s got gammon in the oven for dinner.

You know. Maybe he’s right. For so long I relied on a guy to get me out of tight jams. Dad when I needed money. Goatee when I discovered I was living with a thug. HarryPotter when I discovered that Goatee couldn’t keep it in his pants. And I had the entire male staff of MNM get me out of that jam with NFEditor and the embezzlement. You know what? Not anymore. Fife’s right, I can deal with things on my own.

If I can sort out an overdosed prima donna on my doorstep, then I can handle Fife’s horrible kids from time to time. Right. I can do this. In fact, the blogging is getting put away and I’m going outside to play with my (boyfriend’s) kids.

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