“Lucy, what’s the matter with Mum? She didn’t really wee herself, did she?” Jack was concerned by him Mum’s sudden departure.
“I’m not sure Jack, but yes I think maybe she did. Poor mum, it’s embarrassing enough when something like that happens to one of us, isn’t it, but can you imagine being an adult and wetting your pants? And in front of your kids too. I hope she’s ok. Let’s just give her some space, she said she’s gone for a shower anyway, so probably best that we do as she asked while she’s sorting herself out.”
Unable to take in what he’s just heard, Jack’s mouth had fallen open and he stood staring at Lucy in disbelief. “Bb..but, but Mum’s a TEACHER Lucy! And teachers don’t wet themselves, that’s just not right!” He was shaking his head incredulously, sure his sister had got it wrong and that his Mum would be back any second, her usual smiling self, having just been desperate for a wee…but definitely not having had an accident, no way, that just couldn’t have happened.
Placing a hand on Jack’s shoulder, Lucy neatly down to his level and spoke quietly and gently to him, hoping to set the record straight but also make sure that he didn’t do or say anything that would make their Mum feel worse that she already did. “Jack mate, Mum’s a person, just like me and you. And if she doesn’t make to the toilet on time, or something happens like laughing too hard, then yes she can have an accident too, just like we have done in the past. It happens, that’s just life. It’s embarrassing for you when you’ve had little accidents, isn’t it? Remember the other day on the landing, how you felt when you tried to hide it? And it’s even more embarrassing for me, because I’m older. Like last week at school, that’s why I was so mad at you when you shouted about it on the playground and everybody heard. So, can you imagine how embarrassing it must be for Mum, as you said she’s and adult and a teacher too, so she must be feeling pretty rotten right now, mustn’t she?”
Jack didn’t answer, he just nodded solemnly, knowing that his big sister was right, as she (nearly) always was…not that he’d EVER let her hear him admit to that!
“Good lad. So how about we make a pact, and promise not to say anything to her about it? I’m sure that if she wants to talk to us about it then she will do, but some things are best kept private. The best thing we can do to help her is to do what she asked, so what do you say – you give me a hand emptying out this bag and then we’ll tackle your bedroom together? Deal?”
“Deal!” Jack smiled, and slapped her outstretched hand, sealing the pact.
By the time Lesley had showered, dressed and re-applied her makeup, the kids had taken care of unpacking Lucy’s bag, emptied the laundry from it into the washing machine ready and had even managed to make Jack’s room look pretty respectable. Ok, so a lot of his toys had just been shoved in cupboards and under the bed, but it was a pretty good effort. Lesley found them propped up against the pillows on Jack’s bed together, him curled up under Lucy’s arm whilst she read to him from one of his favourite books.
“Wow guys, you’ve done a great job in here! Well done, and thank you. What’re you reading?”
Beaming, Jack took the book from Lucy’s hands and held it up to show his Mum. “It’s my new favourite story Mum, and Lucy’s a great reader! She knows all the big words and everything.”
Chuckling, Lesley looked up towards Lucy. “Thanks for keeping him out of mischief, love, whilst I…well, got ready. I really do appreciate it. And sorry if I was a bit short with you both earlier, I didn’t mean it. Come on then, finish that chapter and then let’s make a move shall we?”
Walking away from the bedroom and heading downstairs, Lesley swelled with pride. She must have done something right to have such incredible children, and seeing them together like that had melted her heart, as it always did.
Lucy finished reading the chapter they were part way through, then tucked Jack’s book back under his pillow ready for bed time. He’d decided to take his handheld game with him in the car rather than his book, and Lucy of course had her phone permanently attached to her hand as usual.
Before long they were on the road, all three chattering excitedly. Lesley of course could hardly wait to see Graham again – she’d thoroughly enjoyed the day they’d spent together yesterday, and last night…well, that had just been something else! Although she knew there was no chance of any more of that kind of thing, not with all 5 kids around. Besides, this was to be more of a family gathering, a chance for everybody to get to know each other a little better, there would be plenty of time for ‘that’ later, she hoped.
Jack had barely stopped babbling on about his new friends Sam and Ben since Graham had taken them home earlier that morning, so much so that Lucy felt like she already knew them, despite never having met. Partly, she thought, it was down to him being that much younger than him. Most of his school friends tended to be older, so he was often the youngest and smallest. With Graham’s boys, he was physically bigger and that bit more mature, so they tended to go along with what he wanted to do, a novelty he wasn’t quite used to yet.
It was probably Lucy who was the most excited however, but at the same time definitely the most apprehensive! Her Mum and brother had already met everybody and started to form their own bonds and relationships, whereas so far Lucy had heard a lot but had only spoken to Ellie very briefly on the phone, I rather awkward circumstances, and exchanged a couple of messages, so it was all going to be very new, and very strange for her. She couldn’t wait to meet Ellie though, having a gut feeling that they were going to get on very well, and wondering just how much they had in common, despite the couple of years age gap. She had to admit that she was pretty curious about what had gone on yesterday, too, although she would of course keep her word to her Mum and wouldn’t bring the subject up If Ellie did, though ,that was a different matter entirely.
She was also keen to meet Graham and to understand what had drawn her Mum to this man. From the way Lesley had described him, sounding a bit like an overexcited schoolgirl as she did, he sounded pretty special and Lucy hoped she could see this in him too, wanting nothing more than for her Mum to be happy.
Lesley had just announced that they were only 10 minutes or so away from Graham’s house, when Jack suddenly piped up from the back seat “Mum, I need a wee!”
Rolling her eyes in exasperation, but conscious of the misfortune that had befallen her just an hour or so previously, Lesley did her best not to lose her temper with her son. “Oh Jack, why didn’t you go before we left? I even asked if either of you needed to use the toilet before I went for my shower. Look, we’re nearly there, cross your legs and you can run to the loo as soon as we get to Graham’s house, ok?”
Squirming in discomfort, he agreed, hoping that he could hold on that long. He knew he should have gone earlier, but didn’t even remember his Mum asking him, and then he’d been enjoying listening to Lucy read to him so he just kept putting it off, thinking he’d go later. Now it was later, and he really, really needed to go, but he didn’t want to make a fuss and upset his Mum again.
Every minute or so as they continued to drive, Jack would shift awkwardly in his car booster seat and grab at his pants, yelping occasionally and whining almost continually about how badly he needed to go. Even Lucy now had her fingers crossed that he would be able to make it, as if not then she had no doubt they’d have to turn around and head home, ruining everybody’s evening and no doubt leaving them all in a foul mood too.
Lesley recognised Graham’s car parked outside one of the tidy but modest looking houses, and swung her own in alongside it, quickly stopping the engine and turning to Jack. “Ok love, seatbelt off and hurry, as soon as Graham answers the door I’ll explain and ask him where the toilet is. Just a few more seconds, you can do this.”
By now poor Jack had both hands firmly planted in his crotch, and he could barely stand still. Hopping from foot to foot and dancing around constantly, Lucy was amazed that he hadn’t already wet himself, so bad was his very evident need. She knew from bitter, soggy experience that if she’d have needed to go that badly then her undies would already be soaked, and the chances are she’d have been standing red faced in puddle, so she greatly admired her little brothers stamina and determination.
The thee of them stood together on the doorstep and Lesley rang the bell. It took only a moment for the door to open, with a beaming Graham standing there to greet them, clearly having heard them pull up. Unfortunately, however, just as he opened his mouth in welcome, Jack let out an ear-piercing scream and lost his battle, a torrent of urine pouring down his smart jeans and onto the porch floor, leaving an impressive stain covering most of the denim, and him standing in a pretty spectacular puddle which spread out in all directions.
Jack looked mortified, his face creased by tears of embarrassment and shame, whilst the others were stood staring in shock. Graham found his voice first. “Oh dear, are you ok Jack? Come on, let’s get you inside. Hi Les, that was quite the welcome eh? And you must be Lucy? Pleasure to meet you, such a pretty young lady, and I find it hard to believe you’re only what, 11? You look at least as old as my Ellie.” Graham had held out a hand to Lucy, which she shook with a wide smile spreading on her face, Graham was clearly quite the charmer and he had said exactly the right thing.
Ushering a wet and weeping Jack in through the front door, Lesley couldn’t apologies enough to Graham for the spectacle he’d just witnessed, whilst trying at the same time to calm down and comfort her distressed son. Ever the gentleman, Graham wouldn’t hear of her apologising, and was just anxious to make sure that Jack was ok, directing them to the bathroom and offering the loan of some clothes, which Lesley gratefully accepted, having not yet had the opportunity to replenish her own supply in the car after the events of the previous day.
As Graham led both Lesley and Jack up the stairs, a door to the left of the hallway opened and a dark haired, slightly moody looking teenage girl emerged, although the moody demeanour soon gave way to a cheeky looking smile as she caught sight of Lucy standing there.2
Audio Version of Chapter