Easy like Saturday morning

It’s Saturday and Maddie might just have had enough of waiting for her friend to make a move…

Sometimes all one needs is a little push in the right direction.

 

Enjoy!

***

Emily got out of the shower and checked her phone to see if Maddie had replied to her text but it showed nothing. Maddie had rung her the night before to tell her that she’d be picking her up at 10am but wouldn’t say where they were going. Emily had become a tad weary of Maddie’s surprises, too many of them over the years had ended up with Emily having to be the sober driver while Maddie made out in the back seat with some girl she’d just met at whatever club they’d been at.
When Emily had broken up with Richie she’d stayed with Maddie for a couple of months and it was at one of her events that Maddie had met Harriet. The two women had instantly clicked and realised they were in love with each other after about two weeks. Harriet was quite the cook and Maddie and Emily had been all too willing to try any of the delicious dishes she’d tried. Harriet’s job as a stewardess meant she was away a lot for work so it had made sense for her to sell her house and move in with Maddie. Continue reading

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Told you she was the best!

A short-ish chapter today, to finish off the day at the zoo.

Isn’t funny how fast kids make friends sometime? Then the parents have to have this awkward conversation, playing catch up.

I hope I managed to surprise you with the previous chapter. We all knew Richie and Eve needed to talk… and now they have.

***

“Why is Uncle Ricky talking to Eve?” asked a sleepy voice and Maddie looked down at Tamara who was wiping the sleep off her face.
“She showed up with your friend Connor when he came to say goodbye but you were asleep,” Maddie explained and the little girl jumped off her lap and looked around.
“I want to say goodbye. Where is he?”
Maddie stood and offered a hand. “He’s over there with his mum and baby sister. Shall we go over until your uncle is done?”
“Yes, please,” Tamara said, taking her hand and following her through the crowd. Continue reading

A zoo encounter of a different kind

Maddie is spending a lovely day at the zoo with Richie and his niece Tamara. They managed to discuss the Emily situation a little, once the little girl went down for a nap in her uncle’s arms. 

Are you ready for more?

Here goes…

 

***

 

“I need to say goodbye to my friend!”
“Connor, wait!!” Eve called out but it was too late, the four-year-old boy had run off to find his new best friend. They’d spent an hour playing together on the playground at the zoo and Eve had been glad for the break, after a full-on day walking around. Connor’s mum, Eve’s best friend Katie, was sitting on the bench next to her feeding four-month-old Alice.
“I’ll go find him,” she told Katie as she stood and looked around to find Connor. She finally spotted him, talking to a couple and a little girl who must be the new friend Connor had been gushing about. As she got closer, she realised why the man looked familiar, though she had never seen the woman before.
“Well this is awkward,” Eve mumbled to herself as she approached Richie and his mystery woman friend. “Connor, honey, you shouldn’t run off like this!” she said, to give herself another minute.
“M’sorry Evie, but I want to say goodbye to TamTam,” the little boy replied, pointing at the little girl in Richie’s arms, whom Eve recognised as his niece Tamara. She’d met her and her parents at his house a couple of weeks ago when they’d arrived from Melbourne. Richie looked as shocked to see her as she felt seeing him and Eve managed a smile.
“Hi.”
“Evie? What are you…”
“Same thing as you, by the looks of it,” Eve replied, taking in the sleeping child in his arms. “Connor, we need to go, your mum is waiting for us.”
“But I want to say goodbye!” Connor insisted and Eve crouched down so she was on his level.
“I know you want to say goodbye to your friend, honey, but she’s asleep,” she said with a smile, hoping he wouldn’t decide to have a tantrum about it.
In a move that surprised the three adults, Connor kissed his own hand and very carefully put that hand on the sleeping girl’s arm. “Bye TamTam,” he whispered before running back to his mum before Eve had a chance to move.
The woman stood up and held her hand out to Eve, who shook it, by reflex more than anything. “Hi, I’m Maddie. I’m an old friend of Richie’s and Tamara’s preschool teacher.”
“Eve,” Eve replied, wondering why she had never heard of this Maddie and why she was suddenly hanging out with Richie and his niece she’d only met once before…
The look on Maddie’s face made it clear that she knew who Eve was, and Eve wondered exactly how much the woman knew about her failed relationship with Richie. Was Maddie also friends with Emily?
“Here, give me Tamara,” Maddie said to Richie, picking up the little girl carefully. “You two go have a coffee or something and you know… talk.”
Eve was surprised; she had not expected that move. Richie looked at her then and she gave a brief nod.

Eve sent a quick text to Katie while she waited for Richie who was getting their coffees.
“Sorry, having a quick coffee with my ex… his niece is Connor’s new BFF”
“OMG! U ok?” came the quick reply so Eve looked over to where her friend was sitting and gave her the thumbs up.
She could do this. It wasn’t as if he’d broken her heart; he’d just… bruised it a little. They had only been together three short months when he’d spotted his ex-girlfriend hiding behind that plant at the party. She realised that was less than a fortnight ago. Funny how fast life can change.
Richie arrived with their drinks and they sat at a table in the shade. He looked good, damn him, in his white t-shirt and blue jeans. She could tell he’s had a haircut since she’d last seen him and his scruff was at that optimum level that made her knees a bit weak.
Richie opened his mouth to say something only to close it again, shaking his head lightly. Seemed he wasn’t sure what to say. Eve decided to cut to the chase.
“So you’ve seen her?” she asked, knowing the answer by the look he gave her.
“I have. The night of the book launch. It…” He sighed. “It didn’t go well.”
“Can’t say I’m surprised. I mean, she did dump you pretty much overnight and pretended you didn’t exist for a year.” Eve felt for him but at the same time wondered if he had really expected Emily to welcome him with open arms.
“I know. And I’m sorry.”
“What for? It’s not like you cheated on me the night before our wedding.”
“What? I would never–”
Eve waved a hand in a dismissive gesture. “That’s what happened to my friend Katie. She caught her fiancé in bed with her sister the night before they were due to get married. Apparently it had been going on for quite some time. They just had a baby. A little boy about 3 weeks younger than little Alice.”
“Oh my God. Your poor friend! I had no idea.”
Eve smiled sadly at him. “No you didn’t, and it’s okay. We only had three months together. Not long enough to really get to know each other. Not long enough for you to break my heart.” She meant it too. Seeing him again had proven to her that being guarded when it came to feelings was a good thing, it meant you don’t risk getting hurt as quickly.
“Eve… I am sorry.” She could tell he meant it. She knew he had believed he was over Emily. And she felt he had been, in a way, until he had seen her again.
“It’s okay, Richie. Really. Yes, I’d imagined we could have a life together, maybe a couple of kids one day. I’d hoped your mum would come around and stopped hating me eventually.”
“She doesn’t really hate you.”
“I know, it’s just that I’m not Emily.”
He flinched a little when she said the name and she noticed. She stood up then; it was time to go.
“It was nice to see you again. I hope things with Emily turn out how you hope them to.”
He stood up as well and, after an awkward second looking at each other, they shared a quick hug. They both knew this was goodbye.

 

 

S/O to Katt from Afternoon of Sundries for the help getting unstuck with this chapter. The little boy in the chapter above is named after her son, Connor, as a thank you.

I’m going to the zoo, how about you?

“Where’s Maddie, Uncle Ricky? She said she’d be here.”
Richie looked down at Tamara and didn’t know what to answer to the four-year-old. When they’d left the takeaways restaurant the night before Maddie had said she’d see them at 10am at the entrance of the zoo. It was now 10:13 and no sign of Maddie. He was about to tell Tamara that sometime things come up and grown ups can’t make it when he heard his text alert. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it was Maddie.
“Sorry, couldn’t find a park anywhere! Now I have to walk about 500 miles to the entrance! See you soon x”
“TamTam, that was Maddie. She just parked her car so she should be here soon. Do you want to have a look in the shop while we wait? I bet they have lots of elephants in there.”
Having sufficiently piqued the little girl’s interest Richie lead them into the gift shop where they went on a hunt to find every elephant they could. Richie took a photo of Tamara with each elephant she found, so she could have a look later and decide which one was her absolute favourite to take home.
He got a text from Maddie saying she’d arrived and they met her outside the shop. Tamara ran into her arms, much to Maddie’s glee.
“You’re here!”
“I told you I would be. I didn’t think so many people would be here today so it took me ages to find somewhere to park and then ages to walk back to the zoo. I hope I haven’t missed the giraffe feeding!”
Richie didn’t need to look at the map Tamara always insisted they got before he answered. As it was, Tamara beat him to it.
“Giraffe feeding is at 11:15 so we can go see the elephants first.”
Maddie looked at Richie who shrugged. “We come here a lot,” he said, showing her the Friends of the Zoo annual pass on a lanyard around his neck. “The zoo was always TamTam’s favourite place so when they moved back we got some annual passes. Way cheaper that way. I think this is the tenth time in three weeks.”
“Wow.”
“Maddie, where’s your friend pass?” Tamara asked and Maddie looked down at her then at the ticket counters.
“I need go to buy a ticket, sweetie. Would you believe that I’ve never been here before?”
Richie had never seen his niece speechless and it made him laugh. “It’s ok, TamTam, I’m sure you can show Maddie everything after she gets her ticket.”
He watched, amused, as Tamara grabbed Madison’s hand and pretty much dragged her to the ticket counters to get her sorted. Once the girls were back, the trio moved past the ticket checkers and into the zoo proper. Tamara ran to the giant corrugated iron elephant that was guarding the entrance to the Pridelands and demanded Maddie get in the picture with her. Maddie obliged and Richie took a few photos of them being silly around the elephant’s legs.
They headed down the wooden path through the Pridelands, past the giraffes and the meerkats, both the adults holding hands with Tamara, who never stopped talking, reciting fact after fact about all the animals they saw.
Richie admired Maddie’s endurance, she never stopped looking very interested by every tidbit of information pouring out of the four-year-old like a broken dam. When they got to the elephants enclosure Richie suggested he get a coffee for the grown ups and a hot chocolate with a marshmallow for Tamara while the ladies found them a table. It was a beautiful autumn day and it felt nice to be out in the sun.
He felt a pang of longing when he observed Maddie interacting with his niece as he waited in line for their drinks. His dreams of having kids with the woman he loved had been shattered a whole year ago but his heart was taking its own sweet time to come to terms with that. Maddie had told him that Emily had finally read the emails he’d sent and he wasn’t sure how to feel about that. He was grateful Maddie had found the words to answer Tamara’s questions about Emily in simple terms the four-year-old could understand and he wished he could share her belief that Emily would reach out. It had taken him a year but he’d finally stopped hoping that she would, and after seeing her the week before, noticing how upset it had made her, he’d decided it was better to just close that door and leave it closed. And now Maddie seemed to think…
No, that road lead to badness.
Richie got the drinks and joined Maddie and Tamara who were having a serious looking conversation about elephants. He sat on the other side of the table and let himself enjoy his coffee, the company, and the sunshine.
“Uncle Ricky?”
“Yes, darling?”
“I heard you tell Mum that Eve dumpted you and Maddie said her friend doesn’t want to say sorry, so can Maddie be your new girlfriend? I like her a lot.”
Maddie choked on her coffee and Richie stared at Tamara.
“TamTam…” He stopped to think about what to say. “Maddie and I are just friends.”
“And you know what else?” Maddie added, getting Tamara’s attention and smiling at her to stop the lip wobble that Richie knew announced tears. “I’m already someone’s girlfriend. But I like you a lot too. Maybe Uncle Ricky can bring you to my house one day, and you can meet my girlfriend. Her name is Harriet but everyone calls her Harry.”
“That’s a boy name.”
“You’re right, and it makes a lot of people very confused when I talk about her, because they expect to see a man and well, she’s really not.”
“My Auntie Kay has a boyfriend and a girlfriend. I like going to see them, they give me lollies. They live in Sidney and they have a little dog called Sparkle.”
“Oooh that sounds nice,” Maddie said, before looking up at Richie.
“James’s little sister. Their parents took some time to get used to the polyamory aspect of their only daughter’s life but they warmed up to Tom and Georgia after a bit,” he explained, before checking the time on his phone. “TamTam, it’s almost time for the giraffes.”
Tamara was up in a flash, urging them to hurry up or they would miss it. Richie and Maddie picked up their coffee cups and followed the eager little girl, trying to keep up.

Much later, after they’d seen all the animals and eaten lunch by the playground, a very tired Tamara had fallen asleep in her uncle’s arms and finally Richie felt like he could talk to Maddie.
“Mads?” he started, and she looked over at him from her seat next to him on the wooden bench. He sighed, unsure how to broach the subject or even what to ask so Maddie took him out of his misery.
“I went to see her last night. She’s a mess. I told her to stop moping around and talk to you.”
“I kept hoping she would, you know, kept hoping she’d come home, or ring and talk to me, but weeks went by, then months and well, there comes a point when hope just… dies. It’s been over a year and if she wanted to reach out, she would have by now. Instead she made it very clear that she didn’t want to talk to me.”
“You know Emily, she can be very stubborn. But I know she realises now that she owes you an explanation, at the very least, but hopefully it goes beyond that and you two can get back on track. I’m gonna make sure of that.”
Richie shook his head, careful of the child in his arms. “Maddie, she never really opened up to me in the four years we were together, you really think she is going to now? She dumped me in a flash a year ago, I don’t think a handful of emails about my stupid feelings are going to make her change her mind.” He heard the bitterness in his tone but he didn’t care.
Maddie looked at him with a sad smile. “I know it seems unfair to ask you to give her some time, after what’s happened already, but I promise you that you won’t regret it if you do. I read your email, remember, the one telling her you got dumped because you still had feelings for her?”

A new insight

Here you go… So in the last instalment, Maddie found Emily feeling very sorry for herself and tried to give her a push in the right direction… 

Two days later on the Monday Madison was sitting on a tiny chair, making playdough animals with a group of children, still thinking of the emails and the mess her best friend was in when a little girl who looked around three touched her arm.
“Hi.”
“Hi there,” Maddie replied with a smile. “What’s your name, sweetie?” She had seen her around in the past week and a bit but had no idea what her name was.
“I’m Tamara. It was my birthday on Tuesday. I’m four now.”
“Hi Tamara. Happy birthday. I’m Maddie. What’s your favourite animal?”
“Elephant!”
Maddie picked up a handful of playdough which she rolled into a ball before she started modelling elephant ears. Tamara let out an excited squeal when she spotted the big ears and then the trunk. When Maddie handed the little girl the playdough elephant she found herself squeezed tight by little arms in a very long hug.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! Can I keep it? I’m going to the zoo tomorrow to see the elephants with my uncle Ricky and I’m so essited!!” Continue reading

A friend in need

Enter Madison, best friend extraordinaire…

Madison used her key when her best friend didn’t answer the front door. It wasn’t like Emily to miss a coffee date and her car was still in the driveway so Maddie knew something had to have happened. She walked through the empty house and out the open French doors at the back, her heart skipping a beat when she spotted her friend crumpled on the grass with her head resting on the outdoor beanbag. She rushed to her, instantly noticing that Emily has been crying. A lot.
“Oh my god, honey, what’s wrong?” Maddie asked as she pulled her up to a sitting position and wrapped her arms around her. When the tears started again she started to really worry. Things had not been this bad since Emily had showed up on her doorstep with all of her belongings around a year ago. She wondered if the tears had anything to do with the anniversary looming. She reached into her handbag to retrieve some tissues and handed them to Emily, who thanked her with a sniffle.
“Come back inside, honey, I’ll make us a cuppa, yeah?” Maddie said as her friend wiped off her tears.
“Okay.”
Maddie stood up, giving Emily a great big hug before they headed into the house. She noticed her friend hugging herself with a sigh when she glanced at the laptop on the coffee table before following Maddie into the kitchen. Maddie busied herself making a cuppa for the both of them, and took them to the table, sensing it would better if she kept Emily away from the couch and the laptop on the coffee table.
“What happened?” Maddie asked softly, wary that it might not take much for her friend to start crying again.
“I opened the emails.” Continue reading