My Neighbour

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Chapter Five

Bill was good to his word. He was there for me every step of the way. He drove me to where I needed to be, he went with me to my solicitor as I started the divorce proceeding. Paul came back for his stuff, he begged me to reconsider but it was too late, I’d fallen out of love with him and in love with Bill. I didn’t rub Paul’s nose in it, but he could tell that Bill and I were more than friends.

Bill was with me all the time when Paul came to get his things. He stayed in the background, usually in the kitchen, but having him there gave me the confidence that I needed to stay strong.

Paul finally admitted that he’d, had three affairs during our marriage, the earliest less than two years after we got married. He apologised and seemed genuinely sorry, but it was all a little bit late for me, and I even found myself feeling sorry for my husband, but I stayed strong. He did promise to be more involved with the children when they were born, but even then, I was now changing my opinion about that. I knew that there would be some difficult moments ahead, especially when it all came out about me and Bill, but I didn’t care, he made me feel good, and I finally knew what real love felt like.

Bill virtually lived at my house, he slept with me every night and returned to his when he needed to during the day-time. We made love most days, and it was like being a teenager again. I was discovering things about my body almost every day, thanks to Bill, and I learned a little more about his too with each passing day.

One thing that I learned was that he suffered from nightmares, real bad nightmares, that woke him in a sweat and often in tears. The first time it happened I was shocked, he was half-awake and crying, I didn’t know what to do so I just held him and rocked him like a child until he calmed down. Eventually, he talked, and I learned that it was flashbacks to his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’d witnessed some terrible things over there.

His nightmares weren’t about his injuries, they were about what he’d seen, to civilians and his colleagues, those that he’d lost and had been severely injured. I found that if I could get him to place his hand on my swollen belly then he would calm down a lot quicker. It was as if the girls could sense that he was upset, almost as soon as he would place his hand there one of them would move, or kick out, and it seemed to calm him almost immediately. They weren’t his children biologically, but I knew that he would treat them as if they were. I knew that two girls couldn’t wish to have a better father or a better role-model.

As the birth approached life became more difficult for me. I was quite big now and often had trouble just getting around the house. Bill never complained once, he couldn’t do enough for me, would bring me breakfast in bed, and wait on me on the days when I didn’t get up at all.

I was on the toilet when my waters broke. I called out to him and he rushed up to me. He was calm, I should have expected no less from him with his military experience and considering what he’s faced. Me on the other hand, I panicked. He was brilliant, he had a plan, and he stuck to it. We had already had my birth bag packed but when we called the hospital they told us to wait until the contractions got to about five minutes apart and lasting for at least thirty seconds.

Bill stayed with me for the next two hours as the contractions got more frequent and painful. He decided that they were too painful for me to cope with and we left for the hospital. He even called Paul as we drove to let him know, but he was away on business and it would seem that he’d miss the birth of his daughters.

At the hospital, he made sure that everyone knew about me and he stayed with me throughout. During my check-up, I was pleased to discover that the first twin was head-down, which made the prospect of a natural birth possible. I was prepared for a caesarean but dearly wanted a natural birth.

When the time came, I was lucky, and the doctor was able to deliver my first baby with relative ease and she came out and weighed in at a screaming five-pounds-seven-ounces. I held her briefly as Bill was allowed to cut the cord, then I handed her over to the nurse to do her checks, and to prepare for my second child.

After a short wait, my second daughter seemed to position herself nicely for us and after a little effort, I gave birth to her and again, Bill cut the cord and I held her briefly before she was taken away for checks.

Both babies were returned, cleaned and checked, the oldest, Hannah, was twelve minutes older than her sister, Haley, who weighed in slightly lighter at six-pounds-three-ounces. Both girls were healthy and had all their bits in the right places. I held one in each arm and looked at them, I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life, and I looked up at Bill and had tears in my eyes.

I was allowed home later that day and was surprised to find Paul waiting outside of our house. He’d driven straight back and decided to wait at home instead of coming to the hospital, he knew that Bill would be there.

Bill helped me out of the car with the girls and once I was settled in the house, he went to his place to give Paul and me some time with the girls. Paul surprised me, he got emotional when he held them, and for the first time, I began to believe that he might step up to the plate and be a good dad to them both. He even made us a pot of tea, something he never did when he lived at home.

We talked, he apologised for the way he had treated me, and he said he didn’t blame me for throwing him out. He even said that he was happy the I had Bill to help me with everything. I did feel a tinge of guilt towards him, but only a tinge, he had brought it all on himself after all. I said that I hoped we could avoid bringing solicitors into our relationship with the girls, he agreed, so we started talking about him seeing them.

When he left, we had provisionally agreed that he would come to see them every week and spend some time with them. I said that if he wanted, I could give him some time alone with the girls, I would go and sit with Bill whilst he visited.

Bill came around as soon as he drove away, he kissed, I felt so good in his arms. He brushed my hair from my face.

“Hey, mum!”

I smiled, he was right, I was a mum now, and it felt good. I squeezed him tight.

“Don’t leave me, Bill.”

He kissed me.

“I’m not going anywhere, hun. I’ve been thinking about it.”

Then he shocked me. He dropped to one knee and held up a ring.

“Lucy, will you marry me?”

I stared at him, I was stunned into silence. He stared at me, I could see his facial expression change to one of doubt. I smiled and pulled him to his feet.

“Of course, I’ll marry you!”

We kissed. Then he slipped the ring onto my little finger. My fingers were bloated, it wouldn’t fit onto my ring finger just yet, but I didn’t care, I loved it.

We sat on the sofa together, I lay in his arms and looked across at the two wicker ‘Moses-baskets’ and my two daughters, our two daughters. Life just couldn’t get any better.

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