The Big Rock

“Don’t frown dear. You’ll get more wrinkles.” I wondered which wrinkles Linda was referring to until it occurred to me that thinking was making me frown even more.

“I’m not frowning, I’m…thinking.”

“Thinking about how that giant rock on Kristy’s finger is sparklier than yours, or thinking about how well she’s fitting in with Marta and her friends?”

I didn’t reply. I had to admit it bothered me that Kristy was here. That she was my only real link back to Neplebean Heights and still she fit in so well in Snobsville. In a way that I never had.

“Don’t feel bad darling. In Snobsville there is always someone newer and shinier around the corner. Someone is always getting a bigger boat than yours or a more qualified house manager.”

“Kristy’s not like that. She’s down to earth. She doesn’t care about money.”

“She met her fiancé in a yurt darling. She fits like a glove. Anyway, if you keep worrying about it your cosmetic enhancement specialist fees will eat into your Louboutin funds.”

“I don’t have one.”

“A Louboutin fund or a specialist?”

“Neither.”

She looked me up and down. “Maybe you should Marley. Kristy certainly seems to have both.”

I couldn’t bring myself to concede to Linda that Kristy didn’t have a plastic surgeon – she’d always looked youthful. I watched her chatting to the other mothers at the school gate, waiting for her step children to be. She seemed so free and easy, so confident. I have always been intimidated here. Maybe it was the Louboutins fund she had obviously negotiated. Or the Hermes bag she was sporting.

“You’re frowning again.”

I sighed. “Sorry.”

“I know dear. You need a spa day. Or better yet – a holiday! Can you get away next week?”

“I don’t know. Where would I even go? Fiji?”

“Oh no dear, you can’t go Fijiing, its so domestic.”

“Well actually, it is international-“

“I’m not referring to the banalities of passport logistics Marley. I mean its so, I don’t know, family oriented.”

“Isn’t that good?” I tried not to look confused to avoid another jibe about my ageing forehead.

“Not if you’re taking a personal week.”

“A personal week? You mean without the kids?”

“Of course dear. Its not very personal if you’re looking after children while being…reinvigorate. I’d suggest the Maldives. Or for a bit of retro charm you could try Bora Bora? Its on trend this season.”

“And what do you suggest I do with the children?”

“Isn’t that what you hired that governess for?”

I wasn’t ready to be the type of Snobbie that had a governess. “Sharon is a nanny, not a governess.”

“Oh that’s right. You know Marley, if you insist on hiring a less qualified carer for your children you should consider adding a tutor to your payroll.”

“Luke doesn’t need a tutor. He’s only five. And he’s doing well at school.” It was partly true. The academics came easily to him but he had a terrible habit of playing tricks on the other kids. I shudders at the thought of him convincing all the other kindy kids that the bathroom toilets were closed for cleaning.

“Darling, Kingston walked at seven months and spoke at ten. He reads Probst. And we still have tutors. It’s just what you do when you love your children enough.”

Linda was on the road to recovery after her botched surgery and resulting nervous breakdown, so I let the insults roll away.

“I can’t. Jason has a dinner thing next week he needs me for.”

“In that case, I suggest you spend the day at the spa and buy yourself something sparkly for the occasion. You don’t want to get too stressed out. Anyway, there’s Kingston. I need to take him to his cello lesson. Ciao.” She air kissed me on both cheeks and left as I waited for Luke to emerge. He was always last. He always needed to see the teacher after class.

I moved close enough to overhear Kristy talking to Marta and her friends without being blatantly obvious.

“Well, he’s in New York for business. But I just thought, we need a new beginning, you know? Something that’s the first scene of our story. Not either of his ex wives. So I put a cheeky offer on a house in Lower Snobsville while he’s away. As a surprise. Just a cottage, really, not even 5 mill.” The other mothers nodded in agreement. Krsity saw me standing alone out of the corner of her eye  and smiled pityingly at me. “Oh Marley. Lovely to see you again dear.” She looked me up and down. “Looks like we need a shopping trip soon!”

Remembering how Kristy earned the rock on her finger, I smiled at her and laughed internally. As much as she fit in now, I wondered if she would once Ainsley had moved onto the next almost step mother of his children.

I smiled knowingly. “The ring is lovely Kristy. I hear Ainsley is hiring a new secretary.”

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