It's Easier Than It Seems

Mediocre at Best

September 22nd

The morning was off to a great start; head down, churning out my cereal, smearing my mulled brown lipstick from my mouth. What a waste. My past self would be cursing - the brand a striking alternative to the drugstore brand lipsticks I used to wear before travelling across seas. Now here it is in all it’s overpriced glory, on the back of my hand, stained like an awkward bruise.

Of course great was a mere overstatement of my morning. There was the worry I’d never get the smell out of vomit out of the carpet on the stairs, or the stain on the walls, and not even the lingering smell in the toilet. I had managed to turn morning sickness into ‘this is hell, this is pure hell, there is no escape’. I had made this house stink like an infection ward in the hospital.

The only sweet relief I had was that I was home alone. Billie was out seeing his therapist; I was impressed that he was even awake for nine o’clock let alone dressed and out the door for eight-thirty. Luckily Adrienne had the boys in the week, so I only had one person to take care of; me, and I wasn’t doing a very good job at that.

I spent the next hour tidying, scrubbing, and spraying any kind of air freshener I could find in Billie’s drawers, wondering how he got by with nothing but wood polish and Febreeze. This was now my home, but it was strange to not know where little things like sponges and antibacterial spray were, I felt like a stranger here - despite how much time I had spent sat inside as of recent.

I had hardly left the house all month, along with terrible morning - more like all day - sickness, I was also crippled by fear that anything could hurt the life inside me. Was this normal? It had been one whole month since I saw the ultrasound scan of the baby, and for whatever reason, my anxiety hit me like a brick wall and had trapped me inside the house. Billie didn’t think much of it, I had told him I was too sick to leave the house, which wasn’t far from the truth since my head was practically glued to the toilet.

Luckily he was supportive - when he wasn't in the studio or performing on TV somewhere he would make sure to cater to all my needs - running errands, shopping, even cooking and cleaning.

We were so off and on again since I had come back from New York that we never really knew where we stood with each other, and without realising we fell into what felt like a normal relationship. Billie had told me just one month ago he wasn't ready for a relationship, but we had already told each other the three big words, and we had already tried at this relationship 'thing' before, so it felt natural. I think the turning point was actually seeing the ultrasound scan - it made it real, and it really made us want to try to make it work, if not just for us - but for our child.

I had even referred to him as my partner in front of my midwife and he didn't bat an eyelid. It was nice to know we both wanted the same thing, and that in taking it slow we were developing a solid relationship.

But Billie had been away quite a bit around the country with Mike and Tré which I think had made my anxiety worse with loneliness. I could Skype my mother, I could perhaps see Morgan, but damn I really missed Billie when he wasn't around. I didn't want to venture out by myself and I couldn't keep asking the few people I had around me to be my bodyguards all the time.

I kept getting terrible thoughts if I thought about leaving - even just to pop to the supermarket to pick up groceries for everyone.

What if something bad happened whilst I was outside? I could get hit by a car, stabbed, shot! No, I couldn’t let that happen. Maybe I could polish the entire house instead, or rearrange the furniture? Perhaps sort our clothes in the wardrobe by colour?

It was pure fear itching away at me, eating me from within. There were these strange voices whispered malicious words into my ear, and they sounded a lot like my own voice. I would try and push them away, but I could feel the anxiety still lurking over me, like a shadow in the corner of my eye, always there, persistently stalking me.

I sat up from scrubbing the floor vigorously. My hands dried and withered from the bleach I was using. I let out a deep sigh, staring at the wrinkles on my fingers.

I need to get out. I’m spiralling into a deep hole with my thoughts.

I stood up and decided to get myself ready for a day out, even finding time to re-apply my make-up yet wondering why I even bothered anymore. I tidied away my cleaning gear and grabbed my handbag, stepping out the door to a waft of hot air. I was still not used to this weather, I had moved around so much my body didn’t seem to have time to acclimatise. In the UK I lived where the cold air hurt my face no matter what season it was, and now the humidity swallows me whole. California had long hot summers, but at least we were lucky in the bay area to have cooler evenings to relax.

I headed into the city in search of clothes shops. I needed more maternity wear, and I had hardly bought anything for the baby. With the little money I had in my savings, I had myself a day to myself for a shopping spree. Hours had passed without me realising, I had gotten so carried away looking at all the type of baby grows stores had stocked in, and I never realised how many different kind of pushchairs one could buy. My legs were starting to ache, hoping to myself that it wasn’t the kind of pregnancy to have swollen ankles constantly.

I had been searching for a place to sit down with air-con for a while, carrying around a bunch of new clothes and sweating in the heat had made me feel nauseous and tired, and I was not prepared to experience the morning all over again. The cafe I had found was quaint; there were only a few customers inside, and the whole place seemed to be decorated like it was from the Victorian era.

Red velvet adorned the walls, and plush purple curtains draped down from the high ceiling. Roses in golden jars were scattered around the cafe; the fresh scent of flowers mixing with brioche and coffee like I was in a fancy Parisian bakery. Multiple frames of people long forgotten were scattered about; it made me think that one day I will just be some person in a frame, in some weird antique shop selling subpar drinks. That’s what life boils down to I guess, no-frills, just random conversations and events, life and death… and if you are lucky, it’s mediocre at best.

Next thing you know you’re in a cheap brass frame being dusted down.

In the cafe I watched a mother with her toddler, her face gleamed with happiness as the kid waved around a pamphlet they probably picked up with no desire to go - only to keep the kid occupied for a moment or so. If I focused hard enough I could see the words ‘museum open day’ on the front, and it made me think, what was I doing? Having a casual day shopping? Shouldn’t I be out there looking at museums and studios to see if someone would employ me? I should be focused on my career, not spending money and savings I didn’t have.

I couldn’t keep loafing around, using Billie’s fame and fortune to get about. I wasn’t the sort of person who could do that to someone else’s hard-earned cash. That’s not who I wanted to be. I was already living in his house free of charge, and he paid for all my groceries and bills which made me feel so uncomfortable. I want to be able to contribute to my child's upbringing by making it the best I can with my own income. I want to be able to buy Billie dinner and shower him with gifts. There was no doubt that Billie and I could give the baby the most amazing life it could wish for, I knew that, but I wanted to say I’ve helped with that. Plus, I was going stir crazy sat at home all day, I needed something to do!

But I had so many questions that needed answers before the baby was born. What about when the inevitable tour time happens - do I still go to work? Who would be there to take care of the baby if I did? His mother, a friend, perhaps a nanny? Would that make me a selfish mom? Maybe I could start my own business, take the baby with me to work - or I could work from home. How did every other woman before me do this? Were they also as worried as me? How did the mother opposite me look so positive and so in control of her own life? Am I already a bad mother for not having my shit together?

I had so many questions, and what felt like a negative amount of answers.

I could feel my hormones kicking in as I held back a muffled cry. Everyone makes this look so easy and I felt so unprepared. Buying clothes for the baby had made everything feel so real, so looming.

I didn’t even have a nursery prepared.

I needed a plan, and fast.

I swiftly left the cafe, and after buying a few more bits and bobs for the home (mainly an excessive amount of candles from Bath and Body Works), I headed home, wondering how Billie had gotten on with his therapy, and if he’d notice the smell of bleach lingering in the air.

“Hello?” I shouted, opening the front door and peering in. It was unlocked, weird. “Billie, are you here?” I nervously spoke out, hoping he would answer and that a murderer wouldn’t leap out at me.

I popped down all my shopping bags in the hallway and took a walk around the house. He wasn’t in the kitchen, it’s cool, you got this. He wasn’t in the living room or dining room either, oh God what if something bad has happened?!

I then opened the back door to the patio outside, and it turned out my panic was for nothing; Billie was relaxing on a sun lounger, and reading a book by the poolside. A quick tilt of the head and glance showed me it was ‘Becoming YOU’, I wanted to laugh. I had never imagined Billie to be reading anything like that. It looked like he was already halfway in, his eyes glued to the page so much he didn’t even notice me - a relief that no one had robbed anything from the house, as I didn’t feel like he would have noticed, he was that engrossed in the self-help book.

“Hey,” I smiled, taking a seat on the sun lounger next to Billie. “How’d it go?”

Billie looked up from his book, I had finally managed to grab his attention, he smiled softly. “Hey, babe.” He leaned over to kiss me on the cheek, settling his book face down on the table in between us.

“Homework?” I pointed out to it. “I’m not getting in between you and the book am I?” I wryly smiled, wondering if his therapist recommended it to him or he looked on Amazon’s recommended list.

He shook his head and laughed. “It’s so shit, thank God you’re here to drag me away from it.” He opened his arms out wide for a hug and beckoned me to come closer.

“You left the door unlocked!” I exclaimed mid-embrace, squeezing him slightly as I said it, “It scared the hell out of me.”

“Oh shit, sorry,” He apologised, pulling out of the hug and giving me a worried look. It was his house, why was he apologising to me? Everything here is… his anyway.

“It’s fine, lucky you have no crazy stalkers,” I giggled, poking him in his arm. He let out a slight whimper, rubbing at the sore spot I had created.

We sat talking about how our day had gone. Billie told me he felt like although the therapy was a huge placebo, and it pained for him to say this - but it was actually helping, and that jokes aside, the book was a good read.

I told him about my shopping trip to the city, opening up to him of how worried I was to leave the house and that it wasn’t just morning sickness stopping me from walking out the door every morning. I needed to take the plunge and walk outside, distract myself from my thoughts - and, well, get a job.

“Billie, I know I agreed to move in with you, and it’s great, it really is.”

Billie looked nervous, shifting uncomfortably on the sun lounger, he pushed his sunglasses on to the top of his head, perhaps to read my face clearer. “Go on…”

“Well,” I sighed, “I can’t help but feel like I am freeloading, yeah I’m carrying your baby, and we are dat-," I paused, still unsure if we were okay with labelling whatever we were, "- living together, but I should be contributing to this household, I need a job - I need to pay my way,” I said, turning slightly red in the face. I hated this kind of talk. The somewhat money talk.

“How are you freeloading? You’re my girlfriend, you are carrying my child, you deserve all of this and more. I don’t expect anything back,” He said, shifting in his seat, putting a slight bit of space between us.

My eyes widened. He said it.


I felt like a teenager again; blushing at what should be a simple word.

I let it slide to argue my point, pushing down a big grin forming on my face so I could continue my serious conversation. “But I should be giving you something back, I should get a job, I should contribute. I am going mad out of my mind not being able to do anything here, I’m tired of waiting around endlessly for something to do other than pop out this baby.”

Billie sighed, laying his hand gently on my thigh. “Okay fine, I know how stubborn you are,” he laughed, giving my thigh a light squeeze - I felt my body tingle at the touch of his warm hand, I felt very hot and distracted all of a sudden. “I completely understand. I mean, sort of. When I get back from touring I can’t think of anything better to do than nothing at all, but I would go crazy if all I did was nothing,” He spoke. Billie never sat still for long, so I could imagine that being true. “I can probably pull some strings for you.”

For a second, my eyes lit up at the possibility of a great job happening so soon and so easily, then I realised I wouldn’t be paving my own way - just another handout. “I think I need to find something for me, created by me, so I can be proud of what I’ve done, I mean, I am proud of how far I’ve come already, but I can’t stop my photography career now.”

“I get that,” Billie nodded in agreement. “Hard work pays off and when you can say you’ve done it yourself it’s amazing - look at what me, Mike and Tre have done with Green Day, gives you a real ego boost, and makes you proud of how far you've come!”

I giggled. “It’s not about the ego boost, and God help your ego, Billie!” I exclaimed, giving him a light shove. "Also... girlfriend?" I questioned, raising my brow.

Billie just smiled cockily and shrugged. "I figured so, is that okay? I mean, you did say partner the other day."

I bit my lip, so he had noticed. "So that was okay with you then?"

He nodded and pulled me back in closer for a kiss.

It felt right, of course it did. It's what we had both wanted since before I left for New York. I should have never left, I had made such a mess - but we were back on track.

We then went back to discussing for a good ten or so minutes a few options that I could do to help my career - home studio, magazine or newspaper work, a blog perhaps, and it definitely lightened my spirits about my future. I could tell Billie supported me so much that I felt myself falling deeper for him each day I was around him.

The worries of having this baby and being stuck with nothing to do for the rest of my life dwindled away as we talked it out. It felt good to have someone to lean on, like really good. It had been a long time since I had felt this happy being in someone’s company.

We had finally gotten used to the idea that we could actually be a family, after all this time going back and forth in an endless charade - this was it. We were right on track.

I asked Billie if he was hungry enough for dinner, I, myself, was absolutely starving so on hearing a yes I marched into the kitchen to prepare the food.

I felt a light breeze hit me when I walked in which was strange; the A/C never kicked out that much of a breeze. I also heard a rustle in the hallway... then it hit me, and my legs felt like jelly; I had left the wide door open when I walked in earlier. What if someone got inside?

I peered my head slowly around the kitchen door and into the hallway when I felt my stomach drop. There was a woman stood in the hallway, and she was staring at a family photo which had Billie and the boys in, taken at a family barbecue a few years back. Once had noticed me staring at her from around the door she quickly turned her head to look at me with ice-cold blue eyes; her light blonde hair was slicked back into a tight ponytail, and her smooth modelesque legs looked like they carried on for days. She wore a white and yellow flowery dress - painted with sunflowers, that fell to her thighs, and white high heeled shoes which would make her tower over me about a foot taller.

I was instantly jealous of this trespasser.

“Hello,” She said sharply, yet with a silky voice. “Is Billie home?”

The woman looked like that although she asked me a question she didn’t actually care for my answer, so instead, she moved passed me to continue mooching around the hallway, taking in some more photos which were hung up on the wall.

“Excuse me, what are you doing in my house?!” I exclaimed, frustrated by her ignorance and shaking from the adrenaline sparked by fear. “Who are you?” I then questioned. She could have been one of those crazy fans I had just mentioned to Billie, perhaps one so madly in love with the idea of him she’d fly into a mad rage if she knew I was his girlfriend and kill me.

She turned to look at me, this time narrowing her eyes. “Your house?” She questioned angrily like I had just become her number one enemy. I backed into the kitchen slightly, hoping to get Billie’s attention to help.

“Yes, I live here,” I nervously spoke, continuing to back away from the woman who followed me through to the kitchen. “Who ar-”

“Sasha,” Billie’s voice called out behind me, sounding very worried. “Wh… what are you doing here?!” He hurried in front of me, becoming a barrier between me and Sasha.

I looked between the two of them. I wasn’t stupid. This must have been his girlfriend he had when I was in New York. He never mentioned he had any family relatives or even just friends called Sasha, so this must have been her.

Billie didn’t stop to introduce me when he tried to hush Sasha away into the living room, but she shoved his arm away and stood her ground. “No, I’ll tell you here, right in front of another one of your potential throwaways, she will need to know as well.”

My eyes widened. A throwaway? This bitch is pissed. What did Billie do to her to make her so mad?

Her face lacked emotion as she looked at me dead in the eye. “I’m pregnant,” She quipped, drawing her attention to Billie. “Daddy.

I felt a pang in my stomach, I felt like all that cleaning I did this morning had been for nothing as I was about to paint the walls with vomit again. My world crumbled, my legs weakened. I reached behind me feeling for something to lean or sit on and perched myself on the kitchen island seat, my head fell into my hands, tears brimming my eyes.

I could hear Billie and Sasha talking, but I couldn’t make out the words, my brain was too foggy to follow along, but I knew she had left when I heard the door slam and a car speed off into the distance.

I looked up from my hands to see Billie staring at me. He looked as bad as I felt, and he looked worried, no, he looked terrified. He rushed past me to the cupboard and shakily got out a bottle of whiskey. I didn’t stop him. I watched him pour a large amount into a glass and quickly swig it. I didn’t have the energy to say anything to him. I just watched him unravel in front of my eyes, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I just wanted to cry, and I think he did, too.

Billie placed the glass down on the side, perhaps just the one was enough to take the edge off. He walked over to me and wrapped his arms around me; burying his head into my neck, and although he didn’t say anything... I was pretty sure he was crying. I hesitated for a moment, I was unsure whether to be angry at him or to comfort him, but I knew he needed me so I forwent the anger. I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him in closer, rubbing his back gently.

As Billie clung onto me I whispered that everything was going to be okay, but I didn’t know if that was true, it just sounded like the right thing to tell him. I thought we had life all worked out, finally. We had our family and we were happy. We had plans for the future and nothing in our way.

But the past always comes back to haunt you eventually.
♠ ♠ ♠
Wow, okay, so it's been six long years since I've updated this story!

The chapter had been sat collecting dust in my OneDrive and over the last few days, I decided to edit and add a bit more in so I could finally update again.

I don't know if anyone who used to read this will even still be around. It was always my mission to finish this story, and I will, even if the next chapter takes another six years (which I promise it won't), but I will more than likely wrap up this story in the next one to two chapters to ensure I finish it once and for all.

So perhaps I am just writing for myself, ho hum.

So anyway, enjoy!