Chapter 15. You never gonna believe this.
So me mum and me and Matt we never missed a single X-Factor after that. The Heavenly Host were never in the bottom two. They was like more addictive than fags. You just wanted to see more of em. Even as soon as they finished singin, you was gaggin for their next song. I know Matt and all me mates was voting for them endlessly. It’s like they had some special power over people. I would always vote for somebody else but I knew I were losin the battle. Them kids was gonna be famous and there were nothin I could do about it.
It were around then that I got pregnant. I know, right? I don’t know how that happened! I so had not wanted it. I’d managed to reach the ripe old age of thirty three free of screamin brats and were planning a couple more decades of fun. I’d been so careful too, darn it. I only remember the zillions of blow-jobs, I don’t remember never agreeing to any of the other. Oh well, them pregnancy kit things don’t lie. I had to get on with it.
I couldn’t bear the idea of nappies and bottles and becoming fat and tired. But me mate Shelley, she said, ‘Don’t worry, Shardie, you got yourself enough money you’ll be able to afford a nanny!’ So from that moment I cheered up, and booked meself a shoppin bonanza in Dubai for just after the baby were due to be born. ‘Gotta keep your spirits up, Shardonnay, bit of retail therapy required,’ I said to meself with one of me bigger cackles.
When I tell you what happened with the birth and that, you will laugh! Honest, every time I tell it to someone I end up almost wettin meself laughin. So, here we go: I always fill up Matt’s car and take it for a little valet, keep it nice and tidy for him, see, but you won’t believe this, I only went and put diesel in it by mistake din’t I? I think bein pregnant had messed with me brain. So we’d realised I were in labour cos me waters had broke all over the kitchen floor, we rushed into the car, and we was five minutes up the road on our way into Harlow and blow me if the car din’t start doing these hiccups. Like big jerks, jumpin all over the place. It jolted the baby somewhat rotten. Matt swore and pulled over at a bus stop.
We was stuck there in the lashin rain with the windscreen wipers going squeakety squeak, squeakety squeak, wonderin what the hell we was goin to do. Matt started messin around with the engine and trying to phone the garage to ask them what to do, and then, out of the blue it were, I started to feel the baby coming out! Oh, my God, this story makes me die! I were like, ‘Matt, it’s coming out! It’s coming out!’ and he were like ‘It’s never!’ I put me hand down and actually felt the baby’s head tryina get out me knickers! Not being funny or anything but if that ain’t gonna make you panic, what is?
He phoned the hospital with one hand and helped me to the bus shelter with the other as it were pissin down and sittin in the car were well painful. Din’t have time to take me heels off, (nor me vajazzle, lol!) I just yanked down me knickers, knelt down on Matt’s coat and clung onto the bench in the bus shelter. I remember thinking, ‘Lucky I ain’t one of them women what makes a fuss! I’m glad I’m a girl what just gets on with it!’ and our baby just slipped out easy as! Matt caught him and wrapped him in the coat. I just couldn’t stop laughin. Honestly, what am I like! We sat on the bench, giving him a cuddle.
A nice girl with a fancy briefcase gave me some of her chewin gum. An air-hostess waiting for the bus to Stansted in her lovely electric blue uniform (ooh, I wouldn’t mind having a go in that I’m a sucker for uniform!) had a ‘blanket in a bag’ what they give you on planes in her suitcase. She gave it to us to wrap round me bits, cos, as you can imagine, I felt a bit exposed. An old lady passin with her little dog gave us a plastic poo bag to put the plassenta thing in. Ugh, that bit were disgustin, yeah, you don’t wanna know! By the time the ambulance arrived to take us to the hospital there were quite a queue of people waitin for the bus, all of em quite surprised to see a baby what had got hisself born right there in their bus shelter! And I were on the phone to me mum, telling her about the baby and his blue eyes and how we was thrilled to bits.
OMG though, I were not prepared for how lush our little baby were. I had to admit, he were gorjuss! Nicholas, we called him. He had the most flawless skin and chubby little fingers. Hair as blond as blond can be, but the darkest, longest eye-lashes you ever saw. I’m not really into babies, no, let’s be honest, but seriously, he were lovely. His biggest fan of course were his dad. Matt were workin from home still, solvin some science problems for his lectures, so he spent hours walkin round the house with Nicholas. They was like that, you know, bonded, father and son. I were so glad for em, really.
I never were that good with the baby. Did me best though. And me mum she always says, ‘You can only do your best, Shardonnay, no one can do more’n their best.’ One thing I did like doin for him were shoppin. I bought him tractors and lovely booties and car transporters and baby computers and that. But the only thing he seemed to like were paintin, like with his fingers at first, then with brushes in his high-chair. We had to let him do it, otherwise he would grizzle and frown. And that bloody music had to be on the whole ruddy time, didn’t it?
Matt always used to put on the ‘Lost Boys with the Heavenly Host’ CD and rock Nicholas to sleep. It were odd but that were the only music what worked and stopped him cryin. By the time he were one, he were pointin at the telly and saying ‘Ost boys! Ost boys!’ When the Lost Boys did come on, which were often because they was so damn famous by now and had the Christmas number one for the second year runnin, Nicholas would wiggle his little body in delight, and try to sing along! So funny, it did make me laugh.
The Lost Boys that year had released a single called ‘From Little Acorns’ and even I liked it. You couldn’t help but like it really. It just got to you, made you cry with the harmonies and that. The chorus went ‘We’re rocked in our cradle, we’re rocked in our tree, we’re rocked in our Father’s arms, and he’s close to me.’ See, I can sing, when I want to! You shoulda heard little Nicholas when he were only just one singin ‘Fwom wittle aaacooooorns, come lovely leeeeeeves, from wittle aaaacoooorns, come ancient tweeeees.’ Bleeeeeess. Made us die! I got a video somewhere.
The Lost Boys was gettin bigger and bigger. After that Christmas they started a world tour, and new members kept joinin their bigger group, the Heavenly Host. There was like a hundred of em! Female fans around the world was having theirselves screaming fits, like with the Beatles. They knew every name of every boy, their birthdays, their favourite meals, colours. They could distinguish between em, for starters. I couldn’t. For the life of me, they all looked the same. Just like their dad, in other words! Ha ha. He still didn’t have a clue. Maybe had inklins of a suspicion but could not put his finger on it at all.
Then I had a bit of an awkward thing happen. Matt came into the bathroom unexpectedly after sex one day, lookin for his phone. I were only in the middle of spittin his sperm into me jar. Oops. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked.
‘Cleanin me teeth,’ I said briskly, seizin a brush and rinsin the jar quickly. Oh, bloody hell, I thought, that’s two hundred blinking quid and one or more poor unborn Lost Boy litrally down the drain!
Me man looked a bit flummoxed, but said no more.
Chapter 16. Let’s hope it’s a bloody phase.
One day around a year later, we was in London doing some Christmas shoppin. Nicholas were nearly two years old by then. Matt were pushin the buggy. Nicholas were clutchin the Eskimo doll he’d screamed for in Harrods. Me mum always says, ‘If they want something real bad, Shardie, what you gonna do? You just gotta get it for em.’ So I did. I got it for him. It had a white fur collar and cuffs. I knew why he were obsessed with that. It’s because them bleedin Lost Boys on the telly always wear fake white furry collars and sing in the snow and that.
We was walkin through Trafalgar Square when a couple of violins started up near that north plinth thing and we noticed a crowd gatherin. I went to get some candy floss from a stall but Matt pushed the buggy to the front of the crowd.
By the time I got there and realised it were only the Heavenly Bloody Host, it were too bloody late. Matt and Nicholas was litrally transfixed. BBC cameras was everywhere and big fuzzy mics pickin up their latest carol. I must admit, it were lovely. A huge audience gathered, all of em weepin real tears. Me attention must of wandered, because I looked down, and Nicholas weren’t in his buggy! ‘Matt!’ I said. ‘Where the fuck is the baby?’
Matt pointed a shaky finger. I saw Nicholas toddlin over to Sebastian. He reached him and held out his arms. Sebastian, mid-verse, crouched down and opened up his arms. My baby walked into them and were lifted up. Sebastian and Nicholas’ faces were centimetres apart, grinnin at each other. OMG the likeness were just undeniable. The crowd gasped. The cameras whirred. Nicholas beamed.
That clip got millions of views on Youtube. It had Nicholas in Sebastian’s arms singin at the top of his voice ‘Fwom wittle Aaacoooooorns, come ancient Tweeeees,’ with the violins in the background and the snow falling on his dark lashes. OMG, people just cried their eyes out.
From then on, as a family, we had to go to every flippin Heavenly Host concert there were. O2, Wembley Arena, Milton Keynes Bowl, we was there. If I tried to book somethin else, or God forbid actually take Nicholas to something else, he would just point blank stick his heels in and refuse to go. The only thing he would watch on the telly was the Heavenly Bloody Host. Oh God, I just so hoped he would go off them soon. I prayed it were a phase.
But it weren’t a phase. He just went on and on lovin em. Obsessed he were.
From around the time he got to two and a half, he never stopped singin. You could hear him in his room, bless im, hollerin ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful,’ and ‘Jerusalem’ at the top of his voice, lovely little man. Course, I tried to get him into football, rugby and that, buying him all the latest goals, balls, kits, but he weren’t havin none of it.
One time at the O2, Nicholas were five, and he went missin. Yeah, we went to lost kids and everythin, we had them calling for him on the tannoy, we was runnin round like headless chickens. Turned out he was in their dressin room, chattin away to the Heavenly Host. Askin for their autographs. Askin em questions. Serious head-case that boy.
Me and Matt just stood at the door, bent over double with runnin, pantin, shouldn’t smoke so many fags, the panic wearin off. But I’ll never forget how much fear I felt in me gut and how much relief I felt at findin him. I kind of realised then I think, that though maybe I hadn’t been that good at showing it, and I weren’t the best mum in the world….no, let’s be honest, I’m the first to admit it….I kinda did love that little boy.