Chapter 23: Take Me Back


After an hour or two of giggling about possible campaign slogans for Carl’s tilt at the mayoralty ( “A Queen for Queenstown” was the frontrunner) he finally departed, leaving Karen to her own devices. 

Gracie was still in her room, the door very firmly closed and Karen had given Grant’s cellphone another try with the same result as before. He definitely wasn’t answering. 

She could understand his reaction. She’d hardly been ecstatic about it herself! But him practically demanding she get rid of it. That had been a bit of a shocker. 

She thought about making another cup of coffee but then thought better of it. Did caffeine affect babies? She wasn’t sure but felt it couldn’t be good for them. 

Last time around with Gracie, she hadn’t worried a jot about that sort of thing. The only thing she’d given up had been alcohol. Other than that it had been business as usual. She’d even eaten soft cheese! And patted the cat! It was amazing that Gracie came out in one piece really. 

Things had definitely changed since she’d had Grace. She saw young Mums in the cafe on a daily basis and the way they were raising their children seemed very different to how she’d done it 15 years ago. They seemed to be so precious about the whole business of maternity and so fearful for their children. It was all demand feeding and reading Proust to the baby in the womb these days and Karen wasn’t sure she was up to the job. 

“Perhaps if I’d read improving literature to Gracie she might have turned out a bit better,” she mused. Oops. Disloyalty again. Did the guilt never end? 

She heard a vehicle pull up on the driveway. 


She sat and waited. She could hear him messing around outside, throwing things in the wheelie bin, then a bang and a muffled yelp. 

What the hell was he doing out there? 

Eventually he came inside, looking a little sheepish. 

“Have we got any Band Aids, love,” he said, limping into the kitchen.”I smacked my leg on the rake.” 

“Oops, sorry,” said Karen, going to the junk drawer to grab the Elastoplast.” I must have left it outside.” 

Grant hobbled over to the kitchen table. 

“Yeah well, you won’t be able to leave things like that lying around when the little fella starts walking.” 

Relief flooded through Karen but she tried to remain cool as she handed Grant a plaster. “You mean you’ve gone off the idea of me not having it?” 

Grant looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry. That was a dumb thing to say. I wasn’t thinking straight. I can’t say I’m stoked but I’m not keen on you NOT having it either. We’ll find some way of coping financially and what’s another 20 years of child raising between friends!” 

“Oh god,” groaned Karen. ”It seems like forever.” 

Grant stood up and wrapped her in a hug. “It’ll be fine, Kaz. It’ll fly by. You’re a great mum. You’ll be sweet.” 

Karen laid her head on his chest. “Don’t know about that. I’ve got no intention of reading Proust to the embryo.” 

“Who the hell’s Proust?” 

“And I’m not going to use the phrase ‘We’re pregnant’ and I don’t expect you to either.” 

“Why would I? I’m not the one who’s having a baby!” 

They looked at each other and laughed, then Grant leaned in and they relaxed into a kiss. 

“Woah, steady on, Tiger,” Karen said, jokingly pushing him away. “Isn’t that what got us into trouble in the first place.” 

“Ah, you love it, you know it.” He grinned then looked serious again. “By the way, have you thought about what we’re going to say to Gracie?” 

“I’ve been wondering about that. I really don’t know how she’s going to take it. She may very well be delighted. Who knows!” 

Grant shrugged his shoulders “Would be good if she was. Might be nice to have a live in babysitter.” 

“Don’t say that to her. Bad enough she’s no longer going to be an only child without you implying that you’ve got her lined up for nannying duties.” 

Suddenly there was a strangled gasp from the doorway. It was Gracie and she looked horrified. 

“Ohmigod you’re having a baby,” she cried. “Ewwwwwwww, you guys are so GROSS!”