“Look, Florrie, you’re talking in riddles. Spit it out will thee, so we can both get some sleep.”
“I’m feeling anxious.”
Alfie turned on to his back with an impatient sigh.
“Anxious! Does tha always want to talk when we’re about to go off? Now just tell us what’s bothering thee so we can both get some sleep.”
“I’m worried I won’t be able to cope with another mouth to feed. I struggle as it is with just Georgie and me, let alone the extra I have to find when you’re here.”
“But tha does really well. Why don’t yer go to sleep now, and everything’ll feel fine in t’ morning?”
“No, Alfie. This is something we need to talk about. It won’t go away in the morning.”
Florrie sat up and repositioned the pillow to support her back. Alfie grunted and stayed where he was.
“Calm down, Our Lass. Tha knows I give thee as much as I can. I work overtime five nights a week and sometimes Saturday, too. With Mavis and t’ three bairns at home, it’s already hard trying to make ends meet.”
“And that’s another thing. I can’t do this on my own. It’s not fair that you spend only one full day and two nights with us whilst you’re with Mavis and the kids all the rest of the time. I’ll need more support. A new baby is hard work.”
“Ah, I knew tha’d get around to this. And how am I supposed to spend more time here? Mavis would get suspicious, reightt? The three bairns would get upset, too. My life would be hell.”
“I think you’ve been having your cake and eating it for too long. You’ve got as much responsibility towards me and the two children as you have to your other family. You told me that you only married Mavis cos, unbeknown to you, she was in the family way when you went away to war, and you came home to find you had a four-year-old child. I get that - it was the honourable thing to do. But you also told me that you loved me. And let’s face it, I’m definitely more sympathetic towards you when you have your nightmares. What doesn’t add up is that when we met again after all those years since school, you chose to stay with Mavis – the woman you didn’t love – and then to make matters worse, you went on to father two more babies with her. How do you think that made me feel? Don’t we mean anything to you?”
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