Lauren In Limbo

Inside the mind of Lauren Turner at a difficult juncture

Yes, it’s a bit of a mess right now. You don’t need to tell me that. But I swear I didn’t mean for any of it to happen. Not like this, anyway. I’m not the heartless floozy that some people in Ramsay Street seem to think. But, if I’m totally honest, there was always going to be something between me and Brad. They say you don’t forget your first love, and I know that’s true now. When he and Terese and their kids moved in across the road, I tried to keep my memories and feelings at bay. I didn’t want to be unfaithful to Matt; he didn’t deserve that, at least, not then. He’d never let me down, and he supported me when I had to sell the equine business. He never once said I was a failure.

But seeing Brad again, well, it did change things. Something was unspoken between us. Of course, what he didn’t know then was that we’d had a baby together. When we discovered the truth about Paige, it changed things for ever. People keep saying I couldn’t have loved Matt. I did. But maybe not in the way I had loved Brad. Matt felt safe, he met me when I was in a bad place. I had lost my lover to another woman, and I’d lost my little girl. I thought she was dead, then, of course. I was beyond joy when I found out my daughter was still alive. Well, joy, and anger at Mum. I know she thought she was doing the right thing, but she robbed me of Paige’s childhood. And robbed Paige of the chance to know her real parents.

I should have told Matt that I’d had a baby before I met him, I know that. But I think I was still grieving, and I wanted to push the memories away and start again. Then, boom, Mason was on the way and, well, you know the rest. Matt was good to me, but I often thought about Brad, especially on our daughter’s birthday. When he walked into Harold’s that day, it really did feel like the years had melted away. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. After we knew about our daughter, it was obvious that we’d want to talk about it together. Terese didn’t understand that. Matt didn’t either, at first, but to be fair to him, he did come round eventually. I think he even forgave me for that stupid kiss when Brad and I were searching for Paige. I say think, because I’ll never know for sure if things would have been the same again. He had this stupid male pride about owning the house, then went working for Dimato. It just wasn’t the Matt I’d known. All because he wanted to be the big man.

I can’t even express how it felt to realise that my daughter had been working with me for weeks, and not telling anyone who she was. But when we discovered the truth, it was wonderful, the way that she fitted into the family, or should I say, families. Terese was always creating about it, though. She found it harder than Matt to accept Paige. She pulled a few underhand tricks, too, and she even tried to get Paige’s adopted mum to tempt her away. Oh yes, Terese may seem the wronged woman here, but she’s not above being devious.

I wish the accident hadn’t happened, of course I do. Matt was a wonderful father and until he got into trouble, he was a loving, caring husband. I still don’t know for sure whether he and Sharon Canning got further than a kiss that time Terese found them together. Matt and I, we’d had a terrible row, and he’d stormed out. He saved Brad’s life and sacrificed his own, so you can imagine how that makes me feel. I can’t say whether we would have stayed together, if he’d lived. Maybe we’d both have moved on, he might have found someone else to make him happy. Although not Sharon Canning, definitely not her. She just happened to be around and seized an opportunity.

I tried to stay away from Brad after Matt died, I really did. But I needed someone to talk to. Nights are the most lonely when you’re suddenly bereaved and I just wanted someone to put their arm around me and tell me everything would be okay. Brad was there for me. And Brad was unhappy in his marriage. To be honest, I think he’s been unhappy for years. He tried to do his best for Terese and the kids, but all she gives him is grief. She doesn’t understand his creativity like I do. She wanted him to build a career, and she’s always going on about standards.

I’ve got to let Brad work this one out for himself, I realise that. Terese is busy getting everyone in the street onside, and she didn’t lose any time in telling all the kids what Brad and I got up to. She did that for revenge, because if she had thought it through, we should have all told them together. They didn’t need to find out like that. No, Terese was falling apart before this happened. She’s paranoid, she spies on Brad and she probably hasn’t ever trusted him. Was he meant to put up with that for ever? Was she just going to carry on nagging and picking rows with him every chance she got? And blaming everything that was wrong in their marriage on me, and on poor Paige being around? Why shouldn’t Paige have a chance to spend time with both her birth parents after what she had stolen from her? I’m probably going to sound like a total bitch but Terese drove Brad over the edge and she has to share some of the blame for all this.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2015

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