9am. Lying slobbily under duvet, unable to face either fridge-like world or
reality of situation: i.e. Mark Darcy insisting on coming round at 9.30
with cappuccinos, presumably to tell me off for a) getting pregnant and b)
going on date with whippersnapper when great with child - said child being
only slightly younger than said whippersnapper.
Attempt at displacement activity by reading festive magazines while
Instant Messaging Jude has misfired, leaving self with uncomfortable sense that
ought to be Peaches Geldof/Tom Parker Bowles/member of the International
Art Show Set, instinctively understand how to take the must-have Galaxy
dress from classic daywear through evening and already own a black Christmas
9.05am. Ooh. Instant Message from Jude, re what to wear for confrontation:
"I think you should start off Desperate Housewives in slouchy t-shirt with
too-long sleeves then change halfway through and rev it up a la Paris
Hilton plus dog."
9.10am. Hee hee. Just messaged back "Re: dog, do you think a gerbil
9.15am. Look, this is ridiculous. Must get up, shower and, er, bake
Oh goody, telephone.
9.20am. My mother: gabbling, insane. "Oh, hello darling, guess what?
We're on the way to the Christmas Market in Antwerp!! They're all over the
low countries, now, apparently - just like the Craft Market in Kettering
only it's all Christmas with Gluhwein. Oh my godfathers, I'll have to go,
I'm picking Una up from her botox behind Debenhams."
9.25am. Oh Christ. What am I going to say to him? Still don't even know
if he's the father. DNA clinic called last night but couldn't talk as
everyone here, and now they're not in yet. I'm just going to read a little bit
of Sensational Villas section.
9.30am. There you see. Very calming. What can Mark Darcy do exactly?
Berate me for trying to trap him into marriage? Or be so worried about what
the Notting Hill Tory set will think about out of wedlock child that he'll
force himself into a shotgun wedding, put the baby down for Roedean or
Benidorm and force me to go to ghastly lawyer-wife Mummie and Mee classes: like
the one I took god-daughter Constance to in freezing church where a mad
Sloaney woman was bellowing: "The grrrrand old Duke of York!!! He had ten
thousand men!!" and Constance took one look and ran off.
9.35am. Gaah! Doorbell. Oh no. How has this happened? Am still in
pyjamas and hair is like African Shrub from Sensational Villas section.
Later. When Mark appeared up the stairs he was.... ebullient.
"Right!" he said, brightly. "Coffee? Eggs as well? I brought eggs!
Tried - and failed - to fight down egg-induced vomit. When returned
from the loo, Mark knelt at my feet.
"So," he said. "Seems like there's three of us now."
I nodded, still unsure where this was leading.
"It must have been the high spirits," he grinned, sheepish yet proud.
"I know," I giggled.
"It was so ghastly before. There's nothing worse than forcing yourself
to have sex just because it's the right time of the month, is there?"
Trying hard not to react to this brutal over-honesty, I flashed back to
one particularly grim "right time" close to the end, when Mark had dragged
himself round, exhausted, after work. I was hiding in the bathroom
furtively performing a raspberry vinegar douche which Shazzer said would
create a girl, when Mark stumbled in, lowering his trousers. We blinked at
each other wondering how much lower in the unromantic stakes we could sink.
Naked farting competitions? Later I emerged, slinkily, in a silk teddy to
find Mark asleep on the sofa with his stomach hanging out. When we finally
got down to it, I kept batting him off from doing anything which might
alert him to the raspberry douche and it all got so bad we gave up, and lay side
by side, staring despairingly at the ceiling, Mark quoting Martin Amis,
"Marriage ends up like being brother and sister with occasional unfortunate
bouts of incest."
But what a change now! Mark had leapt to his feet so excitedly I thought he
was going to start bouncing on the sofa like Tom Cruise on Oprah Winfrey.
"I can't believe it," he beamed. "It's just so bloody fantastic. You need to
move into the house straight away. We'll start decorating the nursery and
get Nana on board." (Nana, Mark's former nanny, is 93 - and so senile
she would immediately mistake the baby for a rich tea biscuit and eat her).
"Ooh, that reminds me. Hang on. Don't move!" He bounded off down the
I sat back on the sofa, bathed in a warm glow. All my worries were over
- the stairs, getting the firewood up from the petrol station, the scandal,
the financial crisis, the fatherless little one. "You've got a daddy,"
I whispered to baby, "and he's going to love and take care of us."
The phone rang. Reached, dreamily, for receiver, hoping it was someone
I could bask and boast to.
"Bridget?" said a brisk voice. "It's Judy from the DNA clinic!"
Just then Mark staggered back in, carrying the most enormous,
moth-eaten teddy bear.
"Good news. We've got a crystal-clear result from the fingernail," said
"He was mine when I was a baby," Mark said, proudly plonking teddy at
my feet. "Nana bought him for me. Do you like him?"
"I love him," I said, gripping the phone so hard I thought it would splinter.
"It's positive!" said Judy
"Who's that?" said Mark, looking anxiously at my face.
"Bridget?" said Judy. "Bridget? You have your father. It's Daniel C
"Not today, thank you. I've already got the Sky movie package," I said,
shakily, replacing the receiver.
"Oh my darling," said Mark, taking me in his arms. "We're a family at last.
And as long as we all live, we'll never be lonely again. My son. My own
son. I'm the happiest man alive. Why are you crying?"
As Jude, Shaz and all agree, it is a tragedy of Shakespearean
Published: 17 November 2005