I wake slowly; Jack is grinning in my face. I groan and push him away. He pulls me closer.
"Oh no you don't! Breakfast is ready! We need to get ready for the Christening in an hour and a bit!" I groan as he pulls me onto my feet; I'm still in yesterdays school clothes!
He hauls me down the stairs and towards the kitchen. I groan, stumbling over my own feet. To my surprised, Mat is sitting alone at the table, picking at his pancakes. He gives us a quick side glance and then back at his food. He continues to eat.
I swallow hard as I remember Stacy; Jack yanks me into his side.
"Pancakes!" He exclaims excitedly. I laugh at his childish expression and take a seat. I grab the plate of pancakes and start to eat as Jack overdoses on maple syrup.
"MAIA! LAURAN! COME ON!" Stan. I finish curling my hair; Mum rolls her eyes and puts in her other earing. I haul on my high heels and grab my bag, throwing in my phone, my purse and some extra toiletries (Yes, yes. The red devil is here ...).
Mum switches off the light and we stumble down the stairs. Stan and Jack are waiting downstairs; Jack's got his hands thrusted deep into his pockets and is scuffing his shoes on the ground; Stan's scrolling through the mail on the counter. Mum stumbles; Stan drops the letters and steadies her.
"You ok?" He asks quickly. She nods and look around, and then at Jack.
"You two look nice." She says quietly. I give her a worried expression. She's been looking pale and sick all morning; I'm worried about her.
"Mum, we don't have to go -" I try but she shoots me a sharp glare.
"No. We're going. It's too late to tell them we aren't coming." She snaps. Stan glances over at me; I give him a quick look to let him know to keep an eye on her. He dips his head and takes her arm.
"Come on darling." He coos. They stagger out towards Jack's Mercedes; Jack looks up from the floor and then at me. He grins when he spots the dress.
"Eyes up Jack; my eyes are up here." I snap and storm out. He laughs and slides out of the door after me, locking it quickly.
I pick at my nails, so close to scratching my eyes out of boredom. The man at the front of the rows' voice bores into my head; I fight the urge to scream for him to shut up.
Jack, who sits beside me, started to stare at my thighs for the first half an hour, and then got bored and started to play on his phone although the dirty looks coming from Stan. Mum has disappeared to the toilet; she's been a while now. I'm getting nervous and so is Stan. He shuffles closer to me; Jack looks up quickly and watches us as he leans over to whisper in my ear.
"Go find your mum and make sure she's ok, please?" I dip my head and glance over at Jack. He gives me a puzzled look as I slide pass him and down the aisle. A few people glance up at me, but I'm mostly ignored. I slide out of the back door and towards the bathroom. It's surprisingly empty out here; there's two little girls sitting crossed legged on the floor colouring. I step past them and into the toilet. The thick smell of vomit hits me in the face; I gag slightly.
"Mum?" I call softly. I hear someone retching and then a small sob.
"Go back into the ceremony ..." She whimpers. I shut the door behind me; the two girls have realised the smell and are staring at me like I'm crazy. I step into the bathroom and head towards the cubical her voice came from. It's locked but I manage to unlock it with my bobby pin. I push it open; Mum tries to push it shut again but I'm stronger. I step round and spot her sitting on the floor, gripping onto the toilet seat like her life depends on it. I sigh as she gags.
"Maia ... Get out ... It's not pretty ..."
"I don't care." I reply and take a seat beside her. She curls her legs up closer and I slide beside her. I pull her into my side although the overpowering stench of sick. She whimpers and I stroke her hair down. We sit there in silence for a few minutes just listening to the humming from the bathroom taps. I finally swallow hard and turn to look at her. Her pale face glistens with a bead of sweat; her eyes are watery with tears. "Mum ... We need to get you back home and into bed ..." She sobs.
"No ... I don't want to ruin the christening ..." I stand up and take her arm. I help her onto her feet. She leans against me heavily and starts to whimper when she spots the mess she's made.
"Mum, you're clearly sick. We need to get you home ..." I try to pull her towards the door but she stays put, sobbing hard.
"No!" She cries and breaks free. She collapses back beside the toilet; I reach out for my phone, before realising I've left it with Jack and Stan. I swear and run a hand through my hair as she throws up again. She's in no state to go back out there; I turn and run to the doors. The little girls look up and I beckon one of them to come towards me. The oldest hesitates, but gets up and approaches cautiously. I give her a warm smile.
"Hey, Hi! My name is Maia and I - ur, I'm here with Stan and Jack -"
"Jack?" She has an accent. A strong one. I nod.
"Jack! Jack -"
"Jack!" She laughs. "I know Jack!"
"Yes, good! Can you get him and tell him that Maia needs him."
"Maia?" She frowns. I nod desperately.
"Yes! That's me. Go tell him Maia needs him without distracting anybody!" She bows her head and runs away. The other girl on the floor peers round me; I feel Mum's hand on my shoulder.
"Don't worry. I'm fine ..." She begs. I turn round and take her hand. I lead her back towards the toilet and smother her hair out of her face.
"It's fine mum just stay here until Stan comes to help -" She starts to cry; I pull her into me, forgetting about my brand new dress. It takes a few seconds, but then the door is opening and Stan is stumbling in, Jack behind him.
"In here!" I call. Stan staggers to the door and looks at us; Jack scowls and runs to the window, pushing it open. He starts to look through the cupboards for air spray; I glare harshly.
"Lauran ..." Stan leans forwards and takes Mum's hand, helping her onto her feet. I release her from my grip and quickly flush the toilet, sorting out the cubical as best as I can as Stan cleans up her face and hands. Jack sprays the air conditioner around and then glances over to me. I stagger slightly at the overpowering stench and he's by my side in seconds.
"Maia?" He asks gently. "You OK?" I nod and push him away.
"We need to get Mum home ..." I mumble and follow Stan and Mum out of the door. Jack hesitates, finishes cleaning the bathroom and starts after us.
We were lucky Jack had a sports direct bag in the back. We used it as a sick bag to avoid Mum being sick all over the car. We now sit at home. We've all showered; Mum's in bed fast asleep and Stan's watching over her worriedly. I sit at the kitchen unit and pick at long gone cold soup and stale bread. Jack walks in.
"You still haven't finished?" He teases. I shrug and push it away.
"I'm not hungry." I admit. He grabs a quick drink of water and comes over to me. I turn in my stool; he places himself between my legs and cups my face with his hands.
"You ok?" He mumbles. "You still seem a little shaken up ..." I sigh as his warm breath floats against my face.
"I'm just worried about her ..." I admit with a sigh. "She almost never gets sick ..."
"It's the baby; it's normal." Jack reminds me. I turn my head away from his lips and burrow my head into his shoulder. He sighs, but pulls me into a bear hug. "It's fine ... She'll be OK ..."
We hug for what feels like seconds, but could only be seconds. He finally draws back.
"I think you're tired." He admits gently. "Let's get you into bed ..." He takes my hand and pulls me after him. I follow him up the stairs and into my room. I spot Stan and Mum in their room. Mum is fast asleep; Stan's hugging her. I swallow the lump in my throat and let Jack close the door behind us. He pulls me towards the bed; I'm already in my nightdress because my dress is ruined from the vomit. Jack pulls back the covers and helps me to lay down; I don't care if anybody happens to walk in on us; I pull him onto the bed beside me. He lets out a little gasp of shock, but I just snuggle into his chest and tangle my legs up with his.
"Don't go to your apartment tonight; stay with me ..." He hesitates and then nods.
"OK." He whispers. I smile and burry my head into the crook his neck. I fall asleep.
A few minutes into my sleep, I hear four words appear.
"I love you Maia."
And then I'm out cold.