We’re delighted to bring you the continuing adventures of Life & The Wadhams, featuring the younger members of the family. Not yet met the Wadhams? Read the background on My Weekly’s best-loved family, then come back and enjoy the next generation’s adventures as Mike and Polly Wadham’s elder grandson, Alex Clark settles into family life with wife Natalie and toddler son William in their flat above Pretty Polly’s, the hairdressing and beauty salon which Natalie runs.
They’d agreed to keep it quiet for now. Apart from their close friends Robbie and Keisha – who had guessed Natalie was pregnant before she did – no one knew about the expected addition to the Clark family.
“We’ll tell them after the 12-week scan,” Natalie said.
“In that case, we might as well wait till Christmas.” Alex grinned. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving – my perfect anniversary present.”
So why, wondered Natalie, was Alex sitting with their two-year-old son William, who was “helping” him to colour in a large card that proclaimed BIG BROTHER in letters around a foot tall?
“What,” asked Natalie, “are you planning to do with that?”
Alex jumped guiltily as he realised he’d been caught out.
“Just trying to keep him amused till you got home,” he said. “I thought when were ready it would be cool to announce it on Instagram – with a picture of William holding the sign, you know, and looking all happy.”
“You’ll have to clean him up before you take his picture,” Natalie pointed out, smiling at her big, bearded, sentimental bear of a husband with his giant mechanic’s hands, so gentle as he guided William’s small fingers within the letter B. “He’s covered in blue and pink paint. Not hedging your bets, are you?”
“No, because I don’t care what we have!” Alex said. “Another boy would be great, and a girl would be awesome.”
“Awesome,” William echoed. His speech was coming on really well now that he’d progressed past the “no to everything” stage.
“Go ahead and take the picture. But we can’t post it yet.” Natalie was adamant. “We’re not telling anyone until Christmas, remember.”
“Yes, boss.” Alex saluted, unaware he was getting blue paint in his hair. Natalie laughed and shook her head. Father and son were a matching pair.
If Alex only knew, Natalie herself was finding it difficult to keep a lid on their exciting news. Fortunately, she was feeling a lot better than she had in the first few days, and was back in her place at the salon.
Fellow hairdresser Iris had accepted that her lingering nausea and tiredness were the after-effects of Covid. But that brought its own problems.
“Morning, Natalie,” she called cheerfully as Natalie entered the salon through the front door, having dropped William off at nursery. “The delivery’s been – it’s all at the back door, waiting to be brought in. I was just waiting for you to give me a hand.”
“Oh.” Natalie was at a loss. Those boxes would be a ton weight, as she knew from experience, and she did not want to risk any heavy lifting at this stage. “Don’t worry,” she improvised quickly. “I’ll get Alex to do it later.”
“But it’s going to rain soon,” Iris pointed out. “I think we should do it…” She paused, as her employer blushed, and realisation dawned.
“Oh!” she cried. “Oooh, I should have guessed. You’re pregnant! That’s what been wrong with you! Oh, I’m so excited – when is the baby due? How long have you known? Why didn’t you tell me? What…?”
“Ssh.” Natalie gazed around the salon as if it were full of listening ears although in reality the first clients still had to arrive. “I’ve only known for four weeks, and we’re not telling anyone until Christmas. The baby’s not due till June so it’s too soon to say anything.
“You were going to be one of the first to know, I promise,” she added.
Iris smiled. “I won’t say anything to anyone until you tell me I can. But I’m glad I know. I’ll be able to keep an eye on you.”
Their first clients arrived, and both girls set to work. But the nods and winks Iris kept casting in her direction made Natalie sigh. She wondered how long it would be before chatty, bubbly Iris let the news slip.
For once, Natalie had factored in a lunch hour, to meet her friend Suzi. Suzi had hinted she had something important to tell her, and Natalie was glad. Whatever it was would keep the focus away from her and her own secret news.
Suzi didn’t even have to say anything when she arrived at the café, her eyes as sparkling as the solitaire diamond ring she flashed in front of Natalie.
“Wow! Congratulations.” Natalie was delighted for her chum. She and Kev had been an item for over three years, but she’d had no idea they were planning to get married.
“Nor did I!” Suzi laughed. “Kev never brought it up, and neither did I. His proposal came completely out of the blue. But of course, I said yes.”
“Of course! So when is the wedding?” Natalie asked.
“Next June. No point in hanging around. And, Natalie, I’d like you to be bridesmaid.” Suzi paused to accept her friend’s thanks, and was surprised to see a blush spread across Natalie’s face.
Oh dear, this was becoming a habit.
“Suzi, I’d be honoured,” Natalie began. “But…”
“But you’re going to be size of a house in June!” Suzi crowed. “Or even have a tiny baby in tow. Natalie, that’s brilliant news.” She jumped up to give her friend a hug.
“Thanks. But keep it quiet for now,” Natalie urged. “No one else knows. Now tell me all the wedding plans. I might not be able to be bridesmaid, but I’ll be there, even if I have to wear a tent!”
A busy afternoon at the salon followed lunch, and by the time Natalie arrived to pick up William from Elderslie Terrace, where he always spent his time after nursery with his gran or grandad and their own small daughter Ruby, she felt exhausted.
She’d be glad to get home.
William barrelled at her as she came through the front door, followed by Ruby, both full of their own news.
“Milly sick!” William exclaimed.
“All over Great-Grandpa Mike’s shoes,” Ruby added gleefully.
Mike and Polly Wadham were in the kitchen with their daughter, Natalie’s mother-in-law Pinky, who had a mop in hand.
“Sorry, Natalie,” she said as she continued to clean up. “That darned cat ate her tea too quickly again and brought the lot up.” She shooed Milly and Molly out of the way as they investigated the mess. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
“Milly sick,” William repeated, as if the evidence wasn’t still in front of Natalie’s eyes, making her feel a bit queasy all over again. “Mummy sick, too,” he added with a perspicacity beyond his years!
Pinky swung round.
“Oh, Natalie, you do look white. Are you still not fully recovered? Mum, take Natalie into the sitting-room please, while I finish up here.”
Matriarch Polly Wadham eyed Natalie keenly. At her advanced eighty-three years, she knew there was more to Natalie’s paleness than met the eye.
But it was William who let the cat out of the bag.
“Mummy sick. Boy or girl. Awesome!” he yelled.
For the third time that day, Natalie felt redness creeping over her face, as Polly and Pinky fussed around her while Mike looked on benignly. He gathered there was another baby on its way to add to their large clan. He wondered if his son-in-law Jim knew. Maybe he’d give him a call …
Alex took the stairs two at a time, and crashed into the flat, phone in hand.
“Natalie, What’s going on? I thought we weren’t telling anyone about the baby until Christmas. Then Dad got a call from Grandpa Mike just as we were leaving the garage to tell him he’s going to be a grandad again.
“And Kev’s just texted Congratulations. Why are you telling everyone already? I thought we were going to do it together for the family, then let William announce it to the rest of the world.”
Natalie sighed. She could see her young husband was genuinely upset at the thought he’d been left out.
“Well, it was like this…”
Alex laughed when she’d finished her explanation, his good humour restored.
“So it’s just Iris, Suzi and Kev and my family who know?” he said.
“And my mum,” Natalie clarified. “It wouldn’t be fair not to tell her when your family knows. And I’d better phone my dad with the news. Not that he’ll be interested.”
Natalie knew her dad Eric only too well – caught up with his new family in Glasgow, he never spared much time for her. But still, she didn’t want him learning about his new grandchild on Facebook.
Talking of which…
“Give me ten minutes to speak to him, then you can go ahead and post that picture of William.”
“Awesome!” Alex grinned. “I can’t wait to tell the world.”
Join us next month for more adventures with the Wadhams clan!