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Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries, Page 2

Helen Fielding

  As you may know, I have a degree in English Language and Literature from Bangor University, and it made me think of a line from one of D. H. Lawrence’s marvelous works:

  Something in her proud, honourable soul had crystallized out, hard as rock, against him.

  Something in Mark’s proud, honourable soul had crystallized out against me. “What the fuck is wrong with him? It was a meaningless moment compared to a whole lifetime. He knows what Daniel’s like,” said the friends. But for Mark, it went very deep in a way I couldn’t understand and he couldn’t explain. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Eventually, he told me he couldn’t carry on. I still had my flat. He apologized for the inconvenience, heartbreak, etc. He orchestrated the spread of the news that the engagement was broken amongst our friends and family in a typically dignified way and shortly afterwards left for a job in Northern California.

  The friends were brilliant, ranting, “He’s completely anally retentive, fucked up by public school and will never commit to anyone.” Six months later, he married Natasha the uptight stick insect lawyer woman who was with Mark the first time I saw him in a suit—at a book party for Kafka’s Motorbike, where she was going on and on to Salman Rushdie about “hierarchies of culture,” and the only thing I could think of to say was, “Do you know where the toilets are?”

  I never heard back from Daniel. “FUCK Daniel. He’s a sexually incontinent emotional fuckwitted commitment-phobe who’ll never commit to anyone,” ranted Shazzer. Seven months later, Daniel married an Eastern European model/princess and was occasionally to be seen gracing the pages of Hello, leaning over the parapet of a castle with mountains in the background, looking slightly embarrassed.


  And so, there I was, five years later, crawling along the M4, horrifyingly late, to see Mark again for the first time since it all ended.




  2.45 p.m. Car park, Nether Stubbly Church, Gloucestershire. OK. Everything is completely fine. Is only fifteen minutes after christening was supposed to commence, and nothing ever starts on time, right? Will be serene, calm and dignified. Will simply ask myself, at any awkward moment, “What would the Dalai Lama do?” And then do it.


  As I climbed out of the car, I entered a beautiful, Cotswold summer scene: an ancient church, roses, the smell of cut grass, the leaves hanging heavy. There was silence, apart from birds and bees. It was beautiful as only England can be, on the annual day when the sun shines, and everyone panics in case it’s never going to happen again till the following year.

  Started teetering my way towards the church, slightly alarmed that no one was in sight. Surely they couldn’t have started the christening without the Godmother? Suddenly, there was the roar of a helicopter. I stood, with my dress and hair billowing, to see the helicopter swoop down. Bond-like, without the helicopter even touching ground, Mark Darcy leapt out and strode towards the church as the helicopter roared up and away.

  Tried to compose self, as far as possible when wearing heels in grass, and got myself into the church in the nick of time. Told myself everything would be completely fine, because had got down to my ideal weight and therefore everyone would see that I had completely changed. Felt a familiar thrill at seeing Mark’s tall, upright figure at the font. As I made my way down the aisle, I distinctly heard Cosmo say, “Is she ill? She looks like a stick insect! What happened to the…you know…boobs?”

  As I approached the font, the vicar said, “Well! Perhaps now we can make a start!” adding, under his breath, “I’ve got another three of these nightmares this afternoon.”

  “Bridget, where the fuck were you, where’s Shazzer?” hissed Magda, at which her latest christenee, Molly, started screaming. “Here—take her.” Magda handed the baby over to me—she smelt so yummy of baby powder and milk. Gratifyingly she snuggled in to my boobs—which by the way are STILL THERE—and stopped crying.

  Mark acknowledged me with the merest flicker of an eye.


  Actually, the christening was fine. Have done it often enough, I so have it down. But immediately afterwards, instead of milling around with everyone outside, Mark shot off somewhere and disappeared.


  When I got to the party, I blundered straight into a group of Smug Mothers.

  “All an Australian nanny does is text.”

  “Get an Eastern European! Audrona has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Budapest.”

  “Oh look here’s Bridget!” cooed Mufti. “Everyone’s favourite godmother!”

  “How many is it now, Bridget?” said Caroline, stroking her pregnant bump.

  “Four hundred and thirty-seven,” I said, brightly. “Thirty-eight counting this one! Ooh must just go off and…”

  “You really should have some of your own, you know, Bridget,” said Woney. “Time’s running out.”

  For a second had a vision of myself grabbing Woney by the ears and bellowing, “Do you think it hasn’t crossed my mind?” but I didn’t because, ironically enough, as so often over the last decade, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

  “Do you want to feel my bump?” said Caroline, stroking her pregnant bump.

  “No, not really, thanks.”

  “No go on, feel it.”

  “No, I really need a…”

  “Feel. The bump,” she said, with startling ferocity. “Oh she’s kicking me!”

  “And frankly who can blame her?” Magda steamed in. “Leave Bridget alone you ghastly grow-bags. You’re just wishing you could have jobs and shag lithe young sex gods like she does. Come and get a drink, Bridge.”

  She swept me out of the torture chamber, then suddenly stopped in her tracks, looking ashen, and whispered, “Jeremy’s talking to that woman again.”

  “Oh my God, Magda, I’m so sorry. Is he still at it?” I said.

  “Yup. I’d better get in there. Bar’s over there. Laters.”


  Walked through the crush round the bar, straight into a bunch of drunken fathers.

  “If you want a shot at Westminster at six, you have to start tutoring at three.”

  “Yars. But you’ve got another crack at eleven.”

  “No chance.”

  “Not unless they have the Latin.”

  “Bridget! Have you been ill? Where are the bloody boobs?”

  “Got yourself a boyfriend yet?”

  I managed to ease my way through without incident by nodding and smiling enigmatically. Hurled myself at the bar thinking nothing could possibly get worse, and found myself standing next to Mark Darcy.


  The conversation went as follows.

  MARK DARCY: Hello.

  ME: Hello.

  MARK DARCY: How are you?

  ME: (strange voice) I am very well thank you. How are you?

  MARK DARCY: I am fine.

  ME: So am I.


  ME: Yes.


  ME: Yes.

  MARK DARCY: Well, goodbye then.

  ME: Yes. Goodbye, then.


  We both turned to separate barmen.

  “Glass of white wine, please,” I said.

  “Vodka martini,” I heard Mark say.

  “Big, big glass.”

  “Actually make that a treble.”

  “Very big.”

  “With a whisky chaser.”


  We stood, incredibly awkwardly with our backs to each other. Then, the drunken fathers started on Mark.

  “Darcyyyyy­yyyyy­! How the devil are you, you old bastard. What you doing turning up late like that in a chopper?”

  “Well, I was actually, um, in a fairly important Foreign Office meeting.”

  The barman handed me the wine, I took a giant slurp and started to make my escape.

  “How’s single life treating you then,
Darcy?” said Cosmo.

  I froze. Single life?

  “Dark horse, aren’t you? Got a new totty yet?”

  “Well, I’m hardly…” Mark began.

  “What’s the matter with you, you miserable old sod? Johnny Forrester was barely out of the divorce court before he was inundated with totties. Smothered in them. Out every night.”

  Took another huge slurp of wine, just as Mark muttered, “Yes, I assume you have no idea of the reality of being single at my stage in life. Everywhere you turn, someone’s trying to push one at some deluded woman-of-a-certain-age, looking for a knight on a charger to solve all their problems: financial, physical and otherwise. Anyway, must be going. Yup. Must be off.”


  Staggered off round a corner and leaned against the wall, mind reeling. Single? Had he split up from Natasha? “Woman-of-a-certain-age?” Was he talking about ME???? Did he think the christening was some sort of weird set-up? Was he LEAVING? I was bristling with confusion and indignation and on the point of texting Shazzer, when Magda appeared, looking pretty drunk herself now. “Bridget!” she said. “Mark is divorced. Divorced! He’s left the stick insect.”

  “I just heard.”

  “We have to go outside and discuss this immediately.”

  As Magda and I squeezed past the bar, the drunken fathers were still on full autowitter.

  “What about Bridget? Never understood why those two didn’t get sprogged up.”

  “They were together long enough.”

  “Was she just too old or did he just not have the soldiers?”


  Out in the garden, we found a large collection of children, none of whom were climbing trees, playing tag, doing three-legged races, etc., in a childlike manner: all of whom were attached to electronic devices. Magda went storming up to them: “Zac! Off! Now! I said forty-five minutes.”


  “Off! Now! All of you!” yelled Magda, drunkenly lunging at the devices.

  “It’s just SO FUCKING UNFAIR!”

  “I’m going to lose my CROWNS!”


  Unbridled mayhem broke out.

  “QUIET!” roared a voice. “Potter, Roebuck, stop! Stand in line!”

  The boys, startled, obviously thinking they were back at school, stood to attention.

  “Right,” said Mark, striding in front of them as if he was in court. “Disgraceful behaviour. Act like men. Ten times round the lake, all of you. First one back”—he took out his iPhone—“gets Angry Birds for ten minutes. Off you go. Run. FAST.”

  The big boys all tore off like racehorses. The little children all burst into tears.

  Mark looked nonplussed for a moment. “Right. Jolly good,” he said, and headed back into the hotel.


  Archie, one of my many godchildren, who is three, was standing with his stomach sticking out looking sad, his lower lip wobbling. I went to him. He threw his arms round my neck and I felt something pulling at my hair.

  “My twain,” said Archie.

  “Your what??” I said, reaching up to my head. Oh shit! There was a toy train attached to my head, engine still whirring, winding my hair into it.

  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Archie was crying even more now. “My Thomas de Tank Engine.”

  “It’s all right, sweetheart, it’s all right,” I said, trying to turn off the train.

  “Audrona!” Magda yelled. “Where in the name of arse are all the fucking nannies?”

  “Magda! I’ve got a train stuck to my head!”


  There was mayhem in the foreground, while the older kids were still haring around the lake like dervishes. Eventually, the nannies appeared and took the little ones off upstairs. The bigger ones returned from the lake, exhausted, but not too exhausted for Mark’s iPhone. It was hard to watch as they clustered around him. Mark Darcy: commanding respect without seeming to try.


  My memories of the rest of the occasion were somewhat confused owing to a limitless alcohol supply. I think there was line dancing. And, later, a group of us, including Mark, were standing on the terrace, many of us leaning on walls for support.

  “Blurry electronics,” muttered Magda. “Blurry Zac and his blurry friends.”

  “Never have happened if we’d sent him to public school,” said Jeremy, eyes darting back into the bar where “that woman” cast him a glance.

  “Boarding school? He’s seven years old, you bastard,” said Magda.

  “Yur. Thassjust cruel. Is blurry barbaric,” I concurred.

  “I went at seven,” said Mark abruptly.

  “Yur, and look what happened to you,” said Magda.


  Feeling I was about to get out of my depth, possibly by falling into a water feature, I lurched off down the steps towards the grounds, nearly breaking my ankle in the process, and sat on a bench overlooking the lake in the moonlight.

  “So? Cruel, eh?” said Mark’s voice behind me.

  “Yes, cruel abandonment,” I said, heart beating wildly.

  “You don’t think they’d be better off with a bit of discipline, backbone, competition?”

  “Well it’s all very well if you’re a tall alpha male and good at everything, but what about the chubby ones, or the confused ones, or the nutty ones? Who do they have to come home to in the evening who thinks they’re special…”

  Mark sat down next to me.

  “…and loves them”—he said simply—“just as they are?”

  I looked down, trying to compose myself.

  “You have a train in your hair.”

  “I am aware of that.”

  He reached forwards and extracted the train in one simple movement.

  “Anything else in there? What’s this…cake?”

  The old sweet, capable Mark. I so wanted to kiss him.

  “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” he said.

  “Yes. Who are you again?”

  “No idea.”

  “Me neither,” I said.

  “I’ve known you for forty years and I’ve completely forgotten your name.”

  We giggled—Dad’s old Grafton Underwood joke.

  As Mark looked at me with those deep, brown soulful eyes, I asked myself, “What would the Dalai Lama do in this situation?”


  We sprang together like unleashed beasts, and continued in that manner in my hotel room, for the rest of the night.


  In the morning we were still ravenous for each other but also, crucially, food. There was no getting through to room service.

  “I’ll go grab us something from the buffet,” said Mark, buttoning up his shirt. “Don’t you dare move.”

  As he left the room, I heard a male voice in the corridor, evidently greeting him. The conversation continued, got more heated, then abruptly ended. Which was odd.


  I shrugged it off and snuggled down moonily, still shag-drunk, savouring flashbacks to the night before and arranging myself prettily for Mark’s return.

  The door opened and he came in with a tray full of orange juice, coffee and chocolate croissants.

  “Mmmm, thank you, do come back in,” I said.

  But he set down the tray and remained standing.

  “What’s the matter?”

  He started pacing. “I’ve made a mistake,” he said.

  Mind starting spiralling: horror, doom, pain, vulnerable in nighty and him in his suit. Not this? Not such passion and intimacy, instantly replaced by pain and rejection. Not in my nighty.

  “I wasn’t thinking. I was carried away with emotion, with the joy of seeing you again. I had way too much to drink. We both did. But we cannot proceed.”

  “Proceed? That’s a funny way to describe shagging.”

  “Bridget,” he said, sitting down on the bed. “I can’t do this. I
’m newly divorced. I am not in a fit emotional state to take on a relationship at this point in your life.”

  “But I didn’t ask you for that.”

  “I realize, but the question is undoubtedly there, whether it is verbalized or not. At your age, I simply…it would be wrong of me…I don’t want to use up any more of your childbearing years.”


  7 p.m. My flat. Oh God, oh God. I actually have reached my sexual sell-by date. Men are no longer attracted to me because I am withered and a barren husk.

  7.01 p.m. I’m toxic. I’m emitting man-repellent rays.

  7.02 p.m. Right. Pah! I cannot allow emotional matters to influence my professional career. I am a professional producer and I will simply multitask and compartmentalize my brain even if I have slept with, then been rejected by, the love of…and anyway I do not care about men anymore. Simply my work.

  7.03 p.m. Being a woman in her late thirties with no kids is the hardest time for a woman. It’s a biological kink which I’m sure will be sorted out in years to come. But for now, it’s just torture, the clock ticking louder and louder, men sensing the panic and running for the hills, the sense of time running out—and even if you met someone NOW there still wouldn’t be time for the relationship to run its course and a baby to happen in the natural run of things.

  7.05 p.m. Babies: yuk. I am a top professional woman. Every woman has her needs, which I simply fulfil with adult liaisons, almost French in their elegance.




  6 p.m. Sit Up Britain studios. “Get over it,” said Miranda. She was sitting in the studio, surrounded by cameras and giant screens, looking immaculate as usual in the presenter’s chair, while I controlled the WHOLE THING from the glass studio control gallery above, talking to her through her earpiece.

  “Thirty seconds to air,” said Julian the floor manager.

  “I can’t believe he’d leave like that and assume I was wanting a relationship and babies,” I whispered into Miranda’s feed. “I feel like such a sad act.”