Mornings in our household were hectic. I had five kids to organise, but somehow, every day I made it to the school gates on time. I always enjoyed chatting with the other mums there, too.
Just then I saw a familiar face dropping off two little ones so I went over.
"Hi Finlay," I said. "Do you fancy going for a coffee?"
"I'd love to," she replied.
She had kids of a similar age and we often went for a coffee or lunch together.
Recently our conversations often focused on Finlay's love life – or rather the lack of it.
She had become a single mum and was struggling to find anyone new.
My heart really went out to her. It made me feel so lucky. I was married to Allen and he was wonderful. We'd met years before through work. He'd been great with my son, Troy, from a previous relationship. After a whirlwind romance, he popped the question and we got married soon after.
Nine years and four more kids later, we were happier than ever.
We had regular date nights and Allen helped out with the school run at times, too. Nothing was too much trouble.
On the few occasions he'd come home and Finlay was there, I'd almost felt embarrassed by my own happiness. I didn't want to rub her face in my perfect marriage.
A few months later, it was my birthday and Allen bought me tickets to a show called The Ladyboys of Bangkok. "It's not my cup of tea, but I thought you could have a night out with your mates," he said.
I invited Finlay and some other mums and we all got glammed up.
We had great night at the show and afterwards we went for drinks in the bar.
A few wines in Finlay got emotional. "You're so lucky," she said to me. "You've got a brilliant life."
I knew she was right – but I hated for her to get upset about it.
"Things will get better," I said. "Your dream bloke is just around the corner."
That night I snuggled up beside Allen in bed as usual. He seemed distant, though, and didn't cuddle me back. It was unlike him.
Over the next two weeks, his behaviour got stranger. He was hardly ever home and kept telling me he was going to his dad's.
One evening I was round at my friend Becky's* house when I noticed she was looking uncomfortable.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
She wouldn't meet my eye.
"Look, Kelly, you really shouldn't be so concerned about Finlay," she said.
"What do you mean?" I said. "I just want her to meet a nice man."
Becky went red in the face. "But that's just it," she said. "She has found a nice man."
I stared, confused. Becky looked like she might cry.
"The man she's seeing is your Allen," she said quietly.
I shook my head.
"That's impossible," I said.
I had an urge to laugh but Becky's face was deadly serious.
"It's true," she said. "She told me. And some other mums."
My mouth dropped open. Finlay had acted like a mate and given me a sob story about her love life. But in truth, she'd been getting it on with my husband and telling my friends all about it.
"I have to go," I gulped.
Rage bubbled inside me as I drove home.
When I walked in, I found Allen in the kitchen. He was smiling until he saw my face.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Tell me the truth," I said. "Are you having an affair?"
Allen just looked at me and laughed.
"It's what Finlay's been saying," I went on.
There was a long silence. I was willing Allen to tell me she was making it up, but he didn't.
"I'm sorry," he said.
I broke down sobbing. How could he?
I didn't even realise Allen knew Finlay. She'd been round the house once or twice but the pair of them had barely spoken. Then it hit me – some months earlier I'd been sick so Allen had done the school run. He must have got talking to her then.
All of a sudden, I was furious.
"Get out!" I screamed. "I can't stand the sight of you."
He looked bewildered. "Where am I supposed to go?" he said. "Please, let's talk about this…"
"There's nothing to talk about," I said.
Eventually, Allen went to his dad's, as I cried on the sofa.
I felt so stupid. There I'd been telling anyone who would listen how I felt sorry for Finlay and wanted her to find a man, and all the while, she'd had her claws into mine.
I must've looked so stupid.
Over the next few days, I tried to call both Allen and Finlay but neither of them picked up.
Then I got a text from Finlay: He messaged me on Facebook she said. He chased me.
It was no excuse.
The next time I saw Finlay at the school gates she looked through me like I wasn't even there. A few weeks later I found out she was living with Allen – and they were engaged! I couldn't believe it.
Now, while I'm left looking after our kids, Allen is off playing dad to Finlay's.
Looking back, Finlay was always so envious of my life, it's no surprise she stole it.