Real Life

Brickie wanted a quickie: "I thought he was solid but he turned out to be a tool"

Trust us, you won't guess how this one ends.

Louise Smalley*, 25, shares her real life story,

I made one last attempt to secure the baby gate in place and then swore.

"It shouldn't be this difficult!" I cursed.

But the angles were funny at the top of my stairs and I knew I couldn't do it on my own.

I called my sister Danielle.

"I know just the bloke," she said. "His name's Tom."

My relationship with my son's dad hadn't worked out and it wasn't easy doing everything by myself. I gave Tom a call and he popped round a few days later.

"I can see why you were having trouble," he said, struggling to fit the gate.
Before long it was all fixed and I was pleased my son Felix, four, could play safely.

A few weeks later Danielle and I were out on the town when we bumped into Tom. We got talking and I realised what a catch he was. I racked my brains thinking of an excuse to get him over again.

"I've got another job for you!" I blurted. "My TV needs putting up."

I could have done it myself but I wanted to see him again. He must have realised, because after he came round, he asked me out.

Louise and Tom
Louise and Tom

After that we saw each other almost every night. He'd finish work and come straight over.

I couldn't believe my luck. He was also brilliant with Felix.

The months went by and I had a chance to go away with my sister.

"Go for it!" Tom said. "I've been meaning to tell you that I'm visiting my family that same week."

During my trip, Tom messaged me every day.

"He's a keeper," Danielle said.

When I got home, Tom came straight over. He'd bought me a novelty fridge magnet from his trip.

As our first anniversary approached, I decided it was time to make things official on social media. But Tom wasn't keen on announcing our relationship on Facebook.

"I don't like people knowing my business," he told me.

I was disappointed but didn't want to pester him.

Then one day Felix was watching Peppa Pig on Tom's phone when a Facebook message flashed up but it was from a different account, not his normal one.

I asked him whose account it was but he said it was nothing. Something told me he wasn't telling the truth, but I pushed the doubts out of my mind. He was either at work or with me – there wasn't time to be seeing anyone else.

That New Year's Eve I had too much bubbly so he put me to bed. The next morning he'd gone. When I messaged, he said he was at his parents'.

Figured it was the last place you'd want to be right now, he said.

I rubbed my sore head and agreed.

Almost a year later, we were watching TV when his phone started ringing.

"Aren't you going to answer?" I said.

"It'll just be a sales call," he said.

But it kept ringing and I grew so annoyed that I grabbed the phone and answered it myself.

"Who is this?" I said.

There was a pause.

"Who's this?" came the response.

"I'm Louise," I said. "Tom's girlfriend."

I heard a gasp.

"Well, I'm his girlfriend of the last two-and-a-half years!"

"Are you joking!" I cried.

"No I'm not!" she roared back.

I glared at Tom as I discovered her name was Jemma.

She'd been seeing him for more than a year before I'd met him.

"But he's always with me," I spluttered.

It transpired that all those weekends away with "family", all those training courses he went on, he was actually with Jemma. He'd even spent that New Year's Day with her, too.

We spoke for nearly an hour, with Tom squirming uncomfortably beside me on the couch, white as a sheet.

Hanging up, I felt crestfallen.

"I think you've got some explaining to do," I told him.

"Nothing left to tell," he said.

Like a switch, my devastation turned to anger.

"Get out!" I screamed at him.

He knew better than to argue with me and left.

The following day Jemma and I exchanged photos and messages. Tom sent me a message begging for forgiveness, but I wouldn't take him back.

Instead, I focused on looking after Felix and rebuilding my life.

Months later, I was asleep when I was jolted awake by the sound of an alarm – it was a carbon monoxide alarm I'd had installed to alert me to any dangerous leaks in appliances.

I managed to switch it off, but didn't know what to do next. Panicked, I rang Tom.

**Now, we're happier than ever. The last time Tom jetted off anywhere was with me and Felix for a family holiday.**
Now, we're happier than ever. The last time Tom jetted off anywhere was with me and Felix for a family holiday.

He was on holiday with his family but he took the time to go through what to do.

A few days later, he rang to see if I was all right. We got chatting and he asked me out for a coffee.

"I really owe you an explanation," he said.

We met up and talked for hours.

He told me that he'd meant to finish things with Jemma when we'd got together but had been too gutless. Then he begged for another chance.

In the end, I agreed, but I put in some ground rules.

Now, we're happier than ever. The last time Tom jetted off anywhere was with me and Felix for a family holiday.

I never thought I'd forgive him for what he did. But Tom has always been good at fixing things.

He fixed the alarm, and he's managed to fix our relationship, too.

Tom, 26, told Take 5:

"I was seeing them both at the same time. I shouldn't have done it – it was stupid, but I didn't know how to end it with Jemma. When Louise found out, I thought I'd lost her forever."

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