Ce­real cheat!

The proof was in his brekkie boxes

Real People - - CONTENT -

Lit­tle squares of su­gar-coated ce­real bobbed on a sea of semi-skimmed. Hardly the stuff of

Masterchef… But I couldn’t have been any hun­grier for the bloke hold­ing the box.

‘Sure you don’t want any?’ Ross Mur­phy grinned, giv­ing the packet of his beloved Golden Gra­hams a shake.

I shook my head. A bowl of ce­real in his par­ents’ kitchen wasn’t ex­actly my idea of a slap-up ro­man­tic din­ner.

But Ross was ob­sessed with the stuff, gorg­ing it down for brekkie, lunch and din­ner.

It was the only bit of him I didn’t get. The rest of him, I was crazy for.

I’d first spot­ted Ross back in 2010. I was new at a club called The Ex­change in my home town of Hemel Hemp­stead, Hert­ford­shire, learn­ing the ropes on the bar. He was the res­i­dent DJ, all club clas­sics and Jag­ger swag­ger.

De­spite be­ing no great shakes in the looks de­part­ment, you’d never see him with­out a flock of tanked-up girls, vy­ing for tunes and a bit of his time. So, when he’d turned his at­ten­tions to me, I’d prac­ti­cally run a marathon in the other di­rec­tion.

I was just 18 and only work­ing the bar to help pay my way through study­ing beauty ther­apy, anatomy and phys­i­ol­ogy at col­lege. Then it’d be on to the big wide world. My own salon, maybe.

Some cocky DJ just wasn’t my type.

But Ross was per­sis­tent. He flirted, made jokes, turned on the charm…

Then, af­ter six months, he said some­thing that proved he was more than just a bro­ken record.

‘I’ve just signed up to a teacher­train­ing course,’ he ca­su­ally men­tioned as I cleared the emp­ties. ‘Re­ally?’ I asked. Turned out he loved be­ing a DJ, but had big­ger dreams than his lit­tle booth would al­low.

Im­pressed, I let Ross take me out on a date.

‘He’ll be sav­ing for his course,’ I re­alised when he whisked me to a gas­tropub and only shelled out on drinks and a side dish each.

As we chat­ted, I could just see Ross as a teacher, shap­ing young minds, im­part­ing wisdom…

Imag­ine: I’d come home from my salon and we’d talk about our days in a posh semi-de­tached some­where…

Ross was a proper gen­tle­man and didn’t even push me for a kiss at the end of the night. In­stead, we took it slow.

I’d switch shifts just so me and Ross could shut up the bar to­gether at 3am. Where once Ross had been a ladies’ man, the only thing he was play­ing now was tunes. I’d watch him turn girls away in their droves.

Con­vinced he was fully com­mit­ted, af­ter about three months, I let Ross take me to a bou­tique ho­tel. Slip­ping un­der the sheets, we set about mak­ing our own sweet mu­sic… Not that he quite hit the high note.

‘Could have been better… ’ I thought, a bit de­flated af­ter­wards. There had been such a build-up!

Still, what Ross lacked in skill, he cer­tainly made up for in ea­ger­ness.

He was still liv­ing with his el­derly par­ents but it didn’t dampen his pas­sions, we’d romp in his child­hood bed­room. Then he’d snarf a big bowl of ce­real to give him the en­ergy to go again.

‘Did you hear back from that course?’ I asked him one night.

‘Oh, shouldn’t be long… ’ he mut­tered.

Some­thing about the way he said it made me worry. Kind of shifty. Vague…

A few days on, I asked Ross again. We’d now been to­gether five months – a long time to be wait­ing around on course dates.

I watched the colour drain from his cheeks.

‘I never signed up,’ he ad­mit­ted. ‘I only said that so you wouldn’t think I was a loser.’

His lie stung like a slap in the face.

But this was my first proper re­la­tion­ship.

Maybe it was… sweet? A lit­tle white lie just to win me over.

I wrapped my arms round him.

‘It’s OK,’ I said, snuggling up.

Af­ter that, with no se­crets, we got even closer.

By the time we’d been to­gether a year, I knew we were se­ri­ous, so I took Ross to meet my par­ents.

He turned on his fa­mous charm.

Af­ter spend­ing the night at mine – in sep­a­rate rooms at my dad’s in­sis­tence – I left Ross mak­ing lasagne with my mum while I headed off to work.

Later, on a break, I re­alised I had a Facebook mes­sage from some­one I didn’t know.

Your boyfriend has been a dog. Use this user­name and pass­word

and check out the mes­sages, it read. For a minute or so, I ig­nored it. Not my Ross!

But I had to know…

I started typ­ing into my phone. Soon, I was star­ing at a screen full of mes­sages from Ross.

It was all there in his own cruel words…

You can’t mes­sage me, I’m with my b**ch of a girl­friend… Yes­ter­day was great in the car… Thanks for drop­ping me home af­ter that amaz­ing ses­sion.

I grabbed my bag and ran home. There, rush­ing straight past Ross, I grabbed my lap­top.

I couldn’t be­lieve I’d let him into my house; into my bed…

Log­ging into the ac­count, I brought up the mes­sages.

‘What is it, babe?’ Ross asked. ‘This is what,’ I spat, throw­ing the lap­top at him. ‘Want to ex­plain be­fore I throw you out?’ Ross blanched. Like a lit­tle lost puppy, his eyes widened, mouth flapped. With­out wait­ing for more lies, I chucked him – and all his stuff – out of my life for good. I’d been so stupid think­ing a smarmy DJ would ever change his one-track mind. And even stu­pider still… Be­cause, a month on, just as I was start­ing to gather the scraps of my dig­nity, I was star­ing at a lit­tle plas­tic stick.

I’d missed a pe­riod. We hadn’t been care­ful enough, and here I was, preg­nant to a love rat… What was I sup­posed to do now? I mes­saged Ross.

he replied. Scared and alone, I agreed. As I walked into the pub, I spot­ted a mass of flow­ers com­ing towards me.

Oh, no…

Be­hind the blooms, I could hear Ross sniv­el­ling.

He dropped to my feet a sheaf of com­pleted job ap­pli­ca­tions, pressies, pho­tos of us and flow­ers flut­ter­ing to the ground.

‘I’ve changed,’ he pleaded. Mor­ti­fied, I pulled him up­right. I was tired of the drama. But I wanted this baby.

Maybe, just maybe, he had changed? Maybe, for our baby, we could make it work?

We got back to­gether. A few weeks on, I was staying over at his.

And I was toss­ing and turn­ing in my sleep, haunted by hor­monal fever dreams. There was Ross in the kitchen…

In his hand was his phone and… an­other phone…

I saw it clear as day! The shock had me jump­ing awake, rous­ing Ross.

‘You’ve got two phones!’ I shrieked.

‘Shut up,’ he groaned. ‘This baby has sent you mad.’

I sat there in my nightie as he rolled over and started snor­ing again.

Maybe it was ir­ra­tional but it felt like a pre­mo­ni­tion. I knew what

I’d seen in my dream!

So, climb­ing out of bed, I went down to the kitchen and started emp­ty­ing the cup­boards.

‘Just this last one then you’ll know you’re go­ing nuts,’ I thought to my­self, open­ing the ce­real cup­board.

Rows of Ross’s beloved brekkies filled the shelves.

I pulled them out one by one. Then, reach­ing up right to the back of the shelf, I felt noth­ing but a few dust bun­nies…

Un­til my fin­gers brushed some­thing cold…

Pulling it out, I gasped. It was a small, cheap phone.

Ex­actly the same as I’d seen in my dream!

Switch­ing it on, I felt my heart pound in my ch­est.

The screen went berserk, light­ing up with count­less mes­sages from ran­dom women.

Flir­ta­tions, com­pli­ments, dirty-talk­ing filth…

Burst­ing into tears, I was still watch­ing the screen when Ross burst in.

‘It’s an old phone, they’re old mes­sages,’ he gab­bled.

But I’d seen enough. ‘Some of the mes­sages are from to­day,’ I re­sponded through sobs.

Run­ning past him, I sat in the liv­ing room for the next four hours un­til 7am, then called a friend to come to get me.

Af­ter that, I put Ross firmly in my past. In­stead, I fo­cused on my baby – my fu­ture.

But, how­ever hard I tried, I couldn’t stop the stress im­pact­ing my preg­nancy.

My blood pres­sure soared and, when I was just seven months preg­nant, I had to be in­duced.

On 18 Au­gust 2013, baby Is­abella was born as her dad looked on. De­spite how I felt about him, I wanted my daugh­ter to know that he’d seen her into the world. But…

‘I’ll take her,’ I firmly told the mid­wife, scoop­ing my baby into my arms.

Amaz­ingly, de­spite her early ar­rival, Is­abella weighed

5lb 9oz, and she has thrived. I was never tempted for a mo­ment to take her daddy back.

Ross has Is­abella, now four, ev­ery other week­end, and we’re civil for her sake. But I’ll never for­get his be­trayal – or the dream that alerted me to it.

Was it a pre­mo­ni­tion? Or my in­stincts? Per­haps a bit of both.

When it came to love, I’d fallen for a ce­real of­fender.

It was time to wake up and smell the cof­fee… then kick that loser to the kerb!

So­phie Mcaleer, 25, Hemel Hemp­stead , Herts

Ross, 32, says, ‘ The only thing you’re go­ing to in­clude is So­phie [be­ing like] poor me, and how I cheated on her – once! I am not go­ing into any de­tails be­cause it’s no one’s busi­ness.’

I was haunted by hor­monal dreams

Ross knew how to turn on the charm My pre­cious bun­dle was born two months early

Ross thought I was a Crunchy Nut – but I gave him a Frosties re­cep­tion and said my Chee­rios! Me and my girl, Is­abella

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