I thought I could trust my friend Dannielle with all my secrets. But was she hiding something?
By Louise Wright, 25, from Lancaster
I took a deep breath as I opened the door to find a friendly looking couple waiting on the doorstep.
“Hey,” the girl grinned, “Nice to finally meet you. I’m Dannielle.”
I’d just moved to a new city to be with my boyfriend Josh. We’d met on Facebook through mutual friends and it wasn’t long before romance blossomed.
Now, Josh wanted to introduce me to his friends. He’d invited his mate Sam and his girlfriend Dannielle round for a drink.
They’d all known each other for years so I was a bit nervous I’d feel like the odd one out but I needn’t have worried.
Soon, Dannielle and I were gossiping like sisters.
“You and Josh are perfect together,” she grinned. “I’m so glad you’re happy.”
At the end of the night, she gave me a huge hug and we swapped numbers. Within weeks, we were the best of friends.
Dannielle introduced me to her daughter, Angel, then two, and I loved going on days out with them to the park.
We also loved girly shopping trips, hunting for all the best bargains in Primark and New Look.
“Gorgeous!” Dannielle would beam, as I modelled the latest party dress I had my eye on.
But, a few months later, I started to feel a bit off colour. When my period didn’t come as usual, everything started to fall into place.
I took a pregnancy test and my stomach flipped over when two blue lines appeared.
How will Josh react? I thought. We haven’t planned this…
When he came home from his work at a tyre factory that evening, I took a deep breath.
“I’m pregnant,” I said, waiting nervously for his reaction.
“That’s great news!” he said, scooping me into a hug. “I’ve always wanted to be a dad.”
But there was one other person I was bursting to tell. I scrolled through my phone until I found Dannielle’s number and I tapped out a text.
Guess what? I typed. I’m pregnant!
Within seconds, my phone buzzed with a reply.
Congratulations! Dannielle had written. Angel will have a new friend!
Nine months later, little Jessica came along. Both Josh and I were smitten as she was placed on my chest for the first time.
“Hello, gorgeous,” I whispered, stroking her hair.
I couldn’t wait to get Jessica home and as I snuggled up with my perfect family, I felt like the luckiest woman alive.
“She’s perfect,” Josh cooed.
But soon, cracks began to appear. The sleepless nights were taking their toll and often Josh and I would snap at each other.
I knew I could turn to Dannielle for advice. She’d been through the same thing with Sam when she’d had Angel.
She told me: “It’s always hard at first. But things will work out when you’ve settled into a proper routine.”
Over the next few months, Dannielle was always on hand if I needed a cuppa and a chat. Plus, Angel was great with Jessica.
She was a lifeline, as all of my family and my old friends lived miles away.
“I’m so lucky to have a mate like you,” I said.
But Dannielle wasn’t just great with me. She gave loads of advice to Josh, too.
One night, he shut himself in the bedroom for hours and I could hear him talking on the phone.
“Who was that?” I asked, when he finally came downstairs.
“Just Dannielle,” he replied. “I was talking a few things through with her.”
The next day, Dannielle told me she’d been giving Josh some relationship advice.
“You two will work through your problems,” she said, squeezing my hand. “You’re made for each other.”
“I hope so,” I replied. “I really love him.”
“Why don’t the four of us have a drink?” she suggested. “Just like old times? We all deserve a bit of fun.”
I agreed we should let our hair down. The next night, Dannielle and Sam came round to ours and we had a laugh and a few drinks.
Sam had gone to the loo when I popped into the kitchen to refill our glasses. I was a little shocked when I walked back into the living room and Dannielle was playfully stroking Josh’s arm.
But I put my fears to the back of my mind.
The two most important people in my life would never betray me, I thought.
Over the next few weeks, though, Josh and I weren’t getting on any better. We couldn’t go more than a few hours without rowing and I felt really lost and alone.
In need of a pick me up, I reached for my phone and dialled Dannielle’s number but it rang out.
That’s strange, I thought. I’m sure she’ll call back soon.
Hours passed before Dannielle sent me a text, saying she’d been busy. Over the next few days she seemed a bit distant, but I shrugged it off.
But the next afternoon, I got the biggest shock of my life.
I decided to take Jessica into town to do some shopping and, as I pushed her buggy down the street, a bus drew up beside me.
My legs almost buckled beneath me as I saw two familiar figures waiting in the queue to board.
It was Josh… and he was hand in hand with Dannielle! As he planted a kiss on her cheek, I started to shake violently.
I was in such a state that the bus had driven away before I’d had the chance to confront them.
Once I’d gathered myself together, I took my phone from my pocket and typed in Josh’s number.
“I’ve just seen you getting on a bus, hand in hand with Dannielle,” I said. “Care to explain what’s going on?”
The line went silent for a few seconds before Josh spoke.
Eventually, he said: “I’m sorry, Louise. It’s been going on for a few months. I love her.”
I almost collapsed with shock. Dannielle had been a shoulder to cry on, but all the time she’d been having her wicked way with my man!
Furious, I dialled her number but it went straight to voicemail.
I was mad at Josh, but I expected him to come crawling back to me. I assumed he’d want to give our relationship another try for Jessica’s sake.
Instead, he told me he was moving out.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s for the best.”
I tried texting and calling Dannielle but I didn’t hear a peep from her. It was like our friendship had never meant anything to her.
I knew I had to be civil to Josh for Jessica’s sake and I allowed him to see her once a week. A few months after he’d left, he popped round to pick her up.
“I’ve got something to tell you,” he said. “Dannielle’s pregnant.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I slammed the door behind him before I burst into tears.
Now, I’m trying to rebuild my life without Josh and Dannielle. Needless to say, Sam was gutted too, and we grew close as we comforted each other.
Our friendship did turn into something more for a while but we soon realised we were only ever meant to be friends.
Josh still sees Jessica, but I don’t have anything to do with Dannielle.
She’s never apologised for ripping my family apart, while pretending to be my best mate. I miss our girly chats and shopping trips, but I could never trust her again.
I thought I could share all of my secrets with Dannielle but I never planned on sharing my man.
With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Josh Swales, 26, said: “I don’t feel guilty because I’d been trying to get out of the relationship for ages.”
Dannielle Smith, 24, said: “I was never friends with Louise. My daughter’s dad was friends with Josh. Josh and I did nothing until the 15th of April last year. We have been together 13 months and, yes, we have a child together but Louise was with my daughter’s dad before Josh and I got together. I don’t want this published as there is no point in bringing up the past.”