Ellis takes a shine to Gloria.
One of Simon's friends followed Simon and Lucy out and he soon returned. "He's got her against the wall out in the car park and he's giving her a right good goosing." He began laughing but stopped when he saw me staring at him.
This was the confirmation I didn't need. I hoped he wouldn't really go through with it; he would come back laughing as if it had been one of his sick jokes. I was not just hurt and angry; I also began to feel physically sick because of what was going on. Only moments later to the cheers and whistles from a few of the drunken crowd, Simon and Lucy walked back into the bar room. Simon walked off to the bar and Lucy sat down, red-faced, and avoiding my stare while her friend Sheila looked at her and shook her head.
Simon returned with a Bacardi and a bottle of Coke and put them on Lucy's table. "There you are, a deal's a deal." He began to laugh as he staggered over towards me. "It was your choice. It could have been you. You want to be a selfish, old-fashioned prat all your life, then I'll just have to look elsewhere, won't I?" He swayed about a little before dropping onto the seat opposite.
I had a lump in my throat no amount of swallowing would clear. I was trembling, my heart was pumping hard in my chest and my face flushed from my frustrated anger. I had to leave right away or I would fly at Simon and try to physically hurt him. This was the end for us. I had no doubt about that and I felt hatred towards him for what he had done. I suffered his drunken insults and suggestive behaviour in the past and always forgave him, but I could never forgive him for this. I stood up and looked at the gang, each of them losing their smile when I looked at them. Lucy looked afraid and was naively trying to hide behind her two friends. I didn't intend to confront the girl. I felt sorry for her, thinking Simon took advantage of her and used her for no other reason than to belittle the both of us. It was that, and not Lucy's two friends, that saved her from my anger. My plans to give Simon a mouthful of abuse vanished. I could feel the teardrops forming in my eyes. I needed to get out of the place before I made a spectacle of myself.
The walk towards the bar doors felt as if it were miles. All the people in the bar watching me as if I were a retreating defeated soldier who had lost all hope. My tormentors whispering, ridiculing me, some laughing, and the silent ones feeling pity as if I were a fool.
The laughing stopped when I turned around and stormed back across the room towards Simon. He saw my arm coming round, but he was too late and too slow to stop my hand crashing against his cheek. He leaned back into the seat. "Didn't hurt," he said, childishly, but the rosy shape of my hand could be seen clearly on his pale complexion and his left eye was watering. I picked up his glass and threw the beer over him. He jumped up and went to punch me, but his friends grabbed him and held onto him. He began struggling to get free from their grip while yelling obscenities and abuse at me, full of anger because I had the nerve to defile his uniform.
No one laughed as I walked off this time. A slight smile blossomed on my angry face as I heard Rosie call out. "Good on yer, girl."
It is not far from The Nelson to The Coffee Bar, I would be sure to find some of my friends in there. I was furious, but I had time to think as I made my way through the town, thinking I was well rid of Simon. I was not going to cry for him now. He was not a man worth my tears, but the thought of him having intercourse with Lucy wouldn't leave my mind. It disgusted me he could behave in such a way, whether drunk or not, and the girl, had she no respect for herself? The stupid, stupid girl. My sister would probably be in The Coffee Bar by now. Maybe I should just give it a miss and go home. My sister may unknowingly increase my distress by making remarks in fun about me turning up there, but I decided to call there anyway.
Sod him, I thought, he's not running my life. Not any more.
I walked into the crowded Coffee Bar and saw Evelyn sitting with Brenda and Gordy. I smiled at them, before walking to the counter, ignoring the knowing smirk from my sister and trying to give the impression it didn't bother me that Evelyn had been right after all. I got myself a milky coffee and went to join them.
"Where's soldier boy?" Gordy asked.
"Out of his head again, but he's taken the rise for the last time. I've had it with him." I knew better than to give any details about what happened in the bar. Talking about my boyfriend's disgraceful behaviour might prove too much for me.
"He'll be all right in the morning," my sister said, sarcastically. "He'll be round tomorrow apologising and I suppose you'll be back with him again."
"Not this time," I said. Although I was trying to appear relaxed, I was deeply affected by Simon's actions. I could feel my hands trembling and I tried to keep them out of sight under the table. I was badly in need of a change in the conversation. Despite my earlier thoughts, I now felt I might burst into tears at any time and could feel my eyes beginning to water.
"You know what I think you should do with Simon?" Evelyn said, with a huge grin across her face.
I looked at her, the look giving a clear signal I was in distress.
Evelyn returned a slight comforting smile, picked up her cola, and took a drink. "Maybe I'll keep it till later."
To add to my despair, I felt uncomfortable about the way Gordy was looking at my hair and I braced myself for his critical remarks.
"Your hair looks nice," he said. "It looks a lot better like that."
"Oh, thanks," I said. Feeling slightly puzzled by his comment, but pleased because, whether he knew it or not, he rescued me from my own thoughts of gloom. However, I remained prepared and waiting for his probable punch line.
"Look if you're back on the market, Glor, then perhaps me and you could get together. I like a bit of a challenge, ya'know."
I laughed. "You're the last bloke I'd go out with. Don't you think it's time you gave up trying? Anyway, I thought you were going out with that girl from the bakery." I glanced across to the mirrored wall, checking my hair, thinking perhaps it was not so bad after all.
"That's nothing. She's just a trollop. I'm gonna give her the elbow anyway," he said. He glanced at Brenda sending a huge grin across her face. A young man walked in and put a hand up to Gordy as he passed. "Hey up, Tony, where is she?" Gordy said.
"I'm meeting her in a bit, but I want a strong milky coffee before I start drinking. Stops the alcohol and that, in case I get stopped. Like, you know what I mean?"
Gordy shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as Tony went to the counter. Gordy looked out the front window and checked his watch. "Oh, here he is, and about bloody time. I was just about to piss off without him."
Here who comes, I thought and looked over as a young man walked in. He was smartly dressed in a two-tone blue mohair suit, a button-down shirt, and a knitted tie. I had never seen him before, but when he smiled at me, it cheered me up a little and I smiled back.
Gordy stood up and stared at him. "What's the bloody suit for, Ellis?"
"We're going to that club in Crewe, aren't we?"
"Yeah, but it's all jeans and jumpers. You'll look like one of the bouncers." He gave a laugh. "You only need some shoulders."
"Can we come with you?" Brenda asked.
"Don't be so stupid. Can't get five on a motorbike, can we? Anyway, coals to Newcastle and all that." Gordy got up to leave and he shouted across to Rosie's boyfriend who was sitting at the counter. "How's the old car now, Tone?"
"All right, my mate came and fixed it, points or something. And thanks again for…"
"That's all right," Gordy interrupted. He looked away and ruffled Brenda's hair mischievously before walking out. Brenda grinned as if the messing of her hair was a secret message that he fancied her. Ellis followed him, smiling at us as he left.
Gordy's Tiger Cub was parked in front of The Coffee Bar. Ellis kick-started the engine and Gordy got on the pillion obviously happy to let Ellis ride the motorcycle.
Evelyn went to the counter to chat with Tony, but me and Brenda were still at the table looking out at the boys. I felt thrilled when Ellis smiled at me again and gave me a wave before pulling away, but I felt a little sorry for Brenda who didn't get the same response from Gordy. I sat watching the motorcycle until it had gone out of sight, pleased that Ellis seemed to take an interest in me. I liked the first impression I got of him and felt eager to meet him properly. I turned my attention back to my sister as she walked back from the counter with Tony. They carried on past and Tony opened the door to leave. "I'll be back in a little while," he said.
"Okay, Tony, we'll wait here for you," Evelyn said. "Just don't forget about us, will you?" Tony left and Evelyn made her way back to the table. "Great eh. He's got a car. He's going to pick his girlfriend up and then he's coming back for us. We're all going to that discotheque in Crewe."
Evelyn felt sure Tony would come back for us. Brenda was almost ecstatic because she might be able to spend some time with Gordy, knowing Ellis was with him and Gordy wouldn't be able to pick up his girlfriend.
I would have been happy to spend some time with the lads so I could get to know Ellis a bit better, but I was not as optimistic as Evelyn. "Do you know his girlfriend then?" I asked her.
"No, not really, but she smiled across to me once."
"Yeah, well I don't think his girlfriend will be too happy about sharing her boyfriend's company and his car with three others girls, do you?"
"He'll turn up don't worry. One thing about Tony, he always does as he's told."