Jane arrives in Cyprus.
Jane had been in Cyprus for over six months. It was a scorcher of a day and she had been driving one of the three-ton Bedfords for the stores. She felt hot and scruffy as she walked into the airmen's mess and stood waiting in the queue for her lunch when someone began fondling her behind.
"That's a lovely handful, Vicki."
Jane turned and glared at him. She had seen him about the camp and although she had never spoken to him, she knew who he was. Stan, a well-built and extremely good-looking, regiment gunner. He had an Italian look about him and was popular with a lot of the WRAFs. She knew some of them would give a month's pay just for a date with him if they got the chance. "What the hell do you think you're playing at," she hollered.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were someone else."
"Someone else. Well, you were right then. I am someone else." She turned her back on him again as if to show a lack of interest in him.
"Honestly, I didn't realise. I thought you were Vicki from air traffic. Look I'm Stan. I don't know your name, do I?" Jane kept her back to him, ignoring his remarks. "It would be nice if you could turn around while I'm talking to you. It feels really weird talking to someone's back." Still, she ignored him and she thought he had given up on her. She sat at an empty table and was just about to make a start on her lunch when Stan put his tray down opposite. "Do you mind if I sit here?"
"It's a free country you can sit where you like, as long as you don't molest me again." She was still acting uninterested but was secretly thrilled he had pursued her across the mess in full view of everyone.
"Look honestly, I'm so sorry about that. Me and Vicki are good mates. We have a laugh and a joke together. I really thought you were her." He sat down waiting for a response, but he never got one. "I'll make it up to you. I'll take you out tonight. What do you say?"
"No thanks," she said, immediately regretting her words. The most sought-after man on the camp and she had rejected him. She thought about changing her mind but felt she would look foolish if she did.
"I still don't know your name."
Jane gave a short false smile before making a start on her meal, but she felt awkward by the way he was looking at her while she was eating. She noticed a driver from the transport section, on his way out. The driver smiled at her, but she pretended she hadn't seen him and was hoping he wouldn't call out.
"Hello, Jane," he shouted across.
The gunner looked over at the driver and then looked back at Jane. He leaned on the table and moved forward slightly. "Hello, Jane," he said with a huge smile across his face.
Jane gave a laugh. "Hello, Stan."
Stan renewed his invitation to take Jane out, but this time she agreed. Right from the start, she felt the chemistry between them was right. The feelings they had for each other blossomed and their relationship soon became intimate. She felt proud to be Stan's girlfriend. She knew she was the envy of many of the other WRAFs, but it irritated her that some of the girls became bitchy towards her and she was not happy with the way her friends spoke of him, warning her, telling her he couldn't be trusted. Telling her not to start thinking too much of him because he would be sure to hurt her. She ignored their warnings, and anyway it was too late because she felt as if she were deeply in love with him. As time passed, she thought she had proven her friends wrong having spent many months of bliss and contentment with him, despite the business with Val, an attractive dental nurse.
Jane had arranged to meet Stan, but she had been held up at work and was already agitated by being late. Her roommates annoyed her further before she went for a shower by warning her about the rumours of Stan renewing his relationship with Vicki. When she returned to the room and started dressing one of her roommates looked over. "So, you're still going?"
"Why don't you just listen to what we're telling you?"
"Why don't you just bloody well leave me alone? I'm not stupid."
"He's been seeing Vicki again and he's knocked her up, and you want to carry on seeing him. Are you sure you're not stupid?"
Jane glanced at the three girls in the room, all looking over at her. "For six months I've had it. Everyone sticking the knife in, trying to split us up with lies and malicious rumours, but it's not gonna work. He loves me and you'll all just have to get used to it."
"He's a slag. He loves you all right and about a dozen others as well."
"Why are you being like this? Is it because he hasn't asked you out?"
"He hasn't asked me out because he knows I'd tell him to f-off. He's using you that's all, ask Mary." The girl called across to her friend. "Tell her, Mary, tell her what he said to you last Friday."
"Don't keep on," Jane shouted. "Just don't keep on, eh."
"Jane, we're not trying to spoil anything here, but we don't like to see what's going on. We just want…"
"Not trying to spoil anything!" Jane slammed her wardrobe door and snatched up her handbag from the bed. "Well, you're doing a bloody good job at it."
"You just won't listen, will you?"
"Yeah, well it's a good job I didn't listen last time when you were all slagging him off over Val, and look what happened then. She ended up marrying the Medical Officer's sergeant and you lot wouldn't even admit you were wrong."
"Take them blinkers off your eyes, girl, the sergeant was worth more points to her than a gigolo Rock Ape."
"He's not an ape, and he's not a gigolo. He's a caring, loving, regiment gunner, and a bloody good-looking one at that. Maybe that's the trouble, you're jealous like that lot in the NAAFI. Jealous bloody cows."
"Piss off then, Jane. Go and spend time with him while the two of them are laughing at you. Think I'm jealous of that louse, do you? We're trying to help you here and you come out with shit like that. Go on then, go and meet him, you bloody idiot."
"I'm sorry," Jane said. "I didn't mean to say that."
"Save your apologies. Save them for when you eventually realise that as well as screwing you, he's screwing the arse off Vicki from air traffic."
"He's not, I know he's not."
"He is, Jane, please, please listen to us."
"No, I'm going. I'm not listening to any more of this. I'm happy all right. For once in my life I'm happy." But she didn't look happy as she stormed from the room, slamming the door behind her.
* * * * *
Jane sat at the table waiting for Stan to return with the drinks. He seemed to be taking a long while and she turned and looked towards the bar. He was standing talking to a girl, a girl who looked like Vicki. She noticed her friends walking towards a table not far from her and she gave a smile. The girls returned the smile as if the earlier argument had never occurred. She looked back at Stan as the girl turned to walk away from him. She could see it was not Vicki and she felt a great relief he was not talking to Vicki in full view of her friends.
Stan returned to the table. "All right, what's up?"
"Nothing, nothing's up. Why, should there be?"
"You've had a mood on since you walked in. Not been listening to stupid stories again, have you?"
"No, not really, but the girls are getting on my nerves just lately. Why do they do it? First Val, now Vicki, why don't they leave us alone?"
"Just ignore them; we love and trust each other that's all that counts. Their lives are probably dull and boring and they make things up just to bring some excitement into them." Stan took a drink of his beer, but he seemed concerned by the way Jane was looking at him, staring almost. "You don't believe their silly stories, do you?"
Jane broke into a smile. "No, of course, I don't." She barely had the words from her mouth when Vicki walked into the bar. She noticed her friends as they glanced over at the girl and then at her before looking away again. Right, she thought. I'll show them once and for all there's nothing going on. She called out to Vicki, and Vicki walked over to their table.
"Hi, Vicki," Jane said joyfully. "I hear you're courting strong now."
"Courting, no it's a bit more than courting. I think we'll be getting married soon."
Jane gave a smug look over to her friends, who were trying to pick up every word. When she looked back Vicki and Stan were staring at each other. "So," Jane said, causing Vicki to look back at her. "Who's the lucky guy, do I know him?"
"Oh I've had enough of this," Vicki said.
"Vicki," Stan muttered as if in a panic.
"No, Stan, I've had enough of all the secrets. I'm fed up waiting for you to end it with her. It'll all come out soon anyway when I start showing. So are you going to tell her, or shall I?"
"Tell me," Jane said looking straight at Stan. "Tell me what?"
Stan was flustered, not knowing what to say or where to look.
"Right!" Vicki said, turning her stare towards Jane. "Well, I'll tell you then."
"Vicki, we can talk about this later," Stan pleaded.
"No, we can't. It's not fair on me, and it's not fair on her." She looked back at Jane. "I'm pregnant."
"You're pregnant. So what. What are you telling me for?"
"What I'm saying is, Stan's the father, and he's got responsibilities now."
Despair began to flow into her, but maybe it was not true. She knew Vicki was an ex of his and maybe it was just Vicki attempting to split them up the same as everybody else was. She looked at her friends who were all eavesdropping on the conversation. She wished she had not called Vicki over now and she looked at Stan desperate for some kind of denial from him. "Stan, what the hell is she talking about?"
"Fuck me,” Vicki said. “Do you want me to spell it out for you?"
Jane ignored her. "Is it true, Stan? Tell me it's not true? Tell me, Stan, what the bloody hell's going on?" She was hoping he would deny it, but he didn't answer; he wouldn't look at her and she feared the worst. "Oh, Stan, why, why have you ruined everything for a one-night stand with her?"
"Jane, it wasn't like that."
"No, Jane, it wasn't like that. Me and Stan first became lovers over a year ago. He has lots of girls but always comes back to me. Where do you think he is on the nights he's not seeing you?"
Jane felt as if her world had collapsed. She stared at Stan, still waiting and hoping for a denial, but his silence confirmed her fears. "How could you do this to me?"
"We can work something out, Jane."
"Work something out, and just what the hell are we gonna work out, Stan?" Jane looked away and then looked across to her friends knowing they were close enough to have heard everything. She now knew they were right about him. She realised how foolish she must look, but her roommates' presence gave her a boost; She didn't want to look so weak and pathetic in front of her friends and she looked back at Stan. "Piss off, Stan," she shouted. "Just piss off and go away before I do something I'll regret. Just go."
He stood up. "I'm sorry."
The friend Jane had argued with earlier walked over and looked at Stan. "You heard her, now get going before I start and you won't find me as placid and forgiving as Jane, I can tell you. And take that cow with you," she said, pointing at Vicki, "you deserve each other." Vicki kept quiet now Jane’s friend had come over, knowing the girl was quite a handful when she was put out.
Stan was still looking at Jane as if he were trying to think of a way to tell her he didn't care about Vicki, but he couldn't do that with her standing next to him.
"Well, piss off then," Jane’s friend shouted, causing a lot of attention in the bar. "Why the hell are you two slags still here?"
Stan had no choice, but to leave, and he walked off with Vicki.
Jane’s friend sat down opposite her. "Right, finish your drink then you're coming into town with us for a rave-up. And I don't want any argument, all right." The girl noticed the tears forming in Jane’s eyes. "Don't you let those teardrops run; don't you dare cry, Jane, don't you effing dare." Jane forced a smile, but felt devastated and betrayed, unable to understand why anyone she cared for would always eventually let her down.
Jane completed her tour in Cyprus and received a posting to RAF Madlington in East Anglia. She dated a few more men in Cyprus, but she shunned away from any moves towards intimacy or commitment. She felt there was never going to be anyone special in her life after the gunner. She dearly wanted to be loved and wanted the companionship of a lover, but no one could be trusted. She would just remain in the WRAF and accept her solitude and would have to learn to live with her loneliness. The main goal in her life now was to study and pass the examinations for promotion to corporal and then sergeant and maybe even flight sergeant. It seemed to her the only people who could be trusted were officers, most of them anyway. She often wondered what chance she, as a WRAF driver, would ever have of being loved by an officer. Not much chance then, but maybe, just maybe