Colin causes trouble for Jane.
"Hello, Jane, enjoying yourself?”
Jane knew the voice and quickly turned to look at her husband's friend Colin. He walked away from her slowly, knowing she would follow him. "Colin, wait," she called and got up and rushed after him grabbing his arm as she reached him. "It's nothing, Colin. I was just giving him a kiss for his birthday, he's only young."
"That's all right, I understand." A smirk appeared on his face.
"Please don't say anything to Bob. He'll get the wrong idea."
"You know, I've always fancied you and because I like you I won't tell Bob what I've seen, but you have to do something in return. I want you to call at my flat tomorrow when you take your dinner break."
"Just for a bit of fun."
"What the hell are you suggesting?"
Colin laughed. "O come on now, Jane, you know what I mean, mutual favours."
"Mutual favours. You mean sex."
"No, I mean female ecstasy, once you've had it off with me you'll never look at another bloke again. Every time you have it with Bob you'll be thinking of me, wishing it were me."
"He's your friend, I'm your friend's wife, how can you even think like that?"
"No one has friends when women are on offer. You're a very attractive woman, Jane, and quite horny. All his mates would give you one if they got the chance."
"You disgust me."
"Well, when you call at my place tomorrow we can disgust each other, but if you don't turn up, I'll know you want me to tell Bob and you know what'll happen then don't you."
"I'll tell him you're lying. I'll tell him what you've been saying to me."
"He won't believe you. I'm his mate, ain't I?"
He put a hand onto her breast, but she pushed him away. "You can piss off."
"I'll leave you to think about it." He gave a laugh. "I'll be waiting, tomorrow lunchtime." Jane turned her back on him and walked away.
Jane returned from work the next day feeling a bit concerned about Colin, but thought surely he wouldn't tell Bob about the boy; even he was not that low. She put a Vesta curry on and had it simmering as she waited for Bob to come home from work. She went onto the balcony and looked down at the parked cars to see if she could see Bob's car. There was no sign of it, but sometimes he had to park around the side and out of view from the balcony. There was a blue sky mottled with steamy looking clouds. She liked the balcony. It was a special place for her, away from her normal life where she could stand and think, often about her lost love Terry. An aeroplane was passing high up in the sky. She gave a laugh remembering when she had seen a shooting star in the night sky and Terry asked if she had made a wish, she had, but she had lost Terry so the wish could never come true now, if only. She gave a large sigh, thinking of her times with Terry, and wondering if she would ever forget him. She walked back inside and looked at the clock; he was later than usual. She began to worry about spoiling the curry and went to the kitchen to turn the gas off, but just as the gas popped off, she heard the front door close. "You're late tonight," she shouted through.
He walked across and stood in the kitchen doorway. "Yeah, I had a drink with Colin." Jane looked over at him. "Yes, you can look, you fucking slag."
"Look if it's about that young boy, I just gave him a kiss for his birthday. Nothing's going on, Bob, I swear."
"Bullshit, you had your tongue down his throat, and I've been told it's not the first time either. How long has it been going on ay? I treat you right, I allow you to go out with your mates once a week and this is how you repay me." He rushed over and grabbed her hair; oblivious to her screams he dragged her into the living room and shoved her onto the sofa.
"Don't hit me, Bob, please don't beat me up again."
"I'm not going to beat you up, you're not worth the effort. I'm leaving you, Jane. I'm moving in with Fiona, she's a real woman, a woman who can have children." He walked to the bedroom as Jane sat staring at him, shocked by what he said. Surely he could not do this to her. It was not the same as her other lovers, they were a married couple; they were supposed to stay together. She could hear him opening the cupboards and drawers as he packed his clothes into his old RAF bag. For her own sanity she had to stop him, he couldn't leave her, abandon her, reject her, he mustn't. He walked out carrying the bag and she rushed across to him, throwing my arms around him.
"Bob, don't go, don't leave me. I know we haven't been getting on, but we can work it out I know we can, and we can have children, we can adopt them." He shoved her to the floor, but she dived back at him wrapping her arms around his legs. "Don't do this to me, please, Bob, I'll do anything you say, but please don't leave me." He pulled a knee violently away and then brought it back striking Jane hard in her face. She let out a scream and fell back, her cheek swelling in a huge purple bruise. She looked back at him. "I'll kill myself," she shouted. "If you leave me I'll kill myself, I can't live on my own, I don't want to be on my own again."
"You want to kill yourself, do you? I'll give you a hand then." He picked her up by her blouse and pulled her across to the balcony. She cried and pleaded with him as he grabbed her hair and bent her over the railings, putting his other arm under her legs he lifted her off the ground, tilting her over the balcony. She struggled and cried in terror as she stared down the side of the nine-storey building, gripping onto the top rail with all her might. She thought her life was over, that he really was going to kill and she wet her underwear as she began screaming. Bob pulled her by her hair back into the living room and pushed her onto the sofa again.
"You've pissed yourself you filthy, disgusting bitch. That's about all you're good at, crying and pissing yourself. What use are you? You can't have kids, you're hopeless in bed, you're good for fuck all." He picked up his bag and walked out leaving her sobbing and trembling on the sofa.
The front door slammed shut, the sound echoing through the flat. Jane got up and dashed to the bedroom to get changed. There were many items thrown onto the bed, as Bob cleared all the old RAF stuff from his bag before packing his clothes. Seven blue airmail letters were lying amongst some old receipts and out-of-date documents. She didn't take much notice thinking they were some of his old letters. She knew he was sure to call at Colin's flat and she was soon on her way there stopping only to look in the hall mirror at how the flesh on her cheek had swollen up from Bob's blow, almost forcing her right eye closed.
* * * * *
Colin stared at her swollen face looking as if he was shocked, but then he started to laugh. "Walked into a door have we?"
"You bastard, this is your fault."
"Oh no it isn't, you could have avoided all this."
"I want to speak to Bob, is he in there?"
"Bob!" He hesitated. "Oh yes, he's inside, you'd better come in."
Jane walked into the living room and turned to look at Colin as he closed the door.
"That's right, he's not here, but I am and I'm gonna give you the best shagging you've ever had."
"I don't think so." She went to open the door, but he grabbed her, dragged her across the room, and pushed her against a sideboard. She was trying to force him off and was startled by how strong he was, as if she were powerless to stop him. She was in pain from her face injury as he tried to force kisses on her. She felt as if her spine was going to break from the way he was arching her back against the sideboard. His hands, one molesting her, the other trying to undo his trousers in between trying to control her. She saw a red wine bottle on the sideboard; the bottle was almost empty and was wobbling from the effect of Colin's attack on her. She picked the bottle up by its neck and smashed it across Colin's head with great force. It shocked her the way the bottle seemed to explode, showering her with glass, red wine, and lots of blood. Colin fell to his knees clutching his head.
"You stupid, fucking cow," he screamed.
Jane rushed from Colin's ground floor flat and ran to the lift, panicking and continually looking round. The lift door opened and she pushed past two women who were leaving the lift. The women were shocked by her appearance, looking as if she had just left a war zone. "Are you all right love?" one of the women asked. Jane pressed the ninth-floor button and turned away, facing the corner, shying away from the women's attention.
She unlocked her front door and bolted it behind her with some difficulty, her hands shaking frantically. Dropping onto an armchair she leaned forward and grabbed her knees tightly, trying to stop herself from trembling. The smell of the wine was beginning to make her feel sick and she thought she would get washed and changed, but as she stood up, she heard the siren of an ambulance approaching the flats. She stood silently thinking as it pulled up outside. Colin, maybe he was seriously hurt, maybe she had killed him. She rushed to the balcony and looked down relieved to see an attendant walking Colin to the ambulance. A police car pulled up and she panicked and dashed back inside. She walked about the flat unable to settle but was soon back on the balcony. The ambulance had gone but the police car was still there. She walked to the kitchen and leaned on the cooker, knowing that the police were coming up for her.
The banging began on the front door, loud banging and she stood as if frozen to the spot. Would they smash the door in and get her, dragging her off to prison, and who would care if they locked her up and never let her out. She heard a man calling through the letterbox, and then silence. She remained as if glued to the cooker. She didn't want to move in case she made a noise; the police might still be there, listening. A car started up and drove off. She peered through the window relieved that the police had gone. She went to the bedroom to remove her spoiled clothing and again noticed the letters on her bed but this time she took more interest. She picked them up. They were not Bob's letters, they were addressed to her at Uxbridge with Terry's name and BFPO address on the back. It was a shock to her, although Bob treated her badly she found it hard to believe he had stolen them. She needed a drink and walked to the kitchen putting the letters on a coffee table as she passed. She returned with a half bottle of Bacardi and some cans of Coke. Not bothering to change her clothes she poured a drink and sat down, eager to read Terry's letters. Letters wrote with a love that she had always craved from him, from the first full of hope and passion to the last full of pleas and despair.
The empty Bacardi bottle lay on the floor. She had sat for hours reading the letters repeatedly. It was getting dark and she couldn't read anymore but was afraid to turn on the light in case the police were watching and they would know she was at home. She was drawn towards the balcony, drunk and highly depressed. She looked up and this time saw a shooting star crossing the sky. She again thought of the time outside the barrack block with Terry, and then briefly re-lived the moments when they were making love after walking back from the American Base at West Ruislip. She remembered the highly emotional passion she had felt, so intense it frightened her, and then the bloody seagulls came screaming across. "What a fool I've been, what a bloody idiot," she mumbled to herself. "If only, if only." She looked down over the balcony and down to the ground, thinking of ending all her heartache.
Even in the drunken state that she was in, her fear was too great as she looked down. She ran back across the living room and stood with her back against the far wall looking at the open door for what seemed to her like hours, but was possibly only minutes. Tears began running down her cheeks and her trembling had reached an almost exaggerated level. The excessive drinking had taken its effect and she collapsed in a heap onto the floor.