Jane's new life is destroyed.
Sunday passed uneventfully. Ray went to visit his parents and Rose told Jane that Kevin's Sundays always followed the same pattern; lie in, pub with the boys, dinner, afternoon nap, pub with the boys again, and then to bed drunk with little chance of any amorous adventures. They had most of the day to themselves and most of the evening at the Bingo Hall.
After the breakfast rush at the café on Monday morning, Carol opened her purse and took out half a crown. "Can you pop down to Barton's, Jane, and get another two dozen rolls." Jane took the money, but her eyes were on an old worn photograph of a baby girl in the pocket of Carol's purse. Carol saw her looking and turned her purse so she could get a better look. "Pretty, isn't she?"
"Very pretty." Jane smiled. "Is she your daughter?"
"No, that's my baby sister. She was a lovely kid."
"Was?" Jane said.
"She died. I was playing with her before I went to school, but when I came home she wasn't there. It was so sudden, she was rushed to hospital and died. It was the worst day of my life. I cried for weeks."
"I'm sorry, Carol, me and my big mouth."
"It's all right, love. It was a long time ago." Carol closed her purse. "No, I've no children. I had a miscarriage eight years ago now. The father was actually pleased. We were about to be married and it sort of, well, gave him his freedom back I suppose. Works both ways though. When I found out what a selfish, uncaring bugger he was, I lost interest in him as well. Never bothered to get serious again and all my relationships now are strictly casual. I've got my cafe, that's my baby. Well, enough of my waffling. You'd better get off to the bakers before the rush starts again.
* * * * *
Terry and Brian were walking towards Carol's cafe. "Have you still got them four stink bombs, Terry?" Brian asked.
"No, only two left," Terry replied.
"Only two, eh! Well, Carol had a go at me last week for leaning on her window. Let's go and leave one in her cafe. That'll teach her. On the way back we can look down Tench Street; see if that lorry is parked there,"Brian said.
"Nah, she's all right is Carol."
"Well, she didn't have a go at you did she? Give us the stink bombs if you don't want to do it." Terry shook his head but handed over the bombs and they headed for Carol's Cafe.
They were approaching the cafe just as Jane was leaving for the baker's shop. "Blimey, she's not from around here," Brian said. "Wonder what she's doing in the cafe, it's only for workmen."
"Never mind about that," Terry said. "Look at the Bristol's on her. I wouldn't mind tittin' her up."
"Gis a bit," Brian said, as they walked past her.
"A bit. A bit of what?" she replied.
They laughed as they walked off leaving her to wonder what they were talking about.
"She was bloody beautiful," Terry said. "I wouldn't mind going with a girl like her." He turned to look at her as she walked off. "And just look at them legs."
"Leave off, Terry, you wouldn't know what to do with her."
"And you would I suppose."
"Yeah, if you remember right, I took Janice round the back of Bromley Hall last Thursday."
"Did you now, and what happened then?"
"We had a bit of a snog and I titted her up."
"You titted her up," Terry said. "She let you?"
"Yeah, I always tit 'em up. Don't you?"
"Course I do, most of the time. So when are you going to see her again?"
"I'll probably go round her house next week, and we'll go to bed and do it."
"You've done it before then?" Terry said.
"Course I have. Loads of times."
"What's it like then, what do you do?"
"Well, if you don't know, then it's not for me to tell you. You'll have to find out for yourself."
"I will," Terry said. "And probably before you, you bullshitter. But it won't be with a tart like Janice, it'll be with someone like that girl who just left the cafe. A bit of class."
"You can dream, Terry, do you really think she'll go out with a schoolboy? Come on let's go in the cafe. You order an orange drink and when she turns to get it I drop the bomb and crush it. We'll have to leg it on the quick or she'll clout us."
Brian's plan worked and before the horrible smell spread in the cafe the boys had run off down the street. They were soon at Tench Street and pleased to see the lorry parked in its usual place. "I hope it's not bananas again,” Brian said. “We've still got four bunches dossed up over at the bottle washers."
Terry kept lookout while Brian went to the rear of the lorry and forced up the tarpaulin sheet. "Oranges, it's full of oranges. Bloody big ones an' all." There was a large crack as he snapped one of the wooden crates. They did up their jackets, tucked them into their jeans, and then filled the jackets with Jaffa's before casually walking off.
"We'd best doss these at the bottle washers as well," Terry said. "My ole man will have a fit if I go home with a dozen oranges in me coat."
They soon arrived at the bottle washers, climbed over the wall and made their way through some bushes to an old disused railway toilet block, and climbed into their hideout in the roof space. Brian looked at his watch. "The men will be at dinner in the pub. We might as well have a quick look an' see if we can find some lemonade bottles." Occasionally they would find some deposit bottles amongst the wine bottles, but they were rare and usually kept inside the building. They walked from the bushes into the yard eating bananas and searched about for a while. "They're all crap," Brian said.
Terry spotted a wooden crate by the building and dashed over to it. "Tizer bottles, a dozen Tizer bottles," he shouted. They took the crate to the wall and Terry passed it down to Brian and they set off to the corner off-licence near to where Terry lived. There was a loud single ring as they opened the off-licence door and they walked in and put the crate on the counter.
The man walked from the back room and looked at the crate of bottles, but he knew the boys well and showed no sign of surprise. "Hello, boys, been over the wall again?"
"No, we like Tizer, don't we Tel,"
"Yeah, we drink it all the time and we've been saving up all the bottles."
The man laughed but gave them the deposit money and they left with a jingle of change in their pockets.
* * * * *
Saturday night soon came around again and Jane and her three companions arrived once more at The Guildford Arms. Ray was a regular caller at Rose's flat since his date with Jane and they became close and friendly towards each other. He was a good dancer and he jived with Jane in the area in front of the band, with continual smiles beaming across both their faces. She was more settled and at ease than the previous week and she put a lot more effort into her dancing, surprising her friends that she could dance so well. The crowd cleared the floor for their dance and she felt joyful and proud as everyone in the bar clapped when they left the floor. Kevin bought the drinks and an unfamiliar drink was on the table waiting for her. "What's that?" she said. "I wanted a port and lemon."
"We've all gone onto spirits," Kevin said. "Rose said you liked Babycham, so we got you a Brandy and Babycham."
"Brandy and Babycham!" She looked at Rose's glass. "What's that then?"
"Rum and blackcurrant," Rose said. "Would you rather have one of these?"
Jane pulled a face and shook her head. She sat down, picked up her glass, and took a mouthful of the potent drink, causing her to wince and screw her face.
A middle-aged couple got on the stage to sing, "Who's Sorry Now." Jane was a fan of Connie Francis and it was one of her favourite songs. She persuaded her three friends to get up and have a dance.
The small dance floor was crowded for the slow dance, but they managed to squeeze in and Jane laid her head on Ray's shoulder with her arms resting around his neck. She could feel his arms around her back and she felt comfortable with him at first, but after a while, his hands slipped down to her bottom. She moved his hands back up, but he laughed before sliding them back down again, gripping hold of her and gyrating his pelvis against her. She felt her dress riding up and pulled his hands off of her before pushing him away. She walked back to their table with Ray following not far behind her and she sat at the table giving him a hostile stare.
"Jane, I'm so sorry. It was just meant to be a bit of fun, a laugh. I never dreamed you would take it the wrong way."
"So what was the right way then?" She said, still not smiling.
"Like I said, I was only fooling. I just forgot you were so young and thought you were high-spirited like us, but I know now I was wrong to assume that." He smiled at her. "Are we still friends?"
She returned his smile and accepted his apology, feeling as if she maybe acted a bit immature. "Of course we are. I'm just not used to that sort of thing on the dance floor."
"It won't happen again. Come on, let's have another dance, best behaviour."
"No, I honestly don't want to dance. To tell the truth I'm a bit tired and I could do with a sit down."
"Okay, if you're sure there's no offence, like I said…"
"There's no problem, I'm just tired." She smiled at him again and despite feeling that she might have overreacted, she was slightly distressed by the incident and didn't want another dance with him.
They had a few more drinks before the last bell sounded. Jane looked at her watch thinking it was time to go and she was surprised when the landlord bolted the doors allowing them to continue drinking after time. Another hour passed and she was becoming drunk. She stood up to have a dance with Kevin and felt as if the bar was swaying a little. She felt giddy, but it was a slow dance and Kevin held onto her. Her mind began to wander and she began thinking of things she would never usually dream of. She thought of the noises from Rose and Kevin's bedroom and tried to picture what they were doing. She knew she had strong feelings towards Kevin. She liked him a lot and wondered how it would feel to be the one making love with him. She suddenly felt as if she were too close to him, and as if her breasts were pressing into his chest. She looked over to Rose worried in case she was jealous, but Rose and Ray were looking back at her and laughing about something, so she thought it must be all right. She grinned and waved across to them and was puzzled when it seemed to make them laugh even more.
The dance finished and Kevin helped Jane as she staggered back to her seat. It was well after midnight when they left the bar. Jane was not used to heavy drinking and she could feel herself swaying as she walked out into the fresh night air. Kevin grabbed her arm because it looked as if she were about to fall over and she collapsed into his arms. Rose was laughing as the two men held her arms over their shoulders and began helping her along the pavement.
They got home and the two men struggled to get Jane up the stairs and she laughed a lot at their efforts. They took her into her room and laid her down on the mattress. She was feeling sick and the room seemed to be swaying. She was very dozy but could faintly hear her friends talking. She heard Kevin. "Blow me, she's out cold," he said.
"You'll have to help me to get her out of my dress, Kevin. If she sleeps in it, it'll be ruined by the morning."
"Oh no, that's all I need on a Saturday night, undressing a pretty young girl."
Jane wanted to protest but all she could raise was an undecipherable grumble before falling back into a deep sleep.
Jane woke with someone on top of her. There was pain between her legs and Ray was forcing rough kisses on her. Her drunkenness was dissipated by terror. She pleaded with him to stop and screamed out for Rose, but he covered her mouth with his hand.