Jane's new life is destroyed.
Book 2 Chapter 3
Sunday passed uneventfully. Ray went to visit his parents and Rose told me 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. We had most of the day to ourselves 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." I took the money, but my eyes were on an old worn photograph of a baby girl in the pocket of Carol's purse. Carol saw me looking and turned her purse so I could get a better look. "Pretty, isn't she?"
"Very pretty." I smiled. "Is she your daughter?"
"No, that's my baby sister. She was a lovely kid."
"Was!" I 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.
* * * * *
"Have you still got them four stink bombs, Terry?" Brian asked.
"No, only two left." I said. The two of us had been friends for as long as I could remember, and wherever one of us was seen the other was sure to be not far away. We knew the streets in our area of the East End well, and although we were often getting into mischief, we prided ourselves that we always managed to evade capture from anyone who pursued us.
"Only two left eh!" Brian said. "Well, Carol had a go at me last week for leaning on her window. Let's go and leave her one in the cafe. On the way we can look down Tench Street; see if that lorry is parked there."
We were soon at Tench Street and pleased to see the lorry parked in its usual place.
"I hope it's not bananas again. We've still got four bunches dossed up over at the bottle washers." I 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. We did up our jackets, tucked them in our jeans and then filled them with Jaffa's before casually walking off.
"We'd best doss these at the bottle washers as well," I said. "My ole man will have a fit if I go home with a dozen oranges in me coat."
We soon arrived at the bottle washers, climbed over the wall and made our way through some bushes to an old disused railway toilet block and climbed into our hideout in the roof space. Brian looked at his watch. "The men will be at dinner at the pub. We might as well have a quick look an' see if we can find some lemonade bottles." Occasionally we would find some deposit bottles amongst the wine bottles, but they were rare and usually kept inside the building. We walked from the bushes into the yard eating bananas and searched about for a while. "They're all crap," Brian said.
I spotted a wooden crate by the building and dashed over to it. "Tizer bottles, a dozen Tizer bottles," I shouted. We took the crate to the wall and I passed it down to Brian and we set of to the corner off-licence near to where I lived. There was a loud single ring as we opened the off-licence door and we 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 us 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 us the deposit money and we left with a jingle of change in our pockets.
"Let's go and sort Carol out then," Brian said.
"Nah, she's all right 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." I shook my head, but handed over the bombs and we headed for Carol's Cafe.
As we got near we noticed an attractive girl leaving the cafe. "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," I said. "Look at the Bristol's on her. I wouldn't mind tittin' her up."
"Gis a bit," Brian said, as we walked past her.
"A bit. A bit of what?" she replied.
We laughed as we walked off leaving her to wonder what we were talking about.
"She was bloody beautiful," I said. "I wouldn't mind going with a girl like her." I 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."
"Yeah, so what happened then?"
"We had a bit of a snog and I titted her up."
"You titted her up," I 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?"
"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," I 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."
"Where shall we go after then?"
"We'll go down Three Mill Lane. See what's in the barges."
* * * * *
Saturday night soon came around again and my three companions and I arrived once more at The Guildford Arms. Ray was a regular caller at Rose's flat since his date with me and we became close and friendly towards each other. He was a good dancer and he jived with me in the area in front of the band, with continual smiles beaming across both our faces. I was more settled and at ease than the previous week and I put a lot more effort into my dancing, surprising my friends I could dance so well. The crowd cleared the floor for our dance and I felt joyful and proud as everyone in the bar clapped when we left the floor. Kevin bought the drinks and an unfamiliar drink was on the table waiting for me. "What's that?" I 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!" I looked at Rose's glass. "What's that then?"
"Rum and blackcurrant," Rose said. "Would you rather have one of these?"
I pulled a face and shook my head. I sat down, picked up my glass and took a mouthful of the potent drink, causing me to wince and screw my face.
A middle-aged couple got on the stage to sing, "Who's Sorry Now." I am a fan of Connie Francis and it was one of my favourite songs. I persuaded my three friends to get up and have a dance.
The small dance floor was crowded for the slow dance, but we managed to squeeze in and I laid my head on Ray's shoulder with my arms resting around his neck. I could feel his arms around my back and I felt comfortable with him at first, but after a while, his hands slipped down to my bottom. I moved his hands back up, but he laughed before sliding them back down again, gripping hold of me and gyrating his pelvis against me. I felt my dress riding up and pulled his hands off me before pushing him away. I walked back to our table with Ray following not far behind me and I 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?" I 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 me. "Are we still friends?"
I returned his smile and accepted his apology, feeling as if I 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." I smiled at him again and despite feeling that I might have overreacted, I was slightly distressed by the incident and didn't want another dance with him.
We had a few more drinks before the last bell sounded. I looked at my watch thinking it was time to go and I was surprised when the landlord bolted the doors allowing us to continue drinking after time. Another hour passed and I was becoming drunk. I stood up to have a dance with Kevin and felt as if the bar was swaying a little. I felt giddy, but it was a slow dance and Kevin held onto me. My mind began to wander and I began thinking of things I would never usually dream of. I thought of the noises from Rose and Kevin's bedroom and tried to picture what they were doing. I knew I had strong feelings towards Kevin. I liked him a lot and wondered how it would feel to be the one making love with him. I suddenly felt as if I were too close to him, and as if my breasts were pressing into his chest. I looked over to Rose worried in case she was jealous, but Rose and Ray were looking back at me and laughing about something, so I thought it must be all right. I grinned and waved across to them and was puzzled when it seemed to make them laugh even more.
The dance finished and Kevin helped me as I staggered back to my seat. It was well after midnight when we left the bar. I was not used to heavy drinking and I could feel myself swaying as I walked out into the fresh night air. Kevin grabbed my arm because I was about to fall over and I collapsed into his arms. Rose was laughing as the two men held my arms over their shoulders and began helping me along the pavement.
We got home and the two men struggled to get me up the stairs and I remember laughing a lot at their efforts. They took me into my room and laid me down on the mattress I was feeling sick and the room seemed to be swaying. I felt very dozy but could hear my friends talking. I 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."
I wanted to protest but all I could raise was an undecipherable grumble before falling back into a deep sleep.
I woke with someone on top of me. There was pain between my legs and Ray was forcing rough kisses on me. My drunkenness was dissipated by terror. I pleaded with him to stop and screamed out for Rose, but he covered my mouth with his hand.