Rachel continues to mess with Ellis's mind.
Rachel returned from a visit to Rosie's house becoming unimpressed with the ease with which she knew she could take her. She began to think of Gloria again; maybe she should renew her interest in her, thinking she was a far greater prize and conquest. "I think it is time I paid a visit to the alehouse and looked her up again," she mumbled.
Both Ellis and I were pleased when the invitation arrived to attend Brian and Lynn's wedding reception. Brian's close workmates had received their invitations weeks before and Ellis was happy that we had also been invited after his time with Brian on the firing test. Although we had not been invited to the service, we went along to the church to watch them going in. We missed Brian and his best man but were in time to see the white open-backed Rolls Royce pulling up. Lynn got out of the car in a brilliant white dress, looking like a heavenly goddess on a journey to paradise with joy, love, and contentment radiating from her. Her father, a giant of a man, stood tall and looked as if he were about to explode with pride. They set off towards the church doors followed by four bridesmaids wearing their evening style burgundy dresses and giving a fabulous contrast to Lynn's wedding dress.
Ellis looked at me. "Nice, isn't it?" He said.
"Wonderful," I replied. "Sodding wonderful." I took hold of his hand. "Let's go inside."
"We can't we haven't been invited."
"It's a church service, we don't need to be invited; there will be plenty of room at the back, and even if there isn't, we can stand."
"Okay." Ellis laughed. "But if anyone tells us off, I'll blame you."
A well-organised reception ensured all the guests had a memorable evening. Although the bride was the centre of attraction and popular with all the guests, she still found time to chat with me and we seemed to become immediate friends. I was also delighted by the way Ellis's workmates seemed eager to meet me and I was pleasantly surprised at the way they all made a fuss of me. Ellis was being the perfect partner, remaining reasonably sober and showing me a lot of affection and companionship. Life was good and I was happy with the way Ellis and I were becoming closer all the time.
Me and Ellis were in The King's Arms with Gordy and a large group of his friends. I noticed Ellis suddenly turn pale as if he were about to be sick. "Are you all right Ellis?" I said.
"I think so," he said. "But it's turned really cold in here. And I feel really weird."
"It's not cold in here, Ellis. Do you want to go home to rest?"
"No. No, I'll be all right. This has happened before. Might be some kind of panic attack."
"I'll book you in at the surgery tomorrow."
"No I'll be all right. It won't last long."
"I said I'll be all right." Ellis's attitude had changed, he started drinking heavily again and I was becoming increasingly annoyed as the night went on. I was in despair, we had been getting on so well and now he was turning nasty again. I can't understand why this is happening once more.
"Another Drink, Glor?"
"Don't call me Glor and I think we should make a move, don't you?"
"Well blow me," Gordy remarked. "Getting more and more under that old thumb every day, mate."
"No chance, we'll leave when I'm ready," Ellis said, acting flash in front of his friends.
"Déjà vu!" I said.
Ellis looked at me slightly puzzled. "What?"
"Déjà sodding vu. I feel I've been here before. I'm going to the ladies, and then I'm going home. You can please yourself."
"All right, I'll just finish this pint off then I'll catch you up."
I set off on the long walk home having given up on Ellis for the night. He didn't catch me up and I was not sorry about that given the state he was in. I was almost halfway home and I came to the bit of the journey I didn't like; the bit by the shady alley that led down to the river. I was always fearful of the place and would always hurry by if I were on my own. I glanced down the alley and it looked as eerie as ever. As I looked away I thought I heard someone calling me from down the alley. A chill ran through my body as I heard what I thought was an old woman laughing like a witch, and I was just about to start running when a car pulled up beside me.
A voice called out. "Oy, Gloria. Want a lift?"
When I looked into the car I saw the husband of one of my friends. "Hello, Eddie," I said. I suddenly felt at ease and a little foolish about my imagination and I gave him a large grin.
He got out, gave me a hug, and kissed me on my cheek. "Long time no see," he said. "We haven't seen you since our wedding; I thought you were going to keep in touch?"
"I am, I will. I've been a bit busy though."
"Come on get in, I'll drop you home."
"Sure you don't mind?"
"Don't be silly. She'll be over the moon when I tell her I've seen you." We sat in his car talking for a while about the expected birth of the couple's first child. Just as Eddie was about to set off to take me home we noticed the single beam from a motorcycle approaching from behind. Eddie let the motorcycle pass before pulling away. I didn't get a good look at the rider, but the bike sounded like Ellis's and I thought it could be him on his way home.
Eddie pulled up outside my house and he reached across and gave me another hug before giving me a kiss goodbye. My door was suddenly pulled open. "Very nice, and who the fuck's he?"
I got out of the car. "He's a friend, and don't you dare swear at me, Ellis."
Eddie had also got out and he was walking around the car, heading for Ellis.
"I knew you were two-timing me. Is that why we're getting nowhere because you're seeing him on the quiet?"
I was shocked when Eddie's fist hit Ellis between his eyes and sent him careering backwards; he tumbled over the privet hedge and landed on the lawn.
"Who's that idiot?" Eddie said, rubbing his knuckle.
"Oh, Eddie, you didn't have to do that." I dashed around to the other side of the hedge. "He's my boyfriend."
Eddie gave a sarcastic laugh. "You can pick 'em, can't you, Gloria? Look, do you want me to hang about for a while?"
"No it's all right, you get off." I helped a dazed Ellis to his feet. "I'll be okay, I can handle him. It's best if you go. I'll pop in and see you both sometime over the weekend."
"Well if he knocks you about just let me know and I'll put him in orbit."
"It's all right, he won't do that." Eddie left and I helped Ellis over to his motorcycle. "You'd better come in for a coffee? You can't ride home in that state."
Ellis looked away from me and started his motorcycle. "I saw you, the two of you necking in his car."
"We weren't necking, Ellis, I've known him for years."
"I heard you whispering, telling him you'd meet him over the weekend."
"He's married to my friend. I just meant I'd call in to see her, she's pregnant."
Ellis stared at me. "Does she know you two are at it?"
"Oh, don't be so stupid."
"Stupid, yes I must be stupid, letting you make a fool out of me."
"I don't have to make a fool out of you; you do a sodding good job yourself."
"So you admit it, you and him, having an affair."
"Look, Ellis, if that's what you think, then maybe it's best if you just go."
"Yeah, I'll see you around maybe." Ellis accelerated off leaving me, standing, looking totally bewildered.
As I stood there I thought I heard the old woman's voice again. "Who's there," I said. I shook my head thinking it was my imagination. As I walked into the house I was surprised to see my sister waiting for me. "Was that you?"
"Was what me?"
"Never mind." I sat at the kitchen table, put my bag on it, and just sat staring at the bag and thinking of Ellis.
"Isn't he coming in for a brew, then?"
I looked up at her. "No, I've finished with him."
"Oh! And I thought you were fond of him."
"I am, Evelyn, but they're all the same, aren't they? They're all drunken, jealous, arrogant, bastards."
"Wow, that's real fizzing swearing, golly gosh." Evelyn began to laugh, but she stopped when she noticed a teardrop trickling down my cheek and the distressed look on my face. "Oh no, don't go getting upset over that turnip head," she said and hurried over to offer me her comfort.
Two days later, I was sitting behind the counter at the doctors' surgery. It had been busy during the morning, but the crowd had thinned out. I looked over as the door opened and became flushed when I saw Ellis walking in. I looked up at him as he stopped at the counter. "I'll need your medical card if you want to register here," I said, ignoring the fact that I knew him.
"Gloria. I need to speak to you. I'm so sorry about what happened."
The few patients who were waiting to see the doctor were trying to eavesdrop, becoming interested when they heard the word, sorry.
"Sorry! Sorry! That's all I hear from you. It must be the most used word in your vocabulary, but it's beginning to wear thin, beginning to have no meaning."
The senior receptionist walked in from a door that led up the stairs. "You can take a break now, Gloria. I can manage here for a while." It usually annoyed me because the woman always seemed to take over once the surgery became quiet, but this time I felt grateful.
Ellis smiled though, pleased with his timing. "Shall we go outside for a chat?"
"I've nothing to say to you, Ellis. Go away, leave me alone, and please don't show me up in here." I stood up and turned my back on him.
"Gloria, don't be like this please," but I ignored him and went up the stairs to the restroom.
I looked out of the window and watched Ellis ride away. I was already feeling depressed, sending away the boy I was in love with only increased my gloom.