Jane gets married to Bob and Terry has regrets.
Bob had still not returned to the barrack room by the time Terry and Mark left the block on their way to breakfast. When they entered the dining hall Terry looked around at all the tables, but there was no sign of Bob or Jane.
After breakfast, Terry walked into the crowded restroom at the MT section. Bob was sitting in one of the easy chairs and Terry nodded to him.
Bob stood up and walked over. "Nice to see you, Terry, when did you get back?"
"Last Wednesday, when did you get back?"
"About ten minutes ago. I thought we weren't gonna make it for a while. Have you heard the good news about me and Jane?"
"I've heard no good news." Terry turned his back on Bob before he could continue the conversation and walked out of the restroom, making his way to the WRAF room.
Jane was sitting talking to Mandy when Terry walked in and she was slightly shocked by his appearance. She stood up and smiled at him. "You're back then. It's really good to see you, Terry."
He looked at Mandy. "Can you give us a minute?"
"Course, I've got to see the corporal anyway." She gave him a smile and set off to the control office.
"Getting married then, Jane?" He said, almost sarcastically.
"Yeah, and me not even thirty yet."
"Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you answer my letters?"
"Letters, what letters, Terry? I didn't get any letters, did I?"
"I wrote to you. Seven times I wrote to you. Surely you must have got one of them?"
"Honestly, I swear I didn't get one. Terry, I was so disappointed, I thought you didn't care about me. Then I got the news that my brother Tommy had been in a road accident."
"Oh, Jane, I'm so sorry. Have you been down there?"
"No, I haven’t."
"I can phone Brian and get Marion to meet you if you like."
"No, Terry. I'm not going there again, and I don't really want to talk about it. About the letters, are you sure you addressed them right?"
"Yeah, I addressed them right." Terry gave a long sigh. "I don't know, I don't know what's going on, I don't know what to say to you. Are you happy about getting married? That's a stupid question I suppose."
"No, it isn't. I want to get married, Terry, I really do. I need someone, and if I have to settle for second best then I will, but if you've got any other ideas just say the word. You only have to say it, Terry, and I'll go through there and tell him it's off."
Terry took a deep breath and looked down to the floor briefly before looking back at her. "Have you slept with him?"
"Oh, Terry, Terry, what does that matter?"
"Have you slept with him?"
"Why are you asking that? You must know I have, but I thought you weren't interested. We can make a go of it, Terry, if you really want to. What has happened between me and Bob, does it really matter as long as we get things right between us?"
Terry looked at her for a moment before answering. He was torturing himself picturing her making love with Bob, imagining every passionate detail in his mind. "It doesn't matter at all really, does it? Anyway, I'm not old enough to get married, am I? I wish you all the luck for the future, Jane, and with Bob, I think somehow you're gonna need some."
"Terry, please, please don't walk away from me like this. I love you, Terry, you know I love you and I swear to God, I swear to God I didn't get a letter from you. If you did write to me that proves you care about me as well."
"What do you mean ‘if I did write’? Do you think I didn't? Do you think that I'm lying?"
"No, Terry, I didn't say that; I didn’t mean it like that."
"There's only one liar in here, only one cheater. Engaged to him and standing there telling me how much you love me. Do you get some kind of sadistic kick out of hurting people or something?" Jane stood looking at him, speechless and unprepared for his sudden verbal attack on her. He continued, "Perhaps, Vinny was right about you."
"That's not bloody fair, Terry," she shouted. "Remember that time when we were walking back from the pub to your house, you said…"
"Yeah, no doubt what you told me then was just a story to get some attention."
"How dare you, how dare you say that to me. If I were a man I'd bloody well punch you on the nose."
Terry looked at her, knowing his comments had caused her distress. He felt a strong urge to take her in his arms and cuddle her, but he could see pictures in his mind, pictures of her lying naked under Bob, pulling at his hair and calling out his name. "Forget it, Jane, just forget it." He stormed off out of the room without another word.
Terry hurried off past the main restroom and along the yard, not really knowing why or where he was going. He turned into the vehicle wash bay and walked out of sight of the office where he began cursing himself. He kicked a broom and sent it spinning across the concrete, and then kicked at a plastic water tub showering himself in water in the process. "WRAF's, bloody WRAF's," He shouted. "I knew I shouldn't get involved with them." He sat on a wall with tears filling his eyes as he thought about Jane and thought about what he had lost. He dearly wanted to run back down the yard and throw himself into her arms, but the jealousy demon had squatted in his mind, and neither of them were going anywhere.
The weeks soon passed. Terry was no longer seen on camp at weekends unless he was on duty. Other times he would be in East London. He started to work the free weekends with his friend Brian, who had become a foreman in his uncle's demolition company. When he was on camp he would either spend his time in his room or at The White Horse public house in the town centre.
Jane was upset in the knowledge that he was obviously trying to avoid her, but she kept her thoughts to herself and the marriage went ahead as planned. Bob's family came down from Sheffield and although they were reasonably well off, it was not a big wedding. They were married in uniform at the registry office. They had the reception at a nearby hall and although Terry was invited, he didn't attend. Bob was due for discharge three weeks after the wedding and Jane arranged to leave the WRAF to set up home with him in Sheffield. On their last night on camp, they were having a farewell party in the NAAFI. It was late when Mark walked in. Jane saw him and walked across. "Where's Terry?" she asked.
"He's gone to London."
"I thought he was coming over, he told Mandy he would. I thought he would've wanted to say goodbye to me."
"Oh, did you really, and why's that? So you could kiss him goodbye and then toss him aside again like some old worn-out old shoe."
"What is that supposed to mean, Mark? Look, if there's something that you want to say, then don't play word games, just say it."
"All right I will, someone has to. I've known Terry a lot longer than you have. He's a good friend and a terrific guy, but since you've been with Bob he's been a different bloke."
"What, and you think that it's my fault?"
"I don't think it's your fault, Jane, I know it is. Don't you know what you've done to him? You've fucking crucified him." Mark turned and walked off towards the other bar.
"Mark," she shouted. "Mark, wait. I thought that he... Mark, it was him that walked away from me you know?" But he ignored her and carried on walking.
Bob had been watching and when he saw Jane shouting after Mark, he walked over. "What's up, love, has he annoyed you? Do you want me to go and sort him out?"
"Don't talk silly, he'll rip your bloody head off."
The next day Jane and Bob left the Royal Air Force base and travelled north to move in with Bob's parents in Sheffield, stopping for a break on the way at a motorway cafe.
They sat at a table and Bob took a letter from his bag and passed it to Jane. "This letter came for you. It's from your brother."
She looked at the London postmark. "When did this come?"
"Corporal Sawyer gave it to me before we left."
"Well why didn't you give it to me, and why have you opened it?"
"I had to read it in case it would upset you, like last time."
"It's my private letter, you had no bloody right, no bloody right at all." She started to read the letter and was pleased to learn that it was from Tommy and he had fully recovered.
"Nothing is private between us now that we are married," Bob said.
"It's from Tommy.”
"I know," he said smugly.
"He wants me to call and see him. We have to turn around and go back."
"Having a laugh ain't ya'. We are not going back there. From what you told me, most of them hate you anyway."
"I need to see him."
"Forget it, Jane. That all belongs in the past and we don't want anything to spoil the wonderful future ahead of us."
“And the address has been ripped off. What have you done with it? I might want to write to him?"
“I haven’t seen it. It must have got torn and lost when I opened the letter.”
"I am not happy, Bob. I want to go back.”
"Just deal with it like an adult, we are not going back and that’s that."
This was a side to Bob that she had not seen before and she didn't like it.
A week after they were de-mobbed and left camp, Terry was walking across the transport yard when Corporal Sawyer called out to him. "Terry, can you take the mail across?"
He walked over and took the bundle. "There's a BFPO letter for Jock,” Terry said. “He's lucky to get that, the BFPO service is crap."
"What makes you say that? I've never had any trouble."
"When I was in El Adem, none of my letters got through."
"Yes, they did. Mark had a few letters from you. He used to come over and give us your news."
"Yeah, I know Mark's got through, but that's all."
"What, your parents didn't get any?"
"And I noticed six or seven come through for Jane."
Terry laughed, more from sarcasm than happiness. "No, they didn't."
"I saw them myself, blue airmail BFPO letters with Jane Dale's name on the front, and yours on the back."
"She told me she didn't get any."
"Well, she's been having you on mate."
Terry walked across and sorted the letters in the rack before walking around to the WRAF restroom.
Mandy was alone, sitting reading a magazine when Terry walked in. She looked up with the usual smile noticeably missing from her face. "It's all right, don't bother knocking."
"I knew it. She's been lying all along, hasn't she?"
"I might be able to answer that, Terry, if I knew what the hell you were talking about."
"Jane got my letters, all of them."
"No, she didn't."
"Corporal Sawyer just asked me to bring the letters across to the rack. He told me Jane had letters from me when I was in El Adem. The game's over, Mandy."
"And what game is that? The game where you play the part of a complete idiot? Or the game where you destroy a girl who worships the ground you walk on?"
"It was her fault. She got my letters, and she still went off with him."
"She did not get the letters; if she did she would have told me."
"So Corporal Sawyer is lying then is he?"
Mandy jumped up from her seat. "You just wait here," she said and hurried from the room. She was soon back and dropped Jock's letter onto the coffee table.
"You've nicked Jock's letter."
"Yeah. Easy, wasn't it?"
"Are you saying that…Are you saying..." Realisation suddenly struck Terry hard and he shook his head in despair as he looked vacantly around the room, thinking maybe he had got it all wrong. "Bob, do you think it might have been Bob, taking the letters?"
"You work it out, Terry." She picked up the letter and handed it to him. "Get out of here, and take that letter back to the rack. You’re a fool, Terry, and you lost a truly special girl because you wouldn't believe her. The things she told me about her past would shock and depress anyone. Her life has been full of people abusing her and letting her down, and you, you were just another name on a long list of selfish bastards. I just pray that Bob gives her the love and attention that she hopes for and deserves."