Gordy tells Ellis of Gloria's meet with her ex.
We finished a dance and were talking to another couple when Gordy walked into the room with a huge grin on his face. He walked over to us as Brenda went off to a group of girls she knew. "What've you been up to?" Ellis asked.
"I've just deflowered Brenda." There was a bit of an uproar from the girls. I looked over and they all seemed to be congratulating Brenda.
Brenda saw me looking and called over to me. "Good news isn't it?" she said.
I felt puzzled by her remark, young girls rarely boasted in public about losing their virginity. "Er, yeah, great." I looked back at Gordy. "Is she sure about that?" Gordy grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
Brenda was already making her way over. "I suppose he's told you the good news, Gloria?" She smiled as she looked at me before gazing at Gordy. "Me and Gordy are getting engaged."
"Like fuck we are."
"But you said..."
"It was just a bit of fun you silly cow, I was only joking."
Brenda gave a laugh not knowing how to react to his devastating words, but then her face drained of any hint of happiness. "You don't mean that, Gordy, do you? You can't, you can't mean that."
"You don't really think that I'd get engaged to a skinny brainless cow like you, do you? Look, if it's any consolation, you weren't a bad shag. We'll have to do it again sometime."
Brenda was speechless for a few seconds, and then burst into tears and hurried off to the kitchen followed by some of the girls.
Gordy laughed and he looked at Ellis, but there was no trace of a smile on Ellis's face. "What, what's up?" Ellis looked at him and shook his head. "Like I said, it was a bit of fun. Anyway, it was the only way I could get my end away."
"You filthy rotten sod," I said. "That's a low despicable thing to do, even for you."
"Oh, listen to Miss High Morals. You would never deceive anybody, would you?"
"No, I wouldn't."
"I'll take it then, that you've told Ellis about meeting your ex-boyfriend in town today; if he is your ex. The way you were holding hands in The Coffee Bar and staring into soldier boy's eyes, it looked like you were undressing each other."
I was devastated in the knowledge that Gordy had seen me in The Coffee Bar and he had just told Ellis. Ellis glared at me. "So it was you?"
"Ellis, it was nothing. I stopped at The Coffee Bar for a drink and he walked over. We only had a chat, he's getting engaged soon and we were just talking about it."
"Well why did you lie to me? You've been seeing him again, haven't you? All the time you've been seeing me, you've been writing to him in London."
"Of course I haven't. I only want you, you know that. You should trust me, Ellis. What future have we got if we can't trust each other?"
"I don't know if we have a future. You can't have your soldier and me as well." He turned and walked away from me, Gordy following behind him.
"Ellis, wait, where are you going?" I called out. "Sodding heck we're supposed to be getting engaged next week." I was hurrying after them and grabbed Ellis's arm as he left the house. "Don't be silly, Ellis, you know how much I love you. Don't spoil everything over your stupid jealousy."
"Don't try to blame all this on me. You've been found out Gloria. I just don't know how you could do this to me."
"I haven't done anything. Why don't you believe me? All right maybe I should have told you, but I really didn't think it was that important." Ellis mounted his motorcycle and started the engine. "Please, Ellis, please don't go." He pushed me away and rode off.
Gordy got on his motorbike. "Do you want me to give you a lift? We can try to catch him up?"
"Go to hell, Gordy, I want nothing from you. You're a horrible, horrible person, horrible."
"Listen, Glor, I only did it because…"
"Just go to hell, Gordy." I went back into the house to get my coat before setting off home.
I had not been walking long when I heard a girl's footsteps behind me. I looked round and smiled at the girl, but turned back and carried on walking.
"Excuse me," the girl called. I stopped and looked back. "Do you mind if I walk along with you? I get scared on my own."
"Of course I don't mind, I can do with the company myself. I know you, don't I?"
"I've seen you downtown a couple of times." She looked up to the sky. "I'm a bit worried. I hope I get home before the storm breaks."
I looked up at the dark clouds, wondering why I had not noticed them before. I was concerned that my new dress might get ruined. My coat was not waterproof, nor did it cover all the material of my dress. "I thought it was supposed to be nice tonight!"
"Lousy party, wasn't it?" The girl said.
"Yes, it was, but I didn't notice you there."
"I was there all right. Didn't stay long though when I found out Ellis and Gordy were there. I've been told Ellis is courting, but he's always pestering me for a date. I couldn't go out with him, I can't stand cheaters. Were you there on your own then?"
"Er, yeah." I was annoyed by Ellis's jealousy, but I am free of jealousy myself. I didn't believe the girl's comment and knew I had not seen her at the party, but I suddenly remembered seeing her in The Nelson the night I had split up with Simon. "How do you know Ellis then?" I asked. The conversation stopped as Gordy rode past us on his way back to the party. He turned around and pulled up beside me.
"It's going to piss down in a minute. Get on the back, Gloria, and I'll drop you home."
"I've told you once; I don't want nothing from you. Anyway, I can't leave her walking on her own."
Gordy sat on his motorcycle looking at me, bewildered. "Who?"
I looked around, but the girl was nowhere to be seen. I was puzzled, wondering why the girl had slipped away without a goodbye. "She must live in one of those houses. She was here just now."
"Listen, Glor, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I didn't mean to cause trouble."
I gave a laugh. "Who are you trying to kid, Gordy? You enjoyed every flipping minute."
"Of course I didn't, what sort of bloke do you think I am? He'll be all right tomorrow. I'll go round and apologise, tell him that I over-exaggerated." There was a crash of thunder and we both looked up. "Come on get on the back and I'll drop you home, it's the least I can do."
It was a dilemma for me, but I had no wish to get soaked just for a bit of pride. "Well look away then. I'll have to hitch my dress up under my coat or I'll never get my leg over."
Gordy gave me a pretend look of shock.
I returned a laugh and shook my head. "Just take me home, Gordy."
A few days passed and I remained depressed, having been looking forward to my engagement only to have it all ruined. I returned from my shift at the surgery and was sitting at the kitchen table staring blankly at a box of tissues, conveniently placed in front of me. My sister walked in, looked over at me, and shook her head. "For Pete's sake, how long are you gonna keep it up?"
"I'm all right."
"Yeah, you are, aren't you? Doom and gloom, doom and gloom. At least when you had rows with Simon you used to get angry and throw things about."
I returned my stare to the box of tissues.
"Why don't you just go and see him, talk to him?"
Why should I? I've done nothing wrong. It's up to him to come and see me. It's him that should be round here apologising."
"Tell you what, I'll go round and see him if you like?"
"Don't you dare, Evelyn. If you want to do something then you can help me to get in touch with everyone. I've got to tell them all that the engagement is off."
"Oh, don't say that."
I took out the crumpled list of names from my handbag. I opened it up and flattened it out on the table. "Look, all these people, all my friends and family. I bet some of them have even been out and bought our presents. I feel so embarrassed, he's gonna make me look a right fool."
"Just go and talk to him. I bet he's as upset as you are."
"I bet he's not. He'll be out with Gordy and his weird friends. He'll probably be going up to the swimming pool at Carver's Hollow for an orgy or something tonight."
"You know he's not like that."
"Oh no he's not like that is he, mister nice guy. Six days before our engagement and he walks away from me. He knows how I feel about him, how the hell can he do that to me, the stinking rotten bastard?"
I noticed how Evelyn was surprised to hear such language from me again, but then she sat next to me and put her arm around me. "Please don't get upset, Sis. I hate seeing you like this." We both reached forward and each took a tissue from the box. I wiped my eyes; Evelyn blew her nose and we both started to laugh.
"Who cares about that uncaring, selfish prat anyway?" I said.
"Yeah, the spotty, skinny, coal shovelling goon."
"The Derbyshire 'all right me duck' long-necked cretin."
"The fat, bald-headed, lecherous, geriatric."
I stared at Evelyn. "I'm not sure about that one."
"Give it time, girl, give it time."