Lynn meets up with Mike, unaware of his bad past.
҉It was late in the night at Charlie's Gymnasium and Hilary, a twenty-two year old blonde girl, stood shaking in great distress following a sadistic sexual attack against her. She always expected courtesy from her boyfriends and was usually capable of controlling them if they did try to take liberties with her. However, Mike was neither courteous nor controllable and she stood little chance against him. It thrilled her when Mike started taking her out. His good looks, highly developed body, and family wealth made him the most desirable young man in town.
She lit a cigarette and the match gave a brief glow in the gloom of the unlit gymnasium. She hadn't noticed the evil feel of the place when she walked in earlier, laughing and joking with Mike. Now she wished she never met Mike and never set foot in Charlie's Gymnasium. As she continued towards the exit, she tried to cover her ruined blouse by turning up the collar of her coat and fastening the buttons. Mike had earlier ripped the blouse apart, splitting the material and sending some of the pearl buttons scattering across the parquet floor.
A crash echoed around the gym as Mike slammed the door to his father's office on the other side of the hall. Panic gripped Hilary as she grabbed the handle on the exit door and feared it was probably locked. She threw the cigarette to the floor and pushed and pulled frantically at the handle trying to get the door to open. She could hear Mike's footsteps getting nearer and feared he might attack her again. She kicked angrily at the door before turning to face him. "Open the bloody door," she yelled, in a mixture of anger and nervousness.
"All right, calm down," he said. "What are you making all the fuss about? Anyone would think we've never made love before."
"We didn't make love. If you wanted something different you only had to ask. I've always done what you wanted, haven't I? Why the hell did you do that to me?"
"Oh come on! You know it excited you. It was just a bit of fun."
"Fun! It wasn't fun for me. It wasn't fun having you attack me like some kind of nutcase. Look at me. Go on look at me. I'm still bloody shaking. Do you really think I've just had some fun?" He put his hand on her arm but she pushed it away. "Don't you dare touch me!" she shouted. "You touch me again, so help me I'll kill you."
"Oh don't talk so stupid. I'll get my jacket and give you a lift home."
"No, you won't. We're finished, Mike. You're an animal. A vicious, crazy, animal and I don't want to see you again. Not now, not ever. Now open this bloody door."
He looked at her and grinned.
"Open it right now or I'm gonna scream my bloody head off."
Mike shook his head but moved forward to unlock and open the door. Hilary hesitated, looking for some sign of remorse from him. "I'll pick you up in the van tomorrow night," he said. He noticed her discarded cigarette scorching a black trail along the polished floor and he stamped on it. "Stupid, filthy, bitch," he muttered.
"Oh, get stuffed!" she shouted before dashing outside and hurrying off towards the bus terminus.
♀It was Saturday and I left the Meadowview housing estate on my way to town. I wondered if Kenny would see me driving through town again and remembered how excited I was that he had seen me. I decided against wearing one of my skirts or frocks today in favour of my slacks and sneakers. Not only would it make my driving lesson more comfortable but might stop the instructor from looking at my legs at every opportunity, or perhaps I was being a bit paranoid. Having already missed the estate bus, I made my way to the main road to catch the through bus. After hurrying across the road I started walking towards the bus stop when I saw an old man who lived near me leaning on his walking stick at the edge of the pavement. I knew him well and knew he was going to ask me for some help crossing the road. I looked to see if the bus was coming but it was nowhere in sight so I cheerfully helped him across the road. When I got him safely on the pavement he thrust his stick towards me. "Here, girl, hold on to this while I treat you."
"There's no need, Mister Worrall." I took his stick and glanced back up the road checking for the bus and trying not to show my impatience as he opened the pouch in his wallet and fumbled about in his small change. "I don't want any money. I've only seen you across the road."
"Don't be silly. I know how much money you girls have to spend at school nowadays."
"I'm nearly eighteen, Mister Worrall. I left school two years ago."
He put a sixpence in my hand, took his walking stick, and hobbled off. I smiled and shook my head before turning to cross the road again. I saw the bus coming up the road, but there seemed to be a sudden increase in the volume of traffic. I stood waiting impatiently while watching the bus getting nearer and knowing I must not miss this one. There was a small gap between two cars and I dashed across the road oblivious to the hooter blast from an angry motorist and the worried stare from the man with the stick. I felt sure I could make it as I sprinted along the pavement, but as I neared the bus stop, the bus whizzed past me. "You rotten sod," I yelled, stamping my foot on the pavement in temper. "Damn, damn, damn you!" There wasn't another bus due for half an hour and I needed to be in town by then.
A red Morris Minor van pulled up beside me driven by what looked to me like a gorgeous blond Adonis. The van was spotlessly clean with white-wall tyres matching the large white letters sign written on the side panel.
AMERICAN STYLE GYMNASIUM
The driver leaned across and wound the window down blasting me with the sound of Wild Thing from the radio. He smiled before turning the radio down and calling across to me. "Fancy not stopping for you the bloody moron. I'm Mike. Hop in and I'll give you a lift into town if you want."
I was feeling foolish about my tantrum but excited because this blond-haired hunk just stopped for me. I looked at his brilliant white tee shirt with the name of the gymnasium embroidered in red on the left side of the chest. His arm muscles were impressive and bulging out from his short sleeves looking as if he were tensing them for my benefit.
"Well, do you want a lift or not?"
"Okay," I said, trying to sound casual but finding it impossible to wipe the big grin from my face.
I got into the van and sat looking towards him as he pulled away, looking for a fault. He was a big lad but I could not see an ounce of fat anywhere and his tight trousers showed the full form of his well-developed legs. I looked at his trim waist and glanced at the bulge in his trousers as I remembered the girls at work laughing about some men stuffing socks in their underpants.
I looked back up to his broad shoulders and saw him grinning and I realised he knew I was eyeing him up. Feeling embarrassed, I looked away.
"So where do you want dropping then?"
"Anywhere near the High Street. I'm calling at The Coffee Bar."
"No. I just need a quick coffee before my driving lesson."
"Oh, the modern girl, eh?"
"Don't you like girls driving?" I ignored his sarcastic laugh thinking he seemed sure of himself, flash almost. I wondered why some men seem to think girls are useless at driving when clearly most of us are not. Bloody cheek! Nevertheless, I don't want to waste this opportunity and don't want my time with him to end when we arrive at the town centre. "Have you got time for a coffee?"
"No thanks. The Coffee Bar is not really my sort of scene. Tell you what though, I'm going to Kings tonight for a drink if you fancy tagging along?"
It was my turn to give a laugh. "No, I don't fancy tagging along thanks but if you're asking me to meet you for a drink then I'd love to." He dropped me at The Coffee Bar and I watched him drive off feeling like the happiest and luckiest girl in the world.
After my driving lesson I caught the bus back home with a smile on my face, pleased at how well my driving lesson went. My instructor told me he was pleased with my progress and recommended I put in for my test. I wished the bus would go faster as I was eager to share the news with my family and my best friend Kathy. I knew my father would be proud of me and thought on how, despite my initial reluctance, it was he that persuaded me to take the lessons. Something I would never have even dreamt about a few months previous. He always had faith in me. I was his princess, his precious angel. I smiled as I thought how my life changed when he started to treat me that way, caused by the arrival of my younger brothers. Without them, I knew my father would continue to treat me like a boy.
Although I am excited about the thought of taking my driving test my mind keeps wandering to my earlier meeting with Mike. Get serious Lynn. He isn't my boyfriend. We are not courting; we are just meeting up for a drink. But he seems to be the answer to my dreams and his devotion to his personal fitness may help my father take to him if we were to become steady. I thought of my previous boyfriends. As my brothers grew up and I was allowed to become more feminine my father became protective towards me. He was always hostile to the boys I brought home. He even threw one of them across the living room because of a lewd comment the boy made. I was fond of the boy and couldn't apologise enough as he hastily left our house. It disappointed me he never came anywhere near me after that.
Now Mike was different. My father would love him. Mike actually runs his father's gymnasium. He is keen on fitness and seems to be a well-behaved, considerate, young man. I can hardly believe my luck.
The evening came and I was wearing a new mini-dress and my best heeled shoes. I was feeling nervous as I walked towards The Kings Arms. I thought it was not nice for girls to walk into bars alone. What if he wasn't there or if he were with a crowd of lads? I hesitated but I had to appear confident and I plucked up the courage and shoved the double doors open. Head up, chest out I strolled into the bar.
I couldn't have timed it worse. Daydream by The Lovin' Spoonful was playing loudly on the jukebox and it ended just before the doors crashed shut behind me. Everyone turned to look at me; a stranger in the bar. It was a large long open-plan bar-room and very popular with the local young people although I had never been in there. I tried to ignore the inquisitive faces, but they made me anxious. I was about to turn and hurry back out when I saw him sitting on a bench seat at the far end grinning at me. He was wearing a short-sleeved colourful shirt and his fingers were linked behind his neck as he alternately flexed the muscles on his arms. I imagined he was trying to imitate one of The Beach Boys. I saw the resemblance and pictured him wearing the shirt and a pair of shorts on a Californian beach and kicking sand into the faces of all the seven-stone weaklings before they hurried off to do their Charles Atlas courses. Barbara Ann began playing on the jukebox and I wondered if he put it on.
Mike stood up and walked over to place a kiss on my burning cheek. I was no longer anxious and suddenly felt proud to be the girl with this handsome and popular man. I soon settled in with the crowd and despite pressure from Mike and his friends I would only drink shandy. I avoided the Cherry B's I would normally drink at the dances just in case I have too many. I dare not go home drunk.
Mike's friends made me feel welcome and I enjoyed all the attention. I was having a wonderful evening but all too soon, the barman was ringing the bell for closing time.
"Come on then, Lynn," Mike said, "let's get you home. I've left the van at the gym. We'll pop round and get it."
"We can walk up if you like, I don't mind."
"No, I'd have to walk back again, wouldn't I? Come on, it's not far."
I felt a little awkward as we began the short walk to the gym. Mike had not attempted to hold my hand and I didn't want to take his in case he thought me too forward. He put his hands in his pockets and I took the opportunity to link my arm through his, feeling pleased when he smiled at me as if to show his approval. Mike continually talked about the gym. I tried to get my driving lessons into the conversation but with little success. Mike soon dismissed the subject and returned the conversation to his training sessions.
We arrived at the gym and Mike unlocked the door before looking back at me. "The van keys are in the office. Come on, I'll show you around."
I looked inside. It was dark and I wasn't keen. "It's okay, I'll just wait here for you."
"No you won't. Come on I'll make us a quick coffee." He took hold of my hand to lead me inside. He turned one of the lights on but the place still looked dull and gloomy with the bars, fitness frames, and equipment seeming to give out images of sinister shapes and shadows. The ceiling was high as were the small windows and I thought it resembled a church hall. I became a little concerned when Mike locked the door behind us and put the keys back in his pocket. It seemed unnecessary as I didn't really want to be there for long.
"I haven't really got time for coffee. I'd better get home. My mum'll be worried if I'm late. She's probably out looking for me now." I gave a laugh trying to make the situation a bit lighter but I was becoming increasingly worried.
"We won't be that late." He pulled on my hand as he led me across the floor.
As we walked towards the office I was aware I might have made a mistake. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be at home watching the television with my parents, arguing with my brothers, even making the tea and toast for supper. I realised how foolish I was to let myself get into this situation.
Mike let go of my hand as we walked into the gymnasium’s office. He sat on the edge of the desk looking at me and grinning.
I looked back at him like a frightened lost child. "Please, Mike," I said nervously. "Please, can you take me home now?"
"Not just yet. We've not had much chance to be on our own tonight, have we? What's a date without a bit of kissing and cuddling?" He grinned again as he put his arms out towards me. "Come here."
"No, Mike. If you don't want to take me home then I'll just walk on my own but I've got to go." I made my way to the office door but stopped when I heard the rattle of keys.
"I'll have to let you out first."
"Stop messing about, Mike. I'll get in trouble if I don't get home soon." Panic was turning to dread. I kept biting on my bottom lip, checking my watch though I knew the time, and scratching my arm though I had no itch. If he approached me I would fight. Fight as my father taught me when I was a child.
"Get in trouble. Maybe in more ways than one." Mike laughed before continuing. "You know I've never been out with a Lynn before. Have you got a middle name?"
"No, just Lynn. Lynn McLean." Mike was not a boy he was a man, a strong well-built man and I wondered if my punches would have any effect or would they just make him angry. I wanted to run but there was nowhere for me to run. A great fear and panic was building up inside of me.
However, the look of menace on Mike's face changed to a look of concern. "Lynn McLean and you live near the Meadowview Estate."
"I live on Meadowview."
"Are you related to Martyn Mclean?"
"Yes, he's my dad." I struggled to get the words out as I trembled close to tears. "Why, do you know him?"
"No, I think my dad knows him." He looked at the clock. "Bloody hell look at the time. I'm sorry we've had such a great night I didn't realise it was that late. Come on we'd better forget the coffee and get you home."
I sighed in relief thinking Mike obviously wasn't the bad man I feared he was and feeling a little foolish I had let my imagination run away.
As Mike drove through the town a lot of young lads and girls waved when they noticed his van. It felt good to be sitting next to him and I smiled and raised myself in my seat slightly; proud and happy to be Mike's girl.