Judy flirts with Brian at his sister's house.
♂Sunday night I arrived at Barfield feeling downhearted in the belief I must have annoyed Helen. I waited at the bus terminus until eight o'clock the previous night before giving up on her. It was foolish of me expecting her to travel to Locksford on our first date. I also felt I should have stopped with her at Minstrels last week and walked her home as my friends said and as she may have expected.
I called at the Ship Inn but the girls were not in there. I went across to Minstrels hoping I would see her in there; she must be in there. I would be devastated if she weren't. My life suddenly brightened up when I saw her dancing with her friends. Again she was looking wonderful and I stood for a while looking before walking over to her wondering what sort of reception I would get from her. When she saw me walking over she began smiling and I knew I was still in with a chance.
"I'm sorry, love," she said before I could speak. "I didn't finish work at the hairdressing salon till late. It's a busy day Saturdays. By the time I got home and had a bath, I would never have made it by seven."
"It's my fault," I said. "I should have met you here."
"But, you don't come here on Saturdays, do you?"
I laughed. "Not usually, but I can make an exception for you."
"Oh, I'm flattered but I'm also thirsty."
Not a subtle hint but a welcome request, all the same, causing my fears of rejection to disappear. "Right, let’s go to the bar and I'll get us a drink."
"You sound like my type of boy," she said and we set off to the bar.
Helen stood sipping at her port and lemonade while I was thinking of something intelligent to say but it was Helen who broke the silence. “So, how was The Hollies then?”
“I thought you had tickets?”
“No, I was gonna pay at the door. You’d probably only have to pre-book tickets if The Beatles were there.”
“Have you seen them, The Beatles.” She carried on without giving me a chance to reply. “We all went to The Cavern one night and they were there and I’ve seen them at the New Brighton Pavilion as well. They were fantastic; I’d die for them.”
We stood at the bar talking for a while about pop stars and who had seen whom and where. After a while, I looked across to the entrance and saw my friends walking over.
Helen followed my gaze. "You can have a chat with them if you want," she said. She picked up her glass and swiftly finished off her port and lemonade. "I'll go over and see the girls."
"You don't have to go. I was just gonna get us another drink."
"No, I don't want to stand with a crowd of lads. Just come over when you're ready and we'll have a dance." I noticed Helen send a smile towards my friends as they got nearer, lingering eye contact with George in particular before walking off, but I thought little of it.
Badger walked up to me and gave a laugh. "You want to be careful with her, kid," he said. "You know what she's after?"
"Course I do," I replied. But I didn’t and I glanced across to Helen before looking back at Badger. "What, what do you mean?"
Badger gave another laugh. "She's after a ring on the finger. She's looking for a husband."
"Oh leave off; of course she isn't."
"They're all a bit devious. One of my old mates in Altrincham had to get married. The girl told him she couldn't have kids because of a medical problem, next thing she's pregnant and we all knew she done it deliberately."
"Maybe that happens with the girls you hang about with but Helen wouldn't do anything like that. She has more class."
Badger raised his eyebrows and tutted a few times while shaking his head. "Don't say you weren't warned, kid."
I decided to ignore Badger's silly remarks and I set off to find Helen. I reached her just as the disc jockey began to play a popular love song and we had a slow intimate dance before going to find a table to sit at. I knew I must avoid the errors of the previous week.
"Do you want a drink, Helen?"
"I'm all right for a bit, maybe later."
It went quiet for a moment. Again I was trying to think of something to say, knowing she was waiting for some kind of a response from me. "Can I see you in the week?" I said clumsily. "Tuesday, I'll come up here on Tuesday. We can go in The Ship for a drink and then have a walk up town or something?"
"Yeah, if you want. I'd like that."
"Right, that's settled then. I'll go to the bar now and get the drinks in," I said.
I went to the bar knowing my bashfulness was obvious and I knew I must give a more positive impression of myself. When I came back with the drinks I tried to act casual and mature but I knocked her shoulder with my elbow and caught her hair with my hand as I awkwardly put my arm around her. "You don't mind do you?" I said, ignoring the fact I had knocked her.
Helen brushed the back of her hair with her palm as if to put it back in place. "Course not. I don’t mind you putting your arm around me but if you mess up my hair again you’ll get that pint of beer over your head."
I smiled, hoping she was joking but I was not really sure she was. "Can I walk you home tonight?"
"You'll miss your bus and it'll take you ages to walk back to Locksford."
"I can stop at my sister's tonight. She lives here in Barfield."
"There's really no need. A big gang of us walk up together. You might as well go home on the late bus. You can stay at your sister's Tuesday night if you want."
"Well, if you're sure you'll be all right?" It suited me; I was on an early shift the next day and travelling from Barfield early in the morning could be a problem. However, Tuesday would be different, and I was looking forward to spending the evening alone with her and to be seen out with such an attractive girl.
I got off of the bus at Barfield on Tuesday night just as Helen was walking up to the bus stop to meet me. The speed of my walk increased as I approached her, my nerves tingling and my heart pounding. I couldn’t wait to put my arms around her and kiss her. The thrill of it would be great, kissing a beautiful girl in public, in full view of everyone. I thought she would be just as eager. As I reached her a huge smile beamed on my face and I looked into her eyes building up the nerve to openly kiss her in the street.
Hi!” she said. “Let’s go to the pictures. Thunderball is on. I love James Bond.” Before I got the chance to get my kiss Helen took hold of my hand and we began walking to the cinema.
I gave a sigh, thinking maybe she was like some of the other girls. Shy in the street but going wild when in private. Could this be another Amanda? I glanced at her as we walked thinking she looked more attractive every time I saw her. No, she didn’t need to be like Amanda; like I said to Badger, she was class. "I'm stopping at my sister's tonight,” I said. “So we don't have to rush off after the film. I can go to work from her house.”
“That’s good. But you might get fed up if you have trouble getting to work from here all the time.”
"I'll never get fed up seeing you, Helen. Anyway, I'll be getting another motorbike soon and it'll make things a lot easier."
"You had one before then?"
"Yeah, but it blew up."
Helen laughed at the comment. She looked at her watch and sped up her walking pace slightly.
After the film, we took a slow walk up to Helen's house, walked down a side entry and began kissing by the back door. I was startled by her immediate passion but then we were both startled when her mother opened the door.
"I thought I heard a noise," her mother said. "Why don't you bring the lad in for a brew instead of standing out there in the cold?"
"We're all right here. You don't want a brew, do you, Brian?"
"I don't mind. I could do with a nice cup of tea."
"You were supposed to bloody-well say no," she whispered while giving me a hostile look.
Helen put the kettle on but again we were not alone for long before her younger sister walked into the kitchen and, despite Helen's obvious annoyance, the young girl had no intention of leaving. I drank my tea quickly thinking my sister might be annoyed if I left it too late turning up at her door.
We went out the back door and halfway along the entry but our embrace was brief. Helen didn't prolong the kisses because her sister followed us out and was standing by the doorway looking along the entry.
"I'll see you in Minstrels on Sunday," I said.
"Well, I'm on a funny shift again this week. You don't mind, do you?"
Helen looked towards her sister. "Why don't you go inside you nosy bugger?"
"It's all right, just want some fresh air," she said.
Helen turned back to me. "I suppose I don't mind, Sunday's fine. I’ll sit at home and do some knitting for the rest of the week, shall I?" Despite her sister's unwanted interest we briefly kissed before saying goodnight.
I made my way to my sister's house. Although the streets where my sister lived were made up of old terraced houses they were not like Helen’s, being very small two rooms up, two rooms down, ex-industrial workers dwellings.
I greeted my sister and could tell she'd had a few drinks. Her husband was on a night shift and Judy, her neighbour, friend, and Bingo companion, was sitting in an armchair. Judy was twenty-four years old, unmarried, and lived in the next street with her young son. I met her a few times but never saw her drunk before. She was wearing a tight sleeveless top and a pair of figure-hugging white slacks showing off her hourglass figure. I thought she looked remarkable for an older woman and always enjoyed the strong fragrance of her Avon cream perfume whenever she was near.
"Well, Linda," Judy said. "Have you gone and got your sexy young brother round here just for me? That's really nice of you."
I thought she was joking but it embarrassed me a little and I laughed as she grinned at me.
A large Woodpecker Cider bottle was on the coffee table. "I'll get another glass," Linda said. "You can help us to finish this bottle off." I wasn't fond of cider, but it was preferable to another cup of tea.
"When are you going to take me out for a drink then?" Judy asked.
The question surprised me and I wondered if she really was serious; surely not. "You're too late. I'm courting," I replied.
"Well, darling, I guess I'll just have to be your bit on the side then, won't I?" she said and began laughing at my obvious embarrassed reaction.
Linda grinned and shook her head. "You wait until tomorrow. You won't believe what you've been saying."
"I know what I'm saying. You don't think I'm drunk, do you?" Judy picked up her empty glass and gave another laugh. "Your little brother can come and warm my bed anytime he likes." She waved her glass at Linda. "Can you fill up my glass as well?"
"I think you've had enough, don't you?"
"Oh come on, Linda, just one more glass then I'll get off home. One more won't matter now, will it?" She gave a silly grin and blew a kiss at me. "So, who's the lucky girl then? Do I know her?" she said. Her eyes were glassy and her head wobbled slightly as she spoke.
"No, I don't think so. She's a lot…" I stopped mid-sentence, thinking how it might annoy Judy if I were to say Helen was a lot younger than her.
"When are you gonna fetch her round to meet me?" my sister said, after pouring the remains of the cider into Judy's glass.
"She just lives up the road, so you'll probably see quite a lot of us."
"Good, you've hardly been near since we moved here."
"Yes, I have. I've been here loads of times since the christening." My nephew's christening was the first time I saw Judy. I remembered how magnificent she looked in the red miniskirt suit. She was with a man but she looked over at me a few times. I smiled at her but every time she saw I had noticed her looking at me she grinned, fluttered her eyelashes, and looked away.
Judy emptied her glass and unintentionally banged it on the table imagining it to be further away than it actually was. "Well I guess I'd better get going or Heather will be wanting double babysitting money, won't she?" Judy stood up. "I feel really wobbly, would you like to see me home, darling?"
"No he wouldn't," Linda said. "I'll see you home."
Judy gave a laugh and walked round behind my chair. She cuddled her arms around my neck as she bent over to kiss me on the cheek. A simple kiss, but a kiss which sent a tingle of pleasure down my spine. "One day, darling, who knows?" she said. She grinned at me before walking off to the street door with Linda.
"She was acting a bit strange," I said when my sister returned. "I've never seen her like that before."
"She's a bit lonely that's all. She badly misses her ex, even though they split up years ago. She has her ups and downs and today she was really down, that's why I invited her over for a drink; mind you she was half cut when she got here."
"It's hard to imagine her when she's down. She's always so happy-go-lucky when I see her."
Linda gave a laugh. "That shows that you don't know her that well then, doesn't it. She's only happy on the outside. Well, I'm off to bed. I'll throw you a blanket down."
I thought of Helen and what a lovely girl she was. I was proud to be seen out with such a good looking girl. I knew I had to treat her as the special girl she was but my mind kept drifting because of the aroma in the room. Judy's perfume was still lingering after all this time. She was not like Helen, she was a woman, and with a child so she knows what it's all about. My thoughts dwelt on the wonderful moment when she kissed my cheek. What a thrill it gave me with those soft, warm, cider moistened lips and her wonderful perfume aroma so close to me. How I would love to take her out dancing at Minstrels one night. However, I was brought down to earth by the thud of the rolled-up blanket my sister threw down the stairs. No, I thought. Judy was way out of my league and it could be another disaster if I tried to take her out. I smiled, she could always have a place in my thoughts though.