Judy plays a trick on Brian.
Tommy and a large group of my railway friends had arranged to meet at Minstrels on Sunday night to celebrate England's World Cup football victory of the previous day. I was not sure whether to go or not. I did not relish the thought of seeing Helen and George together. I decided I would go thinking they can’t ruin my life any more than they have done already. I arrived on my motorbike and as I walked into the club I looked around and noticed that Helen was in there. Why was I surprised to see her; why was I even looking for her? It’s over, of course it is. However, I noticed George was not with her and I thought that he wisely decided to stay away tonight. I needed to stop thinking of her. Although I thought some of the blame was mine, what she did was unforgivable. But every time I looked across at her I felt a terrible loss. I loved her and despite everything, I still do.
I danced with a friend of hers and we both looked over at Helen talking to one of the girls. "On her own, I see," I said. "The novelty soon wore off, didn't it? He's probably out looking for his next conquest."
"He's not well. Apparently he's at home in bed with flu."
"In bed with flu.” I gave a laugh. “Are you sure he's not in bed with Flo?"
The girl stared back at me as if she knew my humour was false. "You can joke if it helps but we all know how you feel. You're a nice lad, Brian, you deserve better than this and I'm sure you'll find the right girl one day."
"Yeah, just don't introduce her to my mates, eh, or so-called mates."
"Everyone's shocked about what happened."
"Not half as shocked as me. I never saw that coming and that's the truth." I gave another laugh. "I won't have her back, we can still be friends but I won't have her back after he gets fed up with her and goes off after someone else."
"I don't know a better way to say this, Brian, but they're getting engaged next month."
"You're joking. Tell me you're joking." The girl just looked at me and shook her head. "What the hell is she doing that for? Has she gone mad?"
"I don't know. Myself, I don't want to get married until I see the first wrinkle on my face."
"She must be pregnant; he's made her pregnant. Shit, how long have they been at it behind my back?"
"I don't think she's pregnant, a little insecure maybe, but I know she's upset about what happened and now she's just trying to make the best of a bad deal."
"Yeah, well I should tell her. Tell her what a scumbag he is. He's already messed up one marriage."
"Don't do that, it'll make you look pathetic. Wish her the best, kiss her goodbye and move on."
Move on, easily said, but if you are the one to move on it's not so easy to achieve. Yes, I felt that despite what happened I was still in love with Helen, but I seemed to be constantly depressed about it. When our dance finished, I decided to take the girl's advice and I walked across to see Helen.
I felt nervous and I also noticed how uneasy Helen looked as I made my way towards her. She moved away from her friends before I got to her. "Please, Brian," she said. "Don't have a go at me in here."
"I've not come to have a go at you. I've just come to wish you all the best for the future even though I don't understand why you are taking such a big step with George. I think we both know we never really hit it off, always arguing, but I did love you Helen and I think I still do." Although I did feel a need to have a go at her, I couldn't bring myself to be hostile towards her. I captured the familiar aroma of her hair lacquer and perfume and dearly wanted to take her into my to hug and kiss her.
"I know," she said. "We just weren't ready for each other. You'll make some girl very happy one day. If only you'd have..."
I put my fingers to her mouth. "I said I've come to wish you well, and I mean it. I hope everything goes great for you. There's no reason why we can't still be friends but don't expect me at the engagement party." I smiled thought about a goodbye kiss like the girl said but I decided not to. I just said, "Goodbye," and walked off. I had a heavy heart and followed it with a heavy night of drinking with my friends; openly celebrating England's World Cup victory and secretly trying unsuccessfully to ignore the depressing news about George and Helen's engagement.
The club was closing and Tommy was helping me out of the club.
“It's all right,” I said as I staggered from the club with Tommy's arm around my shoulder. “I'm not that drunk you know.”
“No,” Tommy said. “Of course you’re not.”
“Shit, where did I leave the bike?”
“Don't worry about that. You'll not be needing it tonight. Not in your state.”
“Stop messing, Tommy. I can ride it all right.”
“I'll take you round to your sister's and you can get the bike in the morning.”
“But, Tommy, I can give you a lift home and save you waiting for the last bus.”
“You won't argue with me if you know what's good for you. Now let's get going,” Tommy said and began leading me off on the short walk to my sister's house.
The lights were on at Linda’s house and Tommy knocked on the door before leaving me and hurrying back to catch the late bus. I stood waiting for Linda to open the door but it was Linda's friend, Judy, who let me in. I stumbled along the passage to the living room. "What, have they gone out?"
"Yeah, my mum's got Craig for the weekend so I said I'd babysit for them. I don't mind now and then, saves them paying Heather doesn't it?"
I swayed towards the kitchen. "I'll make a brew. Do you want one, Judy?"
"Tell you what," Judy said. "You sit down. I think it's best if I make the drink, don't you?"
"Okay," I said and walked over to drop down on the sofa. "Where have they gone?" I shouted through to the kitchen. "I wanted to see my lovely sister."
Judy walked back into the living room. "They've gone to a do, a presentation, something to do with Bob's fishing. Didn't you know about it?"
I shook my head as I looked at Judy standing by the door. I smiled at her thinking how desirable she looked. The alcohol in my system was enhancing my thoughts; I could do it with her, I was sure. If only the girls of my age had the charm about them which she seemed to have but I knew she wasn't a girl, she was a woman; a hot-blooded and highly sexed woman. I was sure she would know what to do if it all went wrong. I remembered the time when she teased me and thought maybe she was waiting for me to make a move on her. "Where were you the other day?" I said. "I thought you were coming to do my hair."
She gave a grin. "I had something on, didn't I?"
"I've always fancied you, Judy, and I think I might let you have your way with me tonight."
"Well thanks, aren't I the lucky one," she said. "And how many drinks have you had?"
"Not many, you're frigging drunk. You come and see me when you're sober and then we can talk about me having my way with you, as you so charmingly put it, can't we?"
"I'm not drunk, I never get drunk." I began to laugh although I didn't know why. Judy shook her head and then went back to the kitchen, but I didn't see her return as I fell asleep across the sofa..
"Brian, come on it's getting late," I heard the words but was not sure who was saying them or even where I was. I woke up on the sofa with my sister shaking my shoulder.
"Oh, my bleeding head," I said. I felt someone beside me and looked at her, surprised to see Judy under the blanket with me. I quickly sat up, startled by the thought I had spent the night with her.
She yawned. "I've had a really good sleep. What about you, Brian?"
"What are you doing here?" I said as I threw the blanket off and was both shocked and embarrassed to see Judy in her skimpy underwear and my shirt and trousers on the floor.
"You were really fantastic last night, darling. When Linda goes out to the shops do you think we can do it again?"
I jumped up and grabbed my trousers. "I've got to get to work."
"Oh don't go to work?" Judy said, watching me as I hastily dressed. "Come on, why don't you cuddle up with me again?"
"No, I've got to go," I said. "I can't afford another day off."
"Well drink your tea first," Linda said, looking as if she were feeling sorry for me for some reason. I ignored her and rushed to the door." Brian, wait a minute, we are only..." Linda called, but I left the house without even a goodbye.
My motorbike wasn't outside and I realised I must have left it at The Ship car park and I hurried off towards the town centre.
By the time I got home, it was too late to go to work. I spent the rest of the morning polishing my motorbike but I felt an urge to go back to my sister's house, wondering what really had gone on the previous evening. Did we have sex? Was this to be the first time I ever had sex and I was too drunk to remember it. The thoughts of Judy remained with me all the time and in the afternoon I set off for Barfield. I had to find out.