Lynn convinces Kathy that another date with Brian is a good idea.
I woke up, looked at the clock and jumped up in panic before realising that it was Sunday. I looked out of the window. It was a bright sunny morning and I laughed when I saw the Gonk still sitting in the grass. I put on my dressing gown and went downstairs to help my mother with the breakfasts. It was twelve o'clock when I left the house and made my way down to Kathy's. I was feeling good, my father had booked two more driving lessons for me and I was pleased that I had succeeded in getting Kathy out on a date.
I pressed the doorbell and Kathy's sister Jackie opened the door. Jackie greeted me with her usual cheery smile and directed me to the kitchen. Although I didn't get on with Kathy's father, I knew that he was always at the local public bar by twelve on a Sunday and I confidently walked through to the kitchen where Kathy was busy washing some of her father's overalls.
"How'd it go last night, Kathy?" I said.
Kathy gave a brief smile. "It didn't go at all."
"Kathy, don't tell me that you didn't bother going."
"Oh I went all right, but he never showed up."
"He didn't turn up," I said with genuine surprise. "Kathy, I'm sorry, I was sure that he'd be there."
"It doesn't matter really, I'm not that bothered."
"No, I don't suppose you are, you bloody liar." I laughed and gave Kathy a friendly push on her shoulder.
"You jest," Kathy said jokingly. "You jest while my heart lies in a thousand pieces awaiting my lost love, trapped in the forest of a thousand demons."
"But wait," I said. "Look yonder, who is this emerging from the forest, it is the bold Sir Brian galloping triumphantly on his white donkey, the beads of sweat on his bronzed naked body glistening from the light of the evening sunset, his huge weapon in his hand."
"Are you two all right?" Jackie said as she walked into the kitchen.
"I thought you were going to Aunt Sheila's?" Kathy said.
"I am, but are you sure you don't want me to do anything before I go?"
"No I can manage, you get off out."
Jackie looked at me and grinned. "Huge weapon indeed, you mucky sod." Jackie left quickly as I playfully chased her from the house.
"You should let her help you?" I said as I returned to the kitchen. "She's a good kid. I think she'd really like to help more if you'd let her."
"I'd rather do it myself. I prefer her to spend any spare time she's got on her college work. I wouldn't like her to end up working at the bakery. I don't mind doing housework anyway, it's that damn factory I don't like."
"Let's forget about the bakery, we've got all day free. I bought that new Small Faces record yesterday and you can borrow it if I don't wear it out first."
"It's all right, I had the tape recorder out this morning and I recorded it from Radio Caroline. All On a Van."
I laughed. "No, Kathy, it's All or Nothing. Anyway, do you fancy coming down to the Coffee Bar for a while?"
"No I've got too much to do. Why are you going down there so early anyway?"
"I've got a driving lesson, but you can wait for me in the Coffee Bar."
"Yeah, I suppose I can read a book, or do some knitting, or study Newton's law of relativity or something."
"All right, Miss Smarty-Pants. You always were a bit of a swot at school, weren't you? Anyway, isn't your test next week?"
"Yeah, Thursday," I said. "I can't wait. My dad has a mate at the brewery who's got a Mini Minor for sale and if I pass my test he's gonna buy it for me. Just think, Kathy, we'll be able to go all over the place." I looked at my watch. "I'd better get going."
"Lynn, I've been thinking about what you said the other day. Perhaps I should start going out again. I'll never get a lad while I'm stuck in here, especially if you're doing the matchmaking," she added jokingly.
"Fantastic, come out tonight, I'm meeting Pat and I'm taking her down Kings."
"No, I can't tonight, but I'll go out tomorrow night."
"Great, that's really made me happy." I gave Kathy a hug and kissed her cheek. "I'll pop in on my way back and tell you how the lesson went."
After my driving lesson I was walking towards the bus station on my way home when I heard the screech of worn brake blocks as a bicycle pulled up beside me. I looked at him; Brian the lad who had let Kathy down on the date I had made for them.
"Hello," he said cheerfully.
I looked away and carried on walking.
Brian pushed his cycle across the pavement leaving it against a wall before running to catch me up. "Lynn, wait," he called, but I ignored him. He ran past me and turned, stopping in front of me.
"And what do you want?" I said sharply.
"Listen, I'm sorry. My train was derailed and I didn't finish work till half seven."
"Yeah it happens all the time, doesn't it. Every day I see it in the papers, another train derailed, another girl stood up. I promised her you would be there. You made me look a fool and you upset my friend. I don't like people who make a fool of me and I can't stand people who upset my friends."
"Come to the phonebox with me and we'll phone the shed; they'll tell you what happened."
"No thanks. Now get outta the way."
"You know Kathy likes me, and you know I like Kathy."
"Huh! You haven't even met Kathy."
"Look I'll do anything. Give me her address and I'll go and explain to her myself."
"You must be joking. I'm not giving you her address."
"Okay, well let Kathy decide. I'll be here at seven tonight. I'll wait over there by the phone box. If she wants to come I'll be here, but if she decides not to then she can just leave me standing about. Will you arrange that for me, for Kathy?"
I thought for a moment. I rather liked Brian and believed what he had told me. "I'll give her your message, but it will have to be tomorrow night, she's not out tonight. And get the number of the phone box, then if you get derailed again you can phone up."
"All right I'll get the number, but I'll definitely be here tomorrow. Thanks, Lynn, I could kiss you."
"I wouldn't try to do that if I were you," I said. "Now can you move out of the way please?"
Brian stepped to the side and I walked off. I turned to look back, but I turned away again when I saw him still there looking at me. As my bus left the terminus I saw Brian at the telephone box looking over at me. He gave me a wave and I couldn't help but return a huge smile and give him a wave back.
I sat on the bus thinking of my brief meeting with Brian. Even before I had turned to look back, I knew he was watching me. I felt a little awkward as if my body movements were being exaggerated. I could almost feel him looking at me, noting every joint and muscle that moved, every step, every slight movement of my hips, my arms, my hair was all being picked up by his eyes. I found the experience strange, but I didn't find it unpleasant.
I arrived back at Kathy's house with a smile on my face.
"All right, what's the silly grin for?"
"Guess who I saw at the terminus?"
"Nearly right. I saw that Brian. He said that he had a train crash or something and had to work late."
"I've heard nothing on the news about no train crash."
"No it was only a little one. Anyway, I arranged another date for you for tomorrow night."
"I don't think that was a very good idea, Lynn. I'm not sure I want another date with him. I felt really foolish and embarrassed when he stood me up. People looking at me, smirking and knowing that I'd been let down."
"He was really sorry about it and I think he was telling the truth about the train. Apparently, he was stranded miles away and didn't get back till dead late." I could tell by Kathy's lack of response that she was still unsure. "Look, if you like I'll go to the terminus with you. I can meet Pat again at Kings tomorrow night and I can wait with you until he shows up. If he doesn't turn up and I'm sure he will, but if he doesn't then you can come to Kings for a drink with us; what do you think?"
Kathy did not need much more persuading and she smiled as the thought of meeting Brian obviously became tolerable again.