Friction when Brian comes face to face with Lynne's ex-boyfriend.
I arrived with my father and brother Phillip at the boxing venue in Manchester. I sat in my seat thinking of the previous night with Brian. This time I knew I was in love. I had often thought I was in love before, even with Mike, but nothing could compare to the feelings I had when I was with Brian. I just couldn't get him out of my mind.
I thought of him riding off last night. When he went out of sight I went inside, closed the door, and leaned back against it. I held my wrist behind my back and tilted my head backwards, touching the glass panel of the door. My mother walked from the kitchen and saw my faraway look.
"Zing," she said.
I looked at my mother and imagined her conversation with Kathy. "Thanks, Mum," I said and then I ran up the stairs. "Zing, zing, zing," on every step.
I heard my father shout from the living room."What the hell is zing?"
"Oh, shut up and watch the tele'," my mother replied. "You wouldn't understand."
I was brought back to reality when the music started for the first contest. I had always enjoyed these events and because my father seemed to know most of the people I always seemed to get a lot of attention. My excitement built up as the evening went on and Carl's contest drew nearer. I felt proud of him as he boldly walked out from the dressing rooms. My little brother looked so different. When had he become such a fit and well-built young man? I looked around the place noticing how it was packed to capacity and I smiled when they all stood to cheer Carl as he entered the ring.
They were evenly matched for the first round, but Carl seemed to be slightly on top for the second. His trainer was talking to him as Carl sat in his corner and I felt as if he were looking over at me, smiling. The bell sounded for the third round. Carl rushed across hitting his opponent with a cluster of punches that totally disorientated the hapless youngster. The lad dropped his guard and swayed about like a human punch bag. Carl hit him again with a powerful right punch and the lad dropped to the canvas. The crowd was in a cheering frenzy as the referee counted him out. I jumped up and down cheering and shouting hysterically with the rest of them. I was so excited and I couldn't help myself as I ran down the aisle to my brother as he left the ring. A steward stopped me but when he recognised me as Martyn's daughter he let me pass. I threw myself into my brother's arms and to my surprise, he gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek before resting his head on my shoulder. I could feel the heat and sweat from his body and the forceful pumping of his heart as I pulled against him. My whole body was tingling with pride and excitement as the flashes went off from a host of cameras.
Sunday night, I pulled alongside Brian in the Tavern car park and got out of the car smiling. "There's a change of plan," I said. "My friend Pat has a date tonight and asked if we would like to make up a foursome. I said we would. You don't mind, do you?"
"Course not. How'd the fight go?"
"Our Carl won. It was electric. I wish you could have been there. You'll have to come next time."
"Yeah, your dad will probably drag me into the ring."
I gave a laugh at the thought. "Listen, I said we'd meet Pat in Kings. I think it might be better if we went in the car. Pat's date has no transport and I thought we could all go about in the Mini." Brian agreed and he followed me back to my house and left his motorbike in my front garden as a clear indication to my father that we had gone out in the car.
When we walked into The King's Arms we were both surprised to see Pat sitting with Badger. The four of us got on well as the evening went on and I was laughing at the clash of personalities between Pat and Badger.
I noticed Mike as he walked into the bar and he noticed me at the same time. I looked away and saw Pat looking at me with concern. I smiled at her but the smile was only on the outside and I was worried in case Mike caused a scene. Mike walked to the counter and I kept him in sight indirectly without actually looking at him. He was talking to the barman while looking over towards me and I felt a slight relief when he looked away and carried on talking.
The four of us continued talking and laughing for a while. Every time we laughed, Mike would look over as if he thought we were laughing at him but most of the time he was looking away and taking no notice. I began to feel more relaxed thinking that if he were to say something it would be when we were leaving.
Pat and I went to the ladies' room as Brian went to the bar to get another round of drinks. I became worried again when I saw Mike walking to the bar as well.
I looked at Pat." I hope Mike doesn't cause trouble," I said.
"I shouldn't think so. I don't think it will kick off in here but maybe we should move on somewhere else though, just in case."
When we walked back into the bar, Mike and Brian were arguing, as I had feared.
Mike saw me and though he was talking to Brian he looked straight at me. I couldn't make out what he was saying but I heard the word: piglet.
The word was no sooner out of his mouth when Brian's fist hit him full force, busting his lip and causing blood to run down his chin. Mike jumped back and roared like a wounded bear. He threw a punch but although he was powerful, he was slow and Brian moved out of the way and then came forward and hit Mike just below his ribcage. It only seemed to wind Mike slightly and he raised his arm to throw another punch. Brian weaved back out of the way again but instead of throwing the punch Mike's foot came up and caught Brian between the legs. Brian doubled over with his hands between his legs and staggered back, in obvious agony from the seriously accurate blow.
Brian was almost helpless and Mike was moving forward to finish the job and knock his helpless victim to the floor. I rushed across the room to try and get between them, hoping to keep Mike away, but before I got there Mike let out a scream and fell to the floor himself as Badger's chair struck him across the back of his head and shoulders.
"What the hell's going on?" I shouted to Badger.
"Tell you later. Just get your car round the front while I get Brian out. The barman's a friend of his and he's just made a telephone call; the police are probably on the way already."
We all got into the Mini and I accelerated away. "Are you okay? Do you want me to take you to the infirmary?" I said.
"No, I'll be all right," Brian muttered. "I don't fancy the infirmary."
"Take no notice of him," Badger said. "Get up to the hospital. It can be dodgy, a kick in the nuts."
I decided to take Badger's advice and I drove to the infirmary. Brian was taken to a side room for treatment. While we sat waiting Badger commented on the amount of nurses that were going into his room and then coming out giggling. It seemed as if all the nurses that were on duty were coming to have a look. When Brian eventually walked out there was a huge grin on Badger's face. "Don't say a word, Badger. Not, a word."
"What?" Badger said as he looked about innocently.
I dropped Pat and Badger off at Pat's house before taking Brian back to my house to pick up his motorbike. I asked him in for a cup of tea and took him through to the kitchen. I had heard Badger's side of the story but he told me he had no idea what went on at the bar. We had asked Brian earlier but he had been a bit evasive.
"Okay, Brian, will you tell me what happened? I've got to know."
Brian was standing by the kitchen door. He shrugged his shoulders and then shook his head. "He just came up to the bar and started to have a go at me so I whacked him."
"You whacked him; yeah, I saw that bit. But what went on before that, Brian?"
"Nothing. He was just bad-mouthing you and taking the piss out of me."
"Bad mouthing me. I heard him say piglet. Was he calling me a pig?"
We just looked at each other for a while. I did not want to fall out with Brian but I needed to know what Mike had said about me. "I'm sorry. It was my fault. I should never have gone in there but I didn't think he would say anything to you."
"He's jealous, Lynn and who can blame him. I'm not as silly as he thinks I am. I know he was trying to provoke me. I can tell that you and him must have been close at one time. I only hope that it really is over between you."
"Oh, it's over, Brian. You can be sure about that." I looked down, shook my head and then looked back at him. "I'm sorry but I've got to know what he said, Brian. You've got to tell me."
"Lynn, I can't. It doesn't matter anyway. I know I've not known you for very long," he said, "but I can feel something special between us. You are a wonderful girl and I feel so lucky to be with you. I want to share every moment with you that I can."
I walked over and put my hands on his shoulders. "That's really nice, Brian. Thank you. And I feel the same about you. But I have got to know what he said about me."
"Lynn, it's not nice. I don't want to repeat it. It upset me and it might upset you."
Not the most diplomatic of things to say to me. Now I really did need to know. I gave a deep sigh before speaking. "Brian, I think I'm in love with you and I hope that you love me. But we can't start off with secrets. Mike was talking about me, bad mouthing me as you put it and I need to know what he said. If it upsets me, it upsets me, but it might upset me more if you don't tell me and I have to go and find Mike and confront him."
After another short pause and a big sigh from Brian, he started to tell me. "He said he had done me a favour. He said..." Another pause as he looked away from me and it looked as if tears were forming in his eyes and he seemed to catch his breath. "He said: the first time he made you have it. You squealed like a little piglet."
This was much worse than I thought. How could he, how the hell could Mike say that about me? I looked at Brian, we were not crying but tears seemed to be forming in my eyes as well. "I don't know what to say."
"Well, say nothing." He took me in his arms and kissed me. Turning his body, he leaned me back slightly with his arms supporting my back as I wrapped my arms around his neck. Our bodies blended together as if they were made especially to fit each other. Our lips seemed as if they couldn't be parted as the single kiss prolonged into a seemingly endless exchange of emotional passion.
"Oh, sorry," my mother said as she walked into the room.
We broke away from each other with both of us highly embarrassed by the arrival of my mother. My mother gave a little laugh as she walked over to fill the kettle. The program that the family had been watching had finished and my brothers followed our mother into the kitchen. I introduced Brian to my family but I was a bit peeved that although my brothers showed no interest in Brian they sat themselves down at the table and it was obvious they had no intention of moving. I decided to take Brian into the living room hoping my father might, at last, take a bit of interest in him, remembering how he had always been chatty when Mike called. My father was reasonably pleasant when he greeted me but he just gave a nod when Brian said hello. The boys followed us in and they all sat watching the television. My mother walked in with a tray full of cups of tea. I could sense an obvious unfriendly atmosphere in the room as everyone ignored us and it annoyed me when Brian finished his tea quickly and got up to leave.
"Cheerio," Brian said as he was leaving. My father gave another nod and the boys continued to ignore him. Only my mother gave a friendly response and smiled at him.
When we got outside Brian gave a short sarcastic laugh. "They must think a lot of that Mike. I don't think I'm very popular."
"Who matters, them or me?"
He gave another laugh. "What do you think?" He gave me a hug and kissed me before arranging to meet me the following night. He started the motorbike trying to hide the pain of using the kick-start but I noticed and screwed my face as if I were feeling the pain with him.
I watched him ride off and then went back inside and looked into the living room. "Well, thank you," I said. "Thank you very much." I slammed the door and ran up the stairs to my bedroom.