Lynn's father interferes, but his plan goes terribly wrong.
I was in no mood to see Brian and knowing he would look for me at my house and at Kathy's, I went to the brewery where my father worked. Although I was close to my father, I would usually only confide in my mother and I had no intention of telling my father what I had seen. He was sitting at his desk entering figures into a large book when I walked into the transport office. He was pleasantly surprised to see me and readily accepted my offer to give him a lift home after work. I put the kettle on and sat staring at my distorted reflection in the chrome of the kettle. I remembered the evening that I had with Brian and our friends. How relaxed and content I felt with him and how we had embraced in my kitchen after we had emotionally opened our hearts and minds to each other. But then I wondered how a lad that seemed so loving and kind could be such a two-faced rat.
I pictured him kissing the woman and remembered all my friends and I seeing her doing up her dressing grown. Why would someone still be in their dressing gown so late in the afternoon and I wondered what had gone on before he left the house? I thought of Mike and his attitude towards me. What is it with me? I thought. Why do lads just want to upset and hurt me? What is it that I do wrong? I couldn't stop the tears forming in my eyes as I thought of Brian kissing the woman again. Why, Brian? Why have you done this to me?
"Are you all right, Lynn?" my father called out.
I hadn't noticed him looking over at me and his words startled me. I was heartbroken and as I looked back at him the tears began to run down my cheeks. "Oh, Dad, it's all gone wrong," I said.
The following evening, I was chatting with my mother in the kitchen when my father walked in. I gave out a noticeable look of shock when Mike followed him in and smiled at me.
"Mike was passing and he said he would help me to lift the privets on Friday and fix some fencing instead," my father said.
"At last, you're actually going to do it," my mother remarked.
"Make a pot of tea. The lad's only got a few minutes," my father said.
Mike sat in the chair next to me making me feel uncomfortable and I stood up. "I'll do it, Mum," I said. "Anyway, I like the hedge. You should leave it alone," I continued.
"Not your choice. It's going. Oh, and I've invited Mike to stop for dinner afterwards. It's only fair after helping us."
I was further shocked and disappointed by my father's obvious interference in my relationship with Mike. I shared a look of amazement with my mother before we both stared across at my father.
My youngest brother had seen the van outside and came running in. "Are you two back together? Can you take me to the gym again?"
"You'll have to ask your sister, that's up to her," Mike said humbly. "But you know you can call at the gym anytime you like."
"Get back outside," my mother scolded.
"Mum, I want to talk to Mike."
"Out!" my father shouted and my brother left without another word.
There was an atmosphere with me declining to speak or answer anyone, except my mother, while Mike was there. Mike said he had to get back to his father at the gym and because of that and probably my hostile attitude, he soon drank his tea, said goodbye, and left.
I waited until I heard the front door close. "Dad, how could you do that? Why didn't you ask me first?"
"You were wrong," my mother added. "You shouldn't have invited him to dinner."
"What? He's coming round to help with the work. It only fair to reward him with something for his time?" He shook his head. "I don't know what you're making all the fuss about."
"Come on, Lynn. We'll take a walk up to your grandma's and leave him to think about what he's done."
We spent half an hour at my grandmothers and as we were returning home I noticed one of my brother's younger friends running up.
"Here comes your fiancé," my mother joked as she saw the boy. "He's got some flowers, roses."
I smiled as the boy ran up to me. "Thank you, sweetheart," I said. I kissed him on his cheek as I took the roses from him turning his face scarlet. "And where did you get these from?" I asked suspiciously.
"I didn't steal them," he said. "The man brought them."
"The man. What man?"
"The man on the motorbike. Your dad hit him."
"Oh, no," I yelled. It could only be Brian that my dad had hit and I knew how serious that could be. I ran off towards the house with my mother hurrying behind me.
I stormed into the house. "Dad, what have you done?"
"What have I done, I'll tell you what I've done. How dare that two-timing bastard come to our door, and bring flowers as if that's gonna make it all right. I took his flowers and slung them over the hedge then I clumped him."
"I hope you didn't hurt him, Dad."
My father stood in front of me. "Hurt him, of course I hurt him. He looked me straight in the eye and I thought he might have a go back but, lucky for him, he didn't."
I pushed past him and rushed up to my room as my mother started shouting and arguing with him.
It was Thursday evening and I was relaxing in the bath. I was in no hurry. It would be half an hour before Top of The Pops came on the television. I heard the distinctive sound of Brian's motorbike as it came up the street and pulled up outside our house. Conflicting thoughts flooded my mind. I dearly wanted to see him but that woman. I could see that damn woman. I looked over at my dressing gown as the loud single knock echoed through the house.
Downstairs I heard my father open the front door and I put my gown on and stood at the top of the stairs listening. I dearly wanted to shout to tell my father to leave him alone but I did not want Brian to hear me. Anyway, surely he wouldn't hit him again after the fuss my mother and I made.
"Can I speak to Lynn please?" Brian said.
"What are you stupid?" my father shouted.
"You want to hit me again? Well, get on with it. I don't really care but whatever you do I'm gonna keep coming back until I've spoken to Lynn."
"She's back with Mike. She doesn't want to go out with an idiot like you."
My mother had heard my dad shouting and she rushed out to them. "Stop it, Martyn. Leave the boy alone. The neighbours are looking over." I realised by my mother's panic that my dad must have got hold of Brian outside the door.
"You get rid of him then," he said and he walked back into the house.
"Are you all right, lad?" my mother asked.
"I'm okay, but what he was saying about Mike, is it true?"
"I don't know about that but it's clear that she doesn't want to see you at the moment and you can't keep pestering her if she doesn't want to see you."
"I've got to talk to her. I need the chance to explain and then, if she wants, I won't bother her again. Surely I should get a chance to tell her what happened, shouldn't I? Honestly, Mrs McLean, I've done nothing wrong."
"Then you'll just have to give her a bit of time. Be patient. If you've done nothing then I'm sure she'll speak to you once she's settled down a bit. She's so easily upset is our Lynn."
Upstairs I was still standing on the landing listening. My mother closed the street door and turned around to see me at the top of the stairs. She shook her head but then gave me a slight smile and walked off. I went to my room and sat on my bed listening to Brian's motorbike pulling away and looking over at the vase of roses.
When I arrived home from work on Friday, Mike and my father had done most of the fence. "How's it looking, Lynn?" Martyn asked.
"Tacky." Mike raised a hand and greeted me but I ignored him and went inside the house. I helped my mother with dinner but neither of us were impressed with the idea of Mike stopping for dinner.
Dinner was served and Mike sat at the table next to me. He behaved perfectly, chatting to my parents, messing with my younger brothers as if they were his best friends and trying to treat me with lots of affection and friendliness as if he thought he still had a chance with me. I left the room as I volunteered to wash the dinner dishes leaving Mike to continue sucking up to my family. When I went back into the room my father and brothers were getting ready to set off to my grandmother's. I looked over and saw my mother putting on her coat.
"Mum, what are you doing? I thought you said you weren't going?"
"I wasn't going to but your father thought it best if we leave you two alone for a while to sort yourselves out." She paused before continuing. "I won't go if you don't want me to."
"No, Mum, I don't want you to go. Not without me. If you just wait I'll get ready."
"Enough, girl," my father said. "Mike told me he just wants to talk with you to clear the air so the least you can do is listen to what he has to say."
"Only five minutes," Mike said. "Let's clear things up one way or another and then I'll get off home."
"I said enough. Do as you are told for once, girl."
If I told him what Mike had done to me perhaps he would not be so happy to leave me alone with this animal. But I dare not do that. I thought maybe I should listen to what Mike had to say. There were certainly things I wanted to say to him about what he had said to Brian. Anyway, I knew he wouldn't try anything on, not here, not in my father's house.
"I'll see you later," my mother said. I could see she was not happy with the arrangement but was not taking my side. I looked her straight in the eyes, shook my head and turned my back on her. After my family left, I turned off the television, turned on the radio and tuned into Radio Caroline. I sat in my father's chair waiting for what Mike had to say. He walked over to me and tried to take hold of my hand but I pushed him away. "Just say what you have to say and then go."
"Lynn we had some good times and you know how much I think of you."
"Is that why you said I squealed like a piglet when you forced yourself on me?"
"He was stirring me up. Telling me about his sex life with you."
"You are a liar. We are not having sex."
"Of course you are and it's a door I opened up for you. You owe me for that."
"I owe you nothing. Just get out and go home."
"No, I want my reward first." He moved forward, grabbed hold of my hand and moved it between his legs. I pulled violently away. "Mike, stop it. I don't want to do this. You said you wanted to talk to me."
He ignored my words and began to move his hand up under my skirt. I tried hard to pull his hand away but he was too strong for me. "Stop it, Mike. Come on please, let's talk then." Again he ignored my pleas and tried to pull my skirt up forcefully while I struggled trying to hold it down. I knew I had to get away from him and I moved my arm back and threw a punch but he blocked it with his arm and laughed.
"I know you want it. It's been a long time."
"No, I don't. Leave me alone." He pulled me onto the sofa and put his knee on my arm pinning it down. "Don't, Mike, you're hurting me," I said. He gripped my other wrist, moved his free hand under my skirt and began tugging at my tights and knickers, trying to ease them down.
"Mike, you promised you wouldn't do this to me again. All right we can make up if you want to. I'll go out with you again. Just let me get up, please." I looked into his eyes, the evil piercing eyes that I remembered from when he attacked me before, like some wild beast about to bring down a zebra. "No, Mike, please don't do this to me." I tried to swing my legs off the sofa and break away from him but he pushed down harder on my arm. I felt an unbearable pain running up my arm and screamed loudly but he ignored me. He yanked hard on my underwear causing the leg of my pants to pull tightly into my thigh before the material split apart.