Jane returns home after the attack.
After the attack, Ray tried to talk to Jane, but she wouldn't answer him. She just lay curled up with tears running down her face, remaining silent and still, afraid if she moved or made a sound he might attack her again. It seemed like forever before he got up and left, but still, she didn't move until she heard him moving about in the flat upstairs.
Jane put on her dressing gown and made her way down to the bathroom. She started to run the bath and took off her gown, but she dropped onto her knees with her head over the toilet and was violently sick into the pan, continuing to retch long after she had emptied her stomach.
She was crying as she got into the bath and began scrubbing herself repeatedly, but though she scrubbed herself thoroughly she couldn't lose the smell of Ray's sweaty body odour mixed with his aftershave and it seemed to linger in her nostrils as if he were in the room with her.
Jane put on her gown and walked over to the bathroom door, but stopped as she took hold of the handle. She thought she heard a noise out in the hall and stood for a while listening, but all was silent. She slowly opened the door and it seemed to creak more than usual. She was feeling frightened and vulnerable and before she stepped out of the bathroom she looked about in the shadows for any sign of movement, ready to dash back into the bathroom and bolt the door. Her movements were slow as she made her way to the foot of the stairs. A sudden creak came from one of the downstairs rooms. She panicked and began to dash up the stairs thinking Ray had been waiting down there, waiting for her, wanting to violate her again. Her heart was pounding as she continued up the stairs believing someone was behind her, but she was too terrified to turn and look. She ran across the landing and into the flat hastily bolting the door behind her before hurrying to her bedroom.
Jane dropped the bedsheets into the washing basket and then got dressed before lying on the mattress and pulling one of the blankets over herself. She was still having bouts of sobbing and tears formed in her again and trickled slowly down her face as she laid waiting for sleep to come and relieve her fear and distress, but sleep didn't come easy for her.
* * * * *
Jane woke up just before midday and looked at her watch. She never slept this late even on the mornings after the Saturday night dances back home. Even so, it took a bit of effort to get up from the mattress. She felt the need to tidy herself up before leaving the room, but the pains in her groin, her stomach, and her head hampered her as she struggled to walk over to the small mirror on the windowsill. She was startled by her reflection, looking dishevelled, ghoul-like almost and did her best with her brush and a few tissues to freshen herself before heading for the door.
Rose was sitting at the table drinking coffee and she looked over and grinned at Jane as she walked unsteadily from her room. "Cor you look a mess, Jane. You and Ray must have had a right good ole session last night; you were making more noise than me and Kev."
"How could you bloody well let him do that to me?" She shouted. "How could you, Rose?" Tears trickled down her face as she spoke, as much from her frustrated anger as from her distress.
"Oh don't cry, love." Rose stood up and tried to put her arms around Jane, but Jane pushed her away. "Come on now, Jane, this is the sixties, not the twenties. You're eighteen years old. You've got to live a bit. Anyway, I thought you liked Ray."
"I'm not eighteen, Rose," she shouted. "And whether I like him or not he had no right to do that, no bloody right at all. Why did you let him, Rose? Why?"
"I'm sorry, Jane, I thought you two were right for each other. Look, do yourself a coffee and I'll go up to the pub and fetch the boys back. We'll get a few bottles and have a good ole sort out."
"I don't want to see him, Rose."
"Don't be silly, he's a nice bloke and he's got a lovely pad upstairs going to waste. If you move upstairs with him things'll be great. You'll be set up."
"Set up, set up with him. Rose, are you mad? I don't ever want to see that monster again."
"Look, love, just have a think about it. I was talking to Ray in the pub and he really likes you." Rose picked her coat up from the back of a chair. "I won't be long and then we'll all get together and sort it out."
Jane stood watching Rose leave and felt appalled she thought it such a trivial matter. She remained quiet and still for a few moments, gazing blankly across the room until she heard the front door bang shut. She wanted to freshen up but had no wish to go down to the bathroom. There was no more hot water in the kettle and she didn't want to wait for the kettle to boil again. She wanted to be out of the house before the others returned and quickly washed her face from the cold-water tap before stuffing her things into her case and hurrying from the flat.
Jane rushed up the road to the cafe, knowing Carol would be there. Sunday was her odd job day and she told Jane she always spent it cleaning and maintaining the cafe. Jane offered to help her, but Carol told her the cook would usually call in to give her a hand and she was not fond of the cook.
Carol lived with her mother not far from the cafe. She told Jane they had a spare room she could move into if she had any problems. She dearly wished she had taken up the offer earlier. Although Carol was a lot older than her, she thought they seemed to get on well and Carol was now the only friend she had in the world. There was something special about her. She had only been there for just over a week, but there was a closeness between them that she couldn't quite explain.
The closed sign was on the window, but she saw Carol's coat on the hook and could hear the radio playing. The door was not locked and she walked in, putting her case on one of the tables. Noises were coming from the kitchen and she walked through, unprepared for the sight that confronted me. Carol was leaning against the wall engaged in sexual intercourse with the cook. Jane stood and stared as if frozen to the spot with her eyebrows raised and her mouth open.
The cook looked at her and grinned, but looked away and carried on as if he were further excited by her appearance.
Carol reacted differently when she noticed Jane at the kitchen door and she yelled angrily at her, "get out, get out," and shoved the cook away while adjusting her clothing.
Jane turned and ran back through the cafe grabbing her case as she went past the table. Her case was banging on her legs as she struggled to run along the pavement. What the hell is wrong with these people? She thought. All she wanted now was to be back home with her family and friends. She began to regret leaving home and longed to be back in the comfort and relative safety of her own room. She hurried along to the Underground station and caught a train to Victoria and then a coach to Bedford and home.
Jane walked up to her house and stood at the door hoping it wouldn't be her mother who answered the doorbell, but it was. To her surprise, her mother showed signs of obvious relief and she threw her arms around Jane as she welcomed her back home. Her family made a fuss of her, but within days, the relief of her safe return was replaced by resentment because she had sneaked off and left home in the first place. Her father returned to being indifferent and her mother to being hostile.
The weeks flowed past and although Jane was showing all the signs, it still took a while for her to admit to herself that she was pregnant. She received confirmation from her doctor, but she was frightened to tell her mother and kept the worry and despair to herself for a few more weeks. She was waiting for her mother to be in one of her better moods before telling her, hoping she would help and support her, but fearing she may not.
"Your dad's thinking about getting a car. That lot at number twelve have got two cars now. Goodness knows why they want two cars. Just bloody showing off."
"He'll have to apply for his test then?"
"He used to drive during the war. Thinks he still can claim a licence from the army."
"That'll be great. We can all go for days out."
"Yes, to the seaside. We haven't had a family trip to the seaside for ages, have we?"
"Maybe Dad will win me another teddy bear like he did before."
"That was years ago. Surprised you can remember that far back."
"Well I still have the teddy, don't I? So that keeps reminding me."
She gave Jane one of her few affectionate smiles. "We did have some good times then."
Jane returned the smile. This seemed as good a time as she would get. "Mum, I need to talk to you. I know you'll probably be angry, but if you hear me out, you'll see it wasn't really my fault." The smile had already left her mother's face. Jane looked at her and found it hard to continue, wishing she had kept quiet.
"Well come on then, girl, out with it."
"I've been to see Doctor McKay. Mum, I'm pregnant, but..."
"What! Oh no, I don't believe it. How the hell could you do this to us?"
"Mum, I was..."
"Save it, I don't want to hear all the filthy details thank you very much. What's the neighbours going to say, have you thought of that?" Her mother's face was scarlet with rage and the veins in her neck were pulsating with blood.
"Mum, please, please let me explain."
"Shut up, shut up," she screamed. She made a fist and banged the side of her hand on the table. "I knew it, going off to London with your tail up like a bitch on heat. I knew what you were after. How the hell could you do this after all we've done for you? Get out. Get up to your room and out of my sight you filthy, little trollop."
Jane became fearful of her mother and thought it best to do as she was told before her mother started hitting her. She hurried from the room and up the stairs, but her mother followed her screaming more insults and calling her all sorts of unsavoury names. She dropped onto her bed looking up at her mother and frightened to say anything in her defence. Worried if she did her mother would lose what little control she had and would probably lay into her. However, her mother kept on with the abuse, getting wilder all the time, and then Jane made the mistake. "Mum, please, the man forced me...," was all she got out before the woman started belting the side of Jane’s face with the back of her hand. She took three blows before dropping onto her pillow with her arms up, shielding her head from further blows. To her relief, her mother stormed back out of the room and clumped down the stairs.
The matter was rarely mentioned again as if they never had the conversation. When it was, it always ended the same with Jane hurrying to the refuge of her bedroom and my mother remaining downstairs, if she were lucky. When her tummy started to show clear signs of her pregnancy, she found herself suddenly packed off to a hostel in Margate. She had very little money and spent most of her time sitting out on a large balcony overlooking the sea. After a while, the seagulls began to annoy her. They sometimes seemed to be swooping down and screaming at her. At first, she dismissed it, but it began to play on her mind. They would often be there launching a seemingly endless tirade of abuse at her as if they were servants of her adoptive mother. She knew she was being silly, but began to take a dislike to the gulls and eventually stopped going onto the balcony.
Early one evening she was sitting in the lounge when she felt the pains as her contractions increased and she knew her time was close. She used to be terrified at the thought of childbirth, but now she just wanted to get it over. Holding her stomach and with her eyes half closed, she called out for help.
Jane gave birth to a fine baby boy whom she had to tend, feed, and nurse for six weeks. She felt a bit hostile towards him at first, being Ray's son, but she realised it was not his fault and became close and bonded with the child before he was taken from her leaving her to cry in her loneliness.
Jane returned home feeling sad and guilty not because she had a baby, but because she had to give him up and leave without him. Her parents seemed to behave as if nothing had happened and they expected her to act the same, and even her sister, though sympathetic, had no idea of the despair she was feeling. Many nights she cried herself to sleep, thinking of her little boy and wondering where he was and who had adopted him; hoping he would be loved more than she had been.
Jane was working back at the factory and she returned home one evening wondering what her mother would pull her up about that night. There was nearly always something, no matter how trivial she had to chastise her about something almost every day.
After tea, she had a bath and sat in her dressing gown watching the television for a while, but her mind was troubled with thoughts of her baby and she could find no interest in the television programs. She went up to her room and turned her transistor radio on low volume and then lay on her bed thinking of her little boy, and wondering when the emptiness she felt would start to ease. Her left hand was rubbing her aching breasts while her right hand was resting on her briefs moving gently back and forth, doing nothing more than comforting herself as she slowly started to drift towards sleep. Her door was partly open and she was unaware her mother was looking in at her.
"And what do you think you're doing?"
Jane was startled and quickly moved her hands and she sat up looking at her mother. "Nothing, I'm just trying to get to sleep."
"Nothing, nothing," she said. "I know exactly what you were doing you filthy bitch. I've had enough of you." She picked up the transistor radio and Jane feared she was going to throw it at her, but she threw it on the floor, bursting the casing and scattering the batteries before storming from the room and slamming the door behind her.
Jane returned from work the following evening hoping her mother wouldn't mention the previous night. She was thinking of going down to enrol in the dance studio again and thinking it would surely please her parents as she remembered how proud they were of her achievements there. Her mother was busy preparing dinner when Jane walked across the kitchen and filled the kettle. "Do you want a drink, Mum?" she asked, but her mother declined.
"I've booked you an interview at the careers office. You've got to be there at two o'clock on Friday."
"What careers office? I already have a job."
"The WRAF, you're going to join the Women's RAF."
"I don't want to join the air force." Jane stared at her mother. "Don't you think we should talk about this, Mum?" Her mother returned a harsh stare, but she didn't answer. "I'll do my best to please you, Mum. Please give me another chance. Please don't send me away again." In desperation, she gave an emotional plea, but it was ignored.
"You're going in the WRAF whether you like it or not. I don't want my Gwen corrupted. I don't want a whore in the same house as my real daughter."
Jane took a short, but deep breath, as if the remark had winded her. She was devastated and looked at her mother wide-eyed, but she was looking away. She walked up the stairs and sat on her bed for a while, stunned, wondering what she ever did to make the woman hate her so much. She tried to be strong, she was not a child she was a young woman and had to try to cope, but she was overwhelmed with despair and distress and was wondering what was to become of her.