Terry returns to the UK and gets some disappointing news.
Terry had moved from the transit huts at El Adem airfield into the barracks proper. He was sitting on the veranda outside his room counting the weeks he had been there. He shook his head and gave a sigh before looking at the address on the envelope, double-checking to make sure every detail was correct. It was the seventh time he had written to Jane and he couldn't understand why she hadn't replied to any of his letters. He drank the last drop of lager from his can of Amstel and threw the can into a bin outside the next room.
His friend opened the door and looked out. "Terry, do you fancy calling at the pigs' bar for a drink before we go to see Joan Regan?"
"What for, I've got another case of Amstel in my locker?"
"That's all right, we can dispose of that after we've seen the show. I'll get me ole guitar strumming and we'll have a singsong. You never know, Joan might have heard about my talents and she might want to come back and do a duet."
Terry gave a sarcastic laugh before going to his room to get ready for their evening's entertainment.
Although Terry was having a good time and a great social life getting drunk with the lads, he was missing Jane. He had received letters from Mark, but Mark hadn't mentioned Jane, and he was reluctant to ask about her, not wanting Mark to know he had strong feelings for her. He had letters from some other WRAF girls, some he hardly knew. He thought it was obviously Mark's handy-work, but he didn't reply to any of them. The only girl he wanted to hear from had seemed to lose interest in him as if he didn't matter to her because he wasn't there. He wondered if she had met someone else, could that be why she hasn't replied. Had she just binned his letters, like he had done with the letters from the other WRAF girls? He had his refuge, the pigs' bar. He could go there drinking with the RAF lads, or the Royal Corps of Transport lads, or the Lancers. He could go there, get drunk, and sing songs, laugh, and joke with the company. He could forget about Jane, forget about his strong feelings for her and his desire to develop an intimate relationship with her, marriage, yes even marriage. He could get drunk and forget his desire to marry her, despite all his comments to the contrary. However, the following day she would be in his thoughts again, and his despair would return because she had chosen not to write to him, not to reply to him, but to forget him.
It was the last week in March when the air force VC 10 landed at RAF Brize Norton and Terry stepped out into the cold wet evening. By the time he got back at Uxbridge, it was almost midnight. His friend Mark was asleep in bed and the other three beds in the room were empty. He jumped onto Mark's bed kneeling with a leg each side of him, pinning him down under the counterpane. Mark woke up startled but pleased at the sight of his friend Terry as he began playfully punching his arms and chest, causing Mark to laugh at the painless blows. Terry soon became fed up with the futile blows and Mark's laughter. He got off the bed and thrust a half-full bottle of Bacardi at him.
"Have a drink, me ole mate," Terry said.
Mark had hardly got over his laughing and although he probably didn't want a drink of the neat spirit, he took the bottle just to be sociable and took a sip from it.
Terry had drank half the contents on his journey back to camp and it was obvious he was quite drunk. He looked down to the floor as he sat on his friend's bed and his manner changed as he looked back to Mark. "You seemed to get my letters all right. I can't understand why Jane never wrote back to me. She hasn't been posted again, has she?"
"No, she hasn't been posted, but I think I know why she hasn't written to you. You probably left it too late writing to her."
"What are you talking about, Mark? I wrote to her as soon as I got there, I posted it with yours."
"Well, she never got it. She even asked me for your address. I gave it to Bob to give to her, but they started seeing each other so I suppose she didn't bother."
"What on earth's she doing with him? I know he was after her, but she told me she wasn't interested."
"She must be a bit interested, they’ve got engaged."
"What!" Terry bent over, looking at the floor before again looking up at Mark. "She didn't waste much time did she? Shit, why didn't you say something, Mark, why didn't you write and tell me?"
"Why would I write and tell you. I didn't think you'd be bothered. You always said there's plenty of women out there, and we all know what you think about WRAFs."
"Yeah, I know what you're saying, Mark, but she's special."
"Well, maybe you should have told her that. Maybe you should stop trying to kid yourself and everyone else that you don't want her cause she's a WRAF."
"I don't need a bloody lecture, Mark, I want her back. I've really missed her and I've got to get her back, I've got to."
"You'd better get a move on then. They're getting married in June. "
"June! That's ridiculous. How the hell can they get married in June?" He shook his head and looked over to Bob's bed. "What time will that shitbag be in?"
"I don't think you're gonna like this. He's on leave. Gone up to Sheffield with Jane. They won't be back till next week."
"Terrific, ter bloody rific." Terry shook his head again then looked at Mark, trying to force a smile. "Oh well, who gives a shit anyway," he said, though he fooled neither himself nor Mark. "Have you got some Coke to go with this Bacardi? I'm getting pissed off drinking it neat."
"No, but Jock will have some."
"Come on then, let's go and wake the sod up."
Bob was driving back to Uxbridge in the early hours of Monday morning, with Jane sitting next to him trying unsuccessfully to get some sleep. Both of them were excited to be in his new car, but Jane was also reflecting on how well she had got on with Bob's parents. They seemed to be so happy about the wedding arrangements. She opened her eyes and glanced at Bob before looking to the road ahead. For some reason, there suddenly seemed to be a lot of traffic on the motorway.
Jane closed her eyes again wondering why Bob had lied to his parents, saying they had been seeing each other for over three months. Maybe it was because if his parents knew it was only half that time, they wouldn't have been so comfortable about things. His parents lived in a large detached house and she was impressed with the luxuries they enjoyed. She always knew his father ran a haulage company, but she never gave much thought about how well off they were.
They had visited his father's transport yard and it surprised Jane that it seemed just as big as the MT section back at Uxbridge. A lot of the lorries were out, but Bob told her that his father had fourteen, four, and six-wheeled Fords, and due to an increase in his work he was about to buy some more.
To show their acceptance of Jane as a future daughter-in-law and their approval of their engagement, his parents surprised the pair of them when they bought Bob a new MG Midget as a replacement for the old Vauxhall Cresta they had travelled up in. He was supposed to get the car for his birthday a few months later, but his father brought it forward in celebration of the happy event. They fell in love with the sports car and were eager to show it off back at camp. Jane imagined driving around the camp roads with the top down, waving to all her friends as she sped past. Then she imagined the Station Warrant Officer screaming and shaking his fist at her as she roared past the station headquarters.
She was startled back to reality as Bob swerved around a lorry. "There's a lot of traffic on the road," she said. "Can't you slow down a bit?"
Bob gave a laugh. "It's a sports car, Jane, it's meant to go fast."
"Not this bloody fast it isn't, you're just showing off."
"Course I'm not. We don't want to be late back at camp, do we?" Bob gave another laugh. "Bit of a scaredy-cat, aren't you?"
"No, I'd just like to get back in one piece that's all. We'll be at the Watford Gap services soon, do you want me to drive for a while so you can have a blow?"
"Don't be silly, I'm all right." Bob eased the car's speed down a little. "Anyway, you're not insured to drive it."
"Not insured. Your mother said I was, and she said the car was for the both of us."
"She doesn't know about the technical stuff. Anyway, she meant the car was for both of us once we were married, but don't worry, I'll let you have a drive around the camp when we get back." Bob smiled at her briefly before looking back to the road. "What a fantastic week it turned out to be. What with the car, and you, you were great between the sheets this week, you little sexpot." Bob smiled at her again, but she didn't return the smile.
"I still say you should have spoken to me first."
"Are you saying that you didn't want to go to bed with me?
"No, I'm not saying that. Do you know how embarrassing it was, for your mother as well as me, to be sitting down to tea on our first evening at your house, listening to you and your father discussing whether we should sleep in the same bed together? The pair of you were discussing morals, discussing me, as if I weren't there."
What do you mean morals? It's not like we haven't done it before, three times we've done it in the back of my car."
Done it! "Done it, Bob. What was it a chore or something?"
"Don't be silly, you know what I mean. Anyway, you could have joined in the debate."
"Joined in the debate. How could I do that, Bob? I was bloody mortified. I thought my face was going to burst into flames. All I wanted to do was to slip down under the table and hide. Why didn't you talk to me first, give me some kind of warning?"
"Jane, it was a spur of the moment thing, but it had to be done. Would you rather we slept in separate rooms with me creeping into your room for half an hour when my parents were asleep and then going back and leaving you on your own?"
"No, but we could have been a bit more diplomatic. I'm sure we would have got your parent's approval anyway, but the way you and your father were talking made me look like some tart you'd just met in the pub."
"Don't be silly. Look, have you enjoyed this week?"
"Yes, you know I have." Jane knew she had enjoyed the week, very much. At last, she had found a man who loved her for herself, loved her enough to marry her. The lonely nights gone and she would soon have someone to cuddle up to for the rest of her life.
"Well, that's all that matters, isn't it? I love you, Jane. I love you lots and lots, and we will soon be the happiest married couple ever." He smiled and squeezed her leg, but when he looked back the cars in front were stopping and he stamped on the brake.
"What's happened?" Jane yelled, in panic.
Just in time, the MG midget screeched to a halt behind the vehicle in front. "Looks like there's been an accident. This could make us late. If you hadn't asked me to slow down we might have been past it."
"Past it, yeah, or we might have been part of it."