A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

There's a shock for Taylor...


Ricky hadn’t changed much.

Taylor arrived at the pub where he’d been asked to meet him two days before the wedding. He escorted Louella in, sat her down in a chair near an open window for the draught (it was the hottest day of the year so far), and he bought their drinks.

This is the place,” he told her when he had joined her in an equally well-positioned chair, a welcome breeze washing over them. “We used to come here on the odd occasion before we were eighteen. It made us feel like major criminals and we had our eyes open for the law! But, of course, nobody was really bothered.”

Those were the days, he thought, smiling, old Ricky making out he was drunk after half a pint of mild and me not much better!

I hadn’t been in a pub until I started college,” she told him, “it’s a boy thing I suppose, going to pubs and getting lathered!”

Things are changing,” murmured Taylor, “it’s the nineteen sixties, the Beatles rule the world and the bad old days are over. Girls can wear what they like as long as it’s decent and don’t have to cover everything from their pretty necks to their saucy ankles in the name of propriety!”

Not every change is for the better,” she told him, “take poor Samantha for instance.”

Girls have always been likely to make that mistake,” murmured Taylor.

But is it a mistake made by the girls only? It makes me sick, and you know it does, love,” she said intensely, “It was you who said it takes two to tango but when it comes to taking the blame it’s all down to the girl, and it’s not fair.”

But boys don’t get pregnant,” he objected, knowing from experience that he was going nowhere but playing the devil’s advocate anyway.

But boys make the girls pregnant and they’re probably more to blame than they are,” she said, obstinately. “You know what they used to do to lasses who got in the family way? They called them mad and locked them in mad-houses! That’s what they did! And there are still some poor souls, their lives ruined, languishing in that kind of institution, and only because the boys they were with didn’t understand the word no.”

It does sound unfair when you put it like that,” he said thoughtfully.

What other way is there to put it?” she demanded, “the trouble is, it’s the girls who get into trouble and get branded as mentally deficient whilst it’s the boys who are out and about sowing their wild oats and being jolly good fun like boys ought to be!”

Okay, okay Louella! I agree with you, you know, and you might have noticed that while you’re with me there’s been no chance of you getting in the family way even though I sometimes get the most romantic of urges!”

I know,” she whispered, “it’s one of the reasons why I love you.”

I’d have thought it would have put you off me, not doing what comes naturally!” he murmured.

What comes naturally is all right for the birds and the bees, but for people who are supposed to have intelligence and an eye on the future it’s not always the best option,” she said, “in fact, it’s usually the worst!”

Well, let’s agree to agree and enjoy ourselves,” sighed Taylor, “I wonder what’s happened to my old mate Ricky. I expected him to be here by now.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth that the pub door swung open and a young man, casually dressed and with a woman in tow, also casually dressed for summer in shorts and a loose blouse, walked in.

Ricky!” called Taylor, though it wasn’t necessary, for the bar was almost empty except for themselves.

Ricky grinned and escorted his lady friend to the seats where Taylor and Louella were sitting.

You know Amelia?” he asked Taylor, “and who is this bright jewel from the Heavens I wonder?” he added, looking at Louella, who was dressed in a short summer cotton frock, displaying bare legs down to a pair of sandals.

Let me introduce you to Louella,” smiled Taylor, “we spend quite a lot of time together at college. In fact, I’d say she was my best friend.”

I thought that was me,” grinned Ricky, his expression making out that his feelings were hurt.

You know what I mean,” stammered Taylor, not quite sure what either of them meant.

Of course I do,” laughed Ricky, “and to put the record straight, Amelia is certainly my own very best friend, and always will be. Sorry Taylor old chum, but that’s the way it is.”

I’ll cry,” threatened Taylor, and all four of them laughed.

There’s best friends and best lovers,” said Louella thoughtfully, “and you don’t always want to kiss your best friend but you always want to kiss your best lover!”

That’s very astute,” smiled Ricky, and to prove that he approved of it he kissed Amelia on the cheek.

Let me get the bride and groom some drinks,” said Taylor.

That’s all right. Students can’t afford what I’ve ordered,” said Ricky, and he signalled to the barman who brought across to them a bottle on ice and five champagne glasses.

Taylor looked at Ricky quizzically.

Five glasses?” he asked.

I’ve got a surprise for you,” grinned Ricky.

You have?”

I most assuredly do have. You remember that first camping holiday we had a few years back? The one where you spotted that girl in a tennis outfit and snapped her picture? You must remember, because, and excuse me if I mention it Louella, you seem to have revered that woman ever since...”

It’s true. I fancied her, but I didn’t know her,” agreed Taylor awkwardly. “I guess it was a schoolboy crush.”

Well, a couple of weeks ago, before I knew you were bringing Louella along, I went back to that campsite out of curiosity, by car this time and not on my bike. The same guy was running it, and I got him to tell me who the family in the next tent had been even though it was four years ago. But he knew, all right, he kept records of dates and addresses. There had been that trouble with the vicar’s boy pinching our bikes, and it seems that wasn’t all he pinched because the girl’s tennis racket went missing at the same time, and it turned out that it was quite a valuable racquet, a gift to her from the famous Fred Perry. Anyway, the lass’s father kicked up quite a fuss when he found out.

Taylor swallowed, remembering that racquet and knowing exactly where it was, in his suitcase back at college where he kept it when he wasn’t using it to knock balls over nets with Louella.

Anyway, he told me who the girl was and where she lived, and I got in touch with her,” smiled Ricky, “I thought you’d be pleased. And guess what?”

What? Asked a confused Taylor.

She’s outside this very pub at this very moment, ready and willing to see the boy who took her photo and worshipped her in solitary moments in a teenage bedroom!”

Then he waved towards the bar room door.

It opened slowly, and then a young woman dressed in white walked in.

Taylor swallowed. He knew exactly who it was and that her name was Angela.

© Peter Rogerson 18.08.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on August 18, 2019
Last Updated on August 18, 2019


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..