This is the seventeenth part of a fiction serial, in 756 words.
Following the Zoo date, things moved on for us. Although Becky’s job made meeting up hard, she got around that by suggesting I stay at her place when she was on early shift. We both got back there around the same time, and I soon got used to Fliss and Jackie when they were there. Fliss was actually very amusing, self-deprecatingly hilarious in the way that some very fat girls are. Jackie was okay, but wary of me, as Fliss used to date men before meeting her. I would have liked to have told her that there was no danger of me trying to get off with Fliss, but didn’t want to appear rude.
What started with me bringing a few toiletries and a change of clothes ended with me having my own space for stuff in Becky’s wardrobe. I laughed out loud when she showed me the three-inch gap that she had managed to create for me, and usually hung my things on a hook on the back of the door instead. She certainly didn’t get any tidier in honour of my presence, and creeping out during the night to pee, I had to be very careful to not trip over the usual piles of her stuff. Most weeks, I was there at least three nights, and when her shifts had finished, Becky would usually stay at mine for three in return.
Fortunately, she didn’t mess up my place quite as badly, but some nights when I got home from work, I would find the small house a lot worse than I had ever left it.
And she got to meet my parents one Sunday, for the usual blow-out lunch. My mum was excited to see her, and chatted as if she had always known her. But that was my mum all over. Dad was less impressed, it had to be said. I didn’t need to discuss it with him, as I had a good idea why. Becky didn’t rush to help to clear up. She didn’t bring anything, like wine, or flowers. And she talked a lot about her job. All the time. Despite his outward friendliness, he was something of a traditionalist, and he wasn’t used to young women like Becky. Not at all.
We also managed that long weekend in Barcelona, at the end of May. We both took enough time off to get there on the Friday, and come back on the Monday. Becky had a guide book, and a list of things she just had to see. The thought of relaxing on the city’s beach was very far from her mind, and we hit all the spots from just after breakfast, until they closed. Parc Guell, Tibidabo, the central market, Sagrada Familia, Gaudi Museum, up and down the Ramblas, and even the illuminated fountain at night. It was amazing what she managed to squeeze in to that short time, and she took countless photos on her phone too.
Despite all that rushing around, we had a great time. Staying at a small hotel in the old gothic quarter, and eating far too much tapas whenever we spotted a nice place. There was no sense of awkwardness at all, and it felt like one long wonderful date. On the plane home, she told me she was going to start a blog. I had heard about those, but didn’t know anyone who did one. She was going to call it ‘Becky and Frankie’s World’, and keep a record of everything we did together. I really liked the sound of that. It had a ring of permanace about it.
Once we got back, I finally got invited to visit her parents for dinner one Saturday night. It was a mare of a drive though, all the way out to Hertford. They had a nice house, bigger than my family home in Gidea Park, and it was full of expensive things. I was told to call her dad Dougie, and her mum Marie. I later found out that their names were Douglas and Maria, but they were sticking to their claimed Scottish background. I also discovered, much to my delight, that they hardly knew Scotland at all. Even their grandparents had been born in London, and although they had spent a two-week holiday near Loch Ness once, they hadn’t even been to Edinburgh. I never did get why they were so desperate to be Scottish, just because their name was Maclaren.
But I learned never to mention that to any of them.