This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 875 words.
When the rest of the family got back, Susan didn’t hesitate to announce that I was now her boyfriend. I was suitably quiet, and not a little embarrassed. Although she had stopped short of doing the deed, she had definitely confirmed her serious intentions when we had been alone together, much to my delight. I was also left wondering how a young woman who had supposedly never had a boyfriend had developed such talents.
Keith’s mum and dad looked less than impressed, but his mum did agree with Susan that my prospects were very good, and that I came from a respectable local family. Her dad went out the back to do something in the garden shed, and Keith looked very happy. He shook my hand. Very formal, and not something The Four Musketeers had ever done.
He was getting rather posh.
Back at my house, I arrived with Susan, much to my mum’s surprise. She had come back with me to tell my parents that we were now officially a couple. Mum decided that she should offer Susan a drop of Port to celebrate the occasion, then sat chatting to her about Keith going to university. When I walked her home, Susan kissed me passionately on the doorstep, like some actress in a film. It was blatant, for anyone to see. And she hoped everyone did see. Then she told me to pick her up on Friday evening, to take her to the cinema.
If Susan thought she was calling the shots, then she was right. But only for now.
In just over a year, I had suddenly become attractive to women. Even ones I thought I had no chance with, like Susan. I soon realised that gave me the power that I had often envied about Johnny. It also came with some new responsibilities of course.
But I decided not to worry about those.
My new-found confidence knew no bounds. Back at work the next week, I started to flirt with the office typist, Helen. I half-expected her to fob me off with more guff about her wonderful boyfriend, but her reaction was the opposite. She sat with me at lunchtime, and asked me where I lived. Then she pulled a face when I told her. “South of the river? That’s miles away from me. I live with my mum in Islington”. North London was unfamiliar territory for me, especially as I wasn’t driving, and didn’t have a car. But it wasn’t impossible, using a couple of buses.
So I brazened it out, asking her out for a drink on Friday night after work. She smiled a lot, and took her time to reply. “Well my Trev always goes to the pub with his mates on Fridays, then usually football at Arsenal on Saturday afternoons when they are playing at home. So we could have a drink, just as long as you know I am spoken for, and don’t tell anyone at work”. Before we had finished lunch, it was agreed.
I knew I was supposed to be taking Susan to the pictures on Friday, but I would just tell her I had to work late, and change it to Saturday instead. She had already made her big announcement that we were together, and I very much doubted she was going to go back on that in less than a week.
A couple of days later, I decided to pop round and tell Johnny I was now Susan’s boyfriend. We hadn’t seen that much of each other for a while, and I wanted to remind him about our previous plans to have party when we all turned eighteen. They had been made many years earlier, and although things had changed since, I saw no reason not to go ahead with it.
Johnny’s mum and dad were watching telly, so we went up to his room. He was worse than ever, turning into a real Flash Harry. Boasting about how him and Georgie were selling knocked off leather coats and shoes, and making a small fortune in ready cash. Then he showed me his provisional driving licence. “I’m starting lessons next month, and after I pass, dad’s buying me my own van. I dunno what you earn in that office job, but I reckon I could buy and sell you, no problem”.
When I told him about Susan, he whistled. “Wow, she’s a right sort. You done well there, Danny. How did someone like you ever manage that? Have you knocked her off yet?” I tapped the side of my nose and winked. Let him draw his own conclusions. I asked how things were with Janice.
“She’s just Janice, you know what I mean? She reckons we are gonna get married, have kids, all that. She won’t go all the way until I put a ring on her finger. She don’t want me to get a van, neither. Says I should get a proper car. I mean, how stupid is that? I told her I need a van for work, to earn money, if she wants that diamond ring on her finger. Between me and you mate, I’m pretty fed up with her”.
That gave me an idea. And I didn’t mention the eighteenth party.