A Scottish Romance
“How was your date?” Megan asked me later the next week.
“It went all right.” We were sitting on my couch drinking our afternoon tea watching the sun dance across the wooden floor.
“What did you two do?”
I poured more tea into my cup with the usual amount of milk without sugar. I proceeded to tell her where he took me. “What did you do after dinner?” She asked me.
“We went to the shore, walked for awhile and sat on the seawall watching the sunset.”
“Sounds romantic. Did he kiss you?”
“Nnoo, he didn’t. He was a perfect gentleman.” In the hall of the flat building I heard the postman. “You’ll never believe who his partner thought James looks like!”
“One of The Beatles. Can you Believe that? I’ve only seen their pictures a few times, but come on.”
“He does have the hair.” She said looking ahead maybe trying to image the two of them.
“Yeah. Do you think that’s who we thought he looked like? It could have been the hair that reminded us.”
“It’s possable.” Megan shruged repostioning herself.
I heard the postman locking the letter boxes and closing the front door. “I’ll go get the post. Be right back.” Grabing the key beside the door I walked out in to the hall barefoot. Three white envolpes were stuffed in my post box. Bill, bill, I thought to myself as I made my way into my flat. “What’s this?” I asked aloud looking down at a plain, white envolope.
“What is it?” Megan asked walking out of the bathroom.
“It’s a letter, I think. Post marked from London, it is.”
“From your Uncle Jack?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well open it up and find out.” If the old saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ was right then Megan would have been died a long time ago.
I ripped the back open heading to the couch. I threw the other two envolopes and the key onto the coffee table. The letter was written on regular notebook paper in black ink. It read:
I hope you don’t mind that I found out your address and I’m writting you this letter. I’ve missed High Park very much since I’ve come back to London. Work has been taking up all my time and I haven’t had a chance to go back. The first part of the su er will be even crazier. Late July and early August will be slower so I should be able to come down for at least a week. I do want to see you again. I keep thinking about you.
Please stay safe until I make it back.
All my love,
“Stay calm Kathleen! Stay calm,” My mind screamed at me. I sat there frozen starring at his messy handwritting. I could have spoted it anywhere by then. It was engraved in my mind.
“What is it, Kathleen? Is something wrong?”
“I keep thinking about you. . . All my love.” I blurtred out without realizing it. My arms slowly gravitated down to rest on my thighs.
Megan sounded as if she was a millon kilometers away. “What does that mean? Who is the letter from, luv?”
“I think I’m in shock. He. . .Me. . . Can you believe it?”
“I’d believe it more if you told me what your going on about.” Megan grabbed the piece of notebook paper from my limp hands.
Some how my brain told my eyes they have to blink every now and then. Meg read silently to herself with her lips mouthing the words. “It’s from James.” She at last after reading the letter a second time. “After all these weeks he’s still thinking of you. What are you going to do, Kathleen?”
“What can I do? It’s his move really. All I can do is wait until he comes back.”
“You should at least write him back.” Megan turned the evelope over. “There’s no return address.”
“Well, there you go, there’s your answer.” I stuffed the letter back into its container. Caressing the milky white envolope I tried to picture James sitting down writting the letter. He could have written it in his office or at home on the kitchen table. Does he even work in an office, I wondered to myself. I’ll have to find out next time I see him. “I have to wait until he comes back.”
“Your being so relaxed about all of this. If I were you I would be jumping up and down or something.” Meg stood taking the tea pot and cups into the kitchen.
“That wouldn’t solve or help anything.”
“How can you be so nonchalant about everything?” She walked back into the sitting room sitting back on the couch.
“Beacause I know everything always works out in the end. One getting all worked up never helps ones situation.”
The day of the spring dance had finally arrived. Shelly spent the whole day at my flat. I had never seen her so nervous in my life. This was to be her first date, my 5th offical date with Sean. With his crazy work schedule we spent more time on th phone whenever one of us were free than going out as a couple.
The day started out foggy. The thick mist covered the whole town. I should have taken it as my clue as to how the day would turn out; confusing, not knowing which way I should go.
I wore a long, spaghetti straped, pink and purple print dress. It had an empier waist with a jacket that matched the flower motif. I had to save for a month before buying it, but it was worth it. I looked and felt great in it. The cotten skirt floated about my legs making me feel so girly and sexy at the same time. The waist accentuated my smaller bust and hide my wider hips.
Shelly’s date arrived first followed by Megan and Henry. Sean was the last to show up. His face didn’t light up exactly as I had hoped it would. He seemed to be pleased with me, but there was such seriousness in his demeanor. “We really need to talk after the dance, Kathy.” He said to me after everyone else had gone out.
“We can talk while we’re at the dance. Now come on so we’re not late.”
Sean lightly held my elbow not letting me go. “There is something I have to say to you that is better said in private.”
“Would you like to talk now?”
“No, I couldn’t do that to you. I want you to have a good time tonight.”
“Couldn’t do what to me? Sean, is there something wrong? Please tell me now.” I tried to search his eye’s for a clue. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye.
“Kathy, come on! The dance is starting.” Shell yelled in from outside. Sean picked up my jacket from the table handing it to me. Giving me a weak smile he said, “Everyone’s waiting. . ."
The hall was already half full when we arrived. Shelly and her date rushed over to their mates and Henry dragged Megan out to the wooden dance floor as a loud, fast song was put on.
Sean and I stood off to the side of the dance floor. I watched him watching the dancers. I was frightened of what he would tell me. Still not knowing how I felt about him I was worried I was being unfair to him. There were times when he seemed to feel so much towards me and then others when I couldn’t tell how he felt. “Sean, I know there’s something wrong. I’m not sure if it’s something I did, but I think we both need to lossen up for the few hours we’re here. You were saying yesterday you had been working too hard. We both need to destress. Can we leave are problems behind us until we leave? What do you say, yeah?”
He stood still for a moment. Then taking my hand so very tenderly as a love song was put on he said, “Yeah. . . let’s dance.”
Most of the night we did do just that. We danced both the fast and slow songs, I thought my feet would have to be amputated by the time the night was over. I was pooped out after an hour and was begging Sean to have a rest and that’s when I heard it. he opening lines of the song, ‘Your the One’. The same song James and I danced to two months eailar.
“Just one more dance, Kathy. It’s a slow one.” Sean begged me.
“My feet are throbbing.” I whined not wanting to share a dance with Sean that would bring back so many memories of James.
“Please, Kathy. Then you can sit down and I’ll rub them.” He gave me the most pityful look. There was no way I could explain the situation to him.
“OK, Sean. Looks like I created a dancing monster.”
Sean held the tips of my fingers gently leading me back to the floor. His arms wrapped around my waist leading me to and fro. I wanted my mind to stay with Sean. The scene of James taking me into his own arms seaped in. No longer having the mental capcity to fight, I closed my eyes leaning into Sean. I heard the same words being sung to my heart as that afternoon. The words of the song said everything my heart held for James.
Everything is sweet
Ooo your so tender
I must surrender
My love is your love
Now and Forever
Baby you’re the one that I miss
You’re the one that I’m dreaming of
Baby you’re the one I love
Never let us part
Ooo never leave me
Please don’t deceive me
I want you only
You must believe me
Baby you’re the one I miss
You’re the one that I’m dreaming of
Baby you’re the one that I love
Could make me feel this way
Since I met you I just can’t forget you
I love you more each day
Through the coming years
Ooo all the while I know you’ll be smiling
You’re love will guide me through every mile
You’re the one that I long to kiss
“Hum?” A males voice broke through the fog. I wrapped my arms tighter around the muscular frame.
“The songs over, luv. You can sit down now.”
My mind wasn’t clear. My Body tingled from being touched. “Ja. . .” I opened my eye’s before finishing seeing Sean looking down at me.
“What?!” His eyebrows raised and the once somber smile faded from his cheeks.
Think fast, Kathy. “Jez, I’m thristy. Could you get me a drink?”
“Were you about to say something else?”
“No, of course not. What did you think I was going to say?”
“Nevermind.” He turned around on his heels taking a step and then turning his head and shoulders arounnd, “What would you like?” He asked dryly.
“A coke, please.” What I really wanted was a scotch and cola. I suddenly felt stiff and akward. I wanted something to take my feelings away and the memories of James. I couldn’t/didn’t want to wait for summer to see James again to know how he felt about me. The letter he sent gave me so much hope. During the dance with Sean I was in a daydream and I feared that’s what my relationship with James was. A daydream I created for myself. Not once in the days we spent together did he give me a clear sign hat he had feelings for me. Yes, he was concerned for me when I had my fall, but who wouldn’t be.
I flopped down in a chair with my back towards the dance floor and refreshment table. Shelly was off dacing somewhere, I would have to find them later. Megan sat at the table twisting her glass around half listening to Henry and his mates.
“What happened, luv?” Megan asked turning her attention to me.
“How do you know something happened?”
“The way you sat down. Did Sean do something? Where is he?”
“He’s getting me a drink. I did something, not Sean. . . something stupid.”
“It couldn’t have been that bad. Tell us, luv.”
“Do you remember I told you James and I danced at the store?” Meg nodded her head. “The song we danced to was ‘You’re the One’.”
“The song that just played.”
“Yes. I couldn’t help myself, my mind replayed the whole thing. I could even smell his soapy, sandlewood smell.” I brushed a strand of hair off my face. “I almost called Sean, James. I got the J-a out before I realized what I was doing.”
“He’s under your skin, you know.” Megan pointed her index finger at me.
“He’s more than under my skin, he’s in my brain. Can’t get him out, I can’t.”
Megan breaths in a deep sigh, “Kathleen, I don’t know what to tell you. You have a great guy right here.” She stopped and I nodded my head knowing she was right. “ You always go after what you can’t have, the ones you know that will only hurt you in the end. I’m not saying you should forget about James, just don’t get your hopes up to high.”
“I know. I’m such a strong, independent person until it comes to men. Then I melt down into a puddle of goo. How do I stop this, Meg?”
Megan though for awhile. Her eyes lit up with excitment, “We need to have an exorcism night.”
“We’ll take everything that reminds you of James and burn it, then we’ll get really pissed and curse all men.” She said the later in a wisper so her husband wouldn’t hear.
“Sounds like a plan, I’d say. Where’s my Sean? It’s taking him a long time.”
I’m about to turn arond to look for Sean when Meg says, “Don’t look know, but Sean is being bewitched by Ellie.”
I turned around to see Ellie Brown, my childhood bully/rival, flirting with Sean. She was too enthusiastically laughing at something he had said and touching his upperarm. “That bitch!” I tried to say under my breath, but my have come out louder.
“Kathleen Grace! Wait until I tell our Mum.” Shelly said sitting down beside me with her date close at hand.
“I’m sorry, but that woman has put me down all me life and now she’s stealing my Sean away.” I stood unsteadly. My feet begged to sit and be let out of their holders. I compromised with them by taking off my high heeled shoes.
“Where are you going, Kathy?” Shelly asked.
“Going to get my Sean away from that witch, I am.” Usually I’m an easy going person, but get me mad and I’m an auburn hurricane. Flying at the one who has caused the upset.
“You go get her and don’t take any of her crap.” Shelly cheered me on.
“Let us know if you need any back up, I’ll be happy to hold her down.” Megan said.
“I always love a good barney. Watch out for her right jabs and uppercuts,Kathy.” Henry said throwing his fists into the air.
“Jabs and uppercuts, got it.” I took a deep breath before sayin, “Right, here I go,” then turned myself around marching over to the bitch, I mean Ellie.
As I was walking/marching over I noticed Sean smiling at Ellie. I don’t remember him smiling like that at me, I thought. “Sean, there you are. I’ve been waiting for you to come back.” I hooked my arm around his elbow ignoring Ellie at first. I tilted my head up at him, with my shoes off he had a good five feet over me, and smiled brillantly. Now it was time to adress Ellie. I turned from Sean making my smile disappear into a nasty glare, using a flat voice I said, “Hello Ellie, no date tonight?”
“Oh you know me, Kathleen, I like to keep my options open. Don’t like to be tied down to just one man, I don’t.” Ellie looked from me to Sean giving him a wink, “Sean here was keeping me company, isn’t he just the cutest.”
Sean smiled that smile again. I’m not even sure if he knew I was there then. “Well Sean came here as my date and if you’ll excuse us, Ellie we’ll be leaving you behind now.” I pulled on Sean’s arm with mine and started to head back to our table.
“Are you jealous of me, Kathleen? Because I think Sean would rather spend the rest of the night with me.”
I turned around. Fire shot out of my eyes, my hands transformed into eagles claws. I had had enough. This time I would fight back. “Jealous of you, Ellie? Why on God’s green earth would I be jealous of someone like you. You don’t have any self-confidence of your own so you have to beat me down because your the one who is jealous. Our whole lives you’ve wished you were me; I was the one who got the better grades, had sober, stable parents and could get out of this town and make something of myself. You’ve dreamed about getting out of this town all your life, I have the chance to do that and you hate me for it. I can’t help it if you have to stay here to take care of your drunken dad. You have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll never be me.”
Ellie’s hands began to shake and her eyes were teeming with tears. I felt sorry for Ellie. This wasn’t her fault. Her parents were poor and depended on Ellie for money and support. She wanted to be someone else, she wanted to be me.
Sean wrapped his arms around my waist, “Maybe we should go back to the table, Kathy.”
“I hate you, Kathleen Caldwell! I hate you. Your a tart! You hear everyone? Kathleen Caldwell fucked Billy McCourt in the backseat of his car.” Ellie raged out raising her voice to make sure everyone heard her. The DJ stopped playing music. Every one’s eyes were on us. I suppose looking back now I could have denied what Ellie said. Instead I just stood there straightening my body and facial expression. The strong Kathleen couldn’t be seen feeling ashamed.
“Come on Ellie, luv.” Two of the cities police who were on duty to keep the dance peaceful escourted Ellie out. “We’ll take you home.” Ellie walked out with her head down and her hands still trembling. That was the first and only time I would see her venerable.
“Let’s get back to the party, lads and lasses.” The hired DJ announced. “ How about the newest tune from The Beatles, ‘Ticket to Ride’.”
Sean held on to me tighter as everyone went back to their own lives. “Are you ok, luv?”
“I could really use a drink.”
“Right. I believe you ordered a coke?” Sean started to move back over to the refreshment table.
“No Sean, I meant something stronger.”
“Oh, yes of course. Ale?”
“Uh-huh. I’ll grab my shoes and meet you out front.”
The hall wasn’t allowed to serve liquor because miors would be present. The drinkers had to go to the pub across the street, finish the drinks there and then were allowed back into the hall. Shelly promised to stay at the hall and keep out of trouble until I came back for her. Mum assumed I would be watching her all night, what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.
Sean was already waiting for me outside with four bottles of ale. “I thought we could use two pints after whats happened.”
I took my two and we headed to the shore without one of us saying so. The warm, dry sand felt relaxing as I waited for Sean to unfold his jacket. “Won’t the sand ruin it?” I asked.
“Don’t know, anyways it’s me brothers.”
I dropped my shoes beside the jacket and sat down with Sean. He opened our first two bottles. I held the dark brown bottle up to my lips taking a big swig of the bitter, warm liquid feeling it slide down my throat and into my stomach. The moon gave enough light to see each other and the outlines of the waves lapping at the earth. There were two other couples sparwed out onto the beach trying to keep what they were doing as decent as possable. Every now and then we could hear a deep, throaty gro of pleasure. I could smell the sex in the air.
“Would you like to talk about Ellie?” Sean asked inbetween sips.
I took another mouthful of ale. “No.” I waited a moment and then blurted out, “She’s put me down me whole life, tonight was the first time I have stood up to her. Now I feel guilty, but she had to hear it.”
“Don’t worry about her, I think you might have opened her eyes.” Sean leaned his shoulder on mine, “OK, next subject. Billy McCourt?”
“Oh God!” I said in a loud whisper. “He was a bastard.”
“What happened and why as Ellie so tactfuly put it were you ‘fucking’ him in a car?”
I took a long deep breath filling my lungs with sea air. “I dated him during my last year of school, after finishing exams our group went to celebrate. Billy and I celebrated maybe a bit too much and finished the night in his car. Of course I did want to have sex with him, every girl wanted Billy. He was a bit bad which made us girls love him even more, but still good enough I could take him home to the parents.” I stopped to think of that night. How at first the alcohol made it all feel right in the beginning until he was on top of me and pushing himself inside. “I couldn’t stop him by the time I realized I didn’t want to go all the way.” Folding my knees up to my chest, I checked to make sure my dress covered me up. I rested my chin on the tip of my knees.
Sean drapped his arm around my shoulders squeezing my upper arm. “So he rapped you?”
“No, I wouldn’t call it rape. He was already inside of me and up till then I did want him.” I stopped to find the words to describe how I felt. “I just didn’t love him. I thought my first time would be with someone whom I loved and who loved me back. A couple of weeks later he took off without saying goodbye. I don’t know what happened to him.”
“You could have told him to stop.”
“I could have.” I drank more, then held the bottle up to the moonlight to see how much I had left. I couldn’t tell. “At the time it felt easier just to let him finish. Now my parents could find out not to mention the whole town knows.”
We sat in silence. The couple on our right stood up, walked towards town in each others arms. He whispered into her ear. She smiled laying her head on his chest. Both of our first bottles were emptied and we sat them down in the sand before the othe two were opened.
“I really shouldn’t bring this up now, but...”
“But? Please tell me what’s wrong, Sean.”
Sean crossed his legs in Indian style and straightened his torso before going on. “I like having you as a mate... I mean it might be better to be mates...”
“Are you doing what I think you’re doing?”
“I don’t want to hurt you, Kathy.”
“Yup, your doing what I thought.” I streched my legs out in front of me, they ached from the dancing in high heels.
Sean went on. “You seem to have someone else on your mind.” He set his bottle into the sand next to him so it would stand up. “It’s not fare to us, Kathy. It’s not fare to me.”
“There’s no one on my mind.” I lied. “Who would it be?” I did know who it was. I wanted to know if he knew.
“You know who, Kathy. That James fellow. He keeps coming up in our conversations. I’m tired of it.” He let out a loud, long sigh removing his arm and leaned against it behind him. “Just tonight when we were dancing, you were thinking of him, weren’t you. You almost said his name out loud!”
“Please don’t be angry with me, Sean. I couldn’t help but think of him at that moment. We danced to that song, James and I.”
“So you have feelings for him?” I couldn’t tell if that was meant to be a question or a statement of fact. Sean turned his head towards mine. I couldn’t face him. Not after hearing the hurt in his words. “I want to remain friends with you, maybe when you get over him. . . .” His words trailed off into the starry sky.
“What if I don’t?” I asked locking onto his eyes. “What if he comes back and has feelings for me?”
“Then I’ll let you go and wish you a happy life.” He cupped his palm over my cheek caressing my cheek with his thumb. I relaxed into his hand wondering how love could give people so much hope.
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