Damn it, I really should have seen it coming. You know with a bit of foresight it should have been obvious to me, like two trains racing towards each other on the same track. But maybe I wasn't looking hard enough; well, at least I wasn't thinking things out that well. And later, I suppose, I could use the excuse that one train was hiding in a tunnel.
But all the warning signs were there if I'd only looked hard enough for them. But I was kinda besotted with the girl so when that other train came roaring out of that bleeding tunnel, I just had no idea what was coming.
Okay, enough of the bleeding metaphors; let's get down to brass tacks. All through my school life they must have been there. Well, they were there but you kinda didn't notice that there was two of them. Them - that's it! They weren't two people really; they were a single entity. Mercedes Clough and Porticia Rowan; two girls, one personality.
As I remember, all through school they were referred to as 'the twins'. They dressed alike and spoke alike. Their hair was styled the same. Shit, they were like a pair of twins, except for the fact, they were not related too each other. A misnomer I know, but they might as well have been joined at the hip from birth, for all anyone could tell.
Now don't get the idea that they were stand-offish or anything. Once they were in their teens, the twins dated boys all the time.
The only problem there was, that they only double dated. If a guy fancied one of them and wanted to ask her out on a date ... Well, he not only had to get her attention; he had to find a suitable date for the other one.
I must admit I liked the look of both of them; but I never did get to know either of them well. I couldn't be bothered to play the silly double date game. Shit, a guy would be running around for weeks trying to find the suitable candidate that the girls would find acceptable to make up the foursome. I learnt at a young age that the twins could be bloody choosy when they wanted to be, and from what I heard the girls wanted to be most all of the time. It was probably all a big game to them.
Anyway, the problem never came up for me really, because when I was sixteen, my old man talked my Uncle Harry into taking me on as an apprentice builder.
That was my old man all over, "Get yourself an apprenticeship boy; you'll have a job for life." The only problem with that bloody apprenticeship was that I had to go and live with my Uncle Harry and Auntie Mavis in London.
Cor 'London', the big city and bright lights! Like hell! We lived in the suburbs and most of my Uncle Harry's -- and consequently my -- work was out in the suburbs as well. I had one day and one evening a week at a technical college; also in the suburbs.
What's more Uncle Harry wanted blood for his money, so by the time I got home at night, I was so knackered; travelling up into town wasn't an option.
Add to that, Uncle Harry was a bleeding workaholic anyway. Hold on ... a slight correction there. My Uncle Harry was under the impression that I was a bleeding workaholic. He always had little jobs laid on for the weekends. "You missed a day's work during the week to go to college son; you can make it up on the weekends, my boy." So my planned monthly weekend trips home soon became bi-monthly, then tri-monthly. You get the idea; I got home three times the first year, and besides Christmas, once the second year. By the end of the third year even the family dog, had started growling at the stranger, when I walked in the door of my parents' home. And there was a bloody lodger sleeping in my room. I had to share my little brother's room.
Eventually -- apprenticeship finally over -- I decided I'd had enough of the big city ... and working for Uncle Harry. I really don't think he was too pleased when I took my leave. But I thought "Bollocks to the bugger; the old sod had got his money's-worth out of me!"
Home wasn't home anymore for me, if you get my drift. Jesus, finding that a complete stranger has taken over your room ... well, it kind-a tells you something, without using actual words.
I'd managed to save a lot of the meagre salary Uncle Harry had paid me over the years; consequently I had enough in the bank, to allow me to put a security deposit down and rent a little flat of my own, back in my home town.
Work wasn't a problem either; I had my papers, and I was soon on the books of one of the local building contractors. The work was hard, but at least the money was spectacular after what Uncle Harry had been paying me. Builders who really knew what they were doing, were not exactly rare, but were a bit thin on the ground around our way, back then. Well, young ones were.
Before I realised what was happening, I was working on a site of about fifty new houses. Once that site was finished, I was offered job by a smaller builder, on a barn conversion. It was a small job, only about six of us on the site and the owner was around most days.
The boss and I were studying the plans one day, over a cup of tea and I just happened to mention that the way the architect had planned things, there was going to be a bleeding great blank area of wall on the front of the building. I just mentioned that if it was my place, I'd make some changes that I thought would make the place look better.
The boss pushed the artist's impression drawing of the finished house at me and said, "Show me what you're thinking of?" So I roughly sketched in the changes I thought would be improvements to the design.
Later that day I was called into the little shed we were using as a site office. There I found the Boss, the owner of the house and the architect. After some strong words were exchanged between the architect and the owner, my changes were added to the plan.
It was on the day we handed the newly converted house over, that the architect came over to me. "Son, you're in the wrong business. You should have been a bloody architect or a ruddy designer at least. You've got an eye for design."
A couple of weeks later I signed up on a part time college course, learning to be an architect. I still worked on the building sites to earn the money to support my studies, but I was heading into the design side of the business. Well, I thought I was.
It was in the college library that I first saw her. I'd just sat down at one of the large tables, to look up some references in a book, when a young lady the other side of the table looked up from the book she was reading and our eyes found each other's for a brief moment. She gave me a wonderful smile and returned to reading her book. The face was familiar, but I couldn't place it.
I kinda sat there confused and stared at her. Well, she was a very good-looking young woman. Some minutes later she glanced over at me again. I quickly looked down at the book I was studying. Trying to pretend I hadn't been staring at her.
Out of the corner of my eye, I was aware of her getting up from the table and walking around it until she was standing beside me. Embarrassed that she'd seen me watching her, I didn't raise my head and pretended to be lost in the book before me. The young lady reached out and, rotating my book through 180°, said, "You'll find it easier to read if it is the right way up, Roger!"
I looked up at her.
"You don't recognise me, do you, Roger? – Mercedes ... Mercedes Clough!"
"Crikey, Dee you've changed some!"
"Do I take that as a complement?"
"Of course you do, but where's Tish?" I added looking around.
"Porticia's in the States doing an internship. We're both supposed to be on a gap year from Uni. We got placements together in the States for the year, but mine blew out on me."
"And Tish went on her own? You two do everything together."
"Well, normally we do, but it was too good an opportunity for her to pass up."
"When did she go?"
"About a month or so back, I thought I'd spend the year brushing up my Spanish. So I signed on here."
Mercedes, or Dee as she had always been known as at school, and I talked for a while until the librarian came over and told us to be quiet. Then we adjourned to the refectory.
By the time she had to go to her class we'd made a date for that evening. Well, kind of ... I was driving her home from college in my van that night. As I was doing some private work on the side, I'd bought myself an old van to carry all my gear around in.
I did wonder what her folks' thought, when my tatty old van with ladders on the top pulled up outside their upmarket house that evening. Dee and I sat in the van for some time; chatting about school days and the like. In the end I asked her to go out with me the following evening. It could be that I should have picked up something in her reply; with hindsight I think I should have.
"That would be nice, Roger. I haven't been out since Tish went away."
I arrived at her house about seven-thirty that Friday evening. The door was opened by her father, who looked me over like I was something the cat had dragged in. And the expression on his face, when he saw my van parked outside in the road, was something I can't describe.
I was shown into the lounge where Dee's mother and her younger sister were sitting, to wait until Dee was ready. Dee's mother was very pleasant and so was her sister; I remembered Dee's little sister Estelle from school. To be honest I think I got the old 'swooning looks' from her.
It struck me that Dee's father didn't like me. This is not an uncommon attitude for a father to take, so it didn't surprise me. After all, he was young once, and no doubt knew how most young guys' minds work. Standard fatherly protective behaviour, if you ask me.
When Dee entered the room, my jaw dropped. Remember I'd known Dee since she was a little kid. The day before I was struck by her pleasant face and nice figure. But there was no way that I was prepared for the woman who walked into the lounge that evening.
Was it Bobby Vee who sang "Poetry In Motion"? Well there it was, standing before me! I think my heart stopped beating for a moment. Well, I definitely remember that I found that speech was impossible for quite some time.
That evening we went to a local nightspot. Nothing flashy, just a pub that had live music and dance floor (of sorts). Although we did dance a few times, Dee and I spent most of the evening Chatting. Don't, for Christ sake, ask me what we talked about, because I haven't got the slightest recollection. All I can just tell you is, that whenever we got together back then we were talking most of the time. No matter what the subject we appeared to agree on just about everything.
That is except one for one: Porticia. I had no interest in Porticia at all, although I tried to feign interest to keep Dee happy. It was clear to me that she had been missing her almost lifelong friend and companion, and I suppose it was understandable really.
I just wished I'd understood at the time, that Porticia was the other train I was talking about, hiding in that bloody tunnel.
Well, that first date and the little kiss I got at the end of it; led to a second and then a third date following in quick succession. By the end if the month, Mercedes and I had become an item. When we weren't either at college or working, we were together.
I would find Dee waiting by my van when I came out of my evening college classes and on the days I was at college she would meet me for lunch. To be honest, I was besotted with her and, from what she said and how she behaved, I thought she felt the same about me.
Dee joined me in my bed for the first time after we'd been together for about three months. For some reason she couldn't use the pill so we had to resort to other means of protection against her becoming pregnant. I've got to say it kind of took the edge off the moment and spoiled the mood a little. Consequently we didn't get to actual intercourse very often. We found other ways to satisfy our desires.
I knew that Dee was writing to and receiving letters from Tish all the time, but I didn't know the effect they were having on our relationship. Dee's sexual... , damn, how can I put it? Dee's sexual ... proclivities and what she wanted -- or was willing to try out -- slowly changed over time. I don't know why it didn't strike me as strange at the time. Eventually I was to figure that those variations were rooted on the other side of the Atlantic
When we first got in bed together in early December, Dee wanted nothing to do with oral sex. But about February time Dee suddenly wanted to try it. For someone who thought giving head was dirty, she soon turned into an enthusiastic sexpert. And where she had refused to let me go down on her, she was then begging me not to stop.
It was just after Easter that she suddenly mentioned anal sex. As I said, we rarely had intercourse, but as we were going through the palaver of putting the rubber on one night she asked me if I would like to take her anal cherry. I'll be honest - I'd never even thought about it before, but it was apparent Dee had as she had a tube of lubricant in her bag.
Right after the anal intercourse incident, Dee started talking about getting engaged. No, that's silly; we had both been talking about marriage for some time, but it was around that time we started talking seriously about getting engaged as a precursor to getting hitched. I brought her a ring in late July, and we planned to get married right after she took her finals at university the following summer.
Dee's mother was over the moon at our plans. Her father wasn't as enthusiastic. I think he thought his daughter could do better than a bloody builder, as I heard him say on more than one occasion when he thought I was out of earshot; or maybe not.
Estelle told me straight, that she wanted me to drop Dee and marry her instead.
It was early August when Porticia returned from the States. She had her American boyfriend in tow and, I've got to say, I didn't like the geezer right from the start. To my mind, he was everything that I didn't like in Yanks, all rolled into one. He was a brash know-it-all, who was forever bragging about himself and how clever he was.
Now, don't get the idea that I don't like Americans. I've got some very good friends from over the water. There was an American air base near our town and I'd grown up with a lot of American friends. My first proper girlfriend, that I'd had whilst still at school, had come from Chicago.
No, like all nationalities, amongst them are the ones that give all a bad name. George Greenlake was one of those. Whilst he was in the country, he stayed at Porticia's parents' house. Of course there was no way that the Rowan's were going to let him and Porticia share a bed, as they had apparently been doing whilst Porticia was over there in America.
Porticia and George had only been in the country a couple of days and I hadn't met either of them at the time. Then I came home from work one evening to find Dee sitting in the kitchen of my flat; she'd had her own key for some time. There were three coffee cups on the table, which I gave a cursory glance, as I took Dee into me arms and kissed her. Then I told her I wouldn't be a couple minutes changing and then we'd go out and eat.
"You can't go in there yet!" Dee blurted out. I looked at her. "Tish and George are using our bed."
"Like fuck they are!" A very apt statement on my part actually. But I'm one of those people who believe in the old adage 'An Englishman's home is his Castle' and in my particular castle the most personal item of furniture is my bleeding bed. This probably goes back to me returning to my parent's house from Uncle Harry's, and finding a lodger sleeping in my bed.
I think they must have heard my outburst -- which I won't repeat here -- because it was only a couple of minutes later, that Porticia and George entered the kitchen still in the throes of getting dressed. For all their apologies, they didn't change the sheets or even make the bed.
Dee assured me that they didn't ask her permission to use my/our bed. We were so close by then that everything was referred to as ours. From the way George and Porticia behaved I've always believed Dee on that one. They acted as if they were the most important people in the world.
Whilst George was in the country – to my dismay -- the four of us hung around together. Although Porticia borrowed her father's car most of the time, because there were only three seats in the front of my van. Not that Porticia wanted to lower herself to ride in the van anyway. I steadfastly refused to ride in Porticia's father's car, because once they were away from her house, George was doing the driving. Dee always rode with me.
I've got to say, that it was with some sick amusement, that I watched George drive out of a pub car park one evening, straight into the front of a bus. Honestly I was sounding my vans horn to warn him, and I think that was why the bus driver managed to bring the bus to a standstill before George slammed into the front of it. So there wasn't too much damage, to the bus.
George had tried to drive along the wrong side of the road, an all too common mistake for foreigners to make.
As I had surmised, George was not insured to drive the car and wasn't in possession of an international driving licence, although the police appeared happy to accept his American licence. There was some complication over the lack of insurance though. Once Porticia's father arrived at the scene, I took Dee home. I don't know what ramifications there were to the incident, but George flew home the following weekend; whether as scheduled, or not, I have no idea
September was upon us before we really knew what was happening. Suddenly my tatty old van took on a new significance. Both Tish and Dee had to get all of their gear to the flat they were sharing at Uni. And just as suddenly, Porticia was quite happy to travel in my old van, once all her junk was stacked in the back, along with Dee's.
It appeared that where her father was concerned, Porticia was top of his "not favourite daughter list!" Not really surprising after he discovered his brand new Saab, buried in the front of that bus. Consequently he hadn't volunteered to drive her up.
Although I should imagine that if she'd pushed the old sod, he'd have caved, fathers always do. But then, I doubt it would have been a pleasant journey for either of them
All too soon the girls were gone. Not that I cared a toss about Tish being away again, but I was soon missing Dee. Hey, I wasn't the only one missing her. In all the time we'd been going out together, I'd been invited to Dee's house for a meal once. And I really think that was only because I needed to ask Dee's father for her hand in marriage officially.
The week after the girls' left, Dee's mother called and invited me to Sunday lunch. As I've said, I appeared to get on just fine with Dee's mother and her sister who was still following me around like a puppy. Now suddenly Dee's father started calling me son and even asked me to join him in a round of golf; not one of my sports. But I could see I was going to have to take it up after Dee and I were married. Got to keep the in-laws happy.
I figured there was a little bit of an ulterior motive in these invitations to meals on the weekends. When Dee came home every month to visit, we would spend a lot of time at her parents' house, now that I was a regular -- and apparently welcome -- visitor there.
Once a month I drove up to spend the weekend with Dee. Although that wasn't how it usually worked out. Most of the time Tish was with us, and her main topic of conversation was George and how she was going back to the States to marry him when she had her degree.
Tish also had the infuriating habit of coming home with Dee as well. She slept at her parents' house but appeared to spend most of her time at Dee's parents' place. Well, let's be precise; she spent most of her time wherever Dee was. That included the little time Dee spent at my flat.
By the time Christmas came around, plans for our marriage were in full swing. Um, let's be fair; Dee's mother was just about organising everything, along with Estelle that is. I think Dee and I were just agreeing to everything that they wanted to do. Hey, I wasn't paying. It was Dee's old man who was footing the bill.
I would just say, "Are you all right with this, Frank?"
He'd nod and say, "Wait till it's your turn, son. Take my advice and only have boys!"
I suppose he wasn't a bad old stick really. As far as Estelle was concerned, this marriage was only a rehearsal for what she termed as "The big one!" Frank would look at me and raise his eyebrows when she said that.
Well, everything was going along just great until just after Easter, when Porticia got the bleeding "Dear Jane" letter. You know what I mean; George dumped her for some other girl. I told you he was a bastard. Porticia wasn't my favourite person in the world but I saw that letter. He was an insensitive arsehole, or asshole as they say over there.
It was a few weeks later that Dee first said she wanted to put back the wedding. Porticia was originally getting married a couple of weeks before us. Now Dee wanted to put our wedding back a month or so, because Tish was upset.
The girls graduated and moved back home (my van again). They both got jobs pretty quickly. Nothing special, in local banks - oh, different banks. I was of course still juggling college and work; although I was working on my own a lot more. I even had a couple of blokes working for me on occasion.
I would generally see Dee most days to start with, but as time went on she took to going out with Tish first one night a week, and then two. Then suddenly she stopped meeting me after my night classes; so then she was with Tish three nights a week.
Not that anything untoward was going on. I was too well known in town for anyone to get clever with my girl, and that was what Dee was known as by then.
Okay, then the month or so the wedding was put back, became until after Christmas. As Christmas approached Dee wanted to put it back further, until Easter.
Now up until that point I'd been patient, I realised that Tish was her friend, but it seemed to me that we were going to have to wait until Tish found herself another mug, before Dee was going to walk up the aisle with me.
It all came to a head in early December. I arrived at Dee's house to pick her up around seven-thirty. Dee and Tish were car sharing, going to work. That night neither had come home yet. Dee hadn't called me to put me off, and neither had she called home to tell their parents of any change of plans.
I was not a happy bunny and went looking for Dee's car. It wasn't hard to find, as our town isn't very large. I found it in the car park of one of the pubs on the outskirts of town.
Inside I discovered Dee and Tish sitting there with some Prat. They were so enthralled with the line of shit he was throwing Tish, that they didn't notice me enter.
I brought a drink and positioned myself on the other side of the room. Then I sat watching as a meal arrived for them and they all sat and ate it. I did note that Dee was drinking only non-alcoholic drinks, by the way. Anyway it was gone nine before they got up to leave. Both girls were apparently still enthralled with everything that came out of the arsehole's mouth.
Jesus, talk about a line of bullshit. SAS, my arse; the Wanker wouldn't know one end of a gun from the other.
They must have got right out to her car before Dee spotted my van parked alongside it. She came dashing back into the bar and looked around for me. I was at that time in conversation with a couple of guys I knew quite well.
"Roger, how long have you been here?" Dee asked as she came up to my table. Followed by Tish and the Wanker.
Slowly I looked up at her. "Since about eight o'clock. My fiancée stood me up this evening, so I thought I'd have a quiet drink by myself."
"Why didn't you come over and join us? You must have seen us sitting there."
"Oh, I did, don't you worry. But you didn't really want me along, did you? If you had, you would have called and invited me to join the party, wouldn't you? What was it? Does the flash little Git fancy a threesome, or something?"
Yeah well, I was more than a little 'miffed' about the situation.
"How can you say such a thing? Rodney invited Tish out this evening and Tish didn't want to go on her own because she doesn't know him all that well."
"Well, why no phone call to me, or even your mother?"
"I forgot; that's all."
"Well, I forgot to tell you I was here, okay? Now you'd better drive your friend's home; they appear to be waiting for you. And make sure you drop the arsehole off first, I wouldn't trust that little bullshitter as far as I could throw him."
"Who are you calling a bullshitter?" The Prat demanded.
"You, you slimy little Git." I replied.
The pantomime began. Yes, I was childishly taking my frustrations out on the little Prat, but he really should have kept his bleeding mouth shut. If he had, he could well have got out of it with some dignity. Anyway he had been telling the girls how much of a tough guy he was all bleeding night. Anyone in the SAS can handle themselves, even the bloody pen pushers.
Once we took the argument out in the car park and there wasn't an audience anymore, he wasn't so brave. As a matter of fact, he did a runner, after trying to slam the pub's door in my face. The automatic gas door-closer prevented that.
"Did you have to do that? Tish liked him." Dee demanded.
"I didn't do anything, Dee. The little tosspot talked himself into a corner and then into a fight that he didn't hang around to have. All I did was to get stood up by my fiancée and went out for a quiet drink to drown my sorrows. Good night!" I returned to the bar to finish my pint.
Dee came back inside for no more than a minute of so. She and Tish had a whispered conversation and then they left. Well, the train was blowing its bloody whistle as it came roaring out of that bleeding tunnel.
The following evening I didn't go round to Dee's house at the usual time to pick her up. At half eight, she let herself in the door of my flat. And, she thought that it was her turn to sound -- more than a little -- miffed with me.
"What's up with you? Why didn't you pick me up? We were supposed to be going to see that film this evening."
"Oh, I forgot?"
"Don't talked rubbish. This is about last night, isn't it?"
"Not exactly. This is about you and me. And your friendship with Tish!"
"What has Tish got to do with it?"
"Everything. If Porticia weren't around, we'd be married by now. But for some reason you've decided not to marry me until Tish finds some mug to marry her. Well, I'm not waiting anymore. The wedding goes off in February, or there's not going to be a wedding. Secondly, you will see Porticia just two nights a week from now on. The two evenings that I'm at college."
"You can't make demands like that."
"Oh, but I can, Dee. I'm supposed to be the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with. But from where I'm standing, it looks like you worry more about Tish, than you do about me. Now I suggest you go home and think about what you really want. You can bring me my answer tomorrow night. I'll be here until ... shall we say, nine o'clock?"
"But Tish and I are going to that rock concert tomorrow night; its Porticia's favourite group. She'll be really upset to miss them, and I know she won't go alone. I won't have time to come here before we leave."
"Then I have my answer already! It's your choice, Dee; Porticia or me? Think about it if you will? If you're not here tomorrow evening before nine, everything's off. You can either keep or sell the ring; I wouldn't want it in my flat, it would have too many bad memories."
Dee tried to talk me around, but I refused to listen to her. To be honest I was tired of being a fish on the line. Either we got married, or I would have to cut my losses.
As I expected, Dee tried to circumvent things. My phone was ringing when I got home from work. Caller ID told me it was from Dee's house. I ignored it.
It rang at regular intervals until six when she was due to leave for the concert.
Ten-past-six it rang again, the caller ID told me it was from Porticia's parent's house.
The phone rang a couple more times a little later, I assume from call boxes because the caller ID was withheld. The call boxes in the local theatre are set up like that.
At nine, I left the flat and went over to a friend's flat from where I could watch my own. Brian's a nice old boy who had really become like a surrogate father to me. I'm afraid that letting my bedroom to a lodger without even asking or telling me first had almost completely destroyed my relationship with my father and family.
It was gone twelve when Dee's car pulled into the car park. Dee got out, followed by Tish and the little shit from the previous evening. Dee went up to my flat, which was all in darkness; the other two waited by the car. She let herself in and I watched lights going on and off as she searched the flat for me.
Then Dee went back down to her car, where she talked with the other two for a while, before Tish and the guy got back into Dee's car and drove off. Dee returned to the flat alone. I made myself comfortable on Brian's sofa. He did suggest that I go home and talk it out with Dee, but I figured she'd made her decision at six o'clock. I wasn't prepared to play second fiddle to Porticia in Dee's affections, no matter what it would cost me.
Brian could see the car park from his bedroom window and he came out to tell me that Dee's car had returned about half-an-hour later. I went back into his kitchen and watched Tish go up and into the flat. Dee obviously wanted some moral support.
By eight-thirty in the morning, neither girl had left the flat. Actually I'd painted myself into a bit of a corner; there was no way I could get out of Brian's flat without the danger of them seeing me. Now I know I was playing silly games, but I wanted them to be wondering where I was.
It was obvious that neither girl was going to work that day; they were planning on waiting me out. After all, I'd have to put an appearance in to get my van ... well, that's how I think their minds were working.
The masterstroke I came up with to get round that one, was to call a guy who was working for me. I had him come round and drive my van to the site where we were supposed to be working that day.
It worked like a dream; it was only when the old van's engine started that the girls realised what was going on. They came running down the stairs, jumped into Dee's car and then set off in hot pursuit of the van. I suppose they thought I was driving it.
I went down and got into my car. Now that was something they didn't know about; I'd finally bought the car that Dee and I were supposed to be going on honeymoon in. I drove it over to the house I'd bought; another secret from Dee. This was the house I thought we were going to start our married life in. At that moment in time, it looked like a building site, because the guys hadn't finished yet. Well, I'd kept putting the date back every time the wedding date went back. There wasn't much to finish, so I got stuck in there for the day and slept there that night.
The following day was a college day for me and I couldn't miss it. Although the building work was coming along just great and I was earning extremely well, I still had designs on becoming an architect. Having the car that Dee didn't know about was my saving grace that day; several times I spotted both girls around the college, but they didn't see me or even know I was there.
I've got to say that at this juncture, that if Dee had been alone, I most probably would have spoken to her. Possibly we could have sorted things out, but I somehow doubt it. Porticia's presence prevented me from going to Dee.
That evening I called the flat. Brian had just called me and told me that Porticia had left Dee there alone.
"Roger, where are you?"
"That's none of your business, Dee."
"Roger, I'm sorry, but I couldn't let Porticia go to that concert alone."
"But she wouldn't have been alone, would she, Dee? She had that little shit with her, or was he with you?"
"He's Tish's boyfriend. You know that I'm your girl."
"You were at one time, Dee; but you're not anymore. Tell me, did you tell your mother to go ahead with the February wedding date."
"Well, no, I didn't! You were acting so strange the other night."
"No, Dee! You're the one who's acting strange. I told you, last night was your chance to decide whom you wanted to be with, Porticia or me. You chose Porticia. It's over between us. There's nothing left to say."
"But, I couldn't leave my friend on her own!"
"Why not? She left you on your own when she went to the States, didn't she?
"Do you think she cared about you, when she was planning to marry that Wanker she met over there? Dee, I'm not playing second fiddle to Porticia for the rest of my life. Its over, the engagement is off, the wedding is off ... and you are out of my life! Goodbye, please leave the flat tidy; I don't live there anymore as you've no doubt noticed by now."
"Where are you living, Roger?"
"In the house I had bought for your wedding present. But you chose not to live here with me. Good bye, Dee. I hope you find what you are looking for."
With that I hung up the phone.
It was the following evening that Dee's father and mother paid me a call. Of course they knew about the house. I'd discussed almost everything with them. In my opinion, my relationship with Dee's father had always been tenuous to say the least. So I thought that telling them about the house was a wise thing to do; they had kept my secrets from Dee. Both the car and the house were supposed to have been my wedding surprises for her.
I was surprised that they actually understood my position. It became apparent to me that, although I didn't think I would have been Dee's father's first choice for a son-in-law, they actually hoped that Dee's affection for me, would separate her from Porticia. As it turned out, that didn't happen. It was a very sad parting that evening, and they wished me the best.
I gather they never told Dee that they knew about the house, where it was, or that they had come to see me. They told me straight out, that they felt that they couldn't ask me to change my mind and take Dee back. They had hoped Dee's love for me would break the hold Porticia seemed to have over her; but with what had transpired, they had come to believe that Dee would always be under Porticia's influence.
Dee did try to speak to me whenever she saw me for the next few months. The trouble was, she was always in Porticia's company when she did see me; I had no intention of talking to her in that girl's presence.
I also gathered she was still telling people that we were engaged. There she ran into a problem; I had moved on with my life, or to put it more truthfully I was trying to move on and I was not finding it easy. I had started dating other girls, more than anything to try and take my mind off of Dee. I must add not very successfully.
However one of the girls I had gone out with, who apparently had designs on making it a permanent arrangement, just happened to overhear Dee tell someone else that we were still engaged. From what I heard, that encounter apparently resulted in a real cat-fight. But after that I never heard any more reports of Dee claiming we were still engaged.