MODS & ROCKERS - CHAPTER 25

Thursday 7th May 1964

Edward

Margaret greets me like a long-lost son when I get in this morning and also with the good news that her mother has been offered a place in a very pleasant nursing home, so I'm delighted for her. Also Simon's wife finally produced a healthy baby boy on Saturday, so he wouldn't be in until Monday as wife and child were coming out of hospital today. Of course he could have attended the Enquiry after all, but there's no point in me being angry about it anymore as it's all behind me now and Simon owes me big-time.

The first thing I do when I get to my office is to place the book in the window and keep watch for Bella's bus. Margaret has made me tea as usual so I stand by the window sipping it as her bus pulls up at the stop. I'm getting ready to wave to her as the bus pulls away but there's no Bella on the pavement. A few minutes later another bus arrives, so I watch the people getting off that too. Still no Bella which confuses and irritates me. "Maybe she came in early," I say to myself, but I carry on watching the buses until well after nine.

At just before twelve-thirty I grab my coat as the weather is quite chilly for May and go downstairs. I manage to avoid getting delayed by Jane so I'm outside on the pavement when the typing pool girls start spilling out onto the steps. I can feel myself getting excited at the prospect of seeing her for the first time in weeks, and as the minutes tick by I'm almost hyperventilating. While I'm waiting, I work out how I'm going to ask her out on a date and where I'm going to take her; that's if she agrees to go out with me of course which I'm sure she will.

I check my watch and it's already a quarter to one. She still hasn't appeared so I start going over some of the possible reasons why in my head. She could be sick, she could have changed her lunchtime, she could be avoiding me, she could have just stayed indoors today because it's cold, or a hundred other reasons. At five past one I give up and go back to my office feeling totally miserable and frustrated. I've been looking forward to seeing her for weeks and now I feel like the kid who's been promised a treat for being good, only to be told he can't have it after all.

The afternoon drags but as soon as it gets near to five-thirty I stand in front of the window again, determined to see her when she comes out. The clock hits the half-hour but she doesn't appear and after another fifteen minutes I'm convinced she wasn't at work today. In a way this makes me feel better as I was starting to imagine she was trying to avoid me.

I sit at home on my own in the evening, silently stewing over the fact that I didn't see her. I'm tempted to call Jasper and find out where she lives and just go round there, but he's still looking after his mother who apparently has gone to pieces and it would be wrong of me to distract him over something so frivolous. At least I've finally decided that as soon as I clamp eyes on Bella again, even if it's when she's getting off the bus tomorrow morning, I'm asking her out on a date. I've waited long enough and I'm not missing out on any more opportunities.

Friday 8th May 1964

Friday comes and goes the same way. I made sure I was at work extra-early so I wouldn't miss her, but every bus departs without leaving her on the pavement and now I'm wondering what the hell has happened to her. I still can't bring myself to bother Jasper at this time, or even to ask Alice if she's sick or something. I've got Alice's telephone number somewhere but I can't just phone her out of the blue. Firstly, neither of them have any idea that I know Bella. Secondly, Jasper has enough on his plate as I heard from dad that Harry's Will is being read today. Also I've only met Alice once so she hardly knows me. The funeral is taking place on Monday so I'm having to take the day off for that, so it will be Tuesday at the earliest before I see her again. I feel like a junkie being deprived of a fix and it's fucking horrible.

I decide to go to the Ace tonight as I know I'll spend the evening drinking whiskey if I end up being on my own. I call Emmett before I leave to check whether he's going as well. He says he'll meet me there, but warns me that he'll be tied up for the rest of the weekend and he'll tell me why later on. This means that I'll have to come home to an empty house tonight and that pisses me off even more. I toy over surprising my parents and driving down to Haslemere sometime over the weekend, especially after dad asked me when I was coming down to see him, but decide to make my mind up about that on Saturday morning. Then I remember they'll be coming up for the funeral on Monday anyway so it probably isn't worth bothering.

I wander half-heartedly into Jasper's room and get my leathers and a plain, white t-shirt out of his wardrobe. I strip off my work clothes and wriggle into my usually skin-tight-on-the-thighs trousers but they feel looser than the last time I wore them. I walk over to the mirror and stare at my reflection critically in the glass. "Have I lost weight lately?" I'm asking myself as I stare at my reflection. I walk closer to the mirror and examine my face and come to the conclusion that I look haggard. My skin is grey, which is probably due to hardly seeing the light of day because of being at the sodding Enquiry for weeks, and my cheeks look like I'm purposely sucking them in.

I've no idea how much I weigh, but there's no doubt I've dropped some pounds. I've had the stress of the Enquiry, Harry's death, the fire, no Bella, plus (and probably most importantly), I haven't had Margaret fussing over me for the past three weeks and feeding me chocolate biscuits every five minutes, so it's no wonder I've lost weight.

I tuck the t-shirt into the top of the trousers then put another one over the top to bulk myself out a bit, then put my jacket on. I glance at the leather cuff and thick silver chain I usually wear when I'm riding and take the adult decision never to wear them again as I realise they make me look like a prat. I scoff and say out loud to my reflection in the mirror, "have you really been trying to look like Jimmy Dean all this time, you arse?" Then I mutter, "Shit! I'm thinking and sounding like a grown-up now," as I pull my boots on by the door then go out to the stable.

I take Tara out for a change tonight as I don't want to have to concentrate too hard on the ride. For a couple of minutes I hit eighty on a straight section of the dual carriageway and that's fast enough for me. The road surface is still wet after a heavy shower earlier in the evening and I'm not prepared to take any chances. I pull into the Ace after an uneventful ride, still feeling totally fed-up, but as soon as I walk through the door I'm greeted for the second time in two days like a long-lost son. This raises my spirits for a brief moment, until I spot a very red-faced Emmett who's already there and he's sitting next to a gorgeous looking girl with long curly blonde hair. It takes me about three very confused seconds to recognise who she is because she's the last person I'd expect to see in the Ace Cafe.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I almost yell at her.

"That's not a very nice way to greet your sister," she replies smugly and then starts giggling.

I know without asking why Emmett is as red as a beetroot and I feel totally stupid as I've obviously been kept in the dark about this.

"What the hell's going on, Emmett. Are you dating my Rosie?"

"Yes he is, and I'm not your Rosie," she replies for him. "And don't blame Emmett; I invited him to come to one of my CND meetings because you told me he was a pacifist. I've been looking for new recruits for the cause and the rest, as you say, is history."

"How long has this been going on?" I ask Emmett directly and I put my hand up to stop Rosie replying.

"A couple of weeks, Eddie," Emmett replies sheepishly.

My brain starts working as I'm calculating in my head whether that's long enough for Emmett to introduce my sister to his dick. I decide it isn't, so I calm myself somewhat.

Emmett continues explaining himself warily, even though he's twice the size of me and could beat me to a pulp if I start trying to defend Rosie's honour.

"You gave Rosie Carol's phone number when your dad was ill, so she called me at home and told me about the meeting. I went along to see what it was all about and we…clicked."

I notice that all the other guys are grinning while they're listening to Emmett as his story unfolds, and some of them are practically biting their fists to stop themselves from laughing. I'm not stupid; they've all guessed what my concerns are. How they are managing to hold it together in front of Emmett is a miracle.

I give Emmett one of my hard stares. "You and me, Emmett. We're having a long talk about this and you know where I'm coming from, don't you?"

Emmett nods his head and looks embarrassed and Rosie glares at me furiously.

"Don't you interfere with my life, Edward-Eddie, whatever you call yourself here. I'm a big girl now and can look after myself."

"I know you think you're a big girl, Rosie," I respond angrily, "but maybe you're not quite big enough just yet."

As those words leave my mouth I realise what I've said and the guys totally lose it. Over twenty hardened Rockers plus Tanya, and about a dozen Hells Angels howl with laughter and in the end I have to join in. Rosie is looking utterly bewildered by now, which totally convinces me that she's completely unaware of what Emmett is hiding in his shorts and I relax then. I'm definitely going to have words with Emmett about the dick situation, but even I have to accept it will be Rosie's call in the end.

We have a thoroughly enjoyable evening after we've all calmed down and I realise it's just what I needed to dislodge the concentrated crap that's been clogging my brain through having to sit through that bloody Enquiry for eternity. It's also a distraction from all the other shit that's going on in my life, especially the frustration of not seeing Bella.

Rosie is amazing and I'm really proud of her. She listens to all the hair-raising stories about what we get up to on our bikes and isn't the slightest bit judgemental. She relates some stories about herself and some of the antics she got up to at university and I discover another side to her that I've never seen before.

I can tell that Emmett is totally smitten. He's been quiet all evening and can't take his eyes off her. Then I notice that all the other guys are staring at her longingly; even the married ones. I've always been aware that Rosie is stunningly attractive, both in looks and personality, but it's only now when I see desire, not just in Emmett's face, but in all the other guys' faces as well, that I can truly appreciate how beautiful she really is, and I'm stunned that it's taken me this long to see my sister through other men's eyes.

I recall imagining that I couldn't wish for a better brother-in-law than Emmett, even though it's too early to be thinking along those lines just yet. However I can imagine Rosie bringing him home to the family estate and the fuss that would cause. He's an American, and an admitted draft-dodger, but then I recall dad's hospital declaration that he'd be happy whoever we choose as partners. I may have to remind him of that sooner rather than later, and not just on Rosie's behalf.

When it's time to leave, I give Rosie a brotherly hug and warn Emmett to be careful with my sister on his pillion. I'm relieved to see she's purchased a top quality crash helmet and that Emmett is wearing one for the first time as well. When she confidently slides onto the seat behind him then wraps her arms around his waist and gives him a playful squeeze, I just know at that moment they'll be together for life. I can't think of a more well-matched pair and as they disappear out of sight I suddenly feel quite emotional.

I'm delighted for Rosie and Emmett, but my joy is mixed with a touch of envy as I accept they now have the one thing that's missing from my life. Whether Bella is exactly what I'm looking for I can't be sure, but what I do know is that I need to see her again and find out if we have a future together. Until then I know I'll never be happy. As Bella so rightly declared in the garden of St Bride's church, all she wants is to be happy; which is now what my number one goal in life is too.


Bella

Thursday 7th May 1964

Mike and I travel to the Advertiser together and I feel slightly nervous walking into the building with him. The open plan office is buzzing with activity, which is totally different from the quiet Saturday morning at the beginning of April when I came here for the first time and walked through the lines of deserted desks and scattered chairs.

I'm not more than two steps into the office when I'm instantly aware of the acrid smell of cigarettes hanging in the air. I notice there's a yellow haze hovering under the nicotine-stained ceiling and I realise straight away that it's trapped smoke from cigarettes that are either hanging out of the mouths of practically every person I can see, or from burning fag-ends balancing on ashtrays on their untidy desks.

"Oh Jesus!" I exclaim to Mike as I put my hand over my nose and mouth.

"Welcome to the Jungle," he laughs and explains it's the nine o'clock puff, when everyone comes in and has their first fag of the day at the same time. He promises me that the air will clear shortly but I'm not convinced.

Johnson spots us walking through the usual obstacle course of chairs and tables, and beckons us to come in. His feet are on his desk as before and his office is in an even worse state than when I first entered his domain, with paperwork covering every flat surface and all over the floor this time.

"Bella!" he exclaims and he looks genuinely pleased to see me. "Why isn't my favourite person in the world bashing her typewriter at the Express may I ask?"

"I quit," I reply as there's no point beating about the bush. "I was given the choice of working for a pervert or leaving, so I walked out yesterday."

Johnson barks out a laugh and lights a cigarette. "That's my girl. Men like that should have their private parts nailed to a bench then their dicks beaten with a cricket bat until it looks like Porterhouse steak."

I can see Mike wincing at that image so I change the subject quickly.

"Here's my article for this week, Johnson. It's a bit…ummm...controversial, so if you'd like me to amend it before the run I'll find a corner somewhere and make any alterations on the spot, or write something totally different if you think it's too risque."

I hand the pages over to him after which he pulls his feet off the desk and sits up. When he reads the first line his eyebrows shoot up to the ceiling and remain there for the next ten minutes.

I must admit as soon as I give him the pages I feel nervous as I've no idea how he's going to respond, or what he's going to think of me as a person for writing this type of article. I try to pick up his reaction from the expressions on his face, but it remains fixed as his eyes skim across every line.

To his credit he reads every word before commenting and he doesn't take another puff of his cigarette until he places the pages on his desk. He contemplates what he's just absorbed then stubs out his now spent cigarette and immediately lights another one.

"Have you read this, Mike?" he asks.

"Yep!" is Mike succinct reply and he smirks like a naughty schoolboy.

"What do you think then?"

"Well, it's a bit of an eye-opener to be honest. I mean boys have lad's mags, but there's nothing similar out there for girls at the moment. It's either teen magazines like 'Jackie' or boring housewife magazines that tell you how to knit a royal corgi. There's no information out there for girls who are becoming sexually aware, unless they read dirty novels that dodge the censors."

"So there's a gap in the market you're saying."

"No, I'm saying," I cut in. "Are you guys ignoring me, because I'll piss off home if that's the case."

Johnson doesn't flinch when I swear and replies quite calmly.

"No I'm not ignoring you, Bella. I'm using Mike as a sounding board. I have to check that your facts are correct before I print them. If what you're saying is there's absolutely nothing out there that teenage girls and young women can read to find out about sex and orgasms and all the other stuff you've written about, then your article holds weight."

"So how would Mike know, Johnson? I've never seen him reading girls' magazines or romantic novels. Our mum buys Woman's Own occasionally but there's nothing racy in those pages apart from middle-aged, frustrated housewives swooning over Dr Kildare. Biology lessons at school don't go further than showing which bit goes where then explaining how that makes a baby. So if you don't have a liberated mother, or a friend who's in the know about female orgasms, on your wedding night a girl might as well lie back and think of England."

Mike went to say something but I was on a roll now.

"Mike, you're nearly twenty. Tell me honestly, did you know that women can have orgasms?"

Mike goes bright red.

"Come on, it's not a difficult question."

"Until I read your article, no I didn't. It was a bit of a shock to be perfectly honest."

"What about you, Johnson?"

"Yes, I knew, but it's a taboo subject I suppose."

"Exactly, and the reason it's taboo is that women don't need to have an orgasm to satisfy a man; they don't need to have an orgasm to get pregnant; but most importantly if women don't know what they're missing, men can get off then roll over and go to sleep feeling smug."

"Jesus!" Mike exclaims.

Johnson coughs after taking a long drag of his cigarette then balances it on his ashtray.

"So you're implying that it's a male conspiracy to keep women in the dark about this."

"No, I don't think it goes anywhere near as deep as that. I'm just saying that the traditional idea of a woman just being there for a man's pleasure is old-fashioned and wrong. It's not the guy's fault either. If they don't know themselves or what to do, you can't blame them for not doing it if you see what I mean. Boys as well as girls need educating about women's bodies and vice versa, but until there's a source of information other than porn magazines, nothing's going to change."

"She's right," Mike said in support. "To be honest, I wouldn't have a clue what to do or where to find out what to do. Bloody hell, I'm going to be lying awake all night worrying about this."

Johnson chuckles and picks up the article again and I can see him thinking about it.

"Your article is great, Bella, but I think parts of it are slightly too graphic for our readers at the moment. I'll read it again and make some alterations but I'm happy to run with it."

"Thanks," I reply and get up to go.

"Hang on, Bella. I'd planned on speaking to you on Saturday anyway, but now you're here I might as well tell you now. The owners of the paper want to expand your section to a four-page spread aimed at older teenagers and young adults. We're being inundated by new advertisers wanting to put their adverts on your page, so it's a logical step."

"Really?" I gasp. "That's amazing."

Johnson continues.

"Obviously I didn't know when I spoke to the owners that you'd be available when they asked me to recruit someone to co-ordinate it, but now you're here and I would guess looking for a job, how would you feel about working alongside one of our existing editors until you get more experience and then you can take over?"

"Are you serious?" I reply excitedly. "I'm totally inexperienced and unqualified, Johnson. I've only ever worked in a typing pool and been a secretary for about three weeks. What would the other guys say if I just waltzed in off the street and was given that sort of responsibility?"

"They'd say 'Welcome, Bella'. They'd say 'Good Luck, Bella'. They'd say 'Do you need any help with anything, Bella?' We're not the Express, thank God, so there's no rivalry between sections. We all work together for the good of the paper. We don't have any perverts here either, apart from me that is, so hopefully that will put your mind at rest. You're a brilliant, natural writer, Bella, and they know that already. You've got here on your own merit."

It was my turn to laugh now and it was with relief that I'd been offered this fantastic opportunity. It was also with relief that I wouldn't have to deal with lecherous old men anymore. But, most importantly, it was with relief that I'd finally pulled away from the stigma of being regarded as a lesser human being because of my lack of education. That was all behind me now, so all I had to do was prove to the world that Bella Swan was good enough to be employed by this newspaper, which I knew damn well I was.

"So when do you want me to start?" I ask, still slightly shell-shocked.

"You've already started as far as I'm concerned, Bella. Mike will find you a desk out there in the Jungle, so get your head down and start working on the new format. I'll sort out a salary offer later on but I'll make sure it's better than you were getting at the Express. Also, you'll have to join the Union, today if possible. You can call yourself a journalist now, so being a member of the NUJ is mandatory."

When Johnson said the word and referred to me as a 'journalist' I choke with pride, and then I realise I have to make another decision that there'll be no going back from. I think about it for two or maybe three seconds, then blurt out…

"I want my proper name to be on the first four-page pull out, Johnson. I'm happy to still be 'Aaron Y Moss' until then, but that's it."

Johnson leans over to me and smiles. "I was going to insist on that anyway; Isabella Swan, Journalist Extraordinaire!"


I walk out of Johnson's office about six inches taller than when I walked in. 'Isabella Swan, Journalist Extraordinaire'! I can't take it all in, even though I know that Johnson has made me a genuine offer and I'm now employed again. I don't actually care what he pays me; the fact that I have a proper job, no...a proper career for the first time in my life, is more than I'd ever hoped for.

As I step into the place that I now realise is officially referred to as 'The Jungle', a loud cheer goes up from everyone in the room and it's patently obvious straight away that the whole floor has just been listening to my tirade about orgasms and the like, as there are a lot of grinning men and totally embarrassed women staring at me.

"Oh my God," I choke out. "I'm never going to live this down in a million years," I wail, and I know I must have gone as red as a London bus as my face is on fire.

Mike thinks this is hilarious and is actually weeping with laughter at my embarrassment. I don't know if he purposely left Johnson's door open, but I'll get him for this later on.

When he's stopped chortling, Mike leads me around the desks and introduces me to his colleagues. They all seem to know who I am and they congratulate me on my articles so far and say how much they are looking forward to this week's revelations. Apparently advertising income from products aimed at young people has been gradually increasing over the previous few weeks which has made the future of the paper more secure, so I could genuinely claim to be the most popular person in the room at the moment.

We find a spare desk by a window so at least I can get some fresh air, even though Mike was right when he said the early morning fog would dissipate. Coping with the cigarette smoke is going to be a trial for me, but it's something I'm going to have to put up with if I want to work here. I tip the disgusting fag-ends from the obligatory ashtray on my desk into the waste bin and stuff it out of sight in a drawer then take a seat on a slightly rickety chair on wheels, which is obviously the one that no-one wants.

I draw a deep breath and survey my new surroundings. I want to scream I'm so excited. I know I should be feeling nervous about starting a new job and the responsibility that goes with it, but I'm not nervous at all. I already feel at home here and that helps take the edge off the pain inside me because there's a chance I might not see Edward again.

I'm still debating what to do about Edward as I know I'll never pluck up the courage to actually go to Fleet Street and try and see him there. Writing to him at his workplace, telling him that I've left the Express and why I've left, seems like the best option to me at the moment. At least then he'll have my home address and it will be up to him if he wants to contact me. I try and close my mind to the possibility that he won't as that's too painful to contemplate, and concentrate on what Johnson's asked me to do, as I certainly don't want to blow this chance as well.

I already have some ideas for expanding my column and when Mike leaves me on my own I start scribbling them down on a notepad. I'm still working when Johnson brings over my amended article for me to fine-tune, so I stop what I'm doing and concentrate on that as the deadline for the print-run is in a few hours' time and it still needs to be typed-up.

The day flies by and I don't even stop for lunch. My article is ready before the three o'clock deadline and Johnson is pleased with the end result. He's also enthusiastic about my initial ideas for the pull-out which would appear the Friday after next so I go home buzzing with excitement.

Mum and dad are thrilled for me when I tell them about my new job, but Mike and I still keep quiet about me being 'Aaron Y Moss', as I don't want them reading tomorrow's article knowing it was their innocent daughter writing about 'S-E-X'. Also, they're still in the dark about me being in Clacton, so there's no point owning up to being there and causing an unnecessary fuss.

Friday 8th May, 1964

Friday is brilliant because we only work in the morning then go down the pub for a bit of 'team-bonding' and to celebrate the end of another busy week, which has culminated in a successful print run. As I sip my first-ever half-pint of lager and lime, I think back to the start of the week when I was happy to just be Garrett's secretary. Now I was a fully accepted part of a team of hard-working journalists and I was determined that I'd never go back to being 'just' anything.

I telephone Alice before I leave the office and tell her the good news about my job and arrange to meet her on the corner at 7.30. Jaz is still looking after his mother and won't be going to The Roxy tonight, so it's back to going on the bus together like old times. Jake still hasn't returned to The Roxy after his accident but Mrs Black told me at work last week that he'd started his driving lessons so was on the mend. Jake had admitted to her that he'd been seeing Jessica on the sly and I'd found out, so there was no hard feelings which I was pleased about as she'd been so kind to me.

We get to The Roxy just before eight and join the queue with some of the scooter boys who are pleased to see us. Riley sidles over to me and sheepishly offers me a lift home so I tell him I have to go on the bus now because my dad has banned me from going on a scooter after Jake's accident, which is true. I suspect that Riley is trying to pluck up courage to ask me on a date, so I'll tell him, just as a chatty aside, that I'm sort-of seeing someone else now but he's not a Mod, so he wouldn't be coming down here.

Its great catching up with the crowd while we're waiting to go in. Some of the boys are talking about going to the coast on the next bank holiday which is next weekend. I'm offered rides down there on the back of a scooter and Ian even offers me a lift in the Cortina that Jake wanted to shag me in, which is a blumin' cheek, but I decline all the invitations. For one thing I'm not going to defy my dad, but most importantly I don't have any intention of risking getting caught up in a fight between Mods and Rockers again. I still consider myself to be a 'Mod', but that side of the culture is not for me and I know Alice feels the same.

The doors open and Louie Louie is blaring out of the DJ's speakers and everyone's spirits are instantly raised even higher. As we shuffle forward I hear the word, 'bitch', coming from behind me, so I turn around and spot Jessica in the queue and she's giving me the evil eye. Then a mystery is solved, as the girl standing next to her is the 'bitch' Doreen from the typing pool, so now I understand how she found out about my connection to Jacob and Mrs Black. I'm not interested in finding out how they know one another, but I'm desperate to rub Doreen's nose in the fact that I'm now... (deep breath because I still can't believe it) ... a journalist, but I know I have to keep quiet for a little while longer and then they'll both have the shock of their lives.

Once we get inside, Angela runs up to us and gives us a collective hug then tells us excitedly that her parents have finally met Tyler and are okay about her going out with a boy from Jamaica. After that bit of good news, we go over to 'our' corner and stand with the usual crowd of scooter boys while the club fills up. We've been there about half an hour and the atmosphere is already building up to be a great evening when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn quickly and see Jake grinning at me. He seems to have grown taller since I last saw him and his hair is much shorter than before, which is probably due to him having to have part of his head shaved when they operated on him. It actually suits him and makes him look a lot more grown-up.

"Hi Bella," he says and gives me a broad smile.

"Jake! It's great to see you," I reply, and it's a genuine reaction because I'm pleased and relieved to see that he's recovered enough to be out and about again. "How are you?" I ask and smile back while patting him on the arm, hoping it isn't the one he injured.

"I'm okay, not a hundred percent yet but I will be soon. Can we talk?"

I hesitate before agreeing but figure it would be rude of me if I said no, so I nod my head and start walking towards the back of the club. I almost expect Jake to fling his arm over my shoulders like he used to, but he keeps his distance and doesn't touch me. I can see Jessica and Doreen watching me like hawks but they don't bother me anymore. I know that if they try to cause any trouble, the scooter boys will dive in and defend me because Jessica's reputation has gone down the toilet since Jake's accident, as everyone here knows that she gave it up to try and steal Jake away from me.

When we get to an area where we can talk without shouting, Jacob leans over me and kisses me on my forehead quite tenderly. Before I can react, he launches into what he's obviously been planning to say to me while he's been recovering.

"I want to apologise, Bella. I totally disrespected you that night, and when we were on the scooter on the way to Clacton, and in the store room. I'm going to regret not treating you like the treasure you are until my dying day. I've done a lot of thinking while I've been recovering at home and I've come to the conclusion that... I've been a complete arse as far as girls are concerned, but I've changed now. My mum gave me a severe talking to when she found out what I'd done with Jessica. She said I didn't deserve a girl like you and she was right. When your own mother says something like that, you know you're in the shit."

"Apology accepted Jake, and thanks," I reply. "I think we've all done a lot of growing up in the last few weeks but I'm glad we've all come through it relatively unscathed."

Jake looks relieved and then he finishes his prepared speech with what I was expecting him to say.

"I don't suppose….."

"No, Jake. You're a lovely guy under all that bravado, but I'm going to be honest with you. Even before we broke up I'd already met someone else who means a lot to me, even though I've got no chance of ever being with him. I didn't two-time you; I would never do that to a guy, but my heart wasn't in our relationship after I met him. It was somewhere else and still is. I'm sure there are lots more treasures out there and I'm also sure you'll have a lot of fun looking for that special one, but I hope you've more luck than me."

Jake nods his head then gives me one of his cheeky smirks. "Friends?"

"Definitely," I reply then give him a friendly hug.

"Ouch!" he exclaims and he winces. "My shoulder and wrist are still not completely mended yet so be gentle with me."

"Sorry," I laugh and give him another 'gentler' hug.

'Up on the Roof' starts playing so Jake takes hold of my hand and leads me onto the dance floor.

"Will you dance with me for old time's sake, Bella?"

"Of course," I reply. "Especially as this is the first song we ever danced to and because you asked me so nicely this time."

We slow-dance together and Jake sings the words in my ear like before, and, like before, I'm getting the jealous bitch-face from plenty of girls who are standing around the edge of the dance floor without a partner, including Jessica and Doreen who are fuming. Only Jake and I know that we're just friends now, but I'm not going to tell them that, because when it comes down to it, I can be an evil bitch too.

Nah nah nah!


So Bella's a journalist now. Little does she know that her first reporting job is going to lead her into serious danger (not with the Krays though)! An innocent interview with a 'soon to be famous person' will lead her into the path of...no, I'm giving too much away.

Emmett and Rosie are an item now which is what you were all anticipating. Is Edward going to warn Rosie about Emmett's you-know-what, or is he just going to have to keep his mouth shut? He'll be seeing Rosie without Emmett hovering nearby at Harry's funeral soon, so maybe he'll warn her then (surely not)!

At least Bella has made her mind up to contact Edward by letter (a lot of you guys guessed this). What a shame he isn't on Facebook, or Email, or Twitter, or Whatsapp. It's a different world now!

FYI

Women's magazines back then usually contained at least one knitting or crochet pattern, at least one story about the Queen or another member of the Royal Family, plus a feature on animals. So an article about 'Knitting a Royal Corgi' would cover just about everything, except maybe the odd recipe or two. If you didn't already know, our Queen has always owned several Corgi's at one time. She still has a couple, but apparently she isn't replacing them with new ones when the ones she still has go over the rainbow bridge. Maybe she's worried about who'll look after them when she goes over the rainbow bridge herself (in her golden carriage). The Queen is 91 now, Gawd Bless Her! I honestly can't imagine this country without her as she became Queen in 1952, about eighteen months before I was born.

Dr Kildare, as played by a Brylcreem'd Richard Chamberlain, was a medical series that was made between 1961 and 1966. He was a bit of a heart-throb at the time. I can't remember my mum being smitten though. Apparently William Shatner was offered the part first, but I can't imagine him in that role can you? Can't imagine Richard Chamberlain as Captain Kirk either!

In the next chapter, Jasper finds out what's in Harry's Will, and he gets some surprising news about his family which is a bit of a shock for him. Bella's article causes a bit of a stir, she writes a letter to Edward, and she gets a very interesting phone call.

Joan x