At the beginning of this part of the chapter, Tony is introduced to s.e.x. for the first time. It’s typical of Tony that his view of it is that it’s the other party that started it – I wonder if his version is true?
I find it difficult to remember the timeline exactly, but I know that I was spending more time in Lynn than back at the farm. There was school, of course, and the various out of hour’s activities I still loved. After the rugby season had finished, I took up cricket and tennis and spent many happy evenings and weekend getting better at these sports. When I was not practicing or at a match, I spent every moment I could with Ruby and became a regular visitor at her house. She came over to the mansion from time to time too but said that the quiet and isolation made her nervous, so mostly when we met it was in North End or other places around Lynn.
The mansion had one advantage over Ruby’s home, however. Back at North End Ruby shared a bedroom with both of her younger sisters, the two boys shared the second bedroom, and her parents slept on a pull-out bed in the living room. How so many people lived so close together and still got along is still a mystery to me, but it seemed to work for them. However, there was absolutely no privacy. Even if it so happened that Ruby’s Dad was out with the fishing boats, and all the children were out with their various activities, Mum would still be busy around the house and neighbors had the habit of popping in unannounced all the time.
One summer afternoon we had been swimming at the beach and walked back to my home to dry off and relax before Johnny came to collect Ruby at 6.30. Ruby was stunning in a tiny bikini that let nothing to the imagination; not that my imagination needed much to go on. Getting back to the house we had the place to ourselves, and as we were still in our swimming gear, I spread out some towels on the kitchen floor, and soon we were lying there, kissing madly with my hands roaming all over her naked flesh. When we broke for breath, Ruby looked at me with an odd look in her eye. Over time, I’d come to know that look, and understand what it meant.
“You know,” she said, “I should really hang up my swimsuit to dry.” She stood up, and eyes locked on mine she removed her top. I thought I would explode, and very nearly did as she then slid her tiny briefs down to her ankles and stepped out of them. “What about you?” she said, and I hurriedly removed my shorts.
I hear some people say that their first time was disappointing, but for me – for both of us I think – it was wonderful. We stayed there on the kitchen floor, exploring each others bodies and loving the sensations for a long time. Almost too long as soon I could hear Johhny’s motorbike in the distance. We scrambled to get dressed and tried not to look like we had just had a couple of hours of hot sex, but Johnny was giving us suspicious looks as we said our goodbyes.
We were insatiable that summer, and there was hardly a day when we did not see each other. On days when dad was at work and Mrs. McKinley was out of the house on one of her errands, we would take full advantage of my bedroom, but we were not adverse to the sand dunes, or even a dark back alley in town if there was nowhere else. Not that our relationship was just based on sex, we loved to swim and play tennis together, and went to the cinema often, where I got to accept the love stories that Ruby watched avidly, and she would go along with the horror flicks that I enjoyed. We just enjoyed being with each other whatever we were doing.
The end of that summer was the start of what would be my last year at school. I was still not academic, and could not see the point in staying in for exams that would be too hard, and not get me anywhere anyway. Ruby had been in the year above me, and was now staying on to do exams, and I was so proud of her for doing so. But as the term started she had a lot of homework to do, and rugby practice had started for me, so we naturally saw a bit less of each other. We were still madly in love, and met when we could, but it was different.
Ruby’s 16’s birthday was in October, and we went out to a restaurant to celebrate, just the two of us. She told me she had something special to say to me, and I was intrigued to find out what. We had a great time together, and I was walking her home along the riverside when she suggested we sit in one of the shelters. We kissed briefly, but then she broke away and got serious. “You remember how scared I was after our first time,” she said. I did indeed; we had taken no precautions and were mightily relieved when her period had come along right on time. Since then I’d been sure to have a condom with me wherever we went.
“Well, Mum had a chat with me last week, and suggested I went on the pill.” I was dumbstruck to think that a parent and child could have such an intimate conversation, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it was just the matter of fact thing that her Mum would have done. “So I saw the doctor and have a prescription, and so you won’t need your rubbers anymore.” Her eyes sparkled, and I realized that she had the merest hint of tears. “Mum said she had seen how we looked at each other and didn’t want me to end up with 5 kids like her.”
She looked me in the eye, and by this time I knew what that look meant. I kissed her and soon we were making love right there on the bench, and who cared if anyone saw us.
Christmas came, and Ruby invited me to share her family’s celebrations, but I regretfully declined and stayed home with Dad and Mrs. McKinley. We had a lovely day, but I couldn’t help but think of all the noise and merriment that I knew would be happening in that tiny North End house. On Boxing Day, I got the bus into Hunstanton to meet Ruby there and was overjoyed to see her smiling face. She had said we were going to visit her friend Betty, but no more than that.
On the walk up away from the bus station, she told me that Betty’s parents were divorced, she lived full time with her Mum at North End, but her Dad lived in a Westgate. I knew that area and that it contained imposing Victorian houses, many now divided up into flats or rooms for students. Betty’s Dad had bought one with the intention of doing it up and selling it but was still in the middle of building it.
Betty was really glad to see us when we arrived, and her Dad seemed pleased too, though in a rather more serious way. The two girls were soon deep in conversation, leaving Morrie and me, as Betty introduced himself, to chat among ourselves. He offered me a beer, and I gratefully accepted. I was still too young to drink officially, and my Dad would never have tolerated it at home, but Morrie either didn’t know or didn’t care how old I was.
He started to tell me about his great passion of motorsports, and soon I was taken out to the shed to look at his pride and joy, a Harley Davison. I didn’t know much about bikes at the time, but even then I knew enough to be impressed, and when he offered to take me for a spin, I gladly accepted. We were only gone about 30 minutes, but when we returned, Betty was not amused.
“Are you crazy, driving like that after the amount of beer you’ve had?” She shouted at him. “And risking Ruby’s boyfriends life too! What were you thinking of?”
Morie looked suitably crestfallen, and I started to back him up when a warning look from Ruby made me think twice. It was awkward for a while, but soon it was time for Betty and me to head back to the bus station, and hug to each other before going our separate ways home.