The Paul & Jenny Stories Pt. 17nbyPAUL C©
The Paul & Jenny Stories Pt. 17n: The Batting Order Ch. 14
I walked out into the middle hopefully looking more confidant then I felt.
"The fastest bowler he had ever faced." Bill had said.
Well, Bill was getting on a bit and his eyesight wasn't what it was. Roger came out to meet me.
"Watch it." He said reassuringly. "He's fast."
I went to the batsmen's end of the wicket and asked the umpire to position my bat in line with the middle stump. I straightened and looked around the field at where the fielders were placed. There were four other fielders standing in a line in the slips beside the wicket keeper. Two other fielders were fairly close in, one on either side of the wicket and the other three out along the boundary markers. I glanced at the scoreboard. We were only in the second over. Two runs scored with one wicket down.
"Four balls to come." The umpire told me as I settled into my batting stance.
Jerry had a very long run up. He was starting it now. I remembered how he had eyed me up and down at the coconut shy as if deciding which part of my anatomy would look best with the imprint of a cricket ball on it.
Clear your mind. I told myself.
Jerry was going through his delivery motion. I lifted my bat slightly and transferred my weight to the balls of my feet. Here it comes. Well pitched up. I pushed my left leg out with my bat tight against my pad. I felt the ball nick the edge of my bat and waited for the cries to go up from behind me for a catch.
"Run." Roger was calling from the other end.
I could see him heading towards me and took off towards the far end of the wicket. I dabbed my bat down and turned and looked. One of the slip fielders was jogging towards the distant boundary. A young lad was throwing the ball to him. The umpire was signalling a four and Roger was walking back up the pitch towards me. I had to go back and bat again.
"Well played." He said, as we met in the middle.
"What happened?" I asked.
"The ball went between first and second slip." He said, tapping at the pitch with the end of his bat. "They didn't move. I don't think they saw it."
"I don't think I did." I told him and made my way back to the batting crease. Jerry was back at the start of his run up. He didn't look pleased. In he came. The ball was pitched hard into the ground about mid way up the pitch. It was coming at my head. I swung my bat and ducked my head at the same time. My bat jarred in my hand. Roger was crying 'run' again. I ran. I looked over my shoulder. The ball had already reached the boundary behind the wicket keeper. I stopped running. I looked at Jerry who was standing with his hands on his hips staring at me. I smiled at him and walked back to my crease.
He was coming in to bowl again. I stepped forward to meet it. Thud. It hit my bat then my pad and shot away from me. The fielder on that side of the pitch stopped the ball and rubbed it vigorously against the top of his thigh, leaving a bright red stain then threw the ball to Jerry. He walked back to his start point again. He turned and was coming in to bowl again. It was coming at my body, waist height. I fended it away at the last moment and it sped away behind my legs beyond the dive of the wicket keeper. I was running before Roger called. I tapped my bat over the batting crease at the far end of the pitch to complete the run and turned for a second. Two of the fielders were chasing the ball. They reached it as I completed my second run.
"Stay." I heard Roger shout from the far end.
The fielder threw the ball back to the wicket keeper and the umpire called "over."
All the fielders changed position on the field as I walked down the pitch to talk to Roger.
"You take that young lad and I'll see to the other bowler." Roger said, tapping at the ground with his bat.
He turned and walked back to his batting crease before I could suggest an alternative strategy. I walked back to my place and watched as the next bowler came in to bowl. That was more like it. Only ten paces of run up. The ball was well pitched up and straight. Roger stepped out and showed it a far more amount of respect than it deserved and played it to a nearby fielder.
The next ball was the same. Well pitched up and straight. Again Roger treated it with the utmost respect and played it straight back down the pitch. The same with the third and forth balls. The fifth ball was a little shorter and sat up nicely, asking to be hit. Roger clipped it to one side and we ran two runs. One ball to come. Again it was short. Roger paddled it away with his bat.
"Come on." I called. "There's a run there."
"Stay." Roger called back, raising a hand in its white padded glove to me.
There had been plenty of time for one run.
The fielders changed position and Jerry started walking back to the start of his run up.
* * * * *
The door from the changing room opened and everybody trooped out.
"Can I have your car keys, please Jenny." Lynda asked. "I think I'll sit out there for a while."
"I'll have a pint." Ian said.
"I'd better get changed." Ron said, disappearing back into the changing room.
The atmosphere was very strained.
Mary looked hard at me as I handed my car keys to Lynda. What had I done?
"Will you come back with me. Shirley. Please." Mary asked. "I told the ladies from the WI we wouldn't be an hour. They'll be wondering what's happening."
"I'll help you carry things." David offered.
I pulled Ian his pint and watched as they all left the room. For a while it was completely empty. The low rumble of conversation coming from outside was punctuated by an occasional burst of applause and the odd shout of encouragement. I picked up a few used glasses from around the room and took them to the sink behind the bar for washing. The water heater hissed into life as I turned on the hot water tap. I added some washing up liquid and rinsed out the glasses before placing them on the draining board.
I turned to face Ron. He was a man of medium build; his hair was too long for a clergyman but was in keeping with current fashion. He wore a university cricket jumper. I studied the badge on his breast.
"Balliol College, Oxford." He supplied.
"What happened?" I asked. "In there."
"There was quite a heated exchange for a few minutes. Mrs Wagstaffe was very upset. Which is understandable." He picked at a loose thread on the stitching on the finger-pads of one of his batting gloves. "There was talk of calling the police."
"I hope they are not."
"No." He smiled. He had a nice smile. "They won't be doing that. I think they all need a little time to cool down. Especially your two friends."
He smiled again. I smiled in return.
"I had better pad up as well." Jim Clark said, entering the room and heading for the changing room.
"How are we doing?" Ron asked without taking his eyes from mine.
"Twenty-five for one." Came Jim's reply as he opened the changing room door. "Paul's playing well."
The changing room door closed after him.
"Paul could be a very good cricket player." Ron said leaning forward on the bar counter. "He doesn't seem to take it seriously though."
"He didn't get a lot of time to play while we were at university." I needed to defend my man.
"I hear he plays the piano very well. When he tries."
"He doesn't get much time for that either."
No. He didn't get a lot of time since he met me. And he almost didn't do that. It was a last minute decision of mine to go. I felt that I had outgrown the Guides movement. It was only at the other girl's insistence that I had gone at all. Looking back it was more a case of what else would I have done with them gone for the two weeks.
"You love him a lot? Don't you?"
I gave him my virginity.
"Yes." I limited my reply. "Yes I do."
"That's good." He was smiling again, looking deep into my eyes.
I looked back. They were restful eyes. Blue eyes.
"Dad." The spell was broken.
His wife, Alice, was standing in the doorway, holding the hand of a four-year old with a younger child on her hip.
"Dad." The four-year old said again. "I want a drink."
"What will it be?" I asked. "Lemonade or coke?"
"Have you any squash?" Alice asked.
"Of course." I replied, reaching under the counter for a bottle of orange squash and mixing two glasses with the water from the tap behind the bar.
"Get your drink Wendy, and say thank you."
"Thank you miss." She would be starting her first year at primary school next month; she looked as if she had been practising how to address her teacher.
I handed her one glass and Alice the other.
Alice gave her youngest daughter, Maris, a sip from the glass then turned and walked out.
"I'd best go outside, get my eyes used to the light." Ron said watching her back. "How much for the drinks."
"Nothing." I replied. "It was only a little squash."
"Thank you." He smiled again.
There was a roar from outside.
"I had better get ready." Steve said, entering the room with Sally. "You're in next aren't you? I think you're needed."
"Who's out?" Ron asked, picking up his bat and gloves.
* * * * *
"Ow." I cried out loud as the ball hit the top of my left arm.
That hurt. I flexed my arm.
Jerry was standing half way down the pitch with his hands on his hips watching me. There was a smile on his face.
He turned without a word and marched back to the beginning of his run up. Only two more balls in this over to go. He would still have four more he could bowl after it. The fingers of my right hand still throbbed from when he had hit me on them in the last over. The two runs we had got from it didn't seem worth it now. I could understand Rogers' reluctance to run singles.
Here he came again. Pitching three quarters of the way up the pitch it was heading for my balls. I fended it away with my bat to my left, past the second umpire.
"Two." Roger called.
I started running. I watched the fielders converging on the ball. Time for two runs with ease.
Thud. I'd run into a brick wall. No, it was Jerry. I fell to my knees, scrambled to my feet and staggered to the batting crease. "Stay." I managed to call to Roger as I sucked in large lungs full of air.
I looked up at him. He was already half way down the pitch towards me. He turned and threw himself at the batting crease as the ball landed in the wicket keepers hands. Was his bat over the line and on the ground before the wicket keeper removed the bails?
"Howzat." Went up the call.
We all looked at the umpire standing in line with the batting crease past which I had hit the ball past.
He shook his head.
"Bloody lucky." Jerry said under his breath to me as he walked back to the start of his run up.
Roger was looking around the field. Then he was looking at me. He hadn't asked for a guard from the umpire. Jerry was steaming in. The ball was fast and full. Pitching at his toes it hit his pads then his stumps sending the middle one cartwheeling out of the ground.
Roger looked at me. What had I done? It wasn't my fault.
He began the walk back to the pavilion.
* * * * *
Roger stormed into the pavilion and straight into the changing room without saying a word to anyone. Ron had already left to take his place out on the pitch. Steve was standing very close to Sally. I could see his fingers on her hip.
"Could I have a vodka and lemonade, please Jenny?" Steve asked. Sally looked as if she had already had a couple but she was a big girl and could always say no.
"And a coke for me." He continued.
His fingers had moved up and were touching the underside of her ample breasts. They were too big for her.
I poured the drinks and placed them on the counter. Steve lifted his and clinked it against hers.
"Bottoms up." He said.
"You wish." Sally replied, but drank all the same.
Steve placed a five pounds note on the bar and I counted back his change.
Steve's hand was no longer in sight. It must be behind her somewhere.
"Naughty." She said, reaching behind her and pulling his hand back onto her hip.
"Cheers." Steve clinked his glass against hers a second time.
She drank again.
Roger came out of the changing room.
"How were you out?" I asked.
"It was your husbands fault." Roger replied, eyeing up Steve and Sally.
"You were clean bowled." Steve protested.
"Can Paul bat with you and bowl against you?" I asked.
Cricket was a needlessly complicated game as it was but I had never heard of this.
"No." Steve said, as Roger stormed through the door in search of his friend Bill. "Jerry bowled him. First ball he faced against him."
"Why was it Paul's fault?"
"Paul fell over going for a run which meant Roger had to face Jerry."
Steve's hand had disappeared again. Sally took another sip from her glass.
"Put another in there." Steve indicated Sally's glass. "Do you want to come with me while I get padded up?"
I saw his shoulder move but I couldn't see his hand.
"You'll look after me?" She asked.
"I will." Steve promised.
'He will.' I thought.
"Come on then." Steve moved his hand to her hip and, picking up her glass steered her towards the changing room. I could see that her skirt was pushed up between the cheeks of her ass. I should say something.
He stopped and looked at me.
"She'll be alright." He insisted. "Don't worry. Knock on the door if anybody wants to go in."
The door closed behind them. What should I do? She was old enough. It really wasn't any of my business.
I looked around then walked to the door to listen. At first I could hear nothing then I heard a low moan. I glanced over my shoulder and knelt on one knee, my eyes level with the keyhole. I closed one and peered inside.
They were standing a few yards away, kissing. As I watched Steve's hand was lifting the front of Sally's skirt. She was wearing pale blue knickers.
"Don't." She gasped, then kissed him again.
As they broke their kiss and with his hand still inside her knickers Steve bent over and picked up her glass and held it to her lips.
"Here." He said, holding the glass while she drank.
His other hand was moving inside her knickers. She gasped out loud. He replaced the glass on the bench against the wall and straightened to kiss her again.
"What are you doing?"
I almost jumped out of my skin. Lynda was standing over me.
"It's Steve." I told her, standing up. "He's got Sally in there."
"Who's Sally?" She asked.
There was a burst of applause from outside.
Her eyes were red as if she had been crying.
"She came with them." I nodded towards the cricket pitch. "With the big one called Jerry."
"Is Steve giving her one?"
"Just about to I think."
Lynda dropped to one knee as I had and peered into the keyhole. She looked up at me.
"He's fucking her. Want to see?"
I found that I couldn't resist. I dropped to my knee beside Lynda and looked into the changing room. Sally was on her hands and knees and Steve was kneeling behind her. I could see his prick as he pulled it out then lost sight of it when he pushed it back inside her. He was moving faster.
Lynda pushed me to one side to take her turn at the keyhole. I looked around the room. It was still empty. I kept watch on the doorway.
"He's nearly there." Lynda whispered.
I could hear Steve grunt from where I was kneeling. Lynda moved her head from the keyhole. I looked at it. I didn't want to see a man coming inside a woman. Not under these circumstances, anyway. I shook my head and moved away.
Lynda stood up by my side. I suddenly felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. Dirty almost.