Mack's Progress Ch. 01byDenham_Forrest©
I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement they always give me. I also thank all of my friends, who write to encourage and help me to continue writing and posting these demented ravings of mine. Your emails are always greatly appreciated.
Clarification: Squaddy = generic term for a non-com British soldier;
I hadn't wanted to be there that evening. I really didn't know why I'd thrown in the towel and agreed to come. Especially as it was during the summer season, when the pub was very busy with holidaymakers. But, for whatever reason, I'd agreed to come up to town for this damned wedding. Well, it was Billy's wedding; maybe that's why I'd relented.
Look, I'd better explain. For the last couple of years I'd been ... what'd you call it? Estranged, yeah, that's it! Estranged from my family. Why? Well, because of Lindsey, that's why. Lindsey was the girl that I was going to marry. I'd been crazy about the girl for a good year or so, when it all turned sour on me. But the most important part of it all was that my mum, dad, both my sisters and my brother appeared to be even more infatuated with the girl than I ever was.
From the day they met her, they all thought that Lindsey could do no wrong. Hey, Lindsey and I did have a couple of bust ups in our relationship, but as far as everyone in the family was concerned, they were always my fault and I was pretty well badgered to apologise to her, until one of us eventually did.
Now, although I was pretty well crazy about Lindsey, there had always been a little bone of contention in our relationship that I'd never discussed with anyone, especially my family, and that was sex. Or rather the lack of it! Just after I'd met Lindsey she'd said those words that every red blooded young man dreads to hear. "No Mucky stuff until after we are married. I intend to walk down the aisle a virgin, whether you like it or not."
Now I can't say that I was over-enamoured to hear those words. How the hell are you going to know that you are sexually compatible with someone, if you haven't done at least a little experimentation? But all Lindsey would let me do was suck on and play with her breasts, but that was as far as things ever went.
Well, no, to be fair I did get the occasional hand job when I was a good boy.
Whatever, at the time I was crazy about the woman. So I pushed my better judgement (or maybe it was my hormonal needs) aside and put up with my near celibate existence for a long time.
Yeah, well, I say near because on the odd occasions when Lindsey and I did break-up for a few days, I normally managed to pull something out of the hat, somewhere. I had to take what I could get though, and watch my back as well. I'm pretty sure that if Lindsey got wind of my dalliances we'd have been finished for good.
But then we came to that fateful weekend. Sea fishing is my one weakness. Well, maybe it isn't the fishing; maybe it's more the messing about in small boats that I really enjoy. But fishing is an excuse to go out in the bloody boats in the first place, isn't it?
That weekend I'd driven down the coast to join a few friends on a weekend's fishing, only to discover that the weather had taken an unexpected nasty turn. An unseasonably strong wind had come up during the evening as we'd travelled down; blowing at least a force nine. On our arrival we'd been informed that there was no chance that we'd get out the following morning.
Most of the guys had shrugged their shoulders and headed for the nearest bar, but not me. If I wasn't going to be fishing or at least messing about in a boat, then I figured I'd return to town and spend my free time as I usually did, with Lindsey.
It must have been about ten when I pulled up outside Lindsey's flat, and I'd been somewhat taken aback that she wasn't at home. No, not so much taken aback, more annoyed; she hadn't told me about any plans she had for going out that evening. More to the point, she'd moaned at me about being alone and bored without me for the whole weekend.
I wandered around her little three-roomed flat, a quite large lounge come dining room with a little kitchenette in one corner. From there you went into the bedroom with its large double bed (not that I'd ever gotten near sharing it with Lindsey yet. When I slept over, as I did sometimes, it was the convertible couch for me in the lounge.) And then into the en suite bath and toilet with its abnormally large shower cubical.
I do believe that I was looking around the flat for some kind of clue as to where Lindsey might have gone that evening. Strange how we do that kind of thing, isn't it? What could an inanimate flat tell me about what had been going on in Lindsey's mind before she'd left to go out that evening? But surprisingly it did!
I happened to notice one of those pop-out pill packets, lying on the kitchen worktop. You know the kind of thing, a flat plastic packet with little bubbles that the pills sealed in behind foil. I didn't recall seeing them before at Lindsey's flat, but I did remember seeing something very similar before; it rang a bell in the back of my mind somewhere.
My curiosity piqued; I picked the packet up to make a closer inspection of it, turning it over as I did so. The moment I saw the other side, I remembered where I'd seen a very similar packet before. It had contained my sister's birth control pills. I could remember Julia making a big thing about going on them, two complete months before she and John got married.
I think the fuss Julia had made over those pills at the time was a vain attempt to convince my parents that she and John hadn't 'been at it like bunny rabbits' for donkey's years. Although I should imagine John was pretty pleased to get away from those bloody condoms that were forever spilling out the glove box of his car.
'Birth control pills', I remember thinking to myself. Then I found myself having one of those infuriating mental discussions with myself.
'What the hell has Lindsey got need of birth control pills for? Jesus, we never get anywhere near having sex....'
'Hold on, son, I'll give you that Lindsey and you, never get anywhere near having sex. But that doesn't mean to say that she doesn't have sex with someone else when you're not around, does it?'
'Let's face it mate; you've rocked a couple of girls' boats for them, when you and Lindsey had had the odd bust up. What's to say Lindsey hasn't got some randy little bugger hidden away somewhere who's giving her a good seeing-to, when you're not around?'
Well, that's the way my mind was working. I argued it, this way and that, for sometime before I decided that I bloody-well better find out what was going on one way or the other that weekend.
But first I had to convince myself that they genuinely were Lindsey's pills. I hunted through the cupboard she kept her medicines in; soon turning up the box the pills had come in. There was one further full packet inside the box that had originally contained three packets. According to the instruction in the box, it had originally contained three months' supply. On the outside of the box was the pharmacy label, which clearly stated that her doctor had prescribed the pills for Lindsey.
I'm not too sure how long I sat on the stool in Lindsey's little kitchen as the thoughts that she had been taking the piss out of me for the last twelve months or so, raced around in my mind.
"No, Mack! We mustn't, Mack; I want to wear white at my wedding with a clean conscience!" Or when she got stroppy. "Mack, if you can't keep your hands under control, we'll have to break off our relationship right this minute!"
Yeah and for at least the last couple of months she's been... no, on the shelf in that cupboard was a second instruction sheet. 'Damn, that's another three months that I can prove she's been taking the piss out of me,' I thought.
Extremely angry, I think I managed to leave the flat as I had found it. I moved my car out of the block's parking bays and hid it down the street a ways, from where I could watch the car park. Then I sat back and waited for Lindsey to show. After two hours I wished I'd thought to get something to eat and drink, but it was too late to do anything about it then.
It was nearly three on the Saturday morning that I saw the car arrive. Lindsey jumped out of the passenger door and appeared to be really happy about something. Then a big guy got out of the driver's door; he went to the boot and retrieved a large rucksack kind of bag from the boot. You know, the sort soldiers are issued with. Effortlessly, he hoisted the large bag onto his shoulder and set off with Lindsey towards her flat with her hanging onto his arm.
Now my immediate instinct was to get out of the car, follow them to the flat and sort this out. But self-preservation had to be added into the equation. That guy was a bloody mountain next to me, and he certainly looked like he knew how to handle himself. Now I'm no coward when it comes to a fight, but I ain't no bloody idiot either. I knew I wouldn't be able to control my temper and if I lost it and took a swing at that bugger, it would be me waking up in hospital the following... week, maybe?
So I sat there and stewed in my anger and grief. Yeah, grief for my lost love; no bloody woman's going to hang horns on me, no matter how infatuated I am with her.
The lights in the flat went dim surprisingly quickly after they'd gone inside. I knew what that was all about; Lindsey just had the light in the kitchenette on in the lounge, subdued lighting without the cost of a dimmer.
I'm not sure how long I sat there watching before I must have fallen asleep again; it could have been ten minutes or it could have been and hour, maybe I drifted in and out of sleep. Buggered if I know. I can remember looking at the clock some time during the night and the guy hadn't left because his car was still there. But was it four or five o'clock, I have no idea; I really thought that it was immaterial at the time.
But his car was gone when I was awakened by some noise at nine A.M. I got out of my car and walked back to Lindsey's flat, thinking I'd have it out with her whilst she was alone. But the flat was empty; Lindsey had obviously left with him.
His large bag was on the foot of Lindsey's bed, and his shaving gear in the bathroom. There was also a large pile of towels on the bathroom floor that hadn't been there the previous evening. From the look of it they'd both had showers, or more likely had a shower together in that bloody great big cubical. My blood boiled at the thought.
Checking the bag a bit closer I found his name. Cpl. Jeffrey O'Toole, you know like the Irish actor. And the name of his unit, but that's of no importance. If Lindsey and I had been married, maybe I could have had "a go" at his CO. But we weren't even engaged -- well, not formally anyway -- so there was sweet FA his CO would do.
Attached to the bag was one of those airline baggage tags that I gathered had been issued in Belize. 'So your soldier boy is stationed in Belize, is he, Lindsey? No wonder I've never seen or heard anything about him," I found myself saying out loud. So that's what the bitch had been up to. I was her bit of fun on the side whilst her soldier boy was stationed overseas. Yeah, all the pieces were falling into place.
I left the flat, returned to my car and then went off to find somewhere to eat. Not too close to the flat; I didn't want anyone recognising me. I was hoping to pick the pair of them up again later in the day and trail them for the rest of the weekend, but I would be prepared this time.
Stoked up with soft drinks and sandwiches I returned to park near Lindsey's flat around eleven-thirty in the morning. It proved to be a long wait until six when that car returned. Lindsey and the guy went back up to the flat and I sat there fuming. I only wish I could have bought a gun somewhere, then I'd have gone up there and confronted the buggers; but they are illegal in the UK.
What would that have achieved? Well, nothing really, but it might have messed up her relationship with lover boy, if I was lucky. It was pretty obvious to me that any relationship I'd had with Lindsey was over, if there'd ever really been one. Hey, the bitch had been treating me as a piggy bank, taking her out and buying her presents. Realising all this was pretty devastating to my ego, I can assure you.
There was the thought of calling for back-up from my friends, and confronting her whilst they were together, but even that would have led to one hell of a loss of face amongst my peers. Shit, the woman that everyone thought was going to be my wife and who kept her legs crossed to me was letting some squaddy shag her. Yeah, that would have done my reputation a shit load of good, wouldn't it?
Just after seven P.M. a people carrier pulled into the car park. A girl got out if it and made her way up to Lindsey's flat. Her body language made it pretty obvious that she hadn't been there before, but eventually she found the right flat. I was confused when she threw her arms around O'Toole and kissed him when he answered the door. But she then kissed Lindsey as well, once she had appeared on the balcony.
There was some discussion between the three of them, before O'Toole and the girl came back down to the car .... where there was a further discussion between the car's occupants, O'Toole and the girl. Eventually, three more people - two men and another woman - got out of the car and a shouted discussion was held with Lindsey who was leaning over the balcony outside of her flat.
I couldn't make out what they were saying to one another; they were too far away, but I did realise that they were trying to persuade Lindsey to join them. Then it struck me, Lindsey was waiting for my evening telephone call! When I did my fishing thing, we normally returned to the dock about six o'clock. I'd usually called Lindsey from the boat charter company office as soon as I got there. I wasn't one of the mobile phone set at that time. Lindsey was quite plainly waiting for me to ring before she went out. Probably to forestall any questions from me about why she wasn't home when I did call.
'The front on the bitch! How long was she planning on playing this bloody charade for?' I found myself asking my empty car. 'Yeah, well, O'Toole is probably on leave and he'll have to go back in a few days,' I thought, 'no point in dumping the mug until you have to, is there?'
After a lot of persuading Lindsey apparently relented. She went back into the flat and turned off the lights, then went down and joined the others at the people carrier. Exchanging kisses all round I might add. Then after that they'd all climbed inside it and drove away.
I followed at a discreet distance. Whoever was driving appeared to be in quite a hurry as the vehicle raced into the city. I lost sight of it a couple of times, only to pick it up again a couple of minutes later. Eventually I lost sight of it completely and it was only by luck that I spotted it parked quite close to the hospital.
This I found confusing, because there were no nightclubs or anything around that area, just a couple of so-so pubs and a restaurant or two. I could only assume they'd gone to one of those restaurants; there was no other obvious reason for the car being parked in that area.
Just after nine they came back to the car. They were all very excited about something and in very animated conversation, especially the women; but once again I was too far away to make out what was being said. Although O'Toole appeared to be getting his fair share of kisses from all of the women and for some reason the other two guys didn't seem to object. In fact they were laughing and slapping him on the back.
On the return journey, the people carrier stopped at a small supermarket and O'Toole and one of the other guys went in and purchased an assortment of alcohol. It looked like a bit of a party was planned for later on. Then they drove back to Lindsey's flat, but they didn't go inside. After parking the people carrier, all of them trooped off to the pub just along the road, actually walking right past my car in the process, but on the opposite side of the road.
This was to my advantage, because it let me get a good look at them all. They didn't see me because they were more interested in themselves. O'Toole was walking along with one arm on Lindsey's shoulder and the other arm on the shoulder of the girl who went up to the flat. Both girls had their arms around his waist. The other woman and one of the guys had their arms around each other in a similar fashion, and her free arm was holding the arm of the third guy.
As they got close to me, I realised I'd seen the other girl who was hanging onto O'Toole before. She was some kind of a cousin or something of Lindsey's; I'd met her once at some family party that Lindsey had me take her to down Bristol way. One of the other guys, the one whose arm the woman was holding, I thought was most likely O'Toole's brother; they bore a striking resemblance to each other. The other guy and woman I had no idea about.
Full of beans and looking very pleased with themselves, they all bounced into the pub. Yeah, it wasn't far short of dancing the way Lindsey and her cousin were moving.
It was well past eleven -- the Pub closing time - when they reappeared. I watched as they danced and sang their way back to Lindsey's flat. Where I assume they spent the rest of the night consuming all of the alcohol that they had retrieved from the people carrier.
I sat and watched the flat for maybe three hours, before I realised that I was wasting my time. I could achieve nothing by sitting there. Actually all that I was achieving was upsetting myself even more. A couple of times I dozed only to dream of Lindsey and O'Toole naked and making love on that damned great bed of hers.
There was the slightly funny side (when I look back at it) that in my dreams O'Toole started out with the body of Charles Atlas or someone like that and finished up with the body of the hulk. But I think that was my subconscious telling me that I'd never better the bugger in a face off.
I have no idea what time I arrived home. I know that one of my brothers had left his girlfriend's car in my parking place. Vague memories of him saying something about working on the thing that weekend surfaced in my mind. The streets are pretty crowded around our way and I was forced to park my car in the local pub car park almost half a mile away and walk home. I was annoyed about that, but it worked out to my advantage in the long term.
I entered my parents' house quietly so's not to wake anyone; I was in no mood to explain why I was home or what I'd discovered about Lindsey. I crept up to my room, where I finally after almost two nights got some proper sleep.
I must have been really tired because it was nearly 10 A.M. when I awoke. I couldn't believe I'd slept through the noise of everyone getting up and going off to church like we all were required to do by my mother on Sunday mornings. At first it was a bit of a shock that she hadn't demanded that I go with them. But then I realised that the family was obviously unaware that I had come home; they thought I was down on the south coast fishing with my friends.
Missing mum's cooked breakfast was a bind, but not having to explain my presence was somewhat of a relief to my befuddled mind. I staggered downstairs and straight away a note by the telephone caught my eye; it was in my brother's scribble. It basically said that Lindsey had called and asked if anyone had heard from Mack (me) because I hadn't called her on Saturday.
I'm not sure why I picked it up and stuffed the note in my pocket. I think a plan of what my reaction to Lindsey's cheating was going to be was forming in my head. Well, it wasn't so much a plan of action, but a plan of inaction, most people would call it. I got the idea of just pretending that Lindsey no longer existed in my world. I'd just ignore her and any reference to her in the future. Well, I thought it was a good idea, but you must remember I was under a considerable amount of mental and emotional stress at that time.