Len grinned happily at her best friend Ted, enjoying her company, the wild bike ride along the paths of the Platz. It was good to be away from school, good to be with Ted, to have fun, and just be her. Being the Head Girl was stressful at times, she could cope but having Ted as senior prefect made it more fun and a lot easier. As a team they worked well together.
She watched as Ted braked to a halt beside her, panting slightly from their wild ride. “I win.”
Ted laughed “I’ll give you that, but I’ll get you on the way back.” She wasn’t a pretty girl, more handsome with strong features and dark hair, very unlike Len’s more gentle prettiness. Looks didn’t matter to their friendship.
These days Len had sensed something about Ted that puzzled and intrigued her, because she felt similar feelings. Not quite ready to explore these feelings, to work them out she left them and just enjoyed the friendship.
Len felt broken, she had waited and waited, wanting to be sure, and had waited too long. She had ignored the signs that were obvious to her now, the developing closeness between Con and Ted, the attraction. How was she to know they were like her, how was she too know they had fallen in love. She had, many years ago, and thought it was safe, that all she had to do was wait for the right moment to declare that love. And now it was too late, the deep friendship between her and Ted was still there but to Ted it was only friendship, the love she felt was for Con. She could not be totally unhappy because these were two of her closest friends, but her heart was heavy, and close to breaking. She greeted them with a happy, if false smile, as they came to her, and made sure they would never guess just how she felt.
College was both a struggle and a delight to Len, she loved the work, but was lonely. Boys held no interest to her except as friends, girls she had to be wary with, scared to get too close in case, well just in case. She shared rooms with Con which caused its own problems as Ted was a frequent visitor to both, still remaining one of Lens closest friends, yet never realising the love Len held for her.
She stared out of the window one evening remembering Joey’s anger after she had told her firmly she would never marry Reg. It wasn’t Reg personally, she felt nothing for him, she couldn’t love a man. But she couldn’t tell Joey that. She had never said she was going to marry him anyway, everyone just presumed it, the rumours fuelled by Joey, encouraged by others, everyone except her, she had never been asked. Her and Joey were still cool with each other over it, how could she ever tell her the truth. Come to that how could Con ever tell her that she loved Ted, Len decided she would help all she could, it would be something she could do for Ted.
“I wish, oh I just wish.” The girl muttered as she strode across the school playing field “Why can’t I be older, why can’t she see me as anything other than just an annoying kid” All those darned questions just for the few snatched moments of being able to talk to her, the amused looks from others, the patience from Len. Patience, she didn’t want patience, she wanted more, she wanted to be able to express her deeper feelings, but she couldn’t, she was too young. She knew her own mind, had known it for years but had never met anyone with the impact that Len had had upon her. And Len was leaving in a week, her last term here, and wasn’t she engaged to that, that idiot Reg?
A week later, on the last day of term, she heard the news, the rumour was Len had rejected Reg, had never been engaged to him. Her heart had soared, there was still a chance except, except Len was leaving school that day and she would probably never see her again.But she lived here, must surely return for holidays and college holidays were longer than the school ones.
One the first day of the new term Jack felt lost, almost alone as she realised Len was no longer there. Then a little hand slipped a note into hers, on reading it she found it was from Len, encouraging her, telling her she would be fine.
Just a note from a patient Head Girl to a younger girl, maybe,but Jack felt hope, she hadn’t forgotten her.
The loneliness got to Len, despite her sister being there, despite her best friend being there, yes, because the loneliness was not for friendship but for love. She saw it in Con and Ted, wanted it, had thought she had it and then lost it.It never entered her head to try to damage their relationship, she cared too much for them.
She went searching in the wrong places and was taken up by an older student who saw in her what she was herself. She wasn’t unkind but was attracted by Len’s freshness, her naivety, and she introduced Len to the physical side of a relationship. It was a shock at first, but then Len craved it, looked for it, anything to take away that nagging emptiness that was her life.
Con and Ted were a little puzzled but put it down to Len growing up, they were not fully aware of what she was doing. They remained close, remained friends but the comfort Len could have drawn from this was spoilt by her love for Ted.
Her work remained good, excellent even , she was expected to do very well, outside the perfect student, inside totally different.
Jack had changed in her years at school, she had been a bully but her love for Len had made her change. Len didn’t like bullies, and in changing for Len she released the real her, someone who did care, just wasn’t all that great at showing it.The change was welcomed by the school, she was made Head Girl, and her heart remained set on Len. She had had brief glimpses and cherished these .
Joey had found out about Con and Ted on a visit to the house and was angry. She confronted the pair, accusing them. They had faced her bravely, not denying their love, not ashamed of it. They had both been surprised, yet touched when Len had stepped up beside them , stuck up for them, risking bringing her mother’s disapproval down on her. The visit had ended unsatisfactorily in their relationship with Joey but the three had never been closer, Len loved the pair so much she was willing to risk all for them.
Jack and Len met, totally by accident. Len was taking a moody walk, Jack had been on an errand. They stopped, stared at each other for a second before grinning “Hi Head Girl.” Len said.
“Hi ex Head Girl.” Jack was finding it hard to breathe, this was Len, here, in the flesh, they were talking “How’s college?”
“Has its moments, I’m enjoying the work. How about you, how is school?”
“Same as always, damn, I’ve got to get back.”
“How about if I ask permission to take you to tea. “Len suggested, not really sure why she said it, she liked Jack well enough but this was an impulse. “I’ll ring Miss Annersley, see if can be today because I go back soon, is that ok with you?”
“He…I mean yes, that would be great.”
“Ok, see you later.”
Jack nearly skipped back to school “I’m going to see her.” She kept repeating. Hilda did give permission and the met at the little café on the Platz. Jack found it hard to concentrate, to eat at the nearness of Len. Len watched her, puzzled a little, until she realised. “Dear God she loves me, “. She kept smiling, chatting with Jack, enjoying her company but being a little careful in what she said, the girl was younger than her, still at school. Although lonely herself, seeking love ,she was not about to use a younger girl.
Jack nearly floated back to school, Len was more thoughtful, this explains so many things about Jack. Once back at college the loneliness returned, she continued her searching and never finding. She knew why, she was looking for another Ted and was always doomed to disappointment.
Jack on a high from the meeting , came down to earth when she realised Len had shown no signs of being like her, she had just been like a friend. She had already waited and hoped for 4 years, she could wait a bit longer yet, until she knew. How that would happen she had no idea, she just knew it would.