I gave in my notice and was sad to leave. Mrs Elliot gave me a present and a hug. She told me I was a nice girl and that she was sad to see me leave. Everyone on the shop floor hated her, for no other reason than that she was a supervisor. I could never understand that.
Johnny Walker felt I had let him down and he sulked, not saying a word to me while I worked my notice. Finally, though, when he was giving me my wages on the last day, he asked, abruptly, whether I had changed my mind. I just smiled. His son, Peter, though, turned out to be a nice person and a perfect gentleman. He said he was sorry to see me go and that I was a good worker. Much to his embarrassment, I hugged him. He went very red.
The first thing I did after finishing work was to get a paper and look at the vacancies section. I still needed money to finance both my home and social life. During my time at Gorgeous Bras I started going out with a lad called George. I was sixteen. He was a year younger and quiet. He came from the Soho Street area – huge blocks of tenements that sat on the edge of the city centre. It was as tough an area as Tuebrook, but I still feared for George when he first confronted the Lewington Brothers.
The confrontation came the first time he came home with me. The lads expected me to bring the newspapers home from work, and, ignoring George, their first words were: “Hey, bitch, where are the papers?”
Before I had time to answer George shot back at them: “Get them yourselves, you lazy sods.”
It was, as far as I knew, the first time ever that anyone had stood up to my brothers. I thought they would kill him, and tried to drag him away, but his quietness hid a toughness I had not imagined. He held his ground. The lads backed down, to my relief and surprise. Then George suggested that we go to his parent’s house. I thought this was a good idea because, had I stayed, I was sure there would have been trouble George told me afterwards that had they not backed down he was ready to grab me and make a run for it.
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