The older girl.
I used to read myself to sleep every night in bed. Being thirteen years old and all alone without a brother or sister sure made for a lonely existence.
My world revolved around the stories I read and the films I saw. I was a frequent visitor to both the corner cinema and the local library.
War films and stories of great battles were my favourites, but that was before I discovered that girls could be pretty damned interesting too.
For no reason whatsoever my Mother decided that I should have a babysitter now that she had an evening job. I didn’t object. It was far better than staying alone every evening. I’d be glad of the company.
That evening Rose knocked on our front door was the beginning of a new chapter in my young life.
My Mother brought her in and introduced us. Of course Rose was a local girl and I’d seen her many times on my way to school and at the cinema or library.
We spent a pleasant evening in the sitting room, and we both read our books.
At nine o’clock I went to bed as usual, and Rose came and made sure that I was comfortable. She sat on the bed and read her book until I fell asleep.
Mother was happy to hear that I was quite at ease in having Rose for company each evening.
We developed a routine over time, and we had fun fighting with each other and telling little jokes that I had heard at school.
Then I’d go to bed and Rose would read one of her books to me.
I didn’t really enjoy her stories, but I sure loved her company.
Rose was sixteen and she had recently left school. She was more than happy to be earning some extra money by baby-sitting me.
My twelfth birthday party came around and I was pleased when my Mother said that we should also invite Rose to the party.
I was all togged up in my best suit and tie, and it was then that I noticed that Rose was paying quite a lot of attention to me.
When it came to the moment when my guests would hand me their birthday presents Rose said that her present was in the hall. I followed her out and she handed me a small parcel which was obviously a book She said that I shouldn’t open it until tomorrow night because she would read it to me.
She said I should go immediately and put the book somewhere safe in my bedroom, which I did.
When I came back downstairs Rose was still waiting in the hall and said she was waiting to give me my birthday kiss. Suffice to say it was better than any other kiss that I was given that day!
We rejoined the party, and a good time was had by all. My head was still spinning after that kiss from Rose, but I just knew that all had to appear normal to the rest of the household.
The next night Rose came a little earlier than usual, but my Mother was glad of the chance to escape the house. Off she went and left us alone.
We sat, as usual, on the sofa and talked and laughed, but all the while there was a certain tension in the air which was detectable even by a youth of my age.
We talked until we ran out of subjects and I began to feel tired, so I prepared for bed. When I came from the bathroom Rose was already sat on my bed.
She asked me to get my birthday book, and said she would read to me.
I lay in bed as she began to read. I didn’t understand wat the story was about,but it was obviously having a strange effect on Rose.
Suddenly she closed the book and said that she too felt sleepy and asked if it was OK to lay beside me. I raised no objections and she took my extra pillow and lay beside me.
It was silent in my room and Rose turned off the bedside light.
Now it was really dark and she said she was afraid of the dark, but she would feel better if I held her. I didn’t know what to do, so I did just as she told me.
Well, I guess you know what happened after that, but didn’t we get a fright when my Mother opened the bedroom door and turned on the light.
She just stared at Rose and told her to put on her clothes and go home. Not another word was said.
The next morning my Mother gave me my lunch-box and kissed me good-bye.
As I got to the door I turned to say something to my Mother but she had her back to me. My Father, who was sitting having breakfast, looked up and gave me a smile and a wink.
I closed the front door silently and set off for school.
Rose never spoke to me again, but she would often smile a secret smile as we passed.