Text Box: Third Quarter 2015 — Third Place


Temper and Tenacity by Gayle Letherby






























I hate being the youngest.

'I wonder if Charlie Bingley will be out tomorrow night,' says my sister Jane.

'He will,' replies Liz. 'He's bound to ask you out. Let's hope he's not with his hideous friend Will Darcy. What a dick.'

'Language, Elizabeth,' said Jane, imitating our mother.

Laughing Liz carries on bad mouthing Darcy who apparently did nothing worse than not ask her to dance. She's gagging for it elsewhere anyway. She got a text from a sailor called Wicks who’s ‘longing’ to see her.


I look great. The neckline on my shirt is low enough to show off the top of my boobs and my skirt is short. I look at least 18.

I’ve got enough for one Vodka Redbull and I’m paying when he says, 'let me get that.’

The sexiest guy is looking down at me. Late 20s and fit, his six-pack is evident and when he smiles my tummy flips.

'I'm Wicks,’ he croons.

It’s Liz's bloke. I glance over to where I saw my sisters when I snuck in the club.

'There's a private bar upstairs,' Wicks says. 'Let's go.'

He finds us seats. Playing with my hair he strokes my face and leans forward. After a soft kiss his tongue pulls at mine. I gasp. One of his hands in on my thigh now. My legs are bare. His hand moves higher, under my skirt. I open my eyes to check if anyone is looking and see one of Wicks' mates leering, smirking.

I move Wicks' hand but he puts it back, further up my leg. I shift away. He shrugs. We drink. He chats with his mates. Scared I've blown it I move closer and stroke his thigh, nuzzle his neck. He stands, pulling me up.

'Come on.’

At the end of the loo corridor we kiss again. He's more forceful. I pretend I like it and moan a bit. I can feel his erection.

‘Ok?,' he says.

Understanding, I hesitate.

'Don't be a tease, yes or no?’

'Yes, yes.’ I’m frightened I'll lose his attention again.

It doesn't last long.  He does up his zip. ‘Great, babe. Go tidy up now.'

I’m hurting everywhere.  BUT I've got a boyfriend. The sisters will be so jealous.

At the bar Wicks is finishing a Budweiser. He pats my bottom. 'We've gotta get back to the ship now, Linda. See ya.’

He's gone, before I can tell him my name is Lydia.


My sisters aren't so bad. They've been kind since they found out. I had to tell, I couldn't stop crying. Neither could Mum. Dad doesn't know. He'd go spare and be down the docks. Wouldn't do any good; that ship has long gone. I'm not the first. Wicks tried it on with Will Darcy's sister too. Liz and Will are together now. He’s great. They’re with me today at the clinic. 

It could be worse.

Two hundred years ago I'd have had to marry the bastard.

First Place: Three Minutes 

Second Place: The Wedding