Tuesday, 2 January 2007

An evening in Peterborough

Perhaps thinking it was a near Crimewatch moment was overcalling it. You be the judge.

When I was 15 or so my Mum and Dad had their silver wedding anniversary and booked a nice family holiday in Corsica.

We were staying in a villa and next to us were a couple of families, one with a girl about my age called Jo and one with a gorgeous young man called Mark, was probably 17 years old.

I fell madly in love with Mark. I couldn't call it a holiday romance because he had a girlfriend back home but I was hooked.

When we got back home we exchanged letters frequently. Now e-mail and texts can be good for communication, but there's something extra added when someone puts pen to paper. Plus Mark was studying graphic design so his letters were littered with drawings and doodles and his handwriting was beautiful. So the romance continued but I'm pretty sure it was one-sided.

There was no chance that we would see one another because I was in deepest darkest Devon and Mark lived with his parents in Peterborough. That was until I had an invitation to stay for New Year's Eve.

Well clearly I was very excited by the prospect although 'didn't have a thing to wear'. I think I'd turned 16 in November and when I asked Mum they said yes because they'd met Mark's Mum and Dad, who were, and probably still are, lovely people (we still exchange Christmas cards).

So the route was planned: train to London then change up to Peterborough and get met at the station.

I didn't really know what the plan was for New Year's Eve but it turned out that we were going to go to a party. It also turned out that Mark still had a girlfriend!

So we went to the party and I spent most of my time with Jo, and not with Mark, who was playing happy couples with someone else.

At midnight I was sitting on the loo and Jo was on the other side of the loo door. We decided that this party wasn't really doing it for us so we'd go somewhere else. Now I had been drinking so the next bit is a bit hazy.

Somehow we ended up walking through the streets of Peterborough with a couple or three guys that we had met at the party.

I didn't know where I was going and I didn't know Peterborough and we ended up in a house.

The house seemed to belong to one of the men we were with but it was walking through the front door when I thought 'this isn't right'. I should probably have thought it a lot sooner but I had Jo with me and she was a local (well local ish she was from Bedford).

Downstairs in this house was a kitchen. The only thing in this kitchen was beer. There was also a lounge and the only furniture in the lounge was a mattress. Jo and I sat on the only lounge furniture available and all of a sudden I was uncomfortable, and not just because I was sitting on a mattress. It was soon clear that the men weren't just interested in a friendly drink. The banter between them made Jo and I petrified. I was desperately trying to figure out how to escape this house given there were three blokes in my way and I had no clue where I was and I didn't have a mobile phone in my pocket.

It was a strange situation because it really felt like us against them. They were talking about us, not to us. Jo and I were too scared to talk.

Just as things were really uncomfortable and these blokes started turning their attention towards us, choosing who wanted which, there was a knock at the door.

And who should be at the door but my knight in shining armour. Mark had realised we'd gone missing and had gone in search. I don't know how he found us and I don't know whether he'd known who we'd left with, but Jo and I were exceptionally pleased to see him.

But he still had a girlfriend...

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