10 December 2019

Silk Stockings by Erica Lainé - A Story Inspired By A Song


Read the Story
Guess the Song
here's a clue...

Pumps, Legs, Woman, Shoes, Paragraph

(adult content)

1940s England...

Joan opened the tube of Velva Leg Film, sun beige, promising a sheer textured finish. She ran her hand down her bare legs, no prickly stubble, all smooth and ready for the application. She used the cream carefully, watching her pink and white skin disappear under the filmy lotion; and there they were. Legs with stockings, legs that could be slipped into a pair of high heeled shoes and dance down to the nightclub for an adventure. Adventures were what she wanted after a week of standing at the bench in the factory slowly and carefully filling the shells with yellow explosive powder.
George had managed to get a table at the front of the dining area where they could see the jazz band and watch the singer who was crooning into the microphone. They had to share the table with another couple, she was all Veronica Lake blonde, suicide blonde thought Joan, dyed by her own hand. He was small and rather ferrety looking. One of those little men who could get you anything if you paid enough, she knew the type. To be avoided. Unfortunately he and George had begun some sort of conversation about essential supplies, the blonde woman looked very bored and powdered her nose, showing off the gilt compact before snapping it shut.
Joan leant back in her chair and sipped the bitter lemon. She didn’t drink or smoke, her father had promised her £10 if she could make it to her twenty-first birthday without touching alcohol or cigarettes and she was determined to get to April 13th, only three weeks to go.
‘Yours in a reserved occupation, like mine? They do go on, don’t they?’
Joan turned in the half-light to see an amused face, red lipstick and a fall of yellow hair.
‘Well, I suppose they do, yes.’
‘Known him long?’
‘Since I began work at the factory, he’s in charge of the wages office.’
‘That’s handy!’
Joan blushed and said, ‘No, he’s not like that.’
‘Charlie will talk to anyone about stuff that he can move about, if you know what I mean. My name’s Winifred by the way, I hate it when people call me Winnie, like I was Churchill or something. What’s yours?’
‘Joan, it’s my second name, my first name’s Beatrice, horrid name, I don’t like it at all.’  This all came out in a rush.
 ‘Come on, I want to dance. And so does Joan.’ Winifred had stood up, her hands on her hips.
They were moving around the dance floor, George looking all moony and holding her a bit too tight.
‘He’s a card that one and she seems like a real glamour girl.’
‘Not really our sort are they?’ Joan sniffed.
‘Well, they like the same music, look at them!’
Charlie and Winifred swirled by, deft, fast and very practiced.
George grinned down at Joan, ‘Perhaps they could teach us a few moves.’
And when they all sat down again he said how much they’d admired their style and was there a chance of changing partners to pick up a tip or two?
Charlie was holding Joan very closely in the darkest corner of the floor, insinuating a hand up and down her spine, his fingers splayed and tickling her too. She was far too warm, uncomfortable, wanted to get away, they weren’t really dancing at all, he was just there, hands exploring, he had the other hand at the side of her thigh, pulling and pushing at the thin material. He’d insisted she put her hands on his shoulders, to get the feel of the right way to stand for the dance. She felt foolish and trapped, standing there like a lemon while he pawed at her.
‘No stockings, clever girl with your paint on stuff, but I could get you a nice pair or two of some lovely silk stockings, a suspender belt as well if you need one, you’d look good in silk, all the better to slip into.’
She turned her head away from the mouth that was intent on hers, he was panting slightly now.
‘You be a nice girl to me and you’ll see what I can do for you, come on, lovely young thing like you could do with a good time, I can give you such a spin, you’ll see stars before the night’s over.’
Joan pulled away, wiping her hands down the side of her dress. She looked around for George, he was jiving furiously with Winifred who looked impassive as she kicked and flicked.
‘I must go…thank you… but no, I don’t want any stockings.’  And she walked unsteadily to George in the middle of the scrum of dancers.
‘Can we go now, I don’t feel very well.’
George was disappointed to leave so early, she knew that, but he could see she was unhappy, pale and quiet, leaning her head on the bus window. He got off at her stop too and followed her in, making sure she was safely home. Her parents always left the hall light on, they didn’t really sleep until they heard her slam the front door and lock it.
‘See you tomorrow,’ he kissed the top of her head, ‘get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be tickety boo in no time,’ and he left humming something from one of those American musicals.
Afterwards she often wondered if it was because of that particular night out when George began to change, more insistent when he kissed her, whispering what she considered smutty nonsense in her ear, but she had to admit she felt herself relaxing into his arms more and more, enjoying the fumbles under her sweater and skirt.
George still managed to get tickets to go dancing and they saw Charlie and Winifred a couple of times, Joan ignored them both but Winifred winked at her and said something about Charlie will always be ready for a spin if you fancy one. George muttered about having a quick drink later with Charlie and they nearly had a bit of a barney about that, she just hoped they’d seen the last of them.
Then the doodlebugs started dropping and everyone felt very nervous. Such beautiful summer weather but such horrors in the air. Joan clung to George and cried and he kissed away her tears, producing a small, square box.
‘Here, I’ve wanted to give you this for a long time, it’s a ring to say will you marry me.’


Ring, Jewlry, Engagement, Gold, Yellow

In September they were married in All Hallows church – now Joan was twenty-one she didn’t have to ask permission but her parents were happy about George with his good prospects and her mother relished the mother of the bride role, even with all the restrictions.
‘It’s going to have to be a small do, about thirty guests, the vicar’s got four other weddings that day so I said we’d have the mid-morning and then we can have a nice lunch before you go away.’
Joan was threading a ribbon through a petticoat, something blue. She looked up.
‘Here’s my something old, and my something blue.’ She finished her work and shook out the petticoat, ‘Something borrowed and something new. Well, I’m borrowing the dress from Mary, it’s been worn a couple of times already, but that’s how it is. The material’s alright, sort of slippery satin. Nice colour though. But nothing new unless you count my lipstick.’
Her mother talked to the greengrocer and he tried to make a bouquet out of red roses. More of a bunch than anything, thought Joan. And George had given her a pair of silk stockings to wear with her going away outfit, no point wearing them under the long dress, but with the greeny tweed suit and its box pleated skirt and her brown high heeled shoes, stockings were a lovely extra. 
The reception pushed the boat out, ham salad, tinned cling peaches and a blancmange. Beer and wine too, Joan drank a glass of sparkling white, her first taste ever.  After the toasts there was a fruit cake, George had managed to get it from somewhere.
‘Silk stockings, fruit cake, you must have some friends who can do more than lend things.’
Joan smiled up at him as they cut into the cake, and George tapped the side of his nose, ‘I know what I want for my best girl on our wedding day, everything we can get hold of.’

Wedding, Bride, White, Dress, Marriage

Joan sat on the edge of the bed in the double front room at the guesthouse where they were booked in for three nights. George knelt in front of her and slowly unclipped the silk stockings, rolling each one down with great care.
‘Wouldn’t do to ladder these, my word you have lovely legs.’ He fumbled behind her and unhooked the suspender belt, impatient now. His voice was thick as he stroked her bare legs, reaching up under the hemmed edge of her panties.
‘Shall I take them off?’
‘I should say so, here let me help.’
She stood up and they both pulled at the material.
‘I made them myself, out of an old silk blouse, it had quite gone under the arms but mother said there was enough for some French knickers.’
Her voice died away as they stood together, scrabbling at the belt on George’s trousers, he kicked them off and pulled up his shirt, Joan helping him get it over his head. She put her hands flat on his naked chest, feeling his skin and lifted her face for him to kiss. Then she closed her eyes as he pushed her onto the bed...
...‘Who’s wearing silk stockings?’ was a phrase that set off an erotic ritual, he watching her putting them on, Joan parading boldly, and then very carefully they would sit close together and George would peel them off, both breathless with excitement at what was to come.
She rinsed out the stockings in the washbasin in their room, no Lux flakes, just a sliver of soap, but they didn't need much, not really dirty. Joan giggled; well they were dirty in a good way, in a way that took them both into another world of secret delights. She pushed away the idea that George might have acquired the silky pair from Charlie. She shuddered to think that Charlie was somehow lurking in their new lives together. She resolutely kept him at distance.

Feet, Young, Happy, Marriage, Retro

Of course he wasn’t at a distance; he involved George in several little schemes after the war. Get rich quick ideas. Some had worked out alright, but one or two had been very close to getting them into serious trouble, even Winifred had been worried. Joan was very relieved when George was offered work out of the city, the new biscuit factory in Essex needed a manager. Harlow was a dream with its pedestrian centre and shopping precincts. And here they’d stayed right up until the factory closed down. George flush with his redundancy money had been keen to go out to live in Spain where Charlie and Winifred ran an English pub but Joan put her foot down, their lives were different now. There were grandchildren to see and the garden was exactly as she’d always wanted it. No, they would stay here. And that was that.


Joan plodded back to her bed and sat heavily. Her clothes were to hand, a pair of pull on track suit bottoms, a blouse with colour coded buttons so she knew where the first one was, non-slip, Velcro fastened, wide fitting shoes, a shawl cardigan. Ready for the day, sort of. George was already downstairs, kettle on, cornflakes in two blue and white striped bowls, the newspaper folded by his place. She sighed; they were such different people now, the essence of themselves perhaps. Once their essence had been wild loving sex and fun for all. Gone, all gone. She opened the drawer where a pair of neatly coiled silk stockings lived, so innocent, so important. She took out a pair of thermal socks. She’d never worn tights.


Socks, Wool, Knitting Clothing

©  Erica Lainé

Did you guess the song title?

Anything Goes

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and close-up


Erica Lainé has been an actress, a beauty consultant, a box office manager for an arts festival, a domiciliary librarian, a reader liaison officer, a speech and drama teacher, a writer of TEFL textbooks for Chinese primary schools, and an educational project manager for the British Council in Hong Kong. She was awarded an MBE for her work there. She lived in London in the late '50s as a drama student and then as a young wife and mother until 1977. After her life in Hong Kong she came to south west France in 1997 with her architect husband to the glorious house he had designed, a conversion from a cottage and barn. She lives here with him, a cat and a dog and rooms filled with a lifetime collection of books. She is president of An Aquitaine Historical Society and through that organisation came to know about Isabella of Angoulême, the subject of her trilogy. She continues to be fascinated and intrigued by 13th century France and England and their tangled connections.

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Reviewed by Discovering Diamonds


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There will be another story inspired by a song tomorrow!


The Full List of Authors

December
2nd   M.J. Logue   First Love 
3rd   Richard Tearle Chips and Ice Cream
4th    Helen Hollick Promises, Promises
5th    Paul Marriner Memories
6th    Pam Webber One Door Closing
7th    Louise Adam Hurt Me Once
8th    Barbara Gaskell Denvil Sticks and Stones
9th    Judith Arnopp Secrets
10th  Erica Lainé  Silk Stockings
11th   Anna Belfrage Hold Me, Love Me, Leave Me? 
12th  Annie Whitehead Frozen
13th  Tony Riches Alas, My Love
14th  Clare Flynn, Zipless
15th  J.G. Harlond The Last Assignment
16th  Elizabeth St John Under The Clock
17th  Alison Morton Honoria’s Battle
18th  Jean Gill The Hunter
19th  Patricia Bracewell Daddy's Gift
20th Debbie Young It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas
21st   Ruth Downie  Doing It Properly
22nd Nicky Galliers What God Has Joined
23rd  Elizabeth Chadwick The Cloak
24th / 25th  CHRISTMAS BREAK
26th  Helen Hollick Ever After
27th   Barbara Gaskell Denvil Just The One... Or Maybe Two
28th   Deborah Swift Just Another Day
29th   Amy Maroney What The Plague Brings
30th   Cryssa Bazos River Mud
31st  HAPPY NEW YEAR


StorySong graphic by @Avalongraphics 
additional images via Pixabay accreditation not required

15 comments:

  1. Hooray - this is the first time I've guessed the song. 'Wiping her hands down the side of her dress' is a great detail. I enjoyed the period background - especially the stockings! The way Charlie turns everything smutty is disturbing, especially over the whole lifetime - a novel is needed!

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  2. This is wonderful! I really felt the atmosphere of the times. Characterisation perfect and, yes, those little unimportant details which, once mentioned, become vital to creating the scene - naming the Church, for example, as if we should know where it was. Excellent work

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    Replies
    1. And one of those songs that will stay in the head all day! :-)

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  3. How many visitors didn't start tapping their feet...?

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    1. Tapping my feet? I was dong the whole Fred Estaire thing!!!

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  4. I obviously need to update my lingerie drawer with some silk stockings. Have never worn such luxury and rhe side effects seem interesting!

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  5. Fabulous atmosphere, especially the dancehall and the sleazy Charlie. And what a poignant ending!
    P.S. I had a pair when I got married. Nothing resembles the feeling of them on your skin.

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  6. Great story, spot on. I didn't guess the song. I am rubbish at this!

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  7. Touching. I loved the poignancy of the velcro fastened shoes and the colour oded buttons. How many elderly people do we see like her and George and never think that they had a past that might feature silk lingerie, great legs and lots of sex!

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  8. What delightful, unashamed romance, and some wonderful detail.

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  9. Posting on behalf of the sender: "I have just discovered the Discovering Diamonds website, so shall be reading more.
    I have read Erica's trilogy of books about Isabella of Angouleme and found them fascinating. Isabella is brought to life brilliantly.
    I am an author & poet myself, but haven't yet attempted a historical novel. Mine are mainly set in the 1960s & 70s. I have just finished the last in a trilogy which will be published in early 2020.
    Look forward to keeping in touch.
    Philomena

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  10. Posting on behalf of Erica:

    Thank you very much to everyone who read my story and have left such positive comments. Much appreciated. It was terrific to be part of this group writers and their stories. All so very good!

    Many thanks
    E

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Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon, but due to the high rise of unsuitable nuisance spam I am now having to vet comments before they are posted. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post your comment for you. That said ...SPAMMERS or distasteful rudeness will be stamped on, squashed, composted and very possibly cursed - if you spam my blog, next time something nasty happens to you just remember that I DID warn you...

Helen