I’ve started a new story. It’s a 1950s teen!lock AU.
You can find it on ff.net here:
And Archive of Our Own here:
It’s also here under the cut, if you prefer. Hope you enjoy!
A/N: I’d been toying with this idea for a while, and I finally bullied my brain into getting some work done on it. I really hope it doesn’t read as though I’ve just transplanted the School For Scandal world into the 1950s, because I have really attempted to make it as original as possible. This contains much SLASH. Ye be warned. There is also the possibility for the tiniest SLIVER of het, and maybe some Jim/Sherlock. I hope that doesn’t scare you off. John/Sherlock will still very much be the main pairing.
Also, this is the 1950s and there will be racist and homophobic language. Trust that I am not just using it for some sort of shock factor.
I was inspired by a lot of 1950s music, but especially the lyrics of “Grease Is The Word” from the 1978 movie Grease. I’ll mention a few 1950s songs as we go along, so you can get into the spirit ;)
Disclaimer: Do not own. No profit being made. Etcetera.
John woke up early to the sound of his mother playing Bing Crosby in the upstairs drawing room. She only used the record player upstairs when his father was smoking his pipe downstairs. She couldn’t stand the smell of tobacco. And she had the nose of a bloodhound. John had to walk three blocks before he felt safe enough to have a fag. The packet of Camels went into a box at the back of his wardrobe, and he made sure to remove it when his mother did her bi-monthly scouring of his room.
There wasn’t much else to find. He wasn’t allowed posters on the walls; the only one he owned was a much worn, creased print of James Dean pinned to the base of his desk drawer. But his mother did not approve of James Dean. She had unequivocally forbidden him from seeing any of his pictures, though he had once seen 20 minutes of Rebel without a Cause when he’d been stuck at lights outside the drive-in. He hadn’t been able to distinguish what the hell was happening, but he considered it as his own small act of rebellion that he hadn’t looked away.
The warbling of You Are My Sunshine faded away to be replaced by Get Your Kicks On Route 66 while he was changing into his uniform. His mother had ironed it and hung it in his wardrobe, and it was so crisp, he could have used it as tissue paper.
The entire uniform was black, except for the school’s crest and a truly hideous mustard vest. The girls’ uniform escaped this indignity, though they did have to wear white knee-high socks that made them look like they were left-over from a Vaudeville Show, circa 1930. John figured the school had purposely made the uniform as drab as possible, to really drive home the meaning of “poverty”. The sisters of St. Anne’s were rather in to poverty, as they never tired of reminding the boys who were sometimes made to go without lunch as a punishment. Girls were not subject to this. It was widely decided that they would faint. They instead usually got a sharp rap over the knuckles with the ruler all of the nuns carried in a belt around the vague suggestion of a waist under their habits.
And there were many, many ways to get the ruler, or miss a meal: altering the uniform, running in the hallways, talking back to teachers, illegible handwriting, speaking above the most hushed of tones, what the nuns referred to as “shenanigans” in the grounds, writing with your left hand instead of your right. The line was long, and vague, seeing as the nuns could declare very nearly anything as “against the rules” as and when they saw fit.
His mother was at the door, knocking furiously.
“Yeah, mum. I’m up,” John said, stooping down to check his hair in his vanity mirror. “You don’t have to do this every morning. I have an alarm clock.”
“Just hurry up and come down for breakfast,” she said briskly, opening the door behind him.
In the mirror’s reflection, John saw she was wearing a white dress with polka dots on it, and was already in a pair of her best pumps. He assumed she was going to the bank after she dropped him at school.
“What are you doing?” she said, frowning at him through the mirror. “Oh, darling, not that ridiculous cowlick again. It does look so awful.”
John scowled. “It’s not a cowlick. And it’s not against school rules.”
“Don’t take that tone with me,” she reproved him, without force. She paused, looking over his bedroom thoughtfully. “Well, you’re probably due for a haircut anyway. Now, do hurry, won’t you, dear?”
She turned on her three-inch heel and left.
“Yes, mum,” John said, sticking his tongue between his teeth, as he struggled to work his hair into a quiff without adhesive. “Damn it,” he swore, as it collapsed flat on his head.
He looked hastily over his shoulder, but he could hear his mother’s clunky footsteps already going down the stairs.
He sighed, staring at his half-formed Pompadour. It was impossible without hair grease, and his mother would sooner admit she had an American cousin, three times removed, who had once been hurled up in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee than allow her son to use that “negro filth.” It was the closest he had ever heard his mother to swearing, and he knew from that alone that he best not bring up hair grease again.
Instead, he kept a tin of it in the bottom of his school bag, and tended to his hair in the school bathroom at lunch. He could only use a little anyway, because the nuns had about the same attitude towards it as his mother.
“Coming!” He stuffed his schoolbooks into his bag, and jammed his black school shoes on his feet.
“Mum, I’m coming!”
He gave his reflection one more cautionary look, and headed for the hallway, carefully closing his bedroom door behind him.
The hallway was decked wall to wall in chintz. His mother was very, very fond of chintz. They featured in almost every room in the house, except his. He would rather die than allow chintz into the tiny square of the house that he had managed to keep as his bastion of relative privacy.
His mother was bustling about the kitchen when he entered. She bustled a lot, but especially in the kitchen. It was white and green right down to the toaster. His mother was very proud of her kitchen, and made sure to take guests on an unnecessary detour through it on the way to the living room, just to show off her impeccable taste and the wide variety of her appliances.
There was a bowl of porridge sitting on the table and a glass of orange juice. At the empty head of the table there was a folded newspaper and empty plate. His mother was frying bacon on the stovetop.
“How come dad gets bacon and I get porridge?” John remarked, dropping into his seat.
“Because daddy has a long day at the office, and needs his strength,” his mother replied, fussing unnecessarily about the stove.
John rolled his eyes and dug his spoon into the bowl. The porridge had the consistency of sludge.
“Where’s the sugar?”
“The what, dear?”
“The sugar. The sugar, mum.”
“You don’t need sugar in that porridge, John. It’s not good for you.”
“But I like sugar.”
“If you don’t start eating, you’re going to be late to school,” his mother snapped.
John hardly registered that as a proper threat, but did as he was told. There was no point in arguing with his mother. He had quit trying a long time ago.
His father strode into the kitchen, already wearing his grey suit and navy vest. He smelt strongly of pipe smoke and aftershave. His hair was combed fiercely to the side, perhaps to hide the fact that it was thinning. He slapped John on the shoulder, as he fell into his chair, immediately flipping open the newspaper.
“I could eat a horse, Audrey,” he announced, flattening the paper over his plate.
“I really wish you wouldn’t smoke before breakfast, darling. It’s not good for you.” His mother snatched his plate from under it and turned to scoop up the crisped bacon. “Busy day, today?”
“Mmhm,” John’s father replied, rubbing his lips slowly, as he ran his eyes down the page. “Oh for- God damn it, West Ham-“
John’s mother rounded on him with alarming speed. “Gene,” she hissed, with the poison of a rattle snake.
His father looked quickly at him, eyebrows raised. “I mean… gosh darn it. Of course.”
John just looked blandly at him with a mouthful of porridge. He would have liked to shrug, but he thought it best not to in front of his mother. He swallowed thickly, taking a hasty sip of juice to get rid of the taste of unsweetened oats.
His mother placed the bacon in front of her husband with a filthy look, and took a seat opposite John. “Honestly, Gene. I really can’t believe you can even think to use that kind of language at this time of the morning.”
“Sorry, dear.” His father pecked on her the cheek. “You should hear what the boys at the office say- and that’s with the copy writing girls around.”
Audrey Watson sniffed. “I do not wish to know.” She drank her coffee, her sharp blue eyes passing between her husband and John like a hawk.
John shovelled in a few more mouthfuls of porridge. “I’m full,” he said, his mouth bulging with it.
“Don’t talk with your mouth open,” his mother snapped. “For heaven’s sake. I think I live with apes sometimes. Sometimes I do actually believe that you two came from monkeys, I really do. And it pains me to even joke about such things.”
She touched the crucifix around her neck, with a long-suffering shake of her head.
When John was in the hall getting into his coat, he could still hear his mother laying into his father.
“Darling, I’m cooking sausage stew tonight, your favourite, and I really did expect you to be home.”
“Can’t be helped, Audrey. Lots to do. Probably’ll have to stay ‘till eight.” His father sounded like he had bacon in his mouth.
There was a silence, and John knew his mother was giving his father one of her frostiest looks. Few people could withstand them, but his father had had lots of practice.
“Really, Audrey. If I could, I would be here with bells on, but it’s impossible. You and Johnny eat without me. Make sure he gets an extra big helping. He’s looking a little skinny to me.”
“Oh, you know he eats like a horse,” his mother said dismissively. “Look at the way he wolfed down his breakfast, and that was just porridge.”
John pulled a face at the door.
He heard his mother’s heels on the tiles, and quickly straightened up from the wall he had been idling against.
His mother irritably pulled her handbag onto her shoulder, her face sour, and threw the door open. She jerked her head at him. John hastily went out.
The cold air hit him like a slap across the face. He wished he could get another coat, or three, but that was strictly against school rules. He wrapped his arms around himself and they trudged down the damp steps to where his mother’s cream Ford Zephyr was parked.
“Oh bother.” His mother clutched her forehead, looking back at the house. “My coat. Wait here, darling.”
She hurried back up the stairs, almost slipping over once on her impractical shoes. She disappeared inside of the house, leaving the door wide open behind her.
John looked up and down the street. It was grey and empty. Solemn terrace houses lined both sides, with tiny gardens and cement steps. The cars were mostly Fords. Clean, conservative, in varying shades of grey, black and white.
John cast a look up at the house on the right of his. It was, by all appearances, identical. But his mother was convinced that communists lived there.
John wasn’t entirely sure if he believed that, but he had no proof to the contrary, because he hardly ever saw anyone go in or out of the house. They had moved in one or two months prior, ignored all invitations to dinner, never mowed the tiny little strip of lawn that consisted of their garden, didn’t seem to own a car, entertained strangely clothed visitors at all hours of the day and night, and otherwise never seemed to go shopping, or on holiday, or even to work, which the street’s gossipmongers (of which there were many) concluded was unnatural in the extreme.
Sometimes, John could hear distant, warbling music through the wall of his bedroom, but even if he pushed his ear to it he couldn’t make out any other human sounds. Not even a creaky floorboard. It was weird.
He looked up from the curtained downstairs rooms to the rooms above.
He covered his mouth just in time, his heart suddenly beating furiously.
In the only uncovered window of the upstairs room he thought he had seen someone watching him. But, a second later, he had blinked, and he couldn’t have been sure if it wasn’t just a trick of the light. The window was now bare and empty. He could see green curtains pushed back on either side, but nothing else.
He breathed out slowly, just as his mother appeared at the front door, now dressed in her coat and hat. John sent another look at the house next door, but it was still and silent. Any certainty that he had seen anything was dribbling away.
“Come on. You’ll be late.” His mother brushed past him in her chequered green coat.
John got into the car, accidentally brushing his hair against the roof as he did so, and further ruining his styling attempts.
He moved his fingers towards the radio.
“Absolutely not,” his mother said sharply.
John nodded and retracted his hand. He turned to stare out of the window. The house next to theirs slid past and morphed into a line of others, all bleak and faceless.
Sherlock barely dared to breathe. He was sure the sound would carry all the way to the street. He had one hand plastered over his mouth, and the other clinging to the curtains to keep him from toppling over backwards.
He heard a motor from below, and took a chance on sticking one eye over the sill. The ugly white car was pulling away. He saw a vague flash of someone’s face in the front seat and hastily ducked back down again.
“Fuck, I’m an idiot.” He closed his eyes, waiting until the sound of the car’s engine faded.
He crawled away across the floor to where a freshly cut-out newspaper was lying on the floor. He snatched it up, and slowly got to his feet. He was still dressed in his pyjamas, but he worked best while in his pyjamas.
Of course, this little gem hadn’t anything to do with his work. It was just something he’d found, when he had finally been able to get his hands on the newspaper his brother positively hoarded from seven to eight every morning.
The newspaper article was small, and crammed in the back amongst advertisements for soap, and a Bob Hope movie. It read:
Two men, aged thirty-two and thirty-five, have been charged with gross indecency, following an inquiry by police. This comes after increasingly heated public and parliamentary debate over The Wolfenden Report, which seeks to decriminalize certain acts hitherto considered gross indecency under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.
And that was that. Sherlock doubted whether many people would own to understanding the issue the article was tiptoeing around like a gosling from Swan Lake. Even acknowledging such things was not the done thing. Discussion of it was left to morally outraged letters in The Times, and parliament, who unluckily looked back to the public to guide them on such a touchy, vote-affecting issue.
Sherlock smoothed it out and tacked it to a rectangle of wall he had cleared especially for it above his bed.
He stood back and admired its position. It looked innocuous amongst the almost perfect wallpapering of newspaper articles. Some had blue pen marks on them, others a brisk strike through. Those were the ones he had cracked, or, more often than he liked to admit, the police finally figured out. He was still practicing. There were kinks to be figured out.
He had been convinced that Mrs Mary Harper, fifty-eight-year-old resident of East London, had had her throat slit by a money-grubbing daughter, like all the papers had been insinuating in varying shades of subtlety. But, stupidly, he had overlooked the daughter’s husband, who, after very little digging, he had discovered was an ex-army man who had been in and out of sanatoriums since he was eighteen. It hadn’t been a matter of money at all; the lady’s death had been a good, old crime of passion, by an archetypal maniac. Or so said the newspapers after the fact.
But by the time he worked it out, the police had too, and it rather took the fun out of it.
From that point onwards he had decided to take every newspaper article with a hefty pinch of salt. Though often even the most sensationalist newspaper had information hidden amongst the tripe. After all, if one of the gossip columns hadn’t mentioned Mary Harper’s son-in-law’s name in passing, it never would have occurred to him to pursue that particular theory at all.
There was a sharp rap on the door and he heard it open behind him. “Sherlock, where is- Oh, for the love of- You cut it up again, didn’t you?”
Sherlock turned to his brother, dressed already in neatly creased grey trousers, and a salmon jumper. He never dallied in his pyjamas like his brother. By seven-thirty he was dressed, with his hair oiled and his shoes ridiculously shiny just to be worn inside. It was odd how well-presented he always kept himself, for someone who rarely left the house.
“I needed it,” Sherlock said calmly.
“So did I,” Mycroft retorted. “I hadn’t even looked at the stock-” His eyes landed on the exposed window. “The curtains aren’t drawn.”
“Very good, Mycroft,” Sherlock said venomously. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’ve dazzled me with your acute observations enough for one-“
“Spying on the neighbours, again, were we?” His brother raised one amused eyebrow.
Sherlock forbade his body from producing a blush, but it heartily ignored him. “Research,” he said coldly.
Mycroft examined his nails, smirking. “You know, when most boys your age say they get off while watching a blonde, they usually mean Marilyn Mon-“
Mycroft sniggered and backed out, closing the door with a sharp snap after him.
Sherlock glared after him, and then stalked across to tear the curtains back across the window. He rested his head against the wall, screwing up his eyes.
“I wasn’t “getting off”,” he muttered to no one.
It was the truth. He watched, because he was interested. The fact that the boy next door also happened to be okay to look at was an unrelated bonus. But Mycroft had already convinced himself of Sherlock’s having a manic, unrequited crush. Mostly to irritate him, Sherlock was sure, but it still got up his nose. It shouldn’t have, because nothing satisfied his brother more than successfully pissing off his brother.
The closest he had come to speaking to the Watson boy was overhearing him clattering around his bedroom. Their bedrooms shared a wall, luckily or unluckily. He could almost visualize every movement he made when he was thumping about in there, with the typical lack of grace of a seventeen-year-old boy.
He had the boy next door’s afternoon routine mentally down-pat.
He threw his shoes into one corner, his bag into another. He went across to his wardrobe, and rifled around in it for something, slamming the door with superfluous force, and starting to tear his uniform off and throw it onto the floor. Sometimes his mother came in to berate him for it, and to pick it all up again and hang it back in his wardrobe.
Most interestingly though, was when the boy’s mother was out, Sherlock heard music being played through the wall. Only when the woman went out, which Sherlock took to mean that the prim Mrs Watson did not approve of the records her son played.
Sherlock could only ever vaguely catch the melody if he pressed his ear to the wall, but he could occasionally make out Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, or Buddy Holly. Those were really the only ones he recognised. He had no desire to listen to the terrifically bland melodies and poor lyrics of rock and roll music. But he expected that its popularity sprang widely from its being very much forbidden among most fair-minded parents. Teenagers always liked things more when they were forbidden; it made them utterly more desirable.
Sherlock played Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Shostakovich, George Gershwin, and Debussy. Only when he needed something to distract him from the noise of his parents’ friends downstairs or Mycroft’s nagging. He worked just as effectively in silence, and he had once only played them occasionally and briefly. But he had soon realised something: it was when he played his records that he heard the boy next door put his ear to the wall. The boy next door was very poor at veiling his movements, and his fingernails scraped on the wall, and his body hit it like a sack of wet cement on bricks.
Personally, Sherlock didn’t consider what he did as spying. It was research. Though people were so stupidly easy to read that he didn’t know how much longer he could use that excuse. He had probably gathered everything he could from merely watching or listening to people a long time ago, but he didn’t know if his ability to notice would deteriorate if he didn’t keep practicing it. That was his second excuse.
There was another rap on his door.
“Go away, My-“
“Terribly sorry to interrupt your mooning over our neighbour,” Mycroft said, his eyes cool and teasing. “But it’s past nine, and mummy will wonder why you aren’t in your lessons.”
Sherlock sighed, and turned to him. “Fine. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“And do try and put some clothes on,” Mycroft said, rolling his eyes. “It’s hardly becoming to be in lounging around in your pyjamas all day.”
He left and Sherlock looked sourly after him, before turning to dig out jeans and a t-shirt from his drawers.
His brother was also his tutor, which was part of the reason why he was so insufferable. His mother was violently opposed to his attending school and being exposed to all the gory of corporal punishment, bullying, bigotry, and what she called “moral hysteria”. Much better to stay at home with her, his father, and their collection of batty bohemian friends under the careful instruction of Mycroft, who was only twenty-three, but seemed to know everything, and needed something to occupy his time with, being both brilliant, and incredibly idle.
Sherlock’s classroom was the upstairs guest room, which had been fitted with a blackboard, a small desk for him and a larger one for Mycroft, books, a globe, posters of things like algebra, the world, and Napoleon, and various other scholarly details.
Mycroft was behind his desk, his hands folded in front of him. He nodded to the smaller desk in front of him, much to Sherlock’s annoyance. He hated it when Mycroft decided to play teacher.
“Did you write that 2,000 words on Macbeth I asked for?” he said, resting his chin on his fingertips and raising his eyebrows patronizingly.
Sherlock slumped in his chair. “No,” he said, not looking at him. “I only got 500.”
“May I ask why?” Mycroft asked drily.
“Because I had other things to do, and I find the entire play frankly implausible,” Sherlock replied. “Not least the ghosts and disappearing blood spots.”
“It’s a play, Sherlock,” Mycroft said, a bite of impatience to his voice. “It doesn’t matter if it’s implausible. You were supposed to analyse the storyline.”
Mycroft spoke slowly, in a tone that suggested he was talking to a two-year-old. “To determine what Shakespeare meant when he wrote it.”
“If Shakespeare is as much of a genius as you seem to think he is, I doubt whether I am doing much for his memory by making incompetent assertions about his work.” Sherlock arched an eyebrow, enjoying how his brother’s eyes flashed with irritation. He had too much self-control to colour, but his eyes always betrayed him.
Mycroft closed his eyes, exhaling shortly. He opened them again, closing the book in front of him. “Sherlock, sooner or later, you will have to stop your nonsense, and realise that your clever quips are rather hollow without anything to back them up with.”
Sherlock just shrugged.
Mycroft shook his head. “Continue like this and I’ll suggest to mother that you be entered into school. And I doubt whether the good sisters of St. Anne’s would be as patient as I am with your belligerence.”
“Fine, threat taken,” Sherlock said coolly.
Mycroft watched him for a second, seeming extremely unsatisfied, but finally pushed away Macbeth with another shake of his head. “Fine. Math. No analysis here, Sherlock. Just cold, hard facts. I’m sure that pleases you.”
Sherlock didn’t reply. He stared out of the window, one hand toying with his uncombed hair, his mind already on everything but Mycroft and mathematics.
St. Anne’s Catholic School was small, being only one of dozens of catholic schools in the area, and it was ugly, consisting of one, large brick building, probably left over from the 19th century. John thought it might have been the one building that should have gone down in the blitz.
The grounds consisted of a lot of concrete at the front, and one solitary playing field out the back that was small and damp and very often overgrown.
John joined the crowd of drab black and white, pulling his blazer tighter around him against the cold. He couldn’t really imagine a more depressing picture than that of all two hundred or so unfortunate students of St. Anne’s trudging towards it on a Monday morning, faces blank and heads down.
“John!” He turned to see Sylvester Anderson elbowing his way to the space beside him.
Anderson was a horsey-faced boy whose mother was in his mother’s knitting group. John and him had been mates since John had first started at St. Anne’s. Sylvester had been the first kid to talk to him, to point out the prettiest girls, to give him directions that didn’t lead him to a broom closet.
Still, there was something… rattish about him that John couldn’t quite put his finger on.
“I wouldn’t do that again if I were you,” John said, with a grin. “Sister Harmony would do her nut.”
They both glanced up at a dour-faced nun of about thirty, joylessly ushering the students in with her always-present ruler.
Anderson shrugged with a smirk. “I have some news.” He looked sideways at him.
John looked at him. “What? You finally convinced your mother to buy a record player, you square?”
Anderson pulled a face. “Come off it. Nah. Listen.”
They were inside the hallway now, and the students were scattering in all directions, making their progress easier and quicker. Anderson crooked his finger to John and then jerked his head into the crowd.
John looked. He could see a small, slim girl in socks that were slipping down her calves with a load of shiny, long red hair.
He looked at Anderson. “Yeah. And?”
“She’s sweet on you.” Anderson grinned, showing teeth that were in bad need of braces.
“Molly Hooper?” John said dubiously. The thought of mousy, nervous Molly Hooper didn’t exactly set his loins aflame.
“She’s pretty easy on the eyes,” Anderson said, leering at her, as she turned into the classroom ahead of them.
“Yeah, but she’d probably never speak,” John said wryly.
Anderson sent him an incredulous look. “Who needs them to speak? There’s only one word they need to know and that’s “yes”.”
John didn’t reply.
They took seats at the back of the classroom. There was a clear divergence between girls and boys. The boys sat at the back; the girls sat at the front. There was a running joke (unbeknownst to the sisters of course) that it was so that the boys could get the best look at the girls’ arses.
John didn’t know if it was entirely untrue in Anderson’s case.
“You get to listen to that Fats Domino, yet?” a boy called Freddie Wilson said from the desk next to him.
John looked warily at Sister Harmony, who had just walked in, books gathered up in her arms. Harmony was not as fiendish as some of the other sisters, but she would still dish out a sharp slap to the arm if she caught anyone talking after class had started.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t always easy to tell when class had started, because she used the phrase interchangeably to refer to the moment she walked into the room and the moment she actually started speaking.
“Yeah, it’s totally crazy,” John said out of the corner of his mouth, conscious of Harmony prowling up and down in front of her desk. “When do you want it back?”
Freddie waved a hand. “Keep it for as long as you want it, kid.” He gave him a sympathetic look. “God knows how you keep it from your ‘rentals.”
“Practise,” John mumbled, turning back to the front.
Harmony glowered at them, sliding the ruler into her belt. “Silence,” she said to the already silent room. “We’ll call roll, and then see what you remember about the Industrial Revolution. I expect you to have all memorized the dates mentioned.” Her eyes swept coldly over them. “I’ll be calling on some of you, to make sure that you have.”
She tucked the ruler tighter into her belt, leaving the obvious consequence for a wrong answer hanging in the air.
She began to read through the roll in her bleak, inexpressive tone of voice, and John stared at the back of Molly Hooper’s head in the centre of the second row. He now wanted to ask Anderson how he knew Molly was ‘sweet on him’, but he wouldn’t be able to until lunch in three hours.
He slumped a little in his chair, and stared out of the window at the perfect quilt of miserable grey clouds covering the sky.
When Harmony reached Molly’s name, the girl responded in her soft, faltering lilt, like she didn’t know if she was giving the right answer. God knew what would happen when she was called on to give the date of the first steam engine or whatever. She’d probably have a nervous break-down right there.
But she wasn’t, as Anderson had pointed out, bad to look at, and she was sweet. John had been with worse girls. Some of them were in that classroom.
And Molly was the kind of girl he could take home to his mother, without her eye twitching at the sight of a too-tight, too-short dress, or, worse still, make-up beyond the thinnest suggestion of a layer. And God help the girl who talked about rock music in front of Audrey Watson. That was the surest way to secure her permanent antipathy and distrust.
John sighed and straightened up in his chair, before he got barked at by Harmony to do so.
He could strike up a conversation with her at lunch. Yeah. Maybe he’d go out with Molly Hooper. He could think of worse things.
End of Chapter One