I arrived in London on 14 June. I somehow got settled very quickly once I arrived in London. Auntie had arranged for a temporary work visa, reminding me that I would need to apply for citizenship to stay permanently, and she had no idea how long that would take. Rog told me I could stay at their place as long as I liked or needed to. I had no furniture of my own, and a furnished apartment in London would be very hard to come by on my budget. I wasn't going to start work at MC's until the following week; Auntie wanted me to fully recover from the jet lag first!
Brian had phoned Auntie and told her of a party in Liverpool for Paul's 21st birthday that was coming up on the 18th. He knew that I was going to be in the country by that time, and was thinking about having our joining them be a surprise, but Paul was a little anxious and invited us to go along before Brian could stop him. I was so excited to see Paul again. It had only been about six weeks since his trip to America, but with our new status, it made me miss him more. Since the group was going to be in London the day before and the day after, we elected to ride with them instead of driving separate. Brian and Paul were to pick us up the evening of the 17th at Auntie's house; Rog was going to run the store the next day.
We packed our overnight bags (we were to stay at Brian's), and they were sitting by the door. I tried to keep still, but couldn't. I was checking the window every time I heard a car outside, jumping up, running to the window, and then flopping back on the couch in desperation, pulling on my curls as I grew more anxious. Auntie was getting frustrated. She came into the living room and pushed me down on a chair after one of my many peeks through the window. "You are not to move from this chair until Brian and Paul are at the front door!" She gave me a magazine to keep me occupied, but it didn't help. I looked up every time I heard a car. Finally I heard a car slow down outside and a couple car doors open and close. I couldn't hold back anymore--curiosity (coupled with hormones) got the best of me. Auntie cast a glare and then smiled as I jumped up. I didn't even bother with checking the window; I flung the front door wide open and saw Paul coming up the walk. His face lit up like a fireworks display when he saw me. I yelped something that was probably unintelligible and bolted out the door into his outstretched arms. He swung me around as we kissed for a long time. In sharp contrast, Auntie calmly walked out the door and gave Brian a kiss on the cheek and a hug. Rog brought out our bags and advised Brian and Paul to take care of his girls, and we were off.
During the ride, Paul & I were in our own little world. We chatted up a storm since it had been so long since we were able to actually talk for longer than a few minutes--transatlantic phone calls were quite expensive! When we weren't talking, we were attached at the lips. My behavior shocked me a little--I really wasn't one for public displays of affection, but here I was making out in the backseat with my aunt in the front seat! In a way, I really didn't care…I had certainly lost some of my inhibitions and prudish tendencies in the past year…and Paul's kisses were definitely something I didn't want to miss out on. Sometimes they were tender, gentle kisses…sometimes they were deep, hungry kisses…and everything in between. Today I was getting a little of everything in that department! As we nuzzled each other, he mentioned, "You know, we've known each other for just over a year now. It's almost like this is an anniversary of sorts."
"Mm-hum," I mumbled, not really caring what he was saying, just being glad to hear and feel him next to me. He started kissing my neck, and I let out a very audible moan. Auntie piped up from the front seat, "Alright you two! Do I have to hose you down?!" Brian giggled, which got Auntie started...I swear, those two were like schoolkids! But Paul & I reluctantly agreed to tone it down a bit, and I settled for putting my head on his shoulder and taking a little nap snuggled in Paul's arms.
We arrived in Liverpool around 11 p.m. Paul woke me up; I had forgotten how much I had liked waking up in his arms the last time. We took our bags inside, and as I was heading upstairs with mine, Paul pulled me aside. He put my bag down on the floor and held me tight. "You can't begin to know how much I have missed you, luv. I'm so happy we're only a couple hours apart now instead of thousands of miles." He looked at me and continued as he stroked my cheek, "I'm sorry, but I can't stay here tonight, Jill. I just don't think it's...proper, I guess."
I nodded. "That's alright, I wasn't expecting you to; as long as I get to spend a lot of time with you tomorrow, birthday boy! Oh, that reminds me--when do want your birthday spankings?!" I said teasingly.
"I'm not one for that...I'll settle for twenty-one birthday kisses, though." He started kissing me and counting off, "One...two...three...four...five..."each time changing location from my lips to my forehead and my cheeks and my neck, until he reached twenty-one. That one was a very intense kiss; I never wanted it to end. I found myself whispering to him as he kissed my neck, "Are you sure you can't stay tonight?" I wasn't sure at the time if I was serious or if it was more of a rhetorical question, but it sure got his attention. He looked me in the eyes and said, "You know that if I could, I would, luv. I need to go--until tomorrow?" He gave me a quick kiss goodnight and left for his home.
The party was scheduled to begin in the afternoon, at his Auntie Gin's house. All four Beatles were there, plus other local bands and friends and family. It was a huge bash! Huge drunken bash was more like it…everything was going well until Bob Wooler (the Cavern Club emcee) accused John of being a homosexual; apparently John had gone to Spain with Brian for a few days during the break they had in the spring and it had raised some eyebrows. Anyway, when Bob approached John about it, John punched him. Other than that, the festivities were quite nice.
Almost everyone brought presents; I had been racking my brain over what to get him ever since I found out I would be there for his birthday. I knew how much he was fascinated by America, so I had found some tourist-y America picture books to suit that fancy…but I knew it really wasn't a nice gift for a boyfriend, so I put that idea on the back burner, a sort of "last resort" gift. I would have bought him some American music records, but he had practically bought out the local record shop when he had visited Bloomington! I hated this part--the first gift is a terrifying ritual of dating. You didn't want to send the wrong message, either by being too indifferent or by being too straightforward. I had asked Anne for advice on this before I left school, and she took me shopping. That's when I found the picture books, and we stopped at many different places. We ended up in J.C. Penney; we figured a department store would be the best place to go. I didn't have that much money to spend; I was still in college after all!
We had looked everywhere. Clothing was too personal, and I wasn't that familiar with his clothing tastes. I didn't want to give him anything really trinket-y or girly…I thought about giving a picture of me, but he already had a couple. We ended up at the jewelry counter--Anne was looking at the diamonds and dreaming. While she was in her own little world and trying on engagement rings ("Just in case" was her excuse), I looked at what else they had to offer. I thought about a watch, but all the ones I thought he would like were way too expensive. They had I.D. bracelets, and I wasn't sure if he would like one, but it was something I could personalize, but not be too wishy-washy of a gift. I checked pricing and they were within my budget (if I fudged the numbers a little), and I asked Anne what she thought of the idea. I managed to pry her from a dazzling marquis-cut solitaire (which was way too big in my opinion) to look at the bracelets. We selected a medium-width silver bracelet. The next fight was trying to figure out what to put on it. Did I want his whole name, initials, first name? After some hemming and hawing, I agreed on just "Paul" in block letters, and the saleslady said they were having a special and I could get the back engraved for free. I blurted out, "Happy 21st, Love, Jill." I hadn't thought about putting "love" on there; when she asked me what I wanted, it just came out. Anne elbowed me and pointed out to me what I had just agreed to. I shrugged my shoulders, and dismissed it as a Freudian slip…but that's what the back of the bracelet would say. Engraved. Permanently.
The time came to open gifts, and I had just shoved mine in with everyone else's. I was excited for him to open my present, but nervous as to what he'd say. Paul was eyeing the different-sized boxes of every shape and color, trying to see which ones to open first. He decided a random approach would be the best, and just started tearing into the boxes. Most of what he got was clothes or records or little knickknacks, and several people were taking pictures. My gift was next to last, he looked at the tag and smiled at me as he opened the small box. He saw just the front of the bracelet and seemed pleased with the gift. He thanked me and handed it to John to put it on him. Of course John had to be the one to look at the back first, and in typical Lennon fashion brought it to everyone's attention. "Oh, what's this? 'Love, Jill'?! Love, Miss Dearborn?" I'm sure he would have gone on more if Paul hadn't smacked him around a little and told him to "shut his gob"! Paul got the bracelet fastened. He came over to me, whispered "I'll thank you better later," and kissed me on the cheek, which brought quite a reaction of oohs, ahhs, and a couple flashbulbs from the whole room.
During the rest of the party, Paul kept dragging me around to all his friends and family, "showing me off," he said. Michael kept trying to hang on me and flirt with me just to get Paul riled up. It wasn't working at first, but when Michael pulled me down on his lap and acted like he was kissing me, Paul ran over and scooped me up into his arms. "Whaddya think you're doing, luv? Tryin' to see who's the better McCartney?"
I leaned back and looked around the room. "Well, your pop's a little old for me…got any young, cute cousins?"
Paul acted like he was going to drop me right there, but caught me and smiled mischievously. "Scared ya a little, eh?"
I held on tight and whispered to him, "A little, but I'm all better now," I said, nuzzling his neck.
"C'mon, silly…I know a place we can go." He put me down and led me outside. There were several large climbing trees in the backyard, and he pulled himself up into one of them. He looked down at me, still timidly standing on terra firma. "C'mon up, luv…you're not scared of climbin', are ya?"
"Not exactly scared…but I haven't ever climbed a tree." I looked down at the ground and pushed a rock with my foot. I was a little embarrassed.
"Gerron!" He looked at me as if I was an alien. "Never? All your stargazing and you never wanted to get closer to those stars? Climbin's all I did when I wasn't in school or playin' music." He jumped out of the tree to give me a boost up. I somehow managed to get up in the tree and not lose my balance or scratch up my legs (I was wearing shorts that day). He hopped back up in the tree like it was second nature as I tried my best to sit, straddling a larger branch. "So…here we are!" he said cheerfully.
"Yeah…" My voice quivered as I looked down nervously at the ground below. We were probably only six or seven feet up in the tree, but it might as well have been six hundred feet. I was scared, but I didn't want to let on that I was. I smiled at Paul, but he could tell I was uncomfortable in the tree. He scooted a little closer to me and put his hands on my knees. He played with his bracelet and said, "Thanks for the bracelet, luv. It's great, I love it…" He looked up at me and continued, "…and I love you."
That was something that I was definitely not expecting him to say. This was big…but right then I didn't have time to consider the ramifications of it. I thought about it, and I suppose I did love him...and now was the time to tell him, if there ever was one. "I love you, too, Paul," I whispered. We kissed up in that tree for several minutes. I liked it; it helped me forget that I was up in the air…but then again, I don't think my feet ever touched the ground when Paul was kissing me!
Our cover was blown when Michael saw two pairs of feet dangling through the branches of one of the trees in the backyard. We didn't know he was in the yard until he had snuck up and was standing directly under us. We were still kissing and nuzzling when he yanked on my foot and yelled up in the tree, "Hey Paul! Done with your bird watchin' yet?" He didn't yell that loud, but that coupled with him tugging on my foot startled me enough that I lost my balance and fell out of the tree, taking Paul with me. I landed on my left side, and Paul landed on top of me. I immediately felt the stabbing pains in my left arm. I'm not sure if it was my landing on my arm or Paul landing on me, but I knew something was seriously wrong. Michael's face turned white. "Oh shit! What did I do! God, guys, I'm so sorry!" He kept freaking out, apologizing and running around like a crazy man while Paul looked at my arm. Paul got angry and yelled at Michael, and Michael finally went inside. I couldn't move my fingers, and my whole arm hurt very badly. I was trying to hold back screaming in pain, resorting to loud whimpers. I knew it was a bad idea, but I looked at my left arm. There was something funny lumping up my skin. Was it my bone? I suddenly felt nauseous and buried my head in the grass, swallowing my tears.
Paul asked me, "Should we call a doctor, luv?" I nodded through my tears, not even looking up at him. Before Paul could help me up, Michael had brought out half the McCartney family (and a very concerned Aunt Margie Eddings) into the backyard. Everyone was talking at once--"What did you do this time?" "Girls aren't supposed to be climbing trees." "Remember when he was six and fell off his bike?" "She wasn't drinking, was she?" "Are you alright, honey?" "Mary would have known what to do." The buzz finally died down and Paul helped me up. Mr. McCartney came up to me and led me into the house. As he walked with me, he held my arm as gently as he could, trying to keep it stable, but it still felt like he had a death-grip on it. "Jill, I think we should take you to hospital." I nodded in agreement. "I'll take you," he said.
Paul ran up to us. "Can't I go, Dad?"
"Son, it's your party, I don't want you to disappoint your guests."
"But Dad, she's my girlfriend! I feel responsible 'cause I got her up in the tree…"
"Paul, just stay here," Mr. McCartney snapped. "It's probably just a broken arm and some bruises. We'll have her back together in no time, you just stay here." Mr. McCartney helped me into his car; Auntie hopped in the backseat and the three of us went to hospital.
Sure enough, the fall had broken my arm. But I had broken Paul's fall, so I suppose some good came out of it! I would have felt tremendous guilt if I had made him break his arm and miss gigs. The doctor came back with the x-rays--I had broken my arm in two places. They put a plaster cast on me that had my arm at a 90 degree angle, and told me I would have to have another checkup in one month, and I would probably have a cast on for about four to six months, depending on how the healing progressed. I was glad that English summers were mild--summer was the last season I wanted to go through with a plaster cast on! If I had been in St. Louis, I would have been miserable with the heat and humidity. They gave me instructions on how to care for the cast (put a plastic bag on it, baths only, no swimming) and Auntie was listening intently; she knew that I was not one to listen to a doctor, I would just do what I felt like and not what was prescribed. I was going to have to keep it elevated as much as possible for the first few days to promote circulation. The doctor told me to rest up for a couple days and not push myself--he said I would be in some pain for about a week, and prescribed some painkillers for me. Auntie told me that she could stand a few more days at the store without me, which I was quite happy about at that time. The way I felt, I didn't know if I could stand for hours at a time!
We drove back to Auntie Gin's house. It had been at least a few hours since we left, I wondered if anyone would still be there. By the time we got back, most everyone had left. Paul was up at the car before we even had stopped completely. He helped me out of the car and into the house, babying me the whole way. "Are you alright? Does it hurt? Do you want anything?" All I wanted to do was be alone with him. It had been six weeks since we had last seen each other, and I couldn't give him a good strong hug with only one arm! He promised me that he'd get the guys to sign my cast the next day before we went back to London. Small consolation for falling out of a tree and breaking my arm.
Auntie Gin put me up on the couch in her back room just so I could rest up a little. She propped the thickest down pillow she could find under my arm. I didn't want to complain that I was allergic to down, I figured that was the least of my worries at that time. Paul brought me a glass of milk and sat on the couch next to me. "Mike's really sorry for what he did, Jill, I hope you know that."
"Yeah, I do…it was just stupid of me, I should have never climbed that tree. I'm sorry." Tears welled up in my eyes, partially anger, partially pain, and partially the painkillers beginning to take effect. I was such a big baby.
Paul stopped my pity party. "No, luv, you know it wasn't your fault. Besides, it could've been a lot worse--you could have really knocked your head." He hugged me gently and gave me a soft gentle kiss. By this time it was pretty late. We were to go back to London early in the morning, and I was sore and needed sleep. All I wanted to do was spend time with Paul, whatever precious few minutes we could find. He let me lay down on his lap on the couch, trying to keep my arm elevated.
As everyone was finishing cleaning up, Ringo stopped by again to check on me. Paul let him in and led him into the back room. "Hello, how's our bird with the broken wing?" He sat down next to me as Paul went into the kitchen.
"I'll be fine, I will fly again!" I said with bravado as I tried to wave the cast around. We laughed, and I put my head on his shoulder. I sighed and admitted, "It still hurts, though. And my hip's sore. I hope these painkillers really kick in soon. They said I don't have a concussion, though, which is good news. The doctor said I should have some pretty nice bruises in a few more hours--stick around and maybe I'll show 'em off!" I chuckled and winced as I shifted my weight off that sore hip.
"You're still going back to London with us, right?" he asked.
"Oh yeah, I still need to start work in a week or so…no matter how sore I am! I should be fine, don't worry."
We watched the telly for a few minutes, and commented on the day's events. Ringo craned his neck to see in the kitchen, and then whispered to me, "I'm not one to gossip, but I think Paul really likes you. He hasn't been able to shut up about you since he got back from America last month. I mean, I don't blame him--you're a delightful bird! So, what do you think of him?"
"Um," I said as I peeked in the same direction, "I think you know how I feel. He's great! I like to think we're good friends, and obviously much more than that. I guess I…I love him." I drifted off as thoughts ran through my head. I really did love him. And I had told him earlier that day. The whole day had been a blur anyway, even without the trip to the hospital. I returned to the conversation. "But we have hardly spent any time together in the whole scheme of things, most of our relationship has been writing letters back and forth, and his schedule is getting increasingly crazy and hectic…I'm scared of what kind of relationship can come out of it."
"I'm sure you two will be fine," my Auntie said from the doorway. We both turned to look at her; she'd been listening the whole time. She came into the room as Ringo stood up to leave.
I stopped him with, "Don't leave yet! Wanna sign my cast first?"
"Sure! Let's find a marker." Ringo went into the kitchen to ask Auntie Gin where her writing things were. Auntie sat down next to me. "So…you love him, eh? It took a fall from the tree to realize this? Maybe you really did knock your head!" she teased.
I chuckled at the obvious joke, "Yeah, I guess you could say I fell for him!" We were laughing heartily (or at least the best I could with aching ribs) when Ringo came back in with a black marker. "What's all this?"
I wiped the laughing tears from my eyes. "We were just exchanging jokes. Ready to sign?"
Ringo did his duty of signing the cast. "Hmmm, never signed one of these before…guess I'll need to practice this a lot more!" He smiled at me and promised that he'd get John & George to sign the cast the next day, and dramatically added, "We'll be sure to save plenty of room for Paul and his professions of love for you!" I shushed him and threatened to hit him with my cast, and he chuckled as he left.
Auntie & I were still on the couch alone. She said, "I'm glad you finally realized that this guy's quite a catch. I know you two hit it off really well last summer, I was hoping you'd be able to work something out. Fate works in mysterious ways, Jill. Somehow we would have found a way to get you two together!" She patted my head as I put it on her shoulder.
Paul came back into the room, wiping his hands on a dishtowel. "Brian left a while ago, I'm supposed to drive you two to his place, so whenever you're ready, let me know."
Auntie got up off the couch without saying a word, to give us some time alone. Paul gave me a big hug. "I am so sorry about you getting hurt, luv." He looked me right in the eyes, it looked like his eyes were wet. "I want you to know that I meant what I said earlier…I do love you. I didn't want you to think I said it just because you put it on the bracelet."
I nodded. "I know, Paul. I know. I'm glad you like the bracelet, I can't even begin to tell you how much thought I had to put into it!" I told him the story of Anne & I searching all over the stores to get ideas and still get him something nice but hopefully stay within budget.
He suddenly said, "Oh! I almost forgot! Wait here just a minute--I'll be right back!" He got up and went to the front room and came back with something hidden behind his back. "I know it's not your birthday, but think of this as a 'welcome back' present." He handed me a small beige velvet box. "I know it's not much, I hope you like it. Sorry it's not wrapped. It's sort of an anniversary present I guess, since we've known each other for a year. I wanted to give this to you in the car yesterday, but I knew a more appropriate time would come." My heart was racing--no man (aside from family) had ever given me jewelry before. I opened it up, and it was dazzling. It was a small flower blossom-shaped pendant on a silver chain. The petals were rose quartz, with a single diamond in the center. It was beautiful. I was speechless, which was rare for me. He continued, "I know that pink's your favorite color, and I found out that's your birthstone, too, so I guess it works out."
"I…I…it's beautiful, Paul, thank you. I really like silver, too. How much did this cost?"
"That doesn't matter. We're not doing too badly, so I figured that I could splurge a little. Brian helped me pick it out. The chain's silver, but the jeweler said that the pendant is in platinum. I don't know what it is, but he said it's good stuff." He put the necklace on me, and kissed me.
I was fighting back tears by that time, and losing miserably. I managed to say, "Thank you very much, Paul. This is probably the sweetest thing a guy has done for me…especially after breaking my arm!" I laughed.
"Well, it was the least I could do since you broke my fall. Thanks for that, by the way." He smiled at me with a macho smile.
Auntie re-emerged, and after I gleefully showed her my new necklace, we decided it was time to leave. I thanked Paul's Aunt for her hospitality, and Mr. McCartney for his ride to the hospital. Paul drove us back to Brian's house, and helped us inside. Auntie tiptoed up the stairs, and we stayed in the living room, talking quietly. I didn't know what their schedules were going to be like, so I asked him. "You know, I really don't know when I will see you again. I know it's getting hectic, but seeing you today has been great, in spite of everything that happened."
"I know, luv. We might be moving down to London soon to be closer to EMI, so we might actually be able to see each other once in a while now that you're over here!"
I squeaked (trying to contain my cheer) and hugged him as best I could with my arm in a plaster cast and set at that precarious angle. I was anxious to hear more. "When are you moving? Do you have another album coming out soon? Will my song be on it?" I was full of questions.
He laughed. "Hold on--one at a time! OK, I don't know when, I just said it was a good possibility, yes we are working on an album, and yes we are going to record your song!"
I was elated, but at the same time very tired. I went on, "Yay! Thanks, Paul. I'll have a song that's mine forever!" I cut off the very end of my last word as I yawned. "Sorry, it's been a long day."
"I know luv, I know. I'm gonna go now. Can you get yourself ready alright?"
"I think I can handle it, between Auntie and Brian we can manage." He kissed me softly, but it threatened to turn into quite a bit more. I pushed him away with my good arm before things got out of hand. "Um, you'd better go."
"I know…until next time?"
"Yep. Please let me know when that 'next time' will be, alright?"
"Well, you know we are at the Playhouse Theatre tomorrow night, maybe I can get you guys some tickets. Brian!" Paul yelled upstairs. Brian emerged in his navy-striped pajamas. "Can we get some tickets for tomorrow night's gig for Jill and her family?"
Brian replied, "I don't see why it would be a problem for them to come, I'll make arrangements in the morning." He turned and went back into his bedroom.
On to Chapter Fourteen
Back to Chapter Twelve
Copyright © Winona Patterson, 1999-2006.