"Oh no, I've been up for a bit...I can never sleep once the sun's come up. Um...I have some bad news."
"Oh...I have some for you too. You go first."
"I'd forgotten about a luncheon that Brian's having with some record shop owners that he wants Auntie & I to go to, and no offense to you, but I don't want to get either of them mad at me 'cause I want to lunch with some guy."
"No problem, Jill--I was going to have to cancel on you anyway, in a way...we need to rehearse some new songs today. Will you still make the show? I'd like to see you again before you leave town. I might have a little pres...um, well, I just want you to be there. If you can."
"Sure, I'll be there! I can't wait to see you guys perform again, and of course see you again."
"Jill, I had a really good time yesterday. It's been great getting to know you. I hope you keep in touch with me. I'll give you my address tonight, we can write. And who knows, if this record thing goes through, I might be down in London sometime before you leave."
This is good, I thought--he wants to write to me and see me! "Sure, that would be great. I have to go, but I will see you tonight."
The luncheon went well. I got to meet a lot of people in the record business, people who owned shops around the area. I kinda felt a bit out of place at first, but fell in soon enough. People were impressed that Auntie would hand over the reorganization of one-third of her store to a teenager, even if it was her niece. I wore a black and white striped dress with black heels (it was the dressiest thing I had brought, and I didn't have time to go shopping for something new for the luncheon!), and my hair was pulled back in a black ribbon. But I realized after the luncheon that I would need something new to wear out that night--the clothes I wore the night before were smoky and dirty and someone had spilled beer on my pants, so I wasn't going to wear those again. There was also the fact that Paul had already seen me in those--I couldn't wear them again! (Pardon my vanity!)
Brian drove me to a ladies' clothing shop in Liverpool. It seemed everyone in town knew Brian--the salespeople were quite helpful with me since I was a guest of Mr. Epstein. I selected a white cotton twin set and short navy skirt. Brian paid for it--that absolutely floored me! I told him that it wasn't necessary to buy me anything. I had my own money. Not that I knew what the currency exchange rate was, so I really didn't know what the outfit cost! Nevertheless, Brian insisted he purchase it for me. I must admit, it was a very nice outfit, and I still couldn't believe that a man that I hardly knew was buying clothing for me!
Auntie & Brian accompanied me to the Cavern that night. The Beatles were great! I was a bit annoyed at myself that I had on a brand new outfit that was beginning to reek from the smell in the Cavern. They started out with "Memphis, Tennessee", sung by John, and "Twenty Flight Rock", an Eddie Cochran song, which Paul sang. John announced in the middle of their set, "We'd like to do a new song that really isn't new but it is fairly new for us. We've been tossin' around doin' it for a while, and well, according to a member of our organization, the timing just seemed right--Take it away, Paulie!" They started playing, and I recognized it as a song from The Music Man--"'Til There Was You." I really enjoyed that song; I had bought the recording of the musical soon after it came out, and was hoping to play "Marian" someday. Paul sang it, and sang it beautifully. I'd liked the song ever since I had first heard it (it was my favorite song from that musical besides "Lida Rose"), but tonight I loved the song! I couldn't help but notice that every time I made eye contact with Paul during the song, he nervously looked away. Must be because it's a new song, I thought. When the song was over, I thought I saw Paul wink at me…or maybe it was just my eyes playing tricks on me.
After the show the three of us went backstage (if that's what you want to call it--it was just a tiny room, and I didn't think any room could reek worse than the front of the Cavern, but this came close. At least the ceiling wasn't dripping with condensation in there.) Paul's face brightened up when he saw me at the door. There was a pretty blonde with John, and he introduced me to her--this was his girlfriend Cynthia, but her friends called her Cyn. Paul came up to me and gave me a quick peck on the cheek (A public display of affection--that shocked me!). "Did you enjoy your present, luv?"
"Present?" I furrowed my brow, recalling the evening's events, wondering if I had missed anything or if someone had forgotten to give me something. I was puzzled, and I guess I looked it, because John assisted me. "Sure, luv--the song!" He fell on one knee and broke into the first verse, rather dramatically:
There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
Paul joined him on the floor and sang along:
No, I never heard them at all
'Til there was you...
I giggled nervously and felt my face turning hot. Wow, what an honor to be serenaded by two handsome young men! I asked Cyn if they were always like this. "Only when it comes to birds," she laughed.
I couldn't help but think of the impact of a guy singing for me. No guy had ever sang for me, especially in public and much less one with a decent voice! I was very flattered by this show of affection from him...and at the same time, a little disturbed. What did he think was going to happen between us? Did he have some sort of grand scheme in mind? As I thought about it more and more, I was drowning out what they were saying as the thoughts raced around in my mind. I was also fidgeting, twisting my hands and pulling on a couple curls and flicking my fingers and turning my feet...
"Jill! Hello there, anyone home!" George was waving his hand in front of my face.
"Oh, I am sorry, I was just thinking," I said as I shook my head a little. I had a tendency to zone out once in a while.
"You didn't respond to Paul's asking you out again, so I'll just take this opportunity..." George took my hand and we walked out together, just to see what Paul would do. As we walked out I heard John say, "Well, Paulie, what ya waitin' fer? Go claim yer bird back!"
I heard footsteps behind us. Paul grumbled, "Alright, George, let me have her back. You've had your fun."
"But I haven't had me fun yet!" George said with a playful smirk.
Paul rolled his eyes and took my hand. "Okay, missy, let's go--I won't have you sneakin' around on me right in front of my face!"
As he dragged me out, I reminded him, "Don't you think I should tell Auntie where we're going, and what time I'll get back? I know that I'd at least like to know."
"Ah, don't worry your pretty little head 'bout it. She won't care where we are. She knows who you're with."
"Yeah, that's the problem!" I teased.
We got in the car and he started off. I was about to ask where we were going, when I realized that I knew. I suddenly got bad flashbacks of "parking" with my high school boyfriend Nate. I wasn't sure if this was the proper thing to do. After all, we had only known each other for a couple days, and I had always been taught that this was not the proper thing to do, especially on a second or third date! I didn't really want to say anything, though. What if I was wrong about his intentions, and I said something and he got mad at me? I really did like him, so I figured that I'd best keep quiet, at least for the moment. We got out of town and were driving on a nice country road. He stopped at a turnoff on the road. It was very dark, but the night was clear and the moonlight was bright. I loved being out in the country, you could see just about every star. I was a closet astronomer; I liked reading up on the various constellations and how they moved with the planets.
I asked him why we weren't staying in Liverpool that evening, curious as to what he'd say--or admit to. "Well, there aren't really any quiet places in the 'Pool anymore that I can go. I hate to admit, I'm kinda a local celebrity. I'm not trying to pull anything shady here...I just wanted to spend a little time with you before you leave tomorrow morning."
He had to remind me...I was going back to London the next morning. And of course that thought led me to thinking about going back to the States at the end of the summer. But I was determined to not let that ruin my evening! I hopped out of the car and sat on the hood. The stars were absolutely dazzling. I always loved going away from the city in Illinois, just to stargaze. Mom & Dad had even talked about getting me a telescope for a college graduation gift.
Paul got an old wool blanket out of the trunk. "If you'd like to sit on the ground, I have this."
"Thanks!" I slid off the hood and sat on the blanket. I took off my shoes and leaned back on my hands, mesmerized by the stars. London had too many lights to get some good stargazing done, so I definitely took this opportunity!
"Beautiful," I heard Paul say quietly.
"Yep, they sure are!" I said, still looking up at the night sky. "I've always liked looking at the stars. It's nice to come out here where there's no lights to blank out the smaller stars. If you look over there--"
Paul touched my hand and I looked at him. "I wasn't talking about the stars, Jill," he said. Man, this guy sure had a way with words. "I mean it, Jill, really. You're...um, pretty." We started kissing, and before I knew it we were lying down on the blanket. My mind was racing--did he lie earlier about not planning anything shady? At that point, did I care?! I suddenly got nervous and stopped him. I asked, "Um...don't take this the wrong way, but I just want to know where this is going here."
He backed up a bit. "Have I done anything I shouldn't have? If I made you uncomfortable..."
I sat up. "No, it's not really that, I just don't want to get any more involved than I should here. We may never see each other again, and..." My voice trailed off as I realized that that was true--this might be the last time I ever see him! I couldn't believe it, but I almost started crying.
My eyes were just a bit watery as Paul sat up and looked at me. "Don't worry, luv--I told you I wasn't out here for any conquest, and I keep to my word. Just havin' a little fun. I won't do anything you don't want to, alright?" he assured me.
I nodded. "Sure. I just wanted to make sure things don't go further than they should." I was a bit ashamed to claim that I was still a virgin, but I considered myself a good girl, that's part of who I am. "I want everything to be perfect when the time comes. Right person, right time, right place...nice romantic evening...everything perfect!" I chuckled as I thought of my romantic childhood dreams of my dream man sweeping me off my feet and carrying me off into the sunset. Well, it was well past sunset, and my picture of the perfect man changed about weekly...who knows, maybe this was the right time. How was I supposed to know when it was the right time? I always assumed that I would save myself for my wedding night, but at the rate I was going, I would never get married!
We laid there in silence for a while, just looking up at the stars. All these thoughts were running through my mind. Here I was, out in the middle of nowhere with a fantastic guy, a perfect opportunity for whatever...what the hell was I thinking? I certainly wasn't the kind of girl who went on one-night stands, much less become a "groupie". But somehow I thought this was different...I couldn't help but remember my roommate Anne's warnings about guys--she lost her virginity to a guy she'd been dating for a few months freshman year of college. She thought she'd spend the rest of her life with him. He started ignoring her in a matter of days after their first time. They had broken up within a few weeks. She was absolutely flabbergasted by his behavior--why would he do that? They had shared so many intimate moments, she was in a state of disbelief. In sharing her story with other girls on our floor, she found that that happened more than she had thought. She said if she'd known that, she would have become a nun!
"What's on your mind, luv?" I hadn't noticed that while I was staring blankly up at the sky, Paul had been looking at me the entire time.
I rolled over to face him. "Oh, just thinking about...about Anne, my roommate at college. She's my best friend, and I wonder what she'll think of all this. She's usually the wild one of the two of us!"
Paul laughed. "Since when is stargazing considered 'wild'?"
"Not that, the, um..." I realized that there was no way of getting myself out of this one. I played with a frayed edge of the blanket, trying to figure out how to explain my thoughts. "The um, blanket stuff, I guess. Staying out late with a guy in a band whom I just met. Getting 'pissed' nightly. You know, normal stuff that I do every day!" I said jokingly. I laughed it off; I didn't want to come off as embarrassed to be with him, because I certainly wasn't...I was just shy about the physical aspects because a lot of it was so new to me. I was feeling things that I hadn't before.
Paul reached over and hugged me. "Friendly hug okay?"
"Of course...we are friends, aren't we?!"
"Yep...and if you didn't live so far away, I would like to be more. I mean that."
I was glad it was so dark, because I'll bet my face was beet red! "Um, thanks. I know what you mean. I just feel comfortable when I'm around you. Like we fit or something." This time I leaned in to kiss him. I didn't know what it was, some sort of force drew me to him, and I just had to kiss him. I couldn't even begin to estimate how long we were out there. They say time flies when you're having fun; I was definitely having fun! Some people just don't have a good grasp of the fine art of making out, but Paul certainly knew what he was doing. It was a good evening.
We didn't bring up the subject of my leaving town again until he dropped me off at Brian's door about 2 a.m. He walked me up to the door and he handed me a folded piece of paper. "My address is on here, please write to me. My phone number is on there, too. Call me when you get back to London, so I know you've arrived safely. 'Ni--oh, I mean, 'til next time, luv." He kissed me again. I made sure to really enjoy that one--I didn't know if it would be the last of those incredible kisses from him. I promised him I would write so he had my address, or he could get Auntie's from Brian. I went inside, and watched him drive away from the front window.
On to Chapter Five
Back to Chapter Three
Copyright © 1999-2006, Winona Patterson.