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Lovers and Friends


Chapter Seven

We lay there together for a long time; I can't even begin to imagine how long. It could have been five minutes, it could have been an hour. I was feeling...well, words couldn't even begin to describe what I was feeling. I was happy. I was relieved in a way that I finally got it over with! I looked at Paul, and he was dozing off a bit. He was laying on his stomach with one arm draped over me. I looked at my watch on the nightstand--5:30 p.m. I hadn't noticed the time since we got home. He stirred, and I looked at him again. He opened his eyes and smiled as he looked at me. He joked, "Oh, you still here, luv?"

"Of course I'm still here, I'm staying here, silly!" I said as I ran my fingers through his dark brown moptop.

He sat up. "Well, if you like I can stay here, too...Brian's at his mother's 'til tomorrow morning."

"Oh." I had forgotten that he had had to plan Brian out of the house. "You guys have two shows tomorrow?"

"Yes, both at the Cavern. Thursday we have an evening show. And well...um, Thursday morning John & Cyn are going to get married. Cyn's got one in the oven, you know."

"Oh. OH!" I just realized that I wasn't sure if Paul had used protection. So much had been going on, and I was so distracted by the whole thing, I honestly didn't remember if he had stopped to put one on. Thoughts of my future raced through my head. Is that how it was with Mom and Dad? I sat up in a panic. I grabbed my watch off the nightstand, prepared to get dressed and run or something; behind it was a condom wrapper. Whew! I couldn't believe myself. How could I have been so stupid and forgetful? What if he hadn't used any? People talk about being caught up in the moment; I guess that's what they meant!

Once my mind calmed down, my stomach growled to tell me I was hungry. I asked Paul about dinner. He replied, "Ya know, luv, I don't know. Let's see if the power's back on and we'll go from there!"

"Okay," I agreed. Without thinking, I jumped up and went to the light switch. Sure enough, the lights turned on...and I realized that I was standing naked in front of Paul, with the lights on. Aside from my father and grandfathers changing my diapers or giving me a bath when I was little, no man had seen me naked. Actually, I think Chris did once, just as a hazard of sharing a bathroom. I almost turned the lights back off, but it was too late. I saw him looking me up and down. The soft candlelight was one thing; harsh, unforgiving electric lights that fill up a whole room was another. I wanted to shrink to the size of a flea and scamper away. Paul got out of bed. I guess he was a bit less inhibited than I was about these things! I tried not to stare, but I couldn't help it. He started getting dressed. "Well," he said cheerfully, "I'd better get started on that dinner. I don't think the power was out long enough to spoil anything. Come down when you feel like it." He kissed me on the forehead and went downstairs, buttoning his shirt as he went, leaving me alone, still standing naked as a jaybird in the middle of the room, trying to think if what I thought had happened actually did. All I knew was that Anne and I were going to have some interesting conversations upon our return to school.

***

We ate our dinner, which I admit was quite good. I would have to remember that--have him cook! I was lucky if I could make Jell-O come out right. We decided to catch a movie. We saw Dr. No. I know it had come out in America a while before, but I hadn't seen it, even though my father (a big Ian Fleming fan) had tried to drag me to it about five times. We got home around 11 p.m. Since Paul had a lunchtime show, and they would probably rehearse the next morning, we went to bed. After such an interesting and eye-opening afternoon, I pretty much expected to do it again. And we did, but this time I was a lot more comfortable about what was going on, and I enjoyed it more. Afterwards, we just lay in bed talking until we fell asleep.

We were awaken at about 8:30 a.m. by the doorbell. I groggily got out of bed, managed to find my glasses, and threw on my blue robe before I walked downstairs. I didn't know who it could be at this hour; I thought that maybe Brian had misplaced his key. The person at the door kept ringing the doorbell. I yelled, "I'm coming, sheesh!"

I opened the door and saw John standing there, wearing thick-rimmed Buddy Holly-style glasses. He had picked some tulips from Brian's flowerbed and presented them to me. "I heard ya need your flower back--heard ya lost it!!!" He laughed quite loudly.

I said, "Very funny, John, get in here!" I gave him a mean look (but I was probably blushing) and dragged him inside. I instructed him to stay put, and ran upstairs to get Paul. As I came upstairs, he was already in the hallway. I told him, "John's here, why I don't know, but he's here."

"I know, I heard him...I think the whole neighborhood heard him." He shook his head and headed into the bathroom. "We're supposed to rehearse this morning. I'm going to wash up; Tell him I'll be down soon."

I went into the guestroom and threw on some clothes so John wouldn't have to look at me in my robe anymore. I still was quite shy, despite the previous evening's activities. I went down the stairs...well, actually I kinda pranced. I plopped down on the couch next to John. "So, what brings you here this early?"

He put his arm around me. "I just wanted to make sure you hadn't destroyed our boy. We've had enough trouble keeping guys in the band!"

"Now, do I look like that kind of woman?" I teased.

"Well, no, but looks can be deceiving!" He winked at me. "I'm assumin' you've heard of my impending matrimonial excursion tomorrow." He had such a way of phrasing things!

I silently thought about how I could have been in a similar situation. "Yeah, sorry it had to be under those circumstances...my parents got married young, too. Dad's a year older than Mom, and they got married before her senior year because they thought he was going to get drafted, but a baseball injury kept him out of the war."

"Well, I probably would've married Cyn anyway, this just gives us an excuse to do it early!"

I offered John some breakfast. He declined, but I sat down and dug into a bowl of cornflakes--I was starving! Paul came down the stairs, dressed & ready to leave. "Okay, I'm ready," he announced. He came into the kitchen and kissed me on the back of the head. "We need this rehearsal. The show starts at noon, I'll see you then." He started out of the kitchen, and looked back at me. I looked at him with sad eyes--I at least wanted a little kiss good-bye, not to mention something to justify the previous night's happenings. He must have heard my thoughts; he walked back over to me and sat down. "I'm sorry, luv, it's just that I'm in a hurry right now. I'm not trying to ignore you." He kissed me, a nice, slow passionate kiss...I didn't want him to go, and I didn't want him to stop kissing me. Apparently he didn't want to stop either.

John was the one who stopped things. He poked his head into the kitchen and affected his best high-pitched female voice--"Oh, Paulie, will you be joining us today or will your bird be attached to you?" That broke us apart pretty quick! Paul grumbled to John, "Alright, I get the point, I'm leaving now!" He turned back to me and said, "See you at the lunch show, luv?"

"I wouldn't miss it for the world!" I said, smiling at him. He kissed me again, this time a quick peck on the cheek, and he was out the door.

John made sure that Paul was outside, and poked his head around the kitchen doorway. "You know," he began, "he usually doesn't like them spending the night, so this is a good sign for you!" We heard Paul yell back in, "C'mon, Johnny! It was your idea to rehearse this bloody early, let's get goin'!"

John waved good-bye. I yelled as I walked out of the kitchen, "Good luck with your wedding tomorrow!" I watched them out the front window as they walked down the street. Paul hooked his arm in John's and they marched down the street loudly humming the Wedding March. I thought it was adorable.

***

After the lunchtime show, which had been taped by a British television crew for some sort of south England showcase, Paul had a few hours to kill between shows. We went back to Brian's so he could pick up his clothes. Brian was back by that time; he was making himself a late lunch. "Hello, you two!" Brian came up to me and gave me a hug. "The power outage last night didn't scare you, did it, Jill?"

"Nope. Actually, I was alright. Paul, um, protected me." I squeezed Paul's hand and we gave each other a knowing smile.

Brian replied, "Oh! Well, I will just trust that you two kept busy." He smiled and went back to making his sandwich.

Paul & I tried to watch television, but we couldn't keep our hands off each other. I didn't want to start anything with Brian in the next room. I pried him off me. I was preoccupied anyway--I wanted to know what was going on between us. I was leaving London in about a week and Liverpool in a matter of hours. I had no idea where we stood, and if this truly was just a summer fling I wanted to know before I left. Granted, I had heeded Anne's advice to "let my hair down", but I didn't know how anyone could separate sex and love. I was beginning to have second thoughts about what I had done--not regret, just second thoughts. It wasn't until after the fact that I realized that maybe I wasn't ready for such a big step, especially with someone whom I wasn't in a serious relationship with. I was the kind of person that always needed to know what was going on, not in a nosy way, but with myself. It helped keep me organized in my head. I figured I couldn't dance around it, so I just outright asked him. "Paul, um...what are we?"

He looked confused. "Is this some sort of deep philosophical discussion?"

Was he joking? "No, I wanted to know where we stand. Like as in 'you and me'."

"Oh. Um, actually...well, don't take this the wrong way, but I hadn't really thought about it. I was trying not to think about it because you're leaving soon and that's really gonna be a drag. But I guess we have to address it now, eh?" He fidgeted with his hands a bit, and continued. "Well Jill, I enjoy talking to you and spending time with you. It's been comforting knowing that you're only a few hours away. Seeing you, writing back and forth, it's been great. And right now, who knows what we're going to be doing with the music stuff...everything's up in the air right now. We're supposed to be recording at EMI sometime next month, we have performances almost constantly all over everywhere, and you're going to be back in the States for your senior year. Maybe we should just do the easiest thing and leave things the way they are right now and try to pick up later. You know, just friends. Pen pals across the pond." He smiled, trying to be reassuring.

I was in disbelief. Just friends. Maybe Anne was right. You sleep with a guy, and then they brush you off. As much as I hated to admit it, I did kinda see where Paul was coming from. We would be too far apart, and we had hardly spent any time together in the whole scheme of things, how could that be a good foundation for a transatlantic relationship? But I was still hurt. After what we had shared the night before, after what I had given him, he basically just wanted to be friends--no, 'pen pals'. I fought back tears as I sat there in silence, looking at the floor. Paul put his hand on my knee in an attempt to comfort me. That just made the tears flow freely. I heard Brian sneak upstairs as I looked up at Paul's face. I finally got the courage to speak, but all that came out was what he wanted to hear. "Well, maybe that's for the best then. I don't want you to be burdened or tied down or anything," I said with a sarcastic bite.

Paul tried to gloss over what he had said, but it was too late. "No, that's not what I meant, luv. I don't want to ignore you or forget about you...trust me, I won't. But--"

"No, I know what you meant. Anne was right about guys--you're all the same. I thought you were different." By that time I was bawling. So much for the new and improved Jill Dearborn. Here I was, in a place far away from the home I knew, miles away from any family, crying and sniffling like a little girl who lost her puppy dog or her dolly. Paul was looking down at his feet, fidgeting. I could tell he was uncomfortable. Good, I thought. Let him be uncomfortable, he deserves it.

He got up to leave, acting almost as if nothing had happened. "Um, I need to go, we have that evening show, and I need to run some errands before. Will I see you tonight? Please?"

I shrugged my shoulders. I wanted to scream at him for assuming that we could sleep together and then just be friends right after. I should have known better. I just said, "I'll try my best to make it." I sat there with my arms at my sides as he gave me a hug that felt like a knife digging into my heart. And with that he was out the door.

***

I didn't go to the evening show. I quickly packed my bags and called home. Rog answered, and I arranged for him to pick me up at the train station that night. He asked why I was coming home early. I just said, "Can we talk about it when I get back?" He didn't ask any more questions--he was the only male out of five children, so I suppose he understood these female things pretty well.

All I told Brian was that I needed to leave, and he drove me to the train station in Liverpool. He was enough of a gentleman to not ask what had transpired that I would want to leave a day early. When we arrived at the station, he gave me a letter that he had written to Auntie that he wanted to give to me--"just to save a few pennies on post!" Brian gave me a big hug, and some kind words. "If you ever need anything, just give me a ring. If you want to stay in England, that guest room can be converted, and I'm sure I could find a place for you at NEMS!" I thanked him and boarded the train, and I was headed back for the relative sanity of London.

The train ride was a blur of tears and tissues. I read some magazines, played solitaire, and tried to sleep. I wanted to write Anne, but the train ride was too shaky...or it could have been just me. I wanted to ring her and cry my eyes out, but I knew it would cost a fortune, and even though Anne had told me to let down my hair a little, I was ashamed to admit that I had maybe let it down a little too far too soon. I wasn't sure what I was expecting him to say--maybe I expected him to tell me that he'd fallen head over heels in love with me. Maybe I expected even just some sort of gesture of love, affection, something. Rog (one man I could always count on) met me at the station with hugs and balloons. "It sounded like you needed some cheering up," he said as he hugged me. It was all I could do to avoid crying on his shoulder. I felt comforted, though; I knew that no matter what, you could always depend on your family to make it all better.


On to Chapter Eight
Back to Chapter Six


Copyright © 1999-2006, Winona Patterson.