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Lovers and Friends


Chapter Eight

We got back to the house, and there was a letter waiting from Anne. She had a habit of being there for me at just the right time.

August 15th, 1962

Jill!!!

Hello! How's England? I know you're coming home soon. I am going to be up at school that week before we start classes; when are you getting there? I told the university that since my parents are moving to the Victorian house that week, I really didn't want to move twice in a week, so they're letting me go early! I know you'll have to be there a little early for all your RA stuff. I know that we will have so much more to talk about when we get to school. I hope you've taken a lot of pictures in England!

You're not going to believe this--Dave and I went on another date, and it was fantastic! He's not like some of the other guys who are just interested in getting down your pants. We have intellectual conversations! It's so nice to find a different guy who likes talking to you, enjoys your company. Speaking of men, how's your knight in shining armor? I'm looking forward to hearing all your stories and seeing all your pictures. I will cut this off now since I need to get to orchestra rehearsal--we have a performance day after tomorrow, we're doing Tchaich 4, I'm sorry you have to miss it, I know it's your favorite!

See you soon!!!

Love,
Anne

I tried hard to not cry while I was reading her letter. Knight in shining armor, indeed! If only she knew...and the pictures. Anne knew that I would take a lot of pictures. I had developed quite a few that I had taken of the guys together on and off stage. There was one of Paul & I that John took at the Cavern one night after one of the performances that first weekend. He was all sweaty, and I was too, just from watching and dancing and being in the humid environment of the Cavern. He had put his arm around me for the picture. Despite all that sweat and ick, it was a great picture of us. I had put it in a frame on the dresser, along with a picture of all four of the guys (while Pete was the drummer; I still had to develop the pictures with Ringo in them), and my family's pictures. I looked at the pictures of my family, relieved that I would be seeing them in a matter of days. It was a bit too early to pack stuff up, it was only the 22nd, and I wasn't leaving until the 28th.

I grudgingly finished up the work I was doing for Auntie that weekend. My mood was often peppy, but I had been feeling pretty down since I left Liverpool. On Saturday morning before we went to the store, Auntie finally asked me about my Liverpool trip. "I suppose you've finally got your head on straight now, I know it takes some time to sort out thoughts sometimes...so how are you?" I hated it when she did this--she sounded just like Mom, except I could actually talk to Auntie.

"I'm fine. Really," I said impatiently as I put a board game back in the closet.

"No, really...I want to know what drove you back here a full day early when you were so excited to go visit up there again."

"It's nothing...I just wanted to come back and make sure I had everything together for my trip back home," I explained. I tried to change the subject and headed for the stairs. "Speaking of which, do you know where my airline tickets are? I could have sworn--"

Auntie was insistent. "Jill, I am not stupid. Tell me what happened. I know something's wrong here." She was firm but genuinely concerned.

I stopped at the bottom stair. I knew she wouldn't give up until she got some sort of explanation for my sour mood the past few days. "Well," I began as I walked into the living room, trying to sort out my thoughts before I said anything I shouldn't have, "I guess Paul & I just had some misunderstandings. He apparently just wants to be friends, and I thought that maybe something more could come out of it, which was stupid of me." I knew at this point that I was going to lose it, but I tried to maintain my composure as long as I could. "I always think with my heart and not my head. Anne has always told me that I need to cut loose and have fun, so I did. He seemed so great, so kind, so romantic...he even cooked dinner for me!" My words grew angrier as I talked. "But he wants to focus on his music career right now, which I understand, and obviously I'm going back to America soon...but why did he lead me on like that? I am so furious at him right now! I should be furious at myself for being so na´ve!" I plopped on the couch and threw a small pillow across the room and started crying.

"Fine, huh?" Auntie sat down on the couch and looked across the room at the pillow. She stifled a laugh (it came out like a snort anyway), and said, "Guess that's why they're called 'throw pillows'!" She always knew when to crack a joke. I chuckled a little. She continued, "I know that heartbreak is bad...and you haven't really had a nice guy in your life in a while. You really like him, don't you?"

I sniffed and nodded. "Yep. I felt I could tell him anything, he seemed so great. I could open my heart to him. And suddenly he does this to me...even after all that...I mean, I guess I understand, but..." I sniffled some more. She handed me a tissue.

"I hope you two were careful, Jill." Auntie gave me a concerned look. She didn't outright ask if we had slept together, but somehow she knew.

I looked up at her and nodded. "Um, yeah. And please don't tell Mom--I know that she'll think that I'm going down the same road she did with me." I wiped my nose on the tissue.

"Jill, I'm sure she knows you've got a good head on your shoulders." She put her arm around me. "And I know you do, too. Soon you'll be back at school and you will just have fond memories of your little summer fling in England with a budding rock star!"

***

My flight was scheduled to leave London on Wednesday at noon, and I was getting more excited about getting back on American soil. Sunday was spent doing some laundry and packing up some of the clothing and "unnecessary items". I started packing my pictures that were on the dresser. I picked up the one of Paul & I at the Cavern. Auntie was right, I did have fond memories of our brief but intense fling, but I thought all I was going to take with me was the memories and that picture. Thankfully, I had had a couple days to recouperate and take stock of the situation, which I desperately needed. I decided at that moment that I couldn't dwell on him--after all, if anything was to come of the relationship, it couldn't be until after I had graduated...and what was I going to do after graduation anyway?

I was to work all day Monday and Tuesday that week, before I left. I had completed the in-store displays a couple weeks before, so all I had to do was some inventory counts and review with Auntie all the stuff I had changed since I got there in June. Monday right before lunch I was in the back doing an inventory of what we had in backstock, when Auntie poked her head in. "Jill, you'd better come out, you've got a present here." I assumed it was from one of the kids who I had worked with at MC's, just a goodbye gift or something to that effect. I put down my clipboard and walked out into the main part of the store. Sitting on the counter were about two dozen long-stemmed roses of all different colors, arranged in a huge vase. Auntie was curious. "I've been good, I haven't taken a look at the card yet. The delivery boy was cute, though."

I looked in amazement. "Are you sure these are for me?" I knew Auntie & Rog's anniversary was coming up soon, but I couldn't remember the exact date. She nodded. I pulled the card from out of the flowers and read:

Jill,
White roses stand for purity of heart. Yellow roses stand for friendship. Pink roses stand for joy. Red roses stand for love and respect. All of these remind me of you, and I hope they remind you of me. I know you won't be able to take them on the plane with you, but please take them in your heart, where I hope I might someday find a place.
Until that time,
Paul

I read it out loud, choking up as I read. Tears were welling up in my eyes. Maybe I had been right all along, there was some little bit of him that wanted to be more than friends! Auntie hugged me, and I happened to look through the store window. Paul was standing outside watching us from the sidewalk. I tried to regain my composure, and ran to the door. Paul picked me up and swung me around as he hugged me. "Oh, Jill, I got so worried when you weren't at the show last week. I thought I'd lost you forever when Brian told me you had already hopped the train to London. I didn't want us to leave on bad terms. I thought you'd never want to speak to me again. We had a day off today, so I took the train up to see if I could have one more chance to make things right before you left."

He put me back down on the ground. I wiped a tear from my cheek. "Well, you're certainly forgiven, but I am still leaving for the States in two days. I've had time to think about things...and I've realized what's important. Maybe it isn't that important to put any label on our relationship, labels are there to please other people. I know that I care for you, and obviously, you care about me too, or you wouldn't have spent so much money on those flowers and the train ticket!" I hugged him again. "Well, at least now the story I will tell Anne will have a happy ending!"

We went down the street to a sandwich shop for lunch. Paul told me about John & Cyn's wedding, and how they had a gig on his wedding night, and Brian was his best man. He told me they'd be back down in London on the 6th to do some more recording for EMI. The man they had recorded for in June, George Martin, didn't like Pete's drumming, and they hoped that Ringo would pass with flying colors. I told him about Anne's letter, calling him a knight in shining armor--he got quite a kick out of that. We chatted for so long, I was afraid of getting back to work on time! He walked me back to MC's. He pulled me to the side of the building (now that was familiar!), and kissed me. This was probably the most passionate kiss I had ever received. I almost couldn't stand when we finally broke apart! He held me close and said, "Jill, you have had an incredible impact on my life this summer, I hope you realize that. I don't want to say that we are 'just friends' 'cause you're so much more to me, but I know that long-distance relationships are quite difficult. And if you say no, I understand, I know you said no labels, but I want things to be right between us, and this is important to me...I just want to know if you'll consider me your boyfriend."

I was floored! If I almost couldn't stand earlier, this time I about fainted! Was he really asking me this? I stared at him, wide-eyed, for a second, and then realized that he wanted an answer. But did I even know the answer? I knew the territory that came with being a rock star, could I really butt into his life like that? In my heart, I wanted to throw my arms around him and say "Yes!" But that same heart that was really falling for this guy sank into the ground as my mind took over and reminded me that it most likely wouldn't work out anyway. I began, "Well, I'd like to, trust me, I would really like to, but would it be fair? As much as I'd like to, I know that a lot can happen in the months we'll be apart. And I don't know where I'll be after college. It's not that I don't like you, because I really do. But I just don't want to be tied down to someone who I really don't know when I will see again. It isn't fair to either one of us." I was beginning to sniffle a bit. "Do you understand? I still really want to talk to you, and I know that you have a special place in my heart...maybe you were right. Maybe 'just friends' is all we can do right now, but it can be very close friends, special friends."

By now I was seriously on the verge of crying. He put his arms around me and held me until I had calmed down a bit. I stopped sniffling, and he put his hand under my chin. "We alright now, luv?" I nodded, and our eyes locked together. I don't even know who initiated it, but we kissed. Suddenly I realized that this was one of the last kisses I would get from him in a long time. When would we see each other again? The holidays? Spring break? Or would it not be until May? I held him really tight, not wanting to let go. He stepped away from me a bit, and looked at me. He laughed a little, "Is this how you say goodbye to all of your male 'friends'?!"

I of course was not thinking that I had just told him that we were just friends. "No, I'm sorry, it just happened, I..."

"You don't have to apologize, did you see me fighting you off?" I laughed and shook my head.

Paul stepped back and looked me up and down. "I just want to get a good look at you. You know, I don't have any pictures of you. I know that you've taken some of me...do you have one of you that I can have?" I immediately remembered the picture from the Cavern taken that weekend we met.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I've it packed already, but I can dig it out!" We walked back inside, and I was going to ask Auntie if I could run home and get that picture for Paul.

Before I could finish one word, Auntie said, "It's alright, Mondays are slow here. Take the afternoon off. Just be sure to finish that inventory tomorrow! Can you handle getting the roses home?" I nodded and gleefully hugged her.

"Oh thanks, Auntie! You're the greatest! See you tonight!"

We walked to Auntie & Rog's house. Paul carried the roses for me. He was struggling with the weight and awkwardness of the flowers. "I sure have a new respect for flower delivery boys--this is hard!" We laughed as he continued to struggle seeing around the roses.

We got to the house, and we walked upstairs. I put the roses on the cabinet and found where I had packed my pictures. Paul sat on the chair in the room patiently waiting. I found the picture of us from the first night at the Cavern. I looked at it for a second--it really was a great picture; it was still in the nice wooden frame I had found at Harrods. I sat on the arm of the chair and handed him the picture. "Here, will this picture do?"

Paul looked at it strangely. "When was this taken?" Right when he asked, he realized. "Was this taken the day we met?"

I nodded and smiled. "Yep, John took it, remember? And how were we to know where we'd be soon after that?"

"Yep. Despite the sweat, it's a good picture of us...we don't look half bad together, do we?!" He took my hand. He pulled me down on his lap and gave me a soft, gentle kiss. "I will miss you, Jill Dearborn." I started sniffling, which by that time I should have been used to, but it still surprised me. It must've surprised Paul, too, because he looked at me quizzically. "Why are you crying? Jill, please don't cry, you've said yourself you won't say goodbye, and this isn't goodbye."

I looked down at my feet, having trouble with finding the right words. "I just realized that all I'll have to look at is your pictures...I won't be able to look at your face, your physical face that's there..."

"Jill, then just close your eyes. Close your eyes, and I'll just kiss you." He kissed me gently again, then suddenly broke away. He asked frantically, "Do you have any paper?"

I nodded and slowly got up off his lap, walking over to the desk and rifling through the drawers. Finding some stationery paper, I handed him a piece of it. He snatched it from my hand and sat down at the desk and started scribbling furiously. I leaned over his shoulder, wondering what was so damn important that he had to ruin a perfectly romantic, tender moment. I asked, "Can I ask what you're wri--"

"Ssh, Jill, let me get this down," he said, raising his right hand up and not bothering to look up at me. I sat down on the bed, semi-patiently waiting for him to finish. After a few more scribbles, he got up so quickly that he knocked the desk chair over. He handed me the paper, looking like a kid proud of his first A on a test. "Read it," he ordered, his voice quivering with childish excitement.

Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow, I'll miss you
Remember, I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home every day
And I'll send all my loving to you.

All my loving, I will send to you
All my loving, darling, I'll be true.

It was good, I thought. I personally didn't like rhyming poems; if they weren't written properly, they could be quite annoying. I nodded and handed the paper back to him. "I like it, it's good, Paul. How many poems have you written? And do you always interrupt romantic moments to write them?" I teased.

"Remember our conversation a while back, when you said that you write to get what's on your mind out?" I nodded. "This is what was on my mind. I wanted to reassure you that we will miss each other, but I'll be thinking of you." He smiled at me, still proudly beaming.

"You know, it's a little short, but it might make a good song."

He laughed and tried to explain, "Well, I don't have my guitar, and the words just came to me now--"

I put my hand on his arm and said, "Paul, I'm not asking you to write me a song right now...I just mentioned it, that it might make a good one."

"Well, I shall keep that under advisement, Miss Dearborn," he replied.

We spent the next couple hours playing cards until Rog came home from his friend's house. Paul had dinner with us, and then we had to head for the train station.

Rog & I took Paul to the train station. I was trying hard not to cry, but I almost had to laugh at my misfortune. I had the worst luck with guys anyway, and when I finally find a decent one, he lives a couple thousand miles away in a different country! Rog dropped us at the door so we could have a little time alone. We hugged for an eternity. I was trying to memorize everything: his smell, his touch, the way his arms felt wrapped around me, the feel of his kisses. I didn't want to let go, but we heard the conductor give the last call for his train, so I had to leave the security of his arms. I stood on the platform trying not to bawl like a two-year-old. He turned back to me, took my hand, looked me right in the eyes and said, "Jill, I don't want to lose touch with you. I hope I can come visit you or you can visit me...you're a great and true friend. I'll miss you." He gave me one more little kiss, and before I knew it, he was on the train out of town, and I hoped not out of my life as well.


On to Chapter Nine
Back to Chapter Seven


Copyright © 1999-2006, Winona Patterson.