We pack up and return to Paul’s house. I find myself living a dream and beginning to doubt the truth of it all. It’s all too perfect, I think.
At Paul’s, he leads me to the living room. As usual, it’s dimly lit and I sit beside him on the couch. I can’t take my glance away from his eyes. They’re so dark and soulful—like the room.
He showers me with kisses along my neck and face. I allow him, but ask myself how much longer I will let this continue.
If I keep letting him kiss me like this and then not follow through, I’ll once again prove myself a tease. If I don’t stop and follow through, I will be greatly jeopardizing myself. After all, we are not married and seem no where near marriage. He has not once made use of the phrase ‘I love you,” and I’m leaving in a matter of days. Not to mention, I don’t have any protection, and even if he does and is willing to use it, I don’t feel ready to jump into this. If I were Pam I’d go right ahead with it, mindlessly, ignoring all consequences, but the fact is, I’m not Pam.
His kisses become more passionate and I find myself unable to concentrate. I can feel my body wanting to continue but my mind and heart giving me a ‘DANGER AHEAD’ warning. I tense up and between kisses Paul mutters, “It’s okay, luv, it’s okay, you’re with me.”
I kiss Paul back and grab on to him tighter. I’m falling into a sea of passion and realizing I’m getting to a point where I’m going to have to make a decision or I’ll lose all sense of control and do something—do something I know I’ll regret.
Paul pulls me closer and I struggle to put my left hand on his chest as a method of saying, ‘I need to stop.’ He doesn’t get the message and slips hand underneath my shirt. He begin taking it off and reaching for the latch of my bra. I realize it’s now or never.
“Paul, I—” He stifles me with kisses.
He unhooks the hinge and I begin to wonder if the only way to communicate my message is to push him off me. “Paul. Paul, stop. No, Paul.” It’s as if he can’t hear me. Finally I yell, “NO!”
Paul stops and pulls back. His face looks startled and upset. “What? Is something wrong, luv?”
I suddenly become embarrassed and feel as if it is my fault I’m not ready to proceed. I scramble senselessly for an excuse. Anything so as not to see like a tease. “Paul, I can’t.”
“What’s the matter? Are you okay?”
“Yes, but I—have my period.”
Paul smirks. “Luv, are you seriously that uptight about sex?”
The question startles me. I divert my eyes. “Well, no.” Am I supposed to continue saying I have my period at this point or is it quite clear to him that I now don’t? I look up to check Paul’s eyes. They open wide and he grins. Then, to my utter confusion, he starts laughing.
My embarrassment grows and I can feel my cheeks burning.
Paul stops laughing, smiling in his eyes, and reaches with his left hand to brush a hair off my forehead. “Wait, luv. You aren’t—you’re still a virgin, aren’t you?”
I remain silent, uncertain of how to respond to such a question.
He grins. “It’s alright, luv. It’s just—Julia, I had no idea. I just never thought you would—” He bursts into hysterics.
What could be so utterly hilarious? I wonder.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to keep laughing. It’s just that, well, I had was just under the impression that you just didn’t like me. That—or were, well, a tease. But luv, if you just aren’t ready,” Paul puts his arm around me. “It’s alright. Listen, if you like, I could help you a bit. Ease you into it, unless you’d rather not. I’d understand that too.”
Strangely enough under the circumstances, I feel secure under his arm. I begin to feel as if there is nothing that can possibly go wrong. As if the world’s problems can all be solved as long as Paul is holding me. As if I were truly in love.
“Darling luv, you’re not saying anything,” Paul says.
I look into his eyes. What could I possibly say? I couldn’t possibly say how I am feeling now. I couldn’t say ‘I love you. You are the on man on this earth I want to marry and care for. You are the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.’ Who knows if he feels the same way? Who knows if I’d scare him away? Who knows if he’d care?
“What’s the matter, luv?”
“Nothing, I’m fine,” I say, forcing a smile.
“What are you thinking? What do you think of what I said to you?”
The confusion of forcing myself not to say what I want to say, leaving only part of my brain to consider what Paul has just offered, I say, “I’d like that.”
Julia, what did you just say to him? Did you just willingly offer for him to take away your virginity? You do realize that you only have it once and once it’s gone, it’s forever gone and irretrievable?
But then again, who else would I prefer over him? My whole life I’ve been set on whomever I should marry but I’m in love. I always hoped that Mr. Right would be in love to when it happened but is it all that bad to be like Pam and just have fun with someone who knows what they’re doing? I love Paul. I’m fully conscious of what I’m doing. Whether or not he loves me, he seems to at least care for me. Affection is good. Isn’t it? Is mutual love necessary? And if it is, can I make Paul understand that you just said ‘Yes’ to something that I am uncertain of? Can I make him understand without outright forcing him into falsely telling me he loves me?
“Paul, wait. I really don’t know what I’m thinking. I—”
Don’t say it, Julia, don’t say you love him.
“The last thing I want is to be a tease but I’d like to wait and see if I feel ready. I’m not used to this. I’m not used to being with someone who is accustomed to girls jumping all over them. I’m not used to being with a man whose virginity has long since passed away. I get lost when I’m with you. I forget who I am and what I am and what I stand for. I’m open-minded, and possibly willing to go further—just not yet. I need to know that I can stop whenever I want to and not have to worry that it will upset you. I need to know you will understand and not be hurt. I’m babbling on and I don’t even know if you’ve given up listening at this point.”
“I’m listening, luv. I care.”
I smile. “I guess in a way I’m testing myself. I don’t know what I will do and you definitely know how to test my limits. But I need to know that you’ll understand if I stop. There may be a point when I don’t stop. But if you are going to continue spend time with me to be ready to stop.”
Thousands of thoughts rush through my mind. Why did I just say that? Was I wrong to say anything? Should I have just gone through with it? Should I have just ended the relationship out of frustration? Have I just ruined anything that was going between us? Have I caused him to lose interest? Is he going to know now to go out and sleep with other girls and just spend one or two day hours with me, then eventually lose interest and leave me for nothing? How much longer will I be with him to make up my mind?
I feel my eyes start tearing from frustration and wish they would stop. I hate how my eyes always tear when I get upset. I lose strength. I lose control and people feel they have to comfort me. I search Paul’s face for feelings. His eyes are impossible to read. His expression tranquil.
“Calm down, luv,” he says.
I feel a tear run down my face and he smiles. What is he thinking? I wonder.
“I understand. I’ll understand if you need to stop. It’s something I’m not used to but I can get used to it. I care for you, and I’ll do that for you. Just please, luv, promise me you’ll stay in London longer.”
‘I care for you’? What is that supposed to mean? Is that supposed to mean ‘I love you’ in a twisted way? No, no it doesn’t. If he felt ‘I love you’ he would say, ‘I love you.’ He wouldn’t say, ‘I care for you.’ But he’s asking me to stay longer. I already said I’d try. How can I possibly make a promise?
“I told you I’d try,” I say.
“Yes, but I want you to promise.”
“Paul, I can’t. I—”
“Promise me. Please luv, please say you will stay.”
What else can I say?
“I promise,” I say. We kiss and embrace.
We’re watching the television and I realize a true fondness for British comedy. It gets late. I wonder if I should be leaving to go home or if Pam and John hope I’ll stay at Paul’s.
“Paul, what am I supposed to do about tonight? What time am I supposed to go home?”
“You have curfew, luv?” I blush. “No, but what time do you think is reasonable for me to go back home and not find myself interrupting Pam and John.”
Paul smirks. “I think you better stay here tonight. Here, you could stay in my guestroom. That’s the room you had been in the last time you left.”
“It was beautifully decorated.”
Paul’s eyes divert. “Yea, Jane did it.” He becomes tense. “Yes, but um, yea. I think you’ll do alright there. I guess you could borrow one of Jane’s night gowns.”
The thought of borrowing the nightgown of his ex-girlfriend, which they probably slept together leaves me feeling sort of nauseous.
Paul notices my discomfort and suggests I perhaps borrow one of his nightshirts. I accept the offer.
Soon enough Paul leaves me in the guestroom to sleep. I lay the shirt on the bed. This shirt has been worn by Paul McCartney, I think. I’m going to be wearing a shirt worn by Paul McCartney!
I laugh at myself. After all, aren’t I also dating Paul McCartney? I forget sometimes that the charming, sweet enchanter I’m dating, Paul, is ever-famous world heartthrob Paul McCartney.
I put the shirt on and am thankful that it at least covers me up to mid-thigh. Perhaps a longer one might be better, but there’s no way that I’m about to wear something of Jane’s.
Suddenly I wonder, Wait a second. If Paul and Jane are supposedly through why on earth would she still have her clothes here? Could it just be clothes she no longer wanted to own them because they reminded her of him? Could it be that? Or is it something else?
I decide not to continue the mental discussion and slide into bed. I flick off the light and find myself unable to fall asleep. Thoughts of Paul drift aimlessly through my mind and I even try the age-old attempt at counting sheep.
As sheep fifty-seven jumps over the fence I hear a light knock on the door. I pretend to be asleep. I listen as the door slowly glides across the wall-to-wall carpeting. Paul’s socked feet tip toe slowly into the room. “Julia?” he whispers. “Julia? Are you awake?”
I remain still. I don’t know how to respond. He kneels down next to the bed, puts something down on the night table beside the bed and continues to whisper my name. I begin to wish I had turned away from the door because I now find myself face to face with him and doing my best not to directly reveal that I’m awake.
Paul continues to sit there, his warm breath hitting my face. I keep control of my facial muscles and concentrate, something I learned to do from acting exercises when I was younger.
I decide to stir and find out why he’s there. I make a small sound as if waking up or slightly disturbed from a light rest. “Hmmwha?” I half-whisper, half-sigh.
He stands up, abruptly.
I continue, “Paul, is that you?”
“Yea, luv, it is.”
“Is there something wrong?” I say, progressively waking up more.
“No, no. Nothing’s wrong. I just, uh, came in to bring you some tea.” He picks up a cup from the night table. I sit up. He hands it to me. “I thought you might like some.”
“In the middle of night?” I ask. Now looking into the cup, which despite the darkness is clearly empty with the exception of a dry tea bag, I smirk, luckily concealed by the dark. “Paul, there’s just a tea bag in here. No actual tea.” The absurdity of the situation causes me to want to laugh. I do my best to hold back even the slightest giggle. I wish the room were light so that I could see his face.
Paul sounds embarrassed. “I sort of, well, missed you, luv.”
“Missed me? Paul, I’m in your house.”
“Yea, I know. But in separate rooms. I got sort of lonely, you know?”
If he’s lonely just having me in a different room, then what does he do at night when I’m at Pam’s flat? Hold a teddy bear? Or perhaps, hold a girl in a teddy?
He continues, “I didn’t mean to wake you. I’m sorry bout that. I couldn’t sleep and was thinking that maybe you couldn’t either. I came in to check—and offer you tea.”
“I see.” I look at Paul’s dark silhouette in the room. It must be uncomfortable for him to keep standing there like that. “Paul, would you like to sit down?”
I pull my knees to my chest and place the pathetic ‘cup of tea’ on the table. “Thanks luv. I’m not disturbing you, am I?” he asks.
I smile, “No, not at all.” I begin to wonder if I should turn on the light.
He doesn’t seem to mind the darkness.
“What do you think love is?” he asks.
I sit there, stunned. I now thank the darkness as my cover. “Well, I don’t know really. I guess love is where a person, or if you’re lucky, two people care for each other a great deal, want to be with each other, spend time with each other,” I think a moment and then say, “make love to each other.” I wonder at my last addition but decide that it’s true.
He says nothing and remains still.
“What about you?” I ask.
“I’ve always thought of love as being something amazing, almost impossible to attain. As a teenager I felt practically any sort of lust was love. That was merely infatuation, of course. But then there was Jane. I really cared for her and all, and I loved her. But I made a mistake with her. I didn’t withhold the true meaning of love. Sex I felt to be just a game for fun, and I supposed the philosophy was mutual. I was wrong. I was fucking wrong. I made one of the stupidest mistakes on this bloody earth. But I believe there’s probably a reason. Because, then I met you.”
My heart skips a beat then starts pounding uncontrollably.
“You’re different, luv. Julia, I love you. I love you in every sense of the word. All night I’ve been trying to fall asleep but I couldn’t. I couldn’t until I told you. I had to tell you. Ever since I have been with you, I haven’t been able to be with any other girls. They bore me. They mean nothing. But you, you’re special, Julia.” He suddenly stops, and begins to look down at the blanket and plays with it, unable to face me. “But now, now I’ve told you how I feel and I have not given you a chance to respond. I’ve put myself out a limb and I can’t bear to think of your response. I—”
“I love you too, Paul,” I say. He pulls me towards him and we kiss. We fall onto our sides. Me, under the blanket, him, above it. He leans on his elbow, holding his head with his hand and faces me.
“You know luv, I do have condoms.” He looks up at me but changes the subject. “Sorry luv, I didn’t mean to—”
“It’s alright,” I say.
We fall into a deep conversation and he starts telling me about his childhood. His dreams, how the Beatles fulfilled so many of them, except for love. He wanted love, too, which he says, I fulfilled.
I smile uncontrollably. I’ve never felt so happy in my life. The man I love, loves me in return. A man who could have any single person in the whole world, wants me. I suddenly find myself in a fit of passion, we kiss up a storm and it dies down.
He faces me in the dark. “Do you mind if I call you Jules?”
“Yes. Jules. The name Julia is beautiful and all, but the name Jules has always made me think of a gorgeous, sparkling gem—a jewel, per say. And that’s what you are and always will be—my darling, sparkling Jules.”
I find myself unable to speak. Never before have I met someone so romantic. How could I not let him call me Jules? I kiss him ‘Yes,” and smile.
That night I fall asleep in his arms, still separated by a blanket between us.
I awake to Paul to gently shaking me. “Hmm?” I say.
“Jules, I have to get going to Abbey Road to work on recording luv. I don’t know when we’ll get to see each other for the next few days. The Beatles, are going to be invested with MBE’s in three days and we have a lot of recording to do. I’ll do my best to see you. But remember luv, you promised you’d stay longer. You must.”
Now completely awake, I look up to find Paul fully dressed sitting on the edge of the bed and leaning over me. The thought of not seeing Paul for even just a few hours breaks my heart. “I will,” I say.
He smiles and leans down to kiss me. “You’re even beautiful in the morning, when you first wake up,” he says.
I blush. “Should I be getting up now? After all, if you’re leaving I’ll be trapped here.”
“It would be a good idea,” he says. Paul pulls down the blanket puts both arms around me and pulls me up with his arms. He then takes hold of both my hands and stands me up, twirling me around.
I giggle and he kisses me. He bows, winks, and leaves the room.
I sigh. I’m living a dream, I think as I rush to get dressed. I wash up in the nearby bathroom and throw on my outfit from yesterday. I leave my hair down, brush it out with my pocketbook brush, and organize myself. I hurry out the door and walk downstairs.
Paul greets me, hands me a blueberry muffin and we leave. He drives me to Pam’s and I painfully open the door. He throws his arms around me as I turn the key.
Pam and John are standing at the door, both extraordinarily cheerful. I notice and exchange of looks between John and Paul and wonder at their communication.
Pam questions me with her eyes and I smile at her. We all say hello. As John opens the door for them to leave, Paul kisses me once again and says, “I’ll see you later, Jules.”
I beam, return his goodbye and they’re gone. The door closes and Pam turns to me, “Jules?”
I laugh and realize we both have much to catch up on. I inform her of the picnic, and last night when Paul told me he loved me.
Pam is clearly delighted for me, yet in her own little happy world of John. “It would be wonderful if you could stay longer,” she says. I agree and she offers to accompany me as I tell my parents. I need all the support I can get.
I inch to the phone and check the time. Noon here, that’s 5pm there. I dial.
Cordelia picks up, “Hello?”
“Hey Cordy, how’s it going?”
“Julia! I haven’t heard from you in so long! I miss you so much! Did you get the autograph from George? Did you? Did you?”
It has been a while since I last called, I realize. “Yes, I did.”
I hear a shriek on the other end. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! How is Georgie?”
I smile and look up at Pam, while still on the phone, “Your Georgie is fine. How are things at school?”
She refuses to change the subject. “They’re okay. But I want to know, are you still going out with Paul McCartney? Are you?”
I become tense. Well I certainly can’t tell her I’ve been over at his house over night, despite the fact nothing has happened. She would tell everyone and my parents and no one would believe me. “Cordelia, do you remember what I told you?”
“Not to tell anyone, you mean?”
“Right, now did you?”
“Nope. Not a soul. I know it could get around and I really want to hear what happened. I’d rather know myself then have anyone else know.”
Cordelia has always been intelligent and mature for her age. I really trust she hasn’t told anyone, but I’m not about to tell her, an eight-year-old, everything. “We’ve seen each other a bit, if that’s what you mean.”
“Julia! I mean date. Have you guys been dating?”
“We’re good friends.”
Cordelia gives an exasperated sigh, knowing I’m not about to outright reveal anything else to her. “Want to talk to Mom? Dad’s out.”
“Yes, could you put Mom on?”
I listen as Cordelia hands over the phone, “Mo—om she wants to talk to you.”
Mom takes the phone. “Hello?”
“How are you doing Julia? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“Yea, things are really great. That’s what I’m calling about actually. I just calling to let you know things are fine and that I’m having such a great time with Pam that I would like to stay a bit longer.”
The tone of the conversation changes. “How much longer?”
I hadn’t really thought of how much longer. Up until this point all I knew was that I wanted to stay longer. “Not much—maybe a few weeks or so.”
Is that enough? I wonder. Is that enough time to figure out what I am doing with Paul so that make a more firm decision?
“Oh, I see. You’ve still been spending time with those Beatles haven’t you?”
From the way she asks the question it sounds as if she’s saying, ‘You’ve slept with them haven’t you? Fallen into a deep trap, haven’t you? Gotten yourself in a rut? Can’t bear to let you parents know what happened?’
“Yes, I have Mom. But Mom, what I’m about to tell you can’t go beyond you and Dad. If this got out in public it would sudden be part of newspapers and everything.”
“I know honey, what? What’s the matter?”
“Nothing’s the matter. Why would you think something’s the matter?”
“I’m sorry honey, continue, then.”
“I’m in love with Paul, Mom.”
I can hear my Mom sigh. I can’t tell if it’s a sigh of defeat or memory of ‘when she was young.’ Rock stars aren’t exactly left with the best reputations on the face of this earth and certainly not to my Mother, born in 1915. “Love, honey?” she asks.
“Yes Mom, love. He told me he loves me, too. And he means it Mom, I know he means it.”
“Julia, are sure? Are you absolutely certain?”
“Yes, I am. I just need more time to sort things out, figure out where I’m going in life.”
“I should say so. Remember Julia, you can’t spend your life on a holiday. You have to get a job, go to graduate school, you’re still young, Julia. These boys you’re spending time with have revolted against responsibility and thus have none. They don’t know what it’s like to have a normal day’s work. They don’t remember what it’s like to work hard for money. Girls chase after them. You should see your sister. And she just sees them on television. I must admit Paul is cute, but love is a strong word, honey.”
“Yes, I know. And I have nothing wrong with you staying a bit longer. But you have to realize that you’re going to have to come home. You’re going to have to make a living. What about your job at Macy’s? How much longer can you be on vacation?”
“Who cares about Macy’s? I’ll find another job.”
“Julia, jobs are not easy to come by. You have to realize that. They’ve been extraordinarily generous by letting you stay away for so long. How could they let you stay longer?”
“Mom, they let you have a friend fill in if you need it. I could pull it off. I’ll just ask Lydia to fill in. She’ll do it for me, she owes me one.”
“Yes, but honey, how will you explain to her that you want to stay longer having not called her the entire time you’ve been in London?”
I really hadn’t thought of it. I just didn’t think of it. I barely thought of calling my family. Pam’s my closest friend on this earth, but Lydia’s my closest friend in New York. We’ve always been school buddies. She had been away for two weeks, herself. She knew I was going away to London to see Pam and decided to book a flight to Bermuda for her own getaway. I have always filled in for her when she needed help and there is no way she wouldn’t do the same for me. I should have called her though, I must admit.
“Mom, I’ll handle it. Just please, just try understand what I’m doing.”
“Believe me. I understand it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s smart. Keep home in mind. Keep reality in mind. But that’s all I’ll say on the topic now. Julia, enjoy yourself. Have a good time. Spend time with Paul, but don’t expect the world’s problems to be answered by it. Hopefully, I’ll see you home soon?”
“I’ll call you when I get the tickets set up.”
“Good sweetie, see you then. Love you.”
“Love you too, Mom.” I hang up and face Pam.
“What am I going to do?”
“What? What’s the matter?” she asks.
“Mom had to bring me back to reality. I forgot about Macy’s. I forgot about Lydia. I forgot about responsibility. I’ve had such a great time, I don’t want to go home, nor do I want to leave Paul.”
“Paul loves you.”
“Yea, I know he says that, but my Mom is skeptical. I love him, with all my heart. If I were to marry him I would never have to worry about money. But is that truly realistic? Marriage? With Paul? Besides, I’ve always wanted to have a job of my own.”
I realize I’m talking realistically with my friend who is anything but realistic. She lives forever off her parent’s boundless bank account and does freelance work as a designer.
“Don’t worry so much,” she says.
I decide to give up the discussion. We decide to go shopping and spend the day out. We try on numerous clothes and buy none. We then reach the lingerie department.
“Need any?” she asks.
I know her intent and know though I generally would roll my eyes as such a question, today I’m seriously pondering it. “I’m not sure,” I say.
“Then we better pick out something just in case,” she answers.
I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculous looking lacy pieces of cloth hanging from hangers at high prices. Not to mention, I’m embarrassed at the thought of the saleslady knowing why I’m buying the lingerie. It’s not like a t-shirt or a pair of jeans that you can say, ‘Oh, I need something for school.’ This is something that the saleslady automatically knows your intent and shoots those who are embarrassed a knowing grin.
After the painful ordeal we pick out a simple nightgown and a few sets of new underwear and matching bras. I couldn’t stand the thought of any of those raunchy hooker-like clothes. Nightgowns are nice, I think. Nightgowns are simple.
I buy one pale pink, one light blue, and Pam pushes me to buy one satin black. I eventually give in and pay for it. We leave the store and return to Pam’s flat, now tired out from so much looking.
We spend another night playing Monopoly and go to bed early.
Written by Jane Anderson. May not be reproduced in any form by any means without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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