A Scottish Romance
Friday of the same week I was walking home after work feeling lousy. I was still fuming from the whole Paul and Jane episode not to mention my day had been really horrible. A family on holiday came into the store with a small, adorable child that was really a little brat in disguise. He screamed and yelled when he didn’t get his way and knocked down a whole shelf of cereal boxes and broke a jar of vinegar when his parents wouldn’t buy him a chocolate. Most of the afternoon I spent cleaning up after the wee monster. The store still smelt of vinegar when I left.
All I wanted was to have a hot bath and find some peaceful music on the radio. I prayed to God my upstairs neighbors wouldn’t get into a loud row as I entered the flat building. I didn’t want to be bothered by bills so I walked past the post boxes, opening my door. Behind me I tried to close the door, but something was stopping it.
“Bloody ‘ell, now what?!” I didn’t have time to turn around to see what was abstracting the path. It spoke to me instead.
“Kathleen.” Paul called out to me in a flat, non-emotional voice. He stood in the doorway, his hands hanging loosely at his side, but his shoulders were fixed in a defensive manner as if he was ready for a fight.
“Paul.” I echoed him.
“Can we talk?”
I shifted the weight on my feet. They were throbbing. It had been a long day, I didn’t feel like fighting. “Where’s Jane?”
“She’s gone back to London. She got a call from her manager about a job.” He stopped talking reaching out a hand to touch me. I stepped back out of his range. Paul withdraw the advancement in defeat. “I really do think we need to talk, luv.” He pleaded with me.
I thought about asking him not to call me luv, but I was to tried to argue over something as trivial as that, instead decided to chose my battles more carefully. I let out a heavy sigh. “Fine.” I walked away towards my sitting room taking off my shoes, debating on weather to do the same with my stockings.
Plopping down on my settee I rubbed my tried eyes. I felt Paul sit on the edge beside me.
“Your angry with me.” He started with.
I had to let out a great laugh at that. “What a bloody great observer you are, Paul.”
“You angry because I brought Jane to Scotland.”
“By God, he’s a fucking genius as well.” I let my arms fall down to my side. Paul starred down to the floor. His features were ridged and unmoving. “I never thought you’d bring her and dangle her under my nose.”
“I didn’t dangle her under your nose, Kathleen. I never intended for the two of you to meet.”
“You thought you’d bring her to High Park, into Cambelltown and no one would tell me?”
“Have you told people about us?”
“Is there an us? What does it matter if I did tell people about us? Does Jane know about me?” I spat out my questions one after another. All the questions that had plagued me since two days earlier.
“No, she doesn’t. . . and yes there is an us.”
“I thought the two of you had an open relationship?!” I shot back to him.
“We’re not married, Kathleen!” His jaws were clenched and his hands folded into fists. “Jane can talk to any man she wants to like I can talk to any woman I want to. But I don’t tell her about the women I talk to.”
“Or kiss, and probably even fuck I’m sure.”
“It’s no ones business who I kiss or fuck!” Paul stopped. He took a deep breath starting again in a calmer manner. “How many people have you told?”
“How many have you told?!”
“Please answer my question, Kathleen.”
“Because we have to control this. If the press gets wind of this then all hell would brake loose. Reporters will be flocking here looking for you, getting any kind of dirt they can on you.”
“Don’t worry, ,b>Paul. Your secret is safe.”
I stood up walking over to the window. I needed to think.
Secret. I was a secret. The whole relationship was a secret. I should have know that from the beginning. I was starting to think Megan was right, I hadn’t thought this situation though properly enough. Maybe I was making a big mistake only to get hurt in the end, maybe I should brake it off.
I turned around to face Paul. No, Megan was wrong. I loved this man. Even though he hurt me. I could deal with Jane. I’d have to learn how to. Everything worked out when you were in love.
My clothes were itching my skin. I had to get out of them. “Answer one question for me. Why did you bring Jane?”
“I couldn’t tell Jane to stay home- ‘Oh Jane by the way, you can’t come on holiday with me because I’m seeing this bird in town and I don’t think you two should meet’. It wouldn’t have worked, Kathleen. We’re both so busy, with her acting and me touring and recording, that we hardly ever see each other as it is. The only quality time we spend together is on holidays. I screwed up, OK? I should have insisted we go some where else. I just didn’t think.” It was Paul’s turn to stand.
“No, you didn’t think.” I crossed my arms in front of me. Paul reached out a hand once more letting it rest lightly on my hip.
“Can I explain something else to you?”
“The press has labeled us, Jane and I, as the posh rock couple. When we do get out together cameras are stuck in our faces. People watch our every move. Our pictures are in the papers the next day with a detail description of where we went and what we did. The press are already trying to catch me with other women and asking when we’re getting married. We’re just trying to have a nice casual relationship and everyone else is labeling it as something serious.” Paul pulled me a bit closer, looking into my eyes. I kept my arms crossed. I couldn’t take the chance of touching him just yet.
“That’s why I want to keep our relationship a secret.” He went on. “The press would make your life a living hell and would hurt Jane. I’m trying to spare all of us and keep my private life private. Can you understand? Can you forgive me?”
I reached out then, resting my hands on his upper arms. “OK, James. I’m trying to understand your life, really I am. I’m new to this whole thing. You’ll have to bear with me.”
“I’m sorry the situation isn’t any easier for you.”
There was still one question that was haunting me. I needed an answer to it. “I know you said to take it a day at a time and I’ve already asked you this question once, but I need a definition of us. I’m not your girlfriend so am I your mistress or a casual fling?”
“You’re definitely not a fling, Kathleen. Your. . .” Paul stopped, looked up above my head. Seconds past and I was afraid even he didn’t have an answer to the question. “Your my Scottish lass. Your the one who takes care of me.”
“Now wait a minute, James Paul.” I jabbed my finger into his chest to make my point. “I never said if I would take that job.”
“No. I’m telling you now that I will.”
Paul pulled me all the way towards him giving me a kiss on the forehead. For the first time there was a smile on his face and on my as well. The good-natured, affectionate Paul I was used to was back. “Oh luv, your going to keep me on me toes aren’t you?”
I slipped my arms under his and around his waist. “I’ll give it a go.”
“I’m going to be honest with you, Kathleen. I can’t promise you anything in this relationship. I have no idea when I’ll get to see you next.”
“I know.” I didn’t know, not that I wanted to admit anyways. I was so sure Paul would be mine. I rested my chin against his chest. “What are your terms then?”
“My terms?” He questioned me.
“Terms, your rules I should follow.” I released my grip on Paul picking up a pad and pen I had laying on a table beside the couch. Paul left his hands on my hips, watching me quizzically. “Write them down while I get out of these clothes.”
I left Paul staring at the blank pad of paper. I quickly changed into a pair of pants and a loose fitting shirt. When I went back out Paul was sitting on the couch with the pad beside him. He smiled beckoning me to sit next to him. I snuggled up next him, happy to have Paul back.
“What did you come up with?” I asked.
“Do you really want me to make up rules?”
“Yes. If this relationship is going to work out then I have to know what is expected of me. What I should and shouldn’t do.”
“OK. Rule number 1- you can’t tell the press about our relationship. They may eventually find out that I own High Park and come to town looking for a story.”
“I’d never do that, James.”
“I know, it’s just that. . .” Paul stopped hesitantly.
“I had a bird do that before. It was when ‘From me to You’ reached number 1. I went out with this girl Millie a few times. We only went out about five times. I told her we had to brake it off because we were doing so many gigs, photo shots and recording at that time. I guess she didn’t like that much because once the press started to notice us she went to the papers. She made up this whole exaggerated tale about how I came onto her and how the lads and I would go out to the clubs getting smashed. The lads and I did do a lot of drinking so that part wasn’t so far fetched, but some of the other things she was saying was pretty nasty. Brian had a fit when he saw the story.”
“Brian Epstein, our manager. Brian went down to the paper talking them into printing another story the next day apologizing to me and to the group for printing such a story before checking to make sure it was true. I received a lecture about who I should and shouldn’t date from Brian. That was my first nasty run in with the press. I’ve learned my lesson since then.”
“Don’t worry it won’t happen with me.” I gave him a quick peck on the lips to reassure him more. “Any more rules?”
“I don’t think we should discuss Jane.”
“Agreed. I have just one rule for you.”
“What is it?”
“You warn me before you come to High Park with company.”
“I will, luv. I will.”
Before Paul left that night he invited me to join him for dinner the next day. I accepted. Of course.
I arrived at High Park about 6:30 p.m. that Saturday evening. As I drove down the dirt winding road that lead to the gate I smiled to myself. It felt as if I was going home. Only to a home I had never known, except in my dreams.
The fantasies of my dream life flashed before me. A little girl in a flowered dress, a baby strapped to my hip laughing as he watched his sister play. Sheep and horses grazing in the green meadows. My husband walking in from the fields as the sun sets.
Paul was waiting for me at the iron gate. He wore a black cowboy hat accompanied with a loop sided grin. He opened the gate allowing me to drive through and he got into the passenger side.
“Are we playing cowboy?” I asked.
“Yes, ma’am.” He started off in a slightly exaggerated and not very effective southern American accent. “Later we can go to the barn dance.”
“Sure thing, Farmer Jones.” I said trying not to laugh.
I parked my parents old Land Rover they gave me to the side of the main cottage. The gray stones of the house bore a history of the land and of the people that had walked through it’s threshold. Patches of white randomly caught my eye were cracks had been filled. A new tin roof replaced the old hole one. In the fields around the cottage, the grass was unruly. The farm needed a lot of help to get it back into shape. It needed someone to love it. Someone like me.
My steps felt light and the world seemed to slow as we walked up and he opened the door. It was darker inside than I had expected, I had to wait for my eyes to adjust. The cottage was different than I had remembered. The floors were dirt, I hadn’t noticed that before. In front of me, facing the fireplace, was the old couch I had laid on just months before. Over in the corner stood the lamp with its torn white shade. In front of the settee were three wooden potato boxes nailed together. The walls had long bits of rough plaster where cracks were filled in. Still no curtains on the windows.
“Shall I give you a tour?” Paul came up beside me.
“What?” I stuttered out. Still standing in the doorway I was taking in the dire interior. I knew the outside had to be fixed up, but I hadn’t known the conditions of the interior. When Paul brought me into the cottage after my fall I must have been really out of it because I thought it had looked much better than this.
“I’ll give you the grand tour, luv.” Paul grabbed my hand, pulling me over to the sofa. “You didn’t get one the last time you were here. This I found in town.” He pointed down proudly to the settee. “Someone was throwing it out. Can you believe? I was like, no way man. I have to have this, put it in High Park.”
I watched as Paul got excited over an old settee put out for rubbish. This man, a Beatle, a rock star, who I thought should have brand new furniture and maybe even a decorator. But I was thinking of Beatle Paul not James Paul McCartney who grew up in Liverpool in a working class family. I was learning they were two different people, yet the same. “Imagine that!”
“It’s still very comfy, that couch. That in front there is my coffee table.” He pointed to the potato boxes. “I call it Sharps Express after the brand of potatoes. . . I hammered and nailed the boxes together.”
“I did, you know.”
“I believe you.”
“You can stop laughing.”
“I’m not. I just never saw anyone so enthusiastic over an old settee and three nailed together potato boxes.”
“Are you putting down my humble, rustic getaway?”
“No.” I turned slowly taking in the whole cottage. “I could do a lot with this cottage. . . fix it up. Give the walls some paint, a new floor, hang a mantel over the fire place.”
“Fix it up?” Paul stared at me blankly. “I quite like it the way it is. I never thought of fix’n it up.” Paul had a look around himself. His thumb caressed mine. “It’s not that bad.”
“No it’s not, but I could make it into a home instead of just a getaway cottage.” Paul turned towards me. He stared into my eyes with such an intensity I wanted to look away but I was so drawn into his power I was frozen. Paul squeezed my hand he still held and a smile crept up his face.
“Amazing!” He whispered.
“Your are. You take something that to me is perfect and you picture it even better. . . making it your own.”
“I’ve dreamt about this farm for a long time, I told you. It’s always been in my head.”
“If I ever get the urge to fix it up, I’ll give you a call. Hungry, luv?”
“Great.” He let go of my hand walking into the kitchen. “You can have the tour of the kitchen while I make our tea. I’m making sausage and mashed potatoes, my specialty.”
I followed Paul, noticing the stove and refrigerator were brand new. “You didn’t get them from those old potato boxes did you?”
Paul worked in the kitchen peeling and cutting the potatoes and browning the sausages while I stood out of his way. We talked about my family and he asked about my mothers accent. I told him the story of how my mother was born in a small village in France and when she was old enough migrated her way to London to find a job. There she met my father who was on holiday. How they fell in love in a matter of days and married months later. Paul was surprised to learn my family owned Caldwell’s Department store.
While I waited for him to mash the potatoes I brewed the tea and brought down the plates and utensils. All of the plates, silverware, cups were mismatched. The plates and cups varying from a purple and pink floral pattern to solid white. We ate on the settee with our plates resting on Sharp’s Express.
Paul insisted on doing the dishes. So I stood in the front doorway watching the night come into play. Paul came up behind me with a lit ciggie. As he stood behind me finishing the ciggie I could feel the heat and power from his body. It was teasing my body until I thought about stepping backwards falling into his chest and arms. Then as if reading my mind he flicked the ciggie butt to the ground squishing it flat with his shoe. His arms flung around my waist capturing me to him. I laid my arms over his steadying my breath to the rhythm of his.
“You don’t mind if we cuddle, do you?”
“No.” I breathed out. I relaxed my head to his shoulder closing my eyes.
“Look at the stars, Kathleen!” The way Paul shouted out in amazement I expected to see the stars falling down to earth when I opened my eyes. “The stars shine for you. I’ve never seen them so golden and beautiful as they are tonight.”
I twisted my way around in his arms staring at him in amassment, this man I was quickly falling in love with. “No one has ever said anything as lovely as that to me.”
Paul moved his hands up to my face closing them around my cheeks. “You should have been told a long time ago, luv.”
“James Paul, you’ve taken my breath away. I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll put up with my life for a bit longer and you’ll try to understand. . .”
“Keep saying those sort of things and I’ll put up with you forever.”
“Forever. Forever is a long time.”
“So just kiss me and forget about time tonight.”
“Demanding lass.” Paul demonstrated his pleasure with me by giving my bum a gentle slap. “If only time would stop for awhile so I could stay here like this with you..”
It can, James. You just say the word and it will.
Paul kissed me passionately. Our bodies stuck together by an invisible glue, our mouths tasting each other, his hands stroking my back and neck. I shivered, not from the quickening cool breeze but from the way my own body was responding to his. It frightened me just how much my body was feeling. All the senses were heightened. Ever since my first sexual experience I hadn’t let myself physically lose control. Now my desire for wanting more of this man was battling my fear of losing control. . . again.
Releasing my lips Paul pulled me inside.
“Why did you come in?” I asked.
“You were shivering. Are you that cold?”
“No, I’m not cold. I just. . . ”
Paul walked further into the house backwards. He stumbled a bit when he backed into the settees arm. “Come here, luv. Your too far away.”
He started to kiss me again. His kisses became feverish with demand and want. His desire becoming more physical as each second passed. This time I had to stop it. I couldn’t let it happen to me again. . . this time I had to take control before it was all to late.
Paul grunted softly when I leaned back. “Yesterday you said you couldn’t promise me anything. . . well I can’t promise you anything either.” I hoped he got my indirectness.
Paul loosened his grip. “Ah, message received.” He walked around the settee sitting down in a reclining position. I could tell Paul was a bit annoyed with me for stopping.
I never knew how lonely and cold my body cold feel until that moment. I wanted his arms around me, to be in his arms, but I was afraid to let it go any further than that. What if in the middle I decided I didn’t want to go any further but Paul didn’t want to stop like what happened all those years before? Somehow I had the feeling Paul wouldn’t do that to me. My heart knew the truth, but my mind screamed out ‘caution!’. “I didn’t mean hands off.” I crossed in front of Paul, sitting down beside him. I needed to be near him, to keep him near me.
“Sorry, luv. We must have our signals crossed.” He laid his arm around my shoulders. “I thought that was an absolute no.”
I took a deep breath hopping for understanding. “Well it is for now. I don’t think I’m ready to have sex with you yet, but that doesn’t mean no cuddling and kissing.”
“Is that one of my rules?”
“For now. I’ll keep you updated. Do you mind?”
“No, I just want to be with you.” Paul poured us both a cup of tea. He laid back in a relaxed position, his head resting against the couch letting out a long sigh. “Feels as if we’re the only two people in the world. It feels good to get away.”
“A lot better than the noisy city.”
“Or the screaming teenage fans.”
We sat drinking our tepid tea, breathing in the clean Scottish air coming in from the open front door. I caught a faint whiff of rain. A storm was coming.
My eyes moved over to the lamp in the corner, seeing Pauls acoustic guitar. “Will you play me something?”
“Mmmm. . . how about ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’?”
Paul sat up setting his cup on Sharp’s Express. “Alright,” He said in a playful stern voice shaking a finger at me, “just a few songs. This is my holiday, remember.”
Paul grab his guitar sitting next to me on the right side so as the neck of the guitar didn’t bash into me. After a minute of tuning he started to play.
For tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun.
Some day you'll know I was the one.
But tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun.
And now the time has come
And so my love I must go.
And though I lose a friend,
In the end you'll know, oooh.
One day you'll find that I have gone.
One day you'll find that I have gone.
When the song was finished he began to play another tune. This time without words.
“What is it called, the song?”
“Don’t know, its just a melody I like to play. I don’t have any real words for it yet.”
“I haven’t been inspired. You see the trouble with us writers, luv, is that we have to be inspired.”
“Don’t I know it.” I said with a sigh.
“How do you know?”
“Didn’t I tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“That I’m a writer. Well actually I’m just finishing up my first full length novel.”
“Yes. I thought I had the ending all planed out, but I don’t like how I’ve written. I just can’t seem to think in a constructive way when I sit down to write.”
“I wish I could help you, luv, but I’ve never had a dry spell.”
“Never. Every time John and I have sat down to write we’ve always come up with something.”
“Wish I could say that.”
“It’ll get better, yeah?”
“Yeah, soon or later.”
Paul continued to strum out the song. In the distance we could hear thunder and the occasional flash of lighting. By pulling my knees up beside me I tentatively laid my head on Pauls shoulder. He didn’t seem to mind, so I settled in.
“That’s good, that song. I like it.” I could feel Pauls biceps contracting and relaxing as he strummed.
“Then I have the perfect name for. How about, ‘Kathleen’s Song’. Of course, you are the only other person who has heard it, you like it and I’m having trouble finding words to fit the melody. You will be my inspiration.”
“Fantastic, my very own song. You do know that means you’ll have to play it for me often, yeah?”
“I will, only for you.”
The rain storm approached fast that evening. Within an hour it was upon us watering the earth surrounding the cottage. Paul stood in the doorway smoking a cigarette, watching the lightning streak across the cimmerian sky illuminating the raindrops. From my experience of living on the Mull I knew it wouldn’t be long before the lights went. I hunted down a few candles, lighting them on the make-shift table.
Paul was deep in his own thoughts. I stood beside him, reaching up to smooth his ruffled hair. His arm hooked around my waist. Lucky for us the wind was blowing from the back of the house to the front. The rain was coming down hard and fast. A streak of lightning flashed overhead lighting the whole sky and surrounding area. Just as quickly as the lightning appeared the electricity went out.
Paul jolted around looking dumfounded at the darkened cottage.
“They always do that in storms, the lights. They should be back on in the morn.” I reassured him. “Come sit with me, it’s getting chilly.” I gently tugged on his arm to follow me.
Paul threw his cigarette butt out to the rain. He closed the door and followed me quietly. Our bodies bonded together, our arms wrapped around each other. His arms folded around me like wings to protect me. I felt safe and secure. It was terribly romantic to be with Paul while a rainstorm raged outside of a candlelit cottage with raindrops hitting the new tin roof.
“When did you light the candles?” He asked me.
“While you were standing at the door.”
“I didn’t notice.” There was a moments silence. Paul cleared his throat, shifting his body. “Kathleen, would you like to spend the night?”
I stopped breathing thinking, what? Did I just hear right? “Why James Paul, what are you asking?” I tried to act calm.
“I wasn’t asking that way. I thought it would be safer for you to stay here. The road going into town will be awfully muddy. You can sleep on the bed and I’ll sleep here.”
For some strange reason I wanted to say yes. I didn’t want to leave Paul, but I didn’t want to put myself into a position that could“ I’d feel guilty making you sleep on this small settee.”
“If you feel that guilty I could always sleep with you on the bed. I’ll find some way to restrain myself against attacking you in the dark of the night.”
“Ha ha, James Paul. Is my safety the only reason you want me to stay?”
“OK you got me. I want you to stay so I can see you first thing in the morning.”
“Well, if that’s your real reason then I’ll stay. . . because I’d like to see you the first thing in the morning too.”
We fell silent snuggling closer to each other, listening to the thud thud thud of the rain.
Paul began to chuckle to himself.
“What are you laughing at?”
“I was thinking about the nick name John has for you.”
“What is it?”
“Kitty Katty? How did he come up with that?”
“Who knows, luv. Johns mind works in mysterious ways. It fits you , you know. You have this sort of cat walk.”
“How do I have a cat walk?”
“Cats saunter around, and that’s what you do.”
“If you say so, James Paul. Maybe we should get to bed now, our candles are about to burn out.”.
“Miss Caldwell! One would think you were trying to get me undressed.”
“You’ll know when I’m trying to get you undressed.”
“Ohh! Kathleen, I’m not trying to rush you into anything you don’t want to do. Even though I want to. I’ve wanted you since that first day I saw you dancing in the store.”
“Doing those sexy moves for all to see, you tart you.”
“Sexy moves. . . I don’t have that good of rhythm.”
“Sure you do.”
Paul gave a button down dress shirts of his to sleep in. He let me have the bathroom first. Luckily he had a new toothbrush that hadn’t been opened yet.
I wasn’t self-conscious coming out of the loo with only my panties and Pauls shirt on. He made me feel comfortable around him. I already knew he liked my body from the looks he gave me and the things he said.
I sat on one side of the bed with my back to the loo door waiting for Paul to come out, running my hands through my wavy mass of hair. I hadn’t heard the door open, but I could feel him standing behind me, watching me.
“Will you be standing there all night, then?” I asked not turning around.
Paul walked around to the other side of the bed, sitting one the edge. He had on blue plaid pajama bottoms carrying the shirt in his hand. I noticed the muscles in his arms and shoulders as he passed and the muscles in his back as he rounded the corner. His chest a pale creamy white from the lack of sun. “I was just watching. . . I mean the candle light was flickering on your hair, making it glow.” Paul slid closer to me stroking my wavy, auburn hair away from my forehead. “You are beautiful, Kathleen.”
“You compliment me too much.”
“Their all true and you deserve them.”
I drew back for the first time feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable being so near to Paul. He seemed to sense what I was feeling, moving to his side of the bed and pulling on the matching shirt to his pajama bottoms. “Are you sure you’re OK with me sleeping in the bed?”
“Yeah. Maybe we should go to sleep. It’s been a long day for me and I’m awfully tried.”
Paul finished buttoning up his shirt and slipped under the sheets. “Right. Goodnight, luv. Sweet dreams.” He rolled over on his side with his back facing me.
“Goodnight, James.” I pulled the sheets up to my chin, rolled over to blow the candles out.
Some time during the night I awoke. The rain had stopped. No noise in the still of the night. The moonlight came in at a slant flowing over Pauls face. Using my fingertips I lightly brushed the honey brown hair away from his forehead. “What is it about you, James Paul McCartney, that I can’t get out of my head. I’m falling for you so fast. . . falling in love with you. Will you ever truly be mine?”
I laid there watching his chest rise then fall in slow gentle breaths until my eyes grew heavy with sleep once more.