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A Scottish Romance

Chapter Nine

Sean and I did remain friends until the end of the year when he became lost in the shuffle of my life. We talked off and on on the telephone. I purposely left James out of our conversations to spare him. He was a great friend to me during that time incouraging me to remain writing and to get my book published. Years later when my husband and I returned to the Mull, Sean and I bumped into each other. We had a very nice chat over tea. He introduced me to his lovely wife and kids. Later alone he told me he thought of me occasionally, but he was glade how his life had turned out. I felt the same as I drove home with my husband.

As was the family tradition, the first two weeks in June we went to London to visit my fathers brother Jack, his wife Jan and their eighteen year old daughter Michelle. Uncle Jack was then living with my great Aunt Clare, his aunt, at her house in Camden (a northern suburb of London).My brother decided to stay behind this year to over see the workers on the farm and because he didn’t want to leave his bride-to-be.

Shell, Michelle and I stayed in the basement flat. The flat had access to the street by a stairway leading from the flat’s door to the sidewalk off to the right side of the house’s main entrance. It was also accessible through the inside of the house by stairs. The flat was basically just three rooms; a kitchen/eating area/sitting room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. The three of us took turns sleeping in the bed, floor or couch.

My Aunts house was a red brick Georgian terrace house with four floors. The first floor consisted of the living areas; kitchen, dining room, sitting room, libary. Bedrooms were on the second floor. The top floor was where Uncle Jack had his study and where Michelle’s bedroom was. And of course the basement that was turned into the guest flat. The back of the house was surrounded by a three foot high rock wall with a wooden gate at its center. Uncle Jack had hired a gardener when he moved in. The back grasses were impeccable and the greenest I had ever saw. I used to tease him saying he had the gardener die the grass. Throughout the year flowers were replaced to keep the garden blooming.

Michelle was a wildchild. She drank and smoked (a fact she hid from her parents), hung out with only the posh crowd which consisted of some of London’s wealthiest children who were a bit too spoiled. That summer she hadn’t decided if she would be attending University in the fall. Uncle Jack wasn’t about to let her party each day so he made her work in the store when ever there was a spot to be filled.

Since the last time I had saw her she somehow had become a huge Beatles fan. The evening we arrived my sister and I went upstairs to her room. I was the last to enter and when I did I couldn’t believe my eyes. She had posters of them all over her wall. At this point in my life I was more in to the great American Jazz and Pop artist such as Frank Sinatra even though every great once in the while I did listen to the Rock stations. I did sort of know who The Beatles were (you would have to been blind nd deaf not to know who they were, they were everywhere) I heard a couple of their songs and did like them.

Michelle took us on a tour of her Beatle collection. I studied the posters on the walls. Coming to one of a lone man I had to blink my eyes a couple of times. At first I didn’t make the connection until I concentrated on his eyes. Then it hit me, I had seen those eyes before. . . on James McGreger. “Which one is this, Michelle?”

“That’s Paul McCartney, he’s the cute one.” She explained.

Paul, huh. Well at least that name was real. I wonder where he came up with James McGregor, I thought to myself. “What does he play?” I asked as Michelle put on their latest single ‘Ticket to Ride/Yes it is’.

“He plays bass and sometimes sings lead vocal.”

“Is that him singing?”

“No that’s John.” She picked up the album cover and pointed to one of the men. “See, this one here.”

“Can I listen to one of Paul singing?”

“Sure. There’s a couple on this Record. This songs called ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’.”

We three stayed up half the night listening to Michelle’s records. I looked at all of her magazines she had collected which featured the Beatles trying to get as much info about ‘Paul’ as I could. You have no idea how stupid and hurt I felt. James and The Beatles connection kept coming up and somehow I hadn’t made the link. To make matters worse he had a steady girlfriend named Jane.

Later in the week I finally confessed the whole thing to my sister after seeing his picture in the newspaper arriving back home from holiday. The picture showed a close up of him and his girlfriend Jane. She was pretty, I thought much prettier than I. How could I compete with a girl that has slim hips and straight, thick hair?

I have what they call a pear shaped body; small bust and wide, curvy hips. My hair is chestnut brown, thin and wavy, and will become frizzy if I try to brush it when it’s dry. I have never actually hated my body it’s just that everywhere I looked there were girls with slim, straight hips. I had the hardest time buying desses because the top would fit but the bottom half wouldn’t because my hips were too wide or the bottom would fit but my breast were too small to fill out the top half.

The only other person I told while in London was Michelle. She and Shelly swore not to tell anyone about Paul. I hoped and prayed they kept their word.

***********************

Following our duties as guest we caught up on the family news. Two days after the picture in the paper Shell and I decided to walk down Abbey Road to see if we could find Abbey Road Studios. Michelle told us that’s where they usually recorded and we could have a good chance to see them. Michelle wanted to go with us, but had already promised to go into work with her father. I’m glad she didn’t go because Michelle would have been all over him. That’s one of the only things Michelle and I have in common is that we’re both flirts. Sometimes doing it without even knowing it.

I wanted to see Paul for myself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to talk to him, I deiced to make it up on the spot. I wasn’t as angry at him then. I thought it over, concluding that he must have been tried of the fame and attention and only wanted a safe haven he could get away to.

After walking two blocks out of the tube station we came to the white building. Standing on the sidewalk were three girls, “Are you looking for the Beatles,” asked a red head.

“Sort of.” I answered. “Are they here?”

“No, and the bloody people here won’t tell us if their coming.” The red head answered.

“Sometimes they don’t arrive until tea time.” A blonde informed us.

Shell and I waited around for about ten minutes before deciding to go have our lunch. As we started to walk away I saw him rounding the corner. I took ahold of Shelly’s hand and dragged her along. “Hey, what’s your hurry?” She cried out.

I walked faster managing to squeeze past a couple walking in front of him. I stopped ahead of Paul blocking his path. “Well, well, Paul fancy seeing you here.” Beside me Shelly gasped. I poked her in the ribs hoping she’d get the message to stay calm.

Paul’s eyes went wide as he stopped in med-motion. He looked at me in bewilderment. “Kathleen!” He shouted. “What are you doing here?” He looked like a naughty schoolboy caught in a lie. Come to think of it, he was.

“ This is my sister Shelly. We’re here on holiday.” That’s when I heard the shouts of Paul! coming behind us.

“Bloody ‘ell!” Paul mumbled. “Come ‘un!” Paul grabbed my hand and started to run. Thank goodness I still had ahold of Shelly’s hand or she would have been left behind. As I turned around I saw the three girls from before plus three others and they were running right at us. “Hurry!” Paul called over his shoulder. He ran off the sidewalk, between two parked cars and into the street causing an on coming car to stop suddenly. With Shelly and I still behind him he ran infront of the parked car and up the steps of Abbey Road Studios.

“Hey, why are they going in?” Yelled a girl before the door closed.

“ I heard your fans could be over zealous, but that was frightening.” Paul released my hand and I used it to push my hair back in place.

“Thought I would be trampled over.” Shell said readjusting her skirt.

“Are those two girls with you, Mr. McCartney or should I ring security.” An older woman standing behind a desk asked. Apparently she didn’t like the looks of us, her hand was already poised over the phones’ receiver.

“No, their with me. I had to pull them in with me, there were six girls chasing us.”

“I’m so sorry about that. Should I get rid of them?”

“I don’t think that will be nesscsary, Mrs. Silverton.” Paul turned around with a blank face. His eyes showed all of the emotions his face could not revel.

“Could we go some place alone to talk, Paul?” I may have looked confident outside , but inside I was quivering.

“Is the conference room down the hall empty, Mrs. Silverton?” Paul asked the receptionist without taking his eyes off mine.

“Yes, Mr. McCartney it’s open.”

“I want you to stay here, Shell.”

“But. . .” Shelly looked at me, begging to go. I looked right back shaking my head. “Right, I’ll behave.” She sank into a chair and started going through her purse.

Paul walked down an eggshell white hall, the walls lined with pictures of singers. A few I recognized, the others I would meet later on. I stopped behind him as he opened a door and motioned for me to walk in. At the center of the room was an oval woden table. I leaned up against a chair jumping when it moved. Paul walked over to the window on the otherside of the room. He stared out for awhile before speaking. “How did you find out, then?”

“You’re a very popular subject in the London newspapers.” I stopped. He nodded. “I saw the picture of you and -Janet is that her name?- arriving back from Portugal. I couldn’t believe it was you, I mean the man I thought you were.”

“Her name is Jane.” He replied in a flat tone.

“Oh.” I didn’t care what her name was, I wanted her out of his life.

“I am the man you thought I was. . . at least half of me is.”

“But you lied to me, James uh Paul. I don’t even know what to call you.” I threw my hands up in the air.

Paul turned around leaning against the window crossing his arms infront of him.“James or Paul. . . My full name is James Paul McCartney. I didn’t exactly lie to you. I told you my real name except for the last name. You knew I lived in London and was born in Liverpool. I admit I never told you what I did, I just. . .”

“Left me in the dark? No, you didn’t lie, you with held some very important facts.”

“It doesn’t matter that I’m Beatle Paul does it? Your still my mate?” His eyes held mine in a steady gaze searching for what I guessed was how I felt.

Mate. The word cut me like a knife. “It does matter that your Beatle Paul because that’s who you are, and yes I am still your mate.”

“Damn it, Kathleen! I’m not just Beatle Paul. Remember who I was in Scotland? That’s who I truly am.” He stopped his fuming, visiblely taking control of himself. After a minute he stepped forward regaining eye contact. “Are you angry?”

“No, but at first if I would have seen you I think I would have slapped you. But now. . . believe me after the scene outside I understand why you wanted to keep your identity private.”

“Thank you, Kathleen. I’m sorry about having to lie to you. That day I found you lying in the field and you looked at me with so much trust. . . I almost told you the truth. Now I wish I had.”

I took a chance in walking over to Paul, reaching out and touching his arm. “No real harm done, James.” At this point I was laying on the charm. I had to make an impression on him so he wouldn’t forget me and if his earlier letter was the truth he hadn’t yet. If I had anything to do with it he wouldn’t now. “Can I call you James?”

“Yes, if you like. Most of my life I’ve been called Paul because I was named after my father.” Paul returned my touching by lightly laying his hand on my waist.

“I can’t stay angry at you for long, just try and not lie to me again, OK?”

“I’ll do my best, luv.” Paul looked down at this watch before heading for the door. “You haven’t told anyone else, have you?”

“My sister Shelly and cousin Michelle, no one else. Shelly was quite happy to hear she was living next to a famous musician. They’ll keep your little secret. I haven’t heard anyone in town talking about it, by now your old news. . .I mean James McGregor is.”

Paul opened the door and stood to let me go through. “You won’t tell, will you? It seems to be the only place I can go that’s quiet.”

“No, I won’t tell and no one else will either.”

We went back out to the lobby. Paul said a proper hello Shelly who beamed and didn’t know what to say. I told him where I was staying and gave him my phone number before leaving.

That wensday James called saying he would be coming round. I advised him to come around the back or he would run into The Beatle Fanatic Michelle and her friends.

I waited in the garden at the picnic table. Digging my toes into the cool grass, I rested my elbows behind me against the table top gazing up at the twinkling stars.

“Hello Kathleen Grace.”

With my head hanging back I watch Paul walk through the gate and up to the table. “Hello James Paul. How did know you know my middle name?”

“From you mother. We had a very long and interesting chat while you were sick.”

“Hmmm. . . I must advise you to only believe half of what she told you.”

Resting his palms on the table Paul leaned over me. For a moment I thought he would kiss me. . . I wished he would kiss me. “So I shouldn’t believe her when she said you are a good, polite girl?”

“You’ll have to find out for yourself.”

He gave a short laugh. And then in a split second his lips were on my forehead. “Did you ever get my letter, luvie?” He swung his legs over the bench.

My neck hurt when I lifted it up and I rubbed it as I turned around. “I did. I didn’t expect to get one.”

“You didn’t think I would forget about you, did you?”

“I hoped not. For awhile there I didn’t think I would ever see you again and be able to thank you.”

“Your welcome, Kathleen.”

“I want to find a way to really thank, and show you how much I’m grateful.”

“It’s not necessary. Your healed now, that’s all I wanted.”

I made a metal note to myself to figure out a way to thank him. “I read in the news you’ll be getting an MBE.”

“Yes. I will now be a member of the British Empire.” He sat up straighter as he spoke trying to act posh.

“I don’t mean to be rude but don’t they give those to war heros and such?”

“I’m not sure why they’re giving us one.” He grinned and with a wink he said, “I think the Queen secretly likes our music and fancies me a bit.”

“And she’s giving you the award to have an excuse to meet you.”

“Now you’ve got it.”

“I can just see the queen walking around Buck Palace singing, ‘She loves you yeah yeah yeah.’ “

“Do you think she does the head shaking thing?”

“Head shaking? My cousin, Michelle, has been giving me a crash course in The Beatles but I don’t think she said anything about head shaking.”

“You didn’t know about The Beatles?” Paul acted shocked like I had just told him the world was actually flat.

“Not really, no. I had heard of you as a group and had heard a couple of your songs but I mainly listen to music from the ‘30’s and ‘40’s and people like Frank Sinatra.” “In that case I’ll give you Beatles Lesson number two. We sort of shake our heads whilst we sing. Like this, ‘(in sing song voice and shaking of head) She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah. Ooooo.’”

“The girls like that do they?”

“They go wild. Whenever we’re not all playing together or sound horrible we just shake our heads and their screaming masks the music.”

We both grew quiet. Paul dug out a cigarette lighting it with a silver lighter. “When do you leave?” He asked quietly letting out puffs of smoke as he spoke.

“Next Tuesday.”

Paul fiddled with his cigarette keeping his eye sight down. “We leave on the twentieth.”

“To go where?”

“Our European tour.” He rested on his right hand, his index finger pointing up, the rest of his fingers down by his mouth. “We come back in July and leave again in August for America.”

“Do you ever get a rest?”

“A couple of days here and there.”

“Poor thing, sounds like you need someone to pamper you.”

“If only there was someone. You wouldn’t happen to know a kind woman who would?”

“I’ve been told I’m a good pamper.”

Paul smiled tilting his head even more to the side. “The job would mean many selfless acts, late nights, and of course you would have to move to London.”

“Are you sure the job hasn’t already been filled?” Paul raised his eyebrows in question. “You do have a steady girlfriend. . . or says the newspapers.”

“Jane and I have an open relationship, Kathleen.”

I took his almost finished ciggie inhaling deeply and letting the smoke out as I said, “I see.” Twisting the butt on the table I looked down. I wasn’t sure what he meant by ‘open relationship’. Did he sleep around? Did she sleep around?

Paul captured my other hand like he was scooping up an injured bird. “I want to talk about you now. Tell me about your dreams.”

My eyes looked straight up to his. So tenderly he gazed at me that I wanted to melt and forget about whats-her-name. “For so long my dreams have been to get married, have kids, and to. . . “

“To what?”

“You’ll think I’m mad.”

“No I won’t.”

“My dream since I was a wee child was to live on High Park Farm. Even though its old and hadn’t had any owners in a while I’ve always seen its potential.”

His fingers caressed my palm, tracing the lines. “Maybe I should sell it to you, luv. Doesn’t look like I’ll be getting much use out of it this year.”

My whole body slumped. By smoothing my expression I masked my disappointment. Through the months I hadn’t seen Paul I was making a mental note of all the places around Campbelltown I wanted to share with him. “You’ll be able to get at least a few da away, won’t you?” Say yes, I repeated in my mind over and over.

“Ah, yes, I should be able to in July.”

My panic vanished. The joy of maybe seeing him again filled its spot, even if it meant seeing him with her.

“What’s that beautiful smile for then?”

“I’m just happy to know you’ll be gracing me with your presence again.”

“I’ll try my best, luv In the mean time will letters and phone calls do?”

Paul got up walking over to my side of the table. Very tenderly he wrapped a single curl of my hair around his finger. He towered over me like a giant making me realize how venerable I was, how in control of the relationship he was. I didn’t have any say in when I would see him or even talk to him. Paul decided all the rules. All I could do was follow. This was the first relationship I had with a man in which he had total control over me. In a way it was a rush like a fun fair ride, not knowing which way it would turn next. A look in his golden-brown eyes and my heart was telling my mind to hold on because it was following Paul where ever he led. “Until I can have you in the flesh, that will do.”

Paul rewarded me with a sexy smile. “That’s my girl.” He pulled me up to my feet. “Come, lets go for a walk.”

“ But what about your adoring fans?”

“Just as long as one doesn’t put on the air of being famous fans don’t know that one is famous.”

How right he was. We walked down the streets his arm around my waist, mine around his. Just as long as we kept to ourselves no one bothered us. We ended up at Regents Park down by the pond where ducks and swans swim during the summer days. Paul sat against a tree and I leaned against his chest. The pond reflected the moon light and stars as if it were glowing. Every now and then the gentle breeze rippled the water.

“I like spending time with you, Kathleen.” He whispered while stroking my hair. I don’t know if he didn’t want any passer-bys to hear him or if he didn’t want to break the magic moment by speaking loud. “There’s no pretending with you.”

I turned slightly to face him moving my arm to around his lower back, his went around my shoulders. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Yes.”

“Are we becoming or could we become something more?” I looked at the side of his face but I couldn’t tell how he was taking it. I didn’t know if I had stepped over the bounds. “It was just something I wanted to know because if not then it would be go to know,” I started to babble. “because then I would know how to act and how to interpret. . .”

Paul stopped me by putting his fingers lightly on my lips. He tilted his face down to mine. “Let’s take it a day at a time, luv. Right now I’m too young and busy to have a serious relationship. I want to keep everything uncomplicated. Can you under and?” He removed his fingers going back to looking at a pair of ducks swimming by.

“OK.” I sank back into his chest to think about what he had said. We were friends but we weren’t exactly dating. Our relationship was in limbo, hovering in time and space until the right time.

“Do you wear lavender perfume?”

His question startled me making me jump in his arms. “I put lavender oil in my bath water. Oh and the other day I found this great lavender shampoo. Do you not like the smell of it?”

“I do. Everytime I smell it it makes me think of home. My dad has a lavender bush. Everytime we moved he would transplant it to our new house. Somehow it survived after all these years.” With both his arms wrapped tightly around me he whispered through my hair. “Now whenever I smell lavender I’ll think of you too.” He placed a loud, sloppy kiss on my cheek.

“Ahhh, how sweet, James.” I raised my arms out of his hold so that he could hold me tighter. “Did you move much as a child?”

“About four times. My mother was a mid-wife and with her job they kept moving us out to the new housing further and further away from Liverpool. It was like we were a pioneer family moving to places where there were no roads. Only dirt and open field surrounded our house. At one house there was a forest near by. I would go there by myself hiding in the trees or in the rhododendron bushes to think. It was very peaceful that forest. Dad worked very hard to get grass and flowers to grow.” Beneath his stomach jiggled as he started to giggle. “We didn’t even have an indoor bathroom until we moved into our last house.”

“I couldn’t imagine not having an indoor loo.”

“We were never that rich. . . working-class I guess you’d say.”

“Look at you now, known all over the world. Your mum and dad must be very proud.”

Paul loosened his grip breathing in and out a heavy sigh. “My mum died when I was fourteen. She had cancer.”

I turned around once again stroking his cheek in my free hand. “Oh James, I didn’t know.”

“It’s OK, luv. It was just something that happened. The doctors did everything they could but she was too sick.”

“You know she must be so proud of you. I bet she looks down from heaven smiling.” Paul didn’t say anything, just stared ahead. There was a child like hurt over a lost mothers love in his eyes. I couldn’t stand to see the hurt and decided to change the subject. “I lived in the same house my whole childhood. My grandfather built that house. Did you know it was one of the first multi-level farm houses in that area?”

“Really?”

“Yes. Grandfather told me farmers from all around came to see it being built.”

That put a smile on his face and he even started to laugh. “Did they?”

“I know. It sounds a bit pertenious of me.”

“Just a bit, luv, but I like you anyway.”

We stayed under the tree for a good hour. I dusted off the back of my skirt before starting to move on.

“Wait, Kathleen. You still have a bit of dirt here.”

Paul rubbed my backside. Feeling a bit self-conscious I reached back to where his hand was but I couldn’t feel any dirt. “I don’t feel anything.” Doing the awkward side glance thing I tried to see my bum. That’s when I saw the evil grin on Pauls face “James Paul! You just wanted to touch my bum.”

In-between his laughing fit he denounced my claim. “No I didn’t.”

I stood there with my hands on my hips. “If you don’t stop laughing I’ll scream your name so loud, Paul, that every person in London will come running.”

Paul kept laughing now holding his stomach. I opened my mouth breathing in getting out “P” before he stopped me. “OK, OK Kathleen. You can’t blame me for wanting to touch your cute little bum.”

“Come on, James before you attract attention to yourself. I’m watching you, mind you. Keep those hands where I can see them.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Paul raised his hands palms facing out. “I’ll be a good boy.”

At the back gate we said goodnight. I threaded my fingers through his belt loops not wanting him to leave. He started kissing me on my forehead, on the tip of my nose, and then ever so lightly on the lips leaving me wanting more.

“I’ll give you a ring before we leave London.” He told me still centimeters from my lips.

“You’ll call me before then, right?”

“Of course.” Paul loosened my fingers dropping them by myside. “Goodnight, Kathleen.”

“Goodnight, James.” I made myself turn around and go back inside. While I was stepping through the gate Paul smacked my bum. “All right James Paul, you better run on home before those newspaper men get here and I tell them my story, ‘Beatle Paul can’ stop smacking my bum.’ Forever more you’ll be know as ‘The Bum smacking Beatle’ instead of ‘The Cute Beatle.’” I called over my shoulder.

“Bye cute bum.” Paul joked.

The rest of the night I spent listening to Beatles records with Michelle and her friends. The one good part of dating a musician, if ever your apart you can always put on one of there records to hear their voice. Finishing the night drinking ale and g ting a bit tipsy before dropping off on the bed.

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