Ahhh . . . the night before . . ."
"Hello? Leigh, are you here?"
It was Paul.
What the hell was he doing here? If Roy heard him he'd think that Paul and I were having an affair, which was the last thing I needed at this point. But, it was too late, Roy heard him.
"Who's that and why is he looking for you?" he growled at me. I shook my head,
"I don't know, Roy, I don't know," I cried. "Oh, Paul, get out of here, get out of here, if you know what's good for you you'll get out of here!" I payed to myself. Roy would kill him . . . Roy would kill me! I had to get Paul of the apartment before he met up with Roy.
"Leigh, are you all right, where are . . . oh my God."
Too late. Paul stumbled into the kitchen where Roy had me pinned agaisnt the counter. He stood frozen in the doorway, shocked by what he saw. My first instict was to scream at him, which is what I did.
"Paul get out of here!" I yelled. Roy's eyes darted from Paul back to me.
"You know him! You lied! You lying bitch!" He gnarled. I sheiled myself from Roy's fist, but it didn't help. His fist met my jaw, again and I went down hard. I slumped to the floor and things started getting blurry. Off in what seemed like miles away I heard Paul yell something and I saw two blurry images rush at each other. I started getting dizzy and then everything went . . . black.
I woke up to a worried Paul hovering over me. As I opened my eyes a wave of joy swpet over him and his face trasformed from scared to death to happy as hell. I tried to sit up, but something inside told me that wasn't such a good idea.
"How are you feeling, luv?" he asked. I groaned and closed my eyes.
"Horrible," I responded. He gave a tiny laugh and reached over to grab something from the nightstand next to the bed. "Am I at your house?" I asked as he brought a cold, wet towel to my face.
Paul nodded, "Yes, I couldn't leave you there." I closed my eyes again and mumbled,
"I'm going back to sleep."
"Good idea luv, get some rest, I'll stay here, right by your side," he said. I faintly heard his words as I drifted off to sleep.
The next time I woke up was in the morning. I had a splitting headache, as one would expect, and Paul was nowhere to be seen. I sat up gingerly and leaned over to the nightstand that Paul had gotten the cloth from during the night. I hoped that he would have some sort of aspirin, but there was nothing but a clock reading ten o' clock. I sighed and rolled out of bed. There was a bathroom down the hall and I radied the medicine cabinet for something, but once again, empty. As I wandered out of the bathroom the faint smell of coffee and eggs drifted to me from downstairs. I could barely hear Paul talking to someone and I became curious as to whom he was talking to. I tiptoed downstairs and the voice became louder.
" . . . yeah, it was bad John, really bad . . . No! I had no idea, well, I did have a suspicion but I never actually thought that he was! . . . Oh, Christ she was a bloody mess, poor thing. I couldn't leave her there with that, I don't even know what he is, but I couldn't leave her there. She's in my guest bedroom sleeping . . . I don't know, for a long time, but I'd be pretty tired if I were her too! . . . yeah, so could you tell Brian we won't be in for a while? . . . Well, John, I can't leave her alone! What if something went wrong? I couldn't never forgive myself if I wasn't here to help her out! . . . I don't know, a few days? Maybe two weeks? However long it takes for her to heal . . . yeah, that'd be great, John . . . all right, I'll tell her . . . I've got to go, her breakfast is getting cold . . . Goodbye John . . ."
I heard clanging silverware and footsteps getting closer to me. I jumped up from the step I was sitting on and ran upstairs as I fast as I could without hurting myself. I leaped on the bed and pulled the covers up over my head as fast as I could. Owww . . . maybe I shouldn't have gone so fast. Everything in my body starting pulsating with pain. I prayed that he brought some aspirin with him! I heard Paul tiptoing down the hall and into my room. I shut my eyes and listened intently as he placed the tray of food down on the nightstand. A wave of warmth rushed over me as I felt him lean over me. He placed his hand on my forehead and cheeks and pulled the covers up tighter around me. He leaned down and gently brushed his lips agaisnt my forehead and pulled back to sit in his seat next to the bed.
I watied a little while longer before I "woke up." I opened my eyes to see his warm, smiling face watching me rest in bed.
"Good morning, luv. How are we feeling this bright, beautiful morning?" he asked merrily. I sighed and sat up.
"Not bad, I'm a little sore and I have a splitting headache and I'm starving, but other than that, I'm good," I laughed. Paul smiled and placed the tray of steaming food on my lap.
"I figured such. Here, my dear, we have eggs McCartney style, coffee for the American lass, and headache powders for that splitting headache and sore parts." The food smelled wonderful and I dug right in. Paul laughed, a little amused by my attack on the food, "Well, you're going to be fine. My experience tells me that if you can eat like that the day after, then you're going to be all right!" he laughed.
After I finished my breakfast I begged Paul to let me take a shower. He directed me to the bathroom and supplied me with an ample amount of towels. I took a nice, long, hot shower and wrapped myself in a big fluffly robe and wandered back into the guest room where I had spent the night. To my surprise a fresh outfit was neatly laid on the newly made bed. I quickly shut the door and changed into my clothes. I had no clue as to where Paul was, but my best guess was the kitchen.
I stumbled downstairs to the kitchen where, sure enough, Paul was sipping a cup of tea and petting a rather large, hairy dog. He smiled as I entered the room and took a seat next to him.
"I didn't know you had a dog, Paul! What's her name?" I said while scratching the dogs chin. She backed off for a split second, but then sniffed my hand declaring me all right and let me go on scratching her.
"This is my girl, Martha, don't worry, she's harmless, she's just a puppy," he assured me.
"Wow, she's pretty big for a puppy!" I laughed.
"Well, that's how sheep dogs are. Would you like a cup of coffee? I kept some brewing for you, I know Americans like their coffee!"
I nodded, "Sure, but I drink tea too, so you don't have to make coffee special for me."
"It's no bother. How're you feeling? Are those pills working?" he asked.
"Oh, yes, I feel much better. I look worse than I am. Really, I feel fine, just a little headache, noting that won't go away in a little while." Paul handed me my coffee and gave me an unsure look.
"Promise me that if you feel any worse that you'll let me know? I don't want anything happening to you, Leigh," he frowned.
I smiled, "I promise, Paul." He smiled back and poured himself a cup of tea that he had brewing. We sat in silence, sipping our drinks and petting Martha. The atmosphere was so comfortable in the house, unlike Roy's cold, drafty, lonesome apartment. I felt like I was back home. Mornings used to be just like this; drinking coffe and reading the paper at the kitchen table, playing with the pets, sitting in comfortable silence. That's what this was, comfortable silence. Nothing needed to be said, everything was understood, like our sub-consiousess were communicating, if anyone said anything, the mood would be ruined. But something desperatly needed to be said, talked about, discussed. What had happened the night before. I didn't know why I was at Paul's house, how I had gotten here, or what he was doing at my apartment in the first place! I didn't want to break the silence, but it was eating away at me inside, and I had to.
"Paul, can I ask you something?" I asked staring down at the floor, motionless. He stopped scratching Martha's chin and looked at me.
"Of course, what's on your mind, luv?"
I took a deep breath and stated bluntly, "What happened last night, Paul?" He shifted uneasily in his chair and placed his tea down on the table.
"He hit you," he said coldly.
"I know that," I snapped, "why were you at the apartment? Why am I here? What happened after I . . ."
Paul sighed, "I was angry at you for inturrupting my meeting, so I let you wait some more in the office. When I was done, I went to find you to give you a ride home . . . but I couldn't find you. So, I asked Mindy where you were and she told me that you had left. I panicked and started looking for you around the city. I finally decided to check your flat and see if you were all right. What scared me was that your purse and coat were laying on the floor by the door that was left wide open, so I called out for you and . . . well, you know what happened then. I-I . . . when I say him . . . and you were . . ." Paul's voice started shaking a bit and he paused to take a breath. He started again, this time with a firmer voice. "He was so drunk that with one hard blow to the gut he was out. I dragged him out of the kitchen and into the bedroom. I knew then that I couldn't leave you there with him, so I gathered whatever I thought was yours and put them in a few suitcases and brought them here. I didn't want to move you, but Roy started to stir, so I brought you here with your things. Listen, Leigh, luv, I don't want you to go back there."
I was still staring at the floor so Paul reached out and tilted my chin up to look him in the eye. "I mean it, don't go back there, luv. You don't need him and all his crap," he said.
"But Paul, you're forgetting some rather important stuff!" I protested. I didn't want to go back there, but there were so many other factors to consider than just the fact that neither of us wanted me going back there.
"Like what, Leigh?"
"Paul . . ." I sighed, "Like the fact that I live there! Where else am I going to go? Plus, we are engaged! I can't just . . . disappear!"
"Leigh, when your fiance - the one you're supposed to love and cherish and respect - is abusing you, you're not entitled to stay there! By going back to Roy, you're putting yourself in harms way! I don't want that and neither do you!"
"But Paul, I want to stay in London. If I break things off with Roy, I'd have no where to go and I'd have to move back to Cleveland," I said.
"Leigh," Paul said while taking my hands in his, "You could stay here." I couldn't see, but I'm sure that my eyes flew wide open in surprise. Stay with him?! In his house?! I pulled my hands back and shook my head,
"Paul, I-I couldn't! I can't expect you to change your lifestyle to help me out! If I moved in do you know how many things would change for you? I can't ask you to do that!"
"Once again Leigh, you didn't ask . . . I offered, no, I insisted. Leigh, I don't care how many things would change, I don't want you to have to go back to the States, and I defenitly don't want you going back to Roy. I mean, it's not like that many things would change! It would kind of nice actually. Wake up and have someone to eat breakfast with, someone to drive to work with, someone to eat dinner with . . . the majority of the day would be spent in the studio recording, and then we'd always have someone to come home to - someone safe to come home to." I sighed and laughed. My head told me this wasn't a good idea, but my heart told me otherwise. Here was this perfectly wonderful man - a good friend - offering me a home and food to eat, it almost seemed too good to be true. Paul grabbed my hands again, and a wave of chills traveled up my spine. It scared me for a second; "Why was I getting chills from his touch?" It frightened me, but mixed in with the fright was a bit of excitement - living with Paul would be so much fun, plus I'd get to see him everyday! He'd be the first person I saw each morning and the last voice I heard each night! We'd be together all the time doing simple, everyday things like watching T.V. or eating breakfast or taking the dog for a walk or brushing our teeth. It would almost be like we were . . . Oh my God. I was getting way too excited. Why was I doing that? I had almost said that it would be like we were . . . married. But we wouldn't be, we weren't married, we weren't even an item and I had no feelings for Paul. But if that were true, then why was I so excited by his touch?
I shrugged off my questions and feelings and answered Paul, "Oh, all right. I suppose I can stay here untill I find a place of my own - but if I ever do or say something that annoy's or anger's you, let me know. I'm just a guest and I can leave at any time," I rambled. Paul laughed,
"Don't worry luv, I won't be kicking you out!"
We spent the rest of the day watching T.V., talking, and sipping tea. Most days were like that, we'd get up, eat, and talk the rest of the day, sharing tales of our childhood and our dreams for the future. We had been home for a week when John called up one day yelling at Paul about some emergency at the studio. We had been sitting by the fireplace playing with Martha when the call came.
"Leigh, John says that there's some emergency that I'm needed for. I've got to go down there right away, I won't be long, just an hour or so. Do you want me to pick you anything up while I'm out?" he asked as he pulled his coat on.
"No, I'm fine - you'd better get going, the weather looks a bit squemish," I said, pointing to the strong winds outside. Paul nodded,
"That's why I won't be gone long!" he laughed. He headed out of the house and yelled, "Bye!" as he rushed out of the house. I stood up from my seat by the fire to strech. I had been feeling much better lately. I was surprised at how quickly I was recovering, almost all of the brusies were gone or healing, and any cuts I had were all gone. My eye was still a bit black, but even that was going away. My headaches were less frequent and much more mild.
There wasn't much to do around the house when Paul wasn't there. There was nothing on T.V. and I wasn't in the mood for listening to any records. Suddenly, I had a sudden itch to play, to sing, to work at one of my songs. It took me by surprise; the feeling was intense. I wanted to play. I wandered upstairs where Paul's music room was. I had never been in there - not that I wasn't allowed or anything - I had just never thought to go in. I knew he had a piano and a few guitars in there, so I dared to enter. Sure enough a piano sat in the middle of the room just begging to be played. I sat down and ran my fingers softly over the sleek keys, positioning my hands to play one of the songs off my album.
Lock myself in this world of pleasureable pain,
Playing the music at full blast, praying that the moment lasts,
'Till someone tells me to turn it down again,
The song plays on and on and on, then suddenly the music's gone,
The message died when the tears drowned it out,
Can't hear my heart yell, don't care about my outward hell,
Still can't figure what it's all about,
I miss the days when I could drown my problems out with somone else's pain and sorrow, and pretend it didn't happen and go on with my life tomorrow,
But those days are all but gone."
I frowned. That was one of my best songs, but it was so, so, so . . . depressing. The more I thought about it, almost all of my songs were depressing! I didn't want my album to be a sob story! I grabbed a piece of paper lying around and wrote down all the songs that were going to be on the album. I scribbled away at the paper then stared at the finished project. Most of them weren't all that bad, but ones like "Melodrama," "Never," "Trying For Them," and "When?" were very dark and had serious meaning behind them. They were all about the silent hell I went through with Roy. They weren't bad songs, but I was starting my life over on a clean slate. One thing that I didn't want on that slate was the memory of what I went through with Roy, so I crossed out those songs and replaced them with four of my favorite, happier, songs. "Singing in the Rain," "Feed the Birds" from that movie "Mary Poppins" that came out three years ago, "On the Streets of Elmwood" a song about my hometown, and "Over the Rainbow." My mother sang me that song when I was a little girl and it's always been one of my favorites. It's been like an anthem for me the past few months with Roy, keeping my going, keeping me dreaming.
I checked over the list once more. Satisfied, my mind wandered back to the song I had been playing earlier, "My Untitled Song." It was still a good one, but maybe I could add a few lyrics at the end to make it a bit more positive. I began to scribble furiously on the paper:
To reach the Heaven streached out above,
Little did I really know, Heaven doesn't always show,
I had to . . ."
Just then I heard a crash downstairs. I lept up from my seat at the piano and ran downstairs. Sitting by the couch was Martha, who looked spooked, and lying on the floor was a flower pot and its stand. I sighed and began cleaning up after her mess, my music would just have to wait.
Go On To Chapter Five!
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