On the way down, our tounges got tired and Paul and I grew silent. We passed by some familiar landmarks which would have warmed my heart had I not been so tired. I fell asleep after a while, and when I awoke again, Paul was still driving. His face was lighted only by the glowing red tip of his cigarette, which he took one last deep drag of before tossing it out the window. He parted his lips and blew the smoke out the window and turned to check on me.
"Oh, so you're up now," he said in monotone. Groggily, I nodded my head and sat up right.
"Have I been out long?" I asked, rubbing my burning eyes. Paul lifted his right arm off the steering wheel and drew it close to his eyes.
"Not really, maybe a half-hour, forty at the most." He dropped his arm and watched the road ahead. I streched a little more, then propped my head up on my arm, starring outside. A few minutes passed before Paul spoke again, and when he did, he caught me completely off gaurd. "Have you told your parents about Bob yet Rach?" he asked, glancing at me again. I turned away from the window and focused on Paul, who looked back and forth between me and the road.
"No," I said bluntly, "I don't think they ought to know." Paul laughed a quick, loud, bitter laugh,
"Rach, I think they should know, after all, you are their child, their only child, they deserve to know what's going on in your life, don't they? I mean, they do know that Bob does in fact exist, right?"
I starred in blank disbelievement at what he had just said. "Come on Paul, give me some credit, you know I told them about Bob. They know we're living together, they just don't know that we're married, that's all."
"Right, that's all," he said bitterly again. I was too angry at his sudden accusations and disapprovment, so I turned away from him to stare out the window again. I knew what was best for family, not him. He was really just the nextdoor neighbor, I lived with these people, who was he to tell me how to do things? We sat in silence for a while again until Paul broke the ice.
"Listen, Rachel, I just thought that it might be nice if you were to tell your family what's going on in your life, that's all." His tone had dropped and was much more softer, and his bite wasn't so bitter, but he still sonded angry. "It's just that....when I see you doing this....it's not you Rachel! I know you - you're the type of person that announces to the world big news like this! Especially your parents! You should be talking their ears off about how much you love this guy, how wonderful he is, how great your wedding is going to be, etc., etc., but....you haven't even told them! Are you .... I don't know, embarrassed of Bob?"
I bit my lip to hold back the terrible things I wanted to say at that moment. I bit down so hard that I started to bleed, but I ignored my injury. How dare he say that. How dare he! I thought Paul was my friend, my supporter. And now what? He's accusing me of being embarrased of my husband?
"I-I just don't think you made the right decesion in marrying Bob, Rachel. I always expected to see some special, wonderful, sublime twinkle in your eye when you met the right guy, the one you would love forever, and I don't see it Rach. I don't think you love him." Paul had slowed down considerably in speed while driving, it seemed his speech took a lot out of him. I remained silent. I was more stunned than anything. Did Paul just say that he didn't think I was in love? Wasn't I big enough to make my own decesions? Wasn't I intelligent enough to know what was real, and what was fake? A feeling like no other hit me like a ton of bricks, a feeling I couldn't place. I'd never felt if before and it handicapped me from responding to anything Paul had just said. Instead, the feeling was so powerful, I started to cry. I hid my face in my hands and turned away from Paul.
By the time we got to Liverpool and to our old street and neighborhood, I had cried all the tears I could possibly cry. Silently, we existed the vehicle and headed for the trunk, walking on opposite sides of the car. I met Paul at the trunk, and while he fiddled for the keys to open it, I threw my arms around him and squeezed him tight. He dropped the keys and hugged me back, just as fiercely.
"I'm sorry Rae, I'm really so sorry! I just couldn't go on without telling you - I don't want you to be hurt anymore than you already are! I'm sorry!" he cried.
"Paul, it's okay, no, no, don't cry! It's okay! I know . . ." I cried, trying to comfort him. He held me tighter yet, and for the first time in years, I heard him cry.
We stood there like that, wrapped up in each other, for a little while longer until Paul let all his tears out - whatever they were for - and then we gathered our belongings and snuck inside his old house.
"Nothing changes," Paul snickered, bending down at his front door to reach for the key hidden underneath the doormat. "Dad still keeps that key down there." He unlocked the door, and a wall of warmth hit us. It smelled like cooked sausages and potatoes, like the McCartney family and like the fifties. Paul turned around to me and smiled. "It's like I never left . . ." he said trailing off as he ventured further into the house. The stove was still warm from that evenings dinner (all these hours later) and it warmed the tiny kitchen. There was a very small, brightly decorated Christmas tree in the corner of the living room next to the fireplace and chimney. We couldn't hold our excitement, our bursting emoitions inside anymore. Paul let out a laugh, I started to cry again, and almost immeadeatly we heard footsteps upstiars through the old, thin walls and floors. Paul picked me up to hug me and spun me around the tiny room in joy. "Hey, I'm home!" he said, overwhelmed with feeling.
"Who's down there?" said an old, strong voice. Paul nearly dropped me when he heard that voice and started for the stiars leading into the kitchen.
"Dad?" he said in his excited, squeaky kind of voice.
"Paul?" the old man responded, confused. I followed Paul into the kitchen only to find Mr. McCartney senior standing in his pajamas and bathrobe in the kitchen. "Paul, son, what are you doing here at this hour?" he said as he pulled Paul in for a warm hug and greeting.
"We thought you might enjoy the surprise of seeing us early . . . well, not this early, we intended it to be in the morning, but we got a little loud, sorry about that by the way," Paul said letting go of his dad.
"We?" asked Mr. McCartney. He looked past Paul and in my direction.
"Yeah, Rachel's with me dad." Mr.McCartney's eyes flew open wide and he smiled.
"Now there's a pretty face I haven't seen in a long time!" he said opening his arms towards me. "Rachel, Rachel, Rachel my dear, my little girl!" Mr. McCartney squeezed me tight and his eyes glistened with tears. "Now, Paul I've at least heard from!" he laughed, "you like to hide away in the States don't you lassie?"
"Oh, of course not! I don't hide from people!" >P>"But emotions maybe . . ." Paul muttered under his breath. I pretended I didn't hear him, and Mr. McCartney smiled blankly, obviously not hearing it as well.
"Well," Mr. McCartney said, changing topics, "how about we sit down and have some tea?" Paul and I exchanged glances of fatigue and gave excuses of being far too tired to stay up any longer than we already had. Mr. McCartney reluctantly agreed and apologized for not having any rooms made up in advance for our stay overnight.
"Sir, I could sleep on the couch tonight, I wouldn't mind at all," I said, offering a solution to what was turning into a problem for Paul's dad.
"No, no, no, I can't have that, that old couch is horrible for sleeping. Mike is staying in his room for the holidays, so we could . . ."
"How's this dad, you sleep in my room and Rachel and I could share your bed, since it's bigger and all." Paul said, butting in.
Mr. McCartney senior gave a look of old-fashioned horror at the very mention of the idea, "I could never have that in my house!"
"Oh, dad," I giggled, "we used to do it all the time when we were kids!"
He frowned deeply and Paul and I exchanged old looks of 'let's do it' and ran into the bedroom and locked the door.