A golden cage of cobblestone and brick.

Paul McCartney smiled as his wife’s car trailed off in the distance. He shook his head from side to side, wondering why and how he had ever come to have a girl like this. With a sigh and a grin of satisfaction, he turned back to the fans.

- All right, ladies…- He smiled as he signed albums and stood for photographs. Apparently, number seven Cavendish Avenue had already become a popular tourist spot.

The new girls that arrived every day seemed legitimately giddy and excited, while the old and faithful like Margot always greeted Paul with a smile and a good morning. Sometimes Paul wished for more privacy, but other times he wondered what he would do without the girls outside, constantly reminding him who he was and boosting his ego. Not that his ego needed any boosting.

After a few more autographs, Paul walked back into the house, planning on taking a long bath, smoking a joint and working with John and George now that they were both in the house. It seemed amazing to him how his brain never ceased to work. Even while enjoying the release party for the "Sgt. Pepper" album, which was obviously a huge and unprecedented success, he was already whistling a tune and toying with the thought of a movie. He pictured scenes on a coach, a tour bus of sorts, where people would travel with a couple of beer kegs, an accordion and a fat lady. He had no clue how it would all tie up in the end, but he knew that with enough thought, ideas for both a movie and a soundtrack would soon pop up. He had also been looking into George’s books on meditation and had gained great interest upon hearing his friend’s experiences in India, when he had gone with Patti. Never did Paul’s brain take a break. Rita had once or twice made a joke about having a gerbil in his spinning wheel underneath his skull. Paul giggled and for a brief second was tempted to believe such a childish comparison.

Whistling that same tune, he walked up the stone steps and opened the door, stepping in. He was greeted by John, his hair a mess, his eyes bloodshot and smelling anything but nice. Not that Paul cared. He had seen John like that plenty of times before, except now his Fu Man Chu moustache didn’t contribute to the image. Paul giggled.

- Morning, Johnny… Hangover?

- Mmmhhh - John groaned. –You got Cornflakes in yer house, mate?

Paul smiled and shook his head from side to side. –Help yerself. I’m taking a bath.

- George is in the bog, luv…- John paced to the livingroom. –He likes to use the fancy one upstairs…

Paul frowned. –Aw…- He walked upstairs and banged on the door. –George?

- I’m gonna use yer tub, Macca… Is that all right? - George replied from the inside.

Paul rolled his eyes. So much for a nice, long Jacuzzi session. Always the perfect host, Paul banged his fist on the door. – Use the bleedin’ shower! I want to use me tub!

- Go stuff a duck!- George teased from inside as he opened the taps. –I got ‘ere first!- He opened the door slightly and looked at Paul. –Go on, Paul. You got yer tub ‘ere every day. I’m using it, that’s tha’. – And slammed the door shut in Paul’s face.

- Greedy fucker…- Paul grinned and paced away. Yes, the bath could wait.

He walked downstairs to where John sat in the livingroom, throwing Cornflakes to the floor where Martha could eat them.

- If Rita saw ye now, luv, she’d have both me liver and yours…- Paul slumped himself on a couch.

John chuckled. – Where is she, anylord? She gone out, then?

Paul nodded. – Some photo session about mums and babies, and all…- He giggled and closed his eyes. –Invited me to go along with them and all…

- What? - John laughed.

- You ‘eard…

- A modeling Beatle! - John laughed aloud. –Fancy seeing yer long ‘airy legs in a miniskirt!

- Sod of! - Paul mocked dismay. –I’d look great!

- In a fuckin’ miniskirt?

- Don’t be daft! - Paul laughed. –With Rita and Michelle! It was for sum line of baby products and all…- He picked up a magazine. –I’ll bet that seeing me pretty face on a magazine would really make all them mummies go out on a shopping frenzy fer their babies…

- You are an extremely narcissistic bastard, Paul…- John took another spoonful of cornflakes into his mouth. –Yer not THAT bloody cute.

- What do you know! – Paul grabbed a cushion and threw it at John. – I’m cuter than you, at least…

- That, he is…- George came into the room.

Paul looked at George with surprise. –I though you was in me tub!

- Nah, I was only taking a shite, luv. – George laughed. –I know you bloody live in that tub, I was just making you whine that’s all…

Paul took another cushion and threw it at George. – Bastard…

- ‘Old on ‘ere, George ‘Arrison! - John looked at George. –What do you mean, Paul is cuter than I am, you presumptuous fetus?

- I am, you know…- Paul rubbed his brow with a mischievous little grin.

- And I’m second best looking in the band. –George smiled back at Paul.

- Are ye bloody serious? You look like a bleedin’ horse when you smile! - John teased.

George had to snap back. –Well, luv, with a nose like yours, you could hook yerself to a rooftop ledge, luv!

- What about me, then? - Paul giggled.

- Shut up, McCartney! - John snapped back mockingly. –This is a discussion between the uglies!

- Hey! Speak fer yerself, daddy. I’m not ugly!- George smacked John on the back of the head.

- Yeh, whatever, Mr. Ed…

Paul laughed heartily. –God, I’m glad Ringo’s not ‘ere!! Poor sod, he’d not hear the end of this.

He stood up and walked to the mantelpiece, where he kept his pot. The other two looked on as Paul rolled himself one.

- Are you gonna share, Paulie, or yer just gonna sit there and smoke that reefer all by yerself? - John repeatedly licked his lips and rubbed his hands together.

- I think I’ll sit ‘ere and smoke it all by meself. – He licked the end of the paper to finish rolling it up.

- Cheap, stingy Homo. - George snapped as he walked to Paul. He sat next to him and rolled another one. –Ere, Johnny, this one’s fer the ugly ones…

- Drama queens. –Paul lit his joint up, and nudged George as he exhaled the smoke. –Ere, man. Put that joint back in me box and use this one… Just go easy, luv, yer too young to be smoking this shit.

- Piss off! - George took the lit up joint from Paul and took a drag, passing it to John.

- ‘Old on, just let me finish me cornflakes…- John hurriedly stuffed three spoonfuls of cereal into his mouth, dripping milk from the sides of his lips.

- You pig! - George laughed.

- Ere, give us that!- John spoke as he swallowed. He reached out and took the marihuana ciggie from George, inhaling a large puff… Large enough to shock the other two.

- Easy, John! - Paul frowned as he took the joint from his friend’s hand. –Honest, there’s more where that came from…

- Yer gonna die real fuckin’ young, Johnny…- George shook his head.

- Good! - John laughed. –That means I could get shrines raised in me name…

- Honest, Johnny, sometimes we bloody wonder what yer doing…- Paul grinned and took another drag before passing it to George. –I mean, honestly, luv… What else do you want from life, hey?

- I want what you have Paul…- John giggled.

Paul stared at John intensely. He knew what he meant. He had always known.

George shook his head and giggled, missing the message only John and Paul shared in secret silence. - Aside from a stunningly cute baby face and a nice nose fer a change, mate… What do you want?

John smiled. –Geo, are you happy with Pat?

A long silence before George answered. –Yeh, of course I am…

- I could have had that, you know…- John took the stub of the joint and took a drag before turning it out on a large ashtray by his side. – I was THIS close. - He closed his index against his thumb. – But she chose sumone else, instead, you know…

John stared straight into Paul’s eyes, and it landed on George.

- Jesus bleedin’ Christ…- George leaned back on the couch. – John, should you be saying this right now?

- I already knew, George…- Paul grinned sadly and stood up. –It’s all right.

- This is heavy, man...What about Cyn? - George turned back to John.

- Poor thing. –John ran a hand through his hair and reached into his pocket to put his glasses on. – I can’t believe she’s put up with me this far.

George shook his head in disbelief. – You have a crush on Rita, mate? Ritty? "not fit fer the dogs" Ritty?

John chuckled and leaned back. –Well, not much I can do about that now, hey? – He stood and walked to the table, where he found a packet of cigarettes. –She’s positively bonkers over this man, ‘ere…

Paul was leaning his hands on the mantelpiece, shaking his head. He was not angry at all, but felt rather uncomfortable discussing the issue with George present.

- God…- George turned to Paul. –Are you all right, mate?

- Yeh…- Paul turned with a grin. –It’s all right, it’s just that…- he shrugged. – I dunno, I just feel odd talking about it.

John laughed from the table as hie lit up a cigarette. –It’s best that way, anyroad… She may have ended up like Cyn with me, fer all you know… At least you two are happy.

Paul grinned at John. He knew what giving up a girl for a friend was. He had gone through it as a teenager, but had no clue what it would be like now that he was a man. But he understood what John was going through for the sake of his friendship, as well as Rita’s happiness.

- Ere, John, are there any ciggies left in there?

John looked into the box and turned back to Paul. –Just a do-for…

- Eah, let us ‘ave it…- Paul took the broken cigarette and lit it up.

There was a brief silence, and Paul took the opportunity to go into the kitchen, where he started the grill. –Anyone fer grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches?

- I’ll have sum. - George shouted from the couch, still unable to believe the kind of friendship between John and Paul. Had anyone told him that any of his friends had a crush on his Patti, he would have leapt out of his skin and ripped his lungs out. He knew then that, despite the union of the band and the camaraderie between the four, John and Paul had something truly unique.

The subject was dropped, and after Paul took his desired bath the rest of the morning was spent watching horse racing on TV, eating sandwiches and drinking tea.

- Hey George, isn’t that horse yer uncle? Ya know, running on row number four? - John laughed as he took a bite from his sandwich.

- Shuttup, hooknose!

- Hey, it’s not my fault you look like a fuckin’ horse, luv!

George jumped on John and wrestled him before Paul’s bewildered and amused stare. Martha barked at them playfully, wagging her stump eagerly and trying to jump into the rumble.

Then the doorbell rang.

- Don’t they ever leave off? - George shrugged as he sat back up.

- Nope…- Paul said standing up.

- Leave them out for a bit, let them suffer! - John laughed.

Paul shook his head. –Ah, Johnny, Johnny… Will you ever, EVER learn to appreciate what you got, then? – Paul combed his hair and straightened his shirt collar before the mirror, thinking he’d probably be facing another session of kissing teenage girls and posing for their cameras.

- Go on, darling, you look smashing already! - George giggled. – Just go easy on the lipstick, luv. You already look effeminate with them huge lashes of yours.

- Maybe you could ‘ave Rita do yer makeup! She does a gear job and all…- John laughed, remembering the time Paul had emerged from Rita’s bathroom in New York, his face smeared with mascara and his hair standing on end.

Paul laughed as he walked out the lounge. –Shut yer gap, horseface! You too, hooknose!!

He stepped out of the door, but he was stunned before what he saw. No new girls. Just the old ones with concerned looks on their faces, and three Police Constables, who took their tall, oval hats off the moment Paul looked at them.

Paul became dizzy, but pressed his lips together as he walked to the gate, opening it manually.

George and John looked on from the window. – God, this is not right…- George shook his head.

- We’d better get out there, Geo…- John stood and walked out the door, with George behind him.

Paul finally reached the gates and looked at them in silence, before muttering a soft and fearful –Yes?

One of the bobbies sighed and spoke. –Mr. Paul McCartney?

- Yeh…

A long and uncomfortable silence just as the girls turned their heads to where John and George seemed to approach.

The bobby bit his lower lip. –Would you like me to tell you here, sir, or should we go in?

- Tell me what? - Paul felt himself trembling.

With yet another sigh, the bobby took out a notepad and read. –Are you the owner of a gray Mercedes Benz, car plates 23G 561A?

Paul felt the air leave his lungs. –Th… That’s me wife’s car…- He looked at the other two officers, fear and anxiety already shining in the form of tears. –Why? What’s going on ‘ere?

John and George reached Paul just in time.

- I’m afraid, sir, I have terrible, terrible news…- The constable said with a look of deep regret on his face. – There has been an accident… A terrible accident, only a while ago. We were able to trace your address from the car registration number…

- Jesus…- George spoke. Paul was motionless, not breathing or even blinking.

- … a young woman and a young child were in the car.- The bobby continued. – I believe they were both killed on impact.

The girls gasped in horror, and some started sobbing.

- Shit, no…- John shook his head in disbelief.

- I’m so, so sorry…- The officer spoke as he handed a small yellow envelope to Paul.

With a pale and shaky hand, Paul took the envelope, just as the burning tears left his eyes and silently slid down his perfect face, now completely contorted with shock and pain. He turned the envelope upside down, and felt the things land on the palm of his other hand. Rita’s wedding band, her golden neckchain, her little golden ear studs… And Michelle’s little golden bracelet.

He stared at them for a short moment. Michelle… His little Triple… and Rita….

His knees gave and he slid down, feeling all the air and warmth leave his body. John caught him the way anyone would catch a fainting young woman. Paul was pale, his already dark eyebags looked darker and he gasped painful and almost silent sobs. –Can’t be… can’t be…

The girls sobbed even louder when they saw the pain their dear Paul was suffering at the moment.

Helped by the bobbies and his two friends, Paul was taken back into the house, where he was made to sit down on a couch. A paramedic was summoned. Paul’s blood pressure had dropped to near zero, and was on close risk of falling into shock.

John called Cyn and Brian to tell them about the events, his own heart wrenched into a prune. It was clear that he had had more than just a crush on Rita. Had she not chosen Paul over him, he would have left Cyn for her any day. George sat aloof on a corner, not believing a single thing.

Soon after that, Brian arrived. One look at Paul, and tears flooded his eyes.

This was no hoax.

Later in the day, Paul suddenly bolted up after hours and hours of stunned silence. His eyes were bloodshot, his face slightly swollen. –I want to see them…- he spoke to Brian. –I won’t believe it until I see them both.

The PC shook his head. –Sir, believe me, you don’t want to…

- Why not? - Paul snapped, looking surprisingly composed. He held the hope that there had been a mistake. –If it IS them, I’ve every right to see the bodies, yeh?

- Paul… Don’t do this mate, you have the jewellry…- John put his hand on Paul’s shoulder, but Paul shook it off violently.

- Brian, NOW. – He took his jacket and stood by the door.

The PC walked to Paul. –If that’s what you really wish, sir… But I think I’d better warn you, they were badly, badly disfigured. We couldn’t even match the dental records, it’s that bad…

- Do I have to say it again?- Paul felt the blood rushing into his face. He knew that they were gone, but what little hope he had left, he had to stand by.

- Then I’m cuming with you, son…- John stood beside him, and looked at Brian. –Go on, Eppy… Take us both there…

- John, you should stay here…- Brian looked down. –The press is already here, and you should…

- AW FUCK THE PROTOCOLARY BOLLOCKS!!- Paul shouted suddenly, his usual poise and diplomatic stance completely shattered by the circumstances. –If he wants to cum, so let him…

- I’m going, too…- George said.

As expected, word had leaked, and the number of apple scruffs outside the gates had increased from fifteen to about fifty in a matter of hours. The press snapped photographs as everyone left in John’s Rolls Royce.

Paul didn’t even see to which hospital he was being led. All he saw were white walls. He heard the voices of his friends and supporters as he was guided into the morgue.

John went inside with him. There were two reasons: One, he could not leave his best friend alone when he needed him the most, and two, he also wanted to say his own goodbye.

But neither one was expecting what they got.

The bodies were far from discernible. They were not just "badly disfigured", they were calcinated completely.

- OH, JESUS…- Paul shouted, turning away, the tears now openly flowing unrestrained, while John threw up in a corner. –JESUS!! SWEET JESUS!!!

That was the last thing Paul saw before he successfully passed out on the floor.

Later, when he was already back on his feet, the press had surrounded the hospital. John, George and Brian tried their best to cover Paul up form the merciless rainfall of camera flashes as he left the hospital door, as well as the shouted questions from tactless press agents and the ruthless paparazzi. Paul simply covered half of his face with his jacket. Just as Paul, George and John got in the car, Brian turned to the press, and spoke a few words.

- We have just suffered a terrible loss, here. Paul’s wife and daughter have been killed in a ghastly accident, so please, we beg you, leave him alone for a while… We’re all very, very distraught and deeply saddened, so I’m begging you, on behalf of the McCartney family, to show a little respect right now…

Having said this, he stepped into the car, and they went back to Cavendish Avenue.

Upon arriving, everyone was already there. News had spread faster than a forest fire. Brian had already called the McCartneys, and they were already on their way to London. Jane, teary eyed and sobbing insanely took one look at Paul and threw her arms around his neck. Paul reacted immediately, crying wholeheartedly on her shoulder.

- They’re gone, Jane…- He sobbed. –They’re fuckin’ gone… My baby… my little baby… Oh, God, why? Why?

Jane just held Paul in silence. Ringo and Maureen had arrived shortly before Patti and Cyn, who gathered around Paul to lend all the support they could.

Upon returning from the funeral a week later, Paul assured everyone that he would be all right. He just wanted to be alone.

Martha bounced up to him and whimpered as he let himself in through the gates. A soft hand touched the shoulderpad of his black jacket. He turned and noticed all the girls outside were weeping and dressed in black. Margot spoke to him.

- I know we’re not much, Paul, but…- She turned and took a small flower arrangement, adorned around an airbrushed image of Rita and Michelle. - We had it made for you… I know it’s not much.- She reached out her hand and gave it to him. – Here… We’re so, so incredibly sad about this whole thing Paul… I… I know we don’t count for much, but…

Paul suddenly hugged her, his tears pouring out through crystal hazel eyes. –You do count luv… You all count…

One by one, Paul let the girls hug him and give him a condolence greeting, handing him cards and small kisses on his cheek.

After accepting the memorial present and all the cards, Paul finally went inside. He had wanted to be alone, but didn’t count on Rose, who had just arrived. Another hug, another kiss and another tear.

He told Rose he wanted to sleep. He had no intention of doing anything else, despite the suspicious look Rose gave him. –Honest, luv... I’m knackered…- He ran a hand through his hair. –I ‘aven’t ‘ad any proper sleep…

He walked upstairs, undoing his tie. He stopped suddenly and side-smiled. He had stopped at the exact same place where Rita had first felt Michelle kick inside her. After a long sigh, he continued. But he stopped again when he reached Michelle’s nursery. He stepped inside slowly. He hadn’t gone in there throughout the entire week, and now it was time to face the orchestra.

Everything was the same as Rita had left it. The curtain was drawn, the little cot unmade, and Ringo’s riding horse present in a corner. Paul paced around the room silently, his jaw set and his eyes, expressionless. There was a photograph of the three of them on top of the white dresser. Paul took it and grinned, touching it with the tip of his left finger. – Ello, ladies…- he whispered with a sad grin. – Have you any clue how much I miss you both?

He stared at the photograph and put it back down as he continued cruising the room, gently touching things. Through his touch came memories of a life he had so loved. He was convinced this had been no common accident. He feared that the "arrest" made on Steve Kometski had been a hoax, and he had finally managed to get to Rita… and sadly, to little Triple as well.

He leaned both hands on the rail of the cot, and looked into it. He remembered all the times he had sung her to sleep, and stared at her as she blissfully nodded off. Her little body under the warm little sheets…

The grin began to melt into tears of agony. –She was just a baby…- he sobbed, and his face slowly turned dour and red. –SHE WAS JUST A FUCKIN’ BABY!!!! YOU SON OF A BITCH, SHE WAS JUST A BABY!!!!

He turned the cot upside down with a single thrust, and using Ringo’s riding horse, smashed the whole room into little bits and pieces, shouting angry words, crying and screaming like a wounded animal.

Finally, he leaned on the wall and slid to the floor, calming down as the tears continued to flow. –Rita… God, Rita… why??? I love you, Rita!! God… oh, God…

Rose found her employer on the floor, blood on his knuckles after smashing a little lamp with his fist. He was sobbing miserably, both knees raised with his elbow leaning in them and his hands tucked in between strands of black hair.


It had been two months since Rita and Michelle had disappeared from Paul’s life; He struggled to forget, but the harder he tried, the deeper the pain went. He would spend night after night out in nightclubs, a different woman under his sheets every night, the scent of pot and hash in the air and the residues of cocaine binges on his coffee table. But the pain was still stronger than anything.

John had more than once re-framed the photographs, which Paul repeatedly smashed with anything he had. But for some reason, they would always end up back on the walls.

It was during one of these depressions that Jane stopped him from death.

At two am one Sunday, Paul returned from The Bag O’Nails, stoned, drunk and most certainly angry. He had completely lost focus on what had made him so sore. It was as if the death of his family had happened years behind, even though he knew it was just a couple of months. The gash was still fresh, but he made sure to keep it as numb as possible.

He tumbled into the house, humming a sad tune he had been working on…

- Blackbird signing in the dead of night…. Take these broken wings and learn to fly…

Martha greeted him as she shook her stump of a tail. Paul grinned and affectionately caressed the dog before finding his way to the bar. He pulled out a bottle of cognac. He hated cognac, but it was better to feel the heat of alcohol in his blood than to continue experiencing emotional frostbite.

He stumbled wearily up the stairs, not wanting to look into what used to be Mary Michelle’s bedroom. He had sold everything; The crib, the clothes, the toys of the little girl. The room was empty and cold now. Even worse than the memory of his little child.

He headed straight to his bedroom followed by Martha. Thumping down on the bed, he opened the bottle and took a long swig from it. He sneered. –Yuck…- and cleaned his mouth with the back of his hand. –This thing tastes like piss…- He spoke drunkenly to the dog. –I seriously don’t…*burp* recommend you to ‘ave any of this, ever…

However, he continued to drink from the bottle, until his stomach was unable to hold it. As fast as his wobbly legs could take him, he rushed to the WC and threw up. Martha looked on with obvious canine concern. Paul held himself up by the edge of the toilet seat, and once again wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. –I’m all right, girl…- He caressed the dog before completely passing out on the bathroom floor.

Three hours later, he stirred. The alcohol had not worn out completely, but he had enough stamina to sit up. He rubbed the back of his neck and stood up, holding on to the edge of the bathtub. He staggered back into the room, once again looking for the bottle. When he found it, it was already empty. He was aware that there was nothing else in his bar any more.

- Fucking great…- He sat on the edge of the bed and just stared into the haze. Silent tears began to roll down his now yellowish cheeks. Tears he no longer knew where they came from.

Then, it started…

Paul turned his head to the window… The bird was singing. With every note, Paul was able to attach a meaning to each tear. A song, a touch, a cry, a laughter… A night of warmth and love, a day of joy seeing his newborn child, the feel and smell of Rita’s skin and hair during long nights of making love… And the wound in his heart suddenly seemed even fresher than before. He stared in the direction of the window for a while, until he was no longer able to bear with it.

- Shuttup…- He whispered, holding his hands to his temples. He clenched his eyes, and in a furious fit, he grabbed the empty cognac bottle and threw it at the window, smashing both bottle and stained glass. –Shut up!! SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! SHUTTUP!!!!- He screamed and cried hysterically.

The fans outside began to scream. From where they stood, they had a clear picture of Paul’s bedroom, and were scared to hear his shouting and to see the glass in the window fall all over the patio cobblestone floor two stories below. There was little they could do.

Minutes later, Paul was fiddling with a piece of broken glass. He felt the sharpness, and the worst thought crossed his mind.

- NO, DON'T EVEN THINK OF IT!!!- Came a voice from the bedroom door. It was Jane.

After taking a quick look at Jane by his bedroom door, Paul threw the glass out the broken window. – The bird is gone…- He spoke blank. –It’s gone…

Jane nodded. She knew exactly what Paul had meant. She paced through the mess his room now was, and reached him, putting her hands on his shoulders in silence.

Paul stared ahead at the now empty nest and sighed. –It’s my fault… It was all my fault…

More tears.

- Paul, no…- Jane caressed his dirty hair. – It was an accident…

- No.- Paul said calmly. –Not after all the stuff that ‘ad ‘appened before…- he looked at Jane for a few brief seconds. She stood there, despite the fact that he smelled of sweat, alcohol, vomit and grime. – I… I let them die… She ‘ad asked me to go with ‘er, and I refused.- He sobbed. –I ‘ad promised ‘er, he would never…- He took a hand to his eyes as he sobbed before the eyes of all the bewildered fans outside, who looked up at the window, crying themselves from the other side of the fence. – God, I should ‘ave been there… I should ‘ave been there… I let them get murdered…

Jane had already been told about the stalker story. She stood in front of Paul and kneeled in front of him. –Paul… Please look at me…

Paul removed his hand from his face and looked at her. His eyelashes were all caught together by tears, and despite the sadness and deep sorrow in them, Jane still thought they were the most beautiful eyes she knew. She had his full attention.

- Paul, look…- She put her hand on his knee. – I miss Rita too… She was a friend, and a great human being…

- A fighter…- Paul grinned nostalgically.

- Yes… But this can’t go on, Paul…- She shook her head. – You can’t go on like this. I know that right now you think you’d love to join her, but…- She sighed. – Do you really believe that’s what she would want?

Paul stared at her intently. The words were getting to him.

- Remember what you said to her, that day she almost jumped from the roof in Marylebone? - Jane asked wide-eyed. –You said that Jesse had made a mistake by leaving us… She let go… And hurt the rest of us…- She took her hands to Paul’s cheeks and held his face strongly. – It was hard for her too… Jesse was her only family… But she made it through, because she had friends, and she had… well…- She chuckled with the irony of it all. –She had you, Paul… You have friends and family who love you to death, Paul….- She bit her lip. –And if it’s worth anything to you, you have me… You never lost me… Please, please come back to us before we lose you too…

Paul stared at her in silence and grinned with a nod. His tears were drying up. He sighed and looked out the window as he felt the ruthless hangover take over his entire self.

- Yeh… I just feel that…- He pressed his lips together and turned to look at Jane. –I let them down, you know… I let them down…

- Paul, you made Rita happier than what she had ever been. - Jane smiled. –You had the honor of meeting your daughter… Many parents don’t even have that little privilege… Just remember her for that. You will always love them. They’ll never leave you, Paul. But you can’t leave us… Please…

Paul stared at Jane in silence, and sighed. –I miss them…

- As well you should… It’s all right to miss them. I do, too, but we have to get on… For her, you know. She’d want you to.- After a brief second, Jane grinned and gently gave him a couple of pats on his knee as she stood up. –Come on… I’ll run you a bath, all right?

And while Jane stepped into the bathroom, Paul looked at the sky and sighed. –Goodbye Rita… Wait fer us, tatty ‘ead. I’ll be there sum day… By bye, Triple… I luv you… I luv you both.

After his bath, Paul checked his messages. George had called, inviting him to hear a lecture of some Hindu guy on the meaning of life. Paul gave it a few thoughts, and figured it was worth a shot. Anything to help him heal was deserving of a try.

Jane suggested that she could go with him…

And she did.

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