Chapter 3 - I Saw Her Standing There

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"That young man with Neil seemed nice."

Her grandmother's words caught Marisol gazing absent-mindedly into the back garden and thinking about that very young man. "Oh. Right. He was interesting."

Grandma Bellamy peered over the top of her emerald green cat-eye glasses. "He could use a haircut and a shave."

"He's a musician."

"Well that explains it." Grandma Bellamy nodded.

They were sitting on the back patio drinking freshly squeezed lemonade and sharing a bowl of popcorn while Marisol showed her grandmother the shells she'd collected at the beach. Lily was draped diagonally across her feet. Ramsay finished sniffing the shells, turned in circles a few times and dropped onto the tiled patio with a long groan.

Since Lily and Ramsay were puppies, Marisol and her older brother and sister had spent most of their childhood summers in this country home in Sussex. In the afternoons Grandma would tend to her garden as they ran barefoot through the jungle of flowers, shrubbery and fruit trees. All the time she was working, Grandma was either making up stories, playing a word game, or pretending to be a character in one of their made up dramas. It was a fairy garden to Marisol and her brother and sister, a beautiful, imaginary world where they could do, say or be anything they wanted for the summer.  August signaled their return to Sonoma Valley for the grape harvest and the start of school and reality.

Marisol watched her grandmother sorting the green tiles they would use for the table's edge. "The top of the table should look like a puzzle, with small gaps between the pieces of glass."

"A starfish in the middle would be beautiful, don't you think?" Marisol placed a starfish in the center of the cardboard and began arranging small white cowrie shells around it in the shape of a circle.

At her feet Lily suddenly went on alert, eyes wide, ears flat, a growl vibrating deep in her chest. Ramsay jerked upright, ears pricked, and launched himself off the patio and across the garden toward the right side of the house. Lily loped after him, hairs bristling. The dogs barked wildly at the gate, neither of them paying any heed to Mrs. Bellamy's calls.

"Must be a herd of dinosaurs marauding in the front garden," Marisol said, pushing herself up from the table and marching across the grass.

"Or the post," Grandma called after her.

Paul stood on the other side of the gate, holding a finger to his lips. "Sshhh," he said to the dogs. "Hey you," he said to Marisol.

She grabbed Lily's collar. The dog yelped in surprise but dropped to the ground passively when she saw it was Marisol holding her. "Ramsay, HUSH!" she commanded the larger dog. He settled into a sit with a final whine.

"You're not a T-Rex," she said to Paul as she straightened.

"You were expecting one?"

"Obviously." She released Lily's collar. "Behave," she warned her.

"I brought you something." Paul smiled at her then and her heart fluttered.

He had changed clothes. And shaved. He was wearing a white dress shirt with tiny blue dots and dark trousers and holding a record album in front of his chest.

"You wanted to hear more of our music. This is our first LP."

Marisol took the album, studying the colored photograph of the group looking down into the camera from the top of a stairwell.

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