Chapter 13 - Penny Lane

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September passed, the weather cooled, the leaves colored, and Marisol found herself more and more enchanted with Paul.

They saw each other whenever his schedule permitted.

They went shopping with Angela and Neil in quiet boutiques on the outskirts of London where no one expected to see a Beatle. Sometimes Paul went unnoticed, but when he was recognized, he good-naturedly signed a few autographs before dashing to the car waiting at the curb and they sped away before he drew a crowd.

They had roast chicken dinner with Marisol's grandmother and strolled through the countryside, kicking leaves, watching wildlife and playing catch with the dogs.

They watched a previously recorded Beatles television special at Margo's London flat, popped popcorn, uncorked a bottle of Chianti and snuggled under a down comforter on a chaise lounge on the balcony, falling asleep to the sound of London traffic four stories below.

When she wasn't with Paul, Marisol stayed busy with her grandmother in Sussex and the twins in London. At least one afternoon a week, when the weather was agreeable and her brother-in-law could get away, she met Nick at the air field where he kept his bright yellow Piper Cub with the lightning bolt painted near the nose. Nick was passionate about flying and a patient, inspiring instructor. She was more comfortable in the cockpit now and knew it wasn't a passing fancy but a passion. She had purchased a log book and planned to continue amassing hours and knowledge until she got her flying license.

One cool, bright morning in early October, Paul invited her to a concert a few hours away. Marisol arrived at his hotel just before noon, made her way through a lobby crowded with young girls and asked at the front desk to be connected to Neil. He was downstairs in five minutes.

"How was your drive?" Neil asked, kissing her on the cheek.

"It was lovely. I did some sightseeing on the way in. Beautiful countryside."

Inside the lift, Neil pressed the button for the third floor. Before the doors slid closed, a shapely brunette in a tight red wool dress with a plunging neckline dashed inside. Neil nodded perfunctorily and reached around her to push the Door Close button.

"Pardon me, it's Neil, isn't it?"

"That's right," he answered with an impersonal nod.

The girl ran a shaky hand through her dark curls and reached for his arm. "I'm Lola. You do remember me, don't you?" she said in a soft, Southern English accent.

"Sorry, I'm afraid not." Neil appeared to be fascinated with the overhead floor indicator. Marisol found herself mesmerized by the perfectly manicured red nails on the fingers gripping Neil's arm.

"Please. I need to see Paul. We were together in Bournemouth. He will want to see me."

Marisol felt her heart drop. She peered around Neil's shoulder and stole a glance at the girl's face. Early twenties, pretty with full lips and big, dark, determined eyes.

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