Chapter 33 - I Should Have Known Better

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A thunderstorm rumbled over the Florida Keys during the night. High winds overturned pool chairs and garbage cans and roared through palm branches. Marisol lay awake in her bed for much of the night listening to the storm, her thoughts whirling like the wind lashing against the shuttered windows.

Paul and the rest of the band were scheduled to fly out at noon, and the imminent goodbye filled her with the usual dread. Marisol's flight left three hours later. Maybe during the five hour flight she would figure out how to approach her parents about moving to England. She still couldn't grasp the idea that it might actually happen, that Paul had asked her to move in with him, that he was expecting her to say yes. It didn't seem real.

By morning the rain had turned into a fine mist. Mr. Sosa wandered the grounds, checking for storm damage. Breakfast was quiet. The lads all seemed a bit distracted, probably thinking ahead, the way they always did, to their show that night and the final week of nonstop touring before they flew home to England.

Marisol had just finished helping Mrs. Sosa with the breakfast dishes when the phone rang. "It's for you, mi alma," Mrs. Sosa said, handing Marisol the phone. "Someone named Donna."

"Donna? Is my Mom okay?"

"Yeah, everyone's fine...um...are you alone?" Donna's voice sounded quiet yet somehow intense.

"Kind of...I can talk. What's going on?" Marisol couldn't imagine why Donna would call her here. She would've had to have gotten the number from Marisol's parents.

"Listen, I hate being the one to tell you this, but you're going to find out anyway because it's in Photoplay...and I didn't want you to be blindsided..."

"What? Okay, Sarah Bernhardt. I'm sure it's not as dramatic as all that. Has my name been linked with Paul in some magazine?"

There was an uncomfortable pause. "Donna?"

"Mari, I stayed with my dad last weekend in Bel Air for my stepmom's birthday, and the caterer was one of the ones who took care of the Beatles while they were here last month, and she talked...a lot."

"Okay...so?"

"She said Paul had a girl with him while he was here. An actress named Peggy Lipton. Apparently this girl really went after him, pulled all sorts of strings to get to him...I wasn't going to tell you, but she wrote about their so-called romance in Photoplay, and it's on the news stands...so I thought you might want to say something to Paul before he goes home and at least hear his side of it?"

Marisol brought a shaky hand to her forehead. Donna's voice was a low buzz barely audible beneath the sound of the blood pounding in her ears.

"Mari? I'm really sorry. I wish I was there. I'm worried about—"

"Have to go," Marisol managed to say before she gently replaced the receiver and hugged herself tightly to control the shivering.

She always suspected it happened. Paul enjoyed sex and loved women and there was no way he was going without for three months. Random hookups on the road were one thing, but reading about it, having her friends telling her about his dates on the road? Having a relationship with a girl less than a week after he'd left her in San Francisco? No. This could not be happening.

Celebrity caterers like to talk. Maybe they were exaggerating. Maybe the actress made it all up to try to get attention. Everyone was always trying to get something from the Beatles. Marisol pushed away from the counter, forcing herself to keep it together, at least until she saw the story in print with her own eyes.

Ignoring Mrs. Sosa's worried frown, she stumbled into the living room, praying she wouldn't run into Paul before she could get her thoughts together.

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