Chapter 35 - It's Only Love

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It's only love and that is all,

Why should I feel the way I do?

It's only love, and that is all,

But it's so hard loving you

It was the longest flight of her life. Marisol was nauseous from San Francisco to London and spent most of the time trying to think of anything besides throwing up. Please god, don't let me throw up in the dirty lavatory was her mantra for the day. To make matters worse, the entire flight over the ocean was the bumpiest she could remember. Heavy cloud cover obstructed the slightest glimpse of the sea.

The past two months had whizzed by, with classes and the harvest and orders to fill and the animals to care for and with so much else constantly on her mind. She'd gone out with James occasionally on weekends, sometimes double dating with Donna. He was sweet and intelligent and endearingly serious-minded. He'd kissed her after their dates but Marisol never let it progress any further. She made it clear she had just ended a relationship and only wanted to be friends. Although she suspected James would like their relationship to be physical--he was a man after all--he didn't pressure her. This came as a bit of a surprise, after her torrid relationship with Paul. There was no way Paul would have waited so patiently to be intimate with her. But then, she couldn't have waited patiently for Paul either. The two of them had been like magnets colliding. She'd never felt that sort of attraction before or since, and accepted that she probably never would again.

In early December she had called Brian's secretary and simply said, "Could you please tell Paul that Marisol called?" The phone rang thirty minutes later.

"Hi. It's Paul." That voice. She was suddenly so nervous she could barely speak.

"Hi! That"

"Joanne called me at the studio. What's up?" His voice was flat, unemotional. This was beginning to feel like a terrible idea.

Nothing like cutting to the chase. "Um...well..." She tried to draw in a breath deep enough to feel calm, but couldn't. "I just...I wondered how you were doing."

"Good, good. How are you?"

"I'm good."

"Great. That's good to hear. I didn't know that, since you seem to have lost the ability to write. Or to answer the phone."

Marisol squeezed her eyes closed. Of course he was angry about the way she'd stopped responding to his letters and the way she'd ducked his last telephone calls. His chatty disposition was noticeably absent, and this phone call had turned into the most awkward few minutes of her life.

Nothing to do but plunge ahead. The words came out in a nervous rush. "I know, I just needed time to think, but I wanted to tell you that I'm going to be in England in a couple of weeks, and I wondered...I'll be at Angela's for a few nights and I wondered if I could see you while I'm there."

She heard his sharp intake of breath. It felt like a millennia passed before he answered. "You're going to be in London."

"Yes, right, the 15th actually."

He didn't respond immediately, which made her feel like she should give him a way out and end the awkwardness. "I understand, you know, you're probably terribly busy, no big deal, maybe we could make it some other time—"

"Mari. I'd love to see you."

"Oh, right." Her breath came out in a relieved rush.

"I still have Angela's number. I'll give you a ring there on the 15th?"

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