Chapter 1

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Author's Note: 

Above Us Only Sky is a sequel to my first book, In Your Atmosphere, and continues the saga of Paul and Marisol. Enjoy! xx

It was the end of a long and arduous day that had begun in Northern California and ended in Southern England, and Marisol was shattered.

Even in Pan Am's spacious First Class cabin on their newest DC-7, the seats weren't designed for holding a toddler on your lap on a six hour trip across the Atlantic after a five hour flight from San Francisco. By the time they landed in London, Marisol felt like she'd spent the day wrangling a heavily caffeinated chimpanzee who was allergic to sleep, and then there was a lengthy delay at Passport Control and a missing suitcase and a long limo ride from Heathrow which ended with Melody screaming her lungs out and Marisol's head pounding. When they reached Grandma Bellamy's house in Sussex, Marisol was ready to kiss the rain soaked ground.

"I'm so close to the point where I scream at her to stop screaming," Marisol shouted to her mother over Melody's screams.

Mrs. Hemingway calmly picked up her wailing granddaughter. "Is that how you plan to teach her irony?"

Melody had finally cried herself to sleep, Marisol's mother was off somewhere soaking her swollen feet, and Marisol fell onto the bed feeling like a bad parent: exhausted, longing for sleep, but her mind wouldn't shut down. What am I doing here? she asked herself, not for the first time.

She lay spread eagled on the bed, staring at the tiny guitar-shaped water stain on the ceiling, longing to talk to Paul, to hear his voice. Five minutes—that's all she needed. He would soothe her misgivings and distract her with his irrepressible charm and in minutes they'd be laughing together at the horror of this day. But of course that was impossible. There was no way to get through to him. All she could do was wait. She'd grown good at waiting, and after three years, all the waiting was about to come to an end.

But Marisol had something to take care of first. One last order of business, before she started her new life here in England.

Swinging her legs off the bed, she reached in her purse and pulled out the tattered journal that had been her constant companion over the last three years. Her final tether to Dan.

She clicked a ball point pen open and closed, open and closed. How do you begin to say goodbye to your forever person? With a ragged sigh, Marisol opened the journal and smoothed her hand over the next blank page.

August 29, 1966

Dear Dan, my first forever love,

You've probably noticed I haven't been journaling to you as much. Melody is walking now. Enough said, right? And the move to England has everyone in a dither. By everyone I mean Mother.

I haven't put my thoughts on paper, but you are never far from them. This page was blotched with tears before I'd quite decided what to write.

You'll say you're proud of me for moving on. Life is short. Far too short for some. And I can sense you smiling and shaking your head at the person I chose to "move on" with.

"Go big or go home, right Marcy?" is what you'd say.

So here I am. Engaged to a man I've watched become one of the most famous faces in the world. Engaged, and we've yet to spend more than a few weeks together at a time.

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans, said a dear friend of mine once in a letter. While I was busy grieving you, my life happened. And here we are. Starting our new lives.

Losing you the way I did, right after the tragedy with Papa, nearly broke me. I didn't think I would ever smile again. I wanted to stay in bed with the curtains drawn, live in my head in the past with you, pretend we still had our lives stretching like an endless road ahead of us. So many plans, so many dreams ended that night you left my house and didn't make it home. All I wanted that summer was to die and be released from the pain of missing you.

I don't even know what spark kept me going. Maybe it was the thought of my nieces, Sophie and Lucy, two years old at the time and brimming with possibility and hope. I couldn't leave them a family legacy of more pain.

Maybe it was my Grandma Bellamy, my English grandmother. You'd have loved each other. She let me wallow in my tears for a few months and then told me to "put on your brightest lipstick and pull yourself together."

If only it were that easy. I can't bear to read my diary entries to you from the summer of 1963 because the raw, immediate pain of losing you overwhelms me.

You know, Dan, I was never good at religion. Hemingways don't like being told what to do. But four months after you left I got down on my knees and begged God, the Universe, or Karma... whatever higher power was listening, to please take pity on me and send me a distraction, something to take away the constant pain of No More You.

Be careful what you pray for, isn't that what they say?

I could never have dreamed a bigger distraction than Paul.

With him in my life there's no time to ache for the past or even give a thought to the future. He lives fully in the present and so do I when I'm with him.

Is he my one, my true? He must be, because after all we've been through for the past three years we're still drawn to each other in a way I've never experienced. You made sense to me. Falling in love with an international pop star makes no sense. But who can explain human chemistry? It's a mystery how the people you connect with aren't always the ones who make sense.

At this very moment he's playing a rock concert at Candlestick, the home of your Giants, in front of a crowd of 25,000, can you imagine? The last show of his tour, and he's practically in our backyard, while I'm here, an hour southeast of London, waiting for him to fly home. I've grown good at waiting since I met Paul.

He's taught me the art of being patient. He's taught me how to laugh and how not to take myself so seriously. He's taught me there can be more than one great love in a lifetime but you never forget your first.

He's bigger than life, Dan. He has a brilliant mind, the soul of a poet and the ambition of a Napoleon. I never wanted my life to be this big. You know I don't relish attention. The papers don't know about Melody yet. They don't even know about me! We've flown under the radar so far, but that's about to change with my move to England. Soon enough we'll be spotted together with Melody, and enquiring minds will want to know all about us. The tabloids will say I'm a harlot and question why we're not married yet.

So that's what's in store for us. When we fell in love, neither of us could have imagined the way Paul's life would turn out. Here we are, three years later, still learning to cope with it.

I don't know how we're going to make it work, but I know he loves me. And I love him. We're going to make this work, because we have a daughter, and because we haven't been able to manage living without each other.

That means it is time for me to fully move on with all of my heart. That means I have to tell you goodbye. Again.

I am so grateful that I was the first and last girl you loved. You deserved so much more time here, Dan. I hope that wherever you are now it's better than this life and you have no pain and no worries.

There will always be a corner of my heart with your name written on it, a part of me wondering what might have been, because you will always be my first love.


Yours always,

Marisol, aka your Marcy

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