No More Lonely Nights - Chapter Twelve

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7 July 1962.

London, England.

ALLIE: I don’t even recall the flight back to England, as I ended up sleeping through nearly all of it. This wasn’t my day, of course, and I always react to emotional trauma by sleeping whether I’m tired or not. Then again, when the person sitting next you happens to be the love of your life and he offers his shoulder to you for purposes of slumber, sleep becomes very appealing.

I was deep in that peaceful state where you are so very asleep that you’re not even dreaming, not even moving when I gradually began to feel someone gently shaking my shoulder. I heard a voice speaking my name in my ear, and it was only after I became more awake that I realized it was Paul who was doing the speaking and shaking. “Allie, we’re landing at Heathrow now,” he said, and I was finally awake enough to comprehend that statement. “Allie?”

“I’m awake now,” I mumbled. I opened my eyes and sighed. “How long have I been asleep?”

“The whole time,” Paul answered. He glanced at his watch. “It’s 10:30am our time here in England. Technically you were out for about seven hours, but I’m not going to get into all that.”

“I still feel exhausted.”

“I didn’t sleep at all. I’m going to bed when we get home.” He sighed. “I didn’t expect you to sleep the whole time. I was kind of surprised.” He stood up and held out his hand to me.

I took his hand and rose as well. “I always do that when I get under some sort of emotional stress,” I responded. I held his hand tighter as we exited the plane and headed into the airport. I realized I was beginning to develop a sort of fear that I was going to be separated from him, particularly in light of my mother’s threats that she would see to it that I was indeed made to be parted from him. I couldn’t stand the thought of that even possibly happening.

 “Allie, would you mind not squeezing my hand so tightly?” Paul asked. “That’s a bit painful, love.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Paul!” I exclaimed. I loosened my hold on his hand. “I didn’t realize I was doing that.”

“It’s all right,” he said. “Are you okay? You’ve been so quiet. I know yesterday was not the best of days, but try to put it all behind you, okay? I’m not going anywhere, I’ve told you that. Do you not trust me at all? I mean it when I say you have nothing to worry about.”

“I do trust you. I’m just… it’s like, in the back of my mind, that’s all I think about. I’m terrified, I really am.”

“There’s no need to be.” Paul located our baggage, and we continued walking to the main entrance to hail a cab to take us on to the train station so we could get back to Liverpool. “I’ve told you, I’m staying with you. Okay?”

I nodded and sighed. I just wanted to be home- well, not my home, more like Paul’s apartment. I would get him to go back to my house, I’d gather up some clothing, and I would then go home with him for… well, I had no idea at the moment. I guess until my father thought it would be all right for me to be back around my mother again.

PAUL: We made it back to Liverpool, finally. It’s after five in the evening, and I’m tired and also literally starving to death. Allie slept the whole time we were on the train, and I spent the ride staring out the window at the countryside passing by, my thoughts wandering places they hadn’t ever gone before.

I’m worried about her. She has been almost dazed since the incident with her mother, and her eyes have taken on a faraway, vacant sort of look that chills me deep down. I don’t want her to take all the hateful, cutting things that her mother spouted off to her to heart and actually think that for one instant I am going to allow that woman to keep me away from the girl who has stolen my heart and become the center of my entire universe. Never, ever, ever will that become reality. I will see to it.

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