I woke from a deep sleep and looked around. The room was pretty messy, not to mention dark with the way the blinds were drawn and the candles melted and extinguished. I propped myself up on my forearms and looked over to my right. There he lay in all his manly glory, barely covered by the bed sheets, with his dark hair all around him. His pale body rose and fell as he slept peacefully. Just as I about to reach out and brush a hand against his beautifully unconscious face, I realized it and my stomach dropped.
“Jimmy, wake up!” I exclaimed, shaking him lightly. He only rolled over towards the door in ignorance. I was just about to get up and gather my things for a quick exit, when the door swung open. I stopped dead in my tracks and dreaded my impending doom.
“Hey Jimmy I-“ Bonzo started to say, only to stop mid-sentence, “Juliet? What the bloody hell is going on?!” He stomped on over to the bed as I covered myself in the bed sheet. I didn’t know his mind and was petrified he’d attack me. Instead he shook Jimmy awake violently, “Jimmy what the hell is this?”
“Huh?” Jimmy asked sleepily sitting up. He saw me next to him, still as a statue and realized the awkward situation we now found ourselves in. We both kept still, waiting for the bomb to drop.
“Are you- are you fucking Juliet?!”
“Now that’s a very harsh term…” Jimmy began with a shaky voice.
“Answer the damn question! Are you two having an affair?” Neither of us could bring ourselves to say yes and instead Jimmy nodded slightly and I just looked away, tears brimming my eyes, “Bloody hell, what are you thinking? This isn’t just some groupie, this is Percy’s wife! I can’t even… God, I can’t think straight!” Bonzo started pacing the floor, throwing his arms around.
“It’s not like that,” Jimmy said.
“What is it like then? Either way Robert’s going to kill you for this. I can’t believe either of you would be so fuckin’ thick!”
“It just bloody happened ok?! Look John, I love her.”
Bonzo scoffed, “Oh yeah, I believe that!”
Tears were now running down my face in a mix of anger and shame, “You can’t tell Robert.”
“What am I supposed to do? How can I not tell him?!” Bonzo glared at me; he seemed angrier with me even than he was with Jimmy.
“Listen Bonz, I promise we’ll tell him in due time. Just please, don’t do it,” Jimmy tried to plead calmly.
Bonzo threw his hands in the air, “Whatever man. I shouldn’t have bloody gotten up.” He stormed out and shut the door behind him.
All the tension seemed to spill from my pores as I fell on Jimmy’s shoulder and started balling my eyes out. He reluctantly put an arm around me in comfort. But just as quickly as he’d done that, Jimmy took it away and stood up, “You’d better go.”
“Please, Juliet love, just go. We’re lucky Robert hasn’t caught on up to this point and I think we’ve overstayed our welcome. Please.” His back was to me as he pulled on some underwear.
I quickly walked over and stood in front of him. I latched onto Jimmy and pressed my head to his chest, “Don’t send me away.” I felt like I was hanging on by just a thread.
Jimmy pulled me from him and looked down, “Don’t do this to me! You have no idea how much I want you, I want you to stay. But if you stay another minute I’ll lose it.” I looked away and then walked around and picked up my clothes, putting on the bikini bottoms and t-shirt. I ended up back in front of Jimmy in seconds. He reached over and ran his thumb over my tears and I closed my eyes. I went to kiss him but he pulled away, “Please, I’ll die if you kiss me.” I furrowed my brow as I felt new tears coming. I simply took his hand in mine and kissed the palm. Jimmy sighed in frustration and gave in, kissing my lips deeply. He broke it off and sighed again, “I’ll see you later, ok?” I didn’t have the energy to even nod, but turned on my heel and walked to the door. I took one last look at this wonderful frail man and then shut the door behind me.
Panic struck as soon as I was in the hallway. I was disoriented, not knowing how long it had been that I was with Jimmy, but it still seemed to be dark outside. I sprinted across the hall and unlocked the room Robert and I were in. To my immediate relief, he was laying on the bed still in his swimming shorts. As I approached the luggage to put my dirty things in them, I could smell the alcohol still on his breath; no doubt he and Bonzo had carried each other up from the pool and he had passed out. He had no idea I was even gone. I sighed viewing him; my husband lying there so innocently. Instinct set in and I covered him with the sheets lovingly and kissed his mouth.
Tears were coming again as I walked to the bathroom and shut the door behind me and started the shower for myself. Stepping in, I could only hold my composure a minute before I sat down in the running water. At least the water would drown out my sobs.
Why was I really ashamed- was I ashamed because of what I’d done, that I’d committed adultery with my husband’s best friend, or because I’d been caught? Knowing that the truth was the latter, I felt sick to my stomach with guilt and hugged my knees to my body. What had ever caused me to act this way? I loved Robert with all my heart, I wanted to start a family with him, I wanted to spend my life with him! But I left a fleeting lust for Jimmy turn into an infatuation in my body that was like a fire out of control. If Robert wasn’t touching me, I wished desperately that Jimmy was. He’d released secret places in me I didn’t even know I had and it consumed me. And I knew he felt the same way about me; his every glance was as if he was undressing me and making love to me in his mind. He said it would kill him to touch or kiss me. Indeed, it would kill both of us.
The calling of my name roused me from my daze, “Jules? Can I come in, love?” Robert was at the door. I stood fast and rinsed the tears from my face, hoping my eyes weren’t too red.
“Yeah, door’s open,” I replied over the running water. Through the frosted glass of the shower door, I watched Robert sneak inside the bathroom. He turned on the faucet, splashing his face with some water from the sink before staring at himself in the mirror. He then looked over to the shower and the steam pouring out of it; I knew he could also see my silhouette as I was now washing my hair and I pretended not to notice. Robert pulled his shorts off and kicked them aside, walking over towards the shower. Even after all those years we’d been together, my heart was beating like a jackhammer in my chest with excitement.
Robert pulled back the door and stepped in just as I was rinsing my hair, “I feel like hell.”
“You ought to,” I replied, “You apparently drank yourself into a coma and Bonzo had to carry you up.” I only assumed this happened, I also assumed that Robert didn’t remember any of it.
Robert took some soap and began to wash himself, “I feel bloody terrible getting shattered like that, leaving you on your own when we were celebrating.”
I smiled tenderly at him, “Don’t worry about it. I was very surprised and it was so sweet of you to do. And it was fun while it lasted wasn’t it?”
“Indeed,” Robert replied smiling wickedly. He winced and brought a hand to his forehead, “Bloody hell, my head’s killing me.”
I pouted, “My poor baby. There’s some aspirin on the counter then if you’d like some.” I finished rinsing the last of the soap off myself and opened the glass door, “Right, I’m done.”
“I’ll be out then. Now close it, you’re letting the cold air in!” I laughed as I stepped out of the shower gingerly and wrapped a warm fluffy towel around myself and then walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. I towel dried my hair a bit and then put it around me again, sitting on the edge of the bed thinking. It was fairly remarkable to me how I was able to go back to being the dutiful wife when only half an hour before I was with another man. But I tried not to think about it. I tried not to think about a lot of things in my life, but maybe it was time I had. Bonzo discovering Jimmy and I had woken me from the fantasy and given me back reality. Would he keep his promise and not tell Robert? I could only hope so. I expected he’d decide that it wasn’t in his place to confess the secret and let it up to Jimmy and I to do, which was only fair. And Jimmy, what were we going to do? Did he really want to stop the whole thing? Did I? I had to admit that I didn’t. Now after this second time together, I longed for him even more. But we would have to be realistic and think of others, think of the hearts we were breaking while making our own so full. And it wasn’t as if Robert didn’t satisfy me, it was just the opposite. Is it possible to be in love with two men at the same time? The thought made me dizzy with confusion.
I shook the reflection from my head and stood up to go get clothes to put on so that I could go to sleep. Just as I was about to dig out some clean underwear, I heard Robert come out of the bathroom. I turned and my heart burned; he was standing there in nothing but a towel, his hair damp, one hand on his hip watching me, “You coming to bed darling?”
“Yes, just after I get something out to wear,” I replied, chills running down my spine. I turned back to my luggage but could barely concentrate.
“Juliet,” Robert called. I looked back and he was already in bed under the sheets and I knew he hadn’t bothered with any clothing. I swallowed the lump in my throat, “Come to bed.” I stood up and let the towel drop from my body carefully. Robert seemed to have the same sort of reaction to my nakedness as I had to his as I heard him draw in a deep breath. I hide my smile as I walked over to go underneath the covers with him. Robert automatically wrapped his arms around me and I buried my head in his chest and breathed in the clean soapy scent from his body. I intertwined my legs in his and we came as close as we could without any action. I felt safe and secure in his embrace. I felt him kiss my hair as I closed my eyes.
“Robert?” I said without moving.
“Don’t ever leave me.” Robert let go of his embrace and looked at me inquisitively. Tears were in my eyes as he leaned and kissed me. I let the emotions course all through my body as I kissed him back, yearning taking over. He started kissing me all down my neck and to my breasts tenderly and I moved to lie on my back. I wrapped my arms around him tightly as he got on top of me and continued to kiss me in short bursts. His hands trailed from my chest to my own hands, at which he took one of them in his and squeezed it. My heart was bursting with affection to reciprocate what he was giving me and I put my hands behind his head and ran them through his beautiful hair. He adored my admiration of his hair and so sighed in enjoyment. I moved my legs in position and we made love, slow and gentle. I felt every part of me swell with adoration and want as we moved together, each feeding what the other needed. I arched my back in elation and whispered his name, while he moaned in my ear. It was nearly too much to take as he and I climaxed almost at the same time and our breathing settled. I was so happy in that moment, so at peace with the world. I loved this man with every part of my being.
“I won’t leave you,” Robert finally replied. He lifted his head and looked at me, “I won’t.” He kissed me, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He put his head back down on me and we fell asleep literally in each other’s arms.
A few weeks later the tour was over and almost right away Jimmy suggested getting away to do some songwriting. So he and Robert agreed to go into seclusion together in Wales, at a cottage there at Bron-Yr-Aur. Robert wanted me to come, insistent that there’d be plenty of room and that I wouldn’t be interfering. Part of me dreaded putting myself in a situation with just Robert and Jimmy; how would I act? But then I found out I wasn’t going to be alone after all; Jimmy had a girlfriend who was also tagging along. I had actually met Charlotte Martin, a beautiful blonde model, early in the year when we celebrated Jimmy’s birthday, before things got complicated between us, but I had no idea she was dating Jimmy. With his track record of infidelity, not only with me but also with groupies, Charlotte never really came into the picture. But now that Zeppelin wasn’t touring, Jimmy wanted to spend time with her and I had a sneaking suspicion he thought that she and I could be friends.
“I’m so bloody exhausted Jules,” Robert complained to me for the millionth time in the past few days. We were currently traveling in a jeep on our way to the cottage in Wales with Jimmy and Charlotte Martin, the men in the front and us women in back. I didn’t say anything, I had pitied him all I could already, but reached up and stroked his hair.
“Well now we’ll be able to get that much needed rest we deserve and write for the new album,” Jimmy said looking over at Robert as he drove.
I went back to admiring the scenery; the hills, the grass, the trees, all of it was too beautiful to even describe in words. Even though I hailed from the city, I always felt more at ease in the country; Robert and I had even purchased a farm near Kidderminster to live on, which I adored. Life there made that on the road seem possible.
I felt a nudge at my hand in my lap and then I looked down to see our blue-eyed merle, Stryer, looking up at me. I smiled, “We’re almost there boy.” It wasn’t but a few minutes longer before we did pull up to the cottage. I was in love right away, “Oh this is so lovely!” I clasped my hands together as I exited the jeep and stood next to Robert.
He put his arm around me, “I love to see you happy.” Robert then put a hand on my stomach, “And what does the baby think?”
I smiled wide, “I believe she likes it here.”
“Oh it’s she, is it? What about he- a strapping young man, just the image of his father!” I laughed, putting my arms around him and kissing him. Stryder started barking and running around like crazy just then, as if he was trying to protect me from my husband. Robert pulled away, “Alright boy, let’s go inside then!” He walked over and petted the dog before heading into the cottage.
Charlotte had gone inside as well and it was only Jimmy and I left; Jimmy, who was staring at me looking horrified. He walked up to me, “Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were pregnant?!” He was trying to control the volume of his voice.
“I just found out. Robert was the only one I told,” I replied not making eye contact. I couldn’t, it was too painful, “ Anyway, what’s the trouble? We’d always used protection…” I trailed off with a blush.
Jimmy took me by the arms and forced me to look at him, “There was one time…”
“What? Are you serious?!” I screamed. I struggled from his grip and stomped to a tree a few feet away, my back to him. I was seething in anger and humiliation.
Jimmy came up behind me and turned me towards him, obviously slightly mad himself, “I’m sorry, it was, it was just once. After the pool.” He pulled me to him and I tried to hold back the urge to hit him, “God, I’m so sorry. Why was I so stupid?”
“I should ask the same question,” I said with disgust, tears forming in my eyes. I got away and began back to the cottage, leaving Jimmy standing there empty-handed.
“Everything alright?” Robert asked coming out of the cottage. He saw my face as I passed him, “Juliet, what’s wrong?”
“Just feeling a bit ill. I’ll be in the loo,” I managed to say before I began to sob. I ran inside and locked myself away, sitting on the bathroom floor in despair.
I should have known. I should have known that there would be something to destroy my happiness. Just when I was beginning to feel more comfortable with my faults and was overjoyed by the thought of pregnancy, Jimmy had to tell me this. To be fair, I was stupid too; I could have taken my own precautions instead of assuming he had. Robert and I had never used any protection since we’d been married; there was a good possibility this would all turn out fine, that the baby would be his. But what if by the slimmest chance it was Jimmy’s and that one mistake turned into my downfall?
“Juliet, can I come in?” It was Charlotte who was asking from behind the door.
I pulled my head from my lap, wiped the tears away and stood up to answer it, “What?”
“Robert asked me to check up on you,” she replied through the crack where I’d opened the door. I sighed but opened up and let her in and closed it after her. We both stood there just inside the door awkwardly. Charlotte gestured toward me, “So you’re pregnant! That’s fantastic news.”
“Yeah,” I said with a slight smile. I looked around and decided to sit back down. Charlotte followed suit and we were both on the floor, again uncomfortable, “Listen, I know you want to help but I don’t think there’s any way you can possibly know how I’m feeling.”
“Oh, I know about you and Jimmy,” she said calmly.
I knew I had gone pale. I tried to decide whether or not I should deny it or just come out with the truth. Somehow she seemed to know it anyway.
“He told me. Of all the girls I know he’s screwing around with, you’re the only one he’s ever talked about,” Charlotte replied nonchalantly. I blushed; I felt like just another one of them, a used groupie who’d never get any further then that midnight rendezvous. What had I been thinking? Oh right, I hadn’t. Charlotte must have noticed my sudden depression because she put a hand on mine and lowered her voice again, “Oh I’m sorry, that came out wrong. It was meant to be a compliment.”
“I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!” I tried to exclaim in a whisper, “I mean I love my husband, I love him very, very much. Jimmy came on to me and ever since then and what happened between us, it’s like a drug. Always wanting and not having enough. I feel so guilty.”
“I wish I could help you. But you’ve got to work that out yourself.”
“I know,” I said with a sigh, “And now this happened.”
I sighed again, “Jimmy told me that he didn’t use a condom once when we were together. And I’m pregnant so…”
“Oh. Right.” Charlotte got quiet then, lowering her eyes away from me. I wondered for a second how she could be this way; have a boyfriend who she knows is cheating on her and still be ok with it. But maybe she wasn’t ok with it, maybe I just had no idea. It made her seem much more human, more imperfect, “Well let’s just hope…”
“Oh God what have I done?” I started crying again, and Charlotte again put a comforting hand on mine. I knew she was uncomfortable but at least she was trying. She stuck with me for all the minutes it took me to quash my sobs; when I had finally calmed down again I wiped my eyes and smiled sheepishly at her, “I’m sorry you have to deal with me like this. I’m really much more fun when not a terrible lair.”
Charlotte laughed, getting my sarcasm, “Don’t worry about it. It’s no problem.” I stood up and she followed. She then reached out and hugged me to my surprise, “It’ll be ok. You just need to sort it out.”
“Thanks.” I then opened the door and we both went out into the main living space but no one was there. I was partly glad because then no one had heard any of our conversation but partly worried. Where had those boys got to?
I started out the door and then spotted the two of them in the distance. Jimmy was sitting on grass with a guitar, strumming away, seeming to be in his own little world. And Robert was frolicking around with Stryer right behind. I sighed and laughed watching him smile and yell while playing with the dog. I left the doorway and walked over to him.
“Darling,” Robert said when I came up. He hugged me tight, “Are you feeling better?”
“Yes much,” I replied. I then lay down on the grass, feeling the earth under me like a pillow. Stryer approached me and licked me on my face, sending me into fits of giggles, “Stryer, no!” I heard Jimmy call him as Robert lay down next to me giggling himself. I stared up at the blue sky, relaxed. It was so easy to forget.
“You’re so beautiful,” Robert suddenly spoke up. I looked over at him; he was lying on his hip, propped up on one arm admiring me. He bent his head down and kissed me before going down to my bare midriff and kissing it; he put his head down near my pubic bone. We stayed that way for a long time and I thought that this must be what heaven was. If only I could stay in this moment forever.