Led Zeppelin III came out to mixed reviews from the press, but the fans ate it up. It held such songs as the heart wrenching “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” which I could have sworn was directed at me every time Robert sang it. In fact, a lot of the songs in the band’s catalog were becoming a little hard to swallow. The soft “That’s The Way” broke pieces of my heart; they said it was a collaboration but bits reminded me as if both Robert and Jimmy were speaking to me through it. In each song I could find a love letter and it was killing me.
Robert’s prediction turned out to be true and a few months after we left Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, Charlotte found out she was pregnant. I was genuinely happy for her, though she seemed to have mixed emotions about it. But there was no time for celebration as the boys once again headed out on tour and this time I was not allowed to go. At least that’s what Robert said.
“We’ve been over it again and again, Juliet. I would feel much better if you stayed home this time around,” Robert forcefully stated to me, gesturing all the while. It was the night before the band was set to leave for the tour and I was following Robert around the house as he packed.
“But I’ve always gone before,” I replied. The logical side of me wasn’t having any of this ‘staying home’ business and so I was whining like a five year old. A very pregnant five year old!
“I know you have love, but this time it’s different; you’re pregnant and due soon. Besides, Peter already agreed with me that it’d be better for you to stay home,” Robert explained, slightly exasperated as he threw more clothes into his suitcase. I had stopped pacing and was now standing by the bed watching him go back and forth.
I sighed and walked to him as he stood looking over his things, recounting what he needed, “And you’ll be back in time for the delivery?”
Robert’s face softened and he put his arms around me, holding me close, “I promise I’ll be there. I want to see my boy come into this world after all!”
I smiled, “You mean your daughter. It’s a girl.”
“We’ll let fate decide that,” Robert replied cupping my face in his hands. He then kissed me softly; I could feel the tears brimming in my eyes as I put my arms around his neck and buried my face in his shoulder.
“I’m going to miss you dreadfully,” I managed to choke out in a whisper. Robert pulled away and wiped the tears from my face with his fingers, smiling.
“Now don’t cry, I’ll just be a phone call away the whole time. And Charlotte will still be here; the two of you could spend some time together.”
I didn’t want to think of her, because even though I would miss Robert most of all, I’d also be missing Jimmy at the same time with almost as much intensity. We hadn’t really been able to see each other as we usually did over the past few months and I felt tossed aside. I liked Charlotte but because she had anything to with Jimmy, I felt almost obligated not to like her.
“Maybe I’ll do that,” I said, partly lying. Who knew what I’d end up doing.
“Come on, let’s go to bed,” Robert suggested, “I’ve got an early day tomorrow and you promised to see me off.”
“Yes, I am quite tired.” I moved for my side of the bed while Robert put his suitcase on the floor and then switched off the lights. I climbed in and was shortly followed by Robert, who pulled me close to him from behind and buried his face in my hair, wrapping his arms as far as he could around my swollen abdomen. I smiled contently, “Good night Robert. I love you.”
I felt him lean over me and I turned my head for a kiss, “Night. I love you too.”
At four bright and early the next morning, the alarm clock next to Robert’s head sprung into action, making enough noise I thought it might wake the world. It certainly woke us, as I gasped in fright and Robert jumped up, and turning it off he threw it across the room and it crashed to the floor.
“Blood stupid alarm,” he mumbled before getting up and strolling to the bathroom groggily. I watched him, chuckling to myself as I curled back into the cover. I heard footsteps a minute later and pretended I was asleep, “Oi, get up Juliet.”
“Mm,” I groaned. I was smiling inside because I could just see him standing there by the bed in his underwear, hands on his hips, looking perturbed and absolutely adorable.
Robert climbed on the bed behind me and rolled me on my back. I opened my eyes and smiled at him, “Oh it’s going to be like that is it?” I leant up and kissed him passionately, pulling him down on me. We promptly made out for the next ten minutes, hands roaming bodies lustfully, moans escaping lips. We lost track of time and surprisingly it was Robert who stopped, “Bloody hell woman, the things you do to me! We have to go!”
I giggled, “Just like old times.”
“Yes,” he replied getting up and heading towards the bathroom, “I’m going to take a cold shower.” I laughed and threw the covers off myself and got up as I heard the water running.
Robert and I were actually ready rather quickly and before long, and at the scheduled time, a black limo was outside our house waiting for us. We slipped inside as Robert’s bags were put in the trunk by the driver. I was only a little surprised when Jimmy was already in the limo; I thought we’d be with someone else in it I just didn’t know who. But this sure did figure!
“Jim, you look exhausted, “Robert commented, almost sarcastically as if he too wasn’t tired. Jimmy was dressed down like the rest of us in jeans and a flannel button up, slumped in the long seat opposite us with his head resting on his hand. He didn’t answer Robert but had wisely decided to keep his mouth shut.
“Charlotte at home?” I asked, trying not to sound too happy about it.
Jimmy actually looked at me, hiding a smile, “She was feeling a bit ill so I told her it’d probably be best if we said goodbye at home.”
“Poor thing! The baby?”
He nodded, “It’s doing a number on her. But I told her she can call you if she gets worse, you know and then call me up. I’ll do what I can from far away but well… women understand those things better anyway.”
“Let’s home it doesn’t get worse. I’m sure the morning sickness will pass soon. It did for me.”
“How is the little one then?”
“Active as ever; Sometimes she won’t stop kicking for minutes! There’s two and a half months left, so I wonder what she’s up to!”
“Maybe HE’S going to be like his dad,” Robert suggested. I rolled my eyes.
“What, annoying?” Jimmy chimed in. We laughed like crazy and Robert just shook his head in mock disgust; at least he could take a joke.
“No I mean the being extremely active part,” Robert replied wriggling his eyebrows and winking at me. I blushed and this time it was Jimmy who rolled his eyes. Robert was always one for ‘tooting his own horn,’ so to speak.
“Well with two of you on my hands, how am I ever going to keep up? I’ll be bloody exhausted! I might have to give you up,” I exclaimed. Jimmy roared in laughter and Robert feigned shock.
“Don’t worry; I’ll make sure the baby doesn’t drive you mad. Then there’s more room for me again,” Robert said holding my hand and smiling devilishly again.
“There will always be room for you, sweetheart,” I replied resting my head on his shoulder; Robert wrapped his arm around me tightly and rested his own head on mine.
I was just about asleep, and Robert had already dozed off, when I felt a tapping against my foot. I opened my eyes and saw Jimmy looking at me, obviously wanting to say something to me. I mouthed ‘What?’ and he mouthed something back but I couldn’t make it out and furrowed my brow in confusion. He got a piece of paper and pen from my purse, scribbled furiously and then handed me the paper. I looked at it; I want to see you before I leave. I looked back at Jimmy and nodded, at which his eager face seemed to relax again and we both started to drift off.
I didn’t know how long I had been out, but when I woke it was to a cool breeze on my face and my head was in Robert’s lap. Apparently I had made myself comfortable! The breeze was coming from the open limo door and I had just opened my eyes completely when I heard the unmistakable voice of John Bonham.
“Juliet, not in public! I’m surprised at you,” he exclaimed as I lifted my head up and Robert exited the limo bursting out in laughter.
I followed him giving Bonzo a death glare, “Shut it Bonham.” He actually seemed frightened until a smile spread across my lips, “I’m only kidding! Anyway you’re the perverted one!”
“You know it,” he replied with a wink.
Jimmy was last out and tapped me on the shoulder, “Can I see you a minute?”
“Where?” I asked in a whisper, keeping an eye on Robert, who was greeting the others.
Jimmy took matters into his own hands, “Hey Rob! I’ve got a last minute question regarding Charlotte I want to ask your wife.”
Robert looked to Peter Grant who tapped his watch, “Well be quick about it, we’ve got a schedule to keep.” Jimmy and I quickly climbed back in the limo, safe from appraising eyes and shut the door.
I curled up to Jimmy best as I could, hugging him tightly as he fervently kissed my mouth and petted my hair, “I’ve missed you so.”
“I’ve missed you too,” I admitted burying my head in his collarbone and shoulder, taking in the scent of that gorgeous hair. We stayed that way a few minutes before overhearing Peter ranting about their tardiness outside. It was time to let go.
Jimmy caressed my cheek and looked at me, “God I love you.”
“I love you too,” I replied hugging him again, “Keep an eye on Robert for me, will you?”
He nodded, “Of course.” Tears were brimming my eyes as all of our memories together flooded back to my mind, “Hey, it’s alright. We’ll be home soon.” I nodded. One last kiss and we came out of the limo as if nothing had happened Jimmy went straight to the plane and up the ramp.
Robert ran up to me then and my tears flowed for both of these men I would miss, “Take care. And the minute anything happens, call me. I’ll be home like lightning.”
I grinned, “Alright. I love you Robert.”
“And I you,” he said and held me close; kissing me with such a passion I thought I might lose all my power over myself and faint.
Robert then ascended the steps and waved one last time, as did the rest of the gang, before they went onboard. I watched the airplane take off from inside the limo, crying my eyes out. My heart hurt like I had been stabbed straight through it.
Suddenly having a good couple of months time to myself did not suit me very well. I was so used to being surrounded by others that time alone was unbearably lonely. But it was in this most vulnerable state that I realized who I needed most of all to comfort me- my mother. Regrettably, I hadn’t been in contact with my parents properly since just before Robert and I had gotten married; we had become estranged and I hadn’t even invited them to the simple ceremony we’d had, for fear something dramatic might take place. They had really hurt me and I had felt betrayed by them; I couldn’t understand why they were so opposed to my relationship with Robert when I was visibly so happy and so much in love. With time, however, I realized that my parents were only looking out for my best interests and it wasn’t really Robert they didn’t like, as much as it was the idea of their one and only daughter growing up and leaving home. Now as I looked back, I felt guilty for extracting myself from the situation altogether without as much as a second thought or glance back.
In this state of mind then I hesitantly picked up the phone and called my parents for the first time in almost two years. My mother was ecstatic to see me, hugging me snugly and kissing my face. She was over the moon about the soon-to-be arrival of her grandchild and from that moment took it upon herself to become my personal midwife, insisting I move back in with them till Robert returned from the tour.
Because of this sudden positive change in my life, I actually was able to get myself to visit with Charlotte once or twice. We shopped around London for various odds and ends including some unisex items for the babies. Even though I thought I was having a baby girl, I couldn’t be sure so actual shopping would have to wait till after the birth. And I knew that loads of people would be giving us gifts too, especially my mother, who already vowed to spoil her grandchild rotten.
The time ended up flying by, to my delight, and one evening when it was only two weeks until my due date and the band had a month more on the tour that I decided to give Robert a phone call. It seemed a bit odd to me that he hadn’t phoned me as of yet like he did nearly every day, but I had no problem calling him up in return.
I dialed the number only to be connected to a half disoriented Richard Cole; it was post-concert after all and he was most likely reveling in the fruits of his labor with women and wine. He transferred me to Robert’s suite.
“Hello?” It wasn’t Robert that had answered; it was a woman. I couldn’t breathe or speak; the sweat was gathering on the back of my neck and I began to shake. I should have expected this, a long time ago even; I had married a rock star after all! But I thought he was different; I had held up a golden image of Robert in my mind and it was about to be tarnished. The woman sighed, “Hello?!”
A sob escaped me before I heard the receiver get shuffled around and Robert’s voice on the other end, “Hello, Juliet is that you? Jules, are you there? Listen, it’s not what it seems like! Honey, speak to me!!” I couldn’t even get a word out, but simply placed the phone back in its cradle slowly, sunk down on my bed and cried hysterically into my pillow; my heart had been torn out, thrown against the wall and was now bleeding all over.
I was a mix of sadness and anger, I was such a hypocrite! Jimmy and I still hadn’t told Robert about out times together and here he was telling me the truth and I still couldn’t take it, pride stood in my way. I was riddled with betrayal and guilt. And I felt to blame for all of it.
The telephone rang a minute later and I picked it up and held it to my ear without speaking. Robert began to ramble straight off, “Juliet, darling, that was Miss Pamela that you spoke to- you remember her, don’t you? We were talking and she was closer to the phone so she picked it up. Nothing’s going on, you’ve got to believe me, I wouldn’t do that to you!” The pleading in his voice got worse as he spoke. I remembered Pamela, a bubbly young groupie who shamelessly flirted with the whole band when we were in L.A. and eventually hooked up with Jimmy. I wanted to believe him so badly but my pride ate up my logic. And I was still raging at myself for being the exact person I hated.
“How can I believe you?” I managed to say. It was as if a foreigner was speaking with my voice.
“Because we trust each other! Pamela’s even gone back to Jimmy’s room now. I had been talking to her about you and the baby before the show and she wanted to hear more. I promise you we didn’t get up to anything.” My heart softened; it was strange to think of someone I barely knew caring about me.
I took a deep breath, “I’m so sorry Robert.” I said this more as an apology than anything else. As he was about to question me, I pushed the button and hung up on him. Lowering my head I saw my bulging abdomen; I was so ashamed. I quickly dialed the number to the hotel again and spoke to an exasperated Cole, “Can I speak to Jimmy, please?”