Hello, I am very new to Illustrator. What I am trying to do is merge all selected paths into one cohesive object. All anchor points are attached to other anchor points or paths; it's all connected. But I cannot select just the edge of another object that was created in front of the object I want to select, before the original object was cut away to make the lineart cleaner (e.g. the side of the bus was created as one object, the bumpers were created after, then the original bus lineart was cut away from the bumpers with scissors.) I am trying to get the outline of the side of the bus, but when I click on the edge of the front or back bumper, it selects the WHOLE bumper - I just want to select the edges that they share with the side of the bus. My eventual goal is to fill each individual shape I have drawn with color, and some with gradients (so Live Paint won't work for what I'm trying to do).
Any tips on a better way to do this are warmly welcomed - even if there's something just fundamentally wrong with my thought process while drawing in Illustrator. I have been running in circles with this and similar problems in multiple projects for days now. Thank you