Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 10

The next couple of days went by without much of anything happening. I hadn’t had a lot of time to look for a job when I wasn’t at school, because I was too busy getting my apartment ready for the party we were going to have on Friday night. And when I was at school I could barely hold my head up because I was so tired. The uppers I had taken the few nights before had completely thrown off my internal schedule and I hadn’t been able to sleep the last few nights, so during the days I was simply exhausted. I was really feeling like I could have used some more of John’s uppers just to keep me going, but I hadn’t talked to him since he took me home the other night, so I hadn’t gotten ahold of any more.

When Friday came, Christine and Paul talked me into skipping school again so we could prepare my apartment for the party. They came over early and at first we didn’t get much done. We all just sat around talking and smoking pot and giggling like silly children. I was much more at ease with smoking in my apartment this time since we didn’t get caught the last time we did it. After a while, Maureen and Ringo showed up. I was surprised to see that Maureen was already half the person she was the last time I saw her, not even a month after she had given birth to little Zak. Her hair was done up and she had a full face of makeup and a cute little blue party dress on. And, looking like the picture-perfect couple they were, Ringo’s striped jacket and blue shirt coordinated perfectly with the shade of Maureen’s dress. I watched them enviously. I wanted a relationship like theirs. Hell, I would even take a relationship like Christine and Paul’s because, even though it had its flaws, you could still see that the two of them were passionately in love. Christine sat on Paul’s lap as we all sat in a group chatting and laughing and he rubbed her back without even realizing he was doing it.

Since my house was already spotless there was no real need to do any cleaning, so after a while we all moved my furniture around to better utilize what little space there was and then we decorated with streamers and a few balloons. Later, Neil and Mal arrived and the four guys went out to buy some alcohol for the party. The three of us girls stood around the kitchen preparing some snacks. We hadn’t hired a caterer for fear of word spreading about the party. We had an assortment of cheeses, and sandwiches, and fruit, and crackers, and different types of spreads, and cookies, and candies. But seeing the amount of food we were preparing caused me to become slightly anxious about the number of people that would be attending this party.

“Do either of you happen to know how many people have been invited?” I asked, feeling it was a valid question seeing as how it was my apartment.

“Well, Rich says they didn’t want the word getting round too much, so they only told a few people. And they told those people not to be spreading it round. So it shouldn’t turn into too much of a madhouse. Hopefully,” Maureen smiled.

“How many people is ‘a few’?” I asked.

“Not sure really,” she answered. “Fifty to a hundred, I reckon.”

I felt my jaw drop and both girls giggled a little.

“Come on, Maggie. Not everyone will show up. You know how parties are,” Christine said.

“I thought Neil and John said a couple of mates? I was thinking that meant just us, you know? …I mean, us and maybe Brian and a couple people that I don’t know… But fifty to a hundred people is not a few! That’s a gaggle! This place isn’t big enough for a party that size!” I said becoming slightly hysterical. “I’ll be kicked out of this building! Especially if they find out it’s a party for a Beatle!”

I had a mental image of the word about John’s party spreading around the club circuit and a swarm of people buzzing into my apartment. And then I imagined the press and fans camped outside waiting for a glimpse of the “fab four.” And finally, I could just picture my landlord busting in with the police to make everyone leave and to kick me out of my apartment. Then I’d be unemployed and homeless.

“Aw, it’ll be all right love,” Maureen placed a hand on my shoulder sensing how uneasy I was about the whole thing. “We’ll make sure things don’t get outta hand. Trust me. I’ve a hell of a lot of experience with these rowdy lads.”

Her words didn’t make me feel much better, but I pretended they did and forced myself to smile at her. The boys returned with a couple cases of different types of liquor, and were acting like they had already been dipping into the supplies. They were giggling foolishly. Paul came in singing a tune I had never heard and scooped Christine into his arms and danced her around my apartment and we applauded them. The rest of the afternoon went much the same way. The boys had a card game going and we girls sat around watching them. We all smoked some more pot and by the time George and Pattie arrived, we were all feeling more than a little silly. George came in wearing a red shirt and black pants, looking fabulous, and carrying a large birthday cake.

“Where do you want this, Maggie?” he asked.

“Oh, I’ll take it,” I said carefully carrying the beautiful cake into the kitchen.

“That’s quite a good hand you’ve got there, Neil,” George said in a stage whisper.

The others groaned.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Mal said.

“I fold,” Ringo huffed, slapping his cards down on the table.

“Me too,” Paul rolled his eyes and then took a long hit off his joint.

George giggled, “Good. Now start the game over and deal me in this time, chaps.”

They did as he asked and Mal dealt everyone their cards.

“And don’t be stingy, Paul. Pass the bloody reefer, thank you,” George said.

Paul handed him a joint and Neil reached over and lit it for him. Meanwhile, we women had moved over to the sofa, which was now positioned in the corner of the room away from the dinner table where the boys were holding their card game. We sat around drinking the glass of wine I had poured for each of us, while Maureen showed us pictures of the baby.

“He’s just beautiful, Mo,” Pattie beamed. “Where is he tonight?”

“Oh, mum has him,” Maureen said.

“Well that’s sweet. Gives you and Ringo a chance to be a couple instead of just ‘Mommy and Daddy Starkey,’” Christine said.

“Yes, it’s wonderful. She just loves bein’ a gran, you know,” Maureen smiled, showing us a picture of her mother holding Zak, to which we all appropriately ooed and awed. “So, Cyn’s not coming tonight, is that right?” Maureen asked, but her tone made it clear she already knew the answer.

“That’s right. She’s out of town,” Christine answered.

“Conveniently,” Pattie said, turning and smiling at me.

I felt my face become hot.

“Aw, love, don’t be embarrassed. It’s no surprise John sent her away on holiday. He wanted to be here with you tonight,” Maureen said matter-of-factly.

“What?” I asked, shocked at her and Pattie’s boldness.

The drinks and pot had obviously loosened their tongues. They had never spoken to me so openly. Either that or they just felt comfortable enough that they could now be honest with me after having been around me so much lately. I wasn’t sure I appreciated them being that honest with me.

“He’s got it bad for you,” Pattie beamed.

It had to be the alcohol and drugs talking. There was no other explanation for this awkward discussion. I was horrified. I felt my throat close tightly refusing to let any words, or air, come out. How much did the two of them know?

“It’s only obvious. Can’t you tell?” Pattie asked.

And with that, I was able to breathe again. Maybe she didn’t really know anything after all. Maybe she could just tell that he liked me by the way he acted around me. But then, that wasn’t a good thing either; because that meant Cynthia could probably also sense his feelings for me.

“Does Cynthia know?” I asked nervously.

Pattie and Maureen laughed.

“I love her,” Maureen said. “She’s one of my best mates. But she’s clueless, love. John’s notorious. Everyone knows it. But somehow the press hasn’t gotten hold of that fact. And until they do Cyn’s absolutely blind to all his exploits.”

“I think she wants to ignore it. You know, to just pretend it doesn’t exist,” Pattie said. “Because surely there is no way she thinks the boys aren’t taking full advantage of all of the girls that throw themselves at them when they’re out on the road. How could they resist? They’re only men after all.”

Was she implying I had thrown myself at John? I hadn’t. It’s true that I wanted to, but I think I’ve had pretty good control over my feelings for him. As we talked I noticed Christine sneaking away and I became somewhat annoyed by it. Wasn’t she supposed to be my best friend? Shouldn’t she stick around and defend me if the need arose? Where the hell was she running off to? And why? Was she trying to disassociate herself from the things that were being said?

“I haven’t thrown myself at John, if that’s what you’re thinking,” I said flatly.

“No, love! We don’t think that at all,” Maureen said sincerely, a look of fear that she had offended me spreading across her face.

“No, we can tell he’s mad about you,” Pattie said happily, her eyes looking glassy from the marijuana she had smoked. “And from what we’ve seen, you haven’t really done anything to encourage him.”

“Honestly, I haven’t seen John look at Cyn the way he looks at you… maybe ever,” Maureen pondered.

I didn’t know what to say, or if I should say anything at all. This was probably the strangest, most uncomfortable conversation I had ever had. I hoped against hopes that they were too stoned or too drunk to remember this discussion later.

“Lemme tell you about John and Cyn, love,” Maureen continued, scooting nearer to me. “Those two have known each other for a long time, see. Like a couple of old mates, they are.”

I heard some commotion going on behind me as people had begun to arrive for the party, but I was too involved in what Maureen was saying to go and play hostess at that moment.

“And the thing about ‘em,” she went on, while finishing off what was left in her wine glass, “is that, even though we can all see that they’re not in love with each other, they’re both too bloody scared to go their separate ways.”

“Oh but don’t worry,” Pattie interrupted, “If you’re as attracted to John as he is to you, the two of you should be together. None of us will judge you for it. We want to see him happy. And I think being with you would make him happy. Honestly.”

We won’t ‘judge you for it.’ Who ever says something like that and actually means it? I sat with my eyes wide and my mouth shut, waiting for them to finish.

“And we wouldn’t dare tell Cyn, because none of us would want to upset her. They’ll separate, and they’ll divorce, all in due time. And they’ll both be a little hurt ‘cause they actually are friends. But it’ll definitely happen once they’re finally ready to face that they’re not in love with each other. And they’ll be happier eventually. Much happier than they are right now. Believe you me,” Maureen said, her words now slurring together slightly.

“All right, what’re you hens clucking about?” I heard John’s voice behind me.

“Happy birthday, love!” Maureen grinned at him and went over to hug him.

“Yes, well happy birthday tomorrow, actually. So, happy early birthday tonight!” Pattie beamed standing and throwing her arms around him.

“You birds have already been hitting the sauce haven’t you?” John raised his eyebrows and the two girls giggled.

“And don’t I get a happy fuckin’ birthday from you then?” he asked, holding his arms out for me to also give him a hug. But I didn’t feel comfortable hugging him in front of Pattie and Maureen after the strange conversation we had just had.

“Happy fuckin’ birthday,” I smiled wryly and shook one of his outstretched hands.

“What the bloody hell?” he asked.

Maureen and Pattie giggled and walked off leaving John and I alone.

“Well, I better go play hostess. It is my house, right?” I said.

John stood there looking confused and watched me walk away from him. I wasn’t nearly drunk or stoned enough to deal with all of this, but it seemed everyone around me was quickly becoming that way, so I decided I should join them. I searched everywhere for Paul because I knew he had some pot, but I couldn’t find him. My apartment was just about filled to capacity. I wasn’t sure there were quite fifty people there, but the number of attendees was probably somewhere very near that. I didn’t even know half of them. Finally I decided to check in my bedroom for Paul, even though I had left the door closed so people wouldn’t go in there. And when I opened the door, I saw Christine bent over the side of my bed, skirt hiked up over her hips, and Paul’s bare ass as he pounded into her.

“Jesus Christ, Christine!” I exclaimed, less out of shock at seeing the two of them, than out of my already existing frustration with her that evening. “Couldn’t you two wait until you get home?”

“Was there something you needed or would you like to do us a favor and shut the fucking door?” Christine panted heavily, an irritated tone in her voice as Paul’s pounding had stopped dead.

“Pot,” I said, more than a little annoyed.

Paul pointed to his pants that were on the floor a little ways away from him. I entered my bedroom trying not to stare at his perfectly round, tight ass. I was horny beyond description and seeing him that way did not help matters. I picked up his pants from the floor and immediately found four or five joints rolled up in a in a plastic bag. I thought about being kind and just taking one, but they were screwing on my bed, so I took the whole bag and left them to it. I smiled to myself as I pushed my way back through the crowd and made my way over to the sofa. I was going to enjoy smoking all his pot. I sat down and lit one up. People came over every so often to ask if they could have a hit, or if I had some reefer to spare. I told them I didn’t and they left begrudgingly. By the time it became too small to smoke, I was good and high. And so relaxed I could have fallen asleep then and there. But soon John made his way over and asked if there was anything wrong with me. I told him no and then, knowing I needed to stay awake at least until the end of the party, asked him if he had any speed. He reached in his pocket and produced a few pills. Since I was already high on weed I didn’t think it would be a good idea to take two uppers this time, so I just took one and washed it down with a soda that was sitting on the table next to me.

“Have you seen Paul?” John asked me.

“My bedroom,” I said, taking another drink of soda.

“Thanks. I’ll be right back,” he said.

And I chuckled to myself about what I knew he would find when he went in there.

In a few minutes John returned with an amused expression on his face and he sat down beside me on the sofa.

“Get a nice show?” I giggled.

”You knew?” he raised his eyebrows, and we both died laughing. “Oh, you know I’ve seen Paul in all sorts of positions before. Didn’t surprise me at all really.”

“Were they still on my bed?”

“Oh no, Chris was on her knees, you know. With all her bleeding clothes on too,” he grumbled. “I didn’t even get a bloody peak! And it’s my birthday too! Least she could’ve done.”

I could tell he was high too, or drunk, I couldn’t decipher which. He wasn’t as gone as I was, but he definitely wasn’t sober either.

“I asked her what she thought she was doing given away the birthday present she promised me,” he giggled. “And Paul reached down on the floor and grabbed his bloody trousers and threw ‘em at me. And then he told me to sod off. So I said, ‘Well, they’re not as nice a gift as a blow job, but I always have fancied these trousers.’ And I took ‘em!”

“You didn’t?” I laughed.

“Well, serves him right, doesn’t it? Having one off on my birthday. The nerve.”

“What did you do with his pants?”

“Oh, I handed ‘em to some bloke that walked by me.”

“Did he ask you whose pants they were?”

“Nope. He just said, ‘Thanks, John,’” John giggled.

I was in hysterics with tears running down my face I was laughing so hard. And then all of a sudden John reached for me and pulled me close to him, covering my mouth with his. I felt my heartbeat suddenly go into double-time and wasn’t sure if it was because of the speed or his kiss. And as his kiss lingered and deepened in intensity, I felt my body suddenly go limp in his arms, as I became completely subservient to him. A room full of people, all there for him, and he didn’t care at all if they saw him kissing me, so why should I? Besides, I was too wasted to protest. His breath was hot in my mouth and his tongue was so sweet. He massaged my tongue with his, tasting and searching. And I let him. He pulled away and looked into my eyes lovingly. I saw his eyes twinkle with a happiness I’m not sure I had seen in them before. I know he must have been a bit confused by my sudden change of heart, but he wasn’t about to give me a chance to change my mind by questioning it. He kissed my lips, nose, forehead, and then my lips again, sucking and pulling a little on my bottom lip. And then he moved to my jaw, and then behind my ear. And then he made his way down my neck, sucking and licking. All the while, his hands were moving all over my body, squeezing and caressing and hugging me tight to him. It felt like we were the only ones in the room. He kissed me with passion and longing I have never felt in another kiss in my entire life. He took my breath away, literally. I had to pull away every once in a while to take in big gulps of air, but it was like he didn’t even need air. He was breathing me in and I was all he needed to survive. We kissed for what seemed like hours; planting little kisses on each other’s neck and face, teasing each other, nibbling each other’s ears, searching the other one’s mouths with long deep strokes of our tongues. We were having a make-out session that neither of us wanted to end. The night grew on and we had been in that back corner alone talking, and laughing, and making out for the majority of it. After quite some time, Paul made his way over to us.

“Ahem,” he cleared his throat to make his presence known.

We both stopped kissing for a moment gasping for air and looked at Paul.

“Hey John, did George ever find you?”

“George?” John asked, his mind foggy with passion.

“Yes, John. George Martin. He wanted to wish you a happy birthday before he left,” Paul said in a big-brotherly tone.

“Oh was George here?” John raised his eyebrows and giggled.

Paul rolled his eyes.

“Yes well maybe you’d know who was here if you two weren’t back here snogging like a couple school kids all night,” he smiled cheekily.

“This from a bloke that was, only hours ago, shagging his bird in the bedroom?” John pulled a face.

“All right, you got me there, mate,” Paul grinned toothily. “It is your birthday, so I suppose I’ll let you get back to it, then. Although, judging by the look of them, I think your lips are going to fall off soon. Might want to have a check on that,” he raised his eyebrows as he left us.

John and I looked at each other and broke into laughter. His lips were almost purple they were so red and mine felt swollen, so I knew they must have looked just as bad.

“Guess he found his trousers,” John giggled.

“I wonder where,” I barely got out before John stole one more kiss from me.

Then, without saying it, we mutually decided to take a break from making out in order to give our lips a chance to recuperate. We sat together on my sofa and shared a joint and looked silently into each other’s eyes. A few people floated over every now and then, after they realized it was finally safe to do so. They attempted to talk to John for a few minutes, but by that hour of the night most everyone was either too drunk or too high to carry on a coherent conversation, so they quickly gave up, wished John a happy birthday, and left us alone together once more. Eventually Neil came over and told John that it was time to call it a night.

“All right, Neil,” John said, saluting him. “See you later then, mate.”

“No, John, I’m taking you home, remember?” Neil asked.

“No, no, no, son,” John said shaking his finger at Neil. “I’m staying here tonight,” he pointed at the floor and then gave Neil a little smile.

“You have that party to go to tomorrow,” Neil said.

“Yes, right. But that’s not ‘til tomorrow night,” John’s voice was becoming more irritated.

“Well, I don’t have a problem with you staying here, you know. But, Cyn’s plane gets in, in the morning and we’re supposed to pick her up from the airport.”

“Let her find her own bloody way home,” John said coldly.

“John,” I gasped in shock that he would say such a thing.

“FUCK!” he yelled in a sudden burst of anger.

I jumped in surprise at his outburst and the attention of everyone in the room was immediately focused on him. But behind the anger that I could see in his eyes, I sensed absolute desperation, an unbearable hopelessness, and an altogether misery. And I felt awful for him. Was he really that unhappy at the thought of Cynthia coming home? Or was it just that he didn’t want to leave me? Or perhaps a combination of the two? The chatter in the room finally started up once again, as people were saying their goodbyes to one another, and the attention was no longer focused on John. I reached over and rubbed his back in attempt to calm him and he put his head in his hands.

“John, I could come get you early in the morning on my way to the airport,” Neil suggested as gently as possible.

John raised his head up and looked at Neil for a moment before turning to see what I thought of that idea. I wanted so badly for him to stay, but I knew he shouldn’t. And deep down, John also knew he shouldn’t. Still, if I had said yes, I know he would have stayed.

“I think you should go home, John,” I said, trying to avert my eyes from his gaze.

He closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip and I had to restrain myself from blurting out I that changed my mind and I wanted him to stay. He gave a little nod of his head, opened his eyes to look at me and then, in one fluid motion, leaned in to give me a quick peck on the lips and stood to leave.

“Right. Let’s go then, whacker,” he said to Neil, his tone cool and aloof.

Then he made his way through the crowd to my front door. And a chorus of “Ta-ra, John” and “Happy Birthday” rang out as he and Neil exited my apartment. It wasn’t long after John left that the other attendees also decided to leave and after a while I was left alone with George, Pattie, and Mal. Pattie tried to help me clean up a bit, but we were both too wasted to do anything of significance.

“That’s all right, Pattie,” I said. “I’ll get this tomorrow.”

“Are you sure? I hate to think of you cleaning this mess all alone,” she slurred.

“That’s fine. I can do it. No problem,” I gave her a tired smile.

We said goodnight and the three of them left.

The next day I awoke with a splitting headache and couldn’t remember half of what had happened the night before. I hadn’t felt like that in quite a while. At least not to that degree. I hated feeling that way. It was such a scary sensation, like part of your life was missing; only you didn’t know which part. I cleaned up my apartment a little and Edward called to ask if I wanted to go to a late lunch with him. Very late since it was already three o’clock by the time he phoned. I agreed and met him at a café downtown at four o’clock.

“This is more like an early dinner, I’d say,” I smiled as we greeted each other.

“Yes, I suppose so,” he said, kissing me on the cheek.

He looked dazzling in a dark gray, double-breasted suit with a red turtleneck underneath. His blue eyes sparkled and his blond hair was absolutely perfect. He was so good-looking I couldn’t quite understand why I wasn’t attracted to him. I kept telling myself that being nice was not a bad quality to have, but I had always been drawn to the “bad boys.” We talked over our early dinner and I asked him what he was doing later, but he said he had plans to go to the country to visit his brother and sister-in-law and would be gone for the next few days.

“Could we possibly plan on going out next Saturday?” he asked.

“Of course. It’s a date,” I answered.

We finished our meal and talked for a little while before he finally said he had to go. Then out of nowhere, he brazenly took me into his arms and kissed me hard on the mouth before we parted ways. And I must admit that I was somewhat turned on by the unexpected kiss. He had never shown so much self-confidence before and I was glad for the change. He left me standing outside the café, somewhat in a daze, as he got into his car and drove off. Maybe I could be attracted to him after all. I did like him. He was great fun to talk to and somehow always made me laugh. If he continued showing confidence like that, there was no way I could continue to not be attracted to him. I walked a while with my head in the clouds when suddenly a tall and attractive older woman dressed in a brown pencil skirt, matching jacket, mink collar, beige hat, and matching gloves and purse approached me with an evaluative expression on her face.

“Hello,” I said a note of curiosity in my voice.

“Hello, dahling,” the woman rang out in a deep, smokers voice, while continuing to look at me head to toe.

But I was becoming a bit aggravated by her obvious appraisal of me.

“I’m sorry, but can I help you?” I asked.

“My cahd,” she said, reaching in her purse and producing a business card.

“I noticed you in café, deah. You’re quite stunning, you know,” she said. “The agency I work for is looking for new talent and you are just the sort of delicious-looking girl we were thinking of. Tell me deah, have you any experience?”

I was thoroughly confused. All her card said was Lydia Winchester, Talent Representative, and below that were an address and a telephone number. I had no idea what kind of experience she was speaking of.

“I’m sorry. Experience in?”

“Well, modeling of course,” she said.

I was flabbergasted.

“Modeling? Oh my, no,” I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of the question.

“But you’re American. What else are you doing in London?”

“I go to school here,” I said.

“Oh, school,” she smiled bringing her gloved hands up to her mouth. “How lovely. Yes, well we should get you into the studio as soon as possible to run some test shots. Oh, they’ll be absolutely floored when they see you,” she carried on barely stopping to breath.

“Wait, who are they? Uh, test shots?” I asked, trying to make sense out of what she was saying.

“Yes, you know, to see how you come off in front of the camera, deah. And they are my employers. I mean, I can’t just go round signing girls to the agency without giving them a look, now can I? It’s not my modeling agency after all. Oh, but I just know they’ll flip for you, eh… what’s your name again?”

“It’s Maggie, and can you slow down just a moment so I might try and make sense of this, please?”

“Maggie, oh deah, deah, deah. That’ll never do. No, I see you more as a Rebecca or maybe Victoria. I don’t know. We’ll work on it. And just what do you mean ‘try and make sense’ of this, dahling? Don’t tell me you’re not interested. You’ve got the legs, the face, the hair… Why, you’re the whole package.”

“No. I am interested,” I said.

I would be crazy not to be interested. I was unemployed and I needed the money. And modeling sounded like an easy way to make money, to me. Still, nothing like this had ever happened, so I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. I needed time to think and Lydia Winchester wasn’t giving me that.

“Fantastic. Well, you’ve got my cahd. Give me a call and we’ll get a test shoot set up for you. Ta-ta,” she said and she disappeared as suddenly as she had appeared.

I caught the Underground home, all the while wondering what I was going to do. I couldn’t very well see how I could turn an opportunity like this down, but I still wasn’t certain about it. I could just imagine how my mother would react to the news of my becoming a model so I wasn’t looking forward to telling her of my encounter with Lydia. I had never considered my life taking a direction like this. The plan had been: to go to school, begin a career, get married, and finally settle into a comfortable lifestyle raising a couple of children. But nothing had been going as planned since I had arrived in London. I hadn’t planned on Christine and me meeting the world famous Beatles, or Christine falling in love with one of them. Nor did I plan on the same happening to me; much less me falling in love with a Beatle that I couldn’t have. I hadn’t planned on falling back into some of my old bad habits of skipping school and partying too much. And I certainly didn’t plan on using drugs. But even with all those bumps in the road, my life was still somewhat on the right path. I was doing wonderfully in school and I had met Edward, who was looking more and more promising with every date we had. And modeling would at least be a way to make money, which I hadn’t been doing since I had quit my job. And I wouldn’t have to quit school to do it. And it didn’t have to be a lifelong career choice. I could just do it until school was done. Or until I was tired of doing it.

I had made up my mind by the time I arrived back at my apartment and phoned the number on Lydia’s card. She wasn’t there so I left word with the receptionist that I was interested in setting up a test shoot. Then I tried to call Christine, but no one answered. And I decided I would wait until after the test shoot to tell my mother. What was the point in upsetting her if I didn’t have to? Maybe the people at the agency wouldn’t even like me. I finished cleaning my apartment and moved all the furniture back to where it was before the party, and just as I had plopped down onto my sofa to rest for a bit, the telephone rang.

“Hello, Maggie?” the voice on the other end of the phone said when I answered it.

I didn’t immediately recognize it.

“Yes. Who is this, please?”

“Oh sorry, love,” he chuckled slightly. “It’s Neil.”

“Oh hello, Neil. I didn’t recognize your voice. How are you?”

“I’m fine thanks. Listen, John asked me to call and invite you to this party they’re all going to tonight,” he said.

“You mean the party for that musical, ‘Twang!’ or whatever?”

“That’s right. The one Brian’s making them attend.”

“Neil, it’s not John’s party to invite me to and I wasn’t invited. Besides, I don’t think it would be a very good idea. Brian won’t like my being there at all and won’t Cynthia be there?”

“Yeah, she’ll be there. Look, I understand, love. But I just had to...”

“I know. Thank you for calling. And please tell John I said happy birthday.”

“All right, love. Listen, do you have any plans for tonight then?” Neil asked.

“Oh, no. I think I’ll just stay home and relax after last night,” I laughed. “I still have a little headache leftover from that party.”

Neil laughed, “I think that’s called a hangover! But I know what you mean. I slept most of the day today. Was a good party though, wasn’t it?”

“I think everyone had a nice time. I hope so at least.”

“Well, would you like to go see a film tonight?” Neil asked.

“With you?” I blurted out without even thinking.

He chuckled, “No not with me at all. With some other bloke, you know? I just thought I’d ask and if you’re interested I’ll try and find someone to take you,” he scoffed.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. I just assumed you’d be going to the party with them.”

“Me? Oh, no. Not allowed, you know. Beatles only,” he chuckled.

“Well in that case, I think a movie sounds lovely.”

“Great. Pick you up at eight o’clock then?”

“I’ll be ready,” I said.

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