Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 6

It was no time before there was a knock on my door and I was walking out to the car with Mal Evans. Paul and Neil were waiting inside.

“Oh,” I said in surprise at seeing them. “I thought…”

“John sent me since I live closer to you,” Paul said.

“Oh, that’s fine,” I said trying not to sound too disappointed. “Where’s Christine?”

“Well, she has some things she has to get done before she can come over.”

We traveled to the hospital talking about various topics, one being how excited Ringo had been when he phoned with the news. Paul said he had barely been able to get the words out properly because he was speaking so fast. I didn’t ask how we were going to get into the hospital. Since Mal and Neil were with us, it wouldn’t be too difficult. And I knew Paul never minded giving the press a comment or a picture. When we pulled up, there were a few reporters, who had obviously been tipped off, waiting out front in hopes of possibly catching a Beatle going into the hospital. And in a move unlike Paul, we took a side street and entered the hospital through the back entrance avoiding the press altogether. I was surprised there was no one waiting around that entrance and that we were able to make our way into the hospital unnoticed. I saw Mal tip a man just inside the door and then we made our way to a lobby where Brian was waiting.

“Took your time did you?” he asked Paul completely ignoring my presence.

“I didn’t see a need to hurry,” Paul answered.

“Yes, well apparently neither does John as he has not yet arrived either,” Brian said finally acknowledging that I was standing there with a smile. “Did you have any problems getting in?”

“None at all,” Paul said.

“Good, we’re lucky that gentleman was able to keep the back entrance unlocked for you for so long. He had said he didn’t think it was going to be possible as he was getting off work soon, but I told him I didn’t think you’d be much longer. He said that was fine and he didn’t mind waiting,” Brian said.

“‘Course not. Where’s Rich then?” Paul asked unapologetically.

“He’s in with Maureen and her family just now. Only a few visitors allowed in at a time. I’ll go fetch him so you can properly congratulate him,” Brian said walking off.

“Does he have a problem with me?” I asked Paul.

“Brian?” Paul raised his eyebrows. “Don’t you worry about him love, he’s always more serious than need be. He’s easily worried, that one.”

“I just get the feeling maybe he doesn’t like me very much for some reason.”

“‘Cause John does, love,” he winked.

Before I got a chance to investigate that comment further, Ringo appeared, looking like a proud papa complete with cigar. A large grin came over his face and he and Paul embraced, then he hugged me and a chorus of congratulations rang out from Neil and Mal and other people in the waiting room I did not know.

“Little boy,” he said. “And we named him Zak. Want to see him?” he asked excitedly.

“Of course, mate,” Paul said patting him on the back.

And he, Neil, Mal, and I followed Ringo down to the nursery. I didn’t personally have many friends with children. And I had only seen a newborn baby a handful of times in my whole life. But Zak Starkey looked like a beautiful, healthy baby to me and I smiled when I saw him and gave Ringo another hug. He was so proud he looked as if he was about to burst.

“Can’t wait to get him home, you know. I hate bloody hospitals. Spent enough time in ‘em as a kid to last a lifetime,” Ringo said. “I just want to buy him everything, you know. Give him the world.”

“Well, why don’t we start now?” Neil asked.

“Sure, no time’s too soon,” Mal added. “We can go to Harrods and pick up a few things.”

“And I’d like to get Mo some flowers as well,” Ringo said. “Oh, but her parents are leaving soon. There’ll be no one here to keep her company.”

“I’ll stay here with her,” I volunteered.

I liked Maureen. It wouldn’t be a chore to visit with her for a while until the boys got back from their shopping trip.

“Oh would you, love? That’d be great of you, really,” Ringo said.

“Of course,” I smiled.

“And I better stay as well so Chris knows where to go when she does get here,” Paul said.

We left the nursery and followed Ringo to Maureen’s private room. As we walked through the hospital, the scene was nowhere near as chaotic as I had imagined. The doctors and nurses were very respectful, for the most part, and only a couple of them actually asked Paul and Ringo for their autographs. And the only reactions from the patients were looks of appreciation for having brightened their day a little, and a few looks of mild confusion as to why two of the Beatles were roaming the hallways. Maureen was delighted to see us and looked as bright and happy as she always did. She was sitting up in bed with her hair done in an up do and a full face of makeup on.

“Excuse me, didn’t you just have a baby this morning?” I asked.

“Why?” she asked utterly confused.

“You look absolutely fabulous!”

Maureen blushed a bit.

“She always does,” Ringo said kissing her. “Love, we’re going to go into town to pick up a few things and we’ll be back in a bit. Paul and Maggie are going to stay here with you.”

“Certainly,” Maureen said. “Just can’t wait to do some shoppin’ can you?” she asked.

“Oh, that’s that bloody mother’s intuition, eh? She’s going to know where I am at all hours now, isn’t she?” Ringo asked us with a giggle.

“Better remember that too,” Maureen laughed.

We all giggled and Ringo, Neil, and Mal left. Paul said he was going to wait at the Reception desk so he could meet Chris when she finally arrived.

“Brian’s out there, love. He can let her know where we are. Wouldn’t you rather wait in here so you don’t have to bother with the fans?” Maureen asked.

“Of course he wouldn’t,” I teased.

“Ah, Maggie, you’re more like him than you know,” Paul said with a mischievous look on his face before turning to leave the room.

My eyes widened involuntarily, as I knew John was the “him” Paul was referring to, and I was nervous Maureen would inquire as to what he had meant by that. But she hadn’t seemed to notice. She and I talked for a while about how she had been a little afraid when she arrived at the hospital, but how it really wasn’t as scary as she had anticipated. She told me what a relief it was now that Zak had been born and that she couldn’t wait to get him home. And how it had been all she and Ringo had been talking about the last few weeks and she couldn’t believe the day had finally come. After a while a nurse came in with Zak and handed him to Maureen and told her he needed to be fed. I offered to leave the room in case she wanted privacy, but she said it was fine and proceeded to nurse him. I read a magazine while she was feeding him so they could have a little mother-son bonding time, and when Zak had finally gotten his fill he fell right to sleep. Maureen held him contently and asked the nurse if she could just hold him for a while. The nurse agreed and left us. We tried not to talk too much so as not to wake the baby and in doing so Maureen and I joined little Zak in slumber for a short time before Paul came back into the room with John and Cynthia in tow.

“Are we interrupting sleepy time?” Cynthia asked in a whisper.

“No, no, come on in,” Maureen said somewhere between awake and asleep.

“Well now, is this the wee little Starkey?” John asked in a near whisper.

“Aye,” Maureen said. “This is Zak,” she looked down at the baby in her arms and smiled.

“He’s beautiful,” Cynthia said quietly while walking over to take a better look.

I smiled at them, mesmerized by the happiness that radiates from people in the presence of a newborn baby. Then I glanced at John and noticed he was already looking at me. Our eyes locked and we both smiled thoughtfully at each other. A clearing of Paul’s throat broke our gaze and John and I both turned to look at him. He was giggling silently, which told me he had witnessed the little moment John and I had just shared. Paul pursed his lips together in a crooked smile and wiggled his eyebrows playfully and I felt my face grow hot and knew it must have turned bright red. Luckily Cynthia and Maureen were talking and hadn’t noticed a thing.

“And you look so great,” Cynthia said. “When I had Julian I was such a mess, but you… Doesn’t she, John?” she turned and looked momentarily at John, then turned her back once more on John to face Maureen. “Doesn’t she look great?” she asked again, looking at Maureen with a big smile.

But rather than look at Maureen, John looked at me.

“Aye… yeah, she looks bloody marvelous,” he said meaningfully, then shot a killer smile in my direction that caused me to catch my breath.

Paul giggled again, but out loud this time.

“Why are you laughing, Paul? Don’t you agree?” Cynthia turned and asked him naively.

“‘Course I agree,” Paul smiled broadly at Cynthia and Maureen, but when Cynthia turned away from him to face Maureen again, he winked at me.

I blushed again.

We all sat around chatting and laughing, forgetting to be quiet for poor little Zak, but he continued sleeping peacefully. He only stirred when John would, every once in a while, get too loud. No one else’s voice seemed to bother him. Soon, Ringo returned and entered with a teddy bear and a bouquet of flowers.

“For me, Richie? You shouldn’t have,” John said holding his hand out.

“Gerroff,” Ringo said with a smile as he sat the stuffed bear and flowers aside and moved in to kiss Maureen and the baby.

“Ta, Rich,” Maureen said. “They’re beautiful.”

“You got lucky, you know,” John said to Ringo.

“How do you reckon?” Ringo asked.

“Your poor little one could’ve been stuck with your Big Ben of a hooter, but luckily for him he looks like Maureen,” John giggled.

“Come off it, John,” Maureen said in a scolding tone.

“No, he’s right you know?” Ringo smiled. “Bloody fantastic, isn’t he?” he asked.

We all concurred and shortly after, the nurse reappeared and said she’d have to clear us out of Maureen’s room because it was time for her to get some rest and for Zak to return to the nursery. So we said goodbye and congratulated her once more before returning to the lobby. Once there we found there had been an increase in occupants during the time we were in Maureen’s room. The boys obligingly signed a few autographs before all of us, including Brian, made our way for the exit. Mal and Neil stayed a ways behind to make sure the fans weren’t following us to the cars. There were a couple of reporters and a Pathe news camera outside this time and Brian quickly directed Cynthia and I to go wait in the cars leaving the boys to deal with the press.

“Congratulations, Ringo, we hear your wife had the baby,” one reporter said.

“Yes, yes,” Ringo replied all smiles. “She had the baby and then she gave it to me. It’s a little boy.”

“What do you plan on doing now?” the reporter asked.

“He’s going to Disneyland,” John answered and the reporters chuckled.

“No plans to take a break?” the second reporter asked.

“Well, you know, we’re sort of all taking a bit of a break right now,” Paul answered for him.

“So he and Maureen planned the baby’s arrival quite nicely as it seems,” John added receiving a few more giggles.

“John, did you and Paul come as soon as you heard the news?”

“Yes, we came together,” John said, winking at Paul.

“Pass cigars around. All that bit,” Paul added, suppressing a laugh.

“And where’s George?” the first reporter asked.

“George? George who?” John piped up.

Everyone laughed.

“He’s gone on holiday right now,” Ringo answered.

“But he has heard the news?”

“Well, if he hasn’t, he will do soon won’t he though?” John said, his accent getting thicker with every word.

“They do doh, don’t dey doh?” Paul chimed in with an accent equally as thick. Then John made his famous “spastic” face at the camera.

The reporters chuckled once more.

“Yes, I phoned him up this morning. He’s quite happy for us,” Ringo said.

“Paul, will the Beatles be going back into the studio anytime soon?”

“Yes we should be back there in a few weeks to start recording our new album,” Paul said.

“Shhh. You’re not s’posed to tell ‘em when we’ll be there,” John said.

“Oh yes, pardon me. That was a complete and total lie. You can’t use that,” Paul said, then added in a stage whisper, “No, but we really are going to.”

“And will there be another tour?”

“I imagine so, you know, but I couldn’t say for sure when it’ll be,” Paul answered.

“We’ve only just come back from America about a week ago,” Ringo said.

“‘Bout a week,” John repeated playfully.

“Right then, thanks a lot. We really must be going. Cheers,” Paul wrapped the question/answer session up and made to get into his car.

The reporters thanked them kindly and then respectfully left the boys without begging to ask any more questions. Afterward, Ringo stood around for a short time speaking to Brian while Neil and Mal got in the car with Paul and me. John left Cynthia alone in their Rolls for a moment and came over to Paul’s car to ask what he was going to do for the rest of the day. Paul said he didn’t know exactly, because he had so many things to do but didn’t particularly feel like doing any of them.

“And you, Maggie? What d’you have planned?” John asked.

“Well, I should probably go to school since we’re already done visiting Maureen and the baby. I could still make it to a couple of my classes.”

And my answer to John’s question received boos, rude comments, and curses in return from the boys.

“Fine, fine!” I gave in. “But I have no other plans, so I guess I’ll just go home.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Paul said. “Can’t go home myself, the gate birds will be out in full force at this time of day. And I’ll phone Christine and tell her just to come over your flat when she gets done.”

“‘Hang on here for a sec while I go talk to Cyn,” John said.

They were parked right near us and the window on John’s Rolls was down, so we could hear every word that was said. And we were especially silent to make sure of it.

“Cyn, want to go and hang around Maggie’s flat for a bit?” John asked.

“And do what?” she asked flatly.

“And do… I don’t know. Nothin’ in particular. Christ Almighty, must there always be a definite fucking plan with you? Can’t you for once in your life live in the soddin’ moment?”

“John, I have responsibilities. There’s Julian. There are things that need to be done at home. I can’t just go and loaf about with your friends all day, doing ‘nothin’ in particular.’”

“Oh I see? They’re our friends when we’re out in fucking public, but they’re my friends, when I just want to go and hang out with them? You’re too bloody good, eh?”

Cynthia didn’t respond.

“Bloody hell,” John said out of sheer frustration.

“Look, John, you go and do whatever you feel is necessary and I’ll do the same.”

“Take her wherever the fuck she wants to go. Just get her the hell out of my sight,” John told his driver, then banged on the roof of his Rolls with his fist and walked back toward Paul’s car as his Rolls pulled away and headed down the street.

None of us said anything to him when he came and got in Paul’s car. I had never seen John that angry. He was sort of scary. After a minute I felt brave enough.

“So I guess we’ve decided we’re going to my place?” I said.

They all broke out laughing, including John.

“Actually I can’t,” Neil said regretfully.

“Me either,” Mal added.

“What? What the fuck?” John asked annoyed.

“Sorry mate, I just have things to do,” Neil said.

“People to see,” Paul said.

“Places to go,” I added.

And we laughed again.

Just then Brian walked over to Paul’s car with Ringo.

“Might I ask why you’re just sitting around here like an easy target for the press, who are just around the corner?”

“We’re waitin’ on you, Brian, dahling,” John said batting his eyelashes.

“Not amused,” he said. “Now really, run along. You’ve already given one more spontaneous press conference today than I had intended on. I’m going to take Ringo over to Maureen’s parents’ house. Can I take anyone home?” he asked directing the question at me.

“Maggie stays,” John said, wrapping his arms around me dramatically. “But you can take Neil and Mal, ‘cause apparently they have more important things to do today than hang round with their employers,” he added with a bit of leftover anger still echoing in his voice.

“Come on, John. You know we’d go with you if we could,” Mal said.

“Right, son,” John said. “You can, you’re just not.”

“That’s all right. Just miss out on the orgy, they will,” Paul joked winking at me.

I had never really heard him talk like that. I was somewhat surprised. Sounded more like something John would have said. But I guess that’s how boys are around their friends. Always showing off.

“Don’t say the word, orgy too loud. Brian’s liable to decide he wants to come!” John said in a stage whisper, and then chuckled loudly.

Brian gave a sour face, and then walked away toward his car.

“Oh come on, Bri, I was only messin’ Come back. Give us a kiss!” John yelled out the window. “Christ, fine! You can come to the bloody orgy if you want!”

Neil and Mal got out of Paul’s car to join Ringo, who was following behind Brian like a baby chick following a mother hen. John pulled his head back into the car laughing. Giving Brian shit always seemed to cheer him up.

“Right,” Paul said. “Who’s goin’ to drive now, then?”

“It’s your car, son, but if you want I’ll have a bash at it,” John said.

“You get near the steering wheel and I’ll thump ya,” Paul said.

“Well I hope you’re not thinking I’m going to drive,” I said. “I haven’t driven once the entire time I’ve been in England and I don’t intend for my first experience driving on the opposite side of the road to be in Paul McCartney’s Aston Martin! I can just see the headlines now.”

“And what do they say, love?” John asked.


“And they’d be dead on too!” Paul laughed. “‘Cause I’d murder ya!”

“Only, the English would never wish an American, like you, to rest in peace. Pieces, maybe, but never peace,” John giggled.

I stuck out my tongue at him.

“Oh fine, I’ll drive me own bloody car then. It was so much easier when we used to ride the bus,” Paul said moving over to take Neil’s place behind the wheel.

And it wasn’t a moment too soon either. A group of girls came walking down the street and immediately recognized the Beatle in the front seat. They began running straight for us as Paul pulled away from the curb. I heard cries of disappointment erupt and could understand and sympathize with them. They had been so close to meeting their idols just to have their opportunity speed away. And here I was riding in the car with the two of them. Back to my apartment. How had I gotten so lucky? Maybe they’d write a song while sitting around my living room? When I really thought about what was happening it all just seemed so surreal.

When we arrived back at my apartment, there was a man walking his dog down the street and we waited for him to pass us by before we got out of the car to go inside. I didn’t live in a very busy area, so we didn’t have to worry too much about people being outside and seeing them around my apartment. Still, with all the times they had come to my place, we had been very lucky that no one had seen them go in or leave. It made it easier for them to relax knowing there were no fans or reporters waiting around outside. And it made my life easier as well, as I had no desire to have my privacy invaded by their droves of adoring fans. Once we were in my apartment they both made themselves quite at home. Paul plopped down on my sofa and phoned Christine to let her know to come to my apartment instead of the hospital. And John wandered over to my refrigerator.

“Cor, you really are a single bird, aren’t you? You’ve got nothin’ to eat at all!” he said.

“That’ll never do,” Paul said hanging up the phone. “I’m starvin’! I’ll call Christine back and have her bring us something to eat when she comes.”

“I’ve got bread,” I said a little embarrassed.

I wasn’t expecting guests and I hadn’t gone to the market in over a week.

“I could make some toast with marmalade,” I said. “At least it would be something to eat.”

“Oh, sounds lovely and have you any tea, madam?” Paul asked in a most distinguished British accent.

“Yeah, lovie, tea’s just what we need right now, ‘tis. Tea an’ toas’ would jus’ ‘it the spot, that would. ‘Ave any, do ya?” John played along in a scouser accent so thick I could barely understand him.

“I say, what sort of heathen dialect is that you’re speaking, sir? I do believe you have scared the young lady,” Paul continued with exaggeratedly proper pronunciation.

“Piss off, ya arse. Yer the scary one, ye snotty bourgeois upper class bastard, ‘idin’ behin’ yer clichés an’ false assumptions,” John spoke very quickly and rolled all of his r’s.

“The whole country has gone to pot,” Paul said disgustedly, folding his arms across his chest and shaking his head.

“Speakin’ of,” John said pulling a small clear bag out of his pocket and swinging in front of Paul’s face tempting him.

“Ooh, give us some!” Paul exclaimed snatching the bag from John and running to the opposite side of the room.

He opened the bag and inhaled deeply.

“You’re not going to smoke that in my apartment?” I said.

“You’re right, love,” John said smiling wickedly. “We’re goin’ to smoke it.”

“Look, smoking it in the country was one thing…” I said

I had a mental image of the three of us sitting around getting stoned as the police busted down my door and arrested us all. I could just imagine all the headlines and news stories that would follow. And Brian standing at a press conference turning the whole thing around by putting all the blame on me, the evil American girl that led his boys astray.

“Oh, scared are you?” John taunted, his eyes narrowing in delight at my discomfort.

But I couldn’t give him the satisfaction.

“Hardly,” I said, walking over to Paul who was already sitting and rolling a big fat joint.

I stole it from him the second he sealed it and walked back over where John was still standing.

“‘Ey! I was rolling one that for me self, you bloody thief!” Paul exclaimed.

“Got a light?” I asked John as coolly as possible.

John almost doubled over in laughter.

“You silly girl,” he said reaching out and pulling me close to him hugging me tightly. “Got a light,” he repeated in a giggle.

He was on to me. I pulled away from him blushing slightly and he pulled a lighter from his pocket and lit the joint for me.

The three of us sat around smoking and talking about nothing in particular for quite some time, laughing at nearly everything one another said.

“What about that toast and tea then, love?” Paul asked.

“Excuse me, do I look like your servant?” I asked.

“Oooh,” John giggled.

“No, dear, you’re much prettier than her,” Paul shot one of his famous smiles.

“You’re just lucky I’m hungry too,” I got up, shaking a finger at him.

I left them for a moment to prepare our snack and when I returned they were both looking at me strangely. That is, Paul was looking at me. John was sort of staring at the floor trying to avoid looking at me. I carried the toast and tea on a tray over to the coffee table and sat it down in front of them all the while aware that Paul was watching my every move. I sat down in the same chair I had been sitting in across from the chair where Paul was sitting and diagonal from where John was seated on my sofa. I looked at Paul and he was still staring at me.

“What?” I finally asked him.

“Just wonderin’ something,” Paul said, no expression on his face.

“Wondering something about what?” I bit.

“About why you won’t just give John a bloody chance,” he said taking a big bite of his toast nonchalantly.

Well, there went my high. And I had a good one going too. I made a face at Paul to let him know I didn’t appreciate him bringing the topic up in front of John. John looked up at me and leaned back on the sofa with his cup tea, and angled himself slightly so as to see me more easily. And he stared deep into my eyes, searching for my answer. But I had no quick and easy answer to give him. Either of them. I sighed trying to come up with some shorthand explanation, or better yet a way to answer without really answering. No one spoke and I was supremely uncomfortable. I could feel tiny beads of perspiration building on my forehead.

“John and I have discussed this, Paul,” I said annoyed. “And we have decided just to be friends.”

I was growing angrier at the situation as I spoke.

“I don’t know why you’re bringing this up now, or what makes you think it’s any of your damn business anyway. Because, it’s not,” I gritted my teeth.

“I bloody told you she was goin’ to get mad, John,” Paul said. “It was just a joke, Maggie. John told me to do it.”

John started laughing uncontrollably and I realized why he had kept his head down while Paul was asking me the question. So I wouldn’t see him holding back his laughter.

“Christ you’re easy to piss off,” John laughed. “I like it.”

“You, ass,” I exclaimed and I leapt onto the sofa to attack him.

He quickly sat his cup of tea on the coffee table, anticipating my attack, and received me into his open arms. He then pinned me down between himself and the sofa. And holding both of my wrists over my head with one hand, he used his other to tickle me mercilessly. I fought my hardest to break free but before I could, he leaned forward and kissed me briskly on the lips. I was so surprised I instantly stopped fighting and stared at him wide-eyed. The kiss caught even John by surprise according to the look on his face. He had obviously not planned to do that. He unconsciously loosened his grip on my wrists and stared down at me waiting for my reaction. But before I could even register what had happened enough to react, Paul rescued us from the awkward situation.

“Aw, look what you’ve done now. You’ve let her loose!” he said, sitting his cup of tea on the coffee table and coming over to help John. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you get her back under control, mate.”

I began laughing again as the tension was broken and we were all three wrestling like a bunch of little kids. They were tickling me as they tried to pin me down, but I fought back wriggling around like a fish out of water and tickling them whenever I had a chance. They had finally gotten me pinned down again when Christine walked into my apartment looking tired and in no mood for games.

“Oh, hullo, love,” Paul said releasing me in order to go and greet Christine at the door.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Orgy of course. You’re just in time, Chris,” John said wiggling his eyebrows.

I remembered that earlier Paul had told Neil and Mal they were going to miss out on the orgy and I giggled at John’s comment. Paul must have remembered as well as he too began to giggle.

Christine raised an eyebrow in mild suspicion, and then asked Paul, “Are you high?”

Paul held up two fingers indicating he was just “a little” high, and then giggled some more.

I began to ramble. “Well, I thought we had all sobered up a little because Paul asked me a question that was really a very serious question, or so it seemed serious at the time. But then it turned out that it had only been a joke, or it was supposed to have been a joke, at least and…” I said, making sense only to myself.

“You’re all high?” she asked.

“Well if you would let me finish, Christine,” I groaned, still pinned down, on the sofa, beneath John and looking upside down at Christine. “I thought my high had worn off. But… um… ugh, now I don’t remember where I was in the story and I’m going to have to start all over again…”

John put his hand over my mouth.

“The answer to your question is ‘Yes. We’re high as kites,’” he giggled.

“I thought you said you didn’t have any more pot,” Christine said, in an accusatory tone, to Paul.

“I don’t… I didn’t. It’s John’s. Or… it was John’s,” he smiled.

I bit John’s hand so he would let me go.

“Ouch!” he exclaimed removing his hand from my mouth and climbing off of me.

And as I sat upright, I apologized, “So sorry we smoked it all, Christine. We would have saved you some but… um…”

I couldn’t think of a single reason we hadn’t saved a joint for her.

“But we were too busy gettin’ stoned,” John grinned.

That really was the truth, but I could tell Christine was not interested, so I quickly changed the subject, “You missed everything! Where have you been all day? You didn’t get to see Ringo’s new baby. And he’s so adorable.”

“Yes, we’ll have to go see Mo. Maybe tomorrow. Little Zak really is a very cute baby,” Paul said stroking Christine’s long hair in a soothing manner.

“Yeah, lucky for him he doesn’t look a thing like Ringo,” John chuckled.

“I hope you didn’t say that in front of Ringo and Mo, John,” Christine frowned disapprovingly.

“‘Course I did. I’d never say it behind their backs,” John defended.

Christine rolled her eyes.

“Besides, Ringo knows I just like to give him shit,” John said.

Christine ignored John and turned her attention to me.

“I can’t believe you skipped school again,” she said in a motherly tone.

I frowned knowing she was right. I really should have gone. I couldn’t start missing school all the time like I used to when I was in high school.

“Cor Paul, your bird really knows how to suck the fun out of a room, doesn’t she? I think my fucking high’s gone now. Reminding me a bit of Cyn, she is,” John said.

“I’m sorry,” Christine said. “I don’t mean to be a drag. I have just had sort of a bad day.”

“Aw, what’s the matter, love?” Paul asked putting his arms around her and kissing her neck lovingly.

“It just wasn’t a very good day to be dating a Beatle,” she sighed miserably.

John looked as if he had a smart response on the tip of his tongue but decided against saying it. Instead he reached over and stole the piece of toast I was about to eat right out of my hand and took a bite. I elbowed him in the ribs and he spit it out into his hand.

“Christ, you can have it back if you want it that badly,” he said, handing it to me.

“Ew, get that away from me,” I said smacking his hand and causing the soggy piece of toast to fall in his lap.

He picked it up and put it in his mouth. I gave him a disgusted look and turned my attention to Christine who was looking very glum.

“What happened today, Christine?” I asked.

Christine inhaled deeply and then let out a sigh, “Well, when I left my house this morning there was the usual small group of fans waiting around. I was in a big hurry because I had to take an exam and my professor is a real stickler for punctuality. I didn’t really have time to give all of them my autograph, which is always strange to me anyway. Why they would want my autograph is beyond me?”

“‘Cause you’re shagging the ‘Cute One,’” John said. “Closest most of ‘em are ever going to get to doing it themselves.”

Paul smiled, “Closest all of them are ever going to get to doin’ it themselves.”

“Well, they were all very friendly and polite as usual, until I said I had to go. Then some of them started threatening to go to the press saying what an awful person I was. And I knew you wouldn’t like that,” she said to Paul. “So I stayed and signed autographs for all of them… and some for their cousins… or little sisters… or whoever… People that weren’t even there, as well!”

“Oh love, you didn’t?” Paul said squeezing Christine close to him and rocking her in his arms.

She laid her head on his shoulder.

“And I was late for my test.”

“What did your teacher say?” I asked.

“I couldn’t go in. He had already locked the door,” Christine moaned.

“Bloody bastard,” John said. “Which teacher is he? Paul, you should go thump him. I would, but she’s your bird.”

“What does he teach, Chris? I think I probably should go have a word with him. Just to set things straight,” Paul said lovingly rubbing her arm.

“No you won’t,” Christine raised her head off his shoulder to look him in the eyes. “It wasn’t his fault I was late. He told us about his tardy rule long ago. He was just sticking to the rules.”

“So what will happen now?” I asked.

“Hopefully he’ll let me make it up since he saw that I was actually there.”

“You mean the prick saw you standing outside the bloody door and still wouldn’t let you in?” John asked.

Christine nodded.

“What a fuckin’ knobhead,” John said.

“Then, as I was leaving…” Christine continued.

“Oh no, there’s more?” Paul asked.

“Yes, and you’re really not going to like this part,” she said.

Paul raised his eyebrows in anticipation.

“I ran into a classmate of mine, a male classmate, and I told him what had happened. And he offered to treat me to a bite to eat to make me feel better.”

“Which really means he wants to get in your knickers,” John said matter-of-factly.

I made a face at John.

“What? It does,” he said.

“No, he’s just a friend. And I was starving, so I took him up on his offer and went to the café across the street with him. We had a bite and talked for just a little while, because I didn’t have anything else I needed to do right then. And as we were leaving the cafe, we hugged goodbye.”

“Oooh, Paul. What’re you going to do about that?” John teased.

“Sod off,” Paul said.

“And as we hugged I heard the click of a camera nearby,” Christine continued.

“Oh, no. Oh, Chris,” now Paul was the one that looked upset.

“It’s not my fault, Paul. How was I supposed to know there was a sleazy reporter following me around?”

“Well you shouldn’t be going round cuddling other blokes while you’re dating me, bollocksing things up with the press. Brian’s going to do his nut over this,” he said with finality.

Christine’s eyes widened.

“Excuse me?” she asked.

“Sorry, it’s just that… Well, you know how it’s going to look,” Paul said.

“I know. That’s why I went over to him and told him it was either the camera or his balls,” she said.

“‘Atta girl!” John clapped his hands and howled with laughed.

And now my eyes were wide. That was a bold move for Christine. It sounded more like something I would have done in my wilder days than something she would ever be brave enough to do. I was proud of her strength.

“And what did he say?” I asked excitedly.

“He said he couldn’t give me the camera, so for me to do what I needed to do.”

“Well, at least you tried, babe,” Paul said.

“Yes, but then he changed his mind. And he said he’d trade the camera for an exclusive interview with me,” Christine said.

“And?” Paul asked anxiously.

“I had to let him have the camera, Paul,” she said, as if bracing herself for the reaction she knew Paul was going to have.

“Oh, Christ’s sake, why didn’t you give him the bloody interview? There’s nothin’ you could’ve said that would’ve turned out any worse than he’s goin’ to make that photo of you and your friend look,” Paul said frustrated.

“I know, but Brian specifically told me not to speak to the press,” Christine said almost pleading with Paul to forgive her. “The whole world doesn’t know about me because I’ve never even given a brief comment to the newsmen, much less an interview. All they have of me so far are pictures and I think Brian wants to keep it that way.”

“Sod Brian. I don’t care who knows about you. Anyway, you think Brian’s going to be happy when he sees a picture of you all snuggled up with some bloke and a headline sayin’ something negative about me?”

“You’re fuckin’ paranoid, son,” John said to Paul. “It’s the drugs talking, not him. You know that,” he asked Christine.

She made a face telling him she wasn’t so sure.

“Paranoid?!” Paul squeaked. “John, you know…”

“Christ, Paul, stop your crying. You sound like a little girl. It’s not the end of the fucking world,” John said.

“Yes, maybe they won’t even use the picture, Paul,” I added knowing full well they would.

There were no pictures that were remotely Beatle-related that weren’t being used at that time. Beatlemania was in full force and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Still, there was the possibility that fans wouldn’t believe it. Especially if it was in a gossip rag. Or maybe they’d see the photo and not care at all. Or even feel sorry for Paul for having a “cheating” girlfriend. There was really no way to know what the reaction would be until the photo came out. And who knew when that would be?

“You’re always so bloody concerned with what everyone’s goin’ to think. Let everyone just fuck right off. It doesn’t matter what it says in the papers.” John said.

“All right,” Paul said, taking in a deep breath. “Maybe I am getting excited for nothing. Perhaps this bloke will be gentlemanly enough not to use the photo at all,” Paul said trying to maintain an ounce of optimism.

But Christine just sighed. She looked miserable. I could tell she was on the verge of tears. She didn’t believe for one minute that the photographer wouldn’t use that photo and she knew Paul didn’t really believe it either. None of us did.

“Aw Chris I’m sorry,” Paul said sincerely, noticing how upset Christine was.

“Look at ya, Macca, upsetting the chickie. I say ya drag her off to the bedroom and show her how sorry ya really are,” John growled in some sort of strange accent that was reminiscent of a pirate.

We all laughed, including Christine. And she seemed to brighten a little.

“I say, that is a brilliant idea!” Paul grinned as he wrapped his arms once more around Christine and pulled her close to him.

And in the next moment, my telephone rang. I jumped up and ran toward the kitchen to answer it. The voice on the other end of the line sent a shiver through my body causing me to feel as though I might pass out. I was still feeling slightly high and in no condition to speak to her.

No comments:

Post a Comment