Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 9

I fell asleep almost instantly after hanging the phone up with John. And the next night I went on my date with Edward to a lovely, yet somewhat pricey restaurant. Afterward we went to a French picture that I was not very impressed with but that Edward seemed to like. When we got back to my apartment, I could tell he wanted me to invite him in. It was written all over his face. And as badly as I needed to be touched, kissed, loved, I couldn’t bring myself to let him come in. Edward was just not the one I wanted those things from. We kissed goodnight at my door and he got a little free with his hands, but I allowed him to as he and I were both enjoying it. I felt I owed him at least that since I had been basically avoiding him all week at school. Finally I had had enough of him fondling me and I pulled away from Edward, who groaned miserably, but was too shy to actually come out and ask if he could stay over. It was almost humorous, the way he was. I had never dated a boy like him. So polite, so shy, so genuinely nice and proper. I told him goodbye and he asked if he could take me out sometime during the week. I said it would depend on my school workload, but really I just wasn’t sure what John had planned and I wanted to keep my options open. Edward leaned in and kissed me hungrily and again I pulled away and told him goodnight. Turned on by the desire in I saw in Edward’s eyes, and in his kiss, when I finally got into my apartment, I was hornier than ever. I wanted to phone John up and tell him to come over, but I restrained myself. I just couldn’t do that to myself. I couldn’t risk him coming over and us having the wonderful time that I know we would, full of passion and desire. I couldn’t risk falling in love with him because of the things I knew he would say to me, the way he would make me feel. But then I began to wonder if all my attempts to protect myself from getting hurt were really working? I felt like I was falling in love with John even without having a physical relationship with him, so what good was keeping our relationship platonic really doing? He wanted me and I wanted him. Wasn’t that enough? I got into bed and tried to turn my mind off. After laying there thinking about John for what felt like hours, I finally drifted off to sleep.

A few uneventful days passed. I hadn’t heard from John since he had called Friday night to talk to me about Brian and I began to wonder what his absence meant. Was he re-thinking what he had told Brian; that he wouldn’t stay away from me? Had he decided that maybe he should away from me after all? Maybe he was trying to keep away for a few days, as a trial period, to see if he would be able to? I worried a bit about it, but decided there wasn’t much I could do in the long run. If he was re-thinking it, that was his decision. And realistically, it would make things a lot easier if we weren’t together as often as we had been. Though I had been a bit pre-occupied obsessing over why I hadn’t heard from John, I carried on with school and job-hunting. I told Edward I would be available to go to dinner some night that week if he wanted, but it turned out that he was too busy. I don’t know if he was lying about being busy or not, but it didn’t really matter. Wednesday when I got home from school I was absolutely exhausted from a long day of classes and job-hunting between classes, so I lay down on my sofa to take a nap. After quite some time the phone rang and I lazily made my way over to the kitchen to answer it.

“Hello?” I yawned into the phone.

“Maggie? Were you asleep?” Christine’s voice asked.


“Well, get up and get ready to go.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Come out tonight with us,” she said.

“Oh Christine, I’m too tired to go out tonight. Besides, we have school tomorrow.”

“Maggie, that’s never stopped us before. Don’t be a drag. It’ll be fun. Besides, I haven’t seen you in a while.”

“You’ve been too busy with Paul,” I said, not intending for the statement to come out as jealous-sounding as it did. “Where are you going anyway?”

“The Ad-Lib, of course. It’s their favorite place, I think. It doesn’t seem like we’ve been going anywhere else lately,” she laughed.

“Aw, Christine, I don’t know…”

“Just for a little while. Please? For me?”

“What time are you going?” I asked.

“Meet us there around 9:00 p.m.”

I don’t know why I ended up giving in. I was so tired. And I wasn’t in a particularly high-spirited mood. But I got ready anyway. I pulled on a chocolate-brown mini dress with long sleeves, a white collar, and white cuffs. And I piled my long dark hair loosely on top of my head. I completed the look with stockings, brown heels, and my white coat. It was October now and the evening air was very chilled. When I left my apartment, I had to walk a ways before I found a cab that was available. It was even colder than I thought so I was glad for the warmth of the taxi. Getting to the Ad-Lib seemed to be taking forever that night and I laughed to myself remembering what John had said before about me living so far away. It had never seemed too far away to me, but that night, because I was so exhausted, it seemed to be taking an eternity to get there.

When I got to the Ad Lib, I immediately saw George and Pattie, but Christine and Paul were nowhere to be seen. Pattie beamed at me and struck up a conversation without hesitation. She and George seemed to be very happy and incredibly excited. They were both talking about a hundred miles a minute. I couldn’t even keep up. Soon, Paul and Christine arrived and came to sit and talk with us. We were all having a grand time, but I couldn’t control my yawning. I was just so beat. After a while, John and Neil Aspinall showed up and after briefly conversing with some musicians, who’s faces I recognized, but who’s names I didn’t know, they wandered over to where the rest of us were.

“Why, Maggie Jones, I do believe you’ve fallen into your old bad patterns. Out on a school night, eh? Tsk, tsk, Mummy would quite disapprove,” John taunted as he and Neil sat down with the rest of us.

“Har, har,” I said sarcastically. “I’m a big girl. I can go out when I please.”

John gave me a mischievous little smile, and then cracked some joke about Paul, changing the subject. We all sat in a cozy group talking and laughing for a little while. The guys talked about going back into the studio soon and we all discussed some of the new bands that were popping up all the time and Pattie gave us the latest on Ringo, and Maureen, and the baby. But as we all exchanged stories and jokes John noticed that I kept yawning. And he embarrassed me by pointing it out to the group.

“Aw, is the school girl tired?” he asked with a pouted lip.

I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Just tired of your boring stories,” I shot back.

With John, you could never be too sure whether something you said was going to set him off or not. It was a risk you took in making fun of him or debating him… or speaking to him calmly, for that matter. For the most part he took jokes good-humoredly and responded to them cleverly and wittily. But John was a walking inconsistency. One minute he might laugh at a particular joke and the next minute, he might become enraged about the very same joke. And he could be cruel when he wanted, particularly if he felt like you made him look, in any way, as less than a man. So, though my joke was only a little thing, it was only until he laughed at my poking fun at him that the others joined in as well.

“You put him in his place, Maggie!” George laughed.

“You’re getting quicker with that tongue, I think,” John shook a finger at me. “But be careful trying to go toe-to-toe with me, little girl,” he grinned wickedly.

“I’m shaking,” I teased.

I wasn’t afraid of him... Well, not for the most part. He did frighten me sometimes. But I think everyone was scared of him sometimes. That’s the way he wanted it.

“You should be,” he said, only half joking.

I rolled my eyes playfully.

“Oh, come off it, Maggie. Be honest now. Tell us all, you stayed up all night shaggin’ and that’s why you’re so tired?” Paul asked cheekily.

And I noticed John glance in my direction with raised eyebrows for my answer.

“Well… if you must know,” I batted my eyelashes wildly.

Everyone roared with laughter. Everyone, I noticed, except John, who maintained a cool, and still curious, expression.

“No, no. I honestly have no idea why I’m so tired,” I said. “But Christine forced me to come out anyway,” I narrowed my eyes at her in mock anger.

“Well, we’re glad you did,” Pattie said cheerfully.

“Yeah, Pattie’s always on about how we should have you over,” George said.

“We should get together,” I said. “We really should.”

Pattie smiled brightly and I covered my mouth as I yawned again.

“Sorry,” I said.

“I got your solution right here,” John said handing me a couple of pills.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Just a couple uppers,” he said.

I had never taken uppers and was a little apprehensive, but I felt like everyone was watching and waiting for me to take them. So, without thinking, I grabbed the nearest glass, popped the uppers in my mouth, and washed them down with someone’s Scotch and Coke.

“This ought to be interesting,” I heard John say under his breath to Neil and I wondered what he meant by that.

Then Christine shouted, “What are you doing?!” giving me an incredulous look. “You’re not supposed to mix pills with liquor!”

I shrugged. I did know that, but I hadn’t taken the time to think before I acted.

John and Paul giggled.

“Give her a good whacking, mum,” John said comically.

“Look, I’ll volunteer my services right now. Let the record show,” Paul said in a very formal tone of voice.

“I’m making a note of it,” George said pretending to make note of what Paul was saying on the palm of his hand.

“I shall give the child mouth-to-mouth if we need to resuscitate her in a little while, should the girl be unequipped to handle the effects of the so-called uppers having been taken with alcohol,” Paul grinned toothily.

“You will not!” Christine elbowed him.

“You mean you’d just let me die?” I giggled.

“Aw come on, Chris, it’ll be good for me image to save a life,” Paul teased.

“Well, in that case,” she grinned, shrugging her shoulders dramatically. “Go right ahead and save her if need be. What’s good for your image is good for my image,” she smiled.

“Oh Christ, Paul, you’re in trouble with that one,” John said.

And everyone laughed.

It seemed to take a while before the speed kicked in, but once it had, I could immediately tell the difference. My heart was racing and I had a sudden burst of energy. In fact, I felt like I’d never need to sleep again. I had an urge to use some of my newfound energy, so I grabbed George and made my way out to the dance floor with him. He was fun to dance with, but seemed a bit concerned about leaving Pattie unattended, so I signaled her over and the three of us laughed and danced together like fools in the middle of the dance floor. When George and Pattie were tired, we went back to sit down and there were some people I didn’t know sitting around chatting with John and Paul about music. I found it all to be slightly boring, so this time I grabbed Neil and made him go dance with me. We shouted over the music at each other as we danced.

“Maggie I was wondering,” he shouted. “The boys seem very much to like going to your flat because no one knows about it yet. As far as the fans and newspapers, I mean.”

“Yet is the key word,” I shouted back at him. “If they start spending too much time there, or if they ever get spotted, I highly doubt my apartment will be a safe haven anymore. For them, or me. In fact, if that happens, I may just have to move!”

“Be that as it may, it is safe now,” he said.

“What’s your point?” I asked becoming inexplicably annoyed with the conversation.

My mind and heart were both racing and I had no patience for Neil’s slow way of speaking. I was finding it impossible to concentrate. I could barely even think. Everything around me looked to be moving at as rapid rate as felt I was going, so it seemed to be taking Neil forever to get to the point of what he was talking about.

“Well, as you know, John’s birthday is this Saturday,” he said.

I didn’t know.

“But Brian has arranged for the boys to attend a party that night, for the opening of ‘Twang!’ So, I was wondering if perhaps we could have a bit of a celebration at your place on Friday night?”

“You want to throw a birthday party for John Lennon at my apartment?”

“Well, nothing big of course. John’s big on parties, but not so much on birthdays. But yes, that was the general idea,” Neil said searching my face for my reaction.

“Does John know about this?” I asked. “I mean, you don’t mean this to be a surprise party for him, do you?”

“Well, I’ve spoken to him about the idea, yes. Actually,” he said looking over my shoulder in the direction of where our group was seated, “they’re beckoning us back, so we can discuss this further with the rest of them.”

When we arrived back where everyone was seated I saw that the people that had been sitting there earlier had left and it was only familiar faces once again. I must have given John a strange look, because the first thing he said to Neil was,

“You told her then?”

“You want to have a party at my apartment?” I asked him.

“Gear,” George said. “I’d be quite prepared for that eventuality.”

Paul groaned and threw a drinking straw at George’s head for his cheesiness in reciting one of his lines from “A Hard Day’s Night” and we all laughed.

“Back off, Paulie, or I’ll get your woman on ya!” George said, picking the straw up and throwing it back at Paul.

“Yeah, I was thinking it might be nice to get some of my mates together for a bit of a gathering,” John said.

“And Cynthia?” I asked.

“Cyn’s in Spain on holiday with Julian and her parents right now. Won’t be back ‘til Saturday morning,” a playful smile crept onto his face.

“Come on, Maggie, it’ll be fun,” Christine said.

“Yes, Maggie, please?” George said.

And Pattie nodded her head in eager agreement.

“Oh, God!” I yelled throwing my hands up. “Fine!”

And everyone in our area cheered.

John reached over and gave my knee a squeeze and I stared down at his hand for more than a moment. It was such a strong-looking, masculine hand with long, perfect fingers, callused from years of guitar playing, and neatly manicured nails. I looked from his hand all the way up his black-sleeved arm, to his shoulder, then to his thick neck and that vein that stuck out and drove me crazy when he sang, until I eventually landed on his face. He was looking at me, an amused look on his face and I felt my cheeks turn a little hot, but couldn’t bring myself to turn away. I was sure he was amused because I hadn’t made him remove his hand from my knee, but I couldn’t seem to bring myself to make him do that either. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest and I wasn’t sure if it was because of the speed or because of John. He winked at me and nodded his head a little and finally I was able to get up. I smiled at him as I went over to Christine and watched him watch me the entire time. I grabbed her and pulled her out to the dance floor and we giggled and whirled around dancing like idiots and talking about the boys.

“John likes you, Maggie,” she said.

“He’s married,” I answered, dancing away from her a little.

I couldn’t think about that at that moment. I was in an odd state of euphoria, while at the same time my life seemed to be passing before my eyes. It seemed like every thought I had ever had was racing, one after the other, through my mind without giving me much time to really consider any of them. My heart hammered against my chest and I danced and danced until I felt sweat running down my face. I danced with whoever was around, closing my eyes and moving rhythmically to the music. After a time, I looked around and noticed Christine was no longer on the dance floor. And suddenly I felt woozy and thought I might pass out. The room began to spin and I stood completely still and closed my eyes, trying to make it stop. I held both my arms out trying to balance myself as I felt myself begin to sway involuntarily.

“All right, love. Time to go home,” I heard a voice say.

I opened my eyes to see Neil and John and on either side of me. They guided me out of the club to the street where John’s car was waiting.

“I’m not ready to go,” I said suddenly feeling very angry with them for deciding when it was time for me to go home.

“You were about to pass out back there, dear,” Neil said.

“Yes well now I’m fine, thank you,” I answered.

My heart was still beating wildly. A bit erratically. And I felt very strange.

“Come on, Maggie. Let us take you home,” John said sincerely.

“I can get home myself,” I declared stubbornly. “I’ll walk home. It’s nice out.”

Though I had been cold on my way to the Ad Lib, the chilly October air now felt very soothing on my hot skin. I took a few steps with my eyes closed, feeling the breeze against my face. But the longer I stood outside with John and Neil, I did quickly become cold. The cool air that had just felt so nice now hit my sweat-drenched skin and sent a shiver throughout my body.

“I’m going back inside,” I said heading for the entrance of the club.

“Aw, love, it’s fucking dead in there. Everyone who’s got any sense has already paired off and gone home to shag,” John said.

“Christine and Paul?” I asked wide-eyed.

“Gone,” Neil said. “George and Pattie as well. They left ages ago.”

“Those bastards,” I said. “Christine is the one that wanted me to come out in the first place. And then she leaves without even saying goodbye?”

“She did say goodbye, silly girl,” John giggled. “Don’t you even remember?”

I shook my head. I didn’t remember. All I remembered was dancing with her one minute, and what seemed like the next, she was gone. I began to shake as chills rushed over my body and Neil handed me my coat.

“Still want to walk home, love?” John asked, an amused expression on his face. He could tell I was freezing.

I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Oh I bet that you’re loving this, aren’t you?”

“Loving what?” he furrowed his brow.

“Come on, Maggie,” Neil said. “It’s cold out here. Let’s get you in the car, love.”

But I didn’t answer. Nor did I get into the car. John had given me the uppers solely for his own amusement. That was clear. That’s what his comment to Neil had meant earlier: ‘This ought to be interesting.’ He did it for his own entertainment. Just to see how I would handle it. And I wasn’t handling it very well, and I was angry about that. I didn’t want to look weak in front of him. I wanted to show him I was just as capable of dealing with the speed as he was, and that he had been wrong in thinking that I wasn’t.

“No, Neil,” John said. “She wants to walk home. And I think we should let her,” he said getting into his car.

I stood there looking at him defiantly. He wanted me to apologize for rejecting his offer to take me home. He wanted me to beg him to give me a ride home. But I refused. Neil stood outside John’s car giving me a pitiful look. A pleading look. But I flipped my collar up around my neck, stubbornly, and fastened every button on my coat.

“Get in the bloody car, Neil,” John said.

And giving me one last desperate look, Neil did as he was told.

“See you at me birthday party, love,” John giggled out the window.

“Fuck you, John” I said, flipping him off.

A surprised look came over his face and he smiled wryly.

“Later, love. That will come just a little later. Don’t you worry,” he winked as they drove off.

Then I was alone. And cold. Actually, I was freezing my ass off. I began walking and thought to myself that I would hail the first taxi I saw, but as I walked on, I didn’t see any taxis. Where the hell were they? In fact, there didn’t really seem to be many people around at all. I wondered how late it was. It began to drizzle and I was freezing. The uppers must have begun to wear off because I was feeling progressively rundown. Almost too tired to go on. And I still had a long walk ahead of me, unless I found a taxi. I kept my head down against the chilly wind and stuffed my hands deep in the pockets of my coat. Each time a car passed by, I glanced up to see if it was a taxi, but sure enough it wasn’t. Then a car I recognized turned down the street I was walking along and headed in my direction. I kept walking.

“Enjoying the fresh night air?” John asked, his head hanging out of the car window.

I ignored him and trudged on.

“Get your sweet ass in the car, will you?” John said, the car pulling up alongside me and stopping.

I was in no position to argue at that point, freezing and exhausted, so I got in but said nothing.

“Christ, you’ve made your point,” he said. And then giggled, “You’ve got bollocks.”

I began to laugh as well. There was nothing left to do. The situation was pretty humorous. He could see right through me.

“I can’t believe you just left me like that!” I said, hitting him.

He giggled and rubbed the spot where I had just socked him.

“Well, you were being a bitch. What else was I supposed to do?”

I rolled my eyes and he smiled.

“Where’s Neil?” I asked.

“Dropped him over some bird’s.”

“John,” I said. “Why did you stay with me even after everyone else had left?”

“I gave you the uppers didn’t I? Had to stay and make sure you didn’t keel over, since it was obvious Paul wasn’t going to stay true to his promise.”

“Oh,” I smiled at him. “And why did you come back for me even after I was a bitch and refused to let you take me home?”

“Well, I couldn’t let you catch your death of cold, could I?” he asked in a high-pitched motherly tone of voice.

“Didn’t stop you from leaving me in the first place.”

“Had to teach you a lesson,” he grinned. “Anyway, I knew you’d never dare act like that if it weren’t for the speed. Guess now we know it makes you aggressive. It was the pills talking, not you.”

“It wasn’t the pills talking, John,” I said. “I didn’t want to let you take me home because I didn’t want to give you the satisfaction. You just gave me those pills because you thought I wouldn’t be able to handle them. You wanted to be able to laugh at me when you saw that you were right and I didn’t want to give you that pleasure.”

“And you thought watching you try to walk all the way back to your flat in the cold, wet weather didn’t give me pleasure? You don’t know me very well at all,” he giggled.

I poked him in the ribs and told him to shut up. We talked the rest of the way to my apartment. He told me he hadn’t phoned or stopped by in a few days because he was spending time with Julian and I told him there was no need to apologize. I understood fully that he needed to spend time with his son. I could see the regret he felt, in his eyes and hear it in his voice, about the relationship he had with Julian. He felt bad for not being around much and not paying much attention to him when he was around and my heart ached to hear the sadness in his voice. When we arrived at my apartment, I got out and he walked me to the door. I unlocked it and told him goodnight, and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. But when I did, he turned his head and our lips met and lingered there pressed together for a moment. I looked at him in surprise and saw that he had his eyes open and was looking at me as well, and we pulled apart and both began to laugh.

“Sorry,” he smiled sheepishly.

“No you’re not,” I laughed.

“No, you’re right,” he said, the expression on his face suddenly becoming very intense.

He grabbed me around the waist and pulled me to him hard and covered my mouth with his. And I was helpless. I wanted him so badly, but I felt awful about it. I opened my mouth in order to get a better taste and his tongue slid in between my lips. He tasted so sweet and his breath was hot in my mouth. Our tongues stroked and searched each other. He squeezed me tightly and I sensed desperation in the way he held onto me. He reached down and grabbed my ass pulling me even closer to him, as if trying to meld our bodies together. Soon, it all became too much and I couldn’t breath. I pulled away and told him goodnight. He looked crestfallen.

“Come on, Maggie,” he panted. “Let me stay the night. I need to be with you.”

This was a huge difference between him and Edward. John just came out and said what he was thinking whereas Edward wouldn’t dare. John’s boldness was such a turn-on, so I suppose that is one of the things that turned me off about Edward. He seemed weak in that sense. He took more of what I considered to be a feminine role, shy and not making clear what exactly he wanted from me. I had always been attracted to men who were manly men. Men who were forward, if not sometimes assholes. And John was nothing if not forward, or an asshole.

“No, John,” I answered.

“Maggie, please,” he said, a look in his eyes I had never seen before. A pleading, longing look.

“John,” was all I said.

I wanted him to come in. I wanted him to stay over and fuck me all night long. I wanted it so badly I could hardly stand telling him no. In fact, telling him no was damn near killing me. But I couldn’t give in to my desires. I was still bent on protecting myself from getting hurt.

“All right,” he said suddenly taking a few steps back. “See you on Friday then?”

The tone in his voice had changed so abruptly I was caught off guard. It was suddenly breezy and removed. I couldn’t tell if that was how much I meant to him; that it didn’t really matter to him one way or the other if I let him stay. Or, if he felt so rejected that taking on this attitude was his only way of hiding it from me and from himself.

I nodded at him.


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