Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 11

Neil and I had a wonderful time at the movie. Neither of us had seen “The Sound of Music,” and it was playing at a nearby cinema so we thought it might be fun. We were pleased to find that all the attention the newspapers had been giving the film was well deserved. It was quite a good story, even if slightly cheesy at some moments. Afterward he and I walked the streets, despite the chill in the air, talking and joking for a while. It was great fun being with Neil. He had the same sense of humor the other boys had and we got on very well. It was as if I had known him all my life. I found him to be very intelligent. In fact, he was much smarter than the boys sometimes gave him credit for being. And if given the opportunity, there was no doubt in my mind that he would do grand things within the Beatle organization.

First thing the next morning John phoned.


“I heard you had a little date with our Neil last night,” he said.

“Well, sort of I suppose. We went to the pictures.”

“Hhhmmm… And then what?” he asked, his voice dropping into a whisper.

“And then he brought me home.”

“And then?”

“And then I went to sleep, John,” I said becoming annoyed at his line of questioning.

“You mean after he fucked you?” he whispered.

“No, I don’t!” I answered disgustedly.

John giggled.

“Did you need something in particular, John? And why are you whispering?”

“‘Cause I’m here at home and Cyn’s just in the other room.”

“Well, I better let you get back to her.”

“What’s wrong with you then?” he asked, taking note of the irritation in my voice. “I’m just curious about your date is all.”

“Why?” I snapped, annoyed that he was whispering to me like I was his mistress and he was afraid of getting caught speaking to me.

“…Just am…” he said barely audibly.

“Look, I’ll talk to you later,” I said.


“Bye, John.”

When I hung up the phone I felt nauseous. He and I had made-out at his party and that had been wrong. I was high and drunk, but I shouldn’t have let it happen. Still, it wasn’t like we were sleeping together. Well, except for that one time a few months ago. But that had been a mistake then as well. I needed to distance myself from him. No matter what Maureen and Pattie had said about his and Cynthia’s relationship, the fact was that he was with Cynthia. Not me. I needed to move on.

A few days passed and I hadn’t gotten a hold of Christine any of the times I had tried to phone her and Edward was out of town, so I ended up spending some time with a few school friends that I hung around every once in a while. They were all nice kids, but it was much different being with them than it was when Christine and I were together. I didn’t really feel I was able to completely be myself around them. And I felt like we didn’t have much in common anymore. Not now. Not since I had been spending so much time in the Beatle camp. But I needed to get back to reality. There was really no place for me within the Beatle crew and I needed to get back to where I was before I had met any of the Beatles. In those few days since his party, John had called my apartment several times but I kept telling him I was on my way out, or that I was about to get into the shower, or anything else I could think of. My feelings for him were becoming too strong and I needed some time away from him to think. By Thursday I had spoken to Lydia Winchester about my test shoot and she set it up for the coming Saturday. When Edward was finally back from out of town, I told him I wasn’t going to be able to make our date on Saturday and asked if we could move it up to Friday.

“Well, I’d love to, but I have a function I must attend on Friday,” he answered, his face dropping slightly in disappointment.

“Well, we’ll get together one of these days I suppose,” I patted him on the arm to let him no that it was no big deal.

He grabbed my hand and pulled me near to him kissing me on the mouth. And this time I actually felt a little spark between us and I smiled, my lips still against his. I wasn’t sure what had gotten into him lately, but I liked it. He seemed surer of himself and I was certainly thankful for his newfound confidence. It was just about the only thing he lacked. Well, other than being too nice and I was still trying to convince myself that that was not a negative quality to have.

“Thank you for understanding, Maggie. Perhaps sometime next week then? Or next weekend?” he said.

I nodded my head unable to speak from the kiss he had just planted on me. Then we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

When Saturday came, the telephone rang as I was headed out the door for my test photo shoot.


“Hullo, love.”

“John, I’m just on my way out the…”

“Oh, Christ. Come off it, Maggie!” he sounded aggravated. “How fuckin’ thick do you think I am? You been avoiding me all bloody week. What the hell’s going on?”

“I have not. I’ve just been busy. And honestly, John, I really do have to go.”

“Fine. Go,” he said. “But trying to ignore your feelings for me is not going to make ‘em disappear. They’ll just build up inside you ‘til you go completely mad. And even then you’re still going to have to face ‘em sooner or later.”

“John, if you’re talking about the other night… we were drunk… and high.... and I know that’s no excuse, but…”

“Come on, Maggie! Drunk, high, or bloody stone sober, the feelings are there! You felt the fucking heat between us. I know you did. The way you responded to my kiss... and my touch… It’s undeniable, love.”

“I have to go, John.”

“Right. Speak to you later then,” he snapped and hung up.

I was shaken after that phone call. He seemed to know just what to say to push my buttons. He knew how to make me laugh, how to get me angry, how to upset me, how to turn me on, and how to completely terrify me. It drove me crazy. I knew I had to push our little conversation out of my mind though and focus on the upcoming shoot. I really needed this contract, because I really needed the money that being a model promised. Either that or I was going to have to find a job cleaning out gutters or something. I couldn’t go on being unemployed and stay in school. I was running out of funds.

When I got to the location where the test shoot was to take place, a sudden fear filled my body and I froze, unable to force myself through the door. What was I doing? I knew absolutely nothing about modeling. I was going to make a complete fool of myself. I took a deep breath and told myself how irrational I was being and finally calmed down enough to go into the studio. There, the receptionist greeted me and then called Lydia up to the front desk. Lydia arrived looking like she, herself, had just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine wearing a tight knee-length red skirt, fitted black turtleneck and her hair done up. She took me back to get my own hair, makeup, and wardrobe done.

Makeup took forever. They must have put three sets of false eyelashes on me. And pale lipstick, which I had seen the models in fashion magazines wear, but I had never felt comfortable enough to wear it myself. I took one look at myself in the mirror and laughed. I had never felt more ridiculous. I felt like an imposter. When it was time to do my hair, I was relieved to see that they styled it much simpler. They swept it to the side across my forehead, pinned it on the one side, and left it hanging loose down my back. It was a style I had worn before. Then, after my hair and makeup were done, it was time for me to get dressed. They gave me a sleeveless dress patterned with various-sized brightly colored rectangles. It was very short and… plastic. I put it on with more than a little trepidation, but to my surprise, combined with the hair and makeup, it didn’t look half bad. I looked more like a ‘work of art’ than a regular person, but I suppose that’s how most models look. Once my look was complete, Lydia took me to a different room where cameras were set up, and a group of people were standing around. I could hear a murmur of conversation as they noticed me and after I introduced myself, I was instructed to go in front of the cameras so I could be photographed. While listening to one of the men give me orders about how to pose, I kept one ear fixed on the group of people talking about me openly as if I wasn’t in the room at all.

“She’s extraordinary Lydia, where ever did you find her?” an older, red-haired woman asked.

“Oh, in a little cafĂ© I frequent,” Lydia responded in her deep tone of voice.

“It’s quite strange actually. She’s a combination of then and now,” a short, bald man said. “I’m definitely intrigued, Lyd.”

“Yes, she’s thin enough, but not quite Twiggy now is she?” a woman with horn-rimmed glasses commented, while jotting something down in a notebook.

“Oh, Twiggy, love. I’ve already had enough of that child. Please,” the short, bald man said. “It’s like everyone is trying to hire the next Twiggy. I’m ready for something exciting. Something new.”

“Well, Twiggy is new, deah, isn’t she?” Lydia asked him.

“Oh she is but she isn’t. You know what I mean, Lyd,” the man replied.

“Her bosom is larger than I’m interested in right now, but I suppose we can overlook that,” said an older man who wore a scruffy beard and sunglasses.

“I didn’t think you were ever interested in bosoms, Charles,” the short, bald man said in jest.

The five of them took a moment to laugh at his joke.

“Well, I actually like a fuller bust,” the red-haired woman said. “And she is tall enough isn’t she?”

“Something different and mysterious about her too,” said the woman in the horn-rimmed glasses.

“Yes, it’s her hair, dahling! Isn’t her hair absolutely fab?” Lydia asked. “One of the things that attracted me to her, actually.”

“Yes. I’m sick to death of all the blondes around here. Everywhere you look it’s blondes, blondes, blondes, blondes, blondes,” Charles, the older man with the beard, said.

“Excuse me?” said the woman in the horn-rimmed glasses, who was a blonde herself.

They all laughed another moment before they realized the photographer was done taking my picture. They thanked me for coming in and said they would be in touch. Then Lydia escorted me back to the dressing room so I could change out of the plastic dress.

“Well, how do you think it went?” I couldn’t help but ask her.

“I think it went swimmingly, dahling!” Lydia smiled. “You’ll be hearing from us very soon. I have no doubt about that! Now, I must get back to them so we can discuss you,” she smiled as she hurried out of the room. “Ta-ta, Maggie.”

After I left, I walked along the street breathing in the crisp October air, trying to make sense of what had just happened. I couldn’t believe how they had been talking about me as though I was not there. And how they were discussing everything from my height to the size of my chest! I wasn’t sure I cared for that critical an evaluation of myself, but I suppose if one is going to be a model, it is something she has to be able to deal with. I hadn’t been home more than a couple of hours when the phone rang. It was Lydia and she said they had all agreed that their agency wanted to represent me and she herself was going to begin working on getting me jobs as soon as possible. She said I would have to come to the agency to sign all the paperwork when I got the chance. When we hung up the phone I was in a sort of state of shock because part of me never expected to actually get the job. I had never thought of myself as unattractive, but never in my wildest dreams had I considered that I was model-material. I knew I would have to call my mother and let her know, but I wasn’t in the mood to listen to her lecture me, so I decided to phone Christine instead. I hadn’t spoken to her in over a week, so I was mildly startled when she actually answered the telephone.

“Hello?” Christine answered the phone.

“Christine!” I exclaimed.

“Oh. Hi, Maggie,” she said, sounding less than enthused.

“Well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed,” I said.

“Oh, right. Sorry.”

“What the hell is your problem? I haven’t talked to you in over a week. Are you mad at me or something?”

“Look, I don’t want to get into it.”

“Too bad, I do,” I said. “What is the problem? I should be the one angry at you. Not the other way around.”

“You should be angry at me?” she scoffed. “That’s a good one. What did I do?”

“Um, let’s see, there’s leaving me alone with Pattie and Maureen, when it was clear I needed your support, or… oh yeah, screwing Paul on my bed during a party you helped talk me into throwing, in the first place!”

“You needed my support? I didn’t see you jumping in to defend the guys when they were talking about what cheaters they all are when they’re on the road,” Christine said.

“That’s what you’re angry about? You didn’t defend them either, Christine. “Besides, I seem to recall you hinting to me that you think Paul cheats on you when they’re touring.”

“Look, I don’t want to talk about this,” she said.

“Christine, what was I supposed to say? It’s probably true. You know it is. It’s not like those guys are all angels. Women throw themselves at them wherever they go.”

“I don’t like to think about it,” she said quietly.

“Aw, Christine, I know it must be hard. But it’s something you’re either going to have to deal with and accept and just know that he still loves you, or you’re going to have to break it off with him. You can’t pretend it doesn’t happen and then get angry when other people talk about it.”

“I know,” Christine said, her voice quivering slightly.

“I’m sorry. I wish you would have told me that was what was upsetting you.”

“I’m sorry for not helping get you out of that awkward conversation,” she said. “And I’m sorry for screwing on your bed,” she giggled. “Although I’m not that sorry. It was great!”

I laughed and accepted her apology. Then I told her about the modeling contract I was going to sign and she was very excited for me. And she offered to take me to go have a drink to celebrate my new job. We went to the Ad-Lib and I was glad to see that no one we knew was there. Most of all I was thankful that John wasn’t there. It seemed like he was always there. We got to the Ad-Lib late and I was tired, so we only stayed for a couple of drinks and then we went home.

The next week seemed to pass by slowly. John hadn’t called all week and I felt a mix of sadness, because I missed him, and encouragement, because maybe I could get over my feelings for him with the space he seemed to be giving me. On Tuesday I went to the modeling agency between classes in order to sign the contract and other necessary paperwork. Lydia told me she had already gotten me a job for Thursday evening, so I eagerly took all the information about my first real fashion shoot from her. Then, on Wednesday night I went to dinner with Mal and George and Pattie. And she and I bored the boys by talking about modeling. I told her I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and she gave me a few pointers. She said for me not to let them force me into doing anything that I didn’t want to do.

“…Like cutting your hair. I wouldn’t do that if I were you, though you’re bound to run into someone who’ll want to. I did. Especially if they have Vidal do your hair. He always wants to cut it. It’s his thing, you know? Likes to do those bobs. But I don’t care what the fad is right now; long hair is the way to go. And your hair is long and gorgeous, so he’ll definitely want to chop it all off the first chance he gets!” she laughed.

It was nice talking to Pattie because, since she was a model, she pretty much knew all the ins and outs of the business. And I was grateful to hear about anything she wanted to tell me, even if the boys looked like they wanted to pull their ears off while she and I were chatting. But even after my conversation with Pattie I was still slightly nervous. And after school on Thursday I went down to the studio Lydia had indicated in the information she gave me, for my first real photo session.

“Well, er… Maggie is it?” a woman asked while shaking my hand.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“The photos we have here are very professional. We like your look very much. It’s very mod. However there’s a new model out there, I’m not sure if you’re aware of her. She’s called Twiggy?”

I must have given her a blank look, because she continued without waiting for my answer.

“Well, she’s very young, very thin, very blond, absolutely no bust… in fact she’s rather boyish. That’s what everyone likes about her. But she’s not for me, her look. Still, she’s gaining in popularity very quickly. You, obviously… are the antithesis of her look.”

“Oh,” I paused, not sure where she was going with this.

“But, that is exactly what we are looking for. Twiggy is so quickly becoming the new standard in fashion, in order to get any attention at all, we must do something rather shocking. And for us, you are shocking. Your hair is dark, you have deep dark eyes, full of mystery, you’re thin, but still very womanly… in short, you’re bloody perfect. And that, Maggie, is how I want you to feel when you get in front of that camera. Be mysterious and seductive, and just utterly flawless. Blow that bitch, Twiggy, out of the bleeding water, love,” she narrowed he eyes and smiled.

So I did. Or at least, I tried. No one tried to cut my hair, so I was relieved about that. They left it hanging loose and did my makeup with heavy eyes and pale lips, which I was quickly learning seemed to be the ‘now look’ in fashion. They photographed me in three different, fabulous, outfits complete with colored tights and heels. And when the shoot was over, I was very pleased to find that I got to keep the clothes this time.

The next day, Friday, it was time for my date with Edward. He wanted to take me somewhere we had never been, but he wanted the place to be a surprise, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to wear. He said it wasn’t a really fancy place so I decided to wear one of the new outfits I had gotten from the fashion shoot. I pulled on the black and blue striped long-sleeved shirt and matching mini skirt, and blue tights I had worn in the shoot, but instead of heels, I wore my black knee-high boots. Edward was really going to flip when he saw me because it was the shortest skirt I had ever worn. I felt a little self conscious, but figured if it was good enough for a fashion magazine; it was good enough for wherever he was taking me. After he picked me up, we drove and drove for a while when suddenly, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.

“Edward, where are we going?” I asked.

“No, no. I told you. It’s a surprise,” he grinned.

“Yes, you did, but please. I really want to know.”

He sighed.

“Oh all right. I’m taking you to this club called the Ad-Lib.”

“Oh, Edward,” I said, covering my face with my hands.

“You’ve heard of it?” he smiled somehow mistaking the tone in my voice for joy rather than complete dismay.

“Yes, but Edward, why are we going there?” I asked.

“Well, because it’s a very important and exclusive club and I…”

“Oh Edward, you don’t have to take me there. Honest. We can go anywhere else. Anywhere you want. Really.”

I knew he just wanted to impress me. The Ad-Lib was not exactly the sort of club he hung around in. But as soon as I suggested we go somewhere else I saw a hurt look on his face. I had upset him without meaning too.

“I’m sorry. I know you planned this all out. The Ad-Lib is fine,” I tried to seem cheery about it.

He smiled, not understanding that I was just saying that to make him feel better. The Ad-Lib was most certainly not fine. I hadn’t seen John in two weeks and I hadn’t spoken to him in a week. And those guys practically lived in that club. I didn’t much care to see any of them and I especially didn’t want to see John. I particularly didn’t want to see him while I was with Edward. I hadn’t even told Edward that I knew any of the Beatles. But that is where Edward wanted to take me and I didn’t want to disappoint him. He was so thrilled about it. So very pleased with himself. I could only hope that, since the boys had already begun recording their next album, they wouldn’t be there tonight. And when we went in the club, at first, it seemed my prayers had been answered. I didn’t see anyone I knew. But before Edward and I even had a chance to find a table to sit down at, I noticed Neil Aspinall making a beeline across the club right for me. I handed Edward my jacket and asked if he would go put it up for me and he was walking away just as Neil reached me.

“Um, hello, Maggie. Who’s your friend?” he asked a bit worriedly.

“My date, actually. A boy I go to school with. His name is Edward,” I said.

“Um, Maggie, I really feel like I must warn you,” I could hear the urgency in his voice. “John’s here and he’s in a right nasty mood.”

“Oh?” I asked trying to pretend it didn’t bother me.

“Yeah. On a bit of a rampage, he is. And I’d hate for you… and especially your friend, to get caught up in it.”

“Well, his ‘rampage’ has nothing to do with me, right?”

“No. No, love. I think he had a fight with Cyn or something. And maybe with Paul. I don’t really know. Hasn’t exactly been a good time to ask him, you know? But it doesn’t matter. He’s been drinking and he’s been nasty to most everyone all night.”

“Neil, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to let John’s ‘rampage’ scare me out of being here. I have just as much a right to be here as he does. And if he has some sort of problem, then he can tell me himself.”

Then, before Neil had another chance to speak, Edward came waltzing back over to us.

“Hello,” he said, a bit of a curious expression on his face.

“Hello. Neil,” Neil said extending his hand.

“Edward,” Edward said, reaching out and shaking Neil’s hand politely.

“Um, Neil’s a friend of mine from…” but before I could finish I saw John over Neil’s shoulder with an amused expression on his face. He was headed toward us.

“Well, well, well,” he said loudly. “What do we have here? A meeting of the minds?”

“Oh my God,” Edward said to no one in particular. “You’re John Lennon,” he then said to John, a bit slack jawed.

“And you’re from page two of the book, “Mum’s Idea of a Perfect Husband”, right? Paul McCartney being page one, of course,” John said without missing a beat.

Edward didn’t get the joke, and I didn’t laugh, though I did hear Neil snicker.

“I love your music, sir,” Edward fawned. Then he turned to me, “You never told me you know John Lennon.”

“Sir? How bloody old do you think I am, son?” John furrowed his brow. “Can you believe this prick calling me sir like I’m his fucking daddy?” John asked Neil.

“Oh, no. I didn’t mean it at all like that. It’s just that I, er…”

“Edward, you don’t have to apologize,” I said gently, trying to help him calm down.

John stared hard at me.

“No. It’s just that I, uh…” Edward continued stammering.

“Edward,” I repeated, placing my hand on his arm.

“Well, that is, I…”

“Edward!” I said, widening my eyes at him as if to tell him to stop.

“It’s just, I, um, er, uh…” John mocked cruelly. “For Christ’s sake, spit it out, Ed!”

“Sorry, um, John. I’m just a bit blown away here. So, please excuse me,” Edward finally said, making some sense. “Maggie never told me she knows you.”

“Well now, that is a bit curious, isn’t it?” John said narrowing his eyes at me, while pulling a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. “Why do you suppose that is, Ed?” he asked, removing a cigarette and lighting it.

Edward shrugged slightly.

“Could it be because she’s afraid you might be intimidated by me?”

“No, I’m sure that’s not it,” I said to John.

“Tell me, Ed, how is it someone like you comes to know someone like our Maggie here?” John continued.

“Edward here goes to school with Maggie,” Neil answered.

“Well ‘course he does,” John said. “Why, you look like the perfect picture of a little college boy, don’t ya? With your hair and your bleeding business suit and proper tie. Bet you make perfect marks, don’t you, Ed?”

“I do all right,” Edward replied.

“And you’re a native southerner I suspect,” John said in an accusatory tone.

“Yes. I’ve lived in London all my life,” Edward answered.

“Hmph,” John grunted. “I hate bloody southerners,” he said taking a long puff on his cigarette.

“John,” I said in a scolding tone.

“So you two lovebirds met in school then? And… let me see here. No, wait. Just let me guess. You decided to go on a date, and then you thought you’d impress her by bringing her here, am I right, mate?” John said, poking Edward in the chest.

“Well, I… You know, I mean we…”

“Oh, Christ, Ed, don’t start that shit again. Just say yes. It’s written all over your face, son. And it’s all right, isn’t it? You wanted to impress her. Why not? But, I bet you’ve never set foot in this club before tonight have you?”

“John,” I said, narrowing my eyes at him to let him know I didn’t appreciate the way he was acting.

“Come on, Maggie. I’m just having a bit of fun with your boy, here. You must admit it’s sort of sweet he wanted to bring you here when he knew he wasn’t going to fit in.”

“All right,” Neil said.

John giggled.

“Maggie, you can’t tell me you’re attracted to this fuckin’ bastard. Christ, look at him with his idea of the fucking “Beatle haircut,” and his sodding business suit, and his blonde hair, and blue eyes! Tell me, Ed, of German blood, are ya?”

“John, enough!” I said.

“Fuck this! You’re just using this poor sod to hide your feelings for me!” John raised his voice angrily. “This bloke’s a bloody fuckin’ bore, even he knows that, or he wouldn’t have brought you here!”

I felt like everyone in the club was looking at us at that point. And I was more than a little embarrassed. John was making an ass out of himself and I was fuming with anger as Edward just stood there and took John’s abuse.

“All right, John,” Neil said, trying to calm him down.

“Edward, let’s go!” I demanded.

Edward looked shocked. He didn’t really know what to think. Here was one of the world famous Beatles tearing into him for, what must have appeared to Edward as, no apparent reason. We started to leave and I saw a confused reaction play over John’s face. I don’t know what he must have thought. That if he made enough fun of Edward, I would eventually agree with him that Edward was wrong for me and leave him out in the cold while John and I ran off together?

“I’m sorry, John. I had no idea,” Edward said sincerely, extending his hand to John.

“I wouldn’t grab your hand if you were offering it to me ‘cause I was bloody drowning, son. Now fuck off if you know what’s good for ya,” John answered coldly.

We got our coats and left the club quietly. In fact, we didn’t say anything to each other the rest of the way to my apartment. When we arrived, Edward parked his car and walked me to the door, still unspeaking.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I know the Beatles,” I finally said quietly.

“I’m sorry you didn’t tell me that John Lennon is in love with you. Or that he has such a nasty temper when he’s been drinking,” he forced a painful laugh, trying to make light of the situation.

“He’s not,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, Maggie,” Edward said softly.

I thought about the things John had said. About how cruel he had been to Edward and I knew it must have made Edward feel just awful. I leaned in and kissed him and after a time, our kiss deepened. Before I knew it, his arms were roaming my body and I was allowing them to do so. And though I know it was wrong, I felt like I needed to make it up to Edward for ruining our date, so I invited him in and, one thing leading to another, we made love. It wasn’t particularly passionate or intense sex, but it was physically satisfying nonetheless. And for me, it was a release I had been longing for, for quite some time. But afterward, as Edward lay there sleeping, my mind turned to John. I was more furious with him than I had ever been with anyone in my life, but as angry as I was, I found myself wishing it was him lying next to me fast asleep. I wished things were different between him and me. And I became even angrier with him when I began to cry in silent gut-wrenching sobs.

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