Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 15

“Paul, are you and Christine planning on getting married?” one reporter asked as we made our way past them.

“Ringo, how’s the baby?” another called out.

“Who’s she? Miss, what’s your name?” another shouted, sticking his microphone in my face.

I instantly felt sick, and without thinking I looked to John to tell me what to do. He just smiled and put his hand on my shoulder to usher me through the crowd, completely ignoring the reporters’ questions. I grabbed Christine’s hand so it would look like I was there with her, but any idiot could see I was also there with John. Paul instinctively realized how bad the whole thing looked and immediately put his hand on my opposite shoulder to help John guide me through the throng of people. That way it looked like I was there with all of them. Like I was just a friend of all of theirs.

“George, where’s Pattie?” another reporter screamed over the heightening hysteria.

The police held the crowd back as best they could while the boys continued moving past, ignoring all the questions. But they stopped and waved politely to the reporters and fans once we finally made it safely to the cars that were waiting at the curb. Paul, Christine, Ringo, and Mal climbed into one car, while John directed me over to a different one where he and George and Neil were going to ride.

“No she doesn’t,” Brian said firmly. “Maggie will ride with me.”

“Like bloody hell she will,” John said.

By the look on his face, I could tell Brian wasn’t happy and probably wanted to talk to me about my being there. As much as I didn’t want to have that talk, I knew that I would have to sooner or later, so I decided to bite the bullet and make it sooner than later.

“John, it’s all right. I can ride with Brian,” I said.

“Right. Then I will too,” John said.

“John, why don’t you go get in the bloody car before the police aren’t able to hold this crowd back any longer? There’s room enough for you in that one, with Neil and George,” Brian said through gritted teeth, a very serious tone in his voice.

I nodded at John for him to go so, reluctantly, he turned and left me with Brian. The crowd was progressively growing larger and larger and as a result becoming more and more unruly. Brian and I hopped in our car, which was in the lead position, and the Beatle caravan sped away from the curve, one car behind the other, as fast as possible. The two of us sat uncomfortably, an excruciating silence surrounding us, for a time before I finally decided I would be the first to speak.

“Look, Brian, I’m sorry if my being here caused any sort of problem for you.”

There was an awkward moment of silence before he spoke. Then,

“Not for me, personally, Maggie. If John wants to screw around on Cyn, it’s entirely up to him, isn’t it?” he said coldly.

His bluntness startled me and I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I didn’t.

“But those boys have worked too bloody hard and for much too long to have some fucking girl come in and cock it all up, you understand me? I won’t let it happen,” he said, a strikingly harsh tone in his voice.

“I have no intention of cocking anything up, Brian,” I said, taking offense to the accusation.

“You know, you may not intend on it, Maggie, but that doesn’t mean you won’t, does it? I mean, your being here today, with the boys, walking next to John the way you were, has in itself, the potential to cause complete and utter destruction of the empire they’ve been working so hard to build for themselves. We just left reporters. Understand that? People with cameras. And they were using those cameras to take photographs. Photographs that I am quite sure you will be seen in. And someone is going to have to explain whom the bloody hell you are. It’s bad enough that Christine was there, but most everyone already knows she and Paul are dating, much to my chagrin. But you, dear… you had no business being there.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t think that…”

“That’s right. You didn’t think. From now on, you are to be nowhere with them in public unless you have a male companion, one who is not one of the Beatles, on your arm. Do you understand?” Brian asked.

Normally there was no way I would stand for someone speaking to me in the way that Brian was, but under these circumstances I couldn’t see where I had very much right to argue. John was married. I was… his mistress. My stomach churned at the thought. Every point Brian made was a very good one. My hanging around could cause limitless problems for the Beatles and for John. But, how could I promise Brian something like that without first talking to John? Brian’s lips were tight with anger and his face was flushed as he waited on my response.

“All right,” I finally said, but my answer was barely audible.

“What’s that?” Brian asked, a self-satisfied tone in his voice.

“I said, okay,” I snapped.

The rest of the ride home was one in silence. I stared out the window wondering how John was going to react. Wondering what was going to happen to us. Brian dropped me at my apartment and I left him without even saying goodbye. I moped in the door and threw myself down onto my sofa. I fell right to sleep in a haze of depression and only awoke when the telephone rang.

“Hello?” I asked groggily.

“Maggie? Is that you?” John asked.

“Nope,” I answered smartly, still half asleep.

“Sounded like one of those burly blokes from the television studio, you did,” he giggled. “What the hell’s going on?”

“I was asleep.”

“Oh. Sorry, love. I just wanted to find out what Eppy said to you, ‘cause I know that bloody fairy had some shit to say or he would’ve let me ride with you.”

“John, can we please talk about this later?” I groaned.


“Please, John? Really, I’ll speak to you later. Goodbye,” I said.

And I hung up the phone without giving him time to respond. But then I couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt like shit. It wasn’t John’s fault that Brian had been such an asshole. And it wasn’t John’s fault that I was sleeping with him even though I knew that he was a married man. Well, maybe that was a little his fault. But it definitely wasn’t his fault I was in love with him. That was all my fault. And that was mostly why I was angry. Why did I have to be in love? I wasn’t sure I had ever been in love in my whole life, so why, when I had finally fallen in love, did it have to be with someone so unattainable? I laid on my sofa becoming more and more upset. I tried to talk myself into calling John back to apologize for hanging up on him, but I couldn’t. I just wasn’t ready to talk to him. Ugh! Everything was so damn complicated. I wanted to runaway, but decided that wasn’t very feasible, so instead I decided to go and take a long, hot bath. But just as I was getting things ready for my bath, the telephone rang again. I stood, frozen in place, deciding whether or not to answer it. It rang and rang and rang. I finally gave in and answered it nervously. I was relieved to hear Christine’s voice on the other end. But that relief quickly slipped away.

“Did you see the news?” she asked.

“No. What?”

“You were on! They were showing footage from outside the television studio today and they showed you walking between John and me. The reporters were speculating about who you might be!”

“Oh no,” I said, feeling like I might throw up. “And what did they decide?”

“Well, for the most part their guesses were completely ridiculous. For some reason, one of them thought you might be George’s sister, Louise.”

“What? Isn’t she older than us? What did the others say?”

“They said maybe you were one of Brian Epstein’s secretaries or that maybe you were the boys’ personal hairdresser.”

I felt relieved. Those guesses were ridiculous. But then Christine continued,

“Then they said that perhaps one of the Beatles had a new girlfriend that they weren’t telling anyone about. And since I was there, they figured George and Pattie must have broken up!”

“So I went from being George’s sister to his girlfriend? Great. I bet Pattie’s going to be really pleased to find that out!”

“Don’t worry about it, Maggie. She’s understands the situation. She won’t be mad,” Christine said.

“I hope you’re right. Anyway, I was about to take a bath. Thanks for calling with the pleasant news, Christine,” I said sarcastically.

“Any time,” she giggled. “Look, don’t worry about it. Everything those guys do makes the news, but no one takes it too seriously. Have a nice bath. Bye.”

No one takes it too seriously? Who was she kidding? When it came to the Beatles, it was life or death and everyone in fact, took everything they did and said extremely seriously. I hung up the phone and went to the bathroom, but as I watched tub fill up with water, I felt more like drowning myself than actually bathing.

The next day, I was glad to get away from everything for a while. To attend class. To just sit there and allow my mind to be filled with knowledge about anything besides the Beatles. But being a studious college student was not so easy that day. I felt people were staring at me. Whispering behind my back. Girls were giving me dirty looks as I sat in class and walked around campus. I knew it had to have been because of the news from the previous night and I just wanted to disappear. There seemed to be nowhere I could go to escape. Thank God no one actually came up to me and asked me anything. I’m not sure what I would have said to them.

When I got home from school, it seemed my telephone was ringing every five minutes. Literally. I didn’t know or care who was calling. I didn’t want to speak to anyone. Finally, when it had not stopped ringing by about midnight, I took it off the hook so I could get some rest. But almost as soon as I put it back on the dock the next morning, it began to ring again. It was driving me absolutely crazy. I hurried and got ready for school just so I didn’t have to listen to it anymore. By this day, the second day since I was on the news with the world’s beloved Beatles, I was already learning how to ignore the stares and to block out the whispers. And I had a speech prepared in case someone felt brave enough to ask me something about them. But thankfully, no one ever did. I carried on throughout the day, with a little more ease than the previous one, but I was still happy to arrive home and to be away from everyone at school. But I just about had a heart attack when I opened the door of my apartment to find John sitting at my dining table helping himself to tea and toast.

“Why haven’t you been answering my calls?” he asked, a mild tone of anger in his voice.

“How did you get in here?” I asked, ignoring his question.

“I have my ways.”

“John, I didn’t want my landlord to know that I know you guys.”

“Who said anything about your blinking landlord? I broke in.”

My jaw dropped. Was he serious?

“Shut you up, didn’t it? Now, why’ve you been ignoring my calls?”

“What do you mean you broke in?”

“I mean I jimmied the fucking lock, love. Now answer the bloody question.”

He was serious. I couldn’t believe it.

“I haven’t been ignoring your calls purposefully,” I said. “I just haven’t felt much like speaking to anyone the last couple of days.”

I could tell by the look in his eyes that not only was he high, but he was in a bad mood. So I had to be careful with what I said to him and how I worded it.

“And why not? What the fuck so terrible happened to you that you couldn’t speak to anyone then?” he growled, getting up from the table to put his dishes in my kitchen sink.

“You didn’t see the news the other night, I take it?” I asked, trying my hardest not to have an unnecessary fight with him.

“Of course I did. What about it?”

“The reporters were trying to guess who I was,” I said.

“And?” John asked.

“And they guessed that I must have broken up George and Pattie’s relationship. And because of that, everyone at school has been staring, and pointing, and whispering about me for the last two days.”

“Oh Christ, Maggie, is that your biggest fucking problem? That some fucking, prick reporters were trying to guess who you were and came up with some daft story that no one really gives a shit about?”

I couldn’t control myself. The insensitive tone in his voice set me off.

“Yes, John, that is a big problem for me, okay? I’m not used to having newsmen talking about me, nor did I ask for them to do so. But I guess I shouldn’t expect you to be sensitive to that fact, should I?” I raised my voice at him.

The look in his eyes almost immediately softened. In fact, they welled up with tears. I was dumbfounded. As well as I felt like I was beginning to know him, his mood swings still caught me off guard. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that he could be supremely giddy one moment, and unfathomably nasty the next. I wasn’t sure what I had said to trigger this particular mood swing, so I wasn’t certain how to fix it.

“John,” I said, quickly softening the tone in my voice.

“I’m so sorry, love. I am sensitive to your problems. I am, I swear. I’m just in a shit mood, you know. And I’m taking it out on you is all.”

“Why? What happened?”

He sighed, “Some fucking bitch called me ‘the fat Beatle’ in an article she wrote about us. Paul’s the ‘cute one,’ George’s the ‘shy one,’ and I’m the fucking ‘fat one!’”

“But John… you’re not fat,” I said.

“It’s ‘cause I been depressed, you know. I just eat and eat when I’m feeling fucking low like this,” he said miserably.

“John, you have to listen to me,” I said, knowing exactly how he was feeling having virtually been called fat, myself, recently. “There is nothing fat about you. Look at this face,” I said, taking his face between my hands and turning it toward a mirror hanging on my wall.

John rolled his eyes and then pulled a grotesque face.

“Come on, John,” I laughed. “I mean it. Look. You’re absolutely beautiful.”

“What about me paunch?” he furrowed his brow, and reached down patting his belly.

“I don’t see any paunch. And if there was one I would love it. And so would all your fans. You’re being ridiculous. Just because the other guys are stick-thin does not make you fat! I mean, look at me. Do I look fat to you?”

“Get fuckin’ stuffed,” he said.

“Ugh,” I laughed and hit him playfully in the gut.

He pretended to double over in pain.

“I’m serious, John.”

“You’re bloody daft. ‘Course you’re not fat.”

“Exactly my point. Yet, the other day, I was told I could have the dress I was wearing in a shoot, because they would have to cut it off me, it was so tight!”

John began laughing hysterically.

“What is so funny about that, Fatso Lennon?” I teased.

“Oh, you’ve done it now,” John said in a comical voice, before he grabbed and tickled me mercilessly.

We wrestled around playfully for a few minutes before we both collapsed on the sofa gasping for air from laughing so hard. Then we curled up comfortably together, my head on his shoulder and his arms around me. And there we sat silently, just enjoying each other’s presence. John was idly stroking my arm for a while until I drifted off to sleep. After some time, I awoke and realized John had also fallen asleep.

“John,” I whispered, shaking him gently.

His eyes fluttered open and then closed again.

“John,” I giggled. “Time to get up, sleepy head. Don’t you have to go into the studio tonight?”

“Bloody hell,” he yawned, his eyes still closed. “What time is it?”

“It’s 9:30,” I said.

He furrowed his brow and slowly opened his eyes.

“Christ, love, I don’t have to be there ‘til eleven. Get over here. We got a bit more sleeping to do.”

“If I sleep any more I won’t be able to sleep through the night.”

“Then come to the studio with me. You can sit in the control room with George and Brian.”

I cocked an eyebrow at him. I knew they had a sort of rule that no one ‘extra’ be in the studio while they were recording, so I didn’t think it was such a great idea.

“I don’t think the guys would appreciate that very much.”

“Get away, you know they all love you,” he said, pulling me close against his chest. “They won’t give two shits if you’re there. Well, maybe except for Eppy,” he giggled. “You never told me what you two talked about on the way home the other day, you know.”

I sighed.

“Come on, Maggie, let’s have it.”

“You’re not going to like it. And you’re not going to understand, but I need you to. And I need you not to be angry.”

“How do you know I won’t understand, love, if ya won’t tell me?”

“Okay. Well, he was angry that I was with you where there were newsmen and photographers taking pictures and all that. Which,” I added quickly, “he had every right to be.”

John sat staring at me, his jaw clenched tightly.

“And…” I continued, “He told me that I was not to be in public again with any of you, unless I had a date with me.”

I watched as John’s nostrils flared and his chest rose and fell with deep, heavy breaths of anger. I saw the anger flash in his eyes and I knew he was waiting to hear how I had responded to Brian. And I knew that he was not going to be happy with the answer. Still, I had to tell him.

“And I thought about it. And I think he’s right. So I promised him that I wouldn’t.”

John looked away from me and then stood up.

“I’ll fucking kill that bloody fag.”


“No, Maggie, I swear to Christ, he’s a good manager and a nice mate to have all and that bullshit, but I’m fuckin’ sick and tired of him trying to run all aspects of our lives. He can’t try and put some sort of moratorium on our relationship. I just won’t have it! And I’ll bloody tell him so. And if telling him doesn’t work, I’ll have a fuckin’ bash at him if I have to. And then maybe he’ll understand, eh?”

“No you won’t. He’s your friend.”

“Friend or no bloody friend, he can’t control what I do in my own private life. When I got together with Cyn, he wouldn’t let her come to any of the gigs, which I didn’t mind then ‘cause I wasn’t through seeing other birds, you see? But Christ’s sake, Maggie, I want to be with you and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him tell me I can’t. I’m a grown man, you know.”

“Then act like it, John. Try to see that he’s just trying to help you.”

“How, Maggie?! How is taking away the one bloody thing I look forward to in my day, in my life, the one fucking person that makes me happy, helping me? Hmmm? I don’t see it. Make me understand.”

I was struck. I was the one person in his life that made him happy? It made me want to cry just thinking about it.

“I make you happy?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes.

“Christ, if you don’t know that by now…”

I kissed him. Hard and passionately.

“I love you, John,” I said against his lips, my hands running over his face.

“I love you too, Maggie. Can’t you see why it’s so maddening to me for Brian to try and keep us apart?”

I nodded my head.

“I’m sorry for telling him that I would stay away from you. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t keep that promise. Not even to myself. Not even if I really wanted to. It’s just almost impossible,” I said, before kissing him again.

“I’m going to tell him what he can do with the fuckin’ promise you made, love.”

“Oh John, I don’t want this to cause problems between you two. You really are friends. I know that. And I know he has you guys’, yours particularly, best interest in mind. He only wants to protect you all.”

“It’s not going to affect our friendship. I’ll make him understand. Brian’s in love with me,” John grinned. “He’ll do anything I tell him to.” He kissed me once more and then said, “You know, I’m going to go ahead and go to the studio so maybe I can speak to him before everyone else gets there.”

“Okay,” I said, stealing one more kiss before we both walked toward my front door.

“You want to go out in front of reporters and cameramen to the Ad Lib tomorrow then?” he asked with a mischievous grin.

“Talk to Brian and then we’ll decide,” I rolled my eyes and laughed.

John giggled and then said goodbye, leaving me alone with my thoughts. I had a horrible mental image of John telling Brian he wouldn’t stop seeing me, even in public, and Brian going into one of his fits of rage, and a fight breaking out between them. And then I saw the headlines of the newspaper the next day: JOHN, THE FAT ONE, PUTS BEATLES MANAGER IN HOSPITAL. I prayed that, in reality, things would go much smoother than that, for everyone’s sake.

The next day at school, the stares and whispers had become almost non-existent. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly my being on television with the Beatles had become old news. And I hoped that if I somehow ended up there again, the results would be the same. I could deal with whispers and finger pointing if it was only for a couple of days. When I got home from school, I waited around to hear from John, but when the phone finally did ring, I was surprised by whose voice was actually on the other end.

“Hey, love.”

“Paul?” I asked.

“Yeah, look Maggie, John wanted for me to ring you and say that everything’s cool with Brian and he’ll meet you at the club round 11:30. I suppose you’ll ride with me and Chris, if you want?”

“Oh, thanks, Paul. Are you sure you don’t mind? I can catch the tube.”

“Don’t be daft, love. We live near enough each other. We’re going at 10:30 though. Is that too early for you?”

“No, that’s fine. Thank you so much, Paul.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he brushed me off.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I sang back to him, teasingly.

“Come off it. Do that again and you’ll walk to the Ad Lib for all I care.”

We both giggled and then hung up the phone. I had time to take a nap before I needed to get ready, so I lay down and slept for a little while. And when I awoke I felt refreshed and ready to go. I jumped in the shower and then threw on some tights, a mini skirt, a tight-fitting polka dotted sweater, and some knee high boots. I left my hair down and straight, because I didn’t much feel like fixing it into a ‘do.’ And I put my long, false eyelashes on, but no other makeup because I was too lazy to do that as well. When Paul and Christine arrived, she came to the door to get me, while Paul stayed in the car. I pulled on a heavy coat and a black motorcycle cap, as it was a particularly chilly night, and we headed out. Christine looked fabulous in a silvery dress and makeup to match and she was also wearing her hair down. And when I got in the car, I just about fell over when I saw how great Paul also looked. He was wearing a black turtleneck under a dark brown jacket and matching brown pants. His hair was dark and flawless and he had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He wiggled his eyebrows cheekily when I got into the car.

“Looking sexy, Mag,” he grinned.

“Doesn’t she, though? I guess it’s the model in her coming out,” Christine giggled.

I rolled my eyes and blushed and they both laughed at me. The three of us talked and laughed the whole way to the club. And Paul entertained us with stories about the things that were happening in the studio and about the songs they were recording. He was very excited that they were getting to give their input into the mixing process this time. And he was telling us all about what it was like sitting in the control room with Geoff Emerick. He said he felt like such a grownup and Christine and I made a lot of fun of him for that. But our giggling and fun ended abruptly when we pulled up to the club. This time there were reporters outside the doors, when there usually weren’t. Once in a while a couple would sneak their cameras past security and snap a few pictures, but tonight it was like there was no security outside the place at all. There were even some fans lined up waiting around to catch a glimpse of someone famous going into the Ad Lib.

“What are we going to do?” I asked.

“We’re all just going to go in,” Paul said.

“Paul, I don’t want to deal with reporters tonight,” Christine said.

“Look, love, just let me handle it, all right?”

We got out of the car and made our way past the group of people, who, mysteriously enough, all became silent when they saw us. There were no screams, no frantic pleas for an autograph or a handshake, no questions from the newsmen. It was completely strange. The three of us looked suspiciously at one another, wondering what in the world was going on. The security at the Ad Lib was visible once we reached the entry and they opened the doors for us so we could go in.

“What’s all this about, then?” Paul asked one of them.

“Sorry, about it, Mr. McCartney.”

“It’s all right, mate, but try and see it doesn’t happen again. All right?”

The man nodded as we continued past him into the club, where the eerie silence from outside contrasted greatly with the loud music being played in the Ad Lib.

“Like a funeral out there, wasn’t it?” Paul joked.

“Yeah, I wonder what it was all about?” I asked.

“Well, I’ve noticed, it’s mostly just the bigger crowds that become hysterical. The smaller ones like that, just sort of fall silent in awe. They were star-struck is all,” Christine said.

“And just how do you explain the reporters then, miss know-it-all?” Paul poked her playfully in the ribs.

“Um…” Christine said.

“Maybe they were just waiting for someone better to come along,” I teased, as I removed my coat.

“Chris, I hate to tell you this, love, but you’re about to be minus one friend,” Paul said, lunging at me with his hands prepared to wring my neck.

I screamed and threw my coat at him, and then ran away laughing. I turned around to see Christine laughing and Paul shaking his finger at me warningly, and when I turned back around I ran straight into Pattie.

“Hello!” she laughed brightly.

“Oh, hi, Pattie. My God, I’m sorry,” I said.

Then we both broke up laughing.

“Just get here?” she asked.

“Yes, I came with Paul and Christine,” I said.

And then I remembered the news from the other day and felt the need to tell her I was sorry about what the newsmen had said.

“Oh Pattie, listen, I wanted to apologize about how the news the other day made it look when I went to the taping in Manchester. You know, about me and George.”

“Maggie, honestly don’t worry about it. It’s something we have to deal with if we’re going to go round with these fellows, you know? Besides, anyone who knows us knows it isn’t true, and those are the only people I worry about anyway.”

“Oh good. I’m so glad to hear you say that.”

“Really, you shouldn’t worry so much,” she laughed. “You should, however, watch where you’re going!”

We both giggled for a moment.

“Well, where are you all sitting?” I asked.

“I was just going to the loo, but George and Neil are just over there,” she pointed through the crowd.

I spotted them and thanked her and then we parted ways. When I reached them I could tell immediately that they were both very high. They were giggling about everything and there weren’t even any drinks in front of them, so I knew they weren’t drunk.

“Run into Pattie, did you?” George asked, and then he and Neil both died laughing.

“How did you see that from all the way over here?”

“I have extra good eye sight. Ask me doctor,” George said.

More laughter.

“What’s so funny about that?” I asked.

But the two of them were laughing so hard neither could catch their breath long enough to make a sentence. Then Paul and Christine walked over.

“Hey, what’s with all the reporters outside?” Paul asked.

“Are there?” Neil asked.

“We thought they were just old men with strange looking lollipops,” George answered dryly.

“I wondered why they kept sticking them in our faces,” Neil said.

“Yes, me too. And I wasn’t in the mood for a lick,” George said.

“Are you soft or…” Paul’s voice drifted off until the light bulb in his head came on. “You bloody stoned, bastards!” he exclaimed, causing George and Neil to giggle hysterically again.

When Pattie rejoined us, Paul was sitting next to Christine with his arms folded across his chest, smoking a cigarette.

“Why the sour face, Paulie?” she asked.

“He’s got a sulk on, because George and I are high, and he isn’t,” Neil smiled.

“Why don’t you order something to drink, Paul?” Christine asked.

“I’m not in the mood for a drink,” Paul said.

George and Neil died laughing once again, causing us girls also to have a chuckle as well, which simply irritated Paul even more. In about an hour’s time, Paul had relaxed after a couple of drinks and some dancing. Brian Jones and Mick Jagger had joined us, along with a couple of girls that I didn’t know, and we were all sitting around chatting, when Neil spotted John.

“Hey, Johnny’s here,” he said.

“Finally,” George said.

But when I looked up to see John, I noticed that he wasn’t alone. He was with a tall, thin woman with jet-black hair. A shiver went down my spine.

“Look who I ran into at the door,” he said, when he walked up.

It was Marie from the Piccadilly shoot.

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