Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 18

The school day was a distorted version of itself. Everything I tried to focus on became complicated, even the simplest things. But it was merely a result of the fact that I was not the least bit interested in being at school that day. All I could think about was how I was going to break the news that I was leaving to John. He was in a fragile emotional state, so I was sure he was not going to be happy about it, but no matter how hard I tried, I could just not imagine what his reaction was going to be. Though I carried on through the day in a bit of a haze, I did manage to muster up enough sense to talk to my teachers about being gone for a while, and to my surprise they were all incredibly understanding. I was going to miss assignments and projects and tests, but they helped me to reschedule so I would still be able to do all the same work the other students were going to do. I was certain that teachers back in the states would not have been as helpful. In fact, I am sure they would have just as soon kicked me out of school as allowed me to miss three consecutive weeks. Thank God I was attending university in England.

When my last class ended I lollygagged around, avoiding going home because I was afraid that John might still be at my apartment. I walked over to a newsstand to kill some time and was shocked to see a picture of myself on the front cover of one of the papers. Unable to believe it, I took the paper and sat down on the front steps of a nearby building.

“You must pay for that!” the Indian man tending to the newsstand shouted.

I rifled through my purse in a daze and when I finally found some money, I tossed it at him and then returned to my seat on the stairs. The headline read: BEATLES’ WILD NIGHT OUT and right under it, plain as the nose on Ringo’s face, was a picture of Ringo, me, and John; Maureen and Neil nowhere in sight. I read the article hastily, shaking slightly, nervous about what it might say. But the more I read, the more hopeful I became. It was just an article about the minor fit Ringo had over the pictures that were being taken outside the Ad Lib. And in actuality, they barely even mentioned that. The story was really just saying that the boys had been spotted having a night on the town. It was more or less just a space filler; a device to sell papers. It was continued inside, where there was a picture of George and Pattie arriving at the Ad Lib, and then there was a photo of Paul, Christine, and I getting into Paul’s car at the end of the night. And under that photo, there it was, in tiny writing: Paul McCartney, girlfriend, and mystery girl leave the Ad Lib after enjoying a fun-filled night of friends, drinks and music. “Mystery girl?” Is that really what they were calling me? Furthermore, why did they have to call me anything? Why did they feel it was necessary to draw attention to the fact that I was even there? And suggesting there was something “mysterious” about me just drew even more attention to my identity. There was no caption dubbing me “mystery girl” in the first picture. And it was on the front page! I was slightly annoyed, but I was glad that was all they had to say about me. At least there was no speculation this time. I suppose I could live with being a “mystery.” I threw the newspaper in the trash and walked a ways before becoming paranoid that people on the streets were looking at me. Whether they actually were, or whether I was just imagining it is beyond me. I caught the tube home from there. And to my relief, John was not there. I wanted so badly to see him, but I didn’t at all want to tell him about Paris. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But I knew he would have to know that I was leaving sooner or later. I just preferred it to be later. Maybe not until the day I was actually going to leave!

I was exhausted, so I decided I would get to my schoolwork later and I headed straight for my bedroom to take a nap. I must have been asleep for about an hour when the telephone rang. I hopped up, my heart beating a million miles a minute and answered the phone.

“Hello?” I asked, trying my best to pretend I hadn’t been asleep, as if the person on the other end of the line cared that I was napping.

“Maggie?” a woman’s voice asked.


“Oh, love, have you seen the telly?” I recognized the voice as Maureen’s.

“Maureen?” I asked, in my groggy state.

“Yes, love. Turn it on. They’re talkin’ about you. About that article in the paper this mornin’. Did you see it?”

“But… they didn’t even mention me in that article. There was just a little caption… it called me ‘mystery girl.’”

“And that’s what they’re talkin’ about! It’s stupid. I’m sure Brian or Derek or someone will clear it up. But I thought you might want to know,” she said.

“Yes, thank you, Maureen. I’ll turn it on right now,” I said as we hung up the phone.

And when I flipped on the television, there I was. Looking back at myself. They were showing video footage I hadn’t even seen. I couldn’t even remember where it had been shot. Or what we had been doing. But there I was, walking along with John, Neil and Paul nearby. And, just like they had done before, the reporters were speculating about who I might be. Only they were even more interested now that they had more pictures of me. They decided I had not broken up George and Pattie after all since there were so many recent photos of the two of them together, looking cozy and very much in love with each other. And they had eliminated Ringo from the pool of Beatle boys I was potentially seeing as well. That left John and Paul. And I was appalled at the speculation that something “strange” might be going on under either of the boys’ roofs. How could they dare suggest such a thing? They had no right. This sort of coverage and speculation was pure filth in my opinion and had absolutely no place in journalism. It was simply gossip. And nasty, hurtful gossip at that. But this news coverage left no doubt in my mind that I had made the correct decision to take the job in Paris.

John didn’t call that night and I was slightly worried it was because he had seen the news. Even so, it was best. Things were getting too crazy. We needed a break. I went through school the next day keeping my head down and completely ignoring all the whispering that had started up again. I was sure going to be glad to have some time away from that as well. Later that evening while I was doing some homework, the telephone rang. It was John. They were done with recording for the day and he wanted to come over, but I told him I was swamped with schoolwork and that it wasn’t a good time.

“I’ve been there when you were doing schoolwork before and it didn’t hurt a blinkin’ thing, so what’s so different now?” he asked.

I felt sick. There it was, hanging in silence, the golden opportunity for me to tell him about Paris. I took a deep breath… It was now or never.

“I have lots to do before I leave for Paris,” I said, trying to sound casual.

“Paris? What the bloody hell are you talking about?”

I swallowed hard.

“Lydia called and said I was requested to do a job in Paris.”

“Well that’s fantastic, love!” John exclaimed excitedly, startling me momentarily. “When is it?” he asked in a cheerful tone of voice.

“Thursday,” I answered.

And then there was silence. A deadly… seemingly everlasting… silence.

“But… I’m recording right now. You know I can’t go,” he said slowly, confusion in his voice.

Well, I was shocked. It had never in a million years crossed my mind that he would think of going with me! Besides the fact that he was a Beatle, he was also married!

“John, you couldn’t go anyway! What about Cynthia, for Christ’s sake? And Julian?” I exclaimed without thinking.

“So you’re just going to leave me then? Just like that? And for how long?”

“The job lasts three weeks,” I answered.

“And when the fuck were you planning on telling me all this, Maggie?! Or weren’t you going to? Or were you just going to leave me a fucking ‘Dear, John’ note and let that be that? And three weeks? Three fuckin’ weeks? We’ll be leaving on our tour by then,” he said, his tone becoming angrier and angrier.

“John, I had to take the job. I need the money.”

“Fuck that, Maggie! You have me, you know. I’ll buy you anything you want. I’ll pay for anything you need. I’ll buy your whole bloody flat if that’s what you want, love. Just, please… Please, don’t leave me. Not now,” he began to sound desperate.

“John, damn it, I don’t want your money. And I’m insulted you think I would have you pay for anything for me. I love you. Your money means absolutely nothing to me. I have to do things for myself. I would think you would know that about me by now?”

“Christ’s sake, I do know that, but you have to understand that I would do anything for you. Anything to keep you here with me. I’m asking you not to leave.”

“It’s not just the money,” I said. “Things are getting too crazy, John.”

“Oh fuck, Maggie!” he shouted angrily. “You’re not talking about the fucking shite that’s in the papers?”

“And on the news, John. I’m all over the television and those sleazy newsmen are suggesting there’s something going on either with you, me, and Cynthia, or with Paul, me, and Christine, and that’s not fair to anyone,” I said, annoyed that he was being so unsympathetic.

“You just said it, love! Sleazy! Right there in your own words! Those people are the scum of the sodding earth. No one gives two shits what they have to say.”

“I do, John! Why is it so fucking difficult for you to understand that I do care?!” I shouted back, with a matching tone of anger rising in my own voice.

“Because I’m the one who has to deal with everyone’s shit! Everyone, you understand? All over the Goddamn world! And you only have to deal with some snot-nosed college bastards. Our fuckin’ problems, yours and mine, are on two entirely different planes!”

By this point I was fuming. He just could not see where I was coming from at all. And what’s worse, he had little or no sympathy for me.

“I have to get this work done, John,” I said.

“That’s right. You just return to your schoolwork then, Maggie, and we’ll talk later.”

“I’m going to be very busy tonight and tomorrow before I leave for Paris on Thursday,” I said, flatly.

“You mean you’re still going to go?”

I was dumbfounded by the fact that he thought he had convinced me to stay at any point in the conversation we had just had.

“Did you really think yelling at me was going to keep me here, John?”

“Christ, Maggie, you know how bad I need you here. You don’t fuckin’ care at all.”

“I do, John. But I have to go.”

“Right. Have a safe fucking trip then,” he said slamming the phone down in my ear.

I hung up the phone and felt like crying. But at the same time I was too angry to cry. I wanted to wring his neck. And kiss him. And sob. It was a mixture of emotions that I was not prepared to deal with and suddenly I felt very nauseous. I ran to the bathroom and heaved, but nothing came up. So I just lie there on the bathroom floor thinking how I could not wait to get away from everything for a while until I fell asleep.

Wednesday passed uneventfully, save for the stares and whispers behind my back; and one girl who shouted at me from across the street when I had stopped at a café for lunch. I’m not sure what she said, but I know it was nothing too nice. I went home after school and finished working on assignments for my classes into the wee hours of the morning. John hadn’t called all day. At about four o’clock in the morning I closed my last book and put everything away. All my schoolwork was done and once I turned it in the next day, I had nothing to worry about but catching my flight to France. I could barely believe they were going to pay for me to fly there and I was ecstatic. I needed a break. I needed just to get away from everything.

The next morning I arrived at school, turned in my assignments to my professors, who greeted me with smiling faces, and then I went home to make sure I had everything in order to leave. I was sure John was still mad at me for going, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled at him either, but I will admit that it hurt my feelings that he had not called to say goodbye. I gathered up my luggage and waited in the living room for the cab driver to arrive and take me to the airport. But when the knock on the door finally came, I was surprised to see Christine standing in my doorway.

“You didn’t honestly think I would let you go to Paris for three weeks without saying goodbye, did you? I can only think of a few times in all the years that we have known each other when we’ve gone that long without seeing one another,” she smiled and then we embraced. “Now get your stuff and I’ll take you to the airport. Paul wanted to come, but I told him he had better just stay home with everything that is in the news right now.”

“Oh Jesus. Poor Paul. I’m so sorry I’ve caused everyone such grief,” I moaned as I gathered my luggage.

“Oh don’t worry about it, Paul sure isn’t. The press is nothing but a bunch of hounds. No one believes anything they read anyway.”

“But they do read that stuff,” I said. “I mean, don’t you?”

“Well… I used to,” she laughed. “I don’t so much anymore, curiously enough!”

“Oh, Christine, you can’t take me to the airport. Honestly, I don’t know where my head is! I’ve already called a cab. He should be here any minute.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll just leave him a note on the door. I’m sure he won’t mind that much,” Christine said.

I agreed and we carried my luggage out to her car and loaded up. While we were driving to the airport I told Christine all about the fight John and I had and tried to get out of her whether he had said anything to her or Paul, but she said she hadn’t seen him. She told me the guys didn’t have much more work to do on the new album and then they would be finished for a little while. And then they were going to get ready to tour the UK. She told me that her mother was going to come for a visit and to meet Paul while I was away and I told her that I had not broken the news to my mother about leaving school to go model in Paris for a few weeks. Christine agreed it was a good idea to wait at least until I was already there to tell her. We arrived at the airport and Christine helped me with my luggage up to the desk where I was supposed to check in. But when a group of young girls recognized her and stopped us to ask for her autograph, we agreed it was time to part ways. I didn’t want to attract any attention to myself.

The flight to Paris was short and sweet and I slept most of the way, which made it all the more enjoyable. Cindy was there to pick me up from the airport and she seemed very excited to see me. She talked the entire way to Claude’s office; I barely had an opportunity to get a word in edgewise. But that was all right with me because I was too busy looking out my window to talk. Paris. It was already more fabulous than I ever could have imagined. There was so much to look at everywhere you looked that it was a bit overwhelming, so I felt a sense of relief when we finally arrived at the modeling studio. When we went in, Cindy let the receptionist know who I was and the receptionist buzzed Claude to let him know I was there. Claude came out to greet us dressed in black and white hounds-tooth slacks, a black turtleneck, and square “Buddy Holly glasses” with bright red frames. He looked stunning and I was a bit speechless.

“Hey, looking good, kid,” he said when he saw me. “Thanks, Cynthia. Will you go and check on the others now, please?” he asked her sweetly. “Good kid that Cynthia. Hey, Maggie, why’d don’t you come back here and we’ll have a chat about the next few weeks. How was your flight?” he said in an accent that sounded almost deliberately American, in a country that was so obviously not.

I found it a little annoying that he called me “kid” when he was obviously not much older than I was, but for now he was the boss, so I just brushed it off. I followed him into his office, which was decorated in an ultra modern style. Everything was bold colors and geometric shapes and all the furniture looked cold and uncomfortable. I took a seat in an amoeba-shaped chair that confirmed my suspicions. How could anyone sit on something so uncomfortable? I suppose the theory was style over comfort.

“You know, I was a bit surprised when Marie suggested we get you when we were talking about girls for this job,” Claude said once I had taken a seat.

I was taken aback. Marie suggested they use me?

“Not that you aren’t perfect, I should’ve thought about you the second this thing came up, it’s just I didn’t get the impression you two got on very well? Maybe I’m missing the dart board altogether though?” he continued.

“No, I’d say that was fairly accurate,” I responded.

Claude chuckled.

“Strange. Well, nevertheless, I’m glad you’re here, kiddo. It’s gonna be a hell of a run, but we should have some good times. This job will be one big party and there should be a little time to eye some sights as well.”

“Claude, if you don’t mind me asking, how closely is Marie going to be involved in this?”

“Oh, Maggie, baby, she’s not gonna be involved at all. She chose to stay in London and run another project we’re working on. Gonna photograph the Beatles for a little piece we’re doing. We’ve worked with them before, so she already knows them.”

And as soon as the words had left his mouth, I understood completely. That bitch. She wanted to get rid of me, so she could go after John. Well, that was just fine. I wasn’t going to stop her. If John wanted to sleep with her he would do that whether I was in town or not. Of course he being mad that I left will give him all the more reason to do it, but I couldn’t change that now. I tried to maintain a casual look on my face as Claude told me everything this modeling job entailed. And afterward, he sent me to the apartment where I would be staying for the next three weeks so I could change clothes and freshen up. He wanted to show me around Paris. The apartment was very posh and the décor was very French, unlike that of Claude’s office. It was a tiny little place, much smaller than my apartment in London, but I wasn’t paying for it, so I was not about to complain. I changed into a yellow pencil skirt, black fishnets, black Mary-Janes, black sweater, and a black beret to complete the ensemble with a bit of French flair. And just as I was touching up my makeup, there came a knock at my door. I opened it to find Claude standing before me, looking even more dashing than he had earlier, in a grey and white striped suit, purple turtleneck, and oval purple sunglasses.

“You ready to hit it, kid?” he asked.

I felt my face flush. I was attracted to him. I hadn’t ever realized it before. But standing there, looking at him, hearing him call me “kid,” I had an uncontrollable urge to kiss him. Where did these feelings come from so suddenly? How the hell was I going to work with him for three weeks now that I was aware of this physical attraction? I tried to compose myself as I slowly nodded my head and grabbed my black coat, which was flung over a nearby chair. And then we headed out the door. The first place he took me to was the Eiffel Tower. And it was just as lovely as I had imagined, and possibly more so. We went up to the top and looked over all of Paris. The air was different in France. Everything felt freer. I was beginning to feel so trapped in London; it was quite a pleasant change. We walked around, just taking in the French culture, while Claude told me all about himself. We were both excited to learn where the other had grown up. Our cities were very near each other back home in America. As fast-talking and sharp-tongued as Claude was, I would never have guessed that he had grown up in a relatively small town. But, he had lived in New York City for quite some time, so I suppose that explained it. The more he and I spoke to each other, the more we found that we had in common. And by the end of the evening it was like I was with an old friend.

“You know, kid…” he said.

“Um, Claude, while we’re talking like friends, could I ask a favor of you?”


“I probably shouldn’t since you’re sort of like my boss… or… well, you’re boss-like… but it’s something that drives me bananas.”

“Oh yeah?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Yeah. Could you please call me Maggie instead of ‘kid’? I know it shouldn’t bother me. It’s probably something you call everyone, but it just…”

“No problem, Maggie,” he laughed. “I know it annoys people sometimes. Hell, it even annoys me sometimes! I don’t know where it comes from really. Maybe I use it as a way to condescend people. You know, makes me feel big or something, I don’t really know. But, I will try not to call you that. Sure,” he smiled warmly.

I returned the smile and without warning, under the Parisian moonlight, Claude leaned forward and kissed me.

“O-oh” I said awkwardly, pulling back from him in shock.

“Oh, shit. I’m sorry, Maggie. I’m sure you have a boyfriend, right? I couldn’t help myself. You look so fantastic and it’s just… fucking Paris, man, I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s ok,” I laughed. “I just wasn’t expecting it is all.”

“I really am sorry. I don’t want things to be weird now. I just… you’re so gorgeous. I liked you the moment you walked over to us at Piccadilly.”

“What? You didn’t seem like you could care any less when I walked up!” I laughed.

“No, really. I was just playing it cool,” he laughed. “You should see the shitty pictures I took when I turned away from you and started snapping again!”

I felt my face turn hot. I had no idea. I never got the impression he was the least bit interested in me. The next few weeks were going to be very interesting indeed.

And sure enough they were. The days were packed with hair, makeup and fashion, posing for photographs, and sight-seeing with Claude, while the nights were filled with dinners, and fabulous parties and nightclubs with him, Cindy, and the other models. In fact, I was so busy that I didn’t even find the time to call my mother. I hoped maybe Christine would tell her mother who would relay the news to mine. I really hoped to God that my mom didn’t call my apartment in London and get no answer for three whole weeks. She would have a nervous breakdown from being so worried. I did, however, find time to call Christine and give her my phone number in Paris where John could reach me if he wanted to talk. But the entire time I was there I never received one call from him. I found myself missing him desperately, and I was hurt that he didn’t call, and I was confused by my feelings for Claude. It was all happening so fast between him and me. We got along so well and had so much to talk about. One morning he took me to the Louvre and we spent all day walking around and looking at the world’s masterpieces. And by the end of the day we were both too exhausted to change clothes and go to dinner, so he invited me over to his place for a bite to eat. I helped him make good old-fashioned American hamburgers, or as close to them as we could get using French ingredients, and as we ate, we reminisced about America. We talked about Kennedy, and the Civil rights movement, and American music; everything from Sinatra to Elvis. And when we were done eating, we moved into his living area to listen to music. Claude got up and put on a record by a popular French singer named Marie LaForêt and asked me to dance. I accepted and as we danced, we began to kiss. It was not long before one thing had led to another and Claude and I had ended up in bed together.

Directly afterward the waves of guilt began to crash down upon me. How could I have done that? I work with him! And I love John. How could I have done that to him? Am I going to tell him? And how? But at the same time, I had to remind myself that John was married. He was not completely available to me and he wouldn’t be for quite a while, or maybe ever! Was I really going to wait around for him? Should I? It wasn’t fair to me to give my heart to someone who could not completely return my love.

I gathered my things and left Claude in the middle of the night with no explanation. And when we saw each other at work the next day he didn’t mention it at all. And to my relief, he didn’t act as if anything had changed between us. We spoke later and I tried to explain to him that I was at a confusing point in my life where I was not exactly sure what I wanted. He responded by telling me he understood completely and that I shouldn’t worry about it. We agreed to continue to see each other, but more sporadically, and on more friendly terms. And we did just that for my remaining week in Paris. Claude took me to the most glamorous parties and introduced me to all the hottest celebrities and fashion designers. At one party I met Vidal Sassoon, who was quite an elegant man, although slightly drunken at the time. And Pattie had been one-hundred percent correct that he would try and talk me into cutting my hair! I turned down his gracious offer to style my hair with his “own two hands” and then made my way over to introduce myself to Ives Saint Laurent, whose clothes I had worn many times since I had been in Paris. Everyone was delightfully cordial to me considering the fact that I was really just a nobody, though I’m certain it had to do with the fact that I was there with Claude, whom they all knew and respected a great deal.

After an event-filled time in Paris, my three weeks had finally come to an end and, though my and Claude’s flights departed at different times, we went to the airport together. Claude wanted to make plans to get together once we were back in London, but I was hesitant. I asked him to give me a little time and he agreed obligingly. We exchanged a friendly peck on the lips and I left him at the airport as I boarded my flight back to London. I had briefly spoken to Christine one night before I left and I told her the time my flight was supposed to arrive in London. She said she didn’t think she would be able to pick me up but that she would try to send Mal or Neil after me. But I told her not to worry about it, that I would catch a taxi. The flight to London seemed much longer than the flight to Paris, though I knew that was not possible. I was exhausted, but I was unable to sleep. And for some reason I began to feel slightly claustrophobic. I took several deep breaths to try and relax myself and slowly I began to drift off, just as the Captain of the plane announced our decent. I gazed out the window watching London come more and more into view and tried to imagine how my first conversation with John would go when I finally saw him again. I missed him so much it hurt. I couldn’t wait to see him. But, I had not heard from him for three entire weeks, so I knew he was still angry at me. After we had finally landed, I gathered my things and made my way to find a taxi, only to see John’s Rolls Royce pull up in front of me. His driver got out and took my luggage from me, and loaded it into the car. I was so happy to see that car. I opened the backdoor and dove in.

“Oh, John!…” I exclaimed.

But my excitement came to an abrupt ending when I saw that there was no one else in the car. His driver got in and began to pull away.

“Please, where is he?” I asked.

“Oh, he’s in the studio today. Asked that I pick you up and take you home.”

I opened my mouth to say thank you, but the words got caught in my throat. Is that really all he cared for me? Just enough to send his driver? My eyes began to fill up with tears and then they spilled over and began to run down my cheeks as I cried silently in the backseat of John’s car. But the more I thought about it, the more I tried to reason with myself that he didn’t have to send his car in the first place. He could have easily let me catch a cab. So, maybe sending his car after me even if he wasn’t there was something? I’m sure he meant it as a caring gesture. Still, I couldn’t help but feel hurt.

I had just gotten unpacked and was beginning to relax a bit when the telephone rang. And to my surprise, it was Brian!

“Eh, Maggie?” he asked hesitantly.

“Yes, Brian?”

“Oh, Christine has requested your attendance at a party that will be held tomorrow night at Neil and Mal’s flat. And I thought I would do everyone a favor and be the one to phone you myself. Do you think you should be able to attend?”

I was stunned that he was actually inviting me somewhere. And I was slightly suspicious. But I decided it would be lovely to see everyone and to catch up after three weeks of being apart. Even if it was going to be awkward seeing John.

“Sure, Brian. I should be able to make it.”

Brian sighed.

“Very well, then I feel the need to tell you that you must bring a date, Maggie. After everything that has happened in the news… All the talk… The gossip… We really don’t need any more controversy and Derek has suggested that you only come if you have a date. No exceptions.”

Derek suggested it, my ass.

“Not a problem,” I said coolly.

There was a pause, as I am sure Brian had not expected me to be prepared to bring an escort. And then he spoke,

“Right. We’ll see you tomorrow then I suppose. Goodbye, Maggie.”

“Bye, Brian.”

I waited until just before bed to call Claude to see if he was going to be able to attend the party with me the following night. If he couldn’t, I wouldn’t be able to either. But that honestly would have suited me just fine. Seeing John for the first time in front of everyone else would be much more awkward than if we met in private to sort everything out.

“Hey, Maggie, baby,” Claude answered. “How was your flight? Mine was awful. Damn turbulence. I just got in about an hour ago in fact.”

“Oh really? That is awful. My flight was just fine, thanks.”

“Well that’s good. Glad to hear it. So, couldn’t go to sleep without hearing my voice?” he teased.

“Not quite,” I laughed. “Actually, Claude, I was calling to see if you were maybe going to be available to attend a party with me tomorrow night?”

“What happened to not wanting to get together too soon?” he asked, chuckling. “I mean, not that I mind.”

“No, no. This would just be a friendly thing. You know, just attending together as friends. Like in Paris,” I said.

“Well, friends is not exactly what I had in mind, but it’ll do for now. I’m sure we could pull it off!”

“Great, then I’ll pick you up at nine o’clock?” I said.

“Oh listen to you, Miss Modern Woman USA,” he teased. “All right, Jack, pick me up at nine.”

“Uh, the name is Maggie, actually,” I teased.

“Fine. Perfect. See you then, Maggie.”

We both laughed and then hung up the phone.

The next day I returned to school feeling very stressed out and way behind the other students. The materials my professors had provided me with probably would have been helpful in removing some of that stress had I actually had time to look them over while I was in Paris. But we had been busy day and night in France and now that I was back in London, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Furthermore, they were already preparing for final exams. I was really going to have to focus if I wanted a chance at passing any of them. On top of that, there was another bombshell in the news that day. Those English reporters really were on top of things as far as gossip was concerned. Much to my horror, and surprise at the nerve of the press, there were a couple of photos of John’s car that had been taken at the airport yesterday. There was even one of the back of my head as I was getting into the car. I hadn’t seen any cameramen. Where had they been? Hiding around the corner? And how did they know to look for his car at the airport, unless perhaps, they had followed it from somewhere; maybe from Abbey Road? They were getting sneakier all the time. The article mentioned that “the Beatle was no where to be seen and was believed to have been in the studio when these photos were taken.” Which was a little of a relief. At least they weren’t suggesting he had come to pick me up all by himself. I continued reading to see that the article did point out that the “girl in these photos” was most likely the “same American girl” that had been seen with the Beatles on various other occasions. American girl? How did they find out I was American? They had certainly done their homework. But as I finished reading, I was glad to see that they hadn’t yet come up with my name. Or at least if they had, they didn’t feel it was appropriate to mention at this stage. After seeing that I wished Claude hadn’t agreed to go to the party with me. It was not going to be pleasant to see Brian after that. But it was not my fault. I never asked John to send his car to pick me up. Still, I dreaded seeing him. Really, I dreaded seeing all of them.

When I got home from school I rested a bit and did some studying before I started getting ready for the party. I had brought back some fabulous clothes from the job in Paris, so I had a plethora of outfits to choose from. I chose a black mini dress, bright pink tights and my black go-go boots. I had a pink motorcycle cap that matched the tights perfectly, so I pulled that on and did my hair in pig tails just below my chin. I slapped on some false eyelashes and hit the road. I told Claude I would be there at nine o’clock to pick him up and it was already 9:15 when I left my house, but when he saw me, he didn’t seem the least bit annoyed by my tardiness. We drove for a little ways before he finally decided it might be nice to know whose party he was going to.

“Oh, I’m awfully sorry,” I laughed. “I didn’t tell you?” I asked, knowing perfectly well I hadn’t. “It must have slipped my mind. Well, it’s… um…”

I wondered how to break to him that I knew the Beatles? It would be different than it was with Edward, because Claude knew the Beatles too. Still, he didn’t know I knew them too.

“Do you know Mal Evans?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered, a curious tone in his voice. “That kid that’s always hanging around with the Beatles, right?”

“Right. It’s a party at his place.”

“How do you know him?” Claude asked.

“Well my friend, Christine, is dating Paul McCartney,” I answered.

“No kidding? Well, ain’t it a small world?”

And that was that. He wasn’t shocked. He wasn’t impressed. In fact, he was utterly indifferent. And boy was I relieved.

When we arrived, security immediately recognized me and didn’t even question our being at the party. We went right in without a problem. And once I had been spotted, I was welcomed with whoops and hollers, but before I was able to return the excitement and say hello to anyone, I was promptly pulled away from Claude and taken aside. Neil had a stern look on his face as he dragged me into another room away from everyone and I had a sickening feeling that whatever he was about to tell me was not good news.

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