Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 19

Neil shut the door behind us and I tried to ease the moment by making a joke,

“Well, I missed you too.”

He narrowed his eyes at me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing bringing a date, Maggie?” he asked in as dead serious a tone as I had ever heard him speak.

“Brian said I could only come if I had a date,” I answered.

“Then you shouldn’t have come! Why the bloody hell would you even come?”

“Because I was invited, Neil! And besides that I wanted to see everyone. What is the fucking problem?” I asked, quickly becoming irritated.

“Oh you wanted to see everyone?” Neil repeated in an incredulous tone. “Do you know the kind of shit we’ve had to put up with since you left?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“John, Maggie! He’s been completely mad since you left! Pissed off his arse every day! And when he wasn’t drinking he was out of his mind on LSD. Been taking that shit like a bloody fiend! He’s been completely unreasonable. He’s really lost it, love. It’s all any of us can do to control him to a respectable point of behavior.”

I couldn’t speak. I tried several times, but the words kept getting caught in my throat. I was dumbfounded. Could this be true? All because I went to Paris?

“One night we were at The Scotch and your college mate was there,” Neil said.

I looked at him questioningly. Which mate was he speaking of?

“The one you were seeing for a bit. You know the one, love,” he said, picking up on my confusion.


“That’s the one! And John was in a mood, you know. He’s been in the same mood since the day he found out you were going to Paris. So we were trying to keep him from seeing old Ed. And just the same, Edward was trying his hardest to avoid John. He was there with some bird, minding his own business, but they had to pass by us in order to leave. Well, I think he waited long as he could so as not to walk by John, but the girl was ready to split. And so, when they started toward us, I tried to distract John, but he turned away from me just in time to see Edward coming. At first he made some snide comment just to us you know, under his breath-like, and I thought that would be that.”

I stood wide-eyed, listening to Neil speak. I couldn’t believe John would even remember what Edward looked like, much less still be holding some sort of a grudge against him. Things were basically over with Edward before they had ever even started and John had never again mentioned him to me at all.

“But when Edward came nearer,” Neil continued, “He smiled politely to all of us, but didn’t say anything. The poor lad was trying his best to get the hell out of there.”

“What happened?!” I exclaimed.

“Well, John stopped him and asked how he was, you know. We were all hoping the poor bastard would just answer, ‘fine’ or something and piss off, but I guess he didn’t smell the trouble, so he stopped to be friendly. The stupid git. He told John he was doing well and then John attacked, of course.”

“What do you mean he attacked?” I asked.

“Oh, he told him it was all his fault that you were gone. ‘Cause you’d run of to Paris to escape the papers. Told him that he knew Ed was the one who had tipped the press off about yours and John’s relationship. And he asked him how did he sleep at night knowing how he had ruined everyone’s lives?”

“Neil, are you serious?”

“Do I look like I’m fuckin’ joking, love?”

“But that is insane! How could… I mean, why would…”

“Don’t know. But you haven’t heard all if it,” Neil cut me off. “The bloody git stands there stuttering, trying to defend himself, while John is spitting out all these nasty accusations and finally John chucks his glass at him, liquor, ice, and all!”


“Oh aye, love. And then he lunged at him, but George and I were able to hold him back before he did anything really stupid. Poor Edward practically ran out of there. We’re all bloody lucky he didn’t go to the press after that… And that, Maggie, is the fucked up way things have been.”

“But why would John think Edward told the press about him and me? He never expressed to me that he was worried something like that may have happened. I mean, where did that even come from?”

“I haven’t the slightest.”

My mouth hung open, but words failed me. I should’ve stayed in Paris.

“You have to talk to him, Maggie,” Neil said imploringly.

“I will. But… I don’t… Oh, he makes me so angry. What will I even say? I just… Oh Neil, will you send him back here? I’ll think of something.”

“Are you daft? Cyn’s out there. What would she think if I sent him back here to talk to you? Besides, he’s already pissed. Been drinking all day. It wouldn’t be a good time to try and reason with him just now. You’ll have to do it later.”

I nodded. Neil was right. I had tried to deal with John before when he was drunk and it was not the easiest thing in the world to do. And I must admit that I felt a sense of relief that I would have some time to think up something to say to him, in the meantime.

“Now,” he continued. “We should get back out there before he tears your little photographer friend to bits… if he hasn’t already.”

I had seen John drunk and angry before, but I had never really thought him as the type of person to be physically violent. Besides, if Cynthia was present, he would be sure to avoid contact with me. And avoiding me would result in his having to also avoid Claude, right? How could my leaving for Paris have had such an effect on him? I was torn between feeling guilty and feeling angry that he was using me as an excuse to act completely out of control. I was not responsible for all the pain and problems in his life. When it came right down to it, John was really his own worst enemy. His own demons were his biggest problem and he sometimes had a difficult time recognizing that. Instead, he thought that everyone around him was somehow responsible for his anguish. But it just wasn’t true. I had to keep reminding myself of that.

Neil and I left the bedroom to rejoin the party.

“Fucked her real quick then did ya?” John called out from across the room where he was sitting next to Cynthia.

A few partygoers forced small awkward laughs.

“Now, now, John, be polite. Maggie’s a mate. Only a mate,” Neil responded.

“Aye. Maggie’s everyone’s mate,” John replied, but no one laughed this time.

I glared at him from across the room and fought to control my temper. How dare he treat me like that? But at the same time, I knew that everyone at that party was well aware of his behavior when he was drunk and no one paid much attention to the things he said. In fact, everyone pretty much knew to avoid him when he was in such a mood. After a time, I decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to maintain too much eye contact with him when he was behaving that way, as it was just asking for trouble, so I looked around for Claude and found him standing in a corner talking to George and Ringo. I went over to join them and Christine and Pattie rushed over to welcome me home from Paris. I met them with a friendly hug and then they pulled me away from the boys and began telling me about the rampage John had been on for the past few weeks. I listened in horror to the stories they were telling me: sleeping all the time; being unruly in the studio; drunk or stoned every day; reckless; and just plain nasty to everyone.

“Cyn’s been out of her mind trying to come up with some way to help him while caring for Julian and taking care of the house all at the same time. She’s so tired. I feel just awful for her,” Pattie said.

“You really need to talk to him,” Christine added.

“I will. But I don’t understand why it’s my responsibility to talk to him. John is a grown man. He needs to learn to be able to deal with things like one. Everyone else does. What the hell makes him so special?” I asked, angry that everyone seemed to be relying on me to fix the problem.

“He’s ‘Head Beatle,’ Maggie. He can do anything he wants. You’ve been around long enough at this point. You should know that,” Pattie said.

And she was right. People let him get away with anything because he was John Lennon, the famous Beatle, and he used that to his full advantage. Well, famous Beatle or not, I was sick of his shit. And I wasn’t going to let him get away with it anymore. He had no right to throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child, just because he didn’t get his way. I went to Paris. So what? He and I were not married. I could do as I pleased.

As the girls were talking to me, pleading with me to help get John under control, my mind began to wander. In fact, I completely tuned out everything they were saying. I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. I would talk to John, but not because I was the only one who could, but because there were things the two of us needed to straighten out between us. We just couldn’t keep going like we had been. It wasn’t good for either of us. I began to think about the time I had just spent in Paris with Claude. He was so easy to talk to and we had so much in common. Things weren’t difficult between us. Everything flowed just as it should when we were together. I looked back over to the corner where he had been standing with George and Ringo, but they weren’t there anymore. My eyes searched the room for Claude until I found him over at the bar getting a drink with a woman I didn’t know. And I smiled when I saw him. Then, I noticed John standing a little ways off talking to Brian. He looked angry. His jaw was clenched tightly and he held a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. I could only see Brian from the back, but his wild hand gestures told me he was trying to reason with John about something. John put the cigarette in his mouth and squinted his eyes at Brian, just before he poked him twice in the chest, with his free hand, and walked off.

“You fuckin’ queer!” John called out loudly as he left the room.

Everyone fell silent for a moment until Maureen accidentally, or maybe it was on purpose, knocked a bottle over causing it to splatter all over the floor.

“Bloody hell! I’m so sorry, Mal!” she called out loudly as she fell to her knees to try and clean it up.

“Come now, it’s all right love,” Mal said. “I’ve got it.”

“It’s all right, Mal. Mo’s pretty good on her knees from what I’ve heard,” a drunken George said dryly.

“Oooh, you!” Maureen threw the sopping wet towel at George and everyone howled with laughter.

The party really started to pick up as more and more people arrived. More people than the flat could comfortably hold, really. It became quite a tight fit. But everyone seemed to be having a grand time. John had come out of the other room and was behaving himself, for the most part. He was being a bit loud and obnoxious, but it was nothing the party-goers hadn’t learned to deal with long ago. The music was playing loudly and the drinks were flowing freely. Some people were dancing while others just stood around and chatted loudly over the deafening tunes. I kept Claude close to me most of the night but after some time, when we had both had enough to drink that we were feeling a bit more relaxed, he wandered off and I didn’t even notice. Until, that is, I heard some shouting that sounded decidedly angrier than the normal shouts of excited conversation. I realized Claude was no where to be seen and I instantly had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I spun around to try and identify the location of the shouting, and just as I did, I saw John draw his fist back and punch Claude square in the jaw.

“JOHN!” I screamed, and pushed my way through the crowd.

But by the time I reached them, Claude was on the ground and John was kicking him wildly, as Neil and a couple other men were trying to pull him away. I bent down and helped Claude stand up. And as he and I started to walk away, John broke free from Neil and the other men and tightly grabbed my forearm. He spun me around to face him, and pulled me toward him.

“Let go!” I screamed and I pounded on his chest with my free hand.

“Come on, Maggie! What the fuck are you doing?” he asked, trying to get me under his control.

But I was crazed. I, like everyone else at that party, was drunk, and in addition to that, I was blinded by fury. I struggled under his grip and I slapped every inch of him that my free hand was able to reach, until he had had enough. He raised his hand as if he was going to slap me and I stopped dead.

“Are you going to hit me now too, John?!” I yelled at him.

I could feel Claude trying to pull me away from John. And out of the corner of my eye I could Cynthia standing nearby crying. But at that moment I didn’t care. It was as if he and I were the only two people in the room and we were having it out.

“Hit me, John. Do it, you big, tough man. Just hit me!”

John was breathing heavily, his chest rising and falling as if he had just run a marathon. His jaw was clenched tightly. He balled his open hand into a fist and with his other hand, tightened the grip he had on my arm. And he shook me with that hand, but I didn’t move. Nor did I remove my eyes from his.

“John,” Cynthia whimpered.

“Do it, John,” I said quietly as everyone in the room watched in horror. “Do it, but it’s not going to solve anything.”

“You’re fuckin’ mad,” he grumbled as he lowered his fist and released the grip he had on my arm.

He looked on the verge of tears. I jerked away from him and Claude and I left without another word to anyone. When we were about to get in the car, Derek Taylor came running over, frantically trying to catch us before we left.

“Maggie, I’m dreadfully sorry about what happened in there. Honestly, are you all right, Claude? If you need to go to hospital, John will be glad to pick up the bill.”

“I’m all right, Derek,” Claude said, dusting his suit off. “Just a few knicks and scrapes here and there. Nothing that won’t heal up soon enough on it’s own. Really, no need for damage-control. You don’t have to worry about me.”

Until Claude said it, I hadn’t really thought that was probably the reason Derek had come out to check on us. Not because he cared for either of our well-being, but because it was his job. He had to make sure there wasn’t going to be any trouble.

“Well, we’d just hate to see a silly drunken spat like this end up in the papers. You know how it is,” Derek replied.

“Really, Derek. I have no interest in going to the papers with this story. John’s a good kid. No hard feelings. Just a little too much to drink. Really. Now, get back to your party. I can think of a few other people in there that pose much more of a threat to you than me. People do like to talk,” Claude said with a wink.

“Right. Well, goodbye, Maggie,” Derek said, leaving us without even bothering to ask if I was all right.

I didn’t respond to him. I was much too angry. I got in the car and unlocked Claude’s door so he could do the same. When he got in he moaned a little and grabbed his ribs.

“Claude, are you sure you’re all right? Maybe we should get you to the hospital? Just so they can have a look. He was kicking you pretty hard. Why, you could have a broken rib!”

“Maggie, baby, I’m fine. Honestly. This isn’t the first time I’ve been beaten up for posing a threat to someone’s relationship.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Come on, kid. It’s obvious there’s something going on between you and John.”

“Why would you think that?” I asked, trying to play dumb.

“Well it’s not everyday John Lennon throws a punch at me.”

“Oh, Claude, I’m so sorry. I really am. I suppose we should never have come tonight. What exactly happened between you two?” I asked.

“Well he’d been staring at me all night. I tried to ignore it. I wrote it off as nothing more than the fact that he was completely wasted. And I heard him saying some nasty things about me, obviously loud enough so that I would hear. And later, when I went to talk to another photographer friend of mine, I suppose he must have seen it as the perfect opportunity for him to attack.”

That was the second time that night someone had used “attack” as their choice word for John’s behavior and I was finding it a bit alarming. Could John really be so violent? So angry? So vengeful? I had seen a bit of it in his personality, but I really had no idea it was to such a dangerous degree. Was it always right there? So blatant? Had I been too blinded by my love for him to see what was in front of me?

“So, I was talking to David, standing perfectly still, mind you,” Claude continued, “And Lennon came plowing into the back of me. I said, ‘Whoa, careful now.’ And he said, ‘Watch where the fuck you’re going.’ To which I had no choice but to point out the fact that I had only been standing there. Then he started yelling, ‘You calling me a liar, son?!’ To which I replied, ‘Not at all, John, I was just stating the facts.’ Well that really made him angry and he started telling me that I was trying to be a clever little bastard and then he started poking me in the chest. I ‘obviously have some sort of problem with him,’ he said, since I ‘felt it necessary to escort you to the party.’ Well, I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but I was getting tired of him poking me in the chest, so I slapped his hand away. We started yelling at each other and then he punched me. And I think that’s about where you came in. And as soon as I saw the two of you together the whole thing made perfect sense. That’s why I didn’t think it’d be very hip of me to press charges, or to go to the paper with the story or anything. He’s a man in love. And for that, kid, I can’t blame him. Especially not when it’s you he’s in love with.”

I sat there silently. It was simply too much information to process all at once. I didn’t know how I felt. About anything. It was all too crazy. John beat up a friend of mine. Beat him up. I mean, Claude was literally bleeding in several different places. Grown men aren’t supposed to fight. Are they? Isn’t fighting for little boys trying to be tough in the school yard? Or for cowboys in Western pictures? There had never been a doubt in my mind that John wouldn’t hit me. But he had raised his hand like he had every intention of doing so. And worse, he had done it in front of everyone. And even worse than that, he had done it in front of Cynthia. And if Claude had figured out that there was something going on between John and me from that incident, then so had everyone else. Poor Cynthia… I should have been furious. I should have been mortified. I should have been crying. But after everything that had happened, I was simply too tired. Too tired to even think straight. Why did it all have to be so complicated? And what would happen in the end?

The warm air from the heater in the car, combined with my exhaustion, quickly took hold of me and I passed out. And before I knew it, I was home. I told Claude he could stay the night with me so I could look after him if he wanted, but he declined. And once he had gone, I got undressed and took a long bath. When I got out of the tub I felt much more sober than I previously had. But being sober didn’t help the extreme amount of confusion I was feeling. In fact, it just made how convoluted things had become even more apparent. I pulled on my pajamas slowly and then crawled into bed. I hadn’t been lying there five minutes when there was a knock on my front door. I didn’t even have to answer it to know who it was. It was John. I wasn’t sure I should answer it. As confused as I was, one thing was certain; I had no desire to see or speak to him at that moment. I was still very angry. The knock became louder and more desperate. I pulled the pillow over my head and tried to ignore it, until it sounded as if he was going to break the door down. I knew if it was that loud to me that the neighbors could also hear it, so I figured I had better answer it, so he would stop. I pulled on a robe and went to answer the door. Sure enough, there was John, looking like he had been through hell, crying his eyes out.

“Oh, Maggie!”

“Go home, John,” I said firmly.

“Maggie, please, no. I need to talk to you. I’m so sorry, love.”

“Well I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

“Why? Is he here, then?”

“That’s none of your business,” I answered.

“I’m sorry for… I’m just so fuckin’ sorry. For everything. Please, you have to forgive me,” he said through sobs.

My heart was breaking, but I maintained a strong exterior. He was obviously completely wasted.

“You can’t do this, John. You can’t just come here, crying, and expect me to forgive you just like that. And poof! Everything will be all right. It doesn’t work that way. Besides that, you’re drunk, or stoned, or whatever it is you are and I’m tired. Too tired to deal with this shit right now. So, do us both a favor and go home,” I said, trying to shut the door.

John stuck his foot in the way so that it wouldn’t close.

“For fuck’s sake, Maggie, please.”

“Go home, John!” I said, slamming the door as hard as I could, so that it pushed his foot out of the way.

“Maggie, I love you!” I heard him cry out from the other side of the door. “I fucking love you so much!” he hit the door.

I waited there, listening to him sob. He stayed for a few minutes, I suppose hoping that I would reconsider and let him in. And after a time I heard his car drive off. He was sorry. If he was sorry he wouldn’t have done the things he did. If he was really sorry he wouldn’t have shown up at my place at that time of night, begging for forgiveness only when he was stoned out of his mind. I felt like throwing up. I felt like screaming and crying. But I was just too emotionally drained. I just didn’t have it in me.

The next morning I woke up too late to make it to my first class, but I hurried and got dressed and then rushed out the door so I would be on time to the second one. I really needed to be at school that day. I needed to focus on something else. Sitting in class was like an escape from reality. Thankfully no one seemed to be paying any attention to me that day. There were no stares, no whispers or pointing, so I was able to blend in with the rest of my classmates seamlessly. When I got home, I found a message taped to my door. It was from John.

Deer Maggie, aka- the woman I love, aka- the woman I hurt, aka- the woman that is plotting my early demise (don’t deny it, I’ve heard the rumours),

I have stopped bye your flat on this loverly morning of mornings (see, I do wake up on occasion) to see how ewe are. And in fact, I see only that use flown the coop. And I bind this a bit troublesome be cars I know jew have no wings with which to fly. Please forgive my proconstipation in the matter. I shall sea to it that ewe have your wings as soup as possible. Totally if all goes according to planes. You see, I dew love you my dear, even if my appalling, disgusting, and delirious actions from ‘the night before’ sail otherwars. I peg your bardon and ask for immediate forgiveness in the matter and substance and issue as it were, quid pro quo, ad hoc, see you round the bend. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Peculiarly yours,

JWL (Maniac extraordinaire, MD)

p.s. – I would have written I love you a thousand times more, but it still wouldn’t have been enough to get the point across. I love you.

Well, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Maniac extraordinaire” indeed! He was a complete lunatic! Although, as I counted the number of times he wrote, “I love you,” I was not sure who was crazier, him or me? Thirty. And one to grown on. How was it that he was able to be so completely horrible to everyone, including me, and I was still head over heels in love with him? I couldn’t for the life of me understand it. I wanted to phone him as soon as I got inside my apartment, but I knew I shouldn’t. So instead I threw myself into my studies and after a time there came a knock at my door. I figured it must be John, so I answered it cautiously, trying to prepare myself. But instead, it was a courier.

“Package for Miss Maggie Jones,” he said.

I signed for it and went back inside. It was a small package wrapped in brown paper and there was no return address. I quickly ripped the paper off and opened the little white box. Inside was a pin; a golden pair of stewardess wings. And along with it a note:


Here are your wings. Now you can fly.

Sorry they’re late.



I began to cry. How could a man that funny and sweet and caring also be such a monster? I pinned the wings to the sweater I was wearing. They looked adorable! I plopped down on my sofa to think about things, but quickly drifted off to sleep. When I awoke it was already late, but I just had to phone Christine. And after she answered, I didn’t even give her time to speak. I began to tell her how angry and humiliated I was at the way John had behaved the night before and I told her all about the letter he had left on my door and the pin he sent over and how confused I was about everything.

“Well, I would call him tonight if you’re going to,” she said.

“Oh no. I can’t possibly call him,” I responded. “I mean, the letter was very sweet… in his own twisted way, but I just still think it’s his responsibility to call me and formally apologize. You know, when he’s sober. That apology last night didn’t mean anything, really. He really embarrassed me. Not to mention how awful poor Cynthia must have felt about the whole thing. No, I won’t call him. He’ll just have to call me.”

“Well, that’s fine in theory, Maggie,” Christine said. “But the boys are leaving for their UK tour tomorrow, so if he doesn’t call you, then you probably won’t talk to him for two weeks or so.”

I had forgotten all about their tour of the UK. And they wouldn’t be back before I went back to America for the holidays.

“Right. Well, if he doesn’t phone, then I suppose that’s a tidy enough ending to our tumultuous little love affair and then I won’t have anything to worry about.”

“Maggie, come on. You two are too much in love to let things end like that. Why don’t you just phone him up?”

“Christine, if Paul had treated you the way John treated me last night, can you honestly say that a nice letter and a silly little gift would be enough to make you go running back to him? I mean, he beat up a friend of mine! That’s inexcusable.”

“I can’t answer that Christine, because yours and John’s relationship is much different from Paul’s and mine.”

“Oh, you mean because Paul’s not married, right?” I snapped.

“Maggie, don’t get angry. You know what I’m saying. We just don’t have the same complications.”

“Yeah, well lucky you.”


“How is it that I’m always the one to end up in these fucked up situations, Christine? Do I just look like I’m looking for a life filled with drama? Or maybe there’s just something in my personality that attracts it. Like a magnet, you know?”

“That’s not true.”

“Oh sure it is. All my life it’s been that way. And then, just when I think that perhaps things have changed, sure enough I’m sucked in to the most disastrous situations imaginable. One after another. Maybe I should stop trying to live without complications. You know? Maybe I should just throw my hands up?”

“No one’s life is completely without complications, Maggie. But you can’t give up. You’ve come so far. Look at everything you’ve achieved since you’ve been in England,” Christine said reassuringly.

I sighed.

“And yes finding John has caused you some pain, but Maggie, I have never in my life seen you happier than when you’re with him. It’s so obvious how much you two love each other.”

“Oh yes, Christine, last night was simply magical,” I scoffed.

“You know it’s true, Maggie. You are so in love.”

“But he’s…”

“Yes, it’s unfortunate that he’s married. It’s very unfortunate, for you and especially for him, because I have seen him alone with you and I have seen him alone with Cyn. And he’s two completely different people. He loves her. He does. But it’s just not the same way he loves you, Maggie. And I would hate to see you two lose what you have just because it’s too difficult to try and make it work.”

I couldn’t even speak. She was so right. Everything she said was true. At least in my mind it was true. But I wasn’t sure I had the energy to try and make it work. Was it really worth it in the end? I just wasn’t totally convinced.

“Thanks, Christine. I really appreciate it,” I said.

“No problem. Now, call him, will you?”

“We’ll see,” I laughed.

We said our goodbyes and hung up the phone, but I still couldn’t bring myself to call John. It was going to be up to him to make the call. I needed to hear him tell me he was sorry but I was not going to call him and ask for an apology.

Not a minute after Christine and I had ended our conversation, the phone rang.

“Hello?” I answered, half expecting to hear Christine tell me she had forgotten to tell me something.

“Hello, love.”

“John?” I asked.

He sounded so far away.

“Yes, please don’t hang up!”

“I wasn’t going to. You just sound a million miles away.”

“Yes, well… Did you get my gift?” he asked.

“Yes I did. Thank you.”

“Look, Maggie… I’m sorry,” his voice was faint I could barely hear him.

“John? I can barely hear you, could you repeat that?” I asked.

“Christ’s sake, I said I’m bloody sorry. I’m so fuckin’ sorry, Maggie. Please, can you ever forgive me?” he asked, and now he sounded like he was crying.

“You have got to know how difficult it’s going to be for me to forgive you. It’s not everyday the man I’m in love with raises his hand to hit me. And I won’t stand for it, John. I just won’t.”

“Fuck! I swear to you, Maggie I don’t even remember doing that. Christ, love, I’d never hit you.”

“You don’t remember,” I repeated condescendingly.

“I don’t. Please believe me when I say I’d never do that to you.”

“Oh no? You sure didn’t look like it was the first time you’d ever raised your hand to a woman.”

“All right,” he replied. “I’ll be honest with you here; I have done it in the past. It’s not something I’m proud of, obviously, but it’s not something I can take back either. I get pissed or stoned and I’m a complete bastard, Maggie. I am. I’m a jealous guy and I have a problem controlling myself, but I try. Since I’ve been with you I’ve been trying so hard. I really have. You make me want to be a better man.”

“Isn’t that what all abusive men say, John? I mean, that’s a line from the movies isn’t it; ‘You make me want to be a better man’?”

“It’s the bloody truth though! Why can’t you see how much I love you? I’d do anything for you, Maggie! Christ, love, I never meant to hurt you. I just saw you with Claude and I went ballistic. I lost my mind, you know? I was out of control. I know that. And I’m asking you to forgive me. Please, Maggie. I need you to forgive me. I don’t think I can survive without you,” he sobbed into the phone.

I knew that his confession that he had hit women in the past should have set off alarms in my mind, but it didn’t. He would never hit me. I knew that deep down. He just wouldn’t. And now, hearing him crying, begging me for forgiveness, I felt a lump rising in my throat, but I knew I needed to keep my wits about me. I was still angry at him and if we were going to get over this enormous hurdle, we were going to have to have it out.

“You just want me because you saw me with Claude,” I said. “You didn’t call me once, the whole time I was in Paris.”


“No. Let me talk,” I said firmly. “I know you were angry at me for leaving, but when I got there, I had Christine give you the number where you could reach me... You didn’t even try. And I know you were too busy to meet me at the airport when I got back home to London, so you sent your car after me. And that was a nice gesture, but I don’t care about gestures, John. I only care about you. You’re all I want. You’re all I’ve ever wanted. And then you didn’t even call me that night when I got home, or the next day for that matter. And I don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

“No you don’t, and I’m so sorry, love.”

“If you really loved me, you would have found it in your heart to forgive me for going to Paris. You would have understood why I had to go. You would have let me know that you were just angry but that you still loved me. But you didn’t. Instead, you waited. And only when you saw me with Claude did you decide to do something. But I have news for you, Lennon, beating up my dates and throwing glasses at my friends are not behaviors I find to be attractive.”

‘What the hell are you on about, throwing glasses at your friends?”

“Edward, John! Neil told me you threw your glass at him when you all were at The Scotch one night.”

“Bloody hell.”

“Why would you think that Edward went to the press about our relationship?”

“Someone must’ve.”

“Why him? Did you ever stop to think that the simple fact that me, an unknown, unmarried girl, hanging around with the most famous rock ‘n’ rollers in the world, without a valid reason to, might attract the attention of the press all on its’ own? You have got to learn responsibility. And a little self control. You’re a grown man, John. You can’t go around getting in fist fights like a child anymore. Especially not when news of your fights are front page material.”

“I know what I can and can’t bloody well do, love. It’s only doing it that’s the problem,” John chuckled. “Risk ruining the squeaky clean image Brian’s created for us. I’m sick to death of the world thinking we’re something we’re bloody not. But, I suppose the bright side is that I only have to do it long as I’ve this Beatle thing to keep up, right?”

“Right.” I said.

“And that can’t last much longer, right? ‘The bubble has to burst sometime,’ right?” he asked in an American accent.

“Well, I don’t know about that,” I laughed.

“So does that giggle mean I’m forgiven then?” he asked.

“It means you’re on probation,” I answered.

“Oh, is that right?” he asked in a deep comical voice.

“Aye,” I giggled.

“And how, madam, do I get off this probation and back on your good side, which is the right side, of course? I’m willing to do whatever it takes, you know.”

“I’m sure you are. We’ll just have to see how it goes. Maybe there’s something you could do tomorrow.”

“Shit, love, I can’t. We’re leaving in the morning,” John said.

“Oh no! That’s right. I forgot all about it. Your tour starts tomorrow.”

“Yeah. Got a bloody press conference tomorrow afternoon and then a concert in Glasgow.”

“Well, I suppose I’ll see you when you get back then,” I replied a bit downheartedly.

“Or, you could come see us play in Liverpool on Sunday. I’ll take you round the old haunts.”

“Liverpool? But that’s hours away and I have school on Monday. It’s almost time for final exams.”

“Come on. I want show you the old shit hole,” John laughed.

“I don’t know, John. You’ll only be gone a couple of weeks and then… Oh no! I’ll be gone before you get back.”

“What?! Why?”

“Christmas vacation. I’m going back to America to spend the holidays with my family.”

“Bloody hell! See? Then you’ll have to come see me in Liddypool. I’ve gone much too long without touching your gorgeous body and I’m about to go completely mad with want for you.”

“Is that the only reason you want to see me?” I sighed.

“Well, there is that whole pesky I-love-you-thing as well, but I thought that was much too soggy to bring up over the telephone,” he said in a comical voice.

“Oh, John, aren’t you coming anywhere closer?” I asked.

“Well, we’ll be back in London for a concert on the eleventh.”

“Perfect!” I exclaimed.

“Christ, Maggie, that’s more than a week away though.”

“Well, I’ll think about going up to Liverpool. Until then, let’s plan on seeing each other when you get back to London.”

“All right. I love you, Maggie. And I really am sorry for everything.”

“I love you too, John. I should go now.”

“G’night,” he said sweetly.

“Good night.”

The next afternoon, I cut out of class early so I could get home in time to see the Beatles’ press conference from Glasgow. I dashed into my apartment and turned on the television, but it wasn’t on yet, so I went to fix myself a little snack and by the time I went back into the living area, it was on. I sat there watching the events of the press conference unfold, unable to eat the toast with jam that I had just made because I was so worried about what they might be asked. It was the first press conference they had done since pictures of me with them had turned up in the papers. I held my breath, hoping the reporters had enough decency not to ask them anything about me. The first set of questions they were asked were the same tired questions the newsmen had been asking the Beatles for a few years now: When were they going to get a haircut? Where did the name, The Beatles come from? What did they plan on doing once “the bubble burst”? Naively, I sat alone on my sofa beginning to relax a bit, thinking that maybe they wouldn’t mention me at all. Maybe Brian had warned the reporters not to bring that topic up just as he had told them that the boys wouldn’t discuss the war. But just as I was beginning to feel a bit at ease, one reporter finally got around to it.

“John, there have been a number of photos in the papers and fan magazines lately of you and a certain woman. Is it true that you’re leaving your wife for the American girl in the photos?” a British female reporter asked.

I promptly dropped my toast on the floor and didn’t even bother trying to pick it up. My chest felt tight and I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I began to hyperventilate.

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