Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 22

Christmas break back home was unlike it had ever been. John stayed true to his word and called me every single day I was there. In fact, sometimes he phoned two and three times a day depending on what he was doing. My mother and father were none too pleased about it either. One day my mom even told John to stop calling, but he told her that he had made a promise to me and wasn’t going to break that promise. After that, she just gave me dirty looks when she saw I was on the telephone with him, or she would try to come up with some reason I needed to get off the phone, like I needed to get to the dry cleaners before they closed, or that my dad was supposed to call my aunt back hours ago and needed to use the phone. But it didn’t end with John. George and Pattie, Ringo and Maureen, Christine and Paul, and Neil all phoned as well and mom was just as hateful to them.

“You’re going to pay the telephone bill this month, young lady!” she barked one day when I was talking to Paul, who was at home with his brother Mike while Christine and her parents had gone for some last minute Christmas shopping.

Several days later a note had come in the mail:

Dear Maggie,

Tell your parents their phone bill has been taken care of for the whole of the next


Cheers, Happy Crimble, and Merry New Year,


I smiled when I read it. He hadn’t even let on that he had heard my mother and here he was paying their telephone bill! He was such a generous guy. So kind. I took the note and shoved it in my mom’s hands without saying a word to her and then I watched her face as she tried to contain her surprise.

“Hmph. Well, at least Christine’s with a halfway respectable one!” she said and left the room.

She had been reading all the material about the Beatles that she could get her hands on, including all the gossip rags which, like the British papers, had plenty to say about me. And worst of all, she believed everything she read. One day I picked up a magazine that she had been reading earlier that morning to find a huge article full of photos of me being dropped off at the airport. I knew that was coming though. There were too many photographers present that day for something not to be published about me. This article was different than others I had seen though, in that it referred to me by first and last name and kept calling me, “‘friend’ of the Beatles.” The word, “friend,” in quotation marks, implying I was not in fact just a friend. It was true, of course, but the writer of the article didn’t know that. Not for certain at least.

Being at home was miserable. The press was everywhere, waiting outside of my house as if I myself was one of the Beatles. Girls shouted nasty things at me when I walked down the street; even when I was with my parents. Teenagers, boys and girls, would bother me when I was out to dinner, wanting an autograph or to take a picture with me. I didn’t have many friends at home when I left, but the ones I did have acted so different around me now that I was back in the states, that seeing them for only a day of my trip was more than enough reunion for me. I couldn’t stand to be around it: the stares; the whispers; the incessant questions about what the boys were like. It was all too much. My family was bad enough. Aunts and uncles and cousins, all wanting at me just because they knew I knew the Beatles.

“Could you introduce me?”

“Can you get me their autograph?”

“What are they like?”

“Would they come to my birthday party?”

“Which one is the tallest?”

“Are they really that good-looking in person?”

“Is that hair for real?”

By Christmas day I was beyond ready to return to London to escape my so-called friends and family. The press may be just as bad in England, but at least over there, there weren’t people constantly asking me questions about the Beatles. Those poor guys. That’s what their life was like day in and day out. No escape for them. It was exhausting. I could only hope that after a while all the attention that was focused on me would at least die down a bit.

Early that morning, much too early as it was only about 6:15, there was a knock on my parents’ front door and we all met each other there at the same time.

“Who could it be at this hour?” my dad asked.

“And on Christmas morning nonetheless?” I said.

“I hope nothing’s wrong,” my mother added, always the pessimist.

“You girls just get back,” my father said, tightening the belt of his robe.

My mother and I backed off to the side a little ways as my dad opened the door.

“Sorry to wake you folks so early, but I have a Christmas gift to deliver to you from one, J.L.” the man said.

My parents and I looked at each other questioningly. The man then handed my father a set of keys and asked him to sign for the gift.

“What’s this all about, son?” dad asked.

“I don’t know, sir. I’m just a delivery boy. Oh, but there is a note for Ms. Jones,” he said, holding an envelope out.

I took the envelope from him and tore it open. My father signed for the gift, took the keys from the boy, tipped him, and closed the front door.

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I immediately recognized the handwriting.

“It’s from John,” I said, a bit confused. “And it’s actually for you, mom. Not me.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

But I ignored her and continued reading to myself:

Please accept this gift as my peace offering. I heard you were in dire need of new transport. I do hope this will suffice. Happy Christmas to you and please extend my warmest wishes to the rest of your family as well.

With love,


“I think we’d better go outside,” I said, in shock.

“What are you talking about, Maggie? We’re only in our slippers,” my father said.

“Even so, let’s go!” I exclaimed.

I quickly opened the door and rushed outside with my father and mother closely behind.

“Get back here and put a coat on. You’ll catch your death of cold!” my mother shouted after us.

But we all stopped dead in our tracks when we saw it. A brand new 1966 model cherry red Ford Thunderbird with a giant white ribbon on top. A flood of emotions rose to the surface faster than I had time to think about and I began to cry.

“Oh… Maggie,” my mother said slowly.

“Merry Christmas, mom,” I said as I shoved the note at her and ran back into the house.

Nearly a week passed without me saying a word to either of my parents. I would leave in the mornings after my daily phone call from John and not return until nighttime after my parents had gone to sleep. I met a group of people around my age that didn’t even bring up the Beatles in my presence and I began hanging around them. They were a very interesting bunch of artist-types and I appreciated the refuge they provided to me, not to mention they were the only people I knew back home that smoked pot. And they had lots of it, thankfully. When I was home, I was too angry to talk to my mom and dad. They had treated me and John, and all the rest of my British friends for that matter, so awfully that I wasn’t interested in hearing an apology from them only after they had received such an extravagant gift.

So, when I spoke to John I unfairly took my anger out on him.

“How could you have given them a car, John?”

“You said they needed a new car,” he answered plainly.

“I didn’t mean for you to buy them a car! Jesus, John!”

“Come off it, it’s not like it’s a Rolls Royce or even a fuckin’ Cadillac. It’s a bloody Ford for Christ’s sake! I thought it would be a nice gesture. I never in my life imagined it would ruffle your feathers so.”

“Why would you get them a car?” I began to cry. “How could you be so unbelievably thoughtful after they’ve been so horrible to you?”

“Oh, Maggie. Don’t cry, love. Please. It’s killing me being apart from you as it is.”

“No one’s ever done anything like this for me. Nothing even close,” I said.

“Well, I’m sure they would have if only they had the money I do,” he giggled.

“No, John. I mean… it was just so…”

“I know. I know,” he said. “Make up with your parents, won’t you? You’ve only a few more days there and we can be together again.”

“You’re so wonderful.”

“I love you,” John said.

“I love you too.”

“Oh! I have a bit of news,” John said.

“Oh great,” I replied sarcastically, somewhat afraid to hear whatever it was he was going to tell me.

“George and Pattie are going to be married.”

“He proposed?”

“Yeah. On Christmas.”

“How wonderful! Tell them congratulations for me,” I said.

John then went on to tell me that Rubber Soul had reached number one in the UK. I longed to be there, celebrating all the good news with the rest of them. Everything seemed to be going very well there, while it was quite the opposite back in America. I decided to take John’s advice and attempt to make up with my parents. Unfortunately, it turned into a huge blowout.

“Well, no one told him to buy us a car,” my father said. “I can afford to buy my own damn car!”

“Yes, and who are we supposed to say it’s from? It’s not as if we can tell everyone it was a gift from one of the Beatles!” my mother added.

“Oh Jesus Christ, mom!”

“Maggie,” she warned in response to me using “that name” in vain.

“Honestly, I don’t give a damn where you say the car came from! Tell people it came from the fucking Easter Bunny for all I care. You know what, or tell them it came from your whore of a daughter’s married boyfriend. I don’t care! I honestly don’t. I’m sick to death of this shit!”

“You watch your language, young lady” my father said sternly.

“My language is not the issue, dad. The issue is that you and mom received a very nice gift from someone you’ve treated like nothing but garbage and you have yet to say thank you for it. Whether you appreciate the car or not, you could at least acknowledge the fact that giving it to you was an incredibly nice thing to do. Especially considering you’ve been nothing but horrible to him! But what do you do? You just criticize… and bitch… and fucking moan. And why? Because he’s married and we’re seeing each other. Well, I hate to tell you both this, but your little girl has screwed up again. That’s right. I’ve screwed up, but you know what? I don’t care this time, because I have never been so in love with someone and felt so completely loved in return. And I know you’ve both just been counting the moments until I would disappoint you again. Well, luckily for you, that time has finally come. But I’m not apologizing for being in love. Nope. I refuse. You know, I would hope you would be happy for me for being in love, and worried that maybe I might get hurt, and just… here for me in general whenever the time comes when I need you. But instead, you’re angry at me for being in love. Instead of being worried that I might get hurt, you’re worried what other people are going to think about me. Or worse yet, what they might think of you for having a daughter who would be in a relationship with a married man! Why don’t you just tell everyone I’m not really your daughter and then you won’t have anything to worry about?” I said, shaking with anger.

“How dare you?” my mother said.

Then my father, staring solemnly at the floor said, in an eerily calm tone of voice, simply, “Get out.”

“Oh, that’s really going to solve this, dad!” I laughed contemptuously. “But you know what? I’d be happy to. I can’t wait to get back to London and the hell away from both of you!” I shouted.

“I’ll take you to the airport,” he said, keeping his voice steady and his eyes fixed on the ground.

“Don’t even bother. I’ll take a cab,” I said, storming off to go and pack.

It was New Year’s Eve and I was on a plane back to London. The flight was virtually empty. With the time zone change I would miss the new year altogether, but somehow I didn’t mind. I had just had the worst Christmas vacation of my life and now going back to London felt like going home. At that moment, I didn’t care if I ever returned to America. I didn’t even get to speak to John on the telephone beforehand, so he had no idea I was returning a couple of days early. I was excited to see him.

When I arrived in London the sun was just coming up; the day just beginning. It was a new year. But even so, I was too exhausted to notice. I caught a cab home and when I arrived, was surprised to find a couple of teenagers camped outside my apartment. Luckily for me, they were asleep, so I snuck past them and let myself in without being detected. I could barely believe they were there. It was painfully cold outside. Now those were some determined kids! As I climbed into bed, I thought about what it really meant that those teens were outside. The gossip rags in England must have released my full name the same way the papers in the U.S. had. That meant I could look forward to all the attention, good and bad, I had received in America, here in London now as well. It was nauseating to think about, so I decided to sleep instead. And thankfully, I had no problem doing that. When I woke up, I called Christine to let her know I was home and in doing so I had to explain the whole awful trip. And while I was at it, I decided to take John’s advice again, and finally divulge to her that I was adopted. To my surprise, Christine took the news very well. She understood perfectly why I hadn’t ever said anything. In fact, she was very sympathetic of the whole thing.

“God, Maggie, I’m so sorry. It sounds awful. Just awful,” Christine said. “Want to come over here and hang out with Paul and me for a while?”

“No, no. I’m still exhausted. I just want to lounge around here all day. Don’t really feel like getting out. It’s freezing out there!”

“Okay, well, is it all right if I stop by a little later then?”

“Sure. I’d love to see you. I just don’t want to get out,” I laughed.

“Okay. I’ll be by in a while then. Want me to call John and let him know you’re back?” Christine asked.

“Oh, would you?”

“Of course!”

“Thanks, Christine. I couldn’t ask for a better friend. You’re the only real family I have, you know?”

“I love you too, Maggie,” she said and then we said our goodbyes.

I lay back down after we hung up the phone, but I wasn’t tired anymore, just emotionally drained. I got up and showered, and then began cleaning my house in an attempt to take my mind off of the situation with my parents. I hated the way I had left, but I just couldn’t be around them for one more day. They didn’t understand and they had made no effort to. It was more than I could take.

Before I knew it, there came a knock at my door and I opened it to find Christine and Paul, and the two teenagers from early that morning standing behind them with huge grins on their faces.

“All right, you two have seen him, now go on,” I said.

Surprisingly they left very willingly, giggling.

“Don’t worry, love, we already worked it out,” Paul said in his usual charming way.

I smiled at him.

“I’m sure you…” I stopped mid-sentence when I finally really looked at him for the first time. He looked terrible! There was a large gash over his eye and one just above his lip that was sewn up with stitches, as well as some small scrapes on his face, and a bit of swelling and bruising, not to mention a chipped tooth!

“What in God’s name happened to you?!” I blurted out without thinking.

“Well, good to see you too,” he answered.

“I’m sorry. You just… you just look so awful!” I said.

“You should have seen him a few days ago,” Christine said.

“What… happened?” I asked, my jaw hanging open.

“Yes, Paul… what did happen exactly?” she asked in a sarcastic tone.

Paul rolled his eyes, “Crashed my moped and got a wee bit bashed up; nothing to lose your head over.”

“Oh my God,” I said. “How did you crash?”

“Oh you know, kidding around, going too fast, skidded on some ice…”

“High as a kite,” Christine interjected.

Paul sighed.

“Anyroad, I’m fine. What about you? Heard you didn’t have a much better holiday than I did.”

“Oh it was peachy, thanks,” I said, rolling my eyes.

Paul giggled and Christine put her arm around me.

“But, I’m home now and hopefully things will be better,” I continued.

Christine and Paul looked at each other.

“What? What were those looks you just gave each other?” I asked.

“Well, love, you see… it’s like this…” Paul started.

“The media’s been giving the boys a hard time since you left,” Christine said.

“Oh God, Paul I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“Not your fault. John wanted to take you to the airport. He was just inviting trouble by doing that. He knew that.”

“Well, it was all over the American gossip rags too. The newsmen practically lived on my front lawn almost the entire time I was there. The fans too. And judging by those kids outside my apartment this morning, I can look forward to the same thing here. But I hate for you boys to be bothered,” I said.

“Look, John loves you, so he’s willing to take chances like that and that’s his right, you know? You shouldn’t worry. We’re all big boys. We can handle the things they say in the newspapers.”

“But the chances he takes aren’t fair to you all, are they?” I asked.

Paul didn’t answer.

“That’s what I thought,” I nodded to let him know I understood what his silence meant.

“Maggie, like Paul said you shouldn’t worry about it. John’s going to do what John’s going to do,” Christine said.

“Just like always,” Paul muttered under his breath.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Oh, nothing, love. Forget it,” he said.

“Anyway, Maggie, we’d love to take you out to dinner or something, but Brian’s a bit concerned about us going out in public with Paul in the condition he’s in. Well, you understand?” Christine said.

“You make it sound like I’m bloody dying,” Paul giggled.

“Well, look at you,” Christine answered.

And I couldn’t help but laugh. I had never seen Paul’s pretty face so messed up. He really did look dreadful.

“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not in much of a mood to see anyone tonight anyway.”

“Right then, we’ll just have a lie in. Got any tea?” Paul asked.

“Paul,” Christine scolded in a motherly tone.

“What?” Paul asked, innocently.

“Oh sure,” I giggled, and went into my kitchen to put a pot on.

“Mind if we have a smoke then?”

“Of course not,” I said. “You should know by now, you don’t have to ask, Paul.”

So he lit up a joint, took a puff, and handed it to Christine, who took a quick puff and handed it back. Then he came over to the stove, where I was standing, took a long hit on the joint, blew the smoke out the corner of his mouth, and then stuck the end of the joint between my lips so I could take a hit. The three of us smoked and talked, and drank tea and giggled the rest of the evening. It was exactly the kind of relaxation I needed. They had completely taken my mind off of all the troubles that were plaguing me. In fact, they had diverted my attention so much so, that I had forgotten to ask Christine if she had called John to let him know I was back. After a while they left, and by the time they had, I was completely exhausted again. I didn’t even get up to see them out. And I was much too high to even think about the fact that there could be a throng of teenagers just outside my front door, waiting to attack. Instead, I just lay, carefree, sprawled out on my sofa waving to them as they exited my apartment. Later, I finally rolled off the couch and dragged myself into the bedroom, where I promptly passed out.

First thing the next morning I thought about John. And I immediately phoned Christine.

“Did you ever call him yesterday to let him know I was back?” I asked.

“Yes, I did, Maggie. He said he couldn’t get away right now, but that he would call you as soon as possible. I was just sure he would phone you last night.”

“Yeah, well he didn’t.”

“He’s probably just busy with Julian right now. He’ll call,” she said.

“Oh I know that. I just miss him so much.”

“I know you do. Give him some time. He’s in a difficult spot,” Christine said.

We talked for a moment longer before I remembered to ask if they had any problems when they left my house the night before. Christine said there was no one outside when they left and they got home safely. After we hung up the phone, I took a shower and got ready to go out. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I just had to get out of the house. I was back in London and I wanted to soak it up. I had missed it so much. Before long, I found myself walking down Carnaby Street, taking in all the sights and sounds. It was absolutely freezing out, but that didn’t stop all the shoppers from being out and about in their stylish clothes. I popped in and out of a few shops and picked up a couple of new pieces for my wardrobe before I realized I was being followed. I turned to meet a photographer face-to-face.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

The man snapped a picture.

“Perhaps,” he said. “Interested in giving an interview?”

“Why on earth would I want to do that?” I asked, and then turned away from him and kept walking.

“Well, you are Maggie Jones are you not?” he asked, following closely behind.

“Sorry, but what business is that of yours?”

“It’s my job. Otherwise, none I suppose.”


“No, what?” he asked.

“No, I have no interest in giving an interview.”

“Oh come now. Why not? I have been out here all bleeding day, waiting to spot one sodding celebrity and there just aren’t any about. You’re the closest thing. Won’t you help a bloke out?”

“No,” I said, looking at him incredulously.

“Right. Well, I’ll just follow you then.”

“And I’ll just have to find a police officer.”

“Why? I can go where I like,” he said.

“It’s harassment,” I said.

The man sighed.

“Look Maggie, just answer a few questions, won’t you? You don’t know what a hit I’ll be with the other lads if I get the first interview from Beatle John Lennon’s mistress.”

“I am no such thing!” I stopped walking and shouted angrily at him.

“Oh, so you deny it, then? Well, that’s to be expected, I suppose, isn’t it? Wouldn’t want to appear so bold, now would ya?”

I was furious. And without thinking I snatched his camera away, tore it open and ripped the film out of it.

“Why you nasty little thief!” the man yelled, lunging at me to get his camera back.

And like a madman, I then took his camera and hurled it onto the pavement, smashing it to pieces.

“You fuckin’ cow! You’ll hear from my solicitors, you will!” he shouted.

I looked around. There was a family standing outside one of the stores staring with their jaws dropped. Then I saw a couple of women going into another store that kept looking over their shoulders at the photographer and me. My heart was pounding against my chest and I could feel beads of sweat rolling down my back despite the cold January air. I smiled nervously at the man.

“Have a nice day,” I mumbled, trying to play it cool as I walked away from him as quickly as possible.

I went straight home after that because I was quite shaken. For a moment I was afraid I was going to have a panic attack. What would John say when he finds out? Should I even tell him? What if that photographer goes to the police? What if he gets one of those people that had been standing around to be a witness against me? I needed to talk to John. Only he could understand the way my temper got away from me sometimes, as he had the exact same problem.

I waited around all night, but John never called. The next morning Pattie called and we got together along with her sister, Jenny, for lunch. Pattie was extremely excited about her engagement. In fact, it was all she could talk about. Jenny and I just spent the entire afternoon giggling to each other about how hopelessly giddy Pattie was.

“He proposed ages ago when we were filming ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ you know. But I just thought he was being a silly boy, so I said, ‘no,’ and pretended he hadn’t said it at all,” Pattie said.

“Well, you were already engaged though, weren’t you?” Jenny interrupted cheekily.

“Uh… well, yes. That’s true, Jenny. Thank you kindly for reminding us all. Anyway, Maggie, the wedding’s going to be lovely. Just lovely,” she went on, quickly changing the subject.

Jenny and I giggled like naughty school children and Pattie scrunched her nose at us as if she was quite irritated at our childish behavior, which only led us to laugh even more.

“You will be able to come?” she asked, trying to ignore our laughter.

I hadn’t really thought about it, but when I did, it didn’t seem like the best idea.

“Oh, I’m not sure. I’ll certainly try. But I suppose we’ll have to see what Brian thinks,” I answered.

“Oh honestly Maggie, sod Brian. I want you there,” Pattie said.

“Well, we’ll see…” I said, trying not to sound too negative. “So, how is your modeling going?” I asked in attempt to change the subject.

“Oh, fine. Lovely. You know,” she answered.

Jenny rolled her eyes.

“That Twiggy bird’s taking over,” Jenny said.

“Jenny, she’s all right. There’s room enough for all of us,” Pattie smiled.

“She looks like a bloody boy if you ask me. With that hair and that body. Absolutely no shape whatsoever.”

“Jenny, keep your voice down. We’re in public,” Pattie said.

“Oh, I agree. She is much too thin,” I said.

“Well, that’s what they all like I suppose. Her name is Twiggy for a reason, isn’t it?”

The three of us gossiped about all that had gone on in England while I was away. And of course we discussed more wedding details. And then, after we were loaded with tea and had eaten more than any of us should have, we finally parted ways. When I got home, I was in such a pleasant mood that I had completely forgotten about the incident with the cameraman from the day before. So, when the phone rang, I answered it without caution.

“Hello?” I asked in as chipper a tone as I ever had.

“Hello, Maggie?” the voice on the other end, which I did not immediately recognize, asked.

“Yes, this is she.”

“Maggie, do you hate me?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Do you hate John, or perhaps the other boys?”

I finally recognized the man’s voice. It was Brian.

“Brian, really, what a ridiculous question,” I said.

“Are you trying to completely ruin everything I have worked so hard for?”

He must have learned of my run-in with the photographer.

“Of course not,” I answered, a guilty tone in my voice.

“Then… do you have some sort of setback, I mean, something impairing your judgment, making it virtually impossible for you to make sane, logical decisions?”

“I’m sorry,” I said, “but I’m not sure what you’re getting at…”

“Essentially, Maggie, I’m asking if you are by chance on the verge of being entirely mentally handicapped?!” he snapped, an angry tone in his voice.

“Excuse me?” I asked, offended.

“Well, if you’re not trying to ruin my life, then there must be some other logical explanation for your largely inept behavior.”

“I assume this is about the photographer, Brian…”

“Oh, she’s not so stupid after all,” he interrupted.

“But you don’t have to insult me,” I continued.

“Well, I’m just trying to understand your reasoning for the things you do.”

“That photographer was following me, snapping pictures the whole way. He wanted me to give him an interview. He was going to print that I’m John’s mistress.”

“So you thought smashing his camera to bits would help matters, did you? You thought thievery and the destruction of public property would make for a better article than one that has already been written a hundred times before?”

I didn’t reply.

“Answer me, damn you!” Brian shouted hysterically.

“What do you want me to say, Brian? I’m sorry. I’ll pay for his camera.”

“It’s not about the fucking camera, Maggie! It’s about you constantly being in my way!”

“What are you talking about? How am I in your way?” I asked, confused.

“You’re in everyone’s way, Maggie! How can you not see that? If you keep it up, not only will you be the end of John and Cynthia, but you’ll be the end of the fucking Beatles! The end of everything they’ve worked so hard for, thus being the end of John himself!”

“Brian, honestly, you’re being hysterical. I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.”

“Stay out of the way, Maggie. Stay out of the way, or so help me God, I will fucking crush you!” he said, slamming the phone in my ear.

I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Even though, Brian was most likely stoned out of his mind, I had never heard such anger in his voice. “Stay out of the way?” I wasn’t sure exactly what he was saying. He had already tried to make John and me break up and it hadn’t worked. But “stay out of the way” sounded like more serious a demand than just, “don’t do something like that again.” I was frightened. What had I done? What was going to happen?

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