Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 25

I suddenly felt very lightheaded. I made my way back to my bedroom and threw myself onto the bed. How was John going to react? Should I even tell him? Should I even have the baby? I had never considered abortion; the only other time I had gotten pregnant I decided to have the baby, only to end up having a miscarriage. But how could I give birth to the child of a Beatle? A married Beatle, at that. The more I thought about it, the worse I began to feel. My chest became very tight and suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I sat up on the edge of the bed and hung my head between my legs, taking in deep swallows of air, trying not to panic. Slowly my breathing returned to normal. I lay back on my bed and began to sob. What sort of life could this child possibly have with a mother who was prone to panic attacks when life got the least bit complicated, and a father who wasn’t around half the time? I lay there crying for what seemed like forever. The phone rang several times, but I never answered. It was no doubt John or Christine calling to see why I wasn’t at the NMEP concert. Eventually I had cried myself to sleep and was only awoken when there was a knock at my door, but I didn’t get up to answer it. I could hear the muffled sound of voices in the hallway outside the door to my apartment and then a jingling of keys.

“Maggie?” I heard John’s voice call out to me once they had entered my apartment.

“She’s in here, John,” I heard Christine say. And then, as she neared me, she said to me, “Maggie… are you awake?”

Through my bed linens, I felt her hand on my calf, giving it a little shake as if to check if I was still alive.

“Maggie! What’s the matter?” John asked as he entered my bedroom and rushed around to the side of the bed where I was.

“Is she okay? Should we phone the doctor?” I heard Pattie’s voice in the doorway of my bedroom.

“Christ’s sake, girl! I told you to go see the doctor. You promised me you would!” John said, sounding panicked.

“He’s right you know, Maggie. You don’t look so good, love,” George said, moving around to stand beside John.

“Could everyone just please leave me alone?” I asked.

“George, she’s right. Why don’t we go, hmmm? Let John and Maggie be alone? Chris, you want us to drop you at home?” Pattie said.

“Pattie, she needs to see a doctor,” George said firmly. “She’s all green like. John, I think we should just give the doc a ring right now. This is bloody ridiculous.”

John stared down at me, lying lifeless under the blankets, a worried look on his face.

“Yeah, ring him, won’t you?” John asked. “Then you can head home. We’ll be all right here ‘til he comes.”

“Right. I’ll ring him, mate, but you’re soft if you think I’m going to leave you here alone. Not with her lookin’ like that,” George said. “Come on, Pattie,” he said as they left the room.

“Chris, you mind leaving us too, love?” John asked.

“No, I want to speak to her,” I said.

“Maggie, I think you and I need to talk first.”

“John, please.”

“Right, but the second the doctor gets here, I’m coming back in,” he said, an annoyed tone in his voice.

John left the room, shutting the door behind him and Christine took a seat on the edge of the bed next to me. She smoothed my hair away from my face as she looked down at me with a disappointed expression on her face.

“I told you that you were doing too many drugs, Maggie,” she said, shaking her head. “They’ve made you so sick. This was bound to happen sooner or later. You’re lucky you haven’t died…”

“Oh for God’s sake, Christine it’s not the drugs!” I snapped, slapping her hand away from me and rolling over onto my back.

“Oh no? Then what’s all this about?” she asked, a surprised tone in her voice.

Staring at the ceiling, I answered her, “I’m pregnant.”

Then I covered my face with my hands and started to cry.

“What? What do you mean? I thought you haven’t been to see the doctor yet.”

“I haven’t, Christine. But I haven’t gotten my period in over two months.”

“Two… months? But… but why didn’t you notice? I mean surely…”

“Too busy partying. Too high all the time, I suppose. I don’t know.”

“Well, maybe you’re just…”

“Maybe I’m just, what? This has happened to me before, remember? I’m pregnant, Christine. There’s no doubt about it. My ‘sickness’ from the drugs… morning sickness… God! I don’t know how I could have been so blind!”

“Oh God, Maggie. When did you figure it out?”

“It just hit me like a train a little while earlier. I should be on my period now and I looked back at the calendar and I haven’t gotten it in two months.”

“What are you going to do? You have to tell John. They’ve called the doctor. He’ll be here any minute and then John will find out for himself. You should really…”

“I know I need to tell him. I just don’t know how. How’s he going to react, Christine? I’m so scared.”

“Honestly, Maggie? I don’t know,” Christine said.

I could feel chunks rising in my throat and I quickly threw off the bed clothes and darted out of the bedroom. I barely made it to the toilet before I threw up. Christine followed me in and held my hair back and then she gave me a glass of water.

“You have to get George and Pattie to go home. I don’t want them here when I tell John. Please, Christine. I don’t want anyone else to know,” I said.

“Well, I think that’s going to be a difficult task. You know how close those guys are. If Ringo and Paul knew there was something wrong with you they’d be here to support you and John too. That’s just the way they are,” Christine said as we both made our way back to my bedroom.

“Even so, I’d prefer it if George and Pattie left.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she said, helping me into bed.

“Christine, I’m not sick you know? Just depressed. I can do this myself.”

“Listen, as close as the boys are with one another, I think you and I have them beat,” she smiled. “I’m here for you, Maggie.”

“I know. Thank you so much, Christine. I could never have found a better friend than you,” I replied. “Could you please send John in?”


She left the room, closing the door behind her and I sat up in bed, trying to stay as calm as possible. But the longer it took for John to come in, the more time I had to allow all the negative thoughts to re-enter my head. I bent my legs at the knees and rested my head on them trying to remain calm. Just then, the door opened.

“George and Pattie are leaving,” John said. “Chris made some bullshit story up that she forgot she was supposed to meet Paul somewhere and she asked them if they’d go in her place and let him know where she was. We all knew it wasn’t the truth of course, but I figured you must’ve put her up to it, so I asked them to go and they did.”

“Thanks,” I said, trying to force a smile.

“What’s all this about, Maggie? What’s going on with you? You had me so fuckin’ worried earlier, love, not knowing where you were when you were supposed to be at the NMEP gig.”

John sat down on the bed and ran his hand up and down my leg.

“I have to tell you something.”

“Well for Christ sake, just tell me,” he said, trying to sound calm, but I could see right through him; he was on the verge of hysteria.

I began to sob.

“Maggie, what is it?” he asked, his eyes filling with tears.

He stopped stroking my leg and rested his hand on my knee, gripping it as a drowning man would to keep himself afloat.

“Is it serious?” he asked. “Bloody hell, if you tell me you’re fucking dying then that’s it. That’s the end of John Lennon. I’d rather kill meself than go on without you,” his voice cracked as he became choked up.

“John, don’t say that! I’m not dying,” I said trying to pull myself together.

I couldn’t stand torturing him like this. It was killing me. I had to tell him the truth and just deal with the consequences.

“Then, please, love, tell me what’s happening to you. I can’t bloody bear it any longer.”

“John…” I paused, trying to remain calm enough to get the words out properly. “I’m pregnant.”

John’s eyes widened. His hand dropped off my knee and he turned away from me, to stare out the window in silence. My heart started pounding against my chest and I was sure it was loud enough that he could hear it. I felt nauseous, but I choked the sensation back down.

“John… please say something.”

“How? I thought you were on birth control.”

“Jesus, John, I’m taking so many pills these days I don’t even know what I’m taking anymore,” I began to cry.

“So it was an accident?”

“What do you mean?” I asked him, as my tears suddenly stopped falling.

He thought I had gotten pregnant on purpose?

“Of course it was an accident! Oh my God, John! Do you honestly think I would purposefully try and get pregnant with your child? Jesus Christ. Yeah, John, that’s just gotten storybook-ending written all over it,” I huffed.

I couldn’t believe his nerve. Here I was so upset over the whole thing and he thought I’d actually bring this kind of misery on myself and everyone else involved on purpose!

“Christ, I’m sorry. I’m in a bit of fuckin’ shock here. I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything. That was a thick thing of me to say, okay? Forgive me?”

“I just… I’ve been thinking about how to tell you all day. And all the different reactions you might have. And that just… it just was not a reaction I ever could have imagined.”

Just then, there came a knock on my bedroom door.

“The doctor’s here,” Christine said, poking her head in the room.

“Tell him to wait out there,” John said. “We’re busy at the moment.”

Christine nodded and closed the door.

“All right. You think you’re pregnant, but you haven’t seen the doctor yet, so how can you be sure?”

“I’m sure, John. I haven’t had my period in months and I’ve been getting morning sickness.”

John hung his head low and laughed darkly, “Morning sickness. That’s why you been spewing up all over the city.”

“Yes…” I said, quietly.

“Well, I don’t see that there’s much more for us to discuss ‘til you’ve had an examination. I’m going to send the doctor in an we’ll talk about this when he’s finished with you,” he said, standing up and going over to open the bedroom door.

“John, I am pregnant. The doctor will only confirm that. And we will have to deal with this eventually.”

“Right, well, why don’t we let the doctor have a look at you,” he said, leaving the room.

John’s reaction told me all I needed to know. He was hoping the doctor would negate my pregnancy theory and instead say it was the drugs that were making me sick. And I knew it was his fear of my having his child that caused him to think that way. And to be honest, there is nothing I would love more than for that very scenario to play out. I didn’t want to have John’s baby. Not now. Maybe not ever. But, I knew I didn’t have much choice in the matter. Because I was certain I was pregnant. The doctor entered the room, asked several questions and then performed a full physical.

“Well, young lady,” he said, in a German accent, “The only zing I found to be wrong with you, is that you are pregnant. About two months along, I would say.”

I thanked him and he left the room so I could get dressed. Soon after he had left, John came back into my bedroom.

“Ah good, you’re still here. Was a little afraid maybe that kraut had led you to the gas showers,” he forced a joke.

“You spoke to him, I take it?” I asked, buttoning my pants at the hip.

John nodded.

“And Chris left. Look… I’m sorry, love. I was wrong for the things I said...”

“I’m not going to keep it, John,” I said flatly.

“What?” he asked.

“You heard me.”

“Yeah, I heard you. But I’ve got news for you, Maggie, you’re not giving our baby up for adoption.”

“No, I’m not,” I said, making eye contact with him.

“What? You mean… you’re talking about… abortion?”

I looked away.

“It’s the only solution, John.”

“The fuckin’ hell it is!”

“Then what do you propose?” I asked, feeling oddly calm.

Seeing John’s reaction earlier when I had told him I was pregnant, had given me the solution to this problem and this was it. I was sure about it. And I felt calm in being confident that it was the right thing to do.

“Propose is just what I’ll do!” he exclaimed, a sudden giddy expression on his face.

“What?” I asked, confused, by his seesaw of emotions.

“Don’t you see? It’s the bleeding perfect solution! I’ll divorce Cyn and then you and I can finally be together! No more sneaking round. And we can have a beautiful family together. Oh, we’ll have such a beautiful family, Maggie!”

“Are you insane?” I asked, aghast. “Do you honestly think that you can just leave Cynthia and then you and I will ride off into the sunset together like some ridiculous Western movie? It’s not going to be like that, John.”

“Maggie, you can’t have an abortion, okay? I want this baby. I want this baby more than I’ve ever wanted anything in me whole life,” his voice suddenly cracked with emotion.

I could feel tears burning my eyes.

“No you don’t. You made that pretty clear earlier. And the thing is, I knew you weren’t going to want it. You didn’t even want the first child you had…”

“This is different and you bloody well know it,” he interrupted.

“Oh really? How so?”

“Because I love you. I love you, Maggie, and I want to be with you forever. I know I acted like a bastard earlier, but that’s only because I am one,” he smiled a half crooked smile.

My mind was reeling. Could he be serious? I had never been so confused in my life.

“I was in shock when you told me and I’m sorry, love. But in the short time that I was out there with Chris, while the doctor was examining you, I thought it over. And it didn’t take me long to realize how much I want this. You, me, and a baby… How wonderful? And I think I’m finally ready for it. I’m ready to be a father now. And I’ll try my blinking hardest to be a good one this time round. I swear to you, love.”

I could feel the tears trickling down my cheeks. He seemed sincere and it was breaking my heart because it was such a complicated situation.

“But, John, even if we did keep the baby, it wouldn’t be as simple as you leaving Cynthia for me. Brian will give you hell. You know that.”

“Oh, sod Brian.”

“And… do you know what it would do to The Beatles’ reputation? I mean, you guys have this image of the happy-go-lucky silly, squeaky-clean Beatles and something like this could really…”

“Fuck the image. We’ve never been squeaky clean. That was all Brian’s doing. Ever since he put us in those bloody suits.”

“Even so, the world only knows what the press has shown them. And the way Brian’s presented you all to them. And for ‘Beatle John’ to leave his wife for some… mistress he knocked up?! The whole group would be ruined.”

“I don’t give a shite, Maggie. I only care about you and that baby now. I’ve had fame and it’s all been real lovely. But I got along just fine before it and I’ll get along just fine after it. I’m sick to fuckin’ death of the whole thing anyway. Besides, I don’t know how much longer we’ll last: the bloody screaming girls; no one can even hear us; all the newspapers and their load of daft questions; Paul, still fucking refusing to have a trip with me and George and Rich. Sometimes it feels like we could just fall apart at any second and it can get pretty fucking depressing at times. But then I remember I have you, and that’s all I need. You really are the only thing I need to survive, Maggie.”

“You’re all I need to survive too, John. But John, you may not care if the band falls apart, but I think the others would. And that’s not very fair to them,” I said.

John and I discussed our predicament all through the night and we finally decided that it would be best if I didn’t have an abortion. I wasn’t sure it was the brightest idea, but at the same time, I admit I was very glad about it. We decided that we weren’t going to tell anyone else about me being pregnant until I started showing. That is, no one but Neil Aspinall, who, unbeknownst to him, was about to become the ‘father’ of my baby. John and I decided that he and I would have to be very careful about being seen together anywhere where there might be photographers. We also decided that I should start going around with Neil to various public places, to fool the press into thinking that me and him were seeing each other. And then, when I started to show, they would assume it was Neil’s baby. As for John and Cynthia, I talked John into sticking it out with her for a little while longer. I didn’t want to be the woman who broke up a Beatle’s marriage. That was something that would surely haunt a woman for the rest of her life. In the meantime, since George and Pattie had already spread it around the Beatle camp that I had been sick and that the doctor had come to see me, Christine helped me get the word out that the doctor hadn’t found anything wrong and that now I was just fine.

May passed quickly and throughout, I steered clear of Abbey Road studios and John steered clear of my apartment. When we wanted to see each other, we met at Neil’s or at Christine’s. Everything went about as planned. I had even seen shots in a couple of magazines of Neil and myself arriving together at The Scotch. Toward the end of May, I was in the film studio finishing up a small part I had in a movie set to come out later in the year called “Blowup.” I was rather proud of the fact that I was in this picture, though my part was largely insignificant, because it was sure to be one for the books, as it was the first time full frontal nudity would be shown on film. During the shooting I also met The Yardbirds. I had heard from the guys that The Yardbirds were no good since Eric Clapton had left them, but I heard them play and they seemed alright to me. They were all very nice fellows and one of them, Jeff Beck, even asked me out! But, as flattered as I was, I politely turned him down. At the end of the month Bob Dylan had come to London to play and I was ecstatic about the possibility of meeting him. We all gathered at the Mayfair Hotel, where he was staying, and sat around having a laugh. They were all smoking pot and drinking, but I, being pregnant, opted not to.

“C’mon, Maggie, what’s the problem? How’re you in with these guys if you’re totally straight?” Bob asked. “It’s herbal. It ain’t gonna hurt ya, man.”

I wasn’t sure how to reply. You didn’t turn Bob Dylan down when he offered you pot.

“All right, now Bobby, just leave the girl alone. She’s said no and that’s that,” John stepped in. Then, putting his hand at the side of his mouth, as if he was about to tell Bob a secret, he added in a stage whisper, “Got a wee bit of an addiction, our Maggie. Barely been on the wagon a day. Just as addicted to sex, mind you, but we don’t see that as a problem now do we, mates?”

“Not at all” the other Beatles answered in unison, causing the room to erupt with laughter.

Sometimes they really were like a parody of themselves.

All through June the boys continued recording their new album. One day we were all out at George and Pattie’s, John was there with Cynthia and I was alone like I always was lately, unless I was in public, in which case I was with Neil. As strange as it was to hang around with Cynthia, knowing I was pregnant with her husband’s child, I took some comfort in believing that I was somehow saving her a little embarrassment, by not allowing him to divorce her right now. Cynthia got up and left us to go care for Julian and while she was away the guys started trying to come up with a name for the album. Because The Rolling Stones had just released their new album, “Aftermath,” Ringo suggested The Beatles title their new album, “After Geography.” Though we all had a good laugh about that, someone then suggested “Revolver” and it was agreed upon right then and there that that would be the title of their new album. On the 17th of June I got a phone call from Paul. He had just bought a new farm in Scotland and he and Christine were ecstatic about it.

“One of these days maybe you and John can get a place somewhere nearby and our children can ride horses together,” Paul said.

I wasn’t sure if that meant that he knew I was pregnant, or if he was just excited about his new purchase and was dreaming about what the future may hold.

“Yes, maybe, Paul,” I said, trying to maintain an aura of ambivalence.

“Oh come on, you’d love that wouldn’t you? Bunch of little Johns and Maggies running round like chicken with their heads cut off?” Paul chuckled.

“Oh, Paul, give me the phone, will you?” I heard Maggie say in the background. Then she said excitedly into the phone, “Isn’t it wild, Maggie? Oh, you and John should come up and visit us someday. It’ll be just marvelous!”

I wondered if mine and John’s futures really held such happiness. And I couldn’t help the sinking feeling I had in the pit of my stomach. How could our story have a happy ending?

By the end of June, The Beatles had set out on a new tour that would take them to Germany, Japan and the Philippines. And I had a string of modeling jobs set up. Since I was nearly five months pregnant, I figured I had better get a lot of working done before I really started to show. To my utter horror, Lydia had booked me a job with Twiggy. I had, up to that point, been able to somehow completely avoid the phenomenon that was Twiggy, but now I’d be working directly with her and was, needless to say, terrified. I spent the whole morning looking for the perfect outfit to wear to the shoot. I knew it didn’t matter in the long run what I wore down there, but in case she looked fabulous, I wanted to at least give her a little competition. When I arrived at the shoot, however, I was told that Miss Lesley “Twiggy” Hornby had cancelled and I was then introduced to Kim McLagan, who I would be working with instead. Cancelled? How unprofessional! I boosted my own ego by telling myself it was because she was threatened by me.

A job Lydia had secured for me on Monday, July 4, had me working with Claude again. That morning I woke up a bit late and was rushing around in a tizzy. My back was killing me, so I popped an aspirin and made my way out the door. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Claude in quite a while and I found the whole situation a bit stressful. But the moment I arrived at the studio, his familiar, “Hey kid,” brought a smile to my face. It had been a while since I had been called that. It felt so belittling, yet somehow, it felt strangely nice. Hearing it immediately set my mind back to our time together in Paris. It had been such a wonderful time full of parties and sight-seeing. But remembering the time we spent in Paris also brought back other, more painful memories. I remembered the party I had taken Claude to when we got back to London. That had been the night John had beaten him up. John had almost hit me that night as well. At that time, I thought there was no way that he could have ever really done it. But since then, sadly, I had been proven wrong. It troubled me to think about it and luckily I was forced back into the present when Claude asked,

“How’ve you been, Maggie?”

I smiled at him.

“I’ve been all right,” I answered.

“Excuse me, you’ve been all right?” he asked. “I’m a bit confused. Did I not just see you in that Michael Cain picture, ‘Alfie’?”

“Oh, you saw that?” I asked, blushing a little.

“Well, how could I not go see it after I saw in all the gossip rags how stunning you looked at the premiere? I went to lunch with Mary Quant a couple of days later and you were all she could talk about. Said she couldn’t count the number of orders she got for dresses like the one you had on after those pictures of you were published. She wants you to model more pieces in her line.”

“Does she?” I asked, mildly uninterested.

“I’m surprised she hasn’t discussed it with Lydia,” he said.

“Oh, she probably has. Lydia doesn’t really let me know what’s going on until just before it’s about to happen,” I chuckled.

“Well, Mary’s very fond of you, kid. And I can’t say that I blame her,” the tone in his voice suddenly took on a dreamy quality. “Ahem…” he cleared his throat. “Said she wished you’d cut your hair though,” he laughed nervously.

“Ah well, don’t they all?” I smiled, running my fingers through my hair. “But I didn’t let Vidal Sassoon talk me into it, so I’m certainly not going to let little old Mary Quant have her way. My hair’s my thing.”

“Is it now?”

“Oh yes. Some would try and have you believe it was the mini skirts and dresses that I’m famous for, but I think people like me because of my hair. What do you think?” I winked at him.

Claude stared at me with only the faint hint of a smile on his lips, making me quite uncomfortable.

“So… um… should we get started?” I asked.

And this time I was the one doing the nervous laughing.

“It’s good to see you. I’ve missed you,” he said, placing his hand on my shoulder and running it down my arm and then back up it again.

“Claude,” I said, looking at his hand on my arm and then into his eyes.

“Still seeing Lennon?”

I looked away from him.

“Guess that’s a yes,” he said, removing his hand from my arm. Then, abruptly changing the tone in his voice he added, “Right well, we’re gonna be working right over here,” he led me to an area where a park-like scenery had been set up. “You can head on into the john and Cynthia will get you all painted up and dressed and when you’re ready you’ll come out and we’ll get started.”

I looked around the room at other models stripping down and being painted right there in front of everyone and wondered why he suggested I go to the bathroom to have it done. I figured he just didn’t want either of us to be uncomfortable by my being naked in front of him again, since we had slept together in the past. As I headed toward the restroom I suddenly felt an awful pain in my stomach. I stopped walking, hunched over; putting both my hands on my belly, and the pain quickly subsided.

“You all right, kid?” Claude called out to me.

I turned around and nodded at him, forcing a little smile.

I thought the sudden pain was a bit strange, but decided it had merely been the result of having taken an aspirin earlier, to relieve my back pain, on an empty stomach. I probably just needed to eat something. I went into the bathroom and had a mini-reunion with Cindy. It had been a little while since I had seen her, but not as long as it had been since I last saw Claude. Cindy was now working freelance and moved around from photographer to photographer. As I stripped down and Cindy brought the body paint over, I decided it was a good time to ask her exactly what was in store during this photo shoot. As she began to brush gray paint onto my body, she told me that we models were going to act as statues in the park set and that a man dressed in a Saville Row-tailored suit would be posing with us. As Cindy brushed on the paint I suddenly got another pain in my stomach. But this time it lasted much longer than the previous one. I gripped her shoulder to keep myself from falling over. As I was hunched over, I suddenly became aware of a bit of blood on the floor between my feet. Cindy noticed it too.

“Maggie… you all right?” she asked, a deep concern in her voice.

The pain in my gut dissipated and was replaced with a new sensation of terror that filled my entire being. Why was I bleeding? Something was terribly wrong. Another blinding cramp in my abdomen struck and without warning, the room began to spin. My knees buckled beneath me and I heard Cindy call for help just before I blacked out.

I awoke some time later lying in a hospital bed. I looked around the room, but no one was there. Just then the door opened and in came Claude, holding a hot cup of coffee.

“Hey, you’re awake. How you feeling?” he asked.

“Like I’ve been hit by a very large, very angry… train,” I attempted to joke.

Claude smiled.

“Had a pretty hard fall, I think. Got some bruising,” he said. “We didn’t really know who to call, so I just decided to come with you and see that you were okay. I had to tell them I was your husband so they’d let me in to see you. I hope you don’t mind. You gave us all a bit of a scare, kid.”

“Claude, please. Can I see the doctor?”

“Sure, sure. I’ll go find him and send him in,” he said, leaving the room.

I was in a private room, which I had heard was unusual on the NHS, but figured Claude must have requested it. Within seconds a tall, thin, rather elderly doctor with a high forehead and long, slicked-back white hair entered the room closely studying a chart. He looked up and noticed me staring at him. He raised his eyebrows at me and tilted his head slightly in a manner as if to question the expression on my face.

“I… I’m sorry, doctor, it’s just that… well, you bear a striking resemblance to that ‘Doctor Who’ fellow on television,” I said.

“Ah, American,” the doctor smiled, then returned to his chart. “Yes, I do get that from time to time,” he said without looking up. “Never seen the show, to be quite honest. Television rots the brain, you know? Now, I presume you’d like information regarding your condition? Am I right?”

“My…” my voice suddenly got caught in my throat. “… yes, sir,” I swallowed hard. “Please. Is the baby, all right?”

“Maggie,” the doctor sighed. “I’m sorry to tell you this, dear…” he paused as trying to find the strength to carry on.

But I already knew what he was going to say. My eyes filled with tears and I could feel my bottom lip begin to quiver.

“You miscarried,” he finished. “I’m so sorry. It had already happened before you arrived here. There was nothing we could do. We do have someone on staff that you can talk to; a specialist in this… area. Only if you’d like to, of course. Maggie, difficult as it may be right now, do understand that these things just happen sometimes.”

I was all too aware that these things just happen sometimes. The real question was why did they happen to me? Why was, as many women as I had known who had gotten pregnant, I the only one out of all of them who didn’t get to have the baby? It didn’t seem fair. Especially not when I was just becoming so excited about having this baby, with the only man I’ve ever really loved. Still, since I had had a miscarriage before, I should have been taking extra care to make sure everything was all right this time. I should have known something might be wrong this time too.

“My back was hurting this morning,” I managed to force out, in a raspy whisper. “I took an Aspirin.”

“Well, you can never be 100% positive, but back pain can sometimes be an early warning sign of a miscarriage, yes.”

I nodded my head at the doctor and then looked away as tears began to roll down my cheeks.

“There, there, you’ll be just fine, dear,” the doctor said, reaching down and patting my foot through the sheet that covered my legs. “You couldn’t have known this was going to happen. You did nothing wrong. Perfect bill of health, you have. In fact, you’re free to go just as soon as you’re ready. No need to keep you overnight. The bumps and bruises you suffered when you fainted will heal in time. Would you like me to send your husband back in now?”

“My hus…?” I started, having forgotten all about Claude. “Oh, no I’m fine. Thank you.”

It was late by the time Claude drove me home. I was in complete and utter shock over the whole thing and hadn’t even noticed Claude too had gotten out of the car when we arrived at my apartment building. Even though the only physical pain I had came from the bruises I had sustained when I hit the ground after I fainted, Claude still took it upon himself to help me up to my apartment. I was certain the doctor had told Claude I had lost the baby, which would mean that he now knew John had gotten me pregnant, but Claude never asked me a thing about it. And for that I was grateful. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t even want to think about it. I had left my apartment that morning with a life growing inside me. And now I just felt so empty.

“Who can I call to get them to come over and stay with you?” Claude asked, as he helped me into my bedroom.

“No one. I’d rather be alone for a while,” I said, robotically.

“Like hell, Maggie. I’m not leaving you here alone. No way. No how.”

“Thank you, but I’m fine, Claude. Please, go home. You’ve done enough already.”

“Well, you’d do the same for me, right?” he smiled.

I returned his smile as I climbed onto my bed.

“Oh Claude, what happened to your shoot today?” I asked, trying to turn the attention away from myself for a moment.

“What? Oh… I, uh… shut it down for the day.”

“No! Why?” I asked, knowing fully well it was because of me.

I had a mental image of five waif-like models, all painted gray, standing around in their matching gray a-line mini-dresses, seething because they had dragged themselves out of bed and come to work today only to be dismissed without being paid.

“Well, I thought about letting Cindy take over, but that would have meant the shoot would’ve gone on without you and I didn’t want that. You’re my star,” he said

I frowned at him and shook my head.

“Were the girls terribly angry?”

“Not at all. They were all very worried about you,” he said.

“Claude…” I sighed, “I’ve already caused you so much trouble. I can’t ask you to stay here and bother with me any longer. I’m fine. Just a little sore is all,” I lied.

I wasn’t fine. I was absolutely grief stricken. But there was nothing Claude or anyone else could do to help me with that.

“Hey, I’ll give you all the space you need, kid, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right out there on your sofa if you need me. Even if it’s just to talk.”

He left me in my bedroom closing the door behind him. And suddenly I felt very alone. How was I going to tell John? Should I call him in Manila or wait until he came home? I tried to decide which I would prefer if the situation was reversed. That was easy. I’d be angry if John kept something like that from me until I came home. I picked up the phone and dialed out. When the boys had arrived in Manila, Paul called Christine with the number where we could reach them. The number went directly to Mal. Since I hadn’t spoken to John since he’d been in the Philippines I had no idea what the time difference was.

“‘Lo?” I finally heard Mal say after what seemed like an eternity.

“Sorry to bother you, Mal, but may I please speak to John?” I asked.

“Maggie?” he asked, sounding more than a little out of it.

“Yes. Sorry. Did I wake you?”

“Mmhmm… it’s all right, love. It’s a bit early. About 5:30 just now. But I’m sure John won’t mind being woken up by you. Being woken up by me’s a different story though innit?” He chuckled. “Hang on, all right, love?”

“All right, Mal,” I said.

I suddenly became very nervous. My stomach began to flip-flop and my chest began to heave as my breathing became very heavy. I felt like I might have a heart attack. Then, John answered the phone.

“Maggie?” he asked.

I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

“You there, love? Is everything all right?” he asked in his raspy morning voice.

“John…” I finally managed in a whisper.

“Maggie, what’s the matter?”

“John, I have terrible news,” I squeaked past the lump that had formed in my throat.

“Maggie…?” John asked in a frightened tone. “Please talk to me, love. What’s happened? Is the baby all right?”

As soon as I heard him speak those last few words I began to sob. “Is the baby all right?” He really had wanted the baby. If there had ever been any doubt in my mind, John had just proved how wrong I had been. And that made what I had to tell him all the more difficult.

“No, John; the baby’s not all right,” my voice shook as I spoke those words.

There was silence on the other end.

“John?” I asked.

“Oh Christ,” I heard him say away from the phone. And then he asked, “What happened?” in a tone that was almost inaudible.

“They’re not sure,” I whimpered. “All they know is that I miscarried… Oh God, John, I’m sorry,” I sobbed loudly into the receiver.

“Maggie, no,” John howled into the phone. “It can’t be true. It just can’t…” he went into a whisper.

“I’m so sorry,” I sobbed.

Then, only the sounds of our mutual weeping could be heard.

After some time, John finally spoke.

“I was going to be a good father this time,” he said in a low, hoarse tone.

“I’m so sorry, John,” I managed, tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Jesus Christ, Maggie, please stop saying that. You did nothing wrong. Nothing. All right?”

“All right,” I managed to whisper. “When are you coming home, John? I feel so alone here now.”

“We leave this afternoon,” he said, his voice slowly going back to normal. “But with the time difference and a stop in New Delhi, we won’t be there ‘til Friday morning. How are you, love?”

“Terrible… but I’ll be… okay.”

“I feel a right fuckin’ bastard for not being there, Maggie.”

“John, no. No one could have predicted that something like this was going to happen.”

“I’ll get there as soon as possible. ‘Til then, I want you to go over and stay with Chris. I don’t want you to be there alone.”

He gave me a perfect opportunity to tell him how Claude had been caring for me all day, but I didn’t think it was the best time, so I opted not to.

“I’ll call her in the morning,” I said.

John and I had a long discussion about what exactly had happened that afternoon. He wanted to know every detail, so I told him about my back pain and then about the cramping and bleeding I had experienced and how the pain was so much I had passed out. I could sense he was very worried about me, so I tried to lighten the mood a little by telling him how the doctor had looked exactly like Doctor Who. John laughed for a moment at that and it felt good to hear. But then he went straight back to asking me questions. He wanted to hear all about my first miscarriage, so I told him that the first time there hadn’t been any warning signs like there had during this miscarriage. I had just gone to the doctor one day and he told me I wasn’t pregnant any longer. Talking about the, now two, miscarriages I had suffered, I began to become even more depressed. I wondered if I was ever going to be able to have healthy children. Though John too was feeling absolutely wretched, he was able to sense my misery in carrying on this conversation, so he tried to shift the subject to a slightly happier one. He began telling me all about the Beatles tour. He said how wonderful it had been to be back in Hamburg and to see some of their old friends. And how funny it was when he and Neil had snuck out of their hotel room while they were in Tokyo. And he joked about how scared they all had been that they were going to get caught bringing pot into the country, when they had gotten separated from their luggage in Manila. But the few happy stories he told were greatly outweighed by stories of all the infuriating incidents that occurred at every stop along the way. In Germany, the reporters were unrelenting with their never-ending supply of inane questions like, “Do you wear long pants in the winter?” John had finally had enough of their nonsense when they began asking Ringo about his complexion, and he ended up yelling at all the reporters in the room. In Tokyo, there were mass demonstrations protesting The Beatles’ performance at the sacred Budokan Hall. And as if that wasn’t enough, the boys were extremely put off by the restrictions put on them and everyone who attended the concerts they held there. And in Manila, there had been a huge uproar because The Beatles had not attended a reception held by Imelda Marcos. The whole tour sounded like a huge disappointment and I could tell John had had enough. He was ready to come home and I was more than ready to be back in his arms. After a while I told John I had better go, because we were running up a very large phone bill by being on the phone for so long, but he refused to let me off the phone. I could tell he was concerned about me. He started talking about all the things we’d do together when he got back. It felt comforting to be making plans for the future with John. I felt safe lying there in the darkness of my bedroom, listening to him speak. And before I knew it, I had drifted off to sleep.

I didn’t call Christine the next day. I couldn’t bear to. I knew I’d have to talk about it with her eventually, but I wasn’t in a stable enough frame of mind to have the conversation just yet. Instead, I took a couple of Quaaludes and stayed in bed all day, sleeping. And when I woke up, I took a couple more and did the same all over again. Claude never left. He refused to. He had someone bring him some clothes from his place and he had food delivered. He tried bringing some in to me in my bedroom, but I never ate it. I couldn’t. I just didn’t have an appetite. He was good about leaving me alone, but I could hear him in the living room watching television and I couldn’t help but wonder why he cared so much. He came in to check on me every once in a while, but he never pried. He never tried to get me to talk about it. And I appreciated that. The next couple of days passed in much the same way. I tried several times to get Claude to go home, but he just wouldn’t.

“Not until I know you’re all right. And you, laying there like that, in no way proves to me that you’re all right, kid,” he said. “You want me gone, personally? Fine. You phone up a little chickie friend of yours and I’ll be gone the second she arrives. But I’m not leaving you here alone, ya dig?”

“I’d prefer it if no one was here, Claude. Honestly, there’s nothing anyone can do for me. It’ll all work itself out in time,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”

“Uh-huh, and when it does, I’ll go. Until then, I’ll be in there if you need me.”

His perseverance made me smile, but the truth was that I was becoming a little annoyed. I wanted to wallow in my misery completely alone. Why wouldn’t he let me be? Did I really look that awful? What was we afraid would happen, that I’d commit suicide? I was depressed, but I wasn’t that depressed.

Friday morning I was awoken awfully early by the sound of voices in the front room. Who was Claude talking to? For a moment the volume of the voices rose and took on an angry tone, but were quickly lowered again and then gone altogether. I strained to hear if Claude’s visitor had left, but from the confines of my bedroom, I couldn’t be sure. Before I knew it, my bedroom door slowly creaked open and through it, John appeared. I suddenly felt very sick. It was John who had been talking to Claude. How was I ever going to explain to him why I hadn’t gone to Christine’s like he had told me? And how would I explain why, instead of Christine, Claude was there; and at that hour of the morning, nonetheless?

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