Part II: The laws of magnetism.
Mam Sheila’s face had turned a violent red.
- Beatles!!! Of all people!!- Shouted the angered woman as she waltzed the lounge in a furious fit. –Dancing like a darn mod in a pub!! Seems I’ve wasted time and money trying to make a good, decent young woman out of you for absolutely nothing!
- It’s not a pub, it’s actually a club, Mam Sheila!- Marnie defended herself. –It’s just the style! Everyone goes there!
- Yes, everyone who can’t tell the difference between class and sheer senseless eccentricity!- Mam Sheila turned her face violently towards the young woman.
It had very fortunately been Mam Sheila who had summoned her over for a “reassuring chat”. Tyson, the butler, had arrived at Marnie’s flat early the next morning with a protocol letter from her auntie. She had been appointed at five sharp, like some sort of job interview.
Marnie huffed and stood to pace around in defiance to her aunt’s behaviour.
- Look, Mam Sheila, I can’t really see what your problem is! They’re just people, you know!!
- They are NOT normal!- Shrieked the aunt as she slammed her open hand three times on the mantelpiece. –Ten years at the Royal School of Ballet! All thrown down the drain while you go shake and rattle your bottom in front of these ridiculous, queer liverpudlians?
- Jesus, Mam…- Marnie ran a hand through her hair, finding knots in just about every twist and curl. –You really do have a problem with today’s society… However will you manage it?
After a brief pause during which Mam Sheila had her back to her niece, the hardened woman finally spoke.
- So, how long have you been seeing these lunatics?
- God, they’re NOT lunatics!!- Marnie sat down flat on the couch, remembering all the times she had been told to put her feet down and remove her shoes whenever entering the room. – They happen to be really nice, fun people!
Mam Sheila laughed a long, sarcastic life. –Fun people? Oh, my dear girl, you really know NOTHING about life yet…
- You what???- Came out a squeak in the most refined sounding Yanklish. – I am NOT a youngster anymore!!
- Well, stop behaving like one!!- Mam Sheila turned suddenly. –Going around chasing The Beatles? Marnie, THE SODDING BEATLES!!!
- Pff, you know what??- Marnie sneered and raised her hands. –I’m not going to listen to this, really, I’m not….
As she was turning her back to walk out, Mam Sheila took one of her precious crystal eggs and slammed it on the floor, smashing it to innumerable pieces. The noise made Marnie stop cold, and she once again turned to face her infuriated aunt, shocked at the sudden loss of her usual composure.
- YOU WILL NOT LEAVE ME TALKING TO THE WALLS!!!!- Mam Sheila shouted seconds before straightening her head back up, and regaining her usual calm. –Now, - She moved her bifocals up her nose. –Tell me, how was it that you were lured into this mess? And don’t you even dare raise your voice at me.
With an angered sigh, Marnie spoke. –I… wasn’t lured. I WENT with Ingrid, like every Friday and Saturday, to the club where she works. I was asked to dance because the head dancer of the line is somewhere in America, and I just did it as a favour…
- Really?- Mam Sheila grinned a cynic grin that was more out of mockery than persuasion. .- And I take it you just accepted gladly…
- Not at first. - Marnie sat back down. –But you know what? Once I started dancing up there, I LOVED IT!!
- So, I suppose you have every intention of going back there tonight.
- Without a doubt.- Marnie stared straight into Mam Sheila’s eyes.
- And are you going with Ingrid, or with those… Beatles?
- I’m just going!- Marnie moaned. – Ingrid works there. If there happens to be a Beatle there, so be it!!
Mam Sheila stared at her hard and removed her glasses with a sigh. – I see you’re set.
- Well, what?
The older woman seemed to age ten years in the space of five seconds. –Well, apparently I was right… You may be twenty-five, but you’re still really some silly youngster.
- That’s right.- Marnie stood up, and once again headed for the door, turning back to say one final sentence. –Perhaps because I wasn’t allowed to be one when I had the chance…
As she paced through the endless halls of the manor, a single tear left the corner of her eye, which she promptly wiped with the back of her hand the moment she saw Nana-terra walking towards her. Without a single word, Nana looked into her eyes and hugged her.
- Had another go at you, did she love?
- I just don’t get her, Nana…- Marnie sighed. – I just don’t get her… I’m twenty five years old, and I haven’t really lived a life at all…
- Come on…- Nana gave her a warm nudge. –Let’s go to the kitchen and put the kettle on, shall we?
Marnie grinned and followed her old friend and confidante down the hall, past the courtyard and into the kitchen a story below. Marnie had never liked eating on the huge and spacious table in the main diner, so she always ate downstairs with Nana and the staff, who oddly enough, proved more affectionate than her own flesh and blood.
She told the story of her big night, her new job offer and her bold outing with two of the four Mop haired musicians that had the world tight in their grip. Nana listened to her patiently, holding her hand and grinning with every turn of events.
- Oh, I think it’s just great!- She laughed. –I love those go go dancing moves!- She stood and began to wiggle her voluminous body around, making Marnie laugh aloud. – You just have to swing a bit here, and swing a bit there…
- You should be working there instead of me!- Marnie spoke between pants of laughter.
- I may very well, love.
- You go, Nana!
The bulging lady sat back down and again held Marnie’s hand. –All right, now tell me about The Beatles.
Marnie smiled and tucked her hand in her hair as she leaned her skinny elbow on the table. –Where should I start?
- I just think they are lovely. –Nana poured another cup of steaming hot tea into Marnie’s cup. – Especially that Paul fellow… He seems like a nice lad.
- He is… Not to mention gorgeous. He has to be the best looking man I’ve ever met…– Marnie bit her lower lip. –You should see him, Nana, you really should…
- I have, a couple of times, only from a distance…- Nana giggled as she sipped from her cup. –I’ve walked through Cavendish, you know… There’s always a group of girls camped outside. I’ve often seen him go out to sign things for them. On one occasion, he was without a shirt and in thin under shorts, mind you.
Marnie took the cup to her face to conceal her unavoidable blush. The thought of Paul, semi-naked on the street, struck a cord. She immediately and deliberately switched on to John as a topic of conversation.
- You know, Nana, John was there too. You’ve not yet asked me about him.
- Oh, yeah. – Nana stood and took the tray with the empty china kettle back to the sink. – What can you tell me about him? He seems like an interesting fellow, that one…
- He is SO smart, Nan!- Marnie stood up and walked to her, shaking her hands about excitedly. – He’s just so witty! There’s obviously a whole lot more to John than what he lets on. I mean, he seems like someone who’s just making fun of life all the time, you know, like he doesn’t care, but you can tell that deep down, he does care, and he cares a lot!! And he is so bloody funny! I swear, I don’t even know what became of that Magic Alex bloke! When I asked him, you know what he said to me?
- He said, “Oh, well, now you know why he’s Magic Alex. He’s disappeared.!”- Marnie giggled at the memory.
Nana chuckled as she washed the dishes. –I heard what mam Sheila did. – She contained her laughter as she toned her voice down. –Went mental and began to hit his Rolls Royce with her umbrella, did she?
- You would have had to be there!!- Marnie giggled like a brat. –Looking back on it, it’s damn hilarious!!- She began to imitate Mam Sheila, smashing a wooden spoon on the kitchen counter. –“How dare you do this to a Rolls Royce!!!”
Both Marnie and Nana stood there giggling about the incident. Nana seemed keen to know more and more, even if there was little to tell at that point.
- Well, here’s my two pence thought’s worth…- The chubby woman grinned while Marnie put her jacket on. –I say, you take that job, and you go with those lovely lads. If it’s what you rally dig, then to hell with ballet. You go over to groove at that pub, love…- She nudged Marnie and gave her a friendly wink. –To be really honest with you, I think you and this John are too much alike… besides, I think he’s married, isn’t he?
- I think so…- Marnie shrugged as she picked up her bag. –But it’s still worth a shot…
Nana turned with a reprimanding look. – Now don’t you go on thinking that!- She shot at the skinny beauty. – That sort of thing is just not done.
Marnie lowered her head and nodded. –Yes, you’re right… I just thought about how it would make Mam Sheila churn…
- It would, though, wouldn’t it?
With a quick kiss, and a “see ya, Nana, and by the way, it’s not a pub, it’s a club”, Marnie headed out to catch a taxi back to Soho, when curiosity caught the best of her. She began to pace up Circus, giggling when she reached the corner tree where Mam Sheila had gone bonkers, and turning to her left, she began to feel nervous.
- Number seven… Number seven…- She whispered to herself as her once hasty
Pace slowed to a doubtful one. She stopped entirely when she reached Cavendish Avenue. There was a small mob of girls standing outside Paul’s gate, as usual. They all seemed to know each other, and they chatted giggling and smiling. Fearfully, she approached the gate, which now, in daylight, looked no longer black but green. All the girls stared at her with sneers as Marnie touched the door gently. A Beatle! It was hard to believe it now, but she had hung out with two of them.
- Oi, you have any business here, love?- One of the girls barked aggressively in a thick cockney accent.
- Don’t mind if I do…- Marnie shot back, staring at the girl defiantly.
- You know ‘im, then?- Another girl snapped suddenly. Before she knew it, Marnie had a whole bunch of feisty-looking teenagers standing in front of her.
- I might.
- She don’t, never mind her…- One of them laughed. –She’s just a liar…
They all grumbled a sneery “yeah”, but stopped suddenly when, getting confidence out of thin air, Marnie rang the intercom. A male voice spoke up. –All right, ladies, what is it now?
The gasps and giggles failed to recognize their idol’s voice. This was Mike, not Paul, who had answered.
- M... Mike?
- It’s me, Marnie… remember, the best arse swinger in all of Anglia?
Mike laughed aloud, and the faces of all the girls standing outside fell when the loud buzz let Marnie in.
- You may try not to be so catty with me next time round…- Marnie smiled at them.
As the door closed behind her, she clearly heard one of them shouting a loud and almost pitiful “bitch!!” at her.
Mike stood by the door facing the cobblestone driveway, a huge, friendly smile adorning the face that, aside from the slightly droopy eyes, looked nothing like that of his older brother.
- Gonna do sum mean arse wigglin’ tonight, then?- He held his arms open for a hug.
- I honestly never thought you’d let me in!- Marnie smiled as she hugged the younger McCartney sibling. –Those girls out there… sheesh…
- Tell us about it…- he stood to the side as he allowed Marnie in. – They can be a real pain frum time to time. But I think they’ll respect you a bit more, now.
Marnie looked around her, and couldn’t help but stare at her refined surroundings. In many ways, it reminded her of Mam Sheila’s museum-like decoration, except that the walls had purple velvet on them, and an occasional art figurine stood out from the others in the most tantalizing psychedelic form.
- If yer looking fer our kid, ‘es gone out fer a while…- Mike stepped in behind her and closed the door. –Had to see his girl off to the airport… again.
- I take it he won’t be part of the entourage tonight…- Marnie spoke, still looking around her. Her attention was knocked away by the sudden feeling of paws on her hips. She looked down and her face was met by a huge, sloppy tongue surrounded by strands of matty, greyish hair.
- Martha, get down!!- Mike pulled the huge sheepdog down by the collar.
- No, it’s all right!!- Marnie went down on the floor and greeted the dog, who responded with unmeasured joy. –I love dogs, this one just took me by surprise…- She shook the dog’s head by the cheeks. –So your name is Martha, is it?- She then looked back up at Mike. –Mam Sheila never allowed me to have a dog… claimed it would make a mess.
- She’s right, you know..- Mike laughed. –I wouldn’t go out barefoot into the garden…
Marnie giggled and continued to look around while Martha eagerly seemed to volunteer to give her a tour of the house. From the corner of her eye, she managed to zero an a couple of cats as they hissed and ran up the stairs. It was a large Georgian home, but even then paled in size compared to Mam Sheila’s “manor”. Marnie found that, despite the somewhat “traditionally tasteful” decoration, there was a certain touch of relaxed hype she really liked. There was a huge telly facing the front window, and there were oriental rugs all over the place… Except these were covered in a thin layer of doggy hair.
- Fancy a drink, luv?- Mike’s voice made her turn suddenly.
- Just cold water, thanks…- Marnie replied. –Can I sit down?
- You think you can?
Mike’s Scouse humour sent her up and soaring with giggles as she sat on the leather couch. Martha immediately placed her keen self by her side, panting heavily. When Mike returned from the kitchen, he handed Marnie a tall glass of water, and immediately after that, reached out to the table and, taking his camera, immediately asked her to strike poses for him.
- You can’t put that thing down, can you?- She smiled, slumping back on the couch and allowing more leg to show for Mike’s lens.
- Paul and dad say that this is an extension of me upper limbs…- he laughed as he aimed and focused and snapped repeatedly. –Paul gave me this one, last year on me birthday.
- Thank you very much for the Nikkon camera…- Marnie sang with an impish grin, making Mike giggle.
Mike smiled at her broadly. -You like The Scaffold, then?
- Took me a while to figure out that McGear was an alternate version of McCartney… - Marnie sat back up again and leaned her elbows on her knees.
- Really?- He turned to his side, jokingly. –Can’t you see that perfect McCartney profile? Quite a hit with the birds, you know…
Marnie didn’t understand what it was that made Liverpudlians such funny characters, but they were, and it was unavoidable.
After some muffled giggles, Mike stood up and walked to the table, returning with a single yellow envelope. –‘Ere, I developed these early this morning… Paul’s got a dark room upstairs, so ‘e lets me use his stuff…
- What are they?- Marnie smiled as she looked at them.
- You and yer mate, last night, mostly… that and auntie Grizelda, smashing John’s car with ‘er bleedin’ umbrella…- He chuckled as he once again sat in front of her.
After laughing at the memory, Marnie began to look at the photographs with a wry grin painted on her chiselled face. –You have a good eye, Mike…
- And a nice arse, too..-
Once again, Marnie laughed, unaware than the young McCartney was once again taking photographs. One of them caught her eye, making her stop; John was bending forward on the table, drinking from his glass of dark Guinness. Ingrid was seated to his left, her face to a side, a wide smile illuminating the lovely, English face. To his right, there was half of Pete Shotton. But what caught Marnie’s attention was the handsome dark man next to Ingrid, Paul. It wasn’t because of his darkness or because of his handsomeness, but because of a look he had in his eye… It was a certain glow that just seemed too interesting. While John made all his emotions plain, making him easy and natural to have fun with, Paul seemed to have a strange stare, straight at the camera. His mouth was lined with a mild grin, but his eyes spoke differently. Marnie looked desperately into the photograph, but even if it was plain to see there were a million thoughts to be seen inside the huge, sad, intricate eyes, as she was incapable to read into them. In a sudden flash of thought, Marnie made herself the purpose of finding out what was to be seen inside the power of his sad stare.
- Like that one?- Mike tapped her knee. –You can have it, if you like…
- Can you tell what he’s thinking?- Marnie frowned and showed the photo to Mike, who took it and looked into it with a deeply analysing glare.
- No…- He sighed as he handed it back. - No one ever ‘as. It’s always been ‘ard to tell what’s in our kid’s ‘ead… Aside from load of mud, tha’ is…
Marnie smiled at Mike and was met with his lens instead. By now, she had figured out that every time Mike referred to Paul as “our kid”, he had obviously been using some strange Scousism to determine the existence of a family bond, probably brotherhood. Biting her lower lip, she put the picture in her purse and stood up. –Can I see the garden?
Mike stood up with her. –Yeh, I s’pose, but mind the rocks on the parapet, luv. Martha’s been busy this mornin’…
With a chuckle, she followed Mike out back, and was met with a horribly downtrodden jungle of overgrown grass, dried up rose bushes and a circular solarium all the way at the bottom. With a giggle, she made her way through the backyard Amazon, careful enough not to step on any of Martha’s droppings, or as Mike had so eloquently put it, “rocks on the parapet”. She jumped over a small puddle and into the solarium, where Mike followed her.
-More pickies, please, luv?- Mike raised his camera with a friendly grin, and Marnie simply nodded as she looked around. She could hear the camera clicking madly around her, and she turned to Mike in a naturally flirtatious spin and shook her head, making him stop for a quick gasp before he continued.
-You may want to save some for tonight’s show, love…- She said as she sat down. With a dumbstruck grin on his face, Mike put the camera down. –Why do you suddenly want to empty entire film rolls on me, anyway?
- Seen Romeo and Juliet?
- Read the book, innumerable times. –She sighed. –Part of my bloody stupid “top notch” education I’m afraid…
Mike began to speak in a completely different accent, quoting -O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, as yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, and touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
Marnie smiled a pleasant, shiny smile. –Wow… Where did all that come from?
- William Shakespeare’s ‘ead, I think…- He laughed like a schoolboy. –But back in the Inny they made us…
- The “Inny”?- Marnie sneered
- The Liverpool Institute, where Paul and I used to go. – He sat down on the carpeted floor. –They made us all read them books as well, you know. Paul took a liking to Macbeth, I used to luv Romeo and Juliet.
- So you took to memorizing the thing?- Marnie chuckled. –Mam Sheila tried that with me, but all I managed to keep in my head was “Oh, Romeo, Romeo… wherefore art thou Romeo?” That’s about it.- She looked up into his eyes, big and blue, and nothing like his older brother’s, at least not in colour. – I’m impressed…
- Well, it’s true. –He grinned as he leaned against the solarium wall. –We’ll show them Liverpudlians what REAL beauty is about, then…
- Going to show me off in Liverpool, are you?- She shook her head. –And just what are you gonna say, Mike McGear?
- I can’t say much else aside from “She’s this swinger in a club who’s probably gonna make it big on the telly with ‘em swivelling ‘ips…”- He shrugged. –Angie would ‘ave a stroke if she even began to think sumthing else..
- Me Judy…
- Judy? I thought you said Angie!
- Well, what is it? Angie or Judy?
Mike was unable to contain a laugh so loud, Marnie thought the glass roof of the solarium would collapse on top of both of them.
- In Liverpool, “our judies” are our women! Me girlfriend, if you will…
Marnie nodded in sign of understanding. –Oh… It’s a whole dialect, what you lot speak…
Mike shook his head with a grin. –You can talk, with your whole “Yanklish” thing going on, and all tha’…
- And that’s because you never heard me back in America..
- Was it worse?
- I don’t know, but Mam Sheila will never forgive herself for wanting to change my accent. Now it’s a horrid mish-mash…
Mike smiled again… a different smile. –I think it’s endearing…
Martha suddenly took her leave and rushed insanely back through the garden and into the house, barking merrily as she went along. And the unmistakeable sound of female squeaking accompanied the huge sheepdog’s barks.
- That must be Paul…- Mike said, standing up to look through the glass panelling into the garden. – Yeh, there ‘e is.. Poor sod.
- Why poor?- Marnie furrowed her brow.
- ‘Eartbroken. Jane’s off again, to one of ‘er tours. Gets lonely, our kid…
Marnie turned her head and saw Paul roughing up with Martha as they walked to the solarium. –Mike??
- Over ‘ere! Got a visitor!
- Oh..- Paul stopped. –Am I interrupting?
- Yeh, get knotted!!!
- No!!- Marnie stood up laughing, making herself visible to him.
Paul smiled and waved his so very Beatley hello. It seemed he had a very special and characteristic body language. His grins, his waves, the way he walked, the way he continuously bobbed his head around, how he fidgeted with his chin, how he bit his thumbnail, how he frowned, or that little perfectly curvy brow that went up on only his left side… Marnie stopped herself, shocked to see how his every move had been tattooed in her brain in the space of only a few hours. And still, regardless of all his overwhelmingly expressive moves and his emotion saturated eyes, he depicted absolutely nothing. How could it be?
He stepped into the solarium, ducking slightly (another trademark movement of his) and grinned. –Hiyah… what’s yer name?
Marnie lost her smile completely, while Mike punched him on the arm.
- Are you soft, man? Remember ‘er? Marnie! Last night her auntie went spare on us and…
- … attacked John’s car with ‘er umbrella! – Paul pointed at Mike –Tha’s so right, man!!- He turned to Marnie with an apologetic glare. –I’m so sorry, luv… But you just look so different without all the makeup and all…- He leaned forward and kissed her cheek. – You look better like this…
It wasn’t until then when Marnie had a feel of his skin. “John’s your favourite, John’s your favourite…” she mentally repeated to herself as she tried hard to return a not-too-goofy or moonstruck smile back to her face. He also smelled gorgeous, strictly soap, shampoo and water, plus a scent all his own. The more she thought, the more she seemed to be drawn into a mystery to be solved, and it’s name was Paul McCartney.
- We was just chatting ‘bout ya, luv. –Mike sat back down. – Marnie ‘ere got hassled by the scruffs…
- Ha, news, as usual..- Paul chuckled as he desperately tried to push Martha down to the floor.
- Excuse me…- Marnie leaned forward. –Scruffs?
- Apple Scruffs. – Paul looked at her, pressing his lips together (another typical Paulism, she took note) and sighed. – We each ‘ave sum, but they choose to ‘ang about ‘ere more often. They’re not that bad, really, you just need to get used to ‘em..
- Get stuffed…- Mike lay down completely.- I’d set the dogs out on ‘em…
Marnie nodded assent while Paul finally took to the floor next to Mike. –So? What do you think of my ‘ome, then?
- She thinks it’s a bloody mess, and she’s right!!- Mike spoke numbly from the floor.
- I never!!- Marnie yelped. –I haven’t even said a peep!!
Paul and Mike laughed together, and Marnie was relieved to hear Paul tell her they were just “’aving ‘er on”, as he would say it.
- Anyway, why are you ‘ere?- He suddenly widened his eyes. –Oh, and ‘ow did it go with The Wicked Witch, by the way?
Marnie laughed a hearty chuckle. –Not good. Just been there. But sod it, I’m dancing tonight, which reminds me…- She gave him her best smile, not quite in control of her sudden flirtatiousness. –Are you coming?
Mike released -again- an obviously eager gasp, but Paul seemed untouched. His smile remained as diplomatic and cute as usual, and his stare held hers. Despite her confusion, she had always been perfectly able to keep a straight face in a crises, and suddenly, she became aware that cracking this nut would probably be near impossible. If Paul had the same habit of building a stone wall around his emotions, then it would turn out to be another situation of Mam Sheila Vs. Marnie Drwiscky, only a million times the fun.
- Sure…- He chuckled. –Got nothing else in me agenda… Jane’s off again.
- Me Judy…
- Oh, bloody hell, here we go again!!!- Marnie huffed and raised her arms.
Mike rolled around the floor in laughter, while Marnie just hid her face in her hands. Paul, in the meanwhile, had that confused scorn on his face. It took some explaining for him to understand the whole “Judy” issue.
After that, there was a semi-short silence, and Mike excused himself to go to the loo.
Paul sat there, grinning at her, while she didn’t dare hold his stare in fear of blushing.
- No, honest…- He spoke finally. –What do you think of this place, eh? Big bachelor’s pad, isn’t it?
- It’s fine, believe me…- She replied, relieved she hadn’t been the one to start the chat. – I was raised in a home similar to this, only here I get a chance to put my shoes on the carpet.
- Was it really that bad?- Paul winced, obviously begging for information on her background. .- I mean, you said you moved ‘ere with yer auntie and all…
Marnie smiled and nodded. –Yeah… My mum and dad were too bloody free spirited for their time, so they were virtually shunned by their parents.- Seeing the confused scorn on his face again, she elaborated. –They weren’t married. I’m some sort of a flower child…
- Oh…- He nodded
- But apparently Mam Sheila was the only one who stayed in touch, and well… Here I am.
Paul gulped and looked down. For the first time, Marnie was able to read one small part of him. He was obviously gathering courage to ask the dreaded questions. She grinned and moved from the small bench were she sat to the floor in front of him, making him look up. – You are just dying to know what happened to my mum and dad, aren’t you? – She smiled.
- W.. well… I mean, I…- He seemed suddenly
sheepish as he tilted his head to the side and looked down.
- My dad was killed in a car accident.- She huffed. –I was ten. His brakes failed…- She stuck a hand in her hair and leaned her elbow on her knee, as she sat, cross-legged, on the floor. – And mum got sick not long after that…
- She was sick?- Paul’s eyes suddenly shot up at hers. –With wha’?
- What’s tha’?
- Something Lateral Sclerosis… Lou Gherig’s Disease… Basically, she started to lose control of all limbs, starting from her feet and going up, until she just… well one day, her heart just stopped beating. She was in bed, asleep, thank God…- She sighed, hiding the pain like a pro, or rather, like Paul would. – I was in a children’s home for a few months, then Mam Sheila came for me. She looked like a banshee to me that first time… I swear, there’s nothing in her dressing gown other than long black dresses…-
Paul nodded and reached into his pocket, pulling out an odd looking cigarette. He became aware of Marnie’s stare, and he bit his lower lip. – God, I’m sorry… I shouldn’t…- He began to put it away.
- Nonsense!- she smiled. –Go ahead, but best warn you, boy you’ll have to share that thing…
With a relived huff, Paul smiled broadly, and Marnie had to look down before she started to gawk again.
As Paul fired up the reefer, Marnie continued talking. – I was raised by Mam Sheila, basically because no one else would have me…
- Sounds like a drag, eh?- Paul inhaled the first puff, and his voice now husky due to the pot, he passed the joint over to Marnie as he spoke. – I take it she wouldn’t even let you go out and play…
- You got that right…- Marnie took the tiny thing from Paul and took a long drag, shocking even Paul.
- Easy, pet, there’s more where that came from!
- That’s fine, I’ve my own share of this at home, trust me…
- So…- Paul again pressed his lips together with a boyish grin. – I reckon yer Auntie still thinks of you as the Virgin Mary, and here you are, smoking weed with one of the Beatles.
Marnie took another shocking drag before handing the steaming cigarette back to Paul.
- Actually, the pot is still a mystery, but the whole Virgin Mary thing? I’m afraid that secret was out a while ago… -She pointed around her. –Funny we should be in a solarium…
- You ‘ad yer fist shag in a solarium??- Paul raised both eyebrows this time and laughed. His laugher was more like that of a giggling schoolgirl.
- And I got caught!
- That sucks… And on yer first go, mind you!- And you wuz ‘ow many years old?
- Seventeen…- Marnie nodded as she tucked a curl behind her ear.
- A good age…- He chuckled. – ‘Ow old are yer now, if I may ask?
- Twenty five, only just…
- Oh same as me, then!- His eyebrows went all the way up. – You must ‘ave a really shitty memory of yer fist time, then. Must ‘ave been soft, you know, getting caught like tha’…
- Not really…- She laughed. –I hold the memory of the look on her face close to my heart.- She stared at Paul as he took his long turn at the pot. –Of course, I spent the rest of the week over at Ingrid’s…
- Ingrid, yeah!!- Paul nodded. –She’s the other dancer, eh? The blonde one!
- Well, at least you remembered her on the first try…- She shrugged.
Paul shook his head and looked down. –Don’t be daft. I did remember you, only I was a bit lost for words, honest. Who are you was the best I could cum up with. – He leaned a perfect cheek on a perfect hand in another perfectly Paulish way, and then reclined the perfect elbow on a perfect knee. – I honestly did, but I just stood there thinking, like “Oh, God, she should just be like this all the time, she’s so luvely”… I mean you look fab in them dancing outfits, but truth be told, you don’t need all tha’ rubbish to look stunning…
This time, she was unable to look down, hide her face or even move as the redness invaded her Mediterranean-looking face. Paul, in the meanwhile, was yet again unmoved. He simply continued to stare at her.
- A compliment…- She finally blurted out. –M… Must be the hair…
Oh, man! Like it had been with John the previous night, she suddenly felt like the single most stupid woman on the planet. Here was Beatle Paul, handsome as all hell, saying she was stunning, and all she could mumble was something about her hair!
- No… The hair’s fine. It’s different. Not like all the straights out there, you just sort of let it go as it should. That’s actually fab, tha’…- He took another drag from the joint, just as Mike went back into the scene.
- A good piece of advice from a long haired male from Liverpool..- Marnie laughed.
Mike sat himself back on the floor. –What’s tha’ about, then?
- You nosey parker…- Paul exhaled smoke and passed the joint over to Mike, who eagerly took one tiny drag before giving it back to his older sibling.
- We were just talking about my auntie…
- We’ve ‘ad a good life, Michael McCartney. –Paul sighed. –She’s got this gothic ‘orror story to tell, man. Except for the part where she ends up dancing in a pub and meets us…
Marnie bit her lip. “That’s about right”, she thought.
- Our mum died too, you know…- Paul continued and threw the now defunct reefer out the door, and for a moment, Marnie thought the long weeds may have gotten ignited ablaze, but the thing landed square in the puddle she had jumped over.
- Oh, I’m sorry…- She tilted her head to the side. .-How did that one go?
- Not nicely…- Mike fidgeted with his camera.
- Cancer did the trick with good ol’ Mother Mary… -Paul shrugged and sighed, locking his arms behind his back as he leaned his hands on the floor. –She apparently neglected it fer a while, then there she was one day, when mike and I was cuming back frum school when…- He trailed off and turned to look at Mike. Even if he still a strong face, it was plain to see he was handing the burden of telling the story to Mike before real emotion began to show.
Mike sighed, not happy with the newly appointed task. –We got ‘ome from school and found ‘er in ‘er room, all choked up. She was ‘olding I think it was a crucifix and a photo of an uncle of ours to her chest… A priest uncle… About a month after that, she was dead.
Marnie felt the words ring in her head like the Big Ben. It struck so close to home it was almost hard to look at them. Mike looked saddened by the reminiscence, and Paul looked like he was miles away, which he probably was, anyway.
- Anyroad, John’s story is also gnarly, luv…- Paul finally spoke.
- Oh, enough of gnarly stories, then!!- She suddenly stood up, a desperate attempt at hiding it all away. – Will you two be going over to the show tonight?
Mike and Paul returned to their merry old selves. –Can I get me cammy in?
- Your what?
- Thank you very much for the Nikkon you gave to me…- Paul sang again, as the merry trio headed out of the solarium.
- Yeah, sure!- Marnie smiled. –Although one day you’ll have to find a better topic to photograph, I think…
- I certainly will, and… OH, SHIT, MAN!!!- Mike squeaked, and both Paul and Marnie turned their heads to look at Mike. He was holding his foot up, his shoe covered in fresh dog dung. – PAUL!! YER FUCKIN’ DOG!!!
- She’s over there!!- Paul shouted amidst hysterical laugher from both he and Marnie’s mouths. –You stupid prick!!
While Mike excused himself to go wash his shoe, Paul walked Marnie to the door, aware that she couldn’t very well go out on her own, as she now ran the risk of having her bladder and spleen extracted by the “apple scruffs”.
As they walked in silence through the cobblestone driveway, she couldn’t help but stare at Paul’s behind as it walked to the green gate.
- How about you? How was it for you? I mean, I had mine in the solarium, and you…- She felt the involuntary gasps leave her mouth seconds after the sentence trailed off. –Oh, my God, did I just say that?
Paul turned to look at her with an impish little grin. – It’s only fair…- He leaned against the green door, and even if he could see one of the scruffs peeking over the brick wall and gasping excitedly, he continued to tell her. – I was fifteen, and this next-door neighbour was alone, babysitting fer a baby. I went over to say ‘ello, and she just…- He shrugged with a somewhat honest looking smile. –I swear, she jumped on me, not the other way around…
- Made an indecent man out of you…
- Pretty much!!- He laughed again, his huge, toothy, Stuart Little grin showing like shiny pearls. – And I never got it back. The bitch…
Marnie leaned forward and kissed Paul’s cheek. –So, it’s a fact. I’ll see you tonight, then…
- You will, luv…- He opened the gate and waited until Marnie had caught her cab, and disappeared down Cavendish Avenue. His eyes were fixed on the road where the taxi had moved away, while some of the girls gently tugged at his jacket. –All right, all right, ladies…- He finally turned to face them as they emptied their seemingly endless film rolls on him.
- Who is she, Paul?- One of the more frequent scruffs asked.
- Oh, she’s…- He smiled, turning his face towards the empty street again, a little grin on his adorable face. -…she’s a free spirit, tha’ one…
When he went back in, he closed the door behind him and leaned on it with a huff as he ran his hand though his hair. “Get a grip”, he said to himself as he paced back to the living room. Mike was till in the loo washing his miserably dirty shoe.
Slumping down on the couch, Paul zeroed on the envelope with the photos Marnie had been looking at earlier on. With his usual scorn, he reached out and pulled out Mike’s photographs, passing them one by one. He took his turn in gawking, no longer afraid to be seen by anyone other than brother, cats and sheepdog. He stopped passing them when he reached a particular photograph of Marnie alone. He stared at it, deeply analysing, but reaching no conclusions.
Mike stepped out of the loo, and shuffled barefooted through the lounge. –She gone, then?
- Yeh…- Paul replied, still staring at the pic. Without moving his eyes from it, he stood and walked towards his brother. –Hey lah…
- Did you take this?- He showed the photo to his brother.
- Yeah. Cracker, ain’t it?
- Aye…- Paul returned his stare into it. –Can we ‘ave it, then?
- Yeh, go on…
- Ta…- Paul went to sit back down, and called out. –Hey, Mike!!
- Wha’ now?
Paul looked up and saw Mike peeking out the kitchen door, where he had begun to brew up some tea. Biting his lower lip, he spoke to his house guest.
- If you look at ‘er enough, do you think you may be able to tell wha’ she’s thinking ‘bout?
- You HORRIBLE cow!! Why didn’t you tell me??- Ingrid moaned at her.
- I swear, I didn’t even know I was going there!- Marnie explained, raising her arms as both of them got ready for that night’s dancing stint. – I just sort of improvised it, you know, I mean, I coming over her but I got curious and…
WHAMMO! A cushion landed square on her face.
- Serves you right and proper!- Ingrid wailed. –And don’t you DARE come near, I have an arsenal of cushions here!!
- They’re MY cushions!!- Marnie wailed as she charged towards her friend.
After a fair wrestle, they began their long walk from Soho Square to Oxford Road.
- All right, since you’re my best mate, I’ll pardon you, but now you have to spill it out…- Ingrid stuck a bar of gum into her mouth. –What’s his house like?
Marnie laughed. –A very big and comfortable mess. But…
Marnie turned an evil look at Ingrid. –He ‘s got a solarium in the back!!!
Knowing the meaning of her words, Ingrid giggled along. –And? Anything?
- No, just a quick joint and a chat… I was there for about one hour, or an hour and a half, only…
- What about Auntie Grizelda?
- Not a flippin’ clue…
- No!- Ingrid stopped. –I mean, how did it go with her?
Marnie’s smile disappeared as she looked to the floor. –I’m giving up, man. It’ll never be good enough for her.
- That was funny, though…- Ingrid smirked, as they resumed their walk.
- What was?
- Smashing the car with her umbrella! I mean, who the bloody hell does that, anyway??
- Apparently she’s into that sort of thing, now…- Marnie shrugged. –This morning she smashed a crystal Faberge egg on the floor to make a point, you know…
- Well, I suppose SHE can afford to.- Ingrid replied, shocked. –But tell me more! What happened with Paul, love?
Once again, Marnie stopped, and Ingrid stepped a few yards before looking back and returning to Marnie, who just gave her a cheeky stare. –What?
- Do you honestly THINK I did something with him?- Marnie asked, hands on her hips.
- If you didn’t…- Ingrid’s jaw began to fall to the floor. –In the name of all things sacred, I’ll bloody kill you, man!
- Well, I didn’t.
Ingrid huffed. –You were in Paul’s house… Paul McFlippin’ Cartney, and you just… talked?- She turned her face away. –You have to be either horribly stupid or strategically brilliant…
- Neither of the two…- Marnie resumed the walk again. –I just wanted to piss them off…
- Who, the McCartney brothers? Are you mad??
- No, stupid!! The crowd of girls outside!- Marnie shook her head. –I could swear they would have killed me…
- I do know a couple of them, and yes, they would, make no mistake about it.- She nodded. –Like I will for not shagging the most wanted man in the world when you had him on a silver platter.
Marnie laughed. –I like John better. Besides, Paul is nice and all, but…
- Was it just me, or does Paul seem cagey to you?
- Yes, love, cagey!
Ingrid turned her face and looked ahead as they reached the left turn to Oxford Street.
- Somewhat. But you know what? I’d just love to figure out what lies underneath… It’s like you, almost.
- What do you mean?
- I mean, - Ingrid grabbed Marnie’s arm as they crossed the road, thanking the driver for letting them pass. -… you are cagey yourself, at times.
- I never!
- Are too, darling, all too cagey. You hold out a lot. I think I’m one of the few people that’s EVER seen you cry…. For instance, has Mam Sheila ever seen you broken?
- Fancy the day she will which won’t happen, ever!- Marnie laughed.
The two girls reached the club… and were shocked to find a line that went clean around the block. The Imperial Tenor’s wasn’t a big place, so Marnie wondered what the fuzz was about. Her questions were answered when, as soon as she became visible, every man in the line erupted into cheers. –MARNIE!! MARNIE!!!- They shouted.
The two dancers froze in shock. –Bloody hell, Marn, who have you been talking to??- Ingrid spoke aghast.
- What? No one!!
- Girls, come along!!- Daddy hopped up to them, and with the help of
Rick Rock and another bouncer neither of the girlfriends had seen before, they entered the club. All the other girls were there, equally shocked, but thrilled to see Marnie. As they went up the stairs, Marnie warned Ingrid not to say a word about Paul or John, or not to touch the subject at all, for that matter.
- Daddy just gave us all an extra bonus check!- The dancer known simply as Anita jumped up and down. – You’d better stay here and dance forever, love!!
Marnie once again took Janet McVindow’s clothes and dressed up to come out minutes later to get her makeup done. This time, she added extra powder so the lashes would not fall off from her lids.
“You look fab in them dancing outfits, but truth be told, you don’t need all tha’ rubbish to look stunning…” The words kept echoing inside her head, and she let out an unavoidable and almost imperceptible gasp as she toyed with the soft powder brush. She couldn’t help but think what Paul may think of her that night, what he would wear… the skin on his face, a touch, scratchy cheek with the unavoidable dark hair growth which he had never quite been able to rid himself from completely, given the nature of his black hair and china white skin.
- All right, ladies, are we ready??- Daddy came in, rubbing his hands together with a smile. –Marnie, are you ready?
After a collective and enthusiastic –YEAH!!- Everyone went down to stand behind the entrance to the stage. Daddy walked up to her and gave her a small note. –I think you have that bug in here tonight as well… He has company…- He whispered to her ear. Marnie grinned and took the note from him, opening it to read a noted that was as clever as it was clear and confusing at the same time.
Along the roads of nowhere, upon a sunny hill
whence came a young man in glasses
to see a dancer show her basic knees. While they spun in hoops, the handsome hero brought along his fiends, of ill repouting lips and sores in all
unimaginabearable places. While hips shouted and arms wept,
the young pirate resorted to the ol’ scotch, and hardly not found it, drank
a clean glass of bulbuous water, to see the woman’s needs
had all but stopped shaking. So, he’s come to see her
tonite, with even more fiends, and fortunehappenstacially, his own
bottle of solid piltz, as he bacons her to dance. Move, he shouts
like a log, make the world see your body, along the roads of nowhere,
upon a sunny hill.
- Ingrid!!- Marnie called her friend with her hand. When Ingrid reached her, Marnie handed her the letter. –You don’t think…?
- Oh, my God!! He’s there again!!- Another dancer suddenly gasped. –John Lennon!!
A new version of the hen house started again.
- Look, he just took his glasses off!!!
- My god, he looks gorgeous!! Look at him!
- Marnie, we hate you!
- There’s someone there, with him…
- *Gasp* Paul???
- No, I think it’s…
- Oh, My God!! George!! He brought George!!
- GEORGE?? Where??
- No Ringo??
- It’s George!! It’s George!! Oh, God, it’s Beatle George!!
- But I think he has Patti with him.
- He hasn’t shaved, though… I hate that moustache..
- I don’t!! He’s so hot!
- God, where’s Paul?
- Who is that?
- With the camera…
- I don’t know…
- It’s Paul’s kid brother…
- And how would you bloody know that, Ingrid?
- Err… I have seen his photo before..
- He looks nothing like…
- PAUL!!! PAUL IS HERE TOO!!!
- Where, where??
- There!! The red jacket with the blue designs on it!!
- I don’t see.. Oh God, yeah!!
- He is SO LOVELY!!
- I want Ringo!!!
As Daddy announced the band, the crowd began to slam their hands on the tables. –GIG AND JIG!! GIG AND JIG!- They were shouting.
Marnie peeked through to see what all the others were looking at. Indeed, there was a new Beatle in tow, together with a somewhat ill clad young man who couldn’t be any less cute than they, blonde hair twirling on his head. Marnie, however, tried to focus on George. He, like his fellow Beatles, was another fine meat sample in her mind. Handsome brown eyes, sitting moodily with his beautiful wife by his side, while Paul, Mike and John chatted eagerly with the mystery companion. Johnny… No matter what, his letter had raised a wild smile on her face, and with the first powerful chord of the guitar (the band was a bit harder this time), she followed all the girls out to her dancing spot.
The cage seemed suddenly like the safest place in the world. It was high enough above the stage and the crowd not to be reached by anyone, with the exception of the hundreds of stares from the hungry eyes below. Like before, she felt the blood in her body reach parts even she didn’t know she possessed, like some sort of weird sexual climax, and started to move around.
From below, mike walked up to her and began to –once again- take photograph after photograph of both Marnie as well as the dancing line. The caged woman, turned to look at him, and, with a grin, blew him a kiss and a long wink, making him stop cold before continuing. Mike was easily turned on, she figured, even if he was not what she was after in him. Hair flying all over the place, she ended her dance on the floor, bent backwards, one arm and one leg holding her weight while the other two limbs were held high in the air. She was able to hear one of the girls through the insane cheers. –How the fuck does she do that???
Panting, she stood up to receive her cheer. The crowd the nigh before had been great, but for the first time, she felt a teeny little taste of what her friends on table number nine constantly experienced. Success, elation and popularity, things she had never had before in her life, suddenly touching every sense of her. And the feeling was good, almost like lying in bed after a wonderful orgasm, still reeling, still gagging, still hot and sweating, and proud of having successfully reached the highest momentum of intercourse. It was THAT good.
Not wanting to give her friends’ privacy away to the rest of the crowd, she simply addressed a smile to them, and walked off to her break.
Daddy came in seconds after her, while the band still played on the stage below, and all the girls, except Marnie herself, clung to the vents as they stared at the three “bugs” with their company.
- Brilliant, brilliant!!- Daddy hugged Marnie again. –Here, more notes from your fans, love…
- F.. fans? I have fans??- Marnie looked up at him. –Really?
She took the bundle of hastily scribbled notes on napkins or bus tickets in her hands. Some of them were probably boys from the previous night, taking time and bother to even put a dash of lotion in them. But there was one letter that caught her eye. It was a plain white envelope with carefully drawn roses on it. With a grin, she put it aside, and continued to flip through the rest of the notes. Some were terribly corny, some were just disgusting, and some were just hilariously graffitied “I Love You”’s and “Marry me!” ‘s.
- Open that one!!- Ingrid pointed at the one in the envelope with the flowers.
- I don’t know why…- Marnie grinned as she took it in her hand. –But I have a feeling…
- Go on!!! Open it!!
Marnie carefully tore the side of the paper and pulled out another photograph… A single shot of her, taken in the solarium at Cavendish, smiling flirtatiously at the camera. There was no paper… But the photograph had something written at the back.
- And in her eyes you see nothing… But I’d like to, someday. In the meanwhile, - Marnie read aloud. – Will you accept a drink from some Long Haired Liverpudlian with a weakness for the natural things in life, ie: overgrown bushes, long black hair and maybe a little mother nature while enjoying great company?
- Oh, My God!!!- Ingrid contained what would have otherwise been a shriek from hell. –Paul?
Marnie nodded with a grin. –Paul…
- Ok, so he’s not “your Johnny”, but…- Ingrid’s face fell. –You don’t suppose… John’s note!!! You don’t think they are gonna fight over you, do you?
- No…- Marnie smiled again as she put the photograph back in the envelope.
- What? How can you be so sure??
Marnie, sighed and placed the envelope in her carrier bag. –John’s too much like me, I think. I could have written that note. It means a lot, but it also means nothing… Just reassurance, that’s all…- She looked at Ingrid. – He can be trusted…
- And Paul?
- Paul…- Marnie shrugged. –I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out.
She popped her head out the door, and called for Rick Rock. A minute later, the huge but gentle giant was in the dressing room. –Yes, darling, how may I help your royal Highness?
- Oh, shut up!!- she smacked his arm playfully. – Do me a favour… Go to table nine and give this note to the guy with the red coat…
- Oh, you mean Paul McCartney?- He said almost a notch too loud.
- Shh!! Yes! Will you?
- Your wish is my command, majesty. – he bowed down and walked away, not turning his back on her until he tripped on the first step. Clumsily, he resumed a normal walk.
- I thought he had said “Highness”…- Ingrid sneered.
Marnie shook her head with a chuckle. –The only highness he’ll ever see in me is after a good, solid Cuban sized reefer…
Ingrid always laughed at Marnie’s puns. Indeed, she was a lot like Lennon. Maybe a cynic, angry, careless and defiant, but deep down, a huge heart of gold, shadowed by years of pain.
Once again, it was dance time. The crowd went mad while the music gave Marnie the initial spin.
The boys were mesmerised.
- Told ya, man…- John nudged his friend and road manager, Neil Aspinall, who gawked at her like the rest of the table. –Look at ‘er go…
- I wish I could dance like that…- pat bit her lower lip. –She’s amazing. I don’t like her hair, but…
- I luv it..- Paul spoke numbly. –Every bit of it…
George was quiet, as usual. But not because he felt intimidated, but because making any of the comments he had twirling in his mind would probably ignite his wife’s temper. He limited himself to a long, almost coy stare. Mike whined about not having taken enough film rolls, and having to go easy on the five photographs he had left in his camera.
- She can be trusted, you know..- John spoke, drawing Paul’s attention.
- You wha’?- The handsome bassist asked, confused.
- She’s like you man… with ‘er, you can confess murder, and not even a peep will cum out of ‘er mouth. Solid as a rock…
- I think she’s more like you, John…- Mike added. –Too fuckin’ cynical, and great with words…
John stood up and turned his behind to Mike, bending over right in front of his face.
- Kiss it ‘ere, son, you know you fuckin’ want to…
- Naa, ta, luv, if I’m going to kiss the arse of a cynic, I’d rather kiss ‘ers, up there in the cage…
Those two were irreparable clowns…
Paul just allowed himself to stare and gawk. His attention was drawn when Rick Rock tapped his shoulder. –‘Ere, mate, from a fan in the dressing room….- and away he went.
Paul eagerly opened the paper and winced, trying to read under the darkened ambiance.
- Well?- Mike nudged him. –what did she say?
Paul grinned victoriously and passed the paper to Mike, who, smiling broadly, gave his brother three pats on the back. Paul took the paper and showed it to John, George and Neil. –And you lot thought I was gonna strike out, eh? Fuck you…
The paper read: Soho Square, #13, flat C. 406-5352. The answer is … “there will be times when all the things I say will fill your head…”
It was enough for it to be a “yes”. At least now, it was a possibility.
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