My birthday on June the 4th was meant to be the biggest event ever; I was turning eighteen, at long last! But it seemed it would be a rather lame gathering. Jane was once again on a small, two-week tour, so having her around for a party was a no-no. The boys were packing up for a tour of Hong-Kong and Australia. To make matters worse, I had to work on that day, not to mention that I had a therapy session in the morning.
Brian Epstein sent me a huge flower arrangement with daisies and forget-me-nots. Jane’s brother, Peter, came over to the apartment (which neither he nor Jane knew belonged to Paul) and delivered a small dress, a pre-purchased present from Jane herself. But salvation came from the gathering of Pattie Boyd, Jesse and Cyn.
While at work, I was changing outfits to parade again through the hall at Harrods, when a loud "BOO!" made me jump. I turned and I saw the three girls, giggling. Cyn had Julian with her, as usual. It never ceased to amaze me how much the little boy looked like John.
- You guys! - I put a hand on my chest as I smiled. – I’ll get you for this!
- They keep you busy, don’t they? - Pattie smiled and hugged me. – Happy birthday!
- Here… From John and I…- Cyn handed me a large box.
- Hey, you shouldn’t have! - I smiled as I took the box. Opening it, I saw a gorgeous turtleneck pullover sweater, with an embroidered pattern of red roses on white. I smiled. –This is so pretty, Cyn…
- Well, we hoped you’d like it. – She smiled. I touched Julian’s cheek and the child stared at me confused.
- Here you go… - Jesse handed me a small box. – This I’ve been keeping for you.
I looked at Jess into her eyes, and opened the box. It was a necklace, a long golden chain with a medal of Saint Nicholas on it. On the back, it had my mother’s maiden name. It read: Anne-Marie Hunter, Bay City High, 1943.
I looked back into Jesse’s eyes, feeling tears coming into mine, as my silence demanded an explanation. –It was mom’s. – She grinned. – She always told me to keep it with me until you turned eighteen. That’s how old she was when she got it. It was like a dying wish of hers. I hope you like it, kiddo…
I smiled and threw my arms around her neck. –I love you, Jesse…- I cried a little, and pulling up my hair, I turned around so she could pin it on behind my hair.
Pattie cleared her throat. –Well, now that Jesse has completely stolen our parade… - She mockingly gave Jesse an evil stare. – Here…
I took a small letter into my hand. It was a hand written paper that I read out loud:
A cordial invitation into a Beatle flat, shared by the royal Beatles George and Ringo, to celebrate a Beatle- bash before none of us gets the chance due to impending tours of the world, you see! The meeting date is tonight, at our precious Beatle Knightsbridge flat, to many a palace of the damned. The birthday of our friend and model Rita is a good excuse to invite friends, non-friends, somewhat-friends, wannabe-friends, old chums from school days and foes to come over and get pissed beyond any valuable recognition. No drugs allowed, but please bring the necessary booze to fill your heart’s content. We will have the lavatories prepared for vomiting parties, as well as beds and clean linen for guests to mess up with any or none of their body fluids during conspicuous activities. No children! With the natural exception of little master Lennon, that is, as he is already shrewd in Beatle ways! Naturally, miss, you are obliged to come, as you are the only real reason (excuse, ahem) as to why this party is being held. Get off your shift and follow in the footsteps of Beatlettes Cyn and Pattie to reach the golden palace of the damned. Feel free to get sloshed out of your face, as you are now eighteen and you are legally entitled to.
Basically, happy birthday, Rita!
Love: John, Ringo, Paul and George, your very own Bulbous Beatles.
PS. Quit whining, Jesse! Neil will be there!
I giggled all through the letter. The nickname Ritty was new!
- I’ll bet this is John’s doing… - I shook my head.
- Actually, it was a Lennon-McCartney thing. – Pattie laughed. – George did the Ritty thing; the part about the friends, some friends, no friends and whatever else was Ringo’s idea. The rest was all Paul and John.
Jess looked at Pattie and Cyn. –How about the part about the vomiting parties?
- That had to be John! - Cyn giggled. – I’m guessing the "ahem" part was Paul’s.
I shrugged. It seemed I was going to get my bash after all.
I was looking at the pullover Cyn and John had given me when Theresa showed up. With her usual huge smile, the forty-odd year old woman approached me with open arms. – I heard someone turns eighteen today!! - She gave me a huge hug. – Happy birthday!
- Well? What are you waiting for? Get dressed and go back out, before you get caught snickering around with your friends, here! - She looked at Pattie and grinned. –I can tell… you’re a model as well, are you not?
Pattie grinned shyly. –Yes.
I took another stroll through the store, making heads turn. I had no idea if it was the way I was moving or if it was the dress; What I did know was that I got a bonus check that day because two people had bought a dress I had modeled earlier in the day. When I returned to the dressing room, Theresa was gone, but Cyn, Pattie and Jesse were still there; What called for my attention was the fact that they stood with ecstatic looks of joy on their faces.
- What is it? – I said as I once again removed one garment to put on another one.
- Rita… You’re on the rise, Rita!- Jesse began to jump up and down.
- What are you on about?- I smiled
Pattie put her hands on my shoulders. – Theresa wants to see you tomorrow first thing… She says she has something for you… From Vogue!!
- VOGUE!!!- I Screamed and jumped, laughing. The four of us held each other by the arms, almost entrapping Jules, and jumped around until my employer walked in. At first she was going to shout at me, but her look softened a bit upon looking at Julian. She gave me a look (which I interpreted as get on with it) and walked away. Who cared how she looked at me! I had my Beatle party, I had my friends… and I had VOGUE!
That evening, Cyn, Pattie and Jess drank coffee while I got off my shift. Once out of there, I dressed up, packed my check in a bag and went off to meet them. Pattie, I may add, was a bubbly, tall, leggy girl who was also a model. She had taken the role of a schoolgirl in the movie, meeting George there. Apparently, she was so hard to get, George became immediately interested in her. It was just a matter of trying harder, and she would finally be all his. We all knew it was just a matter of time. For that time, however, she insisted that she was just a great friend of his, and nothing else. She always stressed out the nothing else part.
I caught up with them, wearing my hair in a tall bun atop my head. We all stepped into John’s car, driven by Les, and went over to the apartment. Only a block away, one could already hear the beat coming from the party. Apparently, word had not yet leaked out that there was a Beatle-bash up there somewhere, so all the event got was looks from bewildered pedestrians.
Upon entering, everyone turned to the door, yelling a loud HAPPY BIRTHDAY as I walked in. John bounced to me like a puppy, and placed a party hat on my head. –‘Ere…- He said as he released the rubber band under my chin. –Just so you look ridiculous fer once.
There was another girl there, one I had not seen, and (to Jesse’s surprise and dismay) this was finally Ringo’s girlfriend, Maureen, also from Liverpool. After about six minutes of strolling around, I took off the party hat, only to have John bounce back to me to put it back on. George went up to Pattie, and after a big "happy birthday" hug and kiss on the cheek, he took her away, disappearing in the crowd. Everyone in there seemed young and happy in there, and there were a great many imports from Liverpool.
I naturally looked around, hoping to see Paul, but he was nowhere in sight. I walked over to a long table, helping myself to a slice of my own birthday cake. Walking past the crowd, I was greeted by total strangers with bloodshot eyes from the booze, who asked me if I was the birthday girl, and congratulating me for the great event of my life.
Just as I was cutting the cake, someone pushed me hard enough for me to fall. I didn’t get a chance to see who it was at first.
- Oh, God, I’m so sorry! - He spoke as he held his hand out. Guess who that was…
I stared at him. Naturally, he had been drinking a bit. He smiled at me. –Oh, I didn’t see you cum in! ‘Appy birthday! - He threw his arms around me. Drunk or not, this felt great. – The big one eight, hey?
- It seems that way… I rubbed my elbow, which I had hurt on the impact on the floor. – If I make it through tonight.
- God, I’m sorry… - He giggled. – I got pushed, and I never saw you.
- That’s ok… - I smiled, helping myself to another slice of cake. – Not the first man on the planet to fall on a girl.
It was too late before I realized what I had just said. He smiled at me with malice.
- Well, then, want me to fall a second time? - He winked at me.
That was my chance…
- No thanks. – I smiled, knowing that he was most probably either really drunk or joking around. – How many of these have you had already? - I made the typical signal of booze with my left hand.
Paul released a loud laugh. – Only two, luv. But why are you so concerned, anylord? Does a man ‘ave to be pissed to look at you and say you are luvely?
I gulped. The only way out of this was to continue joking about it.
- Knowing me? Probably…
- Cum off it, you! – He laughed again, and pulled me to a body-size mirror on the hallway. – Eah, Look, ‘ere. - He stood behind me. –Would a girl with a face like yours pass unadvertised? Are you bloody joking?
I could feel the heat of Paul’s body behind mine and I shivered. The spirits were up, and we were mostly talking in a friendly tone, but with Paul slightly wasted and Jane on tour, God only knew what he was capable of doing.
- Knock it off! - I joked again, slapping him gently on his chest. –You just want to get on my good side!
- I’d like to get inside your good side! - John stepped in. –Or on any side, for that matter!
I couldn’t help laughing, and sighing with relief, I hugged John. I knew snubbing Paul was the dumbest thing I could have done, but dumb or not, it was right.
- Oh, does that mean I get to..
- No, it doesn’t, Lennon!!- I laughed.
- You ‘eard, no it doesn’t, Lennon! - Paul once again pulled me by the arm, smiling. – Cum ‘ead, ‘ere… You and I are going to dance a bit.
With my hand firmly grasped in his, he made way through the crowd of dancers and asked me to wait by the table for a bit. He went up to the stereo, and I saw him talking to the guy in charge of playing the records. After nodding a couple of times, Paul began to walk back to me. Just before he reached me, the guy was switching records…
"To Know Her Is to Love Her", a cover version of the song by The Teddy Bears all their own. Performed by The Beatles. And not a bad, to that. He remembered the dance under the rain!
- Ahem…- He grinned. –I’ll owe you the drizzle, but… - He bowed down like an old night of the court. –May I ‘ave this piece, Milady?
I smiled, finally unable to resist, and just felt myself glide into his arms. At first, I had thought he would pull me to him like John had; but everything showed that Paul was a gentleman, waiting for me to make the move. Unable to resist, I gently pushed myself against him. He noticed, and with a sweet grin on his beautifully well-defined lips, he pushed the back of my head against his neck for a slow dance. I was overdosing on his smell, that comforting, soothing scent of his. I felt the warmth of his cheek against the side of my head, and the soft suppleness of his hands tight around my waist. I didn’t dare to surround his neck with my arms, fearing that people there knew Jane and would not hesitate to tell her what I was doing. I had to make it seem as innocent as I could, even though at least I knew it was not. I had both hands on his chest, trying not to think of anything, although being in that position it was hard to avoid all sorts of thoughts; thoughts that were abruptly interrupted by his voice. –‘Aving a good time, then?
Oh, if only he had known. –Yes… I didn’t even think you’d remember. Whose idea was this?
Paul rolled his eyes up and whistled. I gave him an evil stare. –I’ll bet Jane called you to remind you!!
He laughed out loud. – No, actually, it was Brian.
- Oh, Brian! - I smiled. – I’d just love to thank him for the flowers! Where is he?
- Ehm… - Paul signaled with his head to a door, a closed door. – I’m afraid ‘es been ‘ad fer the rest of the night.
- Ew… – I sneered, looking away and trying not to picture anything in my head.
- I take it you’ve ‘eard, then. - Paul grinned.
- Yes, I’ve heard…- I looked around the room for John. When I finally zeroed him sitting next to Cyn, I sighed with relief. Paul laughed out again after noticing my behavior.
- Well, it seems you know the full thing, then!
- Saved you the trouble of gossiping! - I smiled back at him, trying not to melt.
He shook his head. –Naa, luv, all that’s none of my business. What happens in Eppy’s life is his bloody problem.
- Bloody! I hear that word every five seconds! - I moaned mockingly. – I know it’s all a British thing, but I don’t get it. Everything’s bloody around here! Why is blood such an irreverent issue, anyway?
- I ‘aven’t got a bloody clue. - He smiled, and we both giggled.
After a short silence, he suddenly tightened his grip around my waist, closer against his own. This time, I COULD feel his pulse, and it was driving me nuts.
- I ‘ave a question, ‘ere…
- Yeah? – I managed to mumble from somewhere far away.
- Did you figure it out?
I looked at him in the eyes with a bewildered scorn. –Figured what out?
- The thing I did, when I signed yer pic…
- Jess did. – I smiled. – She ran to the bathroom and brought in a mirror.
- And why didn’t you call, then? - He stared straight into my eyes. I had to look away.
- I don’t know… I guess I had no clue whom I’d be calling.
Paul imitated a retard. – Duh!! I gave you the bloody number, remember?
I smiled. – Don’t do that!! I’m not a cripple!
Suddenly, he exploded in laugher.
- What! What did I say??
- Johnny, cum ‘ead!!- Paul laughed hard, and told him what I had just said. Before I knew it, they were both imitating people with mental problems, spastics and retards. I didn’t know what was going on, but they seemed to laugh intensely, until John went back to his seat while Paul resumed dancing with me.
- You know, that’s not nice…
- What’s not nice? - He cleaned a tear from his eye as he gasped with a smile.
- Making fun of people like that! - I sneered at him. –That is just very mean!
Paul smiled and pulled me again. –Cum ‘ere… Don’t take it to heart. - Another slow song played, "Love Me Tender" by Elvis.
- So why do you do that? - I looked up at him, almost disappointed.
He shook his head, controlling his laugh. – Do you know what it’s like to ‘ave people bring cripple after cripple to the concerts? The push ‘em poor bastards all the way to the front row. Sum of ‘em are looking real bad, you know, babies and stuff, seriously deformed. It’s disturbing, it really is. Once they even asked us to touch them to heal them, like we were Jesus bloody Christ! It’s like the people pushing them around in their chairs use ‘em to get into the front row, and just leave ‘em there, poor sods. - He shook his head, actually beginning to look disturbed. – If we didn’t laugh at the whole thing, we’d probably go completely mad, you know. - He giggled again. –John is actually rather worse than I am, really…
- Oh, John? No! – I said sarcastically.
- Yeh, e’s a mean bastard, but you can’t ‘elp luving the man, hey? -
We slipped into a dreamy silence while the second dance was over.
- So… - He finally spoke. –Did you like the flowers?
- Yeh, the ones you got from Eppy.
- Oh! - I smiled. – Forget-me-nots are my favorite flowers in the world.
- I know… - He looked down at the floor. –Jesse told me tha’. -
I stared at him, and waited for him to say more. He finally looked up at me and stared into my eyes. Once again, like in Jane’s house, bedroom eyes.
- The flowers were actually from me. I bought them two days ago, but I didn’t want Jane to think strange stuff, so I sent them to Brian so he could send them to you… But I bought them. It was me present for ya.
I stared into his eyes for what seemed an eternity. "Kiss him! Kiss him now!", shouted my body.
- Hey! You’re hogging all the fun! - Jesse came in. Great! Perfect timing sis, really, thanks. Paul smiled at her as she spoke to him. –Do I get to dance with the cute Beatle, so I can gloat when I get back to school?
Without much thought, Paul immediately switched partners, and Ringo came up to me. –May I take it from ‘ere? - He smiled. As usual, I could not say no to a nice dance with Ringo.
From the corner of my eye I could see Paul and Jesse dance. I noticed how he held her: At a reasonable and respectful distance.
- Sparks are flying, hey?
I turned my head to Ringo. –What?
- You ‘n Paul…
I shook my head. – I have no clue what you’re saying…
- Yeah, you do…- He giggled. – Anyone could tell, you know…- He looked over to Paul and lowered his voice as he spoke to me. – ‘E’s got it bad fer ya, he has!
I thought playing dumb was my best card. – No, he doesn’t! C’mon! He’s madly in love with Jane! What makes you think…
- Look over there! - I turned and found Paul smiling at me while holding my sister. – There, see?
- That doesn’t mean a thing! - I sneered at Ringo.
- Do you like ’im?
- Sure! I like all of you!
- No, I mean…- he stared me in the eye. – Do… you… LIKE …’im?
I shook my head. – And if I did, what difference would it make?
Ringo smiled at me. – I like Jane, really I do, but…- He whispered in my ear. –I like you a lot better. You are what he needs, you know, not her…
I felt myself blush insanely, unable to picture such a vile act against Jane, and yet perfectly able to see myself in Paul’s embrace.
- But Jane is so…
- Perfect? - Ringo goggled. – Yeah, tha’ she is! I think that may be the inconvenience…- He looked around, making sure no one, especially not Paul, could hear him. –He’s a mess, she’s really tidy; he luvs greasy meals, she cooks low fat; he wants a wife and kids, she wants a career and a few awards… Jane’s not a suitable McCartney, if you ask me…- He then smiled that irresistibly contagious smile of his. – You’d be better fer tha’!
I blushed and smiled at him. The thought was encouraging.
- But, Sir Richard… - I spoke jokingly. –It just so happens that Jane is my friend, and I wouldn’t dream of EVER making a move on her fellow.
- Well, I just thought I’d let you know. He does fancy yer, you know.
- Thanks for the tip Ring. – I hugged him. I felt a somewhat violent tap on my shoulder. Upon turning, I saw a small woman with huge brown eyes like mine, standing with her hands on her hips. –Pardon us, luv, but ‘es spoken fer…
- Oh, no! I wasn’t trying to…- I smiled at her. –I’ll bet you’re Mo!
Slowly, she smiled. –Yeh, I’m Maureen… Hey, you must be the birthday girl, hey? - She suddenly hugged me. She came across as a straightforward bubbly girl, also my age, with tons of black hair all bound up on her head.
- Rita McCormick. – I shook her hand with a smile. –Ringo’s told us all about you.- I nudged Ringo. –He’s a real gem, this guy.
- Oh, My God, you really are an American, aren’t ya?- She spoke loud.
- I’m sorry, I’d never met a yank before…
- YANK? - Ringo squeaked suddenly. –Mo!
- That’s all right!- I laughed. –I love her frankness. You know me, Ring: I’m sucker for a straight story.
I stood talking to Mo until Ringo, or Richie, as she called him, swept her off to dance, kissing her all over. An adorable couple, I thought. Nope, I wouldn’t want to be in the way. Paul, on the other hand…
After a couple of hours, I was tired. But the party was still in full swing. Brian Epstein had not come out of the bedroom with whoever he was with. Jess was sitting on the couch talking to Neil (oh, gasp, he had his hand on hers!), John and Cyn were slow dancing, George and Patti had disappeared, and Ringo was making out like a starved peasant with his girlfriend. I was sitting all by myself, the birthday girl, on my birthday! I also began to wonder were Paul was.
I zeroed on a packet of cigarettes on a table. No one was around, so I did a Lennon- stole them, put them in my pocket and went out for a smoke.
It wasn’t as cold as it had been when Jess and I first arrived in London, so I went out with no jacket. I was wearing a small, white knitted dress, a part of my payment at Harrods, with a red ribbon around the circular neckline. Unlike the Mary Quant, this one was a bit longer.
- Can we ‘ave a fag, then?
That voice again. This man had the superpower to make me melt just from talking to me.
- A fag! Give us a fag! - He leaned on the wall, holding out his hand.
I felt confused. – Ehm… Brian’s busy right now, Paul. I have no idea what you...
- Aw, not THAT kind, silly! - He laughed. –Those! - He pointed at the cigarette I held in my hand. –A ciggie! Can I ‘ave a cigarette, please?
I could not help laughing. – I’m sorry…- I offered him one. - Is that what you call them here? Fags?
- Yeh, it’s a way…- He took a cigarette from the packet. – Why?
- A Fag in America is a homosexual.
- Yeh, I saw tha’. - He lit it up. –Why are you out ‘ere, then? Your party’s upstairs, you know…
- I wanted to smoke for a while…
- But you can do tha’ upstairs.
I looked down. –To tell you the truth, I saw everyone with someone, except me…
Paul shuffled his foot on the pavement. –Yeh, I know how you feel. Plus, I can’t find me own packet of cigs…
I covered my face with one hand. –Oh, God… Was it on the table?
- Yeh, why?
Without looking at him, I handed him the packet of cigarettes. He smiled.
- You cheeky woman! And you even offered me sum, hey? - He laughed as he took the packet. – You been ‘anging around Johnny a bit too much now.
- That’s what I thought. God, I’m ashamed of myself…- I began to look saddened.
Paul pressed his lips tight. – Aw, get on. It’s only a packet of fags! .
- No, Paul… You’d be surprised the kind of stuff I’ve had in my head since I got here…- I shook my head, not wanting to get into detail. – The time I went missing in the middle of the night? Remember that?
- Couldn’t miss it, could I? - He exhaled some smoke.
- Well, I went mental again…
- I know, luv… Jesse told us you…
- You don’t understand! - I interrupted him. –There’s more to it! Did Jess even tell you why we fought? - Paul shook his head, and waited for me to continue. –Years ago, after my dad left us, my mom moved in with some guy named Steve Kometski. I have no clear picture of him in my mind, but Jesse does. The Doctor asked me to ask her about him to… You know, to be sort of my memory… Jess freaked out, told me to leave her alone, ran out the hallway of the hotel… I had just had a nightmare, and I didn’t want to be alone, so I ran after her. When I couldn’t find her, I felt so… So…
- Angry?- He mumbled
- Yes! Angry, mad at her, because she had left me there, like my dad had left us! And I was terrified, and she turned her back on me! I was so mad, I just kept on running… Until I passed out, and I woke up in Soho.
Paul stared at me and leaned with his right shoulder on the wall. –Seems to me, maybe Jess also has sum issues. You two should go to a therapy together, just once, see what the Doctor tells you. Maybe this Steve bloke, maybe ‘es the one behind all this, you know…
I shrugged. –Maybe… Truth is, I have no idea, I hardly remember…
- You know, Rita, you ‘ave to remember all things, good and bad. - He put his hand on my shoulder and spoke to me soothingly. – It’s better that way, cus then you have sumthing to deal with, you know…
I looked him in the eye. –Do you ever feel sad, Paul? About your mom, for instance?
He looked at me and then leaned completely on the wall, facing forward as he took another long drag from the cigarette. – Sumtimes. It cums and goes. - He side smiled. – I choose to remember the good stuff. The songs she’d sing to me at night or her way to say see you later, luv when I left fer school. - A nostalgic grin appeared on his blank face, and his eyes seemed to be seeing something else entirely. There he was! The true Paul, the one Jane had said was so hard to see! I stood in silence, not wanting to stop his moment as he spoke. – But I can’t run away from the bad stuff, either… The night she died, my brother Mike and I wept so much we thought we were going to drown. Me dad shipped us both off to me auntie Gin’s, cus he was in such bad shape…- He took another puff. –But to tell you the truth, I would have preferred to stay with ‘im and cry it out together, you know, the three of us, as a family… That taught me… Men should not be seen crying. I know now that that’s a lot of rubbish, but it’s just the way I…
He stopped and looked at me as I stared. Damn, he noticed. He bit his lower lip, and once again, there it was; The Fab Fob Grin. The smile of Cute Beatle Paul, as if the previous moment had not ever happened. He immediately seemed somewhat self-conscious as he spoke again. –But there it is, you see. Remember the bad times, and keep up with the good times. There, see what I mean, now? - My face fell, not because I felt so bad, but because Jane had been right. It was hard to make him open up. With one finger, he raised my chin. –Cum on, now, hey?
I stared into his eyes, not feeling a queasy stomach for the first time ever. – I wish I could remember. I have a tendency to forget things, especially when they shock me too much.
He stared at me, and before I was able to say another thing, he kissed me.
HE kissed ME! It had been him, not I! I had seriously thought that I was going to be the one falling into temptation, but I held out until the very end. The kiss was long lasting, and I felt all the blood in my body rush into my lips as he gently touched them with the tip of his tongue. His hand took me by the back of the neck and pulled me towards him, pressing my lips harder against his as I gave way to the full sensation of his rising passion. I finally allowed myself to throw my arms around his neck, allowing my body to naturally press onto his while I explored the depths of his kiss. This felt so good, I could feel myself flying in another dimension, as if the ground didn’t exist. Little did I think I was with a Beatle. Who cared, anyway? I was kissing Paul, not the cute Fab.
The kiss ended with a stare and an embrace. I could feel his heartbeat on my hands as I pressed them against his body.
- Don’t EVER forget that, Rita. – He whispered to my ear. – Don’t forget it, all right? - Having said this, he pulled away, and looked into my eyes for a second. His sad eyes spoke more than what he would have wanted to say, and for that small, magic moment, I could read right into his soul. Confusion was setting in, mixed with some sort of desire. I knew then what he was thinking: It was either Jane or Rita. He caressed my cheek with his left hand, and went back to the door as he talked to me. – I’ll give you and Jesse a ride back home. Tell me when you want to leave.
Happy birthday to you, Ritty!
During the ride, Neil and Jesse made out in the back seat, while Paul and I shared a stony and uncomfortable silence; He was good behind the wheel, drove slowly and seemed to have patience to last a lifetime. It was obvious, though, that the confusion I had seen in his face was stronger now than when he kissed me. I also thought he may have been feeling guilty; Not that he had never cheated on Jane, but rather the feeling that there was more to this than just a one-night stand. Too many things involved, I suppose. There was this girl, another one with a rising career, American, great friend of his girlfriend, with serious psychological issues, and whom he had a crush on. Was it mutual? Did I have a crush on Paul? Was it just a sexual thing, or was there more to this? Those few precious seconds of looking into his soul through those gorgeous hazel-like eyes had shown a strain of pain that only showed around people he really trusted.
He pulled over and turned back to Neil. –Eah, mate! – He slapped Neil on the arm. – Let ‘er breathe, will ya? - Neil came up for air, and somewhat shyly cleaned off the lipstick marks on his mouth with the back of his hand. Paul smiled at him. – Cor, man, you’d ‘ave swallowed her tonsils, the way you were going!
While Jess blushed like crazy, Paul got out of the car and opened the door for her, helping her out of the car. As she passed next to him, he winked at her again. –So much fer the luvable Beatle Ringo, hey?
Neil stepped out of the car and walked Jess to the main gate of the apartments. Paul opened my door and held his hand out. I stepped out of the car and stood face to face with him. After exchanging a weak grin, I turned and began to walk to the door. Paul stopped me by the arm, and pulled me.
- Hey…- He whispered.
I looked into his eyes another while. He bit his lower lip. – I want you to know sumthing…
- You know what ‘append the other day? When you were missing?
He looked down. – I thought none of us would ever see you again. I thought you ‘ad run off back to America again. And I ‘ad hoped…- He bit his lip again before speaking. –Look, I’m stuck ‘ere… You know how I feel about Jane, right? But then there’s you, you ‘ave this… - He grinned and shook his head. –I dunno, this… that thing I told you. It’s more than charisma, you know, but I can’t put me finger on it…
- I understand. – I smiled, putting my hand on his mouth. –Say no more, ok? This was the perfect day, Paul; it needs no explaining. Leave it like that.
He looked into my eyes. – But I ‘ave to know!
- Know what?
He ran his hand through his hair as he sighed. Oops, there goes the Mop Top! I loved looking at his whole face, like I had done that day under the rain.
- I ‘ave to know what’s to become of this… I mean, Jane really, really likes you, you know…
He looked into my eyes, begging for an answer.
- We’ll play it as we go along, Paul. – I smiled. –I obviously like you, you know that. But…- I kissed his cheek. -… Let’s wait and see, all right?
The Beatle stared into my eyes, and nodded with an adorable boyish grin.
- Yeh. You’re right. - He then huffed out. –Neil, c´mon, Mate!
As Neil approached, Paul looked back at me. – I won’t be seeing you till July, so…- He giggled. – You ‘ad a luvely birthday and me, I’ll be stuck in a bloody airplane during mine.
- Here’s an advanced present. – This time, I made the move, and kissed him gently on the lips. Hugging him, I spoke to his ear. –Take care, Paul. All of you take care. Stay in touch through the tour, will you?
After breaking up the final hug, Paul stepped back behind the wheel and drove home to pack for the tour of Hong Kong and Australia. And I felt my heart skip a beat. What had I just done? Just now, when Jane would be coming home and he would be going away? It seemed to me as if I really DID need the shrink! I was completely out of my mind!
Jess looked at me once inside the apartment. – Rita, you can’t do this…- She shook her head from side to side as I went inside.
- I know, I know! I’m so sorry! - I covered my face with my hands. – God, I hate myself!
I flopped down on the couch. I felt Jess sit next to me. – What did he tell you?
- It’s a long story…- I looked at her. –It gets even worse…
- You didn’t!
- No! Not that! - I huffed. – But you should have seen us out in the street.
- Oh, no…
- Oh, yes! We made out! Very much like you did with Neil…
Jesse stood up and paced. –How can you do that to Jane, Rita? What if someone saw you?
- Nobody did. I made sure of that.
Jesse huffed as she sat down again. –Do you realize what you’re getting into, Rita? - She held my hand. – This isn’t just something to remember your summer by, honey, this is deep shit.
I knew she was right, and I hated it. – I know, I know… - I nodded. – Good thing he’s going to Aussie now, that way we’ll both cool off a bit.
With this, Jesse was happy enough to drop the subject. I never told her what I had heard from Ringo or Paul, or even from Jane. It was better that way. And despite the fact that I knew I had done a hideous thing, I felt happy.