To have the world suddenly on your shoulders is not something I would have wanted. The August issue of Vogue made it in the early days of the month. I did a couple of jobs here and there… But just as my career began to take off, the mouth of Lennon became a mouth of a prophet. It all began with me feeling dizzy and passing out when I visited the studio, although I had originally thought it had been because I hadn’t been eating well. But then, how does one explain more dizzy spells? And the morning sickness, which had suddenly overtaken me? And when you’re two or three weeks being your schedule? I knew it then. What made it even worse was that I knew Paul hated the thought. I hadn’t spoken to either him or Jane since the premiere. JANE! God, I had forgotten about her!
I had my plan all sorted out. I’d go back to America with the boys as if nothing, following our original plan. I would then stand them up at the airport, and I would stay in the U.S. for the duration of the pregnancy. God only knew I would do what it took to get me through it, as long as Paul didn’t find out. I hated myself. I had been so stupid, it was unbelievable. Going into a dark alley by myself, betraying the trust of a lovely girl who had offered me all, having unprotected sex with a man I KNEW was already taken, falling for him when it was obvious it would not be a two way affair even if he had said it would, and finally, getting knocked up by this same man, who by the way, wanted NOTHING to do with children outside his relationship with Jane. I had committed the ultimate sin: This would cost me my friendship with Jane and The Beatles, my career and my money. Jess would have been scorning at me for being such an idiot. I was not a believer in abortion, even if the idea seemed appealing.
Theresa had already been informed about my plan. I had a contract with her, so she was not pleased, but offered to catch up with me in NYC three weeks after my departure to try and sort something out. I really loved that woman because she had been so supportive, more than any other agent of her time may have been. And despite the shame and disgust I felt for myself, I thought that maybe Jane deserved an explanation as well. She had been so wonderful to me that going away without at least saying goodbye was just not done. Not after what I had done to her.
I arrived at Wimpole Street early one morning. I knew Paul was asleep at that time, while the Ashers were early birds. When I got there, I found Peter, Claire and Jane sitting around the kitchen table. I told Jane I had to talk. I wasn’t going to tell her whose baby I had in me, but I did plan to tell her about my state.
Up in her room, I broke down as I spoke.
- Jane… I’m going to America, but I’m not coming back…
The girl turned white. – What?- She took my hand. –But why?
I bit my lip as I wept. –I’m pregnant…
She seemed shocked and silent. –Oh, God… - She whispered. – When…
- At a party…- I lied. – My first time and he knocks me up…
- Who was it? - She seemed legitimately concerned. Oh, if she knew.
- Some irresponsible asshole….
Suddenly Jane looked up. – She’s pregnant…- She spoke to someone by her door. I turned my head… Oh, no…
Paul stood there, unshaven, wearing only a pajama bottom and having a hard time to hide the shock. He did well at making it believable that he was concerned only in a friendly way, however. Given the fact that Jane was present it was the best thing, otherwise I would have been infuriated enough to throw him out the window.
- Is that… true, Rita? - He muttered. – You preggers?
Clenching my jaw, I looked him in the eye. –Yes. - I wept. –And that’s why I’m not coming back here…
Despite his mask, I could read well into his eyes. He was mad, very, very mad. For some reason, I felt good about it. This was my chance to throw him out the window, at least emotionally. I went on speaking as he sat next to Jane on her bed while I spoke from the settee. – The guy that did this doesn’t give two shits and a piss about me… He just wanted a bit of fun…- I looked at Jane and smiled with a teary chuckle. –The kind of guy who just wants a good time, you know, who thinks he can have anything his heart and soul crave for. You know what sucks about this the most?
Jane shook her head from side to side, wide-eyed and almost in tears of pity herself. I continued. – That I’M the one who has to quit a career just when it’s getting good… I have to have this baby all by myself. – I looked at Paul and smirked. –Maybe I could get a settlement from him, but I wouldn’t like to have my parents handing out papers claming I have this guy’s baby… Basically because I HAVE NO PARENTS!! – I said, remembering Paul had told me about my mom and dad handing out flyers in the streets. He lowered his face, remembering his words outside the dinner hall. – Better if I don’t see him again, you know… He doesn’t care much anyway…
- God, giving up your life for a man? - Jane bit her lip. - Oh, Rita… Don’t do that! Don’t give him that pleasure! You go on and have your life. Every girl needs to have her life. Besides, whoever this bastard is, he doesn’t deserve someone like you… You’re better off without.
I turned to the window, knowing that Paul had understood everything. I wanted so bad to hurt him!! I wanted to give back the pain he had given to me the night of the premiere.
- Does the father know? - Jane asked.
- Oh, yes…- I spoke, telling the truth without giving my game away.
- Why don’t you actually ask him, Rita? - Paul spoke, hiding behind his fake compassionate voice the anger, frustration and shock. – What if he does want to help you, and you’re not giving ‘im the chance?
I turned and looked him in the eye. You unbelievably two faced, lying bastard, I thought. I was thrilled to reply his question, carefully choosing my words as I went..
- Because I KNOW he doesn’t want this baby or me, Paul. He told me so himself. He said that he should have never allowed me to get involved with him in the first place. - I bit my lip. – So, there you have it. I would have given it ALL up for him. Even my career.- Jane gasped at this point, and Paul turned into a delightful shade of transparent. - But now I have to give it all up, and I don’t even get a father for my baby. He needn’t worry…- I looked back out the window. –If he doesn’t want us, we don’t want him at all, either.
TAKE THAT, PRETTY BOY!!!
- Oh, no…- Jane stood up and put an arm around me. – Look, why don’t you just come back and have the baby here in England? We’re your friends, we’ll help you out! – She spoke so compassionately I couldn’t avoid crying. Poor Jane! I felt so terrible. How could I be doing this? I couldn’t just have Paul’s baby there and allow her to help me with the rearing of the child of HER boyfriend without knowing what the hell she was getting into. – Besides, you have nothing left for you in America! - She spoke wide-eyed and beginning to sob. – Rita, think about it! You have all the help you need. You have a new home all your own, you have a career…
- I’ll bet I’ll look great wearing skirts with a fat stomach…- I laughed.
Jane laughed with me between tears.
The three of us remained silent. Only Jane and I sobbed. Suddenly, and without warning, she threw her arms around me. - If you think it’s the best thing to do, love, well, best wishes. We love you, Rita. I wish you wouldn’t go…- She cried. – Are you still leaving with them?- She pointed at Paul.
I nodded, thinking of the drag the flight to New York would be. I’d probably be sitting by myself, or with John to cry on his shoulder while Paul sat a million miles away, planning on calling his best lawyer in case the Evil Rita decided to file a paternity suit. I knew him well enough.
- Need help with your packing?- She looked at me through sad, teary eyes.
- No, I’ll be fine.- I smiled at her. – I want you to know, Jane, that I… I…- I broke down crying on her couch. She kneeled in front of me.
- You’re welcome..- She caressed my hair. – Any time. Glad to have had you here with us, haven’t we, Paul?
And she had to ask him. I looked up at him. What was that in his eyes? The anger had dissipated, and I could see he was just plain saddened. He looked at me and nodded. – I wish you wouldn’t do this, Rita… Not by yerself…- He spoke softly with his dove-like pitch. – I mean, maybe if you talked to the man, he may be willing to help you, you know… Give the bloke a chance.
I felt a sick and twisted sense of satisfaction as the touch of emotional euthanasia left my lips.
- I don’t want to have a thing to do with him. Paul.
Paul stared back and pressed his lips together before looking down. After a long sigh he spoke again, his words sounding stung with sadness. - Very well, then… If tha’s how you want it…
- It’s the way he wants it too, Paul! Don’t you understand what he has done to her? - Jane turned to him, crying. –How can you be so insensitive? Rita is your friend and you’re backing up that… bastard!- She shook her head and turned back to me. – I swear I’ll never understand men.
Paul was visibly containing an angry shiver and I had to lower my face to hide a smile. There! Even Jane was having a go at him! I knew he would hate me for this, but what was there to lose? He had lost me already, not that it was such a great loss to him, at least. Besides, why was he making such an issue of it all? I was doing him a big favor, setting him free from the burden and giving him the room to keep his beautiful Jane, marry her and have his children, his official children at least.
- Jane, whatever you do, be sure not to tell a soul about this…- I muttered.
She shook her head and smiled. –Of course not! I take it this also includes Brian…
- Oh, especially Brian…-
She giggled. –I can’t imagine what he would say. Anything involved with The Beatles is cause for scandal… Like the photos of the movie premiere…
Both Paul and I turned to look at her suddenly, surprised.
She looked at both of us and laughed. – Oh, come on! I did see you went with Paul in my place! - She took my hand. –I didn’t mind! I actually believed that, well…- She put her hair behind her ear as she looked down at her hands. – If I could have chosen someone to go with Paul, I would have chosen you, any day.
I gulped. Paul gulped. He turned to me with his eyes as wide as a man could possibly open. Jane grinned and looked at us. – Shocked?
She stood up and sat next to Paul. – Hey, love, you be sure to look after her while you are in New York… You and John. All right?
I gasped. –Jane, that won’t be…
- Oh, I insist! - She turned to me. –I’ll visit you as soon as I can, I promise… If I’m at all welcome at your place…
How could one NOT like Jane? I smiled at her and nodded. –Mi casa es su casa…
Jane sneered. What?
- My Home is your home…- Paul mumbled. He had been taught Spanish in his old school back in Liverpool. - Spanish, luv.
And that was that. I stood up and walked to the door. –I better get going.
Jane cried like a little girl and ran out of the room, locking herself up in the bathroom upstairs.
Paul and I were left there alone, and after a long and uncomfortable silence, he spoke.
- She’s not very good at saying goodbye…
I nodded and looked at him. He looked miserable, but despite the fact that I was enjoying seeing him suffer I couldn’t deny the truth. I felt for him. Of course I would! I loved him insanely! But how could I know that this was another one of his acts? I knew very well that he was capable of pretending anything, and also make it believable. Had Paul chosen to fly to Hollywood rather than becoming a Beatle, he probably would have become a famous actor in no time.
He looked at me. –You don’t wanna do this…
- Yes I do.
He stood up and paced, running his hand through his disheveled hair as he spoke.
- You never told me...
- Give me one good solid reason why I should have? - I dared him.
He froze and looked at me. He walked close to me, and moaned almost in a loud whisper in the hope that Jane would not hear. – Because it’s mine, isn’t it, then? Just that gives me the right to at least know about it.
I chuckled. – What the fuck for?
He glared at me in cold silence.
- There…- I shook my head. –You can’t even find a reason. - I swallowed. –I feel sorry for you, Paul, really, I do. But you know what? - I pointed a finger towards the door of the bathroom upstairs, where I could hear Jane sobbing softly. – I feel worse for her for having to put up with your shit. Really… Do you think she doesn’t know about you and your shitty life? You think that because we are young we are stupid? She’s well aware of what you do behind close doors…- I looked at Jane’s bed. – The girl of your dreams sleeps in that same bed, you know… The same place where I got…- I looked down, not able to say the word. I opted instead for his own scouse version. -…preggers. She sleeps there, Paul! Don’t you feel like crap?
- Do you??- He squeaked.
- Why the hell do you think I’m going away??- Spoke softly with an ironic tone of voice. - Two birds in one shot…
- You what? - He frowned.
- Yes...- I looked down. – I don’t run the risk of screwing up your life as well as Jane’s…- I looked at him again. - She’s been nothing nice to me. And you…
We then both fell into a silence that spoke more than words. He sighed and shook his head. I could see now he was legitimately saddened.
- If this is what you really want, I can’t stop you. But…
Just when Paul was going to start on his "but", Jane came back in and hugged me one more time. - Take care…- She spoke softly. - Don’t forget to call every now and then, and be sure to know that if there’s anything you need, I’ll be here any day…- She looked into my eyes and then turned to Paul. –Paul, why don’t you dress up and drive her home?
Just as Paul stood up, I stopped him. –No thanks, Paul. – I spoke as sweetly as my hypocritical brain could afford to put out. – You've given me enough rides already...
He froze. Apparently every word I was saying was hitting him like a ton of bricks. They were meant to hurt, so it was working. Without saying another word, I hugged him for the sake of appearances. –Thanks for everything, Paul. I’ll see you at the airport.
And I walked out of the Asher home, escorted by Jane, waving in tears as she clung on to Paul. I looked at them from the inside of a taxi as she waved goodbye.
Once the taxi had driven away, I cried to myself. –Goodbye, Paul..…
While I packed my bags, I thought of my friends Sharon and Lin. It was going to be good seeing them again, even if back in America Sharon was still living with her parents. They had sent me endless amounts of letters. Lin was in college, but Sharon decided she wanted to repeat a couple of subjects in the Art School, so she would wait till the summer of 65 to go to college. I had to let them know I was coming back home. I had received a lovely condolence card from them when Jess died, but I had not spoken to them since the time in the hotel.
Tears rolled down my eyes as I threw my clothes into a large suitcase. The dress Theresa had bough at Mary Quant’s made me stop, as I remembered dancing with Paul at Jane’s party. Why couldn’t I have been able to control my hormones? I had given him my first time, and got pregnant during the grand debut, only to have him discard me like an old shoe at the movie premiere. I thought of my wasted career and the sad episode that awaited me. A solid, growing modeling career gone to waste! Theresa at least had been gracious enough to offer to catch up with me in New York. More than ever, I wished to have Jesse with me. Jesse, my dear sister! Had she known this would happen, she never would have left me! Had she known I’d go mental, she never would have asked me to keep the secret to myself… Had I not lost it, she’d still be alive… Had she not come with me to England, she’d still be alive… Had she not remembered such an ugly past to make me better, she’d still be alive. Had I not gone to the Vogue session that day, she’d still be alive… She’d still be alive. She was dead because of me.
It hit me like a giant anvil on my head. I dropped the dress and sat down. How could things be worse than this? I was a stupid eighteen-year-old, single pregnant girl. I had no relatives, lost the man I loved even though I never really had him, betrayed a friend, and, to top it all off, killed my sister, even if it was indirectly. Man, I was so fit to be a mother! A young, stupid teenage mom with no family to help her out. For a single tiny moment, I was glad mom was no longer around, as I would have been the disgrace of the name McCormick. And I was also the last one, so what did I have to lose? All McCormicks were gone now, so who would care, anyway?
I stood up and ran to the door. I then went all the way upstairs until I was on the roof. I held on to a TV antenna as I looked around. God, London was beautiful! I had never gone up to the roof of any house or home, and even though I was about to take the plunge, the city suddenly seemed the most beautiful sight my eyes had ever set sight on. I walked along the side, trying not to lose my balance and fall at an unwanted angle. It’s funny how even suicidal people need to have a ritual. I felt that if my life had gone haywire, I could at least have my own death under my control.
I stood right by the edge. All my life I had always been afraid of heights, but now, at seven stories over the ground, I couldn’t feel a queasy stomach or fear of any sort. I stared at London with eyes filled with tears.
- RITA!!! NO!! - I heard a voice and looked down. It was Jane, who looked up at me from the ground.
- Jane, go away!!!- I yelled. –You don’t want to see this!
From her car emerged Paul, who looked up at me.
- FUCKING HELL, RITA! CUM ON DOWN!WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU DOING?? - He yelled, suddenly panic-stricken.
- Just go away!!!
Jane stood there, looking up at me, unable to even cry as she stared in terror. I saw how Paul entered the building and was headed straight up to me. I couldn’t jump with Jane there. She would probably lose speech for a year from the shock, knowing her. Poor thing. Like she deserved one last crime from me.
I turned and saw Paul right at the door, holding his hands up. –Don’t do this, luv… There’s always a way you…
- I killed her, Paul…- I mumbled looking down at Jane
- Jesse… She’s dead because of me. – I turned to look at him again as he shook his head.
- Don’t be daft! - He said softly as he approached me real slow with his hands still up, as if he were shielding himself from someone. – That’s not true…
- Yes it is! - I yelled. –If she had stayed… If WE had stayed in New York, none of this crazy stuff would be happening to me!! I wouldn’t be here, talking to you from the ledge of a fuckin’ rooftop! – I sighed.
- And you wouldn’t ‘ave met us, or Theresa or Jane, either! - He kept walking closer, but stopped cold when he saw me tilt a little towards the edge, making Jane gasp loud enough for me to hear. I noticed his lower lip began to tremble.
- Yeah? What good did that do? - I yelled at him. –You tell me! Girl meets Beatle, girl meets girlfriend of Beatle, Beatle screws girlfriend’s friend, girlfriend’s friend ends up pregnant and Beatle doesn’t give a shit…
- You ‘ave a choice!- He raised his voice, almost pleading. –Don’t do this, please! I…- He stopped. – I know I was a prick, Rita! I know, but please, don’t do this because of all tha’! – He lowered his hands and spoke softly, shaking his head from side to side as he stared at me. –I’d never forgive meself…- He took another step forward. –If you want to leave for America and stay there, fine! If you don’t ever want to see me again, I can’t force you to, even if I want to, but…- He grimaced. –This is not just one life, ‘ere! You ‘ave a baby in there! What of it, hey? - Another step. – Besides… There’s always a way, hey?
Once he was close enough to me I saw into his eyes. This time, he made no effort to pull his "Beatle Paul" face; it was all contorted with fear, his eyes welling up with tears, a fearful sneer over his lips and his hands shaking almost uncontrollably. He then held his hand out. – Cum ‘ead… please… - He sighed. –I can’t lose you a second time….
- Lose me? - I looked down at Jane. –I can’t do this, Paul. I can’t…
- Yes, you can! ‘Ere, please let me ‘elp you out! I DO give a shit, all right?- His voice was as shaky as his hands.
- How? – I sobbed. – Jesse’s gone, Paul…
He pressed his lips. – Yeh, that’s true. I can’t bring Jesse back…- He took yet another step. – But I can actually save you instead. Cum on, Rita… Please? - He was already two feet away from me, holding his beautiful hand out to me. – Please cum down! Jesse chose to leave you… Are you gonna leave us like tha’?
I sobbed. – Do you care?
He stared at me in silence, and was unable to restrain a tear from running down his perfectly white cheek. - Aye, I do. You ‘ave no idea how much, baby. I’m not joshing ‘ere, luv; If you jump, you’ll not just kill yerself, but you’ll kill me as well. Please… Cum ‘ead…
I hesitantly held out a trembling hand and slowly reached for Paul. Once our fingers touched, he gripped my hand and pulled me strongly into his arms. Once he was holding me, I felt he was panting and sweating as if he had been running for miles. His arms, even though he held me tight, were shaking like leafs. If he was white as it was, he looked ghostly transparent.
I cried as I held him. He wouldn’t loosen his grip on me as he spoke.
- Rita! Oh, God… Rita…- He panted. -I’m sorry, luv… I’m so, so sorry… I was scared of stuff… That night of the premiere, the papers that were handed out were..
- Alice Doyle, yes… I know…- I sobbed. –John explained it all to me. That’s why I didn’t want you to know… Because I wanted to leave your space alone…
- Yer not Alice. – He mumbled to my ear. –Yer not Alice…It’s different with you…
- I’m still in your way!- I wept.
He took me by the shoulders and looked at me. He was still shaking as he looked into my eyes. – I’ll ‘elp you… I’ll be there fer you, anything you need… I can’t let you wander off in America all by yerself in yer state. I just can’t. - He held me again. – We’ll figure sumthing out. We’ll cum up with a good idea, you’ll see. Yer not alone…- He hugged me tighter. - Neither one of you.
Just then, Jane walked in and saw us. Still not suspecting a thing other than the view of a relieved hug from an extremely anguished friend, she ran and hugged the both of us as she cried. –You stupid girl! - She screamed at me in mad tears. –Don’t EVER do this again!! Ever!!!
- Jesse! I’m sorry!- I wept aloud.
- No, luv, it’s not yer fault…- Paul was beginning to regain color. –It was ‘er choice. She was wrong, she ‘urt us all more than what she imagined… She made a mistake because she couldn’t see what she ‘ad…- He looked into my eyes. –You got us. Don’t do this to us, please.
Jane stood on the side, nodding between tears.
- Cum on, let’s get off this bloody roof. - Paul pulled us to the door and walked the two of us down to my apartment. Both he and Jane refused to leave me alone for hours, even if there was an uncomfortable vibe in the air. Jane helped me pack as she continuously warned Paul that he was in charge of looking after me until I reached New York.
- Jane, really, that’s not nece----
- Yeh, it bloody is! - Paul cut in. –Don’t think fer a single second I’m gonna get me eyes off ya until I know yer there with sumone… Call yer friends the moment we get to yer ‘ouse. I’m not going anywhere, band or no band, until sumone’s there with you. Is that clear?
I stared at them. – Why do you suddenly care so much? - I asked vaguely.
- Because we like you, silly…- Jane replied, unaware that the question had been addressed to Paul alone.
He stood up and walked to my side with a sweet looking little side smile.
- Besides, I want to meet this baby of yours… I’ll bet it’ll be the most perfect little thing in the world…
I looked at him. I perfectly understood the look in his eyes. It read "I-want-in" all over the place.
I smiled back at him. –Then you will, Paul… You will… I just have to sort myself out.
Jane smiled. –Will you come back to England, then? -
I smiled back at her. –Maybe… I’ll have to think it over real hard…
The tension was broken. I still wished for Jesse, but Paul’s words were ringing in my mind. Even if I missed her, I was no longer mad at myself. I was mad at her! He was right, she left me, and not incidentally, but purposely, knowing she was my only family.
The flight to America began with the chaos of the Beatle car picking me up early in the morning. The most chaotic moment of my life involved thousands of screaming teenagers bidding the boys farewell, as they hung banners with their names and clung over the gates. Even upon boarding the plane, the screaming would not cease. It was a deafening sound, loud enough to cover the sound of the plane engines, which were already loud enough. And I knew what awaited them in NYC, I had seen it on TV when they first went.
It wasn’t until the plane went up in the air that peace took over. I sat by the window, seeing how London slowly turned into a tiny thing in the distance. I knew John had Cyn with him, and I knew that Pattie would catch up with George in New Jersey. But as usual, Jane could not make it. This time I was not as quick to judge her, as I knew now what she had to deal with when it came to her beloved Paul.
Just as I looked out, I felt a hand on my shoulder. –This seat taken?
I smiled. –Not at all, sir… better sit down, we’re still going up…
The sweet lovable Beatle sat down and buckled up. –There! Best way to travel!!
- I’m not too sure…- I cringed, looking out the window. Ringo noticed I had a paper bag clenched tight in my hand.
- Aw, no you wont! - He laughed and took it out of my fist. - You just ‘ave to breathe deep. Scared of flying, are you?
I nodded, my eyes set out the window. It was a lie; I was not scared of flying. It was just early in the morning, and as usual I felt sick.
- So, ‘appy to go ‘ome fer a little while? - He smiled at me.
I shook my head. –Not really… I just have a bunch of sad memories there…- I looked at my hands on my lap. –All of Jesse’s stuff is still there… All her clothes, her shoes…- I smiled and looked at Ringo. – All her fave Beatle things…- I put my index finger on his chest.
- I was it? - He pretended not to know.
- Aw, c’mon, don’t play the fool!
- I AM a fool! - He laughed.
- Yes, that you are!!
After a short silence, I thought of an idea. –Hey, Ring… Would you like to have her stuff? I mean, her Ringo stuff…
His smile turned into a warm and comforting grin. –You think tha’s what she’d want, then? - After I nodded, he took my hand. –Ok, then… I’ll take ‘er stuff. If it means anything to you…- He looked down. –I really liked ‘er, you know.
I smiled. – I think it would mean the world to her…
We sat quietly for about an hour.
When the plane finally straightened up and it was safe to go to the bathroom, I was close to vomits. I undid my belt and went for the bathroom, trying not to step on Ringo who had fallen asleep. It would be a long flight. It was like going back in time, six hours back in time, despite the long eight-hour flight. I was NOT looking forward to Jetlag mixed with morning sickness and dizzy spells.
Once I had done all I had to do, I brushed my teeth and opened the door. I almost had a heart attack when I saw George standing by the door of the bathroom, looking somewhat desperate. –Hey, thought you’d get to America sitting on the bog! - He joked as he passed by me and closed the door. I was trying to make way to my seat, but found John comfortably sitting in my place while Ringo still slept. I gasped. – Lennon! That’s my place!
- No it’s not! - He smiled.
- You left Cyn sitting by herself? – I gave him an evil stare.
He giggled. -Cor, if it’s such a big deal, you go sit with ‘er!
I shook my head. –You’re a royal pain in the ass…
- Yep. - He looked back out the window. –So much me mum dumped me when I was five! – I knew John well enough to know he had said this with a joking tone of voice, but I also knew he was never particularly happy about that particular event of his life. I often wondered if John and I had become such close friends because both our lives were havoc, or if there was a real understanding, not to mention some sort of emotional tension that made the relationship so intricate and interesting.
I moved back in the aisle and went for Cyn. Paul was now seated next to her and was talking to her about anything or everything. It looked like an animated chitchat.
- Well, I‘ll be damned, I have no one to sit with! - I giggled as I looked at the two.
Paul smiled at me. –Would you like me to…
- Yes, please! - I smiled back. –Go on, let me sit with Cyn, will you?
The smile disappeared and I got once again that confused frown. He was obviously expecting for me to ask him to sit with me.
- Ok, then…- He sighed as he moved out of the seat. When he passed by me, I once again got a whiff of him. God, I had forgotten about his smell! That smell that seemed to make all ends meet for me. He stared into my eyes and grinned. –I’ll see YOU later. - He spoke kindly, tilting his head down and looking up at me as he pointed a finger at me. –We ‘ave to talk, you know…
- No, we don’t…
- Yeh, we do…- He smiled, winked at me and walked down the isle, where he sat on the seat next to George’s.
I saddled myself next to Cyn. She had a seat next to the window. She smiled and turned to me. –So, happy to be going back to America, are you?
- No, not really…- I shrugged.
She seemed confused. –Why?
I sighed. –Well, I’ll have a lot of stuff to sort out, you know… And I mean A LOT!
She nodded understandingly. –I know what you mean, luv. You poor thing, it must be ‘ard, having lost Jess and all…
I looked down. – God, Cyn… If only you knew…
- But I do…- She smiled. –Got a bun in the oven, ‘ave you? A Beatle bun made out of McCartney dough, hey?
I stared at her in shock. – H… How did you…? -
- Lennon radio, luv. Don’t worry. – She smiled. - As long as Jane and Brian don’t find out…
- Will they? - I asked bewildered.
She laughed heartily. –Oh, no! Whatever bad thing happens within the Beatles and girls stays with them! No one in his right mind in this outfit would be zany enough to go and open the gob to Jane, fer one! And well, Brian would fly into a certified panic fit and would eat Paul’s ding-dong fer lunch…
I laughed at the thought of "Paul’s ding-dong" on Brian’s dinner plate.
I sighed. –It’s good to have a girl to talk about this with. - I took her hand. –You have no idea…
- Oh I do, believe me! - She smiled. – I’ve known these lads since the cows came ‘ome… Can you imagine the feeling of seeing nuthing but John, Paul, George, Stu Sutcliffe, Pete Best and Ringo fer years on line? No other girl to talk to? Believe me, to have Pattie and Mo around is a relief… To have YOU is also great…
- And Jane?
Cyn stared at me awkwardly. – I don’t know about her... I mean, I like her, but I don’t see her as a suitable girl for a man the likes of Paul…
I looked down. –Sadly, you’re not the first to say so…
- Yeh, I know tha’… - She smiled. –We all reckon you better for Paul.
- I just don’t see what’s wrong with Jane. I think she’s lovely…
- There’s nothing wrong with Jane at all! - She shrugged and looked out the window. –I think maybe that may be the problem.
I shrugged. –So what is wrong with being refined?
Cyn sighed and shook her head. –Didn’t you see the look on Paul’s face the night Jane didn’t show up at the premiere?
I huffed. –A girl may also want to do things on her own, you know! - I ran a hand through my hair. –I mean, I have…- I looked down. –Had a career in modeling. Would I have to give that up to have a man?
- These are no ordinary men! - Cyn shrugged. –They never were, even when they dressed in leather and spat and swore onstage! That’s the whole thing, Rita! - She sat up straight and looked at me. – They are regular blokes, yes, but they’ve always had this…. I don’t know what to call it, but they ‘ave it, you know…
Ah, there it was again… The "little sumthing" everyone had told me about.
- So! - She looked suddenly exasperated. –You want to keep up with a Beatle? Either you change the way you had perceived life, or you just plain wrap it all up and quit wasting their time!
I sneered. –Does this mean Jane would have to quit acting altogether for him? That’s pathetic!
Cyn laughed. - Well, maybe not altogether, but definitely have to quit a few things ‘ere and there? Yes that much is a fact. Jane wants to believe she’s landed an ordinary man and that she can go on having it all… She’s wrong, you know…- She paused as John passed by us to go to the bathroom, smiling at us as he went. Cyn then continued, toning her voice down. – Jane is a wonderful, perfect woman. She has it all, money, looks, charisma, talent, fame… But she is not Beatle girl material, as far as we’re all concerned…
I stared at her. –Have you spoken to Paul about this?
- Ha! That’s a lark!- She spoke sarcastically. –The one time John tried to put some sense into his stubborn ‘ead, George and Neil ‘ad to restrain Paul from busting John’s chops! He apologized later, naturally, but…- She shook her head. – Paul is such a pig head! He knows it already, you could see it in his eyes the night of the premiere, and yet…
- Well, he loves her, you know…
- Oh, that’s obvious! - She nodded. – And she’s barmy over him too, but…- She sneered. –They’re just not made fer each other. In the long run t they’ll start to have trouble, you’ll see… Besides…- She smiled at me. –You’re ‘aving his baby! He should favor you over her just fer that, otherwise, John is right and Paul is the biggest idiot in the world.
It surprised me to hear that John was in favor of my situation when he knew what it was like to have a little accident and have to marry for that single reason. But I had heard all I needed to know. John, Ringo and Cyn had all told me the same thing. Maybe if I told him… But no! It wasn’t up to me.
The hours went by. Three hours up in the plane and five more to go! Everyone in the plane was sleeping after having been awoken so early. Like most musicians, The Beatles enjoyed waking up until noon, so being up at six was ungodly.
There was a movie playing. The new hit, My Fair Lady. I personally found it amusing. The story of a woman who gets taken away from the street in London to be transformed into a high society lady at the beginning of the century. The terrible Professor Higgins, played by Rex Harrison provided the funny parts. He reminded me of John in more ways than one, so that had me bowling over with laughter. I saw myself as Eliza Doolitle, the flower girl, who was swept off poverty and made into a model with a change of image.
I was concentrating on the movie when Paul sat beside me.
- Hey! I thought you were asleep! - I whispered.
- No, this is a good movie! - He smiled looking at the screen. He then turned to me. –How are you feeling?
I sighed. –I’m fine… Starving to death, but otherwise, fine…
- Eah…- He took his hand into his pocket and pulled out a candy bar. –‘Ave this. I know what these bloody flights can do to a hungry stomach…
Without hesitation, I took the candy bar and devoured it in almost five bites.
- Cor, you were hungry, weren’t ya? - He giggled.
- I still am. - I moaned.
He stared at me with a little lopsided grin. – I can’t believe it…
- Can’t believe what?
He shook his head. –I should be the most worried man in the world, yet…
He suddenly threw his arms around me. –I feel happy! Don’t ask me why, I just feel happy…
I couldn’t help feeling great when he said this. –Why?
- I dunno! - He pulled apart. – I guess it’s because…- He looked around and whispered. –The baby…
I looked at him in shock.
- You are actually PLEASED with this, Paul?
- Well, yeh! - He spoke lightheartedly. – It’s me own, isn’t it? - He saw the saddened look on my face and immediately knew what I was thinking.
- Aw, now, look…. What I said at the premiere night was ghastly, I’ve apologized a thousand different ways…- He gave me a childish puppy face. –Am I not forgiven?
I sighed, losing concentration on the movie. – Paul, what about Jane? How can I go back to London and continue to pretend like I’m the best friend she’s got when I’ve been… worse still, I’m having her boyfriend’s kid?
Paul went silent.
- I’m not gonna ask you to leave her…- I continued. –I can’t do that, because I know you love her…
- And you! - He interrupted. –When I saw you ‘anging off that ledge, I felt…- He went white just from remembering. –I felt tha’ if you fell, it would be as if sumone were killing a half of me…
- And Jane?- I insisted
Paul sat back and ran a hand through his hair. –I dunno… I dunno what to do about her…- He banged his fist on the side of the seat. – Damn, I can’t ‘ave you both, but…
I stared at him in disbelief. –You’re not gonna tell me you’re in love with two girls at the same time, are you, Paul?
He looked at me for what seemed a long while. –Aye. That’s exactly what I’m saying. - He looked down, almost shocked at the fact he had actually come out and said it. -I know it sounds daft, I mean… Two girls, is that bloody likely? - He chuckled. –I know, it does sound daft, but to tell you the truth, I’ve noticed tha’… well…- He grimaced. –I luv Jane, more than you could imagine. I luv the way she makes me feel. She makes me see all the good things in me tha I never even knew were there… But you, you are different… Jane makes me see the good in me, you bring me back to reality when I feel I’m all lad, you understand? You make me see me faults, and make me be…- He looked at me in the eyes. – Well, you make me be real… Between the two of you, you make me feel like what I was before all this. - He signaled with his hands, referring to the entire Beatle craze. – I was a lot more down to earth…- He smiled at me- You think that ‘aving the whole world tell you you’re the hottest thing around, being the cutest boy in the greatest band doesn’t go up in yer ‘ead? - He giggled. – Aye, luv, it does. But who cares about all tha’? You made it clear that I was a bastard to ya, and I was. - He looked down, seemingly ashamed of himself. –So much fer the Cute Beatle, hey? - He then looked at me, his eyes beckoning for more than a friendship. - When I ‘eard you and Jane talk about you being preggers, at first I ‘ad no idea what to think. I feared my thing with Jane was over… But then when you said you’d be going back to America and never cuming back, I could ‘ave sworn I was being drained of me blood. It sort of got mixed up… I could lose you both, I know tha, but…- He sighed. - I can’t ‘elp it. I’ve been over it a thousand times in me ‘ead, and the truth is tha’ I luv you just as much as I luv Jane. Only you two are so different… I dunno…
I stared at Paul in silence. He wasn’t trying to lean over and kiss me. His hands remained tightly clenched on his lap. Not a move, not a hustle. But the look in his eyes said it all. If I had to choose a word to describe it, I think I would have chosen "torn" as a suitable adjective. But he could not get away with something like that. Jane, for one, had no idea. Second, she didn’t deserve this. Either he took her or left her.
- Paul, I…- I looked down as I shook my head. – I’m so over my head for you, really. God knows, I did it with you not because you are "The Cute One". To be perfectly honest, I don’t really give a shit about that. But I did it with you because I thought you’d be…- I slapped my thighs in frustration. – God, I’m such a warp! – I looked at him again. – I have your shirt in my luggage, you know…
He sneered, confused. –My shirt?
- Yes… The one you gave me when I was attacked…- His expression changed to a silent "Oh". – I’ve kept it, because it…- I paused suddenly feeling too silly. – It has you in it, Paul. Your smell… It was the only thing that could soothe me when I felt bad… You are like… - I shrugged. –Like a medicine to me. – I looked at him in the eye. –Had you not been there that day, I would have jumped.
He paled and widened his eyes. – Oh, God, no! –
- Yes, I would have.- I bit my lip. –But you just… God, Paul, I love you. I love so much… but I can’t have you. Not like this…- I shook my head and looked at him, feeling tears sting my eyes. – I believe you. I can’t possibly ignore you. But this is for sure: You can’t have the both of us. You’re gonna have to choose. – I sighed and fidgeted. –I’m too much trouble, Paul. I’m having a baby…
- So? - He grinned, apparently pleased with the thought.
- Paul, how old are you?
He sneered. – I just turned twenty-two. What’s tha’ got to do with it, then?
A tear finally cruised down my face. More followed as I spoke with a broken voice. –Look at John. Look at Cyn. He was your age when Jules was born, and both of us know that they…- I looked down again and sobbed silently, trying not to wake the others up. – They are miserable, Paul. One can tell. They got together because they had to. I know that they do love each other… John told me so, but still… Cyn tries, but John’s just not ready…- I looked at him, my eyes shining. –It won’t be any different with me, Paul. With Jane you have a new, clean start. Go back to her. Do things the way YOU plan them, don’t do things because…- I covered my mouth and wept openly. -…Because you haven’t any other choice…-
He suddenly hugged me. As usual, his embrace provided the sort of comfort and soothing that only he had. – I’m not gonna leave you uncovered in this state, Rita! - He took my face between his hands and spoke seriously as he stared into my eyes. – I’m NOT John, or even remotely like him, fer that matter. What ‘appened with Alice Doyle was a big blunder, because I was just a lad then. And she took the settlement I offered. It’s her uncle who’s stirring up all the dirt on me to get an extra profit. But you…- He cleaned my tears with his thumbs. -… I’m not going to leave you there, with a baby... MY baby, mind you! This is you, Rita! I’d never dream of turning me back on you, you hear?
Gently, he pushed my head onto his shoulder so I could cry on him.
- It’ll be all right, luv… It’ll be all right, we’ll work sumthing out…
I knew that there would be a difficult time ahead. Not just for him, but also for Jane, for the band and for myself. Paul would have to choose, and he knew it. If what he said was true, then choosing between two girls he was crazy about was definitely going to hurt. I knew in my head, as well as a few others, that I was a better match for Paul. But even I knew that it would be best if he remained with Jane. For one, I could just imagine headlines all over the world:
"BEATLE PAUL MARRIES KNOCKED UP LOVER"
"PAUL MCCARTNEY BETRAYS LONDON’S SWEETHEART"
"AMERICAN MODEL TO HAVE BABY BEATLE"
"BEATLE PAUL: NOWHERE NEAR AS CLEAN AS HE SEEMS."
"MCCARTNEY PULLS A LENNON BEHIND JANE ASHER’S BACK."
"WORLD’S MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR MARRIES PREGNANT MODEL AFTER CHEATING MISHAP"
I knew at that moment what was going to happen. Paul, the PR man, the diplomat of The Beatles and the band member who loved the band the most would not even dare risking such wrath. The image…
I leaned on him and fell asleep. I’m guessing he must have as well, as before we knew it, the flight was almost over.
I was home… and I knew the moment I saw it that it was the last place in the world I wanted to be.