I awake to the sound of loud pounding on the door to the flat. I groggily awake and drag my feet to the door.
“Bloody Christ! I know you’re in there! What? Are you angry at me now? Pam, come on, let me in.”
John. Oh how wonderful. I look out the peek hole. It’s already dark. I must have slept longer than I thought. He’s obviously been standing there a while. I begin to wonder if it’s better if I leave him there.
Quickly changing my mind realizing the last thing I want is more tension built up I open the door to a furious John Lennon.
“Where the hell is she?”
“Yes, of course! Pam, who else would I mean, the bloody fucking Queen of England?” I catch the scent of alcohol on his breath.
“Um, well. I actually don’t know where she is right now. We had gotten into a bit of an argument and she left. A long while back—in fact, it was this morning. Were you expecting to see her?”
“Yeh, we had made some bloody plans to meet, at uh, my place. Cyn’s visiting at Maureen’s for the night. Helping to take care of little Zak.”
“Oh.” Then where could she be? John would have been my first guess as to where she’d run to. “She had taken the car. I don’t know where she is. You’re beginning to make me a little worried. What time were you going to meet?”
“At bloody six o’ clock. Two fucking hours ago.”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll return. Maybe you should stay and wait for her.”
Wonderful Julia, why not encourage the relationship between them?
“I’ve waited fucking long enough for her. Where is the hell she? OFF WITH SOME OTHER MAN? What? Is she in BED WITH HIM now and you’re serving as damn fucking cover-up?”
I feel myself ready to burst. First I get into a stupid argument with Pam and then I find myself having to take in John’s upset and he’s already thinking she’s cheating on him. Funny thought in a way, A cheater’s cheatee cheating with another cheater. But Pam—she just wouldn’t do that.
“John stop it! Just stop it now. I’m not up to this. I TOLD you I don’t know where she is. Please. Just maybe you should stay here a bit and she’ll turn up. You never know.”
John notices the tears forming in my eyes and lightens a bit. “Alright, I might as well.” He softens and manages to almost smile. “After all we haven’t spoken in a while now have we?”
“I guess not.”
He enters and I lock the door. We walk to the living room, both sitting on the couch. I am immediately uncomfortable. I am not only sitting next to a man who has been my idol, but who also is married, has a son, has slept with my best friend and walked in on me in the shower.
John remains a bit cold, clearly still thinking about Pam. I begin to wonder if the room is filled with ice, I’m so chilled. I find myself shivering and trying desperately to hold back tears.
Please Julia, not in front of John. He’s drunk as it is, he doesn’t know what he’s saying. I’m sure he thinks more highly of Pam than he’s just revealed. I’m sure she’s fine, she’ll turn up all right.
Suddenly after a long silence he seems to finally become aware of my presence in the room and places his hand on my shoulder. “You alright, luv? You look a tad upset. Was it the argument? Could you tell me about it?”
I force a smile. “No, I’m fine. It was nothing. Just a tiny tiff, that’s all. Nothing to worry about.”
John looks unconvinced. Now seemingly calmed down and seemingly sobered a bit, he takes on a surprisingly tender side. He leaves one hand on the shoulder closest to him and moves his other hand to touch my cheek. “You sure, luv?” His face suddenly changes to worry. “It wasn’t—it wasn’t about me, was it? You know, about Pam and me, being together last night? Who knows in bloody hell who she might be with now, but are you alright?” His voice takes on a strong tension as he mentions Pam but eases as he continues to speak to me.
I don’t know what to say. I certainly don’t want to lie to John, who, if I remember correctly is a friend of mine, yet don’t want to reveal something that would make Pam upset if she were to find out he knows. I’m stuck. It’s a catch 22.
“Ah, it is, isn’t it? Look, I don’t want to get into you and Pam’s personal matters. I know that would put you into a bind.” He brushes a hair off my forehead with his fingers and grins. “Just don’t let the whole situation affect you too much.”
His touch startles me. I’m beginning to see why Pam finds him so irresistible. I look into his eyes. He has great eyes, maybe not quite the eyes of Paul, but still wonderful in their own spheres. And his hair—lighter than Paul’s yet beautiful. I back away a bit from him, pulling away from his touch. I can’t let myself be hypnotized it would just complicate matters worse.
“Oh, I won’t. But um, so how is Paul today?”
John shoots me a knowing glance. “He’s fine. He talks a lot about you, you know. He obviously cares for you. He also says you’ve been a bit of a tease.”
I become instantly insulted. “A tease?”
“Yes, a tease. As you should already know the Maccalovi Speciality doesn’t enjoy being strung a long so much, particularly when he has so many feelings for a girl and she won’t put out.”
“Just because I won’t sleep with him yet doesn’t make me a tease.”
“Look, Paul never used that word. It’s just from what he described I concluded you’re a tease.”
Described to him? What is this, a game of who gets farther fastest? “Forget it Juli, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m probably wrong anyhow.”
“Juli?” I ask.
John smirks at his distraction. “Yes. It’s me new nickname for you. Fitting sort of, and short. But there’s no ‘e’ at the end. Nicknames must be distinctive you know.”
I smile. John Lennon has made a nickname for me.
“Julia was me mum’s name you know?”
I vaguely remember hearing something about how he and Paul are motherless and Julia died or something but realize it’s better not to ask.
“Yeh. She was a really beautiful woman. Taught me ukulele chords for the guitar.” He grins at the memory. “I’m just sorry she had to go. She was run over a truck outside of me Aunt Mimi’s.”
“Oh I’m sorry.” I realize that somehow in the small span of time I am now much closer physically to John than I had been. I’d be surprised if there’s an inch between us. I distance myself. “Was it recently?”
“Nah, back when Paul and I were just kids. His mother died, too. Breast Cancer.”
“That must have been really difficult.”
“It’s alright, I’m used to it now.” John, now seemingly uncomfortable with the personal discussion changes the subject. “So Juli, luv, mind getting me something to drink?”
Knowing he’s probably already drunken too much and I want him to remain conscious to converse with I pretend not to know where the liquor is kept. “I don’t know where any alcohol is all I could really find you at this point is tea, soda, or cocoa.”
“Want me to look? Pam might have showed me last night.”
No! No! No!
“No, really. I think she might be out. She had mentioned it this morning or something like that…”
I watch as John decides surprisingly not to push it. “Alright, I guess tea, it is then.”
I smile and leave to make John some tea. I’m thankful at the chance to think and breath without worrying how close I am getting to him.
I return with two cups, even though there is no chance on earth I’m going to drink the awfully watery substance. John seems distracted as I enter but I sit down anyway.
“You really care for Macca don’t you?”
John’s candidness startles me. “Um, yes I do.” I look down at the teacups, steam rising. How much can I possibly tell John? Especially if I don’t have my own answers.
“Do you love him?”
I look up. Why the all the questions? Why now? I search John’s eyes and he appears to be genuinely curious.
“John, I really don’t know. I mean, how long have I known the guy? I mean really known Paul. Not just seeing him in the papers, or on television, or in the movies. I know I seriously care for him and love being with him and kiss is just—well,” I blush. “Incredible. But love? This early? I know from the first second I saw him in person I was gushing but I feel childish to think it could be anything more than a simple infatuation. And for him too. After all, what can you expect when a guy is spoiled like mad with girls jumping at them and throwing themselves into their bed, their egos just go sky-high—“
I had forgotten whom I was talking to. I look up at John apologetically, “I mean—I didn’t mean you, exactly, I just meant—“
He grins. “Spoiled.”
“Yes spoiled. I really care for him. I know that. He’s never really shown me anything truly serious though. But what can you expect, we’ve only been out, what? Twice? And that adds to my point about being a tease—I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to make it a habit of jumping into bed with a guy after just a couple of dates.”
John smiles menacingly, “I don’t recall ever jumping into bed with a guy…” I roll my eyes. “Alright—alright. I see your point, but this is a different type of crowd.”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean I have to conform to your ways.”
John shrugs and then a smirk spreads across his face. “But really Juli, Macca’s a sweet young lad. Always in bed by 9:30.”
“Yeah,” I laugh. “The question is whom with?”
John laughs back. “See, now you’re thinking like me.”
I have to admit it is great and all joking with John but I certainly don’t like the idea of the topic—jokingly not caring that Paul sleeps around. It makes me almost feel like I’m advocating it.
The night goes on, John and I are returning to our old friendship. He’s really fun to be around. It’s just a pity under what circumstances he came. I don’t realize when, but I end up drifting off to sleep on the couch in the middle of some British television show.
Quietly I awake and look around realizing I must have fallen asleep on John’s shoulder because of the way I feel his head slowly fall to the back of the couch as I pull away. I wonder when that happened and think, I really should stop getting in the habit of falling asleep with Beatles on a couch. Soon enough I decide to go and take a shower to get ready for the day, after all, it’s still pretty early, of course, locking the door this time.
I take my shower and spend some time staring into my eyes in the mirror trying to figure myself out. I am startled by some loud screaming, quickly throw a robe on, and rush out to see what the racket is.
I freeze as I see John’s back, and Pam staring straight over his shoulder at me. Her attention changes from John to me and John turns around, with wide eyes.
Before I have a chance to say anything Pam screeches. “Bloody hell Julia! I leave you one night and you go ahead and screw him? After all you warned me against it you go ahead and do it yourself? You bloody hypocrite. You fucking back stabber!”
“Listen! You go ahead and mess around with John behind my back and then you expect me to listen?”
“Fucking listen to her Pam!” John in a crazed angry fury grabs Pam by the arms. She slaps him in the face and I cringe.
“John get off her!” I push him. A weak push, I must admit, but it got its message across.
“Hell Juli, I’m on your bloody side!”
“Yes but you don’t have to touch her. Physical involvement is not a part of arguing. I don’t care what you went through in the Cavern days, but here, in London, in Pam’s flat, it does not settle arguments!”
Both Pam and John stand there, stunned. John begins laughing. “Hey Juli, haven’t seen this side of you before. I kinda like it. I wish you’d have shown it Peter when you caught him in that car with that bird.”
Pam looks at me, still a bit shocked that John would lay a hand on her while arguing and surprised that I’d jump to such a rescue. I turn to her and stare her straight in the eyes. “Pam please listen to me. John and I did nothing together. He had come here in search of you at eight. He was worried about you. So was I, we just sort of feel asleep together on the couch with the television on. I wouldn’t do that to you, Pam. Besides you’ve heard my views on the matter.”
John gives me an odd look as if to say, ‘Views on the matter? What could possibly be wrong with going to bed with me?’ I ignore him and look to Pam for an answer.
She smiles and hugs me. “I’m sorry Julia.”
“Me too. So where did you go?”
I take a glance at John and then at her as if to ask if John should leave first. She shakes her head. We all move to the living room.
“I went to go and try to see if I could find my mother.”
“How? I thought you had thought she was on a cruise.”
I examine John and it appears as if he’s already discussed the topic with Pam and is a full insider.
Pam answers, “Well I still had her address from a while back. After our argument I guess I wanted to prove that I really did have a better mother than I thought I did. That I had someone else to turn to, ‘cause well you know that ever since Ken died I’ve only had you. And since you were my current problem, that left, well…no one—except you John. But I didn’t want to discuss it with you, John. After all, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now it was about you.”
John nods. “So how’s yer mum?”
Pam bites her lip and I watch as her spirits sink. “I drove there, delaying a bit because of nerves, wondering what to say and all.” Her words seem to come out painfully. I can tell John feels as saddened by this as I do. “And I knocked on the door. She didn’t answer but her butler did. I hadn’t realized how much money she had since Ken—” I watch as she holds back tears.
John reaches out to her, “It’s alright Pam. It’s alright luv.”
“The butler didn’t want me there, but I said I was her daughter so he let me in. And when he mentioned she was upstairs but wouldn’t let me go I just didn’t listen. I should have listened. I stormed up the stairs, pushing the butler out of the way and there she was, in her damn posh as hell bedroom, in bed with some twenty-year-old guy. I stormed out. I could have thrown up.” Pam’s choking on tears and John is holding her. “The guy was my age. MY AGE. So soon after Ken. She stopped a bit when I barged in. Startled of course, but without compassion in her eyes. She couldn’t care less for me. And that’s the truth. And then when I came back and saw you two—I flipped, I guess. I just damn well flipped. I’m giving up…I’m fucking giving up.”
“Oh Pam, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I try to comfort her but know that John is what she needs right now. That she needs a masculine figure, to substitute Ken for her.
We spend a while sitting there, comforting her. But John leaves saying that if he only didn’t have to work on recording on some song with a title having something to do with his life…(“My Life,” perhaps) he wouldn’t leave, instead, he’d stay with her, but it will just be until the afternoon and he’ll return. He’ll return and they’d spend the day together. I realize this means I’m going to have to find somehow to go out for the day.
Pam and I spend some time bonding trying to make up for the past twenty-four hours. At 11:30 the phone rings. Pam picks up, as I am reading through her newest purchase—A Spaniard in the Works—soon to be an autographed copy. Pam enters the living room.
“It’s for you.”
“Who is it?”
Pam raises an eyebrow. “It’s Paul.”
I smile and rush to the phone. “Hello.”
“How’s it going?”
“Good. I was just wondering, would you be interested coming over for the afternoon?”
I grin. “What—is this a ploy so that John can have Pam alone today or are you genuinely interested in seeing me?”
Paul laughs. “What would you say to a combination to both? No, but seriously luv, John had hoped that you and I had plans for such a purpose but I was hoping we could get together even before he said it. I do like being with you, you know.”
“Alright, so what’s your plan?”
“I don’t know, maybe go see a movie or something. It’s up to you really, I’m game for anything right now.”
“You’d be leaving now?” I haven’t even fully gotten dressed yet!
“No, not quite yet. We still have a bit more left to record. I’m still at Abbey Road. They gave us a short break. Most likely we’ll be done within the next hour or so. I could pick you up?”
I beam. “Alright.”
“Gear. I’ll see you then. G’bye luv.”
I sigh. Boy do I love his voice. But I better start getting ready.
I go to Pam. “Paul’s going to take me out when they finish recording.”
Pam smiles. “Thank you.”
“Well don’t think I’m simply doing this for you, I do believe I shall greatly enjoy spending my day with Paul.”
“Have any questions or needs currently?”
I shake my head. “No. But thanks for the offer. Someday I might actually take you up on it. Oh, I don’t maybe sometime when I’m 50 and just married I’ll call you up and say, ‘Pam, remember when I had come to visit you in London…’”
Pam laughs. I say, “But no, seriously. I may in fact at some point, at a time close than thirty years from now may need your help. But as for now my only question remains, can I borrow some of your clothes?”
Pam smirks. I sigh. “Well, not necessarily for that reason. More because of your impeccable taste when it comes to color choices.”
“Feel free to invade my closet.”
I thank her as we walk to pick out outfit of the day.
We scrounge her endless closet to find a beautiful long, indigo skirt and white peasant shirt. Along the hem of the shirt is a small, embroidered flower pattern. I hurry to my room to try it on. I pull back the two front strands of my hair with a rose barrette. Different look than usual, yet not bad. I smile, apply some light make up and go to the living room to show Pam.
I enter and see Pam on the couch watching television, wearing a completely black ensemble. She looks up at me and I do my usual model pose. She grins, winks, and says, “Smashing,” imitating Paul. I laugh and the doorbell rings.
As Pam rushes to the door, I run to my room to gather my coat, purse, and camera. I stuff the camera in my bag, walking casually to the door to find Pam and John facing each other, gazing aimlessly into each other’s eyes, hands locked. I can’t help but sigh at the romanticism but remind myself—this is a married man.
From what seems to be out of nowhere, Paul steps out and greets me. Why didn’t I notice him before? He pulls me close and stares into my eyes. “You look beautiful, luv.”
I beam. “Thank you.” I look past Paul’s shoulder to see Pam and John already kissing wildly—still standing up. I turn to Paul. “Maybe we should go.”
He turns around, smirks, “Good idea.”
We tiptoe out and close the door, giving a small wave as we walk out. Mid-kiss John gives a small wave from Pam’s back and then resumes kissing.
As Paul and I walk to the car I begin to wish I didn’t know why Pam and John would want me out of the house. Sometimes it’s better just not to know. But then another thought crosses my mind, how long are they expecting me to stay out for? All night? That would mean I would have to stay with Paul—but there’s no way I’m about to sleep with him just because I’m thrown out of the house—is there?
We enter the car and Paul turns to me. “What would you say to a surprise destination?”
I smile. “Surprise?”
He nods, “Yes, surprise.” Paul grins. “Off we go then?” He starts the ignition and begins to drive off.
“…What kind of surprise?”
Paul keeps his eyes on the road. “We’ll see about that when we get there.”
Puzzled, I decide it’s best not to ask, besides I love surprises—happy surprises, that is. I ride is made long by my strong anticipation, (Cordelia’s patience, once again) and my incessant staring at Paul for clues as to what he has in mind.
Well, not only for clues. His hair looks gorgeous in the bright afternoon sun. His cheeks slightly flushed from just being out in the cool London air—sort of similar to Peter—no, much better than Peter.
Suddenly Paul pulls to the side of the road. I open my eyes wide, “This is your destination?”
Paul laughs, “No. I just almost forgot—“ He reaches into the backseat and pulls out a blue scarf with peacock feathers on it. A scarf? Where would Paul get a scarf—other than date number 7, 986?
Paul notices my strange expression, and as if reading my mind, he says, “No, it was me mum’s.”
I become embarrassed and he places it around my eyes as a blindfold. His mother’s scarf and he’s letting me use it—Well, maybe it was one of her less important scarves…
I ride the rest of the way with no view but the silky blue feather of peacock on the scarf, which is mostly blacked out by shadow. Luckily, Paul talks to me as we drive to make sure I know he hasn’t suddenly set the car on cruise control and jumped out the window or something.
After what seems an eternity, the cars stops. “Here we are.” I begin to pull of the scarf but he stops me. “Wait, luv, we still have to walk a bit. Keep sitting, I walk around and lead you to our destination.”
I listen as I hear him remove his keys from the ignition, open his door, close his door, open the trunk, pull something out, close the trunk, and open my door. I feel his hand holding mine. “Come on, luv.”
He closes the door and keeps track of me with his right hand around my shoulder and his left holding mine. I feel my shoes walking on pavement and then onto hard ground with some grass. He keeps his arms around me. “Almost there—ah we’re here.”
I hear him place something on the ground, open something, and make a few clanking noises. Paul then removes the blindfold. Above his head I see a tree and my eyes water as they try to adjust to the new light. The only thing in focus is Paul’s face, and in particular his eyes. They’re twinkling and he leans down and kisses me.
My heart skips a beat and I hardly notice the outside chill. He pulls gently away and I examine my surroundings—a park, an unfamiliar park. On the ground at my feet is a beautiful picnic display—large blue blanket, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, two glasses and a bottle. Beside the large blanket is a warm comfy red one with a bouquet of pink roses on top and a basket.
“Oh Paul.” I sigh. I had no idea he could be so romantic.
He hands me the flowers and seats me in the red blanket, wrapping it around me. “I know you get cold so I thought I’d keep you warm while we ate outside.”
“That was really sweet of you.” I feel myself beaming and look around the park. It’s clearly huge and a popular place when it’s warm.
I look at Paul’s face, cheeks now pinkish-red from the cold, hair slightly disorganized yet seemingly perfect, eyes sparkling and lips smiling. He gestures the blue blanket that he is now lying on the edge of facing me. “The sandwiches, I know they’re popular in America, I had some peanut butter specially delivered for you. And this,” he reaches for the bottle and displays it. “This is sparkling apple cider.”
I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I decide to act posh. “Is it of a good year?”
Paul response accordingly, “Yes, yes. I believe it is of the 1965 collection.” He pours a glass and hands it to me. “Is it to your liking, Mademoiselle?”
I take a sip. “Yes, quite good.” I manage to balance the glass on a flat part of ground. We eat lunch and I enjoy every moment of it.
When it seems the meal is complete, Paul pulls out a thermos and two mugs from the basket and smiles. “You see the best part about a picnic in October is that there are not ants and plenty of room for hot cocoa.”
Paul looks cold and I invite him to share the blanket as we drink the hot cocoa. He quickly accepts and soon enough I find myself centimeters away from the man I care so fondly for. We begin to kiss and I then remember my camera.
“Paul, would you mind if I took a few pictures?”
“Pictures?” he asks.
“Yes, I won’t be here for much longer and I was hoping I could capture you and this moment for when I leave.”
Paul’s eyes sadden. “When are you leaving, luv?”
“I have a ticket to leave in ten days. That’s how it was set. November 2nd I’m expected home.”
“Couldn’t you perhaps, stay longer?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know my direction in life. This was supposed to be my month’s getaway visiting my best friend Pam. Little did I expect to meet, well, you guys.”
“If you had known you’d meet us would you have stayed longer?”
“I couldn’t have known,” I say.
“Well then, since you now know, will you?” Paul looks at me with hopeful eyes.
What am I supposed to tell him? If I say “Yes,” there’s no doubt my parents will be suspicious. Not to mention, I still have no definite “I love you,” from him yet nor up until this point did I know how I felt. But now I do. I know I love this man with all my heart and never want to leave.
“I’d love to Paul—“
“Then why don’t you?”
I sigh. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Paul nods. “You know luv, I…”
Love me? If you say you love me, I’ll stay—I’d probably never leave!
“…care about you,” Paul continues. “And I hate to see you go. But that’s not for a while yet. And as for pictures—“ he smiles throws a pose. “Shoot away.”
I smile thankfully. I take a few shots of Paul up sitting against the tree. Then with the surroundings and picnic. Just as I lean in to take a close up and the camera flashes he kisses me and pushes the button. I laugh but make a mental note to remove that shot from the stack when I show my parents if it seems they still are displeased with me being associated with the Beatles.
Paul makes a few attempts at getting both of us but then a rather large balding older man walks by, completely alone, and cold. He doesn’t seemingly doesn’t recognize Paul, but I somehow recognize him from somewhere. He walks over and offers to take a picture for us.
As I hand him the camera, I focus on his moustache—the man from the airplane! What a coincidence! What are the chances? He smiles and gives me one of those cute old man winks that grandfathers sometimes do.
Paul and I stand next to each other and the man takes a few shots—Paul with his arm around me smiling. Me looking up at Paul and him to the camera. Paul looking at me, and me looking at the camera. Us looking at each other and rubbing noses. And just when I thought I could retrieve the camera—one more of Paul and me kissing.
Somewhat embarrassed, I thank the man and can’t help but make the connection.
“I’ve met you somewhere,” I say.
He grins. “Yes, I do believe so. On the plane, a few weeks ago to London?” I nod. “Well, yes, then we did. I sat next to you now didn’t I? I guess I was in rather bad mood that day. I’m sorry about that.” I watch as his eyes twinkle as they had that first day on the plane. “I hadn’t realized you were coming here to see a boyfriend.” He laughs one of those older man laughs as if to say ‘I know what you’re up to. I did that myself in my day.’
The man leans in closer and whispers to me despite the fact Paul has his arm around me and can hear every word he says. “Good-looking fella, too. You better watch out though—he looks smooth.”
I look up at Paul who smirks. The man continues. “I come to Hyde Park quite often. It’s a very nice park, don’t you think? That day I came in on the plane I had just gone to see my nephew getting married.” He puts a strange emphasis on the word ‘married’ as he hands me the camera. “He’s a good boy—but, oh, I better leave you two love birds to you’re business. I’ve stumbled upon your privacy long enough.”
We thank him as he waves goodbye and walks away.
I wonder whether Paul might say something to the topic of ‘marriage’ or ‘love’ but he just says, “Nice of him to take those pictures for us, don’t you think?”
I smile realizing that’s all I could possibly expect Paul to say at a moment like this. “Yes, yes it was.”
We spend a long while longer wrapped in the blanket, staring at the sky. The sunset is truly beautiful and clouds turn an exquisite shade of pink. Paul and I kiss as the sunset turns to darkness and moon and stars become visible.
I just wish this moment could last forever.
Written by Jane Anderson. May not be reproduced in any form by any means without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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