The song comes to an end. I lead him over to where John and Pam are sitting and introduce him. They both welcome him and we sit down facing them.
Pam speaks, “I have to go to the bathroom.” I wonder why she announces it and then I get the hint.
As she stands up I say, “Yes, so do I.” Tentative about leaving John alone with Peter I follow Pam past the mob of people to the bathroom.
“Why aren’t you dancing with Paul?”
“Why is everyone asking me this?”
“I don’t know. I just know I was there when Paul, John, and I were at the table and you snubbed us,” Pam says looking furious and hurt at the same time.
“I didn’t snub you, you were all deep in conversation and I felt like an outsider and went for a walk. It was then I bumped into Peter.”
Pam sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound so terribly cross.”
“Nor I either. But I’m sorry to say that no matter how much success you’ve made with Johnny boy, I have made none with Paul.” I could almost feel tears forming in my eyes. I couldn’t understand it. I may have been upset, but not that upset. “I was lucky enough to find Peter, he’s going to be a doctor, you know? He’s really charming, and you must admit, he is handsome.”
“Yes, regularly I’d say you had found a great catch, but this is our one and only night out with the Beatles and you’ve gone and met someone else!”
“Believe me, I wish I had hit it off as well with them as you have. I just don’t seem to have your magic.”
“I wouldn’t say that. John really seems to find you to be a great friend. I was almost becoming jealous over how much he kept talking about you. He’s the one who brought it to Paul and my attention that you had found Peter.”
I can’t believe it. John really seemed to find the same friendship in me that I had found him. I decided to change the subject from John.
“You know, Peter is really sweet---and charming and intelligent. Possibly even more so than Paul.”
Pam frowned at the comparison to Paul. “You can’t compare him to Paul, Paul is a Beatle.”
“Being a Beatle doesn’t make him a god. No matter how gorgeous he is or how charming he acts. He couldn’t care less for me. To him I’m just another infatuated fan. It was really great talking to him in your living room. I’ll remember that moment forever…and when he kissed my hand…and when he opened the door of the car for me---but that’s it. It stops there. I knew I shouldn’t expect much and I was right.”
“What? What do you want me to do? Make up a fairy tale in my mind and say, ‘Oh he must love me! He kissed my hand!’ No, I won’t. I know I’m not the first girl he’s done that to and by now it’s probably just an automatic action to take when greeting a girl.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“Besides Pam, Peter’s fun as he is and Paul’s already found a girl of his own.”
“You know he couldn’t care less about her.”
“Yea, but he at least asked her to dance.”
“Actually he didn’t. She came over, sat in his lap and dragged him onto the dance floor by the collar.”
“Well, he still followed!”
“Yes, but you weren’t there to tempt him!”
“That’s because he was too busy looking at you to notice me when I tried to join your conversation earlier!” I immediately wish I hadn’t said it. She looked away. I look to the dirty, tiled bathroom floor.
“I’m sorry, Pam. But it’s true, he didn’t notice me nor seem to care either. And that’s why I walked away and that’s why I’m not dancing with him.”
Tired out, Pam agreed and we walked back to the table. I felt as if we had been gone too long but it seems as though neither Peter nor John had noticed. George and Patti had come and joined the table and they were all busily discussing something that appeared to be quite amusing; everyone was laughing. The conversation stopped once we approached and they made room for us, me next to Peter and George, Pam, next to John and Patti.
“Hello again,” George says.
“Hi,” I say trying my best to be polite.
“We were beginning to think the bathroom had eaten you both up!” John remarked. I blush and but Pam just smiles.
“It almost did. So, what did we miss?”
“Not too much, just learning about Peter,” Patti says smiling at me. I smiled back and decided to look to Peter who then put his arm around me. Ringo and Maureen approached the table.
“So where’s Paul gone off to?” Ringo asks.
“No doubt off in some dark place with that bird he was dancing with,” George laughed. John and Pam just looked at me to see my reaction. I acted nonchalant and hoped to change the subject. John beat me to it.
“Everyone having a good time?”
“I should say so,” Ringo says smiling at Maureen who nestles her head in his neck. “But we never got to sing you Happy Birthday and give your cake.”
“We were going to wait for Paul to come back but it looks as though if we do that now we’ll run out of time,” George says. I look at John’s face. Expressionless. That’s horrible, Paul’s his best friend and now he’s gone off with some girl instead of staying here to celebrate. As soon as the thought enters my mind, Paul appears holding a box, girl in tow. Naturally I would have expected John to tease him but instead it was George.
“Where ya been Paulie?”
The clinging, obnoxious girl hanging on his right side starts to giggle. I take this opportunity to look her over and notice she’s the quintessence of bad taste---a shirt that covers practically nothing, matching skirt and what seem to be seven-inch heels. I can’t believe it. I lost out to a trashy Barbie wearing the equivalent of a bikini in clothing.
I look at Peter who seems disgusted by her and feel reassured that I decided to spend my time with him instead of Paul. Paul may have been charming but he certainly hadn’t made a good impression on me since we entered the club.
“We had gone for a bit of fresh air,” Paul answers. He seems to be drunk.
“I see, you mean the kind of air that you find in a car with the little air freshener dangling in the front window---"
“Oh, come off it, George. Anyway I returned so that we could wish John a happy birthday good and proper,” Paul says putting a cake down in the middle of the table. I began to worry he would drop it from being so drunk, but somehow he managed.
“Glad to hear it. We were waiting for you, you know.” Ringo says.
“Alright then. Let us begin---Happy Birth…” With Paul’s introduction all chime in and finish with, “And many more…” I smile and notice Paul is as well.
That’s the Paul I recognize from A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. The one I like to see---the smiling, charming best friend of John.
It must be something to be wished a happy birthday with your own private rendition by the Beatles. Of course, to John being a Beatle, and with his fellow Beatles all the time, it must not seem too impressive.
John smiles, stands, and makes a dramatic bow. “Thank you, thank you.” We all applaud and George cuts the cake. We all sit down and devour it. I begin to feel truly exhausted. The jet lag was finally catching up to me. I begin to yawn and notice it’s contagious.
“Alright, seems as though we had a great night so far, but I do believe it must come to an end somehow or we’ll never wake up in the morning,” says Ringo. There seems to be a round of agreement from the table.
Peter turns to me, “Would you like me to drive you home?” I realize everyone at the table is watching.
“Um, well I actually came with Ringo and Maureen—“
“Oh well it’s no trouble at all. Besides they probably are tired and want to go home themselves. Remember they have a beautiful new baby to go home to.”
I shoot a glance at Pam who shrugs.
“I guess, but I’m staying with Pam and I don’t really know her address yet---"
“56 Worple Avenue,” Pam interrupts, “You can find that can’t you?” she says directly to Peter.
Peter smiles. “Why yes, thank you. So, Julia, what do you say?”
With all eyes on me, I agree. John gives me a worried look and I decide to ignore it. Maybe I didn’t know Peter all that well and maybe I wasn’t all that sure I truly wanted to drive home with him, but I certainly wasn’t about to let anyone else know that. Without further adieu, I thank everyone for inviting me and wish John a happy birthday once again.
He smiles, “It was a pleasure.” John then leans across the table and gives me a kiss on the cheek and whispers, “I do hope to see you again. Be careful.”
I smile back, nod, and Peter drags me off to his car.
Written by Jane Anderson. May not be reproduced by any means, in any form, without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.
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