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Free as a Bird, Chapter 8 Chapter Eight

"Something's on your mind?" John said while we walked over to a bench. In the distance, I heard Paul laughing and a few other people applauding. I tried to listen to what they where talking about, wanting so much to distract my mind from what happened this morning. Then I had a feeling I should get it out this moment. I wanted this to be over as soon as possible.

"Did they tell you the news already?" John said. I bounced up at once, straightened myself and stared right in John's eyes.

"What?" I said. "Wait," I added, suddenly knowing, actually dreading what this was about. "I know....they told me to leave...those fifty or forty extras are not necessary anymore and so...."

"I heard it minutes ago," John said. "We had this meeting, this weekly thing to get things straight about the filming, about how we want things to go. Jesus, you should have heard me, I wish you'd seen Paul. I had to calm him down in the end."

"What do you mean, you're not telling me you made big fuss about this?" I said. I hoped they hadn't gone too far, didn't want this to turn out into some big event.

"Of course," John called out. "Alice, this is rediculous. You were fantastic in all the scenes we've filmed with all of you and.."

"Yeah, especially in that first one," I sneered.

"That was a mistake," John said. "They should have told me you were there, I'd definitely drop in a bit earlier just to avoid that big shock."

"You know...it's as if they don't want us to be friends," I sighed. "We've caught up, we're back on the track and then I have to go again."

"No you don't," John said. I didn't seem to hear it.

"What if my parents hear this?" I said. "John, I don't want this, I'll miss you so much....." I had to leave it like that, couldn't get the rest out. "I love you," I suddenly said. "I've...started to love you...in some way...your're still so much the same.... You're still like my old brother."

John smiled, then he looked at me. "I got an idea." he said. "See, I told you you wouldn't have to go...you can stay with Cyn until the filming is over."

"Sorry?" I said. "I mean it, you probably have to leave that hotel so you need a pace to stay, and if you're with her then we can still meet up."

"As if you'll be home every night," I chuckled. John gave me an elbow.

"It sounds better than the other side of London," he said. "And suppose they'd still need you for some scenes, then you're at least close by." I had to agree to that. "So, with that in mind, I hope you're feeling a bit better." I felt myself blushing, then smiled a bit.

"Thanks," I said while we got up.

John picked up my hand and gave it a soft kiss. "It's our pleasure," he said. "Don't worry, I'm getting on it as soon as possible, you'll be with us until we go back on tour....and I'll try to get you back on the set somewhere...hell, you haven't done anything serious yet."

It seemed Paul heard that while he walked over to John. "Oh...you told her already?" Paul said.

"Oh fine, do you know all about it as well?" I blurted out.

"Yup, we're friends remember?" Paul said back.

"Sorry," I said. "I'm just so tired..." Suddenly I felt something slip into my mouth, a sip of an ice cold drink. I almost choked in it.

"I thought you needed that, a bit of ice tea." Paul said plopping down next to John. They both took my hands. I felt a bit better at once, knowing there'd be some more weeks time to spend with my best friends.

"Alice," Paul said. Then he suddenly started to sing. "Pretty little Alice...in wonderland." I knew the tune, it was something I'd heard on the radio. It sounded pretty much like the Everly brothers. John picked up the harmony and they went on to one of the couplets. I burst out laughing.

"Guys..I'm flattered." I said during a short pause. "You two make one great voice together." Now it was their turn to blush.

"Thanks, Paul said.

John squeezed my hand. "Was it really that good?" he said.

"Oh, there ya go," Paul said. "May I remind you son, our wonderful Mister George Martin keeps telling us how easy it is to mix our vocals, he won't have to fix anything."

"Yes, with you." John said. Paul gave him a stupid look, then looked desperately at me.

"OK, I have to admit," John added. "You're helping me a lot to stay in tune."

"John, you don't mean that." Paul said. "Bloody hell, you're writing your own melodies, if you couldn't sing at all, you couldn't do that as well."

"Well," John said looking around. "I think our break is over." He blushed for a moment.

"In other words, you want to get the hell out of here," I said pulling him away from Paul. "Let's see if I can lend a hand out there, now I"m still available." John started to laugh, but I felt I had to say something about this.

In the distance I heard some soft music playing, probably to get people in the mood. This time I didn't recognize the song. "Oh wonderful, that's a new one." John said. "You see....we're also busy with that, the soundtrack, and we still have to make up a title song."

"So...what's the film called?" I said. "I've heard thousands of names all around me but no one told me what it was actually called."

"And if I knew that...." John said. This surprised me. "You're not telling me....do you mean this thing is still nameless?"

"Probably," John said. "We had something in mind but it sounds so...."

"Oh, c'mon tell me." I said.

"Oh, it's something from me, it's from my b....from one of my writings." There he blushed again.

"Yes, from his book," Paul said. "Alice, John's about to publish his first book, after all these years of filling up his notebooks with hilarious poems and stories..."

"Anyway..." John interrupted, "I was writing somewhere about a hard day's night...." I let the pharse tumble through my mind a few times, played with the words. "I think it's even Ringo giving me that sentence," John said. "We were working on some songs, some fourteen or fifteen hours in the studio and he said something like "It's been a hard day" and then he found out it was over eleven already and he goes, "'S night." It produced a muffled laugh from Paul; it indeed sounded funny. And looking at the stript, or at least at what was written for it, it actually fit in my opinion.

While thinking this, I found John still walking next to me--- Paul was already ahead of us suddenly deep in thought. After a moment he softly started humming something.

"That's it," he muttered. We stopped some metres away from a group of people. I heard someone laughing out loud and Patty and George were standing apart at the edge of the field.

"I got it," he said, a wide smile crossing his face. "Hey....that's it, I have it...Paul!" he suddenly called sprinting away and leaving me standing near a few flowers, staring at the hand he'd just held. There it hit me, we'd been walking hand in hand...again something we were so used to when I was small.

"We have to thank her for this," John suddenly said, tapping me on my shoulder.

"OK, so what did you find John, you're talking in riddles," Paul said.

"I got an idea for a song," he said. "And this time, it works."

"Wow, great news." Paul said. "That's what happens to us three times a day, we're music machines remember?"

"Nothing for you to say something like that?" I said.

"Oh, you thought I would make that remark," John blurted out, staring into my eyes for a few seconds.

"You know damn well I'm trying to get rid of that made-up image." I said.

"You have to thank Brian for that," Paul said.

"Brian?" John said. "As if he knew it would turn out like this."

"Well, I just hope people will be able to see through it," I said. "Even if they're just reading about you, if that makes them believe you're really like mummy's little wonderful boys, then I don't get it." I heard an applause in the distance, a few steps behind me.

"I second that." George said. "Oh, he there as well," Paul said.

"With a guitar even," John added, runing past me.

"Can I...mine is still at home, I have to show something to..."

"Here," George said. "It's not your brand, does that matter?"

"Oh I see, it's just one you picked from your shelf," John grinned. Paul started to laugh out loud. "It's true," he said turning to face me. "As soon as we got money, we were suddenly all off to the music store, and then you suddenly want to have everything at the same time."

"Awright," I said. "Let's stop all the banter, let's hear it for John Lennon." I probably said it a bit too loud, as some people in the distance fell silent and a few others walked over. John looked at me for a second, then I gave him a wink. "You know what I think," it said.

"C'mon," I added in a whisper. "This is better than a hall full of screaming girls!" It seemed George heard that, as he cleared his throat and gave me an elbow. While I heard a few chords I looked aroudn to see if Patty was still there. She was, standing inches away from George, trying to stare at him from time to time. John started to sing, first softly then a bit louder. "It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log," he mumbled the rest of the verse and for some reason, Paul broke in with a harmony. They sang the melody without any lyrics, excetp for "It's been a hard day's night," and sometimes a few addings like "And I've been working like a dog."

"Here, I'm leaving the stage," George said. "They've got the floor." He walked away and took Patty along. I saw them sitting down on a bench, some metres away in the field.

"They've done it again," I heard him sigh during a pause. "They made their nth number one hit, well, I'll have my own self made solo, that's for sure." After a few more tries, John and Paul stoppd.

"This sounds great," Paul called out excitedly. He let his hand drop on John's shoulder.

"Not at all bad," John added. "Good to hear you say that." Paul said. "That's the old John I know, just writing good songs and nothing about bad lines or false notes." I walked a bit closer, tried not to disturb them.

"So, what about it?" John said, searching my face for the answer.

"It's cool," I said. "I think it will be another great hit."

"You're thinking too fast madam," John said.

"Now who always said we would go to the top?" Paul said. "Alice, where you there back then, we weren't even in the Cavern and he already talked about touring the whole world."

"Yeah, and you told me to just dream on on my own." John gave back.

"OK," Paul said. "But you were sure it would all happen," then he snapped his fingers. "There...see where we are today."

"That's it," John said. "That's the whole point, now we are were we want to be. We're just...there, we already made it, now what next?" This was probably the first time I heard him say this. I could see from Paul that he'd heard this before, but it made us both feel a bit puzzled still. It sounded true to me. For years they'd wanted to be where they were now. So this was the toppermost of the poppermost, as they called it back then. Had they ever dreamed it would be like this? I could imagine someone like John feeling a bit frustrated that there simply wasn't anything to wish for anymore. He looked at Paul as if he'd find the right answer there. "I'll think about that, John." Paul said.

"Just remind me to get back to it later, I think we should go now." John laughed. "It's not a big deal, just some of my thoughts." Still it worried me a bit. I couldn't know of course that this was a little tip of the iceberg. I had to admit things were indeed going incredibly fast. Now I went over the facts, it had been two years since they were actually still all living in Liverpool....Liverpool, there it was, my hoemtown. Or was this town, London, my home town? I shook my head. It couldn't be possible, I couldn't imagine myself feeling so much at ease, at home here as I did in Liverpool.

"So how about...working this out tonight." John said, pointing at the guitar he still had in his hands. George came back, laughing about something Patty was telling him. It all snapped me back from my thoughts.

"Sure," Paul said.

"Do you need some...help?" I said softly. It was too late now to keep myself from saying that; it was already out before I realized this was probably too eager from me.

"Oh yes, I'd love you to be there." John said. Paul nodded.

"You need to hear this, Alice," he said. "At least I want you to see how this grows into a song," then he looked at John again. "How you make it into a song."

"Hey hey, remember this credit thing," John said.

"To hell with it," Paul said. "As long as we know who did what."

"I know it too," I interrupted. I felt the need to suddenly say this, to see if I was actually right. I felt like I was the only one who could actually pick out the John songs from the ones by Paul even if there was still this Lennon/McCartney thing attached to them. Much later I'd have a hard time making people believe that this was something I'd done ever since their second lp came out. When I found out the song I was listening to wasn't an actual cover, I always tried to guess who wrote it (And there where several songs which I'd believed to be original Beatles songs until I checked the credits on the album.).

"I know," John said stepping a bit closer. "You've heard a lot of mine in the early days." Paul was walking away. It seemed he'd probably said or gestured something to John while he went off with George. He was waving a bit in the distance while John picked up my hand again. "I meant this," John said. "Honestly, I really want you to be there. I think it's not enough if it's just..you know, Paul and me."

"Hey..what about the others," I suddenly said, feeling a bit awkward for Ringo and George. They probably had more to do with the music than I did.

"Oh never mind," John said. "It's you we're talking nabout." Suddely he threw his arms around me. It was as if his eyes told me exactly what he wanted to say next.

"Can you imagine how much I actually missed you?" he said. "Just try it."

"How can I know," I said. "I didn't even know you still recognized me."

"What?" John called out, looking straight in my eyes at once. "Alice, for God's sake, we've been friends for the last nine or ten years....we've seen each other so often and you think I'd forget that?"

"I know...." I said, then I blushed. "I just....didn't feel sure about it. It sounds odd to me, to simply know someone will miss you just like you miss him." We set down on a bench behind us. Inside I knew he probably had to go back to the set. I couldn't see anyone outside anymore. "There's so many things I wondered to myself," I said. "I just didn't dare to go there. Things like...did you actually tiink of me, sometimes..."

"Of course," John said. "You know what I said when you went to London, I just knew I would be there soon."

"I believed that." I said. "I've trusted you for so long, I just wanted you to be there."

"OK, so now I promise one thing," he said. "I'll never ever ever let you go again." He hugged me again while he started to laugh. "Sounds corny, doens't it?" he said.

"Never mind," I said, trying to take back the tears I felt in my eyes.

"Aw...it's even getting you in tears," he said, first chuckling a bit about it, then looking worried at once.

"Yeah, so how does that look," I said in a choked voice.

"Hey..." he said, then left it like that. I felt two lips on my cheek, moving over to my own lips.

"John what is this..." I could say before they stopped on mine. I didn't know how I was answering this. My thoughts stopped, there was only one thing circling in my mind when we finally broke away. "We kissed," my mind screamed. "We actually kissed, and he's still holding me so close..." I couldn't help a long sigh.

"God..." I said. "I'm so glad I can still be around when I leave this set."

"That reminds me," John said. "It's settled." I sighed again, of relief this time. John smiled, looked away in the distance. "Julian," he said softly. "You just have to see him. You'll love him, Alice; I'm sure he'll love you to bits." We both paused for a moment, hearing a blackbird sing right above us. "Just like I do," John said while someone called his name in the distance. "Shit!" he suddenly called out, instantly moving away from me. "Oh bloody hell....they've been waiting for four hours and I'm still here....OK, it's not your fault, come along." He rammbled. "Good idea from yours, to see if you can give some help."

It was quite a sudden way to end something like this. But for the part of this day where whe'd been there together, I knew I would never forget a word of what we both said. The next few days would depend on this. We would talk and be together as much as we could, every bit of private time we spend to catch up, to tell some more about our lives, tell each other what actually happened while we were living so far apart. I knew I could tell him anything I had in mind. Everything was safe, except for one thing. Something I'd felt since we found each other, a thing I didn't want my mind to touch yet. It would take me years to actually saying it out loud. I could only happily live on until the last day that I'd be on the set. And even after that, I'd still be able to see John.



Chapter Nine

Written by Yvonne. May not be reproduced without the permission of the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.

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