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I Need You
This story takes place after Paul and Jane Asher's separation.

I Need You

written by Lady Jane
June 1968
"Good girl, Martha!" said John as he patted the large sheepdog that pounced onto his lap when he walked up to Paul's spacious Victorian mansion. Excited for some activity, Martha grabbed her blue ball in her teeth and ran back to John whining for him to throw it so she could catch it and bring it back to him. John obliged.

After they had done this for awhile, John asked her, "Where's Pauly?" Martha whimpered, and ran away to motion John to follow her. John ran to the mansion. When he opened the front door, two different smells hit him: one was a faint, pleasant smell of ladies perfume, and the other was the rotten stench of garbage that had not been taken out in days. The smells combined into one, and John was taken aback.

"What a pong!" he said out loud. There was also no sound; no sound of Paul's TV set yammering in the background, no music playing, and no sound of Paul and Jane making love. Complete silence. John knew this was a bad sign. He resumed chasing Martha when she barked at him to follow her. John hurriedly ran past a couple of psychedelic portraits by Peter Max and past the circular swimming pool that he compulsively checked for Paul's dead floating body. He found green algae floating on the surface, but it contained no Paul. John thanked his lucky stars and continued after Martha. He ran over to the large walk-in closet and found Paul's expensive wardrobe of velvet jackets, silk shirts, and multi-colored print fabric suits from Carnaby Street strewn about the floor as if someone had yanked them off the hangers in a fit of rage.

John inwardly cringed at Paul's destructive fit. He wondered what horrors waited in the living room. He looked in and found a shattered TV set, ripped paintings, spots of drink running down the walls, and a couch that had been stabbed and it's stuffing ripped out as if it were attacked by a serial killer. He checked Paul' s spacious bedroom and found the sheets ripped into shreds, bits of women's cosmetics strewn everywhere, a overstuffed chair with its cushions missing and had been similarly stabbed, and a couple of broken perfume bottles giving off a ghastly smell on the floor. He wondered if Paul and Jane had a row, and Paul wrecked his house in anger. He hoped Paul didn't hit Jane, for her sake.

He knew first-hand how strong Paul was when he got mad. John found Martha again and hurried behind her into the music room, which was littered with unfinished song sheets, dirty plates with half-eaten food still on them, several broken instruments, and empty cans of ale strewn about the floor. In the middle of the clutter was Paul, sitting cross-legged as if he were back at the Marahishi's in India doing TM.

But he was cradling a bottle and dejectedly gulping swings as he stared out into space. John took one look at his songwriting companion and groaned. The usually dapper Paul was wearing drab, dirty clothes that were wrinkled and smelled as if he hadn't showered in days. His hair was ragged and definitely needed shampooing, and he had a three-day growth of a beard. John stepped into the litter that crowded the music room and picked up a dirty glass. Paul's sanitary habits where the first to go when he got depressed. John walked over to Paul and sat down beside him.

"Cor! You really buggered your house up, didn't you!"

It took Paul awhile to acknowledge John, but when he did, he belched,

"I didn't wreak me house, John. Jane did."

"Oh!"

Paul took another big hit of booze.

"She was just a little upset when she found me in bed with Francie...jush a little upset." He said drunkenly.

Used to his sweet, demure Cynthia, John couldn't fathom a woman so enraged she'd destroy a carefully and expensively decorated mansion. He stood pop-eyed at Jane's Hell-bent wreckage of Paul's house.

"Jesus Christ!" he muttered to himself. A crystal chandelier was pulled right out of the ceiling and rested a few feet away from Paul.

"Oh! That's me fault. I tried to swing from it once, and it gave away."

John didn't like this depressed, apathetic Paul, and knew he'd have to use a little psychology to get him to open up. He remembered the dirty glass in his hand.

"Hey! Rum without the Coke! Me favorite!"

"Uuummph!" Paul responded, twisting so the keep his booze away from his interfering friend. Ignoring John, he continued taking big snootfulls.

"You can't do this to yourself, Pauly," said John. "Last time you got dumped by a bird, you gained one stone! Remember when I gained all that weight when we filmed Help? I was depressed, so I ate! Remember all that exercise I did to lose it?"

"You did amphetamines like a fiend, Johnny. You were so hyper, we had to call the doctor to sedate you," Paul said through slurred speech.

"Oh yeah. Yer right!" John suddenly recalled. "Cyn still gets antsy when I eat too much crisps. But me point is...." He stopped in mid-lecture.

Paul looked down at the ground with such a sad face; his large eyes were half-drooped in despair. He swallowed another gulp and shakily moaned, "She's gone, Johnny. The woman I love will never come back."

"You deserve it, you right old cheating bastard! How could you cheat on poor Jane with some bird you bagged for a quickie? You should know better, Mr. 'I'm such a nice family man' bastard Paul McCartney!"

"Oh, don't you start, you bloody hypocrite! Seeing Yoko behind Cynthia's back, and you with a child between you two! Don't you dare lecture me like a schoolboy, John Winston Lennon!"

They looked at each other with the ferocity of two enraged bulls about to charge and gore each other. But as it happened in John and Paul's rows, they didn't lay a finger on the other. They just stood there, both mutually wounded from his best friend's criticism. Worse of all, every word was true. With that knowledge, their anger soon passed. Paul continued consuming his rum.

"I'm sorry, Macca."

"I'm sorry too, Johnny." Paul offered John some rum.

John poured himself a glass and sat next to his mate. For awhile, all they did was sit on the floor boozing.

Finally, John spoke.

"Really, Paul. You shouldn't just drink your heart out like this. Getting smashed isn't going to bring Jane back."

Paul stopped drinking. He stared out into space and sighed.

"She left me, John. Just like every woman I ever loved leaves me. Francie left me, Jane left me, all me old girlfriends in Liverpool left me....Mum left me." Paul's voice cracked on those last words. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed.

"You're Mum didn't leave you, Paul. She would never have left if she could help it. It wasn't your fault she died."

He embraced his friend and let Paul cry in his arms.

"I miss me Mum...."

"I miss me Mum too, Pauly."

All the world was used to seeing of John Lennon was his tough character and his biting, sarcastic wit. Nobody save for Yoko, Cynthia and Julian would ever believe John was capable of affection, especially in a moment of vulnerability. But Paul knew he could cry to his friend and virtual brother. And John knew in this moment, Paul needed his best friend like he never needed anybody before. Paul heaved and cried inside John's embrace and allowed John to give him gentle pats on his back. John comforted him as tenderly as Paul's mother would have.

"It's alright, Macca. It's all right. Big brother John's here. He's not going to let you go potty with drink. Cry it out, love."

Paul continued to sob remorsefully. A child of the 40's, Paul never let anybody see him cry, but on the rare occasions he had to, the floodgates of all the pain he ever felt came bursting open and he was paralyzed in a fit of tears. It hurt John to see his best friend in so much grief. So much so, John had to wipe a couple of his own tears away. John patiently waited until Paul was cried out to let him go. Paul then walked over to the sofa, buried his head in a pillow and wailed,

"Oh, Jane...Jane. Why did I ever cheat on you? I wish I never saw Francie...I love you, I love you, Jane."

John's intuitively knew what was coming next. He went out into the hall and found the one vase that wasn't shattered and placed it on Paul's bed, then fetched Paul from the sofa. He took off Paul's filthy clothes and laid him into the bed. Paul was still murmuring over Jane when his cheeks puffed out and he suddenly sat up. John quickly placed the vase under Paul's head, and the contents of Paul's stomach spewed out of him.

"Oh shit! I shouldn't have mixed rum with ale, John." Paul slurred.

"It's not over yet, Pauly."

From Paul's perspective, the room was spinning. He vomited some more. When he was done, John went to the bathroom and emptied the vase and rinsed it, then he brought it back to Paul to catch the rest of his vomiting jag.

By the time John had to make another trip to empty out the vase, Paul was unconscious and snoring heavily. John propped Paul's horizontal body up to a sitting up in bed position. He had seen too many drunks in Hamburg choke on their own vomit after passing out, and after losing his own mother, Stuart and Brian, John swore to himself he'd be damned if he ever lost Paul. Thankfully, Paul could sleep sitting up. John tucked Paul in with the ragged sheets, then made himself comfortable in the stabbed, overstuffed chair and read some of the music Paul was working on. Martha then ran into the room and jumped into John's lap.

"No need to worry, Martha. Nurse John is on call!"

The hours of the night wore on, but John still didn't sleep. When noon finally arrived, Paul awoke to find a sleepy-eyed but still alert John watching him. Paul opened the blanket.

"It's okay, Johnny. I don't have anything in me tummy any more."

"Thank God!"

John crawled sleepily into the large bed, and he and Paul cuddled together and fell asleep, just like when they were boys sleeping over at each other's house back in Liverpool. John got some much-needed rest, and Paul slept off the rest of his hangover.

John awoke at five o'clock when Paul accidentally kicked him in the bum.

"Cor! Some thanks I get for helping you!"

Paul chuckled as John rubbed his backside.

"How do you feel?"

"Awful. I sure got pissed last night."

"Still sad?"

"I'll get over it, John. Someday."

Paul woozily got out of bed. In spite of his hangover, he was grateful.

"At least I know I have me best friend who'll look after me no matter how I manage to fuck myself up."

"Just as long as I'm not doing the fucking. That was Brian's job!"

Paul looked at John quizzically. "Oh, relax, Paul. It was only a bit of fun!"

"Don't speak ill of the dead, Johnny."

"I was only kidding. You Catholics and your superstitions!"

John suddenly captured Paul's head and gave him a ferocious noogie.

"You're still a little Catholic boy, Pauly. Aren't you? Huh! Aren't you?"

"Yeah."

John released his friend and Paul rubbed his throbbing head.

"Well for now, Little Pauly, can you do something for me?"

"Wot?"

"Let me borrow some trousers, and for God's sake, brush yer teeth!"

"Ow! Softly, John! Me head is pounding like African drum music!"

Paul checked his breath on his hand. It did reek, and he hobbled like a little old man into the bathroom as John put on a pair of Paul's jeans. John then went downstairs took out the stinking garbage, and put on a kettle of tea. Paul sat down and Martha obediently jumped on him to lick his face, as if to wash it with her joyous tongue. John looked over his shoulder at Martha's affectionate display and snickered,

"There's one female who'll always love you, Paul."

Paul felt oddly philosophical in spite of his hangover.

"John, do you think we'll still be friends even when we're old sods living in some ghastly retirement home?"

"And still trying to look up the nurses skirts?"

"Yeah!"

John brought two cups of tea to the kitchen table and went behind Paul's chair and embraced him.

"Paul, I promise you, even if we somehow wind up bitter enemies over some bullshit legal matters, you'll always be me best friend and I'll always love you. You can count on that. Besides, you'll always be me little Macca!"

"Me Dad used to call me that. He also used to tell me to steer clear of the Lennon boy. You were such a bad influence."

"Yeah. I lead you down the road to ruin. Fame, riches, all the birds you could ever want...Oops! Sorry!"

Paul pouted like a little boy. He cupped his head in his hands while John went to fetch something he brought with him yesterday.

"I'm never doing this again, Johnny."

"Well, thank Jesus! By which, I mean my little pussy (cat), that is."

"No, I'm serious. No more cheating and seeing other birds behind my next girlfriend's back. No more groupies! No more one nighters! If I ever find another girlfriend, I'll be the truest sod she's ever seen! Hell, I may even marry her!"

Paul belched hideously in mid-lecture. John grinned a wicked grin, closed his eyes in a pained expression, and let out a tremendous "Bam!" of flatulence. Paul nearly fell off his chair laughing. Martha howled at all the noise.

The men simultaneously yelled, "Cor!" and John jumped up from his chair to open a window.

"Stand aside, Martha! The Nurk Twins are in full force tonight!"

Paul looked up to John. "You could always make me laugh, Johnny."

"And it's a good thing you are so easily amused, Mac. Are you hungry?"

"No. I feel horrible. I'll never eat or drink again."

"Or cheat on me girlfriend again." John thought to himself cynically. He put his cynicism away for Paul's sake and said, "Would you like to start the washing up? The she-beast from Hell wreaked your house." Paul sighed and rose to the dreadful task of cleaning. "By the way, I originally came over to tell you we have a photo shoot tomorrow. The photographer's supposed to be a rising star in the photography world. I'm all for this bird's work. She photographed Hendrix! George and Ring like her as well, but we wanted your finall approval. I brought her portfolio with me."

"John, I don't want to deal with Beatle business now." Paul moaned.

"Just have a look. We'll be meeting her for dinner in a couple of days. She's quite pretty, too."

Paul picked up the leather portfolio and was immediately smitten with the self-portait of the pretty photographer.

"She's a doll, Johnny! What's her name?"

"I dunno. Linda something. I think it's related to the Kodak name. Linda...oh, I've got it! Eastman!"


Like this story? Hate it? Write to Lady Jane (no relation to Asher) at paperbackwriter_2000@yahoo.com


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