This interaction was another one of those I somehow felt was only fitting to write. Whether I was successful or not, only you can be the judge. :-)
As always, comments are most appreciated!!
It had been after three o’clock in the mornin’ when I’d heard one of the doors leadin’ into one of the lads’ hotel rooms open. I hadn’t looked up from the copy of the previous morning’s paper when I’d heard the sound of approachin’ footsteps. After havin’ rid meself of the green-eyed boy I’d spent a few fun-filled hours with an hour before, I’d been unable to kip off as was my usual custom after sex, and so I’d decided to take meself off to the lounge to read until my eyelids felt heavy – knowin’ I’d do nothin’ but stare at the walls of my room if I stayed.
Just as I’d been set to turn the page, I’d heard a loud gasp. I’d lowered the newspaper, and lookin’ over the coffee table covered with empty bottles of bitter and an ashtray filled to the brim with cigarette butts, I’d stared at the ginger haired girl in the low-cut dress I’d seen John with earlier. “Oh my gosh, it’s you! You’re Liz McCartney!” She’d said in a rather shrill voice, and her eyes had been round as saucers.
“Uh...yes?” It’d still been rather odd to be looked so by people, even though it’d been years by that point since we’d made it big.
“Golly, I’m so sorry; I shouldn’t have bothered you when you were reading!” The girl had said earnestly and I’d seen her tug at her dress.
“S’alright,” I’d answered with a small smile which I hoped was polite. “You’re ‘bout to head off aren’t you?”
“Oh yes! Yes I am!” She’d nodded a little too enthusiastically and I’d almost felt a bit of smidgeon of pity for the girl who’d be reduced to naught but a description of what kind of fuck she’d been later that mornin’ over brekkie. My band mates had long gotten into the habit of discussin’ their previous night’s entertainments over tea and whatever else was on the menu for breakfast, slaggin’ each girl’s individual talents or lack thereof with a laugh or sympathetic shake of a head. “It sure was a gear party!” She’d continued with a nervous grin and I’d coughed to cover my smile.
“Well It’s gear to hear that you had a good time, luv.” And I’d silently wondered where Mal was, seein’ as it was usually his responsibility to deal with whoever came to our gatherings and get rid of ‘em as well.
“Liz..um, it’s okay if I call you ‘Liz’ right?”
“That’s me name, innit?” I’d chuckled, “Yeah?”
“It’s just that I really am such a fan of yours – really! My girlfriends and I think you’re just the –“ Her words had suddenly been cut off by the door to the suite openin’ and Mal’s rather fortuitous appearance. Pushin’ his dark-rimmed glasses up his nose, Mal had greeted me with a brief smile before turnin’ his full attention to her.
“Come on, I’ll see you downstairs. It’s gettin’ quite late, luv,” Mal had said patiently to her, handlin’ her with the usual kindness with which he’d always treated our fans. I’d always suspected it had a thing or two to do with the not-so-patient way me mates tended to handle ‘em after they’d finished off. Their idea of chivary was probably offerin’ ‘em a fag durin’ the post-coital glow or a quick shower before they made themselves scare, if they were of mind.
“Night night,” I’d called out as I’d watched him lead her out of the suite, never to be seen by any of us ever again. She’d looked over her shoulder at me the entire time. I’d learned long ago that it was best to not say much of anythin’ to any of those girls seein’ as I was the lone female of the band, and by nature of it may’ve encouraged ‘em to think that by gettin’ on my good side they’d be able to stick ‘bout longer. Little had they known that I was usually worse ‘bout that than the lads – at least they weren’t opposed to lettin’ their fucks hang ‘bout long enough afterwards to have a cigarette or a wash.
I’d returned to readin’ the paper again, not lookin’ up when Mal had returned a bit later and asked me if I wanted anythin’ before he took hisself off to bed. I’d declined and told him good night. I’d intended to enjoy my rare opportunity to enjoy the quiet of bein’ all alone in the suite lounge, but unfortunately for me, I’d soon thereafter heard one of the doors that’d lead into one of the lads’ bedrooms open. I’d been unsure who it’d be, either one of the lads or yet another of the birds they’d made off with for the evenin’, so I’d made a point of pullin’ my dressin’ gown tightly ‘bout me.
“Isn’t it too late for a bird yer age to be awake, young Liz?” John’s voice had asked me.
“I could say the same thing to you, Johnny boy. Isn’t it too late for someone of your advanced age to be movin’ about at this hour – careful you don’t pull anythin’,” I’d responded without botherin’ to lower the paper.
“I’m a lot more sprightly than you give me credit for,” I’d heard him say from somewhere nearby and then heard a loud thump as he made himself at home on the chair facin’ me. I’d heard the rustle of what I’d automatically known was a pack of ciggies, and then the soft
flick of his thumb scrapin’ over the lighter.
“So what’s keepin’ young Liz Macca awake on such a fine evenin’? Any terrible deeds ye needs to be confessin’?” He’d asked cheekily.
“Couldn’t sleep,” I’d replied, eyes scannin’ an article ‘bout a band of delinquent youths bein’ charged with a house fire.
“So no terrible deeds then?” He’d asked amusedly, and I’d heard the soft whoosh of cigarette smoke leavin’ his nostrils.
“Nein, mein freund. Give us a ciggie, will ya?” I’d asked, lowerin’ the paper to look at him sittin’ on that chair in his favourite pair of striped pyjama bottoms and white t-shirt, black-framed Buddy Holly-esque specs hangin’ off his nose. Without movin’, he’d chucked the pack and and lighter my way, and I’d lit one without a word, takin’ a quick drag while foldin’ the newspaper off to my side. I’d settled back on the sofa, and shut my eyes as I’d felt the delicious odour of the tobacco tease my nostrils.
“Have you been out here long?” John had asked me and crackin’ my eyes open a bit, I’d seen him watchin’ me through the bright orange end of his cigarette as he’d taken another pull of it.
“A bit, I guess. Long enough to say ta-ra to the ginger dolly Mal scurried out of here,” I’d finished with a shake of my head and another drag of the ciggie.
“Your kindness knows no bounds, Lizzy,” John had laughed while scratchin’ the back of his big fat head.
“She told me she was such a fan of mine,”
“Really?! And to think that I gave her the bonk of her life!”
“Did no one ever tell ye that you shouldn’t go ‘bout tellin’ tales? Makes your neb grow.”
John had chuckled, “I think it would be impossible for me neb, no matter how many tales I went ‘round sproutin’, to ever rival Richie’s!”
“Yeah, I guess you’ve a point there, Johnny boy, it would be a fairly impossible feat,” I’d agreed with a chuckle as I’d leaned forward to tap the ash burnin’ off the tip of my cigarette into the ashtray filled with cigarette butts. “Oi, John?”
“What’re you still doin’ awake? You’re like one of your aunt’s bloody cats when it comes to sleep,” I’d asked with a quirk of a curious eyebrow.
He’d shrugged, “It’s evadin’ me tonight. So I guess it’s fallin’ on ye to keep me entertained ‘til I kip off.” He’d given me a wide smile.
“Oh really? And why’s that then?” I’d asked with a sour look. I’d pushed my brown hair out of me face, pullin’ it behind my ears.
“It’s ‘cos yer my mate, and you know how George and Macca behave if they don’t get their beauty sleep. Bloody useless the next mornin’.”
“Why don’t you dig the book ya wrote out of your trunk and read for a bit, eh? You’ll be asleep ‘afore ya knows it,” I’d answered with an evil smile as I’d taken one last drag of the nub that’d remained of the cigarette.
“You know, just for that, I should ring the head of the fan club and tell her how beastly you are,” John had replied with a playfully indignant look.
“I’m tellin’ ya how it is, Johnny boy. Just tellin’ ya how it is.” I had paused to withdraw another one of his cigarettes, which I’d neglected to return, and lit it deftly before tossin’ both the pack and lighter at him. They’d struck the side of his big toe before clutterin’ to the side amidst the rubble of empty bottles of beer. “So how am I expected to keep ye entertained, John?”
“No, you’re a lousy cheat. Knowin’ ye, you’ve an entire deck hidden in yer pants,” I’d frowned.
“Come on, it was just once –“
“Look mate, it’s fuckin’ disgustin’ to be find a Joker in my hand of card that actually has hairs on it from yer privates!” He’d broken into a fit of laughter at that, and I’d chucked a cushion roughly at him which had hit him splat against his fuckin’ face. I’d laughed as I’d seen his glasses come off his nose while he’d glared at me. “Don’t worry, Johnny, you’re still as lovely as ever, lovie,” I’d said with a wink and he’d chucked the cushion back at me. I’d had quick reflexes though and caught it before it could do much damage.
We’d sat there in silence for a few minutes, both of us puffin’ away at our fags, ‘til John had spoken, “Let’s have a chat then.”
“It’s too bloody late for a chat. Can’t we just sit here...quietly?” I’d sighed at his flustered look. “Well, go on then.” At his narrow-eyed look, I’d exhaled loudly. “What do you want to talk ‘bout then, eh?”
“I don’t know,” he’d replied, cigarette held between his lips, “you’re the bird here though, you’re supposed to be good at talkin’ about shite no one cares ‘bout to pass the time. It’s part of what makes ye a woman, other than havin’ girly bits...you know, like decoratin’ cakes and changin’ nappies.”
“Same as scratchin’ yer arse and neglectin’ to flush the loo after ye take a piss makes you a bloke, right?” I’d answered and John had nodded
“John, if you were in the mood for a chat, you shouldn’t have sent home the ginger-haired bird you were with earlier. I’m sure she would’ve wet her pants to have a chat with John-bloody-Lennon, formerly of Menlove Avenue, Liverpool.”
“I’d had enough of listenin’ to her jabber on while I was givin’ her a pull earlier. It was all I could do to not tell her give yer chin a rest, but the last thing I wanted to deal with was a cryin’ groupie – messy business that. You know how it is.”
I’d shrugged and pulled my knees to my chest, wrappin’ an arm ‘round them as I’d returned my attention to my cigarette.
“Paul and I are goin’ to pay for Dad, Angie, and Ruthie to go to the Bahamas on holiday,” I’d said, curlin’ my toes ‘round the edge of the cushion under me. I’d rested the back of me head against the sofa’s back rest.
“Mmm hmm. Over the summer when it’s warm. Dad’s never travelled outside of Britain before; I think he’ll enjoy seein’ a bit of water that isn’t the River Dee,” I’d said with a small smile as I’d thought of me Dad tryin’ to not become red as a lobster on the beach. I’d thought to meself that I’d like to return to the Bahamas meself one day, and definitely not when the water was fuckin’ freezin’ as it’d been when we’d been there a few months before durin’ the filmin’ of what’d been our second film.
“Well good luck with that, I can’t see Jim McCartney willingly travellin’ to a foreign land,” John had replied with a chuckle and with a bit of a snort, I’d chuckled along ‘cos it was rather true. I didn’t think he’d be too keen on all the kids walkin’ around in their cozzies or bikinis.
We’d lapsed into a bit of silence then, cigarettes bein’ smoked until all that’d remained of ‘em were their butts. The hotel had been rather quiet, and other than the dimmed lights in the lounge, the atmosphere itself had been subdued and comfortable, relaxed even. I’d looked toward John from the side of my bent right knee, and I’d seen a quiet pensiveness over his face, rollin’ the ciggie with the glowin’ orange end from one end of his mouth to the other. I’d turned to look at the ceilin’, countin’ the number of tiles that ran horizontally across it.
I’d wondered why I wasn’t asleep yet or even feelin’ the need for it.
“Alf showed up at Kenwood a few weeks ago,” John’s voice had said, as disinterestedly.
“Who’s Alf? New gardener?”
“Me Dad,” he’d said simply, and fishin’ his finger into the pack of cigarettes, he’d pulled one out and lit it less than a second later.
“You have a Dad?” I’d asked without thinkin’, and then instantly regretted soundin’ so bloody dim. I'd heard the entire story 'bout John's Dad a while before.
“ ‘Course I do, not much of one, but yeah. Did no one ever tell ye that there is no such thing as a stork who goes ‘round depositin’ babies on doorways, Liz?” He’d raised both thick eyebrows at me, “Well you see, when a man a woman really think the other’s sexy, they get together and nine month later –“
“Bloody hell, John, I’m not stupid. So what’s this about your Dad showin’ up? I remember Richie mentionin’ that you’d met with him at Brian’s office last year, but what’s he doin’ showin’ up at your house now, eh?”
John had taken a pull of his cigarette before answerin’. “What do you think he wanted, Liz?” He’d shut his eyes tightly, the side of his face tight against the side of chair. “Money, fuckin’ money’s what he was after.” He’d exhaled loudly. “He showed up when I wasn’t there and Cyn kept him in the kitchen ‘til I arrived.”
He’d gotten a bit quiet but kept puffin’ at his cigarette. I’d kept quiet ‘cos I’d figured that he’d needed to say whatever he’d needed to say. I’d wondered to meself how often he and Paul had talked ‘bout these things; more often than John and I had apparently.
“Did you give him some? Money I mean?” I’d asked finally. I’d seen John shrug before he’d answered.
“A hundred pounds before I threw him out three days later.” Another bright flash of the lit end of his ciggie as he’d taken a drag, exhalin’ the stream of smoke through his nostrils seconds later.
“That’s generous of you, Johnny,” I’d started quietly, lowerin’ my bent knees so I’d be able to see him fully, “considerin’ everythin’ that happened.”
“He told me he was workin’ as a dishwasher at a hotel when he came to the NEMS office last year.” He’d looked at me straight in the eye, “I’m a fuckin’ Beatle, and me Dad was workin’ as a bloody dishwasher when he found out ‘bout us and decided it was time to make an appearance in me life once more.” He’d paused for a minute before goin’ on, “Serves him right, I suppose.”
There hadn’t been a need for me to say anythin’ back. I’d served the purpose that only each of the five of us could’ve served for the others – as a sounding board, that or a confessional. My role in that hadn’t been meant to have much of a speakin’ part.
“I’m never doin’ that to Jules, y’know.” His voice had been rough with somethin’ I couldn’t quite name. “My boy’s not goin’ to ever think that his Dad doesn’t give a shit about him, Liz. My boy’s not goin’ to think that he’s not worth lovin’ unless he’s in a fuckin’ rock n’ roll band that’s the biggest think to come out of England since....fuck, I don’t know.” There’d been a feelin’ stronger than anger in John’s voice, stronger than sadness really. I hadn’t known what to name it though.
“I know, John,” I’d nodded, but it’d been like he hadn’t seen me.
“I’m not doin’ that to my son, Liz. Fuckin’ hell, I’m not.” As he’d said it, I’d wondered why it’d sounded like the person he was tryin’ to convince of that, was hisself.
“Ta, Les.” I’d called to John’s driver, Les Anthony, as I’d slid out the door of my car, ignition still running, as he took me place and drove the car toward the garage to have it parked. It’d been an unusually bright day as I’d made me way up the steps to John’s Tudor mansion in Surrey, the English sunshine restin’ on my cheeks.
“Hullo, Lizzy luv. Can I offer you anything?” Cyn’d said to me as soon as she’d opened the door to their house. I’d shook my head in response as I crossed the doorway, “S’alright Cyn, thanks. Where’s John? He asked me to come ‘round –“ my words had been cut off as Julian, who’d come out of nowhere mind, had run straight into my stomachas his arms had gone tight ‘round me waist.
“Lizzy! Where’s Georgie Porgie?” Julian had asked me, lookin’ up at me with his wee little face, cheeks flushed.
“It’s nice to see you too, Jules.” I’d answered givin’ him a mock glare before bendin’ down to give him a squeeze. “Georgie Porgie’s gone up to Liverpool for the weekend to see his Mum and Dad.”
“Will he bring some of his Mummy’s scones when he comes back, Auntie Liz?” Julian had asked me, givin’ me one of those buttering-up smiles of his that he knew I couldn’t refuse – the little bugger.
“Yes, Julian. I made sure to tell me fella to remember to bring you back some of his Mum’s scones. ‘Cor, if it wasn’t for those scones would you even like us at all?!” I’d asked, makin’ a point of quiverin’ me lip and settin’ it down into a pout that would’ve made Paulie proud.
“Auntie Liz!” Julian had giggled into my neck.
“And to think of all the times I had to change yer bleedin’ nappies.” I’d shaken me head reprovingly at him while he’d wrapped his little hands ‘round loosened bits of my dark hair and tugged.
“You little bugger!” I’d laughed only to have him break into a fit of giggles at his naughtiness. “Just for that, I’ll be finishin’ off Georgie’s Mum’s scones on me own and won’t save you even one. I’m sure they’ll be mighty delicious!” My attempt at a glower had been shot to hell when Julian had looked at me hopefully and with a flash of his pearly little white teeth. “Well maybe one mind, but no more!” I’d sighed and couldn’t help giggling like a loon when he started pecking at my cheeks.
“You two are deplorable!” Cyn had said to me with a shake of her head, but still smilin’ herself. “When’s George due back?” She’d asked as I’d pulled myself up.
“He said he’d be drivin’ back tomorrow afternoon, so sometime tomorrow evenin’.” I’d answered as I’d briefly thought of me husband who I’d only been married to for ‘bout three months at that point.
“You didn’t want to go home to see your Dad?”
“Dad, Ang, and Ruthie have gone to Blackpool for the week so there would’ve been no point.” Rufflin’ Julian’s hair a bit, somethin’ that annoyed him terribly, I’d turned to Cyn once more. “Is John in the sunroom, Cyn?” At the mention of my band mate and her husband a bit of a subdued look had crossed her face before leavin’ as quickly as it’d come. I hadn’t really let meself think too much of it as she’d said he was. Minutes later I’d knocked on the door leadin’ into the sunroom before lettin’ myself in.
John had been sittin’ with a guitar on his knee when I’d entered the room. “Harry let you out did he?” He’d asked after briefly lookin’ up at me through the round lenses of his glasses.
“You sure it’s not the other way ‘round, luv?” I’d asked with a grin before settlin’ down on the sofa next to him. “George’s gone back home for the weekend to visit his parents. Your boy’s already made a point of lettin’ me know he expects to be showered with scones ‘pon Mr. Harrison’s return. So what’ve I been summoned for?”
“I know ya secretly love bein’ summoned to the head master’s office.” John had answered givin’ me a bit of a lecherous smile over his paisley-printed shoulder.
“You pervy bastard!” I’d laughed before reachin’ over and rufflin’ the back of his newly shorn hair, and then pulled meself up. Seconds later I’d grabbed one of his guitars and started playin’ a bit of Buddy Holly’s That’ll Be the Day. “Right so is there any particular reason Mr. Pilgrim specially requested mine presence today?” I’d asked, referencin’ John’s code name for receivin’ calls at home.
“Does a bloke need a reason to want to see a mate, eh?”
“When ye tell me housekeeper that it’s of the most prodigious importance that I make haste to the house on St. George’s Hill, there had better be, mate. She was quite worried, the old girl was.”
John had shrugged. “And you, young Liz? Did the fate of the Smart Beatle never cross yer mind?”
“What’s that sayin’ Johnny boy, ‘Only the good die young?’ eh?”
“True.” He’d laughed before settlin’ back into the sofa.
“So you was ‘bout to tell me why you’d worried me housekeeper...?”
“I’m tired of this fuckin’ place – let’s go somewhere! Come ‘ead, let’s go pay Paulie a visit!”John had sprung up excitedly.
“What? Yeh made me come to drive ya Paul’s house?"
“I’ve haven’t left this house for four bloody days. Carn’t ye see that I’m climbin’ the walls here?” John had run towards one of his walls and started clawin’ at it madly, laughin’ maniacally all the while.
“Both Cyn and Jules are ‘round, why don’t you take ‘em out ‘stead of putterin’ around?” I’d asked. He’d turned to look at me impassively.
“You know you’re becomin’ a drag since you’ve gone and acquired a husband, Macca Jr, even if it’s George. I’ve had enough of bein’ in the house with both of ‘em. Let’s go to Paulie’s – it’s a Saturday night, you know we can always count on him for somethin’ good.”
“John.” I’d started before pausing to take a deep breath, knowin’ full and well that he wasn’t goin’ to like what I had to say. “Ta for the invite and all, but I’m really not feelin’ up to goin’ to one of Paul’s parties. I don’t mind watchin’ Jules if you and Cyn want to head over though. Might be good to get out...just the two of you, hmm?”
He’d shrugged, not lookin’ as pleased with the idea as I’d figured he’d be. I’d decided to not think of this too much as I’d reached for the pack of cigarettes which had been layin’ off to the side and lit it without a word. “You’re no fun. I should’ve rung Richie up instead,” he’d said with sigh before rubbin’ the side of his bearded face.
“Probably,” I’d agreed with a grin. He’d looked at me sourly from behind his granny specs.
“What happened to the light-hearted dolly of easy virtue who weasled her way into me band?” He’d asked with a flustered sigh. I hadn’t bothered to answer, returin’ his guitar where it’d been.
Eventually, I’d noticed John gettin’ anxious. For the past twenty minutes he’d been sittin’ on that sofa, hands tight on his knees as he’d looked out onto the pool area. He’d raised cup after cup of tea which I’d assumed had just as much LSD as actual tea, and I’d seen him drink it down without a pause. He hadn’t offered any and I hadn’t asked.
“Alright, John?” I’d asked.
“Mmm.” He’d muttered before layin’ back on the sofa and tucked his chin into his neck so that his wire-rimmed teetered on the edge of his nose. It’d been obvious that I’d foiled his plans for the evenin’ of goin’ over to Paul’s. He’d sat there crossly while I’d wondered to meself why I hadn’t left yet.
Just as I’d been get up and head out, Julian had come into the room with sheets of paper covered with drawings. He’d been set to make his way to John. “Daddy, I want you to –“
“Not now, Julian,” John had said irritably, rubbin’ his eyelids.
“Look Daddy –“
“I said not now Julian, bloody hell!” John had yelled and with a frown, I’d stood quickly and had wrapped an arm tenderly ‘bout his little shoulders.
“Jules, did you know that I’m a terrible artist?” I’d asked him with what I hoped was a convincin’ enough smile. “And you’re such a good artist – just look at that picture!” I’d exclaimed lookin’ at the drawings he’d still held in his hands. “Will you show me how you drew that?” I’d asked him and when he’d smiled up at me, his eyes a bit sad, I’d taken his little hand, and together we’d gone to the kitchen where I’d learned how to draw a cow, and a bicycle, and what he’d told me was a cat with purple fur.
“...but can you believe that he’s sixteen now, Liz? Fuckin’ hell, I was a piece of shit when I was sixteen!” John’s voice had said to me through the telephone.
“Not a lot’s changed since then, mate, sorry to disappoint you,” I’d chuckled into the receiver.
“Well ye do have a point,” he’d conceded with a laugh.
“Did he leave this morning?”
“Yeah, Fred saw him to the airport a few hours ago.” John had grown quiet and after a minute or so I’d wondered if the line had dropped the connection.
“John, John you still there?”
“Yeah,” he’d replied but hadn’t said anythin’ else.
“Alright, John?” I’d asked, even though I’d already known the answer to that. I’d grown less oblivious with age.
“I’m a horrible father, Liz. It’s my own fuckin’ kid and shit –“ I’d heard the sudden intake of breath on his end. “He’s sixteen years old, and I barely know him.”
If I’d said anything it would’ve been a lie ‘cos everythin’ John had been sayin’ was true. Close as me own brothers he was, but I couldnt’ pretend otherwise.
“You should come to England, John, just you...spend a little time, just the two of you, hmm?”
“It won’t make up for the past ten years, fuck....the past sixteen years of his life, will it?” John had sighed tiredly.
“No, but it could be a start, maybe?” I’d looked across the lounge where I’d seen George and Sam sittin’ legs crossed on the floor, both dark heads huddled together. I’d watched George curlin’ Sam’s fingers over the guitar’s neck and settle his fingers into the B7 chord as Louise had crept and crawled over him.
John had grunted in response, and I hadn’t known whether he was agreein’ or not. I’d spoken to him a week or so later, and he’d told me, “Mother doesn’t think it’s a good idea to go to visit England now. Maybe as it gets closer to the holidays, I’ll invite him to come, y’know, get some father-son bondin’ time ‘n all.” He’d finished with a laugh.
“Sounds like fun,” I’d said, glad the disappointment hadn’t been obvious in me voice, or maybe it had been, but John hadn’t said anythin’ about it.
Before he’d rung off though – Sean had had a dentist’s appointment – John had told me, “He really is a great kid, y’know.”
“Oh yeah, Sean’s a very sweet little boy.”
“I meant Julian. Don’t know what parts of me he has in him,” John had chuckled into the phone, “maybe I’ll figure it out durin’ our father-son bondin’ time,” he’d said the last bit as it were a joke.
“I hope so, Johnny boy. You might even surprise yerself."