I know I've been promising something for months, but it's been difficult to feel inspired to write much of anything. Well tonight, I was inspired.
And so I present:
The Interview: A Ficlet
Warnings: Completely AU involving the "fictional" 5th Beatle. Takes place later on this year, so I'm not certain what his set list would be.
As always, any and all comments are most appreciated!
If I was to be asked how he’d managed to talk me into it, I’d probably say it had come down to almost five months’ worth of ignored calls and unplanned visits to Friar Park. “You should do it, Liz,” he’d said to me, cheeky grin covering the lower half of the face I’d literally known my entire life. “Give the fans a real thrill, eh?”
I hadn’t performed with me brother on stage in almost forty-five years, and as a former Beatle in a bit over forty years by then. “You’re mad,” I’d said to him with a frown, “if I wanted to do the entire Beatle business, I’d have done it by now, Paul.”
“Don’t be a drag, girl,” he’d said, same fuckin’ grin not leavin’ his face. “you know you’re itchin’ to do it.” I’d glared at him from under the brim of my gardenin’ hat and let him know that he was goin’ to stand around my garden like a buffoon that he may as well get to weedin’ my flower beds.
He was persistent though, and I should’ve known that when the time came and he was performin’ at O2 in London, that somehow, I’d end up there as well.
And so there I was, standin’ around the darkened backstage with a flock of technicians as I waited for my cue. The strains of Yesterday, the song I’d been expectin’ him to ask me to come out on, were crisp and clear and I could see the vibrant blue-lit ocean of fans out there lookin’ up at Paul with adoration on their faces, singin’ along with every word. It hadn’t been forty years since I’d been on a stage, but it had been a very long time since I’d seen an entire legion of fans singin’ music from so very long ago, back to me…or at least in my direction, rather. I’d never wanted to do this again, but somehow, there I was.
I had to give it to Paulie though, even though he was steadily creepin’ on seventy, he still knew how to put on a good show. Somethin’ told me that our old dad would’ve been rather proud of that, even if John would’ve been cacklin’ from the side with me, goin’ out ‘bout old geezers mindin’ that they didn’t make an abrupt movements which would thus dislocate their hips or sommat.
I’d never admit it aloud that I’d gotten a bit choked when I’d heard Paul’s tribute to Johnny earlier. It was best that only meself and the Lord our saviour amen were the only ones to know ‘bout that.
As "Yesterday" came to a close, I heard the loud roar of fans fill the stadium, the blue and green lights fallin’ on Paul and makin’ him appear to be a vibrant beacon of light. He looked dead chuffed, the bastard, and as if he was the bearer of a wonderful secret, or as it was, the knowledge that I was ‘bout to do somethin’ which I’d sworn up and down I wasn’t goin’ to do ever again. His smile was incandescent, and it almost brought me an odd sort of affectionate violence, as only a sister and brother could share.
“For our next number,” I heard him begin, voice soarin’ over the endless horizon of fans in front of him and the supporting band, “a very special guest will be joining us!” He’d looked over his shoulder then, his face alight with childish glee, and I was about to flip him the bird but caught meself when I thought of what it’d look like for a woman as old as me to be doin’ such a thing. “I had a go of it, they didn’t make it easy on me, but here we are.” He could say that again.
I tucked my hair behind my ear as I’d smiled to the tour manager beside me who’d wished me luck. It’d been almost forty-five years by then, and I hadn’t truthfully, known what to expect. If Johnny’s been there, I could’ve imagined his havin’ had somethin’ about not breakin’ a leg ‘cos it took longer for people my age to recover as I began to head towards the stage. Paul’s eyes met mine briefly, and if it were possible, the fuckin’ smile on his face made him look a bit dull in the head.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Liz McCartney Harrison!”
To be honest, I was taken aback when I hear the way that the noise in the stadium rose four-fold. I saw what seemed like a thousand camera flashes go off as I made my way on stage, sharing a laugh with Brian along the way. I hadn't been on stage as a Beatle in over four decades, and it was right overwhelmin'...I definitely had not been prepared for this. I made my way towards Paul and like in olden days, we waved at the crowd, thousands of camera flashes goin' off once more.
"Will you do the honours, Liz?" He'd asked a few seconds later, and with a quirk of a eyebrow, I'd nodded. To be honest, I wasn't very used to be in the front of a stage this way; durin' our heyday, I'd taken to hangin' 'round the back with Richie if I could help it, so this was rather new. At least slightly.
A tech had materialized out of thin our, or what seemed like thin air, only seconds later, and I was handed my violin and bow. If it were possible for the crowd to become even louder, it was so. "Ready, Liz?" Paul mouthed to me, lookin' at me out of the corner of his eye. I'd sauntered off a bit, doin' me best to smile so as I knew the crowd was goin' a bit barmy at seein' both of us up there, despite the slight discomfort it gave me, and immediately tucked the violin into my chin, fingers curlin' over the neck and fittin' along the strings as I'd been taught so long ago. I nodded quickly, and so it began. With a flourish, my other arms was raised and my bow slid across the strings, goin' off into the beginnin' of "Eleanor Rigby", Paul and his band fallin' into step behind me.
I hadn't known what I'd been expectin' as my fingers curled and flexed over the neck, but it was brilliant. It was a rush to stand up there, Paul's vocals fillin' the stadium while his fans looked on, sang along, lights bright and explosions of colour. The music comin' from my violin' blendin' with Paul's lyrics in a way that gave me chills, oddly. As we neared the crescendo, it felt as if my fingers were moving too quickly, too hurried, but it was a heady lovely feelin'. and I don't know if the audience minded too much.
And then as the last few bars came to a close, the screams of the crowd were deafening. When Paul and the rest of the boys on stage turned to clap in my direction, bright green stagelights on me, I couldn't help but chuckle at it. Minutes later, an 18th century cello was restin' against my inner thigh, and the strains of a harp marked the beginnin' of "She's Leaving Home." In that instant, I wasn't -- I was finally coming back to one of them after too very long a time.