Salutations! How is everybody? I'm pretty good myself! So, this is chapter SIXTEEN! Can you believe it? I can't! So, I hope you like it and remember to review like this lovely people did: JamesWinstonParkinHarrisonLO VE, NatashaPavlova, LyssaLaugherty13, and Hawksabre! Thanks guys! Oh and remember to check out Obscure Séance Rita's stories! Thanks!
Rolling over in her sleep, Stella cuddled up next to Ringo. Her head rested on his bare chest as he breathed softly. Stella began to wake at the sound of Ringo's faint snoring. She blinked her eyes a few times, trying to remember where she was. Memories of the night before soon flooded her memory as she rubbed her eyes. She smiled at these thoughts while gazing at Ringo. He looked peaceful as he slept.
Suddenly Stella remembered the last words he had said to her before falling asleep: I love you. Had he really said that? No . . . she'd had to have imagined it, right? There was no possible way Ringo could love her; it was too soon. But . . . what if he had said it?
Stella was frightened; she'd never been in love before. Was she supposed to say it back? Wait . . . Did I just admit that I love him? Anxiety built inside of Stella's stomach; she felt like she was going to be sick.
I have to get out of here. Careful not to disturb the dozing drummer, Stella rose from the bed and hurried to the bathroom. She closed the door behind her and checked her underwear hanging from the shower rod. Damn, still wet.
Uncertain of what she should do now, Stella looked at herself in the mirror. She was still wearing the clothes that Ringo had leant her last night. Flattening out her messy hair, she decided she could leave looking like this. It was probably still early, eight if she had to guess; no one would see her.
Opening the door to make her escape, Stella bumped into a broad chest. She looked up and saw a bewildered John Lennon staring at her. Stella could see that his eyes were still adjusting to the bright sunlight entering the room through the large window.
"Whu-Whut are you doing 'ere?" he asked suspiciously.
"Ummm. . ." Stella didn't exactly know the answer to that question herself.
John's eyes suddenly went wide as a realization dawned upon him. "Did ya spend the night 'ere?! Did you and Rings do it?!"
Stella could feel the heat rising in her cheeks from embarrassment. "NO!" she shouted at him.
"You did! Yer blushin' 'cos ya did!" John exclaimed while jumping up and down.
The horrified girl tried desperately to calm John down, but he wouldn't listen. It was as if once he got an idea in his head, it was impossible for him to think of anything else. The two failed to notice that their commotion had woken Ringo.
"Whut are ya two talkin' about?" he asked sitting up in the bed, rubbing his eye with the palm of his hand.
Stella stared at Ringo in surprise. "Oh, uh, me and John were just uh-"
"You and her shagged?!" John interrupted.
Ringo furrowed his brow in confusion. All of this was too much for Stella to handle this early in the morning. She buried her face in her hands while shaking her head; she'd never been so humiliated in her life before. Without saying a word, she ran back into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind her. She couldn't stand hearing John say those words again, especially to Ringo. What if Ringo thought she had told John that? Then he'd think she was no different than all those other girls before her.
Tears began to well in Stella's eyes while she sat on the edge of the tub. She could hear Ringo's voice asking John what he was talking about. The concern was evident in his hushed tones whereas the excitement in John's voice was plain as day.
"John! 'Ow can ya be such an arse?!" Ringo said. "Nuthin' 'appened! She didn't wanna go 'ome, so I let 'er sleep 'ere. That's it!"
"Really Rings?" John asked skeptically. "Then 'ow come she was in yer clothes and she wasn't wearin' a bra?!"
There was a slight pause as Stella stared at the closed bathroom door in disbelief. Ringo must have had the same shocked expression because of what John said next: "Yeah! I noticed!"
"Why were ya lookin' at 'er like that?!" Ringo asked accusingly.
"Well! It was a little 'ard tah ignore!" John said defensively.
Stella couldn't believe they were discussing her bust. Now she was the most humiliated she had ever been in her life. She crossed her arms to cover her chest as if the boys could see her through the door. Ringo was now irate; he was yelling at John for being insensitive and upsetting Stella.
"Yer the one who had sex with 'er in OUR room, mate! If anyone's a victim in this situation, it's me!" John shouted back. "I was in the room, Rings!"
"Aw, go tah 'ell John!" Ringo called to the guitarist.
Stella heard footsteps come closer and then there was quiet knock on the bathroom door.
"Stella?" Ringo said softly. "Are ya okay?"
The emotional girl wiped away a tear trickling down her cheek at the sound of his voice. He sounded genuinely concerned about her wellbeing; it was no wonder she possibly loved him. She suddenly couldn't stand how far away he seemed. It was as if he was a thousand miles away and his voice could only bring the smallest bit of comfort to her. She needed his arms to encircle her to help her forget all her worries and fears; to make her happy if only for just a little while.
Stella picked herself up and went to open the door. As soon as Ringo saw her, he took her in his arms and held her. They stayed like that for a while without saying anything. Stella took in everything: his warmth, his strength, his scent, his gentleness. She no longer felt mortified; instead she felt content and secure. It was so clear to her now; everything that had happened these past few days with Ringo was undeniable. Happiness was an understatement of what she felt when she was with him. It was love. Stella finally realized it; she was in love with Ringo. And he was in love with her. It was the best feeling in the world.
"Ringo?" Stella whispered resting her head against his chest.
"Yes, luv?" Ringo answered stroking her hair tenderly.
Stella pulled away gently in order to see his eyes. For a second, she was nervous and scared. Never having uttered the words "I love you" to anyone besides family, she wasn't quite sure how to start.
"Ringo, I . . . I-"
"'Ey! Are ya two done with yer little 'eart tah 'eart?" John interrupted as he entered the room, "Eppy just came in and 'e's bloody furious."
Ringo sighed in aggravation while giving Stella an apologetic look. She gave him a weak smile in return. Truthfully, she was relieved that John had disrupted them. She hadn't exactly pictured herself confessing her love to Ringo after sobbing in a hotel bathroom. Plus, she hadn't even brushed her teeth yet! And didn't people usually kiss after saying "I love you"?
Ringo let go of Stella and turned around to face John. "What d'ya mean 'e's 'furious'?"he asked.
"'E said there's sumthin in the papah 'bout you and Stella," John began to answer but was cut off from finishing.
"RINGO!" Brian called from the other room.
Stella flinched at the sound of his angry voice. She recognized that tone all too well. It was the same tone her mother had used with her when she had done something wrong. Apparently, band managers were a lot like parents; they had to keep the musicians in line and make sure they don't get into trouble. But what could possibly be in the newspaper about her and Ringo that would upset Brian like this?
John looked at the couple with an evil grin. "You two are in trooouuuble!" he sang mischievously.
Ringo ignored John's childish comment while taking Stella's hand in his. He turned to her with a calm expression on his face. "Don't wurry. Brian's gets upset 'bout the littlest things. I'm sure it's nuthin'."
Stella nodded in response and said, "Okay." Yet, she still felt nervous about what she would find in the newspaper. If her parents saw it, they would know she had lied to them. . .
Walking out of the bedroom, the three of them found Brian standing in the dining area. He was leaning over the head of the table with his hand flat on the newspaper. Distress was written all over his face as he held his forehead with his other hand. He looked up when he realized he wasn't alone.
The distraught manager looked at the pair holding hands with shock. "Ringo! What is she doing here?! And for God's sake, why is she wearing your clothes?! Please tell me you didn't sleep with her. That's the last thing I need this morning," Brian sighed as he finished his rant.
Stella cringed at what Brian thought they had done. She again felt like running back to the bathroom and locking herself in there. No, she wanted to run away with Ringo and forget everyone else. But she knew that wasn't a possibility at this point.
John strode past the couple and sat down at the dining table. He took the paper in his hands, but before he could get a good look at it, Brian snatched it from him.
"Eppy, take it easy," Ringo said coolly. "Nuthin' 'appened."
"Then explain this!" Brian held out the slightly crumpled newspaper to Ringo.
The drummer let go of Stella's hand in order to open up the tabloid. The headline on the front page read "Beatles Drummer Caught with Local Girl on Beach." On the bottom page was a large photograph of Ringo and Stella at the beach last night. However, it wasn't just a simple picture of the two sitting on their blanket having a picnic. Instead, it was a shot of Ringo fully on top of Stella kissing her passionately. The photo was clear enough to see that the couple was in their underwear and that they had just gone for a swim in the ocean. Stella gasped in disbelief at the sight while Ringo seemed to be unaffected by it.
The Beatle looked up at the troubled manager with a simple smile. "I think it explains itself pretty well, don't you?"
Stella opened her mouth wide with shock. "Ringo!"
"Whut?" he asked casually. "I don't see whut the problum is! 'S not like ya can see yer face; yer perfectly safe!"
The young girl glanced back at the photo of her and Ringo. He was actually right! His face was covering hers at just the right angle that her identity was impossible to know. Stella sighed inwardly realizing that she would never be suspected as that scandalous girl in the paper with the Ringo Starr.
"The problem is," Brian interjected, emphasizing each word, "that it's bad for your image! Don't you see?" he continued, starting to pace about the room. "Everything you do is scrutinized! Your fans, their parents, the press! They all expect you to act a certain way and portray a certain persona. You're supposed to act like the innocent, sweet young boys that parents approve of!" Brian turned around suddenly and grabbed the paper out of Ringo's hands. "Stunts like this will get you in deep trouble and ruin your reputation! Parents and the press will drag your name through the mud until they make sure that kids don't buy your records anymore!"
He waved the newspaper in the air and then threw it on the table. John grabbed eagerly as it slid toward him. Opening it up, his expression turned to one of amusement when his eyes found the picture.
"So nuthin' 'appened Rings?" he asked laughing.
"Sod off John!" Ringo yelled exasperated.
Just then, the door to Paul and George's bedroom opened and Paul entered the room. He was wearing pajama bottoms with no shirt. However, instead of having bed-head like everyone else, Paul looked like he had just run a comb through his hair. He rubbed his eyes and yawned while walking toward the kitchen.
"You lot are loud, ya know that?" he said opening up a cupboard to find a bowl.
"Please, Paul. Not now," Brian sighed as he rubbed his forehead with closed eyes.
"Well, all yer shoutin' woke me up!" he complained pouring cereal into the bowl.
"Aww, did poor Princess Paulie lose her precious beauty sleep?" John teased from across the room.
Stella couldn't help but giggle at his joke. Ringo glanced at her and smiled. "We're not really mornin' people as ya can probably tell!"
"Yeah, I noticed!" she said laughing.
"Wanna sit down?"
Ringo led her by the hand to the couch only a few feet away. Sitting down, Ringo put his arm around her shoulders as Stella cuddled up to him. Brian gave the two a disapproving look as Paul and John continued to bicker back and forth.
"Will you two please shut it?" Brian finally said. "You two squabbling is not going to help matters any!"
"Sorry, Eppy," Paul said walking to the dining table with his bowl of cereal. "But John started it!"
Brian gave the bassist a glare that stopped him from furthering the issue - and gave Stella the chills.
"So uh anyone seen Georgie? 'E didn't come in last night," Paul asked taking a spoonful of cereal.
"What do you mean 'he didn't come in last night'?" Brian asked with an urgent voice.
"I mean, 'e didn't come in! Go check the room! 'E ain't there!" Paul replied defensively.
At hearing this, Stella became worried. If George hadn't come home from his date with Grace last night, where was he? If he was still with Grace. . .
"Is there a phone in here?" Stella asked Ringo anxiously.
"Uhh yeah, ovah there," he answered pointing toward the kitchen.
Stella jumped off the couch and hurried toward the telephone. She dialed Grace's number and waited for her to answer. As each ring passed, Stella grew more and more afraid of what could have happened between Grace and George last night.