Warning - I posted four new chapters today so if you haven't read those, go back and read them :)
Disclaimer: I do not own the Beatles or anything else you might recognize.
Chapter Twelve: It's Only Love ... Real Love
Lucy and I spent every second of Sadie's gig together.
We danced and danced in a blur of music, laughter, and faces turned crimson by the tinted lighting of the crowded bar, and when the Po Boys got off stage and we kept dancing. And when we couldn't dance any more, I asked Lucy if she wanted to get some fresh air. She nodded, clinging to my arm as we pushed through the crowd and went up the stairs, to the lamplit street outside. We walked a tad tipsily. I was working up the courage to put my arm around her when she asked if I had ever had a girlfriend.
Blushing - luckily not too prominent under the tungsten lights - I shook my head. 'Cute little guy like you, I'm sure there was someone,' she says, a spark in her eye. I shook my head again, trying to kill the blush. 'Nope,' I told her. 'What about you?' I ask, to change the subject.
Lucy hesitated. 'Just one.'
'What was his name?' I asked, suddenly curious to know just who this boy was.
'Danny,' said Lucy softly. She hesitated again and said, 'He died in Vietnam.'
Lucy's eyes were lowered, her earlier enthusiasm faded. I took her hand and squeezed it comfortingly, because I didn't know what to say and that seemed to be the only thing I could do. She smiled, turning my hand over and examining it like it was a piece of treasure, or there was secret concealed inside it. She traced all of my lifelines, matched her palm against mine - her fingers were long and graceful, but mine were longer, as was my hand. She touched the calloused tips of each finger, the pads hardened from playing the guitar. Ringo had drawn a smiley face on my thumb before, and she giggled at it. I grinned, glad to have gotten a laugh out of her, and made a mental note to make it up to Ringo.
I kissed Lucy that night, while Paul and Ringo waited in the car to take us back to the hotel. It was magical, and she smiled after. 'Night, George,' she said, smiling, and I nearly tripped on the sidewalk walking backwards to the car, because I didn't want to look away from her face.
'Nice, Georgie,' said Ringo, as he and Paul grinned impishly at me in the back seat of the car. 'Real nice,' added Paul. 'Pretty, she was, too.' I grinned too, self-satisfied, my lips still ringing with the sweetness of hers. 'Ya don't want to get too involved though,' said Paul lightly, 'We are going back home in two days.'
And just like that, it was over. Lucy lived here and I lived far away. My dreams were crushed.
But nothing could break the feeling I had. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad.
Only when we were at the end of the road did Ringo say, 'Where's John?'
Tense change okay? :)
We figure that John must be upstairs in the apartment with Auri. So we go on up, cursing John with every painful step we have to take - twenty one floors, no lift - and there are people in the apartment, dancing and smoking and hanging out. I catiously push open Auri's bedroom door - there are no sounds coming from behind it, and John's a pretty noisy guy. At first glance I think there's no one in the room, then I see John sitting on the mattress, his head buried in his arms. Auri's nowhere in sight. 'John?' I say hesitantly. He's silent, but his body language says that he wants to be left alone. Paul pokes his head in and says, 'John? Are you alright? We need to get back to the hotel.' There's no response. 'John? We need -'
'I don't fucking care!' screamed John, suddenly standing, fists clenching the air. The room is darkish, but the little light that comes through the door shows that his face is wet. 'Fuck the hotel, Paul, fuck you and Brian and all of you - I don't believe - it's -' an emotion strangles his throat, stopping the words, and I don't think it's rage. Paul walks, very quietly, to John, and very hesitantly, as if he's a wild animal prone to attacking, puts his hand on John's arm. John doesn't stiffen; this is a good sign. Suddenly, John's tiny and crushed, kneeling on the floor with his face in his hands, shoulders shaking with sobs. 'She's gone,' he says in a choked sob, his face crumpled in lines of a kind of grief I've only seen one other time: when his mother died.
Given Auri's frequent disappearances which cause such terror in John, I don't know whether to take this one seriously. 'She'll come back, John,' says Paul, pacifyingly, rubbing John's shoulder, but John jerks up suddenly, rigid, vehement. 'She won't!' he states. 'She's not coming back.' He stands up, drags the back of his fingers across his wet, red eyes. Then, wordlessly, he turns and leaves the apartment. We all follow in silence.
As soon as we enter the apartment, Brian senses that something's wrong with me. Paul, George and Ringo shoot his questions to me down with silent looks that they think I can't see. Looks that say, Leave him alone. He's upset. I can't find it in myself to feel grateful towards them right now, though I'm sure I will later. I shut out their exchanged looks and silent movements that they're afraid will further upset me, and lock the door of my room. The darkness is a kind of comfort. I throw myself onto the bed, for some reason loathing its absolute softness of the sheets against my skin and the springiness of the mattress, as I loathe the clothes clinging to my body and the stray lock of hair falling in my eyes, and the air that whispers across me. I just want Auri, want her cool hands to touch my brow and soothe me, want her to kiss me and stay with me.
Everyone knows that John Lennon has a big temper. It's never bothered me, really, before. Fuck them! But I never thought of the day when it would spring back and take away the thing I love most. For I do, I really do love Auri. In this trip, she's transformed from that exotic girl from Hamburg who broadened the mind of a younger John Lennon in a single night, to the most incredible girl he's ever met, the one who gets him so completely and who he would never be tired of being with. And I ruined it. I ruined it all.
Because as much as I can hope that she'll forgive me, an angry young man in love and too protective of his girl, I know that she won't. I broke something tonight. It can't be fixed.
And then I remember something else she said: 'I get dizzy and my head hurts and I can't talk when they happen. John, I think there's something wrong with me!' I breathe in too fast, as a mental of image rushes into my head, of Auri running from me, collapsing on a bench in some part of the city, moaning and writhing in pain - 'No!' I yell, jumping to my feet, I have to find her - a lamp on the bedside table crashes to the ground as I leap up in a sudden fit of wilfullness - and then stop, standing quite stil, shivering slightly, I can't do this. I won't be able to find her, she won't come to me. I have to - stay here, I can't leave. Shaking slightly, I slide to the ground, not paying any attention to the cut glass piercing the soles of my feet, or to the worried questions slipping under the door from the other side. I curl into a little ball and try to pass the night.
John's sadness hangs over all of us this morning, like a dark cloud. And yet his anger has melted, leaving a worn-out depressed John. Cameras flash and reporters buzz at the press conference, but he's listless and answers their questions monosyllablically, dully. Even Brian doesn't chastise him for being so unresponsice, the exact opposite of the image he should be upholding.
But that's not all that's on my mind. I can't stop thinking about Lucy, us dancing last night, the kiss. She's special, I can tell. And she likes me as much as I like her. If only we could stay in America, I can imagine such fantasies - seeing her everyday. Maybe becoming her boyfriend. If only I could stay here ...
Or maybe she can come with me. A silly idea, only hesitantly formed in my overdriven brain, quickly pushed down by all my common sense and rationality - only to spring up again, a tiny hopeful thought, which suddenly becomes to me the only thing that can be done - that must be done. The second the press conference is over, when we have a single hour in which to pack up and grab a bite of early lunch before we leave for the airport - I race to the street, catch a taxi, direct him to the Village, where the apartment is. 'Hurry,' I tell the cab driver, 'I need to get there as fast as possible!'
'It's always hurry, hurry, hurry for you New Yorkers,' sighs the driver, shaking his head. 'What's it for this time?'
'A girl,' I tell him. He grins a nicotine-stained grin, and nods. My legs don't even register the exhausion as I bound up the stairs. 'I need to talk to Lucy,' I gasp to Max, who opens the door. 'She's not here,' he tells me. 'But I know where she is.' He gives me directions, and off I am again, because there's time to catch your breath on a quest for love. I run, run, run down to the docks, and then I see her, sitting on a rock, dangling her feet over the water, her blonde hair streaked paler by the sunlight. And she's sitting with a dark-haired boy - the one that looks like Paul - Jude. I falter, suddenly marred by hesitation. They're standing - she looks admiringly to the charcoal drawing he's made of her on the wall. And as I watch, they kiss.
It's a first kiss for both of them - they're hesitant first, then less so. My throat is tight and I can't move. I think to run and break them apart, claim Lucy as my own, but something about the way in which they stand, smiling at each other after their first kiss, makes me stop. Sigh. Turn away before she can see that I came.
I really do hate myself for breaking up George and Lucy. But it had to be done. Because I like Jude also. Even though George is awesomer. But this isn't a George fic, and I have to be realistic and all that ... don't worry, there's still hope for John and Auri! Story's not over yet. Thanks for reading! :D -Jen.