Chapter One: Meet the Beatles
February 29, 1953
Margaret Guinevere Hargreaves had never belonged anywhere. Her former grammar school in London wasn't welcoming. The school she went to for a few months in Stratford wasn't either. Why should an orphanage in Liverpool be any different? She had been in this cruddy place for six months and so far had proven less than satisfactory. Margaret spent the recreation hour meandering around the perimeter fence observing the other children, wishing beyond all wishes she hadn't been shipped here. What Margaret wanted more than anything was to have her mother back. Her mum had passed away of Consumption seven months ago and a little more than a month later Margaret was here.
Aunt Bethie had sent Margaret to the cheapest and ugliest all girls orphanage she could find. Here, if a girl wasn't adopted by fifteen they were bussed to an abbey and became a postulant. The postulant life wasn't one that Margaret wanted for herself but what other choice did she have? No one was going to adopt a nearly ten year old and she couldn't make it in the world by herself at fifteen.
Knowing her fate, Margaret continued her walk around the fence. Hearing a 'hey' from the other said of said fence, she stopped. She looked in the direction of the sound and saw a boy with thick eyebrows and a head covered in dark brown curls.
"Hey," Margaret answered and the boys' face broke out into a large smile.
He thrust his hand through a break in the fence and offered it to Margaret. "My name is George. George Harrison," he said in a very thick northern accent.
"Margaret Hargreaves," she said, shaking George's offered hand.
His smile widened. "That's quite a name you've got there."
"I reckon I'll grow into it," Margaret said, defiantly.
"Yeah, in fifteen or so years," George laughed.
"Well, Master Harrison, what do you suggest," Margaret asked him, hands on her hips.
George chuckled. "One, it's Mister now, as I've just turned ten. And two, Maggie."
"Happy belated birthday and Maggie? What on earth kind of name is Maggie?"
"The kind of name I'm going to call you."
Margaret scrunched up her nose. "I don't like it."
"Well, I'm not calling you Margaret. It's too old sounding and you are not old," George said, crossing his arms. "When you're old enough to be called Margaret, I'll call you Margaret. Deal?"
Margaret smiled and nodded her head before saying, "You're the first person to do as much as look at me in the six months I've been here."
George's smile faded. "How long have you been a…y'know."
"My father died in 1944 on D-Day and Mum died seven months ago of consumption. My aunt, charming woman really, sent me here rather than raise me herself. "
"If she hadn't you wouldn't know me," George said, making Margaret smile.
"Humble too, I see. A very becoming quality to have in a young man such as yourself."
George laughed along with Margaret. "Where are you from, Maggie?"
"I was born on May 11, 1943 in London. Mum and I moved in with Aunt Bethie about a year ago. She lives in the Stratford countryside so the air was better for Mum's lungs. Mum passed away eight months of living there." Just then the bell rang signifying the end of recreation hour. "Sorry, George. I've got to go."
"Talk to you tomorrow," he asked hopefully.
Margaret smiled at him. "You bet."
Four Years Later
May 05, 1957
"George Harrison, you're not listening to me, are you? She won't let me go."
George's heavy eyebrows raised. "How do you know until you ask her?"
George was trying to convince me to ask Madam Tolbert to let me go with him to the carnival that he and his bandmates were playing at tomorrow night.
"Because, Harrison, only the fourteen year olds are allowed to go to the carnival and I'm not fourteen yet."
"Bully that. What difference will six days make?"
"Geore, she's the devil's advocate. Tolly runs this place like a penitentiary. Six days makes a great deal of a difference."
George huffed. "You should still ask her. If you won't I will and you don't want me to ask."
I smiled. "You wouldn't ask her, George. You'd steal me."
"You can't steal something that's willing to go," he said sardonically.
"Okay, smarty-pants. You'd borrow me without permission."
"Yes, I would," he said nodding his head. "And that wouldn't turn out well for either of us so just ask her already. "
"Okay, I will," I said matter-of-factly, turning on my heel and marching to the orphanage leaving George laughing behind me.
"Didn't I tell you, Mags?"
"I didn't peg you for an "I told you so" kind of guy, George."
George flashed me a smile. "Always full of surprises, aren't I?"
I scoffed but said nothing as I was too busy clinging to George's proffered arm taking in everything Liverpool had to offer. I hadn't stepped outside the schoolyard in four years so Liverpool was a big deal; though George kept assuring me it wasn't all that intriguing. George paid our entrance fee and I released his arm to walk around separately. He bought us popcorn and played some game, that he won, and gave me a white stuffed bear. Around two o'clock we split a vanilla malted and each had a piggy in a blanket.
"What time do you go on?"
George checked his watch. "Not for an hour and half."
"Should you try to find your mates and warm up or anything?"
Instead of George, another male voice answered me. "He doesn't have to. We found him."
George received four claps on the back as George surreptitiously removed his straw from the malted we were sharing. He cleared his throat. "Maggie, this here is John Lennon," George started, gesturing to the bloke that had interrupted me. "He plays rhythm guitar and the mouth organ."
John Lennon had a long nose, light brown hair and a cocky smile. "It's nice to meet you, Maggie."
"Same," I smiled at him.
George continued by gesturing to the young lad behind his chair. "This is Paul McCartney another guitarist. I've told you about him before, I think."
"Yes, and it's nice to finally put a face to the name," I answered and Paul ruffled George's curls.
"You've been talking me up eh, Georgie?"
George rolled his eyes and continued the introductions. "Mags, this is Pete Shotton, our washboard player."
The blonde boy averted my eyes and blushed crimson. "I didn't know how to play anything else," he mumbled.
I smiled. "You don't have to feel embarrassed, Pete. Piano players like us don't have any place in a rock group."
His head shot up. "How did you know I played the piano?"
"I didn't; you just told me," I giggled.
Pete smirked and nodded as George continued. "This is Stuart Sutcliffe, our bassist."
"You too, Stuart."
Stuart shook his head. "Stu, please."
"Stu it is."
George gestured to the boy behind me. "Last but not lease is Peter Best, our drummer."
I made to say something nice and welcoming to him like I had the others but Peter cut me off. "You didn't tell us your girl was so pretty, Georgie."
I tensed up a bit at the closeness of Peter to myself and I saw George eyeing him suspiciously. "Guys this is Maggie, my neighbor."
"You fancy your neighbor? How adorable." I could tell by the way he was talking and slurring his words together that Peter was drunk. Everyone else knew this too.
"Pete," John chided. "George lives next door to an orphanage. Nothing against you, Maggie," he said quickly, trying to rectify the mistake he thought he made.
"No, it's okay. Awful as it is to say, I'm used to it. It's been four years."
"You're a southie, are you," Peter asked me, his nose nearly touching my left cheek. "George there is a law against Limey's in the Liverpool carnival."
"Pete," Paul said. "That's enough."
But Peter wasn't listening to his younger peer. He was now very close to me and I tried to pull away but he just moved every time I moved. "You're all invading up here, Limey girl. Why don't you just go home where you belong and leave us all alone?" I closed my eyes and counted to ten backwards. I wasn't going to cry in front of five men, one of whom was so pissed he could barely stand still. "Oh, that's right. You haven't got a home have you?"
I turned my head to face Peter. "You talk an awful lot of shit for someone who hasn't said a thing."
If I had known what would happen after that comment I would've kept my mouth shut. Peter looked shocked for a moment before taking his beer off the table and throwing it in my face, soaking me and my dress. This caused George to knock over the table and jump on Peter, knocking them both to the ground. George started pounding a clenched fist onto Peter's jaw. Pete and Stu pulled their young guitarist off of their drunken drummer, holding George's arms behind him.
John pulled Peter up off the muddy ground. "Get out."
"How're you going to drum without me," Peter asked, wiping blood off of his lip.
"There are other drummer's here with skills better than your lack luster ones. You're drunk. Get out of here before I tell Pete and Stu to let George go. Peter spit onto John's shoes and stalked off. "Pussy," John said turning towards me. I hadn't moved a muscle since the beer had splashed on my face. I was too shocked to move. I was too scared to move. Paul had moved to my side and put a hand on my shoulder. "You alright, Maggie," John asked.
"Let me go," George said, taking in my condition. Stu and Pete looked wearily at each other. "I'm fine, mate. I'm not in attack mode anymore. Let me go." Stu and Pete released him and George knelt into the mud in front of me. "Mags, you alright, darling?"
I felt myself start to shake from the tears that were threatening to overflow. I started to cry then and George put his arms around me protectively. I felt Paul's thumb stroking my shoulder. "I'm sorry, George," I sobbed into George's shoulder.
"You did nothing wrong," he whispered into my hair.
"I egged him on. I encouraged it," I said burying my head into Georges' shoulder.
I heard John speak. "Should I get Cyn?"
George nodded and, not knowing who or what a Cyn was, I stayed were I was. I felt a hand press a hanky into my palm. Opening my eyes I saw it was Pete, the washboard player.
"What's going on," a female voice asked. I looked up into the most gorgeous pair of green eyes I had ever seen. The owner of these eyes, smiled consolingly. "You've met Peter haven't you?" I sniffed and nodded, wiping Pete's hanky under my eyes. "My first meeting with him ended similarly. She took in my dress. "Beer," she asked John, who nodded.
Cyn helped me up and dried off my face with the hanky. "Cynthia Powell, at your service."
"Well, Margaret Hargreaves Maggie, come with me. I'll get you cleaned up in time to our boys play." I tried to protest that George wasn't my boy when she continued. "Not that the boys belong to us but I like to think of them all as my boys. It drives them mad."
I offered Pete's hanky to him as I passed him. "Keep it," he said. "You need it more than I do."
Cyn took Maggie towards the loos while Pete went in search of a drummer. "Damn, Peter. Why does he do that?"
Paul was righting the table I had knocked over in my haste to get at Peter's throat. "He does it because he was raised that women are inferior to men and are our property and deserve to be treated as such."
John looked over at me. "Sorry I stole your moment, George. I was afraid you would've killed him."
Feeling angrier than I ever had before in my life I said, "I wanted to, believe me."
Stu sat down next to me. "She's a firecracker though, isn't she?"
Paul smirked. "She fits in to the group well."
"Bring her round more often, Harry," John said. "I approve."
I raised my eyebrows. "I wasn't looking for your approval, Johnny, but thanks."
We all made our way to the stage area, where Pete and a large nosed boy were standing waiting for us. John raced ahead and hugged the boy. "Ringo," he all but screamed.
"John Lennon, look at you," the boy—Ringo-said.
"Could you play kit for us, today? Our drummer is currently—absent."
Ringo shrugged. "What songs are you playing?"
"20 Flight Rock, Hound Dog, That'll Be the Day, Moovin and Groovin and George's finishing us with Raunchy," John said, ticking the songs off on his fingers.
"Sounds easy, Lennon. Why don't you challenge me," Ringo joked, sitting down on the stool behind the kit.
We all got set up and tuned our guitars. We played the half of each song at half volume. About twenty minutes later, Cyn and Maggie came into our sights. Maggie had changed into a yellow blouse and denim petal pushers. (Belonging to Cyn, as Maggie didn't own petal pushers). Cyn disappeared somewhere with John as Maggie approached me.
"I like her," she said with a smile.
"We're all fond of her too. She's John's girl but she's like a sister to all of us."
Maggie cocked her head to the side. "I didn't peg John for a one girl one guy type of bloke."
"Well, surprises are running rampant today aren't they?"
We smiled at each other. Maggie lifted her hand to my cheek. "He got a hit on George. Your eye is black and blue."
I took her hand away from my face and looked into her hazel eyes. I brought her hand to my lips and gently kissed every fingertip separately. "I saw that in the cinema once and always wanted to try it," I smirked and let her hand drop.
"You're a rat underneath, aren't you?" Maggie slapped my cheek playfully and gave me her signature half grin.
"Enjoy the show," I said getting up from the edge of the stage. She backed up into the crowd and stood next to Cyn and some of Cynthia's friends from the institute.
I couldn't distinguish whether the fluttering in my stomache came from imagining Maggie's smile while I kissed her fingers or from my own nerves. We played brilliantly either way.
A/N: let me know what you think of this little story i've got going. more chapters or is it good as a one shot?