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Lovers and Friends


Chapter Twenty-one

Anne and I did see Bye Bye Birdie that night, compliments of Murray and WINS. I think the guys had a rehearsal that night, and we didn't really want to intrude and follow them around like a couple of lovesick puppies. After the performance we just went back to the hotel room; we were both a little tired anyway, and if we did want a little partying action, we were sure the guys would whip up something exciting.

We changed into our pajamas and Anne talked with Dave on the phone while I watched the late news. After that we plopped down on the floor in the suite and were playing Egyptian War (a card game) when the guys came stumbling in around midnight. They were trying to be quiet, but I could tell they had had a few drinks. They said that they had been out with Neil and Mal, at a restaurant. I believed them; I knew if they had been at a club or a bar that they would be back much later! George came stumbling in first, heading straight for his room and muttering something about still not feeling well. Anne ran off to attend to him, leaving the cards in a pile on the floor, by the way, while I observed the rest of the parade. Neil and Mal had already retired to their rooms, so they weren't treated to the show I saw.

John, Ringo, and Paul came in, doing a whispered conga line and making fools of themselves. I was lounging around in a pair of navy blue men's long pajamas--size small, of course--that I had just bought that day and had the hotel laundry service toss in the dryer for a few minutes (just to get that new-clothing stiffness out of them). They stopped halfway through the room and Ringo who was at the head of the line, said, "Oh, you still up?"

I answered as I picked up the cards, "I think it's apparent that I am. Do you always state the obvious when you're drunk?" I teased.

"Nah," he replied. "It's just that I thought you were Brian, all dressed up in men's nightclothes like that."

I stood up and rolled my eyes at him. "Who do you think you are--Paul? He was teasing me about it before." I gestured in Paul's direction. He and John were whispering and chuckling behind me. I turned to them and asked, "What?!" They stopped whatever they were doing and stood with their hands behind their backs, like two soldiers at attention...or two schoolboys who had almost gotten caught. I squinted and looked at them suspiciously. "What were you two doing?"

"Oh, nothing," John said, as he and Paul were looking up at the ceiling. John was squinting, following something with his eyes; it looked like he was watching a bug.

Of course, this prompted me to look up at the ceiling...and as I did, Ringo came up behind me and started tickling me! I immediately fell to the floor, trying in vain to keep those three off of me. We ended up a big tangle of arms and legs and tickling fingers rolling all over the floor of the suite. At that point we were not making any attempt to be quiet, and I know that I for one had a tendency to howl when tickled. Neil came bounding in and just his opening the door and stomping in made us all quit. I wish I could have seen it from Neil's vantage point; it must have looked like something out of a cartoon. Ringo stopped practically in mid-air, pillow in hand, about to pounce on the pile of bodies on the floor. John was lying on his side, halfway through tickling Paul, and Paul was lying right on top of me on the floor. All four of us were frozen staring at Neil. After we were quiet for about five seconds, Neil said, "That's better, let's keep it down like that, alright? George still needs his rest." He smiled and closed the door.

As soon as Neil had closed the door, Ringo crept up behind John and smacked him in the back of the head with the pillow. "Aaow!" John yelped.

Ringo put his finger to his mouth and said, "Ssh, you'll disturb Nell!"

John got up off the floor and bellowed, "I don't give a care about him, he didn't hit me with a pillow!" John roared like a lion, grabbed a throw pillow off the couch and ran after Ringo into one of the bedrooms.

Paul and I were still lying on the floor. I was about to say something, but I noticed the way he was looking at me. I recognized that look; I had seen something similar the previous night, right before he kissed me. I couldn't look away from him, no matter how much I knew I should. I started to slither out from under him, but he tightened his grip on me with his right arm as he took my face in his left hand and tilted it up to kiss me. "No, Paul, we can't," I said, trying to push him away. "Remember our conversation last night?"

He squeezed my hip with his right hand. "Yes, I do. Clean slate and all that. And since I have a clean slate...well, I'll make things right this time around. I promise."

"Paul, I can't, I just--" I couldn't say anything else since he was kissing me. I tried to push him away, but it just felt so good I didn't want to stop. His kisses weren't passionate and hungry; they were soft, tender, loving kisses. I think I almost melted into the floor. My head kept telling me, "Jill, you'd better stop now before your heart gets broken again." My heart (and areas a little lower) replied, "But in his arms, it feels so right!" We were so caught up in the moment that neither of us heard Anne open the door to the suite. I heard a recognizable stifled gasp, and opened my eyes while we were still kissing. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Anne run over to the room where John and Ringo were (probably still involved in a pillow fight) and go inside. I stopped kissing Paul and said, "Um, I think we were just caught."

He replied, "Yeah. I don't care, do you?"

I gave him a mean look. "Well, yeah I do. Anne and I had a big conversation today over lunch about how this whole thing might have been a bad idea. I don't want something bad to happen romantically that ruins our friendship. I just don't think that this, us here, is a good idea."

He responded, "Well, it might not be, but you're not struggling to break free here, are you?"

He was right, I wasn't trying to get away at all. Granted, he was bigger and stronger than me and could easily hold me there. But he wasn't holding me in that way. He did have his arms around me, but it was a loving embrace. My arms were by my sides, not really touching him. He rolled off of me, and lay on his side next to me on the floor, his head resting on his propped-up right arm. He asked, "You're not mad at me, are you?"

I rolled onto my side, facing him. "No, it's alright. It's okay to get caught up in the moment, I guess." I smiled at him, and he was giving me that I'm-going-to-kiss-you-again look. I don't know who initiated it, but we were kissing again. This time the kisses were more passionate.

We kissed for a while there on the floor of the suite, then Paul said, "I think we'd better move from this location if we're going to go on with this."

"With what?" I asked.

"With getting caught up in the moment," he said rather matter-of-factly. He stood up and held his hand out to me. I stood up with him, and he started leading me to my room.

I stopped and said, "Wait, Paul. I think you have the wrong idea here--"

"Do I?" he said. "The way you were kissing me back there you seemed to know what you wanted."

I felt my face turn red. "Um...I guess that was just getting caught up in the moment?" I said sheepishly.

Right then, Anne, Ringo, and John emerged from the other room. Anne remarked to them, "Well, at least they're off the floor now!"

I tried to make an excuse. "Alright, I don't know what you saw, Anne--"

She interrupted me. "Jill, I'm not stupid. I know what I saw. I saw two horny young people who can't keep their paws off each other! I think we need to talk." She grabbed my hand and dragged me into our room and slammed the door behind us. That's when she started in on me. "Jill, what the hell was that out there?!"

"I...I...I don't know. Well, I know, but I don't know." I sat down on my bed, trying to find a way to explain it while putting my very messed-up hair back into a ponytail. "We were in this pillow and tickling thing, and Neil came in and shushed us and when he came in we all stopped, and Paul happened to stop right on top of me. Ringo and John went into another room, chasing each other with pillows, and we stayed there, and one thing led to another, and he was giving me that irresistible look that makes me melt inside, and next thing I knew we were kissing. Anne, I didn't mean for it to happen, it just did."

She sat down on the bed next to me. "Jill, we both know that this isn't healthy for you. You said yourself that those last few days you spent together before you left England were some of the best, and those days you spent as friends. I'm just looking out for you, hon, alright?"

I nodded and we hugged. I said, "You're right, Anne, thanks. I'd better go talk to him and make it clear once and for all." I stood up and headed for the door.

Anne said, half under her breath, "Just don't get into a tickling fight, you know what those lead to." I turned to her and she smiled mischievously. I rolled my eyes and headed off to find Paul to sort things out.

***

The next day, George was still not feeling well. John had invited us along to spend the day with them. They had a rehearsal for the Ed Sullivan show in the morning, and then a photo session in Central Park. George stayed behind in bed, resting up for the evening's show. We tagged along with them. We got to see them rehearse at the CBS Theatre. Since George was recuperating, Neil stood in his place for lighting and camera checks. I hate to admit it, even though the whole process was interesting, I was getting a little bored. Central Park was a little more exciting. Brian gave us press passes so we could blend in a little better and take pictures of John, Paul, and Ringo.

We went back to the hotel and ordered room service for dinner. After that, we were whisked into limos to go back to the theatre. There were screaming girls outside the hotel and outside the theatre as well. It seemed they were everywhere! We somehow managed to get inside the theatre relatively unscathed. Some big burly men escorted us into the green room. Anne and I wished the guys well, and we left with Cyn to take our seats for the show.

We sat and watched the people come in and find their seats. Both Anne and I had always enjoyed people watching, and that day was no exception. The audience was overwhelmingly young and female, and many of them could not keep their mouths quiet. The show was to start with the Beatles' performance. When Ed Sullivan came out on stage, there was polite but loud applause. Then he introduced the group that everyone was waiting for.

Before he was even finished introducing them, the whole place erupted into screams. The song they selected to start with was "All My Loving". After the song started, Anne looked over at me and loudly said, "Are we gonna be able to hear any of this?"

I shook my head and smiled. I shouted back, "Probably not, it was like this in England last summer, too. I think we'd better get used to it."

"What?" Anne shouted.

"Never mind, just scream!" I screamed along with the rest of the audience. Anne joined in, screaming and laughing and having a marvelous time of it. I felt like a teenager! They then went into "'Til There Was You"--was Paul trying to tell me something here? The audience calmed down for most of that, screaming at various intervals instead of through the entire song, as they did with "All My Loving." After "'Til There Was You" was over, they immediately went into "She Loves You." The place erupted again--the screaming was even louder than before! The guys put on a great performance that night.

After their first appearance, several other acts and personalities appeared; some were good, some were mediocre, at least compared to the Beatles. The teenage girls in the audience kept remarkably quiet during the rest of the show. I was assuming they were saving up for the Beatles' second appearance as the next-to-the-last attraction on the show.

When the Beatles returned, the same volume level of exuberant screams came back to ring in our eardrums once more. They sang, "I Saw Her Standing There," which was my favorite song off of Please Please Me. I remembered the first time I heard it, in the Cavern Club...then it was still called "Seventeen", but the raw energy that Paul brought to the song was the same. I had vowed not to make a fool of myself, but I could never sit still during that song anyway, and the vivacious crowd was making it difficult for me to sit and listen in silence. So, I screamed along, just like I had before! Their closing song was "I Want To Hold Your Hand", which definitely didn't quiet the audience down. Ed brought the guys over to wave good-bye to the audience, and then they were off stage. The closing act was a Swedish acrobatic group; they were good, but I as a performer would hate to be the one to follow up the Beatles' act.

Later that night, back in our room, Anne remarked to me, "No wonder you thought these guys were so great. I've been listening to their music on the records, but live, they are phenomenal! The energy was so addicting!"

I replied, "I'm glad you finally see what I mean. I hope my family got to see them perform, I reminded them at least three times before I left of when the show was going to be on. Maybe I should call them tonight."

I did call my parents that night from the hotel suite; I hadn't talked to them since I had left for New York. Anne was sitting next to me eavesdropping (old habit of hers). Mom answered the phone. "Oh, Jill, I'm so glad you called. We watched Ed Sullivan tonight, and we loved it! I tried to look for you in the audience, but I couldn't see you. Could you tell them for me that we thought they were fabulous!" She chuckled, "Or at least I did...I don't think your father liked it too much, but don't tell Paul that, honey. Anyway, just tell them how much we enjoyed their performance. How has the trip been?"

I talked fast, like I always do when I'm excited. "Well, it's been interesting, to say the least. Anne and I have had some time for sightseeing, we went up in the Statue of Liberty, and did some shopping. We even got on a local radio station, WINS, with a disk jockey there who's pretty chummy with the Beatles. He's going on some of the trip with us, at least to Washington. We went in and did an interview with him, and some people called in and asked us questions, and of course the subject went to me and Paul, which I really didn't want to talk about, but I did."

"Oh," Mom answered. "So, how is Paul?"

"Oh, he's fine." I quickly changed the subject. "Remember George, his sister lives in Benton? He wasn't feeling too well, so he stayed in bed this morning so he could be fine for the performance tonight."

"Well, that's good, he sounded fine to me. So, um, how are you and Paul?"

I rolled my eyes. I said in a stern tone, "Ma, if you're asking if we've reconciled, the answer is no. There's nothing going on, mother, and I highly doubt there will be. So stop asking!"

She sighed. "Alright, Jill, but please don't take that tone with me. And what's wrong with your voice, are you taking care of yourself? You weren't one of those crazy girls in the audience screaming bloody murder tonight, were you?"

I rubbed the front of my neck; my throat was a little scratchy. "I wasn't exactly screaming bloody murder, but yes, I did my fair share of, um, vocal adulation, I guess you could say. And Anne did it, too. There were a lot of girls screaming; it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement, Ma. You just had to be there."

"I'll never understand you young people. Anyway, I'm glad you called because your friend Dan called this afternoon."

I perked up. "Really? What did he say? How is he?" As Mom answered my question, I mouthed to Anne that Dan had called.

"I guess he's fine, we didn't talk for long. He left a number, he said he's living in Bloomington now. I told him where you were and when you'd be back and I told him to watch the Ed Sullivan Show, too; after that he didn't say much. Sounded like he was a bit sad that you weren't here, Jill," she said.

I was getting angry, and my tone showed it. "Ma, why do you still have to bug me about Dan like that? Most likely he wasn't sad that I was gone and out with a rock group, especially one with Paul the ex-boyfriend, he was probably sad that I just wasn't there to talk to! Can't you just be happy that I am happy with myself and I don't need a guy to fill any void in my life?!" Anne applauded my Oscar-caliber speech and I slapped her arm and gave her a dirty look.

"Alright, Jill," Mom said quietly. "You kids have a good time. You're going to Washington next, right?"

"Yes we are, Mom. We're gonna be in Miami after that. I can't wait; I can buy a new swimsuit when we're down there!"

"Well, that's good. Just don't buy anything too skimpy--and take a lot of pictures!"

"I am, Mom, you know how I am. I've already used up one whole roll, and we've only been here a couple days. I'll bring them all back for y'all to see, alright? And say hello to Dad and Chris for me."

"Oh! Jill, before you go, Chris told me to remind you to bring him back some sand from the beach." I heard Chris in the background yell, "And a couple beach babes, too!"

I replied, in perfect older-sister fashion, "Tell him I'll bring him the sand from my bathing suit."


On to Chapter Twenty-Two
Back to Chapter Twenty


Copyright © 1999-2006, Winona Patterson.