I’m a horrible person. I’m a horrible person.
That is what I have been telling myself for the past week. I believe it with every fiber of my body.
That night, after I lost my virginity, John and I put our clothes back on and quickly left the room, each going different directions. I haven’t spoken to him since.
I’ve become very quiet this past week. I want to tell Paul so badly what I did. I tell Paul everything. But this is bad, very bad, and I’m scared. And I’m confused. I’m not sure what Paul would do if I told him about that night. He could forgive me, but the chances of that are slim. He could completely flip his lid and kill himself or me or John. That’d be more likely to happen. I’ve already put him through enough this summer. I can’t put him through this.
What was I thinking? Well, I wasn’t thinking. Not with my brain anyway. I wish I could turn back time.
Paul thinks my lack of talking is because I’m sad about leaving. Which is partly true. I am very sad to leave. But I wish I was spending my time to the fullest, not sulking around. This is it. I’ve got to do something.
We leave tomorrow. I’m packing all my belongings right now. Everything I pick up makes the lump in my throat grow larger. Ringo’s pack of cards I accidentally kept. John’s doodles of me. George’s suit jacket he let me borrow one night in June. A bracelet Paul gave me only a couple of weeks ago.
“Hey Ann?” Paul asks softly, knocking on my door. “Are you all right?”
I look at Paul with sad eyes.
“Aw. Cheer up, darling. This isn’t the end. It’s really only the beginning if you think about it.” He comes closer and put his hands in his pockets. “You can come next summer. You’ll always have a home here. And whenever we’re in California, we’ll visit you and Bonnie.”
A sob from the pit of my stomach escapes my mouth. I run over to Paul and wrap my arms around him, my shoulders starting to shake. “The summer went by too fast, so fast,” I say into his ear as tears stream from my eyes on to his shoulders.
“Hello… goodbye,” Paul whispers. He strokes my neck as he listens to me cry.
“Hi George,” I say weakly, walking into his flat.
“Hey Annie. Are you all right?” he asks me. He closes the door.
“Yes… well, no. I don’t know. I’m sad. I don’t want to leave.”
“I don’t want you to leave either.” Here come the tears again.
“I just wanted to come by one last time and thank you for being such a good friend to me this summer. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
“You don’t have to thank me for that, Annie. I want to be your friend.”
“And that means a lot to me.” I grab George’s hand from where I’m standing, which has the potential to be awkward, but it’s not. “I need to tell you something before I leave. I’m dying on the inside here.”
“Ok. What is it?”
“I… I, uh, did something with John. At Brian’s party.”
“What do you mean Annie?”
“Well, I had sex with John.” The words sound ugly coming from my lips. I’m ashamed.
“Why did you do that?” George asks me evenly. That’s why I love him. He’s so calm about everything.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking, I guess.”
“You haven’t told Paul, have you?”
“No, I haven’t. And I don’t really want to. Not now.”
“Well, I think that’s for the best actually. Maybe you should give it some time. You are coming next summer, right?”
“Oh, God. I hope so.”
“Me too. You’re very important to me.”
“George, don’t do this to me. I’m already emotional as it is,” I say, tears trickling down my face again.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t be sad.”
“I can’t help it. I love you, George.” I wrap my arms around George and kiss him on the cheek.
Why must these boys rip my heart out a little bit at a time?
“Paul, don’t let go,” I whisper. It’s dark in Paul’s room except for the moon showing through the curtain. We lay in his bed, his arms wrapped around my body.
“I’m not. I never will,” he says softly into my ear. He kisses my hair.
I take a deep breath. I want to remember this moment forever.
“Annie, I don’t want to ruin the moment, but…”
“Are we going to make lover tonight? Before you go?”
I freeze. I can’t possibly do that. Not after what I’ve done with John. It’s too soon and to weird. I don’t respond and I lay very still, pretending to be asleep.
“That’s ok, darling,” Paul says very tenderly and quietly after I don’t respond for awhile. “I’ll be your first someday and I’m willing to wait.”
I wince. Oh, Paul…
“Are you all packed up?” Paul asks me.
I nod, not wanting to say the words myself. “Just a second.” I walk into my bedroom and look out the window I’ve gazed out so many times before. The paparazzi are waiting for Paul, and possibly me, already. My bed is made, the floor is bare, my closet is empty. There’s no more life in this room. I walk to Paul’s room and his familiar scent fills my nose. I’ll miss the nights I spent with Paul in here the most. Our late night talks and games of Truth. My heart aches at the thought of being away from him.
“Goodbye room,” I whisper as I walk back down to the foyer.
“Here’s your jacket, Miss Bennett,” Ellie says.
“Thank you, Ellie. I’m going to miss you,” I say.
She smiles and takes my hand, squeezing it. “I’m going to miss you too, dear. Have a safe trip.” She lets go and walks back into the kitchen.
“Ready?” Paul asks.
“No. But I don’t have a choice, do I?”
“Technically you do.”
“All right. No fighting today.” He takes my hand and we walk outside together. The camera flash and I admit to myself that I’ll miss this. No matter how annoying, this was exciting.
Goodbye fans and photographers. Maybe I’ll have fans of my own someday.
“Do you feel as crap as I do?” Bonnie asks me as we climb on to the plane for a final time.
“Worse,” I tell her.
I glance at Bonnie and see her glance at the floor. This isn’t easy on her either. I grab Bonnie’s arm suddenly and pull her into a hug. We’ve been through so much together this summer. Even though she got on my nerves a lot sometimes, she’s still my best friend and I’m grateful to share all these memories with her.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” she says in between sobs.
Don’t cry because I will start crying again.”
“I can’t help it.
I let go and look in my bag. “Here,” I say, handing Bonnie a tissue.
“Are you blubbering again, Bonnie?” Ringo asks, walking on to the plane.
“I can’t help it,” Bonnie says again.
“Bonnie thinks a little ocean can keep us apart,” Ringo tells me.
“I’m going to miss you Ringo,” I say, wiping my own nose.
“Not you too Annie. I thought you were beyond this crying business.”
“Oh, shut up,” I say, smiling through my tears. I pull Ringo toward me and I wrap my arms around him. He had always been my comic relief. And at the beginning of the summer, even kissed a few times. I liked him and I still do. It’s hard not to have a crush on loveable Ringo.
“All right, all right. Stop being silly,” Ringo says, his voice cracking. I half-heartedly smile as him.
“I’m going to fall asleep so I don’t have to think about this anymore.”
I didn’t fall asleep, though. I sat with Paul who was surprisingly calm. For some reason I thought he’d be making a bigger deal about this than I am. His calmness is helping me, though. George joins us and eventually Ringo and Bonnie join our group as well. We’re a big, happy family again—laughing, joking, and talking— except for John.
John sits in the front of the plane. His arms are across his chest and his head is slumped over as he naps. I wish he wouldn’t alienate himself from us, especially since it’s probably my fault. I’m not going to talk to him, though. I don’t think I can.
“Why don’t you go talk to him?” George suggests to me quickly, reading my mind.
I shake my head. “That’s ok.”
I brace myself as the plane lands. Oh, God. This really is the end of my summer with the Beatles. The pain in my heart is becoming overwhelming.
I pick up my belongings robotically and I walk off the plane with Paul by my side, his hand on my arm.
There are no fans waiting for us this time. The boys must have requested extra security. I find my suitcase—the one I’ve lugged all over Europe and back—and turn to Paul. I lean into kiss him, but he stops me. “Save me for last, ok?”
I try to smile. “Ok.” Bonnie walks over to Paul and gives him a huge hug. I walk over to Ringo and embrace him.
“I’ll never forget you, love. Don’t fret. We’ll be back to save you soon.”
“Not soon enough,” I tell him.
Ringo laughs. “I’m going to miss you, Ann. You certainly are something.”
“Aw, Ringo. I can only hope to be like you one day.”
He ruffles my hair. “Take care lovely.”
“I will,” I say distractedly, looking for George, scared that I will be shooed away before I can say goodbye to everyone.
“Looking for me?” the familiar nasally voice says.
I turn around to see George’s lanky frame and crooked smile waiting for me. “Oh, George. What am I going to do without you?”
“Well, you managed seventeen years without me. I’m sure you can manage until we meet again.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“I’m always right.”
I reach for George. He comes closer and pulls me into his arms. “You are,” I squeeze out of my throat. “I’m sorry for all the time I’ve hurt you, George. I just want you know that you mean the world to me.”
“I was all worth it for how things are now.”
“I don’t want to leave you, but I need to say good bye to John and Paul.”
“I understand. Take care of yourself, Annie. I’ll write you!”
“Bye George.” I wave at him feebly.
I look for John. Where is he? If he’s still on the airplane… I don’t know what I will do. It wouldn’t be right to leave without saying good bye. Someone pulls me. It’s Paul. He wraps his arms around me tightly.
“It’s almost time for us to go, sweetheart. I didn’t want to miss my chance.”
“You’re my girl, Annie. You always will be and I love you.”
“I’m your’s,” I tell him, trying to hear his heartbeat before I have to go.
“I’ll be back, Ann. I promise.”
“I love you.”
Paul pulls away and looks at me for a second. He studies my features, his eyes running over my face. He pulls me into a final kiss, putting more emotion into it than I had ever felt him do before. I kiss him back until I can no longer breathe nor bear it.
“Paul, you have to go,” I say, pulling away.
“I know, I know.” He starts to walk away, but holds onto my hand until he can no longer reach me. A tear trickles down my face as my arm falls to my side. Good bye love of my life.
The man standing by the steps leading into the airplane nods at Paul as he passes by. After Paul climbs into the plane, the man closes the door.
Oh, my God. No John. John didn’t say good bye to me. He didn’t say good bye…
I turn around. “John? John!” I run and throw my arms around John’s neck. “ I thought you left without saying goodbye.”
“Well, I was going to, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. God, I’m sorry Annie.”
“No. Not, it’s ok! You didn’t! I thought you hated me.”
“I don’t hate you. I love you. That’s the problem.”
“Oh, John. We’ll see each other again.”
“I wish I had you myself.”
“Don’t say things like that.”
“Like what? Things like the truth?”
“You’re ruining the moment John.”
“I’m sorry, love.”
The plane’s propellers start to spin. “John, you have to go.”
“Like hell I do.” He looks back at the plane. “God, I don’t want to go.”
“It’ll be ok. You’re going to have fun. Now, go!”
John leans forward and kisses me on the lips. He pulls back and he opens his mouth as if he was going to say something, but he decides against it. He waves on finally time and then runs towards the plane, frantically waving his arms.
I smile to myself, missing all the memories already.
“Are you ok?” a familiar voice asks.
I turn around to see Bonnie waiting for me, a smile playing on her face.
“I will be.”
We link arms and walk into the airport together. My mind and heart are all flooding with emotion. Sadness, happiness, regret, nostalgia, anger, confusion, and everything in between races through my body.
I see Bonnie’s parents, kind smiles and wrinkles around their eyes. They open their arms to embrace their daughter. My parents stand next to them, relief flooding their faces. I know I will never hear the end of it and I’m probably in big trouble, but I don’t care. I just had the most amazing summer ever with the four most amazing boys ever. And it’s not over. I’m not going to let anything hold me back. I’ll do what makes me happy. I’ll do what feels right. The Beatles taught me more than I could ever learn in a classroom. I’m a changed person now and I think it’s for the better.