Oh no. He can't mean... but... we can't do that.
Someone tickles me from behind and I swat the hands away in irritation. It's Paul, who walks in front of me and laughs. "What's wrong Annie? Afraid to take a step on the wild side?" he asks, tugging at my shirt and wiggling his eyebrows.
I swat his hand away again, not enjoying his flirtatious teasing. "This is not wild. It's barbaric," I say, crossing my arms across my chest.
"Stop being so damn stubborn," George says dryly as he saunters past Paul and me.
"What he said," Paul says, using his thumb to point to George. He turns around quickly and runs past George, towards the others, taking off his vest and shirt at the same time.
I stand in the same spot for a moment with my jaw hanging slightly open. I'm not sure which decision I should make. I could stand by my initial refusal of going into the lake. Or I could just give in and have fun. I know which one seems easier, but I'd look like a fool if I went against everything I just said. Maybe I'll go for something in the middle. As usual.
I start towards the lake, catching up with George. "Are you getting into the lake?" I ask.
"Sure. Why not?" George replies.
I don't say anything.
"You see, Annie, the thing about you is that you think too much."
Gee, Sherlock. Why don't you tell me something I don't know? "I know."
"I mean, you care so much about going against the crowd. Or you overanalyze a situation to figure out all the outcomes. Why don't you just do whatever the hell you want to do?"
I think about these words. "Whatever the hell I want to do?" I repeat.
"Yeah. What makes you happy." He emphasizes the word "happy."
This is a completely foreign idea to me. Sure, I've heard of people doing it before, but I've never thought of doing it myself.
George laughs. "You're acting like I'm speaking a different language."
"Do you do whatever you want?"
George shrugs. "I try to enjoy life."
"And will jumping in that lake naked make your life better?"
"See! That's what I'm talking about, Annie. You're always twenty steps ahead of yourself. I'm not thinking about the rest of my life--I'm thinking about what will make me happy right now. So, jumping in that lake naked will make me happy. Right now."
I look at the ground, George's words repeating in my head. "You know, George. For being the youngest Beatle, you sure do have a lot of wisdom."
George shrugs. "What can I say?" He reaches down and grabs my hand. "Now will jumping into that lake naked make you happy? Right now?"
"I can't believe I'm doing this," I say to George, who is taking off his shirt.
"Believe it," George says. He looks at me. "I won't look if you don't want me to."
I look into the lake. Bonnie, Ringo, John, and Paul are all already in the lake. They seem to be having a good time. "It's ok. You can look," I finally say.
George arches an eyebrow, but says nothing more. I decide I won't look at him, though. I look down and concentrate on unbuttoning my dress. I hear a splash and look down into the lake to see George looking up at me. I get to the last button and I slip my dress off. I slide the strap of my bra down my arm and George turns his head and swims away. He respects me. I finish taking my delicates off as quickly as I can and get into the lake where I can be hidden.
"Glad to see you've joined us," Paul says, smiling at me.
I shrug. I seem to be having many breakthroughs this summer.
"You little minx!" I hear Ringo say to Bonnie. Bonnie giggles. They're disgustingly cute together.
I'd say we've been in the lake for about an hour now. My hands are waterlogged and I'm quite tired, but I did have fun with the boys' antics. How could I not?
"Are you ready to go home?" Paul asks me.
It is such a relief to have a place to call home. Maybe that's all I've needed.
I laugh as Ringo flies across the room. Literally. Sort of. I hear Bonnie across the room laughing as well.
"I never knew you were so graceful, Ringo!" I yell toward the ceiling.
"Could you hold this for me?" Paul asks, having walked over to me. He hands me his suit jacket and starts to slip on a harness just like Ringo's. We're at the London Palladium for The Night of a Hundred Stars. It's to aid the Combined Theatrical Charities Appeals Council. Whatever that means. I only know this because I've had Paul explain it to me a thousand times. The Beatles are supposed to represent "pop music." There are loads of stars here. I even saw Judy Garland walk into her dressing room!
Anyway, the boys are supposed to be doing some flying ballet sketch for the first part of the show. The British can be really odd at times. We're at the rehearsal now.
Paul looks up at Ringo while he steps into his harness. "I'm surprised Ringo is up there. He bloody hates heights."
I shrug. "He's having the time of his life."
Paul shakes his head. "Well, personally I'm not looking forward to having this thing shoved up my crotch."
I laugh and hit Paul's shoulder. "Admit it. You're going to have fun."
"Oh, I am." He winks at me, takes his jacket from my arm, and slips it on. "As you Americans would say, 'here goes nothing.'"
Within thirty minutes, all four Beatles are in the air. And it's probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Ringo has mastered the ballet and seems to genuinely enjoy the activity. Paul, always the trooper, does everything with enthusiasm and puts on a show for the fans. That's another reason I love him. John exudes sarcasm and makes the crowd laugh the most. George looks awkward in the air, but I know he's winning hearts as his lanky arms and legs flail about.
And for the first time, I'm fearing the end of the summer.