Chapter III, contd.

I found a couple of jeans I liked. Ringo said I should get at least five pairs. All of my life, I had only worn flared jeans because for some reason, regular jeans feel like they're choking my ankles. It sounds strange, I know, but they do. Do you feel that way? Anyway.

Four pairs I picked out were flared, but they didn't have anymore flared pairs in my size - they weren't really popular yet. I tried on some regular jeans and decided to get a pair of those. You know what I was going to do to those? I knew we are going to travel a lot, so this would be something to do inbetween hotels, in a car. I was going to cut slits up the outsides of the regular pair of jeans and sew in fabric to make them flared. I had done that to some of my other pairs of jeans before. You should try it - it looks really neat if you get some cool fabric.

I told Paul and Ringo my plan, and they thought that it sounded neat. I saw that the fabric section of the store was nearby, so we went over there to get some fabric in those little cheap rolls they bundle up in yards, you know. I picked out a really neat fabric - the colors in it were purple, teal, blue, and dark green, and there were lots of little designs in it, like swirls and zig-zags. We all thought it looked neat. I also bought a little travel sewing kit with two needles, thread, and tiny scissors.

After we got that, we went to pay for my things. When we were through with that, I realized I needed some other things, like underwear and the like.

"Um, you guys don't have to come with me to get these next things," I said, a little embarassed.

They nodded, getting my meaning. "I wanted to get some shirts anyway. Let's meet here at the register, when we're done," Ringo said.

"Okay. I'll be here in about seven minutes," I replied, handing Ringo some money for his shirts. We then split up: Paul and Ringo heading for the men's section, and me heading for the undergarment section.

I actually found the same type of bra that I wore already, so I grabbed a few of those in my size. I hated shopping for this stuff - it's embarassing. I know it shouldn't be, but it is for me.

I got the rest of the stuff I needed and paid for my things. I headed toward the checkout register to meet up with Paul and Ringo. I waited and looked around for them. Where were they? Looking up at a clock on the wall, I saw it was 1:33. I had been waiting for almost five minutes.

I decided to go look for them in the men's section. As I walked past a rack of coats in that section, I saw one move out of the corner of my eye. I turned, puzzled.

"Lee?" I heard a voice say. It seemed to be coming from the coats.

"Yes?" I asked slowly. I was wondering if it was...

A head poked out of the coats. It was Paul! His beard and moustache were gone.

He loooked around. "The coast is clear, Ring," he said, steeping out of the coats. The shirts on the other side of me started rustling. Ringo stepped out of those.

I looked at them in disbelief. "What in the world is going on?" I asked, laughing.

Ringo explained. "Well, we came over here to get some shirts, and Paul was complaining his beard made his face itch, so he pulled that off." I giggled, thinking of that scene in 'A Hard Day's Night' when he does that, you know. Ringo continued.

"We were picking out some shirts when two girls came up behind us and jumped on us! Seriously!" I burst out laughing.

"Jumped on you?!" I said.

Paul nodded, laughing also. "Aye, they just jumped on our backs, clawing at our hair. One of them took me hat, too," he said.

"How rude!" I replied. "How did you get them to go away?"

"Gave 'em an autograph," Ringo told me.

"And they just went away? Wow," I said.

Paul nodded. "They do that sometimes. I just wish they wouldn't jump on us and take something, y'know."

I smiled. "Why were you hiding if they went away?" I asked.

"We saw them run over to some girls and tell them something. One even produced a pair of scissors! They started to come over here again, so we hid," Ringo stated. "I don't like having me hair cut."

I smiled again. I, for some reason, found that really funny that they actually had to hide from fans! "They were actually going to cut your hair?" I asked in disbelief.

Ringo nodded seriously. "Aye, and mess up me haircut." He reached up and stroked his hair.

Paul ran a hand through his hair and said, "Well, let's get our stuff before the screaming birds come back, then." Ringo and I agreed.

Ringo picked out two shirts quickly, and we paid for them. Glancing at his watch, Paul said, "Eh, we'd better hurry an' get the rest of your stuff, Lee. It's 1:40 already. We have five minutes before we need to meet Nell."

"Okay," Ringo replied. "What else do ya need, Lee?" he asked me.

"Well, I need toiletry stuff, like a toothbrush and the like," I told him. We walked quickly to a sales attendent and found out what section of the store had that sort of stuff. It was (of course) way across the store.

We got the things I needed, like a toothbrush, a hairbrush, hair scrunchies, and all that, paid for them, and half-ran to the tall plant to meet Neil. Paul said it was 1:46 - one minute late. Our bags made it harder to walk fast.

Neil was already there and waiting. "You're late," he scolded, smiling.

"By one bloody minute!" Paul exclaimed. We all laughed.

"Did ya find any cases, Nell?" Ringo asked. Neil wasn't carrying anything, and there weren't any boxes beside him.

"Aye, I did. They're gonna drive them over to the hotel immediately and send them up to the room." Neil looked at his watch. "We need to get goin' so we have time to pack up Lee's case and leave on time." He turned to me. "Is there anything else ya need before we go, luv?"

I shook my head. "No, I don't think so," I replied.

"Then let's get goin'," Neil said.

"Aye, aye, cap'n," Ringo replied, saluting. Carrying our purchases, we headed toward the exit.

I started swinging my bag containing my toiletry stuff around my finger - I like to do that. It's amusing. "Wow, you're talented there," Ringo said, smiling. I laughed.

"I've practiced lots," I replied. "Watch." I started moving my arm in a circle as the bag swung precariously around my finger. Everyone laughed.

Just then, the bag flew off of my finger, above the heads of several people, and hit the wall, some of the contents spilling out - the bag almost hit a girl teenager walking by.

"Oh, shoot," I muttered, pushing my way through the people to get to my bag. "Sorry," I apologized to the girl, picking up the stuff that had spilled out. She shrugged, helping me pick up my stuff. Paul then came to my side.

"Come 'ed, Lee, we need to go," he said, taking my arm. I stood up all of the way. "Nell and Ringo have already gone ahead to the hotel," he added.

The girl who I almost hit turned to look at Paul when he spoke. Her jaw dropped. "You're-" she gasped, eyes wide. She let out a shrill scream. People turned to look.

'Oh, no,' I thought, backing up.

Paul cleared his throat. "Um, who am I, miss?" he asked, trying to change his voice.

The girl cried, "It's Paul!" A large group of female teenagers who were hanging out by the doors turned and saw Paul. They all screamed and surged toward us, and people ran to get out of the way.

Paul's eyes went wide. Grabbing my hand (I got a quick chill from that), he pulled me past the girls and into the JC Penney main store. "The exit's that way!" I cried, pointing to the doors in the opposite direction.

"I know!" Paul replied, pulling me past the cash registers. People gave us funny looks as they jumped out of the way. A huge crowd of girls were running after us - I guessed about ten girls!

We stopped for a quick rest behind a display for soap. "They aren't far behind," I whispered, breathing hard. "Why didn't we go outside?"

Paul answered, "Then all of the girls 'ud follow us out there - into the road. We don't want them to get hurt." I nodded, understanding.

I heard fast footsteps and girls voices. "Where is he?" one said. Another asked, "Who was that girl?" "I don't know, but I wish it was me! Did you see he held her hand?" a girl answered. A different girl sighed. "Oh, he's so dreamy!" she said. I looked at Paul and sighed.

"Oh, you're so dreamy!" I said to him, imitating the girl. Paul laughed quietly.

"Ssh!" one girl hissed, "I heard a voice!" The girls got quiet and listened.

Paul motioned for me to follow him. He crept over behind a tall shelf of shoes as I followed close behind.

We got as far as the coat section before we were spotted. "There he is!" a girl shrieked. They all ran towards us.

Paul and I bolted for the aisle. "Split up!" he called to me.

"Okay!" I replied, turning right as he ducked into the next aisle on the left.

I was still in the coat section. Trying to think of a quick disguise, I grabbed a large coat and threw it on.

The girls came around the corner soon. They saw me and ran over to me.

"Excuse me, miss," one of them said, "Did you spot a guy and a girl running past here a minute ago?"

Trying my best to look sophisticated, I turned my nose up to them and said, "No, I most certainly have not! Why would anyone be running? Hmph, children these days."

A girl squinted at me. "Hey, it's her!" she cried, running up to me and yanking off the coat. Three of them jumped on me, pinning me to the floor.

"Where is Paul?!" one of them yelled at me. I struggled, trying to get up.

"I don't know!" I cried. A girl sat on my stomach, holding up a fist.

"Tell me where he is or else," she said menacingly.

"Like I said, I don't know," I replied, trying to stay calm. Would they really hurt me because of this?

"Hey!" a male voice called out. It was a security guard. "What's goin' on over there?" He came over.

The girl quickly got off of me and pulled me up, her hand tightly around my wrist. "Nothing, sir," she said with a sweet face, "Josie here just slipped and fell."

The guard smiled. "Very well. Have a good day, girls," he said, walking away. The girls sighed in relief.

I tried to twist my wrist out of the girl's hand - she was strong. "Let me go," I demanded.

The girl gave me a look and pushed me down on the floor. I got right back up. I could be tough if I wanted to - I could fight these girls off and get back to the hotel - as long as only one or two of them were fighting at once. You know, I was a little outnumbered.

Two girls held my arms and the tough girl made a fist. "We wanna see Paul," she growled through clenched teeth.

I kicked at her. "I told you, I don't know where he is!" I cried.

"I'm right here," a voice to my far left said, "let Lee go." All of the girls turned and stared at Paul. I broke free and ran. Paul followed me, and the chase began again.

I saw a sign for the restrooms. Grabbing Paul's arm, I pulled him into the one-person employee's bathroom, and slammed the door and locked it.

"Gosh," I muttered. Paul sat on the toilet lid.

"Did they hurt ya?" he asked. I shook my head.

"They were going to," I replied. Paul stared at the floor. "Do you always have to put up with this stuff? I mean, being mobbed and chased all of the time?" I asked him. It didn't seem much fun to me.

Paul looked up at me seriously. "Yes" was his reply. He stood up and approached me. "Being a Beatle isn't all it's cracked up to be. Our image is all wrong, and I'm sick of being chased."

I looked into his deep brown eyes. He continued. "Everyone thinks it'd be great to be famous and rich and all that crap. Well, it's not! I wish I could just stop everything that's going on right now and just make music without being famous. Damn, it's so awful!" He looked at me again. "It's like we're in a cage, and everyone is staring at us all of the time and freaking out!"

I just looked at him. They really did feel trapped by their fame. I had read about how awful touring was for them, but I never fully realized how awful it actually was. I didn't know what to say.

"Paul, I-" I began, but was interrupted by a knock at the door. My eyes went wide.

"Is anyone in there?" a female voice called out.

"Oh, shit," Paul muttered.

I cleared my throat. "Uh, just a second!" I called back. Turning to Paul, I whispered, "What do we do?"

Paul shrugged and stuck his hands in his pockets. Then his face lit up, and he pulled something out of one pocket. "Ha!" he said, smiling.

I looked at him, then at the black thing in his hand. It was his fake beard and moustache. I smiled, looking back up at him. "Okay," I said, "This'll be funny." I took the beard and moustache in my hand. Looking in the mirror, I placed them on my face and laughed.

Paul laughed too. "You look so masculene," he complimented.

"Why, thank ya, son," I replied in a male-like British voice. We laughed, and Paul pulled off his suit jacket. I put it on and looked in the mirror.

"Nice disguise - you don't look anything like a girl now," Paul told me, "Too bad your hair gives it away." He put an arm around my shoulders - an electric chill went up my back. Paul then opened the door and we exited the bathroom.

A lady was sitting on a bench nearby, reading a magazine - I figured it was her that had knocked. She looked up at us and her eyes grew large.

"It's free!" I sang to her, smiling. Paul and I walked around the corner together and burst out laughing.

"Did ya see her look?!" Paul cried, his arm falling from my shoulders. I guess it was kind of mean to do that to someone who just wanted to use the restroom, but it was funny anyway. I then smiled, thinking, 'Wow! Paul put his arm around my shoulders!' - I know, it's a corny thought, but hey, he did. Yeah, i know it was for the 'disguise', but still.

Paul glanced at his watch. "Oh, shit!" he said rather loud. A few people turned and gave him a look (they gave me an odd look too). "Sorry," he apologized to an old lady. I giggled. Paul looked back over at me. "It's past two o'clock!" he said to me.

The smile flew away from my face. "Oh no!" I exclaimed, "We were supposed to leave already! They're waiting for us!" I quickly pulled off my fake 'facial hair'.

We rushed toward the front of the store - lucky for us, we didn't run into those hyper girls! I clenched my bag tightly in my fist as we exited the store and ran down the sidewalk (I did seem to run a lot with the Beatles!).

After we ran into the hotel, Paul asked the attendant, "Is the party of Mr. Wilkenson and family still here?"

The attendant shuffled around a few papers and replied, "No, I'm sorry. They checked out awhile ago."

Paul's face dropped as we sat down in a chair in the lobby.

"What do we do?" I asked him, worried.

Paul shrugged. "I dunno."

I leaned back in my chair. We were stuck here with no one to talk to and take us to the next tour place. How could they just leave us? I sighed, dejected and wishing all of this madness wouldn't have happened so we could've made it back here on time.

Chapter IV

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