John has a heart to heart moment with Paul on their way to America.
What Brian did not know was that John had not gotten a wink of sleep the night before and was not planning on sleeping throughout the whole flight. So, to keep him company, he asked Paul sit next to him (er, in this case, sleep next to him) and vouched to stay awake during the entire flight. He knew he was not going to get to bed once they arrived at New York, but at least he would be ready if anything happened on the plane. Or rather, he would be ready if anything happened to the plane.
Since he could remember, John had always been fascinated--and horrified--by Buddy Holly's tragic plane crash in 1959. He also knew not many planes crashed because of the safety precautions taken by the pilots and other members on board. So, why was he such a nervous wreck when he found out about flying across the Atlantic?
Feeling fidgety, he moved around in his seat and accidently elbowed Paul hard enough to wake him from his sleep.
"Is it time to get off the plane?" Paul mumbled rubbing the sleep from his brown eyes.
"Oh, no. I just bumped into ye. Sorry, son," John replied looking at him and quickly gazed back at the window.
"'Ts okay. I should probably get up anyway, y'know, to stretch. Can't sleep during this flight forever." He got up and headed to the rear of the plane. John's brown eyes followed his mate until he lost sight of him. He then continued to blankly stare out the window. God, why couldn't the flight be shorter? As soon as Paul came back from the loo, he took a seat and winked at a cute stewardess pushing a cart of tasty beverages.
"Hope your stay is quite comfortable, Mr. McCartney," she said.
"It is. Thanks luv!" he replied with a charming grin. He turned to John who could not seem to get his eyes off the clouds drifting by. "John? You okay?"
"I'm fine," John responded not looking back at him.
"Oh, alright." Paul's smile faded. He felt like something was up with John, but was not sure what it was. He knew John had not gotten much sleep the night before, so he figured he was just tired. He decided to let him be and turned toward the cute stewardess serving drinks. He ordered a scotch and coke while he talked to her. John eyed his younger mate making casual conversations with her.
"Would you like anything, Mr. Lennon?" she asked him.
"Not now. Thanks anyway," he waved at the stewardess and returned to the window. The stewardess served Paul his drink, and he thanked her with another wink. She continued on her way towards the end of the plane. Paul eyed her before returning to his scotch and coke. Sipping it diligently, he turned back to John. What's bothering him? He's been quieter than a church mouse since take-off. Paul's thoughts of John's sudden silence bugged him the less he talked.
"You sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, thanks for asking, luv."
"Aren't you tired?"
"Oh. Why don't you go to sleep then? Y'know, these seats can recline." He demonstrated for John who still would not look at him.
"I'm relatively aware of that, Paul," John replied stressing his mate's name. Paul raised his seat back up with a confused look on his face.
"Well, okay then. Just thought I'd ask 'cos it's been bugging me. I mean, you not speaking or barely making eye--contact with anyone. I thought something was up." He took a few drinks in between breaks until his glass was half empty. John paused a while before looking at Paul. He wanted to tell his friend why he had been acting this way, but did not want Paul to think he was a sissy for being scared of air plane rides.
"Nothing's wrong. You can stop yer bloody worrying now," John finally replied returning to the window. He almost felt like crying, but held back the tears as Paul fiddled with his glass.
"Okay," Paul whispered. "You know, you can always come to me when there's something bothering you."
"I know. I know," John choked up.
Hours passed, and the Atlantic sky had turned from light blue to shades of purple and pink. It was quite a lovely view in John's eyes. He just hoped it would stay this lovely for the rest of the ride. When he finally took his eyes off of the sky, he noticed everyone else was sound asleep--even Paul despite his early nap. Remembering what he had said earlier, he wondered if he should confess his fear to the younger man. After all, they had known each other since they were teenagers, and Paul had never teased him about his fears--well, except for his fear of the dark, but that was years ago. He did not want to keep secrets from him, but he also did not want to wake him up over something as ridiculous as a phobia. Plus, Paul looked kind of cute sleeping in his reclined chair next to him--not in a queer way mind you. His arms rested on his lap motionless, his head was slightly tilted towards John, his nose stuck up in the air flaring every time he inhaled. John was not attracted to men at all, but he could somewhat see why the birds dug him. He smiled at the sight of his sleeping mate until the plane slightly jerked causing him to jump a little, bump Paul's arm, and awaken him. Paul fluttered his eyes open, yawned, and lifted his head recollecting he was in a plane.
"Have we landed yet?" Paul asked stretching.
"No. We're still flying," John said. "Sorry I woke you."
"Don't worry about it." Paul looked at his friend who was now staring at his feet. "Still can't fall asleep, eh?"
"Haven't been able to since we boarded."
"Oh," Paul said shifting around trying to make himself comfortable again. "Got a lot on your mind I take it?"
John hesitated, then answered, "Sort of."
"Hm. What kind of stuff?"
"I see." John was playing stubborn again, but Paul knew he would spill. It would only take a matter of minutes for him to do so. "Well, if you're alright, then I'm going back to sleep," he said turning the opposite way. "G'night." John looked at Paul.
"Macca, wait. There is something that's bothering me."
"What's the matter luv?" he asked facing his mate.
"Well, it's just that, I..."
John sighed, rubbed the bridge of his nose, and began, "Do you remember when we were teenagers, and all I talked about was Buddy Holly's crash?"
"And how I rejected the idea of flying to Hamburg?"
"And how fidgety I felt when we were on board during our first tour?"
"Yeah." Then, it hit him. "So is that it? Are you still afraid of flying?"
John faced the seat in front of him for a moment until he glanced at the younger man again. Embarrassment plastered his face as he spoke.
"Yeah," he whispered. "I know it hasn't been long since we've ridden on a plane, but I just feel suspicious about this tour. Like something frightening is gonna happen to us."
"Why were you afraid to tell me?" Paul asked scooting closer to John.
"I don't know. I just thought you'd think I was daft for being scared of flying across the Atlantic. Truth is, I've never been this far away from home before, and I'm worried about what would happen if, we didn't make it. What would happen to me family? What would they do without a husband and a father to support them? What would happen to our band? What if one of us goes missing? Christ, it sounds ridiculous to worry about this shit, but, once you settle down with a family and 'ave amazing mates like you lads, you really start to think of these sort of situations, son. Course I wouldn't expect you to understand completely since you're not married and all that," John paused and looked straight into Paul's eyes. "But y'see, I kept thinking about what would happen to you and everyone else if I didn't make it. You know how much you mean to me, Paul. I can't leave any of you. Not this way at least."
Paul took a moment to let John's story soak in. It was true, he did not quite understand what it was like to be depended on by a family, but he did understand why John had been so scared to leave Liverpool. He did not want to die and leave the people he loved behind. Paul had not thought much about what could happen if their plane crashed because he did not want it to take away the exhilaration of the tour. Perhaps if he could make John think the same way, he would not feel as scared anymore. Before John said anything, he leaned closer and wrapped his arm around John's back and stroked it in circles.
"John, it's going to be okay," he said soothingly. "Y'know why? 'Cos, I'm not going to leave you. No matter what happens to any of us, we'll always be together." John rested his head on Paul's shoulder as the younger man coaxed him. In return, Paul rested his head on John's, and they closed their eyes.
"I know, I know. I just worry, 'ts all." Paul nudged his cheek against John's auburn hair.
"Y'know, you worry too much, Lennon."
"At least I have a good reason to be worried." Paul shrugged at his older mate's comment.
"Just promise me one thing, John."
"What is it?"
"Promise me that you'll try not to worry too much. This is going to be an incredible tour, and will only stay that way if you think positive."
"Alright. I promise." Paul raised his head and looked into John's eyes.
"Do you mean it?"
"On my honour as a Beatle, sir," John grinned raising his hand up.
"Good," Paul chuckled. John continued to grin and adjusted himself between Paul's head and shoulder. He felt much better now that he had told him.
"I don't know what I'd do without you, Paul."
"I don't know what I'd do without you either, John." Returning the grin, Paul did something he had never done with a man before and linked his hand with John's. He did not know if John would find it comforting or queer, but he did it anyway hoping he would not back off. Just the thought of him being scared to fly made Paul willing to do whatever it took to make him feel better. Sure enough, neither of them let go, and their fingers warmly intertwined as they sank into a sound slumber.
An hour later, Paul woke up to the sound of John's silent snoring. Carefully, he shifted around only to notice John's head was still resting on his shoulder. His smile grew wider as he settled back into his previous position. "He's asleep at last," he thought and dozed off once again.
Just as the plane was about to land, Brian woke up to check on the boys. The first thing he noticed was John's head nestled on Paul's shoulder and decided to investigate. As he walked closer, he found them sleeping with their hands linked together. He was tempted to wake them, but sighed and walked over to George and Ringo a few seats away.
"I suppose I'll let them wake up on their own," he said crossing the rows and looking back on the two holding hands.