I always thought it was a bad idea for Paul to get too close to John.
I'd always admired John Lennon and I was honoured to be excepted into his band "The Quarry Men" along with my best friend Paul.
Not only my friend, but my older brother.
I always knew Paul had a thing for John. I mean, it was obvious. Everyone knew. But Paul didn't care what everyone else thought. He had feelings for another guy - big deal. Looking back, I don't think he realised how much trouble he was getting himself into.
I'd never liked Stuart that much.
He was reluctant to let me into the band, going on about how I was too young. I always had the feeling that he was out to get me for some reason. Whenever I was around him I'd feel this chilling sensation against the back of my neck and I'd feel my whole face flushing red. I did my best to avoid him.
The one thing about Stu was that he was proud of his bass. Despite the fact he could barely play it, he treasured it as if it was a child, carrying it around everywhere and never letting anyone touch it. He'd never give up his bass position. Not in a million years.
But then John met Paul
I think everyone was too afraid to tell Stuart how crap he was at bass. Paul, well, he could tune a guitar which none of us could do. He seemed a perfect bass player. But no one said this to Stu, probably cos we were all afraid of him. He had this habit for making you feel uncomfortable whenever he was around. Sometimes I couldn't even stand to be in the same room as him.
But I never thought he'd do what he did...
I remember the night we were drinking at the Indra. Seeing as I was only fifteen, I wasn't allowed to drink so I was nicking a few sips from my friend Pete Best's glass. Whenever he caught me, he'd tickle my chin so I pulled my head away in mid sip.
"No liquor for you Harrison, your dad'll kill us if we bring you home roaring drunk" he tapped my nose fondly. I was use to this, being treated like the baby of the group. I guess I was, in some ways and to be honest it wasn't that bad. When you're young and cute you can get away with anything.
I looked around the room for Paul and caught sight of him at the corner of the room. He wasn't sitting on a chair, he was sitting on the floor, his back leaned against the wall. He was sitting and chatting to someone. John. It was John.
They were laughing, John's cigarette poised neatly in mid air between his thumb and forefinger. He kept wavering a packet of cigarettes in Paul's direction but Paul would always decline the offer. He promised me he wasn't going to smoke till he was eighteen. I don't think he really wanted to, I think sometimes he was tempted to have a quick puff at a ciggie. But he knew underaged smoking made me feel uncomfortable, especially as my mam would kill me if I ever touched the things, so he didn't.
I watched the two of them and smiled, for a second a love heart seemed to appear around them and they were the perfect couple. But something cold and icy was splitting the heart in two.
I looked up and saw Stuart sitting alone at a table in the other corner of the room. There was an untouched glass of beer sitting in front of him but he seemed to occupied to drink it. He'd forgotten about his cigarette and let it burn away between his two fingers. He was watching something. Or someone.
I knew as soon as I followed his gaze.
He was watching john and Paul.
With a look that could have killed on the spot.
Things weren't about to get any better either.
We were just crashing one day, behind the cinema screen where we'd found shelter. Just me, Paul, John, Stu, Pete and some other mates. I kept my distance from the smokers and occupied myself with a book instead. But for some reason I couldn't stop glancing at Stu, who was sitting on one of the beds, furiously trying to figure out how to tune his guitar. He was useless at tuning and sometimes I had to restrain myself from laughing when he started cursing the instrument. I watched him, as he hastily flicked his fringe out of his eyes.
He had green eyes
I blinked and i was back in the room. By now Paul had somehow crept up on him without him knowing and was peering over his shoulder, watching his failed attempts to tune the guitar with a raised eyebrow.
I could see he was resisting the urge to correct Stuart. If he'd just left it, it'd never have happened. I tried to go back to my book, but i kept glancing up every now and then watching what was going on.
"I said I could do it myself!" Stuart suddenly snapped and he shoved Paul in the chest. I winced as Paul fell backwards and hit the floor. The book fell from my hands.
At once, the room fell silent and everyone craned their heads over to see what had just happened. I sat there, nibbling my lip, cringing at the awkwardness. Stuart was staring as well. Staring at Paul. I think he'd regretted what he did almost immediately. Maybe if John hadn't intervened he could have helped Paul up, said sorry, maybe even have made friends somehow...
"What the fuck was that for Stu?" John's voice made me jump as he thundered his way over to us.
"He was being an annoying little bugger" Stu fired back, "So I gave him what was coming to him"
"For god's sake Stu, he's only a kid" John replied, diverting his attention to Paul who was still lying on the floor.
I watched as John crouched to his level and smoothed back Paul's dark fringe with one hand. Paul blinked, and I saw there were tears in his eyes. But John seemed to make them disappear.
I could see the look on Stu's face
The look of sheer disgust
"Stu" said John coldly, and I trembled as he arose from the floor.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" John's voice thundered from the other side of the door.
Pete put his ear up to the wood, trying to hear the argument going on outside. The others swarmed around him
"What are they saying?" someone asked
"Sssh" Pete pressed his ear harder, "I think John just called Stu a witch, but I may have misheard"
I sat with Paul on the other side of the room, sitting him comfortably on one of the beds.
"Are you okay?"
Paul nodded then winced, rubbing his back.
"Are you sure?"
He smiled, the reassuring smile he always gave me to show me everything was going to be alright.
"I'm fine Georgie" he said softly and he kissed my forehead gently.
"For God's sake John, it was just a little push. Calm down!"
"It's not even that! You've been a right bastard to Paul ever since he first joined this group, giving him a hateful time. Don't think I haven't noticed those dirty looks you give him, the way you blank him like he's nothing. And you wonder why I replaced you as bassist!"
I could see Paul was uncomfortable listening to the row outside.
"Why don't you go and lie down for a bit. It'll help your back"
Paul seemed hesitant but he heaved himself off the bed anyway and gave me another one of his smiles before leaving out of the back door towards the bedrooms. The guys at the door were still quarrelling.
"Move over Pete, lemme hear!"
"Wait your turn Shotton!"
"What did he do anyway?"
"I heard he tried to kiss Paul but Paul leapt back"
"I heard he punched Paul in the face"
"George, you were there. What happened?"
I swallowed. They were all staring at me, waiting for me to dish the dirt. I stammered like a fool.
"For fuck's sake Lennon your talking like some fucking fairy. What are you, in love with him?"
There was a pause and I was so glad Paul had left the room. We all held our breath, waiting for an answer.
"Well?" Stuart started again.
There was another long pause
"What's going on?"
"I can't hear anything!"
"Are they making out or something?"
"I said get fucked!" John's voice returned and suddenly the door opened, causing Pete and the others to tumble out and land in a heap at his feet.
"And you lot can sod off and all!" John growled, as he stepped over each of them and stormed past me.