One that will never fade away,
And if you're searching for an answer,
Stick around, I say."
Paul McCartney "Coming Up"
Roy, of course, didn't want to get up that morning and it took all of my strength just to get him out of the bed. After the struggle of getting him dressed came the fight to get him to eat something. Everything I made for him wasn't good enough so he opted to buy something on the way to work. He was late, but didn't seem to care, and waltzed out the door at eight o' clock. He left me two hours to get ready for my meeting, which wasn't nearly enough. I had been icing my eye non-stop since last night, but that didn't stop the black and blue from showing up. I owned very little make-up, but what I did have was used to cover my eye. I only had blue eye shadow, so my outfit for the day had to be blue. I tore through my closet trying to find something blue. The only decent outfit I could find was my white mini skirt and my long sleeved silk shirt with blue and white swirls. Thank God it was long sleeved so it could cover up the bruises from Roy last night. I quickly threw the ensemble on and moved on into the bathroom to fix my hair. I had shoulder length blondish/brown hair and blue-green eyes. Today my eyes seemed more blue because of the eye shadow and shirt, but if it had been green, then green it might have seemed. There wasn't much I could do with my hair, so I brushed it and curled the ends a bit. After checking myself over one more time I was out the door. I had to catch the bus to get to Abbey Road because I didn't have a car and we lived across town from the studios, too far to walk.
Luckily the bus arrived on time and I got to Abbey Road only a few minuets late. It had begun to snow, something I was beginning to miss from back home. It was the middle of January and usually by this time back home we were having snow days and blizarrds. But here in London, it was only a few sprinkles every once in a while and mushy, slushy weather. I kicked the slush off my boots and hung up my coat in the main lobby where I had entered. It was a medum sized white room with one receptionist behind a desk answering phones. It was silent in the room, except for her talking and the phones ringing.
"Yes sir, he is in today but he's in the middle of a meeting right now, can I take a message? Yes sir, it's a very important meeting . . . yes sir I'll . . . yes sir . . . yes sir . . . good-bye sir," she said into the reciever. Poor thing, she kept getting interrupted by whoever was on the other end. She slammed the phone down and scribbled something on a piece of paper while looking up at me. "Can I help you miss?" she asked while hanging the paper up on a board.
"Um, yes, I'm here to meet a Mr. Brian Epstien. I'm Leigh Whitmore and he told me to . . ."
"Second door to the left, you can walk right in, he's been expecting you," she pointed down the hall. That was rude of her to cut me off like that. I clutched my purse and followed her finger to my left where there was a short hallway with four doors. The second door to the left was marked 'Conference Room One' and I could faintly hear voices inside. It must have been Mr. Epstien and that Mr. Martin he spoke of the day before. The receptionist told me to walk right in, so I turned the doorknob and entered the room.
As soon as the door opened the voices fell silent. There, in the rather large room, was Mr. Epstien and a younger man who looked extremly familiar. He was younger than Mr. Epstien and very good looking. He had long brown, almost black, hair with big brown eyes. He was smiling, but the smile faded when I entered which was a shame because I was sure that he had a lovely smile. God, he looked familiar. Did I know him? Was he . . . no he couldn't be. They did live in London, but . . . a Beatle? No, he couldn't possibly be one. I loved the Beatles, I have ever since they made their American debut on Ed Sullivan back in Febuary of '64, and now they had an even more special meaning to me. The only things I had to cling to, occupy myself with while Roy was at work were my records, and so the Beatles were frequently played in our home. But to actually meet one, that would be amazing . . . but this man couldn't be one of them, or could he?
Mr. Epstien brought me out of my trance and back down to reality when he jumped out of his seat to shake my hand.
"Miss Whitmore, glad to see you made it! I was getting worried that either you weren't interested or that something had happened to you!" he said cheerily as he shook my hand. I managed to smile at him and explain.
"Well, things were crazy at the house this morning. My fiancee, Roy Shaw, was running late for work, and the bus I took to get here was running late as well and . . . oh, it was just a crazy morning and I aplogize for making you wait!" I said as Mr. Epstien showed me to a seat to his left.
"Miss Whitmore . . . "
"Leigh. Please call me Leigh, Mr. Epstien," I interrupted. He smiled and started over again with emphasis on Leigh,
"Leigh, this is one of my other clients, Paul McCartney, member of the Beatles," he said while motioning at Paul, who had gotten up from his seat to shake my hand.
"Hello, Leigh." I caught my breath. It was him! I didn't want to make a fool of myself so I just smiled and outstreched my arm to take his hand.
"Hello, Paul. Pleased to meet you." Mr. Epstien motioned for me to sit down so that we could beging discusing contracts and the like.
I couldn't help but notice that Paul kept staring at me throughout the meeting. He stayed relatively quiet except for a little laugh or a word or two every now and then. About halfway through the conference there was a knock at the door. Mr. Epstien sighed and yelled for the person to enter.
"Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Epstien, but there's an important phone call for you," the woman said. She looked rather young, early twenties like me. Mr. Epstien groaned and got up.
"If you'll excuse me for just one moment, Leigh, Paul," he said as he followed the girl out the door, shutting it behind him. He left Paul and me alone in the spacious room. I took the time to look around and take in the sights. It was a large, white room. It had a long table with several chairs in the middle of it and a row of windows looking out on the busy London streets. There was a tiny black couch off in the corner with a fake green plant on a red stand.
It was silent in the room, the type of silence that a person dreads. That uncomfortable silence when you want to talk, but you don't know what to say. I glanced over at Paul, who to my surprise was staring intently at me. He was leaning back in his chair and grinning a sly, smart-ass smile. He had his hands folded in front of him, resting on his chest and his feet proped up on the table. His eyes still hadn't budged, and he was still staring at me. He was beginning to make me uncomfortable, so I laughed and yelled at him.
"What? What're you staring at? What's so funny?" I laughed. He didn't answer and kept grinning.
"What? What is it? What could possibly . . ."
"That's quite a shiner you've got there. Where'd you get it?" he asked. His question took me completely by surprise and I laughed a little.
"What did you say?" He slid his legs off the table and leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on the table.
"You heard me, where'd you get it?" I couldn't believe he saw it! Mr. Epstien hadn't noticed, and neither did the receptionist or the bus driver.
"How did you know I had a black eye?! Mr. Epstien didn't notice, nobody noticed it! How did you?" I asked, amazed and a bit embarrased. He laughed,
"I've seen enough black eyes in my day, plus you have gobs of make-up on your eyes. So . . . where'd you get it?" I couldn't let him know the truth about where I'd gotten it. If I told him about Roy who knows what he'd do. And if Roy ever found out, I'd be dead for sure. I tried to change the subject.
"So are you guys making a new record here?" Paul laughed,
"Yes, and you're changing the subject. Come on luv, where'd you get it?" he pried. I got up and walked over towards the windows with my back to him.
"Are you going to go on tour with this new album?"
"No . . . why are you avoiding my question? What's so embarrasing about a black eye? I've had about a million in my day, used to get them all the time when I was a boy in Liverpool." He got up stood next to me at the windows. "Who hit you? One of your girlfriends with a lethal punch?" he asked. I looked at him and burst out laughing. He smiled and started laughing with me. "Fine, let's change the subject . . . you're an American lass, what're you doing here in London?" he asked.
"My fiancee, Roy, lives here and he convinced me to move," I explained, taking a seat.
"Fiancee, huh? How long have you two been engaged?" Paul asked while taking a seat next to me. I bit my lip and tried to remember how long.
"Umm, about five months, I think. We're getting married in May."
"Oh," he said while lighting up a ciggarette. He offered me one, but I declined.
"I don't smoke."
"Oh," he said again, putting away his pack. "Do you mind if I do?" I shook my head,
"No, go ahed, I don't mind one bit." He took a long drag and blew out a cloud of smoke.
"So where in the states are you from?" he asked.
"Cleveland. It's in Ohio, but you probably know that. You've been there on tour, haven't you?"
"Yes, a few times I think. Crazy fans there. Last time we were there - on this last tour - we had to walk off the stage because the fans were so crazy! We didn't get to see much of the city, though I'm sure it's lovely."
"It is, but I don't live downtown, I live in a tiny suburb called Independence, you might have heard of it, but I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't. People that live in the next city over have never heard of it!" I laughed.
"Is it that small?" Paul asked while laughing and dragging on his ciggie.
"Sort of, the city's small, but there's a lot of people that live there."
"Oh. So, how did you meet uh . . . Ralph?"
I laughed and corrected him, "Roy. I met him over the summer of '65. His uncle lived up the street from me and he hooked us up one night when Roy was visiting. It was only supposed to be a one time thing, but we really hit it off and we went out again and again while he was there. When he went back home, here in London, we kept in touch through letters and the occasional phone call. He visited his uncle again this past summer, but this time he stayed longer. He proposed to me before he left in the fall and I accepted . . . "
"Right, of course. He thought it would be too much of a hassle for him to move to Cleveland so he told me to move in with him in his place here in London, so I moved in about two, three weeks ago."
"He told you to move? He didn't even ask if you wanted to?" Paul seemed a bit stunned by this, but I just shrugged it off.
"Well he's got a job here, and I wasn't doing anything back home. I had just graduated from college when he proposed, and it wasn't like there was anything for him in Ohio, so I agreed and moved out here."
Paul inhaled one last drag off his ciggarette and rubbed it out in the ashtray. "What did you major in? You know, what were you going to do?" he asked without looking up from the ashes.
"I majored in english and was going to teach. I've always loved kids, you know? They're so innocent and pure and real. I wish I could have a dozen of my own. What about you, Paul? Do you want kids?" I asked. He smiled at me and nodded.
"Yeah, I want my own litter of little ones running around me house. What do you mean you wish you could have a dozen?"
I sighed, "Roy doesn't want children . . . he doesn't like them, calls them expensive and messy. But I don't care how expensive or how messy, but unfortunatly, he does." I was a bit saddened thinking about it. Paul, somehow sensed that and put his arm around me to comfort me.
"Aw, Leigh, I'm sure he'll change his mind once you tie the knot. He'll have to, kids are so adorable and sweet. They're a real giggle and once he realizes that he'll want a hundred little Leigh Whitmore's running around his living room floor." I couldn't help but laugh, which got him laughing too.
We were still laughing when Mr. Epstien re-entered looking a bit disheveled.
"Sorry to keep you two waiting. Leigh, I think that's all for today. I want you to meet my genius friend, George Martin, so that the two can get cracking at an album. Are you free to come back Monday morning?" I nodded,
"Yes, I'm free. Do you want be back here at the same time? Ten?" I asked. Mr. Epstien nodded and told me he couldn't wait to see me in the studio. I bade Paul farewell and thanked Mr. Epstien who corrected me.
"Just Brian." I gatered my purse and coat and made my way home before it got too late and Roy came home to an empty house. I was so happy and excited that I floated the whole way home.