I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved . . ."
"Getting Better" The Beatles
The weekend had been excellent so I was in high spirits when I went into the studio on Monday. Roy had felt "absolutly horrible" about what he had done and had taken me out shopping on Saturday. I managed to get some really great, hip outfits for bargain prices (an old family tradition, get more for less). By the time I returned home I had seven new outfits, three new pairs of shoes, a pair of new stockings, and the latest Dylan release that I had been meaning to get. Roy was sweet to me all weekend and even made dinner Sunday night. He of course burnt it, but at least he tried and the effort was there.
By some miracle of God, Roy got himself up on Monday morning and got himself into work on time. I about had a heart attack. I had time to sleep in and enough time to get ready that morning, plus, the black and blue was fading away and I didn't need to over do it on the eye make-up.
I wandered into Abbey Road Studios around quater to ten, fifteen minuets early, just because I could. The receptionist, whose name I found out, was Mindy was in a considerably better mood than last time. She greeted me with a warm, friendly smile and directed me down the hall to my right into studio two where Brian and Mr. Martin were waiting for me. Sure enough, Brian was sitting in the studio by a piano with another gentleman who had silver hair and was a bit taller than Brian. He was a good looking man, even though he was far too old for me. He, who I figured was this George Martin I'd heard so much about, was playing some dity on the piano. He was rather good and I instantly reconized the song as a number by Strauss.
"And you hear here? This?" He banged down on the piano keys and swept into a key change. "This is what he was good at . . . John's been getting into that a bit more. Paul has too, it's a good thing, that and changing the time meters in the middle of the song. Going from 4/4 to 3/4 then back to 4/4 and even an occasional 2/4 which is quite amazing for a rock and roll song. I wonder if they even realize that they're doing it in their music?" He began a more melodic piece than he was playing before which I instantly fell in love with. "This is something I've been working on in my spare time . . . what little I have now a days! My wife loves it and tells me I should really work on it, maybe add an orchestra part to it or some vocals, but I just don't see it and I just don't have the time to try to vision it. Maybe some day I'll tackle it, but untill then . . . who knows?" He sighed as he belted out the final chords. Throught the entire conversation, Brian kept nodding and "uh-huh"-ing while Mr. Martin explained the nitty gritty of the music to him. The piece he had just played was wonderful, and I immeadetly began clapping for him.
"That was wonderful!" I cheered as the two spun around, startled by the noise. Obviously, they hadn't heard me enter and were quite stunned to hear me clapping. Brian smiled,
"George, this is that girl I was telling you about, Leigh Whitmore. Leigh, this is my miracle worker, George Martin," Brian introduced us. Mr. Martin, the gentleman, shook my hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you miss, I've heard an awful lot about you and your voice." I blushed,
"Good things I hope! It's a pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Martin," I saied.
"Oh, please, just call me George like everyone else does!" he laughed. "Well, what do you say we tackle a few songs?" he asked motioning to the piano.
"I'd love to.
We recorded the A and B side of my first single, "I Pray" and the other "Somewhere" and we began talking about which songs I'd record for an album. After giong through all of my material, George thought I ought to pick out my favorite twelve songs and use those for the album. He also wanted me to start to think of a title and cover, but there was no rush for one. I decided on "I Pray," "Somewhere," (obviously), "Understand," "Us," "Trying For Them," "Sitting," "My Untitled Song," "When?," "Melodrama," "Never," "Too Late for I'm Sorry," and the most personal song, "I Would Have Loved You." "I Would Have Loved You" always brought tears to my eyes whenever I sang it, and George was quite impressed with it.
We finished up around three-thirty and began to make plans for Tuesday.
"Same time tomorrow, all right?" George asked me.
"Sounds good to me - say, would you come up with some ideas for "Would Have?" It just doesn't sound right to me, it's lacking something and I have no idea what it could be. Maybe a guitar part and a bass line. You know what, I really should learn guitar. I've been playing piano since I was a little girl, and I can play the flute as well, but I've never thought to pick up guitar!" I laughed. George smiled,
"Well, I know one lad who'd be more than happy to teach you, in fact I'm sure he could dig up two more of his friends to teach you as well." I wasn't following him and stared at him with a confused look on my face.
"Who? Brian?" I didn't know that Brian played any instruments.
George laughed, "No, Paul McCartney and his mates John and George! Paul was listening in on your session and thinks you've got a great voice and he loves your lyrics." I was stunned. When had Paul snuck in to listen? And when did George get a chance to talk to him about it? He had been either in the room with me or up in the tinted black box above where they recorded. Ohhhh . . . it sunk in slowly. Paul was up there listening and George had talked with him then. I laughed at my patheticly slow mind and George joined in.
"He really liked them then?" I couldn't beleive it . . . an accomplished musician thinking that I had talent.
"Why don't you ask him yourself?" George quipped while wrapping a cord up around his arm. He was looking past me and at the door where, sure enough, Paul stood smiling.
"Yes, I enjoyed your performance emmencly Miss Whitmore. Why didn't you tell me you had talent?" he laughed while he walked over toward me. He leaned in and gave me a quick peck on the cheek and shook hands with George. "So, when are you do to release that single of yours?" he asked while sitting down next to me on the piano bench.
"Um, as soon as we finish the album, which might take a while."
"Ah, yes, you're a busy one aren't you? Running around getting married, causing trouble, getting black eyes. . ." he whisperd quietly so that George wouldn't hear. Luckily for Paul, he hadn't and was still cleaning up cords and wires. "Leigh, luv, how would you like to meet me mates?" Paul asked.
"Your mates? You mean John and Ringo and George? They're here?" I squeaked. I tried to hold my excitement in, but a tiny bit escaped much to Paul's surprise.
"A fan?" he asked, a bit taken by my enthusiam.
I let out a little laugh and blush, "Sort of. I own the records, but I'm not one to obsess and scream over. Shocking, isn't it? A Beatles fan who doesn't know George's favorite color or John's brand of ciggarettes. Just a big fan of the music." Paul smiled and pulled me up off the bench.
"Come on, they're dying to meet you." He led me down the hall into a studio labeled "Studio One" where John was lying on the floor singing to himself. Paul stifled a giggle and crept up to him and jumped over his head, startiling John. Paul laughed hysterically while John cursed him for disturbing him.
"Damn it Paul! I almost had it that time! Why'd you have to do that?" John shot up from the floor to stare Paul down. His back was full of dirt and his hair was a mess and his screaming at Paul only made him look like an old beggar complaining about something. By that point I had had it, and I broke down laughing. John spun around surprised. "Who the bloody hell are you and what're you doing here?" he angrily asked.
"Settle down Johnny, this is Leigh Whitmore. Remember, Brian and I were telling you about her?" Paul said. John paused and thought for a moment, obviously trying to remember the name. His face lit up when he remembered and he smiled a sheepish smile and extended his hand for me to shake.
"Sorry luv, I claim temporary insanity." Paul laughed,
"Temporary? John?" John shot him a look and pretended to punch him.
"For the moment, yes. So, you're the Leigh Whitmore I've heard so much about in these past few days. Do tell my dear, what is so amazing about you?" John laughed. I shrugged and smiled.
"I guess my great talent would be changing the subject," I smiled. Paul let out a little laugh and picked up an acoutic guitar, picking out a few notes then strumming gracefully to a faintly familiar tune. John ignored the last comment and continued to interrogate me.
"You're American . . . hmm, what do you think of our little city London?"
"Oh, well, it's better than I thought! I didn't really want to move here, but now that I have, I'm glad I did. It's a great place."
John glared at me, "Why didn't you want to move here, and if you didn't want to come here, then why, may I ask, are you here?" He asked. I opened my mouth to answer but Paul beat me to it.
"Her fiancee lives here and he made her move here," he said without looking up from his guitar. He sounded a bit angry and annoyed, but both John and I brushed it off.
"So you're taken, eh? Then you just may be the one female alive who won't be taken by the infamous McCartney charm! I'll bet our Paulie here is madder than hell at that!" John laughed. I blushed at his comment because the truth was, I did find Paul charming and attractive, but I had to keep those feelings hidden because of Roy. Paul rolled his eyes and kept strumming,
"Sag off Lennon." John laughed and ruffled Paul's hair a bit then turned back to me.
"So, Miss Whitmore, or should I say Mrs. . . . well, what's it going to be?"
"Shaw. I'm marrying Roy Shaw," I said.
"Well then, soon-to-be Mrs. Shaw, answer me this, what is your favorite song?" I couldn't help but laugh at John's off the wall question.
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"You can tell a lot about a person by their interests and likes, so tell me, what is it? One of my songs?" he asked, raising his voice slightly at the end. I laughed,
"Sorry, but no, my favorite would have to be . . . oh, I'd say it's tie between "Don't Ever Change" and, don't laugh when I say this, but "Clarabella." All of my friends call me crazy for liking that song, but I can't help it, I love it." John smiled and Paul's face lit up,
"That's one of me favorites too! I thought I was the only one who enjoyed that song!" Paul laughed. John only rolled his eyes,
"Yer both nutty."
We sat there talking, just the three of us for a good hour about anything and everything. I told them about my little brother, Greg, and how we tried to dig a hole to China in our backyard and John told of his bad behavior and frequent trips to the pricipals office. Paul laughed about his days of "climbing, playing, and getting in trouble." Before I knew it, it was four-thirty and Roy would be getting back from work fairly soon. I panicked and excused myself from the conversation.
"I'm sorry, but I've really got to go, Roy will be home soon and I've really got to go. I'll . . . uh see you two later . . . I hope. Bye!" I shouted as I ran out of the room, leaving behind two confused Beatles.
The next few days went by fast and my bus trips across town were starting to become expensive. Roy was sure to find out that I had been spending so much money, so I desperately needed to find another way to Abbey Road. I figured that if I got up early enough, I could walk, but that was a bad idea. First off, I would freeze and secondly, if I ended each session at four, I'd never get home in time to start dinner and be back before Roy, and I couldn't let him know that I was gone during the day. I asked Keateah if I could bum rides off of her, but her car was in the shop and was getting rides off of Nick each morning. Jenny lived across town, so she could give me rides home, but rides to work were out of the way, plus she was never home so Jenny was crossed off the list. I was pondering what to do in one of the conference rooms when Paul wandered in on me.
"Hello luv, what're you doing in here?" he asked as he pulled up a chair next to me.
"Just thinking and eating my lunch," I said between bites of fish.
"Yum, fish and chips, sounds good."
"Do you want some, Paul? I've got more than enough, plus I'm stuffed. If you want the rest, you can have it. I've got a whole sandwich left, take it!" I said pushing the fish sandwich toward him. He laughed and readily agreed.
"Thanks Leigh, I was starvin' meself to death!"
"Oh, it's my pleasure to feed a starving man!" I laughed
"So what were you thinking about?" he asked
"I don't want to bother you with my problems."
"No, really, I don't mind, tell me - what's up? Anything I can help with?"
I sighed, "Well, thing is I can't afford to take the bus everyday here, and I can't walk in the cold, and I have no ride so . . . I have a problem!" I laughed. Paul smiled and shook his head,
"No you don't."
"What, do you have some magical trick up your sleeve that you've been keeping from me?"
"I wouldn't call it a 'magical trick' but it is the solution to your problem, if you're willing to hear it out."
"Sure I'm willing. What's your solution, Paul?"
"Well, I could give you a ride each morning to and from the studio, if you want." I was speechless. Paul didn't live anywhere near me, but he was willing to go out of his way to make life easier for me!
"I couldn't ask you to do that Paul! You live so far away from my flat, I couldn't ask you to go out of your way to . . ."
"Ah, see you didn't ask me - I offered," he cut me off. I couldn't think of any ligitiment response, so I threw myself at him and hugged him.
"Thank you so much Paul! I owe you one!"
"No problem, luv, it's my pleasure!" he laughed.
I glanced at the clock on the wall and noticed that my short little lunch break was over. "Oops! I gotta run, my breaks over, so I'll see you at three-thirty?" I asked.
"You bet." I headed for the door and ran right into Ringo who wasn't paying attention as to where he was walking.
"Oh, sorry Leigh, luv, I didn't see you," he apologized.
"It's all right, Ring, I wasn't paying attention either," I said. As I walked out of the room Ringo grabbed my arm,
"Do you still want me around two for that drum part?" I flinched and wriggled out of his grip. He had grabbed me right where my bruises were from Roy.
"Ow!" I yelped. Ringo and Paul stared at me, wondering what made me react like that. I blushed and tried to laugh it off, "Gee, Ring, you've got quite a grip there!" I said as I playfully punched him in the arm. "Yes, I need you for that drum part, I've . . . uh, got to go." And I ran out of the room clutching my arm. As I ran out I could hear Ringo say,
"I barely touched her!"
My arrangement with Paul worked out perfectly. Everyday at nine-thirty he picked me up in his black jaguar and drove me to Abbey Road and everyday at four-thirty he drove me home. By some miracle by the grace of God, Roy never found out about my daily outings, nor did he even suspect things were fishly. Everything was going wonderfully and Paul and I were starting to become great friends, untill things changed drastically one Friday evening . . .
I had finished recording for the day and was looking for Paul. It was four-thirty and he was due to give me my ride home, but he wasn't in one of the studios and he wasn't in the lobby. I leaned over Mindy's desk where she was busy filing away at her nails.
"Mindy, have you seen Paul anywhere? I can't find him." Mindy kept filing and didn't even bother to look up,
"He's in with Mr. Epstien and some other buisness men in conference room one," she said.
"Thanks Mindy," I said as I headed down the hall. I was beginning to panic about my situation. If we didn't leave right that second, Roy was going to get home before me and that wouldn't be good for anybody - especially me. I stormed in the room where Paul and Brian were seated with five men in black suits. All conversation fell as I entered,
"Paul we need to go," I said sternly. Paul's eyes opened wide with surprise at my sudden burst-in and my demand for a ride. He slowly got up and wispered to me,
"Leigh, I'm in the middle of a very important meeting, you'll have to wait a little while longer, I'm sorry, but I can't leave right now," he said ushering me to the door.
"No, Paul, we need to leave right now!" I yelled.
"Leigh, you just don't understand, I can't right now, I'm in the middle of something important, just wait . . ."
"Is John still here? Or George or Ringo? Anyone?" I begged.
Paul shook his head, "No, today's their day off . . . why can't you wait?" he said. As he spoke he gripped my arms causing pain to radiate through my body. I winced and yelled,
"That's why!" and stormed out of the room. If I ran, I might be able to make the four-thirty bus and get home on time. I grabbed my coat and purse and stormed out of the building, running towards the bus stop. As my luck had it, I had just missed the bus and was going to have to walk home. I didn't waste any time and began to speed-walk home. It was going to take me at least fourty-five minuets to get to the flat and I needed every second. I kept looking at my watch on my way home. Every time I glanced at it, it left me less and less time to get home. My feet, nose, and fingers were going numb, but I couldn't let that bother me.
I got home at five-thirty - too late. Roy was sitting on the couch waiting for me when I walked in.
"Where the hell were you?" he shouted. I didn't know what to do, so, fearing the worst, I ran into the bedroom, hoping to lock him out. I left the front door wide open and ran for it, leaving my purse and coat lying on the floor. Roy anticipated my move and blocked me from the bedroom. I tried to turn around run back out the door but Roy grabbed my arm and pulled me into the kitchen.
"What were you doing? Have you been doing this everyday while I'm away? Seeing another man? What? What have you been up to, you little whore!" he screamed in my ear. I began to cry and I tried to wriggle out of his grip, but to no avail. If anything, it only made him angrier and he took a shot at my jaw. His punches hit me like bullets and I could taste the blood in my mouth, dripping down my chin. Just when I thought I was going to blackout, or even worse, die, I heard a knock on the door and someone say,