Chapter Four

Neil swung the door open, and the room fell silent. There, sitting on the couch, cigarette burning in hand, was John. Leaning on the arm rest next to him was Ringo, who looked at me with a blank expression on his face. George sat alone in a chair by the window off in his own exciting world, lost in his silent guitar playing, not even noticing that the door had opened. Paul was nowhere to be seen, and I felt my face fall a little, until I looked at John. He had shot up from his seat on the couch and stood, frozen, staring at me. Neil stepped into the room and encouraged me to do so as well, proping the door open behind me.

"Boys, I think you know who this is," he said, beaming. "I suppose I can leave you alone for a moment or two while I see your cases off." He winked once at me and left the room, closing the door behind me. John still stared at me, George still hadn't looked up, and I stood, my heart beating faster than I'd ever felt it before in my chest. Ringo - God bless him - broke the silence with a comment that took me completely off gaurd.

"So, are you another pretty American reporter here to find out what it's like to be a Beatle?" he asked. I couldn't tell if he was being friendly or bitterly sarcastic, and if he hadn't smiled just then and extended his hand for me to shake, I would have thought the latter.

I laughed a little, my eyes still fixed on John, who still stood staring at me with the same frozen, surprised face. "I suppose you could say that!" I laughed as I extended my hand for Ringo to shake.

"Well, love, I'm Ringo, but I'm going to guess that you already knew that! What do you call yourself?" he asked, taking my hand in his and shaking it vigoursly.

"Some call me Rachel," I smiled as I averted my eyes away from John to look Ringo in the eye, "but you can call me lucky!" I laughed, and so did Ringo, obviously not getting the joke, other than me being lucky for "meeting" the Beatles.

Just then a sly smile came over John's face and he let out a roar.

"AHHHHHH!! Rachel!!!!" he screamed as he rushed towards me, pushing a confused drummer out of the way and gathering me up in his arms, swinging me around in a circle. He and I both laughed wildly while spinning, and continued to laugh as he put me back on my feet. I jumped in his arms and hugged him feverishly and tightly.

"John Lennon! It's been far too long!" I half-laughed, half-cried.

"I'll say! Where've you been love? Hiding?" he asked, pulling away from me to look me in the eye. I laughed and playfully shoved his arm.

"It's more like you've been hiding from me! I swear, you and Paul and George over there," I said, pointing at George who was still plucking away at his guitar, now mouthing words silently to himself, "just got sick of me and decided that it'd be easier to just become rock stars and stay away from me rather than say it to my face!" John roared at this, and I could see tears collecting in his eyes, happy joyous tears brought on by laughter.

"Right love, you've got me pegged. I'll admit, I'm guilty!" he said raising his hands into the air, surrendering to me. I laughed and pulled his arms back down and hugged him once more, this time more tenderly than before, which was more or less a frantic hug, made out of some desperate need to reconnect with something lost. John hugged back just as tenderly and whispered to me, "I've missed you, Rach." I smiled and felt tears forming in my eyes.

"Me too," I whispered back.

Ringo still stood aside where John had pushed him, obviously confused. I pulled away from John's embrace and smiled at Ringo.

"Hi Ringo, it's nice to finally meet you! I'm Rachel Layne, I grew up with ..."

"You're Rachel?!? You mean I finally get to meet you?!?" he said, with a surprised look on his face. I laughed, and nodded. "Well, then, I've heard so much about you that I feel like I've known you for years! Come 'ead love!" he said, hugging me in a warm embrace.

"I hope it's been good things, not bad ones! But then again, with Mr. Lennon over there, I don't know what impression you might have gotten about me ...." I said eyeing John, who retaliated with a falsely innocent look on his face.

"Who? Me?" he asked, staring at the ceiling and twidling his thumbs.

I snickered, "Yeah, YOU Lennon!"

John smiled a genuine smile and laughed, "Eh, you know me too well!"

I peered over again at George, a little hurt that he still hadn't even looked over in my direction. He couldn't have possibly forgotten me, or have been that wrapped up in whatever he was doing to not hear John's screams. My face fell a little as I pointed over at George, "What's George doing? Is he too good now to say hello after all these years?" I asked John. He frowned and waltzed over to George.

"Georgie-pie, look who's here!" he said in a playful sing-song voice, but still, "Georgie-pie" did not budge. John frowned and called him again, "Geo! Hello! Snap out of it, Rae's here!" Still, George continued to pluck his guitar strings nonchlantly. Finally, John shoved him, and George, irritated sneered at him.

"What the hell John! What do you want?" he asked, while pulling out two little black recievers from his ears. I could hear the music playing on his headphones all the way across the room and let out a little laugh. He wasn't ignoring me after all. John simply smiled and pointed in my direction. George followed his finger and his eyes went wide as his eyes met mine, then silently fell into a sly smile,

"Well, well, well! If it isn't little Rachel Layne, London big-shot, here to return to her snubbed Beatle friends!" George laughed, while making his way over to hug me.

"Oh, that's right George! After I hit it big time I decided that I no longer needed you guys and decided to stop communicating with you!" I laughed along with him. I closed my eyes while still in his embrace, silently smiled to myself, flashing back to that Saturday morning when I hugged him last. "I'll have you know," I whispered to him, "that I took your advice and ignored John's!" George pulled away from me and laughed heartily, leaving John and Ringo confused.

"It's a good thing too! Who knows where you'd be now if you had listened to him!" George said, eyeing John.

"What's this? Talking about me, eh Rach? You've been back, what, ten minutes and you're already bashing me?" John pressed, slowly but surely getting closer towards us.

I smiled at John and remembered that he was a sly one, and decided to try to trip him up. If I thought about an embarrasing moment hard enough, I could make myself blush, so, my thoughts traveled back to eighth grade when word got loose that I had a tiny crush on John, which was absolutely true. Well, John heard about it and teased me relentlessly about it for the remainder of the year, and every time I think back to the things he used to do, I blush.

I could feel my cheeks flare and burn up with fire and I turned away, and muttered something unrecognizable.

"What's that love? Speak up," said John, as he inched closer to me.

I picked my head up a little and smiled a tiny, insecure smile. "Well, John, I was just telling George that you were just as sexy, if not more so, than you were when I last saw you." I watched as John stopped dead in his tracks and color flodded his face.

"What?" he asked, quite taken back.

"You heard me," I said, slowly and seductivly stridding over towards him, "I think you're irresistable, sexy, and - hot," I said in the lowest, huskiest voice that I could manage. John stood still in surprise as I met up with him. I began to slowly rub my hands up and down his arms, which were still concealing somthing behind his back. Finally, to finsih it off, I leaned in close to him and whispered in his ear, "I could take you right here, right now." And with that, I felt John's body shudder as I ran my hands across his folded arms behind his back and snatch the concealed weapon, a pillow, from his hands. I quickly jumped back and laughed, "Gotchya!" I watched as John's eyes flew open in surprise at my oh-so-sneaky tactics, and before he could make some rude comment in retaliation, I attacked him with the pillow.

"Oh you!" he snarled, jokingly, as he yanked the pillow out of my hands and began hitting me with it.

"NO!" I screamed, mixed with laughter and sheer terror at what he might do. He continued to batter me with the down pillow, until I managed to tear it out of his hands, after much struggle. "Ha!" I laughed as I clutched the pillow in my hands, circling John, who put up mock fists ready for battle.

"Rule one of fighting Rachel," he said, still following me in my circle.

"And what's that?" I asked, clutching the pillow even tighter.

"Be ready for ANYTHING!" he said, as he suddenly attacked me and, before I knew what was happening, he had me in a head-lock.

"JOHN!" I laughed, "knock it off! You're messing up my hair!"

"Oh, am I really?" he asked, mussing it with his free hand even more.

"Ooh! When I get free you're really going to regret that Winston!"

I heard John gasp in mock horror at the sound of his dreaded middle name.

"Now, my dear, you're NEVER getting out of this!" And he proceded to tighten his grip around my neck. I looked desperately at George and Ringo, begging for help with my eyes, but they pretended like they saw nothing.

"Oh, come on guys!" I pleaded. They only turned away even more, and John cackled.

"Looks like there's no prince charming or knight in shining armour to help you out here love!"

And with that simple comment, as if by magic (again!), the door swung open and in stepped ........ Paul.

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