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Chapter 21
Beyond the Reaches of Fame

Hello everyone. I am currently in the process of putting a few final touches on Chapter 20 and will be writing new material no later than the end of the week. Sorry for not updating in months but I did not get access to the internet on my computer until last week and am in the process of proofreading some old chapters with a little help from my friends. So, I should now be back to the normal schedule of updates every 2 to 3 days depending on feedback. Thanks for your patients and hope to hear from you in the future.

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My body slumped as it struck the soft cushioned seat. I did not fight the urge to close my eyes even though in a few fleeting moments I would leave the comfort of the cab for the floozy club of fornication. I saw a room overflowing with women fully clad in little black dresses sipping Champaign from crimson crystal goblets gossiping amongst themselves as I scanned the room in search of a mysterious person.

I noticed a particularly large gathering of inhabitants crowded around an object I could scarcely see because of the density of the multitude. I tried to wedge my way through them but they tightened together like the earths gravitational pull to an object tossed in the air. I stared at my surroundings looking for a loophole to meet this object of desire that seized the crowd's will power to do anything but gawk in an almost obsessive way at this creature.

My own desire to behold it increased at my inability and failed attempts to contact it. I tore the burgundy wallpaper in my frustration to climb the wall to glimpse only briefly at this deity, leaving remnants of charcoal black drywall. I stamped on the floor furiously and cranberry drops of blood dribbled from the gashes I created. I walk around the circle in search of entry and finally push past the public spectacle to observe the ornate goddess. Her features loomed in the back of my mind as I tried to place this apparition to an extinct memory of a previous dream she must have captured. 

A sneaking suspicion stirred in me that she was the divinity I discovered on the beach that slapped me into my senses for even imagining that I could collect the ethereal spirit as I turned to the eerie face in humiliation. I held out my hand once again to this goddess hoping for a warmer reception then the previous occasion. Perspiration pushed out of the pores on my forehead as I waited however she did not even look at my hand as she walked the circle opened and the men threw there dusk colored coats on the floor that way her feet dare not even touch the minutest dirt article that could be intertwined with the wine-colored carpet.

I chased after her and her pace quickened as we weaved our way through the crowd; her dove white dress became drenched in the cranberry blood flowing from a gash similar to the one I created. As the material soaked up the color, it burned into a ravenesque color that glimmered in the light. I sprint toward her once more but become exhausted as her black form disappears into the dreary darkness of the nighttime air. I woke abruptly at this change in scenery of this haunting dream. Who was the goddess that repeatedly escaped my pleas to be noticed by her? What was she hiding that I mustn't divulge? Why was she so ashamed of me seeing her? Where was she running to?

Fortunately, the lads were concentrated in conversation and didn't notice my transformation from peaceful to petrified that occurred in only a matter of a few short minutes. Tonight my reason needed recreation; I can release all my restricted passion and then resume my mission to reconcile my one true love. There I go again with all that supernatural garbage, why can't I give my mind a rest for two seconds. Tonight I will let my eyes do all my thinking since my mind is obsessed with seeing all the possible outcomes.

"Hey Paul, will you lend me your ear for a tick," Mal muttered discreetly as he held the door ajar for me, "I swear Macca sometimes I worry about you, these days you seem less and less like your lovely self. Like there's somethin troublin you, causin you to think too much. Now if it were George tryin to open a pickle jar and concentratin on whether he supposed to turn it to the left or the right I would overlook it, but in your case I can't help feel like I need to help ease your mind with a kind word or two."

I turned to make sure my companions were out of ear shot before I casually whispered, "No need in worryin I'm just a lil' concerned about me love life. Nothin worth gettin worked up over. When I call Jane and settle everythin it will all go back to normal, you'll see." Somehow, I felt I was trying to convince myself more then I was he as I closed my mouth and smile to seal my transgression once and for all. I briskly stepped into the dimly lit room and tunneled through the beautiful birds until I stumbled upon my mates sitting in a booth in the back corner.

"Psst, get over here," Neil whispered loudly even though I was attempting to arrive over there even before he opened his mouth, "Wouldn't want you wondering without us, would we?"

"Yeah when Paulie slips away by himself he always ends up gettin hurt one way or another," Mal added, "last time I saw him vomit I almost got sick meself."

"I won't be the one gettin sick this evenin lads," I said smugly, "the shear speed of how fast I get laid will make YOU the invalids for the night. By the time you can say sex I'll already be in the closet with the best lookin girl at this club." So much for a comforting word or two from Mal but you could hardly blame him for taking the shot, I mused, and I adequately spared myself from too much condemnation.

"I seem to recall a similar bet that never pulled through and I think it's high time that we follow through with our word," Ringo reminded, "assumin our word is any good." 

"I won't mention any names, John," George coughed, "after all I might hurt someone's feelins but I'm with Ring on this one I want to put my poker winnins to some good use."

"Good cause you wouldn't have gotten a choice anyhow," John smiled, "we'll see who the real "ladies man" is when I'M in the closet with the best looking bird before you can say fuck, which flows faster AND is an easier one syllable word to say then sex."

"You and your semantics," Neil sneered as he swallowed the last sip of coke and rum from his small glass, "can't any one of you lot just get to the point without wastin a hundred quips on it. I swear if you spent half the time you do with aimless bickerin as you did in your songwritin you would be billionaires by now."

"Hmmm that must mean we only spend about a fourth as much time with our pointless bickerin as we do our songwritin," George remarked, "because we'll be reachin the millionaire mark before the years out, two or three tops, assumin the current increase in sales remains constant."

"Where on earth did you hear such ridiculous bullshit," Mal inquired, "because surely you didn't come up with it on your own. It just doesn't have the essence of stupidity I'd expect out of a man such as yourself."

"Well it just so happens that I heard it on the tellie," George stated snootily, "and if the tellie is wrong then we might as well all back up our bags and go home because then we aren't a European hit or soon to be risin American stars."

"Who could argue with that logic," I said sympathetically, "where would we be if everythin the tellie said wasn't ALWAYS true?"

"Out of a job for a start," John shuddered, "if they ever found out I was married we might be crushed before we even get a decent break. Besides I would never get any luscious ladies to sleep with me if they knew I was a taken man but as long as they are willin to cover up details like my marriage with a little white lie every now and then they are alright in my book." 

"Why am I not surprised," Ringo sighed, "not a day goes by when the first priority on your mind is yourself, excuse me John Lennon since you prefer to be referred to in the third person. Anyroad the tellie isn't half as bad as the tabloids when it comes to tellin the truth. It's amazing some of the stuff they write in those columns."

"Sometimes what we tell you lads goes in one ear and out the other," Mal lectured, "the whole point of Neil's story had nothin to do with the analogy and here we are nearly five bloody minutes later still talkin about it. I might have encouraged it a lil' by tellin George his comment was outrageous and ridiculous but I thought that would put and end to it."

"Crazy optimist," Neil laughed, "I wasn't actually expectin what I said to have that much impact, just generally help em wind down a bit. I gave up bein sincere with this lot weeks, months, years ago."

"That's the spirit," George encouraged patting Neil on the back, "just let everythin work out in due time. I knew you were my favorite for a reason but now it's time for me to win this bet so I will have to wish you all adieu while I pick out the most BEAUTIFUL bird and give her the deluxe tour of the closet."

"A tour is all any bird will get from you," John chuckled, "when you're done showin her the room you won't know what to do next. Unless you brought that lovely, dish from 32nd and 18th along with you. I think she might have experience in crowded places, pardon me my mistake with how do I put this lightly, oh yes, with men who can't fill small spaces."

George, fueled by anger at the ever-present reference to his experience with a woman of the night, briskly made his way to a table of unsuspecting victims. The heart-felt laughter dissipated from the table as the chase began with Georges decent into the gazelle like a lion in search of prey. A simple action tumbled the never-ending war of words, each of us determined not to be outdone by our friendly adversaries used our own gimmicks and schemes to win a fair lady's heart or in light of our nonchalance about love her virginity or virtue. I spied the room as I walked casually around a small dance floor for the female fortunate enough to fill the night air with shrieks of delight.

"Vous avez l'air de vous avez quelque chose sur votre esprit," a woman whispered with concern, "aimeriez-vous danser?" I wasn't sure what she had said but the word danser sounded close enough to dance in English so I clasped her hand and walked onto the rickety dance floor. I wondered if I should be more selective in my choice but a glimpse of John's cheek attached to the skin of a knockout's neck made me reconsider how much time I had to complete this mission.

I inspected her intimately like an art coinsure searches the canvas for an attempted forgery. She was anything but stunning, plain dreary not the sort of woman you would give half a glance at where alternatives were abundant. Her dress was simple and draped over her medium build frame. She made no attempt to beautify herself with makeup, a decent hairdo, or expensive jewelry. Assuming I could get this woman to have sex with me, I would have lost the bet in my own eyes because she didn't capture the essence of beauty in which I believed. As the final note blared, I dropped her palm and rushed across the busy dance floor hoping to avoid any form of explanation when I barely spoke enough French to order room service at the hotel. My head turned to insure that she was out of sight, when I bumped into another woman only to complete my pattern of rotten luck.

"Excuse me," I stammered, "ugh m'excuser." I reached my hand to the floor to help her to her feet but she remained oblivious to the notion, curled on the floor, fighting the flooding tears I could her splashing beneath the tightly closed eyes. Her sole movement was her quivering top lip as I slipped my shoulder under her arm in an attempt to heave her off the floor by myself. By some strange miracle, we didn't topple back to the floor together as I dragged her to the nearest booth and carefully laid her down so she might recover her breath and composure.

"Are you alright?" I asked with sincere compassion. Thoughts of the bet drifted away like the haunting ticks of a grandfather clock in a deserted mansion. I surveyed her dress for any tears or stain I might have produced with my careless escaping only to see a partially faded maroon spot, perhaps produced by the spilling of red whine at another party. There weren't any other noteworthy blemishes on the stunning white halter dress, I paused a second convinced I had seen it once before.

"No to be quiet frank," she meekly muttered maintaining her fetal position on the somewhat small booth, "but I suppose I am better off then most."

"Somehow I thought if I could get away from that wretched hotel on my night off I might stop hurling myself into other people," she spoke softly as her soft sea green eyes flickered open for the first time. Her subdued nature quickly turned fierce as she looked into my warm hazel eyes and recognition sunk in as to how I knew her.

"Of all the rotten, two timing, bastards I could bump into tonight," her voice escaladed as she rose up in contempt, "¿Por qué siempre acabo por chocando contra este no diablo bueno no cuestión lo que hago? ¿Me castiga usted Dios para algo yo he hecho?"

"Annabel," I gasped in mixed shock and confusion, "what are you... how are you... why are you speaking Spanish?"

"I'm surprised an uncultured swine such as yourself could even recognize it," she spat in disgust, "pardon my lack of manners, but YOU are the last person I wanted to see after everything I've been through this week."

"And why might I ask, are you so dreading my presence after this AWFUL week as you so MILDLY term it," I shot back, my defenses on high alert, "is it MY fault that you are so UNFORTUNATE the past few days?"

"As a matter of fact, I think you are the strongest variable for why my week wasn't anything worth remembering," Annabel agreed self-righteously, "first you fuck me, oh excuse me first you lie and deceive me, then you lie and sleep with me. You exchange bitter words with me in the lobby and at that silly party of yours where you splash me with wine, offering to have my dress cleaned only so you can have another go at your word games to have sex one last time before you drop me."

"And by some strange coincidence we ended up in the hallway ready to knock each others teeth in," her tone changed, "but our steel tongues were the only swords of battle as we spoke out our animosity and with that kiss those same tongues spoke out our affection. I don't know what to think of you, how to act around you, or what to say to you." The tone wasn't the only metamorphosis during her speech, her entire body language became vulnerable almost irresistibly fragile as she bore her body, her heart, and her soul to "the reaction."

A single word might like a sole drop of water in a full glass cause the water to gush over the edges or in the instant at hand cause the seriousness of "the moment" to dissolve into a series of jokes and persecution, breaking the tension both literally and figuratively speaking. Where as a simple kiss or caress, could rekindle the charisma and passion our bodies had magnetically followed from our first frightful folly, the consummation. My lack of swiftness in the decision created a compelling silence, the third and perhaps most powerful reaction when faced with calamity our conscious cannot choose by itself.

I felt like I was a man in a flipbook who had the ball served into his tennis court and a child's thumb miscalculated the pressure needed to continue the short skit. Indecisiveness no longer remained the thief of the instant as the magnetism of the swords as she so properly named them drew us into a locked embrace of desire and lust. Our own heavenly cocoon swallowed our two souls as we followed that primal yearning oblivious to all surroundings both sentient and inanimate. Oxygen soon became weary and jealous of our delving delicious entertaining appetites and solicited our lips to suck its sweet life giving force, however we ignored it's petitions until the elastic of the cocoon burst as a single tread unraveled from its rich tapestry and our bodies no longer breathed the life giving force of passion.

We gasped for the stale air in unison as our frivolous lungs changed dance partners with the cheap carbon dioxide to the highly anticipated oxygen. Our lips pressed a second time like links of mesh armor during battle stretching and crunching as each second took it's wild inexplicable turn. My left hand framed her porcelain cheek as my right hand fondled forcefully through her night sky hair. The pouring perspiration sizzled steamingly as it slumped off my face to her petite feminine forehead. The rouge of her cheek turned to a solid crimson before she extracted her face back the second time, arching her back like a cat in search of a comforting hand.

"Where will this all lead," Annabel inquired hesitantly, "what I mean is, only a few short minutes ago I was confused on what I felt or thought and how to reason through words what we've become but what I really want to know is when will the dream end?"

A jolt, a twinge, a spark, no one phrase can truly capture the sensation of a thought that resurfaces as energy surges through the nerves and taps upon the forlorn brain cell whose resurrection bequeaths light to the problem at hand and to other forgotten memories that might one day live that identical dream. How many times had I crossed that line, the line where dreams end and life begins? Maybe there was no line at all and one was just a reflection of the other?

"What do you mean when will the dream end?" I asked with feigned confusion, "As you can very much feel when I pinch you, we are very much awake or is there no tingle in your arm afterwards?"

"No what I meant was when will the dream love hate relationship end?" Annabel corrected, "Clearly we are conscious of our physical surroundings but I am not so sure about the emotional ones. Will we continually follow this pattern of desire only to despise our different levels of... well to say it with as little condescension as possible, life?"

"Is it fair to say two people cannot journey down the same road even when long distances separate them?" I manipulated, "I don't know two people that are near the same level of life as you so lightly term it. Is it so wrong to follow an impulse every once in a while?"

"I doubt that the two of us can be any more impulsive then we already have," Annabel blushed, "particularly you."

"I haven't showed you the slightest illustration of impulsive behavior," I argued, "you want to see impulsive I'll be impulsive. Annabel I think I, I think I would like to spend a pleasant evening with you at the Eiffel Tower and scream how 'I love you' to the strangers down below."

"That's not what you were originally going to say," Annabel smiled twisting my arm with her penetrating eyes, "your hesitation didn't sound like you were trying to come up with something wild, it sounded like you were afraid to say something else. Besides screaming 'I love you' wouldn't be impulsive it would be stupid especially in front of all those jealous fans and malicious journalist and I already saw that side of you before tonight."

"No it would be romantic not stupid," I quickly covered, ignoring the hesitation at my ability to confess the possibility of her being the Spanish Beauty, "perhaps you were thinkin of John, it seems very likely he would say somethin ignorant that might cause you to think such nasty thoughts."

"Well that's a rude thing to say about me," John cut in, sliding onto the bench, "besides I haven't even seen this bird except for when she was "changin the towels," since that what you lads are callin it these days. In fact I'm due for a towel changin meself so if you two will excuse me I must be off, duty awaits."

"If that's not a prime example then I don't know what is," I stated taking a sip from the drink on the table John had left behind.

"Hmm avoiding the subject are we," Annabel teased playfully, "well I won't feed into this macho manly I must impress her by making myself moronic routine. It's all to cliché for my taste and I find I am a much better prize then that."

"And what a prize you are," I growled, "pardon me, what a piece of meat you are. Damn I could grind my teeth into those thighs but I guess I'll have to settle on those tenderly glazed gorgeous gargantuan lips of yours."

"I'll give you more then lips," she struck my shoulder, "that's for even insinuating what that wicked brain of yours was really wanting. Why is all men can think about is breast?"

"Because it's the first source of substance in our infancy," I sarcastically replied, "but I think you promised me more then lips."

"Perhaps I overestimated how conscious you really are Mr. McCartney," Annabel pestered innocently, "but then again I never did get much say in men's dreams so I think it's high time I started."

After Annabel's assertive flirting I, half expected her to push me against the wall wrestling to undress while we worked our way slowly to the closet, however, that would have been the male dream and this occasion was reserved for Annabel to take control on behalf of the female "dream."

She stood up, looked directly at me, and splashed John's drink right in my face as she huffed away melodramatically, her clicking heels the only connection to my senses as I swished my fingers over the burning alcohol to regain my vision. My lack of focus as I attempted to open my eyes made this feel all the more dreamlike. Dream, the mere word shook the foundation of my continually rambling thoughts. To sleep perchance to dream, to dream perchance to sleep ones life away into a reel of hopeless fantasies for the man whose only conscious action is that of sleep. Self-satisfaction gushed through my body that I might not be listed in the ranks of such vulnerable victims.

"Stop that woman," I yelled weakly as my arm flung across the table trying to point in the general direction of where I last consciously remember seeing her only to cause John's glass to crash to the floor as it shattered into pieces. My coordination was still off balance as I stumbled in a drunk like stupor even though the only major contact with alcohol had been external, multiplying the irony.

I braced myself against a side door marked "Les Employés Seulement" which I decided would be my only opportunity to escape this club before her to have my final word. I pushed through nearly knocking a waitress and her tray over and ran through the corridor till I reached another door that was unlabeled and turned the knob back and forth as my final jerk opened it to the fresh air of the dilapidated ally. I scanned it for any sign of human life but quickly decided that the entrance to the club must be around the corner.

I shoved my hands into my pockets, hurried around the corner of the building, and grabbed the familiar jacket on the shoulder whipping her around to look directly at the damage she had done.