10. Take Good Care Of My Baby

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Once upon a time

That little girl was mine

If I had been true

I know she'd never be with you

'You will be okay?' Astrid asked as she parked her car on the corner of Grosse Freiheit, the front wheel mounting the pavement. 'Do you want that I come in with you?'

'No, I'll be fine. Thanks, Astrid. And thanks for letting me stay last night too.'

Astrid had driven us back into the city early - or what at least passed for early in Hamburg. Stu was still in bed when we left, but I'd been wide awake since dawn so Astrid offered to take me back before he got up. I'd asked her to drop me off in the city rather than back at the hostel, pretty sure Minnie would still be down here.

I waved goodbye to Astrid as she manoeuvred her little car back into the traffic, and took deep breath. Arguments between Minnie and I would usually result in me apologising to her. She was stubborn. She would drag things on for weeks if I didn't make the first move. Conversely, if I did, she would also be the one who forgot about it almost immediately.

I walked down the road to the Indra and around the back of the cinema and where the boys were living. It was strangely quiet in comparison to the other times I'd been here. I knocked on the door and a moment later Paul opened it. 'Ah, the wanderer returns,' he said with a smile on his lips.

'Is Minnie here?' I asked.

He shook his head. 'No, sorry, love. She went back to yours last night.'

Just then, George appeared behind Paul. 'Hannah?' he said, blinking his eyes against the daylight. 'Where have you been?'

'I ran into Astrid. I stayed at her house last night.'

'See?' Paul said, hitting George in the stomach with the back of his hand. 'That's what Stu said, wasn't it? I don't know what all the fuss was about.'

George gave him a sideways glance and then said, 'Come in for a minute, Han?'

'Oh, uh, I think I'll go and get a bit of brekkie,' Paul said quickly, before I could answer. He opened the door wider so I could step inside.

I followed them back to the main room, Paul rushing ahead to grab a jumper, then his jacket. 'I'll be out of your hair in one second...' he said, searching for his shoes and finding one but not the other.

'Paul,' George said.

'I'm going, I'm going,' Paul replied. 'Need my shoes, don't I?' He found the second shoe and hopped on one foot to pull it on. 'See yer later. Try to play nice, eh, kiddiwinks?'

'So, here again,' I said to George after Paul had finally left.

'Sit down,' George said, more of an order than a request.

I looked around at the messy room and plumped for the edge of the bed nearest the door.

'You haven't left the country then?' George asked, sitting down on the bed opposite me.

'No,' I replied. 'What has Minnie being saying?'

'She, uh, got a bit wound up. She was convinced you'd be half way back to England, then Stu turned up and said he, Astrid and Jurgen had run into you on the pier and you'd gone off somewhere with Astrid, but Minnie... I don't know, she wouldn't believe it somehow.'

I frowned. This didn't sound like Minnie. 'Was she drinking?'

'Well, yes, but that... that wasn't it. I don't know. By the end of it she had us all thinking something awful must have happened. Minnie ran off and John went with her but then he came back on his own in a bad mood and went to bed straight away. I was... I was a bit worried about you, actually, Han.' He looked at me at the end of that sentence.

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