Chapter seventeen : 1969 part one : The Replacement

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"Well," John said, pouring himself a cup of green tea and then looking up to see whether Yoko wanted one as well. She nodded and he complied, before setting the heavy Japanese teapot down. "That was fun." She had a quiet giggle and took a sip from her cup, cautiously. "You have... interesting friends." John watched her with an eyebrow raised but she didn't seem offended, merely smiling to him. "I like to have a lot of different people around me. You die otherwise, you know? If they're all the same."

John stayed quiet for a few seconds, assessing the idea. As far as he was concerned Yoko would have been better off with no friends at all, no-one to divert her attention from John himself, to steal her time away from him. "I suppose." He scrunched his nose up a little. "But still." She laughed then, almond eyes narrowing in amusement, her head ducked between her thin shoulders, black hair framing her face. "He is quite something, isn't he?" John made a face. "Rather."

He stretched a little into the comfortable sofa, smiling when Yoko put her head on his shoulder, wrapping an arm around her small frame. His eyes wandered between the blank wall in front of them and the scarce furniture in the room, rather deprived of a homey feeling since they'd only just moved there.

They'd been doing a lot of this, moving around, since John had stopped living with Cynthia, staying a few weeks at Paul's or Ringo's, renting flats and small houses for a while before they decided it didn't suit them, moving again. John knew they needed to settle down, as a proper couple would. He'd always dreamt of owning a mansion with a large garden and ideally, a lake. John would love to own a lake, even an artificial one.

"You weren't very nice to him." Yoko's soft voice took him out of his musings and he sipped from his tea, buying himself a bit of time. "Wasn't I?" He looked into her black eyes, their noses almost touching, stretching like a cat under a stroke when she reached to pat his beard down and smooth his hair back in place. "A bit harsh." John looked away, shifting a little. "You were uncomfortable." It wasn't a question but he looked back to Yoko for confirmation nonetheless, still having trouble adapting to her uncanny ability to read and understand his moods.

"I don't have anything against gay people," John stated quietly, raising his eyebrows for emphasis.

"I know."

Of course she knew. John settled down, resting his cheek on top of Yoko's head, her hair soft and fragrant. She was quiet then, not in a pushy way but leaving the matter open, not asking, giving John the choice to elaborate or change the subject. "Brian Epstein used to have a thing for me, you know," he said after a while, putting this out there with no real intent, feeling Yoko nod. "I heard about that." John leaned in, sliding down to press his face against the crook of her shoulder, sighing when he felt her embrace him. "What did you hear?" Yoko kissed his forehead. "You went on a holiday with him, at some point?"

John chuckled, nuzzling her warm neck. "I did. It was a strange thing to do, wasn't it?" Yoko didn't say anything and John remembered she didn't believe in 'strange'. "Nothing happened. I liked him, I did. He was a good bloke. But I didn't, you know. Fancy him." He closed his eyes as Yoko started petting him gently. She kept quiet, giving him the time to get it all out. "I did tease him about it, though. Especially in the early days. I didn't know what to make of him being queer."

There was another pause and then Yoko asked, "was there someone else?" John sat up, eyes guarded all of a sudden, looking fretful and somewhat bothered by the question. "Why are you asking me that?" Yoko's face was unreadable, yet not unkind. "I don't go 'round asking you whether you got it on with girls now, do I?" She smiled, looking amused. "You could."

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