Chapter nineteen: 1970, part one : Burning Bridges, Building New Ones

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Pattie ran the tip of her fingers down George's chest. They'd just made love for the first time in well over a month and it had been good, but something was still missing. She wasn't stupid and certainly not gullible enough to believe that George couldn't get it somewhere else if he wanted, but that wasn't something she liked to think about. He always denied it when she garnered enough nerve to confront him with his infidelities. It made her feel like she was going mad, and she could only wonder how things had changed so between them, how they had gone from that happy, bright-eyed couple, smiling from the back-seat of that limo on their wedding day, to whoever they were now. Pattie still adored her husband, but she was beginning to doubt he felt the same way.

"It's over," George suddenly whispered, a sad twinge of finality in his voice. Pattie tensed up in his arms, a feeling of dread washing over her at his pessimistic words. It couldn't be over, she thought, panicking, it just couldn't, not like this, not so quickly!

George was oblivious to his wife's inner turmoil, sighing as he stared at her neatly tidied high heel shoes visible in the open closet. He was positive that he couldn't last much longer in the band. The heavy atmosphere of the studio sessions, fraught with everything that had been said and with everything that hadn't, was becoming too much for him to bear and he wanted out. He wanted to make music on his own terms, feeling creatively stifled. He planned to record all the tunes he'd come up with during his time as a Beatle and that had been rejected by John, Paul and George Martin. He'd prove to them that they'd been wrong but more importantly, he'd prove to himself that he didn't need them.

Pattie watched her husband's face intently, seeing the pain, the anger, and the bitterness she'd become familiar with over the last two years played out on his bearded face. She clung to him tightly, wrapping an arm around his waist and burying her face against his shoulder. She would do everything in her power to keep George and for a fleeting moment, the thought of them having a child so he wouldn't be so quick to leave entered her mind. Early on in their marriage the doctor had told her it would be difficult for them to have a baby, but not impossible. As the years passed, she was beginning to doubt that it would ever happen.

"John was the first one to seriously want to leave, you know. They talked him out of it somehow. Couldn't let that sort of announcement hurt the sales of the latest album." A bitter chuckle escaped George's mouth but Pattie relaxed, suddenly understanding what he was talking about. George wasn't leaving her, he was talking about the band. Of course. She felt guilty for feeling so relieved, but she had no idea idea of she would've done if George had indeed been asking for divorce.

She didn't want to end up like Cynthia, shunned by the Beatles' inner circle. Pattie liked Cynthia although she'd always seen her more as a mother hen than an actual friend, and she still harboured a bit of guilt for not reaching out to her after her separation and divorce from John. If George was ever to leave her in the way John had left his wife, in such a publicly embarrassing manner, Pattie had morbidly mused to herself that she'd probably put on that diaphanous Ossie Clark dress she owned, and jump off Beachy Head to her death.

Shaking herself out of such dark thoughts, Pattie pulled back and stared at her husband's striking profile. "What will you do now?" George thoughtfully rubbed his beard. "Well, the band is still together... So I s'pose I'll do whatever I please, won't I?" he replied, curtly. She sighed, too easily recognising the dark and unwelcoming look that flashed across his face. She just wanted him to be happy again, missing his playfulness and humour. "People think of me as an economy-sized Beatle —"

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