22. You Like Me Too Much

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You'll never leave me and you know it's true

Cos you like me too much and I like you

Maurice drives me back in silence. I feel empty. I can't be bothered to try and apologise to him. I've been apologising to people all day. I didn't jump into bed with George, but I did kiss him. Or he kissed me. I don't know. I can't remember exactly how it happened. The drama of the evening was a distraction, but now the guilt is back, weighing heavily on me. Someone took a picture of me with George and all hell broke loose. I shudder to think what would happen if anyone knew about the kiss. I'm a little concerned George might have told somebody, but he wouldn't, would he? He's not that kind of a guy.

We arrive back at the hotel and Maurice parks in the small car park around the back. As I go to open the door, murmuring thanks to him, he stops me.

'Hannah -'

I pause and turn back to him, pleading with my eyes that we don't have to have this conversation now.

'The newspaper article...'

'Maurice, I'm really tired. Can't we talk about this in the morning? I've explained it all to Ricky. It's not what they made it out to be. It was...'

'Ricky doesn't want to marry you.'

He says it plainly, without emotion. I blink as it takes a few seconds to sink in. I feel like he's just slapped me.

'What?' I ask, sounding dazed.

'He thinks you're still in love with your old boyfriend.'

'But, I... No, I've talked to Ricky about this. He understands...'

'It wasn't just the newspaper article, though, was it, Hannah? I never thought I'd have to have this conversation with you, but... When you're a part of this, and I don't just mean The Raindrops, or even just you and... and Ricky, I mean the whole thing - when you're a part of it, you need to be committed to it totally. All of it. You can't be...'

'I am committed to it, Maurice. We've... I've always been committed to it.'

'I just want you to know, that if you're having doubts and if you are still in love with this, uh, Beatle guy, then you need to think carefully as it might be more than just your engagement you'd be breaking off.'

I don't understand what he's saying. Is he firing me? I expected something of a telling off from Maurice. Like most managers, Maurice tries to control every bit of media coverage for us. It can be an uphill battle. There's always the risk of something you'd forgotten about resurfacing, or an unfavourable review popping up. I expected him to be mad about that mostly and the fact the article alluded to me sneaking off behind Ricky's back. I wasn't expecting my position in the group to be questioned.

'I'm not trying to threaten you, Hannah. And I'm not saying that you should marry Ricky if that's not what you want, but I want you to think very hard about this. I don't want you throwing away everything we've worked for over a moments infatuation.'

'I don't need to think about it. I do want to marry Ricky. I'm not in love with George. The newspaper thing wasn't what it looked like.'

'Yes, yes, it's not that I'm talking about. That... that was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Ricky's... well, I know that he's planning on having a talk with you about all this when we get back to New York.'

I'm blinking back tears. 'When? When did he tell you this? Only we talked about things this morning when I came back from the theatre. He was angry but we talked and it was sorted out...'

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