Prologue - Fais Gaffe

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In a small shop tucked away on a side street, just off of the Champs-Élysées, George looked at the selection of rings on display. He came upon the shop on a day off in Paris.

"Vous êtes dans l'amour." The shopkeeper motioned to the rings. "Bagues de fiançailles."

He pointed to the ring that he wanted to look at closer. "This one." He over-enunciated in an attempt to bypass the language barrier. 

"Parlez-vous français?"

George shook his head. He wished he'd brought Paul along. He knew a bit of French. But, George wanted to keep his plans secret.

"Anglais, oui?"

"English, yes." He nodded.

The shopkeeper held up his hand. "Attendre, attendre." He slapped the glass countertop. "Jean, client, Anglais!"

A waif-like young man stepped out of the back of the shop with an unmistakable feminine and a put-upon expression on his delicate face. "Oui, cher père?" His words too cloyingly sweet to be genuine. 

Jean's eyes widened in recognition at Beatle George in his father's jewelry shop. "Bonjour." He grinned, running the tip of his finger down the lapel of George's peacoat, brazenly flirting with the other young man.

The shopkeeper sighed exasperatedly.

George laughed awkwardly.

"May I help you?" He asked suggestively.

"Yes," George added quickly. "With a ring."

"Of course." Jean walked behind the counter. "What're you looking for?"

"An engagement ring." 


"Paris was a bit funny," George smiled tiredly. He slouched down further into the armchair, placing the phone between his shoulder and neck. "More blokes than birds at our shows. They didn't scream at us the way girls do, but they did a good bit of shouting, and mostly for Ringo. He was quite popular with that crowd." He chuckled.

Annette laughed, leaning against the kitchen counter. "Can you blame them?" She sipped on her cup of coffee.

"I suppose I can't. Ringo has a certain je ne sais quoi." He replied good-naturedly. 

"You picked up a bit of French? Je suis impressionné." She drained the last of her coffee from the cup and placed it on the counter.

His thick eyebrows raised. "You speak French?"

"I know a bit of French. I took a class in high school."

"I could've used your help." He replied fondly. "It would've been fantastic to have you with me."

"I'm sure you did fine on your own. I have to go, George."

He gripped the phone tighter. "Do you?"

"I have to finish getting ready for work. It was nice to hear your voice."

"It's always nice to hear yours." He tried to sound upbeat.

"In a few days we'll be together, and I'll get to show you around my city. I want to stay on the line, but I can't be late."

"I just," He paused, sitting up in the armchair. His slim frame was rigid with tension. George wanted to tell Annette he loved her, but what he didn't want was for those words to be said for the first time over a crackly transatlantic telephone line.

"I know."

He wondered if Annette did know what he'd been trying to say. This hadn't been the first time he'd attempted to do so.

She continued. "Me too."

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