Chapter Three, Part One - Ladies and Gentlemen,

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"Not that I have to tell you girls and  guys out there, but that was The Beatles with I Want To Hold Your Hand. I don't think there is one girl in the state of New York that doesn't want to hold hands with these four boys from England. They've taken over the Big Apple and are scheduled to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show tonight."

Ringo lowered the volume on his transistor radio. "Are you sure you're feeling all right?" He spoke around the cigarette pressed between his lips.

"I'm better than yesterday. I don't have much of a choice." George stared at himself in the bathroom mirror, applying shaving cream to his face. He picked up his double edge razor.

He looked at Ringo in the mirror. His mate appeared rather pleased with himself, leaning against the doorframe with his legs crossed at the ankle.

"What about you?" George placed the razor against his face and with a steady hand carefully moved it against his skin.

"What about me?" He blew out a cloud of smoke.

"You're looking made up."

"I've gotten meself a date tonight." He placed the radio into the pocket of his slacks and disappeared out of sight.

"A date? With who?" He called out.

Ringo reappeared, holding an ashtray, shaking the tip of his cigarette into it. "Charlie." 

George's eyes widened, and his eyebrows arched up, blending in with his fringe. "John's bird."

"She isn't his." He continued to puff on his cigarette.

George resumed shaving.

Ringo continued. "His wife is here."

George nodded. "She is."

He took a final drag off of his cigarette and stubbed it out into the ashtray. "Haven't seen much of her since we got here. She stays in their suite and when she does come out —" He paused. "It isn't any of our business."

"I agree." He replied sharply, thinking of his engagement to Annette. "You and Charlie? How'd that happen?" He finished shaving, turned on the faucet, leaned over and splashed his face with water.

He shrugged. "It just happened. When that manager of theirs brought them to see us, he took a few pictures of our groups together. Charlie stood next to me. John was busy with Annette. Paul got stuck with Wanda."

He frowned, turned off the faucet, and reached for the towel on the edge of the sink. "Busy with Annette?" He patted his face dry.

Ringo replied quickly, stumbling over his words. "It weren't like that, not really."

"What was it like?" He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Cynthia was there."

"Some good that did." He grumbled.

"Nothing to get down about," Ringo tried to smooth things over. "Don't overthink it, yeah?"

"Yeah." He shuffled out of the bathroom.

"John being John."

"Doesn't give him the right to act the way he does, does it?"

(————)

"What's the point of these meetings? So, we can watch you eat?" Charlie questioned testily, pointing her half-smoked cigarette at Howard.

He self consciously wiped his face with a paper napkin.

Their waitress briefly stopped by the booth, topping off their coffees.

Annette stared out of the diner window. She didn't understand where all of the nastiness from Charlie was coming from these days, but it made her retreat further into herself to avoid the unpleasantness.

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