48. End of the Line

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Well it's all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it's all right, if you got someone to love
Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line

'Perhaps Madam would be more comfortable waiting at the bar?'

I look up and try to smile at the waiter as he bears down on me, a hard look on his face. This is the third time he has asked me to move, with less and less patience and politeness each time.

'My colleague is just running late,' I reply. 'I'm sure he'll be here shortly.

The waiter forces a smile and nods before retreating. I'm not waiting for a colleague. I'm waiting for George. Goodness knows what the staff here will think when my 'colleague' turns out to be a Beatle, and a very late one at that. But that's our cover story, should anyone ask. I'm here to discuss the possibility of George producing a solo album for me. Or for me and Minnie. I can't remember which. It doesn't matter anyway, because the solo album is fictional.

This is George trying to make a gesture towards living a 'normal' life. I'm not sure what he terms 'normal'. I don't think I've ever had any normality to compare it to.

We're dating. Or at least, we're going out for the odd meal or drink somewhere. We've been a few times and so far, so good. We haven't had to use our cover story yet. But I don't see the point in doing this. We're not 'normal'. Nothing about us has ever been normal.

George has been bothered lately about how he can't do anything without there being special arrangements and a lot of fuss, because of who he is. 'I can't even have an affair like a normal person!' he said, again, the other day. 'We have to hide in this bloody flat all the time!'

But we're not exactly acting 'normal' when we're out together either. We have to keep our distance from each other. We can't hold hands or dance or even sit very close together. Just in case anyone sees us. Just in case someone suspects something.

I sigh and glance out of the window next to our coveted dining table. It overlooks the back of the restaurant. George will have asked for a table in the corner, out of the way. There's a garden behind the restaurant with lots of trees and plants. The garden is lit up prettily showing the trees covered in white and pink spring blossom.

'Madam, we have a rather large party of people coming in shortly,' the waiter says, tersely, standing over me again. 'We need the table. When your boyfriend arrives, we will find a nice table for you to...'

'I'm not waiting for my boyfriend,' I reply sharply, and put my right hand over my left, covering my wedding ring. 'It's a business meeting, and I'm sure my colleague will have requested a quiet table, at the back of the restaurant, specially.'

'Well then, when your colleague arrives, we will be happy to seat you at another table which will be equally quiet, but your reservation was for eight and it's already nearly nine, so-'

It's really that late? I can't see any clocks in here. Where is George?

'-While we have paying customers waiting to be seated and you're not dining yet, it seems rather unfair to...'

'Yes, yes, okay then,' I interrupt, wearily. 'I'll move to the bar.'

'Thank you, madam,' the waiter says, all plastic smiles. 'Perhaps we can freshen your glass?' He picks up the forlorn single glass of wine I've been trying to make last this whole hour and places it on the tray. I stand to follow him to the barside, picking up my jacket from the back of the chair.

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