62. Grey Cloudy Lies

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Now I only want to live
With no teardrops in my eyes
But at times it feels like no chance
No clear blue skies
Grey cloudy lies


This is horrible.

I feel so wretched. I don't know what to do. There's nothing to do. I should just go to sleep. Things will seem better in the morning.

But I'm not sure that's true. I can't believe that anything is going to get better. Everything just seems to get worse and worse.

I can't fall asleep anyway. It's too cold and my mind is too alert. I've been trying to work out what time it is. It has to be after one. It might even be after two. I feel like crying, but I haven't got any tears left.

I'm not the only one who can't sleep. I can hear him, in there, getting up, walking around. A light being turned on, then off again a minute later. The springs of the sofa complaining. A cough. A sniff. The chink of glass on wood. Silence for a while and then it all starts again.

I roll over onto my back. Perhaps I should go and talk to him? It's clear neither of us are going to get any sleep. But then, I don't think George will want to speak to me ever again.

*

'Pattie--' George says, dropping my hand.

She stares at him, blinking, as if she doesn't know what to do momentarily.

'What are you...' George starts, but his voice trails away.

Pattie tries to smile. 'I wondered when you'd arrive,' she says, her voice taught, but as clear and sharp as glass. She leans forward, putting her whisky tumbler on the table and stubbing her half-smoked cigarette out in the ashtray. She turns back to us, drawing herself up and clasping her hands together. 'Hello, Hannah,' she says.

George steps into the room, approaching her gingerly, like she's a wild animal he's trying not to frighten away. 'Pattie, I was just...' He falters.

'What? Dropping her off before you crawl home to me?'

I hang back by the door, not knowing what to do. I want to leave, I want to run out of here, but I can't tear myself away. It's awful, but like passing a car crash on the side of a road, I have to look.

'Are you living here, George?' Pattie asks, getting unsteadily to her feet. 'Have you been living here, with Hannah?' She tries to sound calm and composed, but a waver in her voice betrays her.

George casts his eyes around the room as if he's never seen it before. 'No. I... This is-'

'Don't waste your breath,' Pattie tells him, sweetly. 'I know what this is. Your secret second home, your secret second life. And she must be your secret second wife.'

'I've told you about what-' George starts, but Pattie has turned away from him. Her gaze settles on me properly for the first time. Her eyes widen, her breath hitches and she puts a hand over her mouth as she takes me in fully, bump and all.

Pattie rounds on George. 'And she's pregnant, George?! I take it that it's your baby?'

George looks at me, shocked, flustered, like he's just seeing me for the first time as well. His mouth opens and closes like a goldfish, completely lost for words.

Pattie laughs hollowly. 'I don't know why I'm asking. Of course she's having your baby. Could things be any more perfect?' She turns around, picking up a packet of cigarettes from the table in front of her and fumbling to take one out. 'I can't believe this is happening.'

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