101. Bangla Desh

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My friend came to me
With sadness in his eyes
Told me that he wanted help
Before his country dies


30th June 1971


He trails kisses down my body, working his way down from the nape of my neck, between my breasts, across my stomach and then lower, making me flinch and giggle with the sensitivity. He parts my knees and positions himself between my legs so he can get better access. I half-sigh, half-moan, arching my back and closing my eyes as his fingers explore me, his lips continuing to tease with light, ticklish kisses.

He stops and I open my eyes.

George absently traces the four inch raised bump of the scar on my abdomen lightly with his index finger. It runs diagonally up and ends just an inch over from my hip bone, the path of the knife. His eyes cloud as he replays that night in his mind, still fresh, still raw. I touch his shoulder with my knee, nudging him from the memory. He looks up at me and smiles, pushing himself up onto all fours to resume his kisses, avoiding the scar.

I exhale silently. As much as I want him to continue, I have to tell him. Otherwise, he will make love to me and we will fall asleep after, and then it'll be another day gone. We've been here nearly two weeks and I intended to talk to George a lot earlier than this. I wanted to tell him while it was just the three of us; George, me and Bobbie, to give him time to get used to the idea. We have to go Los Angeles in a couple of days time so George can record the single he's going to release to raise money for the Bangladesh charity. I'm running out of time.

'Wait a moment,' I say.

George isn't listening. He kisses the inside of my thigh while his hands caress the outside, and it would be very easy to let him carry on, but I can't.

'Georgie, I have something to tell you.'

That makes him pause. He raises his dark eyes to meet mine. 'That sounds ominous.'

I smile weakly.

'Good news or bad news?'

'A bit of both, I think.'

'Now?'

'Now?' I echo.

'You have to tell me right now? It can't wait?'

'Um... no, not really.'

With a wearied sigh, he lifts himself up and flops heavily next to me on the bed's thin mattress, leaning his head on his elbow. I roll onto my side to face him, pulling the cotton sheet over us, suddenly very conscious of our nakedness.

We've been sleeping wearing nothing most nights because it's so hot here, even at night, but it's also because we can sleep naked. There are people around at home all the time now. Employees and friends and family. Press attention has been constant too since the "accident" as people keep calling it. I wish they wouldn't. I wish they'd just call it what it was instead of trying to pretend otherwise. Pete and Pauline have moved into one of the lodges in the grounds and George's father stays with us often. I like having them there. It feels like more of a community, a big family atmosphere, but it also means that we're almost never alone.

George reaches for me, smoothing his hand over my waist, my hip and down to my thigh, inching closer to kiss my shoulder. I put my arm around his waist and rest my forehead against his chest as George moves to nuzzle my neck. His skin is cool. Mine feels hot in contrast.

He doesn't want this. He wants to make love to me and then to fall asleep in each other's arms, like we have every night since we've been here, content and peaceful in his beloved India.

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