105. This Song

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But this song could well be
A reason to see - that
Without you there's no point to...
This song

9th August 1971
12 Weeks Before

'Oh my goodness, George! What have you done?!'

That's how she starts the first conversation they've had in over a week. No preamble, no 'Hello, how are you', just straight in. George chuckles, trying to be quiet, but the sound echoes round the hall. Friar Park is so cavernous when it's dark and still in the middle of the night.

'It's no bloody laughing matter!' Hannah scolds him, swearing so he knows she means it. 'What have you said?'

'I'm sorry,' George says, still giggling.

'Why on earth would you tell them something like that? What were you thinking?!'

'Well, um... which part?'


Georgie, not George. He knows he's not in too much trouble then, even though she launches into a tirade about everything that's happened since she left him in New York, eight days ago. George has to admit, she has a point, but he did warn her something like that might happen. George closes his eyes as she continues, listening to her voice, though not really her words, as she chides and admonishes him.

'So?' she says, finishing. 'What do you have to say?'

He exhales. 'It's so good to hear your voice, love. I've missed you so much.'

'Ah, no! No! Don't try and get around me like that! Why have you told everyone we've split up?'

'I'm not trying to "get round you",' George says, laughing again. 'And I didn't. I didn't say we'd split. I don't know what happened, but Han, you disappeared overnight. People were going to ask about it, weren't they?'

'They asked you where I was and you said that we'd... we'd... That it's all over between us?' Her voice cracks and suddenly it's not funny anymore.

'No, I never said that,' he says. 'I didn't say we'd broken up. I haven't said anything... I guess that's the problem. I haven't denied it.'

'You didn't need to say anything. The papers have said enough for you! What happened to the plan? The story was we are taking some time apart and that I've gone away to research the book for a few weeks. You weren't supposed to splash the most sensational break-up of the century all over the front pages!'

'Plans go wrong, I'm sorry,' George says, defensively. 'I don't know where it came from but...' Not strictly true but he's not going to tell her about the journalist. 'It just got out of hand.'

'Who's Isobel?' she asks, and he can tell by her voice that's the question she's wanted to ask since the beginning. Bollocks.

George sighs. 'I don't know. I don't know anyone called Isobel.'

'Yes, you do, or haven't you been reading the papers? She's the woman you slept with in New York. The woman you were seeing when I wasn't there. She's the woman you had in your hotel room the morning after I'd left!'

'Love, you know that's not true,' he says, gently.

Hannah sniffs.

'Han, please. I haven't done anything with anyone. I don't know where that story came from. It's a load of rubbish.'

'She's also the journalist who broke the story that I'd left you and Bobbie. She's the one you picked to tell the story to.'

He wets his lips. 'Yes, she was there in the morning, but she arrived in the morning saying I'd promised her an interview. That was all it was. She hadn't been there overnight. Come on, love, you'd only gone a few hours earlier. Do you think I went straight back out to pull some bird?'

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