Chapter Thirty

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From the diary of Leo Harwood

Dear Diary,

Why did she have to go and spoil it? We were doing just fine, not just fine – we were doing fantastic, brilliant, better than ever. It’s all coming to us – just the way we dreamed. And now she’s going to throw it away for the sake of this guy? Some guy I’ve never even met. The way she performs, like she really means it, it’s hard to believe, but maybe I’m wrong and it’s true – maybe she would give it all up in a heartbeat.

It’s four thirty in the morning, we only finished the set at ‘The Royal Exchange’ five hours ago, I’m here in my tiny hotel room, laid in my pokey bed, an old lamp giving me just enough light to write. Jimmy’s in the bed next to me, looking like he might actually be dead – he’s not because I can see his breathing.

Me, I did the same as him as soon as we got to the room at about one thirty. Just lay straight on the bed, clothes still on – head whirring from the gig, exhausted. I fell asleep almost instantly, despite the incredible feeling of playing the gig. I was too tired to think anymore.

It must’ve been only about thirty minutes later that I heard a tiny knock on the hotel room door. I was in a total daze, it took me ages to unpeel my eyelids and remember where the hell I was. It was so dark I could hardly see what was in the room. I heard Jimmy let out one grunt but that was it from him. The knocking kept up for ages, despite the fact that I tried to go unconscious again and ignore it.

It just didn’t stop. Tap, tap, tap, ever so gentle but never giving up. I rolled my body onto the ground and practically crawled to the door, managing to get myself up onto my feet enough to open it. I hung onto the handle for support and found it hard to believe my eyes when I saw Marilyn stood there, out in the hall, smiling away at me, as bright as a newborn lamb.

‘What do you want?’ I said, trying not to be completely rude.

‘Aw, well, I just thought you might want to go for a walk?’ she said, smiling up at me.

‘How did you get in here?’ I said.

‘I’m staying in the room down the hall, didn’t you know that?’ she said, smiling sweetly.

‘Er, well, no, listen, Marilyn, I’m asleep and I’m knackered. Let’s chat in the morning,’ I said.

She cast her eyes downward, sadness creeping up onto her face.

‘Aw, I was just trying to be nice. I thought you’d be up much later than this, you being a rock star and everything. How often do we get to come to Manchester? Just thought we could do something nice. I’m all on my own in that room. My Dad only let me come because I said you would be here and you’d look after me but I’ve been on my own this whole time,’ she said.

‘Ah,’ I sighed. ‘Er, well, I guess I can come out with you for just a bit and then you’ll need to go back and get some sleep.’

‘Awesome!’ she said, jumping up and down, pointing into the room at my acoustic guitar. ‘Bring it! Please!’

I shrugged my shoulders, resigning myself to her wishes, putting the guitar into it’s case and slinging it over my shoulder.

‘OK, you win, Marilyn,’ I said, closing the door behind me. ‘Where are we going?’

‘I thought we could go to the waterways bit, you know, where all the massive canals are, I’ve never been but I heard it’s beautiful down there.’

She took my hand and led me out the hotel and along through the streets of Manchester. It was dark apart from the orange of the streetlights. There were still people everywhere, most of them worst for wear, outside some pub or other, staggering about or getting into fights. Marilyn threaded us through it all until we came to a huge bridge.

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