Chapter 11: I Thought We Were Friends, McCharmly

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"What do you think?" asked John, leaning against a coat rack.

I ran my hands over the smooth leather. The shop was tiny; it was artsy, beatnik, hipster, whatever was in style in 1962. A stylish shop girl stood nearby, sporting a boyish haircut, occasionally glancing at John and me and other passerby who entered the store with heavy lidded eyes. My gaze caught on her hair. I had been seeing more and more of these types of hairstyles—these androgynous hairstyles—around this area of town that John had taken me to: the Soho of Hamburg.

We were shopping for new clothes; my gray dress was practically ruined after twenty four hours of constant wear and tear. To celebrate our trip, John had promised to buy me a whole outfit today.

"John," Paul had said irritably, running his hands through his hair to make sure it was standing up alright, "We have a gig tonight. Do you know who is coming tonight?"

"Don't care," was his flippant answer. "Besides, we'll only take a few hours. You know I'm good at playing it off." And then he had proceeded to ask George to lend him a few German marks for the clothes.

During this procedure I had stood a little ways off, feeling very awkward. I felt bad that I was the reason that Paul was annoyed. After all, I had brought John to the future and now he was buying me clothes (and borrowing marks off an innocent George who might never get them back). But, I thought, as I felt a hole wear in the dress, I really did need new clothing. And so he had taken me to Hamburg's Soho where we were now looking at tiny little shops for me to fit in to the 1960s.

"Everything here is made out of leather," I half whispered to John, ignoring the salesgirl's strange looks.

"That's the point," he responded, and half laughed.

I found myself in the fitting room trying on a leather jacket. John had tried to insist on getting me leather pants but I refused, thinking about how hot it would be in the Kaiserkeller. At least I could take off the jacket.

"What do you think?" I asked timidly, stepping out of the room.

"I love it," John had told me. "Especially over that dress. You don't see many people wearing a leather jacket over a dress. Usually it's with pants or something." He yelled at the salesgirl, "How many marks?"

She yelled back a number I couldn't recognize. "Oh no, John, if it's too much—"

"Shhhh," he said. "It's okay. I haven't been paid in a week."

"You haven't been here for a week."

"Shhhh," he said again.

***

Several hours of shopping later John and I were walking back to the Kaiserkeller. John had been surprisingly okay with shopping; I just think he liked seeing me model clothing, but he also pointed out the intricate detail of the stitching in the leather and the patterns on the shirts—like he was analyzing Magritte. But now we were walking back because he needed to practice for that night and I needed to sleep. We found ourselves walking by a river and he suggested we stop and sit for a while.

I dangled my legs over the water. The river was small; it was more like a little canal. There was a thump as John sat beside me on my right.

"Y/n," John said. He came a little closer to my ear. "What would you say if..."

"If what," I said, a little nervous. John had a lot of ideas, but I felt like we had pushed our limit today.

"What would you say—do—if" his mouth was right by my ear. "I pushed you into the river right now?"

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