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"Pay up," John said.
We were standing at the service desk on the first floor of the motel. My feet were sinking into the heavy carpet and I was leaning against the wooden desk; I had not slept well last night. The heavyset woman was sitting at the desk in front of a typewriter.
"What do you mean," I said, weary. These were the first words he said to me—John hadn't talked to me since last night. I was annoyed at this and didn't bother to ask him either. Communicate, we say, but we forget that human pride has its rightful place. The past few days had been stressful with Pete gone and Paul not helping anyone, trying to keep the band afloat, and all of us feeling the effects of it. John and I didn't get to spend as much time alone with each other. We used to walk around Hamburg sometimes in the morning, just the two of us, but lately with the late nights, we got up later and later.
"We all contributed to the rooms," John responded, knowing full well I didn't have a job. Did he like making me feel uncomfortable? George was certainly looking uncomfortable, taking awkward glances at the ceiling fan. Paul was staring right at me, looking like he wanted to say something. The woman was looking idly at the typewriter, not caring.
"I don't have money," I tried to say in a dignified way. I will get out of this alive, I told myself. "I'll pay up when I have money."
"You're not getting any money," John said. "You don't work."
"Fuck off," I told him shortly, my temper rising. I could feel red patches appear on my cheeks. "You know that. Why are you patronizing me?"
"I'm just telling the truth."
"I'll pay for her," George said, resigned, and handed over a few notes. I thanked him and said, "George, I will pay that back."
The lady at the desk took the parcel of notes without comment. John looked out of the window. I had an overwhelming desire to hit him in the face.
"I know the way home," John mumbled as the door swung open and we walked out. Paul didn't even argue, but wordlessly followed the melancholy figure, hands stuffed in his pockets, his large black coat and slouch making him look like a thundercloud.
George and I walked a few paces behind them. I did not feel like talking to John. I felt awkward and out of place without him by my side; he was my link to the band in the first place.
"Screw him," I said quietly to George. "I can't believe him. He knows I don't work. He knows I want to work. And besides you know that I will try and pay you back—"
"Don't worry about it," George said, cutting me off and squeezing my shoulders in a sudden hug. "It's going to be okay."
George's hug was much needed, and I felt comforted.
"Why is John so moody today?" George asked. "Did you not give him a good show last night?"
"There was no show," I said, yawning.
"There was no... wait, what?" he said. "Are you serious?"
"I did not sleep with him, if that's what you're wondering," I said.
George burst out into laugher. "That's why he's so moody," he said between giggles. "Do you know how voracious Lennon is?"
I shot him an irritated glance. "I guess." And then I thought. Of course. A man who is so used to getting girls so easily—literally, just stick out your hand and there they are at the club—, who hasn't had sex in two weeks. It's like going cold turkey.
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