Chapter 17: There's Been a Mistake, Musicians, I Didn't Request Heartbreak Hotel

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 I had to find him.

I sidestepped through people's legs and ran towards the back of the restaurant. Bettina stood, wiping out a glass. Koschmider had seemingly gotten over his fury and was now smoking a cigarette while leaning against the wall, his eyes closed, de-stressing, I supposed. The smoke floated through people's light conversations and blended with the music: Till There Was You. I ducked around a corner and searched frantically for the man. I was sure he was there. I was sure that I saw him.

I couldn't find him.

I groaned in frustration, and someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Pete, looking concerned.

"Are you okay?" he asked me. I half shrugged and smiled a little. "I thought I saw someone familiar, that's all."

"You look really..." he attempted to complete the sentence while taking in my disheveled hair and panting breaths. It didn't help that I was soaking wet. "You look really excited about finding this... person."

My tight face broke into laughter. "Oh, Pete, I'm just trying to find someone strange. He was wearing a pink and blue jacket and had curly hair," I said as I attempted to describe a perm.

Pete looked across the sea of black. "I don't see him, unless his pink and blue jacket turns into a black one magically."

"Maybe it does," I said and gave a wry smile. John joined us.
"You're supposed to be on stage," I said, putting my hands on my hips and grinning. "What are you doing?"

"Who did you see?" John asked. He didn't look amused. I swallowed. "It was just the man I described earlier. Pink and blue jacket. Leggings—"

"I don't want to see him around here," John said shortly.

"Do you know him?" I asked curiously.

"No, but if he's stalking you I have a few words to say to him—"


I jumped. "John, you'd better get back on stage..." I whispered as Koschmider walked slowly over. John gave him a mock bow. "Over and out, Sergeant!" He walked back up on stage. I was left in the back with Pete.

"That reminds me, why aren't you playing?" I asked him.

"Oh, they're playing with Ringo," he answered, his eyes giving off a sleepy look. "I felt a little tired tonight and so they asked if Ringo could join them." Pete yawned; I could see his molars. "He was jamming with them a little beforehand too." A pause. I couldn't tell how he felt about the situation. "Do you want to go sit down and watch the show? Looks much different than from that spot on stage." He pointed to Ringo.

"I'm... going to watch from back here," I said, still a little wary.

He pulled up a chair. "Let me sit with you."

We both sat in the back. I leaned forwards and watched the band. A waiter plonked down a glass of beer in front of me.

"I got it," Pete said quickly. He gave the waiter a few coins and said, "One for me too."

"Thanks," I said, and sipped the beer. We watched the performance, but I was slipping away into my own world, thinking about the past. John and I were barreling straight into his time without thinking about anything, and I was concerned about, well, everything. Most of all my lack of concern. Did I want to go back? Yes, and no. It's like studying abroad in college for a year. You grow so attached to that place but you also miss your true home. I guess Chiswick was my true home, but I had grown to love Hamburg.

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