(She's Got a) Ticket to Ride: Chapter Two.
Pairing: John Lennon/Elaine Holland (OFC).
Rating: In debate.
Warnings: The usual: sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
Summary: A young reporter shares her story about how she got to witness the Beatles rise to the "toppermost of the poppermost" during their tours of the U.S. throughout 1964 and 1966.
Disclaimer: Hm, yes, I totally have John Lennon stashed in my closet.
Author's Note: It felt... Almost unnatural to have had an urge to write this chapter. Sorry if it's not what you expected.
Archive: Previous posts can be found here.
Larry breathed a sigh of relief at my answer, and then gave me a few vague details over my upcoming job. I was to travel with this new British group throughout their entire tour, which was going to span over a period of two weeks.
“It doesn’t sound like much,” Larry said, “but, from the looks of it, they’re going to have a full schedule. From New York, they’re jumping over to Washington, then Miami, and back to New York again.”
Rubbing my temple, I groaned quietly. “Christ, Kane… That’s a lot of traveling. You better pray this sickness thing goes away by then.”
Larry chuckled, telling me not to worry.
“I’m assuming I’ll be in the same hotels they’ll be staying at, right?”
“Yes, yes… Like I said, everything’s paid for; you only need to show up and--”
“And pester them with questions, I know,” I retorted. “Is there anything else?”
I heard shuffling sounds on the other end before receiving a proper answer. “Uhm--Let me see… You’ll basically be tagging along with them everywhere they go--Concerts, press conferences, that sort of stuff. Just be on the outlook for opportunities to interview them, especially when they’ve got some downtime in-between their other commitments. It’ll make them more receptive to answering your questions, you know?”
“Thanks for the advice, boss.” I would’ve mock-saluted Larry, had he been in front of me.
“No problem, Holland. Now, go get some rest, so this laryngitis can work its way out. I’ll call you when I get more information.”
“Sure thing,” I yawned, saying goodbye.
Hanging up the phone, I trudged over my living room and fiddled around with my radio. Once I got a decent reception, I flopped onto the nearest couch. Letting my head loll back, I sprawled out comfortably, catching the end of a song.
“Lesley Gore, everyone,” the D.J. announced. “You know, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for this new band here--Er, The Beatles, is it?”
I choked back surprise (and more phlegm) and sat up straighter, wondering if I’d heard right.
“So, straight from their newest album, let’s enjoy this new British beat!”
I sagged back down onto the sofa as the D.J. introduced the song, letting exclamations of “it won’t be long, yeah!” boom throughout my tiny apartment. Face in palm, I chuckled dryly at my luck for the moment.
The next few weeks dragged on in the same manner. I flitted between visits to the doctor and the occasional lunch with Larry, where we would go over more details. This was going to be the first major story I would be covering, so I was grateful to Kane for preparing me as much as he could. The man was always good for tips on how to approach people.
“Ease them into it,” he’d constantly remind me, “don’t just spit it out--Especially if it’s a sensitive subject. It’s their first time in America, so you want to have a good impression both for and from them.”
I would nod vigorously, my mind working a hundred miles per hour as I tried to cram all of his information in. I went about the better part of my days walking around and feeling as if I’d spent hours twirling non-stop; my head wouldn’t stop spinning.
At times, the urge to back out on the job crawled over me, and there a few instances where I almost called Larry to tell him I’d changed my mind. The responsibly felt like too much for me, a young twenty-one year old with not much experience in journalism. Besides that, I was sure they wouldn’t take a female writer seriously.
“Don’t worry about that,” Larry tried to reassure me during one of our rendezvous. “I’m sure they will.”
I scoffed, “The first time I came up to you, asking for an interview, you told me to go back to high school!”
His cheeks stained an amusing shade of pink, and his normally cool composure cracked a bit. Sheepishly, he gave me a lopsided, apologetic smile, which I dismissed haughtily.
Frustrated, I let out a groan and laid my head down on arms. A few seconds later, I felt Larry gently pat the top of it. I tensed a little at the contact, not really used to any fatherly or brotherly-like attention. He must’ve sensed my discomfort, because he hesitantly moved his hand away, awkwardly clearing his throat.
Straightening up again, I offered Larry a sad smile and thanked him for listening. He shrugged nonchalantly, going back his lunch. My gaze flickered between him eating and my own plate. I pushed it away slightly, all my worrying having done away with my appetite.
“You’re not hungry?” Larry asked in-between bites of his hamburger.
I shook my head, taking a sip of my cold drink instead. I felt, rather than saw, his frown.
“Are you not feeling well again? I thought the doctor--”
“I’m fine, Larry,” I interrupted. “I’m just worried, is all, and my stomach’s up in knots.”
He got a here-we-go-again look on his face and slowly lowered his food back onto his plate. After making a show of wiping his hands clean, he linked them together and rested his chin on top. I raised an eyebrow in question at his intense stare, trying not to squirm under it.
“Stop looking at me like that!” I hissed. “Squinting’s bad for you, you know.”
Sighing, Larry released his hands, planting them on the table of our booth. “Elaine, listen to me,” he said, his tone turning serious. “You’ll be okay. Everything will be alright. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, I know that. Don’t stress out about it too much.”
“I know, I know!” I moaned. “But, this is a pretty huge job, Larry. It’s not every day a British pop group comes to the U.S. and invites you along on their tour!”
“Rock and roll,” came Larry’s response.
“That’s what they play, rock and roll.”
“Oh,” I muttered, feeling slightly embarrassed at his correction. “Same thing, almost.” I made a quick note to learn more this group.
Larry grinned, “Enough about this job, though, yeah? Come on, eat your food; I didn’t pay for you to just sit there and sip at your iced tea.”
I felt my forehead wrinkle in confusion. “The check hasn’t even come yet…”
Larry’s face stretched wider, and he winked. A small smirk felt its way around my own lips, and I laughed quietly as I reached for my fork.