Chapter 5
And The Winner Is... (or Two Sides To Every Story)

 "Contest? What kind of contest?" George asked, stillnot looking up.
 "A contest of the heart," Paul replied.
 "What do you mean?" George finally sat up and looked warily at Paul.
 "I mean it's a contest for..." Paul jerked his head towards Julie.
 "Oh, I see," George said, getting the hint. "And what exactly..." He jerked his head towards Julie.
 "You know," Paul said, jerking his head again.
 "Oh!" George said. "I dig that!"
 "So let's get to it," Paul said.
 "I feel like a prize at the fair," Julie mumbled.
 John smiled. "Step right up here and try your luck!" Julie gave John a dirty look. "Never mind that, this lovely catch just got a little peeved!"
 "Darn straight," Julie said.

 Now, I think, would be a good time to interrupt this conversation to go somewhere else. You see, I need to explain another plot twist that happens on the other side of town. Just pretend that the scene at Julie's house is a video and the "pause" button was pushed so you could see something else that was happening on the other TV.
 Andrew's big, black car pulled into the driveway of the small boarding house that Ellen shared with three other girls (whose names are Daphne Linseed, Veronica Love, and Hannah Beamer, but that's not important). He looked at Ellen, a suggestive expression on his face. Ellen, timid creature she was (most of the time) scooted away a bit.
 "Well, I had a very nice time," she said politely.
 Andrew sighed. "Ell, darling, we've been going out for weeks now. Why don't you gimme a kiss?"
 Ellen mulled this over in her mind. Finally, she reached up and pecked Andrew on the lips. Usually that would make George happy, and she'd smooch him again for good behavior. However, Andrew looked disappointed with this.
 "C'mon, girl, can't you do any better?" he asked, massive arms slipping around her waist.
 Ellen became nervous. "Well, you see, I-"
 "Oh, no, babe, don't tell me you're still thinking about that floppy-haired naive scrawny weak little Liverpudlian sap George?" Andrew asked incredulously.
 Something clicked in Ellen's mind. Her face grew hot as she tried to keep her temper cooled. "The only truth to what you just said is that he's Liverpudlian and his name is George."
 "Yeah, but he's also floppy-haired, naive, scrawny, weak, and a sap. I know. I beat him good. You were there and you were laughing at him, honey." Andrew's eyes grew dangerous.
 Ellen took a deep breath, trying to salvage her pride. "I didn't know how much I'd hurt him."
 "What are you gonna do now, though?" Andrew asked. "It's too late. He had that pretty blue-eyed blondie with him and I bet you anything he's forgotten about you." He leaned closer to Ellen and closed his eyes. "But don't let it hurt you, babe. Just put it behind you. Now you're a lot better off 'cause you got me."
 That was it. Ellen was in over her head. She had to find some way to get out. Which was very simple. She unlocked the car door, opened it, and sort of tumbled out. Andrew landed face-down in the passenger's seat. Looking up, he asked, "What's with you, sweetheart?"
 "I can't stand the way you're using me!" Ellen cried.
 "Using you? And how am I doing that, love?" Andrew scooted over into the passenger's seat and leaned on his elbow.
 "Well..." Ellen thought. "Let me rephrase that. I was blind. I haven't realized up till now what a...what a...filthy pig you are! Can't say a thing to me without some kind of pet name. Expecting me to fall at your feet. Slobbering and feeling all over me as if I'm your property. Enough is enough. You're pushing me too far too soon. George may be a...a...well, George may be all the things you said he was, but at least he knows how to show a little respect!" With that, the angry Ellen turned on her heel and stormed inside. Just before Andrew drove off, he called to her, "Baby, you won't ever know what you just passed up." All Ellen did in response was slam the door. All right, now we've added something here. Let's press the "pause" button again to resume the scene at Julie's house...

 "Can we just get this over with? It's way past Mr. Mousie's curfew," Ringo said.
 "You mean you didn't tuck him in?" John asked.
 "No. He's afraid of being alone in the dark," Ringo replied. "I guess this can be a special treat. He'll be sleeping late in the morning."
 "All right," Paul said. "The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can get to sleep. First objective is hugging."
 "What?!?!?" Julie exclaimed. "What kind of a contest is this???"
 "It won't get too ugly," Paul said.
 "I hope not. I don't want any bones crushed," Julie grimaced.
 George went first. He swaggered up to Julie and squeezed her as tight as he could. Julie was losing air. She gasped but couldn't get any breath. As if this were possible, George squeezed even tighter. "Mmmmm-mmmmm!!" Finally, he let go. John and Ringo wrote down the scores, and so did Julie.
 Next up came Paul. He put his arms around her and wrapped her in a warm, snug embrace. Strangely enough, Julie returned it. And when the time was up, she did not let go. George began to snivel. John, Ringo, and Julie wrote down the scores. George threw Paul a cold look when he sat down to announce the next part. Julie threw Paul a dreamy look. Paul preferred to return Julie's gaze.
 "Next up is Words of Love. We have to say as many sweet things as we can in thirty seconds. No fair using song lyrics. I'll go first this time," Paul said. He walked up to Julie and got down on his knees. "You must assume the correct stance. Ready, Johnny?"
 "Julie, your eyes are like...pools of prussian pristine mist. They are so becoming of your golden-spun hair. And your voice! It sounds like beautiful church bells on a crisp spring morning." He stood up and smirked at George. "Beat THAT."
 "All right, I will," George said. He assumed the stance.
 "You know really love you, and...I'd...give you my heart and lay down my...lay down my life for you. You have the...the loveliest face time I see it I...don't worry any more because...I know you'll make everything all right...oh, cream cheese danish, girl, can't you see I'm crazy for you!"
 Paul stifled a laugh. "That was pathetic!"
 Julie smiled. "That was sweet."
 "I think I'm going to be sick," Paul muttered.
 The scores were written, and Paul stood up. "Now, here is the last and, might I add, most important contest."
 "Good. I'm getting tired," Julie said. "What contest is this? Is it something I'm going to like?"
 Paul gave George a breath mint and popped one into his own mouth. He then offered one to Julie.
 "What's that for?" Julie asked.
 "The contest," Paul replied. "Take it."
 Julie did. "What do I do, stick it up my nose?" She giggled a bit. "Sorry. I get silly when I'm sleepy."
 "This is a kissing contest," Paul said.
 "Oh," Julie said. "Maybe I will like it."
 Paul gave her a wink. "You will."
 George gave her a wink too. "Believe me."
 "Let the show begin!" Ringo cried.
 Paul and George almost fell all over each other trying to be first. George won. He smiled and walked up to Julie. His eyes bore into hers. Julie seemed a bit apprehensive. His arms slipped around her as he pulled her closer to him. Their eyes fluttered closed, and when Julie was expecting something tiny and dainty, she got more than she bargained for. Don't worry, it was strictly lips, but George was definitely skilled in this area. Julie was dazzled. "Mmmmm." When time was up there was no sign of them letting go. Paul tried to pull them apart, but it was like separating the threads in a shirt. A very strong shirt. Finally George and Julie let go of each other. Stars spun around Julie's head as birds chirped in her ears.
 "Now for some REAL action!" Paul exclaimed. He leaped over the couch and swept Julie up into his arms very quickly.
 "Watch it!" Julie exclaimed. And then, Paul's whopper of a kiss knocked her over. It looked just like the V-J Day picture of the sailor and the girl. You could see Julie's jaw trembling under the pressure. Scatters of applause were heard.
 "Go, Paul! Heh, heh," John said.
 "Whoa! You've got it, Paul," Ringo cheered. Mr. Mousie squeaked in agreement.
 "Go and get yourself sick," George muttered. "Cream cheese danish, are you even letting her breathe?" The choice hand gesture that Paul responded with made him glad Julie hadn't seen.
 "Oh, now, really, there's no call for that," John warned. "That'll cost you some points."
 Julie pulled away from Paul. "What?"
 "Nothing," Paul said, casting John a cold look.
 "So, who wins?" George asked expectantly.
 "I don't believe it," Julie said, looking over the final results. "It's a tie. A true tie. You two got the exact same score."

 Chapter 6