Paul and George looked around.
"I suppose we'll have to work this out ourselves," Paul said.
"But can we sleep on it?" George yawned.
"Sure." The four went out and walked home.
The next morning, the phone rang. Paul quickly picked it up. "Julie!" He paused. "Oh...oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, he's here." Paul covered the mouthpiece. "George, uh, you won't believe this. It's Ellen."
George looked up. "She still remembers my name?" He walked over to the phone, carried it into the closet, and closed the door. "Hello?"
"George," Ellen's voice came. "Andrew has been terrible for the past few weeks. I tried to get in touch with you when he first started being indecent but you were always out." She sounded like she was going to cry. "George, please tell me it wasn't another girl. Tell me it wasn't that girl I saw you at The Club with."
George sighed grimly. "I could tell you that, but it wouldn't be the truth," he said.
"But isn't she Paul's girlfriend?" Ellen asked suspiciously.
George told Ellen the entire story. When he was done, there was a good minute or so of silence. "Well, I guess if she means that much to you now, I should stop dreaming," she said quietly.
"Ellen, I didn't say that," George replied. "I wish you would come back."
"No, you don't," Ellen said. "You just want to make me feel better." With that, not even saying goodbye, she hung up the phone. George stood alone in the dark, the dial tone the only sound there was. He couldn't face the others. He had just been a rat. At least Paul had remained faithful to his girlfriend. Even when all hope seemed to be gone of seeing her again, Paul hung on to Julie. George felt as if there was rock bottom, a hundred feet of junk, and then him. Slowly, he hung up the phone and went out.
"What did she say?" Paul asked.
George didn't make eye contact with anyone. He put the phone back on the table and walked outside.
Determined to find out what was wrong with George (or else bug the heck out of him until he cracked), Paul put on his jacket. That was something George had neglected to do, and it was freezing outside. So Paul grabbed George's jacket as well. With an outside temperature of 12 degrees and a windchill of -7, Paul thought George must have either been crazy or wanted to commit suicide. It was cold enough for Paul to throw on a scarf, gloves, boots, and a hat. But his arms would be too full if he provided that for George, so he guessed that a jacket could hold him out until he got home. Because wherever George was, Paul was going to march him straight back to the house. He was only one year younger than Paul, but if Paul had to treat George like a baby, he would. With that, Paul went outside. And John and Ringo followed close behind.
The three looked on the streets, in alleys, in buildings, but no George. Just as they passed the park, John spotted a figure huddled on a bench.
"Hey," he said, "what about the park?"
"Why would someone go to the park if they're sad?" Ringo asked.
"To be alone, maybe?" John asked.
"It wouldn't hurt to check," Paul replied.
A few minutes later, they approached the huddled figure. His head was down and he had brought his head to his knees. Nobody could tell if he was shaking with sobs or with the cold. It looked like both.
"George? That you? Mr. Mousie thinks you need a coat to make you feel 100% warmer," Ringo said.
All the figure did was cover his head and shake some more. The song "Don't Bother Me" came to mind.
"We know it's you. Listen, you could at least cut down your suffering and put on a coat," Paul said, draping the coat around George's shoulders. George didn't move at all, except for shivering.
"Come on, George, look up," John said. "You can't wallow in misery forever. Tell us what's wrong."
George just pulled the coat around him and didn't look up. He heaved a big sigh.
The other three sat on the bench around George and waited. Nothing happened.
"Look, if you keep being so stubborn and not saying anything, the longer we'll have to freeze out here," Paul said.
"Can't you guys take a hint?" George mumbled, not looking up. "I don't want to talk to anyone right now."
"Well, it's cold out here, and you were crazy to go out without a coat," Ringo said. "Besides, how could we just ignore you when you're this down in the dumps?"
"Maybe it would help if you told us what Ellen said," John added.
George stood up all of a sudden. "What is this, a therapy session? Can't you see that I'm not going to talk to anybody? Leave me alone!" With that, he stormed down the path.
"What now?" Paul asked.
"I think we seemed to be too worried about him," John said.
"Maybe if we ignore him he'll come back," Ringo suggested.
"Maybe you're right," Paul said. "Come on." They went back to the house. At lunchtime, George didn't come back. He didn't appear all afternoon. And it had started to snow a lot outside.
"So we're just ignoring him when he's been gone all day and it's weather like this?" Paul asked, suddenly standing up in the middle of a game of cards.
"Paul's right," Ringo said. "Maybe we could stand to be a little more worried about him. What if he's frozen to death out there?"
"I don't think so," John said. "George has probably found somewhere to go."
"What if he hasn't?" Ringo asked.
"Why are you always looking on the bad side of things?" John wondered. "Come on, show some optimism."
"Do you think it's easy to be optimistic when one of your best pals is out there probably catching pneumonia if he hasn't become a solid block of ice already?" Paul asked. "We've got to do something."
So, once again, the three went out to search for George.
WHERE GEORGE WENT...
About two hours after he had stormed away, George suddenly realized he was out of London, since he hadn't stopped. And it was snowing. And he was freezing. And he was still walking.
George stopped in the middle of the frozen road. Nobody would be driving in this weather for sure. He sat down beside the road and sat down, curling up as tight as he could. He was afraid to cry, for fear the tears would freeze to his face. But George couldn't help himself. Hey, you'd be sad too if you were away from home, away from your friends, away from everything except what was left of yourself. The cold made George tremble even more. His entire face was bright red. Curling up even tighter to salvage what was left of the little warmth he had, George silently spit curses into the cold air. They turned to puffs of mist, then dissolved. Did anybody care?
Remember when we said nobody would be driving in that weather? Well,
nobody except for three certain guys...
"Careful, Paul!" John exclaimed. "These roads aren't exactly at their safest today."
"I'm surprised they're not closed down," Ringo said.
"We've driven all around London," Paul complained. "No sign of him."
"Maybe he's inside somewhere," John offered.
"Where would he go? Almost all the places are closed because of the weather," Ringo replied.
"He could have walked so far that he's now outside London," Paul said. "Let's go for a drive in the country."
"We sure picked a day for it," John mumbled.
About an hour later...
Ringo was looking out of the window. He let out a "Hey! Stop!" when he saw a figure huddled by the side of the road. The only things the figure had to keep him warm were clothes and a mere coat. No hat, no scarf, no gloves.
"Let's help that poor guy," Ringo said when the car stopped a few feet away.
"We can't. We're looking for George," Paul said, starting the car up again and driving off.
Ringo looked behind him. "But-"
"Don't get all soft, Ring," John said. "You heard Paul."
"But it was-"
"Enough!" Paul barked. "I'm already on my last nerve. Would you like to try and bend it?" With that, Ringo shut up as the car went down the road.
But George knew better.
A few minutes later, Ringo turned around and looked behind him to see if George was still there. And wouldn't you know it? The missing Beatle was hugging the end of the car while the others dragged him along for the ride. Ringo stifled a laugh.
"You hear something?" Paul asked, his eyebrows knitting into an arc of worry.
"Sounded like a thump. Ringo? Did we hit anything?" John asked.
"Nope," Ringo said with a suppressed grin.
They drove on in silence for a few more minutes. Paul stopped the car. "Some extra weight is slowing us down," he said, getting out. John and Ringo followed. On their way around to the back of the car, George jumped down and met them in the middle.
"George?!?!" Paul exclaimed.
"Is this the 'extra weight' you were talking about?" John asked.
"We thought- I mean- you know- you had- sort of-" Paul was at a loss.
"Should have listened to me all along," Ringo said.
"Let's get in the car," George said pointedly. "I'm already half frozen."
"You mean you're not totally done? Let's leave him out a few more hours till he's a block of ice," John quipped. George gave him a certain look as he got in the car.
Ellen sat on her bed, fingering the wool afghan's many colorful
threads. She sighed and sighed again. How could she have hung up like that
on George? Now he probably was afraid of her, and she wanted so much to
apologize. But something told her not to call.
Then, all of a sudden, Ellen's face brightened. She knew who to talk to about her romantic problems. Daphne. Daphne was the guru of love. The girl knew all about romantic problems. Because she had definitely had her share.
Walking down the hall, she knocked on Daphne's door. "Daph? I have to talk to you."
"Sure, come in," Daphne said. She opened the door. "Hi, Ell. What's wrong? I heard you yelling at someone in the front yard last night. You weren't...drunk, were you?"
"Of course not!" Ellen exclaimed, wrinkling her nose. "I was mad at Andrew."
"I knew you two wouldn't make it," Daphne said. "When you told me how you favored him so quickly over George I knew there was going to be trouble. Besides, you are an Aquarius. George is a Pisces and Andrew is a Cancer. Cancer and Aquarius are a big mistake while Pisces and Aquarius are wonderful together." She sat down on her bed, tossed her long, lion-colored hair behind her shoulders, and removed it from her rows of multicolored beads. Daphne rolled up the sleeves of her white sweater and hunched forward, a sure sign that she was listening intently to what Ellen had to say.
After Ellen had finished, Daphne looked deep in thought. "What you're saying is this. You called George and he admitted on going with another girl. You hung up on George and now you want to call back and apologize but you're afraid that he's afraid of you."
Ellen nodded. Daphne threw her arms up into the air and smiled, as if to say Ellen's question was silly. "Call him, by all means! And if that doesn't work, find some way to make him listen to your side."
"You're right," Ellen said after a long silence. "Thanks a lot." She walked out of the room and into hers. Taking a deep breath and shaking her hair out of her eyes, Ellen picked up the phone and dialed the number.