brushed his hair, humming quietly to himself.
festivities were still going on outside, but he was dead chuffed that their
little ruse had worked.
The word that he and his bride had left the estate by helicopter to
jet off on their honeymoon had pulled most of the reporters and fans away
from the castle gates, all in a hurry to find out where the happy couple had
chuckled, thank heavens for a successful ploy, he was looking forward to
some peace and quiet on his wedding night!
This old castle had pretty thick walls, and he didn’t think
they’d be bothered by the continuing noise of the party.
What a bash it had been, filled with friends and family, it had been
for that one damned helicopter!
growled softly as he thought about the intrusion, but he brightened when he
remembered the lovely double rainbow that had appeared in the sky shortly
after the church bells had pealed their news that the vows had been said.
A beautiful touch, too bad he couldn’t take the credit for
But it had felt like a blessing from above, hadn’t it?
ya tied th’ knot with th’ gurl, did ya, Macca?
Ya soft hapath!”
dropped the brush and looked wildly about the castle’s sumptuous bath, the
familiar voice and the words echoing in his ears.
George, is that you?” he whispered fearfully.
it’s me, idiot.”
legs felt weak.
He lowered the lid on the toilet and sat down on it, breathing a sigh
of relief compounded with wonderment.
What did one say to a ghost?
you know, when they told me the Red Room was haunted, I didn’t expect to
find out that it was you that was
doing the haunting, George,” he complained mildly, weakly.
shimmering apparition came into focus, but Paul found that he couldn’t
look directly at it, not exactly.
He had to watch it from the corner of his eye, otherwise it would
fade to simple sparkles in the air.
what he could see, though, it certainly looked
No mistaking that lean figure.
He looked good, healthy and fit, Paul was grateful to notice, and as
the moments passed, the figure was rapidly gaining a sort of solidity,
although Paul could still see right through him.
It was a bit disconcerting.
Especially when the shade’s features changed so rapidly from
‘young George’ to ‘older George’ and back again!
apparition settled on the edge of the claw footed tub, crossing its legs and
looking quite comfortable.
actually, this is me first time here,” George admitted.
“I jus’ took over fer th’ night, th’ regular ghost wanted a
bit of a holiday, so it worked out fer both of us.
But what about this, Sir McCartney-roses-fer-th’-wedding-bouquet?
Who’s idear was that?”
grinned modestly, rapidly becoming accustomed to the idea of having a chat
with an old mate.
No matter how odd this seemed on the surface!
was my idear!
Nice touch, eh?” he asked, trying to keep his grin down to
arrogant, that’s what it was!”
the spirit shot in reply, its head shaking back and forth in apparent
… th’ gurl, Paul, th’ gurl!
She’s half yer age!”
is not!” Paul insisted hotly.
Why, I’m not even sixty yet…”
froze in mid-sentence upon hearing the feminine-voiced hail from outside the
b…be right there, Heather,” he stammered.
be long, Paul.”
perked up at the sexy, come-hither tone to his bride’s request.
Listen to that, son!
I still got it!” he announced to the shade.
“I’m still the cute one, you know!”
shook his head tiredly.
daft, son, yer gonna make me sick, an’ trust
me on this, ya don’t wanna see a ghost with a case o’ th’ queasies.
But look, Macca, she’s young enough t’ be yer daughter, ya know.
And don’t try an’ fool me with yer ‘not
even sixty yet’ crap, yer gonna be inta yer seventh
decade next Tuesday, ya old coot!
Why, th’ mind boggles, it simply boggles!
Six decades, Paulie!
d’ya want, George?
Let’s cut to the chase.
Why’re you here?” Paul asked in irritation.
laughed, his sparkling form somehow becoming even more solid.
Paul could almost look at him directly now, almost see the strong
humour lurking in eyes that seemed so dark that they were nearly as deep as
In fact, if he looked closely, he thought he could lose himself in
their depth, spinning galaxies, nebulas, universe upon universe, never
beginning and never ending….
shook himself, blinking rapidly as George grinned and offered a reply.
wanted t’ stop by an’ give ya a bit of a slagging, couldn’t pass up th’
chance, ya know.
John’s just shakin’ his head at ya, he thinks….”
drew a shaky breath and interrupted his old friend.
looked wildly about the loo, searching for another bit of sparkly
man, ‘e couldn’t make it,” George replied apologetically.
“John’s got this forum ‘e operates on Tuesdays an’ Thursdays,
great thinkers o’ th’ universe or some such bother.
Confucius an’ Plato both
canceled t’day, again, so ‘e
had t’ take up th’ reins o’ th’ panel.
Said t’ tell ya ‘e’s sorry ‘e couldn’t pop in an’ say
what did he say?” Paul asked, his heart pounding hard.
“What’s he think?”
‘bout yer wedding?” George asked, grinning as he added, “an’
about th’ gurl’s age?
Well, you know John.
He’s laughing ‘bout th’ age difference, but I ‘spect he kinda
admires ya a bit, too, fer pulling such a young bird.
He said t’ offer ‘is congratulations, an’ t’ make sure I tell
ya he says don’t ferget t’ take yer little blue pill….”
off!” Paul shot back.
“I don’t need that rubbish!
Spare me th’ details, Sir Virility, I don’t wanna hear it!” George groaned, putting his shimmering
fingers into his equally shimmering ears.
“Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na,” he intoned.
“Are ya done bragging?” he added after several minutes of ‘na
na na’ing, cautiously removing fingers from ears.
it’s not so hard to fathom, is it……” Paul began, only to be silenced
by George’s voice as he began chanting.
drummed his fingers on his pajama clad leg, rolling his eyes as George
Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare….”
found himself breathing in tune with his friend’s chant, relaxing.
The party had enjoyed an Indian theme and Heather’s sapphire was
Indian, so somehow this was rather fitting……
What’s taking you so long?”
jumped, his relaxation abruptly shattered, and he cracked his knee smartly
on the toilet paper holder.
Errrr, don’t worry, Heather, won’t be much longer, love, I’ll
be right there!”
tired, feminine sigh was his only reply from the other side of the door.
turned to look directly at the shade; the apparition appeared as solid as a
flesh-and-blood man by now.
you stop laughing, George!” he
“I think I prefer you chanting.”
know, she prob’ly thinks yer in ‘ere tryin’ t’ work up th’ courage
fer th’ wedding night.
Wedding knight, get it?
Or maybe she thinks yer simply spending more an’ more time in th’
loo, th’ hazards of aging, old man, more time in th’ loo……”
chortled with glee as Paul frowned at him.
even go there, George, you can be a real arse, you know?
Why the bloody hell are you bothering me like this?”
stopped laughing and a thoughtful look crossed his thin features, features
that continued to change from those of a young man with dark good looks, to
an older, distinguished gentleman.
It was fascinating to watch, and Paul couldn’t take his eyes off
I s’pose I am doing a bit o’
bothering,” George admitted.
“But if I can’t slag ya,
Paul thought privately, but didn’t say it aloud.
And...Linda, I suppose....
“Yeah, well, Ritch could, but he an’ Barbara are still at th’
know Ritch, ever th’ party animal, even though he doesn’t drink any
still loves a good bash, shoulda seen ‘im dancing on th’ tables a few
Think he’s jamming with some o’ yer other guests now.
But Linda’s filling in on John’s panel as a special guest, an’
John woulda had a fit if Lin decided t’ change ‘er mind.
Anyroad, she didn’t really feel right ‘bout visitin’ ya
t’night, said she thought it might make ya nervous.
Smart gurl, that.”
blanched, felt himself turn utterly pale.
you know what I was thinking?” he blustered, wishing he could ask about
smiled mysteriously, but didn’t respond to the question.
just wanted t’ offer me best wishes, old man, no matter how daft I think ya are.
“Well, I figgered you’d have to harass me about this, but I’d
have thought you’d do something nice
shook his head.
Who d’ya think arranged th’ double rainbow?”
stared at his old friend.
“That was you?”
looked at the floor.
“Well, it was Lin’s idear, an’ John helped me set it up,” he
swallowed with difficulty and decided he’d best think further about this tomorrow.
P’rhaps now wasn’t a
really good time to spend in contemplative thought.
old softies,” he said quietly, “all three
He had to pause and clear his throat.
“It was perfect.
Ta very much, George, nice touch,” he added sincerely.
“Tell… tell John and… and Linda… that it was beautiful.
And very much appreciated.”
welcome,” George said grumpily.
Paul said into the silence that fell between them, “ya gonna let me go
keepin’ ya here,” George replied with an easy smile.
“’s not like ya can’t walk out o’ th’ loo anytime.
I’m not keepin’ ya captive, rattlin’ me chains or anything like
will, man, jus’ stand up an’ open th’ door, yer bride awaits.”
stood up and gestured to the door, a crooked grin on his lips.
well… it’s good t’ see ya, man,” Paul said awkwardly.
“Glad ya stopped by.
It’s a special day, y’know?
Nice to… nice to share it with an old friend.”
a softy now, eh?” George grinned.
form wasn’t quite as distinct as it had been only moments before, and Paul
felt sadness creep over his heart.
I see you again?” he asked desperately.
laughed, the sound familiar and friendly, evoking memories of good times and
a longstanding friendship.
“An’ maybe not.
T’morrow never knows…”
groaned as George faded away to nothing, leaving just a hint of sparkling
brightness in the air, the fresh scent of a garden in springtime, and a
tinkling of chanting.
just had to get the last word in, didn’t he? Paul thought, shaking
groom sat quietly for several minutes, thinking about his ghostly visitor
and what he’d said, then finally stood up with a sigh.
Nobody’d ever believe him about this, they’d think he was nutters
for certain if he ever mentioned it!
maybe not Ritch.
But everyone else would
think he was utterly mad.
He wondered suddenly if Ritch had ever received a visit from a
P’rhaps he’d have to ask.
Well, he’d have to see about it tomorrow.
Tomorrow never knows……
groaned and shook his head.
for making that song stick in me brain!
resolutely checked his appearance in the mirror.
George was right, his bride was waiting for him, she’d been awfully
opened the door to the bedroom.
he said softly.
“Sorry to take so long, love……”
paused in surprise, looking at the figure sprawled in the bed, the silk clad
form utterly limp and silent in the depths of slumber.
it had been a long day, hadn’t it?
long, long day, in a week of long
days leading up to the wedding.
poor bird must be completely exhausted to have fallen asleep like this,
sound asleep on her own wedding night!
narrowed his eyes as a thought struck him.
you bloody bast’id! he thought vengefully.
Did you plan this out exactly, keeping me talking so long that my bride
Cheryl Mortensen has been a Beatle fanatic since the 1960s, but somehow went on to other things in the late 1960s, only rediscovering her passion for "all things Beatle" in the late 1990s (and on into the new century). She is a computer programmer and an avid photographer. (Concert photos of bands and performers is her favorite area -- ask her about her Ringo pictures!!) Cheryl lives with her husband of many years (Mike), her German Shepherd (Sorsha), and a bunch of fish in the tank and the pond that they've never bothered to name.
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