As they finished up the last few shows of the tour, George adjusted to a new type of ‘normal’ routine. Ringo continued talking to Paul more frequently, but he stayed true to his word and didn’t take things too far. Over time, George stopped worrying so much about it—and, even better, once the novelty of the topic had worn off, George and Ringo were back to their regular conversations. George was almost able to forget everything that had transpired recently.
Then the last show of the tour came and went, and before George knew it, he was getting off the airplane and into the car with Ringo on the way back to their shared flat. George couldn’t wait to be back at home and sleeping in his own bed again. God, he was so ready for sleep.
George let out a yawn, and Ringo looked over at him from the other side of the car. “Gonna fall asleep on my shoulder again?” Ringo teased.
“I’ll try to resist,” George said, hoping that Ringo would assume he was just joking.
Luckily, Ringo laughed, and George was in the clear. “So,” Ringo said, “what are you going to do tomorrow now that we finally have a few days to relax?”
“Uh, sleep,” George said.
“What, all day?”
“Don’t question my sleeping abilities,” George said with a grin.
“Oh, I don’t,” Ringo said. “I’ve seen you do it before. But I was thinking we could hang out as just us for a change.”
“Just us? You mean, the four of us?”
“Oh,” Ringo said. “I was talking about just you and me, but if you’d prefer to invite Paul along—and John—Paul and John.” Ringo awkwardly revised his sentence as he glanced forward at their driver in the front seat of the car. “It feels like so long since we’ve spent some real time together, just the two of us.”
George was grateful for the cover of nightfall, which would prevent Ringo from noticing the blush on his cheeks at the thought of spending an entire day alone with his crush. “Sure, that sounds nice,” George said.
“Perfect,” Ringo said, patting George’s knee. “I can’t wait.”
George couldn’t wait either.
After a long, comfortable night’s sleep, George awoke to sunlight streaming in through the windows—in his own bedroom. Sighing in satisfaction, he rolled over to wrap the blankets around himself and nestle his head further into the pillow. His bedsheets were so much softer than that cheap shite at the hotels—he could stay here for hours.
But, his eyes focused on the other side of the bed—the empty side. In some kinder, more ideal universe, George would have rolled over to see Ringo’s sleepy face looking back at him. Now George’s real-life bed felt lonely in comparison.
With that one thought, George’s happy, relaxing morning was ruined. Groaning, he climbed out of bed and got ready for the day.
By the time George finished up in the shower, Ringo was sitting in the living room and watching television. “Good morning,” Ringo said from his position on the couch. He was already eating breakfast, but his hair was sticking up all over the place as though he had just gotten out of bed—or maybe just that he didn’t care about his appearance since he had nowhere to be. George certainly wasn’t complaining about Ringo’s hairstyle for the day—it looked adorable.
“Good morning,” George said with a smile as he grabbed some quick food for himself and sat down on the opposite side of the couch.
“You’re up early,” Ringo said. “What happened to sleeping all day?”
“You ruined my plans by forcing me to make other plans, remember?” George said.
“I’m honored that you chose spending time with me over sleeping.”
“You should be—I made a big sacrifice.”
Ringo laughed, and George felt his chest grow lighter. He loved that sound.
Luckily, George got to hear Ringo’s laugh many other times throughout the day. They spent some time eating, smoking, and watching television, but most of their day was spent in conversation. There were very few people who George would happily spend that much time with, but Ringo was one of them. Everything felt so much easier when he was with Ringo.
Ringo was right—it was nice to have some time for just the two of them.
…Until the phone rang in the middle of the afternoon, interrupting a crazy story that Ringo was telling about something he had done back in Hamburg when he was still with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Grumbling, Ringo reached over to answer the phone.
“Yeah? …Oh, hello Paul.”
That caught George’s attention. What would Paul be calling them about?
“Sorry, mate, he’s busy right now,” Ringo said in response to whatever Paul had said. When George looked at him in confusion, Ringo just held a finger to his lips, asking George to stay quiet. “Sure, I’ll tell him you called,” Ringo said to Paul. “See ya, Paul.” He hung up the phone and relaxed back into the couch.
“…Are you gonna tell me what the hell that was about?” George asked, leaning toward Ringo.
“I should’ve known—Georgie can’t wait ten seconds before asking about his precious Paul—hey, don’t throw that at—”
But it was too late—the pillow had already left George’s grip and hurtled toward Ringo before smacking him in the face.
“That was uncalled for,” Ringo said as he laughed and threw the pillow back at George.
George batted the pillow away and stared at Ringo expectantly. “Seriously, what did Paul want?”
“He wanted to talk to you.”
“…Then why the hell did you tell him I was busy?”
“You are busy! You’re spending time with me,” Ringo said plainly, as though it should have been obvious.
“We’ve literally spent the whole day doing nothing,” George said, tangling his hands in his hair in exasperation.
“Trust me, George—I know what I’m doing.”
“Listen—I think we’re finally getting somewhere with this,” Ringo said. “Over the past few days, Paul’s started to act different when I’ve talked to him about you. He’s been quieter—like he’s really listening and thinking about you. And—and he’s started asking me questions, too.”
Oh, no. “Questions about what?” George asked.
“Like when we were talking about your looks—”
“—and he asked me, ‘What d’you think about his eyes?’” Ringo said in his best Paul imitation.
“He asked you about my eyes?” George practically yelled.
“What did you tell him?” George asked, not completely sure that he wanted to hear the answer.
“The truth,” Ringo said with a shrug. “That your eyes are the most lovely shade of brown I’ve ever seen—Paul nodded after I said that, by the way,” he added.
George felt his face heating up. “You really said that?”
“Of course I did. Talking you up just comes naturally to me—it’s hard to find a bad thing to say about you,” Ringo said.
This was all…a lot for George to process. Ringo liking his eyes, Paul potentially—but hopefully not—returning George’s ‘totally real’ feelings…but none of that answered the question George had asked in the first place. “So why didn’t you give me the phone?”
“You’ve got to play hard to get,” Ringo said. “You can’t just jump into his arms at the first sign that he likes you back. Make him wait for you—make him wonder when you’re gonna call him back. You’ll be all he can think about for the rest of the day.”
“This is insane,” George said, shaking his head. “You’re overthinking this,” he told Ringo, even though George knew full well that this complicated mess was his own damn fault for telling that lie in the first place.
Ringo reached over and patted George’s hand. “Just wait a few more hours,” he said. “Then you can call him back without looking too desperate.”
“Remind me why the fuck I agreed to this?” George asked, laughing at the absurdity of it all.
“You’re doing it for Paul,” Ringo said. “It’ll all be worth it for him.”
“Yep,” George sighed. “…For Paul.”
After eating dinner, George and Ringo decided to wrap up their day together—mainly because Ringo was itching to head out to the bars. Ringo put on his shoes, wished George good luck, then left their flat.
George spent the next few minutes sitting around and trying to figure out what to do. He knew he needed to return Paul’s phone call, but he didn’t particularly want to.
Logically, he knew that the chances of Paul having feelings for him were slim, but what if Ringo was right? What if Paul really did like him? Then not only would George have to deal with rejecting Paul, but he’d also have to explain to Ringo why he did so—which would cause an immense amount of discomfort for George, not to mention the pain of possibly losing two of his closest friends.
George buried his head in his hands and groaned. No, he needed to stay positive. Paul must have been calling about something else—surely all of George’s worries were unfounded. He’d just pick up the phone, call Paul, talk for two minutes about something stupid, and everything could go back to normal. Well, ‘normal.’
He couldn’t put it off any longer. After taking a deep breath, wiping the sweat from his hands—and running to the kitchen to get a drink to soothe his suddenly dry throat—George picked up the phone and dialed.
“Hello?” Paul said when he answered.
“Hi, Paul, it’s George. Ringo said you called?”
“Oh—yeah, yeah. I just have something to talk to you about—is Ringo around right now?”
George couldn’t help but notice the strange, uncertain tone in Paul’s voice. “No, he went out a while ago,” George said.
“That’s perfect, actually,” Paul said. “I’m gonna head over for a bit, if that’s alright with you.”
No, the voice inside George’s head screamed, but his mouth betrayed him. “That’s alright.”
“Great, I’ll see you soon,” Paul said, and with that, the line went dead.
George set the phone down. Lovely. Now he needed to find a way to settle his nerves before Paul arrived.
He was still trying to brainstorm ways to do so when Paul arrived fifteen minutes later.
George let him in and they exchanged pleasantries, but the tension in the air was unmistakable. “What did you want to talk about?” George asked once they had sat down at the kitchen table.
Paul let out a strange laugh. “Getting right to the point as always, eh?” he said. When George didn’t respond, Paul spoke up again. “I’ve been talking a lot with Ringo lately, and he’s been acting a bit…different than usual.”
Well, this was off to a terrible start. “How so?” George asked.
“Basically, he’s been talking a hell of a lot about you,” Paul said. “And, you know, he’s always talked about you a lot, but he’s been saying some very odd things.”
“Like what?” George whispered.
“Like how great you are at guitar, how nice you are, how good you look—seriously, the man will not shut up about your appearance—I’m not sure what’s gotten into him.” Paul paused and took a deep breath. “Now, I don’t want to go jumping to conclusions, but this has been happening a lot and I’m pretty sure there’s something going on here.”
All George could think was ‘fuck.’ Had Paul figured out Ringo’s plan? There was no way, right? …Right?
“I don’t really know how to talk about this,” Paul continued, “so I guess I’ll just come right out and say it.”
George braced himself for what was coming.
Paul looked him directly in the eyes.
“George…I think Ringo might be queer for you.”