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beatles blues.

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1964.

The auditorium was completely empty except for a few stragglers and a band of four mulling around on stage, checking the instruments and goofing off. Ringo was one of them, sitting behind his trusty drum kit and checking out if it was up to snuff.

John and Paul were deep in conversation about one thing or another, Ringo couldn’t tell from where he sat. Probably about songwriting. George was only slightly further away from the duo, holding his guitar while staring at them in silence, wearing a smirk.

They were in Daly City in California. A lovely city, really, if only it weren’t so humid. Ringo didn’t do well in humidity. When they weren’t playing or practising, they all lazed about in the cool waters of the hotel’s swimming pool.

Ringo sighed as he watched the Lennon-McCartney discussion. The spotlight of the stage highlighting them well. Lightening their hair colours, showing off a large mixture of brown. It must be warm under all that light. It was warm from where Ringo sat and he had practically no light.

They had only been arguing for a few minutes by now and he was anxious to start practising. It was the first show of the North American tour and he was eager to get started.

The double doors at the end of the auditorium creaked open and through them stepped out a well-dressed man in a suit and tie. It was their manager Brian Epstein.

Brian came down a narrow path that lead through the rows of chairs towards the stage. It was a determined walk, one with a set goal in mind. He didn’t once stop but turned left by the stage towards the door that lead to multiple hallways, “come along, Richard. Someone’s here to see you.” He said as he passed the boys.

“Ooh, someone’s in trouble,” cooed John as he looked at Ringo with a big smile. Paul had turned to look and lightly slapped John on the shoulder as George yelled out with a smirk, “you’re one to talk.”

Ringo was confused but still stepped off the stage to follow Brian. Was he in trouble? He hadn’t done anything wrong that he was aware of. And Brian didn’t seem mad or even looked the part. They walked through the hall in silence and when they neared the end; they stopped in front of a simple white door. The green room.

Brian said nothing and politely knocked on the wooden door where after he opened it and stepped inside.

In the room, there were two other people. An old and tired looking man wearing a suit and tie. He was standing beside a couch on which sat a young woman who immediately stood up as Ringo entered the room.

She was stunning; with long dark hair, straightened and neat bangs that accentuated her large eyes that were highlighted with thick lines of dark highlighter. She wore dark pants, a light beige long sleeved shirt covered by a fur vest. She looked familiar, but Ringo couldn’t quite determine why.

Brian looked at Ringo, standing so he faced both him and the young woman.

“Richard, this is Cherilyn Sarkisian. You may also know her as Bonnie Jo Mason.”

So that’s where he remembered her from. Last year a single was released, and sadly not to very much success, called ‘Ringo, I love you’. It had caused much jokes and laughter from the other boys on Ringo’s expense. And many had thought that it was a man that sang, to much confusion. Even though it clearly stated the name ‘Bonnie’ on the record. Either way, Ringo was really just flattered by it.

She looked nervous, fidgeting with her fingers, but giggled lightly as she looked at Ringo and said, “you can just call me Cher.”

There was a short moment of silence as Brian and the male stranger went to the other end of the room to ‘give the kids some privacy’ as the stranger had put it with a chuckle.

Ringo was unsure of what to say and the feeling seemed to be mutual as Cher glanced to and from him and her hands. But it was brief and was interrupted when the stranger loudly coughed from his end of the room.

It seemed to start something in Cher who looked at Ringo, “I hope you recovered well from your stay at the hospital in June.”

He nodded ever so slightly, “thank you. I did.”

And then it was a return to silence. It wasn’t for the lack of conversation nor did he feel particularly uncomfortable. It was just… sudden, with the back thought of the other boys probably waiting for him always in mind.

She was pretty, which could be factored into it. Not that he was any awkward with women. Just hesitant, at first. But if the song was any indication; he knew what she thought of him.

“I’m… sorry if I interrupted anything,” she looked at him with dark brown eyes, “I weren’t aware that I was going to meet you before a few moments I got here.” It was followed by several giggles, her deep voice sounding graceful.

“Oh, it’s alright,” he found it easy to join in on her laughter and joined with chuckles of his own.

“So, what… What are you doing in Daly? Do you live here?” He asked tentatively. She was terribly cute so, admittedly, he had trouble leading the conversation.

”Oh, no. I’m playing at a venue further in town with my boyfriend Sonny. My friend just decided to take a small detour.”

Oh. A boyfriend. Of course. Not that he was thinking of trying anything but that tidbit of information still felt like a small shove. He glanced over to Brian and noticed that he was starting to make his way back over to them and Ringo felt the rush of a deadline and quickly blurted out;

”I liked the song!”

He winced at the volume and mentally cursed at himself as it seemed she was taken by surprise.

”I mean… The song… R-Ringo, I Love You. It wasn’t that bad.”

She smiled slightly with an even slighter nod.

”Not that bad?” she quoted him, and he realized it wasn’t much of a compliment.  Brian was nearing, together with the man he still didn’t know the name of.

He nodded, ”it was good.”

Wait, was it narcissistic to think so? Huh.

”Now then, Richard. Let’s get you back out to the boys, ” Brian said as he came nearer and placed a hand on Ringo’s shoulder. ”Ms Sarkisian, you’re more than welcome to watch,” Brian offered.

She shook her head. ”I would love to but I have my own practising to get to, ” she politely smiled and glanced to Ringo.

”It was nice to meet you, ” she reached out a hand that Ringo was quick to shake but halfway through turned her hand to place a light peck on its back. Her slender hand was soft to the touch and smelled of aloe vera. Handsoap, possible.

He was gently pulled out the room as he kept looking over his shoulder to, not stare but, look at Cher.

He returned to the auditorium where soft guitar strumming was overheard and he felt his heart flutter at the comfort it brought him.

The playing stalled as he nearing the stage and he heard a short whistle but couldn’t get himself to pay attention as he still thought of the dark-haired young woman, Cher.