This is Part V of a "Beatitudes" Alternate Stream story.
The other sections in "Beatitudes".
Features Brian Kinney, Paulie, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Back to the Kaiserkeller. Hamburg, November 1960.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit.
Hamburg, November 1960:
"You know that I'm leaving on Sunday," Brian stated. It was Friday afternoon and they had spent most of the day in bed. On Saturday there was another reception and a dinner for Brian at the university and that was the end of his scheduled events in Hamburg. Brian had already left a message for Justin, giving him the number of his Sunday Lufthansa flight and instructing him when and where to meet him at Orly Airport.
"I know," said Paulie, quietly.
Brian sat up against the pillows and lit a joint. He took a deep pull on it and handed it to the boy in bed next to him. "There's nothing on the agenda for tonight, so I thought we might go over to the club. That is -- if you want to, Paul."
Paul puffed on the reefer. He liked the way the weed made him feel dizzy and horny and peaceful all at the same time. "John will probably hit me over the head with my guitar the minute he sees me. And he'd have good reason to."
"I told you that I'd pay for a ticket for you to go home to Liverpool," Brian reminded him. "But you don't want to go home, do you?"
Paul shrugged. "What's at home? My father will just make me go down to the Labour Exchange and register for a job. Last year I worked at the Post Office when I was off from school over the Holidays. Moving Christmas boxes and making tea for the clerks. That's all I'm qualified for unless I go back to school. I don't know what the fuck I want to do. Except play music." Paulie sighed. "The Kaiserkeller might be a shit place, but at least I'd be playing music there. With John. And the other lads. That's something."
Paul looked around the hotel room. He'd probably never spend time in a posh place like this ever again in his life. Never wear nice clothes and eat fancy food. Never be famous, like he'd always dreamed of. It was all mad, dreaming about things. About how things MIGHT be. They never would be like that.
And Brian was leaving. Going back to Paris. That's where he lived. Where he belonged. Back to his lover, the blond painter. Paul had a sneaked a look in Brian's wallet while he was sleeping. There was a picture of Justin in there. He looked so blond and All American. He was grinning with lots of perfect white teeth, like someone in a movie. That's where Brian belonged. With his 'White Gold Angel.'
Paulie knew that he was just something to keep Brian from being bored while he was away from home. Brian might write a poem about him, but he wrote poems about a lot of things. Brian had given him two of his books and Paul had read the poems while Brian was lecturing or conducting his workshops. All those poems about the blond lover. But there were also poems about many other people, other things, and other places as well. Hamburg was just one more place. Paul was just one more person. They had a moment and soon it would be over. And then Brian would move on.
"Yes," said Paul, taking another strong drag on the reefer. "Let go to the club."
Friday nights on the Reeperbahn were wild. The strip clubs and hustler bars were full of patrons and pounding Beat music spilled out of all the doors and out into the streets.
The taxi pulled out in front of the Kaiserkeller and Brian and Paul got out. Paul was wearing a pair of his new black Levis, one of the cashmere sweaters, and the new leather jacket Brian had bought him. Brian was dressed exactly like Paul in tight black jeans and black turtleneck sweater. He was wearing a new black leather jacket, too.
Paul paused at the door of the club, listening. "That's Rory's group playing," he said. "The lads must be on their break."
Brian surveyed the street, watching the people go by, huddled in their winter coats. A cold wind was blowing across the city off the North Sea. "You still think John is going to come after you and hit you with your own guitar?"
Paulie sighed. "If he does it'll be no big loss."
Inside the club Klaus was the first to see Paul. He waved from a table near the stage. Astrid was sitting with him, along with another 'Exi'-type boy. "Where have you been?" asked Klaus. "You are just in time for the set! The others are in the dressing room."
"I'm not playing," said Paul. "I'm... sightseeing." He glanced at Brian, but Brian didn't say anything. Brian was trying to stay as neutral as he was able, but he was finding it more difficult than he had imagined.
"That is a fine jacket!" exclaimed Klaus, feeling the sleeve of Paul's new leather jacket. "This is our friend Jürgen. I have told him about you, Paul. Paul is the one who sings 'Wooden Heart'!" 'Wooden Heart' was a popular ballad in Germany and it always got a big response whenever Paul sang it.
"You must sing it tonight for me," said Jürgen, happily. "I have brought my camera, too. A new American Polaroid. May I take a picture? Then we can see it in only a minute."
"Sure," said Paul. "Take one of my friend and me." He put his arm around Brian and they both stared straight at the camera. Neither one of them was smiling. The German boy took the picture. "You must let me take another one. And you must smile this time!" he said.
"Maybe later," said Paul. He didn't feel much like smiling right now.
Rory Storme's group finished their set. The drummer, a short, bearded bloke, passed Paul on his way to the bar and nodded at him. Then Paul saw George and Pete come out on stage to set up their instruments. Then John and Stu walked out, as well. Paul could tell by the way he was walking that John was already drunk.
Pete noticed Paul standing with Brian next to the table and he nudged George.
George smiled broadly and called out, "Paul!" Then George pointed to Paul's guitar case. George had brought it out with him. It was on stage, waiting for him. "Paulie!" George repeated. "Come up!"
But then John turned around and squinted. John's eyes were weak, especially at a distance, but he saw Paul standing there. He also saw the tall poet right behind him. John's lip curled in anger and his expression was dangerous.
"What the fook are YOU doing here, Paulie?" John slurred. "Get OUT! And don't EVER come back!"
"I knew it," said Paul, bitterly. "Let's go!" He grabbed Brian's arm and tugged at it.
"No, let's stay and watch the set." Brian pulled out a chair and sat down next to Astrid. "You're looking lovely tonight, my dear," he said to her smoothly.
"We wondered if you would again come, Herr Kinney," Astrid said softly. She glanced at Paul, who was still standing there, his head down. "I hope you had a most pleasant visit in Hamburg."
"Very pleasant," Brian replied.
John was up on the stage, muttering and knocking things over. George leaned over and tried to speak to him, but John shoved him away roughly. John was trying to tune his guitar and not succeeding. He finally gave up and scowled at the audience.
Paul sighed and sat down next to Brian at the table. He knew he was fucked. Brian was leaving him behind and John wouldn't even look at him, let alone allow him back in the Beatles. He'd have to go home now. Back to listening to his dad lecture him on responsibility. Urging him to "Use the brain God gave you, Paulie! Go back to school and get your teacher's credentials."
Yeah, Paul thought, I now have something new to offer in a Literature tutorial. "Did you know that famous American poets like to fuck other blokes face-to-face? And they like their pricks sucked at any hour of the day or night. They also like the taste of my arsehole. This information WILL be on the examination!"
George counted out the tempo for the first song in the set, 'Rock and Roll Music,' but John lurched in behind the beat and was never able to find it. He sputtered out the words and eventually gave up as the song trailed off.
George frowned and counted out 'Honey Don't,' one of the numbers he sang. They got through that song a little easier, but it looked to be a long, hard night.
It was very apparent that John was not only drunk, but completely thrown off his stride by Paul's appearance at the club. He kept glaring out blindly at the audience. With the house lights dimmed he couldn't see where Paul was sitting, but John knew the bastard was there. The fucking bitch was pleased as punch, sitting out there with that fucking Yank! John hit the strings of his guitar hard, but the chord was all off. George made a sour face.
"Fuck YOU, George!" John spat.
"No, Johnny," said George. "You're the one fookin' things up! We need Paul! He's right out there. Call him up! We've been playin' fer shit all week, so face up!"
"NO!" John yelled. He leaned into the microphone. "This one is by Little Richard."
Paul's face turned hot as John tried to sing 'Long Tall Sally.' That was HIS number! Paul sang all of the Little Richard songs. Paul was the only one who could do that perfect Little Richard scream. John's voice was too low and too heavy to pull it off. And John couldn't remember the words -- as usual. 'Long Tall Sally' staggered for a few measures and then John just stopped singing. He turned his back on the audience.
Paul felt a breath at his ear. "They need you, Paulie." It was Ritchie, the little drummer with Rory Storme's group. "Go on up there. John's been making a fool of himself every night since you took off."
"It's not my problem," Paul replied. "He told me to get fucked!"
Brian leaned over. "He's right, Paul," Brian said. "Just go up and do it. John's your mate, after all. Isn't he?"
Paul looked at Brian sadly. "Yeah. He's my mate all right. The stupid git!"
Paul stood and slipped off his leather jacket. It was already hot in the crowded club. Klaus and his friend Jürgen started clapping when they saw Paul head for the stage.
John glowered at Paul, but he stood back and didn't say a word as George helped Paulie strap on his guitar. "This is a ballad," he said into the mic. "I hope you enjoy it."
And Paul began to sing 'Wooden Heart.'
"Can't you see I love you?
Please don't break my heart in two,
That's not hard to do,
'Cause I don't have a wooden heart.
And if you said goodbye,
Then I know that I would cry,
Maybe I would die,
'Cause I don't have a wooden heart.
There's no strings upon this love of mine,
It was always you from the start.
Treat me nice,
treat me good,
Treat me like you know you should,
'Cause I'm not made of wood,
And I don't have a wooden heart.
Muss I denn, muss I denn,
Zum stadtele hinaus,
Und du, mein schat, bleibst hier?
There's no strings upon this love of mine,
It was always you from the start.
Sei mir gut,
Sei mir gut,
Sei mir wie du wirklich sollst,
Wie du wirklich sollst,
'cause I don't have a wooden heart."
Brian sat in the dark club and listened. The boy's voice was a little shaky, but it was good. Paul looked beautiful as he stood on the stage. He looked like he was finally home. Like he was back where he belonged.
Brian stood up quietly and walked out of the club. He went back to his hotel room alone.
Brian was still not dressed and he hadn't yet packed his bag.
His flight for Paris wasn't until late on Sunday afternoon and he detested waiting around airports. He'd ordered a taxi to pick him up at 3:00 p.m. That should give him plenty of time to get to the airport and get checked in.
Brian picked at the large breakfast on the table. He'd forgotten to tell them to change the order and they'd brought him a spread of fried eggs, sausages, and bacon. He nibbled at a piece of toast and then set it down. The food had already gone cold.
Tonight he'd have dinner in Paris. They'd go to that little Italian bistro Justin liked so much. They'd split a big plate of lasagna and a bottle of good wine and take some time to talk. To reconnect. They needed to do that. Brian knew it was vital at this point in their relationship.
Maybe after New Year's he and Justin could take some time off. Brian had always wanted to go to Greece. It would be warm and sunny there. They could go to one of the smaller islands and stay at a quaint pension or even rent a house for a month or two. They could wake up to the sound of the sea. Take a boat and sail around the island. Brian could picture Justin, his hair bleached white by the sun, his body bare, his skin hot. That's what Brian wanted. For it to be just the two of them again, with no distractions. No telephones and no poetry readings and no art galleries. No one else in the world but Brian and Justin.
Brian closed his eyes and began to stroke his cock under his blue silk robe.
But a knock on the door interrupted him. Probably the waiter coming to take away the uneaten breakfast.
"I was afraid you'd already left," said Paul. He stood awkwardly at the door.
"Not until this afternoon," said Brian.
The boy's black hair was messy and he was sleepy-eyed, liked he'd just jumped out of bed and run over.
"I thought I'd missed you. I wanted to say goodbye. And thanks. And I wanted to give you something."
Brian took a deep breath. "Why don't you come in?"
Paulie walked into the room and took something out of the pocket of his leather jacket. "Jürgen took this Friday night, after the first set. With his new Polaroid camera. You can have it -- if you want it." He handed Brian a photo of Paul standing alone against a wall at the club. He was smiling shyly, looking a little drunk and very happy.
"Thanks," said Brian, softly. "I definitely want it."
"I kept the other one he took. Of the two of us." Paul shifted from one foot to the other nervously.
"Would you like some breakfast?" asked Brian. "It's been sitting a while, but it's still edible."
"I don't mind." Paulie took two slices of toast and some bacon and made a sandwich. "I love a bacon butty. Doesn't matter if it's a little cold. It's still good."
Brian looked at the Polaroid and smiled. Paul looked even younger in the photo than he did in person. Ridiculously young. Brian slipped the photo of Paul into his poetry portfolio, among the poems that Brian had written about him.
"Did you play with the band last night?" Brian asked. "Was it okay?"
"Yeah. And we were dead good!" Paul grinned, but then his face changed. "I thought you might show. You know, to see me."
"Sorry, but I had that dinner at the university," Brian replied. "By the time it was over I was tired. It's been a long week."
"I know," said Paul. "A long week." He finished his sandwich and licked the grease off his fingers. "But I won't forget it."
"I won't either." Brian closed his eyes. "After all, I wrote all those poems here. So how could I forget?"
"But I'm not a poem!" Paul returned. There was a hard edge to his voice. "I'm a person. A person is easy to forget. 'Out of sight, out of mind,' as my old dad always says."
"Some people aren't so easy to forget. Even when you want to." Brian wanted to stop himself, but he couldn't. So he kissed the boy, tasting the bacon and the butter from the toast on Paulie's curving lips.
And Paul kissed Brian back, pressing himself against the poet. Wrapping his arms around him and holding him tightly. Like he wasn't going to let himself be forgotten. Like he wasn't about to let Brian go easily or painlessly.
Brian only had his blue silk robe to discard, but Paul swiftly kicked off his boots and pulled off his jeans and sweater on the way to the bedroom.
They made love urgently. Brian slicked up his cock with Vaseline and thrust it into the boy desperately, as if he could somehow finish things quickly by fucking him hard and fast. Making it feel like the end of something and not the beginning. Writing that exclamation point next to the last word of the poem.
But Brian couldn't come. The boy clawed at Brian's back and writhed under his tall body, goading him on. He bit at Brian's neck and Brian bit him back. Then Brian pulled out and put Paul face down on the bed, attacking his ass from behind. He slapped the boy's ass and rode him to a standstill, but he still could not finish it. So he stood Paul next to the bed and bent him over, fucking the boy while he held on to the wooden headboard to steady himself.
They fucked until they were exhausted. Paul's knees were shaking as he sank to the floor, but Brian still didn't stop. He needed to end this, but his body wouldn't let him.
Finally, Brian pulled his cock out of the boy's plundered hole and jerked himself off furiously. Jerked himself until he finally, reluctantly, came. Brian pointed his cock at Paul, who was lying on the floor next to the bed, panting, and he shot all over him. Shot on his pale chest and his flushed face. Paulie blinked and stared up at him, his eyes wide. He wiped a stray drop of Brian's come away from his long eyelashes.
Brian reached his hand down and helped the boy to his feet. Then they both laid down on the bed.
"I have to get ready," Brian whispered. "The taxi is picking me up at 3:00." Brian paused, but Paul didn't answer. "I have to go."
Paul swallowed. "I know. I have to go, too."
Brian touched the boy's face gently. He pushed a long strand of black hair away from his honey-colored eyes. "Paulie," he said. "Come with me."
"What?" Paul wasn't certain he had heard Brian correctly.
"Come to Paris with me. Today. Now." Brian had finally said out loud the words he'd been thinking for days. "I mean it."
"But what about...?" Paul gulped. He couldn't say the name. Justin.
"It'll work out," Brian said firmly. "I'll make it work. Trust me. But come with me. I want you."
Paul stared at Brian sadly. His heart was racing with excitement, but he knew what the answer had to be.
Continue on to "Hamburg -- Part V".
©Gaedhal, August 2004.
Posted August 17, 2003.