Rating: PG for swearing
Summary: Because I think Paul McCartney did sign off on Phil Spector's work.
Author notes: This is for selenak. I was going to write something about Paul and Yoko playing Truth or Dare for her, but I'm not sure that's going to happen, so I hope this will be adequate compensation.
Disclaimer: I don't own these people and I don't know these people
When the tapes came, Paul and Linda waited to listen to them until Heather had left for school. Then they put Mary for a nap in room, and went into the living room. They spread out the approval forms that Paul was supposed to sign on the coffee table, and Martha flopped down on the floor next to the table.
Linda watched Paul as they listened to Phil Spector's work. Sometimes he frowned at a note. Other times she saw a definite note of approval in his eyes. Linda listened to the music, trying to hear what he was hearing, to understand what it was he liked, and what it was he didn't. There were many things in which Linda trusted her own judgement--she never doubted her ability to take a good photograph--but music was just outside of her reach of understanding. Sometimes she envied Paul's instincts.
When "The Long and Winding Road" came on, Paul's expression resembled the expression he had on his face the time they forgot to put Martha out, and she proceeded to make a mess all over the school books Heather had left on the floor.
When they turned off the tapes, Paul turned towards the forms and asked for a pen.
"You aren't going to sign off on them, are you?" Linda asked.
"Why not?" Paul asked, with that tired edge to his voice that she had spent day after day trying to cajole him out of. He found a pen under the coffee table, but hesitated before signing, looking at her as if he still hoped she could give him a reason not to.
"Those are some of the best songs you have ever written!" Linda pleaded. "You can't just let some producer come in and do whatever the hell he wants to them!"
Paul slammed his hand on the table. "What would you have me do? Go to Apple and start yelling at people? I tried that. See if I can convince John, George, and Ringo that Allen Klein is the worst idea they ever had?" He closed his eyes and swallowed, and for a moment Linda thought he was going to start crying, but he pulled himself together. "If John wants to be the boss, let him be the boss. I'm done. If John wants to fuck things up--" He took a deep breath.
Linda tried to find the words to argue with him, and couldn't.
He lifted his hand to sign the form, and paused. "Linda," he said quietly, almost like a small child, "what did I do wrong?"
"You didn't do anything wrong," Linda said.
Paul shook his head, still staring at the paperwork. "I must have done something--was it the shares in Northern Songs? John was so upset about that...But he had already brought Allen Klein in. What did he expect me to do? Was it because we wanted your dad and brother as managers? They're great managers!" He shook his head. His expression was bewildered, as if he were trying to make sense of some kind of tangled web that got more tangled every time he pulled on a thread. "Maybe we're wrong about Klein. Maybe he's not dishonest."
"We're not wrong about Klein," Linda said, wishing she had the answer Paul needed. "My dad and my brother know what they're doing, trust me. And you didn't do anything wrong." She sighed. "Sometimes things just don't work out. Like me and Mel." She sighed, wishing she knew the right words to say. "John isn't an easy person to get along with."
"But George and Ringo want Allen, too," Paul said. "Was George upset because I was so domineering in the studio? I was just trying to help him." He dropped his head into his arms. "Linda, I was just trying to do what was best for them. That's all. And they turned on me like--" He looked up. "I kept the group going, after Brian died. I did so much for them. And they trust some American con man more then they trust me." He shook his head, even more bewildered than before. "What did I do wrong?"
Linda went around behind him, and put her arms around his shoulders. He touched her hand, and squeezed it. "You can't fix everything," Linda said. "Sometimes you just have to let things go. It's not your fault. Now, come on. Surely you can at least call into the studio and get 'The Long and Winding Road' changed?"
Paul shook his head. "No. I don't want another fight. It's just a damn song. And really, John might as well do whatever he wants to that song. I don't care anymore."
Linda sighed, and walked away. She sat down on the sofa across from Paul. Some battles you can't win.
Paul took the pen in his hand and prepared to sign. Then he paused a moment, as if still hesitant to actually go through with it. He said, "You know, when we started working on this project, John told George Martin that he didn't want any of his, what was the phrase he used: 'production shit'." His mouth twisted up in a half smile. "He said he wanted an 'honest album'." He laughed, and shook his head. At least he seemed less despairing then he had been a few moments ago, and more like an amused, indulgent parent. "John."
"And then he goes and does this," Linda said. She was smiling, too, relieved to see that Paul still remembered how to smile. Still, when John did things like this, she couldn't help but feel a little bad that she had once liked him more than Paul.
"Who knows what that man thinks," Paul said, still smiling. Then his face changed. "Maybe it's a challenge."
"What?" Linda asked, confused.
"Maybe he's challenging me. You know," Paul gestured a little urgently, "trying to piss me off so I'll argue with him...maybe he's worried about me. Maybe he notices how out of it I've been, and he thinks that if he pisses me off enough I'll get out of my slump."
Linda couldn't help it. She laughed out loud.
Paul looked at her, a little startled, and then he laughed, too. "Yeah," he said, "I wish." There was amusement in his voice, but not enough to hide the bitterness. He signed the form, his pen scratching out a world-famous signature. "That's a ridiculous idea."