A girl has been sent to America for a week's stay with her grandfather. She has no idea what to expect because she hasn't seen him since she was little. But she knows her grandfather is special, and very famous indeed.
But one night in December, that girl learns something important that just might change her whole perspective on her family -- and the 1960s.
As We Head Across the Sea...
I should start at the beginning. My parents were going away on a business trip to Manchester and, for reasons unknown to me, I wasn't allowed to come. Then my mum suggested I go and stay with my grandfather for a week or two. I thought this was a terrible idea because I'd never met my grandfather properly before. He was always too busy to be bothered with me.
"I'm not staying with him." I'd protested.
"Oh yes, you jolly well are." my dad said, "He's our only option."
"Can't I stay with Sarah? Or Becca?" I persisted.
"No, you can't." said my mother, brushing her long brown hair.
"It's your grandfather or nothing." Dad said.
They had me beaten. I had to stay with my grandfather. I knew he was very rich and famous, and lived in a huge house, but I was still nervous. What if the press still plagued him, even after all these years? What if they plagued ''me?!''
Oh God, if they did I would definitely beg Mum and Dad to let me come home. I'm a shy person and can't even cope with having my photo taken. What would I do with millions of cameras flashing in my face?
I found out a few days later. Originally, I was meant to go to my grandfather's London home, where he usually lives. But for some strange reason, he spends each December in New York City, in America. My parents were not too happy about me going to stay in another country with a relative I'd never met before, but what could they do? It was too late to cancel their meeting. So I was bundled onto the first flight to America. This did not go down to well with me. No one had asked ''me'' whether I wanted to go to America. It would have been a waste of breath arguing anyway, so I didn't protest.
My parents saw me off on the fourth day of December. I was still mad at them for doing this to me, but I stayed silent.
"We're going to miss you." Mum said, kissing me on my cheek.
"Mmmm..." I replied, stone-faced.
"Be good for your grandpa, okay?" Dad said sternly.
"I'll try." I said vaguely.
"Good," said Mum, "Good..."
There was a short silence, then a voice came over the loud speaker announcing for everyone to board the plane. Mum and Dad kissed me one last time, then walked me to the terminal. I waved weakly as I climbed the steps leading up to the plane's entrance, pulling my pull-along trolley case behind me. The door slid shut, and I was on my own.
I tried to take in the whole situation. Here I was, by myself on a plane heading to America to stay with a total stranger. You could imagine I was less than pleased. A flight attendant showed me to my seat. I nodded politely at her and plopped down into the chair, my teeth clenched.
I must have slept a bit on the flight, because I opened eyes to find the pilot's voice blaring over the loudspeaker.
"Attention passengers," he announced, "we will land in ten minutes."
"Just great." I thought, "It's only an short amount of time before I'm there..."
I was picked up from the airport by a chauffer in a fancy silver car. He helped me carry my bags, even though I only had my trolley case and a rucksack. He told me his name was James, and that he would take me to meet my grandfather.
"I know." I said solemnly.
"You're a serious little lady, aren't you?" James said, grinning.
"I'm just jet-lagged." I replied, stepping into the backseat.
"I see..." said James. He sounded a lot less cheerful now.
We didn't say another word to each other the entire drive. I was still crabby about staying with my grandfather. I knew absolutely nothing about him, so you can't blame me for being nervous. I began to wonder what he was like. Was he as nice as the newspapers made him out to be? I couldn't be sure.
After a half hour of driving, James pulled the car up next to an apartment building. I looked up but couldn't see where the building ended and the sky began. When I focused back on the ground, James was smiling at me.
"What?" I said irritably.
"We're here." he replied cheerily.
"What? This is my grandpa's house?" It seemed awfully high up for an old man.
"Correct, madam. His apartment is on the eighth floor."
"Is there an elevator?" I asked, feeling worried all over again.
James laughed a loud, throaty laugh. It reminded me of the noise my dog, Winston, makes just before he throws up. I wondered why he was laughing.
"You have a lot to learn, young lady!" James said, still chuckling.
I stared at him blankly, but didn't say anything.
About ten minutes later, James and I were on the eighth floor of the apartment building. (I thanked my lucky stars that the elevator was working. The one at my dad's work never does. It's most inconvenient.) As James and I walked down the corridor, trying to find the right door, I had to ask him something.
"James? What is he like?"
"Who?" James asked, glancing at me.
"My grandpa. What's he like?"
James let out a wheezy breath, "I assume he's nice." he said slowly.
"You assume?" I repeated. "Don't you know?"
"Why would I know?" James said unbelievably.
"Aren't you his chauffer?"
"I am," he replied, "but only for the first two weeks of December."
We walked in silence for a few seconds, then I spoke up.
"How come? Why not all the time?"
"This is the only time your grandfather is in America." James answered airily.
"Why?" I inquired.
"No one but his lordship himself knows. And -- ah! Here we are!"
We stopped outside a green door with the number 4 painted on the door in gold. Underneath the number was a sign saying "Private Suite: No Admittance". I stared at James with raised eyebrows.
"Your grandpa doesn't entertain much." James explained, shaking his head.
"I see." I said slowly. "Now what?"
"I have errands to do. I'm sure you can settle in quite nicely."
I blinked at him in astonishment. "Can't you come with me?" I asked.
"I gotta go. You're a clever girl, you'll do just fine."
With that, James tipped his chauffer cap to me and headed towards the lift. I was left standing alone in the corridor. After a few seconds I pulled myself together, then knocked briskly on the door. I waited.
From behind the door, I could hear someone moving towards the front hall. The knob on the door rattled, then it flew open. I found myself staring face to face with an old man. He was quite handsome for his age, with thick brown hair and long eyelashes. My old neighbour lady, Mrs Liaison, would've have gone nuts over him. The man and I stared at each other, not quite knowing what to say.
I knew who he was. He was my grandpa.
Better known as Sir Paul McCartney.