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Old 01-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #1
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An Cat Dubh 21

Sorry this chapter is so freaky, everyone. It freaked me out to write it. I'm glad it's over.

Cath did kind of hate herself before she met Paul...inadvertently; it was an aspect of hating what she was going through.

I own none of this, although I have considered shoving my sister's hat over most of my face when I'm not feeling in a particularly forgiving mood towards my features...

***

The holiday break was coming to a close for Bono, something he was definitely not happy about. Cath woke up one morning with the sheets cool next to her: she leaned over to find a note on the bed that read in a sort of reluctant way: At school. I left breakfast out for when you want it. Go out and have fun. –P. There was a little doodle of a black cat underneath the note; Cath smiled; it seemed he'd picked up on Edge's nickname for her. She laughed quietly at the sad air that morning had about it; she felt like a parent on one side of divorce, settling with Paul being around one side of the day, school taking up the rest. Why on earth was he still in school, anyhow? He was eighteen and had spoken about college, albeit halfheartedly, a couple of times to reassure his dad there was something he could fall back on. Cath shook her head: he’d explain it when he got back. She hadn’t thought to ask.

She picked out one of the shirts Ali had given her and changed, though it would be under more than a few sweaters; it was still freezing outside, the middle of January. There was indeed breakfast on the table when she came down, and Cath laughed: Paul could cook a little better than he had when she first met him; the food was actually edible. She cleared her plate then had a staredown with the little plate of strawberries at the other side of the table; her hunger won and she grabbed the plate, popping the tart fruit into her mouth. She wondered where he’d found them in the middle of winter, and how he’d read her mind so well; she’d had an odd yearning for strawberries lately.

Cath pulled on a coat and went out the door, deciding she’d go on a long walk. Exercise while I can. At some point her body would be too unwieldy for her to want to move much—what on earth would she do with her time then? Probably keep Bono prisoner to feed her strawberries, she thought in jest. She warmed up a little, though her face and hands were still cold-reddened. She ended up walking all the way from Glasnevin to the middle of Dublin. As she walked past some of the shops, something out of the corner of her eye distracted her; inadvertently she caught her reflection. She was suddenly fiercely glad her heavy coat obscured her pregnancy from the world; she hadn’t told Paul, but some of the shopkeepers had been giving her odd looks, noticing, no doubt, she was a little young and alone, ultimately their opinions not seeming very favorable.

Inadvertently she traced her way over to the first bar she had heard U2—only then recently no longer The Hype—play in, and feeling a bit of nostalgia, went inside. The bartender called out a query of what she’d like to drink, and she laughed and declined, rolling her eyes. The bar was much emptier than it had been the other times she’d been there—maybe because there was no performance going on. It was a little crowded, but she could actually walk through without shoving people apart. She felt a little disoriented at the music floating faintly through the room, and stood where she was for a moment, before a sinking feeling pulled at the back of her spine and a chill crept through her. She looked out of the corner of her eye, turning slightly, and resisted the urge to hurry away. Her movements were skittish and disjointed, from resisting that urge, as she crept as quickly as she could to the shadow the bar made around where the door to the ladies toilers was. From the safety of the darkness, cursing herself, she peered more intently.

For some reason, she had assumed he would always look the same, face a red warning showing every once in a while in her memory. A great closed-up gash wound next to his eye, and had evidently had stitches a while ago. His hair was shorter than she remembered, framing his face turned from her. He seemed more drawn, repulsively younger. Cath’s hands inadvertently clenched into fists. She had to forget that little scrap of compassion inside her that argued he was an ordinary man. A bastard to her, but a man with hard luck. He didn’t deserve her compassion. The baby kicked distraughtly, upsetting the order of Cath’s thoughts, and that was decision enough for her. She reached, frozen, for the key to the bathroom and slipped inside, staring at her face.

She had a sinking feeling, seeing a familiar expression in her eyes, and looking at herself for a moment deadened with fear, the hair blasphemy, the face not hers, the freckles little mindfields and the mouth something ignored. Shocked, she shook her head, closed her eyes hard, and when they opened again something had changed; something more like the way Paul saw her fell over her face.

She was relieved: she had grown to accept herself and most of her life, in the past few months when she had been removed from her problems. How in hell had she thought she could avoid them forever?

How to do this? Very little of the Cath Isaac had known reflected in the mirror. She had hardened, grown barriers between herself and the world, barriers that had broken down when she fell in love with Paul. She was more vulnerable when she would have liked. It was her eyes that were different; there was some resistance sparking in them now, which would have never been there in those years before. Cath recoiled from memory, seeing despite herself in her mind’s eye the blue-shadow reflection of a younger, haunted girl in a shard of glass her fingers closed around. That had been the last day she ever saw the man until now. Yes, she was determined again, though again she cursed herself for preparing to do something she shouldn’t.

Cath pushed her grown-out bangs around the side of her face until the shape had changed somewhat, and shoved her knit hat until it practically came to her eyes. The shadow obscured some of the details of her face; when she could not recognize herself, satisfied but with a warning needle of fear creeping through her, she quietly exited the bathroom and hung up the key. Different movements were harder. She always moved the same way when afraid. She would have to count on her slightly changed appearance to do everything.

Absolutely hating herself, Cath walked—like any ordinary woman, she hoped—up to the edge of the bar, the bartender looking askance at her. When she was asked (again, though the man did not know it) what she’d like, she did not answer. With the comment directed to someone beside him, Isaac looked up, turning around in question. Cath’s heart slid somewhere to the vicinity of her stomach, her throat squeezing hard. The fear had paralyzed her shoulderblades, now, and made her heartbeat loud, her palms sweaty.

He squinted with a searching expression. She did not think about the way he looked, her thoughts somewhere between disgust and pity, or the cuts and bruises on his face. But they were satisfying, giving her a bolt of courage: her father, drunk, had been the cause of the cuts on her face after she slept with Paul. It felt right that Isaac had something similar.

Perhaps he thought this unfamiliar woman was making nice to him, and he thought he was deserving of attention. His face could have been considered handsome once. It was a mask over his actions, completely different except in her eyes. She had stopped seeing him as human a long while ago.

The suspicion cleared from his eyes and he gave a less than appropriate greeting to the woman, his face red from the heat, his eyes glazed slightly. Cath had to stuff her acid reply away, though it threatened to escape. Her balled fists were in her pockets, furthering the illusion that there was nothing under her coat hinting at all to a baby. She made herself talk about nothing with him in an unfamiliar voice for a few moments, never quite friendly, though he did not sense it. When he grew overly familiar, he propositioned, “want a drink, love?” and she looked again in disgust at the surprise on his face as she grabbed him by the neck of his coat, only swinging him off of his seat—he was still stronger than she—and hissing, “I want nothing from you, bastard.”

Isaac looked very confused, not quite intelligently. The drunken sham was a lie, Cath found, her heart stabbing the side of her ribs: too late, she saw the sharp, calculating look in his eyes. He raised his hand, the other one tightly gripping her arm, and seemed to weigh them both as if deliberating.

The bartender looked over confusedly. Only hand that was on her arm was visible, the other one blocked by her face—but the man did not seem like he was doing anything pleasant. Before the bartender crossed over, a few things happened very fast. Cath surprised Isaac by wrenching her arm out of his grip and backing away from him, dancing over to whisper in his ear something she didn’t remember later that might have been about Paul Hewson in comparison to him. An expression crossed like lightning over the man’s face, an inkling of something, and he effectively stopped the woman from hitting him, then reached down—Cath recoiled, ready to try and slap him again, fearing she could do nothing—and to her surprise, shoved her coat off of her arms, staring downward with anger clouding his face. He began to yell something—the woman’s face grew ashen—and that’s when the bartender finally reached where they were and with a strong grip shoved the man away, removing him forcibly from the bar with assistance.

“Are you all right?” the bartender asked the woman, who had crossed her arms above her belly and shivered, gripping her coat tightly with one balled-up fist. All color had drained from her face.

She nodded shakily—a lie—put her coat on and exited the bar quickly, hoping Isaac was far gone, perhaps in jail—that was a bit much to hope—dread making footsteps within her just as she made footsteps across the frozen sidewalk.

Bono sat through his one challenging class of the day glaring and trying not to look like he glared. There had been endless comments over the day’s course and obvious stares: he was eighteen, and back at school because he had failed bloody Gaelic class. He tried like hell to keep what the teacher was trying to explain in his head but it kept slipping out: he thought foolishly instead that screw school, he could run away to somewhere far with Cath and the band and tour and it wouldn’t matter if he’d finished fecking high school. He still couldn’t concentrate on any of his lessons, instead thinking of lyrics, and at last came home with a slight optimism rising through his previously black mood: Cath could probably help him with Gaelic. He hadn’t asked her yet, but he had noticed that after their lovemaking a few months before she, when she thought he was asleep, whispered something unfamiliar in his ear. Probably Gaelic. He’d heard it from her before.

He opened the door, calling out “Cath?” exuberantly, shoving away the mood he’d had at school, glad that part of the day was over, and finally found her curled up in a ball on the couch. When she looked up she was crying. Something broke inside of him, and a little fear whispered in his mind.

He uncurled her body and kissed her tears away, which just made her cry harder. At last, at a loss, he just held her, the back of his shirt growing wet, Cath saying something unintelligible that was muffled by his body.

“What happened?” he asked. She stiffened, her head hard against his shoulder. He pried her fingers off of him and kissed her gently on the mouth. “Cath, love, what happened?” This wasn’t one of those mood swings he’d heard pregnant women had; she looked genuinely distraught. It scared the feck out of him.

She dashed her tears away messily with her hand. Deliberatingly, she looked at him for a long while, while Bono grew more and more afraid of what she was going to say. Finally, heart hammering, she decided to tell him the truth. “Isaac,” she began, and he grew absolutely still, his eyes growing hard as she continued.

God. How would he be able to leave the house, knowing this?

That echoed through his mind as he tried to reassure her, and his arms tightened around until there was no room for her to be afraid of the ghosts of her past. More than ever, he was afraid he would lose her, that something would happen. She could sense only the turmoil in his mind, not his thoughts. They remained like that for the remaining hours of the day, moving only to get dinner, during which Paul was silent except for trying to distract Cath unsuccessfully. They practically fell asleep on the couch, until Bono thought there would be a permanent Cath-shaped dent against him. The next morning, the whole incident had been forgotten by both except for a faint confusing unease that lingered in Cath’s mind for the rest of the day.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:33 PM   #2
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Poor girl. But you made it sound creepier than it was...
Ahaha, Bono had to retake Gselic... that is not surprising... why does Cath know Gaelic, BTW?
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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What, in the warning? ^^ She...really does not like him, for obvious reasons.

Cath's mom spoke in Gaelic a lot (when she was around). Cath sort of sentimentally automatically reverts to it a lot; she used to speak in it mostly instead of normal English, so it's weird for her to switch out of it...
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:38 PM   #4
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Well... yes. I'm scared of that character. Too bad you had to give him a name I love...
Oh, that's nice.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:52 PM   #5
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I know! I was saying that to my friend yesterday; Isaac is such a good-guy name. But for some reason it was in my head and I had to name him Isaac, even though I kind of wanted everyone from Cath's past to have more Gaelic-sounding names...ah well.

It makes things difficult when Bono tries to talk to her out of the blue and she's only half paying attention...

...apparently Isaac as a name means 'he will laugh'. That sounds ominous!
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:03 PM   #6
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Poor Cath. Good for her for sticking up to him though! And Bono is the perfect boyfriend. So loving. I love the creepiness btw.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:09 PM   #7
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(YAY JESS! Online! I think it's chat time)

Why do you love the creepiness? You are odd. And I felt terrible for Cath at that point; I really want to punch Isaac. I understand where Bono's coming from, in that.

Eee, yes, adorable Bono is fun
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:12 PM   #8
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I love mystery novels and dark, gruesome stuff. Don't ask...



I am on Gmail btw. Watching a movie with the S/O but I'm sure I'll be able to focus on both.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:16 PM   #9
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I think I already know a little. Goodness.

Yay! *scoots off to Gmail* and you already know I can multitask; of course you can!
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