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Old 12-31-2010, 03:46 PM   #1
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An Cat Dubh 9

...Dammit, Grace...

Does not to belong to me. Not even naked Paul Hewson. The red dress is a little like a green one I coveted once, however. And the urge to swim is definitely mine.

Untrue but for the song lyrics. And Larry does get a certain earring at some point.

Apologies if this is a little bit much. I didn't want to make it PM only cause it's important. And Ali doesn't end up doing anything, anyway, so why bother? (if you were all wondering what was happening in that bathtub...)

Here's the band around then :3

***

A few minutes after Bono left to go work on some music, Ali walked quietly upstairs in the silence of the house—Cath was asleep on the couch—went into her bedroom and locked the door. She looked at the clothes she had been wearing yesterday for a minute, then sat cross-legged to the floor, closing her eyes.

Paul Hewson…god.

She had seen yesterday that he assumed much more had happened between them than had transpired. What really did occur was not what Ali had been hoping. She was oddly glad, however, considering how fragile Cath seemed lately. Doing anything—definite—with Bono would have been a bad idea for Ali.

This was all just one big mess.

Still, she had done a bit more than she was ready to admit, and remembering the clothes on the bathroom floor, even, shocked her a little.

Bono Vox was warm in her arms and very, very slippery, the fabric of Ali’s shirt bunching up against his wet skin. It felt odd to have the cloth between them but very reassuring. Her pants were quite thick fabric, which was good. There was no telling what her drunk ex-boyfriend would assume from her getting into the bathtub with him.

She played idly with his wet hair, and he shifted in sleep so that a little more of his weight was supported by her.

Gghh. He’s gained some pounds.

But he was still…she looked down at his chest gleaming with water, and subsequently his torso, and couldn’t stop her eyes…he was definitely still fit. Heat rose to Ali’s face.

Bono made a small, indistinct noise, eyelids fluttering.

What are you doing, Alison Stewart? she berated herself mentally.

Distracting him so he doesn’t find Cath.

You could have stopped distracting him half an hour ago.

He’s asleep! the less rational part of her mind protested.

He’s waking up.

But I want…

Good lord, She wanted him. She quelled the urges within her a little unsuccessfully. Unlike he and Cath, Bono and Ali had never slept together. The most they had done was make out, and he was a mess at the time, his mother having just died.

That little protesting part of her subconscious was squashed swiftly. Bono’s eyes were opening more, though his gaze was hazy and unfocused—she tilted her head down to see his face. He smiled lopsidedly.

“Care to join me, love?” he smirked, gesturing at his obvious lack of clothes.

She had a moment of trepidation. What if…So many things could go wrong. He could become sober, for one thing, and that would screw things up. Cath could walk in, or he could accidentally stumble into that bedroom again. Her fecking family could walk in at the wrong moment…oh god.

And he was her ex-boyfriend.
Ex.

Reminding herself wasn’t doing much. Ali was breathing a little heavily already, her body a traitor. She uncoiled herself from around him, her legs a little shaky, and stretched out of the bathtub to stand, dripping, on the bathmat.

Her reflecting half-smile was her answer. She didn’t trust herself to speak.

Heart hammering, she undressed hurriedly and stood where she was, naked, the cold air unbearable. The water was equally cold, she reasoned…well, it didn’t have to stay that way. She felt oddly self-conscious. From what little she could tell, she probably looked entirely different naked than Cath; Ali was a bit rounder, a bit less compact, and really, really did not like her thighs. She felt exposed and embarrassed, as Paul was not speaking, just…staring.

“You changed, Ali,” he managed to say. “That wasn’t you in your bedroom, was it?”

“There’s a black cat in my house,” she squeaked. He looked puzzled. Well, that was all the hint she was giving him.

His eyelids fluttered again.
Shit. Don’t go to sleep on me, Hewson, don’t…he still seemed mostly awake, though his speech was a little muddled. That was fine; she didn’t need to speak. She stretched back into the tub, making sure his eyes were on her and not edging back towards sleep, facing him this time, legs folded in front of her in sudden shyness. He was…very very close. She leaned above him...god, he feels good…and kissed him hungrily. His mouth was wet. Her heartbeat went crazy. She had to pull away, after a minute, folding her legs more tightly against her body, not really ready for…she stared again between his legs…that.

But wait, he was saying something. She leaned close to him again, pressing the upper half of her body tightly against his. Her eyelashes brushed against his forehead.

“What?” she asked coyly.

He gave a strangled cry, eyelids beginning to close again. No, she knew what she heard. “Cath,” he groaned before he lost consciousness again.

Ali stepped out of that bathtub fast as a gunshot, crossing her arms over her breasts and standing there shaking for several minutes before she remembered towels and their function. She wrapped a towel around her body several times, still feeling naked in front of Paul.

“Well, fuck you, Hewson,” she said quietly, clicking the door shut behind her and padding over to her bedroom, the door on the right. There was no sound coming from Cath’s room. Maybe she was asleep?
Good, Ali thought. For some reason, she didn’t want Cath to hear Bono call her name like that…

And he didn’t remember a thing. Perhaps that was better, but he would wonder why she acted so coldly towards him, as she felt she might tonight.

Shit. He was coming over tonight. Why hadn’t Ali told him to stay where he was, away from the women whose lives he was royally screwing up? Cath needed a day or two to recover anyway, she’d guessed from Edge’s few hints towards how sick Cath was. And she might still be asleep when the boys got over here anyway…and then they would all be looking at her and wondering why Ali had let her ex-boyfriend come over…

But her weakness was that she did want to see Bono again. And she admitted grudgingly it might be better for Edge to be here and talk to Cath than for Cath to sleep for the next couple of days. They clearly knew something everyone else didn’t, if only about her fever.

Ali put her jeans back on, deciding to change her top. The band was coming over for dinner; her parents said they’d leave everyone alone if they ate outside. It was hardly the thing on her mind, but Ali should probably wear something better than she had been wearing.

Screw that. This’ll be fine. She pulled a long-sleeved black shirt over her head and clicked open the door, coming back downstairs.

Cath’s eyes were shut tightly, her hands pillowed under her head, the rest of her sprawling across the couch. She had abandoned the hospital gown and wore just Edge’s clothing, his jacket a little big on her. She didn’t really look like she wanted to wake up, but blinked slowly and sat up, finally.

When had Cath gotten so thin? For the most part, she was all skin and bone and thin muscles. Probably the hospital.

Ali told her they’d have company later, and Cath awakened a little more. She stretched, yawned, smiled. “I’m going to need a shower,” she groaned. “Hospitals smell terrible.”

She paused midway up the stairs, looking back at Ali. “What am I going to wear?” Cath realized. Ali giggled. “We’ll find something.” She had an idea…yes, that might work.

Paul, you are in for it now. Let’s see how well he concentrated on his food. Not at all, if Ali was guessing.


Cath mostly stood in the shower, reaching out her hand and grabbing the shampoo and squirting it over her head absentmindedly. She squinted: her wet hair stuck up everywhere, her bangs spiking again when they were wet. The water felt good, healing after the hospital, running down her shoulders to the drain. She had a sudden pang of memory, remembering when her mother was alive, and they had gone to the empty beach to swim in the waves…

Cath had been a different person then too, smaller, her hair and clothing neat, the world around her big but unthreatening, the sand dunes an intriguing other world sculpted around her. The water had been freezing, but she remembered how much stronger she had felt when her limbs could finally knife through it and then relax as she treaded water, grinning at her mother from the deep swells, waterlogged, saltwater getting up her nose, but perfectly happy.

Swimming would be great. She was suddenly motionless, her surroundings and her turning off the water unimportant as headlights flashed across her mind and she saw, again, herself walking into some distant future.

She was growing reluctant to do that, what she had to do. Something in her didn’t want to leave.

She dried herself off hurriedly, wrapping the towel tightly around her body and slipping out of the bathroom. “Ali?” she asked. “Any ideas?”

“Hang on a second,” Ali said from the other bathroom. “I put some clothes in your bedroom. You can pick something.” In a somewhat amused voice, she said, “I have a feeling you’re going to pick what I thought…”


Ali glared at the red stain forcefully, as if that would make it go away. If she had any motivation to have sex with Bono anytime soon, this dashed it away good. Great timing, she told her body, and glared into the cabinet door, fishing around until she found an unopened box of tampons.

Wait—unopened? These were from a while ago. She’d assumed Cath might need them, although Cath seriously did not mention those sorts of things. Ali stared at the box, calculating.

Shit.

She did her business and went to see what Cath chose to wear. She opened the door—sure enough, she was right about what Cath chose. Cath grinned evilly.

It was a little difficult to see all of the dress since Cath’s wet hair obscured a bit of the back, but it looked much better on her than it ever had on Ali. It was too small for Ali, anyway, and fit Cath perfectly, the red fabric showing just enough of her body not to reveal too much to the wandering eye, faintly reflective.

“This one’s great,” Cath laughed. She turned around. “Zip me up?”

Ali chuckled. “This should be interesting. The boys are going to go crazy.” She pulled the zipper up, trying not to look around Cath and assume what she thought she’d see. Ali glanced. No…the other woman just looked like she’d filled out a little after three months.

Funny how the world worked.

She really, really wanted to punch Edge for keeping this silent. He probably had his reasons, though. Good lord, Ali had better keep a watchful eye on Bono…he could mess things up by suggesting he and Ali get back together, or the reverse. Well, he could mess things up just by being himself.

Night began to fall in a veil of darkness that sharpened the dying rays of the sun. There was a knock at the door and Ali, excited, went to open it. She raised her eyebrows: Bono wore a button-up black shirt and the pants he’d been wearing before. “We match,” she told him amusedly. Edge had a white shirt and looked frozen without his jacket. He dashed in, apologizing, and, relieved, found it on the couch. Adam was in a whispered conversation with Larry and Larry grinned and poked Bono, shuffling from one foot to the other.

“Hey!” Bono cried, swatting Larry in retaliation, and Ali rolled her eyes. “Dinner’s in the back,” she said. “This way, gentlemen.”

She had set lights below the trees, throwing flickering shadows onto the branches from below. The outside table was punctuated by various candles that fell upon their close vicinity.

“Where’s—“ Bono began curiously, before his words were quite effectively stolen. The candle flame throwing light and shadow across her face from an angle, Cath wasn’t Cath-just-back-from-the-hospital, but a remnant of Paul’s memory a few months ago, blending into the nighttime even as she stood apart from it, the red dress contrasting with her skin that contrasted with her hair that fell over her shoulders. She was barefoot, and tired, but Paul could not speak. He nodded, swallowing, and choosing a seat a little ways away for sanity’s sake. Adam grinned.

Edge shot an evil look at Paul Hewson, and went about introducing the rest of the band. Cath’s eyes lit a little brighter with his rescue attempt. “You already know the obnoxious boy over there,” he pointed at Bono, laughing, “and this is Adam,” he nodded to a curly-haired young man who radiated cool amusement, “and Larry.” Adam said some comment Cath forgot and nodded to her. Larry muttered something pleasant quietly, shy as Edge, and sat next to Bono. Ali sat between Larry and Cath, and Edge sat next to her on the other side. While his mind had gone faintly in the direction Bono’s had, he saw instead how wearied Cath looked and the contradictory energy burning in her eyes. Unwillingly, he kept remembering how she looked in the hospital, and cursing Bono, wishing he was the one who had to deal with this. It would be a weight off of Edge’s mind if he hadn’t seen Cath so vulnerable.

“So, how was the music session?” she asked the band in general. Adam laughed, then apologized. “Bono was on fire,” he explained.

“We got a bit of a song done,” Bono said in response, smiling. “It’s a little difficult to finish the lyrics, but Edge is getting the guitar chords down.”

“A little odd, they,” said Larry to Edge. “Rather discordant.”

Edge nodded.

“Well, I like it,” Adam defended, then leaned back in his chair. “Say, this is good food. Did you make it, Ali?” He’d cleared his plate of pasta pretty much instantaneously.

“Yep.” Except for the fruit and the bread, obviously. She had anticipated hungry men and was right, giving them rather large portions and letting Cath serve herself. Cath was staring at her pasta, and, taking Ali by surprise, attacked it; when Ali next looked over in that direction, half was gone. Cath blushed.

“Hospital food?” Bono grinned. She nodded.

“Hospital?” Adam asked, glancing at Cath confusedly. “Are you okay?”

“She had a fever,” Edge supplied, leaving out the heart attack. Bono obviously did not remember that. Ali, looking at Bono’s face, was nearly dying of laughter. He obviously remembered something, and could not look at Cath directly.

The night wore down. They talked about some of the songs from earlier in the year, and apartments being “so bloody expensive.” Edge saw Cath was looking a little longingly at the plate of fruit at the other end and whispered, “here, I’ll pass you some.” She smiled gratefully as he handed her some grapes under the table, and popped one into her mouth. Larry drew her into an intent conversation about metalworking—Cath, when she’d had money, had made the earrings she wore, both tiny crosses.

“I don’t know what got into me,” she said in explanation. “I’m not really religious.” She looked over at Paul in that moment and laughed at his expression.

Edge was amused, but more concerned. Eventually the hours passed and they left, Larry unwillingly, Bono leaving a little more slowly. Ali stacked the dishes and brought them inside. Edge said goodbye and looked pointedly at Bono, who said he’d be behind another minute.

His thoughts drifted with the candle flame that lit his eyes. Darkness had fallen fully. He stood in the doorway until Ali went upstairs, looking at him in a worried way. Cath looked into the light of one of the candles, the expression on her face twisting his insides. She looked troubled by something.

“Cath,” he said, crossing over and sitting on the chair next to her—she looked up, startled, and that expression was gone, though it lingered in her movements.

For a long time neither of them spoke, Bono content with the soft night, Cath concentrating on the way the ground felt against her bare feet and the light in Paul’s eyes. He had changed, to her, still the same boy he had been a little over three months ago, the fire inside of him different but not entirely. It didn’t make her frantic with desire—maybe that was the circumstances, though. She was deathly afraid of falling in love with him again, just as afraid as she was of being alone.

But that I can face without any questions…

“You look beautiful,” he said, then, “damn, that’s not what I came here to say.”

She looked at him expectantly, a strand of dark hair falling across her face. “Yes?” She didn’t know what she hoped for him to say. Oh, she hoped he would guess, but that was out of the question. He was wrapped up in his musical world. He wouldn’t wonder about the things that, alternatively, kept her awake at night.

She realized she was leaning forward to see the reflections in his eyes, and smiled, leaning back.

“I was going to say…I’m sorry.” He looked up then, just as she looked down and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, looking unhappy. She was lost in the thoughts she had had at the hospital, briefly, still not having recovered entirely. That fell away when she looked at him again.

“About what?”

“I always meant to find you again. But you were nowhere to be found.” She nodded, her eyes stinging. It was too late, she felt she ought to say to him, but didn’t want to disturb that memory of connection between them and the way the night breathed easily into their words.

“Life happens,” she replied almost too softly to be heard.

“And…” his gaze had grown suddenly open, younger. He looked broken, as he had when she had seen him singing.

“I had no idea you were still troubled by…” His voice trailed off.

“Isaac?” she asked, feeling sick.

He nodded. “You didn’t say very much about him, just that I was the opposite. What did you mean by that?”

“I meant,” she said to him, a wistful note drifting into her voice, “that you erased any wrong he did to me, physically. And you were one of the best things that ever happened in my life.”

He smiled boyishly, his face alight. “Really? I had no idea,” he laughed. “But…it’s still troubling you,” he said more seriously.

She nodded. “I was going to apologize, myself. I couldn’t stand seeing you again because that would bring back memories…of…of…and it was all too much…” She looked away, again.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, stricken. “I had no idea. I’m such a bloody bastard,” he groaned to himself, and she laughed. He stared at the light across her face, suddenly speechless. Very slowly, in between the spaces of their heartbeats, the slowness saying she could deny him if she wished, he leaned forward, closed his eyes, and kissed her softly, the kiss itself an apology and almost a bond renewed. Cath broke away finally, looking pained, her heart bringing an aching pain when she looked at him and knew what she knew.

“I don’t know,” she said in response, before he left. “I may not be here for much longer.”

Her expression stayed with him, and that thought echoed through his mind disturbingly even as the image of her melted into the back of his mind.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:49 PM   #2
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And this is pretty close to what they were all wearing (odd that I found a picture that worked so well )

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Old 12-31-2010, 09:44 PM   #3
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Beautiful!
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adam, ali hewson, an cat dubh, baby bono, bathtubs, cath, dinner fun, early 80s, edge, high school, larry, late 70s

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