Dancing With The Devil ch. 44 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-20-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 44

There are only two more chapters after this. But I'm afraid you won't want to read them, you'll only want to kill me. There was a reason I put those Cure lyrics at the end of the last chapter...
This story is a work of fiction and I take full responsibility for it.

Bono requests a private taxi ride, and all through it he keeps his head between his knees, trying not to go completely crazy, or throw up, or break into sobs. Some powerful emotion rages inside of him. He feels defiled, completely wasted. When the ride’s over Bono pays the driver handsomely, rushing into the hotel before prying eyes can see that he’s not fine.
Up in his suite, Bono closes himself into the bathroom and turns the hot water up. He curls into a ball on the cold porcelain floor. No, no, no, no, no… Tears rise up from the churning pain within him. Bono rocks, trying to wrap his mind around this huge and horrible thing- he had sex with Marieke. He. Had. Sex. With. Marieke. For the love of God, he had sex with Marieke. There can be no forgiving now. What was he thinking?!
After a while Bono crawls into the shower, unclothed, and lets the warm water soak into his skin. He hopes it will take both the filth from his shameful excursion and the lasting pain and send them on their ways down the drain. But though the water outwardly cleanses, the inside of Bono is stained with remembrance. Despite his great lyricism, words completely fail him to describe this experience. The emotions within Bono demand a way out, words or no words. He howls, a black sound, obvious regret tingeing it. The noise echoes, bouncing back to Bono’s ears, but it does little to nothing to relieve his internal torment.
The water grows cold, so Bono shuts it off- you don’t want your hair to turn brown again, do you?- and, wrapping a towel around himself, falls into bed. He reaches for a pen and paper and starts scratching lyrics, but they’re erased by the droplets that plash from his wet hair. Eventually Bono gives up and buries himself beneath the covers, a cold feeling taking over every limb. He tries to feel nothing until morning comes.
***
I just barely keep myself from going out tonight, because I know the alcohol I drink will make me sensible. The thing is, I don’t want to be sensible. I don’t want to come down off this high. Skipping through the doors of the lobby, I have barely enough willpower to keep me from shouting to the world that I just had sex with Bono. I. Had. Sex. With. Bono!
Inside my hotel room, next to Edge’s, I dance around in a circle. My hands clasp, rise above my head, and I turn around in a circle, spinning. My silver bracelet is gone, but that’s the very least of my concerns. A few times I bounce up and down, just for heck of it. How can I even think of going to bed when something this wonderful has happened? Bono loves me. He must love me! Why else would he have taken me to the dressing room and done what he did?
My heart beating quickly, I speed to the window and open it up. The moon is bright and round, shedding its light on my skin. I shriek with joy, feeling high above the world. Tonight, it doesn’t occur to me that if I jump, I fall. Tonight, I know that the breeze will carry me away, high as a kite.
Tears of happiness flow down my face. I leap onto the bed and bury my face in the pillow and scream, just as I screamed tonight in Bono’s arms. My hands pull my clothes away from me, and I lie against the sheets, suddenly feeling the need to recreate those sensations Bono has opened my mind to. I was right- he is much better at it than Larry.
(Marieke and her hand have some alone time. You don’t need to read about that.)
With the warm feeling taking over my whole body, satisfying me, I close my eyes and bob away, barely tethered to Earth. Up in the clouds, my body is once again given to Bono, and we stay together for the length of one night, until the sun wakes me up bright and early in the morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
***
“Marieke, what were you thinking last night?”
I flash Stuart a level stare. It’s not like him to lose his temper, but now he’s struggling to keep control. I suppose it was quite childish of me to tell everyone he was injured from the fall and couldn’t perform, but for all I knew it could have been true. Besides, my performance onstage gave me something better than the love of the crowd- the love of Bono himself.
“I’m sorry Stu,” I sigh. “It’s just- that stage draws me in with an irresistible pull, you know? It’s not like the stage fright you suffer. I had to be up there. Besides, I think I did a great job of fucking up the mainstream, eh?”
“You’re not one to do that,” he shoots back. “You’re not allowed to take matters like this into your own hands. U2 chose me to play bass last night, not you.”
I shrug, and he silently stalks off. I guess I won’t be seeing much more of him after today.
Adam has returned to the Zoo TV stage, looking a bit weak but sure of himself. He thanks me heartily for taking his place for the encores, and I smile. I see he’s still got his engagement ring on. Have he and Naomi really broken up? My curiosity over this, however, must be suspended in my curiosity over something more important- where is Bono? He hasn’t shown up at the Sydney Football Stadium yet, and I’m beginning to worry that it’s because of something I did last night.
Bono is, in fact, still in bed. He doesn’t think he can ever leave it. His whole body feels to be made of concrete. Bono lies on his back, staring at the ceiling, a few crumpled papers strewn over the covers. Taking them up, Bono unfolds the papers and reads the words written on them from last night, scrawled deeply with a black pen into an indecipherable mess. Only one word stands out starkly. GONE. Bono throws the paper to the ground and blinks. He tries hard not to think of it, but the lyrics from long ago well up in his brain- If you wear that velvet dress…
The sun enters Bono’s bedchamber, blinding him in the light. His hands grab the pen from under his pillow and pick up a new sheet of paper. Now that Bono’s mind is somewhat at rest, he can form thoughts, which in turn form lyrics. It’s time for Velvet Dress to be worn.
Sunlight fills my room
It’s sharp and clear, but nothing at all like the moon
The struggle for things not to say
I never listened to you- anyway
I’ve got my own hands to pay
Something about that last word doesn’t seem right. Bono scratches it out and adds an “r” between the P and A. PRAY. I’ve got my own hands to pray.
But if you wear that velvet dress…
She had, hadn’t she? Except it had been ripped into a shirt, which now is no longer even that… A new lyric swells in Bono’s mind. It doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the song, so he flips the paper over and writes it on the back. It looks like the sun, but it feels like the rain. The truth of this line hits him hard.
A knock sounds on Bono’s door. He tries to drag himself up to receive it, but the heaviness descends on him, so he falls back on the pillows and calls, “Come in.” The man who enters is familiar, with chocolate eyes staring from beneath chocolate hair.
“Jack,” Bono says, and sighs, relieved that it isn’t Marieke. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I just came to inform you that if you don’t get down to the stadium you’ll miss soundcheck,” Jack says. “And Marieke is waiting for you, really impatient. I think she has a speech she wants to go over with you.”
Oh God! Bono knows exactly what she wants to go over- and he isn’t ready. He doesn’t want to sit down and talk their night out when he’s still trying to figure out what it really meant- does he love Marieke or does he not? After last night, the question is serious. The deadline for its response has arrived all too soon, and all Bono wants to do is bury his head beneath the pillow and forget everything having to do with it.
“I’ll be down there in a few minutes, Jack.” Jack nods and starts to turn around- and suddenly Bono can’t stand to be alone again. Falling out of bed, he picks himself up and gets dressed. “Jack, stay with me, please?”
“Alright,” Jack says, noticing Bono’s nakedness- the towel that he had wrapped himself in last night remains on the bed- and greedily feasts his eyes before Bono is fully clothed again. He hasn’t seen something like that in a long time. “What kept you in so late? You’re looking a bit sluggish.”
“Sick,” mumbles Bono. If he wants to argue, he can say this is the honest truth- he is sustaining an ankle injury from last night. Its pain pales in comparison to the shame of what he did with Marieke, however. “I went to bed early.”
“Oh. I hope you feel better today,” Jack tells the singer. He offers an arm. “Let’s walk, shall we?”
“Thanks, Jack,” Bono murmurs, closing the door behind him.
Once in the elevator, Jack takes his arm out of Bono’s to punch in the floor number of the lobby. Bono takes this moment to size Jack up. He radiates a serene calm that Bono can’t help but envy. Why must this man be happy today while Bono can feel his own depression starting to sink in?
And suddenly he remembers. Tonight is the planned broadcast to the world. Zoo TV will be watched on every U2 fan’s home TV, all hooked up to the same satellite. Bono is not only nervous that the band will fall apart after not rehearsing with Adam yesterday, but he also has to prepare for being filmed tonight. Why must they be doing this at such an inconvenient time? Bono isn’t sure which way it’s going to go with Marieke, and he knows that whatever happens, the show will be quite emotional tonight.
As they walk out the doors to the lobby, Bono feels the need to ask Jack, “Have you and Marieke had a fight?”
“Yeah,” Jack answers, looking out of the side of his eyes. “She didn’t like some advice I gave her, and hasn’t spoken to me since. She’s a volatile little bomb, that one. Doesn’t forgive easily, either- look what happened with Eric!”
Wait. “Eric? What problem did she have with Eric?”
Oh no… Jack realizes he’s spoken too much, as those who know him well, like Marieke, would say he does often. He tries to cover it with, “Oh, did I say Eric? It had nothing to do with Eric, believe me!”
Bono is not fooled.
“Tell me about Eric and Marieke, please. You don’t have to if it’s a secret.”
Jack plunges in and tells the whole story- that on the band’s last date in London, Eric kissed Marieke without her consent out in the street and declared his love for her, where she spurned him, giving him a grudge to hold against her ever since. He also explains how at her birthday party, she was the one who kissed Eric first, hoping that Bono would walk in on them, which is exactly what happened. “She was betting on him getting kicked off the tour, just because he had kissed her that one time.”
This is news to Bono. He has always suspected that Marieke’s story wasn’t quite true somewhere along the line, but he hadn’t known that Eric has been causing trouble from the very start. He should have left the tour earlier… But what’s done is done. Eric is gone, probably back in Florida where he belongs, and Marieke is here- conveniently here, in fact, for she’s just enough temptation for Bono to break his wedding vows.
Ali. Alison Hewson, I love you so much. Please forgive me for giving my body to Marieke. It doesn’t belong to her. It never did. I love you and only you. Jack feels the shudder that runs through Bono’s body, followed by a deep sigh, but he doesn’t comment on it, instead sticking his arm straight out into the street. “Taxi!”
***
“Marieke, can we speak in private?”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard these words coming from Larry, so I allow him to take me aside, where I look at him skeptically, wondering what he could want.
“This is going to sound- well, I don’t care how it sounds, I just have to tell you. Last night when I was waiting outside of Bono’s dressing room for him to come out and help us edit footage from last night’s show, I heard a female scream come from inside the dressing room. And- and I know that scream, Marieke. It wasn’t a sound of pain, it was a sound of pleasure. And I’ve only heard it once- when you and I did it in my hotel room in London.” Larry looks questioningly at me, challenging me to tell him what that noise was.
And I do. “After I got offstage last night, Mac- I mean, Bono- started kissing me. He couldn’t hold back. And you know how I feel about him- I didn’t stop it for the world. He took me to the dressing room, and-“ I try very hard to keep my voice from squeaking in excitement, but it does nonetheless- “we had sex!”
Larry doesn’t look taken aback or angry. Instead, his eyes ice over.
“You… what?”
I repeat myself patiently. “We had sex.”
All that comes from Larry’s mouth is, “Oh God…
“Marieke. Are you… sure that Bono loves you?”
“Yes,” I breathe. “I mean, why would he have done that anyway? No offense, Lar, but it was a lot better than our night in London.”
Larry doesn’t look offended, or even pained that I’ve mentioned it. “Have you seen Bono at all today? I haven’t.”
“No,” I say. “And I was thinking he would come down here immediately to talk to me.”
Larry shuffles on his feet, not meeting my eyes. “He’s probably conflicted. You know, he did just cheat on Ali…”
“Oh, fuck Ali!” I cry. “He loves me. I know it. He needs to talk to me.”
Larry doesn’t move. His eyes are still frozen.
I smile in an attempt to loosen him up, and it feels so good after endless days of hope and patience wearing thin. Finally, I am certain of two things- Bono loves me as much as he loves Ali, and I do not love Larry. The small crush that has remained with me since London is gone, obliterated by Bono’s pairing with me.
I throw my arms around Larry, a man carved of marble- perfect, rock-hard, and unchanging. “Larry, thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me- yes, including that,” I say. “I’ll always a place for you in my heart.” I peck his cheek.
“Wait, Marieke,” Larry says, dazzling eyes staring unblinkingly into mine. “Don’t go yet…”
I wait, a small flicker of annoyance popping up inside me. “What?”
Larry seems incredibly uncomfortable. He knows now that it was a complete mistake to tell Marieke Bono was in love with her when he himself had no real evidence of that. This mystifying sex story adds to the confusion- if Bono really does love her, why hasn’t he come down to the stadium to see her yet? Whatever Bono’s feeling, Larry can tell that it would be dangerous to let Marieke near him. She’s too excited, too out of control- Larry is terrified to see what she’ll do with him.
He tries to give it to her straight, staring squarely into her eye. “Marieke… I don’t think Bono loves you.”
The breath whooshes out of me. “How could you say that? You’re the one who told me he oved me in the first place.”
“I- I just don’t think he meant what he did last night.”
“You weren’t there! It wasn’t you that he made love with.”
Larry cringes. “Please, Marieke- I think it would be better for you if you just stayed away from him for a while.”
“I can get as close to him as I damn well please!” I spit. “You have no idea what you’re talking about, Larry. It’s not you he loves, it’s me. Or maybe you’re just jealous.”
I can see his eyes change at that, and I’m convinced I’ve hit the right spot. Larry must still love me, even when he said he didn’t. He only wants me to stay away from Bono so he can have me all to himself. Larry is trying to speak, but I silence him, waving my hand.
“You stay away from me! I don’t want you, I want Bono.”
“That’s not-“
I stalk out.
At the moment Marieke is talking to Larry, Bono is arriving at Sydney Football Stadium with Jack. He feels a tug when Jack leaves his side- there goes his support. Bono tries to plaster on a normal face and go to soundcheck.
On the way to the stage, Bono is stopped to congratulate Adam on his recovery. He spies Edge out of the corner of his eye, tuning his guitar. Sensing that Bono isn’t in a good mood, Adam makes himself sparse while Edge slowly turns his eyes onto Bono. With one glance, he can see he is not alright. “Hey, Bono, come over here.”
Bono obeys blindly, sitting down to rest his leg. Edge gazes into his blue eyes, surprised that Bono hasn’t put shades on over them yet. “Are you feeling better?”
“No, I’m not, and you know it,” Bono sighs. “I feel like shit.”
“Should you get some medicine?”
Bono has to admire Edge, always looking out for him. He sighs again. “No, it’s not that kind of sick.”
“Ah.” Edge plucks a guitar string. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Bono opens his mouth to pour out the whole story, but something stops inside him. He shakes his head forcefully. “No… no, I just… I can’t.”
Edge stares down at Bono, and has a feeling he knows what it’s about. “I hope you get everything figured out. We have a huge show to play tonight.”
“I know,” Bono says. He gets to his feet, a lump sticking in his throat. “If I don’t show up it’s because I’ve died of nervousness.”
Edge laughs. “Dying for an unworthy cause. What could be worse?”
Having sex for an unworthy cause, Bono thinks, but he doesn’t say it.
For the rest of the day I don’t see Bono. After my talk with Larry I go to eat lunch, and spend the rest of the day holed up in my hotel room trying to write the perfect speech for tonight. As tonight’s concert will be filmed, I have to think of something perfect, a summing-up of the entire Zoo TV experience.
By showtime I’ve experienced a miserable failure. I have no idea who MacPhisto’s going to call or what he will say. All that can come out of my pencil are love sentiments to Bono. Maybe if I shut my brain off for a while… I take my non-produced script and walk down to the stadium, where people are lining up to get in. Excitement trickles through me, laced with a sense of finality- this is it. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for- a filmed Zoo TV show.
As soon as I get backstage, I am assaulted with the sweet sight of Bono, the first glimpse I have had all day of him. And to make things even better, he’s using his MacPhisto accent! My work here is done.
“Now it’s time for me to go, to confer, converse, and otherwise hobnob with my fellow celebrities. But I leave these three- the scarecrow, the Tin Man, and The Edge- to rule in my place until such time as I return.”
I could swoon. That’s perfect! But-
“No,” I say swinging past Bono to sit down.
He looks at me, and I can see confusion in his blue eyes. Heat seems to crackle between us like electricity. “What’s wrong with it, Marieke?”
I force my smile at him down. “Why would you mention the other band members? For the last time, MacPhisto is not you!”
Bono sighs wearily. “All right, Marieke.” I know he’s just acting like this because there are people around. If we were alone he’d have his hands all over me. Bono starts reading ideas again, and I applaud. This is going to be the best MacPhisto speech ever, and I didn’t even write it.
It is decided that Bono can’t memorize all the words in time, so a Teleprompter is set up on the stage floor. I wait impatiently for some alone time with Bono. It never comes. The rest of the band enters and they all socialize without a glance my way. Everyone’s pumped, but my face falls. Why hasn’t Bono made contact with me yet?
However, I’m not crestfallen for long. U2 takes the stage in no time and, as Bono is pushed into the elevator up to the stage, his eyes linger on me. Suddenly he darts forward, whispering in my ear.
“Come to my room tonight after the show.”
His room?! This can only mean one thing- Bono wants to have sex with me again! But how am I to obtain his key? Ah, I’ll worry about that later… The elevator zooms up, carrying Bono away, and I sigh to myself. This is shaping up to be the best tour leg ever.
The concert is rip-roaring, with U2 looking- and acting- their best for the cameras. There are amazing performances of newer songs from the 90’s, such as The Fly. Once Zoo Station finishes, The Fly goes to get his black guitar while Larry’s drums start the song. Suddenly Edge rips into the riff, and words begin flashing across the screens. EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG. SILENCE=DEATH. The majority of these words go by too fast for me to read them clearly.
“It’s no secret that the stars are falling from the sky,” sings The Fly. “It’s no secret that our world is in darkness tonight. They say the sun is sometimes eclipsed by a moon… you know I don’t see her when she walks in the room.”
I feel like the moon, eclipsing Bono’s love for Ali into nonexistence. Words bombard the audience and myself as The Fly continues with, “It’s no secret that a friend is someone who lets you help… it’s no secret that a liar won’t believe anyone else. They say a secret is something you tell another person… so I’m telling you, child…”
My rocking out ceases for a brief moment as Edge’s hands fly up to grip his microphone and sing “Loooove…” in his perfect falsetto. The words BE GENTLE WITH ME appear on the screen behind him- a perfect match, as Edge’s eyes are dreamy and staring off into the distance at something I can’t see.
“We shine like a burning star, falling form the sky…”
“A man will beg, and a man will crawl!” The Fly shouts. “On the sheer face of love like a fly from a wall! It’s no secret at all!”
Funny, but every Achtung Baby and Zooropa song they’ve played since last night has been reminding me of myself and Bono. Some of The Fly’s lyrics sound so dead-on, it’s frightening, especially considering I wasn’t a part of Bono’s life when he wrote the album.
“It’s no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest,” The Fly tells us all. God, but his mouth… the way it moves… I stop myself and shake off the thought. That mouth will be yours tonight, just you wait.
“It’s no secret that ambition bites the nails of success… Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief. All kill their inspiration and sing about the grief.” My favorite lines! “Oh, love…” The Fly sounds ready to start the chorus, but The Edge has other ideas. “We shine like a burning star, falling from the sky…”
“A man will beg, and a man will fall, from the sheer face of love like a fly from a wall… it’s no secret at all!” The Fly cries, and suddenly- “Achtung down under!” He throws himself away from the microphone, shaking that leather-encased body until he’s backed up away from the stand while Edge begins some of the best guitarwork I have ever heard from him. The solo’s highest notes crack my soul. More comprehensible phrases fly up on the screens- MOCK THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE FROM THEE. A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO LETS YOU HELP.
Finally the solo ends, and I’m left panting from moving around. Edge’s hands on the guitar, however, do not stop warping the sound as he sings, “Looove, we shine like a burning star, falling form the sky… toniiiight… love…”
“A man will beg!” The Fly sings. “And a man will crawl! On the sheer face of love, like a fly from a wall! It’s no secret at all!” The song continues, coming closer and closer to its conclusion. I can feel myself starting to wind down.
“It’s no secret that the stars are falling from the sky… the universe exploding cause of one man’s lie. Look, I gotta go, I’m running out of change. There’s a lot of things if I could I rearrange. YEAH!” The soul-shaking bellow rocks the floor, and Edge leaps into the air, sounding out some ringing, spooky notes. The Fly grabs at the microphone again. “Yeah! Oh yeah…” He jerks it towards him as Larry drums fiercely, finally ending the song with a crash. Damn it, The Fly is just such a good song to rock out to.
Not only is newer material played, passionately and pleasing the crowd, but U2 proves later tonight that they’re still the band I fell in love with in the 80’s. Running To Stand Still has just ended out on the B stage, and Bono slips past me in the darkness to dress again. Despite that pleasurable temptation, I end up watching the performance, transfixed. An organ begins to play, softly, and I steel myself for what’s coming. All the screens turn red, drenched in blood. Even after seeing this so many nights, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes and a gasp to my throat.
Larry hits the cymbals, under the protection of shadow, and Edge plucks out a few notes as if deciding which ones to play. I know as well as he does what’s going to happen next.
There are no words to describe the riff for Where The Streets Have No Name as it kicks into the organ, beginning the song on a heavily delayed guitar piece, nothing more. Words simply fail me to say anything but “beautiful” at this point in the show. Every single damn time I choke up, remembering the first time I heard this song in my life. If Heaven is real, it sounds like Where The Streets Have No Name, and I want to go there.
Adam and Larry kick in with the driving bass and rocking drums, and I reach my arms out to them, Gods of the Earth. Edge is playing the song by heart, not even having to think about it anymore. I let myself collapse to my knees, and that’s when Bono brushes past me, walking onstage. The audience cheers when they see him. Flooded with stage lights, Bono lets himself smile at the crowd while the screens flicker onto old Joshua Tree era footage, flashing us back, and his mouth opens wide-
“I wanna run!” I breathe a sigh for the vocals having come in, as I always do, even when listening to the album. “I want to hide… I wanna tear down the walls that hold me inside!” He swings backwards with the mic stand. “I wanna reach out and touch the flame… Where the streets have no name.” Bono breathes in deeply, surveying the crowd, who are bouncing up and down, every single one of them on their feet.
“I wanna feel sunlight on my face.” He pulls his hands up and makes a motion of something hitting him in the head. “I see the dust clouds disappear without a trace…” Clouds lift from inside me too, sending me up high in a pinnacle of pleasure. This song is like sex. “I want to take shelter from the poison rain… Where the streets have no name.” Bono smiles at the audience, at Edge, at Adam, at all of us. And the chorus breaks in.
“Where the streets have no name!” Edge is practically dancing, backing Bono up. “Where the streets have no name! Still building, then burning down love!” I take particular notice in the way Bono’s bending over himself, crying out these words. “Burning down love! And when I go there, I go there with you…” I almost expect him to wink. “It’s all I can do.”
Bono yanks the microphone off the stand and jumps down to the very front of the audience.
“The city’s aflood!” he growls. “And out love turns to rust! We’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust…” I admire the way Bono dances backwards, holding out one leg. That man sure can move- at least when he’s onstage, definitely not in clubs!
“I’ll show you a place, high on desert plains…” We all strain forward, begging Bono to take us there. He whirls around and shouts to the video screen, “Hey you!” Conveniently, the man on the screen turns around- it’s Bono from 1987, looking serious and confused. The new Bono of 1993 gives him a big, cheesy wave. “Where the streets have no name!” My heart melts to the ground at that gesture, a kiss-off to the past. Dream out loud.
“Where the streets have no name! Where the streets have no name! Still building, then burning down love! Burning down love! And when I go there, I go there with you…
“It’s all I can do!” Bono yells joyfully, and takes off running down the stage as Edge’s guitar shreds.
He jumps up at the very end of the stage and stands out over the crowd. The rest of the band comes back in, and Bono emotes in a high voice, “Ohhhh, ohhhhh, oh… whoah, ohhh, oh-oh.” His voice is filled with passion, and tries a higher note. “Ohhhh, ohhhhh, oh! Whoah-ohhhh!” This is so beautiful it beats me into the ground.
“Where the streets have no name! Where the streets have no name! Still building, then burning down love! Burning down love!” Bono eyes the crowd. “And when I go there, I go there with you…” I can feel the song winding down.
“It’s all I can do.” That last line is breathed out into the warm night air. I’m a mess, not even trying to pick myself up off the floor. Bono stares at the audience, who are still screaming, and I catch a flicker of the 1987 Bono in him. He looks staggered at this response, and lifts a hand. “Oh, love… oh, my love…” The fans are wild. U2 eases gently out of the song, but not before Bono gets one last word in. “I wanna go there with yooooouu!” And as the final touch, the screens fill with an image of the band from 1987- the clever, serious band, who are still present beneath Zoo TV’s surface if you chip away enough. I weep, less for myself than for this band, who at the end of the day are the only thing in the world I love more than myself.
After Pride, it’s time to dress MacPhisto for an exciting encore. I can’t wait to see how he’ll pull off that badass speech. Once Bono has his pants off, I start to fold them, but think wisely and check the pockets first. There’s a room key in them- room key, singular. I guess if I knock on Bono’s door, he’ll let me in tonight. Frankly, I can’t wait to have him for myself again.
Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car is performed with vigor, MacPhisto wildly crazed- but I can’t help but feel sorry for poor Adam, who is startled when the cannons go off and jumps. I guess he’s not fully recovered from yesterday…
“Daddy’s gonna pay…” MacPhisto sighs, fingers on his free hand twisting together. “For your… crashed…” The wind blows a loose piece of hair across his forehead. He smiles a little, breathing the last word. “Car…” And before anyone can react, his hands come together, beating the microphone.
“Look what you’ve done to me,” he sighs, not in the least bit sorry for it. “You’ve made me very famous, and for that I thank you.”
MacPhisto bends over half way to read the script scrolling on the Teleprompter on the floor. It’s a shame he couldn’t have memorized the full thing in time…
“I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought… these.” The crowd cheers as the shoes come into view. I myself do not even have to look at the screen to know what ‘these’ are.
Now MacPhisto launches into the true speech, the one that I had barely any hand in writing- but the one that I love dearly, even if I haven’t heard the entire thing.
“My time among you is almost at an end,” MacPhisto says, pulling his jacket around himself. “The glory that is Zoo TV must ascend and take its place among all the other satellites.” These are sad words indeed.
However, I brighten when MacPhisto adds, “But don’t fear, for I’ll be watching you! I leave behind video cameras for each of you.” The audience cheers and MacPhisto smiles.
“So many listening tonight I…have a list,” he continues, sucking in a breath through his nose and staring down at the floor. “People of America… shush,” he tells the noisy crowd, with a wave of his hand. Every fan obeys.
“People of America, I gave you Bill Clinton, I put him on CNN, NBC, C-SPAN... Too tall to be a despot, but watch him closely.” The Devil snickers under his breath.
“People of Asia, your time is coming. Without your tiny transistors, none of this would be possible.” MacPhisto glances about himself, seeming to find these words inadequate to describe everything we have done for him.
“People of Europe, when I came among you, you were squabbling like children- now you’re all hooked up to one cable… as close together as stations on a dial. People of the former Soviet Union, I’ve given you capitalism, so now you can all be as wealthy and as glamorous as me.” Suddenly I’m the one snickering. A burble of my humor escapes in a snort.
“People of Sarajevo,” MacPhisto continues, almost maliciously, “count your blessings- there are those all over the world who have food, heat, and security, but they’re not on TV like you are!” Okay, that’s pushing it a bit too far… but I still like it. MacPhisto now dashes into his real speech- the goodbyes.
“Frank Sinatra, I give you MTV, demographic- you’re welcome! Salman Rushdie, I give you decibels!” I wonder what Salman could possibly need decibels for.
“Goodbye, Squidgy, I hope they give you Wales!” Me too… whatever that means.
“Goodbye Michael-“ MacPhisto looks like he’s about to say more, but closes his mouth. “Goodbye to all you Neo-Nazis, I hope they give you Auschwitz!” With that, the Devilish speech is over. And that is why I love the man so much.
With the speech done with, MacPhisto moves on to more important things- namely, the phone call. “Around about this time I often make a telephone call,” he begins, and I sigh in exasperation- I told him from the very start not to use these lines! “Sometimes to the President of the United States, but not- not tonight. Tonight I’m going to call a taxi to take me home,” he tells the audience, strolling to the end of the stage and tacking on “…cause I’m tired,” as an afterthought.
Well-known beeping fills the air as MacPhisto stabs at the numbers. He picks up the shining silver receiver and holds it to his ear as the other end rings.
“Hello, thank you for calling Taxis Australia…”
“Hello, my name is Mr. MacPhisto, and I’m looking for a taxi to take me from Sydney Football Stadium-“
Unfortunately the woman on the other end cuts in much too quickly. “Right, okay sir… What’s your name?”
“My name is Mr. MacPhisto!” the Devil announces. “And what is your name?”
Complete and utter silence.
“…Hello?” MacPhisto’s hope leaves him. The other end begins to beep rhythmically. Gloomily, MacPhisto opens his mouth. “Show me the way to go home… I’m tired and I want to go to bed… I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it’s gone… right… to… my.. head…”
Sirens wail, signaling Lemon’s beginning. Oh yes! As MacPhisto begins his spinning, I begin to grow excited. When this ends, we’ll see what happens during With or Without You…
“A man build a city, with banks and cathedrals… a man melts the sand so he can see the world outside…”
But to my disappointment, when With or Without You begins MacPhisto doesn’t even glance my way. He’s utterly absorbed in the camera, not me. I begin to have doubts- NO. Stop right there. He loves you- both Bono and MacPhisto. Keep your hopes up. For Heaven’s sake, he wants you in his room tonight! I console myself by remembering how the show is being filmed tonight- of course MacPhisto would want to focus on the cameras more than the fans.
Love Is Blindness… I almost expect MacPhisto to make a wild dash from the B stage to me, but instead he beckons a pretty blond woman up. I console myself with thoughts of the love we shared last night… and what’s going to top it tonight after the show.
At the final song, I can’t take it anymore and leave the area. No one notices me exiting the stadium. Here I’ll wait until U2 is done playing.
MacPhisto walks offstage, sweating, and becomes Bono suddenly, his eyes searching for Marieke. Not here. Where has she gone- in the other dressing room? Bono is thankful for that. He needs to discuss what happened last night without people clamoring to get into his room. Bono ignores the fact that he has no idea what he will say to Marieke when he does get a chance to sit down and talk to her.
When I see the limo leaving, I know U2 has safely gotten out. Bono will most likely return to the hotel, waiting for me. I will walk there on my own two feet- give Bono some time to get things ready. Granted, the only two times I’ve had sex, neither my partner nor I was prepared at all, but whatever- I’m ready now, and am barely holding myself down from chasing after that limo.
***
Bono arrives at his hotel room with nervousness still rushing through his veins. When Marieke comes in, what will she be expecting- more love to be made? Or does she know she’s got a punishment coming? If Bono can bring himself to punish her… Strung out, he puts a CD into the player to calm himself down. She’s just a woman… you can resist…
I ride the elevator up to Bono’s suite, impatient. My body is ready, invigorated by my nighttime walk, and now it’s craving Bono. That one night was not enough. I have to have him again, and this time I will not let him get away. We’ll lie in bed and make love until dawn.
Finally, finally, my feet take me to the door of the suite. I knock harshly, trying to stop my hand from shaking. Slowly but surely, the door creaks open, revealing Bono’s beautiful face, unshielded by the Fly glasses. I waltz in, keeping my mouth shut. I’ll be a gentlewoman and let him speak.
“Marieke.” The voice is tired and worn out. “Have a seat.”
I sit myself down on the bed and pat the spot next to me. Bono doesn’t take the bait. He stands, hovering in front of me. I notice the music- Acrobat is playing on Achtung Baby somewhere nearby.
“We… we need to talk,” Bono tells me.
“No kidding,” I say, thinking of last night. “We need to do more than that.”
He looks at me like I’m a wackjob, or have three heads or something.
“What?”
Bono sighs, reaches for his pocket, but pulls his hand back at the last minute. “I just need to talk to you, Marieke. About what happened last night. I-“
And at once it’s all too much for me to take. Bono’s right there, looking handsomer than ever, and we’re in his room already… Forget the talk. I leap up and slide over to him. “Open your mouth and close your eyes and you will get a big surprise.”
He doesn’t obey, but he doesn’t resist either. Without further ado, I pull myself closer and our lips meet. Suddenly I can’t stop. My caution and reservation has been thrown to the wind. I push Bono back, adrenaline kicking through my veins, and Acrobat reaches its intense solo. I press myself so close to him, leaving no space for dust between our bodies, and force my tongue into his warm mouth… and I can feel in his body that he wants me, I can feel the change, and I’m blind to everything but the maddening lust…
Bono has frozen in place. He can’t even move his arms to wrap around Marieke… She’s attacking him brutally with love. Her tongue feels like acidic chemicals, like the scorch of coffee, drunk before it’s cooled down. He curses his body for betraying his desire. He doesn’t want to do it. Full aware now, Bono realizes what’s happening. This is not like last night… No. This. Is. Wrong.
And-
Hands are pushing me off- Bono’s hands? No, they can’t be Bono’s hands, for he’s always been so gentle with me… nothing like these hands, which force me away, disconnect my iron grip, and firmly shove against me to get away… I blink, startled. Bono is backing away towards the wall.
“Marieke.” His voice is like nothing I’ve ever heard. To my shock, it’s full of cold, icy anger.
“Bono?”
The song ends. In the space of time between it and Love Is Blindness, Bono points to the door.
“You’re over the line. Get out.”
“What?”
“Marieke.” He exhales furiously, maintaining a strong grip on his control. I shrink back. Suddenly Bono can’t help himself, and screams. “MARIEKE! For fuck’s sake, I never once was in love with you! Never! Now GET OUT OF HERE! And don’t even think of coming back!”
What? He… he doesn’t love me? Bono… doesn’t… love… me? But what about- what about-
GET OUT!!!”
I figure I better do as he says and hightail it out before my emotions can betray myself. I leave Bono there, standing against the bed, and rush out the door.
Riding down the elevator, my first thought is It can’t be true. We had sex. And Larry said… Slowly, however, this is replaced by Did I seduce him? Was it my stupid body all along? And next- He doesn’t love me! If he loved me, he wouldn’t have sent me away.
I remember how Eric left the tour after my birthday party. Now I can finally understand his reasoning. I know when I’m not wanted. The elevator doors open, and I run to my room. Tears are gathering, and I don’t want anyone to catch me losing it.
Once inside, the sobs burst forth, and I fall to my knees. I’m sure it’s possible for me to just lie here until something happens- death comes to collect me, maybe, or Bono comes rushing in saying that he didn’t mean it- But that will never happen. I’m in such shock from the whole ordeal that it takes me a while before I remember to get off the floor. There’s work to be done.
Unable to stop the tears, I pack up my suitcase and flee, not even bothering to close the door behind me. I don’t stop running until the lobby has flashed past me and I’m out on the warm streets of Sydney, attracting odd looks from the passersby. I’m too tired and broken to care. The lights of passing cars all blur in my vision, until finally I have to stop, leaning against a brick wall. Neon lights glow overhead, advertising a bar. I burst in through the doors, hoping to find slow service. That is what I find.
“Hey, miss, can I help you?” The bartender gives me a sideways glance. He has every right to look- I’m sure my face is a mess. “I’m closing up for the night.” My breathing still hasn’t gone back to normal, and so I speak through a gasp- “Get me something strong, please.”
A glass is slid in front of me, and I down the contents quickly, waiting to calm down and think reasonably. The bartender cleans up around me, stealing glances every so often. We’re the only two people in the building. I order another drink.
After he hands it over, the bartender says, “What happened to you, miss- had a fight with your boyfriend?” Oh wouldn’t that be lovely? I shake my head. “Someone just broke my heart, that’s all.” He takes the drained glass from me and starts to put it away. I change my mind- “Get me another one.” I have the money- I can pay for it. Three drinks are all it will take.
The bartender watches me curiously as I sip. “Moving out, are you?” he asks, indicating the suitcase by my leg. I shrug. “I guess you could call it that.” The alcohol flies to my head, getting me more talkative. The bartender pretends to look down, but I can see his eyes are focused on my chest.
I stand up, causing him to back away, a bit startled.
“Do you have a phone in here?”
“Yeah, of course, miss. Do you-“
“I need to make a call,” I say, as calm as ever. He points to a door. “Don’t make it too long- I told you, we’re supposed to be closed.”
I wander into the room he’s showed me to and shut the door. The phone hangs on a wall nearby. I take the receiver out of its cradle and dial my number by memory.
“Hello?” Her voice carries through loud and clear.
“Hello, Lina,” I say, still neutral. “I want to return home.”
With that, my threads come undone, and another gush of tears issues forth- jeez, for the third time today… Lina starts crying when I do, so we bawl to each other over the phone. It’s pretty pathetic.
“Why haven’t you called?”
“It was all a mistake. Lina, I want to come home. I’m so sorry for leaving you.”
Silence fills us on both ends, and I can hear Lina trying to get control- “I’m sorry, there’s no excuse.”
“Hey, I miss you too…”
“I can’t even blame it on the pregnancy anymore.”
WHAT?!
My ears almost fail to register what’s just been said. However, my mouth loosens enough to ask, “What… pregnancy?”
Lina pauses, and sighs. “Oh, you left before it happened. You know how before I broke up with Herman, I let him do me? Well, it turned out that I got pregnant from that. At least, I’m pretty sure it was from that.”
I’m silent, thinking it over. Now everything makes sense- her strange stomachache, the lack of a period, maybe even some of her emotional fits when I returned from Zooropa. All that time there was a baby growing inside her, and neither of us had any idea.
“Did you-“
“Yes. Obviously.” Obviously indeed… Lina has always been terrified of getting pregnant. So why didn’t she use protection THAT time?! “You don’t regret it, do you?”
“Definitely not.” The tone of Lina’s voice sounds to me like there’s more to the story.
“But… getting the abortion cost a lot, Marieke.”
“Oh God,” I breathe, understanding what she means in a heartbeat. “You can’t…”
“I still don’t have a job,” Lina says. “I’m trying to pay everything I owe, but…” She pauses, maybe composing herself, before declaring, “Marieke, PLEASE COME BACK.”
That’s too easy. “I will, Lina. I’ll catch a plane tonight.”
Her voice sounds skeptical. “The tour hasn’t ended yet…?”
“No.” An ache grows in me. “I want to leave. I miss Rotterdam. They don’t want me around here anyway. My job is done.” Given the way Bono had written his speech all by himself tonight, and it turned out excellent, these words can be no truer.
I lean into the phone. “I promise, I will atone for all my mistakes. We’ll get through it, Lina- you and I.”
“Thank you. Oh my God, thank you.”
“I promise,” I murmur again before we hang up.
Back in the main room, I can tell from the slightly guilty look on the bartender’s face that he was listening in on my conversation. “Can you drive me to the airport?”
“Sure,” he answers, eyes flickering away from my face.
I cross my arms. “And don’t even think about that.”
“Man.” He chuckles and goes to get his car keys. “You’re sharp.”
“Only when I’m drunk,” I say.
And I’m back at square one.


Let the effigy-burning of me commence...
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:30 PM   #2
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“Alright,” Jack says, noticing Bono’s nakedness- the towel that he had wrapped himself in last night remains on the bed- and greedily feasts his eyes before Bono is fully clothed again. He hasn’t seen something like that in a long time.
I know this chapter's serious...but that was funny.

Bono's pretty screwed up in this chapter emotionally. Wow. We need to stop being so mean to him...

Then again,
Quote:
Ali. Alison Hewson, I love you so much. Please forgive me for giving my body to Marieke. It doesn’t belong to her. It never did. I love you and only you.
that feels right, at the same time. Gah. Marieke's a little hard to understand.

Ok. Yeah. Thought Lina was pregnant...isn't anymore, I think? And Bono's reaction actually made a lot of sense. I'm not really mad at you, because of that. I'm just wondering what exactly's gonna happen in the next chapter. And I think we need some Bono introspection because it's hard to completely figure him out at the moment. Also...Larry? what? his reactions came and went so fast, I don't even know. So maybe they should talk together and figure everything out.
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:12 AM   #3
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Thanks

This was going to happen the whole time, but once I wrote 43 I didn't want to breka them up... but it had to happen. No, Lina's not pregnant anymore... The next chapter is actually a transitional chapter, and the- gasp!- last chapter is from Marieke's viewpoint... so there won't be any Bono/Larry introspection unless I post the "real" last chapter, which is entirely from B's point of view... Darn, it's getting hard to keep track of everything...
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:58 AM   #4
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We don't know what he gets to think until the end? aaaa!
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:03 PM   #5
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Ouch.

Poor Marieke. Poor Bono....
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:52 PM   #6
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WTF Larry? Granted, Marieke has been living in her own dream world and a bit unbalanced herself. I suppose now she and Lina can live out their existence as co-dependents.

I guess I feel bad for Bono (which was the goal, right?). Seems like he just broke under the seduction. I like how Marieke's all 'did I seduce him??'. You know what you were up to, you little minx.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:07 PM   #7
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Actually, I didn't feel bad for Bono. I'm just sorry for Marieke... she didn't know what she was doing. She's bad at seeing past her own wants to the wants of others... I'm sorry it had to end that way.

Okay, I've made up my mind to post the bonus chapter at the end because it explains some things you guys might be confused about.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:38 PM   #8
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Actually, I didn't feel bad for Bono. I'm just sorry for Marieke... she didn't know what she was doing. She's bad at seeing past her own wants to the wants of others... I'm sorry it had to end that way.
I feel bad for Bono, because he's beating himself up really bad about this.

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Okay, I've made up my mind to post the bonus chapter at the end because it explains some things you guys might be confused about.

Woot! Happy dance time!
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:11 AM   #9
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Hello!

I read the whole fic so far and.. WOW! It is really good. I couldn't stop reading. Too bad it'll be over soon. Any plans for new stories yet?

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:29 PM   #10
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Gynoid- Hey! Thank you for your comment. I do have another story in the works, but it won't see the light of day for a while, at least not until I feel comfortable with it. But it's nice to hear that question!
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:54 PM   #11
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Another story?
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:00 PM   #12
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Yeah. I kept trying to keep it on the DL, but... I might as well spill since this one's so close to the end. It's Elevation era and it's about Adam.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:01 PM   #13
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Adam.

I was not expecting that!
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:03 PM   #14
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I know!! It's going to be really interesting getting inside his mind...
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:06 PM   #15
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A little harder than, say, Bono. But not as hard as Larry.

*cough*

That sounded wrong.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:17 PM   #16
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Gynoid- Hey! Thank you for your comment. I do have another story in the works, but it won't see the light of day for a while, at least not until I feel comfortable with it. But it's nice to hear that question!
You're welcome! Yes, your readers demand more. :P
Good to hear, that you are thinking of a new story. Looking forward to read it, when you post it
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:23 PM   #17
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Thanks!

Katie- that did indeed sound wrong XD Larry does happen to be hard to write from, that's probably why I've screwed him up every time I tried...
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:27 PM   #18
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On a similar note...

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Katie- that did indeed sound wrong XD Larry does happen to be hard to write from, that's probably why I've screwed him up every time I tried...
WHEE.

(and I know what you mean. Trying to write from Larry's POV almost drove me insane.)
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:29 PM   #19
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I knew you'd notice that
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:35 PM   #20
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Yep. Dunno if it's possible for you to out-teenager me XD
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