Dancing With The Devil ch. 7 - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-15-2011, 10:23 AM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 7

Chew on this "filler" chapter... another one with kinda no importance but to establish these characters' lives (which, by the way, I made completely up...)

As soon as I’ve left the stadium, I am greeted by the sight of security guards swarming all over the place. Momentarily, I panic. Has something happened to Lina?! Was she found with something she shouldn’t be found with?
Then I catch sight of her. She’s talking to a guard angrily, but as soon as her eyes focus on me she breaks away from him, yelling, “She’s here!”
I stop as Lina collides into me. “Marieke!” she gasps, her voice scorched with anger and worry. “Where the hell were you?!”
“Were they looking for me?” I stutter, unable to comprehend what I’m seeing.
“Damn right they were!” Lina puts her hands on her hips. “I was nearly sick worrying about you! I asked the guards to search this place all over. Jeez, Marieke, couldn’t you find your way out?”
I try to say what has happened, but Lina keeps pushing it.
“So there I was, going half mad looking for you, and now you just appear out here looking perfectly fine; you haven’t been hurt or kidnapped or anything… Do you have any idea what you’ve put me through?”
Yes, Lina, I have, because I nearly panicked the same when we got separated.
She doesn’t shut up though, and keeps railing about our separation- “Why didn’t you think to look for me? WHERE WERE YOU?!” It’s beginning to really and seriously annoy me.
Silently, I hand her the photos I got backstage. Then I quickly turn around and begin walking out into the parking lot. I don’t want to look back. Let Lina finish her very unnecessary rant alone.
From behind me I hear Lina’s gasp of shock. “But- what- but- HOW?!” I don’t turn around. I just continue my walk to the car. Of course, it would help if I could find it in this darkness…
Feet pound against the ground to catch up with me, and then Lina is at my side, matching my fast pace step for step. “Marieke, why didn’t you tell me you had backstage passes?” Her voice is creeping in with jealousy.
I stop abruptly, and Lina stops too. I face her, meet her eyes. “I didn’t have any backstage passes, all right?! We got separated, and then I happened to meet that guy I talked with on the phone, the one who gave me tickets. We recognized each other’s voices and he offered to take me backstage, we went together, and I met Bono and The Edge. It was nothing. I would have taken you along if I’d been warned. Now please, tone it down and just cut all this crap out!”
I feel hysterical, and it’s not a good thing. Lina offers me her arm, but I push it away. We fast-walk to the car together, Lina appearing to be in a thoughtful daze. At least she’s quiet now. I slide into the seat and she jams her key into the ignition.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” I mumble. “I’m sorry I went backstage without thinking of you. I should have known you’d be a nervous wreck, and jealous … dammit, Lina, I am so sorry!”
Lina’s eyes are tight, and she’s grimacing the tiniest bit. But her hands are relaxed as we drive out of the parking lot. I wonder if the pictures made up for my disappearance or if they just angered her with jealousy. It’s probably the latter- or maybe a mix of both.
Only when we are on the highway does Lina ask, with creeping wonder in her voice, “So what was meeting U2 like?”
I cover my eyes with my hands and drag them down my face. “Um, it was good. Better than good, I mean…”
“You met The Edge, right? What did he say to you? Did you mention me?”
Leave it to Lina to think of The Edge first. I can’t see how she likes him more than Bono… but maybe some girls have different tastes. I smile a little as I say, “As I recall, he was more interested in talking to Bono than in talking to me.”
“Oh.” She turns down a road. “And what was Bono like in person?”
I’m silent as I think about it. The vivid touch of his arm around my shoulders comes back all at once. I remember being in those arms, close enough to taste his sweat, feeling safe and protected…
“He’s funny,” I mumble blandly. “He’s nice. He’s… he’s perfect.”
Can Lina see my red face in the lights from outside? Would she know why it’s on fire? I certainly don’t.
She doesn’t take her eyes off the road for a second. “Night of your life, huh?” she asks me absently.
I nod. There’s nothing more to say, really. I’m so confused!
We drive home and let ourselves into the flat. Upstairs, safe in our room, I say, “How was three nights of Zoo TV?”
“It was… great,” she replies, and yawns. I watch her flip onto the sofa.
“You can go to sleep if you want,” she moans into the pillow.
I turn out the lights and get into bed. My mind, however, is still churning away. I’m so tired I could sleep in my clothes- which, it appears, I am actually doing- and yet my brain is not shutting down.
My first U2 show has turned into much more than that. I danced with Bono onstage and met half the band offstage. Maybe, like the phone call had been, it’s too much for me to deal with. I lie back, thinking of how lucky Lina is for seeing the show thrice.
This is bound to be the last time on this tour that U2 plays Rotterdam. I don’t want it to end, though. Zoo TV three nights- that’s nothing. My body is aching to be back in the crowd. I want to see every single more show. There can’t possibly be enough!
In my frazzled brain as it shuts down, beginning to dream, a voice plays over the background of my memory- Don’t worry. This stage will be back… in Lisbon.
“Portugal,” I blurt, sitting up.
Lina is already awake. She’s making her usual cup of coffee for the morning, though she hates the stuff. I guess everyone needs a wake-up call. I pull my legs up and hook my arms around them, recalling that one phrase. This stage will be back… in Lisbon. Was that the next show?
“Marieke, get up. Just because you were up late last night doesn’t mean you get to sleep in today.” Lina takes a bite of eggs, so I can’t retaliate with my own words.
Not that my mind is on her, anyway. “Portugal,” I mutter again, and get up. The hairbrush is on Lina’s couch, and I pull it through my hair as I search for some clothes in the dresser.
“I made you some eggs,” Lina tells me as I go to the refrigerator.
I eat her lovingly made breakfast. It’s not half bad, really. But my mind is so far gone that I say nothing. There’s only one word in my mind, and I can’t get it to escape.
“Lina? How would you feel if I took a holiday this week?”
Lina looks up at me, into my blue eyes, down at my shaky hands. Quickly I fold them and squeeze them together, meeting Lina’s gaze evenly.
“When and why?”
I get it out as fast as possible. “Portugal. I want to go there to see the next U2 show.”
Lina keeps staring at me, her eyes veiled from my reading of them. I’m not sure, but I think her expression softens.
“I asked when, not where.”
“Well…” I think. “Eric didn’t actually say when, but he told me the next show’s in Lisbon. Quite a slip of the tongue, as well…”
I was right. Lina’s gaze is no longer harsh, but I have a feeling she partly disapproves. I try to explain to her before she says a word. “You thought three nights was enough. Well, I only saw them for one night. I want to see more. You’ve gotten the chance to go to more shows than me. I really want to go to more.”
Finally she speaks. “You’re a U2 junkie, huh?”
It sounds so absurd, and yet so true, that I begin to laugh.
“Marieke, I’m serious! You want to go all the way to Lisbon? How is this going to work out? I mean, I have nothing against going to see U2 again, but it’s unheard of to go that far.”
I stare. “I thought you were just as big a fan as me, Lina. I bet that diehards would go to the other side of the world to see a show if it was their last resort.”
“I’m not… oh jeez, I guess you’re just not understanding me. How can you go away when you have a job to attend to? You don’t want to end up in that hole you were in last year…”
“Sshh!” She must be the one who doesn’t get it. I’ve never known my friend to be so picky about what I can’t and can’t do. “It’s only a holiday, and I have plenty of hours.”
“Yes, but…” Lina takes this moment to finish off her coffee. With a grimace, she wipes her mouth and says, “But you don’t even know when it is!”
“Well…” It’s just like last morning, when she tried not to get me to go to the show. Suddenly my anger flares again. I don’t know what her problem is. We should understand each other on this.
“I’m going to find out,” I say, and the confrontation ends. I slide up from my seat and cross the room to dump my empty plate in the sink. Lina in turn gets up and follows my actions. I shrug my shoulders and breeze across the room, searching for my jacket. Lina sits on the couch and turns on the television.
“The drug of the nation,” I mutter as I thread my arms through the coat. Why is this so hard to do? The cuff must be rolled inward, due to the odd way I usually remove my coat. As I struggle, the newscaster speaks.
“Last night was the rock band U2’s final show here in Rotterdam on their Zoo TV tour.” Lina motions me over to the screen with wild arm movements. We watch it with wide eyes.
The newscaster’s voice fades into the background of my mind, and the true background music takes over. I see clips of all three nights here. The first two times don’t seem too different from the show I experienced last night. Then suddenly one clip comes on from last night, something I am terribly familiar with.
The heartbreaking solo of Love Is Blindness shatters through the room and MacPhisto holds me like I’m his last hope, the only light in the world. My shiny brown hair is unmistakable, my face turned into his shoulder, lips achingly close to his neck. Here, I am overwhelmed by dissatisfaction. It’s just like in the photo from last night- he looks gorgeous and I’m a nobody. The clip ends before I can think too hard.
“U2’s next show will be on Saturday, in Lisbon, Portugal. Tickets are on sale for…”
I say nothing as Lina silently makes the note in her brain for the cost of tickets. I know she’s going to keep me in line.
“I guess I’ll head out on Friday, then,” I say.
Lina looks up at me. “Have fun.”
I nod and finish slipping into the coat.
“Don’t be late for work.”
I zip it up all the way.
“Herman is coming over for dinner tonight.”
I freeze.
“What does he want?”
Lina rolls her eyes. “It’s strictly work-related this time. And speaking of work, get your butt out the door right now!”
I sigh, turn, and hurry out.
It’s not that I feel jealous or anything. That’s what Lina thinks is the problem. But my problem is that I just don’t like Herman. Lina picked a bad choice for a man. That’s why my number one rule in dating would be don’t go out with the person you work for.
Speaking of people you work for…
Once I leave the airport, a happy grin comes to my face. My boss was very understanding about the holiday, and now I have two days off- Friday and Saturday. It’s just better that he not know exactly why I want to go…
So I’m coming home to my best friend and crazy U2 fan, Lina, who is already hanging with her somewhat boring boyfriend Herman, who I know will not understand our obsession. I wonder if Lina’s told him about it. I certainly haven’t.
Herman and Lina are sitting together on the couch when I walk in. I know she said that this was only a work meeting, but that way they’re sitting looks very intimate… and is it my imagination, or is Herman’s hand lying awfully close to Lina’s?
“Hello, Marieke,” Lina greets me, her eyes absently on the television. I want to laugh because it’s not turned on. But instead, that factor makes me feel strangely sick- like what were they doing before I got here, if there wasn’t any entertainment?
“Hello,” Herman repeats, and I muster up the decency to give him a wave and a “Hi.” Lina says, “It’s your turn to make dinner.”
As I fix dinner, I try not to look at Herman and Lina, but I can’t help wondering what they’re doing over there. What are they talking about? Is it work-related? Or are they exchanging love sentiments?
Then I wonder- why should I care?
I bristle suddenly as Herman addresses me. “Marieke, how are you this evening?”
“Fine,” I say, my words chipping ice off into the air. I don’t have to pretend to like him, do I? Think of last night, just think of last night…
But guilt overcomes me. I do have to pretend, because Lina wants me to like him.
As we sit down to dinner, I can’t help but notice Herman’s squeeze on Lina’s shoulders just before she takes her seat. Stonily, I hand out the food, masking my angry movements in fluid, cheery smiling. Maybe Lina’s right, and I am just jealous.
“How has life been treating you, Marieke?” This is only the third time Herman’s spoken to me the entire night. He has eyes only for Lina even as he speaks. Lina, however, is looking pointedly at me. She wants me to summon up something nice to say.
“It’s been okay,” I say, and take a bite of food so I won’t have to go further. Lina’s eyes tighten with calm disapproval. I swallow quickly and add, “Last night I saw the U2 concert…”
Herman interrupts me. “Did you go with Lina? That’s all she was talking about, on Monday. It’s the second show in Rotterdam, and I’m going again! Ha-ha.” He bites into his own food.
Lina’s eyes have turned onto him now, and her expression of pure love is making me want to barf. I stare at him with my own eyes icing over, and say “It’s more than a crazy obsession. I am going out to Portugal this Saturday to see them again.”
Now Herman stares. Suddenly I wish I hadn’t worded things quite that way. Denying it’s an obsession and then giving that fact about Portugal is contradictory. I wait for Herman to make fun of my being a U2 fan.
He swallows his bite and asks Lina, “Are you going with her?”
She shakes her head, eyes betraying shame. I hate that expression. She looks ashamed of being my friend. My resentment builds. She should let him know that she herself is just as big a fan as I am!
Herman addresses me now. “You know that’s not wise, Marieke? It’s hardly ideal. A day trip to Portugal? Do you realize how long that would be? And you’re doing it all just to see a band play a show you’ve seen before?”
Think of last night, think of MacPhisto’s arms around yourself, keep your calm, Marieke…
Of course I get no support from Lina. She was lukewarm on the idea in the first place.
So I face Herman surely and tell him, “I love U2, and Lina has seen them live four times. Last night was my first show, and it was an unreal experience. I wish that you’d respect my decision. I know what I want to do this weekend.”
Lina giggles and says, “Marieke danced with the Devil last night.” She ducks her head, avoiding my glare.
Herman stares at me, and for a moment I wonder if he saw the TV this morning. But all he says is, “That’s all right,” and continues to eat. I pull up my memory of meeting the band last night and use this to get me through the rest of dinner.
Afterwards, I clean up as Lina and Herman prepare to part. With my back turned, I notice there’s an awful lot of silence, and I fill in the picture myself. Lina finally murmurs, “Now, that’s enough, time for you to go!” in a grating voice. Herman’s voice answers back, “Just one more time,” and then there’s more silence. I scrub the plates quickly, and hear them murmur their goodnights. Then Herman closes the door behind him.
Lina comes over to me and asks, “May I help you with that?” We wash the dishes together in companionable silence, comparable to the blanks of conversation that Herman and Lina filled in with kissing. Then I ask her, “How in the world was that business?”
Lina’s face is turned downward, her head bent over the plate, but I swear I can see her blush as she says, “Well, we did discuss it a bit when he first came over.”
My plates are done. Lina turns the water off, and removes her rubber gloves as she breezily asks, “Still jealous?”
I groan and go over to sit on the couch. Lina plugs the CD player in and puts on Achtung Baby.


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Old 01-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #2
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“Marieke danced with the Devil last night.”

Yay she's going to Portugal!

I actually think this was kind of important filler; it's nice to know what everyone else is doing. Herman is such a creeper...ghh.

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Old 01-16-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
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Thanks, I always feel dubious when I write fillers...
I don't want to over reference the title though...
I don't like him either. :P
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:56 AM   #4
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Yay! There's nothing better than to travel far away to see U2. ^^
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boyfriend, dinner, herman, lina, lisbon, marieke, portugal, show, tv, u2

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