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Old 09-16-2011, 12:06 AM   #1
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Okay, this is the story I wrote in 2009. It's a Larry story. The second in the series picks up in 2010 during the 360 tour. I copied into a new file to post here without interruption. I'll be compiling Mysterious Ways for a refresher. I've already started chapter 25 or 26 of that.

These characters are fake even if they span 25+ years.

Bono plopped down on the overstuffed chair across from the sofa. Larry didn’t look up from reading the sports page of the London Times. Bono pulled his mobile out of the pocket of jeans.

“You know who we should call?” he flipped it open. Larry didn’t look up. No one else seemed to care either. “I’m calling Gloria”

Larry glanced up his paper. Bono searched through his phonebook. Larry chewed on his lower lip as he reread the same line over and over. He tried not to listen. Bono punched the phone and raised it to his ear as he sunk lower in the chair.

Gloria’s phone hummed in the pocket of her pants. She thought she had turned it off. She glanced at the display. Silently, she excused herself and moved out of the room.

“Hello?” she said impatiently.

“Gloria!” Bono hollered. No answer. “Hello? Gloria?”

“Yes, I’m here,” she said lowly.

“Where are you?” He asked.

“I’m at a press conference in New Orleans. Is my brother there? Do you need something?” she asked.

“No…I’m calling from Abbey Road,” he chimed brightly.

She couldn’t help but smile. It was hard to be angry with Bono for very long. Unless one spent a long time, like a tour, with him. Then, he could get irritating.


“What are you doing in New Orleans?” he asked.

“I’m at a movie premiere. It was a movie filmed here so we’re doing some publicity,” she paced in a circle.

“We’ll be there in a week, y’know,” he kicked his heavy shoes up on the table in front of him.

“I know you’ll be here,” she glanced over her shoulder. The press conference had a few more minutes to go.

Andrew, Gloria’s older brother, walked into the common room. He glanced at Larry as if to ask who Bono was talking to. As Larry mouthed ‘Gloria’, his stomach tightened.

Andrew stood beside Bono and motioned for the phone.

“Look, I’d love to catch up….” Gloria started as her eyes moved towards the conference.

“Your brother wants to have a word,” Bono handed Andrew the phone.

“Hey, Gloria,” Andrew said.

“Why did anyone give Bono a phone?” she asked.

Andrew chuckled. “He has a ton of them, I swear. Look, I need you to come to London this week.”

“London, why?” she frowned.

“We’re scheduling some signing for the U2 book. Kinda was last minute, but I could really use you there,” he said. “You’re much better at this type of thing.”

Fan control type of thing. Somehow she managed to keep Bono from running off at the mouth for too long, while she kept Larry amiable and approachable for fans. That was her job.

“But I have…” she protested. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to fly to London.

“It’s all cleared. I talked with Serena in the office. You’re covered for the next week,” Andrew walked further from the common room. “We have Dublin, London and New York.”

“And you probably want me there in New Orleans…” she flipped her wrist and glanced at her watch.

“They couldn’t do it without you,” she could hear Andrew’s smile. “There’s a ticket waiting for you at the hotel.”

Gloria sighed. “Then why did you ask?”

“Because it seemed so much more polite,” He said. “We’ll see you on Thursday evening.”

Larry felt his already taut back muscles tense more.

Bono grabbed the phone. “Grand!” He shouted in the phone so loud her ear popped. “We’ll see you Thursday!”

Her eyes wandered back to the press. They were starting to wrap up. “I’ll see in a few days.”

She closed her phone before Bono had another breath to speak. She also needed a moment to catch her breath. To be back in the U2 fold was embracing a wild stallion and holding on for dear life. Larry’s face sprung to the front of her mind. She hadn’t seen him since the abrupt end of the Vertigo tour in March. Since the carnival in Brazil where they got drunk and danced and stumbled off on their own -when things between them got weird. From the applause, she knew the press conference was over. She made her way back to the stage with her head spinning.


Bono snapped his phone shut. Larry avoided eye contact. He was afraid his eyes would give his tangled feelings away. Gloria was rejoining the band. He bore a hole through his paper. For the last seven months, he tried to put her out his mind. The last few weeks of the tour were long and amazing. Gloria and Larry spent a lot time together. Secretly, he smiled to himself as he thought about the carnival. Just when things were getting hot, the tour was postponed. Everyone scattered. He was thrust back into the home life with kids and football games. He suppressed the daydreams of frolicking on an Australian beach with Gloria. He reminded himself all the reasons it would never work.

He folded up the paper. “Are we going to record? Time is money.”

`````````````````````````

Gloria sat on a couch in the employees’ lounge of Waterstones. She was bleary-eyed from her flight to London. It had been a busy week so far. She wrapped up the premiere in New Orleans and flew to New York. While in New York, she took some meetings before boarding a Thursday night flight to London. She hated flying. It was the wrong business to be in. As her family’s firm become more popular and business boomed, she saw less and less of her apartment and more and more airports and hotels. Staring out the window, she watched the lighted cottages of the North Atlantic coastline. Within two hours of being in the air, the sun was rising. She tried to recline her business class seat and sleep. Her mind wouldn’t let her. It’s not like there was a big dramatic scene the last time she saw Larry. Things between them were reaching a point where a discussion and some decisions would need to be made. It was still just a very close friendship but the feelings and gestures of something deeper were just under the surface of things. When the band decided to take a break for personal reasons, Gloria was shocked, relieved and hurt. This was her family. She, like her brother who had known them most of his life, was fiercely protective. She was ashamed that she let her feeling for Larry grow into that dangerous and exciting area.

South America was hot in every way. The continent oozed sex, corruption, addiction and beauty at once. It was easy to be intoxicated by the surroundings. Larry and Gloria spent plenty of time together while on tour. The band had spent clearly enough time together over the last year and while still rehearsing and meeting – they spent much of their play time away from one another. Adam was about to be engaged (a fact no one else knew). Bono had to save the world. Edge had his family. Yes, Larry had a family too – but spending time with Gloria – they fuzzed into the background.

After everyone dispersed, Gloria had hoped she would hear from Larry. No phone calls. No emails. She talked with the other three. She had traveled with Edge to the Music Rising kick-off. She had lunch with Bono and Ali when they were in the same city. It seemed that Larry was going back home and not looking back. She brushed it off as a convenient infatuation. They were at the same place at the same time with nothing else to do but crush on one another. But now, as she zoomed across the ocean, those feelings she buried and blew off came back to haunt her tenfold.

Andrew was there to collect her at the airport. She barely had enough time to go to the hotel and change into something less wrinkled. It was good that she really didn’t have much time to think about what to wear. On the plane, she couldn’t decide between capable casual or stunningly-eat-your-heart-out sexy. Telling herself that he probably wasn’t put as much thought into this, she grabbed the first two things out of her suitcase – a full knee length shirt and fitted button down shirt. Since it was a dreary London day, she pulled her hair into a ponytail. At least it wouldn’t frizz too much.

When she arrived, there had to be hundreds of fans pressed against steel barriers. Security ushered her and Andrew through the throng. Now she sat at Waterstones while Andrew pumping her with Americanos to keep her lucid. She listened as the Waterstones’ PR person went over the itinerary with her and Andrew.

“So, the band sent out 150 invitations by email?” she scribbled in her notebook.
The PR lady nodded. She was younger and clearly busting at the seams to meet U2. “And we’re letting an additional 100 in on a first come first serve basis.”
Gloria frowned. “That has disaster written all over it. You have ample security out there, right?”
The woman nodded. “Oh yes. We are making every effort to be fair.”
Gloria looked up at Andrew. “Are we doing this in Dublin and New York?”
“Yes,” he glanced at his watch.
“Is New York the only North American signing?” This could get ugly.
“As of right now, yes.” He shrugged.
“This could be a disaster in New York. How many chances were emailed out?” she continued to write notes.
“Gloria, I don’t know. It will be fine.” He sat beside her on the couch.
“They should have sent 250 invitations and call it a day. No lines. Less chance of autograph seekers seeping in,” she glanced at him. He knew she was right. And she might have convinced them if she had been there at the birth of the idea.
“It will be fine,” he repeated firmly as if to say ‘drop it’.
She yawned. It was time for another coffee. “Why am I here again? Everything seems to be fine.”
“Y’know how these things go. You handle the fans and the band better than I can. Larry hates these things. Somehow you keep him calm and less tense,” Andrew said.
Gloria bit her lip. She wasn’t sure how calm either of them would be today.

Larry stared out the window as London zipped by. He couldn’t concentrate on any of the buildings or people. He never called her. There was an awkward and sad goodbye before he left for the airport. What was there to say? He went back home and lived his life as he had. Something was different and maybe Ann could tell. She never asked what was different and they lived in comfortable silence and friendship. He knew he would see Gloria again. He thought everything he felt would fade with time. As he sat in passenger side of the car, his stomach was in knots – like a first date. He hadn’t seen her in seven months. Sure, he had seen her magazines with her other clients or rumored to be linked with an actor. When he saw that, he could feel jealousy rise from within. The thought of someone else sickened him. Usually, the actor in questioned was rumored to be with Lindsay Lohan pr Paris Hilton and he felt better. The paparazzi photos could never do her justice. And he knew the moment he saw her, a tidal wave of repressed emotion threatened to wash him and his composure away.

Before he knew it, the car had stopped and his door was opened by his security. Another he missed about South America. He could walk the streets unnoticed. He felt free in so many ways. The moment the door opened, the screaming and squealing began. Everyone pushed against the barricades. It was just a discord chorus of his name being shouted over and over. Sighing, he paused for some signatures and photos. He thanked the fans for coming and flashed his trademark non-smile. He was ushered inside to giddy Waterstones’ staff lining the walls. He nodded as he passed. Up ahead, he saw Edge and Adam.

“You looked thrilled,” Edge remarked.
Larry rubbed his hands together. “These things make me anxious. It’s amazing to see so many fans here today, but it’s daunting.”
“Well, I hope you rested your wrist,” Adam said.
“Where’s Bono?” Larry smirked.
“I think he just got here,” Edge craned his neck behind him. “If he did – he’ll be out there for a few minutes.”

Larry scowled. He wanted to get this done and over with. He had to pack up his stuff at the hotel and get to a plane for Dublin. In fact, they all did. He trudged up the stairs behind Adam. He almost forgot about Gloria -until he heard her voice in the room down the hall.


Suddenly, Larry couldn't wait to see her. Edge and Adam hovered around the doorway chatting. He pushed past them to peer inside. More staff with laminates around their necks milled about the employee lounge. He scanned the large room. Gloria was perched on a couch with an organizer balancing on her left knee. Her hair was much lighter than it was in March. Her blonde curls bounced around her shoulders as she nodded to what the woman seated across from her said. And it looked as if she lost weight. It was hard to tell with her folded into the couch, but her legs seemed more toned than usual. His eyes ran the length of legs to her thigh where her skirt fell like a curtain against the couch. The air rushed out of his lungs and was replaced by a stabbing pain. She was stunning.

Bono burst into the room like a gale force wind. In his wake, he left chattering and shaking Waterstones workers. Gloria knew they were here. Only one person could cause that much uproar. She followed the PR woman's gaze. Her eyes didn't find Bono. They immediately met Larry's silvery gaze. Time and sound suspended. He cut his hair, thank the Lord. She saw his cheeks pink. How could a man his age be so adorable?

The moment was over before she could process that he stood before her. Edge and Adam followed behind Bono. The PR lady scrambled to her feet to accept his handshake. His arms were meant to collect Gloria, but he didn't miss a beat.

“It’s so wonderful that you’ve come here to do this,” she said breathlessly.

“Bono, it’s a true pleasure to met you,” his hands swallowed her jittery hand as he winked at Gloria.

“This is Jemima,” Gloria introduced the star-struck woman.

While she rattled on about how much she loved U2 and Bono’s work with world poverty, Gloria was gathered by Edge in a big bear hug. God, she missed him. They shared a love for geek technology. Most of the last tour, they spent in the back of the plane comparing the latest PDA or mp3 player. They could talk computer and gadgets for hours. No one else had a clue what language they were talking.

“Look at you,” he held her away from him. “Are you eating?”

Gloria laughed. “Yes, I just eat better and I exercise a ridiculous amount.”

“You look great,” he said.

Her cheeks warmed. She could the feel the weight of Larry’s stare from the doorway.

“How’s Morleigh and the kids?” she concentrated on keeping eye-contact with Edge.

He beamed. “They are doing very well, thank you. They’ve been asking for their Aunt Gloria.”

“I wish we had more time in Dublin. Or are they in LA?” she asked.

From behind, Bono grabbed her around the waist and squeezed her until the all the air had left her lungs.

“Gloria Gloria,” he called as he hugged her.

Being back in the fold was like being surrounded by four silly, teasing older brothers. Well, at least three. She knew she would have to speak to Larry. And her first words couldn’t be - why the hell didn’t you at least call me?

Andrew walked by. “This is why you are here.”

Her eyes turned to Larry. His stone face softened as he met her gaze. A warm smile spread across his face.

“You cut your hair,” she smiled. “Oh thank god.”

He nodded sheepishly. “Yeah, it was pretty awful towards the end. And Jaysus, was it a pain to deal with.”

“How are you?” she heard a softness seep into her voice and hoped that no one else could hear it.

“I’m grand,” he wrapped his arms her waist to hug her. She smelled fresh like the ocean first thing in the morning. Her arms slid around his neck. She was worried that this embrace might be too intimate.

Playfully, she rubbed the back of his buzzed head. A chill ran up his spine and he shivered a bit.

“This suits you better,” she nodded with authority.

Before Gloria exploded, she stepped to Adam. She asked him about Suzie and wedding plans. He answered, but she could only see his lips. Her ears – everything – was buzzing from touching Larry. Even if it was just a hug. She had forgotten what he felt like.

Clearing her head, Gloria took control of the signing. She made certain that they had coffees or waters or whatever they required to make them happy. After they met with the staff, they were ushered to a press area for photos and questions from journalists. Meanwhile, the ardent fans were getting restless. The show was already running late. While Andrew took control of the journalists and worked with Paul for dinner and travel arrangements, Gloria handled the band. She kept them in coffee, water and happy thoughts. As the fan count reached 175, Larry was tiring. It was her job to keep him fresh and in good spirits.

After the first few minutes of awkwardness, they fell back into their usual banter. They were both dry and didn’t take lip from anyone – especially each other. With Bono, she was like a babysitter. She made sure that fans didn’t get his motor mouth started. When the book store staff attempted to move fans along to soon, Gloria stepped in on their behalf. This was a once in a lifetime experience. She certainly wasn’t going to let a pimple faced security force deprive them of their moment to declare love or thanks.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Larry stood by the window and watched his children play in the chilly February mist. They didn’t seem bothered by the raw day. Ann was in town doing the shopping and he was left to keep an eye on things at home. It was two months since being thrust back into his domestic life. On the outside, he appeared to be settled. His insides toiled and fought him everyday. Especially on days like this. The house was quiet. He had free time for his mind to carry him away….to remember what it felt like to live. He often thought back to what started it all. Would he have done things differently? What was the moment it all changed? Was it the Carnival last year? Being drunk and covered it sweat and booze? When he pushed her against the wall and kissed her so hard their teeth clacked? No, it was November…..


It was Thanksgiving Day in America. Larry had a large table moved into his suite to accommodate the road crew and band. After talking with Gloria, he decided to celebrate Thanksgiving here in New Zealand. He made certain all the standard dishes were prepared for his guests, primarily Gloria. She was so unhappy to miss the holiday with her family. He only wanted to make her happy. He only hoped she wouldn’t miss them more. In the corner of his suite, he had a Christmas tree twinkling with lights and brightly colored balls. He knew she loved Christmas.

When Gloria walked through the door, her eye lit up as took in the sights and smells of Thanksgiving. The small smile on Larry’s lips proved that he had done this all for her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him talking to cooks and wait-staff. He fussed over seating arrangements. She chuckled as Bono was placed on what she referred to as the ‘kiddie’ table where he would chatter through the whole meal to sound technicians and wardrobe.

Everyone drank and ate heartily, except Larry and Gloria. She nursed two glasses of red wine throughout the evening. Her heart thundered in her chest as she exchanged coy glances with him. It was the gesture she had waited for. She lingered behind as people filed out of the celebration. She prayed that Bono would not drink and poke around all night. He had more stamina that she did for parties. Luckily, Bono had a telephone appointment that he was certain to keep. He muttered something about being back later if the party raged late.

“I think we’ll move it to the bar downstairs,” Larry replied quickly. He didn’t want to encourage an all night session in his suite.

Gloria and Larry chatted as the hotel staff bustled around them returning his room to a room. He was always amazed how easily they could fall into conversation for hours without missing a beat. Gloria fell silent and watched the tree twinkle. The lights seemed a bit lower than before.

She turned to him on the sofa. “Did you do this for me?”

Suddenly, he felt embarrassed. “I did it for everyone….” He met her gaze. “But mostly for you. I just wanted to make you happy, Gloria. It was a bonus that others got to enjoy it.”

She sniffled. “It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me…I’m supposed to be running around making sure you’re happy.”

“I am,” he said softly. “For the first time in a really long time.”

Larry moved closer to Gloria. He just wanted to be as close as possible to her. As the distance closed between them, she wondered if it really would happen this time. His lips met hers softly, just brushing them. He held his face close to hers – taking in her scent. She lunged towards and kissed him hard. He was momentarily taken aback but quickly tangled his fingers in her long blonde hair. Every emotion he had swallowed for so long rose to the surface and burned his skin.Quickly, his fingers fumbled for the buttons on her navy blue blouse. She took a sharp breath as finger brushed her skin; but she went to work on his shirt. All his black and white thoughts converged into an ink spot of grey in the shape of her form. He needed to be closer to her. Wrong or right, even if just for tonight. Just so he would know how she felt.

Gloria pulled away. “Are you sure about this?”

Why did she have to be the voice of reason now? He thought. Her big blues stared at him. It would be one night, right? They were adults. They could handle this.

“Gloria…I haven’t been this sure in years. I’ve wanted this for so long,” his voice shook with longing. At that moment, he would promise her anything.

She slid his shirt off his shoulders. She had seen him naked from the waist up for years now; but tonight he wasn’t parading around backstage.

He took her hand. “C’mon…”

She pulled back to look at him; wondering if she should let him go through with this. Everything could change. His crooked grin weakened her resolve to save his soul. She followed him into the bedroom.


[I]
The car door slammed and brought Larry back to Ireland. The kids rushed over to see what mummy bought them at the store. He looked down at his rumpled shirt. He had been twisting the bottom with his fingers as he thought back to the night he made love to Gloria.

“Larry, can we have a bit of help here?” Ann called from the kitchen doorway.

He had to leave those warm memories behind as he tugged on his hooded sweatshirt to help unload groceries from the car.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Gloria stepped out of the yellow taxi, she felt her pocket hum. Leaning in through the passenger window, she handed the driver a $20 dollar bill.

“Keep the change,” she said absentmindedly as she reached for her phone.

His eyes widen at the rather large tip for a $10 fare. “Thanks…”

Gloria looked at her phone. It was Jake. “Hello? Yeah, I’m just going into the office now…..That’s right, you’re in town…” She pushed through the heavy revolving doors. “Lunch? Yeah, I can do that. Just meet at the office, I have some faxes to send and papers to drop to legal. Okay, see you then.” She searched for the Off button. Sometimes her new phone/pocket PC/media player perplexed her. For as much as she loved new technology, it took her some time getting acclimated to it.

The office was buzzing with activity as walked through the smoky glass doors. It was awards season in the entertainment world. In a few days time, she would be back in Hollywood guiding an Oscar nominee through the paparazzi infested red carpet. Unless Andrew wanted her to cover the Independent Spirit Awards. Today, she was to catch up paperwork and send more faxes and emails than Homeland Security in preparation for the busy weeks ahead.

She smiled at the receptionist. “Is Andrew here yet?”

The girl smiled. “He was here before me this morning…”

“That can only mean more work for me….” Gloria sighed. She handed a folder to the girl. “Can you send these to legal?”

Gloria waved to some of the assistants as she plopped down behind her desk. Though she had cleared it last night of outstanding paperwork, more seemed to have appeared overnight magically. She opened her email; wondering if maybe today she would get an email. Even though he hated computers and technology, she had hoped she might receive something. Her heart sank as she saw 123 new messages. Half of them were spam and the other half were work related.

“Hiya,” Andrew’s head popped around the corner. “How are you this morning?”

She rested her head sleepily on her hand. “You’re pretty chipper for someone who was here before the cleaning crew.”

A wide smile spread across his face. “It’s awards season.”

Gloria sighed. “I know. I need to stock up on caffeine to get me through the next few weeks.” She eyed an envelope in his hand. “More work for me?”

“No…I finally got pictures back from the New York signing,” he dropped it on her desk.

Gloria’s mouth went dry. “New York signing?”

“Yeah…with the guys…U2?” Clearly he was working her too hard.

“Oh right,” she frowned. “That was awhile ago…”

She pulled the photos out of the sleeve. Directly on top was Gloria and the band. She was nestled between Edge and Larry. Her eye sparkled with anticipation. She flipped to the next photo. It was just the band looking expectantly at the throng of fans waiting to be let near their heroes.

“Came out good, didn’t they?” Andrew asked. “I have a video conference. I’ll get them later.”

Gloria was glad to be left alone to look through the pictures. The next few were of the band and fans. She stopped and stared at one. She was seated behind the table next to Larry. His arm was draped casually on the back of her chair. They were both looking up at Edge who was talking to them from in front of the table. They looked very comfortable together. The next one was of the same scene moments later. Larry and Gloria were smiling at one another. She felt a stab in her chest. She was so full hope. Things were going so well.



The New York signing left everyone exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. Andrew and Paul had arranged for a cocktail party afterwards in small bar of a Central Park Hotel. The New York air hung on to the late September warmth through the early evening. The wine and beer flowed as Bono held center court in the cozy bar. Edge was in deep conversation with Andrew’s wife; Lydia about Macs vs. PCs. Adam had left the party, but promised he would be back. He muttered something about a gift Suzi as he left.
Gloria slid off her barstool and wandered to the patio for some fresh air.

The stone patio was several stories above Central Park offering an amazing view of the surrounding buildings towering around it. Paper lanterns in hues of gold and red gave the patio an ethereal glow. Gloria froze as her eyes caught Larry’s figure leaning on his elbows against the ledge. He seemed deep in thought with his neck craning to the sky. She held her breath and watched him. Smoke trailed from his mouth as he exhaled. Slowly, she turned to go back into the bar.

“Hey,” he said over his shoulder.

“Sorry, I didn’t think anyone was out here. I just wanted some fresh air,” she said apologetically.

He grinned. “There’s enough for both of us.”

“Not with you smoking…” she smirked in return.

He stubbed his cigarette out under his platform shoe. “There. No pollution.”

Gloria walked over to him. “One day, I’ll get you stop.”

Larry shook his head. “I’m not the singer…it’s doesn’t matter if my voice goes to shite.”

“Just everything else will. I find it amazing for a man that works out as hard as you do that you smoke…”she mused leaning on the ledge beside him.

He nodded. “I know. It’s a dirty habit I’ve yet to kick.” He took a sip of his beer. “So, I heard you’re joining us for final leg of the Vertigo Tour.”

“It would appear that I am. It’s Bono and Andrew’s wish….”The air suddenly cooled with Larry’s voice. There was a long pause. “Is that okay with you?”

Inside, Larry was shaking. His mind thought of what two months alone with her and without Ann could do him. Things were so easy with Gloria. He felt himself give in to his daydreams. It felt good standing beside her as the sounds of the city drifted up from the street.

He turned to her. “Of course it’s okay with me. You know I like having you around.” He cursed himself. He was saying too much. She was standing very close to him. Did he move towards her? A few more inches would be dangerous and wonderful. He stared out over the city.” I have to remind myself to focus on my family and not let myself be distracted.”

She nodded slowly. A burning pit of hot acid seared her stomach.

Slowly, he drank her in with his eyes. “Even if it would be amazing.”

Her cheeks flushed. He could be referring to many things, but her mind chose the dirty ones. She sighed. “What exactly are you trying to say?”

He ran a hand over his forehead. “I don’t know.”

She stared at him pointedly. “I think you do. You don’t deal in abstracts. I’d accept this from Bono, but not you.”

She wasn’t going easy on him. It was his fault for opening up Pandora’s Box.

“We just have to be very careful that our friendship and fun doesn’t…,” he searched for the right words.

“Go Carnival?” she offered.

His heart dropped. Her tone was heavy and full of longing.

“Yes,” he answered softly. “Something like that.”

“I wasn’t expecting anything like that, Larry,” she said sternly.

She thought of going on a tirade about not being a home-wrecker. Secretly, she had hoped for a progression of things. Maybe spending time with her again would awaken those feelings. The light side of her didn’t want him to break up his family to be with her. It would be a disaster for everyone involved. The darker side wanted all of him – every last drop.

“I’m s-s-orry,” he stammered. For a moment, he did think of chucking it all just to taste her lips again.

She laughed uneasily. “We just shouldn’t get wrecked around each other.”

Shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans, he shifted his weight uncomfortably. “Probably not. I think we’re free of any carnivals on this leg.”

Their strained laughter rang through the chilly night air. Inside the bar, Andrew and Bono attempted a duet. The song was barely recognizable.

Larry shuddered. “It got chilly out here. Wanna go in and get another drink? A coke?”

“I’m going to hang here and check my messages,” she shook her head.

“Okay,” he paused to look at her before slipping back inside the bar.

Gloria fought the urge to cry. The worst thing about it, she wasn’t sure why she felt so awful. He was never going to leave Ann. It’s not like she sat around for the last eight months waiting for him. She had gone on dates. Hell, she was receiving flirty text messages from the hottest guy in entertainment! However, she always held out hope that somehow it would all work out. After tonight, she knew they would never cross the line.



“Gloria?” a voice started her.

“Huh?” she looked up from the photos on her desk into Jake’s blue eyes.

“You were lost to the world,” he grinned lopsidedly.

She shook the cobwebs from her mind. “Award season always drains me.”

He plopped into the leather seat opposite of her. “Try being up for one.”

She cocked her head. “Yeah, they just don’t give them out for best manager or publicist.”

“Maggie would disagree. She always goes on about how great you are,” he said. “So much that I should hire you.” He leaned over the desk to plant a small kiss on her lips.

She smiled up at him. “But then I couldn’t date you.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“C’mon Da, it’s time,” Aaron called from the living room. He sat crossed-legged on the floor in front of the television.

Larry pulled a beer from the fridge. “Does he really want to watch that shite?”

Ann shrugged. “I guess he does.”

Larry rolled his eyes. “It’s almost torture.”

“Daddy!” Ava cried. “It’s starting!”

Larry sighed. It looked as if he would be subjected to another season of American Idol. At least it was more entertaining than the British equivalent. He settled onto the sofa as he watched his two oldest gaze up at the screen. Ann curled up on the other side with her feet tucked under her. Outside, the wind rattled the windows. Aaron grabbed the remote and turned up the television.

“It was like bad karaoke,” Simon Cowell droned.

Larry chuckled to himself as he thought back to bad karaoke – this was nothing…..



Bono slapped Edge square on the back. “It’ll be fun.”

“We’ll need another round to make this fun,” Larry motioned the waitress over to their table.

Bono had the grand idea of playing Russian Karaoke. It was a game he just conjured out of his wine addled head.

They held court in a Tokyo Karaoke bar – the band and the entire crew. As always, the drinks flowed and Bono’s wild ideas followed.

“Is this a new game he’s just come up with?” Gloria asked.

Adam nodded. “It would appear so.”

Larry’s arm rested comfortably on the back of Gloria’s chair. She shot him a knowing glance. She wished she could curl up in his arms. He sent her a secret smile.

“So what is this Russian Karaoke?” Gloria asked.

Bono hopped to his feet. “Okay….we ask Mr. Karaoke,” he gestured to a shorter man than him holding a microphone beside the Machine, “to randomly pick a song. And you have to sing it. If you decide to pass, you have to drink.”

Gloria chuckled. “I don’t think I’ve played drinking games since college.”

“How much do you have to drink?” someone called.

Bono shrugged. “The rest of your drink?”

“Bono, we don’t want anyone dying of alcohol poisoning,” Edge said.

Bono thought for a moment before nodding. “I guess you’re right. Okay, you have to drink at least half of your drink.”

“That’s better,” Larry rolled his eyes.

“What the hell am I to do?” Adam asked.

Bono sipped his forbidden wine. “You can pass on whatever you like. Who wants to go first?”

Larry thought it was stupid game. He imagined that he would be so drunk at the end of the night just for passing on every song. Two more beers later, he was ready to belt out a song. His first song was ‘Hey Mickey!’. He drank. His next song was a Madonna song he had never heard of. He drank. He settled on a Neil Diamond song which he managed to slaughter. Unfortunately, he couldn’t conjure an Elvis song in his draw.

Edge fared better. He bellowed out ‘Unchained Melody’. His second song was a Vegas lounge version of ‘Everybody Hurts’. He passed on a Carpenters’ song and downed the rest of his drink.

Gloria first drew ‘Mysterious Ways’ which she had no hope of singing in front of Bono. She chose a beer instead. Her second song was ‘Burning Love’ by Elvis. She sang and attempted to gyrate her hips in the best Elvis fashion. All the guys hooted and hollered. Larry smiled with the knowledge he would know all the moves of those hips later that night.

Adam passed on everything that came up for him. He crossed his legs coolly and sipped his sparkling water with lime. He was above all this silliness. Not that he didn’t laugh heartily as Edge attempted to tackle a Spice Girls song.

Bono sang anything that came up on the screen. The best was his rendition of drunken ‘Supercalifragilisticexpiadilious’.

“Okay Gloria. It’s your turn,” Bono panted after his turn at Mary Poppins.

The first song was a Barry White song. She took a rather large gulp of her drink. There were catcalls from the audience.

“C’mon, I have no hope of hitting those low notes,” she said.

She nodded to the next song that came up on Bono’s Russian Karaoke. She only hoped that she could hit those notes and not be laughed off the stage.

Gloria stood center of the stage. Mr. Karaoke clambered off to the side. She clutched the microphone. As she sang the opening lines of ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’, Bono sat straight in his seat. She was amazing. He looked over at Edge whose mouth hung open. Inside this short blonde breathed and beat the heart of a woman with soul. The whole crowd was silent. Adam edged forward in his seat. No one knew Gloria had such a powerful and amazing voice.

“Did you know?” Bono whispered to Edge.

He shook his head. “She shouldn’t be managing a tour….”

“She should be on one,” Adam added.

Every hair on Larry’s body stood on end as her voice wrapped around him. Deep inside him he felt a longing and an emotion that he could not understand. He stopped breathing. His skin felt numb. Was it her voice? Was it the song? Was it the passion? He sat motionless. The rest of the room disappeared for those five minutes. He could only see Gloria on that stage as if she were singing only to him.

It was as if something possessed Gloria’s body. Every word resonated through her. What was it about the song that took hold of her and made her sing like her life depended on it? Without intending, her eyes locked on Larry’s.

“You're the best man I'll ever know.There's no way I can ever, ever go,
No, no, no, no way No, no, no, no way I'm livin' without you.
Oh, I'm not livin' without you, I'm not livin' without you.
I don't wanna be free.
I'm stayin',
I'm stayin',
And you, and you,
You're gonna love me”

He felt tears collect in his eyes. He thrown completely off guard on the effect a silly a karaoke song had on him.

As Gloria belted out the last notes, the crowd lept to its feet and cheered as if they had been to see the original Dreamgirls.

“Holy shit!” yelled Bono.

Gloria took possession of herself again. She took a deep cleansing breath. Suddenly a wave of exhaustion washed over her entire body.

Larry wiped his eyes quickly. He couldn’t let the others see how she affected him.

“I had no idea you had pipes like that!” Bono exclaimed joyfully. “I think I see another duet in my future.”

Gloria’s cheeks pinked. She shook her head. “That was a rare, rare moment. I had always wanted to sing that song…and I think the drinks helped.”

“Nonsense,” Adam said. “I’m sober as they come and it was amazing. Where have you been hiding that songbird?”

She shrugged as she glanced at Larry. A bemused smile rested on his lips. His eyes were still a bit glassy.

“I think we are done,” Mr. Karaoke declared. “We have a winner!”

Thankfully passion won out over ability. Gloria knew she could have made a huge fool of herself in front of people that would’ve taken every opportunity to take the piss out of her.

“You were amazing,” Larry said plainly. His arms wrapped around her in a tender hug.

“Okay, I think we are done here,” Edge scrambled to his feet. “Unless Bono, you think you can top that.”

Bono coughed. “Not bloody likely tonight.”

They all filed out of the bar to black cars waiting to take them back to their hotel. Members of the crew patted Gloria on the back as they bid goodnight. Adam jumped into the first car. Bono and Edge greeted some ardent fans that heard rumors of the band attending the bar.

Larry walked out with Gloria; his arm slung around her shoulders casually. He leaned closer. “I can’t wait to make love to you tonight,” he whispered lowly in her ear before ducking into a waiting car.



“And you, and you,
You're gonna love me.
Oh, hey, you're gonna love me,
Yes, ah, ooh, ooh, love me,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, love me,
Love me,
Love me,
Love me,
Love me.
You're gonna love me.”

“She was good, wasn’t she?” Ann asked.

His eyes focused on the televison again. “Who?”

“Lakisha…the last girl to sing,” Ann examined his face.

“Oh yeah,” he said dismissively. “Not as good as the original,” he added.

Ann shrugged. “I thought she was much better than the others.”

He nodded slowly. He fell in love with Gloria the moment she sang that very song. It was painful to sit on his sofa in Dublin and come to that realization. Could he ever feel that way for Ann again? Larry closed his eyes and remembered going to Gloria that night. He said nothing as he walked into her hotel room. He gathered her in his arms and held her all night. The words were in the back of his throat. But to say them outloud for Gloria to hear would be walking through a door he wasn’t sure he was ready to enter.

“Lar, are you alright?” Ann stared at him with concern.

“Yeah,” he rubbed the back of his neck hard. “I’m just knackered. The kids and I played football for awhile today.”

Ann moved closer to rub his neck. Immediately, his neck tensed under her touch. Slowly, she withdrew her hand. They held a gaze for a moment that said more than their conversations since he returned from New York in January. She tucked her blonde hair behind her ear.

“C’mon kids. It’s bedtime,” she hurried off the couch. She needed to be in a different room from him right now.

There was a chorus of discontent from all three. She herded them out of the room – tossing one more glance at the man she had sacrificed everything for. He stared beyond the images on the televison.

“Wait, we have to kiss daddy,” Ava rushed to her father. She wrapped her arms around him. “Night night.”

He held her close. He did love his family. He loved Ann. Ava ran out of the room. Ann and Larry exchanged a small smile before she turned to follow the children. He placed his head in his hands. How could he do this? If he could turn back time, would he not take Gloria to his bed that Thanksgiving? Would he have to go back farther? Would it be the Carnival? It would have to go all the way back to August 2001 to trace the beginning…..



Bob Hewson was gone. His long suffering body was now resting in peace. The air was heavy and dark. Everyone milled outside the church feeling a little lost. Larry clutched Ann’s hand tightly. Losing Bob brought him back to the place where he lost his mother. Everyone was tired from the tour which wasn’t close to being over.

Gloria stood with Bono and Ali talking intimately with them. The whole Hewson family gathered around her. Bono handed little John to her. He buried his little head into Gloria’s neck as she gently rocked him. Ali squeezed her arm appreciatively. Bono leaned over to kiss John and drop a small kiss on Gloria’s check. Ali and Bono walked over the Norman and his family. The girls stayed with Gloria. Larry was amazed how the Hewson’s were leaning on her today. Especially after what had happened only nine years ago between Gloria and Bono. Watching her cradle John hit a nerve with Larry. She illuminated that dreary day. His eyes followed her every move – as she chatted with Edge and Morleigh, as she hugged Ali, as she made the girls smile through their tears. He couldn’t believe he had treated her so disdainfully in the last year that she toured with them. He was suspious that she had her eyes on Bono again. Yes, she did love him, but she loved his family just as much. Everything was forgiven and Larry was the last to let go.

Gloria caught Larry’s eye as she rocked John in her arms. John’s fingers played with her hair as he stared sleepily off in the distance. She gave Larry a weak smile that sent a lightning bolt through his body. His grip on Ann’s hand loosened.

“We should go over,” she said.

He cleared his throat. “Yes.”



Larry leaned back on the couch. That was the moment when it all began. He opened himself to Gloria and let her inside every part of him. It was over five years ago and distance had not closed the connection he felt to her.

Ann watched him from the doorway. She remembered that after his time in New York, Larry came back refreshed and committed.

“Maybe you need to go to New York again,” she suggested.

Larry turned his eyes to her. New York was the last place he needed to be right now. Gloria was there – maybe with Jake. “I don’t need to go to New York.”

“I think you need to go find whatever it is that’s missing. Maybe it’s in London or in France,” she paused. “Or New York.”

Ann wasn’t sure if it was something or someone that held him so tightly. She knew he wasn’t here with her or the kids. Usually, he was distant after a tour. ZooTV and Zooropa were tough transitions. He left Ireland for several months to unwind. But he came back. After Elevation, he was a little scattered and preoccupied but after the Grammys, he settled back into home life easy enough. After all, there was one year old to care after. Vertigo was a bit rough. He was disjointed and irritable – more than usual. She figured it was his concern for Edge and the interruption of the tour. He came home tired and his arm caused him pain most days.

“Ann, I don’t want to go to New York. I’m happy here,” he said wearily. “I’m anxious to get in the studio and start recording.”

“Okay….I just thought….” Her voice trailed off.

He went to her. “I’m sorry if I’m out of it lately. I’ll be better. I just go mad when I don’t feel productive, you know that.”

Ann was not convinced. This seemed more than just idle hands. She decided to not fight about it tonight. She would go to bed and curl up on her side of the bed – feeling the cold space between them.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gloria chewed on her lower lip. Larry should have been here by now. Maybe someone found out. Maybe Bono or Edge insisted that he do something with them and he couldn’t get away. She paced in a circle outside the back entrance of the resort hotel the band had taken over for the Hawaiian show. Hotel workers eyed her as they walked past. At what point does she give up, she wondered. As her mind spun, the distance rumble of a motorcycle grew louder. She knew he’d get away. Larry roared up beside her with a smile.

“Ready?”

“You bet I am,” she smiled.

“What’s in the backpack?” He asked.

“Towels, wine and something to snack on. Do you know where we’re going?”

He reached around the back and presented her with a helmet. “Hop on.”

She glanced around her before planting a kiss on his lips. Putting her helmet on, she smiled, “How did I look?”

“Gorgeous,” he offered his hand to help her on.

Larry sped off in the direction of a private beach. Gloria relished wrapping her arms around him and holding him close. She could smell his suntan lotion even through her helmet. She loved the rumble of the bike under her. It reminded her of 2001 when she and Larry rode to Las Vegas with his bodyguard.

The sunlight filtered through the trees above as they zoomed down winding roads. Within 45 minutes, Larry turned the bike down a dirt path. A few feet down the path, luminous white sand stretched out before them. He parked the bike on a patch of grass.

“It’s beautiful,” Gloria breathed. “Who told you about this?”

“A bartender. When I was here earlier,” he omitted the fact it was the Ann and the kids, “I got to chatting with this bartender at the hotel. I asked him where I could find a nice secluded beach.”

Gloria looked around. They were the only two people on this little slice of paradise.

Gloria stretched out on her towel. “Where do they think you are?”

“I didn’t lie. I said I was going riding,” he laid beside her. “Where are you?”

“I think I’m shopping and touring the island,” she mused.

They had the whole afternoon together – alone. After a small nap soaking in the sun, they went for a swim the aquamarine waters. They kissed, laughed and splashed out in the open. No one except for the fish and the birds in the trees knew they were there. They sipped wine from clear plastic cups. They kissed some more. The kisses led to more splashing in the water. He pulled her close as they bobbed in the warm water. That grin was unmistakable. He touched her under her bathing suit. She closed her eyes and wrapped herself around him. His lips teased her neck as waves of pleasure washed over her like the waves around them.

They stretched out on the beach. Gloria’s eyes fluttered and closed. Within minutes, she breathed heavily and evenly. He watched her. Larry touched her cheek. She smiled in her sleep. He had only felt this way about one other woman. Tightness clutched his chest. It wasn’t guilt. He was happier than he had been in years. There was life coursing through him. It didn’t mean that he didn’t love his family, but he loved this too. He curled up against her and listened to the rhythm of her breathing and the waves.

Larry woke up with Gloria burying his legs in sand.

“What are you doing?” he watched her with one open eye.

She giggled and ran to the water. He groaned. Pulling himself out of his sand trap, he took off down the beach after her. The shadows on the beach grew long as the day slipped away. They made love on the beach as the water rushed over them.

Larry pulled his shorts on. “I have an amazing idea for after the show.”

She took in his perfect form as she shook out the towel. “What’s that?”

“I say that we duck out of the after-party early,” he slipped his shirt on.

“What?” She teased. “That’s the best party of the tour.”

“Work with me,” he said. “We slip out early and slip into that hot tub in your room.” He playfully bit her neck. “The spa, some wine…..and some…” His voice was hot in her ear.

She smiled. “I like that. I liked it last night.” A thought occurred to her. “My room upgrade had nothing to do with overbooking, did it?”

He shrugged. “Okay, I’ll admit. I wanted a hot tub and I knew I’d be spending more time in your room.”

She hugged him tightly. Tomorrow was the last night of the tour. They had managed to avoid the subject of what happens next. It was Christmas and everyone would be going home to their families. Gloria had a cold empty bed waiting for her New York. A life without Larry waited for her.

He kissed her deeply. She shuddered against him. The warm breeze cooled as the sum slipped behind the hills.

“We should go. We have dinner plans,” she sighed.

He groaned. “Can’t we cancel?”

She chuckled. “Yeah, that wouldn’t look weird.”

“I know, I know,” he snatched the bag off the sand. He cast another look at their private beach. “I wish we could stay here all night. All week.”

She wound her arms around his waist. “I do too. It was a good day. Thank you.”

He kissed her forehead. “Okay, let’s go before I go AWOL.”

Larry dropped Gloria off at the back entrance. He pulled his helmet off and kissed her hard – as if it would be the last time he would touch her lips. Watching her slip inside the hotel, his heart sank. The tour was ending. Somehow, he had managed to push his family to the back of his mind. After Thanksgiving, he had decided to live in the moment with Gloria. That moment was coming to an end.

Larry pulled his helmet on. He wasn’t ready to go inside to face the band.


Gloria sat at the outdoor bar with Adam sipping some frozen heaven in a glass. They were the first to meet for the luau. Adam ordered a virgin version of Gloria’s drink. Large table stretched out in front of them. Down on the beach, the cook rotated a pig on a spit.

“Larry will love that,” Adam mused.

“We’ll tell him it’s made of tofu,” she said.

“It looks like you got some sun today,” Adam said.

“I found a great beach to basically fall asleep on. I’m surprised I didn’t burn,” she was glad for her new tan to hide the deep blush on her cheeks. She had rushed down to dinner to see Larry. It was only a few hours, but it felt like forever. She had chosen a light blue sundress with sandals. As she slipped it on, she pictured Larry sliding it off later.

Bono and family joined them. The older girls walked down to look at the pig. The wind carried their disgust back towards the bar. Ali settled on a barstool beside Gloria. Her hair was pulled from her beautiful face with a flower. The red dress was a perfect choice against her exotic skin.

Bono lingered between Ali and Gloria as he ordered a glass of wine. “Ah….this is heaven. A warm breeze and two beautiful women….”

Gloria peered into Bono’s face. “Did you get sunburn?”

He scowled. “No.”

Ali nodded. “Yes he did. I told him to reapply on the boat, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”

“I hope you have aloe,” Adam said.

“Mum, do I have to eat the pig?” Eve asked. “It looks gross.”

Ali smoothed back her daughter’s dark hair. “I’m sure they’ll have something else.”

“Hey Eve, that lifeguard is here,” Jordan tugged the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

The two girls rushed off to find the blonde surfer. Bono watched protectively.
Edge and Moreleigh were the next to join the party followed by Paul. The noise level at the outside bar grew as Bono started on his second glass of wine. Members of the road crew trickled down to join the Luau as trays of fruits and cheese were passed by women in bright sundresses.

Gloria sat at the center of the party. Her sides hurt from laughter. Listening to Ali and Bono playfully bicker reminded her how much she loved this family. Time passed quickly as the sun slipped into the ocean painting the sky vibrant oranges and pinks. The torches on the beach were lit casting a warm glow on everyone. Gloria didn’t realize how much time had passed since she first joined Adam at the bar. She wondered if Larry had fallen asleep. It would be hard to sneak away to wake him up. Hopefully, someone else would realize that the drummer was absent from the celebration.

A little blonde boy darted over to Edge. Gloria’s heart stopped. Her eyes followed the boy’s path. It led her to Larry. He looked almost ill. Just over Larry’s shoulder, Ann held the hand of a little girl. This wasn’t happening. Did he know?

Larry’s stomach burned as he saw the pained look in her eyes as Gloria saw Ezra and then Ann. He wanted to cancel on the party if just to spare Gloria. Ann thought he was being silly and anti-social. In reality, Larry wasn’t surprised that his family turned up in Hawaii. Normally they joined him on tour towards the end. But he usually made the arrangements. This time, he was too preoccupied with Gloria to even think about arrangements or the possibility that they had been made without him. His heart soared as he hugged his children. As his eyes met Ann’s, his mind whirled like an amusement park ride. Now, as he gazed at the pain in Gloria’s eyes, he felt numb. He wanted to hold her and tell her it would be okay – even if he wasn’t convinced.

Gloria’s heart raced. Ann’s arrival would be just the thing that Gloria would arrange. She knows, Gloria thought. That’s why she didn’t go through me. Guilt and paranoia had Gloria ordering another drink. With a sip, she recovered and hugged Ann.

“Who arranged this for you?” Gloria asked as if was Ann’s keeper.

“I did. I wanted it to be a surprise,” Ann said. “Not that I didn’t trust,” Gloria winced, “you to keep a secret, but no one really knew. Ali knew only this morning.”

Gloria avoided Larry’s eyes. A pit formed in her stomach. Her feelings switched from guilt to longing. Larry wouldn’t be in her bed later that night. She would have that king sized bed all to herself while he would sleep beside Ann. She would want him to be with her tonight. She hadn’t seen him in 2 months, after all. Gloria gagged as the image of Ann and Larry flashed into her mind.

Adam peered into her face closely, “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “The drink is just very strong.”

Adam glanced around the bar. “Do you want to get some air?”

“Yes….it’s getting…..”

“Claustrophobic,” Adam offered.

Gloria smiled weakly. She was embarrassed. Everyone must know, she mourned. She thought she recovered well – but maybe not.

“Don’t do anything funny you two,” Bono called after them as they stepped out of the crowd towards the water.

Gloria tried to find an excuse for the strange behavior. Her mind was blank. She had known for the last few weeks that it would be over one day. Even today, she knew it would be over soon. She thought there would be a last kiss. A last night.

“Drinking after being in the sun can do awful things to your digestive system,” Adam said as they watched the last of the day sink below the horizon.

She wiped her forehead. “I guess I got more sun than I thought.”

“It happens,” he said quietly. If he knew, he was being very tactful.

“Why isn’t Suzi here?” Gloria asked. “Now that everyone’s family is here….”

Adam shrugged. “I’m used to being the only one without family. You all are my family.” He turned to look at her. “God, how long have we known you?”

She thought back. It was before Achtung Baby. “Almost 20 years now.”

“My how time flies,” he said dreamily. “Anyway, Suzi was busy with her own thing this week. I’ll see her in a few days.”

“Not staying on for a few days after?” she asked as she slipped off her sandals.

“No. Suzi and I have a holiday before Christmas that we’ve planned. And there is Christmas shopping to consider,” he kicked off his leather slides.

Gloria allowed the water rush over her feet. “Christmas. Jesus, that’s right. It’s a weird thing to see decorations up and decorated palm trees.”

“I think I saw a Santa in a Hawaiian shirt,” Adam said.

She ran her fingers through her long hair. “I have so much shopping to do. Like all of it.”

Adam laughed. “So, what becomes of you after this tour?”

Her thoughts raced back to Larry and Ann. Wistfully, she gazed back up at the party. She couldn’t see Larry or Ann. What becomes of me? She asked herself.

She shrugged. “I’m sure I have loads of work waiting for me. I had clients calling and emailing me while I was on tour. I have Grammys, Golden Globes and Oscars looming around the corner.” That’s right, she thought. I have tons to do. Let Larry go back to Ann.

Adam placed his hand on her shoulder. “You know, it’s been amazing having you on this tour.”

“It’s been great being a part of it. Hopefully, I’ll be part of the next one,” she smiled.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t,”

“You never know. By the time you pop out the next record, I could be a happy housewife with little ones to look after,” she teased.

Adam waved off this concern. “We have nannies for that.” He did look at her closely. “Is there anyone special? You never really talked about your own life.”

She was thankful it was dark. Her cheeks burned. “I’m not supposed to have one.”

“Really?” he asked.

Gloria sloshed her legs in the warm water. Jake had emailed and called a few times. In the last few weeks, she had been less attentive to him. Larry had distracted her from a potential relationship.

“We’ll have to see when I get home,” she answered cryptically.

“I think dinner is being served,” Adam looked back at the party.

“We should eat then,” Gloria said.

“Do you feel better?” he asked.

“I do. Thanks for walking with me,” she hugged him. Truthfully, she did feel a little better. The world wasn’t ending. Just a very bright part of it.

Gloria wouldn’t meet Larry’s gaze when she returned. Members of Pearl Jam and Billy Joe Armstrong had joined the party. She sat herself with Eddie and Bono at one table. Her head had cleared from the earlier drinks and she chose to stay with water. It was a big day tomorrow and hangovers would not be tolerated. Eddie and Bono provided some distraction from her thoughts. She couldn’t help but steal glances at Larry and Ann. His expression was blank. He sat dutifully beside Ann with Ezra on his lap.

After dinner, Gloria wandered down the beach alone. She felt empty. Hurt, anger and despair had run their course for the day. Suddenly, she wanted to be home in New York with her family. She longed for the cold air to sting her lungs and the Rockefeller Center tree overlooking skaters. Earlier in the day, she dreaded the end of the tour – now she counted the hours when she could board a plane.

Larry puffed on his cigarette by the water. He managed to escape for a few minutes while Ann put the kids to bed. He was still numb. Checking his watch, he should’ve been slipping into a warm frothy tub with Gloria by now. He rubbed the back of his neck. They hadn’t discussed the future beyond skipping the after-party tomorrow. Now what was he to do? His promises found him in Hawaii.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her figure walking down the beach. Her sandals swung from her hand as she traced the water line with her head down. He glanced over his shoulder at the party through the trees. It raged on fine without them.

“What are you doing out here?” she asked.

“Just getting some air. And you?” he flicked his cigarette in the water.

“Stretching my legs after dinner. I feel kind of full,” she said casually.

Larry rubbed the back of his neck furiously. He looked around them. “Look, I had no idea.”

She held up her hand. “I know,” she whispered. “Let’s not talk about it now.”

He moved a little closer. He just wanted to pull her into his arms and hold her close. “Gloria, I….”

“Larry, don’t,” she looked down. “Everyone’s around.”

“I don’t know how to make this right,” he touched her arm.

She pushed passed him. “You can’t make it happen tonight.”

“I know I can’t. It was the last thing I expected,” he searched the right words.

“Yes, it was,” Gloria nodded slowly.

Voices from the party drew closer. She turned to walk up the beach. He grabbed her arm and stared at her. “Gloria, I just….”

“Don’t say another word,” she scrambled up the beach.

“Fuck,” he scowled. There was no time tonight to unravel his feelings and decide what to do next. He needed to be a father, a partner and a member of a band.

Laughter from the party floated to where he stood. A wave of guilt swallowed him whole. He turned down the beach, not ready to rejoin the party.

Adam stepped out from the trees where he had been enjoying a cigarette. He stared after Gloria. It confirmed what he suspected all along. Larry and Gloria had fallen in love.


Gloria stared at Andrew’s Christmas tree. In the background, It’s a Wonderful Life was on the television. For Christmas Eve, her heart was heavier than a fruitcake. It was two weeks ago that the tour ended. After Ann turned up in Hawaii, she didn’t talk to Larry much beyond small talk about what he needed for the concert. She should have won an Oscar for her performance that last day. She joked and laughed. She avoided Larry as much as she could, but when they did have to talk – she displayed her best poker face. Larry never attempted to talk with her much beyond concert talk.


Gloria left the after-party early as planned. She collapsed against her hotel suite door and cast a gaze at the spa in her room. Finally, the tears flowed. Her body ached with pain and disappointment. The scene she just left was too much. Ann’s arms were wrapped around Larry as he chatted casually with Edge. He looked like belonged there. He didn’t belong with Gloria. He was hers for two wonderful weeks, but it was just a dream. Hastily, she pulled her suitcase out of the closet and stuffed it with her clean and dirty clothes. She managed to get on an afternoon flight on Sunday. At breakfast, she would make her apologies for not staying on in Hawaii longer, but work called. She didn’t know that Larry looked for her at the party.

“Have a great holiday,” Gloria hugged Ali tightly.

“Are you sure you have to run off?” She asked.

She nodded. “We’re heading into our busy season and we have loads of movies premiering.”

“We’ll see you soon,” Edge collected her in his arms.

“Look after yourself,” Adam said earnestly. She caught something in his eye that momentarily disarmed her.

“Say hello to your beautiful bride for me,” she gathered her carry-on.

As Gloria made her way out of the hotel, she ran into Ann and Larry. Both looked freshly showered. Her stomach lurched.

“Are you leaving?” Larry frowned.

“Yes, the movie business calls,” she said indifferently.

“What about us?” he asked.

Her heart stopped. She wasn’t sure how to answer. Did he mean the band or something esle? One look in his eyes, she knew he meant both.

She shrugged. “The tour’s over. I have to get home and get ready for a full week ahead – never mind Christmas.”

Ann nodded. “I have nothing up home.”

Gloria forced a smile. “See? I’m in the same boat.”

Ann grabbed her into a hug. “Have a safe journey home and a wonderful holiday.”

“You too, Ann,” she knew it would seem odd if she didn’t give Larry a hug. It was strained. She was afraid that if she lingered, she would melt into him. “Merry Christmas, Larry.”

“Merry Christmas, Gloria,” he said softly. Ann turned away to met the others in the dining room. Quickly, he kissed the corner of her mouth. “I’ll talk to you soon.”



Larry never called. There was never an email. She hoped everyday that he would contact her. Everyday, her heart died a little more. She knew that he was home with his family. At that moment, Larry was probably curled up with Ann in bed. Gloria was alone. Sure, she was with her family. Even Jake was in California with his family.

Sighing heavily, she walked into the living room. “I’m going to bed.”

“This early?” Andrew asked.

“I’m tired. I’ll see you in the morning,” she yawned.

“Merry Christmas, Gloria,” he called after her.

Unfortunately, she didn’t feel very merry at all.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Larry sunk into the backseat of the black SUV that picked up the band at the airport. He wasn’t sure why Bono had insisted they look at recording studios in New York. Rick Rubin was more than happy to record in Ireland, Switzerland or the moon if they so chose. Now they were on their way to Andrew’s for dinner. He had a feeling Gloria would be there. He stared out the rain splattered window as the city slipped by him. The last days of the tour were awful. When he looked at Ann or Gloria, a mountain of guilt rested on his shoulders. A part of him was a little relieved that Gloria bolted after the last show. It gave him time to try to get his thoughts and life back in order.

Christmas was tough. He missed Gloria terribly. She threaded his every thought. He tried so hard to get a hold of his life before he knew the wonder of Gloria’s body and smile. Many times, he picked up the phone. His hand hovered over the numbers with her number churning in his head. He never dialed the number. Now it was over three weeks since he spoke to her. His stomach toiled as they pulled up to Andrew’s house. He concentrated on the faces of his family as rode the elevator.

Gingerly, Larry entered the apartment. It was only Andrew and his wife, Lydia. Throughout the whole meal, he waited her Gloria to burst through the door. Maybe she was in Los Angeles. He didn’t bother following the conversation at dinner. On the radio, the new U2 song ‘Window in the Skies’ played bringing Larry back to Australia. When they recorded the song, he never gave much mind to the lyrics. As he sat with Andrew, the lyrics hit him like a sledgehammer. It didn’t matter what Bono meant when he wrote them. Tonight, they spoke volumes as Larry’s mind was so tangled in Gloria and he thought back to those 2 wonderful weeks.

After dinner, they all piled back into the black SUV’s to a small bar in the Village. This was their New York local. The usual patrons waved an arm or free hand as they filed in accompanied by Andrew and Lydia.

“Hey boys!” Tom the bartender and owner called out. “The usual?”

“God love ya, Tom,” Bono beamed.

“’Cause no one else will,” shot Larry.

Tom smirked. “Just for that, you get yours last.”

“If he gets it all,” her voice called out from the end of the bar.

Larry’s stopped dead. His eyes found her sitting at the end of the bar with Tom’s wife. She looked amazing, but she always did him. She could be drooling on her pillow and she was still an angel. She was smiling at him, but he sensed her irritation just under the surface of that smile. Inside, she boiled hot like oil. She was invited to dinner but passed. Instead, she went to their local to lubricate herself enough to see him.

After drinks were poured, they all gathered in a snug in the corner of the bar. Gloria sat as far from Larry as possible. She teased him mercilessly. He knew he deserved all her zings. He held his breath as Bono began snooping around Gloria’s love life. She was evasive and avoided looking at Larry. He had no right knowing anything about her life over the last few weeks.


Finally, they were alone in the bar. Edge and Adam left early. Bono was in the backroom regaling adoring fans and hangers-on to one of his many tall tales. Fits of laughter erupted from the backroom. Gloria twirled a straw in her drink and listening to the ice clink against the sides.

“How was your Christmas?” she asked.

“It was good,” he lied.

“Good,” she stared over the bar at the television.

“It was awful,” he muttered. “I mean the kids were great. They’re always amazing. The rest of the time….wasn’t good.”

Gloria sighed. “Good.”

He looked at her with surprise. “Gloria…”

She smiled. “I know, pretty childish.”

Larry smirked. “I deserved it. I should’ve called.”

She shrugged. “You didn’t owe me anything. I know it was special circumstances those last weeks.”

“Maybe,” he said thoughtfully. “But I’ve always been honest with you and I handled things like a prat.”

“We’re still friends,” she nudged him. “I’m over it.” He glances at her. “Okay, not completely. I’m still in a bit of shock. But what can I do? Go back in time to when you met Ann and undo it?”

“So you still want to be friends?” he asked. As he looked in her eyes, friendship was not what he had in mind.

“Larry, we’ll always be friends, or I hope we will be. Maybe it was good that Ann showed up when she did,” her voice was unconvincing.

Eventually, they settled into easy conversation. The topic of love and marriage was carefully sidestepped. They made up stories about the few patrons left in the bar.

Another hour passed. People trickled out of the backroom as the night wore on. Bono and a man in a suit were deep in an economic discussion as the emerged. When Bono was focused, he couldn’t see anything else. He and suited man walked directly past Gloria and Larry without a wave. Bono’s dark SUV pulled up and they both slipped in the backseat.

“Who was that?” Gloria asked.

Larry shrugged. “I have no idea. John was with them so I’m not worried much beyond a hangover tomorrow for him.”

She stretched. “I should get home too. I have a busy day tomorrow.”

“If Edge has his way, we’ll all be up before dawn,” Larry slid off the barstool. He slipped on his black jacket.

Gloria pushed through the heavy oak door. “Do you have a car waiting for you?”

“I sent it away. I can take a taxi just like everyone else,” he scowled. “How are you getting home?”

She stepped towards the street. “Getting a cab.”

She raised her arm to hail a fleet of yellow cars heading her way. One pulled along side her. Larry pulled the door open for her. She paused to look at him.

“You’re heading the other way, right?” she asked. He nodded. “Ok, maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Larry stepped back to allow Gloria slip into the taxi. She turned to say goodnight.

Suddenly, he grabbed her arm. “Gloria….” His lips met hers in a hungry kiss. He wrapped his other arm around her and pulled her closer. She held back for a moment as if she was trying to decide whether she wanted give herself over again. As she melted into him, he pulled back to look in her face. “I’m coming home with you tonight.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sheets tangled around them. Gloria rolled over on her stomach with the pillow balled up under her head. Larry lied on his side and traced shapes on her back. She studied what she could see of his face illuminated by the building next door. The sweet smell of sweat hung in the air over her bed. She wondered how long it would last this time. A few days? Maybe a week?

“I’ve thought about this since August of 2001,” Larry said.

“That long?” she asked.

He nodded. “Ever since the third leg of the tour really…”

She smiled. “That was a fun time. Do you remember the road trip we took to Las Vegas on the bike?”

“Of course. I still have a photo from then,” he hopped out of bed to retrieve his wallet from his pants. He dug under credit cards and money to pull out a picture. He crawled back into bed to show Gloria.

“Jesus, I look so young,” she mused. Gloria held on to the handlebars of Larry’s bike. He sat behind her with one arm wrapped innocently around her waist and his chin resting on her shoulder. Wide smiles spread across their sun kissed faces. They had stopped for a drink somewhere in the desert. “You look the same.”

“Bless you,” he said.

“I can’t believe you let me drive your bike,” she chuckled.

“No one believed it. If that wasn’t a looking glass into my head,” he said.

She ruffled his hair. “I thought something was happening.”



It was after the MTV Video Awards. The band was in Ireland to prepare for the last leg of the tour when they heard. Something terrible had happened in New York. No one could reach Gloria or Andrew for almost a day. Everyone was sick with worry. Larry felt a pit in his stomach at the slightest thought of Gloria being hurt or worse.

Friday morning, Larry’s phone rang. Edge had heard from Andrew. Both he and Gloria were safe. They were in the downtown office when it happened, but were not hurt injured. They were both very shaken and now in Boston. Their flight to London was cancelled as all air travel in the States was grounded. It would be several days before they could fly out to meet the band. Larry hung up the phone and went to the bathroom. He sat on the edge of his tub and cried into his hands. His body shook with relief and confusion. Just a few months ago, Gloria was just another person on the tour .Suddenly; he needed to see her – to hug her.


When Gloria and Andrew did touch down in London, Larry was there to greet them. He paced in VIP lounge and jingled the change in his pocket. As Gloria walked through the door, he rushed to her and threw his arms around her.

“It’s so good to see you,” he sighed.

Alarm flashed on her face. He had been cool to her since the Zoo TV tour. The warm welcome bewildered her. She decided not to question it and chalked it a renewed respect for life – even hers.

But something happened. As the air cooled, warmth developed between them. Suddenly, they could lose themselves for hours in conversation of nothing, something and everything.


“That was a great day,” she handed the photo back to him. “I can’t believe you still have it. And that you carry it with you.”

His cheeks warmed. “Sometimes I pull it out to look at it. It always makes me feel better.”

“I have to tell you something,” she said.

“What’s that?” his voice was sleepy.

“I’m seeing someone,” she held her breath.

“What? Like a doctor?” his eyes were open.

“No, like a date,” she answered.

He frowned. “Since Hawaii?”

She shook her head. “Since before Hawaii. It’s nothing serious – you know just a few dates.”

Larry was quiet for a moment. There was a flash of jealousy inside him. He knew he had absolutely no right. “Who is it?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said.

He nodded. “I’m sorry. You’re right. You said you are seeing….”

“As I said, it’s not serious. It hasn’t really gotten,” she paused, “physical. I just wanted to be honest with you.”

“I think I appreciate that,” was all he could think to say.

Gloria wasn’t sure why she blurted it out. Yes, she did want to be honest with him. That was true. A part of her hoped he would be jealous. She wasn’t sure why. She knew deep down that this would go nowhere. Ann could call or turn up at any moment and reclaim him.

“Hey, are you okay?” Larry asked as he rubbed her shoulder.

“Yeah,” she glanced at the clock on the other side of the room. “You should get going, I guess.”

“Do you want me to go?” he asked.

“NO, it’s just getting late,” she said.

She felt him smile in the darkness. “I don’t have to go anywhere. We’re not staying at a hotel. Do you want me to stay the night?”

She swallowed hard. The thought of waking up beside him warmed her entire body. “Do you?”

He brushed her hair from her face. “Very much so.”

“Then you should stay,” she inched closer.

He rolled over on top of her and kissed her deeply.

**********************************

Luckily, Bono was very hung-over the following day. Larry’s mobile buzzed at nine in the morning on a wooden dresser. Gloria jumped about five feet in the air. Larry flew out of bed revealing his full naked splendor. She didn’t think she would ever get used to the sight.

He sighed. “It’s Bono.” He flipped open his phone. “What?”

“Hey,” Bono rasped. “Look, I’ve already rang Edge and Adam. I’m wrecked. I think I ate something at Andrew’s.”

Larry snorted and shot a glance at Gloria. “It’s not something you ate, mate. It’s all that you drank. You were polluted.”

“Shut it. I wasn’t that bad,” Bono croaked. “Listen, I’ll call later. Maybe I’ll rally.”

Larry sat on the edge of the bed. “Take the day. We’ll meet tomorrow. I’m knackered from the flight and could use some sleep.”

Quietly, Gloria checked her PDA for appointments. As the rain lashed the windows, it was the perfect day to stay in bed – with Larry. Her heart panged as she saw a text message from Jake. She pushed him to the back of her mind. Her time with Larry was fleeting. She sent Andrew an email to tell him that she was working from home.

“We have the whole day together – alone,” he rumbled in her ear.

“Whatever will we do?” she smiled mischievously.


They finally emerged from the bedroom by mid-morning for a late breakfast of cereal. Gloria didn’t have much in her loft style apartment. It was a handy-me-down from Andrew. He bought a condo over in Central Park area and let her have the SoHo loft. The rain slammed against the large windows. Gloria and Larry curled up on her overstuffed couch and watched old Elvis movies. They kissed and cuddled. The real world was cold and damp outside.

Gloria couldn’t focus on the movie. She took in the warmth of Larry’s body next her. She tried to remember his scent. This was fleeting, she knew.

Larry lit the candles scatted around the loft as Gloria ordered some vegetarian Indian take-out. She poured two glasses of red wine. After dinner, Larry slipped a CD into her stereo.

He held out his hand to her. “C’mon.”

She smiled. “Where are we going?”

“Let’s dance,” he said.

“You? Dance?” she laughed.

“Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s ridiculous. Humor me,” he motioned to her.

She slipped her hand in his. He pulled her against him and wrapped his arms around her. The rain had turned to snow. As they swayed slowly, he kissed her forehead, then temple. She lightly ran her hands across his back. His lips brushed her cheek. She stretched her neck to look in his face. He was so handsome in the warm glow of the candlelight. Gently, he kissed her as they danced. They giggled as a failed attempt at a dip landed them on her floor. He lifted her to the couch and undressed her. Eventually, they moved to the bedroom.

The sun hit Larry’s eyes the next morning. Gloria was still asleep beside him. Her blonde hair fell in her eyes. She frowned and twitched before settling back into stillness. What was he going to do? The last 24 hours were a heaven he hadn’t known in years. He couldn’t stop this now. He deserved some peace and happiness – even if could only be for a moment. He pulled her close to him and buried his face in her hair.

*********************************

They sat in a Harlem recording studio. Bono twirled around in a desk chair. “What do you think?”

The four of them sat in the office of the studio. It had the same feel of history as Sun Records. Housed in plain red brick building, the four story studio proved successful for many blues, rock, punk and rap artists over the years. Bono, looking for a different feel for the record, thought it would be good for the creative process. It took less convincing than the Berlin trip. It helped that New York wasn’t in the middle of political collapse and this studio had heat.

“It works for me,” Edge said. “It’s closer to LA than Dublin.”

Bono looked at Adam leaning against a desk. He shrugged nonchalantly. “We can give it a try. Nothing has to be set in stone, right?”

“Right. I understand if you don’t love the idea. Suzie’s in London….” Bono said.

Adam didn’t look concerned. “I’m sure it will be fine.”

All eyes rested on Larry. He would be the hardest to convince. His family was in Dublin and weren’t much for traveling like Bono’s. Larry preferred to be close to home.

“I think it could be great. As Adam said, it’s worth a try.” He shrugged.

While Bono and Edge were surprised by Larry’s easy acceptance, Adam knew exactly the reason – Gloria. While it might not have been clear to Bono and Edge, Adam watched Larry and Gloria when they were out at the bar or a restaurant. They weren’t obvious, but there was a connection that Adam sensed. It was in their eyes when they looked at one another. Larry’s mood was lighter than ever before. Adam knew – even if Larry didn’t – that he was in love.

And that was it. In May, they would take temporary residence in New York to work on the new album. It also meant that they would be heading home at the end of the week. Larry was a whirlwind of emotions. Being in New York for several months with Gloria seemed like heaven to him. But now he had a very tough decision before him. In a matter of days, he would be leaving Gloria to go home to Ann and the kids. Was he ready to change his and everyone else’s life forever? And for what? Could he be sure it was the right choice? He was certain that the last few days with Gloria were a slice of heaven he hadn’t known in a very long time. How long could that last?

Then there was his family. He wasn’t sure he was ready to destroy their world for whatever he felt for Gloria. He knew what it was like to grow up in a fractured family. Their happiness and security was the most important thing to him. Maybe he would have to sacrifice his own happiness for their sake. He didn’t want to hurt Ann either. She had been by his side through everything for over 30 years now. Was he going to throw that in her face as if it didn’t matter? He was all she knew. Until Gloria, Ann was all Larry knew.

And there was the band. The four of them had been together so long - they had forgotten what life was like without each other. Edge’s divorce wasn’t just difficult on him – it was hard for all of them. How would they react to his relationship with Gloria? Especially after all these years, Larry suspected that Bono still loved her.


It began before Thanksgiving – before the funeral. They met Gloria when Andrew came to work for them on the Joshua Tree tour. Gloria was just 16 years old. She joined the tour over summer vacation for a few weeks. She belonged to Bono the moment he smiled at her. He ran his fingers through his silky brown hair and winked. Her knees buckled the way most women’s did. He enjoyed her wide-eyed adoration. She blushed when he spoke to her. Her eyes followed every move he made. And being Bono, he flirted mercilessly with her – just to see her giggle and blush.

Gloria retuned to the U2 fold in 1992 a different woman. She was now 21. Her blonde curls were no longer trimmed in a 1980’s bob. They hung loose over her shoulders. She had discovered how to dress for her curves. She was never rail thin, but her body developed a more curvaceous form. This time, she didn’t giggle at Bono’s teasing. She raised her eyebrow and gave right back to him. Their flirtatious banter was steamy and slightly dangerous. As the tour whirled around them at a fever pitch, it practically begged them into a physical crescendo. One night, Gloria dared him to kiss her. Against his better judgment, he did. The excess of the tour spilled over into Bono’s bed with Gloria in it. He had toyed with opportunity and temptation before. Gloria proved tough to resist. What was meant to be shrugged off to a long night of drinking developed through the summer.

As ZooTV became Zooropa, Bono was falling for Gloria. It didn’t mean that he didn’t love Ali any less. He felt his heart was big enough to love two amazing women at once. But they grew careless. Larry was suspicious. He could see it in their eyes when they looked at one another. It was the way the touched one another, the way their arms lingered. If Adam and Edge suspected, they turned a blind eye. But they had their own distractions. Adam’s whirlwind romance was Naomi was tempestuous at best. Edge had fallen in love with Morleigh. They could only see each other.

However, all things eventually come to light and affairs are discovered. One night, they confronted Bono in his hotel suite. Edge and Adam were disappointed. Larry and Andrew were irate. Andrew couldn’t believe that Bono, one of his best friends, would prey on his young and impressionable sister. Larry blamed not only Bono, but Gloria too. After all, she knew he had a family. She wasn’t as innocent as the others believed. He couldn’t forgive the way they put their own lust over Ali and the girls. It didn’t matter that Gloria claimed to love Bono. It wasn’t right and that was it.

Time heals most wounds. After the Zooropa implosion, Bono worked steadily to put his relationship back together. Ali grew to understand and forgive the relationship. All parties agreed that it was too soon for Gloria to return working for the band during PopMart. It wouldn’t be until 2001 and the Elevation Tour that she would work with the band.

Larry watched Bono and Gloria during the first few months of the tour. He waited for a rekindling or a flicker. Bono had claimed that he still had deep feelings for Gloria still. There was nothing more than a deep appreciation and admiration. Even Ali and Gloria became friends. They had joked that Gloria would Ali’s place if something should happen. Only Larry held onto his anger and feeling of betrayal. He was just barely civil to her. In retrospect, he was quite nasty. And Gloria took it. She knew that he might never forgive and would never forget.

It was twelve years since Bono and Gloria’s affair ended. Larry remembered the outrage he felt as if it were just yesterday. It had changed the face of the band and the relationship within. It took several years for trust to be earned. Now he was in Bono’s shoes. After he yelled and condemned them both, he was slipping into Gloria’s bed under the cover of night. He lied to them and to his family. What would they say if they knew? What would Bono think? After Larry had been harder on him than Ali – here he was with a woman that was essentially his ex. He was Larry the Hypocrite.


Larry sat at the bar as he waited for Gloria to call as he did every night that week. He hadn't spent more than a few minutes to pick up a new change of clothes in his apartment. He rubbed his head absent-mindedly as wild thoughts escaped. Could he undo the damage he had done? After all, no one had declared love. For as much as he loved every moment he spent with her, he knew it could go no further. There were too many people to destroy. To end things with Gloria would only hurt him and her. His chest ached at the thought of saying good-bye. In the back of his mind, he knew the day would come. As he stared into that very night, he felt sick and weak.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gloria closed her phone after listening to Jake’s voicemail. She had completely forgotten that he was coming to New York. That was before Larry showed up. Before he spent every night in her bed. Before the warm January day when they both donned baseball hats and sunglasses to stroll hand in hand in Central Park. Jake would be arriving from Morocco in a few days. She would have to tell him it was over. She had no idea where her ‘relationship’ with Larry was headed. But the last week had been amazing.

Larry drew in a deep breath with his palm pressed against her door. He felt like he could be sick at any moment. Gathering his strength, he knocked. Gloria leapt for the door. This was her most favorite time of day. She counted the minutes until she could be with him again.

“Hey,” he forced a smile.

She wrapped her arms around his neck. She kissed his collar bone. “Hey, I missed you.”

He held her to him tightly. “I missed you too.” He brushed the hair from her face – his eyes lingered on her smile. He leaned in to kiss her hungrily.

Her knees trembled. She laughed as he pulled away slowly. “I guess you did miss me. How was your day?”

He plopped down on her overstuffed sofa. “Well, we found a studio.”

“Really? Where?” she curled up beside him.

“It’s on the edge of Harlem. It’s a pretty decent size. For a brick building, it has amazing acoustics,” Larry rubbed his eyes.

“Long day?” she massaged his shoulder.

“You know it. Coming to agreement with all of us isn’t easy,” he said.

“When do you start recording?”

“In May sometime. We haven’t signed papers or worked out a schedule. We’re still working out financials. It should be sorted by early next week,” he glanced at her. “Then we go home.”

Her hand dropped. “Oh.”

Silence settled between them. Minutes seemed to stretch on for days. She searched for the right questions to ask.

“When do you come back?” her voice was small.

“Ehm, I don’t think until about May,” Nervously, he rubbed the back of his neck.

Her heart thundered in her chest. He was distant and distracted. Somehow, she knew the night wasn’t going to end with them falling into her bed.

“Something’s wrong,” she said.

He nodded slowly. “I don’t know where to start.”

“Just say it,” she sat rigidly.

“This week has been amazing,” he fiddled with his silver bracelet. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea to continue like we are.”

Gloria sat absolutely still. She wasn’t even sure if she was breathing.

He glanced at her. She wasn’t even looking at him. “I have my family to think about.”

She let out a short laugh. “Funny, you weren’t thinking about them last night.”

He deserved that. “I know. I’m a shit. It’s my fault for following you home that night. I couldn’t stay away. Maybe I needed closure or something.”

She glared at him. “You call the last week closure?”

He couldn’t sit still. He paced around her living room. “I’ve fucked this up something awful. I do care for you very deeply. But I can’t leave them. I can’t leave my family. And we can’t do this forever as much as I would love it. You deserve more, Gloria.”

He was right about that. It was true this week had been amazing and wonderful – but she wanted more. She did want this all the time.

“I can’t give it to you,” he said softly.

“Can’t or won’t?” she asked.

He looked out the window. The city was so much colder tonight. Across the way, he watched the coupe in the next building move around their apartment as they made dinner. They were probably married. Maybe they were planning a family. These were things Gloria wanted and things Larry could not give her.

“Both. Gloria, what do you want? In the future?” he turned to her.

“What do you mean?”

“Do want to be married with a family?” he asked.

She couldn’t believe this was happening. It was really over. Swallowing the cold lump in her throat, she nodded. “I do. I want a husband and one day, I want kids. Is that wrong to want that?”

“No, it’s not. It’s perfectly normal to want that,” he started to move towards her. “I can’t give it to you. I have three kids of my own. I’m 45 years old. I’m done. I have to take care of the family I have – with Ann.”

It hit her like a slap in the face. A part of her wanted to fight for him. Did he really still love Ann if he had been with her? All the feeling left her limbs.

“My family is an important part of me. I can’t destroy them,” he touched her arm. “And I can’t be what you need.”

She moved away. “What if I didn’t ask all of that from you?”

“I don’t want you to compromise for me. You’ll regret it,” he shoved his hands in his pockets. “I’m afraid that we’ve done enough damage to our friendship. If we keep going on….” His voice broke.

Gloria could see that this decision was difficult for him. Though she wanted to beg and plead, she didn’t want him to stay out of guilt. This wasn’t an easy situation. She wasn’t about to make it harder. Her heart ached. She loved him, she was sure of it. But all the love in the world wasn’t going to save them. She would have to move on. Forget the wonderful times they had together. She needed to forget the way her body responded to his touch. His touch wasn’t hers.

“You’re right,” her shoulders slumped.

“Am I?” She was taking it better than he expected.

She shrugged. “I knew it was too good to last long. We were on borrowed time. It was easy to just pick it up from where we left off because we never had this conversation. We’ve been avoiding it and living in our own little world because we both knew it wasn’t going to be forever.”

He longed to hold her and feel her body against him. As he stared at her, he chewed on his bottom lip until a salty taste filled his mouth.

“What now?” His voice was barely above a whisper.

“I think I should stay away for awhile,” she said. He nodded numbly. “It’s probably good that you’re leaving to go home in a few days.”

“What about us?” he asked.

She snorted. “Us? There is no ‘us’. That’s what we’ve decided, right?”

“Yeah, but you can’t stay away forever,” he said.

She rubbed her jaw. “I know. I’m sure we’ll get back to normal. One day, we won’t look at each other and think….well, you know. And maybe we’ll be friends again.”

Gloria wasn’t convinced at this moment. She figured that a part of her would always pine for him and hope that he would be everything she wanted him to be. I won’t cry in front of him, she told herself.

“I guess so,” he stared at his feet. “I’m so sorry, Gloria. I never wanted to hurt you. I shouldn’t have…”

“Shhh,” she said. She couldn’t hear anymore excuses or apologies. It was done. There was no looking back now.

They stood quiet staring into one another. Outside, the rain pelted the high windows. The city lights blurred against the rain.

“You should go,” she walked towards to the door.

He was afraid his life would never be right again once he stepped through the doorway. “Okay. I’ll see you…later?”

“Yeah….might be a few days,” she smiled weakly. “I’ll see you before you leave though.”

There was so much more he wanted to say before he slipped into the rain. He swallowed those words as she opened the door.

She struggled against tears. She just wanted him to leave. Looking at his beautiful face was torture. If he hugged her before walking out the door, she wouldn’t let go.

“Goodnight,” he nodded curtly as tears stung his eyes.

She collapsed against the door as she closed it behind him. Her heart felt as if it would explode out of her chest. Still, she refused to cry. This was always going to end like this. It was just a matter of time. Running her fingers through her hair, she busied herself lighting candles around the apartment to cover his scent. As the air filled with cinnamon and apples, she slipped out of her clothes and into a scalding hot shower. Her skin stung from the loofah sponge as she scrubbed every inch of body. She had to leave all of him behind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The week after Larry and Gloria ended their affair; dark clouds hung low over New York City. The early spring that graced the city the week before was just a memory. Larry’s mood matched the weather. He was quick to lose his temper. Adam had noticed that Gloria had not joined them for dinner in the last few nights. It was said that she was busy with work. Larry’s eyes darkened and he would take a bigger slug of his drink when her name was mentioned.

Gloria decided to forge ahead with her relationship with Jake. It was clear that there was no reason to hold onto Larry. She chalked it up to a brief moment in her life that filled her with joy. But she determined it didn’t mean she couldn’t love and be happy again.

After spending her week with Jake, Gloria had dinner with the band the night before they left in a small restaurant not far from Midtown around a long table. Larry was seated at one end with Adam, Andrew and Lydia. Gloria was happy to sit next to Bono. She asked questions about his current political projects and he was more than happy to give her every detail. It kept her eyes focused on him. She and Larry had greeted one another with guarded warmth when she entered the restaurant. Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes found him. A small smile rested on his lips as he listened to Lydia. His dark blue shirt hung open as it always did. It didn't matter how cold it was.

At the other end of the table, Larry was deep in conversation with Andrew about the upcoming tour. Andrew was delighted that the homebody was launching the discussion. Adam knew he was just avoiding Gloria. When Gloria’s voice carried to his end of the table, Larry lost concentration as he strained to hear her.

At eleven, Gloria stood. She glanced at her watch.

“You’re leaving so soon?” Bono cried.

“I have things to do. My work is never done,” she said. “I’ll see you in a few months.”

Bono collected her in big hug. “I’ll be back in few weeks.”

“Ah…like athlete’s foot,” she smiled.

She made her way round the table. Her stomach lurched as she reached Larry. His arms slid around her waist. She breathed him for the last time. He squeezed her tightly.

“Be good,” her voice was tight.

“Take care. We’ll see you in a few months,” his breath tickled her ear.

A shiver ran down her spine. She swallowed hard and moved away. “Have a great trip home guys.”

Larry watched her wind her way through the crowd. The door swung open and she was gone. He sighed heavily. Looking up, he saw Adam studying his face. Running his fingers through his hair, he motioned to the waitress.

“We’ll have another round,” he said reclaiming his seat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why Larry let Bono talk him into going out after dinner, he’ll never know. After all, he was tired and irritable. But there he was stepping out of the car and heading into an after-party. He followed the other three past the velvet rope. The door swung open and he stepped into the Saturday Night Live after show party. The retro bar wrapped the entire length of the club. Cherry red booths lined the other side. Bono disappeared into the crowd.

“That was quick,” Larry muttered.

“Might as well get a drink,” Edge said. “C’mon, it’s on me.”

Within moments, Edge was cornered by Seth Myers at the bar. Larry and Adam were now on their own. Adam ordered a seltzer and a beer for Larry.

“How long do you think we have to stay?” Larry asked.

Adam shrugged. “Not long. Bono will find his way home.”

“But will he make the plane?” he asked.

“Do you really care?” Adam smirked.

He laughed. “I guess not.”

Larry took a sip of his beer. The small trendy bar swam with actors, writers and SNL groupies. He hated these scenes. He spotted Bono across the bar with Darrell Hammond. Secretly, he sent him a chilly glare for dragging them here. He could be tossing and turning in his bed. Tomorrow night, he would be home with his family. This week in New York would just be a memory.

Bono had moved on to the guest star of the week, Jake. Their hands waved animatedly. Larry figured they were discussing world debt or green house issues. Jake reached behind him and wrapped his arms around a pretty blonde. The beer slipped through Larry’s fingers as Jake planted a kiss on Gloria’s lips. All eyes turned on him – including Gloria’s. He turned bright red as he retrieved the bottle from the floor. Part embarrassment and part anger. Two waitresses rushed over.

“I’m okay…it barely spilled,” he apologized.

Gloria’s blood ran cold. These two worlds were not supposed to converge. Not yet – at least. With a scowl, Larry disappeared towards the back of the bar. So that’s where she was spending her week, he thought. Was this the other guy she had been seeing? He ran a hand over his head. She certainly moved on quickly, he thought bitterly. Jealousy raged through him like a brush fire. He should just leave. Let her carry on with her new boyfriend. What did he care? He was thankful that he didn’t throw his life away for her. Yet, his feet would not carry him out of the club. He watched Jake lean close to her as she talked his ear. With a smile, he nodded as she gave his arm a squeeze. Her eyes focused on Larry as she walked over to him.

He turned away and placed his beer on the table in front of him.

“What are you doing here?” her voice was next to him.

“Bono dragged us here,” he couldn’t look at her.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you,” she said.

“That’s apparent,” his voice was thick with bitterness.

She shook her head. “Don’t start getting sanctimonious on me.”

“He’s ten years younger than you, you know.”

She glanced at him. “I know. What’s your point?”

He shrugged. “There’s no point.”

She cocked her head to the side. “Larry, with you there is always a point.”

He looked away. “He’s 20 years younger than me.” Suddenly, he felt sick.

She folded her arms in front of her. “Then I guess it’s good that you aren’t dating him.”

He bit his lip. “You are dating him then? This is the guy?”

She looked up at him. “Yes, it’s the guy.”

“Did you always know he was coming to town? Or was he in town all along?” He stripped the paper label off his beer.

Gloria shook her head. “He came in this week. I had planned to break it off before….” She glanced around. She wondered how this conversation looked to others. Did it look like a lover’s spat? She lowered her voice. “Before you ended things.”

Her words stung, but they were true. He took a deep breath. He couldn’t say what he wanted to say. Sure, she had every right to date who she wanted – 10 years younger or older.

“And actually, it’s 9years. He’s 26,” Gloria walked away. How did he dare breathe one word about Jake? After all, Larry told her that he had nothing to offer her. Of course she had to move on.

Larry’s eyes followed her as she rejoined the conversation with Jake and Bono. Jake’s eyes lit up as she touched his arm. Adam appeared beside Larry.

“It’s time to come clean with yourself,” Adam said simply as Larry stared after Gloria and Jake. “If you don’t, you’ll lose her.”

“It’s wrong. I’m with Ann,” Larry scowled at his behavior. He wasn’t surprised to hear Adam’s advice. He suspected that Adam knew.

“Sometimes it’s not black and white, Lar. You need to learn to live with the grey in life,” Adam said. “How fair are you being to Ann when you are clearly in love with Gloria?”

Larry didn’t know he was being that transparent. He glanced at Adam. “There are the kids.”

“I’m not telling you to dissolve your family quite yet. You need to talk to Gloria and see where she’s is in this,”

“She’s with Jake,” Larry sighed with exasperation.

“Is that what she really wants though? I beg to differ,” Adam nodded.

Larry wasn’t sure he had the strength to make a move so drastic. Once he took that step forward, it was admitting it to himself that he was in love in Gloria and had been for 5 years.

“It’s not that simple,” Larry rubbed his eyes with his fingers.

“I know that. It never is,” Adam said. “But can you go on like this? Watching her? Holding your breath when she’s near you?”

“It’s just better this way. It’s been discussed,” he said dismissively. He couldn’t watch them anymore. He wanted to go home. Suddenly, he couldn’t wait to see his kids.

Adam nodded. “So, you’re okay with this?” He motioned to Gloria and Jake.

Larry’s eyes darkened as Jake hand casually rested on the nape of her neck. “As okay as I can be about it. Look, it’s just not going to work. It’s something that happened.” Adam opened his mouth to speak. “Let it go.”

“Okay,” Adam shrugged. “Just think about what I said. Life’s too short to be unhappy.”

“I’m going home to my family tomorrow. That makes me happy,” he finished his beer.

Larry placed his beer on the table. He motioned to the bartender for another. Across the room, Edge was in conversation with the guitarist of the guest band. It was almost three in the morning and there was no sign of the party letting up. Taking a rather large gulp from his beer, his eyes turned to Gloria and Jake. With a cleansing breath, he headed in their direction. Gloria met his eyes and panic hit her face. He was a man with a mission and she was terrified to learn what it was.

“You’re still here?” Bono asked as Larry joined the circle.

“Yeah, but this is my last. We have a plane to catch tomorrow,” he said.

“Ah, home sweet home,” Bono nodded.

His eyes turned to Jake. “I don’t think we’ve met. Larry.”

Gloria swallowed hard. Larry’s gaze shifted to Gloria as Jake extended his hand. “No, we haven’t. I’m Jake. I’m a huge fan. I did see you in LA during the last tour but you weren’t at the after party.”

Bono chuckled. “He is rarely at them.”

“I usually had better things to do,” his gaze made Gloria flush. Why was he trying so hard to make her uncomfortable? She wondered.

“I’m sure Ann and the kids will be happy to have you back,” she volleyed back at him.

Larry nodded at her zing. This could get ugly very quickly. He bit his lip. “I’m sure they will be.”

Edge wandered over with a yawn. “Hey, I’ve had it. Who wants to share a taxi?”

Larry tilted his head back and finished his entire beer. “I’ll share one with you. It’s past my bedtime.” His eyes met Gloria’s, “Have a good night.”

She raised her eyebrow. “I will. Have a nice flight home.”

“I will,” he said pointedly.

Larry turned to walk out of the bar. His head swam with anger and hurt that it pounded. It was after three in the morning and any bed was calling him. He wanted to erase the image of Gloria and Jake from his mind. Larry glanced over his shoulder to see Jake slip his arm around Gloria’s shoulders and pull her close to him. It was simple. They were really over. Clearly, Gloria had moved on. He closed as his eyes as he sat beside Adam in the taxi.

“Don’t say anything,” he growled.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:25 AM   #2
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I don't know if I ever told you this, but I really like this story. Really.

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Old 09-16-2011, 05:57 AM   #3
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I love this story too.............can`t wait to see how it develops
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pamelakellett
I love this story too.............can`t wait to see how it develops
Did you ever read Mysterious Ways? I know Gloria wanders off your mark, but she regains your similar interest.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:14 PM   #5
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I have the strangest feeling I've read this before...
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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Crap, I've written it twice! You probably have read it before. I just changed the name because it was Abby. Since the whole piece was 48 pages, I decided to toss it up here.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Alright, that would be why. You know, I think I automatically translated her name into Grace because stuff like that happens all the time with writing.

I definitely remember that part about JT Bono. Those couple sentences of flashback to JT and the early 90s were probably my favorite short flashbacks of yours cause they were so effective...I mean, it's weirdly easy to picture 16 year old awkward 80s Gloria trying to interact with JT Bono...
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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Then you'll love Acrobat. It starts when Gloria's brother has her quit college to join Zoo TV. There will be some JT flashbacks.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:55 PM   #9
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Om nom nom. *excited*

I just wrote about JT and am writing ZooTV era now so Acrobat will get some writing empathy from me too.

I'd like to quit college to join ZooTV...heh. (Really I don't dare quit college because I want to improve my art so badly...)
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:11 PM   #10
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Loved this!!!!!!!!!!
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