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Old 06-05-2012, 05:23 PM   #1
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In the Stillness of the Evening

So. Here's a new installment. I promise I'll read the new chapters that are posted here soon. Feedback about writing and whatnot is appreciated, but you don't have to give any.

 

Sidenote- Kelly's character makes sense, I think, if you read a certain poem by Keats. "La belle-dame sans merci hath thee in thrall!" I'm working on her, though.


Retiring to her hotel room in Turin, Kelly changed into a tank top and sweatpants, sat down on the bed, and began to take notes in her notepad. So it was true- Adam was besotted with her. Kelly had seen it in his eyes and felt it in his body. She knew what she needed to do now.
Adam was in love with Kelly, like so many other people she knew. She would tempt him, beguile him with the promise of forbidden love. What celebrity- what human- could resist that? Then, when the timing was right, she would come out with the “story.” She would play the victim and let the press know how abusively Adam had treated her all this time, how he had bossed his bandmates around and had multiple affairs while still dating her. It didn’t take a genius to think of it.
But first, Kelly needed some credit to her name, something that would make Adam see in her in a better light. All he knew about her was that she had written a very insulting interview about Bono and published it in the news. Sure, Adam hadn’t mentioned it since that first day, but then again, Kelly hadn’t known him for long. She figured she needed a fresh start.
There was really only one way to do it- pretend to be a U2 fan. If Kelly got acquainted with every album and song, she would at the very least have something to talk to Adam about. A good conversation starter and a common interest worked wonders on gaining the trust of others. And she could redeem herself by this fan pretense- how about saying she had been a bit shocked over meeting her hero, Bono, and let things get out of hand for the interview?
Kelly could hear her voice now- I’m sorry, I just wanted to talk to him…
A cold, hard smile grew on Kelly’s face. With luck, this second offense towards U2 might even be enough to crumble them under the weight of scornful tongues and media criticism. Many rock musicians had fallen in such a way.
But first, there was the music.

Having lived in Ireland for most of her life, it was a surprise that Kelly had never listened to any of U2’s music. This was a conscious decision. She didn’t want to hear them. Kelly had taught herself to despise anything famous and mainstream, such as U2’s music, and restrained herself to indie artists if she had to listen to music at all.
It wasn’t going to be hard to find someone who could loan her a few albums. Kelly refused to ask the inquisitive man who had offered to go to Turin with her- she didn’t want to give him a wrong impression. Instead she went to her dealer. Every hardworking woman needed one, Kelly had always thought. Whenever she wanted something unattainable at the moment, the first place to go was to her dealer. If he didn’t provide her with the item in question, no one else could. Her latest dealer took particularly to her liking, as he didn’t ask her for personal details. She didn’t even know his full name, and he didn’t know hers, which suited them both just fine.
After Kelly’s flight home and recovery from her time in Turin, she drove herself to the large gray building where her dealer worked. One ring at the front desk was all she needed to be whisked up into the man’s office, where he stood staring at her, arms behind his back.
“What do you need, Kels?”
“I need U2 albums, Jeff,” she addressed him. “All kinds. Every fucking studio release they’ve ever put out.”
Jeff smiled- he enjoyed it when Kelly used expletives, and she knew it. In fact, the dirtier her language, the more likely it was that he would produce her needs. “That’s a struggle, chica. Are you looking for compilations too?”
“Oh, who the hell needs compilations? They’re a waste of precious listening hours and money. I just need U2 albums, plain and straight.”
“Okay.” Jeff scratched his chin. “Be sure to expect the package by tomorrow.”
Kelly snorted. Tomorrow- that was later than he usually sent them. She might need to look into a new, faster employee.
At home, Kelly caught up the best she could on the work she’d missed from her time off. It wasn’t that much, which was good- her boss walked on eggshells in attempts not to anger Kelly. Being the terror of the office did have its benefits.

The requested U2 albums appeared, just as Jeff had promised, on Kelly’s doorstep the next day as she pulled into the driveway, home from work. She glanced at her wristwatch. He’d promised to get them to her at 5:00 sharp. It was 5:01. Apparently he doesn’t understand what “on the double” means, Kelly grimaced, lifting up the box they were contained in and hauling it inside.
Once indoors, Kelly ate dinner silently, accompanied by the ticking of the clock on her wall and on her wrist. She then went over to the divan and set the box of U2 albums on it. Reaching in, her fingers came into contact with several chilled plastic CD cases. Kelly pulled them out and counted. There were ten in all.
Kelly started her off night of listening with the most recent U2 album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Her mild interest was smothered as she heard the first ringing track. ‘Beautiful Day’ had been played all over the radio, and it irritated Kelly so badly that she wanted to turn it off. But if she did, she would never be able to tell Adam that she loved his current work, for if he asked he would discover that she knew not one title.
Her neutrality grew until it encompassed all of her. All That You Can’t Leave Behind was honestly the worst mix of pop music that Kelly had ever heard. She thought of punting the disc out the window when it was done.
Then onto Pop- Kelly’s distaste was barely disguised as she glanced at the cover. U2 was obviously trying to do that Andy Warhol thing, and it was failing. Kelly popped Pop in and considered preparing some edamame.
However, as she rooted around in her refrigerator and ‘Discotheque’ blared, Kelly found herself- heaven forbid- wanting to dance. She shut that feeling out- far out, behind her mental wall. But it still persisted in the back of her mind. Kelly finally sunk into the journalist part of her brain, the unfeeling part that was only designed to ask questions. Forget personal opinions. Kelly was doing what she’d been trained to do all her life.
Zooropa was a major blast from the past- a wacky record from the 90’s that Kelly wondered why anyone would have bought. Achtung Baby, however, was a completely different story. Dammit, Kelly found herself thinking as she listened, I’m not supposed to let my feelings get in the way. But she couldn’t help it. And though Kelly hated to admit this, Achtung Baby was purely brilliant. She remembered words she’d scanned mindlessly on the @U2 forum, words about U2’s first 90’s album. Achtung Baby is a masterpiece. She had never thought she’d believe them.
The Joshua Tree, the album that got U2 famous in the first place, was a typical soft rock record, but for Kelly something was missing. The Unforgettable Fire was a nice ambient album- and yet, it still lacked that certain something. Growing aware that she was dangerously close to having an opinion, Kelly hurriedly put on War. She took a look at her wristwatch- it was very late. Kelly considered going to bed, but knew that her obligations to U2- no, Adam- were more important.
So she regressed through the ages, listening to U2 grow increasingly post-punk, until there was nothing more to play. Then Kelly took out their first album, Boy, and let her hand move back to Achtung Baby. Hearing it just one more time couldn’t hurt anything. If anything, it would only strengthen her neutral position.
But this proved to be a mistake.
The very first sound- the opening riff of ‘Zoo Station’- brought Kelly to her knees as if a sword had been forced through her chest. She crumpled on the floor, groaning as the music continued, battering her with its godliness. She expected things to get better by the next song, but it only got worse. Kelly lay on her back, disheveled and lacking dignity, and listened so intensely, craved so violently, that it physically hurt her. Her eyes whirled- Fuck U2. Fuck Achtung Baby.- and her heart pounded to a strange rhythm as her world became a blur of Technicolor sound.

As soon as U2 arrived in Zurich, Adam slipped downstairs and asked for permission to use the hotel’s computer. A few minutes later he was seated in a back room, pulling up Internet Explorer and wondering about Kelly Laughter. Her brief visit backstage in Turin had left him with some unanswered questions. Why had she come there? Did she really like Adam? And- who exactly was she?
Adam could count what he knew about Kelly on the fingers of one hand. She was a journalist, she was Welsh, she had interviewed Bono once, and she was deadly and dangerous. The last was only an educated guess. Clearly Adam needed to dig up more information on this woman before deciding she was the one for him. Her appearance in Turin had been unsettling and disjointing. It had given Adam a dose of reality.
Surfing the ‘Net wasn’t too hard. All Adam had to do was type Kelly’s name into a search engine and see what came up. After a bit of refined searches, he finally found what he was looking for- the Irish Times’ website. Every article that had been published in it was posted on the website. And, as Adam could see, the interview with Bono was still going strong.
He clicked on the interview and skipped reading it to go to the author’s profile. All it said about Kelly Laughter was that she had been born in Wales, currently lived alone in Dublin and enjoyed fitness and bodily health, after giving a list of articles that she had also written. Adam’s heart leapt into his mouth. He clicked on the first link to an article and began reading profusely.
It soon became clear, to Adam’s shock, that this interview with Bono was not the first of its kind. Kelly had interviewed many big shots before- and in each one of her articles, the celebrity being interviewed revealed a shocking side of his-/herself that the public- or certainly Adam- had never known. Apparently, that fame was momentary, as the celebrity in question would refute the rumors quickly. But it had definitely made a lasting impression on Kelly’s work. Was she known for this kind of reputation-destroying stuff? Clicking around a little more, Adam began to question his love for Kelly.

U2’s first show in Zurich went off well. The stagelights burned bright, warming up the summer night’s air, and Adam kept time with his bandmates, staring into the faces of the crowd. He lost himself as Bono sang ‘New York’.
“In the stillness of the evening
When the sun has had its day
I hear your voice whispering-
‘Come away, now.’
New York…”
By the time the concert had finished, the sun had definitely had its day. U2 returned to their hotel, and took places at the bar downstairs. Adam was tempted to stay up with his bandmates, but instead he opted to retire early. Once he was gone, certain members of U2 conferred about his absence. “The same thing happened in Paris,” Larry informed Bono. “He didn’t want to hang out after the show, just turned himself into bed early. He said he wasn’t much for parties and left.”
Bono laughed. “And you’re worried about that? Adam is the oldest one of us, and he’s mellowed out at an early age. Why shouldn’t he want to stay in bed?”
“It’s just a bit odd…” Larry persisted. Despite having been in a band with him for many years, he often found it hard to read Adam’s mind, and was dying now to find out if he had a problem. Of course, he ignored the fact that if it was Adam who was wondering about Larry, he himself would close up and not tell him any details.
“What’s odd, Lar? We’re not living on the-“ Bono scanned the bar for Edge, and finished his sentence- “We’re not living on the edge anymore. This is not the PopMart Tour, or even Zoo TV- this is Elevation. We’ve all come out of that with a new maturity, and if Adam doesn’t want to party hard anymore- well, it’s his decision.”
Larry left Bono waxing eloquent over his beer and went to see what Edge was up to.

Don’t call her. Don’t call her. Don’t call her.
When Adam was attracted to a woman, it was not in his nature to bug her constantly. He would stand back for days, trying to be himself and yet feeling afraid that he might offend her in some way. If it hadn’t been for Bono, Adam would have never gotten to date Naomi Campbell- a mistake and a blessing at the same time. Adam had sworn after that to make his own advances on women, instead of letting Bono play the matchmaker. But he still could not get past his shyness.
So why- WHY- was Adam growing so bold now, with Kelly? Another pace of the room led Adam to believe that he would never get the image of her face out of his head. He took a glance at the telephone, yet again. Oh, Kelly… Many a time Adam had been afraid to call a woman on the phone, and now here he was, forcibly restraining himself from doing that very thing.
Finally, Adam took his glasses off- there, now he couldn’t even see which numbers he was punching in. But Kelly’s home phone number ran around his head. It chased away other thoughts like a big black dog chasing a ball. Adam breathed deeply, thinking. He couldn’t call Kelly again- besides, she might not be home after traveling to Turin.
Adam lay back with his head on the pillow, trying to relax- and suddenly it came to him. Kelly might not give him information about herself, and the Internet was insignificant, though Adam was dying for more info. But he knew of one place where they might give him what he wanted- the front office of the Irish newspaper. Adam still had their number, written down somewhere after scouring the phone book for Kelly’s name. Perhaps he could get someone on the line who would be willing to divulge all secret information about Kelly Laughter, journalist.
But first, Adam would have to wait for tomorrow… It was too late to call anyone tonight.

As the ‘morrow hit, Adam was awake with wide eyes and a light heart. He knew what he was doing was wrong- but that didn’t get rid of the allure. In fact, it only added much more attraction. Adam was going behind his bandmates’ backs to chase a beautiful woman, no matter who she was or what she had done. And that was all right with him.
The receptionist answered on the third ring, rather than promptly. “Hello?”
“Hello.” Adam recognized the receptionist’s voice from the time when he had visited the newspaper’s offices. He hoped she would recognize him…
“What can I do for you, sir? What’s your name?”
“Madam, I’m Adam.” He cringed immediately at the palindrome. “I mean, my name is Adam Clayton. I’m looking for information about one of your journalists…”
“You’re not the same man who came to our offices earlier this month?”
“Actually, yes, I’m the very same.”
“The U2 bassist?”
“Yes. Can you do something for me, ma’am?”
“Of course, sir… Adam.” Adam gave no indication that he had heard the last word. “That’s good. All I need is information on Kelly Laughter- the journalist I spoke to the last time I visited your offices. Tell me anything about her- anything at all.”
“Anything?” The receptionist sighed. “Sir, do you want me to lose my job?”
“What, is the gossip that bad?”
“No, it’s not like that.” She sounded annoyed. “It’s like this- I stay on the line with you so long that I can’t take any more calls- calls that might be important. Do you have any professional reasons for needing this information?”
Adam almost told the woman that this was a matter of personal interest, but he knew that would sound too embarrassing. Instead he said, “You know that she wrote a horrible article on Bono a few weeks back? Well, I’m trying to get her out of a job.”
The receptionist didn’t ask Adam why he, the bassist, was the one undertaking this role, instead saying, “Good luck with that. Every year we expect Kelly to leave our place, and she never does. She makes this office miserable, that’s for sure.”
Adam leaned into the phone excitedly. “What’s she like?”
The receptionist let out another breath. “If she heard me in here she’d kill me… Well. Around here we call Kelly ‘the laughless Laughter’ because she’s so stone-cold. She doesn’t seem to care about anyone’s well-being except her own.”
Adam frowned. “She’s cruel to you?”
“No, not cruel, just… cold. She doesn’t show emotion or take anyone’s into account. It’s very frustrating! And yet they say that she’s had affairs with all the men in the office.”
Adam’s frown grew even deeper, and his heart sank. “So she’s a-“ He couldn’t bring himself to say the filthy word. The receptionist laughed. “I know what you mean. Of course, this is all just a rumor, but apparently she’s performed the walk of shame so many times she’s not ashamed of it anymore.”
“Was she a prostitute once?”
“How should I know? They only say she’s had sex with pretty much every guy in Dublin. Listen, Adam, I don’t think you want anything to do with her. She’ll send your reputation tumbling down just like she did to your dear mate Bono.”
“Why does she still have a job, then, if the interview was indicative of her previous work?” Adam asked, ignoring the receptionist’s warning. He suddenly wondered why he hadn’t wondered that before.
“Well… to tell the truth, she’s what in a school would be called a ‘teacher’s pet.’ The editor can’t let her go because despite her unprofessional behavior, everything else Kelly writes is spot-on. And besides that, she is extremely favored by her boss.”
Adam, breathless, opened his mouth to say something- anything- but at once the receptionist’s tone changed. “God, why am I telling you all this office gossip? I should be getting to work- and you should too.”
“All right…” Adam mumbled. “Thank you for the information. I’m sorry for taking up your time.”
“I’m sorry for taking up yours. Have a good day.”
Adam hung up the phone and stared at it sadly. Reality had poured a cold bucket of water over his head. Kelly was more than just a danger to his reputation. She was more than a snapshot by the paparazzi, more than an object to be mocked and hated by U2 fans across the world. Instead, Kelly was a manipulator. That Adam could tell. He was now afraid of being used by her. From the way the receptionist described it, Kelly seemed to use men as tools to boost her career. From what Adam had read online, she thought of celebrities in the same way.
Adam looked towards the door longingly. Maybe he should stop thinking about Kelly so much and just try to relax with his friends. This obsessing over something he couldn’t have was not good for him at all. He’d only met Kelly a smattering of times, and now he thought she was the perfect woman for him. But quite clearly, she wasn’t. Adam took a deep breath and opened the door.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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After this, if anybody's out there, would you prefer 1. a new chapter or 2. a one-chapter-long fic I wrote a while ago, just for fun? I'm debating on if I should post anything or not.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSilkenSky View Post
After this, if anybody's out there, would you prefer 1. a new chapter or 2. a one-chapter-long fic I wrote a while ago, just for fun? I'm debating on if I should post anything or not.
We have to choose?!?





(love this new chapter.... Kelly is turning out to be a real wench. I feel so bad for Adam. *wants to hug him now, which in an entirely new feeling for her*)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
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Yeah, I don't want to clutter up this section if I post both at once...

And that means I've succeeded in doing what I meant to do! I wrote this story with Kelly as the antagonist, but now I'm thinking of rewriting the next chapters with a different take and seeing how that goes... hmmm. This one turned out a little different in the revision.

BTW, this is chapter 7. I forgot to label it...
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adam, bono, elevation tour, journalism, kels, la belle-dame sans merci

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