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Old 05-23-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
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Innocent Experience - Chapter 3 (Part 1)

Note: Sorry it took me so long. Thank you for waiting. This is all fake, I only own the original characters. Lyrics by Bob Dylan. The chapter was too long and for some odd reason I couldn't post it as a whole, so I've decided to divide it into two parts.

Chapter 3 (Part 1)
"It's Not Dark Yet"


I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal.

Edge had been working for two months with Larry and Adam on the music for the only song left to record. Bono would just sit in the control room and listen. He wasn't sure he cared about the melody; he was struggling inside to find the perfect lyrics.

The daylight baked his eyelids before he entered the studio. Once inside, he plopped down on the couch. The whole room spun around him as people came and went. He heard babbling from across the hall. A drum kit being struck on the other side, and Edge's riff. It all echoed in his ears. The idea for the song was hanging in the air like the odor of the flower arrangement on the coffee table. Like the memory of a broken promise. It wouldn’t leave him. His mother was never far from his mind, but now especially, her memory invaded him. However, he always tried to repress sour memories.

He didn't even notice the sun setting on the horizon as he wrote down some lyrics. Reading them over, he grew frustrated. “That’s not what I’m looking for,” he thought as he scribbled all over the paper. All his drafts felt rough and empty. Meaningless. Another crumpled sheet of paper hit the wastebasket. His hand was growing numb from so much writing and crumpling. As Bono’s mind drifted away, he repeated the motions. Write. Read. Throw. The chain of events broke when someone’s hand rested on his shoulder.

“We better go now Bono,” Edge's voice stopped him. “You've been writing for hours.”

Bono sighed and pressed his palms to his eyes. Instead of spots, he saw letters dancing against his eyelids. He turned to face Edge, who felt a surge of pity for his friend. He knew Bono was struggling.

“Where're the others?” Bono asked.

“Waiting for us. Let's go for a pint and forget this damn album for a few hours.”

“You're right." He folded the last piece of paper he had written on before standing up and putting it in his pocket. “A pub crawl’s just what I need.”

Edge knew Bono was teasing. Smiling, he patted his friend’s back. “Just one, or you’ll end up crawling on all fours to your place.”

“I make no promises,” he grinned.

Edge’s hand rested on his friend’s shoulder as they made their way outside where Adam and Larry waited by the car.

*

The smell of beer and lit cigarettes in the pub filled Bono’s nose as he crossed the floor looking for a seat. Adam found one and waved at him while Larry and Edge ordered the drinks. Bono felt tempted to light a cigarette, drink a beer, and numb the pain inside him. He missed home. Going back in memories to his childhood in Dublin had opened a wound he carried from childhood, one that had never healed.

“We're almost done with our little demon,” Adam said, stretching his muscles.

“I'm not even sure that'll happen,” Bono replied. He searched for a carton of cigarettes and a lighter in his trousers pocket.

“Don't you give up; I know it's hard. But you want to do it, right?”

“Yeah. I guess. All I need is…”

“Two pints, a Jameson for you, and a virgin mojito for Adam.” Larry approached with a pint glass in each hand. Edge joined soon with the rest of the drinks. Sitting across from Bono, Edge handed him a glass.

“Here, mate. You need it.”

“Thanks,” he said.

A glass became two, and two became more, until Bono's mind was miles away from the album. He was glad Larry's hunting season was over, at least for the night.

Swear to God, I can’t put up with his shit any longer

While he ran for his life like a gray wolf, Larry chased after him with a rifle, ready to shoot. Bono knew Larry didn't do it on purpose, but he didn't agree either with his idea of encouragement. Little did Larry know how harmful Bono found his actions.

For now, they relaxed. The next two rounds were on the drummer. Bono laughed and joked, making fun of anything he saw. He'd lost count of the glasses he'd drunk. Larry and Edge had stopped drinking after the third pint. As the night wore on, patrons started to filter out.

“In the sheer face of love. Like the Times in a stall!” Bono tried to hum the lyrics to The Fly accurately, placing a hand over his heart and extending the other. “Wait, I think I've missed that one. How did it go, Reg? Ah… now- now I got it. It was a fly on the wall!”

Edge burst out laughing.

“I think that stuff went to his head big time,” Larry said, counting the glasses on the table

“Oh, shit,” Adam muttered as he covered his face in embarrassment.

Bono jumped in his seat when he felt his thigh buzzing. He pulled out his phone from his pocket. It was a text message from Jordan.

She's got your number. I asked her to call you as soon as she’s made her mind. Luv ya,” he read.

All of a sudden it was like he’d been given a freshly charged battery. His eyes lit up like the cigarette that he had just tossed in an ashtray as he read the message again.

She's got my number, he thought. He was drunk enough not to comprehend the meaning of the words he'd just read twice, but in his subconscious he knew it was good news. Very good news. It could change the direction of the album.

Edge noticed the sudden change of his friend's mood. Whatever he'd read, it had made him smile like he hadn't in days.

“Won the lotto, Bono?” he asked.

“Where was I?” Bono said, ignoring Edge’s ribbing. “Oh, I know. Let's rock this pub.” He rolled back his chair. But as he stood up, Larry pulled his arm and made him sit down again.

“Are you out of your mind? Let's get you home.”

“I'm fine. I'm not going anywhere, but onstage. I'm gonna sing karaoke.” He tried to stand up again but he stumbled against the chair.

“You're not fine,” Adam said. “I know you don’t give a shit about gossip columns, but at this point I think we have to go or you’ll make Page Six.”

Bono ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. Sleeping by himself in an empty apartment wasn’t exactly his idea of Heaven on Earth.

“Don’t worry,” Edge told Larry and Adam. “You go home and I’ll stay with him. I’ll make sure he gets home safe and sound.”

“Are you sure?” the drummer asked.

“We’ll be fine. Just like the good ol’ times. Go home, you guys, and get some rest. We’ll see you at the airport tomorrow,” he said. Bono leaned his head against the table.

“Yeah. Finally going home,” Larry sighed. “If only for two days.”

“I’m a great drinker, aren't I?” Bono said under his breath. Edge patted his back.

“I’ll call you tomorrow to make sure he’s okay,” Adam told Edge as he grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair.

“Okay. See you in the afternoon, then.”

As Adam and Larry made their way out of the pub, Edge went to the bar to get his friend a glass of water.

Bono's mind was loaded like a gun. He wanted to shoot someone. All the ideas running around in his brain, mixed with alcohol, made him feel like he had lit a Molotov cocktail in his head. When Edge spoke, his voice sounded distant to Bono’s ears.

“Bono...” Edge patted his back. “Bono, you have to drink this.”

“Go away, Reg,” Bono mumbled without raising his head.

“Listen to me, you have to drink the water. I'll take you home.”

“There's no home. I lost my home when my mother died.”

Edge's heart cracked. Time didn't heal all wounds. Some remained open through the years, ready to bleed any time. The stitches that had been holding together his friend's soul had been torn, thanks to the memories that their recording sessions dredged up. He tried to find the right words to say.

“You've got Ali, and your kids.”

“That's funny.” Bono raised his head. Edge wasn't as distant as he had thought; he was sitting right next to him. “I always used to be the busy one. Guess she found her own way, and now she's always somewhere else.”

“Let's go, Bono.”

Bono ignored his friend. “Now I know how she felt all these years. And now that I think about it...” He got closer to Edge’s ear and muttered, “I haven't had sex since my anniversary. But don't tell the guys, they'll laugh their heads off.”

Edge could only pat his friend’s back. He had nothing to say. Maybe it was just a phase that Bono and Ali would get through, as they always did. Edge always thought of them as the perfect couple. Maybe now that perfection had become a double-edged sword.


Bono really looked miserable. It had been a while since Edge saw his friend struggling like that, and being away from Ali was not helping. Two weeks wasn’t a long time without sex. But, for someone like Bono, feeling that connection with the woman he loved was essential.

No wonder he'd been very moody lately, Edge thought.

Bono folded his arms on the table, and rested his head on them again.

“It's really time to call it a night,” Edge said, moving his friend's arm. “Come on, Bono.”

Finally, Bono relented. “I'm bloody knackered. I wanna go,” he muttered into his forearms. “I wanna sleep for a whole year. Would- Would you mind walking me home? I might lose my keys... or myself if I go alone.”

“Come on, mate!” Edge stood up and helped him get on his feet. Bono wrapped an arm around Edge’s shoulders to steady himself. Together they stumbled out of the pub.

*

Crossing the threshold of the apartment’s front door, Edge heard Bono mumble something about someone else's drawings and the tour. He didn’t pay much attention. It was probably just the alcohol speaking. Once in the bathroom, he helped Bono get rid of his clothes, and got him into the shower. After making sure that his friend could handle taking a shower on his own, Edge went to the kitchen to make a sandwich.

“…What the hell?!” he cursed, looking inside the fridge.

Making a sandwich had never been easier before. It was not as if Bono went out for groceries often. Fortunately, he at least had the necessity ingredients. Now Edge had to find something for his friend to drink.

Milk! There was a bottle of milk right at the bottom. It was half empty, but it would do. He poured some in a glass, and walked to the bathroom to make sure Bono was okay. He found him still awake, lying naked on the bed.

“Hey!"

"I'm knackered." The statement came out as a plaintive excuse, one eye cracked open to give Edge a dark stare.

"Get yourself dressed and come to the kitchen,” Edge demanded. He grabbed some clothes that hung from the knob, and tossed them to Bono. “Then you can get some sleep.”

When he turned to go back to the kitchen, an object on the vanity drew his attention. It looked like a sketch. He grabbed the sheet and gave it a once-over. Although it wasn't finished, it spoke to Edge.

Edge shivered, taken back to his days as a teenager in Dublin. He found himself staring at the same bare street he'd walked down with his brother on their way to Larry Mullen's house. If the drawing didn’t show that very street, it looked eerily similar. There were no colors added yet, and the pencil strokes were very light in some parts. Had Bono drawn it? It didn't look like Bono's style. There was a portfolio on the vanity as well, but he didn't have time to look through it. He glanced behind, and saw Bono still on the bed. He had attempted to put on his shorts, but he had left one of his legs out. Rolling his eyes and snorting, Edge helped him get dressed.

“I'm okay,” Bono breathed as he stood up with Edge's help. “I'm a tough Irishman.”

Edge was sure he wasn't okay, but he seemed more conscious of what was going on. At least he wasn’t plastered. Maybe Edge could persuade him to eat the sandwich and drink the milk.

At the table, he didn’t have to ask Bono twice to eat. He gobbled up every bite of the sandwich, and gulped it down with the milk.

“I thought you were piss-drunk,” Edge said.

“I’m conscious, but I feel like shit." His bloodshot eyes spoke for themselves.

“Bono, you really need some sleep.”

“Yes, I’m gonna do that.”

“I’ll sleep on the couch, in case you need me. Morleigh’s in California with the kids. I’m sure I won’t be missed.”

“There’s a guest room, you know?”

“That’ll do. See you in the morning.”

“Sleep tight.”

Bono stood up and walked to the stairs.

“Uhm, Bono…” Edge called out before he lost sight of his friend. “Would you mind letting me get a better look to the drawings on your vanity?”

“Sure, go ahead,” Bono answered, taking the stairs. Somewhere in the back of his mind he was curious about what had made Edge want to see those drawings, but he was too tired to care at the moment. “I’ll leave the portfolio in the guest room before I pass out.”

Bono chuckled.

His last words sounded very distant to Edge. He leant back on the chair and closed his eyes. He could almost feel the air grazing his face as he and his brother ran on their way to Larry Mullen’s house in Artane.

He could never forget the feeling of his fingers caressing the strings of his Gibson Explorer; the way he made it whisper and moan with every touch. After all this time, he still thought of his guitars as women he had to be very gentle to. Then, out of the blue, his ex-wife came to his mind. He hadn’t thought about Aislinn in a long time. He wondered what would have been if they hadn’t gotten divorced.

But why was he thinking about that? If they hadn’t gotten divorced, he and Morleigh wouldn’t be together, not to mention Sian and Levi, his younger children. He certainly couldn’t face a life without them.

“Enough!” Edge told himself, opening his eyes. Apparently Bono wasn’t the only one going back to his youth lately. He wasn’t sure whether to blame the drawings or not. Turning off the lights, he went upstairs. He was dying to discover more surprises inside the black portfolio.

*

“Good morning, sleepyhead.” Brian’s voice was Florence’s alarm call. She didn’t want to wake up from the best dream she had had in months. As he kissed her lips, she slowly opened her eyes.

“Hey,” she said softly, stretching her arms and legs. The sheets felt cool to her touch. “What time is it?”

“Lunch time,” Brian responded, looking at his watch. "Aren't you hungry?"

“Shit! I hate sleeping in.”

“You were smiling." He raised an eyebrow. "Wanna share your dream?”

“It was… odd. Seems my nightmares have gone away.”

“That's good. What about the old couch?”

Florence shook her head, and sat upright.

“Four nights in a row and I still don't miss it. How about that?” Smiling, she kissed him.

“Didn't miss me either, did you?” He smiled.

“I did, babe. But I’m glad the nightmares are over…” Truth be told, she was surprised too. She tried to make a connection. The nightmares had been coming for years. How come they had faded away last night? “And I forgot to take my pills. That’s weird.”

“You had a good dream without your pills, right? No need to worry, then.”

“But... Brian, I’ve been thinking about my mother lately. Every time I think about her, my nightmares just get worse, but now… I don’t know. It’s really weird.”

“Enough of weird things, Flo.” Brian said gently.“You’re moving on.”

Florence let out a humorless, breathy chuckle. “With a past like mine, moving on isn’t very easy. It just isn’t. But, like you said, enough of weird things. I'm gonna shower.”

Getting up, she walked to the bathroom.

Brian remained sitting on the bed. He stared over at the picture of the two of them on Florence’s bedside table. It was the first picture taken of them together. Her hair had been dyed black back then, and her amber eyes shone with excitement. His arms were wrapped around her waist, and he was whispering something to her. Brian couldn’t remember what he had said, but he remembered her words in response. I love you. The first time she had said those words to him, and the feeling was mutual. He hadn’t hesitated when he said them in return. Three words that felt like honey on his tongue.

"I worked on something last night."

Brian’s thoughts dissipated as he heard Florence speak. Her voice mingled with the water.

"Is it that drawing on your board?"

"Yes. Do you like it? I got a job offer yesterday, and I think that's what they're looking for." She decided not to reveal the name of the employers. It was too early to throw big names around when she hadn’t made up her mind yet."I haven't made up my mind yet, but something went on last night and I found myself really inspired."

Brian walked to the bathroom, and stood up by the door. Looking at her silhouette through the shower curtain, he chose his words carefully

"I did see it. Uhm, are you sure about that? I think it's too much."

"What?" She turned the tap off, sliding the curtain back to meet his gaze. "Too much? What do you mean?"

"I mean-- why do you think they'll like the idea of a young boy who's about to jump from a window?"

"It's just..."

"Besides, I think you could have chosen a different technique. And a different perspective, that angle is overused. But it's okay; if you think it'll do, then go for it."

Florence's mind was working at full speed. She hadn’t created anything worthy in months. What made her think this was a good idea?

I shouldn't have drawn anything.

With a slight cluck of irritation, Brian pushed the thought of Florence’s work aside."I got a job offer too. A really good one," he said. "It's..."

Before he could finish, the sound of his cellphone cut him in mid-sentence. Pulling it out of his pocket, he looked at the screen.

"Neil," he muttered.

"Something wrong?" She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her body.

"I gotta go back to work."

"Again?" she said, walking towards him.

"Jack White. Heather's been trying to track him down for an interview. Seems like she finally caught him by the heel."

"Brian, this is the fourth time this week." They both reached the bedroom again.

"I really have to go, love."

Love. Someone else’s face flashed across her mind when she heard that word. She looked past Brian, and spotted her cellphone on the bedside table. Should she give Bono a call? A mild sense of guilt rose in Florence as she realized she didn’t care that Brian had to go back to the magazine. But it was tempered by excitement. She could spend the day listening to U2. She was interested in the stories Bono had to tell, and although she didn't know if it was a good idea, she couldn’t wait a minute longer to paint them.

“Okay. I have to go over to a client’s in the afternoon, so I’ll be a bit busy too.” She lied.

“See you tonight. I’ll make up for this, I promise.”

“You better,” she said, smiling as he kissed her goodbye.

(To be continued...)
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:15 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting. Well worth the wait. I wonder why so many fan fiction authors seem to think could be a jerk.

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Old 05-28-2016, 11:38 PM   #3
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That would be "think that Larry could be a jerk."

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Old 05-30-2016, 07:26 AM   #4
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Hahahha, I don't think he is a jerk, I just think he has a different point of view, an interesting one, everything is so black and white for him, so, I assume he has his feet on the ground, which leads him to be more practical. Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad you think it was worth the wait.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:38 PM   #5
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Some of the formatting got effed up... specially when Florence thinks she souldn't have drawn anything, That should be in italics. Argh!!
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