Mysterious Ways - Chapter 19 - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:46 PM   #1
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Mysterious Ways - Chapter 19

This was a bear to write. I was going along okay, then just spun out. So I apologize if it feels rushed or uneven. It leads to the next big scene so sometimes those linking or pathway scenes are not as easy to get out.

THis is fiction based on history. I hope you enjoy. I'm going on vacation soon, so I'm trying to get as much out as possible since it will be a good week before I can give anything new.

Gloria’s phone rattled on top of her desk. Concentrating on the screenplay before her, she jumped out of her skin. She glanced at the screen and smiled. “I was wondering how long it would take you to call.”

“I had no idea when you got into town,” Billy said. “I thought you had been kidnapped for good.”

“Nope, I’ve been here for a few days now. Are you in town?” she asked.

“I am. Wanna grab lunch?” he asked.

She rubbed her eyes. She had been reading this screenplay for at least 2 hours. “I would like to get lunch. Do you want to come here or meet somewhere?”

“I’ll go there. We can walk some place close,” he said. “It’s a nice day.”

Gloria swiveled around in her chair. It was a beautiful day. The sky was deep blue with an occasional cloud. She watched the palm trees sway in the wind. Yes, Los Angeles was lovely this time of year, and nice escape from the ensuing chill of New York. Plus, the Hewsons were not here. When Andrew asked her to come out to meet some clients, she did not hesitate. She did not have to worry about running into them or Bono. Once again, she was running away. She had to admit to herself as she boarded the plane the same day Bono’s was due to land. One week away was torturous and not long enough. If they could have fallen into each other’s arms, it would be one thing. But she would have to be near him with her family surrounding her - and his gathered around him. She couldn’t stand there and see the longing in his eyes. Or what if he saw Ali and regretted every second he spent with Gloria? What if she had to witness their love rekindling in front of her? So, she ran to the west coast. The sunshine lifted her gray mood. She dug her feet in the sand and ran in the cool mornings. At night, red carpet premieres kept her busy. She took meetings with Luke Wilson and Sheryl Crow. And for a moment, she was able to forget all she left behind.

Billy knocked on her doorway. He was still good looking as ever. If he hadn’t been such a wounded soul, perhaps they could have made it work. He whistled when he looked at her. She laughed and rolled her eyes.

“Do you get better looking every time I see?” he asked.

“Shut up,” she blushed a little and gave him a friendly hug. “Where’s your girlfriend?”

He winked. “Who cares?”

“Stop,” she grabbed her bag. “Seriously, are you and Jessica still together?”

He nodded. “Yes, still going strong. Of course, one word from you and it’s all over.”

“Is this going to be our entire lunch?” she asked as they walked to the elevator.

“I’m just joking. Things are going well and of course, you know me, I’m waiting for me to fuck it up,” he said.

“Well, don’t be you and you won’t,” she smiled.

“How about you? How was the tour?” she noted a level of acidity in his voice. After all, it was his jealousy over Larry that messed up their last chance at love. 

“It was busy. You know, I wasn’t really prepared for it,” she slipped on her sunglasses to shield her eyes. Billy would know something was up. He’d think it was Larry, and he’d be wrong.

“How was Sullen McMullen?” he asked as they walked along the street.

“Occupied. He was always taking off for home. He didn’t say why, but he was kind of an ass,” she shrugged.

“Really?” This pleased Billy.

To make things easier for herself, she exaggerated Larry’s behavior and left out his bizarre turn around the finals days of the tour. Billy had a way of being jealous of everyone - past and present. He had been so full of himself when he first met Bono, declaring in his mind that HE was the one that stole her away from the mega-pop star. Sometimes, it was just easier to let Billy live in his own legend.

“Is it true that you are going to Australia with them?” he asked.

“Don’t remind me,” she groaned. “Andrew thought I was the best candidate for that since I did this tour and I don’t have kids and I’m not married.” Billy frowned in confusion. “We’re away over Thanksgiving. I was the expendable family member.”

“Oh....” he said.

Lunch was pleasant enough. He toned down his supposed advances. He talked about the new screenplay he was working on and he wanted her opinion. They did talk about Jessica, but it was clear he wanted to keep his true thoughts to himself. She wished she could have talked to him about Bono. She longed to talk someone about it. She wished that she had a best friend who wouldn’t judge or know all the parties involved. Gloria walked back to the office feeling not too bad. Her mind had been occupied for the last few hours. She had dinner plans with a client tonight. Tomorrow was an all day session at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a press junket. It was a long day being trapped inside listening to the same questions from 15 different interviewers. But she wouldn’t have to think about him or how much she ached for him.

Bono tried. He went to Ali with open arms and heart. He tossed himself completely in the middle of the family. Walks in Central Park. He took the boys to school. He and Ali hosted dinner parties with their famous friends. He laughed and joked. He wrote late into the night. The fortunate thing about being with one person for decades is that sex takes the last seat on the bus of life. They were so busy that by the time they hit the sheets one or both were asleep before a sweet nothing could be uttered. It was strange relief to Bono. A part of him wanted to be with Ali to rejoin their marriage and save the part of his heart she still owned. But he was just as glad to be warm with his memories of Gloria. As he walked the streets, he stared down every runner passing him. Was it her? He called Andrew to ‘chat’ but could not muster the courage to inquire about her. He had given himself four days before he would see her. And on the morning of the fifth day that he was home, he woke with a sense of purpose. Sure, he was meeting Edge at the theatre to watch rehearsal. Before he did, he was stopping by Andrew and Gloria’s office for ‘an impromptu’ visit.

He chose his clothes carefully. That purple shirt had not seen the light of day in about a year. He looked for his slimming jeans. It was chilly cloudy day, so he wrapped his favorite scarf around his neck. No one was home when he left. Ali had taken the boys to school then would be lunching with important friends. He smirked. He remembered when she had lunch instead of lunching. She was down to earth, but her new life had changed her a bit too. With his head high, he whistled walking the streets of New York. He received a few double takes. Most people left him alone - not expecting to see him so casually out for a stroll. Butterflies fluttered inside him as he drew closer to her office. Pausing in front of a window, he checked his hair. The tour hairdresser always managed to perfect the messy spiky look much better than he did. Today, he didn’t do too bad. In the elevator, he shifted his weight nervously. It had been over week since he had seen her. They had only one phone call between them since parting. How would she be?

As he walked through the doors of the bustling press agency, eyes turned towards him. They had seen it all when it came to celebrity. Andrew’s assistant, Cindy, gave him a warm smile. “Mr. Hewson, nice to see you.”

“Cindy, you know I’m Bono,” he took her hand between his.

“I know Mr. Hewson,” she was Southern and polite to a fault.

His eyes scanned the office for her. “Is Andrew in?”

“Absolutely, he’s not on a call. Would you like me to introduce you?” she asked.

“No, I’ll see myself in,” he said.

Andrew was reclined in his chair with he feet up on the desk. His attention was focused on one of his many TV screens.

“Oi,” Bono called from the doorway.

Andrew smiled. “Hello, you sunovabitch.”

For a moment, Bono felt ill. He sometimes forgot that Gloria was his sister. His little sister. And Andrew could be very protective when he wanted to be.

Bono sat sheepishly on the couch of his suite. Andrew had walked in to his room with a controlled anger. Bono and Gloria’s affair was not a shock. He had his suspicions. And he felt like a shitty brother for turning his head for the good of the tour. But when Gloria begged him to finish this tour, he knew things had gone too far. Andrew arrived within hours of Gloria’s departure.

“If you respect our friendship and business partnership, you will not contact her,” Andrew said sternly as he stood over the destroyed singer. “Don’t follow her or call her.”

Bono could only nod numbly. He was filled with hurt and shame. There was no way to apologize to his good friend Andrew.

Almost 20 years later, Bono had once again preyed upon his sweet sister. Composing himself, he plopped into the leather chair. “How’s things, friend?”

Andrew turned a photo towards him of 2 beautiful babies. “Things are great. When are you coming over to visit, Uncle Bono?”

“Tomorrow maybe? I just stopped by on my way to the theatre,” he said.

“How’s that going?” Andrew asked.

“Eh, so far good. I’ve only seen half of the show. I think we’re going through it entirely tonight. We’re set to open in November,” he said. He followed Andrew’s gaze to the TV. Images of Lindsay Lohan flashed.

Andrew groaned. “Such a waste. And so glad we never took that on. I was ready to sign her when Gloria knew it would a massive liability.”

“But the more you have to work to repair an image, the more you get paid, right?” Bono asked.

“Eh, not so much. You want a roster of respected clients. Not press nightmares,” Andrew said. “How’s the back?”

“Like new,” Bono smiled. “I’m very lucky and count my blessings every day. To think that I might not have been able to walk again.”

“Gloria mentioned some pain?”

“After a rigorous show or having a show in the pouring rain,” he nodded. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Andrew shared more photos of his baby boys. He turned his monitor towards Bono as he clicked through the photo album. They spanned from the boys in the incubators with tubes trailing in out of their tiny bodies. He thought of his children and could not imagine what Andrew and Jane had to endure. He saw their welcome home. Jane looked tired. Even before him, Andrew had dark circles under his eyes. The battle wounds of parenthood, Bono thought. His heart jerked. Some of these photos were very recent. There in 32 inch hi-def was Gloria with Liam in her arms. The love shone in her eyes. A sense of serenity blanketed her face. She looked lovely with a child in her arms like the most natural thing in the world. He glanced down the hall towards her office. Where was she?

“Proud aunt?” he asked.

Andrew beamed. “Oh yeah. She can’t get enough of them.”

“Is she out with a client?” he thought her office looked dark.

Andrew nodded. “Yeah, all the way out in LA.”

Bono’s heart sunk like a weight. “LA?”

“Yeah. I had to send her out there before Australia,” Andrew said. “Speaking of which, it’s okay that I gave that to Gloria? Jane made it pretty clear that she didn’t want me that far away so soon after the boys were born.”

Bono was distracted. “Yeah, that was the right choice for everyone.” She wasn’t here. He began to panic. When would he see her again? Bono barely heard anything from Andrew's mouth after he heard that Gloria was in LA. The one thing he held on to the last week disappeared in moments. He knew that even if he did see her, there wasn't much he could do. He did want her to know he still loved her. That he thought about her more than he should. That going home to his family didn't change things. Now she was almost 3000 miles away. Would he see her before the next tour began?

"Hope she gets to see opening night of the show," he mused casually.

"I'm sure she will. She loved the songs she heard from it," Andrew said. However, he offered no details on her return.

Bono left the office with slumped shoulders and spring in his step gone. The low clouds laughed at him for daring to be so optimistic. A block from the theatre a stinging rain began to fall. It was very fitting for his mood.

He took a seat beside Edge in the theatre. "Sorry I'm late. I was visiting with Andrew."

"You didn't miss much. It started late," Edge glanced at his friend's hard expression. "Are you okay?"

Bono shed his coat. "Yeah, just cold and it started raining outside. Nasty weather."

"How's Andrew?" Edge whispered as the actors stood on the stage going over the next scene.

"He's good. Twins are good. He wants us over sometime this week," he settled back in his seat.

"Sian has been dying to see the babies. She keeps asking Morleigh for another baby," Edge grimaced. "We don't have the heart to tell her we are done."

Bono side-glanced. "Reg, are you trying?"

He laughed a little too loud, then was sheepish as everyone's attention turned towards them. "No. We told her it was God's hands. Little does she know that we can have some control over that."

Bono's thoughts returned to photo of Gloria with baby Liam. She looked radiant with the child in her arms. She would make a great mother. Would he do it all over again? Birth, diaper changing, burping. It had been almost 10 years. He rubbed his temples to clear his brain of such silly thoughts. He was already a married man and father. He turned all his attention on the stage and forced himself to focus on songs and actors.

They worked late into the evening tweaking some phrases and pitch issues. They watched the brilliant mid-air stunts with hearts pounding. All their hard work unfolded before their eyes. Maybe they weren't completely daft for undertaking this. Everyone took a brief dinner break before launching into the second act painstakingly going over every scene. Finally around nine, they decided to call it a night. They didn't want everyone to get too overtired. For this show, everyone needed to be sharp.

Bono chose to walk home. The rain had stopped but the streets glimmered in the streetlights. The air had gone from chilly to cold. In the darkness, he could be just another New Yorker. Bundled in his coat and scarf, no one took notice of him. It was nice to be serene in the middle of hum of the city. He could watch people with a stranger's attachment. If they knew it was him, everyone suddenly became very familiar. When he could find these little moments, he savored them. He pulled his phone from his pocket. Staring at it, he contemplated calling Gloria. It would dinner time there. He wanted to ask, no, demand why she left. Did she go willingly? To get away from him? She had to know he wanted to see her. Why didn't she tell him she was leaving? He realized how ridiculous he was being. She owed him nothing. He wanted to know when she'd be back. He wanted to hear her voice. Angrily, he shoved his phone back into his pocket. Perhaps she needed to think herself. After all, he knew this wasn't easy on her. He had to have some patience with this. He had to have faith that somehow it would all work for everyone.

Bono hovered over a bowl of some disgusting high fiber twig cereal that Ali insisted he eat. The milk had turned it something similar to brown wallpaper paste. There had been nothing else in the house he felt like making for lunch. He turned the pages of his Newsweek. More biased garbage. His phone buzzed beside him. Well, there was a voice he had not heard in awhile.

"Marty! What the hell are you doing up at this hour? It must be 8 am," he said.

"I wanted to call last night but it would too late for you. Listen, I was at dinner with some pretty rich friends last night. All this Spiderman press got them talking about the show and the buzz. Anyhow, I think I may have a proposition for you," Marty said.

Bono frowned. "What would that be?"

"Julie's done movies - and musical movies. Imagine this on the big screen," he said.

"Isn't there a new movie in the works? All new cast and everything?"he closed his magazine.

"Yeah, but by the time this would happen with development and stuff, it'd be years between," Marty said. "Are you interested?"

"It's not my call to be interested, Marty. I have a partnership here," he dumped his brown sludge in the sink.

"Understood. Would you be willing to fly out here with the Edge to hear what we have to say?" he asked. "I'll pay."

"I'd have to ask Edge. We're in the middle of rehearsals now. When are you talking?"

"Soon as you can. Strike while the iron is hot," Marty was surprised he was entertaining it.

"Let me get back to you," Bono said. "I'll call you later today."

Personally, he thought it was a stupid idea to think about going down that road yet. No one knew how it would received. Of course, Marty was probably thinking to move forward while there was interest and before it was a flop. Anther thought occurred to him. Going out there was going to where Gloria was. That was his prevailing thought. Ali walked into the kitchen.

"Who was that?" she asked.

"Marty Kronenberg," he saw her confused eyebrows. "He wanted to put me in that awful Batman movie."

"Oh," her eyes flickered recognition. "What did he want?"

His brows furrowed. "To fly me to LA to discuss a possible movie deal for Spiderman."

"What is his obsession with comic book characters?" she asked. Spying his bowl of cereal, she sighed. "Did you even eat any of it?"

"The first 5 bites before it broke down to that," he made a face.
She rolled her eyes. "All you've talked about since coming home is losing weight."

"If you keep feeding me that I will lose weight from not eating,"

She rinsed his bowl shaking her head. He could really be a child sometimes. "If you get dinner out tonight, try to make it somewhat healthy. So are you going? To LA?”

“I have to talk Edge and Julie first,” he said.

“When did he want you to go?” she asked.

“It sounded like right away,” he brought his coffee cup to the sink. “If Edge wants to go, is that okay with you? It would 2 or 3 days at the most.”

“If it sounds like it could be a good idea, then you should go,” she nodded. She looked at her watch. “You’re going to be late, you better go.”

He dropped a soft kiss on her her lips. It was nice and for a moment, he felt closer to her again. Unaware or uncaring, she shifted her eyes and walked away. He left the house with that feeling of guilt he was growing accustomed to. In fact, if he didn’t walk around with a mountain of it on his shoulders, he didn’t feel like he was living. At least he had that.

“What do you think?” Bono asked Julie and Edge over lunch.

Edge shrugged. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to hear what they say.”

He looked to Julie. She nodded in agreement. “He wants me to head there straight away.”

“I can’t go. Morleigh is Dublin right now,” Edge said. “I’ve got the kids.”

“Neither can I. Even for a day. We’re in the middle of this,” Julie said.

“How long would you be gone?” Edge asked.

“Only a few days. Four at the most,” Bono shrugged.

“Give him a call. Report back what you think,” Julie said.

And that was all Bono needed. He was on the phone with Marty Kronenberg that night. A ticket would be waiting for him tomorrow. While Marty was excited to get Bono on board with a movie idea, Bono could think of only one thing: Gloria. Whether she was ready or not, she would have to see him.

He was more excited to be on that plane that he should be. Bono was up that morning before Ali, before the kids. He placed a small kiss on her forehead before grabbing his bag. His personal assistant asked if she needed to take care of details. He declined. Marty had Bono’s one request line up - a rental car at the airport.

Bono watched the clouds whiz by as the plane made its ascent. His chest felt the pull as the plane pulled upward into the sky. This movie deal was an excuse to see Gloria. He couldn’t deny that to himself. He would take that meeting, but he already knew the answer. In fact, he was certain that is she wasn’t in California, he would have declined that first night.

He thought how ridiculous his life had become in the last few months. It all started with the night she fell asleep on the couch. No, it began in 1987 when he first met Gloria.

Andrew walked across the field towards the stage accompanied by a young girl in faded jeans with a jacket to match. Her eyes widened as she took in the scale of the Joshua Tree stage. He led her up the side stairs to the stage where the band had assembled for soundcheck.

"Hey guys. I'm not sure if you've met my kid sister, Gloria," Andrew said.

She shot him a glare with the word 'kid'. In the flesh before her was Paul. His magazine photos did not do him justice. She found herself gazing into the most beautiful blue eyes she'd seen in her 16 years of life. Her mouth immediately went dry. It was apparent that she was instantly smitten.

Paul cocked his head. "Gloria...what a lovely name."

She blushed violently. "Thanks," she responded in a tiny voice. "I...Um...really like your album."

"Do you now?" his eyes twinkled enjoying the pure adoration shining in her blue eyes.

"Do you guys mind if she hangs around for a few dates? She wants to get into the family business. Or so she thinks," Andrew wrapped his arm around her.

No one seemed to mind. Larry tinkered with his cymbals to signal they should get back to work. Andrew's sister was cute, but enough already. Paul stalled.

"Have you been on a tour before?" he asked her.

"Not really. I've been to shows, but not, like, on tour," she chewed on her lower lip.

He gave her his wicked grin. "Would you like a tour Gloria?"

Unable to speak, she nodded. He offered her his arm. The butterflies in her stomach turned to full blown bald eagles. When she touched his warm skin, she fell in love. Boys in school were nothing like Paul.

"We'll be back," he called over his shoulder.

Andrew shook his head as he watched Paul lead his sister away. How was she to learn anything when she was doe-eyed over the lead singer?

Dave nudged him. "Don't worry about Paul. He's harmless. He just loves a good flirt."

Gloria spent each date of the tour on a different aspect of the show. She sat by the soundboard and watched the engineers. She worked with security. She followed Sheila Roche and other members of Principal Management. One night, she was placed in wardrobe. Before the show, Gloria walked into the dressing room. Paul stood shirtless with his arms stretched over his head in some kind of pre-show ritual. Her mouth hung open. He was beautiful with brown hair falling to his freckled shoulders. His pants slung low on hips exposing the trail of hair from his stomach down past the button of his pants. Her heart skipped just considering that. She began to sweat like she’d gone running through the stadium. He opened his eyes to find her staring at him. A smile spread across his lips.

"Can you hand me that shirt, love?" he asked.

Her cheeks turned bright red being caught. She handed him the shirt he pointed to on the back of a nearby chair. Her skin prickled as he called her 'love'. She knew it was just an affectionate term that he used for everyone. She couldn't turn her eyes away as he pulled his shirt over his head - across his freckled muscles. She was breathless. She'd seen plenty of sweaty musicians, but none like him.

He knew she fancied him. He was getting used to be an object of affection to the opposite sex - especially young girls. Yet, he liked the way she looked at him. He liked catching her eyes on him.

"Can I have my hat?" he asked.

"Oh sure," she stammered. Suddenly, he was very close. Only 6 inches separated them. She looked up into his crooked smile.

He didn't mean to get this close. Her lips were full and inviting. He wondered what they felt like - soft and young. For a moment, he felt like a dirty old an - but he was young himself. Her breath was shallow, but he could feel on his face as she tilted her head up. What would it be like to kiss her just once?

"Thanks, darlin'" he winked.

“Can’t you dress yerself, Hewson?” Larry growled as he bounded into the dressing room.

Gloria nearly collapsed on the floor. If one could die by embarrassment alone, she would be a casualty. Larry was followed by Edge and Adam. Bono was suddenly very aware of his closeness to the young Gloria and moved away.

When he really thought back, this all began the day Bono met Gloria. He wouldn’t realize the impression she left until the end of the Joshua Tree tour. Suddenly not having her around, there was a void. It made perfect sense things would pick up 5 years later. When he wrote Mysterious Ways, he regarded her as a mythical creature that could cure all the ailed him. The first night they came together, he believed he had written a prediction. He was nervous and fidgety. Please Lord, keep her in LA long enough so I can see her, he prayed. He would hate to make this trip for nothing. How would she regard him? Had she moved on? If she missed him half as much as he missed her, this journey would be worth it.

Let me know what you think!

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Old 01-10-2011, 12:23 AM   #2
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Yay, visiting Gloria! Although—why do I have the feeling he's going to walk in on some bad situation?

Ali's cereal... That was amusing. Goodness. I would hate to be stuck with only cereal for food...poor guy.

That was a wonderful, wonderful flashback. Yum. Do please add more There's never enough half-naked JT Bono...never...

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Old 01-10-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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Ugh, I just saw that I used 'Paul' instead of Bono. When I write at work, I interchange them in case someone reads over my shoulder. I had pretty much copy and pasted that section. Sorry peeps. It was late and wanted to get it up.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
Ugh, I just saw that I used 'Paul' instead of Bono. When I write at work, I interchange them in case someone reads over my shoulder. I had pretty much copy and pasted that section. Sorry peeps. It was late and wanted to get it up.
I've considered doing that, once or twice...and then I remember that I already do! Have you been reading too much of ACD that it's infiltrating your mind?

and it's OK, I'm fine with him being called Paul...heh.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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Another excellent chapter! Can't wait to see what happens in LA.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:06 PM   #6
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Working on it now.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:14 PM   #7
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
Working on it now.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:06 PM   #9
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I loved that this was all about Bono! Yay! And I loved the flashback! YUUUUUUUM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:59 PM   #10
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I think I might have a snow day tomorrow. If so, I hope to get much more written. Thank you very much!
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan
I think I might have a snow day tomorrow. If so, I hope to get much more written. Thank you very much!
Confirmed. Snow/packing/writing day!
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:55 PM   #12
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Yay, another chapter with a promise of more to come! Bono sure has it bad, with the way you write his character you can't help but feel bad for him, realising that Gloria is across the country.

If I don't catch you before you go on holiday, have a great time - and come back with a brain full of ideas for where this is going next! Your adoring audience on here will be waiting impatiently.

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