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Old 09-29-2011, 09:03 PM   #1
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Mysterious Ways - Chapter 26

Looky loo! It's back. When we left off, Bono planned Thanksgiving in Sydney for Gloria and the crew.

This is fiction. These characters have come out of hibernation.

Ever wonder how it all started?

Acrobat will tell the story of how Bono and Gloria started on the Zoo TV tour 20 years ago. But first....

Bono walked into the small reception room. Happily, only Gloria stood clicking away on her iPhone by the window. His eyes poured over her form fitting skirt and the way her shirt hung open just enough to catch a glimpse of a black bra. He stroked his chin as he watched her with an ache. No one was here. He imagined running his hands along her sides to hear her sighs. Quietly, he crossed the room to her.

"Where is your boyfriend?" he asked her, his breath on the back of her neck.

She raised her eyebrow. "Boyfriend?" She knew exactly what he was getting at."I don't have one of those."

"No? What about Mr. Mullen?" he asked.

"What about him?" she smiled. "I thought you were lobbying for the job."

He leaned in closer. "Touche Ms. Ryan."

She shrugged with a smile as she walked away. If he was going to be cute, she would give it back to him tenfold. Truthfully, he looked amazing in that suit. She needed to remove herself from temptation immediately. Bono found himself in a very undesirable role of jealous lover. He watched as Larry and Gloria danced and flirted around one another. He felt bound in his silence. He had given his blessing. In normal circumstances, he would be delighted to watch two people he loved come together. However, things were not normal or easy. He thought watching Gloria and Larry would put an end to his feelings.He could back to his life like it never happened. It just fueled them more.


Gloria tried her hardest to stay by Edge and Adam. While Bono spoke, she jotted notes to just to avoid looking at him. She wasn't sure what was harder to resist - the leather or him in suit. She buried herself in her hotel room in the days that followed the thanksgiving dinner. Between Larry's giddiness and Bono's forlorn gazes, she needed to regroup. Larry wanted to be with her again. A year ago, that was all she needed to hear. If he had come clean, this would have never happened. She would have never fallen back in love with Bono.


Dutifully, Gloria navigated Bono through the throng of politicians and local celebrities that lined everywhere to get their few minutes with him. She yawned. It was going to a late night. Poor Brian. At least she could leave the night owl when she wore out. Though Larry skipped the public pomp and circumstance, he was at the reception after. Gloria saw the muscles in Bono's neck tense when he saw him.


"How did it go?" Larry asked.


"You'd know if you went," Bono responded as he breezed by.


Larry frowned. "What's up his arse? He's never cared if I don't go to the pony show. That's his thing, not mine."


Gloria looked at her watch. "It's late. I think we're all tired." She knew it had nothing to do with his absence at the ribbon cutting.


Gloria had attempted to spend more time with Larry in recent days. She had to tear herself from Bono and the dreams he had inspired. He knew she needed to build the invisible wall between them, and each brick struck his soul. He joined Edge at the bar.


"You need a drink?" Edge looked across the room to see Larry and Gloria laughing.


"Very much so," his voice was weary.


Edge looked at the grim face on his friend. He wished he knew the right words to comfort him. When Gloria was around Bono, he was full of life - like himself. The moment Larry entered the picture, he became a deflated balloon. A whole tour of this, Edge winced. Would Bono just get over it? He did once. Or did he? Had he waited all the time for her to come back? Silently pining and hoping for the moment or the look in her eye to be right.

Gloria did breeze over to them. There were more hands to shake. She led him around the room and stood beside him as he glad- handed all those who were salivating for an audience with him. He rested his hand on the small of her back to keep her in the conversation. Then he dutifully followed her to the next important person. Being close to him, even in a professional capacity, clouded her head. The room was filling up with more people despite the late time. He stood close almost pressing himself to her side. The room closing in as all she could smell was him. While he was engrossed in conversation, she made her escape outside through the french doors. Though it was summer, the air had cooled. She let the air fill her lungs as she looked around the small garden. Through the shrubs and windows, she saw his eyes search the room. He nodded, but wasn't listening the balding man talking. She sat on a stone bench. Bono had given Larry permission but had not released her. Gloria wasn't sure if he did that consciously. They were like magnet and steel - drawn together no matter what.


"It's warm in there, eh?" Larry appeared from the shadows.


She jumped a little. "Yes, it is. Don't these people sleep?"


He chuckled. "I guess this is exciting times for them." He sat beside her. "Lot of people here to see Bono."


She shrugged. "He's Bono. Everyone wants a photo op."

"Yeah, he's tried being more careful about that but I think people know what he stands for."


"Just don't stand beside Charles Manson." She joked. "Or Marilyn Manson."

Larry scratched his head. "I'm sure we've been at the same party at some point."


Gloria shook her head. "Dude gives me the creeps. Andrew once asked if I would be interested in representing him right as they were starting to get big. I said, hell no! I put my foot down on that."


Larry cringed. "I cannot imagine that." They stared off towards the party. Images appeared and faded in the windows as shadows danced from the lights inside. He placed his hand over hers. "Gloria, I'm so sorry. "


She knew this would be coming. "For what?"


"Everything. For running away 4 years ago and being a coward. For not telling you about Ann. I came on this tour with every intention of trying to rekindle things with you. Then Ann's lump happened. I had to take care of that first. I didn't want to make promises I might not be able to keep," his entire inside spilled over the stones in front of them. He had to say it. It had been almost 10 years of pent up feelings.


Gloria stared at the ground noticing patterns in the stones below. She wasn't sure she was ready for this. Why couldn't she just fall out of love with the wrong person and in with the right person? Why didn't love work like that?

"Is it too late?" Larry asked softly.


"It's never too late. I guess it would depend what you want exactly," she said.


"You. Us. I want those 2 weeks in Australia back. We're here again. This time, I'm not running away." His hand tighten on her hand. "Is it too late for that?"


Sje bit her lip. She saw the hopeful eyes she once saw in her bed. "I'm not ready to jump into anything. I thought you hated me at the start of this tour."

He rubbed his head. "I know. I was a right arse. I've never been good with that kind of thing. I'm sorry if I hurt or confused you. It tore me up to not be able to tell you," he pressed her hand to his forehead.


Gloria knew he was sorry. He had some serious regrets on the last few years. She did too. Could she feel that way again? She did at the start of the tour. She wondered about this until - Bono crashed into her life. And now he was gone leaving a hole to fill. Could Larry fill it?


"Let's take this slowly this time," she said. "Properly. How about we start with dinner?"


He broke into his lopsided grin. "Are you asking me on a date?"


She laughed. "Oh I'm pretty sure that you should be asking me for a date."


He nodded. "Would you like to go dinner?"


She nodded. "I would love to." She wanted to find that spark again. The room looked like it was thinning. "We should go back inside. It's beyond late."

He helped her to her feet. His fingers lingered on hers. Slowly, the other hand touched her cheek. "I know we're moving slow," he moved closer. "But I have waited 4 years for this."


He pressed his lips against hers. She closed her eyes to let herself be lost in the moment. She remembered the beach. His clear skin glistening in the sun. She thought about dancing in her apartment and wrapping her arms around him as his bike vibrated between her legs. Her lips parted to let him in. She felt his urgency as he tentatively slipped his tongue in her mouth. She felt his body ease against her. His arms were so taut and solid and....different. As was the kiss. There was a definite rhythm to his lips and tongue as if they worked their own drumbeat. Did she notice that before? She tried to not think of the kiss before this. Her mind clouded for a moment and she lost his rhythm. She moved away feeling the heat in her cheeks. Her eyes looked up into that boyish smile she remembered.

“I missed that,” he said.

She had missed it too - before September. She ducked her head. “This feels weird.”

“Weird good or bad?” he asked.

“Good and just weird....I never thought we’d be here again,” she said.
“We should have been here all along. I’m sorry. I hope it can be better this time,” he squeezed her hand.

“Me too,” she meant it. She wanted desperately to fall back in love with him.
“Come, before they call out the hounds,” he nodded to the party. “I’ll let you go in first.”

“Ah, thwarting the gossip mongers, eh?” she jabbed him in the ribs.

“THey’ll figure it out at some point,” he shrugged. “I’m feeling a bit selfish with you.”

Bono’s eyes were glued to the French doors. He was sure he’d seen her slip out of them awhile ago. A woman laid her hand on his arm as she talked to him intently. Right now, he didn’t care. Where the fuck was she? The door opened and she peered inside. The cool night air colored her cheeks. As her gaze met his the moment she stepped back into the room, a stabbing pain seared in his abdomen. He knew something had happened. His fears were confirmed as Larry followed just a moment after her. Bono knew this was inevitable. Larry wanted her back. He tried to read Gloria’s eyes. All he saw were questions.

It was a quiet ride back to the hotel as the sky pinked on the horizon. Edge curled into the corner of the back of the SUV. His eyes closed to avoid the sunrise. He was very thankful to the man who created blackout curtains. Bono had been relatively quiet for the remainder of the twilight hours. He had gone past exhaustion. His fingers restless twitched on his thigh. Slipping his hand to the outside of his leg, his fingers rested on hers. He couldn’t stop himself from touching her. He knew that it got them nowhere. She would not be in his bed tonight. Slowly, his fingers entwined with hers. Her eyes remained on the passing streets. A bakery was just opening their doors. A fresh croissant sounded good to her. She concentrated hard on little details instead of Bono holding her hand, running his thumb against hers. She glanced across him to Edge. His head leaned back with his eyes closed. She raised an eyebrow at Bono. He was shameless, really. He didn’t look the least bit apologetic. With his free hand, he loosened his tie and slipped off his glasses to rub his tired eyes. She caught a glimpse of his blue eyes in the light of a passing car. It was her turn to close her eyes and think back to her kiss with Larry. It was nice and neat. Bono seemed sloppy in comparison. Teeth could clink. Teeth might graze and catch. But there was so much passion in the slightest peck. He never held anything back. It was a long 15 minute ride though the desolate streets of Sydney. As Edge stirred, Bono’s hand returned to his own lap. Maybe he could usher to the side and convince her to let him in her bed. Even just to hold her for a few hours. He leaned his head back. He remembered that Ali would be visiting for a week the day after tomorrow, no today, he thought. He’d be preoccupied giving Larry ample time to win her over. Maybe this morning was all they had. A few hours to lose themselves.

Edge snorted and his head shot up. “What?”

Bono and Gloria laughed. “Alright there, Reg?”

“I’m fucking to old for these nights,” Edge grumbled. “And we have a show....not good.”

“We’re home,” Gloria said as the car pulled up to hotel. “Wow, what are the odds there are no fans.”

“Jesus, even they know when it’s time to call it quits,” Edge scratched his neck.

“Yer just an old man, unlike Glory and I could dance the night away,” he leaned into her.

“Speak for yourself,” she scoffed. “I’m so tired, I might throw up.”

Bono moved away. “Am I the only night owl here?”

“The owls have called it a night,” Edge opened the door counting the steps to his bed.

“I’m bloody knackered too,” Bono said. Before he could utter his plea to Gloria, she opened the other door and was gone. Her tired legs followed Edge inside. His shoulders slumped as he walked behind them.
The lobby was quiet. The only people meandering around were U2 personnel. Bodyguards kept an eye out for the random fan that might be lurking. Bono saw Larry and Gloria board an elevator together. His heart sunk. Were they going to cuddle up in her bed?

“Night cap?” he looked to Edge. He needed a drink to unwind his emotions.

“Are you out of your head?” Edge pushed the elevator button.

Bono nodded. “You’re right. I must be.”

“Go to bed. People make stupid decisions at this hour,” Edge’s voice bordered on scolding.

Bono gave him a terse nod. “Right.” He piled into the elevator with Edge. He didn’t even know where Gloria was staying. He once imagined this tour differently. He would have her room key. He’d be wrapped around her body each night. It would be like Zoo, but better. Now he stood in his huge suite alone. Larry’s lips had touched her tonight. He knew it. He whipped off his tie. Those were his lips. He laid claim to them in 1987.

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

Bono’s phone rang. Without picking it up, he knew what it was about. “Yes?”
“She’s here,” the voice said.

“Thanks,” Bono hung up the phone.

He looked at himself in the mirror. He felt as if he’d aged in the last 2 weeks. Would she see the strain on his face? He wished he felt excited by her arrival. He remembered a time when he counted the days and hours until Ali joined him. At least having her around would be a distraction from watching Larry woo Gloria. Within minutes, there was a knock on his door. He took a deep breath as he went to greet his wife.

On the other side of the door, she smiled warmly. “Hello B,” she dropped a small kiss on his lips as she passed him.

“Ali,” he sighed. For a fleeting second, things made sense again. His kids, his life and his wife. He wrapped his arms around her. “I missed you. How are the kids?”

“They’re good. They miss you,” she set her carry-on bag on the huge bed.
He chuckled. “No they don’t.”

She giggled and shrugged. “They do, sometimes.” She kissed his cheek. “I missed you. Does that count?”

Bono wasn’t sure that was true either. Ali was more than capable of taking care of herself and everyone else while he toured the world. It was how their marriage worked. Lately, things worked better when he was away and just visited for short bits. Ali ran her hand along his stomach.

“Are you eating well?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

He smirked. “It depends on your definition of ‘well’.”

She sat on the bed. “I could use a shower and nap. It’s a long way from Dublin.”


“Just us?” she asked.

“If you wish,” he nodded.

“Tonight maybe. I know that we’ll be surrounded the rest of the time,” Ali kicked off her heels. “I’ll be right out.”

He sat on the couch watching the door close behind her. His head reeled. He had forgotten how her dark eyes could slice through him. Could he find that common thread that kept them bound? Walking to the window, he stared at the bay below. So many beautiful ships below. As the water turned on, he remembered the days when he would join her or when she would ask. He looked down at his gut. He was beautiful then. Poking at himself, he felt soft. Yet Gloria had wanted him. Sometimes, he still saw it in her eyes - like last night as he gathered her in sweaty arms after the show. Ali was here. She was the one he needed to turn on.




Bono and Ali held hands in the elevator to the lobby. This was nice, he told himself. He listened to her talk about the new fall line for Edun. She asked him about Aids Day. Brian waited for them in the lobby. They found Larry pacing in crisp shirt and trousers. Every time the elevator doors opened, his head whipped around.


"What’s he all dressed up for?" Ali mused.


Bono looked him up and down. "Not sure."


Larry gave them a nervous smile. "Ali, good to see you." He hugged her. "Off to dinner?"


"Did you want to join us?" Bono asked. The sinking feeling in his gut was confirmed when Gloria stepped out of the elevator in a breezy floral dress. God, she looked amazing. She smiled when she saw Larry.


"Sorry, I had to take a call from Andrew. Natives are restless at home," her grin widened when she saw Ali and Bono. "Ali, how was your journey here?"


"Long. I forgot how grueling that flight is," she hugged her.


"You're here for just a week, right?" Gloria asked.


Ali nodded. "Just when I get used to this timezone, I'll be going home."


"You should just stay till we leave," Gloria suggested.


Bono nearly had a heart attack right there. He had to force himself to nod along. He knew he should want his wife with him, but it wasn't easy when she joined the tour. It was fine for a week or two. Ali got bored and Bono became restless. He enjoyed the freedom of not worrying about anyone else’s enjoyment.


"I have the kids and with Christmas. I shouldn't be here now," Ali said sheepishly.


"We'll have to go out through the side," Brian informed Bono. He looked to Gloria and Larry. "Your car is out back."


Larry nodded. "Thanks Brian. I guess we should..." He looked Gloria.

She nodded. What an awkward scene. She managed to avoid looking into his eyes. Thankfully Bono wore his trademark shades, but she could tell this was killing him. The two women he loved stood feet from each other and him. He gnawed on his lower lip.


"Have a good night," Gloria waved. Larry's hand rested on the small of her back as they disappeared down the hall towards the back entrance.

"Did I just see that?" Ali asked. "Are they....together?"


"Ehm, I'm not sure," he didn't feel like eating dinner anymore.


"It certainly looks like it. That seemed like a date," Ali said. "Didn't he hate her?"


Bono nodded. "At one point. I guess he changed his mind."


Brian ushered them down a different hallway. "It's weird to think of him not being with Ann."


"And stranger to think of him and Gloria?" Bono added.


"They're just so different," she mused. "And he never seemed to care much for her."

He wanted to change the subject. "He was better in recent years. By the time we toured for Elevation, that animosity was over." Bono knew that's when it started at least for Larry. Bono had been too busy to see it beyond friendship. After he realized that Gloria didn't share his feelings, he shut that part of him down.


"I guess I didn't expect that," Ali had resigned herself to the fact that Gloria would always be in their lives. After Zoo, Gloria stayed far away from all of them. She knew of Bono's desire to have her on PopMart. Ali was never sure his motives were platonic. In fact, Ali was positive that if Bono thought he had another opportunity with Gloria, he might slip back into her arms. The last few years had been a series of hurdles for both of them. Men much different and a little bit more put together than her husband orbited her world. They fancied her. She sometimes fancied them. Yet, they were never enough to pull her from the brightest star. And since his affair with Gloria, he'd been a dedicated husband - save for a few infatuations. She had strayed a bit more recently. Now they seemed back on the track. Even if Bono seemed distracted.


"I know Ann is very happy. So good for him if Gloria makes him happy," Ali shrugged. She knew Andrew would be happy. He had intimated to Ali that he was worried that he'd been the one to ruin her love life by putting her in the path of only actors and rockstars.


"Right," Bono was eager to end the conversation. He knew he was going to need all his energy to not seem bothered or distracted by whatever Gloria was doing with Larry. He imagined there would be a goodnight kiss. What if they? He felt bile at the back of his throat. He took Ali's hand. This was right. His family needed to be together. Both of his families. If that meant this sacrifice, then it had to be.


Dinner was pleasant enough. Gloria couldn't ignore the guilt that gnawed at her insides. Larry was positively bubbly as he chatted away about the kids, music and everything. A part of her felt that if they were to really go forward, he should know about Bono. But that would ruin everything and everyone. She thought that maybe she should just tell him she wasn't interested. If she did that, she could carry on with Bono until the tour ended. That was a dead end. Larry was the first real thing to come a long in 4 years. She'd been alone for too long. At one time, she loved him completely. If she could recapture those feelings, this could be perfect. His eyes sparkled when he talked to her. Impulsively, she reached across the table to hold his hand. He jumped.


"I'm sorry. Was this not okay?" She started to withdraw her hand.


"No, it's perfectly fine," he enclosed his hand around hers.


"Even if we're in public?" She knew he was not much for public displays of affection. If this had been Bono, she'd had to control him from getting too loving at the table.


"This is perfect," Larry smiled.


It was the first time since Bono kissed her that she felt a spark with Larry. It was good that Ali had joined the tour. It made turning away easier. Just beyond Larry's hopeful smile were Bono's pleading eyes. His lips said one thing while his everything else said the complete opposite. She knew he didn't to let go. He was in constant struggle. With Ali here, he would have to stick by his conviction.


While Larry didn't hold Gloria's hand as they walked through the lobby of the hotel, his hand rested firmly on the small of her back. His heart pounded against his breastbone as he walked to her room. As she slipped her key in the door, she gave no indication of saying good night. The mere thought of touching her after so long was enough to make him throb. She held the door for him and happily he followed her inside.


"I have beer. Do you want one?" She asked.


"Sure," he tried to casual. His slipped his clammy palms behind him to wipe on the back of his pants. There was nothing sexy about the hands of a nervous teenager.


As Gloria handed him the beer, his arms wrapped around her. "I've missed you so much." His voice choked with desire. His lips skipped being coy and went directly to passionate. His usual rhythm was off as he only wanted to close to her. He felt her holding back. It was understandable - he left her to twist in the wind for 4 years. He toyed with her heart too much. Somehow he had to convince her that this was real. There would be no running away and holding back. She had all of him if she wanted it. And he could be patient. He'd waited for years. A few more weeks wouldn't matter now. Slowly, her arms wound his neck. Her fingertips brushed the back of his neck sending chills down his spine. He pressed himself into her. She felt his hunger. Part of her felt unfaithful to Bono. But that ridiculous since he was probably doing the same exact thing with his wife. She wasn't ready to surrender completely. It was just one dinner, even if she felt incredibly lonely. And tonight it would be about revenge. It would be just because Ali was here and she couldn't help but feel jealous. As Larry's hands began to wander, she pulled away breathlessly.


"I'm sorry. I just need a moment," she whispered. Her head was spinning. She was aching to be touched. He was pretty good at doing that once. But she feared the inevitable comparison that would go off in her head.


"I got a little ahead of myself," he smiled. "I have just missed you. I know you don't want to rush. You're still gun shy and that makes sense." He touched her cheek. "I'm not leaving this time."


That scared her too.


Larry left her room early in the morning. They had been curled up on her couch - kissing and cuddling. Larry was a calming influence compared to Bono' s whirling dervish world. Larry was a man of simple pleasures. They didn’t have the same connection though. Even during Elevation and tours after - there was an invisible tether that joined Gloria and Bono. It might have cooled to friendship, but the bond was still strong.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next few days were a haze for both Gloria and Bono. She was better in putting her feelings on the shelf. With Bono, she had plenty of practice. Unlike in the days of Zoo, Ali coming to the tour didn't unhinge her emotionally. This time, she could use those raw feelings with Larry. She wondered if Bono had been doing that with Ali all those years ago. Had he been in pain too? Gloria met with Bono in the morning to go over the days schedule with him and his assistant Vera - who with Gloria on board had less to do lately. Most days, Gloria handled Bono's schedule herself while Vera was free to sight see. Some mornings, Ali bustled around them while talking on the phone. Sometimes when her phone rang, her voice dropped as she walked into another room. Gloria exchanged a pained with Bono. Was Ali currently engaged in an affair? Gloria wondered. Bono only rubbed his eyes and wondered what the fuck he was doing.


On a few mornings, it was just the two of them. Ali was at the spa. He felt her heat as Gloria leaned across him to get her phone. Being this close was painful. They joked and jabbed. That only made her want him more. Her eyes kept slipping down his opened shirt. She longed to run her hands across those coarse hairs. Larry had the perfect chest with chiseled pectorals and taut abs. Yet it was Bono's that drove her wild with desire. They each took in each others scent wanting to shove the computers to the floor. She was very carefully to not too close or touch him. As it was, he looked ready chuck everything out the window - family, band, public opinion.


Bono was exhausted when Ali left a week later. He felt as if he'd been holding his breath for months. Having Gloria just out of reach was draining his resources. It was easier before. She left. He had been left with a hole, but distractions were easier to come by. Now she was in front of him but unattainable. Larry's hands wandered freely across her back. They held her hands. His eyes feasted on her. Bono looked forward to the Christmas break. The family, the entity he was trying to protect, would surround him. Ali was home decorating the house. He would return to Christmas cheer and the laughter of his family. That would make everything better.

Sydney was always an emotional place to play. He lost two great loves here. First, Gloria then Michael. He wondered the wisdom of placing Bad on the setlist. He stood at the edge of the stage with his eyes closed feeling his own lyrics crash into him. The song had been written about addiction. Some nights it rook on a different meaning. Tonight, he felt it was about him ripping his heart apart. The half that fell compelled by loyalty and the half that loved Gloria could not reconcile. Gloria's watched his torture from her space near the pit. She knew his eyes would search for her. She wasn't sure she could handle that. Turning away, she went backstage. His eyes found the space she had occupied. Another night without her connection. He decided to shove all that hurt down as he led the charge after the show. There was wine to drink! How could anyone feel miserable in a beautiful place. He continued that thought when he realized that Larry and Gloria had plans of their own that evening.


"I should go," Larry peeled himself away from Gloria. He looked at his watch. They had a fairly easy day, but it was close to 2am. Time flew when he was with her. They could talk for hours, or maybe he did all the talking. It was nice to have someone listen to him for a change.


"You don't have to go," Gloria felt uncertain about the words falling from her mouth.


His eyes lit up. "Really?"


She launched gently. "I'm not sure I'm ready for that. But you can stay."


"I'll take it," he pulled her to her feet. "Let's go to bed."


Bono noticed a change in their energy right away. They seemed connected without touching. Is that how we were? He thought. This was getting worse. He rubbed his forehead. This tour needed to end. Watching Gloria fall back in love with Larry was harder than he thought. The visit from Ali didn't make him feel any better. Bono’s head pounded from many glasses of wine. Truthfully, it had been a grand night. For a moment, he had forgotten Gloria's absence. He laughed and sang. But as he sat in Gloria's hotel room for their meeting, he noticed her unmade bed. There were two indents on two different pillows. Had they? That question hung over hjs head all day as he watched their body language. Larry did seem giddy. However, Bono found him fairly intolerable lately.


Gloria watched the show from the other side of the pit. Bono walked across the bridge to center stage. Casting a glance off the end of the stage, she looked beautiful in the surreal lights of the claw. Edge began to play All I Want is You. He had written this song decades ago for his new bride. The Joshua Tree tour had taken him from home and her. It put Gloria in his path. A young woman brimming with possibility. He had no idea what she would mean to him or that he'd still need her after all these years. He gripped the microphone tightly. His eyes found her immediately. She was frozen in her spot. She could see the blue behind the tinted glass. Edge looked over watching Bono contort as he sang his every feeling out. He had thought Ali might give him perspective while she here. It only added confusion. With her away, he could cling the idea of what they were. Gloria couldn't tear her eyes away. When he sang 'never tear us apart,' Larry and the thousands of fans disappeared. 'Love Rescue Me' was his plea. But to who? For 13 years, she had watched him pour his heart out on the stage. Sometimes it was personal. Sometimes it was for her. She knew every tortured song from With or Without You to One had her face all over them.


Bono was drained as he took his final bow. He could barely lift his arm to wave as he walked down the back stairs. Usually he was the last on stage. Tonight, he was the first one off. As he plowed backstage, he didn't make eye contact with the pats on the back and congratulations. He was on a mission. He told Brian to make sure she was available after the show. Usually, Gloria was near the waiting cars. He needed to get to her before Larry. He saw her with Brian. Swiftly, he took her arm. He grabbed a towel from Brian.


"Come with me," he said brusquely.


Her head whipped around as he led her to his car. "What’s wrong?" She asked. He said nothing and didn't look over his shoulder. He hoped that Larry was chatting with the crew as he did. Brian opened the door to a black suv.


"Get in," Bono said.


Fear crept into Gloria's stomach. As he walked to the other side, she slid into the car.


"What's going on?" She demanded. "What happened? "


"I need to near you. I'm barely holding on tonight. It was a tough show," he laced his fingers through hers while toweling off his head with his free hand.

Before she could open her mouth to protest, the door on her side opened.

Edge poked his head inside. "Is there room?"


Bono leaned forward to glare. Gloria scooted closer to him. "Of course."


Bono did not let go of her hand. He hooked his glasses on his shirt. Gloria wanted to slip her hand away, but that would bring attention to their joined fingers. Bono didn't care that it was Edge. As long as it wasn't Larry. Wearily, he nestled his head on her shoulder. Gloria swallowed hard. She was afraid to breathe. What was he doing? Had he lost his mind?

Bono reached across Gloria to curl into her. Tightly, he closed his eyes. He felt the pulse in her neck against his forehead. Her heart as racing. Damn Edge for getting in the car. If they had been alone, his lips would be on hers. But being this close made him feel calmer, better.

Gloria held her breath. Her eyes flicked to Edge. Their gaze met for a second before he turned his head toward the window. He wasn’t supposed to be in here. It was clear that Bono needed her tonight. He didn’t care that Edge was a witness. Gloria realized that Edge knew. There was no look of shock or surprise at all. Gloria wondered how long Edge had known. She wanted to say something to him - anything to explain her position.

The ride to the hotel was over too soon. As the car the slowed, Bono opened his eyes to the bright lights of the hotel. The moment the car stopped, Edge’s hand was on the door handle.

“See you inside,” he avoided Gloria’s eyes. He knew she was uncomfortable. He felt her tense up as Bono reached his arm around her.

She wanted to confront Bono about how much Edge knew. Soon, Larry’s car would be pulling up behind them.

“I don’t want to get out of this car,” he sighed heavily.

“What happened tonight?” she asked. This was strange behavior even for him.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I had to be near you. I didn’t care about anything else. I can’t explain it, but I needed you like I needed oxygen.” His arm tightened around her. “Fuck, this is so much harder than I imagined.”
She felt tears tickle the back of her throat. “We have to get out of the car.”

He looked up into her face. “Can’t we drive around the block, just once?”

“Larry will be looking for me,” she whispered aware of the driver’s fixed stare out the windshield.

“I miss you so much,” his stubble grazed her cheek as his breath tickled her ear. She gave his hand a squeeze. It said what her lips would not.

Reluctantly, he untangled himself from her. She opened the door and climbed out with her head spinning. If there was an after party, she was surely skipping it. Running his fingers through his damp hair, he pulled his body out of the car. He felt like he had a small part of her to take with him. He followed her inside as Edge pointed to the hotel bar.

“Perhaps we should keep it local,” Edge suggested.

Gloria just wanted to go to her room. Larry would be looking for her though. The bar was quiet, save for a few people in a corner booth and an older couple at the bar. No one seemed concerned by their entrance.

Leaning on the bar, he turned to a shaken Bono and Gloria. “Anyone need a drink?”

Numbly, Gloria nodded as she slipped on to stool beside him. “Bailey’s on the rocks, please. A double.”

Edge looked to Bono standing dangerously behind her. “And for you?”

“Whiskey, neat,” he said. It was just Edge here. Maybe he could pull her away for a moment. While Edge talked to the bartender, he leaned next to her against the counter. “Listen...I was thinking....”

Gloria bit her lip. She held her breath. She felt a cold glass against her arm as Edge slid a drink to her.

He raised his eyebrows. “Gloria? Bono...”

Bono nodded. “Thanks Edge.” His eyes fixed back on Gloria. “Do you have....”

“Larry, Adam,” Edge called. “What took you so long?”

Bono’s shoulders slumped as he closed his eyes. “That was quick,” he mumbled as he slid on the stool beside her. He was not going to have a chance with her tonight.

“What happened?” Larry asked as he walked over. “When I got backstage you were gone.”

Bono flashed a smile. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were looking for me.”
Larry rolled his eyes. “Did you come with them?”

Gloria took a gulp of her Bailey’s. “Yeah, it got confusing backstage. People started running at me, and I ended up in a car with them.”

Edge slung an arm around Gloria. “You have been very selfish with her lately, Lar. We needed our time with her.”

Gloria loved Edge at that moment. While Bono twisted and brooded on his stool sending daggers through his glasses to Larry, Edge managed diffuse the tension. He winked to Bono who hovered over his drink. If he had 5 minutes alone with Gloria tonight, it’d be all over. He’d toss himself at her feet. He was ready to give it all up for her.

Jokingly, Larry knocked Edge’s arm off Gloria and replaced it with his own. “I’ve been waiting for my time. I’m not sharing.”

Bono shifted on his stool witnessing Larry’s display of affection. Gloria caught the pained look in his eyes. Well, he knew what it was like to watch him drape all over Ali when she would visit. Upon hearing that Ali would be joining Zoo, Gloria would feel physically ill. And Bono was a doting husband even in the presence of Gloria. Not that she wanted to seek revenge from hurt 20 years ago, but now he knew what that was like.

Slowly, Bono roused from his funk after on more whiskey. It was hard to keep a good man down. Instead, he chose take any opportunity to touch Gloria’s hand, leg or back as he painted on a smile. One drink was all Gloria could handle. She slid off her stool and claimed a headache. Last night with Larry was nice. But tonight, her head pounded. Having Bono wrapped around her in the car had messed with her.

“I’ll see you all tomorrow,” she waved.

Larry stepped forward expectantly. “Do you want me to walk you up?”

She hugged him. “No, I’ll be okay. I’m taking some medicine and going to bed.”

Bono gave her a pointed look as she passed. He looked for an invitation from her. It was Edge that shot him the ‘don’t you dare’ glare. Bono glanced over his shoulder as she swept out of the bar.

~~~~~~~~

Edge didn’t expect to find Gloria on the other side of the knock. He thought it was her soulmate, Bono.

“Good morning,” he said.

She handed him a Starbucks coffee. “Do you have a moment?”

“Of course,” he allowed her passage to his room. “Is this a vanilla latte?”

“Chai, is that okay?” she asked.

“That’s even better,” he smiled and closed his door. “What’s up?”


They both knew why she was here this morning. She took a deep breath in. “You know.”

He sat on his couch and nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“Shit,” she sighed. “When?”

“The night of Larry’s birthday. I saw his face drain when Larry said he wanted you back. He was physically ill,” Edge said. “We were walking back to the hotel, and he just lost it. I somehow knew that he never fully got over you. I saw it in his eyes when he looked at you. He confessed that you were in love.”

Gloria sunk in chair opposite him. “We are in love, or were,” she looked at him wearily. “Or are. This wasn't supposed to happen. All of it," she sighed heavily. "You must think I am a terrible person."

He shook his head. "No. I know love is never easy and not always storybook. And first love, that's a powerful thing. I love Morleigh with everything I have, but when I speak with Aislinn or see her, there's a pang."

"I feel like an awful person," she said.

"You know I love Ali. I've known her my whole life. And I never thought another woman could ever fit with Bono," his voice grew tender. "But I've seen you two together. I always felt that the connection between you never died, but maybe changed a bit. But there’s an invisible thread that ties you together.”

"I told him I should leave. I don't belong here anymore," she said.

"What did he say?"

"He didn't want me to go. He said that I was so intricately interwoven into the fabric of the band that to leave now would be like severing an artery," she smirked.

"Leave it to him to not exaggerate.," he smiled. “If you were to leave, you would be very, very missed. Yet, I understand your inclination to leave. However, I think he needs you here. I don’t think he could handle it again. He was a mess when you left Zooropa. He wound up missing one night in Japan.”

“Edge, I have no idea what to do,” she buried her face in hands.

"Do you have feelings for Larry?" he asked.

Slowly, she nodded. "I care for him deeply. And I know I love him....just not in the same way I feel about Bono. He was the first man I ever loved. And on some level, I've probably loved him all along." She smiled weakly. "They are very different men."

Edge nodded. “That they are. So Bono told you about Larry’s birthday.”

“I confronted him the first day here. Everyone was acting so strangely. I had to find out what was going on,” she stared at the small diamond patterns of his rug. “Last night, I knew that you knew. Bono was so forward in front of you.”

“I could see he was struggling during the show. That would be the thing I hate about this. I can tell he’s in pain. Talking to you now, I know you are as well. Not that I wish it everyone else, it’s not easy to see him or you go through this.”

“We are easy casualties. The kids, Larry, the band. I couldn’t live with myself knowing I fucked all that up. Neither can Bono. This too shall pass,” she sighed.

Edge raised an eyebrow. “You think? I once thought he totally over it. And that was when you joined Vertigo. He had those dopey lovesick eyes for a few weeks, but then it was gone and I thought - shit, that was 12 long years. All through the Elevation Tour, he was still sick for you. But by 2005, I thought ‘okay. Now he’s over it’. It didn’t surprise me. When he loves, he loves with every single cell.”

“You knew about Larry too?” she already knew the answer.

“I figured that one on my own. When we went to New York right after Vertigo, I could see it the night we happened on you and someone you were dating at that bar,” Edge nodded. “The way you looked at one another, I knew something had happened. But that was the last time i got the sense of anything.”

“That was the last time anything did. He went home to Ann and I continued with my sham of a relationship with Jake. When that fell apart, I went back to Billy for a very weird on and off again relationship,” she shook her head. “The last 4 years have not been easy romantically.”

“I guess it’s understandable how things would reignite in that case,” The picture was starting to come together. Gloria, lonely, on tour with not one but two ex-lovers. If one started giving her some extra attention, old feelings buried deep could resurface. “What about Larry?”


She gave some thought to her answer. She’d been thinking that question over in her head for the last few weeks. Soon, they would have sex again. She felt his hunger for her when they kissed. When they were alone and she could forget about Bono, those feelings rose to her skin. She remembered how easy it was to just be silent with him, listening only to his heart and contented sighs.

“With Larry, I have the chance to have the life I never thought I would have. I wanted this 4 years ago so much. Now I have a second chance,” she said.

“And Bono?” Edge searched her eyes.

Pain flickered in them. “He has Ali. He always will. They’re soulmates.”

Edge wasn’t so sure about that. “Gloria, I love you and just want you to be happy. If you think Larry can do that, then I want that for you.”

“But you’re not convinced. You think I should be with Bono?” she heard his hesitation.

“As things are now, no. If they changed, maybe,” he said cryptically.

She narrowed her eyes. “Do you know something?”

“I don’t,” he shook his head. All he knew was that Bono couldn’t exist in this state for long. He would either learn to bury his feelings like he did years ago, or he’d snap and the world would implode.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
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Oh my... so much angst....

I LOVE.
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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I've missed this story...
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:14 AM   #4
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Aw, thanks guys. When I left it, it felt weird. Like it was too close to reality as I was writing about things that happened a week or month in the past. And I really had no clue where I was going. It felt like it might fall victim like Illuminate where it trailed off to nowheresville. But I have a plan. Some chapters going forward might skim over large gaps of touring and such. Things will be in a status quo until spring when 360 picks up steam again.

What is cool about going back 20 years and writing the beginning is that you inject some funny foreshadowing. So when you read Acrobat - the reader can think - "Oh Gloria...just you wait..." I had that moment this morning writing a scene where Bono tells a 20 year old Gloria that drummers can be difficult. Yeah, she finds that out in 2006.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:53 PM   #5
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
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I read this entire story in two days and I am emotionally drained, yo.

I'm gonna go beat a pillow and cry in a corner somewhere.

Right now I hate everyone in this story except Bono and Gloria, and Edge. Edge is the best friend ever.

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Old 09-30-2011, 07:26 PM   #7
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I'm so happy you decided to keep going with this! Thank you!
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:20 PM   #8
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I'm glad that everyone is still enjoying this story. I'm hoping to get Acrobat up tonight....we'll see.
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:40 PM   #9
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I read this entire story in two days and I am emotionally drained, yo.

I'm gonna go beat a pillow and cry in a corner somewhere.

Right now I hate everyone in this story except Bono and Gloria, and Edge. Edge is the best friend ever.

I think that is the best description of Edge ever.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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^It's very true!

Yay, MW is back... Missed it. Saddening chapter though... (And reminded me of Please in one or two parts.)

Now, onwards to Acrobat (!)
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BlueSilkenSky
^It's very true!

Yay, MW is back... Missed it. Saddening chapter though... (And reminded me of Please in one or two parts.)

Now, onwards to Acrobat (!)
The whole girl wants Bono but settles for Larry? Yeah, after this story I'm moving away from that story line. I didn't mean for it to happen. Bono's role was a bit smaller when I imagined this. Then he hit me with the leather and got himself a co-star role.
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:35 PM   #12
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Yeah, that was it- the way they're going out now (I think...) but she wants someone else too. But it's different, because Gloria and Larry already have had a relationship, it just ended, but it's starting again.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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SO COMPLICATED!!!! AGHHH!

i love this chapter. like, seriously.
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