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Old 11-02-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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Mysterious Ways - Chapter 27

Sorry that it has taken so long to get this chapter out. It was a bear to write. Add to that - I have 4 other projects that I'm working on.

These characters are fictional. Though they have taken on a life of their own.


Gloria walked into Bono’s hotel room with printed pages in her hand. Bono saw at the grave look on her face.

“It’s not good is it?” he asked.

She sighed. “Uh, I wish I could say it wasn’t that bad.”

He leaned back against the couch. “They weren’t even supposed to review it.”
The non-reviews of Spider-Man were trickling in. After waiting for months to get their hands on the troubled musical, some publications broke tradition and rules, and just let the mud fly.

Edge’s eyes zipped along the review. He winced as the soundtrack was deemed ‘boring’. “You don’t want to read it.”

“This seemed like a good idea so many years ago,” Bono rubbed his chin. “I feel a bit stupid taping all those interviews about how amazing the show was.”

“After the holidays, I think we need to see what’s going on,” Edge tried to be reassuring.

“It would appear that we do,” Bono looked at Gloria. “Any advice on comments?”

“Talk about your involvement and how excited you are to see the show. How can you comment when you saw snippets last month?” she shrugged.
“We should have been working on our album. Larry was too gracious to point out,” Bono groaned.

“Opening has been rescheduled for February. We take a look at the show in 2011. See what needs to be done. There’s nothing that can be done about it right here and right now,” she gathered up all the pages to toss in the waste bin. “I wanted these to come from me and for you not be ambushed. But I don’t want them to ruin your last days or the shows.”

Bono’s gaze switched from Gloria to Edge. The air between them was different lately. He meant to ask one of them if something had happened. Of course right now, he wanted Edge to leave so he could have just a few moments with her alone. He had no idea what he’d do. A few days ago, he was ready turn everything upside down to be with her. Today, he had mellowed into a lazy acceptance of the situation. As much as he hated the idea of Larry touching her, she was here. If a relationship with Larry continued, she would be part of the family and close to him.

“Will you be in New York with us?” Bono asked her.

“I will, but I will be off to LA for the Golden Globes. I have a stack of work to tackle the moment I set foot on US soil,” she rubbed her eyes.

That would be the thing to get her through the holidays. She’d be alone again on Christmas. Larry would be with his kids, as he should be. Bono would be with his family. Gloria, as usual, would spend Christmas with her brothers and their families. Bono itched to ask her if she would be with Larry. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know. His Christmas morning would be with Ali and the kids. He tried to take some comfort from that. It was home. The house would smell of cinnamon and be warm against the cold air. There would be laughter – usually at his expense. Last year, it had been enough. Why couldn’t it be enough this year? Why did one person have to make that much difference in his happiness? He couldn’t help but stare at her like she was a puzzle he was trying to solve. What was it about her? Was it the blue eyes, full lips, gentle smile that lit up her face? He watched her as she and Edge crowded around her calendar.

Bono thought back to the night he first kissed her. When his lips met hers, he fully expected her to push away. When she responded, he had a choice. He could have left it on the patio. She was more than willing to forget it happened. If he had just put a little distance between them, things might be different. He had chosen to pursue her. If he was in pain, it was of his own doing. While Edge punched away on her iPad, Gloria picked up her eyes to find Bono’s burning into her. How was she to move on when he still looked at her like that? The heat in his eyes made her want to push Edge out of the way and lock her mouth on his. It’d been a few weeks since she felt that passion for him. She had locked it away – knowing those thoughts got her nowhere. Why today? Maybe just a kiss, she thought. She shook her head. She’d never be able to stop at a kiss. Thankfully, she was saved by a buzzing in her jeans pocket. It was the New York office.

“Excuse me,” she was happy to move away from Bono for the moment.

“You okay, B?” Edge asked seeing his friend’s face follow after her.

“Yeah,” he lied.

“You’re sure?” Edge wasn’t certain he wanted to open the Pandora’s box, but maybe it was time.

Bono grinned weakly. “No, but yes. I don’t think Santa’s going to get me what I want for Christmas.”

Edge nodded slowly. “I think you’d have to get it for yourself.”

He scratched his head. “I know. It’s Christmas and I can’t do that.”

Edge looked his shoulder. Gloria had moved outside to the balcony. “But after the holidays?” His heart raced. What would the rest of the tour be like if Bono stood up to claim Gloria for himself? Larry would never forgive that. It would make look Hansa Studios look like a pillow fight.

Bono shook his head. “My mind changes like the wind. I don’t think I could go through with it. But when I’m with Gloria….it’s all I want.” He rubbed his eyes. “So, pay no mind to me. I’m just being moody.”

Edge looked up as Gloria walked into the room. “Everything okay?”

She rolled her eyes. “Hysterical actress who doesn’t understand the concept of out of the office until December 26th. I guess she turned up looking for me to discuss a new movie role. I talked her off the ledge and promised to meet with her before then.”

“You’re in great demand, it seems,” Bono said. He didn’t mean it to sound as heavy as it did. He was having trouble removing emotion from his voice.

“I will have a very busy winter,” she was distracted thinking of award shows, tours, Spider-Man and marathon training. She’d be moving through life a million miles an hour. That was somewhat comforting. “I better go call Andrew and let him know about this. I’ll see you later. If I get anymore news, I’ll let you know.” And she swept out the door.

Edge’s eyes darted over to Bono who looked as if he might explode. He rubbed his hand over his head making his hair shoot up in various directions. With a deep breath, he stood and straightened his back. “Let’s get to the stadium for sound check.”

Wordlessly, Edge nodded.

~~~~~~~~~

Gloria stayed backstage for the remaining two shows. Having her in the crowd was proving to be to be difficult for both of them. His eyes searched for her and found nothing. He was starting to feel tired and ready to sleep in his own bed where he wouldn't be alone. A part of him was glad that Gloria would return to New York and Larry to Dublin. How would the time apart affect them? He watched them dance around each other with playful touches and smiles. Luckily, Larry wasn't overly demonstrative in his affections. If it had been Bono, he wouldn't have been able to keep his hands off her.

There was a small party after the last Australian show. Everyone would be boarding different planes to travel back to the Northern hemisphere. Christmas was in five days. At least one of those days would be spent traveling and another recovering. Bono held court as he always did at these things. Everyone wanted to be near him, to have an audience with him. Tonight, he wanted to be left alone to nurse his glass of wine and tune out. He wasn't feeling particularly celebratory. After the New Year, he'd be returning to New York. He wasn't sure if Gloria would be there. She'd been vague about her plans. She planned to be New York to help sort through the Spider-Man mess. But it was awards season and she was the hardest working person in entertainment. He hoped to catch her alone. He had a beautiful Christmas present burning a hole in his pocket. It was a bit more than one would give a press director. When he bought it, rational thought left his head. How would she explain such an extravagant gift? He didn't care. He saw it while shopping and fell in love it. It needed to be on her.


Gloria had moved to a quiet table to look over her emails. If all her flights worked out, she could be home today. She knew that wasn't likely, but Christmas miracles do happen. She'd be right back in office leaving all her Christmas shopping for the day before as usual. Her clients expected her back in the office the day after. She wanted clean the piles on her desk before the 26th so she could get right to work. So many movies were vying for Oscars, Golden Globe, Drama Desk and Baftas. Plus the Grammys and Spider-Man. As she created a task list taller than her, she felt weary. Oh yeah, and training for the marathon. She flicked a digital page to February. Shit, South Africa. 360 was steaming in for a few shows. Maybe Andrew would like to do a short stint with the boys for old times sake.


Carefully Bono approached with 2 glasses of red wine. He sat beside her and pushed one to her. "Cheers."


She looked up. She knew it him was before he even sat down. After all this time, she knew every scent and every gait. "You're drinking red?"


He smiled sheepishly as he removed his glasses. He preferred his view of her to be unobstructed. "Just one won't hurt."


"I'll bet a white preceded this glass," she said.


He attempted his most innocent face. "Maybe. You just looked a bit stressed bent over your little machine here."


"Just trying to prepare myself for home," she leaned back and took a grateful sip. He had impeccable taste in wines.


He leaned his head back. "Ah, home."


She wasn't sure what he meant in his tone. She couldn't tell if he looked forward to or dreaded it. "Yes, it won't even seem like a holiday."


"Are you leaving tomorrow morning?" His hand rested on the small box in his pocket. The table was dark, but not dark enough. Maybe he could convince her to slip away so he could give her the present.

She nodded. “Bright and early.”

“We aren’t flying together are we?” his voice was sad.

“We’re headed in different directions,” She said.

He looked down at his glass. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” His fingers gripped the stem. “When will I see you again?”

“It depends on when you get back to New York. I’ll be leaving for LA January 8. I need to be there the week before the awards. There’s luncheons and press conferences. I’d be there earlier, but I’m already behind,” she shrugged.

“I’ll have to talk to Edge. I know we talked about heading to New York as early as the 2nd or 3rd. Hopefully, you’ll get to see the show with us before you go,” Hope seeped into his voice.

“I hope so. I want to see what all the reviews are about,” she said.

He ran a hand through his hair. “I’m not so sure I want to. There’s talk that Julie is just in over her head. What do you do?”

“Make a hard decision. I know it’s not your call, but the investor is your friend.” It was not an easy situation.

He rubbed his eyes. “I know, I know. It’s something I can push off until next year.”

She grinned. “In 2 weeks.”

He smiled back. “Shhh....let me enjoy my peace...if only for a moment.” He fought a yawn. He was exhausted. The last few weeks had taken a massive toll on him. Ali’s visit, his near breakdown in Gloria’s arms, the Christmas cheer abounding - he was plain knackered. But he was enjoying his seconds of peace. It was just him and Gloria. They were chatting and just taking in each other at the table. Larry was God knows where. He glanced up at her. “I’ll miss you. I get used to seeing you everyday. Okay, I look forward to seeing you everyday. Sometimes, it’s the brightest part of my day.”

She swallowed hard. She had to be the strong one right now. “I know, you get used to be surrounded by your extended family.” She shot him a weighted look. “But I will miss you too.”

“Listen Gloria, I have....” he leaned closer.

“We’re heading back to the hotel,” Adam said.

“Do you want another?” Bono asked Gloria. His eyes pleaded with her to stay with him. But soon the table was surrounded by everyone. Their little bit of peace disappeared.

“Maybe?” her eyes spoke of her disappointment for being interrupted.

“One shot for all of us, maybe?” his shoulders slumped and he gave in. His body had been fighting sleep for the last few hours. It was time to tuck his tired body in bed. Looking at Larry, he knew Gloria would not be alone tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bono laid in bed listening to the house creak. Ali snored softly on the other side of the bed. He remembered the nights they slept connected in some way. Now there were nights they didn't even go to bed at the time. Last night, he was the first asleep. The trek around the world, with a layover in a castle no less, had left him weary. It made perfect sense why he would be wide awake now. Restless, he slipped out of bed as quietly as he could. He grabbed the t-shirt and fleece pants he left by the bed. Shit, the house was chilly. He padded downstairs to give the heat a boost then make some coffee for the long day ahead. The glow of a Christmas tree greeted him on the way to the kitchen. He noticed the present pile grew. Ali always claimed that she never went overboard and yet every year the pile would extend into another room.


He shuffled into the kitchen. The moonlight streamed in through the window by the sink. He rubbed his eyes and looked out across the bay. There was no hint of morning as bay illuminated in white light. He looked at his watch. It was a little after 5. It just became Christmas in New York. He sighed heavily. Was Gloria still awake? Was she curled up in her bed - alone? He longed to be curled around her. To wake her with soft kisses and have her be the first person he greeted on this holiday. He flicked an overhead light on as he toyed with calling her. However would he explain that one? He pulled apart the coffee maker. Only recently had the family become coffee drinkers. With Jordan and Eve in New York, they had become addicted. On tour, it was easier to get a good cup of joe than tea. So now, the family had a coffee maker and electric tea kettle. He started opening cupboards looking for the pound of fair trade coffee he knew Ali kept. With eyes half mast, he poured it in machine. He listened to it hiss and gurgle. Then grinds went everywhere. What the fuck? As he cleaned the counter, he realized he forgot a filter. He wished Ali got one of those single brew makers. He had one in his hotel room - fabulous invention. One little pod, press a button and coffee. He did notice it wasn't the best for the environment with all those used pods. But the world was an imperfect place. That's one thing this year had taught him.

He sunk into a kitchen chair and stared at his mug. The last time he felt like this on a Christmas morning was 1993 when he returned home from the final shows of Zoo. Gloria had left the tour the month before with barely a word. Since then, he had been a wreck. Her returned home with 2 weeks till Christmas looking like the shell of his former self. He barely spoke and stared into space with a lost look. Despite Andrew’s warnings, he rang her apartment. He hung up as the answering machine picked up. He knew he couldn’t leave a message. He had the crazy notion of going to New York - to beg or promise...what? Adam talked him out of that. So home he went. Ali knew something had happened; or rather someone. Sometimes, Bono mumbled in his sleep, especially coming off a tour. Ali was certain the name she heard was Gloria. She suspected for some time that things went beyond his normal flirtation. She had no idea how serious it was. It was discussed in abstracts for a time - until finally she needed to blunt. She made it perfectly clear that whatever happened on tour, she and the girls came first.
Bono sighed. And they did. But once the trust was broken, it never fully repaired. Hurt, Ali entertained the attention of very intelligent and passionate men- not unlike her husband. Sometimes, things crossed the line. It didn’t happen often - just when they were apart for long periods of time. Bono would never touch another woman. He was in love with two and that was more than enough. Even when it had become clear that Olivia had moved on from the affair, his eyes never stopped hoping to see that spark in her eyes.

He listened to the house creek. He felt like that empty shell again. This time, she wasn’t gone from his life though. She was just under the thin line of ice that he couldn’t break through. Did Ali even notice this time? She was wrapped in her own world, Edun and causes they both held dear to their collective heart. At one time, they did have one heart. Finally, as the sun peeked across the bay, he heard footsteps and movement upstairs. He put on another pot of coffee as Ali joined him in the kitchen. They drank coffee - now Bono’s third cup - and held hands across the table. They chatted about the upcoming day and plans for the following week. She was a beautiful woman, he thought. Why wasn’t that enough? Smart, funny and everything a man could and did want. Yet, he needed more. What did Gloria offer that he wasn’t able to get from Ali?

It took for a good portion of the morning for everyone to be awake. Ali had to rouse the boys and Eve. There was a schedule to keep as they would be hosting an open house for friends and family. Bono was told to not make a mess and not even think of making his famous Christmas breakfast. Sometimes, he felt like the fifth child. Or maybe he was the first child Ali had.

Everyone loved their presents. Ali had given Bono a Claddagh ring with tanzanite stone for the heart. She was taking a big risk knowing how he loses things. Promptly, he placed it on his ring finger to flash proudly for the family. In his office buried deep under piles and piles of nonsense sat Gloria’s present. He was never able to give it to her. He hoped that the opportunity would present itself in New York or South Africa, if Ali didn’t travel with him. He looked at it longingly before placing it in its safe place and wondered if it was too much. Maybe it was the wrong ring to give his mate’s girlfriend. She still wore his rosary hidden under all her clothes. There was a knowing smile as his eyes switched from her collarbone to her face. As long as she kept it close to her heart, there was always hope.

Bono went upstairs to change in preparation for guests. It was now 9am in New York. Gloria must be up. Was she alone? That thought nearly knocked the wind from his lungs. Was she lonely and missing him? He dug into his wallet, behind cards and receipts. He pulled out a photo of him and Gloria taken in mid 1993 at the height of their affair. They were smiling into the camera with their arms around each other - heads pressed together. He picked up his phone and flipped through photos. It was from Rome, the final show. They were looking at each other smiling. It seemed innocent enough but not more than an hour later, they were making passionate love. He can see it there, smoldering in their eyes. Almost 20 years span between the pictures. But the look of absolute love in their eyes was the same. With a heavy heart, he put away his memories for another day as he prepared for Christmas dinner.

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

Gloria’s eyes blinked open. She looked around the foreign bedroom as she tried to remember where she was. It took a few moments, but she recognized it as Andrew’s spare room. When he offered for her to stay the night, she almost declined the offer. But what was at her apartment? Nothing and no one. Sure, her king size bed was new and comfortable, but memories of her night with Bono haunted her. It was just one night, she shook her head. Hardly enough to leave an imprint. Regardless, she felt alone this Christmas. Larry held her tight the last night of the tour. Even Bono had a look in his eyes as they sat at the table together. He sat on the edge of his chair looking as if he would burst out of his skin at any moment. Just as his mouth opened to possibly say something very important, they were no longer alone. Once Larry joined the table, he never left her side.

But he wasn’t here now. He called her last night before he went to bed. He stopped short of saying the ‘L’ word. It had not be uttered yet. And over the phone was not the first time he wanted to tell her. He wanted to see her eyes and kiss her lips when he finally said it. Gloria knew she wouldn’t hear from Bono. Not that he wouldn’t want to, but he was with his family. She stared at the guest room painted in a beach-y blue with white furniture. It was sunny outside. She always felt that Christmas should be cloudy with the snow feeling in the air. But rarely Christmas was all that she hoped it would be. Last year, she was with Billy. He turned up at her door Christmas Eve. She was so lonely that she happily let him into her home and arms. That Christmas would be the last time they’d be together. Another relationship that bit the dust. She was glad she wasn’t shuffling around her apartment alone. In the distance, she heard one of the twins cry. Rolling over, she realized that it was past nine in the morning. She was beyond tired from traveling across the globe to come home to her office. She’d become rather adept at sleeping on planes. The first night home, she barely turned on any lights and went straight to bed from 6 at night until 7 the next morning.

Stretching her arms over her head, she figured she should get up. Jane would be cooking a Christmas dinner for all of them. Steven and his wife would be coming over. Gloria knew they would most likely be announcing her pregnancy. A pang reverberated through her. Slowly, she watched the possibility of her ever making that announcement fade into the distance. She had no idea where her relationship with Larry was headed. He did seem very sincere in his affections and desire to make it a legitimate go of things. They hadn’t quite figured out how they would keep things going off the tour. Visits would need to be scheduled. What would happen if things got really serious? There was a huge ocean that physically separated them. She was being silly. Nothing ever works out. It would surprise her to get a call from him saying that he’d made a terrible mistake. That he really loved Ann and their family. That they were getting back together and once again, Gloria would be left on the outside of the U2 family looking in. Maybe that’s why she was holding back with Larry. Perhaps it had nothing to do with the fact that she was deeply in love with Bono and that every time she looked at him, he still took her breath away with that smile. It had changed over the years -definitely in the last 10 years. He still had a boyish way about him even when he turned 40. Through his 40’s, she had joked that he got his ‘man’ face. He laughed and really had no idea what she was talking about. She couldn’t even really describe it. Even his most boyish look, the man was just beyond the twinkle in his eye.

Get out of my head, she cursed. He was most likely sitting down to his Christmas supper with his family and wife. He wasn’t sleeping alone. It didn’t really matter that he missed her. She tossed her covers off her. The smell of cinnamon and sugar welcomed her as she opened the door. Andrew made monkey bread. She planned to have a ridiculously large piece of it and an even larger cup of coffee. It was a two pod day. She shuffled downstairs with her short hair shooting up in all directions.

"You're up early. We didn't expect you until after noon," Andrew looked up from his coffee mug.

"I can't promise I won't nap," she yawned and wandered to the single brew machine. God bless this invention, she thought as she popped a Kona pod in. There was no fussing with filters or grinds. She grabbed a large chunk of the monkey bread before sinking into a chair.

Andrew peered closer. "Are you okay?"

She nodded without looking up. "Yeah. Tired."

Andrew exchanged glances with Jane. "Maybe it's time for a vacation."

"Around award season? That's funny," she snickered. "I go LA in two weeks."

Andrew knew it was an empty suggestion.

"But you can do something for me," she said.

"What's that?" He asked.

"Go to South Africa with U2. It's just two shows," she said. "I'll do the rest of the tour. It comes right in the middle of award season and some clients are freaking out. And I have all this Spider-Man stuff to contend with," she yawned again.

Jane opened her mouth to protest but remembered that Gloria had stepped into the 360 tour for Andrew.

"Do you think they'll mind?" Andrew asked.

Gloria knew Bono might have some definite thoughts on it, but she wouldn't express them to Andrew. Larry might be disappointed since the tour was how they were able to date. She needed a break. As it was, she wouldn't be able to escape Bono. He was coming to New York for the show. She wasn't sure how long he'd be here or if Ali would be with him. It'd be easier if she came. He'd be occupied. Yet, the thought of them cuddling and God knows what else in the same city sickened her.

She shrugged her shoulders. "I don't see why they would. You used to be their guy."

Andrew smiled. "Until they met you."

Her stomach lurched. And I slept with half the band. "I guess I'll talk to Paul about it."

Andrew shook his head. "Not let me talk to him or Bono."

"You're better off with Paul," she said. "Bono will freak if his security blanket isn't there."

He nodded in agreement. "He does get attached." There was a slight whisper of bitterness.

Gloria ignored it the best she could. Could he really be angry after so many years? He wasn't even the one that got screwed over.

"Remind them you are their agent, not me." Gloria made herself another coffee.

Andrew smirked. "Probably, not for long."

Gloria frowned. "Are you dropping them?"

He shook his head. "No, the other way around."

Her heart plunged. That'd be one way out of Bono's grasp. He wouldn't feel so conflicted if she wasn't there.

"I think they want you exclusively. That's huge. And profitable for you," he leaned forward. "I should have known. You've been able to give them the attention I can't." He smirked. "They do better with your gentle touch."

"I haven't heard anything from anyone," she said.

"Don't be surprised if you do," Andrew got up. "I'm going to shower and get dressed."

Gloria looked to Jane who was spooning oatmeal into Liam's mouth. "Is he okay? Is he pissed?"


"I think he's bummed. He liked touring with them. But because of the business and family, he couldn't give them the time," Jane said. "So, it's good he will get to do one last hurrah with them."

Full time? Would that mean no other clients? She didn't think she could agree being that entrenched. Granted, she felt fairly swallowed by them now. Did it always feel that claustrophobic?



Gloria helped Jane dress the twins in their matching Christmas outfits. It was nice to have something to distract her from her thoughts. Soon, Andrew's house would be filled family and friends for his annual Christmas Open House. The first to arrive was Steven and his wife Lydia. Still newlyweds from the beginning of the year. They cuddled by Andrew's huge Christmas tree. The family exchanged presents as Jane broke out her famous egg nog. Gloria noticed Lydia not partaking.

"Lydia, something you want to tell is?" She asked.

Lydia turned purple. "Well, we wanted to wait but," she slipped her arms around Steven. "We are expecting."

The room exploded in joyous screams. Gloria knew it. Her brother who was 4 years younger was going to have a baby. She hugged Liam a little closer as he grabbed for her hair. It was 2 in the afternoon and still no call from across the ocean.

Andrew broke out the champagne for those not pregnant and they toasted to the future. Being with family was supposed to make her feel better. Gloria stood off to the side not feeling apart of the celebration. She looked forward to the other guests’ arrival because she needed more distraction from the sinking feeling within. Where did she go wrong in her life that at almost 40 she was still alone? Did the downward spiral start in 1992? Would her life be different if she didn't succumb all those years ago? She wondered if Bono had ruined her for all other men. Since then, she did not have one successful relationship. And here she was again.

Gloria jumped as her phone buzzed in her pocket. Eagerly, she tore it out of her pocket. Her face fell. "Merry Christmas Billy."

"And a Merry Christmas to you. Are you at Andrew's? " he asked.

She moved away from the crowd. "I am. Where are you? LA?"

"No, I'm in Chicago visiting with the parents," he said.

"Is Jess with you?" She asked.

"No, her parents are in Seattle. I'll see her in a few days,"

Gloria rolled her eyes. Even Billy could find a working relationship. "That's nice."

"Hey, say the word and I'll be there," he joked. "I remember last Christmas was nice."

"Yeah, would have been nicer if you hadn't already started seeing Jess," she tossed back.

"Not a fine moment," he sighed. "How are things with you?"

Gloria knew he was referring to Bono. They had not talked much since the night Billy caught Bono and Gloria. She had acknowledged that it was a fool's ride she was on and that it was doomed to end badly. Billy listened and vowed to be supportive regardless.

"Good. Busy. I'm headed to LA in a few weeks. And the marathon training," she breezed casually.

"That 's right," there was a pause. "And the other thing? How is it that?"

Gloria sighed. "You picked Christmas for this conversation? Are you going to tell me that my puppy is dead on Valentine's day?"

"Sorry," Billy muttered. "You sounded down. Change the subject."

"It's over and things are fine," she said.

Billy knew things were not. He lacked timing and that was one of the main reasons they never worked longer than 3 years at a time.

"I'm sorry?" He asked tentatively.

Gloria rolled her eyes. Why did she even pick up the phone? “It’s fine. What are you up to? Are you still working on that solo album?”

Billy launched into talking about himself - something he was very good at doing. She could zone out for a minute and watch the lights blur as they danced on the Christmas tree. In the background, her favorite Christmas song hummed lowly over the chatter.


“Someday soon, we all will be together, if the fates allow. Hang a shining star upon the highest bough...And have yourself a Merry Christmas now...” What was he doing now? Sitting in front of a fire? Was he thinking of her? Missing her?

Happily, the house began to hum with friends stopping by to enjoy Andrew’s festive spread. Like every year, he debuted a holiday inspired cocktail creation. This years was disappointing at best. Gloria was happy to huddle on the couch with Michael Stipe and his boyfriend. It was nice to focus her attention on someone else for a change. She had spent too much in her own head. After a few glasses of wine, Gloria was feeling jovial at last. The house was brimming with good cheer and time started to slip by unnoticed. The doorbell rang as it had all afternoon long.

“Can you get it?” Andrew called to Gloria.

She looked up from pouring more wine for David and Iman. “Not really.”

Andrew bounded down the hall.

She turned to David. “He really thinks I have eight arms.” They laughed.

"Hey," she heard a surprised Andrew exclaim. "What are YOU doing here?"

Then a deep chuckle. "Merry Christmas to you too." In a familiar lilt.


Gloria's heart stopped. Was that Bono? She thought they were all in Dublin. One part was overjoyed, while she wondered if she could stomach the entire Hewson clan. Slowly, she inched towards the door.


"I heard it was an open house," the Irish voice chuckled.


Gloria had never been so happy to see Larry in her life. His smile met hers with a casual shrug.

She rushed to hug him. "What are you doing here?"


Andrew looked perplexed as he watched Larry and Gloria hug tightly.


"I wanted to spend Christmas with you, so we did presents last night with the kids," Larry said. The look of pure of joy on her face was worth it.

"Um, Merry Christmas?" Andrew offered.


"I guess you didn't tell your brother," Larry said.


"Not yet." It never occurred to her to tell him. She didn't believe this was real so why mention it? 


Andrew looked from Gloria to Larry. This, he had never imagined. For years after their affair ended, he watched Bono and Gloria for any spark. He was glad she stayed away from the PopMart tour. She finally seemed to make peace with the events of 1992-93. There were times when Andrew felt guilty for fostering the environment. He wasn't stupid; he knew she had a deep infatuation for Bono. He just didn't see that it was been reciprocated. It was clear that Bono harbored feelings for many years later. He wore his heart on the outside. But Larry? Now that blindsided him.


"I'll...um...see you in there," Andrew moved away.


"Did we scare him?" Larry wrapped his arms around her.


"Stunned him for sure. And me too," she said.


"Is this okay that I came? Did I crash? " he asked.


"No, I'm stunned but thrilled," she hugged him tightly.


He tilted her face up towards him. "I want you to know that I'm serious about this." He kissed her deeply.


This was better than Bono coming over with his entire family. As much as she longed to see him, she didn't need his family life tossed in her face. Didn't matter that he'd look tortured. He would be curled into Ali later that night.


"Are you hungry? Where is your stuff? " she asked breathlessly. Sure, this gesture would have been more powerful 4 years ago. Even last year. It didn't matter because he was here now.


"I left it with the doorman. I was hoping you'd let me crash with you. My place is being leased right now. If not, I can get a room," he said.


"Of course you'll stay with me. Let's get you some food. But let me warn you to stay away from Andrew's Christmas cocktails. They are nasty," she warned.


He laughed. "Okay. Got you. I'm glad I did this. Ann suggested it."


She raised her eyebrows. "Really? I would not expect that." By the hand, she led him into the party. This was the most public they had ever been. She knew she'd have to pull Andrew to the side and explain part of the truth. Right now, it was Christmas and she wasn't alone.

It was nice to see his sister happy. While Larry ate, Gloria pulled him aside and explained that they had gotten close over this tour. She omitted many truths about the tale like Hawaii or what started in August. Now, Andrew watched as Larry and Gloria, the couple, chatted with Jane and Steven.


"Does Bono know?" Andrew asked.


She nodded. "He knew before me. Larry confessed to the band first."

"And he was okay with it?" Andrew asked.


"He gave his blessing," Gloria was honest. He had given it - just not whole-heartedly.

Andrew pulled out Jane’s cheesecake from the refrigerator. The house phone rang which was odd. Most people called his cell. “Hello?”

“Merry Christmas,” Bono called into the phone.

“Hey, same to you! How was your day?” Andrew asked.

“It was good. Relaxing. Sounds like you’ve got quite the party going on there. Makes me wish we spent Christmas in New York,” No truer words had spoken. His house was still at 9pm. The kids are retreated to their rooms. Ali had gone to bed. Bono was surprised after rising so early that he was still away. Unable to control himself any longer, he dialed Andrew’s number. He knew Gloria would be there. He just wanted to hear her voice. Since November, they had talked everyday. The last few days had been torture.

“Are you calling to talk to Larry?” Andrew scanned the party for him.

“What?” Bono’s heart stopped.
“Larry. I can’t see him right now,” Andrew said.

“He’s there?” Bono’s voice was as tight as his chest.

“Yeah, just got here a little while ago. I had no idea they were together,” Andrew said.

“Sort of happened in Australia, as things do,” Bono wasn’t sure how much of the story Andrew knew. Bono leaned against the kitchen sink staring out over the bay at the moon and clouds chase each other. “I’m sure it was nice surprise.” For a moment he thought if he had been free to do something as romantic as that. He envied Larry with every fiber if his being. Larry would be holding her tonight. Well, fuck.


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

"Wow, looks different," Larry mused as he wheeled in his suitcase to her apartment.


"Have you not been here since...." her voice trailed off.


"I don't think so. It's nice to be allowed back in," he smiled.


She shuddered thinking the last time she made love in this apartment. "You can put your things in the bedroom. You know where it is."


His heart leapt. This was a gamble that was paying off nicely. He carried his things to her bedroom. It was completely different from the last time. Her bed grew from a queen to a huge king. Her colors were lush reds and chocolates. This was a room he could get used to. If things went they were now, would he just move in here? Would they both move someplace new? He was getting way ahead of himself. Unzipping the front pocket, he pulled out a small box. Current travel rules meant it wasn't wrapped. Hopefully that wouldn't matter. He joined Gloria in the living room. She turned on her Christmas tree.


"Do you want something to drink?" She asked.


"Do you have beer? " he asked dropping his hand by his side.


"It's a fancy Christmas beer with spices," she said.


"That's fine," he sat on her overstuffed leather couch.


She came back with 2 bottles. "I'm glad you came."


"I am too. I was going to come tomorrow. Ann said, why not got Christmas? Here I am. I didn't want to upset the kids, but they are getting older. They would rather be with their friends."


She turned on her fiber optic Christmas tree. "I didn't have time to get a real one. Jane and my assistant put this one up for me so there was something festive."


"We stole you away for most of the season," Larry said. "And Thanksgiving again."


Gloria nodded absent-mindedly. Both men had attempted to make that holiday special for her.


"I was going put something together that day, but Bono beat me to it," he leaned back.


Guilt rattled her for a moment. Kicking off her shoes, she elevated her feet on the table in front of her. Larry reached behind him and produced a small box.


"Merry Christmas," he said softly.


"Oh, you didn't have to do this. I have nothing for you," she sat up.


"I know. We didn't say anything about gifts. I got this to give you when I was coming next week. Your face when I walked in was good enough," he smiled. "I'm sorry it's not wrapped. Bloody airport security."


She opened the box to find a thick silver bracelet similar to the ones he wore. "It's beautiful." It was heavy as she lifted it.


"Do you like it? I know you prefer silver. It's from Mexico and handmade, " he plucked it from the box to fasten it to her wrist.


She smiled. "It fits perfectly. Thank you so much." She leaned forward and gave him the kiss she couldn't at Andrew's.


Larry had been itching to get her alone from the moment he walked into the party. The last night of the tour had been a late one with both of them exhausted. Gloria's flight was so early that they curled up in bed and slept. They had all night now. He pulled her to him. This was something he'd waited years to happen. Praying that she didn't stop him, he cradled her face in his hands.


"I've missed you and this place." He whispered.


She had forgotten that this was the scene of their crime so many years ago. For a few weeks, he stayed here with her. That was right before he bolted. Was she being smart letting him back him back into this apartment and her life?


What was her other option? Days of loneliness? Waiting around for when Bono could sneak away? That was no life. Years ago she did time as his mistress and it got ugly. In a way, it was good that Larry declared his feelings and stopped that merry-go-round.


She stood and offered her hand. "Come on, let's go to bed."

~~~~edit~~~~



"I love you," he sighed.


Suddenly, the intimacy of the moment caught in her chest. This was her boyfriend, her lover. She thought she had no choice, that Larry won by default. But she could have walked away completely. Something still lived in her heart enough for her to take this step and invite him in.



"I love you," she said. It was true that she did. It didn't erase the love that still existed lurking in the darkness that threatened to erupt like a dormant volcano. Her heart felt like there was no more room with both men in her life.


~~~~~edit~~~~~~~

"Are you okay?" Her concerned eyes peered down.


He laughed. "Oh yes. I'm very okay." His arms pulled her close. "It's been a long time. And an even longer time since I haven't gone through the motions."


She stretched out beside him propped up an elbow. "It hasn't been that way since we....you know."


"After I left New York, it was. Then I saw you with Jake and I just got over it. I had to. I was focused on the kids. It wasn't until the start of 360 that those feelings rose up again. I tried hard to ignore, avoid, bury..." he rolled over to face her. "Ann and I had split up in 2010. And I had every intention of making a go of it with you. I didn't know how. Just as I was starting to find my dating feet, Ann found the lump."


"That must have been scary to have to shoulder that on your own," she said.


"I hated not being able to tell you," he said softly. "I saw I was confusing you."


"Well, all that's over now," she touched his cheek. There was a small pit in her stomach knowing that while Larry went through hell with Ann, she and Bono were falling in love again. She tried to not think about what things might have been like if that didn't happen. Or maybe that was exactly what she needed to do. If Larry and Gloria had started dating in the summer, everyone would have been thrilled about this union. Even Bono. Maybe that was the key to moving forward.


They crawled under the covers and cuddled against each other.


"Merry Christmas, Gloria," Larry whispered in her neck. “I love you.”


"Merry Christmas. - I love you too," she smiled. All in all, it had been a merry one. She drifted off to sleep.

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


"So Larry's still in New York?" Edge asked sipping his wine.


Bono nodded tersely. "He's been there since Christmas."


"Will he still be there when we head over?" His friend's face spoke volumes of his torment.


He shook his head and poured himself another large glass of wine. "I don't know. I'm not sure it matters."


"Are you okay?" Edge peered closer.


"Yeah, as good as can be. Things have been tense here," he glanced around his living room. Ali chatted across the room.


It was an intimate gathering for New Year's Eve. There had been talk of going out on the town or to Eze. Bono nursed a nasty flu and couldn't rally enough for either plan. He was also nursing a small bout of depression. He and Edge would head to New York to try to sort out the Spider-Man debacle. The non-reviews were scathing. Sure, sales to the freak-show were good, but Bono wanted Cats acclaim not side-show fascination. Of course the news about Larry dampened his mood over the week. Larry was sleeping in the same bed he shared with Gloria. With the holidays over, he thought about the ' what ifs' of his life. If Larry and Ann stayed together, what would he have done? Part of his problem would be taken care of. The band would be impacted by the Bono and Ali separation but not like now. Would he break his family up and bring that scrutiny on them? If he did, he'd have to wait to be with Gloria, but they'd be together eventually. He watched from a growing distance as a life between them forged. Should he have made a different decision? Should he just have thrown caution and common sense to the wind and professed his undying love to her and everyone? As he thought back to the summer, Bono did get there first. He just wasn't first to make the sacrifice; now he paid the price.


"Are things okay?" Edge’s heart sunk like a stone. If Ali and Bono broke apart, what would a free Bono do? Edge could see his torment all across Australia. He didn't look much better now as he looked lost in his own house.


Bono shrugged. "You know that coming off tour is always tough for both of us. Guess I wasn't ready to come home yet. New York might be good."


Gloria was in New York as well, Edge noted. Having her around was like a calming agent for Bono. Would that still be the case as the Larry and Gloria unit solidified? Edge knew the next year could be interesting.


Ali smiled coolly as she walked over. "Did he tell you how he got sick?"


"No," Edge side-glanced an eye roll.


"Someone went walking in the cold rain the other day," she slipped an arm around his waist.


"It wasn't raining when I started," he defended himself.


"It looked like rain," she teased.


He smiled brightly. "I'm still alive, save for a heavy head and sore throat."

The tension between them lifted as they teased each other. Soon it would 2011 - a whole new year. Ali pulled her husband aside.


"It's been a tough year," she whispered. He nodded.

She thought to her marital misstep last winter and spring. The flirtation got out of control. When Bono's back became serious, that ended. The possibility of losing him sobered her. They couldn't find their footing after that. The tour didn't help them reconnect either with Bono away and his mind on the musical. It felt like years ago after the fallout from everything Zoo. The gorge was wide and deep. She hoped that some time together would bridge them. Once again, he was off for the tour or something else. It was easy to think that they weren't the first on his list.
He looked down at his wife - mother of his 4 amazing children. A woman who had been his backbone and beacon in a storm. He did love her deeply. Could he live without her? Maybe, but now wasn't the time to discover that.


"Next year has every opportunity to be better than the last," he kissed her. "I say that we make that a priority. "


She hugged him as her chest tightened. Some days she wondered of they clung to each other out of need rather want. Right now, it didn't matter. She felt close to him and it was nice.


They heard 'Happy New Year' cheers in the living room, followed by a few corks popping.


"Happy New Year," she reached up to kiss him deeply.

~~~~~~~~


With a start, Bono woke to the sound of rain driven rain against his windows. He looked at Ali on the other side of the bed. She faced the opposite direction her side rising and falling in deep sleep. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the red numbers glaring at him. It was 4:59 - almost midnight in New York. At the start of the new year, he recommitted himself to his marriage. He would leave the incredible 4 months with Gloria behind forever. 5:00. Thousands of miles away, he knew Larry was kissing Gloria and promising her the world. Was she accepting it? Was he on her mind at all? He settled back on the pillows. Didn't matter, he told himself. He rolled over and watched the rain streak his windows. He couldn't shake the feeling that 2011 had a lot of surprises up its sleeve.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Crap, forgot to add, IM me for edited sections.
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
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Satisfying!

Soem parts felt a little disjointed, namely the switch in the middle from Bono's perspective to Gloria's perspective. I got the hang of it though. And having all these names was confusing, but I think I know who everyone is now...

Hmmm, two edits... For some reason I got the feeling they'd already gotten together on this tour, though. But I guess you would have written it...
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Satisfying!

Soem parts felt a little disjointed, namely the switch in the middle from Bono's perspective to Gloria's perspective. I got the hang of it though. And having all these names was confusing, but I think I know who everyone is now...

Hmmm, two edits... For some reason I got the feeling they'd already gotten together on this tour, though. But I guess you would have written it...
Gloria and Larry? They were together but not in the biblical sense.

And the Christmas scenes were a bear to get out. So I think you tell I labored over those.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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I haz a HUGE sad. It made me feel sad for her, being alone and all her family growing and having babies. So I was glad that Larry showed up...but...

Bono cannot let her go. I just know it! They're just too connected to each other...
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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Let's say that it will be a very interesting 2011.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:44 PM   #7
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One thing I've been meaning to ask all day....


..... who's Olivia?
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:25 AM   #8
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Yeah yeah.....too many characters running around in my head with similar names.

I apologize for my sloppiness.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:37 AM   #9
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It's ok... I honestly just thought I'd forgotten about a character.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaraCynara View Post
One thing I've been meaning to ask all day....


..... who's Olivia?
Oh dear..


Glad you finally got back to MW Grace. It's a good one.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #11
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O have not given up any of my stories. It just takes me awhile to get something tp out out as I hop around. I was working Acrobat today.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:32 PM   #12
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This is going to make me think of the 360 tour completely differently

The fact that Gloria was with 1/2 the band makes it sound like a lot

And yes, I would love the edits. Preferably by email, as my PM box is full...
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:47 PM   #13
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Yeah, you won't see the Bono-Larry-Girl triangle again.....oh wait....thinks of Seconds storyline. Nah, it's not serious.
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:23 AM   #14
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All these stories are making me confused

Don't worry, I'll make sense of it all eventually...
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:35 PM   #15
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Could you send me the unedited part of this chapter please when you have a minute? Thanks.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:57 AM   #16
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Yes unedited sections for me too.....
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #17
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I'd liked the unedited version as well when you have the time. Thank you and keep up the good work!
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:43 AM   #18
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fantastic!! I haven`t been in here for a while.....but now I`m hooked again
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:28 PM   #19
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The world seriously needs this story... ....
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