Mysterious Ways - Chapter 9 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-09-2010, 11:32 PM   #1
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Mysterious Ways - Chapter 9

Okay, this chapter is a little longer. And it took forever. Once again, some of this is complete fabrication and some of it is true. It's true that U2 exist. Yes, they toured Europe this year. But Gloria probably did not happen. Also, yes, there is a Boston Marathon. And I will be running it in 2011. But no, you cannot qualify with a half marathon time.

There is a cuss word here and there.

A cortisone shot was given to Bono before the Moscow show. The crowd may not have noticed Bono being a little more conservative on the stage, but the stage crew knew he needed a few more days to nurse his back. Despite the late night, everyone boarded the flight 360 to be whisked back to Ireland - except Gloria. She was headed back to France the following morning to work on the press releases for the Australian leg of the tour to be announced in Vienna. Bono needed to help Ali get ready for their move to New York as the boys would be starting school in New York come September.

Larry went home to a tense household with Ann. The mamogram and ultrasound on her breast showed a mass. To the naked eye, it was difficult to say without doubt that it was not cancerous or precancerous. A needle biopsy would be needed for 100% certainty. The doctors were pissing Larry off. He hated the way he felt Ann was being led on. Why didn’t they just do the needle biopsy to begin with? It didn’t help that to be loyal to Ann that he needed to hold this all inside. All this angst and worry balled up inside made him a salty bastard. Gloria stopped dealing with him as much as she could since Larry could no longer bear to look at her. Bono trailed him trying to find out what got up his ass - and it just annoyed him more. He knew Bono was trying to be a good friend, but he made a vow that he could not break. He felt that he was betraying the band as well. If Ann had cancer, it would somehow affect the tour. He knew he’d have to spring this on them with very little warning. When he returned home, Larry did the only thing he could do - he minded the kids. He tried to let Ann a rest while he could. Ann’s needle biopsy was scheduled for the end of August. Finally, they would know what they were dealing with.

The much rumored Australian tour was announced the same day as the Vienna show. The band taped a short film for their website. An Australian journalist came out to interview the band on their stage. As Gloria helped with the press, there was no mention of her going on that tour. She figured that Andrew would be ready to hop on the U2 circus by then. With twin boys at home, he might be more than ready to grab the brass ring. It would be a vacation.

After the chilly show, everyone hopped on the plane once again to head back to France. The band would get directly into the studio fresh with the audience still ringing in their ears. Larry slumped to the back of the plane and stretched out across three seats. It would be a late night before he flew back to Dublin to be with Ann. As much as he hated being so far away from his family, he looked forward to not flying directly after a show during the Australian tour. Bono took a seat beside Gloria. She showed him list of potential politicians to see in Australia. Edge sat across from them. He promptly began uploading video and photos taken during the last few days. It was a short flight, but long enough for Gloria’s heavy eyelids to close. She would not have a few days before Athens. Her flight to Greece was first thing in the morning. Bono glanced over and realized that he had been talking to no one in particular. Edge was curled up across from them. Gloria’s head titled to the left - her eyes closed. He shrugged and closed his eyes too. He knew that they would be landing in roughly a half hour. Just enough for a quick nap. As his mind began to wander, he felt Gloria’s head drop to his shoulder. He opened one eye to see if Edge was watching. A small snore escaped from Edge’s mouth. Bono glanced down at Gloria. He remembered curling up in her lap during the Zoo TV tour. He would be a nerve ending and buzzing from late nights. He would wrap his arms around her waist and bury his head in her lap on whatever bus or plane they were on. She would smooth his hair back as he drifted off to sleep. Now, she was curled up on him. At that point, it could be anyone’s shoulder. She was drained. After Moscow, Bono decided to not fight his thoughts about Gloria. It was a harmless crush that she showed no signs of reciprocating. He let his daydreams run wild. Eventually, it would run its course. With no signs of life on the plane, he buried his face in her soft hair. Somehow, it smelled of the sea. He breathed in to remember the scent before he leaned his head back and closed his eyes. .

While most of the band crawled into their beds, Larry and Gloria shared a car to the airport. Larry avoided conversation by curling up in the corner and falling asleep. Gloria didn’t really care. She had 3 hours of sleep and her mind was on her upcoming run. She was running the Athens Half Marathon the day before the show. She stared out the window checking the list in her head. She had her shoes, her special socks, her iPod, her GPS watch, her translation guide, and so on. Larry kept his eyes clamped shut. He was afraid if he opened his mouth for even small talk that he would confess everything. He felt the tension in the three feet that separated them. Without a word, they piled out of the car and retrieved their bags.

“What time is your flight?” he asked.

She looked at her watch. “I have 20 minutes to make it.”

Larry had over an hour. If her flight had been later, he would have suggested they share an uncomfortable breakfast together. “That’s barely time for coffee.”

“I might get a few sips in before boarding,” she smiled. She had given up trying to search for what his issue was lately. He’d been terse with everyone - so it wasn’t JUST her. There was an uneasy pause as his eyes looked at her hopelessly. “I better go...”

“Right,” he seemed to come out of his daze. He leaned forward to hug her. “Have a good flight.”

“You too.” This was the closest they had been since her birthday party and their dance. “Safe travels and give my best to everyone.”

“See you in a few days,” he waved.

As Gloria wheeled her suitcase in the opposite direction, she was hurt that he didn’t wish her luck in race. Before she bid good evening to the rest of the band last night, they all gave her hugs and well wishes. Bono mistakenly told her to break a leg until Edge reminded him that was not the thing to say to a runner before a race. She knew that they didn’t realize the importance of this race. This was a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon - a race she had wanted to run ever since she was a little girl. Growing up in Boston, most kids had dreams of lining up in Hopkinton for one of the biggest marathons in the world. But Gloria was not an athletic kid or adult. Her brother Brian was the track star. Gloria was always on the wrong side of the scale. She spent her adult years only running to catch drunken rock stars or out of control actors.

Gloria started running at the beginning of the year when yet another romantic prospect crashed to the ground. From her failed affair with Larry in 2006, she went to date an actor a few years her junior. She thought that maybe this was it. Sure, it wasn’t the same passion she shared with Larry, but she was falling in love. Until she learned that he was falling in love with an actress - on the cover of People magazine. Several months and terrible dates later, she found herself spending a lot of time with Billy. She knew it was a mistake. She fought against the inclination to be intimate - but she was lonely and confused. Just when she considered that maybe she and Billy belonged together - after all - who else would have them? - she was off on the 360 tour the fall of 2009. Billy, having spent 10 years as her best friend, was now privy to her secrets. Like the fact that she had a relationship with Larry who she would be on tour with for months. Billy’s jealousy was evident even though they were never officially together. It didn’t matter that nothing happened on the tour. When Gloria returned, Billy had a new girlfriend Lisa - much to Gloria’s surprise.

At the start of 2010, Gloria made the difficult decision to shelve her love life. She gave up. She would be 39. Her heart broke as Andrew and Julia announced their pregnancy. Deep down, she knew that it would never happen for her. She surrounded herself with fickle actors and musicians with a short attention span. How was she gong to find a soulmate? She considered adoption or sperm donors. Her work and clients demanded that she traveled constantly. It was no life for a baby. Right now, all she had was her work. Filled with dispair, she ran. The cold New York air stung her lungs. Her legs were heavy as she pumped them harder and faster. At the end of her run, her head spun and she was sure she’d vomit. But she felt a little better. In March, she ran her first 5K. When she wasn’t working, traveling, meeting with her clients - she was running. It was her salvation.

Now, it was a balmy August morning in Greece. Butterflies filled her stomach. Larry and his attitude were thousands of miles away. Gloria bounced on the balls of her feet to warm up. Thousands of runners were crowded at the start. She was only one in a handful of Americans running this morning. If she could finish this race in less than an hour and fifty minutes, she could qualify for the Boston Marathon - a dream she’d never thought she’d achieve. If she couldn’t have children, she could finish the Boston Marathon.

It was a sea of nameless faces. She was alone among the chatting groups. Family members hugged runners as they milled towards the starting line. Above the start, a large clock counted down the minutes. Gloria plugged in her headphones and checked her GPS watch. A disembodied voice talked into a microphone. It was all Greek to Gloria. The Greek national anthem played over the PA system. There was shouting and calling. Runners hopped up and down in place - all ready to run. The gun fired and they were off. Gloria pushed play on her iPod. ‘Kashmir’ from Led Zepplin started off her run.

Normally, Gloria would be concerned with her pace. She would plan out the next few days in her head. Today, it was a conversation that she had with Andrew the night before.

“Hey, I just wanted to call and wish you luck on your race tomorrow,” he said.

“Thanks,” Gloria sat on the bed in her hotel room beside the running clothes she laid out.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“As much as I can be. It’s weird running in a different country,” she said.

“Hey, I’ve been thinking,” Andrew started. Gloria sighed. Any conversation that started with those words never bode well for her. “The Australian tour is coming up.”

“Yes.....” She had an idea what would be next. She had been working with Paul and Dennis for plans. And she knew someone from her organization would be going along. This conversation was bound to happen.

“I know you were supposed to just fill in for me on this tour, but I talked with Paul and he said he’s very happy with you. I just think that you’ve done all the work on this. It’d be silly for me to now step in,” Andrew said.

“So, you want me to spend another month and a half on the road? What about my other clients? They’ve been patient because they knew it was an emergency,” Gloria said.

“Gloria, U2 are our friend and biggest clients. If they want you to tour with them...”he said.

“Well, they were your clients,” she snapped back.

“They like your work better, at least on the road. They prefer me in the recording process,” Andrew said.

She looked at her calendar in her iPad. She had blocked off the tour so she knew the exact dates - mostly for Andrew. She took for granted that he would just pick up where she left off in Rome.

“Steven said that he could help out. He could take care of the West Coast for you,” Andrew said.

“You’ve thought of everything. I guess I can’t refuse,” she said lowly. “Did you know that the tour is over Thanksgiving?”

“Well, that’s the thing,” Andrew said.

Gloria knew it was more than the fact the U2 were passionate to keep touring with her. Yes, things were moving smoothly. Yes, everyone except Larry seemed to be very happy with her. However, now things made sense.

“This would be the second time I’d be in Australia for Thanksgiving,” She sighed. A shiver ran down her spine as she thought back to the last time she was there.

“I can’t be away right now. It makes sense for you to go. You’re single. You don’t have a family,” he said. “It’s just easier for you.”

Gloria shook her head. She was being penalized for being a loser in love. “I guess you and Steven are not my family,” her snapped tersely.

“You know what I mean,” Andrew knew that he walked a very fine line.

“Fine. Thanks for calling. Love you,” she hung up the phone before he could answer. She wished she could run right now. She paced around her hotel room. Holidays were lonely enough as it is but now she was reminded that her biological clocked ticked so loudly that she could barely hear her own thoughts most days.

Gloria was still pissed the following morning. The more she thought about the conversation and all the great quips she wished she said last night, her legs pumped harder. She passed people like they were standing still. The miles flew by her. Finally she saw the 12 mile marker, She had not looked at her GPS watch since the start. So far, she had been running for an hour and forty minutes. In her head, she did a quick calculation. If she could run her last mile at just under a ten minute mile, she could qualify for the Boston Marathon. She pushed her argument with Andrew to the back of her head. Her legs burned, but she picked her knees up higher. Straightening her back and pulling up the last bit of energy, she sprinted towards the finish line. She refused to look at her watch to see her pace. The clock loomed feet ahead of her. It read 1:47:38. She ran harder. Her stomach lurched. If she stopped, she might vomit. As she crossed the sensor, the clock read 1:48:48. Under an hour fifty minutes. She had qualified! She realized that it took her 3 minutes to get to the start so it could be 1:45!

Gloria raised her arms above her head as she slowed to a jog then a walk. As she caught her breath, her lungs were stinging. Around her, other runners wandered around with a dazed and depleted look in their eyes. Someone handed her a medal and a water. Happily, she threw the medal around her neck. Loved ones and families hugged the finishers even though they were covered in sweat and dirt. A little girl threw her arms around her mother’s legs so proud of her mother finishing. As Gloria looked around, she was in an ocean of family celebrations. Suddenly, the fact that she was very much alone hit her full force.

Gloria grabbed a banana and another water as she meandered through the town square. She found some stairs to stretch her sore leg muscles before she started the walk back to her hotel. She needed a shower and maybe a nap. No one need her until tomorrow morning when the band arrived. She could order room service and crawl under the covers.

Her eyes caught on three very strange looking tourists staring at her. They all donned Boston Red Sox caps. One of them wore linen pants and a loud floral shirt. The other wore tan hiking shorts and sandals. The last one looked like he could have run in the race in his shorts and sneakers. But it was the sunglasses that gave those silly disguises away. Her heart leapt for joy as she quickly ran towards the pathetic tourists.

“What are you doing here?” she tossed her arms around Bono. She was never so happy to see someone.

“We came to watch you cross the finish line,” he hugged her tightly. “You were great. So serious looking when you crossed.”

“You weren’t supposed to be here until tomorrow,” she said.

“That’s what we wanted you to believe,” Edge said. “Bono came up with the idea to come a day early to watch you.”

“Did he come up with those ridiculous clothes?” she laughed.

Bono shrugged. “What? Don’t we look like tourists?”

“The tourists have been giving us the side eye,” Adam said.

“They actually think we’re on leave from a hospital,” Bono joked.

“I’m so glad you guys are here,” she smiled widely. Her eyes scanned the three of them.

“Larry is still in Ireland,” Adam explained. He knew Larry would want to be here for Gloria. He couldn’t figure out what was going on with him lately.

“With Ann,” Bono finished. “He’ll be here tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you for coming,” she beamed.

“Wow, you got a medal and everything,” Edge picked up her medal to get a better look.

“And I qualified,” she said proudly.

“Qualified?” Bono was confused

“For Boston?” Edge asked. “That’s amazing!” He gathered in her in his arms.

Bono looked at Adam. “I don’t get it.”

“This was a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon. You need to run this race in a certain amount of time. If you do, you get to run the Boston Marathon. It’s a prestigious race,” Adam explained.

“How do you know this and I don’t?” he asked.

“Because you are a self-centered rock God,” Edge teased. “Look outside yourself, Bono.”

“I need to shower...and eat,” Gloria said.

“Let’s go back to the hotel and then we’ll take you out for a big dinner. You probably burned enough calories for several dinners,” Edge said.

Bono slung his arm around Gloria’s shoulders. “And honey, you do stink.”

“Seriously, where did you get the clothes?” she asked as the four of them walked towards the hotel.

Ann insisted that Larry stay home with the kids while she went in for the needle biopsy with her sister. His furrowed brow just caused tension in her shoulders. He was suspect of everything the doctors said. She needed a calming influence. If Larry wanted to pace the house, let him. And he did. He tinkered with his drums. He cleaned his motorcycle. He repacked his suitcase. Larry was cleaning up from lunch when he remembered Gloria’s big race. Shit, he thought. He didn’t even wish her luck. He was so wrapped in his head and Ann’s possible sickness that he completely forgot. He glanced at his watch. Was it too early to call? Should he call? He didn’t want her to think it was an after thought. But he didn’t want her to read too much in it. Things were still unsettled with Ann.

The kitchen door opened. Ann walked in looking a little tired. “Hey....are the kids home from school?”

“Not yet. How did it go?” He tried to hold back his anxiety.

“I’m a little sore. I should know something in a few weeks,” Ann sat at the table. She knew it was coming.

Larry frowned. “A few weeks? What takes them so bloody long?”

“THey send them to a lab,” she said.

“Maybe we should seek a second opinion,” he said.

She rubbed her temples. She wished that he would just go back on tour. He was driving her crazy. “Let’s just wait to see what the test say. Are you packed?”

“Yes. Do you want me to go?” he asked.

“Larry, your negativity is hard on me. Everyone is doing what they should. Thank you for coming home and trying to take care of me, but you are driving me crazy,” she sighed.

He sat beside her. “I’m sorry. I’m trying to be supportive, but I fix things. I can’t stand by and not do something. That’s why I get pissed when it takes forever to get a test back.”

She gave his had a squeeze. “Thank you, but the constant questioning is killing my spirit.”

He rubbed his head. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to be better.”

“It will be over soon. Soon we’ll know,” she said.

After an ice bath followed by a long hot shower, Gloria felt better. She was sore, the good kind. Despite having a great run, and the guys coming to see her, she couldn’t shake the melancholy that rested on her chest. The images of families at the end of race weighed heavy on her mind - along with the fact that Andrew was dismissive of her holiday. She tried to hold herself together as she knocked on Bono’s door. She promised to collect him on her way down since he had a tendency to get lost in time if left alone.

The door magically opened. “I’ll be right out,” he called from the bedroom of his suite.

Gloria looked around his suite. It was triple the size of her room, and her room was pretty big. A robe was crumpled on the floor. His laptop was open on the coffee table. The sliding doors to his patio were opened. She had a nice window, but not a patio. His view overlooked the turquoise sea. She leaned over the marble ledge and took a deep breath. The ocean smelled clean and fresh.

“Hey speedy,” Bono joined her. He buttoned his brown leather shirt.

“Hey. Nice view,” she said.

He smiled. “It doesn’t suck. How do you feel?”

“Little stiff which is expected,” she shrugged. “Not sure if you heard, but I will be joining you in New Zealand and Australia.”

“That’s great,” Bono said. He peered closer at her face. “Or is it?”

“ will be fun,” she nodded but he picked up in the sadness in her voice.

“What’s wrong?” Bono asked.

“Andrew just assumed that I should be the one. And not because I’ve already handled this leg or because I’ve already planned and set up most of it. It was because I’m single,” she felt tears of anger and hurt well up.

“What? I don’t get it. Did he say that?”

“Pretty much. He went on how he has Jane and the kids. And Steven has a family. I was the logical choice because no one would miss me at Thanksgiving dinner,” her voice broke. “And I thought of that as I ran. And at the end of the race, other runners were getting hugged by their families and their kids.” She paused and took a cleansing breath. Her heart ached with loneliness. “And for the first time I thought, it may not happen for me.”

Bono removed his glasses. “What might not happen?”

“A family, A husband. It’s clear that no thinks of me in that light, including my own brother,” she threw up her hands. “I’m going to die alone because no one thinks I’m worth loving.”

It broke Bono’s heart to hear those words fall from her lovely mouth. If she only knew how he felt.

“Gloria, that’s not true at all,” he crossed the patio to her. “You are wonderful.” He moved to her to give her hug. She turned her sad blues eyes up towards him. He stopped short. His hands cradled her face. “You are amazing.” His lips brushed hers and his head spun. It had been 17 years since he looked at her from this angle, this close. She sighed and leaned closer to him. It was the invitation he hoped for. His mouth yearned for this kiss. Her lips were still amazing to him. The flush of excitement of something new and the comfort of an old love wrapped in one. Their lips found each other after all the years like no time had passed at all. As the kiss deepened, Gloria wrapped her arms around his waist. Emotions that she didn’t know existed bubbled up inside her. She loved the salty taste, the scruff of his chin. Her insides shivered like they once did. His hands slid down her body and pulled her against him. Her fingers ran through his soft hair. It was in that moment he realized his feelings for her never died. Her hands ran from his neck to his chest. He shuddered as she fingers grazed his skin exposed by his opened shirt. Under her hand, his heart raced wildly. A small moan erupted from his throat. He pulled away to look in her eyes. As he moved closer, her arms stiffened. She was in shock. She had not seen him in this light in so long. He was her friend, a good friend. She confided in him about her boyfriends. Now, wild thoughts tore through her mind. He felt amazing to her and that scared her to death.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She moved away leaving him with his mouth hanging open. Before he could move, she rushed through his room and flung the door opened. She didn’t know where to go. Her room was at the end of the hall. Her hands shook as she tried to get her key card in the slot. He wasn’t following her thankfully. Once inside her room, she collapsed against the door. What just happened?

Bono steadied himself against the ledge. His mind replayed the kiss over and over. She kissed me, he thought. And it was a real kiss. An amazing kiss with passion and hunger. He dreamt of this exact moment for the last few weeks. He put his glasses back on. Adam and Edge would be looking for them. He should at least go downstairs and meet in the lobby like they planned. He didn’t want to have dinner with a group. He wanted to lock himself away with Gloria. He longed to rediscover every inch of her. Shaking his head, he tried to clear his head of those thoughts. There was too much to lose, but he couldn’t stop thinking of the gains.

What do you think?

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:18 AM   #2
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I was so excited when I saw that this was posted! What a beautiful chapter! The run, the conversation, THE KISS! I totally saw this coming!

I'm still Team Larry, though. I don't know what it is. Gloria and Larry just seem to fit.

I loved this chapter! Everything about it flowed nicely. Not to mention that the writing is spectacular!

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Old 11-10-2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Thank you. This one was a grind. I have a good portion of this story and the scenes written down. It's just tying them together that can take work. It's has a little for Team Larry and a little for Team Bono. I got nothing for Adam and Edge girls. They need to write their own story.
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
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Well that works wonderfully for me!
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