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Old 02-13-2011, 07:48 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 11

I gave in to my guilty want and wrote another '78 chapter. I may do one more right after this just because it might make more sense than doing '86 just now...I hope it all makes sense that way! Sorry for messing up the order. I'm just impatient and something about writing this angsty bit is funnnn.

***

1978 (still)

It was too easy, too beautiful to lay there until sunrise, the sun’s fingers warming he and Eve from the wide-open window. Larry felt a lazy sense of security but still rather exhausted; he blinked at the light and shoved his head into the mattress in an attempt to get more sleep. Eve, next to him, her back turned and the sun trickling over her hair and shoulderblades, was still fast asleep. He moved closer to her and closed his eyes again. The sun filled that space between wakefulness and sleep and their bodies with a reddish warmth and pulled him into sleep again.

He woke up later and studied the sleeping Eve, the way the light touched on her body, the little hitch in her breath when she slept, the covers halfheartedly pulled up to her hips. Time slowed for him briefly into pieces of golden light, caught in the image of her, but that flow of time reversed in the next instant.

There was something about the fact that they weren’t being disturbed, he thought, sitting up, the covers slipping from his knees, the cool air playing around his bare chest.

There was nobody else in the house.

Oh.

Ruth still wasn’t back…he sighed, closed his eyes, told himself he’d ask Bono to keep an eye out for her. He still felt an odd attachment to her, if only because their drumming sessions had broken off so suddenly, and while there wasn’t that much he had left to teach, she had been drumming irregularly with her right hand. Perhaps because there was something on her mind.

He started to move off the bed, but saw Eve was awake and staring at him calmly, little points of light in her eyes. He leaned over and kissed her, her body warming, and she smiled.

“Eve?” Larry said. “Ruth’s still not back.”

“I thought I heard something…” Eve said, puzzled. Larry shook his head.

“That was me getting breakfast. I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Oh.” She grinned and threw the covers off, wrapping her arms around him from behind. He felt her lips on his shoulderblade…very distracting…and her hair falling to trail over his back.

“What’s bothering you, Larry Mullen?” Eve asked in that way she had, resting her chin between his shoulder and his neck. He could feel her breath soft against his skin, and leaned his head against hers.

“What’s the problem with Ruth’s boyfriend? You said something wasn’t going well between them.”

“Well, I didn’t say that,” she began reflectively, “but it definitely was implied.” She frowned, squinting at the sun, and closed her eyes, her voice gaining a sort of discordant rhythm as she began to explain—something about what she was going to say bothered her, something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

“I didn’t really know, but Ruth started seeing him about a month and a half ago, before she met you. I don’t know how they met, because I wasn’t there when it happened. She went off by herself into the city with something to do and ended up not getting it done. I remember it was raining, and she came back without her umbrella. I thought she’d lost it. The rain was hard enough that when I looked at her coming in, I didn’t really realize the look in her eyes.

“Ruth and I are close,” Eve explained. Larry could feel her smiling. “When we were kids we used to try and guess what each other was thinking after looking into each others’ eyes. Ruth made up silly answers and always got me to laugh before I said mine. I was usually right.”

She sighed; it traveled through his body from where hers was pressed to his. He involuntarily smiled a nervous smile: her proximity was causing interesting reactions. He might need to pull away a little if they were like this for long.

“The natural thing happened. We stopped really understanding each other a couple years ago when we became a lot more different than we were when we were kids. Ruth’s a pretty reckless person, but she’s determined. I don’t have that same strength of chasing after and holding on to what I want.”

He turned his head and raised his eyebrows. “You’re holding on t’ me, Eve,” he managed to say without laughing.

“Oh, well, you’re an exception. In any case…” Her voice grew softer. “Ruth found you…” She shook her head, dismissing the thought, but the shadow didn’t leave her eyes for another few moments.

“Anyways, that day when it rained, Ruth had that look where she was excited, but it was the kind of excited of when you’re running across the train tracks instead of going around—because there’s that knowledge that something about what you’re doing is wrong. I didn’t figure that out about her and Aodan for a long time. Perhaps too late.

“Their relationship…what I know of it…is kind of strange. I don’t know very much about him, but I don’t really trust him. He’s seventeen maybe, might be even nineteen, but he’s not in school of any kind right now and I can’t figure out what his job is. That has nothing to do with it though—the only times I’ve seen him he’s looked either sad or scared, or Ruth has. My guessing got better, in that aspect: I only saw them making out outside, that’s it.

“Ruth hasn’t said anything about him to me. She’s acting like we’re really young, when we wouldn’t really talk to each other but know what the other felt. I think she loves him and hates him, which is the most complicated thing. I can’t do anything about it, because her feeling—whatever it is—for him is so intense. And it’s scaring her, that much I can tell.”

Eve had grown sad. She stopped speaking for a minute and just buried her head against Larry, then looked up again and sighed, her eyes growing reflective again. The scent of growing things wafted in from outside; for a moment, Larry was distracted by that, the coolness of the air, the warmth of the sun and Eve. After that moment, she continued.

“I think what happened last week, before she stopped drumming—the second time you met me, remember? When I said she and Aodan were in the house and you’d better not come in?” He nodded, staying silent. He was a good listener, Eve was happy about. She didn’t know how much discussion she could take at the moment. “Well, after you left and he left, I came in, assuming she was hurt somehow. I really don’t like that man,” she said vehemently. “He didn’t even notice I was there when I came in the house, he was so busy talking to her.

“There was nothing wrong with her outwardly. I thought I would see something. Bruises, maybe. Something. Aodan had seemed troubled by something. Well, there wasn’t anything. I was confused and relieved. Except she was even more silent than before. She had something on her mind, and even though I tried, I couldn’t figure out what it was.”

“So what happened?” Larry asked, the deep concern for her sister beginning again. He really had had no idea what was going on in Ruth’s life aside from drumming. He felt terrible.

“I’m guessing they slept together and she thought it was too soon. She didn’t seem too happy, and she nearly went downstairs to sleep that night instead of her bedroom, except I was sitting there.” He raised his eyebrows, then spoke something that had been gathering in his mind, looking away from her.

“Eve, d’you think it was too soon? Are you sorry that we did this?”

“No,” she said firmly, grabbing his face, turning him around and kissing him hard. He breathed out in relief and laughed, leaning against her again. “Stop it, Lar.

“I’m just worried for Ruth. I have no idea why she’s gone.”

He rose up off the bed and held out his hands; she took them and gave him an amused look.

“Let’s get cleaned up. We can go try and find her afterwards, if you want.”

“I’d like that,” Eve nodded, smiling fully for the first time that morning, and fell against him briefly, kissing him gently and…not so gently. Larry made a strangled noise in the back of his throat and pushed her away slightly. “E-Eve!

She laughed.

“That is, if we don’t get too sidetracked first.” He grinned.

*

Ruth had fallen asleep with the acceptance of weariness, falling asleep as soon as she hit the narrow hotel bed. She could feel Isaac was curled up beside her and sensed some of his worry, but awareness of that drifted away as soon as she slept.

She awoke frowning out to the gray sky outside, her limbs stiff, her clothes feeling heavy around her as a wet second skin. Her head was tight, full and painful, and the room was cold. She looked over at Isaac with a sort of accusation in her eyes. His name was Aodan, she knew, but she had started to separate different aspects of him—this man now was Isaac; Aodan was the one she loved, and for the most part was no more. There were hints of him in the sleeping face, but not the worry tightening it. Isaac had probably been living like this—without a real home, with no real purpose—for much longer.

She crept up and sat half-in, half-out of the window, gripping its cool haphazardly-painted edge with white knuckles. Traffic raced below a little ways away and crept steamily closer. There were lights on in some shops, and happy people walking around as well as the agitated businessmen and some of the more ignored poor sleeping on doorsteps or in the streets, bypassed by the police for this watch. The morning ate her up briefly and she was not Ruth, she was the wide gray sky and the thin scent of coffee somewhere below and perhaps that couple holding hands, that baby whining. Then she came back to herself and she was a scared, confused girl sitting in the window of a cheap hotel, her life veering by like the passing cars. Her eyes stung sharply.

She was taken from that moment too by the momentum of hands picking her up bodily away. “Don’t do that,” Isaac half-yelled, concerned. Something about it seemed familiar.

“Sorry,” she said. “I was just…” She shook her head, frowning. She didn’t know what she’d been doing. “Getting fresh air.”

“Okay, but this is probably not the best place to do that.” He loosened his grip on her hands and hugged her with tight, brief worry, then turned away, some remnant of that physical contact still in his eyes. An icy tension grip her body. Did he suspect? He seemed too worried. She heard, far away, the screech of a car putting on brakes.

“I’m going to go see if I can get breakfast,” he said, running a hand through his hair and wincing. Neither of them had gotten much sleep. “You going to be okay, Aodan?” she asked him softly for a moment, gripping the doorway as he began to walk out of the room. He had been troubled all that night, the tightness of his hold on her saying enough where his words were silent. And she was getting emotional again. Feck.

“Of course I will,” he laughed harshly, and his kiss sent her reeling. She closed the door like an afterthought and slid down to sit on the floor, bringing her arms around herself.

Oh, god, oh god oh god.

Her mind raced. She wondered how Isaac could take care of anyone. She made a sharp hopeless sound and gripped her head in her hands.

It came back to her suddenly, that last night in his house before he was kicked out. When no-one had been there but them, and the sort of elation he had dimming once he entered the place. He’d turned to her, fear written plainly across his face. Fear for her, tightening into a control over his expression though it was still bright in his eyes.

The light of a passing car came through the blinds and flickered over the cracked tile and wallpaper, the few strange-looking books and some cigarettes of his father’s. He flicked the light on. With the light, Ruth felt hopeful. She smiled and held out her hands to him, and he took them in his, stepping forward and beginning to kiss her warmly—she felt suddenly happy with him, despite everything, an energy starting within her and taking her by surprise—

When suddenly, in reaction to a loud noise outside—footsteps?—he crouched down and they both slammed to the floor. His eyes were wide, even though little light filtered through for her to see them. She reached up and touched his face. “What is it, Aodan?”

“Ruth,” he said like life itself, “don’t move. Please. If I don’t come back I want you to find the bathroom—“—he sighed an angry sigh at himself, having forgotten she didn’t know this house—“—it’s down the hallway to the left—and lock the door. If you hear anything, you have to be as quiet as you can and try to fit yourself into the bathtub. Whatever you hear. Okay?”

Their closeness didn’t seem anything terrible. Her reasons for not loving him like perhaps she should drained from her utterly in that moment, and she nodded, frozen. He kissed her desperately and rose like a gunshot, slamming the door behind him. She could hear him talking to someone outside. It went on for about half an hour, and he was yelling. Aodan eventually found her in the bathtub wiping tears away when he entered.

“Sorry, love,” he said in a tired, strained voice. “I thought that was someone else.” He gestured with his hand beyond him, still looking frozen as she felt, apology and sadness all over his face. “This is my da.” His da gave her a look she didn’t like, probably something disapproving, and she just looked on in disbelief. What the hell had just happened?

Aodan explained to her afterwards, in the absolute stillness, when she’d clung to him and refused to hear, part of her numb, that—he didn’t give the reasons—there was someone trying to kill him. Apparently the bathtub would have acted as a barrier against gunshots if necessary. Ruth felt his body with disbelief—he was alive, and everything seemed impossible; what he’d said was impossible, although she’d known something was off all along—and stared forward into the darkness, shuddering but refusing to speak. He wiped her tears away. She looked at him accusingly. How could he not explain something like this before?

She hadn’t been able to leave. The irrational fear of losing him was enough to cement them together though they were ill-fitted.


She raised her head from her hands and stood up shakily, pulling off her clothing piece by piece and shivering in the bathroom. The thin sunlight was comforting, though somehow without Aodan she felt utterly alone. But at the moment she also shunned him, in a way.

She sat on the toilet seat and stared down at herself, then got up and turned on the shower, still looking at her body.

The water of the shower rushed over her, effectively hiding any tears and masking the unnoticeable changes in her body. She closed her eyes and imagined she was somewhere far away. Prefereably somewhere with sun. Aodan…everything…it was so much at once. She hadn’t gotten time to think in this whirlwind of a month, and everything happening so quickly.

She wasn’t right, was she? She’d gotten up in the middle of the night similarly, with a sinking feeling, prepared to tell Isaac she needed some money to go down to the convenience store and—no. She left in the middle of the night to go walk by herself, calculating the times, and came back with an even greater sinking feeling.

There was that hope, though: he was a man; he wouldn’t notice a sudden lack of a period. They had slept together only twice. He wouldn’t notice anything. She could try to separate herself from him as much as she could—but the irrational part of herself was getting clingy. It was harder than she thought.

If he found out, she wouldn’t be able to leave him. She had a sudden, wild thought—but it would only work if she found her way back home without him noticing.

Maybe you can just leave him, Ruth.

And if that didn’t work? She would need him. She didn’t love him totally, but that didn’t matter. Still…she didn’t know if she could ever think of him the same way anymore, after that frantic situation in his house. And this was the worst situation she could possibly enter with him. She had to end it as best she could.

Well, she’d figure it out on her own. Somehow, she would.


***

On a side note—deeefinitely not going to work out like An Cat Dubh did.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:19 PM   #2
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Gaaaaah! No! he's such a creep!
Hey, it worked. I don't like him anymore. Whee.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
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Awesome! I feel so proud of myself

He's only in maybe 2 ish more chapters. Although unfortunately I can't say he gets any better. This transitions into An Cat Dubh D: things get bad.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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It's just so... creepy the way they left...
I think Ruth will have an abortion. But I don't know. It'd be kinda sad...
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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Well, the next chapter...I mean, chapter 13 (I wrote them out of sequence D: the '78 part and now I'm struggling with an '86 chapter in between!)...will probably be satisfying then.

In answer to that—does Ruth want Isaac's baby? Nooo. Is Ireland in '78 a good place to get an abortion? Definitely not.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:38 PM   #6
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Dilemma? Yes...
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
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I actually think I handle it quite nicely

Damn, I wish I could just write everything in '78 and then do a bunch of '86. It'd make everything so much easier.

...How bothered would you be if I posted another chapter that takes place right after this? '86 isn't being nice to me...
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:13 PM   #8
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Whatever works I guess.
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1978, an cat dubh, baby u2, bono, boy era, larry, out of control

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