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Old 02-23-2011, 09:17 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 16

Warnings: Some scary stuff. Seriously. Some almost sex. Nothing happens overtly enough to make it PG13, thank god, except in theme.

I did mention in An Cat Dubh that Bono and Ali...hadn't really gone as far as he and Cath did, and I was wondering why...so that's why the first part of this chapter.

As for the second...oh god, poor Cath.

***

1978

They collided together angrily like two pieces of mountainside, that anger a thin veil that broke and revealed the fear of losing each other underneath.

The sky reached icy needles against the watery beginnings of spring, slowed because it was Dublin and cold nearly always. Underneath this sky, Bono with his hands in his pockets breathed out, his breath frosting and colliding with Ali’s door as he waited impatiently for her to open it. A shadow fell across his face: the door opened, and she took one weighted glance at him before grabbing him and pulling him inside, her hands warm on his icy arms.

Bono blinked, opened his mouth, and his body automatically reacted. He was hurt from what felt like rejection, a week before, and afraid she didn’t love him, or he didn’t love her—he didn’t know which; both possibilities collided to become a dark, sharp, tangled confusion. He ran his hands down over Ali’s hair and cupped the back of her neck, leaning forward abruptly and kissing her hard, tears springing to his eyes.

Ali, don’t leave me. Why didn’t you call? Why were you so distant the other day? Why did I not want you to call? What the hell is going on…

Everything expanded and collapsed into that blink of a second that was only feeling so intense he couldn’t break away, his sadness and anger transforming and deepening into what he felt for her, or she for him, he didn’t know the difference anymore. He pressed Ali against him, seeing stars, and felt a sharp pain: she bit his lip. He blinked. She pulled away and glared at him, beginning to speak.

“Bono Vox, you…”

She abruptly kissed him harder, perhaps to mask her own emotional turmoil. She wasn’t sure whether she was sad, or if it was the overwhelming chasm of letting him go that she wasn’t sure she could cross. She tore his shirt away, blinking tightly, and lost herself for a long moment in the feeling of the bare skin of his chest. He seemed oddly vulnerable, half-naked, staring into her eyes with dark sparks of intense emotion. He kissed her again, and she was lost into the swell of the feeling of his lips against hers and that residual anger that made her slam him against the wall none too gently, the kiss deepening even so.

She jumped as she felt his fingers trail up under her skirt, finding the waistband and sliding it off her legs. Her underpants followed. She was pounding her fists against his back as if to communicate something. It faded into the back of his mind, small fire against the larger fire within him, the overwhelming loss of reason or sadness. She shivered as he all too soon slipped her shirt off her shoulder and she stood naked in the hallway of her empty house, pressed hard to a half-naked boy.

He pressed himself even harder against her and she gasped, feeling the urge in his body and—

Cool air. She was separate from him. Bono blinked, breathing hard, his eyes slightly unfocused, his body shaking. He was suddenly cold, and he still ached with the need for her and forgetfulness. That was it—he wanted all the bad, all the arguments, to go away and be silenced in their lovemaking.

She crossed her arms over her breasts and said in a surprised, loud voice, eyes immediate, “Bono.”

He just looked at her.

“We shouldn’t do this. I don’t love you, or you don’t love me. It’s so hard to distinguish. But—“—she pushed him away insistently and he felt numbly the thud of the wall against his back as she distanced from him—“—we shouldn’t.”

“Ali, I…” He trailed his finger hesitantly down the side of her face. She looked scared, about something or other, he wasn’t sure what. Perhaps of his reaction. He leaned forward and kissed her frustratedly, and her mouth opened reluctantly before he realized she was trying to say something else. They were back up against the wall again, he trying to slip his pants down, before they broke apart.

“Bono!” She yelled, eyes wide. “We’re not having sex!”

“But you—“ he began. She put a finger against his lips to silence him and he kissed it gently.

Her eyes were still very wide, and her words rushed together. “So much could go wrong—I could get—what are we doi—“

She shook her head and what came out in his hearing was loud, like a bullet in the silence. “I don’t know if you love me, Paul.”

She said more quietly, “I don’t know if I love you.”

He stilled, frozen—she hadn’t called him that for a long while and somehow it made him feel like he was fourteen and unable to take care of himself after his mother died—and—what she had just said.

She shivered and ran upstairs, pausing halfway up the steps to look at him with longing and regret. The image would stay with him—she, naked, and that look in her eyes so conflicting.

“I do love you,” he whispered, maybe to convince himself. His eyes bright, he fastened his jeans, picked up his shirt and strode out the house. That door he had stood in front of so hopefully so recently slammed behind him.

“Maybe I don’t,” he said harshly, standing on the doorstep. He ran, his breath knifing through him, and all the while a hurt connection between him and Ali stretched his thoughts back to her before it snapped and left him running, the bricks of houses blurring past like old blood, from the wind and from the water in his eyes.

It was over. There was no going back. He didn’t understand it until a few weeks later, but they would stay apart for a very long time.

*

Cath’s head felt filled with needles, her eyelids raw when they opened. She had gotten little sleep before. Isaac’s pain had cut through the music, and something about it had bothered her more than he did in a visceral sense.

She felt terrible. Her wet hair falling against her shoulders did little for the pounding of her head, and when she slammed someone’s shot glass onto the bar, the sound was not at all forgiving. She turned around to find something to wipe the mess up with; half the drink had jolted out of the glass. She ended up using the edge of her shirt and locking herself into the dirty bathroom, washing the alcohol out and putting the wet shirt on again.

She was glad when through the red landscape behind her closed eyelids, she heard her father entering. He could take over. It was his job, anyhow. Cath walked over to the far wall by the door and sat against it, old music posters crackling at the contact, letting the tight red painful space of her consciousness implode enough so that she didn’t hear the staggering swirl of bar conversation and drunken yells that washed all around. There was no band here tonight; there hadn’t been for a while. She felt too sick or had too little time or sleep to clean up, and her father obviously didn’t care—the few bands who had come in were repulsed by the state of the place.

Maybe she could get Isaac to clean. Yeah right. She didn’t want to approach him. Every glance at him felt like a hand jerking one of her ribs out through her skin. He was handsome, she supposed, but that had nothing to do with it. The hairs stayed up permanently on the back of her neck, by now, and she had learned unconsciously to move closer to the wall opposite from him when passing.

The swirl of disconnected voices and talk and clamor for drinks became a discordant music and then a thudding heartbeat in her head falling heavily against her knees, before she heard nothing, falling fast into a light necessary sleep.

She woke with her limbs sore. It was dark outside the bar. The grimy gold of the streetlights harshly plated the edges of the postered windows, giving a soft strange glow to the almost-empty bar within. She picked herself up, feeling loosely more energetic, stretched and went to the front of the bar, looking around for her father. Nowhere. That was interesting. Ducking out from the storeroom, she nearly tripped over something, almost falling into the bar. It was cold against her hands as she righted herself, cursing. As she looked up, she saw Isaac at the other end of the bar, slumped against the wood, clutching a glass and squinting his eyes tightly shut, his face red with pain.

“I’m closing up,” she told him. He didn’t respond, just gave a low faint groan. She tapped him on the shoulder, tensing, and repeated herself. Her footsteps were loud against the floor as she crossed over to the door and began to turn the key to lock the place up—and he hadn’t followed her. She walked back and laid her hands on his shoulders, pushing him forward and out the door the best he could. He stumbled. In the light of a passing car, once they left the Black Cat, his face was suddenly illuminated, the tight pain there squeezing a fist around her heart that was already tight with warning. And he wasn’t having an easy time of walking, either, though she wasn’t sure if that was the drink that made him waver. He looked up at her for a moment, his eyes shot with some pressing emotion that filled her with either adrenaline or guilty compassion.

“Okay, come on,” she said, helping him walk back.

The house was silent. Her brother Oisín was probably out late, and her father doing whatever he usually did, she didn’t want to know. She threw the keys onto the couch and half-dragged Isaac over to the sink, pulling his shirt up and part of the waist of his pants down—the bandage over his hip was soaked through. She removed it and threw it into the trash, eyebrows drawn together in concentration or worry. He winced and shuddered violently as she pressed her hand over the bleeding to stop it and then trickled water from her hand onto the opened wound in a vain effort to alleviate the problem, slapping a bandage down over his skin.

He didn’t move. His arms were tense on the end of the sink. She prepared to move him to the couch, pressing a hand against his back in case he staggered again. He was very, very cold through the fabric of his shirt.

Everything changed frighteningly fast. He unclenched his arms from the edge of the sink and looked up very quickly. Cath involuntarily took a step back. Her heart stuttered sickeningly. There was no time to react—she saw him standing still and then sparks and pressure cracked against the side of her face, and she was knocked backwards, her head hitting the wall hard.

Everything spun and then settled. When it stilled, and she felt Isaac’s hands bruising against her arms, and his wide eyes, the moonlight striking them like ice, she gave a little outward breath and part of herself left her body at that moment; she felt like the world was still spinning, cracked and bleeding into seams that could not be put back together. Everything was glassy and wrong from where she stood apart from herself, thinking numbly, My feet are cold…my arms hurt…

She thought her head would shatter against the floor, saw that he brought a hand under the back of her head before she hit the ground.

She was like a tree standing in a battle zone, unable to stop what happened, the blood running icily and freezing through her veins, crackling into stillness. She tried to close her eyes, as best she could, and there came one more thought—The headache’s coming back, the one I had before, at the bar—before she disconnected violently.

His bandage was beginning to soak through with blood again, and some of it streaked angrily from his hip across her naked belly. Little aftershocks of feeling, a blink of awareness—she moved her fingertips disjointedly—came to her before it was all too overwhelming. The glassy area above from where she watched became her room, where she sat, wrapping her arms around her knees and sobbing, not feeling her body that lay on the cold floor of the living room below.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:37 PM   #2
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God.
You've been at work, haven't you? I stay out for a day and find three chapters when I come back.
I could FEEL this one- I could almost feel Cath's pain and I felt kind of sick reading about what happened... as to the beginning half of the chapter, no comment.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:29 AM   #3
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I really have Even yesterday when I thought I wouldn't be able to write, after about 4 hours of staring at the screen I made myself and...ta-da, 17!

Yeah, I felt terrible about that. But I have a specific ending for the '78 part and I had to have some of what Cath was going through. I do want to kill off Isaac a second time, though *sigh*
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