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Old 03-03-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 22

This was not entirely planned...heehee.

What's going on that made Oisín so concerned—up next.

***

1986

Ruth looked up, her hands seeming disconnected with her body as the song reached its end, the lyrics floating somewhere in the back of her mind, disconnected as well with Phoenix’s raw singing.

Why can’t you die?” Phoenix sang, only a dark shape somewhere in front of Ruth, from this part of the stage, though the words resonated through her. She had written them. It didn’t get easier, any time hearing them sung; they shattered against her thoughts like broken glass.

“They’re never true, lyrics,” Mark had said, joking with his girlfriend; Phoenix frowned, unconvinced. “Ours aren’t. I’m not sure that’s the case, when it comes to other people’s.” Neither of them looked at Ruth. Phoenix, at least, knew there had been something behind the words Ruth sang, and the way Ruth couldn't bear to sing them day after day.

"You know, you're a great singer," she'd told Ruth, and Ruth had shook her head, saying "I can't be up front of all those people. I just can't."

Phoenix didn't ask, and if she'd guessed, she didn't reveal it to Ruth, letting whatever had brought her here be left alone. It was the one unspoken agreement between them: Ruth wouldn't talk about what happened, and Phoenix, in turn, wouldn't make her bring it up.

Why can’t you live?” came next. It was more of a shout to herself, not directed that way, but she realized it when she’d heard someone else reading over the lyrics, when she was distanced from them. It all made sense, when she looked at her words from another’s perspective.

Why can’t you see I’ve got
Nothing to give…


It had been so hard to adjust to life in America…there had been a time when she'd known she wanted to drum in Phoenix's band, but she couldn't—for some reason, it had been impossible...

Why can’t you
Why can’t you
,” the last part came out like argument, always, the kind she didn’t want to remember.

Invisible fire
burns…
” Phoenix sang slowly, and Ruth thought to herself.

It wasn’t a literal song. It was a little more confusing than that. It was a song about the mark of the past, or the mark of love, either way, even though both seemed wrong at times. But she couldn’t help remembering the more literal translation, the flames ripping around her out of nothing; Ciarán, not meaning to, had brought it up so suddenly…Burning was not always love.

Ruth shook her head, setting her drumsticks down. That had been the last song. From the semidarkness, she peered out into the crowd. She thought she’d seen someone familiar, to the left of the room, a little ways back. She looked over that way now, but there were people milling about and blocking her view. She sat back down, her sight wandering over to the right side of the room, and all of the sudden, at the sight of a more still figure, her heart clenched unexpectedly. She looked down at her drums, breaking eye contact, her face flushing.

Well…that was strange. She transfered her attention to upstage.

Phoenix smiled to the audience, said some quiet words of parting, and Ruth slipped next to her when she made for the exit. “Phoenix…mind if I’m gone for a few minutes? I saw someone I thought I knew…”

“Huh,” Phoenix said, “so did I…I’m not sure, though…” The singer shook her head, looking confused, before a clear thought entered her green eyes. “Yeah, go ahead, Ruth. I’m not here to make you stick around.” She pushed Ruth away lightly and made her own way through the crowd. Ruth was struck with a brief, crippling envy for that confidence, which had somehow left her entirely right before the set ended. She blinked, sighed, and walked quietly down the back of the stage to the right side of the room, carefully pushing past people. She was about to go past a man, saying an apology as she nudged him aside, when he turned in recognition, and she caught a flash of blond hair and intense eyes before she grabbed him behind the ears and kissed him, heat filling her body.

Oh god. She hadn’t ever mustered the strength to do this before. For some reason, he stood absolutely still, which she found hilarious.

Shocked into stillness, Lawrence?

She realized, a split second later, pulling away from him and staring at him in shock. It wasn’t Larry, but an equally familiar man.

He was different than eight years ago…well, weren’t they all? His hair was much shorter, lighter, barely brushing over his forehead, and his features had evened out to become less awkward than they had been when he was younger. His eyes had only grown more intense, however. And she had no idea how she’d remembered all of this, since she’d seen him only a few times before she left Ireland.

Shit. Shit. Shit. She'd kissed Cath's brother. And it had been rather nice...

“Uh…hi,” Ruth said, wanting to disappear into the wall. She felt very warm.

“Ruth!” Oisín exclaimed, when she stopped stammering and he stopped blushing, relief palpable in his voice. Just when she was about to ask him what had brought him here, he grabbed her wrist and led her backstage. No-one else was there, though the clothes Phoenix had been wearing before swimming were still scattered over the floor, and Adam had left a cigarette lighter…wait. It wasn’t there anymore. Huh. Maybe he’d gotten it back.

The night air just outside wrapped around Ruth, clearing her thoughts a bit. Oisín dodged her beginning question, opening his mouth to speak. He was still holding her wrist, and dropped it suddenly like it was burning when she noticed.

“We’re not alone,” he said, overriding her questions.

“What?” She was very confused. Her heart pounded. And, like a flicker of the stagelights, it came back. Slowly gaining form in her thoughts like spreading water—she remembered why she’d left.

“Oh god. But I thought I saw…”

“Who?” he asked curiously. She shook her head; she thought he’d been Larry. He hadn’t. She hadn’t seen him after all.

“I thought you were…never mind.”

“Ruth, who?” Even though up till now she’d known him when he was an awkward teenaged boy, she couldn’t look away. His sharp brown eyes had softened a little. Ah, his hair still did flop into his face at that angle. She resisted the sudden urge to giggle; it left her system when she looked back again. God, what had she done…

“You might have actually seen whoever it was here,” he continued.

“Uh, well…I thought I saw Larry. I don’t know why he would be here, but I…” She trailed off. “I’m sorry, ’Sheen, that was an accident. I thought you were…”

He snorted briefly, then looked distressed. “I hope you were wrong. Remember what I just told you?”

“I might have accidentally see—“ she began. He shook his head.

“We might not be alo—“ She remembered again, or began to; it tugged at her insistently from the back of her mind.

“I think someone’s looking for you. I don’t know why, but—“ He stopped talking abruptly and his eyes flashed over to her in startlement.

He moved quickly further backstage, half-dragging her and then peering back from where he’d been. “Feck,” she heard him say softly. “We have company.” Before she could ask, he said, “Ruth, in advance, I’m sorry,” and before she knew what was happening, he pressed her against the wall, and kissed her, his body overshadowing hers. From the perspective of anyone watching, she was barely visible.

This was nothing like the kiss that had happened before. That had ended abruptly, and she’d thought he was Larry when she’d done it. She felt a little surge of warmth from her belly to her feet, feeling his lips softly moving against hers, his hands on her back. She leaned into him, the kiss deepening, and could feel his surprise when she ran her hands up underneath his shirt and met the bare skin of his shoulders, letting her fingers rest there. They pressed their bodies against each other, heat and cool, no space between them, his hands now tangled in her hair, little noises muffled by her mouth.

Oisín broke away abruptly, craning his head to the side to look over where he had before. When he looked back his eyes were softer than they had been before he'd pulled her backstage.

“Okay,” he said, “they’re gone. I couldn’t catch whose face it was. I think it was a man.” His breath was still coming short and he couldn’t stop looking at her, still surprised.

“Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand and twining his fingers in hers. “Don’t look back to where I looked, just in case.” They walked through the back door, as calm as anything, going past the pool and ducking through someone’s yard and then another to stand in the cool sharp air a few blocks away.

“Thanks, ’Sheen,” she said with a small smile.

“Anytime,” he said, smiling sideways, oddly like Cath had when Ruth had known her. She didn’t know what exactly either of them were referring to. She grinned.

“I hope you were wrong about seeing anyone else you recognized,” he said, staring back the way they’d came.

“Hopefully,” she said, wondering again who was looking for her and why. “You didn’t use that just to get at me, did you?”

“No,” he said, affronted, and blushed. “Ruth, don’t you remember just after you left to go to America? Those first couple months?”

She wondered, suddenly, what he knew. “They were bad,” she said, remembering a little.

“Do you remember calling back to Ireland?” he asked. “Let me guess, Cath didn’t pick up the phone?” She shook her head. “Well, the first time, I answered for her. I thought you were someone else. You see, a lot of strange people were calling right around then, because we had some mysterious bugger living in our house.”

“It was a while ago,” she said, looking away. “What did I say?”

“It was all a big mess,” he said, looking down, not revealing something. She didn’t see the hurt in his eyes.

“Anyways,” he said, “the second time you called, it wasn’t me who answered. I don’t know who it was. I just remembered getting home, and my da telling me someone had called for Cath, and then asked for me when Cath couldn’t be found.”

“Does that have something to do with…whoever was following me?”

“I think so,” he said.

“’Sheen,” she said carefully, “can we…talk about this later? I need things to slow down a little before I go back to that place in my life.” Everything that had just happened…it was all so much. She felt like she was Ruth from eight years ago, like she would collapse onto the ground from the shock of it all—because it hurt, like he had walked in on her life from eight years ago, when she’d been one big raw wound.

He nodded. “Later?” he said, laughing.

“Yeah, that means stick around. I’m warning you, though…”

He looked at her intently before she finished the sentence, wondering what she would end it with.

…I’m not ready for things to happen like this?

Her thoughts circled back to Ruth-from-eight-years-ago again. She hadn’t entirely healed, by leaving and coming here, the way she thought she would.

“…don’t think it’s because someone’s following us if I want to kiss you again.”

He laughed.

"Because it might happen quite frequently. I mean, you're—"

She was saved from her addled speech when he pulled her close again, and with no excuse other than the look in both their eyes, continued what they'd started.
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Old 03-04-2011, 05:25 PM   #2
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Wow! Ruth+Oisin=Win?
Now I see, Ruth was Cath in Bono's dreams... it seems that way to me at least.
Good chapter!!
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:26 PM   #3
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Very much win. I think they're adorable together :3

Oooh...interesting thought! Especially since he'd sort of forgotten about Ruth (and Eve) too...

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:11 PM   #4
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I didn't know Oisin was blond either.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:53 AM   #5
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Yep, he is. Which is kind of weird, since Cath's not, neither is her mom...their dad might be, I don't know.
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