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Old 04-03-2011, 06:58 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 32

As Cath would say, holy shite.

And Phoenix was pretty darned fun to write from the perspective of; I thought we needed more of Phoenix and Eve since they've been absent from the story for a bit...

And, I'm going to Santa Barbara next week...heh. I'll probably realize how totally wrong I'm describing the scenery, or something.

(If this is confusing, I suggest going back and reading through everything Seamus said in the last chapter...really.)

***

(1986)
"Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now looming in his headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
"

—The Police, "Synchronicity II"

Eve pulled her coat tighter around her as she walked through the chill morning. Walked, not drove, because it was her car but Larry would need some way back if he was going to work on the new album. She didn’t care if he had the car or not. The hard footsteps didn’t bother her either, or the cold, just the unexpected hardness in his eyes.

She was so used to being open with Larry, and he the same. She hadn’t thought he would be bothered by anything she ever did. Perhaps that was a problem. Perhaps because they were both whole, normal people, they hadn’t gone through the problems yet. The greater chill of the ring on her finger brought a knot to her stomach.

“We don’t know,” Eve had said to him…

“We don’t know who’s done what, Lar! I hardly know my own sister anymore. What’s so strange that the man I saw might have been the one who committed the crime?”

Larry placed his hands on her shoulders, looking into her face wildly. “Eve,” he said in a measured voice, “calm down. I don’t know why you’re reacting like this, but just wait a few days. They’ll find whoever did it. It’s not him.”

Larry was just so goddamned rational sometimes. It was so hard to explain why on some level, it was impossible to trust anyone…she’d suspected so many people of so many things, after she knew what had happened to Ruth. She looked at him in disbelief, wiping a stray tear from her face, and sat down, trying to do what he suggested. She stood back up again, just then, and hated the sad look on his face.

“It’s so hard,” she whispered furiously. “It’s impossible to take anything for granted. You should know that. But that’s what I had to live with, not you. Of course you wouldn’t know.” She turned away from him, swallowing hard and biting her lip. Her head ached and her hands shook with the effort not to just turn back to him and listen to what he had to say, to forget everything. There had been so much of that before…

“I can’t believe you,” he began, exasperated, then stopped.

“Eve, I knew this kid,” Larry said calmly. “when I was a kid. Oisín was Cath’s brother. He wouldn’t do anything to anyone.” She turned back just as a shadow of doubt crossed his face.

“But you don’t know, do you?” she said, heart beating furiously, and sighed, shaking her head and burying her face against her arms. She heard his footsteps as he went upstairs and didn’t come back down for a while.

Eve felt very small, sitting on the doorstep outside, when he exited the hotel and said in a curt sentence, “I’m going.”

“Where to?” she asked quietly.

“To convince the others that Bono should stay.” He didn’t say why, or when he’d be back. She caught a brief, deeply sympathetic look in his eyes before he walked away.


Lar probably wasn’t back yet. He hadn’t been, for a day. Her head hurt: she wanted, very badly, to do the easy thing, go back and tell him she was wrong. But she also knew she’d return to an empty hotel room.

She stopped walking, abruptly, a sudden realization overtaking her totally, practically knocking the breath out of her. Eve almost laughed. She had been wrong, hadn’t she. It had taken until after the argument was over and her head cooled down for her to see it clearly. She felt sick at the implications of what she had just realized. She hoped, just then, that she had been right the first time, or it had been someone totally unknown.

But no. It fit too well, made too much sense.

She made up her mind and walked over to the hospital with those questions burning little holes through her body. They were too volatile of thoughts; if they had been tangible, she wouldn’t have been able to hold onto them as they burned her fingers and the skin of her hands.

She wondered at her calmness as she asked the lady at the front desk if she could see Phoenix Carter, please. She got an odd look for the name until a nurse passing by said there was a Phoenix here, yes.

As she was taken to where her cousin was, Eve couldn’t help but see every burn victim as Ruth, which just strengthened the thoughts she hoped weren’t true.

She was surprised to see that Phoenix was for the most part recovered—the other woman blinked, trying to see her, but her eyes did focus on her—and packing up her things to leave the hospital. She had a badly burnt piece of wood in her lap. Eve knew that shape: it was part of the body of a guitar.

“Poor baby didn’t survive the fire,” Phoenix said bleakly. “I’ll have to get a new one, or use Mark’s. It’s not like he can play now.” She sighed, muttering, “I’m going to need to find a new singer if I’m stuck on guitar fulltime now,” then looked up and saw Eve, with a sort of pleasant surprise.

“Hi Eve,” Phoenix said brightly, and anticipating the usual bothersome questions, said quickly, “I’m fine, don’t go nuts. About to leave the hospital, actually.” She glared at the charred wood, though, saying, “I’d really like to find the bastard who started this fire and make him buy me a new one of these.” Seeing Eve standing there awkwardly, Phoenix said with a slight hint of exasperation and her usual assurance, “sit down, for fuck’s sake.” Phoenix rolled her eyes, then looked at Eve in question. “How’s everyone else doing? You said Larry was coughing up a storm.” She grinned. “Probably on the beat, too. God.”

Eve, at mention of Larry, went still and everything that had been floating around in her mind must have shown in her face, because Phoenix whispered, “Oh god. What happened?”

“We were in an argument,” Eve said, blinking hard. “That hasn’t happened before. At all. For seven years.” She rubbed her eyes and tried her best to stop looking miserable. “Godammit, that’s not what I came here to talk about.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Phoenix snorted. “You’re talking about it.” Eve shook her head and buried her face against the other woman’s shoulder. “I should probably just let him go for a couple days,” she said, her voice muffled.

“I don’t know if I should be giving anyone advice,” Phoenix said matter-of-factly, “seeing as anything romantic has been confusing as hell recently.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Eve said, straightening, “did you and Bono sleep together?” She winced, hoping not.

“No…” Phoenix said, “we didn’t. I don’t know, but,” she gained a thoughtful look and shook her head, “that would have just seemed wrong. We weren’t together physically so much as…god, this is hard to explain…mentally. Do you know what I mean? I’m not getting into any of that hippie bullshit, I swear. It was too weird for me to have imagined it.”

“What do you mean?” asked Eve, furrowing her brow.

“I’ve been having these dreams…and I’m not myself, in them. It’s difficult to explain. It’s like I’m going through someone else’s life. Sometimes he’s there. And it’s just…it seems so real. It made sense, in the beginning; the dreams were sort of about when Ruth came over to America. But I kept getting the sense that the man in the dreams was—how do I put this—in love with me. But not…” She shook her head. “Enough of that crazy shit.”

“Do you see his thoughts? or what he’s feeling?” Eve asked, still.

“No,” Phoenix shook her head, and Eve sighed in relief. “Good. That would be too much of a coincidence.” Her brow furrowed again. “I think you might have heard about that in Ireland, actually…did you go over there when we were little?”

“I think so…” Phoenix laughed. “Oh yeah. We were helping Ruth’s friend escape from her house. I didn’t get it; I was trying to convince her she could just leave through the front door, and I didn’t shut up because I didn’t know what she was saying meant shut up…”

Eve said something in Gaelic and Phoenix scrunched up her face in confusion.

“You’re shite at Gaelic,” Eve explained. Phoenix rolled her eyes, saying, “I’m American, for Christ’s sake! I’ve lived here forever…as I was saying, her brother woke up and asked her what she was doing going out, and we ended up dragging her out the window…”

“Cath?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“You know, she had a serious reason for getting out of the house. We just didn’t get it at the time.”

Phoenix looked hazy. “Her dad, right? He didn’t seem to be too happy we were all up so late…” She winced. “Oh yeah.”

“Do you remember that I was trying to find out what Ruth was getting me for my birthday and I ended up guessing what it was though she was pissed as hell?” Eve asked.

“Yeah…I just assumed you both knew what each other wanted since you were with each other all the time…” She caught on. “Oh no.”

“I think it’s something that just happens with our family. I don’t know why. Ruth just thought what you thought, that it was because we were related, and I thought I was crazy and left school. It stops when you start to disagree over things, though, or keep too many secrets. I couldn’t understand Ruth for the longest time. It turned off, like there was a switch. And I think it happened a little to me with Larry…I could sort of sense when he was pissed at Adam, or when he really wanted to smile but didn’t, or when he was really happy. But it’s gone now.” She looked down at her hands. “I feel so lost, without any of them. There’s just me in my head, now.”

“Well, I guess that might explain me having the dreams at all,” Phoenix said slowly. “Just not why…”

“You’ll figure that out at some point,” Eve said. “For me, it’s usually too late, but I think it’ll be better with you.”

“You know what we could try to do?” Phoenix said, smiling slyly. “You said you thought the man who started the fire was Oisín…but you didn’t know, because you hadn’t actually seen him well.”

“What?” Eve asked, and then groaned. “No, Phoenix. Really?”

“Well, we both saw whoever it was…or one of us did, at least. We should see if this could work at all for people we’re not close to…” She sighed, muttering, “That must have been the case, for the dreams. I can’t figure out who this woman is…”

She looked up at Eve hopefully.

Good god. Eve shouldn’t have come to Phoenix; her cousin was the one always getting into trouble…there was a reason her family didn’t talk to her anymore! Some part of her was still a rambunctious teenager helping people sneak out of the house. But annoyingly, when she did do whatever outrageous thing she planned, it ended up working out…

“Alright,” Eve said, and even more quietly, “I think I know who it might be. It won’t change everything, but…” She explained to Phoenix.

“That won’t make it easier,” Phoenix said. “Although…it might help things a bit.”

How?

“You’ll see. Come on.” Phoenix picked up her bag and with the broken piece of guitar clutched in her hand, proceeded with Eve to walk straight out of the hospital.

Before Phoenix left, she went in to see Mark, who was mercifully asleep to dull the pain, put her hand on his arm briefly like a kiss. His eyes flickered under his eyelids, and she couldn't tell if that was an acknowledgement of her presence or a dream. Afraid he'd wake, she exited the room, rejoining Eve.

They decided to split up. Eve wandered towards where the fire had happened, looking at the buildings and wondering from their similar faces, paint, roof, windows, whether a house really showed who was inside and if this would work at all. She wasn’t sensing anything. She ended up going back to the site of the fire, running her fingers through the ash as if that would tell her something. She knew even less than the police must know. She and Phoenix must both be crazy, as she’d thought years before about herself.

Phoenix, however, walked along the sidewalk through patches of sunlight, the buildings around her showing broken tired faces as she progressed further through the city. This wasn’t an area she usually went through. She knew Santa Barbara well, though, and this reminded her of searching for places to live—except she wouldn’t want to live in this area at all. It was either boarded up or questionable. The empty doorways yawned with dry, cracked mouths and eerie window-eyes. Red tiles clattered from roofs to the street below.

Getting warmer, probably, she thought. Then she remembered people who committed crimes weren’t always somewhere obvious. She could be looking in the wrong place.

She closed her eyes, still walking, and her thoughts began to run along the lines they had in dreams. She felt an inexplicable rush of sadness, and then excitement, and the urge to run, but suppressed it; she could run past whatever she was looking for, and then she’d miss it. She opened her eyes again when she heard someone talking, and tensed, flattening herself against a wall and trying to look nonchalant, heart pounding with a sort of exhilaration.

I’m probably in the wrong place, aren’t I. There's absolutely no-one…The voices got louder and she quickly crossed the street, grinning when she saw the perfect shop to hide in, and ducking inside. She sighed, nearly forgetting she was actually looking for something, looking longingly at all the guitars that seemed so foreign and unfriendly, compared to her old burnt-to-nothing acoustic.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?” the shopkeeper asked, a thin eager-looking guy with huge glasses, a pile of sheet music scattered near him.

“Uh,” she said, distracted and catching a glimpse of the figures across the street, out of the corner of her eye—damn, not distinct enough…she looked back. The shopkeeper looked confused.

“Well, these are all way fancier than my last one—“ she broke off, seeing something in the corner. “Wait. I lied. That,” she said, “is gorgeous.” She pointed to a guitar in the corner that looked suspiciously familiar, like her old one, but with a patterned inlay and darker wood. It looked much less beat up, that was certain. A couple strings were missing.

The shopkeeper made a face. “That’s actually not for sale. It’s pretty crap.”

“Nonsense,” Phoenix scoffed and made big pleading eyes. “I’d like to buy it!”

“You can take it,” the guy said, shaking his head. She grinned and slung it across her back. You and me, new kid, are going to be friends, she thought warmly to the new guitar. It whacked against her back agreeably. She ran outside and stared into the street, cursing herself: they had gone. She froze; she could still hear their voices, though they grew more and more distant: “—Ruth. What were you—

Oh, shit. Aside from a certain famous band that had been here recently, there was no-one about with that kind of accent. Dammit! And now she couldn’t find them. She walked, confused, back down the way she’d came, but turned a corner and just wandered aimlessly, staring dispassionately at the buildings she’d thought so promising that she was right. Well, she had been but she had no idea where the fuck the guys were now. Wait—why had there been more than one? That was strange…

She turned another corner, feeling stupid, and just as soon as she turned quite literally ran into someone, hard.

“Ow,” Phoenix glared at the man, “could you please watch where you’re going?”

He was middle-aged at least, dark-haired, heavyset with a faintly freckled face that had a melancholy, bitter air about it. And contrary to what she expected, he turned right back the way he’d came, somewhat angrily.

“I didn’t mean you had to forget whatever you were doing!” Phoenix said, following him. He looked back, with a pleading look in his eyes. “I really don’t think y'should be following me,” he said firmly.

That! That sounded promising. And his accent was very familiar indeed.

“Uh-huh,” she said in disbelief. “No. No chance of that.” He started walking faster, glaring at her, and she laughed, running fast after him, the guitar banging painfully against her back in musical accompaniment.

Go!” he shouted just as they turned the corner, his voice sincerely scared.

She was about to open her mouth, rolling her eyes, when the unexpected happened at the worst time. She heard harsh voices and footfalls coming closer. “Oh come on, you know I can’t…(indistinct mutter)” “Well, maybe he’s not going to be with us for much longer,” an older voice said.

Phoenix froze just as the two men came into the light, and the older one laughed. She stared at them both, cursing herself for getting caught. She narrowed her eyes at the younger, blue-eyed one, distrusting him immediately. The older laughed, and that laugh was what held Phoenix immobile. It had an edge to it.

“No, he’s not,” that man said, and looked at the poor guy she’d been following. “Girl of yours, Seamus? No? Thought not. You know, I keep thinking Isaac’s an idiot, but you…” He shook his head and smiled at Phoenix, pale eyes and all. Just as sudden as the very real bubble of air in between them that she thought protected her existed, it didn’t exist; he grabbed her, covered her eyes with a hard hand, and threw her inside somewhere. There was the sound of splintering wood. Phoenix sighed when she could squint her eyes open again and didn’t see either of the men. She looked sadly at the broken neck of the guitar—this was just great. Her heart still pounded out of control, but she smiled suddenly to herself, trying to keep the fear of whatever would come next out of her head.

She’d done it. She’d found them.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Funny to quote that song. I'm starting to get into that band...
Phoenix is the type of female character I absolutely LOVE. Her personality really attratcs me.
Vague mind-reading, or sensing something... That's cool. Pretty imporbably but way cool.
Eh. I'm not going to bother guessing what they're going on about at the end, unless it hits me some time this week, out of nowhere... just gonna wait for the explanation...
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #3
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I know, me too!

What d'you mean by that? she actually kind of irritates me, although it's fun to write her ^^

Well, this is fiction...and it does get helpful.

Heh, Blue...official explanation in a couple chapters when Ali comes over...
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:43 PM   #4
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I mean... I didn't know she was awesome until this chapter! I love characters with her personality... she/they seem(s) to be someone I can connect with really well, although I'm nothing like that.
Ugh, you made me wanna go figure it out.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:36 PM   #5
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Hehehe. Well, thanks? says Phoenix.

Nooo, I actually like you not knowing yet XD
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1986, bono, joshua tree era, larry, out of control

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