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Old 02-11-2011, 09:14 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 9

If I wasn't clear before, sex. It happens. I'm stopping myself from being too obvious, but it gets a little muddled along the way when I do that...

This chapter was hellish to write. It's been hard lately. But Phoenix, finally!

***

1986

“I don’t want to dream,” Bono whispered into Ali’s skin. Her hair trailed over his face, his arms wrapped around her body that was a safe haven from sleep, surrounding him with all the assuredness of the moon and the dark sweetness of the night. “I shouldn’t be thinking of her. I love you.” It was a litany a little like the wordless one he had in his head that raced over his thoughts, pulling him from the wrenching agony of losing Cath to the greater agony of it tearing him from Ali for those first few years after. Love had brought them back together…but also it felt like he raced against time, that something about Ali brought a blissful forgetting; he wasn’t in a band, it wasn’t 1986; it was that strange moment when they were fourteen and something in the air sparked and collided them together, before they really understood. When everything was happy, his mother was alive, and he was a sarcastic kid who irritated his dad and talked too much in class. Time stood still, with Ali…and it raced ahead and away…

He buried his face against her shoulder, her heartbeat reverberating through her bones and her skin to collide with his, beginning to lull him to sleep. His eyelids felt lined with lead, his body had lost movement and wakefulness. He wrapped his arms around Ali, to no avail; he was slipping through her to some boundless place where everything was sky and below were dreams. He could feel, at the edge of feeling, her lips against his forehead. She kissed him and said, “It’s alright. What happens, happens.” That released him.

He walked along the desert. The sky above him shone silver and twisted above the earthiness of the ground below. He crouched down, the horizon at eye level, and the wind rose around him, throwing the dust into his face. He turned a little, inadvertently, and it swept past him, no longer stinging. He lay on his back. Perhaps Ali was beside him. The stars swung in their majesty overhead. He turned his head: Ali was crying. She smiled, just then, through the tears, and he remembered that sadness and happiness could go hand in hand and steal each other away. “It’s okay,” she told him, in that strange half-truth transformation between dreaming and wakefulness. And he shivered: he was no longer lying down. In fact, his thoughts were not at the forefront of his mind, and if he blinked, his vision distorted…

Ah, yes. It had been like this in the last dream…and this time, he kept coming back to himself, an echo of his sadness overshadowing what Cath saw.

It was very, very hot, the ground hard beneath her. Bono had a strange dual moment remembering the half-dream with Ali, where he had been lying down, and then was swept back into the other woman’s thoughts.

Hot and foreign and comforting but—something about the sky above her as she slept bothered her. She heard a voice, and sat up with a shout, crossing her arms defensively. She looked up wildly at the blue heat haze of a sky.

“Sorry,” a woman said to her, stepping back; Cath looked like she had been on the streets for days, and wore a fierce look on her face. It made whatever aspect of Bono was in this dream laugh.

She focused on the stranger who added, “you chose a bad place to crash,” and tilted her head. She was about her age, with an odd blue streak in her light hair and an expression somewhere between friendly and wary. It was probably this that made Cath trust her immediately. The other woman held out her hand in an offer to pull Cath to her feet, but Cath shook her head, pushing herself up on slightly aching arms, and stood.

Cath saw there was a piece of paper tucked in the other woman’s hand.

“What’s that?” she asked, and then wondered at the look of sympathy and curiosity in the woman’s eyes.

“It’s a hospital bill,” she said, giving it to Cath. “It didn’t feel right to look at it. Here.” Cath stared at the worn, crumpled scrap of paper blinding in the prismatic clarity of the burning midday sun wavering thinly over her body. Edge, the end of the note read. The rest was smudged, but she remembered when it was from. She bit her lip and closed her eyes for a brief moment, sharp sadness wrenching through her.

“Thanks,” she said finally, looking up again. The woman didn’t ask about her accent, her lack of place to stay, or whatever was obviously on her mind. Cath shouldered her bag and began to walk away, considering very seriously just living on the beach to avoid all the questions—
yeah, with what money, Cath? she thought wearily—then turned back.

“D’you know a better place to stay?” Cath asked, eyes still a little wary.

“Oh, come on, you really thought I’d let you walk away to go sleep on the street somewhere?” The woman rolled her eyes. “I don’t do that.” She motioned with a tanned arm for Cath to follow her. Cath fell into step beside her, gawking at Santa Barbara around her and not voicing her relief.

“I’m Phoenix,” the other woman added.

“Well, by that reckoning, I’m Cat,” Cath laughed. “No, my name’s Cath.”

“Interesting,” Pheonix said enigmatically.

The world worked in strange ways…Cath noticed Pheonix had a guitar slung across her back. She must have been staring at it; she blurted, “Do you play guitar?”

“Oh, definitely.”

She stared at that guitar for the next couple days when she wasn’t sleeping or figuring out the enormous change that America was from Ireland. Nighttime, she tried playing it once, in the darkness rather than the moonlight. Phoenix was curled up tightly in a sleeping bag on the roof of the apartment; for some reason she slept outdoors under the sky, which Cath tried a couple times and found a little unsettling, instead sitting at the edge of the roof, letting the night cool around her as it did now, only the clear faint twang of the guitar strings cutting through the soft darkness. She fell asleep at the edge of the roof, the concrete still warm from the sun, the guitar cradled in her arms. Phoenix came across that hospital paper Cath had had with her, and saw upon it song lyrics.

The music had filled an enormous hole, but that hole was still dark and empty around the edges, and Cath ached with it even in sleep. She closed her eyes tighter and dreamed about nothing at all, waking with a lightness washing through her. She was warm; the sun burned all troubles away eventually, leaving only the Cath who read the road maps intently as she walked across the city, looking for something she didn’t know she searched for.


Bono awoke with his arms around Ali, almost feeling the heat of the sun Cath felt on her body in the dream, a peaceful thoughtfulness keeping him awake. Ali breathed in and out softly in sleep, and Bono thought.

Eve had something to do with this dream, didn’t she. Those years ago, whenever it had been that she and Larry had gotten together—something around then Bono hadn’t really known about, among other things. There had been something he hadn’t noticed, something important in the slip of time…something that was causing this, surely.

He fell back into the waves of dreamless sleep that washed warmly around him, carrying him into oblivion until the sun rose.

*

“Bono was acting a little odd, wasn’t he?” Larry asked Eve sleepily. He had been all ready to fall asleep, but there was too much on his mind. “Going off on his own and writing lyrics he won’t sing…he had something on his mind.” He squinted his eyes open despite the hour and thus she was just a pale blur in the darkness scooting closer to him and murmuring equally sleepily some word of agreement. “He looked like he just remembered I existed,” she commented a little less sleepily.

Larry raised his eyebrows and pillowed his head against her, looking up and saying, “He was prob’ly in that musical bent of mind. Y'know, where you forget everyone else exists.”

“Hmm,” she agreed, and then mock-glared at him amusedly, running her hands through his hair. “You’d better not do that, Larry Mullen Jr,” she laughed quietly.

He leaned over, grinning, and effectively stopped her speech. Sleep could wait a while for them…
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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I just had this page up while I practiced my clarinet, so this chapter has been subjected to twenty minutes of a badly-played instrument.
I really hope Phoenix is a real person. That is an awesome name for a character!
Now it feels more like the dreams are trying to remind Bono of something he's forgotten from a long time ago, something important...
If they came from the time before why was Cath in them?
A little creeped out when I read about the hospital note.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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Phoenix is a real person It'll get interesting. No more spoiling from me *zips lip*

Kind of a little. Good guess.

They're not memories, exactly...it's a little more complicated than that. Aspects of them are.

Yeah, me too writing it...it's probably not what you think, haha
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1986, ali, bono, joshua tree era, larry, out of control

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