Please - Chapter 21 - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:50 PM   #1
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Please - Chapter 21

This might be a looong chapter and was a bitch to write. This is all fiction. None ofthese characters are really real - they just look like real people. We're winding down....slowly. Whatever will I do on the train?

Hope you are moved or enjoy it. Oh, I apologize for the formatting. It's long so I couldn't be arsed to make it pretty. And my husband just came to bark at me to go to bed.

Glory Box - Portishead

I'm so tired of playing
Playing with this bow and arrow
Gonna give my heart away
Leave it to the other girls to play
For I've been a temptress too long


Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be a woman
I just wanna be a woman

From this time, unchained
We're all looking at a different picture
Through this new frame of mind
A thousand flowers could bloom
Move over and give us some room

Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be a woman
I just wanna be a woman


So don't you stop being a man
Just take a little look from outside when you can
Show a little tenderness
No matter if you cry

Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be a woman
It's all I wanna be is all woman

For this is the beginning of forever and ever

It's time to move over...

Adam and Jocelyn welcomed their guests into their home a few days before the wedding. Jocelyn beamed as she looked up at her future her husband. Bono walked through the door of Adam's grand castle. He couldn't just buy a quaint but spacious house on the bay like the others. No, Adam wanted grandeur. His eyes searched for them. He knew if he saw Larry, she'd be close by. He felt like a loser. Edge had Morleigh. Larry had Faith and he was alone. He might have been able to scare up someone but without an interest in romance, it felt desperate. What he hoped was that the moment she saw him, she'd break from Larry’s arms to run into his. He had looked forward and dreaded today. Three weeks away from her had been an eternity. His heart stopped. There she stood in a casual champagne colored dress with a flute of champagne complementing her. She smiled as Eged talked with her - probably the new EP. Bono had heard it several times. Since he received his advance copy, he hadn't stopped listening to it. Larry was nowhere near. Maybe he could plea his case for a few minutes. He'd say all the things he'd bottled up.

"Bono?" A voice asked behind him.

He turned to see Christy looking down at him. He smiled. "Christy, I heard you were coming. Does Naomi know?"

She rolled her eyes. "Who knows?”

“You look great." His eyes took in her clingy gold dress.

She offered mischievous grin. "You look great yourself." She wrapped her arms around his neck for hug.

Bono was definitely getting a playful vibe from her. They had become friends during the last tour. Sure, his mind wandered in her direction, but he was married. 'You can reach it, but you can't grab it'. Infatuations were normal for him. Their hugged lingered a bit. He was sure she had pressed herself against him in a suggestive way. Adam and Jocelyn greeted them.

"Hello," Adam smiled widely. Since their photo shoot 8 years ago, he thought they made a striking couple. Now, they were both single.

Christy hugged both Adam and his bride. "I'm so happy for you both."

Bono looked beyond them. Faith was engrossed in conversation with Edge and Morleigh. She hadn't seen him yet. He felt Christy's arm slide around his waist. He returned the favor as they chatted plans for the weekend wedding.

"Adam, no honeymoon? " Christy scolded.

"I have to go back on the road. Jocelyn will be joining us foe some of it, but we'll take a real one after the tour. When it gets really gnarly in Ireland," he said.

"And not Bono’s villa in France. He tried that once," Jocelyn joked.

Christy turned to Bono. "I love the place. I heard you and Edge were finally done renovating. I'd love to see it." Her eyelids dropped suggestively.

Smooth as ever, he flashed his winning grin. "We will have to arrange that."

It was at that moment that Faith's eyes saw him. She had tried to prepare herself for her reaction. She had forgotten how handsome he was. Like Larry, his dress shirt unbuttoned, except she could see chest hair peering out from under his red shirt. Memories flooded her head. But she told Larry that she loved him. Her heart chilled watching a beautiful model draped all over him. He smiled at her as they talked. What did she expect? He confessed his love and she ran away. Was he supposed to pine for silly old her when Christy was there?

Their eyes caught. A fire flashed briefly in her eyes, but was doused quickly as it came. He ached for her. It took every ounce of self control to stay rooted to his spot. Christy was talking, but he didn't hear the words. He could only stare at Faith and mentally beckon her. Edge noticed Faith's gaze far off. His eyes followed hers. Where was Alex when he needed her?

Bono’s eyes darkened as Larry slipped both arms around Faith and kissed the back of her neck. That's my spot, he glowered.

"Did Bono and Christy come together?" He had hoped that in the last few weeks Bono’s silly infatuation would fade. If he was with Christy it was a good sign.

Ed shrugged. "I don't know."

Larry took Faith's hand. "Let's go say hello."

Faith took a cleansing breath. It was good to see him. She didn't realize how much she missed being around him until now. Straightening her back, she gave Bono a huge smile as they entered their circle. His eyes didn't even greet Larry or the others. He broke from Christy to open his arms to Faith.

"Hello love," he purred in her ear as his kissed her cheek.

His touch was electric causing her heart to race.

"How are you? How are the girls?" She pulled away before she burst into flames.

His eyes lit up. "They're brilliant. I got to spend some quality time with them. Thanks so much for asking," tenderness crept into his voice.

Edge wondered how no one but him could see this. The moment their eyes met, it was clear as day. If Ed had a doubt or wondered if time would change anything. Looking in their eyes, apparently not.

"Did you get an advance of the record?" She asked.

He nodded. "I did. It's amazing. Are all those songs you wrote on the road?"

"I think so. We ended up putting on 2 more than planned. And did you hear the hidden track?"

He placed his hand over his heart. "I did. You know I love that song. I'm so glad you kept it simple. Its beautiful. "

"That was Alex's suggestion to keep it just me on piano." She said.

"Hello Bono," Larry moved in between them and gave him a one arm hug.

"Larry," his stomach turned. "How was New York?"
Larry wrapped an arm around Faith. "Great. I got see places I wouldn't know about." He smiled down at her.

Bono couldn't help but think that Larry got to live his life in New York.

"Larry," Christy moved forward to hug him while Bono and Faith stared at one another.

"I'm sorry," Bono roused from his daze. "Faith this is Christy."

Faith flashed a smile that was not nearly as beautiful as Christy's. "Nice to meet you."

"I'm excited to meet you. I love your music. I caught the tour in New York over the summer."

"Thank you," she said.

"Let's go in for dinner," Adam announced.

Adam and Jocelyn had invited almost 100 of their closest friends for the welcome dinner. Christy planted herself beside Bono. He was grateful for the attention. He wouldn't be forced to spend the evening watching Larry coo all over Faith. He was never this affectionate with Ann. Was this an indication of the next few months with them? He wondered if she told him of her past. He figured they had consummated their relationship. He focused on Christy and her plunging neckline. But he couldn't help being drawn to Faith when her laugh echoed across the table.

After dinner, more wine flowed as the guests gathered in the rather large drawing room. Adam was happy to see things going well between Bono and Christy. Through dinner, his eyes barely left her. Maybe now he could move on from Ali.

As the evening slipped into night, there were some grumblings about going to the local pub for a few drinks. Most of the crowd seemed agreeable to this plan. For the first time all night, Bono felt relaxed. He knew it was the wine. The fact that Faith was in deep conversation with Jocelyn and not glued to Larry’s side helped. He'd hate to see her disappear into Larry’s accessory. As people started to amble off the couches in preparation for the evening out, Bono wandered into one of the many guest rooms where the coats had been placed. He sifted through the pile, his mind not really on his current task. The door behind him clicked close. He knew Faith would come to him. He'd seen her glances. Turning around, he saw Christy with a big smile.

"Can you help me find my coat?" She asked.

"Uh, sure. What does it look like?" He asked.

"A short brown leather blazer," she dove her hands into the pile.

His hands shifted coats around. He saw Faith's leather jacket. He was with her when she bought it in Europe. Christy picked up an ugly fur coat.

"Who does this monstrosity belong to?" She made a face.

"I'll bet she has blue hair and a relative of Adam," Bono smiled.

He found his jacket in the sea of leather. Under his was the brown jacket Christy described. "Would this be yours?"

A huge smile broke out. "My hero. Thank you." She stared at him for a few minutes. "Are you driving to the pub?"

"No, I've had too much wine. Adam was rounding up taxis." He said.

"Then I'll share one with you," Christy said coyly. She inched closer. "I'm glad we got to spend some time together. "

He knew she'd been flirting all night but wasn't sure how serious she was.

"I am too," he smiled back.

"I always wondered what could've been back during Zoo if you weren't married," she was inches away.

"Really?" His voice dropped.

She nodded. "But that's nothing I would do. But you aren't married now."

"No, I'm not married. Very single," he whispered.

"Funny. Me too. I've always wanted to do this," and she kissed him full on the mouth.

The last kiss he had was from Faith in her bed. It felt nice to be touched and wanted. But he was aware that this was not Faith. There was a certain satisfaction that she was on the other side of the door somewhere. He wrapped his arms around Christy closing the few inches between them. She pressed into him as the kiss deepened. He knew he could have her. Perhaps right on these coats. He took her face in his hands. This was perfect, well almost perfect. She had been a dear friend. She was sexy and gorgeous. His skin tingled lightly as her hand traveled under the back of his shirt. He wanted her. He wanted anyone that could make him forget.

"I think she put them here," a voice said.

It registered in his head too late. The door opened. Her eyes adjusted the dark. The light behind her served as a spotlight to the couple inside. Faith was shocked stupid inside the guest room at the sight of Bono’s mouth on someone else. It was not an innocent kiss. He pulled away to see her face like some slapped her.

Faith's face flushed as her stomach turned. "I'm so sorry." She dropped her eyes from his. "I didn't ...."

She gave him one more pained look before closing the door behind her.

Could she erase the image of his hands entwined in her long hair?

She forced a laugh. "Someone is in there."

Larry frowned. "Oh for feck-sake. Our coats are in there." When he pushed through the door, Bono and Christy were a part but looking guilty. Larry smiled and shook his head. "Don't worry kids, I'll only be a moment."

Bono crossed his arms in front of his chest at a loss for words. He hated Larry at the moment. Christy giggled nervously. Maybe Bono would feel giddy if he hadn't been discovered by Faith. If for a moment she had any feeling left for him, he just shoved her into Larry’s arms permanently. He gnawed on his lower lip as Larry dug into the pile of coats. His eyes glanced out the door to see if Faith lurked there. She wasn't there. Larry pulled her leather jacket out with his.

He gave them a wry smile. "Okay kids, continue on." He closed the door behind them.

Bono rubbed his face. "We should go."

She sidled up to him and gave him a small kiss. "To be continued later..."

Red faced, Bono left the room. His eyes searched for Faith. She and Larry were nowhere. Angry with himself, he pulled on his coat to join Christy at the front door. Was there anything he could say to undo what Faith saw?

Faith stared out the window of the taxi as Larry, Paul and his wife chatted. She had no right to feel as she did. She was the one that ran away from any kind of relationship. He offered her his heart and she did nothing. She closed her eyes. She was where she should be - beside Larry. Her heart ached that her friendship with Bono might never be the same. Too much had happened. Too many emotions. Now she had a boyfriend and he most likely had a girlfriend. He wouldn't be accompanying her on hospital trips. That was a special time in their past.

With Christy trailing behind him, Bono walked into the pub looking for Faith. Maybe tonight would be the last night. He would confess his heart one more time. If she turned away, there was someone that seemed happy to have it. It looked like most of the dinner party arrived before them. Gavin pulled him aside.

"Are the rumors true?" He asked.

"What rumors?" Bono frowned.

"You and Christy. Are you dating?" He smiled. He wanted his good friend to be happy. There had been too many years sulking over Ali.

"Where did you hear that?" But he knew. Get some ale in Mullen and he was as gossipy as a teen girl. "It's not true. Not really."

Gavin clapped his back with a loud guffaw. "Sly devil. Get back to her. She's looking for you."

Bono turned around to see her with Adam but her eyes were on him. It warmed him to know that she did want him. No mystery about. No drama or strife. She wasn't a substitute for someone else. As he moved towards Christy, another pair of eyes caught his attention. Ryan had arrived to the pub and talked with Faith. Their gaze held for a moment. She gave him a weak smile and nod before turning her attention back to Ryan.

"I'm pissed we missed dinner. Luckily, we made it in time for the wedding. There was talk of canceling the flight," Ryan sighed.

"Sounds nasty. Are Alex and Sam coming down to the pub?" She longed to see Alex. She needed a hug.

"I think so. They wanted to change at least," Ryan said. "I needed a beer right away."

Larry came up from behind. "I heard you guys had a rough flight."

"I've had better," Ryan shook his head.

"You look like you need a pint," he smiled.

Ryan laughed. "In the worst way possible. "

Together, they wandered to the bar leaving Faith alone with her thoughts for the moment. She couldn't help but watch Christy place her hands on Bono. This is how it will all play out. He will have moved on from his confession. This was best. She and Bono were too similar. In a relationship, that never worked. Didn't work for her and Bradley. Faith spent the last week looking over her shoulder when she walked the streets. Larry, true to his word, didn't leave her alone at night. He stayed at her place. The hangup messages didn't stop. Larry started answering her phone. He thought it would be good for this Bradley to know there was a man around. Bono hadn't expected to hear Larry’s voice when he called one night. It had been another sleepless night with thoughts of her in his head. He needed to try. He wanted to hear in her voice that she didn't miss him like crazy. If she said the word, he was on the next flight over. So when be heard Larry's voice, he froze. His mouth hung open as his heart stopped beating. In a panic, he hung up the phone. That was the last time he dialed her number.

Faith's eyes lit up when she saw Alex walk through the door. She rushed to give her friend a hug. "I heard about your flight."

Alex was taken back by Faith's zeal. "Yeah, we were worried about making the wedding." She looked at Faith. "Are you okay?"

"It's nice to know someone else here. I was feeling a bit lost." She said.

Alex wasn't sure she bought that. Faith had been odd the last week. Larry was around a lot looking more like a bodyguard than boyfriend. Her eyes scanned the room for Edge. While she couldn't find him, the reason for Faith's strange behavior became apparent. Christy stood with both arms wrapped around Bono in more than a friendly manner. He had one arm around her and would smile at her when she spoke.

"Is that Bono’s new girlfriend? " Alex asked watching Faith's face carefully.

She shrugged casually. "I think so. Or at least as of tonight. I stumbled upon them making out in the coat room."

It was all starting to make sense. "Interesting."

"Not really," Faith lied. "What happened on this flight?"

As Alex started her story, she saw him. God, she missed everything about him. She watched him throw his head back in laughter. Every part of her wanted to be by his side. She had a pleasant 3 weeks with Sam. They did reconnect and find something that was lost on the tour. All that slipped through her fingers as she watched him.

"Are you okay?" Faith asked lowly.

Alex frowned. The last she thing needed was to take advice from someone who made emotional suppression an art form. "Yeah. You know that Sam and I are better than ever."

Faith nodded unconvincingly. They were both a mess because of this band. Maybe when the tour was over, things could go back to some mind of normalcy. She wasn't sure what would happen with her and Larry. Would he want to get married and have kids with her? She needed to exorcise Bono from her heart and mind before she could seriously consider that. If things went well him and Christy, it might be an easy task.

Faith changed the subject. Feeling mixed up was exhausting. She was here to celebrate a friend's wedding and another major step in their career. She order both of them some champagne to toast.

Faith was finally alone, or as alone as she'd be tonight. She leaned against the bar staring at the barkeep with tired eyes. Larry was well across the room. Bono decided now was the time. Christy had busied herself with Jocelyn and Alex. Quietly, he slipped beside her on a barstool. He felt the heat coming off her skin. She knew it was him without having to turn her head.

"Great night," she said.

He nodded. "Tomorrow will be a great day. How was New York?"

"Strange. It was really weird being home. And alone. Having breakfast by myself was a bit bizarre," she chose not to mention Bradley or the fact the last week home Larry practically moved in. "It's a bit of trip, isn't it?"

He laughed. "Yes, you don’t realized how institutionalized you become on the road. Have you done your own shopping for really mundane things like milk?"

"I needed to. I had only dressings in my fridge and really stale cereal. And I never thought my apartment was small before. It seems really small now. I might look for a 2 bedroom when we're off tour," she said.

The picture she painted didn't have Larry in it. He knew she might be sparing his feelings and leaving that part out.

"You know our tour continues through 98," he said.

"Our, as in yours and mine?" She looked at him questioning.

"Well, my band anyway. Has Sheila mentioned you staying on after the New Year?" He asked.

She shook her head. "Not Sheila. Larry did say you were keen on it a few months ago."

"I still am. That hasn't changed," his eyes penetrated her.

"I'd have to talk to the rest of the band and look at the schedule. I know we were looking for some time off," she looked away. The barkeep stood in front of her. "Can I have pint," she glanced at Bono, "I mean 2 pints. Are you ordering for anyone else?" She cast a glance at Christy.

He shook his head. "No. Just me. Thank you."

The barkeep turned away to get their drinks.

"She seems very nice. " Faith was careful to not mention Ali knowing it would bring them both back to that night.

Bono nodded slowly. "Christy and I have been friends a long time."

She shredded a drink napkin on the bar. "They say the best relationships start that way."

He stared down hard at her. "Yes, they do say that." Please look at me Faith, he pleaded. He wished everyone would disappear. If it had been just the two of them, they would be tearing off one another clothes.

She swallowed hard. This would take all her strength to resist him. If she saw those blue eyes, there would be no stopping her. "I'm sorry about barging in on you guys."

He had been inching closer and stopped. He had forgotten she had seen that.

He rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, about that.....I'm not sure how it happened."

She laughed. "Did you forget how to kiss girls already?"

He blushed. "No, I remember everything. Just because that happened doesn't mean...."

She faced him to look into his eyes. "I'm very bad at relationships. There’s every chance that Larry and I will go down in flames given enough time. It will suck if that happens, but I'll get over it." She paused. "If that happened to us, I wouldn't be okay with it because our friendship is very important to me."

He didn't know what to say. It felt like she was admitting that she was settling for the less than the more.

The bartender placed two full pints in front of them. Faith dug in her purse. Bono placed his hand on hers. "It's on me. The whole tab is on me."

His touch warmed her. "Thank you then." She lifted her pint. "To old friends and new possibilities." Her eyes switched to Christy.

"To friendship," he clinked her glass. Without removing his eyes from her face, he took a large sip. For now, it would be friends. Was he bitter about it? Yes. Even if it didn't work out between her and Larry, Larry still got to touch her. Would he still feel the same for her after all that time? Had she resigned herself to never entertain the possibility? And what had happened so long ago to make her fearful?
Adam slung an arm around Faith and Bono as they sat at the bar. "What time is it?"

Bono looked at his watch. "Just about half one."

He yawned. "I guess my bride and I should turn in."

Faith nodded. "We all should." She felt Bono’s hungry gaze. It was tempting but she loved Larry now.

"I can't believe that I'm the only member of this band that will be married." Adam mused.

"You should've done it in the 80's and we could have gotten a group rate on divorce, " Bono took a gulp of his beer.

"Think you'll do it again, B?" He asked.

"Marriage? I hope day," he tried desperately to not look at Faith.

He leaned into Bono. "Christy is very nice and can't stop saying good things about you."

Why did Adam have to do this in front of Faith? "She is nice. I'm not quite ready to ask her hand in marriage. You'll have to work on Edge and Morleigh. I think they should be next."

Adam turned to Faith. "Then I guess you and Larry."

"Is there a dowry over my head?" She joked.

Bono smiled. "If there is, Larry may have competition. "

She shot him a look. He didn't care. A part of him liked seeing her squirm. She made the decision but that didn't mean he had to except it gracefully. Speak of the devil, Larry wandered over to the group. He slipped into the other side of Faith.

"Have we toasted Adam's final night as a bachelor?" He asked.

"I'm getting married, not executed,"Adam quipped.

"That's what you think," Larry snorted.

"Is that why you've never married, Lardence?" Bono raised an eyebrow.

"Maybe I hadn't met the right girl," he slipped an arm around Faith.

Bono’s stomach turned. He saw a flash of panic in her eyes. That gave him some satisfaction. Edge walked over to the group.

"If this isn't a motley crew," he smiled.

Larry motioned the bartender over. "We need four."

"Five," Bono corrected him as he nodded to Faith.

"Six," as Jocelyn joined.

"Are we done? Okay, six shots of Jameson," Larry ordered.

"After this, we should turn it. It's a busy day tomorrow. " Jocelyn wrapped her arms around Adam.

He kissed the top of her head. "You're right. We'll bid good evening after this toast."

For a moment, it felt like things were normal. Everyone chatted. Faith and Bono took playful jabs at one another making everyone laugh. Something about drinking Faith under the table.

"I guess I don't have enough Irish in me," she chuckled.

"That's debatable," Bono winked. Faith kicked him with a glare.

Larry blushed thinking the comment was made for him. Edge’s heart stopped as he spied the look that passed between Faith and Bono. He watched Bono press his leg against hers. Holy Shit, he thought. Wait till I tell Alex.

She fixed Bono with a look. "I guess I will have to request a rematch."

He shrugged casually. "Wouldn't matter. You'd still lose."

Larry looked at Edge. "Should we tell her?"

"It's only right," he nodded in agreement.

"Hey! What happened to over 20 years of brotherhood," Bono cried.

"What are you talking about?" Faith asked.

"Faith, you were sabotaged. Some of Bono’s drinks were juice or at least watered down," Edge said.

"You bastard," she pinched his thigh.

"Ow," he laughed. "I love it when you're rough." That got him another.

Among the laughter, two bartenders appeared with 6 shots of whiskey.

Bono cleared his throat. Larry interrupted him. "Why do you get to give the toast?"

"Because I write the songs," he said.

"That make the young girls sing," Faith and Edge sang.

He glared at them both. "Funny. Okay Lardence. Go for it. Show us your inner poet."

With all eyes on him, he froze. "Oh feck off. Congratulations. Go ahead, Byron."

Bono smiled and cleared his throat again. "Adam and Jocelyn. This is the night you are two. After tomorrow, you become one. You've been blessed with the gift of love. When you find that person that completes your thoughts and heart, hold on for dear life."

Larry frowned. This toast was taking a depressing turn. It was time for him to be over Ali. Edge wasn't sure who b was thinking about. He watched his eyes dart to Faith who stared at the bar hard enough to bore a hole into it.

"I wish a long and beautiful life together filled with happiness, health, music and love. To Adam and Jocelyn. " he tilted his head back and the whiskey shot to the back of his throat. Nothing would cure his longing tonight. He knew that Larry would be curled against Faith tonight. He wished he could shake it off. Forget what he still felt. He wished Faith could see the mistake she was making. He pictured Larry helping her into her dress tomorrow. Would they shower together? Bono sighed. He should've fought harder right from the start. Why didn't he speak up in Dublin? He knew then he loved her.

"What's all the noise over here?" Christy sidled over with a smile.

"We were just toasting Adam and Jocelyn," he smiled at her.

"Can Morleigh and I join you for one more?" She wound an arm around his waist and leaned into him.

"Okay," Adam nodded. "But this is really it."

Bono slid his arm around Christy yet his leg still pressed into Faith. Eight more shots were ordered. Faith focused her attention to Larry and Jocelyn, making small talk. She could still hear the low seductive tone in Bono’s voice as he spoke with Christy. She knew it was possible he'd sleep with her tonight. She had seen that look in his eyes at an after-party and behind her hotel door.

"Cheers," as eight shots disappeared.

The attention in the pub switches to U2 and their women. Faith's head felt fuzzy. The wine and the whiskey made her feel warm in an unpleasant way. Seeing Christy coo over Bono wasn't helping.

"Are you okay?" Larry peered closer.

She nodded. "It's hot in here."

"We can leave with Adam and jocelyn," he said. She nodded.

"Okay folks. We're off to get our beauty sleep," Adam grabbed Jocelyn's hand. "We'll see you all later today, I guess." He looked at Bono. "Don't have too much fun tonight."

"I'll try to behave." He grinned.

"I'll keep a close eye on him," Christy said.

Faith thought she might vomit. Larry guided her off the stool and pulled her close. "We're heading out too."

Faith worked her way through group with hugs and farewells. Bono’s eyes stared into her.

"Are you okay?" He asked with concern.

She nodded and tried to avoid being captured by those oceans of blue. "Too much whiskey."

"In that case, I'm ready for that rematch," he smiled warmly. She hated how he could be sweet and a bastard in almost the same breath. Cautiously, she moved closer for a hug. Could she actually do to without touching him? She felt both of his strong arms around her closing himself off from Christy. She felt his stubble drag across her cheekbone. "Sweet dreams." He whispered hotly in her ear. The dizziness returned. She braced her arms as he steadied her. "Are you sure it's just whiskey?" Panic crept into his voice.

She nodded and reached to Larry’s outstretched hand. "Jet lag too. I need a vacation." She laughed casually.

"Let's get you to bed," Larry pulled into his keeping.

Faith made note to stay far away from hard liquor tomorrow. As soon as she moved away, Christy moved in again. Faith waved to Alex and Sam as she was whisked out the door. The last thing she saw was Christy whispering in his ear while his eyes were on Faith.

Despite the dizzy spells and jetlag, Faith was filled with angry unsettled energy. It benefited Larry as she pushed him on the bed. They were still working out the kinks in their lovemaking. Tonight, she took control and it was amazing. He made a mental note to give her whiskey more often. As he snored softly beside her, she blinked into the dark hotel room. Was he with Christy? Was it better with her?

"Are you leaving?" Christy asked. "Will you have one more?"

One more turned into a few more after that. They were joined by Edge and Morleigh. Christy got closer as the night wore into the early morning. As Edge left the bar, he looked for Bono to offer him a ride back to the hotel. Nestled in a booth in the corner was Bono and Christy kissing rather hungrily. It wasn't like kissing Faith, but it was nice. He wasn't sure if it would go anywhere or if he wanted it to. The eve before his good friend was to be joined to his love for eternity had him filled with a sorrow. He still missed his marriage and the security he felt within it. He longed for Faith, but she was wrapped in someone else’s arms. It would bother him less if he knew it was she truly wanted. If she loved Larry with all her being, he could accept it. Watching her struggle and the flashes of jealousy and pain in her eyes tore him up. He could not break through the wall. Despite the invitation to stay the night, he left Christy at her room with a kiss full of promise. His head was heavy with booze as he wandered to his suite. Which is theirs? When he closed his eyes, the hallway spun and the image of them snuggled together crossed his eyelids. He staggered into his room. The bedroom was too far away and lonely. He flopped on the couch and let the whiskey carry him to sleep.

"You look great," Larry smiled proudly. He was beaming from the night before. It was the closest he'd felt to her. In the morning as she still slept, he stared at her. She still didn't seem real or really his. In December, their tour together ended. Then what? Where would they go after that? He still wanted to be with her, bit he knew he wasn't ready for marriage. He wasn't sure he ever wanted that. Kids? The thought was a bit scary. What did she want? She was different from Ann and would not be content to wait for Larry to figure out what he wanted. He didn't have years to bide his time. As she stirred under his arm, his heart raced. With the sun filtering across the bed, he was ready to give her anything she wanted. Coming back Ireland had been good. There were too many ghosts for her in New York. She wasn't as restrained. He felt her open up to him a little more.

There was enough time for some room service and tea before getting ready. The firecracker last night had cooled this morning. Her eyes were a little red from the wine and whiskey. She was slow to move through breakfast to the shower. Her head was heavy with many things. Some medicine and coffee helped dissipate the fog.

Larry and Faith held hands as they walked across the stone path to the large church. She craned her neck to look at the intricate stained glass windows.

"It's gorgeous," she breathed.

"It's Adam. Do you expect anything less?" Larry smirked. "For the record, you look gorgeous too."

Her eyes plunged down to his opened shirt. "You too."

He dropped a quick kiss on her lips before walking through the door. Adam in a full suit paced just inside the large oak doors.

Larry hugged him. "How are you holding up?"

"Little nervous, but that's normal. Naomi called to wish me well," he rubbed his hands together.

"Bitch," Larry growled.

"Lar, please. I'm not overly religious but this is a church," his eyes turned to Faith. "You look lovely, my dear." He kissed her cheek. "Keep an eye on her, Mullen."

He smiled. "Oh I will."

Faith blushed. "You look very handsome."

"Thank you, my dear. Jocelyn is just inside the brides room. I'm sure she'd love to see you. The mothers are driving her crazy."

She laughed. "Okay. Ill be back."

As she walked away she heard Adam ask,"don't you own a tie?"

She walked past the baptismal and smaller chapel to the room she figured was the bride room. The last wedding of this size and pomp was an older cousin. She was finally feeling better after her last round of treatment. It was large with ugly flowers and awful teal dresses covered in tiers and ruffles. Since then, the few friends weddings were smaller gatherings in a bar where no one wore a proper suit or dress. She knocked on the large door. A mother poked her head out.

"Faith, dear. Can you give us five? Just finishing up now,"

Before Faith could nod the door closed. Muffled behind the door, she heard voices. Two fussing and one protesting. Poor girl, Faith thought. She felt a pang of sadness knowing that if she were to marry, there would be no moments like that for her. She was an orphan. Her father wouldn't be there to walk her down the aisle. Her mother wouldn't be nagging her about her hair. She turned to look at the stained glass windows. With her eyes, she traced the lines between the colors. Such beauty done so many years ago. She wondered how they crafted this centuries ago.

His heart leapt into his throat when Bono saw her gazing out the window with her back to him. She wore a strapless blue dress hugging every curve. He stared at the curve of her neck and shoulders. He remembered kissing her smooth back as he laid in bed beside her. He felt an ache deep within.

"Breathtaking," he said as he approached her.

Glancing over her shoulder, he saw that her dress matched her eyes perfectly. "The windows? They are."

He stood directly behind her. She could feel the heat emanating from his body. "No, you."

She closed her eyes. Despite feeling weak, she needed to be strong. "There's a sadness in stained glass."

"How so?" His breath tickled the back of her neck.

She shrugged and sighed. "I don't know. On a day like this, I really miss him. "

Without warning, he pressed his lips gently on her bare shoulder. The feel of his soft skin caused the hair on her arms to rise.

"Honey," he said quietly. "I know."

She turned to face him knowing those blues were waiting. "Sorry. It's a happy day," she smiled weakly. God he looked so good. He wore a similar suit to Larry yet he wore his tie loose around his neck. Freshly shaven, she could see the scar faintly on his chin. She chose to look there instead of his eyes.

"It's okay to miss your dad. I miss mine," he pulled her into a hug. She laid her head against his shoulder. He felt like home in that moment. His hands brushed the skin on her back setting off a fire in her she hadn't felt since.....she needed to move away. His breath on her shoulder was too close. Anyone could see them now. Slowly, she pulled away.

"Faith," he touched her cheek. He opened his mouth to tell the reason relationships didn't work before was because it wasn't the right person. They were the right people for each other. But first, her lips looked so inviting. It had been so long.

The voices on the other side of the oak door got louder and less muffled. The click of the door brought Faith back to reality and she stepped away from Bono abruptly. The air escaped from his lungs as the door opened.

"Thank god. They are driving me crazy," Jocelyn sighed.

"Can I get you anything?" Bono asked.

She closed the door behind her. "A gun?"

Both Bono and Faith laughed nervously. Jocelyn didn't blink. "No, I'm serious. "

"Hey, I was told you were around here," Christy sidled over. As he turned his head, she greeted him with a soft kiss. Faith couldn't help but think that kiss was really hers.

He smiled. "You look beautiful. "

She twirled in her peach dress. "Thank you."

Faith turned her attention to the bride. "Jocelyn, you look exquisite. "

She blushed. "Thank you. My mother wanted to do my make up. I can only imagine what that would be like. Is Adam around?"

Faith nodded. "I saw him when I came in. He looks very handsome. Has he seen the dress?"

She shook her head. "I wanted it to be a surprise. "

Faith smiled. "I can't wait to see his face."

Jocelyn beamed. "Please keep me company. Everyone in this room is driving me out of my tree."

Faith nodded. "Sure." She looked back at Christy and Bono who were now holding hands. "See you guys later."

This wasn't supposed to happen. Bono felt like things were slipping out of his control. The fates were not kind in bringing him together with Faith. He watched her slip behind the solid door. Just a few moments before, he'd been so close.

The church was mostly still. The creaking of wood under the weight of the guests as the anxiously waited for the bride. Larry stretched his arm behind Faith and caressed her shoulder. Adam and Bono appeared from a side door. Adam looked calm and zen despite being moments from bonding his life to Jocelyn. Bono looked more nervous. He rubbed his hands together. Within seconds, his eyes found hers. He offered a weak smile. His heart raced. He was running out of time. Larry and Faith would only get more serious. And now, he seemed to be wandering into a relationship with Christy. After they left the bride, she pulled him into an alcove and kissed him hard. As his eyes swept across her, she gave him a wave. Her attraction to him was a little intoxicating. It was nice to be pursued. He just wished it was someone else.

The priest patted Adam's shoulder as he gave a nod. Suddenly the church was filled with the sound of bagpipes. Faith got chills. Last time she heard them was Bono’s fathers funeral. Everyone turned to see Jocelyn. Some nieces were the flower girls dressed in frilly white dresses. Jocelyn's older sister was the Matron of Honor. Adam's breath caught at the sight of his lovely bride in ivory silk. Bono smiled at the look of pure love on Adam's face. He thought back to his own wedding 15 years ago. They were too young - just kids. Was he any wiser now? He watched Larry wrap his arms around Faith. Would they be next? What if Larry asked him to be the best man? He couldn't refuse. Shaking his head, he focused on the marriage in front of him. Bono had a reading and he needed to remember the words.

Adam held his hand to Jocelyn as she took her place by his side. Sam slipped his hand in Alex's. There were times on the tour that he thought they'd never marry. The break had done them good as a couple. He felt that they could weather anything. She smiled up at him as the priest started the service. She had been dying to talk to Edge about the pub. She had seen Christy and Bono. But she also saw the intense conversation between Faith and Bono. She enjoyed having this secret with Edge. She waffled between Larry and Bono. Larry was solid and Faith could use someone like that. But if she took that path, where was the passion? Alex knew what it was like to take the safe road. She hadn't felt that desire since the last time she was with Edge. Alex didn't have a choice. She was with Sam and he had Morleigh. Faith could still make the right choice.

Bono took the podium. His eyes scanned the page before him. Last time he spoke in a church was his fathers funeral. He remembered the eyes that calmed him, the arms that soothed him. Looking at her now caused everything inside to feel wild and jumbled now. She didn't look away from his eyes as he began to read his excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit. He cleared his throat.

‘"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day,
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."’

Bono paused to look at Faith. The color drained from her face. He had memorized this part last night. He remembered reading this Jordan and Eve. Last night in his hotel room, he couldn’t help but think of Faith. She and Larry weren’t real. He fixed his eyes on hers not needing to glance at his paper. His voice filled her.

‘"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. 

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."’

There were a few sniffles in the church. He stared into her watery eyes. We are real Faith, he said to her. He flashed the guests his smile, especially to Christy as he finished. He saw the clouds gather in Faith's face. Give me a reason, he thought as he sat beside Adam again.

Faith was aware that it was just her and Bono at the table. Dinner was delicious but long. Bono seemed to be taking pleasure in making her uncomfortable as he draped across Christy. This is why she chose Larry. Dependable. He'd never carry on like that. Suddenly, he stood and turned in the opposite direction of the table. She turned towards the dimly lit dance floor. Adam and Jocelyn were nestled in each others arms oblivious to everyone around them. She remembered what it was like to love like that.

"Care to dance?" Bono popped in front of her with his hand extended to her.

She knew being that close could be dangerous. "Sure." She slipped her hand in his.

He led her the darkest corner of the floor and pulled her close. The tie had been removed and shirt unbuttoned like Larry’s. What was it about his chest that transfixed her so?

"You look so beautiful tonight," he said low in her ear.

"Not as beautiful as Christy," she said dryly.

"Well, she is a model," he said. He stared deep in to her. "But don't sell yourself short. You have 2 men in love with you after all. You're doing something right."

She had no response for that. Moving with him to the music was all she could focus on. Those hips. His hands. The look in his eyes. She hated how she still wanted him. He was like her drug. She got a little taste of his body against hers and she needed more. That wasn't normal, right?
He felt her resolve slip away. He knew it would be in very bad taste to pull her away in the middle of the wedding. But she felt like coming home to him. He missed being around her - even if they were just in the same room. While he didn't look relish tour with the couple of Larry and Faith, he looked forward to being with her - singing, joking.

"Excited for the tour?" He asked.

Thinking of touring made her feel tired. She loved performing and the crowd. Even her band was getting an audience. The buzz around their EP was great. But dragging her body from city to city carrying the load of emotional baggage with her made her want to sleep.

She nodded. "It will be interesting to see how people receive us now."

"The Rolling Stone should be out soon," he pulled her closer while looking very casual about it. "I love that you still wear this." He touched the cross that fell against her chest.

She bit her lip. He was being very familiar with her. She looked around for Larry. He was laughing at the bar with someone Faith didn't know. "It's a beautiful cross. Why wouldn't I wear it?"

He smiled down at her. "True." His fingers brushed her shoulder. "I've missed you, Faith." His breath tickled her ear. His voice dripped with hunger. "Do you miss me?"

Her head spun. Her body seemed to press into him without her permission. She wasn't going to open her mouth to speak as she didn't trust herself. Forcing her eyes on Larry, she tried to regain control. He wanted her so much and he felt her move her hips against him. His eyes looked for anywhere to take her. If he could just kiss her, she'd be his. He was certain of it. She was just teetering on the edge. Just beyond the doors was a dark hallway. Earlier, he thought the wash room was down there. Nothing but a closet and locked doors to the kitchen. It was private enough to steal her mouth and confess his love. Her head tilted up and her lips parted.

"Hey. I was looking for you," Christy beamed.

Fuck, Bono cursed. He glanced down at Faith. The dazed, hungry look was lifting. Her eyes sharpened on Christy who was there to cut in.

"Looks like you found me," his smile hid the bitterness in his voice.

Faith peeled herself off him with one step back. "I think they are going to cut the cake soon. I should find Larry."

If Christy hadn't been standing there, Bono would have protested. He had difficulty release his grip on her. It was as if a part of him was ripping away.

"Be good to him," Faith said quickly as she passed Christy.

Don't go, Bono pleaded in his head.

"Are you good friends?" Christy asked as her arms circled his neck.

"She was very helpful when my dad died. She'd lost her father so...." he remembered their first night together. "And when Ali got engaged. "

"Ali's remarrying?" Christy asked.

"Well, I don't know. It was put on hold," he ran his hand over his head. "Christy, my life's a bit messy. I'm not sure you want any part of this."

She moved closer. "I'm willing to take my chances." Her lips pressed against his. A fire erupted in him. It might not have been Christy's fire, but she felt the heat of it. Yet again, Faith had walked away leaving him wanting more. Fine, he thought. If this is what you want, this is what you get.

The party raged on after Adam and Jocelyn left for their weekend honeymoon before the wheels of the tour started to roll. Sam led Alex to the back patio overlooking a small pond. The day had chilled considerably.

"It was a beautiful day, huh?" Sam asked.

Alex nodded. She had been preoccupied by watching the tension between Faith and Bono. She and Edge danced and spoke in low voices as they watched them move from the table to the dance floor. Edge couldn't believe Bono was being so forward. They both wondered how no one else could see the smoldering between them.

"It was a beautiful ceremony and reception. I'm glad they invited us," Alex said.

"It's not going to as beautiful as ours," he blurted.

Slowly, Alex turned to look at him. "What?"

He took her hand. "I know this year has been tough and strange for us. You know, with the band finally making it and going on a real tour. I know we've grown apart and back together. I'd like to think we've weathered some of the worst together," he dropped to his right knee. Alex's eyes darted around. "I love you Alexandra. I want to marry you and be with you forever." He pressed his lips to the back of her hand. "Will you marry me Alex?" His blue eyes turned upward towards her face with hope.

Her mouth hung open. She stared at him for a moment. Through the french doors, the party raged on without them. Larry and Faith laughed by the bar. Just beyond them, Morleigh nestled Edge’s neck as they swayed to a slow song. Maybe everyone was where they were meant to be. Sam's brown hair flopped over his forehead. He bit his lip in anticipation. He thought she would spring into his arms.

"Shit, I forgot," he dug into his pants pocket and pulled out a black velvet box. "Open it."

Gingerly, she took the box from his hands. Nesting inside was a sizable diamond shimmering in the night. The stone was round and like a spotlight.

The silence was deafening to him. "Would you be my wife?"

She touched his cheek. He could be so sweet. He had changed for the better since the start of the tour. "Yes Sam. I'll marry you."

He clutched her in his arms. "Oh God, you had me sweating. I love you so much."

"I love you too," she kissed him. She knew she should be happier. She guessed that both her and Faith would take the safe route with love.

With a shaky hand, he slipped the diamond on her finger. He looked so happy. This was right.

"Let's tell everyone," he pulled her back into the ballroom.

The next 30 minutes seemed to move in slow motion, or like a movie she was watching and not part of. Sam found Ryan, and told him first. Of course, he was thrilled for his friends. Next, they encountered a circle of Bono, Christy, Edge, Morleigh, Faith and Larry. She swore she saw Bono and Faith exchange a look as Sam made his announcement. She stole a glance at Edge. His face was indescribable. While Morleigh gushed over the ring, he held perfectly still holding his breath. He smiled pleasantly enough. Alex couldn’t be sure what was going on in that beautiful head of his.

Bono stared at the ceiling listening to the breathing beside him. He rubbed his eyes. He should be tired. Last night, he watched the clock numbers turn for hours. He'd been up early for the wedding. That party wore on past midnight -well past Adam and Jocelyn's exit. Past the engagement announcement from Sam and Alex. For the first time that weekend, Bono and Faith put aside their feelings. They exchanged raised eyebrows and stole away for a few seconds to discuss it.

"He mentioned asking her awhile ago," she said lowly. “I never thought he’d do it.”

"I guess nothing has gone on between them since that scare," he looked over the shoulder at Edge’s blank face.

Faith shrugged. "I've seen them deep in conversation. "

He looked at her. "Like we are now?"

"Do you think that they think?" Her voiced trailed off.

"I don't know. Anything is possible. But in our case, it's all speculation," he said.

The conversation ended there. The night took a wild turn as champagne poured freely. His head grew fuzzier was time ticked on. He watched Larry grind against Faith. Meanwhile, he pressed into Christy. She kissed him on the dance floor and let her hands wander. As he pulled away he saw Faith’s eyes on them. Later, he collapsed into a limousine with Christy, Edge and Morleigh. He didn't remember turning on the light to his room. There was a tangle of arms and laughing. Then the sighs and whispers. Now sleep - at least for Christy. It was nice to be touched by someone so beautiful. She had wanted him. He knew this would change everything. Christy wasn't looking for just a night. He felt confused about that. He didn't want to just give up on Faith, but that was going nowhere. He could have a bit of fun and companionship while he sorted all this out, right?

Unlike Faith, Christy fell asleep right after they made love. He still felt restless. When he spent the night with Faith, they made love until neither could move from exhaustion. He felt complete. That wasn't the only comparison his mind churned. He rolled on his side taking in his partner. What was he doing? Deep down, he didn't want this. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't Faith. Life was too short for settling. He frowned. Yet Faith was excelling at that. Why did he have to be alone? He'd without someone since 1994. That's a long time to be alone and lonely. Eventually he fell asleep beside Christy.

They walked into the private brunch holding hands and giggling. Faith regarded them with only a raised eyebrow. There was no mistaking what went down after they left. Her smiles and touches were practically a billboard. Faith’s annoyance came from the fact that she never wanted to shove it in Bono’s face that she was now with Larry. Luckily, Larry wasn't big on public groping. However, Christy was and Bono appeared to be enjoying it.

She shrugged it off. The North American tour was starting in a few days. Strict Machine still needed to work on a new setlist. Rolling Stone was coming out to see their first few shows. Somehow, the band managed to keep their second billing with far more successful bands opening for them. Ryan congratulated Faith for single-handedly managing that feat. She told him he was just jealous. Secretly, she smiled knowing he'd really be envious if he knew about Bono as well. As this all swirled over her head, awards, interviews, relationships - she couldn't shake the exhaustion she felt deep down. She started being stricter about her diet and exercise routine. She and Ryan promised to workout a few times a week. Maybe that would help with desire to just sleep. It was just a little over a month. Then she could take to her bed for days and catch up on sleep.

The giggling was become distracting. As Christy nestled into Bono’s neck, his eyes were definitely on Faith. She felt sorry for the supermodel for a moment. Her attention turned to the future Mrs. Sam walking into the ballroom alone. Faith saw Edge’s pained look as her looked from her face to her left hand. Light bounced off that ring like the giant lemon he descended from. Faith needed to find out why Alex said yes. Sure, they were getting along better - but marriage? She wondered if this was her fault for not warning Alex about the confession Sam made months before.

After brunch, the party broke up in different directions all with plans to get to Toronto in 2 days time. Christy suggested that she and Bono find a little time really explore what was growing before he was to America. Larry invited Faith to spend the next few days in Adam's guesthouse. She thought it was best that they return to New York - to his place. He had been working on expelling old ghosts and it seemed time for their life to begin there.
Sam and Alex would return home to give their families the good news. Sam had started to think dates while Alex was still trying to sort out what just happened. But before she left....

"Congratulations. Everyone swarmed you that night," Edge said quietly. Though he smiled, his sadness seeped through.

"Oh, thanks. Yeah, it's been a whirlwind," she shuffled her feet as she waited for Sam to join her in the hotel lobby.

Edge stood perfectly still as he searched her face for any flicker of what they shared months ago. She was locked up. If she gave him a peek inside, she would throw the ring in the garbage and run away with him.

"Have any dates?" He asked.

She shook her head empathetically. "No. It's too soon for that. We still need to finish this tour and figure out what's next for the band."

"I know Bono mentioned extending your tenure on the tour. I think it's to be close to Faith," ed said.

"Even though she's with Larry and he's with Christy?" She frowned. Bono was a glutton for punishment.

Ed shrugged. "He's a romantic. And believes firmly in lost causes. We haven't had a chance to discuss this whole Christy business yet."

"Maybe it is how it should be," she said.

He raised his eyebrows. "You think so?" He scratched his chin. "I'm not so sure things are in their right place." Those green eyes cut through her. Suddenly they clouded over and flicked from her face to Sam’s approach. He offered his head. "Congratulations. Great news, man."

Alex barely had time to process his words before being whisked to the airport with Faith and Larry. Was Edge right? She watched Faith with Larry. Though she was snuggled in close, there was a distance in her eyes. Christy got to her.

Faith wondered the logic of having a huge arena tour stretch on into the winter, especially up north. Unprepared for the arctic chill of Toronto, her first stop was a store to buy sweaters, a coat and gloves. Even inside the climate controlled Skydome, she was bundled in a black sweatshirt as she stood on the stage for sound-check. She blew on her hands as she waited for Alex to fiddle with her toys – new foot pedals. She was going to have to think of a new wardrobe for this leg of the tour. Short skirts would not cut it in this cold.

“Okay, ready,” Alex said. She nodded to Ryan who counted her with a click of his sticks.

They had gathered in a group to decide which new songs to showcase. For as much as Faith loved ‘Love is a Blind Ambition’ it was slow and not as catchy as some others. Sam suggested opening with the new single ‘Resolve’ while Ryan liked ‘Sex on Fire’. Faith nodded to the opening chords of ‘Resolve’. It wasn’t exactly slow, but Sex on Fire was more uptempo.

As soon as Bono heard the guitar, he wandered up the stairs. He knew they were onstage. He heard them play part of an older song once he reached the Skydome. He hadn’t laid eyes on Faith since the morning of the brunch. There was a quick hug goodbye, and she was lead away by Larry. He was taken in the opposite direction by Christy where he spent the next 2 days in bed with her. There were moments he could forget. There were times he felt content. Maybe this was enough. Perhaps that fire burns out and then there is nothing left. Under all the passion, Faith and Bono had the foundation. If they had never touched, they’d be the best of friends. Out of everything, he missed that the most. He watched as Faith danced in place to keep warm.

‘Something that I felt today, something that I heard
Swingin' from the chandeliers, hanging on your word
I remember watchin' you once upon a time
Dancing from across the room in another life

A little bit of resolve is what I need now
Pin me down, show me how
A little bit of resolve is what I need now
Pin me down, show me how’

He heard this on the EP, but didn’t recall hearing it in any of the sound-checks. It was good on the EP, but better live.

‘Lookin' back to find my way, never seemed so hard

Yesterday's been laid to rest, changing of the guard

I would never change a thing even if I could

All the songs we used to sing, everything was good’

A little bit of resolve is what I need now
Pin me down, show me how
A little bit of resolve is what I need now
Pin me down, show me how

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him bobbing his head to the music. He gave her a thumbs up and a smile. After everything, she felt proud when Bono liked any of her songs. Take away all the madness, he was still an amazing songwriter and someone she aspired to be creatively. If he thought it was good, it probably law.

He clapped as they finished. “It’s even better live.”

“Thanks. That’s the new single,” Sam said. “We did a grainy video shoot in one of the clubs we used to play right before Adam’s wedding.”

“It was the quickest video we could make. We had a ton directors with great ideas, but it came down to time,” Ryan said.

“Time has a way of slipping quickly,” Bono agreed. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just checking out the acoustics.”

“They are pretty bad,” Faith said.

Bono crossed his arms and looked at the closed ceiling. “Yeah, that doesn’t help. With it being so cold, there was really no way around it.”

“How about not booking outdoor shows this far north in late October?” she teased.

“Hey, I don’t book them. I just show up and sing,” he said.

With that, he turned back to grab some lunch. He needed to see her and get that over with. His insides felt like jelly as he descended the stairs. It didn’t matter that he spent days inside another woman’s arms. His eyes narrowed as Larry strolled in looking relaxed and satisfied. Would Larry like to trade? Who wouldn’t prefer a supermodel?

“It’s fecking cold out there,” he said. “Can you imagine if we had to do this outside?”

“Do they cancel because of cold?” Edge asked. He lifted his eyes towards the stage as Alex’s guitar echoed back. “This sound is shite.”

“That’s what Faith said,” Bono nodded. He shrugged. “What can we do?”

“Let me find Joe,” he mumbled.

After lunch, the member slowly made their way to the backstage area to watch Strict Machine finish sound-check. Alex frowned and chewed her lip as she tried to recreate some of the sounds from the EP with her new pedals.

“Oh forget this,” she grumbled.

“Do you need help?” Ed knelt beside her.

“I’m having a hard time getting these to sound right,” she sighed.

“It might be the stadium. I heard the terrible feedback,” he said.
“I’ll have to work this out later,” she stood. She tucked a red strand of hair behind her ear.
“If I have time after our run through, I’ll help,” he offered.
She had missed this. “That’d be nice.”
“Where are you headed missy?” Bono looked after as she scooted off stage.
“Lunch?” she asked.
“We have our song to rehearse. It’s been a few weeks,” he said.
She looked at him blankly. The duet. Crap, she had forgotten. How could she? She spent night after night pressed up against him - gazing into his eyes as she sang declarations of love.
“Okay. Let me get some water,” she excused herself while Bono slipped off his sweatshirt.
Larry dropped a small kiss on her cheek before slipping behind his drums. Bono rolled up his shirt sleeves as he was fitted for his headpiece.
“We can do this quick so they can get going,” Bono said to the others.
“At least the song is a little better,” Larry grumbled. He didn’t understand Bono’s insistence that they keep this bit in. Yeah, the crowd got a kick out of it, but Bono seemed to be the only one really enjoying himself.
Faith returned with her microphone piece secured. She took a deep and cleansing breath. Thus far, things had been light and amiable. His gaze wasn’t heavy with meaning. For a moment, she thought that maybe it could return to how it once was.
“Do you need the lyric sheet?” he asked.
“I might. Just for the first run through,” she said.
“First run through?” Larry muttered. He never liked this part of the show. Granted, he was with Faith so there was need for jealousy to nip at him. Yet, he still didn’t like Bono’s paws all over her.

Faith kept her eyes glued to the paper, memorizing the words. He couldn’t help but steal glances at her. The second time, they sang without the pages looking at each other. Even though her hands were ice, her cheeks felt hot. There was that look in his eyes. The look that said if not for all these people being present, he would undress her where she stood.

The third time, Bono suggested some kind of choreography. That seemed to lighten things a little as he tripped over her and his feet. Yet, the moment he pressed their hips together, the heat and awkwardness returned. She tried not to be too suggestive, but when her hands hit his body, they had a mind of their own. He attempted to twirl her in the final notes of the song. That went well. The dip was very unsteady, and she threw her hand on the ground to prevent a crash. He stumbled over her and landed on his knee with her across his lap.

Adam chuckled. “Don’t quit your day job.”
“Yeah, leave that shit up to Morleigh,” Larry left to get a drink.
His shirt hung open as Bono helped steady Faith on her feet. “Sorry. I’ll leave out the flourishes.”

Her eyes scanned his exposed chest hair. That’s when she saw it - an unmistakeable purple mark at the base of his neck. He followed her eyes and attempted to pull the collar over it. She stopped him and took a better look at Christy’s handy work.

She frowned. “What are you? Twelve?”
“What are you? Jealous?” he asked lowly.
“What about you?” she raised an eyebrow.
He smiled. “This could’ve been yours.”
“I’m not that sloppy,” she countered back with a smirk.
“I know. I remember,” he said in her ear before Larry climbed back on stage.
“I think we’re done here, right?” she asked.
“Yeah, for now,” he nodded.
“Lovely,” she left the stage with her insides burning in anger. She knew where he spent the few days before coming to Toronto. He still had the balls to flirt with her. Bastard. She hated that he found his way under her skin.
Alex glanced up. “How did it go?”
“What? The duet? Fine,” she was distracted.
“Everything okay?” Alex asked.
“Yeah. I’m hungry,” Faith wandered over the buffet. It was possible that could make her cranky. Faith could become pretty unpleasant quickly if she was hungry. Alex suspected it was something more.

“Holy shite,” Larry laughed. “Is that a fucking hickey?”
Bono rolled his eyes as he walked into the buffet area. All eyes turned on him. “Subtle as a bull in a china shop, Lardence.”
“I didn’t think people got those anymore. How Mount Temple...” he sniggered.
“It’s the mark of passion. I know that’s something you don’t understand,” he sneered.
Larry cast a gaze in Faith’s direction. “Oh, I understand it now, thank you very much.”
Bono glared at him. He saw Faith roll her eyes then turn her attention to the magazine she was reading.
“Hey babe,” Larry dropped a kiss on her lips. Sure, Bono had a model, but he wanted Faith first - and Larry got her.
It was Bono’s turn to be cranky as he tore in the direction of the food.
“Is this how the tour is going to go?” Alex muttered to Edge.
He shook his head. “I hope not. It will be like school all over. But this is how Bon and Lar are. They are constantly at each other.”
Bono glowered at his fingers ran over the raised skin on his neck. He thought she’d leave a mark. But in the moment when his basic needs were being met, he didn’t care. It did succeed in making her jealous. But that might have backfired as she giggled talking with Larry.

The first night was rough. The sound was distracting for all 3 bands. Third Eye Blind were a little annoyed with their first band billing feeling that they were bigger than Strict Machine. Even the duet between Bono and Faith was awkward. She noticed that makeup covered up Bono’s lovebite. There was a quiet after show gathering that Faith opted to skip. She needed sleep more than a post show cocktail.
Everyone was able to sleep in the next morning. Larry, not wanting to wake Faith, slept in his room leaving the huge bed to herself. Her eyes fluttered open at 10am feeling rested for the first time in weeks. It was a quiet day as band members rolled in slowly for sound check. U2 missed the opening band sound check. Faith was leaving as Bono stepped out of his car.
“Hey,” he said quietly.
“Hey,” she smiled.
“Going on a visit?” he asked.
She nodded quickly and looked over her shoulder.
“He still doesn’t know?”he asked.
“Not yet. I don’t know....I just don’t want to get into it,” she sighed.
“I’m not judging,” he said.
“Do you want to come?” she asked.
His shoulders dropped. “I can’t. I have to stay here for sound check.”
“Okay,” she said breezily. “Another time.”
He turned his head to watch her slip into a waiting car.

Bono leaned against the speakers as he did nights before to watch Strict Machine. Listening to Alex’s opening chords, it sounded like they decided to drop ‘Resolve’ as the opener. Faith bounced around as her eyes searched the crowd. They were cold and lifeless. She was really going to have work hard tonight, she could tell. She walked to the edge of the stage.
“Lay where you're laying, don't make a sound
I know they're watching, they're watching
All the commotion, the kiddie like play
Has people talking, talking

You, your sex is on fire

The dark of the alley, the breaking of day
The head while I'm driving, I'm driving.”

She glanced offstage. Bono leaned forward watching her.

“Soft lips are open, knuckles are pale
Feels like you're dying, you're dying

You, your sex is on fire
Consumed with what's to transpire”

She replaced her sparkly microphone back in the stand. The front 10 rows bobbed along appreciatively. She saw some people in the seats nodding their head to the beat.

“Hot as a fever, rattling bones
I could just taste it, taste it.”

She looked directly in his eyes.

“If it's not forever, if it's just tonight
Oh, it's still the greatest, the greatest, the greatest

You, your sex is on fire
And you, your sex is on fire
Consumed with what's to transpire.”

He felt all the breath escape from his lungs. She never looked at him again as she powered through the set. She spent most of her time on the ramp and second stage trying to engaging the cold crowd. Before the last song, he slipped backstage to dress. He felt tingly and electric. There was no doubt in his mind that the song was written about him, or them. Suddenly, Larry’s teasing didn’t bother him as much as he pulled off his shirt to get dressed.

Tonight, the sound didn’t bother him as much. Strict Machine worked hard to get the crowd going and they were primed nicely for U2. During Even Better Than the Real Thing, he spied her dancing on the side of the stage. He smiled at her and was thrilled when she sent him one in return. He liked her eyes on him. He slid across the stage. He felt like his swagger returned as he stalked the female fans in the front row. Their duet was much better tonight. They smiled as they song Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece to each other. He felt her words tonight. Even the crowd seemed to enjoy it more tonight. Most nights, Faith disappeared after their duet to shower and change. Tonight , she stayed at watched the show. Sure, he found her smiling at Larry. But she was giving him a fair amount of her undivided attention. As Bullet the Blue Sky transitioned to Please, the song had new meaning. It was no longer his plea to Ali. Edge watched him transfixed by the passion pouring out of him. Tonight, Bono was feeling every word.

“Please... please... please...
Get up off your knees
Please-yeah... please... please...
Leave me out of this place

So love is hard and love is tough
But love is not what you're thinking of”

She knew she should leave. Her blood ran cold. It had been months since she saw him sing this song. Back then, she knew he was exorcising his demons from his marriage. Some nights, it was as if he was asking to forget, and some nights like he was begging for her to remember. Tonight, it was about them - Faith, Bono and Larry.

“Please... please... please...
Get up off your knee there
Please... please... please...

He turned to her.

“So love is big, is bigger than us
But love is not what you're thinking of

It's what lovers deal
It's what lovers feel
You know I've found it hard to receive

Cause you my love I could never believe.”

Faith held her breath. Larry was oblivious to the exchange. As her head spun, a familiar face brought reality crashing in her around. On the other side of the stage, Christy appeared. What is she doing here, Faith’s blood boiled. As Bono regained his composure after the emotional end of Please, he turned to smile at Faith. Her eyes were cold and focused off stage. Shit, he had forgotten that Christy was joining him on tour. A few days ago, it seemed like a good idea. Now looking at Faith’s face, he realized that it was a terrible idea.


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Old 08-12-2011, 06:30 AM   #2
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Am I the only one who wants to knock Faith and Bono's heads together until they come to their senses? Do they come to their senses? Not that I want Larry to end up unhappy...

And as if I didn't love this story enough already, you go and quote my absolute favorite children's book!

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Old 08-12-2011, 06:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PJW
Am I the only one who wants to knock Faith and Bono's heads together until they come to their senses? Do they come to their senses? Not that I want Larry to end up unhappy...

And as if I didn't love this story enough already, you go and quote my absolute favorite children's book!
It was a reading at my own wedding. Something made me think of it and it sort of fit in the story. I mean, at some point Bono would get tired of sitting on the sidelines. As much as I love Faith, she is being pretty dense. I guess she needed to have some faults or she'd be more Mary Sue than she already is by getting to be with 2 band members. I'm just glad it's still interesting. Don’t worry, I won't be dragging this out for several chapters. There is an end in sight. Glad you love it.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by PJW View Post
Am I the only one who wants to knock Faith and Bono's heads together until they come to their senses? Do they come to their senses? Not that I want Larry to end up unhappy...
You are not only one This story is great, i love this.
And what is wrong with you Alex you should be with Edge
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:48 AM   #5
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Sorry about the jumpy formatting. I write most of this on my Droid on my to and from work. Sometimes, I get to do a little while at work. I then transfer it to my word doc, and it looks okay there, but then it bunches up in the cut and paste.

As you can see, I enjoy angst. Faith has a big time realization in the next chapter....but is it too late?

I think I might be able to get 22 up pretty quickly as a lot of it is written and it will be a shorter chapter.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:55 PM   #6
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i will be so sad when this is all over! this is prob my one of my most favourite fics of all time!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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Larry smiled and shook his head. "Don't worry kids, I'll only be a moment."
He gave them a wry smile. "Okay kids, continue on." He closed the door behind them.

I feel so bad for Bono. Except at least now he's with someone. But that also seems to be a problem. And so much for no sex scenes, you they just weren't PM-necessary...

*sigh* I feel like Alex is making a huge mistake...
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:22 PM   #8
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Oh god, will Bono and Faith just get together already?!?!?!?!!?

It better be a satisfying ending, in some way.

I liked the introduction of Christy... that was interesting...
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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Part of me wants her to stay with Larry...

Wait. No I don't.

I'm going to feel a little bad for Christy when Bono leaves her (pretty sure it's a when) Please, dear god, do not have her and Larry hook up, many love quadrangles already!
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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No, if Bono and Faith wind up together, I'm not going to pair off Larry and Christy. That'd be lame. No, they'll have to lick their wounds like everyone else does.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:54 PM   #11
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Oh good *is relieved*

How is that an if? I'm pretty sure Bono and Faith will end up together. No angsty ending, please, you.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:01 PM   #12
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Perhaps Bono falls in love with Christy....I think one of the passages on Chapter 22 is something about there is no drama with Christy....
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:06 PM   #13
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I cannot imagine this.

Can Faith just fall in love with Larry? *sigh* It would make me happy. I know she doesn't want to, but I'm at a bad emotional place right now, so I can make ridiculous suggestions
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:12 PM   #14
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I will say that the next chapter or 2 might be a tough read.

Yes, I'm pulling a Katie!

It will be all right, you've got the right shoes to get you through the night.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #15
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As in, making it angsty? Damn you. You know, if you go down that route, I'll say an interesting move would be Faith's evil problematic boyfriend (was his name Bradley?)

How apt. As I have foot problems and have to wear only my evil sneakers...

I think I'll probably be feeling much better tomorrow; spending time with my best's just so hard know, I really don't get how friends can seem so's making my life difficult
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:37 PM   #16
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I am still good friends with my best friend from grade school. I know, that transition is hard. But as I said, your online friends are always here. And because we are international, usually someone is on line at all times.

Yes, it gets angstier. But it's always darkest before dawn. And Bradley does come up.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:42 PM   #17
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Aww. And I'll still be able to phone people and stuff...I just wish this country wasn't so damn big. I guess if I get really lonely I can just hole myself up in my room and watch Red Rocks by myself

My inner angst-writer rejoices. Though I'm really just excited for when the angst ends.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:06 PM   #18
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The angst does end. Well, for most. Obviously someone walks away unhappy. But I have to get through the tough chapters first. And I didn't get to do anything tonight which sucks.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:10 PM   #19
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If it makes you feel better, I haven't been writing for...ehh...a while, and what I'm writing isn't fanfic, and it's hard.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:11 AM   #20
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I'm writing just now

...and have thought out like a dozen different endings for this story, and they all work. Grr. Whatever you're going to write next is probably a surprise...

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