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Old 02-17-2011, 12:26 AM   #1
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Please - Chapter 3

Still trying to get this story going. It's sort of like slogging through mud. As I mentioned, I was gong to try to assign a song to each chapter. There were chapters in MW where I had specifics songs going through my head as I wrote them but would forget to add it. This time, I don't always have a song in mind - but I will do my best. This is fake. Hope it is better than the first. Slowly gaining momentum.

Not true. Pure crap anyway you look at it.

This is the Day - The The

Well, you didn't wake up this morning because you didn't go to bed
You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red
The calendar on your wall is ticking the days off
You've been reading some old letters
You smile and think how much you've changed
All the money in the world couldn't buy back those days

You pull back your curtains
And the sun burns into your eyes
You watch a plane flying
Across a clear blue sky
This is the day
Your life will surely change
This is the day
When things fall into place

Strict Machine sat opposite U2 in Principal Management’s New York office. Lucy and Sam’s brother, a third year associate at a major law firm, sat beside them. Across the table, all four members of U2 and Paul McGuinness. The reality of what was to happen to this young band stunned them silent. Adam noted how young they all looked in the light of day. Edge couldn’t help but steal glances at Alex. She hid her eyes behind an ebony curtain of hair. Her pale skin looked luminous as the sun poured in through the tall windows. She fidgeted with the paper clip on her copy of the contract unable to sit still. Since meeting the band, she refused to believe this was happening until something was signed. Faith also remained stoic about the future. If Adam never called, she would hate to be handing in her resignation and telling all her friends. Behind the shiny cherry table, U2 seemed even larger. And Bono’s ego seemed larger. She felt him leering in her direction behind his red tinted sunglasses. Sure, the room was bright, but enough for shades? He was feeling a bit ashamed at the moment for thinking of her so specifically lately. She had carried him through some lonely nights. As the days between their meeting stretched on, he wondered if he remembered her correctly. When she turned around to meet his gaze when he walked in the room, he was delighted to find that night really didn’t do her justice. It muted the spray of freckles across her nose and cheeks which somehow made her eyes a clearer blue. She seemed older than the other three, but perhaps was just the way she carried herself. Her back was straight and she took in every detail about the 5 of them and the room. Bono saw Larry blush every time her eyes switched to him. He seemed too shy to even speak to her directly. She had no problem looking Bono in the eye. To him, it seemed like a dare, or a challenge. Maybe he was just hoping.

“As the contract outlines here, you will be the first act. That arrangement is subject to change,” Paul explained.

“Change?” Ryan’s brown eyes frowned.

“Yeah,” Faith piped in. “Can you terminate at any time?”

“We can in extreme circumstances of abuse, felony....things of that nature,” Paul flipped a few pages over. “That’s outlined on page 6. We are talking about the order of when you will perform.”

“If we suck, we play the parking lot,” Ryan cracked.

“It was more for if you do well. We reserve the right to switch you to second act support. That means more audience,” Bono said.

“Also, we have arranged with Island Records to remaster and rework some of your earlier releases,” Paul said. “They have agreed to give you a producer, Steve Lillywhite, to go over some songs with you. They will release a 12 track album ahead of the tour to give you some exposure.”

Faith’s mouth hung open in disbelief. She looked over at Alex who thought she might cry in happiness. “Can you repeat that?”

Edge smiled at her. “Your CDs are very good. You did them yourselves, right?”

“Alex and Sam produced them,” Faith said. “We used a friend’s studio.”

“We want you to go in with Steve and give them a polished sound,” Paul said.

“I wouldn’t call us ‘polished’,” Ryan said.

“We’re not asking to make you like a pop band. I can just hear some things in the background. Some clutter that doesn’t sound intended - like a police car,” Edge said.

Alex laughed and nearly scared the room. “I knew someone with a good ear would catch that.”

“So, I guess you are agreeable to that arrangement,” Paul peered over his glasses.

“Does this cover promotion and marketing as well?” Sam’s brother, Max, asked. He was trying very hard to be professional. His insides quaked as the band that graced his bedroom walls sat in front of him.

Paul nodded. “There will be some. They won’t putting their full backing like they will for Pop.”

Max looked over at Lucy. Faith rolled her eyes. Until the moment they met U2, Lucy had been a pretty decent manager. She helped them with gigs. She got them a better percentage of the door. She arranged for affordable merchandise to be sold at the shows. Since her eyes rested upon Bono, her brain turned to mush. Faith hoped she could pull herself together, or she was ready to leave Lucy home for the tour.

“Will I have input?” Alex’s voice seemed so small in the big room.

Edge saw her hazel eyes. “Yes of course. Steve is there to help you get the sound you want.”

Alex smiled and looked down at the table. Edge noticed that Sam moved closer to her. Perhaps he had missed a connection.

It took roughly two hours to go over every point of the contract. Alex was glad it was thorough. She didn’t realize it would take this long. Faith pulled Max aside for his opinion. Her heart told her it was more than fair and generous from a band as famous as they were.

“I think this is a very good thing,” Max said. “As long as you don’t kill a member of the band or sabotage the tour.....you’re fine.”

As the sun slipped behind the buildings, the contracts were signed. The office lights were turned on, yet Bono’s sunglasses did not come off.

He rubbed his hands together. “I think this calls for a celebration, eh? Dinner?”

Faith glanced at her watch. “I have to go to work.”

“Work?” Larry asked.

“I work at a cafe. Normally, I don’t work nights, but I’m filling in,” she said. He had a sweet face, gentle and strong.

“Love, you don’t have to work there anymore,” Bono smiled. “We should all get to know one another.”

“We’ll have over 2 months on the tour to get to know each other,” she said sweetly. “Right now, I have commitments to honor.”

Bono winced at the coolness in her voice. Part of him was impressed by her dedication. The other part that wanted to get close to her was stung and annoyed. Larry’s lips curled into a small private smile. Bono Vox getting shut down, he chuckled to himself. Once Bono turned on the charm, he got whatever he wanted. She wasn’t giving in so easily. Even if Larry could only admire from afar, he could enjoy the power struggle. Right now, he’d put his money on her. Faith caught Larry’s smirk and winked at him before slipping on her leather jacket.

“We can reschedule before we go back to Ireland,” Adam offered. He felt it only proper for the entire band to attend.

The other members of Strict Machine scrambled to their feet.

“Please don’t reschedule on my account,” Faith said. “You guys can still do dinner.”

“No, we should all go,” Alex reaffirmed.

Lucy’s shoulders slumped. Without Faith, perhaps Bono would pay a little attention to the plump manager. She could still feel the weight of his arm around her shoulders. Lucy saw the way he looked at Faith, the way most men did. She was the singer after all. For a moment the night she met him, Lucy thought she actually had a chance. Maybe good things happened to frumpy wall flowers.

Faith shook the hands of Adam, Edge and Paul. She paused when she reached Bono. Once more, he attempted to win her over flashing his most darling grin and outstretched his arms. Behind her, Lucy’s knees buckled. Faith leaned forward to offer a half hearted hug. As she took a step back, Bono shook his head. She was tough. Larry stepped forward to offer his hand. Faith moved in for more.

One arm wrapped around him as she whispered, “Thank you.”

His throat tightened. “Ehm, no problem.”

And she was gone on her way to work. Larry rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged to Bono.


They would never have that dinner with U2. The band were locked in the studio trying to finish up the epic Pop before the tour which was already planned. Within in a week, the band and the tapes were on a plane to Dublin to hopefully put the finishing touches on the album. Being back home made Bono feel especially restless. He itched for the tour when he could lose himself. Seeing Ali when she dropped off the girls for the afternoon stabbed him in the heart. She looked fresh and revived. A new glow lit up her eyes. He was afraid to ask. The only thing that pulled him through those moments were the challenge that Faith laid at his feet. He would turn her around.

Larry went home to Ann a jumble of emotions. He didn’t know whether to break free or hold her tighter. He did neither. Like the rest of the band, he buried himself in the music. When he saw Ann, they didn’t talk about the future. They held hands. They made love. Nothing changed or inspired him. She knew that he would never propose before a tour. It would be another year of her life on hold until he would return to Ireland. Perhaps then he would be ready to bid himself to her.

In New York, the word got out that Strict Machine had ‘sold out’ and sold their souls to the devil - U2 the evil mega-group. In one week, their credibility had been stripped from them. They banded together knowing that their future was bigger than the rumors. They worked long hours to not waste the opportunity handed to them.

Alex sat at the mixing board rubbing her eyes. “Something sounds off.”

Sam sighed. “I think you are being too much of a perfectionist.”

She glared at him. “Sounds like a bum bass line.”

Ryan looked over at Faith curled up on the leather couch. “They’re at it again.”

She opened one eye. “Do they need a time out yet?”

“It’s getting close,” Ryan watched the stand off.

“It might an equalizer thing. Let me fiddle with some levels,” Steve said.

Alex threw herself down on the couch beside Faith. “Why doesn’t he get that this is our big chance and I want it to be perfect. We get one chance at this. What if this is our only record?”

“What if it’s not?” Faith sat up. “You need to lighten up a bit. If you take this too seriously, you won’t have any fun. Remember, that’s why we started a band. It was fun to make music and get on that stage.”

“I just don’t want him to think ‘eh, it’s good enough’. We can’t think like that anymore,” Alex shrugged.

“Do you honestly think that any of us really thinks that? Because if you really believe that one of us is phoning it in, we need to address that now before we attempt to perform on stage in front of thousands of people,” Faith said very seriously.

She shook her head. “No, I know we’re all very focused. Maybe I’m hyper focused.”

“Excuse me,” Edge peeked around the corner. “Am I interrupting?”

“Um...no,” Faith scrambled to her feet. “Um, come in.”

“I didn’t mean to make you stop what you were doing. I was in the area and knew you were here,” Edge said.

Alex scurried back to the soundboard. “It’s going.....good.”

Faith crossed her arms in front of her chest and turned to Edge. “When we’ve recorded before, it’s been a little bit here and there. It was with friends and not in this kind of setting. It was more for fun and not for real.”

Alex nodded thoughtfully. “It’s very real.”

Edge smiled warmly. He pulled up a chair beside Alex. “The first real album can be scary. But you have the material. You are just fine tuning it.”

Alex tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’m being hard on myself and the band.”

He laughed softly. “Yeah, I can be that way too. I’m the real slave driver.”

She blushed. “You? You seem pretty zen.”

He nodded. “For the most part, I am. But when I get into a studio, a switch flips. Larry wants to be precise and efficient. Adam is pretty easy-going. He’s the real zen master. And Bono.....well, he’s Bono. Big energy, big ideas...”

“Bigger ego,” Faith muttered.

“That’s part true. He’s the one with the vision and he has to work very hard to get it realized. Sometimes that takes a certain amount of bravado,” Edge explained.

Secretly, Alex smiled. It was touching how Edge stood up for his friend. She didn’t dare tell Faith that she was more like Bono than she realized. “Every band needs a dreamer.”

“How true,” he smirked. “So, do you like the studio?”

“Oh my God yes,” Alex breathed. “This is so much nicer than our friend’s apartment. Well, they just turned a bedroom into a recording studio.”

“Where are they guys?” Edge glanced around.

“They went to get food with Steve. It was kind of a time-out,” Faith plopped back on the couch and closed her eyes.

“That’s normal. Several times either Bono and I or Bono and Larry nearly came to fisticuffs,” Edge looked at the board.

“It hasn’t gotten like that yet,” Alex said. “Not yet.”

“It blows up and settles. As long as the goal is the same. The vision doesn’t have to be exact. If Larry had his way, the album would drum driven. The Passengers album, Bono’s baby, Larry hates with every fiber of his being.”

Alex bit her lip. “Do you want to hear some of it?”

“If you want to share, yeah,” Edge slipped his jacket off his shoulders.

Faith rolled over to face the back of the couch while Alex played a few of the remastered songs for him. She played him a low haunting song called ‘Beautiful Feeling’ with just Alex’s guitar and Faith’s aching vocals. Bumps raised on his arms.

“Is that on the album?” he asked.

Alex shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s new actually. Faith and I wrote it last week. We hadn’t really introduced it to the guys yet. I kind of like it how it is - stark.”

“It’s very effective,” he cleared his throat.

“Thanks,” she smiled.

“Are you putting it on the album?” he asked.

Alex rubbed her chin. “I don’t know. It’s not exactly a single, you know?”

“Not every song that makes our records is a single, but still a very good song. Don’t choose songs based on that,” he said quietly. “Your band is very good. I’ve had your CD in my car and stereo since the night we met you.”

She flushed. “Really?”

“Your band was a really rare find. And we sat in our room and talked about bringing you on tour and what it would mean to take an obscure band and plop them onto a world stage,” Edge said.

Faith sat up. Her blond hair shot up all over her head. “What?”

Edge swiveled in his chair. “We wanted to make sure that you had to tools to be successful.”

“This album was your idea...” Faith said.

“Yes, well. It was my idea, but Bono’s doing. He convinced Island Records to get behind the idea,” he nodded.

“So, you liked what you heard?” Faith asked.

“I did. As I told Alex, I’ve been listening to your CDs since we met. Who does the writing?”

Faith pointed to Alex who pointed back to her. “We all write together, but most of the time Alex and I start the process. Alex produced the CDs with the help of a friend.”

Edge smiled at the raven haired girl who blushed fiercely behind her hair. “You have an amazing ear.”

“Could you listen to a few more tracks?” Faith asked.

Edge glanced at his watch. He had a little time before meeting Morleigh for dinner. “Sure...”

Edge reveled in the next hour listening to the finished and unfinished songs on Strict Machine’s debut album. He was filled with their energy. He watched Alex’s eyes dance with excitement as she watched him smile and nod with approval.

“Do you have any suggestions?” she leaned closer. She sat beside one of the guitarists that inspired her to pick up a guitar in the first place.

“Ehm...I’m not here to change your songs,” he said.

“We just want an honest opinion as someone who is in music and loves music,” Faith said.

He saw how important this was to them.

“Food is here!” Ryan called around the corner carrying bags filled with sandwiches.

“Took you long enough,” Faith said. “What if we were really hungry?”

Sam and Steve walked through the door.

“We stopped for a drink to take the stress level down,” Ryan nodded in Sam’s direction.

Faith grabbed the bag from him. “Success?”

“I think so,” his eyes widened. “Edge! Are we in trouble?”

Edge laughed. “I was in the area. I’m not checking up on anyone. I did hear some of the album. Great work.”

“You really like it?” Ryan’s chest puffed with pride.

“We were just asking his opinion if there is anything he’d change or tweak,” Faith pulled out a greasy cheesy steak sandwich. “Come to mama.”

“Hey,” Steve hugged Edge. “I thought you were working on your own album.”

Edge groaned. “Don’t remind me. I got the weekend off for good behavior.”

“You left Bono and Larry in a studio alone?” Steve teased.

“Adam is there to referee. I’ll be back in a day or two. They can’t do that much damage, right?” He winked. Steve let out a hearty laugh remembering some of the arguments during the first three albums between Larry and Bono. There was a black eye, broken microphone stand and cracked tooth.

“Did the girls give you a listen?” he asked.

Edge nodded. “Very good.”

“Will you come back tomorrow?” Alex asked.

Her eyes were pleading. Was it just his opinion, he wondered.

“Sure,” he nodded. He looked at his watch. “But I am late and going to be in trouble tonight.”

“Blame Bono - even if he is an ocean away,” Steve claimed his seat behind the board.

As Edge slipped on his jacket, he spied Sam walking over to Alex. He stood very close and his face was serious. Gently, he placed his had on her hip. The intimacy of the moment struck Edge. He had no idea that Sam and Alex were together. Her face softened a little as she looked up at him. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Edge watching. A blush raced across her cheeks as if she had been caught.

“Have a good night, and don’t work too hard,” Edge waved before he left.

Faith waved from the couch, mouth stuffed with her sandwich. “See you tomorrow!”

He caught Alex’s eye and grinned tightly. Alex’s hazel eyes followed him out the door and into the cold street. She cycled through his mind as he headed to his apartment. He was very late and Morleigh wasn’t going to be pleased. The young groups energy still coursed through him like a hot cup of coffee. The men of the group held on tightly to Faith and Alex as they were the engines of Strict Machine. He got the feeling that Ryan and Sam were well aware of that. Laughing to himself, he remembered how Larry and Bono reacted to Faith. They practically elbowed one another to get closer to her. They completely overlooked the intensity of Alex. Smart and quiet, the perfect balance to the charisma and brilliance of Faith. It was like he and Bono. He often said that he and Bono made up 1 amazing person together.

Edge was so wrapped in his own thoughts that he almost passed his building. He hoped Morleigh would be understanding. For the last 2 records, he had no one to answer to when he came home from the studio. In fact, he would hold Bono hostage for hours working on new ideas or fine tuning old ones. When Bono announced that Ali was leaving, Edge blamed himself for occupying Bono when they were in Dublin and Bono was supposed to be a family man.

Slowly he opened the door afraid what laid on the other side. He heard music from another room. He walked through his house peering around corners. Morleigh’s last visit to Dublin did not go well. Edges’ daughters were not very accepting of this new woman into their father’s life. She left wondering if love was strong enough to keep them together. New York was a half way point between LA and Dublin. Her visit was short notice. Edge begged to take the weekend off from the record. As the opus tour loomed before them, Larry was reluctant to let the creative force slink off for a weekend. Bono had stepped in as the patron saint of love, and promised to work overtime in Edge’s absence. He knew that Edge and Morleigh were coming to a crossroads. While love had disappeared from Bono’s life, he firmly believed in its power and wanted his best mate to be happy.

“Morleigh?” he called tentatively.

She emerged from the bedroom. Her smile relieved him.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” he took her in his arms. “I stopped by the studio to check on the band and ended up listening to some of the record.”

“It’s okay. I was running late too. One of the dancers pulled a muscle and that put us behind,” she kissed him fully. “Do you still want to go to dinner?”

He nuzzled her neck. “If you keep kissing me like that, I won’t need food.”

She laughed and pushed him away. “I DO need to eat. The kitchen is bare.”

He rolled his eyes in jest. “Okay, okay.”

She turned her back to him to reveal an unzipped dress. “Can you zip me?”

“You don’t make it easy,” he ran his fingertips across her back.

“How is the record coming? That the band you discovered right? All girl band?” she pulled her hair off her neck.

“Two girls. They sound amazing. Larry should be proud of himself for finding them. It’s like finding an oyster when you’re fishing trout,” he mused.

“That’s the strangest analogy I’ve ever heard,” she laughed.

“It’s just exciting to see them go through this. It reminds me of how it was for us. Granted, we didn’t have the Rolling Stones come to us with a record deal...but their enthusiasm and their anxiety....” It was clear that he was truly enjoying the process. “I told them I’d go help a bit tomorrow, if you don’t mind.”

She kissed his cheek. “No, I had some shopping to do. I’ll bet you’d rather be in a studio than a Sax Fifth Avenue.”

“This is very true. OKay, let’s go eat so I can have dessert,” he nipped her ear.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:56 AM   #2
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Ah, that new-story feel...I know it well. Hopefully it'll seem easier a few chapters in. I'm interested to see how this is going to go, and for more time with Strict Machine; so many characters at once, and I feel like we need to get to know them more...

They got a record deal with the contract! Aww. And with Steve Lillywhite too! He's the man for their kind of band, I'm sensing.

Definitely seeing the love quadrangle now more fully—and Larry and Bono seem like they definitely should not be in it...there is probably some angst later in this story...I'm kind of liking Edge and Larry more than Bono, in this chapter...

The recording was unexpected and kind of exciting I'm wondering what Strict Machine sounds like...so frustrating they aren't real
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:09 AM   #3
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Writing 2 strong and yet different women is not easy. I hoped I sort of explained them well when I likened them to Bono and Edge. Usually I focus on one superwoman (usually a figment of who I'd like to be). Alex is smart and reserved while Faith is sort of the healer and politician. She's the peacemaker and more comfortable at the helm.

Yeah Bono is not a terribly sympathetic character right now. He has a lot of anger and is looking for something or someone else to hang on to. Probably why Faith is not impressed.

The band will be a hodge podge of songs that a) I wish I could sing b) fits the scene for emotion. I'm basically claiming others music as theirs. I will post the original artist so you can find the song and get a feel for it. So their sound might be jumbled. But you do get a taste of my iPod.

Beautiful Feeling was done by PJ Harvey.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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Here is a link to the song - Amazon.com: Beautiful Feeling: PJ Harvey: MP3 Downloads
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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That's actually pretty cool that you're using songs that exist. It helps my burning desire to hear the music while I'm reading about it

Ooh, that song was pretty edgy. Oddly enough, it is darn close to what I was thinking the song would sound like.

....my iPod is waayyy too U2 biased to put random other songs in my writing...
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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I have 2600 songs on my iPod alone. In my basement, I have over 600 CDs. I used to be a DJ at my college so I LOVE music and have a pretty diverse collection. I probably listen to music 10 hours a day.

I feel like Baz Luhrman in Moulin Rouge when he used pop music for the musical.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:23 AM   #7
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I like it!

Sent from my iPod touch using U2 Fan
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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Thank you very much!
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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This is really interesting. I really like the fact that you have two strong female leads. I also love the name you gave the band.

Keep it up!
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:33 PM   #10
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I have 2600 songs on my iPod alone. In my basement, I have over 600 CDs. I used to be a DJ at my college so I LOVE music and have a pretty diverse collection. I probably listen to music 10 hours a day.

I feel like Baz Luhrman in Moulin Rouge when he used pop music for the musical.
Goodness! I have about 2000 songs but a lot I don't listen to anymore...I have maybe 30ish CDs and most of them are U2
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:35 PM   #11
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This is really interesting. I really like the fact that you have two strong female leads. I also love the name you gave the band.

Keep it up!
Thank you. I got the name from a Goldfrapp song.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:09 PM   #12
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This was good; I assume it'll be slow going to the good parts but I do like it so far...
These female characters are awesome. I really like Faith. (That's a great name BTW!)
And the end made me go "Awwwww!" I love Morleigh!
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:37 PM   #13
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Thank you. I got the name from a Goldfrapp song.
I knew the name sounded familiar!
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:35 PM   #14
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Loving your Edge here! How will Sam ever live up to him?
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:45 PM   #15
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See I said that I like Alex from chapter 1. Morliegh is very cool here as well.

I prefer The Edge to Bono and Larry. Just gotta wait until Adam makes a proper appearance in this story.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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This is great GR. I love your writing, so clear and strong, easy to follow and flowing. Respect.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by youvedonewhat View Post
This is great GR. I love your writing, so clear and strong, easy to follow and flowing. Respect.
Wow. Thank you so much. I take that as a big compliment coming from you. Seconds is more AU which I prefer to do now. Or straight up fan-fiction being fiction based on fictional characters.
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