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Old 02-20-2011, 01:31 AM   #1
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Please - Chapter 4

So my plan to post a song that corresponds to the chapter is not very easy. For this section, I got nothing. So, all I have are these fictional characters and words.

“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Alex swirled her straw in her ginger ale.

“I know it sucks, but I don’t think Lucy can be responsible for the entire band’s management,” Faith drew her knees up to her chest.

They sat in the dive bar they considered their local. The album was almost complete. The masters were sent to Island Records and Paul McGuinness for review. A photoshoot was arranged for promo kits. Suddenly, the young band felt life hurtling towards the impending tour. Faith started to wonder about their backbone.

“She has helped us in the past,” Alex knew Faith was right.

“Yes she has, but you saw her completely go blank when we met U2. We need someone to be there with a head on their shoulders. We don’t need our manager ogling at Bono for 2 months,” she dipped a few fries in ketchup.

Alex nodded. “I know. That was a little embarrassing.”

“Look, I’m not saying to leave her in the dust. But I don’t feel comfortable having her handle financials, tour is either going to break us or make us. I just want someone that will help us,” Faith ordered another vanilla coke. “What about Max?”

“Sam’s brother?” Alex frowned.

“I don’t think he’s happy being a lawyer,” she said.

“I’m not sure about family managing us,” Alex bit her lip. She could see that getting ugly.

“He’s sort of qualified and he did really help us with the contract. He has a head for business,” Faith shrugged.

“I don’t know.....I could see us getting screwed. Greed can be evil.” She liked Max, but the idea of Sam and Max having a united front or secrets bothered her.

“Things are okay with you and Sam, right?” Faith asked.

“Yeah,” Alex wasn’t very convincing. “I mean, the recording process has taken its toll.” She saw the ‘I told you so’ look on Faith’s face.

“Are you going to be okay being together for 2 months on a tour?” Faith was getting nervous. She had a feeling when Sam and Alex started getting close that it had the potential of going sour.

Alex waved away her concerns. “It’s fine. If the worst happens which I don’t see coming anytime soon, we both said that the band some first.”

That didn’t settle Faith’s nerves. “Well, in light of that, I agree that Max is not the best choice.”

“Should we do it ourselves? You’re pretty smart and have a good head for the business,” Alex offered.

“No. Sure, I can multi-task, but not that well,” Faith looked out the window as a light snow fell on the streets. She couldn’t wait to leave New York for awhile. The city was cold and dark. Spring seemed so far away. “I was talking with Edge about this, and he suggested a woman named Sheila. I guess she used to be part of their management team and left to manage PJ Harvey.”

“You talked to Edge about this?” The heat slowly crept up her neck to her cheeks.

“When he was listening to the album. I’m sorry that I brought it to him. I just asked how they ended up with Paul. I sort of the knew the story, but what did they do before they had him to help,” Faith peered closer into Alex’s face. “Wait, this isn’t because I talked him about it him?”

Alex looked down at her plate. “No.....that’s silly.”

“Alexandra Swain, do you have a crush?” she smiled.

“Faith,” Alex rolled her eyes. “I do not. Imagine you get to sit in a studio with someone you admired for years.”

“I get to tour with mine, but he turned out to be an ass,” Faith flung a fry at her. “Edge is a good looking man.”

Alex’s cheeks only reddened more. “Let’s get back on topic.”

“Sorry. So, Edge suggested this Sheila to help us,” Faith said.

“And what would we do with Lucy?” While she knew Lucy didn’t have the chops, she wanted to honor the dedication Lucy had given them.

“Road manager?” Faith asked. “Okay, how about tour manager. Let’s be honest, our tour with U2 is pretty much planned out. Whatever she can do for us will be gravy. And if I’m right, she will be happy to be on tour with Bono that she won’t care what her title is. I mean, she came by the studio, what, three times?”

Alex nodded slowly. “True. Was she included as part of contract? I don’t want to ask her to come if they weren’t counting on another mouth to feed, you know?”

“She was considered, or a ‘manager type’ was considered. I guess Sheila is still working with PJ Harvey, so we will be added to her roster.”

“Do you think the guys will go for it?” Alex asked.

“I know Ryan will. He was annoyed with Lucy at the meeting. He, like us,” she motioned between her and Alex, “is focused on taking this gift and really not screwing it up. Sam is more.....”

“Loyal to a fault?” Alex offered.

“Yeah,” Faith nodded. “You will be the one to convince him.”

Alex scratched her head. “Since it is for the good of the band and we aren’t just forcing her out, it won’t be that hard.”

And it wasn’t hard to convince Ryan and Sam that going with someone that had their best interest in heart was the right choice. At first, Lucy was upset. She cried and ran to the bathroom when they sat down to talk about a changing role. Lucy knew they should have had a contract. All her friends told her she would be left in the dust. Faith followed her into the bathroom to talk with her. They wanted Lucy to concentrate on the tour and getting marketing out there. They would need merchandise and Lucy had a marketing degree. They needed someone to keep a schedule of appearances and press engagements. They need a liason between them and U2. As soon as Lucy heard that she would be spending over 2 months on a tour in close proximity to Bono, her tears dried and her smile returned. Faith and Lucy left the bathroom with their arms around each other laughing. Alex shook her head in disbelief. Faith was the rainmaker.

February 12, 1997 in New York. U2 whizzed through the chilly streets in limos to their massive press conference at a K-Mart. Reporters from newspapers, magazines, radio stations assembled in the lingerie department waiting for U2 to talk about their upcoming tour.

“This is stupid,” Larry muttered as he witnessed the media circus surrounding the discount store.

Bono frowned. “We are trying to get people excited about the new tour.”

“We should be finishing the record,” Larry grumbled.

“It’s just a few days, Lawrence,” Bono sighed. “I know I needed to get out of Ireland for a bit.”

Larry clamped his mouth shut. He knew Bono was going through a very hard time with Ali being gone. He and Ann tried to keep him occupied. It was painfully obvious that they were just taking pity on him.

“A few days out of the studio will help too,” Adam nodded.

The limo stopped in front of the large crowd. While Larry hated all this pomp and circumstance, Bono was finally feeling alive. As he was ushered through the throng of people and fans, he shook hands and kissed cheeks. He winked at pretty girls and made them flushed. At least girls swooning over him lifted his spirits a little.

At the back of the room behind the reporters stood the members of Strict Machine as guests of U2. Their album was to be released at the end of the month after long hours and few scraps. Sheila and Paul joined them for introductions as U2 took the stage to play Holy Joe. Alex’s eyes darted from the stage to the conversation with Sheila. She felt distracted by the guitar echoing in her head. Sam slung his arm around her shoulders. It felt heavier every day.

At the end of their song, they stood on the stage for pictures. Bono smiled into the flashes his eyes staring over the heads of the photographers. His eyes found Faith in deep conversation with Sheila and Paul. He knew he’d see her. She still looked like no one else he knew. Over the past few weeks, she had faded into the background of his mind behind the album and his past. Seeing her face animated as talked and laughed filled him some warmth. Was it lust? Excitement? Whatever it was, something dormant stirred inside. He stared her down until she finally turned to look at the stage. He nodded and smiled directly at her. She looked right through him.

“Why don’t we go to the restaurant and talk,” Sheila suggested. “They’ll join us later.”

Alex had wanted to watch the press conference. She looked at everyone but Edge at on that stage. She found herself fighting off a raging crush on him lately.

“Come on,” Sam grabbed her hand to follow the others.

As Edge seated himself beside Larry, he caught the sight of Alex’s hair whisk through the crowd and out of view. As he searched for her, he saw Morleigh wave off to the side. He nodded back, slightly ashamed.

Larry sat back with eyes glazed over as he let Edge and Bono try to explain the concept of Pop and PopMart. He thought this press conference was too early since the album was still not finished. Yet, he did understand the need to sell tickets to this monster money drainer. After ZooTV, fans were rabid for another U2 show. Paul was eager to give it to them. He guessed it was not his fault that it was taking awhile for the album to sound like they wanted. Larry wondered if it would ever.

“Do you have your opening acts lined up yet? You used an eclectic mix on the last your. Can we expect the same of the this tour?”

“Well yeah,” Bono spoke into the microphone. “To start in North America, we have Rage Against the Machine, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Oasis. We just discovered a local band
for here, Strict Machine that will be touring through North America with us and their debut album drops at end of this month?” He turned to Edge who nodded. He flashed his impish grin. “They are quite good.”

Then the questions turned a bit ugly.

“So, how as the last year affected your songwriting? Was it like Achtung Baby where Edge’s divorce was a main thread? Is Pop about the troubles in your marriage, Bono?”

Bono grit his teeth. Figure it was a fucking British journalist. He must remember to find out who the asshole worked for so they would never grant them access again. His three friends on stage leaned forward ready to strike on his behalf.

“The album is titled Pop which is a bit whimsical. Divorce is not. I write from the heart, so yes, maybe a bit of what my heart feels is on this record. And that is all I will really say about that,” he fixed a glare at the journalist.

Paul could see things going off track which he was worried about. Looking at his watch, he was surprised it took this long for the question of Bono’s personal life to creep up.

“That slagger,” Larry grumbled in the back of the limo.

Bono stared out the window. “It was too much to hope that it wouldn’t come up.”

“Do you even think they got it? The whole irony of Pop?” Larry asked.

“Time will tell. I figured Zoo would have prepared them better. Maybe everyone wants us to return to bleeding hearts,” Bono’s good mood had soured. That one question opened the window for more. He tried to be funny. He tried to be flip and redirect back to the tour. Meanwhile inside he felt off track. He didn’t feel like a rock god about to take the wheel of one of the largest tours the world had seen. Suddenly he was the man that followed his wife around the house begging for his love. Yes, the second most painful moment of his life was recorded for all to see. Every time he heard ‘Please’ it reminded him of the last fight he and Ali had before she closed the door to his heart. How he begged for to not give up on them. How she dismissed him kneeling on the floor of their bedroom by saying, “Please, get off your knees.” And every night, he would get to relive that moment in front of thousands.

“Are you still up for dinner?” Adam asked. “We could reschedule with the band.”

“The band?” Bono peeled his eyes away from the streets. “Oh yeah.” He remembered dinner with Strict Machine. That meant Faith. He needed a different approach with her. That took his mind off the press conference and the bitter fights at the demise of his marriage.

“Did you want reschedule?” Larry hoped not. Even though he had no right to, he had really looked forward to dinner with them. It was one of the things that got him through the joke of a press conference.

“No, I’m fine. Nothing a pint and a shot can’t cure,” he smiled weakly.

The limos pulled in around the back of the restaurant where a dinner waited in a private room along with the members of Strict Machine. They huddled around a table with Sheila, their new manager. Alex’s heart sunk as Edge entered the room holding Morleigh’s hand. She knew he had a very serious girlfriend and that she was a dancer. She had seen photos in magazines. However, she wasn’t prepared for how pretty Morleigh was. She inched closer to Sam.

“Sheila,” Bono called. “Are you taking care of our friends?”

Sheila stood to give her old boss a hug. “I hope so. They have an amazing future ahead, I think.”

“Edge said he heard some of the songs and they were amazing.” Bono refused to look at Faith. Perhaps reverse psychology would work on her. Maybe if he was aloof, she would be intrigued. “Do we get a listen?”

“I guess you could come to the studio, if you want,” Sam offered.

“I can wait till it’s done,” he chose a seat at the other end of the large table.

“We have a photo shoot this week for promo kits and the album,” Faith said. “And I guess we need to consider stage clothes.”

“I can help with that a little. I know a stylist that can make suggestions,” Sheila said.

“Stage outfits?” Sam pulled a face. “Like uniforms?”

“Yes Sam, I had a vision of a new age KISS complete with make-up and platforms,” Faith deadpanned.

Larry snickered. She sent him a smile that made him dizzy. Against his strong moral fiber, he chose the seat across from her.

“Don’t worry, we won’t make you look like Sgt. Pepper. Just a little more stylish that a band that stumbled in from a club,” Sheila said.

“New clothes? I’m all for it,” Ryan said.

“How did the press conference go?” Sheila asked.

Paul frowned. “It had its moments.”

“It started to get personal,” Adam sighed and nodded in Bono’s direction.

“I’m sorry,” she sighed. “Are we taking action against the journalist?”

“We know the paper they were with. It was not a big paper, but they have lost all access,” Paul stated.

Larry leaned forward. “Someone asked about Bono’s divorce. They were instructed to stay on the tour and music and not get personal. When one did, it opened the floodgates.”

Faith looked over at Bono for the first time that night. It was the first glimmer of humility she saw in him since they met. He offered a weak smile and a shrug. Her blue eyes softened. She offered him a small smile that warmed him. Perhaps this was the doorway in. Wounded soul. Come on, he thought. Don’t you want to put me back together, love?

“Your phones might start ringing,” Edge said. “He made mention of you joining the tour. I’m sure people are trying to find out who you are.”

Alex and Faith looked at one another and started to laugh uncontrollably.

“Are we missing a joke?” Bono asked.

“I’m sorry,” Faith wiped tears from the corners of her eyes. “This is all so absurd. Alex and I sat down on New Years Eve and wrote a list of things we wanted for the band this year and this wasn’t even close to being on the list.”

“What was?” Larry smiled.

“I think Alex wanted a new guitar. We wanted to get on a CMJ cd,” Faith said.

“East Coast tour,” Alex chimed in. “And have potential for a West Coast tour at least booked.”

“I was hoping to pay off my student loans,” Ryan said.

“What did you go to school for?” Adam asked.

“I was a med student. I quit in the middle of my third year,” Ryan remembered how angry his parents were. Their dreams flushed away.

“Why did you quit to play drums?” Larry asked.

“I hated blood. It really made me squeamish. I was told I’d get used to it, but the smell, the feel.....I had to really concentrate on not passing out,” Ryan shuddered. “You don’t want that in a doctor.”

“Did you all go to university?” Edge stared at Alex. He wondered what she’d study. He envisioned her an English or Art student. He pictured a flat that smelled of paint with excellent lighting.

“I graduated with a degree in accounting,” Alex said. “I hate numbers.”

Sam shook his head. “I never went. We couldn’t afford it and I knew I wanted to be a musician. I saw no point in getting degree.”

“What about you, Faith?” Bono called from the far side of the table.

She chuckled and rubbed the back of her neck. “Well, the question isn’t what did I major’s what didn’t I claim as a major. I did English. I did theatre. I did communications and considered psychology.” She looked at Larry. “That was my fall back if I didn’t conquer the world of entertainment. Mostly, I wanted to be a writer.”

“You have an amazing voice. Didn’t you always want to sing?” Larry gushed.

For the first time, Alex saw Faith blush.

“I never thought my voice was good enough. I knew it was okay, maybe better than average. In college, I figured my my singing and songwriting would be a hobby. Not a career.” She shrugged.

“Don’t let her fool you. She is an incredible songwriter,” Ryan nudged her. “Both her and Alex.”

Edge nodded. “From what I heard a few weeks ago, they are.”

It was Alex’s turn to blush.

Dinner was pleasant as the two bands got acquainted. Sheila sat back and watched her new children. It was scary how similar Faith and Bono were. She knew neither of them would ever see it. Bono was never able to recapture that moment with Faith again during the night. It was shorter than a moment. Her eyes softened briefly. But it was pity. Whatever, he resigned. He didn’t need her. She wasn’t the only woman in the world. He was about to tour the world. Yet, something about her grabbed him. Her smile lit up those around the table. When she talked with someone, she looked at them directly and made them feel like the most important person in the room.

Bono walked outside for some air and found Alex leaning against the wall smoking a cigarette. “Do you have another?”

“Sure,” she offered her pack to him. “I’m quitting on the tour.”

“Oh really? You think that’s the perfect stress free environment for that?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, maybe I’m fooling myself,” she conceded.

“I’m always quitting. I was close,” he took a drag. “And then my wife left. That’ll fuck up a New Years resolution.”

“Sorry about that. I remember seeing it on Entertainment Tonight,” she shifted her feet.

“Yeah, I pretty much fucked up any sense of privacy for myself years ago,” Bono lamented. “A lesson to pass to you.”

She laughed. “I don’t think we’ll ever be as big as you.”

“You never know. Your music is good. You have the right front person. Talent, drive, beauty,” he said.

Alex smiled to herself. It was pretty obvious he was interested in Faith. Maybe not to everyone, but Alex knew the effect she had. But on someone like Bono? That was impressive.

“What’s her story anyway?” he asked.

“She kind of told it,” Alex knew what he was looking for.

“I meant personally. It’s clear that you and Sam are together. Are her and Ryan....” his voice trailed off.

Alex burst out laughing. “Oh no. It would never ever happen.” Bono looked confused. “Ryan is gay.”

He looked surprised. “Wow. I didn’t get vibe.”

“Well, he’s not a queen. But I guarantee you, he was very excited to be on tour with Larry Mullen Jr.” Alex said.

Bono smiled thinking about that. “So, is Faith seeing anyone?”

“Like a boyfriend? Not that I know. I know she’s dated some guys. But I’ll bet she will end anything before the tour if she’s seeing anyone,” Alex finished her cigarette and crushed it under her Doc Marten boot.

Bono rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t seem to be impressing her much.”

Alex shrugged. Now this was getting weird. “Are you trying to?”

“Maybe....” he felt very stupid for starting this conversation.

“I do know that she did have U2 posters in her room when she was in high school, like 10 years ago. And she thought you were sexy in Rattle and Hum. Not sure if it helps you today,” she shoved her hands in her pocket.

“You know, it’s getting cold,” he tossed his cigarette. “Let’s get back inside.”

Faith held court at the bar with Larry seated right next to her. Bono wondered if this spelled the end of Larry and Ann. On all the tours in all the years he had known Larry, Bono had never seen Larry so taken with someone. Perhaps, it was not meant to be. It was natural to fancy someone new. But Bono was sure that feeling would fade. However, tonight he would dream of Faith when he slipped in between his cold hotel sheets.

At 1am, the two bands filed out of the restaurant. They would not see one another until April when tour rehearsals started in Las Vegas.

Up next: The tour begins.......

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Old 02-20-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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Wow! Are they all going to find love in this new band? That would be... odd. I kinda sense something between Edge and Alex, and it's pretty obviously that Larry and Bono are interested in Faith. But I say NOOOOOO! It shoudln't happen!
I kinda like that you have a gay character... makes things seem more- normal.
Oh God, that thing about Please was sad.
"she thought you were sexy in Rattle And Hum." Come on, who didn't?

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Old 02-20-2011, 07:09 PM   #3
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Hey, Faith needs some love. Right now, she is only mildly interested in one. The main story eventually becomes the Faith/Larry/Bono storyline. I added the Alex/Edge layer to keep the Edge fans interested.

I was watching PopMart last night while writing and it came to me about Please. I have no idea what it is about really, but it kind of fit the story considering where Bono is in his life.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #4
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Agreed with Blue, everyone thought he was sexy in Rattle & Hum

I'm excited for the tour! So much awkward potential-relationship tension with so many band members...goodness...
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:04 PM   #5
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Thanks. It's hard writing so many characters! And a major event happens later in the tour, so it's getting to that point.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:06 PM   #6
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I have no idea how you're managing with this story, all the characters in it (they're a little hard to keep track of at first, reading, but I'll probably get used to it with more of the story) and Mysterious Ways! That's a lot to handle at once...
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:41 PM   #7
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Yeah, I am not sure I'm doing it well....but it makes it more interesting. Besides, I can resist Pop Bono.
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:33 AM   #8
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I know you wrote this story a while back, but I just recently discovered it. I wondered if you might be able to pm me with the extra chapters?

Sent from my SM-T217S using U2 Interference mobile app

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