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Old 09-29-2011, 09:06 PM   #1
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Stories For Boys (Chapter 1)

Title: Stories For Boys
: wo_speaking & allatonce10 (Love & Logic)
: PG
: Bono really did fail Gaelic and get sent back to Mount Temple. And here be a warning: This Might Get Loud.


Droplets of heavy rain fell on the grey, cracked sidewalks that trailed from the parking lot of Mount Temple to the entrance doors of the large school. Just another day. Another dull, slow paced routine of lessons, homework and tests, day after day after day…Nothing ever changed and yet nothing ever really stayed the same. Summer had come and gone and soon enough, the bright blue Dublin skies turned over, replaced with the normal orange, red and yellow colors of Autumn.

It was the beginning of my seventh year – I should have been done by now but that was another story. I’d spent two weeks at University College – until they found out I’d failed Gaelic on my Leaver’s Exam. I thought I was away about 10 days in, just starting to make my presence known and meeting some very delicious young college women – and then it all went horribly wrong. Before I knew it I was back at Mount Temple ... and back in Gaelic.

I hadnt’ told Da yet, but that was the final letdown - I planned to be out of school entirely soon and on to greater things with my band ... we were going to be stars someday – I just knew it. I strode into the building on the first day with thoughts of the last rolling about in my head ... but then again I was always looking forward – I’d never cared what
was, only what was to be.

Coding in the numbers to my locker, in a hazy tiredness from lack of sleep, a fresh scent of something foreign entered my senses like an intoxicating drug. Following the direction of the scent with my eyes, I was surprised to see that the aroma belonged to a very slender, dark haired girl a few lockers down. Judging by her composure and style of clothing – which was something rather odd and out of ordinary for an Irish girl – I knew that she was new and not from here.

And I found it extraordinarily amusing…

Grinning sheepishly to myself, I pretended to engross any thought back to the numbers of my locker, numbers of which had become fuzzy and askew. How could I concentrate when she was only feet away, stacking books in one arm, running her fingers through her hair with the other?

She paused and, momentarily, caught my gaze with eyes of jade. Neither one of us moved a bone, nor said a word. She slammed her locker shut and started down the narrow hall.

“Edge,” I whispered, nudging him in the ribs.


“Who was that?”

His tone was just as confused as his expression, “What are you talking about, mate? Who was who?”

“You didn’t…you…” Spitting my words, I chuckled sarcastically, crossing my arms at my chest and huffing. “You’re telling me that you didn’t see that beautiful girl who was practically standing right next to you?”

“Erm…was I supposed to?” He shrugged.

“Forget it,” I groaned, the locker door hitting me square in the face.

Edge chuckled, grabbing his music theory book.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

Shuddering, I mumbled, “Gaelic.”

Edge hissed, “Good luck with that one, mate!” and slapped me on the shoulder.

“Gee, thanks. See you at lunch.”

Edge and I went our separate ways. Grumbling along the way, I took my time to Mr. Kelly’s class, dreading the mere thought of Gaelic. What the hell was wrong with me? I’m Irish and can’t even speak our Native tongue!

A loud bell echoed throughout the empty halls and students scrimmaged to their designated classes whereas I stuck with my very, non-eager pace towards the last classroom on the right. The door was shut and through a small lattice in the doorframe, I spotted Mr. Kelly writing down some sloppy Gaelic words in yellow on the green chalkboard.

Waiting until his back was to the class, hoping to go unnoticed, I slipped in as quietly as I could manage. My mate, Adam, must have saw me through the window as he was gesturing with his hand to hurry up and sit next to him before the teacher noticed.

Tip-toeing across the room, almost making it into the seat, Mr. Kelly’s voice rang loudly, his front still to the board, “Mr. Hewson, I do not need to turn around to know that it is you. You’re late.”

“Er…yes, sir, I’m sorry. I was ju-”

“I don’t need your excuses.”

He turned around, rubbing his hands together, yellow chalk dust sifting through the air like sand in an windy desert. Mr. Kelly was a stout man, older, with far too many wrinkles and a neatly trimmed beard of salt and pepper. On the rare occasions where I actually either paid attention in class or talked to him outside of class, he was a nice block, very intelligent in his own way. I suppose.

“Mr. Hewson,” he said once again.

“Yes, Mr. Kelly?”

“Can you please read the first line on the board for me?”

“Sure thing.”

Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam

Fuck! I didn’t even know where to begin!

The many eyes of the student body were plastered on me, each stare providing numerous expressions: wait, curiosity, amusement. Some were snickering, others were annoyed. Can’t blame them. After all, this wouldn’t be my first time interrupting Mr. Kelly’s class. I’ve had a bad habit over the years of taking little interest in Gaelic. Which would, in retrospect, explain why I’m here once again at the age of seventeen.

“We’re waiting,” Mr. Kelly mused.

I looked to Adam, the corner of his lip upturned and his hand buried, lost within the mess of his blond fro which shook in tune with silent chuckles. Trying not to laugh myself, I answered cheekily.

“Paul Hewson cannot speak, read, or understand his native tongue.”

The class burst into a fit of hysterics, like they were mines in a bomb field just waiting for the ideal moment to combust. Even serious, professional Mr. Kelly fought back a smile.

“Sit down, Mr. Hewson.”

Practically breaking the chair in such a rush to sit, Adam kicked my calf playfully, hiding his dying laughter with his palm. Feeling sly, I felt confident on my response to being put in the spotlight. Confident, that is, until I saw who was sitting a seat away from Adam’s right side.

It was her. The mysteriously, exquisite scented girl I had discovered only minutes ago in the hallway. Figures she would choose the desk in the far corner, the fresh kids normally did. However, unlike most new students who liked to laugh along just to fit in, she shown no sign of glee, not even a tint. Instead, she sat, frozen, with her arms outstretched across the desk, the ends of the sleeves on her black zip-up sweater covering her fingers. She twisted the fabric, kneading it, eyes transfixed on the chalkboard before us.

“Can anyone here tell me what I have written on the board?” Mr. Kelly announced, searching about his now quiet classroom. When no one raised their hand, he shook his head, clearly disappointed. “Nobody? Well, I guess I will just have to choose someone.”

Taking a clipboard off his desk, Mr. Kelly’s lips tumbled, his finger dancing down the list of students. “How about…Miss O’Neill? Where is Audrey O’Neill?”

My mysterious girl slowly raised a shaking hand. Adam looked back at me, his eyebrows raised in the same significance that was surely described on my face.

“Ah, there you are.” Mr. Kelly smiled. “Are you new here?”

She nodded. “Yes, sir, I am ..”

“Well, I didn’t expect such a strong accent to come out of a small girl. Where are you from, Audrey?”

“I was born in the United States and grew up in New York City.”

AMERICAN! I knew it!

Whispers of excitement scurried like an army of mice, eclipsing Mr. Kelly’s classroom, and how could I blame them? Us Dubliners lead average lives. We were all European or Irish. Having an American in our school was like having a celebrity. And, whether she was aware or not, she would become a star. Already the boys were exchanging secret glances and the girls, well, you know how girls are when they’re jealous. As they should be. After all, they had some big shoes to fill now.

Mr. Kelly, clearly irritated with his student’s, hushed the chaos at once with an annoyed grunt before addressing Mysterious Girl again.

“Welcome to Mount Temple, Audrey. I know asking you this may seem farfetched, but can you tell us what it is that is written on the board?”

She answered so faintly that everyone had to lean in to hear her.

“Don’t be shy, Miss O’Neill,” Mr. Kelly pressed on encouragingly.

Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam,” She repeated more loudly, her back poised. “It means, ‘A country without a language, a country without a soul.’”

“Yes!” Mr. Kelly might as well jumped ten feet into the air. “Yes! ‘
Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam! A country without a language, a country without a soul! And judging by the looks of this class, poor Ireland has never known such a soul! Now open your textbooks to page ten and Mr. Clayton, would you please do the honors of reading the introduction out loud.”

Adam began to read and, though I wanted so badly to pay attention to what was happening around me, only a singular center piece was important. But even she was engrossed with the book, one leg crossed over the other and swinging absentmindedly to and fro, to and fro, hypnotizing me into a trance of my own random thoughts.

She was from New York? What was she doing here? No doubt this was the worst time for anyone to be migrating in or out of Ireland, with the Troubles, the bombings ... the bullshit ... And how the hell did she speak Gaelic so well? I couldn’t even say, “Do you speak Gaelic?” in Gaelic! And here is this…American, speaking it as if she had grown up here. If not for her accent, no one would have guessed!

What more could I say?

She had me hooked.

* * * * *

I wasn’t sure I would take to the new music teacher ... Mr. McKenzie was a brilliant teacher and we would all miss him; alas he had finally decided to retire last year and his replacement would have a daunting task ahead of them. I still credited him with making me understand that without the fundamentals I could never really make a go of it as a guitarist – The Hype was just a side project until I met him. He was old and staunch but she had a way of teaching scales, signatures and chords that resonated with me – he always told me he knew I had something special inside me and it was through his encouragement that both my brother,Dik, and I decided to keep with it.

Our father was an engineer and although he always envisioned us in a more traditionally scientific path, he was enamoured with our creativity and always encouraged us in whatever we chose to do. We’d moved to Malahide when I was just a wee lad, it was so much different than our homeland of Wales, and although my parents pushed me to embrace the Irish life, they never let me forget where I came from.

I walked into the classroom with my theory book under my arm, taking my place at the front of the room anxiously and waiting for our new teacher to arrive. Her name was Miss O’Neill, and rumour had it she was just a young lass, and Mount Temple was her first assignment.

She was an absolutely incredible specimen of a woman – her long red hair tied fancily above her head, soft curls falling about her face and her blue eyes studying each of us as she made her way to her desk.

“Hello everyone, I’m your new music teacher, and my name is Miss O’Neill,” she said in a gentle Irish lilt, shuffling on her feet as she spoke, confident yet intimidated by the legacy that she was forced to live up to with Mount Temple’s beloved music teacher her forced inheritance.

“I’m not going to tell you all that I’ve been doing this for years – in fact this is my first assignment and I’m very proud to be at a school like Mount Temple.”

I heard a few giggles about the room – I’d be very ashamed if everyone had decided to give her a rough time; I just wanted to give her a chance. She was young – much younger than Mr. McKenzie was. I suspected she was probably not too far from 20, and if this was her first assignment she must have been fresh out of college herself. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was like one of those beautiful women you only saw on the telly – her porcelain skin and long, flirting eyelashes beckoned me, her motions elegant and thorough as I watched her – I shouldn’t be thinking of her in that way but I couldn’t help it. Judging by the looks on the faces of a few of the other lads in my class, I wasn’t the only one to be sure.

She sat down at her desk and cleared her throat, beginning the roll call.

“David Evans?”


Her eyes searched the room for a face to the name, and when her gaze suddenly met mine I couldn’t help but grin a bit before staring back down at my desk. She was lovely ... and I knew right then that this would be my favourite class on the term, without a doubt.

She continued the roll call as I watched her intensively, my eyes not straying from her beautiful mouth as she spoke and read out the names of my classmates, the names rolling off her tongue in a sweet voice that made me imagine her whispering in my ear. I wondered right then what it would be like to kiss her – would her lips be as soft as they looked right now?

Stop it, Dave
, I told myself, repeatedly clicking my pen loudly enough to annoy Cathleen Murphy, who always insisted on sitting next to me in every class – but then again she was annoyed by most anything, wasn’t she.

I ran my hand through my mess of hair. What was I thinking? I couldn’t even get a girl like Cathleen Murphy to notice me ... not that I wanted her to ... but how did I ever think someone like Miss O’Neill would? I was just a skinny, studious 16-year-old boy – and she was way out of the realm of possibility. I hadn’t even really kissed a girl my own age let alone a woman like Miss O’Neill. And kissing Denise McIntyre on the lips for three seconds in Fifth Class didn’t count.

Aiden Kelliher broke my thoughts as he plunged his hand into the air the moment Brian Zimmerman answered “present” – he was always destined to be the last one on the list in every class.

“Which instruments can ye play then?” Aiden asked in his harsh brogue – he was always a bit thick but he was a fantastic triangle player in the school band.

“Well, I play piano, clarinet ... a bit of guitar ...”

A bit of guitar? I was officially in love.

“Girls don’t play guitar,” Aiden snuffed, “girls should sing.”

“Well ... Aiden ... I said I play a
bit – I didn’t say I was any good at it ...” Miss O’Neill countered, giggles rising from the desks around me. She was not just a goddess; she was human after all.

Class began with simple reviews of scales and proper tuning. I have to admit, it was a difficult task to concentrate on the lessons. Music theory was an important passion of mine. Now, however, with Miss O’Neill teaching, my theories were elsewhere. The notes were quickly replaced with the tone of her soft spoken voice, the music lines boring compared to the motion of her hips.

I had a feeling that music class was going to be much harder for me compared to the last few years…
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