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Old 04-02-2010, 05:54 PM   #1
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Stranger In A Strange Land: Chapter 23 (and an update!)

Hello all In case anyone was wondering how long this thing would go on for...I'm hoping to wrap it up in just a few more chapters. I have one more "event" to write about, but other than that, this thing is running out of steam!! I've been bombarded with new ideas...but all for what I guess you could call a "sequel" So, that's where this is going. I try to write all the ideas down and organize them into a rough plot outline, so maybe if I write them down, they will stop collecting in my head and I can concentrate on this story. Alas, no. So there will be only a few more chapters here, and then...well, you shall see

~The disclaimer has a headache. This chapter is just as fictional as the last 22~


They were discussing plane tickets, departure and arrival times in hushed tones. I gathered that much in my half-awake state. They thought I was asleep, and I wanted to keep it that way. The light was off, but I kept as still and silent as I could, taking care to regulate my breathing into a steady "sleeping" rhythm.

"I forgot about this completely, but it wasn't our job to remember. I think you messed up, Bon."

Edge sounded concerened, and exasperated with Bono, who was sitting on the edge of the bed and holding onto my hand.

"I somewhat forgot too. But I didn't want her to be worrying about it, y'know? She's had enough on her mind..."

I felt him brush my cheek with the back of his hand. I was glad the light was off, otherwise pretending to be asleep would have been much harder.

"Remeber how pissed she got on our way over here when you didn't tell her we were stopping in New York?"

"Adam, she was mad for like five minutes." Larry, ever the voice of reason, keeping it real. I tried hard not to chuckle. He was right. I had woken up in the middle of their conversation, so I was confused as to what the problem was. All I could gather so far was that it had to do with me, and a flight.

"But I didn't not tell her! I told her when Edge made the flight reservations before we left Dublin, and she said it didn't bother her. Besides, Paul will be with her, she won't be alone. And they're getting along so much better now."

He sounded like he was trying to convince himself of something. Now that the sleep fuzz had worn off, I remembered what it was. There hadn't been enough seats on the flight out of Dallas to St. Louis. Bono had told me that night, a night I would never forget, and I had said that I was not afraid to fly alone anymore. I had done it once, and since then, I had done it again. Now that I didn't feel like Paul hated my guts, I no longer considered it being alone. No, I wasn't afraid. Bono was worrying himself for nothing. All four of them remaining doubtful, I felt him crawl back into the bed next to me. People respond to movement when they're sleeping, don't they? I figured they did, and so I snuggled into his chest. I felt his arms around me, pulling me closer. I felt his heartbeat. And that's when it hit me.

I wasn't afraid of getting on a plane without him at all. I wasn't afraid for myself. I was afraid of him getting on a plane without me. I was afraid for him. It was a strange realization, but it made perfect sense to me that now my worries would be different. Suddenly, Bono stroking my hair gently and the warmth of his body was not comforting. It made me want to cry. The abstract fear of somehow losing him began to push its way uninvited into my thoughts. I swallowed the warm lump in my throat and nuzzled my head into Bono's neck, trying not to panic for no reason. I wanted him to have an at least somewhat restful night. Within ten minutes, his breathing had become deep and steady, and I knew he was asleep. I wanted the sound to comfort me as it usually did. I told myself to stop being absurd, that people's loved ones got on planes without them all the time and they didn't have meltdowns over it. It wasn't working. The fear had seized me, and I spent a mostly sleepless night.

I was still awake when light filled the room, and I attempted to busy myself until the others woke up. We hadn't all had to share a room since staying in Los Angeles. I amused myself with watching each of them sleep. Larry snored obnoxiously, but endearingly. Adam slept practically facedown in the pillow, so all you saw was a puff of golden curls. Edge's mouth was wide open, yet his breathing was silent. I giggled quietly to myself, but it was soon replaced by a feeling of sadness. I was standing in the middle of the room, watching my family. They were my family...my brothers, and damnit, I was starting to feel afraid for them too! I figured I should have been questioning my mental stability at that point...why did I have to freak out unnecessarily over things? I went back to sit on the bed. Bono was still asleep, tucked into the fetal position. My gaze lingered on the way his eyelashes seemed to curl when his eyes were shut, his freckles, and his lips, parted ever so slightly. Locks of hair were swept across his forehead. The lump grew in my throat again. I lowered my face to within an inch of his, lightly brushing my lips over his eyes, then his cheeks, and finally his lips, inhaling his warm, sweet scent. He didn't stir. I stared at him, remaining perfectly still, until he suddenly woke with a start. I covered my mouth to hold back laughter. He looked completely bewildered and stretched, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "What the....?" "I'm sorry baby. I gotta stop torturing you in your sleep!" He hugged me tightly. "Good morning lovely. You're up early." "Mmhmm." I was so tired, and I just wished I could have slept.

I sat looking at my hands, at the floor, at the walls...anything in the room other than Bono or the suitcase he was stuffing his clothes into. He looked over at me. "You heard last night, didn't you?" I nodded. He came to sit next to you. "Listen, Lilly, if you're scared..." I shook my head. "I told you then, Bono, I'm not scared of flying alone. And Paul will be with me, anyway. And I don't dread that prospect like I once did." He made a move to get up again. "As long as you're sure." I was silent for a moment, and then I blurted out, "I'm scared for you." He looked confused. "What?" I grabbed his shirt. "I don't want you to go! I'm scared, Bono...I couldn't sleep at all last night because I couldn't get all the horrible thoughts out of my mind, thoughts of...of losing you. I don't want you to leave me!!" It came out much more frantic and insane sounding than I had expected or certainly wanted it to. He looked blown away. "Baby girl, nothing's going to happen to me! You have to stop thinking like that...it's not good for you to worry so much all the time. You're just going to make yourself sick." I scowled. "I'm sorry I freaked out like that. But I just want to go home. I'm tired, and I'm homesick. It was so fun at first, but I'm sick of endless hotels, nameless towns, and living out of suitcases. I want to wake up in the morning and get my shirt out of a drawer. I want to go into the kitchen and make breakfast, and eat it at a table. I'm tired of having to share you with everyone. I want you to myself."

He chuckled and put his arm around me. "I want that too. And I'm homesick too, Lilly. But girl, you're going to give me grey hair, I swear..." What was that supposed to mean? Was he suggesting that I was too moody or high maitenence? "What, like you're not giving me grey hair? Aside from your often irresponsible and stupid behavior, you're carrying some serious emotional baggage." He looked like he couldn't decide if he was more angry, or more hurt. "So I suppose you were lying when you told me that you would take me the way I am," he said quietly.

There was a prolonged silence. Bono wouldn't look at me. My eyes burned, and a tear rolled down my cheek. "I didn't mean that." He sighed, and after a moment, pulled me into his arms. "I know you didn't. Shhh...shhh, I know you didn't. Don't cry. I think we haven't grown out of our teenage hormones and mood swings yet." I giggled and wiped my eyes. "Let me tell you something. You are all I have, really. You're the most important thing to me by far. If anything should happen to you...Bono, I don't even know how I would survive. This is where the fear is coming from. It might be insane, but I can't help it."

He held my face and made me look at him. "Hush. It means everything to know that you care about me like that. Now don't worry. I'll be fine, and when you get to St. Louis on Tuesday, you can squeeze the crap out of me and smother me with kisses." He smirked and kissed me teasingly. I grabbed him and kissed him harder, and then we were all tangled up. I didn't want to give him his tongue back.
**********************************************************************************

By the time we were at the airport the next morning, I was a mess. Bono had suggested saying goodbye at the hotel. After all, it was three in the morning when he was whispering sleepily to me in bed. Didn't I want to just give him a hug and kiss and go back to sleep? No, I didn't. All six of us sat in the terminal, Paul eyeing me nervously. My stomach was in knots, and I refused to let go of Bono for one moment. His presence was both comforting and upsetting. I was fighting off horrible thoughts...namely, what if this was the last time I would hold him? I knew it was ridiculous, and it was making me sick, but the thought kept creeping back as I clung to him, studying his every feature. He was just a little boy, I thought to myself. Surely nothing bad could ever happen to anyone so young and sweet and innocent? This was just a child sitting next to me. We were two children, deeply in love, but children nonetheless. I held him tighter.

"Lilly..." Bono squirmed. "I really have to pee." I couldn't help but giggle. Perhaps that had been his goal. He grinned. "Come on, it'll only take a second. I'm fast!" I followed him to the bathroom and waited outside, wringing the hem of my t shirt. The others were talking suddenly, where as they had been silent before. I figured they were talking about me. I was sure of it, actually. I knew that they felt bad, but they probably thought the way I was behaving was so strange. I thought it was strange myself...not that I was so worried about Bono, but that I was worried about this situation. Deep down, I knew he'd be fine. I would never let him get into a situation where I thought he was in any real, immediate danger. But since we met, I'd developed this over-emotional and nearly paranoid side. I guess it was because I had never had anyone to really care about before, and when you do, you learn how to worry about them. I wasn't at all worried about getting on the plane the next day. I was only worried about right now. Once Bono got on that plane, I wouldn't be able to protect him, regardless of whether or not he was in any actual danger. I felt the need to always protect him from everything, even though in reality, I was pretty sure he was the one who was looking after me.

Not five minutes after he Bono had come out of the bathroom, we heard the boarding announcement. "Flight Ten Sixteen to St. Louis now boarding." My stomach lurched, kind of like when you're a kid and the doctor calls your name, and you know you'll be getting a shot. I gripped Bono's hand, and he smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, Lilly. Everything will be fine." I went as far as I could go with them, only letting go of Bono to hug the other three. "I'll see you guys tomorrow...be safe. Don't let Bono drive!" Larry roared with laughter. "I'm serious! If you do and I find out, I'll smack you!!" Bono drove like a madman when I was in the car with him, and that was his idea of "driving more careful to protect me". I could only imagine what he did when I wasn't around. The other three walked through the gate, and Paul and I waved. "I, erm..." He looked nervously at me again. "I'll be over there," he pointed to some indiscriminate spot by the waiting area. He gave Bono a quick hug and ruffled his hair. "Have a safe flight."

We were alone. Well, not really alone, as all the other passengers were filing past us through the gate. But I didn't see them. I locked my arms around his waist. "My baby..." I sobbed into his neck. "Shhh, Lilly...no crying. I'll see you tomorrow night. We're going to have a great show. When I come offstage, you can maul me like you usually do!" He succeeded in making me laugh. "Excuse me, but we need to have all passengers boarded at this time." The flight attendant looked sympathetic, but impatient. I bit my lip fearfully. Bono hugged me tightly. "Oh, my love, there's nothing to worry about." I took note of how small he felt in my arms, this little boy in a denim jacket. "Listen, the first phone you see when you get off that plane, you call me. Okay?" He kissed me hard. "I promise. The very first one I see. I'll see you tomorrow night love." I waved to him as he walked through the gate, swallowing hard. "Miss..." I whirled around. The flight attendant. "Miss, I'll notify the St. Louis airport and ask them to call you if the flight is delayed and when it arrives, okay?" Impulsively, I hugged her. "Thank you so much." I gave her the number to the hotel, and went to find Paul, prepared for an awkward 24 hours.

He was ordering something at the little Dunkin Donuts booth. I looked down, not knowing what to say. He put his hand on my back. "Everything will be fine, Lilly. Don't you worry." I sighed. "He's just a little boy..." I repeated. Paul smiled. "I know. Nothing is going to happen to him. They'll land in St. Louis and he'll come bouncing off that plane, waiting to exasperate the entire city." I giggled. He handed me a cup of coffee. "Do you want to wait for the plane to take off?" I shook my head quickly. "Ok then, let's go. Gotta make sure everything is packed up."

He was silent the entire ten minute ride back to the hotel. He didn't speak again until after following me into my room and I had sat down on the little couch. "Lilly, I have to apologize to you." Huh? "For what?" He sat down next to me. "For everything. You know, the way I treated you at first. It was very bad judgement of my part." "I understand how you felt, though. Bono explained it to me. I couldn't have hard feelings against you knowing that you were only looking out for him. I was annoyed, sure. I thought you were being absolutely ridiculous, and I can be possesive of Bono. That didn't mix. But I understood." He looked thoughtful. "I still owe you an apology, because I was being ridiculous. It's very clear to me that you care about him, more than yourself even. I think of those boys as my little brothers, Lilly. And they're very naiive, Bono especially. He's very smart, but so naiive and trusting. You can see how I would be concerned for him." I nodded. "Of course I can. And you're right about him. His innocence is one of his most charming qualities, though. I'll always be willing to look after him...I hope that never changes about him." Paul nodded. "He's a good kid. He's lucky to have someone who loves every bit of him, even his...exasperating side." We both laughed. "Listen, I'll stay here with you until the airport calls, if you'd like." I smiled. "Thanks. I'd like that."

I was tired from being up so early, but I knew I wouldn't sleep. Time passed slowly. The flight was less than two hours long, but it seemed much longer. When the phone finally rang, I scrambled for it.
"Hello?"
"Hello, this is the St. Louis International Airport. I was asked to inform you of Delta Flight 1016's progress. The flight has been delayed about twenty minutes-"
"Why??"
The man on the other end chuckled.
"Nothing to worry about ma'am. Flights are often delayed a few minutes due to headwinds, traffic on the runway, or just incorrect estimation of flight duration. We'll call you when it lands."
"Ok...thanks..."
Paul had fallen asleep, but the ringing of the phone woke him up. "Huh...what's going on?" "The airport called, the flight was delayed twenty minutes..." I wrapped the phone cord around my finger. Ten minutes later, it rang again.
"Hello?!"
"Hi ma'am, St. Louis again. Just letting you know the flight has landed. The passengers should be disembarking shortly."
Relief flooded through me. Already I was beginning to feel silly.
"Thank you so much for calling, I appreciate it."
"My pleasure ma'am. You have a good day now."
"Thank you, you too."
I had never been called ma'am before, let alone so many times in a row. Sheesh.

Paul lifted his head. "They landed?" "Yup." He got up. "I have to get packing before I fall asleep. You're good now?" I felt even more ridiculous. "Yes, thanks for waiting here with me..." He gave me an awkward but sincere hug. "No problem Lilly. Take a nap. Sleep well."

I laid down on the bed and waited for the phone to ring again. When it did, I contemplated answering with something silly, but I decided against it. What if it was the front desk?
"Hello?"
"Hi baby. I'm here! Were you sleeping?"
I hugged the pillow at the sound of his sweet little voice.
"Of course not, I was waiting for you to call and let me know you were there, in one piece!"
I heard him laughing.
"Well then, I am, lovely. Go back to bed, you got up way too early. Sleep tight. I'll see you tomorrow evening."
I yawned.
"See ya tomorrow baby boylove."
He made a cooing sound on the other end.
"I'll call you later on. I love you."
"I love you too."
We never said bye before hanging up.

A heavy, sleepy feeling came over me at once. Now that there was nothing to worry about, I could sleep soundly. Still not worried about my own flight the next day, I lined up some pillows next to me and turned the light out. I smiled to myself, figuring that Bono would be doing the same thing when they got to the hotel.
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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this chapter was full of 's and 's nice one Val I love the way you write Bono, he's so sweet (:

......a.....a sequel!??! *squee*




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Old 04-02-2010, 06:20 PM   #3
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Awwww, thank you I like making him sweet like that...he seems very sweet to me anyway

Yes, a sequel...it's all I can do to not start writing the damn thing now!
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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Great chapter Val. They`re so cute together

Can`t wait for the sequel!!
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:00 PM   #5
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Thanks!

I'm trucking away on the next one
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:05 PM   #6
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WooHoo
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:59 PM   #7
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"I didn't want to give him his tongue back."....x 10000000000

great chapter! makes me feel like i'm sixteen again!

and, silly girl, you HAVE to make a squeal! where would this story be without one?
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:26 AM   #8
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YAY!! Look forward to more Awesome stuff, lovin' Boy era
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:22 PM   #9
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Thanks guys
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:45 AM   #10
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The disclaimer has a headache?

and as for the rest—so cuuute! and yay Paul!
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