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Old 11-13-2010, 04:32 AM   #1
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The Fourth of July - Chapter 8

Just to stop LoveandLogic's head from exploding...

*prepares self for more "gaah!" at the end* I'm sure I warned everyone at the start that this was a long story...

Disclaimer, if I need it: This is a work of fiction, nothing more.



-----
Chapter 8
-----

Absorbed in his work, Bono started at the sound of a knock on his study door. "I'll take the kids, shall I?" Ali called. Bono winced - he was supposed to be dropping them off to visit their uncle and aunt today.

"If you could, love," he replied sheepishly. He could almost hear his wife's smile. "Thank you!"

There was a chorus of goodbyes from his younger children and Ali as they headed out of the house. After they were gone, the fleeting thought crossed Bono's mind that it was a pretty poor way to farewell your loved ones, a shout through a door. What if that was the last time he spoke to them?

Bono shook his head, dismissing the morbid thought. He still had a lot of reading to do, and then he had to pick up Hollie's gift.

---

This time, Tasha put on her work clothes when she got up, deciding to try the professional angle. She just wished she had some sort of identification from the Independent, but she hadn't been given anything when she'd been showing up for her first day, and she doubted they'd give her anything if she asked. What was she going to do, interview a rock star minutes before his unexpected fiery death?

She had fun imagining that for a moment. "So Bono, how do you feel about your impending doom? Frustrated? Surprised by your mortality?" If she couldn't talk him out of getting on the plane soon, she might just ask him for a laugh.

---

Tasha waited at the spot where Bono's car pulled up, pretending to be absorbed in a bus timetable. She hovered while he finished his conversation with the Australian journalist, and beamed a smile at him when he noticed her.

"Bono, could I have a moment of your time, please? Natasha Coleman, Irish Independent. You're going to the summit in London?" She held a pen ready over her notepad, her expression professionally attentive.

Bono gave her a different sort of smile from the one he'd used when she'd just been a fan, but it was still warm.
"A moment's all I've got," he said. "Enough time for a quickie!" As before, the comment was accompanied by a wink.

So he wasn't above flirting with the press as well as fans, Tasha noted. "What do you expect the outcome of the summit will be, in terms of aid for Africa?"

"You say aid, I say justice..." and he proceeded to rephrase what he'd been telling the unfortunately awoken Australian, miraculously condensing his usual speech on the topic to something that fit in the time it took them to traverse the departures area. Natasha interjected a question or two where she could, trying to think of something slightly original, but she was sure Bono had fielded most of the possible questions on the topic already.

"Two more questions, if I could," Tasha said, and presented her notepad and pen to Bono with a sly look. "One...?"

Bono chuckled, and scribbled 'Natasha has all the questions', along with his signature scrawl. "What's the other one?"

Natasha steeled herself. "What would it take to convince you to take a different plane to London?"

"What?" Clearly he hadn't been asked this question very often. "Is there something wrong with this one?"

Tasha didn't dare hope that he was being serious. "There is, actually. It... I have reason to believe it will crash soon after take-off." She stopped herself, almost biting her tongue. Don't come on too strong, she told herself. But she had so little time... Her belly was a knot of nervous tension. She begged him with her eyes to believe her.

He met her eyes for so long that hope flared, but then was dashed again. "Flying is safer than driving, you know," he said. "They have scrupulous maintenance schedules now, they check everything fifty times before they take off. I'm sure this plane is perfectly safe. Don't worry, love," and he patted her arm as he turned away.

"Wait! Please Bono, I know something will go wrong... please believe me!"

Once again, the goons were approaching. Natasha eyed the taller one, scowling. "I know you," she said. "Keep your hands off my tits this time!" He paused, startled, and she ran after Bono. Footsteps pounded behind her.

"Bono! I know it sounds crazy, but I've seen this happen before! Every time, the plane crashes and burns and – Hey!"

The goons were restraining her, and Bono was ignoring her. "Dammit! At least give my pen back!"

---

It was the most morbid sort of curiosity that prompted Natasha to watch Bono's flight taking off, once the goons released her. She watched the plane climb gracefully into the sky, and wondered what Bono was thinking. Had he dismissed her warning? Would he be taken by surprise despite it?

---

On the plane, Bono was staring blindly out the window, trying to forget what the reporter had told him. If she even had been a reporter... it seemed more likely that she was a bit crazy and had just been looking for an excuse to talk to him, and deliver her well-meaning but impossible warning.

The woman beside Bono gasped as a rending shudder jolted the plane, the noise of the engines changing to a tortured scream, before one fell frighteningly silent. Smoke billowed from the starboard wing, and Bono was frozen in place.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the co-pilot began over the speakers, but then cut short as the plane's nose dropped, and the altitude they'd gained was lost again.

Not crazy. Not impossible. Bono was petrified, paralysed by disbelief and a distant sort of horror.

"Assume the brace position!" the flight attendant shouted, as the plane juddered and plunged. One or two people tried to comply, but it was nearly impossible to stay in one position. Gravity had turned backwards, even as it pulled them down.

No, this was wrong. It couldn't be real. The woman beside him grabbed his arm, and he grabbed her back, shouting into her uncomprehending face. "This can't be happening! It's not possible!!"

---

Natasha's horror was not so distant, and coming closer to the earth with every screaming second, trailing smoke and flames. Her heart in her mouth, hands covering it as if to prevent her heart from escaping, she watched helplessly as the small shape that the jet had become plummeted back towards the ground. Inevitably, impossibly, it finally hit, exploding into a ball of flame that seemed much too large.

The sirens had started almost before the impact, and soon a line of emergency vehicles was streaming towards the crash site. Other people stood around, aghast. Several had their mobile phones out, either having videoed the crash, or were frantically calling their friends. One person had even called 999.

Tasha suddenly felt sick. She'd just watched twenty-five people die, and unlike everyone else who'd witnessed it, she'd known what was going to happen. And it would happen again and again. Somehow it made her feel like it was her fault.

Next time, she'd make sure she was somewhere else.


*****

On her sixth attempt to talk Bono out of flying on that plane, Natasha was starting to get an idea of what sort of things were likely to make him want to stop and talk, and what would make him hurry away. On this occasion, she had revealed herself as a journalist, but only made a token effort to interview him. Tasha had managed to get him talking about philosophy instead, which was leading in an interesting direction.

"I've been thinking about this a lot, lately," she was saying. "If you could see the future, would you try to change it?"

"You're assuming the future will be something you'd want to change," Bono said.

"Just humour me," Tasha replied. "Say this plane you're about to get on was going to crash, and you knew about it. What would you do?"

Bono scratched at his stubble. "How would I know about it? If it was just a dream, I probably wouldn't pay any attention and get on anyway. You had to pick that as an example?" he chuckled.

"What if someone came up to you and told you that they were stuck in some sort of time loop, and they'd been living this day over and over again, and every day the same things happened, and one of them was that plane crashing. What if they were trying to convince you not to get on that plane, Bono?" Tasha's voice had thickened, and she blinked away tears, irritated. She hadn't meant to get emotional about it.

The singer was frowning at her, trying to work out if she was serious or not. If she was crazy or not. "I don't think I would believe her," he said gently.

The tears pressed harder against Tasha's eyes, and she turned away, blinking and sniffing and cursing at herself. "God dammit," she muttered, finally mastering her emotions. "I'm not giving up, you know. I'm going to keep coming back and talking to you until I work out the right thing to say to make you listen."

Bono was looking a trifle uncomfortable, and looked at his watch. "I need to get going. It's been an interesting chat…"

"Wait. I'm going to come with you. If you don't mind a loony on your plane, of course?"

Bono laughed uncertainly. "You'd have to be mad to want to get on a plane you think will crash," he said. But he hadn't told his goons to take her away yet, either.

"I would like to continue our conversation, hypothetical or otherwise," Tasha said. The idea had come to her in that moment, and she went with the impulse. What did she have to lose? If by some quirk of fate she ended up being permanently dead after crashing with the plane, at least she would be dead and this would stop. If not, perhaps she could get more information about what had gone wrong.

"I won't stop you, if you're sure you want to," Bono said, still smiling uncertainly.

"Where do I get a ticket? And if I'm wrong, I can cover your press conference in London for the paper, right?" She winked at him, her mood suddenly, surprisingly buoyant. Bono's company was enjoyable, she thought. She probably wouldn't have bothered if he'd been a bore.

Natasha happily burned a hole in her credit card buying a ticket on a chartered flight at the last second, safe in the knowledge that she would never have to pay it off. They shuffled through security, and Tasha thanked her lucky stars that she'd thought to bring her passport with her. She'd been putting it reflexively in her bag ever since she'd flown to London to watch Bob Geldof.

Finally, they were on the plane, and Tasha had breezily displaced a disgruntled-looking older woman who happened to have been assigned the seat next to Bono.

"Do you even have to think about these speeches and press conferences any more?" she asked the rock star as the other passengers boarded and sat down. "You must have said more or less the same thing so many times now."

"I can't start thinking like that," Bono said, fastening his seat belt. "Every opportunity is fresh, every audience, every leader. If I let myself get bored or monotonous, people won't listen, and the message will get lost. And before you say it, yes, some people probably think I am being monotonous, by not letting this go. I can't let it go, Natasha, it's something I believe in. The people of Africa deserve more than a token effort or apathy. They deserve justice."

Natasha was nodding. "I have to say, your dedication is admirable. I got fed up with having the same conversations with everyone after a week."

Bono gave her an odd smile, he had obviously decided to ignore her eccentricity. "So, how long have you been working at the Independent?"

"This is my first day."

The frontman's eyebrows rose. "And they sent you out on assignment on your first day?"

"No," Tasha laughed. "I sent myself out. I'm skiving off work, trying to save your life, putting my job in jeopardy, and look at the thanks I get…"

"Here, have a peanut," Bono offered, holding out the little bag of complimentary nuts.

"Your life is worth more than a peanut, Bono," Natasha said gravely, meeting his eyes through his red-tinted glasses. Then she snorted and dissolved into giggles.

The safety briefing started as the jet started to roll towards the runway, and Tasha sobered. She wondered if she really was going mad – she was certainly acting like it. All these people, including Bono and herself, were about to die, and she was making jokes and giggling over peanuts?

But they weren't really going to die. It was all going to repeat again, and Natasha was just along for the ride. This was no different to staring down a speeding freight train, except she had much better company.

"Give us your nuts, then," she said, grabbing a handful. She smiled wickedly around them and crunched.

Bono chuckled. "Shame there's no melons around here so I can return the favour," he mused.

"I dunno, this is a pretty swish plane. There might be all sorts of exotic things on board. You don't have long to find them, though." Tasha licked the salt from her fingers, and craned around Bono to look at the runway speeding past. There was a barely perceptible upwards tug as they left the ground, felt more in the stomach than anywhere else.

"If you're so sure this plane will crash, why are you here?" Bono asked in a low voice, rubbing one ear as the cabin pressure decreased. "You're not very convincing as a prophet of doom if you doom yourself as well."

"It's something to do," Natasha shrugged. Bono stared at her, then shook his head, dismissing it.

"Look," Tasha said, suddenly determined to get through to him before they went down. "What would you do in my position? You've tried everything you can think of to stop this stupid rock star from killing himself in a plane crash, but he never believes you. You've seen the crash on the news, you've seen it in real life, you've seen it dozens of times. Maybe hundreds. You've long since lost count of how many times you've lived this day and heard the news and seen it all happen. What else is there to do but go along and see it from another angle? I've got nothing to lose. I could do it all again tomorrow. I tried to kill myself half a dozen times and that didn't work, why should this?"

A rending shudder jolted the plane, the noise of the engines changing to a tortured scream, before one fell frighteningly silent. Smoke billowed from the starboard wing.

"Woah," Tasha said. "On cue!" She tried to peer out a window on the other side of the plane, to see the damaged engine. The windows were filled with other people's heads, though, and the plane filled with startled noises and gasps and loud, pointless questions.

Beside her, Bono was as still and pale as a marble statue. He turned and stared at Natasha again, and she couldn't tell if he was more afraid of her or the unfolding disaster.

"It can't… they can still land with one engine," he said, panic creeping into his voice.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the co-pilot began over the speakers, but then cut short as the plane's nose dropped, and the altitude they'd gained was lost again.

Tasha shook her head, gripping the arm-rests as that upwards feeling she had felt in her stomach reversed itself. There were screams in the cabin now, people panicking openly, clutching each other or the chairs, tightening their seat belts, staring about with wide, disbelieving eyes. People were so sure they were immortal, that accidents couldn't happen to them...

Natasha, who was feeling more immortal every time she woke up on the fourth of July, just watched Bono's reaction. She realised she was witnessing one of the most personal and private moments of a person's life – their last. As a journalist, she was fascinated; the whole world would wonder about this moment after the crash. As a human being, she almost felt embarrassed. Voyeuristic.

He was still staring at her. They were the two calmest people on the plane. "Do you want to know why I got on this plane?" she shouted over the din.

"Assume the brace position!" the flight attendant cried, as the plane juddered and plunged. One or two people tried to comply, but it was nearly impossible to stay in one position. Gravity had turned backwards, even as it pulled them down.

Natasha and Bono were thrown together by the plane's catastrophic shaking, and hung on almost by reflex.

"Why?" he shouted back.

"So I could say 'I told you so', just once!"

Natasha laughed, and everything exploded.


*****



((Stay tuned for the next episode, in which Natasha's efforts escalate, but Bono stubbornly continues to die. How far will she go to save his life?? ))
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:48 AM   #2
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Whowowowowowow, best chapter EVER! It's just so amazing how you can change the same happenings over and over again... Your writingstyle is so great! I'm speechless, I love this story and...and...and...
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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That was great!
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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That "I told you so" still makes me giggle...
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:04 AM   #5
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Aaahhh, yes! Here it comes! LoveandLogic's infamous reaction! However, I'm going to shake things up a bit (no pun intended.)

1) Just to stop LoveandLogic's head from exploding...
LMFAO! And thank you.

2) "Give us your nuts, then," she said, grabbing a handful. She smiled wickedly around them and crunched.

Bono chuckled. "Shame there's no melons around here so I can return the favour," he mused.


Conversation of my imaginary life

Aaaand

3) It has to be done:



This story honestly has me going off the fucking wall and sucked in! I'm loving all of this! The writing style, the events, the conversations, the frustration! Very, very awesome story and I can't wait to get to the end! Bravo!
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:18 PM   #6
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I would be totally on Bono's side , thinking Natasha is a nutter
I love how insane the balance between realistic and unrealistic is.

More !
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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cannot take any more of this!!



Joking - well, partially >_>

excellent writing as usual! I can haz moar?
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:52 PM   #8
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Just got caught up. Riveting storyline you got going here, Alisaura.
Hurry up with the nx chapter. I think. but still
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:30 PM   #9
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cannot take any more of this!!



Joking - well, partially >_>

excellent writing as usual! I can haz moar?

Oh, you know you're thinking it. LOL!
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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^shush


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Old 11-15-2010, 08:55 PM   #11
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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Oh god, I have to admit I laughed out loud at the "I told you so" part. That's awesome.

off to the next chap! Hope Bono tells her how to convince him.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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