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Old 05-15-2006, 12:05 AM   #1
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Out Of Control - Chapter 21

**The following is a work of fiction. No offense intended to anyone, it’s all meant in good fun. Strong language, semi-adult themes

Chapter Twenty-one

“You look like the cat that ate the canary.” Natalie told Bono, laughing softly at the way he grinned back at her.

“I feel like I’ve gotten away with something, here.” He told her, his blue eyes twinkling with mischief. “Some great escape or something like that. Like a spy movie.”

“Yeah, I’m a regular Bond girl.” She replied dryly, rolling her eyes.

“You’re better than a Bond girl.” He told her. “They’re only pretty at first glance. They’re fake; deceiving. Everything is about the packaging. There’s nothing inside. You get more beautiful the more I look at you.” She smiled gently to herself, her heart doing a little dance of joy in her chest. He always seemed to know exactly the right thing to say. She didn’t want to say anything more and risk spoiling the moment.

“So what do you have planned?” He asked, covering her hand with his own and lacing his thick fingers in between hers.

“I’ve reserved a car, so from the airport we’ll drive the rest of the way to Galway.”

“That’s going to be an impressive feat, what with the ocean between here and there.” Bono quipped, one eyebrow raised slightly.

“Smart ass.” Natalie said, rolling her eyes. “Galway, New York. That’s where my parents live. It’s north of Albany, in Saratoga county.”

“I thought you said you grew up in Albany?”

“I did. They moved to Galway about eight years ago. It’s a small town, a nice quiet place for them to retire. I don’t mind the extra drive, so much.” She explained.

“And have you told them you were going to bring someone along for the holiday?”

“I thought I’d just tell them you were their Christmas present. You know, some people give a new puppy or kitten. I brought home a cute little Irishman.” She teased, and he let out a bark of laughter. She rested her head against the seat and looked into his startlingly blue eyes, her heart aching to find somewhere safe and warm and hide him away from the world. She didn’t want to share him.

It would be the worst kind of crime, she knew. Bono was one of a kind, and the world needed him.

“I told them I invited a friend from work to come along. That’s all they know, right now.” She told him softly. He nodded and looked out the window at the snow covered fields below them. It was a unique and beautiful scene, to be sure. He felt blessed to be there, right then. With her.

“My little sister is probably already there. She just lives in Schenectady which isn’t a long drive at all, and she spends a lot of time at their house. She’s single and has a regular stable nine to five job, no kids, and no pets. I think she gets lonely at home.”

“Where does she live?” He asked with a smirk.

“You heard me.”

“I just want to hear you say it again.” He smiled.

“Schenectady.” She replied, unable to say it without laughing now.

“Schenectady.” He repeated, his tongue seeming thick and getting caught up on the word. Natalie giggled and bit her lip to repress her amusement.

“You may want to avoid saying it altogether.” She teased.

“It’s Angie, right? Your little sister.”

“Right.” Natalie agreed. “And my older brother and his family will be there sometime tonight as well. They’re coming up from Connecticut.”

“That’s Ray.” Bono asked.

“Right. Ray Jr. My father’s Ray Sr.” She explained again. “And his wife’s name is Connie. Their kids are Scott, Andy and Bethany.”

“The holy terrors.” Bono added, using the name for them which Natalie herself used most often when retelling stories of her time with them. She laughed again and reminded him not to call them that in front of the others.

“Alright. I think I’m ready for the big test.” He told her as the Captain announced their final approach of the airport.

“Good.” She told him, squeezing his hand and leaning back with her eyes closed. “Because I sure as hell am not.”

*********************************************************************

Bono let out a low whistle as Natalie steered the rented car up the long, paved driveway toward the sprawling house. It was an impressive building, two stories of solid red brick stretching out a long ways on either side of the massive oak front door. The roof and windows had been decorated with natural pine boughs and big, red velvet ribbons. A candle shone in each of the nearly countless front facing windows. There was a giant picture window on the eastern wing, and in front of it sat a massive Christmas tree, sparkling with big, bright lights and silver and gold ornaments.

Wood smoke drifted out of the chimney in a steady light gray cloud, it’s scent mingling with the cold, damp night air. It was the sort of scene Bono had only seen on Christmas cards. He smiled at Natalie as she, too, looked up at the imposing building. She was clearly nervous, and he hoped that it wasn’t solely because of his presence. He had wanted to be with her, but not to make her unhappy in any way.

“I haven’t brought anyone home to meet my family before.” She admitted, and his heart skipped a beat. If he had doubted the depth of her commitment to him because of her reluctance to tell anyone, his doubts were quelled immediately. He kissed her gently rather than try and tell her with words that he understood what a big deal this was, for both of them.

Natalie climbed out of the car and moved around to the back to retrieve their luggage, and Bono moved quickly to scoop up as many of the bags as he could. She rolled her eyes at him but didn’t argue. The door swung open and the heat and noise rushed out to slap them in the face. Natalie’s glasses fogged over so that she had to take them off in order to see.

The door had hardly closed behind them when the others appeared in the hall to great them. Bono sat the bags down next to his feet and watched as a woman who could only be Nat’s mother, approached and greeted Natalie with a kiss on each cheek. Close behind her was a large man with salt-and-pepper gray hair and a neat white beard.

He called her ‘darling’ and lifted her off her feet when he hugged her. Behind him was a younger man who was the spitting image of the first man, only two inches taller with no beard and mousy brown hair like Natalie’s. Ray and Ray Jr., Bono quickly concluded.

“And who is this?” Natalie’s mother asked, her honey brown eyes shimmering like gold in the festive lighting.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Mom, Dad, Ray, this is Bono. Bono, this is my mother Joy, and my father Ray and brother Ray jr.” She introduced them breathlessly. They each shook his hand and greeted him with a polite ‘nice to meet you’, but they seemed to be holding their breath. They were waiting for some indication of just who he was to Natalie. Before she could offer any, a slender woman slipped past them all to offer him her hand. Bono shook it and offered her a smile, wondering for a moment if this was Angie or Connie.

“Natalie, you’ve outdone yourself.” The woman purred, her eyelids lowered seductively as she held Bono’s hand and would not let go. “All I got you was a sweater, and you’ve brought me a younger man.” She said, and Bono could not honestly tell if she were joking.

“Bono, this is my sister Angie.” Natalie sighed. “Angie, this is Bono.” She added, moving to stand beside him. “My boyfriend.” She informed them, and Bono could not help but grin. The family hid their shock quickly behind fake smiles and invited them into the living room for a drink. Angie already had a glass of porter in her hand, and Bono doubted it was her first. He wrapped his arm around Natalie protectively as they followed the others.

**************************************************************

Bono and Natalie found a seat at the far end of a large sectional sofa from which they could see all of the goings-on in the room from a safe distance. They gratefully accepted the wine her father offered them, the tension in the room making them feel the need to drink.

Not far from them on the sofa was another woman, so thin she had deep hollows for cheeks and beneath her eyes. The make up she wore to try and mask her fatigue only managed to make it worse, somehow. Her blonde hair had been tied back in a neat braid at one point, but now a dozen tendrils had pulled loose and were going in every direction imaginable. She was calling out to one or all of the three children running amok, but none of them ever seemed to hear her at all.

“Andy, don’t snoop under the tree!” She ordered. “Scott, don’t tease your sister!”

“Bono, this is my sister in law, Connie.” Natalie introduced them when the woman had a moment to breathe. She smiled politely and nodded at him, but caught something out of the corner of her eye and was chasing the toddler as she hurried away, leaving a trail of clothes behind her as she shed them.

“She’s going through a phase.” Ray Jr. explained, settling down beside Bono.

“I’ve a friend who never grew out of that phase.” Bono joked, making Natalie snort with laughter, wine dribbling out her nose. The image of Adam running around her parents pretentious country house, shedding clothes along the way popping into her head and refusing to be erased. The crooked smile on Bono’s face told her he was thinking the same thing.

Part of her wished she had been able to bring the whole band along, just to see what would happen when her worlds collided. Though if it had been reality it would have horrified her, the daydream was rather amusing.

Ray drew Bono into a discussion of the United States from a foreign perspective, and Natalie knew they would be busy for a long time. Once Bono started talking, it was difficult to stop him. She watched as Ray’s sons shook each of the gifts they found beneath the tree, whether it was intended for one of them or not.

“You boys stop that, now! There’s still time for Santa to come and take those back!” Natalie’s mother scolded from the archway between the living and dining rooms. The boys reluctantly backed away from the tree and set upon the task of devouring every candy in the Whitman’s sampler box on the coffee table instead.

“Natalie, can I get your help in the kitchen?” her mother asked, and it took Nat a moment to realize she was speaking to her. She had never been known for her abilities in the kitchen. In fact, it had been an old family joke that Natalie could burn water. Her mother and sister had always handled all of the family meals, and in more recent years, Connie had added her own flair. Natalie wasn’t even allowed to arrange the vegetable tray. Her tired mind finally recognizing the request, if not totally believing it, she excused herself from the conversation and joined her mother.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, the swinging door still clicking against the door frame behind her.

“I told you she wouldn’t believe you wanted her help.” Angie said, rolling her eyes at their mothers transparent ploy to get Natalie alone.

“We just wanted your company.” Her mother replied pleasantly, choosing to ignore Angie completely. “Let the men have their conversations about stocks and bonds or politics or football or whatever else men talk about.” Natalie shook her head, still finding it hard to believe her mother had such antiquated ideas about men and women.

“She wants to know how old your boy toy is.” Angie sighed, refilling her glass.

“He’s not – it’s not like that. What does it matter how old he is, anyway?” Natalie replied, crossing her arms over her chest and pursing her lips together.

“Natalie, be realistic. What could a boy that age want from a woman who’s a decade older than him?” Her mother scolded. “You can’t seriously think he’s in love with you.”

“I say good for you, Nat. Get ‘em young and take advantage of their sex drive while they still have it.” Angie said, smirking at their mother’s gasp of shock.

“Why do you guys have to do this?” Natalie demanded, feeling her throat tighten and the backs of her eyes begin to burn. She would not cry in front of them. Tears were a sign of weakness. Her family was like a pack of wild dogs, they would pounce and go for the kill at the first sign of weakness.

“Do what, dear? We’re only looking out for you. You know you have such a bad history with the men you choose.” Her mother said, and Natalie felt every muscle in her body tense in a defensive reflex. How could she have forgotten just how easily her mother pushed her buttons?

“I’m not going to justify that comment with a response.” She told her mother coolly. “And I don’t need to defend my relationship either. You’ve been hounding me for years to share my personal life with you. Well, here it is. I’m with Bono. If you don’t approve then I guess that’s just your own damn loss.” At this, she turned on her heel and left the kitchen without so much as a backward glance. She could practically feel the shock her mother and sister were experiencing.

She was actually smiling to herself when she got back to the living room to find Bono no longer talking with Ray Jr. but talking, instead to his sons. Scott sat on Bono’s left and Andy on the right. Scott, at age nine was less than a foot shorter than Bono. Her father and brother were both big men, so the children’s size had never seemed unnatural to her, but the comparison between Bono and her nephew was comical.

“I made it up! Let me tell him it!” Andy, the younger of the two shouted, reaching across Bono to slap at his brother. Bono did his best to keep the boys from coming to blows, laughing all the while.

“Did not! I taught it to you!” Scott argued.

“No you didn’t! All you came up with was the name! I wrote the rest!”

“Hold on, hold on!” Bono laughed, holding his hands up to keep the boys separated. “Is there anyway both of you can tell it? Take turns or something?”

“I’ll go first!” Andy called, and Scott started to argue, but Bono shushed them and told Andy to say the first line of whatever it was they wanted to recite for him.

“Farty Marty threw himself a party…” He started, reciting the line proudly, carefully enunciating each word. Natalie stood in the doorway watching, hiding a smile behind her hand.

“…And all the farts were there.” Scott continued.

“At the farty party in Marty’s underwear!” The boys both recited this line together, their voices rising with each word so as to be heard over the other. Bono tossed his back and laughed out loud, making the boys beam with pride.

“Have you told your grandfather that one?” Natalie asked from the doorway. From the smile on her face, the boys could tell she was almost as amused as the newcomer by their poem.

“Mom told us not too because it was in bad taste.” Scott replied, making a face to let her know how he felt about that.

“He won’t think so.” Natalie told them. “Just make sure your mom isn’t nearby when you tell him.” She advised them with a wink. “As for me, I’m going to bed. I have reason to believe the sooner we’re all sleeping, the sooner a certain ‘jolly old soul’ will be here with the rest of the presents.”

“Santa!” Andy cheered, bouncing up and down on the sofa eagerly.

“He isn’t real!” Scott said, rolling his eyes at his baby brother.

“Is so!” Andy argued passionately. His face turned red and twisted up as if he’d been sucking on a lemon or was perhaps, about to cry.

“Well, I for one, don’t want to take the risk that he isn’t real and end up missing out on presents because I didn’t go to bed.” Bono told them with a wink as he rose to follow Natalie.

“Goodnight Aunt Natalie! Goodnight Uncle Bono!” Andy called after them as they gathered their bags from the hallway. Natalie looked at Bono in surprise and he laughed and shrugged. Apparently the boys had come to his own conclusions about Bono, and what more, he approved.

“He isn’t our uncle!” Scott told his brother.

“Why not?” They heard Andy asking as they proceeded up the stairs. Their voices faded behind them, but as soon as they reached the room Natalie and Bono were to share, she felt Bono’s arm snake around her waist and draw her back up against him.

“I think I like being uncle Bono.” He told her softly, kissing her earlobe.

“It’s only been a few hours.” Natalie laughed. “You’ll be glad you aren’t a part of the family by the time we leave.”

“I doubt it. As long as you are a part of it, I’ll want to be as well.” He murmured against her throat as he kissed her there. Natalie merely sighed and let her eyes drift shut. She had lost the will to argue. There were far better things for them to do.
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:35 AM   #2
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Christmas in Galway...NY! I actually live near there!
Love this story, it makes my day!
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:52 AM   #3
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.. *sigh*... here in holland we don't celebrate christmas like that... but you make it sound so real
I feel like it's december already!
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:38 PM   #4
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:41 PM   #5
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It's true... Here in Holland it's all so... so.. I dunno... Not really with true 'festive' and jolly happy feelings...

Those stories of American Christmas celebratings make me wish it were December again!!

The story continues, and I still love it...!!
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
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this story makes me wish it were winter again, and I usually dislike winter because of all the slush

great chapter SG
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:10 PM   #7
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Great chapter
"Uncle Bono"



oh and I you sig

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Old 05-16-2006, 04:43 AM   #8
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“Farty Marty threw himself a party
And all the farts were there.
At the farty party in Marty’s underwear!” --- SG, how come I haven't realized yet you are a brilliant poet as well ..... ?!?


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Old 05-16-2006, 05:10 PM   #9
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SG
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:53 PM   #10
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Great chapter as always!

I loved the part about Farty Marty - that had me in stitches!!
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:07 AM   #11
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I cannot take full credit for Farty Marty - I owe the inspiration for that little ditty to my nephews and their rather unfortunately named neighbor... you guessed it, Marty.
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:55 AM   #12
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Give my congratulations to your nephews --- the next generation of authors in the SG family..... ! And to the neighbor for the inspiration !
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sad_Girl
I cannot take full credit for Farty Marty - I owe the inspiration for that little ditty to my nephews and their rather unfortunately named neighbor... you guessed it, Marty.
I pity the poor man!!!
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:13 PM   #14
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"Bono was one of a kind, and the world needed him." Foreshadowing! Nice!

Nice description of a typical big, noisy, imperfect American family Christmas too.

And the boys' Farty Marty rhyme! And Bono going along with it!
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Old 05-20-2006, 07:12 AM   #15
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SG Awesome as always
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