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-   -   Mysterious Ways - Chapter 22 (http://www.u2interference.com/forums/f231/mysterious-ways-chapter-22-a-209448.html)

GraceRyan 01-30-2011 01:11 AM

Mysterious Ways - Chapter 22
I think it is chapter 22. Well technically should be 23 since I doubled up on one. Anyhow, this took longer than I wanted it to. And I have to admit that I know what happens next, but need to think about how to get there. This chapter feels uneven. You can tell i was tying to get it out at some parts.

It's all fiction - these characters are just dreams.

A few days and may pints later, Bono and Edge were back in New York City. Bono noted that the air was colder than when he left a week ago. The stores skipped over Thanksgiving and were in full Christmas mode. He couldn't catch on to the spirit. Carols and Christmas music pumped out every retail speaker. He cringed as he heard not one, but all three Christmas songs he was guilty of, during one trip to his local market. He thought that when the boys begged him for a Christmas tree the first week of November, maybe the bug would bite him. His mind was heavy with other things. The Theater Guild came to rehearsals and watched the stunts with a critical eye. It would look like they would be delayed again. Previews would happen after Bono and Edge left for Australia. Bono didn't like that. He wanted to be in the audience to feel the crowd's reaction. He knew there were a few rough patches in the show that rehearsing might not iron out. It would mean more writing and rewriting. They thought that perhaps they could open in December, but it was looking more like January - hopefully. Gloria urged him not to worry. While times were trying and buzz appeared negative - all the press created interest in the show. Those words would have made him feel better if they had not come over the buzz on a phone from across the country. She was vague on her return and that bothered Bono. Larry's confession pressed on his chest everyday since the words burned into Bono's ears. While on the phone with Gloria, he nearly blurted out the whole sordid tale. He knew that wouldn't make anything better. Maybe he just wanted to hear that she loved only him forever and ever. Instead, he swallowed those bitter words and pressed his eyes closed. He held the phone close and concentrated on her voice to soothe him. He searched for any hint of her return. There was none. He hoped that he would have some time with her before they joined the rest of the band and Larry.

Bono rubbed his eyes after another long day of watching his music spring to life before him. It was exciting and strange to watch someone else sing his words with passion. An empty house awaited him. Perhaps he would go to the pub for dinner. On the nights that he was left to his own devices, he went to Andrew's bar. There he could get hearty Irish fare, usually talk with Andrew and hope that Gloria would walk through the door.

"Were you thinking about going to that benefit show?" Edge asked him as they gathered their things.

Bono pulled a face. "Bunch of local celebrities singing bad karaoke for charity? I'm not sure I'm up for that."

"Isn't it to provide malaria nets to Africa, one of your charities?" Edge asked with one eyebrow.

Bono nodded a bit. "Well, yeah."

"And Andrew organized it, right?" he slipped his coat on.

"I see your point. I was going to the pub anyway to see Andrew. Guess I should at least make an appearance," he tied his scarf around his neck. "You're going, right?"

Edge nodded. "I'm going home to clean up, but I'll be by to get you on the way out."

Bono nodded sullenly. Now, he wanted to crawl under the warm covers of his bed and sleep. But, the charity event needed his support.

The club was dark and reminded Bono of the places they played in their early years. A young girl with saucers for eyes led them upstairs the VIP balcony. Bono recognized some of the charity staff and went over to thank them for their dedication and hard work. He didn't see Andrew, but saw a few associates from the firm milling about in the VIP area and on the floor. Luckily, they had just missed the local opening band. Some actors for SNL didn't have many nice things to say about them. A crew worked on setting the stage for Sweet Charity - the hodge podge band of musicians. From the first level, Andrew called up to Bono and Edge over the din of conversation and a Velvet Underground song. He motioned that he would be with them shortly.

"Let's move over here," Edge motioned to a table at the edge of the balcony. "We can get drinks and watch the show in comfort."

Bono noticed that Edge seemed excited to have a night out. With Morleigh gone, he had rushed home each night for the kids. She was back for a few days, so now he had his time out to play. Bono didn't have the heart to tell him that he planned to stay for 2 songs and go home. An acquaintance from Music Rising came to sit with Edge. Bono was more than happy to let Edge be the talkative one tonight. He nodded his greeting and turned his eyes towards the stage and crowd below. Suddenly, he felt old as he watched kids wind their way through the packed club. Bono removed his coat as the heat from all the bodies stifled the dark space. Like most bars, the scent of stale beer clung to the hot air. He watched Andrew bustle down on the floor level - shaking hands and laughing at jokes. The whole family had the gift to work any room. They all possessed the enigmatic electricity that made people want to be in their orbit. Especially Gloria. She had surpassed Andrew's ability years ago - and he knew it. Resting his chin on the heel of his hand, he gazed into the crowd. His back straightened as her golden hair appeared in the throng. She pushed her way towards the front of the stage to talk with some of Andrew's assistants. His heart stopped. It looked just like her. The club was too damn dark! His eyes squinted at the back of her head. The gestures were the same. She was about the same height. He couldn't see what she was wearing to match clothing style. He leaned forward hoping the few inches would give him an advantage. His eyes were glued to her as she worked her way towards the back. She stopped beside a taller man with a mop of dark curls. He bent his ear towards with a smile. Bono still could not see her face. He peered over the top of his glasses. If he whipped them off, it would bring attention to what he was trying to see. One arm curled around the tall guy's waist. Bono's heart dropped. It looked more affectionate than friendly. Sure, he slung his arm around women all the time - but even from this distance - it looked particularly intimate. Her face turned up towards him, but Bono still couldn't see any definition. He was sure it was Gloria though. A sick feeling swept through him. Is that why she didn't tell him she was back in New York? He felt betrayed even though he has no right technically. He slept beside his wife every night.

The lights went dark as the band prepared to take the stage. Bono strained his eyes to watch Gloria and this tall man she had her arms wrapped around. Her golden curls brushed against his arm. The stage was backlit in blue as a guitarist plugged in. Bono recognized him. It was Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon. No wonder the place was packed, he thought. He searched the crowd for Gloria again. Was she kissing the guy? No, they were just talking - very close. The guitar vibrated through Bono. The drummer took his seat behind the kit. Bono squinted. Was that Dave Grohl? So much for it being just local musicians. He now understood the $1000 entry fee for him. He didn't recognize the bassist. He thought it might be Caleb's brother. His eyes turned to Gloria again. She laughed at something tall guy said. Bono gripped the edge of the table. If it weren't packed and he weren't the lead singer of u2, he'd fly downstairs and rip her from this guy. The female singer took the stage shrouded in the shadows of the light behind the stage. She moved with cat-like grace. Her short shock of blonde hair flopped in her eyes.

Gloria and tall guys lips met in a kiss. Sensing Bono's tension, Edge's eyes followed his gaze. It did appear that Gloria was snogging a guy with floppy brown hair.

"Tonight, tonight I say goodbye
To everyone who loves me
Stick it to my enemies, tonight
Then I disappear
Bathe my path in shining light
Set the dials to thrill me
Every secret has its price
This one's set to kill”

The singer sang in a low sensual voice. Bono had heard it before. For a moment, he pondered if she was in the YEah Yeah Yeahs or another one of those trendy groups now. He knew he’d heard her on the radio. Gloria had disappeared in the crowd. His eyes searched for her. The guy was gone too. He felt panicked. What were they doing? Where were they going? Why would she do that at one of his charities?

"Too loose, too tight, too dark, too bright
A lie, the truth, which one should I use?
If the lie succeeds
Then you'll know what I mean
When I tell you I have secrets
To attend"

It was too dark. When would the fucking lights come up? Bono wondered.

All of sudden the whole bar illuminated around him. The crowd went wild as they recognized the band. Girls screamed for the Brothers’ Followill. Bono tore his eyes from swarming crowd. She was nowhere. His eyes focused on the band. The singer stepped to the front of the stage.

“Do you think I'm beautiful?
Or do you think I'm evil?
Will you take me for a ride?
The one that never ends”

“Holy shit,” Bono said aloud. A smile spread across his face slowly. Gloria was not off snogging some strapping tall lad - she was strutting across the stage. Her eyes focused on the first few rows with a smile. Bono’s heart soared to the heavens. He remembered that voice in a bar in Europe one night. “You knew about this?” he asked Edge.

He nodded. “I knew about the show, not the makeover.”

Gone was the long golden hair now cropped into a shock of platinum hair. He watched her command the stage with grace and bravado. She was a different person, full of fire and sensuality. It was like discovering a new part of her. He saw her with new eyes and his heart swelled with pride.

Edge looked over at his friend. It was true. He was in love. He watched Gloria sing and move about the stage with a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. But it was his eyes that gave him away. Edge could see behind the tinted lenses that he adored her. It reminded him of when Bono and Ali started dating. His eyes lit up then as they did now. Edge felt a pang for his friend. This wasn’t going to be easy for Bono. But tonight, that wasn’t on his mind. His eyes followed her every move. Edge also felt as if he betrayed Ali by bringing Bono to see Gloria. But he hadn’t seen his friend this happy since Larry’s birthday.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out to see us and support a very good friend’s vision to help lift Africa up out of the dark. A little thing like a mosquito net can make the difference between life and death there,” Gloria said after a few more songs. “I want to give a big thanks to my band....” She motioned to Caleb, Dave and Jared, “for helping me out. You all know Caleb and Jared from Kings of Leon.” The girls in the crowd hollered and screamed. Gloria and Caleb laughed. “Wow, big response for you.” She turned towards Dave. “And of course, my old friend Dave Grohl!” More girls screeched and swooned. “See? You still got it!” Dave offered a drum roll and cymbal crash. She laughed. “So, again...thank you for coming to see us. My guess is that the word got out that I would be sharing the stage with a bunch of hunky men.”

“And musical geniuses,” Caleb stepped towards the microphone.

“Absolutely,” Gloria bowed. “So, y’all came to see a show, let’s get on with it. My name is Gloria and you have absolutely no fucking idea who I am. I manage these guys,” she waved to her band. “So that’s why I get to sing. Am I doing okay?” The crowd hollered back an approval. “Good, okay...lets go.”

The band launched into a slow version of Foo Fighter’s ‘Times Like These’.

“She quite good,” Edge said.

The bemused smile had not left Bono’s face. “Yes, she is. But you remember playing karaoke roulette with her. I knew she belonged on the stage.”

Caleb and Gloria sang a Johnny and June Cash duet before she launched into ‘Sex on Fire’. She flirted with the men in front of the stage. It was strange for Bono to watch her basically be him on stage. As she took a hand from the front row, he felt a small pang of...jealousy? Was that what it was like for her when he brought a girl on stage. Or when he was flirty with a female reporter?

Gloria turned to the band and said something no one could hear on the microphone. “Okay. We are going to try a song and I could really fuck it up - so please be kind.”

With both hands she grabbed the mike and leaned into stand. She closed her eyes.

“Sometimes I feel like I don't know
Sometimes I feel like checkin' out
I want to get it wrong
Can't always be strong
And love it won't be long...”

Bono and Edge exchanged looks. “If she sings it better than me, I’ll be pissed,” he joked.

“If she sings it better, you’re out of a job,” Edge nudged him.

Listening to her voice with his words, he closed his eyes for a moment. It was as if the song didn’t belong to him anymore. When he wrote the lyrics almost 20 years ago, Edge’s world was falling apart. Bono was trying to pull himself back to Ali but dreams of Gloria plagued him at night. Now these words represented how he longed to hold onto her for as long as he could. Their time was fleeting with Larry looming on the horizon.

Gloria stepped to the edge of the stage and looked out across the sea of people. The night and concert was going very well so far. She had been terrified of rejection from the crowd not being a rock star herself. However, tonight she felt like one. She watched the crowd bob and weave with the music.

“I remember
When we could sleep on stones
Now we lie together
In whispers and moans”

That’s when she saw him. Her eyes caught on Bono’s naked eyes. For a moment, her heart leapt to her throat.

“When I was all messed up
And I had opera in my head.”

He placed his hand over his heart with a smile. Her breath caught. An energy filled her body.

“Your love was a light bulb
Hanging over my bed.”

She thought having him in the audience would make her nervous. Instead, she liked having his eyes on her as she worked the stage. For the night, their roles were reversed. He was the swooning fan to her. Subconsciously, she sang to him. When their eyes met, she flushed. Edge leaned back taking it all in. This seemed far deeper than before. He doubted that Larry had a chance here. And if Bono didn’t walk away, god help them all.

Andrew and Billy pulled up chairs beside Bono and Edge.

“She’s good, eh?” Andrew beamed with brotherly pride.

“She is really good,” Edge said.

Bono and Billy eyed each other. They were on friendly terms for Andrew and Gloria. Both were in the music business, but Bono always regarded Billy as the one who stole her away. Billy and Gloria started dating 2 years after she left that hotel room. When Bono approached her with joining the PopMart tour, she was already very involved with Billy and touring with his band. He was at the helm of the hottest new band with good looks and brooding lyrics. It was then that Bono knew he had waited too long to after her.

“I’ve tried to get her to record with me,” Billy said.

“You forget that she’s seen you in the recoding studio,” Andrew nudged Billy.

Bono chuckled politely. He watched Gloria cross to the piano at the back of the stage. Sure, he may have lost her to Billy 15 years ago, but she loved him now. Her eyes sought him out as her fingers caressed the ivory keys. The rest of the band left the stage.

“This is a song written by Bob Dylan, but I’ve never actually heard him sing it. I know it has been considered a country song, but I heard Adele’s version and I fell in love with it, so I will try my hand at it,” she blushed.

“When the rain is blowin' in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.”

Bono held himself tightly. Maybe it was paranoia, but he felt eyes on him. More than likely, Andrew and Billy were clueless, but he was happy to hide his eyes behind his shades. He felt his skin melt off of him and all he wanted to was wrap himself around Gloria to never let go. Her voice echoed through his head. Her eyes stayed on her fingers as she played the piano. She was afraid her voice crack if she looked up in his eyes. When she worked on a set list for the night, she did not count on him being in the crowd watching her.

“I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love.”

Her head picked up and his gaze captured hers. “To make you feel my love.” Her lips curled into a small smile. Warmth surged from his feet all the up. He offered one of his small wry smiles.

Billy glanced over with a frown. Did he just see something? He knew Bono was still a little sweet on Gloria. But Larry was the one he had to worry about, right?

The rest of the band joined Gloria for bows before exiting to the backstage for a change of shirts and a cold beer. The crowd chanted and stomped for more. The girls wailed for Dave and Caleb.

“What did you think?” Andrew asked.

“I thought it was just local musicians. I had no idea she was planning this,” Bono said.

“She has an amazing voice. It’s too bad she has no interest in being in a band. She has great stage presence,” Edge shrugged.

Billy shook his head. “She loves to sing, but she has no interest in recording and all that. Or touring.” Bono wanted to punch the authority out of his voice.

The stage lights went up again as the band took the stage once more. They launched into a scorching version of “Heroes” before leading the crowd into a lively sing-along to “Tiny Dancer”. Bono gave her a thumb’s up as she took her final bows. His hands were raw from clapping so hard. His voice was raw from shouting.

“We’re having an after party back at the bar,” Andrew said. “You guys coming?”

Edge knew that they should decline. Keeping Gloria and Bono apart would be best for everyone right now. But after all, he was the one that tossed petrol on the fire. He knew there was no way he could keep Bono away from her tonight.

“Sure,” Bono shrugged casually.

“Great. C’mon, let’s head there before the crowd,” Andrew ushered his friends down the stairs of hot club.

The cold November air felt good in Bono’s lungs. He wished he had a moment to himself - or at least without Andrew and Billy - to collect himself and digest the night. When he set out for a quick night, he had no idea to expect that. He knew Gloria enjoyed singing, but to get up in front of a crowded club and have them eat out of her hand like she’d been in the business for years. He was amazed a little more each day. Larry had washed away from his mind. Out of the corner of his eye, Edge watched his best mate tremble just below the surface. He was ready to explode. Bono wrapped his arms tightly around himself as he sat beside Andrew in the car ride to his bar. His fingers rubbed together nervously and his leg bounced subconsciously. Luckily, he was know to be a man that could not sit still so the extra nervous energy didn’t seem strange.

Gloria knew he would be there. She walked into Andrew’s bar, Trí Gríobh or Three Griffins, so named for the family’s coat of arms and representing the three siblings. There was cheering and hollering. The Followill Brother’s followed behind her. Dave and his wife were already there. She searched for him. He was with Edge and Andrew at the bar. It had only been a little over a week, but she missed him terribly. She wished everyone would melt away so she could be with him alone to kiss him and hold him.

Billy intercepted their reunion. “You were awesome!”

“Thanks,” she smiled. “Did Jess make it?”

“Her flight was cancelled. She’s stuck in London until tomorrow. She’s sorry.” he hugged her tightly. “Are you positive I cannot convince you to record just one song with me?”

She laughed. “I do not have a month of my life to give you.”

“I’ll make it as painless as I can,” he said.

She shook her head and walked away. “Never.”

The night was a carousel ride. Suddenly, she felt like the musicians she worked for. People patting her on the back. She was pulled in several different directions. It was close to an hour before she finally reached Edge and Bono.

“You were great,” Edge hugged her. “I knew you were good...”

“But damn woman....” Bono chimed in. “Would you ever consider a duet?”

“With you? Don’t even think it, Hewson,” she warned. She had a flash of Bono pulling her on stage in Sidney.

He wound his arms around her and gave her a little squeeze. “That was amazing.”

“Thanks,” she flushed slightly. She ordered a beer for the three of them.

Sensing that he was a third wheel, Edge excused himself to congratulate Caleb on the new album. Gloria slid on the vacant bar stool.

Bono glanced around. "Were you not going to tell me your were back in town?" he asked. "Did you not want me there tonight?"

"I was nervous tonight. I thought if you were out there, I'd be worse.....but it was the opposite. I liked having you watch me for a change," she said.

“It was something to watch,” he grinned. “How long have you been home?”

Was ‘home’ New York City or with him, she wondered. “Only since yesterday morning. We rehearsed all day yesterday and today. I wasn’t going to say anything because I’m off again tomorrow.”

“To where?” he frowned. “Not L.A. again?”

She shook her head. “No, to Kentucky with Caleb and Jared.”

“When will you be back?” he asked.

“In a few days. They have some radio engagements. They wanted me to handle their tour but I told them I was otherwise engaged,” she said.

“Touring with a bunch of young men sounds better than four old farts,” he teased.

She shook her head. “I am too old for them. Sure, you guys know how to party, but they start fist fights and tossing knives at each other.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Seriously?”

“They’re all related. Two to three days is my limit,” she glanced over his shoulder at Jared trying to pick up a fawning fan. She figured he would have no problem even if she was attempting to play hard to get.

Bono wanted to tell her how much he missed her. He felt like the nervous fray inside of him instantly quieted just sitting beside her. The distance between them felt like miles - yet was only a foot. He watched a few brave men sidle up beside her. They attempted to chat her up. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. How many times did she sit by while women tossed themselves at him? How did she do it, he wondered. In a different world, he would slide his arm around her and make it be know that he was her man. With one kiss, he could tell them to piss off. But in this world, he had to watch as she tried eloquently decline their advances. As the night wore on and the drinks flowed, the would-be suitors were getting sloppy and a little bit braver.

Dave and the Followill Brothers decided at midnight that it was a great time for a pub crawl and everyone was invited. Being Andrew’s rare night out, he thought it was a brilliant idea. He was 6 deep in pints and not looking forward to saying farewell to the party.

“Are you comin’?” his blue eyes were glassy.

Gloria glanced over as their shattered bartender followed Dave Grohl out the door. “Who is going to close up? Barry just left.”

“Did he? That ass,” Andrew whipped around ready for a fight.

Gloria smiled at her older brother. She knew deep down he really missed touring and the freedom. He wouldn’t trade Lydia or the boys in for anything, but tonight he was enjoying a sliver of his wilder, former life.

“You go ahead. I’ll close up here and catch up,” she said slipping behind the bar.

“YOu can leave most of it fer the cleaning crew,” he said. “So, I’ll see ya later?”

She nodded. “Sure. Let me close up first.” Gloria was exhausted and had no intention of following the motley crew around lower Manhattan.

“Thanks,” he gave her a quick one arm hug before rushing out behind Barry the bartender - hooting and hollering the whole way.

Edge looked over at Bono who sat on the opposite side of the bar. “Are you going?” Usually Bono would be leading the charge. He’d have his arms around Dave and Andrew looking for seediest most interesting place to take over.

“Nah, I’m going to stick around here for a bit,” he said.

Edge knew there was no way he could talk his friend out of that. He wanted to remind him of his decision to choose his family and his vow to support Larry. Looking at his friend’s face, he knew those words would not permeate Bono’s heart tonight.

“Are you certain?” Edge offered.

“I am,” Bono said with the utmost seriousness.

“Okay, mate,” he rose. “I’m off to home. Take care of yourself tonight.” He hugged Bono.

The bar slowly emptied out as they followed the drunken pied pipers. Gloria busied herself gathering glasses off the tables and wiping counters. Bono helped line up dirty glasses on the bar.

“No party for you?” she asked. “You normally lead these expeditions.”

“I’m right where I want to be,” he said. “I know I’ve said it before, but you were amazing tonight. I loved watching you.”

She inched closer. “I liked having your eyes on me. Knowing you were out there...”

“I missed you so much, Glory,” his voice was uneven with desire.

“I really missed you too. LA was suddenly cold without you,” she bit her lip.

Six inches separated them. “I like this.” He touched her blonde hair. “What made you do it?”

She blushed and shrugged looking at the floor. “I dunno. I guess I wanted a change. I like to surprise people - take them off guard.”

“I didn’t think it was possible for you to get sexier,” he touched her cheek. “But now I see those beautiful eyes.”

“Hey, where did everyone go?” Billy halted short taking in the scene unfolding before him.

Gloria’s heart stopped. She thought they were alone. Bono’s hand slipped from her cheek to her waist. His jaw set defiantly. Gloria wanted to disappear on the spot. There was no way she could convince Billy that what he’d witnessed was innocent. She couldn’t find her voice and even if she did, she’d never hear it over her thundering heart.

Billy crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Well, I would have never seen this one coming.”

“Billy, please,” she pleaded. She knew he was hurt yet not sure why. It had been close to a year since they were together. And they had never been officially together.

“I was so worried you’d run back to Larry. I never imagined that it would be him,” he motioned to Bono whose arm tightened around Gloria. Billy knew he had no real right to feel betrayed. He did love Jessica, but if Gloria ever wanted him back - he’d be there ready to love her the way he should have years ago. “I’ll bet Andrew doesn’t know about this.”

Bono took one step forward. “And he’s not going to because we both love Gloria and would never do anything to hurt her, right?” The edge in his voice challenged Billy.

No matter their history, Billy had grown up worshipping U2 and Bono. He listened and learned their music when he began to play guitar. His eyes switched to Gloria who look like she might cry. He had no idea how this could happen.

“I won’t say anything,” Billy muttered. As much as he wanted to be with Gloria, he would never do anything to hurt her.

“Thank you,” Bono nodded curtly.

The three stood staring at each other for a few more uncomfortable moments. It was very surreal seeing Bono hold her hand so intimately.

“I’m going to go,” Billy said.

Gloria pulled away from Bono. “I’ll walk you out.”

Billy eyed Bono as he passed by. If it weren’t for Gloria, one of them might have taken a swing. As far as Billy knew, Bono was still a married man. How dare he drag her back into that? And what about Larry? What was that mess about? He had so many questions to ask her.

They stepped outside into the cold November night. She closed the door behind her. Billy didn’t know what to say. He had many questions, but knew it wasn’t the time for that.

“Please don’t lecture me,” she said softly.

“I would have never imagined this,” Billy shook his head. “When did this happen and what the hell happened to Larry?”

“It happened early in the fall. And Larry is happy with his family,” she held up her hand. “Don’t even say it.”

“What now?” he asked.

She rubbed her eyes. “I don’t know. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. And now it needs to unhappen.”

The sadness in her voice struck him. “You really love him.”

She nodded wearily. “I do. It would much easier if I didn’t.”

“Oh Gloria,” he sighed. “I’m sorry. Being in love should be happy.”

She swallowed hard as the tears tickled the corners of her eyes. “Can we talk tomorrow?”

“Sure, sure. And don’t worry, I won’t say anything to anyone, okay?” he hugged her.

“Thank you,” she sniffled.

“Goodnight kid,” Billy ruffled her short hair.

Being discovered by Billy was an alarming wake-up call. It brought to the front of her mind what she knew all along. This could not continue. They would get more careless. What if the wrong people found out? What if it had been Edge or Andrew? She took a deep breath before re-entering the pub. Bono sat at the bar waiting for her return. Immediately, he crossed to her.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She nodded. “He won’t say anything.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Well, he loves you. Still.”

She shrugged that off. “He has a new serious girlfriend. But he cares enough to not tell anyone.”

He wrapped his arms around her. She buried her face in his chest taking in his scent. “This is getting too complicated,” she sighed.

She had no idea how complicated, Bono thought. He gave her a tight squeeze. “Please let me come home with you tonight.”

“No, we can’t. You can’t be out all night,” she said.

“Everyone is away. I won’t be missed,” he kissed the palm of her hand softly. “I don’t want to be without you. I haven’t slept since I left you.”

“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” her voice broke.

“Shhh,” he kissed her cheeks. “I know. Gloria, I love you. Wrong or right, I do. Please let me love you tonight.”

She turned her tear stained face up to him. He kissed her deeply. Her resolve stripped away. She wanted him more than she wanted to be virtuous. It was one more night to sleep beside his warm skin, to feel his hands on her, to be a part of him.

Gloria ordered a car to bring them to her apartment. She knew if she saw him in the few hours she was in New York that this moment could be possible. By bringing him into her home, she compromised her inner sanctum. After the latest fallout with Billy, she had her assistant donate all her furniture and redecorate her entire apartment in effort to exorcize the memories. She envisioned having another remodel after tonight. They moved straight to her bedroom shedding clothes from the front door to the foot of the bed. He took in every inch of her body knowing it could be the very last time he made love to her. He couldn’t think of tomorrow. Or in a few weeks when the band and Gloria would all come together for Australia. Instead, he lost himself in this moment when everything seemed hopeful. Tonight, they had a future together. He savored every inch before falling asleep with his head nestled on her chest.

The sound of a wailing ambulance stirred Bono’s contented sleep. He was still curled up on Gloria with her arms wrapped tightly around him. Her eyes fluttered open. He smiled up at her. Dipping her head, she kissed him.

“Do you have to leave tomorrow?” he propped up on one elbow.

“Yeah, work beckons,” she nodded,

“Can you call in sick?” he kissed her shoulder. “We can hole up in this apartment and spend our days making love and sleeping.”

She chuckled softly. “I have absolutely no food in this place. We wouldn’t last very long.”

“There’s always take away,” he kissed her lips reigniting the fire. He pulled away to stare in her eyes. “Do you know how much I love you?”

Not enough to leave your life, she thought. “Sometimes I do.”

He removed one of the rosaries from around his neck. “I want you to wear this.” He slipped it over her head.

“What?” she asked. “I can’t take this.”

“You aren’t taking it. I’m giving it to you,” he said. “I want you to wear it. No matter what happens, I want to you to know I love you so much.”

The cold beads fell against her skin. He kissed the cross and then her neck.

“This sounds like a goodbye,” she said sadly.

“No...I just want you to have a part of me where ever you go,” he said.

“You don’t think this would look strange?” she asked. How would it look for her to be wearing one of his rosaries?

“I’ve given people rosaries before,” he said.

“Oh, so you gave me this to make me feel special?” she raised an eyebrow.

“Usually not the one I’m wearing. I’m sorry, it was supposed to be a romantic gesture. I bollocksed it up,” he shook his head. He was overwrought with emotion.

“Shhh,” she kissed him so hard his ears rung. “Thank you. I’m sorry.....”

He gathered her in his arms. As the morning light stretched across the horizon, he longed to be joined with her again. The words she sang played over in his mind along with her sighs.

PJW 01-30-2011 03:04 AM

:sad: I actually think my heart cracked a little when I read this. Bono loves her so much, and she loves him though it seems in her heart of hearts she knows it can't last.

The chapter certainly doesn't seem uneven - from where I'm sitting, it reads really well. I am completely caught up in this, and while it's certainly at least partly the story line, if your writing wasn't good I wouldn't be constantly hanging out for the next chapter.

GraceRyan 01-30-2011 09:51 AM

Usually I have chapters planned out in advance, but I need to really think of the next one. I don't have much of a plan right now - and it's sort of one of those transition chapters.

But thank you. I'm glad it has not been forgotten since I was away.

AnCatKatie 01-30-2011 03:50 PM

Hehehehe...Gloria singing and surprising Bono! That was pretty wonderful. I liked that moment of unsurety where he thought she was with someone else and really she was onstage...

The end was adorable :)

and—why do I have the feeling Larry is going to figure out about all this?

GraceRyan 01-30-2011 04:39 PM

You know, I haven't decided when or if Larry finds out. But it won't happen right away. What fun would that be?

AnCatKatie 01-30-2011 04:48 PM

Well, angsty fun XD but I would feel bad for him...

BlueSilkenSky 01-30-2011 08:46 PM

I'm really glad you wrote this one! Now I'll have hang on for the next. :P And sometimes when the author is writing, the story seems kind of messy or disconnected, but for readers who don''t know what to expect it flows well enough. :)

GraceRyan 01-30-2011 09:15 PM

Thank you very much! And if it tortures you now.....just wait.

The next story is a bit different.

BlueSilkenSky 01-30-2011 09:16 PM

No, I meant chapters, but whatever! :)

LoveandLogic 02-02-2011 01:10 AM

I'm so in love with this story! :love: Her singing to him was so sweet and him watching was sexy!

And I totally want your Edge. Can I have him? :cute:

Love the rosary exchange, too! GAH! Great chapter. Again. :applaud:

GraceRyan 02-02-2011 09:57 AM

You can totally have him in the next. Edge gets a small story in the next one. :)

GraceRyan 09-29-2011 04:10 PM

bumpity bump

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