Dancing With The Devil ch. 29 - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-13-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 29

And now I take a brief interlude to describe a dream I had last night. If you're not in the mood for humorous ramblings, by all means go straight to the story!
So I dreamed last night I was going through stores with my mom looking for an outfit... a red shirt, gold pants, and a gold jacket. Sound familiar? I finally found this insanely awesome gold jacket and started exclaiming something like "I look just like HIM!" When I woke up I thought I'd had MacPhisto in my dream, and spent... oh, about two seconds searching for the gold jacket I'd bought "last night." Well, instead of finding it I dressed in a yellow skirt, a ruffly red shirt, and some black boots with semi-heels. It was the best I could do.
(I was also a bit depressed when I wrote this and gave the feelings to a certain unfortunate character, who's not having a very good time of it... anyway. ONWARDS!)

U2’s concert in Naples goes extremely well. Hyped up on Zooropa’s release and a frenzied crowd, MacPhisto sings “She wore lemon,” several times during the bridge of Desire. This time, however, he doesn’t sing the “shine like stars” extended verse, dropping it for good in favor of the “And you give…” new ending. Numb remains in the set as a way of promoting the first single. Marieke’s speech is as perfectly written as usual. She remembers a phone call made a while ago, a call to her parents, and asks Bono if she can go visit them between shows. He replies in the negative, telling himself that it’s too hectic to schedule such a short visit. However, his true reasons for holding onto her are unknown. He doesn’t want her to leave the tour for even a brief amount of time. Marieke ponders her secret admirer for no more than a few days. If he truly loves her, he will reveal himself to her sometime.
After Naples, Zoo TV reaches Turin, Italy. I’m woken up on the bus by Eric, and we exchange a few words in a fond manner. “Are we at the hotel?”
“Yes,” Eric tells me. “Let’s go and see what it’s like, okay?” We drop out of the bus and stare unhappily at the pouring rain.
“You didn’t tell me it would be wet,” I say.
“I thought you could hear the rain on the top of the bus ,” Eric replies, puzzled.
“Oh, is that what that tapping was?”
Eric shakes his head- not in a way of correcting me, but a way of expressing his disbelief. That Marieke!
We go to see if the entire crew is here or if anyone needs help unloading their baggage. U2 has arrived ahead of us, but they are not in the hotel. I expect there’s some kind of meeting or interview arranged for the band today. Pity, because I haven’t spent enough time with them in Naples.
Just now a bus door bangs open, and Morleigh steps carefully out. “Quite windy here!” she manages to say before the bus door closes and rain drenches her hair.
“Why is Turin so dull?” I ask Eric. Every former tour location has been blissfully warm and sunny.
He shrugs. “I guess it’s just a summer storm. Come on…”
We make our way towards the hotel, Eric clutching his arm around me as if I’ll blow away. I’m less concerned about myself than for the paper in my hand. I’ve been writing a phone call idly during the bus trip, wondering if Bono will ever let me go back to calling taxis. As I try to cover it with my shirt, the wind snatches the paper and steals it away.
“Oh no!” A cry rises in my throat, and I yank free of Eric- accidentally dropping my suitcase on his foot in the process, but he doesn’t complain- and chase after the speech. Morleigh sees me struggling to get the paper back, and crosses the ground in longer strokes than I could make. Just as she reaches out for my phone call, her foot lands on a slippery puddle of water- she’s misjudged her distance. I watch with horror as Morleigh loses her balance- something I would never have expected from the dancer- and falls.
Eric and I rush over, as do some other worried crewmen. I reach her first. “Are you all right?”
“Just wet,” she laughs. “Here’s your paper.” I take it back with a relieved smile and a word of thanks as Morleigh tries to get up. She accepts the request of Eric’s hand and allows him to help her stand, but shrugs off his offer to help her to the door of the hotel. “I’m fine, really!”
Despite Morleigh’s assurance, I follow her with my eyes as Eric goes back to get our suitcases. She doesn’t seem hurt- maybe walking a little less strongly than usual, but she has just had a fall- she wants to be careful. I push all my worries aside and join Eric in the hotel.
I receive my keys and ride up to the third floor, wondering briefly as to the look of my room. Surely it won’t be any different from my place in Naples. All hotels have become the same to me- expensive and polished. I’m sure it will be a shock to go back to sleeping in a flat with Lina on the couch. Lina of course will not welcome the fact that I get the bed again.
My clothes are sopping wet from that time in the rain. I smooth the paper Morleigh retrieved for me over my pillow, letting it dry. The bathroom door invites me, tempts me to undress and slide calmly into the shower. The warm water is like a lover’s embrace that I’ve been waiting so desperately for.
I ease myself out of the room and lie down on my new bed, remembering to remove the outer blanket and draw back the sheets first- though this hotel is five star, I’ve never fully trusted the sheet-washing service. My naked body slides across the mattress, and I practice a breathing exercise before standing up and changing clothes. After all this road travel, the clean clothing is gladly welcomed.
Downstairs I go for dinner. Eric’s waiting for me with a smile, and Jack solemnly nods at my presence. I laugh at him and mock-bow. Eric tries a curtsy, which ends up failing but gives me just the right amount of hysterics to set the mood tonight. Our threesome escapes from the hotel lobby.
***
U2 arrives at the hotel when Marieke has already gotten in bed. Bono collapses in his room, not permitting the rest of the band entrance. “I’m tired,” he states bluntly. “Go to your rooms!”
Sitting himself down on the edge of the bed, Bono checks the time. It is 2:10 in Turin. He can’t remember what possessed him to stay up this long. It’s a new day, he thinks, and a small knot of flame seems to settle in his chest. For some unfathomable reason, Bono is angry with himself.
What time is it in the world? Time zones are not Bono’s strong suit, but he guesses that it is 3:10 in Dublin. Great- now it’s too late to call home. He’s missed his family since the tour left Rome- Ali had never returned his call- and was hoping he’s get some time to check in on them today. It appears that will not be the case.
But I miss you, Bono thinks as he gets ready to sleep. He climbs into the bed with a deep sigh, not sure who the you he referenced really is. All Bono knows is that he is tired of the Zoo TV Tour- a thought that scares him when he pursues it further. He curls around himself.
Bono’s missed his family many times before on different occasions. He’s always had enough fun touring to clamp a lid over the feelings. This tour has been one big party up to the moment, and by all rights Bono should be enjoying himself more than ever. Yet somehow, he’s felt more melancholy when left alone than ever before. Maybe it’s the fact that he now has two children at home- two more people to miss. Maybe the day is so fun-filled that by night Bono has exhausted all his good humor. Either which way, the nights of this tour are not the most pleasant time.
Just a late-night attack of emotions, he thinks, and allows them to take him away. It’s important to sort out the different strands of feelings. There is anger- he still isn’t quite sure for what yet- exhaustion, and loneliness- three emotions that Bono can’t stand. Go to sleep. It’s much too late. The voice in his head sounds a little less like himself and more like the chiding tone of a woman- Ali, maybe, the closest thing to a mother he has.
Facing the wall, Bono’s deep breathing is soon the only sound to be heard in the room. He sinks gratefully into sleep, one final thought tugging at his subconscious before it drowns in a sea of forgetfulness. On the other side of the wall, a woman breathes in and out, dreaming of plans to be made and a date with the Devil.
***
The morning rises like a hot-air balloon, spreading light out over the city of Turin and tip-tapping on windowpanes, trying to filter inside. Most shafts of the sunlight hit blinds and stay outside, gloomily denied entrance. But my window was left with the blinds up- thankfully not when I was dressing, however- and the beams of light hit my face as a pleasant way to start the day.
I jump out of bed and get dressed, wearing lemon once again- in honor of both the song and the sunlight. It looks like such a perfect day outside, contrasting the freak occurrence of rain yesterday. I pull on a pair of pants and slide my silver bracelet onto my wrist- it has become my favorite piece of jewelry by now.
I’m energized and stretch up and down while waiting for the elevator to arrive. Soon I get to ride it downstairs and sit down at a table to eat breakfast and wait for Morleigh at the same time. She’s agreed to go on another walk with me this morning. I suspect that if she doesn’t show I can always enlist Eric, though he won’t find the walk as entertaining.
Breakfast is bacon and eggs- despite Bono’s complaints about scrambled eggs made in hotels, these ones are quite tasty. I drink some juice to top it all off. Now it’s time to see who’s coming down for breakfast. I’ve become a bit of an early riser these days.
The crew comes down before the band, which is expected. Eric’s face is the first one I see, but then again, I know him the best- he’s always going to be the first person I spot in a crowd. We meet each other halfway across the room and exchange greetings.
“Eric, would you mind walking with me? Morleigh isn’t down yet.” Secretly I’m a bit worried about her.
“You mean go on a walk?” He laughs. “No thanks. You’ve already gotten me to go shopping- I’m not up for any more of your exploits.”
“Have you seen Morleigh at all today?” I ask Eric.
“Me? No, I just got up.”
“But didn’t she come down with the crew?”
“You know Morleigh- she does what she likes. Now if you really want to get someone to go walking with you, how about Jack?” Jack himself is coming towards us and overhears the comment. “What are you suggesting I do?”
“Go for a walk with Marieke. Your skin needs the sunlight anyway.” Jack manages to look offended but laugh at the same time- how does he pull that off? It’s rather bizarre. “I’d join you, woman, but really I can’t.” His voice turn apologetic- a tone that I can hear the lie behind. “I, uh, have to get breakfast first… and maybe there’s work to be done at the stadium, I’m not sure.”
“Great,” I mutter. Why are these men refusing to exercise with me? I can find no harm in going on a walk. Eric and Jack depart, but not before Eric calls over his shoulder, “Here’s your Morleigh at last!”
I scan for the woman, and when my eyes do meet her my breath catches in my throat. Morleigh is… not looking good. She’s walking in a sort of limping, hopping way, keeping her weight off her left foot. A mini flashback plays in my head- Morleigh falling down in the rain, landing on her left leg. Oh no…
“Morleigh!” I call, hurrying to her. “Do you need any help?”
She looks at me and I can see she’s in pain, but her words that escape are “No, not at all.” Anxiously I watch her get to the table I was sitting at and tip herself into the chair with relief.
“I hope you weren’t waiting for me too long,” she says.
“Not really,” I say. “Is your leg hurt?”
She sighs. “Yes, it hurts a bit,” and I have the feeling she’s fibbing. “Walking might make it feel better, though.”
“Are you sure?” I’m no expert on human bodies, but I’m sure that putting stress on an injured area does not heal it. “We don’t have to go walking, you know.”
“Oh, you go on ahead,” Morleigh says, changing her mind. “Please don’t let me hinder you. It’s such a lovely day…”
Her eyes creep over my head and she gives a small wave to an unknown figure behind me. Turning around, I see Edge stalking towards us with food. He’s the first band member downstairs.
“Good morning, girls,” he greets us in a humorous way. I glower- “Girls? Come on, we’re not that younger than you,” and Edge gives me a kiss on the cheek. He sets his plate down and moves to do the same to Morleigh, which is how he notices her injury.
“Something the matter with your leg, Mor?” he asks.
“Yes,” she answers, reluctant to downplay it for Edge. “I fell down in the rain yesterday and the pain is coming back to bite me.” She makes a face.
“Well, let’s hope it feels better by tonight,” Edge says, slipping into his professional role. “You can’t dance on a sore leg. Where does it hurt?”
Her fingers clutch a spot below her knee and above her foot, around the vicinity of her ankle. I don’t like the looks of that- what if her ankle is sprained? That would be no fun and could spell disaster for her performance tonight.
Edge lays his hand over that area and massages it. The action seems intimate in an odd sort of way. Morleigh groans. “Not too hard, that hurts.”
“Do you think it’s…” I can’t give voice to the word I want, but Morleigh reads the worry on my face and knows what I’m asking. “I’m not sure. It’s probably not broken.We’ll just have to wait and see.”
“Pain, go away!” Edge intones, running his fingers over Morleigh’s foot. She shifts her legs away from Edge’s touch. “Oh, you think you have the magic touch?” she laughs. “We’ll see.”
“Have you got a replacement for Morleigh?” I ask, still concerned about her dancing tonight.
“Have we got understudies for the band?” Edge replies dryly. I can see he’s not going to answer my question properly, so I stand with a smile and part from the couple. Morleigh gives me a smile in exchange, and I think that her injury can’t be that bad. Maybe she’ll feel better by tonight’s performance.
I set my utensils down at the buffet where I found them and head to the elevator. Though a walk still sounds appetizing, I’d rather write a phone call than go alone.
The elevator bings and the doors slide open on the right floor- and I am face to face with Bono.
He speaks first, of course. “Angel of Holland, good morning!”
“What are you doing here?” I gasp.
Bono steps into the elevator. “Em, touring with the band U2 in a city called Turin- or do you mean, going downstairs to get breakfast? I’m starved, if we’re being honest here.”
“No,” I sigh. “Is your room on the third floor?”
“Yes, I’m in 3-15.”
“3-13 for me,” I say.
We stare at each other, and the only thing I can summon to my mind at this moment is I’m alone in an elevator with Bono.
Now the said elevator bings once more and Bono steps out through its doors. “First floor, right on time!” he exclaims. “See you around, Angel!”
I punch in the number 3 and ride back to my room without any more distractions.
***
After receiving the required information from Bono, I manage to write an entire phone call for the show. Reading it over, I figure it could use some work, but I’m tired of that and want to go outside. It’s about time for the walk I never took this morning.
I go jogging down the sidewalks, a freshly bought water bottle in my hand. It’s not too far a distance from the hotel to the stadium, and I think that maybe I can go over there and surprise Eric, Jack, and the band. And I can’t wait to hear the soundchecks! It’s better than listening to Zooropa all morning.
Faint strains of music float in the breeze the closer I get to the stadium. The sound is deafening up close. Some fans have bunched together outside, listening in on the forbidden tunes. I tell the stadium folks who I am and am whisked away inside.
The band is done with Even Better Than The Real Thing and Morleigh is giving pointers to Bono on one section. “Try not to yank that camera too hard! You don’t want to drop it, now do you?”
She limps up the stage, and I wince, knowing she’s not recovered yet. Morleigh stares down at her leg for a moment with a look of loathing, not liking her body today. I draw closer in and bump into the people near the stage.
“Marieke!” Bono calls, spotting me. “Glad to see you.” I wave and say hi. He turns and speaks to the band for a moment, and now cues Edge for Mysterious Ways.
The scat singing that Bono sings over the intro is a heavenly sound. Edge blasts his guitar across the stage, the notes sounding purer than ever. He has to slam his fingers down on piano keys soon after, filling out the beautiful tone of Bono’s singing- “It’s all right…” CRASH. “It’s all right…” CRASH. “She moves in mysterious ways!”
Morleigh makes her entrance.
CRASH.
I watch concernedly. She hasn’t changed into her belly-dancing attire for the rehearsal- though it’s warm enough today for that- and instead dances in her jeans. She’s trying to go over the routine in an average way, but I can see her grimacing whenever she puts weight on her left foot. Finally, just after the first verse, Bono calls the performance to a halt.
“Morleigh, you’re not feeling any better, are you.” It’s definitely a statement, not a question. She appears to be debating whether to give him the facts or keep it low key, but Edge’s expression chooses for her. “No, not really.”
“You’ve not seen a doctor, have you?” Bono asks, his tone unattached, the question more out of concern for the performance than for Morleigh’s well-being. But I see Edge’s eyes, and I know that he’d be asking the question in a much different way had he time to speak.
Morleigh shakes her head quickly. “If I’m judging correctly it’s only a sprain- nothing worth going to a doctor for!” This last line is directed at Edge, who visibly relaxes when she tells him. I’m beginning to realize just how deep their friendship runs.
“So you can’t dance tonight?” Larry asks her.
Morleigh meets his gaze. “I’m afraid I can’t,” she admits, and I see how it hurts her to say it. She hates letting the band down.
“Oh dear,” Bono says, striding across the stage. “We haven’t got an understudy for you…”
He appears distressed, and Morleigh’s face falls. She obviously wants to perform tonight more than anything. Seeing her makes a flash of guilt glance across my face. I was the one who let go of that paper, after all. And she had to run after it…
My hand shoots into the air, just like I’m a kid in school again. “I’ll do it!”
The whole band stares at me along with Morleigh. “What?” Bono asks, intrigued.
For once my voice is steady. “Morleigh, I’ll dance for you tonight.”
“But you don’t know the routine!” Adam says.
“But I can teach her,” Morleigh tells him. “It’s a good thought, Marieke. You’re not a bad dancer yourself.”
“Thank you,” I say, blushing. “May we start now?”
“If it’s fully possible for you to do it,” Bono shrugs. “Let’s see what you got, Marieke.”
Edge helps me up onto the stage and Morleigh positions me in the right place. “I start out here,” she tells me. “Now, what you have to do is…”
She walks me through her routine, helping me block. I doubt I’m doing a good job.
“…And now you step onto the catwalk, and Bono’s standing above you,” Morleigh tells me, placing my hands in the right place. “When you turn, Bono’s going to hold his hand out. You move your hips like this-“ She sashays up, closer and closer to the platform where an imaginary Bono stands, taking care not to step too hard. “- and he’s going to reach out, and just before his fingers reach your belly, snap back and turn around, spinning away. You do this for another time, this time moving your arms-“ she demonstrates-“and then as you go for a third time, place your veil in his hand.” Morleigh waves an all-too-eager Bono over to let me have the full effect.
It takes me quite a while to get the hang of it, especially with Bono’s hand tantalizingly close to my bare skin- and yet I eventually get it and spin away as Bono pulls back with an invisible veil in his hands. He smiles- “Good one, Angel!”- and Morleigh congratulates me. “Then you exit to stage left, and the dance is over. Think you got that? Good, now you only have to dance in time with the music.”
My face shows my panic. “But we haven’t-“
“Silly Marieke!” she interrupts me. “Don’t you see, this is a good way of letting U2 practice with us? Come on, let’s see how you do. I’ll show you the steps again.”
It’s gloriously fun to dance on the Zoo TV stage and publically tempt Bono as he sings a song about the joys of women. I wonder what our chemistry must look like to an outsider.
“You’re rather good at that, Angel,” Bono compliments me once the dance is over. “But then again, I always knew you were a good dancer…” I’m certain he’s referring to my escorts onstage with MacPhisto. “Speaking of which, have you got the phone call for tonight written?”
“Yes,” I mumble. “I left it at the hotel.”
He laughs. “You can’t expect us to rehearse Mysterious Ways all the time! Fetch that phone call.”
I leap off the stage and ask Morleigh if she thinks I’ll do well.
“You’ll be okay. I’m sure of that.” With a word of thanks on my lips, I slip out of the stadium to collect my speech for MacPhisto tonight. Nerves jangle in my stomach, and I’m afraid the only way to dispel them would be to perform tonight. Unfortunately, the show is a long way in coming.
***
It comes soon enough, however. All day long I’ve been nervous about dancing in front of the masses, but now I’m quelling my fears by thinking about those few times I’ve danced with the Devil. Was I nervous to be onstage then? Hell no. I’ll have to draw on Bono’s strength onstage to get through this dance, as I’ve done previously with MacPhisto. He seems to have unending reserves of the stuff.
Backstage, Morleigh and I go over the routine again, until I am absolutely sure I have it all down pat. My shivering as I move attracts the attention of Jack, who’s watching- “Don’t be so nervous, Marieke, you’re going to do fine,” he tells me. Morleigh echoes his sentiment. “Just remember, there is nothing that can go wrong. You might forget a step here or there, but you know what the most pivotal moment is. Act on it, improvise if you have to. It’s the band that the fans will want, anyway.”
Bono is pacing in his dressing room, wearing a hole through the floor. This is to be a night like no other. Marieke’s going to be onstage with him tonight and the prospect is frightening. Even in the audience, her presence draws him with immeasurable force. Now how is he supposed to concentrate on singing when he wants her that much?
Bono grinds his teeth together, which alerts Edge, who’s also in the room, that something is up. “You all right there?”
“What?” Bono asks, snapping out of it.
Edge shrugs. “You seem angry.” He lets his eyelids slide down halfway and gazes at the room in a new view. Perspectives are important, and Edge likes changing his own and seeing what is to be found. He’s already slipping into a tranquil mood, right before the concert.
“Oh,” says Bono. “Sorry about that.” He turns and resumes his pacing in the other direction.
“Would you quit doing that?’ Edge asks. “It’s messing up my focus.”
“Your focus on what?” Bono asks, stopping himself in the middle of the floor.
“I’m focusing on tonight’s show,” Edge says, closing his eyes all the way and tilting his head back. “Gathering up energy, so to speak.”
Bono snorts. “You are so odd, Reg.” He crosses the room, promising himself not to pace anymore.
Edge emits a low laugh.
I stand backstage with Eric’s hand on my arm. I’m sure he can feel how twitchy I am. “Please, Marieke, just calm down for us,” he murmurs. “You’re going to be perfect!”
“Am I?” I ask, smoothing my hands over my skirt. It’s not that I’m afraid I’ll misstep- no, my worries now are over my outfit. I know I’ve always had an amazing body- the stares and snide comments I’ve received from men about my looks over the years have surely gone over one hundred by now, especially after I joined Zoo TV. But I’ve never given them any pleasure in looking. The closest I have to being revealing are shorts and a tank top. But this ensemble…
How does Morleigh stand it? My belly is completely exposed and the only fabric over my breasts is a top reminiscent to a tankini. My skirt is long and wavy, but at least it clings tightly to my hips. I’m not sure if I would be able to stand the fear of it falling off. Thank God Morleigh and I are about the same size! A veil covers the lower half of my face, hiding me from the public. I haven’t checked a mirror, but I’m sure I look ravishing- too ravishing. I’ve already caught Eric staring at me with unconcealed passion in his eyes. Jack has displayed that same wanting, and so have Larry and, out of all people, Bono. I hope that thought is enough to get me through the night.
Mysterious Ways is the fourth song in the set, the song where I make my appearance. As soon as it starts, Morleigh whispers, “Go!” and squeezes my shoulder. At the end of Bono’s rehearsed scat singing, I take off onto the stage, calling back memory of my blocking with Morleigh this afternoon.
However, I wasn’t expecting the crowd to be this large! I can’t see them too well in the darkness, but I certainly can hear them, screaming along to the song. The GA folks are especially noisy. I reflect on the fact that I was one, once, and concentrate on dancing.
“Johnny take a walk with your sister the Moon… let her pale light in to fill up your room. You’ve been living underground, eating from a can. You’ve been running away from what you don’t understand. Love!”
I twist to catch a glimpse of Bono’s face. He sings with pleasure, the shades off by now and probably in Eric’s hand. I’m careful not to let my gaze linger for too long on his leather-encased body and move my belly in what I’m sure is a sexy display. I’ll let the men speak for themselves, however…
“She’s slippy, you’re sliding down. Yeah, she gonna be there when you hit the ground…”
Edge sings along with Bono on the chorus. “It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right! She moves in mysterious ways!”
“It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right,” Bono sings. “She moves in mysterious ways!”
He strides up the platform at the back of the stage, rising above the rest of the band. To my horror I find that my dance is being filmed on one of the main screens. I’m gigantic! However, I do not enjoy that thought as much as MacPhisto enjoys it. Realizing that I’ll only feel self-conscious if I stare any longer, I twist my head away.
“Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain… let her talk about the things you can’t explain. To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal…” Bono’s facing one of the screens, his back to the whole audience. “If you wanna kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel!”
I bend down on my knees, raising my arms above my head in perfect timing just like Morleigh taught me. Bono sings, “On your knees, boy,” and lowers himself to the ground as well. I forget to breathe for a moment, but haul myself back up and spin.
Bono’s back on the main stage now, and stares wonderingly up at the video screen with my body projected on it. I suddenly realize how apt this is- Bono exhalting women to a projection of an enormous woman. He half-murmurs, “She’s the wave that turns the tide. She sees the man inside the… child…” His falsetto reaches high, and he turns back to the cheering fans, holding his microphone out to Edge. Edge ducks away from his original microphone and leans into Bono’s offered one.
“It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right! She moves in mysterious ways!” Edge’s eyes close and a wide smile breaks across Bono’s face. “It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right… she moves in mysterious ways!”
A breeze teases my bare belly, and my automatic instinct is to cover myself. But I can’t let that happen… Finally I decide to drag my gaze to the crowd and see if they’re enjoying my performance. I’ll never make a good showwoman without looking at my fans.
To my surprise, they meet my eyes happily, cheering for- who? Me? The band? It doesn’t matter. The last of my terror slides off me like water as I drive my body forward, for the first time pleased with the way the men’s eyes pop as they gawk at me, the way the women stare angrily.
Bono is even more comfortable onstage than I am. He gazes over the audience and drifts over to Adam’s side of the stage as he sings, “One day you’ll look back, and you can see… where you were held, now by this love… while you could stand- there. You could move on this moment…” His left hand, the one that’s not holding the microphone, reaches out slowly and grips Adam’s shoulder. Bono uses the bassist as a lever to pull himself closer as he sings the next line- “Follow this feeling…” Now he spins away and holds his mic up to Edge’s lips. A bemused smile comes across Adam’s face.
“It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right! She moves in mysterious ways… it’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right!” Bono sings in short bursts, his head coming closer and closer to Edge’s, until I can swear their foreheads are touching. The microphone does not protest against the contact. “She moves in mysterious ways! Oh…” He whirls away from The Edge.
“Oh, love… oh, I need your spirit, baby, I need your comfort!” I begin to see why Bono gets so sweaty during the show. The lights of the stage are burning into my skin, and my hair is sticking to my back. Ugh… just great. Now I’ll have to take a shower to get myself clean.
As one trail of sweat drizzles its way down my neck, I steal a glance at Bono, my favorite object of attraction. He turns on his heel at the moment and our eyes lock. It’s near impossible to look away. Time seems to slow down.
“Move my spirit, take me… move my spirit, move me… move my spirit to me… move my spirirt, teach me…” He creeps closer. The fact that I’m moving hardly registers, that soon in the dance I will have to look away. Right now the audience falls away, and so does the ground. Second tick by like hours as I drown in his gaze.
“To move with it… she moves with it… lift my days, light up my nights!” he cries, and breaks the invisible contact between us. I turn my back on Bono and sweep across the catwalk, lowering my head. Bono stands poised at the edge of stage, and sings his breath out in one word. “Looove…”
I stand frozen with my hands over my head. My breath comes in pants, and I’m lightly stunned at how this one dance can leave me breathless. Now I hear Larry striking the drums to start the song again, and I turn as Edge’s guitar joins in. This is it- the climax of the dance. I must play the temptress and enrapture Bono. But how should I do that?
My eyes latch onto my target. Bono stands close to the steps leading onto the catwalk, staring at me. I sashay slowly towards him, hands on hips, and Bono reaches out towards my stomach. Just before his fingers graze my skin, I snap back and whirl around, as Edge’s guitar slides into some fascinating notes and Bono explodes into a flurry of falsetto scat singing.
The volume of it is wounding my ears, and yet I turn back and face the music head on. Once more Bono’s hand stretches out, and again I deny him my touch. The singing grows more intense, the guitar fills my body until I am the music, I am life and I embody the entire performance. He can’t touch me. Like fluid lightning, I slam my veil into Bono’s hand and scamper gracefully away, my chest heaving, and I spin like a top, faster and faster-
The music is going at a different pace for Bono, who calmly walks across the stage, his back once again to the audience. The singing begins again- “She moves with it! Ya move with it! Lift my days, light up my night!” He suddenly turns, facing me in a split second before I dash backstage, and points a finger at me. I truly cannot breathe anymore.
“Loooove…”
As if his finger is holding me in place, I twist back when Bono drops his hand and race backstage, defenestrating Morleigh’s instructions to dance my way out. I’ve lingered a bit too long onstage, ensnared by Bono’s finger, and making up those moments are crucial.
Backstage, I am greeted by an ecstatic Morleigh and a grinning Eric. Morleigh takes my hands and congratulates me over and over again. “You were splendid, Marieke. No one could have done it better.” One eyes snaps a wink at me. “Except the choreographer, of course.”
Eric hugs me, and I stiffen. “I loved it!” he exclaims, and frowns as I wriggle away from him. “What?”
“I’m hot,” I complain, wiping the sweat off my body. Of course Eric wouldn’t mind that, but it feels icky. I can’t wait to change back into my regular, less revealing clothes.
Morleigh laughs. “At least you weren’t doing it in pants. Skirts are much less restricting…”
“It’s not as if you dance in pants every night,” I say. I can’t imagine how sweltering that would be. Our conversation lulls, and the melody of One replaces the exchange.
“Did I disappoint you, or leave a bad taste in your mouth?”
“Were you professionally trained to dance?” Morleigh muses. I shake my head no. “I’m a fast learner.”
The music keeps up- “It’s too late tonight, to drag the past out into the light…”
“You’re a natural,” Morleigh declares. Her eyes glimmer with bubbly enthusiasm. “Maybe I should get hurt more often!”
A blush is approaching my skin. “Come on, you don’t actually want that.”
“No,” she agrees with me. “Only teasing. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing. The stage is my home.”
Hearing her passionate words, I can totally relate to Morleigh’s point of view. She’s an artist, using dance as her medium. And how exhilarating the dance is…
In a few seconds it flows back to me- my heart pumping hot, singing blood through my veins as I make love to Bono without laying a hand on him, my soul running through the music to reach the man with the livid electricity blazing in each palm. The way I moved tonight exhibited a fierceness I am unused to. The high emotion was not dissimilar from passion.
With a jolt, the world returns around me, the ground steady beneath my feet. I’m alone now- where have Eric and Morleigh got to? As I sway, inexplicably exhausted, one man sings at centerstage.
“You hear me coming, Lord? Hear me call? Hear me knocking, knocking at your door?”
***
Upon reaching Bologna, Italy, the band U2 plans for a lunch together the next day, ready to hang out for the first time in a long time. They select a restaurant and appoint a time to meet, excited at having some free time to spare as friends.
Edge arrives at the restaurant first, his head buzzing with guitar riffs. He’s left from the stadium after overseeing the construction of the Zoo TV set. After messing about with his guitar- what the crewmen would call soundchecking- Edge has decided to go for lunch early. He allows an Italian waiter to show him to a table for four, off in a corner. The waiter knows that the group of men dining here is the famous rock band U2, and acts a bit starstruck. Edge thanks him, refusing to order until the rest of the band shows up. He doesn’t fully expect to be recognized- the chances of meeting a fan in this restaurant are slim.
It’s a total of seven and a half minutes before the next bandmate enters. Adam, coming from the stadium as well, walks into the restaurant and waves off the waiter, spying Edge sitting alone at a table. He hurries toward his friend, twisting something around his finger.
The Edge blinks up at Adam, retrieving his gaze from the window. “What’s that?” he asks, nodding to Adam’s finger.
“Look!” Adam bursts out, holding his hand over to Edge. The guitarist takes it. No, it can’t…
The restaurant door bangs open and a familiar blond man enters, glad to rest from a jaunt around the city. “Hey,” he greets the other band members, ignoring the waiter altogether. “What’s Ad got?”
“I was just showing Edge,” the bassist beams proudly, and flashes his fingers in front of Larry’s face. Larry only needs to take one glance to know. “Well when’d this happen?”
“In Marseille,” Adam answers. “Is Bono here yet?”
“No, not yet,” Edge says. “C’mon, have a seat, you two. Adam, congratulations.” Adam’s grin grows even wider, if such a thing is possible, and plops down at the table next to Larry.
Half an hour later, a limousine pulls up in front of the restaurant, cluing the band in on the fact that Bono has arrived from the hotel. His casual stroll draws stares from the Italian people as they try to place that face in their minds- have I seen this man before?
“Hello,” Bono greets his friends, and promptly sits down. “So…” He removes his jacket and slings his arms back over the chair. “What’s happening?”
“Look,” all three of the rest of the band chime, and Adam shows Bono his hand.
Bono takes a good long look, and is immediately surprised. Adam’s left hand glows with the light of a ring- the fancy type that can only mean one thing. Bono quickly counts- yep, the jewelry item is placed on the third finger.
He meets Adam’s cheerful gaze. “You’re getting married?”
Edge and Larry laugh haphazardly at Bono’s conclusion, and Adam smiles. “What d’you think it means?” he states. “Of course I’m getting married, Bono. Naomi…”
“At Marseille,” Bono says slowly, remembering how the pair had met up after the show. Of course, he doesn’t remember too much after that. “Good news for you, mate!” The band repeats all their congratulations, and Adam swells with happiness.
The waiter zooms over, seeing as the entire band has arrived and it’s time for them to order. They each tell him in Italian what they would like to drink, and he hastily leaves, glancing a few times backward to see if the band is watching him. Unfortunately, they are.
“And here was me thinking you can never trust supermodels,” Larry comments, picking up the previous conversation. Adam laughs. “You know she’s different than the rest of them.”
“I can see the headlines now,” Edge murmurs, staring up at the ceiling. “Model Naomi Campbell Marries U2 Bassist Adam Clayton…”
Bono makes a frame with his fingers. “Extravagant Wedding Leads To Several Arrests.”
“Couple To Honeymoon In Siberia,” Larry pipes up.
“Why Siberia?” Adam questions.
Larry shrugs. “It’s remote, frozen, and we’ve never toured there before. What more do you want?”
No one can answer for laughter.
The drinks arrive at U2’s table, and Bono plays with his straw instead of taking a sip. Somehow he’s not feeling as jovial anymore. There seems to be something wrong with Adam’s engagement, but he can’t put his finger on it. Bono tries to summon up more spirit, but he can’t bring himself to it. Today’s a celebration for Adam and Naomi, and yet it feels false.
Maybe it’s just your black confusion getting in the way of things, Bono thinks sourly. The problem lies entirely with him- there’s no denying that. He just isn’t-
Edge, noticing Bono’s preoccupation, gently nudges him back into the conversation with “Your drink’s not going anywhere, Bono.”
The singer drags himself back to reality with a jump. He tries retorting with “I’m not really thirsty,” but the damage has been done. Adam is snickering.
Somehow that sound grates on Bono’s nerves. “What’s so funny, Mr. Engaged-To-A-Supermodel?”
“Oh, nothing,” Adam replies innocently. Unsurprisingly, Bono’s epithet for Adam sends Larry into a brief giggle spell. “Remember, you’re still single. Engagement is nothing.” The other members of U2 know that Larry doesn’t think too highly of marriage.
“Really?” Adam asks. “I’m single?”
“Sure,” says Larry. “There’s married and then there’s single. You’re either one or the other.”
“That means, Bono, that you’re the only not-single member of U2!” Edge crows joyfully.
The other bandmates slap hands for being single while Bono wishes he could drown in his drink. Just another way to brighten my day, guys.
Then Adam crosses the line. “Bono, you should join us in our single fiesta sometime!”
There’s a short titter of laughter from Larry, but it’s stifled as Adam realizes Bono has taken offense. Edge finds no humor in Adam’s delicately joking words. He knows that Adam was only getting caught up in the moment, but he shouldn’t have provoked Bono at a touchy moment.
“You’re advising me to separate with Ali?” Bono asks, incredulous.
Adam backtracks. “Oh, no way, I’d never suggest that…”
“It was a joke,” Larry says, sticking up for Adam.
Edge can’t speak for anyone. For one thing, it had been a seemingly harmless joke and Bono shouldn’t take it seriously, but then again, Edge remembers his recent separation with Aislinn, his former wife. He can’t imagine the state Bono would be in if he split with Ali.
“Sorry,” Adam mumbles. Bono’s response is even less audible- “S’okay.”
The waiter returns from his long excursion with the band’s meals. Each member digs in heartily, even subdued Bono. In between bites Edge glances over at his friend, wondering if he’s the only one who is picking up on Bono’s bad vibes or if he’s imagining things. The truth is that Edge is a bit more perceptive to moods than most people. He hopes that whatever’s troubling the singer will clear up soon.
“So why’ve you come from the hotel?” Larry asks Bono, gulping his food down in the next second.
Bono shifts his food around on his plate. “Meeting with Marieke,” is his quiet response.
There’s a silence as his bandmates chew and digest both the food and the words, and now Larry is speaking again. “You’re meeting with her a lot, aren’t you?”
Bono’s eyes flicker. That tone in Larry’s voice- is he envious of the meetings?
Adam reaches across the table and punches Larry’s arm. “What’ve you got going on with Marieke, Mr. Mullen?”
“It’s nothing really,” Larry replies, reacting defensively. Bono feels his heart race. His throat is suddenly dry, but he can’t move to bring the drink to his lips. What have Larry and Marieke been doing behind our backs?
“You fancy her, don’t you?” Adam asks, trying to locate the problem. Bono starts until he realizes the words were directed at Larry.
The drummer ducks his head, a scarlet blush spreading over his neck. “Mmmmaybe.”
Adam hoots with laughter. “You can’t hide it, Lar!”
“All right, all right,” Larry mutters. “So I kind of like her. So what? She’s nothing compared to Ann.”
Bono finds his voice at last. “There’s something I never would have guessed about you, Larry. You and Marieke…”
“What can I say?” Larry murmurs, embarrassed. “Just look at the girl. She could have been a supermodel if she tried.”
Bono can find nothing to say to that because it’s too true. Marieke is a beautiful woman and there’s nothing wrong in Larry’s speculations. So why do his words make Bono feel bent out of shape?
Moving food around on his plate, Bono suddenly puts his fork down. “I’m going to the restroom,” he announces, standing up.
“Make sure you don’t drown,” Adam mutters to him, still the smallest bit miffed at Bono’s supposed hard feelings for him.
Bono gives Adam a dirty look and heads in the direction of the men’s room, his mind ablaze.
No one else in the restaurant has excused him- or herself, and Bono’s oddly thankful for being alone. He needs to think this over. Adam is getting married to Naomi, and Larry has a crush on Marieke? What sort of lovestricken mess is the band turning into?
Bono grips the sides of a sink, refusing to look up. In between breaths he concentrates on pulling his mind together, setting all the pieces in place. But he’s mixed up about what the pieces are.
There’s only one thing Bono can focus on at this moment. When Larry speaks of his taking to Marieke, there’s nothing Bono wants more than to smack that man. But I don’t love her, he thinks wearily, all muddled up. I don’t love her. The words sound like a song he’s heard on the radio for far too long, a tune that has grown all too familiar and overstayed its welcome. Yet to the best of Bono’s knowledge the words are true.
Both wanting and not loving, not loving and can’t having anyway- Bono curses this woman who’s crept in on the scene and made his time on tour so much more confusing. Because though he knows- he has to know- that he doesn’t love Marieke, there is no disputing whatsoever that he wants her. That dance onstage…
Bono is suddenly transported back to Turin, when he had shared a stage with Marieke. As soon as her feet touched the stage, Bono was consumed by a frenzy of craving for her. It took more than enough willpower not to grab her, hold her in his arms and never let her go… And at the point where Marieke tempted him, baring her belly and daring him with her eyes to touch- Bono had very nearly complied, but it was only the cheer of the fans that reeled his sense back in, remembering what he should be doing.
“Ugh!” Bono whips his head up and stares at his own reflection in the mirror. “Why- why do I have to want her so fucking badly?!”
His voice rings in the silence. Spinning around, Bono swears again just for the sound of it. He waits for his anger to settle before thinking of anything more. When the rage dissipates, it is replaced by a bitter sense of loss.
I miss her. And this time it is not Marieke who Bono is referring to, but Ali. Damn. He misses his family so fucking badly. If only Ali were here… she would take his mind off Marieke. The thought of his black-haired beauty feels like a punch in the gut. He needs to call her today.
Bono switches the right-hand handle on the sink in the opposite direction and plunges his hands under the running water. A violet, dreamy tune plays against the backdrop of his mind, a song U2 have been working on, but one which was trashed from Zooropa. Bono recalls that both Larry and Edge had been very gung-ho about Velvet Dress, which leads to the suspicion that this song will take its place on the next album- if, of course, there is a next album.
The tune spins across Bono’s mind. Edge has completely finished a guitar part for Velvet Dress and helped Bono write a few lines. Now the song is gathering itself together in Bono’s head.
We’ve been here before
The last time you knocked at my door
The moon was naked and cold
I was like a three-year-old
Who just wanted more
But if you wear that velvet dress…
If you wear that velvet dress…
A pattering of footsteps startles Bono from his reverie. Turning, he wipes his wet fingers on his pants to face an Italian man, holding a booklet of paper and a pencil. “Signor Bono?” the man addresses him nervously.
Bono lets a wide smile break over his face. So there have been U2 fans in the restaurant after all, and taking after their old habits- following the lead singer into restrooms. “What can I do for you?” he asks the fan, pushing former emotion behind himself.
The singer listens attentively to the fan’s chatter about how “Achtung Baby e Zooropa sono album davvero brilliante!” If the man notices anything different about Bono- a more intense look about his eyes, a shaking in his hand- he doesn’t mention it. Bono signs an autograph for him- really all the man wanted- and lets him leave with one final exclamation of “Io amo Zoo TV!”
With the smile still lasting on his face, Bono turns back to the sink and cools his hands again. He smoothes his face with clear water and cuts the flow off. Why so serious? He asks himself. His hands slip into his pocket and draw out the Fly shades.
Bono puts his sunglasses on carefully and cracks a grin at the mirror. Why so serious, why so maudlin? C’mon. You’re The Fly now… He exits the restroom.
“Took you long enough,” Adam says when The Fly approaches his table. “Hope everything came out all right.”
Instead of groaning like Bono would do, The Fly lets the joke glide off his skin with a smile. “Got delayed by a fan in there,” he says, sitting down in his rightful seat.
“I did see some guy walk out, looking way too happy to have just been in the loo,” Adam says.
The Fly answers, “Oh, you never know…” and proceeds with a disgusting remark that has Adam crowing with laughter.
The rest of the lunch is enjoyed much more now that Bono is using his alter ego. The Fly is sly and wisecracking, and can say many things that Bono himself wouldn’t dare. But from across the table, Edge is concerned. He knows that Bono only becomes another persona when he can’t deal with something the normal way- so what’s going on? Is his best friend all right?
Edge wants so badly to take Bono aside and ask him about it, but he can’t get him alone now. Adam and Larry are very much enjoying Bono’s conversion and would probably get in the way if Edge tried to have a serious chat. That’s the trouble with having more friends than you can count, Edge thinks, and lies in wait for a private time when Bono is recovered from his moods.
On leaving the restaurant, a very energetic Fly entertains his friends. In the back of Bono’s mind, however, a song continues to write itself.
If you wear that velvet dress…
If you wear that velvet dress…
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:49 PM   #2
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Ahahhahaha, that dream...that was great

Quote:
Eric clutching his arm around me as if I’ll blow away.
Uh huh. I saw that move there, Eric.

Quote:
Ali, maybe, the closest thing to a mother he has.
True...sad...

Quote:
The morning rises like a hot-air balloon
Nice!

Oh heyyyy, they're in rooms right next to each other! Hmm.

Quote:
We stare at each other, and the only thing I can summon to my mind at this moment is I’m alone in an elevator with Bono.
How did she not pounce on him immediately?

Quote:
I’ve already caught Eric staring at me with unconcealed passion in his eyes. Jack has displayed that same wanting, and so have Larry
*snicker*

although Bono's the one who matters (and who I chose not to include ) in that sentence...

...wow. That was a pretty amazing dance scene. You wrote it well, and I love how it ended with that little bit about Bon singing as if the view was sort of expanding away from Marieke...I could seriously see the dance happening, too. Excellent.

Quote:
Bono makes a frame with his fingers. “Extravagant Wedding Leads To Several Arrests.”
“Couple To Honeymoon In Siberia,” Larry pipes up.
“Why Siberia?” Adam questions.
Larry shrugs. “It’s remote, frozen, and we’ve never toured there before. What more do you want?”
I love you, Blue...you make entertaining conversation happen from out of nowhere

*snickersnicker* LARRY? AND MARIEKE? WHAT? Of all people to be attracted to her, really...this is hilarious.

Poor Bono. It's sad to see him so torn between his family and Marieke. I mean, they're obviously the main characters of the story, but at the same time it would be terrible if anything actually happened between them and he broke up with Ali...man.

Quote:
“Achtung Baby e Zooropa sono album davvero brilliante!”
'album' should be plural...eh, wait. Google Translate says 'album' but that still doesn't feel write...still 'albumi' sounds strange and so does 'albume'...if only I knew the gender >.<

Or in place of that, you could say 'Achtung Baby e Zooropa sono davvero brilliante ('brillianti'? we don't know 'album's gender still...)!' Also the guy would probably say 'Amo Zoo TV!' instead of 'Io amo'; in Italian the person pronouns (totally forgot what they're actually called...) are usually left off because the conjugation of the verb says what person it is.

Quote:
“Got delayed by a fan in there,” he says, sitting down in his rightful seat.
“I did see some guy walk out, looking way too happy to have just been in the loo,” Adam says.
The Fly answers, “Oh, you never know…” and proceeds with a disgusting remark that has Adam crowing with laughter.
Heh...I enjoy the Fly. And your dialogue is great.

And the moral of this story iiiis...:
Quote:
He knows that Bono only becomes another persona when he can’t deal with something the normal way- so what’s going on?
(nice one there!)

I love If You Wear That Velvet Dress...it's so unexpected and beautiful.

Ok, I'm not sure entirely, but I think this might have been my favorite chapter you've written so far. Hmm
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:24 PM   #3
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First, Mysterious Ways is my favorite song of all time. My iPod houses a ridiculous number of versions of that one song. Second, like many Bono fans....I too have dreamed of being Morleigh during that song. So, that scene...was AMAZING!

I like that we are seeing more from Bono's perspective. His angst is nice to see. The Larry thing is interesting. I know we've seen a glimpse in a prior chapter...but now it's out there. Edge always seems to know when Bono is a bit out of sync.

I really enjoyed this chapter.
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:11 AM   #4
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Thanks y'all! I don't have much to say other than that.
Oh, and the thing with Marieke + Larry? I was kind of planning that for a bit, but decided not to make it too obvious.
Thanks about dalogue- I know my Italian isn't good, I used Google translate which gets very many things wrong!
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engagement, macphisto, marieke, the fly, u2, zoo crew, zoo tv, zooropa

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