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Old 12-01-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
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Mysterious Ways - Chapter 11

Ugh, this was a grind I have to admit. I didn't really reread it, so there maybe errors. Once again, this is all fake.

Surprisingly, Gloria was first to breakfast the next morning. Aside from the red wine headache, she felt decent. She was carrying a hangover from the previous days events. Her legs didn’t want to work correctly. Her head still felt fuzzy from the kiss which she tried very hard to forget. A few bleary-eyed crew members wandered down to pick at the breakfast buffet. Larry came in fresh from the airport. After a long night of ‘discussing’ seeking a second opinion with Ann, he left without breakfast. He was now ravenous. He spied Gloria at a table alone eating over her iPad. She was the hardest working person on this tour he decided. When she wasn’t making sure the wheels of the 360 Tour were turning without incident, she was managing other projects from afar. He piled his plate with some eggs, toast and homefries before sitting across from her.

“Morning,” he said.

She looked up abruptly. “Hey, did you just get in?”

He nodded as he shoveled a forkful of egg in his mouth. “It was an early morning.”

“It feels like an early morning,” she agreed.

He looked directly in the eye. “I’m so sorry that I forgot to wish you luck on your race. My head was sort of out of it that day.”

“Oh, big deal,” she shrugged causally.

“It was a big deal. I remember you talking about it earlier this summer,” back when he was trying to get close to her. “How did you do?”

Gloria grinned. “I qualified.”

“For the marathon? The Boston, right?”

“Yes,” she said proudly. “Now, I can register for the Boston Marathon come October. I’ve always wanted to run it, but I was never a runner. I never thought I could do it.”

“I knew you could,” he said plainly. “When you get determined, nothing can stop you. Anyone that can ‘manage’ Bono....can pretty much do anything.”

Suddenly, Gloria felt guilt creep up on her. Edge walked into the ballroom with red eyes followed by a freshly meditated Adam. It was strange to see Edge a bit rough. Edge sat beside Gloria with the biggest plate of greasy food she’d ever seen.

“I guess I missed quite a night,” she mused.

Edge shook his head. “It’s been a long time since that has happened. I never want to see another glass of Ouzo again - or hear the word ‘opa!’.”

“Guess I missed out on something,” Gloria said. “Did Bono meet you guys out?”

“No. Or he didn’t meet up with us,” Edge said.

On cue, Bono waltzed into breakfast, in workout clothes still damp with sweat and followed by his personal trainer. He flashed the room a big smile, “Morning people!”

Edge groaned, “Bollocks.”

Bono ordered an egg white omelette and toast. He plopped beside Gloria. Leaning over, he looked at Edge’s pale face. “You look rough, mate.”

“Where were you last night? We expected you to catch up with us,” his voice cracked.

“I went to bed early,” Bono nodded as he deflected the sniggers from the table. “Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up people. I was being healthy while you were all destroying your bodies.” He attempted to flex his arm muscles.

“Holy Christ, you smell,” Gloria gasped. “Really? You couldn’t have taken a detour to a shower before gracing us with your muscles?”

The table erupted in laughter. With that jibe, Gloria felt the tension in her shoulders lift. At least until Bono raised his eyebrows challenging her from behind his blue shades. His hair was still damp from his workout. “You aren’t turned on by my manly musk?”

Larry snorted. “You call it musk, we call it stench.”

Gloria was relieved that usual banter carried on around her. Deep down, she knew that the conversation with Bono would need to be sooner than later. It wouldn’t be that day. Gloria didn’t stop from breakfast until she went to bed. The day, luckily, was considerably uneventful. Once everyone was finished with breakfast, Gloria round them up for soundcheck. It was like herding cats some days. From soundcheck, there were interviews to air in newspapers in host cities later in the tour. A band meeting where Paul informed all the members of U2 they would be meeting with prime minister of Turkey. Larry sighed heavily. He hated politics. For the first time in a long time, he managed to keep a very low profile on this tour. Since they were jetting home after most shows, there were no hotels, no rabid fans standing for hours waiting for an autograph at the hotel. The last note was still ringing in the arena as he slipped into his awaiting car.

“Is it really necessary?” Larry asked.

“You won’t have to say a thing,” Gloria assured him. You know he’ll do all the talking,” she pointed to Bono who smiled sheepishly.

“He lobbied a year ago for us to play here,” Bono said.

“What’s the deal with the bridge walk?” Larry scoffed.

“Come on, it’s where East meets West,” Edge said. “That’s kind of cool.”

Bono walked over to Larry and wrapped his arms around his neck. “You know Lardence doesn’t like his photo taken. He’s worried it will age his supple young skin.”

Larry shrugged him off, “Get off me.”

“It will be relatively painless...and historic.” Gloria said.

From the meeting, they were ushered back to the arena to get ready for the show. Most nights, Gloria watched the show from the soundboard or from the pit with Brian or Dennis. Tonight, she was worried what might happen on stage if Bono were to see her. The dynamic of their friendship had shifted. She was working hard to be casual and get them back to before that kiss. Her stomach turned as finally she found herself alone in a room with him.

“Did you want to go over what your and the Turkish prime minister will talk about?” Her eyes were glued to her computer.

It was the morning after the Athens show. Bono had stopped by Gloria’s flat on his way home from a long night of recording wit the band. He was exhausted. He had about 18 hours before boarding the plane to head to Turkey.

Rubbing his eyes, “I know not to get to into with him. Keep it light and conversational. It’s all PR and just opening the door for a later conversation.” He smiled at her. “Besides, as much as I like watching Larry squirm at these meetings, he always finds a way to get me back.”

As their gaze lingered, it was now or never she decided. “Listen, about the other night.”

He knew this was coming. He could see the wheels turning in her head the day before. She went from shocked, to confused - and now on to dismissive. He hadn’t worked out his own feelings about it. He did enjoy the flush of emotions he felt when she looked at him - even if he shouldn’t.

“I’m sorry,” Gloria said. “I was in a bad headspace. I was lonely and still a little dehydrated.” She went on for several minutes explaining the concept of proximity infatuations and the fact that they had spent a lot of time together lately. Perhaps a full moon was to blame too. She tossed in every explanation that pointed their kiss being a random act instead of anything to be worried about or the rebirth of very real feelings.

Bono watched her closely. He, for once, said nothing. The more she explained it away, he could see those emotions bubbling under the surface. He was certain it wasn’t as easy as what she said. He knew it was very likely they would be face to face again. He wasn’t sure what he would do if that happened. As he watched her pace before him motioning passionately, he wanted to kiss again. It was wrong on some may levels - but she was just darling to him.

When she was out of breath, she stopped to look down at him on the couch. “So...what do you think?”

He wanted to tell her that all the bullshit was very nice and sounded all well and good - but she needed to confront the fact that just maybe something deeper was going on. He considered confessing that a fire had started the night she slept on his couch.

Bono nodded. “You are probably right. We were tired and you were so sad. It just happened. I hope our friendship doesn’t get fucked up because of something so silly.”

Her face broke into a wide grin. “Never. I didn’t want it to get weird. But I think we’re fine.”

“I think we’re fine too,” he yawned. “Can I crash here? Right on the couch? I’m knackered.”

“Oh, sure. I was about to go for a run,” she said.

“Do you ever rest, woman?” he kicked off his boots and swung his legs up.

“I have Boston to train for,” she offered him a throw pillow. As she placed it under his head, they held a gaze. In that moment, Gloria knew her speech was all bullshit too.

As like every tour, the days and cities started to blend together. The band stuffed into cars for meetings and appearances. As much as Larry grumbled about the press surrounding their Bosphorus bridge walk, it was pretty impressive. The band took several goofy photos on opposite sides of the continents. And like every after show, they whisked away to Dublin this time to stuff into a recording studio to capture the magic. At the same time, Bono and Edge had several meetings and video conferences about the Spiderman musical which at the moment was trucking along. A bulk of PR management and general management had fallen on Gloria’s shoulders as Julie Tamor was a family friend - and Gloria had been involved in Green Day’s American Idiot musical. Gloria felt powerless as she was pulled deeper into U2’s inner world. She and Bono had not spoken about the kiss since the day after the Athens show. Of course, that didn’t mean the tension completely disipated either. Bono flirted with Gloria mercilessly - enough to make things interesting, but not enough to cross any boundaries. He had a long history of following his heart rather his head. It made him the rock star that he was. It also made him sometimes travel down some morally questionable roads. Gloria tried to convince herself that he was just having some fun. His smiles, his glances, his close proximity was just a way to amuse himself. However, that was how it started on Zoo Tv. It went from indulging his ego to indulging his lust.

The band were able to rest a little between Istanbul and Zurich. The next set of dates were close together and Bono needed to rest his back. The eleven previous dates had taken some toll on him. Of course, recording into the wee hours of the morning didn’t help.

The first Zurich show started with starry skies. By the end of the show, the clouds swallowed the sky. Gloria and Willie frantically checked local radars to certain that the skies didn’t open up on the band. Despite the thick clouds and building winds, the rain held off until the band were all tucked into their hotel rooms.

The flashes of lightning illuminated the dark shadows in Bono’s room. He had been staring at the walls, the ceiling and bad Swiss television since midnight. The bonus of heading right to a recording studio or practice space after a show was that he was able to unwind naturally from the high of the performance. He asked everyone and anyone for a nightcap at the bar. Everyone and anyone declined and retreated to their rooms. His body and mind could not shut down for the night. Even after a nightcap from his hospitality basket, his mind raced. His thoughts danced from Ali to Gloria. He sensed Gloria’s defenses weakening. She didn’t turn from his eyes. She didn’t flinch if he touched her. What could that mean? What should it mean? He shook his head and thought about a new song he’d been mulling over. Within 20 minutes, he was dressed in his jeans, a wrinkled dark blue button down and black hoodie to find something to drink and do.

On the same floor of his room, Bono heard music coming out from the VIP bar. He thought it was a band, but it was just a piano and a woman’s voice. As he drew closer, he thought the voice sounded familiar. Where had he heard it? He couldn’t place the song right away, but he knew he’d heard it before. It wasn’t a big lounge. The bartender sat at the bar reading a book. Two Japanese businessmen clicked away on their respective laptops. Bono thought it would be funny if they were emailing a conversation. The baby grand piano shielded the singer. He recognized the song. It was a beautiful version of ‘Thank You’ by Led Zepplin.

“If our love is strong, with you there is no wrong...together we can go till we die....”

His heart stopped. He remembered the voice. He hadn’t heard her sing since a drunken night of karaoke roulette a year ago. He spied Gloria behind the keys. Slowly he walked around the back of the piano to lean beside it. She was so engrossed that she didn’t notice.

“If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. If mountains crumbled to the sea,” she felt eyes on her. A small smile played on Bono’s lips as he watched her. “There would still be and me....”

He clapped as she sat back from the keys. “Beautiful. I don’t think I knew you played piano so well.”

She stretched her arms. “I practice in the off season.”

“I forget how beautiful your voice is,” he said tenderly.

“Well, I’ve been done a few small charity concerts. That keeps it well oiled,” she shrugged.

“With all your contacts, why haven’t you recorded anything?” he asked.

“I have no interest in that. Touring and recording. I tour with you guys, and it’s exhausting. At least, I don’t have to go onstage and perform,” she said.

He sat beside her on the bench. “See, that’s the best part. I feel bad for you and the crew. You work harder some days and you don’t get the glory of the audience and performing.”

“That’s why some perform and some help you perform,” she nudged him.

He raised one eyebrow. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“Sure, you know what I drink,” she said.

With a wink, he went to the bar. The bartender didn’t care that Bono was ordering drinks from him. He didn’t seem up for small talk. He poured a glass of cabernet for Gloria and a double whiskey for Bono. With a nod, the bartender went back to his book.

“Someone loves his job,” Bono muttered as he reclaimed his seat on the bench.

“It is after 1am,”she glanced at her watch.

“So, what brings you here? A sudden urge to break into song?” he asked.

She stared down at the keys again with a shrug. “Don’t know. I couldn’t sleep. What about you?”

“Same here. My body is used to jamming and recording all night long. These hotel overnights interrupt my natural rhythm.”

Nodding in agreement, “Yeah, I hadn’t considered that.”

“Up for a duet?” he asked as he plucked a few keys.

“I don’t know that many songs. Especially not duets,” she said. She laughed as she started to play ‘Endless Love’.

He wrinkled his nose. “I don’t think I know that one.”

“You might know this one...let’s see if I can do this on piano.” After a few false starts, she plunked out the beginning of John and June Cash’s ‘If I were a Carpenter’. They giggled as they butchered it a few times before getting one half decent version out. They were oblivious of the glares of Japanese businessmen and the eye-rolls of the bartender.

With another drink, they moved to a leather couch in front of the gas fireplace. The Japanese businessmen had left and were replaced by an older couple who sat at the bar and ordered supper - or breakfast.

“So, all this running business. How did that start?” Bono balanced his whiskey on his leg.

“I don’t know. I guess it was easy. Most of my projects never end. I travel around with actors on press junkets, go to premieres. Every year, I gear up for the awards season. I tour with bands. But they all run together and overlap. Running has a start and an end. I have so many projects in the air, and they never finish. With running, I feel like I complete something,” she chuckled uneasily. “And it helps me ignore the fact that I have no personal life to speak of.”

“Ah,” Bono rubbed his chin. “Back to the conversation with Andrew.”

“Maybe. He’s already hinting at your tour next year,” she said.

“He just doesn’t love me anymore,” He feigned a pout.

“Or me,” she scoffed.

“Is touring with us so terrible?” he leaned closer.

Her cheeks burned. “No, it’s just hard to have a life when you spend most of your year on someone else’s tour.”

“And running helps with that?”

She nodded. “It makes me feel like I have some control over my life. Andrew says that humans shouldn’t push their bodies to that level. I don’t think he was all that excited when I told him about planning to run the Boston marathon.”

“I think you are doing great. I’m very proud of you,” His gaze was intense. Clearing his throat, “We all are.”

She smiled. “Thanks. That’s nice to hear.”

He slipped his hand in the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. His fingers brushed the soft velvet of a small box. Maybe it was the whiskey. Maybe it was watching the fire flicker in her eyes.

“I shouldn’t do this,” he said lowly. “In fact, the rest of the band will kick my arse.”

She frowned. “What are you talking about?”

He pulled the small black velvet box. “We wanted to get you something to commemorate your success in running. We were supposed to give it to you as a band, but I really feel this is the perfect time.”

“Bono, you guys didn’t have to do that,” she felt silly. The biggest band in the world was giving her a gift for something as silly as running.

“I...we wanted to,” he slipped.

Gloria caught his slip. He handed her the small box. She glanced up at him. He motioned for her to open it. Nestled inside the black satin pillow was a perfect diamond encrusted runner pendant on a platinum chain.

“Oh...this is too much,” her voice caught in her throat.

“For all you do for us, it’s pales in comparison,” he said softly.

“You picked this out, didn’t you? This was all your idea,” she playfully accused him.

He scratched his head innocently. “Who me?”

“It’s beautiful, Bono,” she sighed. Her heart was filled with conflicting emotions and desires. “Thank you.” She wrapped her arms around him. Closing his eyes, he buried his face in her hair. She moved away feeling a bit dizzy. Perhaps too much wine. “Will you help me put it on?”

“Of course,” He was thrilled she loved it. When he saw it in a tiny family owned store, he knew it was perfect for her. She inched closer as he slipped the chain around her neck. His gruff grazed her cheek. A shiver shot down her spine.

“Perfect,” he smiled. “It was made for you.”

They held that gaze for a moment before she glanced down at her watch. 3:30am. “’s that late?”

He grabbed her wrist and squinted at the watch face. “It will be an ugly morning. I’ll have to tell Ben to come later in the morning.”

“I’m going to it the bathroom first,” Her head swam in red wine as she stood.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“It really will be an ugly morning,” she teetered to the bathroom. Splashing some cold water on her face, she admired her new necklace. Tenderly, she fingered the sparkling pendant. Her heart filled thinking of Bono picking out her necklace. What was going through his head as he wandered through the stores looking for just the perfect item.
Steadying herself, she went out to say goodnight to him.

Bono was leaving the men’s room at that moment. It was a dark desolate hallway with only the two of them.

“Are you going to bed?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think I should. You should too,” she said.

“Good night then,” he voice dropped to a husky whisper. His arms slid around her waist. “Sweet dreams, Glory.” He pressed his lips against her forehead. She closed her eyes tightly. She could give him a simple hug and run away.

She tilted her face up towards him. “Good night.”

It was all the invitation he needed. He cradled her face in his hands. He kissed her softly at first. As her arms wrapped around his waist, his lips grew more passionate, more urgent. She melted against him. It had been a long time since she felt like this - light-headed, pulse racing. Even longer since she felt like this around him. Suddenly, she was 22 and clinging to his leather clad body waiting for him to take her new levels. But her lips did not betray her maturity. This kiss danced on the edge of a sweet goodnight kiss and the gateway to so much more.

“I’ve thought about this for so long,” he whispered against her cheek as he kissed her nose, eyelids. “Oh God, how I missed you.”

She didn’t want to talk. She just wanted to enjoy what she was feeling now. Their lips met again with more heat. Pressing himself against her body, they were oblivious to their surroundings. All the thoughts and emotions that Gloria suppressed rushed to the surface of her skin.

He wanted to go to her room. He wanted to rediscover her again, but he knew the time wasn’t right. It was early in the morning. They were basically in a public place - even if it was a dark hallway. They could be spotted. Ali and the kids came to his mind. He felt guilty for a moment, until her hands ran across his chest.

Slowly, she pulled away. His breath was heavy as he stared at her. “Good night, Bono.” And she was gone.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:16 PM   #2
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Wow! This chapter was AMAZING! You make Bono such a desirable, charming gentleman. Than again...he's always that, isn't he?

I'm so glad you updated this! I love, love, love this story!

Although, I have only one thing to say to Gloria: LARRRRRRRYYY!

Just tell me, will there be a little, itty, bitty, tiny bit of Gloria/Larry? I know they love each other! I just know it!

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:47 PM   #3
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Thank you. I felt a bit uncertain after reading Fourth of July.

You will probably have to wait until Australia to see if there is a Gloria/Larry reunion. I've been writing snippets of scenes that happen in the Australia. Settle in, this one is going to be an epic fic. I still have to write the rest of the European Tour and hiatus. But I'm glad you are enjoying it. Makes me want to get the next bit out for you.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:02 PM   #4
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Never get discouraged by other fics! I've been there, done that. But my writer in crime, the lovely miss Without Speaking, has always assured me that we all have our own writing styles/techniques that make us individual and creative. There was a time, hell, there are still times (have you read any Slash? Now THOSE girls put me to shame) where I feel like my writing isn't good enough. Or my story isn't interesting enough.

But here's the thing. Writing is a release for me. If I'm having a bad day, I can sit down and escape to anywhere. I can be where I want to be, have conversations with people that I wouldn't ever have conversations with. And by the end of the night, after I'm done writing, I feel so much better! That's what writing is about. It's cheap medicine.

And yes, the Forth of July was fantastic! I loved it and it kept me entertained. But the Forth of July and Mysterious Ways are two totally different genres! It would be like comparing James Bond to lets say...Moulin Rogue. It's not a bad thing! I love all types of stories! And I really love this one as well! I've liked it since chapter one and will continue to read and comment as long as you keep posting.

Sorry about the

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Old 12-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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Great chapter, GR! And great words of encouragement, L&L - thank you for sharing them.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:07 PM   #6
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Aw thanks guys. I feel the same way about writing and have been writing since I was 8 - erm - a very long time ago. This is my second attempt at fanfic. The first one I wrote myself into a corner quickly and lost interest as did everyone else. This is actually sort of a continuation of that one. I'll have to see if I can find it now. This one I've done more skeletal work as I like to say. So, now it's just fleshing it out and making it interesting and as real as fanfic can go. It is a nice release from the day to day life.

So once again, I thank you for the encouragement.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
Thank you. I felt a bit uncertain after reading Fourth of July.

You will probably have to wait until Australia to see if there is a Gloria/Larry reunion. I've been writing snippets of scenes that happen in the Australia. Settle in, this one is going to be an epic fic. I still have to write the rest of the European Tour and hiatus. But I'm glad you are enjoying it. Makes me want to get the next bit out for you.
Well I can't wait for this! As a matter of fact your story happens to be my favorite fanfic out of the ones I've read on here (but as that's only been, like, three I can't say much... ) Whatever...
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:53 PM   #8
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You're doing wonderfully.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
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I feel terrible for Larry, though Bono and Gloria seem to be working better together for the moment. He's just not having a great time.

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