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Old 08-28-2005, 07:35 PM   #1
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A Story Without Me 8

A Story Without Me Chapter 8: Meet the Family.

Disclaimer/Author's Notes: B and The Author are facing each other across a chessboard. B's trying to teach her how to play chess. jobob's not good at board games. B asks jobob a question. "Chapter 24 of 'So Bono Was In My Drawers' was really something, aye?" It sure was! Remind me to thank youvedonewhat. B takes jobob's Bishop. B, what have YOU done? B sings to a fast, familiar tune: " 'Girl with unmanicured nails, little cross around her neck, she can't see the moves, I'm asking for the' ... Check. Are you worried about your -- our -- story?" Yeah. Chapter 8 took me forever. And I worried my friends and relatives might stumble across this and recognize me or themselves. If I'm in Check, I pass, I guess ... "But you finally finished chapter 8! Names and other details have been changed to protect the innocent. Relax! Oh, and ..." B captures jobob's King. "Checkmate! TONS of fun!" Stop it, B, it's not cute anymore! Every other victorious chess player simply says 'Checkmate'! "You think he does?" YES! No one would ever play chess with Bono again if he kept singing "Vertigo" lyrics during his matches!!! Readers, I hope you keep having fun while you read this fanfiction.

Sorry it's taken awhile for me to post again. I discovered the joy of writing sex and put my non-purple prose aside for awhile after chapter 7. Worry not, "extended scene" fans. I wrote another one of those too. If you want the additional scene, e-mail me at jobobsemail-u2stuff@yahoo.com. Please say you want the extended scene(s) for chapter 8, so I'll know what to send you, and I'll send it soon. Back to our story:

It's Sunday morning. We're on our way to J's stepmother's Joan's house, not far from where we live. We stopped at J's so we could switch cars. She started leasing a new red four-door compact last week. Her family wants to see J's new car. It's not the hot convertible which J has dreamed of owning ever since she saw the concept car at January's auto show. It's not the "pocket rocket" red sporty car she had her eye on in the showroom.

It's also not the medium-sized four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle I told her I saw her in. When I saw that blue SUV on the lot, I swear I also saw the two of us in the front seats and a baby seat in the back seat. I didn't tell J that part of my vision. Seeing us in it as a family made me happy at first. Then it scared me. Then I didn't want to scare her. However, when we walked into the dealership hand-in-hand last Thursday night for J's test drive, the saleswoman thought we were newlyweds. And she tried to sell J and me that same SUV.

Besides arranging for an employee discount for her -- which wasn't necessary, because earlier that same day my company extended its employee discount promotion to last until all the 2005 models were sold -- I also bought J a satellite radio for her new car. She had heard my satellite radios all summer in my car and flat, and she was envious.

"Since it's Sunday, how about listening to gospel music or Christian rock music?" she asks me before we leave her driveway. I tune her radio to the satellite service's Christian rock and pop channel and preset a radio button to it. She smiles. She knows I'll be riding in or driving this car often. I know J doesn't like Christian music when she thinks it sounds more like a sermon than a song. But she's pleasantly surprised whenever she hears spiritual and religious themes in secular rock lyrics.

As we stop at at the intersection of J's street and Woodward Avenue, a song about forgiveness plays on the Christian channel. We listen as J waits to merge into traffic.

"B, I will forgive you whenever things go wrong between us. That's because I love you," J says to me. She takes her right hand off her steering wheel and places it on my left knee for a moment.

"Thank you. Your forgiveness and love mean a lot to me." I kiss her cheek. She puts her hand back on the wheel, merges into traffic and drives north towards the freeway entrances.

J had Joan over for dinner at her house about a week ago so she and I could meet. J told me awhile ago she and Joan had their differences after her father remarried when J was in high school. However, during J's father's illness, the two of them supported each other and became friends -- which still surprises J. I like Joan, though she can be blunt and call things as she sees them. J says Joan's bluntness has often upset her. Joan does seem to care about J as if she were her own daughter, and she seems to approve of me. "I'm glad Jo finally found someone," Joan told me when J left us alone in the living room for a moment the night we met. "I worried she never would."

In about 20 minutes, we are at Joan's house. Aunt Josephine, her husband Jeff, and J's cousin Jenny, pull up behind us as we get out of J's car. Aunt Josephine, or "Aunt Jo," is only 10 years older than J. Josephine is J's mother's younger sister. She married Uncle Jeff when J was 15. She's J's favorite (and, J says, coolest) aunt. She's a second-grade teacher in a school near J's house.

"Aunt Jo!" J says as a short, plump, platinum-haired woman gets out of the passenger side of their large gray SUV. "Jo, this is my boyfriend B. B, this is my Aunt Jo."

"Let me introduce you to my husband." Aunt Jo introduces me to a tall, thin, bespeckeled man. "B, this is my husband Jeff Jablonski, Jeff, this is Jo's boyfriend B."

"Jeff Jablonski," I say to Aunt Jo's husband. "I know we haven't met before, but I know your name from somewhere .... "

"Maybe from your e-mail? I edit Automotive Communication's daily auto industry newsletter," Jeff tells me.

"That's it! I read your newsletter every day! It's very informative Your 'A Few Words From Mr. Car Guy' column is very funny. And J's aunt is your wife?"

"Yes, she is. Our daughter Jenny is Jo's cousin. Jenny is a senior studying automotive design at the College for Creative Studies, so she' s growing up to be a car girl. There she is," Jeff points to the twenty-something, average-heighted, brown-haired woman hugging J. "Jo tells us you're in international marketing at GCF Motors, B?"

"Yes. Your column last week about the employee discount incentive programs -- and joking about how the auto companies suddenly have all these new 'employees' who will never do a day's work for them -- was great. I should tell you what the saleswoman said when J -- your niece Jo -- and I went to test drive and pick up her new car ...."

As Jeff and I begin to talk, J's younger brother Steve pulls up in front of us in his big bronze SUV. (Does everyone in this country except J and me drive one of those huge things?) Steve is a banker in a small west Michigan town. Steve's birthdate is shortly after J's, so it's a party for both of them. Steve is also tall, just an inch over six feet (Is every man in J's life tall except me?) slim, and brown-haired. Steve's wife Dru is a pretty and petite brunette.

"He'd better treat you right," I overhear Steve tell J as I talk to Jeff.

"He does, Steve. Or I wouldn't be with him," J tells her brother. J introduces me to Steve and Dru. Dru shows me, Aunt Jo, Jeff, and Jenny, her newest pictures of her horse, Wild. She and Wild won blue ribbons for Western riding at her county fair last week. Even though I don't like horses, I have to admit Wild's a beautiful animal and obviously well-cared for.

"I don't ride horses," Steve tells me. "I'm the owner. I just write the checks for Dru," he jokes. Somehow I don't find Steve's joke quite as funny as he intended it to be.

"What happened to Misty, your other horse?" Aunt Jo asks Dru.

"We sent Misty to my mother's house. Mom and her husband were talking about owning a horse again. Unfortunately for me, caring for both Misty and Wild was getting to be too much at my age and with my diabetes. But when I miss her, I can get in my truck and visit her at Mom's. It's only an hour and a half from us."

"I thought I saw your cars in the kitchen window!" Joan is in the driveway. "What is everyone doing outside when the food's inside? Come in, get out of the heat! Oh, wait, Jo, is that your new car?"

"Yes, we have to see Jo's new car!" Jeff tells Joan. "So how do you like it, Jo? What kind of equipment does it have?" the automotive writer asks his niece. J waves her arm and walks in front of her car as if she's an auto show model and the car is on a rotating pedestal beside her. Pretending to have a microphone in her right hand, she plays to the little crowd:

"Ladies and gentlemen: Presenting the all-new 2005 GCF Proton! It is powered by a four-cylinder 2.2 liter engine, a three-speed automatic transmission, and has power everything! It even has a little compass on the corner of the rear view mirror!"

"My new car's rear view mirror doesn't have a compass! I want your car's rear view mirror, Jo," Joan tells J. J continues describing her car.

"Dozens of satellite radio channels for your entertainment! It seats four adults. Although they tell me it seats five, I say it would seat four. The Proton's excellent fuel economy helps you beat today's high gas prices: 25 to 30 miles per gallon in the city, no idea yet what it is on the highway! The Proton is the perfect car for the modern single woman's urban transportation needs." She ends her auto-show-model talk. "Would you believe my battery is in the bottom of my trunk, between my spare tire and my bumper? I just hope I never get a dead battery when my trunk's packed."

J presses her remote key fob twice to open the doors so Jeff and Jenny can look inside the car. J has never before owned a car with power door locks or power windows. She told me and the saleswoman that until she bought this car, she was the last person in Detroit who still used keys to lock and unlock a car door. Her remote key fob has become J's new favorite toy. She smiles every time she takes it out of her purse. Grins every time she presses the "unlock" or "trunk" buttons.

"They put your instrument panel in the middle of the dashboard?" Jenny asks J. "I haven't seen that design before. Weird."

"It's different. I'm getting used to it," J tells her niece.

"Are Sue and Emily Sue inside too, Joan?" Steve asks his stepmother.

"Yes. Sue's been back for a week. Em got in Friday night."

Sue is Joan's daughter and J and Steve's stepsister. Sue, who's a flight attendant, and her daughter Emily Sue had lived in Florida for the last five years. But when Sue's father got cancer in June, Sue asked to transfer back home to Michigan. Her transfer came through three weeks ago. Just in time for the mechanics at Sue's airline to threaten to strike at the end of August.

Emily Sue is starting classes at the University of Michigan School of Music in September. She wants to be a musician, but her mother and grandparents insisted she go to college. Last fall, she auditioned at Michigan and the University of Miami and got into both. She decided to come to Michigan to go to one of the country's best universities and music programs, and to be near her relatives. Then, her grandfather got sick and her mother decided to transfer back home.

We all sit down to brunch. Joan introduces me, asks me to say grace for us. When we met at J's, we found out we've been attending the same church services. It's a contemporary Sunday afternoon and evening service at an independent community church between J's and Joan's homes. It features hymns with a six-piece Christian contemporary band, Bible study, and skits and sermons about what the Bible and God and Jesus say about today's issues. Joan used to go to traditional Sunday morning services that her first husband introduced her to. After J's father died, Joan was invited to come to the other church one Sunday. The church is really more of an outreach to the unchurched, baby boomers, and to Generations X and Y. But Joan found it speaks to her too.

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me to be a guest here in this home, and for allowing me to be a part of this family's life. Bless J -- Jo -- and her brother Steve as they celebrate their birthdays. Guide Jenny, Emily, and Josephine and all students and teachers through their new year of school. We also pray for the health of Sue's father and Emily Sue's grandfather. Bless our food through Christ, our Lord. Amen."

"Amen." The Catholics cross themselves. We Protestants, outnumbered, say Amen and raise our heads.

Over brunch, we talk about Ireland. Aunt Jo, Jeff, Jenny, Sue, Steve, and Dru have all been there. We talk about the cities and countryside, the landmarks, the pubs. I tell them a few stories about what it was like to grow up there years ago.

J says Ireland sounds nice, she'd like to go there someday. I take and squeeze her hand under the table as if to tell her someday, love, someday. She squeezes back.

After brunch, as the women clean off the table and the men gather in the living room to talk and watch baseball, Em and I sit at her grandmother's computer in the kitchen. She shows me the web site for "Problem Children," the alternative rock band she was in while she was in high school in Florida. It has mp3's of music along with lyrics, photos, lists of gigs, and biographies.

"We won't see those two again," J jokes as she watches Emily Sue and me at Joan's computer. "B and Em are now going to be each other's new best friends."

"Oh, if the Internet had only been around when I was in a band in high school in Dublin," I tell her after she plays "You Love Me, You Hate Me" for me and Joan complains about the noisy song snippet. "I would have loved to have had a web site for The Hype way back then."

"You were in a band when you were in high school?" Em is impressed that the middle-aged businessman before her was, maybe still is, a musician. "What did you play?"

"I was the lead singer. I wrote most of our song lyrics and collaborated on the music. And I tried to play guitar. You won't believe who else was in our band ..." I tell her about Dave and my playing and writing together and still being friends today.

"*Doctor Dave* and you were in the same band!?! Doctor Dave the sex therapist? The sex therapist who, in his spare time, jams with the Stones and The Arcade Fire and Bruce Springsteen and Kid Rock and The Killers and Paul McCartney and Larry Mullen? *You* wrote songs and played guitar with Doctor Dave?!? You and Doctor Dave were, you are, best friends? I don't believe you."

"Told you you wouldn't believe me. Actually, we were in Larry Mullen's first band. He almost threw me out of it twice."

"What?"

After Em gets over the surprise of discovering her aunt's boyfriend was once in a rock band with two very famous people, she and I are trading stories of our high school gigs.

"Your band once played in front of only nine people?" Em asks me. "Our smallest audience was three people: Our drummer Josh's 13-year-old neighbor Kim and two of her friends. Kim has a big crush on Josh. She follows him everywhere and she drags her friends along with her."

"Girls always chased after Larry, too," I tell Em. "At one of our rehearsals, he turned a garden hose on a group of girls to make them go away."

"As for those nine people, I still sung passionately to them. I still treated them like they were important. I still wanted to connect to them, as much as I feel I would have wanted to make a connection to an audience of a billion people," I told her. "Those are the secrets of performing, you know. Be passionate. Make a connection with your audience."

"Wow. Thanks for the advice, B."

Em's grandmother interrupts us. "Emily Sue! Stop bothering your aunt's boyfriend and come help us with the dishes! B, the rest of the men are out in the living room."

"Yes, grandmother." She goes to help the other women. I go to the living room.

Twenty minutes later, I return to the kitchen for a beer. We men have been discussing cars and football. I tell them about the fantasy football league my coworkers invited me to join. They advise me against owning too many Lions players. The women stop talking as soon as they see me step into the kitchen.

"J, could you tell me where the bathroom is?"

"I'll show you," she says, picking up on my hint.

She shows me where the master bathroom is off Joan's bedroom. "Sue and Em and Dru are jealous! Of me, with you!" J whispers in my ear.

This may be something new for her, to have a relationship or a man other women want. "Better hold onto me, then, J," I kid her.

"Oh, I will. I have an idea of how women see you, Mr. Hewson. But you'd better not think about it, especially not with my stepsister and cousin and sister-in-law!" She smiles, continues. "Even though my female relatives think you're funny and charming and handsome, and they love your voice. Just like I do." She kisses me, then contines. "Jo already thinks you're the best boyfriend I've ever had. Jo wants us to go to the Rolling Stones concert with her and Jeff and Jenny at Comerica Park for their anniversary on the 31st! Wanna go, B? I think I work that day and have that night off."

We soon rejoin the rest of the party, accept Jo and Jeff's invitation to the concert. Dru, who loves taking pictures almost as much as she loves her horses, used her new camera phone to take pictures of the party. "I forgot my regular camera," she told us as she snapped a picture of J and me sitting and talking in Joan's living room. She e-mailed the picture to our e-mail addresses so we could print it after we got home. I exchange e-mail addresses with Em so we can continue to discuss music and keep in touch and say goodbyes to J's family members.

After the party breaks up and we help Joan clean up, we go to the five p.m. church service with J's stepmother. Then J drives me back to her house so I can get my car. J turns off her car's ignition but hesitates to get out of her car and go inside her house.

"I have never liked Sunday nights, especially at the end of a busy, fun weekend like this one. Sunday night is the end of the weekend fun, time to start dreading the workweek. This past year I ended my weeks with 'Desperate Housewives,' but its second season doesn't start until September. Won't you come in, B? I have more fun with you anyway than I ever do watching TV. I'm stalling and I'm babbling, B, and you must be hungry. Please, come in. Let me see what I can make us for dinner. And for dessert."

We walk into her house. She turns on a living room lamp softly and closes her living room drapes. "You know, my neighbor Mr. McGillicutty asked me Thursday if we're engaged. Just because he saw us kissing in your car when you brought me home Wednesday night. Or was that early Thursday morning?" J tells me.

"What would Mr. McGillicutty think of us if he could see into my bedroom?" I say as I sit down on J's love seat.

"What's that, love?"

Her air conditioning turned itself back on while we were gone. Good. Things could get hot in here. She takes my sunglasses from my face, folds the arms, and carefully puts the glasses on her side table.

"Oh, nothing. So what shall we do about dinner?" I ask her.

She sits down next to me on the love seat, and kisses my closed eyes.

"Did I ever tell you one of my favorite sayings is 'Life is short. Eat dessert first.'?"

We kiss and kiss and kiss.
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Old 08-28-2005, 08:37 PM   #2
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This story is so refreshing. Keep up the wonderful writing! And I'll be waiting for that additional scene.
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Old 08-29-2005, 03:52 AM   #3
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Great Chapter
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Old 08-29-2005, 05:58 AM   #4
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I love your story. I would love to read the extended version for Chapter 7&8. Please, Send to me evita@tds.net. Thank you!
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Old 08-29-2005, 09:19 AM   #5
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Its so cute, I'm really getting hooked on this story
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Old 08-29-2005, 04:50 PM   #6
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Me too...I REALLY love that story!!!! God...Bono is SO sweet!!! Love the Larry Mullen Band!!! God, The Edge...Dr. for sex...

Keep it up girl...you're REALLY good!!!!!

I would like the extended version...Please
u2_sarajevo@yahoo.ca

THANKS!!!!
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Old 08-29-2005, 05:10 PM   #7
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Extended version please... Targon1991@hotmail.com
Great chapter!
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Old 08-29-2005, 05:57 PM   #8
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haha the dave the sex therapist
i still can't get over that

great chapter
bono is too cute
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Old 08-30-2005, 05:03 PM   #9
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Lovely Chapter
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:02 PM   #10
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Love, love, love it!!!! Another excellent addition...thank you!

P.S.
If you would send me the extended edition/directors cut of the story I would really appreciate it. My e-mail is: imapleba@yahoo.com
Thanks again!
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