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Old 09-09-2005, 08:37 PM   #1
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Babyface pt 10

*Disclaimer: Although obviously inspired in part by people who exist in real life, this story is in no way meant to represent reality, past, present or future. The author has no personal experience or contact with the band or their friends and family. There are facts within this story which may be contrary to real life either because they were changed for artistic purposes or simply because the author had no knowledge of the truth on a particular subject; i.e.: dates and times. No offense is intended to anyone who inspired this work of fiction. It’s just a wandering thought found trapped in the maze of someone’s imagination.

Babyface pt 10

Larry woke in a strange bed in a strange room, his mind searching for a moment to recognize the place and time. He pressed the heel of his hand against his forehead and groaned as reality began to sink in. He slipped out of bed and padded softly to the bathroom. He ran his hands under the faucet and then wiped his tired eyes and ran a damp hand through his shaggy hair. The man in the mirror was not the same as the man he felt like inside.

The years had been kind to him, really. In many ways, he was looking better than ever at age 44. Women certainly hadn’t stopped looking at him with that same hunger in their eyes he’d seen since he was a teenager. There were just more women now, of more age groups, who looked at him that way. Adam had been jealous of that, years ago. Finally even he saw how empty it made Larry feel.

Nearly 27 years had passed since the birthday he spent at Janet’s flat; in her bed, in her arms. Still, sometimes, when he woke from a dream about her he could smell her hair, taste her kisses or hear her laughter. Everyone had promised him that time would make love fade. They’d all been wrong.

He’d had a couple of other lovers, tried to have the sort of normal relationship he had expected he would have with Janet. He’d never been in love with them, though. It had been an empty, dissatisfying feeling, trying to share any sort of intimacy with someone whom he could neither love nor trust fully. He had built so many defenses around his heart that no one had even come close to it in years.

He knew he wasn’t going to get back to sleep, not after dreaming about Janet. The dreams had slowed to the point that he had barely even thought about them in recent years. It wasn’t that he’d forgotten her, by any means, but at least his troubled heart had stopped tormenting him in his sleep. As his forty-fifth birthday approached, however, the dreams had returned with an intensity that troubled him.

He moved out of the bathroom and out into the living area of his suite, turning on the television in the hope that the flickering lights and white noise would distract his mind and clear from it all thought. He didn’t want to deal with the familiar old feeling in his gut that he had messed up the best thing he ever had going.

As soon as he’d heard her say that she was leaving; that she didn’t think they should be together, he had began putting up his defenses. His heart was too broken already, to leave it vulnerable to another loss. She’d called him every day of the next two weeks, trying to talk to him. She had things which she said she wanted to explain, but Larry didn’t want to hear excuses.

He wouldn’t speak to her on the phone, so she came to the school. He avoided her at the school, and she had come to rehearsal. Still, he had refused to speak to her, or even to listen to what she had to say. Finally, one day she stopped coming around, stopped calling.

Adam saw him looking out the window of the shed in which they rehearsed, one afternoon. It had been four days since she’d come around, asking him to listen to her. He wanted to be relieved that she had given up. Instead, he longed to see her standing there, her arms crossed over her chest to try and keep herself warm, her blonde hair messy and blowing in the breeze.

“She flew home this morning.” Adam said, accurately interpreting Larry’s vacant stare. Larry scowled at Adam but did not deny that he had been wondering about her. He just didn’t want to talk about her at all. If she could so suddenly change her mind about loving him, Larry figured, he didn’t need her in his life anyway.

So many times, over the years, he had wondered if he had only talked with her before she left, what was it she was so desperate to tell him? What might have passed between them? Would they have kept in touch? He wondered where she was, over the years. Considered looking for her, even, but always opted to leave well enough alone. Too much time had passed, and he wasn’t sure he really wanted to open up old wounds. Even if they had never really healed.

He wondered if she got married and had a family. She could be a grandmother, by now, in theory. He wondered if she was happy, and if she ever thought about him at all. That night, as he flipped through the channels, past repeat television programs and infomercials, telephone psychic hotlines and call from home shopping networks, he wondered all these things again.

Suddenly, he felt a burst of adrenaline shoot through his blood as his eyes recognized a face on the TV screen as he flipped past. He turned it back hurriedly, sitting up and leaning forward, his elbows on his knees as he stared in disbelief at the screen.

It was a community message board announcing local events. Amongst the church fundraisers and community theater advertisements, there was a section under the title ‘Music in the park’. Beside this was a small picture of a beautiful young woman with long blonde hair. Larry knew the features of her face, he had just been recalling them in his dream! Underneath the picture were the words ‘Don’t miss the folk-blues style music of Janet Vale for our final concert of the season.’ Larry’s heart stopped beating, his breath disappearing as he felt the past 27 years slipping away completely.

It was impossible. The woman in that picture was the age Janet had been when he had known her. Still, she was the spitting image, and the fact that she shared her name could not be coincidence. The commercial ended before he was thinking clearly enough to write down the name of the park and time of the concert. He cursed himself for being an idiot and sat the remote control down to wait for the ad to air again.

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

“Larry?” Adam’s voice on the other side of the door brought him up out of a deep, dreamless sleep. Larry stumbled to the door and opened it, letting his lifelong friend into his suite with a wide yawn. He ran a hand through his hair and blinked his eyes as he looked around for a clock.

“What are you doing? Is everything all right?” Adam asked, eyeing Larry’s wrinkled appearance suspiciously.

“I was asleep on the sofa.” Larry replied, suddenly recalling the advertisement which had kept him on the sofa all night. Had it been real? He moved to stand in front of the TV again, thinking it seemed much more likely to have been a dream.

“We have to meet Anton in the city in half an hour to start filming the video.” Adam reminded him, his blue eyes narrowing in concern as he studied his friend.

“Fuck. I forgot. I’ll just take a quick shower and be on my way.” Larry replied, and Adam nodded patiently. He sat on the sofa and spread the morning newspaper out on the coffee table to read while he waited. Larry rushed through his routine, showering before he pulled on a T-shirt and a pair of jeans as he ran a comb through his still wet hair. When he stepped back out into the living area, Adam sat staring ahead with a look of shock on his face.

“Did you see it, too?” Larry asked without thinking. He’d convinced himself that he had dreamed the announcement about Janet, and he was not planning on mentioning it to anyone. When he saw the look on Adam’s face, though, he had been convinced he had not simply dreamt it.

“See what?” Adam asked, frowning as he hurried to fold the newspaper back up, hiding the page which had caused him such shock. Larry snatched the newspaper out of his hands and tore through it, his heart nearly stopping once again when he saw her picture.

“A ghost.” Larry replied dryly, letting the newspaper fall open in front of Adam where he would not be able to miss seeing the photo. “I thought I was losing my bloody mind! Maybe I still am.” Larry said, raking his hands through his hair. “She’d be fifty years old now, but the girl with her name and her face is in her early twenties.” He said, looking down over Adam’s shoulder at the familiar face in the newspaper.

“I think … Holy fuck, Larry.” Adam groaned rubbing his temples as if to ward off a severe headache. “There’s something I think I should’ve told you. Years ago. About… about Janet.” He said, glancing up to meet the intensity of Larry’s scowl. “I’ll tell you on the way to meet the others.” He said with a sigh. Had his decision to remain quiet about the things he knew about Janet been one of the biggest mistakes of Adam’s life? He had never thought it was a particularly grievous decision. But what if his silence had kept Larry from his own daughter for twenty six years?

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

Larry stood on the sand looking out over the brilliantly blue water as it shimmered in the mid-day sun, his back turned on his friends. They all bustled around, preparing to film the latest video of their How To Dismantle and Atomic Bomb album, and pretended not to notice that Larry was not participating. Adam sat on a bench not far from Larry, smoking a cigarette and wishing his friend had something to say.

If he would only yell at him, curse him, threaten him even, Adam would at least have an idea what was going on inside of his head. As it was, all he could do now was wait. On the drive, Adam had told Larry of the chilly winter day he had been called to the hospital. He told him why Janet had decided she had to let Larry go, how she had been convinced all she could give him was sorrow. He told him how she was likely to die young, and how she couldn’t stand the thought of him suffering that. Just when Larry had thought Adam’s revelations could not make him feel worse, Adam had told him of Janet’s failed pregnancy. The hole that had been in Larry’s heart all these years was broken wide open and hurting worse than ever.

“I’m truly sorry that I never told you any of this.” Adam said as Larry turned around to face him, the shimmering light off the surface of the lake behind him making Adam have to squint to see his friend.

“Don’t worry about it. There’s nothing we can do now.” Larry told him, his voice as cold as his silver eyes.

“What about this woman? The folk singer?” Adam asked, rising from the bench and following Larry back to the set of the video. “Is it possible that she’s…”

“I don’t bloody know, Adam. I mean, fuck! You said it was a few weeks before she left that… that you found out about …” Larry couldn’t stand to even say the words. “So… I mean, sure, she could have been pregnant when she left, for all I know. I was seventeen, and I was so fucking mad at her for leaving me, I shut her out. I don’t know what she was trying to tell me.” He sighed, kicking at the gravel beneath his foot, his hands shoved in his pockets as he talked.

“So let’s go see her.” Adam suggested, and Larry looked up in shock. “Why not? She’s got the same name, looks just like her, she lives in the same state Janet was from. Besides that we know where to find her tonight. I’d say if ever you were given a bigger sign it would have to be written in flashing neon letters and hit you on the bleedin’ head!”

“All right.” Larry agreed with a slight nod. “Don’t say anything, will you, to Bono and Edge.” He added, and Adam agreed earnestly.

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

There were half a dozen moments in which Larry would have turned around and went back to the hotel without approaching the young woman with Janet’s name. Fortunately, Adam was behind the wheel of the rented car and paid no attention to him when Larry told him to turn around. Adam had made amends for most of the wrongs he had felt he had done in his life. This was one which he was not about to let go uncorrected if he could help it.

It was late in the year for an outside concert. Especially in Michigan, next to the lake, where it was always a bit cooler. Still, there was a fairly large crowd gathering at the picnic tables and on benches, some sitting on the cold ground and others on lawn chairs they brought along with them.

The small stage was constructed much like a deck or gazebo, raised only three feet off the grass with a simple back and roof, curved to improve the acoustical quality. There was a stool center stage and an acoustic guitar on a stand next to it, and to the left there was an acoustic bass consuming a great portion of the stage. Along the back wall there were other stringed instruments, another acoustic guitar as well as a fiddle amongst them. A simple drum kit sat beside those, sort of shoved in the corner and all but forgotten.

Larry and Adam stood near the back, leaning against a tree and surveying the people who had gathered. Some were here because they had no other place to go, and some were obviously here out of genuine interest in the music. There were people of a surprisingly wide range of ages; from a group of senior citizens who had come on a senior center bus to a small gathering of young mothers who were outnumbered by their pre-school children.

The leaves were brilliantly colored, though there were more on the ground than on the trees, and the night air was not nearly as cold as it could have been. The campground lights and the lights on the simple stage began to glow in the twilight. It was in this moment, the time of day which can make people believe that anything is possible, that he saw her approaching. It was as if she had stepped right out of his past.

His heart swelled with so much love it felt as if it was painful, and he caught himself holding his breath in wonder. If it had been up to him, she would have passed by without noticing him standing there. Perhaps he would’ve approached her later. Then again, maybe not, he thought as she nearly passed by. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Perhaps he was losing his mind, because how could it be possible? It was the girl he had loved all his life, and she had not aged a day since they had parted ways twenty six years earlier.

“Excuse me.” Adam spoke up, seeing that Larry was too mesmerized to do so. He stepped out in front of the young woman to make her draw to a stop. She looked up at Adam and smiled a beautiful but confused smile. “Janet Vale?” Adam asked and she nodded slightly.

“Yes.” She agreed, looking him up and down curiously.

“I’m Adam Clayton. This is Larry Mullen jr, we… well, we were aquaintances of your mother.” He explained. Janet blinked at him in surprise. “It was years ago. She probably hasn’t mentioned us…”

“I’m sorry.” The young woman said, turning to look at Larry now with beautiful blue eyes hidden beneath thick blonde lashes. It was one of the few differences he could see between this woman and his Janet. “You knew my mother?” she asked, and Larry nodded silently. “I --- can you stay? I’d love to talk to you after the concert.” She said, and again he nodded in agreement. “Thank you.” She told him with a soft smile. She turned back to Adam to extend her thanks to him as well.

“She died when I was so young… and my father doesn’t like to talk about her. I would love to hear what you remember about her.” She said, and Adam’s smile faded, his blue eyes darkening as he glanced over at Larry, whose head was bowed. His hands were buried in his pockets, his shoulders gathered up close to his neck, and he was clearly shaken by the news.

“I’m sorry.” Adam told her sincerely. “It must’ve been so hard, growing up without your mother or father.”

“Oh, no, my father was around…” She started to explain when one of the other musicians cleared his throat and gestured for her to move on to the stage. She did, hesitantly, turning back once to say again, “Please, stay!” as she stepped onto the stage with two older men who quickly picked up their instruments. As she introduced herself to the twilight crowd, Adam tried not to notice the tears welling and threatening to spill from Larry’s eyes.
He had just lost Janet all over again.
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:52 PM   #2
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Poor Larry, hoping he had a daughter.
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:16 PM   #3
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It's SO sad....poor Larry!!!
Hope he'll fix things with his daughter!!!!
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:23 PM   #4
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:24 PM   #5
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I feel bad for Larry....I hope he patches things up!
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:30 PM   #6
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wow! I don't know what's gotten into you, Ms Prolific, but I hope it keeps up These last few updates have just made my week, even as the story makes me sadder each time. I hope Larry finds a way to connect with Janet's daughter and find some peace.
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:35 PM   #7
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wow! I don't know what's gotten into you, Ms Prolific, but I hope it keeps up These last few updates have just made my week, even as the story makes me sadder each time. I hope Larry finds a way to connect with Janet's daughter and find some peace.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:11 PM   #8
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what a sad chapter
poor larry

great chapter nonetheless
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Old 09-10-2005, 02:26 AM   #9
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poor larry
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:06 AM   #10
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