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Old 12-15-2006, 04:40 AM   #1
The Fly
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Learning to Fly, Part 7

In which Larry is a hero ...

Learning to Fly
Part Seven

Evening, and I had not crossed paths with Bono. He had been caught up in all the planning and preparation, no chance to speak with him before my makeover session with Anna. That professional and quite scary lady had found me some stunning clothes which I would never have dreamed of buying. She did my hair and make-up, ignored completely any protests from me.

When I looked in the mirror I had to admit Anna had done wonders, considering what she had to work with. I loved the sheer black top over the midnight-blue camisole, the matching skirt with a side split that showed a lot more leg than I was used to. I can do this, I thought, I really can! As long as I don’t fall off these shoes, that is.

It was time to go to the cars for the drive into the city. As we walked out, an appreciative whistle from Adam and a satisfying double-take from Larry. Edge came up and offered me his arm, which I graciously took, feeling like royalty.
Larry, dressed to kill, all in black, came up on my other side.

‘Hands off, baldy. The lady’s with me,’ he said rudely, dispelling the glamour somewhat.

Edge just gave him a withering look, so Larry took my other arm and thus I was escorted to the car. It was all a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

I still hadn’t seen Bono. Watching the city lights draw nearer as we crossed the harbour bridge, I did wonder for a moment why he had wanted me to be there tonight. Was it to show me a glimpse of what his world was like? Or to emphasise the difference between his world and mine? To me, it was like stepping onto an alien planet, populated by glittering, beautiful, confident people. Everything I was not.

We arrived outside the massive Novotel, the Sky Tower rising behind us like a neon spaceship. Edge handed me out of the car and we quickly crossed the pavement to the entrance, which was crowded with people. Word had got out, it seemed. Noise, camera flashes, crowd surging forward. Edge and Larry waving to the crowd, Edge stoically staying beside me, then into the lobby where there were more people, noise and lights. Screams from the crowd outside as Adam made his entrance.

I felt breathless and dazed, Edge and Larry staying with me as we moved through the crowd. ‘How do you cope with this? I said to Edge.

He smiled down at me, totally unruffled. ‘Practice,’ he said.

Through to a large room, yet more people drinking, talking, eyeing each other to see who was who, where and with whom. Polished, brittle, seeing and being seen. And through another door into a smaller room.

A few familiar faces, Siobhan looking poised and elegant, Anna with an approving nod, noting I was still upright and hadn’t yet spilt anything down my skirt. Larry steered us towards the drinks, handing me a long, cool glass of champagne. I stepped back towards the corner of the room, wanting to get my bearings, centre myself again.

And there he was, across the room, sitting with three or four people in animated conversation. Bono, laughing, leaning back in his chair, relaxed, charismatic, looking drop-dead gorgeous. Looking a different person to the Bono who had slopped around my home in a bath towel or jeans caked with sand and sea salt.

Do I know him even slightly? I thought.

Adam swept into the room, an instant magnet for every female. Bono looked up, distracted, noticed me - probably as I was one of the few women not trying to drape herself over Adam. Bono stared at me for a second as if he were trying to remember who I was. I raised my champagne glass to him in an ironic salute. A wide grin from Bono, then he was excusing himself to the people he was with and heading in my direction.

I met him halfway across the room. I didn’t quite know what to say, although ‘you bastard, for forgetting to tell me’ sprang to mind. Bono forestalled this by placing his hands on my shoulders and looking me up and down.

He leaned down and whispered in my ear, ‘Beautiful.’

‘Illusion,’ I whispered back. A breath of laughter on my cheek.

Then people around us, wanting Bono’s attention. Bono introducing me as if I was somebody.

‘This is Roo, my pilot,’ he would say, and the glittering people would look at me, nonplussed. Obviously, I didn’t fit the person-profile they expected. I didn’t care. Bono had his arm slung round my shoulders, totally unconcerned, talking a mile a minute. Seemingly oblivious to the looks we were getting from people scenting a possible scandal.

When the band were extracted to do the satellite link-up those who remained got seriously stuck in to the food and drink, all the while watching, being watched. There was a tension in the air, people talking with one eye on the door, looking for a better contact, more powerful connection.

Some time and several drinks later, Siobhan appeared. We had planned an unobtrusive exit via the back stairs to the underground car park, into the cars, engines idling, echoing hollowly around the concrete.

I was impressed with the efficiency. The band had managed to make their exits too and the cars rumbled out of the car park into the night, destination unknown.
We pulled up in a back-alley, behind a nightclub from the sound of it. In through a fire-door to a room pulsing with music. Lights strobing across bodies captured by the rhythms, marionettes moved by invisible wires of the music.

Larry and I settled into a booth where we could put our backs to the wall. Edge appeared, with drinks. Adam was already in the thick of the dancing, Bono trying to come over and politely fending off women (and a few men) entreating him to sign their backs/boobs/bums, pose for photos. I could see he’d be a while reaching us, if at all. Edge was spotted at our table and was soon surrounded. Larry did a good job of looking grim and deterring all but the most determined fans.

Eventually just about everyone in the place had been signed, snapped with or hugged by Bono and the guys were able to have a drink and relax a bit, apart from Adam who was going for the dancing in a big way.

A wheeze from the seat beside me. I turned to see who had parked themselves in our booth, came face to face with a bleary, sleazy looking guy.

‘Did I hear you are Bono’s pilot?’ he oiled, directing the question down my cleavage.

My bullshit-detector sprang into the red.

‘That’s correct,’ I told him in my best upper-class Brit accent.

The greaseball’s gaze travelled down to my legs and up again. I felt as if I’d been lightly coated in slime.

‘And do you, ummm, pilot the whole band or just Bono?’ he leered.

‘I fly who I’m paid to fly,’ I snapped, without thinking how that would sound to this lump of slime. ‘Who want’s to know?’

‘Brendan Hurley, NZ Metroscene, at your service ma’am,’ he greased, attempting to shake my hand. The BD moved into overload. ‘Tell me, how does it feel to fly one of the world’s most famous and sought-after rock stars? Exhilarating? Strenuous? …’

A snort from Larry on my right, which could have been laughter or disgust. Hurley once more mapping my topography. Enough of this, I though, I’m out of here. I drew breath to deliver an icy blast, but Larry leaned across, fixed Hurley with an insolent stare.

‘Would you excuse us a moment?’ said Larry, making the polite request sound like ‘Would you fuck off and die?’

Larry grabbed my arm and hauled me off towards the dance floor. ‘Let’s give the bastard something to write about,’ he muttered.

‘What? Let go, Larry. I’ll fall off these bloody shoes,’ I hissed, but there was no stopping him. The DJ cranked up a new track, something heavy on the bass.
Larry fixed me with his best James Dean sneer and began to move. And HOW that man could move!

What the hell, I thought, cast caution to the wind and went right along with him. The other dancers cheered and clapped, formed a circle around us as we danced, moving close and apart, never quite touching, a parody of sexual tension.

When the track finished we stalked back to our table, where Edge was practically collapsing with laughter and Bono looked as if he’d been poleaxed. I was fairly astonished myself, I’d never danced like that before or since.

Larry coolly high-fived Bono in passing and went back to his corner. Several beautiful girls approached him, he’ll be occupied for a while, I thought. Bono made room for me next to him. I crossed my legs and demurely sipped some champagne.

‘The drummer scores a 10 for cool,’ observed Bono.

‘And the pilot and A for audacity,’ I said. ‘Or possibly a D for drunk. I think I’ve got outside too much champagne tonight, Bono.’

Bono chuckled. ‘D for dangerous. Dangerous woman,’ he said, running his fingers over the back of my neck.

‘Deranged, more like. Also Desperate to get away from a slimy little journo before I decked him.’ I told Bono about Hurley’s insinuations. Bono was amused.

‘I’ve read so much bollocks about what we’ve done and said, it’s pointless getting uptight,’ said Bono. ‘If we worried about what the press says about us we’d never set foot outside the door.’

It was around 3.00 am when we staggered out of the club and into the gleaming city again. Bono was full of energy, giving the security guys nightmares as he forged off in a totally arbitrary direction, in search of a late-night eatery.

I stopped to adjust my shoes. When I stood up everyone had disappeared round the corner. The alley was dark and silent, littered with rubbish bins and beer crates. I suddenly felt out of my element, uneasy. I moved towards the bright main street.

Two large figures detached themselves from the shadows, barring my way.

‘Oh, fuck, here we go,’ I thought. A calmness and heightened awareness of sight, sound, smell as adrenaline whooshed into my bloodstream.

Two of them. No-one behind me. Keep them in front, in sight, go for their eyes, their balls, make a racket, don’t make it easy for them … all this flashing through my head as I backed up slowly, putting a wall behind me, feeling for something I could throw at them.

The men advanced, purposeful, silent. A crateful of empty bottles on my right. I grabbed one and hefted it at the nearest figure, found my voice, lobbing bottles as fast as I could, yelling over the sound of breaking glass.

The men only faltered for a second, then rushed forward. I got one good kick at the first one, catching him in the groin, bending him double and taking him out of the picture. Then the other one was grabbing me by the throat, throwing me down among the bins and rubbish.

‘Where you belong, bitch,’ the man snarled.

Shit, I’m losing this battle, big trouble here, I thought with a strange detachment as the man squeezed his hands round my neck, cutting off my air. I tried desperately to break his hold, but great black flowers were blossoming in my vision, sounds diminishing, muscles refusing to work. Consciousness slipping away, only the noise of blood rushing in my ears …

… and a far off ‘thwack’ sound, the hands losing grip on my throat, the man’s weight falling away from me into a stack of crates.

A voice, faint but getting stronger through the haze.

‘Roo? Are you alright? Can you get up?’

I could only gasp and nod, stretch out my hand to the shadowy figure before me. As my vision cleared, I took in the still form of my attacker, the other one was nowhere to be seen.

‘There were two,’ I croaked.

‘T’other one buggered off. This one’s out for the count, we’d better leg it if we can,’ said Larry, my saviour for the second time that night.

‘Let’s go!’ We legged it as best we could, in the direction the others were last seen.

We tracked them down in a sushi bar. Crashed in and stood panting. Adam looked up.

‘Good grief,’ he said.

Larry and I looked at each other and began laughing, a bit hysterically on my part. People surrounding us, concerned, questioning, then all the clamour fading away.

I will not faint, I thought, not in front of everyone … ‘Water, please,’ I gasped. My throat felt like sandpaper. Someone gave me a blessedly cool glass and the colours started to come back into the world.

Larry recovered enough to tell the tale and then Bono was there, leading me to a table behind the bar.

‘Your drummer is a hero,’ I said. ‘I was a goner there.’

Bono looked horrified, poured me some more water. ‘What happened?’ he asked quietly.

As I told Bono the sorry story the adrenaline drained away and lethargy took its place. I sat back, closed my eyes. Bono put his arm round me and I leaned against him. Home again, even if it was temporary.

‘I look like a car wreck,’ I murmured. ‘Must go and clean up.’

‘I’ll get the cars round,’ said Bono. ‘Get us back home’

I sat up. ‘Fuck, no,’ I said. ‘Give me five minutes then onward and upward.’ There was no way I was going to ruin the night.

Bono shook his head. ‘I am never going to even begin to understand women,’ he said.


The payback, waking the next day in a room I didn’t recognise, to sunlight so bright it spikes nails through my eyes. Let’s try sitting up. The room swoops around, bad idea. Slowly remembering where I am, back at the Hole. Very carefully walking to the bathroom, don’t even think about looking in the mirror.

House is quiet, everyone asleep or out. I creep outside, shutting the door quietly, make it to the Landrover. Back to my safe, sane world of horses and cats and NO alcohol, NEVER again, never.

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Old 12-15-2006, 09:33 AM   #2
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ack, scary situation! A big yay for larry!

Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:11 PM   #3
The Fly
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Beautifully done - once again. I partciularly liked the descriptions of the soiree... VERY well done. Really realistic.. I could really see it all - and God, did it remind me of some of the things I've been to. That impatient 'who else might come along?' kind of vibe - you captured it perfectly.

"Do I know him even slightly? I thought." - Pure brilliance.
It really centred things. It's an extremely powerful line... and I think it really is the question of the day....

Do I even know him slightly?


Please update soon - I'm not sure how I can cope without more wonderful chapters.
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