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Old 06-21-2006, 07:58 PM   #1
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Out Of Control - Chapter 29

**The following is a work of fiction. No offense intended to anyone, it’s all meant in good fun. Strong language, semi-adult themes

Chapter Twenty-nine

Edge followed the directions A’marie had given him the night before and soon came up on a large, weather beaten church. Next to it there was a moderately large house which reminded him a bit of a favorite blanket. Slightly worn and frayed from over use, but still full of appeal to the person whom it kept warm. It could obviously use a coat of paint and some other repairs, but it had a very homey feel to it.

The sounds of people inside added to its charm. He caught the smell of breakfast in the breeze wafting out of the windows. Bacon or ham maybe, burnt toast and strong coffee. He paused as he heard the sounds of children, wondering where A’marie fit into the picture. Before he had time to follow his thoughts through to any conclusion, the door swung open and A’marie rushed out.

“Hi!” She greeted him with a wide, brilliant smile that made his heart go mushy. He felt himself smile in response, even as she caught him by the hand and dragged him off down the sidewalk. Once they had rounded the corner and she slowed her pace, Edge finally had the time to look at her.

In her nearly knee length denim skirt and white polo shirt she looked younger than she had the night before. Much younger, in fact. The backpack she carried slung over one shoulder was the thing which ultimately made Edge’s eyebrows draw together in concern. He frowned at her, his mouth going dry and his chest feeling as if someone were squeezing him with all their strength.

“What was that about?” He asked, gesturing back toward her house, still studying her with concern.

“What was what about?” She asked sweetly, trying to feign innocence. When she saw that it wasn’t going to work, she sighed and decided to tell him the whole truth. “I didn’t want my daddy to see me leave with you instead of going to school.”

“You’re still in school.” Edge said, repeating it as a fact rather than asking for confirmation. “I’m guessing you don’t mean University.”

“No, I mean high school. I’m a senior, just a couple of months and I’ll be done for good.” She told him as they continued to walk. “You thought I was older.” She said, looking at him out of the corner of her eye, and he nodded, his eyes wide in emphasis.

“I never even thought about whether or not you were still in school.” He told her.

“Are you mad?” She asked, wrinkling her nose at him as she waited for his response. Edge found it impossible to be mad at her, looking like that. He tried to fight the smile which managed to creep across his face anyway.

“Well…” He said, scratching his head as he considered his new situation. “No, I guess not. You didn’t say you were older, or anything. How old are you by the way?”

“Seventeen. I’ll be eighteen in July.” She replied matter-of-factly.

“I don’t want you to get in trouble for being with me.” He told her, and she shook her head.

“It’s no problem, sugar. If I miss anything in school, I’ll make up for it next week. Everyone skips school during Mardi Gras, I’ll just go and catch up.” She informed him.

“What about your parents?”

“Are you really worried about hangin’ out with me?” She laughed, her eyes sparkling. Edge sighed and pursed his lips as he considered her for a long moment. He really did still want to spend the day with her. There was only a three year age difference, after all. Of course, Edge realized, at their ages a year or two could make all the difference in the world.

“I can go find something else to do if you’ gonna be all uptight over this.” She said, stopping and turning on her heel to walk in the direction from which they had come. He stared at her in surprise for a minute as she began to trounce off. Finally coming to his senses, he sprinted after her and caught hold of her shoulder with one hand.

“Come on. You won’t really abandon the foreigner to try and find his way around on his own, will you?” He asked, and she grinned at him. “I’ll get lost and tomorrow you’ll hear on the news about the search for the missing Irishman last seen wandering around the streets of New Orleans. It could start an international incident!”

A’marie laughed heartily at this, saying

“Well I would hate to have anything to do with causing that kind of trouble.”

“All right then.” He said, smiling so much his cheeks hurt. There was something about her smile that made him feel as if someone had turned on a lightswitch inside of him. “Where shall we go first?”

“Have you had breakfast?” She asked, turning to continue ambling along in the original direction.

“I have, but if you’re hungry we can eat.” He told her and she grinned and shook her head.

“You are the most polite boy I think I’ve ever known. I’ve eaten, too. Just didn’t want you getting all weak and wanting to go home early.” She teased. “So, Dave Evans. Why do your friends call you ‘Edge’?” She asked, continuing on seemingly aimless in her walk.

“Ah. Well, Bono has a tendency to give people nicknames. Sometimes they kind of stick.” He replied. He went on to explain some of the reasons Bono had, over the years, claimed had caused him to start calling him ‘The Edge’. A’marie listened with interest and amusement in her eyes, making Edge both a bit nervous and excited. There was something about the way she regarded him that made him feel special.

“He sounds like a handful.” She said, referring to Bono and making Edge laugh so hard that he covered his face with one hand, closing his eyes and nodding his head for lack of wind in his lungs enough to speak. “So what brought y’all to Nawlans anyway?” she asked, turning a corner without seeming to put any thought at all into where they were going.

“We have a show tomorrow night on the SS President Riverboat.” He replied casually. She stopped short in her tracks and stared at him as if trying to figure out if he were telling her the truth.

“You serious?” She finally asked and he chuckled at her disbelief.

“Yes I’m serious!”

“What did you say your bands name was?” She asked, making him chuckle again.

“U2.” There was a flicker of recognition in her eyes, but she obviously did not know much about the band. “We’ve released two albums. ‘Boy’ and ‘October’.” He continued. “Have you heard ‘I will follow’? That one seems to have gotten a lot of airtime here.”

“Oh, yes! Damn, that’s really you?” She finally asked, laughing at her own ignorance about his group. “Sorry, my friends tell me I spend too much time listening to old music and try to get me to listen to the more recent stuff.”

“That’s alright.” He told her with a smile. He rather liked it that she was not a fan already. It meant she had wanted to spend time with him for no reason other than she liked his company.

“That is really cool. Louis Armstrong used to play the President.” She told him, and he nodded. He knew there was a great musical history about the riverboat venue, and was already excited to be playing there.

“Would you like to come?” He asked spontaneously.

“Really?” She gasped. “I would love to. Are you sure it’ll be alright?”

“Sure. They always set aside a few extra tickets, I’ll just mention it to Paul or Natalie tonight.”

“Well, thank you. I’m excited to hear what you got.” She told him with a wink.

“Ummm… A’marie? Where, exactly, are we going?” Edge asked finally.

“The French quarter. Most tourists want to see that area of town, I figured it was a good place to start.” She explained. “The neighborhood we’re in now is Faubourg Treme. Loius Armstrong was born and raised here.”

“You know a lot about the city, don’t you?”

“Sure.” She replied with a shrug. “What are you interested in seeing, ‘The Edge’? Whatever you want to see, I can take you there.”

“I think I’m going to trust your judgement. Show me the best parts of New Orleans through your eyes.” He replied.

“Aww, I don’t think I can do all that in one day.” She told him honestly. “How long you plan to be here?”

“We have the show tomorrow and the we head out for Texas the day after.”

“You’re not going to be here for Mardi Gras?” She asked, and he shook his head sadly. “Well that is a real shame.”

As they walked through the French Quarter, pausing frequently to listen to street musicians and to admire the unique and beautiful architecture, they talked. They talked and talked and talked some more. Nothing was off limits, where these two were concerned. In fact they talked about religion and politics more than anything else.

A’marie’s father was a Calvinist minister, in fact. She had grown up singing Hymns with the choir and even solo for the church services. Her mother had been raised Baptist, and although she had converted when she married John Deniaud, she had brought the influence of the Baptist church into his Sunday services.

It was a unique congregation, she explained, a mix of the usually silent and deeply reverent Calvinist Christians and the outspoken, passionate Christians stereotypical of the southern Baptist church. Somehow, though, they had found their place together. Just like her mother and father themselves, a white man married to a black woman in the American south in the sixties.

Her father, she was proud to say, had even met Reverend Martin Luther King once, not long before his assassination. He described him as a man at peace with his own actions. There was nothing more, in his opinion, a man could really strive for in this world.

They discussed Northern Ireland and the IRA, which Edge was surprised to discover A’marie knew quite a bit about. She watched the news almost every night, both right before dinner and right before bed, she told him. It was one of the things her father had insisted on since she was young. It helped, he claimed, to remind her what the world was like. Knowing the truth about the things going on made it easier to live in the world, but not to be drawn into it; not to fall into the traps so many people became lost in.

They reached the bank of the Mississippi River and waited there for a ferry to take them across to Algiers. Several times he caught her watching him as he gazed out at the infamous river. There was a real magic about New Orleans, and everything about it seemed mysteriously beautiful. A’marie herself not only included but at the top of the list. Just having her look at him with such interest made his heart race. He could almost feel her eyes on him as a physical touch; a caress.

Just a few blocks away from the docks in Algiers, A’marie led him to a sprawling warehouse. As they approached, they could see that several of the massive doors were open to allow for a breeze. Even though it was early February, there was a closeness about the air. It was humid, just beyond warm and bordering on hot.

“Oh good.” She said, increasing her pace as they got closer. “I’m so glad they have the doors open! This is Kern studios. They’re making floats and getting others ready for the parades next week.” She explained. Most of the krewes working didn’t mind them having a peek, so long as they didn’t take any pictures. A few of them kept their floats hidden securely and would not reveal their creations until the parades. The massive, gaudy creations were bright and bold and perfectly, utterly New Orleans.

They could’ve lost themselves there for much longer than they actually did, but by then it was past noon and their stomachs were complaining loudly.

“I hear they’re talking about opening the studio up to the public. I guess to do tours during the rest of the year or whatever.” A’marie told Edge as the left Algiers, still talking about the different floats and remembering details they had liked.

“That’s a nice idea.” Edge agreed. “It seems like such a waste to have them sit there unappreciated for most of the year.” A’marie hummed a note of agreement. It was a comfortable sort of feeling, being with someone who saw the world in such a similar way, and yet who had a great deal of unique perspective to share as well. There was no pressure, no fear of saying the wrong thing or of being found dull. The morning had vanished in the blink of an eye, and they only wished that the day could last forever.

After having a lunch of shrimp ‘Po’ boy’ sandwiches and sweet tea, the two new found friends made their way via bus through the garden district. Though their legs ached from walking all morning and the heat was starting to take its toll, they climbed off the bus when they reached the Lafayette cemetery at the corner of Washington Ave and Prytania street.

It was just one more of the things about New Orleans that made it so unique. The entire cemetery consisted of above ground tombs and mausoleums. The statuary, the flowers and the Spanish moss dangling from the trees above created an other-worldly feeling. It seemed more like something out of an old fairy tale than a burial ground in the middle of a modern day city.

As they strolled through, inspecting the names and dates etched on the graves, they remained respectfully silent. Each of them seemed lost in their own thoughts, but when A’marie reached out and caught Edge’s hand in hers he seemed to expect it. He didn’t so much as flinch, but gave her hand a little squeeze as their fingers intertwined.

Suddenly, the relative silence was broken by the sound of a funeral dirge. A’marie led Edge out toward the street so that he could see the people marching toward the cemetery. They were led by trumpeters, and there were people playing saxophone or trombone, Tuba or clarinet and there were drums as well. The music was unlike anything Edge had heard before, and although he felt rude, he could not help but stare at the sight.

“What are they doing?” He asked, his voice just a bit louder than a whisper.

“It’s a funeral. They’re coming to see someone put to rest.” She told him, and now he saw the pall bearers and the casket they carried. “They’re bringing the body here to be interred.”

“We should go, probably.” He said, shifting his weight and starting to turn away. He didn’t want to intrude on what was a private ceremony.

“It’s alright. We can keep looking at the tombs for a bit.” She told him, leading him along the path once more. The somber music faded and then vanished behind them. He could hear the sound of a reverend or someone leading the funeral party in prayer and wondered about its similarities to any funeral he had ever attended.

A’marie led the way back out to the road as the funeral party turned and started back toward the funeral home where they had started their march. They were silent, at first, somber and respectful. Edge shot A’marie a glance, wondering why they seemed to be waiting on the sidewalk for the processional. Maybe it was courtesy to let them pass.

Then the lead trumpeter lifted his trumpet and sounded out a two-note preparatory riff for the sake of his fellow musicians. The drummers began to play an upbeat, bouncy rhythm. A’marie explained later that this was called a "second line" beat, unique to the brass band funeral march. It took only took Edge a minute to recognize the first song as a hymn, ‘Just a closer walk with Thee’. It was a familiar song and completely new to him at the same time.

“C’mon.” A’marie urged, starting out into the street to join the mourners. This was a tradition they called ‘the second line’, in which the upbeat, celebratory music invited anyone who was willing and able to join the procession and celebrate that the deceased has passed on to a better place.

“What?” Edge asked, his eyes widening as she dragged him into the middle of the crowd. Several people opened brightly colored umbrellas and all were moving in a sort of half strut - half dance in time to the music.

“It’s ok!” A’marie assured him, falling into the same rhythm. “Look!” She said, pointing out other people who were coming out into the street to join them as well. “It’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s a celebration!” She called out to him, smiling brightly. Her amusement at his bewilderment made him smile, and finally accepting the idea, he began to move with the rest of the crowd.

“Ooh, look at you, baby!” She teased, laughing out loud and slapping her hands together. He grinned at her and kept moving, getting more used to it and not having to try as hard. “You got it!” she declared. The song changed now to the very familiar sound of ‘Oh when the saints’. As he danced, he also watched her closely. He could practically see the faith radiating from her, the glow of life and youth. Just looking at her lifted his spirits. The combination of this music, the hot, humid weather, and the company made everything seem more like a dream than reality.

They parted ways with the funeral party a few blocks later as they neared the funeral parlor and A’Marie found a bus stop with an empty bench. She plopped down into the seat, letting out a rush of breath as if exhausted.

“Well, that was definitely something I never would have gotten the chance to do if it weren’t for you.” He told her, sitting down as well.

“I thought the Irish had an all out drink ‘til you drop party when someone died.” She replied playfully.

“That’s a wake.” Edge informed her, shaking his head. “That is not the same thing!” He objected, laughing.

“Uh-huh.” She said doubtfully.

“No, that… we don’t do that anymore for one thing. I mean, most people in Ireland don’t. That was more about being together through the process of preparing the body for burial. You had to sit with the body all the time, so everyone came in to help each other with that. They’d tell stories about the person that died and yeah, everyone would smoke and drink and eat… I mean, that’s what you do when you get a group of people together.”

“Ok.” She agreed, still smiling.

“Alright, so a wake is rather unique and I can see it qualifying as a party. It’s still nothing like that.”
He concluded as the bus arrived.

“Point taken.” A’marie agreed as she rose to get on the bus.

“Where to now?” Edge asked, taking advantage of the moment to let his eyes wash over her backside as she climbed the steps just in front of him. The look the bus driver gave him let him know she had noticed his wandering eye. He smiled shyly at the woman behind the wheel, dropped his change in the slot and hurried along the aisle behind his friend.

“My house.” She told him, as he sat down beside her.

“Your house?” He asked, his heart coming to a sudden stop. Was this goodbye? Or, worse, perhaps, did she plan to take him in to meet her parents after she had spent the day with him instead of going to school.

“Just for a little bit.” She assured him. “I need to ditch the backpack and change my clothes.”

Edge drew in a deep breath and tried his best to relax despite the potential problems he knew could come up in a few minutes. He knew they weren’t doing anything particularly wrong. He also knew that a parent probably wouldn’t see it the same way.

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Old 06-21-2006, 10:16 PM   #2
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Very nice work, SG. You can feel Edge starting to fall in love with New Orleans (to the point where he'd want to help save it and help its musicians after Katrina).

You've also done a great job of showing us more of A'marie in this chapter -- she's now becoming my favorite female character.


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Old 06-21-2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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I really love it SG. I know I say that after you post every chapter, but I do!
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:53 PM   #4
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Great chapter as always!

I really enjoyed reading about New Orleans. Like Jo said, you can totally see Edge falling in love with the city.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:19 AM   #5
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wow great story SG!!! Great description of New Orleans too! your stories are always so realistic, I love that part about them the most
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:45 PM   #6
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This is a great story! I can't wait for more Bono.
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Old 06-22-2006, 04:47 PM   #7
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This chapter rawked SG...reminds me of the first time I went to Nawlins! A'merie is such a cool gal showing Edge around the city, I can almost taste them Po'boy's

Great job SG
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:44 AM   #8
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SG. OOC updates makes me a very happy girl.

6 countries,11 shows. AMAZING FRIENDS AND MEMORIES = Jem's priceless 360 Tour
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:18 AM   #9
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Me too...

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Old 07-02-2006, 03:36 AM   #10
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Awesome as always


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