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Old 05-03-2005, 06:04 PM   #1
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The Promises we make pt 3

*Disclaimer: None of it is meant to represent anything real. It’s all just a daydream which managed to escape the maze of the authors imagination.

The promises we make pt 3

Larry’s disappointment had been practically tangible. In the twenty minutes since they had been invited to join Jolie Brooks backstage, the pretty little woman had managed to insult them at least a dozen times. At first, it was so subtle he wasn’t sure she had even meant it, so he kept quiet about it. She never said anything overtly rude, her words were more like sharp little slivers. Not particular painful or damaging each by itself, but they had a way of getting under your skin.

About the time Larry was ready to say goodnight and forget all about his original plan to invite the women to dinner, Edge spoke up and did just that. Larry shot him a look to let him know he had not simply forgotten the reason for being here, but it was already too late. Unable to allow himself to be rude to the woman, Larry soon became very quiet. After all, if he didn’t have anything nice to say, it was better to simply not say anything at all. Or so the old adage had led him to believe.

He couldn’t entirely blame Edge for wanting to go; as it turned out Tessa was a very pleasant woman with a good sense of humor. She was even prettier than Larry had recalled, but he had never paid much attention to her. He’d been busy being blinded by Jolie’s beauty to see much of anything, apparently. Well, at least Edge seemed to be enjoying himself, Larry thought as he led Jolie along down the sidewalk.
He would simply bear the evening out as best he could in silence.

The night air was cool against her cheeks, and it was salty, smelling of the sea. It made her hunch her shoulders and snuggle down into her jacket, but it was not enough to make Tessa wish to be anywhere else. She stole a glance at the man walking beside her, trying not to let anyone notice as she did. There was a warmth about him Tessa rarely found in men. They had come to invite them to dinner. Not Jolie, but both of them. Maybe it was just a kind gesture, in fact, she was certain that was all there was to it, but it was appreciated none-the-less.

“So what kind of food do you like?” He asked as they strolled along behind Jolie, who grasped Larry’s arm gently in one hand and the harness for her guide dog Madden in the other.

“I’m not picky.” She replied honestly. Food had never been a passion for her, even if she might appear to like it a bit too much. She was not a tiny, small framed person like Jolie, she was more full figured and taller, and often felt like a great giant oaf around her. They had barely rounded the corner, one block from the campus when a small boy spotted Madden and made a break toward them, his mother giving chase.

“Wubby!” The boy called, his hands out to pet the dog, but never landing on their intended target. His mother reached him and scooped him up just short of his goal.

“No, no baby!” She was saying. “I’m sorry, he just loves dogs so much…” She started to explain, her voice trailing off as she recognized the man standing beside Jolie. Jolie spoke before any pleasantries could be exchanged.

“Leave him alone! He’s not a pet. You really ought to teach him not to pet guide dogs. They need to be left alone to focus. He shouldn’t pet strange dogs at all, for that matter.” She told the woman sharply. The two other women who had been with the mother of the boy strolled up behind her, and Tessa recognized them as members of the group who had opened for U2 the night they performed in L.A.

“See, Pauley, this is why I told you not to approach strangers, whether they have a dog or not.” The woman told her son. “Sometimes the dog might bite, and sometimes the owner does too.” She continued, directing her last comment toward Jolie. Tessa stifled a shocked laugh. It was rare that anyone dare say anything sharp or negative at all to Jolie, even when she deserved it. Jolie sniffed in outrage, her back stiffening, her chin thrust out, but she didn’t say a word.

“Hey, guys. What are you up to tonight?” Catalina greeted them, glancing back and forth between Jolie, Larry and the mother nervously.

“Just thinking about grabbing some dinner.” Edge replied, glad for the chance to change the topic of focus. “Oh, Cat, Trine, and Simone, this is Tessa and Jolie.” He introduced, hoping to play it off as if there was no tension between the women even before they were introduced.

“This is my son, Pauley.” Simone added, shaking Tessa’s hand politely and steering clear of Jolie as if afraid she would actually bite her. Pauley clung to his mother, embarrassed and a bit frightened at having been reprimanded for his enthusiasm over the dog.

“We were just going to get some Chinese take out and go back to Adam’s… back to my place.” Catalina informed them, “Bono and Angel are going to come by, why don’t you guys come too?”

“I don’t care for Chinese.” Jolie said dryly. Tessa’s heart sank like a stone. “But you go on, I’m rather tired, actually. Though I do appreciate the invitation.” She told him, her words as polite as her tone was cold. The words ice princess had been used to describe her more than once.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am. Thank you, though. Come on Tessa, let’s go.” She said, releasing Larry’s arm and holding out her hand for Tessa. Tessa’s stomach rolled, and she felt like a two year old, ready to throw a tantrum. For the past ten years she had been friend, assistant, and practically mother to Jolie without complaint. She had not complained when she called her in the middle of the night for something frivolous, or even on holidays simply because she did not want to bother with something herself.

“You’re welcome to come, for Chinese, on your own.” Edge told her, and Tessa’s patience finally wore thin.

“I think I’d like that.” She told him, turning to Jolie. “I’ve got to help Jolie back to her room, but if you can wait…” she said, letting her voice trail off in question.

“Of course we can.” Edge told her, smiling softly in encouragement, as if he could see the entire situation as clearly as if it were written across her face.

“Tessa?” Jolie asked, her pretty face drawing into a serious frown.

“You know what? Why don’t Larry and I come with you, back to the hotel, and then we can go from there to Adam’s.” Edge suggested, and Tessa felt a smile of satisfaction begin to spread across her face.

“That sounds good.” She agreed, suddenly aware that everyone was watching them. She looked down at her feet, blushing. They said their goodbyes and turned back to the Gray Mercedes which waited in the parking lot for Edge and Larry. Once they were at the hotel, the men waited in the car while Tessa escorted Jolie to her room.

“What are you doing?” Were the first words out of Jolie’s mouth as soon as they stepped into the lobby.

“I’m going to dinner.” Tessa replied coolly. She could tell that Jolie was upset, but she just couldn’t bring herself to care. For the first time in ages, she felt like doing something for her own entertainment, and she was damn well going to do it.

“What am I supposed to do?” Jolie asked as Tessa opened the door to her room for her.

“Listen to the TV. Order room service. Whatever you want. I happen to know you are far from helpless. You don’t need me to do half the things for you that I do, I do them because you want me too. I know you are capable because I’ve seen it. If you need anything, call Henry or Alan, just pick up the phone and dial 0 for the front desk and they’ll connect you to their room.” She informed her. Jolie was more than capable of caring for herself, and her manager and his assistant were right next door in case of any emergency.

“Tessa, I can’t believe you would rather run off and party with some… some… rock stars than do your job.” Jolie hissed. “If you leave this room, right now, you won’t have a job waiting when you come back.” She threatened. Normally, Tessa would have crumbled under such a threat. Today, there was a fire inside of her which had not burned so brightly in years.

“Fine. Consider this my resignation. And Jolie, since I’m no longer under your employ let me tell you, friend to friend, you’ve become a pampered, spoiled little bitch.” She heard Jolie’s gasp of indignation, but she had been holding this back for so long there was no stopping it now that the dam had broken. “Maybe part of that is my fault. If it is, Jolie, I am truly sorry. I’ll stay the night in my room, and after check out tomorrow, you will never pay another bill for me. I’m sorry it ended this way.”

As soon as she closed the door behind herself, her breath rushed out of her lungs and her knees went weak. She could hardly believe she had actually done it. She had dreamt of the moment she could say that for so long now, she had given up hope that she ever actually would. She would worry about finding a job tomorrow. Tonight, she felt free.

She made a quick stop at the room across the way to let the others know she had resigned and that they should check on Jolie since she would no longer be there to answer her every beck and call. Then she paused at the mirror near the elevator to pull the scrunchie out of her hair and fluff it with her fingers, allowing it to tumble down over her shoulders and fall softly around her face.

She could hardly believe she was running off with a group of people she hardly knew, like some stupid kid. She had been hiding from life for so long that it had found her, and she wasn’t going to run this time, but she would embrace it. She may be forty years old, but inside, she was still full of the hopes and dreams of a twenty something. She had simply packed them away and tried to ignore them. Now, it was time to get them out and re-examine them.

She smiled at herself in the lobby mirror as she passed. She looked ten years younger already. She hurried to meet the men in the car, not letting on that everything in her life had just turned upside down. She didn’t want them to think they were somehow to blame. Their presence may have been the catalyst, but what had been set into motion had been waiting for a good long time for any trigger.

“…felt bad leaving the poor dog with her!” They heard Simone saying as they entered the spacious kitchen. The room was full of sound as people sorted through what appeared to be dozens of boxes of Chinese food. Just beyond the kitchen, in the sitting room were the sounds of music and the clink of glasses. Cat spotted Tessa and the men as they entered and elbowed Simone to warn her not to say anything else nasty about Jolie.

“It’s quite all right.” Tessa told her with a smile. “I’ve spent years with her, I know how scary she is. Her first three guide dogs ran away.” She joked, and as the others laughed, she could feel the tension in the air dissipate.

“Isn’t that your girlfriend they’re talking about?” Simone asked Larry as he reached across the counter for the vegetable medley to her right. He frowned at her and tried to decide if she were playing or serious.

“No. Definitely not.” He told her, just in case she was serious. He thrust a fork into the steaming box of veggies and drew out a bite, munching on it as he walked away.

“What if someone else wanted some of that?” Simone asked, feigning indignance. Larry stabbed another forkful and held it out to her playfully, certain she would decline on the basis of his germs infecting the entire batch now. Much to his surprise she leaned in and wrapped her mouth around the fork, careful to take the entire bite.

“Thanks.” She told him, wiping a dribble of soy sauce off her lower lip and then licking her finger clean. She smiled crookedly at him as she took her plate and her sons plate and made her way into the other room.

Soon, the siting room was full and bursting with the sounds of people. Bono, Angel, Adam, Cat, Trine, Krash, Alex, Simone, Pauley, Larry, Edge and Tessa were all there, and there was no time for Tessa to sit and wonder if she had made the right decision. She was too caught up in the energy of the bunch, the enthusiasm they brought to everything they did. She could not recall a time when she had ever laughed more in all her life.

Soon the kitchen was piled high with dirty dishes and empty containers, and many of those in the sitting room had found an instrument of one sort or another and the noise had grown even beyond that of the rowdy dinner.

“Oh, Bono, I remember I wanted to ask you…” Cat started, throwing up her hands dramatically as if she had just reasoned out the meaning of life and could hardly believe we hadn’t known all along.

“Sorry, babe, I’m taken and your married.” He told her, winking at Angel playfully. Angel rolled her eyes at him, but couldn’t hide the smile which made the corners of her mouth twitch up.

“I have a song I want to record for the album.” Cat continued, oblivious to his playful nature. “Gunnar and I were actually supposed to sing it, but I was never happy with it. It never really felt complete before. I did some work on it the other day, and I think if you would be willing to perform it with me…” She said, looking at the man hopefully.

“Well, I don’t know…” he said, toying with her. “I am rather busy right now… Producing a record for this brand new band and everything. On top of the usual.”

“You know, saving the world…” Adam added with a smirk.

“Right, and then there’s the twice weekly counseling for his God complex.” Larry continued, earning a laugh from even Bono himself.

“Let me take a look.” Bono told her, and Cat retreated from the room in search of the lyrics and basic score she had written down earlier.

“How many songs do they have ready to record?” Edge asked, settling down onto the couch beside Tessa, but directing his question toward Bono and Adam. Edge and Larry had agreed to be co-producers for the Tequila Monster album; nobody questioned their talent or marketability. They hadn’t heard any of the original pieces they had, beyond what they heard in concert.

“Six. Seven if this works.” Adam informed him with a sigh.

“Seven?” Larry repeated in disbelief. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“We’ll have more before long.” Trine informed him shortly. “We just haven’t got some of mine finished yet, and I’m still learning others that they had before.”

“Have any of you heard from Shane?” Angel asked. She had not particularly cared for the man, but she couldn’t help but wonder what had become of him after his expedition back to Texas.

“He’s finally paying for some of the kids he fathered and ran off on.” Krash told her. “He’s got to find a steady paying job and they’ll take most of his check before he ever sees it.”

“I guess that’s for the best. At least he’s giving them something back. If he was sitting in jail he’d just be wasting tax payer money and not providing anything more for those kids.” Angel replied.

Edge picked away at something on an acoustic guitar, and Tessa watched with interest.

“You know how to play?” He asked, never taking his eyes off the guitar but somehow knowing she was watching. She shook her head no.

“I love music, but I’ve never been able to get a handle on actually making it.” She admitted, and Edge sat up and slid the guitar over on to her lap. “Oh, no, trust me. It’s a waste of time trying to teach me anything musical.”

“Nothing musical is ever a waste of time.” He told her with a sly little smile. “Turn around.” He instructed her, and so she slid over to sit facing away from him on the couch. He wrapped one arm around her on each side, taking her hands in his own and showing her how to hold the guitar. She realized immediately that there wasn’t a chance she would remember anything from this lesson except for the way his body heat radiated into her back and the bare skin of his arms brushing over her own.

His fingers were badly callused, his fingernails kept short and clean. She was staring at his hands as he manipulated her fingers into the right position to play a simple chord. She had no idea which one. Although she heard him telling her about the frets and finger positions and chord names, she was far more aware of the sweet Irish accent in her ear. The heat of his breath occasionally brushing against her cheek or ear made her want to shiver, but she was far too shy to let him know how much she was enjoying this.

He slid the pick into her right hand and guided it to strike the strings, a dull twang sounding and ending sharply. She flinched at the hideous sound and felt him laughing. She glanced up at him, seeing him smiling widely, his green-blue eyes dancing with laughter. The whiskers of his beard scratched against her cheek and the intimacy of their position made her blush, but not pull away.

“That’s ok, try it again.” He told her, his eyes sliding away from hers and back to the guitar. “Try and press straight down on the strings without bending them like that. And just one string with each finger, here, see how you’re touching the string beneath?” He told her, bending her hand into an extremely uncomfortable position. Not that she cared. The rest of her was so comfortable, she could stand her hand suffering some.

Across the room, Bono tried to get Larry’s attention first by clearing his throat and then by waving his hand as subtly as he could. When that didn’t work he stretched out his leg and kicked the man, who was sitting kitty corner from him, in the shin.

“Bollix! What’s the matter with you, you…” Larry exclaimed, jumping in surprise and pain. Bono put a finger to his lips to shush his friend and nodded toward Edge and the newcomer. Larry glanced up to see the way they had cozied up to each other and rolled his eyes.

“Aw, come on, Mullen, haven’t you got a romantic bone in yer body?” Bono teased, and Larry’s full mouth twisted up into a wicked smile as he started to say something which would clearly not have been appropriate for young ears because it was Pauley’s presence which silenced him.

“Ok, here we go.” Cat announced, bouncing back into the room. She handed a few sheets of notebook paper over to Bono and he began to hum as he read it over. Cat settled down on the arm of the couch between Larry’s chair and where Bono sat, reading over his shoulder.

Larry stood and stretched for a moment, cracking his neck and back before collecting his empty glass and moving off in search of a refill. Simone tried not to watch, or at least to let him know she was watching. He was clearly not interested in her, especially if he was into the cold hard beauty that little blonde possessed.

Simone was much warmer, with soft brown hair which curled every which way if she let it dry on its own and which developed coppery highlights when she had been in the sun a lot. She had dark green eyes beneath darker lashes, and the only thing remotely similar to the blonde about Simone was her mouth. She had once had a boyfriend tell her she always looked as if she’d been sucking on a lemon, her mouth was so narrow. Her lips were full, though, giving her an almost continual pout.

Still, she was not an unattractive woman, especially at age thirty five. She could pass for a woman ten years younger, if she took the time to put on a little make up and don the right clothes. She was always moving, slightly hyper-active and very restless. This led to a fit figure, if not necessarily slender. She was a full grown woman, and the way she looked at it a woman was meant to be curvaceous. Just because pop culture idealized the body of fourteen year old girls didn’t make it right or true that all women should want to look that way forever.

She sighed as she watched his backside disappear into the other room, thinking how she would love to get her hands on that man for just a few hours. She smiled at the thought but dismissed it as useless fantasy, turning her attention back to Cat and Bono as they began to try and work out the specifics of the song she was asking him to sing with her.

“I don’t know about love at first sight, but the way the sparks flew baby when we had our first fight, I knew... oh I knew, it was you.” Cat sang, and Bono echoed with a similar line, his voice like warm whiskey sliding in through her ears and warming her from the inside out.

Here she was, happy, content, with her belly full and good company all around. When Pauley plopped down on the couch beside her to rest his head in her lap she stroked his hair and leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and thanked God for the moment. It was one she knew she would cherish.

“How about if we change this to this…” Bono was saying, scribbling furiously on the paper as Cat leaned over his shoulder to watch.

“But that gives you three quarters of the verse. We might as well list it as you singing the song and make me back up.” Cat complained, her long hair draping down over her shoulder and tickling Bono’s face as he peered up at her.

“But it makes more sense this way…” He argued, trying to point out to her something about balancing the harmonics of the song or some such thing nobody seemed to understand or care about except the two of them. The phone trilled in the other room and Adam rose quickly from his seat and hurried to catch it. Angel slid over next to Simone.

“How old is he?” She asked, nodding to the sleepy boy. Simone smiled as she looked down at him, her heart always swelling with pride when she talked about her little man. Larry ambled back into the room and took Adam’s seat since it was the only one left open except for the one right next to Cat and Bono.

“He just turned four.” Simone informed her. “Last March.”

“He’s very mature for four.” Angel said, obviously impressed with the boys manners.

“He’s so great. I’ve been blessed. He’s my angel, aren’t you?” She asked, and Pauley ‘mmm-hmm’ed as he let out a big yawn.

“His father?” Angel asked. “I’m sorry, that was too personal.” She said almost immediately.

“No, it’s ok. He’s in Australia somewhere, always searching for a new adventure of some type. He’s an adrenaline junkie. Writes for an ‘extreme sports’ magazine. Surfing in shark infested waters and climbing sheer rock walls without a harness. All of that junk.” Simone told her.

“Does he know? About Pauley?” Larry asked, and for the first time, Simone realized he’d been listening to the conversation.

“He should. He was there.” She replied dryly, and Larry shot her a look that told her he was asking a serious question. “Yeah, he knows. He’s just too busy to care.” She finally said.

“Don’t you think a little boy needs a father?” He asked, and Simone frowned at the man, her temper beginning to surface. She was usually very easy going, but not when it came to her parenting.

“I think I do a damn fine job of being both.” She told him, and the look on Angel’s face told her she agreed that Larry had been out of line. Simone let out a breath and forced a sweet smile at the man, not wanting to fight and ruin the evening. “Unless of course, you’re volunteering for the job.” She said, cocking her head to one side and batting her eyelashes flirtatiously.

Larry’s silvery eyes grew wide for a moment, his face flushing pink. He rolled his eyes at her rather than responding with words. He didn’t know just what might come out if he spoke, after all. He was often told that his honesty was downright brutal, and he might very well have told her he wouldn’t mind the position. Not that he could stand her. She was brash and bold and outspoken, and stubborn on top of that. No, it wasn’t her he was thinking of, he told himself. He was just thinking a little boy needed a male role model in his life.

“So is he your only child, then?” Angel asked, turning the conversation back around.

“Yeah. He was a little bit of a surprise, but aren’t all the best things in life?” Simone replied, glancing down at the boy who was now sound asleep. “What about you?” She asked, and Angel shook her head.

“No. I’ve spent most of my life working, no time for family.” She explained. “Not that I’m against the idea, but if I were going to actually decide to have a family I’m kind of a control freak. I want everything to be perfect, you know? Make sure there was financial security, emotional stability, all of that.”

“All the things everyone wants for their kids, but most people never have.” Simone agreed with a smile. “But we get by, God sees us through.”

“My family didn’t get along, when I was a girl.” Angel told her. “My mother was the child of a full blooded Navajo woman and a mixed blood Navajo-Cherokee man. My father’s parents were immigrants from Puerto Rico, they were migrant workers. My mother had roots in Arizona and my Father’s family were wanderers.”

“For the first several years of my life, my mother and I traveled with my father’s family. When she finally gave up and decided to go home, to the rez, my abuello had died. No one had been able to reach us, and mama was broken hearted. Ashamed of herself for leaving.” Angel continued, not noticing that the music had faded as Bono grew silent to hear her story.

“She had left because she was looking for something better than the rez. Abuella said Mama had always been ashamed of the dinee’. That was how she referred to the tribe, it means ‘The people’ in Navajo. I think Mama just wanted to keep us together, a family. I was better off with just my mother and abuella, in the long run. It was miserable always moving around with a man who worked so hard we hardly saw him anyway.” She concluded. She stilled as she realized it had grown quiet in the room and she turned to look at Bono and Cat, to see them listening.

“I didn’t realize I was so entertaining.” She joked, the natural cadence of her voice falling in such a way as so many Native American’s spoke. Cat had never really noticed before, or if she had she had thought of her as having a Spanish accent.

“You never told me about that.” Bono said, and Angel shrugged.

“I’ve never told you a lot of things.” She replied.

“That was Paul.” Adam said as he strolled back into the room. “The woman he had hired to help manage you guys just backed out. It seems her boyfriend of several years finally gave in and asked her to marry him when she told him she was taking a job which would require a lot of travel. Now she’s going to stay home and have lots of babies and live happily ever after.”

“So we don’t have anyone again?” Cat asked in a huff. This was the third assistant manager to fall through in the month since they had been looking.

“What kind of things do you need done?” Tessa asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. Her heart was doing somersaults in her chest, though.

“Helping with budget and travel arrangements, dealing with the venue owners for a tour, maybe help out with the initial marketing of the CD.” Adam listed off several of the important things which Paul would hand off to an assistant.

“I’ve done all of that for Jolie, plus being a baby-sitter and all around gopher.” Tessa said. “I have a business degree in Music Industry management from Ferris State University. My job with Jolie was just supposed to be temporary, a favor to a friend in need.”

“Doesn’t she still need you?” Edge asked.

“Apparently not. At least, that’s what she told me earlier. So I quit.” She admitted, a little embarrassed at the hastiness of her decision. Having only just met them, they would have no idea just how long it had been building.

“So you would seriously be able to take the job, just like that?” Cat asked, obviously excited about the prospect.

“Just like that.” Tessa told her with a little smile as the younger woman launched herself from her seat and across the room to embrace the woman gratefully.

“Thank you thank you thank you!” She told her, and Tessa laughed heartily. This was already more appreciation than she had ever gotten from Jolie.

“I don’t have the contacts other people would have, and I haven’t been particularly active in a while, so you don’t have to thank me quite yet.” She told her, but as Cat released her, she shook her head.

“I have a good feeling about this.” She told her. “It just feels right. I’m a big believer in fate. Oh, I forgot to tell you!” She said, spinning on her heel and turning her attention back on Adam and Bono. “We have our photographer for the album art.”

“Really? Already?”

“Simone is an incredible photographer.” She informed the men. “You should see her portfolio, it’s beautiful.”

“It’s just a hobby.” Simone argued. “I’d be happy to shoot some pictures, but I’m no professional. It’s more of a … passion than a profession.”

“Which is why her pictures are so beautiful!” Cat concluded. “Go get those books out of the car.” She told Trine who stuck out her pierced tongue defiantly. “Please?” Cat asked, making the girl roll her eyes but get up and go retrieve the photo albums.

“As a matter of fact…” Cat said, moving to squeeze in next to Larry on the couch, looking up at him with a smile. “She mentioned that she would really love to shoot you guys. Especially Larry.” Simone felt a little dizzy as her heart stopped beating and her cheeks flushed dark red. Oh why had she ever said anything about that? There were several chuckles from the men, but Simone kept her eyes on her lap. She was already embarrassed enough.

“Was that how she said it?” Adam asked, seeing Simone’s obvious discomfort and seeking to alleviate it. “That she wanted to shoot Larry? Because she might not’ve meant with a camera.” Simone felt her body relax with relief as everyone laughed and turned their attention back to other things.

“Here you go.” Trine complained as she returned with the albums, setting them on the coffee table unceremoniously. Bono and Adam each scooped one up and began to page through them, Larry peering over Adam’s shoulder and Edge moving to look over Bono’s.

“These are good.” Bono told her quickly. Adam nudged Bono to draw his attention to the book he was looking over, and Bono let out a low whistle, the book on his lap quickly discarded.

“I see you like the nudes.” Simone told them, knowing most men reacted that way when they first caught a glimpse of skin. She was actually very proud of the photos, they were tasteful and beautiful and artistic. It wasn’t like they were pornographic. So why was she so nervous suddenly, having these particular eyes examining them?

“These are beautiful.” Edge told her, Bono and Adam nodding.

“Thank you.” She told them. “I wanted to catch the beauty of the real female body. Not the sort of thing you see in the media, you know?”

“Women are supposed to be soft.” Edge agreed off hand, and she smiled. It was nice to hear a man say it for once.

“How many different models did you use for this series?”

“I put all of the nudes in together, so I guess you could call it a series, but it wasn’t something I shot intentionally as a set. I think I’ve shot maybe seventeen or twenty nudes over the years.” She replied. “I think they’re my favorite, really, because of the intensity. The subject is vulnerable, and there’s nothing to hide them, to define them. No uniforms or quality or color of clothing, all of the things people see when they look at each other. The things they see instead of actually seeing the people themselves.”

“You do a good job of that.” Adam agreed. Even though the shots were artistic in nature, she knew the moment they came to the male nudes because the attention they had been paying to the photos waned considerably. She had to roll her eyes.

“I think this is great. Having Anton’s unique style associated with us has been a real boon for both he and us. It would be great if you guys can have something similar.” Bono said, turning back to the other album. “Maybe we’ll even have you shoot some for our new album cover.” He added, making Simone’s heart race again. She would love to photograph any one of these men, but for something specific like that? It was a lot of pressure.

“I don’t know about that.” She told him, every eye on her in shock. Was she actually hesitant to photograph them? It was an opportunity plenty of photographers would all but sell their soul for. Cat smiled at her new friend, knowing that it was her cool reaction to the offer which would bring them back to her again. They may be big-shot celebrities by most standards, but they hated it when people insisted on treating them that way constantly.

“We’ll talk about it later.” Bono said, setting aside the book and picking up the lyrics once more, starting to sing again and drawing Cat back in. Edge took a look at the score and began to play, Krash joining in until they were engaged in a sort of dueling banjo’s sort of rhythm. Edge would play, the Krash would repeat what Edge had come up with and add something new. Edge did the same, changing it just a bit more.

Trine picked up the bass and began to pick out a crude bass line, glowering at Adam when he would try and suggest something, but then taking his advice. The words were passionate, the music began to take on an extremely sensual air, and the women watched in awe as the song took form before their eyes. It was something to behold, the birth of something beautiful.

“Do you have kids?” Simone asked Tessa, who sat next to her now.

“No. I… I can’t have children of my own.” She said. “Because of an injury, a long time ago.”

“I’m sorry.” Simone told the woman sincerely.

“I always thought I would like to adopt, but I never really had a chance. I travel a lot, and it’s not easy to adopt when you’re single.” She informed them casually.

“What about you guys?” Tessa asked, turning to Larry, who was patting out a rhythm against his legs as he listened to the progression of the song.

“Hmm? Oh. Well, Trine is Adam’s, of course.” He said, rubbing his nose in a gesture Simone was growing to find far too endearing. “And Edge has three with his ex-wife.”

“Oh. I didn’t realize he was divorced.” Simone said.

“Yeah. He and Aislinn have been divorced for awhile. He doesn’t talk about it a lot.” He said, obviously not wanting to talk about it either. Cat stood and began to dance as the song took form and structure, obviously enthusiastic about it's development. Simone stood and stretched, motioning to Cat to tell her she was getting ready to leave.

“I’m gonna take the little guy home and tuck him in.” She said as Cat fell silent and waited for Simone to speak. “Thanks again for supper. You know where to find me, if you’re serious about those pictures.”

“I am. Thanks for showing me around the city.” She told her with a smile.

“I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow, I think I’d better get back to the hotel myself. I don’t suppose I could bum a ride?” Tessa asked, and Simone nodded.

“Thank you for everything.” Tessa told her hosts, smiling specifically at Edge. “I have your number, I’ll get a hold of you tomorrow about speaking with Mr. McGuiness about the job.”

“Great. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled.” Edge told her, abandoning his guitar to walk the women to the door, holding it open for them, then hurrying to open the car door for Simone since she was carrying her sleeping son.

“It was nice, you know, having you here. Tonight.” Edge told Tessa as Simone slipped around the other side of the car and into the drivers seat. Tessa smiled shyly, feeling like a teenager on a first date. Which was ridiculous, she told herself. It wasn’t a date. She was just giddy from all of the changes which had occurred so suddenly. She glanced back up and when he smiled awkwardly back at her, she threw caution to the wind once more, rising to stand on her tip toes and kissing him softly on his cheek.

She hurriedly turned and slipped in the car, not daring to look and see if he was offended. She didn’t want to feel like an idiot or a fool tonight. She would hold on to the weightless feeling it gave her, to feel like a girl with a crush again. They made the trip into the city in near silence, these women who had started the day as strangers and were finishing it as friends. There was something in the air, a change that had already been set into motion. Both of them could sense it, and neither had any control. All they could do was hold on and see where the wind would take them.

**Ok, I believe I finally have all of the original characters established so I can get back to the stuff we all really enjoy, the more one on one interaction with our fictionalized versions of the guys. I have taken some real history and discarded some, as you can tell, and I want to restate that there is no offense intended to anyone involved with the men in real life. **

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Old 05-03-2005, 07:09 PM   #2
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This is so great!

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Old 05-03-2005, 07:36 PM   #3
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oh, i love it. can't wait for more.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:20 PM   #4
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Yay! That was wonderful! I'm glad Jolie turned out to be a jerk, I like Simone much better....and Edgey get's a girl too! I love this story. You're a very talented writer! Can't wait for more!
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:26 PM   #5
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I love this one!
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Old 05-04-2005, 02:49 AM   #6
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I love it!
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Old 05-04-2005, 03:44 AM   #7
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I love the way you have established all the female characters and incorperated them in through your other stories to this one.. and we can relate to them as much as the four u2 guys .. its like reading a mini series and you know the next one eppies is going to get better
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Old 05-04-2005, 04:33 AM   #8
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I really like this story. Lots of characters!
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:04 AM   #9
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You're brilliant, you know that? This story is great.
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:40 AM   #10
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I just want to thank you guys so much for your feedback. I was really feeling down about this because there are so many things going on and so many characters I was thinking it was getting to be too much and kind of *blech* . I feel so much better about it now, I think I'll have to work on the next chapter a bit before I get to the term paper I'm *supposed* to be writing today

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