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Old 05-11-2005, 10:27 AM   #1
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The promises we make pt 7

Been distracted the last couple of days… think I wrote this chapter over three or four times! hope it didn’t suffer for it!

*Disclaimer: I hate to break it to you, but I faked it. None of this story is true.

The Promises we make pt 7

Simone felt downright strange about pulling her junky old Subaru into the garage next to the Mercedes and other expensive vehicles. Still, it felt nice to be so trusted as to be invited to stay overnight in such a house as this one. Rarely in her life had she had these fancy of accommodations. She was glad, also, to be able to do something for Adam and Cat. Trine had been watching Pauley for two weeks now, and they refused to let her pay for the hours he was sleeping.

She had been moved when they asked her to stay and keep an eye on Trine while they were gone overnight. It wasn’t as if she needed a baby-sitter, at age fifteen, but knowing someone was there to make sure she didn’t do something stupid was a comfort.

Simone dragged her duffel bag out of the backseat and slung it over her shoulder. The first thing she wanted was a shower. She hated coming home every night smelling of alcohol and stale smoke. It permeated her clothes and hair. If she worked at a bar for too long, she feared the smell would become permanent.

She let herself in as quietly as possible and shuffled through the dark kitchen, the only light coming from the face of the clock; a bright green light which declared it to be 3:25 am. No wonder her muscles ached so badly; she’d pulled a double shift and it had taken twice as long as usual to clean up after closing time.

She heard the television softly in the other room, recognized it as ‘roustabout’ one of the Elvis films Pauley had fallen in love with. Figuring he and Trine had fallen asleep watching the movie, she slipped quietly into the living room, intending to rouse Trine and to carry Pauley back to the guest bed they were sharing that night.

She stopped in her tracks in surprise when her eyes found not only Pauley, but Larry as well, asleep on the couch. Larry’s long legs were stretched out in front of him, resting on the coffee table, and he was half lying, half sitting at one end of the couch. Pauley was asleep next to him, stretched out to claim the rest of the couch for himself; and Larry’s hand was resting on the boys shoulder. It was such a cozy scene, Simone’s heart ached.

It was the sort of scene she had long since given up on seeing, not having a father figure around for Pauley. She’d never stayed with a man for long, but since Pauley was born, her affairs had been shorter than ever. She’d met a few men good enough for her, but none good enough for Pauley.

She willed herself to move from the spot where she seemed to be stuck to the floor, her eyes wanting to linger on them for awhile longer, even though she was nearly asleep on her feet. Finally, she leaned over Trine, who was asleep in an easy chair, and shook her gently by the shoulder.

“Trine? Sweetie, you can go to bed.” She told the girl, who woke with a start, gasping and jumping as if she had no clue where she was for a moment. She let out a long breath as her mind cleared and she rubbed her tired eyes.

“Simone? Are you early?” she asked, her voice raspy from sleep.

“No. I’m late actually. You fell asleep in front of the TV.” She replied. Trine rose, still half asleep, and shuffled out of the room, mumbling ‘goodnight’ as she went. Simone scooped Pauley up in her arms, trying not to disturb Larry as she did. As she lifted the boy, however, Larry drew in a quick breath, his eyes opening and he looked around himself in surprise.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Simone whispered. Larry rubbed a big hand over his face, scratching the stubble which was forming on his chin and then he stretched those muscular arms above his head.

“No, it’s ok. I didn’t mean to fall asleep.” He told her, standing and reaching out to take Pauley out of her arms, cradling him protectively. “Here, let me. He’s almost as big as you are.” He told her softly. “Which room is he staying in?”

“Third door on the left, down that way.” Simone directed him, slightly bemused by his sudden chivalry. He’d been more on the rude side most of the times they had encountered each other. He led the way down to the guest room and she followed, the duffel bag containing her belongings over her shoulder. When he reached the closed door, she leaned in and opened it for him, finding the light switch quickly and allowing him to enter first.

“Oh, Trine!” Simone mumbled, seeing Pauley’s bag had been dumped out on the bed, the contents left spread out over the blankets. She quickly gathered everything up and stuffed it into the boys backpack, tossing it to the floor next to her own bag. She pulled back the covers and stood back to allow Larry to lay the sleeping child on the bed. At least Trine had gotten him into his pajamas before they fell asleep, she thought, reaching out and tucking him in gently.

She found the stuffed puppy dog he had loved until it’s fur was worn thin in several spots and rested it next to him on his pillow, in case he woke before she came to bed. She and Larry stepped out, closing the door behind them as they went.

“Thanks. I hope there wasn’t a problem, or anything…?” Simone asked, more than a little curious about the man’s presence.

“No, no. I just stopped by to check on things, told Adam I would.” He informed her, raising one hand to rub the back of his neck, his other hand shoved in his back pocket.

“Good. Well, thanks, anyway.” She told him, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of her uniform shirt pocket. “It’s ok if I smoke in here, isn’t it?” She asked, suddenly, and Larry smiled a full, genuine smile. The type of smile he rarely shared with people.

“Yeah, it’s ok. In case you hadn’t noticed, Adam has a bit of a habit.” He said with a chuckle.

“Right.” She agreed, smiling back and shrugging. “Tell’s you how tired I am.” She muttered around the filter, lighting up as she spoke.

“Yeah, this is a tough schedule. Especially for Pauley.” Larry said, sitting on one of the barstools in the kitchen and lighting up a cigarette of his own.

“We get by.” She told him.

“Yeah, but when he starts school, he’s going to need to sleep through the night.” He informed her, as if she hadn’t thought of that herself.

“You’re giving me parenting advice?” She asked sharply, exhaling a stream of smoke.

“No, I was just…”

“Because I didn’t ask for it.” She finished, drawing in another puff, the end of the cigarette glowing red in the dim light.

“I know. I was just… never-mind.” He told her, letting out a deep smoky breath of his own before standing again and moving toward the door. He paused, his hand on the doorknob, and turned back to look at her in the dark kitchen.

“He’s a great kid.” He told her, and she smiled weakly at him, running a hand over her mess of curly brown hair.

“Thanks. I guess I get a little defensive of him, of how we live.” She admitted.

“Well, you must be doing something right, anyway.” He told her.

“Look, you look really tired. Why don’t you stay the rest of the night?” She offered impulsively. “I mean, I’m sure Adam wouldn’t mind.” She added, shrugging her shoulders.

“Ahhh, I don’t uh…” He stammered for a minute, but he paused, looking out the window into the foggy night for a long moment and then he released his grip on the doorknob. “I think I will, actually.” He told her, and she was glad it was dark and he couldn’t see the smile which forced it’s way onto her face. There was no reason for her to be so happy. It was stupid. She shouldn’t feel much of anything either way. Stay, go, it shouldn’t make a difference.

“Where are you sleeping?” He asked, and she stared at him blankly for a moment, as if she didn’t understand the question.

“Oh! Uh, Pauley and I are sharing a room.” She finally replied, finding an ashtray and crushing what was left of her cigarette.

“Ok, I’ll just be in the room across the hall.” He informed her, brushing past her on his way.

“Right. Sweet dreams.” She told him, wondering how she was supposed to sleep with him just yards away. The image of him stripping down to whatever he intended to sleep in appeared in her mind, followed by thoughts of skin against cool sheets. Bare skin against soft cotton. Then thoughts of slipping into bed beside him, skin against skin…

She shook her head and tried to clear it of the troubling images. Desire for this man was a dangerous thing. She couldn’t take the risks which were involved for a few moments of gratification. No, she needed a cold shower and a good nights sleep, and she’d chase him right out of her thoughts. She hoped.

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

Angel was less than thrilled with the plethora of photographers which greeted them at the premiere, a thousand flashes of light exploding all around them. Edge kept a loose grip on her elbow and helped hurry her through the crowd and into the theater. Adam was not quite as helpful for Tessa, who felt just as overwhelmed by it all as Angel.

Rather, he paused to smile and nod at several photographers whom he recognized. At first, she was irritated with him, until it occurred to her that he wasn’t stalling because he wanted his picture taken, but because he was waiting for Cat and Bono. They had immediately been swamped by the ravenous reporters.

She had to admit, they made an incredibly attractive couple. Superstar material, through and through, the both of them. She glanced up at Adam, wondering if he regretted his decision to try and make the evening a bit easier on her. He smiled and winked at her, as if he could read her thoughts and wanted to reassure her she needn’t feel guilty.

The movie itself was a grand epic, and several songs from the original soundtrack had been composed by Bono, Edge, and Adam. She was impressed, to say the least. After so many years with Jolie, apparently, she had picked up a few of the woman’s judgmental habits. She had simply seen the men as rock musicians, and not as the artists they really were.

After the movie itself, of course, there was a premiere party, hosted by the studio. This was where she now found herself, seated with Edge seated at her right and Adam on her left. She could imagine far worse company to be pinned in between. The club was, apparently, a popular spot among the most famous and infamous in the UK.

It wasn’t hard for her to imagine. It was not what she would call cozy, but perhaps intimate would apply. It was dimly lit in all the right places, the dance floor abuzz with people and multi-colored lights. The air was heady with smoke, music, and the smells of people with a great deal of money to spend on clothes and toiletries.

Cat had been on the dance floor nearly non-stop. Bono was circulating the room, chatting up everyone, whether they were a stranger or an old friend. Tessa sipped her drink and pretended not to watch Angel get more and more irritated as she, in turn, watched Bono be embraced, fondled and kissed by every woman in the club. It couldn’t be easy, Tessa imagined, to be involved with a man who seemed to belong to the public.

“Do you dance?” She heard Edge asking, and suddenly realized in the noise that it was her to whom he was speaking. She turned to look into his pretty aqua eyes, her own eyes wide with apprehension.

“No, no! Not in a very long time.” She told him with a shy smile.

“Why is that?” He asked, having to lean in close and speak into her ear to be heard over the noise of the party. His breath tickled her ear and sent a shiver through her body.

“I don’t know.” She said with a shrug. “I think the last time I danced was at a midnight showing of ‘the Rocky horror picture show’!” She joked, and he rewarded her with a warm smile, his eyes dancing at the thought of her participating in the cult tradition. She must’ve been a far different girl than the quiet, refined woman she had become.

“It sounds like it’s time you started dancing again.” He told her, and she started to shake her head, but when one of his callused hands surrounded her hand, her breath caught in her throat. She slid across the booth seat and followed him to a less crowded corner of the dance floor, her heart pounding madly in her chest.

Within seconds on the dance floor, of course, the music changed to a slow, sultry bump and grind rhythm sung by someone with a voice akin to Isaac Hayes or Barry White. As if her heart weren’t already taxed enough! He slid a powerful arm around her waist and pulled her close enough that their bodies brushed against one another.

“So are you enjoying yourself tonight?” He asked her, his voice in her ear again. She closed her eyes and let herself enjoy the moment, smiling softly and nearly letting her head rest on his shoulder. The scratch of his beard against her cheek as he spoke was an unusual pleasure; an unexpected one. She’d never dated a man who’d worn a beard. Of course, it had been years since she dated at all. The man she’d been married to, when she was young, had been baby-faced and couldn’t have grown a full beard if he had wanted to .

“Yes, of course.” She replied, *I always do with you.* she added in her thoughts. “Adam is a great date.” She teased, making him lean back and look down at her in surprise. She laughed out loud at the rather bewildered look on his face, and he smiled crookedly at her, his eyes dancing.

“You had me nervous. I thought he’d stolen another girl from me.” He joked in return. He pulled her close again, singing softly along with the song.

“You have a gorgeous voice.” She told him. “I can’t believe you’re not the lead singer, when I hear you on your own.”

“Thanks, but I prefer my place right off to the side. Bono belongs center stage, I just borrow the spotlight once in awhile.” He told her with a chuckle.

“He’s something else altogether.” She agreed, laughter permeating her voice. “But if he’s the head of the band, you’re the heart. The soul.”

“He’s actually said that himself.” Edge told her, and she smiled. They were all surprisingly modest, considering their vast success. “Though I don’t necessarily agree. We all bring something to the group, we’d not have gotten far without each other.”

She tilted her head to the side and looked up at him admiringly, an action which he caught out of the corner of his eye. He smiled at her, arching an eyebrow playfully, and she smiled back. Suddenly, her breath caught in her throat as the silence between them thickened, neither one seemingly able to take their eyes away from the others.

There wasn’t a great deal of space between them, but it still seemed to take forever for them to close that distance. He’d lean forward less than an inch, then pause, and she would do the same, each testing the waters until they their eyes met, and they had to laugh softly at themselves, acting like a couple of shy ten year olds. Finally, he closed his eyes and pressed his lips against hers in a simple but very sweet kiss.

There was a vulnerability in him she hadn’t sensed before; this man who was so strong and smart it could be intimidating. Her heart swelled with this realization, and she knew she was far worse off than she had realized. She didn’t just have a crush on him, she was falling for him and falling hard.

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

Adam woke the next morning to the distinctively unpleasant sound of Cat retching in the bathroom, even though she had closed the door and turned on the water. He climbed out of the bed and rapped on the door, trying the knob but finding it locked.

“Cat? Cat, are you all right?” He asked, though he thought it was a stupid question, of course she wasn’t all right. He waited for a reply for several long moments before he heard the toilet flush and the water shut off.

“I’m fine, sweetheart. Just had too much to drink last night.” She told him weakly, through the door. He frowned, wishing he could see her, do something that would help her. It was harder to watch someone you cared about be sick than it was to suffer the sickness yourself.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about that.” He told her, and waited for a moment, listening for any sign that she’d heard him. Finally the door opened and she scowled out at him.

“What do you mean?” She demanded.

“Cat, don’t you think you’ve been drinking too much in general lately?” He asked her gently.

“Oh for Christ’s sake, Adam!” she groaned, closing the door in his face and locking it again. Adam sighed and returned to the bed, turning on the television and flipping through the channels idly. It wasn’t the first time this week she’d drunk herself sick. He had lived through his own pattern of self-destructive behavior, and could see it a mile away now. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the one who would have to recognize it. Cat had to see it for herself before it could change.

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

They were on their way out of the hotel a few hours later, just crossing the lobby, when a woman in her mid to late forties approached them determinedly. No one was surprised by this, of course; Bono all but had his pen out and ready to sign his autograph when she spoke and took them all by surprise.

“Hello, Catalina.” She said, and Catalina stared in disbelief. Her blood ran cold in her veins and she wanted desperately to hide. Hide anywhere; behind Adam, behind the couch, in a hole in the ground.
She was five years old again, looking at that woman. She had hardly changed. She was beautiful as ever, with her salon dyed blonde hair, expensive make up and, Cat suspected, cosmetic surgery to fight away the years which were beginning to try and change her.

“Well, are you going to just stand there, or are you going to introduce me to your new husband?” She demanded, and Cat looked up at Adam, her eyes wide with sheer terror. When she didn’t speak immediately, the woman extended her hand to Adam and introduced herself.

“Obviously she learned her manners, or lack thereof, from her father.” The woman told him in obvious disappointment. “I’m Olivia Wethington.” She told him, and when she saw that her name didn’t mean anything to him, she added, “Catalina’s mother.”

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

“Larry!” Pauley greeted Larry enthusiastically, waving like mad when he saw the man emerge from the hallway the next morning. He was seated at the breakfast table with Trine, eating a toast and orange juice. Or attempting to; there were so many crumbs on his pajama’s Larry had to wonder if any of the toast had actually made it into the boys mouth, and the orange juice was dribbled from the glass to the edge of the table.

“Morning, Pauley.” He greeted the boy, running a hand through his shaggy hair.

“Breakfast is almost ready.” Simone told him from her spot in front of the stove. “I made pancakes, if you’re interested. There’s syrup, whipped cream and some fresh strawberries to top them with. Otherwise you can look around and see what else there is. They left the kitchen pretty well stocked."

“Thanks.” Larry replied, more than a little surprised. He hadn’t imagined Simone as being a particularly domestic type; preparing big meals for everyone like this. She seemed rather comfortable in front of the stove, though. He grabbed a handful of strawberries and dropped one into his mouth as he watched her.

“Larry, we’re going on a ‘venture today!” Pauley announced proudly.

“You are?” Larry asked with a smile. “Is Trine taking you clubbing?”

“Ha ha, you’re so funny I forgot to laugh.” Trine replied sarcastically, cleaning her dishes up from the table. “I’m going to Krash and Alex’s apartment to work on some songs with them. At least I can still do that.” She grumbled as she stomped out of the room.

“We’re going on a picnic, and we’re gonna see a castle and a mountain, and to the beach and..” Pauley was telling Larry excitedly.

“We’re going down to Wicklow.” Simone explained, carrying the platter of pancakes over to the table and preparing one for Pauley before making a plate for herself. “I’ve wanted to take some pictures down there for awhile, and since tonight is my night off, I thought it was as good a time as any.”

“That sounds like fun.” Larry replied, eating another handful of the fresh berries as he fixed a plate for himself.

“You can come with us!” Pauley offered hopefully.

“Oh, I don’t….” Simone was quick to say, throwing Larry a nervous glance.

“I better get home, buddy. Can’t leave my dog alone for too long.” Larry informed Pauley.

“You have a dog?!?” Pauley nearly squealed, even more excited about this than the adventure he had planned. “Can I come see him?”

“Her, actually, and yeah, sure you can come see her sometime.” He informed the boy as Simone was shaking her head and trying to tell Pauley to leave Larry well enough alone.

“We can’t have a dog cuz we don’t own our house and the guy who does says dogs are stinky.” Pauley explained with a serious frown.

“That’s too bad.” Larry told him. “Everyone should be able to have a dog, if they want one. My dog JJ was my best friend for years and years.”

“Is that your dogs name, JJ?” Pauley asked, his green eyes shimmering across the table as he looked at his new hero.

“No, that was my old dog. The dog I have now, her name is Missy.”

“Missy can come with us to the mountain and the beach, can’t she mom?” Pauley suggested, and the hope shone so brightly in his eyes, Simone couldn’t quite bear to say no. She hoped Larry would be the one to back out, because she had planned on it being a trip for just herself and Pauley.

“Well, she could, baby. I’m sure Larry is too busy, though…” She started, looking to Larry for confirmation.

“You know what?” Larry said thoughtfully licking the strawberry juice from his lips. “I think I’d like that.”

“Yeah!” Pauley cheered, standing on his chair and dancing a little victory dance. “We’re going on a ‘venture!” he declared in a sing song voice which made Larry chuckle out loud. Simone smiled too, half excited to have the adult company along for the day trip and half terrified of enjoying that company too much.
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Old 05-11-2005, 10:48 AM   #2
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Love this chapter as always, but guh... my mind ground to a complete halt at the thought of Larry licking strawberry juice from his lips . YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE DIDN'T YOU?!
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Old 05-11-2005, 10:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elsie
Love this chapter as always, but guh... my mind ground to a complete halt at the thought of Larry licking strawberry juice from his lips . YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE DIDN'T YOU?!
Larry... lips... strawberry juice...


Thanks for the positive feedback; I'm never sure what to think when I read my own stories
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Old 05-11-2005, 11:13 AM   #4
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hehehee Sad_girl.. you write brilliantly just what I want to read
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Old 05-11-2005, 02:34 PM   #5
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And yet another great chapter....
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Old 05-11-2005, 02:37 PM   #6
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love it...we need more!
I hope that Cat doesn't act on this little 'feeling' she has about Bono now and again I love how Larry is with Pauley ....excellent writing Sad_Girl!!
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Old 05-11-2005, 04:20 PM   #7
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That was great! I thought when Cat was puking that maybe she was pregnant , but too much drinking is bad...I hope she doesn't have to go into rehab....and her mom showing up!? Whoa! and I liked the part with Larry and the juice too...hehe
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:26 PM   #8
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Good story!


I have a hunch that Cat's mum is gonna get all friendly with Cat coz she wants something out of them... Two words to Cat's mum: BACK OFF!



Oops... sorry... But i loved the Larry parts!
Can't wait for the next chapter!
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:58 PM   #9
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This is so great!

It's nice to see more happening with Larry...can't wait for more.
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Old 05-11-2005, 10:21 PM   #10
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Just great!
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