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Old 02-07-2006, 03:49 PM   #1
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Up Close & Personal - Chapter 3

Wow, this fic is really flowing! It's not often I find things so easy to write! Anyway here's the next chapter, hope you like it, thank you to anyone who's read and replied so far, I'm happy people are liking the story! This part's a wee bit longer as a thank-you.

Disclaimer as usual - not real and not mine (except Rachel).


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


Chapter 3

I know what you’re thinking. How did I get so lucky as to be having hot chocolate with Larry? I don’t have the answer. Maybe it was time for me to get a break or something. Who knows? All I know is by the time Larry came back with our drinks, I was even more nervous than I had been a minute ago. Because then, I’d thought he was going to leave. Now he’s staying, I have no idea what we’re going to say to one another. It’s not as if we have anything in common, is it?

“There you go,” he says, flashing me the mere hint of a smile as he sets down the large mug in front of me. Already he’s scored points for including plenty of cream and marshmallows, yum.

“Thank you,” I reply, scooping some cream off the top with my spoon. “What did you get?”

“Cappuccino,” Larry says. “Haven’t had coffee for a few days. I’m trying to be a bit more healthy.”

“I see. Now the tour’s over and stuff, you mean?” Argh. Why did I say that? Now he’ll think I follow their every move, know all the gossip, go to every single concert (which would be great but I certainly haven’t won the Lottery lately). I concentrate on not slurping my drink, surprised when Larry doesn’t run away but continues to sit there. He even answers me.

“Yeah,” he nods. “You never eat right on tour, that’s for sure. I mean, you can do your best but everything’s all out of sync, y’know.”

His accent is just perfect. I could listen to it all day. And all night, but that’s another fantasy entirely.

“I eat terribly and I don’t even have the excuse of a tour,” I shrug, and Larry lets out a single chuckle.

“Are you a student?”

I shake my head. “No. I used to be, but I wasn’t enjoying my course so I left. Had a few jobs but the last one didn’t want me any more. Now I watch lots of TV and sometimes arrange to meet men I don’t know in random coffee shops.”

Larry laughs some more. I am shocked, and realise this must be a good sign. “Well, sure, you’ve gotta find a way to pass the time.”

Oh, if only he knew the things I did to pass the time. Actually, I’m very glad he doesn’t.

“So, um, have you been busy lately?” Honestly, I can’t think what else to say. And since the Zoo TV tour it’s been fairly quiet on the U2 front. As a fan and consumer, I reckon I have a right to know what the story is.

“A wee bit,” he says, nodding as he sips some coffee. Foam lingers on his top lip before he licks it away; I yearn to do that for him next time. “Just been away in New York, actually. Some time over there with Adam. Y’know, Adam? My bandmate?”

I smile. “Yes, I know who Adam is. How’s he doing?” I don’t wish to be nosy but the last big thing I heard about Adam, he wasn’t in a particularly good frame of mind, and as a fan and human being, I’d like to make sure he’s alright.

“Good. He’s still out there, actually. I’m going back soon. Just… checking in.” He drinks some more, my heart beats a little faster, my foot meets the bag of records under the table.

“Checking in? You’re not here for long?” First meeting and I’m already getting paranoid.

He looks a bit uncomfortable. More uncomfortable. “No, I’ll be back, it’s just…”

I rest my chin in my hand and look at him, not looking at me. Rain’s still spattering against the window and again I could swear I saw someone out there peering in. Larry’s so gorgeous, no one in their right mind could deny it, and he’s right here with me. It’s like a very crazy dream. Except in my crazy dreams the romantic leads do tend to stay with me for longer than an afternoon.

Oh, who am I kidding? As if Larry Mullen Jr. would even want me. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to be here and wishes we hadn’t met. He’s only being polite, which is fair enough, what else did I expect?

I do want to know one thing, though, before we part forever.

“If you’re back and forth all the time, why did you bother advertising for a girlfriend?” I try not to sound as if I’m accusing him, or as if I want to be said girlfriend. (You and I both know I wouldn’t mind that at all, but we don’t need to tell him that.)

Larry sighs again, a proper heavy sigh this time. “I’m sorry,” he says quietly.

“You said it was a mistake,” I go on gently, “that you didn’t mean this to happen. But… I don’t understand. You must have realised someone might answer your ad.”

A tiny drop of rain makes the leap from Larry’s hair to the table. I watch him, mesmerised by his blue eyes as he finally meets my own, mouth open, ready to explain.

Just then, the café door clatters open, bell ringing much louder than it’s intended to, and everyone looks round. Larry looks round. I look round. The difference between us, when we see who it is, is total exasperation (him) and utter disbelief (me. And the rest of the customers).

Bono has just walked in.

BONO!

Dressed in black, head to toe, it’s Bono. I told you someone was watching through the window, I knew I had a suspicion! As usual I guessed I was imagining things but he’s in the café, glancing in all directions until his eyes settle on Larry and widen, and then he’s pushing his way through the sea of chairs and tables to reach us.

I swear my heart is going to stop and I am going to a) pass out, b) wake up or c) throw up. None of which is a very desirable option in front of two of the biggest rock stars on the planet. Both of whom are extremely hot.

I stare down at my hot chocolate as the heat rises automatically in my cheeks. I can hear Bono’s voice, getting closer all the time, as he fends off my fellow patrons.

“I’ll be with you in a moment, love. No, two seconds, sweetheart, then you can have me all to yourself.”

What a bloody charmer.

Larry doesn’t look impressed. In fact, his brow is furrowed so deeply you could harvest crops in it, and his lips are a tight line of displeasure. Standard Larry, then.

“Lawrence!”

I am not looking up. I am not looking up.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Larry hisses. I flick another glance; he’s half out of his seat, shooting daggers at Bono. I don’t know what Bono’s reaction is – I am not looking up.

“Getting a coffee. Isn’t that why most people are here?” The easygoing smirk is right there in his voice, and I can understand why Larry is annoyed. I can also understand (not for the first time) why Bono is downright sexy.

“Bono.” Larry almost growls his name. Mmm.

“Oh, relax, Lawrence. I’m just seeing how everything is going. Don’t get so worked up!” And then the worst happens and he holds out a hand for me to shake. I can see the tips of his fingers out of the corner of my eye. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”

Larry huffs from across the table. “This is Rachel.”

Well, how can I avoid it any longer? I look up and immediately realise why I had been trying not to. Bono’s eyes are like sapphires, gleaming brightly against his black outfit and jet black hair which is still long. His mouth is curved into an enticing grin and it’s impossible not to feel completely swept away. He has that effect.

“Lovely to meet you, Rachel,” he says, kissing my hand when I offer it up. I nod and manage a weak smile. There’s no way I can actually speak.

This, I have to admit, is all incredibly frustrating. I always told myself if I ever met Bono I’d be cool and calm, think he’s just another guy, he happens to be famous, etc. It’s not me to be so taken in by a man like this, but I can’t really help it. It’s as if he has an aura around him that makes him extra-attractive. This, I think, is why my breath is caught in my throat and my stomach is clenching in an odd way.

When I hear a deliberate cough, I glance across the table at Larry, who seems even more unhappy with Bono now. I feel guilty for my behaviour and distract myself by drinking more hot chocolate and praying I don’t get cream on my nose.

“You can go now.”

Bono heaves a dramatic sigh. “Lawrence, you wound me. It’s wet outside and you want me to go? What about my drink?”

As I’m not watching, I can’t tell exactly what’s going on but in the next few moments, Larry gets up with a grunt and goes over to the counter, presumably to get Bono’s coffee while the man himself slides into the spare seat at our table, between mine and Larry’s.

“I’m sorry to intrude like this, Rachel, but I wanted to make sure everything was going well.”

He reminds me of a strict father who doesn’t like letting his son out alone with a girl. Except the spark in Bono’s eyes makes it quite clear he’s hoping something will happen with Larry and me. I can’t understand why it’s such a big deal.

“Um, fine.” Great. Fantastic response there, Rachel. And on top of that, you croaked it out like a demented frog.

Bono shrugs off his coat, takes out a cigarillo and lights it, slowly, decadently. He leans back in the chair and stares at me until I stare back.

“What?” I ask, somewhat uncertainly. Damn this man making me lose what I thought was my cool.

“You’re very pretty.” He nods, as if to himself, as if satisfied. I’m not sure what to say.

“Thank you,” is what I settle on. Then, confidence attacking me from somewhere, I add, “I look even better on a good hair day.”

Bono starts to laugh and the group at the next table glare at me, as if they’re jealous they didn’t get to make Bono laugh. “I bet,” he says, voice low. My skin rises in goosebumps and I’m glad that Larry is back, practically banging Bono’s coffee down in front of him.

“You make a lousy waiter, Larry,” Bono retorts lightly, sitting forwards to stir sugar into the drink.

“And you make a crap detective,” Larry snaps, plonking himself in his seat. “D’you think I didn’t notice you lurking outside?”

I stare from one to the other, my nervousness nearly vanished. “You knew he was there?” I ask Larry, who nods curtly, although I suspect the object of his temper isn’t my surprised question.

I’m proved right when he says, to Bono rather than me, “You know I wasn’t up for this. I didn’t even want to come and now you’re sitting there, acting like a twat.”

I blink. I’m not sure what is going on between these two but I have the horrible feeling I’m simply a pawn in it. Larry obviously doesn’t want to be here, and now, neither do I.

“Look, I have no idea what’s happening here but I think it’d be best if I went. You obviously have things to discuss and I can’t imagine they’d involve me.” Bitter is back, and I don’t think I’m wrong to feel that way. Here are two men I really admire, have done for a long time, and they’re playing some kind of childish game with dating adverts and me in the middle.

“No, don’t go,” Bono says with a pleading look in his eyes, as I scrape back my chair. “It’s my fault. But I only wrote the advert so we could find someone decent for Larry, he’s so miserable when he’s single.”

I hear Larry make a noise of protest, but I ignore him. There’s something unnatural about this whole thing and as much as I fancy Larry and Bono, I’m not about to let myself get used as some sort of rent-a-girlfriend so the others don’t suffer Larry’s moods. I’ve been through stupid stuff with guys too often in the past to let it happen again.

“I’m sorry,” I say, shaking my head. “This… it’s all wrong. I don’t think this is a good idea. I have to meet a friend, I’m sorry.” I grab my bag – the one that contains the U2 records that ordinarily I’d have them sign – and my coat and head out of the café, paying no heed to the shout from behind which if I’d stopped to think about it, might have been Larry calling my name. But it doesn’t matter because I am on the street and walking quickly in the direction of my nice, warm, safe house.


TBC! Stay tuned!
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:08 PM   #2
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Good stuff, chickadee! I like the way you portray Rachel, especially the smart-aleck comments like this one:

"Now I watch lots of TV and sometimes arrange to meet men I don’t know in random coffee shops."

Sounds like something I'd say. (Except, of course, I would never be in a situation like that...but hey, a girl can dream, right? That's why it's called "fiction" I suppose, lol.) Anyway, keep up the good work! Looking forward to reading more.
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:14 PM   #3
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Great chapter! I love this story so far. Please update soon!
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:28 PM   #4
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great story chickadee
(I read chapters 1-3 back to back .. )

hope to see an update soon!
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:14 AM   #5
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Ditto all of the above! I love this story
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:19 AM   #6
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Great story!
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Old 02-08-2006, 11:37 AM   #7
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She LEFT???
I wouldn't even be able to move tho... guuuuuuh
great story... hungry for moore!
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