Dnacing With The Devil ch. 40

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Nov 10, 2010
Dancing out in space
How loooonnng... to sing this sooonnng...
Unfortunately, for quite a while after, but it's alright- I've been writing all day and will probably get to the last chapter a week from now. We'll see.
None of this ever happened. Especially not the part in France. But it's fun imagining it.

Eating breakfast in the lobby downstairs for one last time, I discover that what I’ve speculated since last night is true- Eric really has left the tour, there being no sign of him down here or anywhere else. I couldn’t care less. Jack is now my sole partner in the Zoo world. Together, we check out of the hotel in Dublin, even as it tugs me with a wanting to stay, and head on down to the airport to catch our respective planes. A flight to Scotland is leaving a few hours after a flight to Holland. I kiss Jack’s cheek and tell him I’ll see him later- I’ve taken to using that as a parting instead of goodbye. Jack wraps his arms around me a little awkwardly and tells me the same. We exchange phone numbers so we can remain in touch off tour.
After a long flight- and a long sleep- my heart swells as the words “Welcome to Rotterdam” are voiced over the speakers of the plane. I’ve waited for this for so long. The tall buildings of my city scrape the air as we swoop down on a runway, and at once I’m on Dutch soil again. I can barely wait to get off the plane. LINA!
I step off and hurry down into the airport terminal. Many of the other people on the plane run to their loved one’s arms, but to my surprise there’s no one to greet me. No Lina… I’ve called her this morning, telling her when I’m coming home. Maybe she didn’t listen to the answering machine. I would at least expect Herman, but he’s not here either. I silently collect my luggage and clear out.
Outside on the streets, I hail a taxi. It pulls over to the sidewalk, and I climb in, thanking the driver. He looks at me, confused. I fold my legs and tell him the address I want to go to while buckling in my seatbelt.
“Neem me niet kwalijk, miss- WAT?!”
Oh. I suddenly feel very stupid, and repeat the address in Dutch, my native language. The driver sighs and pulls away from the curb. I’ve been away for longer than I thought.
Once the street signs get familiar, my heart does another salmon-leap. I almost tell the driver to stop, I can walk from here. That is a beautiful feeling- to recognize my own surroundings! The driver stops at the flats and I toss some money his way, florins this time instead of pounds. My, how I’ve missed even our own currencies!
I walk up the stairs up to our flat and unlock the door with my key, which I’ve had in my pocket since I left Dublin. It feels like entering a hotel. The smell of our flat drifts out into the hall, and I welcome it with open arms, closing the door behind me.
Everything is not as I left it. The room is less orderly, with clothes strewn about on the floor, telling me where Lina dresses every morning. The record cabinet is open, and, glancing inside, I discover none out of place, but with a new addition- Zooropa, on CD. I pull it out and stare at the psychedelic cover, which my vinyl clearly lacks. I take the CD up in my hands and drift over to the table, which still has a mug and plate set out from presumably earlier this morning. There’s a note on a Post-It stuck to the plate as well.
Marieke, I am at work. See you when I come back. L.
Hm. I glance at the clock. She’d still be at work now, which would account for her not showing up at the airport. I put the plate and mug in the sink and wash them, along with the other dirty dishes. After that I put all the dirty clothes in an orderly pile to the side and make the bed, which reveals a rough sleep pattern for Lina- wrinkles and folds and sheets all bunched up. I grow guilty- she’s been worried sick about me. Did I really not call my best friend for that long? I plunge my face into the pillow, recalling the scent of her.
After cleaning the flat, I have nothing else to do but wait for Lina to come home. I turn on the TV and watch for a bit, flipping channels. Eventually it sends me to sleep. When my eyes next open. I’m comfortably squished on the sofa, bits of hair falling in my eyes. I sit up and stretch out, brushing my curls back, and glance at the clock. Twenty-thirty? Really? It’s way past dinnertime- and past the time when Lina’s job lets out. She should have been home an hour ago. I scratch my head, wondering where she is, but shrug. Time to go out to eat!
As I set one foot outside my door, a purse in one hand, I suddenly remember that this is my home. We have plenty of food in the refrigerator. I peek inside and make myself some pasta, heating it up from apparently the night before. Throughout dinner, Lina still refuses to make an appearance. I drink some water and wash the dirtied plate and cup, and go over to the bed to read the booklet in Zooropa’s CD. Oh, so those were the words to Dirty Day? I never knew that before!
After thoroughly poring over Zooropa- some might call the bright colors an eyesore, but they’re beautiful to me- I go and get the CD player and plug it in. I’ve missed my U2 music- only Zooropa and live performances have sustained me. I place Achtung Baby in the CD player and close in its spinning. Zoo Station drifts across the room, and I frown. This isn’t how I remembered the mindblowingly fantastic Achtung Baby. Where is the mindblowing fantastic-ness?
I listen to the album once through, and don’t hear anything remarkable in it. The music is flat and dead, whereas in the past it was the best thing I’d ever heard. I think about live performances of the Achtung Baby songs, how I’ve gotten so used to hearing them played night after night. There lies the problem- U2 is so much better live than in the studio that I’ve become bored with the studio albums after hearing there live self for so long. I glance at the clock. Twenty-fifty-five. Now what am I supposed to do? I sit down on the couch and flip the TV on again. Our little flat has cable, so I turn to MTV.
To my great surprise, U2 is on the TV- well, not every member, but Edge is doing a live performance of Numb! I suddenly realize that I’m watching the MTV Music Video Awards. What is that blue uniform he’s wearing? I giggle, imagining Edge close up in the clothing. The song pulls me back deeply into my tour-minded self- the Marieke that wrote speeches, played the bass, and loved Bono… As far as I know, I’m still that girl. An image of Bono appears on the screens behind Edge- so very Zoo-esque! I like it- and my thoughts are instantly transported to He kissed me as a sober man. He knew what he was doing. He kissed me because he wanted to… The performance ends, and I clap soundlessly.
By this time I figure it’s best to get ready for bed. Lina apparently won’t be home for a while, though I have no idea where in the world she could be. I fall asleep to nothing- no music, no city noises, no flat-mate chatter- and my sleep is equally undisturbed.
Early morning, Bono arises from his bed in Eze and, trying not to wake Ali, dresses to go out. The jet lag from flying to France from Dublin has evaporated, but Bono is disoriented. He has bought the house a while ago, looking for a refuge where he and Edge, who lives in another part of the house, could get away. Ali and the kids live here part time as well. Once the tour ended, Bono has gone to take a vacation in fixing up the mansion, and though Ali has just gotten back from her own holiday, she agreed to accompany him on the flight here.
Bono tiptoes down the stairs, places his Fly glasses over his eyes, and opens the front door. Ocean waves crash along the nearby shore, and Bono strolls down the sand, making footprints. He stares at the rosy sun.
Good morning, Bono thinks, and his lips turn up in a smile. He glances to the beach homes that line the shore. Bono hasn’t gotten acquainted with anyone here in France yet. He knows that a few other celebrities live in the houses, even next door, but Bono is a bit reluctant to meet them. He plods down the shore, warming his back in the early morning sun.
And it hits him again, just as it has for the past day- Marieke and I have crossed the line. Bono pulls his arms around himself, though it’s by no means cold up here. That one kiss could mean so much more than just a “birthday gift.” Why hadn’t Bono wanted it to end?
A lone figure stands a few feet away from Bono, the wind ruffling his curls. Bono glances around, figureing now would be a good time to meet the folks next door, and calls out, “Hullo.” The figure turns and waves in Bono’s direction. “Hey,” he calls back, an Australian accent riding the wind and piercing Bono’s eardrums. He begins to think he knows this man.
Bono draws closer, extending a hand. “It’s the new neighbor- I’ve only moved in this year,” he explains. “I’m Bono.”
The man takes the offered hand and pumps it up and down. “I’m Michael Hutchence. Have you heard the one about you?”
Mystified, Bono shakes his head. “What about me?”
Michael steps back and cocks his head. “So a young musician dies and goes to musical Heaven. St. Peter shows him all the rock stars up there- Elvis, John Lennon, and the like. Right smack dab in the middle in a man with dark shades and leather. He’s blathering on about all kinds of political issues and the state of the world. The man is shocked- ‘I didn’t know Bono was dead!’ And St. Peter replies, ‘Nope, that’s God. He only thinks he’s Bono!’”
The real Bono is taken aback. As Michael chuckles, Bono blurts, “Is this a popular joke?”
Michael shrugs. “You could say it’s gone viral.” Which inspires a feeling of horror in Bono. He’s always heard there were jokes being made about him, but he’s never cared to learn them personally.
“Hey, I’ve heard one about you as well,” Bono shoots back. “It says you’re a kind person.”
“Ouch.” Michael winces in mock-pain. “Hey, no need to take offense, mate, it was a joke.”
A joke that people will be repeating to the day I die, Bono thinks. He isn’t too eager to meet any of the other celebrities in France now. But this Michael fellow gives a crooked smile that is somewhat endearing, so Bono surrenders to finish out the conversation.
Someone’s hands are touching my body. I roll, swatting at the hands, my mind transforming them into Bono’s. I stretch out on my back and reach, ready to kiss him- and find myself staring into someone’s green eyes. Not blue. Blonde hair falls in my face.
“Hey.” The owner of the eyes and hair is speaking Dutch to me. “Wake up, sleepyhead.” I recognize her voice.
“Hi,” I say, and suddenly- “LINA.” My arms fold around her, and we collide on the bed, hugging the living daylights out of each other.
“You curled your hair!” she exclaims.
“Yes…” I don’t know why she pointed that out. It feels almost natural to me by now.
“Lina.” I pull back to look at her. “Are you alright?”
Almost immediately I can tell she’s not. There’s a gaunt look around her eyes, as if from under-eating. Those sparkling green irises have dulled a bit, giving her entire face a bleaker look than I would care for. The locks of her hair that dangle down are greasy-looking, as if she hasn’t found enough time to wash it.
“I’ve missed you so much, Marieke,” Lina exclaims, her voice breaking and eyes filling with tears. She looks away from me, frowning and blinking, and gets up to rummage around in the record cabinet. Soon the sound of A Sort of Homecoming is sprinting around the walls, and Lina takes her place once more by my side, the tears gone.
“Come on, why don’t you get up?” She offers her hands and pulls me out of bed.
“The Unforgettable Fire?” I question.
“Yep. Cause you’re home now.” I watch Lina’s body carefully. No traces of anger or depression. She just seems very happy to have me back.
“And you-“ Lina pulls the plug of the CD player. “-were listening to Achtung Baby last night.”
I raise my hands. “Guilty, your honor.”
Lina surveys the room, probably wondering how it’s gotten so clean, and motions me to go to the breakfast table. “Let’s eat. There’s room for one more.”
I take my place at the table, full to bursting with Zoo TV news. “Lina, it’s been a magnificent time on tour! I got to meet all the members of U2, and they’re all so kind! I’ve attended every show every night-“ well, not Rome- “and they’ve all been so amazing… I wish you could have been there.”
Lina puts down her fork. “Yes,” she growls softly. “I wish I could have been there too.”
“Marieke, when you left me here in Rotterdam it wasn’t so bad- at first. I had a fine time without you. But then when you started calling me infrequently, I began to worry- were you okay? Why aren’t you calling me? Then when I finally did get a call from you, you didn’t give a damn about my feelings and thoughts! You just blabbered away about how great your new life was, barely letting me get a word in edgewise!” Lina takes a breath, and I think, Ha, Edge. “You spoiled Zooropa for me as well- you gave away the details of Stay and Numb, so it was no surprise at all. Then my life started breaking apart. I was so worried about you at times that I completely forgot about my work, and started showing up at the office unprepared. Hermanlet it slide at the first few offenses, but then he got angry with me, several times. I hate it when he’s like that! Honestly, Marieke, he tossed our whole relationship out the window when he acted like that. It was like I was some insignificant worker-“ I always knew Herman was bad for Lina, but I resist from gloating, instead letting her continue her rant.
“You said you would send money, but I couldn’t exchange any of it in the banks in Rotterdam. It was all in pounds! Who was paying you? Don’t you answer that!” Lina shouts as I try to cut in with Bono’s name. “The bill was tough, Marieke. I spent an entire night working on a way to balance everything out. I was in a hole, basically, and just needed you back with your paying job and all. Your boss was harassing me day and night, reminding me about your holiday hours, and I was thinking This is Marieke’s duty. She shouldn’t be shoving all this on me. I couldn’t answer any of your calls because I knew you wouldn’t be serious at all, the way you never are… You never, ever, ever think, Marieke. You always put yourself and your pleasure before anything else. That is a fatal flaw! You never once thought of me in Rotterdam, and what kind of hell I might be going through! I had to call your parents to see if they were receiving the same treatment I was from you. And guess what? I was right. They weren’t going through my ordeal at all! You called them regularly! But no calls for Lina, eh? No calls for your best friend? Listen, I got-“
“LINA!” I know exactly where she’s going, and I have to stop her rant. “What happened in ‘92 is something completely different. Back then I was the one going through hell, not you. You saved my life, Lina. Now it’s time for me to save yours.”
“But have you been trying to do that?” Lina asks. “At least I didn’t leave you alone! At least I didn’t put myself first! You were in my mind all of the time. This is how you repay me?!”
I shake my head as Lina puts her face in her hands. “Lina…” My voice fills with caring. “I’m so, so sorry, Lina,” I whisper, slipping over to her side of the table and placing my hands on her shoulders. “I’ll explain everything. Please forgive me.”
We stay in our positions, Lina with her hair falling into her face, me with my hands on her shaking shoulders, one comforting, the other crying, as the song The Unforgettable Fire itself plays softly in the room. God, I haven’t heard it in ages. When the song ends, Lina lifts her head and breathes. “If you can explain it to me that would be a damn good start,” she says, trying to wipe her tears without my noticing. I nod, knowing better than to ask Lina if she is okay- that would be suicide. Instead I sit down on the couch and beckon Lina over.
“I’m sorry that you realized I was putting myself first. I was, in every sense. I’m sorry that I was such a jerk towards you, my best friend.” I realize I sound like Eric when he last spoke to me, and try to talk more freely. “Herman called me twice on tour. He was very worried about you. Apparently you broke up with him?”
“I did,” Lina says, calm. “I couldn’t take his influence in my life anymore.”
“But you let him make love to you first?”
Lina ducks her head. “I was confused.”
“If you were the one on tour, you would understand,” I say. “Living on Zoo TV brought 24 hour distraction. I had speeches on the mind, soundchecks to listen to- and most importantly, I was never, ever alone. I’m sorry, Lina, but after a while I forgot you even existed.”
“Oh.” Lina looks as if she’s trying not to be offended. “What reminded you?”
“Herman’s telephone call,” I say. “The first time he called me was to tell me of your low work productivity and possible depression. His next was to tell me that you had broken up with him. Both times I nearly got on a plane to Rotterdam. Both times I was stopped by the same thing. Do you know what that thing was?”
Lina shakes her head. “What would have kept you from me?”
“Bono,” I answer. “Lina, I’m in love with him.” Realizing that I’ve kept the confession from even my best friend, a chorus of shakes breaks across my skin.
Lina sounds skeptical. “You’re in love with Bono.”
“I know it sounds like every other female U2 fan since 1983- well, not you,” I say thinking of Lina’s intense crush on The Edge, “but spending time with him on tour has led me down this path. I hate my heart, Lina. I can’t break away from that man. And he’s perfectly oblivious to my affections.” Well, except for those few times- but I’ll keep that to myself.
“He is?” Lina’s arms envelope me. “I’m so sorry for you.”
“He seems to be.” I breathe in hard. “Sometimes there’s a glimmer of wanting, but mostly he appears unobservant. I’ve spent the last three months trying to win his affections, and failing every time. Bono doesn’t love me, Lina. He loves his wife, Ali. I’m so glad to be off tour. I need a break from all this.” But again the memory of last night rises in my brain. He kissed me… he kissed me…
“How long are you going to be off tour?” Lina asks, uncertain.
“I- I’m not sure.” My mind comes up blank. “Only until U2 goes to Australia.”
“Well, that’s can’t be very long,” Lina says. “They aren’t going to have a three year long tour, are they?”
I can’t answer that question. There’s no telling how many dates U2 has booked in Australia and New Zealand. Bad is on The Unforgettable Fire, and Lina listens intently. I wrap my arm around her.
“I’m going to miss you when you leave,” she whispers.
“I know. I will too.”
We stay together on the couch until Bad ends, and Lina pecks my cheek and says, “Happy belated birthday.”
I raise my eyebrow. “Don’t you have to work today?”
A strange expression crosses Lina’s face, but she covers it quickly. “I took the day off to spend with you.”
I laugh. “Oh, you silly girl.”
Edge sits on the front porch of his shared house in the South of France. He’s still getting used to living in such a spacious environment. He has been at the MTV Awards in America all of yesterday’s night,and is now exhausted from taking a flight straight to France to his holiday spot. Bono also flew out yesterday, and today has been absent since the morning, leading Ali to chat with Edge. Edge is amused that Ali’s not even remotely worried about Bono- in fact, barely even mentioning him in their talk. Edge himself suspects that if Bono is not around by lunchtime, they’d better go look for him.
“Ahoy!” Speak of the Devil… Edge stands and gives Bono a big, sweeping wave. The singer laughs and runs through the sand, kicking it up with his heels. “Hey, Bono!” Ali dashes down, and the couple share a brief kiss. Edge looks away.
Bono breaks free of his wife. “Hi, Reg,” he greets his friend, playfully swiping his black cap. “Hey!” Edge yelps. “That’s mine!” He chases Bono, and the two end up wrestling in the sand in attempts to get the hat back.
Ali watches from the porch, laughing. “You two are such boys.”
“Not Adam and Larry,” Bono declares, mistaking ‘you two’ for ‘U2.’ “They’re big strong men.” He stands up, brushing the sand from his pants, and tosses Edge the cap. “Here, you get to keep it.” Edge gives Bono a baleful stare and plunks his hat down on his head again.
“Where’ve you been all day, anyway? It’s nearly lunchtime.”
“Got caught up talking to a fellow I met down there,” Bono says, brushing his hair back. He turns and smiles before entering the house. Edge notices that Bono is wearing his Fly shades. Hmm.
“Well, it’s nice to get to know the neighbors,” Ali says. Getting to knoooow you, Edge thinks and just barely covers his snort. The sound does not pass Bono by, but he doesn’t comment. “Who was it?” Ali asks.
“Michael Hutchence,” Bono answers. “The man from INXS.” Edge’s snort is audible now. Bono frowns. “Well, it’s true!” he retorts. “Odd bloke, but I like him. Now what’s for lunch. Ali?”
“I… don’t know, I haven’t begun making it,” Ali answers.
“I’ll assist you!”
“No, no,” Ali laughs. “You’ve done enough in that department in your day, Bono.”
Edge watches the couple for a few more moments, the way Bono sneaks up behind Ali and plays with her hair while she tries to cook. Finally, laughing once more, Ali gives in to the indulgent kiss.
At that point Edge has to focus on something else. He’s had a real aversion to couples recently. Bono and Ali remind him too much of himself and his ex-wife, Aislinn, and the way things used to be. Never one to express his feelings, Edge still has a lot of unresolved angst to get through. Fortunately, he now has someone to help him with it permanently. Edge smiles to himself as he thinks of her and the great news that Sunday had brought.
After a long while of making and preparing lunch- Ali has been distracted far enough- it’s finally time to eat. Bono settles down at the table as Ali goes off to get drinks.
“Sooo!” Edge breathes, taking in the scent of lunch. “Have you heard the news?”
Bono eyes his friend from beneath the glasses. “No, I haven’t, Edge, what news?”
“Morleigh and I are going out,” Edge announces proudly, rubbing his hands together.
Bono laughs. “Going out? Going out where?”
“We’re together now, Bono,” Edge sighs. “We’re an item. Ah fuck it- we’re a couple.”
Now Bono full out chuckles. “I know that, mate. And I’m very happy for you! Great news.” He leaps up and embraces Edge as Ali comes back with glasses in her hands.
“Great, just what I wanted to come back to, my husband confessing his love for his best friend,” Ali states dryly, setting the glasses down in front of their respective owners.
“Actually, no,” Bono says, pulling away from Edge. “That’s tomorrow. Today, Edge is telling us about his newest love interest.”
“Who is not you?” Ali asks, taking a seat.
“No, I told you, that’s tomorrow. Edge is dating Morleigh!”
Ali looks a bit puzzled. “Morleigh?”
“Morleigh Steinberg,” Edge clarifies. “The dancer on our tour.”
“Oh!” Ali suddenly seems to remember. “The one who took care of Eve. Yes. She was nice. I’m so happy you have her in your life now!” Edge endures another hug, this time by Ali, and thinks that maybe, just maybe, his everything will work out fine.
Throughout my story of catching Lina up on what all went on during the Zoo TV Tour, she only stops me dead one time. “YOU HAD SEX WITH LARRY?!?!?!”
“I had to,” I say, looking down. “I’m not proud of it. He was the only distraction my mock-drunk mind could come up with at the moment. His having a crush on me didn’t hurt a bit.”
Lina is still staring at me. “I just can’t believe you had sex with Larry! You didn’t even like him that way! That was a total waste, Marieke.”
“It wasn’t a total waste,” I say. “I enjoyed it at the time. And Larry was so mature during the morning after.”
“Let me guess- you performed the walk of shame.” She sighs.
“Not really,” I say. “No one was around. It was the run of shame.”
We both laugh, until Lina sighs, clucking her tongue. “I can’t believe what you got yourself into.”
“Me either,” I say, straightening out my hair. “I regret that night to the bottom of my soul- but you’ll never guess how I got revenge on Eric.”
“How?” Lina asks, leaning in.
Just now the phone rings.
“I’ll get it!” Lina says, springing up. She answers the phone and, with a confused look, and hands it to me.
“There’s someone on the other end who wants you.”
I take the phone. “Hello?”
“Hi!” Jack’s voice answers, speaking Dutch. “Well, I made it home to Scotland and wanted to see if you did too.”
“I’m in Rotterdam,” I say. “Or did you mean that?”
“I meant the generic ‘home’,” Jack tells me. “So… Marieke, do you mind if I call you at all during these next few days? It’s kind of hard to settle back in sometimes. Last night I freaked out because I couldn’t find my suitcase. I needed pajamas! I thought I was a goner! Then I remembered that all my clothes were safely installed in the dresser.”
We both laugh, loud and hard, and I recount my tale of getting halfway out the door before I remembered there was food in the fridge.
“It’s nice to hear from you,” I say. “You’re not usually like this.”
“Oh, I’m not?”
“No. It must be the change of scenery that’s brought out the verbose side of you.”
Jack laughs. “The best thing about having you as a friend is that we can be verbose with two different languages!”
“True,” I say in English. “But… are you sure it’s just friends?” I can’t fathom why Jack would want to call me out of all the people he could be calling- Herman, for example.
The question exasperates Jack. “I swear, Marieke. Honest to God, I have never had a crush on you.”
“But you don’t believe in God,” I say.
“Swear on my sock drawer, then. Which, by the way, contains no socks. I just wanted to see what you’re up to, that’s all.”
“Mmmm. And what’s up with you tonight?”
“I’m going to a bar to check out the laaaa-dies.” Jack laughs. “Ah, I love Scotland. You should come over sometime!”
“Maybe not,” I say, unsure if I could spend that much time with off-tour Jack. “But thanks anyway.”
We talk for a few more minutes and hang up.
“Who was that?” Lina asks me, curled up on the couch.
“Jack Stuart,” I say, pressing buttons on the answering machine. It’s cluttered with messages, all because Lina couldn’t bear to erase her Edge message from so long ago. I play them each in a row before Lina can stop me.
Lina? Lina if you’re there, please pick up the phone…
I’m only trying to help you, Lina. Please call me. My number is…
I’m coming back to Rotterdam today. Please call me back at this number…
I stare at Lina. “You never once called me back!”
“I… no, I didn’t.” She sighs. “It wasn’t my fault, Marieke. Those numbers you gave me were shit. No one ever answered the phone.”
I think about that. “How often did you call?”
“Well, after I decided I never wanted to see you again, I only called once to answer your last call, the one where you said you were coming back to Rotterdam. No one ever picked up the phone. I waited for days, but you never showed up here.”
“Oh God,” I breathe. “Lina, I’m so sorry…”
“Apology time is over,” says Lina stiffly. “I’m just glad you’re here right now. Now… can you finish the story?”
Adam wakes up home alone and in his underwear. He racks his brain for what he was doing before he fell asleep on the sofa- oh, right, cooling off after an argument with Naomi. They don’t fight very often, but when they do it’s brutal. Adam can’t even remember what the argument was about, but now Naomi’s gone off to do some business, leaving Adam all by his lonesome. He rubs his eyes and wishes to be elsewhere.
There’s a bass in the corner of the room. Adam’s always had a bass in the house for as long as he’s lived. He hasn’t eyed it once today, but suddenly it’s all he can think about. Adam jumps up and cradles the bass in his arms, plucking softly at the strings.
Marieke and Stuart would be proud of me. He will never admit it, but it had really rubbed Adam the wrong way when at her birthday party, everyone had been hailing Marieke as the best bassist on tour. The claim was always followed by a “No offense, Adam,” which Adam had shrugged off, but on the inside he was indeed offended. Marieke had taken lessons from Stuart, who is only Adam’s bass tech, and yet both of them know the instrument so much better than Adam himself does, the bass player in the actual band.
Maybe I should take lessons. It’s an idea Adam’s been toying with ever since the release of Zooropa. He feels some of his finest bass work takes place on that album, yet with true lessons, it could be even better. Adam starts playing the bassline from Some Days Are Better Than Others. His fingers drum skillfully along the instrument, tapping out the tune to perfection. If I can create a bassline this great, do I really need lessons?
Adam switches over to the bassline for New Year’s Day and plays it thoughtfully. He doesn’t even need to pay attention to the chord changes anymore- his fingers know what to do. Adam frowns, puts his instrument down, and goes to staring out the window. He gazes down at his engagement ring and wishes Naomi would come back, if only for a few moments. What he did to make her mad, he doesn’t remember.
It’s times like these that Adam begins to question his role in the band U2. It always seems to sneak up on him when he least expects it. He’s not sure what exactly it is that makes him different Bono, Edge, and Larry- maybe he’s a bit more outgoing, more accepting of the rock star lifestyle than the other three. Maybe it has to do with the fact that he has less experience. Maybe it’s because he’s not a Christian- but that problem was settled long ago. Whatever the reason, Adam can’t shake the fact that sometimes he doesn’t feel like he belongs in U2, or deserves to play bass at all.
Tossing aside the thoughts that haunt him regularly, as he always does, Adam is jolted by the sound of the door opening. He stands up and opens his arms to receive Naomi, who climbs in securely, smileless but serene.
“Where did you go?” Adam asks her, burying his mouth in her neck.
“Downtown,” Naomi answers, giving him a look. “I strolled around the docks for a while.”
“Ah, the docks,” Adam breathes. “I spent a year there one afternoon.”
Naomi gives Adam a mischievous look. “So how old are you in dock years, then?”
Adam doesn’t answer this playful joke and instead just embraces her tighter. This time will be the last time that we fight like this. He can’t repeat the thought aloud because he knows it’s a lie. Naomi is slipping farther from him every day, though as his fiancée, she should be getting closer. Adam wonders if Larry’s engagement is going in a similar fashion.
“What would you like for lunch?” Lina asks me as I help her set the table for two. It’s been so long that I’ve nearly forgot how to do it.
“Oh, I’ll just take whatever you’ve got in the fridge.” The table set, I am the first one to sit down as Lina gets out some food.
“What did you think of Zooropa?” I ask her as she fills my plate.
Lina doesn’t miss a beat. “Zooropa was… odd. And I thought Achtung Baby was a departure! But this album is really interesting. You did spoil Stay for me…” She rolls her eyes. “Overall, I like it.”
“Glad to hear it,” I say. “I think it’s my new favorite album.”
We eat in silence for a bit, just relishing in our food. I haven’t had a real sit-down-at-home lunch in ages.
“So… are you friends with Herman now or something?” Lina asks, leaning her fork against the plate. I laugh. “Not nearly! We’ve just been in touch because we’re both worried about you. Say, what’s it like walking into work every day with him there, anyway? I mean, now that you’ve broken up.”
Lina blinks and looks to her left, strangely quiet. She sighs once. “Er, Marieke… it’s not quite like that.”
“You’re still together?” I ask, confused.
Lina shakes her head. “Definitely not. It’s just… well, to be honest I quit my job.”
I stare. “Lina, what the hell?! How could you quit? We need the money!”
“I couldn’t bear it,” Lina gasps, beginning to look nervous. “I couldn’t stand being in the same enclosed area as him. It was only a matter of days before he fired me, anyway. I took matters in my own hands.”
I’m still shocked. “But Lina! You had every reason not to quit! Couldn’t you have just held on and upped the productivity a little?”
Her clenched hands come crashing to the table. “Dammit, Marieke! It’s not as easy as ‘upping the productivity.’ Don’t you get it? If you wanted us to be rich you shouldn’t have quit your on job to begin with!”
We sit there, staring at each other. I’m not sure what my face shows, but Lina looks angry, her eyes crumpled. I know she won’t talk to me for a while, so I pick up the fork and keep eating, sliding my gaze downwards. Finally Lina resumes her meal, and after I take a swallow I begin gently, “I’m sorry, Lina.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it, Marieke,” she tosses back.
“What am I doing wrong here? Tell me, what is so wrong?”
Lina rolls her eyes. “Oh god. Please say you didn’t seriously ask me- All I see is, you never help me out when I need you! Now we’re both going to be in debt after a few more weeks, and then you’ll leave me here again and…” She trails off, uncertain, but brings it back in with “Sometimes I wish I’d never met you!”
“Wait,” I say, trying to stop the pain of the sentence that she’s hurled at me from taking over. “How can Herman fire his one secretary? He needs you, Lina.”
“Well I sure as hell don’t need him!” she spits.
“Lina…” My hands are flying to my face. I guess I’m not doing a very good job of covering my emotion. “I’m so sorry, all right? Please promise me you’ll look for a job as soon as possible.”
Lina stares at me as if job-searching is a foreign concept. She stays silent, getting up from the table with her plate and walking over to the TV. I watch her intensely as she eats quietly, eyes fixed on the black screen.
I push my face into my hands for a moment, but recover quickly. Lina’s pretending not to even notice me anymore. My sorrow and disappointment all at once gives way to fury. It’s hard enough to stay sitting still and not get up and slap Lina on the cheek. First she goes off at me this morning, then we make up, but now we’re fighting again. I sigh softly. Same old, same old.
My plate is empty before me. I take it and dump it in the sink. Lina doesn’t move. Walking over behind the couch, I keep my eyes fixed on the back of Lina’s head as I lower myself down-
“You can take the bed.”
Ah, good. I sit down and cross my legs comfortably, a glimmer of hope in my mind that Lina will forgive me.
“You want me to get up now?” Larry asks, shifting his hand so that it caresses the back of Ann’s neck ever so gently.
“No please stay,” she responds, her eyes distant.
So far, being engaged really hasn’t changed anything in Larry and Ann’s relationship. They still have the same heartfelt conversations, get into the same good-natured debates, and hold hands as they walk around the house. Larry still respects Ann’s privacy when she needs it, and Ann understands Larry’s hatred of lovey dovey stuff and doesn’t force him into any statements. It’s only when they kiss that Larry can feel the difference- the couple’s lips move slower, more burningly across each other’s, and the taste is so much sweeter.
“Do you mind?” is the one voice in the silence as Larry shifts his hand to slip beneath the back of his fiancee’s shirt.
Her voice is filled with passion. “No, of course not.”
Larry prides himself on getting to the state where he and girlfriend don’t even need to talk; they can just sit still in silence and understand each other perfectly. His eyes admire the shiny band wrapped around her finger.
Last night was a blur of drinks and revelry, and Larry enjoyed the heck out of himself. He considers Mariekes birthday party to be the true end-of-tour celebration. The friction between he and Marieke after their night together has been solved by the simplest solution- tying himself down to another woman. Ann is the most beautiful creature who constantly amazes Larry in her consistency to be herself, and who has been waiting for this chance for years. When he thinks too hard, Larry can get overwhelmed that this union was brought about after being disloyal to her, but again, there is simple solution- don’t try very hard to think. Better yet, don’t think at all.
Sometimes, though, Larry will still wake up in a cold sweat, consumed by guilt in the fact that he cheated on his girlfriend for a woman who, in the morning, meant next to nothing to him. All there is to do is roll over, hug Ann, and pretend it was all a bad dream.
Ann stirs under Larry’s fingers, and he pulls his hand out an inch. Last night when he’d come home from Mareke’s party, Ann had only said, “Did you enjoy yourself?” The answer had been yes, and Ann hadn’t inquired about the specifics. Larry considers himself blessed to have her. His mind wanders back to the occurrences at the party, what he could have told Ann if she’d only asked about it.
The party for the most part had been a pleasant affair- all up to and until the last hour, where Marieke had run crying from the hallway leading to the bathrooms, following a displeased Bono and an irate Eric. The two of them had exited the pub immediately. Only Bono had reentered, and Marieke then had left. When she’d returned she clung to Bono and sobbed on his shoulder. Larry hadn’t been able to make heads or tails of what was going on, and asked Bono when the party was over what had happened between the three. Bono had leaned back a bit and explained that Eric had kissed Marieke without her consent and tried to go further, but Bono had shown up and taken him outside, where they argued.
“He kept protesting that it wasn’t he who kissed Marieke, it was Marieke who had kissed him,” Bono had explained. “I wasn’t there so I wouldn’t know who’s telling the truth. All know is that we’ve lost a crew member tonight. He quit on the spot.”
Marieke’s behavior certainly was not one to suggest that she was lying. Larry can’t remember her ever behaving in such a distraught way. But if Eric really had started it, why did he insist so vehemently that he hadn’t? Larry has brushed elbows with Eric a few times, and he knows he’s the type to own up to his mistakes. Was his job so important to him that he tried lying to preserve it? Larry does know that Eric hates his home and wouldn’t want to go back to America anytime soon. Maybe that was his reasoning. But why did he quit if he didn’t want to leave?
Now, let’s take a look at Marieke’s side… There is no embarrassment as Larry thinks of her now. If she’d been the one to kiss Eric, why did she act so upset later? It is possible that she was in shock. Then again, she also could have been sad that she’d accidentally caused Eric’s departure from the tour. But why didn’t she clear up the mistake? Larry realizes that Marieke never did love Eric, despite the ribbing from her fellow crew in Zoo. She wouldn’t have kissed Eric out of affection- so it is entirely possible that she did it to kick him off the tour- if she did kiss him at all.
Whatever happened last night, Larry is determined to get to get to the bottom of it. That will only mean one thing- a talk with Marieke. Larry sighs uneasily and glances at Ann. She’s unmoved, lost in her own world. His blue eyes slide off of her and onto the wall in front of him. Marieke might not want to talk with Larry. She’s pretty much avoided him since their night in London. Don’t think about that, Larry catches himself. It never happened.
Where exactly has she placed her affection this tour? It’s obvious to see that Eric was never Marieke’s concern, despite his growing appetite for her. The crewmen today might say Jack, and that’s quite plausible seeing as she hangs out with him all the time. However, Larry has never seen the two touch in public- not even holding hands. And there was the night he stayed up talking to Jack in a club in Bologna, when Jack had told Larry he was more interested in a man named… what was it? Hebert?- than he was in Marieke herself. Larry isn’t sure if his memory is faulty or if Jack was kidding around, but he can’t argue with that.
Once it would have seemed that Marieke cared for Larry. But she had told him flat out in the morning that she didn’t love him.
And, as Larry straightens himself up and readjusts his grip on Ann, it hits him so strongly that Larry realizes he was a fool to think otherwise. Could it be Bono? Being the drummer and an introvert, Larry has always been in the background, rarely getting attention. He’s chosen to keep away from the spotlight- that land is Bono’s territory. So it has to be his fault that he hasn’t noticed Marieke’s preference for the singer- her teasing with him, the way she hangs around him if there’s no one else, even her role of writing speeches that brings her so close to him. Larry can’t confirm his guesses- he’s never actually seen Marieke behave in a way that would outwardly suggest she has a crush on Bono- but he’s pretty sure he’s hit the nail on the head. If Marieke is in love with anyone she’s met on tour, it would have to be the one who doesn’t care for her in that way at all.
Ann moves, slipping her hand onto Larry’s shoulder, which shakes him from his thoughts at last. “It’s getting late,” she notes. “I should start dinner.”
“Wait for a second, will you please?” Ann obeys as Larry leans in and presses his lips to hers, humming softly through his nose. Ann responds and wraps her arm around his neck, opening her mouth. Larry slides his tongue along the edges of her lips before pulling away from his fiancee. Ann pats Larry’s arm, looking satisfied.
“Now will you let me go?” Her voice has a hint of a laugh in it. Larry wants that voice to be his life.
“Yes.” She weaves her way from the couch. Larry stands too after a bit, following his soon-to-be-wife.
I can’t sleep at night, listening to Lina’s breathing. I can tell she’s awake like me. It’s been a long time since I had to share a room with anyone, and it’s scaring me a bit. I roll over onto my back. There is no window by the bed that I can lie next to and soothe myself in the moonlight. Lines from Achtung Baby will not stop running through my head. We ate the food, we drank the wine…Don’t believe what you see…Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you…
Lina will leave the room if I play Achtung Baby now. But I can’t get to sleep without the music, and it’s driving me crazy inside my head. I don’t feel tired at all. Checking the clock, I realize why- this is about three hours earlier than I usually drag myself into bed on tour, bone tired.
Finally my eyelids begin to grow heavy. I let them fall shut and my lashes tickle my cheek. The universe exploding cause of one’s man’s lie… It isn’t long before I hear Lina get up and walk to the bathroom. Alone, I can finally sleep in comfort.
This thread title is bothering me. Stupid typo. :angry:

I'm actually not sure which side to take, hers or Marieke's...

and I really liked writing from their perspectives, especially Adam's. It's so different.
Hee...I only just noticed it was spelled wrong...my tired brain rearranged the letters...

Lina's side makes most sense...I guess I just identify more with Marieke because I tend to do similarly stupid stuff people get mad at me after about...

Writing all the band members' perspectives, and different perspectives in general, is really fun to do. It's also fun to read...
But...but...what will I read when it's done :sad:

Probably all those stories Grace is formulating...
But...but...what will I read when it's done :sad:

Probably all those stories Grace is formulating...

Yes, I'm woefully behind. I guess this what happens when your brain goes into overload.

I didn't mind Lina. Yes, she's needy - but we all have needy friends. I'm trying to figure what part she plays - unless it's to show out Marieke like the band are having a hard time coming from the U2 high. It seems like Bono's feeling are deeper? Or is she a proximity infatuation? And Larry playing super sleuth. I have a feeling he wants Marieke out. Like she's wreaked enough havoc on the band....

Okay, off to clean so tonight I can write.
But...but...what will I read when it's done :sad:

Probably all those stories Grace is formulating...
See, problem solved!

Yes, I'm woefully behind. I guess this what happens when your brain goes into overload.

I didn't mind Lina. Yes, she's needy - but we all have needy friends. I'm trying to figure what part she plays - unless it's to show out Marieke like the band are having a hard time coming from the U2 high. It seems like Bono's feeling are deeper? Or is she a proximity infatuation? And Larry playing super sleuth. I have a feeling he wants Marieke out. Like she's wreaked enough havoc on the band....

Okay, off to clean so tonight I can write.
Yay, you're writing :D
"Proximity infatuation"- I like that. Maybe.
You'll be surprised inthe next chapters, I think...
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