In the Stillness of the Evening ch. 2

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Rock n' Roll Doggie VIP PASS
Nov 10, 2010
Dancing out in space
So, I just realized the pacing of this story is unbelievable. The beginning is very fast, and then the plot just kind of drags. Hope whoever's reading this doesn't mind the sudden-ness of it all.

This story isn't true- we would have known about it earlier if it was.

More details on the interview later...

It was a prayer to be in Dublin tonight- Adam’s home. He welcomed it with wide open arms, but wasn’t sure if he was really greeting the city, or if the city was greeting him. Both emotions were interchangeable to Adam. Bono seemed to be excited to be back home as well- there was something in the air.
“Adam, you up for a night on town?” The words carried over through a telephone, an irritable Adam at the other end wondering why Bono couldn’t just speak to him face to face. “I’ve gathered up Edge and Larry- you’re the odd one out.”
“I’m coming,” Adam sighed. “Although I won’t be drinking anything.”
A sigh hit Adam’s ears. “Well, I know that, man! We won’t let a drop of alcohol touch your lips.”
“Thanks,” Adam murmured, wanting to say more but unable to. “See you in around 30 minutes.”
“That’s more like it. Meet us at my place.” The two exchanged farewells and Adam hung his phone up with a shake of his head. That Bono could be really persuasive sometimes.
The whole band teamed up at Bono’s house, much to the amusement of his children and the gentle teasing of Ali, Bono’s wife. “Aren’t you a little too old for parties?” she admonished her husband, landing a kiss on his ear when he turned towards her.
Bono chuckled and smoothed his hair over the place where Ali’s lips had landed. “Hey, I’m only a year past forty,” he teased. “What have I got to lose? It’s a celebratory evening, remember?”
“Yes, of course I remember,” Ali said dryly. “You’ve been touring for months. Now you’re back and the first thing you want is to get out with your friends. Come now, you’ve seen the band every one of these days, surely they must tire you by now?”
The said band was not paying attention to Bono and Ali’s conversation- or at least they were trying not to. Edge was speaking to Bono’s oldest child, Jordan, and Larry was looking on impatiently, ready to go out. Adam had gotten himself into a tight place when he had gone to see the boys. Now he couldn’t tear himself away- Bono’s young sons had just that charming effect on unsuspecting people.
“You could always join us,” Bono offered, knowing what Ali’s response would be.
She wrinkled her nose the slightest bit and went to take dinner out of the oven. “My party days are over, Paul. But I do hope you enjoy yourself.”
Bono couldn’t help grinning, and took his wife in his arms, kissing her deeply. “I’ll be seeing you.”
“Let’s get a move on, shall we, Bono?” Larry asked.
With a few words of goodbye to the Hewson clan, U2 left the house.
“So how’d Morleigh let you out anyhow?” Larry asked Edge on the way over.
He laughed. “Did you have trouble with Ann? Morleigh was almost happy to let me go. She said she’d join us, even, but I convinced her to stay home.”
“Why- why is it, if Ali misses me from touring, that she let me go out tonight anyway?” Bono asked rhetorically. He shoved his hands into his coat pockets, the light from the streets glinting off his blue shades.
“You’d better take those off, Bono,” Adam suggested. “Don’t want too many fans on our hands, now do we?”
Bono snorted. “Get used to our life, Ad. This is Dublin, for God’s sake, we’re expected here.” When the bassist did not reply he went back to his original conversation- whatever that had been.
Adam fell silent, and stayed that way. He knew he was being a bit of a buzzkill, but there was honestly nothing he had to say. Adam was contemplating life. Known to the band as the thinker of the group, Adam could disappear into his thoughts as easily as one disappears into a dark room.
Tonight he was thinking on a common theme in his life- marriage. To outsiders, it would appear that Adam was hesitant to get married. And yet that’s not me at all, he thought. Marriage was something Adam had wanted for years. Every time he truly committed to a woman, however, the relationship had ended. I’ve got a bad luck curse, Adam thought wryly. No woman will ever want to stay with me. I guess I’m just not exciting enough.
Anyone else would disagree that the bassist in a band as big as U2 couldn’t be boring in any way. Yet Adam continued to torture himself with these thoughts, ideas that no longer hurt him- he’d grown out of that a while ago. He was used to being out of the spotlight- sometimes on nights he would bring those emotions and thoughts back, for no reason he could think of. It was just a constant thorn in the back of his mind, nothing to be bothered about.
A car rushing past on the road drove Adam out of his thoughts, and then Bono cheered- “We’re here!”
Adam had to confess he hadn’t known the destination until they’d arrived. The lights of Bono’s chosen pub shone in front of him and the rest of the band, washing watery shadows out onto the sidewalk. The sound of laughter and clinks- presumably ice cubes or toasting- drifted into the night air. Adam gazed into the starry sky and involuntarily shivered. This looked like the place Bono would hang out- a relatively quiet resort, but still with some mischief lying in wait. All bars were the same to Adam- a place for drinking until you fall ill. Of course, Adam wouldn’t drink like that anymore, for fear of his old alcoholism rearing its ugly head.
As soon as the band entered, they were recognized as U2. The bartender called Bono’s name, and the famous frontman smiled. Adam went on alert for crazed fans, but even though there were quite a few people who recognized them, none of them asked for autographs or photos. Some didn’t even look their way, only took one brief glance out of the sides of their eyes. And this helped Adam sink back into his familiarity with Dublin- until then he’d been a celebrity, but now he finally realized he was home.
The four men clustered around the bar as the bartender proclaimed they’d all get free drinks. Bono waved the offer off- “Come on, that’s really not necessary.” Larry gaped.
“You’re turning down the chance of free beers for… nothing?”
“If you like them so much you can take the offer,” replied Bono, ”but it’s useless to me.” He paused, and then said, “And to Adam for that matter,” glancing at the bassist in a thoughtful way.
Adam sighed and hoped his drinking habits wouldn’t attract too much attention. He propped his head up on his hand, scanning the pub with a bored blue eye as the rest of the band conversed.
That was when he saw her.
Standing at the window, Adam almost mistook the figure for a shadow, a trick of the light. But after a few more glances, he realized it was a woman, wavering on her feet with her back turned from the hubbub. She was dressed in a simple black overcoat and high heels- seeing as her dress didn’t come down lower than her coat, Adam was inflicted with dubious ideas about this woman. He would have written her off as a poor lady of the night and avoided her, but something in her posture held his gaze. He wished fervently that she would turn around so he could see her face.
Edge, who was at Adam’s left side at the bar, prodded the bassist to get him back to reality. Feeling his friend’s touch, Adam took a deep breath, realizing that he hadn’t been breathing. Why was that? His eyes slid over to the guitarist. “What is it, Edge?” As he spoke, out of the corner of his eye he saw the woman turn and dance her way away from the window, settling herself down in the empty seat next to Bono at the very end of the bar.
“Hello,” she greeted Bono in a musical tone, whipping her hair back with a minute shake of her head. That one gesture stupefied Adam. Her skin was pale under the lights in the pub, so pale that she looked almost sickly. Her eyes were deeply underlined in black eyeliner, her lashes long and lustrous as she batted them coyly. Adam couldn’t see what color her irises were. He supposed they were obsidian-black, stone cold.
If she’s thinking of trying a move with Bono, she’s surely mistaken, he thought without emotion.
The singer peered down his sunglasses at the woman. “Hello, what can I do for you?” he asked, pleasantly bemused.
“Nothing,” she answered, squaring her shoulders. “Get me a drink,” she demanded to the bartender.
The man turned back and filled a glass, cluing Adam in that the woman had been here before and probably had been in the pub for a long while before U2 entered.
Now Bono was enchanted. As the woman thanked the bartender and drank deeply from her glass, Adam could practically see Bono racking his brains- do I know this girl? Once she’d dropped her glass on the counter, he asked, “What’s your name?”
“Kels,” she responded with unbreakable calm, wiping her finger against the glass and licking the moisture she’d gathered off.
Bono leaned in closer, unconsciously. “Do I know you?”
Her eyes snapped onto his face. She drew on the glass, tapping her nails against it to make a beat. Finally her round lips opened. “No.”
It was then that Adam noticed that every member of the band was watching this conversation. He glanced at Larry and Edge’s faces, and the two men instantly broke away and made conversation with each other instead, while keeping one ear on Bono’s exchange. It was unlike them to be quiet for so long, Adam reflected. He placed both ears on the conversation happening at the end of the table.
Kels downed the rest of her drink in one gulp, greatly impressing Bono. “That was, what, two liters?!”
She seemed to find that completely hilarious. “Two liters? Come now, Bono, that’s the type of drink you would choose.”
He had grown still at the mention of his own name. “Look, who are you? Are you a fan?”
“No,” Kels replied, drumming her restless fingers on the bar pensively. “Who do you think I am?”
Adam saw Bono searching his brain again and drawing up blank. “You look like a hooker,” he stated bluntly.
Kels laughed, bubbles of melody floating into the air. Adam was seized with a longing to hear that sound again, just once more. “Maybe I am, maybe I’m not,” she responded to Bono’s comment. “You can’t judge things on their appearance, Bono. It’s just unseemly for men like you.”
By now Bono had had enough. “Kels, I don’t know who you are exactly, but I don’t like the way you’re treating me. Now you could just be drunk-“ he backed away from Kels’s fingers reaching for Bono’s glass- “but I think it’s best to leave me alone. I have a wife at home.”
Adam felt glad that Bono was shooing her away, but disappointed because there went the rest of his conversation.
Kels didn’t seem abashed. She took hold of Bono’s drink and slithered it to her lips before he could react.
“Hey,” Bono half-heartedly complained. “You took my…”
She held out the glass, offering the rest of the drink to Bono. He clutched it and locked eyes with her for the longest moment before calling out to Larry. Both the drummer and Edge flinched. “Yeh?”
“Lar, you wouldn’t mind if I used your on the house drinks tonight?” he asked.
“I’m not buying you any more alcohol than ya already want,” he grumbled. “You had your chance and turned it down, Bono.”
“No worries,” Kels murmured, bringing Bono’s attention back to her. “I’ll pay for your drinks. What d’you want?”
Bono told her his order in a hypnotized tone. “How’re you gonna afford all this?”
“Afford all what?” she laughed. “I have a very steady job, if you must know.” Her lips pulled back from her white teeth, glimmering in the lights.
Adam couldn’t deny her. With a woman like her, it was no wonder she had an endless flow of customers.
Bono couldn’t hide a brief shudder. Kels stared at his hands with satisfaction in her eyes. Then she raised her head and glanced over at Adam, the only peeper on their conversation. “Are you going to introduce me to your friend over there? He’s spying on us.”
Adam was glad that the low lights in the pub hid his red face. He struggled for something to say, something witty that might inspire this woman. Instead, all he came up with was “You’re Welsh.”
Bono stared uncomprehendingly at Adam while Kels gave a quick bob of her head. “Yes, I am Welsh,” she said. “Did you recognize my accent from your friend Edge over there?” He finger pointed, for just one second. It worked- Edge was drawn into her spell.
“Well- yes- I mean- Welsh accents are easy to pick out,” Adam blustered.
Edge blinked confusedly at Adam. “How did she know I have a Welsh accent?” Edge hadn’t said a word the entire time since Kels had arrived.
Kels clasped her hands over her breasts. “You’re a famous guitar hero- why wouldn’t I know all there is to know about you?”
The band eyed one another, reading each other’s minds. Prostitute or fan gone awry? Or both?
In the silence that followed, Kels called down the bar. “Larry, why don’t you use that on-the-house deal you asked for and produce a few drinks for Bono and I?” Her hand curled tantalizingly around Bono’s arm, and he shook off her advances.
“I thought you said you were going to pay?” Larry asked.
She shook her head, making a face. “No, why should I spend my hard-earned money on such petty a cause?” At that moment the bartender came back with two glasses that Kels had paid for. Kels took them up and passed one order to Bono. “Let’s drink, shall we? To music,” she toasted, holding up her glass. Bono frowned warily and refused to give in to the toast. He signaled the rest of the band- Don’t interrupt us. I want to talk to this woman.
Adam spent the rest of the night with his heart in his throat. Drink after drink passed through Kels and Bono’s side of the bar, and as the empty glasses piled up, the talk grew louder and louder, more often with raucous laughter punctuating the words. Adam eyed Larry and Edge worriedly. They’d stopped drinking since Kels arrived. Was it time to pull Bono out and go home?
Finally Edge was at the breaking point. He got out of his seat and walked over to his inebriated friend. “Bono, I think it’s time we better go home now,” he said, taking care not to single out Bono by saying you. Bono looked up from Kels’s face. “Oh, of course,” he smiled. “I’ll be seein’ you, Kels!” Kels only squeezed her hand, the corners of her mouth turned up. She whispered, “No you won’t,” and hopped off the stool. She was vanished into another section of the pub before anyone could register the movement.
The band each walked to their individual homes. It wasn’t a long distance. Edge was charged with returning Bono to Ali, a task that neither Larry nor Adam was sure they could stand. The rhythm section continued their stroll, not speaking often. Adam was absorbed in thought. A chill of unnerve hung over the two men as a remainder from the bar, and Adam wondered if Larry could feel it too. The unspoken question was mutual- who is Kels?
Finally Adam and Larry parted ways and bid each other goodnight. Adam walked home alone. A wind blew hard against him, rattling the leaves of a nearby tree. He shrugged his jacket firmer around himself and contemplated.
Bono was going home to a beautiful wife, Ali, and four children in various stages of progress. Edge would arrive at his place with Morleigh and a total of five children. Larry would be seeing his Ann and two wonderful boys in a matter of moments.
But as Adam unlocked his door and stepped gingerly inside, there was no call of his name to greet him, no lover’s arms to guide him to the bed. Adam went to sleep missing the touch of a woman and longing for someone to sustain him throughout his whole life.

It was a few weeks before anyone heard of Kels again. That night had been forgotten and the aura of mystique that surrounded the woman was evaporated. The logical, silent conclusion that every band member reached was that she had been drunk, maybe mentally ill, and had thought Bono was someone she knew. However, Adam imagined that Kels had been a sort of dream creature, who dissolved in the morning sun, making her impossible to find. He kept this fantasy idea to himself, of course.
The touring started up again in Europe, and it was a day after their last show in Copenhagen when Adam left his hotel room to find two men- Edge and Bono- having a discussion in the hall. Bono was holding a newspaper and seemed unusually vexed.
“What’s going on, guys?” Adam greeted his friends, and slid towards the pair when they looked up. Bono was the first to speak, shoving the newspaper into Adam’s hands. “Take a look at this,” he hissed.
Surprised at Bono’s rare anger, Adam took up the newspaper. He didn’t have to follow Bono’s needlessly pointing finger to realize what his problem was. The bottom half of the front page bared the headline “EXCLUSIVE IN DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH BONO!”
“So?” Adam said. “You’ve done interviews before…” He trailed off, the name of the newspaper suddenly sinking in. “Where’d you get a newspaper from Dublin?”
“Dublin, where else? Just read it!” Bono insisted. “Something’s very wrong, Adam. I don’t remember this interview at all…”
Adam decided to pay no mind to the question of when Bono had gone to Dublin anyway and set in on reading the article. As he took in the words, a hard, sick feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. The reporter’s questions were very short and to the point, if sometimes a little odd- but Bono’s responses were just shocking. By the time the interview was over Adam knew more about his friend than he’d ever wanted to.
Unsettled, Adam handed the newspaper back to Bono, who snapped it up as if he couldn’t wait to hide it from Adam’s sight. “This can’t be,” he muttered, half to himself. “I would have never told the press these things…”
“May I see it?” Edge asked, his eyes narrowing.
Bono gave the newspaper to The Edge, who beckoned Adam over. Adam and Edge clustered around the newspaper as Edge read aloud- “By Kelly Laughter.”
The name struck Adam with an eerie familiarity. He knew who the reporter was even before Edge proposed the question.
Bono instantly crowded around to read the name. There was nothing to suggest that the freak woman in the pub and the journalist living in print were the same person, only the first name. But Adam could feel in his heart that somehow the two were connected. The utter certainty of this pairing took his breath away.
“Kels?” Bono frowned, squinting a bit as if trying to recall a difficult memory. “Who’s that?”
“The woman in the pub,” Adam breathed. He knew. He knew to the marrow in his bones that the mysterious lady of the night had actually been a journalist, trying to score some inside information on U2’s plans for the future and the Elevation tour. Yet somehow her questions had dug up even more than that…
“You wouldn’t remember,” Edge told Bono. “You were drunk. She came over to us and started talking to you. We thought she was a prostitute, or some crazy fan. If we could hear your conversation, we would have gotten her away, I’m sure.”
Adam replayed Kels’s voice in his head, her Welsh accent highlighting every word- Are you going to introduce us to your friend over there? He’s spying on us…
Bono scratched his head, idly twisting one strand of brown hair around his finger for no apparent reason. Adam guessed that he was beginning to remember… maybe to the slightest extent, a woman in a bar…
“In a red dress?” Bono finished Adam’s thought for him.
“Yeah,” Edge and Adam said at the same time.
Bono took his hand from his head and exhaled- “She looked nothing like a journalist, or a reporter, or… This is insane.” He clutched the paper in two tight hands, obviously fighting not to tear it apart. “Even drunk, I would never…”
Adam let Bono finish that sentence alone. He quietly stepped away from Edge and Bono, and pitied Larry who had to wake up to that. Adam’s head was filled with a memory- an image of her, the woman and her red dress, her infectious voice, her mystery. Kels- aka Kelly Laughter- journalist and night demon, two personas at once.
He didn’t know who she was past the slim facts. He had only seen her once in his life, and yet Adam Clayton as already smitten.
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