Title: Everything You Know Is Wrong
Rating: PG-13 for now
Disclaimer: None of these fine Irishmen are mine, and this is complete and utter fiction.
A/N: The Gibson ES-295 is a very beautiful guitar used as a muse for this scene - Google it. It was a guitar I don't believe he ever used on anything of note, you'll see why that's perfect ;) And Rudy's Music Stop is a real store in NYC. I took a bit of a leap with Edge getting the guitar in NYC but it would have been sometime around the JT/R&H era.
“Will you come with me to pick up a guitar?” Edge asked, smiling at me with a boyish grin. “I’d take Bono, but …”
I shook my head, “Edge, I feel so awkward in a guitar shop, do I have to?”
I felt odd going into musician places with musicians. It was like dragging a man into a lingerie store. I thought the guitars were beautiful, but I didn’t know the first thing about them. What good was I when all I had to offer was “it looks really nice, it’s a lovely colour!” Mind you, the only time I’d been in a guitar shop was with Bono, so it might be a bit more interesting going with Edge.
“He’ll be okay, you can leave him alone for a couple of hours you know,” Edge implored as he stuck his chin out like a little boy and raised his eyebrows at me.
Damn him, I can never say no when he does that.
That night last week in Washington could have been disastrous with Bono losing his balance on the slippery stage, wrenching his shoulder yet still continuing with the show. I begged him to get to the hospital that night, but stubborn as he was, he was having none of it. He changed his mind the next morning when he couldn’t even move his arm and whined at me for an hour before I finally convinced him to go.
He had done the last few shows in a sling but was miserable with pain as he understandably refused to do any of the shows medicated. As soon as he got back to the hotel though, he would end the evening with a stiff drink of water and a few painkillers. I spent this last week watching him sleep like a baby and struggling to wake him up in the morning. I admired his professionalism as he struggled through the pain to play these important shows and continue with filming the concert movie they were working on. Not only was I with a rock star, he’d soon be a film star as well! Sometimes I longed to be back in Dublin with a normal bloke, but that would mean giving up Bono, and there was no way I was about to do that.
Edge interrupted my thoughts, putting his hand on my shoulder. “Rudy is keeping the shop open, please come with me?”
This would be another adventure. It had gone far beyond just going down to the local and having a few pints in relative obscurity. They might do well enough in Champaign, Illinois but in New York City? Forget it. Everywhere they went there were autograph hunters, photojournalists and screaming girls. Beautiful, screaming girls. I knew Edge hated asking for things like keeping a guitar shop open so he could have some peace and quiet, but it was par for the course now, especially when one went out with our Bono.
“Okay Edge, I suppose I can carry it home for you,” I gave in, smiling, “but you think no one is going to recognize you in that hat?” I laughed, tugging on the brim of his black Stetson that I was sure he probably slept in.
He grinned and waved me off, chuckling.
“All right then. Our ride will be here at half seven. Have a drink with me first? I’m always nervous right before I meet my new guitar,” he winked at me, motioning over to the hotel bar.
“OK, I think I’ll need one myself if you’re dragging me into a guitar shop,” I nodded, following him into the dark bar of the historic old hotel.
I still didn’t feel like I belonged in a place like this, all mahogany wood and golden chandeliers, brass fixtures and old money. If I felt uncomfortable, I could only imagine what the clientele thought of Edge in his Navajo pattern shirt and holes in the knees of his jeans. I’d have been thrown out of a place like this within minutes if my date didn’t play the guitar in a band called U2.
As we walked through the bar at the receiving end of a few sideways glances, it certainly didn’t trouble Edge. He had a Zen-like calm about him that surrounded him like a warm blanket. He was the complete opposite of Bono in that respect – where Bono was all piss and vinegar, wearing his heart on his sleeve much more often than he should, Edge confronted everything with a careful and measured approach, always thinking before he spoke or acted.
We settled into a deep plush booth in the corner, far away from the lobby and any chance of acknowledgment by uninvited guests.
“Two pints of Guinness,” Edge whispered to the waiter who walked up to the table. He smiled a polite look of recognition and Edge held out his hand and waited for the server to hand him his pen so he could sign an autograph for him.
“I know you can’t ask, but I can offer,” he said, scrawling his name on the back of the bar pad and handing it back to the doting fan.
“Thank you, sir, I’ll have your drinks to you right away,” the waiter beamed as he rushed off to the bar to obtain two perfect pints for his Irish guests.
One thing I admired was that through all the recent madness in which The Joshua Tree had made them a household name, they still never forgot their fans, and I knew they never would. They were still just four boys from the North side of Dublin to me and I don’t know that I’d ever get used to them being more than that, it was definitely going to be hard.
“Do you ever miss your old life, Edge?” I asked after I had a Guinness firmly in hand, taking a sip and looking over my glass at him.
“Not really,” he answered quickly, “I feel like I haven’t done enough yet, there’s still so much more. There’s no way I would have done any of this if I were stuck back in Dublin. I’d probably be working at a bank or something.”
I wondered at him. He’d played with and earned the respect of musical legends, the band had made the cover of Time magazine, this morning they had just got word that their album had sold 3 million copies in the US, and still there was more?
We finished our pints and headed out to the waiting town car. It was only about a 5 minute trip to the music store just off West 48th and Broadway. Edge had been telling me over our pint how legendary the place was, and I was starting to get a bit star struck when he told me some of the guitarists who frequented the place. Edge was far too modest to admit that he was up there with them, now.
Rudy Pensa was a jovial man who treated Edge like an old friend when we arrived, ushering us to the back room where he motioned to the stools against the wall. On the walls hung a wide collection of beautiful instruments and the whole place smelled of cherry wood and promise.
The guitar was beautiful. It had a lovely gold tone finish, which shone under the light when you tilted it. I smiled at Edge as he took the new guitar from Rudy’s hands, a wide grin across his lips. He looked like an excited little boy at Christmastime who had just opened his favourite present. I was glad I had come, this was something special to Edge and I was flattered he chose me to share it with him in Bono’s absence.
“I’ll just let you have some time alone with her?” Rudy suggested. “I’ll just be out front whenever you’re ready. Now be sure about it, whatever you do, all right?”
Edge nodded, still beaming as he left us alone in the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
“Elvis’ guitarist had one of these you know,” he boasted, “she’s called a Gibson ES-295. I’ve always wanted one and thought it would look really nice in the film. At least that’s the way I’m justifying it.”
Edge took a plectrum from his pocket and strummed a few introductory chords. The guitar sounded bright and beautiful under Edge’s skilled hands.
“What would you like me to play for you?” he inquired, settling on the stool and adjusting the strap to fit perfectly on his shoulder.
“Oh Edge, I can’t answer that. What does she want you to play?” I laughed, joking at the way musicians tended to refer to their instruments as ladies.
Edge pondered for a while and continued strumming gentle chords as I watched him intently.
“Oh, I know … I know just the song,” he decided as he began to play Running To Stand Still.
“Oh Edge,” I blushed, “is that really what she wanted you to play?” It was my favourite song from the new album.
He smirked at me and continued to play as I sat there in awe. Sometimes when I watched him on stage he retreated into his own little world, eyes closed, a serene look on his face while his fingers seemed to float over the strings of their own volition. The sound that came out of his guitar was often otherworldly in its brilliance and could bring me to tears if it found me in a melancholy mood. Bono may have been the lyricist and the personality but Edge was the heart and soul of the band, creating glorious soundscapes unlike anyone else writing music at the time. I truly believed that Edge had no idea how extraordinary he was; content to live in Bono’s shadow.
“I’ve never heard you sing,” he coaxed, snapping me out of my thoughts. “I’ll sing with you if you want. This is why I usually bring your lad with me.”
“Edge, I can’t sing,” I giggled, “are you taking the piss?”
“I’m not joking, come on … I need to know if she’s the right one,” he said, deadpan, as he started to sing.
Edge’s tone was soft and inviting. He rarely had the chance to sing with Bono in his band, but when he did he proved he had quite a lovely voice of his own. This was the first time he’d ever sung just for me and I was overwhelmed by the emotion in his voice. Soon I was singing along with him quietly and when he finished the song, a warm grin spread across his face.
“She’s beautiful,” he mused, “I think I’ll keep her.”
He set the guitar down carefully and moved his stool nearer to mine. He took off his ever-present black hat, set it on an empty seat next to him and looked up at me, his green eyes sparkling with gold. He moved closer to me, his knees now touching mine and I saw him swallow hard as he put his hand on the back of my neck, caressing it lightly with his thumb.
He leaned into me and pressed his nose to mine, parting his lips, his shallow breath tickling my skin.
My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt faint. We had shared friendly hugs often enough, but this was something different entirely.
Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss me. Oh, Edge.
Please let this be terrible, please let this be nothing special. Edge, please …
“Kiss me,” I said softly.
Before I knew it his lips were on mine; I had given him the okay, when it was most definitely not okay.
U2 Non-Slash Fanfic
- Everything You Know Is Wrong - Chapter 2