A "not so" chance meeting will change Gerard's life forever.
“So what’s the big news?’ Mikey, the bass player and Gerard’s brother asked looking at Brian.
The question broke into Brian’s thoughts forcing him to get to the point of this meeting. “Well I was contacted by someone who wants to write a book about the band.”
“There are books about the band.” Gerard said tiredly. “Why is this such a big deal?”
Brian smiled, “Because she’s a well known author. The fact that she’s never written a non-fiction book before makes this special.”
“Who’s the author?’ Frank asked.
Brain looked over at the guitarist and smiled. He knew for a fact that Frank was a fan of this author and he hoped he would enthusiastically endorse the idea. “Annabelle Lewis.”
There was a shocked silence. Annabelle Lewis was indeed a best selling author and a known recluse.
Gerard frowned, “Why would she want to write a book about us?”
“Well” Brian knew he had to make this idea appealing. “You know she’s written many best sellers.”
Gerard cut him off, “And she’s written books of poetry.”
Brain felt a small amount of hope. The fact that Gerard was familiar with her writing seemed a good sign. “Yes, and she’s written for several magazines.”
“But she’s never written a non-fiction.” Gerard said taking a deep drag off his cigarette. “So why?”
Brain truly wasn’t sure. “I guess she wants to try something different.” He guessed.
“Wow.” Mikey said sitting foreword in his chair. “I love her books. This means we get to meet her, right?”
Annabelle Lewis, while her books were in print everywhere, was rarely seen. She had a massive cult following but never did interviews. Brian had been shocked when her private secretary had phoned him a few days ago with the idea for a book. He nodded, “Well yeah. She not only wants to meet all of you she wants to go on tour with you.” There he’d put it out there. He held his breath waiting.
“Come on tour with us?” Bob the band’s drummer said slowly. “You’re kidding, right? Hell the woman is hardly ever seen in public. I tried to find out more about her after I read, “Just a Game” but she doesn’t even have a web site. There’s a bunch of sites run by fans but that’s it and the only photo anyone has of her is the one that’s on all of her dust jackets.”
Brain was surprised that Bob seemed to be a fan of the author. “You’ve read her stuff?” He asked.
Bob nodded, “Hell yeah. She’s a great writer. Her stuff is dark and twisted and I’ve never been able to figure out the endings to any of her books.”
Ray who had been silent until now spoke, “I like her stuff too. The short story she did for Fangora a few months ago was great. But I just can’t imagine her wanting to write a book about us.”
Gerard sat back in his chair and blew out a stream of smoke. “Yeah, I agree. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Well all I know is it makes sense for us to agree with the idea.” Brian said hoping they would understand that the group could use the publicity this would generate. Lately the band’s fan base seemed to be slipping. While no one wanted to blame Gerard it was getting harder and harder not to do just that. The fans could tell he was just going through the motions and now Reprise was starting to take notice too.
Mikey looked over at his brother. “Hey this will give us a chance to ask her about “The Last Leap.” He said.
Gerard had to admit to himself that “The Last Leap” was one of his favorite books. He’d read it years ago but the story had always haunted him. Often he and Mikey had discussed the book and had so many questions that they both would like to ask the author. “I guess.” He agreed guardedly.
Brain smiled. “So you all agree?”
“I don’t know.” Gerard said softly thinking more to himself then the others. “What if it isn’t a very flattering book? She writes a lot of dark, thought provoking shit. Maybe she wants to bring out things we don’t want in the light of day.”
All eyes fell on him. They all understood that Gerard was the one among them that had the most darkness in his past. Truthfully he was living now in the shadows.
Brian spoke directly to him. “Her secretary assured me that the band would get to review the manuscript before it was ever submitted to the publisher. She assured me Annabelle simply wants to write the story of an American rock band. How you all got to this place in time.”
“So you haven’t talked to her personally?” Ray asked.
Brian shook his head, “No, just her secretary.”
Gerard snubbed out his cigarette. “And she wants to go on the tour with us? Like on the bus with us?”
“No, she has her own small RV. She would simply be following you from venue to venue. Interview each of you when there is time.” Brain explained.
“I really want to meet her.” Mikey said enthusiastically. “I love the idea.”
Frank nodded, “Yeah, me too.” Ray and Bob also agreed. Now all eyes turned to Gerard.
He sighed, “Don’t make a fuckin’ bit of difference to me.” He tried to sound uninterested but the truth was he was intrigued. Annabelle Lewis was actually his favorite author. He’d always liked her work but “The End of Me” was the book that had propelled her into the favorite spot. That had been the book he’d read during the last days of his marriage. It had been the book that had kept him from loosing himself completely.
Brain nodded happily. “Great I’ll let her people know you all agree to the idea.” He shifted the topic to the upcoming tour. The band would be leaving at the end of the week and there were still many details that needed to be ironed out.
Gerard only half listened to their manager. He was lost in thought about Annabelle Lewis. He recalled the only photo he’d seen of her. She was a stunning woman. Her long dark hair had been parted to the side obscuring one eye. The photo was black and white and quite haunting. She had almost looked unearthly in the picture. He’d read her bio and had been shocked she was only twenty-five. Her vivid portrayal of life and death had seemed too deep for someone so young. For the first time in a long time he realized he was looking foreword to meeting a woman. For the first time in a very long time he was actually looking foreword to something.
The meeting was over and the guys all said their goodbyes to each other. Mikey had tired to insist that Gerard come home with him for dinner but his brother had declined. Gerard just wanted to return to his hotel room, grab a bite to eat and zone out. That was all he ever wanted to do anymore. Since he’d arrived in New York yesterday he hadn’t ventured out until today and the stress was beginning to get to him. He wished he could explain to the others how he felt. He wished he could simply tell them that all he really wanted to do was return to his apartment in LA and hide. He didn’t want to go on tour. He didn’t want to do anything. Deep down he knew he was holding on to his sanity by a thin thread.
Leaving Brian’s office Gerard walked out into the brisk air and pulled his jacket tighter around his body. He briefly thought about hailing a cab but decided it would be quicker just to walk the four blocks to the hotel. He’d made it a block when his cell rang. Digging it out of his pocket he glanced down at the screen and grimaced. His mom was calling again and no doubt she’d want him to come over to visit. He couldn’t deal with her now. He shoved the phone back in his pocket but it caught on the material of the lining. Looking down he tried to see why it wouldn’t go further in his pocket. His head was still bent when he collided with another body sending them both to the pavement.
“Shit.” He muttered seeing he’d knocked down a woman. She was on her knees gathering up her packages that had fallen. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“It was an accident.” A soft voice answered.
Gerard saw that she had obviously just exited a small grocery store. One of her bags had broken on impact with the pavement and several oranges were scattered on the ground. He scooped two of them up then stood. “Here.”
She lifted herself up to her full height and pushed her waist length almost white hair from her eyes. “Thanks.” She said taking the items from his hand. She placed them in one of her other bags then turned her attention to him.
As Gerard stared at her he felt the breath leave his lungs. Something about her was so familiar. When she looked at him he was captivated by the icy blue color of her eyes. Time seemed to stand still, the sound of the traffic silenced. Finally it took another woman brushing by him on the sidewalk to bring him back to reality. He realized he’d been staring at her. “Uh sorry, again.” He muttered.
“Not a problem.’ Her voice was low and soft. Gerard thought it was almost musical.
The cold wind whipped them both sending her hair back in her eyes. She sighed and tried to push it back with her free hand. Gerard watched her closely trying once again not to stare but it was impossible. The woman was beautiful but so familiar.
“Have we met before?’ He asked but then suddenly realized how that must sound like a line to her.
She laughed softly ignoring the question while extending her free hand. “I am Anna.”
Gerard continued to stare but forced himself to reach out and take her hand. “I’m Gerard.”
She smiled, “Yes, I know.”
He frowned slightly wondering if she was a fan. Maybe he had seen her at a concert. Once again the pull to get to the safely of his empty hotel room hit him. “Well nice meeting you. Sorry about running into you.” He moved to continue up the sidewalk.
“Nice meeting you too, Gerard.” She answered watching him closely. “Hopefully we will be meeting again.”
Gerard stopped and turned to her. “Again?”
Anna smiled, “Yes, again. We will if your band is open to my idea.”
Then it hit him and he realized why she looked familiar. “But I thought you had dark hair.” He sputtered without thinking.
She laughed, “Oh, so you do know who I am.”
He nodded, “Uh yeah. I’ve read all of your books.” He admitted. “I thought you looked familiar but the light hair confused me.”
Anna smiled, “This is my natural color. The dark was my way of hiding. I do not want to be recognized.”
Gerard laughed, “I can understand that. I feel like that too.”
Anna tilted her head and studied him closely, “Just make sure you do not hide so well that you are unable to find yourself.” With that she turned and walked away leaving Gerard staring after her.
Annabelle walked a few blocks, turned into an alley, then threw the bag of oranges in a nearby dumpster. She smiled to herself thinking how well it had gone with Gerard. He’d truly believed that theirs had been a chance meeting. Anna sighed, “A chance meeting over twenty five years in the making.” Leaving the alley she continued on to her hotel. Her thoughts were focused on what lay ahead in the coming months. Briefly she wondered if he’d remember the first time they’d met. It was doubtful but not impossible. To her it seemed like yesterday she’d spoken to the young dark haired boy and his grandmother. She still could see the day so vividly in her mind. She could almost feel the rain that had begun to fall that day as she’d spoken to Elena. She could still feel the jolt that coursed through her body when she’s looked down into Gerard’s eyes and instinctively known he was the one. It was time that he too knew the truth before it was too late.
AUTHORS NOTE: Hello again everyone. Here we are at the start of a new journey. This chapter was more setting up the story than anything else. I had entertained the idea of not starting this until April because I have two trips coming up this month but I decided not to wait. Please be patient if I don’t post on time but I believe I will be able to get it done. I’m excited for this story, once again it’s like nothing I’ve written before, and since it’s been in my head for so long I really want to get it out there. Please if you have a chance review because I love to know what you all are thinking.