Gerard tries to sort through his feelings about Anna
Anna removed her coat as she spoke. “He was not feeling well.”
Claire closed the book she had been reading and studied Anna. She easily recognized her moods and knew something disturbing had happened. “You took away his pain.” It wasn’t a question.
Slowly crossing the room Anna took a seat at the desk and prepared to work on her manuscript. Several minutes passed before she answered. “Yes, I did.”
Claire sighed, “I do not understand why that upsets you. I know of your deep feelings for him so I do know see why this would be an issue.”
Anna turned in the chair to face her. “There is more.” She debated wither or not to reveal the truth. Finally the need to speak to someone who would understand caused her to add, “When I fist arrived at his suite I made a comment that was not planned.”
“Not planned?” Claire repeated clearly shocked. “You are saying you made a comment that you had not meant to voice? You spoke from emotion?”
“Yes.” Anna said wearily. “I looked at him and…” she tried to explain, “it just popped out.”
Claire was silent a moment then could no longer hold back her laughter. When she saw the look on Anna’s face she quickly grew serious. “Annabelle, I am not laughing at the incident just at the way you described it. I do not believe I have ever heard you describe a comment as having just popped out.”
Anna’s anger faded, “Gerard spoke the words.” She admitted.
“Oh.” Claire nodded, “That explains it.” She thought a moment then said softly, “I understand how upsetting it is to you not to be in control of your words and actions at all times. But Anna, you must realize the more time you spend with him the greater the chance of this happening.”
Anna sat silently lost in thought.
“May I ask what it is you said?” Claire’s curiosity got the best of her.
“No” Anna answered but when she saw the look on Clair’s face she reminded herself this was not the proper response one would give a friend. “You must promise not to laugh again.”
Claire nodded and waited.
Anna took a deep breath. “We had decided to look at the movie listings on his computer to chose a film. He asked me if I saw anything I liked…” she paused then added quietly. “I said ‘you’”
Claire covered her mouth to hide her simile. After a moment she composed herself and said, “I am sure that was not a shocking answer to him.”
“Yes it was.” Anna said nodding. “It was very out of character.”
“And you feel it is necessary to stay in character, why?”
“I do not want to rush the relationship, if in fact there will be one.” Anna explained. “You know that is my wish.”
“I know but please do not expect me to understand. Anna he could be yours at this moment.”
“No.” Anna stood and walked over to the window. Gazing out she spoke softly, “That is not what I desire.”
Claire sighed, “Because you want him to fall in love with you.”
Anna nodded still looking out the window at the recent snowfall.
“I worry.” Claire admitted, “You know time is of the up most importance. What if he does not fall in love with you? What will you do then?”
“I do not know.” Anna said closing her eyes.
“Will you let him…..” Her words were cut off when Anna turned and spoke.
“Do not say it. I do not know what I will do. I refuse to think about that at this time.” The anger in her voice caused Claire to flinch.
“I am sorry.” Claire said looking down. “Very sorry.”
Her last words were spoken to an empty room. Anna had retreated to her bedroom and slammed the door.
The room was completely dark still Anna had her eyes wide open as she lay on the bed. Tonight had not turned out at all like she had hoped. She regretted the anger she had displayed towards Claire. She realized Claire could not understand her motives yet still she had tried to explain. It was her deepest desire that Gerard would fall in love with her by his own accord.
Slowly her eyes closed as the memory surfaced….
Sept 11, 2001
All around her the anguished cried filled the air. Time seemed to have come to a standstill as the horror of what had just been witnessed sank in to the minds of those around her. She stood slightly behind the young man willing herself not to reach out to him.
“Oh my God, oh my God.” The woman standing next to her uttered over and over like a chant. She turned towards her slightly and saw the tears running down her face. It was at that moment she felt an uncontrolled anger course through her. The overwhelming despair and fear the woman felt made her feel empty. She closed her eyes a moment silently wishing she could feel those emotions. She would have gladly taken them from her but she felt nothing.
His suddenly movement caused her to turn her attention back to him. His shoulders slumped; his head fell to his chest. While she could not feel the emotions of the others around her she deeply felt his. He was in shock. He was overwhelmed with fear and sorrow. At first his mind had refused to believe the devastation and horror of the scene. It has tried desperately to find some reason, some explanation that would make this all a terrible nightmare that he would awaken from. But slowly the brutal truth forced it’s way into this mind. This was real, this was the end the life he knew and the beginning of true fear that would rule the lives of everyone he held dear. His eyes remained shut, but his ears heard the cries. Suddenly the life he’d led up to this moment in time flashed before his eyes and he was filled with a blinding sense of regret. Years, hours, precious moments he wasted now haunted him. What he’d just seen made all those years, hours, moments shame him to the core. Life was a gift he’d wasted, a gift that had been stolen from so many. Tears silently rolled down his cheeks as anger filled his heart, sorrow filled his soul and hopelessness paralyzed his whole being.
She took a step closer to him. Her only thought was to ease his pain. She felt the barrage of emotions tearing at his soul. It was the deep, overwhelming desire to give him strength that made her reach out and brush his hand as she moved past him.
Gerard’s head shot up and his eyes opened. The horror still lay before him but in that moment he felt a spark of hope. Tragedy would not triumph. He still had precious years, hours and moments to change not only his life but to hopefully give meaning to the lives of others. He stood up straighter and took a deep breath. This day, wrought in pain and suffering, was his turning point.
She watched as he pushed his way through the crowed once the ferry docked. From a safe distance she followed as he made his way through the stunned streets to his home. When the door opened and he fell into this mothers arms she faded into the background from which she always watched and waited.......
Gerard stumbled out of bed beckoned by the continuous knocking. He pulled open the door to find her brother anxiously waiting. “Dude, aren’t you ready? We gotta met the guys in twenty minutes.”
As his mind began to clear Gerard groaned, “Shit I overslept but my stuff is packed. Let me throw on my clothes and I’ll be ready.”
“Hey want me to pack up your laptop?” Mikey asked as his brother retreated into the bedroom.
Mikey walked over to the desk preparing to safely pack up the computer. He frowned then called out, “Hey, did you go to a movie last night?”
Gerard had just zipped up his jeans and was putting on his hoddie when he walked back in the living room. “What?”
Pointing at the laptop screen he asked again, “Did you go to a movie? You’ve got the movie listings pulled up.”
Gerard stopped in his tracks as memories from last night filled his mind. “Uh, Anna and I planned to but we watched a movie here instead.”
Mikey grinned, “You saw Anna again? Cool. What did you watch?”
A frown covered Gerard’s face as she struggled to remember. Finally it came to him. He told Mikey the name of the movie while trying to remember the plot. Nothing really came to him.
“Was it good?” Mikey asked as he closed the laptop then slid it into the bag.
“Yeah,” Gerard lied. “You’d like it.”
Mikey snapped the case closed and looked over at his brother. “So how was your evening with Anna?”
Gerard answered without thinking, “We enjoyed the movie.”
Mikey wondered why Gerard’s voice sounded strange but didn’t have time to question him further. They had to get going. As they walked from the suite he didn’t notice the confused look on Gerard’s face.
The noise on the bus was making his head pound. Again he wondered why he hadn’t just flown to Chicago, the first stop on the tour. However, he reminded himself that the others had wanted to use this time on the bus to get in some much needed practice before the gig tonight. He sighed realizing how true the much-needed practice was his fault. Many times over the last few months the band members had tried to get him to commit to practice times but he had put them off. The few times they’d performed since the new album release had made it obvious that they needed to practice together. He just hadn’t been able to make himself do it, his heart hadn’t been in it. Now as he sat watching his band members and their wives he couldn’t help but feel a little angry. He and Bob were the only ones without someone along. As happy as he was for Ray, Frank and Mikey he still couldn’t deny he was jealous. Still he reminded himself maybe he wouldn’t be entirely alone. Anna would be following the tour. That thought made his mood a little brighter. His thoughts were interrupted when Alicia took the seat next to the sofa where he sat watching the others.
“Hey, Mikey told me you saw Anna last night.” She said smiling.
Gerard tried not to be annoyed but it bothered him when people pried into his personal life. He didn’t answer instead just nodded.
“So is she going to be in Chicago tonight?” Alicia asked.
“We really didn’t talk about the tour.” Gerard answered. “We just got together and watched a movie.”
Alicia could tell by his attitude she was bothering him. “Oh, okay.” She started to leave when he spoke.
“So what did you think of her?”
“What do I think of Anna?’ Alicia asked surprised he would ask. Gerard rarely asked her opinion about anything. She thought a moment then answered. “I like her. She seems really genuine, you know? But different and I don’t mean that in a bad way, she’s just…” She seemed at a loss for words.
Gerard nodded. “Yeah, I know. There is something about her that is different.”
Alicia studied him closely, “But different in a good way.” She was trying to gaze his thoughts.
“Yeah, in a good way.” He took out a cigarette and lit it while trying to decide exactly what he wanted to say.
“So did you two have a good time?” Alicia asked feeling he wanted to say more but was having trouble choosing his words.
“We enjoyed the movie.” Gerard answered quickly.
Mikey called out to Alicia from the back of the bus.
“Better so see what he wants.” She said laughing.
Gerard frowned as she walked away. Something about last night was bothering him. He remembered Anna arriving and he remembered he’d developed a terrible headache but those were the only clear memories he had. He took a deep drag then closed his eyes. “I’m just tired.” He whispered to himself. “That’s all it is.” Yet deep down a voice inside was telling him something more was going on.