People are questioning Gerard and Anna's relationship.
“Gee, they want us back at the venue as soon as we can get there.” Ray said walking up to the secluded spot Gerard had found to take a quick cigarette break.
“Why?’ Gerard asked with a frown. “I thought we we’re gonna have time to grab a late lunch.”
Ray shrugged, “I dunno. I thought so too cause I’m hella hungry.”
Gerard took a final puff then tossed the cigarette away, “Guess we better get going then.”
“Uh, Gee…can I ask you something?” Ray spoke quickly hoping to speak to his friend before the others appeared from inside the studio.
“Sure, what?” Gerard asked.
“How are you doing, really?”
The question surprised Gerard. He thought he’d been hiding all his insecurities so well. “What do you mean?”
Ray decided to level with him. “Look I know you really weren’t looking forward to this tour. I could tell your heart just wasn’t in this.”
“I’m fine, Ray.” Gerard said hoping his friend would just let it go. He didn’t want to discuss how he really felt.
Ray smiled sadly, “Don’t you ever get tired of saying that?”
While he knew Ray was truly concerned for him he just couldn’t acknowledge his true feelings, not now, maybe not ever. It would be like opening a dam and letting the flood of emotions pour out. He knew those emotions would overwhelm him and he had to keep it together for those he loved. He had to keep it together for the band.
“Really, I’m okay.”
Ray still looked unconvinced. “We all know you’ve been through hell. It just worries me when you grow so quiet. It’s like you’re keeping everything bottled up inside and that aint’ good.”
Gerard tired to laugh it off, “I’m quiet? Fuck, I’m a loud mouth. That last interview all I did was talk.”
Ray smiled sadly, “Dude, you were just doing your job. Same goes for when you’re on stage. But when the shows over you’re just not the same as before.”
“I’m never gonna be the same.” Gerard blurted out.
Ray had been afraid that was how his friend felt. “Dude, don’t say that. Things will get better. Getting over heartbreak is never easy for anyone. We’ve all been there.”
“No, you haven’t really.” Gerard answered feeling his temper rise, “You haven’t had someone you love tell the world that they never really loved you. You haven’t had to deal with someone you love telling intimate details of your relationship to the tabloids for money. She told the world what a fool I was for believing her.”
“Gerard, you gotta let it go.” Ray said, “You can’t let his eat up inside.”
Not caring if they would be leaving soon Gerard pulled out another cigarette, “Look, I told you I’m fine. Life goes on and all that shit, right?’
“It does go on.” Ray lit a cigarette of his own before continuing, “And each day another opportunity comes along.”
Gerard gave him a puzzled look, “Another opportunity?”
“Uh, yeah. Another chance for happiness.”
Taking a deep drag Gerard stared at him a moment before asking, “What are you trying to get at?”
Ray understood how hardheaded Gerard could be so he chose his words carefully, “I’m not getting at anything really. I’m just saying that each day something can happen to change things. Like meeting someone new.”
“Just say what you’re thinking.” Gerard felt the small twinge of pain signaling the beginning of a headache and he wanted to finish up the conversation.
Ray took a puff then spoke, “Okay, I’m thinking maybe you’ve met someone who can help you forget some of the past.”
“Anna.” Gerard said her name for Ray.
“Yeah, Anna. It’s kinda obvious the two of you have made a connection.”
Gerard knew what he was saying was true but fear of things going wrong made him want to deny that truth. “I just met her, dude.”
“We all just met her but you two seem to have hit if off pretty quickly and I think that’s great. I just don’t want to see you let the past keep you from exploring what could be, you know?”
“I’m just gonna take it one day at a time.” Gerard admitted, “See what happens cause I sure as fuck don’t want to rush into anything.”
Ray nodded happily, “I agree, that’s good.”
For a moment Gerard forgot his fears and asked, “What do you think of her, really?”
“She’s a knock out, for sure.” Ray grinned, “But there just seems to be so much more to her. Christa and I were talking about her last night and we both agree. Christa thinks though that there is a sadness in Anna’s eyes.”
Gerard thought a moment, “Yeah, I kinda see that too. There is just so much I don’t know about her but I really want to, you know? She puzzles me.”
Ray laughed, “Only puzzles you?”
Gerard’s laugh was real, “Okay, the woman does more than just puzzle me, I’ll admit that. But I’m trying not to let the physical attraction take over. I want to really get to know her. I want to find out if something in her past makes her such an incredible author. I want to know why she told me that no one really knows her.”
“She said that?”
“Yeah” Gerard nodded, “She did.”
Ray thought a minute; “Well maybe she’ll open up a bit with the girls today. Christa told me at first Anna was reluctant to go shopping with them but Alicia kinda bullied her into it.”
Gerard snorted, “Alicia can bully anyone into anything if she sets her mind to it.”
“Hey, are you dissin’ my wife?” Mikey asked walking up to them.
“Nope.” Gerard answered, “Just stating a fact.”
Mikey knew his brother had a lot of respect for his wife so he didn’t take offense. “You guys talking about Alicia getting Anna to go with them today?”
Ray nodded, “Yeah, that’s what we were talking about.”
“Alicia just figured it would be good for Anna to hang with them. She thinks Anna is shy and she wants her to feel at ease.”
“I think she’s right.” Ray said. “Anna can appear standoffish but I think that’s because she is shy.”
Gerard suddenly wondered what Anna was doing at that moment. Was she having a good time with the other women?
“Okay, tell me the truth.” Alicia said stepping out of the dressing room, “Do these jeans make my ass look huge?”
Christa laughed and Jamia simply rolled her eyes.
Alicia glared at them, “Thanks” She looked over at Anna who was standing in the doorway, “Okay, you’ll tell me the truth. What do you think?”
Anna wanted so desperately to fit in but she wasn’t sure how to respond. “I think they look acceptable.”
Alicia grinned, “Anna, tell me the truth.”
Taking a deep breath Anna spoke, “Well the design on the back pockets is a bit much.”
“Uh and,…” Alicia prodded.
“And they make your ass look huge.” Anna said softly.
Alicia broke out into a fit of laughter, “Good Lord Anna. Was that so hard to admit?”
“It was simply hard to say out loud.” Anna responded feeling good that her response seemed to please Alicia. The others were laughing as well.
Christa leaned back against the wall watching them closely. Why did Anna seem to worry so much about what she should say? It was almost as if she was trying so desperately to make them like her she was being overly careful.
“Can we get some lunch now?” Jamia whined.
Alicia turned to go back into the dressing room. Christa looked over at Anna, “So what sounds good for lunch?”
Anna smiled, “Whatever the rest of you decide is fine with me.” Her cell vibrated alerting her to a text. Anna pulled it out and looked down at the screen.
GERARD: Hope you are having a good day. We are back at the venue, technical problems. See you before the show. We still on for me traveling with you?
A huge smile appeared on Anna’s face. She quickly responded.
ANNA: Of course. I am looking foreword to it very much.
Christa and Jamia exchanged a look both wondering who Anna was texting. Whoever it was the text seemed to make her very happy.
Alicia came out of the dressing room, “Well I’m gonna get this top but not the jeans.” She stopped when she saw Christa and Jamia watching Anna who was reading another text that had just arrived.
GERARD: Great. See ya soon.
“Everything okay?’ she asked Anna who was returning her phone to her pocket.
Anna nodded but offered no further information about the call.
“I wonder how long the guys are gonna be?” Christa said as they walked towards the front of the clothing store.
“They are back at the venue.” Anna said.
The three women stopped and looked at her. “They are?” Christa asked.
Anna nodded, “Yes. There seems to be some technical problems and they returned early.”
“How do you know?” Alicia asked.
“Gerard sent me a text.” Anna answered with a smile then turned. She did not notice the smiles on the women’s faces.
“Maybe we should skip lunch and get back then.” Jamia mused out loud. “I’m sure catering set up something anyway.”
“Yeah, probably we should.” Alicia agreed even though she had hopped to do more shopping.
Jamia nodded then turned to Anna, “That okay with you?”
It as more than okay with Anna because she longed to see Gerard. “Yes, I agree.” She smiled.
Christa pulled Ray aside as soon as he had a free moment. The technical problems had been ironed out and now the band had a few free moments before the Meet and Greet.
“Did you get a chance to talk to Gee about Anna?”
Ray looked around to make sure the lead singer wasn’t listening. “Yeah, I got a few minutes alone with him.”
“And?” Christa asked.
“He likes her. He admitted that much but he says he wants to take it slow.”
Christa nodded, “Good. Because you should have seen her face today when he text her.”
Ray was surprised, “Gee text her?”
“Yep, when we were shopping. He told her you guys had come back early because of the technical problems.”
“I was wondering why you girls came back early.” Ray laughed.
Christa thought a moment, “You know there is just something about Anna that bothers me.”
“Bothers you?” Ray thought they had already discussed this. “You mean the sadness in her eyes?”
Christa sighed, “Yeah there is that but it’s something more. I mean the woman is a famous author and yet I don’t think other than Claire she has any friends. While we were shopping today I tried to find out more about her. She told me she lives in Vermont and that she has no living family other than an uncle.”
“Really? That’s sad.” Ray frowned.
“Yeah but when I asked her what she did for fun she just sorta looked shocked. Like the idea of having fun was alien to her. Can you imagine not having friends and going out?”
“Not really but everyone is different.”
“And she is different.” Christa said softly more to herself than Ray.
“Wait, are you saying you think something is wrong about her? Cause I really hope not. Gee is starting to feel an attraction towards her and the last thing in the world I want is for someone to hurt him again.”
“I can honestly say I don’t thinks she’d ever hurt him.” Christa admitted. “But it’s almost like she’s gotten so attached to him too quickly. I mean I like Gee of course but you and I both know he’s not the nicest person to be around since his divorce. So why is she so attracted to him?”
Ray was confused, “How do you know she is?”
Christa laughed “Women’s intuition. That and if you could have seen how happy she was today when he sent that text you’d understand.”
“Yeah but maybe there is more to it then we know. I’m thinking that maybe they’ve spent more time together than Gerard has admitted.”
“That’s possible.” Christa nodded, “Look I know you worry about Gerard and I can understand that but I can’t help worry about Anna. What if he can’t get over the past and his divorce?”
A tech called out to Ray. He nodded he’s be right there then turned to Christa.
“Hey there isn’t really anything we can do about this.” He pulled her into his arms and gave her a hug, “So stop worrying.”
Christa hugged him back but her mind was still on Anna. Something just wasn’t right and she wanted to understand why she felt that way.
It wasn’t until the Meet and Greet that Anna reappeared. As soon as they had returned from shopping Claire and met them to inform Anna that something serious had come up. Anna had excused herself to follow Clair back to the RV.
Gerard saw her as soon as she walking into the backstage lounge. He smiled but noticed her return smile didn’t reach her eyes. Getting off the sofa he met her by the door.
“Hey is everything okay? Alicia said something came up you had to deal with.”
Anna nodded, “Yes things are fine. My agent called because my revisions I had made to my manuscript did not please him.”
“How could anything you write not be perfect?” Gerard asked taking her arm and leading her over to the sofa.
Anna hated lying to him but there was no other way. She forced herself to laugh, “Not everything I write is perfect.”
“I think it is.” Gerard said softly. They sat down before he continued, “Does this mean you have a lot of work to do?” He was hoping this development didn’t mean she wouldn’t be able to spend time with him. He hoped it didn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to travel with her tonight to the next venue.
Anna tried to put the true situation out of her mind for now. “No, I have dealt with the problem.”
Gerard smiled, “That’s great. You know I’m really looking foreword to spending some time together. There are so many things I want to discuss with you.”
“Such as your book “The End Of Me”.” He admitted. “You have no idea how much that book means to me.”
If only I could tell him that was because it was written for him, Anna thought sadly. Before she could respond it was announced the band needed to head over to the Meet and Greet location.
“Damn.” Gerard muttered. He reached over and took Anna’s hand in his, “I gotta go but I’ll be back soon.”
Unfortunately when he did return Anna had once again gone back to her RV to handle another situation. When she didn’t return for the concert Gerard tried not to let his disappointment show but he found doing that was very difficult.
After the concert he quickly gathered his things and left the venue. He sent a text as he headed towards the tour bus.
GERARD: I understand if you are too busy.
He stopped and lit a cigarette waiting for her reply.
ANNA: Sorry I missed the concert but it was unavoidable.
He took a deep drag off the cigarette and frowned. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Did she want him to travel with her or not? He was still trying to decide what to text when he received her message.
ANNA: Claire says to hurry up or she will leave without you.
Gerard laughed out loud.
GERARD: So Claire is waiting for me…what about you?
ANNA: It seems I have been waiting a very long time.
“A very long time.” Anna whispered as she sent the text. “A very, very long time.”