Gerard is fighting his attraction to Anna
“Good morning.” She said with a smile to her brother in law. “I see you finally decided to haul your ass out of bed.”
“Only cause your husband woke me up.” Gerard teased.
Alicia looked over to see that Mikey was talking to Ray before she answered, “He was sorta worried about you.”
Alicia nodded, “You know him. He’s always worrying about something.” She sat down on the other side of Anna. “Hey, why don’t you guys ride the rest of the way to the venue with us? You’ve had enough alone time with him.” She kidded tilting her head towards Gerard.
Gerard frowned. He wanted to spend more time with Anna. After last night, after all they had talked about he didn’t want to loose the close connection they were forming. Anna looked over at him trying to gauge his reaction to the suggestion.
Before either could answer Ray joined them. “Hey we really need to work on the lyrics to the new song.”
Suddenly Gerard got the distinct impression they were trying to get him away from Anna. “We can do that later.” He answered.
Ray’s eyes narrowed. “You said we’d work on it today and you know at noon we have that interview so we’re not gonna have time when we get to the venue cause after the interview we have a signing.”
Gerard had forgotten that fact. “Shit, I forgot.” He admitted. He looked at Anna, “We have a signing at a record store and a Meet and Greet at this next stop.”
Anna smiled, “That is wonderful for the fans.”
“Yeah.” He agreed without enthusiasm but then immediately felt bad. His fans shouldn’t suffer because of the way he felt. He never wanted them to know how much he’d come to hate the signings and Meet and Greets. It wasn’t that he didn’t love the fans it was simply that he had begun to hate how nervous the events made him feel. He hated the anxiety attacks that always threatened to surface at a moments notice.
In the end Gerard returned to the tour bus and Anna returned to her RV. She explained that she needed to start organizing her notes. As she waited she watched as Claire and Bob spoke before parting. She could see that there was an attraction between the two of them. She waited until they were underway to question Claire.
“I noticed you seemed to enjoy speaking with Bob.”
Claire accelerated then pulled into traffic before answering, “Yes. He is quite nice.”
Anna smiled, “Is he now?”
Suddenly Claire began drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. “I am sorry if I upset you. I know I am to remain in the background. I will keep to myself more.”
Anna was surprised by her words, “I never suggested such a thing. I never said you were to remain in the background.”
“It was implied.” Claire said softly hoping her words did not anger Anna.
Anna sat back in the seat and digested Claire’s comment. Finally she spoke, “I am sorry you feel that way. It was truly never my intension to imply that. We both know that someday things will have to change. Someday you will need to start a life that will not include me.”
“No.” Claire answered quickly, “That is not true.”
Anna smiled sadly, “It is true. I have allowed you to become a recluse like me and it is not right. I see that now.”
“I do not want anymore than what I have right now,” Claire was growing upset, “Staying with you is what I choose to do.”
“It is what I let you choose.” Anna reminded her gently, “But that does not make it right. I want you to be more outgoing. I want you to spend more time with people.”
“Anna, no.” Claire felt tears form in her eyes. “Things are fine the way they are.”
Anna shook her head slightly, “We both know that a change is coming. I do not know how this will all play out but a change will happen. You are almost thirty years old. It is time you made a life for yourself.”
“My life is with you.” Claire said suddenly very afraid, “It has been for as long as I can remember.”
“I hope it has been a good life.” Anna’s voice was thoughtful, “But I see now that I have been selfish.”
Claire glanced over at her. “No, you are not selfish. You saved my life. If it were not for you I would not be here.”
Anna refused to let the twenty five year old memory fill her mind. What was done was done and she would not change things even if she could. “You owe me nothing. It is time you start to live your life.”
A tear rolled down Claire’s cheek, “But I am afraid.” She whispered.
“I am too.” Anna allowed herself to speak honestly. “Very afraid.”
For several miles they drove in silence. Finally it was Claire who spoke.
“Anna, about last night.” She wasn’t sure how to put into words what she wanted to say.
“Thank you for handling the situation.” Anna responded. “I am not sure what I would have done had you not been there.”
That was what Claire was afraid she would say. “I want to always be there to help you.”
Anna wished it could be so but knew in her heart that wasn’t possible, “Let us just handle things one day at a time. Neither of us knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Claire concentrated on the traffic a moment then asked, “I was right in assuming it was a nightmare?”
“Yes.” Anna answered knowing that Claire was curious about her nightmares. Still she couldn’t bring herself to explain the brutal truth. “It was the same nightmare that always plagues me.”
Anna nodded, “He seemed to handle it well.”
Anna’s mind returned to last night. She remembered Gerard holding her in his arms, making her feel safe, as she’d told him her story. “Yes he did.”
“He cares for you.” Claire said softly, “That is obvious.”
Anna took hope from her words, “I believe we have formed a close connection.”
Claire hoped she was not overstepping her bounds but she had to ask, “When will you tell him?”
For a few minutes Anna didn’t answer. Finally she did, “I truly have no idea.” Suddenly she didn’t want to think about this anymore so she changed the subject. “I feel you should know there are plans underway concerning you.”
As she had predicted the comment changed Claire’s train of thought, “What?”
Anna laughed, “Oh yes. I believe tonight when we leave the venue I will be traveling to the next stop on the tour bus.”
Claire was concerned and confused, “Do you think that wise? And how does this concern me?”
“Well, I am not sure about wise but it is time that I try. I will not sleep so there will be no chance for a nightmare.”
Anna cut her off, “I will make sure I am ready.”
Claire gave her a worried glance, “Even so.”
“Stop worrying.” Anna said trying to put her mind at ease. “This is something I must do.”
Claire was still concerned but knew that when Anna made a decision there was no changing it. “Fine, but I do not understand how this concerns me.”
“I believe Bob will be traveling with you. To keep you company.”
The RV swerved slightly as Claire’s head whipped around to look at Anna. “What?”
Anna laughed, “Oh my that did get your attention.”
“Bob? Here? With me?” Claire’s voice was full of emotion. Anna listened closely trying to understand those emotions.
“Does the idea please you?” She asked.
“Yes. No,” Claire struggled to keep her attention of driving but it wasn’t easy, “I mean I do not really know.”
Anna smiled, “Let us start out simply. Do you enjoy Bob’s company?”
“I have really only spoken to him such a small amount of time.”
“But you seemed to be having a nice conversation.” Anna said remembering watching them laugh together earlier.
“Well yes. He surprised me. I mean to say at first he seemed rather gruff and unapproachable but when he was checking the tires and we were alone he was different.”
Anna nodded, “So I think spending some time alone with him would be a good idea. It will give the two of you a chance to talk and get to know each other.”
As much as the idea appealed to Claire she was still worried, “But it could complicate things.”
“Do not worry about that.” Anna said, “What will happen between Gerard and myself remains to be seen. There is no reason you should not take advantage of this opportunity to get to know Bob. Perhaps nothing will come of it but perhaps something will.”
Claire sighed, “But what if he asks me questions about my past?”
Anna frowned, “I thought we agreed on the story we created?”
“But it is a lie.” Claire blurted out immediately regretting her words when she saw the look on Anna’s face.
“I am sorry you must lie, Claire.” She looked down at her hands that were clasped together tightly in her lap. “I am sorry for so many things.”
Once again Claire’s eyes filled with tears, “You have no reason to be sorry. No reason at all. Our past was not one either of us chose, it was forced upon us. But the fact remains that had you not done what you did I would not be here. We both know that. I am grateful to you for everything you have done for me Anna.” She brushed away a tear, “And I will always love you.”
Anna felt tears in her own eyes, “I have never regretted what I did. My only regret is that it had to be done.” She lowered her voice knowing it was time to finally tell Claire something she had the right to know. “Once you were safe I made sure that he would never hurt anyone again.”
Claire gasped, “What?”
“I should have told you before, I see that now. He was punished for his crime. It was swift and it was just.”
Claire’s mind was racing, “Oh Anna what did you do?”
“It was not I who administered justice. It was Jacob.” She whispered guiltily. In her heart she had always felt she should have dealt with the situation herself.
Claire was shocked, “Jacob?” It was hard to imagine him concerning himself with a situation involving someone he believed to be inferior.
“Yes, I told him how I had found you, and explained what had happened. My anger was almost uncontrollable and he understood that. But he did not believe me capable of doing what needed to be done.” Anna closed her eyes a moment then spoke, “So he forbid me from handling the situation. He told me he would take care of it and he did.”
Claire’s mind was racing, “I did not know. All this time I believed that what had happened to me meant nothing to him.”
“You do not understand Jacob as I do.” Anna said softly, “You can not understand him like I do.”
Claire knew Anna spoke the truth. She could never truly understand the connection between Anna and Jacob.
“I am sorry I never told you before but I hated to bring up the past.” Anna explained, “But now I think it is important that you know so you can truly let go of that past and move on.”
Miles passed as each woman feel silent, lost in their thoughts. It was Claire who broke the silence, “Whatever happens I want you to know that I will always be there for you. I would never desert you, Anna.”
“Nor I you.” Anna responded truthfully.
“Gee I don’t mean to complain but could you please try to concentrate?” Ray asked as he sat down his guitar. “We’ve been working on the same few lines for twenty minutes.”
Mikey immediately came to his brother’s defense, “Hey, it’s not his fault. The song just ain’t coming together.”
Gerard lit and cigarette and sat back against the sofa cushions. His head was pounding making it difficult to stay focused. “Look, I’m sorry but I’ve got nothing.”
Frank gently strummed his guitar as he watched his band mates. He wondered if the reason Gerard was so out of it had something to do with Anna. “Hey, let’s take twenty then come back to it.” He suggested. He was secretly hoping to talk to Gerard alone.
“Fine.” Ray sighed as he got up and walked towards the front of the bus. Frank looked over at the other guys hoping they would catch the look he was giving them. Mikey understood and gave him a slight nod.
“Hey Bob come on. I wanna try out the new video game.”
Bob shrugged, “If you don’t mind gettin’ your ass kicked I’ll play.”
Frank waited until the walked away before he looked over at Gerard, “So how did it go with Anna?”
Gerard took a deep drag then shrugged, “Okay but I’m kinda tired. We talked most of the night.”
Frank smiled, “Just talked?”
His comment angered Gerard, “Yeah, we talked. Why?”
“Dude, chill. I’m teasing you. I’m glad you are getting to know her. I like Anna she seems really sweet.”
“Sorry I snapped.” Gerard said with a sigh. “To tell you the truth I can’t stop thinking about her and it’s bothering me.”
Frank understood, “Gee you can’t let the past fuck with you.”
“The past is always gonna fuck with me. I mean I can’t help but be afraid of getting screwed over again. I want to believe it won’t happen but there is always that little voice in my head reminding me of what went down. I’m just fucked up and that’s all there is to it.” He admitted softly.
Frank sighed, “Don’t take this wrong but I get the impression Anna is the same way. There is something about her that seems sorta fragile. Like something in her past fucked with her.”
Gerard knew that was the truth but he couldn’t share that knowledge. “Yeah, she’s had a hard time.” He said feeling it was okay to admit that. “But that’s part of the problem. I don’t want to cause her anymore problems in her life and I’m afraid that’s what I’ll do.”
“But maybe you won’t.” Frank said lowering his voice a bit, “Maybe the two of you can help each other heal the wounds from the past.”
Gerard thought a minute. “Yeah maybe. Shit I just don’t know. I mean before we started this tour I’d made up my mind I was never gonna get involved with anyone again. And now I realize that part of me wants to change that plan.”
Frank smiled, “Life is very unpredictable. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Just take it slow and see what happens.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I am.” Frank got up and gave him a light punch on his shoulder. “Always listen to the wise Frankie. I’m all wise and knowing.”
Gerard scoffed, “Sure you are. Okay wise Frankie. Tell me the next line to the song.”
Frank giggled, “Dude, that’s your job.”
It was almost time for the band to go on when they arrived from the Meet and Greet. Things had been horrible mismanaged and it had left Gerard feeling very angry. He hated not having enough time to mentally prepare himself for the stage. His anger was also in part due to the fact he had fought with himself over his feelings for Anna most of the afternoon. Part of him wanted to back off, fearful of the intense emotions he was beginning to feel for her and part of him wanted to be fearless and take a chance. He hated feeling so confused, he hated that he was feeling afraid to walk out on the stage.
“Hey, you okay?” Mikey asked him as they stood waiting to go on.
“Fuckin’ pissed off we’re running so late.” Gerard answered. He suddenly spotted Anna and felt another wave of anger. She was complicating his life.
Anna saw him and smiled but he quickly turned away.
Mikey saw what had happened, “What’s up?”
“Nothing.” Gerard said shortly. “But could you tell Alicia to explain to Anna that the plan has changed? “
“What plan?” Mikey asked.
“I asked her to ride with us to the next venue but I’m tired and I don’t feel good.” He knew it was wrong to have someone else deal with Anna but right now he felt on the verge of an anxiety attack.
Mikey could see in his brothers eyes that something was wrong, “Sure, Gee.” He sprinted over to Alicia and explained what Gerard wanted her to do.
Alicia’s reaction wasn’t good, “He should tell her himself.” She said glaring over at Gerard.
“Just do it.” Mikey said as the lights dimmed.
Alicia walked over and sat down next to Anna. She decided not to say anything to her until the concert was over.
Anna watched the show but knew immediately something was wrong with Gerard. His movements were awkward, his banter with the crowd forced. As the last notes dies away and the houselights came up Alicia broke the news to her. Anna’s face remained impassive, she had expected the news.
“Tell me I hope he feels better.” She said softly then turned to make her way quickly out of the venue.
Before boarding the RV she wiped the tears from her eyes. Claire looked up from the book she’d been reading. “Anna, what is wrong?”
Anna sat down before answering, “What I feared has happened. He is questioning his attraction towards me.”
Claire closed the book and sighed, “You knew this could happen. It is a minor setback, nothing more.”
“No.” Anna said sadly, “This is more than I minor setback. Time is running out, I can feel it.”
“Oh.” Claire understood the gravity of the situation. “I am sorry.”
“I do not know what to do.” Anna whispered. “I truly believed after last night that we had made a strong connection. I let down my guard and told him…” Her words trailed off.
Claire wished he had the words to comfort her friend but she didn’t.
They sat in silence until they heard the engines of the busses roar to life.
“It is time to go.” Claire said slowly standing. She made her way to the front of the bus when there was suddenly a knock on the door.
“Hey.” Bob greeted Claire once she pushed open the door.
Claire glanced over at Anna giving her a confused look.
Bob stepped into the RV. “Uh, Anna. I’m supposed to tell you to hurry up.”
Anna stood, “I believe you are mistaken. I was told Gerard was not feeling well.”
“Gerard’s the one who sent me here. He said to tell you he’s feeling better.” It was clear Bob was feeling a bit awkward.
Anna continued to look confused, “I do not want to impose.” She said finally.
Bob laughed, “He was afraid you’d say something like that. He told me that if you did I was supposed to remind you about research.” Bob wasn’t sure what the meant but it was obvious by the smile on Anna’s face that she understood.
“I need to gather my things.” Anna said quickly walking towards the bedroom. Claire was right behind her.
“You can not go.” She whispered. “You have not….”
Anna raised her hand to silence her. Stealing a quick glance in Bob’s direction she lowered he voice, “It will be fine. Do not worry.”
“But Anna.” Claire began again but when she was the anger in Anna’s eyes she stopped.
“I can not miss this opportunity.” Anna whispered as she threw items in her bag. “You have to understand that.”
“I understand but still I worry.” Claire whispered.
Anna took a deep breath trying to steady her nerves. She had to do this, she couldn’t lose control now. “Enjoy your time with Bob.” Anna whispered as she slid by Claire in the doorway.
Bob was standing at the front of the RV looking uncomfortable. “Uh, I hope it’s okay if I ride with you.” He said looking at Claire. “I mean if you’d rather be alone I understand.”
Anna shot Claire an encouraging look.
“I would enjoy your company.” Claire said softly.
Anna left the RV hoping the time Bob and Claire spent together would turn out well. She truly wanted Claire to find happiness. As she neared the tour bus she slowed her steps and reminded herself that she must stay in control. Claire had been right to be worried. Anna was not prepared but with Bob on the bus there was nothing she could do. She rounded the corner and saw Gerard standing just outside the door smoking a cigarette. When he saw her he tossed it away.
“Hey.” He said smiling slightly.
“Hello.” Anna greeted him. “You are feeling better?”
Gerard could tell by her tone she hadn’t believed he was sick. “Uh, yeah.” He answered unable to look her in the eye.
“I am glad to get this chance to spend time with the band.” Anna wanted to make it clear she understood, “And I’m sure I will find one of the sofas comfortable.” She walked up the steps and on to the bus before he could answer.
“Shit.” Gerard muttered following her a moment later.