Anna reveals something that shocks Gerard.
Gerard and Anna were seated at the table.
“Done.” Anna said as she closed the laptop. “Hopefully my editor will be pleased with the revisions.”
“Do you usually make a lot of revisions to your work before your editor is pleased?” Gerard asked.
Anna nodded, “Often I have to make revisions but this last book has been the most difficult for me.” She explained, “It is important to me because it will be the last fiction I write.” Seeing the shocked look on Gerard’s face Anna quickly added, “The book I write about your band will be the last book I ever write.”
“What?” Gerard sputtered clearly shocked.
Claire turned in her seat and shot a surprised look at Anna. Although she knew of Anna’s plans she had no idea that she was going to share them with Gerard.
“I have grown tired of writing.” Anna said with a sigh, “I have grown tired of doing revisions, tired of the pressure to complete my work.”
“But you’re so talented. You’re really just gonna stop writing?” Gerard asked.
“It is the right time. My contract with the publisher is completed. The book I am writing about the band will be published by an independent publisher. I only sighed a one book deal.”
Gerard sat back in his seat, “Man, I can’t believe you’re not going to be writing anymore. So many people will be so disappointed. Can’t you find another publisher? I mean I know you could. Your books are always bestsellers. Can’t you find one that will let you set the pace for your writing so you don’t feel the pressure?”
Anna smiled, “I am sure I could if that was what I chose to do but the truth is I have started to feel as if I have written all the stories my mind contains. I just do not feel the need to write anymore.”
“But what will you do?” Gerard was still trying to grasp the concept that she would just stop writing all together. “Will you spend more time drawing and painting?”
Anna struggled not to show how upsetting this line of questioning was becoming. She shrugged, “I honestly do not know.”
Bob glanced in the rearview mirror and saw the look on Anna’s face. He shook his head slightly thinking to himself how clueless Gerard could be at times. He knew how much is friend was attracted to Anna and he knew that Gerard was secretly hoping that things between them would work but the fact remained that she didn’t. From the corner of his eyes he saw Claire turn back around in her seat.
“So if Anna stops writing will you still stay on as her secretary?”
Claire stared at him a moment trying to form an answer in her mind. Finally she simply shrugged.
Bob could see how upset she looked. Once again he was curious about the relationship between Anna and Claire. They seemed to be so close and yet it was obvious that Anna was the ruling force in the relationship. He found it hard not to hold a bit of a grudge against Anna. It wasn’t that she didn’t treat Claire right it was just that it seemed to him that Claire was being held back, that she was in Anna’s shadow.
“But you’re such a talented writer.” Gerard said again not letting the subject go. He looked down at the table, “There were times during my divorce that ‘The End of Me’ was the only thing that kept me going. Reading that book gave me hope. I could identify so well with the main character.”
Anna smiled happy in the knowledge that the book had done what it was meant to do. “That character was very close to my heart.” She leaned back in her chair, “I have found that there are certain characters I have created that are more than just fictional beings. They come to life when I write their stories and they stay with me.”
Gerard looked up and nodded, “I can understand that. But it is still so incredible to me that you can write such deep, profound characters and storylines.” He laughed, “Don’t take this wrong but at first I thought the photo on the dust jacket was a fake. I just couldn’t believe someone as young as you could write like you do.”
“Is it hard to believe now that you know me?”
The question surprised him. “I’m not sure. There is still so much about your life I don’t know.” He lowered his voice, “I know there has been a lot of pain in your past but still your writing goes beyond that. It’s like a very old soul who understood so many different levels of pain did the writing.”
Once again Claire turned in her seat to look at Anna.
Anna struggled with how to respond to his comments. The truth in his words made her emotions very confused. She was touched he could see the truth but saddened she could not acknowledge it. “I simply write from the heart.” She said softly. “I write what I feel needs to be put into words at the time.”
Something about her answer touched Gerard deeply, “Is that how you felt when you were writing ‘The End Of Me’?”
Anna thought back the book and how she’d begun writing it just after his marriage. She had known what was coming; she could feel it in her bones. The book had been published during the last months of his marriage. The timing had been perfect. She looked into his eyes, “Yes.” She answered simply.
He shook his head while still looking into her eyes, “It was like it was written for me.” He whispered. “So many fuckin’ things in that book were things I could relate to at that time. So many of the emotions I knew, I was living, breathing them.”
Bob noticed that Claire was still staring at Anna. He wasn’t sure why, only being able to hear part of the conversation going on behind him, but he thought it was getting personal. He decided to try to distract Claire.
“Did you enjoy the concert tonight?” he asked her softly.
Claire glanced over at him. She was worried about Anna, afraid she’d reveal too much, but she didn’t want Bob to feel she wasn’t paying attention to him.
“I loved it.” She smiled, “I have never been that close to the stage before.”
“But you have been to our concerts before?” He was under the impression that she had never been to an MCR concert. Hell, he wasn’t even sure if she liked their music.
“Yes, I have.” She had lost count of how many she had attended with Anna. She hoped he wouldn’t question her further about it.
“Really? Which ones?” Bob asked while changing lanes.
Claire really didn’t want to go into this. She wasn’t sure what Anna had admitted in the way of concerts. “Does it really surprise you that I have attended concerts before or just MCR concerts?” She hoped this would slightly change the subject.
Bob thought a moment. “No I guess I’m not surprised you’ve attended concerts. I mean the other night we talked about several groups we both like. Hell, we like a lot of the same music. I dunno, I guess I just didn’t realize you’ve been to our shows before.”
Gerard had grown silent becoming lost in the memories that always resurfaced when he thought about his divorce. It had been such a dark time in his life. A time he hasn’t been sure he’d get through alive.
As the memories consumed him Anna watched the light go out of his eyes. Her heart ached for him. Reaching over she gently touched his arm. “You look tired. Would you like to lay down now?”
Gerard forced his mind back to the present. “I am sorta tried. Tonight’s show really drained me.” He turned in his seat and spoke to Bob, “I’m gonna catch some sleep. You want to wake me in a few hours? I can drive then.”
Bob shook his head, “No, dude. Claire and I got this covered.” He smiled over at the woman in the seat next to him, “Don’t we?”
Claire returned his smile, “Yes, we can handle the driving.” She turned to look at Anna, “Let me know if you need anything.”
Bob frowned. There is was again. It was almost as if Claire was a servant looking after her masters welfare.
Anna smiled, “I am fine, thank you.” She stood then glanced back to make sure Gerard was following. Once they were in the bedroom she closed the door. Gerard slipped off his shoes then stretched out on the bed. He was already wearing his sweatpants and sweatshirt. Anna too had already donned her sweats before they had arrived. She slowly lowered herself to the bed and looked over at him.
“I am sorry my book brought up bad memories for you.”
He rolled his head over on the pillow to look at her. There was just enough light to see her face through the shadows, “Anna, your book helped me through all that shit. Somehow it gave me hope that I could overcome what was happening to me. In a lot of ways it was the end of me but I knew it was just one ending and that I could go on and start again.”
“I am glad.” Anna whispered. “I wanted to bring hope into the darkness.”
He rolled over onto his elbow so he could look down into her face, “That is what it did for me. It pierced the darkness that surrounded me. It made me realize I could go on, that I had to go on.” He sighed, “I am just now truly moving foreword.” He couldn’t stop himself from leaning down and gently kissing her lips, “You didn’t know it then but you helped me.” He kissed her again, “And you are helping me now.”
Anna closed her eyes and let herself become lost in the feeling. This was what she had prayed for. As he kissed her again she felt her body responding to his closeness. He deepened the kiss, his tongue brushing her lips until her mouth opened to him. Gerard pulled her closer to him needing to feel her body. A small moan escaped Anna’s lips.
Gerard forced himself to break off the kiss. In his mind he knew if he continued she would surrender her body to him but that’s not what he wanted. Not now. He knew her past, he knew the brutal memories she held. Still he needed to be sure she understood.
“Anna I want you.” He whispered. “But I want it to be perfect. I want us to be alone so I can take the time to love you like you should be loved. Do you understand?”
She forced her eyes open, “I understand.” Her answerer was breathless.
He nodded then laid his head back down on the pillow still keeping her body close. “We will take off after tomorrow night’s concert. I’ll get us a car and I’ve already mentioned to Bob what we were gonna do and he said he’s be happy to make sure Claire is okay. He’ll travel with her to the next stop and I’m sure he’ll make sure she isn’t alone.”
Anna felt badly she hadn’t even realized that by leaving with Gerard it would mean Claire would be alone for several days. “Are you sure? I hate to think of Claire alone.”
Gerard smiled, “Bob and the others will include her in whatever they do. I heard Alicia talking about doing some sightseeing. I know they will take Claire along.”
Anna nodded, “That is good. It is good she is learning to interact with people her own age.”
Gerard considered her words carefully because in truth they confused him, “But she’s just a few years older than you.”
It was at that moment Anna realized her words would sound wrong. She paused a moment then answered, “Claire has dealt with some difficult things in her life. There are thing from her past that have made her into the person you now see. What I meant was is my deepest hope that she will be able to overcome her past and move on with her life and not stay so closed off from the world.”
Gerard was confused, “I don’t understand. Are you saying that Claire had a rough childhood?”
Anna smiled sadly, “Like me, Claire has a past full of demons. I have tried my best to help her overcome those demons but I have done all that I can. It is time she moves out of the shadows and into the sunlight. It is time she moves on with her life.”
“And you think Bob will be able to help her?” Gerard asked not truly understanding Anna’s words.
“It is my hope that Bob will help Claire find the person that was always there just waiting to emerge.”
Gerard thought a moment. “ I have to ask. There things in her past that are brutal?”
“If there are would that chance the way Bob feels towards her?’ Anna asked wanting to know how he honestly felt.
Gerard thought a moment before answering, “I don’t believe that it would. Bob and I talked today and it was clear to me he is really forming some deep feelings for her. He told me he has never felt so drawn to a woman so quickly. I think Claire intrigues him but in a very good way. He told me that when he’s with her he feels like she needs him.” He laughed softly, “I know that probably sounds stupid but that’s what he said. He also told me that for the first time in his life he feels like he really wants to be there for someone completely.”
In the darkness Anna smiled, “He is a good man, an honorable man. I am glad Claire met him. He is correct she does need his understanding. It is my hope that in time she will feel comfortable enough to reveal why.” Although Anna knew Claire could never truly reveal the whole truth of her past, the part she could share would make her need Bob’s understanding and his strength.
Gerard found himself confused by her words. “Bob is my friend so I have to ask this…is there anything in Claire’s past that would prevent them from being together if that’s what they both want?”
Anna sighed, “No, the only thing that could prevent that is Claire’s fear of moving foreword with her life. And I will do everything in my power to make sure that does not happen.” Her heart ached when she added, “I know it is time for her to move on with her life just as it is time I move on with mine. For too long both Claire and I have remained closed off from the world. I believe it was because we were afraid. It is so easy just to hide yourself away from the world and that is what we did.”
He reached over and took her hand in his. “Sugar, I understand about being afraid and I sure as fuck understand about trying to hide from the world. Since my divorce that’s what I did. I just didn’t think I could ever put myself out there again, you know? I just went day to day trying to get through it so I could rush back to my apartment and be alone. It made me feel safe in a way and yet I knew I wasn’t really living.” His thumb stroked the soft skin of her finger, “But meeting you is slowly changing that.”
Anna smiled, “Meeting you has meant the same thing for me.” As badly as she wanted to reveal the truth she knew now was not the time. But she could tell him one truth that he would not truly understand, “When I first looked into your eyes I suddenly felt that my life was about to change forever.”
Gerard laughed softly and teased, “Forever is a very long time.”
He had no idea how deeply his words hurt her. She closed her eyes unable to speak.
Her silence confused him. Minutes went by and yet she still did not speak. “Anna, are you still awake?” he whispered.
She lay still letting him believe sleep had overcome her.
Gerard, believing she was asleep, leaned over and gently kissed her cheek. “Goodnight Sugar.” He whispered.
He closed his eyes never seeing the tears that silently ran down her face.
AUTHORS NOTE: Just wanted to say thanks again to those of you who take the time to comment. Also to say sorry to Ashley if my response came off harsh. I have to admit I was having a really crappy day and when I read that comment it just struck me badly. See I’ve had a lot of shit going on in my life lately and my only escape seems to be writing. Because of that I’ve been putting a lot of heart in soul into this story. I do realize at times some chapters are a bit slow but there is a reason. This story is going to become very involved and even though a chapter may seem to have nothing really going on, believe me there is always some little thing that happens or some little thing someone says that will be important. I think part of the problem also is that I’ve written this more like a book so if you were reading it in book form the chapters wouldn’t end like they do here. Okay anyway this note is becoming a chapter itself so I’ll stop. Hope you all continue to stick with this story because I have a feeling it will be my last. I’m working really hard to make it memorable. Love to all of you. Elena XOXO
Oh one more thing – Jess I’m glad you are interested in Jacob because he is one of my favorite characters!