Anna and Gerard spend time alone.
“I am sure it will be fine.” She smiled.
Gerard concentrated on the traffic a moment until he spotted the on ramp he needed. Slowing slightly he made the correct turn then let his thoughts go back to the night ahead. He and Anna had just gotten on the road about thirty minutes ago and he was trying to control the anticipation he was feeling. Earlier they had discussed his plan to drive several hours tonight before stopping for the night. This plan would leave tomorrow open for them to spend some time sightseeing before they continued on to Dallas where the following night was the next show. While he had not discussed tomorrow night with her he was hoping things would go well and that they would be spending the night in one of his favorite hotels in that city instead of staying on the bus.
Anna was trying not to let her nervousness ruin this trip. What was happening between them was what she had envisioned for so long. She reminded herself that there was no reason to worry. Claire had made sure of that by double-checking to make sure Anna had everything she needed. Anna visualized the small black bag hidden in the very bottom of her suitcase. Yes, as long as that bag was with her she would be fine.
“What you thinkin’ about?” Gerard asked giving her a worried look. She was being very quiet and he was hoping she hadn’t changed her mind about the two of them getting away together.
Anna heard the concern in his voice and didn’t want him to worry. “Oh you mentioned our reservations and I was just wondering about my room.” She kept her expression and tone serious.
Gerard glanced over at her quickly then turned back to watch the road. He groaned inwardly. Shit , he had messed up. After the other night and what had happened between them he had assumed they would be sharing a room but obviously he’d been wrong. Suddenly he heard Anna softly giggling. Glancing over he saw her smiling.
“I am sorry.” She said laughing. “I could not resist teasing you.”
He smiled, “So you know I only booked one room?”
Anna nodded, “I assumed so.” She added softly, “I hoped so.”
“You assumed correctly, woman.” Gerard answered feeling his mood improve by the minute. He liked that Anna was teasing him. He’d sensed when they’d first started off that she was nervous. He knew what he wanted to happen between them tonight but it wouldn’t unless he was 100% sure she wanted the same thing. He decided to test where her mind truly was on the matter but in a non-serious way. “Claire made me promise to book a room with twin beds.”
Anna’s laughter was spontaneous. “No she did not.”
“Yep, she did,” He answered with a grin.
“She would not.” Anna said shaking her head.
Gerard loved this easy flowing banter between them. “Yes, twin beds and I had to promise to be on my best behavior. She said I was allowed to give you a chase kiss on the cheek when I tuck you in tonight.”
Anna felt all of her nervousness evaporating. “Well if that is true then it is good I did not promise any such thing.”
“Oh really?” He glanced over, “You did not promise to be on your best behavior?”
“I did not.” She answered smiling as she reached over to gently touch his cheek.
He quickly turned his head and before she could remove her fingers he kissed them. “Anna, say didn’t”
She dropped her fingers from his face. “What?”
Before answering he removed his right hand from the steering wheel and reached for her hand. He interlocked their fingers before answering. “I was just wondering if you could actually use a contraction. You know instead of did not, say didn’t.”
Anna didn’t answer and he was afraid he’d hurt her feelings. “There’s nothing wrong with the way you speak. I was just teasing, I’m sorry.”
She shook her head. “You did not upset me. I just did not understand for a moment what you meant.” She smiled, “I mean to say I didn’t understand.” She laughed, “There, I did it.”
Gerard’s laughter filled the car. “By God, you did.” He looked over at her, “I really was just messing with you. There is nothing wrong with the way you speak.”
“But it is rather stiff.” Anna acknowledged. “When I submitted my first book I did not realize that I was writing the dialogue they way I speak. Amy, my editor, pointed that out to me when met for the first time over lunch. The only contact we had before that was through e-mails. Halfway through the meal she suddenly told me she understood why my characters words were so stiff.” Anna leaned back remembering; “I had to learn to write dialogue so that it sounded natural for the reader.”
“Hey I think the way you talk is cute.” Gerard said stroking her hand with his thumb.
Anna grinned at him, “Cute?”
“Yeah, it’s cute. It’s so…..Anna.”
She sighed, “No, it is really rather strange but it Jacob’s doing. He speaks in the same manner.” A memory suddenly surfaced and she laughed, “Once I remember using the word ain’t in his presence and for a moment I truly believed he was going….” She remembered something her mother used to say, “Well he had a conniption fit.”
“Conniption fit?” Gerard repeated. “Fuck, I haven’t heard that saying in forever.” He laughed.
“Mama used to say that a lot. Clarissa and I would do something bad she would say that daddy was gonna have a conniption fit when he found out.” She smiled sadly remembering her father. “Of course he never did. He doted on us.”
“Then obviously that is a saying you should use more often.” Gerard said hoping he hadn’t hurt her feelings.
Anna understood, “As if I didn’t already speak strangely enough.” She said smiling waiting to see if he noticed what she’d just done.
He did notice, “Oh hell, now I’ve corrupted you. You just said didn’t.”
“Yes I did.” Anna laughed. She gave his hand a squeeze, “Mama was a God fearing, church going woman but she did use some colorful speech.”
Gerard could hear the love in her voice as she spoke of her family, “Tell me about her.” He asked softly.
Anna’s smile slipped.
“Hey it’s okay if you don’t want to. I understand how sometimes it’s sad to remember a loved one that is gone.”
“She was beautiful.” Anna said softly. “Her hair was golden and she always wore it in a long braid. Daddy said her hair was the color of the sun shining on the wheat. At night when we would sit around the fireplace she would let her hair flow freely down her back and daddy would brush it for her.”
“They loved each other very much, didn’t they?” He asked softly.
“Oh yes.” Anna nodded, “Very much. I do not ever remember a time they spoke a cross word to each other.” She sighed, “As brutal as it was to lose my whole family I truly do not believe either of them could have gone on living without the other.”
Gerard squeezed her hand. “And you dad? What was he like?”
A smile lit her face, “Daddy was a big bear of a man. He had blond hair and beautiful blue eyes. Outwardly he appeared gruff but he was gentle and kind. He loved his family and I always felt safe when he was alive.”
“And your sister?”
Once more Anna let herself get lost in the memories for a moment. “Clarissa and I were exact opposites. I loved the land and working outside, she preferred to stay indoors and read. Perhaps it was because she was always sickly. She was born premature and was small for her age but she was smart as a whip.” Anna said proudly.
He smiled hearing the Western slang she used to describe her sister. “Anna, is Jacob your mom or your dad’s brother?”
The question brought Anna crashing back to reality. She thought quickly, “He is my father’s brother.”
Gerard nodded. “I take it he is very different than your dad?”
Anna had to laugh. The idea of Jacob even remotely being like her true family was funny. “Yes, Jacob is a businessman. He has traveled extensively and is very well spoken.”
“And he insisted you be the same?” For some reason Gerard found himself not liking the man. To him it seemed Jacob had turned Anna into something she was not.
“Yes.” Anna answered softly. “But Jacob has always had my best interest at heart. I am sure having a young girl suddenly thrust into this care was difficult.”
His next question shocked her, “So when do I get to meet him?”
“You wish to meet Jacob?” Anna whispered.
Gerard laughed, “Well yeah. I mean he’s your only family right?”
“And you’ve already met my mom and my brother.” He laughed.
She thought quickly, “Jacob is in Europe on business at the moment.”
He gave her a sideways glance, “Would you rather I not meet him?”
Anna knew that if her plan went according to her wishes Gerard would most definitely met Jacob. It would be required she just hadn’t given much thought to that eventuality. “I would love for you to meet Jacob.” Anna answered, “I believe he will like you very much.”
Gerard wasn’t so sure about that. “I dunno.”
“As soon as he sees how important you are to me, he will.” Anna said watching his face trying to gauge his reaction.
“He will also see just how important you are to me.” He responded a bit scared to admit his feelings yet somehow admitting those feeling felt so right.
It was almost 2 am when they finally were escorted to their suite. Gerard tipped the bellboy as Anna walked down the few steps into the main room.
“This is lovely.” She said as he shut the door.
Gerard looked around and smiled, “Yeah, pretty nice.” His eyes were drawn to the fireplace and the ice bucket that was sitting on a tray. All seemed to be just as he’d requested. He looked over at Anna and noticed she appeared a bit nervous again.
“Thank you.” She said softly.
He wasn’t sure what she was thanking him for but he assumed she meant the suite. “I just thought that a fire would be nice to relax in front of.” He walked over and lifted the bottle out of the ice bucket, “Uh, non-alcoholic champagne. Hope you don’t mind.”
Anna smiled, “Of course not.”
Suddenly there was an awkward silence. Gerard replaced the bottle then turned to walk towards the bedroom. Anna slowly followed. Lying on the bed were two fluffy white robes with the hotel emblem embroidered on each.
Anna brushed her fingers over one, “So soft.” She saw that Gerard was watching her closely. She gave him a smile, “Mind if I slip into something more comfortable?”
He laughed, “No Sugar, not at all.” He slowly backed towards the double doors. “I’ll let you change first.”
Anna waited until the doors were closed securely then crossed over to her suitcase. Quickly she pulled out the black bag hidden at the bottom, grabbed the robe, and then went into the bathroom. Once the door was locked she quickly undressed noticing her fingers were trembling. She took several deep breaths then forced herself to look at her reflection in the mirror. The bright florescent lights gave her skin an overly pale glow. She felt her heart sink when she saw the tail tale look in her eyes. There was no time to waste. She unzipped the bag and extracted one of the small vials. It took all her concentration not to shake as she readied the injection. Anna pierced her skin finding the vein easily. As the clear liquid coursed through her system she watched her reflection in the mirror. She watched the fire flare in her eyes.
Gerard looked up from his seat on the sofa as she walked out of the bathroom. He smiled noticing she looked much less tied then before. Her face was flush, her eyes bright. He quickly stood and headed towards the bedroom. “I’ll be back in a flash.”
Anna smiled as he passed.
Several minutes later Gerard returned wearing his matching robe. He crossed over to the ice bucket. “I should have poured you a drink before.” He said fumbling with the bottle.
Anna only smiled. When he turned he saw that she had moved from the sofa and was sitting on the plush rug before the fireplace. He handed her the glass than carefully sat down beside her.
“This is nice.” Anna said taking a sip.
“Very nice.” He was staring at her.
For several moments they simply sat sipping the champagne and watching the dancing flames. When Anna’s glass was empty he took it from her and sat it down on a nearby table along with his half empty glass. Anna was surprised when he moved to sit behind her. She was even more surprised when his fingers gently began to undo the band that held her braid. His fingers carefully wound their way into the braid loosening her hair.
“So beautiful.” He whispered as her hair, now free of the braid, fell in a long cascade of waves. From the pocket of his robe he pulled out a small hairbrush.
Anna felt tears threaten her eyes as he slowly began to bush her hair. He was working as gently as her father so long ago had done for her mama. Minutes passed as he brushed her hair in silence. Finally he stopped and pressed a kiss against her hair.
“Thank you.” She whispered brokenly.
Gerard gently pulled her body back so that she was leaning against him. His arms encircled her. “My pleasure, Sugar.”
For several minutes neither spoke. Finally Anna forced herself to ask a question that was prying on her mind. “Why did you ask if we had met before?’
Gerard laughed softly, “Oh cause of something Frank said earlier. He told me he thought he remembered seeing you before at some of our concerts.”
“I have been to many of your concerts.”
“Yeah, I know you told us that.” He thought a minute then admitted, “I don’t know why I even asked.”
“I think you do.” Anna said softly. “And I wish you would tell me.”
Her words surprised him. Should he admit the truth? Something deep inside urged him to tell her, “Remember that night we were texting?”
Anna smiled to herself, “Yes.”
Gerard tightened his arms around her. “Remember how I was supposed to go to sleep but then I started texting again?”
“You said you had had a dream.” Anna answered softly.
Holding her this close and thinking about the dream was beginning to affect him. “Uh, yeah. See the weird thing is that sometimes my dreams are sorta memories. I think because I used to drink so much that sometimes I can’t really remember what is a dream and what is a true memory.”
“And that night, the dream was a memory?” Anna asked.
He shifted slightly, “It started out I think as a true memory. I was at Warped, the first one I know because I was drinking.”
“You said that night you wanted a drink.” Anna added sadly.
“Yeah, sometimes remembering how the alcohol made me feel causes that to happen. In the dream I had come off stage and I felt invincible. In the beginning that’s how it made me feel.” He sighed, “But then the dream changed and I was on a tour bus. Not ours, I’m not sure who’s bus.”
Anna waited but he remained silent, “What happened on the bus?”
He was suddenly wishing he’d never mentioned any of this but he knew she was waiting for him to continue, “Uh, I hooked up with some chick.” He groaned to himself wondering why the hell he was telling her this.
“What does this have to do with me?” Anna asked
He searched his brain trying to think of a way out of this conversation. Finally he chose to tell part of the truth. “Uh in the dream the woman suddenly became you.”
Anna closed her eyes a moment letting herself remember what she had seen. She took a deep breath and gently brushed her fingers up his bare leg while asking, “What was the woman doing to you in the dream?”
This time his groan was not silent. His skin felt on fire where she was touching him. “You know just makin’ out.”
Anna continued to stoke his skin, “Makin’ out?”
“Anna, you do realize what you’re doing to me, don’t you?” He ground out.
“Gerard tell me what she was doing.” This time her fingers when just a bit higher on his leg.
He knew she could feel him pressing against the small of her back. “Anna do you really want to hear this?”
“Yes” she whispered.
His normal terminology seemed too graphic. He chose instead to simply say, “She went down on me.”
Anna shifted her body so that she could look into his eyes, “I have no experience.” She whispered feeling unsure, frightened and terribly excited, “But that is what I want to do now.”