Anna meets with Jacob
“Hello Mrs. Ellis.” Anna greeted the older, slightly chubby grey haired woman standing in the hallway. “It is good to see you again.”
Constance Ellis had been in Jacob’s service for many years and was pleased to see Anna. She smiled warmly, “Annabelle, it has been too long. How are you dear?”
“I am well, thank you.” Anna answered out of habit.
“He knows you are here and is waiting for you in his study.” Mrs. Ellis said softy. “I told him I’d fetch you straight away.”
Anna sighed again, “I will be right down.”
“Annabelle.” The housekeeper lowered her voice; “Claire has left several messages for you.”
Anna had expected this. She was sure by now Claire was frantic that she had forgotten her cell phone. “I will call her after I have spoken to Jacob.”
Glancing nervously around Mrs. Ellis whispered, “She said it is of the utmost urgency you call her as soon as possible. She said to tell you that something has happened involving…” She paused a moment searching her memory, “Someone named Gerard, I believe.”
Anna felt a wave of fear wash over her. Since the mishape last night in the airport restroom she knew something was wrong. “She did not say what has happened?”
“No, dear. I’m sorry.” Mrs. Ellis could see the news had upset Anna and was surprised. Annabelle rarely showed any emotion.
“I must call now.” Anna said as she brushed past the housekeeper and headed down the hallway to the main staircase. Once she reached the bottom stair she came to an abrupt stop when she heard her name. She turned slowly to see Jacob standing a short distance away with a frown marring his handsome face.
“Hello Jacob.” She greeted him softly.
“Is it possible you did not even feel my presence?” His voice was deep and rich.
Anna looked away, “My mind was very preoccupied. I must make a phone call.”
He took a step towards her; “You must come into my study, now.”
“Please Jacob this is important.” Anna whispered.
“More important that following my orders?” He asked narrowing his eyes.
Anna looked away. In all the years she had know Jacob she had only seen him angry a handful of times and it was something that always remained in her memory. She struggled trying to decide how to answer.
“Jacob, I have never defied you.” She was staring down at the beautiful Italian tile floor unwilling to meet his gaze.
“Until now.” Jacob took another step towards her.
“I do not mean to defy you.” Her voice shook slightly, “I am sorry if it seems that is the case.”
Jacob looked at her closely fighting the desire to soften his words. His love for her was strong yet he could not allow her to defy him. “Come into my study, Annabelle.” He turned knowing she would follow.
Once Anna was seated he rounded the desk and sat down in the leather chair. He looked at her closely again. “I shall ring for drinks.”
Nervously she twisted her hands on her lap.
Reaching across the desk pushed a button to alert a member of the staff and made his request. A moment later a young girl arrived with a tray and two goblets. She smiled to Anna as she handed her one of the glasses. Anna took it but made no move to drink.
After he was served his drink he excused the girl. He waited until she had shut the heavy door before he spoke. “Drink Annabelle.”
Anna ignored the drink. Her mind was on only one thing, she needed to phone Claire. She must know what had happened to Gerard.
“He was taken to the hospital last night.” Jacob said in answer to her unspoken concern.
Anna’s glass swayed slightly but she righted it. “What has happened?”
Jacob took a long drink then smiled, “I do not know the exact details.” He sat back and watched her closely, “Tell me, is he worth endangering you own life?”
Anna looked across the desk, “Yes Jacob, he is.”
“Oh Annabelle.” Jacob said sadly. “You are so young.”
She had expected him to say this, “You should understand.”
He took another drink before setting the glass down on the mahogany desk, “Perhaps I should never have filled your head with those fairytale stories.”
Anna was momentarily shocked. She had never heard Jacob second-guess anything he’d done. “No, it is not just a fairytale. It is real.”
“You feel this in your heart and that is why you tread this dangerous path, for this man?”
“I have done nothing wrong.” Anna said setting her glass down on the desk. “Nothing.”
He shook his head, “You know that is not quite true.”
Anna was still reeling from the news about Gerard, “Is he still in the hospital?”
Drumming his perfectly manicured nail on the desk he held his temper. “At the moment I do not wish to speak about him. You are my concern.”
“And he is mine.” Anna blurted out. “Please, tell me.”
Jacob pushed back his shoulder length jet black hair, “Annabelle you are trying my patience.”
Anna looked down and blinked several times.
Jacob gave her a shocked look. “You shed tears for him?”
When she looked up he saw the answer.
Taking another sip from his glass Jacob gave himself a few moments to hide his surprise. He had obviously underestimated the depth of her feeling for the man. He had been mistaken and that was something that rarely happened. Seeing a single tear roll down her cheek he relented, “He was released from the hospital.”
Anna gave him a small smile but remained silent. Relief washed over her hearing that Gerard was no longer in the hospital. Still she knew she needed to get back to him as soon as possible.
Getting back to the issue at hand Jacob said, “I will admit perhaps part of the responsibility of this fall on me. I allowed you to go off on your own. I did not require you to stay in contact with me.” He paused then added softly, “It was, of course, my belief you would do so by your own accord.”
Anna was shocked by his words and tone. She realized now her actions had hurt him, something she never wanted to do. “Jacob, you are always in my thoughts. I did not mean to stay away so long.”
He studied her closely, “Your meeting with him changed everything, did it not?”
Anna nodded, “Yes. It did.”
“When precisely was that?”
“Over twenty five years ago.” Anna said softly.
He nodded, “Yes, it has been over twenty five years since you returned here.”
Once again Anna looked down this time with regret.
“Claire remains with you.” Jacob said suddenly changing the course of the conversation. It was not a question because he knew the answer.
Anna nodded, “Of her own free will.”
He saw in her eyes what he understood so well, “It is hard to give those you love the choice.”
“Yes.” Anna whispered. “It is.”
He steepled his fingers lost in thought. Finally he asked, “All you have done was for him and yet until recently he did not even know of your existence. Correct?”
“I do not understand this, Annabelle. Explain to me why you have done this?”
With a shaky hand she reached out, lifted her glass and took a long sip. She needed to stay in control, “I have done what I have done for him.”
“You love him.” Jacob said still not understanding.
“Yet you stayed in the shadows. You did not make your presence known to him. I do not understand.”
Anna tried to explain, “I was waiting for the perfect time. His life has been filled with many highs and lows. There were so many things for him to experience.”
Slowly Jacob began to understand, “So very unlike your life.”
“Jacob.” Anna spoke quickly fearing he was hurt, “I have never once blamed you for anything in my past. If not for you I would not be sitting here.”
He smiled sadly, “Yet I understand. While I do not know every detail I do know at various times you helped him, did you not?”
Anna nodded slightly, “When I was afraid he would travel down a path that could lead to destruction, yes.”
“But now it has all changed.” Jacob said slowly, “And a decision must be made.”
Anna sat up and looked directly into his eyes, “The decision will be his.”
“How will you handle it dear Annabelle if he does not choose what your heart desires?”
She closed her eyes a moment then whispered, “If that is his choice I shall fade back into the shadows and he will have no memory of what we have shared.”
Jacob stood, “Come we still have much to discuss.”
Anna stood, “Please, may I call Claire first?”
“I have told you he was released from the hospital.” Jacob frowned.
Anna looked directly into his eyes, “Please.”
Bob pulled along side the bus at the rest stop and cut the engine. The band was behind schedule because of Gerard’s trip to the ER last night. Claire had insisted on driving when they’d finally left the venue so that Bob could catch a few hours of sleep. She knew it would be a busy afternoon for the band. However, about an hour ago, he’d gotten up and insisted on driving the rest of the way to the venue. Unfortunately she hadn’t slept and now as he glanced over and saw she was looking down at the cell phone in her lap as if she believed she could will it to ring.
“I’m sure she’ll call as soon as she gets the message.” Bob told her softly.
Claire nodded, “Yes, she will. I am just concerned because the problems with her flight.” When she had called Jacob’s home she had been informed of Anna’s emergency landing. “And because I know how worried she will be about Gerard.”
Bob was worried about him too but tried to remain positive. “He says he feels better. I think though Mikey is gonna convince him to fly home and see his doctor after tonight’s show.”
Claire had heard that and was extremely worried. Anna needed to get back as soon as possible.
Suddenly her phone rang causing Claire to jump. “Hello”
“Claire, tell me. How is he?” Anna said immediately.
Knowing she must speak to Anna privately Claire gave Bob a small smile then opened the door to step out into the parking lot. She spoke quickly seeing Ray and Christa come off the bus. She feared Gerard would be next. “Anna he came off the stage last night and suddenly passed out. They took him to the Emergency Room. I have heard that Mikey and the others are trying to convince him to fly home tomorrow to see his own physician.”
Anna closed her eyes feeling despair wash over her.
“Anna what will you do? You must get back.”
“I understand.” Anna whispered. She saw that Jacob had entered the room and stood watching her.
Gerard had only heard the very last part of Claire’s conversation when he walked up behind her. “I agree she needs to get back.”
Claire turned in shock.
Anna heard his voice. “Claire please let me speak to him.”
Claire held out the phone to Gerard without a word.
“Sugar I miss you.” Were the words that came to him before all others.
“I miss you.” She said softly feeling such joy at hearing his voice. “But you have me very worried.”
Gerard reached for his cigarettes with his free hand, “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Shit, everyone is making such a big deal out of nothing. Hey, how’s your uncle?”
Anna turned her back so that Jacob could not see her face, “He is much improved. It was a light heart attack and he is expected to be released from the hospital within a few days.”
“That’s good to hear.” Gerard said, “Are you going to stay until he gets back on his feet?” He felt terrible but he had to admit to himself he hoped that wouldn’t be the case. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone but he was scared. He wanted Anna at his side.
“I will return as soon as possible.” She could hear the fear in his voice and it was breaking her heart. “At present I am at Jacob’s estate but plan to return to the hospital soon to check his progress.”
Gerard walked a few feet away for privacy, “I miss the fuck out of you.” He whispered.
“No more than I miss you.” Anna whispered.
Across the room Jacob cleared his throat.
Anna knew he was waiting to speak to her. He had relented and allowed her to call but now his patience was being tested.
“I must leave for the hospital now.” She said regretfully, “Should I call you later?”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, you should. Just hearing your voice makes me smile.”
Anna smiled herself, “Your voice has the same effect on me. Is there a time that would be best for me to call?”
“Anytime, Sugar. Don’t matter what I’m doing I’ll answer. You remember my cell number?”
“I do.” She answered.
“Anna…” He ducked his head, “I love you.”
It didn’t matter that Jacob was listening, nothing could stop her from saying, “I love you too, Gee.”
“Feel better now that you’ve talked to Anna?” Bob asked Claire when she’d returned from the restroom. He was standing leaning against the front of the RV. The others were all reboarding the bus.
Claire smiled and lied, “Yes, she sounds well and Jacob is doing much better.” The truth was she was just as nervous as she had been before the call. Gerard had taken her phone before she’d been able to speak to Anna about Jacob. She desperately wanted to know what was happening. Concern for Anna was making her feel physically ill.
Bob knew she was lying. He was quickly learning how to gauge Claire’s emotions and she was very upset. He slipped behind the steering wheel, waited until she was in the passenger seat, then leaned over and kissed her soundly. The kiss left both of them breathless.
When he sat back he saw that Claire was giving him a somewhat surprised look. “What?”
Claire grinned, “I needed that.”
Bob started the RV. “Yeah I knew that.” As he backed out of the space he added, “So did I.”
AUTHORS NOTE - Hey guys this is a strange authors note...I'm wondering what you think about Anna. I mean I sorta know what some of you think and after the next chapter I'm sure that will be the even more true. However the thing is while I don't want to give anything away....don't be so sure. LOL
Anyway, thanks for reading. Luv ya all!