Anna begins to reveal the truth.
Anna nodded. “I was shocked when your mother innocently told me the story and the name you had given me.”
“But you can’t be. Fuck that was over twenty-five years ago. That woman would be in her fifties now.”
“That woman is much older.” Anna said softly.
Gerard stared at her. Suddenly a feeling he did not understand came over him. It was if all his senses were suddenly on high alert. His sense of smell the most predominat. He could smell the blood on Anna’s shirt and it excited him.
Anna saw in his eyes what was happening.
“I need to change.” She said standing.
He was immediately on his feet.
“Gerard, please. Let me change and then we will continue speaking.”
He wasn’t listening to her words. The force was pulling at him. He took several steps towards her.
Anna pulled open the shirt sending the buttons flying. She slipped it from her body and balled it up in her hands. While he watched she crossed the room to her bag by the door. Once it was shoved deep inside she pulled out a tee and quickly pulled it on.
"What the fuck just happened?” Gerard whispered when she turned back to him.
“You were drawn to my blood.” Anna explained seeing no reason to lie.
He spoke in a hoarse whisper. “I could smell it, so good.” As his brain realized what he’d said he shuddered.
“Through no fault of your own.” It pained her to admit. “My blood calls to you because you have tasted it.”
He shook his head wildly in denial.
Anna crossed the room and sat back down. “Yes. Before the last concert.”
As the memories began to fill his mind he stumbled back to his chair. He could almost taste the blood from her lip as it had poured into his mouth. “Oh fuck.”
“I did not want this bond for us to happen as it did but I knew it was imperative you make it through that concert.” She looked down at her hands, “And I could not bear to see you in such pain.”
He was trying to make sense of her words. “You blood made me feel like I did. That is why I suddenly felt so good?”
She nodded. “It was a temporary feeling.”
“We fucked while I sucked your blood?” There was horror in his voice.
“The sexual act made it easier for both of us.”
He couldn’t even begin to try to figure out what that meant. Part of his brain was telling him he was dealing with a deranged woman yet deep down he knew that wasn’t true. Then his whole face took on another look as he remembered last night in the hotel room. “I didn’t imagine last night, did I?”
That memory was one Anna did not want to deal with. “Last night you were not yourself.” She refused to look him in the eye.
“Not myself? Well who the fuck was I?”
“You were coming off an euphoric high. Your body was fighting to keep the feeling alive and so was your brain. Feeling it all begin to slip away anger often takes over.”
“You let me do that to you?” He whispered. “Why the fuck would you let that happen?”
“I understood what was happening and I knew it was not your fault.” She looked up, “And because I love you.”
Pain tore through him when he realized he could not say those words to her. Right now he was so confused it wasn’t possible.
Anna sighed. “We have drifted away from our topic. We were speaking about our first meeting.”
He shook his head, “No, wait. I want to know what you are right now.” His body demanded nicotine so he lit a cigarette quickly while waiting for her to speak. When she remained silent he forced himself to ask, “The blood thing. Like a vampire?”
Her eyes flashed with anger. “I despise that word. It was a name given out of fear and ignorance.”
“But you are.” He whispered in awe.
Anna took a deep breath and gathered her control, “I told you once, vampires are fictional characters. I do not sleep in a coffin. I do not bust into flames in the sunlight. I like garlic although I eat rarely. Many religious items I hold very dear.” She smiled sadly. “Oh and my skin does not sparkle.”
Gerard was too busy trying to take it all in to get the reference to the famous vampire series. “But the blood?’
“Necessary for my kind. It is our nourishment just as food nourishes your body.”
He glanced back over at her bag. “That was what you injected?”
“A synthetic substitute. Most of my kind use it now. It relives the hunger. It is not as strong and does not achieve the same effect as real blood but for many like myself it is more desirable than drinking human blood.”
She saw the look of revulsion on his face.
“I feel the same.” She whispered.
Gerard sat back in his chair overcome with too many emotions. If he hadn’t seen with his own eyes her wound heal itself he would not began to believe but he had. Slowly so many other things were becoming clearer. “Anna how old are you?” He asked holding his breath.
She smiled sadly. “The story of my childhood I shared was not a lie. I was born in Colorado and lived there until I was sixteen.” She added in a whisper, “But I was born in 1877. I died in that alley in 1893.” A single tear rolled down her cheek.
“Fuck.’ Gerard whispered as the memory filled his mind. She’d been raped and beaten and he’d thought left for dead but now he understood she had died. “What happened?”
Anna swiped at the tear. “I felt death. It was cold and I was so afraid. Jacob found me and knew there was no way he could stop it.” She tried not to break into tears but it was becoming harder. “I opened my eyes one last time and looked into what I thought was the face of an angel. He smiled and whispered that he would take away the pain and I believed him. I welcomed the thought.”
“What happened?” He asked again.
“At the time I had no idea what was happening. All I understood was my fear and pain were suddenly gone for a moment.” She closed her eyes. “Until I saw him snap the neck of the man who had attacked me. Jacob had thrown him against a wall and he was cowering, crying. I watched as Jacob picked up the man with one hand then snapped his neck. Suddenly I was terrified but Jacob knelt by me and told me not to fear. He said he would care for me. I heard him whisper for me to close my eyes and soon it would all be over. That is the last memory I have until I awoke in a strange room in Jacobs home.”
“Holy shit.” Gerard’s hands were shaking so badly he almost dropped his cigarette. “So this Jacob came along and saved you?”
“Saved me?” Anna sighed, “Yes in a way but I did die. That night my human life ended.”
“And now you are one of them.”
Anna tried not to let his words offend her because she understood how confused he felt. “Yes one of them.” Even trying to temper her words they still sounded angry.
“Anna tell me exactly what you are so I can understand.” He begged.
“We are called many names and my kind has been around since the beginning of time. We have the same Maker just as Christa guessed that night on the bus. That is why I have no fear of religious items. But for reasons only known to that Maker we were created differently and set apart. There are some who believe we were created to walk the earth to care for mortals, a different race of angels. Our blood has the unique ability to heal humans. However over time humans began to fear our differences so we faded into the shadows. We were labeled evil because of our needs. Needs that are necessary through no fault of our own. Today we walk among the humans undetected. We work and live side by side. You know many of my kind but are unable to recognize them. This is they way it must remain to keep the peace.”
“You’re saying I know people like you?”
Anna nodded, “Yes. Just on this tour alone I have seen several of my kind. I recognize them as they do me.”
“Fuck.” Gerard said in awe. “I don’t completely understand. If your kind isn’t evil then why hide?”
“We do not exactly hide.” Anna explained. “We simply do not want to be seen. Centuries of superstitions and ignorant beliefs are too much to overcome. Believe me we could not make our presence known. We would be hunted and in turn to protect ourselves we would become hunters. This is not what we want. So we move through a world where humans believe they are the only “people”.
“But isn’t that hard?”
“We have a very sophisticated network in place. I have never traveled to an area of the world where there are not at least a few of my kind in positions of power.”
Gerard’s mind was reeling. Deep down in his gut he believed everything she was saying and that fact scared him. It was like waking up one morning and realizing everything you believed had been wrong. “But what if you did something that showed you were different? I mean you’re telling me that one of your kind has never been discovered?”
“I did not say that. It is rare but it does happen. We are taught to blend in and act as any human would. But just as with humans we too deal with evil among our kind. Many serial killers are not human.”
“But wait. If they are caught they are punished.”
She understood what he meant. “I said many serial killers are not human. They however are the ones the humans never catch. They are the killers that suddenly stop killing. When that happens it is because they are punished by their own kind.” She looked away. “While many believe from the superstitions that my kind are immortal that is not the case. It is true death does not claim us like humans but we can be killed. When one of my kind is condemned death is the punishment.”
Gerard suddenly had so many questions he didn’t know where to begin. His fear was slowly fading as he listened to Anna speak. “So I still don’t understand. You say that your kind live among us. Well I don’t get it. How can you live among us? Anna you’re over 100 years old. I’m pretty sure we’d notice something like that.”
She has relieved he seemed to be slowly grasping the truth. “We make a life for ourselves and stay in character until the time comes when we must change. This is not a difficult thing most of the time. However if we become known in any way problems occur. When the time comes that it would become apparent we are not aging normally we must let go of that life. At that time the network set in place is called in to help. A death is acted out. Then we simply move on and become someone else.”
“Holy shit.” Gerard muttered. “So there are lots of your kind in the government too?”
Anna smiled, “Many more than you could imagine.”
“I gotta get some air.” Gerard stood suddenly feeling overwhelmed again. Anna nodded and looked down at her hands. He started to walk towards the balcony but stopped short and turned to her. “You wanna come with me?’
“I understand if you need some time alone.” She answered still looking down.
While he was still overwhelmed with so many emotions he couldn’t deny he still had strong feelings for her. “Anna, please come with me. We can sit outside and talk.”
She rose to her feet and followed him out to the covered balcony.
“Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the sights.” Bob said as he stirred the ground beef. “Chicago is a great town.”
“Sounds great.” Claire sighed. She set the tomato on the cutting board and began to slice it into small pieces.
Bob turned from the stove and watched her a few moments before speaking. “Hey, why don’t you call Anna? See how they’re doing.”
She looked up and shook her head, “No, Anna told me not to call.”
“And you always do what Anna says.” Bob couldn’t keep the sound of contempt from his tone.
Claire set the knife down and glared. “She asked me not to call. It would be rude to go against her wishes.”
“You said she “told” you not to call. Big difference.”
The room was silent for several minutes except for the sound of the sizzling hamburger in the skillet. Finally Claire spoke, “Why do you hate Anna?”
Bob took several steps toward the kitchen island that separated them. “I don’t hate Anna.” He sighed, “Look I don’t want to fight.”
The stress of the day suddenly hit Claire hard. Ever since the incident in the grocery story she knew something had physically hurt Anna and it was her guess Anna had done it to herself in order to prove something to Gerard. At lease she hoped that was what had happened. Any other thought was something she couldn’t deal with. Tears appeared in her eyes and she tired to blink rapidly to keep them from falling. “I do not want to fight either but your attitude concerning Anna hurts me.” She picked up the knife and began to chop at the tomato.
Bob reached out and took the knife from her hand. “Claire, look at me.” He said softly. When she looked up he continued, “I’m not gonna lie. I’ve told you before I don’t understand the relationship between you and Anna. But don’t think for one second I don’t like her cause that’s not true. I do like Anna.” He smiled then added, “But I’m falling in love with you.” He was confused when she burst into tears. “Hey, don’t cry. Shit, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said that.”
Claire grabbed a napkin and wiped her eyes. “I am sorry. God I am an idiot. A wonderful man tells me he is falling in love with me and I cry.” She looked down at the napkin and realized she’d just smeared her eye makeup. “Shit.”
Bob couldn’t help it he burst out laughing.
“What?” Claire asked wondering if the day could possibly get any worse.
“You said shit.”
“Yes I did.” Claire nodded. “And I meant it. I am tired of making a mess of things. I am tired of saying the wrong things.” She looked down at the napkin balled in her fist, “And on top of everything else I messed up my makeup and must look ridiculous.”
With the smeared makeup she resembled a raccoon but Bob wasn’t about to tell her that. “You look beautiful to me.”
Claire stared at him a moment. Finally she asked, “May I have a beer? I saw several cans in the refrigerator.”
Bob grinned, “Sure.” He pulled one out and handed the can to her. “Would you like a glass for that?”
Claire popped the top and took a long swallow. “No thank you. This is fine.” She took another drink then slipped off the stool. “I am going to go repair my makeup.”
She started to leave when she suddenly turned, “And I am falling in love with you too.” With that she bolted from the room.
Bob watched her go with a smile on his face.
“What?” Mikey yelled into the phone. “Are you serious? Why the fuck didn’t you go?”
Gerard grimaced. “Anna and I got here late and there wasn’t time.” He lied. “But I’ve got another appointment in the morning.”
“Fuck.” Mikey let out a sigh, “How are you feeling?”
Gerard glanced over at Anna who was sitting with her eyes close, her face emotionless. “I’m fine.”
“Really?” Mikey asked softly, “Are you really, Gee?”
Gerard closed his eyes. God, if Mikey only knew the truth but there was no way he would ever consider telling him. “Really stop worrying.”
They spoke a few more minutes then Gerard disconnected the set down his phone. He glanced over at Anna, sitting in the shadow of the covered balcony, and saw that her eyes were still closed. “Anna” he waited until she opened her eyes. “Am I dying?”