A new problem arises.
“Uh, I guess I should call the guys and tell them Gerard isn’t comin’ back to the bus.”
Claire nodded. She waited until Bob made the call then said, “Thank you for this. I hate storms so driving in one is very hard for me.”
Bob laughed, “Honey this is a toad strangler.”
The look Claire gave him made him laugh harder.
“A toad strangler is what my grandma always called rain like this.”
Suddenly Claire threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “I am so glad you are here.” She whispered.
“Me too.” He said returning the hug. “I kinda figured you didn’t want me here because of Gerard and Anna.”
Claire stepped back and lowered her voice, “I wanted you here but you are correct as to why I did not ask you to come with us.”
Bob cast a quick look towards the bedroom, “I guess they made up.”
Gerard stood completely still as Anna unbuttoned his shirt then pulled it from his body. “You are soaked, you silly man.”
He remained silent.
Next Anna unzipped his jeans and he stepped out of them. “Into bed.” Anna told him softly. While he did as she said Anna pulled off her wet clothes, donned a long tee shirt, shut off the light then joined him. He immediately moved to take her into his arms.
“Thank you.” He whispered in her ear. “You have no idea how much I missed you.”
“Of course I do.” Anna snuggled closer, “Gee, I can feel your emotions. So I not only felt how much you missed me I was also feeling my own emotions. Not having you near hurts.”
He brushed her cheek with his lips. “Being together just feels so right.”
“Yes.” Anna whispered.
They lay silently for several minutes. When the RV began to move again Gerard spoke, “I’m so fuckin’ sorry about the way I acted earlier. I don’t know what came over me.” He paused a moment then said, “I know you think I’m acting this way because of the bond.”
“Part of your actions are because of it.”
He sighed, “Okay, maybe. But Anna before the bond I wanted you with me all the time. It’s just more intense now.”
“It will be for a time.”
“And you think that feeling will wear off? That I’m not gonna want you?”
She curled up closer to him, “I do not know what will happen.” She admitted.
Gerard knew they had to discuss something important. “I know I shouldn’t have called you my fiancée. It was fucked up to call you that when I hadn’t even asked you to marry me.”
Anna started to speak but he gently put his finger to her lips.
“I know it is something we need to discuss. But when that girl mentioned seeing us together suddenly I just wanted it clear that you are mine.”
“Gee, what did she look like?”
The question surprised him. “Why?”
“I know it is not surprising that I have been seen at your concerts. But think about it. When you first saw me you did not recognize me. I look nothing like I do in the photos on my book jackets. I have purposely tried to remain anonymous. Did she actually say she saw us together?”
He thought back to the incident. “Yeah, she did.”
“I don’t get it. What are you thinking?”
“That it is highly unlikely someone saw us together and knew who I am.”
In the darkness he frowned, “I still don’t understand.”
“Word of us being together has spread through my kind. Seeing Marian yesterday made this fact very clear to me.”
“So you think the girl was like you?”
Anna smiled at the way he refused to label her kind. “Yes, it is possible.”
“Fuck, then what I said was really bad.”
“It is not bad that I am with you.” Anna said softly, “Although many would disagree with my choice it is still mine to make. However keeping a low profile is always preferred.”
“Can you marry me? I mean if you want to?”
She had been expecting the question, “It is not forbidden but it is not the norm.”
Several minutes passed.
“Do you want to?” He whispered.
Anna kissed his cheek, “As long as the blood bond is still so strong that is a question I will not consider. I can not let myself consider it. If, when the bond lessens, you do not feel the same way I would be heartbroken.” She closed her eyes hating how hard it was to add, “I have given you back your life, Gee. It is yours to live however you choose. If we were to marry you would be giving up the chance at a normal life with a wife like you and children.”
He knew there was nothing he could say that would change he mind for now. “I love you.” He said simply.
“I love you.”
He was almost asleep when he added, “And that ain’t ever gonna change.”
Hours later when they stopped again Anna quickly slipped out of bed and dressed. She left Gerard sleeping soundly.
Leaving the bedroom she saw Claire curled up on the sofa sleeping. Bob turned from the drivers seat and whispered. “I’m gonna grab a cup of coffee. You want anything?’
“I will walk with you.” Anna answered.
As they walked across the lot Anna spoke, “It is good the rain stopped.”
“Yeah, it was pretty intense for a while there. We passed a wreck about an hour ago that looked brutal. A car had slipped off the road.”
“I hope no one was badly injured.”
Bob sighed, “Yeah me too but there were several ambulances.” They reached the entrance and he held the door open for Anna.
Mikey greeted them. “I can’t sleep.” He laughed holding up his cup, “So naturally I get a cup of coffee like that’s gonna help.”
Anna smiled, “Would it be possible to get some dry clothes for Gee? He was soaked when he reached the RV.”
Mikey nodded as he paid for his coffee. “Yeah sure. Follow me back to the bus and I’ll grab them for you.”
“Anna you sure you don’t want anything?” Bob asked as she started to follow Mikey out.
“No thank you.” She smiled.
As she and Mikey walked across the lot Anna asked, “So do you often have trouble sleeping?”
He took a sip of the hot brew before answering, “Not really but Alicia was sick earlier and I stayed up with her. She finally fell asleep but now I can’t.”
“Is she okay?” Anna asked.
Mikey sighed, “I hope so. She said she just felt awful and she was throwing up. I hope to hell she doesn’t have the flu. There is a wicked strain going around right now.”
“I hope she feels better soon.” Anna said as they reached the bus. As soon as they entered they heard Alicia call out of Mikey. She was laying on the sofa just inside the door wrapped in a blanket.
“She said this is more comfortable for her than the bunk.” Mikey explained.
Anna immediately went to her. “I am sorry you are feeling bad.” She said kneeling down beside the sofa.
“Not bad.” Alicia shuddered, “I feel like shit. My lower back and stomach hurt like fuck.”
“I’ll grab Gee’s clothes.” Mikey said moving down the hallway.
Anna reached out and took Alicia’s hand. It was apparent she was running a high fever, “How long have you felt like this?”
“Couple of hours.” Alicia answered. “I can’t ever remember feeling this bad.”
“This sofa is small. Would you be more comfortable in a bed?” Anna asked looking her directly in the eyes.
Alicia blinked, “Yes.” She answered without thought.
Mikey came back down the hall with Gerard’s clothes.
Anna stood and turned to him. “Alicia would be more comfortable in a bed.” She explained. “We need to help her to my RV.”
Mikey gave her a surprised look, “Really? It took me an hour to convince her to try the sofa.”
Anna knew they needed to move Alicia quickly as time was of the essence. “Can you carry her?”
He nodded and handed Anna the clothes. Scooping Alicia up with the blanket still covering her he followed Anna off the bus.
Anna moved quickly towards the RV. “Help Mikey with Alicia.” She said to Bob who saw them nearing. Arriving at the RV Anna quickly went inside and woke Gerard.
“Gee, Alicia is very sick. Mikey is bringing her so she can lay in the bed.”
Hearing something in Anna’s voice he got up quickly and took his clothes from her. When he emerged from the bathroom Alicia had already been placed in Anna’s bed.
“I gave her something for the fever.” Mikey said worriedly, “But she’s still hot.” He said placing his hand on her forehead. Alicia’s eyes were closed and she was curled up on her side.
Claire, who had awakened, looked at Anna knowing something was very wrong. “Is there anything I can do?” She asked.
Anna turned to Bob, “Where exactly are we?”
“About 40 miles from the next city.” He answered. “Right now there ain’t much around just Interstate.”
“It hurts.” Alicia moaned.
Mikey was beside her in an instant. “What hurts?”
“My back and stomach.” Tears filled her eyes.
“We need to find the nearest hospital.” Anna said lowering her voice.
Mikey looked up. “You think it’s that serious?”
Anna spoke in a calming voice. “I think it would be wise to make sure it is nothing serious. I am sure the doctors will be able to give her something so she does not feel so badly.”
“Yeah.” Mikey nodded. “I’ve never seen her this sick before.” He went back to murmuring comforting words to his wife.
Gerard looked into Anna’s eyes and knew that she understood what was wrong with Alicia. He pulled out his phone and pulled up the search. A minute later he knew the location of the nearest hospital.
“I’ll call Frank and tell him what’s going on.” He said as Bob moved to the drivers seat. Claire took the passenger seat next to him.
Right as they were about to leave Christa boarded. She had been worried when she woke to find Mikey and Alicia gone. “How is she?” Christa asked.
“We’re taking her to a hospital.” Gerard explained.
Christa looked concerned, “Has she gotten worse?”
“She is in a lot of pain.” Gerard explained. “Mikey is in back with her.”
“Is it okay if I come along?”
Anna had hoped no one else would become involved but there was no way they could refuse Christa’s request. It was obvious how worried the woman was about her friend.
Mikey sat on the bed holding Alicia’s hand as the RV started to move. Christa stayed with them in the bedroom.
Gerard pulled Anna down beside him on the sofa and whispered. “What is going on?”
Luckily Claire was speaking to Bob so the chanced they would be overheard were slim. “It is an appendicitis attack.”
“You know this for sure?”
Anna simply nodded.
“Shit, is she gonna be okay?”
“It is important to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible.” Anna whispered. “I am afraid her appendix may burst.”
“Fuck.” Gerard muttered. “Is there anything we can do?”
From the bedroom they heard Alicia crying in pain. “I could help her with the pain.” She said softly knowing Gerard would understand. “But I can not with Mikey at her side.”
Gerard did understand and nodded, “I can get him to come out here and talk to me for a few minutes but what about Christa?”
Anna sighed, “For now there is nothing to be done about that. I will handle it later. Just get Mikey to come out here for a few minutes. I will lessen Alicia’s pain.”
He nodded then stood. A minute later Mikey emerged following his brother. Anna stood. “Mikey try not to worry.” Anna said gently touching his arm. “Christa and I will sit with Alicia for a few minutes.”
“I’m just fuckin’ scared.” He admitted. “She’s usually so tough and seeing her crying from the pain is tearing me up.”
“Have a seat, Bro.” Gerard said nodding towards the sofa.
Anna entered the bedroom and closed the door behind her. Christa who had placed a cool washcloth on Alicia’s head looked up. “Her fever hasn’t broken.”
Slowly Anna sat down on the bed. “Alicia” She said, “Open your eyes and look at me.” As she said this she pulled down the covers and placed her hand over the spot she knew was causing the pain. As soon as she opened her mind to the pain she realized the situation was much more serious than before. Alicia’s appendix had burst and the infection was flooding her body.
“Anna?” Alicia’s voice trembled, “Anna it hurts so much.”
Christa was watching closely.
Suddenly Anna turned to her. “I need you to help me.” She said softly. “Her appendix has burst. I can help her but you must help me.”
“I don’t understand.’ Christa said in a frightened tone. “”What can you do?”
Alicia cried out again as the pain became unbearable.
“Please you need to trust me. I can help her.” Anna was unable to control Christa’s mind needing all her strength to help Alicia. “Will you help me?”
Christa suddenly knew it was the right thing to do. She didn’t understand how she knew she just embraced the feeling. “Yes.”
“Stand by the door. Do not let Mikey back in until I am done.”
“Okay.” Christa nodded as she stood. She moved to the door and placed her back against it.
Anna prayed she was right in her decision to trust Christa but she had no choice. She turned back to Alicia and gently touched her cheek, “Alicia look at me.” She commanded.
Alicia’s eyes fluttered open. They were glassy from the pain. Anna knew what she was about to do would not be remembered by Alicia. She took a deep breath then bit her wrist. As she held it to Alicia’s mouth she heard Christa’s sharp intake of breath.
“Drink” Anna commanded.
Alicia’s eyes never left Anna’s as she gently began to suck the healing blood.
“You feel the pain receding.” Anna said softly.
After just a few minutes she moved her arm away and Alicia closed her eyes.
Christa was still staring in fascination when she felt the door hit her back.
“Hey’ Mikey said trying to push it open.
Anna nodded to Christa so she stood back allowing the door to open.
“What’s going on?” He asked rushing towards the bed.
“Sorry.” Christa said recovering her composure. “I was getting ready to come and get you.”
Anna stood so that Mikey could take her seat on the bed. He touched Alicia’s forehead. “Her fever’s broke.” His voice filled with relief.
“Yes.” Anna said with a small smile. “She said the pain had stopped then fell asleep.”
“Thank God.” Mikey said. “Uh we’ll be at the hospital in about fifteen minutes.”
“I think it is her appendix” Anna told him.
He swiveled to stare. “Really? Shit, I’m glad we’re almost there.”
Gerard appeared in the doorway. “Everything okay?” He was looking at Anna.
“Alicia is sleeping.” Christa whispered. She brushed past him and moved to the front of the RV. She honestly did not know what to think about the sight she’d just witnessed.
Gerard walked over to Anna and put his arm around her. “Thank you.” He whispered in her ear unaware of what Anna had been forced to do.