Gerard speaks to Jacob for the first time.
“Fuckin’ great.” Gerard answered without turning.
“So Claire told me you and Anna are taking off.”
Gerard zipped the bag and stood, “Yeah, I got us a car. We’re gonna drive for a few hours tonight then stop for the night.” He smiled at Bob, “You and Claire have plans, too?”
Bob nodded, “Yeah, I’m starting to think I need to buy myself one of those RV. As much time as I’m spending behind the wheel I think I want one.” He looked at Gerard closely, “You know since you got back you seem different.”
Gerard wondered where this was going. “Different?”
“Yeah, you’ve got that old spark back.” He said lowering his voice. “Can’t help but think Anna has a lot to do with that.”
If only he knew, Gerard thought. “Yeah well being in love can make you feel pretty fuckin’ amazing.”
“Uh yeah about that.” Bob hedged, “Uh the guys and I are sorta wondering about you being engaged.”
Gerard refused to let anger ruin his night, “What about it?”
“So are you getting married?”
“Eventually.” Gerard answered, “I fuckin’ love her and want to spend my life with her.” He sighed, “I suppose all of you are thinking I’m moving too fast right?”
Bob shrugged, “Maybe some of the guys think that but I don’t. Fuck, I’ve fallen hard for Claire and I’ve known her the same amount of time as you and Anna so who am I to question your relationship?”
Gerard smiled, “I’m fuckin’ happy for you man. Claire’s a great woman.”
“She is.” Bob said softly, “But sometimes she confuses the shit out of me.” He had to admit his feelings to someone, “I’m not sure if she had to choose a life with me or a life with Anna I’d win.”
Gerard searched his mind trying to decide how to answer that. He understood the bond between Anna and Claire but it was something Bob could never understand. “Man, I’ve seen you and Claire together. She’s in love with you but I think maybe she’s a little scared. Our lifestyle is something completely different than she’s ever experienced before. Give her time. I know it will work out for you two.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Bob said looking down.
“It will.” Gerard said slapping him on the shoulder. “You have told her you love her haven’t you?”
“She said she’s falling in love with me.”
“Well there you go.” Gerard laughed. “Don’t sweat it.”
Neither had heard Claire enter the bus. “I was wrong to say that.”
Bob turned in shock.
Claire took a step closer. “I should not have said I was falling in love with you. It was a lie.” She smiled looking into Bob’s bright blue eyes, “When I said that I had already fallen in love with you.”
Bob closed the distance between them and took her into his arms.
“Well on that note I’m outta here.” Gerard laughed.
Claire smiled at him, “Anna is packed and ready.”
Gerard nodded “Take care, see ya later.”
Neither acknowledged his departure. They were lost in a kiss.
As they drove through the night Gerard felt a strange feeling of contentment. Having Anna at his side was all he needed. He concentrated on finding the correct highway exit then spoke.
“I figure we’ll drive another hour then stop for the night.”
Anna smiled, “That sounds fine.”
“Anna, can I ask you stuff about your past?”
“Of course.” Anna answered. “What would you like to know?”
He laughed, “What wouldn’t I like to know? Shit, it still boggles my mind to think how long you’ve lived.”
“Lived is a relative term.”
He glanced over to see if she was upset, “You know what I mean.”
“Yes, I do.” Anna said reaching over to lay her hand on his thigh. “What would you like to know?”
He thought a moment. “Where were you during the First World War?”
“I was in England. I spent most of my time there. Jacob and I did travel at different times but for the most part we stayed in or around London.”
“So that’s where you were during World War II?”
Anna sat back and got comfortable before answering, “Yes during that time we lived in a small estate outside London. Jacob opened his home for some of the children of London.”
“Yes, Jacob is a good man. Like me he can not feel actual emotion for humans yet he has always chosen to do what he believes is the right thing. At one time during the height of the war we had fifteen young children living with us, all orphans.” She sighed, “It was a very sad time in history.”
“What did you look like then?” He asked trying to picture her in his mind, “I know you said you have changed the way you look many times.”
“At that time period I had shoulder length black hair.”
“Really?” He said glancing over at her. “Did you use your real name?”
“At that time yes I was known as Annabelle. I have gone by other names.”
He smiled watching the road closely, “What aliases have you used?”
“Aliases?” Anna laughed, “That makes me sound like a spy. Let me think.” She paused, “I have used the name Rosealyn.”
“That’s a pretty name.”
Anna smiled, “That was my grandmother’s name.” Without thinking she gently caressed his leg, “I have also been known as Kathleen and Andrea.”
“Have you always used Lewis as your last name?”
“Yes, it is truly my last name. Before technology it was so much easier. Now however we rely on our network to handle our identities. We are given social security numbers and such.”
“But when you became an author you chose to use your real name?”
“Yes, I wanted you to know me by my true name.”
Gerard laughed softly, “Sugar I think we’re gonna be stopping sooner than planned.”
Anna looked over at him, “Why?”
“Uh you’ve been stroking my thigh and don’t get me wrong I don’t mind at all. But now stopping seems pretty important.”
She started to move her hand but he shook his head, “Don’t stop Sugar. I see an exit right up ahead.”
Inside the 24-hour diner Bob and Claire sat together in a cozy booth.
“What are you gonna have?” Bob asked setting down his menu.
Claire frowned, “I am not sure. What are you having?”
“Cheeseburger and fries.”
Again Claire frowned, “That does sound good.” Suddenly she sat her menu down and smiled, “But I want onion rings with mine. Oh, and a chocolate shake.”
“A chocolate shake. A woman after my own heart.”
Once the waitress took their order and shuffled away a content silence came over them.
Claire looked around the dinner. “I imagine you spend lots of time in places on this when you tour.”
“Yeah” Bob laughed, “We do.”
“It is a strange lifestyle.” Claire mused. “But an exciting one too.”
He took her hand, “Is it one you like?”
“Very much.” She answered looking deeply into his eyes.
“Good.” Bob squeezed her hand.
Claire’s cell went off as the waitress brought their milkshakes. She fished it out of her bag and glanced down at the screen.
Bob saw her frown. “Trouble?”
“I am not sure.” She answered before connecting.
“Claire, is Annabelle with you?” Jacob asked in place of a greeting.
“That is excellent. Are you able to speak freely?”
Claire looked across at Bob, “Not really.”
Jacob sighed impatiently. “Fine then just listen to me closely. It is imperative that you continue to remind Annabelle of the extreme importance of following our traditional ways. I am growing weary of the reports I receive daily of her antics.”
“Perhaps you should give her this information yourself.” Claire blurted out before thinking. As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. She had never spoken to Jacob in this manner.
There was silence on the other end of the phone line.
“I am sorry.” Claire said softly.
“I chose to tell you this because I believe you have a great love for Annabelle. Perhaps I was wrong.”
“You are not wrong.” Claire said quickly. “My feelings have not changed.”
“Something has changed.” Jacob’s tone was crisp. “I assume this had something to do with the man she spoke of. She said she believed you would be leaving her soon.”
Claire looked down unable to speak about this in front of Bob.
“Your happiness is of the up most importance to her.” Jacob said without anger. “I am sorry to have bothered you.” With that he disconnected.
“Are you okay?” Bob asked seeing her distress.
Claire tried to regain her composure. “Yes that was Anna’s uncle.” She offered no other explanation.
“Is he okay?” Bob asked thinking that the call could have something to do with the man’s failing health.
It took Claire a minute to understand his question. “Oh, yes he is fine. He is just worried about Annabelle.”
“Annabelle? I forget that’s her name. It sounds weird to have you call her that.”
“That is what Jacob always calls her.”
Bob sat back and studied her. “So I guess I’m not supposed to ask anymore questions?”
“I am sorry.” Claire whispered. She sat up with a sigh, “There is some tension between Anna and her uncle and often I get caught in the middle.”
“That sucks.” Bob said with a sad smile. “You wanna call Anna and tell her he called?”
For a moment Claire sat in silence. She had been so happy before Jacob’s call and she just wanted to feel like that again. As Bob watched her closely she picked up her phone but instead of making a call she simply turned it off. “No, there is nothing I can do.”
Anna and Gerard had just walked into their suite when she remembered she had left her purse in the car.
“I’ll go grab it.” Gerard said setting down his bag.
He decided to take the steps instead of the elevator seeing the car was up on the tenth floor. They had chosen an older yet elegant hotel but unfortunately it only had one elevator and he was in a hurry. He wanted to get back to Anna and the special evening she’d promised.
Sprinting across the lot he reached the car and unlocked the door. Just as he grabbed the purse her cell phone rang. For a moment he considered just letting the call go to voice mail but curiosity got the better of him. “Hello?” He said as he slammed the car door shut.
For a moment there was silence then a deep voice spoke, “Gerard I presume?”
“Uh yeah, who’s this?”
“This is Jacob. I wish to speak to Annabelle.” There was impatience in his tone.
Gerard didn’t like his tone. “Yeah sure. It will be a minute though. She left her purse in the car and I’m taking it up to our room now.”
“You are carrying her handbag?” The impatient tone was replaced with slight amusement.
Now Gerard was annoyed, “Yeah, I went and got it for her.” He answered shortly. By this time he was back inside and decided to wait for the elevator. Maybe I’ll lose reception he thought happily.
Jacob drummed his fingers on the desktop waiting.
The elevator car arrived and Gerard took a step inside and pushed the button for the third floor. “You still there?” He asked.
“Yes Gerard you have not lost reception.” Jacob answered knowing the man had been hoping for another answer.
“Uh good.” Gerard lied.
The door slid open. Slowly he walked towards their room and fished the key out of his pocket.
When the door opened Anna gave him a surprised look seeing him with her phone in his hand.
“Well we made it.” Gerard said with fake happiness. “Anna was using the bathroom but she’s done now.” He lied.
Jacob rolled his eyes, “I highly doubt that. She has no need to use a restroom.”
Gerard realized instantly that the man understood he now knew the truth about Anna. For some reason that bothered him. Did she report everything she did to Jacob?
Anna sensed Gerard’s growing anger. She quickly crossed the room and put out her hand for the phone.
He reluctantly handed it to her but not before saying “Nice talking to you Jacob.” It came out as a sneer.
“Hello” Anna said walking back across the room. Behind her she heard Gerard turn on the flat screen TV and begin to flip through the channels.
Jacob’s laughter greeted her, “Oh Annabelle I believe he does not likes me.”
“Is there a reason?” Anna asked wondering what went on before Gerard had returned to the room.
“He seems very sensitive.” Jacob answered but offered no other explanation.
Anna turned to see Gerard sitting on the bed obviously upset. He was glaring at the television. “Jacob why have you called?”
“I have called because it was what I wanted to do.” His tone became serious, “You do not have a problem with this, do you?”
Sitting in the chair by the deck Anna sighed, “Of course not. It is always good to hear from you.” She heard Gerard snort.
“Perhaps Annabelle I have called to congratulate you on your engagement.”
Anna’s eyes grew wide, “How did you hear of this?”
Jacob shook his head, “Annabelle I am no stranger to the Internet. It is amazing what one can learn from different sites.”
“He spoke out of turn.” Anna whispered. She saw Gerard’s head whip around.
“That simply means you are not monitoring him closely enough. I know you understand the blood bond is too fresh for him to make decisions of that magnitude.”
“Yes I know.” Anna said lowering her voice, “And I have explained that.”
“Oh Annabelle you do worry me.” Jacob said sadly.
“I will do nothing to disappoint you, Jacob.” Her eyes were on Gerard who was glaring at her.
“I wish to believe that.” He said softening his tone, “I will be speaking to you soon.” He disconnected.
“What the fuck was that all about?” Gerard asked as Anna sat down her phone.
Anna stood, “That was Jacob showing his concern for me.”
Gerard stood up and moved towards her. “I don’t think he fuckin’ likes me.”
This caused Anna to smile slightly, “He said the same about you.”
“So I got that he knew you healed me. You tell him?”
Anna found herself trying to control her temper. The call from Jacob had upset her more than she would admit. “Gerard he knew because he is my Maker. Our bond is stronger than you could ever imagine.” She saw the look on his face so before he could speak she continued; “Now I am going to enjoy a long, hot bath. I am tense and wish to relax.” With that she crossed the suite.
Gerard flinched when he heard the bathroom door slam.