Gerard and Anna both must deal with what happened.
Gerard took a deep breath and forced himself to nod. “Yeah, good.”
Anna saw that Claire was watching her closely. She was sure that Claire could still smell the scent of Tammy all over Gerard. She gave her a slight nod.
The taping took over an hour. When they were done the couples broke up with Ray, Christa, Gerard and Anna in the car the women had driven to the studio. Gerard told Ray he had a slight headache and asked if he would drive.
As the started back towards the venue Gerard looked across at Anna wishing he could talk to her alone. He’s heart was aching and fear filled his soul. There was no way he’d let her leave him yet he knew if that was what she chose there would be nothing he could do to stop her. He reached across the seat for her hand but she quickly moved it clasping her hands in her lap.
Ray glanced in the rearview mirror and noted Gerard’s unhappy look. “Hey you okay, man?”
Gerard forced himself to nod, “Yeah, I think I’m just more tired than anything. Fuck, I wish we didn’t have a Meet and Greet before the show. I could really use the time to rest up.”
Ray nodded, “Know what you mean.”
Christa could sense there was tension in the car between Anna and Gerard and she wondered why. “I didn’t find anything today.” She said trying to make small talk. She turned slightly in her seat to look at Anna. “What did you buy?” She had noticed Anna had been carrying a small bag when they’d left the mall.
Anna forced herself to appear as if nothing was wrong. She glanced down at the small bag lying at her feet. “Just something new for sleep.”
Gerard reached down and picked up the bag. His fingers caressed the satin teddie but did not remove it from the bag. “Nice” he whispered.
Anna glared at him a moment then turned to look out her window. His actions had hurt her deeply but now her anger was building. She understood the freshness of the bond made it difficult for him to fight temptation especially when tempted by the scent of a blood bond. However she could not erase the scene she’d walked in on from her mind.
The rest of the way Christa did most of the talking. She tried to keep the conversation upbeat but she knew something was very wrong.
“We really gotta hurry.” Bob said as soon as Gerard got out of the car. “The fans are already there.”
Gerard followed him to the RV where they would change. He saw that Anna was talking with Claire and made no move towards the RV.
“Shit” He muttered as they rushed across the lot and entered the RV.
“What’s wrong?” Bob asked as he unzipped his bag and grabbed a fresh tee shirt.
“I just wanted a few moments alone with Anna.” Gerard answered sitting down on the sofa.
“You aren’t gonna change?” Bob asked.
“Fuck it.” Gerard said looking down at the shirt he was wearing. “This is fine.”
Bob shrugged then changed his shirt. He saw that Gerard had leaned his head back and had closed his eyes.
“You and Anna have a fight?”
Gerard raised his head and looked at him. “No”
Gerard narrowed his eyes, “Why would you ask that?”
Bob decided to level with him. “Well I was just sorta worried. I mean you’d gone off with Tammy when Anna arrived. I was kinda afraid she’d walk in on something when she went to find you.”
Anger filled Gerard. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Dude don’t get pissed at me. You know you were being awfully friendly with Tammy today. Anna could have gotten the wrong idea.”
Gerard’s anger was fueled by his guilt. “No I wasn’t.” he lied. “I don’t understand why everyone keeps watching every little thing I do. I was just talking to the woman.”
“What the fuck does that mean?” Gerard exploded.
Bob knew they had to get over to the venue. “Look forget I said anything.”
“No I ain’t gonna just forget it. You got something you wanna say then just fuckin’ say it.”
“Okay.” Bob stood his ground. “You were fuckin’ flirting hard with Tammy. What the fuck? You’re engaged to Anna. Why would you do that?”
Gerard jumped to his feet. “I love Anna. She’s the most important thing in my life. Don’t ever doubt that.”
“Good.” Bob said crossing his arms in front of him. “Cause I’d fuckin’ hate it if you hurt her.”
A knock on the door caused both men to turn.
“Bob?” It was Claire.
He opened the door and stood back so she could enter.
“I am supposed to tell you both to hurry.” Claire said sensing the tension between the two men.
“I’m ready.” Bob said moving towards the door.
Claire looked over at Gerard.
Suddenly he had to talk to someone who understood. “Uh, Bob I’ll be there in a minute. I wanna talk to Claire.”
Bob’s eyes narrowed, “About what?”
Claire understood. “It is about Anna.” She said thinking quickly. “I promised him I would watch Anna today while we were shopping to see if anything caught her eye. He wants to buy her a special gift.”
The explanation didn’t ring true to Bob but he could see speaking alone to Gerard was important to Claire. “Okay, I’ll tell them you’ll be over in a minute.” He gave Claire a quick kiss then departed.
Claire closed the door then turned to face Gerard. “Yes?”
“I fucked up.” He said in a rush, “I really fucked up and I don’t know what to do.”
“I am sure I have a good idea what happened.” Claire said moving over to the table and talking a seat.
“How?” He’d been prepared to explain everything to her.
“I could smell that woman’s scent all over you.” Claire answered. “All of us who have a blood bond can smell it. Did you not know this?”
“Anna said something about it.” He muttered. “Fuck, it all happened so fast.” His eyes pleaded with Claire, “Please you gotta help me. I don’t know what to do. I’ve hurt Anna and it’s killing me. She said something about turning over my care to someone else and I ain’t gonna let that happen.”
“Anna said that?” Claire was shocked.
“Yeah.” He said shaking his head. “I get that I was set up. But I still don’t understand. Shit, lots of guys cheat on their girlfriends. I’m not saying it’s right but I just don’t get why if I cheated on Anna it would be such a big deal.”
Claire was trying very hard to be sympathetic but it was hard. “You do not think that would be a big deal to Anna?”
“No, I’m fucking this up too. I’m not explaining what I mean right. I know it would hurt Anna but why the fuck would it be a big deal to them?”
“You really do not see the big picture.” Claire said sadly. “Let me try to explain. When we become blood bonded to them we are given what is considered to be a great gift. We are allowed to know of their existence something most humans are never allowed to do. In return we are expected to show our respect for them through our actions. When you announced that Anna was your fiancée you set the stage. You and she are viewed by the world as a couple. To humans that is not something amazing but to them it is viewed very differently. Anna being coupled with a human is not looked on as a wonderful thing. Actually it is viewed by most of the Pure’s as very disappointing. Still it is her choice because she loves you. And let me just point out that most Pure’s do not believe in love between their kind and a human. They do not believe in soul mates.” She paused a moment then added; “Anna chose a rough path when she decided to be with you. The blood bond between you in their eyes makes you her property. That is not how Anna views it but you must remember she is not human she is one of them. She must abide by their laws and those laws are quite clear. As Anna’s property you must show her respect. If you betrayed her and she allowed it she would be viewed as weak. That is something that to them is unforgivable.”
Gerard sat quietly taking in her words.
“I know this is hard for you.” Claire said softly. “But if you truly love her you must think of what is best for her. You can not let her appear weak in their eyes. The weak to them are a liability they will not accept.”
A chill ran down his spine. “What exactly does that mean?”
“They weed out the weak. They remove those who do not follow their laws. I realized long ago that Anna hates what she has become. But her love for Jacob then later her love for you has made her accept what she is. In her heart I know she wishes she could be the human girl she once was but that can never be. Gerard, you must help protect her.”
“This is all so unbelievable.” He said shaking his head.
“Gee come on.” Bob’s voice came from outside the door.
“I would do anything in my power to keep her safe.” Gerard said standing. “I just have to make sure she knows that.”
Claire nodded, “Yes, but remember she feels the same towards you. She will do anything to keep you safe and to protect Jacob. If that would mean disappearing from your life she would do it.”
“No.” Gerard said. “That ain’t gonna happen.”
Gerard felt his whole body relax and a smile lit his face when he walked into the backstage area after the Meet and Greet. He’s been so sure Anna would not be there but now he saw she was sitting with the other women. She looked up and their eyes met.
“Hey.” He said softly rounding the sofa so he could lean over the back and kiss her. He straightened up. “Uh I’m gonna go outside for a smoke. Wanna come?”
Anna knew several people were watching them so she smiled and nodded. As they walked towards on of the back doors he reached down and took her hand in his. While she did not pull her hand away the thought had defiantly crossed her mind.
Once they were outside he lit his cigarette then spoke. “I was so afraid you wouldn’t be backstage.”
Anna leaned against the building making sure to keep some distance between them. “I did not want it to seem anything was amiss.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I understand. Did Claire tell you she and I talked?”
“She mentioned it but did not have the opportunity to go into detail.”
“I understand a lot more now. But Anna, we need to talk.”
“Yes but not now. When we have time there are things we must discuss.”
“Agreed.” He took a step closer to her. “Just know this. I love you and I’m fuckin’sorry about today. You said I was weak and you’re right. But I’m gonna change.’
“Your weakness today was not entirely your fault.” She started to say more but he reached out and gently placed his finger on her lips to silence her.
“Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say. You’re gonna blame the bond and I understand but I’m gonna be stronger regardless. I love you, you’re my life.”
Anna stared at him. “I need you to understand something. While it may be true that to most I am devoid of emotions that is not the case where you are concerned. I understand that one who knew of your recent bond and took advantage of that situation tempted you. Still you must know that I am livid about the scene I witnessed.”
Her eyes flashed then quickly returned to normal.
“Yeah, I understand.” He said looking away.
“This is the first time I have ever had to deal with anger this intense. Part of who I am, what I am, makes this much harder. I know I must stay in control of the rage I am feeling. To show that rage would be a sign of weakness and for everyone concerned I can not let that happen.”
“But you should be able to release your anger. You have every right to be fuckin’ pissed off.”
“Of course I do. I have every right to your way of thinking but not to the way of thinking of my kind. Our rage, our anger is so much more than you could ever imagine. I could have snapped that woman’s neck with one hand. Do not think for a moment that thought did not go through my head. I wanted to do it. When I saw her hands on you, saw her open her mouth to take you inside…” Anna’s eyes flashed again and she forced herself to stop.
“But you wouldn’t do that.” Gerard said softly.
“You want to believe that just as I do. But remember I am not human, Gerard.”
He shook his head sadly, “I will never believe that all of your human qualities are gone.”
Anna shook her head, “Believe what you like. Just know that right now, sitting and talking with the others as if nothing happened is harder than you could ever know.”
“This is all my fault.” Gerard said sadly.
“No the fault is mine. I believed I could handle this, I made myself believe I could but now I am not sure.”
“Don’t talk that way. I’ve told you before we will get through this time, It will be okay.” He had to reassure her somehow.
“And once the bond has faded? What happens once you have complete control over your emotions and you tire of me? What happens when you see another woman who catches your attention? How will I handle that?’
“Oh fuck Anna. Is that what’s bothering you? How can you for one second think I will ever want anyone but you?”
“You are human Gerard.” She said softly. “They are known to change their minds frequently.”
He took a step closer to her. “That will never happen. But I understand your fear because believe me I have wondered if you will continue to love me. I fuck up often. What if one day you decide that I’m not worth all the trouble?”
Anna stared at him a moment then shook her head, “That will never happen.’ She whispered.
He moved even closer, “Promise?”
In the fading light his face looked so angelic. “I love you, Gee.” She whispered.
“Then it will be okay, Sugar. Nothing will ever drive us apart.” He tossed away his cigarette then pulled her into his arms. “Wanna get a car and drive to the next venue?’ He asked as he held her tightly.
“That would be lovely but I do not think it is a good idea. Today your friends witnessed behavior from you that they questioned. We need to appear as if nothing is wrong. We need to spend time with the others not isolate ourselves from them.”
He knew she was right. “Yeah, I know but I’d much rather be alone with you.”
“We will have time to be alone tonight when Bob takes the wheel.” She reminded him. Claire understands we need to talk so she will keep Bob’s attention.
Gerard laughed, “Oh she has his attention all right.”
“They are a good couple.”
“We are a good couple too.” Gerard said leaning down to kiss just below her ear. “A great couple.”
“Okay break it up.” Frank said peering from the doorway. “We gotta show to do.”
Gerard rolled his eyes, “Lawn gnome you are always interrupting.”
“And you are always playing kissy face with Anna.” Frank said with a grin.
“Yep.” Gerard answered placing his arm around Anna’s shoulder. “I am.”
As the three of them made their way back down the hall Frank asked, “Hey we’re not pulling out right away after the show. How about you two hang with us on the bus?”
Anna answered, “I would enjoy that.”
Frank didn’t wait to see what Gerard thought of the idea. He really wanted to spend more time with the couple hoping that in doing so it would alleviate some of the doubts he was having about Gerard’s recent behavior. “Great.”
Gerard still wanted a few more moments with Anna. Just outside the doorway to the chaotic scene where the others were getting ready he pulled Anna aside and looked deeply into her eyes. “Thank you.”
Anna stared back without blinking. “And you are thanking me for?”
He struggled with how to put his feelings into words. “For not fuckin’ hating me after what I did. For loving me.”
“We’re lining up, Gee.” Ray called out.
“Shit.” Gerard muttered.
“Go.” Anna said taking a step away.
He looked into her eyes a moment longer then turned away.