An incident on the bus leaves Anna shaken. Bob reassures Claire of his love.
Everyone was beginning to get seated and he looked over at Anna and noticed for a brief moment she looked uncomfortable but in a blink of an eye she pasted on a fake smile.
He put out his hand to her and smiled hoping she would see he was aware of her feelings.
Anna took his hand and allowed him to lead her over to the sofa where Bob and Claire were already seated.
“Scoot.” He said to Bob.
“Not a problem.” Bob answered moving even closer to Claire then putting his arm around her.
Gerard sat down then placed his arm around Anna. She stiffened a moment then relaxed against him.
“So what the fuck happened tonight?’ Ray asked looking over a Bob.
Bob had known his mess up would be a topic of discussion. “Uh, I forgot the set order.”
There was a round of laughter, which he took in stride.
“Claire, I think you’re distracting the guy.” Frank said as he settled down next to Jamia.
“It ain’t her fault.” Bob defended quickly. “I was so busy watching Gerard and wondering what the hell he was doing I just zoned out.”
“I can understand that.” Ray laughed. “What the hell was that?” He asked Gerard.
Gerard grinned, “Hey, I just felt like dancing.”
“Dancing?” Frank laughed, “Dude that was shaking and grinding that wasn’t dancing.”
“It was dancing.” Gerard said not minding the kidding. He’d expected it.
“Anna.” Jamia spoke over the laughter. “Tell us what you think. Was that dancing?”
Anna had witnessed Gerard’s “dance” and had also wondered at the time what he was doing. She really wanted to fit in with all the good-natured teasing. “Well” She said looking over at Gerard then back at Jamia, “It was dancing but he usually reserves that particular dance for when we are alone.”
More laughter erupted.
“Oh that’s Gee’s sexy dance.” Frank said loudly to he heard over teasing that was taking place.
“Yes.” Anna nodded trying to look serious.
Beside her Gerard felt proud she was doing so well fitting in. “Hey, he said. “You weren’t supposed to tell that.”
Anna smiled at him. “Sorry.”
“Oh fuck. I can’t get the visual out of my head of Gee dancing around doing that “sexy dance” for Anna.” Frank air quoted.
“Sans the clothing.” Anna nodded.
This brought another round of laughter from everyone.
“Crap I need a cold one.” Ray said moving towards the refrigerator. “Who wants one?”
Everyone except Gerard and Anna chose to have beer.
“Sugar you can have one.” Gerard said wanting her to understand that if she wanted to appear to fit in with everyone else she needn’t worry about him not drinking.
“No, I am not in a beer mood.” Anna answered but did take a soda Christa offered.
As the talk turned to other topics Gerard found himself thinking about how he truly was now able to have a beer if he wanted. No, he corrected his thoughts he really couldn’t. He had to keep up the charade that he was a recovering alcoholic.
“Hey Eddie picked up some movies for us today.” Ray said picking up a bag off the table and riffling through it. He held up a new horror movie that had just been released on DVD. “I’ve been dying to see this one.”
“Yeah but we won’t get to see all of it.” Bob reminded him. “We’re pulling out within the hour.
Claire took a drink of her beer then spoke to Bob, “If you want to see the movie I can drive the RV when we pull out.”
He frowned at her. “Not a chance. But I got an idea. Why don’t we let them start the movie and we can head over to the RV already. Gee and Anna can stay here and watch it.” Yes, this was his master plan to get some alone time with Claire. As he had feared the others were wise to his plan.
“Ohhhhh, Bob wants some quality alone time with Claire.” Frank giggled. He ducked just in time as Bob launched a pillow at his head.
“I like that idea.” Claire said taking another drink.
She did not realize that Anna was watching her closely. Anna knew Claire rarely drank and she seemed to be downing her beer quickly.
Gerard squeezed Anna’s shoulder to get her attention. “You wanna watch the movie?”
“Stay, Anna.” Christa urged. “You and Gee can always head over to the RV later when we stop for gas on the road.” She hoped to spend more time around Anna and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
“That sounds like a good plan.” Anna said in answer to Christa’s question.
“Okay then.” Bob said happily as he got up off the sofa and held out his hand for Claire. “Well see you guys later.”
Claire caught Anna’s eye and smiled. Anna smiled in return then watched as Bob snagged a six-pack of beers before heading towards the door.
“Dude how much are you gonna drink?” Ray asked quietly so the other didn’t hear.
Bob answered softly, “These are for Claire. She doesn’t get the opportunity to drink very often and I figured she’d enjoy it.”
Claire who was talking with Jamia didn’t hear his comment.
Ray nodded. “Yeah it probably would be good for her to relax and let loose.” He moved even closer to Bob and added, “Just so you don’t try to take advantage of her.”
Before Bob could give him a rude answer Claire who had heard that last comment spoke, “He can take advantage of me anytime he wants.”
Bob gave her a shocked look then burst into laughter. “Come on woman. Let’s go.” He threw his arm around her and the left the bus.
Jamia watched them leave then spoke to Anna. “Those two really fell for each other, didn’t they?’
Anna nodded with a smile, “Yes. I am very happy for Claire.”
Christa wondered if anyone else noticed the sadness in Anna’s eyes when she answered. She looked around but no one else seemed to notice things like that.
“Okay then lets get this movie going.” Ray said as he placed the DVD in the player.
“What is the story about?” Anna asked as she pulled her feet up onto the sofa and leaned more into Gerard.
“Vampires.” Gerard whispered in her ear.
Once again Christa was watching Anna closely and saw the strange look that passed over her face. She got up off the floor where she was sitting. “Okay if Ray and I take these seats?”
Anna started to put her feet back down but Christa quickly took a seat and put her hand on her legs. “You’re fine. We have plenty of room.”
Ray took his seat next to Christa and pushed Play on the remote. “I heard this is supposed to be gory” He said sounding very excited at the prospect.
Gerard tightened his arm around Anna and leaned down to whisper in her ear. “We don’t have to stay and watch this.”
In truth Anna didn’t want to watch the movie but she knew that if they chose not to and returned to the RV it would ruin Bob and Claire’s alone time. She looked up into his eyes. “This is fine.”
“I hate vampire movies that are gory.” Christa said as the previews for coming attractions started.
Ray rolled his eyes, “Yeah, yeah, we know. You like your romantic vampires.’
His teasing usually wouldn’t have bother Christa but for some reason tonight it did bother her. She crossed her arms in front of her and moved slightly away from him.
“Oh Babe, don’t get pissed.” He said throwing his arm around her. “I’m just teasing you.”
“I agree with Christa.” Jamia said. “Besides I’ve already seen this one and it is stupidly gory.”
“You saw this?’ Frank gave her a surprised look. ‘When?”
She explained to him how she and her friend had gone to see it one night a few months ago when he’d been out of town.
“Well I still wanna see it.” Frank said turning his attention back to the screen.
The movie stated out interesting enough but soon in true horror slasher form it became violent and bloody. Anna tried to keep her eyes averted as much as possible but the blood scenes were starting to awaken her hunger. She soon realized she was in a very awkward and dangerous situation. The bus was now underway so she couldn’t return to the RV without raising questions.
Gerard could feel her body tensing and soon guessed what was happening. “If you’re tired Sugar just close your eyes.” He said softly.
Anna looked up and through her gaze let him know she appreciated that he did indeed understand. She snuggled closer to him and closed her eyes. No at least she didn’t have to see all the blood but being this close to him was presenting another problem. Anna decided to try to clear her mind and doze off for a bit.
The end of the movie came and the credits started to roll. Ray stood and moved towards the DVD player just as the bus pulled off into a rest stop and came to a very bumpy stop.
Anna who had fallen asleep was in the throes of the brutal nightmare suddenly pushed against Gerard trying to escape from his arm, which he’d placed around her. She sat up still facing him and when she opened her eyes they were topaz.
Gerard acted fast. Placing his hands on her cheeks to keep her facing him he spoke in a soothing tone. “Sugar, it’s okay. You were having a nightmare.”
She struggled against him only a moment then his words penetrated her brain.
“Is she okay?” Frank asked watching them.
Anna blinked but her eyes remained the same.
“It’s okay.” Gerard said again. “Close your eyes and go back to sleep.” He knew he couldn’t let the other see her like this.
She lowered her head to his chest fighting the hunger that was consuming her.
“She has really bad nightmares sometimes.” Gerard said while stoking her hair. “I’ll just carry her over to the RV.”
“Why don’t you just stay here?” Ray asked, “Since she’s asleep already.”
Christa could see Gerard was struggling to find an answer. “No, she wouldn’t be comfortable in her clothes all night.” She stood and looked directly at Gerard. “You carry her and I’ll get the doors for you.”
Gerard nodded and after a moment had Anna safely in his arms.
Christa stayed at his side as he carried her across the parking lot. Once they reached the RV Claire saw them coming and quickly opened the door.
“Where’s Bob?” Gerard asked as he nearing the door.
“He went inside to get some coffee.” Claire answered. “What is going on?”
Gerard just wanted to get her inside the RV. He moved past her and carried Anna up the steps. Christa stayed outside a moment then turned to leave.
“Christa.” Anna called out softly.
“Yes.” She peered up the steps and saw that Gerard had set Anna on her feet.
“Thank you.” Anna said looking directly at her.
For a moment Christa stared at Anna then smiled, “Your eyes are beautiful. I did see them like that once before.”
“I know.” Anna said.
Christa heard the sound of the others crossing the lot moving towards the rest area vending machines. “I better go. See you tomorrow.”
“Come on.” Gerard said taking Anna’s arm. “Let’s get you into the bedroom before Bob gets back.”
“Her bag is…” Claire started to say.
“I know where it is.” Gerard answered as he led Anna to the back. “I got this covered.”
Claire watched them retreat into the bedroom. Sadness filled her as she realized he did have it covered. Anna really didn’t need her anymore.
Gerard led Anna to the bed and once she laid down he quickly moved to grab the bag. When he returned to the bed he could see Anna had closed her eyes but her cheeks were wet with tears.
“Sugar what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
“Just do it.” Anna said brokenly.
Gerard prepared the injection and once he had pierced her skin and depressed the plunger he asked again, “What’s wrong?”
“I hate this.” Anna said not opening her eyes. “I hate what I am.”
He replaced the syringe in the bag quickly the located her gown. Without speaking he changed into his sweats first then moved to the bed. Gently he lifted her body into a sitting position and pulled off her hoodie. He then removed her jeans. As he lowered the gown over her head she began to softly sob.
“Shhh Sugar. It’s okay. Everything is okay.” He whispered as he turned off the lights and laid down beside her. Taking her in his arms he held her tightly. “Anna please don’t say you hate what you are. I love you and it hurts to hear you say that.”
“Oh Gee.” She turned her face into his chest. “I do hate it. More than you can ever understand. What happened tonight should never have happened.”
“Hey you had a rough day. You had a nightmare. Shit like that happens.”
“And what would have happened if the others had seen me? My God you do not understand.”
“I think I do.” He whispered stroking her hair. “You are upset because you are always supposed to be in control.”
“They are always in control. I am a failure, I am weak. If my weakness was discovered it would be dealt with. He would be forced to handle the situation.”
“He?” Gerard asked.
“Jacob.” Anna cried. “If I was brought before the council and deemed a threat to our kind it would be up to my Maker to…” Her voice trailed off but her sobbing continued.
“Anna, what would happen?”
“As my Maker it would fall to him to destroy me.”
Gerard’s whole body tensed. “Destroy you? What the fuck?”
“It is the law.”
“Oh fuck that.” Fear filled him. “No, that’s never gonna happen. We’ll figure out a way to fix this.”
“Fix this? You mean fix me. But how can you fix what can not be explained. I should not be this way. Jacob turned me but I am not like them. I am not how I should be. I love, I cry, I can not control my emotions.”
Gerard thought a moment then said softly, “Anna you retained your human side.”
“And I feel fear.” She whispered. “I am so afraid.”
He pulled her closer, “I will protect you. I’ll never let anything happen to you as long as I have breath in my body.”
In her mind she wondered if he understood that once he was gone she still would continue. It was at that moment she knew in her heart that once Gerard left this earth she too would do the same.
“Here ya go.” Bob said handing Claire a Styrofoam cup of coffee. “I saw Ray in the store and he said Anna had a nightmare. Is she okay?”
Claire took the coffee from him and put it in the cup holder. She then took a long drink from her can of beer finishing it off.
Bob glanced over and saw that it was the last can of beer. That meant she had polished off five cans. For her that was a lot.
“She is fine. Gerard is taking care of her.” Claire answered without meeting his eyes.
He knew something had happened in the short space of time he’d been gone. Claire had been happy and giggly but now her mood had changed.
“Honey what’s wrong?’ He asked taking a seat next to her on the sofa.
The alcohol was making it hard for Claire to think. She sat up and tried to focus. “Wrong? Who said anything is wrong? Hell everything is just wonderful.”
He studies her a moment trying to decide what to do.
“Wish I had another beer.” She announced looking around,
“Uh you drank it all.”
Claire nodded, “Yep I did. Probably a bad idea but I just do not give a….” She thought a moment then nodded, “Fuck. I do not give a fuck.”
“Oh boy.” Bob whispered to himself. Unfortunately Claire heard him.
“I am sorry.” She said quickly.
He laughed, “Honey there is nothing to be sorry about. So what you drank all the beer. That’s okay.”
“No” she said growing serious, “That was a bad idea. I do not know what is wrong with me.”
“Claire nothing is wrong with you. So what you drank a little too much. It’s not the end of the world. Every once in a while it’s good to let go.”
“I can not.” Claire said forcing her mind to work. “What if a problem arises and I can not handle it?”
“What if Anna needs something?”
Bob put his arm around her. “Honey I’m sure Gee can take care of her.”
While he meant for his words to reassure her they had the opposite effect.
“Yes that is true. Of course that is true. I am no longer needed.” She tried to stand but lost her balance and ended up falling back into her seat.
Bob heard the buses start their engines and knew they would be pulling out soon. He knew he needed to deal with this quickly. “Honey, lay down and I’ll cover you up.”
He stood and gently lifted her legs so that she was laying down. Then he grabbed the blanket and covered her. “Go to sleep.” He whispered placing a kiss on her forehead. Much to his distress she broke into tears.
“Why are you crying?’
“I ruined tonight. I should be up there with you.” She pointed in the direction of the drivers seat. “Not here.”
He smiled “Oh Honey you didn’t ruin our night. Didn’t we have fun before we took off?” The time they had spent alone before leaving the venue was still fresh in his mind.
Claire nodded, “Yes.” She sniffed. “A lot of fun.”
“That’s right. So stop worrying about anything. I know you’re upset about something but I got a feeling that making you talk about it right now would only make it worse.”
“So go to sleep and tomorrow if you want we’ll talk about it.” He used his fingertip to wipe away her tears. “But if you don’t want to that’s okay too. I know there are things you don’t tell me. I’m okay with that as long as you know that anytime you want to talk I’m ready to listen.”
His words meant so much to her that she started crying again.
Bob leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. “I love you Claire. How about if I take care of you and you can take care of me. Then we don’t need anyone else.”
She nodded then closed her eyes but not before saying softly, “I love you.”