Anna fights the effects of the drug.
Gerard took a deep breath to steady his nerves then spoke, “Sorry. Anna’s really sick and I hated to leave her.”
“She’s sick? What’s wrong?”
Slowly Gerard weaved the lie, “I think it’s something she and I ate for lunch. I started to feel sick when the signing started too.”
Bob nodded, “Yeah, I was wondering about that you didn’t look good.”
“I was feeling shaky and sick to my stomach.” Gerard lied, “I’m still not feeling great but I took some shit to settle my stomach and it’s helping.”
“Claire’s with her?” Bob asked.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, she promised me she’d stay with Anna.”
“Hey.” Mikey greeted them as the neared the entrance, “The fans are waiting.”
“Christa told me it was a false alarm.” Gerard said casually.
Bob laughed, “Yeah she tell you she’s the one who pulled the fire alarm?”
Gerard smiled, “Yeah think she feels sorta stupid about it now but I can understand why she did it. Anna said the smoke smell was really strong.”
They walked into the building and down the hallway.
“So I guess this means I’m driving tonight?” Bob asked.
“I’d appreciate it, man. I wanna stay with Anna.”
“What’s wrong with Anna?” Mikey asked.
Gerard repeated his story.
“Shit that sucks.” Mikey said as the neared the table where Frank and Ray were already seated. “Hope she feels better soon.”
“Me too.” Gerard said softly. He just wanted the signing to be quick so he could get back to her.
Christa and Claire were seated on the bed on either side of Anna.
“I need to watch over Gee.” Anna said through her tears.
This was the fourth times she’d said these words.
“Anna you can not right now.” Claire said softly.
“But I need to.” She sat up.
This time Christa gently grabbed her arm, “Hey, he’s over at the signing and he’ll be back soon.”
“But what if they try to get him again?” Anna cried.
“He knows of the danger now.” Claire said trying to reason with her. “And I am sure no one would be brazen enough to try anything again tonight.”
Anna shook her head, “You don’t know that.” She tried to gather her thoughts but the drug was making it impossible, “Hells bells we don’t know what’s going on.”
Christa shot Claire a confused look, which Claire understood, “The drug alters her speech. I was shocked too the first time it happened.”
“When was that?” Christa asked not realizing it was a bad subject.
Claire glanced at Anna who had closed her eyes but did not answer.
“The night Gee got married.” Anna said in a flat tone.
“Oh.” Christa said understanding why Claire had looked so strange when she’d asked.
“She tricked me.” Anna said opening her eyes. “I didn’t know she was giving it to me.”
“It was for your own good.” Claire reminded her.
“I just wanted to give up.” Anna whispered. “Maybe I should have.”
“No don’t say that.” Christa said.
Anna fell back on the bed then covered her face with her hands, “I have to be in control.’ She started to chant over and over.
Claire spoke to Christa in a low tone of voice, “I believe her speech pattern, when under the influence of the drug, is that of her original way of speaking.”
“When she was a girl?” Christa asked.
“Yes, before she met Jacob.”
Christa felt tears threaten her own eyes, “If this is the same drug Gee gave her before to help her why is she like this?’ She asked looking down at Anna who was still chanting to herself.
“She is fighting the effects of the drug out of fear for Gerard.” Claire answered. “It would not be this bad if she would stop trying to control her thoughts.”
“Do you think once Gee gets here she’ll be better?” Christa asked hoping that would calm Anna.
“I hope it will.” Claire answered. She stood and nodded for Christa to follow her. The stopped just out side the bedroom door. “The fear she feels stems from the fact that Gee was given the drug.” She whispered. “It was not meant for humans and can cause severe brain damage. That is why she had to quickly get it out of his system.”
“Oh shit.” Christa murmured.
Claire spoke while she continued to watch Anna who was rocking back and forth on the bed, “The fact that someone did this is…” she struggled to find the words to explain, “Whoever is behind this has committed one of the worst crimes known to the Healers. It is strictly forbidden to harm a blood bound human and especially since they used a drug meant only for Healers. The penalty for such an act is death.”
“Do you think she found out anything from that woman?” Christa asked.
“We will not know until the drug wears off.” Claire said leaning against the doorframe, ‘It is my hope she did find out some information.”
“Hey you need to sit down.” Christa said noticing that Claire had suddenly gone pale.
“I am fine.” Claire said slowly, “Just incredibly frightened. Anna must speak to Jacob about this.”
“Jacob.” Anna repeated loudly, “Yeah I gotta talk to him. He’ll know what to do.” She tried to get off the bed but both women hurried back to her side and pushed her back down.
“You will call him in the morning.” Claire said still holding Anna’s arm.
Anna erupted in anger. She hissed, bared her fangs then shoved Claire off the bed. Christa watched the scene in horror. Jumping from the bed Anna tried to step over Claire but the woman’s hand shot out and grabbed Anna’s ankle.
“Stop, Anna.” Claire yelled, “If you love him you must stop.”
Anna stood a moment then her whole body began to shake. She looked down at Claire then bust into tears. “I’m sorry.” She said falling to her knees beside her. “Oh God did I hurt you?”
“I am fine.” Claire said slowly.
Christa got up and rounded the bed to stand in front of the women. She spoke in a calming tone, “Anna, you need to lay back down. Gee will be here soon.”
Anna lowered her head and began to sob. “I’m such a failure. Jacob should have let me die.”
“No.” Christa said lowering her body to the floor then gathering Anna into her arms, “Never say that.”
As soon as the signing was finished Gerard sprinted out of the building. He knew Anna needed him. He knocked on the door then took a few calming breaths while he waited for it to be unlocked.
“Gee, thank God you’re here.’ Christa said moving back so he could enter.
“What’s going on?” He asked seeing the fear in her eyes.
“Anna needs you. It’s like she’s going out of he mind with worry.”
Gerard quickly headed for the bedroom, “Worry?”
“She’s worried about you. She is blaming herself for what happened.”
Gerard stopped in the doorway when he saw her.
“Oh my God.” Christa cried out not understanding.
Gerard turned to her, “She is asleep.”
“But she’s not breathing.” She said staring at Anna who was lying completely still.
Claire got up slowly trying not to wake Anna. She crossed over to Christa and took her arm to lead her over to the sofa. In a soft tone she explained, ‘She has no need to breathe. Healers only breathe to appear like us. When they sleep they do not breathe.”
Christa ran a shaky hand over her face, “Oh God. I’m such an idiot. I don’t know what I was thinking for a moment.”
“You thought she was dead.” Claire said sadly, “And in truth she is.”
They both heard approaching voices. Claire got up quickly and closed the bedroom door. Christa unlocked the door just as Bob, Mikey and Alicia reached it.
“Hey, how’s Anna?” Alicia asked.
“She just fell asleep.” Christa answered softly.
“Oh, well when she wakes up tell her I checked on her, okay?”
“I will.” Claire answered.
Bob walked up the steps, “Buses are getting ready to pull out.” He said.
“Have Gee shoot us a text later and tell us how she’s feeling.” Mikey said to Claire.
Christa touched her arm as she moved to follow Mikey and Alicia, “Please tell me she’s gonna be okay.” She whispered.
“She is strong.” Claire whispered thankful that Bob had moved to the drivers seat. “Try not to worry.”
“You too.” Christa said giving her a slight smile.
Claire closed the door then took her seat next to Bob.
‘How bad is she?” He asked.
“She was very ill earlier but thankfully she fell asleep.”
He looked over at Claire, “Honey you look tired. Why don’t you lay down on the sofa?”
“I am fine now that you are here.” She answered from her heart.
He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss before starting the engine.
Gerard undressed then slid into bed next to Anna.
“Gee?” She murmured.
“Yeah, Sugar it’s me. Now go back to sleep.”
Anna opened her eyes slowly, “I feel so strange.”
“It’s just the drug. Don’t worry about it, just relax.” He wanted to keep her mood in a good place, “And whatever you do don’t try to jump on this bed.”
Anna blinked, “What?”
“Remember last time you jumped on the bed.”
She searched her fuzzy memory, “Oh yeah. We did.” She said finally remembering the night Gerard had injected her with the drug. “That was fun.”
He smiled, “It was fun but in here we’d hit our heads.”
Anna looked up at the ceiling, “Yeah that would suck.”
Gerard laughed, “It would suck. So are you feeling better?”
“Still pretty fuzzy.” Anna answered, “But much better now that you’re here. I was so scared.”
He pulled her close, “Don’t be scared.”
“Well I sure as hell shouldn’t be scared. What kind of a Healer would I be if I felt fear?” As soon as she spoke the words her face fell, “I’m a poor excuse of a Healer that’s what I am.”
Gerard shook his head, “No, Sugar. You are better than Healers. You are a Healer who can feel real emotions. That makes you special.”
‘That makes me a freak.” She said as her eyes once again filled with tears.
“Anna, stop that.” He said softly, “I never want to hear you say that again.”
“But it’s the truth.” She whispered, “I’ve messed up so much but I’ll make it right.”
His eyes narrowed, “What do you mean?”
She closed her eyes and didn’t answer.
“Anna.” Gerard said softly yet in a stern tone, “What did you mean?”
“Nothing.” She whispered.
He didn’t believe her for a moment. “Anna, nothing bad happened. You and Christa got me out of there before it could.”
“Christa is the one who thought of pulling the fire alarm.” Anna said with a sigh, “I just stood there like a fool.”
“Hey, you were worried about me. I’m still sorta confused though. I know you weren’t there when the signing started. Did you and Christa just decide to come over and watch?”
“I knew I had to cause of what Hudson said.” She answered not remembering that Gerard had no knowledge of the phone call.
“Hudson? When did you talk to him?”
Anna lifted her hand to rub her forehead, “Gee, I can’t make my mind think straight. This is horrible. One minute I think I’m okay then the next minute I’m thinking about something totally different. I just thought I was running through the fields back home.” Her bottom lip trembled.
He hugged her tighter, “And that was a good feeling, wasn’t it?”
“Then try to keep those thoughts in your head right now. Don’t worry about anything else. I’m right here and everything is okay.”
“But it’s not and I know it.”
“It will be, I promise. Now close your eyes and just let go. I’m here to watch over you.”
Slowly her eyes closed and once more she was back in Colorado.
Gerard watched her closely and when she stopped breathing he knew she’d fallen back asleep. He watched over her for several hours fighting sleep.
Bob pulled the RV into the rest stop then shut off the engine. “Gotta make a pit stop.” He said smiling over at Claire who’d been sleeping until the RV stopped. “You gotta go?”
Claire yawned, “No but I think I’ll check on Anna.”
She waited until Bob left to knock softly on the door.
Gerard opened the door slowly then stepped out closing it behind him. “She’s asleep.”
“How is she doing?”
Gerard signed, “Not so good. I don’t get it. Last time she had some mood swings but this time she’s just so fuckin’ messed up.”
“She hates not being in control of her emotions and because she is so afraid it has made it worse.” Claire knew she needed to make him understand, “Gee, as I told you before, that drug they gave you is very dangerous to humans. Had she not gotten it out of your system quickly it could have cause severe brain damage and possibly death. For a Healer to have done this is almost unheard of. The penalty for this action would be death yet they did not let that stop them. Anna knows this and is terrified. She believes that being with you has put you in grave danger.”
“She said something about Hudson I didn’t understand.”
Claire nodded, “He called her earlier and told her he had learned of a plan to discredit her as a Healer by using you.”
“What? How did he find that out?"
Claire explained what Anna had told her about the call. She also told him about the blood-bonded woman Anna had questioned.
“Shit, I hope she found out something from her.” Gerard said.
“That is my hope too.” Claire said. She paused a moment, “I know Anna and I am afraid I know what she is considering.”
The tone of her voice make Gerard nervous, “What do you mean?”
“If she convinces herself that being with her puts you in danger she will remove herself from your life.”
“Fuck, no.” Gerard said shaking his head, “I ain’t gonna let her do that. Well figure this out. I haven’t told her yet but I’m gonna insist that she and I go see Jacob during the break before we go to Europe.”
Claire smiled, “That is wise. Jacob needs to know what is going on. He has the right to know as her Maker.”
They both turned as Bob reentered the vehicle.
“Hey Gee.” He said, “How’s Anna?”
“Sleeping.” Gerard answered, “Thanks again for driving. If I thought she’d sleep straight through I’d drive but she keeps waking up.”
“No problem.” Bob shrugged.
Gerard went back into the bedroom.
“Okay, Mrs. Bryar.” Bob said taking Claire’s arm. “Time for you to get some sleep.”
She smiled, “I have been sleeping.”
“Yeah, in a weird position.” He led her to the sofa then gently pushed her down.
Claire giggled as he knelt down to untie her shoes. Once they were off he lifted her legs then threw a light blanket over her body. “Sleep.” He said gently kissing her cheek.
“But I would rather stay with you.”
“And I would rather you and our baby get some rest.” He settled his hand on her stomach.
Claire smiled, “At times it is still hard for me to believe our baby is in there.”
He nodded, “Yeah, me too. But she is and we gotta take care of her.”
“Yeah, she. And she’s gonna be a beauty with her mom’s fiery red hair.”
“I think I am carrying our son.” Claire whispered. “And he will be just as handsome as his father.”
Bob laughed, “Well one of us is gonna be right. Now close those eyes and I’ll see you in a few hours.”
Claire smiled to herself as he moved back to the front of the RV. She placed her hands over her abdomen and sighed. As long as the baby was healthy it didn’t matter if it was a boy or a girl. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.