Bob tries to ease Claire's concerns but Frank has concerns of his own.
“Who? Me?” Claire giggled. She walked over to the island in the kitchen and took a seat. “Why would I laugh?” It was hard to keep a straight face but she was trying. The sight of Bob wearing nothing but his tighty whites and an apron made it impossible not to smile.
“What? You don’t like my outfit?” He asked trying to sound serious.
Claire spoke the truth, “I love your outfit. It was the song you were singing that made me giggle.”
Bob checked the bacon then turned back to face her. “I was singing?”
Claire wondered if he truly hadn’t realized he was singing when she’d entered the room. “Yes.” She nodded. “I am not sure of all the words but I did hear “fry little strips of meat. I am hungry and need to eat.”
“Oh hell.” Bob rolled his eyes. “I didn’t realize I was doing that. Mom used to sing that in the morning when she made us breakfast. Shit, I haven’t thought of that in years.”
“It was very cute.” Clair said with a beautiful smile. “And you have a lovely voice.”
“Yeah, right.” Bob shook his head, “Either you are tone deaf or you love me a lot to say that.”
“Well I do not believe I am tone deaf however I do love you a lot.” Claire answered feeling very happy to be in her new home with Bob.
He smiled then turned back to the stove. “Okay, so breakfast is almost ready.”
“What can I do to help?” She asked preparing to slip from her stool.
“Just stay right there, I got this under control.” He answered.
Claire watched as he carefully lifted the bacon from the skilled and placed it on a plate covered with a paper towel. Before starting on the eggs he poured her a large glass of orange juice and set it down in front of her. “Lots of great vitamin C.”
When the eggs were fried Bob placed everything on the granite top island then took a seat across from his wife. “So.” He said slowly hoping what he was about to say wouldn’t upset her. “I uh, talked to Carol this morning.”
Claire nodded wondering why he looked so nervous about talking to his sister.
“I uh told her we got married.”
Setting down her fork Claire frowned, “I thought we had decided to tell your family about the wedding and the baby together.”
“Honey, you gotta understand. Carol and I have always been real close. I just thought that when we head over to mom’s tonight to tell the family it would help if Carol already knew.”
Claire’s nerves made her stomach flip. “What did she say? Was she upset?”
“Oh hell, no.” Bob said reaching across and taking Claire’s hand in his. “She was thrilled we got married. She likes you.”
“She only met me once.” Claire said softly looking down at her plate.
“And that’s all it took for her to see how much we love each other.” Bob said giving her hand a squeeze.
“So when are we going to tell the rest of your family?” In truth she had been dreading this.
“Mom is planning a family dinner for tomorrow night.” He said softly understanding her concern. “Honey, don’t worry. My family is gonna be happy for us.”
Suddenly Claire looked up. “Did you tell Carol about the baby?”
He took a deep breath, “Yeah, but for a reason. I know it’s important you go to a doctor for prenatal care and since Carol has two kids I figured she’d know a good one.”
Claire’s stomach flipped, “What did she say? Was she shocked? Does she believe we only married because I am pregnant?”
Bob smiled, “Honey, she wasn’t shocked and I told her that we didn’t know you were pregnant until after our wedding. Not that it matters. I was gonna marry you no matter what.”
Claire was still concerned, “How did she respond?”
Bob laughed, “She said it was about time I grew up. Guess she thinks having a wife and baby are gonna make that happen.”
Suddenly Claire’s appetite was gone. “Does she think badly of me?’ She whispered.
“Oh, hell no.” Bob answered honestly. “To tell you the truth she excited about the baby and..” he paused hoping what he was about to add didn’t upset her, “she called and made a doctor’s appointment for you. Her OB/GYN is a good friend so they squeezed you in for today.”
“Today?” Claire repeated, “Today?”
Bob tired to make it sound like it was nothing to be upset about. “Yeah, at 2:30. Carol said the doctor has some paperwork for you to fill out so we should go about a half hour earlier.”
Claire’s mind was racing. What questions would be on the paperwork?
Bob could tell she was upset, “It’s no big deal. I think they just want to know if you have any preexisting medical conditions, shit like that. Oh and Carol said they might want to have your medial records faxed from your regular doctor.”
“I do not have a regular doctor.” Claire said slowly, “I am rarely sick.” There was of course no way she could explain to her husband that living with Anna had made the need for a doctor unnecessary.
“Really?” Bob shrugged, “Well, that’s good.” He could see she was troubled, “Why is this upsetting you?”
Claire sighed, “I am sorry but since I have rarely been to a doctor the idea just makes me nervous.”
“Well, if it would make you feel better Carol offered to go with us.”
Claire wasn’t sure if that idea made her feel better of not. She’s genuinely liked Bob’s sister when they’d met but was still unsure how the woman truly felt about her brother suddenly being married to a woman who was expecting.
“Finish your breakfast and we’ll talk about it, okay?” Bob said coaxingly. He was worried that Claire hadn’t eaten much of her breakfast.
“I am not hungry now.” Claire said softly.
“But you need to eat.” He said giving her hand a final squeeze. He had already decided that as soon as they were done he’s give Carol a call and ask her to come over. It was obvious to him that Claire needed to talk to a woman who she could confide in.
Gerard stared in disbelief at the car as it pulled to a stop. “Holy shit.” He muttered.
Anna gazed up at his from under her wide-brimmed hat. “Is something wrong?”
“Uh, when Jacob said we could borrow one of his cars I wasn’t expecting something like this.” He said as Jacob’s driver got out, opened the trunk and began loading Anna and Gerard’s bags.
“I am sure if you do not like this car we could always ask to take another.” Anna said.
Gerard tore his eyes away from the vintage cherry red Corvette. “How many cars does the guy have?”
“Thirty eight here in the garages.” The driver said handing Gerard the keys. “I was told to inform you that if you do not like this car you may choose another.”
“Thirty fuckin’ eight cars?” Gerard asked clearly shocked.
“Yes, Mr. Wallington has thirty eight cars on the property.”
Once again Gerard turned to look at the car. “Uh I know it’s a Corvette.” He said gazing in awe at the convertible. “What year?”
“This beauty is a 1967. It is one of the most covenanted Corvettes.”
“Fuck, I can see why.” Gerard said letting out a low whistle. The car was a beauty.
“So will you be taking this car?” The driver asked, “Or would you like to view the others? Mr. Wallington has given me permission to allow you to take any car you desire.”
Gerard had to ask, “What others does he have?”
“ Most are sports cars, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Lamborghini. He also has several Bentleys and a Rolls Royce. The garages are to the rear of the house. Would you like to view the other cars?”
Gerard turned to Anna, “He’s got all these cars and you never learned to drive?”
Anna laughed, “Obviously I am not as impressed with Jacob’s vehicles.”
“Shit, I guess not. Man, this car is sweet.” As much as he’d love to see the others he was anxious to get on the road. “This one is fine.” Gerard said to the driver. ‘Uh, thanks”
“You are most welcome.” The man nodded.
As he walked away Gerard whispered to Anna, “Uh so he’s…..?”
“Blood bound.” She answered with a sigh.
Gerard noticed her frown, “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“I had hoped to speak to Jacob before we left.” Anna admitted. She’d been very upset earlier when they’d been told Jacob had left hours earlier. “I do not understand why he did not tell us goodbye. He knew we were leaving.”
Gerard was sure Jacob’s departure had something to do with finding our more about Judith but he could not share that information with Anna. “I dunno maybe he had something important to do. He knows we’re gonna be back in a few days.”
Anna sighed, “Yes, I suppose that is correct.” The bright sun was starting to irate her skin, “Should we go?”
“Hell yeah.” Gerard was itching to get behind the wheel.
As the started down the long driveway Anna spoke softly, “I am sorry you can not put the top down. Perhaps if the weather turns cloudy.”
Gerard smiled over at her, “Sugar, it’s okay. I’m just stoked to drive this thing.”
Ray glanced over at his wife, “So, why so quiet?”
Christa gave him a shocked look, “I didn’t realize I was being quiet. I’m reading.”
He had been watching her on and off for the past hour and knew she wasn’t really reading. She’d glace at the book for a few minutes then stare off into space. “Something bothering you? I thought you wanted to hang around the house today and chill but if you’re bored we can go somewhere.”
“This is fine.” Christa said with a smile, “I’m happy just hanging around the house.”
Ray wasn’t convinced, “You don’t seem very happy.”
The truth was she’d been thinking a lot about Anna and the Healer world. Knowing that a world unknown to most existed was so exciting and yet, somehow a bit sad. What she knew she could never share with Ray. Standing up she crossed over to the sofa and sat down beside him. “I love you.” She said suddenly needing to say the words.
Ray sat down the magazine he’d been reading then turned to her, “I love you too.”
Christa snuggled up closer to him, “I was thinking maybe we could take a nap.” Her hand found it’s way under his hoodie to stroke his chest.
“A nap.” Ray smiled understanding her true meaning. “Well I am sorta tried. Wanna go lay down?”
Christa leaned forward to capture his lips, “Yeah.”
He quickly got off the sofa and before she could move he scooped her up in his arms. Christa let out a laugh. “Oh you are very tried.”
“Yeah, babe. I’m gonna show you how tired I am.” He said moving towards the bedroom.
Claire was in the bedroom hanging up her clothes when she heard the doorbell. A few minutes later she heard Bob call her name. Walking out into the living room she saw Carol. “Oh, hello.”
“Hey.” Carol walked over and gave her a hug, “Good to see you sis-in-law.”
Tears of happiness filled Claire’s eyes. She hugged Carol back tightly. “Thank you.”
Carol understood, “Bob told me you’re worried about how the family is gonna take the news.” She moved over and took a seat on the sofa, “Well I’m here to tell you that you’ve got nothing to worry about. Mom is gonna be thrilled about the marriage and the baby.”
Claire noticed that Bob was standing across the room watching them. She knew he’d called Carol to help put her mind at ease.
“Sit.” Carol said patting the sofa next to her. “Let’s talk while Bob makes himself scarce.” She gave her brother a smile.
Bob looked over at Claire to gauge her reaction. He wanted Carol and Claire to talk but he wasn’t sure if Claire was comfortable with him leaving.
Slowly Claire moved to the sofa then sat down beside Carol.
“Uh, I do need to hit the grocery store.” He said looking directly at Claire.
Claire gave him a small smile, “We need pancake mix.” She said forcing herself to act normally while letting him know she was okay with him leaving.
Bob smiled, “And fresh strawberries?”
“And blueberries.” Claire nodded.
Walking over Bob brushed a quickly kiss on her lips, “I’ll be back soon.”
Once he was gone Carol turned to Claire, “Okay, now we can talk.”
Suddenly Claire was nervous again. Carol seemed to have lost her smile and was very sober.
“Here’s the deal, Claire. You and my brother pretty much just met. The whole family met you once and now suddenly you two are married and gonna have a baby.”
Claire’s happiness was slipping away. She’d been right all along, Bob’s family was not going to accept her.
Carol sat back and looked into Claire’s eyes, “But I know my baby brother and I knew when I saw you two together he was madly in love with you. Tell me, do you really feel the same way about him?”
“I love him with all my heart.” Claire whispered.
A smile broke across Carol’s face, “That’s what I needed to hear. Welcome to the family. Now let’s talk about the baby. Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?”
“Frank” Jamia yelled as she struggled with the two grocery bags. “Come help.” She slowly made her way through the kitchen barely making it to the counter before one of the bags tore open.
Frank had still not appeared.
Jamia put the perishables in the refrigerator then went in search of her husband. She found him in the study intently staring at the computer screen.
“Frank, didn’t you hear me calling you?” She huffed.
“Uh sorry.” He said not taking his eyes off the screen.
Jamia crossed the room, “What are you looking at?”
Frank pushed pause and the video came to a standstill. “Shawn sent this to me. A friend of his was going through some of his old concert footage and thought Shawn might want to see it.”
Jamia glanced at the screen. “Oh, wow. Isn’t that one of the bands first gigs?”
“Yeah.” Frank said, “I didn’t even know anyone had tapped this one. I think it’s the second of third show we ever did.”
“Third.” Jamia said looking closely at the screen. “I remember you wore that tee shirt I told you not to. So while that’s cool and all I can really use some help putting the rest of the groceries away.”
“Jamia you gotta watch this.” Frank said backing up the video. When he got it to the spot he’d been searching for he started it again. The video was obviously being filmed from the crowd. It was often blurry and the camera was shaky. “There.” Frank said pausing it again.
“There, what?” Jamia asked leaning closer to take a better look. The image on the screen wasn’t of the band but of the crowd. “Look close and tell me who that is.” He pointed.
Jamia leaned closer, “That woman? The one with the short black hair?”
For a moment Jamia studied the woman, “I dunno.”
“Look really close.” Frank urged.
Jamia studies the woman with the short hair and glasses. “Kinda looks like Anna, a little.”
“It looks like Anna a lot.” Frank said, “Okay I know the hair looks wrong and the glasses but look at the face. I’m sure that’s Anna.”
“Maybe.” Jamia said straightening back up, “So what?”
Frank turned to her, “Why wouldn’t she have told us she saw this show?”
“She did say she’s seen several of your shows.” Jamia reminded him.
“Yeah, but she made it sound like that was after we were an established band. Shit, there couldn’t have been 100 people at his gig and most were friends. So what’s she doing there?”
“If that’s her.” Jamia said still not convinced the woman on the video was Anna.
“It’s her.” Frank said turning back to look at the screen. “I’m sure of it.”
Jamia frowned, “I don’t see why this is such a big deal. What difference does it make?”
“Cause I’m sure I’ve seen her at lots of our shows.” Frank said slowly. “But she didn’t always look the same. Like she was trying not to be recognized.”
“Well, I’m gonna go but the groceries away.” Jamia sighed.
As she left the room Frank pulled up another old video of an early performance. He was going to check as many as he could trying to find Anna in the crowds. Something about this was bothering him more and more.