Claire shares her news with Anna. Gerard makes a startling discovery.
The doctor spoke up quickly, “Bob, everything is fine.” She was comfortable calling him by his first name. His sister was more than simply a patient, she was a friend and even though Bob probably didn’t remember, they had met at one of Carol’s parties.
Looking away from his wife Bob glanced at the doctor, “Then why the tears?”
Dr. Lane smiled, “Claire is just a little emotional right now.” She sat back and laughed softly, “Better get used to it. We pregnant woman have some pretty wild emotional mood swings.”
Claire gave the doctor a surprised look “You are pregnant also?”
“Yep, with my fourth.” Dr. Lane nodded. “Matter of fact you and I are about at the same point, seven weeks.”
“Oh, then you won’t deliver our baby.” Bob said as he reached over to take Claire’s hand. Relief filled his mind knowing that she and the baby were okay.
“No, but I will work pretty much up to my due date.” She smiled at Claire, “So we’ll be getting through our pregnancies together.” She picked up a prescription pad, “Now Claire has told me that she’s rarely sick and that’s excellent. I’m going to give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Make sure you take them.”
“And other than feeling tried you don’t have any other problems?”
Bob spoke up, “Uh, she’s been sick a few times.”
Dr. Lane looked up, “Oh, morning sickness?”
“A couple of times but once or twice in the late afternoon.”
A smile covered the doctor’s face. She could hear the concern and love in Bob’s voice. “That’s not unusual. During my first pregnancy my morning sickness could have been called ‘3 in the afternoon sickness’. I was sick every day for the first four months at exactly 3. Could have set a watch by it.”
Claire found herself relaxing. Dr. Lane’s friendly attitude made her feel so much better. “I have been lucky. Most days I feel fine.”
“That’s good.” The doctor smiled, “Now make sure and call me if anything comes up. I know a first time pregnancy can be scary and I don’t want you to worry.” She looked over at Bob, “Carol is pretty excited about having a niece or nephew.”
He grinned, “Yeah, she is. Now we just gotta tell the rest of the family.” He gave Claire’s hand a tight squeeze.
Dr. Lane laughed, “Yes, Carol mentioned something about you two making the announcement tonight.”
“Claire, I know Bob’s family. I’m sure you realize by now that Carol and I are close friends. They are going to be very happy for you two.”
Claire gave a small smile, “I hope so.”
Dr Lane finished writing then handed the prescription across the desk to Claire, “Hey, don’t worry. Stress isn’t good for the baby.” She felt a wave of compassion for Bob’s new wife. The woman had told her she had no real family just a close friend and her uncle. “And for the record I’m pretty sure you and I are going to be close friends too.”
Claire looked up then smiled, “I would like that.”
Dr Lane nodded, “Okay then. Take care and make your next appointment on the way out.” She smiled at the couple, “And next time we’ll all take a listen to the baby’s heartbeat.”
“Oh, Bob will not be here.” Claire said quickly, “He will be on tour.”
“I’ll be here.” Bob said softly, “I’m not gonna miss that.”
Gerard and Anna had still not moved from the floor. They were still lying side-by-side talking. He was trying to figure out why Anna’s comment about not knowing when to use her healing gift was troubling him.
“Sugar.” He said slowly, “I have to ask you something.”
Anna turned her head to look into his eyes.
“When you healed me did you feel it was the right thing to do?”
She stared at him a moment before answering, “Yes, I did.”
He hated to push this but he had to know, “So you didn’t feel using your gift to save me was wrong?”
Anna sighed, “Gee, I just told you I thought it was the right thing to do.”
He continued to look directly into her eyes, “So what would happen if you did use your gift to heal someone you could feel you shouldn’t save?”
This whole conversation was beginning to bother Anna. She wanted the time they spent alone here to be happy. “We should shower and then I can show you the rest of the house.”
As she started to get up his hand shot out to stop her. “I want to understand everything about you. That’s why I’m asking.”
Her temper snapped, “You do not want to know everything about me. Believe me my life as a Healer has been boring.”
He was surprised by her anger, “Anna, what’s wrong?”
She looked away, “Nothing is wrong. I just am not comfortable talking about certain things.”
“You’re not comfortable talking about being a Healer.” He said knowingly.
Tears appeared in her eyes, “I am not comfortable talking about that which separates us.”
“The mortal and the immortal?”
“You would rather pretend that difference doesn’t exist?”
“For now.” She whispered.
He hated the sadness that covered her face, “Okay then Sugar.” He said sitting up. “Let’s take that shower you mentioned. I really can’t wait to see your art studio.”
Anna was grateful he’d let the conversation go for now. She watched as he stood then offered her his hand. He pulled her off the floor and into his arms to hug her tightly.
Gerard whispered in her ear, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” She whispered back.
Gerard was still in the shower when Anna’s cell rang. She wrapped a towel around her body then crossed into the bedroom where she’d left her purse.
“Hello, Claire.” She answered.
“Anna. Is this a bad time to call?”
Sitting on the bed Anna smiled, “Of course not. Did Bob tell you I called yesterday?”
“He did.” Claire answered. “He told me he also mentioned we met Alyssa.”
Anna sighed, “Did he tell you what I called her?”
Claire laughed, “Oh yes. I believe Bob was quite happy you have that opinion of her.” She lowered her voice, “Anna, it worried me when I saw her. She gave me the distinct impression she feels it is wrong I am no longer at your side.”
“Yes, well what she believes is of no importance to me.” She did not want Claire to dwell on this so she changed the subject, “So are you happy to be in your new home?”
“Oh very,” Claire’s voice was full of happiness. “But why I called was to tell you I went to the doctor today and everything is fine.”
“That is wonderful.” Anna answered. Before she could say anything else Claire went on.
“And the doctor, Dr. Lane was very nice. She is a close friend of Bob’s sister, Carol.”
The happiness in Claire’s voice made Anna smile, “I am glad. So I take it his sister knows about the baby?”
“Yes.” Claire’s smiled slowly slipped, “But only his sister. Tonight we are going to tell the rest of his family about our marriage and the baby.”
“Claire, I believe you are worrying needlessly. Bob’s family will be happy.”
“I hope that is true.” Claire whispered.
“They will be.” Anna was determined to keep her spirits up on the matter. “You and Bob are very much in love. They will see that.”
“Yes, we are.” Claire said softly. “I love him with all my heart.”
“Just as I love the silly man who is standing across the room dripping wet.” Anna said trying not to smile.
Gerard laughed wondering how she knew he’d entered the room. He walked towards the bed while using the towel to dry off.
“Oh, then I did disturb you.” Claire said quickly.
“No, not at all. I am glad you called. Gee just got out of the shower.” She watched as he finished drying his body then used the towel to wipe the hardwood floor where he’d left footprints. “We are home.” Anna said softly so that Claire would understand they were no longer at Jacob’s estate.
“Oh, you did not stay with Jacob?”
“We left this morning. We will be returning there in a few days.”
Claire immediately wanted to ask if Jacob had provided any information about what had been happening but Bob walked into the room. She wanted Anna to understand so she said, “So how is Jacob?” Anna could hear her telling Bob she was talking to Anna.
“Tell Bob hello.” Anna said so that Claire would understand she knew she could no longer speak freely.
Claire told him and he responded with a hello.
“Claire, I will talk with you at a later time.” Anna said. “And please do not worry about tonight. His family will be happy.”
“Thank you, Anna.” Claire said with emotion. “I will call you tomorrow.”
Anna said goodbye then closed her phone.
Bob sat down by his wife on the sofa, “So how’s Anna and Gerard?”
“They are at her home in Vermont.” Claire explained.
“Oh, I thought they were staying with her uncle.”
“They left his home this morning.” Claire answered.
“That was your home too.” Bob said watching her face closely, “Do you miss it?”
“I have a beautiful new home.” Claire said snuggling up to him. “But when time permits I would like you to see the house in Vermont. It is lovely.” She had many fond memories of the house and the hours she’d spent there as a child.
“Sure.” Bob said, “I’d like that. Can’t say I’ve ever spent much time in Vermont. And besides we’ll have to get all of your things.”
Claire laughed, “I really do not have that many possessions.”
Bob nuzzled her neck, “Well then you’ll just have to start filling this house with things you love. Maybe tomorrow we’ll go shopping.”
“This house already has what I love the most in the world.” Claire said softly looking deeply into his blue eyes. “There is nothing else I need.”
Gerard placed the wet towel over the rack in the bathroom then quickly dressed in sweat pants and a tee. Returning to the bedroom he saw that Anna had finished her call, dressed in sweats and was sitting staring down at the floor.
“What’s wrong?” He asked with concern in his voice.
Anna looked up and smiled, “Nothing is wrong. Claire was just called to tell me she had been to see a doctor today.”
“Oh, a baby doctor?” Gerard asked.
Anna laughed, “Actually I believe they do not refer to themselves as baby doctors but you are on the correct track. She went because of her pregnancy.”
He shrugged, “Don’t know much about that shit but it’s good to hear she’s doing okay.”
“She sounds very happy.” Anna said softly.
Gerard believed he understood. “This is pretty hard for you, isn’t it?”
“It is a sudden change I was not prepared for.” Anna admitted. “While I am very happy she has a life of her own now I do miss her.”
“Not to worry.” Gerard said sitting down next to her on the bed, “We’ll see both of them soon enough.”
Anna was not sure if he truly did not understood how she felt of that he did understand and was trying to make her feel better by downplaying the situation. Either way she was determined not to fall into a state of melancholy. Standing up she said, “I want to start the tour downstairs.”
He grinned, “I already saw the living room.”
Anna laughed, “I do not believe your mind was on the room.”
“Uh, sure it was, Sugar. I especially like that one chair.”
Rolling her eyes Anna shook her head, “Come on.” She grabbed his hand and together they went back down the main staircase.
They walked through the entrance hall and back into the living room. Anna ignored how Gerard kept casting glances in the direction of that certain chair.
Next she showed him the dining room which she had converted into a media room.
“Wow.” Gerard said taking in the huge flat screen TV, stereo system with surround sound, and wall to ceiling shelves full of DVD’s. “This is awesome.”
“Well” Anna said smiling, “Claire and I did not have much use for a formal dining room so this seemed to be a good choice.”
Gerard was studying the movies, “Man, you’ve got so many great ones. Tonight let’s have a Planet of the Apes marathon.”
“If that is what you would like.” Anna agreed.
She walked towards the door but had to call out his name to get his attention.
The kitchen was a large recently remodeled area.
“Hey, this is nice.” Gerard said running his hand over the black granite top counters.
“Once again while it is of little use to me I wanted the house to offer all the modern conveniences for Claire.”
He heard the slight sadness in her voice again. Wanting the see her smile again he said, “So where’s the art studio?”
“You have a one track mind.”
Gerard laughed, “I’ve been told that.”
“It is upstairs.” Anna said “But first you must see the library.” She led the way.
“Holy shit.” Gerard muttered once she threw open the large double doors. His eyes took in the massive built in bookshelves. “How many books do you have?”
“Thousands.” Anna answered. “I have always loved collecting books.” She walked across to one of the shelves knowing it contained a special book. She pulled it from the shelf then crossed over to Gerard who was reading titles. “I bought this book years ago for you.”
Gerard looked down at the book she held in her hand, “Fuck, is that a first edition?”
“Yes.” Anna nodded.
Almost reverently he took the hardback “Catcher In The Rye” from her hands. He opened the book, “Oh my God. It’s autographed.”
“I thought you might enjoy this copy.”
“Holy shit, Anna. Thank you. Fuck, I love this book. It used to be my favorite.” He said turning to look in her eyes, “Until I read Annabelle Lewis’s stuff.”
Anna smiled, “I am not a great author.”
“You’re wrong, Sugar. You are an incredibly talented author. One who will be remembered long after she stops writing.”
While she didn’t believe his words she was touched to hear the emotion in his voice. “If not for you I never would have written a single story.”
That fact was still so hard for him to believe, “Well then the rest of the world owes me a debt of gratitude.” He laughed.
They spent several minutes in the library before Gerard was ready to move on.
As the climbed the back staircase Gerard asked, “So when we get done with this tour are you going to let me move in?”
Anna gave him a shocked look, “Of course. If this is where you wish to reside.”
“I wish to reside with you.” They had just arrived at the top of the stairs. He took her hands in his, “I love this house. I can see us being happy here.”
Anna led the way down the hall. This first room is Claire’s.” She said as they passed by the closed door. “She chose the smallest bedroom because it has a wonderful view of the woods.”
Moving further down the hall she opened another door, “This is the room I use as an art studio. As she pushed open the door Gerard rushed past her. His eyes scanned the room.
“Holy shit.” He said softly as he walked towards a beautiful water color painting resting on an easel. “Anna, this is beautiful.”
She smiled at the praise. “That is the one I completed just before we left for New York.”
He studied the painting noting the delicate strokes. “Is this from memory?”
“Yes, that is a street in Paris.”
Gerard studied the painting closely. It was a night scene after a rain. Anna had made it come to life with the lights reflecting in the puddles of rainwater. “Shit, I love this. One day I want us to go there so I can see this street.”
Anna sighed, “Gee, that is how the street looked over seventy years ago.”
He gave Anna a shocked look, “Seriously?”
He studied the painting again, “There is nothing in the painting that dates the work.”
“No, I deliberately did not include anything in the painting like vehicles, or the style of dress of the time.”
Her voice sounded sad again, “Why?”
She struggled to explain, “I suppose I do not like to be reminded of my age. That is silly is it not?”
He truly wasn’t sure what to say. It was good she was being honest about her feelings but at the same time he hated that she felt the way she did. Instead of answering he leaned over and kissed her gently.
Anna snuggled against his body for a few moments then asked, “Would you like a cup of Earl Grey tea?"
Gerard smiled, “Yeah, that sounds nice.”
“I find it very calming.” Anna explained, “I will be back in a few minutes. I assume you wish to stay here and look at my other works?”
“Yeah, I do. Sure you don’t need any help?”
Anna gave him a quick kiss, “I will be back soon.”
Carefully Anna walked up the stairs balancing the tray containing the teapot and cups. She gently hummed to herself feeling happy Gerard loved her home. As she started down the hallway she came to an abrupt halt. The door to her personal study was open.
Gerard looked up when he heard Anna walk into the room. “Hey, hope you don’t mind me being nosy but I wondered what this room was.”
“As you can see it is my study.” Anna said softly, “Come let us have our tea.” She turned hoping he’d follow her back into the art studio.
Gerard took one more look around at the bookshelves and was about to follow Anna when something caught his eyes.
Anna sat the tray down on the table with a sigh. She knew Gerard was still in her study. Slowly she walked back to the room. He was holding the object in his hand studying it with a look of shock on his face.
“Your mother set it out at the curb with the garbage.” Anna said softly.
He turned to her, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you have this.” Gerard looked lovingly down at the sand pail in his hands. “I remember how pissed I was when I found out mom had thrown it away.”
Anna smiled, “Well I am sure she believed a boy in his early teens had no use for a sand pail.”
“I didn’t.” Gerard answered, “But it was important cause Grandma gave it to me.”
“You never really lost it.” Anna said softly, “I have kept it for you all these years.”
Gerard let his mind go back to that day he’d first laid eyes on Anna. He wished with all his heart his memories were clearer. “You rescued it twice.”
“Yes.” Anna nodded. Hoping he’d move back into the art studio she turned and left the room saying, “Our tea will get cold.”
“Yeah, okay.” Gerard muttered while taking one more look at part of his childhood. Lovingly he placed it back on the shelf. He was about to turn to follow Anna when a framed photo caught his eye.
Anna was just pouring tea into the cups when Gerard walked in. His voice shook, “Anna why didn’t you tell me you knew Grandma?”