Waiting for news.
“Oh child you gave me a scare.” Granny said as she kept her thin arms securely around Claire’s shoulders. “What happened?”
Suddenly the horror Claire had felt just before fainting came back full force. “Oh God.” She whispered. “Anna.”
Now Granny had a name to go with the woman she and Claire had been discussing. “She’s in trouble?” You felt it?”
Not able to stop her words Claire let them pour out from her soul. “Something has happened, something terrible.”
Just as Granny was about to open her mouth Claire’s cell phone rang. Her fingers trembled as she picked it up and saw it was Bob calling. “I can not talk to him now.” She cried. She knew in her heart he would hear the fear in her voice.
Suddenly Granny took control of the situation. “I’ll answer him.” She said patting Claire’s shoulder. “You go on in and get a drink of water.”
“Clairy do as I say.” Granny said nodding. “I’ll tell Bobby you can’t come to the phone right now.”
Claire realized at the moment Granny understood more than she thought possible. “Thank you.”
“Oh God.” Christa whispered as she realized tears where rolling down her cheeks. “Oh Anna.”
Getting to her feet quickly she grabbed her cell phone and tried Claire’s number. It was busy. She sat down the phone then took a deep breath trying to understand the blinding sorrow that was filling her mind and body.
“Told him you was in the bathroom and you’d call him back.” Granny said a few minutes later when Claire reappeared. She had dried her eyes but they continued to look haunted.
“I must try to call her.” Claire said taking the phone from Granny’s outstretched hand.
The call could not be completed. Claire’s fingers shook as she tried Jacob’s number.
“Ill go fetch me something to drink.” Granny said pulling her body up from the glider as Claire’s phone began to ring. While she had only heard Claire’s part of the conversation she knew something tragic must have befallen Claire’s Anna.
Claire nodded as she connected, “Christa” She whispered.
“Claire I’ve been trying to call you. What’s going on? What’s happened?” At this point she knew in her heart something was very wrong so it never occurred to her that Claire wouldn’t know it too.
“I do not know.” Claire said once again fighting back tears. “I tried to call her first then I tried Jacob. His housekeeper answered and said about ten minutes ago Jacob suddenly fled the house. He took several of his men with him. Mrs. Ellis was sure it has something to do with Anna.”
“The pain.” Christa said allowing herself to break down again, “Oh God, Claire. I can feel her pain, her heart is breaking. It’s overwhelming despair.”
“Something has happened to Gerard." Claire said softly as tears silently rolled down her cheeks. “Nothing else could make her feel that much pain.”
“Gerard? Oh my God I should have realized that.” Christa said trying to take a calming breath but finding it difficult. “Something happened to him.”
“Yes that is what I fear.” Claire answered softly. “It kills me that there is nothing we can do but wait. I am sure Jacob will phone me soon.”
“And then you’ll call me, right?"
“Yes.” Claire answered wiping her eyes. “But for now there we much try to be strong. Anna would want that.”
Christa nodded in agreement. “God I hope he calls soon.”
“So do I.” Claire answered as she noticed Granny standing at the back door. She raised her hand to motion for the older woman to join her. “I must go now. Bob will be returning soon and I must get control of my emotions.”
“I’m glad Ray’s not here.” Christa said sadly, “I don’t think I could hide this from him.”
Granny sat back down in her original spot and waited.
“I will call you as soon as I learn what has happened.” Claire said again.
Suddenly Christa had another frightening thought, “Claire you’ve got to try to stay calm. I know how hard this is but you have to think about your baby.”
“Yes, I realize that.” Claire answered softly, “I know that is what Anna would want.”
Once Claire had placed her phone on the seat beside her Granny spoke.
“Honey is there anything I can do for ya?”
Raising her hand Claire placed it against her forehead to gently try to ease some of the tension away. “For now nothing can be done.”
“I called Mae and had her let me talk to Bobby.”
Claire’s head snapped up.
Granny raised her hand to silence her, “Told him you was feelin’ poorly. Figured the last thing you wanted was for them to come home and have to sit around talkin’ when you’re worried about her.”
“Oh” Claire said slowly realizing what Granny had done was to help her. “Thank you.”
“He got all worried but I told him just to stop that foolishness. Told him he better get used to his woman not feelin’ well sometimes cause of the baby.”
Claire smiled sadly, “You must think it is terrible I keep things from him.”
Granny looked at her closely, “You do it for you or for him?”
“I do it to keep our lives together safe. I do it because I love him and our baby.” Claire answered from her heart.
“And you do it for Anna?”
“Yes.” Claire nodded. “For Anna.”
A few hours later Bob had Claire tucked in bed but it was obvious from the look in his face he was very worried about his wife.
“I am fine.” Claire said softly understanding his look of concern.
“But you’re so pale.” He said touching her cheek gently with his fingertip.
Claire was trying desperately to keep her emotions in check. “You heard Granny. She told you there is nothing to worry about.”
Bob perched carefully on this side of the bed then took her hand in his. “Uh, Honey, Granny ain’t a doctor.”
“But she has brought a lot of babies into this world.” Claire reminded him. Granny had shared many of her midwife stories before they’d left. The woman was extremely knowledgeable in childbirth.
“Yeah, I know.” Bob smiled slightly. “Okay so I’m gonna head to the store now. Sure you only want homemade chicken soup?”
Claire had chosen the soup for dinner because she knew it would mean Bob would have to go to the grocery store. She needed the time alone to gather her thoughts and hopefully talk to Jacob. “The soup sounds good to me and Granny said it was a good idea too.”
Bob’s eyes narrowed, “You and Granny seem to have hit it off.”
The depth of honesty in Claire’s answer was clear, “I love Granny. She is an amazing woman. When you were gone we had a chance to really get to know each other.”
Bob’s eyes narrowed even further, “There is something you aren’t telling me.”
Claire had to think fast. “Perhaps.” She forced herself to smile. “Granny told me the sex of our baby.”
Claire nodded, “Yes, and I believe she knows. I can not explain why but I do believe her.”
“So you gonna share this info with me?” Bob teased. “Or make me wait?”
Claire was about to answer when her cell rang. She grabbed it before Bob could make a move to retrieve it from the nightstand. Seeing it was Jacob she took a deep breath. “It’s Anna’s uncle.” She explained. Hoping he would get the hint she smiled, “Hurry back.”
Bob knew he was being dismissed but accepted the fact. “Okay, be back soon.”
As soon as he walked out of the room Claire answered.
Pulling the keys out of his pocket Bob whistled as he slid behind the wheel. He was still concerned about Claire’s health but now another thought was in his head…was the baby a boy or a girl.
“Damn.” He shook his head with a smile as he pulled out onto the street. “Granny probably really does now.”
The happiness he was feeling would have been ruined had he not been driving away from the house because inside Claire was sobbing as she listened to Jacob’s words.
“I am so pleased.”
Her words made the tension fall from his body. She had been so quiet as he’d explained to her everything that had happened, the accident and what had taken place in the hours that followed. Now however he could finally smile. “I told you I would not fail you.”
“That you did.” She gave a throaty laugh. “But tell me again.. The Pure showed up and carried his child from the car?”
“Yeah, he had to pry her off that guy’s body. She was screaming and crying. I couldn’t believe it. Then as soon as he had her in his car the guys the Pure brought with him pulled the guy out of the wreckage.”
“And the wreckage? You waited as I instructed, didn’t you?”
“Yes.” He answered quickly. “I waited until a flat bed showed up and they towed the car away.”
“Excellent.” She smiled, “It will be interesting to see how this will all play out.”
John pulled out a cigarette and lit it before asking softly, “So you will come to me now?”
“Of course.” She purred, “You have proven your devotion and you will be rewarded. Expect me within the next few hours.”
“Uh, sure you want to come here?” He asked glancing around at the run-down motel room she’d instructed him to rent. “I could meet you some place else.”
“You are not happy with your accommodations?”
Honestly he had almost been sure when she’d given him the address that it had been a mistake. This area of town was seedy and the motel catered mostly to drug dealers and prostitutes. “Well I just meant it’s not where a lady like you should be.”
She laughed, “You are saying that most of the rooms are rented by the hour?”
He was never sure what she would say to surprise him next. “Uh well…”
“You haven’t sampled what’s being sold there have you?"
“Oh no.” He sputtered, “You know I love you. There ain’t no one else in the world I want to be with.”
His answer did not surprise her. The blood bond between them was strong. “That is what I wanted to hear. I will see you soon.”
After speaking with Jacob Claire had barely made it to the bathroom before vomiting. His words had broken her heart. Now however she had to calm down, she had to think. She washed her hands, dried her eyes and prayed silently that Bob would not return before she called Christa.
“Have you talked to Jacob?” Christa asked without a greeting.
Claire closed her eyes. “Yes, I have spoken to him.”
“And?" Christa asked gripping the phone tightly in her hand.
“It is as I feared.” Claire whispered. “There was an automobile accident.” Tears rolled down her cheeks, “A fatal accident.”