Fourteen years passed too quickly.
Soon after the group broke up Mikey began working in the comic industry along side his brother. Together they had created a very popular on going comic book series. The fact that the female heroine was an immortal had caused more than a few raised eyebrows in the Healer world. However since Anna and Gerard spent much of their free time amongst other Healers they were well liked and respected. At first it had been Gerard who had insisted they be apart of that world but over time Anna in all her new found happiness with Gerard at her side had agreed. For the first time since becoming a Healer she was truly comfortable with who she had become. She was comfortable with what her husband had become.
Ray was still involved in the music business full time. He worked along side many well established musicians. However, much to his disappointment, MCR had never gotten the chance to work with Hudson Evans. Things just never seemed to work out. While he still hopped for the chance to work with the world famous musician Christa knew in her heart that would never happen. Hudson had been true to his word, they had never again gotten the chance to speak alone. He had purposely kept his distance, a fact that saddened her. While she loved Ray and their only daughter with all her heart there was a part of her that still longed for Hudson. Anna had understood this and shortly after Gerard had been turned she had suggested it might be best for Christa to distance herself from the Healer world. Christa understood the choice Anna was offering – letting their bond fade. That was an option Christa rejected. For the years the band had been together she continued her close blood bond with Anna. She and Claire both had happily taken over the responsibility of looking after both Gerard and Anna’s needs. But because she secretly always envied Claire’s deep bond with Anna she had periodically requested Anna to take nourishment from her. It was important to Christa to keep her bond with Anna and the Healer world strong. The only time she had truly felt the bond to lessen was during her pregnancy which happened two years after Gerard was turned. It was a difficult time of Christa but one she tried to hide. While she longed to be a mother and was truly happy she was with child during that time she missed the bond. The pregnancy had turned out to be difficult and when her only child was born complications had arisen which prevented her and Ray from ever having more children.
Frank and Jamia spent all of their time handing their large family and their record company. They had twenty three music groups signed and plans to add more were underway. At times it was hard to juggle a family of three boys and twin daughters with the music business but it was the love of music that kept them going. Frank often would reflect on just how wonderful life had turned out. It still caused him to pause wondering how he could ever have doubted Anna’s love for Gerard. When he had first heard they had married he’d still planned to tell Gerard about what he had found on the tapes, how it had seemed Anna had been around much longer than anyone had believed. However, the first time he saw Anna and Gerard together after their marriage Gerard had looked into his eyes and told him Anna was his soul mate. Frank never had another doubt.
Bob and Claire still lived in Chicago in the same house he’d owned when they’d married. Several times over the years he’d wanted to buy Claire a larger house but she wouldn’t hear of it. She loved their home and it was just the right size for the three of them. Claire loved her life with Bob and their son. The only sadness she felt was she had been unable to give her husband a daughter. However when that sadness arose Bob always assured her he had no regrets. They had a healthy son with fiery red hair and blue eyes. A son who wanted to be just like his dad. Only a few days earlier he’d joined several of his high school friends in a newly formed band as their drummer. Bob was beyond pleased.
As for Gerard and Anna…the life they now led was full of happiness yet it seemed sorrow was lurking around the corner. Lately it was becoming more and more obvious neither Gerard or Anna was aging. Often Alicia pouted that it seemed she now looked older than Anna. Mikey had recently remarked to his brother that it wasn’t fair he looked like the older brother now. Those half jokingly said comments hurt Gerard and Anna more than anyone would ever know. The clock was ticking.
“Christa.” Ray yelled from the living room.
The frantic sound in his voice caused her heart to begin to race. However more than that it was the overwhelming sadness she felt that was almost crippling.
“Mom?” Her daughter asked looking up from her school book.
Christa stood up as Ray came into the room.
“Oh Christa.” Ray seemed at a loss for words. “The news just broke. Hudson Evans plane went down. He was on his way back to New York from Paris….”
“Anna and Gerard.” Christa’s voice shook.
Ray nodded not trusting his voice.
“What about them?” Their daughter asked trying to understand what was going on.
“Honey, they were with Hudson.” Christa said softly.
“No.” The young girl screamed. “No that can’t be right.” Her eyes filled with tears.
“They are alright. I just know it.”
Suddenly the truth hit Christa. Today was exactly fourteen years since Hudson had brought her home from Jacob’s. Fourteen… fourteen… now she knew why the number had haunted her. She hadn’t realized it then but she’d had only fourteen years to spend with Anna as her blood bound and close friend. Now that was all over. Gerard and Anna had left all of their lives.
“There was to be some mistake.”
Ray blinked back tears and he looked at his daughter. “I’m sorry honey but they were with Hudson. They were returning from a benefit concert.”
Falling back in her seat Christa lowered her head. Now she understood why Anna had refused to let her go with them. When she had first mentioned the idea Ray had urged her to go. He knew Christa was having a rough time dealing with their unruly pre-teen daughter. Christa, who was still strongly blood bound to Anna had wanted to be at her side. She’d believed Anna had refused because of Hudson but now she understood the truth. It wasn’t that Hudson hadn’t wanted Christa there it was because it was time for them to leave. Tears filled her eyes.
“I don’t care what anyone says. They are okay.”
Ray tried to hug his daughter knowing how close she was to Anna, but she pulled away. She ran from the room sobbing.
Ray knelt down by his wife’s chair. “Shit, Babe. Thank God you didn’t go with them.” As shocked and saddened as he was he held on to the blessing that his wife was safe.
Christa nodded unable to speak.
Ray hugged her tightly. “I’m gonna go talk to her.” He said releasing his wife then standing.
Christa forced herself to handle the situation. “No, let me.” Her troubled daughter’s words kept replaying in her head…”They are okay, I just know it.” A nagging thought in the back of Christa’s mind made her hurry her steps.
“Mikey?” Alicia rushed to her husband. She turned in time to see him slide down the wall still clutching his phone.
“It’s Gee.” Mikey’s eyes filled with tears. “He’s gone.”
Alicia was confused and afraid. “Gone?”
“Hudson’s plane went down over the Atlantic.” Mikey sobbed.
Alicia burst into tears not only for her husband who had lost his brother but for herself. Anna had become a sister to her. “Oh fuck.” She threw her arms around Mikey and together they cried.
“Dad, something’s wrong with mom.”
Bob looked up from the snare drum he’d been assembling for his son’s new drum kit. “What?”
Clark Bryar shrugged causing his unruly red curls to bounce. “I dunno. I was walking through the kitchen and I saw her. She’s just sitting at the window staring. I think she’s crying.”
Bob rose quickly. “Uh, finish up that snare.” He said. “I’ll go talk to your mom.”
Clark nodded, “Sure.” Secretly he was relived. He hated to see his mom cry and he knew his dad would handle it. While a lot of his friends had divorced parents he saw everyday the love his parents had for each other. Often he thought it was like they could finish each others sentences. Briefly he wondered if he’d ever find a girl he’d love like that.
Bob hurried his steps. “Claire.” He said softly kneeling down by her rocker. “Hun, what is it?”
Claire couldn’t pretend anymore. Even though she and Bob had not received the news yet she knew, she could feel it deep in her soul. “It’s Anna.” She whispered brokenly.
While Bob had never truly understood the relationship between his wife and Anna he had accepted the fact that Claire had a deep love for her friend. “What about her?”
“She’s gone.” Claire whispered.
Bob frowned, “Gone? What do you mean?”
“Hey Dad.” Clark yelled from the other room. “It just came on the news….Hudson Evens plane went down.”
Bob clutched Claire’s hands tightly. “She and Gerard were on the plane, weren’t they?”
Claire could only nod.
Bob never asked her how she knew; he simply held her tight and reminded her how much he loved her. It was what Claire needed.
“How is she doing?” Hudson asked Gerard in a hushed tone.
Gerard glanced towards the front of the private jet where Anna was seated. Her head was lowered, her eyes closed. “This is so fuckin’ hard for her.” Gerard answered in a whisper.
“So hard she couldn’t tell Christa and Claire goodbye.”
Hudson sighed, “She knew this day would come.”
“Don’t make it any easier.” Gerard answered wishing the Pure could understand his and Anna’s feeling. He was surprised when Hudson touched his arm gently.
“How are you doing?”
Since they were alone Gerard spoke the truth. “This is fuckin’ brutal. By now I’m sure Mikey has heard.” He shook his head sadly. “And Ma and dad. Fuck I know what they are feeling.”
Hudson nodded, “Gerard you need to remember Anna knows that too. She had known all along how hard this day would be for you. In her mind I’m sure she carries guilt.”
“Oh course. She turned you immortal. If that had not happened you would not be living this day, feeling this pain.”
“But I would have at sometime.” Gerard argued. “Morals lose their loved ones to death.”
Hudson’s smile was sad. “True. But the dead move on. They do not feel the pain of those they leave behind. They do not see it.” He paused, “At least I don’t think they do. We Pures really have no idea what death entails.”
Gerard’s eyes were once more on Anna. When he turned back to Hudson he asked, “So have you heard from the council?”
“You know you and Anna have caused quite a stir. Several Pures voiced their beliefs that you two shouldn’t remain together.”
Gerard gave him a shocked look. “What?”
Hudson held up his hand in a calming manner. “It’s because you both are well known in the mortal world.” When he saw the anger in Gerard’s eyes he added quickly. “But don’t worry. Jacob and Katherine went to bat for you two. They assured the council that once you two alter your appearances there would be no problem. But there is something else and Anna needs to hear this too.”
“Is it gonna upset her?”
“How upset she is I think will depend on you.” Hudson said softly. He took Gerard’s arm and led him down the aisle towards Anna. Once they were all seated Hudson took her hand in his. “Tough day, I know.”
Anna looked up. “You could say that.” Her eyes turned to Gerard.
“It’s gonna be okay, Sugar.” He smiled.
“I wish they had given us more time to prepare.” Anna said softly.
Hudson leaned over and kissed her cheek. “You know that’s not how it’s done.” He said sitting back. “I was just telling Gerard there have been some concerns.”
Anna’s eyes grew wide. “They want us to part, don’t they?”
“Some do but don’t worry. There is a solution.”
Still Anna was visibly upset. “But we are going to change our appearances. It is done often. Why are we being singled out?”
Hudson sighed, “I’m not gonna lie. As well liked as you two are by most Pures there are still some who were not happy when His excellence placed your maker in charge of the lower council and while the timing ain’t great you need to know that he has now requested Jacob move on to lead the high council.”
Anna was surprised. “Why has Jacob not told me this?”
“Just happened.” Hudson explained. “Anyway there are some Pures who believe you and Gerard get special treatment because of Jacob.”
“This goes back to Anna turning me?” Gerard asked.
Hudson nodded, “Yeah, it does. The fact that she was not punished for her actions pissed of some Pures.”
“But the ruling came directly from His Excellence.” Anna said.
“True.” Hudson nodded. “So they can’t really be all that vocal about their displeasure about how things turned out. No one is going to go against His Excellence’s ruling.”
Anna leaned back with a sigh. “I wish they would leave us alone.”
It was Gerard who spoke. “Sugar, we are a part of that world. You know we have to play by their rules.”
Hudson was pleased by Gerard’s comment. “That’s right.” He nodded. “Now there is something I want to do to help you two out.”
“What?” Gerard asked.
“Well I think I have a pretty good solution to the problem at hand. In the Caribbean I own an island. It’s small but beautiful. There is a large manor house complete with an art studio. I’m offering it to you both. If you chose to go there you won’t even need to change your appearances. The whole island is inhabited by Healers and a few blood bounds. No outsiders are ever allowed. I think you two would be happy there.”
Gerard thought it over a minute. “It sounds ideal.” He finally nodded but looked at Anna for her reaction.
Anna was staring into Hudson’s eyes. “What are you not saying?”
“You both must remain there for many years.” He answered.
“Exiled.” Anna whispered. “Until we are a distance memory to the mortal world.”
Hudson nodded, “In a way, I suppose that’s true. To the Healer world it will not appear that way. It will simply seem you and your child have chosen to live together away from the mortal world. However since I know the truth about you two….”
“You are giving us a place to stay together, away from the pain of watching our loved ones die.” Gerard said softly.
Hudson reached over and touched his cheek lovingly. “Yes.”
The Healer blood that now ran through Gerard’s body made him reach up and place his hand over Hudson’s. He was not ashamed of the love he felt for the Pure who he’d once been blood bound to as a mortal. “Thank you.”
Hudson dropped his hand and they both turned to Anna. She was watching both men closely. “Gee, is this what you want?”
Although it pained him he would never see his family again, even from a distance, he nodded. “Sugar, as long as we’re together it’s what I want.”
Hudson smiled, “Good. But keep in mind that as I’ve said the island is inhabited by Healers. When you are among them you two must appear to be like them.”
Gerard nodded, “I have no problem hiding my moral emotions.”
Hudson grinned, “And you have accepted the Healer way of life well.”
“Better than I.” Anna said sadly.
Gerard put his arm around her. “You are much better at it now.”
“Now that I am with you.” Anna smiled slightly.
Gerard cupped her face in his hands. “Anna, we are Healers. I am proud to be a Healer. Never doubt that.”
Hudson watched them closely once more wishing he could feel that human emotion of love they shared. He waited a moment then said, “I will bring you each a blood bound once you are settled.”
“I do not want one.” Anna said looking over at him.
“Annabelle.” Hudson grew serious. “You know you need one. Not to have one would look wrong.”
“He’s right.” Gerard said looking into her eyes. “You know that.”
Anna sighed, “Whatever.”
Hudson grinned. “Gerard would you like a male or female?”
Gerard shrugged, “Don’t matter to me.” He turned to Anna. “What do you think?”
Again she answered with “Whatever.”
“I’ll choose for both of you.” Hudson said standing. “I’m gonna go discuss our flight plan with the pilot.”
Once he was gone Gerard pulled Anna into his arms. As he hugged her tightly he whispered. “Sugar, just remember as long as we’re together that’s all I care about.”
Anna hugged him tightly. “I know.” She whispered. “I know.”