The little stranger chapter 12

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War Child
Dec 2, 2003
Even though he had been scheming and plotting these past few weeks, Jake had wisely not told Gemma of his plan to surprise her about the concert, until the day before, knowing if he had given her a longer time, she would have found an excuse to wriggle out of it.

This way, she didn’t have the time to give it too much consideration. She was already occupied sorting Ellie out that first evening, there wasn’t much time to think about anything else. So, his plan worked beautifully much to his satisfaction.

Now he had her where he wanted her, sitting next to him in the back car, being driven to the stadium venue, where he was playing that night.

Maggie had found a few of her personal contacts in the hair and make-up department to pay Gemma a visit earlier that afternoon as a favour, to give her a bit of a pamper. and ‘glam’ her up for the evening, which also met with Jake’s approval.

He had never seen Gemma look quite so well. Her usual shoulder length fair hair, which she usually tied back in a ponytail, had been cut and styled in a more modern fashion, that suited her face, the make-up accentuated her hazel eyes, and full mouth.

She was dressed in a dark blue silk knee length dress. that showed all her curves of in the right places, that was finished off with a matching wrap around her almost bare shoulders.
He noticed she kept tugging at the hem trying to pull it down over her knees somewhat self-consciously, as she sat next to him, whilst glancing nervously out the darkened windows, at the passing scenery.

“Will you just relax and enjoy yourself for once,” Jake chided her, and now reached out to grab two glasses and the bottle of champagne he had on chill.

“It's hard, I am just not used to all this” Gemma gestured with a wave of her hand, at her surroundings in the spacious car.

“Well just get used to it for tonight,” Jake advised handing her the glass of champagne he had just poured for her.

“This is crazy, you didn’t have to do this” she reminded him, for what seemed, the hundredth time that day. But she took the glass from him all the same, much to his relief.

“Yes, I did,” he insisted, “everyone but you, agrees with me, so please don’t mention it again” he rebuked her lightly.

Gemma laughed and took a sip from her glass, “Ok, I suppose I will try and enjoy myself, seeing you have gone to all this effort” she relented and settled in a more relaxed manner beside him in the cushy leather car seat.

“Good,” Jake clinked his glass against hers. “Here is to your special night,” he added his eyes twinkling with mischief, before taking a sip
“You better have no other surprises up your sleeve Jake Kavanagh” Gemma warned suspiciously.

His eyes widened, “What do you mean, like inviting you on stage with me?” he queried suggestively

“Don’t you dare! Or I am getting out of this car right now” Gemma threatened, horrified at the idea
Jake just chuckled, “Relax I am just winding you up, I wouldn’t do that to you. I know you would be mortified, but it was worth teasing you, for the look on your face”

“Pig!” she returned, thumping him non too lightly in the arm, that he almost spilled his drink, not believing he would do he would do that to her, “I thought you wanted me to enjoy myself?”

“I do, honestly. So now you can relax knowing that is not going to happen” he pointed out, “No, what’s really happening is, you getting full backstage access, and watch all the goings on, plus the best view in the stadium to watch during the actual concert, as well as all my minions dancing attendance to you, with food drink, whatever you want during the night” he then explained to put her mind at ease.

“Hmm, that doesn’t sound so bad, I actually think I can live with that” Gemma agreed good humouredly

He slipped his hand into hers, to squeeze it gently smiling warmly, “Like I said Gem, it's going to be your night” he insisted, there was a sense of intimacy in the gesture, but Gemma found strangely comforting, which took her unawares, but she wasn’t going to get herself too concerned, and just enjoy the moment for once and relax, just as he suggested.
“Thanks.” she replied, returning his smile.

They finally arrived at the concert venue. Jake brought her with him to the backstage area, where he introduced her not as the nanny to his daughter, but his long-time friend, to the rest of the crew and his backing musicians, including Tom and Stewart. Maggie and Maurice were also there, Maggie smiling in approval with Gemma’s new look deciding, her contacts had done well.

There was so much going on behind the scenes, Gemma couldn’t take it all in, and found it all a little overwhelming, but Jake remained close to her, holding her hand or slipping his arm round her shoulder in reassurance, that he was not going to leave her, amongst the mayhem.

Then it was time for him to start getting ready before the concert started. Maggie led Gemma to the special seats that had been reserved for her and a few other dignitaries to get a good view of the concert at the side, in a special seated area near the stage.

From where she was sitting, Gemma could watch the stadium fill up with people, after the doors finally opened, to let the crowds in.

Inside an hour, the place was packed and buzzing with thousands of different voices talking all at once, giving the stadium a lively atmosphere

There was a local up and coming band hailing, from London, which came on first, and got some of the crowd going. But when the main event finally arrived, and the lights went down for Jake to come on stage, the place went crazy with cheering and clapping, and foot stomping.

Gemma had to admit it was a little surreal seeing Jake strut out on stage, surrounded by the flashing coloured stage lights and smoke. Then around the stadium, little flashes as every one's cameras seem to go off at once.

It was almost blinding in the darkness of the stadium She felt the vibrations of the music strumming through her body, heightening her excitement. This was a very different experience from standing around in the local club, watching him on stage all those years ago.

She found herself clapping and cheering as hard as everyone else, when he started singing. She had always known he was a born performer.

He soaked up the attention and the love of the audience, giving it back tenfold, and they adored him for it. So, it was more than just his songs and his singing. He knew how to capture the audience attention, and become one with all of them, creating an atmosphere that became electric.

Three songs in from doing some of his older material to get the crowd warmed up, he announced he was doing one of the songs from his new album, called ‘Dark love, finding light’

It was a slow ballad, about a love that had no hope. The lyrics and tone, had a haunting quality to it, and for some reason Gemma realised it was about Jake’s relationship with Caroline. It actually moved her, because the despair in his voice as he sang the song was very real, and she was close to tears, thinking about all that happened, and suddenly feeling for him and all he had been through.

It took all her effort to keep it together.

Watching him onstage, Gemma found she had a new admiration for Jake and his
performing skills, she was starting seeing him in a new light. He had indeed come a long way, and she reckoned he deserved it.

Perhaps she was a little bit bias because she was his friend.

Then she then went from feeling down, to feeling a lifted and a little excited, as he started to sing one of his very first hits with the band, she was very familiar with it. She had actually been with him when he had written the lyrics. It brought back some happier memories.

So, when he glanced over at her direction when the song ended, to check if she was enjoying it and remembering those times, he gave her a brief grin, and waved, she felt herself blush, but at the same time a strange little thrill went through her, that he had actually acknowledged, in front of this huge crowd for that song because there was that connection between them.

But still, she was just thankful he was not going to pull her up on the stage. As he had first teased, he might do earlier.


By the end of the show, Gemma was on a strange sort of high. Her ears still ringing with the noise of the music and the crowd.
Maggie now led her backstage again, where she met up with Jake. He was stripped down bare to the waist with just a towel around his neck, his body and his dark hair still swathed in damp perspiration, after his lively performance.

“I won’t hug you until I have a shower,” he told her with a grin

“In that case, I can wait, so don’t worry,” she assured him happily.

“Well, did you enjoy yourself tonight, what did you think?” he demanded, wanting, needing to know her opinion.

“Yeah, it was brilliant; you were brilliant!” Gemma replied enthusiastically.

Jake laughed, looking ridiculously pleased with her praise, “Thanks, I am just going to get freshened up and changed, then I will be right with you, just hang around here for a bit, if that’s ok?” he then told her.

“Sure,” she nodded in agreement

“Great, I won’t be long,” he promised, and then disappeared again amongst the mad throng of backstage mayhem.

Despite the fact everyone was being nice and having a smile for her, as Maggie and Maurice kept her company in Jake’s absence, Gemma still felt like she was in the way, as everyone bustled about getting on with their business. It all felt even more surreal

So, she was glad and a little relieved, when Jake finally appeared again, looking a lot more refreshed after his shower and change of clothes, his dark hair was still slightly damp.

“It's ok, I will personally bring Gemma back to the hotel in my car,” he informed Maurice and Maggie.

“Sure thing, I will catch you there later,” Maurice replied now walking away.

“C’mon,” Jake turned to Gemma, putting his hand lightly on her back and leading her towards the exit to where a car was waiting on him.

“So, you really did enjoy it then?” he couldn’t help asking again.

“Yes,” Gemma smiled, “I am just sorry, I had to wait this long before, I had a chance to see you perform, but better late than never I guess.”

“Yeah, I am glad you enjoyed yourself. It felt really special having you there tonight, it brought back the memories of when I use to look out for you when we played in the local clubs all those years ago. You know, were always encouraging me on, when we were not so great, and even if there were only ten people in the room you made me feel like a was already a rock star,” he then recalled
His hand now slid into hers, again, “And even when the audiences finally got bigger, and there was more than just ten people, I found myself sometimes hoping to see your face there again,” he admitted quietly with a small smile, his blue eyes resting on her intently.

This small revelation had a strange effect on Gemma as she met his gaze. She felt her heartbeat quicken, and suddenly she found she had lost her power of speech, not sure what way she should react. She tried to dismiss it and put it down to the buzz of the concert and all that had happened this evening, including being plied with more than her usual quantity of alcohol. But she was not so far gone that she was going to lose her sense completely.

But the moment passed, then the door opened to let them leave. Suddenly along with the cold night air, she could hear the shouts and screams of his fans, with camera’s flashing, leaving Gemma momentarily confused by her surroundings whilst almost blinded by the flashing lights.

Hands and arms seem to come out of the small mob of people, which were mostly girls, they were waving CD’s and bits of paper towards Jake.

“Sorry, duty calls,” Jake said a little ruefully, “I will be back in a bit,” he promised squeezing her hand again before releasing it. Then he went over to the edge of the crowd shaking hands signing autographs, chatting with his fans.

Gemma noticed the delight and adoration of those girls who manage to get his attention, she found herself smiling. Being analytic about it, she would have to admit that Jake wasn’t exactly tall dark and handsome in the usual sense.

For one thing, he wasn’t really that tall for a guy, and she reckoned his nose was a bit big, and his blue eyes set too close together. But he had a strong jaw line, and a certain roguish charm, that came through in his smile and the look in his eyes, that made him more appealing and attractive, when he wanted to put it to work.

Right now, he was working it for all it was worth, enjoying the attention as much as his fans were enjoying giving it to him.

He could probably have the pick of any females he wanted, she realised, and it brought her mood down a little for reasons she refused to examine. But it was just another reminder of where she belonged in his life now. He had asked her to enjoy this for one night at least and she had.

But the night was almost over, and as much as she had enjoyed it, she reminded herself that she had to rein in her emotions, especially were Jake was concerned, and not get carried away. This was not going to last forever.

She knew from bitter experience, especially relationships with people were concerned, nothing lasted forever.
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