the little stranger chapter 4

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that follows U2.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


War Child
Dec 2, 2003
Fiona insisted that Gemma should stay a little longer, so she could introduce her to Jake’s daughter. She then proceeded to go up the newly acquired nursery, with her son Brad tagging behind her, to fetch Ellie, and left Jake and Gemma alone again in the lounge.

“So, what have you been doing with yourself, now I know for sure, that you haven’t been in Canada does it mean you never left the England at all?” Jake enquired with renewed interest

“Well as Fiona mentioned, I was working as a nanny, and although I didn’t go to Canada. You see, when my mum eventually remarried, her husband Frank got a job offer it was a great business opportunity. The apartment that came along with it wasn’t big enough for us all, and as I was the oldest and already had a job, it seemed my best option was to stay put, the plan was mum would sell our house and they would get a bigger place, eventually for me to join them, but that didn’t happen” Gemma explained. "

When the house was sold my mum said it still wasn’t suitable for me to come and live with them, so I moved into a flat with a friend, she was the one who persuaded me that I should join her in the career of becoming a nanny, and as I had no family ties to worry about any more, and it seemed an improvement than working in the local supermarket, so I went for it”

She shrugged, “But because of my job I haven't been in England the whole time these last few years. I have visited quite a few places during my time, including America and France and Egypt. The families I worked for were usually high end business people, who moved around a lot, and I had to go with them most of the time.” Gemma then informed him, getting a small sense of satisfaction in revealing he wasn’t the only one who was well travelled.

Although it might not have been classed as glamorous as Jake’s lifestyle, but she liked to think, that like him, she had managed to break free from the small dull suburban lifestyle where they were raised.

“I am glad things went well for you Gem,” Jake smiled, “I remember how hard it was for you when your father walked out on you and your family, and you were left to cope with it all. Looking after your little brother because your mother fell apart, and she couldn’t function, because of her depression”

Gemma shrugged, “I did what I had to do at the time, after all it wasn‘t like I had much choice.” she replied simply, letting him know she didn’t consider what she had done special in anyway, or that she expected praise or recognition for it.

“Yeah, but still, it was a lot to have to have on your plate, especially when you have only turned fifteen. But then you always were the strong one” Jake then realised in retrospect.

“And you were always the crazy one,” Gemma returned dryly.

He chuckled at that, “True I suppose, and I guess I am still as crazy at times,” he admitted a little ruefully.

“Well isn’t that part of a rock star’s persona, to be crazy egotistical attention seekers?” Gemma pointed out teasingly, raising her eyebrows questioningly.

“You know me too well,” Jake grinned.

“Yes, I use to think I did at one time, but now I am not so sure.” Gemma replied quietly,
looking down at her fidgeting fingers. But I guess fame and fortune can change people. I understand that, your priorities probably change, and sometimes people get left behind”

The atmosphere in the room had become a little tense as Jake shifted uneasily.

“I’m sorry Gem, that you were one of those whom I left behind, I should have tried harder to keep in touch with you. But everything got a bit crazy with the touring and having to spend hours in the recording studio, as well as promoting the band” He tried to explain, but at the same time knew it still sounded a little feeble. “Though to be honest sometimes I am glad that you were not around when things got ugly and all the infighting between us in the band, that led to us splitting up. Fame does weird things to you”

Jake frowned, “But don’t think that you ever went out of my thoughts completely, When I finally did return to try and make it up to you. You were gone, and no one seem to have a clue where. Only that your mother had remarried and moved to Canada. I thought you had gone with them, and probably despising me into the bargain, for the way I had treated and forgotten you. I did feel bad, believe me. Part of me was scared to face you again, in case you told me you hated me. I don’t think I could have handled that.” he then admitted soberly

“Well I have to admit, yes, I was upset and hurt with you, and the way you just seem to have forgot all about me,” Gemma relented softly, “But I never hated you Jake, I could never hate you.” she looking him in the eye now letting him see she meant it. “After all, if I hated you, would I have turned up here today?” she then pointed out

“I know that now,” Jake smiled, “That’s why, when I heard your voice on the intercom, I couldn’t believe it. You don’t know how happy I am to see you again Gem, and I am glad we could have this talk, and clear the air a little, about what happened in the past as well”

At that point they were interrupted by his sister Fiona coming into the room again
“Here she is, the little sweetheart, and she has just woken from her afternoon nap” Fiona announced cheerfully with five-month-old Ellie in her arms, making Gemma turn her head to finally get a look at Jake’s daughter.

“Oh, she is beautiful!” Gemma announced her expression softening. “Not at all like her father,” she then quipped, shooting Jake a sly glance with a mischievous twinkle in her hazel eyes,

“Humph, something tells me you haven’t completely forgiven me yet,” Jake retorted good humouredly, and yet he still had that look of the proud dad about him, as he watched his sister place Ellie in Gemma’s arms, and she started to fuss over her.

Ellie seem to enjoy the attention she was getting from Gemma gurgling and smiling in response when Gemma spoke to her.

“You are a natural with kids,” Fiona remarked smiling, as she watched Gemma, “But I guess you have had plenty of practice with your job” she then realised laughing.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Gemma nodded now bouncing Ellie up and down on her knee, much to the baby’s delight”

“So, what are you doing with yourself now? Did you get fed up looking after other people’s kids?” Fiona then enquired in what seemed a casual tone.

“Not really,” Gemma laughed, “My friend Brenda, and her husband Graham, started up their own toddler’s day care centre, you know where working moms and parents could leave their young babies, I have been helping them out with that” she explained, then frowned a little

“Though things are not going so good at the moment, they are having a bit of a financial crisis unfortunately. If things keep going the way they are they might have to rethink it all and close down.

“Aw, that’s tough,” Fiona sympathised, “So that means you might be out of a job,” she now looked thoughtful

“Yes,” Gemma sighed, “I have been doing a bit of rethinking myself lately, and was toying with the idea to move down under,” she then admitted, “I always fancied living in Australia. But money is still the thing holding me back, I have some saved, but not enough”

Australia is very far away,” Jake remarked looking a little disconcerted, “Hell, I just found you again, and already you are planning on moving to the other side of the world”

“Well, there is nothing really to keep me here,” Gemma replied honestly, with a shrug, “ Besides you are ok, you have your own hectic lifestyle, and this little madam to look after, that will keep you busy,” she smiled and wiggled Ellie on her knee, making the little girl chuckle.

“Well, if its extra money you are looking for, to help with your new life in Australia, why don’t you work for Jake. Like I suggested, he will be needing a nanny to look after Ellie, and you have all the right qualifications, so it would solve both your problems.” Fiona finished brightly

“Now there is an idea!” Jake joined in, seeming immediately enthusiastic about his sister’s suggestion

“Oh, I don’t know, if I could,” Gemma replied, not sure how she felt about it. Thinking of all the pitfalls and that might occur in such a situation.

“Of course, you could,” Fiona insisted, “I mean look, Ellie loves you already, and I would make sure that Jake pays you well for the privilege, you will have your money for Australia in no time” she then pointed out.

“It's not just that,” Gemma frowned, “I mean I would feel a bit weird working for Jake when we have a history together. It wouldn’t be very professional of me. I feel like I would be taking advantage of our long-time friendship” she attempted to explain, though there were other complications, she figured in it as well, but didn’t want to voice them openly

“Nonsense you wouldn’t be taking advantage of me in the least,” Jake replied “You would be doing me the biggest favour ever. And I would be really grateful, it’s the perfect solution to my problem, because best of all, I know I could trust you one hundred percent with my daughter. It would be a great burden of my mind” he realised

“That’s true,” Fiona joined in, “We would know she is in safe hands, and unfortunately we are starting to run out of time trying to find someone. So, it would be a great favour”

Gemma was starting to feel herself being backed further and further into a corner as they wore down her objections and defences. She was still not overly keen on the idea. But at the same time feeling a pang of guilt that she was letting Jake and Fiona down if she refused, they were so taken with the idea and determined to sell her on it as well.

“Fiona is right,” Jake picked up where Fiona stopped, “Up until now, she has been helping me take care of Ellie, but in a few months, she is going to have her own little one, I can hardly expect her to mind Ellie as well as her own kids.” he pointed out reasonably “And I will be starting to promote my new album soon, before we get on with the tour. I would like to have this Nanny situation sorted out before then. So, you see why, if you took the job, it would make things so much easier for me,” his blue eyes now stared at her hopefully

“Please Gem, just think about it. After all, it will mean I will also have you back in my life again, and I can finally also have the chance to make up for what happened in the past,” he then shot her a smile with the familiar warmth, and it was Gemma’s undoing.

‘Damn it, he always had a way of getting around her, even after all these years’ she realised with slight dismay.

She found herself staring into little Ellie’s face and noticed how her big brown eyes stared back at her from her little solemn chubby face, Gemma was suddenly moved with pity that the little girl would never know her mother, and that was sad. It was this realisation that also made up her mind.

“Well, I suppose I could do it on a temporary basis under the circumstances, seeing it's so urgent. That is until you find someone else that is suitable for the position” she found herself relenting, but at the same time, letting him know she had no intention of being the permanent solution to his problem. So, if things didn’t work, and it all went pear shaped, she had an ‘opt out’ clause at hand, to fall back on.

“Great!! Jake beamed happily, “Thank you, you don’t know what a weight you have lifted off my mind,”

Gemma managed to smile back, whilst inwardly wondering what she had let herself in for. She was still couldn’t believe she was going along with their suggestion.
Her mind suddenly flitted back to a time when she and Jake were much younger, she must have just turned sixteen ……….

It had been a long day; Gemma had just finished her long seven-hour shift in the burger bar where she worked on her feet all day trying to bring some income for herself and her mother and younger brother. She had been tired, and glad just to climb into her bed.

She was on the verge of drifting off to sleep when she heard the rattle at her window.
At first she tried to ignore it, but the sound of someone tapping on the window now became more persistent, then she heard Jake’s voice “Gem, Gem, tell me you are not asleep already I need to talk to you, c‘mon let me in!”

Gemma groaned inwardly, wanting to tell him to go away and come back tomorrow when she was less tired.

But knowing it wouldn’t work, she grudgingly got out of her bed and went over to open the window, where Jake was standing on the portico roof just below her window

“What do you want Jake? It’s after twelve o’clock,” she pointed out with slight irritation

“I don’t want to go home just yet; I had another row with my old man” Jake replied his blue eyes staring up at her somewhat pathetically

Gemma sighed, “What, again? what did you do this time?” she demanded.

“I didn’t do anything!” Jake replied defensively looking insulted that she had immediately blamed him “He was giving me a hard time about my future again, wanting me to get a proper job as he put it.. He thinks me being in the band is a waste of time”

“I see,” Gemma sighed, “Well make it quick, I am tired,” she told him now leaving the open window to return to lie on her bed and close her eyes again.

Jake climbed in through the window and came over and joined her, as he lay next to her, she got the faint whiff of alcohol that told her he had been drinking.

“Thanks,” he then said as he lay on top of the bedcovers whilst she snuggled under them, “There is no one I can talk to about things, like I can with you, my mates in the band, think I am a wuss at times, because I get so wound up about arguing with my old man”

“They are probably right” Gemma mused with a yawn

He looked round at her, frowning, “What, you think I am a wuss too?”

“No, I think you are nuts,” she returned opening her eyes glancing round at him, “But a nice kind of nuts,” she then added with a smile, making him chuckle.

“You see, you always know how to cheer me up,” he said

“You always know how to keep me awake, when all I want to do is get some sleep” she reminded him dryly.

“Sorry,” he apologised, “But I promise I will make it up to you, when I make it big with band. And we become rich and famous. I am going to buy a big house, then marry you, and we can live in a life of luxury”

“Sure thing, I can hardly wait,” Gemma replied drolly, taking what he said with a great pinch of salt.

The younger Jake was in a habit of going overboard and exaggerate what he really meant, especially when he had had too much to drink. She knew he probably wouldn’t even remember what he had said the following day, when he had sobered up.

But now Gemma found herself admitting to herself that he had indeed become rich and famous. But she wasn’t going to be moving in as his wife, instead she was going to be employee.

The irony of it all, was just too bizarre
Top Bottom