Willow reveals more about her life. Gerard starts to open up a bit and Mikey admits he's scared.
“Would you stop that?” Gerard said as he turned the corner.
Willow understood perfectly well what he was talking about. “Look, I can’t help it.” She explained, “You’re angry and loud.”
He took out a cigarette and lit it. “It’s fucking unnerving. I don’t like the idea of a woman in my head.”
“We aren’t all conniving.” Willow said softly knowing the hurt he was feeling. Over the past few minutes he’d thought several times about his ex-wife.
“Yeah, right.” He took a deep drag. “Look, we just need to stay out of each others way.”
“Fine by me.” Willow answered. She’d be happy to stay out of his way. His loud angry thoughts were causing her head to hurt again.
Suddenly he grew quiet and Willow glanced over at him. The anger was fading. “I’m sorry.” He said softly. “I don’t mean to take this out on you. I’m just worried about my brother. If you can really help him then please do. I’ll leave you alone.”
“You don’t have to leave me alone.” Willow answered before she had time to think, “I mean, its okay. I understand you’re upset and I’m sorry I unnerve you.”
Gerard snickered softly, “What’s your boyfriend think of you being able to hear his thoughts?”
Obviously Ray hadn’t filled him in on all the information he’d gathered about her. “I don’t have one and for that precise reason.” Willow answered, “The last guy I was involved with didn’t know about my gift” She sighed, “ I really fell hard for him.”
Gerard made a turn finally recognizing the highway that lead back to the amphitheatre. “So what happened?”
Willow debated if she should tell him the truth but decided it only seemed fair. She knew about his past relationship so she shared. “We’d been together about six months and I really thought the relationship was getting serious.”
“And in all that time you hadn’t listened in to his thoughts?”
“Nope, I didn’t want to. I wanted to just be a normal woman in love. Actually it was the first time I was really in love and I trusted him.”
“Trust.” Gerard spat but made himself stop. He wanted to hear her story. “So what happened?”
“He came over one night for dinner and was upset about something. He told me something had happened at work so I tried to offer him my support and not listen to his thoughts that were getting louder and louder. Suddenly his cell went off but instead of answering it he turned it off after looking at the number. What he’d seen had made him so angry I couldn’t block out his thoughts. They were loud and clear. He was thinking about how much he hated his wife.”
“Wife?” Gerard glanced over at her. “You didn’t know he was married?”
Willow shook her head, “Nope. I’d fallen for a married man who’d lied to me about a lot of things. See maybe I should have listened to his thoughts.”
“What did you do?”
“Told him to get his lying ass out of my house.”
Gerard smiled, “Was he confused?”
Willow laughed, “Oh yeah. When he asked me what was wrong I told him he needed to go home…to his wife. Stupid man still is wondering how I found out he was married.”
They both grew silent. Willow knew he was thinking about his failed marriage and tired very hard not to listen. When she reached over and switched on the radio he asked. “That help block out the thoughts?”
“Yep, it does.” She answered, “So does singing.” She began to sing along with Death Cab For Cutie while Gerard continued to think about his life and how it had all gone so wrong.
Gerard pulled along side the bus and cut the engine. “I want to ask you something before we go in.”
Willow looked over at him. His thoughts had grown quiet so she waited wondering what he wanted to ask.
“You really saw my grandma?”
“Yes I did.”
He leaned back and sighed, “And she helped you find Mikey.”
“Yes.” Willow smiled, “You’re quiet when you’re thinking about her. You loved her a lot, didn’t you?’
He looked surprised, “Yeah, I still miss her every fucking day. So why would that make my thoughts quiet?”
“Because she’s a happy memory. No anger of bitterness just a feeling of love.”
“Can you make the dead appear?’ He asked suddenly.
“Appear?” Willow repeated. “You mean can I call to them and make them show up?”
He nodded, “Yeah, something like that.”
She understood what he was asking, “No, it doesn’t work that way. They just appear to me when they want to. I don’t have any control over it.”
“Have you ever seen the same dead person twice?”
“Yes, that’s happened.”
He took out another cigarette and lit it. “Think my grandma will appear again?”
Willow heard the longing in his voice. He wanted her to appear again. “I don’t know.”
Gerard looked over at her, “Promise me something. If she does I want you to touch me. I want to try to see her.”
“Okay.” Willow said softly. She wished with all her heart she could help him to see his beloved grandma. “I promise.”
Gerard grabbed her bag and carried it towards the bus with Willow following closely behind. At least this time when she climbed on the bus she looked better. She’d taken a quick shower at her house then packed her things while Gerard had waited in the car.
Mikey looked up and smiled when he saw them. “You’re back.” He said sitting down the cup of coffee he’d had clutched in his hands. He too looked better than last time she’d seen him.
Gerard told Willow he’d stow her bag and walked down the hallway. “You look better.” She said taking a seat by Mikey.
“I feel better.” He agreed. “Been sitting here drinking coffee waiting to talk to you. Want some?” He picked up his coffee cup again.
“Sure.” Willow answered. Truth was she was tried and thought the coffee might help wake her up a bit.
“I’ll grab you a cup.” Frank said from the kitchen area. He poured the hot liquid and brought it to her.
“Thanks” She smiled at him. It was obvious he was still slightly uncomfortable around her but he smiled and sat down.
The bus engine roared to life. “Ready to go?” Frank asked.
“I guess so.” Willow responded. She saw Brian and Ray walk towards them from the back of the bus. They both greeted her then continued on to speak with the driver. “I’ve never been on a bus like this.”
“This one is pretty nice.” Frank said with a smile, “Much nice than when we started out.”
“That’s the truth.” Ray said joining them.
“So Ray says you like our music.” Frank said to Willow.
“Sure do. I’ve been a fan for years.” Willow looked up to see Gerard who has just walked back down the hall towards them. He was frowning again. “Being a fan isn’t a bad thing.” She said to him.
“I didn’t say it was and I didn’t think it.” He retorted.
“I didn’t say you did either.” Willow responded, “But I did notice the frown.”
Gerard got himself a cup of coffee then joined them. He spoke to Willow, “Tell me honestly, can you hear my thoughts right now?’
Willow shook her head, “I told you I don’t go around listening in to people’s thoughts unless I can’t help it.”
He seemed pleased by her answer, “So we can all just sit here and talk to you and not have to worry about you reading our minds.”
“I don’t read minds I hear thoughts.” Willow clarified, “And yes, that’s true. I do hear lots of voices but I can’t make out what you all are thinking unless I really try.”
“Shit, that has to suck.” Bob suddenly said walking over and sitting down with them. “That would drive me crazy.”
“It can.” Willow said softly, “There was a time in my life when it did.”
Ray looked at her closely, “Really?”
Willow sighed, “When I was twelve my parents had me committed to a psychiatric hospital. It was my fault I should never have told them about being able to hear people’s thoughts. I mean it was bad enough I told them I could see dead people. Hearing what people were thinking was the final straw.”
“Fuck,” Gerard muttered, “How long were you there?”
Willow hated these memories, “A year. They left me there a year.” It was hard to keep the anger and hurt from her voice.
“But why didn’t you just prove to them you could really hear their thoughts?” Frank asked softly.
Willow took a sip of her coffee before answering, “Because I could hear what they were thinking.”
Her words took a minute to sink in. Finally it was Ray who spoke, “That must have been very hard for you. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah it’s hard to ‘hear’ that the people you love and trust think you’re crazy. That they wish you’d never been born because of all the trouble you’re causing.”
“Fuck, they thought that?” Bob asked in disbelief.
“My mom did. She and my father were having marital problems at the time and so she blamed my troubles for the problems in their marriage. My father was having an affair and felt guilty because he believed that if I wasn’t having problems he could have left my mother without feeling guilty.” She took another sip of coffee, “So that’s why I didn’t prove anything to them. Knowing what I did and saying it out loud would have just made things worse. So I just grew silent.”
“Grew silent?” Ray repeated. He heard something in her voice and words that concerned him.
Willow looked down at the cup in her hands, “For the year I was committed I didn’t talk. I grew silent.”
“Shit, I’m sorry.” Gerard said softly.
Willow gave him a surprised look. “Don’t be. The past is something you can’t change so wasting any energy thinking about it is worthless.”
They all heard the anger in her voice. Gerard heard but still couldn’t let it go. “Willow, that’s not true. Just because you can’t change something doesn’t mean it’s wrong to have feelings about it.”
“In my case it’s true. There is no reason to feel sorry for me. I don’t want anyone’s pity. I’ve accepted who I am and I can’t change my past. I can’t go back and make my parents love me. I can’t go back and be a normal kid. What happened wasn’t my fault even though both of my parents went to their graves blaming me for being different. They blamed me for causing so much trouble.”
Gerard suddenly wanted to take this woman in his arms and tell him how sorry he was for what had happened to her. The feeling shocked him. He stood quickly and went to the coffee pot to pour himself another cup.
Willow had looked up and watched him. She wasn’t hearing his thoughts but she’d seen something in his eyes. The look had confused her.
Mikey spoke up, “I wasn’t born with this ability to see dead people. I never saw them when I was young. What the fuck caused it to happen to me?”
Willow was glad the conversation had steered away from her past. She looked at Mikey and asked, “When was the first time you saw one?”
He took a drink of his coffee, “Okay this probably sounds fucking retarded by I’m not sure. Shit, they look like everyone else.”
“So it’s not like the movie?” Bob asked.
Mikey looked over at him, “The movie?”
Bob grinned, “You know “The Sixth Sense.” When that kid saw dead people some of them looked pretty gross. I guess they looked like they did when they died.”
Mikey looked over at Willow, “They don’t look like that, do they?”
Willow shook her head, “Mikey you’ll find that they appear to you however they want to. I’m guessing by the way you answered that you’ve not seen a Malevolent.”
“Malevolent?” Mikey gave her a worried look. “What’s that?”
Willow didn’t want to scare him but he need to be warned, “That is what I call them. A Malevolent is an angry dead person. They tend to appear looking bad. Often times they do look like they did when they died. Especially if it was a violent death.”
“Oh fuck.” Mikey whispered. “I just want all of them to stop. I don’t want to see any of them.”
Willow smiled sadly, “Mikey I understand but it’s really not all that bad.”
“You got to see grandma.” Gerard said breaking into the conversation.
Willow glanced over at him. She could hear in his voice he was almost jealous of his brother. He wanted so desperately to see her.
“Yeah, well that was okay but even so I just want it to stop. Willow, how do I make it stop?”
Willow hated the words she had to say, “You can’t Mikey.”
AUTHORS NOTE - Thanks so much for the reviews. I tried to respond but FicWad wouldn't let me. I want you all to know how much I love hearing what you think. It really makes me smile! Thanks - Elena XOXO