Something happens at the concert that causes a new problem for Willow.
Beside her Alicia smiled, “Yeah, the side stage is pretty sweet. So I was wondering, aren’t concerts kinda hard for you? I mean with the hearing thoughts thing and all.”
Willow realized at that moment how much she really liked Alicia. The woman had not only befriended her, keeping her close all day, but she had no problem accepting Willow’s gift. “Well, I’ve only been to three other concerts in my life but it isn’t really that bad. It’s so loud anyway that I really wasn’t bothered. I guess it’s because the thoughts are all so good, happy and excited. In a way it sorta heightened the concert experience for me.”
There were still a few minutes before the band took the stage and Alicia had more questions. “So you just pick up on all the good energy?”
“So what places are bad for you?”
Willowed sighed, “Well, I went to a casino once and that was a bad experience. The woman I was sitting next to kept thinking about all the bills she had to pay but she kept right on gambling. She was telling herself that her luck was gonna change any minute. The guy on the other side of me was playing the slots but he was really angry because he wasn’t winning. He was calling the machine all kinds of names.”
Alicia shook her head in awe. “I can’t begin to imagine what that must be like for you.” She quickly looked away.
“What else do you want to know?” Willow asked.
Alicia’s gaze returned, “You know I want to ask something else?”
Willow laughed. “I wasn’t listening to your thoughts. I could just tell by the way you look you want to ask me something else.”
“Oh.” Alicia looked a bit embarrassed. “Well yeah but I don’t want to get too personal.”
“To tell you the truth I don’t mind. See you and the guys are really the first people I’ve ever talked to about my so-called gift. My parents knew, and the aunt that took me in after they were gone, knew. That’s it. I still can’t believe I told the guys like I did but I couldn’t see any way around it. I was so dammed excited when Mikey said he’d seen Elena too that I just blurted it out. It was so great to talk to someone who’s seen what I see. Then I had to explain because I was afraid they’d think I was a nut ball. Of course I’m pretty sure some people still think that.”
Alicia frowned, “No, that’s not true. But you have to admit it is a little hard for most people to believe.”
“Oh, I understand that.” Willow said. “I know it’s hard for people to understand I’m a freak.” The hurt in her voice was not hidden by her smile.
“Don’t call yourself that.” Alicia said reaching over and touching her arm. “You’re just unique.”
Willow laughed feeling happy once again. “Unique? Yeah, you can say that.” She paused then said in all honestly, “I’m glad I’ve gotten this chance to meet you again.”
For a moment they were distracted by the techs who took the stage for one last check of the equipment. Alicia went back to her original question. She didn’t feel ready to ask Willow the question that was really on her mind. “So Casino’s are bad. Where else?”
“Hospitals and funerals.” Willow answered immediately. “The last funeral I attended was Aunt Edna’s. She wasn’t my aunt but my room mate Kelly’s aunt.”
Alicia nodded, “What happened?”
Willow let herself remember that day. “Well there were so many sad thoughts. So much pain but I tried to block it out. I was doing okay until I looked up and saw Aunt Edna sitting on the side of her coffin.”
“Fuck.” Alicia said in disbelief, “The dead woman was sitting there?”
Willow nodded, “Yep, just sitting there looking around. I’d never met her and I could tell when she saw me she was confused.”
“Wait. Confused? You mean she knew you could see her?”
“Yeah, most of the time the dead can look into my eyes and know that I am seeing them. Now in this case it just made her confused but sometimes it’s a bad thing. If the dead don’t understand what’s happened to them, say they were killed quickly, without warning; they are confused and often angry. When that’s the case it’s a real problem for me because they know that I can see them but no one else can. A few times they’ve gotten very angry with me. I mean, I understand why but it can be scary.”
“Holy shit.” Alicia whispered. “What did you do?”
“It wasn’t too bad. Aunt Edna knew she was dying before she passed. So she wasn’t confused about that. She just wondered who I was and why I could see her.”
Alicia was totally caught up in the story, “So what happened?”
“Well I couldn’t go up and introduce myself so I went over and started talking to Kelly about how we needed to remember to lock the cellar door when we got home. When Kelly’s aunt heard that she understood who I was. That made it better.”
“But how did you explain how you could see her?”
Willow sighed, “I couldn’t explain to her when I really don’t understand it myself.”
As she finished speaking the lights dimmed and the band took the stage. The roar of the crowd was very loud for Willow but after a few minutes it began to even out. She loved MCR’s music and for her seeing a concert this close to the stage was a dream come true. It was the third song in the set when Gerard walked over to the side of the stage and locked eyes with her. Willow felt it in an instant and was overwhelmed. Gerard was afraid.
The rest of the concert passed in a blur for Willow. She couldn’t help but focus on Gerard. He never looked her way again or for that matter return to her side of the stage. However she couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. She hadn’t heard his thoughts, she had felt his emotion and that realization terrified her.
After the concert Alicia stayed back stage with Mikey but Willow decided to return to the bus. She had developed a slight headache and needed to take something to relieve the pain. She also needed some time alone to think.
Twenty minutes later she was sitting on the sofa in the front of the bus with her head leaned back and her eyes closed when she heard the door open. Opening her eyes she saw Gerard walk in freshly showered and looking very angry.
He strode over to Willow and glared down at her. “What the fuck are you doing to me?”
Willow looked shocked. “I don’t know what you mean.”
He took a drag off his cigarette but didn’t move to sit down. “When I looked over at you I felt it. What the fuck?”
Now Willow was more confused than before. “Felt what?”
“Don’t play stupid with me.” He growled.
Try as she might she couldn’t help but hear his thoughts. It only took a minute before she understood what he was talking about. Without thinking she burst out laughing.
“Oh shit. Seriously, you think I’m using some kind of mind control on you?”
Her laughter and the fact that she’d once again read his mind pushed him over the edge. “Look, I don’t know what your game is but I want you out of here. This is all fuckin’ bullshit.”
For a minute Willow just stared at him. Then slowly she stood, “I’ll get my things.” She started to walk past him but his arm shot out to stop her. As soon as his hand made contact with the flesh of her arm they both felt the sensation. It caused Gerard to suck in his breath and Willow to hold hers.
It was Gerard who spoke first. “Why?”
Willow was truly as confused as he was. “I don’t know. This has never happened before.” She closed her eyes a moment and gathered her strength, “But I think you’re right, I should go.”
A wave of despair he didn’t understand washed over Gerard. “No, wait. I’m sorry.”
Willow couldn’t explain it but it was like sensory overload, too much had happened in such a short space of time. “No, I do need to go.” She wanted to run.
“Because I yelled at you?” Gerard asked letting his hand drop, “Or because of this?” He reached out and gently touched her face. Immediately his fingertips tingled.
Tears appeared in Willow’s eyes. “Yes, and yes and…”
“And?” Gerard lowered his voice, “And what?”
Willow spoke the truth, “Because you scare me. What I deal with from day to day is difficult enough but this…” She shook her head, “I don’t know what’s going on between us, I don’t know what Elena wants me to do. I don’t know what happened at the concert.”
She was speaking so quickly that Gerard was having trouble understanding all her words. “What Elena wants?” His eyes searched her face, “What do you mean? Have you seen Grandma again?”
It broke her heart to have to tell him the truth. Willow knew how much he wanted to see Elena for himself. “Very briefly.” She whispered.
“When?” He asked.
“Last night. She was standing outside my bunk and then she was gone.” She wanted him to understand that the visit had been brief.
“Well why was she there?” He tried to hide his disappointment that there hadn’t been time for Willow to touch him in hopes that he could see Elena too.
“I think she was telling me that I was here for both of her grandsons.” Willow whispered looking down.
Gerard digested the information. He moved over to the sofa and sat down tiredly.
Willow continued to stand looking down at the floor.
He thought a moment than asked, “The other thing you said. About what happened during the concert. You felt it too?”
She looked up slowly, “What did you feel?”
He snubbed out his cigarette then ran his hand over his face, “I don’t know how to describe it. I felt pulled to you.”
Willow was confused and mentally exhausted. She decided to tell him the truth. “When you looked over at me I couldn’t hear your thoughts but I felt your emotion. You were scared.”
“Damn right I’m scared. Fuck, you just showed up and now I feel so fucking confused. We’re going back to the Paramour so my brother can help a ghost.”
Willow shook her head, “No, you don’t get it. I felt your emotion. That’s never happened before. I hear thoughts, not feel emotion.” Her fear took over, “I don’t wanna fuckin’ feel emotion. Hearing thoughts it bad enough. I don’t want this. I just wanna be like everyone else.” She broke down and began to sob.
Gerard stood and quickly crossed over to stand before her. “Hey, stop.” He said feeling at a loss for words. “Look, I’m sorry I gave you a bad time.”
Willow wiped her eyes. Her voice shook, “I’m sorry but I can’t deal with this. I have to go.”
Suddenly Gerard knew with certainly that couldn’t let her go. His brother needed her. “Please, don’t go. Mikey needs you.”
Willow was torn. She wanted to help Mikey but being around Gerard was something that frightened her. It would be far too easy to fall for him and that could only end badly.
“Please.” Gerard said again moving slightly closer but making sure not to touch her.
The sound of the others returning to the bus grew louder.
“Fine.” Willow whispered. “I’ll stay for Mikey.”
Gerard wanted to ask if she was staying for him too but knew now was not the time. He nodded and stepped further back from her as the bus doors opened.