Gerard and Willow both continue to wrestle with their emotions.
Willow took the bag Alicia was extending towards her. “What’s this?”
Alicia grinned, “I saw you looking at it and could tell you liked it.”
Slowly Willow pulled the midnight blue satin blouse from the bag. It was beautiful and very expensive. “I don’t understand.”
“I bought it for you.” Alicia said walking over and taking a seat on the sofa.
“I can’t accept this.” Willow sputtered. “Thank you, but here.” She tried to hand the blouse to Alicia who sat shaking her head.
“It’s a gift. I bought it for you. That’s what friends do sometimes. They buy gifts for each other.”
“But it’s so expensive.” Willow said sitting down next to her. “I can’t accept this.” No one had ever given her such an expensive gift.
“You can and you will.” Alicia said sitting back and pulling her feet up under her. “It will look beautiful on you.”
Willow sat looking down at the garment in her hands. Suddenly she broke into tears.
Alicia was shocked at first but she understood how Willow felt. She reached over and touched her arm. “Hey, you’re my friend now. It made me happy to buy this for you.”
Quickly Willow wiped her eyes. “I just don’t know what to say.” She whispered.
“You don’t have to say anything.” Alicia smiled.
“Everything okay?” Mikey asked. He’d walked on to the bus to see Willow crying.
“Yeah,” Willow said softly. “Alicia just gave me a gift.” She hoped he didn’t think she was insane.
Mikey looked puzzled a moment then shrugged, “Oh, okay.” He wasn’t really sure what was going on but his wife’s smile made it seem things were okay. Taking a seat across from the girls and said excitedly, “I just found out that there’s gonna be a big after party tomorrow night after the show,”
“Cool” Alicia said pulling her legs out and stretching them. “Where?”
“Some of Bob’s friends set it up at the House of Blues. A couple of local bands are gonna play.”
“So it’s a private party?” Alicia asked.
Mikey laughed, “Yeah, but the place will be packed. It’ll be great.” He turned to Willow, “Bob’s from Chicago, you know.”
“Yeah, I know.” Willow answered once again wondering if it bothered him that she was a fan. She knew quite a bit about the group but truly hoped that it didn’t make things seem weird for him.
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, well anyway it’s gonna be a blast. I’ll introduce you to lots of people you’ll recognize.”
Willow began shaking her head, “No, that’s okay. I’ll just stay on the bus if that’s all right.” The idea of a party frightened her. Being around large groups of people in a social setting always frightened her.
“It’s most certainly not all right.” Alicia said frowning at her. “Of course you’ll come with us. It will give you a chance to wear your new blouse.”
“Uh, I really don’t think it’s a good idea.” Willow tried to explain but Alicia would hear none of it.
“It’s a wonderful idea that you go with us. You said yourself you can be in large groups of people as long as the vibe is good and it will be good. But if you have any problems we’ll leave.”
“But that’s just it.” Willow tried to explain again, “I’m not really sure how it will go for me and I wouldn’t want you to leave because of me.”
“Who’s going to leave?” Bob asked joining them.
Mikey explained about Willow’s reluctance to attend the party tomorrow night. Bob listened then turned to Willow. “I really think you’ll have a good time. Lots of my friends will be there and they’re good people.”
Willow sighed, “I’m sure they are. I’m not saying that I don’t think the people there will be nice. I’m just saying I don’t know how I’ll be there.”
He thought a moment. “Well then if it’s a problem you’ll leave but give it a chance, Willow.” Bob took her hand and gave it a squeeze of encouragement.
Willow looked down at his hand that was grasping hers and suddenly remembered what it felt like when Gerard touched her. Her thoughts were interrupted by her sudden ability to hear Bob’s thoughts. Why was he thinking about Gerard? She was confused until she looked up and saw that Bob was looking across the bus to the door. She turned her head and saw Gerard standing at the top of the stairs glaring at Bob. Bob quickly pulled his hand away from Willows and stood.
“I gotta go catch up with Ray.” He muttered before brushing past Gerard on his way to the door.
Gerard walked over and sat down next to Willow. She tried to ignore the singing in his head but it wasn’t easy. He was practically shouting the lyrics.
“Hear about the party tomorrow night?” Mikey asked his brother.
“Yeah, sounds good.” Gerard said sounding bored.
Willow sat back and fought the urge to kick him in the shins and tell him to shut up with the singing in his head. She understood he was doing it so she couldn’t hear his thoughts but it was getting damn annoying.
“Well I’m gonna head over to the venue.” Mikey said standing then putting out his hand to Alicia.
“You coming?” Alicia asked Willow.
“Well be over in a minute.” Gerard answered before Willow had a chance to answer.
“Okay.” Alicia said with a smile as she followed Mikey off the bus.
Now as Willow sat next to Gerard she wondered what he wanted. He’d obviously wanted to speak to her alone. “So?” She said looking over at him.
Gerard sat back and studied her a moment before speaking. “You know I’m glad you chose Bryar if you’ve got your heart set on bagging one of the MCR members.”
“What?” Willow sputtered.
Gerard shrugged, “I saw you two holding hands when I walked in. I’m just saying I’m glad it’s not my brother you’re trying to get.” He smirked, “Or me.”
Willow was about to say something very unladylike when she realized the singing in his head had stopped. It was replaced by him thinking about the very graphic details of what he’d done with Hope in her apartment. Willow was tempted not to reveal she was hearing his thoughts. Gerard smiled at her.
Slowly Willow stood. “Glad you had a good time and I’m glad you took my advice about the condom.” She took a step back. “Now why don’t you stop?”
“Stop what, Willow?” Gerard said smoothly. “I thought you don’t just go around listening in on people’s thoughts?”
“And I thought you understood that I get you can push your thoughts into my head. Great trick, Gerard. But really I don’t care what you did with Hope. I don’t care that you fucked her on the kitchen table. I don’t care that you used her to relieve your sexual tension.”
Now it was Gerard’s turn to sputter “What?”
“You heard me. You used her plain and simple.”
Gerard’s eyes narrowed, “She got just as much pleasure out of it as I did.”
“Great, you’re quite the stud.” Willow shot back. “Now if you’ll excuse me.” She started for the door when he called out her name.
Willow slowly turned back to face him. “Yeah?” She was surprised to see the look of confusion on his face.
“Uh, hold on.” He got up and walked over the to the bag of items they’d bought from the comic store that he’d set on the floor. Willow waited impatiently. She wanted to get away from him as soon as possible.
“Here.” He said taking something out of the bag and holding it out to her.
Willow didn’t move to take the item from him but she saw what it was. In his hands was the boxed set of “Sandman” she’d mentioned this morning.
“Here” He said again shoving it towards her.
“I don’t understand.” Willow said looking into his eyes.
“I know you wanted it so I got it for you.”
Willow took the boxed set from his outstretched hand. “You got it for me?”
Suddenly the singing in his head began again. “Yeah.” Once it was in her hands he moved towards the door of the bus.
“Thank you.” Willow said looking up but he was already gone.
It was a few minutes before the start of the show and Willow and Alicia had taken their seats on the side stage. Willow found herself still thinking about the gift Gerard had given her. When Alicia mentioned that Mikey had told her about Gee purchasing the gift Willow admitted she had been very surprised.
“That’s how Gee used to be.” Alicia said sadly. “He liked doing things for people just to make them happy.”
“And now?” Willow couldn’t stop from asking.
Alicia sighed, “And now he’s pretty fuckin’ selfish and bitter. I hate what the divorce has done to him.”
Willow felt an overwhelming sense of sadness for him. She remembered the night they’d driven back to the bus from her house and the memories he’d been thinking about. “He really loved her a lot.” She said more to herself than Alicia.
“Oh hell yeah, he did but it just all turned out so bad. She left him a note telling him she was leaving. That morning when it happened he called Mikey. I can still remember the phone call and how Mikey had flown right out to be with him. We were afraid for him. Afraid of what he might do. Mikey brought him back home with him but it was easy to see Gerard had changed. Those first few months he’d lashed out at everyone. He stayed with us a first but it was hard to be around him. I knew he was hurting but still.” She paused, “Mikey and I didn’t know how to help him.”
Willow didn’t know what to say.
“Anyway.” Alicia said suddenly smiling, “I think things are gonna turn around for him.”
“Really?” Willow said confused by the statement.
Alicia nodded, “Yeah, I think you’re gonna help him learn to trust again.”
“Me?” Willow shook her head. “Oh, I don’t think so. He has a problem being in the same room with me.”
“Cause he’s scared.” Alicia said smiling. “He’s afraid of how he feels about you.”
“Not true.” Willow said.
“Yes, true.” Alicia said emphatically. “He’s attracted to you.”
Before she could think Willow blurted out, “Oh sure. He’s so attracted to me that he had sex with Hope after lunch.” The look of shock on Alicia’s face made Willow cringe.
“Hope? The waitress? He had sex with her? Oh my God. He told you that?”
Willow wished for the millionth time she’d learn to keep her mouth shut. “Please don’t tell anyone I said that.”
“What a dumb ass.” Alicia said glaring at the brother-in-law who was standing not far away preparing to go on stage.
Alicia, please.” Willow begged. “Don’t repeat that, okay?”
Alicia looked back at Willow, “I won’t.”
Willow was relived, “Thank you. I had no business telling you.”
“I still think he’s a dumb ass for doing that.” Alicia said angrily.
Willow shrugged, “It’s his business.”
Alicia didn’t answer she just continued glaring in Gerard’s direction. Willow glanced over and saw that he was now looking their way and frowning. He probably wondered why Alicia was glaring, Willow thought. She watched for a minute then looked away.
As was the case with last night, Willow had a wonderful time watching the concert from the side stage. She had to admit to herself that she was a bit disappointed that Gerard never once looked her way. As a matter of fact he seemed to avoid the side of the stage where she and Alicia were sitting. The man confused her like no other.
Once the band left the stage Willow and Alicia followed them down the dark hallway to the back stage area. Tonight it was smaller but there seemed to be more people crammed into the space. After twenty minutes Willow’s head was beginning to pound.
Mikey came over and gave his wife a huge hug. He had showered and his hair was still wet. “How’d I do tonight?” He asked.
“You were on, Baby.” Alicia said kissing his lips.
Willow saw Gerard walk into the room. Like his brother he too had showered but it wasn’t his wet hair Willow noticed, it was his scowl. She looked away knowing he was making his way towards them.
“I’m gonna head back to the bus.” Willow said quickly. “My head is pounding.”
Alicia saw that Gerard was about to reach them and said loudly, “Oh, that’s too bad. I wanted to introduce you to some of the guys here.”
“Sorry.” Willow mumbled and turned to leave. She was out the door and had just reached the bus when Gerard caught up with her.
“What the hell did you say to Alicia?” He growled.
Willow turned to look at him. “What?”
“Stop playing stupid. She’s been glaring at me. What did you say to her?”
Willow’s head was throbbing. He wasn’t even trying to hide his thoughts from her. They were angry and they were loud. “Please, just let me go inside.” She whispered.
“Not until you tell me what you did. What the fuck did you say to make her so pissed at me?”
“Please, I need to get an aspirin.” Willow said trying to push past him.
Gerard moved so quickly it made Willow gasp. Instead of moving back he used his body to pin her against the bus. Making sure his hands didn’t touch her he placed both palms on the cold metal surface on either side of her head preventing her from moving. “You go no where until this is settled.”
He was so angry that Willow closed her eyes in pain. He was so close that the pain was blinding. She needed to put some space between them. “Please, get out of my way. I can’t take this anymore.” A tear escaped from her beneath her closed eyelid.
Gerard saw the glint of the tear in the glow of the security light that illuminated the parking lot. A groan of frustration escaped his lips and he took a step back. “Just tell me why she’s pissed.”
Willow swallowed hard, “Cause I told her about Hope.” She whispered.
“What?” He balled his fists tightly. “She’s pissed because I fucked the waitress?”
“She’s pissed because you are hell bent on acting like a bastard. Because you are using women to take out your anger at what happened to you.” Willow braced herself for his wraith.
“I’m not using woman to take out my anger. I’m using women to make myself happy.”
Willow sighed, “Just keep telling yourself that, Gerard. Maybe if you say it enough you’ll start to believe it.”
“Look I don’t give a shit what you or Alicia think. I’m happy with my life now. I get what I want and it’s given freely. I’ll never let anyone close enough to hurt me again and if you can’t understand that I don’t give a fuck.”
Willow stared at him. He had stopped the song in his head and she could read his thoughts clearly. “You’re lying.” She said softly. He was and she knew it. His thoughts spoke loudly of the pain he kept locked inside.
In a flash he had her pushed up against the bus again. “Get the fuck out of my head. I don’t want you there, don’t you understand that? I don’t want you here. I don’t want…..” The words were lost as he crashed his lips down on hers.
The feeling that enveloped them when their lips met was indescribable. Willows mind went silent while Gerard’s mind began racing with thoughts and feelings he had believed were long dead. He deepened the kiss and pressed his body to hers so that they seemed to meld into one. The sound of approaching voices broke the spell.
Gerard took a step back and asked in a shocked voice. “What the hell just happened?” His whole body still hummed.
Willow blinked several times and tried to clear her jumbled thoughts. “I have no idea.” She told him honestly. “No idea at all but when you kissed me my mind went completely quiet.” She was still in awe of what had just happened. Her mind being quiet was as puzzling to her as the tingling sensation she felt when their skin touched. She was frightened by these occurrences as well as excited.
Now they could both hear the other band members nearing the bus. Gerard took several steps back. “No.” He whispered brokenly. “I won’t let this happen.” With that he walked on to the bus leaving Willow standing in the dark feeling more alone than she’d ever felt in her whole life.