Chicago proves to be an exciting stop.
“It’s nice.” Willow said as she glanced around. She and Bob were the only ones on this little tour of the house. The others, had of course, been to Bob’s house many times. She was still gazing at the contents of the room when a large, light color dog ran to her and began nudging her hand demanding attention.
“Stop that Dixie.” Bob said to the dog. His demand was completely ignored as Dixie continued to beg for Willow’s attention.
Willow fell to her knees and began petting the loving animal. “It’s okay, isn’t it Dixie. You’re just saying hello to me.”
Bob watched amazed, “She usually doesn’t take to strangers so quickly.”
“Animals are drawn to me.” Willow answered without looking up.
“You can say that again.” Bob mumbled.
Willow gave him a surprised look. “What?”
Bob shook his head and looked away but not before she heard his thoughts. He was mentally comparing Gerard to an animal. Willow had heard the thoughts because there was anger in them but something more. She didn’t have time to hear more because Ray interrupted them.
“Hey, you done with the tour? Cause I’m so ready to kick your ass at Rock Band. You know I can.” He said pointing at Bob.
Bob snorted, “Yeah, sure. Face it Toro you can’t beat me, never have and never will.”
Slowly the others walked into the room and everyone found seats. Mikey and Alicia were the only ones who were missing from the group. Willow felt a bit out of place without Alicia around. She found it unsettling to be surrounded by guys, even guys she was now beginning to consider friends.
“They are upstairs.” Gerard said sitting down on the sofa next to Willow. “Sneaking in a bit of time alone.”
Willow was surprised he’d know what she was thinking. Her facial expression must have given her away because Gerard smiled.
“You look lost.” He said knowingly. “Like you’ve been thrown to a pack of wolves.”
Her first response was a lie. “No, I don’t.”
“Yeah, you do.” He was about to say more when his cell rang. He glanced at the screen and Willow could literally feel the anger come off him in waves. He jumped to his feet and crossed the room to sliding glass doors. Willow watched as he went outside and closed the doors behind him. She tried to put him out of her mind and concentrate on the antics of the guys who were embroiled in a video game but she couldn’t. Beyond the glass she could see his angry stance and how he was gesturing with his hand. He was pissed there was no doubt about that. After about ten minutes she saw him close his phone and sit down on one of the patio chairs. He lit a cigarette and leaned back.
“Willow, wanna play?” Frank suddenly asked.
She forced her attention away from Gerard. “No, I’ll just watch.” Truth was she had no idea how to play the game.
When she looked back out on to the deck again she was that Gerard’s head was lowered and his shoulders slumped. He looked so dejected she rose to her feet, took a deep breath and decided to join him outside. She was afraid he’d tell her to leave him alone but when she walked out and closed the door behind her he looked up but said nothing. Willow sat down in the chair nearest to his but remained silent. She decided that if he wanted to talk he would.
“She fuckin’ hates me.” He whispered.
Willow said nothing.
Gerard looked up. “You know who I’m talkin’ about, right?”
“I assume your talking about your ex-wife.” Willow answered.
“What? You can’t hear my angry thoughts?” He said sarcastically.
“No, because they aren’t angry. They are sad and depressed.”
Gerard stared at her. “How the fuck do you know that?”
His question surprised her. How did she know? It came to her in an instant. Once again she was “feeling” his emotions.
“I just know.” She answered not wanting to discuss this new ability that seemed to only be directed at him. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He lit a cigarette and shrugged, “I loved her she never loved me. It’s as simple as that.”
“That isn’t simple.” Willow said softly, “That is brutal.”
Gerard looked away, “Yeah, well that’s what I get. I didn’t listen to my friends who tried to warn me. I just was so sure all the lies she told me were the truth. She said she loved me, she said that we’d build a life together. That’s not what she wanted.”
“But it’s what you wanted.” Willow said understandingly. “You wanted it so badly you ignored everything else.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I ignored everything else. I bought into all her lies. When I finally started to see the truth was when she showed her true self. Guess she figured she didn’t have to pretend she loved me anymore.”
“So you divorced.” Willow said softly.
Gerard snorted, “If it had only been that easy. She didn’t want the divorce at first. The lifestyle we had pleased her. She just didn’t understand why I wanted to call it quits. In her mind she just didn’t understand why we couldn’t just fuck whoever we wanted and stay married.”
Willow was shocked, “She really said that?”
“Fuck yeah, she did. When I told her that wasn’t a marriage she really lost it. Told me I was an idiot believing in the idea of a traditional marriage. She told me everyone she knew who was married fucked around.” He paused and looked away, “When I tried to explain to her that I loved her and didn’t want to be with anyone else she laughed.”
Willow could feel his pain. She wished with all her heart she had words that could help him.
Gerard looked over at her, “Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her it was over but she knew me too well. She had me figured out.”
Willow was touched he was opening up like this but wondered what he was still keeping buried inside. There was much more that he wasn’t saying she knew because he was making sure to keep the song playing loudly in his head. He was only sharing what he wanted with her.
“What did she do?” Willow asked softly.
He stared deeply into her eyes a moment then shook his head, “Doesn’t matter. It’s over and done. When she realized she couldn’t break me anymore she took off.”
Willow whispered, “I’m sorry.”
The words she’s spoken had been from the heart but they angered him. “Don’t feel sorry for me.” He said tightly. “I’m fuckin’ fine now. Better off without her in my life. I want no one in my life ever again.”
Willow winced. His anger was making his true thoughts loud and clear to her. He was hurting terribly. She tried to think what to say without angering him further.
“No one should live their life alone.” She said softly.
He glared at her. “What about you? Isn’t that what you plan on doing?”
“I’m different.” Willow answered quickly, “I can’t have any other kind of life.”
“Bullshit.” Gerard spat. “You’re just scared to let a guy get close to you. If he loved you he’d accept how you are and you know it.”
“And you’re just scared to let a woman get close to you again.” Willow shot back. “Tell me that’s not the truth.”
“I’m not scared I’m just smarter than that. I’ll never let any woman get me by the balls again. Not scared, just smart.”
Willow looked into his eyes. “Bullshit.”
It wasn’t until they were seated on the side stage that Alicia got a chance to really talk to Willow.
“So I heard that you and Gerard had an interesting conversation out on the deck at Bob’s today.”
“Who told you that?” Willow asked.
Alicia smiled, “Bob. He said he was keeping an eye on the two of you incase Gerard gave you any trouble.”
Willow laughed, “Gave me any trouble? Like what? He was gonna throw me off the deck or something?”
Alicia’s smile faded, “Gee has a bad temper. All of us just worry he’ll say something to hurt you.”
Willow was touched by their concern yet she tried to shrug off their worries. “I can hold my own with him.”
“You sure about that?” Alicia asked softly, “He’s mean when he’s pissed and he sometimes says things that he knows will hurt really bad.”
“Just because he’s hurting so bad.” Willow answered.
Suddenly Alicia smiled again. “Yeah, that’s true. I’m glad you understand that. Mikey is especially afraid Gee will do something to run you off.”
“I promised to go to the Paramour with Mikey.” Willow reminded her, “I’m not gonna go back on that promise.”
The lights dimmed and the crowed roared to life. Instead of answering Alicia simply leaned over and gave Willow a hug.
Willow took a sip of the margarita she’s been handed and looked around the crowed room. So far she was having a wonderful time. The House Of Blues here in Chicago was a place she’d heard about but had never believed she’d see it let alone attend a private party here. The vibe was good and the music helped to drown out much of the “noise” in her head. She’d been touched that at various times each of the guys, except Gerard, had thought to ask her if she was feeling okay. Bob had just cheeked on her a few minutes ago and she’d assured him she was having a great time. Her eyes were searching the room when Alicia gave her a slight nudge.
“Hey, see that guy over there?” She cocked her head towards the man in question.
“Yeah” Willow said following her friend’s gaze.
“Mikey said that he wants to meet you.” Alicia said with a slightly tipsy giggle.
“So who is he?” Willow asked still looking at the tall, blond haired man.
Alicia gave her a surprised look. “That’s Miles Conney. He’s the lead singer of The Quest.”
Willow had never heard of The Quest so she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be impressed. She really wasn’t sure of much at the moment. This was her second margarita and since she rarely drank she was feeling a bit tipsy herself. It would however be the last drink she’d have tonight. She knew the dangers that awaited her if she truly got drunk.
Alicia leaned over, “He’s hot. Wanna meet him?”
“Should I want to meet him?” Willow asked.
This brought a huge laugh from Alicia. “Yeah, I think so. I mean this is a party after all. Come on.”
Before Willow could answer Alicia grabbed her hand and led her through the crowd of people. When they reached the spot where Miles stood talking to a group of people Alicia made the introductions. Then she turned and slipped back into the crowd. Willow watched her disappear and suddenly felt very nervous.
“Nice to meet you.” Miles said leaning over and touching Willow arm. “Mikey told me you’re from Kansas. You are a long way from home.”
“A very long way.” Willow answered nervously. She took another sip of her drink and tried to appear calm. Suddenly she was starting to get a headache.
“So, I hear you’re traveling with My Chem.” Miles said with a smile. “You’re a friend of Alicia’s?”
Willow decided this would be a good way to explain her presence. “Yeah, we’re friends.”
Miles moved a bit closer. “Cool necklace.” His fingers reached out and lifted the Celtic Cross she wore around her neck.
“Thanks” Willow took another sip of her drink. She hated that she felt tongue tied but making small talk was something she’d never really had to do before.
Across the room Gerard was watching the exchange between Willow and Miles. As much as he hated the fact he couldn’t make himself stop thinking about her. Today on the deck he’d almost told her something he swore he’d never tell another soul. What was it about her that drew him in? He shook his head angrily. Last night when he’d told her she tempted him he’d meant it. The woman was definitely getting under his skin and he needed to figure out how to handle the situation. He would stay in control.
He continued to watch her as he formulated a plan. There was no denying he was physically attracted to her and there was nothing wrong with that. As he watched she took another sip of her drink. Gerard frowned. That was the second Margarita she was working on and he could tell the alcohol was getting to her. He took a sip of his diet Coke and saw Miles move closer Willow.
“So, you into music?” Miles asked as he reached out and touched Willow’s arm again.
“Uh, yeah.” Willow nodded nervously.
“You like my band?” Now his fingers were lightly caressing her arm.
Willow decided to be honest. “Sorry but I’ve never heard your music.”
Miles liked her honesty. He laughed, “Okay…so would you like to?”
Willow blinked in surprise as Gerard appeared at her side. He moved in close enough that Miles dropped his arm.
“I need to speak to Willow a minute.”
Before she could even think Gerard grabbed the sleeve of her silk shirt and led her away. He continued to practically pull her along through the crowed. As they neared the door he stopped long enough to take the drink from her hand and toss it in a trashcan.
“Hey.” Willow said. “That was my drink.”
“Was” Gerard said then began steering them out of the building again.
He was moving so quickly Willow stumbled to keep up. Had he not still had a hold of her arm she would have fallen. Gerard pushed open the door and they exited into the cool night air. He didn’t stop until they were away from the building and in the parking lot.
“What the fuck were you doing in there?” He asked angrily.
Willow glared at him. “What do you mean? I was talking to someone.”
“The fucker was all over you.” Gerard let go of her arm and pulled out a cigarette.
Now Willow was angry. “Excuse me? Miles was just talking to me and what business is it of yours anyway?” She took a deep breath and added in a steely tone “And turn the damn music down in your head. You’re making my head hurt.”
For a moment Gerard simply stared at her. This woman could make his blood boil and race at the same time. He took a deep drag off his cigarette and tried to remember the words he’d rehearsed in his head. “Look I have a proposition for you. You’re not too drunk to listen are you?”
“I’m not drunk.” Willow said hotly. “That was only my second drink. It helps me relax and dulls the sound in my head.” She noted that he’d turned down the volume of the song he kept singing in his mind. “And thank you, that’s better.”
Gerard ignored her thank you. “Good, I’m glad you’re not drunk.”
“Well thanks so much for your seal of approval Mr. Way but I really don’t need it. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”
Much to her chagrin Gerard laughed. “Don’t get all feisty with me. I’ve done some thinking and I’ve come up with the perfect way to solve our problem.”
Willow shook her head slightly trying to clear her thoughts. “Our problem? I wasn’t aware we had one.”
In a flash Gerard tossed his cigarette away and pulled her roughly into his arms. “Yeah, we got a problem” He said right before his lips came down hard on hers.
Instantly Willows mind went silent but her body came alive. He deepened the kiss, his tongue teasing her lips until they opened. Willow involuntary moaned with pleasure. Not even the alcohol could dull the sensation that coursed through her body. It was electric; it was more intoxicating than any drink she’d ever tasted. Gerard’s hands caressed her back as he pulled her even closer. Willow’s breath caught when she felt his need pressing against her. She had never been this turned on before but instead of this feeling scaring her it was urging her on. She raised her arms and put them around his neck. Where her fingertips touched his skin they began to tingle.
Suddenly Gerard broke off the kiss and pushed her away. Willow at once felt hurt and embarrassed at how she’d responded to him.
“We gotta get something straight first.” Gerard said in a shaky tone.
“First?” Willow’s voice was shaky too.
He ran his hands through his hair, “Yeah, before this goes any further we gotta set the ground rules.”
Willow took a step back and tried to get her emotions under control. “Who said it was gonna go any further?”
Gerard smirked, “Oh Sugar, this is gonna go further you and I both know that.”
Willow stared at him in the dim light afforded by the security lamps.
“We both know what we want.” Gerard said pulling out another cigarette. Willow saw that his hands were slightly shaking. “In a way we are alike. Neither of us will ever have what others do. We’re both meant to be alone. We both know this. But there is no denying that there is some fuckin’ weird sexual shit going on between us. We both feel it when we touch. I propose we take advantage of it. You’re gonna be with us for a while. Why not enjoy what we have?”
Willow wished she hadn’t had that second drink. She didn’t care if it was wrong she tried as hard as she could to hear his thoughts but it didn’t work. However, the words he’d just spoken were echoing in her brain. Was he was suggesting what she thought he was suggesting? If so was it what she really wanted? Her body was telling her yes. Her mind didn’t seem to be working at all.
“Well?” Gerard asked taking a step nearer. “You wanna fuck?”
The way he said it was almost brutal.
He took another drag off his cigarette and smirked. “I see I’ve shocked you. Think about it and let me know.” He tossed down the cigarette and turned.
“Wait.” Willow knew with sudden clarity that this was a chance she might never have again. A chance to be with a man she was undeniably attracted to but she wouldn’t have to worry about where the relationship would go because it would end when she went home. She was tried of being afraid; she was tried of being scared to live her life. More than that she was tired of being different. She took a deep breath and ignored all her fears. For once in her life she wanted to be fearless.
Gerard turned and stared waiting for her to speak.
She made her decision and wanting to wipe the smirk off his face she squared her shoulders and nodded. “Yeah, Gerard. I wanna fuck.”