Willow spends the day making new friends and making plans for spending the evening with Gerard.
Gerard took a step into the room. “Mikey and Alicia are here.” He said softly. I thought you might want to get to the guest room before I let them in.”
Willow nodded and started to pass by him. He handed her the dress she’d been wearing last night. The one he’d stripped off her in the living room.
“Here.” He said looking slightly embarrassed.
“Thanks.” Willow muttered as she took it from him and headed down the hall. She had just gotten to the guest bedroom when she heard Gerard opening the door.
“What took you so long?” Mikey complained. Willow didn’t hear Gerard’s answer as she closed the door and leaned against it. She quickly threw on a pair of jeans Alicia had loaned her and was pulling on her tee shirt when there was a knock at the door.
“Willow, it’s me.”
“Come in.” Willow said as she moved to the dresser to brush her hair.
Alicia walked into the room and glanced at the bed. It obviously hasn’t been slept in. In the reflection of the mirror Willow saw the look on Alicia’s face.
“I could say I just made it.” She said softly.
Alicia looked over at her. “You could say that but I wouldn’t really believe you. Mikey talked to Miles this morning. He called because he wanted to explain to Mikey why he had taken you to his apartment. Seems Miles got the impression that Gee was waiting for you to get here last night and that he was pretty pissed when he heard where you had gone.”
Willow continued brushing her hair. “Gerard said he was worried because he knew I hadn’t been feeling good and wasn’t here when he got home.”
Alicia sat down on the bed and watched Willow closely, “I guess if he got back that early his date didn’t go all that well.”
Willow shrugged her shoulders slightly. She wanted to admit that she was beyond happy that Gerard’s date hadn’t gone well. She wanted to admit he’d chosen not to be with Jessica but had come back here to find her but she couldn’t.
Willow tried to block Alicia’s thoughts but they were too loud to ignore. She sighed, “I know you are surprised. I know you didn’t think I’d jump into bed with him.”
Alicia’s mouth opened in surprise then she snapped it shut quickly. A moment later she spoke. “Guess that thought was too loud for you not to hear.”
Willow dropped her eyes and nodded. “Sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry. This isn’t my business.”
Struggling to find the right words Willow turned to face her. “I just hope this doesn’t make you think any less of me.” She whispered.
Alicia blinked in surprise then smiled. “You know it’s weird how you hear my thoughts sometimes than other times you obviously don’t hear them. Willow, you are my friend. This doesn’t change how I feel about you at all. Alicia sighed, “Just promise me to be careful, okay. I know at first I thought maybe it could work between you two. It was obvious to me he’s attracted to you but he’s made it clear he’s not looking for any kind of meaningful relationship.”
“Neither am I.” Willow said turning to set down the hairbrush on the dresser.
“Then you two are perfect for each other.” Alicia said softly. However she didn’t mean the words. She knew Willow wasn’t the kind of woman who would be with a man she didn’t care about. She just hoped with all her heart that Gerard didn’t hurt her.
Willow didn’t need to listen to Alicia’s thoughts to know what she was thinking. She was worried about her getting her heart broken and it was a very valid concern. Being with Gerard would very likely lead to heartbreak.
Mikey looked over at his brother and tired to decide the best way to bring up the subject that was on his mind. “So how did your date go last night?” He asked.
Gerard shrugged, “It was good. Jessica is always fun to be with.”
He nodded. “Yeah, you see quite a bit of her when we’re back.”
“Sure, I do.” He said growing angry. He didn’t want to think about the date from hell. He didn’t want to remember the look on Jessica’s face when he’d pushed her away and made up some lame excuse about feeling bad. Now Mikey was asking questions and he wondered what that was all about. “She’s a good lay and she understands that’s the only kind of relationship I want.” The words died on his lips when he looked up to see Willow and Alicia had just entered the room. His eyes locked with Willow briefly then he looked away. Shit, shit, shit, he thought. She heard that. He tried to justify the words in his own mind. Willow knows that’s the truth. I’ve told her enough times that’s how it is.
The tension in the room was thick. Willow took a deep breath and smiled, “I wanted to thank you again for taking me out to dinner last night.” She said looking over at Mikey.
He smiled, “Hey, glad you liked it. Actually Alicia and I came by to see if you wanted to go with us Frank’s house. He and Jamia said for us to invite you. They’re having a cook out.”
Willow glanced over at Gerard wondering if he was going. “Uh, sure. That sounds good.”
Mikey glanced over at his brother. “You gonna come too?”
Gerard was still feeling angry. “I don’t know. Frank didn’t invite me.”
Mikey laughed, “Since when do you need a personal invite? They just decided to have this cookout about an hour ago and called me. I’m sure Frank knew I would ask you since I told him we would swing by here on the way and ask Willow.”
Gerard reached into this pocket and took out his pack of cigarettes. He thought about his answer while it fished out his lighter. “I really have a lot of shit I need to do around her since we’re leaving Monday morning for California.” He said slowly.
“Can’t you work on it tonight?” Mikey asked.
Gerard could feel Willows eyes on him. “Uh, no. I already told Willow I was taking her to a movie tonight.”
Willow blinked in surprise. This was the first she’d heard about these plans but she went along with it. “Yeah, he said he’d go to see anything I chose.” She tried to hide her smile seeing Gerard flinch. Willow figured he probably thought she’d drag him to some chick flick.
Gerard hated how happy the idea of being with Willow made him. He wanted to fight the feeling but for now he would just enjoy it. Glancing at Willow he added, “And tomorrow I promised to show her Times Square.”
Willow returned his smile.
Alicia was watching the two of them closely. “My, you are being quite the host.’ She said to Gerard while trying to hide the sarcasm in her voice.
He shrugged, “Well it’s her first time in New York. She’s got to see the sights.”
Willow felt her smile slip. She was sure it would be her first and last time ever in New York. She glanced over and saw that Gerard was watching her and had noticed. She pasted a smile on her face again but remained silent.
Mikey stood. “Well be better be going.”
Gerard walked them to the door. “Have a good time. Tell Iero I’ll call him later about those lyrics I’m working on.”
“Okay.” Mikey nodded.
As Mikey and Alicia walked out into the hall Willow looked up at Gerard who was standing with his arm on the door waiting for her to pass.“So I get to chose the movie?” She teased.
Gerard smiled when he saw that Mikey and Alicia had started down the hallway. “We’ll see whatever you want, Sugar.” He said softly.
Willow’s mood lightened. As she passed him she made sure her arm brushed against his sending a current of electricity between them. “Bye.” She longed to kiss his lips but continued to move forward.
Gerard’s arm was still tingling where she’s touched him. As he closed the door he sighed as he realized how hard it was going to be to work on his comic now. All he truly wanted was to be with Willow. He shook his head trying to get that thought out of his mind.
An hour later Gerard threw his pencil down and cursed in frustration. He just couldn’t get his mind wrapped around his work. He stood and went into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. As he walked into the kitchen he suddenly was hit with the memory of Willow sitting at the table with her cup of coffee. He smiled think how fuckin’ cute she’d looked when she’d told him off. There was no denying the woman had gotten under his skin. A wave of guilt washed over him as he sat down. Even though they had made the rules clear about their relationship he was still afraid she would get hurt. He couldn’t love her and he hoped she understood that. His heart was dead that was just the simple truth. He hoped she truly understood that nothing could change that fact.
Willow glanced around the large back yard and smiled. Frank and Jamia had a lovely home. She had been made to feel welcome as soon as she had entered it. Jamia, like Alicia, had befriended her easily. Without trying Willow had picked up just enough of Jamia’s thoughts to know that Frank had explained about her abilities. The fact that Jamia knew, and didn’t seem at all uncomfortable, made Willow extremely happy. The only thing that marred this day was the fact that she missed Gerard. However she reminded herself that he did promise to take her to a movie tonight and he was going to spend the day with her tomorrow. Those two things made her smile.
“What ya doin’ sitting here all alone?” Alicia asked taking a seat at the picnic table.
Willow shrugged, “Just enjoying myself.”
Alicia understood the answer. “Catching a little quiet time? Is it hard for you to be here with all these people? I mean, well you know. Is it too loud?”
Willow was touched she was concerned. “No, there is just a whole lot of happy thoughts and feelings here. It’s all good.”
“I was talking to Jamia in the kitchen. She likes you.”
“Well I like her too and she’s the perfect match for Frank.” Willow said before taking another bite of her burger.
Alicia nodded and looked over at Willow’s plate. “That a real burger or a veggie burger?”
“A real one.” Willow said with a laugh. “I’m from Kansas. We’re beef eatin’ people.”
“Well so are we Missouri people.” Alicia said happily. She took a bite and chewed a moment before she asked, “So why did you look kinda sad before?”
Willow gave her a puzzled look. “When?”
“As I was walking over here. You we’re frowning but then you smiled.”
“Oh” Willow said softly. She decided to tell the truth. “I guess I was just sorta wishing Gerard was here. He’s missing out on a lot of fun.”
Alicia gazed across the yard. “I wouldn’t worry about that.”
Willow looked at her. “Why? You don’t think he’d enjoy being here?”
“No, that’s not it.” She smiled and pointed. “Obviously he’s not gonna miss it.”
Following Alicia’s gaze she felt her heart start beating faster. Walking towards them wearing dark sunglasses was Gerard.
“Hey” Willow said happily when he reached the picnic table.
“Hey” Gerard said taking a seat across from her. “I decided it was too nice of a day to be cooped up inside.”
Alicia stood up. “So a burger with all the fixin’s?” She asked.
“Oh, I’ll grab one in a minute.” Gerard said surprised by the offer. Recently his sister-in-law had been a bit cool towards him. The fact that she was offering to get him a burger seemed off.
“Hey, I’m heading over to talk to Mikey anyway.” She said nodding toward the huge gas grill where Mikey stood talking with Frank. “It’s not a problem.”
Gerard smiled, “Thanks.” He glanced at Willow’s plate. “I’ll take one like Willow’s.” He looked at Willow and asked quickly, “That’s not a veggie burger, is it?’
“Nope, it’s a real hamburger with cheese, onions, tomato and mustard.” Willow answered.
Gerard nodded, “That’s what I want.”
“Okay, back soon.” Alicia said then heard across the yard.
As soon as she was out of hearing range Gerard turned to Willow. “So are you surprised to see me here?”
Willow thought the question was strange. “Well sorta of. I mean you said you had a lot of work to do.”
“I do have a lot of work to do. I’m behind on the next issue.” He frowned and looked down at the table.
Willow wasn’t sure what to say. “Um well if you need to work tonight, I’ll understand.” She thought he might be trying to get out of taking her to a movie.
Gerard’s voice sounded angry. “That’s not what I want.”
Now Willow really didn’t know what to say. “What do you want?” She asked softly.
“I want you out of my head.”
Willow was hurt by his words. “I already told you I’m not listening to your thoughts.”
He looked up, removed his glasses, and their eyes met. “I don’t mean it like that. I mean I can’t even work on my fuckin’ comic cause I can’t stop thinking about you. This is crazy. I’ve never had a woman affect me like this. I don’t understand it and I don’t want it.”
“I could say I’m sorry but I’d be lying.” Willow whispered. “The fact you can’t stop thinking about me makes the fact that I can’t stop thinking about you easier to deal with.”
He shook his head, “Why in the fuck can’t you stop thinking about me?” He asked angrily. “I mean it’s not like I’ve been all that nice to you. Matter of fact I’ve been a jackass and we both know it.”
Willow spoke the words from her heart. “Because there are times when I see the man you really are.” She couldn’t keep from adding, “Like last night when you trusted me by leaving the radio off.”
So she had understood what he was doing. She had understood that he was giving her something that was harder than anything else he could give, his trust. Gerard sighed, “This can only end badly, you know.”
Willow knew and was afraid he could be right. She thought a moment, “Look, why think about what’s going to happen tomorrow? Can’t we just enjoy what we have right now?”
“Is that what you want, Sugar?” He whispered looking into her eyes.
“Yeah, that’s what I want.” Willow said softly. “I just want to live for today.” The lie rolled off her lips so easily.