Things quickly go very wrong.
He shook his head violently, “How the fuck can I? You’re basically telling me I had sex with a ghost nun.”
“She looked very young and by the way she was dressed I believe she was a novice.” Willow tried to explain again. “She wasn’t a nun but was in preparation to become one.”
“This is all just fuckin’ insane.” Gerard said letting go of her hand and standing. “And that the hell is the deal with Joan of Arc? I don’t see dead people like you do but that was in my nightmares here. Did she do that? Can she make me have nightmares?” He started to pace the room. “Cause if she can then what about Mikey? What if that happens to him? I’m telling you, you just don’t understand. I almost lost him last time. That can’t happen again. We need to leave this place.”
Willow understood his concern. “If you truly believe it is best then talk to him but it has to be his decision. You can’t make it for him.”
“Why the fuck not?” Gerard turned to her angrily.
“Because he stands too often in your shadow.” Willow said knowing this truth could very well anger him. She braced herself waiting for the enviable.
“Stands in my shadow?” Gerard repeated. “What are you talking about?”
Willow tried to choose her words carefully. “You are his big brother and he’s always looked up to you. He’s always depended on you. But now things have changed. He’s married, he wants to take control of his life.” She stood and went to him. “This is his life. For whatever reason his new found abilities are something he has to learn to live with or they will destroy him.”
“Holy fuck.” Gerard said pulling out a cigarette. “Why did this happen? Why Mikey?”
“I don’t know.” Willow confessed. “Sometimes I’ve heard about people suddenly gaining psychic abilities after near death experiences. Once I met a woman who became psychic after being struck by lightening. I don’t know what caused this to happen to Mikey. But what I do know is that it is very real and something he must learn to live with.”
Gerard took a deep drag off his cigarette and tried to think.
“I know how hard this must be for you.” Willow said softly. “You love him and want to protect him but you have to let him deal with this. You’ve watched what it did to him before he understood.”
“It almost fuckin’ destroyed him.” Gerard whispered He sat back down heavily in the chair. “Do you think that’s why grandma brought you into his life? Not just to save him that night but to keep him from destroying his life?”
Willow knew that was only one of the reasons Elena had brought her into the life of the Way brothers but she didn’t voice this. Instead she moved over and sat down on the bench at the foot of the bed. “Yes, I believe that now.”
“So grandma knew Mikey had this ability and knew he would need help.”
Gerard tried to think but his mind was so confused. “Tell me what to do. I’m scared for my brother. Fuck, I’m scared myself.” He looked down nervously.
Willow’s heart went out to him. She got up and kneeled before his chair. Taking his hand in hers she spoke in a calm voice. “This place is truly a gathering. I wish that Mikey didn’t have to deal with learning about his abilities here but because he feels drawn to his place that’s how it has to be.”
Gerard took another drag then leaned over and snuffed out the cigarette. He took Willows hands in his and gently stroked her soft flesh with his thumbs. “I just don’t want you to think I’m a fuckin’ pansy because I’m scared.”
Willow smiled at him. “I don’t think that. I understand how you feel. This will be very hard for you too. You have an entity that is drawn to you. She blocked most of her thoughts from me but I understand her behavior. I know she is obsessed with you. When you showed me affection her rage was instant. Something is keeping her here. That much rage isn’t normal and obsessing on one of the living isn’t normal. But I promise you, she can’t hurt you physically.”
Gerard gave her a strange look. “Okay, so the way you said that sounded wrong. You say she can’t hurt me physically, right?”
“But what about you? Can she hurt you?”
Willow had been afraid he’d ask this question. She sighed, “I’m not sure. I’ve not encountered anything like this before. I do know the pain in my head was very real when she projected her thoughts to me.”
Gerard suddenly had a new worry. “Then I don’t think you should be here. At least not here with me in this room.”
“Throwing me out, are you?” Willow tried to kid.
“No. Don’t get me wrong, Sugar. I want you here with me but not if it means you can be hurt.”
“Lets just take this one day at a time for now.” Willow suggested. “What I want to do now is walk around the place. I need to see what and who is really here.”
“What is here?” Gerard didn’t like the sound of that.
Willow really wasn’t sure just how much she should tell him. He was already upset enough.
He looked into her eyes, “I want you to promise me that you will be careful. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
She was touched by his concern. “I promise. Now I’m going to walk around a bit. That’s okay, right?”
He nodded, “Yeah, we have the run of the place. It’s huge. I’ll show you around.” He started to stand but Willow pushed him back down gently.
“I need to do this on my own. It’s much easier for me that way.”
Gerard looked unconvinced, “I don’t like that idea.”
“I’ll be fine.” Willow said standing and taking a step back. “I just need to get a feel for the place.” She walked over to the door but before she could open it Gerard grabbed her arm and spun her around. His lips crashed down on hers.
Breaking away he whispered, “You promised. I’m trusting you, Willow.”
Willow understood how hard it was for him to trust. “I’ll be back soon.” She said touching his face one last time and trying to gather strength from the electricity that flowed between them.
Gerard watched her disappear down the long hallway. Fear gripped his heart. A heart that up until now he’d believed was dead.
Alicia crawled up onto the bed next to Mikey and threw her arm around him. They had decided to rest before joining the others for a late supper. “You okay?”
He nodded while still staring at the ceiling. “Yeah, so far, so good.” He felt nervous but determined.
“I think Willow is sharing Gerard’s room. I heard someone come out of there and when I peeked out Willow was walking down the hall.”
“Yeah, I thought that’s what Gerard would want.” Mikey said softly.
Alicia thought a moment then asked, “When we first got here what did you see that you asked Willow about?”
“There was a woman standing by the main door. She was dressed in very old fashioned clothes.”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, I mean this time I knew it immediately. Before I wasn’t always sure but I could tell.”
“That’s good, right?” Alicia was trying to be positive. “I mean Willow said you’d get better at this.”
“Better at this?” Mikey tried not to sound angry. “I don’t want to be better at this. I don’t want this at all. I know Gee thinks that this ability isn’t terrible because I got to see grandma but fuck. I don’t want this. I didn’t ask for this.”
“But you have it.” Alicia said hugging him tightly. “And together we’ll learn to deal with it.”
He looked over at his wife with love in his eyes. “Bet you never thought something like this would happen when you married me, did you?”
Alicia laughed softly, “No, can’t say that I did. But for better or worse is what I promised. We will deal with this together and I just have a feeling it will being us closer together.”
Mikey kissed the top of her head that was now lying on his chest. “I love you.” He whispered.
“Love you too.” She whispered back.
Willow reached the bottom of the main staircase and looked around. The place had quieted down. Now only a few departed were still around. A man who appeared to be from the 1920’s judging by his clothing stood by the front door. As Willow watched he crossed over to the large living room area and moved to one of the windows. He didn’t acknowledge Willows presence so she didn’t acknowledge his.
“Hey.” Willow was surprised by the voice and turned quickly.
“Oh, hi Bob.’ Willow smiled seeing him seated in a comfortable wing back chair by the fireplace.
“You and Gerard get settled in?” He asked.
Willow heard his thoughts loud and clear. He was angry she was staying in Gerard’s room but how he already knew that fact she wasn’t sure.
She walked over and sat down in the matching chair across from his. “I know you don’t approve of me staying with Gerard.”
He nodded, “Yeah, you could say that.” Suddenly the look on his face changed to shock.
Willow laughed, “Yeah, sorry. I heard your thoughts on the matter. You’re pretty upset so they were loud.”
“Fuck.” Bob muttered. “Hey, it’s not my business.”
Willow had deliberately tuned out his thoughts. “It’s okay but tell me why it upsets you so much.”
He gave her a small smile. “Can’t you hear why?”
“Not listening now.” Willow smiled back. “Before they came at me too fast not to hear. But now, sitting here I can tune them out.” She sighed, “So why?”
Bob tapped his fingers on the arm of the chair nervously. “Because I like you and don’t want you to get hurt.”
“And you think Gerard will hurt me.” It wasn’t a question.
“I know he will.” Bob said looking away. “He’s changed so much. He’s not the guy who I became friends with years ago.” He thought a moment then spoke honestly, “I don’t like who he’s become. I’ve seen him hurt people just because he’s hurting. I don’t want that to happen to you.” Bob looked back over at her. “He won’t marry you.”
Willow was shocked. “Marry me? Seriously Bob. Why would you even think I would be thinking like that?”
He sighed, “I didn’t say you were but I’m just telling you so you’ll know. You are the kind of woman who deserves marriage. Not shacking up with some singer.”
“We aren’t shacking up.” Willow said growing angry. “We are together now and that’s it.”
“That will be it, Willow.” Bob said sadly. “He’s a fuckin’ dumb ass. When this is over he’ll let you walk out of his life.”
Willow’s heart sank hearing the words she knew were true. “I know that.”
“Then why?” Bob asked, “Why are you letting him use you?”
Willow glanced down at her hands. She couldn’t tell him the truth. “When this is over I’ll go home to my very quiet life but I will have memories that will remain with me.”
Bob shook his head. “You deserve so much more, Willow.”
She started to say something when a movement caught her eye. Gerard was standing behind one of the pillars. Obviously by the look on his face he’d heard part of the conversation.
Bob followed her gaze and cringed inwardly.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” Gerard said to Willow as he took a step foreword. “But I see you have a protector.”
Bob stood. Ignoring Gerard he said to Willow, “I’ll talk to you later.” He brushed past Gerard without a word.
“I thought you were going to get a feel of the place.” Gerard said trying to keep the anger out of his voice.
“I was but I ran into Bob.”
“Yeah, I heard.” The mere fact that he knew he was feeling jealousy infuriated him. “So maybe you’d like to stay with him. You know move your stuff into his room so he can protect you from me.”
Willow shook her head. “Don’t do this.” She said softly.
“Do what? What the fuck am I doing, Willow?” He challenged.
“He’s your friend. Don’t jeopardize that friendship.”
The anger marred his face. “Don’t worry, Sugar. Believe me no woman is worth losing a friend over.”
His words cut Willow. She stood. “Good. Because soon I’ll be out of your life but Bob will still be with you.”
“Not soon enough.” He muttered.
Willow swung around. “You’re right. I’ll get my things and move to another room.” She paused just a moment when she realized the man she’d seen earlier was glaring at her. Shaking her head she ignored him and ran for the stairs.
Gerard felt more anger then he’d ever felt before. He was so blinded by it that he didn’t even question the degree. Quickly he moved in the direction she’d just gone. He wasn’t about to let her get the upper hand. His hands were balled into fists as she ran up the stairs.