Christa and Willow do some research.
“Hey, nice shirt.” Frank teased.
Willow giggled, “Nice and very true.” She sat down in the chair Gerard pulled out for her. “So how did everyone sleep?”
There was a chorus of groans around the table from everyone except Mikey.
“You know how my night went.” Bob said before taking a drink of his piping hot coffee.
“Any more problems after I left?” Willow asked.
Bob shot Gerard a look then turned to Willow. “Nope. I cleaned up the mess my visitor made then went to bed. It was hard to fall asleep.” He had shared the story of his poltergeist with the others before Gerard and Willow had arrived.
“I heard the singing again.” Christa said softly.
Ray nodded, “I did too. She woke me up so I could hear it.”
Willow looked over at Frank and Jamia. “Any problems?”
Jamia looked down at her plate. “I have to be honest this place just gives me the creeps.”
Frank placed his hand over hers, which was laying on the tabletop. “Me too.”
Mikey felt bad his friends were feeling this way but he couldn’t help but be excited about how he was feeling. “Bob told us how that drumstick shot across the room and how you caught it. Think I’ll ever be able to do that?”
Willow smiled at his enthusiasm. “Believe me you really don’t want things being thrown at your head.”
“Well yeah I know.” He said trying to explain “But what I mean is do you think I will be able to sense things like you do?”
Willow wasn’t sure but she didn’t want to discourage him. “I think it’s very possible. You’re just now learning to deal with your abilities. In time I think you will master them.”
He smiled. “Yeah, I hope so too.”
Gerard remembered what Willow had told him. “Hey, Bro. I think you’re already doing great. You’re facing all of this and learning to deal.”
Mikey grinned, “Thanks.”
Under the table Willow laid her hand on Gerard’s thigh to let him know she understood what he was doing. While he understood she was the touch was to encourage him it still gave him a jolt of pleasure. Willow felt it too and smiled knowingly.
“So I say we practice today then head into town tonight.” Bob suggested. “Maybe for dinner?”
This idea was a hit with everyone and the subject was discussed for the remainder of breakfast. When everyone had finished the guys headed off to practice. Jamia and Alicia tagged along. Christa, after having discovered that Willow planned on doing more research, decided to stay with her and help. Leaving the table they walked towards the huge library.
“I hope you don’t mind the company.” Christa said glancing over at Willow.
“Not at all. I saw some books in here yesterday.” She said as she opened the library doors, “That I think might contain some important information about some of the departed still hanging here.”
Christa felt a shudder crawl up her spine. “I just don’t understand how you deal with it.” She said honestly.
Willow shrugged, “It’s just normal to me I guess.”
They walked in and Willow noticed how Christa’s eyes darted around the room.
“No one here but us.” She giggled trying to put Christa’s mind at ease.
Christa gave a shaky laugh. “Thanks. That’s good to know. But there are a lot of them around aren’t there?”
Willow nodded, “Yeah, there are and some of them worry me.” She admitted as she headed to one of the floor to ceiling bookshelves.
“Why?” Christa asked nervously.
Willow pulled out a large hardback and moved to one of the wingback chairs. “Because some of them are here because they chose to be but others I believe are bound to this place against their wills.”
“What can I do to help?”
“See that book?” Willow pointed to the shelf she had just left. “The large hardback to the left of where I got this one.”
Christa crossed to the shelf and pulled out a book. “This one?”
“Yep, I think it has a couple of chapters about the actual construction of this place. Look through it and see if anything out of the ordinary happened when the place was being built.”
“You mean like any accidental deaths?”
Willow nodded, “Exactly.” She smiled, “Ever think of being a ghost hunter?”
Christa sat down in a chair to Willow’s right. “I love those types of shows. How did you know?”
Willow looked sheepish, “I didn’t mean to hear your thoughts but when we first arrived you were really thinking loudly.”
“I was.” Christa admitted. “I was thinking how cool it would be to get one of those shows to do an episode here.”
Willow offered no comment.
Willow’s silence confused her. “So are they fake?”
“Not all.” Willow said looking up from the book in her lap. “Some are really good and do truly understand the paranormal. Same with a lot of the famous psychics. Some are true and some are well.. some are good at pretending.”
“Have you ever considered going public with your abilities?”
Willow shook her head, “No, to me it always seemed wrong to profit from this gift. If I can help someone like I did with Mikey then I’m happy. If I didn’t have bills at home I wouldn’t be accepting any money for being here.”
“Ray told me you are only accepting what you would be getting paid at your job back home.” Christa said softly.
“Yep, that’s it.” She look down at the book in her lap and began reading but it was hard to concentrate on the text. Christa’s thoughts were loud and it was becoming difficult to block them out. Finally she gave up and closed the book. “He’s wrong.” She said softly.
Christa gave her a shocked look. “What?”
“Ray is wrong. I would never take money from Gerard and I certainly wouldn’t try to extort money from him.”
“Ray didn’t say that.” Christa sputtered.
“You were just recalling a conversation you and Ray had last night. He mentioned to you that Gerard would be devastated if it turned out I was using him.” The hurt in Willow’s voice was evident. It hurt to hear that Ray thought such a thing. Sadly she realized she was glad she couldn’t hear his thoughts.
“Oh Willow.” Christa said sadly, “Damn I’m sorry. But you have to understand that Ray is just worried about Gee. Look even I don’t know what happened with his marriage. I’ve only heard such a small part of what went down but I saw what happened to him. For months he barely functioned. We were all worried he’d turn back to the bottle or to drugs. Several nights Ray stayed with him right after she left” She hated that Willow had heard her thoughts. “ Ray likes you, he really does.”
“It’s okay.” Willow shrugged trying to downplay her hurt. “I understand.”
Christa couldn’t keep from asking, “Do you know what happened with his marriage?”
“You mean have I listened to his thoughts? No, I haven’t.” Willow didn’t explain further.
“I’m sorry.” Christa said looking down at the unopened book she held in her hands. “That was rude of me to ask.”
Willow liked this woman. She was honest and open and she considered her to be a true friend. “It’s okay that you asked. If the situation were turned around I would have asked the same thing. But the truth is I don’t know what happened. All I know is he believes he will never love again. He’s afraid to love again.”
Christa shook her head, “That’s sad.”
Willow looked into her eyes and answered the question she heard in Christa’s thoughts, “I wish. I really do but please….”
“I won’t say a word.” Christa promised. “But I wish that too.”
“So how’s the research going?” Ray asked walking into the library and finding Christa and Willow’s heads buried in books.
“Oh we’ve found out some very interesting things.” Christa said excitedly. She glanced at her watch. “We’ve actually been at this for two hours?”
Ray laughed, “Yeah, so I guess that means you didn’t miss me.”
Christa giggled, “Well maybe a little.” She got up and stretched. “But we really did find out some neat stuff about this place and I think Willow has figured out who the little girl is.”
Ray glanced over at Willow. “Really?”
Willow nodded, “Yeah, but I need to talk to Mikey to see if I’m right. Where is he?”
“He said he’d be heading this way.” Ray answered. “Uh, Willow. I think it’s great how you’re helping him, I really do. He’s so different now then he was last time we were here. Shit, I was so scared for him then. I really thought he was going insane.”
“He was just scared.” Willow answered sadly, “And so he drank to try to erase that feeling. Only problem is that makes it worse.”
“Have you done that?’ Ray asked looking at her closely.
Willow decided to tell him the truth. “Yeah, at one time in my life I was just so tried of dealing with all of this. I started drinking a lot but that was a terrible mistake.”
“I don’t understand.” Ray took a seat.
“For me when I drank to excess it made it impossible to differentiate the departed from the living.. Believe me I started getting some weird looks.”
“Shit, you mean you were talking to someone that no one else could see.” Christa said beginning to understand.
Willow nodded, “Exactly. It’s okay if I have a few drinks but at my darkest time I was drinking to pass out. Which I did frequently.” She shook her head at the memories. “But the worst thing is that when I drink that much for some reason it opens my mind more than normal to Malevolent.”
“The evil departed.” Ray said remembering that Willow had mentioned them before.
“Yes, that’s right. And believe me when you’re drunk off your ass and see one of those it’s not a good thing.”
“Have you told Gerard you used to drink that much?’ Ray asked.
Willow shook her head surprised by the question, “No, I’ve haven’t told him.”
“Maybe you should.” Ray said thinking out loud.
“Shit, I wish I could hear what your thoughts are on this.” Willow frowned, “Do you think it would be something he would want to hear about and why?”
“So he understands that you’ve been through a lot of shit in your life too. Not just the things you told him about dealing with your abilities.”
“Not the best thing to have in common.” Willow said sadly, “And honestly that’s about the only thing we do have in common.”
Ray gave her a confused look. “Why do you say that?’
Willow’s good mood was dissipating rapidly, “Because it’s true. He and I are from different worlds. To me this whole experience has been the most exciting thing to ever happen to me. My first time to actually travel, first airplane ride, and first time in California…” her voice trailed off. After a moment she added, “ This is nothing new to him. You guys have been all around the world.” She shrugged and looked down. “We really don’t have anything in common.”
Standing out in the hallway Gerard felt a pang of sadness listening to her words. Yes, what she was saying was true but he’d never felt that they were all that different. She was such an exciting woman who he could simply talk to for hours and never grow bored. Had he done something to make her feel this way?
“Hey, Bro.” Mikey said walking down the hall towards Gerard. “Willow in there?” he nodded towards the library.
“Yeah, I was just going in.” he lied.
The conversation in the library came to a halt as the brothers walked in.
“Hey, Mikey.” Willow said smiling at him. “I have a photo to show you.” She opened the book before her to the bookmarked page. “Recognize this woman?”
Mikey looked down at the book. “That’s her.’ He said excitedly. “That’s the woman I saw before.”
Willow smiled happily. “I was hoping you’d say that. If I’m right this is the little girl’s mother. In the book it says that Martha was the original head housekeeper here. It mentions she had a young daughter who also lived on the premises but nothing else about her.”
“And you think that’s the little girl?” Gerard asked looking over Mikey’s shoulder to study the photo.
“That’s my guess.” Willow explained. “It would explain why the little girl was more interested in Mikey then me. She can sense that Mikey has seen her mother.”
“Wow.” Mikey said studying the photo. “What else does it say about Martha?”
“She died in this house.” Willow told him softly, “It says she died of unexplained causes?”
“Unexplained? What does that mean?” Mikey asked.
“She was found dead in one of the bedrooms. The last time anyone remembered seeing her she had gone up to check to make sure the rooms were ready for guests who were arriving later in the day.”
“But it doesn’t say what happened?’ Mikey said frowning. “And what about her daughter? What happened to her?”
Willow understood he was upset. “It doesn’t say. It does say that for a while there was talk among the staff that the death seemed mysterious. Nothing is written about what happened her daughter.”
“So where do we go from here?” Mikey asked looking into Willow’s eyes. “How do we find out what happened?”
“Well what about someone who worked here at that time? I mean it was the 30’s but surly not everyone is dead.” Gerard offered.
Willow looked over at him. “That’s a good idea. I’ve written down some of the names of former staff members. If we can find someone from that time who is willing to talk to us it might be helpful.”
“I wish I could see Martha again.” Mikey said softly. “Maybe she would tell me what happened.”
Willow knew she needed to explain something to him. “That’s possible but remember if something bad did happen to her it could be hard for you to deal with the images she might show you.”
Gerard didn’t like the sound of that. So far Mikey was really doing well with all of this but what if Willow was right? Would his brother be able to handle it?
“I just want to help her.” Mikey said honestly, “I can handle this, I know I can.”
Gerard and Ray exchanged a look that Willow didn’t miss. They were both very worried that Mikey was being too confident.
Several hours later as they prepared for dinner Willow sighed, “I don’t know what to wear. I have that dress of Alicia’s or should I just wear jeans?”
Gerard knew that jeans were fine for the restaurant they had chosen but the idea of Willow in that dress really appealed to him. “Uh, wear the dress.”
Willow was still unsure, “Maybe I should see that the other girls are wearing.”
He shook his head, “That dress is the way to go.”
He grinned, “Because it looks damn good on you and I like the idea of sliding my hands up under it.”
Willow blushed. “Oh.”
He couldn’t stop himself from crossing the room and pulling her into his arms.. He’d wanted to touch her all day and now even though they didn’t have much time before they had to meet the others he couldn’t resist. When she’d walked out of the bathroom fresh from the shower he’d known she was nude under the robe she wore. Desire had won.
“We’re supposed to be downstairs in fifteen minutes.” Willow said breathlessly as his hands fumbled with the belt of her robe.
“I know, Sugar.” He said pushing the robe off her shoulders. “But I just want a quick taste.” He lowered his head and captured her right nipple with his lips.
“Oh” Willow felt desire sweep through her.
He raised his head and looked into her eyes, “This is fuckin’ insane. I want you so bad.”
Willow nodded she understood exactly how he felt. Slowly she left his arms and crossed to the bed. Gerard’s eyes burned with desire as he watched her lean down on the bed. It was impossible for him not to groan out loud when she looked over her shoulder giving an unspoken invitation.
He felt his breath catch. The sight of her presenting herself for him to fuck made his heart race. He took the few quick steps to reach the bed while fumbling with his belt buckle. Quickly he shoved the jeans and boxers down his legs. Licking his fingers he made sure they were wet then lowered them to Willow opening only to be shocked that she was already wet.
“Now, Gee.” She panted.
He thrust into her without another thought. She was so hot and wet he thought he’d exploded on the spot. “Oh fuck, Willow. So good.’ He ground out while pumping in and out of her.
“Harder.” She cried out.
He did as she commanded. His thrusts were hard and deep and in minutes he felt her tighten around his dick. “Here is comes, Sugar.” He grunted as he thrust one more time. Willow let the waves of passion wash over her before collapsing on the bed.
Gerard fell to the bed beside her. “Fuck that was fast and fuckin’ good.”
Willow rolled on her side to face him, “See we had time.” She started to get up but his hand shot out to stop her.
“This is not the only thing we have in common.”
His words shocked her. Had he overheard the conversation in the library? She continued to look into his eyes but remained silent.
“I don’t want you with me just for the sex.” He said trying to explain. “I want you with me because.. well because you are you.”
Tears sprang to her eyes. “That is why I’m with you.” She whispered.
The spell was broken by the ringing of her cell phone.
“Shit, that will be the others wondering why we aren’t down there.” He said sitting up.
Willow got off the bed and moved towards the bathroom. “I’ll be just a minute.” He smiled when he saw her grab the dress on the way.