Their time at the Paramour is over.
“What is there is settle?” Willow forced herself to be strong. She would not let him see her tears again.
He reminded himself that she was already angry with him so he needed to handle this carefully. Reaching out he took the book from her hands and placed it on the nightstand. Then he turned and took her hand in his. “You have to know that things between us have changed.”
“Changed?’ Willows voice was soft but her words determined, “Define ‘changed’.”
He sighed, “Okay to be honest when this started I really believed that we would spend the time we had together and then go our separate ways. I told myself that my attraction to you was strictly physical, nothing more. I figured we’d have a good time together enjoying this..” he stroked her bare arm with his fingers unable to hide the pleasure the sensation cause by touching her skin caused him, “and then it would be over.”
Willow’s skin was on fire from his touch. Right now she hated the feeling.
“But this feeling is just a strong as ever and I don’t want it to end.”
She knew he’s said nothing more than he still liked the sex they shared. Her gaze dropped.
“Willow, I want you to move to New York.” He said softly.
Her head snapped up, “What?”
He nodded and went on quickly, “Yeah, I want you to move to New York.”
“But I can’t.” She was trying to gather her thoughts still in shock by his announcement, “I have a house in Kansas and a job.”
He spoke softly, “You have no family or friends there. Nothing to tie you to that place but things can be different. You have friends now you care about you.” He smiled and added, “In New York.”
Her head was reeling, “But I can’t just walk away like that. I have bills to pay.”
“You don’t have any bills.”
God she wished she could hear what was going on in his head. She tried to scoot away from him but he held on to her hand tightly, “I do have bills.”
He shook his head, “No, they’ve been paid. That includes the back taxes on your house.”
Willow honestly couldn’t think. “What are you saying?”
“I had Brian take care of all your bills, your student loans, your mom’s hospital bills, everything.”
“No,” Willow shook her head, “I didn’t want you to do that.”
“I know you didn’t but I did it anyway.” He saw the look on her face and continued quickly, “I wanted to do it for you. Money don’t mean shit to me.”
Willow shook her head slowly, “Shit, no wonder Brian hates me.”
He gave her a surprised look, “What?”
“He thinks I asked for this, doesn’t he?”
“No, I set him straight. I told him it was totally my idea.”
Willow caught what he’d said, “But he did think that, right? He thought I asked you to pay off my bills.”
Gerard didn’t want this be become an issue, “It doesn’t matter what he thought. I don’t give a fuck what he thought or thinks. I had him do it because I wanted it done for you. I didn’t want you to have to struggle with that kind of shit anymore.”
“Did you think you should ask me what I wanted?” Willow said her voice becoming a notch louder, “You should have asked me.”
He’d been afraid she’d react like this. “Look, it’s done so it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that now you can move to New York.”
This whole conversation seemed so unreal to her. A minute ago she was sure he was sending her on her way and now he was telling her he’d paid off all her bills and wanted her to move to New York. For several minutes she sat in silence trying to digest everything. Gerard used his thumb to stroke her hand he still held tightly. Finally Willow spoke.
“Why do you want me to move to New York?”
“So we can be together.” He answered quickly. “Of course this fucking tour is gonna make things difficult but we’ll work through it. Maybe you can go with me.”
Willow shook her head, “I can’t. I don’t have a passport. Until a few weeks ago I’d never been more than a couple of hundred miles away from home.”
He hadn’t thought of that. “Shit, I forgot. But it’s okay. We’ll work through that.”
Willow slowly let her heart hope. “You really are sure about this? You want me in your life, you want me to be a part of it?”
Gerard continued to stroke her hand as he spoke the words carefully, “I want to be able to be with you. You have become important to me and to my brother. You are important to the others. They are your friends now. You are absolutely the most incredible woman I’ve ever met. There is no denying that we share something very special and to throw that away would be foolish.”
There was a voice in her head screaming for her to listen to the words he spoke carefully. “But what would I do in New York? I really have no skills to land a job.”
He smiled, “I’ve already spoken to Brian about helping you find a job. He has lots of connections so that won’t be a problem. Also I think you should go back to school. I could hear the passion in your voice when you spoke about working in the field of Music Therapy. Let me help you with that.”
“I can’t just take money from you Gerard.” Willow said trying to sort through her thoughts.
“Of course you can.” He smiled believing that she was warming to the idea. “This will all work out. I just wish I didn’t have to leave as soon as we get back. I wanted to help you find a place of your own.”
It was then Willow realized what he was offering her. He wanted her in his life but on his terms. He didn’t want her with him, he wanted her where he could be with her when he chose. He wanted another Jessica. She looked down fighting the tears she would not allow to fall.
Gerard continued, “I’ll be good to you Willow. We both want the same thing in life. We understand that a traditional relationship isn’t for us but at the same time there is no reason we can’t enjoy spending time together. This feeling that we can’t explain is like a gift. I don’t understand it but we can’t ignore it.” He reached up and stroked her cheek with his fingertip. “I’ll never marry again. That shit, marriage and kids, just ain’t for me. I can’t offer you love but I can offer you security and companionship”.
Willow had never felt such pain in her life. The brutal truth was out there now and she had to accept it. He didn’t love her and he never would. She felt her heart shatter into a million pieces.
Gerard took her silence as a good sign. He’d been so afraid she’d reject his offer. “This will be perfect. You can either sell you house or rent it. I promise you you’ll love living in New York.”
Willow nodded without thinking. Right now it was impossible to think or feel. She felt dead inside.
Slowly he moved over closer and took her in his arms. Willow almost broke into tears as her body caught fire. It was if her body was mocking her. Her body didn’t care if he loved her, it only wanted to be satisfied. It wanted the same thing Gerard wanted. Sex without love or commitment. She’d been a fool to believe it would ever be anything but that.
“I want you in my life, Willow.” Gerard said again before kissing her lips. He pulled back and smiled, “This will be good for both of us.”
Willow’s mind began to slowly clear. The truth of what she had to do hit her. She forced a smile, “Yes.”
He was about to kiss her again when he suddenly looked into her eyes, “I do trust you. Just never lie to me.” He whispered, “Please never deceive me.”
Those words would always haunt her.
“So what do you think is going to happen between Gerard and Willow?” Mikey asked as he packed up his bass.
Frank who was nearest to him sighed, “Not sure but since we are leaving for three months that really creates a problem.”
Brian had entered the room and decided to tell them the truth. He knew it might upset Gerard but his anger made him speak. “Well no matter what she’s coming out of this a whole lot better off.”
Mikey looked up at him, “What do you mean?”
Brian took a seat and explained, “Gee had me pay off all her bills. Student loans, back taxes, medial bills, everything.”
The others stopped what they were doing. Frank spoke first, “Why?”
Brian shrugged, “He says she didn’t ask him to. He says it’s just something he wanted to do for her.”
“I think it’s a good idea. I’m glad he did it.” Mikey said. “And I’m sure Willow didn’t ask him to. She wouldn’t.”
Brian just shrugged.
Mikey’s anger erupted, “Willow is one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever known. She saved me. Don’t you get that? I was on the edge of losing myself. I fuckin’ thought I was crazy but now I understand. Don’t sit there and think she did this for some personal gain because that ain’t what happened.”
Bob had been listening quietly but now spoke, “So that’s it? He had you pay off her debts and now he’s just letting her go?”
Brian realized he should have kept his mouth shut. He looked over at Bob but didn’t speak.
“Well?” Bob pushed. “Is that what he’s doing?”
“I don’t honestly know.” Brian said. “I don’t know what is going to happen. It’s my guess he’s talking to her about it now.”
“Talking about it?” Bob repeated, “What exactly is he talking to her about. It’s obvious you know something.”
“He’s going to ask her to move to New York.” Brian admitted.
Mikey felt some of his anger dissolve, “He wants her to move in with him?”
Brian shook his head, “No, he told me he wants me to help her find a job and he’s planning on helping her find a place to live.”
The room went quiet. Bob broke the silence by throwing his drumstick down. “Fuck. I fuckin’ thought that asshole loved her but he just wants her to be his mistress.”
“Hey, maybe not.” Frank said trying to play devils advocate. “Look they haven’t known each other that long. Maybe he’s just being careful and waiting to see how the relationship progresses.”
Bob stood and started for the door. “Yeah, sure. You don’t believe that any more than I do. You saw how he treated her at that restaurant tonight. He didn’t want that reporter to know he was with Willow. He’s fuckin’ setting Willow up as a mistress he can visit and fuck when he wants. That is the kind of relationship he wants from her.”
Mikey sat down shaking his head slowly, “Gee wouldn’t treat her like that.” He said trying to make himself believe his own words.
Bob turned at the doorway, “Come on Mikey. You know it’s true. You’ve seen how he’s treated the women in his life since his divorce. Willow is no different to him. She don’t fuckin’ deserve that shit.” He left slamming his fist on the doorframe on the way out.
Ray looked over at Mikey noting the look on his face. “Hey, we don’t really know what’s going on between them but they are both adults and have to figure it out for themselves.”
“But she loves him.” Mikey whispered. “And I really thought she’d broken through that fuckin’ wall he built around his heart.”
Frank sat down next to him. “Maybe she has but it’s gonna take more time. Who knows what will happen between them.”
Mikey shook his head, “If she lets Gee treat her like that then nothing will ever change.”
Willow closed her eyes as Gerard slowly entered her. She couldn’t bear to look into his eyes. He had been so gentle as he’d undressed her then covered her body with kisses. When he lowered his body over hers and whispered in her ear. “This feels so right.”
In her mind a voice screamed, ‘this is so wrong’ but she ignored it. This was what they had, what they truly shared. This was all it had ever been.
Gerard blew hot breath into her ear before his teeth nibbled on her earlobe. He felt her body shudder and smiled, “Sugar, tell me how this feels. Let me hear how this feels.”
Willow forced herself to speak, “So good, this feels so good.” And the very sad and brutal truth was it did feel so good and she wished will all her soul that it didn’t. She wanted to hate him, she wanted to loathe him. He’d broken her heart and yet she couldn’t. Deep in her heart she knew she alone was to blame. He’d told her at the beginning what they would share would be this and yet she’d stupidly let herself believe it would be more. She’s let herself feel the faith Elena had encouraged.
Gerard buried himself in her then raised his head to kiss her lips. All his earlier worries and doubts had been lifted from his soul. He’d been afraid this would be their last night together but now he knew this was only the beginning. It was when that thought invaded his mind he suddenly pulled out of Willow.
Willow opened her eyes in surprise. He was staring down into her face with a look she’d never seen before. “Gee?” She whispered.
He heard her say his name but the sound was hollow in his ears. The truth of what was happening hit him full force. He had been making love to this woman. This wasn’t sex, this was love and it terrified him.
“What’s wrong?’ She reached up and touched his cheek.
Suddenly the past he couldn’t let go of flooded his mind. All the hurt of his ex-wife’s betrayal, all the pain, was there again. No, this couldn’t happen. It would destroy him.
Willow’s confusion showed on her face, “Are you okay?” She whispered.
Anger coursed threw his veins. He had to get control of the situation. Without a word he rolled off her and before she could speak again he rolled her on to her stomach. He straddled her, slid his arm under her and pushed her ass in the air. He entered her quickly and began thrusting.
Willow buried her face in the pillow as he continued to roughly push into her harder and harder. Still his anger burned. He slapped her ass cheeks once then twice feeling a sick satisfaction seeing the reddish mark caused by his hand.
“Fuck, yeah.” He cried out as he felt his release fill her. He reached down, grabbed his dick and smeared the remaining cum over her ass.
Willow felt him move off the bed. She knew in her mind what had just happened. He was showing her that she only meant one thing to him. She held her breath until she heard the bathroom door close.
Gerard leaned against the door and closed his eyes. The realization of what he’d just done shaming him. He’d used her to satisfy himself giving nothing in return. He moved slowly over and sat down on the rim of the tub and hung his head feeling hatred for himself and for the woman who made him feel this way. Taking several deep breaths he tried to get his emotions under control. “This is insanity.” He whispered. He needed a cigarette but couldn’t bring himself to leave the bathroom and face her. Slowly he forced himself to think. He needed to decide how to handle this situation. He had asked her to move to New York to be near him. Was that what he really wanted? Could he continue to be with her knowing now that he loved her? He ran a shaky hand over his face. How could this have happened? After all he’d been though, after the promise he’d made to himself about never letting a woman into his heart again he’d fallen. Then a thought forced its way into his brain causing his heart to race. What if after what he’d just done she changed her mind? What if she decided she didn’t want him in her life? That thought scared him more than any other. He didn’t know how to handle his feelings for her but he knew with certainly he didn’t want her to walk out of his life. He stood and slowly walked over to the sink. The reflection that greeted him in the mirror seemed to mock him. He was a bastard. He had lied to himself and Willow. Grabbing a washcloth he moistened it then ran it over his face as he continued to think. He still wasn’t sure if he could handle the truth about how he felt about her but he knew right now the important thing was to repair the damage he’d done. He prayed she’d forgive him.
Slowly he opened the bathroom door and walked towards the bed. Willow was curled on her side, her breathing even and calm. She looked so beautiful in sleep he couldn’t wake her. Sliding into bed he laid on his back and stared at the ceiling lost in thought. His breath caught when Willow rolled over and curled up next to him laying her head on her chest.
“Willow.” He whispered brokenly.
For several minutes the room was silent. He wondered if she was still asleep. “I..” He wanted to beg her forgiveness. He wanted to promise he’d never hurt her. There was so much he wanted to say but wasn’t sure the words would leave his mouth. He was shocked when he felt her fingertip pressed against his lips.
“Shut your eyes and sleep.” She whispered.
He closed his eyes in relief. She was hugging him tightly and a warm, peacefully feeling coursed through his body. It will be okay, he told himself. He closed his eyes and let sleep claim him but not before letting hope fill his soul.
Hours later when dawn broke that hope began to die. He sat up alone in bed and saw that her bag was no longer by the dresser. He knew in his heart she was gone. With a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach he recalled the last words she’d spoken to him. “Shut your eyes and sleep.” He knew now the words she had left unspoken…. ‘kiss me goodbye.’