Things take a turn for the worse.
“Want me to answer it or not?” Kelly asked as she walked into the kitchen.
Willow simply stared at the phone.
Kelly shook her head, walked over to the fridge and got out a can of Coke. Popping the top she took a sip then sat down across from Willow. “I just don’t understand why you won’t talk to him.”
“I can’t.” Willow said looking down, “I just don’t want to hear his voice.”
“So just tell him that. Tell him to stop calling.” Kelly said before noticing the tears in Willow’s eyes. “Shit, I’m sorry.”
Willow had told Kelly very little about what had happened. The only thing she had said about Gerard was she didn’t want to speak to him again. Kelly had assumed that Willow didn’t like the guy but now she began to realize she’s been way off.
“Willow, do you want to talk about it?” While they were not exceptionally close friends she did care about her and could see she was very upset.
“I just can’t.” Willow said gathering up her papers. The phone fell silent. “I know I’m not an easy person to be friends with…”
Kelly cut her off, “You are definitely not an easy person to be friends with because you won’t open up. You keep everything inside. I like you, Willow. I just wish you would let me be your friend.”
Willow gave her a surprised look, “Is that how I seem to you?”
“Yeah” Kelly nodded, “It really is. I want to be your friend but I don’t know how. You won’t let me.”
Hearing that truth hurt Willow. She realized that Kelly was right. She was so afraid that people wouldn’t like her that she kept them at a distance. But she had changed on the trip. She had become friends with Alicia and the others and it had felt so good. Looking across the table at Kelly she felt a wave of sadness. All this time she had spent alone without close friends had been her own fault. She took a deep breath and began to tell Kelly about her trip. Her roommate had known Willow had gone to help Mikey. Kelly knew about Willow’s ability to see the dead. Still Willow didn’t feel comfortable sharing the fact she could hear thoughts but that didn’t matter. She was sharing her story as a friend would. By the end of the evening she told her how she had fallen in love with Gerard but that he didn’t love her.
“You ready for this, man?” Ray asked sitting down next to Gerard. It was almost time for the band to line up and do their ritual high-fives before taking the stage for the first concert of the tour.
“Yeah.” Gerard answered feeling his stomach churn. The plane trip had been terrible and he’d tried to sleep as much as possible. Now it was time for the first concert of the tour and he prayed he’d be able to perform. His stomach was so messed up he couldn’t even keep water down but he was trying his hardest to hide that fact from the band. He smiled and pretended everything was fine. He learned that if he did that they would leave him alone and not ask questions. He wanted them to believe that everything in his life was just fine even though that was far from the truth.
A tech called to Ray and he took off. Gerard considered trying to call Willow one more time but decided against it. Right now he couldn’t even figure out the time difference. Right now he couldn’t think straight. Still if he could just hear her voice he knew it would help.
It was during the third song of their set that it happened. One minute Gerard was singing then suddenly his voice fell silent. Shock washed over the crowd when he collapsed on stage.
Willow had left the house early on Thursday and didn’t return until late that night. She was surprised that Kelly, who got up very early each morning for work, was waiting up for her.
“Hey.” Willow greeted her setting down her purse. “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
Kelly nodded, “Yeah but I stayed up to tell you something. I was at work today and I overheard some people talking about My Chem.”
Something in her voice more than her words made Willow’s heart begin to beat faster. “What about them?”
Kelly turned her laptop so that Willow could see the video she had on pause. Once it began to play Willow sat down and watched in horror as Gerard hit the stage. “What happened?” She whispered.
“No one knows for sure. The only information I could find says he was taken to the hospital.”
Willows mind began to race. “Is he okay?”
“I tried to find out more.” Kelly explained reaching out and touching Willow’s arm sympathetically. “I went to lots of different fan sites but no one seems to know anything yet. Can’t you call someone and find out?”
Blinking back tears Willow tried to gather her thoughts. “I can’t.” She whispered.
Kelly sighed, “I just thought you would want to know.” She stood, gave Willow a quick hug then headed for her bedroom.
Willow sat staring at the video image. Her fingers trembled as she played the clip again noting this time how sick he looked before he’d fallen. She closed her eyes a moment then stood having made her decision. The piece of paper was buried at the bottom of her purse. When the phone began to ring she held her breath.
“Bob, it’s Willow.” She said softly.
“I just want to get the fuck out of here.” Gerard said from his hospital bed. He was still very weak but being in the hospital gave him the creeps. He tried to convince Ray he felt better and was ready to be released.
Ray sighed, “Dude, you scared the shit out of a lot of people. Mikey went nuts when you hit that stage. You need to get your strength back.”
“I need to get out of here. I’m going to perform on Saturday.”
“Look, you heard what the doctor said. You have a wicked strain of the flu. You were dehydrated when they brought you in. Once the doctor feels you are ready they’ll release you.”
“But I feel better.” Gerard said with a sigh. He tried not to shudder when he glanced down at the needle in his arm through which liquids were being intravenously pumped into his body.
Ray looked at him closely and was about to ask him something when Bob, Mikey and Frank entered the room.
“I was gonna get you a bouquet of flowers.” Frank said perching on the side of the hospital bed. “But I couldn’t find any that were special enough for you, Honey.”
Gerard rolled his eyes, “Thanks.”
Frank grinned, “So how’s the fallen rock star today?”
“Ready to get the hell out of here.” Gerard responded.
Mikey pulled up a chair, “I talked to Brain. He’s gonna release a statement on the site today. Lots of fans are gonna crazy with worry for you.”
“Yeah, everyone’s worried about me.” Gerard muttered.
Mikey looked at the others, “Hey, give me a minute alone with my Bro, okay?”
Frank stood, “Sure. We’re gonna head down to the cafeteria” He understood Mikey wanted to talk to his brother alone. .
Ray nodded and started for the door closely followed by Bob and Frank. Mikey waited until they were out of the room to speak, “Gee, I’m sure she doesn’t know.”
Gerard shook his head, “I’m sure she does know. She just don’t fuckin’ care.”
The truth was Mikey had tried calling Willow but had been shocked to find her number had been disconnected. He debated wither of not he should tell his brother.
Gerard leaned back and closed his eyes, “I just want to get out of here and get back to work. I want to get on with my life.”
“Gee when we get home you can work this out with her. Tell her how you really feel about her.”
Gerard still felt like he’d been hit by a truck and his head was pounding, “There ain’t nothing to work out. I was a fool. I knew I should never let myself get into this kind of position again. I fuckin’ knew it. But this time it’s different. I’m not gonna let this destroy me. I’m gonna get out of here and get back out on tour. I’m gonna think only about the band and my comic. I’m not gonna let myself be dragged down. Willow has made it more than clear that she’d done with me. Fuck, I don’t blame her. Still, she came out of this a hell of a lot better than she went in.”
Mikey was shocked by his sudden change in attitude. “She didn’t do this for the money, you know that.” Mikey said defending her, “You know it was never about the money.”
It angered Gerard that his brother seemed to be taking her side. “You sure about that? Really sure? Shit, she waltzed into our lives without warning. Maybe she did have an agenda.”
“Stop it, Gee.” Mikey said standing and beginning to pace. “You know that ain’t true. Did you forget Willow saved my life the night we met her? Have you forgotten she helped me realized I wasn’t going insane? How could you believe that about her?”
His head was pounding more and more. “I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t believe in anything anymore. Nothing. But don’t you think if she really loved me like you think she would have a least called to find out if I was fuckin’ dying?”
Mikey understood that Gerard’s illness was making him irrational. “Dude, you’re not dying.” Just hearing the word caused Mikey’s stomach to churn.
“Does she know that?” He challenged.
“Gee, calm down.”
Gerard’s anger rose, “I am calm. I’m fuckin’ calm and seeing things clearly now. I fell for it all. Poor Willow who had no friends. No one ever understood her. Well I get it now. I understand. She almost had me. I really fuckin’ thought I’d fallen in love. Fuck, what an idiot.”
Bob stood outside in the hallway listening to the conversation. He honestly didn’t know what to do. Gerard thought Willow didn’t care when in truth she’d called in tears when she’d heard he was ill. However he’d promised her he wouldn’t tell Gerard about her call. He had tried to convince her that Gerard was tying to get in touch with her but she’d muttered something about not wanting to hurt him anymore than she’d already done. He hadn’t understood her words then and he didn’t understand them now. What was it she’d done to make her think she’d hurt him? Bob had believed it was the other way around. He’d blamed Gerard for treating Willow like shit. He leaned against the wall and continued to listen.
Mikey’s voice was sounding more and more upset. “Gee, I don’t understand what happened between you two but you’re wrong about her. She wouldn’t hurt you. She loves you.”
“That what she said?” Gerard asked his own voice becoming louder, “Oh yeah that’s right she told you that. Ever think she might have been lying? Don’t forget Bro, you don’t have all the same talents she does. You can’t hear people’s thoughts. You don’t know what she was really thinking. Shit, what if I hadn’t told her I’d had all her bills paid off? Got a feeling she wouldn’t have bolted. I think she would have stayed longer until she got what she wanted. I just made it easier for her. Once I told her I’d had Brian pay off her bills she took off.”
Bob walked down the hall and pulled out his phone. Scrolling down on history log he found Willow’s number. He hoped she’d answer. His face registered shock when the recording played informing him that number had been disconnected.
“Who you trying to call?” Mikey asked causing Bob to jump. He hadn’t heard him leave Gerard’s room.
“Willow.” Bob said softly while putting his phone back in his pocket.
Mikey wondered why he looked so guilty. “I didn’t know you had her number, Did Gee give it to you?’
He decided he had to confide in someone. “No, she called me as soon as she heard about Gee.”
“What?” Mikey was shocked.
“Yeah, she called me.”
“Why the fuck didn’t you say something before now? Gee thinks she doesn’t care.”
Bob pulled him further down the hall before answering. “The morning we were leaving the Paramour I had a feeling something was wrong. She seemed happy but fuck, I don’t know something just seemed off to me. I gave her my number and told her to call me if she ever needed anything.”
“So she called you to find out about Gee.” Mikey said starting to understand.
“Yeah, but she made me promise not to tell anyone.”
Mikey was confused, “I don’t get it. Why?”
Bob shook his head, “I don’t fuckin’ know. It was a weird call. She sounded like she was crying. She asked me about Gee. I told her he was gonna be okay and that he had been trying to get in touch with her.”
“And what did she say?”
“That’s the really weird thing. She said something about no wanting to hurt him.” Bob said softly.
Mikey tried to think, “Maybe because she’d changed her mind about being with him?”
Bob shrugged, “I don’t know. Maybe but I get the feeling it was more than that. She said something about not hurting him anymore than she’d already hurt him.”
Mikey sighed, “Fuck, I need to talk to her. Gee is really hurting over this. He thinks she used him.”
“I don’t believe that.” Bob declared angrily. “She wouldn’t have done that. I’m sure she loves the jackass.”
Mikey had to laugh, “You callin’ my brother a jackass?”
“Yeah, you gotta admit he is sometimes.” His voice softened, “But he’s one of my best friends and I hate this is fucking him up.”
“So what happened when you tried to call her just now?” Mikey asked afraid of the answer Bob was about to give.
“Number’s been disconnected.”
Mikey nodded, “She must have called you from her home phone. That’s the number Gee was trying to call. I tried this morning and got the same recording.”
“What can we do?’ Bob asked hoping Mikey has some sort of plan.
Mikey had already given this some thought but hadn’t really come up with anything. “I hate to involve Brian. He doesn’t trust Willow and I’m afraid it would just make things worse asking him to find out anything about her.”
“Agreed.” Brian had made some remarks to Bob that made it obvious he didn’t trust Willow.
“Lets give it a few days and hope that she calls again.” Mikey said slowly. “If she doesn’t we’ll figure something out.”
Bob glanced down the hall at Gerard’s room. “I hate that he thinks she wasn’t worried about him when she heard what happened.”
Mikey nodded, “I think you should tell him but it’s your call.”
“Fuck.” Bob muttered, “She asked me not to say anything to him.”
Mikey sighed, “But it’s tearing him up thinking she don’t care.”
“This is all so fucked up.” Bob said sadly. He walked back towards Gerard’s room. Once there he saw that Gerard’s eyes were closed. Better to let him sleep.
“I’m awake.” Gerard said softly opening his eyes.
Bob walked slowly into the room and sat down. “Can I get you anything?’
Gerard’s laugh was hollow, “Yeah, you can get me a way to forget the last couple of weeks ever happened.”
Bob looked down at his hands, “You don’t really mean that. She helped Mikey.”
“Yeah, and she helped me to see my grandma.” Gerard whispered.
“What?” Bob looked up in shock.
He had meant to always keep that to himself and wasn’t sure why he’d just shared the information. “She did. I really saw grandma.”
When he offered no more information Bob spoke, “She’s an incredible woman.”
Gerard closed his eyes, “Yeah. I hope she finds someone to make her happy.”
“She did.” Bob said softly.
“No.” Gerard answered, “What we shared was never real. I don’t know what the fuck it was but it wasn’t real.” Each time he thought about what happened when he touched her it made him realize what they had shared had been unnatural.
“But..” Bob’s words were cut off by Gerard.
“I need to get some sleep. My head is pounding.”
Bob understood that he was being dismissed. “Yeah, okay.” He started for the door but suddenly stopped. “As soon as she found out what happened to you she called me.”
Gerard’s eyes popped open. “What?”
“She called me because she was frantic to find out if you were okay.”
“And you’re just tell me this now?” Gerard’s voice rose, “Why?”
Bob glanced away, “She made me promise not to tell you.”
Gerard didn’t know what to think. He simply closed his eyes and tried to quiet the thoughts in his head. Unfortunately the memory of Willow touching his hand while she had tried to help him quiet his thoughts flooded his mind. Her voice filled his head. He couldn’t get her out of his mind and deep down he knew a part of him never wanted to.