The end of the tour brings hope and fears.
It was the morning of the last concert and the band was just beginning their day when Gerard appeared dressed and ready to leave the bus.
“Where are you off to?” Frank asked looking at him with bloodshot eyes. The night before the band had practiced in the back of the bus late into the night.
“I’ve got shit to do.” Gerard said while making sure he’d stowed his phone in the messenger bag he had thrown over his shoulder.
Mikey and Alicia joined them.
“We don’t have to be over to the venue until three.” Mikey said trying to stifle a yawn.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, I know but I’ve got some stuff to do.” He had the day planned and wasn’t in the mood to be questioned. He started off the bus when Alicia called out to him.
She reached the steps and nodded for him to continue. What she wanted to say to him needed to be in private. They took several steps away from the bus before she spoke. “I know it’s not my business but when we get home are you going to try to talk to Willow?”
For a moment Gerard was tempted to tell her it was none of her business but he looked into her eyes and saw something. “You miss her don’t you?’ He asked softly.
Alicia gave him a small smile. “Yeah, I do. It’s like I’ve lost a friend and I don’t like it at all. I know it sounds stupid because I didn’t even know her for that long but shit, I just took to her you know? And it’s not because she saved Mikey. It was more than that. I started to feel like I could tell her anything and she’s understand. I just feel bad I never saw this coming. I thought that even if things between you two didn’t work out she would still be my friend. I thought I would be able to call her and talk when I wanted.” She paused frowning. “I’m sorta pissed. She just left all of us and I wanna know why.”
“She left all of us because of me.” Gerard said looking away.
Alicia gave him a surprised look. “Is that what you really think?”
He nodded, “Yeah, I fucked up royally. When she first left I tried to make myself hate her. I tried to convince myself she’d left me because she’d gotten the money she needed and that’s what she’d been after all along. But now I realized how wrong I was.”
“Because she paid it back?” Alicia asked. Mikey had told her how Brian had called and told Gerard about the check that had arrived at his office.
“No, even if she hadn’t paid it back I know in my heart that’s not why Willow was with us. Thing is I’m not sure Willow is sure herself.”
Now Alicia was very confused. “I don’t understand.”
Gerard took out a cigarette and lit it before continuing. “Grandma brought Willow into our lives. Not just for Mikey but for me. I realize now how bitter I’d become.” He smiled “And I know Grandma would have bopped me on the head for that. See I believe that Grandma knew I needed Willow. Grandma gave me a wonderful gift and I threw it away.”
His words touched Alicia. Gerard had never opened up to her like this. “But it’s not too late.” She said hoping he could still believe there was a chance for him and Willow.
“I hope you’re right.” He answered softly. “I’m going to do everything I can to try to fix what I’ve fucked up.”
“So when we get back you’re going to go see her?” Willow guessed.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, one of the things I’m doing today is booking tickets to Kansas. I want to get home, take care of the shit I can’t put off then I’m flying there. I’m gonna to find her. She and I need to talk.”
Alicia smiled, “I’m so glad.” She impulsively hugged him.
Gerard hugged her back. “I just have to have faith.” He whispered.
At the same time Gerard was talking to Alicia Willow was staring intently at a piece of paper. The numbers had been added up again and again but the totals brought on such a feeling of depression. She wished with all her heart there was something she could do. The voice in her head again reminded her that if she hadn’t sent that money to Gerard this wouldn’t be a problem.
Willow shook her head in answer to that thought. She had to pay that money back. It had been wrong for Gerard to do what he’d done. Part of her wanted to believe he’s done it for the right reasons but unfortunately that’s not what she believed. He’d done it because he’d wanted her to move to New York to be with him. He’d wanted her to be like Jessica. He had wanted her but on his terms. It hurt Willow to admit to herself that in a way she almost wished she’d done it. She missed him so much. But she knew that she could never have done it. She loved him too much to let him use her like that. He didn’t love her and that was the brutal truth. If he had things would have been different. But without love the fact remained that if he found out the truth it would have been over anyway.
“Willow, honey, stop staring at those numbers.”
Willow looked up to see Gracie enter the room. “I wasn’t.” She smiled knowing full well that Gracie would know she was lying.
Gracie shook her head and sighed, “Honey, don’t you try to lie to me. I know you were. Stop trying to take the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can only do so much.”
“But it’s not enough.” Willow said sadly.
Taking a seat by the desk Gracie pushed back her long brown hair and sighed, “I’m serious. You need to let this go. You’ve done all you can for us.”
“But you all have done so much for me.” Willow said, “You gave me a place to stay and I just want to somehow do more to repay you.”
Gracie narrowed her eyes and said, “Well you could do something. You can tell me just what it is you’re running from.”
Willow knew this was coming. Once or twice she’d heard small bits of Gracie’s thoughts so she knew the older woman was curious about Willow’s past.
“I’m not running from anything.” Willow said sitting up a bit straighter.
Much to Willow’s surprise Gracie threw back her had and laughed, “Oh Honey, you don’t lie so well. I know you’ve heard my thoughts so I know you knew I was gonna ask. You just tried very hard to sound convincing but it didn’t work.”
“Gracie you know I don’t go around listening to your thoughts.” Willow said frowning.
“I know you might not try but I do know sometimes you still do hear.” Gracie stood. “Come on. You’ll tell me when you’re ready. Now let’s go. No since staring at those red numbers any longer. What’s done is done and we both know what’s gonna happen.” She held out her hand to Willow. “Besides I happen to know Jessie is waiting for you.”
“Why?’ Willow asked.
Gracie shook her head, “Not sure. He just told me he needed to talk to you.”
As they walked out of the cramped office Gracie reached out and touched Willow’s arm. “Whoever he is I’m sorry he hurt you.”
Willow stood stock-still. “It’s not like that, Gracie. Truth is we hurt each other.”
It was at the last concert of the tour that the band played the song Gerard had written for Willow.
“This next song is new.” He waited until the crowd’s cheering quieted. “I want to dedicate it to someone who came into my life and fuckin’ touched my soul. It’s called “Faith.”
As he sang the words he closed his eyes and saw her.
When the final chords died away he smiled feeling for the first time that maybe he truly could find his way back to her. He would hold the flame of faith in his heart burning until he found Willow.
The band left he stage in great spirits. The tour had been successful but now it was time to go home. It had been over three and a half months and they were all a bit homesick.
As they were headed to van, which would take them directly to the airport, Mikey remembered he’d left the book he’d been reading on the bus.
“Hey, I’ve got to grab something.” He called out to the others. Quickly crossing the parking lot he boarded the bus and went directly to his bunk. He grabbed the book, turned, and there she was. A moment of shock first and then he opened his mind and tried to understand the images she was showing him. He frowned and whispered, “I don’t understand.”
A few more images passed through his head and then she was gone. Mikey closed his eyes a moment and tired to make sense of what he’d just seen. His heart began to race.
“Mikey?” Alicia was standing at the top of the stairs. “What’s wrong?” The look on her husband’s face frightened her.
Mikey walked towards her. “I don’t understand.” His voice trembled.
“Understand what?” Alicia asked.
“I just saw Grandma.” Mikey whispered. “I don’t understand what she was trying to tell me. All I do know is that Gerard needs to go to Willow. Something is wrong and she needs him.”
Alicia hugged him tightly, “What did you see? Why do you think something is wrong? You mean something is wrong with Willow? Is she sick?”
He buried his face against her neck. “I don’t fuckin’ know. I saw Willow and she crying.” He took a step back and looked into Alicia’s eyes, “She was sobbing, I can’t explain it any better than she just looked like she couldn’t go on.”
“Fuck.” Alicia said softly. “Hey, it will be okay. Remember I told you he said he’s going to go to her when we get home.”
Mikey tired to take solace in that thought. “Yeah, I know.” He made himself put it out of his mind for a moment and pulled himself together. “Come on they’re waiting for us.’
As he and Alicia walked towards the van the images he’d just seen flashed through his mind while a terrible feeling of despair settled in his heart.
AUTHORS NOTE - Thanks for the reviews. Just a reminder I will be posting only once a week until after the holiday season. Take care and love you all. Elena XOXO