Gerard finds out how Willow got the money to repay him.
He let her words sink in a moment before speaking, “I don’t understand. This is her house.”
“It was.” Kelly said softly, “But she sold it. Our neighbor to the east has wanted to buy this house and the property for years. He wanted to tear the house down but Willow couldn’t stand that thought. She knew how badly he wanted the farm ground so she agreed to sell it to him if he gave her his word that the house would remain. She also made him agree to let me continue to live here for another year. I’m getting married so I’ll be moving then.”
“That’s how she got the money to pay me back.” Gerard said out loud. “Son of a bitch. She sold her house to pay me back. But she told me she loved this house. Why would she do that?”
Kelly said nothing.
Gerard stood and nervously began to pace. “Well where is she?”
It was obvious how much this new had upset him. Kelly hated what she had to say. “I don’t know.”
Gerard swiveled around to face her. “You don’t know?”
Kelly shook her head sadly, “I really don’t. She came home after her trip with you, told me she had to sell the house, took care of then details then left.”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “This makes no sense. People just don’t do shit like that.”
“Willow did.” Kelly tried to temper her words, “She had no real ties other than the house. No family, no friends.” She and Willow has only started be become close friends when she learned she was leaving. “She said she had to start over.”
Gerard sat back down heavily. “Someone must know where she went. What about her mail? Isn’t it being forwarded somewhere?” He was grasping at straws but he didn’t know what else to do. Willow was gone.
“The only mail she ever got was bills.” Kelly said sadly. “Now the utilities come in my name.”
Gerard sat back and tried to think. This had completely thrown him, he’d never imagined she’d simply disappear. Thinking to himself he said, “That’s why the phone was shut off.”
“Yeah, I don’t even use a land line.” Kelly said nodding. “Just my cell.” She looked at him closely, “Does this mean you’ve been trying to call her?”
“Yeah” He said looking down, “Yeah, I’ve been trying to get a hold of her but I’ve been on tour.”
Kelly knew that was true. Still she didn’t know how much she should tell him. Willow had told her that she’d fallen in love with him but that he’d broken her heart.
Gerard looked up at her and she saw the desperation in his eyes, “You really have no idea how I can reach her?”
“I’m sorry.” Kelly whispered. “I really don’t. She rented a small trailer, took only a few things and left. I asked her over and over where she was going but she told me she didn’t know. She said she’d call me when she got settled but it’s been over two months and I haven’t heard from her.” She added sadly, “And I’m worried.”
Gerard was worried too. This was all his fault. He tried to think. “So she sold the house but you can live in it for a year. What then?”
“Then I guess it will either be rented out again or sit empty. Mr. Williams gave Willow his word he won’t tear the place down and he’s an honest man. But like many old farmhouses the real value they have is the land. He’s getting ready to farm the property Willow sold him. I’m sure he’d love to tear the house down so he could farm all of it.”
Gerard looked around the room. “Is any of this stuff Willow’s?”
Kelly nodded, “Most of the stuff belonged to her Aunt Joan. I could tell how much she hated to leave it behind. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I move out. I hate to leave her furniture but I won’t be able to take it. Kyle and I are moving to Wyoming.”
He stood again and walked around the room noting the furniture and nick knacks that had obviously been lovingly cared for. Sadness filled his soul. Stopping in front of a roll top desk he spotted a framed photo. Lifting it he studied the photo “Is this Willow?”
Kelly smiled, “Yeah, that’s her and her aunt. She told me that was taken right after she moved in here.”
Gerard studied the beautiful young girl in the photo. Her aunt had placed her arm around her and while Willow had a smile on her face it was easy to see it didn’t reach her eyes. He knew this was shortly after she’d been brutalized by her father’s actions. “Willow” he whispered from deep in his heart.
“I’m really sorry I can’t be of more help.” Kelly said walking over to him.
Gerard carefully sat the photo down. “If I leave you my number will you please let me know if you hear from her?”
Once again Kelly wasn’t sure what to do. Gerard saw she was torn.
“I just want to know that she’s okay.” He said softly. “I get she doesn’t want to talk to me but I just need to know that she’s okay.”
“I will.” Kelly promised. She got a piece of paper for him to leave her his number.
Gerard felt numb as he crawled behind the wheel of the car and started the engine. He was backing out of the driveway when he noticed Kelly had come outside and was sprinting towards the car. He lowered the window.
“Look, I don’t know what happened between you and Willow. She really didn’t tell me much. But I saw the look on her face when she saw the video of you collapsing on stage.” She took a deep breath then added, “She told me she loved you but that you said you didn’t love her.”
“I lied.” He said softly. “I lied.”
He drove back towards the airport and found a hotel nearby. All the while the same line kept racing through his head, “she doesn’t live here anymore”. After checking in he confirmed his flight back to New York then laid down on the bed. Depression came over him stronger than he’d ever felt before. And along with it came a feeling he hadn’t felt in a very long time, he wanted a drink. It would help him forget, it would silence his mind. As he wrestled with his demons his phone began to ring. The first four times he simply ignored it but soon grew angry. He wanted to be left alone.
Picking up his cell he saw it was his brother. “What?” He barked into the phone.
Mikey felt his spirits sink, “Gee, have you seen her?”
Gerard closed his eyes. “No.”
Alicia stood next to Mikey trying to listen to the call. She saw the look of sadness on her husband’s face. “Why, Gee?” Mikey asked softly.
“She’s gone. She sold her house and moved.” His voice was lifeless.
“Well where did she go?’ Mikey asked in shock.
Gerard sighed, “I talked to her old roommate Kelly but she doesn’t know. She told me that Willow came home, sold the house, rented a trailer and took off.”
“That’s how she got the money to pay you back. Hold on.” He quickly filled Alicia in on what he’d just learned. When he was done he spoke to his brother again. “What are you going to do?”
“What can I do?” Gerard felt hopeless. “It’s obvious she wanted to start over. A fresh start is what she told Kelly.”
Alicia grabbed the phone from Mikey, “Gee, you have to find her. Mikey saw your grandma again.”
Gerard sat up. “What? What happened.”
“He saw the same images again. Willow alone and crying and…” her voice trailed off.
“Me and the fucking booze, right?”
Alicia and Mikey looked sadly at each other. “Yeah” she whispered.
Mikey took the phone back, “Gee, you aren’t drinking again are you?” It broke his heart to ask the question.
“I want to so fucking bad right now.” Gerard whispered the truth.
Mikey shook his head, “No, you can’t. Look, don’t fuck this up by doing something stupid. You gotta find Willow. Hire a private investigator. What about the one Brian used to have her checked out?”
“No.” Gerard’s voice was angry, “I don’t want Brian to have anything to do with this. I know how he feels about her.”
Mikey understood, “Okay then hire someone else but do it, Gee.” He thought a moment then said, “Hey, I’ll call Stacy. Bet she’ll know the name of a good private investigator and she won’t say anything to anyone.” Mikey had great respect for the woman who’d helped him during his first stay at the Paramour.
“I’ll call her myself.” Gerard said sitting up straighter. “Just don’t say anything about this to anyone, okay?”
Mikey knew the others would be curious but he agreed.
On the flight back to New York Gerard’s depression continued to grow. All the hopes he’d held tightly yesterday were destroyed. Still he tried not to give up. It was late in the afternoon when he reached his apartment but he made the call to Stacy. He explained the situation to her opening up and telling her the truth about loving Willow and his desperate need to find her. He’d also asked her to handle something that he wanted done regardless of how things turned out. He wanted Stacy to get in contact with the man Willow had sold her house and property to and see if he would agree to sell the house to Gerard. In his heart he knew how much Willow loved that house and he would make sure it always remained well cared for. Stacy had listened to him tell his story and had agreed to handle the details quietly. She understood she must convince the man that Gerard cared for Willow and would promise to care for the house. If Gerard was able to purchase the house, Kelly would continue to live there until she married. Then house would be put back in Willow’s name. It would be his gift to her. It would be a gift he would never let her repay.
Several hours later Stacy called back with the name of a private investigator. She assured Gerard the man came highly recommend and even though the hour was late Gerard could call him now. He thanked her and placed the call.
That night lying in bed he fought the feelings of depression that were trying to overwhelm him. He also fought the desire to let alcohol take away the pain. It would be so easy a voice in his head reminded him over and over. Just one drink would help it told him. Then he remembered his brother’s vision. Had Elena been trying to warn him or had she simply been showing Mikey the inevitable?
“Faith” he whispered to the empty room. He prayed for it.
Early the next morning Gerard sat at his desk drinking a cup of strong coffee and smoking a cigarette. He had just finished speaking the private investigator he’d hired and was trying to keep a positive attitude. The man had assured him that his firm would find Willow as quickly as possible. Since Willow had rented a U-Haul trailer the investigator had assured him that soon he would call with information on Willows destination. His words had offered Gerard a small amount of hope.
He took another sip of coffee when his cell rang. He looked down at the number and frowned. He didn’t recognize the number but the call was from Kansas. He held his breath hoping it was Kelly.
“Yes” He was sure it was her voice.
“This is Kelly. I heard from Willow.” She felt unsure if she was doing the right thing telling him but something in Willow’s voice had worried her.
“Is she okay?” He asked in a rush. “What did she say?”
Kelly could hear the genuine concern in his voice. “She said she was doing well.”
The tone of her voice worried him, “Did you believe her? How did she really sound?”
Kelly sat down and recalled the brief conversation. “She told me she’d settled down south and had a job. She sounded tired, I think.”
“Where down South?” Gerard asked.
Kelly hoped she was doing the right thing by calling him. Willow hadn’t told her not to reveal her new location but she hadn’t really had much time to tell her anything. The call had been so hurried. She’d wanted to tell Willow that Gerard had come looking for her but hadn’t had time. Now she sat frowning trying to gather her thoughts.
“Kelly, please. I’m worried about her. I think something is wrong.” Gerard admitted.
“Wrong?” Kelly asked slowly. “Why would you think that?”
He didn’t want to explain about his grandma’s visits to Mikey. Chances were that Kelly wouldn’t believe anyway so he said, “It’s just a feeling I have. Did you tell her that I was trying to find her?”
“I didn’t have time.” Kelly admitted. “She sounded like she was in a hurry. She just told me she had settled in and that she didn’t want me to worry. It was such a weird call. I really wanted to talk to her more but she said she had to go.”
“And she didn’t tell you anything else?” Gerard asked again.
“I’m sorry but no, she didn’t. I asked her to call me again when she had time to talk and she promised she would.”
“Thank you for calling.” Gerard said softly. Suddenly he had a thought, “But you have a her number now right?” He assumed Willow had called Kelly’s cell phone.
“I’m at work.” Kelly explained, “So no caller ID.”
“Oh” Gerard felt his spirits sink.
Kelly heard the sadness in his voice. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything else but I’ll call you if I hear from her again.” She paused then added, “Because I’m worried too.”
Gerard immediately called Sloan Myers the investigator and told him about Kelly’s call. He knew it wasn’t much but he hoped any information he knew about Willow would help in the search.
After the call he sat back in his chair and tired to convince himself that soon he would know where she was and that he’d be able to talk to her. He didn’t know if she would forgive him but he knew he had to make sure she was safe. His grandma was trying to tell him something.
He was just getting ready to head to the kitchen when another call came in this time from Brian, Gerard’s first thought was to let it go to voicemail but he knew the call could be something important about the band.
“Gee, I talked to Mikey and he said you’re back.”
“Yeah, I’m back.” He answered shortly. “What’s up?” He had no desire to discuss his trip to Kansas with Brian.
“Uh, so how’d it go?” Brian was fishing for information. Mikey had offered none other than to say his brother was back in New York.
Gerard ran his hand over his face fighting a wave of anger. He knew how Brian felt about Willow and he wasn’t going to admit he hadn’t seen her. “Fine”
Brian could tell by his voice the trip hadn’t gone well. “So how’s Willow?”
Taking out a cigarette Gerard lit with before saying, “Uh, I’m really swamped right now.” He lied. “Can I call you back?”
“Oh sure, Gee.” Brian answered. “I was just calling to see how your trip went.”
“Everything is fine.” As Gerard said the words it suddenly struck him just how much of lie he was telling. “Call you later, Man.” He disconnected then leaned back and closed his eyes. Once again the feeling of hopelessness washed over him.
Sighing he sat up in the chair and opened his eyes. His gaze fell on the framed photo of his grandma. Suddenly without warning his anger snapped. Why didn’t grandma come to him? Why couldn’t he see her like Mikey did? Damn it this was just so unfair. And with the anger came the craving for a drink. He wanted this pain to go away. Standing up he grabbed his jacket and headed for the door. His grandma was right about him. She had shown Mikey what was going to happen there was no sense pretending, no sense fighting this anymore. He had given up.
AUTHORS NOTE- Just wanted to take this chance to wish you all the happiest of holidays. Also a special thanks for supporting my story. All of you are so wonderful! Take care and much love. Elena XOXO