Gerard finds Willow.
“Hey, I gotta take this.” Gerard said as he started to walk out of the room.
“Dude, we’re in the middle of laying down a track. Can’t it wait?” Ray asked giving Gerard an annoyed look. The band was already behind schedule for the new album and he really had hoped to get a lot of work accomplished today.
“No, it can’t.” Gerard answered without turning.
Bob and Mikey had both noticed the look on Gerard’s face when he’d glanced down at the caller ID. They had an idea the call had something to do with Willow. Both men understood he was nervously waiting to hear from the private investigator.
“Hey, I need a break anyway.” Mikey said covering for his brother. “Let’s take ten.”
Ray sighed then exhaled, “We need to get this track down. Look I’m trying to be understanding but even when Gee’s here it’s like he’s not here. His mind ain’t on this. What the fuck is going on with him?”
Bob and Mikey looked at each other. Gerard had kept silent about what had happened when he’d gone to Kansas but they knew the truth. They understood that Frank and Ray both wondered but hadn’t asked Gerard. Now it was beginning to look like they would need to be clued in to keep the peace. Although Gerard was trying hard to keep it together until he heard about Willow it was obvious he was having trouble.
Mikey walked over at took a seat by Ray. “Look, he’s upset about Willow.”
“Well no shit.” Ray responded, “Like I don’t know that? I just figured someone would tell me something. What the hell happened when he went to see her?”
Frank joined them. “Yeah, I wanted to ask but he looks so angry I figured I shouldn’t.”
“He’s not angry, he’s upset.” Bob said with a sigh. “She…” His words were cut off when Gerard suddenly walked back in the room.
“I’ve got to go.” He said heading across the room to grab his jacket.
“What?” By this time Brian had walked into the studio to see what was going on.
Gerard braced himself for the anger he was sure he was about to be directed at him. “I have to go. Something important has come up.”
“You can’t.” Brain said shaking his head. “Look, this is valuable studio time. Reprise is breathing down my neck to get these tracks laid down. You can’t just up and leave.”
Gerard sighed. He knew what Brain was saying was true. By leaving he was hurting the group and he didn’t want to hurt his friends. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He said softly, “But I have to go.”
Bob stood and walked over to Gerard. He spoke softly looking into his eyes, “You know where she is?”
Gerard nodded. “Yeah, they found her.”
“Found who?’ Brain had overheard them. “Oh fuck, is this about Willow?”
Gerard glared at him, “Yeah, it’s about Willow. I’m gonna go see her.”
“I thought you just did that. Remember the meeting you missed?” Brain retorted angrily. “What the fuck is going on?”
Mikey moved to stand by his brother. “This is important. We can keep working until he gets back.”
Frank still wasn’t sure what was going on but the fact that Bob knew and seemed to be supporting Gerard’s decision was good enough for him. “Yeah, Mikey’s right. Well just put off the vocals for now. It’s no big deal.”
“It is a big deal.” Brain said turning to him. “He’s not been the same since he met this woman. We can’t afford to have shit happen again. Look, I don’t know why this woman has him by the balls but none of us should have to go through this again. He almost destroyed the group once because he couldn’t handle this kind of shit and I don’t want it to happen again.”
Gerard stood looking at his fellow band mates. Did they feel the same way? Bob was the first to speak.
“We understand this is something he has to do and we’re okay with it.”
Ray nodded, “Yeah, we support him.” He smiled at Gerard, “We always have.”
Gerard felt his anger fade. The love and support these guys gave him meant so much. “Thanks.” He whispered.
Brain snorted, “Whatever.”
“You need any help?” Mikey touched his brother’s arm. “Do you have to make a plane reservation?”
Gerard nodded, “I’ve already called my travel agent. I can catch a flight in a few hours. The actual flight time is less than an hour and a half so I’ll be there before dinner” He sighed, “I promise I’ll be back by tomorrow night.”
Bob understood Gerard didn’t want to speak about Willow in front of Brain. He took his arm and led him into the hallway. “Where is she?”
“Savannah.” Gerard answered as they walked towards the front door of the studio. “She’s working in a shelter for abused women and their children.”
“Georgia?” Bob said. “Wow, wonder why she chose there?”
Gerard shrugged, “I have no idea but the investigator is sending me a fax with all the information he’s acquired.” They reached the door and stopped, “Fuck, maybe I’m just getting my hopes up but if there is any fuckin’ way I’ll be bringing Willow back with me.” He searched Bob’s face, “Do you think that’s stupid? I mean she called you, she must still care about me?”
Bob saw the desperation in his eyes, “If she didn’t care she wouldn’t have called begging me to find you.” He said softly, “But man, you gotta remember how much you hurt her.”
Gerard looked down at his feet, “Yeah, I know.” He whispered. “I treated her like shit and I told her I didn’t love her. Maybe I’m just a fool to think she’s gonna forgive me.”
“Hey” Bob said. “You gotta keep a positive attitude. Tell her how much you love her. Just make it right.”
“I’m gonna try my fuckin’ hardest to do that.”
Bob nodded, “We’ll all hold the fort down until you get back.”
“Hey, Man. Thanks. I mean it. I know this is shitty of me to leave like this.”
“You have to.” Bob said with a smile.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, I have to.”
“You can pour over those books all damn day and it ain’t gonna make a lick of difference.” Gracie said walking into the office and taking a seat.
Sitting behind the huge old desk, Willow sighed, “I know. I just wish there was something to do, you know?”
“Honey, there ain’t. The funding didn’t come through and that’s that. I just worry about these women we’re gonna have to turn out. Where will they go?”
Willow knew without listening to her thoughts that Gracie was especially worried about Marline and her two children. When the shelter closed where would she go? Would she return to her abusive husband? “If you don’t need me right now I’m going to make some calls to some of the shelters and see if they might have room.”
Gracie nodded, “That’s a good idea. You do that. I’m gonna head out and see how lunch is commin’ along.” She stood stretching, “These old bones of mine are pretty stiff today. Must be a storm coming.”
Once she left the office Willow sat a moment staring into space. Her thoughts returned to her last visit from Elena. Was he okay? Had Bob found him? Did she do the right thing by not answering her phone? She reminded herself all she had to do was call Bob but she couldn’t make herself do it. She couldn’t allow herself to be drawn back into their lives. But still her heart ached not knowing. Forcing herself back to the present she began to look up numbers of the other nearby shelters. These woman and children she’d been working with needed her.
“We will be landing in Savannah in approx 20 minutes.” The pilot’s voice informed the passengers, “The present temp is a balmy 78 degrees.”
Gerard decided to pull out the report Sloan had faxed him and read over it once more. He opened his messenger bag and pulled out the folder. His eyes scanned the pages quickly taking note of the address of the women’s shelter where Willow was living. According to the report she seemed to be working there for little more than room and board. The report also noted that the shelter would soon be closing its doors because of lack of funding. What did she plan to do when that happened? She’d even sold her car not long after settling in Savannah. He shook his head feeling strength in his new resolve. It didn’t matter she would be returning home with him. He would do everything in his power to make that happen and happen quickly. Getting back and into the studio was something he had to do for the rest of the band. They were counting on him and he was so tried of letting people down by his actions.
Sarah tugged on her mother’s hand trying to get her attention. “Mama.”
“What honey?” Her mother asked looking down.
“See that man?” Sarah pointed across the room. “He’s a singer.”
Her mother followed Sarah’s gaze. Standing just inside the front door was a man looking very uneasy. He pulled off his dark glasses and scanned the room obviously looking for someone.
“I don’t think so Honey.”
Little Sarah shook her head making her curls bounce. “He is so. Tara has a poster with him on it.” She giggled, “Tara says he’s hot.”
“They have an opening over at Rachel’s House for Carol and Lynn. But I can’t find anyone with room for Marlene and her girls.” Willow said looking up at Jessie who was perched on the corner of the desk.
“Have you tried that new shelter over on Vine?” He asked.
Willow sighed, “They are already full.”
Jessie shook his head, “You gotta stop worrying about this so much. I know you care about these women but you’re making yourself sick with worry. I bet you didn’t sleep much last night, did you?” He asked noting the dark circles under her eyes.
Willow shrugged, “I’m okay.”
He didn’t believe that for a moment. Since arriving here Willow had taken on more responsibilities than necessary. She seemed to always be pushing herself to do more.
They both heard a commotion out in the main room. Jessie was about to go investigate when Gracie appeared at the door.
“What’s up?” Jessie asked.
A smile lit Gracie’s face. “Seems we got us a celebrity come a visitin’.” She laughed.
Willow frowned, “A celebrity?”
Gracie moved further into the room. “One that’s come to see you.”
Willow’s eyes saw the movement behind Gracie. When she saw him she blinked several times unable to form a thought.
“Hello Willow.” Gerard said stepping through the doorway.
“Gee” She whispered softly.
Gracie and Jessie exchanged a confused look. Willow looked shocked but there was something more. Jessie got off the desk and crossed the room. “I’m Jessie.” He said holding out his hand. He intended to find out who this ‘celebrity’ was and why his presence seemed to upset Willow.
Gerard returned the handshake, “Gerard.” His eyes returned to Willow. “I need to talk to you.”
Willow sat trying to make her mind work. What was he doing here? She forced herself to speak, “Why are you here?”
Gracie was beginning to regret bringing him back to the office without speaking to Willow first. There seemed to be a lot of tension between them.
“I came to see you.” Gerard said wishing the others would leave so he could speak to Willow alone. “Please” He added looking directly into Willow’s eyes.
Jessie was watching Willow closely. She looked so upset he was unsure what to do. Crossing back over to the desk he stood beside her. “Willow you want us to leave?”
Pure jealously coursed through Gerard’s blood. Who the hell was this Jessie and why did he seem to be taking care of Willow?
Her heart was racing and she took a deep breath. She knew Gracie and Jessie were unsure how to handle the situation. She forced herself to appear normal. “Gerard is an old friend of mine. I’m just surprised to see him.”
Jessie nodded but could see through Willow’s fake smile, “Are you sure?”
Willow nodded. “Give us a few minutes alone, okay?”
“I’ll be outside in the Main room if you need me.” He said softly. He gave Gerard a very unfriendly look as he passed him on the way out of the room. Gerard waited until the door closed to turn to Willow. “An old friend? Is that what I am?”