Gerard reveals his painful past to Willow but is shocked by what she reveals.
Gerard took several steps towards the desk. “Is it Willow? Am I just an old friend?”
“What should I call you?” She asked softly.
He tried to gather his thoughts but it suddenly seemed impossible. In his mind he’d visualized this meeting so many times on the plane. Now as he stood looking at her his mind went blank. All he wanted to do was pull her into his arms but he knew he had to handle this carefully. He’d hurt her and he had to make things right. He didn’t want her to believe that the physical attraction he had for her was why he was here. Instead of answering he sat down in the chair and looked across the desk that separated them. She was so beautiful and yet something looked wrong, there were dark circles under her eyes, she looked exhausted.
“How did you find me?” She asked breaking the silence that had descended on the room.
“When I got back from the tour I flew to Kansas. Kelly told me what you’d done. Willow why did you sell your house? Just to pay me back? I told you the money didn’t mean shit to me.”
“It did to me.” Willow said forcing herself to be strong. Seeing him again, being in the same room with him was so hard. “I told you I never use my abilities for money.”
He sighed, “I was just trying to help you out. I knew you had a lot of debt.”
“And if I didn’t then it would have been easy for me to move to New York.” She said softly.
“Well yeah, that was part of it. I wanted you with me.”
Willow was surprised by her own anger. “You wanted a mistress.” She shot back, “But I’m sure Jessica was happy to take that honor back.”
“What?” It took a minute for her words to sink in and with it did he felt guilt and shame wash over him. “Oh fuck. Willow I know you called Bob. You knew I was about to start drinking again because Grandma showed you, didn’t she?”
Willow absently picked up the pencil on the desk and began tapping it. Finally she nodded.
“Shit.” He said looking down. “You saw an image of me in the bar.”
“I saw an image of you in the bar with Jessica.” Willow said her whole posture going ridged. “Did you drink?”
He looked up and met her eyes, “No, I left with Bob.” He wanted her to understand he hadn’t hooked up with Jessica again.
Willow continued to tap the pencil but said nothing.
Gerard took a deep breath, “Thank you for calling Bob. I was about to fuck up and throw everything away. You saved me.”
She shook her head, “No, you should thank Bob, not me.”
He smiled sadly, “Believe me, I have.”
“Did you fuck, Jessica?”
Gerard looked down in shame remembering what he’d done. He forced himself to leave his thoughts, his memories, pure without any barrier. He wished he could change what he’d done but he couldn’t and he didn’t want to lie. He braced himself for Willow’s reaction but was surprised when she shook her head and spoke.
“Never mind, don’t answer. It’s not my business what you do with Jessica.”
“Willow I’m sorry. I was hurting and angry. I just gave up. She saw me there and…”
“I don’t want to hear this.” Willow said raising her voice.
Once more the strained silence between them filled the room. Gerard forced himself to speak. “We need to talk about that last night at the Paramour.”
“There is nothing to say about that.” Willow suddenly sat up taller in her chair. “Nothing at all.”
“You’re wrong.” He said leaning forward, “I fucked up. I acted like an animal towards you but I want you to understand that I was fuckin’ terrified. What was happening between us was something I’d promised myself I’d never let happen and I didn’t know what to do. Until that moment I thought I was in control of the situation and when I realized I wasn’t I lost it.”
The tapping of the pencil quickened. Willow took several deep breaths trying to settle her churning stomach but she was beginning to feel sick. She didn’t want to hear this, she didn’t want to relive this again.
He realized she needed to understand why he’d become the person he had been, the person who had used her. He closed his eyes a moment then began. “Do you remember that day on Bob’s deck? The day I was telling you about my ex-wife?”
He opened his eyes and saw Willow nod slightly.
“I almost told you then something I haven’t told anyone. Something I buried and let rot and fester in my soul. I want you to know the truth.” When she didn’t speak he took a deep breath and began to explain. “When I finally saw through her lies and realized she didn’t love me I told her I wanted our marriage to end. But that’s not what she wanted and because she knew how much I loved her she had one final play. She got pregnant.”
The pencil fell from Willows fingers and landed on the desk.
“I was so fucking happy when she told me. In my heart I knew she still didn’t love me but I thought that maybe the baby would change that. I wanted to believe our baby would make her love me.” He lowered his head.
“What happened?” Willow whispered.
He spoke without looking up, “I gave her my fuckin heart. She was my world and I just wanted her to love me. When she told me about the baby I forgave all the things she’d done because I thought the baby was going to change everything. We decided to keep the pregnancy a secret. It was her idea.” He shook his head, “She told me it was our wonderful secret. When she was just over two months along I had to leave to do a benefit concert. It was just for a few days. I remembering holding her the morning I left and telling her how much I loved her. I put my hand on her stomach and told the baby I loved it.” Gerard swiped at his eyes before continuing. “The night of the concert I came off the stage and called her as soon as I got to the hotel. She was crying. She told me she’d lost the baby.”
“Oh” Willow whispered as her eyes filled with tears.
He slowly looked up, “I flew home and we held each other while we cried. I promised her it would be okay. That we’d have another baby.”
Willow blinked back her own tears.
“So we continued on together. After a few months I mentioned it might be time to try to have another baby. She agreed and told me she hoped with her whole heart it would happen soon but it didn’t and I started blaming myself. I was gone so often, but I just keep praying it would happen.” He paused lost in thought, feeling the sting of betrayal. “Then I found the birth control she’d been taking and I lost it. I just couldn’t believe it, you know? I confronted her. I asked her why she had lied to me the whole time, didn’t she want another baby. She laughed in my face. Told me she never wanted a baby.” He looked down, “She told me I was a stupid fuck who just didn’t get it. She didn’t want to have my baby, she hadn’t wanted to have the brat that had been an accident so she’d had an abortion.”
Tears were streaming down Willow’s face. Gerard saw them and smiled, “Don’t cry Sugar. I didn’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me. I just wanted to be honest with you. I want you to understand what fucked me up. I’ve been so afraid to let myself feel anything again, I’ve been so afraid to trust again that I let that fear consume my life.”
Willow continued to cry unable to stop herself.
Gerard spoke softly, “Willow, you came into my life and made me feel things I never thought I’d feel again and I was terrified. At first I tried to tell myself what I felt for you was purely physical.” He gave a small laugh, “And you gotta admit there is a fuckin amazing physical aspect to our relationship but it’s more than that. I want to believe there is more between us. I want you to move in with me, live with me. I want us to work on our relationship. More than anything else I want to trust. Please help me to learn to trust again. Just please, never lie to me.”
“Oh, Gee.” Willow whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
He didn’t understand. He believed she was still thinking of his past. “Willow deep down I know you’d never hurt me, I know that. Can you forgive me? I know this sounds wrong but I need to get back to New York as soon as possible. The band is in the studio and I need to be there. Will you go back with me, please? I know it’s going to be hard for you to trust me but I will prove to you I mean everything I’m saying. Just give us a chance.”
Willow’s mind was a whirl of thoughts and memories. Shadows that had covered memories she’d tried to bury started to fade. And the memories though clear now still haunted her. She wanted to believe he would understand but despair caused her to say. “I can’t leave here.” She prayed he would believe it was her dedication to this place and these people that made her stay.
“Sugar, I know this place is gonna close soon. You asked how I found you. See after I talked to Kelly I hired a private investigator. I read all about this shelter and their financial problems in the report.”
“You hired someone to find me?”
“I didn’t know what else to do.” He said sadly, “And after Grandma visited Mikey I knew I had to do something quickly.”
Willow wiped her eyes and gave him a shocked look, “Elena appeared to Mikey?”
“Yeah, and the image she showed him worried us.”
Once more Willow’s stomach began to churn, “What did she show him?”
“You, all alone, crying.” Gerard said softly fighting the urge to reach out and touch her hands, which were lying on the desk. His body was craving her touch so badly.
Willow was shocked, “Why would she do that?”
Gerard couldn’t stop himself he leaned over and grabbed her hands. When their skin touched his heart began to race. The feeling was everything he remembered.
Willow knew she should pull her hands away but she wanted to feel this one last time. She wanted this one last memory. She closed her eyes and let the feeling flow through her body.
“Willow.” Gerard whispered stroking her hand with his thumb, “Please come home with me.”
The reality of the situation came crashing in, “I can’t” she said shaking her head, “I’m so sorry but I can’t.”
He felt his heart stop beating, “Why?”
She used every ounce of strength to speak, “Because I don’t want to hurt you anymore.”
Confusion filled his eyes, “Sugar, you haven’t hurt me.”
Willow pulled her hands from his and set back in her chair, “I have, Gee. I know you will believe I’ve deceived you.”
“I don’t understand”
Slowly Willow pushed back the chair and stood. In her heart she was trying desperately to hold on to the small hope that he truly loved her. She knew that how he was about to respond would reveal the truth.
At first what he was seeing didn’t register in his brain. Slowly the truth forced its way in as he looked at her slightly swollen belly. She was pregnant.
“Willow?” He was unable to find words.
Silent tears continued to fall down her cheeks.
Confusion and anger forced him to ask, “Is it mine?”
The question caused pain to tear through her heart. This was the way she’d known he’d respond. She’d know deep in her soul he would believe the worst of her. The love for her he thought he had wasn’t strong enough to think any other way. She squared her shoulders. “I purposely got pregnant. I knew this wasn’t what you wanted but that didn’t stop me.”
He jumped to his feet feeling confused and hurt. It felt as if someone had just punched him. “I don’t understand.” He whispered.
She spoke so softly he strained to hear the words, “It’s too late for us, Gee. Please, just go.”
“No, not until I understand what the fuck is going on. Why did you do it? What did you hope to gain by having my baby?”
Now he had spoken the words she had feared the most. His first thought had been that she’d done it to somehow hurt him.
Gerard wanted to round the desk and shake her until she answered him. What kind of fucking game was she playing? Then a sick feeling invaded his soul. She had known he’d come to find her. This had been her plan all along. He’d told her he’d never marry her but she’d found a way to tie herself to him anyway. “So, when were you going to tell me?” He ground out angrily, “If I hadn’t shown up like you’d planned we’re you going to wait until it was born to show up on my door step?”
Fresh pain torn through Willow. How could he think that? She’d sold her beloved house to pay back the money so why would he believe this was about money? Sadness filled her soul as the truth became clear, if he loved her he would know it wasn’t about money or a desire to force him to marry her. But he didn’t love her enough to see the truth. “Please, just go.” She whispered praying he’d leave before she completely broke down.
Gerard stared at her, “Sorry Sugar but the game has changed. I’m not just gonna leave here knowing you’re carrying my child. I’m not just gonna go back to New York and wait for the call from a lawyer telling me I better start paying child support. Sorry this hasn’t worked out like you’d planned. Guess what happened that last night at the Paramour wasn’t such a bad thing. My actions made you realize I’d never marry you so you moved to plan B, right? Make the dramatic exit then later show up with my kid.”
“No.” Willow wanted to explain. “That’s not…”
He cut her off. “Save it. You’re quite the actress Willow. Things would have been so much easier if you’d been able to hear my thoughts when we were fucking, wouldn’t it? But you couldn’t so you had to play this game being unsure that I really thought.”
“Gee.” She stopped and put her hand to her mouth afraid she’d throw up.
He balled his fists at his side and spoke with a determined, angry tone. “Pack your things. Take just what you need the rest of your shit can be sent to you.”
Willow looked shocked, “What?”
“Pack your shit Willow. This ain’t the way I thought we’d be going back to New York but it doesn’t matter.”
She fell back into her chair and shook her head, “I’m not going with you.”
“Yeah, you are.” He smirked leaning over the deck. “I don’t have time for this shit. You are going back with me and believe me there will be a paternity test. I want to make sure that kid you’re carrying is mine.”
“No” Willow cried brokenly, “I can’t leave here and I won’t. I don’t want anything from you. I just want you to go.”
Gerard knew he couldn’t force her to go but he realized there was a way to make her agree to go with him. “You’ll go with me and this shelter will remain open.”
Willow didn’t understand. “The shelter?”
“Yeah, I’ll write a fuckin’ check for 40 grand right now. It’s hard for me to believe a cold hearted calculating bitch like you cares about this place but if you really do then know this, you can keep this place from closing it’s doors if you come with me.”
“But why?” She asked, “Why do you even want me to go with you?”
He narrowed his eyes, “Because I’m not letting any woman get me by the balls again, ever. Like I said if the kid is mine I’ll take responsibility for it and you’ll be paid off. I’ll fix this fuck up and move on.”
“I don’t want anything from you.” Willow whispered wiping her eyes. “Nothing.”
Gerard’s thoughts were in turmoil. He’d wanted so badly to believe she was different but once again he’d been a fool. “Well you got something from me, didn’t you, Sugar? If you’re telling the truth about it then that kid in your belly is mine and you know how you got that from me.”
They were both startled by a knock on the door. A moment later Jessie opened the door slightly and looked in. He saw Willow’s tears, “Willow, you okay?”
Angrily Gerard turned to face him but quickly pasted a smile on his face, “She’s fine. She’s just a little overcome by everything. See, I told her how I’m going to help keep this shelter open.”
Jessie looked shocked, “Keep it open? How?”
“I’m going to donate the money you need.” Gerard said forcing himself to smile. “Willow was telling me how important this shelter is and well, she convinced me to help out.”
“But we’re really in a trouble here.” Jessie said taking a step inside the room.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, but forty thousand should help out, right?”
“You’re going to donate that much?” Jessie couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He looked over at Willow for confirmation.
Willow felt like a trapped animal. These women and their children needed this shelter. She forced a smile, “Yeah, Jessie, it’s true.”
“Holy shit.” Jessie crossed the room and shook Gerard’s hand. “Man, I can’t thank you enough. “I gotta tell Mom.” He left the room calling out for the older woman to share the news.
When he was gone Gerard tuned back to Willow. “Well, Sugar you just made a deal with the devil. There’s a flight leaving for New York tonight and we’re gonna be on it.” He started for the door, “I’ll be back in a an hour. Have your shit ready to go.”
When he disappeared from sight Willow took several deep breaths trying to fight the wave of nausea. It didn’t help. She pushed away from the desk and barely made it to the restroom in time. Tears streamed down her face as she fell to her knees retching.
AUTHORS NOTE: Hello everyone. Well here we are in a brand new year. Hope it is treating everyone well. Right now I am pretty much snowed in. We had a blizzard Christmas Eve and it has snowed so much since then but it has given me lots of time to write. Actually I’ve been hard at work on another story that I will start to post when this one is finished. This story is winding down and that does make me sad. I know some of you might be upset but I am going to stick to the posting once a week. These last chapters are pretty intense and I want to have plenty of time to make them perfect. I hope everyone understands. Thanks again for all the support. Love you all – Elena XOXO.