A phone call, and meetings
A week later her mobile ringing interrupted Willow from sifting through some old drawings of hers.
"Hey Will" Frank smiled. "How are you?
"Well, the brothers Grimm are fine but Grimm the younger has been unusually quiet but as Al's gone home that's kinda understandable. Ray is-"
"Yeah?" then she bit her lip. If that one eager, inquiring word hadn't given her feelings away then nothing would. There was an intake of breath at the other end of the line and then she could practically hear his grin. "You like him don't you?" he teased.
"Erum..." she stammered, her face going a fiery red. Damn. She was acting like a teenager. Then she went even redder remembering her teenage years.
"Aww," he laughed. "It's okay. He needs a girl." In the background she could hear someone asking, "Who does?"
"You, Ray, mate. Can I tell him?" Frank directed the question at Willow. She shrugged, despite the fact he couldn't see her. "You'll tell him anyway."
"I will not! I respect the privacy of-" He stopped mid tirade. "Yeah," he admitted. "It'd probably slip out."
"Just tell him" she said wearily. He did so and there was a loud thump followed by an explosive shit.
"He fell over," Frank informed Willow. She laughed. "I'd better go," she said. "See you." As Frank lowered the phone from his ear and grinned at Ray. "Smooth mate. Real smooth.
There was no going back now. He knew. She was having serious regrets about letting Frank tell him but it was done now.
"Mom, stop fussing," Willow said calmly. "It's all arranged."
"I know but-" her mom was wringing her hands, looking woebegone.
"Mom, I'm twenty six. I can take care of myself," Willow cut across her. She glanced round the airport. At the other goodbyes taking place in the crowded place. At the sister glaring at her.
"Jen," she began, and then stopped. "Thanks for the memories," she quoted, smiling slightly.
"Even though they weren't that great," her sister spat back. Willow nodded concedingly. "You might say that. I wouldn't." Just then her flight was called. "I'll see you soon," she promised hugging her parents.
"Jen, I'll...I'll see you when you get back." Jenny just glowered at her in return.
"Love you too," Willow smiled and turned to walk to the plane.
Wasn't the first time she'd been on a plane. Wasn't her first time in America. No, not at all.
She left the airport and fumbled about in her jeans pocket as her phone began to ring.
"Hi. Frank?" she started but was cut off as someone jumped on her back.
"Hey!" the random guy crowed. As he toppled off her, she realised it wasn't just some random person. It was the one, the only, Frank Iero.
"Hey! It's the Frankster," she grinned. "What you doin' here?
"I could ask you the same question," he shot back. "At least I'm in the right country." She smiled at him but didn't reply as a man with a quiff. (A quiff?!? How could he!) came running up.
"Frankie, you shouldn't go running off like that. You could get lost," he cautioned. "I'm sorry, was he bothering you?" he asked turning to face Willow. Then went very red. "Willow. Er...hi."
"Hey Mikey," she laughed. "And Frank, this is America? Cause if it is then I am in the right country."
"So what you doing here?" Frank asked, not noticing Mikey's obvious embarrassment as he slowly walked away. She paused, looking serious. "Funeral," she told him quietly.
"Oh." He Stopped. "Sorry." He waited a couple of seconds before, "Come and say hi to the guys."
She laughed. "I really should be going. Hotel room to book into."
"We can give you a lift," Frank assured her. "No problem."
"If that's okay?" she checked.
"Sure. It's fine," he nodded.
"What? He can't bring her over!" Gerard said, sounding uncharacteristically panicked.
"Why?" Bob asked interested. "What did you tell her?" Gerard shot him a look.
"Oh, that's what you told her," Bob muttered. "Well go and talk to John. He's in the tour bus, waiting for us." Gerard stalked off avoiding all eye contact with Willow.
"Hey," she said shyly, dragging her suitcase as she and Frank came up to Ray.
"Will! Hang on a minute; did we get the wrong flight? I thought this was New York, not Brighton," Ray exclaimed. "Gee it sure looks like New York. I told you we shouldn't have let Mikey read the boards."
She laughed despite the fact she knew she was going red. "Nah, you're in New York. I mean, it sure looks like New York."
He gave her a quizzical glance. "Didn't know you'd been to America before?" he half asked.
"Yeah, ages ago," she told him with a smile. "Uh, Frankie said you guys could give me a lift."
"Nah, you can walk," he teased.
"Fine then," she blustered jokingly. "I'll just take my suitcase and leave." She turned to walk away but Ray grabbed her hand.
"Don't go," he said softly. She blushed even redder.
"Hey guys! Frank said hyperly, completely wrecking the moment. "Come on, come on. Get on the bus." Ray rolled his eyes at Willow and she giggled before following him onto the bus. Which was a tip. No, that was too mild. Think of your bedroom at it's messiest with everything off the shelves and on the floor. Times that by 100, add in a nuclear bomb and you'd be getting close to how messy it was.
"Oh my-" Willow breathed.
"Yeah," Ray grinned as the door closed and the bus started to move.
She sat down on the sofa next to Ray.
"So what you doing here?" he asked her.
"Funeral," she said shortly, looking down at her feet. He pulled a face.
"Ouch," he murmured. "Where you staying again?" he asked in a bid to change the subject.
"Er..." Columbus Studios Hostel," Willow told him before looking up once more.
"Well, I'd love to tell you that's where were staying but sadly it's not," he said with a smile. She smiled back. "Yeah. It's the cheapest I could find."
"You're really confident, you know that?" he said suddenly. "Like you just say stuff." She gave him a startled look. "That's just the way I am," she shrugged.
"I know," he nodded, "And it's amazing." By the end of the sentence, his face was extraordinarily close to hers. He closed the gap and their lips met. For a moment she kissed him back. And was in that moment that Mikey started to walk in. Then saw the two on the sofa. And the realisation that he was never going to be with Willow hit him like a ton of bricks and he turned, half furious, half miserable and stormed to the front of the bus, where his brother and John, the driver, were.
After that moment, Willow pulled away breaking the kiss, her eyes full of pain, surprise, confusion and bewilderment.
"I can't...Ray, I'm sorry, I can't." she whispered as she stood up and walked down the bus, stopping as she walked into Frank, leaving Ray bewildered, confused and hurt. A lot like Willow had been many years ago.
An: Thanks for all the reviews for my non chpater, but guys, school's not that bad. But thanks anyway. Hope you enjoyed this chapter.