The door opened and a head popped around the doorway, peering into the room cautiously, his eyes scanned over the room, his gaze fell upon Willow and stayed locked on her. Willow dropped her eyes to the floor and shrank deeper into the chair, hoping that it would somehow swallow her up out of his unyielding gaze.
“This is Willow. A friend, a friend for, from my work.” Jessie stumbled over the words as they fell from her mouth and it almost sounded like she was trying to calm him down.
Willow risked a side look at the man, now leaning comfortably against the doorframe, his arms folded across his chest as he took in the two of them. Willow was sure she had seen a grin flash across his face but it happened too fast for her to be certain. Her stomach tightened nervously as the silence crept back over the three of them. She could still feel his eyes pressing into the back of her skull and it was taking every bit of her strength to stop from squirming beneath his fiery eyes.
“She just came by to see how I was doing.” Jessie explained further to the man, he gave the slightest nod of acknowledgement to her but remained silent. “Willow, that’s Ricky – Rick is preferred” Jess swiftly added, almost like she was correcting herself and from what Willow could see Jessie was not put off by his increased silence, in fact she was smiling. A quick glance towards Ricky or Rick confirmed that his wicked grin was directed at Jessie.
Sickness routed itself in the pit of Willow’s stomach and grew throughout her body – she was simply in the way. With Ricky being away due to his work, Willow guessed that she must get lonely without him being there all the time. Was Jessie just playing with her? Willow thought, taking in the shared moment between the two of them.
An image of Ricky’s naked body moving in perfect unison with Jessie’s burst into Willow’s mind. She stared down at her legs stretched out across the sofas, blocking out Jessie’s welcome back to him. Willow didn’t look up at either of them, afraid that it would spark off a damaging thought process again.
At some point Ricky must have left vanished off to some place since Willow heard Jessie asking her if she was feeling alright, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost” Jessie joked while reaching out to touch Willow’s forehead. Willow watched as Jessie’s hand came closer and she saw her fingertips running down Ricky’s exposed chest and down over his stomach. She then felt Jessie’s fingers against her forehead and shrank away from her touch, saying that she did feel a bit off and didn’t want her catching anything while scrambling off the sofa’s and putting her trainers on before Jessie could try and question her further.
“You should stay here if you’re not feeling well Will...Rick will understand I’m sure.” Even Jessie sounded like she didn’t believe her own words and the image of the two of them together flared up in her mind once more. She couldn’t stay there any longer, she wanted to get out and away and she needed to get away so that she didn’t break down again in front Jessie again, more so now that Ricky was in the house. Willow left the room saying that she should be going back anyway and that she didn’t want to out stay her welcome. Jessie raced after Willow but as she got to her feat, she heard the front door close shut.
Jessie paused to look out the window and she could see Willow running down the street, she called out to her but realised she Willow wouldn’t be able to hear her at all. Jessie left the room and entered the hallway, meaning to catch up with her only she didn’t know what to say to Rick.
* * *
Willow stared down at her feet, willing them move forward even though she had come to a dead stand still only a few houses away from Jessie’s. She remembered the confused lost expression on Jessie’s face as she had made her escape. Willow turned around and gazed back at Jessie’s house and was surprised to see she hadn’t got further away, it felt like she had been running for hours. She wanted to go back, if anything to explain why she had taken off, to see Jessie smile once more and maybe, just maybe, she could convince Jessie to be with her alone.
Willow found herself a few feet away from Jessie’s front door completely out of breath from sprinting back, determined to knock on the door. Just one simple action was needed to see Jessie again and Willow found herself routed to the ground, too scared to knock in case Ricky was the one who answered the door or if no one answered. Her arms felt like dead weights the more her mind explored the reasons why no one would come to the door.
* * *
Having given up searching for any reason to chase after Willow that Rick would accept without questioning, Jessie had her hand on the door handle, not sure if she should forget about Rick and go after Willow or not. It was like she was playing a mental game of tennis, she was the ball bouncing between the two, neither side willing to let her go. Her hand fell from the handle in frustration at herself for standing still for too long, there was no way she would be able to catch up to Willow now even if she did try, completely unaware that the door was the only thing standing between the two of them.
“You’re friend gone then?” Rick’s voice came from somewhere behind her, startling her out of her trail of thought. She turned round to see him leaning in the kitchen doorway a little way down the hallway. Jessie just nodded back to him, knowing she had just lost her chance to go after Willow. “Come here then. Got a present for yah.” He told her. With a quick glance back at the door, Jessie moved towards him.
* * *
Gripping the door handle tightly, Willow flung open the door and burst into Jessie’s house to see Jessie about to head upstairs; Ricky was nowhere to be seen so Willow guessed that he had already gone upstairs.
“Will?” Jessie exclaimed, pausing at the bottom of the stairs, shocked to see Willow burst through the door after thinking she was long gone. Not wanting to waste anymore time, Willow rushed towards Jessie and gave her a passionate kiss. She put everything she felt for Jessie behind the kiss now that she got the chance to let Jessie know exactly how she felt about her and only pulled away to get much needed air.
This was now the fifteenth time Willow had played out what she wanted to happen in her head and was about to reply it once again to escape the fact that she hadn’t been able to work up the courage to actually do it. She had tried several times to reach for the door handle but couldn’t go through with it, eventually she became frustrated at herself, she did not want to leave but was unable to go forward, she ended up sitting on the doorstep looking absolutely miserable. Willow looked hopefully up at the sky only to find yet another disappointment – the sky was a deep blue colour and the sun was shining down upon her. She felt like she had been cheated, in every movie, every book or story when the main character was sad, it began to rain and there wasn’t a grey cloud in sight. This did nothing to her mood as she thought that she wasn’t important enough to be a main character and if she had to guess, Willow thought the weather must be matching how Jessie feels now that Ricky was back.
Willow shrieked and leapt up from the step in a heartbeat, startled by her phone vibrating in her jacket pocket, it vibrated again and she knew someone was calling her.
“Hello?” she answered without checking the screen as usual.
“Where are you? Thought you’d be back by now, we’re going out, you promised remember.” Her roommate, Sally’s voice was filled with panic.
“Alright calm down, it’s not that late, still plenty of time to go out.” Willow reassured her roommate
“Well, you said you’d be back for twelve and it’s just past one now so I think I’ve been pretty good so far don’t you?” she asked.
“It’s after one now?” Willow couldn’t believe the time; she had sat outside Jessie’s house lost in her fantasies over an hour without knowing. “Erm...meet you outside Pizza Hut?” she suggested, hoping that Sally would forgive her for losing track of time.
“.....Alright but don’t be late this time, see you there.” Sally agreed
“Sure, bye.” Willow added and replaced her phone back into her jacket pocket, noticing that her body was stiff from sitting still for so long. She looked back at Jessie’s door and taken a deep breath, Willow walked away to meet up with her friend.
It came as no surprise that Sally was standing outside Pizza Hut looking completely bored out of her mind, no matter where the place was Sally would be the one waiting for the others to arrive due to her little OCD over time. She wasn’t as bad as she used to be where her whole day was kept to a strict schedule and after meeting Willow, even allocated a bit of time for her arriving late whenever they did make plans together. Sally saw Willow approaching through the busy street and came to greet her, her smile faded and her face was full of concern as Willow moved towards her, fearing the worst and that something had happened, Willow tried to prepare herself for anything that her roommate might say.
“Willow is everything alright?” Sally asked, reaching out to her soothingly. Willow was not prepared for that and was left speechless. Everything was not alright and there was no point in lying since she didn’t think Sally would believe her anyway.
“How?” was all Willow could get out, she was sure she had been smiling and not let her true feelings be known and was stunned that Sally had noticed at all.
“You can hide your emotions as much as you like but you can’t hide your face.” Sally pointed out; Willow raised a hand to her face and noticed that her cheek was slightly wet, “You’ve been crying. I can see it in your eyes.” She added softly, not wanting to draw too much attention from any bystanders. Willow gave up and her whole body sagged as if she had been holding herself together out of sheer willpower. “Come on, we’ll go back to the apartment & order a takeaway.” Sally told her, taking her by the arm and leading Willow through the crowded street.
“Thanks, I don’t know how long I could have kept that up anyway.” Willow mumbled, allowing Sally to lead her back, eager to go back home and get away from the crowds of strangers although she wasn’t really looking forward to bus ride to get there and she kept thinking the passengers were staring at her even though Sally told her that they were too busy wrapped up in her own minds to pay her any attention whatsoever in an attempt to try and cheer up her friend.
The busy traffic slowed down the bus greatly and it took them forty-five minutes to get to their stop and Willow was the one who ended up calming down Sally who was getting worked up over the time it was taking and Willow was the one guiding her up into the block of flats, up the stairway and into their apartment. Sally had fully calmed down once they got inside and she soon went back to fussing over Willow, called up a takeaway and worked out how long it would normally take them to get it to them, allowing a ten minute time delay for the traffic. Sally kept a light topic of conversation going while they waited, telling Willow what she had got up to yesterday and earlier this morning with frequent checks on the time that Willow couldn’t help but tease her over it but added more seriously that she was doing really good compared to how she used to act, making sure she didn’t hurt her roommate’s feelings.
The pizza arrived within Sally’s allotted time zone which seemed to brighten her mood after the disaster of a bus ride and the smell of the pizza even improved Willow’s mood as she hadn’t eaten since she got to Jessie’s house the night before. They sat on the floor in front of the sofa, leaning against it since it had become an ongoing joke that they just never found the time to actually go out and buy a table to eat at instead. Sally had done her best to keep things light and casual but as the slices of pizza ran, she had been slowly searching for what had upset Willow and finally worked her way up to asking what had actually happened.
Willow slumped forward sighing in exasperation with no idea where to start or how to explain it. She sat back up, running her hand through her hair while taking a deep breath and decided to say the one thing that she did know.
“I’m in love” she sighed, feeling relieved and like a massive weight had just been lifted off her chest only to replaced with exhaustion and a strong need to just sleep it off.
“But what about-”
“I know,” Willow sensed this was coming and cut Sally off straight away “and I don’t know. All I can tell you there is what I know, that there was no set plan made.”Willow answered with a final note hoping that Sally would not push that matter any further. The one thing that would make this whole matter worse was that thing and so far she had managed to leap onto a new trail of thought whenever she felt she came too close to it, believing she was in a bad enough mood as it was and not keen to find out if she could feel worse.
“So, who is it?” Sally asked in a gossipy manner, obviously trying to lighten things up and Willow had to admit that she was glad it was Sally with her now despite the rough time they had when they first met each other.
“She is from work.”
“She?” Sally repeated with raised eyebrows, “Erm...ok she it is.” Sally repeated again but this time it was confirming it to herself.
“I never even thought about it, it was just so...” Willow couldn’t think of any word and moaned in annoyance, “I mean I knew I had a crush on her but I just thought it was me confusing friendship with love. Oh but last night was just so amazing! Just when she held me in her arms.” Willow had gotten caught up in remembering it all and Sally held up her hands for her to stop.
“It’s quiet alright Will, I don’t need to know the exact details.” Sally said trying not to laugh, “All I needed to know was that this person makes you happy.”
“Oh way more than happy.”
“I gathered that.” Sally shook her head with a smile, “This being the case, I don’t understand why you’re upset.”
“Well here’s where we enter the grey area.” All the life that had came into as Willow talked to Sally simply slipped away and her voice cracked. “She’s with someone else and I think she wants to be with him more.” It looked like she tried to say more except no sound was made and neither the strength or will to go on.
“Come on, let’s sit on the chair for once and see what’s on TV.” Sally suggested and heaved Willow to her feet while turning the TV on via the remote and waited till Willow had sat down to pull her into a big hug. Willow gratefully returned the hug tenfold and clung to Sally as they watched a comedy show, she was aware that she was drifting off and she thought of crawling into her bed although Willow didn’t want to leave the warmth of Sally’s arms and the thought of moving seemed pointless so she shut her eyes, her head leaning against Sally’s shoulder and drifted off to sleep.