Not the Nantucket Getaway he had initially planned
PART I: THE NEWS
Despite the horror and sadness of the previous week, Chase was grateful for one thing. In his own small way, he had been a constant in Willow's orbit since she found out the terrible news that her baby had died. He had put Willow first and decided to take his first long overdue vacation so he could be with the person he loved most in her time of need. The Commissioner had been grateful to Chase for his leadership and was incredibly understanding of his request.
The day the news came, Willow's reaction was forever etched in his memory. He remembered that Willow's eyes started with the look of disbelief which quickly turned to desperation… "Chase this can't be true." Tears came as she asked the questions.
Then came the final verdict, the barrage DNA tests run independently of Port Charles and the followers DoD. Willow's desperation for the truth turned to anger and lashing out to whoever was closest to her. Chase had been holding Willow when the news entirely broke. He felt the force of her beating fists of anguish and grief. She was formidable even in her pain. She had cried for him to let her go, she needed to see Wiley, her baby.
He held her and let her beat and push at him for what seemed like ages. "Chase! Let me go, I want to see my baby…".
Chase had responded, his voice broken, "Willow, I'm so sorry, your baby isn't here. Wiley is really Jonah remember…"
She had suddenly stopped pushing him at those words and broke down into a deep sob. Her body went from a tour de force to a rag doll in a matter of seconds. He sat with her on the ground, feeling her small frame shaking and sobbing.
He didn't know how long they were in that position, but he was glad when Willow at last spoke. "Everything I've done…"
Chase had finished her sentence, "You did out of love and to protect Michael's child. You didn't even know it, but you are a true force to be reckoned with. I know, I'm not good with words, but I am here for you, and I'm not leaving your side." Chase had looked at her lovingly and with admiration. She had nestled her head into his shoulder and continued to quietly cry.
Later that first night after hearing the news, Chase witnessed a shift in Willow's demeanor, which concerned him a bit. Willow adopted a forceful stoicism. She didn't break into sobs again at least in front of other people. Occasionally a tear would fall from her eyes, or he would hear her crying in his apartment bathroom… He knew that she probably needed space, but was fearful of what she might do if left alone for too long. He knew Willow was strong, but this situation would break anyone. Chase felt helpless. This was unimaginable.
In the days following, Chase tried to shield Willow as much as possible from the news and internet. The print stories either played up the salaciousness of DoD cult in their own backyard or showed overjoyed pictures of Michael Corinthos getting reunited with his long lost child. Willow was distant and seemingly unaware. Chase was getting worried, he couldn't decide if Willow's stupor was healthy or not. Even more troubling was the middle of the night when he would wake up to find Willow pacing in the apartment or staring into space. She hadn't eaten much either.
However, it was during those days in which an entire town seemed to rally behind Willow and Lucas in their grief. Brad was, of course, nowhere to be found. He was facing a mountain of charges for helping Nelle and stealing Michael's baby. Willow's former students sent handmade cards and their parents sent flowers. The Quartermaine family covered the cost of a memorial service including the replacement of the baby's gravestone.
Willow, for her part, despite her own grief, felt some calmness for Michael. "Something good came come from this…" She told Chase as they were getting ready for the memorial service. "Michael will be an incredible father to Wi…I mean Jonah. That little boy has an army of love and support..." Her voice trailed off. She couldn't bring herself to say anymore.
Chase observed her carefully. She had worn a simple black dress and light make up, which didn't cover the dark circles under her eyes. He noticed a gold chain around her neck with half of a broken heart. That's new, he thought to himself. He wanted to ask where Willow had gotten the pendant from but knew its symbolism spoke volumes. Half of a broken heart. Willow's heart was broken. Her baby who had died over a year before possessed the other half of that neckless. Chase couldn't help but think about how amazing a mother Willow would have been to this little boy. Maybe someday she would gather the strength and learn to love another little one. It wasn't the right time or place to say those words.
At the end of the small private service, Willow stood alone at Wiley's gravestone. Chase gave Lucas, Sam, and Kristina nod as they walked away. He chose to give Willow a little space to be with her son. His heart broke at the words that Willow uttered.
"My son, my dearest little one, my best wasn't good enough. I couldn't protect you…." Her words trailed off into anguished sobs that Chase hadn't seen since the original news broke. Willow's entire body seemed to shake. Chase started to slowly walk towards her when he heard a voice come between them.
"Willow this is ALL your fault." Shiloh appeared from the shadows and tried to embrace Willow. Grasping her violently from behind. Chase immediately vaulted at Shiloh but, Willow, to his surprise, had used her self-defense moves to incapacitate him herself. Shiloh was on the ground, feet away panting.
Willow's fire had re-emerged, "You stay the HELL away from me Shiloh. I have a restraining order against you, but I don't give a damn. You touch me again, and I swear…"
Chase now stood between the two rivals. His arms outstretched, palms gesturing to stop.
Shiloh yelled, "I have a RIGHT to be here…to see the child who's dead because of YOU." Shiloh tried to lunge at Willow again, but Chase was there to stop him. "Shiloh, I will arrest you for violating your restraining order and for assault." It was hard for Chase to keep Shiloh at bay.
"I don't give a damn about you detective…how can you be with this WITCH." Shiloh snarled and looked at Willow with an evil intensity. "A liar, a fraud. An empty vessel..." Shiloh glared at Willow with a face that looked possessed. Chase had had enough with the vile hatred Shiloh kept saying and sucker punched him in the face with such force Shiloh fell to the ground again.
"You get the hell away from Willow, you son of a bitch…" Chase continued to stand between them, fist ready for another round with Shiloh.
Shiloh seemed to get the hint. "This isn't over Willow, not by a long shot." Shiloh walked away with a bloody lip.
Again, Willow and Chase had been alone at the gravesite face to face. Willow's fire at seeing Shiloh had turned to shame. "Chase, I'm sorry… I'm sorry for all of this."Tears flowing from her eyes.
Chase gently put his arm on her shoulder, "Willow, you have nothing to be sorry or ashamed about. You are the most incredible person I know."
"I can't bare this...you're right about Shiloh. He isn't worth another thought or moment of my life." She looked longingly at the gravestone. "You know, my baby…" her voice faltered…" My baby was born alive. I got to hold him for a moment after I gave birth." Willow paused for a moment. "His labor was a little hard. The nurses were nice and all, but I was alone with my baby. We were in that battle to live together during those hours of labor."
Chase swallowed hard. Tears started to flow from his eyes too. He couldn't imagine anyone dealing with what Willow had gone through. "When I had finally given birth. The nurse handed his little body to me in swaddling clothes. I'd never felt so much joy in my life. He was the most beautiful baby…his face was so innocent. His breath seemed strong, I felt his little heartbeat. I had so many hopes for his life for who he would become. I was excited he was going to get a dad like Lucas. Kind, smart, sweet, and genuine. For the first time in my life after my own difficult childhood, I had hope that things were going to be okay. He would be loved, and he would learn to love in this wonderful Port Charles community."
Chase continued to look at her lovingly as she continued…" I know logically this isn't my fault. I know scientifically, my baby had an undetectable medical condition...but I still feel responsible, like I didn't take care of myself enough while pregnant. Maybe I didn't get enough vitamins or sleep enough..."
Chase looked at Willow sternly, "Willow, you need to stop. The doctor's said there was NOTHING you could have done to prevent this from happening. You can't blame yourself for something this senseless."
His placed arms gently around her, as her head was bowed even lower. "Chase…I know in my head, what you say is true, but it's Shiloh, it's everything about this place right now. In those moments, when I can't sleep, I hear his voice taunting me. My mind goes to that dark place when I was in DoD and had to submit to his every wish with my mind and body." Willow started hesitantly. "I think I need some space from here…from Port Charles. Everything and everyone is a trigger for me right now. If I see him again, I'm afraid of what I will do." Even in her grief, Willow showed strength and self-awareness…more so than ANYONE Chase had ever known.
Chase looked at Willow, and she interrupted his thinking and concern. "Chase, I know what you're thinking. I'm not trying to run away...especially not from you nor my friends, or even Jonah. Michael asked me to be a part of Jonah's life, and although right now, it's so very raw, I would like to be in this little boy's life in the future." Willow took a deep breath and sighed..."I know that I'm NOT thinking straight...or making any sort of sense..."
Chase interrupted, "Willow, you are making perfect sense." He paused for a moment, thinking of a time before they knew about Shiloh..."Willow, I think you are the most incredible person I know. Would you be open to my suggestion? I know I can't make any of this better, but I can be here for you." He paused.
"Anything is better than what I'm thinking right now," Willow replied.
"Okay then, I have an idea, that you can absolutely edit, veto or whatever...you're the boss okay...How about we take that overdue trip to Nantucket for a few days? All I have to do is make a few phone calls. We can fly there in a few hours. I know the calm of the waves, the small New England town, the salt air, might do us both some good. What do you think?"
Willow looked at him through her tears. "I feel guilty leaving, but I think for my own safety and for the safety of others, your suggestion might be best." She looked down and touched the gravestone gently.
"Willow, we don't have to stay that long. I'm thinking of a long weekend, and if you want to come back sooner, I will have you covered." Chase knew she felt guilt over leaving Wiley, but he also knew she needed some time away to grieve and maybe start to heal a little.
She sighed again, pressed her hand into his. "Okay, I'm in. I've never been to the Cape or New England before." She gently put her head on his shoulder.
"Let's go pack…"