A/N: A guest review showed me that I really wasn't done with this story yet. Hopefully with the holidays, I'll get some time to keep writing and see where this Nantucket getaway goes… Thank you for your warm wishes and feedback.
Chapter Seven: The Whale in the Room
Chase had at first been a little hesitant to let Willow and Nina go shopping together without him to referee. Willow insisted that it would be okay as they both cleaned the dishes. The consensus was that Nina could stay on their getaway weekend until the DNA test came back. From there, they would decide whether or not to invite Nina on their road trip back to Port Charles in the Mercedes that the Corinthos family had sent over.
Chase had his own share of complex family relationships - but knowing that he and Finn could forge a bond after so long meant that if indeed Nina turned out to Willow's mother, there was at least some hope. He was blown away by Willow's willingness to extend the olive branch of a shopping trip to start on their own.
Before the shopping trip commenced, Chase provided some useful advice to Nina. He told Nina to "Keep your New York Yankees hat out of sight. Nantucket might be offshore, but it was still in Massachusetts aka Boston Red Sox country." Nina had been grateful for the advice, tossing the cap into the Jeep Wrangler.
Willow had offered to drive. Chase smiled as she seemed a little out of sorts in a Mercedes. It was a far cry from her ancient Toyota highlander and press to start was really novel. Nina was weirdly quiet in the backseat. Chase thought Nina was clearly biting her tongue but slightly amused. Chase assumed Nina drove these types of vehicles all the time.
Chase was a patient driving instructor and personalized GPS. There first stop was the Nantucket police station. Chase had made arrangements for Nina and Willow to submit DNA samples. After the samples were given. Chase would remain behind to go through the evidence that Nina had brought.
Willow had given him an incredible hug before she left the station and whispered, "I am so grateful for you. I love you" into his ear before exiting the station with Nina. Willow said they would NOT take long…she would text him when she was done.
Chase had some good friends on the Nantucket police force. The set him up in a cubicle with a computer and headphones. He saw Harmony's confession video, read the preliminary DNA report that Curtis had procured and seen the adoption records. Harmony's confession to Willow would have been a tear-jerker for anyone. Harmony's collateral to Shiloh had been the adoption documents showcasing that Douglas and Harmony's adoption of Willow had been illegal and brokered by Madeline Reeves and a creepy lawyer. Douglas had wanted to tell Willow the truth before he was murdered by Shiloh. Harmony didn't want to risk losing Willow again and had suppressed the truth until she learned about what happened to Willow's child.
Weighing this evidence with Nina's story — Chase had a gut feeling that Nina was Willow's mother. The DNA test would be ready the following day and tell the truth. Nina had nothing to gain by lying - she and Willow had a terrible track record. Chase felt the evidence was pretty conclusive…but he still let his longtime friend also go through it as well. Chase felt an unbiased set of eyes would be beneficial.
As he waited, he wondered how the shopping trip was going….
Willow and Nina walked and entered the Mercedes in awkward silence. They hadn't exchanged many words with each other since the early morning. Willow seemed to pause in the driver's seat. Nina was sure Willow knew where the push start button was this time. She observed Willow's face, staring forward but not looking at any one thing. Nina was unsure of what to say if anything, but she couldn't help alternating from looking at Willow and at her own hands. She was grateful when Willow, at last, spoke without turning to her.
"Miss Reeves…er Nina. I'm glad we have some time alone. What I have to say is between you and me. Chase has been so supportive of me, but just like with Shiloh, I don't need him to fight my battles for me."
That sounds ominous. Nina thought but thankfully caught herself before saying anything out loud.
Willow turned, her eyes intense, "I want to get everything between us out and in the open before we even contemplate moving forward. Let's talk about the WHALE in the room."
Nina nodded, "Okay." She said quietly but thinking to herself, Whale in the Room. That's very Herman Melville of Willow. She is clever. Nina pushed the thought away and swallowed hard. She wasn't sure if she was excited to hear what Willow was going to say or deathly afraid.
Willow started speaking again, "I suspect that you are, in fact, my biological mother. Regardless of if you are my biological mom or not, it does not erase the past year of our history." Willow took a steadying breath and continued, "A history of bullying, belittling, and mistrust. If we are going to attempt to have any relationship, mother or not, I need some assurances from you. I need you to know that you repeat the relationship and treatment of me with anyone. I don't care who that person is. No one should be treated how you treated me. You assumed the worst about me. You acted morally superior and treated me, a complete stranger like I was an incompetent tramp from the day you met me."
Nina remained silent as she looked firmly at Willow. Tears were coming from her eyes. The words Willow was saying wrung true. There was nothing to say. Nina has repeated these scenes herself from the moment she saw Willow's half pendant necklace on the Invader's website.
Willow continued, "You questioned my judgment as a professional, as a girlfriend, as a teacher, as a person and…" Willow's voice broke, "and as a mother." Willow wiped tears from her eyes, "Dammit." Willow closed her tear-filled eyes and took a few deep breaths to collect herself. How can I still be crying? Willow was sure that after this morning and this past week she was fresh all out of tears. Yet they still came.
After what seemed like a long time, Willow opened her eyes, surprised that Nina didn't interrupt her solitude. Willow looked at Nina again to see Nina's face a mix of concern and shame mixed together. Nina's big blue eyes were bloodshot from the tears and her cheeks red.
Willow continued, "Nina, I need to know you will be better and make an effort to be kinder to others than you were to me." Willow paused, "those others include Sasha, who is a dear friend of mine. Believe it or not, Sasha is one of the few reasons I'm open to staring over with you. She thinks so highly of you and loves you despite everything. You owe this time with me to her."
There was an awkward silence as the two women stared at each other. Nina felt that she could at last speak, "Willow like I said before, I am so sorry for my actions. I have no excuses for how I treated you, and I know you don't want to hear them even if I had some."
Nina's voice was shaky and seemed she seemed unsure of herself. Willow saw her eyes moving from side to side, searching for words, "Willow, since yesterday, I've played our interactions over and over in my head and reflected on my actions and intentions. At the end of the day, I was horrible to you, and I was so wrong about who you are. But like you said, I pride myself on being a good person…but a good person should never treat another human being like I treated you."
Nina took a steadying breath herself, "Sasha showed me the way when we forgave each other a few weeks ago. She had seen my wrath and got a taste of how I had treated you. Willow, you wouldn't know this about me and it is by no means an excuse." Nina closed her own eyes, "but when I lost my brother Jay, your uncle, and when Valentin continued to lie to me over and over again, I lost my faith in humanity. I lost my ability to trust anyone…including myself. My brother was my compass and Sasha filled that role for me until the truth came out."
Nina paused, panicked for a minute, "I'm not saying this to you to ask anything of you. I know now I must be my own compass. Sasha taught me that and I am so GRATEFUL to her. When I believed her to be my daughter, she was the first person since my brother Jay to call me out on my actions. She saw my potential to be a better person, just like Jay had…in fact, she saw me as a better person than I was. I will make this commitment to you as I did with Sasha, and as I did with my dear brother Jay, God rest his soul, I will be better." Nina looked imploringly at Willow.
Willow saw the sincerity in Nina's voice and face. Willow was intrigued to hear the name Jay…was that Nathan West? Lulu had told her a little about him. Nathan was a police officer just like her beloved Chase when he died in the line of duty. Willow pushed those thoughts from her head. She wanted to know more, but right now she didn't have the emotional energy to talk about more loss. If Nina was her mother, they would have time, including a road trip back to Port Charles and a lifetime to learn more.
Willow's finger went to the start engine button, and she moved her gaze from Nina to the windshield, "Okay then, that's settled for now. Let's head to town for a little bit."
Nina remained silent, she had to bite her lip to contain the desire to smile.
They drove in silence until Willow spoke again, "I only need a few things— another pair of jeans and sweats so I won't keep wearing Chase's PCPD gear. Maybe a new rain jacket…but let's not go crazy. We can also get something for Chase's niece Violet. She's missing her mom lately. 90s hits, okay? I'm in a retro mood." Willow turned on the radio.
"Willow, that sounds like a plan," Nina spoke and she couldn't help but smile when the song I swear by the 90s boy band All-4-One came on the radio. The song had definitely been on the radio when she learned she was pregnant so many years ago.
A/N – Thanks for reading!