• Willa had said she was laying in bed, huddling close the framed photograph of James King, her idol. She had loved him from the days they were young children. In fact, James had been a child star, only a few years older than Willa herself. She distinctly remembered the very first day that she had even heard about him.

    That day, Willa reckoned, was the best one of her entire life. She believed that that day was the day she was brought closer to her soul mate. She had been sitting in her friend Leigh’s bedroom, watching the television, when an ad came on for a church choir CD.

    Never being the religious type, Willa didn’t stop herself, however, from buying the CD. She listened to it day and night, and told herself that some day she and James King would be together.

    It was just that Willa King was such a perfect name!

    The phone rang, and Willa was groggy, but she pulled the receiver off of the hook and pressed it to her mouth.

    “Go, Matt,” she said, after having checked the caller I.D. I was Willa’s best friend, who, surprising to her other friends, looked nothing like James King.

    “Shoot, Will, you’re being grouchy again,” I narrowed my eyes, “Guess what I scored tickets for? That James King concert you wanted to go to! It’s all for you, anyways, I’m not going. Give somebody else the second ticket.”

    Willa nearly shot out of bed in excitement, now fully awake. The other part of James King’s story was moving on from his child stardom. James was still a star; I was a rock star. I changed his look, changed his style, but I was still the same wonderful man that Willa undoubtedly knew so much about.

    “What about the backstage passes? Did you get those?” Willa was bouncing on her mattress, “Did you get them?”

    “No, I didn’t.”

    It was like the end of a high for her. For a few minutes Willa had felt like she was on top of the world, and then had come crashing down all too soon. She had pouted her lips; moaned at the idea of not even getting even relatively close to touching James’ skin… the agony for her, at least!

    “I don’t like you anymore. Don’t call me back,” Willa huffed, and I made confused, garbled noises into the phone. “I’m just kidding around with you, Mattie. But we should seriously go and get those passes.”

    That was the response that I had been scared of the most. Waiting in line for those passes would be torture at the very best, and I didn’t want to have to go through that with Willa, as she would undoubtedly force me to do.

    “Can I take a rain check?” I joked, “I think I’ve done enough of a service, getting those tickets in the first place.” It had all been true. I had surfed the Internet for hours looking for sellers, dove into some seedy-looking alleyways, and finally ended up waiting the better portion of a day, outside in the rain, to get Willa her twenty-second birthday present.
    “No, you can’t!” Willa demanded.

    That was one thing that I hated about Willa. She decided what you were going to do and what you weren’t going to do; it was all up to her and what she felt like at any particular moment. I really didn’t feel like going and waiting to snag backstage passes.

    Of course we ended up waiting line. We waited in line for hours on end, and by the time that we were finally able to retrieve the passes, neither Willa nor I had any more stamina left to us. It had taken copious amounts of coffee just to keep us awake, at this point.

    “I’m glad you came with me, I,” Willa gushed, “You know how much this means to me! I want you to come with me to the concert and be my date!”

    I was shocked at those words, but I knew that clueless little Willa wasn’t surely suggesting anything more than what we already had. My heart was in so much pain, seeing her lust after another man, day after day, that I had almost become accustomed to the loss.
    I loved her, I really did. It made my head hurt and my heart ache to think about Willa with James, that I was barely able to think of it at all. I certainly didn’t want to. Those words… they made my appetite for her grow.


    On the night of the concert, I helped Willa install the finishing touches to her look. She was gorgeous; a beautiful dress, not too formal; slickly painted nails, heels, and cleverly done makeup. She looked like a goddess, surely to myself and any other man who walked by.
    I even rented a limo, just for her. By the time it came by she wanted me ready for our “date” and had me pushed into the car. The drive was not long and it was definitely uneventful.
    At the concert, Willa happily detached herself from every other living being than James King. Her body and her vocal cords were moving to the music. She was angelic in her seat, but she made my heart hurt to no conceivable extent.

    Once this whole process was done and over with, I accompanied Willa backstage, and we laughed like we were drunk, because that’s what everybody else was doing.

    “Miss, you look quite pretty tonight,” James King told Willa, and her heart surely must have caught in her throat. Not only was James King actually interacting with his audience, he was also interacting with Willa, of all people. I thought that similar thoughts must have been radiating throughout Willa’s brain.

    “Finally,” she whispered into my ear as she elbowed me, in the ribs, “My lifelong dream! I’m going to meet James King!”

    “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. King,” Willa winked, and I could tell she was trying her hardest to flirt with him, “My name is Willa Anderson, I’m so happy to meet you, and I have been a big fan of yours for years. Since the choir days.”

    He laughed and threw back his head. James King had a nice, hearty laugh, nothing compared to mine at all.

    “Those days were a long time ago, Willa Anderson. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance as well. Who is this friend of yours?” James King winked, patting me on the shoulder. I grunted.

    “His name is Matt Gerard, and he would rather not be here right now. But he gave me tickets for your concert, Mr. King, for my twenty-second birthday, and I wanted him to come with me to meet you.”

    “That’s thoughtful of him,” James King smiled. I didn’t trust the debonair expression in his voice, the way that he acted so polite, like he was so many times infinitely better than poor Willa.

    Skipping ahead again, the conversation ended with a dinner date. That’s right, meek little Willa got herself a date with a superstar. Maybe it was her charming looks, her wonderful personality, her amiability that turned him on; all the things, among others, that turned me on.

    A couple of nights before the date, Willa had been in the best mood of her life. And then she had called me out of the blue, and she was sobbing into the phone relentlessly.
    “Oh Mattie,” she cried, “Jamesy has died!”