Willa’s eyes were wide as she stared around Walter’s vault. There was just… so much stuff! She idly fiddled with an old pocket watch that looked like it could fetch a cool buck or two at a pawn shop before moving deeper into the recesses of the vault. Something shiny quickly caught her attention and she went for a closer look. A knowing smirk crept onto her face as she stared down at a photo of Walter shaking hands with President Obama. And Isabel thought that Walter would never be able to mix with the White House.
Moving to the other side of the vault, she hit pay dirt. In between numerous trinkets and random items (A guitar pick? Really, Walter? Really?) sat an open jewelry set. Inside laid a diamond necklace and matching earrings. “Bingo,” Willa murmured, reaching out to snatch the box. Millimeters away, she hesitated.
Retracting her hand, she turned her back on the gleaming diamonds in order to think.
Willa didn’t particularly like Walter. He had made his (rather accurate) opinion of her well known and yet, she still couldn’t steal from him. It couldn’t be because she liked him (because she didn’t) so there must be some underlying reason.
Reason number one: Isabel.
Willa had spilled her secrets to Isabel. She had trusted the woman with things she had only ever talked to Timo about. She had been so kind, so supportive when Willa had broken down in tears of worry over Timo. Isabel was Walter’s girlfriend. Hurting Walter would be hurting her.
On the other hand, just because Willa confessed one secret, didn’t mean that she and Isabel were now besties. Isabel, first and foremost, was a cop.
Strike one – Not Isabel.
Reason number two: Leo.
Leo was her employer and honestly had no obligations to her other than paying her $7.25 an hour to sit in the bar and bring people sandwiches. Despite that, however, he worked hard to show her that there was more to life than the Gypsy culture she had only ever known. He tried to teach her to abide by the rules (though that never worked) and the difference between right and wrong. He had given her chance after chance when she messed things up. Maybe his right and wrong speech was finally sinking in.
Nah. Willa had no problem stealing from people despite Leo’s lectures. Why should this be any different than the guy she pickpocketed twenty minutes ago?
Strike two – Not Leo.
That left reason number three: Timo.
Because Willa had only ever discussed her situation with Timo, she had never had the opportunity to express all of her thoughts and feelings out loud. She loved Timo; they had been best friends since the engagement began (although they really had no choice since their parents forced them together at least twice a week until Timo was eighteen and Willa was thirteen, but even after, he visited with growing regularity until she usually saw him once a day). So, when talking with Isabel and explaining her situation, certain thoughts, certain feelings came up.
When Isabel had asked if she loved Timo… Willa hadn’t known how to answer. Yes, she loved Timo. She had always loved Timo. He was the one constant in her ever-changing Gypsy life. They had always been together for as long as she could remember. But that wasn’t what Isabel was asking. The truth was Willa wasn’t sure if she was in love with Timo. She thought she might be, but because she had only ever known Timo, she wasn’t sure.
Timo, on the other hand, loved someone else. God did that burn inside Willa’s chest. When Willa watched Timo cry over his love, just thinking about the fact that he loved someone more than he loved Willa made those tears become hers.
It was different for Timo than it was for Willa. When Timo began getting interested in girls, Willa was eight. When he began getting serious girlfriends, Willa was nine. And when he lost his virginity, Willa was ten. Willa always had Timo in front of her, but Timo was forced to always wait for Willa. It wasn’t fair of her to be angry that he fell in love with someone else because she understood it. If it had been her, waiting for someone five years younger than her, she didn’t think she would have been able to do it either.
But that didn’t make it feel any better.
Eyes stinging with unshed tears, Willa turned around to face the diamonds. She couldn’t pick them up because she didn’t want to lose Timo. Without the engagement, he would leave, marry his love and leave Willa behind. She didn’t know if she was in love with Timo (though she had a sneaking suspicion she was because if just loving someone hurt this bad, she didn’t want to know how being in love with someone felt) but she did know that she didn’t want him to leave her.
Gritting her teeth, Willa forced herself to walk away from the jewels. She knew that she would be breaking Timo’s heart and in doing so she was breaking her own, but she was a selfish person. She could easily admit that. And she did not want Timo to go.
Passing by the picture of Walter again, Willa stopped. Timo wasn’t just going to give up. He would keep trying. Reaching out, Willa removed the picture and rolled it up. If she wasn’t going to get a happy ending, the least she could do was try and show Isabel hers.