Joey rocked back and forth from heels to toes as he waited for Willow to open her door.
“I’m just so popular today, I don’t even know what to do with myself.” She said as she pulled it open. “Howdy, Joey, what can I do for you today? I didn’t miss a shift or anything, did I?”
“No, no. I was just thinking that we have spent so much time working recently that we really haven’t had any down time at all. I was wondering if you wanted to go to the bay with me.”
Willow’s eyes lit up just the way he had hoped that they would. “Yes. I would love to go to the bay with you. Give me two seconds.” Willow shut the door again, and Joey waited patiently as she got her things together.
The Ixi Agency headquarters was in a very northern part of the city of Virginia Beach, and had been for almost the past six or seven cycles. Willow and Joey had found that when they needed to get away from the agency whenever they really had to take a nice break, they could run away and take a nice long strong along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Even in tourist season, the bay was never as crowded as the main beaches, and really, in its own strange way, Joey found that the Chesapeake Bay shore was actually prettier than the main beaches anyway. It was about a three-minute drive from the Agency to the public parking, and then they could walk down to the public access path to the beach. When they got to the beach, Willow pulled off her shoes and carried them in her hand, wiggling her toes deep into the sand before continuing.
They walked along the beach in silence for a moment, until Joey turned to Willow and smiled. “So, tell me. How are things going with you? I feel like it’s been ages since we’ve talked on a social level.”
“It has been ages, but you’d think that we’d be used to that, considering I wasn’t actually supposed to see you again for another six or seven years, huh?”
“Yeah, but it’s so much harder now, knowing that you are just around the corner, but we can’t seem to find the time to get together.”
“I guess, I guess.” Willow said in an almost whiny tone before smiling up at Joey herself. “No, you’re right. It’s extremely hard knowing that you’re so close and we never get to hang out. Socially, I’m fine. Really, most of my social time recently has been about making sure that Marcy is actually doing all right. She knows about the threat, you see, and she’s such a paranoid person to begin with that I’m afraid that she’s just going to snap and break down one of these days.”
“And that would be bad.”
“Yes. Very bad.”
“So,” Joey turned back to watch where he was walking instead of staring at Willow as she talked, “if you don’t mind me asking, why did you tell Marcy about the threat, especially if you knew she was already paranoid?”
Out of the corner of his eye, Joey could see Willow shrug. “She’s one of my best friend’s Joey. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever connected to someone during an off cycle as well as I’ve connected to Marcy. I feel like I owe it to her to tell her everything that I know. It’s her life that we are dealing with here, and I feel like she deserves to know exactly what we do. We should meet each other halfway, you know.”
“Okay, okay.” Joey stopped walking and held up his hands. “I was just curious to your reasoning. I assure you that I’m not trying to challenge you. You don’t have to get quite so defensive.”
Willow sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just second guessing myself, so I see every question as an attack. I’ve told Marcy a lot more than I am strictly allowed to tell her. I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall.” She let her hands fall away from her face, and smiled up at Joey. “I know you weren’t attacking me, and I’m sorry I got so defensive.”
“No worries. It is definitely not the first time and probably won’t be the last.” Joey smiled.
“Has it ever occurred to you that we are absolutely insane?” Willow asked, starting to walk down the beach again.
“Pretty much on a daily basis, yeah. I think it’s impossible to know us and not think that we might be entirely insane.” Joey smiled, falling into step next to Willow.
“That’s good. It means I’m not too alone in all this.”
“Don’t worry, Wil Sixie. You’ll never be alone in all this.” Willow smiled, and they walked a little bit farther in silence.