Twilight

The sequel to "If I Fall"

by Sybl Angelkat

Willy drifted along the corridor, lost in his musings as usual. As usual, he also thumped into the glass elevator door with a loud SMACK! followed by a reluctant "I'm okay...". Just as a rudely awakened Willy got to his feet, massaged his forehead, then straightened his clothes, he realized he was flat in the floor again.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Willy," a frazzled-looking Anastasia yelped, trying to balance Rose on her hip with one arm and trying to help Willy up with the other.

"What's wrong," Willy asked, seeing Anastasia's frantic expression, frizzed hair, and cell phone in hand.

"My manager demands to hear my new music, my publisher demands to see my new book, I've been trying to keep track of the invisible chocolate bars and Rose is-"

Splat!

"Ew!" Willy complained.

"...sick." Anastasia finished. She wore an expression that showed less than amusement. Anastasia sighed and carried Rose to the bathroom. She started trying to scrub the mess off of her pants, tears running down her face.

"Why does everything have to happen at one time!" she mumbled, tossing the tissue in the trash with one hand and trying to hold Rose's hair back with the other.

"You seem really overworked today," Willy observed, taking a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiping her face. He kissed her affectionately, and she smiled again.

"Yeah. Sometimes I really regret being a full time artist, a full time musician, and a full time secretary all in one lifetime."

Rose came up to the couple, apollogetic tears running down her little cheeks.

"I'm sorry, Mommy," she wailed.

Anastasia picked her up to comfort her.

"It's not your fault that your tummy doesn't like these pants," Anastasia joked. Rose giggled.

"Let's put you to bed," she said, halfway between a smile and some other expression. She put Rose in her bright blue bed.

Rose's favorite color was blue, so Willy and Anastasia decorated her room in all shades of it. Anastasia had painted her ceiling dark blue and stuck glow-in-the-dark stars all over it. Rose loved to watch the stars as she drifted off to sleep.

Anastasia poured some pink stomach medicine into a small spoon for her.

"I know you don't like it, but it will make you feel better." Anastasia said, holding the spoon by her mouth. She groaned in protest, but accepted it.

"Now, go to sleep, and I'll come back and check on you in a little bit. Stay in bed, okay?" Anastasia told her. Rose nodded.

"Good. " She kissed Rose gently on her forehead and they left Rose to sleep. Anastasia went to hers and Willy's room to change her clothes. She was thankful, at least, that the oompa loompas had started to tend to Rose's mess.

Once she had zipped up her clean pair of jeans, Willy took her into his arms. Three years ago, he wouldn't let anyone touch him. Now, he always knew when Anastasia needed a hug. She rewarded him with a kiss.

"I'll be okay," she assured him, "it's just that everyone wants something and I'm not used to doing anything but stealing and slipping around in the shadows."

"You can do it," Willy assured her.

Anastasia rested her head on his shoulder.

"Being a working Mom is harder than I ever imagined." she said, inhaling the scent of chocolate that always haunted Willy's clothes.

"Let's go get your book, and let's go get your music, and let the oompa loompas handle the invisible chocolate." he said, wondering since when he had kept such a cool head.

"Thanks." Anastasia whispered.

Neither of them moved for a long time.

"I really hate to mess it up, but this isn't getting us anywhere," Anastasia laughed.

"I know," Willy complained.

They went skipping down the hall together, holding hands like a couple of goofy kids.

That evening, a much-calmer Anastasia had returned to the factory. Willy found her in the kitchen stirring something in a pan. Willy leaned over and inhaled some of the steam.

"Smells good. What is it?" Willy asked.

"Chicken soup for Rose. I haven't the slightest idea who made up that rule, but it's supposed to make sick people better." Anastasia said, spooning some into a bowl.

"What about people who aren't sick?" Willy asked.

Anastasia poured him a bowl, then took the first bowl to Rose, who had gotten better since the morning and was actually hungry.

"I'm glad you're better," Anastasia said, kissing her daughter on the forehead.

"Me, too." Rose agreed, "Where's daddy?"

"He's in the kitchen having some soup. I'll send him up here when he's done to say good night." Anastasia said.

"Daddy came up and played with me while you were gone. He said he really missed you today." Rose said.

"Did he?" Anastasia said, secretly smiling.

"He told me a story about you. He says your his guardian angel and that you kept all the bad guys out of our house. Then you had me!"

Anastasia's smile got bigger. Willy stood outside the door, listening.

"I don't know if I'm an angel, but some bad guys did come here, and he helped me fight them off. So did the oompa loompas. I probably wouldn't be here if your daddy hadn't found me. You were still in my tummy and I didn't have any nice clothes, no shoes, and nothing to eat. He let me stay here and I had you, then we got married. You and your dad were the best thing that ever happened to me." Anastasia said affectionately.

Willy felt a warm inner glow.

Rose giggled as Willy tried not to be seen.

"What?" Anastasia asked.

"Daddy's hiding behind the door. " Rose whispered. Anastasia put her finger to her lips, then hid on the other side of the door. Just as Willy came in to see where Anastasia had gone, Anastasia jumped out at him, yelling, "Hello, Starshine! Anastasia says hello!"

Willy jumped like a cat and let out a cry of surprise. Rose shrieked with laughter, and Anastasia was laughing so hard that she had to hold onto the door. Willy started to laugh, too.

"Goodnight, Rosie," Willy said, planting a big, noisy kiss on her forehead. Rose giggled.

"You're so funny, Daddy!"

Anastasia nodded.

"That's why I married him, you know." Anastasia said, kissing Rose.

"Goodnight, Mommy." Rose closed her eyes, and she and Willy left the room.

"No matter how bad things get, at least I know I have the two of you to come home to," Anastasia told him.

"And I have you to look forward to all day," Willy said, making Anastasia blush slightly. He felt a stirring on the inside. The cherry-color of Anastasia's lips when she blushed, and the hot pink patches on her cheeks attracted him strongly. Just before they went to their own room, he kissed her. She reached behind him and opened the door, and he kicked it shut.

It had taken a few times to get used to, but Willy knew exactly what was to take place in contrast to his first time three years ago. The memory of how scared and confused and dizzy he was then made him almost laugh. It seemed as though he and Anastasia had traded places: he was leading her now. the way she melted into his arms made his heart pound so fast that he was sure it would explode.

After the familiar "explosion" would take place, he and Anastasia would spend a long time just cuddled up together, listening to the radio in the background, before they went to sleep.

Willy drifted off to sleep, dreaming about how perfect things were. He had a very successful factory, a child of his own, a wife of his own, and an extended family that consisted of Anastasia, Rose, and Charlie and his family, and the oompa loompas, of course. He felt as warm and comfortable as a contented cat, and he was sure he would have been purring if he'd had the ability to.

Sweet Willy Wonka drifted off to sleep, unaware of anything but his own happiness.

"May I ask what you are doing here at this hour?" Mr. Salt asked as he opened the door to his huge mansion in front of the massive peanut factory.

"I need your help," Mr. Slugworth said. He and some other candy manufacturers who were failing in the shadow of Wonka's Candy stood outside on the porch.

"What's in it for me?" asked Mr. Salt.

"We're about to try and close Mr. Wonka's factory. It could mean that you and your daughter could get revenge on Mr. Wonka, and you could get all those trained squirrels that she's wanted. "

Mr. Salt's face lit up with a greedy smile, and he stepped aside and swept his hand to let the evil plotters inside.

Meanwhile, in a dark alley, another secret meeting was taking place.

"You have to help me get my granddaughter back," the middle-aged woman said to the friends of her son.

"Why do you want the kid? Kids are too much trouble, especially one that's been raised in a candy factory. She was born from street scum. Her stepfather is a grown man who's a total basketcase and stays holed up in that great big sugar maze. And your son is in a permanent coma thanks to the ," a man said, smoking a cigarrette. He had an authentic gangster accent and was a rough-looking olive skinned man with blue eyes and graying black hair.

"I want my granddaughter back so I can raise her right and away from those idiots. And I want Mr. Candyman dead so that she " (the woman said it as though it were a swearword)" suffers just like we all did."

"What's in it for us?" a small man with a nasal voice asked.

"I get my granddaughter back and the satisfaction that the $# suffers, and you can have his fortune, since I have my own from my husband." the woman said. Her olive-green eyes gleamed wickedly as she licked her lips.

"Lady, you got yourself a deal," the gangster said.

Willy awoke, feeling that the bed was too empty. He heard water running in the bathroom and slid out from under the covers. He walked into the bathroom to find Anastasia having a nice soak in the huge jacuzzi-style tub. Bubbles billowed up around her so much that it was impossible to see anything below her chin. Anastasia looked up at him and smiled.

Without his big hat and coat, Willy was thin, but it was a lean, muscular thin. His skin was pale, but Anastasia loved pale skin. His dark hair framed his face and shone in the sunlight, and his eyes were still incredibly blue as ever.

"Come on in," Anastasia said as nonchalantly as possible.

Willy jumped into the tub, sending steaming water and suds everywhere. Anastasia giggled, wiping the soap bubbles off her face. Willy ran his fingers through her wet hair. Anastasia took a nearby bottle of shampoo and squeezed some into her hands. She preceded to ruffle Willy's hair. He raised his hands to try and block her, but she started giving him a scalp massage, so he stopped trying. The shampoo smelled like (what else?) chocolate, and the conditioner smelled like mint. Willy dipped his head under the water to rinse his hair and found Anastasia's soapy hair piled up on her head like a beehive. He burst out laughing, and so did Anastasia. The radio was playing merrily on a shelf in the corner, and it struck up a Beatles tune. Anastasia hopped out of the tub and grabbed a towel. She started to sing (loudly).

Can't buy me lo-ove

lo-ove

can't buy me lo-ove

I'll buy you a diamond ring my friend

if it makes you feel all right...

(Anastasia was dancing around and drying off at the same time, making Willy laugh harder.)

Can't buy me love,

everybody tells me so

can't buy me love

no, no no, NO!

Anastasia slipped and fell on the slippery floor, and went sliding a few feet. For a moment, Willy stopped laughing because he was worried she got hurt, but when Anastasia started laughing, he did too. He helped her up, and they finished toweling off their wet hair and got dressed. No sooner had they opened the door, but Rose came running in as Anastasia was in the bathroom, mopping up the spills with a towel.

Rose's eyes widened at the mess.

"And I thought I made a mess when I played in the bathtub!"

Anastasia and Willy couldn't stop laughing.

They went to have breakfast with Charlie and his family. As usual, Rose was fussed over by the grandparents. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket were thanking Anastasia profusely for their anniversary dinner that she'd provided for them at the Chinese restaurant in the next town. Mr. Bucket was telling them all about a little boy who'd had his first experience with the chopsticks.

"So he takes them and picks up this big meatball thing and holds it up to show his mother, but he squeezes it and it shoots across the room over our heads and into this man's drink with a plop! sound, and the look on the man's face- "

The room burst into laughter. Charlie was trying not to choke on a piece of sausage. The grandparents were wheezing with laughter. Willy was red in the face and trying to catch his breath. Tears of laughter were pouring down Anastasia's face, and Rose had sent a mouthful of milk across the table. Mrs. Bucket wiped up the mess.

"Rose, please try to be more careful," Anastasia asked when she was able to speak again.

Rose nodded.

"I'll be back in a couple of hours," Anastasia said before walking out the door. She was supposed to shoot a music video, and she was quite nervous. It was her first one. Willy and Rose walked her to the gates of the factory, but Anastasia was ambushed right when she stepped outside. Samantha, Rose's grandmother, was there as the two henchmen pinned her to the ground. Willy pulled Rose back and they hid just inside the gate.

"What do we do with this one?" the big man asked.

"Slow her down. We have to get the baby." Samantha replied tonelessly.

Willy took off running with Rose.

"When I put you inside, you tell the oompa loompas to lock that door and don't let anyone in! Promise me, Rose," Willy said.

"Where are you going? Where's mommy?" asked Rose, starting to be scared.

"I'm going to go help Mommy." Willy told her. He put her inside and slammed the door shut. He turned, and a loud BANG! rumbled through the world. Willy felt a sharp sting in his stomach.

"That ought to slow him down. Should we wait for Samantha?" asked the little man.

"Nah. She said to kill him, and he'll live with that."

Willy cringed as the gun was aimed straight at him. Suddenly, Anastasia dove on top of him. The second bullet, which was originally aimed at Willy's chest hit him in the right side, causing him to fall.

Anastasia knocked the first guy out cold, then slugged the second guy in the abdomen and the jaw at the same time.

Samantha and Anastasia stood face to face.

Anastasia cringed. She knew those cold green eyes and the platinum-blonde hair. They had belonged to her ex.

"Why can't you just leave us alone? Don't you think the two of us have suffered enough?" Anastasia asked, kneeling beside Willy and wrapping her jacket tightly around his bleeding stomach.

"Not near enough." Samantha said, holding a gun on her and Willy.

Anastasia rolled on top of Willy, sheilding him.

"Do you really want Rose to see this? Do you really want to scar your granddaughter for life, Samantha? Besides, you won't get what you want. I know that the intent was for me to suffer, but you're not getting to him without getting me first." Anastasia said, strangely calm. She had her hand over one of Willy's wounds, and it was hurting terribly now. Willy was sick from the pain.

"You do what you want with me, Samantha, but you leave my husband and my daughter out of this." Anastasia said angrilly. That's when the police arrived.

"I was hoping it would be me," Anastasia said, trying to keep Willy awake. Every bump in the ambulance made him cry out in pain, "because I hate to see you hurt. It should have been me paying for my mistakes, not you and not Rose." Anastasia was holding it together because she didn't want anything to happen to him. Irregardless of how bad the situation was, most people will make it if they believe they can.

"Don't," Willy begged. He didn't want her on that subject. He'd almost lost her once, and if it were to happen again, he didn't know what he'd do. He suddenly felt very tired.

"Stay with me, Willy," Anastasia said, holding his hand.

"So tired," Willy complained.

"I know, but please stay awake," Anastasia said, rubbing his hands between hers to warm them up. He had already lost a lot of blood.

"Okay," Willy mumbled.

"Think about my touch, and listen to me, and look at me. Don't think about anything else," Anastasia said, kissing him on the cheek.

The ambulance ride was over. They hurried Willy's stretcher down the hall. Willy started to feel sick again as he watched everyone and everything pass in a blur. Anastasia was right beside him.

"Hang on, Willy. I love you!" Anastasia said.

The three words made him smile weakly. He couldn't talk now, but he squeezed her hand just before they whisked him away. His slight smile said, "I love you, too."

Anastasia's tears came as soon as the doors closed. They poured down her cheeks in two crystal rivers. Her face stained dull red from the days' events.

"Don't cry, Mommy."

Anastasia swept Rose into a deep hug. Charlie and Mr. and Mrs. Bucket stood behind her.

"He'll be okay," Charlie assured her. Anastasia embraced him, too.

Willy awoke, feeling very numb until he tried to roll over. One of the bullet wounds was on the side he rolled over on, and he let out a scream of pain. The nurses scattered, all getting things for him. One of them injected pain medication into the IV drip, one of them rolled him back over on his back, and one put an oxygen mask over his face.

"Take deep breaths!" she instructed him. Tears streamed down Willy's face as he tried to do as she said. He hated hospitals, and he wanted Anastasia. His breaths were fast and shallow because it hurt to breathe deep.

"The doctors had to repair a lot of tissue. It's best that you don't put any pressure on those wounds for a while," the nurse said.

Now she tells me, Willy thought angrilly.

"Come on, breathe!" she urged him. Willy slowly took a deep breath and clutched his side in the process. The pain started to dull. The medication was working.

"Where's Anastasia?" he asked, much calmer now.

"She's waiting in your room. Now that you're stabilized, we're taking you there right now," the nurse said, pronouncing the last few words as though he were a child.

Willy watched sleepily as the walls and doors drifted by. He felt as though the medicine was a dark cloud that had spread through his body and settled into his bones and muscles.

Anastasia was waiting by the door, just as the nurse said she would be. She bent down to embrace him and kiss him.

With her touch, Willy suddenly felt as though everything was going to be okay.

"Go to sleep, baby. I'm right here," Anastasia said, stroking his forehead. He gratefully collapsed back into his pool of darkness, knowing there was no pain there.

Anastasia watched as his indigo-blue eyes closed again. She smoothed out his beautiful hair and kissed him gently.

"Stay, stay with me,

And I, I will always be

right here, by your side

as the stormy winds blow by.

Close your eyes,

and take my hand,

tell me everything,

I'll understand.

If your heart breaks

and you shed any tears,

come into my arms,

I'll be right here.

My love for you

cannot be expressed

in simple words

that songs possess,

but in our hearts,

and in our minds,

love is yours,

love is mine.

Drift away

on your cloud of dreams

just as long

as you're with me."

For a long, long time, Willy drifted in and out of consciousness. He vaguely remembered Anastasia trying to get him to eat a few times and Rose kissing him on the cheek once, but he couldn't remember much else. And he remembered Anastasia singing that song for him.

Then, one day, his head cleared and the pain returned.

"Look who's awake! Hello Starshine!" Anastasia gave him a kiss on the forehead.

"That's my line," he said weakly.

"Take a good look around," Anastasia said. He did.

There were flowers everywhere. The place was like a florist shop. Flowers were piled up on the nightstand, on the table, in chairs, and in the floor.

"Everyone heard how you saved Rose from being kidnapped. They thought it was very brave." Anastasia said, sitting in the chair beside Willy.

Willy turned his head to look at her.

"I thought it was very brave." Anastasia said, emotion showing strongly in her dark-chocolate eyes.

Willy gave her a small smile. He tried to sit up, but the pain wouldn't allow it. He sagged back against the bed.

Anastasia carressed his cheek with her warm hand.

"Easy, it'll take a while before you can sit up."

But with the return of awareness, Willy also discovered that it came with the need to get up and use the bathroom. He couldn't even sit up; he wondered how he was going to stand.

"I know this is going to hurt, and I'm sorry, but it's either lay here and explode or put up with it," Anastasia said sympathetically. She took Willy's hands and pulled him into a sitting position. Willy let out a cry of pain, but he was finally sitting after weeks of laying completely still.

"Take your time," Anastasia told him.

Willy carefully tried to move his legs around without putting any pressure on his stomach. Anastasia helped him move his legs over the side of the bed.

"Okay, here's the hard part." Anastasia warned, "Now, use your arms to pull yourself up. Don't use your stomach if you can help it. Put your hands on my shoulders," Anastasia instructed him. He did.

"Now, pull with your arms."

Willy did as he was told, but as all muscles do with incisions in them, his stomach tightened and he let out a scream. Tears started to pour down his pale cheeks.

"There, you're up!" Anastasia told him. She wrapped one arm around his back, and let one of his arms go around her shoulder.

"Okay, baby steps," Anastasia told him. They inched across the floor together.

A few days later, the pain had decreased only the slightest bit, but the doctors said that Willy could return home as long as he was careful not to overexert himself. Anastasia's small blue purse was packed with different medicines that Willy would have to take. Some were antibiotics, some were for pain. Anastasia and Willy took the glass elevator to their room. Willy was unable to remain standing for long because his stomach hurt him so much and was quite relieved when Anastasia finally helped him into bed.

Once again, Willy slipped into an eternal sleep.

Anastasia, however, did not get enough sleep. She was juggling her job as a writer, a musician, and Willy's secretary, and she was trying to care for Rose.

And as fate would have it, she started to be sick.

Willy never noticed how Anastasia would make a beeline for the bathroom in the morning and return, pale with the rings under her eyes that said she was being overworked. The only times he stayed awake was to eat, and he hardly ever ate. This went on for about two weeks.

"Mommy, is Daddy going to be okay?" Rose asked a hagard-looking Anastasia.

"He'll be fine, he's just trying to get better. People who are sick or hurt need rest so that they get strong and healthy again," Anastasia said, only half-convinced. She tried to straighten out her frizzed curls, but they stayed frizzy.

"Mommy, you look tired." Rose observed.

"I'll be-" Anastasia paused to stifle a yawn,"fine."

But at that moment, Anastasia fell asleep right where she was sitting.

"Poor Mommy," Rose said. She draped her little red blanket over Anastasia's shoulders and put a pillow under her head.

Rose, despite her age, was very intelligent. She had the brains of a seven-year old.

She made her way to the glass elevator all by herself, and remembering how Willy always smacked face-first into it, she felt her way around until she came to a door. Then, she found the button for her parents' bedroom. She sat down in the floor, watching the factory go by, hoping Anastasia would be okay.

When she came to the door, she opened it carefully. Willy was asleep, as usual. Trying to figure out the gentlest way to wake him up, she sat on the edge of the bed to think. Then, she slid off and went over to Willy's head. She kissed him on the cheeks repeatedly until he woke.

"Daddy?" she whispered. Willy looked up at her.

"Hey, Starshine." he whispered.

"Daddy, Mommy's real sick. She looks like-" here, Rose had to pause because she couldn't think of anything that adequately described Anastasia's disheveled appearance.

Willy felt bad.

"She's had tummyaches every morning, but she won't stay in bed. Then when she does eat, she eats a lot! She keeps putting her hands over her tummy and talking to it."

Willy's guilt multiplied. Anastasia had probably concieved, and he wasn't in the shape to care for her.

Just then, Anastasia burst through the door.

"There you are! Rose, don't run off like that! I have to know where you are! This is such a big place and if I don't know where you are, it scares me!"

Anastasia was too out of breath to continue her scolding, however. She slumped to the floor, gasping.

"I was just checking on Daddy," Rose objected, "and you were sleeping."

Anastasia stood up.

"I know." she said glumly.

Willy took Rose's hand.

"Can I talk to her alone?" he asked. Rose kissed him on the nose and left.

"Rose says you've been sick," Willy said.

"Nah. It's nothing." Anastasia said, although she felt like she was lying.

For the first time in weeks, Willy got a good look at her. She was pale and thin and shaky.

Willy tried to sit up, the stabbing pain in his insides forced him to stay down.

"You know, Willy, it would be better for you if you got up more." Anastasia said, remembering an operation she'd had when she was a teenager.

"It hurts," Willy objected.

"I know it hurts, but the more you move around, the more those muscles get used to it and it won't hurt so much. " Anastasia told him.

Willy, however, did not move.

Anastasia wrapped her arms around him.

"I miss you, Willy. I miss how you were always running around like a little kid. I miss how we used to play with Rose in the chocolate room. I miss taking bubble baths together, I miss seeing you at breakfast, I miss our walks in the park together, I miss everything."

Willy kissed her for the first time in weeks.

"I have to get going," Anastasia said, "I have class this evening."

Willy reluctantly let her go. He sighed and watched her walk out the door.

That night, Anastasia came tearing into the room, her face paler than ever and full of fear.

"Willy, wake up!" Anastasia said, shaking his shoulder. Willy looked up at her.

"Willy, you gotta do something. The other candy companies have banded together, and they're trying to get your factory closed!"

Adrenaline flooded Willy's system.

"Why? How?" he asked.

"They're trying to get through the legal system. They're trying to get in here to do what they call a search for bad stuff." Anastasia said.

"NO!" Willy howled.

"You have to do something!" Anastasia urged.

Willy tried to get up, but the pain was worse than ever. However, he did manage to stay awake longer. He caught Anastasia putting on some rather bright makeup.

"Why are you dressed like that?" Willy asked her.

Anastasia was wearing a tight black leather top that didn't leave much to the imagination. She was wearing a tiny skirt that hardly covered her rear end, and uncomfortable-looking high heels.

"I can't tell you," Anastasia said regretfully.

Willy watched in horror as she started to walk away.

A few hours later, she still wasn't back. An oompa loompa came tearing into the room, tears running down his face. He handed Willy a piece of paper.

"ANASTASIA!" Willy yelled, "ANASTASIA!"

He called her name, his voice becoming louder and more high-pitched each time. He staggered out of bed and collapsed by the door, holding his stomach and crying.

Luckilly, Anastasia wasn't too far away. He heard her running towards him and she appeared, high heels in one hand. Without a word, she tossed them aside and hauled Willy to a standing position. She took the paper and scanned over it.

"They want you to go to court," Anastasia said, "or you'll lose the factory for sure."

Willy started to feel angry. How could she be so calm?

Anastasia eased him over to the bed.

"Where did you go!" Willy asked, trying to control his tears and failing miserably.

"Willy," Anastasia said, wiping his reddened face,"I can't tell you where I've been, but you have to trust me. I promise I'll tell you just as soon as I can, okay? Oh, I hate to see you like this!"

She embraced him, and he clutched her against his heart.

"Willy, I would never, ever hurt you. "

He took a deep breath, and the tears finally stopped flowing.

"Promise?" he asked, sounding like a frightened child.

"I promise. And when this is all over, you'll still have Rose and I, and you'll still have your factory." Anastasia said.

Willy noticed a squarish bump on Anastasia's leg beneath her skirt.

"Let them come," Anastasia said with a glint in her exhausted eyes, "they won't find a thing."

Willy wondered how she was going to get them out of that situation, knowing full well that the other candy companies could steal his formulas easily.

"Don't worry," Anastasia whispered. She stroked his hair and tipped him back so that he was laying in her lap. She kissed him gently, then he deepened the kiss.

"Let me go wash off the makeup." Anastasia said, realizing she had entirely too much on anyway. She went to the bathroom and scrubbed off the makeup. When she came out, Willy noticed that the bump on her leg was gone. He vaguely wondered what it was, but ignored that as Anastasia brushed her hair out. He loved Anastasia's hair. Willy staggered out of the bed, not hurting so much now. In fact, now that he'd been up, he realized that it hurt less.

Willy ran his fingers through Anastasia's hair, causing her to shiver slightly.

"Look who's up," she said, turning to face him.

"Ouch!" Willy complained as Anastasia changed his dressings.

"I'm sorry, but I have to clean it out or its going to get nasty and infected," Anastasia said, sponging alchohol onto the stitched-up wound.

"Ew!" Willy yelled.

Anastasia laughed and shook her head.

"Stop wiggling around so much! I won't be able to get the bandages on right," Anastasia muttered. It was the day that Slugworth and Prodnose and the other candymakers were to "inspect" the factory.

"I can't help it! I feel sick," Willy complained.

Anastasia smiled warmly.

"Awww, don't worry, Willy. No matter what happens, it'll be okay. "

Willy felt humiliated as he let the gates open. In the background, he saw Anastasia putting on all-black clothes.

"Why?" Willy asked.

"Go downstairs and talk to them. I'll be right back." Anastasia said.

Willy was angered by the fact that he could not go with the others. They forbade him to follow them as they made their "inspections." He limped off to go tell Anastasia.

"I have to go, Willy," Anastasia said. Willy observed her strange all-black jumpsuit, boots, and gloves.

"I'm doing another music video," Anastasia lied deftly.

"Have a good time," he said miserably.

They left the factory whispering to one another, carrying notepads and cameras. Willy instantly became sick to his stomach, knowing whatever they'd claimed to find was planted.

"Calm down," Anastasia said, holding his hair back and waiting for him to stop being sick. Rose poked her head into the bathroom.

"Is Daddy okay?" she asked.

"He's just nervous, that's all." Anastasia said, rubbing Willy's back and giving him a glass of water to rinse his mouth with.

"Why?" Rose asked.

"Some people came to the factory today and your Dad didn't want them in here because they're not nice people."

"Why did he let them in?" Rose asked.

"He didn't want to. He only let them in because he'd have gotten in trouble if he didn't." Anastasia said.

"Would they give him time out?" Rose asked.

Willy couldn't help but laugh.

"Yeah," Anastasia said. Rose, however, looked very serious.

"How do you keep Daddy out of time out?" she asked.

"Trust me, I will." Anastasia said. She changed out of her jumpsuit.

The next night, Anastasia had said "Trust me" and left Willy in the middle of a kiss. She returned, dressed in the same clothes as before. Willy had switched on the TV while Anastasia was in the bathroom having a shower.

"This is Berta Truffle, reporting live from the streets. This evening, we have a very special story over someone who may have a double identity. We caught this woman on camera, leaving a car with Mr. Henry Salt. "

The camera panned over to the car, revealing Mr. Salt opening the door for someone. Willy sat bolt upright, cringing because of his stomach. That golden hair looked familiar.

"Then, yesterday, we caught the same woman on her way back to Mr. Willy Wonka's candy factory."

Willy's heart sank. It WAS her!

"Anastasia!" Willy yelled, getting out of bed. He yanked the door open to the shower and was rewarded with thousands of water droplets in the face.

"What?" Anastasia asked, so startled that she swung the shampoo bottle around and nearly hit Willy in the nose.

"Why are you on TV with Mr. Salt!" he asked.

"What?" Anastasia asked, puzzled.

Willy grabbed her by the arm and hauled her out of the shower. She slipped and slid on the wet floor, but Willy didn't let go. He dragged her over to the TV, which showed her coming back through the gates of the factory.

"Mr. Wonka, if you're watching this, you might want to take a second look at your sweet little street girl, because even if you take the girl off the street, you can't take the street out of the girl. This is Berta Truffle, signing out."

Anastasia's jaw dropped.

"Who does that woman think she is!" she said angrilly.

"That doesn't answer the question," Willy said, losing his temper.

"I told you, Willy, you have to trust me." Anastasia said firmly.

"What does he have that I don't?-" Willy was about to start in on asking questions when Anastasia held her hand up.

"That's enough, Willy. I promise, I'll tell you everything on the court date. I swear. In the meantime, keep in mind that I would never, ever hurt you." Anastasia said, taking his hands.

Willy shivered from her touch, and she was shivering because she was cold. Willy picked up a towel and wrapped it around her shoulders. He dried her hair off and her back.

"I don't want you mad at me," Anastasia said, looking up at Willy with her dark eyes. Willy couldn't stay angry with that expression. He ran his hands down her sides.

"I'm not mad," Willy whispered. Normally, he wouldn't have trusted anyone after that, but he could see the truth in Anastasia's eyes. Whatever she was doing, her intentions were good, and she really didn't want anyone else. He pulled her close, wrapping his arms tightly around her.

"Okay," he said finally, "but you're going to have to keep your promise."

Anastasia looked up at him with those big, dark eyes and long eyelashes.

"I promise," she whispered.

When the court date finally arrived, Willy awoke to see a note laying on the pillow next to him.

Willy,

I am already at the courthouse. I will meet you there at ten. Don't worry about Rose, the Buckets

are watching her. Please don't panic: everything will be okay. Also, I promised I would tell you

everything, so you can start finding out by looking under the bed on my side.

Love you lots,

Anastasia.

PS.

Come on, get out of bed, already! We have a case to win!

Willy got out of bed, realizing that he didn't hurt much today. He lifted the dust ruffle and pulled out some very thick books. Most of them were books over laws and famous court cases. He wondered what in the world it meant.

On the way to the courtroom, Willy was irritated by the reporters. He didn't say a word, as he knew it would only cause problems. He felt sick as he entered the courtroom. Where was Anastasia?

He sat down at the table. People filled the benches behind him, and the jury benches on his side. In front, a judge sat. At the other table were all the other candymakers, sneering and laughing at him.

"Mr. Wonka, where is your attorney?" the judge asked.

"Here, your Honor." A familiar voice said. Willy turned to see a very strange sight.

It was Anastasia, but Willy would not have recognized her if she hadn't spoken. Her long blonde curls had been straightened, and her hair was pulled into a flawless bun at the back of her head. She wore a gray dress suit and black heels.

Suddenly, it struck Willy. Anastasia had been going to law school!

The judge asked the candymakers to present their case. They produced all sorts of fake evidence, and Willy felt as though his world was coming to an end.

"Do you have anything to say, Mrs. Wonka?" the judge asked.

"Yes, I do, your Honor. All of these men are trying to frame my client. All evidence they are placing is fake, and they are performing industrial espionage." Anastasia said. To hear Anastasia talk with such big words made Willy dizzy.

"Would you like to present any evidence to defend yourself with?"

"Yes, Ma'am. "

Anastasia opened a briefcase. She pulled out a tape recorder.

"I disguised myself as a barmaid, and I had this tape recorder strapped to my leg under my skirt. I saw Slugworth at the bar I was posing at and he got drunk. Afterwards, it was nothing to coax his real intentions out of him."

With that, Anastasia pressed the play button.

"There's no real danger. We made that story up about the kids getting sick off Wonka's chocolate because our (hiccup!) companies are going broke. We have to do something to stay on top, so we gathered up all this fake proof." This was followed by a loud snore; apparently Slugworth had fallen asleep.

"Oh, that silly thing! We made it up as an excuse to get in and steal formulas. " this from Mr. Prodnose.

"I can't let him get away with telling my dear Veruka 'no'. Veruka always gets what she wants, and she wants the squirrels. Besides, I could use them in my nut factory," Mr. Salt said.

The courtroom booed at the others. A confident slight-smile appeared on Anastasia's lips.

"Order, order!" yelled the judge, "Please continue."

"The next thing I did was follow these men around the factory. They said that my client wasn't to follow them. They never said I couldn't."

Anastasia took out a small video camera and plugged it into the huge TV. Willy felt ecstatic: everything was making sense now.

"By the time we leave, we'll all have all the formulas!" cried someone greedily as they all wrote down formulas as the oompa loompas glared. The camera angles were quite bizarre: Willy remembered how well Anastasia could climb, and she had been slinking around after them like a cat all day.

When the clip was finished, the courtroom booed even louder.

"Order in the court!" the judge yelled.

The jury went into the back room to make a decision. They were only gone for a few minutes, during which time, Willy held Anastasia's hand under the table.

"I'm so glad you did it," Willy whispered.

Anastasia smiled.

"I told you I'd take care of you," she whispered.

The jury came back.

"We rule in favor of the defendant. " they said.

The courtroom burst into cheers. Willy and Anastasia kissed right then and there.

"We're not finished," a woman said, "we also charge the plaintives with industrial espionage and lying under oath."

The judge had already decided on a punishment.

" They will have to suspend all operations for one year and are fined three-thousand dollars each!"

The cheers got louder.

"Court dismissed!" the judge said.

"These shoes are killing me, and so is this hair!" Anastasia announced after a reporter asked how they felt. She pulled it down and let it fall freely.

"C'mon, Willy, I wanna show you my new ride! This is how I've been getting to class." Anastasia said, sitting astride a motorbike.

Willy reluctantly climbed on beside her.

"Daddy!" Rose said affectionately. She was sitting in the sidecar. Willy picked her up and kissed her before placing her carefully back into the sidecar. Anastasia gave them helmets to put on, then started the thing.

Willy thought that riding the motorbike was really scary. He had to hang on for dear life to Anastasia's waist, and he thought they were going to fall off everytime she turned: they were at a 45 degree angle from the ground each time. Rose, however, was having the time of her life. She clapped her hands and yelled, "Faster, Mommy!"

They stopped just outside the factory gates and all three of them did the oompa loompa call. The gates opened and crashed shut just before the reporters could get through. Anastasia skidded to a stop just before the steps.

"See? Once again, Willy Wonka, you escaped with me by your side."

Willy was breathless.

The first thing they did was throw a party and invite the protesters who had stood outside the gate and supported them. It was great fun, and Anastasia's band performed.

For the first time, Willy noticed the lump on Anastasia's stomach. How had that escaped him?

"Anastasia, when were you going to tell me?" Willy asked, patting her stomach.

"When all this court stuff was over," Anastasia said.

Willy felt as though nothing could have gone better. He placed his hand on Anastasia's swollen abdomen and felt the baby move.

However, they awoke one morning to a lot of noise.

"They said they wouldn't knock it down!" Willy yelped when he saw all the construction equipment come ploughing through the gates.

"Take Rose, and I'll take care of this." Anastasia assured him.

He snatched Rose from her bed and hurried outside. The Bucket family was already there, joining the oompa loompas in a (human?) chain around the factory. Anastasia and her band were on the roof. Anastasia was dressed all in black, and she had what looked like black angel wings strapped to her back. Her golden hair was free to flow. She had on gothic-style makeup, but it was different. Willy saw her look down at him with those dark eyes. It made him cry as the sun rose behind her and her band. He had compared her to an angel before, but in this hour of darkness, she was his angel.

Anastasia had allowed her shirt to be short enough to reveal her pregnant belly, he supposed, for the effect. She nodded to her band, and just as the construction (or in Willy's case, destruction) men gathered and were deciding how to tear the place apart.

Oh,

You see me standing

standing before you.

I'm depending,

depending on what you do.

With one strike,

one more angry word,

you can send my heart to its death,

make me forever cursed.

Each day we have another fight,

when you know it isn't right

to hurt me this way,

to hurt me one more day.

So I'm living in twilight,

pretending its all all right,

but I can't stand the coming dark

it's gonna tear me apart

so make the sun get back in the sky

and get rid of this terrible twilight.

(Anastasia made a dramatic instrument break with her guitar.)

You know,

you know we could love each other again,

and even if the sun sets on us,

we can at least walk away friends,

but there's nothing that I wouldn't do,

just to be with you.

So I'm living in twilight,

pretending its all all right,

but I can't stand the coming dark

it's gonna tear me apart

so make the sun get back in the sky

and get rid of this terrible twilight.

The wrecking crews were ready. They were prepared to blow up and knock over, even if it meant taking Anastasia down with the walls. Willy almost passed out, but even through the darkening haze that threatened him, he saw Anastasia drop to her knees and clasp her hands together in a gesture of prayer. She played "Taps" on her guitar before they returned to the ending of their song.

Something about this gesture made the cruel men stop. One by one, they left. When Anastasia stopped playing, there were no construction machines left, but there was a cheering crowd. Anastasia raised her guitar in the air, her drummer raised his sticks, and the person playing keyboard raised his hands. The bassist raised his bass guitar. There was thunderous applause.

Suddenly loads of police cars pulled up, lights blazing and sirens blaring. Willy was horrified and disgusted as they stuffed the treacherous Mr. Slugworth, Mr. Prodnose, Mr. Salt, and others into police cars. Veruka was there and approached Willy.

"Why are you here?" Willy asked angrilly.

Veruka hung her head.

"I just wanted to apollogize for my father. I wanted to apollogize for myself, also, for three years ago when I caused so much trouble. I'm the one that called the police." Veruka said.

Willy was touched.

"I knew what he was doing, and when Anastasia had the courage to stand up to him, I realized I had to do the right thing. When I saw her on the roof, I was afraid it might not have worked. I didn't mean to let it get so out of hand!" Veruka started to cry, but Rose presented a flower to her.

"Don't cry! Mommy says everything's going to be okay, now."

Veruka smiled and picked Rose up for a hug. A warm smile crossed Willy's face.

"You're forgiven," he said.

Veruka threw her arms around his waist, causing him to cringe. Anastasia had gotten down from the roof and was laughing her head off. Willy slowly accepted the strange embrace. Veruka released him and went to talk to Anastasia.

"I just wanted to thank you for helping me get the evidence," Anastasia told her.

"I wanted to help after I caused so much trouble. " Veruka said.

"You did," Anastasia said, gesturing to Willy who was looking genuinely relieved.

Thoroughly exhausted from the day's events, Willy and Anastasia put Rose to bed that night. Anastasia was looking out the window at the town, relieved that the factory would still stand if she and Willy had anything to do with it. Her hair fell in loose waves on her shoulders and back, and she wore a long black spaghetti-strap nightgown. The familiar silver light poured over her, making her look just as beautiful as ever. Willy suddenly realized that with Anastasia's busy life before, then his injury, then the court case, there had been no time to enjoy such beautiful details.

Willy ran his hands down her back and her sides. He moved her hair aside and kissed her on the neck.

"Ooh, someone's in the mood tonight," she teased.

How could he not be? They hadn't been together alone much since Anastasia's music carreer. Plus, she had saved his factory and his life.

Willy slid the straps of her nightgown off her shoulders, sending it sliding to the floor. She shivered. Her skin was cool, but his hands were really warm. He lay her back on the bed, kissing her on the neck. He felt the blush rise under his lips. It was great to have things back to normal. She wrapped her arms around him, and the rest of the world dissolved into oblivion.

"I'm so glad I married you," Willy commented, watching the moonlight highlight Anastasia's body. Little touches of silver highlighted her long curls, making them look softer and shinier than ever. They highlighted her curves and gave her skin a soft, silver sheen. They gave her dark eyes an unusual light that stuck in Willy's memory all the time.

"Why," she asked, "because I can dig you out of all these bad situations or because I can make your heart beat really hard?"

"Because I never would have made it through this without you," Willy said.

Anastasia gazed into his moonlit eyes. The mysterious-blue indigo was as bright as ever, and the silver shine that was there made his happiness even more visible to her. His soft smile, the one Anastasia knew to be his true smile, had surfaced.

"You probably would have, but that's the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me." Anastasia said. In the background, the radio played softly. Piano notes and guitar played harmoniously in the background.

"I love you," she whispered, drawing the covers over his lean body first, then hers.

"Love you more," Willy said just as "In My Life" by the Beatles played. They both laughed.

Anastasia needed to feel his heartbeat, so she moved closer. Their legs intertwined, and their arms wrapped around each other. Their heartbeats, which were slowing down to normal, were felt by each other and gave each lover a sense of connection that only comes with true love. Both closed their eyes.

Willy slowly drifted off to sleep, still smiling because he knew Anastasia would be right there when he woke up the next morning. She would always be there, and he loved everything about her.

"Goodnight, Starshine," he whispered.

The softness of Anastasia's lips against his was the only answer he needed.