Lance took the call from his mom and talked to his dad for a little bit. He had been worried about his dad all day and had unfortunately taken it out on Meg when he shouldn’t have. The appendectomy was a routine surgery, but Lance still felt bad for not being there. It was a little thing, but being away from his family so long took its toll on Lance and towards the end of the tour every tiny thing he missed, made him more and more homesick.

He sighed and looked down the hallway towards her room, "Dammit." He said under his breath. He shook his head then walked back to the suite to finish the interview that he’d stepped out on. His mind wasn’t with him though, he kept thinking back to Meg… she just didn’t understand that the only way he could function when they were in public was if he acted totally uninterested in her. If he showed any kind of interest, or friendship, it would blow everything. Everything he felt showed on his face, and he couldn’t risk letting his feelings for her show. He wished he could tell everyone about Meg, but that wasn’t possible, and the whole situation added a ton more stress to Lance and at the moment, that was the very last thing he needed, one more thing to worry about. His stress level was peaked and he was on the verge of what he would consider a melt down.

When the interview was done Joey and Justin were ushered to Johnny’s room to discuss their individual adventures into acting they had planned for the summer. JC hung around and waited for Lance, then pulled him aside and said, "Hey… what’s going on?"

"Nothing." Lance shook his head and tied his sweatshirt around his waist.

"Lance! Hey come on buddy, you’ve got that FreeLance finance call in 15 minutes." Lonnie called from the doorway.

"Shit." Lance said under his breath. He’d completely forgotten about the call and everything he needed was down on the bus. He glanced at his watch and ran his fingers through his hair, "Why?" He asked JC, with a sigh.

"Well, I mean… with Meg." JC shrugged and followed Lance down the hall to the awaiting elevator.

"I need to go to the bus ad get my stuff." Lance said to Lonnie as he hit the button for the lobby.

"You got it." Lonnie nodded and stood by the door.

"Nothings going on with Meg." Lance concentrated on the glowing numbers above the doors.

"It just… I mean, you’ve been kinda mean to her."

"I’m not trying to be mean." Lance said quickly.

"You coulda fooled me."

"JC, you know I can’t be dating her… not in public anyway." Lance said softly.

"I know that, but shit, I’m nice to her and I’m not dating her."

"It’s not that simple." Lance shook his head and stepped off the elevator at the lobby. Lonnie followed him off, while JC waited to ride back up to his floor.

Meg saw Lance and Lonnie walk through the lobby as she leaned on the front desk arranging to have some documents faxed to the recording studio for the guys. She thanked the clerk and grabbed the small pile of papers before taking a deep breath and following the two men out to the parking lot. They left through a side door, so the fans outside didn’t see them until they were almost to the door of the bus. Lonnie held the door open as Lance hopped up the stairs and to the back of the bus to find his binder and walkman.

Meg had spent the afternoon talking with Kat and thinking a lot. She deserved better than how Lance had been treating her, and she had decided to take some action. As much as she hated to do it, she had to see his reaction.

"Hey Lonnie." Meg smiled uneasily as she walked up to the bus, "Is uh, anyone else on there?"

"Nope, just your sweetie pie."

"Ha." She said without any hint of laughter. "Thanks." She pulled herself onto the bus and cleared her throat as she walked to the back. "Hey…" She leaned against the little kitchen counter and picked at her nails. Her dark hair fell into her eyes, but she made no move to brush it away.

"Hey." Lance said as he placed his folder on the table and turned to his bunk.

"Lance, I… I don’t think this is going to work." Meg said softly as he reached into his bunk to retrieve his walkman.

"What?" He checked the batteries in the back and sighed as he popped them out and leaned back into his bunk for fresh ones.

Meg watched him for a minute, then said, "Us, Lance. It’s just… it’s not turning out like I thought it would. Like I hoped it would." She looked down at her shoes sadly, desperately wanting him to disagree with her, to be shocked at her proposal, to show any kind of emotion.

"I uh… okay." Lance glanced up at her, then slid the new batteries into the casing.

Meg stared at him in shock, that was all he had to say? "Okay? That’s it, just okay?" Her heart fell to her knees as she tried to catch her breath. She knew this reaction was one of the options, but she thought that he was a little more caring than this.

Lance sighed and tilted his head, "Well what do you want me to say, Meg?"

She held his stare for a minute then shook her head, "Nothing I guess." She turned around slowly and stepped off the bus.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"She broke up with you??" Chris asked, totally shocked. They were all riding the bus later that night on the way to the next venue.

"Yeah… I guess so." Lance sighed and dropped his arm over his eyes.

"You guess so?" Chris leaned against the bathroom door.

"Stop repeating everything I say." Lance mumbled.

"Dude, what exactly did she say?" Justin asked as he climbed into his bunk directly across from Lance.

"She said that this wasn’t working."

"What wasn’t working?" Justin asked.

"Us." Lance sighed again and flopped over onto his stomach. "So what do I do now?"

"It’s too late. You treated her like shit and you’re paying for it." JC grumbled from the kitchenette.

"I didn’t treat her like shit." Lance rolled his eyes. "I can’t be all buddy buddy with her, you know that."

"Joey, you’re nice to Meg, are you dating her?" JC took an apple from the fridge, then shut the door as the bus lurched.

"I wish…" Joey said dreamily. "And for the record, you did treat her like shit." Joey added his opinion from the floor in front of the TV.

"It’s not the same." Lance shook his head and pulled his drape shut.

"It is too." Justin argued.

"So there’s nothing I can do?" Lance asked a minute later.

"Well, if she didn’t accept your apology… then give her some time and try again in like a week or so." Justin offered.

"I didn’t apologize." Lance shook his head and sighed.

"Lance!" Justin sat up quickly in his bunk, and narrowly missed smacking his head on the roof.

"Jesus, no wonder she’s pissed." JC fell back in the chair and shook his head.

"If I only had a brain…" Chris sang off key as he walked out to where Joey was sitting.

"First thing you need to do is apologize." Justin said. "Shit Lance, I can’t believe you didn’t say you were sorry."

Lance flicked his little light off and pulled his blanket up to his shoulders. He frowned and buried his head in his pillow, and thought about Meg.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Meg… hey Meg." Lance fell into step beside Meg as she jogged around the arena two days later. Her breath turned into white clouds as she huffed around the parking lot in the cold Wyoming air. The earphones over her ears blocked out any sound Lance made. "Meg." He said again, this time touching her bare arm gently.

Meg jumped at the touch and reached up to move the headphones. She didn’t look at him or say a word, she just continued running. He kept in step beside her for a minute then said, "Can we stop for a second?"

"No." Meg said between steps.

"I get enough of a work out with the shows, I don’t need to be doing laps." Lance laughed lightly, trying to break the ice.

"Then stop." Meg grumbled and reached to put the ear phones back on her ears.

"Wait, Meg… come on."

"What?"

"I’m sorry, okay?" Lance panted beside her. "I just… I was stressing and… and we can’t… I can’t be like a real boyfriend while we’re… while I’m on tour." He waited for her to say something in response, but the only thing he got was clouds of white breaths. "So… I’m sorry."

"Okay." Meg said, keeping her eyes forward.

"So it’s okay?" He asked. He didn’t think it’d be that easy.

"That’s fine." Meg slowed down to a fast walk and used her fingers to take her pulse. "You can’t be a boyfriend. That much is clear."

"I can be a boyfriend, just not…" He panted lightly beside her and jogged to keep up. "Just not on tour."

Meg glanced over at him and calculated her target pulse rate, then frowned, "Enough said." She turned abruptly and walked slowly toward her bus as she took her sweatshirt from around her waist and pulled it over her head.

"Shit…" Lance said under his breath, then turned to go back into the arena.

 

"So everything’s okay now?" Chris asked as Lance walked into the dressing room.

Justin stood off to the side with his dress shirt on but unbuttoned, "Hey, shit JC I’m missing like three buttons here." He complained.

"Well let me just rush over and sew them on for you." JC rolled his eyes as he buttoned his own shirt.

"Who can fix this?"

"Lance? Everything’s cool now?" Chris asked again, raising his voice to be heard over JC and Justins banter.

"I dunno." He shrugged and pulled his shirt over his head. Lance reached into his rolling closet and pulled his white dress shirt out, "I said I was sorry and she said okay, but… oh well. I don’t have time to deal with this today, I’ve got a zillion things I need to get done."

"It’s a good thing she broke up with you man." Joey added from behind his roller. He came around the corner zipping his fly.

"What’s that supposed to mean?" Lance asked.

"You can’t find time to ‘deal with’ her?" Joey laughed.

"Nevermind." Lance grabbed his armful of clothes and disappeared into the bathroom.

"Where did we go wrong, Ward?" Joey asked as he draped his arm over Chris’s shoulder,

"I don’t know June." Chris laughed and shook his head, "Something’s definitely bothering the Beaver though… maybe Wally knows."

"Wally, son, do you know what’s wrong with the Beav?" Joey asked JC.

"Yeah, he’s got his head up his ass." JC mumbled.

"Ahh, that would explain it." Chris laughed and shoved Joey away. They continued to play around as they got ready for the show, leaving Lance to dress alone in the bathroom.

 

After the show that night they all piled onto their bus and drove through the night to the next venue. Shortly after six in the morning they stopped at the new hotel and ran inside to check in and shower before they had a radio interview to do.

"Meg, you and Kat are staying on the talent floor. Unless you want to share a queen sized bed." Dave said as he handed me the room key.

"Nah, I adore her and everything, but not that much." Meg laughed and grabbed her duffel bag as they headed upstairs.

"Joey, hang on a second." Dave called Joey over to the desk as the doors of the elevator shut and Meg rode up with a handful of security guards and Justin.

"So Meggy Meg, have they decided whether we’re leaving tonight or tomorrow?" Justin asked.

"The crew is leaving tonight after the show, and you guys I think are leaving in the morning, except JC who is flying to LA on the redeye tonight."

"LA? What for?"

"To see Bobbie and to meet with that band… that girl band, shoot what’s their name? The one he’s writing with?"

"Behold?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"When’s he coming back?"

"In time for the show tomorrow night." Meg laughed and stepped off the elevator with Justin.

"You’re on this floor?" Justin asked as he slid the key in his door.

"Sure, Kat and I usually get bumped to the talent floor. The boys downstairs can’t stand us." Meg shook her head and walked down the hall, just dying for a hot shower.

"Hey Meg, hold on." Justin jogged down the hall and stopped beside her in front of her door.

"Hmm?"

"Lance told us what happened." He said uneasily, looking at his shoes.

"Oh, uh, yeah." Meg stumbled and blushed as she dropped her bag just inside the door.

"Is everything okay?" Justin asked softly.

"No." Meg shook her head but forced a smile, "But I’ll survive. It’s just going to be weird for a little bit."

"Well if it makes you feel any better, I think he deserved it." Justin smiled and kissed her cheek quickly. "And you can tell him I said so."

"Thanks." Meg laughed and playfully pushed Justin away, "Now leave me alone so I can go get unfunkdified."

"Sounds like fun." Justin yawned and turned to head back to his room.

"Hey, you need to be downstairs in…" She checked her watch, "Twenty five minutes."

"Yep, I know." Justin nodded and pushed his door open. "Thanks."

"See ya." Meg kicked her bag the rest of the way into the room and let the door swing shut behind her.

"Hey Meg." Joey whispered loudly as he leaned into her room.

"Don’t you guys know I’m trying to take a shower and go back to sleep?" Meg laughed and flopped face down on her bed.

"I’ve got something that will cheer you up." Joey smiled and creeped into her room, then shut the door softly behind himself.

"I don’t need to be cheered up. I need to take a hot shower and lay under the covers for another hour or so. I didn’t sleep at all last night. Bus bunks suck."

"I… have… a… jacuzzi tub… in… my… room." Joey whispered slowly as he leaned against the wall by the door.

Meg opened one eye and looked at him for a second, "Serious?"

"Yep. I was gonna see if you wanted to borrow it for your bubble bath. Since I owe you." He laughed.

"How’d you score a jacuzzi?"

"I banged the front desk clerk." Joey shrugged.

"That old guy?" Meg smiled and sat up.

"Ha ha. I dunno, I guess I just got lucky." He shrugged again and ran his fingers through his unbrushed hair. "So… do you wanna?"

"Can I really?"

"Would I be telling you about it if you couldn’t?"

"Awesome. Just let me know when you guys leave for the radio thing this morning, and I’ll go take a bath then."

"Wait you mean I don’t get to go with you?" Joey asked, pretending to be hurt.

"I don’t think so." Meg shook her head and stood up. "I need to go back down to the buses and get my bubble bath stuff."

"What if I wore my swim shorts?"

"Huh?"

"Could I take bubble bath with you then?" Joey asked.

"No Joey." Meg laughed and reached into her bag for her laminated badge. "I’ll tell you what, when I’m done I’ll leave my Mr. Bubble by the tub for you to use later.

"Fine." He sighed and pulled her door open. "I’ll call you when we’re leaving so you can come over."

"Okay. You rock Joey."

"Yeah, I know." He laughed and shut the door.

Joey called almost a half-hour later to let her know they were leaving. Meg thanks him and grabbed her bubble bath, then headed down the hall to Joey’s room. He was standing in the hall with his foot holding the door open, "Here you go. Just don’t leave because you can’t get back in if the door shuts." He explained.

"I’ll be careful."

"You’ve got everything?" Joey asked, looking at her almost empty hands.

"Me and the bubble bath. What more is there?"

"Sheesh…" Joey rolled his eyes, "You sure I can’t stay?"

"I’m sure." Meg laughed and shook her head. "I’ll see you this afternoon. Thanks again Joey."

"Yeah yeah." Joey rolled his eyes and took off down the hall to meet up with the others at the elevator.

Meg shut the door behind her and stood in the middle of the room, just checking it out for a minute. There was a huge king sized bed against the left wall, an entertainment unit that took up the whole wall across from it, a mini kitchen and a sitting room were off to the right. The bathroom door was beside the bed, and she pushed it open slowly.

Joey’s toothbrush and electric shaver were on the counter beside a small pile of damp towels, but there… right in front of her was the bath she’d dreamed of. There were a half dozen little candles surrounding the edge of the tub and a tiny air filled pillow to rest her head on. She smiled and sat on the edge of the tub, then reached over to turn the water on as hot as she could stand it, adding a capful of the bubbles.

She got up and locked the bathroom door as a precaution, then folded her clothes neatly and set them on the counter. She took the big thick robe off the hanger and lay it on the ground beside the tub, then poured more bubbles under the running water. Meg held her short hair up with a claw clip and tucked the loose strands behind her ear.

When the bubbles were nice and thick, she turned off the lights and lit the candles surrounding the tub, then sank into the steaming water. Meg closed her eyes and leaned back against the little pillow and let the water rise to her chin before turning it off.

She sat in the tub until the water turned room temperature, and all of the bubbles disappeared. She wanted the time to really relax, but she ended up thinking about Lance as usual. She knew she had done the right thing, but she still felt bad about the whole thing. She could have done things different. Of course, as soon as she began to think that way, she’d realize that he should have been the one to do things different, and that only made her more upset.

Meg pulled herself out of the tub and blew out the candles before flipping the light on and wrapping herself in the big comfy robe that was waiting for her. She tied the belt around her waist and yawned as she looked at her watch, "Oh man… two hours?" She said softly. Her hands and feet were pruned, but she never felt better.

She cleaned up her little mess and left the rest of the Mr. Bubble on the tub ledge for Joey, then grabbed her clothes and made a run down the hall to her own room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Dude! Meg!" Joey shouted later that night as she sprinted down the concrete hall at the arena.

"Just a second, Joe." She shouted back. She continued to run to the end of the hall where she threw the dressing room door open and tossed the garment she had been holding at whoever it was that answered. She held her side, then walked slowly back to where Joey was standing, "Okay, what?"

"What… what was that?"

"Justin. He ripped the seam out of his leather pants. We fixed it. He’s late." She panted.

"So? He’s got like nine pairs."

"Apparently none that fit like those." She pressed hard on the stitch in her side and winced, "What do you need? I’ve got a million phone calls to make."

"For what?" He asked.

"To get you guys a couple weeks off. Joey come on, what do you need?"

"Ooh! A couple weeks off when?" He asked.

"Joey. For reals. What do you want?"

"Well when do we get weeks off?" He asked again.

"Bye." Meg winced again and turned to walk away. If he wasn’t going to answer her, she didn’t have time to waste on him.

"Wait, Meg come on."

"Walk with me then." Meg said over her shoulder. Joey trotted to catch up with her as they walked down the hall towards the side exit. "What did you need? Originally?"

"Oh." Joey thought for a second, "I was going to ask how many people you had in the tub with you."

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"Well like half the bottle was gone."

"Huh?"

"The bubble bath stuff. Half the bottle was gone, so I was gonna ask how many friends you had over."

"It’s a big tub Joe. Lot’s of bubbles can fit in it." She smiled as her breath went back to normal and her side stopped hurting.

"Okay, so when do we get weeks off?"

"You won’t get any at all if I don’t get out on the bus to make my million calls." Meg smiled sweetly as she opened the side door and let the cold night air in.

"You won’t even give me a hint?" Joey stopped just inside the door and watched as she stepped out.

"Well it’s not this week, I can tell you that much." Meg laughed and walked the length of the bus.

"You suck." Joey shouted after her.

"I do not." She shouted back, then shut the bus door to block out the cold. She made most of the calls that needed to be made, and got them 16 consecutive days off in the end of July at the end of the summer. That was still 4 months off, but it was better than nothing. While she was at it she got them each their own afternoon off for the next week. She’d pulled strings and called in favors to get the hours for them, but they needed it and she’d just about bend over backwards to get them down time.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They arrived in New York 3 weeks later, with Meg and Lance still not talking. They could be pleasant, and Lance was actually treating her more like a human but Meg was still standoffish.

She was looking forward to her promised dinner with Travis from MTV when they checked into the hotel for the night.

Meg sat in her room with Kat and called over to the studios, "Hi, this is Meg, I’m the time planner for Nsync? Is Travis around?"

"Um… yeah. Let me grab him for you." The girl who answered said, her voice trailing off at the end.

Meg waited on hold for a couple minutes before Travis picked up, "This is Trav."

"Hey you." Meg smiled, "This is Meg."

"Hey! How’s it going? Are you in town?" He asked quickly.

"Yeah, we’re at the Plaza. I’m calling to take you up on your offer if it still stands. I need to get away from these guys."

"Away from them? They are like 5 feet from me… I think I’m the one that needs to get away." He laughed.

"They’re actually in the limo on the way to you." Meg laughed and pulled the phone over to the table where she could sit down. Kat watched Megs side of the conversation and smiled.

"Yeah whatever. Either way, yeah the offer still stands. When do you guys ship out?"

"Um, the day after tomorrow." Meg said, glancing at the calendar. "Eight in the morning."

"Eww, okay. Well tomorrow is out, we’re driving out to Long Island to hang out with my dad, it’s his birthday." Travis sighed, "You busy tonight?"

Meg looked at that day, she had nothing on her calendar as usual, "Nope."

"Cool, you wanna shoot for tonight then? Say 6 o’clock?"

"Sure." Meg nodded, it was only a little after 2 so she had plenty of time to make her calls. "Six sounds great. Where are you taking me?"

"Well you’re staying right above one of the best steak restaurants in New York, do you like steak?"

"Of course." Meg nodded and twirled the cord around her finger, causing Kat to laugh lightly beside her.

"You’re turning into Joey." Kat whispered loudly.

Meg frowned at Kat and shook her head, "Not even." She whispered back.

"Hmm?" Travis asked.

"Nothing." Meg laughed and turned to face the wall instead of Kat, "Do you want me to just meet you in the lobby then?"

"That works for me. Unless, I mean unless you want to go somewhere else."

"Nope, this works for me."

"Okay."

"Is Ryan going to join us?" She asked slowly.

"Nah, he’s one of those vegetarian types, and he’s fighting a bad cold, so not this time."

"Okay, well I hope he feels better."

"Thanks, I’ll pass that along." Travis said as a phone rang in the background, "I’ve gotta get back to work. I’ll see you in the lobby at six."

"Okay. Bye." Meg smiled and hung up the phone.

"Woo hoo you’ve got a hot date." Kat smiled. "That’ll throw Lance for a loop."

"Kat… I’m not trying to shock Lance, I’m going out to dinner with a friend."

"A guy friend." Kat laughed.

"A gay guy friend." Meg laughed and shook her head. "Travis isn’t interested in me. I think Ryan would be very unhappy to hear it if he was."

"Yeah, but lance doesn’t know that." Kat’s eyes twinkled.

"I’m not into game playing." Meg smiled and stood up, "But… I do need to find something to wear tonight."

"You’re a big flirt, you know that?"

"So what? He likes boys." Meg laughed and sighed. "Travis is an angel and I need the time away from these freaks."

"I’ll agree with you there." Kat laughed and kicked her shoes off. "So, what are you thinking about wearing?"

"I… I have no idea." Meg frowned at her suitcase and placed her hands on her hips. "This could be a long day."

"You could always go buy something."

"Yeah, I need new clothes like I need a hole in the head."

"Girls always need new clothes."

"I’m not a girly girl."

"I’m not saying you are." Kat said as she flipped through the magazine on the table. "I’m just saying…"

"Will you watch my phone for me?" Meg asked suddenly.

"Do what?"

"Just watch it. If someone calls tell them I’ll call them tomorrow and if it’s urgent page me." Meg clipped her pager to her hip and reached for her purse.

"You’re going to go buy a new outfit, aren’t you?"

"Well… I don’t think jeans are going to cut it tonight." Meg frowned and tossed her purse over her shoulder as she tucked the room key in her back pocket. "If Johnny or anyone comes looking for me, just tell them I… I don’t know. I went for a jog or something."

"Got it." Kat laughed and waved as Meg slammed the door behind her.

Meg spent the next couple hours walking around the streets on New York looking for a perfect, and not expensive, outfit to wear. She ended up finding the perfect one in the hotel boutique, naturally. Three hours of shopping and it was right under her nose the entire time.

She took her bags up to her room and without so much as a hello to Kat, she tore her clothes off and jumped into the shower. She cleaned the dirt and grime of two days off her body and out of her hair, then stepped into the room in the towel provided by the hotel. "Nice." Kat smiled at the outfit she’d laid out on the bed for Meg.

"You like it?"

"It’s a great color for you." Kat nodded.

"Thanks." Meg lifted the fog gray sweater and held it in front of her.

"And it’s not too girly."

"Nope." Meg laughed and took the skirt and all her clean undergarments into the bathroom to dry her hair and get dressed.

When she stepped out of the bathroom 40 minutes later, she looked beautiful. Her hair was down and lightly curled to frame her face. She was wearing the soft gray sweater coupled with a long black skirt that had a very slight gray design on it, and a slit up the side that cut to mid-thigh. Meg slid her feet into a pair of soft black heels, then leaned closer to the mirror to examine her make-up job. Not bad…not bad at all.

Meg smiled to herself and pulled the door open, "Well…?"

"You look great." Kat smiled. "But it’s 6 o’clock right now you know." She tapped her watch.

"Oh man! Okay, I’m outta here." Meg draped her purse over her shoulder and pulled the door open, "Wait, did anyone call?"

"Nope. That phone didn’t ring once." Kat shook her head and laughed, as Meg looked relieved.

"Great. I’ll see you later." Meg waved and walked as fast as she could toward the elevators.

"Hubba hubba." JC smiled and looked her over as she walked up. He’d already pressed the button and was waiting for the elevator himself. "Where are you off to?"

"My friend Travis is taking me to dinner tonight." She smiled.

"Wow, well have fun, where are you guys going?" JC asked as they stepped onto the elevator and pressed the button for the lobby.

"Just the little restaurant here in the hotel. He said they have the best steaks."

"They do." JC nodded. "Well hey, have fun."

"Thanks, where are you headed?"

"Gift shop, I need stamps." He rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Have fun." Meg laughed and turned to the right off the elevator, and walked down the foyer toward the restaurant.

"Well hello Miss Meg." Travis smiled and stood up as she walked up. He pulled her in for a quick hug and stood back to look at her.

"Sorry I’m late." She said quickly.

"No problem." He smiled and signaled to the host that they were ready to be seated. He escorted them through the restaurant to a small table against the wall, and lit the candle between them.

"This is nice." Meg smiled and looked around.

"Yeah, they’ve got great food too." Travis smiled. "That’s a great color for you."

"Thanks." Meg laughed, what a stereotypical gay-guy comment.

"So… what are your boys doing to make you nuts?" Travis asked after they’d had a minute to look over the menu.

"You don’t want to know, trust me."

"Sure I do." Travis’s eyes crinkled at the corner as he smiled at her over their glasses of wine.

"Well… you asked for it." Meg spent the next twenty minutes giving Travis the run down on the whole Lance situation and everything that had been bugging her. They ate around the conversation and by the time they were done, Travis had set Meg’s mind at ease, letting her know that he was sure Lance hadn’t meant to be so harsh but that he was a guy, and guys were like that sometimes.

"I know…" Meg frowned. "But it sucks. Why does everything always have to be black or white with guys? Why can’t they just be normal?"

"That is the trillion dollar question." Travis laughed. "And if you find out that answer, let me know."

"I will." Meg laughed and shook her head. "Well I feel terrible Travis, you take me out to this great dinner and I sat here the whole time whining about my boy troubles."

"Not at all, it was great to see you again."

"You too, but I’m still sorry I blew the night."

"Nah, don’t worry about it. You needed the night out and I owed you. I’d say we’re even."

"Thanks Trav."

"Anytime kiddo." He smiled and paid the bill, then took her arm as they stepped out of the restaurant and into the lobby. "Next time you’re in the big city, let me know ahead of time and we can all go out. You and Lance and me and Ryan."

"Yeah, don’t hold your breath." Meg rolled her eyes.

"I can if I want to." Travis smiled. "Things will all work out Meg. Lance will grow up and you’ll be a little more flexible."

"I-" Meg started to defend herself.

"Nope. Don’t start in on me. You know I’m right." Travis held his finger to her lips. "So stop."

Meg unwillingly nodded and stopped that train of thought, he might have a point. "Fine, but really, don’t hold your breath."

"Yeah yeah." Travis pulled her close for a hug and promised to talk to her again real soon, "After all, the SoCal Summer is about to start and I know you’re kids will want to have a part in that."

"I’m sure they will. Call me and we’ll work something out."

"You got it." Travis kissed her cheek quickly and she did the same. "See you later."

"Bye Travis, and thanks again."

"Anytime." He waved over his shoulder, then walked out into the night air. Meg sighed and turned to find the elevators.

Her eyes met with Lance’s across the lobby and her heart skipped a beat. He quickly looked away and stepped onto the awaiting elevator behind him. Meg sighed and shook her head… then crossed the lobby to catch an elevator of her own.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The guys taped the Rosie O’donnel show the next day, and Meg tagged along to entertain herself for the day and to hopefully talk with one of Rosie’s coordinators about having the guys do something for her charity.

She stood off to the side for the taping and watched with Rosie’s crew and Johnny standing at her side. Rosie asked tons of original questions and the guys had a great time fooling around on the set with her, then she asked the one question Meg, and the boys dreaded, "So okay you guys, fess up. I wanna know the truth about who’s dating who nowadays. I mean, I gave you all your little presents, you’re little dolls you know. Is the truth too much to ask?" She laughed.

"Well JC is dating Joey, and Lance is dating me…" Chris started as he pointed to each guy in turn.

"Hey hey hey!" JC laughed and shook his head, "Come on now.. me and Joey broke up weeks ago, I’m dating Justin now."

"Oh come on you guys." Rosie shook her head and laughed. "I can always tell you who I think you’re dating…"

"Who do you think?" Justin asked slyly.

"Well there's those rumors about you and that blonde girl… what's her name? The theater actress? Emily?"

"Emily Richards, yeah. No we're not dating. I've only met her like twice." Justin laughed.

"We all know about Chris and Dani, and JC and Bobbie, but what about the rest of you?" Rosie smiled.

"Nah, we're not seeing anyone." Lance shook his head. And so went the interview… par for the course.

After the interview the guys hung around on stage and chatted with a couple fans while they signed autographs and posed for pictures. Meg stood around quietly and watched them in their element. When they were finally ushered back to the van to head to their next appointment, Meg was right behind them.

"So who was it? Do you know?" JC asked.

"Nope. Just some random guy I guess. She doesn't waste any time." Lance sighed and kind of half laughed. "Oh well." He shrugged.

"Oh well?? Come on… you wouldn't have said anything if it didn't bug you." JC lightly shoved his friends shoulder.

"Nah, it doesn't matter, I was just saying. She's moved on pretty quick. I guess that says something huh?" Lane raised his eyebrows and kinda gave JC a look.

"Hey… don't talk about her like that man. That's not cool." JC shook his head.

Meg stood a few feet behind them not quite believing what she heard, and what Lance meant. "Well look at her man… we just broke up like a -"

"Because you were being a bitch." JC pointed out.

"Regardless…" Lance shook his head. "She's got her little man on the side now." Lance ducked his head to climb into the van but was stopped by Meg's arm grabbing his elbow, nearly knocking JC in the head. "What the-"

"Sorry JC." Meg said, realizing how close her shoulder came to his head. "Get out." She said to Lance, her courage amazing even herself.

"Whoa." JC said, completely shocked. He stepped around Lance who back stepped out of the van and just stared at Meg with a mixture of shock and fear.

"What?" Lance asked.

"What the hell did you mean by that?" Meg asked, maybe a little louder than necessary. The group of fans watching them were far enough away to be unable to hear the words, but the body language and hand gestures should have given it away.

"What?" He asked defensively, casting a nervous glance over her shoulder at the fans.

"You know exactly what I mean, and for your information Lance, it's none of your business what I do or who I do it with." Meg placed her hands on her hips and stared Lance down.

"Your right. It's not. And I don't care what you do on your own free time. It's your life." He shrugged and turned to get on the van as the driver honked the horn.

"No. Wait." Meg said as she jumped in beside him. The guard shut the door and Meg continued as JC stared on. "You can 'not care' as much as you like but you have no right to make any kind of judgement calls on anything I do at all. You have no idea who that was last night, do you? What if that was my brother? What would you say then?"

"That I was wrong." Lance shrugged and looked out the window. "But you don't have a brother."

"It could have been anyone Lance. It just so happened to be my friend Travis." Meg crossed her arms over her chest as Lance rolled his eyes, "My gay friend Travis. His boyfriend Ryan would have been there too, but he's not feeling well." Meg was met by silence. Lance's face went from smug to embarrassed.

"I-"

"Shut up Lance. I swear… whatever I thought of you before has been replaced. You're nothing but shallow asshole who is way too judgmental of other people and doesn't even stop to look at his own actions."

"Meg, I-"

"Lance, shut up." She turned her back on him and watched the city streets fly by as they rode back to the hotel surrounded by a thick silence.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Meg pushed Johnny’s door open and stormed into the room, "Johnny, this is my official one week notice." She lay the thin sheet of paper, her official resignation, on the desk in front of him.

"What?" Johnny picked it up quickly and looked it over. "Meg… I can’t… you can’t just leave."

"Yes I can. My contract was for four months then after that it was on a month to month basis." Meg had done her homework. "Next week is the end of my 6th month, so I’m terminating the contract."

"Why don’t you take this week and think about it?" He tried to hand the paper back to Meg, who refused it.

"I don’t need the week Johnny. But thank you." She shoved her hands in her pockets and took a deep breath to calm down a little, "I have had such a great time with this team, and I would do it again in a heartbeat… it’s just…" She shrugged and looked up at Johnny, "I just need to leave now. The honeymoon is over, you know? The last thing the guys need right now is the tension I’m causing them. I can see the difference in all of them because of how my being here effects Lance."

Johnny nodded slowly, knowing exactly what she meant, "Well I for one am sorry to see you go." He folded the paper in half and put it on top of his briefcase.

"Thanks." Meg took another deep breath and ran her fingers through her short hair, then turned to leave.

"Whoa hang on." Chris said from the corner, she hadn’t even noticed him till then.

"Shit." Meg said under her breath as she pulled the door open and stepped into the hall.

"You’re leaving?" Chris asked as he followed Meg out of the room. She hadn’t meant for anyone else to hear her conversation with Johnny.

"Chris… that’s not-"

"Not my business? Bullshit man, if you’re leaving because Lance is a prick, then that’s my business. You’re the best date keeping person thing we’ve ever had, you can’t just go."

"Well I can’t stay around here." Meg said sharply as she turned to face Chris.

"Is it just Lance? Or is there more?"

"There’s more." Meg lied as she looked at her shoes.

"What then?"

"Chris… come on."

"Well if it’s something we can get fixed… we want you to stay Meg."

"We who? You?"

"We all do." Chris smiled as they started down the hall again. "Lance is being difficult, we know that. But he’ll snap out of it, he’d better anyways, before JC kills him."

"I think it’d just be better to leave now. There’s already enough tension around here with this whole thing."

"Well there’s going to be a lot more if you’re leaving because of him."

Meg sighed and leaned against her door, "It’s not like I want to leave Chris."

"Then don’t."

"You make it sound so simple." She smiled slowly, and fumbled in her pockets looking for her slide key.

"It is." Chris laughed and leaned against the wall across from her. "Do your little pros and cons list. What are the pros of leaving?"

"I wouldn’t have to be around the psycho demon manchild." Meg pulled the key out of her pocket and turned it around in her hand. "And the stress around here would be abated."

Chris laughed out loud, "Megs, if you leaving would get rid of the stress around here, I would have booted you a long time ago."

"You know what I mean."

"Not a valid point." He shook his head. "Okay so one pro for leaving. What’re your cons for leaving?"

"Well finding someone to take my place this far into the tour and everything will be hard on Johnny." Meg explained slowly.

"Because you’re irreplaceable." Chris smiled sweetly.

"Yeah." Meg smiled and continued, "I’d miss you guys, of course."

"Naturally." Chris nodded. "And…"

Meg sighed and slid her key in the door and pushed it open, "And because as much as I don’t want to… I’ve still got a soft spot for Lance." She said softly. She stepped into the room and shut the door behind her, leaving Chris outside.

"So see? You shouldn’t leave. The cons outnumber the pros!" Chris shouted through the door a second later.

"Good night Chris." Meg shouted back, as she kicked off her shoes and fell into the big chair by the window. She glanced around the room and dreaded packing everything up, but the sooner she could leave, the better.

 

On to the next part…

 

Copyright � 2000 Amy Lynn