(authors note: this is a short chapter… and the end )

 

"Relationships guys, you know I’ve gotta ask, anything new?" Rosie asked with a smile. It had been almost a week since Lance had shown his grown-up side, and they had talked about situations just like this. Lance found himself blushing as his mind frantically raced, trying to decide how he should answer this question.

"Dani." Chris raised his hand.

"Bobbee." JC raised his.

"No one." Justin laughed and raised his hand.

"Everyone." Joey laughed and gave the camera a thumbs up as the crowd laughed.

"Uh… I’m not really seeing anyone." Lance said as he looked down at his shoes. He didn't think it would be so hard to say that one little lie, but his heart sank as the last word left his lips. "I should just spit it out… tell the truth…how hard would that be?" Lance thought to himself.

Meg sighed from the side of the stage. She should have been used to that response by now, but that didn’t mean she wanted to hear him say it over and over. With the rumors flying around about Lance and Danielle getting back together she knew that the subject would be brought up. She frowned and tucked her binder under her arm as she headed for the nearest exit. She didn't feel up to having Rosie dish dating advice to an allegedly "single" Lance.

"That’s not what I’ve heard." Rosie raised her eyebrow at Lance.

"Oooo what did you hear?" Justin asked as he leaned onto the little desk.

"Well I’m not going to say it on air in case it’s not true." Rosie laughed.

"Here, whisper it to me." Justin extended his ear to her and smiled as she leaned over and whispered in his ear. "Hrmmm, Lance, you’re not seeing Danielle Fischell again, are you?"

"Nooo, no no no." Lance laughed and waved his hands in front of him. "No, I’m not." He was getting tired of hearing that rumor over and over, and he knew that even if it wasn't true, it still bothered Meg.

"Everyone's been saying that you know." JC looked over his shoulder at Lance, daring him to come out with the truth, to shoot down the relationship rumor.

"Well it’s just a rumor. Danielle and I are not back together." Lance shook his head and glanced off stage where Meg had been standing. He just wanted to smile at her, and have her smile back to reassure him. But when he looked all he saw was the show director and a few stagehands, Meg wasn't there. Lance frowned and leaned forward in his chair, trying to see if maybe she’d just slid behind the corner or something. "Actually, you know what?" He asked softly, leaning forward in his chair, still trying to find her.

"Hmm?" Rosie asked.

"I am seeing someone." Lance smiled as a weight was lifted from his shoulders. He could have stopped right there, just admitting he was in fact seeing someone… but he was feeling adventurous at the moment, and wanted it all to come out. He looked around both sides of the stage, trying to spot the familiar flash of dark red hair. The other guys smiled and leaned back in their seats, letting Lance take center stage. "Um… where’d she go?"

"She’s here?" Rosie asked, completely surprised.

"Yeah." He caught the show director's eye and said, "The girl with the red hair? Where'd she go?"

"She went outside." He shrugged as the camera panned over to the side of the stage.

"I’ll go get her." One of the stagehands volunteered.

"What’s she gonna think about you bringing her on stage?" Rosie laughed.

"Um, I don’t know." Lance laughed nervously and kept his eye on the side door. He had no idea what she would think, he only hoped she would be happy.

"Oh hey lookit here she comes!" Rosie stood up and came around to the front of her desk as a disoriented and shy Meg was escorted onto the stage. "Hi! How are you?"

"I’m uhh… I’m okay." Meg looked at Lance and gave him a questioning look. "You'd better be bringing me here to talk about appearance dates" she said with her eyes.

"Hey." Lance laughed lightly and reached for her hands to pull her in for a hug and a quick kiss, "This is Meg." He spoke quickly, spitting it out before he could top himself.

"Hi Meg, I'm Rosie." She laughed and shook Meg's hand.

"H-Hi." Meg stampered and looked around nervously.

"So you're Lance's girlfriend huh?" Rosie smiled.

"I uh..." Meg looked back at Lance who just smiled. "Lance…?" She felt her cheeks turn bright pink as Lance just nodded slightly, "But…?" Meg looked at the other guys looking for some kind of support, but they just sat there and tried not to laugh.

"You look nervous." Rosie laughed lightly and straightened her index cards in front of her.

"I am." Meg said as she laughed nervously. A stagehand brought out an extra chair for Meg to sit in. "Lance what are you doing?" She whispered as she sat beside him.

"I'm being honest." He whispered back with a smile.

"Honest? Now?!" Meg whispered back, then turned to face JC, the one constant voice of reason.

"Hi." JC smiled and waved, big help he turned out to be.

"So are you hanging out with the guys for a couple days?" Rosie asked as she leaned forward on her desk and played with a koosh ball.

"I um…" She looked at Lance, how honest was he planning on being today?

"She works on the tour with us." He said quickly. That's how honest. Meg cringed and half shook her head as she saw her career heading into the toilet as soon as Johnny caught wind of this.

"Oh great, so you get to see him all the time?"

"Well yeah, pretty much. They're really busy still, but I get to see him more than if I lived back home or something." Meg tried to keep her voice steady, having your life laid out for everyone to see on national TV was more nerve wracking than she thought.

"Do we get any details? How long have you been going out? What do you do for the tour?" Rosie tossed the koosh ball up in the air and caught it with one hand.

"We've been going out for a couple months now. Kind of off and on. We uh… I had some issues at first, but overall it's been a couple months." Lance said with a smile as he reached over to grab Meg's hand. He squeezed her fingers reassuringly, trying to help her relax a little more.

"She does our time for us." Justin volunteered. "You know, like when your people want to schedule us to come here or whatever, they call Meg."

"Well when I want you guys to come, Justin, I just call up your mom and tell her to send you to New York for a couple days." Rosie laughed.

"Well okay yeah, but other shows, they have to call Meg." Justin laughed.

"Really, your mom is the cutest thing ever in the world, she was on a couple weeks ago you know?"

"Yeah, I saw that." Justin nodded and blushed.

"She brought some little baby pictures of you."

"Yeah… I saw that too. I'm gonna have to talk to her about that. I don't need my bare butt all over the TV."

The crowd laughed along with the guys before Rosie turned the conversation back to the original topic, "So Meg, you've seen their shows then right? I mean, they're here today to promote their Live Concert, which is being taped tonight at Madison Square garden, love at 7… in case anyone didn't know."

"Yeah, I've seen the show a couple times. Like, three or four I think." Meg shrugged and looked down the line at the guys, "Show time is my time off though usually. I go running, or to the gym, or just relax." Her lips felt numb as she talked and she hoped she didn't sound too nervous.

"Is the show as great as I've heard?" Rosie asked.

"Oh yeah." Meg nodded, "There are a lot of cool things you know, moving sidewalks, moving stages… it's really cool." She squeezed Lance's hand as tight as she could as Rosie continued.

"Well I'll be home tonight watching it on TV with my kids, they're still too young to go to a concert I think." Rosie laughed, and the interview continued, with Meg sitting on stage clinging to Lances hand.

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

 

"Meg, Lance." Johnny said loudly as they small herd of people walked into the arena that evening. "Come on into my office." He turned on his heel and walked down the hall quickly, expecting the two troublemakers to follow.

"Oooooh, busted." Joey laughed at them as they followed nervously behind Johnny.

"I'm sorry." Lance said softly.

"It's… it's okay." Meg nodded, but kept her eyes straightforward.

"No, I mean it." Lance stopped and turned her to face him. "I can work this out with Johnny."

"No, Lance, it's okay. It's in the contract…"

"Well the contract is crap. The tour is almost over anyways…"

"It wasn't for the tour, it was for as long as I was employed here. He said he didn't care as long as it didn't get out."

Lance covered his eyes with his free hand, "And I just announced it on national TV."

"Yep." Meg nodded and took a deep, shaky breath.

"You're not gonna loose your job, Meg."

"It's okay Lance." She nodded.

"No it's not."

"It is. Don’t worry." She smiled and pulled him down the hall to where Johnny was waiting in his little office. As they walked in the door Johnny stood up and put his hands on the rickety card table that was serving as his desk for the time being, "Wait, before you say anything." Meg held up her hand, quieting the older man before he could speak. "I know that this went against everything you told me… us… not to do. But hear me out. This is what I asked Lance to do, kind of. Out of respect for our relationship. As a girlfriend, it killed me to see him deny me on every TV show and in every interview. He decided it was easier to completely disregard me in the public eye, rather than show any kind of affection and have people wonder about us. Lance did the noble thing by admitting our relationship to himself and to everyone else. You saw what happened a few weeks ago Johnny, I almost let here voluntarily, and the tension between everyone around here was peaked. You know that." She paused and took a deep breath. "With this admission, the tension has all but disappeared, there's no need to hide anything now."

"Can I speak now?" Johnny asked with a half smile as Lance stared in awe at Meg.

Meg cleared her throat and blushed, "Uh… yeah."

"You signed a contract stating that you knew that relationships between craft and talent were prohibited." He held a piece of paper out in front of him. "I told you I was willing to overlook it, as long as publicity like this didn't happen." He waved at the worn tabloid article from months ago. "I agree with you as far as the tension around here since… well since all of this. But this is a contract. I'm going to hate to loose you Meg, but I have to do this. If I let this slide, then that will cause disruption among the other crew workers. You know how it goes, we have a great team here, but if I let this one slide by, then I'll have to overlook it when someone else does something that breaks the contract, and I'm not willing to do that."

"Johnny, that's not really fair, I mean, this is my-" Lance started.

"Boy, you've got another thing coming if you think I'm gonna let you take the heat for this. I can't just give you the boot you know."

"But Johnny, this is my fault. I'm the one that blurted it out on TV."

"I'm well aware of that Lance." Johnny nodded. "That doesn't change the facts though." He shook his hand and handed the paper in his hand to Meg. "I'm really going to hate to loose you, Meg. You're one of the best timekeepers I've ever worked with, and if you'd like to sign onto a different tour or anything, please don't hesitate to ask. I'd be thrilled to have you as a part of another team."

Meg blushed deeply and nodded as she took the paper, her official notice of termination. "Johnny come on. You can't just fire her." Lance argued.

"Lance… it's okay."

"No it's not. This is bull." Lance shoved his hands in his pockets and scowled.

"I know you think it is. And I wish it didn't have to be this way." Johnny nodded. "But to maintain the integrity of this tour, and this group, these guidelines have been made this way."

"What the hell kind of integrity is this? To fire Meg because I messed up? Because we've chosen to date each other. I can't help who I fall in love with Johnny, it's not that easy."

Meg looked up quickly and tried to keep her jaw off the floor, "What?" She asked softly.

"What?" Lance looked at her confused.

"What did you say?"

"What? What do you mean?" Lance shook his head.

"You've fallen in love with me?" She whispered, as if it were a secret.

"I - " He stopped and looked surprised at himself, "Yeah."

"Really?" She laughed and blushed even more.

"Well… yeah." Lance smiled.

"Are we done here kids? Because I still need to drag Joey in here for a fatherly talk." Johnny pulled another set of papers out of his desk.

Meg snapped back to reality for a minute, "When uh… when does this take effect?"

"Two weeks."

"The tour is over next week." Lance pointed out.

"She wasn’t hired for the tour." Johnny explained. "Meg, if you’d like I will call on over to Abby and have her place you on another assignment, I meant it when I said you’d be a great asset to another team."

"Um, yeah, that’d be great." Meg nodded. "I’ll actually call her when we get done here."

"This sucks Johnny." Lance said under his breath.

"Yes, it does. And again, I’m sorry." He shrugged. "Meg, let me know if you need any help, and please let me know if and when you get placed."

"I will." She nodded slowly and took Lance’s hand to pull him out of the room.

"Meg! You can’t be serious, you’re just going to leave?"

"I was fired, Lance. What do you want me to do? Fight with him? Argue with him? He’s going to help me get another job with another group, which is a hundred times more than any other employer would do." She shoved the paper he’d handed her into her pocket as they walked down the hall towards the boys dressing rooms. "I can’t just kiss that goodbye, this is my dream job and I’m good at it."

"Which is exactly why you can’t just leave. Meg, you'd be nuts to leave."

"Lance… don’t you see that I’m not leaving the job. It’s not like I’m giving in and walking away. This isn’t a choice I made you know."

"I know." He said a minute later when they got to the dressing room. "This just sucks. I mean, now that we’re together we won’t be able to see each other any more. I almost wish we weren’t so you could at least stay."

"No… Lance this will be fine." She smiled and pushed the door open.

"So what’s the verdict?" Justin asked as they walked in. He pulled his patchwork jacket on over his shirt and ruffled his hair.

"Two weeks." Meg held up two fingers and sighed.

"He’s making you wait two weeks?" Chris asked as he walked around in two different shoes. "He can’t just tell you now?"

"No, I have two more weeks here." Meg explained softly.

"Shut up! You’re serious?" Joey came around the corner with a toothbrush in his mouth.

"Yeah." Meg nodded and cringed as the phone in her pocket rang. "Crap, hang on." She brought the phone to her ear and answered it, "This is Meg."

"Hey Meg! What’s up kiddo?" Travis asked with his usual smile.

"Hey Trav… uh, can I call you in like five? I’m right in the middle of something."

"Sure thing. Remind me to tell you about July."

"I will." She smiled. "Talk to you in a minute." She clicked the phone off and tried not to cry. "It’s part of the contract and I knew that when all of this started. It’s not a big deal really. He’s going to help me get a spot on another team… with another of his tours."

"Well what are we supposed to do?" Justin asked.

"What do you mean?" Meg frowned.

"About our time."

"Well I’ll be with you through the end of the tour, then I guess wherever they move me, maybe that person will come here. So… you know, so they won’t really need training." Meg shrugged. "Lance, can I borrow you for a minute?"

"Hmm?" Lance looked up from his clothes rack as he started to get his stuff set out for the show. "Yeah."

Meg nodded toward the door they had just walked in through and he followed her out and back down another hall. "Were you serious back there?" She asked quickly as a door slammed shut across the hall from them.

"When? When I said you were nuts for leaving? Yeah."

"No, when you said you loved me." She looked down at her shoelaces and shuffled her feet silently.

"Yeah." Lance said softly, almost confused by her tone.

"No more weirding out on me? No more lying?" She looked up at him with a worried look.

"No… Meg of course not. I told you when we got back together that I would be normal about this."

"But you still told people you weren’t dating anyone."

"Yeah but now what have I got to loose? You’re not even going to be on our staff anymore." Lance crinkled his forehead, "Now I can tell anyone and everyone about us… there's no reason to lie or hide it anymore."

"I could still be tossed into the spotlight." Meg shoved her hands into her pockets and shyly looked up at him.

"I thought you were okay with that?"

"I was. I am." She said quickly. "I just… are you okay with that?"

"With what? Taking you places with me?"

"Well that, and the fact that I’m not going to be right here with you any more."

"I wish you could stay…" Lance said softly as he uncrossed his arms and reached for her shoulders, "But if you have to go to another tour or whatever, there’s nothing I can do really."

"Nope…" She shook her head and sighed.

"But you know what?"

"What?" Meg asked softly as Lance leaned his forehead against hers.

"That's okay." He smiled and kissed her quickly. "Because… because this is going to work out. And if this is the way it has to be… then this is how we'll do it."

"But Lance, I - "

"Shhh." He cut her off, "We'll see each other every chance we get. This is the price I'll have to pay for dragging you onto that stage with me this morning, but it's worth it, because now everyone knows that I have you… and that I love you."

"Really?"

"Really. And Megs…" He laughed softly, "Isn't that really all that matters?"

"Yeah." She smiled and looked up into his eyes as he tucked her hair behind her ear and tilted his head at her.

"Good." He leaned in and kissed her in the hall, for once not caring who saw.

 

*the end*

 

 *sigh* Okay… spill it.

 

Back to the completed stories page…

Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn