Snap Shots Series: Picture Perfect

Twenty-Eight


[ An hour later…]

Lance reached and knocked on the door. He held his breath and listened for a moment. He could hear music, but he wasn't sure if it was coming from her apartment or if it was just the television on behind her door.

Though Lance had run after Willa in the airport, she'd given him the slip and had gotten into a cab before he could stop her. Desperately trying to hold onto the last day of happiness Lance found himself grabbing Amy and shoving her and Spanky into the car and yelling at Spanky to get them to Willa's as quickly as he could.

SO there he was at her door staring at the slightly beaten number hanging on the door, praying that when Willa answered she'd invite him in instead of leaving him to fend for himself in the city.

The door cracked open and Willa looked out at him from behind the door. Her eyes were puffy and her makeup was messy. She looked like she was in pain and he wanted to help her. He needed to help her. If he didn't he felt like he would regret it for the rest of his life.

"What do you want?" she asked.

"Can I come in?"

"Why? So you can gloat?" she asked.

"Willa! Damn it let me in!" he said forcefully.

The door closed and for a moment Lance tried to think of how he could get across town to the Ritz without being noticed. He turned away from the door, picked up his bag and stood there for a moment trying to think of what to do next. He wasn't going to give up, but he thought he might need to regroup a bit before he tried again to talk to her.

"Lance?"

He turned to find the door open and Willa leaning against it looking at him.

"I'm sorry," Lance said softly as he was let into the apartment.

She placed a finger to his lips and kept it there as he moved out of the way of the door so that she could close the door. "I want to say something to you before you start giving me excuses."

"Excuses?" he asked.

"Just listen to me," she said. She took his bag from him and set it on the floor then walked into the studio apartment's living room and plopped down on the couch.

That's when Lance finally heard the music she had on the radio. "What song is this?" he asked.

"The Last Unbroken Heart," she said.

He stopped and cocked his head sideways to listen to the song for a moment. "Is that Patti LaBelle?" he asked.

"Yes," she said, "It's from a Miami Vice Soundtrack."

"Hello Eighties." Lance thought that the comment might lighten the mood, but saw the look on her face and figured that he'd better sit down.

"Can you be serious for a moment?"

He nodded instead of answering.

"Now," she said and turned to him. "I've wanted to say this to you for months now and I haven't been able to because whatever has come up, but today was the kicker. I don't even know if you weren't there this afternoon, but your news wasn't exactly what I thought I was going to be hearing from you."

"I know. It shocked me too."

"I'm upset about Tracy's death. It's hard enough to deal with that, but it's even more disappointing that Tracy saw in the two of us something that you can't seem to get through your head or if you have let it get through to you, you must keep pushing it away."

"What are you talking about?"

"What am I talking about?" She jumped up and began to pace. "I'm talking about the last forty eight hours and how you've been completely overprotective over me, you've kissed me, and you've acted like you were in love with me. Hell you tell the press that we're in love, but I'm not sure where I stand with you. Hell, I don't think I've ever known!"

"This is about where you stand with me?" he asked with a blank stare in her direction.

"Yes!" she said. "You treat me like an employee and just when I thought that we might be friends or even more you throw something at me that kills me." Tears formed in her eyes. "You got up there and threw out at the press this whole protective thing, that you weren't going to stand by and let them talk about the two of us like they had been, then you act like the words that you said to the press have no real meaning."

"You're confusing me," he said and shook his head.

"Well welcome to my world Lance! I LOVE YOU and as much as I want things to work out with you, I'm at the end of my rope with waiting around for you to tell me anything about the way you feel for me."

Lance stared. He was in trouble now. He knew this was going to happen and he didn't want it to. He wanted love, eventually, but after the hassle that it had brought to him in the past, this wasn't exactly a joyous occasion.

"See, that's what I mean. You just sit there and stare at me."

"Willa, you don't understand. You knew that this was a business proposition. I never said that--"

"I know that's not all that all it has been for you. I know that!"

Lance covered his face. "Oh my god!" He breathed the words out and leaned back.

Willa paced again.

"Sit down Willa," Lance said, "I have something to tell you."

Willa threw her arms up in the air. "As if my day wasn't completely a loss already. More bad news, I'm sure."

Lance glared at her for a moment. "Sit down. I let you yell at me and now it's my turn to say my piece."

Willa flopped down on the couch and stared at him.

"I should have explained this to you in the beginning. I never wanted a relationship. That wasn't the plan at all. I don't want to get into it, but basically I got burned last year from a girl and although I would have loved to leave the serious social scene alone, everyone around me told me I needed to get out. I needed a date, not a romance. I thought you understood that."

"I…" She began to speak and he watched her start to cry. "I hate you."

"See that's your trouble. You can't make up your mind. You love me? You hate me? This is ridiculous."

"Ridiculous is you not answering me!"

Lance watched her. "What was the question?"

Willa groaned. "This is hopeless."

"Willa calm down," Lance said with a laugh. "You act like all of this has to be perfect. Nothing in life is like that. You of all people should know that."

Willa curled her legs up to her chest and buried her head in her arms.

Lance could see how upset she was and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't get himself to just leave her alone. He had a feeling that's what she wanted, but there was a part of him that couldn't do it. He'd miss her too much. Even though he knew it was dangerous to keep her too close to her, he knew he didn't want her too far away either.

"I can't do this anymore Lance. I think we need to not see each other. This is too much drama."

"But…"

"No buts. I know that you don't have a place to stay for the night. You're welcome to use the couch, but after tomorrow I don't want to see you or hear from you for a while. I leave for europe in two days and I don't think--"

"I get the picture," he finally said. He was tired and needed some sleep, but he also needed some time to think about all this. "I'm gonna go out for a while. I'll be back." He pushed himself up.

"Wait," she said. She got up and walked over to the table near the door, grabbed her keys and took a key off the ring. "In case I'm not here when you get back."

Lance took the key and left the apartment. He knew that he shouldn't, but he found himself on the street a moment later with no where to go, but at the same time it was almost a relief. He never got to just hang out in the city. He was always there on business.

He pulled his jacket up around him and reached for his phone. He had two calls to make.

"Hey Johnny," he said a moment before.

"I heard about what happened with that little girl. How are you holding up?"

"I'm good. Its really sad about her dying. It's rough to know that I saw that little girl yesterday and now she's gone."

"How's Willa doing?"

"There's just drama going on," he said. "Not just the whole Tracy thing. I think we're gonna break things off."

"That's too bad," Johnny said. "Are you in New York?"

"Yeah," he said.

"Is Spanky there?"

Lance looked around for a moment then lied. "Yeah. No one knows that I'm here. I have a feeling I won't even need him."

"I could kill you for not taking Wes or Loni with you, but since it was an unexpected trip--"

"Thanks," Lance said. "Look, I've gotta run. I'll talk to you later. Will you tell Wes that I'm ok? The guy was on my back today to call him. Like I'm a kindergartener or something."

"Sure, I'll tell him."

"I'll see you guys tomorrow. Wes has my flight information."

"Ok," Johnny said.

When Lance was done with that call he dialed home. He needed some motherly advice about the situation. If anyone would know what to do, his mom would have the answers to his troubles.


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