Snap Shots Series: In Focus

THREE


"Are you sure you don’t want any Fred?" Lance smiled at her and tipped his glass almost as if he was showing her that it wasn’t going to attack her or something.

"Don’t call me that!" she laughed.

He laughed and gave her a wink. "Ok Fred."

"Stop!" she said and smacked at him.

"Ok, ok." He moved his head around as if he were looking for someone. "Where’s Wes when I need him?"

"He wouldn’t be able to stop me," she said boldly, "He’d probably end up helping me by holding you down. He told me once that if I did smack you that he and I would be better friends."

"Oh he did, did he?" Lance asked. He looked around again. "Where is that guy?"

Willa moved her hand out and grabbed his chin forcing him to look at her. "All you need to see is right here in front of you. Don’t you be looking at all the other girls here."

"Little jealous Fred?" he asked.

"Don’t call me that."

"Fine, Fred, I won’t call you Fred," he said.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Watch it Mister."

He laughed and continued to joke with her, "What am I supposed to be watching?"

"Me," she said with a laugh.

"I’m sure that I can do that," he said and gave her a once over. She twirled around a little to show herself off.

When she turned back around he was looking in the other direction. She grabbed his chin again and kissed him. "You better be watching me or I’m going to throw a supermodel fit."

"I’d love to see that," he said. He made a face. "I want my agent! I want my publicist! Where’s my latte?"

She leaned forward and cut him off with a kiss before he could continue. "I’m sure that you would love to see that."

"So do you want something to drink?" he asked as she wiped his lips gently with her fingers.

"No thanks," she said with a smile glancing at the glass in his hand.

She reached out and fixed the collar of his shirt. It somehow had gotten flipped up when he’d pushed through the crowd. She then took his hand squeezing it trying to reassure him that she was fine. He seemed to be worried about her for some reason. Her only excuse for not drinking was that she had been trying to pace herself. She’d had a drink or two at barbecue, but had refused anything to drink when Lance planned to disappear to the bar after they’d come in the place. She wanted to keep her wits about her seeing that she was going to be in public that night and didn’t want to make a fool of herself.

Putting the glass of alcohol to his lips to take a drink Lance paused and she saw is eyes go wider.

"What?" she asked, curious to find out what had caused the sudden shock she saw in his eyes. He’d been a little nervous that day with her, but this sudden nervousness was something new.

He held the glass near his mouth and extended his pinky to point over her shoulder. His eyes narrowed for a moment. "Isn’t that your ex-man over there? Brennan? Isn’t that his name?"

At the mention of Brennan’s name Willa whipped around to the direction that Lance was staring in. She hadn’t seen the guy in months, but she’d heard enough of his big mouth in the press. It seemed as if Brennan couldn’t keep from talking about her enough. He’d slammed her a few times when they’d first broken up and he always seemed to find his way into the press. Elena had tried to keep her from seeing all the reports, but people had mentioned him to her from time to time and when she saw his face on a magazine she’d tried to ignore it, but always seemed to read the comments anyway.

For a moment she didn’t see what Lance was talking about, there were too many people in the confined space of the restaurant and everyone seemed to get lost in the crowd. They’d been there for over an hour and she wondered if she’d ever see any of the guys in the group again since they all seemed to have faded into the mass hysteria of the New Years Bash. She’d seen them from time to time, but it was as if every time she blinked they would disappear again. They’d all arrived there together and had planned to leave together, but she thought it might take them hours to find anyone in the sea of people that started at the door and spread across the bar, the dance floor and the tables.

Just as she was about to give up looking for Brennan in the mess of people in front of her, when the crowd seemed to part just enough for her to catch a glimpse at a man that looked a little like Brennan. He was standing with his right profile to her, but when he turned to talk to the person on his other side she saw his whole face. She should have known. He was in designer clothes; she could almost see the tags on the clothes across the room blaring like a neon sign at her and everyone else in the room.

Someone’s head moved into her line of vision, cutting her off from her little spying session. "What the hell?" She moved to look to see the group he was talking to.

Lance stood on his tiptoes and leaned towards her to see. They must have looked like nosy teenagers snooping like they were, but it didn’t seem to matter what people thought of them for a moment. They were both perplexed by the sight of him across the room. "Isn’t that--?"

"What the hell? Is that Amy?" Willa’s shoulders and back tensed at the sight of her friend with Brennan. She didn’t understand first off what Brennan was doing in Orlando of all places, but seeing Amy with him was more of a shock to her system. "What the hell is she doing here? And where the hell did she hook up with Brennan?"

"I take it that this is a bit of a shock?" Lance asked.

"Yeah," she said and tried to get the dryness in her mouth to go away, "Amy knows how much I hate him. I guess loyalty goes out the window with that one. I wonder how the hell she got together with him."

"Go over and ask," Lance said simply taking a drink. She hated the way he seemed to think that everything was so simple.

He’d acted that way when they’d come in and had seen Brian McKnight near the door. She’d been amazed to see him and Lance had simply gone up to the guy to say hello. She found out later, after Brian excused himself to get another drink, that Lance knew him, but just the idea that Lance would walk up to someone like that and introduce himself was a little bolder than Willa could be. It was one thing to have an attitude, but she never usually was the one who would start confrontations, she just ended them.

"Hell no," she said. The sight of the two was making her sick to her stomach. She thought that she’d told Amy how she hated Brennan. Why would she even be seen with the guy if she knew how Willa felt about him?

"Well I will if you won’t," Lance said and began to move past her then stopped and turned back. He leaned and kissed her cheek then whispered, "Never mind, they’re coming over here."

Willa turned to face them as they approached, sliding her arm through Lance’s for protection. She leaned against him a little for support. He switched his drink to the other hand and ended up unlinking his arm from hers. She protested for a moment reaching out for him, but only found that he had wanted to move his arm so that he could put his arm around her. He pulled her protectively close, even planting a kiss on her forehead as he rubbed the side of her stomach, moving his hand between the black skirt and silver shirt she was wearing, as if he was trying to comfort her.

"Hey girl!" Amy said with a sweet smile and leaned to hug Willa. The scene was a bit sickening, that Hollywood fake kind of greeting that Willa always had said she’d never participate in, but now found herself doing a little too often, especially at an event like that. Everyone had on their smiles and was acting all too sweet to everyone. No wonder people thought that being a celebrity was such a nice thing. They only saw these nice little meetings and would never know what kind of crazy thoughts were going through everyone’s heads during them, like the thoughts that Willa was having at the moment about strangling her friend.

Willa wondered for a moment if Amy was drunk or something. She’d chosen a little more revealing outfit than Willa had ever seen her in before. It was a dress with spaghetti straps that showed off a lot more than Willa ever would in public and a lot more than Amy normally showed off. It was like an episode of the twilight zone. Amy had been taken over by some stranger that was now possessing her and making her act unlike anything that Willa had ever seen before.

Willa reluctantly hugged her then stepped back. She was speechless for a moment. She didn’t know how to start a conversation with her. Normally talking to Amy was easy, but this situation changed everything. She had thought that Amy was on her side, but it was evident that she wasn’t at all as she slid her arm though Brennan’s arm and hugged him. She was very showy in her affection towards Brennan as if she was trying to rub it in that they were together.

Willa didn’t really care. She was glad that he’d moved on. She hoped that it would be a chance for him to get his mind off of her for a change.

"What are you doing here?" Willa asked. She plastered a smile on her face and tried not to sound or look too shocked to see her.

"We thought we’d come down for the weekend seeing as you would be down here," Amy said. "We figured if you two were down here that some great party was going on." She looked around the room for a moment, "And we were right…this really is the best bash in town."

Willa nodded and stared at Brennan. "How’ve you been?"

"Good," he said, although he wasn’t looking at her. He was staring at Lance who was staring back at him.

"I’m Lance, by the way," Lance finally reached a hand to shake his.

"I know," Brennan said with a very deliberate tone to his voice. He sounded as if was trying to make Lance feel stupid for the introduction. It was stupid for anyone to not recognize Lance and the fact that Brennan was her ex-boyfriend did make it a little ridiculous.

The two men had a very tense exchange then Brennan looked at Willa as she slid back to Lance’s side. Lance seemed to see that she was really tense and he put his arm around her and put a hand at the small of her back, rubbing her back as if he could tell that her back was tense. "What a cute couple you make," Brennan said with a slightly evil smile. Willa knew that if people looked at him at that moment they wouldn’t be able to tell that he was being at all mean in his speech to them, but Willa still didn’t trust the look in his eyes. There was something behind that look that almost scared her. She’d known, when they’d dated, that Brennan was very picky about things and when he got pissed enough he was a real brat, but this look in his eyes seemed like he was about to be worse than anything she’d seen before. "Still keeping up the lie I see."

"Lie?" Willa asked hoping that no one around them was eavesdropping. She looked at Lance and prayed that this wasn’t going to bring up something ugly between them. They hadn’t spoken about the lie since she’d showed up on his doorstep before she’d left for Europe. The past had become exactly that, the past, but Brennan seemed to be determined to bring it up again. She didn’t know why he wanted to rub it in, but he seemed determine to never let her forget the decision she’d made and the life she’d chosen over the life she’d had with him.

"Oh give me a break Willa I know that you and he aren’t really together." He looked around for a moment and raised his voice a little. "You told me yourself it was all for publicity sake. I know your career means a lot to you. I mean wasn’t it his idea that you get a little more publicity? I’m sure you two both know how to make a scene."

"Shut up Brennan," she snapped at him, "You’re the asshole who keeps putting us in the news. I mean with your big mouth, we don’t have to say anything to the press. You seem to be promoting us just as well as we’re promoting ourselves! You’re the rat bastard who can’t keep your big fat head out of the press."

Lance grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze. She looked at him and took a breath as Lance gave her a warning look. Her voice must have been louder than she’d thought.

Brennan just smiled wildly at them. "You have a new profession now, don’t you?"

Willa narrowed her eyes at him watching him closely as he watched her. He was up to something and she hoped she’d find out soon what it was.

"Excuse me?" Lance asked. Willa could see that this was bothering him. It was nice to know that he was being so protective.

"You seem to be really good at pimping yourself out," he said, "Or is that his job?"

"Hey now!" Lance said and took a step towards Brennan. "Mind repeating that?"

Brennan put his hands up. "Sorry, didn’t mean to offend."

"Yeah right," Lance said and bumped him in the ribs.

Willa searched the crowd for a moment for Wes. She didn’t see him around, although she knew he was there somewhere. She worried that there was going to be a brawl right there in front of her with no one to stop it. She knew that she might be able to get in the middle of things, but pulling the two men apart was something she wasn’t ready to do.

"No offense or anything Lance, I mean it worked for Britney and Justin didn’t it?" Brennan commented and pointed to where the younger couple was sitting together in the corner. It seemed as if they were sitting on throwns instead of just barstools. The crowd of the party all seemed to be making their way over to say hello or to wish the couple a happy New Year.

Lance took another step towards him, this time bumping into Brennan a little. He stuck his face up to Brennan’s and stared at him intensely. Willa reached and pulled Lance back. The tension in the air was almost exciting, not because of what Brennan had said, but the fact that Lance was so upset by the comment. It seemed to only reinforce the fact that Lance really felt strongly for her.

"Brennan you’re just jealous. I heard that they picked someone else for the CK ads. That must have hurt," Willa said. She let out a sigh. "I guess business has been bad this year."

"Whatever Willa," Brennan said, "I heard that Hustler called you for a spread, but I’m sure all the spreading you need has already been done."

Lance stepped again towards Brennan.

"God Willa." Amy stepped into the mix and stared at Willa as if she had two heads or something. "I thought you had more control over your man than that. I thought that was your plan, you know…control him and use him for the publicity?"

Willa tensed at the words that were being thrown at her and tried to avoid Lance’s eyes. It was true, that had been the plan, back then anyway, but things were different now. They were a real couple and no one was going to cheapen that.

She was very hurt by Amy’s comment and she didn’t understand where this was coming from. It hurt her to think that Amy was mad or something and hadn’t told her. This wasn’t the way for them to be acting, but she wasn’t going to let Amy or Brennan see that hurt. She had to save face and be the mature one in this situation. She took a deep breath and took Lance’s hand. "Honey let’s go get a drink."

His eyes grew wide again with shock as Lance stared at her. He seemed to be amazed that she would back off from this situation. It was a little shocking for her, because she’d never backed down from a fight in her life, but she knew that this was neither the time or place to get into any kind of a fight. There were too many people there and the press was just outside.

"Willa?" he asked.

"I really think that we need to get a drink," she said firmly and looked over at where Wes was now watching them. He’d kept himself just on the edge of where they were, but he’d been watching them the entire night, which she suddenly found comforting. She knew that if something happened to them that night that Wes would come to their rescue. This time though she didn’t think she needed it so she smiled and waved to him.

He must have seen the entire exchange because he mouthed the words, "Are you ok?"

Willa smiled and nodded then pulled Lance away from where they’d been standing. It wasn’t easy since the testosterone was flying between the two men, but she finally pulled them apart.

"Where are you going?" he asked and looked back over at Brennan and Amy who seemed to be just as surprised to see her leave as Lance was.

"To get a drink," she said. Her teeth were grinding together now in anger, but she knew she couldn’t blow up. There were too many people around and she didn’t think that they needed to witness her emotions like that. She’d tried hard to keep her name out of the papers and she wasn’t going to throw herself into the middle of things now trying to keep her image under control.

"How can you let them say stuff like that to you?" he asked, "You would have decked me for something like that…hell, you have hit me for less than that."

"I’m not going to stoop to their level like that," Willa said, "You know it may be true that this whole thing started out as a lie, but it’s not one now, or at least I don’t think it is. I’m not going to spend my time trying to explain that to them. They need to get a life if they think I’m going to spend my holiday arguing with them."

"But?" he said.

"But nothing," she said and pushed up through to the bar. Lance found a spot next to her and they waited for the bartender to take their order. "You and I are here to have some fun and they aren’t going to ruin that. I haven’t seen you in about a month and I’m not going to let them put a cloud over the fun that you and I are going to have tonight."

The bartender showed up and smiled at the two of them.

"Can I get a shot of tequila?" Willa asked the bartender when he finally came over.

"Tequila?" Lance asked as the bartender turned to find the bottle. He must have been shocked because she’d never really had alcohol in front of him before.

"I need a drink Lance," she said with a sigh.

"Fine," he said and rubbed her back, "Make that two." Lance reached for his pocket and paid for the drinks.

They toasted the tequila shots and slammed them then Willa slid up next to him and pulled him close, pulling him into a kiss before he could stop her. She ran her hands up into his hair and pulled him against her when he started to protest a little.

After a moment he deepened the kiss and put his arms around her, sliding his fingers onto the bare skin of her back, causing her to shiver a little.

When she finally pulled back from the kiss she was breathless. She reached behind him and pulled his hands from around her. "Let’s dance."

Her adrenaline rushed when she saw Amy and Brennan watching them across the room. She leaned towards Lance and kissed him again. "They’re watching us," her voice came out seductively, "Let’s give them a show."

"Sure," he said and Willa thought that he must have caught the dirty looks on Brennan and Amy’s faces because he was staring in their direction.

"I wanna have some fun," she said with a smile turning back to him. He smiled back at her as they made their way out onto the dance floor and joined the crowd that was already keeping up with the music.

When they got to the dance floor Willa slid her arms around Lance and danced closely to him. She wanted to forget the last few moments and immerse herself in Lance and all that came with him. She planned to make her vacation in Orlando as fun as possible and she was going to start as soon as she could.


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