Snap Shots Series: In Focus
Lance was on his way out of the studio when Melinda caught sight of him. He was feeling pretty good since Wes had kept everyone from asking where he was going, but at the sight of Melinda watching him he got a little nervous. He tried to avoid making eye contact with her, thinking that maybe he could just slip out without a confrontation with her, but it was too late. She had her radar locked onto him and she pulled him in before he could side step her and escape to the stairway or the elevator. She quickly cornered him in the hallway, She pushed him so that his back was against the wall and she grabbed a hold of his arm to lock him into position.
When Wes started to approach to help him out, she threw a glare at him and he backed away.
"You aren't scared of her are you?" Lance asked with a laugh.
Crossing his arms across his chest, Wes shook his head, but didn't move from his position. "They don't call her the Bulldog for nothing."
"Where are you two going?" Melinda asked.
"To the hotel," Lance stared at her hand on his arm then looked her in the eyes then looked back at her hand.
Lance smiled. "Yes really."
"And why would that bed?"
When she didn't get the hint and move it he carefully pulled her fingers from their clamped position on his arm and dropped her hand dramatically from his arm. If he'd been in a better mood he would find all of this babysitting act funny, but at the moment he only wanted to get to the hotel and to get to Willa. "Willa's waiting for me."
"I'm sure she can wait," Melinda said. She took a deep breath. "I'm only going to ask this once and I want a straight answer from you. You just walked out on a nationally televised appearance and I'm sure your reason is justified, but you have to tell me what's going on Lance. This isn't just you showing up late or leaving early...you walked out on an interview and you know that something like that can do a lot of damage if you do it to the wrong person. Do you know what kind of press this is going to get you?"
"You tell me," he said with a sigh. He angrily pointed back at the studio and raised his voice. "What the hell was that back there? How could you let them make that announcement without telling me first? Bryan Mc-FUCKING-Faden just got on national television and told the world that my girlfriend is a whore and that...and that I'm..." He took a deep breath, "That I'm an abusive son of a bitch!"
"It's MTV Lance...they can say what they want and we can't do anything about it. We're their guests, you know? They invited us? Remember? Its called Freedom of Speech."
"I just can't believe that they didn't you know...FUCKING MENTION THAT THEY WERE GOING TO...TO...FUCK ME OVER LIKE THAT WHEN I WAS IN THE FUCKING ROOM!"
A few people turned their heads and Lance threw them the finger without thinking twice about it. So much for his southern gentleman ways. This was war and he wasn't going to take it sitting down.
"Calm down Lance, you're making a scene."
"Calm down." Lance looked down the hall then back at Melinda, "I'LL SHOW YOU CALM. I'LL BE DEAD CALM WHEN I MARCH BACK IN THERE AND SLAM MCFADEN IN THE FACE! NOW, ARE YOU GOING TO LET ME OF THIS FUCKING BUILDING OR AM I GOING TO MOVE YOUR FUCKING ASS OUT OF MY WAY?"
"Lance!" Wes said in a loud voice. He stepped forward and pushed Lance up against the wall. "Quit it LB or--"
Lance took a breath and looked at Melinda. He could see that she'd understood his anger, but she didn't seem to be too sympathetic at the moment, especially after he'd yelled at her for no reason. "I'm sorry, but this is--"
She gave him a nervous laugh. "I know its bad, but you can't fly off the handle like this. It's not professional and it's not you Lance." He thought that maybe it was because he never acted like this and she wasn't sure how to handle it.
Lance took another breath and squeezed the bridge of his nose as a headache began to form across his forehead. "Please..." He stopped and tried to keep his voice from sounding like he was pleading with her, but it didn't work too well. "Please just tell me that you didn't know about that before they announced it." Lance shifted his weight from one foot to the other and tapped his foot as he waited for an answer from her.
After avoiding his eyes for a moment Melinda shifted her backpack into a different position on her back then looked at him only for a moment. "I heard..." her voice came out as a mumble and she didn't seem like she wanted to reveal the news to him, "...I heard a rumor about it being released."
"What the hell? And you didn't tell me?" he whined.
"I didn't think it needed to be addressed. Besides, I thought I'd have more time to try to figure out how I was going to explain it to you."
"Explain what to me?" His eyes widened in anticipation of her news.
Melinda reached and dug into her backpack for a moment, pushing a few things around before she withdrew two heavy manila envelopes from the bag. "The papers arrived this morning. They wanted to serve you and Willa with a summons to court, but I knew that you didn't need that this morning. They came to the compound at four this morning and I signed for the papers and told them that I would make sure that they knew I would deliver them."
"A summons?" Lance said. He stared at the envelope. Not again. Hadn't he done his court time for his life? Hadn't it been enough that he'd been drug into court by Pearlman and that whole mess? Didn't that somehow make him exempt from ever going to court again?
"Yes," she explained.
Lance frowned and looked around. "He's really suing me?"
"He claims that you punched him and that Willa is keeping his kid from him."
Lance grabbed the envelope from Melinda's hand and ripped the one open that his name on it. He flipped a page to where the claims were listed. "That's totally not true! I may have wanted to ring the guy's bell, but I swear on a stack of Bibles that I never touched him. And Willa isn't pregnant or if she is she never has told me that."
"I know that. You know that, but for some reason someone out there seems to think that the idea needs to be proven in court."
"When's the court date?" He flipped the pages of the stapled packet and found that they were to be in court by the end of the month.
Melinda handed him the other envelope. "Give this to Willa for me."
"Sure." Lance folded up his copy of the summons and shoved it back into its envelope. He stood for a moment stared at the papers in his hand. He couldn't believe it. The guy was truly nuts. Saying things and slandering people was one thing, but pulling them into court was a whole other story.
Lance glanced at Melinda then shoved the papers inside his backpack. "Can I go now?"
"Make sure you call the lawyer today," Melinda said.
"I will," he mumbled.
"I mean it Lance. I put a call into him, but I'm sure he'll be wanting to discuss this with you. You'll have to give a deposition to him."
Lance looked down the hallway and found some people still watching him. His foot tapped nervously on the ground. "I know."
"Lance!" Melinda said and waved in front of his face.
"I KNOW." he stated firmly. He looked over at Wes, "Are we outta here?"
Wes nodded and they continued on their way down the hall. Lance let his mind wander and he tried to go over that night in his mind. He'd been drinking that night, having a good time, but not drunk off his butt, and he'd been out of control when Brennan had insulted Willa, but he never would have hit him. He never would have even thought to do that. He'd pushed into him a little, but wasn't that what any person would have done in his position? He needed the intimidation factor that came along with the action of pushing him, but Lance had learned long ago not to handle his problems through violence.
Willa turned her head to the side and looked out from where her cheek had sunken into the pillow. She had almost gotten fully asleep when she heard her cell phone ring. She was at the point in her sleep pattern where she felt like her body weighed about three times her real weight which made it hard for her to move to even look for the phone, let alone actually go and get it.
Swearing at her carelessness of leaving it across the room she threw the covers off the bed and grabbed for her bag where she'd left her phone. She wanted to catch the call before it clicked over to voicemail thinking that it might be Lance calling to check up on her. She needed to hear Lance's voice if she was going to get through the day. He might have said that he was coming back to the hotel, but knowing his hectic schedule he might have gotten caught up.
"Hello?" she said into the phone.
There was no answer for a moment. The sound of silence scared her a little so she took a breath and tried to calm her nerves by walking over to the window. She looked down at the street below and concentrated on watching people getting in and out of taxis for a moment to try to get her mind off her troubles. Usually, at home, it worked, but today it just reminded her of how long the silence on the phone had been there.
"Hello?" she asked again.
Finally, just before she thought she might hang up there was a low laugh then she heard the voice, "Having fun with him Willa?"
"Who is this?"
"Like you don't know?"
Willa thought for a moment. She took a guess at who it was and of course he had perfect timing. "Brennan?"
There was another laugh. "Good guess honey. I guess you haven't forgotten me."
A shiver ran through her as his slimy voice can through the line. "Brennan what the hell are you doing calling me?"
"I thought you might need a friend right about now," he said, "You know, with all the drama that Lance has brought to your life."
"A friend?" she asked in astonishment, "A friend? What the hell are you smoking you prick? This is all your fault!"
"Down girl, down girl," he said with a laugh. "You wouldn't want to hurt the baby."
"BABY?" she said angrily. "You know that you'll be in trouble when they found out that you filed false accusations against me. You seem to forget that I have one thing on my side Brennan. A good legal team, one that will go the distance for me...unlike you."
"Whatever," Brennan said.
"Why do you even think that I'd be having a kid in the first place?"
"Because I know how you like it. I may have lost you, but I remember how it was. I'm sure you can't leave your hands off Lance. It makes me sick to think that you're doing it, but your libido is too out of control to keep yourself too pure for too long."
The door of the room flew all the way open and the door made a banging noise as it hit against the wall. "What the hell is going on?"
"It's Brennan," Willa said to Spanky as he watched her with a worried look.
"Give me the phone," Spanky said angrily.
"He can't save you Willa," Brennan said into her ear through the phone. "I may not be able to rough you up in the way that Lance roughed me up--"
Willa wanted to spit in his face. She would have smacked him across the face if he'd been there in front of her. "Lance never touched you! He might have wanted to beat the shit out of you, but unlike you Brennan; Lance actually has some class. He's not a thug and would never start a fight in a club."
His laugh filled the phone line. "That's not what the doctor said when I showed him my black eye."
"BLACK EYE?" For an instant she felt lightheaded so she moved to sit down. "BLACK EYE, MY ASS!"
Spanky moved towards her, stepping across the room to her in what seemed like only two steps. "Give me the phone Willa," he demanded. He held his hand out and moved his fingers trying to encourage her to hand over the cell.
"There's one thing that I know about you that Lance probably doesn't even know..." Brennan's voice came out sounding sinister. She groaned at the sound of it. This was all too Hollywood for her. The whole think stunk like a bad movie plot.
"What's that?" she asked. She was curious about how he suddenly considered himself an expert on her considering that a few weeks ago she was sure that he wouldn't have been able to even tell someone her full name.
"I know your weaknesses and I know your faults and I know how to get under your skin. Lance may be the bruiser in the family, but words can cut deeper than any physical punch I could throw at you. Don't forget...it was me who you cried to when you had that...well lets say that eating problem a few months ago...and it was me who took you to Haven House."
"GIVE ME THE PHONE!" Spanky pulled the phone from her hand and put it to his ear. "Get this straight Brennan," Spanky spoke slowly. "I know you may think that its fun to torment Willa, but I swear you'd better stay on the other side of the street if we ever see you because I swear I'll kill--no wait...that'd be too easy. I swear that I'll make your life a living hell if you get near her."
Willa sat down on the bed, wrapping her arms around her as she watched Spanky pacing back and forth. She was scared to death and there wasn't a thing she could do about it. It was true. Brennan knew her faults and she had no way of stopping him from going to the press about it.
"FUCK YOU BRENNAN!" Spanky shouted. The voice made her jump a little. Thank God he was on her side, because if she ever had to go up against hi she knew that she'd lose.
As he passed her Spanky made eye contact with her for an instant then slowly let his hand, the free hand, came to rest on her shoulder and he massaged her shoulder a little as he listened.
"Wanna bet?" Spanky growled into the phone. "Wanna know what it's like to pee blood, because if you even think of getting near her I'll beat you senseless."
Willa winced at the sound of truth that she heard in his voice. She didn't want this. She didn't want any of this. All she wanted...all she'd ever wanted was to be with Lance and to be happy.
"Hello?" Spanky suddenly said, "Hello?"
A moment later he clicked off the phone. "Damn."
"What?" she asked.
Spanky stared at the phone for a minute then hit the end button and handed her the phone. "He hung up."
"What am I going to do Spanky?" she asked.
"You're going to stay calm and keep your wits about you."
Spanky angrily stalked out of the room. "I have to make some calls."
Willa watched him leave the room and felt a chill run through her. This was serious. If Spanky was getting involved in her phone calls she knew that her battle was just beginning and from Brennan's attitude on the phone the battle wasn't going to be a pretty one.
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