Snap Shots Series: In Focus

SIXTEEN


Friday came too soon for Willa. After a few days of running around in circles, trying to keep track of her schedule and Lance's she was dead tired. It was bad enough when they were in different cities, but trying to coordinate seeing each other when they were in the same city and working was a whole new and backbreaking ordeal. She couldn't remember when she'd made more calls on her cell phone than during that week.

When she pushed her way into the bathroom that morning after waking up alone she found Lance standing, just out of the shower, brushing his teeth. She smiled at the way they'd become so domestic with each other. Every morning that week they'd woken up, showered (sometimes together-sometimes not depending on how much time they had), and had shared the bathroom as they were getting ready for the day. She didn't know at first how much that little time with him each morning would become precious to her, but by lunchtime she was thinking back on those moments. Those boring little moments together, with him brushing his teeth and getting dressed hoping that they would have more calm moments like that together.

It had been a long week. With the worry over the whole court mess, her schedule of three print shoots and an interview with a new designer, and Lance's busy schedule of press events, it seemed as if they barely saw each other during the day. From the time they woke up in the morning until the time they went to sleep at night there seemed to be something scheduled. It wasn't at all the perfect schedule for either of them, but at least they weren't talking to each other over the phone. They had those few minutes before they went to sleep at night and those early morning moments before the alarm went off, that seemed to keep them going.

"Hey," Lance said with a mouthful of toothpaste as he brushed his teeth, "What are you doing today?"

"This morning I have to go to see Elena, get my schedule and stuff, then I have to meet with a new photographer." She moved to the counter next to him and as she passed she placed a kiss on his bare neck where it met with his shoulder. Settling herself on the edge of the counter she picked up her brush and began to pull it through her hair. "I'm going to meet you and that Kenneth guy for lunch."

"Good," he said and spit.

Willa had made a face at that action the first morning that he'd spit in front of her, but now she knew his drill and knew that it wasn't because he wanted to be gross.

He rinsed his mouth out then looked at her with a smile. "All better."

Taking the hint Willa leaned and kissed him quickly. "What about you?" she asked.

"I have a radio thing in about twenty minutes," he turned to the mirror and began to work on his hair. "Then I have a press thing at FAO Swartz, which I'm sure will run over. I need to do some shopping, but I'm sure they'll make us pose with those damn dolls for extra long. Then I'm going to head to lunch while the guys go to Planet Hollywood."

"I still can't believe that my boyfriend has his own Barbie doll. I better not catch you cheating on me with Barbie or Skipper." She laughed.

"It's not a damn Barbie doll. It's an ACTION FIGURE."

"I thought it was an marionette."

He nodded and reached out and pinched her side teasing her.

"What'd they say about your lunch?" she asked. She turned to the mirror and began to pull her hair back into a ponytail. She'd washed it the night before and it would get washed again when the shoot started so she thought she'd only slip into the shower and get clean before she left.

"What? The guys?" he asked.

"Yeah."

"They know that its important and me missing lunch with them isn't at all something that would piss them off. Johnny knows what's going on and Melinda even offered to go with me to lunch. She made sure that the lawyer gets a ride into the city. He's going to show up and eat with us." He didn't look at her while he fixed his hair then he turned and smiled at her. "Look ok?"

Willa moved her hand to his forehead and wiped away some gel that had gotten accidentally put there and laughed a little, "You really are spoiled, you know that, don't you?"

"The only reason I'm spoiled is because I got to spend the week with you," he said.

"Yeah, like we even spent that much time together." She sighed. If she counted up the time they spent together it probably wasn't much, but at least they were there in the same room unlike the time when she'd been in Europe and Australia.

"That's not the point. It was the fact that I got to go through my day thinking about how many hours instead of how many days it would be until I saw you that got me through."

She turned her head and looked at him. She smiled, "You know what?"

"Hmmm," he said as he leaned and moved her robe away from her neck and placed a kiss on the skin that was now bare.

"You really are the mushiest guy I know."

"Mushiest?" he asked with a smile, "Is that even a word?"

"Of course it is," she said with a nod. She leaned her head a little towards him as he kissed her cheek.

"Just making sure," he said. He pulled away from her.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Unless you want me to go out in public in this towel, I think I should get dressed," he said, "If we were back home I'm sure I'd stay in this all day, but it's kinda cold out there."

"Oh...yeah," she said.

"And young lady, you should put something on too if you don't want to get assaulted on the streets," he said. He smacked at her bottom playfully and left her in the bathroom.

Willa finished doing her hair, pulling it out of the way then jumped in the shower and quickly washed off. She returned to her robe again and made her way out to their room. Lance was already dressed and was collecting up his things to leave. She found him digging through the rumpled covers on the bed.

"Have you seen my watch?" he asked.

"It's on the nightstand," she said.

He looked up and immediately retrieved it.

"So I'll meet you back here at eleven then?" she asked.

"Yep, Kenneth and his daughter are going to meet us at twelve thirty downstairs for lunch and the lawyer should be checked in and waiting for us here."

"Ok. Call me if you change your plans." She knew he would probably call anyway since he had every other day, but she wanted to remind him to talk to her while she was out and about.

"Have fun with Elena today. Tell her that I wish I could come to visit, but duty calls."

"Duty, yeah right."

"It's hard being me."

"Yeah right." She let out a laugh.

"Just tell her hi then," he said.

"Will do," she said and leaned towards him. It was that type of kiss that seemed comfortable and expected, as if their day couldn't continue unless they kissed each other good-bye. Willa loved that about him. He was very traditional and very non-traditional at the same time and although she was an independent woman, kissing her "hubby" on his way out the door to work always seemed to leave her in a good mood for the rest of the day.

"I'll see ya."

"Stay calm," he said then opened the door. "I love you Fred."

"I love you too," she said and watched him disappear.


"Dahling!" Elena greeted her upon her entrance into the little cave known as Elena's desk. As usual things looked out of control, but Willa had the feeling that it was more creatively organized than unorganized. She'd never lost any of Willa's paper work and didn't think that she would start any time soon.

Willa looked around, saw the pile of papers and said, "Busy much lately sweetie?"

"Not like you miss rock star," Elena joked as the two women shared a hug.

"Yeah…sure…" She sighed and thought of how busy Lance had been that week. "I'm not the one who's been running around in circles all day long. That's Lance."

Elena smiled a wide smile. "And how is your boy?"

"He's fine." She could tell that she was blushing or something from the way Elena smiled knowingly at her, "He's at meetings all day so I came by to see you."

"He let you off your leash?"

"It isn't that bad. I've been working while he's been here. I don't see him except when we're sleeping."

"So you have been staying over there with him."

"That's not your business Elena," Willa said firmly, but could tell that she was blushing more from the way Elena chuckled.

"Where's the monster?" Elena asked standing up and looking over the edge of her cubicle.

Willa pushed her down into her seat. "He's not a monster. SPANKY is in the lobby reading a book."

"Ok first off I can't believe that he can read and second of all I still can't believe you travel with that guy."

"It's come in handy a few times actually," Willa said and perched herself on the edge of the desk.

"What? Does he carry your luggage for you or something?" Elena made an elephant noise. "I'm sure he makes a good pachyderm."

"Elena!" She covered her mouth as she tried not to picture Spanky with huge ears like dumbo. "That's so bad. I don't know what I'd do without Spanky around. And he's not a pachyderm. He's a great guy who is trying to help me stay sane."

"Sane?" Elena said. "You lost that status when you started dating the rock star."

"Lance isn't a rock star. He's…"

Elena made a sour face. "Admit it. A million little kids love the boy. I'd call him a member of a boy band or whatever but I'm sure you'd rip my head off for that too. I think the last I heard Justin was calling them a DUDE band, whatever that means."

Willa laughed then stopped when she noticed herself laughing. Other than the little time she'd spent with Lance that week she couldn't remember a time that she'd laughed. She'd been too tired from everything to even try to laugh, which was something considering they were staying with Chris and Joey. Those two were the funniest guys, but she couldn't remember if she'd laughed at their jokes this trip.

Willa's phone rang in her pocket so she fished it out not bothering to look at the caller ID. She thought it would be Lance and no one else had been calling her that week so she didn't think twice about just answering.

"Hello."

"Hi honey, how are you holding up?"

"Mom?" she asked. It didn't quiet sound like her, but it wasn't Lance or anyone else who she thought would be asking.

"Willa it's Diane, Lance's mom," the voice said.

"Oh," she said and the information seemed to seep through, "Oh. Hi. Did Lance call you or something?"

"You know my boy too well," Diane said, "He wanted me to check up on you a little and see how you were. He and I had a conference call a while ago and he told me to tell you that he's going to be busy until you guys meet up at lunch."

"I can't believe he's making you be a message service," Willa said.

Elena got a phone call so the two women sat and spoke to different people on the phone.

"I don't mind. I haven't seen you or heard from you in a while so I wanted to make sure that you were ok."

"I'm fine and actually this week has been good." She wondered if she knew that Lance had booked her in to stay at the hotel with the others. When they'd been in the presence of his mother and father before there hadn't been much mention of the two of them being that close. Sure they were dating and were close in that sense, but she wasn't sure how open Lance was with his parents about the more romantic parts of his life.

"I heard that you two have been putting up with some crazy reporters."

"Yeah, well we got thrown into this whole court thing...he told you didn't he?...anyway it's all way too complicated, if you ask me."

"Lance was saying you have a meeting today?"

"Yep," she said, "Hopefully we can get some of this stuff settled and move on with things."

Elena's call ended and the phone rang immediately again. "AMY YOU LITTLE!"

"Well honey it sounds like you are busy. I'll let you go. You know you can always come down and escape to good old Brandon, Mississippi if you need to get away."

"Thanks Mrs. Bass," she said.

"No trouble honey," Willa said.

Willa hung up the phone and listened to Elena's conversation.

"No I'm not going to tell you how to get in touch with Willa. She doesn't really want to talk to you right now. The only people I'm allowed to let have her number are her friends and you AREN'T one of them. I'm surprised that you even would side with that ass BRENNAN!"

Willa stood back and watched Elena go into protective mode. There was no stopping her when she was fighting with someone.

The noise must have been loud because people around them were looking over the cubicle and soon Spanky came to find her.

While the yelling continued Spanky spoke to her, "I thought someone was attacking you or something from the noise that she's making," he said with a laugh.

Elena spattered out a string of swear words.

"Elena is just explaining to my 'friend' Amy there that she doesn't need to get a hold of me and shouldn't at all expect that I would want to get in touch with her."

"We should get out of here and get back to the hotel," Spanky said looking at his watch.

"Sounds good," she said.

Willa waved to Elena, mid yell, and put her hand up for Elena to call her later. Elena leaned over and kissed Willa's cheek then went back to her conversation.


 

Willa found herself feeling very nervous as they approached the restaurant. Lance had met her upstairs after his latest morning meeting and they were making their way to eat with the escorts of Spanky and Wes and Lance's lawyer Mr. Grant Jacobs. The guys were on alert, like normal, but now it seemed as if Willa had taken on their attitude. She was scanning the huge lobby like Spanky and Wes both were. She didn't know exactly what she was looking for. She just knew that she needed to keep an eye out. She wasn't at all comfortable being there and going to the meeting and she had a feeling as if this coincidence was too good to be true. She felt that this meeting was going to get them into more trouble instead of getting them out of trouble.

She looked over at Lance. Compared to him she was a complete mess. He was a pillar of strength. He had his shoulders back and was walking like he always walked. A normal smile graced his lips. That half smile with his eyes looking lazy as if he was completely relaxed. Completely secure with everything going on around him. She hated that. She squeezed his hand. If she was ever in need of a pep talk, it was now.

He turned to her slowly and looked at her as if was trying to make sure she really had wanted to get his attention. "Huh?"

"How come you don't look nervous?" she asked. She moved her hand so that their fingers were laced together; palm to palm. Somehow the action made her feel safer. She was standing with Wes and Spanky and him, but the touch of his hand did more for her than any bodyguards could do.

"Because I'm not," he said. He moved his arm and pulled her closer so that their shoulders touched as they made their way to the restaurant. "I know that this meeting is going to get rid of Brennan and Amy and that will be that."

"I hope so."

"You hope so?" He stopped and looked at her, "What's wrong?"

Spanky and Wes stopped and looked at the two of them with worried looks on their faces. The lobby was fairly crowded and the chance of being caught up in a fan frenzy was high considering that everyone knew that the guys were in the city.

"Nothing," she said with a sigh. She looked around the room just to make sure that no one was staring at them or anything. She'd felt eyes on her for most of that morning, even when she'd been alone. "I just don't like the feeling of someone being out to destroy me." Her sarcasm faded after that and was replaced by a more whining tone, "I mean what did I ever do to deserve this." She felt her eyes tear up and Lance pulled her into a hug.

"Nothing is going to happen to you," Lance said, "If it comes down to you leaving New York or leaving your job or whatever, I'm not going to let it ruin you."

"Leaving New York?" she asked, "I don't want to leave New York. I like New York. I love New York!"

"Calm down," he said.

Wes tapped him on the shoulder and they made the silent decision to head in the restaurant.

Once they were seated, with Wes and Spanky at a table close by, Lance looked at his watch, "We're a little early."

Willa sat in her chair and stared at him angrily.

"What?" he asked.

She leaned towards him across the table and spoke in a low angry voice. "What? What was all that about me leaving New York and my job?" she asked.

"Nothing," he said. His eyes went wide for a moment as if he was surprised she was angry with him. "I just wanted…want…you to know that if it comes down to something extreme I'm going to be there for you and make sure that you have everything you need or could ever want. I just don't want you to be worrying about how this is going to effect your life."

"How can I not?" she said, "They've accused me of something horrible, thrown my name all over the place. How can I not have it effect me?"

"Fred, calm down. I thought the comment would make you feel better but I guess its just stressing you out." Lance dropped back in his seat and frowned.

Willa was about to lean over to explain her feelings to him when a girl who looked to be about twelve rushed to the table. Wes got out of his seat and started to pull her away from the table.

"No," she said desperately looking at Lance. "I'm supposed to be here. My dad is late and I came to tell you."

"Wes, it's ok," Lance said, "It's Kenneth's daughter."

"Yep," she said with a smile, "I'm Jasmine."

"Well nice to meet you Jasmine," Willa said with a smile. She scooted over and the girl slid into the seat next to her.

Lance's eyes scanned the room quickly. "So where is your father?"

"He went to go meet up with his friend and got caught in traffic. I stayed here at the hotel so he called me and told me to come and tell you that he was going to be late."

"Well that was nice of you," Willa tired to focus on Jasmine and keep the rest of her worries away from the front of her brain.

Everything was going smoothly until Grant showed up at the table. Willa could tell that something was up due to the nervous state of the lawyer. When they'd parted ways only a few minutes before he'd been completely confident and not at all effected by the meeting, but now he looked like he was about to go to court of something. He leaned over and spoke into Lance's ear and Lance looked at Willa. "Are you sure?" Lance asked.

"Yep," Grant said softly. His eyes twitched and somehow Lance seemed to take some kind of hint from the action.

"Fred, you know what?" Lance began to slide out of his seat, "I forgot something in the room. Will you come with me?"

"Can't you go by yourself?" she asked.

"I forgot my phone and Grant said that my mother was trying to get a hold of me."

"You already talked to your mom today," she said. She looked at Jasmine who seemed to be perplexed by the whole situation.

"Willa." His voice shook with emotion now. "I need you to come with me upstairs."

Willa watched his eyes. He looked worried so she waited until Jasmine moved out of the booth and Willa slid out and joined Lance as he slid out of the booth.

"We'll be back," Lance said, worry evident in his voice.

"What's going on?" she asked as she left Grant and Jasmine at the table and followed Lance, Spanky, and Wes across the lobby.

"I'll tell you upstairs," Lance said as they stepped into the elevator.


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