Snap Shots Series: Portrait
Spanky called Wes on his cell phone when they went to park the car. Traffic had been crazy around the coliseum, but at the security gate Spanky explained who they were and they were let into the parking lot and told to drive to the next security gate where they would get a special parking pass.
After a short walk across the already half full back parking lot Willa and Spanky were escorted to the backstage area of the coliseum.
"What's up girly girl?" Wes asked with a smile.
"Nothing," she said.
"How's that baby of yours?" he asked looking at her stomach with a smile. She'd never seen him look so happy to see her. He never had been rude to her in the past, but now it seemed like he was being over friendly.
"The baby is fine. I'm due next month and let me tell you, you should be glad you're a man and can't have kids. This is a pain in the butt."
"Yeah right," Wes said, "But you love it."
"Yeah," she rubbed her stomach.
"You ready to go see the guys?" Wes asked as he pulled out two laminated passes for them.
Willa put her pass around her neck and nodded. Her smile faded and her heart rate went up and she felt almost scared of the next few moments of her life.
Willa couldn't help but to notice a few stares as they walked the halls. She wasn't sure if it was because who she was or the way she looked, but she didn't like it and she tried to hide herself by curling an arm around Wes's arm and one around Spanky's arm.
"You ok?" Wes asked.
"I'm fine," she said with a laugh, "I'm not going to give birth today so you can stop trying to baby me."
"She hasn't been out in a while," Spanky said.
"That vacation of yours must have been good." Wes rambled on a little, "You look like you've been getting a lot of rest and that tan you're sporting makes you look a lot more like a Californian than I would have thought."
"Vacation?" she smiled, "Moving three thousand miles, getting a new job and carrying around a kid for eight months is hardly a vacation."
"I pity you," Wes said over her head to Spanky, "I remember when my sister had her last kid. Thank God I was on the road and couldn't be reached. My brother in law said he was going to kill her because she was so moody. They love my niece and all, but the nine months waiting for her were hell."
"Oh stop it," Willa said and gave his arm a squeeze. "You know that you'll love me and my kid when it's born."
"Have you told Lance yet?" Wes asked in a lower tone of voice than he'd been speaking in before.
Willa's head snapped up from where she was watching the floor as they walked. She stared hard at Spanky. "You told him?"
"Na," Spanky said, "He figured it out a long time ago. I just confirmed his suspicion when he asked me."
"Damn you Spanky," she said and stomped her foot, "I thought you were going to do what I asked and not tell anyone."
"I follow the rules just as good as you follow my rules." He stuck his tongue out.
"Ha, ha," Willa said and rolled her eyes. "Very funny big guy."
"I try," he said.
"So where are we going?" she asked as they turned a corner and headed down yet another hallway.
"To the dressing rooms." Wes pointed with his other hand. "It's just down there. You don't need a wheelchair or a golf cart or anything to take you? I should have asked you that before."
"No," she said and looked up to where they were headed. She saw an unfamiliar girl standing knocking at a door and wondered who she belonged to.
"Is that--?" Spanky asked under his breath.
Wes looked at where Spanky was looking. His expression didn’t change a bit, but he looked in Willa’s direction. "Yeah that's Jackie, Lance's girlfriend." His description of who she was came out in a softer voice than her name.
Unconsciously Willa's feet began to drag. Faced with the idea of seeing Jackie in person she began to try to stall. She had tried to psyche herself up for the moment, telling herself that Lance was out of her life and didn’t have any commitments to her, but it still stung a bit when she saw the girl knocking on what she figured was his door.
"Are you ok?" Spanky asked breaking into her thoughts.
"You aren't getting tired are you?" Wes asked.
"No," she said and took a breath and squared her shoulders, "I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yes," she said and rolled her eyes at him.
Jackie disappeared in the door and as they came up to the door Wes waited for a moment then knocked on the door.
"Who is it?"
The sound of his voice behind the door made her heart skip a beat and somehow she thought she felt the baby move.
"It's Wes," Wes said loudly, "Willa and Spanky are here."
"Ok. Come on in," Lance said.
Wes cracked the door open and Willa got her first glimpse of Lance. He was standing near a couch, actually more like leaning against the high arm of the thing holding onto his girlfriend's waist. Willa thought that they'd just been hugging from the comfortable way that his arms gripped her hips.
He looked good. He was far from having a tan left over from the summer, but he looked as normal as he had the last time she'd seen him. His hair was cut in the same manner and he seemed to be just as relaxed as he’d always been. He wore jeans and a T-shirt and running shoes and had a towel wrapped around his neck, which he took off and threw onto the couch when they came into the room.
"Hi guys," Lance said with a completely casual tone. He didn’t move from his spot next to Jackie, but he threw them a wave. It was a clear sign that he wasn’t truly welcoming them. They seemed to be just interrupting him. "Spanky, Willa, this is Jackie, my girlfriend."
Willa bit on her tongue to keep from crying as she watched him interact with Jackie. Jackie turned around and stayed so that his arms were draped over her shoulders and hung down along her chest. She watched his hands on her and remembered what it felt like to be in his arms. She looked away for a moment when the realization hit her. He belonged to someone else. She had known it for a while, had seen pictures of them together, but this brutal truth really hit it home.
Lance smiled at them then leaned his head close to hers and spoke to her in a soft voice. "I'm going to talk to them and catch up. Are you going to be ok hanging out with Bobbee tonight?"
"Yeah," she said, "We’ll be out in the VIP section with Tyler and everyone.
"I'll see you right before the show?"
"Uh, yeah." She leaned and kissed his cheek then turned to Spanky and Willa. "It was nice meeting you both."
Willa couldn’t think of a nice reply so she kept her mouth shut as she watched Lance’s girlfriend smile at her.
"I hope that you stick around after the show. Maybe we can chat then."
"That sounds great," Spanky answered for the both of them.
Willa still had her arm wrapped through Spanky's and she squeezed his arm tightly for support.
Jackie disappeared out the door a moment and soon Wes made and excuse to take Spanky to see the other guys, which left Willa and Lance alone in the room together.
"Well we meet again," Lance said in a breathy voice as if he was just as nervous as Willa felt. She watched him shove his hands into his pants pockets and rock back and forth while his eyes locked onto her face and stared.
The action made her nervous, him just standing there staring at her, but she wasn't about to tell him he had that effect on her. She needed to be strong. This was it and she didn't need to chicken out now.
Willa took a deep breath and smiled and looked at him, praying to God that he wouldn't see how much effect he had on her. "How've you been?" she asked in a small voice.
"I should be asking you that," he said. His eyes trailed over her body, stopping at her stomach for a moment before he made eye contact again. She could almost laugh at that. Usually men stared at breasts or hips or thighs or some other more sexy part of a woman's body, but a pregnant stomach was a new attraction for a man to be staring at, at least in Willa's experience. "I hear that you're due soon."
"Yep," she said and rubbed her stomach, "Next month, but I feel like this kid wants out now."
"So is Brennan still around?" he asked, "I heard that you two have been talking again."
Willa shivered at the mention of him. "We've spoken, but he's really not a part of my life right now."
"I thought I heard about him being a part of your life and you and Amy getting back to being good friends again."
"Where did you hear that?" She asked.
He hesitated. "I’m--It doesn’t matter where I heard it."
"Yes it does," she said, "I’m so disgusted with you right now I could spit. How could you ever think that I would let Brennan back into my life? He’s never going to be a part of my life again."
"Why not?" Lance asked.
Taking a huge breath Willa steadied herself and tried to make herself be courageous. She smoothed a hand over her stomach and said, "Because Brennan has no place in my life." She hadn't had the courage to continue with her statement to tell him the whole truth of the situation.
"He's the father of your kid and you're not going to let him in the kid's life?" The anger in his voice was surprising for her. She never would have guessed that he would be that upset about finding out that she was facing this pregnancy alone.
"Let me finish." His eyes almost burned a red color with his anger. "If I were that kid's dad I wouldn't let you do that to me. I mean I thought that you were bitchy, but this is so wrong--"
"Lance stop it."
"How can you defend him?" he asked.
"I'm not defending him! I could give two shits about Brennan. He's a complete asshole and I'm celebrating every moment that he isn't the father of this child!"
"What?" he asked.
"He's not the dad. Don't you get it?" she asked.
"What are you talking about Willa? If Brennan isn't the dad then who is?" he asked. He tipped his head as if he wasn’t quite hearing her correctly.
"You are the dad!" Willa said when she couldn't take any more of his rambling. "I don't know how you couldn't have known that! I know that you may be clueless when it comes to some things, but I never would have guessed that you would be so heartless to think that I was having Brennan's kid."
"But he knew about the baby. He knew and filed that report, that lawsuit," he countered with.
"It was a good guess. What can I say?" She threw her hands up to show how frustrated she was. "I know that he didn't know because I found out that day when I told you in New York."
There was a knock at the door and Willa turned to see Spanky leaning his head in the door. "Everything ok in here?"
"Yeah," she said and moved to take a seat. "Everything is fine."
"No it's not fine!" Lance said angrily towards the door.
There was a long pause, as Lance’s voice seemed to echo in the small room. "So you told him?" Spanky asked.
"Yes." Willa nodded and tried to keep from crying. This was all getting too hard.
"He knows about this?" Lance asked looking at the other man in the room.
"Yes, he's been with me for the last eight months." Her eyes narrowed automatically when the anger of the last few months surfaced. She had tried not to be angry over it, but it still bothered her that Lance had never once picked up the phone to call her and see how she was doing. They might have broken things off but she expected him to at least have a heart when it came to things like that. "Of course he knows. Hell almost everyone in the world knows that this baby is yours except you."
"Do the guys know?" Lance asked.
Willa put her hand to her forehead. She was feeling lightheaded from the screaming and the cool air in the coliseum was giving her Goosebumps. "JC does and I expect that the others probably were informed about it after his trip out to LA a few weeks ago."
"You ok sweetie?" Spanky asked.
She put a hand up to stop him when she saw him begin towards him. "I'm fine. I just need a second."
"You want some water?" he asked.
"There's some in here," Lance said and reached over and pulled out a bottled water. He handed it to her and stepped back from her giving her a strange look, like he would break her if he touched her or something.
"I don't want you to think I came here to complicate your life. I just thought that you should know that your son or daughter is going to be born soon."
"Willa, don't chicken out of this," Spanky said softly.
"Chicken out of what?" Lance asked.
Willa closed her eyes and gulped down some water. "Leave it alone Spanky."
"No," he said, "Willa I told you that I was going to protect you from the outside world, but now I feel like I need to protect you from you."
"What are you all talking about?" Lance asked.
"She's too stubborn to ask you Lance, but I think you need to take care of this kid financially--"
"Spanky shut up. That's not why I told him about the baby. I told you Spanky that I don't need his money."
Willa tried to push herself out of her seat, but she couldn't get herself up. She looked at the two of them and angrily yelled, "Get me up Dammit!"
Lance and Spanky both walked over to help, but she brushed off Lance's hand and took Spanky's. The look on Lance's face when she reused his help made her want to cry. She'd messed up everything again and was now going to pay the price for it.
Lance winced visibly when Willa yelled at him to leave her alone and all he could do was stand still trying not to reach out to her when she pushed her way out of the room. She looked really upset and he hated to think that she was really hurt by his actions. The worst part about it was that he knew that Willa was right about him being clueless. His intentions had never been to mess things up the way he had. He didn't remember exactly why he'd left her alone in the hotel room the day he'd found out about the baby.
He wasn't the evil type of person who could stand to see someone hurting, but he was hurt too. Or at least he had been. After all, he'd spent the last eight months without knowing about a child that he knew he should have been taking care of from the start. He truly had suspected it was his back in New York, but the conflict of having Brennan come out in the press and saying it was his gave him enough reason to doubt the feeling that he'd had when she'd told him. He wanted to believe her, but Brennan's knowledge of the baby made it impossible to do so.
Having kids was supposed to be a joyous event, but all he felt was pain. Pain for Willa having to face all those months without him, and pain because he didn't know how to make it all better without having to completely beg for her forgiveness.
It was his downfall. One look from her and he forgot everything. Including how to act like a normal human being and how to be himself. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he knew that he needed her back in his life. He’d thought that it had been a fluke while they were dating that he would have such strong feelings for her, but now, months later, he still got that feeling when he looked at her. He was still in love with her and he couldn’t do anything about it. Rationally he knew that it was going to be a battle, but he wanted to try and work things out with her. For his sake, for her sake and for their child's sake.
Taking big breaths Lance tried to comprehend the information that had just been delivered. Pacing seemed to come naturally as a headache formed over his left eye. He was going to be a dad. A dad. It didn't seem real, none of it did.
"What did I do?" Lance said and broke out in tears. His face curled as the pain of the moment hit him. He took a breath and squared his shoulders and tried to breathe, but he kept finding it hard to act normal now. He went over to the mirror and tried to wipe his face, but he found it hard to look at his reflection. He'd been horrible when he'd left her alone.
He thought he would be left alone when Spanky went after her, but he soon found himself faced with dealing with JC, who had a very a concerned look on his face. He didn’t know how JC knew to come and find him, but the guy looked like he was all ready to give him a speech. He could see him in the mirror, but he didn't make eye contact with his friend's reflection. The anger on JC's face was more than the anger that his own face reflected back at him in the mirror.
"What'd you do? Willa just ran down the hallway crying. I sent Bobbee after her even though she didn’t want anyone to follow her. I don’t know what you did, but I wouldn’t go and find Spanky any time soon. He looked really pissed off."
"What'd I do?" Lance said innocently then turned to face JC. "What'd you do? You knew about this and you didn't tell me! You knew that she hadn't told me that she's having our kid."
"She told you about that?" JC asked and leaned his back against the cement wall behind them as Lance leaned against the counter in front of the mirror.
"Yeah," Lance said and rubbed a hand over his face. His shoulders began to slump as he thought more and more about the events that were going to take place not only that day, dealing with Jackie, but also the birth of his child that next month. "She should have told me a long time ago."
"A long time ago you should have listened to her." JC's tone was accusing and he flinched to hear his friend sound so angry with him. "From what she told me you never let her tell you the whole story. You heard that she was pregnant and immediately assumed that it was Brennan's because of the lawsuit."
"And why shouldn't I think that it was his? I had no other reason not to think that it was his."
JC folded his arms across his chest then unfolded them again. "Because you were in love with her and her word should have come before any outside information."
JC's words were simple, but they drove the dagger home. Lance hadn't given her a chance to explain when he should have and now the whole thing was messed up. Although he knew that he was in the wrong, he knew that he didn't want to admit it aloud. He knew that his admission of guilt would send a shock wave through the group and his family and everyone else's families. They would never think about him the same way again if he admitted that he'd ignored her all those months.
"You've got to make this right Lance," JC said with a softer voice.
"Who's side are you on here? What the hell is going on that you'd know something like this and you wouldn't tell me?" Lance's voice rose and he found it hard to breath again as he tried to keep his tears inside.
"She made me promise that I wouldn't or I would have told you a long time ago."
"Since when do you pick to follow people outside this group to listen to?" Lance accused, "We always said that we'd do what was best for this group--NSYNC over anything else--and look what you've done? You've messed--"
"Shut up Lance!" JC yelled. "I'm not the one who messed up and don't you dare blame this on me! You should have asked her right off who's kid it was and you should have trusted her word over anyone else's. You were in love with her...hell, you still are, but you're too stubborn to admit that you were wrong and that you want her back."
"I have Jackie now," Lance said loudly. He wasn't sure if he'd said it that way because he was trying to convince JC or himself. "Willa isn't a part of my life anymore."
When the yelling got out of hand Wes stuck his head in the door. "You ok in here?"
"That's such bullshit!" JC said ignoring the bodyguard. He turned his head and leaned so that Lance would be certain to see him when he tried to avoid the conversation. "Jackie is a nice girl and all, but you and Willa were a million times better than you and Jackie will ever be." JC walked over and grabbed Lance's shoulder when he tried to turn away again. "You and Willa have this connection that people don't have. You put up with months of not seeing each other, rumors, hell I think all you didn't deal with was a hurricane or a flood. Don't give up on that."
"Willa and I are over," Lance said simply. "You don't understand. Being together in the same place is the easy part, its the what happens when you're together that messes everything up."
"I'll give you that," JC said, "But I know that when your family finds out that you're going to have a kid that they aren't going to like the idea of you not taking responsibility for your child."
Lance let out a sigh and dropped into a chair, "My mother is going to kill me."
"Everyone is going to kill you if you don't stand up and do what you should be doing."
"Do what I should be doing?" he asked, "And what the hell am I supposed to do? Willa and I can't get along and she's about to have my kid while my girlfriend is probably standing outside the door wondering why we're fighting."
"You need to calm down about this and think," JC said, "You don't have to get along with Willa to be a part of that kid's life."
"I'm not letting my kid grow up like that," Lance said, "I can't have that kid wondering all his life where his dad is."
"Then go get her and tell her that."
"It's not that easy."
Lance's head dropped and he covered his face as the room began to spin around him. It was all too confusing and too complicated and he didn't want any of it. He needed a break.
Pushing himself out of the chair he was in Lance squared his shoulders and walked out of the room.
In the hallway Wes began to follow him down the hall. When Lance saw Jackie talking to Steve, Joey's brother, in the hallway he choked back tears. This was going to kill Jackie. He knew it. And it was all his fault.
"Lance, what's going on?" she asked.
He held up a hand to stop her from coming over to him and spoke softly, "I'll explain later."
"Are you ok?" she asked.
"I'm fine," he said and didn't pause another moment. He was on a mission. He needed to be by himself and he needed it now or he was going to throw a fit.
Taking a right Lance pushed out of the building and headed towards the buses. Wes was still on his trail and spoke up when Lance went to go get in the bus, "You've got sound check right now."
"Fuck sound check." Lance shrugged then rolled his shoulders and stepped into the bus. "Stay out here. I need to be by myself."
Wes nodded and took a seat on the steps of the bus as Lance disappeared inside.
After walking the length of bus Lance flopped down onto the back bed and lay there trying to catch his breath. He stared at the clock on the VCR across the small room and tried to calm himself down. He knew he needed to get out whatever he needed to get out before he went on stage that night or it might be disastrous. He was not going to go on stage and cry. It wasn't professional and it just wasn't him. Plus it would start a million different rumors that he didn't need to be dealing with.
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