Snap Shots Series: Portrait

NINE


"You guys going to be ok?" Wes asked as they walked back into the hotel.

By this time all the guys who'd been at the hospital gathered waiting for news were now talking about Lance's big fight. It seemed that Justin got the most joy of reliving the moment he'd missed while JC had fully comprehended the event and had already begun to worry about how it might look in the press. They all knew it had been necessary, but they all knew that it was a serious situation and needed to be handled as such.

In the elevator things seemed to calm down a bit. It was after all in the middle of the night. It had been late when they'd gotten the call for Willa and now after all the commotion it was time to get to sleep.

"So what are you going to tell Jackie?" Chris asked in a small voice that didn't quite sound right coming out of his mouth. He seemed almost serious which seemed to set the other guys on edge. Even Dani and Bobbee noticed the strange vibe of the guys.

Lance looked around at the faces of his friends, "Eventually I'll tell her everything, but for now I'm not sure what I should do."

"Lance," Bobbee said, "You have to tell her what's going on. It's not fair for you to lead her on like that."

"I'm not trying to lead her on. I totally thought that the kid was Brennan's. I never would have started dating her if I'd known, but then again I probably would have been with Willa this whole time if she'd told me."

"I don't think you would have been there with Willa," Dani said.

Everyone gave her a shocked look.

"What?" Dani said, "If you thought that she was lying to you about something huge like that I would have thought you'd have broken up by now. You didn't trust her when you really needed to so how would you trust her in the mean time."

"She does have a point there," Bobbee said.

"Great. Thanks girls. This is really inspiring and all, but you don't know what happened that night, you don't know Willa and obviously you don't know me!"

"Calm down," Wes said then glared at Lance. "Yeah we don't know you Lance. The Lance that we all know would have done the right thing and wouldn't have assumed the worst of someone before getting all the information."

Lance stared at his feet. "Don't you guys think that I feel bad about all this? I mean if I really was an asshole like you all think I am I wouldn't have beat the shit out of Brennan tonight. He completely insulted her and me and my kid…" His voice shook when he realized that he was defending his son. "…I may not have made all the right decisions, but don't you think that I want to make it up to her…to them?"

"Well you'd better get started because once that kid is born and Willa has full custody its going to be harder and harder to win her over." Wes seemed to be the only calm voice in the room.

"I'm going to get it settled," Lance said, "But I really can't do much tonight now can I?" He folded his arms across his chest until they reached their floor then he walked down the hallway quickly, leaving the others behind.

As the light next to the bed flipped on when he returned to the room Lance winced and stepped back a little. He had been trying to sneak back in without waking her. At one point in the elevator thought about sleeping in Justin's room, but found himself going back to his room for the pure fact that he knew Justin was going to chat with him about the fight the way that JC had chatted at him in the emergency room. So he found himself in a horrible mood waking her up, when all he wanted to do was go to sleep and forget about the whole evening. "You're up?"

"Yeah," Jackie said rubbing her eyes. She was sitting up watching him with tired eyes. She looked happy to see him, but there was a concern he saw there that scared him. She shouldn't be thinking about him that much. She needed to know that he probably wasn't going to be around for much longer. "Where'd you go?" she asked smiling at.

The question was a simple one, yet Lance found himself not being able to answer her. He avoided her eyes as he moved further into the hotel room, pulling off the shirt he'd thrown on during his rush to find Willa. He flopped down onto the bed and looked at her, sighing uncontrollably when he saw the sad look in her eyes.

"What happened to your face?" she asked looking at him a little sideways.

Her voice trembled and she looked scared. He wasn't sure what about. It had been two hours or so since the fight. He had expected for her to be concerned, but shaking nervously wasn't something that he'd been prepared to deal with upon his return to the hotel. All he wanted to do was to go to sleep.

"Are you going to tell me?" she asked.

Another simple question with a not so simple answer. How was he going to explain it to her? His heart broke to see the worried look on her face. She didn't deserve any of this and he felt horrible for making her life so complicated. First it had been his schedule, but now it was just his life that was turning hers upside down.

"What happened?" she repeated.

"I got into a fist fight," he said. He actually felt a little cocky about that fact. He had never been one to get into physical altercations, but he liked knowing that he had gotten into one and held his own. At least now no one could say that he hid behind his bodyguards when things got rough. He'd gotten hit a few times, but if it had been a real fight, a Vegas fight, the judges would have sided with him.

"What?" Jackie jumped up from where she'd been in bed and immediately rushed to reach for his face.

"I'm fine," he said and moved away from the touch of her fingertips against his sore right cheek, "It wasn't anything big. Really."

"Sure it wasn't." She rolled her eyes at him.

He had never known her to be so sarcastic. It was a side of her that he wasn't sure he liked. Willa could be sarcastic until the cows came home, but on her it just didn't work.

"You look like you got beaten to death."

"Hey now." Why was he concentrating on being offended by her remark? He should have bee feeling horrible about leaving her earlier that night in such a manner. He guessed that being worried about being offended was keeping his mind from the guilt that he felt. "I was the one who won. You should have seen the other guy."

She stared at him angrily. "And who was the other guy?"

"The first rule of fight club is don't talk about fight club," Lance said with a smile and flopped back onto his back so that he was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. His head ached a little from his landing, but after a moment of rubbing his temples he relaxed.

"Lance don't joke about this," she said and leaned over him to look at his cheek more closely.

Lance lay still while she looked over his face. He avoided her eyes for the most part afraid that she'd see what he was thinking. He figured that she'd probably see that something was wrong with him, other than the bruised cheek, but didn't want her to see more. He shut his eyes when she stared at the cut near the corner of her eye. Kicking off his shoes, using his feet to push out of each one, he sighed heavily. "I need sleep."

He felt her hand on his chest and she rubbed a soft lazy circle over his ribs and stomach as she spoke to him, "Well come on and curl up with me and we'll go to sleep."

If he hadn't have left earlier to go find Willa he would have been excited by the sexy tone in his voice, but for the moment it only caused him to be more uncomfortable than anything else. He'd just run off to the other woman in his life and Jackie was sitting there accepting him back into her arms as if nothing happened.

Lance opened his eyes and stared into hers for a moment. He could see how she was trying to make sure that everything was ok for him, on the one hand he appreciated it, but on the other hand he wasn't sure that he could let her be so nice to him anymore.

"Actually I was going to take a shower real quick then go to bed," he said pushing himself up. He moved away from her and stared to undo his pants. "Why don't you go to sleep? I'll be to bed in a few minutes."

Jackie gave him a strange look and he could tell that she knew that he was trying to stall or something. He hated that she could tell that he was trying to get out of going to bed. He wanted her to think that things were ok. He had some time between now and when he saw Willa again and he needed to make a decision.

Fish or cut bait, as they say.

Lance moved away from the bed and went into the bathroom. He closed himself in, stripped his clothes off and stepped into the shower. Flipping on the water he stood under the spray of the water and let the heat of it relax him.

*****

"Lance Bass did I hear that you got into a fist fight?"

"Mom?" he asked groggily as he rolled over onto his back, gripping the phone to his ear. He was in bed, although he didn't remember how he got into bed he remembered that Jackie had been with him, but he didn't see her now and the bed next to him was cold when he stretched his free arm.

"No, it's your sister and you better be thanking God that Mama didn't find out about this before I did because she'd be out on the next plane to kick your butt around. What the heck were you thinking?"

"He called her a slut Stace. I couldn't let him treat her like that." He tried to convey his sense of duty to his sister. She knew how he hated when girls got treated the wrong way and he hoped that would be enough of an excuse for her to keep quiet about stuff for the moment. He really wasn't ready to deal with his parents yet.

"Who called who a slut?" she asked.

"How'd you find out about this anyway?" he asked.

"JC called me this morning to tell me about it."

"Son of a bitch."

"Watch your language!" Stacy said, "There is no excuse for you to go all barbarian on me now."

"Barbarian?" he asked with a smile. "Using your big words today sis?"

"Leave it alone and tell me why you got into a fight. Who started it? Please tell me it wasn't you. We can handle bad press, but if it turns out that you started this you're going to be hearing from Mom and Dad and anyone else out here in Brandon when this hits the news."

Lance sighed and rubbed his face. His cheek felt a bit sore, but other than that he felt good. "Brennan called Willa a slut."

Finally there was some shock in her voice when she answered, "Why?"

"Because he said that if Willa would keep to herself more then she wouldn't be confused about who JW's dad is." Lance punched the mattress with the hand that wasn't sore from the night before, "I wasn't about to let him say that about her or make any remarks about JW."

"JW? Who is that?" Stacey asked.

"My son," he said in a soft voice praying that she wouldn't hear him.

"She had the baby already? It's too soon isn't it?" she rambled excitedly, "Wait? YOUR son?"

"Yep. It's official," he shrugged and looked around the room again trying to figure out where Jackie had disappeared. "You're now an aunt to my little boy James Wilfred."

"Me?" she said loudly with a shocked tone. "You mean Brennan isn't the dad?"

"Like you ever thought differently."

"Eww, gross, my little brother had sex," she said with a nervous laugh then took a deep breath. He could picture her rubbing at her forehead already. He knew she didn't do well with news like this and he was sure she'd get off the phone and completely freak out when they were done. "I didn't know what to think. You were so mad at her and so upset that I wanted to side with you."

"Don't get smart with me little brother or I'll break the news to mom before you get home and can do it yourself."

"Yeah right."


"Mo-ther!" Willa walked slowly across the living room and picked up the remote from where her mother had left it on the coffee table next to the bottled water she'd been drinking earlier. She was in the kitchen now probably rummaging through the cupboards trying to find something to scrutinize.

"Willa honey, don't whine," her mother called to her.

"I'm sorry," Willa sighed and looked around for Spanky. It hadn’t slipped by her that he’d helped her into the house that morning and had disappeared into his room, shutting himself off from her and her mother's wrath. She didn’t blame him. In her current mood she wished she could send her mother packing. She remembered why she left to go off and model in the first place. Of course there was the money, but mostly it was the travel away from her parents. When she got in moods like this and when her mother was being "motherly" she needed to escape her. "I thought I wouldn't have to pick up after you when you came to visit."

"Honey, sit down." Her mother was pouring juice into a cup looking at her with such confusion on her face Willa thought she had two heads or horns or something. It was actually a funny look for her mother. She usually was cool calm and collected. The type of woman who’s hair was always in place, makeup was always perfect and dressed something between a nun and June Cleaver. "You don't look too good."

"Why would I look good? My son is in the hospital, his father is out of the picture and I found out last night that my father had an affair and I have a half sister!" Saying it all at once made her light headed and she had to lean against the counter for support.

"Honey, you need to rest." Her mother always made things sound so simple. "The doctor said that James can come home soon and you'll need the energy."

"His name is JW," she said angrily, "I'm not going to call him James."

"Then why did you put it on the birth certificate honey?" she asked.

Willa groaned.

She wished she didn’t have to even deal with her. It was already too much that she’d had to explain it to JC over the phone that morning, but now she had to retell the story every time someone new came within fifty feet of her.

The reporters had found out about the birth and she’d answered a few of their questions including revealing her son’s name to the press on the way to the car that Spanky had brought to pick her up in. She hadn’t really meant to say anything but someone had said the wrong name and she’d corrected them, by instict. Partly it was because the reporter had asked if her son was named ater Brennan.

"Because that's what Lance would want for him," she said.

"Like you need to be taking his opinion into consideration."

"Mo-ther," she whined, "Please leave it alone. I know you love me and all, but Lance and I will deal with this, you don't need to get into the middle of it."

"Lance isn't dealing with any of this. If he was he would have been there this morning to take you home and would have been there for his own son's birth the night before."

Willa held her head and walked out of the room. "I can't talk to you about this. You wouldn't understand."

"What I don't understand is that you slept with him, got pregnant, told him, he abandoned you, you came home crying to me and your father and now here you are back again defending him."

"I'm not defending him!"

"Yes you are. You should hate him for what he's done to you and your son, but somehow it hasn't gotten in your head that he treats you badly."

Willa took a deep breath as tears began to cry. "You don't understand!"

Spanky emerged from the bedroom and joined them in the living room. "You all ok?" He looked at mother and daughter and shoook his head a little as if he was disappointed in the two of them.

Willa nodded and sat down on the couch. "I love him Mom. I know its horrible to say after all that’s happened, but I do. I have since the moment I met him and even though I was mad at him all these months, I loved him then too."

"Honey be realistic. He's got a girlfriend now and you need to move on." Her head shook at Willa. Her eyes showed pity, not sympathy.

Her mother’s tone made her feel weak. She already felt horrible for not being able to stay away from Lance and now having her mother tell her that she was basically pathetic, didn’t help things.

"I can't," she said, "Not yet."

Spanky gave her mother a look and soon they were left alone in the living room to talk.

"I should hate him Spanky," she said giving Spanky a desperate look. She needed his help now more than ever. With JW coming home soon she knew that she couldn't be an emotional wreak or it would affect JW too. "Why can't I hate him?"

Spanky sat next to her and put an arm across her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "Because you two have been in love forever and you need each other even if at the moment it's hard to be there for each other."

"What am I gonna do?" she said, "JW needs a dad and I don't feel right if Lance wants to be in his life, but at the same time I feel like I don't want anyone else there either."

"Lance isn’t a stupid guy. He’ll figure it out sooner or later sweetie." Spanky said.

Willa was almost relaxed again when the phone rang. She went to go answer the phone in the living room when she heard her mother pick up.

"Hello? Willa’s house," her mother’s voice said. She even sounded like an answering service. "No, I’m sorry Lance, she’s not available to come to the phone right now...Yes this is her mother."

Willa grabbed up the phone and pressed it to her ear. "I’m here."

"Willa?" Lance said in unison with her mother on the line.

"Mother hang up now," Willa said trying to sound sweet when all she wanted to do was hold the phone away from her mouth and scream at her mother.

When the click was heard on the line that her mother was gone Willa paused for a moment then asked carefully, "What do you need Lance?"

He was hesistant in his answer. "I wanted to know how JW is," he said, "I’ve been busy this morning and I couldn’t get over there this morning, but I wanted to make sure that he’s ok. I tried calling the hospital, but they said that there is some list on who can have info about JW so..."

"I’m sorry Lance, but I’m not sure if you need that information," she said, "After all, you not really going to be in his life so I don’t--"

Lance immediately began to protest. "I’m his father Willa. I may have messed up while you were pregnant, but I’m not going to mess up my kids life. It’s too important."

"So I’m not important?" She asked, "Just your son is precious to you."

"That’s not what I meant," Lance said.

"Look, JW is fine and will be fine so just leave it alone."

"Willa, please, I’m trying here."

"Well it’s a litle late, like nine months late."

"Willa."

"Lance," she said mocking his tone.

"Fred." His tone changed and he actually sounded worried that he wasn’t getting through to her. "Fred, please don’t act like this."

"How should I act?" She asked angrily. "You know what? Nevermind. It’s not worth having this discussion. I’m realy tired and I want to go to sleep. We can talk about this later."

"When?"

"Whenever I stop hating you."

She clicked down the phone and looked at Spanky.

"Willa you have to stop being so stubborn.

"I’m not stubborn," she said angrily.

The phone rang a moment later and Willa grabbed it up. "Leave me alone!" She screamed into it when she picked it up.

"Well I have the answer to my question already," the female voice said.

"Elena?" Willa croaked out as tears began to fall.

"Yes sweetie," she said, "It is I, your princess in shining armor. I’m jumping on a plane right now to come out there so don’t worry. I’ll be there soon to save you."

"Thank you, thank you," Willa said with teary eyes.

"I take it that you talked to Lance today?" She asked.

Willa sniffed and wiped her cheeks. "Yeah. Just a second ago."

"He called me this morning first thing and told me that I needed to get on a plane and get to you. He’s really worried about you," Elena said, "He said you wouldn’t let him see your baby boy and the hospital didn’t even recognize that he was the father."

"It’s true," she said, "I can’t risk it. He doesn’t need to know the child that he’s had nothing to do with for the last few months."

"I’m not going to take sides here Willa, but he was really upset this morning."

"Yeah well he has Jackie to help him out."

"Not from what I can tell," Elena said.

"What?" Willa asked.

"From what I got out of him he said that you hated him and Jackie left him and he was basically feeling like he’d been abandoned."

"An eye for an eye. I knew that karma would come and bite him in the ass."

"Willa. I know the man hasn’t been the best of guys, but he really is hurting. He might not show it, but this has really torn him up."

"Why was Lance calling you up and complaining to you anyway?"

"Lance wasn’t complaining. He called me up and asked me to call him after I’d seen your son. He just wanted to know if he was ok or not."

"Well tell him he’s fine and that he doesn’t need Lance to come and cause troule for him."

There was a noise behind Elena and a moment later Elena spoke, "Don’t be so harsh on him Willa. He loves you. I’m sure he does."

"Well he has a funny way of showing it."

"He’s a man. They all have a funny way of doing everything."

For the first time in days Willa let out a laugh.


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