Snap Shots Series: Portrait
It was early the next morning when Lance heard a small cry in his ear. It wasn’t exactly the way he would have liked to be woken up after a slightly sleepless night, but when he saw his son’s face looking up at him he smiled.
"Morning JW," he said softly as his son blinked and gurgled at him, "I know big guy. I'm up."
Leaning over Lance found the clock in the room and noticed that it was way too early to be up. Normal people usually got up at this time, but he was on vacation and didn't need to be getting up just when the sun was.
Trying not to move he slowly woke up. His back ached and his shoulder and part of his arm were asleep, but other than that he didn't have much to complain about considering all things.
"It’s way too early to be up," Lance said softly. His voice was thick with sleep and his body protested his conscious status due to the fatigue from the flight the day before, but seeing his son there with him put him at ease. He was in Seattle; with them; where he belonged; and that made his day start out way better than it would have been if he’d been stuck in Orlando that morning.
JW yawned and whimpered a little. "I know Fred," he said, "It’s way too early to be up. We’re going to have to work on that one. Rule one in life: Never get up early unless you seriously have to."
JW gurgled happily at him again sticking out his tongue a little.
"Great. A comedian," he said with a nod as he patted his back. JW let out another yawn and gurgled at him.
"Lance who are you talking to?" Willa asked groggily from next to him.
Lance turned his head and readjusted JW on his chest so that he could see Willa. Her eyes were slightly open and she was watching them with a pinched expression on her face as if she were trying hard to stay asleep.
"JW and I were having a bonding moment," he said, "We were learning that sleep is a good thing and that we should never wake up early unless we really have to."
"Can you keep it down?" She asked through her squinted eyes and snuggled into his shoulder more.
Somehow in the middle of the night she'd draped herself over his body and was now practically lying half on top of him with her head tucked to the side of his neck and her arm curled around his chest. Her hand was now tucked just under the edge of his T-shirt and when she moved to get closer to him she grabbed onto his side a little. He had to keep himself from laughing, not because it was at all funny, but because he was a little ticklish in that spot.
In her still sleepy state she didn’t seem to notice how they were lying together and he wasn’t about to inform her of where she was. He liked the idea of the two of them there together and wanted the warm feeling of her against him to last just a little longer that morning.
"Sorry Fred," he said softly. He turned his head and pressed his lips lightly to her forehead. The kiss he placed there lasted only seconds, but he was grateful that she didn’t pull away or make a comment about it. I she had she would have ruined the whole moment.
Finally it seemed that Willa had woken up enough to know where she was and he thought that she’d been shocked by him using her nickname again. She lifted her head up to look at him and was about to open her mouth to say something when Lance leaned and kissed her, cutting off any comment she could have made.
Her lips reacted to his, matching the kiss he gave, but when she pulled back she had a very confused expression on her face.
Feeling the tension between them return Lance coughed a little. "Merry Christmas," he said softly and reached to push her hair back from her face.
"Merry Christmas," she mumbled then looked at JW instead of him.
Seeing that the subject was going to be ignored Lance moved to sit up a little. "JW woke me up. I think he needs to be changed."
"You want me to do it?" she asked and leaned her head against his shoulder.
Lance smiled. It wasn’t a definite answer about how things would go between them, but at least she hadn’t gotten up and run away. He didn’t know if he could have handled that.
"No," He said, "I’ll do it."
Willa reached out and took JW’s little hand in hers. "Morning Mr. JW," she said, "Merry Christmas."
JW gurgled a little then began to start to look like he might cry.
"I should get up," Lance said.
"I love the fact that you’re going to change him, but does that mean you really have to move?" She asked and moved to press her cheek against his chest.
"As much as I’d love to stay like this for the rest of the day, I think that JW would get a little...well a little fussy," he said.
A giggle escaped her mouth and she smiled at him. "You said fussy."
He nodded. "So?" He said with a mock defensive tone.
"I guess we should get up and change him then," she said.
"Yeah," Lance said, "And you have to open your presents."
"I told you that I didn’t think we should go overboard with gifts," she said.
As Willa untangled herself from him to push herself into a sitting position Lance felt a chill go through him. He hadn’t noticed how much he liked the way she was lying with him until the heat of her body disappeared.
"Did you see me bring a moving van with me last night?" He said.
"No," she said.
"Well I only brought one gift a piece," he said.
"Only one?" She asked.
"Did I stutter?" He asked with a laugh. "I love the way you get all sad looking when you aren’t getting spoiled."
"Whatever Lance," she said.
Lance moved to get up and went through the motions of changing JW while Willa sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her eyes as she watched him.
"Done," Lance said holding his hands up when he was done.
"What are you doing?" She asked, "Calf roping? You look like those rodeo guys on TNN when they tie the little cows up then put their hands in the air."
"They’re called cowboys," he said with a smile and picked up his son and held him against his shoulder for a moment.
Willa pushed herself to a standing position. "Why don’t I take him to get breakfast and you get a shower then we’ll see what my parents are up to today?"
"Sounds good to me," he said. He kissed his son’s forehead then handed him over to Willa.
"Grab up your stuff and I’ll get you a towel and you can shower."
Lance nodded and the two of them went to work. It was almost like old times. He remembered them way back when they would work together instead of against each other. He actually remembered that Willa usually the one helping him get out the door or get done, but he still liked the idea of them being a team again.
Willa was just putting JW into his carrier after she'd changed him and fed him when Lance strolled into the kitchen wearing jeans, a T-shirt and socks.
"Your mom's up," he said as he pulled out a chair and sat down next to her. She put her foot up on the edge of his chair from where she was sitting in the other chair. He patted the top of her foot, "I saw her in the hallway."
Willa could see the sarcastic look on his face as if their meeting had been the highlight of his morning. It was that reaction that had kept her from inviting him to Seattle in the first place. She knew her parents were proper people and wouldn't say anything to Lance about their unmarried status, but somehow she knew that there would be tension between them always.
"She didn't attack you or anything did she?" Willa asked.
"No," he laughed. His hand moved to her ankle and encircled it. "You're getting skinny again," Lance said.
"Thanks a lot," she said and rolled her eyes.
"I meant that you're losing the baby weight fast. It wasn't supposed to be an insult."
"I didn't take it that way," she said.
Silence filled the room.
"SO what did my mom have to say to you this morning?" she said softly, "I didn't hear any yelling so it sounds like you survived."
"Yeah well she yelled the other day," he said, "She got all that out the other day on the phone."
Willa's eyes went wide. She knew that her parents weren't thrilled with the whole situation seeing that her father still couldn't get used to the idea that first his daughter had lost her virginity, and second that it was to--in his words--a rockstar. "She did what?"
Lance smiled, "I'm kidding Willa. Your mother loves you and gave me a good lecture, but I don't think she'd actually yell at me."
"Don't get too comfortable Mr. Bass," her mother said coming into the kitchen. She wore a long robe, tied tightly around her as she went over to the coffeemaker and began to prepare coffee for the morning.
When she was done Willa's mother came to her side and gave her a half hug then leaned over and pressed a kiss to her grandson's forehead. "Merry Christmas Angel."
"Merry Christmas Grandma." Willa spoke in a tiny voice as if JW was answering her then looked over and smiled at Lance.
"Grandma?" her mother said and looked over at Lance and pointed a finger. "I should really kick you out for that one."
"Me?" he asked with a smile, "I didn't call you Gran--I didn't call you that."
"Yeah, but it's your fault I'm a grandma," she said with a laugh.
"Mother are you drunk?" Willa finally asked when her mother laughed her way across the room and began to pull out things to make breakfast with. Willa turned to Lance, "What is she smoking? She's never this laid back."
"Willa honey, I am in the room," her mother said.
"Well I want to know what's going on because you're never this informal and you told me the last few times that I saw you that you hated Lance!"
"No reason," her mother said and winked at Lance.
"Mrs. Marviani," he said with a warning tone.
"I'm sorry sweetie, but I can't help to be glad that you to are back together."
"We're not--" Willa looked at Lance, "We're not officially back together."
"You aren't?" her mother asked looking at the two of them with a critical eye.
"No!" Willa said and looked at Lance. "No offense Lance."
He just gave her a look and stood up from where he was sitting. He reached over and picked up JW and without a word left the room. She couldn't tell if he was just not making a comment on the situation or if he had been hurt by her comment so instead of sticking around to argue with her mother Willa went in search of Lance and her son.
She found the two of them on the couch. Lance had stretched out in front of the television and was holding JW on his stomach patting his back.
"Lance?" she asked.
"Hmm?" he said lazily.
"Why'd you leave?" she asked.
"I didn't want to hear you bash me so I thought I'd leave before it got ugly."
"I wasn't bashing you," she said, "Were you really offended when I got defensive about us being together?"
"A little," he said keeping his eyes on his son and not her.
"What Willa?" he said with a sharp tone. "I thought that we were moving forward, but it seems like I've gotten no where with you the last few weeks. You still don't trust me."
"It's ok Willa," he said, "Really it is. I didn't expect to come her and have you fall back into my life, but I thought at least we can come back to being friends again…for JW's sake if nothing else."
Willa stood and watched him. His expression was very serious and his tone had been scary. He seemed to have made up his mind about things. She'd thought that they would eventually get back together, but discussing that in front of her mother definitely wasn't that place to be talking about such things.
"It's not that I don't want to be friends or--" She took a deep breath. "My mother likes to blow things out of proportion and I knew that if I told her that we were talking again that she'd tell all the relatives that we were back together. My relatives would have assumed that meant that we were going to get married or something."
"Really Willa," he said and finally looked up at her, "You don't have to explain."
Willa flopped down into the seat across from him. "But I do have to explain," she said, "You and I need to be honest with each other, especially now that we have a child involved. I want JW to grow up in an environment where he doesn't have to be too critical of people and in a setting where lying isn't the norm."
"That's fine Willa," he said, "I don't have a problem with that," he said. He got up and handed her JW.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"To get your present and JW's present," he said.
He smiled at her and cocked his head to the side a little and smirked at her. "I'll be right back."
Willa watched him leave and could tell that the good mood he'd been in that morning was now gone. She didn't know what to do to restore that nice little feeling that had been between them when they'd woken up that morning and it scared her that this "fight" they were in was going to last forever.
"What do you say Fred?" she asked her son smiling at him, "Do you think Daddy needs to stay or go?"
JW gurgled and smiled at her.
"That doesn't help," Willa groaned out.
"Talking to yourself?" Lance asked coming back into the room. He carried two small boxes in his hand as he sat down next to her.
"No," she said, "He and I were just discussing some issues we're having."
"He doesn't need a shrink already does he?" Lance asked.
"No," she said, "We just needed to make a decision, but since he can't really state his opinion, it's been a bit of a struggle."
Lance held up the two boxes, "I'll trade you JW for these."
"You sound like you're playing a card game."
"Give me a break Willa," he said, "I want you to open them and I thought I could hold JW."
Willa's eyes shut as she blushed. She hadn't meant for it to sound like she was upset at him about it. It had been a joke, but he hadn't taken it that way. She never would have really accused him of trying to buy JW's love or her love. She might think it every once in a while, but she never would say it aloud to Lance.
"Fine," she said. She moved JW over into Lance's arms and picked up the first box.
She held the box up so JW could see it. "This one's for you JW," she said and pulled the box open slowly to reveal a CD inside.
She held it up. "He's a little young to start a CD collection."
"Just read the titles," Lance said.
Willa looked at the song titles and smiled, "Puff (The Magic Dragon), This Old Man, Skip To My Lou, House At Pooh Corner, Baby Beluga, The Banana Boat Song--What'd you do? Go on napster and get all these?"
"No," he said, "I sang them for JW."
"You spent studio time singing these for him?"
"Yeah," he said, "It was kinda funny to have JC producing children's songs."
"You guys did that for him?"
"I won't tell you how much it cost to do it, but really I think that at least if I can't see him every day of his life, that he should at least be able to hear my voice."
"You won't see him every day?" she asked in a daze.
"Yeah," he said, "Because I have to be on tour and stuff."
"Oh," she said.
Lance smiled. "Go on and open the other one."
Willa opened the other box and found another CD in it. "What's this one?"
"Just read the titles."
Willa looked at the cover for a moment. It was a picture of New York City. The titles on the back didn't seem to have any connection to anything and she looked at him with a confused look.
"You don't get it do you?" he asked.
"Not really," she said.
"Well, the first song was the song I wanted to dance with you the first time I met you. The second is the one that was on in the car when we went to the photo shoot for the video. The third is the song from the video, and it goes on and on through up until the last time I saw you before I found out about JW being mine."
Willa was shocked that he would remember all those dates and all those songs. When she read through the titles again she began to remember those songs being a part of their lives.
"I thought you needed a reminder of what we used to be like and I figured that the songs would help since I really don't have much of a scrap book or whatever to give you."
"I thought she knew?" she asked.
"I called you that one night and the guys and I sang it to you," he said.
"I know." She wiped a tear away that had formed in the corner of her eye.
"You told me not to spend money on a huge gift so I put my head into it," he said.
Willa put her chin to her chest and wiped her eyes. "How long did this take you to do?" she asked.
"I had to search a while, but it was worth it," he said. He leaned a little and said, "There will be another CD on the way, but it's not quite done yet."
"Really?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said, "I'm going to play it for you on New Years."
"Yes really," he said, "You'll have to wait to hear that one."
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