Somebody Needs You
He liked coming home to her apartment. Coming home was definitely the words he would use. When he came into the door he slid out of his shoes and slid out of his jacket and threw it over the back of the recliner. "Tonight was good," he said, "It started a bit rough--"
"I'm sorry about Ree." She started to pull her shoes off and then put them out of the way before she moved over to the couch to sit down. "I can only imagine what she said to you while I was gone. I knew that I had to let her get it out so that she wouldn't be yelling at me later."
He pouted. "You left me there on purpose."
"Yeah," she said, "You have Loni to protect you and I have Ree."
"I'd rather have Loni scare me than Ree," he said, "No offense to her."
"None taken." She patted the seat next to her and he came over towards her. "Are you gonna hang out tonight or do you have to get back on a plane?" she asked. Her voice was a bit bitter.
"I'm here for another two days then I'll be in Atlanta on Friday through the weekend then probably up to New York and then down to Orlando--" He eased into the seat next to her and put his arm around her and pulled her close. "Can I stay here?"
"Sure," she said, "But I'm gonna be in San Francisco, Seattle and Anchorage--"
"We're quite a pair," he sighed and leaned and kissed her. "Do you want me to stay tonight?"
"Its up to your schedule," she said, "You're always welcome here. You have to know that."
"I do," he said, "But I didn't want to assume that I was staying here tonight just because we hung out together."
"Well thank you for the respect." She leaned against him and yawned. "Not to sound like a slut, but we should go to bed."
"Sounds good," he said.
"Do you want anything to sleep in?"
"I'll sleep in my boxers," he said, "If--"
"That's fine," she said with a laugh, "It's not like I haven't seen you in less."
"Ummm," he smiled, "Yeah."
"Come on," she pushed up from the couch and leaned to pull him up.
When he was standing she hugged him close for a moment and said, "We should see each other on a regular basis. You're like a vacation for me."
"That can be arranged," he said, "Are you gonna be back east this weekend?"
She yawned and smiled. "Sorry." Her eyes drooped shut for a moment and then she opened them wide. "I could switch runs with someone."
"Come on," he said moving her in his arms to face towards where they could walk together to her room. "We'll get in bed and talk about it. You might fall asleep on me if you don't."
"It's ok," he said, "Really."
They walked into her bedroom and she went towards her closet to change. Lance remembered which side of the bed she'd slept on the last time he'd been there and moved to the opposite side, sliding out of his pants and looked around for a minute to find a place to put them.
"Do you want a hanger?"
"Yeah," he said. He moved around the bed towards her and held out a hand towards the hanger she offered. "Thanks."
"Take off your shirt too," she said, "Or it'll wrinkle too."
He wiggled his eyebrows at her. "You want my clothes."
"Be careful or I'll sick Ree on you."
"I'd rather have you on me," he said with a laugh.
"Hmm--" Her eyebrow cocked up. "That can be arranged."
"Really?" he asked.
She nodded and held onto the hanger for him while he pulled himself out of the shirt. He put it over the edge of the hanger and leaned and kissed her. "You're full of surprises."
"You haven't seen half my tricks."
His eyes closed for a moment and he smiled. "Why don't you show me something?"
"As much as I'd like to," she said, "I'm not sure that I would be able to stay awake through--"
"I bore you?"
"No," she said, "But my tummy is full and I'm a few drinks down--it's not a good combination for me to be staying up late."
She leaned and kissed him. "You never know...sometimes my hands wander in my sleep."
"I hope you have good dreams."
She turned and hung up his clothes then slid out of her shirt and grabbed a tank top and a pair of shorts.
Lance left her by the closet, not wanting to crowd her. He pulled back the covers on the side of the bed where he'd slept last time and slid into the covers. He moved the top pillow to the side then lay his head back in the pillow.
"Comfy?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said, "Come here."
She smiled and crawled in next to him, lying against him, making herself comfortable.
A minute later she jumped up from bed and went to turn the lights out then ran out to the front of the apartment and turned those lights out before she ran back and jumped back in bed with him. "Sorry."
"No troubles." He took a deep breath.
They settled in again, first just lying there before she finally turned in his arms and leaned up to kiss him and so the dance began. It wasn't the adventurous need that drove them this time. Now it was the need to be there together and share some time together.
[Two days later]
"So he just said to meet him in Atlanta?"
"Yes Ree," she said into the phone, propping it on her shoulder so that she could push the sides of her back together, "I'm going to be there for about a six hour lay over and he's gonna be in town so we're meeting up to hang out. Nothing serious."
"If you say so," she said.
Colleen stomped her foot. "I do say so."
A tired sigh came across the line. "Well you don't have to have a fit about it."
Colleen pursed her lips and glared into the mirror in the bathroom as she went to go find her tooth brush. "I'm not having a fit about it."
"Well what is this?"
"This is me being upset that my best friend doesn't like the guy that I'm seeing and keeps trying to get me to hate him." She grabbed up her toothbrush and dropped the glass that she had sitting next to the sink onto the floor.
"What was that? You aren't throwing dishes are you?"
"No," she said, "I knocked over my glass."
Silence fell over them for a moment as she moved through the apartment taking her glass to the sink to be walked.
"I'm not trying to get you to hate him."
"Yes you are," she said, "Every time I tell you anything you have some reason for me not to go or do or say something that I should be saying."
"I think I'll hang up now. I never meant to make it seem that way and it seems that I have...so I'll leave you alone."
"Lee. I'm just trying to be careful for you. I don't want you to--"
"I know that you want to be protective, but please just let me do this."
"Fine," Stacey said.
"Fine," Colleen said.
They hung up the phone.
When the phone rang a few minutes later she growled and picked it up. "I'm fucking going and don't give me any more shit about it."
"Well hello to you too."
"Keep swearing," he said with a laugh. "Get it all out."
"Oh shit. Lance." It had been a week since their last long conversation and two days since she'd confirmed her plans to meet up with him in Atlanta. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get pissy. I just--" She put her hand over her eyes and sat down. "I'm sorry."
"It's ok Sugar," he said, "How are you holding up? It sounds like you've had a long long week."
"I have," she said, "I can't wait to see you. I know that it's so teenie to say that, but I need a break from all this for a while."
"I can actually say that I feel the same way. These auditions are killing me. I know I travel a lot for work, but these time zones are sucking the life out of me."
"Ready to settle down for a while?"
"Yeah," he said, "Everyone has projects going on, but I'm the one that's traveling all over the freaking country."
"What is everyone else doing?"
"Justin and Mere are doing baby stuff and she's filming some stuff. She's given up the touring thing, but the record label made her sign something that says she has to promote her album a little more. They are going to have her performing all over the place. She's got two concerts in Orlando this weekend and was in LA last week doing some charity thing. She's only traveling three days a week, but they're as tired as I am."
"What about the others?"
"They're all doing family stuff. Joey has been up in New York working on some movie and play deals and staying in Brooklyn with his cousins and Kelly and the kids and JC and Farzana have been non-stop working out in LA and then Chris has been back in Pennsylvania and has been down here working on his clothing line and stuff--"
"Aweee you poor thing. All your friends went back home after camp."
"It's like summer camp. You all are still friends, but you've gone home from camp so nothing is exactly as it was."
"Yeah," he said, "I guess. I can't wait to get this stuff started with my new group so I can go back and tour with the guys. I miss them."
"That's so cute," she said, "Most guys don't admit that."
"It's hard not to. I've spent basically the last seven years growing up with them. It's strange to be away from them."
"You should have had them fly in."
"I'll see them soon enough."
"Yeah. Challenge weekend." He sighed, "I'm having a bunch of people into town and I wanted you to come to Florida if you can get time off. It'd be Friday through Monday."
"Yeah." He laughed a little. "It's a four day party, but I figured that you'd want to be here."
"That sounds like fun."
She smiled at the thought of spending an entire four days with him. It seemed too long since they'd spent time together, and even then it had been short intervals of visitation.
[The next day...]
No matter how much she told Stacey that she was going to be mature about going to see him in Atlanta that night and that this was just a simple dinner between two friends, she found that her skin tingled and her head and heart light headed as she stepped onto the plane that morning. She was going to see him in just five short hours, or at least it seemed like it would be short hours considering that she hadn't seen him in two weeks.
She had listened to John Mayer on the way to the airport and when she walked through the terminal she still had his words moving from her lips. She even had enough energy to dance her way through the preparation duties that she had for the flight, but that all ended the moment that she saw the faces of her passengers, or at least one passenger in particular, that she realized that this day might be the worst day of her life.
While the passengers had loaded into their seats she'd kept her eyes on him. His hair was a little shorter than the last time she'd seen him and it seemed as if he'd been on vacation seeing the way that the highlights of his hair seemed brighter that day. She remembered everything about him. Instantly he knew that he would run his hand through his hair and pull on his earlobe and move in his seat so that he could face the woman next to him better.
"Shhiittt." She sighed out the word and leaned against the wall, willing the tears that came to her eyes. She wasn't going to cry at him. It was long over, story long over, case permanently closed.
"Come on girl. Sit down."
She nodded and watched her partners taking care of the rest of the duties for the take off. She went through the motions of doing the safety preparation before she escaped to her seat for take off. Once strapped in she found that she could see him facing her in the main part of the first class cabin. She closed her eyes and put her head back against the chair, counting to ten before she opened her eyes again.
Once airborne she had work to do and while it kept her busy, she felt the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end, as if to remind her that she was in an enclosed space with him.
As her hands moved to prepare drinks for the people on the flight she kept her eyes on what she was doing, fearing that she might spill it all if she wasn't careful. She looked up over at him and found him staring back at her. He blinked twice then sighed and looked away before he looked back at her and tempted to smile.
A hand came to rest on her shoulder as she stood with the drink tray in her hands. "You ok girl?"
She shook her head and took her eyes from the face that had haunted her dreams for the last few months. "Yeah," she said and gulped back the urge to scream. Instead she smiled, put a hand to her stomach as it began to churn and remembered the famous line of Casablanca. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
"Can you please take this around?" she said, "I think the coffee maker was sticking earlier and I want to make sure that it's working correctly."
Her stomach churned, stomach muscles clenching, bringing along with the cold sweat that a person has when they have flu symptoms.
"Are you ok?"
"I think so," she grabbed for a water and took deep breaths. "Give me a minute and then I'll help out."
When the little light went on above his head she dreaded going to see him. She sighed heavily as she walked towards him. "Can I help you?"
He smirked at her. "Hello Colleen."
She ignored the way he was so familiar with her and sighed. "May I help you?"
"I was wondering if I could get another pillow. My fiance and I are thinking we might take a nap and--"
She put a hand on her stomach and swallowed. "I'll be right back."
She might have been trying to get through everything maturely, but she spent the next three hours hiding in the back restroom complaining of a stomach virus. She knew that she could get away with it this once, but she was going to have to think about another way to handle him when she saw him again, if she saw him again.
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