Somebody Needs You

Her hands pushed the top of her bag closed over the extra pairs of jeans and her skirts for Orlando just as her phone began to ring.  Instantly her gut told her that it was Lance.  It could have been Stacey or even her mother, but it was the contrast of the ring and then complete silence that filled the room that told her that this call was an important one.  Her heart went into her throat as she picked up the line and she had to take two breaths before her voice would actually come out with the word hello.

"Hey Babe."  His tone sounded relaxed and not at all negative, but she still wasn't sure about relaxing herself until she knew that everything was ok.

She hadn't heard from him a few days due to her traveling schedule and his and was thinking instantly that something had happened to mess up her trip to see him.  She normally wasn't a pessimistic person, but even she couldn't get passed Stacey's warning about Lance now.  She'd gone through this before and it would be ok, but those moments before she knew what she was getting into scared her to death.

"Hi."  The pounding of her heartbeat intensified and for a moment she thought about laying back on the bed to make sure that she didn't faint.

"Are you ok?" he asked instantly.

"Why?"  She didn't like the silence that filled their conversation.

"You just sound distracted."

"No."  Her hand picked at the fuzz sticking to the bag next to her and she pulled on the zipper. "I'm just packing and trying to remember if I brought everything."  It was a slightly true statement, but packing wasn't the real issue that was bothering her.  She wanted to already be in Orlando so she didn't spend another twenty four hours wondering what part she was going to end up playing in his life.  Somehow she suspected that after that weekend she'd find out truly where they stood in each others lives.

"Oh?"  He sighed.  "I was gonna tell you about tomorrow."

She lay back on the bed and bit her lip waiting for the bad news to be delivered.  "What?"

"It's not the end of the world sugar," he said, "I just might not be able to pick you up from the airport tomorrow.  I have the press conference to go to and they moved it back an hour so I might be stuck there, but if I can't get out and get you I'm gonna send either Loni or someone to get you.  Ok?"

She held her breath.  "That's it?"

"Yeah," he said, "What else would it have been?"

"Nothing," she said, "For a minute I thought that something had gotten messed up with--"  She sat up and looked around her room and then went back to packing.  "It's nothing.  I'm sorry."

"No...what?" he asked.

"Nothing."  She ran a hand across her face and sighed.  "It's stupid and girly and it doesn't matter."

"You sure?"

"Definitely," she said, "I'm fine."  She laughed.  "So how has your week been?"

"I hate flying this much."

"Welcome to my world," she said with a smile.

"It's not really even the flying that sucks.  It's the time zones."  He paused.  "I've been in three different ones in the last week alone."

"Are you home now?" she asked.

"Not yet," he said, "I'm driving up from Miami right now.  We did another set of auditions yesterday and today and we're gonna be hanging around in Orlando tomorrow doing meetings for the weekend before we spend the whole weekend doing stuff then at the end of next week we're going to announce the finalists."

"You do sound busy," she said, "Are you sure that you still want me to be out in Orlando with you?"

"Yeah," he said, "Of course.  Why wouldn't I?"

"I don't know," she said, "I just figured since you're busy that you won't have time for much that doesn't have to do with--"

"Colleen I wouldn't have invited you if I didn't want you out here and the fact that you're going to be there really is something that I'm looking forward to.  All the guys are going to be having their friends and family out here and you're my friend so I want you here."

"Ok. Ok."  She sighed, "I just don't want to put another thing in the mix and have you get stressed out."

"I won't be stressed," he said in almost a pleading tone.  "Just know that there will be parts of the weekend when you might have to hang out with the girls or my friends because I'll be busy."

"I understand," she said.

She could almost see him nod for effect.  "Well then it should be fine."


"Look, I'd better go.  I'm gonna try and take a nap here before I get to the house so I can get up and go to my meetings tomorrow.  Your flight still comes out at six right?"

"Yeah," she said, "I'll look for you or Loni.  If anyone else is gonna be there just leave me a message and I'll check my messages during my Dallas layover."

"Sounds good,"  She could now hear the radio in the background.  "Have a good nights sleep and call me if you get delayed ok?"

"Ok."  She sighed.  "I'll see you tomorrow."

"I'll see you in less than twenty four hours."


"Bye now," he said.


She could tell long after he'd hung up that there was something more he'd wanted to say, but that he wasn't sure if it was the time yet to do the saying.

Orlando International Airport on Challenge For The Children Weekend was clearly not the place for Lance to be hanging out.  It was a Friday night, in the summer time, in Orlando, the vacation capital of Florida.  There wasn't a place in the city that he could probably hide, so of course the most illogical place for him to be was in the middle of a crowded airport where his fans would be flying in from all over the country to see him and the group.

The airport on a normal day could have been dangerous, but THAT evening he might as well have been wearing a neon sign with "mob me" on it.   He'd called Loni late that morning and had said that he was going to be meeting Colleen as she came off the plane from Los Angeles from the six o'clock flight.  He'd gotten more than a few warnings, but the conversation ended when Lance said he'd go there alone if Loni didn't want to come along with him.  It was a threat that Loni knew Lance would actually follow through with so they met up around seven had caught a quick drive through dinner at Wendy's before they ended up sliding unnoticed into the airport to meet her flight.

It had been extremely hot and muggy that day and the clouds that had hung over the city had made him worry about her flight coming in on time due to the high probability of a thunderstorm would break out.  He'd made sure to get to the airport with only enough time to basically walk up to the gate, grab her and go, but when he made it to gate 55 he didn't see anyone around.  The delayed sign above her flight number made a sigh come from his mouth.  He didn't want to be sitting out in the airport considering how many fans were in town.  He didn't want to hide from them, but he knew that things would get a little more than complicated if he was stuck there signing autographs and dealing with collecting his guest to bring home without anyone seeing them.  He wasn't ashamed at all of who she was or what was going on, but he knew that this was a critical weekend for them and internet gossip wasn't something that needed to start off their possible future relationship.

"I wanna get you out of here," Loni said.

Lance looked around and didn't see any major crowds of fans.  There were noticeably more teenaged girls in the hallways, but it wasn't like crowds he'd seen in New York or Los Angeles in the last few years.  "No."

"Let's go sit in the VIP room," Loni said, "We'll get a drink and walk back this way."

"No."  He narrowed his eyes.  "I'm not leaving her in this airport alone."

"Lance.  She works for an airline and God knows she's been in more airports than even you have.  She has your cell number.  If we're not here I'm sure she'll call you."

He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at him.  He wasn't about to be ushered off into seclusion by something that was only a threat in Loni's head and not a physical threat to him.  "No."

Loni took the parental approach and did the only thing he could do; threaten.  "Don't make me call Johnny on you."

"Go ahead," he dared.

Loni then stepped up the stakes.  "Don't make me call your mother."

Lance let out a tired sigh and turned towards the VIP lounge.  He'd managed to only have good conversations the last week or so and he wasn't about to cross her, especially when she and his dad would be spending the next week in his guestroom.  He wasn't about to be turned into a high schooler again.  He'd skipped over that part of his life, being the rebellious teen and he didn't need to go back and try it.  "Fine."

As they walked through the crowds in the airport Lance kept his eyes to the ground.  He thought for a moment that it was a bad idea that Loni had come with him, but when a girl ran up to him and slamming against him to hug him he was glad to have her pulled off by Loni.

The shriek of the loud voice next to him made every muscle in his body tense.  "Get your dirty hands off my daughter you big oaf!"

Lance looked up to find Patty standing there with an angry look on her face.  He had to blink a few times and rub his eyes, like he was a cartoon character or something.  He was still trying to pull himself away from the girl that had grabbed him and tripped over his own foot, landing him on his butt.

"Gabby?" he looked up at the little girl that had been hugging him and he pulled her up into his arms and hugged her as she hugged him back koala style, "Gabby what are you doing here?"

She smashed her face into his chest and sighed.  "Mommy said that I get to come to see the basketball game."

Lance looked over her shoulder at Patty and took a deep breath then found his feet and pulled them both off the floor.  He couldn't see straight for a minute and his heart was pounding

"Reese is in New York for the weekend with Joe so we decided to tag along and come down here."  She smiled.

He hated that she seemed so calm and cool about this.  It'd been months since they'd seen each other and she seemed as if it had been yesterday, while all he could do was try to push back the urge to run away from the both of them.  A smile hit his face when he thought what the reaction would be to have him running down the terminal screaming.

"She missed you and so did I--"

"Wow."  He couldn't breathe all of a sudden and the pain that had shot through his shoulder so many months ago returned.  "That's great."

She continued what she was saying with a confused look on her face.  "--so we thought we'd visit."

"Well welcome to Orlando," he said trying to bluff his way through the next few minutes while his stomach threatened to make him throw up.

"Don't worry," she said.

He hoped she hadn't noticed the reaction that he was having to seeing her.  It was embarrassing enough to know that he was so bowled over by seeing her.  He didn't need her to focus on that since he clearly was only thinking of that. 

"We aren't going to be crashing at your place.  Reese booked us a place over at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex so we could go to the events this weekend and see Disney World."

"Well--"  What was he supposed to say?  He was glad that Gabby was in town, but unsure of how to take Patty's sudden reappearance in his life.

"Look," she said, "We talked to Johnny and got invited to the lunch thing and got tickets to the events.  Farzana is going to be our host for the weekend.  You'll barely know we're here."

"That's not how I wanted to make this--"  He cleared his throat.  "I wasn't--"

"Mommy can I stay with Lance?" she asked hugging him like she thought he might disappear if she let go again.

Patty's expression fell.  "Gabby we need to get to the hotel and get settled then we'll call JC and Farzana and see about getting some food."

"I'm sure I'll see you guys a lot this weekend.  Johnny is having a barbecue on Saturday night so make sure that you guys make it over for that.  I'm sure Farzana will be there--"

Patty avoided his gaze.  "Ok."

He let Gabby go and she and Patty disappeared into the crowd just as it was announced that Colleen's plane was deboarding.

"You want to go find your girl?"


"Ok," Loni said and started to walk the opposite direction of where Colleen would be coming off the plane.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"I'm going home.  You said that you didn't want to go get Colleen--"

"I--"  Lance rolled his eyes and look at his watch.  "We need to get--"

To the observer it looked as if Lance and Loni had completely lost their minds, or maybe that they were in the middle of a fight.  They'd speak to each other then look both ways and try to make a decision and start down one way before they turned to go to opposite way.  Finally Loni seemed to have enough of the indecision and turned back the other way and started walking towards where Colleen was going to be appearing soon, pulling Lance along with him.

The flight from Los Angeles emptied into the terminal and Lance half hid behind Loni as a group of girls walked by, three of the four wearing pictures of the group on their t-shirts.  His eyes were trained on the door waiting to see her face appear there.  At the moment she was the only thing that could set him back on track and the realization of that feeling coming over him caused him to rush at her when she came off the plane and sweep her into his arms to kiss her.

"Ummm," she said when she  pulled back from him.  "Hello to you too."

"Sorry," he said and held her close.  He remembered her uniform from before, but that night even in the blues and grays of the uniform she was like the sunshine in his life.  "I just missed you."

"Well I missed you too."  She smiled at him sideways then looked at Loni for a moment.

He steered the car with his right hand and after opening the window on the driver's side, leaned his left elbow against the door frame, leaving his elbow to stick out in the wind.  His fingers of his left hand found their way to his lips.  His mind wandered back to the scene in the airport with Patty and Gabby and he instantly regretted most of what had come out of his mouth.  He hadn't wanted to make either of them feel strange about being in Orlando.  It was his home town, but it was a big city and they could both be in the city limits and not run into each other too much.  Even with those thoughts, the whole thing was making him feel out of sorts.

"Do you smoke?" she asked breaking the silence in the car. 

He normally would have put some music on, but the sound of wind in his ears seemed more relaxing than any music at the moment.  "Hmm?"  He turned and looked at her, finger still sitting on the rough edge of his bottom lip.

"Do you smoke?" She moved a hand over to pull his fingers from his lips.

"Ummm,"  His fingers shook and his other hand gripped the steering wheel.  "No.  Actually I chew on my nails like a little kid."  He wiped a finger across his lips then leaned his hand to touch the left side of the steering wheel.  "It's one of my bad habits."  He stared at the road.  "I haven't been chewing on them lately, but with this weekend being so busy it's hard not to--"

"Why are you so nervous about this weekend?" she asked.

It was a stupid question really.  It was her first time coming home with him, first time meeting the other guys properly, the first time that she would be exposed to his fans, and the first time that he'd actually be treating her more like a girlfriend than a friend.  It was also the test in his mind to see if they really got along since the most time they'd ever spent together was probably twenty hours in a row and about eight of those hours had been when they'd been asleep.

"It's nothing--"  He shrugged and moved in his seat a little trying to push the thoughts of Patty out of his head.  He shouldn't have been paying attention to her.  He should have been concentrating on the woman next to him and the plans that he'd made with her that weekend.  "Just a lot going on."  He turned towards her then moved to steer the car with his left hand as his right hand found hers across the seat and he laced his fingers through hers.  "I'm sorry if I'm being strange.  My schedule is really hectic this weekend.  I thought it would be more settled when I invited you out here, but it's been shook up a little bit."

"If it's not a good weekend for me to be down here I can--"

"No," he said, "No.  I'm glad that you're down here--"  He sighed.  Nothing was going to work out for him this weekend.  He could feel it.

"You are?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said.  He turned into his neighborhood.  "I should warn you.  My parents, my sister and my brother in law are all staying at the house."

"Is there enough room?" she asked.

He took a deep breath.  "Yeah," he said, "I've got a five bedroom place so it's big enough to be away from them, but I just wanted to warn you.  It's been a while since my whole family has been together in one place and since my father talked to you on the phone he of course had to tell my mother about you and then she told my sister who told my brother in law so basically they all are wondering who you are."

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"They aren't too over protective about me, but I know they might bombard you with questions.  It's not that they are trying to discourage you from being here.  They're just curious because it's been--"  He paused for a moment and took his hand away from hers so he could press the garage door opener then steered the car into the garage.  "It's been a while since I've had--"  He wanted to say girlfriend, but he didn't want to scare her.  He wasn't sure how he was going to introduce her to everyone that weekend, but hopefully there would be a little time before he had to decide.  "--someone come and stay with me."


"I just wanted to warn you because everyone is probably wanting to be knowing about you.  It's up to you what to say about it," he said, "Normally with the guys--"  He turned off the engine.  "With the guys and everyone around in the group I'm usually pretty open about things, but anyone outside of that group pretty much doesn't know about what's going on.   So if this weekend I kind of ignore you in a crowd or something, it's because someone is around that I don't want to know about you.  It's nothing to do with you, just that I don't want everyone to know everything about you and me."

"Lance I'm a big girl," she said, "I can deal with it."

"Are you sure?" he asked.  He remembered the way she'd acted when he'd had that call with Carrah at the John Mayer concert.  He didn't want that to happen again, one because he didn't want them to fight that weekend and two because he didn't want to make her feel bad about being there.

She nodded.  "Yes."

"Ok."  He took his keys from the car.  "Let's go in then."

"Wait," she said, "Where am I gonna sleep?"

"In my room," he said nervously.  He wanted her to be with him every night, but wasn't sure how things were going to go.  "Unless you want to sleep in the guestroom across the hall.  It's up to you."

"Lemme see how your parents like me," she said, "I know it's silly, but if they don't like me then I don't want them to be seeing me going up to sleep with you at night."

"Fair enough."

Telling her that she might be mobbed my his parents wasn't enough of warning.  As she walked into the house she found what she expected was his mother, his father and a younger couple all standing in the kitchen just inside the door.

"Hey mom," Lance said as he shut the door to the garage.

The sound of feet slapping against the flooring came towards them and a tornado of red and blue jeans came towards them. If Colleen had been a nervous person she would have jumped out of the way, but instead a little ponytail wearing girl zipped past her to get to Lance. "Laase!"  Before she knew it a small girl had plastered herself to his legs.  "Laase!"

"Jelly Bean what are you doing here?" he asked trying to maneuver the bags out of the way.

The brown haired little girl let her feet go out from under her and plopped down onto the floor at his feet to look up at him with big brown eyes.  "Mommy ana Diddy and Trey ana Coday in a a-pot to see Annie Jannie ana me visit Gamma D anna Gampa Bath."

Lance finally got the bags under control and pulled the girl up into his arms.  "Mommy and Joey took Trey and Cody to get Aunt Janice and you got to visit Grandma and Grandpa Bass?"  His hands moved over her little shirt, pulling it into place then moved again to sit under her bottom and hold her against him securely.

She nodded.  "Dis what I say."

He laughed a little and kissed her cheek.  Colleen couldn't help but notice the intense way he connected with the little girl.  She didn't have a clue what relation they were to each other, but there was a connection there that couldn't be denied.  She'd never really made a list of what she knew she wanted in a man she wanted to marry, but instantly her list started.  She knew that she wanted someone who would have a connection to children like he had.  Just the look in his eyes when he smiled at her seemed to light up the room.

"Sorry about that," he said as he moved the little girl to his other hip into what seemed to be a more comfortable position.  "Colleen, this is Jelly Bean."

The little girl's bottom lip instantly stuck out.  "I not Jewy Bea."

"I'm sorry."  His formal tone made the both of them smile.  "This is Brianna Joelly Fatone."

Brianna nodded for effect then stuck her thumb in her mouth and spoke a very sloppy word, "Yes."

"Well it's nice to meet you Brianna Joelly Fatone."  Colleen smiled at the little girl and kept her eyes on the two of them trying not to get too nervous that she was about to meet the rest of his family.  She could feel their eyes on her, but she wasn't about to engage in conversation with them until Lance did the introductions.

Soon his mothers voice filled the kitchen.  "Sweetie go and put Colleen's bags in your room get back down here."  His mother smiled at her then moved around the kitchen as if they weren't even there.  "You're just in time.  Stacey grabbed Ale House everyone and your zingers are getting cold."

Lance made eye contact with her over Brianna's shoulder and smiled at her, as if he'd known that she'd be accepted instantly.

"Why don't you trade me Brianna for my bags?" she suggested.  She held out her arms and the little girl crawled over to her.

"Wass yo name?" she asked, still slurping on her thumb.

"I'm Colleen," she said.

"Crap," Lance said.  He slapped his forehead and looked around.  "This is Mom and  Dad and my sister Stacey and my brother-in-line Ford--This is Colleen--"  He paused for a moment.  "My girlfriend."  Her eyes went wide and she instantly scolded herself for giving herself a moment of joy over hearing that word associated with her.  "Colleen this is everyone."  He wiggled his eyebrows and smiled.  "I'll be right back."

Colleen wanted to hit him for leaving her moments later, but with Brianna to save her she moved around the kitchen.  "Do you need any help?" she asked offering, but not expecting to really be of any help with anything considering that she was carrying around the little girl.

"No," she said, "Of course not.  Unless you want to help yourself to a drink and maybe put down Miss Brianna so Uncle Ford can take her to wash her hands for dinner."

"Is clean!"  Brianna screeched into her ear, holding out one clean hand and one slobbery hand.

"Brianna use your inside voice," Ford said.  He smiled and made eye contact with Colleen before he pulled Brianna from her arms.  "Nice to meet you Colleen."

"Thanks," she said.

"Well you're just as pretty as you sounded on the phone," Mr. Bass said.  He went toward the refrigerator to get something for his wife then looked over at her.  "Would you like a drink?"

"No thanks," she said.  She looked at them for a minute, "Maybe I should go find my bags.  As much as I'm sure you love my little Halloween costume I'm really ready to get out of my uniform."

"Sure," Mrs. Bass said.  "Stacey pull down some plates and I'll show Colleen the way."

They left the kitchen and Colleen thought that she was going to die of nervousness.  She'd dealt with a million and one different people in her life and career, but walking the halls of what she found out on her mini tour of the bottom floor was a five bedroom house.

"Lance always has us stay down on the first floor.  It's funny.  We're here more than he is sometimes, but this upstairs section is kind of his bachelor pad.  I'm not allowed to clean or nitpick or anything about anything."

Colleen smiled and followed her to the bottom of the grand staircase at the front of the house.


"What Ma?" he called.  "I'm on the phone.  Rachel called me."

"Colleen wanted to change so come and get her."  It seemed as if his mother didn't even want step on the first step to go upstairs as if the top floor was his sanctuary.

A moment later he appeared at the top of the steps.  He moved the phone away from his mouth and smiled at her.  "Come on up Sugar."

She was shocked to hear the nickname come out of his mouth and thought that his mother might faint right in front of her fro the wide eyed look she gave Lance.  Instead of dwelling on the look or the word she smiled.  "Thanks Mrs. Bass."

It was then that a dog barked and ran up the stairs from behind where she'd been standing up towards Lance almost knocking him over.  He fell onto his butt playfully and ended up holding the phone away from his mouth laughing heavily as the dog attacked him with kisses.  "Lexi.  Lexi."

"LEXI!"  Mrs. Bass said in a scolding tone.

Lance put the phone to his mouth.  "I'll call you back later Rachel."

"Lance.  Don't let her jump all over you."

"Ma it's ok.  I'll put her out in a minute."

"You'd think that dog hadn't seen him in months."  His mother shook her head.  "She gets so upset when we put her out back.  She always thinks that Lance is leaving town."

"That's why I never got a pet.  It would be too hard on them because I travel more than he does."  She motioned towards Lance and started to laugh when the dog started to lick his ears.

"You travel more than he does?" she asked then shook her head, "That's almost hard to believe, but then again you do work for an airline."

"Babe are you gonna change?" Lance asked from the top of the stairs.  He now was standing and had Lexi in his arms, the thirty or forty pound dog now with her paws on his shoulder panting and wiggling to get down as he held her against him.

"Yeyeahah," she stuttered out and then started up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs Lance looked back down to the bottom steps then leaned and kissed her before he introduced the dog.  "This is Lexi," he said, "My oldest and dearest friend."

"Nice to meet you," Colleen said and patted the dog's back.

He finally put her down and they walked down the hallway toward Lance's bedroom.  "You should change into your swimsuit.  We should go in the spa tonight if it doesn't rain."

She nodded.  "Maybe later."  She went and put her bag on the edge of the bed and watched as Lexi came up to sniff at it for a moment.  "Right now it's all about getting out of this uniform and getting into jeans and flip flops."

His arms came around her from behind and he hugged up against her.  "Hmmm..."  His lips pressed against her ear.  "Getting out of that uniform sounds GREEAT."

"Lance your mother is downstairs waiting for us to come down for dinner."

He slid the hem of her shirt out of her skirt and touched her belly.  "I'll be quick.  You won't feel a thing."

"Don't quote movies at me hon," she said trying to seem normal with him.  She smiled when his lips found her earlobe.  Remember that I probably see more movies that you and Rounders wasn't that obscure that I wouldn't notice the quote."

He hugged her tightly.  "And like Say Anything isn't obscure?"

"Hey!" she said, "That's my movie.  Don't make fun."

He kissed her cheek and backed away to take a seat on the bed and laughed.  "I'm not."

"Your parents are really nice and your brother in law and sister are great."

"I'm glad you like them.  They usually like most of my girlfriends, but sometimes--"  He stopped.  "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she said.


"You've called me your girlfriend twice in the last half hour or so," she said, "It's just a little strange to introduce me that way."

"Sorry.  I won't do it again."

"No," she said, "I like it.  I like it too much I think."

"It suits you," he said with a smile and reached an arm and pulled her to stand in front of him.  He started to undo the bottom buttons of her shirt.

As he undid the buttons of her shirt she moved her hands to her hair and started to gather it into a ponytail.  "What are you doing?" she asked.

"Helping," he said and leaned to kiss the bare skin of her belly.

"Helping what?" she asked.

He started to hum a little.  "Helping your shirt off."

She stopped breathing.  "Helping my shirt off?"

"Yeah," he said, "It doesn't want to be on you anymore."

"Oh really."


They both stood froze mid grope.

"What ma?" he called back.

"Dinner is ready!"

"Ok," he said, "We'll be down in a second."  He kissed her belly one last time and looked up at her.  "Love you."

She didn't know what to say.  Her knees threatened to give out and for an instant she thought that they were actually doing this.

Lance only left her side that night for a few moments.  At dinner they'd sat together and then when Lance's parents had to make some work phone calls Lance convinced Colleen to get into her suit and come with him and Stacey and Ford out to the jacuzzi in the back of the house.  She was the last person out because she'd stopped to use the restroom so when she slid out the backdoor and came towards where they were all sitting in the tub she felt a little self conscious.

"That suit is sooo cute," Stacey said as she approached.

"Thanks," she said and looked at Lance who was moving over a little so that she could get in.  "Lance told me there might be some sun down here, but it looks like it's still kind of stormy."  She looked up at the sky that was hiding the stars in the sky, but that had stopped threatening to rain on everyone.

"Yeah," she said, "You should come with us sometime to Hawaii.  Lance doesn't get out there enough, but it's really the best place to hottub."

"Maybe Christmas time we'll head out that way or maybe we should head down to the Keys.  Farzana and JC said that--"  The three other people in the tub laughed a little.


"That's where they first started dating," Ford said, "They ran into each other randomly and were never the same after that."

"Really?" she asked, "I love random stories like that."

"So do I," Lance said.

"How did you guys meet again?" Stacey asked.

"Your brother stole my bag off the airplane--"

"I borrowed it," he said, "I don't steal--except the girl's hearts."

Ford splashed him.

"Hey!" Lance said, "No horseplay in the jacuzzi. There isn't a lifeguard on duty."

"Whatever," Stacey said.

Colleen settled into a seat next to Lance and moments later felt an arm curl around her shoulders and his other hand lay on the top of her thigh that was closest to him.  She leaned towards him and let the water relax her.

"So anyway, Lance BORROWED my bag and then took me to a concert to make up for it."

His hand squeezed her thigh and he pressed a kiss against her cheek.  "And then I took her home and we lived happily ever after."

"Yeah," she said.

"Sure," Stacey said, "How big of an ass was he before he took you home?  Knowing him he'd probably insulted you a few times before he got the clue that you're a cool girl."

"Thank you," Colleen said.

"I didn't make an ass out of myself."

Her hand slid to his thigh under the bubbly water and she looked into his eyes knowing that she was thinking the same thing she was.

"He was a perfect gentleman," she said, "I'm just joking."


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