Somebody Needs You
[A few days later]
When they were all the way through the crowd and into the lobby Lance detoured towards the front desk. He wanted to go up and crawl in bed for the hour or so before he had to get over to the studios to film the finals, but he knew that he had to stop first. He'd checked his voice mail that morning at three in the morning when he'd woken up to get his hair cut for the day of promotional events, but was just now getting a chance to stop by and pick up what had been left for him at almost noon.
"May I help you?" The desk clerk looked nervously at Loni who came up behind him then turned to him and smiled that fake may-I-help-you smile.
"I've got a FedEx envelope supposedly waiting here for me." He leaned against the counter and rubbed his temple with his hand annoyed already at the loud noise the crowd was making. He had been up at the crack of dawn to do interviews at z100 and with Regis and Kelly and the entire time his brain had been thinking of LA. He'd tried to call Colleen the night before, but by the time he got to the city he was whisked off to a meeting and then a publicity party that he needed to attend.
"Of course Mr. Bass." The envelope was handed over a moment later and he looked at the FreeLance name on the print out and wondered what was so important that his mother had to call him and urge him to get the envelope in the mail that morning.
"What'd Mamma B send you?" Loni asked as Lance signed for the envelope. He clasped his hands together for a moment and looked up towards the ceiling. "Pray for French Toast."
"Yeah right," he said looking away from the envelope towards Loni as he pulled the strip to open it. "I don't know. She wouldn't tell me. She just said I needed to get it this morning and that it was important."
"Hmm." Loni kept his eyes on the other people in the lobby glancing over at Lance to see what he was about to read.
The envelope opened and he tipped it to get the papers out of it. He knew before he even turned it over what it was. The crisp clean envelope and the fancy writing on the back with Carrah's family's address on the back told him what he needed to know.
"What is it?"
"It's an invitation to Carrah's wedding," he said before he opened it.
Loni's face turned into a confused _expression. "She's engaged?"
Lance's eyes focused on the letters of his name on the front of the invitation. He pulled the inside card out and read it carefully then saw a picture drop out from a place hidden inside. It was a smiling Carrah and a smiling dark haired guy around their age both in cowboy hats on horseback.
"So who is this guy?" Loni asked. "I mean do you know him?"
"Not a clue," he said and looked back at the invitation. "His name is Zach Williams."
"You should call her," Loni urged.
"Not a chance."
"What?" Loni asked, "You're not going to call her?"
"No. She told me that she doesn't want to be a part of my life--" He put the picture and the card back into the envelope and shoved that back into the FedEx envelope before he put the whole thing in his backpack.
His arms worked their way through the straps of his backpack and he adjusted the weight on his back before looking over at him. He could see the worry in his guards eyes, but he wasn't about to break down in the middle of the lobby to cry him a sob story that really wasn't warranted. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"You--" His head cocked to the side and he watched him. "It's just--"
"You're looking at me like my mother looks at me." He hated the way that his mother and now Loni would look at him like he needed their guidance in situations like this. "Stop it." He pushed at the other man and started to walk towards the elevator. "You're making me paranoid."
Loni followed after him, moving towards the elevator with long strides. "Are you sure you're ok?"
"Can I get your autograph?"
He stopped when a girl came up to him to get an autograph. He probably shouldn't have done it, but at this point even though he wanted to go up to his room and be alone, he was dreading walking in that door and really thinking about what the invitation meant. "Yes."
"Lance, it's Carrah ," Loni said, "You can't just--"
"I can do whatever the hell I want." He growled at his guard and smiled at the girl in front of him. The girl in front of him snapped a picture and he kept walking.
By the time he got up to his room he was steaming mad. He wasn't upset that Carrah was getting married, but the fact that she felt that she couldn't tell him over the phone or at least introduce him to the guy before hand really hurt.
The walk from the door to the curb was marked only by the sounds of
his shoes scraping against the bricks of the walkway. It wasn't until
they silently turned to the right to head up the street towards the high
school and the church that she finally took her hands out of her pockets
and spoke. "We need to talk."
"You already said that--" He went to reach for her arm to link it through his and she stepped away from him. He didn't like the feeling that came between them then. She didn't want him to touch her and he hated that. "I'm here, now what do you want to talk about?"
"About us--" He watched her shake her head as if she was trying to erase what she had just said. "I mean you and me, not being an us."
The pavement seemed to shift under his feet and he felt his knee give away a little as he pressed his next footstep to the concrete. He'd never really thought of them as an "us" but then again he'd never thought of them ever getting to the point where they'd be standing on that street not knowing what to say to each other. He turned his shoulders towards her hoping that she would stop walking and talk to him, but she didn't so he was speaking to her back as she walked further down the street. "What are you talking about Carrah?"
Her eyes stayed on their feet as they crossed first street. "You and me. I mean we're friends right?"
He slipped his hat off his head and ran his hand through his hair then replaced the hat and moved his feet faster to meet up with her. "I'd hope so." He was hesitant to continue the discussion if it was going to start out like that. This tension between them now was far higher than anything he'd ever experienced before. "I didn't get any memo otherwise."
Her head turned to the side a little and she got this concerned look on her face. He loved that about her. She was probably going to tell him something that he didn't want to hear, but she was still worried about him and his feelings. "You know we'll always be friends right?"
"What are you getting at Carrah?" He moved to straighten his back and looked down at her. Her eyes looked even more haunted than before. "You've never held back with me in the past. I would hate for you to start now."
Her feet slowed some and they began to stroll again instead of speed walking down to the far end of the street from his house. "I can't be bold and brash about this." Her eyes didn't make contact with his. They turned down to the pavement and their shoes. "There's not a good way to say this to you and it kills me to do it--"
"You know what?" he said with a sigh. He could imagine what it would be. He'd had more than a few conversations like this. It didn't matter now that she was his best friend. She'd started the conversation and they didn't need to end it. "If it's that bad then I think that I know what it is. Don't worry about telling me. I can see it in your eyes what you want to say." He stepped in front of her and made her stop and look up at him. He finally made eye contact with her and could see that he was right. The sadness was there, but at this point it didn't matter. She was gone already and there wasn't enough patience in the world to wait for her to come back
As he began to turn and walk towards his house again he kept his eyes on the stop sign in front of him and let his eyes blur. He knew his way home with them closed and found himself finding even pavement to walk on as he moved away from her and more towards home.
"Lance wait," she said.
He didn't give her the satisfaction of stopping or even looking back at her. It was too much effort to put into a person who was clearly not going to put effort in for him. "No."
"Lance, come on, wait up for me," she said behind him.
"NO," he repeated and tried to make his strides a little longer so that he could escape her as she came after him.
"Please don't leave it like this," she pleaded.
"Leave it like what?" he asked turning and walking backwards as he spoke to her. "How were you going to leave it Carrah?" He stopped and glared at her. "Don't drop this shit on me and walk away thinking that the next time I see you that I could act normal. Maybe that was the deal with us in the past, but it's different now."
"I knew this would happen." She huffed at him. .
When she didn't speak again he took a deep breath. "You seemed like you were having fun so I guess that it doesn't make much difference anyway. All those parties, all that dancing, all the everything just gets chalked up to wasted time. Sorry to have taken you away from more important things."
"Why are you acting like this?" She started to seem to understand what her words meant to him, but he knew there was so much more that she could never understand.
"I can't believe--" His throat closed up with emotions as they finally stopped and stared at each other.
Mr. Kingsbury was standing in the window of his house listening to them argue. The man came out on the porch. "You two kids ok?"
His hand rubbed at his shoulder. He wasn't ok. I needed to know that things were going to be ok. He hadn't thought much about the idea of her being out of his life, or at least if he had, those had been quickly replaced with work or traveling or Colleen. He didn't like the feeling of not knowing about such a huge part of her life and feeling like he couldn't call her up to ask her about it.
Going against his best thoughts, he picked up the phone, but when she didn't answer he took a breath and left a message. "Hey Colleen, it's me, Lance. I wasn't supposed to call you until later, but I--I'm in New York and I just wanted to say that I missed you. I know it doesn't make up for all the shit that has gone down, but I miss you. As soon as I get things settled in New York I'll try and call you and see if we can have dinner with Ree and Spencer or whoever is out that way." He covered his eyes with his hand. "Ummm, you don't have to call me back--just maybe this week we should--we should talk." He paused. "I love you. I know you don't want to hear it, but I need to say it." He took a deep breath. "Bye."
Her head hurt, her feet hurt and most of all her heart hurt. "I was wondering if you could check to see if Colleen Blanchard is on the visitor list for Mr. Bass."
She didn't have a clue how she'd gotten off her flight up to Anchorage and got onto a flight to New York. Her brain hadn't started to even realize what she'd done until she landed at JFK and had been hailing a cab to Times Square.
When she'd arrived in the city she'd made every attempt to find him, but after MTV wouldn't let her in the studios to find him and she couldn't get into the after party she'd decided to go to his hotel, on the off chance that they might let her up to his room to wait.
"Yes," she said turning around towards where the voice came from.
"What are you doing here?" Meredith said coming up to hug her. "I thought you were working or something and couldn't come out here--" She looked at her outfit. "--you're too cute in this outfit. It's just--I bet you want to change."
She laughed a little. "And I thought you and the baby were going to stay in Orlando for a while."
"Justin decided that he needed to come up here and record some stuff. He's toying around with the idea of a solo album so I tagged along so that he would actually be able to get some work done and while I was here I decided to meet with my A&R people at the record label. I'm kind of having second thoughts about not performing again and I'm trying to see if I can get some concerts scheduled after the baby is born and maybe not tour for a while and kind of--" She waved her hand. "I'm trying to save my career--what are you doing?"
She sighed. "Trying to save my relationship."
Her head turned to the side. "What happened?"
She looked around the lobby seeing if Justin was lurking around. "Are you on your way up? I don't want to keep you from something."
"Yeah," she said, "I just came down to get a new magazine from the shop across the street. Loni and Gritty are here with us and will kill me if they find out I went out." She looked at her watch. "Come over and hang out with me." Meredith placed her hand on the counter and looked at the clerk there. "Can you please put Colleen Blanchard on my visitor list? I'm in suite twenty four hundred."
"Of course Miss Willis."
Meredith hooked her arm through Colleen's. "Justin is over at Lance's party."
"I tried to go over there, but they didn't have me on the list and I'm not really in party clothes."
"The guys are probably half drunk and talking about the good old days. Justin will probably stumble in around three in the morning and wake me up and then--" She laughed a little. "Boys get way too horny when they drink."
"Anyway, how come you ended up in New York? Does Lance know you're here?"
"Colleen. I'm sorry. I've messed this up. I haven't been truthful with you about a million and one things and having everyone else talking about this--" He smiled. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
She stopped breathing. She remembered him saying love ya, but never I love you. "I don't know if we should--"
He pulled her into his arms and tried to kiss her.
"Don't--Wait a minute--" She turned away from him and took a deep breath, looking at them in the mirror across the room. "Do you mean that?"
He licked his lips and sighed. "What?"
"What you just said--" She turned and looked at him. "Do you mean it?"
"What?" he asked, "That I love you?"
"Of course I mean it." He moved away from her and started to sound angry. "I said it."
"Sometimes people say thing in the heat of the moment. Or they say them before they realize the consequences"
"Colleen I did not say I love you to get you in bed." He rubbed his shoulder then his forehead. "And what consequences are there for telling the woman that I love that I love her?"
"I didn't think you thought this through." She sat down on the bed and looked over at him. "I don't think that you realize the magnitude or the consequences that come from saying what you said."
He sat down on the bed and rubbed his shoulder again. "What are you trying to say?"
"I'm just saying that I Love you are the three most important words that you can say to someone and we haven't even be dating that long." She put a hand on his thigh. "For God's-sakes you just started calling me your girlfriend."
As they came to a stop in front of the elevator Colleen took a look at herself in the mirror in the small hallway. She looked tired, not the kind of tired that had her wanting a nap, but the kind of tired that wanted to have her curl up into a blanket and sleep for a week. "No."
"Are you gonna surprise him?" she asked, her eyes widening.
"Yeah, I guess."
"Ooohhh," Meredith gushed, "Let's plan something--I see flowers and a nightgown and--"
Colleen shook her head. "Really Mere, thanks and all, but I think I just need to talk to him."
"Is everything ok?"
The stepped into the elevator and she shook her head. "I don't know yet."
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