JUST ME Part Five

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[[Thirteen]]
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EJ sat and stared at him. "Relationship? How dare you even bring that word into this?" She paused for a moment. "You know what? I'm surprised you even have that word in your vocabulary. Shock me, shock me."

Lance's expression was truly of confusion. "What are you talking about? Why are you so angry?"

EJ wished she had something in her hand to throw at him. Maybe that would knock some sense into him because it seemed that her actions so far had definitely gone unnoticed. "You know Nick told me you were clueless but this really takes the cake. I can’t believe that for a minute I thought that this might work. I mean it’s been almost a year, and I wished and God forbid hoped that you would--"

"What?" He asked. She watched him scratch his head. She knew that this was all really confusing and at the same time it hurt that he didn't remember all the times she'd smiled at him over the last year. "A year? What are you talking about?"

"A year," she said, "Yes, God Damn it! A year of my life watching you come into Pop’s order your stuff and leave. You know I thought it was just you, the way you would never say anything or to anyone else. I thought you were shy or something, but really you're so caught up in yourself that...this definitely wasn't was I expected." She scratched her head, "A year of wanting to say something to you, to tell you how I feel. I should have known better. I should have known that I should have just left well enough alone this small hope that I had that you would be this amazing guy...You know what? All I’ve learned in the last few weeks is that you’re an idiot and that I'm an idiot for getting pulled into this little game of yours."

"Game?" He asked.

"Yes game," she said, "You know I’m sorry, but this is horrible. You may be a rock star or pop star or whatever, but that doesn’t give you the right to not function in normal society."

"Not function?" he asked, "I think at the moment you have no right to accuse me of being a little out of the ordinary."

"You would say that," she said, "Because of course you're never wrong."

"Where is this all coming from?" He asked.

"You know what?" She said and turned away from him, curled into the covers. "Why don’t you just stay here...I’m going to get a flight out in the morning..." She started towards the door. "I don’t belong here. I never should have even thought that I would."

"EJ you sound crazy right now," Lance said.

"You're the one who pushed me over the edge," she said.

"What are you talking about? I've done nothing but be nice to you," he said.

"Yeah right. Well you know what? It's time for me to have a little control in this relationship and since I can see that you loving me is out of the picture then I should just go."

"I do. I do love you, but I can’t be with you and that kills me."

"This is not love." She turned and stared at him. "THIS. IS. NOT. LOVE." Her voice turned bitter as she stared at him.

Lance watched her. "What do you know about it?"

"I know enough to know that people who care about each other don't do things like you did to me tonight." Tears threatened to fall, but she bit her tongue so that they wouldn't. If she was going to get through this she couldn't be falling all over the place crying over him.

"What did I do?" He took a breath, "What could I have possibly done in the five minutes that I saw you tonight to piss you off this much?"

Willa looked away from him. "You hung out with Alayna all night."

"You were with Nick, what was I supposed to do? I saw the way that you guys were hanging on each other so I thought you changed your mind about me so I--"

"Do you even have a clue what's on my mind?" EJ asked.

He sighed. "Obviously not."

"Do you really want to know? Since I've kept it in for so long, do you really want to hear it?"

"I have a feeling that you're going to tell me anyway so you might as well start."

"You know what?" she said glaring at him, "Get out of my room. Get out." Tears started to fall down her cheeks.

"No," he said quickly. His voice was softer when he spoke again, "Tell me what you were going to tell me."

"I don't want to now," she said, "Cuz you'll probably just use that against me too."

"Use it against you? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the fact that I've been nothing but nice to you, haven't bugged you in any way, and you've taken advantage of that. I'm not ready to have my love for you used against me either." Her tone was bitter as she tried to keep a straight face and not let more tears run down her cheeks.

Lance looked at her for a moment then said, "Sit down EJ."

She stared at him. "No, just leave me alone. I don't want to talk to you right now."

"No," he said firmly. "Just let me say one thing then I'll leave you alone."

"Fine." EJ plopped down on the bed and looked at him.

Lance sat next to her and looked her in the eyes. "If you want to go home I can't stop you, but really I think you'll be missing out on a lot if you go home."

"Great. Ego now too," she said.

"No," he said, "We're in Hawaii. You can be mad at me all you want--"

"I don't need your permission to be mad at you."

"That's not what I meant. Will you just stop?"

"Fine."

"Look, I know you're mad, but you only have three more days in Hawaii. I want you to stay. I won't bother you if you don't want me to. I'll leave you the hell alone, but I think the other girls would miss you and that you would miss out on a lot if you went home."

EJ looked at him. He had flown her there and had gotten her a great place to stay so she might as well take advantage of that since it was clear that her trip with Lance was ruined. She still could enjoy Hawaii without him.

"Fine," she said.

"Are you going to say anything to me besides fine?"

"I haven't decided about that yet," she said.

Lance pushed off the bed and got up to leave, "I think the girls are going to go shopping tomorrow. You should go with them. I have press stuff to do, just in case you want to know."

EJ was still sitting on the bed when he pushed out the door and disappeared into the hallway.

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[[Fourteen]]
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His eyelids felt as if they weighed a ton, but he didn't let them close for very long when they started to drift shut. His eyes would close all the way then he would come awake with a start and his eyes would go wide again. He'd been lying in bed for almost five hours staring at the door that separated the two rooms, braving the battle, and playing his little game.

Groaning aloud he rolled onto his back for the fiftieth time that night and his hands gripped the sheets tightly in frustration. The humid heat in the room that had been quenched by the air conditioning earlier in the evening seemed to return full force. Lance had turned down the temperature in the room, but didn't at all feel the effects that he had earlier. He’d already kicked the covers off the bed and had taken his shirt off a while ago, but he still felt hot.

Hot and bothered, he laughed to himself. He'd never really actually experienced what people meant by that saying until now. His skin was covered with a thin layer of sweat and he felt on edge. An ache in his whole body seemed to manifest itself in his legs making it hard for him to sit still. If he didn't know any better he would have thought that he was getting the flu, but he didn't at all FEEL sick, he just ached. He had to roll over and reposition himself in bed every five minutes or so because he couldn’t find a comfortable position to lay in without having his mind drift to the room next door.

He didn't know what it was about fighting and the sexual energy that came with it, but he couldn't get the fiery look in her eyes out of his mind. He had planned to spend a romantic evening with EJ, a little dancing and maybe desert back in the room, but after their fight all he'd gotten was a headache and a restless night of tossing and turning trying not to picture her next door.

Just after he returned to his room he'd heard her take a shower. That had been a torture to listen to. The sound of the water made his libido go on overdrive when he thought of her next door, naked, and in the shower.

After the sound of the shower disappeared he'd heard the television go on, then off shortly after. He wondered for a moment if she had gotten as restless as he had gotten. He’d paced the room while she’d been in the shower trying unsuccessfully to think of other things. No matter what he did he still pictured the look in her eyes earlier or what she looked like when she'd spent the night at his house or when she'd slept on his shoulder on the plane ride over. It all seemed so perfect

When he'd heard her out on her balcony he'd gone to the door to see if he could see her. Hiding behind the sheer curtains he’d stood and stared out into the darkness. With just the moonlight to see her by, she'd stood there staring out at the ocean, hair blowing in the wind like on some dramatic movie, wearing a long robe, for almost fifteen minutes before looking over at his door. He'd thought for a moment that she had caught him staring, but she didn't seem to notice him. She continued to stare at the window then looked again at the ocean then went back into her room.

Finally, unable to stand the boredom of staring at the closed door and the strange thoughts that had begun to enter his mind, about climbing next door to go crawl in bed with her, he pushed himself out of bed. He moved across the room carefully, shuffling his feet so that he didn't trip over anything. He moon was still out and he had just enough light to see to push the sliding glass door open to the balcony.

He stepped out, bare-chested and barefooted and moved towards the railing. Hiking up the boxer shorts he'd chosen to wear to bed, he stopped at the balcony wall, settled his forearms against the railing and stared out at the ocean and beach below, letting out a tired groan

"Well at least I'm not the only one who couldn't sleep."

Lance jumped, startled by the sound of her voice coming from the darkness, and turned to find EJ standing next door in shorts and a T-shirt watching him. His defensive stance softened. He could see that she was now wearing only a tank top and shorts that seemed to be pajamas. He found himself wondering what else she might be wearing to bed these days. "Damn girl. You scared the shit out of me."

"Sorry," she said and a scraping noise filled the air as she pulled one of the patio tables away from the table and slid into it, "I didn't mean to."

"What are you doing up?" he asked, "I thought you would have gone to sleep hours ago." He cut himself before he revealed to her that he'd been listening to her all night. He figured that it would probably come out wrong if he explained to her that he thought she'd gone to sleep after her first little visit to the balcony.

"I couldn't sleep," she admitted with a light tone to her voice then her voice lowered and he almost couldn't hear her say, "Too much stuff was on my mind."

"Same here." Lance moved to the edge of his balcony where it met up with hers. He leaned against the wall, choosing to stare out at the ocean instead of at the parts of her body that he could see of her in the moonlight as he wander over.

"I'm--" they both started to say at the same time.

"Go first," Lance said and pulled a chair over. The two balconies were only about three feet away from each other so he thought he'd sit on his own balcony to talk to her. He still wasn't sure if she was upset with him still or not so she thought he'd stay away from her a little.

"Why don't you just come over," she said after a moment.

"You sure?" he asked. She must have seen how he was leaning her way trying to see over the wall to see her.

"Yeah."

Lance shuffled back into his room. He looked around for a moment and wondered if he should put on a shirt. As he was looking for his bag he hit over a chair. Instead of picking it up he rubbed his foot then went to open the door on his side that would lead to her room. Once it was open he knocked on the connecting door between the two rooms. His hands began to shake as he waited for her to open the door.

Finally, an excruciating long moment later, she opened the door and let him in. He shuffled forward and once he was all the way inside he was stopped. He could see in the dark what was going on, but he didn't understand what EJ was doing when she slid her arms around him pulling herself close to him.

He got lost in the feeling of her skin against his. Her tank top was paper-thin and her entire upper body was pressed against him.

"EJ?" he asked silently knowing he'd probably regret later interrupting her.

"Yeah," she said in a breathy voice as if she was just as nervous as he was. Her lips found his neck in the dark and he felt her hands curling around him, first caressing his back then sliding lower to the waistband of his boxers.

"Are you still mad at me?" he asked trying to think of something else as her hands explored his body, running along his sides then around to the front.

"No," she said and he felt her tug at the waistband at the front of his shorts.

"Good," he said. Her admission of forgiveness gave him the opportunity he was looking for.

He slid his arms around her and walked more into the room backing her up until they hit the edge of her bed. "Tell me now to go away if you want me to," he said.

"No," she said.

Lance took a breath; paused for a moment to steady his hands then reached for her shirt. He slid it over her head then slid his arms around her until they were skin to skin from the waist up.

They stood there for a moment holding each other, letting each other get comfortable before Lance moved to pick her up then a few moments later they found themselves lying on the bed. EJ lay on her back and Lance was above her trying to stay there with her and not crush her with the weight of his body.

"You ok?" he asked as she seemed to settle herself under him.

"Yes," she said.

With her signal to go ahead Lance leaned and kissed her, moving his hands to the parts of her body he'd only dreamed of touching before.

Suddenly an alarm went off and Lance bolted upright in bed. The sun was already fairly high in the sky and he was in his room alone. The chair that he'd thought he'd knocked over was still upright. It had all been a dream.

A damn dream that was going to haunt him for the rest of the day.

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[[Fifteen]]
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"Damn dreams," Lance mumbled. His chest vibrated from his sleepy voice and he thought for a moment about letting the sound linger a little longer. He had been quiet most of the morning and he almost felt like he needed to talk so people wouldn't forget he was there. He didn't realize that he'd even spoken aloud until JC turned his head and looked across the table at him. "What?" Lance asked.

After some time o studying his face, Lance noticed him watching his eyes as if he was looking to see if he had a hangover or not, JC passed him the next thing to be signed then seemed to wait for some sign of recognition from Lance. "Did you say something?"

"No," Lance grumbled and sunk lower in his seat. He'd been sitting there for almost an hour and hadn't been able to get comfortable. He'd had little sleep after the dream he'd had the evening before and was becoming a little crabby from his sleep deprivation.

Numbly he slid his hand out and pulled the poster across to him then signed his name wildly before capping the pen and waiting or the next thing to sign. His nervous fingers danced over the pen and the poster as he tried to be patient and wait until the interview was finally over.

He hadn't meant to, but his mind had wandered when he'd seen the doors on the far side of the room open. He hadn't seen her yet this morning up until that point, but he'd heard from the other guys that all the girls had gone out to the beach to lay out. That of course brought to mind a picture of her in her swimsuit lying out on a towel, probably smelling of coconut oil instead of the Sharpie pen smell he was faced with. If he'd been alone his fantasy of her would have played out more thoroughly, but since he was in the midst of interviews he only got a quick glimpse of what he would do with her if they'd been alone on the beach. It wasn't anything to be alarmed at when the girls walked into the room, but it seemed as if their entrance wasn't ignored. Usually when people came into the conference rooms or backstage areas unannounced it was a shock to the system, but this wasn't like some fans finding their way past security or something. He couldn't help but to keep his eye on his not-so-friendly, scantily-clad, bikini-wearing guest as she moved with the other girls into the room, across the back wall, and outside again.

"Keep your head in the game LB," JC tapped the table with the back of his pen then slid the next item to him.

"What?" he asked startled again by his friend's voice.

He uncapped his pen and held it in his hand and stared at the poster of the group that was staring up at him from the tabletop. It was an old picture, way older than they should have been handing out, but the merchandising company said that the current poster was way too popular to stop selling so they'd continued to manufacture it even though the guys looked nothing like they did back then.

He shifted in his seat and looked across the room at the door the girls had left out of. What he would give to get up and go after them at that moment. He didn't know where they were headed but it was probably a million times better than being stuck in a conference room signing his name to posters and CD covers all morning. Thank God they didn't have to deal with fans until later, because he knew he'd probably not be a very good host to them at the moment.

"Keep your head on straight man. Don't let her get to you," JC mumbled as a few of the radio representatives gathered around the back of them to check on their progress.

"What are you talking about?" Lance asked. He looked around the room trying to avoid the stare that he knew JC was giving him, "Her? Her who?"

"Oh get off it," JC said then lowered his voice so that the radio station people wouldn't hear his comment. "Everyone knows you slept in different rooms last night. I thought you were going to put the moves on her this trip, but I guess that all went down hill after you hung out with Alayna. I would figure if you had two girls on your jock that you'd at least get one of them into bed."

Lance signed the poster and slid it down the assembly line with great force. He knew that only a few people knew about last night and while they usually kept their mouths closed, this time it seemed as if his personal life had been broadcast to everyone in Hawaii. "Damn fucking security."

"HEY!" Wes said from over his right shoulder.

"I know, I know," Lance said ducking down a little incase Wes was closer than he thought he was. He glanced back and found Wes giving him an angry look, "I'm sorry."

"We're almost done here guys," Johnny called to the guys and although no one made a sound, you could tell that the spirits of the five men at the table lifted.

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Ten minutes later, after finishing all the duties that were expected of them, all the people in the room cleared out and headed to the upper floors of the hotel. Lance's plan was to change into his swim trunks and lay out for a while. He had paperwork to read over for FreeLance and decided that he would sit out on the balcony to read instead of taking security down to the beach with the others. He needed the peace and quiet and knowing his tendency to let his mind wander that morning he thought it would be best that he stayed away from the general public. It was one thing to be caught day dreaming by his band mates, but another thing for something like that to happen to him in public.

When Lance was going into his room he saw EJ coming out of hers. He was almost inside his room when he heard her door open and against his better judgement he leaned back out into the hallway and threw her a smile. She wore shorts and a T-shirt now but he could see the strings of her bikini top hanging out of the back of her shirt so he figured she was still going to lounge around that day.

"Where are you off to?" he asked with a soft voice hoping that she wouldn't get upset with him for bothering her. He'd promised that he would leave her alone, but after the night before he couldn't help but want to talk to her. Seeing her like that in his dream had definitely drawn her closer to his thoughts rather than put him out of his misery.

"The girls and I are going to take a jeep and head up north and go to a beach we heard about," she said as she pulled a backpack over her shoulder. She held onto her key tightly and he could tell that she was nervous standing there in front of him.

"Are you going to take some of the guys with you?" he asked. He really wasn't worried about her safety really. With the group of girls with her, she would be fine, but he wanted to try to prolong the conversation a little.

"I think we'll be fine on our own."

He thought about trying to say something else to her, but he couldn't find something that didn't seemed forced so he backed up a foot and put his hand against the wall. He ran his fingers over the pattern on the wallpaper. "Well have fun," Lance said with a sigh.

He started to go into the room when he heard her speak so he leaned back out again.

"You've got a few hours off," she said, "What are you going to do?"

"Paperwork," he said with another sigh, "I have a few contracts I have to look over and some calls to make, but at least I can sit out back and work on it all."

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