[[ Las Vegas -- Three months later ]]

Sin City had always been a fun place for the guys to go and spend time, but this visit Lance wasn't looking forward to the slot machines, the clubs; not any of the other attractions. He stepped down the few steps of the bus and was met by security as he slid glasses over his eyes to walk towards the door of the MGM Grand. "Is she here yet?" he asked Mike, who was walking next to him. Most of the security crew had been sent ahead to clear things with the hotel staff due to the unique circumstances of the weekend so he figured that Mike would be the one to know if her flight had gotten in yet or not.

"She's up in the suite," Mike said with a knowing smile.

Everyone knew the momentous occasion that was about to occur. They'd been waiting forever for this day to happen, partly because they knew that Lance needed to see EJ, but partly because they didn't want to hear him after yet another phone call where she refused to visit. Lance had been battling with EJ for almost three weeks about coming out to visit. She'd refused every attempt to get her on the road and when Lance had realized that it had been almost three months since he'd seen her he insisted that she come to town for the Challenge For The Children events. It would be the only time on tour where they'd be in one place for a few nights and he thought she'd at least agree since they wouldn't be mobile that weekend. He knew she wasn't that big on traveling and the whole commotion of his life was almost too much for him to handle, let alone for someone else to handle.

Being on tour definitely had taken up a lot of his time. With FreeLance, movie prep work, and the Charity Weekend he was having a hard time fitting anything else into his schedule, but he'd made it perfectly clear that he needed to see her in person and she finally agreed that she needed to see him.

"How long has she been here?" he asked looking over at Mike trying to read his expression. He'd been witness to the huge drama that had occured when he'd left town for tour and had been very sensitive to the situation. Mike would be the only one to know if she was still upset now, Mike's expression would key him into that fact.

"A few hours," Mike said casually checking his watch as he turned and scanned the crowd.

It should have been an action that reminded Lance of where he was and what he should be paying attention to: namely the crowd and not his personal life, but it didn't. He should have been waving to everyone and looking around to give the fans a chance to catch him on film, but truly he didn't care what happened. He needed to get up to the suite and get his arms around her and make sure that she was really ok. She'd told him a million times over the phone that she was, but he'd still heard the sadness in her voice when he called and he needed to make sure that it wasn't something permanent.

Mike nudged him and had him stop for someone to take his picture then sighed, "When we went up to get things settled for you guys she was already there and we got here about two hours ago."

"What was she doing? She look ok?" Lance asked.

"Dang man, you're like a five year old with that," Mike said, "She looks fine…I mean she looks like she always did…you'd think you hadn't seen her in years. It's only been three months."

"I know, I know," Lance said as Mike finally pushed through the front door and headed him towards the elevator, "I'm just nervous."

"I only talked to her for a few minutes, but she seemed ok from what I saw."

Lance nodded and stepped into the elevator with a few other people, leaned against the wall and closed his eyes as they made their way up to the top floor. He'd been up early that morning after getting to bed late and was starting to feel the effect of his sleep deprivation. He knew though that he needed to stay up. If EJ was going to be with him for only four or so days he was going to have to not miss a minute of it.

When the elevator opened up they stepped out into a small lobby area and the woman at a receptionist-like desk greeted them. They nodded to her as if they were old friends and went to the big door at the end of the hallway. Mike unlocked the door and Lance walked into a living room that was just about the size of his living room at home.

"EJ?" he called out as Mike closed him into the room, letting him be alone to day for the first time.


Slowly EJ made her way out of the bedroom into the living room. Before she stepped into the other room she checked herself in the mirror. She hadn't dressed up for the occasion, but she didn't want to look sloppy for him. Afterall, it had been a while and she didn't want him to change his opinion of her just because of a bad first impression.

When she found him he was slipping out of his running shoes, kicking them off with his feet as he stood and looked at the Las Vegas skyline. Her voice failed her the first time she tried to speak, but she finally got out a noise. "Lance."

When she said his name he immediately launched himself at her, leaping from his position with only one shoe on, pulling her into his arms by slipping his hands around her hips to hold her there. He leaned and kissed her cheek then moved his hands from around her waist up to her face, where he framed her face for a moment then kissed her deeply.

She finally pulled back and looked to see that there were tears running down his cheeks. It startled her to see him this emotional. SHe'd thought about it a million times on the plane ride there and had cried herself due to nerves when she'd first arrived and found that she would have to wait to see him.

"Are you ok L?" she asked. She cocked her head sideways a little and let the tears that were threatening to well up in her eyes to do so, "See, now you've made me cry."

He nodded and kissed her again then smiled before pulling away far enough to wipe his cheeks on the arm of his shirt without letting go of her hand, which somehow had become entwined in hers. "I'm just--I'm just glad to see you." He held her at arms length for a moment then pulled her in and hugged her again.

"Are you sure?" she asked, "I hate to say this, but I think I know why you call me so much…If I acted anything like this when you left it's amazing that you didn't go five minutes without calling me. I would be worried about you."

"I'm fine," he said and kissed her cheek, "Definitely fine."

"Good," she said and waited patiently as Lance wiped her face carefully with his fingers to rid her of the tears.

"So what is the schedule for the day?" she asked trying to change the subject. She not only wanted to know how much time she got with him, but she knew that she needed to prepare herself for the busy weekend ahead. If she was going to survive this visit she knew she needed to plan for the worst case senerio and hope for the best.

"I have the night off then Thursday I'm going to be busy almost all day, but I made sure that I can take you to lunch and dinner then Friday we have the concert...which sucks, but at the same time you'll finally get to see it. Saturday is the Skills Challenge which should be fun and it's going to be pretty casual with stuff so we can hang out. Melinda planned it so it should be like a backyard barbeque type thing, just with an audience and Sunday is the game. There is going to be--" He broke off his sentence, sighed, and looked at her, "It's long and it's complicated, but I've got time set apart for just us."

He stared at her.


"I just wanted you to be here and I wasn't sure that you'd be on that plane."

"Well I'm here," she said and held out her arms.

He let his lips curl into a smile then stepped back a little. "Turn around?" he asked.


"Because I haven't seen you in three months and I want to look at you."

"Ok, that's a little strange L," she said nervously, but twisted around so that he could look. She'd been at home for three months now waiting for the right time to return to his life and from the happy look on his face she could see that she'd picked the right moment. "Why don't you grab a shower, we'll order lunch and talk."

"Wow, look at you, making all the plans," Lance said. He watched her for a moment, "How have you been?"

"I'm fine," she said with a nod. She prayed that he wouldn't keep asking her that. She was ok, but asking her about it would only bring up emotions that she was carefully tucking away for the time being. SHe could get through the day fine without mention of what happened, but when she did she couldn't stop crying, "You talked to me yesterday…you should know that I'm fine."

He nodded, "I just wanted to make sure... You like the room?"

"Definitely," she said, "This place is like a fairytale or something."

"Mmmm," He looked around and seemed to look at it with a different eye than hers, as if this monstrosity of a hotel room was normal, which to him it probably was, but for her it was something amazing, straight out of a movie. "Well I should go shower," he said.

"Sounds good," she said and watched him. It was a shock to see his face, his mouth moving and words coming out of it. It had been a rough three months being in Orlando alone. They'd spoken almost on a daily basis, but being there with him now, in the same room, she felt as if she hadn't spoken or seen him in years.

"Honey you have to let go of my hand so you can go take your shower," she said. As much as she knew she wanted to spend time with him, she needed a moment away from his critical eyes. He saw things about her that she didn't see and for the moment she didn't want to be reminded of how much weight she'd lost or the tired look that had graced her face since she'd let him get onto the plane that would fly him out to the first show of the tour.

His eyes fell to their hands that were still linked then his eyes flew across the room as if he was looking for something. "Did you see my? Never mind."

His hand broke contact with hers when he went over to where his bags were piled, grabbed up the rolling suitcase and walked towards the bedroom. As he passed he wiggled his eyebrows at her and said, "Care to join me?"

She shook her head no to him. As tempting as it was, she knew that she couldn't do it. She needed to talk to him first then decide how things would go from then on in. She still thought that she wanted to be with him, but now that they were back in the same town she thought things might be a little different for them, due to the time that had lapsed.

"You're loss," he said with a lazy tone.

"I'm sure I can handle it," she said with a smile and made her way over to the couch still shocked with the accommodations.

"You ok?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said, "I already took a shower when I got here and I thought you'd want a minute alone or something since you've been crammed on that bus since yesterday."

Lance came over around to the back of the couch and leaned over her. He kissed her softly on the forehead, "Thank you."

"For what?" she asked looking at him and trying not to get too carried away with the light feeling that she got from his kiss.

"For being here, for understanding," he said with a simple tone, as if it really all could be that simple, that her being there was enough for him.

"I love you too sweetie," she said suddenly feeling the need to remind him and herself of the matter.

"That's really nice to hear…in person," he said. He leaned and kissed her again, "If you want go ahead and order lunch…they have really good cheeseburgers here."

"No white hot chocolate?" she asked.

"No," he said, "I can't cheat on Pop's like that."

She laughed, "You want me to order you a burger?"

"Yeah, if you're going to get something for you," he said before he left, "No onions please."

"No onions," she repeated with a smile and leaned to kiss him again before she pushed herself off the couch and followed him.

"Wouldn't want to have anything come between us," he joked breaking off to go towards the bedroom.

She went to the tiny kitchen and picked up the phone to order. It was strange to be there and be so normal. She'd expected tension, but wasn't running across any so far. She thought that she might like the idea of it being a part of this thing that they were calling an "us".




(c) 2002 Pit Pat Productions