Lance hadn't meant to stay away so long, but one thing had led to another. He'd finished the shoot around then had been a press conference then lunch then another public appearance. He wasn't at all liking the fact that he was in Vegas and that EJ was there and he couldn't share in them both.

Now as the sun was setting and the lights of the city had been turned up full blast he was finding himself a little more than drunk from dinner and a little more relaxed than he should have been considering that it was a working weekend. He'd sat next to Joey and JC at the end of the table and it had been his undoing. It seemed that there had been some unspoken bet on who could take in the most wine since JC was having the drink become a hobby for him, but now Lance was regretting playing games.

"You coming to the club?" Joey asked.

"Naw," Lance nodded and tried to keep from falling over. "I'm gonna go crawl in bed with my woman."

Joey let out a laugh. "Well well well, Lance the caveman comes out. Your woman?"

"Yeah," he said, "Yaba Daba Doo...My woman."

"Have fun," Joey said with a salute, "I'll tell all the girls you said hello."

"You do that," Lance said seriously with a nod of his head and turned to go in the door.

The room was quiet and dark. He hadn't expected her to wait around for him, but it was early so he wondered if she'd really gone off on her own. He'd called her earlier and she'd said she was going to just hang out at the hotel because she was still in the midst of a headache. As she walked through the living room across to the sliding glass door that overlooked the city Lance felt like he was back in junior high coming into the house after curfew or something. "EJ?" he called out.

His eyes scanned the room to see if she'd fallen asleep on the couch, but when he didn't see her there he kicked out of his shoes and undid his shirt buttons. He made his way to the bedroom thinking that she might already be asleep. His head was swimming and as he looked down at the buttons on the shirt he teetered first to the left then to the right. He couldn't see very well, other than the light coming through the windows, but even if the lights had been on he'd probably have hit into something anyway.

When his leg connected with the side of the bed he fell forward and landed roughly on his stomach.


He closed his eyes. Just what he needed, to be found falling over and him being on the way to being drunk. It wasn't the most flattering place in the world to be.

"What Emma?" he asked.

"Are you ok?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said and rolled onto his back. He pulled his shirt off then removed his pants then scooted up so that he could move the sheets and blanket aside and crawl in next to her. "How's your head sugar?"

"It's better," she said, "I should be asking about yours...did you boys have fun at dinner?"

"Yeah," he said, "We drank a little and ate some great Italian food."

"That's good."

"Emma?" he asked.


"Are you sure you're ok?" he asked not sure if he'd asked her before. He was having a hard time remembering things, but he wasn't sure if it was just the pressure of the weekend on him or the drinks he had consumed that night, but one of the two was causing the sudden lapse of memory.

"Yeah," she said, "I'm just tired."

Lance moved his arms out across the bed and pulled her across towards him. "Well come on over here and snuggle up to me and we'll go to sleep."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Why wouldn't I want you over here?"

"I don't know," she said, "I thought you'd just want to go to sleep since you have to get up early in the morning."

"What I want to do is to make love to you," he said moving his arms tighter around her, "But at the moment I can't seem to focus my eyes on anything so I doubt that I'd be doing any romantic stuff for you tonight."

"It's not all about sex Lance," she said.

"I know that," he said.

"I think you need a shower and some water," she said.

"A shower is water," he said.

"You smell like alcohol right now Lance," she said.

"I do?" he asked.

"Yeah," she mumbled, "What did you drink?"

"Wine," he said, "Lots of freaking wine."


"Well come on," she said with a sigh, "We'll get you into the shower and then we'll go to bed and tomorrow night you can make love to me all night long."


Moments later they were in the bathroom again and E.J. was having flashbacks of their first nights together.


"You ok?" she asked still holding onto his hand. He thought he might be leaning against her a little and tried to straighten up.

He nodded and watched as she unlocked the door of her car. It wasn't as nice as his was, but it would have to do considering that the guys had ditched him.

"I think we should hang out a while before I take you home. You need to sober up a little before you go to sleep."

"It doesn't matter to me," he said and checked his watch. His eyes wouldn't focus on the numbers.

He threw his hand out and shoved the watch in her face. "What time does this say?"

She held his hand still and said, "It says one."

"You aren't messing with me, are you?" he asked.

"No," she said. She showed him her watch. "See, mine says one too."

"I can't read it," he said with a mean tone, "That's why I wanted you to tell me what time it was."

"Oh," she said and smiled. "Well hop in. I won't have you home by midnight so don't go turning into a pumpkin on me."

Lance burst out laughing at that remark. She wasn't as funny as Chris or Justin or Joey, hell it wasn't even that funny at all, but he liked the fact that she was treating him like a normal human being. Usually girls were asking him to take them home, even if he did have security with them. She seemed to have made up her mind about taking him home. He just hoped that he ended up there. He wasn't sure that he wanted to make a call in the morning to get himself a ride home.

"Are you sure you're going to be ok?" she asked. "You aren't going to puke in my car are you?"

"No," he said nodding to show that he meant it. He didn't really feel that drunk, but acting the part was going to get him a nice evening with his little savior.

"Good," she said.

She let him into the passenger side of the small truck then went around to the driver side. He leaned over and unlocked her door, hoping hat whatever embarrassing things he might do that night would be erased by that one gesture.

"Thanks," she said getting in.

He watched her nervously close the door and put on her seatbelt. He followed her motion and soon they were flying down the road.

"Where are we going?" he asked since she hadn't bothered to ask directions. After the whole getting on the freeway thing he didn't know where he was exactly. It was night and he usually didn't drive out to the club, which was probably a bad idea since he really didn't know his way home.

"To Pops, for ice cream."

"You have chocolate?" he asked then stopped short. "Isn't it kind of late for that?"

"Not when you have the key, and you're the owner's daughter."

"Oh." He liked the way she was smiling at him.

"You don't have to eat ice cream. I can make you hot chocolate."

"What is this obsession with hot chocolate?" he asked.

"That's what you always drink," she said.

"You aren't a stalker are you?"

"No," she said, "I told you that this morning. I just know your order because you have the same thing every day."

"I do not," he said. Did he order the same thing every day? He couldn't remember. Usually at that time of the morning he didn't know which way was up, let alone what he was putting into his body. It was a habit of being on the road so much; every day seemed to bleed into the next one and almost every face he saw looked like the last one.

"Ok, well on rainy days you have green tea," she said, "But that's not the point."

"You really are a stalker, maybe you should let me out." He hoped she knew that he was joking. He figured if the guys hadn't trusted her they wouldn't have left him with her, besides, Dre and Mike had let him be that night. They wouldn't let him go off with some crazy girl.

"Are you sure?" she said, "I don't think you know your way home from here. Besides, you're about fifteen minutes away from Pops which I figured is close to your house since you come in every day..."

"Please tell me you don't know where I live too," he said. That would be the only thing that could make his day worse. He hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before, he'd left his wallet at home, he was almost late for his recording appointment, some things with Meredith's contract had fallen through and he hadn't heard from his parents that day. All around he figured that if his stalker started hanging out at his house it was just another sign that this was hell on earth.

"No," she said. She glanced at him and stared for a moment. "Really, I'm not a stalker. I just pay attention."

"Good," he said. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as the car rocked him a little. He felt hyperactive, but at the same time he felt like he could fall asleep at any minute.

Just as he began to let his eyes slide shut, but was interrupted.

"Now, do you want ice cream or hot chocolate?" she asked.

He frowned and pouted, "Hot chocolate."

"Let me guess," she said, "No whip cream...and I know...wow, what a stalker."

Lance laughed a little. "Yeah, yeah, that's what you say, but you realize how crazy it is for you to know all about you when I know nothing about you."

She laughed.

"What'd I say?"

"You really are drunk."

"Why?" he asked, "What'd I say?"

"You aren't making sense anymore...don't worry about it."

"I'm not making sense?"

"Not really," she said, "Don't worry, I won't ruin your reputation."


"I'm gonna puke," he said and moments later she was at his side with a washcloth.

"I'm sorry EJ," he said when he finally sat up, "I'm so sorry for being such an ass when it comes to this stuff. I love you. I really do love you, but--"

She put a finger to his lips. "Don't say anything else. I don't want you to regret something later."

He nodded and she helped him stand up and made him take a shower before she pulled him back to bed with her and covered him up and left him alone chosing to curl up in a chair next to him even though he protested about that part of the deal.



(c) 2002 Pit Pat Productions