"You didn't just say what you just said did you?" she asked stuttering and finding it hard to breathe.  He was ruining his life if he gave her what she wanted.  She knew that and that was intentionally why she hadn't asked him about it before.  She knew that he would be sacrificing EVERYTHING for her to have her one indulgence.

"I can't help it," he said sounding almost as if he was pleading for his life or something, needing her to see his side of the story. "I fell for you the moment I saw you drawing on the plane."

"Don't say that," she said and began to pace.  He couldn't do this to her.  He couldn't just come out and say what she'd been hoping he'd say.  It would ruin everything because what she wanted could ruin his life and career if she let it happen.

"Why?" he asked.

"Just don't," she said scrambling for a good enough reason for him to back off.  She didn't want him there.  She had fallen for him.  Opening up to the idea of him maybe liking her or loving her would be potentially disasterous. "It's just going to bring us have to know that."

"What if I want a little trouble in my life?" he asked, "I want to be with you--and don't say that it comes from pity.  If i pitied you it would be different, but I just want you to have what you want and what I want is you."

"Don't do this to me," she pleaded trying to show him that this wasn't the way the situation needed to be handled. "Please."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because you make it too easy to say yes and I know what comes with that...complications that neither of us need.  I mean how are you going to handle me walking out of your life with our child after this is all over with."

"Why do you have to walk away?" he asked.

She didn't have a clue how to answer that.  She'd never thought of doing it any other way.  She'd never pictured herself living along side someone.  She wanted to be a mother, not a wife.  She'd never even considered that as an option.  It would just be easier that way, just her and the kid.

"Serena, listen to me," he said, "I know that a lot of the time people think that being with someone else is going to hold  them back from doing what they want.  I'm not going to hold you back from anything.  I'm not going to make you give up your career or traveling or any of it.  If this were to happen I'd want to be involved, but your career is just as important as mine and I wouldn't want you to give that up."

"What are you saying?" she asked.

"Partners," he said, "I want a family, but I need someone who understands my career and you want someone who will understand yours.  It's the perfect match with the bonus that I'm in love with you and want to be there with you and give you the family that you want."

"It's not that easy," she said thinking that the man in front of her was completely insane for even thinking of it.

"Give it a try," he said, "Next week I have five days off in a row.  I'm going to be heading down to Orlando and I know you were probably going to be in town stay with me for the week and see how things go."

"Are you kidding me?" she asked, "You can't just throw us together and make us's not that easy.  We can't just play house."

"Why are you so against this?" he asked, "You might actually like me and might actually have fun...we can even babysit Frank and Mia again."

Why was this sounding so easy?  According to him anything could be just fixed by going home.  It wasn't that easy. There was going to be a child if they went through with things and it wasn't going to be a walk in the park.

"So will you try it for a few days?" he asked, "Please?"

"This is against my better judgement, but I think I at least owe you that," she said, "Although you do realise that if we go through with this that the press is gonna be all over this story...what are we going to tell everyone."

"Do you love me?" he asked.

"What does that have to do with anything?" she asked.

"Just tell me if you love me."

She sighed, "Yes.  No matter how hard I try not to...I do."

"Then we tell them that we fell in love and that we dated and that we started a family."

"I feel this isn't--"

"Serena come here," he said holding a hand out to her.


"Just come here," he said holding his hands out to her.

When she was standing in front of him he pulled her into a hug, "Kiss me."

She backed away from him.  "I don't want to be like this...I want this to be natural...not forced," she said, "I'll spend the time with you, but no forcing what happens between us...if we get along then we'll work things out, but no forcing it...ok?

"I can agree to that," he said with a nod.

"So when do we leave to go home to Orlando?" she asked.

"Home to Orlando," he said, "I like the sound of that."

She shot him an annoyed look.  He wasn't going to make this bigger than it was.  If he just left it alone she'd be able to handle it, but having him talk about it and make it more than it was just made it harder for her to make her decision.  "Don't make such a big deal of this," she said, "Please.  I have enough on my plate right now to think about."

"Fine," he said. He took a breath and held it then let it out in a big rush.  "We leave on Friday morning first thing."

"I'll see you then," she said, "And don't mention this to the other guys...I don't want whatever this is to get out until we're sure that things are going to work."

"Fine," he said.

"Then go away so I can go to sleep."

A smile touched his lips.  "Ok...I can do that."

"I'll play house ok?" she said, "Just don't push it any more than that...ok?"

"Ok. ok," he said, "I didn't think this was going to stress you out."

"It's kind of a big decision to make," she said, "I kinda am allowed to be stressed."

"Fine," he said, "I'll leave you alone then."

As he moved towards the door she felt bad.  "Lance?"

He turned to face her and she went over to him and pressed a kiss to her cheek.  "Thank you."

"For what?" he asked, "I didn't do anything yet."

She smiled, "You're trying very hard to be my hero."


Friday came too soon and he was surprised to find them back at home before he could even think of a plan on how to handle her being in his house and staying with him.  He'd made the offer and had been intent on having her back at the house, but now that they were there he wasn't sure what he was going to do about it.

"So come on in," he said grabbing up her bag from the porch after he'd thrown his down in the doorway.  "Do you have laundry to do?  I need to start a load or two."

"I can do mine later," she said as she tried not to look like she was looking around the house, "Nothing too important, but if we are going out somewhere I need to get some stuff dry cleaned."

"We can do that tomorrow," he said, "I have to run over to Johnny's anyway and there is a place near his house I ususally take my stuff.  They're cool about not stealing it and putting it on Ebay."

"How can you stand that?" she asked.

"Stand what?"

"People wanting to sell your stuff on the internet."

"Oh yeah," he said, "That--"

"Yeah THAT."  A laugh left her mouth.  "I think I could get a million for this--"  She picked up a small dish on the table where he'd thrown his keys a moment before.  It had been a present from Justin a million years before and was probably the tackiest thing he owned.  "Vegas or Bust?" she asked reading the little letters inside the dish.

"That was a a gag gift," he said, "Maybe I should put it up on's probably worth WAY more than the person paid for it."

"I'd hope so," she said.

"Anyway--"  He found himself not knowing what to do next.  Most days when he was home alone he'd call up someone to come over and hang out, play some pool or swim or something, but having her there meant that he had to entertain her.

"Don't get that look on your face," she said.

"What look?"

"Don't think so much about this," she said, "You don't have to plan out something for us to do...just show me the house, so I know where everything is then just do whatever.  I didn't mean to cut into your vacation...I know how precious days off are and I don't want to take you away from anything that you might need to get done.  I don't want to interupt the flow of things."

"Interuption is what I need."

She avoided his gaze on her by moving to look down the hall so he took that as a sign that she was embarrassed or something and moved on from where they were.  He walked down towards the living room and kitchen, "Come on...I'll show you around since you wanted me to."

Soon the tour was over.  There wasn't much to the house.  A kitchen, dining room, lower tv room, balcony tv room, four bedrooms -- three upstairs, one downstairs--the den where he had his office and the four car garage where he had two cars parked and a pool table set up in the other half of the garage.

"Nice set up you have here," she commented when they were walking back into the kitchen from the garage.

"This is just the Florida house," he said, "The one I have in Mississippi is better.  The view here has too many houses in it."

"You have more than one house?" she asked.

"Three," he said, "Well two houses and a condo."

"Where's the condo?" she asked.

"LA," he said, "But I hardly use it."  A silence fell over them.  He hadn't been bragging, he thought it would be a good way to let her know that this wasn't his only house.  He thought that it was important for her to knkow just in case she thought he might be away for a long time or something especially with his movie career taking off.  "What about you?" he asked, "Where do you live?"

"Right now no where.  My stuff is in storage near where my parents live, and I go home to them when I need to, but basically I live in a hotel or at Johnny's that one time for the weekend."

"Oh," he said feeling even worse now that he knew that she was homeless in a sense.  "Well if you ever need a place to stay, even if this doesn't work out in the can always crash here."

"That's really sweet of you," she said nervously then took a breath, "That's something I've learned about're a really sweet guy when it comes to things like that."

"Why wouldn't I offer and be nice?" he asked.

"It seems like everyone in the business likes their privacy and I know that you love yours, but at the same time you can understand how it's not that great to live at home with the parents and your offer is putting aside your own comfort for someone else's."

"It's a big house," he said, "I really don't need this all, but I figure if I ever had kids that I'd need the room."


"I didn't mean to sound--"

"Lance I know you weren't bragging," she said, "It's not your nature to do just don't worry about it.

Silence filled te space betewen them.

"Ok," he finally said.

"So what would you do if you were home alone today?" she asked.

"Basicially day one consists of lying in bed upstairs in front of the televsion telling myself not to answer the phone...which never happens, but at least I'm in my pajamas."

"Let's do it then,"she said, "We should grab something to eat, watch tv and tell each other not to answer the phone."

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"If that's what you do then lets do it," she said, "I don't want to keep you from all the luxuries of home."

"Luxuries of home," he said, "Well this time I get a bonus."

"Bonus?" she asked.

"Because you're here," he said, "It's kinda bad to sit home alone and laugh aloud and talk to the television when someone does something stupid.


"Yeah," he said feeling a little idiotic for admitting it, "For a while there I thought I was crazy because I was yelling at the television."

"Crazy is good," she said.


When she heard the snoring coming from next to her she moved her head out from the huge stuffed pillow to see if he was really sleeping or not.  She found his eyes closed and smiled at the site.  He looked relaxed for once, he'd seemed nervous since she'd knocked on his door that morning.  He'd been going on a long time that day not only traveling, but taking care of business by phone.  She would have guessed that he would have fallen asleep much sooner.

Slowly slipping off the bed from where she was lying next to him she went to turn off the television, pulling on her pajama bottoms and t-shirt a little as she reached and flicked off the overhead light.  She planned to go down to the first floor and find something to do, since she kind of tired, but his voice on the far side of the room stopped her.  "Where are you going?" the voice rumbled up from where it was partically obstructed by a down pillow.

She turned and looked over into the darkness.  "Downstairs.  I wasn't sleeping so I thought I'd let you alone to sleep."

He leaned over and turned on the light on the side of the bed revealing him now sitting up in bed watching the door.  "Come here."  He half waved at her to come toward him.

She thought about asking why exactly he wanted her to come over.  There was the obvious reason of him wanting to be in bed with him, but she tried to keep that off her mind.  With a new state of mind she took a deep breath and tried to stay calm as she returned to the queen sized bed, crawling across towards him to sit and look down at him.

"Stay with me up here tonight?" he said sleepily propping his head up on a hand he tried his hardest to keep his eyes open. "I was going to have you sleep downstairs, but I liked falling asleep next to you."

"Lance?"  She tipped her head a little and moved her hand over his forehead pushing his hair back.  Why did he have to do this to her.  Wasn't it enough that he had her practically kidnapped away to his house?  Now he had to sit there and pout at him and make her seem like she was an idiot if she didn't do as he asked. 
His eyes stayed on her as she moved his hair a little.

Her hand moved away from him and she put it in her lap.  "You're should go back to sleep."

"Please.  You can have that whole side of the bed--" He yawned and put a hand on hers.  "I won't even kick you in the middle of the night."

"That's a pretty good offter," she said with a laugh.

"I'm a keeper," he said sleepily.

If she was to crawl in bed with him at that moment with him looking at her the way he was and his voice sounding that way she knew she'd get herself into something that she wasn't ready for so she nodded then moved away, "Let me go get a drink and I'll be back. Ok?"  It was a nice way to defuse the situation without coming out and telling him that she was nervous about lying in bed with him when he was about to go to sleep.

He nodded, gave her a sleepy smile, and started to move under the covers as she left the room, but left the light on.  "Come back soon."

"I will sweetie," she said, "Do you want anything?"

"No," he said and yawned.

"Ok," she said, "I'll be back soon."

She moved downstairs, finding her way by turning on a light at one end of a hall and moving to the other end to find another light before she moved on.

Finally in the kitchen she grabbed up a glass and filled it with water then moved through the house again, this time taking a moment to look at the pictures on the walls.  They all were of family and friends.  Lance could be seen with the guys, with other stars, and then there was a whole wall of him with unknown faces, probably friends from back home considering the way they were posed in the pictures.  Most were party pictures with beers in their hands and smiles on their faces.  They seemed to be the type of people that seemed accepting and she prayed that if she were to be in his life on a more permanent basis that they would like her.

"Not that it matters," she said squaring her shoulders, "Nothing is going to happen anyway.  It can't happen as much as I want it to."

Getting back to the room, she saw that Lance hadn't moved.  He was lying facing away from her so she drank down her water and pulled the covers back and slipped in next to him.   Taking a deep breath she moved across the bed towards him and carefully slid her arms around him and pulled herself against his back.  He was warm and the covers over her made her feel even more tired than she'd been, but she didn't curl up by herself.

Lying there with him was something she didn't want to deal with.  She was caught between Waking him could go two ways.

She lay there for a long time holding onto him and listening to him sleep before she finally let her eyes close.  She pretended, as she fell asleep that night that she was his girlfriend or his wife and that this was the natural way to end the day.  It was a strange feeling to have, but she liked the way she fit right to him and she liked the way that he reacted to her being there.

"Serena?" he said sleepily after a moment.  She thought for a moment that he'd woken up, but he just moved his arm to pull hers against him then took a deep breath and went back to sleep.

The silence of the room bored her.  She lay there listening to his breath and praying that by morning she'd have a way to make a decision about him.  She wanted so much to day yes to him, but there were so many reasons to say no...actually there were too many reasons to say no, but she couldn't think of any at the moment.

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Last updated: 07/09/04.