When the sun had risen the next morning Lance found himself wrapped in Serena's arms.  He had remembered her coming back to bed and hugging up against him, but when he'd woken up she was lying half on him with an arm curledled around him so tightly that he'd had to pry her away from him when he got up to take his shower.  He would have stayed there forever, but the temptation of her there had been something he'd had to push away.  If they were going to end up together it had to happen on its own and not just because his need for someone to hold at night was more than his head could take.

Now, four hours later as they drove across town towards Johnnys with their dry-cleaning lumped in the back seat she was looking out the window and acting cold to him.  He was sitting there next to her trying to keep calm about everything. His impulses were to treat this like every other trip home with a girl and wine and dine her, but he had a feeling that she'd be put off by that.  So he sat silently with his hand on the gear shifter, even though the SUV was automatic, just to stay closer to her, remind her that he was still sitting next to her because he thought she might have forgotten.

"What do you want to do for lunch?" he asked trying to break the silence between them.  The radio had been playing, but the lack of conversation worried him.

"I don't know," she said and turned only for a moment to look at him then looked back out the window.  "We just had breakfast...or at least I did..."  She turned and stared out the window then looked back at him.  "I would have thought that you'd have slept in longer."

"I get antsy after a few hours of sleep," he said, "Just another perk...Over four in a row and I get bored."
 His sarcasm couldn't be hidden and she smiled.

"You're gonna have to work on that if I hang out with you," she said, "I LOVE to sleep."

"Good thing to time I'll try harder," he said feeling at least a little hope knowing that she might be around longer than he thought she would.

The sound of the car filled the air between them and they were soon pulling into the driveway.  They got out of the car and walked towards the building without a word to each other.

"We should do something low key," she said as he opened the door and waited for her to walk through.

"How about Planet Hollywood," he said.

"Do you understand the word low-key?" she asked.  "We can't go don't have security."

"I have a way," he paused to close the door, "I have ways of getting things that normal people can't get--"

"Why don't we just make sandwiches or something?" she suggested.

Lance took a deep breath and let it out slowly looking at her as if she'd totally embarrassed him.  She'd called him on using his reputation to get things and while it was hard for him not to act that way, he was glad that she was upset with him over it.  A few people had mentioned being upset with him for getting too stuck up about things and she was just the one to help him stay grounded.  "Using my reputation really isn't the way to impress is it?" he asked.

"No," she said, "What would impress me is a man that IS famous, and CAN use his name to get things, but doesn't.  You'd do better if you barbequed something rather than ordering a steak."

"Note to self," he said, "Don't be an ass."

"You weren't being an ass Lance," she said moving over towards him to hook her arm through his, "I just think that there is more to you than your name and your job."

"At least one person has the hope that there is," he said trying to avoid her eyes until the last second.  He wasn't sure that he liked the way that she could look in his eyes and really see him.  There was something to be said for sunglasses.  He didn't need the whole world knowing that there were times when he wanted to leave it all behind and just crawl into bed and sleep the time away. "I'm starting to think that there isn't much left."

Before she could say anything to him about it Johnny appeared in the hallway and she stepped away from him.  They both smiled at th older manager.  "Hey J," he said, "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure Lance," he said and looked at Serena then back at him.

It made him nervous to see that look on his face.  It wasn't like he needed his permission to date her, but somehow it seemed that Johnny did need to approve of the situation.

"I thought you were on vacation."

"I am--we are--but I wanted to talk to you real quick about some stuff for Happy Place," he said.

Johnny stared at Serena and Lance turned to her, "It shouldn't take that long."

"I'm fine," she said, "I'll--I'll be outside...God knows when I'll see the sun again--I mean being on tour has cut back on my tanning time."

Lance watched her slip out the door to the back part of the house and he looked at Johnny.

"What's up with that?" he asked casually.

"Serena and I are spending some time together," Lance said praying that he wouldn't get in trouble for it.  It wasn't as if Johnny had the right to tell him who to date and who not to date, but Lance wanted him to be proud of him, like a father would be, so his opinion counted.

"Good," Johnny said, "It's good to have that."

"It's just because you and Erika are so in love," Lance joked, "If she wasn't around I have a feeling that you'd be a little harder on all of us."

"Erika has changed me a lot hasn't she?" he asked.

"Only for the good," Lance said as they made their way to Johnny's office, "It's nice to see the SOFTER side of you."

"Ok Bass," he said, "Enough kissing up.  What did you need?"


She didn't realize how much she missed the peace and quiet of being home.  She wasn't in her home, but being away from touring life really was something to soak up.  There weren't any screaming girls and security and cement walls.  She was out in the sunshine, with her feet up, and enjoying every moment of it.  She hated that she liked being home so much.  It just made going back so much harder.

Going back.  It was going to be strange to be on the road with him after this.  She was always the type of girl to get jealous too quickly and she wasn't sure that she'd be able to handle him getting so much attention from other people.

With Billy it had been easier.  He'd gotten attention, but it was only a handful of girls giving him looks rather than a group of fifty thousand girls screaming his name.  She knew Lance wasn't the type to be a womanizer, but at the same time having that competition always around wasn't going to be easy to get used to.

"Penny for your thoughts?" a voice said from behind her.

She jumped a little and turned around to look at the woman standing there.  She'd only met her a few times at parties and events, but she would have recognized her instantly.  "Kelly?"

"Hey," she said carrying the baby in her arms carefully to the seat next to her.  She sat down and put her daughter in her lap, leaning back against her in a sitting position.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, "I thought you and Joe would be up in New York or something."

"I convinced him to stay home this time.  Brianna's got a cold anyway so it's not the best time to travel," she said, "Besides, the grandparents aren't wanting to let her out of their sight lately."

"She's getting big," Serena said reaching out to touch the baby's little hand, "She's seven or eight months old right?"

"Nine months next week," she said.  "So what are you doing out here?"

"I'm staying with Lance for my week off so he's in talking to Johnny for a minute then we're gonna catch lunch."

"Finally," Kelly said.

"Finally what?"

"Finally you two have gotten together.  From what Joe has said you guys have been hanging out forever, but have never really talked.  And let me tell you...that whole dating Billy thing was such a was just another reason for Lance to not date you."


"That boy has been in love with you for so long," Kelly explained, "He's the one that told Chris to hire you full time."

"THis is all news to me."

"Yeah well knowing Lance he won't ever tell you that."

"He won't?" she asked.

"Lance is a strange one...he's like a little old man caught in a twenty something's body," Kelly said, "He's too sweet for his own good sometimes and well he's not one to go after what he wants."

"He hasn't really been that way with me," she said thinking of how he'd pushed the idea of getting together with her.  He had been clear in his message there.

"Decision making is easy for him," she said with a smile moving Brianna a little to lean against her when the girl's eyes started to droop.  "Telling you how he feels is something else."

"Well he didn't have much trouble doing that either," she said.

"Well what's the issue?" Kelly asked.

She couldn't tell her the truth.  For one she probably wouldn't believe it, and two she wasn't sure if Lance wanted it advertized.  She took a breath, "Have you ever had everything you wanted in life in front of you, but you're not sure that you want that?"


"Well it's like there is this huge birthday gift that I've been waiting all year long for and well its not a birthday's the guy of my dreams, but what if the guy of my dreams isn't really want I wanted."

"You're not making sense," she said.

"I just don't want to be so caught up in all of it that I lose myself.  I don't want to lose sight of myself...I mean he's like a tornado and I don't want to get caught up in that."

"Taz," Kelly said with a laugh.


"He loves Taz," she said, "It's amazing that you haven't known about's kind of funny when you think about...he is kind of at the eye of the storm...but you have your own career and stuff don't you?  I mean you're not going to be a professional girlfriend or anything."

"I'm not talking job wise," she said, "I'm not the one to be throwing my heart around and I've already fallen for the guy and I don't want to get my heart--"

"Take it from someone who knows these guys better than anyone," Kelly said, "It's not going to be easy to deal with the outside stuff, but Lance isn't one to throw his heart out either.  He's a partier along with the rest of them, but they always come home to the ones they love...they don't take that lightly and you shouldn't either."

"I'm trying not to, but I'm scared of all of this."

"There isn't anything to be scared of," Kelly said with a laugh.

The screen door across the porch slammed shut and both Joey and Lance came out the door.  She noticed the smile on Joey's face as he saw Kelly and Brianna sitting there then looked and saw a similar look on Lance's face.  Kelly had been right.  He was giving up his heart and he didn't seem to at all be upset about it.

"How's my baby?" Joey asked moving to take Brianna from Kelly.  He craddled her against his chest and the little girl curled against him knowing in her sleep that her father would keep her safe.

She stared for too long at that, until she felt Lance's hand on her shoulder, "You ready to go?"

She looked up at his face and saw the same look on his face that she knew was on her own and it was then that she knew that he'd been right.  They needed a partnership and a relationship would come from that.  They wanted the same things and it was silly to think that just because they were meeting in a strange manner than they shouldn't have what they wanted.


"You ok?" he asked.

They were stopped at a red light just off Johnny's street when she looked over at him from her seat then moved across the seat, moved a hand to his cheek and turned his fact to meet hers as she kissed him.

"What was that for?" he asked then suddenly felt like he needed to clarify himself. "Not that I'm complaining."

"I love you," she said with a sigh, "Thats all."

A honk behind them startled them both.  "No making out on the road," he said with a laugh.

The comment broke the ice.  He didn't know what had happened, but by the time they got back to his house after dropping off the dry-cleaning they were acting like a regular couple.  It was a night and day type of thing and he wanted so much to ask her what had changed her mind, but he didn't dare mess up the balance that had come between them.

For lunch they made sanwiches after she'd asked to borrow his car to go to the store.  He offered to go with her, but she said it wasn't safe.  It was strange to be staying home like that.  Anyone else he'd ever dated wanted to be out and about with him, to be SEEN with him more than be with him.  It was something he'd have to get used to.

Finally when dinner time rolled around he left his office where he'd been returning phone calls and found her on the couch half asleep watching the food network.  "Is this a sign that it's time for dinner?" he asked.

"Hmmm?" she asked turning to look up at him.

"The food channel?" he asked pointing to the television.

"Um, no," she said, "I was just flipping and got stuck watching it.

"You sure?" he asked.

She nodded then held out a hand to him, "Come here and watch with me."

"Ok." He moved around the couch and sat down in the lazy boy chair at the end of the couch.

"No here," she said reaching out to him.

Lance looked at her once really hard before he moved to stand up again.  He moved to the side of her and looked down, "You're taking up all the room."

She moved to the front part of the couch and patted the space behind her, "Here."

"You sure?" he asked giving her one more chance to keep him away.

She nodded and moved.

He took a breath and moved so that he was lying behind her.  It took a minute to get settled, but soon he way lying with her entire back side pressed up against the front of him.  He curled and arm over her and kept it there for a moment before she moved onto her back and finally turned to face him moving her arms around him to hug him close to her.

"I thought you were going to watch," he said.

"You're more interesting," she said.

Lance couldn't have dreamed for a more opportune moment to spend with a member of the opposite sex, but at the moment he was nervous as hell considering that her body next to his was definitely having an effect on him.  He tried to move away from her, but every inch he got away from her, she moved towards him.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"No where,"he said and closed his eyes when his voice croaked, "You're taking up all my space."

She frowned and moved back a little, "Better?"

"Yeah," he said and moved a little so that he could get comfortable again.

"If you don't want to be here like this then I'll move," she said and started to sit up.

"No," he said and pulled her back, "I didn't mean it like--"  He stopped and made eye contact with her.  "It's ha--it's difficult to be a gentleman when you're here like this with me."

"Who said I wanted you to be a gentleman?" she asked.

"Do you understand what I'm saying when I mean being a gentleman?" he asked.

She nodded and leaned to kiss him on the lips.  He couldn't breath as her hands slid around him and pulled him against her.  "Who says you need to be a gentleman?"

"Are you sure?" he asked making sure that he could see her eyes.  He didn't want to make a mistake on this one.  It was too imporant. "I mean are you really sure you're saying what I think you're saying."

She smiled and kissed him again. "I'm in love with you Lance and I think that we should do what people do when they're in love." Her lips moved and placed a kiss on his neck then moved downward under his chin.

"Serena?" he asked.


"If I'm going to make love to you, I'm not doing it on the couch," he said.

"Hmm?" she asked and looked up at him.

"So either you and I go upstairs or this isn't happening," he said.  It wasn't that he wouldn't have gone at it right there on the couch, but he wasn't about to do something that important acting like a high school kid. He was going to do this right.

"Ok," she said.  Her moving away from him was the hardest thing to deal with, but when she put a hand down to him he saw the look in her eyes and knew that by the end of the night they would be lovers.  Lovers, not just a one night stand, or a few nights together on vacation, but that they were starting a new life for themselves.

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