She wished everyone luck that day and escaped to the bus.  She knew that disappearing wasn't something that Lance would be able to deal with calmly so she left only after leaving Loni with the message that she might take a nap.

"You feeling ok?" Loni asked.

"Yeah," she nodded, "I'll be fine.  I just am not in the mood to deal with screaming right now."

"Come here girl," he said with a smile pulling her into a hug.  Loni was like a huge teddy bear and a hug from him was like getting a hug from three people.  "You need anything you just ask ok?"

"I know," she said.  Suddenly she had a feeling that everyone knew that she'd gotten pregnant.  She didn't think that Chris went blabbing, but someone definitely let the cat out of the bag.

"Go on out and relax, we're heading out a little after the show.  The guys are going to take showers and stuff inside then once the place clears out we'll get on the road.  They're gonna send out a bus to distract everyone, but we'll still be here...just in case you see the commotion."

She nodded."Don't beat up on too many of the teenies...ok?"

* * * * *

"So what was all that car business about earlier?" she asked trying not to sound too accusing.  She wanted to reem him for putting on such a show about things, but knew that she couldn't, not in front of everyone else on the bus.  She wasn't in the mood for embarrassing him and she wasn't even sure that she had the right to even ask him about it.

"Dum.  Dum.  Dum," Joey said stepping up into the bus. "Here comes trouble."

"No," she said moving from the kitchen where she was getting a drink into the living area where Joey, Lance, and the security team had taken seats as they piled in the bus. "Not trouble Mr. Fatone.  I just want to know what Mr. Bass was doing buying a car in a state in which he does not live."

"You're the designer right?" Lance joked, "I didn't know that finances were your specialty."

"They aren't," she said handing him a glass of water and watched him take a sip, "I just don't understand why you were looking at cars all of a sudden.  I thought Joey was the one who was horrible with his finances."

"Hey!" Joey protested whipping his head around to give her a look of anger.  She knew that it was a joke.  None of them had ever really been that upset with her.

"A few words for you," she said with wide eyes glancing over to where the security team was looking out the windows and coordinating the move of the buses out of the arena to the freeway. "Home entertainment system."

"Awweee, Serena."  Joey pushed himself up and went to the refridgerator.  He pulled out a take out box and looked in it before shoving it back in the refridgerator.  He picked out another one and grabbed out a chicken wing then threw the second box into the refridgerator.  "Did you have to bring that up?  My credit card is still spitting and swearing at me for that one."

Serena rolled her eyes.  She reached down and moved Lance's leg then sat down next to him.  "Yeah wasn't like your credit card got totaled or something...that was just a scratch on the paint."

"Well like a new car is gonna kill him," Joey said throwing an arm out towards Lance.  "Mister-Tight-With-My-Money over there would rather stare at his bank balance than actually spend his money."

Just as Lance was about to protest Joey's phone rang.  His eyebrows raised then he looked at them telling them with a look that he needed to answer it and grabbed it up to talk.  He moved towards the bus to talk leaving Serena and Lance to talk.

"So what's up with the car stuff?" she asked.

"Nothing," he said with a shrug.  He moved away from her a little, put the cup in a built in cup holder then moved a little to lie down.  He placed his head on her thigh and reached up to curl her arm around him so her hand landed on his chest.   "Just wanted your opinion on it."

"No," she said, "No...that was more of an opinion kind of question."

"What?" he asked looking up at her upside down.  "I just wanted to know what you thought about car colors."

She got distracted for a moment as he kicked off his shoes.  Wes was sitting next to them and reached and grabbed the shoes and threw the shoes under the kitchen table booth.  "It wasn't just an opinion kind of thing.  You distinctly said that WE could get a white one if I didn't like those other ones."

"Does that bother you?" he asked, "Does it bother you than we're a WE?"

"It doesn't bother me that we're a we," she said running her hand through his wet hair.  "It bothers me that you were talking about the two of us buying a car...or well actually you buying a car and thinking about what I might think about it."

"I just thought--"  He stopped and sat up and looked at her, "What's bothering you?  You look all worried, like you're all paranoid about all of this and that you want to back out of this."

"It-Its not that," she said and pulled her hair out of her face then let it drop around her shoulders, "I'm not saying that I'm regretting things, but I think there are a lot of things that I didn't think about and things that we need to talk about."

Lance looked around a little.  His eyes scanned the faces of everyone in the room. "This really isn't the place to do it."

"Well then when?" she asked lowering her voice, "This is kind of important."

"How about next week?"  He sounded like he needed to pull out his day planner or palm pilot or something to check when he could squeeze her in.  She knew going into this that he was a busy guy, but she hadn't expected that she'd feel so suddenly jealous of all the other things in her life.  "And don't say that I'm putting you off...I am, but I'm not...I just think--"

She smiled trying to reassure him.  He didn't need any more stress on him at the moment, or at least that stress didn't need to come from her. "I know."

"We've got a few days off so we should go home--"  His eyes went wide for a moment as if he expected her to protest him saying that his house and her living there with him was home.  They'd moved in together, but since the tour had been going on and then he'd gone up to do some movie stuff and some FreeLance stuff they hadn't really lived together yet.  "We'll lock ourselves in and we'll figure it all out, ok?"

Her spirits fell.  Even though the thought of having him to herself seemed like a good idea at the same time she wasn't sure that she wanted to be stuck there with him permantly.  At the moment with things being so busy she could get away, but being in Orlando there would be no escape.  "I guess."

"So what's up for tonight?" he asked immediately changing the subject.

"Nothing."  She bit her tongue as the protest of the subject change came to her lips. "I have some stuff to work on for Chris, but I think I'm gonna go to sleep in a while."

Lance wiggled his eyebrows at her, "Your bunk or mine?"

"Wow!" she said raising her eyebrows.  "What an offer."

"If I could I'd take you out of here and to some great vacation spot...but--" He sighed, "But I can't so for the moment a bunk and me is what you get."

"I know."

"Do you ever hate it that we live like this?" he asked.

"Why are you being so deep all of a sudden?" she asked.


"Why are you being Mr. Sensitive all of a sudden?" she asked.

"It's a simple question," he said, "I just wanted to know if you hate living on this bus.  I thought I was being the nice boyfriend checking up on you, but maybe I'm confused--If that offends you that I'm being nice then I'll stop."

"Don't yell at me."

"I'm not yelling.  I just don't understand.  I'm trying to be nice to you, but I guess you want to date an asshole."  He got up grabbed the glass and moved into the kitchen.  He put the cup in the sink and turned around to look at her.  "I'm trying to be nice, but you frustrate me to no end."

Tears filled her eyes and he became blurry across the room.  "I'm sorry.  I just don't know if I can do this."

"This what?" he asked, "You were the one who started this."

"I wasn't," she said, "You were the one who jumped at the chance to volunteer for duty.  I didn't ask for that.  I told you my terms and you made this into--"

"Can we not do this?" he said with a sigh.  "I...I..."  He looked around finding that they weren't alone.  "This isn't a good time."

"This weekend then," she said, "Or next week or whenever we get the time.  We need to hash this all out.  We can't just leave things like this."



"I promise."

"Good," she said, "I'm gonna go to bed."

She got up and walked passed him to go to bed.

"Serena?" he said.

"What?" She turned around.

"I love you," he said.

She softened for a moment seeing the strained look on his face.  "I love you too."

"Sleep good."

"You too," she said.

Before she went to crawl in bed she stuck her head in the back room.  Joey looked up at her from where he was on the phone.  "Hey girl."

"Hi," she said, "I'm gonna lay down so don't be playing WWF with the boys ok?"

"I won't," he said, "I'm talking to Kelly and Brianna then going to bed."

"Tell Kelly I said hi and kisses for Brianna," Serena said.

"Ok," he said, "Have good sleep."

"You too.  See you in the morning."

She closed the door still thinking about Lance.  She wondered if their life together would be as good as Kelly and Joey seemed to be doing.  She knew that Joey had the reputation of being a flirt and being out in the clubs all the time, but the look on his face gave her some hope that she and Lance might be able to work things out.


[ Orlando, a few days later...]

"Lance!"  She paced the small kitchen floor and tried to keep her cool.  Searching through the house for a moment she decided to see if he was on the phone doing business.  Usually she didn't pay attention to the extra line, but today she was praising God when she saw that the business line light on the kitchen phone wasn't lit up.

Taking a deep breath and counting to ten, she started down towards his office to see what was keeping him so busy.  It was one thing if he was on the phone, avoiding the noise of the television by leaving the room, but they hadn't been home long enough to annoy each other.  It was starting to feel like he was avoiding her.


Again no response met her call.  He'd disappered from the living room almost three hours before supposedly to work after they'd eaten lunch, but she knew that it was probably to escape having to talk to her.  She'd avoided the conversation during lunch knowing that her stomach was already upset from her pregnancy, but now she needed to see him, to talk to him and discuss their future.


When she noticed him looking startled from where he was lying on the couch she went over to him and knelt next to him.  He'd fallen onto the cushions, face down, tucking his arms underneath himself using his body as a blanket to keep them warm.  He must have been extremely tired and had slept hard since the couch seemed to have attached itself to his cheek.  "Oh baby," she said touching the warm skin where the pressure of the couch had left his cheek reddened, "I'm sorry."  She put a hand on his forehead, "Go back to sleep sweetie."

"No," he said and reached for her from under heavy eyelashes.  He licked his lips and wiped his mouth with his hand. "Stay with me...I don't like to sleep alone...we'll talk."

"Lance you're half asleep already...just go to bed and we'll talk later."

"Well come lay with me anyway," he said pushing himself towards the back of the couch coushin.

Fighting her instinct to flee the situation she took a deep breath and moved and settled herself on the edge of the couch with his arms around her.  She fought the sad feeling that she got when his arms curled around her stomach and his lips brushed a kiss against her neck as he moved her hair out of the way so he could rest his head near her ear.

"What are we going to name our baby?" Lance asked with a sleepy tone, shocking her into silence.

She tried not to wiggle when his arms moved a little to make him more comfortable.  "What?"

"I just want to know what you think you might want to name our baby," he said sounding more awake this time, "it's a logical question."

"Logical?" she asked and turned to face him.  "We're being logical?  That's a new one."

He nodded, "I'm thinking about Parrish."

"Parrish?" she asked moving her head a little to try to look at him.  It resulted only in making his lips touch her cheek and he seemed to take this as an invitation to pull her closer.  "Where'd you get that from?"

"I don't know," he said pausing to think for a moment, "But I'm gonna call him or her Minnow."

"You are not calling my baby a fish," she said laughing at the look on his face.  She worried that he'd been thinking about this too much.  She'd agreed to be with him on the condition that he wouldn't really get attached, but now that he was there with her, there was no escaping the way that he was getting into their relationship.

"But sugar it's a sweet nickname...minnow...little fishy...little bass."  He moved his hand a little, sliding it down over her hip, "Get it?"

"Yes I get it and my answer is no," she said, "You are not calling our child a fish name."

"Please?" he asked.

"No," she said.

"Fine," he said, "I'll call you minnow."

"I'm not a bass," she said, "You can't call me a fish."

"I've been meaning to talk to you about that," he said a sudden look of worry washing over his face, "I think that we can do something about that."

"Oh no," she stammered out and moved away from him scared that he might just pop out a ring right there. "That isn't something I'm going to--"

"I'm just saying think about it," he said.

"No that wasn't a part of this deal."  She hoped that the forceful tone of her voice would be enough to tell him how she felt about the situation because this wasn't the type of thing that she needed or wanted to be arguing about at the moment.  "I told you that I wanted A BABY, not A HUSBAND."

His brows drew together.  "But we get along and we both want to be in our baby's life."

"Lance," she said, "Please let's not talk about this.  We're both tired and this isn't a time to bring this up."

"Why can't we bring this up?" he asked, "You told me that you wanted to talk so I'm talking and now you want me to shut up about it.  What's sooo bad about me wanting to marry you?"

She sighed and took a breath and held it.  Tears filled her eyes, "Because it'll all fall always does."

"What falls apart?" he asked.

"Everything," she said, "Everything falls apart when there--when someone gets too close to me."

Lance reached out his arms and motioned for her to come over here.  "Serena...I'm not going to leave you.  You're having my baby and I--I love you...isn't that enough reason for me to want to be with you."

"It'll get messed up though," she said sniffing as she moved towards him.  She sat down and put her hands to her face, "It always gets messed up."

"What are you talking about?"

"Every time I get into a serious relationship and someone steps over that line something happens and the whole thing falls apart."


"I don't know," she said, "I'm scared about this baby.  I mean I never really thought things through.  I thought that I'd be able to do this on my own, but now I know that I won't be able to, but I don't want to drag you into my trouble.  I don't want to ruin your life because I'm about to ruin mine."

"Serena," he said taking a breath, "Baby you aren't going to ruin my life.  I knew what I was getting into when I slept with you and I thought that I could convince you that your plan to do this alone was stupid, but maybe I can't."

"I love you," she said, "I love you and that's why I can't be with you.  If I'm with you then it'll get ruined."

"Why?" he said tiredly as her shoulders slumped more, "I love you and I want to marry you and be with you and this baby.  I want that."

"I'll think about it," she said, "But just let me have my own time."

"Fine," he said, "But this discussion isn't over...not by a long shot."

"I can agree to that."

"Now," he said, "Will you lay with me and take a nap?"

"I think I'm gonna go up and do some more work while I can," she said, "I have things to deliver to Chris and I need to get it done."

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said, "I'm gonna do it before I get really tired."

"Ok," he said, "Just don't work too hard."

"I won't."

"I'll come up and make dinner in a while.  My mom supposedly left us some lasagna and I'll--"

"I'll take it out and let it thaw.  I saw it in there."

"I'm gonna make some calls so if you holler at me and I don't answer..."

She smiled.  "I'm sorry that I woke you up."

"It's ok," he said, "I need some work to get done while I'm here."

"Ok," she said, "I love you."

"I love you too."


The noise in the kitchen the next morning startled her.  She was on her way to step in the shower when she heard laughing then heard Lance's voice boom out that the other person better stop the joking or he'd choke on his drink.  Feeling very suspicious of the activity happening there she tucked herself into Lance's robe he left on the back of the door and made her way down to the kitchen.

"Billy, you kill me," he said.

"What?" he said with a joking tone as Serena came around the corner, "That girl was soo funny.  I told her I was you and she totally believed me."

"But you don't look anything like me," Lance said and pulled his coffee mug to his mouth to take a drink then noticed her.  "Hey you," he said with a smile, "We didn't wake you up did we?"

"No," she said and forced a smile on her face scooting towards the refridgerator when Lance started to pull her into a hug, "What are you boys laughing at?"  She pulled juice out of the refridgerator and went through the motions of pouring herself a glass.  "You better not be making fun of some poor fan."

"We're not," Billy said.

"You have to be nice to those girls guys, they don't know any better," she said.

"So what are you up to?" Billy asked, "I mean do you two love birds have plans or can I steal you away long enough to come over and barbeque with me and the little miss."

"Little miss?" Serena asked.

"Billy is trying to convince this girl...what's her name again?"

"Addriane," he said with a nod.

The tension was thick between them for a moment.  His eyes met hers and he swallowed a drink of his drink before he spoke, "He's trying to convince this girl Addriane that he can barbeque or something and he thinks that if I'm there then she'll be distracted so he can force the food down her throat."

"I never said that," Billy protested, "I just wanted to have it be a barbeque with a few people...I need background people in case this girl hates me and wants to run away."

"She won't hate you," Serena said naturally then looked over nervously at Lance.  That comment came too easily from her mouth and she didn't like the look that she'd gotten from him in return.  She hadn't meant to insult Lance by saying that, but it had been a natural comment.

"She can't hate you," Lance said and got up from his chair.  He threw the rest of his drink into the sink and put the mug down, "No one hates you...everyone loves you...just wants to be with YOU." 
As his back disappeared out the door Serena threw the rest of her drink into the sink and put her glass down, "Excuse me for a minute Billy...I should go talk to him real quick."

"I was going to head out anyway," Billy said.  He came around the counter from where he was standing and pulled her into a hug.  "Serena, he's confused about you...I don't know exactly what about, but I'm sure it's important if he's throwing a fit like this."

"It's not his fault," she said, "He's tired and the two of us have been fighting, well arguing lately."

"Go and talk to him," Billy said, "And try to convince him that coming over tonight to hang out with Addriane isn't going to kill him or you."

"I will," she said and hugged again, "Lance is really lucky to have a friend like you...I mean we both are."

When tears began to flow she pressed her cheek against his chest.  "Whoa," he said, "What's with the tears?"

"I'm pregnant Billy," she said breaking down to the only person that she thought might even have a clue about what was going on.  "I'm having his baby and he's mad at me because I won't marry him."

"Why won't you?" he asked.

"Because I'm scared that I'm going to get used to this and that he's gonna disappear."

"Honey, he wouldn't disappear on you...that's just not something he'd do."

"It's just that it happened before."

"What did?" he asked.

"All of this," she said, "It ended soooo badly...I just don't want that again."

"Have you told him that?" Billy asked.

When she nodded no she didn't even have to look up to see the disappointed look on Billy's face.  She could feel the breath leave his lungs and heard the sigh that escaped with it.  He was upset about her hiding from Lance the way that she had with him so many months before.

"Tell him...just explain it to him...he'll understand."

She pushed away from him and took a deep breath.  "How am I supposed to explain it to him when I don't understand it myself?"

"Just tell him what you're feeling.  He's not going to be upset at you for you feeling a certain way...he's not like that."


Lance dragged a breath of air into his lungs and held himself still.  He couldn't see them in the kitchen, but he could tell from the movement in the room where they were and what they were doing.  He knew that Billy was hugging her and holding her and helping her in a strange way that he didn't know he'd ever do.

When he heard her start to end her conversation he still was confused and had a million questions for her, but he thought he'd give it time.  He took the stairs by two's quietly and decided that a shower was in order, not only because he needed to ease the muscles that had tensed that morning when he'd seen them together again, but because he knew that had been where she'd been heading.

He was half soaked, washing his face with the soap when he felt the door open and turned to find her standing there.  "What are you doing?"

"We need to talk," she said softly.

"What?" he said.  He reached and turned off the water, leaving them to the silence and sounds of their breaths coming in andout that hung around their naked bodies.


"Shit," he said and flipped on the water again.  He dunked his face and washed it then pushed by her and left the bathroom.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Somewhere away from you and this.  I can't deal with this whole back and forth thing between you and Billy," he said.

"Me and Billy?" she asked, "There is no back and forth thing between us."

Lance pulled a towel aorund his waste and stared at her as she pulled on his robe.  "Why can you talk to him about anything, but you clam up with me?  I don't get that...but maybe it's just getting the both of best worlds...right?"

"Lance?" she said and started to cry.

"Don't give me the tears," he said, "I don't have time for that...if you don't want me in your life then consider it over.  I'm tired of this and waiting around for it to happen."

"But I was going to--"

"Going to what?" he said, "Tell me that Billy told you something that has solved every one of the problems that I'VE CAUSED in your life?"

"Billy told me to talk to you," she said, "I think I owe you that, but I don't know if I want to right now...I knew this would happen.  It always does."

"Always does?" he asked, "Always when?"

"The last time I was pregnant!" she screamed at him.  "I got pregnant and I told myself that he'd want to marry me and it tore me apart when he didn't...and then when I lost the baby after he left me I--"  She leaned against the counter as a headache gripped her.

"Baby?" he said moving towards her, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she said, "I'm just still tired and this screaming is making my head hurt."

"I'm sorry."

"I couldn't tell you about all the stuff that was going on before.  It--"

"Baby," he said, "Let's go sit down."

"I need to tell you this before I chicken out," she said.

"You look pale," he said.

"I'm fine," she said then leaned a little and went towards the toilet.  Lance wasn't at all sure what was going on until she threw up the juice she'd been drinking in the kitchen.  He came to her side, grabbing a handtowel and when she moved away from where she was throwing up he handed her the handtowel and flushed the toilet before he sat down on the floor and pulled her into his lap.
"Are you ok?" he asked.

She nodded, "I lost my baby Lance."

His eyes widened in shock and he felt for a moment as if HE was going to throw up.

"Not our baby," she said, "Before...I was engaged and was pregnant and he left and I lost the baby and it was just a wreak...I was just a wreak."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I couldn't.  I couldn't put out that fire that I saw in your eyes a while ago an that look that was there a few days ago when I told you that we were going to have a baby," she said, "I couldn't taint that with my drama."

"Taint what?" he asked.

"You," she said, "You're sooo perfect with all always know what to say and do and all I do is come here and mess things up."

His heart sank as he saw the look in her eyes.  They had a lot of talking to do, especially after this news, but even more because he truly saw love staring back in her eyes.

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