The dressing room that night was her escape. Normally they had rooms
of their own, but with this venue the room was big enough to put them all
together. The lockerroom turned dressing room housed five stations.
One corner for each guy and along the wall across from some offices, JC had
streched out in a big orange easychair. She'd seen it being carted
in and out a million times, but never had realized that it was his.
Serena usually never went into the room, unless to deliver a message, but
when Diane and Jim showed up outside the room to wait to wish Lance luck
she slipped inside and took a seat on the blue loveseat where Lance was putting
on his shoes for the night. It was a comfort for her to be there knowing
that even the parents weren't allowed in the room. The only reason
she'd been allowed in was because Eric had been assigned to the door and
hadn't questioned her need to escape that night.
"Sweetie are you ok?" Lance's deep voice floated towards her from where he
was leaned over to reach his shoes.
It's calming tone was needed that night. Her heartrate was up and her
stomach hurt and she felt as if she hadn't slept in days. She kept
her eyes closed and listened as Justin and Chris talked about a basketball
game they'd seen the night before and she heard JC on the phone for a moment
talking to his parents about an upcoming vacation. "I'm fine."
Her voice was shaky, but overall she made herself sound ok, for his sake.
She felt his hand on her forehead and when she opened her eyes his face was
close to hers. "You sure?" he asked. He looked serious and calm
and a little tired, but mostly he looked worried.
She nodded, pushed her hair out of her face and leaned and kissed him.
She looked around for a moment. "Do you have any food in here?" she
asked, "I didn't eat much at dinner and I'm starving."
"I think I can grab you a sandwich," he said. He leaned over and grabbed
up a walkie talkie, "Hey Eric?"
"Yeah LB?" the voice came back. He was just outside the door, but it
was easier to talk to him that way then to stick his head out the door, not
knowing who might be out there.
"Can you run over to catering and get me a peanut butter sandwich?"
"No," Eric said.
Serena reached and grabbed for the walkie talkie, but he wouldn't let her
get it for a moment. Finally she put a hand down onto his crotch and
she made a grab for the zipper knowing that it would distract him.
"Whoa whoa whoa," he said with a laugh, "Save that for later." He let
her take the walkie talkie away from him.
"It's for me," she said in a sweet voice pressing the button so Eric could
"Give me ten minutes," he said back. She could hear part of a laugh before
the signal cut off.
Lance paused in his routine of getting ready and held her in his arms.
She didn't know that she'd become that dependant on him, but having him hold
her like that really made a difference. She knew that this was just
the calm before the storm though, not only of that evening, but of the rest
of their lives. When people found out about their engagement things
were going to get even worse and when people found out that she was pregnant
her life would be turned upside down.
"You ok now?" he asked in a hushed voice finally moving to look at her face.
He searched her eyes then leaned and kissed her nose. "I don't want
you to get too stressed out over this. My parents really aren't that
bad. My mom is just over protective and after seeing some things that
happened with the other guys she's not too sure about me marrying someone
so soon. If I were normal then it would be a different story, but she's
just paranoid that I'm going to have someone take advantage of me."
"Hey LB, who let your woman in?" Chris asked across the room.
She watched him take a breath then spoke to Chris and the others in a careful
manner, "Serena isn't my woman...she's my FIANCE and she's going to go whereever
she wants to go."
The room became silent and JC even opened his eyes and stared in their direction.
She felt a bit nervous sitting there with all eyes on her, but she had expected
some kind of shock from them.
"Fiance?" Chris asked in a shaky voice.
"Lance popped the question this weekend and we're going to get married so
that our baby can have the same name as his or her mom and dad," Serena said.
"Dang," Joey laughed, "You'd think she just told us she was dying or something."
"Sorry," they all said in unison.
"It's not a problem," she said with a sigh and sat back.
"So where's the ring?" Justin asked.
"She doesn't have it yet," Lance said. He sounded a little unsure of
himself. Tradition called for a man to have a ring picked out already,
but since they'd not really been planning things it seemed right for there
not to be a ring just yet. She didn't know how they were going to react
to this and knew that Lance was already nervous about things...he didn't
need them bugging him too. "I told her I'd take her to New York or LA to
"I told him that we didn't need to do that," she said. She pulled her
necklace from inside her shirt and looked at him, then turned and spoke to
the guys, "We both know that we're engaged and actually it's better for the
moment that most people don't know. I don't want this turned into a
"So that's why his parents are here," Justin said, "I wondered about that."
"Lance is in trooouble," Joey teased.
"Leave it alone guys," Lance said.
Moments later Anthony stuck his head into the door and pulled them from their
relaxed state. "Show time guys. You've got ten minutes."
Lance nodded and the five guys got up all at the same time. She'd never
been in the room at this point so she sat back and watched in awe.
"You've got it?" Lance asked Chris.
"Justin had it last," Chris replied.
"I had it last," JC said pulling something from his pocket.
They started to kick around a hackeysack. It only lasted for a few
moments but finally they got it all the way around the group and Joey caught
it and threw it over into his back.
"You ready?" Lance asked.
"What was that?" She took his hand and half hugged him.
"The hackey thing."
"Oh that...well we've been doing that since the begining of time. It's
something that we never have gotten out of the habit of doing."
Serena smiled. "That's sooo cute."
"Where are you going to be during the show?" He leaned to kiss her
"Where ever your parents aren't."
"Sugar," he spoke with a warning tone, "Please don't be like that."
"Like what?" she asked, "I was just going to go to bed for a while and avoid
things until you and I can talk to them together."
"Ok," he said.
"I think a good nap will do me good," she said.
As they exited the room Lance's mom and dad stepped forward to wish him well.
Lance leaned and kissed her in front of them then let her go. "I'll
see you in a couple hours."
"I love you," she said letting her eyes go from his to his parents before
she looked back at him.
"I love you too."
The hallway was fairly quiet as she walked out to the buses. The hum
of the crowd cheering could be heard, but there weren't many people around,
all of them were on the arena floor, so it gave her a chance to relax a little
and let her guard down.
"Serena!" Loni called.
"Yeah?" she said turning around to face him.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"To sleep," she said.
"I'm fine," she said and rubbed her stomach a little, "I'll be out in the
bus hanging out. I don't need the crowd tonight."
"OK," he said, "Make sure James locks up the door."
"I will," she said.
A few moments later she slipped outside the building and made her way to
the bus. She felt like a theif trying to break into it since everyone
who was working at the moment was inside the building or already inside the
James opened up when she knocked and sleepily smiled at her, "You're back."
"Yeah," she said, "Sorry for waking you up, but I need to be out here and
"I heard that the parents were in town," he said.
"I really don't want to talk about it," she said stepping by him, "I just
want to go to bed."
"Hey Serena," James said as she went to go into the hallway of bunks.
"Congradulations," he said, "I think you and Lance are a great couple."
"Thank you," she said finding her eyes begin to tear up."
"Night," he said, "I'll see you at the next venue."
He turned his head and looked towards the door. "Yeah?"
"Your mom and dad wanted to come in. Is it cool?"
"Yeah," he said with a sigh knowing that they were only going to corner him
into a conversation that he didn't want to have. The others were still
in the room, but he could tell that they knew enough to get ready and get
out of the room as fast as they could.
"Good luck," Chris mumbled as he walked past. He opened his phone and
started dialing, "I'll see ya tomorrow."
"Night," Lance said knowing that his bus would leave before theirs.
"I'll go check on Serena," Joey said as he walked by.
"Don't wake her up Joe if she's asleep. She's been tired lately and
needs the sleep," he said. The distraction of knowing that she was
out there waiting for him made it hard for him to be patient enough to sit
and talk to his parents.
"Honey?" his mom said coming in the room. Her eyes were closed, "Are
you all decent in here?"
"Yeah Mom," he said with a laugh.
"Hey Diane and Jim," Justin said as he walked by, "Bye Diane and Jim."
"Bye Sweetie," Diane answered.
JC was the last out. He was pulling on his shoes and mumbled to Lance
thoughts of good luck and the message to call him before he stood up.
"Hey mom and dad," JC said with a smile, "I hate to leave, but I really must
"Goodnight sweetheart," Diane said.
As he slid his clothes into his backpack he looked around to make sure that
he'd gotten everything. He knew that the couch and all the other things
would be loaded that night, but if he left anything personal behind he knew
that it would end up being sold on Ebay. He knew that the crews had
passed security clearances, but it still made him paranoid to know that people
would be touching his things.
Lance rolled his eyes at the quoting of the song lyrics. It was horrible.
He hated how cookie cutter cute his parents were. He didn't know when
it had gotten all Brady Bunch, but it was getting a little pathetic to see
how super sweet they all were.
"What are you thinking marrying this little little groupie?" his mother said
as soon as JC was out the door. They were alone, but he still couldn't
believe that those words had just come out of her mouth. He'd always
known that she'd had opinions like that about people, but she never had been
so bold as to actually speak them aloud. He'd heard her once talking
to his father when he was taking a nap in their hotel room, but he never
thought that she'd say something like that to him.
"Mamma," Lance said in an offended tone. He couldn't imagine his mom
being so rude about things. He knew that she was protective.
He'd always known that, but this was different. This was personal and
he wasn't sure why she was trying to keep him from someone he couldn't think
about living without. "Why are you being this way?"
"James!" his father said sharply.
"Sorry Sir," he said in a soft voice then took a breath. He could feel
tears in his eyes, but he didn't know if he could keep them in. He
was glad that Serena wasn't there. She would probably try to step in
and make things better, but he knew it would only make things worse.
"Dad I love you and mom to death, but I love Serena too and I don't understand
why you all can't get along. I thought you guys were getting used to
the idea of her being pregnant."
"Lance this...this whole situation is out of control. I'm not going
to put up with this. We raised you right. This never should have
happened in the first place." His mother was getting hysterial.
She'd done the same thing when he'd wanted to join the group.
"You're clearly not going to listen to me tonight and I need to catch a bus.
If you want to talk about this again then we'll come home and talk about
this...but for the moment I need to leave..." He grabbed his jacket
and pulled his back over his shoulder.
"Lance." His mother sounded desparate now.
Lance sighed with the message that would come next. He didn't want
to say it, but it needed to be said. "I love you mom...I do, but right
now I need to be away from you and away from this conversation."
He passed up giving them hugs, something that NEVER happened and made his
way to the door. Outside Loni and Eric were waiting. He nodded
to them to show that he was ready and started down the hallway towards the
"You ok man?" Loni asked in a soft voice.
"Yeah," Lance said taking a breath as tears started down his cheeks.
He never thought that a fight would happen in his family, but it had and
he knew that this would change things forever for them.
"You sure?" he asked.
Lance wiped his face with the back of his hand and dialed to check his voicemail
before he got to the bus. He had a moment of silence before the doors
were thrown open so he could go to the bus and when he stepped outside screaming
from across the parking lot filled the air. He looked over at a group
of fans and waved at them as they stood watching him then shoved his phone
into his pocket again withtout hearing the messages. He had to look
down as Eric and Loni shown flashlights on the ground so that they could
make it to the bus without falling.
"Hey there big guy," James said as he stepped onto the bus.
"She's asleep and Joey is in the back." James seemed to tell him answers
to questions that he didn't ask, "It'll be ok."
He stared at him for a moment then moved farther into the bus. He slid
out of his jacket and threw his bag on the couch before he grabbed up a bottled
water out of the refridgerator. He took a deep breath and moved his
hand to wipe his face knowing that if he did slip into bed with Serena that
he needed to be level headed.
Eric and Loni took seats in the living room and Lance decided it was time
for bed. He opened up the door to the bunks and saw that the dimmer
switch had been turned on, but was at a low setting so he shut himself in
the hallway then grabbed at his belt and slid it off then kicked his shoes
into the lower bunk before he shoved the rest of his clothes in there then
moved the curtain back on her bunk.
"Sugar," he sighed out, "What..." His tears welled up again. "What
am I gonna do with you?"
"Lance?" she asked sleepily.
"I didn't mean to wake you up," he said with a soft voice as he pulled the
covers back and slid in next to her.
She rubbed her eyes as he shut the curtain, putting them into darkness for
a moment before she turned on the overhead light. "I thought we were
going to talk to your parents."
Tears began to fall. "I talked to them."
He reached up and tried to turn off the light but she wouldn't let him.
She grabbed his hand and moved it away then turned onto her stomach and looked
at him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothings wrong," he lied, "I just wanna go to bed Sugar. I'm really
"What's wrong?" she asked looking at him. He could see her eyes well
with tears, sympathy for the situation she knew he was in.
"I just..." His breaths were unsteady and he couldn't help but to cry,
"The world is falling out from under my feet."
Her arms slid around him and she held onto him as he cried. He knew
that he was being fairly noisy so it wasn't at all a shock that Joey came
by a minute later and opened the curtain. His eyes were closed, but
he heard the clips on the curtain against the bar that held them.
"Nothing," Serena said with a soft voice, tucking Lance's face into her neck,
"He'll be ok." She rubbed his back. "I'll tell you about it tomorrow...ok?"
"Ok," Joey said, "If you guys need anything just holler ok?"
Lance held his breath and hugged her tightly to him. It wasn't that
he wanted to keep things from Joey, but he couldn't face him, not in that
condition. All he wanted to do was hold onto her and close his eyes
and wish that the whole world would go away.
"Thanks Joey," Serena said.
"No troubles," Joey said and shut them in again.
She jumped at the sound of her name echoing in the long concrete hallway.
She had woken up that morning in the tour bus and had taken a shower in the
locker room that was serving as the boy's dressing room before putting on
shorts and a shirt to go out to sound check. She'd stood in the back
of the group and chatted with Melinda for a while, only waving to Lance from
a far when he noticed her. She hadn't spoken to him so she had gone
to check on him to make sure that he was ok.
"Hi Joey," she said. He was coming towards her with his phone to his
ear, but he looked like he wanted her to wait so he could finish his call
and talk to her. She hadn't seen either of them that morning so she
wasn't at all upset that he wanted to say hi. Since she'd moved onto
Lance's bus they had become this disfunctional family, Joey being the brother
that she never had.
When he finally hung up she smiled and shoved her hands into her pockets.
She looked up at him a little and smiled hoping that he wasn't going to ask
what she thought that he would. "What's up?"
"What's going on between you and Lance?" he asked in a soft voice looking
around as if he was delivering secret codes to the military or something.
"I don't mean to pry, but I haven't seen Lance cry like that in a long long
"Joey...ask Lance about it, not me." She sighed and pushed her hair
out of her face shivering as the wind blew through the hall. She'd
gotten a little sun that day and needed to go and curl up in a blanket.
"I'm asking you about it because Lance won't tell me."
"Well then maybe you shouldn't know," she said. She didn't know how
Lance wanted to handle everything. She knew that her telling him the
night before that she'd explain it all, but she wasn't sure if she really
had permission to tell him everything.
"Serena please don't snap at me," he spoke as softly as he could without
being too silent. I'm worried, I'm not prying." His eyes clouded
over with concern and she knew that she needed to ease up a little on him.
It wasn't his fault that he shared the bus with them and heard half of their
"I'm sorry Joe, but it's just too much to deal with right now. Lance's
parents and I aren't getting along and now Lance is fighting with them and
things are just not going right. I'm stressed out because this is my
fault." She put her hand on her stomach and closed her eyes for a moment.
"Are you ok?" he asked touching her shoulder.
"I'm fine Joey," she said, "I'm just stressed out and this isn't helping
that I'm pregnant. I've been not feeling well the last day or so and
I think that it's--" She sighed, "I think I'm going to go home for
a while. I think I'm gonna stay in Mississippi or maybe hang out in
"What's your schedule for the day?" he asked.
"Joe you're gonna get annoying in a minute," she said.
"Give me a break," he said, "I wasn't around when Kelly was pregnant.
She stayed in Orlando. I'm just trying to make up for it in some strange
"Thanks for the concern," she said and looked at her watch. "If I don't
get back to the bus Eric is going to shit a brick. I told him I was
going to go and see soundcheck and get some sun, but he'll send out the national
guard if I'm not back...where are you off to?"
"Lance and I are doing a radio interview upstairs with the station that is
doing the publicity for this thing. Got any messages for him?"
"No," she said, "Ask him to call me when he's done. I didn't talk to
him this morning when we got here so I don't know what his schedule is for
"Gotcha," he said and waved as he went towards the stairs that ran up to
the second level courtesy boxes.
The day was going too slow. He hated when he couldn't through an hour
without looking at his watch twenty times. He hadn't slept well the
night before, waking up about ten times to make sure that Serena was still
there. Three times he'd gotten up and gone to the bathroom or gotten
drinks, but every time he returned to bed he stared at her wondering for
a moment if all the trouble was worth it. He hated that feeling, but
he was starting to think that maybe she was right about it being too much
trouble to be with her.
"Lance are you ready for this interview?" Melinda asked plopping down next
"Yeah," he said shaking his head to nod yes. He'd seen her earlier
talking to Serena and he wanted to ask what they'd talked about, but he didn't
want to check up on Serena. "I was just trying to rest for a minute.
I didn't sleep well last night."
"Jet lag?" she asked.
He nodded and took a breath, swallowed and felt his throat close a little,
"Do we have any water around here? Or Gatorade or something?"
"Yeah," Melinda pointed to the cooler in the corner.
Lance didn't get up. He stared at it for a moment.
"It's not going to come to you."
When Joey came in the room he was stuffing a sandwich into his mouth, "Call
Serena." He spoke between bites and almost spit something on him.
His shoulders tensed and he took a deep breath. "Is she ok?"
Joey nodded yes then plopped down on the other couch, on he far side of Melinda.
"She's still not feeling great, but she said to call her when you're done
with the interview," Joey said licking some mustard off his thumb.
"She's not feeling good?" Lance asked instantly worried for her. He
knew that earlier on in their friendship he would have worried, but with
her being pregnant and now with her being his fiance he was even more upset.
"Is she ok?"
"Yeah," Joey said looking over at the interviewers. "She's fine.
Just call her after the interview."
Lance looked over at the interviewers and then back at Joey when they weren't
paying attention. He put his hand on his stomach to motion to Joey
what he was asking about.
"Kelly and Brianna are fine," Joey said loudly.
"What?" Lance said.
"I said that Brianna and Kelly are fine," Joey said, "You were asking if
I talked to them lately to see if they are OK and THEY ARE."
"Ok," he said.
The interview started and was running smoothly until one question came into
the mix. Most of the time Lance went through interviews like this half
paying attention. He knew that it was bad to do, but most of the questions
were the same ones that were always asked so he listened to most of the question
and almost started the answer before the question was being done being asked.
"Lance, do you feel any emotional connections to the songs you and the rest
of the boys of NSYNC?"
Lance cleared his throat. "Oh definitely! Each song means something
different to me. Like "God Must Have Spent." I get so many great letters
from fans. And "I Promise You" is like a really great wedding song
now, which is really cool.
Joey had been drinking some water while he was waiting for another question
and he coughed spitting water onto his shirt.
"Are you ok?" the interviewer asked.
"Yeah," Joey said, "I don't know what happened there. I think I have
a drinking problem...you remember that movie airplane where the guy had a
drinking problem because he couldn't get the water in his mouth?"
The distraction of the story gave Lance a moment to think. Wedding.
The word had brought Joey's reaction, Lance knew instantly, which only led
his mind to think about Serena. If he was going to marry her he wanted
it to be something special, not something that was going to cause them to
be on the front page of some newspaper.
The interview finally ended and Lance stepped out onto the balcony for a
minute to make his call. He knew that in the concrete building he might
not get reception so he stood on the balcony and watched the crew doing the
last minute touches to the stage and arena seating.
"Hey babes," he said when she picked up. He found his heart rate going
through the roof as he paced the small balcony.
"Hi," she said sounding like she'd woken from a nap.
Lance tried not to be upset about not seeing her that day. He should
have woken up and told her about his day or at least made sure that she was
ok, but he had slept through his alarm and had been pulled out of bed to
take a shower so that he could get to the soundcheck and interviews on time.
"Joey said you wanted to talk?"
"It wasn't anything important." She yawned. "I just wanted to
know what the rest of your day was going to be like."
"My interview is done." He wished that he could run down to the bus
and take an hour to hang out with her, but he knew that if he did he wouldn't
be able to eat before the show and that wasn't something he could skip out
on. He'd barely eaten breakfast and wasn't able to grab lunch so missing
dinner wasn't an option. "I was going to try and get something to eat
then we've got to meet with some employees from the sponsor before the show
"I'm sorry Sugar." His voice lowered. "Come down to the dressing
room before the show so I can see ya before the show. Ok?"
"Are you feeling ok?" he asked.
"I was taking a nap. I seem to need them these days. I don't
know. I think next day off we have I might fly home for a few days,
see the doctor and maybe try and get back to my normal self."
"See the doctor?" he asked and watched as some fans began to appear in the
arena. He was far enough away for them to not bother him, but he knew
that he should go inside soon.
"Don't freak out on me right now ok?" she asked, "I'm fine. I just
want to get checked out to make sure because I've been getting headaches
and I feel like I've got the flu. It's probably something silly."
"Why are you telling me this right now?" he asked, "I'm booked up for the
afternoon and I shouldn't be--"
"Lance I'm fine. Eric is with me and will call you if I need anything,
but really I'm fine. I'm just going to be in the bus," she said, "No
work this afternoon. So go do your stuff ok?"
"Serena?" he said.
"Lance. I'm fine. Just go do your stuff. I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"I'll see you before the show."
[ four hours later... ]
"Yes," she said and let go of Eric's hand. They'd arrived in the emergency
room after Serena had felt faint earlier and now were waiting for blood tests
to come back about what might have caused her not feeling well.
"My name is Doctor Tort," he said, "I was looking over these test results
and it seems that you've gotten a little dehydrated. Your electorlyte balance
is...well it isn't balanced." He smiled, "Everything else is ok."
"Are you sure?" she asked, "I mean the baby is ok?"
"The babies are fine."
Serena looked at him with a shocked face not knowing if she misunderstood
him or if there was something that she should know. "Babies?"
"Babies," the doctor said, "We took the ultrasound earlier and I looked at
them." He flipped open the folder that was in his hand and pointed
to a black and white ultrasound picture. "There is one baby..."
His hand moved across the picture a little ways, "And here is the other baby."
He smiled, "They don't look like much just yet, but they're there."
"Babies?" she said.
Eric laughed a little, "Excuse her...she thought she was only having one.
This...this isn't something she thought she'd be hearing tonight."
"Twins?" Serena said. She laughed and hugged Eric. "I'm sorry.
I thought you were going to tell me something horrible."
"I am going to tell you something you might not like. It was explained
to me that you've been traveling with your fiance and well I suggest that
you not continue that after another few weeks. Most pregnant women
would do ok to be traveling, but with twins you have to be more careful.
For the next two weeks I suggest staying as immoble as possible and drinking
enough water and eating right."
"She'll do it," Eric said protectively, "When Lance finds out about this
I have a feeling that he'll send her home right away."
"Can I go back to the bus?" Serena asked, "I mean get out of here."
"Sure," Doctor Tort said. He handed her a piece of paper. "This
is a list of suggested things to eat to keep you healthy. Adding fruit
to your diet and drinking water will keep your headaches down. If you
need to take something for your headaches use something mild, like advil."
Serena nodded and pulled on Eric's hand. "Let's go. Let's go."
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Last updated: 07/09/04.