IN PRODUCTION

By Patricia Brown


ONE


"You better tell her before she finds out some other way," the voice on the other end of the phone said.

The chair that he was sitting in leaned back a little as he shifted his weight in it. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but that didn't take away from the fact that he was doing serious business. He was in the middle of a tough contract negotiation for his next project, but one wouldn't know that by looking at him.

"I know I need to," he sighed and flipped the page of the contract in front of him to the next page, "I just haven't gotten to the right time and the right place to just bring it up. I know she already hates that I'm gone and adding this all to the mix isn't going to help."

"Well Toronto is coming up and you're not going to be able to hide the fact that you're doing a movie. I mean Entertainment Tonight has been spreading rumors and it's going to reach her ears sooner or later."

"I know Wendy," he said with a sharp tone. "I've got a few other things on my mind besides this movie."

"Don't start snapping at me now," she said, "I know that you are under a lot of pressure and all, but don't take it out on me."

"I'm sorry," he said, "Forgive me."

"Always."

Lance leaned back in his chair and put a hand to the bridge of his nose then turned his chair and looked outside. It had been raining off and on for the last few hours, but he hadn't realized that it was still wet outside. "So I'll meet you in Toronto in a month?"

Just as the words came out of his mouth Nicole stepped into the room. He almost groaned knowing that she'd heard his comment. He'd wanted to tell her about this for a month, but had never found the right place or right way to bring it up. He knew she'd be upset and he hated the feeling of causing her that stress, which was probably why he had put it off for so long.

"You're going to Toronto?" she asked.

Lance sighed and spoke into the phone, "I'll talk to you later. Thanks for setting up the house for me."

"House?" she asked as he hung the phone up.

"Yes a house." He took a deep breath and paid that she would understand. "I figure if I'm moving there for a few months that I should stay in a house and not a hotel."

"Moving?" she asked.

"Yes." He saw her eyes instantly tear up and he started to get up to go over to her but she put a hand up to stop him.

"You better talk and talk fast Lance," she said and sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the desk from him.

He took a deep breath, let it out then began to ramble hoping to get it all out before he thought about what he was saying. "I'm starting, well started a production company and we're filming a movie in Toronto for two months and well I have a business partner and I'm staring in the movie with Joey and basically I didn't tell you because I thought you'd get upset and well you are so now I don't know what I'm going to do."

"What?" she said. Her jaw dropped. "Is it possible for you to fit anything more in your schedule?" she asked, "With the group, FreeLance and all the publicity for Meredith and Ryan there aren't enough hours in the day."

"It's not really that much stuff," he said, "When the tour ends in two weeks I'm going to fly up to Toronto to film, my mom and dad are taking care of the business and well Meredith has her parents watching over things. They consult me about things and I'm still working with Ryan on his album, but everything seems to be settled right now."

"Well they aren't settled with me." She still looked shocked, "Where does that leave me?"

"You can come too," he said.

"No I can't," she said angrily then got up and began to pace. "I have work Lance, work that I go to every morning and come home from every night and I barely see you as it is and I'm wondering how it's going to be physically possible for you to be in two places at once."

"Two places at once?" he asked.

"You promised me," she said taking a deep breath, "You promised me that after the tour was over that you'd come home and spend time with me."

"Why are you getting so upset about this?" he asked. "I've had to go out of town for longer than this before...and with this movie you'll be able to come up there and live with me. We'll be together."

"That's not the point. I wanted you home...home and in this house that we've owned but barely lived in this last year...you seem to have forgotten about you getting the flu and you always being tired. You're going to add more stress and get sick again and well," she paused, "I'm not going through that again. It was bad enough that I had to fly to Atlanta a few weeks ago to see you in the hospital. I'm not flying up to cold ass Toronto," she said.

"But--"

"No butts Lance," she said angrily, "You and I were married the last time I checked and normal couples don't do this to each other."

She stomped her foot and despite being worried about her reaction Lance almost wanted to laugh at her. She was acting like such a child. Her tantrum was cuter than a five year old's. "Do what to each other?" He thought he should ask because really she seemed to be making a bigger deal out of this than it was worth.

"Marriage is a partnership Lance. You don't just go off and plan things without discussing it first," she said.

Now he seemed to be the confused one in the conversation. "What are you talking about?"

"You've kept this from me for a while," she said, "I mean you already are going to produce a movie. That doesn't happen overnight!"

"Lucy, what's wrong?" he asked, "It's more than just this."

"Like you really care," she said and turned on her heel. She left the room and he heard her making noises in the kitchen so he got up to see what was wrong, but didn't get far before she came back in and threw a picture about the size of a poleriod at her.

"What's this?" he asked.

"Your son...or your daughter," she said angrily, "Since we all seem to be spilling the beans today about our little secret projects I thought you should know about mine--well ours really." Her expression softened for a minute as she pointed to the picture in his hand.

Sure enough, along the edge of the blurry picture were the initials: OBGYN. He was going to be a father and this was his child's first picture.

"How are you going to explain it to our child that making movies and music was more important than them. I can deal with this...I signed up for this job, but they didn't and I'm not going to let you act that way to them."

Lance stared at her. "Job?" he asked, "You think this marriage is a job?"

"You know what I mean Lance," she said putting a hand on her jean clad hip, "You know that I knew full well what I was getting myself into when I married you. You warned me a million times what it was going to be like.


TWO


His eyes followed her out the room and it took him a moment, but he finally got to his feet and followed her. "Where are you going?" he asked as he slid down the hall and out to the kitchen.

"I need to be by myself for a minute," she said firmly giving him a warning look and walked towards the back door.

He hadn't noticed earlier, but it had begun to rain. He could see the ripples on the surface of the pool. He knew it would stop after a while, but he still didn't think she needed to be going outside.

"Lucy, stop it," he said, "Don't go outside."

"Why Lance?" she asked opening the door. She stood outside and held onto the door, "I thought you had to get back to work. I'll leave you alone so you can." She slammed the door and stared at him through the glass for a moment as if she was warning him not to come outside.

Lance stared at her then went and got on the portable phone while keeping a eye on her.

"Hello?"

"Wendy," He put an arm out and pointed towards the door, even though he knew she couldn't see him, "She's standing out in the rain and she's really pissed."

"So you told her?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said.

"Well go out there and drag her inside caveman!" Wendy said with a sarcastic tone. Her voice went lower, "Sometimes men are so stupid."

"Good one Wendy," he said then took a breath. "Oh and guess what?"

"What?" she asked.

"Oh and guess what else?" he said starting to feel even more frustrated with the situation. His wife was only separated from him by a pane of glass, but there was so much more between them.

"What?" she asked.

"I'm going to be a dad."

"Congratulations." There was a long silence. "You don't sound too pleased about it."

"Well I would be...I mean I am..." he sighed."

"You don't sound it."

"My wife reminded me--so pleasantly--that I have no time for anything including the movie, the production company and now my own child."

Wendy laughed a little, "Don't worry about it. It's not like your kid is going to be popping out any time soon. You'll adjust to it. You've done that well so far with the new company."

"I just don't know..."

"Lance, my first advice to you is to go and find your wife right now and talk to her. She's probably pissed, but if you're on the phone with me I don't think it's going to help your case."

Lance sighed and looked out the window. Nicole was standing there soaked to the bone still looking out at the storming sky. "I'll talk to you later," he said, "If I can't be reached for the next day or so you'll know why."

"Ok," she said, "Good luck with everything."

"Thanks."

Lance hung up the phone and went to grab a towel. He threw it over his shoulder and went to the sliding glass door. He slid it open and stared at her for a moment before speaking, "Honey, come in here. You're gonna get sick."

"No," she said firmly.

"Come on Nicole, I'm not kidding, come inside."

Lance threw the towel down onto the counter and walked out into the rain. The wind was blowing a little and the rain was coming down pretty steadily and even though the water and air seemed warm he still shivered as he walked towards her.

She turned away when he got in front of her. "I don't want to see you right now."

"Lucy, stop this," he said, "I mean it."

"Lance you don't understand. It's easy for you to stand there and say that this is going to be ok because you're going to go off on tour or to film or to record, or whatever and I'm going to be stuck here alone."

"No sweetie."

"Yes Lance. You know it's true so don't try to deny it. I've never once demanded anything from you, but I've got to put my foot down. If I'm going to have this child then I want you in its life."

"If?" he said.

"Yes if," she said, "I have to make the decision about what I'm going to do about this child."

"Decision?" he said.

"Yes."

"What are you talking about?" he said, "You better not be thinking about what I think you're thinking about."

Nicole looked at him with a frown. He wasn't sure what to make of that, but he knew enough that something serious was going on with her and he needed to find out about it soon before she made a decision that would change both their lives forever.

"Don't make this into some sappy romance novel," she said hitting at him, "I'm not going to abort this baby. I'm not that dramatic." She took a deep breath. "How could you think that?"

"I don't know what to think anymore," he said with a sigh. It was true. In the last few weeks, hell the last few months, things had gone so horribly and everything was starting to merge together that he wasn't sure what was real and what wasn't.

"Lance, we have to talk," she said with a serious tone. "I mean really talk."

"Come inside then," he said squaring his shoulders. He knew he needed to get her out of the rain, not only for her own good, but for his. "You're going to catch a cold."

She nodded finally and turned and walked into the house. He grabbed up the towel and wrapped her in it for a moment and looked in her eyes. "I love you, you know that."

"I know," she said and lowered her eyes from his. "I love you too, but sometimes that isn't enough."

Lance's heart stopped. "Then what do I need to do?" he asked finding now that they were discussing this that there were tears coming to his eyes. He didn't want to lose her. "I'll do anything," he said desparately.


THREE


"There isn't anything you can say or do," she said sadly seeing in his eyes the same desparation she'd been feeling for the last few weeks. "I know that no matter what you do your promises are going to be broken."

Lance sighed and curled her into his arms, "Please Nicole--"

"No Lance. You know that's what's going to happen," she said. She didn't move away from him, just put her cheek against his chest and waited for herself to be able to speak again. "I know it's not your fault. I know that for the most part these things are out of your control, but I don't think I can take this anymore."

"What are you saying?" he asked. He pulled back and looked at her seriously.

On the one hand she hated the fact that there were tears in his eyes, but at the same time she was comforted by the fact that he was emotional over all of this. At least she knew he cared a lot about her.

"Are you leaving me?" he asked.

Nicole pushed away from him and took a deep breath. This was becoming more of a hassle than she'd thought it would turn out to be. She almost wished she'd never mentioned it in the first place. It all seemed to just put more weight on her shoulders, when her intentions of this conversation was to take some of the weight off. "I just need a break for a while."

His eyes searched her face and she could see tears form in them even through the rain that was falling. "You have to give me a chance to make this better," he pleaded.

"It's not permanent," she said, "I just need time to think."

"Are you--?"

"I think I'm going to move--"

"No Lucy," he said, "You stay here. I'll crash somewhere else."

She turned her head sideways and tried to not show too much sympathy towards him. She knew that this was hurting him and she knew she could stop that hurt, but she also knew that he was hurting too and this time would make her be able to deal with that pain. The last few weeks had been hectic for her and now that she was going to be a mother she needed to really reevaluate what she was going to do. "I just need a little bit of time."

"I'll give that to you," he said. She watched his shoulders drop and he took a deep breath. "Let me make some calls and I'll get out of here."

Her heart broke when she saw the look in his eyes. He looked broken and what hurt her worse was the guilt that came along with the fact that she'd caused that.

"I love you," he said. His voice cracked with emotion.

"I love you too," she said and tears came to her eyes, "That's not the issue. I love you and I always will, but I need some time to think--"

"No pressure," he said, "I know that you need the time...and I'll give that to you, but I would hope that you'd give me some time to try to make things different before you make up your mind for good."

"Give me two days and by the time JC and Leah get back from the honeymoon I'll tell you what I want to do." Nicole thought for a moment and wished that she hadn't just made the decision to have him leave. She knew life without him was horrible. When he was on the road she knew that she couldn't get to him, but having him be in town and not be with her was going to make the next two days miserable for her.


Lance dialed the phone with shaky hands and watched as Nicole came into his office. She was leaning against the door jam watching him with the towel curled around her. He got distracted for a moment with the lustful thought of trying to make love to her to get her mind off things, but when he saw her frown he knew that it would never work…she probably wouldn't let him close enough to her again to even try.

"Chris's house of insanity!"

The playful voice greeted him and he had to smile at it. Even at the worst moments of life Chris always seemed to be able to keep everyone in good spirits.

"Hey Chris."

"Waaasssuuuppp?" he replied with a laugh.

Lance took in a huge breath of air and held it for a moment hoping that he'd get through the rest of the call without passing out. He was already feeling sick about it all. "I know this is kinda short notice, but do you think I can crash at your house for the next two days?"

Chris paused for a moment to say something to someone in the back ground then spoke into the phone. "Lance, we're in Orlando. Shouldn't you be molesting your wife or something like that?"

Lance's eyes flew to Nicole in the doorway then down to the pad of paper that he'd been working on earlier. He was still wet from being outside and he knew that it wasn't good for him to be sitting there like that, but he couldn't move himself to go pack up for the two days that he'd be gone. He didn't want to make her decision final just yet.

"Well my wife is looking a little green right now," he lied, "As much as I'd like to stick around and take care of her, she's ordered me out of the house. She says she doesn't want us both to get sick. Normally I'd go crash at Justin's or JC's, but they aren't in town."

"So I'm the third choice for your little slumber party?" Chris asked. Lance could picture him pouting.

"Well."

"Come on over," he said, "You'll have to share a bed with Busta and Korea for the night, but you can crash if you need to."

"Is it going to be ok with Danielle?" he asked.

"Lemme check." He turned his mouth away from the phone, "Dani can Lance come over to play?"

Another smile graced Lance's lips. He loved the way that the two of them were together. They played off each other and it was rare that they were ever doing anything except laughing, something that he wished he could do with Nicole again.

There was a noise in the background then Chris came back onto the line. "As long as your mommy says that it's ok, my mommy said that you can come over and play and have a sleep over."

"Thanks Chris," Lance finally said, "I'll be over in an hour or so."

"Sounds good to me. I was gonna order a pizza. You want some?"

"Yeah," Lance said, "I'll pick up some beers on the way over."

"Beers?" Chris asked.

"It's been a long day," Lance said as an explanation.

"Sounds like it," he said, "Just don't get Guiness and we're all good."

"Gotcha," Lance said and hung up the phone a minute later.

"So you'll be at Chris's?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said not looking up at her. He moved his hands quickly around his desk and gathered up his paperwork and moved it into his briefcase then moved to leave the room.

When he was standing by her at the door he watched her for an instant then passed by. "If a girl named Wendy calls tell her to call my cell phone."

"Who's Wendy?" she asked.

"My partner for the film company. I'll have her fly down here next week or whatever so you two can meet. She's a really nice girl and right now is the one that is keeping the production company afloat."

Nicole seemed to be following him as he made his way to their bedroom and began to pack up stuff for the night. He didn't throw much into the backpack he grabbed out of the closet. He grabbed jeans, a t-shirt, socks, underwear and a pair of sweats to sleep in then went into the bathroom.

When she migrated with him he looked at her in the reflection on the mirror. "Do you mind?" he asked.

She nodded no and retreated back into the bedroom. He heard the squeak of the bed as she flopped down on it and when he was done throwing his stuff back into the bag he walked out and found that she'd thrown herself face first onto the bed.

"I'll be at Chris's," he said, "You can get me on my cell phone if you need me."

Nicole rolled over, "Thank you."

"Thanks for what?" he asked.

"Thank you for letting me have this time alone."

"Lucy, I'd give you the world if I thought it would make you not leave me."

"I'm not leaving you," she said softly, "I just need to think."

"I know," he said, "And I'll let you."

He left before she could get up and kiss him goodbye. It had become tradition that she would kiss him goodbye a certain way, but today he didn't feel like putting it into practice.


FOUR


Lance had a headache by the time he got to Chris's. He'd gotten in the car and had driven away from the house, but had circled the block twice before leaving the neighborhood. He didn't know exactly why he circled around the place. Maybe it was because he though he might catch her running after him, or maybe he thought if he just gave her a moment to cool down that he could go back inside. But she didn't, and he didn't pull back into the driveway before he took the main road away from the house. He did what he was supposed to do and followed her request, pushing past the sick feeling in his stomach as he watched their street sign disappear in the rear view mirror.

When Dani let him in the house he only smiled at her once then moved into the living room and took up residency on the end of the couch. It wasn't that he wanted to be rude, but he was in a stage in his coping with the situation where he felt numb. He knew that eventually he'd completely break down, because everyone always does at some point, but for the moment he was going through life feeling nothing and thinking nothing outside the trouble at hand. If a cop had pulled him over on the way to the house he wouldn't have even seen the lights. He was on auto-pilot and until he saw Nicole again he didn't think he'd be able to steer through the pain that he was feeling.

Chris, being the crazy guy that he was, sat on the far end of the couch watching some hockey game or something to do with hockey dressed in a Pittsburg Penguins jersey. Lance turned his eyes to the screen and began to watch although his mind was definitely not on the battle in front of him.

"You want a drink or something Lance?" Dani finally asked. He hadn't noticed, but she'd come into the living room and had been watching him the whole time. She stood on the far side of the couch, holding her hands nervously in front of her waiting for his answer.

"No thanks," he said then looked at her. She was standing near the recliner with Busta and Korea at her feet looking up at her like she was going to give them a treat. "I'm sorry if I'm acting like an ass--"

"No problem," she said and picked up Korea and scratched the Pug's tummy. "Chris told me what's going on. I'm really sorry that you guys are fighting."

"We're not fighting," he said quickly then glared at Chris, "What did you tell her?"

"Yeah right, like Nicole would kick you out of the house because she's sick...I don't think so. It had to be something other than that."

"Well we're not fighting."

Dani turned her head to the side and looked at him. "You know what I mean Lance…" She busied herself for a moment fixing up some of the magazines on the coffee table in front of them then turned to him, "Should I call her?"

"No," Lance sighed and scooted down on the couch a little so that when he rested his elbow on the armrest he could lean his forehead against his hand.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" she asked.

"No," he said.

"You can get me a coke," Chris finally said when she stepped in his view of the television.

Dani stuck her tongue out at him and said, "Ritalin boy doesn't need any more caffeine today."

"Don't you just love my woman?" Chris asked with a laugh as he pulled Dani into his lap, "She takes such good care of me."

Lance almost groaned aloud at the thought of having them be together with him in the house. It was painful to watch them interact like they always did when he himself wasn't at all anywhere near being in the good graces of his wife.

He thought for a moment about calling her to check in with her. He even took his phone out of his pocket and flipped it open, but last minute he decided not to dial. If she was going to need the weekend alone then he was going to give her it. Instead of putting the phone to his ear he set it on the coffee table and leaned back again.

"Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to crash over here," he mumbled to himself.

Dani must have heard him. "I'm sorry Lance. I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable." She looked over at him then pushed herself out of Chris's lap. "I've got some paperwork to go over. I'll see you guys in a while."

Lance looked over at Chris when she was gone. "I'm sorry," he sighed.

"Don't worry about it," Chris said with a shrug, "She really does have a lot of paperwork to do. It's nothing…Hey speaking of that…I should call up Joey and we should go over to the Ale House and watch the game tonight."

"What game?" Lance asked trying to make an effort to stay in the conversation.

"There's always something on to watch," Chris said, "Besides, I'm craving a good beer and some key lime pie."

"Pie is good," Lance said.

"It's no mom's apple pie, but if we get drunk enough it's all good."

Lance nodded and Chris picked up the portable phone and called Joey.


Nicole spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house. She knew she should have taken the time and rested, since she'd become a little tired in the last few weeks, but she knew that if she sat still long enough that she'd get antsy then want to call Lance. He'd gone to Chris's and she knew that he could be back there in ten minutes if she wanted him to be, but the temptation of caving in and calling him home again was something she needed to resist.

When the phone rang about eight o'clock Nicole practically dove for it. She had been sitting on the couch, finally taking a moment to eat dinner and had put the portable phone on the coffee table when the call came in.

"Hello?" she asked. Her heartbeat pounded quickly in her ears and her hand that held the phone to her ear shook a bit.

"Oh my God Nicole," the voice said.

"Who is this?" she asked. She could tell that the person was crying from the congested sound of the voice. She wondered first who it was and second what had caused the crying.

"It's Patty," the voice said.

Nicole sat up straighter on the couch when she realized who it was. Somehow her motherly instincts had kicked in already and she was already starting to play the part of the overly protective mother. "Patty, what's wrong? Where's Justin? Where are the boys?"

"They're right here," she said with a sniff.

She heard Jonathan and Bubba yell hello to her.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she said, "Absolutely nothing."

"Then why are you crying?" Nicole wanted to hit her for causing drama for no reason.

"Oh my god," Patty said and sniffed again then took a big huge breath, "You should have seen it."

"Seen what?" she asked.

"He proposed…" She paused and Nicole could hear her wiping her nose. "It was the sweetest thing in the world and he sang me two songs that they're putting on the new album…it was…it was…"

"Is that all?" Nicole asked.

"Is that all? What's that supposed to mean?" Patty said suddenly angry, "I wait my whole life for someone to propose to me and you make it sound like it's not a big deal."

"No, no," she said, "I just meant, no one is dead or dying or maimed or anything."

"No," Patty said.

Her sigh escaped her before she could stop it. "Good, one less thing to worry about."

"One less thing?" Patty asked, "What's going on?"

"Nothing," Nicole sighed, "Tell me about the proposal and everything.

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yeah," Nicole said, "Tell me about it before you forget all the details."

"Ok…" There was another sniffing noise then she launched into the story. "I came home from meeting with my editor tonight and there was a moving van out in the front of my house."

"A moving van?"

"Yeah," Patty said, "And when I walked up to the front door from where I parked a guy was coming outside carrying my desk. So of course I got all pissed off and wanted to know what was going on and well basically he told me that he had orders to move everything out of the house and move it to a new location."

Nicole was a little more than confused about all of this. "You moved?"

"Yeah," she said, "That's the other part of the surprise…you'll find out about that in a second."

"Ok."

"So anyway the guy gives me the new address and it's only like a few miles away so I jump in the car and et in. I didn't know what was going on, but I figured that I'd go over there and see what was going on."

"You sure know how to be dramatic."

"I know," Patty rambled, "I know."

"So what else happened?" Nicole asked.

Patty must have heard the sadness in her voice because she stopped the story for a moment. "Are you ok?"

"I'm fine," Nicole lied, "Just finish the story then we can talk about me."

"If you say so," Patty said, "So anyway I go into the house and there is already furniture in it. I'm looking around and looking around and finally Bubba finds me. I look down and there is this little miniature version of Justin standing in front of me wearing a tuxedo."

"A tux?"

"Yeah," Patty said and sniffed again, "So anyway he looks up at me and says that I'm not dressed and that I need to get changed so he takes me to the master bedroom of the place and I find a dress and everything I need all laid out for me…"

Nicole's mind drifted. Lance had been packing and she'd watched him do it, hell, she practically helped him put his things in the suitcase. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. She didn't need to join Patty in her crying fest.

"So Bubba waits for me to get dressed and then takes me down into a big old living room area and Jonathan is waiting there for me wearing a tux also."

"Where did these boys get their fashion sense?" Nicole asked trying to keep her mind from her own troubles, "Tuxedos for the both of them?"

"No," Patty said, "It was the sweetest thing. Jonathan tells me to have a seat, asks me if I want anything to drink or eat then goes out of the room. Bubba climbs up on the couch next to me and sits down and looks at me then I hear Jonathan yelling for him to give me something…you know that kind of a whispering yell…then comes back into the room and sits down on the other side of me."

"Yeah."

"So anyway he gives me this card and while I'm reading the words on the page Justin comes into the room wearing a tux and he sits down at the piano and starts playing this song and it turns out that the lyrics to the song were in the card…the lyrics are to a song that he'd putting on the new album."

"Really?" Nicole asked. She'd known that Justin had done a lot of writing while Patty had been in California and Lance had mentioned that they were working on something new for the next album, but she never thought that he would actually dedicate something like that to her friend.

"So anyway he stops singing the song and looks over at me and by this time I'm sitting there crying and Bubba is looking worried and trying to get me to stop…" She paused and said something away from the phone then turned back, "Justin says hello. He just came and brought me a tissue…anyway he comes over to me and Bubba tells him to stop making me cry and he proposed telling Bubba that he knew it would make me stop and of course it makes me cry worse and Bubba gets upset and well there was a little drama moment there, but anyways we're engaged and I have a new house."

"Where did this whole house thing come into play?" Nicole asked.

"Justin bought it for me, for us. He said that if LA was where I needed to be that he was going to be here with me."

"Oh god," Nicole said, "That's so great Patty."

"So what's wrong with you?" Patty finally asked.

Literally being saved by the bell, the call waiting signal buzzed in her ear and she paused their conversation for a moment, "Lemme see who it is…" She clicked over and said, "Hello?"

"Lucy I just wanted to tell you that I got here ok and I'm going to be hanging out with the guys tonight so if you can't get ahold of me just leave me a message."

Nicole took a shaky breath, "OK honey." Tears welled up in her eyes and she wanted to tell him to come home right that minute, but she didn't.

"I love you sweetie."

Nicole started to cry and before hanging up she whispered, "I love you too."

She'd known that this would be a hard thing to get through, but being there, and being without him was going to take all the strength she had in her. It was worse than anything she could have imagined, but she prayed that when they finally did meet up again, when they finally got this production together that things would be perfect. For the moment she knew she was going to have to pray hard for that to happen.

 


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