"Hey," I say as we roll back up to the house. The drive was quiet, that kind of quiet where neither person really knows what to say to the other, but always has a million thoughts running through their minds. "Someone's on your porch."
Lance turns his head and looks over and immediately frowns. I look at Lance because for some reason I can't tell who it is as we swing into the driveway. When I look back I see why he's frowning. I don't know how it or why, but my brother is now standing on the front porch looking at Lance's car as we pull up with a frown.
If I thought that Timothy was just a little bit out of place in LA compared to everyone else, having him standing there in a suit jacket, golf shirt, and slacks and loafers made him look even more out of place than I could have imagined him being. I don't even get a chance to get out of the car when Timothy is opening my door. "What are you doing here?" I ask.
He puts his hand on the door and swings it totally wide open and glares at me. "Taking you home."
"What?" Lance is instantly upset by this news. I don't blame him. I'm a little upset myself. "What are you doing here?"
Timothy doesn't seem to be paying attention to us. He's got some agenda and he's trying to get me out of the car. He's even pushed my seatbelt out of the way and looks to be trying to help me down from the truck, but is squeezing my sides too hard. "I got on a plane and came down here."
"Why'd you come down here?" I ask pushing his hands away as soon as I get out of the car.
"I'm taking you back to LA with me," he says looking a little nervous.
I look around a little, wondering if someone is following me. I know it's strange to think that since usually it's Timothy and I looking around for other people following stars, but today he seems more concerned about me than Lance at the moment. I can see the signs. He's staying close to me and keeping himself between me and the street, classic behavior of a guard who is on duty. Normally he doesn't act like this with me. He's usually aware, but not obsessive.
My eyes widen. "Why?"
"Why?" I swear Timothy's nostrils are flaring. "You need to get in the house and get your things or we can leave right now, but either way you're going with me and I'm not going to tell you about it again."
"Hey," Lance butts in. "Don't talk to her like that."
"Look," Timothy says harshly. "This really doesn't have anything to do with you Lance. I told you that on the phone this morning."
"You called this morning?" I'm stunned that this news didn't get to me. I don't expect Lance to report every little phone call that comes in on his phone, but talking to my brother seems like one of those things that I thought he'd tell me about. No wonder he was in such a foul mood this morning and couldn't seem to relax the rest of the day.
Lance looks a little worried about this news getting out to me. I know his heart and whatever was said on the phone this morning was something that was going to upset me. It's upsetting me now and I don't even know what's about to be said. "Yes."
"What the hell did you tell him this morning?" I turn to my brother and stare at him. I wonder if Dalaney knows what's going on. If he's down here without her knowing then I'm sure he's going to be in trouble. Dalaney might be overprotective about their kids, but having him run down here and rip me out of Mississippi and take me back to LA is embarrassing even for her.
"Let's go in the house," Lance says.
I didn't really notice it, but it seems as if a crowd has gathered. The neighbors are back from church and are watching us from inside their front window. I don't think they think anything crazy is going on, but when else does Lance have something resembling a fight happen in his front yard.
"Tammy and I actually have a flight to catch back to LA," Timothy says setting his jaw stubbornly. "If you want, go ahead and send her bags home to her."
"No." Lance and I say in unison.
At least that much is still the same. This morning I wasn't so sure that we were still on the same track. Any girl would probably think that her boyfriend was about to leave her considering the strange behavior that he was throwing at me this morning.
"No." I say again when Timothy starts to take my arm and pull me towards the car. "What the hell has gotten into you!"
"You are coming with me right now," Timothy says.
"Not until you tell me why you've flown out here to drag me back home." To make my point, I sit down in the grass.
"Get up," Timothy says as if he's talking to his kids who are having tantrums.
"No," I say angrily.
"Get up Tamara," he says, "You need to get in the car with me and get back to LA. Something happened this morning and you need to come with me."
Timothy lifts me off the ground and I grab at his chest to leave me alone. That's when I know that he's serious.
"You're wearing your gun," I say, my voice catching in my breath.
"Yes," he says calmly opening his jacket to show the gun. "I told you. This is serious. Some things happened last night in LA and I want you to come home with me right now. I'm having you stay at the house with the kids and Frank and Josh and Mom and Dad are flying in to stay with you."
The three of them flying into town just to stay at the house? I feel like I should be sitting down again. It hits me that this really is serious. If the three of them are joining us in LA then something really did happen. "Frank, Josh AND Mom and Daddy?"
"Yes," he says. "Pauly and Mikey are overseas, but should be fine."
Lance finally speaks. He's fallen into the background for a moment, but when I hear his voice again I know that it's going to be hard for him to hear all of this. "Should be fine?"
"Yes," he says.
I turn and look at Lance who seems to not understand any of this. I don't blame him. It's complicated.
"Lance," I turn to him quickly find his hands and hold them in mine. He's sweating and I'm sure that it's not from the heat of the afternoon. He looks exhausted. He looks stricken. He looks as if he's about to lose me and as much as I don't want to believe that, I feel like I'm going to lose him too. "I have to go with him. I don't know how to explain this to you, but it's serious. If my father is coming to the West Coast then something must have happened."
"You're just going to leave?" he asks.
I nod. I know it's breaking his heart, but really, if its come to the family coming to the West Coast and Pauly and Mikey knowing what's going on back home then someone must be dead or dying as we speak.
I can't look him in the eyes, but I know I have to tell him I'm leaving. At this point I'm starting to feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I'm getting a little scared by the fact that Timothy came down here with a gun. Normally he carries one, that doesn't shock me, but the fact that he's scared enough to think he might need to use it is what gives me a reason to really worry.
"I have to," I say softly and lean to kiss him. "I'll explain it all when you get back to Los Angeles."
"Are you sure?" he says. "I can call Loni or someone to come down here."
"I should go with him," I hear myself say.
Lance nods, takes a breath and sighs. "How can you live like this?" he asks.
"Live like what?"
"Under these terms and conditions?"
"How do you do it?" I ask back knowing that my life is about a tenth as complicated as his life.
He shrugs. "I love you."
"I'll call you later," I say to him knowing that Timothy is going to get antsy again.
He pulls me into a hug and holds me close for a long time. "I'm going to catch a flight back tomorrow. I'll bring your stuff home with me."
I nod at him again and turn to Timothy. I'm not thrilled to be leaving, but if I'm going to go, I'm going to have to find my way into his car now if not I'm going to burst into tears and fall down right now.
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Last updated: 07/04/04.