Somebody Needs You 4

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[New York, NY]

She was surprised to see a line at the lobby's check-in desk.  She would have imagined that an exclusive hotel like the W Hotel would have had some kind of curbside service and would have whisked it's guests from the limo to the penthouse, but that night there were two people ahead of her in line.  She would have turned around right then and braved her way through the crowd outside and gone back across town on the subway to her hotel room, but she needed to see him.  He'd committed a crime really and she needed all the things in the bag that he'd stolen.  This wasn't right and she needed to not let him get away with it.

"Can I help you Miss?" a woman said coming up to her where she stood in line.  She didn't realize why she'd been singled out, but maybe it was because she was in her navy blue and white United Airlines flight attendant uniform and happened to be the only one in the line that didn't have an overnight bag with her.  Her purse probably was bigger than some of the people's bags, but it still didn't have a handle or wheels on it so it would have seemed small for an overnight stay.

She took a deep breath before she spoke and wondered for a moment if she shouldn't just leave right then.  She couldn't explain that a rock star had stolen her bag off the plane and left a card with the address of the W Hotel on it in the bag's place.  No one would have believed a story like that.  She'd been trying to think of a story all the way over, but couldn't think of anything that sounded plausible that would have let her inside the hotel and near the music group that clearly, from the size of the group waiting outside, wasn't accessible to the average person.  "I'm wondering if--Well actually I'm pretty sure that NSYNC is staying here considering the crowd outside, but I was wondering if I would be able to go up to see Mr. Bass?"

The older women pursed her lips, as if she'd been dealing with requests like this all day.  It was nerve wreaking to see the woman smooth a hand over her hair a clear sign that the woman was trying to keep her temper in tact by speaking slowly to her when she replied.  "I'm sorry.  Our guests usually leave a list of welcomed visitors and I'd have to confirm that you were on that list to let you up to the floor."

"I doubt that I would be on that list," she said bringing her coat further around her.  She should have just ignored him.  She should have just called the gamble a loss and left the bag with him.  All that was in there were pajamas, three t-shirts, a pair of shoes, and a pair of jeans for the night's stay in New York.  She doubted that her toothbrush and deodorant would be of use to him anyway.  "I don't think he's really expecting me."

"Why don't we check, just in case."   The woman pointed the way over to a side desk and she went around the little podium and began to type on a computer a moment later she looked up.  "What was your name?"

"Colleen--" Colleen instantly wanted to start chewing on her nails.  She felt like she'd just cheated her way through a test and now the principal was going to punish her for it.  "Colleen Blanch--"

The woman's eyebrows lifted.  She wasn't sure if this was a good sign or a bad sign until the New York accented woman spoke again, "I'm sorry Miss Blanchard."  The woman instantly seemed nervous.  "I didn't realize that it was you.  Mr. Bass left a note on here saying that I should escort you upstairs myself.  He said that he wasn't sure what time you would arrive, but that you were not to be bothered and that--"  She began to breathe hard and Colleen wondered what she was getting herself into.  "He didn't leave a time for your arrival."

"He was expecting me?"

"Yes," she said, "You didn't sound so sure."

Her eyes flew to the sound of screaming that entered the lobby when the door opened and a few people walked through the lobby towards the elevators.  They looked slightly familiar, but she didn't see who she was looking for in that group.  "I wasn't sure what day I'd be able to visit him," she said nervously.

The woman smiled and became instantly more hospitable.  "I'm sorry about that crowd outside.  It seems that they are waiting for your friend to make an appearance."  She sighed.  "I feel bad for the poor kids.  Some of them have been there for two days now waiting."  She typed something else into the computer then looked up.  "Well come with me and I'll take you up to his floor."

"Thank you," Colleen said as she made her way across the lobby to the elevator.

The trip up to their floor only took a few moments.  The guard at the door told them that Lance would be with Colleen in a few minutes and while the hotel clerk went back down to the lobby, the bigger security guard brought her down the hallway.

The man's deep voice rumbled next to her.  He seemed extremely mean from looks, but his voice was one that she'd imagine that anyone would want a lullaby sung to them by.  The Barry-White sounding voice was soothing despite the seriousness of the situation.  "Lance is in a mini-meeting at the moment, but said that you should wait for him in the room."

"Ok?" Colleen said.  She was getting a headache and wanted to get something to eat, but she wasn't about to ask this guy for food.  She'd probably get herself in even more trouble if she asked for something other than what was owed to her.

The guard left her alone in the living room of the suite.  Colleen kept her jacket on, but put her bag next to her on the couch and took a seat facing out the window.  She couldn't seem much, but sky and building, but after a long day she was glad for the seat.  She'd been up since early that morning and she vowed that within the hour she'd be asleep in bed across town, WITH her bag in her custody.

"Good, you're here."

"Yes," she said and got up from the seat she was in as he came walking into the room.  He wore different clothes that he'd been wearing on the plane and looked a little tired, but that kind smile on his face was still there.  She was having a hard time being mad at him.  She realized that she should be extremely upset with him though considering the circumstances.  "I'm here.  Of course I'm here.  I should be here with the police, but I chose to play this game your way."  She held up the card that had been found on the plane.  "This is cute and all, but where is my stuff?"

"I've got it," he said, "But you have to do one more thing before I give it back."

"Come on.  I've played along so far.  I just want my stuff and a good night's sleep before I have to go back to Los Angeles.  Please just give me my stuff."

He instead his hand came out and held an envelope up to her.

Her eyes narrowed.  She didn't take it from him.  "What is that?"

He sighed.  "You're making this so difficult."

"Difficult?" she asked, "You don't even know the meaning of the word.  I work hard during my days and I expected to spend my evening with a book relaxing considering that I was up at three am to get to work today, something you'd probably know nothing about."

"I traveled about two hundred and ninety days a year," he said, "I KNOW about early calls for flights and traveling through a million times zones so please spare me the story."

"You can put your hand down," she said, "I'm not going to take whatever you're going to offer me.  All I want is my bag so I can leave."

His eyes met hers for a moment and softened.  "Are you sure?"

She nodded in defiance.

"Are you sure you don't want this?"

"Yes," she said.

He retracted his arms and put both hands on the envelope looking like he might rip the white business sized container in half.  "I guess these tickets to John Mayer will go to waste then."

Her eyes went wide.  "What? Wait.  No."  She took a deep breath and wondered if he'd drugged her early that day.  She hadn't found herself this drawn to someone in a while and even though he was a big star she didn't see herself becoming any man's groupie any time soon.

"I saw you lip syncing to the song on the plane so I called and got us tickets.  I swear no strings attached."  He chuckled at that remark.  "Just go with me to the concert...it's only a three hour commitment on your part then we'll be done, you can have your bags back and I'll leave you alone forever."

"I can't."  She instantly refused.  She didn't know why she couldn't.  There wasn't anything in the world that would have told her that spending a night alone in a New York hotel room would be more exciting that going to see John Mayer live, but she wasn't sure that she should be going to the concert with Lance Bass of all men in the world.  "I can't jump off to a concert.  I'm working and I have to get to sleep."

"I'll have you home by midnight," he said with a teasing tone.  He must have seen the shocked look in her eyes and must have realized from earlier that she was a real fan of the artist because he was now using that as leverage.

"I can't Mr. Bass."  She closed her eyes and prayed that she would have the strength to stay away from the concert and him.  "Really."

"It's Lance," he said, "And you will go or you won't get your bag back."

"Fine then," she said and reached for her bag.  "Keep the bag."

"Come on," he said, "Miss Blanchard this will be the best night of your life.  VIP passes to a concert in New York.  I mean who else would have a date like that planned out for you?"

"This isn't a date," she said.

"So you'll go?"

"I can't go in this," she said, "I'll need my bag."

"I'll give you the jeans and a shirt and shoes and maybe stuff for a shower, but that's it," he said, "The bag will stay with me."

"You little jerk.  You looked through my stuff."

"No," he said, "They opened it up when I came off the plane.  I just happened to take a peak inside."

"Ugh," she said, "You're so awful."

"Look.  If we're going to go you'll need your stuff.  You can use my shower and I'll leave you to yourself while I make some phone calls, but you have to be ready by seven because we're going to have dinner with John."

"John who?"

"John Mayer," he said with a smile.  "I told you that we're getting VIP treatment and you're going to meet him."

"Really?" she said.

"Yes," he handed over her things without the bag.  "No get ready.  Our limo is going to be coming for us in about a half hour."

"Hey there gorgeous," a sweet female voice filled his ears.

He rubbed his eye and sniffed as his slight allergies kicked in.  "Hello?"

"You must be tired if you don't recognize this voice." Laughter filled his ears. "Now you're wondering why you didn't check your caller ID. I bet if I was there next to you, you'd be moving the phone away from you ear to check...always the little gentleman, never one to call a woman by the wrong name. That's sooo sweet of you."

"Whatever Carrah." He let out a groan as he moved to get more comfortable.  He'd flopped down into a chair as soon as Colleen had gone into the bathroom and had planned on napping until she returned, even though he'd told her that he had phone calls to make.   He moved his head back against the headrest, then moved it again, this time beating his head slightly against the rest until his head found a comfortable spot then closed his eyes and he listened to her as the sound of the shower came on in the other room.

She sighed and he could hear her doing whatever it was she was doing on the other end of the line.  "I bet you're busy all weekend aren't you?"

"Kind of," he asked, "Why? Are you going to have pity on your old friend and fly out here and surprise me and keep me company while I dick around with all these idiots out here?"

Her laugh calmed him.  "Is dicking around with idiots part of your job description?"

"Not exactly," he said with a smile.  He wished that he could call them what he wanted to, but he had a feeling that he wouldn't be making a good impression if he didn't..

"I can't come out there.  I told you that," she said, "I have to work. You know that."

"It was worth a try," he said with a sigh. "Maybe one of these weekends you'll actually get a day off so we can hang out. I feel like I haven't seen you in forever."

"It's been a few days, not years."

"It's been sixteen days, ten hours and three--" He looked at his watch.  "No four minutes."

"You sound like you're trying to keep track of me there big guy." Another one of her laughs hit his ears and made him smile.

The sound of Colleen in the shower grabbed most of his attention so he reached for the remote control and turned on the television, jumping as the volume on the television scared him.  He immediately turned it down.

"Where are you?"

In the bigger scale of life, he didn't have a clue where he was.  For her purposes he was in the middle of another city doing another stupid dare that the guys had planned out.  It wasn't that he didn't have any pride, it was quite the opposite, but this time his pride was keeping him from treating Colleen as she probably should have been treated.

"I probably need a nap," he mumbled to himself.

"Lance?"  Carrah's voice got a little louder.  She sounded irritated with him.  "Hello?  Are you listening to me?  I know you're a busy guy and all.  If you have to go just say so ok?"

"I'm sorry Carrah."  He took a breath and thought about telling her about his date.  "Never mind.  Tell me what's up with you."

She sighed into the phone and clicked her tongue at him like a mother hen.  "You're just spoiled.  You travel too much."

"What about you?" he said, "You travel all the time to see me.  Besides, I thought you were going to move out to Orlando and hang with me and the guys permanently."

"Yeah."  He didn't know where she was, but he could picture her rolling her eyes with that comment.  There had been a huge argument brewing between him and her over the last few weeks.  She'd gotten out of school and had been spending her summer in Jackson and Clinton, but now seemed to not know what to do next.  He could help her get a job so that she could put her  degree in social work to good use, but she didn't seem to want to take his favor and get herself a job that would make her happier.  "You and the guys are always gone anyway.  I have to get a real job and get things going."

"You have a real job," he said.  He knew that she wasn't doing what she really wanted to do with her major, but she was at least having fun with it, or at least she had been having fun with it a few months ago, a few weeks ago, even a few days ago.

"Working at the YMCA isn't exactly what I want to do with my life," she groaned.

The back of his neck started to sweat against the leather couch.  He was turning so that he could see the bathroom door in the reflection of the window.  He thought that the air conditioning in the room would have helped, but the late summer heat of New York was still getting to him.  His eyes closed a little and he took a breath.  "I told you that I could--"

She made a huffing sound.  "I don't want your help Lance."

"It wouldn't be my help really," he said, "I just know a few people who are hiring right now and I know the job would pay well enough to help you pay off your bills."

"I wanna do this myself," she said stubbornly.  He could picture her stomping her foot for good measure.

"Fine," he said, "Be that way."

"Lance I'm sorry, but you know my feelings on this.  Visiting you and hanging out with you is one thing, but we're not dating and I'm not even family--"

"Hell you aren't," he said, "I've known you longer than anyone."

"We met in high school," she said.

"That's not the point Carrah," he said angrily, "You're one of the only ones I actually talk to anymore."

"Sure," she said, "Cry me a river.  Was it or was it not you that had the Clinton police over at your house the last time you were home because you had a party and were too loud and had too many people on your street?"

"That's different," he said.

"Why?" she asked.

"Those are my party friends.  There's a difference between them and you."

"I'll tell Darius that the next time I see him."

"I should go here for a while," Lance said, "I have to go out tonight.  Are you going to be around tomorrow night?"

"Yeah," she said, "Call my cell though because I'm going to be out and about."

"Out and about?"

Jealousy came to the surface.  He wanted to reach through the phone and handcuff her to something in the house so that she wouldn't go out that night.  He didn't like that she was going out and about without him.  He didn't think that he was superman.  He wanted to protect her because she was one of his friends.  Carrah had a place in his heart though that he knew could be replaced by another soul on earth.  She was his rock and as much as he hated to admit it, he needed her to be there at his beck and call when he needed someone to lean on.  If she was out and about he knew that it would be hard to get to her if he needed it.

"I'm not going drinking," she said and sounded suspiciously like she was lying.

He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.  Pulling the jealousy card with her wasn't the way to keep their friendship on the straight and narrow.  She'd had trouble with him the last few weeks because he hadn't been letting her tell him about her times out and he kept a lot of things from her about his last few weeks of traveling.  "Andrina and I are going to the movies in Jackson and then we're going to go over to Connor's work and pick him up because his car is messed up."

"Just be careful ok?" he said.

"Sure sure," she said.

Getting up Lance went to the window and decided to open it.  He could hear the noise of the city below, but as soon as he leaned out a little to get some fresh air he could hear screaming.  He waved a little then kept the phone to his ear as Carrah started to sing into his ear.  "If I wasn't a celebrity--Would you be so nice to me?--If I couldn't have cheese like everyday--Would you still wanna be with me?--If I couldn't buy you diamond rings--And all those other expensive things--Would you be so into me?--If I wasn't a celebrity."

"Quit it," he said getting annoyed.  It was worse than having someone say I told you so over and over again.  She was basically quoting him back at her.  It might have been JC's or Justin's words, but it was just as bad.  "You're a bitch when you do that to me."  The words came out of his mouth as a joke, but he could tell that she'd probably gotten offended by the comment

"I'll let you go," Carrah said over the line.  "Have fun today and call me tomorrow and we'll have yet another one of our oh so fun--OUCH!  I think I hurt my eye when I rolled them up into the back of my head--I'll talk to you soon."

"Love you," he said then looked up again when someone hit at his arm.

"Love you too," she said, "I'll say hi to your mom for you.  You need to call her."

"I just talked to her last night," he said.

"Well call her again then."

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